The calm and serene atmosphere of the Himalayan Ashram of Van Nivas turned vibrant once again with our International Camp held from 1st to 9th October, 2006, with 20 participants from Europe and 21 of us from India. Primarily it was a study camp on Savitri along with all the associated joyful activities that such camps provide us with.
First and foremost let me acknowledge that Van Nivas, thanks to Taradi and her team of helpers, has become both an inviting and a welcoming place for all who visit it. Let me also emphasise at this point that the inconspicuous presence and assistance of Nalinji was very significant in our stay for his benign humility added great warmth to those crispy and chill days.
On the intellectual level, the profound deliberations by Dr. Ananda Reddy on the four aspects of Savitri as defined by the Mother in general:
The daily record of the spiritual experiences of the Author,
A complete system of Integral Yoga…
The yoga of the earth…
The yoga of the Avatar…
were a painstaking research work on the subject presented for the first time by any scholar. He did take support of other Aurobindonean scholars in his study, but he incorporated them with his own deep study and with the words, experiences and realizations of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. All the explanations were supported by corresponding lines from Savitri. It was indeed a week long yajna that evoked deep gratitude and love for the Divine. In his last talks, specially, some of us felt very concretely the higher aspects of the Mother, aspects that are hidden behind the beauteous veil of Sweet Mother.
The atmosphere of these deliberations was often so charged with Their presence that some participants suggested that the first morning session conducted by Dr Reddy should have been followed by a brief spell of meditation for the talks had taken them too deep or too high and they needed a break before doing anything else. The voice and words of Dr. Reddy transported with great clarity the knowledge of his insearch and research. Interestingly, we, the audience, felt that something or someone seated within each of us was also experiencing that supremely high and unique content of Savitri.
Dr. Ramesh Bijlani brought us back to the earth with his detailed discussions on the life-issues and their solutions mostly in the light of Patanjali yoga. He also discussed the methods of meditation and its effect as well as topics like what is true health and how to keep oneself integrally fit and happy. Both the facilitators conducted group activities in the night sessions which brought in a great collective fervour in the camp. They were greatly appreciated by the participants for it was at the same time a living experience of unity.
On the physical level, Sankaran and Deepshikha, conducted yogasanas and Pranayama sessions in the early mornings which proved to be beneficial. We also greatly enjoyed the long and short treks led by Sankaran and Nandakumar. The Kainchi trek of 12 km. was of course the peak-experience that was much enjoyed by the young in mind and body!
Of course all this enjoyment could not have been possible without the excellent food that was provided under the supervision of Anubhabi. On the spiritual level, the activity that made the evenings very prayerful and meditative was the learning of Mantra chantings conducted by Deepshikha. This hour of chantings and invocations invocations prepared everyone for the deep meditations that followed.
After this daily routine for seven days, we had, on the last evening, a cultural programme presented by six nations from Europe and six states of India. The songs and the dances were so very thrilling and perfect that we wondered if the participants were not professionals!
On the last day, the 9th of October, all the participants were taken for a whole day tour of the nearby Himalayan valleys and hills surrounding Bhavali, Mukteshwar, Ramgarh, / Madhuban. We all enjoyed the experience of driving through other small sleepy little villages nestled in the bosom of the huge green and lush mountain ranges at the foot of the Himalayas.
On the whole what came home to us, apart from the wonderful knowledge through the study of Savitri, was the learning process on every level, especially on the level of human relations.. A very sweet relationship of harmony and joy was established between the European and the Indian participants. A long bond of friendship among us all is now there to stay and we shall cherish it fondly for long many years to come. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow