News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
29 March - The Mother's First Arrival at Puducherry
The Mother in Japan
The Mother came to Puducherry on 29 March 1914 and met Sri Aurobindo for the first time. The Mother, after Her first meeting with Sri Aurobindo, wrote in Her diary:
It matters little that there are thousands of beings plunged in the densest ignorance, He whom we saw yesterday is on earth; his presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, and Thy reign shall be indeed established upon earth.
The day, 29 March 1914, was also the beginning of what has now grown into the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and a worldwide spiritual movement.
There will be a collective meditation at 7:45 pm in the Ashram playground on this day.
130th Birth Anniversary of the Mother - 21 February 2008
The Mother's 130th birth anniversary was observed on 21 February 2008 at the Ashram with a collective meditation around the Samadhi from 6:00 to 6:30 am. The devotees visited the Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's rooms from 4:30 am to 6 pm. In the evening, there was a march-past in the playground with the Vande Mataram song played by the Ashram band. This was followed by collective meditation.
'Golden Day' - Anniversary of the Supramental Manifestation - 29 February 2008
The year 2008 is 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 were open for darshan for devotees on that day.
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 is available here in PDF format.
Study Camp by Dr. Alok Pandey on 'Savitri' - February 2008
The Savitri Study Sessions, conducted by Dr. Alok Pandey, were held at the Beach Office Hall, Puducherry, from 22-27 February and 1-2 March 2008. The Talks were regularly attended by about 200 devotees from all over the country.
Visit by Yogasana Students from Mumbai - 16 to 20 December 2007
Shri Sraddhalu, speaking to the Yogasana students
From 16 to 20 December 2007, a group of 15 yogasana students with their teacher Ms. Anahita Sanjana, came to Puducherry for a visit. Various sessions were arranged for them. Shivakumar welcomed them and gave an introduction to the Ashram and the work of inner preparation needed to take up the Integral Yoga. Shri Sraddhalu held a half day interactive session with them where the fundamentals of sadhana were discussed. Dr. Sampad explained to them the beauty and wonder of the Sanskrit language. The group also visited several departments of the Ashram and visited Auroville also.
Visit by the Students of J.B. Petit High School, Mumbai - 3 to 6 January 2008
From 3 to 6 January 2008, a 4-day Camp was organised by Sri Aurobindo Society for the students of J. B. Petit High School, Mumbai. 31 girls studying in 9th and 10th Standard of the school, accompanied by 10 staff of the school, came to Puducherry for 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. The sessions were mainly conducted in the morning from 10:00 am to 11:45 am and in the afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. During these sessions, the students had the opportunity of interacting with Prof. Kittu Reddy, Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, Shri Sraddhalu and Shri Vijaybhai.
Some Special Days in March 20087 March - Maha-Shivaratri
Maha-Shivaratri - "Lord Maha-Shiva's Night" - this year falls on 7th of March. The sacred day is usually observed with a feast and a night of strict vigil in which devotees keep awake by engaging in various spiritual practices. Sri Aurobindo has said about Lord Shiva:
"Shiva is the Lord of Tapas." "…Mahashiva means a greater manifestation than that ordinarily worshipped as Shiva-the creative dance of a greater Divine manifesting Power."
21 March - Holi
Holi or Holikotsava, one of the most colourful of Hindu festivals, is celebrated on 21st of March this year. According to some legends, Holi was instituted to commemorate the killing of Holika, a female demon, by fire, when she tried to kill Prahlada, a great child devotee of Lord Vishnu.
It is also a Spring festival, celebrated over two days. On the evening of the first day, bonfires are lit, usually in a public place, to re-enact the scene of cremation of the she-demon Putana who was sent to kill the baby Krishna. On the second day people throw coloured powder and water at each other in gay merry-making. The first day is the Holi proper, and the second day is called Dhuleti or Rangapanchami (ranga - colour, panchami - fifth day). Ranga-panchami was originally the fifth day as the festival was earlier spread over five days and was celebrated till the fifth day of that fortnight.
News from Branches and Centres
News from Abroad
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
Surat (Gujarat) - Installation of Relics and Centenary Celebrations of Sri Aurobindo's Visit to Surat
Savitaben, carrying the relics for installation
The enshrinement of the holy Relics of Sri Aurobindo and the centenary celebrations of Sri Aurobindo's visit to Surat took place at the Surat branch on 25 and 26 December 2007.
Centenary Celebrations of Sri Aurobindo's visit to Surat were organised on a large scale and on all India level, on 24, 25 and 26 of December 2007. About 200 active workers from 50 different Centres and Branches from of India and about 200 devotees from Surat participated in the event. In the town hall in the evening the audience numbered to about 600.
The devotees at the Installation ceremony at Surat
24 Dec. '07: Holy Relics of Sri Aurobindo were received with full dignity at the Surat Branch. There was meditation with the Ashram music and then the members of the Branch chanted Sri Aravindopanishad in Sanskrit.
The Surat Centre
25 Dec. '07: In the morning all gathered at the Centre and the Relics were enshrined in complete silence, collectively by Shri Vijaybhai, Tara-didi, Shri Manoj Das and Shri Aniruddha Smart. There was collective meditation with Ashram music before and after enshrinement.
Shri Manoj Das, speaking to the audience about Sri Aurobindo's historic visit to Surat
After the enshrinement all went to the "French Garden" area, the place where the historic Annual Convention of the Indian National Congress was held 100 years ago and for which Sri Aurobindo had specially come to Surat. Shri Manoj Das (Puducherry) and Shri Vijaybhai (Puducherry) addressed the audience and transported everyone back into the history. There was collective singing of Vande Mataram, led by Shri Mohanbhai Mistri (Puducherry).
In the evening in the town hall Shri Vijaybhai (Puducherry) was the main speaker and talked on Resurgent India. Shri Manoj Das talked on "Indian Spirit and the World Today".
26 Dec. '07: Delegates' Conference was held in the morning and the topic was "Our Work Ahead". Shri S. C. Tyagi (Saharanpur), Shri Sharad Joshi (Vadodara), Shri Thiruvenkatam (Coimbatore), Shri Kireet Thakkar (Vadodara), Shri J. P. Sing (Sultanpur) expressed their ideas. Shri Vijay K Poddar (Delhi), Shri Hanskumar Mankad (Vadodara), Shri Ajit Sabnis (Bangalore) and Shri Vijaybhai (Puducherry) Summed up and concluded.
Visit to a diamond factory of a devotee was arranged in the afternoon. Sri Aurobindo's full life size statue (same as that of the Parliament House) is installed at the factory and there is also a beautiful meditation hall where full size oil painted portraits of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are installed. There was collective meditation in the meditation hall.
In the evening in the town hall Shri Manoj Das (Puducherry) was the main speaker. He talked on "Sri Aurobindo in Surat". Shri Aniruddha Smart gave a talk on "The Eternal Religion". A book titled "Sri Aurobindo in Surat" was released and introduced by the author Ms. Hiranmayi Smart (Surat). The function concluded with a dramatic recreation of "Sri Aurobindo in Surat" in Gujarati, managed by Shri Hitesh Jariwala and directed-acted by Shri Shailendra Vadnere and group.
The enshrinement of the sacred Relics of Sri Aurobindo took place at the Dhari branch on 13 Jan 2008, at 9.00 a.m. The Mother's flag was hoisted. Sadhaks and devotees from various Centres and Branches were warmly welcomed by the "Unmilan" Parivar. Prof. Jyotiben Thanki gave talk regarding "Relics and its importance". Other guest speakers also addressed the gathering. The Gujarati version of Chapter 5 of "The Mother" in Sundarm-ji's recorded voice was played. The Relics were taken from meditation hall with great respect and honour to the shrine unit. At about 11 am the Relics were enshrined in the newly constructed shrine by Sri Hanskumar Mankad, the Chairman of the Sri Aurobindo Society - Vadodara. During the ceremony, the Mother's organ music was played. All the Sadhaks and devotees present offered flowers and Pranam to the sacred relics. All took Bhojan-Prasad with great joy at lunch break.
In the evening Prof. Jyotiben Thanki gave a second talk, on "Sri Aurobindo's Purna Yoga". The ceremony ended with prayer and meditation and there was " Dhwaj avataran". This was indeed a great golden historical moment for Dhari branch and for this whole area.
Amravati (Maharashtra) - Centenary of Amravati Aagman
Sri Aurobindo Society, Amravati Branch, celebrated the centenary of Sri Aurobindo Aagaman Diwas on 27th, 28th and 29th of January 2008. Sri Aurobindo visited this place during his Maharashtra tour and delivered his inspiring speech on the topic "Vande Mataram" on 28th January 1908.
Lighting of Lamp by Smt. Mandatai Gandhe
The opening session started at 9:30 am on 27 Jan. 2008 with traditional Lamp lighting by Shri Kaivalya Smart from Surat and Mandatai Gandhe from Amravati. Meditation and talks followed.
