News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
Recent Events at Beach Office
Release of Book: "Dr. M.V. Nadkarni: A Journey on the Sunlit Path" on 4 April 2008
On the Dais (L to R): Shri Ranganath, Shri Manoj Das, Shri Manojdas Gupta, Shri Vijaybhai and Mrs. Nadkarni
A function was held at the Beach Office of Sri Aurobindo Society to release the book "Dr. M.V. Nadkarni - A journey on the Sunlit Path" edited by Shri Ranganath, in which tributes were paid to Dr. Nadkarni who passed away recently. The book contains a few articles from his talks as well. In front of an audience who loved and cherished Dr. Nadkarni, the book was released by Shri Manojdas Gupta, the Managing Trustee of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
A view of the audience
Shri M. Jamshed compered the entire programme, introducing all the speakers and also sharing some of his own reminiscence of Dr. Nadkarni. The Editor of the book Shri Ranganath briefly recounted Dr. Nadkarni's life and his love for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Dr. Nadkarni used to encourage new, young speakers to share their thoughts and develop their power of truth expression. In this spirit, three young speakers also were part of the function and they spoke on the following topics:
The young speakers: Devdip Ganguli, Shivakumar and Dr. Sampadananda Mishra
Devdip Ganguly gave a summary of Dr. Nadkarni's book: "India's Spiritual Destiny - Its Inevitability and Potentiality" Shivakumar spoke on "Why read Sri Aurobindo and the Mother" Dr. Sampadananda Mishra spoke on "Sanskrit in the Light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother"
Shri Vijaybhai spoke on his association with Dr. Nadkarni and described as the Narada of this age, singing Sri Aurobindo's works in a way the common man can understand, appreciate and enjoy. The main speaker, Shri Manoj Das, in his speech recalled some memorable events related to Dr. Nadkarni. The function concluded with a Note of Thanks by Mrs. Nadkarni.
Education Camp - Study And Dialogues Cum Workshop: 20-27 May 2008
This year the annual All India Education Camp-Cum-Workshop was organised at the Beach Office of the Society from 20 to 27 May 2008. Fifty-one participants including teachers, educationists, principals and parents from various parts of the country attended the Camp. The details of the Camp will be given in the next month's Newsletter.
Visit by Dr. Sampadananda Mishra to University of North Bengal, Siliguri - 28 March 2008
On 28 March 2008 Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, head of the Society's Sanskrit dept., visited the University of North Bengal, Siliguri, to participate in a National Conference on Moral Language Analysis. Dr. Mishra presented a paper on the morals of Bhartrihari in which he pointed out that though Indian philosophers have not formulated any moral theory as such, the ethical and moral thoughts are available in the written records of ancient India i.e. Vedic and classical periods, and can very well be used for any illuminating discussion on Moral Philosophy. He concluded the paper saying that Bhartrihari's Nitishataka is a perfect guide to the art of right living and it presents a Moral Philosophy - not only in thought but in action also.
On 30 March 2008 he delivered a talk on the Gita at the Siliguri branch of Sri Aurobindo Society.
News from Branches and Centres
News from Abroad
On 9 April 2008 two members of the Nairobi Centre visited the Doctors' plaza at the M.P. Shah Hospital and distributed fifty sets of mini booklets.
On 14 April 2008 one of the members of the Nairobi Centre addressed the school assembly of Kutchi Leva Patel Samaj School which has students from all religious backgrounds. The assembly was briefed about the ideals of Sri Aurobindo Society and the students were invited to participate in these ideals by promoting harmony and unity in the school and the country which is passing through a difficult phase at large. About 2,200 booklets were presented to the school. The Society member also presented approximately twenty books, Mother's Morning Prayer, Mother's ideal on Beauty, Mother's Listening to the Inner Law and a calendar of quotations. The Chairman of the Board of the school Mr. Naran Hirani and the Headmaster Mr. Gill expressed the school's appreciation for the offering.
Hong Kong - Visit by Dr. Alok Pandey
Dr. Alok Pandey was invited to Hong Kong by Nimu Dani, Chairperson of Sri Aurobindo Society Centre there. He delivered two talks on 9 April 2008.
In the first talk Dr. Alok Pandey spoke about the need of gathering one's energies - mental, vital, physical and spiritual, and offering them to the Divine with an aspiration to find Him, to know Him and to serve Him. That is the essence of our Godward endeavour.
His second talk at the Visual Arts Centre, was based on "Evolution and Creation" as per Sri Aurobindo's vision. He said that evolution is the process of God's self-fulfilment through the emergence of better and better forms capable of manifesting the higher Perfection upon earth and in embodied life.
News from India
"Exploration" Workshop by Safier, Mumbai - 5 to 9 May 2008
SAFIER unit of Mumbai conducted a workshop called "Exploration" at the Shantivan Garden Nepeansea Road, Mumbai, for a group of young adults aged 12 to 18 years from various schools and colleges in Mumbai. The workshop was held during 5 to 9 May 2008, everyday for 2 hours between 9 to 11 am. There were 12 participants. The sessions included the following:
1. An Exploration of who we really are versus what we think ourselves to be. Low self esteem is almost an epidemic among our youth today. The toxic environment in which they grow up takes them far away from their true Selves. This session was designed to expose the youth to the practice of self exploration. As they come closer to their selves, the One Self that pervades all existence, they contact a love and dignity which is the very fabric of that Self. This exploration was done through discussions followed by Yogasanas.
