Monday, February 15, 2010

All India Youth Camp for National Integration was organised from 3 to 11 January 2010

News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
Upcoming Events
132nd Birth Anniversary of the Mother - 21 February 2010

The Mother
On 21 February 2010 we celebrate the Mother's 132nd 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."
          "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."
Talk in Tamil - 21 Feb. 2010
Shri M S Sundararajan will deliver a talk in Tamil on 'Andrada Vazhkaiyil Annai' at the Beach Office of the Society on 21 February 2010 at 10 a.m.
Savitri Study Sessions - February 2010
Dr. Alok Pandey will continue his next series of Talks on Sri Aurobindo's epic 'Savitri' at the Society's Beach Office, Pondicherry, from 22 to 28 February 2010. The sessions will be held at 5:15 pm to 6:00 pm and 6:15 pm to 7:00 pm. All are welcome to attend the talk series!

Recent Events

Bonne Année - 2010

Lighting of the Lamps at the Beach Office on New Year Day

Collective Invocation
The New Year dawned in the Ashram with meditation at 6:00 a.m. with recorded music. There was a March Past at 6:55 pm and collective meditation at 7:45 pm on the same day. At the Society's Beach Office hall at 9 am, there was a collective meditation with the lighting of lamps, followed by songs invoking the Presence and Grace of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and a re-dedication to their work.
All India Youth Camp for National Integration - 3 to 11 January 2010

Shri Vijaybhai and Shri Kaivalyabhai, interacting with the participants

A view of the participants
The annual All India Youth Camp for National Integration was organised by the Society at Puducherry from 3 to 11 January 2010. As over the last few years, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), New Delhi, sponsored this Camp as well. 45 youths (21 girls and 24 boys) in the age group of 18-28 yrs. from 11 States of India including A.P., Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, M.P., Maharashtra, U.P. and West Bengal participated in the Camp with enthusiasm and joy. Shri Vijay, Member Executive - Admin. & Finance, Shri Kaivalya Smart, Member - Executive Committee, Shivakumar & a team of youth coordinated the entire Camp.
The main objectives of the Camp were to expose the participants to the spiritual atmosphere of the Ashram and also to inspire them to discover their aim in life and help them in realising it. The sessions were designed to make them conscious of the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of India and foster the spirit of national integration. The programme involved talks, discussions and activities on the above theme, as well as regular sessions on physical education, project work, collective singing, beauty of Sanskrit etc. Shri Kaivalyabhai took a series of sessions focussing on the themes of Progress, Perfection and Practice.

Richard, introducing the Botanical Gardens

In the Botanical Gardens…

Cycle trekking to the LakeLand
On the Nature Study day, all went to the Botanical Gardens nearby and spent a full morning studying variety of plants & trees, trying to invoke a deeper sense of communion with Nature. There was also a full-day bicycle trekking where all the participants went by bicycle to the Society's Lakeland 12 kms away and spent the entire day in Nature, playing games and learning to be with Nature in the right way.

Project Work, in the Municipal Park

Art expression by the participants, on the final day
The participants were also exposed to the various projects and activities undertaken by the Society, in the fields of education, health, rural development, management, Indian culture etc. The Camp concluded with a collective meditation, expressing gratitude to the Divine for a very fulfilling Camp.
Study Tour-cum-Camp for Students of SACAC, Delhi - 22nd Dec. '09 to 2 Jan '10

Vijaybhai, interacting with the Students
The Pondicherry Trip is an exercise in searching for answers and widening one's perspective. For the nearly 50 students (of batch 2009-10) and 10 faculty from the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication (SACAC), Delhi, who visited Pondicherry and Auroville from December 22nd 2009 to January 2, 2010, It was a journey with a difference. It is only after the students got back to New Delhi that they realized that the trip was not only merely for fun. It opened up a different world in terms of learning, developing new perspectives and asked questions on their own life. The questions were such that they never thought of before but had a lot of relevance towards integrating their career goals and their life. The students were accompanied by the Director, Heads from the Departments of Journalism (English & Hindi), Advertising & PR, Film and TV Production.
Several sessions were arranged on a range of topics that are related to the attitude of learning 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. This set the tone for the rest of the sessions at camp.
As the days unfolded, the students were exposed to thought provoking talks by Shri Manoj Das on Creative Writing, on tackling difficult issues in life by Dr. Alok Pandey, on the Sacred Art of India by Shri Sushanto, the wonderful language of Sanskrit by Dr. Sampadananda Mishra and a presentation on village project by Senthil and Chitra. For the first time in the study tour of SACAC, a heritage walk by INTAC was organised to know the more about French architecture and its history.

