Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sri Aurobindo Society - April '07

News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
Upcoming Events
4 April 2007: Sri Aurobindo's Arrival at Puducherry
Sri Aurobindo in Puducherry
Sri Aurobindo came to Puducherry on 4 April 1910 to pursue a spiritual goal - the goal of supramental transformation - never before successfully attempted by anyone. While engaged in the freedom struggle in Bengal, Sri Aurobindo received an Adesh (a Divine Command) to go to Pondicherry. In one of his letters to a disciple he wrote:
"Pondicherry is my place of retreat, my cave of tapasya, not of the ascetic kind, but of a brand of my own invention."
24 April 2007, Darshan Day: The Mother's Final Arrival at Puducherry
The Mother came to Puducherry for the first time in March 1914. She returned to France in 1915 and then went to Japan in 1916. She returned to Puducherry on 24 April 1920, never to leave again. On this significant date, the Mother once wrote to a disciple:
April 24: The anniversary of my return to Pondicherry, which was the tangible sign of the sure Victory over the adverse forces.
It was then that slowly the Ashram grew and took shape around Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The 24 April is also celebrated in the Ashram as one of the four Darshan days. On that day, Sri Aurobindo's room will be kept open for Darshan to the visitors.
Recent Events
29 March 2007 - The Mother's First Arrival at Puducherry
The Mother met Sri Aurobindo for the first time on 29th March 1914, and later joined him as his collaborator in the great work of ushering in a new world of higher harmony and joy. There was a collective meditation at the Ashram playground in the evening.
23 Feb. - 5 March 2007: Study Camp by Dr. M.V. Nadkarni on "Savitri"
Dr. M.V. Nadkarni conducted a study camp on Sri Aurobindo's "Savitri" at the Society's Beach Office hall, Puducherry, from 23 February to 5 March 2007. About 200 persons regularly attended the talks which were held in two sessions daily.
His next study camp will be on Sri Aurobindo's "Essays on the Gita" at the Beach Office from 26 April to 5 May 2007. There will be two sessions daily, both in the afternoons, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The talks are open to all.
New Centres Opened
The following new Centres of Sri Aurobindo Society were opened during the year ended 31 March 2007:
Gadag (Karnataka) Charthawal (Uttar Pradesh) Mummigatti (Karnataka) Shahjadpur (Uttar Pradesh)Sedam (Karnataka) Rudrapur (Uttaranchal)Alkod (Karnataka) Kanjiakhali-Hiakunj (West Bengal) Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) Salt Lake (West Bengal) Udaipur (Tripura)
Some Special Days in February 2007
6 April: Good Friday & 8 April: Easter Day
Easter Day
Easter, the principal feast of the Christian year commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is celebrated this year on 8 April. The Easter holiday begins with the 40 day observation of Lent that began on Ash Wednesday and will end at midnight on Holy Saturday before Easter Sunday. The Octave of Easter extends from Easter Sunday to the following Sunday. White garments are worn by the newly baptized, signifying an atmosphere of light, purity and joy.
Good Friday, which is the Friday before Easter Sunday, marks the day of crucifixion, and his burial in a cave-tomb. The name "Good Friday" is probably a corruption of "God's Friday". The worship on this day is marked by austerity and silence, a time for quiet and serious contemplation on the great saving work of Jesus Christ.
On many occasions, Sri Aurobindo has written about Jesus Christ in his letters to the sadhaks of the Ashram. Given below are excerpts from two of them:
Christ realised himself as the Son who is one with the Father…
…what is it that gives Buddha or Christ their enormous place in the spiritual world? It was because something manifested through them that was more than any outward event or any teaching. …the teachings of Buddha and Christ are spiritually true not as mere mental teachings but as the expression of spiritual states or happenings in them which by their life on earth they made possible (or even dynamically potential) in others.
News from Branches and Centres
News from Abroad Hong Kong
Dr. Alok Pandey visited Sri Aurobindo Society, Hong Kong, and addressed public meetings on the following subjects from 23 to 25 February 2007:
"The Human Enigma", "The Human Journey" and "The Human Fulfilment".
About 60 persons attended the talks which were very well received by all. The talks were followed by interesting questions and answers.
Besides these talks, informal discussions were held at the residence of some of the hosts and seekers covering a range of topics from the Gita, the Vedanta, Indian Culture, the present world situation, the future possibilities, Integral Yoga, Health, Education and Psychology. The discussions were delightful and lively.
The Nairobi Centre presented 2,200 mini booklets on eleven different titles to the Satellites Clinics of the Gertude's Children's Hospital, Nairobi, on 1 March 2007. A team consisting of the Public Relations Officer, the Marketing Manager, and the Manager of the Hospital visited Nairobi Centre and received the booklets. These booklets will be distributed in the main hospital and the three satellites clinics of the hospital. 'NAMAH', the medical journal of the Society, was also introduced to the team.
On 3 March 2007, 50 sets of mini booklets on eleven different titles were given for distribution at the Doctors' Plaza at Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi.
