“Introduction to Sri Aurobindo Studies”

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

It gives me immense pleasure to inform you that Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre, New Alipore, Kolkata, in collaboration with Overman Foundation, is organizing a Certificate Programme titled “Introduction to Sri Aurobindo Studies” to be conducted through a series of lectures and interactive sessions spreading over around 4 months from September to December 2014.

The said Programme is intended to be an introduction to Sri Aurobindo and his thoughts and work for individuals interested in having an easy first glimpse.

The Programme faculty consists of eminent Aurobindonians like Prof. (Dr.) Indrani Sanyal (Department of Philosophy—Jadavpur University), Sri Subrata Sen (Secretary, Sri Aurobindo’s Action West Bengal), Sri Gautam Banerjee and Sri Anurag Banerjee (Founder and Chairman, Overman Foundation) along with eminent Guest Faculties to be invited.

Since seats are limited, registration shall be done on first-come-first-served basis. The total Programme Fees shall be Rs.700/- per participant payable at the time of registration. The last date for registration is 23rd August, 2014.

Classes shall be held on Thursdays from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. and Saturdays from 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. at Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre, 532 Block—M, New Alipore, Kolkata 700053.

Each participant shall be given a Certificate of Participation at the end of the Programme.

Interested persons may kindly contact the Programme Director—Sri Anurag Banerjee @ Mobile: +91 9830244192 for matters concerning the programme content and Sri Partha Sarathi Bose (Programme Co-ordinator and Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre Trust) @ Mobile : +91 9831040853 for matters concerning registration, organization and conducting of the Programme. They may also visit the relevant link in the website http://www.sriaurobindocentre.org for information or email at: admin@ sriaurobindocentre.org

We take the opportunity to request you to ask interested persons to get in touch accordingly.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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The Mother’s Photographs with Indian Political Leaders

Dear Friends,

The Mother had proclaimed on 15 August 1954: “From the first time I came to India—in 1914—I felt that India is my true country, the country of my soul and spirit… I am French by birth and early education, I am Indian by choice and predilection. In my consciousness there is no antagonism between the two, on the contrary, they combine very well and complete one another.”

After India achieved her independence in August 1947, several prominent political leaders of the nation had visited Pondicherry to pay their respects to the Mother.

Some photographs of the Mother with Indian political leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Kumarasami Kamaraj, Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Uchharangrai Navalshankar Dhebar, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Varahagiri Venkata Giri, Surendra Mohan Ghosh and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee have been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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1The Mother with Surendra Mohan Ghosh and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

2The Mother with Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

3The Mother with Uchharangrai Navalshankar Dhebar, former President of Indian National Congress.

4The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Kumarasami Kamaraj, Indira Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

5The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

6The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

7The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his associates.

Rajendra prasadrajendra prasad 1The Mother with Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. Also is seen the message in the Mother’s own handwriting which she had given to Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

13The Mother with Indira Gandhi and Nandini Satpathy, former Chief Minister of Orissa.

14The Mother with Indira Gandhi.

15The Mother with Varahagiri Venkata Giri, former President of India.

16The Mother with Varahagiri Venkata Giri. Also seen in this photograph: Nolini Kanta Gupta, Champaklal and Tara Jauhar.

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(Photographs courtesy: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

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Dr. Ananda Reddy’s “Integral Education”, Anirvan’s “Īśā Upanisad” and Dr. Ratri Ray’s “Francis Thompson and Nishikanto: A Study in Mysticism”.

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that the following notable books and MP3 are now available at Overman Foundation.

Integral Education

Dr. Ananda Reddy’s Integral Education contains a talk of one hour and thirty minutes on integral education in the light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Through this talk, the listeners are led to experience the aspects of education in a radically new way and awaken a new attitude towards life. The foundations of integral education, the principles around which it is organized and the various elements involved in it are explained in the said talk.

This MP3 is available at a price of Rs. 200 (Two Hundred) only.

Cover of Isa Upanisad

Shri Anirvan (8 July 1896—31 May 1978) was a great scholar and philosopher who had mastered the Astādhyayi of Pānini at a very early age. After completing his formal education he renounced the world and became Nirvanananda Saraswati. But after a few years he dropped the ochre robes and changed his name to Anirvan by which name he became known to the world at large. He spent a number of years in Lohaghat (Almora) where Madame Lizelle Reymond, a Swiss spiritual seeker, joined him and literally took him to the West through her books. Shri Anirvan later shifted to Shillong in Assam and finally to Kolkata where he spent his last years. His first book was a Bengali translation of Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine which was described as a “living translation” by Sri Aurobindo himself.

