News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
19 September 2009 - Commencement of Golden Jubilee Year of Sri Aurobindo Society
The year 1956 was a milestone in the spiritual mission of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, as it was on 29 February of this year that the Manifestation of the Supramental Consciousness took place. In the very first commemorative year of this momentous event, in 1960, Sri Aurobindo Society was formed on 19th of September with the Mother as the Founder and Executive President, "to make known to the members and people in general the aims and ideals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, their system of Integral Yoga, and to work for its fulfilment in all possible ways and for the attainment of a spiritual society as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo."
The Mother gave the following Motto for the Society:
The book A Glimpse of the Mother's Love and Action published by the Society, describes the genesis and growth of the Society and the Mother's way of working, as she developed it in its formative years. The Society has been growing over the years and has now more than 300 Centres and 70 Branches all over India and abroad. More details of the various activities of the Society are given here.
The day 19 September 2009 marks the beginning of 50th year of Sri Aurobindo Society and on this day we rededicate ourselves to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and to the realisation of the great future they have revealed to us.
Annual Seminar of the Women's Council - November 2008: "Energy Turned Towards the Divine"
We humans with a body, vital, and mind - a mass of energy have our thoughts, feelings and actions mostly embedded in earthly consciousness. Our energies are primarily spent on the fulfilment of our basic animal needs, comforts, pleasures and desires which keep on multiplying and therefore leave us restless and dissatisfied. The Mother gives us the solution:"Oh, why be restless and want that for oneself things should turn out in one way and not another! Why decide that a particular set of circumstances will be the expression of the best possibilities and then launch into a bitter struggle so that these possibilities may be realised! Why not use all one's energy solely to will in the calm of inner confidence that Thy law may triumph everywhere and always over all difficulties, all darkness, all egoism! How the horizon widens as soon as one learns to take this attitude; how all anxiety vanishes giving place to a constant illumination, to the omnipotence of disinterestedness! To will what Thou willest, O Lord, is to live constantly in communion with Thee, to be delivered from all contingencies, to escape all narrowness, to fill one's lungs with pure and wholesome air, to get rid of all useless weariness, be relieved of all cumbrous loads, so as to run briskly towards the only goal worth attaining: the triumph of Thy divine Law!" All interested are welcome to deliberate on this topic at a Seminar on 21, 22, 23 November 2009, at the Society Beach office, No. 11, St. Martin Street, Pondicherry - 605 001. To book a room, contact the Society's Accommodation Section at its Email id: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.: (0413) 2336396 / 97 / 98.
Recent Events Annual Lectures - 13 & 14 August 2009
A series of lectures were organised by the Society at the Beach Office in Puducherry on 13th and 14th August 2009. Members and workers from different branches and centres participated. The following, in brief, were the content of the Talks:
Dr Alok Pandey, speaking on the occasion
Dr. Alok Pandey spoke on the topic "To speak or not to speak". He touched upon the following points briefly: - Speaking is always a difficult thing because the faculty of speech has limitations of its own - While speaking about Sri Aurobindo or quoting him, one has to be very careful because Sri Aurobindo has written about things from so many points of view that a complete reading of what He has said about any topic is a must. To understand His writings, one must come closer to Him, and to come closer means to love Him. - speaking must be done as part of one's sadhana. Neither too much nor too less speaking, but to speak under the impulsion of the Divine.
This was followed by Prof Kittu Reddy who spoke on "Some aspects of Sri Aurobindo's political life - 1893-1910". Later in the afternoon Dr Ananda Reddy spoke about "Principles of Management in the Mother's Light" and how the Mother 'managed' everything through Her love for those around Her. As the last session of the day, there were some intimate sharing sessions by the Womens Council of the Society on the topic "What Sri Aurobindo means to me".
Shri Sraddhalu, speaking on "Developing Intuition"
On the second day, the morning started with Shri Sraddhalu's talk on "Developing Intuition" wherein he underlined the importance of developing intuition as an imperative step towards the transformation of one's nature. He cautioned against the mistake of taking impulses and instincts as intuition. He also said that the very push of the evolution is to develop this intuition as part of our being and functioning - this is so evident in the corporate world where one is forced to arrive at decisions without having the leisure of analysing all the available data and yet to make decisions and act. Towards the end of his talk, he also suggested a few exercises through which one can develop intuition.
