Sunday, February 26, 2006

In the Hour of God

Pattabhi Rama Reddy is proud to announce the staging of "In the Hour of God" on December 11th, 12th & 13th at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore. This play is inspired by Sri Aurobindo's Savitri. We are staging it as a tribute to Snehalata Reddy who had a great love for the theatre. Please do come and forward this to anyone who will be interested.
Direction & Music by Konarak Reddy Featuring: Arundhati Raja, Ashok Mandanna, Hema Mandana, Jagdish Raja, Kirtana Kumar, Sameer Sheikh, Shiva Subramaniam, Tuffy Taraporevala SFX & Surround Sound : Little Jasmine Films/DIGIFUNK Lighting Design : Daniella Zehnder Video Edit : Challam Bennurkar Choreography : Tripura Kashyap Sets : Rajesh & Studioline Sets Execution : Basil Carter Costumes : Julie Kagti, Sutra & Grasshopper Photography : Sorab Mehta Sound & Lights : Reynold's Sound & Light Stage Management : Sneha, Shibani, Priya, Vijay, Nitin Publicity : Ahalya, Kala, Anjula AT CHOWDIAH MEMORIAL HALL, DECEMBER 11th, 12th & 13th 2003 Tickets are available at KC Das, Casa Picola (all branches) & Supermarket (Brigade Road) Bangalore Events Saturday, December 06, 2003 Posted 9:42 AM by Anurag

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pondicherry & Auroville

I arrived in Pondy (as it is often referred to) and quickly put my things down to go get some lunch. I was staying at one of the guest houses of the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram on the suggestion of a friend of mine from Calcutta. The ashram was started by the late Bengali guru who was equally known for his political activism as for his spiritual enlightenment. The accommodations were sparse, but fine, and I needed to rush if I wanted to get lunch at the ashram. The cost of lunch (and dinner, which I didn’t go to) was included in the tarif for the room. All of this was a wopping 92 rupees. For all of you not well versed in the currency conversion rates of the rupee to the dollar, that is about 2 US dollars. Haha.
The meal was basic, but pretty yummy and while sitting cross-legged on the floor eating my lunch, a devotee started to talk with me. She, like so many of the followers, was Bengali and came down from Calcutta for a few days before heading back home to continue her job as a physicist researcher at a university. There were signs with encouraging words everywhere, quotes from Aurobindo or from The Mother. She was a French woman who came to India as a young woman looking for enlightenment (or something like that) and became Aurobindo’s second in command. She also led the movement after his death until her own passing and was the force behind the creation of Auroville.
Auroville is a new age attempt at a utopian society settlement about ½ hour from Pondicherry. Some claim it is the beginnings of a world where nationality, race, class, religion, and sex are all transcended, where peoples of the world can come together and be equal, living in a sustainable community. Others claim it has done little in its 30 years of existance except reinforce inequalities, become a glorified retirement community for Europeans to escape taxes and create screwed up, drug-problemed children who were raised there. I am probably inclined to believe the latter, but it is not possible to really know what Auroville in fact is if you visit for only a few hours. So, I will reserve final judgement. What I do know is that it has is a lovely shop that sells incense and paper goods (how they earn money for the community) and a pretty good coffee shop. Don’t you think that was what they intended to create when they started the society? It seems to me to be a bit ironic.
I also know that they have spent millions on this space station looking huge golden orb structure that serves as the center of the spiritual life of Auroville. It is really quite interesting, let’s say. You must walk on a flower-lined path for about 10 minutes in complete silence to get to the globe. You then must leave anything you have outside, remove your shoes and walk (still in complete silence) into the structure, along corridors, up a ramp (it is all still under contruction so it looks like a work site inside) to get a viewing of the inner sanctum. This stark white, luminous, utterly immaculate circular room has 6 (I think) pillars around the room surrounding a large, glowing, perfect crystal sphere in the center.
It really doesn’t get more new agey than this. But I have to admit, there was something magnetic about it. Perhaps it was the cool, fresh air coming from the airconditioning inside the room contrasting to the sticky, humidity outside of it. Or maybe it was the purity, the cleanliness, the stark whiteness that had some appeal in comparison to the dirt and messiness of outside, of India. I am not sure, but I wouldn’t have minded hanging out in front of the room for more than the 10 seconds each was allowed in order to keep the line flowing. There is a meditation time, when you can stay in there and meditate? Think? Or whatever it is one actually does when one does that (I haven’t figured out yet, but I think you concentrate on breathing). But to take advantage of that I would have had to stay beyond my tour and figured a way to get back to Pondy on my own. Posted by: Alexa July 1, 2004 02:19 AM