Shri Kaivalyabhai, speaking on the occasion
The Second session was held at Vidya Bharati college, amphitheatre in the form of workshop for personality development. Shri Kaivalyabhai's address and guidance to the young participants was a novel experience for all who were present in the hall. Third session was a feast of musical programmes, rendered by Surmani Prof. Kamaltai Bhande, HoD, Music Dept. of Mahila Mahavidyalaya.
The second day of the celebrations began with the Sanskrit stavan sung by Mira Ganorkar and talks by various speakers followed. In the afternoon all the participants visited the place where Sri Aurobindo's speech was delivered 100 year's ago. The place is now known as Joshi Hall. 'Vande Mataram' cassette sung by sadhaks of Puducherry was played there and about 40 people meditated.
A view of the audience
Celebrations concluded at Sri Aurobindo Yoga Center, Gadgenagar, Amravati, where a full day's programme was organised. In the morning the function started with hoisting of Mother's flag. Prof. Uttara Huddar (Nagpur), Dr. Sarla Nagraj (Amravati) and Shri Kaivalyabhai (Surat) spoke on different aspects of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, Divya Jivan and Supramental Yoga. Delegates from the Centre of Vidarbha region such as Walgaon, Chandur Railway, Narkhed, Moshi, Yeotmal, Wardha, Bhatkuli, Nagpur and Nashik also attended the session.
Noida (U.P.) - February 2008 Programmes
Programme of devotional songs and bhajans
5 Feb. 2008: A programme of Devotional Songs and Bhajans by Shri Ajoy Chakraborty and Mrs. Kuntala Dasgupta was held at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan on 5th February 2008 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The Programme started with Prayers to the Mother. Mrs. Kuntala Dasgupta sang Bhajans on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. About 40 devotees and their families participated in the programme.
21 Feb. 2008: The Mother's 130th Birth Anniversary was celebrated at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida, by organising Collective Meditation from 7 to 7:30 pm. About 35 devotees and their families attended the Collective Meditation. In the morning, free stationary and sweets were distributed to the students of the school being run by Sri Aurobindo Society, Noida Branch.
Shri O.P.Dani, Cahirman Noida Branch welcoming the dignitaries. On the dais : Prof. Sidheswar Prasad, Former Governor of Tripura; Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari (AVM Retd.); Shri T.N. Chaturvedi, Former Governor of Karnataka; and Shri S.C. Gupta, Jt. Secretary, Noida Branch.
A view of the audience
9 Feb. 2008, 5:30 to7:30 pm: Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.), gave a talk on 'India of 21st Century - Challenges of Old Age' followed by Question - Answer session at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida. Shri Tiwari made references to Sri Aurobindo's teachings in this context. Shri T.N. Chaturvedi, Former Governor of Karnataka & Prof. Sidheswar Prasad, Former Governor of Tripura also graced the occasion. The talk was attended by about 50 persons.
22 to 24 Feb. 2008: As in the last year, the Noida Branch participated in a 3-day Flower Show organised by NOIDA Authority jointly with Floriculture Society of Noida. The theme of the Noida Branch Stall was 'Spiritual Significance Of Flowers' (Phoolon Kaa Aadhyaatmik Mahatva). The Video CD of Sri Aurobindo Society on Spiritual Significance of Flowers was continuously played on Television which was installed at the Stall.
The Stall had products of Ashram for sale e.g. various books, agarbatties, CDs, cassettes etc. which were bought by the visitors. About 2,250 copies of booklets on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo were distributed to the visitors. About 5,000 people visited the Stall and many of them evinced their interest to participate in the future activities of Sri Aurobindo Society.
Education Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan: 11 Feb. 2008: The students of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan participated in the Play - 'Aisa Bhee Hota Hai' organised by Lioness Club, Noida, at KRIBHCO Auditorium. The children enjoyed the same very much.
7, 14 & 21 Feb. 2008: On every Thursdays in February 2008, Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (retd.) and Dr. Keshav Rattan came to Sri Aurobindo Bhavan and interacted for two hours with the children of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan. Poems, stories, good manners and discipline are taught to children. Impact of their visit is being felt on the behaviour of the children. The visiting dignitaries along with the children also visited the Holy Shrine and paid tributes to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
HealthFree Eye Check-up/Consultation on every Sunday at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan: Free Eye Check-up/ Consultation on every Sunday for two hours from 11 am to 1 pm by Dr. P.S. Chauhan, Eye Specialist and Project Director, National Blindness Control Programe, Govt. of India, at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida, is going on very well. In the month of February '08, thirty one individuals got benefited by the above.