Trupti, during her presentation of "Sadhanaa through Work"
Trupti, then, gave a presentation of "Sadhanaa through Work" through the example of the work Sharanam, undertaken by the Society. In the afternoon, Shivakumar spoke about the importance of samataa in Sri Aurobindo's Yoga, and how to practice it as part of one's sadhanaa. Towards the end, during the concluding Talk, Shri Kaivalyabhai shared his experience of visiting several Centres of Sri Aurobindo Society all over India and how the Mother's Grace was evident in their workings.
137th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo: 15 August 2009
15 August was Sri Aurobindo's 137th Birth Anniversary. At the Ashram the day was observed with a visit to Sri Aurobindo's Room (kept open from 4 am to 7 pm), meditation around the Samadhi (6:00 to 6:30 a.m.), and March-past by the members of the Ashram's Physical Education Department at the Ashram's Playground in the evening. The day concluded with meditation.
Study Camp by Dr. Alok Pandey on 'Savitri' - August 2009
In continuation of the earlier series of Talks held in February 2009, Dr. Alok Pandey conducted study sessions on 'Savitri' at the Society's Beach Office, Puducherry, from 16 to 22 August 2009. The sessions were held from 5:00 to 6:45 pm. About 200 persons regularly attended the Talks. The concluding session was held at Savitri Bhavan on 22nd August.
Dr. Sampadananda Mishra's Visit to America - July 2009
Talk by Dr Sampadananda Mishra in the University of Massachusetts, USA, on "Vedic Art of Multiple Concentration"
Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, Chief Coordinator, Sanskrit and Indian Culture, was invited by the University of Massachusetts, USA to present a paper on "The Vedic Art of Multiple Concentration", in the 18th Vedanta Congress organized by the Indic Studies Department of the university from 16th to 19th of July 09. More than a hundred scholars from different branches of knowledge had come from various parts of the globe to participate in the Congress. Dr. Mishra's presentation was highly appreciated by many dignitaries and scholars present in the congress. In his presentation, he not only explained the various features of the ancient Indian art of multiple concentration, but also highlighted its relevance to the present education system. Dr. Mishra also participated actively in the other academic sessions of the congress. It was an enriching experience for him to be a part of the congress in which he could share the activities and research works of the Society with many scholars from different countries of the world.
On 22nd of July Dr. Mishra went to the Oregon University in the west coast of USA to deliver a few talks on the importance of Sanskrit and principles of Integral education. Students and faculty members were present during his talk and all the talks had a good impact on them. The talks were on 23rd and 24th of July. On the first day he spoke about the scientific nature of Sanskrit language and its alphabet. He also explained the amazing flexibility of the Sanskrit by giving various examples. The second talk was on the Vedic art of Multiple Concentration in which he spoke about the ancient Indian art called avadhana. The third talk on 24th was on Sanskrit and Computational Linguistics in which he explained about the relationship between Sanskrit and Computer. Here he spoke about the technique of Panini and the structure of his book on grammar called Ashtadhyayi. He also spoke about the ancient Indian shabdabodha tradition and its contribution to the field of natural language processing, machine translation and artificial intelligence. The last talk was on the "Principles of Integral Education" in which Dr. Mishra explained about the parts of being, aim of life and how Integral Education system aims at an integral growth of the child.
Talk in New York on "Transparent system of root-sounds and uniqueness of Sanskrit words"
On 28th and 30th of July Dr. Mishra delivered two talks in New York. This was organized by a young group there dedicated to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. On 28th evening Dr. Mishra spoke on Sanskrit - A Key to the Heart of India. Here he explained the greatness of identity between Sanskrit and India's life, thought and culture. He dealt with the role of Sanskrit in maintaining cultural unity of India. He also spoke extensively on many deeper aspects of Sanskrit language. On 30th, he gave another talk on the "Transparent System of Root-sounds and the uniqueness of Sanskrit Words." Here he explained by giving several examples, how every word in Sanskrit is conscious of its origin and always refers back to the root from which it is derived.
