Saturday, April 05, 2008

Seminar on "Indian Culture in the Light of Sri Aurobindo"

News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
Upcoming Events
4 April 2008: 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 2008, 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 2008 - The Mother's First Arrival at Puducherry
The Mother met Sri Aurobindo for the first time on 29 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.
Beach Office Sanskrit Dept. Activities
On 4 Feb. 2008 Dr. Sampadananda Mishra visited Burdwan in West Bengal to participate and deliver a talk in a three-day (4 - 6 Feb.'08) National Seminar on Philosophy of Language and Logic organised by the Philosophy department of the University of Burdwan. The topic on which Dr. Mishra spoke was: "Creation by Word - A Deeper Insight into Understanding Shabdabrahman". About three hundred participants were present in the seminar. Apart from Dr. Mishra there were twelve other speakers to speak on different topics related to the theme of the Seminar. Dr. Mishra's paper was appreciated as the most comprehensive paper on the subject chosen.
On 5 Feb.'08 Dr. Mishra delivered another talk on "Sri Aurobindo and Vedic Riks" at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Burdwan. About thirty people were present during the talk.
On 11 Feb. '08 Dr. Mishra visited Hyderabad to participate in another three-day (11 to 13 Feb. '08) National Seminar on Sanskrit in the Modern Context. The seminar was organised by the Department of Sanskrit and the School of Humanities of Hyderabad Central University. Dr. Mishra was the first person to present his paper in the seminar. In his presentation he highlighted the central points of a massive project on Sanskrit and Speech Language Pathology undertaken by him. The paper was highly appreciated by the Chairperson and other scholars.
Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Research Assistant (Sanskrit) visited Thiruvannamalai to attend a national seminar on 'Jeevanmuktas of Bhaaratam'. The seminar was jointly organized by Yogi Ramsurtakumar Research Foundation for Indian Culture, Thiruvannamalai and Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Visva Mahavidyalaya, Kanchipuram. Scholars from the various parts of the country participated in the seminar. Mr. Tripathy presented a paper entitled "Jeevanmuktasya Kaa Bhaashaa" in which he highlighted the characteristic features of Jeevanmuktas according to many scriptures. The paper also included Sri Aurobindo's views on Jeevanmuktas.
Some Special Days in April 200814 April - Sri Rama Navami
Sri Rama
Eight days after Ugadi (which is on 6 April of this year), is the birthday of Sri Rama, one of the two most popular and highly revered incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Sri Rama is said to have been born at noon on this day.
Many devotees of Sri Rama observe the Rama-navami vrata which commences from the previous night with fasting. The occasion is also celebrated with many religio-cultural programmes like Paaraayana or ceremonial recitation of the epic Ramayana (usually spread over the nine days from Ugadi), Hari-kathaa (discourse on mythological stories on Hari, an epithet of Vishnu, accompanied with music), classical music or devotional songs etc.
Here is Sri Aurobindo's revealing words on Sri Rama and his role on earth:
Rama… was the Avatar of the sattwic mind-mental, emotional, moral-and he followed the Dharma of the age and race.
[Rama's] business was to destroy Ravana and to establish the Rama-rajya-in other words, to fix for the future the possibility of an order proper to the sattwic civilised human being who governs his life by the reason, the finer emotions, morality, or at least moral ideals, such as truth, obedience, co-operation and harmony, the sense of domestic and public order,-to establish this in a world still occupied by anarchic forces, the Animal mind and the powers of the vital Ego making its own satisfaction the rule of life, in other words, the Vanara and Rakshasa. This is the meaning of Rama and his life-work…
…it was Rama's business to make the world safe for the ideal of the sattwic human being by destroying the sovereignty of Ravana, the Rakshasa menace. All this he did with such a divine afflatus in his personality and action that his figure has been stamped for more than two millenniums on the mind of Indian culture, and what he stood for has dominated the reason and idealising mind of man in all countries, and in spite of the constant revolt of the human vital, is likely to continue to do so until a greater ideal arises.
News from Branches and Centres
News from Abroad
Nairobi
Nairobi Centre of Sri Aurobindo Society presented forty sets of booklets in twelve different titles to Securex Ltd., on 11 January 2008 at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Riverside Drive. The marketing manager of Securex Ltd. received the booklets on behalf of the company.
News from India
Noida (U.P.) - March 2008 Programmes
Discourses 29 February 2008: On the occasion of Golden Day - Descent of the Supermind, Special Collective Meditation was held from 7 to 7:30 pm. About 35 devotees and their families took part in the above.
Shri P.M. Saxena, Managing Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Yog Mandir Nyas, Lucknow speaking on the topic "Human Mind", organised by Noida Branch on Saturday, 8th March, 2008 at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan. Also on the dais are Shri O.P. Dani, Chairman, Noida Branch and Shri V.P. Goyal.