February 21st is Darshan Day

Darshan Day!! February 21st is Darshan Day! The birthday of The Mother! 'Arise, Transcend thyself. Thou art man and the whole nature of man is to become more than himself'. A famous saying by the The Mother of Pondicherry, India. Visit Sri Aurobindo Society to find out more information about The Mother!
If you ever visit India, please make it a must-see to visit Pondicherry and the Aurobindo Ashram!I want to just mention one of the quotes by The Mother:
"I belong to no nation, no civilization, no society, no race, but to the Divine. I obey no master, no rules, no law, no social convention, but the Divine. To Him I have surrendered all, will, life and self; for Him I am ready to give all my blood, drop by drop, if such is His will, with complete joy, and nothing in his service can be sacrifice, for all is perfect delight." - The Mother
posted by Karthik Srinivasan: Ashburn, Virginia, United States Wednesday, February 22, 2006 at 12:28 AM

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Thoughts on The Mother's Birth day

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I need and deserve a lot of money, because I want to do a lot of things for people and I will have the resource to carry out The Mother's mission.--> goals, 1) start with a school. 2) Take a few young men from ctc matru bhavan. 3) Build a team of selfless young men who share similar vision. posted by Auro_IN at 4:14 AM the matrix - unplugged

My closest companions: Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

Springs Away... Yet another beautiful day in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As I sit with my favorite cup of coffee all imaginings set free in the morning wind. The mind begins to stir and all kinds of things desire fruition. Then that deeper voice(s) remind me to listen more closely, give relief to those first habitual stirrings and come face to face with Truth of this day, of this moment. So I listen, as this is my practice, and I return here to share the flow.
It is truly a suitable environment for my nature to reflect. the quiet helps me to discriminate what is within and what is without. I get to ponder with my closest companions as Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. They speak to me and share the reflections of their lifetimes and the one that exist still, right now, beside me. We speak of multidimensions and falsehoods and truths. This is something I have querried about all my life, at least, this lifetime and probably others. It's a continual examining of what is relevant and what is "more". The mind these days seems so full of itself. After awhile I do have to question its' real value and purpose in life. The mind seems so redundant, predictable and bland. Seems to have lost its adventurousness. I guess all good addictions eventually self diminish. It's up to the individual to actually take notice. I can do something about it or not. The real value is in the seeing. The change, if so desired, is in the realisation.
Then followed by the allowing. Simple sounding but so boldly a dare. Our depths are so young in revelation and this is where the joy of life presents itself. This is where life shows her meaning, in the mystery, the unknowing of our evolutionary selves. Now that can keep me entertained for a quite awhile. It is this mere form of entertainment that I am cultivating in myself during these times...during the rest of my life! posted by Dolph Turtle Thursday, August 18, 2005 at 7:02 AM

Organic farming in Auroville

The whole thing is rather intriguing, and in my personal opinion it is bad because there are alternatives to eradicating malaria. We don't need to kill off mosquitoes to do it, distribution of netting in mass quantities is a better option...I also lived with thousands of toads whom I kind of like, ants ants ants and there is a constant chorus of birds, and some really mangy dogs. Its an experience. We also only run on solar energy, and are in the process of building a windmill!! The only time we really even use electricity is for pumping water to irrigate, and then at night there are two lights in the kitchen. I think thats basically it. I use candles and my headlamp at night. Recent projects have ben the windmill, harvesting sweet potatoes, a little weeding, and my all tiem favorite peanut butter processing!
We are the only farm in Auroville to grow our own organic peanuts and then make PB. Here is teh process, plant the peanuts this time of year (which I wrote about earlier) then harvest them after the monsoon, then dry them and replant the good seeds, seperate the bad ones, about 15% aren't soo great, they mess up your liver adn can kill!! So then on Friday Lowell and I made some fires outside and slowly roasted a ton of peanuts. No oil, no honey, no salt, just straight peanut loving.
Then, this is the fabulous part, we put them in the peanut bike!! It's basically a stationary bike hooked up to this grinding contraption. So you pour in some slow-roasted peanuts and then someone pedals and you get peanut butter! and its really really tasty. and we are selling tons of it!! Like 25 kilos or something. It's the health freak dream come true. exercise AND health food at the same time. We need to hook lance armstrong up to one of these bad boys...As travellers around here are very very free and open with the bowel movements, as in discussion of them, I thought I would just say, with slight embarassment, that I cannot give up toilet paper, hard as I try. The water thing just doesn't do it for me, I end up getting my pants really wet and the whole thing is rather unsatisfactory. Just an FYI....hahaha
And lastly, book updates. This site is like my personal book group...I love love love it! I finally finished Cracking India, a novel about the division of Pakistan and India as told by a young girl. It was ineresting, slightly informative, a bit violent in a subtle way, but it never really grabbed me. Meanwhile I have also been reading 'Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Concsiousness' Sri Aurobindo is the guy who Auroville is built upon, or his teachings. So I thought it would be good to read it in order to understand Auroville and it's concepts a little better.
As you can imagine, it's a bit thick, I don't know if I will finsh is before I leave. I also just started Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, this morning. I have a bunch of other books in time to read though! sadly...I read A Room of One's Own this fall and loved it, so I thought another Woolf would be a good idea, although this is more novel and the other was a speech. And now I am just trying to answering all the wonderful loving emails I got!! love maddie maddieg (maddieg) wrote,@ 2006-02-20 10:25:00

