Tuesday, February 05, 2008

130th Birth Anniversary of the Mother - 21 February 2008

News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
Upcoming Events
130th Birth Anniversary of the Mother - 21 February 2008
The Mother
On 21 February 2008 we celebrate the Mother's 130th birth anniversary. The Mother's room will be open for darshan for devotees on that day. There will also be a collective meditation in the Ashram from 6:00 to 6:30 am.
The Mother came to the earth with a great spiritual mission. Sri Aurobindo has said that:
"The Mother comes in order to bring the Supramental", and "Her embodiment is a chance for the earth-consciousness to receive the Supramental into it and undergo the transformation necessary for that to be possible."
The Mother first met Sri Aurobindo in the year 1914. After their meeting, Sri Aurobindo said that he had never seen anywhere a self-surrender so absolute and unreserved as that of the Mother. Later, Sri Aurobindo mentioned about the significance of the presence of the Mother on earth in the following words:
"The great work of the Avatar is to manifest the Divine Grace upon earth. To be a disciple of the Avatar is to become an instrument of the Divine Grace. The Mother is the great dispensatrix - through identity - of the Divine Grace with a perfect knowledge - through identity - of the absolute mechanism of Universal Justice. And through her mediation each movement of sincere and confident aspiration towards the Divine calls down in response the intervention of the Grace."
The Mother herself has emphasised that "I am on earth because it is on earth that the divine work must be done, and for no other reason."
29 February 2008 - Anniversary of the Supramental Manifestation
The year 2008 is also the year of the 13th leap-year anniversary of the Supramental Manifestation which took place on 29th February 1956. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's rooms will be open for darshan for devotees on that day.
Here is a compilation of extracts from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the significance of the event of Supramental Manifestation in the evolutionary history of the Earth The Significance of the Supramental Manifestation">
Study Camp by Dr. Alok Pandey on 'Savitri' - February 2008
The next Savitri Study Sessions, conducted by Dr. Alok Pandey, will be held at the Beach Office Hall, Puducherry, from 22 to 27 February 2008. The timings are likely to be from 5:00 - 6:45 pm, with a 15 minutes break. All are welcome to attend the programme.
Talk in Tamil
Shri M.S. Sundararajan will deliver a talk in Tamil on "Sri Aurobindo's Yoga" at the Beach Office of the Society on 21 February 2008 at 10 am.
Recent Events
All India Youth Camp for National Integration - 8 to 16 January 2008
The annual All India Youth Camp for National Integration was organised by the Society at Pondicherry from 8 to 16 January 2008. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), New Delhi, sponsored the entire Camp. 50 youths (30 girls and 20 boys) in the age group of 16-25 yrs. from 14 States of India participated. The full report will be given in the next month's Newsletter.
Visit by Students of SAIMC, New Delhi - 21 to 29 January 2008
A view of the students of SAIMC, New Delhi
A group of 75 students from the Sri Aurobindo Institute of Mass Communication (SAIMC), New Delhi, - a unit of Sri Aurobindo Society - visited the Ashram on a study tour. A camp was organised for them at the Beach Office of the Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, from December 21 - 29, 2007. The students were accompanied by the entire faculty from the department of Journalism (English & Hindi), Advertising & PR, Audio Visual Communication and Creative Photography.
The camp was aimed to help empower the students find a higher purpose in their lives in the light and vision of Sri Aurobindo Society. The different sessions arranged for the students were to ignite their minds to ponder and connect with the divine spark that exists within each one.
Several sessions were arranged on a range of topics that was related to the course and life in general. The inspiring talk by Vijaybhai on day one kindled the minds of the students and forced them to think about the deeper meaning of life and their role in it, and set the tone for the rest of the sessions.
Shri Sraddhalu, speaking on the topic "Nation Building"
As days unfolded, the students were exposed to thought-provoking talks by Shri Robi Ganguli on Creative Photography, on tackling difficult issues in life by Dr. Alok Pandey, on Art & Beauty by Shushanto, on the origins of Sanskrit by Dr. Sampad, on the science of life by Maitreyee and on nation building by Shri Sraddhalu.
A daylong trip to Lakeland was an exhilarating experience for the students. Given an option of either cycling or traveling by bus, the more adventurous ones took to cycling. The Lakeland trip for the students was towards getting an understanding into the kind of work that the Society is undertaking towards sustainable development of villages. A half-day session conducted by Maitreyee on awakening to a contact with Nature gave a better understanding to the students on environmental issues.
At the end of the entire trip, a majority of the students had been exposed to think on the inner meaning of life. It was very evident at the feedback session with Vijaybhai at the end of the camp, where some of the students experienced emotional moments as their entire perception of life had undergone a sea change in a few days. The students shared that the sessions at the camp had thrown a lot of questions about the aim in life and how to lead and that it may take a lifetime to answer some of the questions.