Treatment by Acupressure Therapy & Third Acupressure Therapy Training Camp: 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 the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and the persons coming for acupressure treatment are evincing keen interest in them. The third Acupressure Therapy Training Camp by Mrs. Sudha Kesharwani, Acupressure Therapist, in association with 'Acupressure Shodh, Prashikshan Evam Upachar Sansthan, Allahabad' is scheduled at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida, from 10 to 14 March 2008. 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 currently 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 currently 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. 'Savitri' is being read daily at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan from 5 to 5:30 pm.
New Delhi Branch
The participants of the drawing activity programme
The 130th Birth Anniversary of the Mother was celebrated by holding a Drawing Activity programme for school children between the age group 4-12 at Delhi branch on 21 February 2008. Letters of invitation were sent to 80 schools. 200 students participated, including children from Delhi Public School, Blue Bells Public school, Army Public school, Kendriya Vidayala and APJ School.
The three topics were given on the spot: "Love", "Earth" and "My Dream" Ms. Nandita Bose of Navakriti School run by the New Delhi Branch of Sri Aurobindo Society explained the topics and their endeavour to try and draw out the inner being of children to explore creativity.
Mr. Jatin Das, Ms. Bulbul Sharma, Ms. Lily Raina, Mrs. Shanta Sarabjit, all eminent persons from the field of art, were the judges on the occasion. Cash prizes and art material were given to the winners. Mrs. Meera Juneja introduced the guests and spoke on the occasion. The judges distributed the prizes. Mr. Ranjit Puri, Chairman of Delhi Branch, gave the vote of thanks.
The event received an overwhelming response.
Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)
12 Jan. 2008: Sri Aurobindo society Bhopal organised a seminar in Barkatullah university Bhopal. The subject was "Bhartiya Sanskriti Aur Bharat Ki Niyati". Shri Manoj Sharma was the keynote speaker. Shri D.N. Sharma and Shri R.J. Mourya also spoke on the occasion. Dr Sadhana Dauneria, Head of the Dept. (Yoga), conducted the function. A large number of students and staff members attended the program.
29 Feb. 2008, The Golden Day celebrations: The Bhopal branch organised different programs on the occasion of Golden day.
Talks on Nayi Chetna (New Consciousness): Program began with rendering of the national song Vande mataram. English translation done by Sri Aurobindo was read by Smt. Nalini Patel, Principal of Sri Aurobindo School, Bhopal. Shri K.D. Mishra, member Sahkari Commission, and Shri D.P. Sharma, Ex-Vice Chancellor of Tirupathi University, spoke on the occasion. Shri Satish chitwar read out a few poems of Sri Aurobindo. Dr D.N. Joshi explained the various aspects of "Poorna Yoga". Shri Manoj Sharma spoke about "Atimanasik Chetna".
Program ended with Bhajans sung by Smt.Niharika Agrawal and her group.
Siliguri (West Bengal)
The Siliguri Branch celebrated the 8th anniversary of the enshrinement of Sri Aurobindo's holy Relics on 9 January 2008. The celebrations started by hoisting the Mother's flag followed by invocation and meditation around the Shrine. Dr. K.D. Sengupta spoke on "The Political ideal of Sri Aurobindo" and Dr. Usha Ranjan spoke on "Sri Aurobindo on Divine and Undivine". The function ended with distribution of Prasad.
Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
About 900 people attended the collective meditation at the branch on 1 January 2008.
The Chennai branch conducted the following lectures during the month of January 2008.
Date Name of the speaker Subject01.01.2008 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "The Inscription on the Samadhi"06.01.2008 Shri N. Rajagopal "The Spiritual Significance of 24 Nov. & 5 Dec."13.01.2008 Shri S. Venkat "Deathless Rose (contd.)"20.01.2008 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Our Relationships and the Mother"27.01.2008 Shri Janagan "Sparks and Sprincles"
The Tirupati Branch organised a meeting in collaboration with the Chittoor District Yoga Association on 10 January 2008 at the Sri Aurobindo Vidyalaya, Tirupati. Shri M. Balarama Reddy presided over the meeting. The key-note speaker was Sri Venu Bhagavan, founder, V. Build Training Services, Hyderabad. He spoke on "Vyaktitva Vidasa Prerana - Encouragement of Personality Development", in Telugu. After the speech, Shri Venu Bhagavan was presented with Sri Aurobindo's book "Synthesis of Yoga".
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