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Personal God

Prabhupada Letters :: 1971 a.c. bhaktivedanta swami 16.2.06 February 16, 1971 Gorakhpur My Dear Gargamuni Maharaja, Please accept my blessings. I am so glad to receive your letter dated 2nd February, 1971, although it was redirected from one place to another. At the present moment, I am staying in a big bungalow of Gita Press of Gorakhpur. Temporarily we have installed nice big Deities and people are coming here to the fullest extent of the hall.
Our preaching on the basis of Personal God is almost revolutionary in India also. Last night somebody said that Aurobindo is greater than Krsna. So this is the world situation. Somebody is Krsna Himself, somebody is greater than Krsna, somebody says Krsna has no form, somebody says that Krsna is dead and so on.
Our program is to offer vehement protest against all these nonsensical declarations. I am so glad to know that you are preaching alone assisted by a Brahmacari at Gainesville and it is very encouraging that you are introducing our philosophy in schools, colleges, etc. This should be our present program of work. If you can introduce our books in the schools and colleges and libraries and preach there about our philosophy, that will be a great success. 16.2.06 letters 06:33 Comments

21 February 1878

Dr R Neerunjun Gopee Mauritius Times Friday 17 February 2006 Home
It is no coincidence that Mirra Richard became the foremost disciple of Sri Aurobindo and continued his work after the latter attained mahasmadhi on December 5, 1950. She was born Mirra Alfassa on 21 February 1878 in Paris, of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father. She had a very cultured upbringing both in her childhood and later when she joined the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, being ground in music – especially the piano – philosophy, political and social systems, etc. What is remarkable, however, is that from her childhood she started having spontaneous experiences “including those of coming out of her body to discover inner realities without understanding what they really meant.”
In 1904, she had a series of visions: “I knew nothing of India, mind you, nothing. In several of these visions I saw Sri Aurobindo just as he looked physically, but glorified; that is, the same man I would see on my first visit… I prostrated before him in the Hindu manner. All this without any comprehension... But my impression was that it (the vision) was premonitory.”
In the light of these visions, it becomes clear that Mother was destined, as it were, to become the foremost disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the person to transmit his legacy until she herself passed on in November 1973. However, the good work goes on at Auroville which she founded at Pondicherry. The anniversary of her birthday on Tuesday next is a blessed opportunity for us to reflect upon the deeper meanings and karmic links of life, illustrated by her own passage on planet Earth -- from the beginning almost a spiritual journey.
It took a perfect stranger born and brought up in a foreign land and an alien culture to the feet of her master, whom she had recognized in planes of consciousness years before she actually came face to face with him. Indeed, come to think of it, were they indeed strangers to each other? Sri Aurobindo did say that other than his own, the language and culture he felt closest to was French, although he had never been to France. All this may appear very odd and inexplicable to us. But happily this is not so – Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s experiences and visions of planes accessible through Integral Yoga provide the intuitive rationale that underlies their connectivity. If we search, we will surely find also.