A view of the audience
8 March 2008: A talk on 'Human Mind' by Shri P. M. Saxena, Managing Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Yog Mandir Nyas, Lucknow (also, former Dy. Commissioner - Trade Tax), in the context of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother was organized at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan on Saturday the 8th March 2008 from 6 to 7:00 pm. About 30 devotees and their families participated in the programme. Daily Reading of Savitri at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan: 'Savitri' is being read daily at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan from 5.00 to 5:30 pm.
Education at Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan 21 March 2008: Children of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan enthusiastically celebrated Holi Festival. Children were told about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and all of them paid tributes at the Holy Shrine.
6, 13 and 27 March 2008: As in previous months, in March 2008 (6, 13, & 27) Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.), Col. M.K. Nigam and Dr. Keshav Rattan came to Sri Aurobindo Bhavan and interacted for two hours with the children of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan. Poems, stories, some good manners and the need for discipline were explained to the children.
Health Third Accupressure Therapy Training Camp & Treatment by Acupressure Therapy: From 10 - 14 March '08, third Acupressure Therapy Training Programme was organized at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida. The Acupressure Training was imparted by Mrs. Sudha Kesharwani, Acupressure Therapist, in association with 'Acupressure Shodh, Prashikshan Evam Upachar Sansthan, Allahabad'. Fifteen participants benefited by the Programme.
Besides above, Acupressure Treatment for two hours daily from Monday to Friday by Mrs. Sudha Kesharwani at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan is going on well. While giving treatment, she is also using the relevant quotations of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the persons coming for acupressure treatment are evincing keen interest in them.
Free Eye Check-up/Consultation on every Sunday at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan: Free Eye Check-up/ Consultation is being organized, on every Sunday, for two hours from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm by Dr. P.S. Chauhan, Eye Specialist and Project Director, National Blindness Control Programme, Govt. of India, at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida. In the month of March '08, seventeen individuals got benefited by the above. Development of Women: Agarbatties, Candle, Chalk and Toys Making Classes: Agarbatties, Candle, Chalk and Toys Making Classes at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan are going on well and about 20 girls are learning these activities. Sewing & Tailoring Classes: Sewing & Tailoring Classes are being conducted daily from Monday to Friday at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan by Smt Jaya Nigam and about twenty ladies/girls are learning the same. As regards awarding Recognized Certificates to the Trainees of Sewing & Embroidery Classes and the requirements to be fulfilled towards that for recognition, the Department of Adult Education, Ministry of HRD, is being contacted.
Other Activities: Cleaning our Branch twice in a year: As per the practice followed at Singapore Centre of Sri Aurobindo Society, Noida Branch has decided cleaning of branch twice in a year. First such exercise was done by the Managing Committee Members on Sunday the 10th of March 2008 from 10:00 to 11:00 am.
Regular Activities: Besides above, regular activities of Meditation with the Mother's music daily in the morning and evening, Library, Playing of Spiritual Audio/Video CDs etc. are held regularly.
"Exploration" Workshops by SAFIER Unit, Mumbai - Feb. 2008
Children hugging the mother earth in Dhara Alinganam Kriya
Namaskaar asan the first pose of Surya Namaskar
SAFIER unit of Sri Aurobindo Society, Mumbai, conducted a workshop on the theme of 'Exploration' with a group of adolescents in the age-group of 13-20 years, belonging to a Mumbai based group called Magic Touch (affiliated to the Srimad Rajchandra Institute), at their premises. About 10 to 16 adolescents participated in four sessions of 2 hours each, spread over four Saturdays in the month of February 2008 in the evenings from 5 to 7 pm. The sessions included: • An exploration of the different parts of our being, particularly those that are less explored, and parts that are veiled by the thinking mind. These were plumbed through techniques of breath awareness, yogasanas and group discussions. • Tuning into the goodwill (Maitri) that is inherent in us, based on the oneness we share in our secret Selves, with all life forms. • An understanding of the pancha-mahaa-bhutas, the five elements: Sky, Air, Fire, Water and Earth as essences in our consciousness that can be called upon. • Sense awareness exercises to train our senses into refined instruments of perception. • Aura sealing techniques that help us to transcend the environmental influence.
Some of the interesting feed backs received was as follows.
• "I really felt like a better person every time I finished the 2 hour of yoga it made me feel so great." Dhriti Zhaveri, 8th std. • "What I liked was that this workshop taught me about MYSELF. I have been to many workshops that taught about other things but not about myself." Eshita Mehta, 11th std. • "My concentration levels have increased a little & many times I did not have self confidence which increased drastically." Ruhil Doshi, 10th std.
Lucknow (U.P.)