2. Tuning into goodwill (Maitri) that is inherent in us, based on the oneness we share in our secret Selves with all life forms.
Exploring the 5 Elements
3. The understanding of creation as different permutations of the Pancha-Mahaabhootas (the Five Elements - sky/ether, air, fire, water, earth). The essence of each element was explored along with their relevance to their own thinking processes and emotions, and were incorporated into different Yogasanas. These activities brought out the essence of each of the 5 elements.
Exploring using the Senses
4. Sense awareness exercises like blind folded nature walk, to give them the experience of 'seeing' with the ears and 'hearing' with their bare feet. These exercises aim at refining the senses into more perfect instruments of perception.
5. Auro-sealing techniques to put the youth in touch with the protective Mother's Force that constantly hovers over them. This was aimed at giving the youth an experience of the fact that they are not alone in their struggles, that they are indeed a part of a magnificent whole which forever nurtures them.
Some Feed Backs: -- "Connecting with the 5 universal elements was the best because I could really connect with them & they actually relieved me of a few things." Rajvi Std 10th.-- "Yoga to me is the only thing that brings me closer to the truth. It is not just asanas, it is the way of life." Priyasha std 10th. -- "Yoga has brought me closer to the Mother and the Mother is everything for me." Shreyas Std 10th-- " I always knew that in the end it is only God who matters but there are always turns I would end up feeling low, after coming to this workshop it gave me an inner feeling that I have to keep on working on 'Oneness' with God. It is not impossible." -- "The Nature walk & the aura shielding makes one realise there is so much more to life than worry." Kaushali Std 12th.
Noida (U.P.) - May 2008 Programmes
Discourses 4 May 2008: On Sunday, the 4th May 2008, Brahmachari Govind Chaitanaya, Director, Chinmaya Yuva Kendra of Chinmaya Mission, gave a talk on "Meditation & Consciousness - in the context of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother". About 40 devotees and their families took part in the function.
Talk on "Sri Aurobindo's Yoga": Shri Vijay, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research and Social Sciences, Puducherry, addressing the gathering. On the dais are Dr. Pradeep Puranik, Vice-Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Noida Branch
Talk on "Sri Aurobindo's Yoga": Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) addressing the gathering. On the dais are Shri Vijay and Dr. Pradeep Puranik
24 May 2008: On Saturday, the 24th May 2008, Shri Vijay N. Poddar, Chairman of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research and Social Sciences, Puducherry, gave a talk on "Sri Aurobindo's Yoga" which was followed by Question - Answer session. The Talk evinced keen interest among the participants. Present on the occasion included Shri T.N. Chaturvedi, former Governor of Karnataka; Shri Vijay K. Poddar, Chairman SAS (Hindi Zone) and Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.). About 80 devotees and their families attended the Talk.
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 17 May 2008: Shri Satinder K. Puri, Director, Knowledge Exchange Centre, had an interactive session with the Children of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan for about an hour. Thereafter the children were explained about the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and Sri Maa and all of them paid tributes to the Holy Shrine.
3, 10, 17 and 24 May 2008: During the month of May 2008, on 3, 10, 17 and 24 May 2008, Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) and Col. M.K. Nigam came to Sri Aurobindo Bhavan and interacted for two hours with the children of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan. Poems, stories, good manners and discipline were explained to the children.
Health Treatment by Acupressure Therapy: 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 organised 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. 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. About 20 girls are learning these activities regularly.
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.
Other Activities: 3rd Anniversary of Enshrinement of Sacred Relics: On Thursday, the 1st May 2008, on the occasion of completion of three years of enshrinement of Sacred Relics at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida, a programme of Bhajans on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother by Mrs. Kuntala Dasgupta was organised at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan. Shri O.P. Dani briefly talked on the Significance and Importance of Sacred Relics. About 40 devotees and their families took part in the Programme.
Regular Activities: Besides the 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.
Chennai branch: K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar Annual Endowment Lecture on 17 April 2008
Shri Erwadi Radhakrishnan speaking during Prof. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar annual endowment lecture: Also seen are Shri C.D. Ayyan, Shri Tiruppur Krishnan and Shri Srinivasa Gopalan
Chennai branch organised the Prof. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar annual endowment lecture on 17 April 2008. Shri C.D. Ayyar, Chairman of the Chennai branch, presided over the function. Shri Ayyar explained the salient features of Prof. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar's writings and recalled his own experiences with him and Dr. Venkatasubramaniam who created the endowment. Dr. Tiruppur Krishnan welcomed the chief guests. The main speaker was Shri Srinivasa Gopalan, Retd. Dy. Secretary (Finance), Govt. of Tamil Nadu. He spoke on "Grace in Day-to-day Life". Kalaimamani Erwadi Radhakrishnan spoke on "Annai Potrum Pennmai" (The Mother on Woman). He also quoted some valuable guidance from the book "How to Bring up a Child?" About 150 persons attended the meeting.