Ganapathy Muni, Kapali Shastri and M.P. Pandit

Uma Sahasranam Michael (hanumandaz) wrote, @ 2006-02-17 14:49:00
Some 25 Years ago I had a life transforming experience, which hooked me up to the Divine Mother. I wrote about this in my experience report in 'The Mother' (by Adilakshmi). The book which triggered this experience I could never again get back. It involved three authors, and two opposite tradition: The Ramana, and the Aurobindo one.
  • One author was the originator of the poems which were originally in Sanskrit, his name is Sri Ganapathy Muni, and he was one of the earliest disciples of Ramana Maharshi, who actually coned this name 'Ramana Maharshi' together and wrote one of the earliest books about his teachings called the 'Ramana Gita' now.
  • The second author was a disciple of both Ganapathi Muni and of Ramana equally, but who later changed to be a disciple of Aurobindo and the Mother, and even after he switched still worked and translated for Ramana. His name is Kapali Shastri, and his is the translation of the Sanskrit verses into english. His collected works I got and they contain a part of this translation.
  • The third author, under whose name the little booklet was published is M.P. Pandit, a disciple of Kapali Shastri and subsequently of Aurobindo and the Mother. He recently died. His was the commentary, the selection of verses in the book. The original work is called Uma Sahasranam, which means thousand names of the Mother Divine.

Ganapathi Muni was a tantric, and adorer of the Divine Mother, and the work was intended to be his thank you to the Divine Mother - UMA - for finding his Guru Ramana. He had made a pledge to finish off the whole work up to a certain time, but found that a significant number of verses had to be still done. As he was in Ramanas presence he suddenly felt a strong inspiration and the remaining verses flowed out effortlessly. Ramana sat in Samadhi, his eyes closed. After Muni had finished the last verse Ramana opened his eyes and asked: Did you write everything down? (that was transmitted).

I must also say that I would not have understood (if that is the right term, as it is more intuitional knowledge) anything without the comments of Pandit. The whole thing happened for me, one year before I met Mother. In the experience, I was drawn to the book and felt an electric current. After a nights sleep while waking up I had a vision of the Divine Mother in the form of a golden spiral, and felt an unmistaken female Divine Presence in my room. The effects of the experience was felt for several days. Kapali Shastri's collected works contain reminiscences of his experience with the Mother as well as with Ramana, his works on the Vedas and the Tantras, in the light of Sri Aurobindos philosophy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture

Along with the Sahithya Kendra, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kodagu Kendra, ISKCON, Madikeri and Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture, (SAKSI), Bangalore has also put up stalls. Sreenivas Kulkarni from SAKSI, said: ‘‘The institution is seven years old and has brought out 101 books so far. We have come to Madikeri to bring awareness on Vedic literature and philosophy of great men like Sri Aurobindo,’’ he said.
Kulkarni also said that it was the idea of Dr RL Kashyap professor at Purude University, USA, to provide reading material on Vedic literature and other deeper themes in philosophy in all the languages of India. Kulkarni also lauded the efforts of the administrator and one of the trustees of the institution, RV Jahagirdar who too penned many books for the institution to make popular the vedic literature and other philosophies. posted by Hitesh Monday, February 13, 2006 @ 3:43 PM Hitesh Joshi Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Monday, February 13, 2006

Nationalist Party

Sri Aurobindo, the great patriot participated immensely in freedom struggle. He became a leader of the Nationalist Party and his editorials in the Bande Mataram at once made him an all-India figure. In 1910, Sri Aurobindo withdrew from the political field and sailed forPondicherry, to devote himself entirely to his evolving spiritual mission. anjan ghosh February 13 12: 48 AM Permalink

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Babaji Maharaj, Prapatti and Pathachakra