Visit by the Students of J.B. Petit High School, Mumbai - 31 May to 5 June 2009
From 31 May to 5 June 2009, a 5-day Camp was organised by Sri Aurobindo Society for the students of J.B. Petit High School, Mumbai. 36 girls studying in 9th and 10th Standard of the school attended the Camp. These girls are students of Yoga (optional subject provided by ICSE Board) and the Camp was organised in collaboration with the Yoga teacher of the school Ms. Anahita Sanjana. Along with the regular students, a batch of ex-students also formed part of the group.
On the 31st of June the students had an Introductory Session with Shivakumar where he welcomed them to Sri Aurobindo Society and Ashram. They were introduced to Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga and Life at the Ashram.
On day two they had a beautiful session in the morning with Kamakshi Khurna on Music. In this session they did various exercises based on Music, like voice modulation etc. In the evening they had a wonderful and interesting session called "India through Stories" with Shivakumar. Then they went to visit Vijaybhai to take his guidance.
On the third day morning they visited Auroville. In afternoon they had a session with Debashish on his concepts of Landscapes and through it, the discussion moved on to realms of Spirituality and Philosophy. They were also shown a presentation on the landscape work he has done in Park Guest House. On day four they visited Auroville again, in the morning. In the afternoon they had a session with Maitreyee on "Love". They had an interesting discussion on the topic "Love and Its Different Aspects".
On day five they met Sampadbhai and he took a session on Sanskrit chanting. In the afternoon they met Dr Vandana who explained to them her work with Flower remedies and on Health, through a lively discussion. On day six they visited different Ashram departments, and then, left for Mumbai in the afternoon.
Some Special Days in September 2009
19 to 28 September 2009 - Navaraatri and Vijaya Dashami / Dashehra
The Universal Mother in Her aspect of Durga
The Festival of Nine Nights (nava-raatri) this year began on 19 September. During the festival, the Supreme Mother in three of her prominent forms is worshipped: on the first three days Durga, Goddess of protection and valour, on the next three days Lakshmi, Goddess of inner and outer harmony and prosperity, and on the final three days Saraswati, Goddess of knowledge and perfection. The tenth day, which falls on 28th September, is the "Victory Day", Vijaya Dashami or Dashehra. This day is regarded as the day of Sri Rama's final victory over the Asura king Ravana.
Another legend has it that on this day Goddess Durga slew the buffalo-headed demon Mahishasura in a battle and became victorious. In Mysore, South India, Dushehra is a royal celebration. The demon Mahishasura is believed to have come from the city of Mysore and therefore it is the most affected by this event. A regal procession of decorated elephants, courtiers and court symbols wends its circuitous way to the Durga temple at the Chamundi Hill, decorated splendidly for the festival. On reaching the temple, prayers are offered to the goddess.
It is a time for the devotees to engage in various spiritual practices to make the entire ten days a period of deep inner growth.
Here is what the Mother says about the Victory Day:
Durga… who every year has to destroy her asura; and always she is compelled to begin again. It goes on in this way till the end of the reign allotted to the titans. When they will be banished from this world, it will not be thus any longer. But till then, that is as long as they are useful for intensifying the aspiration, clarifying the consciousness, for putting to the test the sincerity of people, they will be there. The day the test will not be needed, the day the sincerity will be pure and self-existent they will disappear. Then that day, Durga will no longer need to begin her battle over again every year.
Sri Aurobindo has said:
Durga is the Mother's Power of Protection. The lion is the attribute of Goddess. Durga, the conquering and protecting aspect of the Universal Mother.
Sri Aurobindo has also written a powerful and inspiring invocation to Mother Durga in Bengali. We present this time its English translation along with excerpts from its audio rendering. Full English translation of Hymn to Durga Download excerpts of the recitation
News from Branches and Centres
News from Abroad
Ms. Grace Wanjiru Murage, Head of Business Development of The Karen Hospital, visited Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Nairobi on 12th June 2009. She was presented 2400 booklets covering twelve titles, for the hospital.