News from India
Workshops by SAFIER Unit, Mumbai
For Bombay Cambridge School: SAFIER unit of Sri Aurobindo Society, Mumbai, conducted a series of workshops in March 2007 under the theme "I Have a Dream - Workshops for Self Exploration and Creative Expression" with about 100 teachers of Bombay Cambridge School (BCS), Andheri, Mumbai, in four batches of about 25 teachers each.
Duration of these workshops was 3 hours per day and the timings were 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The workshop aimed to help the participants to "get in touch with oneself" through Creative Expression. All the teachers participated very enthusiastically and appreciated the workshop very much by showing keen openness and receptivity towards a new approach to holistic learning.
A few frozen moments from the Workshop
Some of the feedbacks from the participants of various groups: 3 March - 27 Teachers from Pre-Primary section: • Self confident we all have talent but we feel shy and scared to do it. In the workshop I learn to say yes! I can. • Dreams can come true if you try, That's what I have learnt, try, try till you succeed.
8 March - 23 teachers from Primary section: • We should not be afraid to dream, not to fear the obstacles that come our way and achieve. The instructors were very cooperative and encouraging and hence we could enjoy and perform better. • Believing in yourself; I can do it and will surely do it.
10 March - 20 teachers from Secondary section: • It gave me the opportunity to be what I want, to behave and act the way I like, a sense of freedom, being independent, being me myself. Every life is important and has some meaning or worth in the world. It made me feel everybody has some potential. No body is less than the other.
13 March - 26 teachers from Primary and Co-Curricular section. • Thanks for making me meet myself after years. • The various activities which actually brought about the lost child in one - free to be myself.For Teachers of Sol's Arc: Safier - Mumbai conducted "I Have a Dream - Workshops for Self Exploration and Creative Expression" with the teachers of Sol's Arc in the afternoon of 19 March 2007. It is a school for special children, and all the teachers were special educators. The chief purpose of the workshops was "Accepting one's being, life and purpose". All the teachers - about 12 in number - participated very enthusiastically.
In one of the activity "Animal School" story was given as a theme for enactment. All the participants came up with the different idea and expressed how we face the same situation in our day to day life. At the end of the workshop the story "Personal Legend" story was given as a hand out to all.
Some of the feedback on the workshop: • Let go off negative experiences as it always stays. We can make it easier by thinking about a positive future. Feeling of a positive and peaceful emotion. • It has developed in me positive energy and thoughts, you can do what you want to achieve. • It helps you to open up build confidence; it makes you meet your true hidden inner self. • I liked the enthusiasm of the coordinator and of all the participants & the fact that we had to accept everyone and their thoughts and at the same time coordinate. Though I did not know more than two persons… I did not feel left out at any moment. It was just amazing. I loved everything that happened here and just wished it could have been for a little longer time.
Noida (U.P.)
Shri Vijay Poddar speaking on "Swayam Ko Deko". Seated on his left is Shri O.P.Dani, Chairman, Noida Branch, and on the right, Shri V.P. Goyal, Vice Chairman, State Committee of U.P. & Uttarakhand
A view of the audience
The Noida Branch organised a talk on "Swayam Ko Dekho" by Shri Vijay K. Poddar on 10 March 2007 at the Bhawan. Shri Poddar also spoke about the responsibilities of the members of the Society and its branches and centres. About 100 persons participated in the Talk.
During the "Vichar Goshti"
The Noida branch organised a "Vichar Goshti" on "Aparadh Mukt Bharat" and "Shrimad Bhagavad Gita" on 18 March 2007 at the Bhavan after the regular meditation. Shri R.K. Goswami from Bharatiya Charitra Nirman Sanathan also gave a talk on the occasion. About 50 persons participated in the programme.
Paigmberpur (U.P.)
A late evening session with women of village Paigmberpurin which shruti taught some shlokas and women sang folk songs
The Paigmberpur centre celebrated the Mother's birthday on 21 February 2007 with meditation and reading of the Mother's Prayer. In the evening, Ms. Shruti interacted with the village women and everyone sang some bhajans and folk songs.
School children , teachers and principals from Paigmberur and adjoining villages attending shruti's talk followed by question answer session on Body Chakras at Paigmberpur Centre.
On 22 February, Ms. Shruti gave a talk on body charkas, which was attended by about 300 people, including about 100 children, two principals and a few teachers from four schools (two each from Jaspur in Uttaranchal and two from district Bijnore, U.P.), 100 people from the village and 50 from the adjoining villages. In the evening, she spoke on 'Savitri' to the youth of Sri Aurobindo Study Circle from Paigmberpur.
Gobichettipalayam Centre (Tamil Nadu)
Book Stall at the exhibition
The Gobichettipalayam Centre organised a flower and photographic exhibition at its premise on 15 Feb. 2007, displaying about 150 common and rare flowers, along with their photograph and spiritual significance. There was also a sales counter showcasing books, incense sticks, candle-sticks and other items manufactured by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry.