DOORS TO ENTER Dr Shyama Kanungo
When The Mother’s Work in Orissa started gaining momentum Prapatti had a vision of 4 doors- Education, Commerce, Agriculture and Politics. He had the clear indication to enter through Education. Infact the numerous Sri Aurobindo Study circles and the Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centers are an infrastructure of these doors of ‘Education’ through which the Transforming Consciousness enters to touch the bedrock of society to bring about the change.
However other doors have to be explored in course of time. In his book ‘Atimanasa O Dibyakarma’ Babaji Maharaj clearly mentions that time will come when Her working will inevitably enter into other domains for the ‘Total Change’ to take place. In each of these Orissa is Graced by Her to avail the priviledged service. We have doors to enter or rather ‘avenues’ of ‘service’ to choose (according to our temperament or call) for channelising the "New Thought and Force" into this topsy turvy messy world where the Great Master ‘saw a falsehood planted in the very root of things’ and we should not forget that the Eye that saw the Falsehood has the Force and genius to remove it. It alone knows how to take the leverage from life and clear out the mess; it is He who is taking us by the hand making us participate in His Work, in His Yoga.
A unique and thrilling privilege given to all –a participation that brings with it joy, peace and contentment . Something that ought not to be there is strife, competition and sectarianism. Yet strife, disharmony and a competitive atmosphere creeps in. Sectarianism and religiousness raise their heads threatening to mar the Work. Many detours betray a lurking ambition- a sense of self-importance, an assertion of ones own whim. This exactly is the route through which the adversary pounces in to create confusion as well as retard the Work.
The actual work is simply that of connecting the wire between Matter and The Supreme Consciousness. There is no other agenda. The rest is done by Her. In individual lives at every occasion this work of connection is to go on. But when it comes to a collective forum things are a little different as revealed to us by Babaji Maharaj. One has to make extra efforts at self- restraint and extra efforts at self-giving. Harmony has to be maintained at the highest cost. The difficulties, dangers and pitfalls are tenfold but the chances of progress both collective as well as individual are also tenfold.
Babaji Maharaj was confident that what is happening in Orissa is inspired and directed by The Mother Herself. It was as if he concretely witnessed it and reminded this to the numerous devotees of Orissa. This remembrance alone can fill the heart with gratitude and clear out all strife, errors in understanding the process. We stand at a new threshold in Her Work. The other avenues of the Work are unfolding. Agriculture and the Legal units are going to be crystallised. Everything is in a rudimentary state. This is a real organisational challenge.
What is Dasakarmadhara ? It is a multidimensional response to Her Grace that is pouring and pressing upon the earth atmosphere, to take up all human activities and raise it to a Divine status. It is a vision - and when we start working it out becomes more and more unfolded with an ever increasing clarity. This is revealed more and more when with a simple heart and a strong aspiration we yearn to serve the cause of Her Embodiment upon this earth. All the more it is necessary to look straight to the Ideal, maintain clarity, keep up our faith and fortitude, be grateful that a chance is given for an unique experiment of translation of Purushottama’s Own and direct Action.

Mahakavi and Mahayogi

Bharathi served as Assistant Editor of the Swadeshamitran in 1904.He participated in the 1906 All India Congress meeting in Calcutta (chaired by Dadabhai Naoroji) where the demand for 'Swaraj' was raised for the first time. Bharathi supported the demand wholeheartedly and found himself in the militant wing of the Indian National Congress together with Tilak and Aurobindo...
At the same time he also edited the English newspaper 'Bala Bharatham'. He participated in the historic Surat Congress in 1907, which saw a sharpening of the divisions within the Indian National Congress between the militant wing led by Tilak and Aurobindo and the 'moderates'. Subramanya Bharathi supported Tilak and Aurobindo...
The British suppression of the militancy was systematic and thorough. Tilak was exiled to Burma. Aurobindo escaped to Pondicherry in 1910. Bharathi met with Aurobindo in Pondicherry and the discussions often turned to religion and philosophy. He assisted Aurobindo in the 'Arya' journal and later 'Karma Yogi' in Pondicherry. In November 1910, Bharathi released an 'Anthology of Poems' which included 'Kanavu'.
V.V.S. Aiyar also arrived in Pondicherry in 1910 and the British Indian patriots, who were called 'Swadeshis' would meet often. They included Bharathi, Aurobindo and V.V.S.Aiyar. posted by Ken the unknown Tuesday, February 07, 2006 at 4:25 AM

Roma's Kitchen, a cute Auroville eatery

Today I went to lunch in Auroville with Hélène and François, a lovely French couple who took pity on me the other night at a hotel restaurant in Pondicherry when they saw me eating alone and invited me to sit with them. I was delighted and we had a great chat. François is a retired businessman who fought in the Algerian War and Hélène is a retired journalist. François' son is an Aurovillian and the couple have been coming to visit him here for the past 14 years.
Auroville is the "universal city in the making" about 20 minutes drive from Pondicherry. People from all over the world reside there. At Roma's, Heidi, an inhabitant of 35 years, told me that the population consists demographically of first Indians, then residents from France, then other Europeans, Americans, etc. The city was created in 1968 (with the support of the Government of India and UNESCO) by "the Mother," Mirra Alfassa, a French woman and collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. Aurobindo was a Bengali nationalist who fled British India for the French territories in 1910. He turned to yoga and spirituality, gradually developing a large following. "Mother" helped found the Sri Aurobindo Ashram located here in Pondicherry and, after Aurobindo's death in 1950, set up the Aurobindo International Centre of Education.
One devotee I met the other day moved here last year from Bengal to enroll her daughter in the Ashram school and was, she reported sadly, unsuccessful in her application. She will have to try again next year.This place has such a complex history: Indian cultures and peoples, French influences and connections, the central place of the Ashram, the Aurovillian experimental offshoot with its unusual approach to community. It's difficult, for example, for me to show an image of a pleasant road without getting caught up in issues of politics, identity, transnational cultural exchange and spirituality... posted by gimmeanr Sunday, February 05, 2006 at 21:17