Booklets in the following titles were presented to Pangani Lutheran Children's Centre: "Ideal Child", "Ideal Parent", "Ideal Teacher" and "To Women about Their Body".
The Nairobi Centre celebrated the 6th anniversary of the enshrinement of Sri Aurobindo's Relics at the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan. Members gathered in the Shrine at 10.00 a.m. and recited Mantras and later proceeded to the Meditation hall where passages from Savitri were recited continuously upto 1.00 p.m.
News from India
Work in Madhya PradeshRewa
Shri R.D.Sharma, Manoj Sharma, A.P. Khare and Dr Suman Kochar
A two-day seminar was held at Rewa on 07-08 June 2009, in connection with the centenary celebrations of Sri Aurobindo's Arrival at Pondicherry. The central theme of the seminar was "Sri Aurobindo: Confluence of Nationalism and Spirituality" (Sri Aurobindo: Rashtravad aur Adhyatma ke Sangam). Shri Manoj Sharma (Bhopal),Dr Suman Kochar (Indore), Shri R.D. Sharma (Hariyana) and Shri A.P. Khare (Panna) were the main speakers.
A view of the audience
On 7 June a Seminar was held at Rewa, the dist. headquarters. On 8 June a program was held at Mahasua , the Relics centre, and another at Padra the remote village centre of Vindhya Region. A large number of villagers and others attended the programs. An organisational meeting also took place at Satna where the future plans of society's work were discussed.
A seminar was organized at Chinmaya Mission, Rewa, on 26 June 2009. Dr. J.P. Singh, Chairman of the U.P. & Uttaranchal State Committee of the Society, gave a talk on the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He also referred to the aims and objects of Sri Aurobindo Society in detail. About 50 people attended.
Health Camp at Bhopal A health camp was organised at Bhopal on 15 Aug 2009. Dr Anup Dave, M.D., Dr Chandel and Dr D. N. Joshi conducted the camp. Prayers and meditation sessions were held in the morning and evening.
Padra Padra Centre organised a 2-day Seminar on 7th & 8th June 2009, on "Sri Aurobindo: Confluence of Nationality and Spirituality". The main speakers were Dr. Suman Kocher, Shri Manoj Sharma and Shri M.D. Sharma. Shri Ambika Prasad Khare was the Chairman.
Kuttappalayam (Tamil Nadu)
Cultural programme by school students
A view of the students participating in collective meditation
The Kuttappalayam Branch celebrated Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary and the Independence Day on 15th August 2009. About 500 students and devotees joined the collective meditation which was followed by talks on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The school students participated in cultural programmes.
Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
The Chennai Branch organised the following talks during the month of June 2009:
Date Speaker Topic01.06.2009 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Set back after Siddhi"07.06.2009 Kavingar Chandra Mohan "Roudram Vilakku"14.06.2009 Shri Asokan "At the Lotus Feet" 21.06.2009 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Gratitude"28.06.2009 Neyveli Thyagarajan "The Mother's Grace"
Apart from the above, on every Saturday Shri M.K. Ramaswamy gave a series of lectures on "The Mother's Prayers and Meditations".
The Aurangabad Centre organised a talk by Shri Ranjan Kulkarni of Nasik on the 'Elements of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga' on 21st June 2009. Shri Kulkarni emphasized the importance of surrender as the first step in the Integral Yoga. About 20 persons attended the talk.
New Delhi - Activities in June, 2009
It was a scorching summer this year in Delhi, but at the Aurobindo Society, Adhchini Branch, children parents and facilitators defied the heat to attend Dadi Pudumjee's Puppetry Workshop from 15 may to 20 June 2009. The children learnt to make puppets using socks and thermocol and created their own characters, doing every stage of the process on their own with enthusiastic guidance by two of Pudumjee's trained teachers. The parents appreciated the skill building and were delighted to see how eagerly children waited for each class.
