Beyond the experience of duality



Providing Support in the Pandemic


Mark Bradberry, Chair of the Trust, writes:

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to update you on the ongoing work of the Bede Griffiths Charitable Trust and what we have been able to do to support four charities in and around Shantivanam.

This year has been like no other for us all but as we now know it has been devastating for India. Of course, no one has been able to visit this year, but we have kept in regular contact with Shantivanam and other project leaders through emails and, like everyone else, Zoom.

Since I last updated you, I have to report the sad passing of Dr Tony Pruss, during Easter 2020. Tony was a trustee and huge donor, supporter, fundraiser and active member of the trust.   As you may know, the school at Inungur was named after his son Tim who died in a tragic accident. Tony will be sorely missed, but his work continues through his wife Mary and son Michael.

It might be helpful to remind you of who we are and how we came about.  Following a suggestion by Br. Martin the Trust was formed in 2003 to provide financial help to projects in the area in and around Shantivanam, following the example of Father Bede, and we continue to do so.   The projects are managed by the Saccidananda and Ananda Ashrams, Swami Bede Dayananda Trust and the Tim Pruss Memorial School at Inungur.  We now have a formal membership of over 100 members, including many Sangha members, and nine trustees. You can always find out more about us by going to our website at

Since we were formed, we have raised over £950,000.   Within the next year we will probably have broken the million-pound mark!  This year we plan to make grants of over £59,500 to four Indian charities – the Saccidananda and Ananda ashrams, Swami Bede Dayananda Trust and the Tim Pruss Memorial School.   Only about 1% of the money raised goes towards admin costs, such as the cost of money transfer and insurance, with the rest going directly to India.

We continue to make grants to Shantivanam and Ananda to help with infrastructure and running costs as well as supporting local state education, an old people’s home in Thannirpalli, housing and an after-school tuition centre in the nearby village of Veerambur.  With no visitors from outside of India this year direct contributions to help with accommodation and food have been limited.   Both ashrams have also been helping local people affected by the pandemic.  There have been a lot of infrastructure changes in Shantivanam with the purchase of some nearby land and a new library.

As I mentioned in my last article, each hut in Ananda now has flushing toilets and are available for visitors. Sr Neethi and two other Sisters continue working hard with the help of some temporary local labourers. Ananda now ha a new brick wall running alongside the entrance. When, and if you can, I would urge you to visit Ananda and see the new memorial chapel dedicated to Sr Marie Louise. This is a beautiful building and a fitting tribute to her memory.

BGCT provides funds to the Swami Bede Dayananda Trust to help with a local kindergarten, training in typing and tailoring and a day care centre for the elderly at Pattavarthi. During the lockdowns the children have not been able to attend, although some of the adult training continued until very recently. Food has been distributed to those unable to attend the old people’s day centre.

The Tim Pruss Memorial School continues to provide an English medium education. Currently there are 201 poor students at infant and junior levels. During lockdown they have not been able to attend school but 160 of them are taught by the teachers visiting them in small groups to keep up their education. The school continues to be well supported by donors including the family of Tim Pruss, Chigwell School and Prince’s Mead School in Winchester. Following the sad passing of Dr Truss, his son Michael continues the work of his father in providing support to this project.

In conclusion, the Trust continues its mission to provide much needed support to projects in and around Shantivanam.  This year has been a particularly challenging one for the region and of course Shantivanam.  Funds are always needed and never more so than now. Please continue to keep both India and us in your thoughts and prayers.

Best wishes to you all and thank you.

Mark Bradberry

Chair BGCT