Getting ready to cycle all the way to the Lakeland
A day-long trip to Lakeland was an experience for the students. Given an option of either cycling or travelling by bus, the more adventurous ones took to cycling. The Lakeland trip for the students was aimed towards getting an understanding into the kind of work that The Society is undertaking towards sustainable development of villages. Half-day session conducted by Krishna Iyer on Breath, Water & Sound at Lakeland helped to make the students aware of the importance of Yoga, Pranayama, concentration and meditation.

In the Lakeland, Workshop on 'Breath, Water & Sound' by Krishna Iyer

Work offering by the students at Lakeland
By the end of the Pondicherry trip, the students were encouraged to think on the inner meaning of life. Feedback session with Vijaybhai at the end of the camp, where some of the students shared that the sessions at the camp had thrown a lot of questions about the purpose of life and how to lead it. Some of them agreed that it may take a lifetime to answer some of the questions.
On 30th Dec. 2009 camp moved to Auroville. The introduction to this international township was given by Dharmesh. Students raised lots of questions on the purpose and life in this unique town. Students explored the town on their own on cycles and mobikes. Journalism students made a short video story by interviewing a few Auroville residents. A session by Srinivas Mulugu on "Free Will or Destiny" raised many questions which they would face in their professional life. Students were spell-bound after attending a collective meditation on the 31st evening at the Tibet Pavilion. On 1st January 2010, all started their day with Matrimandir Meditation and they had the experience of first ray of the sun of the new year in a beautiful ambience. Hopefully the first step towards a journey of self has been initiated through the camp and it will stand the youngsters in good stead in times of need.
Talk on 'Integral Management' - 23 January 2010

Talk by Prof. Saiket Sen
Prof. Saikat Sen, Senior Associate, Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Management (SAFIM), Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry delivered a talk on 'Integral Management' at Chamber De Commerce, Puducherry on 23 January 2010. He explained the concept and framework of Integral Management through audio-visual presentation. The members of Chambers, Madras Management Association, Students of Engineering Colleges attended and took active part in the interactive session. The programme was organised by Madras Management Association, Puducherry Chapter.
Exposure Camp for Delegates of Rashtrotthana Parishat, Bangalore - 24 to 27 Jan. 2010
A group of 9 delegates from the Education Wing of Rashtrotthana Parishat, Bangalore, headed by Shri Rangaraja Iyengar, Dakshina Kshetra Yoga Pramukh (Kerala, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu) of Vidya Bharathi, visited the Ashram for three days, fom 24 to 27 of January 2010. The programme was arranged and co-ordinated by Sri Aurobindo Society.
On their arrival on 24 Jan., Shri Vijaybhai explained to them about the Ashram and the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Education. Next day morning, Shivakumar interacted with them on the topic of "Spiritual education - what do we mean by it?" This was followed by a visit by the team to the Ashram's Centre of Education where Gayatri-di gave them an introduction to the vision and the way in which the Centre functions. In the afternoon Dr Sampadananda Mishra showed them glimpses of the multi-media CDs "The Wonder That is Sanskrit" and "Srimad Bhagavad Gita".
In the evening, a visit to the Sportsground was arranged and Shivakumar explained to them the aim, purpose and the attitude behind the Physical Education activities of the Centre of Education and the Ashram. On 26 Jan., in the morning, they visited the Society's Lakeland 'Matrikunj' and understood the organic farming activities going on there. Baburambhai explained the process of organic farming, as it was practised there. In the afternoon, they visited the Dairy of the Ashram and saw the tending of the cows.
In the evening, the visit came to an end with a detailed introduction to the various activities of Sri Aurobindo Society in the fields of education, health, rural development, green buildings, Indian culture, management etc, and how the team can collaborate in the work of upliftment of the Nation. It was a fruitful stay for the entire team in learning and sharing a higher way of living and being.
One-Day Workshop on "Value-Based Management" - 30 January 2010

Mr. Jordi Griera, conducting the Workshop
Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Management (SAFIM), a Centre of Excellence in Management of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, have organized a one-day Workshop on Value-based Management at Society Beach Office, Puducherry, in association with Madras Management Association (MMA), Puducherry chapter. MMA Chairman Sri D. Brem Nathan has delivered the welcome speech. Prof. Saikat Sen given an introduction to SAFIM and its various activities with audio-visual presentation and introduced the facilitator of the Workshop Mr. Jordi Griera, Chairman, INEVAL Foundation, Barcelona, Spain.
Mr. Jordi Griera conducted the Workshop and highlighted on the importance of Human Values in Management and how to implement values in the present business context. Members of MMA, Rotary Club and Students of Management College took part in the Workshop. The Workshop was highly interactive in nature and participants enjoyed every session very well. Mr. Muthuraman Ayyappan, Co-Chairman of MMA concluded with the vote of thanks.