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Therefore Mirapuri would resume work at New Community only on condition that human rights are restored and protected at Auroville and Mira Alfassa's original plan of creating in India a place of peace, freedom and practical world unity would be activated again. From 1970 till 1973 Mira Alfassa – The Mother together with Michel Montecrossa prepared the initial planning for Mirapuri and Miravillage which led to the foundation of Mirapuri - the City of Peace and Future Man in Europ (Italy) on 15th August 1978 and the establishment of Miravillage in Germany, as the first satellite of Mirapuri, which now are the two biggest independnet and self-supporting centers of activity based on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in Europe, providing an effective and humane living and working environment for all those who want to realize the Ideals of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and practise their Integral Yoga as a way of consciousness development. posted by Pathy Tuesday, February 07, 2006 @ 2:23 AM Location: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Saturday, February 04, 2006

India Meets France!

Got back from a relaxing trip to Pondicherry. The seafront is certainly the best place to start any exploration of Pondi. We chose a beach resort, Hotel Ashok to enjoy the lazy sea shore of Pondi. For the first two days, we found bliss at the resort occasionally stepping out to explore the other attractions in the city.
We later found out that the city has a White Town (Ville Blanche) and a Black Town (Ville Noire). The white town was where the French stayed and the Black Town was inhabited by the Tamilians during the French Colonization. While Hotel Ashok was on the ECR stretch, thanks to Vels, we got an opportunity to stay in a service apartment in the White Town area. This area is at the heart of the city and has well planned streets. It has some of the finest colonial buildings and most of the distinguished buildings are set against the sea front. Oh yeah, many streets have retained their French names. It was heartening to see a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the middle of the seafront, close by the old lighthouse and pier. In the evening on the weekends, no vehicles are allowed to use the sea front road. Our visit to the sea front reminded us totally of a carnival, what with a band of music, road side foodie-goodies, giant wheel and thousands of people all packed into one narrow street facing the sea front.
One cannot ignore the influence of Sri Aurobindo on Pondi. Auroville and Aurobindo Ashram are named after this accomplished linguist & scholar. He studied spritual discipline of Yoga and was joined in this intensive study by a French Woman, Mira Alfassa who is popularly referred by the devotees as The Mother. Auroville is the brainchild of The Mother and is designed by French Architect Roger Anger. One should definitely visit the Auroville when in Pondi. Auroville is an experiment in international living where men and women can live in peace and progressive harmony above creed, politics and nationality. Yes, you heard that right! This piece of land stretched over a few acres is not governed by any politicians and is said to be beyond any nationality. Posted by Hyperbole Friday, February 03, 2006 at 1:10 PM

A universal town

Pondy doesn’t have too much on offer when it comes to sight seeing. There are only 2 beaches, one of which is rocky and hence inaccessible. The other attractions around the place are Aurobindo Ashram, Botanical Garden, Pondicherry Museum, a township known as Auroville, which houses Matri Mandir, a boating center cum park known as Chunnambar Resort. Because it was mentioned as the main attraction in travel guides, we visited Aurobindo Ashram on Friday morning itself. Suffice to say we emerged in record time, after covering all those photographs and artifacts of Aurobindo and ‘The Mother’. It was on our way out from the Ashram that Jins asked the million dollar question “Actually, who is this Aurobindo?” All of us were ‘blissfully’ ignorant.
Auroville is envisioned as a universal town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. The construction of this 'universal town' was started in 1968 under the guidance of ‘The Mother’, a Paris born painter-musician who become sri Aurobindo's disciple and close companion from 1924 till his death in 1950. The development of this Utopia is still in progress. Several countries have offered to set up permanent pavilions, reflecting the culture and ethos of their countries. The Matri Mandir is the spiritual center of Auroville. It is a domed structure, which has a crystal sphere in the meditation room. An open air Amphitheatre in front of the Matri Mandir has a lotus stem like structure built at the center of it, which contains soil from 126 countries, the representatives of which attended the inauguration of the Matri Mandir way back in 1968. posted by Geo Pala, Kerala, India Wednesday, February 01, 2006 at 5:48 PM