Lucknow Centre organised a Seminar on 9 December 2007 on "Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Education". Dr. Meeta Bisen conducted the Seminar. Prof. Ram Janam Singh, Ex. Vice Chancellor, Kashi Vidya Peeth, Varanasi, was the Chief Guest. In his speech he made a comparative analysis on Education between the thoughts of Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda. The other speakers were Dr. Nepal Bahadur Singh, Senior Scientist from C.D.R.I., Lucknow; Dr. Deviki Tewari, Ex Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Lucknow; Dr. Subodh Kumar, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lucknow; and Shri P.M. Saxena. The function was well attended.
On the occasion of The Mother's birth anniversary, the Bar Association of the Lucknow Bench of the High Court in collaboration with Sri Aurobindo Society, Lucknow branch, organized a meeting on 21 February 2008 in which five High Court Judges and a large number of advocates participated. The main speaker was Shri J.P. Tiwari who spoke on the life of The Mother and the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. Hon'ble Justice D.P. Singh advised the audience to visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, to feel the divine presence that pervades there.
On 1 January 2008 the members visited the old age homes in their area to wish Happy New Year to the residents. Gift packets containing New Year calendars, biscuits, fruits, sweets and booklets brought out by Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, were distributed to the residents.
Paigmberpur (U.P.)
The Paigmberpur Centre organized a three-day workshop for the farmers of Paigmberpur at Haridwar from 24 to 26 February 2008. 13 farmers attended the workshop. Shri Pawan from Patiala branch of the Society, Ms. Anjana Sarkar from Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Shri Sunil Kumar from Maple Org. Tech. were the facilitators. The main programmes of the workshop were Yoga and Pranayama in the early morning, two sessions of talks and a visit to Yoga Mandir, Sri Aurobindo Centre and Manasa Devi temple. The contents of the workshop were 'Introduction to the Life and Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother', Hatha Yoga sessions, 'Integration of village life with spiritual life', 'Role of ego - Helper and Bar' and a short session on the benefits of organic farming.
Delhi Branch - Golden Day Anniversary Celebrations
On the occasion of the Golden Day - Anniversary of the Supramental Manifestation upon Earth - 29 February 2008, Delhi branch of Sri Aurobindo Society held a collective meditation in the evening along with music specially composed for this day. This was followed by "Divine Harmony" (Indian Classical dance - an offering) by students of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Mass Communication. It was well attended by students, parents and sadhaks.
Shri Ranjit Puri, Chairman of the Centre, briefed the audience about the importance of the Golden Day. Ms. Daljeet Wadhwa, along with faculty members Mr. Menon and Mr. Shankhajeet, made the concluding remarks and thanked the parents and members for encouraging the budding artists. Diyas were lit at the Shrine.
Jabalpur Centre (M.P.) - International Women's Day celebrations
Sri Aurobindo Society Centre, Jabalpur, celebrated International Women's Day by organising a Seminar on "Women Force: Woman in the New Age" on 8 March 2008.
Shri K. Pawan from Patiala Branch was the chief guest. Dr. Suman Kochar from Indore Centre presided over the function and spoke on the capacities of women as described in Savitri.
Dr. Archana Modi, Chairperson, Mahoba Centre, called upon the women to discover their soul-strength and psychic-strength. Shri Manoj Sharma, Vice Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Bhopal, gave an introductory speech. Welcome address was given by Smt. Kalpana Arjaria, and Thanks Giving by Smt. Bhavana Gautam. The programme was compered by Kumari Anahita.
Sultanpur Branch (U.P.) - Seminar on Indian Culture
The Sultanpur branch of the Society organized a seminar on the Society's premises on 21 Feb. 2008. The subject of the Seminar was "Indian Culture". The Chief Guest was Swami Chaitanyananda, Acharya of Chinmaya Mission, Allahabad, U.P. More than 100 people attended the function.
Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)
On the occasion of The Mother's birth anniversary the Bhopal branch organised an Eye Camp on 21 February 2008 in collaboration with the Sri Aurobindo Homeo Centre, Bhopal. Dr. Ravindra Prasad, a renowned eye specialist and his team did the eye testing. Medicines were distributed free of cost. Dr. D.N. Joshi, Secretary of the Bhopal branch, explained the different exercises suggested by the School for Perfect Eye Sight, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry. Dr. Prasad gave the general information about eye care. In the morning meditation, prayers and message reading were held at the Relics Centre.
The branch also organised talks on "Nayi Chetna (New Conciousness)" on the occasion of the anniversary of the Supramental day on 29 Feb. 2008. The Programme began with rendering of Vandematram. English translation done by Sri Aurobindo was read out by Smt Nalini Patel, Principal of Sri Aurobindo School, Bhopal. Shri K.D. Mishra, member Sahkari Commission and Shri D.P. Sharma Ex-V.C. of Tirupathi University spoke on the occasion. Shri Satish Chitwar read a few poems of Sri Aurobindo. Dr D.N. Joshi explained the different aspects of "Poorna Yoga". Shri Manoj Sharma spoke about "Atimansik Chetna".