News from Branches and Centres
News from India
Misrod, Raisen district (Madhya Pradesh)
An exhibition and lecture programme on Sri Aurobindo was held at the Govt. Higher Secondary School, Misrod, on 19 September 2009. Shri Manoj Sharma and Shri D N Sharma spoke on Sri Aurobindo's Nationalism and Integral Yoga. The principal of the school expressed her aspiration to have a youth camp in their school with the Society's assistance.

School Principal addressing the students

A view of the students
Noida (Uttar Pradesh)
Special programmes:
1 January 2009: New Year Special Collective Meditation was held on Friday 1 January 2010 from 10 am to 10.30 am. About 40 devotees and their families took part in the above. After the meditation, sweets and calendars of the Mother were distributed to all.

Flag Hosting at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan.
Present on the occasion are Shri V.P. Goyal, Shri O.P. Dani,
Ls. Shobha Dani, Sh. H.D. Agrawal, Sh.S.C. Gupta,
Dr. Puneesh Taneja & Other distinguished Members of the Society

Students of Bal-Wadi rendering a patriotic song

Students of the Bal-Wadi taking part in the Flag Hoisting Ceremony
26 January 2010, Republic Day: Sri Aurobindo Society - Noida Branch celebrated the Republic Day with members and their familes and the students of Bal-Wadi and trainees of Tailoring & Sewing Course on 26 January, 2010 at the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida. At 10 am National Flag was unfurled at the Bhavan in the presence of Shri V.P. Goyal, Shri O.P. Dani, Ls. Shoba Dhand, Ls. Indu Maheshwari and other distinguished guests. The students of Bal-Wadi sung patriotic songs including songs on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. On this occasion, Tailoring & Sewing Certificates were also distributed to the 18 trainees who have completed the four month's course.
26 Jan. 2009, Republic Day Celebrations: Sri Aurobindo Society - Noida Branch celebrated the Republic Day with members, their families and the students of Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan on Tuesday 26 January 2010 at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Noida. At 10:00 am national flag was unfurled at the Bhavan by Shri V.P. Goyal, Vice Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society U.P. State Committee, Shri O.P. Dani, Ls.Shoba Dhand, Ls.Indu Maheshwari and other distinguished guests The students of Bal-Wadi sung patriotic songs including songs on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. On this occasion, Tailoring & Sewing Certificates were also distributed to the 18 trainees who have completed the four month's course.
Discussion on Gita: Lead by Shri Viswa Mohan Tiwari, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.), this programme was held on every Sunday of December 2009 and January 2010, from 11 am to 1 pm, at the Bhavan. There were about 15 regular participants who attended the programme.
Activities of Treatment by Acupressure Therapy, Homeopathy Dispensary, and Free Eye Check-up/Consultation at the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, are going on well.
Development of Women: 
Sewing & Tailoring Classes: These Classes are being conducted daily from Monday to Friday at the Bhavan and about fifteen ladies are learning the same.
Other Activities: Besides the above, regular activities of reading from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, meditation with the Mother's music daily in the morning and evening, Library, playing of spiritual audio/video CDs etc. are being held.
Madhya Pradesh State Committee Programme

Shri D N Sharma, speaking to the students

A view of the exhibition
The Madhya Pradesh State Committee of the Society organised the following programmes in Madhya Pradesh:
         1.    An exhibition and lecture programme under the title 'Sri Aurobindo: Confluence of Nationalism and Spirituality'
                was organised on 12 January 2010 at Kotra Sultanabad School, Bhopal. The Principal of the school Shri Braj Kishore Singh
                presided over the programme. Shri D N Sharma and Shri Manoj Sharma spoke on the subject. About 200 students and staff attended the programme.
         2.   Another programme on the same subject was organised at Sharda Vihar School, Rativarh, Bhopal Dist. on 24 January 2010.
Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)