A two-week long Art and Craft Workshop and Language Workshop was organized by Navakriti Centre of Learning for children between eight and twelve years. The aim was to enhance concentration and explore imagination by using storytelling and craft in combination. A daily satsang is being held at the Branch between 3 and 4 p.m. in Hindi, with the working staff at the Branch who are engaged in various activities like electrical maintenance, housekeeping, security, construction and gardening. The Mother's words translated into Hindi are read, prayers offered and mediation done by reciting Mantra.
The 30th and 31st meetings of the Study Circle were held on 14th and 28th June 2009, at the Branch. The topic of the Study was 'Mind and its Control'.
The 32nd and 33rd meetings of the Study Circle were held on 12th and 26th July 2009, at the Branch. The topics of the Study were 'Perfection of Mental Being' and 'Teachings and practice of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga'.
Kolkata (West Bengal)
Shraddha, a scholarly English quarterly, devoted to an exposition of the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and their vision of the future. First issue was brought out on 15th August 2009, by Sri Aurobindo Bhawan, Kolkata, containing writings of authors of repute from India and abroad. For details please contact, Shri Arup Basu, Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, 8, Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata - 700 071. Phone: 9198302-5872: e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hindi Zonal Conference
This year's Annual Conference Hindi Zone is scheduled for:
Day : Saturday & Sunday: Date : 10th & 11th October 2009Place : Patiala, Punjab Theme : Relevance of Sri Aurobindo's Teachings in Modern Times
Shri T.N. Chaturvedi will preside over the Inaugural session; Shri Balbir Punj, Member of Parliament, will be the Chief Guest; Shri Mattewal, Advocate General of Punjab, will inaugurate the Conference and Swami Govindanandji will deliver the key note address. For further details, Mr.K. Pawan, Mobile No.098151-9788, may be contacted.
Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) - Seminar on Integral Education
The Anantapur Centre organised a Seminar on 'Integral Education of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother' on 21 June 2009, at the seminar hall of Sri Sai Baba National College, Anantapur. Shri B. Venkatramaiah, Chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Committee, who presided over the inaugural session, detailed the aims and objectives of the Integral Education propounded by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The keynote address was delivered by Shivakumar, on the Principles of Integral Education. Other speakers during the occasion were Shri Meenakshi Naidu and Ch. Harshavardhan.
Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)
1. Sri Aurobindo Society, Hyderabad Branch conducted a one-day Youth Camp at Sri Visweswaraiah Institute of Technology & Science at Mahaboobnagar, on Saturday the 25th July 2009.
The camp had 28 enthusiastic participants, ready to explore the journey of spiritual understanding. The topics covered included - What is Spirituality - Goals & Aspiration - Understanding Ourselves - Planes and Parts of the Beings - Introduction to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother - Spirituality in Daily life - Glimpses of Auroville and Matrimandir - Open Forum Discussion.
The sessions were well received by the participants which included persons from different religions. This helped in establishing the understanding of Integral Yoga.
Sanjeev Patra, Preeti Chottai, Satya Prakash & Srinivas Mulugu contributed to the camp. The college management was extremely supportive in making all the arrangements. The Management was even insistent that the Society conducts such sessions on regular basis for students and the lecturers as well.
2. The Branch celebrated Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary on 15th August 2009, with the following programme :
At 9:00 AM the Mother's flag was hoisted, followed by singing Bande Mataram and a rendering of devotional music. This was followed by meditation with Mother's music for half an hour and a talk by Sri Mulugu Srinivas on "The Yoga of Divine Works of Sri Aurobindo" for about an hour. At the end, along with distribution of prasad, a booklet called "Mother's Mantras" in Telugu (Telugu translation of a book in English with same title) written by Smt. S.Triveni was also distributed.
Eluru (Andhra Pradesh)
The Eluru Centre held an Essay-writing competition on 15 August 2009. Seventy five high school students participated. The CD on the life of Sri Aurobindo & Integral Education was exhibited. Before the seminar 5 booklets of the Society on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother along with the Centre's leaflet 'Sri Auromaa' were sent to the schools with a request that each school may send 5 students to the competition. 'Ratna Garbha', a local daily published full-page article on the life of the Master and the Mother.
Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh)
Smt. Prema Nanda Kumar visited Sri Aurobindo Society, Tirupati Branch, on 22 June 2009, and gave a talk on Sri Aurobindo's Savitri.
Report on the visit of Shri Gopal Bhattacharjee, to Jharkhand from 18 to 21 July 2009
A meeting of the centres/branches of Sri Aurobindo Society, Jharkhand State was convened on 20 July 2009, at the Ranchi Branch to discuss celebrations during the Golden Jubilee of the Society.
It was decided to hold a special meditation at 7 p.m. on 19 September 2009, at all the centres/branches by kindling 50 candles. Each centre was urged upon to start at least one new activity during the year.
Ranchi Branch: Construction upto the plinth level for the proposed Children Corner and Auroservice building (2000 sq.ft. area) is completed. A temporary servant quarter and cowshed are also under construction.
Chakradharpur Centre: The Centre is progressing well. Almost daily some activities like sports, competition, library, running the primary school etc. are being done for the benefit of the local populace.
Bermo Centre: The meditation hall is reconstructed and work on construction of library hall is in progress.
Dehra Dun (Uttarakhand)
a. On 04th April 2009, celebration of "Golden Jubilee of Sri Aurobindo Society" was started with a talk by Mrs. Devi Wahi, Chairperson of the Dehra Dun Branch of the Society on Sri Aurobindo. 60-70 devotees were present alongwith the Mayor of Dehra Dun, Shri Vinod Chamoli.b. On 24th April 2009, "Darshan Day & Mother's Final Arrival at Pondicherry" was celebrated. A talk was delivered by Mrs Devi Wahi & bhajans were sung. Approximately 60 devotees were present.c. On 24th May 2009, a talk was delivered on 'Savitri' by Shri K. Pawan, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Patiala Branch with around 25-30devotees present.d. From 3rd June 2009, a "Study Circle" has been started on every Wednesday.e. On 28th June 2009, a talk was delivered by Dr. Kiran Sood on Sri Aurobindo's "Uttarpara Speech".
Noida (Uttar Pradesh)
(i) Saturday, 11th July 2009: Second talk of the series 'Supramental Manifestation of Sri Aurobindo' by Vishwa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.), was organized at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan from 6.30PM to 7.30PM. About 25 devotees and their families participated in the program.
(ii) Reading the Book 'Mata'/Bhajans: On 9th July '09, (second Thursday of every month) from 5PM to 6PM; Bhajans/'Mata' book was read. About 10 devotees were present.
Meerut (Uttar Pradesh)
The Meerut Centre celebrated Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary on 15th August 2009. There was meditation with Mother's music which was followed by a seminar on Sri Aurobindos Yoga wherein talks on Sri Aurobindo's life and teachings were held. A resolution was moved to undertake inner and external efforts for the reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, which was unanimously passed by all the participants and guests.
Sultanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
A Seminar was held at Ram Raji Intermediate College, Sultanpur on 15.08.2009, under the chairmanship of Dr. N.K. Saxena, Director, K.N.I.T., Sultanpur. The subject was "Sri Aurobindo ke Aloke men Bharat ki Niyati". Participants were about 100. Society's booklets were distributed amongst participants.
Gonde village, Dist. Pratapgargh, (Uttar Pradesh)
A Seminar was organized in a village, Gonde, in District Pratapgargh, U.P. on 16.08.2009, in a school campus attended by 70 persons. Dr. J.P. Singh spoke on the works and the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and aims and objects of Sri Aurobindo Society.
Ballia (Uttar Pradesh)
The Ballia Centre celebrated Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary on 15th August 2009. The theme of the celebration was "Rashtriyata Ke Agradoot - Sri Aurobindo". There were talks on Sri Aurobindo's 'Bhawani Bharati' and 'Durgastrot'. 15th August 1947 message of Sri Aurobindo was read out. Shri Jagannath Prasad, treasurer of the Ballia Centre, talked on Sri Aurobindo's role in the 2nd world war.