Although the students enjoyed all the sessions and learnt from each one of them but one session that stood out as the most popular with a majority of the students is on nation building by Shri Sraddhalu. It was an eye opener for the students to view a number of issues about their own country in a totally different light.
Hopefully the first step towards a journey of self which has been initiated through this camp will stand the youngsters in good stead in times of need.
A Few responses from the students:
"The sessions at the camp helped me to gain confidence and move on with tons of self confidence and motivation."Ena Jain, Student of journalism.
"Self development for me means to be a simple person, confident and believing in myself and being happy. For only a happy person can spread the feeling around." Sahiba Kaur Sachdev, Student, Advertising and PR.
"I had a great learning experience at the sessions as they were conducted by intellectuals who in spite of their wealth of knowledge were so down to earth and simple." Nyonika Saikia, Student, Journalism
News from Branches and Centres
News from Abroad
London (U.K.)
It is the practice in London to mark the house where a person of eminence has lived by putting up a plaque bearing the name of the person, the period of his living in that house and the reason for which he is famous. As per this practice, a commemorative blue ceramic plaque was put up by English Heritage, a non departmental body of the British government, on No. 49, St. Stephen's Avenue in Shepherd's Bush, for this is where Sri Aurobindo had lived for three years - 1884 - 1887 - while attending St. Paul's School. The ceremony took place on 12 December 2007, and began with a brief speech by an historian from English Heritage, followed by a speech by Dr. Girija Shettar on Sri Aurobindo's life, particularly about the years he spent in England. The plaque was unveiled by Ms. Mounnou Bhandari, who grew up in the Ashram and was privileged to have been in close contact with the Mother from her childhood. She is also the granddaughter of Rishabhchand, who was one of the early sadhaks of the Ashram and who was asked by the Mother to write a biography of Sri Aurobindo. Mounnou Bhandari recited some stanzas from Guru Stotra in Sanskrit before she unveiled the plaque. The unveiling ceremony, which was attended by about 35 people, was followed by a brief meditation.
News from India
Noida (U.P.) - January 2008 Programmes
Republic Day Celebration organized by the Noida Branch
Spiritual Discourses 29 December 2007: A programme of Devotional Songs / Bhajans on The Mother and Sri Aurobindo by Mrs. Kuntala Dasgupta was held at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan on Saturday, the 29th December 2007 from 6:15 to 7:15 pm. About 30 devotees and their families participated in the Programme.
1 January 2008: New Year Special Collective Meditation was held on Tuesday, the 1st January, 2008 from 9:30 to 10:00 am. About 35 devotees and their families took part in the above. After the Meditation, Sweets and Calendars of The Mother were distributed to all the persons.
Daily Reading of Savitri at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan: Previously, 'Savitri' was being read at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan once in a week by Mrs. Vishnu Priya Sanyal. From January '08, 'Savitri' is being read daily at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan from 5:00 to 5:30 pm.
Education Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan: Picnic & Fun-DayOn first Sunday of the New Year, the 6th January 2008, the Children of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan went to 'Rose Garden' and participated in the picnic arranged there. The children were then taken to the movie 'Tare Jameen Par' and also enjoyed the delicious meal provided thereafter.
HealthFree Eye Check-up on every Sunday at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan: Starting 6th January '08, a free Eye Check-up 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 Programe, Govt. of India, has been started at the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan. In the month of January '08 One hundred and five individuals got benefited by the above.
Health Check-up of the Children of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan: On Saturday, the 19th January '08, Health Check-up of the 101 students of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan was carried out by Dr. Anju Malik and free medicines to the needy children were provided by Lioness Club (Siddhi), Noida.
Treatment by Acupressure Therapy: Acupressure Treatment for two hours daily from Monday to Friday by Mrs. Sudha Kesharwani at the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan is going on well. While giving treatment, she is also using sharing relevant quotations of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and the persons coming for acupressure treatment are evincing keen interest in them.Development of Women: Agarbatties, Candle, Chalk and Toys Making Classes: From 14th January '08 agarbatties, candle, chalk and toys making classes have been started at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan. About 20 girls are learning the same. Sewing & Tailoring Classes: Sewing & Tailoring Classes are being conducted daily from Monday to Friday at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan by Smt. Jaya Nigam. About twenty ladies / girls are learning the same.
Other 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 being held regularly.