Flower decoration at the Centre

Veda Sruthi, performing Bharathanatyam dance

A view of the audience
Year 2010 - The Centenary year of The Master's arrival at Pondicherry & the Golden Jubilee year of Sri Aurobindo Society dawned with Meditation at 6:00 am at our Coimbatore Centre. The following programme was rendered by our members at 10:00 am at the Centre's premises:
        1. Bharathanatyam - by Veda Sruthi, introduced by Asha & Radhakrishnan.
        2. Miming - by Nithya & Akalya to the song 'Thaaye vazhgavea' composed by Nalini Shanmugam, on the Divine Mother.
        3. Dandiya dance performed to Meera bhajan by six of the members led by Shyamala.
        4. Audio rendering of Vijaybhai's talk at the Pondicherry Head Office on 19th September 2009.
Shri Thiruvenkatam, Chairman, explained the importance of physical culture in the light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The whole programme was a soul offering by Her children. About 100 members attended the programme and about 300 people visited the Centre on the New Year day.
Mahoba (Uttar Pradesh)
The Mahoba Branch organised a Teacher's Workshop on 19 & 20 December 2009, in Central Library Mahoba. Shri K. Pawan from Patiala conducted the workshop. 45 teachers from Nowgong, Chhatrapur, Banda and local teachers participated in the workshop.
Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
To celebrate the Centenary year, Allahabad Centre of Sri Aurobindo Society organised a seminar on 28 November 2009 on 'Knowledge and Faith'. The function was chaired by Acharya Adyaprasad Mishra, former Vice Chancellor of Allahabad University.
Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)
Mathura Centre organised a seminar on 26 & 27 December 2009, on 'Religion and Spirituality' under the aegis of regional committee of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand of Sri Aurobindo Society.
First day the Chief Guest, Dr. Aditya Kumar Vajpayee, Principal, Amar Nath Vidya Ashram, spoke on the subject. Shri J.P. Singh, Chairman, State Committee, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand of Sri Aurobindo Society and other speakers delivered talks on both the days. The function was attended by about 250 people.
Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)

At an International Conference on 'Frontiers of Interface between Statistics and Sciences' held at Hyderabad from 30 December 2009 to 2 January 2010, the Society's Hyderabad Branch presented a folder containing information about the research work being done at Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Management (SAFIM), a unit of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry and other areas of common interest. About 500 folders were distributed to the delegates.
The Mother's calendars and New Year message cards were distributed after the morning meditation between 10 and 10:30 am on 1 January 2010. About 800 people visited the Bhavan on that day.
Bargawan (Uttar Pradesh)
The Siddhi Day was observed by the Bargawan Centre on 24 November 2009, at the D.S.V. Jr. High School, Bargawan. Dr. S.P. Shukla, Prof. of Commerce, K.K.C. Degree College, Lucknow, presided over the programme. Dr. Akhilesh delivered a talk on the importance of Siddhi Day. Poems written on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were sung by a group of poets.
Akot (Maharashtra)
The Akot Branch organized an Essay Writing Competition in three different schools in the month of December 2009. The topic of the essay was 'My Role in Building a New India'. Name of the Schools: Shri Arvind Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Adgaon, on 5 December 2009 - 102 students participated. Lal Bahadur Shastri Dhyanpeeth, Akot, on 9 December 2009 - 104 students participated. Saint Paul's Academy, Akot, on 23 December 2009 - 20 students participated.
Hesal, Ranchi (Jharkhand)
From 5 October to 13 November 2009 the Hesal Branch of the Society organized a six week Yogasana Basic Course. There was a lecture on 'How to Overcome Mental Tension through Yogasana'.
Jaipur (Rajasthan)
Outline of the work being done at Jaipur, Rajasthan:
Weekly Programmes: 
         •Next Future: Preparing of text on different subjects on every 2 & 4 Wednesday
         •Nature Quest: Study of spiritual significance of flowers on every 2 & 4 Sunday
         •Synthesis of Yoga: Interactive study every 1 & 3 Sunday
         •Savitri Study every 1 & 3 Wednesday
         •New Creation: Underprivileged children's classes - 4 classes in a week.
                                  Rural children classes: every Sunday.
         •Essays on the Gita: Interactive session, three sessions in a month.
         •New Light: Distribution of booklets in hospitals and other public places once a month on any one Sunday.
          Sale of diaries & calendars by Navavihan: at least 1000 diaries containing the words of Sri Aurobindo & the Mother, and 1000 Calendars.
Talks by outside speakers:
         •Regular workshops are conducted for the last seven years, and every workshop contains five sessions.

Gulbarga (Karnataka)
On 5 December 2009, after prayers at the Shrine in the Dhyan Mandir, Shri A.S. Patil gave a discourse on Sri Aurobindo's Mahaprayana.
On 6 December 2009, Smt. Vijayalaxmi Kulkarni gave a discourse on Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of divine powers. Shri Trembakrao Ghantoji presided.

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