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Realizing our inner Self

Hinduism Today December 1993
Auroville is not for everyone. The perennial ashram-hopper, looking for a rustic place to roost with "meals and meditations served on time," soon moves on. The absence of a neatly-packaged religious ideology can be unnerving for others. And "for those who are satisfied with the world as it is, Auroville obviously has no reason to exist," the Mother adds. Even the visitor brochure warns: "No holiday atmosphere," "No city life" and "Visit first before deciding to stay permanently." But 900 have and 200 are children. Miss Lata of Madras interviewed some of these youths for Hinduism Today. A selection of their statements follow:
Aurovilian youths: "The life here is quite different from the 'outside world.' There are no distinctions made among the various members... Yes we, believe in God. But we do not define God in terms of any specific religion, specific customs, religious traditions, practices etc. According to us, God is everywhere-God is within you. It is within me. It is within everyone... Staying here since our birth, we have been able to realize that money is not everything in life. It is not the sole objective. Our objective is in terms of service to the society and realizing our inner Self. What we do, the community is more important than anything else in the world... Every principle of Sri Aurobindo is important to us. We are striving to adopt most of them so that we could make ourselves as good citizens in this world. There seems to be a lot of chaos in the world today. It is the responsibility of the youth to do something about this."

A Shrine to Sri Aurobindo in Africa

KENYA: On July 13th, 2003, an historic facility honoring Sri Aurobindo's contributions and influence in Africa manifested at the Sri Aurobino Society, Nairobi Centre. Five members of the Nairobi Centre had traveled to India earlier and returned on the 12th, with Smt. Sushilaben Melvani of the Pondicherry Sri Aurobindo Society, bringing relics of Sri Aurobindo to Nairobi. The following morning, the day of the Guru Purnima festival, the relics were enshrined in the Relics House, and Sushilaben cut the ribbon to the new Sri Aurobindo Bhavan Meditation Hall. The Sri Aurobindo Bhavan was consecrated to the Divine Mother on her 125th birth anniversary, an event that locals described as "a landmark in the history of the African continent and the spiritual history of the Earth." Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), was a prolific writer, freedom fighter and yoga mystic whose powerful writings were a key contribution to last century's Hindu revival.

The City of Dawn

By Vinanti Sarkar Hinduism Today November 1993
On my first afternoon in Pondicherry, I took a ride in a jeep and entered the cosmopolitan nearby village of Auroville, right on the border of Tamil Nadu state. It is situated on high-level land providing a panoramic view with the sea on the east and a number of lakes on the west and north. The "village" is circular in shape with a diameter of about three kilometers and surrounding it, a green belt of natural beauty.
One of the first people I met was an old gardener who had been there since the project began. As we stood in the center and heart of Auroville, I couldn't help noticing the giant still incomplete Matrimandir, nerve plexus of Auroville. The gardener told me, "This is the soul of Auroville," which was supposed to be "the symbol of the Divine's answer to humanity's aspiration for perfection. Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive humanity, Auroville was to be an example of a new social order, of a model town for the future and an experiment in international living. Auroville is named after Sri Aurobindo and literally means "The City of Dawn." He envisaged a divine life in matter on earth, based upon the advent of an entirely new principle of existence, knowledge and action, the "Supermind"-the next great step in evolution, a step beyond the levels of matter, life, mind and the spirit that human beings have attained so far.
Although Sri Aurobindo and the Mother sought to open a new way for human development, they stressed that the aim, in Sri Aurobindo's words was "not to found a religion or a school of philosophy or a school of yoga, but to create a ground of spiritual growth and experience which will bring down a greater Truth beyond mind but not inaccessible to the human soul and consciousness."
By 1965, the Mother had begun to set in motion the process that would lead to the birth of Auroville: "The next step, more exterior which seeks to widen the base of this attempt to establish harmony between soul and body, spirit and nature, heaven and earth, in the collective life of mankind."
At first, only those were accepted into the project who, in the judgement of the Mother, have an inner call for the Divine. She wanted Auroville "to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities." "The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. No rules or laws are being framed. Things will get formulated as the underlying Truth of the township merges and takes shape progressively. We do not anticipate. It is the experience of LIFE ITSELF that should slowly work out rules that are as simple and as wide as possible." She promised all it would be a "great adventure."
Close to Matrimandir, where I stood, there is an urn of marble-mosaic, on a raised circular mound with sloping sides. This is the Foundation Stone of Auroville-the dedication ceremony performed on February 28, 1968, by youth of the world. Young people, representing the 19 states of India and 124 nations around the world, gathered, bringing with them a handful of soil which they placed in the lotus-shaped urn. This unique ceremony symbolized the hope of mankind to fulfill its highest aspiration for true unity and universal harmony.
The charter established: "Auroville belongs to nobody in particular and humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be the willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness-the place of unending education, of constant progress and a youth that never ages. It stands as a bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within. Auroville will boldly spring toward future realizations and will be a site of material and spiritual research for a living embodiment of an actual humanity."