A view of the audience
The Chennai branch arranged the following special talks during the month of April 2008:
Date Speaker Topic
01.04.2008 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Rose as Divine's Intense Grace"06.04.2008 Shri Janagan "A few Pages in a Book"13.04.2008 Shri Venkat "Supramental Ship"20.04.2008 Mrs. V. Janaki "Thoughts Full of Flashes"27.04.2008 Shri M.K. Ramaswamy "Magnificent Silence"
West Bengal State Conference and 4th Annual Conference of the Jharkhand State Committee
The ninth Annual Conference of the West Bengal State Committee of Sri Aurobindo Society was held at the Bankura branch on 5 and 6 April 2008. About 200 members from 12 branches and centres participated. Shri Gopal Bhattacharjee from Pondicherry presided over the conference. Important issues on work were discussed. Group discussions were also held. A steering committee consisting of 10 members was formed to look into the various projects pertaining to the work of Society in West Bengal.
The Annual Conference of the State Committee of Jharkhand was held at Doranda, Ranchi, in the premises of the branch on 12 and 13 April 2008. A large number of delegates including citizens of Ranchi city attended the conference. The conference had a happy beginning and an equally happy ending. Shri Gopal Bhattacharjee from Pondicherry presided over the conference.
Bhopal (M.P.) - Mother Memorial Lecture Series on 16 to 20 May 2008
The Annual Mother memorial lecture series was held at Bhopal from 16 to 20 May 2008. The central theme of the lecture series was Veda and Upanishad. Shri Vishwa Mohan Tiwari (Air Vice Marshal, Rtd.) was the resource person. On the last day he spoke on the topic "Old Age is a Boon, Not a Curse". Shri Manoj Sharma compered the programme.
Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)
Dr. (Mrs.) T.V. Nagaranjani delivered six talks on some important portions of "Synthesis of Yoga", as part of the programme of lecture series Sri Aurobindo Vyakhyanamala, from 21 to 26 April 2008 at the Hyderabad branch.
On 24 April, Darshan day, besides the above talk, there was rendering of devotional songs by Mrs. Swati Srinivas in the evening and a special flower decoration and lighting with candles around the Samadhi containing the Relics.
Delhi - Darshan Day Celebrations on 24 April 2008
Delhi branch celebrated the Darshan day on 24 April 2008 and had an evening of Bhajans by Mrs. Kuckoo Mathur, a devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The Mother's grace was invoked and the function started with a meditation. Mrs. Kuckoo Mathur sung the bhajans, whose lyrics were written by Dr. Alok Pandey. She kept the audience spell bound with her enchanting voice. Mr. Jai Singh, Executive Committee Member gave away the memento. All present made flower offerings and lit diyas at the Shrine. Prasad was distributed to all.
1. The Women's Council of Sri Aurobindo Society's Vadodara branch arranged a one-day seminar on 20 April 2008. The subject was "Let us meet the Lord while Working". Smt. Jyotiben Thanki conducted the seminar under the chairmanship of Shri Hanskumar Mankad. It was attended by about 75 participants. The importance of work was emphasised in the light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. A book in Gujarati on the same subject has also been published.
2. A State level resident youth camp was organised by Abhipsa Yuva Circle from 25 to 27 April 2008. 28 students from Dhari, Amreli, Himmatnagar, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Oori and Vadodara participated in the camp and breathed in the spiritual atmosphere of Sri Aurobindo Niwas, Vadodara.
Study and workshop on different subjects like, Nature, Music, Art, Poetry, Physical Education, and India, in the light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, were the theme of the shivir. All the students participated with enthusiasm and enjoyed their stay at the Niwas. Four exhibitions on different subjects with Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's writings were also arranged during the shivir. On the last day a visit to Laxmi Niwas palace of Baroda was also arranged.
Sultanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
The Sultanpur Branch organised readings by Ashwinbhai Kapaida from "Prayers and Meditation" in morning and evening session on 7 and 8 April 2008.
A collective meditation was organised by the Branch on 24 April 2008 - the Mother's final arrival day at Pondicherry - both in the morning and in the evening.
On 18 April 2008, Dr. J.P. Singh of Sultanpur Branch visited the Badlapur Centre. A meeting was organised by the centre and Dr. J.P. Singh spoke on the relevance of Sri Aurobindo.
On the morning of 24 April 2008 the Mother's final arrival day at Pondicherry, a Marathi book "Amchi Aaee Tumachi Aaee" was released by Shri Prabhakar Noolkar from Sholapur. Shri P.M. Galgali delivered a talk on the Mother's life, Shri T. Gandhoji and Shri Prabhakar Noolkar were the other speakers. The Mother's message was distributed along with prasad.
In the evening at 4:30 pm painting of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother by Dr. S.M. Pandit was exhibited at Chaitanya Mayi Art Gallery.
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