Sri Aurobindo Complex Trust (SACT), Bangalore
21 Feb. 2008: The observation of Mother's birth anniversary began with morning meditation and concluded with a talk on "The Mother " by Shri Chandramani. The day also saw the release of two small booklets in Kannada, briefly touching upon the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. These booklets are mainly meant to be distributed in the rural areas and are priced at Rupees Two per copy.
28 Feb. 2008: This day was observed as "Auroville Foundation Day" and all Auroville related photographs and information were displayed in the Cultural hall as exhibits. A documentary film on Auroville was also screened twice so as to benefit teachers, students, devotees and visitors.
29 Feb. 2008: "The Golden Day" was observed with morning meditation and it concluded with a talk on "The Supramental Manifestation" by Sri K.S. Anantha Ramayya. Two compilations, one in Kannada and one in English, on the significance of "The Supramental Manifestation" were also released by the Chief Guest.
Gulbarga (Karnataka)
Meerambika School for New Age, Gulbarga, celebrated the annual day at Sri Aurobindo Society Dhyan Mandir, Om Nagar, Gulbarga. On this day the students of various classes performed drama, fancy dress and questions & answers.
From 3 February 2008 onwards, nearly 60 persons participated in Yogasana session by Shri G.K. Joshi for ten days.
On 21 February 2008 the Gulbarga branch celebrated the Mother's birth anniversary at Om Nagar. Shri Ghantoji delivered a talk on the Mother, followed by others. On the same day, there was a programme at Ghantoji Nivas where the Centre was originally started in 1956 with the blessings of the Mother.
Ballia (U.P.)
The Ballia Centre celebrated the birth anniversary of the Mother on 21 February 2008 with devotion, in the newly constructed meditation hall. Besides collective meditation, devotees spoke on the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and how it is different from the traditional Yogas. The proceedings of the celebrations were conducted by the Chairman of the Centre, Shri Sriram Tiwari.
The Ballia Centre also celebrated the Supramental Manifestation Day (The Golden Day) on 29 February 2008. The celebrations started with meditation on the Mother's music and chanting of 'Om'. The significance of the day was explained by Shri Satya Prakash Srivastava.
Annanagar Centre, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
The Society's Annanagar Centre in Chennai conducted the following programmes during the month of February 2008:
03.02.2008 Shri V. Purushothaman spoke on 'Ishaa Vaasya Upanishad' in the light of Sri Aurobindo 10.02.2008 Shri K.R. Neelakandan spoke on 'Bhagavad Gita' in the light of Sri Aurobindo 17.02.2008 Devotional songs on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother by Mrs. Santa N.V. Balu 21.02.2008 The Mother's birth anniversary was celebrated with collective meditation and prayer at 06:30 am and at 06:30 pm. An audio show "Shri Mathru Nama Sahasram" was conducted. Over 600 devotees visited the Centre on this day. 24.02.2008 Dr. B. Muralidharan gave a talk and demonstration on "Pranayama" 29.02.2008 The Golden Day was celebrated with collective meditation and prayer at 06:30 am and at 06:30 pm. An audio show "The Mother speaks" was held. The Annanagar Centre gifted a complete set of Sri Aurobindo's works to the Cuddalore Centre of the Society on 19.02.2008.
Chennai Branch (Tamil Nadu)
The Chennai branch arranged the following talks during the month of February 2008:
Date Speaker Topic 01.02.2008 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Five Phases of Love" 03.02.2008 Shri Venkat "Annaiyin Arema" (Champaklaljee). 02.2008 Smt. Andal "Sri Aurobindo on the Gita" 17.02.2008 Dr. Tirupur Krishnan "The Mother on Life Miracle" 24.02.2008 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Prayer dated 15.02.1914"
The Mother's birth anniversary was celebrated on 21 February with collective meditation and Pushpanjali. Over a 1000 devotees visited the branch during the day.
Hesal, Ranchi (Jharkhand)
The Mother's birthday was celebrated by the Hesal branch on 21st February 2008. Besides talks on the Mother's life and Her Yoga, a musical programme by small children was also arranged. Shri Amitav Choudhury was the special invitee.
Pratapgarh (U.P.) - Seminar on "Indian Culture in the Light of Sri Aurobindo"
The Pratapgarh Centre arranged a seminar on 2 March 2008. The subject was "Indian Culture in the Light of Sri Aurobindo". The Chief Guest was Dr. J.P. Mishra. The main speaker was Dr. J.P. Singh, Chairman of the Sultanpur branch of the Society. Some literature in Hindi was distributed to all the participants.
Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu)
Shri M.S. Sundararajan of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, delivers a talk every month at the Cuddalore Centre. The subject of his talks at present is "The Gita in Sri Aurobindo's Light". The talks are always well attended.

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