Who was Sri Aurobindo?

By Vinanti Sarkar Hinduism Today September 1993
It was in February, 1982, that I was taken to Pondicherry by my Bombay host family who were avid devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Unfortunately, though I grew up in a highly intellectual Bengali family--my aunts were principals of university colleges and my uncles worked as official administrators--strangely, no one ever spoke of Sri Aurobindo during my youth. This was not my first trip to the seaside resort of Pondicherry, home of the momentous "great experiment," Auroville.
Earlier in 1973, I had been there working on a documentary film on "Rural Women of India" for the International Womens' Year 1975. That first visit was incredible. From a distance, I saw the Mother giving "darshan" to her followers. But I was so caught up in the worldly fascination of film-making, that the experience did not have a strong significance on me.
On this second trip, 1982, I became a devotee, fascinated by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and by Auroville itself. It was the most arresting part of my four months' journey in India in search of a spiritual guru. This quest took me to some of the greatest gurus and philosophers in India from Sai Baba to Krishnamurthy. I visited their ashrams, listened to their teachings and talked with their disciples, trying to find humility and peace for the soul.
On the train to Pondicherry, I wondered who was Sri Aurobindo? When I was growing up in Delhi, I remembered overhearing whispers, "Wasn't he the religious Bengali man in Pondicherry living with that French woman?" That's what North Indians thought. My host, Lalbhai Mehta, enlightened me that Sri Aurobindo was a scholar, a poet, a political leader, a journalist, a philosopher, a dramatist, an Indologist, a literary critic, a yogi, a translater and an original interpreter of the Vedas, Upanishads and Gita. Though some even feel he was an avatar of Krishna, everyone at least agrees he was one of India's greatest spiritual geniuses. Lalbhai handed me some books of his to read. I could see his joy in living as a disciple.

International Center of Education

Hinduism Today October 1993
In 1952, the Mother established the International Center of Education--a radical departure from the standard Indian education formula of rote memorization, straightjacketed by a ruthlessly competitive exams system. To her, education should encompass the "whole being." Old systems that forced children to parrot facts from memory did little to evolve the individual, much less better a nation.
She called her approach a "free progressive system--a progress guided by the soul, not subject to habits, conventions or preconceived ideas." The Ashram's brochure adds, "The student is encouraged to learn by himself, choose his own subjects of study, progress at a pace suited to his own needs and ultimately to take charge over his development. The teacher is more an adviser and source of information than an instructor. The Center awards no diplomas since it seeks to awaken the joy of learning and aspiration for progress in the student independent of outer motives."
The school spans kindergarten to university level with "standard" courses in: the humanities, languages, fine arts, sciences, engineering, technology and vocational training. It offers well-equipped classrooms, large libraries, reading rooms, laboratories, workshops, a theater and studios for dance, music and painting. Physical development was stressed by both the Mother and Aurobindo as a foundation for all yogas. Thus, all students take part in a vigorous daily sports program. Facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, sports arena, gymnasium and a judo hall. The school has swollen to over 900 students with 200 teachers, all Ashram members. Teacher/ student relationships, though not informal per se, carry a family-like feeling that, according to students, instills a joyous atmosphere. An overriding awareness that "we are all doing yoga here together " pervades. Many students sucessfully go on to become professionals such engineers and other occupations.

My Golden Years

By Kusum Gheewala Hinduism Today October 1993
I went to the Ashram in 1968. I was only 12. I remained there until 1973. The Mother would look at the photo of the person applying and decide. What I am today is the product of the Ashram. How can I relate what I have gained during my time there? It is an inner experience. I used to ask my teachers, "What is the aim of life?" The teachers are all sadhaks; teaching is their sadhana. Sri Aurobindo explained, "nothing can be taught"--knowledge is within each individual and the task of the teacher is to help bring this out. However, before I digress any further, my teachers would guide me to study books on different religions, different philosophies, different psychologies, different systems of yoga and works of Sri Aurobindo. One day in my chemistry lesson, secretly reading Synthesis of Yoga, the answer to my question dawned on me. It was an experience, and I continue to carry it with me. This truth cannot be revealed in words but has to be lived.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sraddhalu Ranade

Sraddhalu Ranade, an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry visited Singapore recently and gave a series of talks: Exploring inner worlds, Why must Hinduism be learnt? The eternal relevance of Bhagavad Gita. posted by Seema Manuja Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:37 PM Anubhav Isha