Flowers and their photographs, explaining their spiritual significance on display
The entire function was well organised by the members of the Centre under the guidance of the Centre's Secretary Smt. Valarmathi Periyasamy.
The flower arrangement at the Shrine
The Centre also celebrated the birthday of the Mother on 21 February 2007. The Meditation hall was very beautifully decorated with flower arrangement. About 200 participated in the event.
Bijapur (Karnataka)
Shri P.N. Kulkarni being felicitated before his Talk
The Bijapur centre celebrated the Mother's birthday on 21 February 2007 with reading from 'Savitri' and collective meditation. Shri P.N. Kulkarni spoke on this occasion on the life of the Mother. Shri P.N. Kulkarni has been giving talks to the members of the Society for the last three years. Earlier, the Centre had conducted two series of Talks on 'Savitri' by Shri J.D. Jahagirdar.
The Delhi branch celebrated the Mother's birth anniversary on 21 February 2007 with great zeal and enthusiasm.
Navakriti Play School run by the Delhi branch of the Society celebrated its Annual Day on 21 February 2007. Shri Ranjit Puri, Chairman of the Delhi Branch of the Society, inaugurated the function by lighting the lamp. The programme started with a prayer followed by briefing on Navakriti by Ms. Nehal Garewal, Coordinator of the school. Children of the school performed Rajasthani, Western and other variety dances.
The evening function was held in the calm, green surroundings of the premise, with collective meditation with the Mother's music. Ms. Pratibha Prahlad, an exponent of Bharat Natyam, presented a dance performance. The theme of her dance was the four great aspects of the Mother: Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. Shri Pavan K. Varma, Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, was the chief guest of the evening.
Sultanpur (U.P.)
Dr. J.P. Singh, journalist, spoke on 8 February 2007 to the students of N.S.S. Camp which was organised by the Kamla Nehru Post Graduate College at the Kamlakar School, Sultanpur, on the lives of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and their Supramental Yoga.
The Sultanpur Branch organised a Seminar on 21 Feb. 2007 where Dr. J.P. Singh spoke on the life of the Mother and Her vision about the future. Dr. S.P. Singh spoke on "Aspiration". Other speakers were Dr. Radhe Shyam Singh, Dr. A.K. Singh, Dr. Durga Dutta Pandey and Dr. Dharampal Singh.
The branch also organised a talk by Dr. J.P. Singh in Subhash Intermediate College, Pallia village, Sultanpur, on 27 Feb. He spoke about the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and their Yoga. After the talk, he interacted with the teachers and other staff members.
Varanasi (U.P.)
Dr. J.P. Singh spoke on 9 Feb. 2007 on "Conscious Evolution of Consciousness" at the 2nd World Veda Science Conference organised by Kashi Hindi University, Varanasi.
Allahabad (U.P.)
The Allahabad Centre celebrated the Mother's birthday on 21 Feb. 2007 with collective bhajan and meditation. Many devotees and office bearers of the centre spoke on the Mother and Her Supramental Avatarhood.
Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh)
The Tirupati Branch celebrated the Mother's birthday on 21 Feb. 2007. The meeting was presided over by Shri M. Balarama Reddy, Chairman of the branch. Children of Sri Aurobindo Vidyalaya recited from the Bhagavad Gita. Shri P.S. Sankar Reddy, Vice Chairman of the branch, read out a poem that he has written on the Mother in Telugu. The other speakers were Shri T.D. Sudhakar, and Shri K. Hanumanthu.
Purnea (Bihar)
The Purnea Branch celebrated the birthday of the Mother on 21 February in the forenoon and afternoon. There was meditation at 7:30 am and hoisting of the Mother's flag. In the afternoon, there were talks on Yoga and principles of education as incorporated in the book "On Education".
Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu)
As part of the celebrations of the Mother's birth anniversary, the Cuddalore Centre arranged a talk by Dr. Prema Nandakumar on 'Savitri'. The Centre also held essay, lyrics and drawing competitions among the school children and distributed prizes and certificates. About 150 people attended the function.
Annanagar, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
The Annanagar Centre organised talks on 4 and 11 February 2007 on "Thought Power" by Shri N.V. Balu, and "Calling the Mother's Grace for help" by Shri S. Mohan, respectively. The centre also celebrated the Mother's birthday on 21 February 2007 beginning with meditation at 6:30 am. At 6:00 pm a video show of 150 clippings of the Mother's photographs was organised.
Jaipur (Rajasthan)
The Mother's birthday was celebrated by the Jaipur Centre with devotion and enthusiasm. A flower show consisting of about 60 flowers in vases was arranged. The spiritual names of the flowers and their significances were painted on cards placed near each vase.
Jamnagar (Gujarat)
The Jamnagar Branch celebrated the Mother's birthday on 21 February 2007 in a serene and spiritual ambience. There was collective meditation around the Shrine in the morning, and in the evening there were devotional songs.

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