Madurai (Tamil Nadu)The Madurai Centre conducted a non-residential Children's Camp on 27 and 28 December 2007. There were 40 participants from classes VI to IX. The sessions included "Physical culture", "Mental Gymnastics", "Honing the Senses", creative activities, "Thirst to Learn", "Origami", drawing and painting, "Science-Toy Making", "Sudoku" etc. The response from the children was overwhelming and they all insisted that such camps in future should be held more often in future.Chennai (Tamil Nadu)The Chennai branch arranged the following talks during the month of December 2007.
Date Speaker Topic
01.12.2007 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "World of Creation"
02.12.2007 Shri S. Rangarajan "Involution"
09.12.2007 Director Venkat "Deathless Rose"
16.12.2007 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Her Wish - Her Aim"
23.12.2007 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Her Wish - Her Aim"
30.12.2007 Erwadi Radhakrishnan "Surrender"
Jaunpur (U.P.)A seminar on "Sri Aurobindo's Yoga for new seekers" was conducted at Jaunpur in U.P. on 6 January 2008. Dr. A.K. Mishra presided over the seminar while Shri S.P. Srivastava, the Deputy General of Police was the chief guest. Dr. J.P. Singh, Chairman of Sultanpur branch, Sri Aurobindo Society was the main speaker. Approximately 100 participants, including doctors, advocates, teachers and social workers, attended the programme.
Andhra Pradesh
Monthly pamphlets on Sanskrit and Integral Yoga are being published by the Society Centres at Kovvur and Eluru respectively for the past two years.
The Rajahmundry Centre has started a monthly pamphlet in Telugu from January 2008, covering topics from Sri Aurobindo's 'Savitri' and 'Integral Health' as well as general topics related to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's teachings.
Delhi branch -Navakriti School
An orientation programme on what constitutes the essence of integral education was held for parents on 9 December 2007. In an interactive process, using elements of theatre, dance, music and poetry, Navakriti teachers demonstrated how teachers and parents were led to increasing self-awareness and self-enquiry in the process of facilitating the child's growth and learning. This in turn creates an environment for the child's joyful awakening into exploration and enquiry of the self and the world. Partho and Vijaybharti from Sri Aurobindo Institute for Integral Education and Management spoke to parents about the nature and necessity of integral education. The urgent need of the hour is to change people's mindset and re-evaluate conventional education which tends to exclusively focus on academic goals and achievements. This creates a uni-dimensional way of being in which large parts of the child's being remain ignored and neglected. The integral system on the other hand aims at facilitating the emergence of a creative, independent, joyful, sensitive and conscious learner who, with the passing years, becomes more and more clear about what work he has come to do in the world.
Delhi Branch, as a collaborative partner of the Delhi International Arts Festival which was held in Delhi from 7 to 23 December 2007, hosted the Percussion Ensemble event by Lalgudi Ganesh and party at its Hall of The Life Divine on 16 December 2007.
Shruti Foundation held two workshops on 9 and 10 January 2008, on "Nada Empowerment Vedic Meditation", "Beeja Mantra" and "Drishti Yoga" at the Delhi Branch.
Sultanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
Dr. J.P. Singh from Sultanpur Branch delivered a lecture at the Post Graduate Mahatma Gandhi Dental College, Puducherry, on 27 November 2007 on "Cause of Worry and Tension and the Remedy".
Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh)
Khandwa Branch of Sri Aurobindo Society organised a 2-day Seminar on the 11 and 12 of November 2007, to celebrate the first anniversary of installation of Sri Aurobindo's relics at the Bhawan. The main speakers were:
Talk By TopicShri Sujanmal Ratanpura a) All Life is Yoga b) Significance of Installation of Sri Aurobindo's relicsShri Bharat Singh Jhala a) Greatness of Avatara in the field of Avidya b) The Mother and Her WorkShri Manoj Sharma India's Destiny in the light of Sri AurobindoDr. Suman Kocher a) Sri Aurobindo on Children b) Our Collective role in the work of Sri Aurobindo and the MotherDr. Parashar How to Unite with Sri Aurobindo's Yoga
At night Shri Manoj Joshi sang some bhajans.
Purnea Branch (Bihar)
Shri Narayan Lal Das, secretary, Purnea Centre, was interviewed on 3 Dec. 2007 by A.I.R. Purnea,\ in the programme 'Aaiye Miliye'. The interview was on "Sri Aurobindo's Life - his politcal involvement and the Supramental Yoga and its relevance today".
Padrauna (U.P.)
The Padrauna Centre organized a seminar on 16 Dec. 2007. Dr. J.P. Singh, Chairman of the Sultanpur branch, spoke on 'Yoga and its objectives in the light of Sri Aurobindo'. Mrs. Mohini Singh, Chairperson of the Padrauna Centre spoke on her experiences of Pondicherry. Shri R.K. Singh conducted the proceedings. About 160 persons including students and women attended the programme. The talk was followed by a questions and answers session.

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