Īśā Upanisad is the only Upanisad directly connected with Śukla Yajurveda (its last chapter), unlike other Upanisads which are connected with the Brāhmana portion of the Vedas. It is as if a clarion call of the Truth that all works lead to and end in knowledge. In only 18 mantras, we have an all comprehensive integral and harmonious vision and philosophy of Life Divine. Transformation of greed and lust tainted with black and evil works into unattached but strong white-pure and good works and its culmination into the Universal consciousness of an all-embracing Aupanisadic Purusa is the central theme of this Upanisad. The uniqueness of this commentary of Anirvan lies in his wonderful interpretation of the contradictory terms Vidyā (knowledge) and Avidyā (ignorance, rather the unknowable) and Sambhūti (Becoming Birth-Creation) and Asambhūti (Non-Becoming Non-Birth or Vināsa—Destruction). By giving his mystic and yet analytic interpretation, he has boldly brought about a harmony between the two opposite currents of works-Sacrifice and Knowledge and thus established Life Divine on this Earth on sound footing. In the end we have a wonderful unity of Works, Knowledge and Devotion (Karma, Jñāna and Bhakti) as found later in the Bhagavad Gita.

Comprising 156 pages, Īśā Upanisad is available at a price of Rs. 250 (Two Hundred and Fifty) only.

thompson-nishikantoWhile Francis Thompson is renowned for his mystic poetry across the globe, Nishikanto Roychowdhury—one of the greatest Bengali mystic poets of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, whom Sri Aurobindo had described as the “Brahmaputra of Inspiration”—is a comparatively lesser-known name. Dr. Ratri Ray’s Francis Thompson and Nishikanto: A Study in Mysticism tries to establish the universality of mysticism in a particular manner. Nishikanto and Thompson, together, offer the students a very fine subject for comparative study. Thus, after placing Thompson firmly within the tradition of English mystical poetry, a study of his life and poetry is made. In Nishikanto’s case there is no need to stress the existence of mystical tradition in Bengali poetry, since the tradition is an old and venerable one. After a study of his life and poetry, attention is devoted to a comparative estimate which establishes the universality of mysticism, not only in the lives of mystics, but in their works also.

Recipient of “Nolini Kanta Gupta Smriti Puraskar” for the year 2014, Francis Thompson and Nishikanto: A Study in Mysticism comprises 547 pages and is available at a price of Rs. 400 (Four Hundred) only.

To place an order, please write to the following email address:

overmanfoundation@gmail.com

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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Hirayama Prize of the French Academy Awarded to Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee

Prithwindra_Mukherjee-Zinal_2011

Dear Friends,

During its session of 13 June 2014, members of the French Academy (Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres) have unanimously awarded the prestigious Prix Hirayama to Paris-based Indian scholar Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee for his recent publications in French: (1) Les racines intellectuelles du mouvement d’independance de l’Inde (1893-1918), Codex Publishers, 2010; (2) Le Spontane : reflection on the Sahaja yana cult through Charya and Bâul Songs, Almora Publishers, 2014; (3) A Shade Sharp, a Shade Flat : trilingual anthology with introduction, notes and 108 poems by Rabindranath Tagore, Shahitya Prakash, Dhaka, 2013.

The Report further stresses that the above-mentioned second book “on the freedom movement received the warmest welcome. Next were the Baul songs… But the pre-Gandhian freedom movement in India was altogether new to them [members of the Academy] and probably for that reason that they paid a greater attention.”

In 2012 the Academy awarded this prize to an illustrated French edition of the Indian epic, Ramayana.

We take the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee for this prestigious award.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

Photographs of André Morisset, the Mother’s Son

Dear Friends,

André Morisset (23.8.1898—29.3.1982) was the Mother’s only son. His father Henri Morisset (6.4.1870—15.11.1956) was a noted French artist. Having received his early education at Lycee Chaptal School, André joined the army in October 1916 as an artillery officer and participated in the First World War. He received, as a reward for his bravery and contribution, several titles of honour which included the Cross of the War 1914-1918 (which he received just after the War), the Cross of the Voluntary Fighters and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (these were received after 1935). In December 1919, he joined École Polytechnique and obtained the title of Ancien éléve de l’ecole polytechnique in August 1921, after which he joined Le Carbone-Lorraine. He was the director of a factory making batteries and other electrical materials for Le Carbone-Lorraine from 1926 to 1939. Later he joined the Industrial Company of Battery Cells and became the honorary President of the company. He was also associated with several foreign and international organizations and established himself very well in the elite society of Paris. On 10 September 1923, he married Wanda and was blessed with two daughters Janine (born on 7 November 1924) and Francoise (19.6.1931—15.3.2008) who was better known as Pournaprema in Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time in 1949 and met the Mother after a gap of thirty-three years. In 1956, André established Sri Aurobindo Study Centre; this organization sent teaching materials, class textbooks and other objects to the Ashram School. In that very year, he established the Franco-Indian Union Association with the view of developing commercial, industrial and technological exchanges between France and India. As the Mother wanted India and France to collaborate with each other and show the rest of the world what they were capable of achieving, André worked to realize her dreams. After the demise of Pavitra in 1969, André became the de facto Director of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education and the Mother gave all Her directions through him. When Auroville was established in 1968, he became a channel of communication between Auroville and the Mother.

A set of photographs of André Morisset has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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1André Morisset with the Mother.

2

3André Morisset with Champaklal.

4André Morisset seated on the Mother’s right at the Playground.

5

Same as above.

6

André Morisset seated on the Mother’s right at the Playground.

7[From left to right] Sisir Kumar Mitra, André Morisset, Sujata Nahar, the Mother, Pavitra and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.

9[From left to right] Debu Bhattacharya, Udar Pinto, André Morisset, Pavitra, Manoj Das Gupta, Hriday Bhattacharya and Satprem performing “Le Grand Secret”, a play by the Mother, on 1 December 1954.

10Same as above.

Andre, Mona and GauridiAndré Morisset with Mona Pinto and Gauri Pinto.

11André Morisset with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Udar Pinto, Kireet Joshi and Sisir Kumar Mitra at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education on 12 December 1972.

12The Mother with André Morisset and Pavitra.

12.5[From left to right] Kireet Joshi, Kalyan, Prapatti, Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta Gupta, André Morisset, Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala and Pradyut at the inauguration of Sri Aurobindo’s Action in 1970.

13André Morisset scattering rose petals on the Samadhi on 20 November 1973.

Andre4André Morisset with Nolini Kanta Gupta.

15[From left to right] Wanda (André’s wife), André Morisset, Janine Panier, Pournaprema and Nolini Kanta Gupta.

Photographs Courtesy: the late Pournaprema, Ms. Gauri Pinto and Anurag Banerjee.

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A Review of Anirvan’s “Buddhi Yoga of the Gita and Other Essays” by Swami Sandarshanananda.

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

Born in the town of Mymensingh in Bangladesh, Shri Anirvan (1896—1978) knew the Astadhyayi of Panini by heart and daily recited a chapter from the Gita by the time he was eleven years of age. After completing his studies, he took sannyasa and became Nirvanananda Saraswati. Later he dropped the ochre robes and changed his name to Anirvan. His first book was a Bengali translation of Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine though the centre of his studies was the Vedas on which he had acquired a rare mastery. He is best known for his Veda Mimamsa which was published in three volumes.

A review of Anirvan’s Buddhi Yoga of the Gita and Other Essays authored by Swami Sandarshanananda has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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buddhi yoga of the gita

Buddhi Yoga of the Gita and Other Essays. Author: Anirvan. Number of pages: 236. Price: Rs. 300. Distributor: Overman Foundation.

Mind is quirky by nature. If untamed, it is apt to play havoc. It plays variously according to its ingrained modes and inclinations. The well-known nineteenth century American psychologist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, says: ‘Consciousness never moves along a graded plane’. His observation is corroborated by our ordinary experiences. Our outer consciousness is, actually, in a state of flux, demonstrating our subjection to its in-built tendencies.

Study of the mind is, therefore, not easy. In spite of protracted research, there is hardly any light yet by which one could plumb its depths properly. Intellect, its refined form, nevertheless, functions somewhat in a pattern. When it is at a discriminative stage it is called buddhi. There is no English equivalent to the word buddhi. Yoking buddhi to a rigorous mental process of differentiation between the Real and the unreal in the world, buddhi-yoga is performed. The result thereof is the attenuation of the mental dross and a proportionate refection of the Self within. And, consequent upon a complete obliteration of the dross is the Self-realization per se. In other words, Self-knowledge is attained when buddhi is crystal clear.

Buddhi fundamentally means a refined behaviour, so to say, of the internal instrument, mind, at the psychic as well as cosmic level. When buddhi dawns, it leads a person to the highest good. Hence, buddhi, according to the Gitā, is beyond manas. Sri Anirvan tells us that the mental limitations imposed on ‘the integral spirit can be done away with only when we can live in the higher altitudes beyond mind in the stratosphere of cosmic buddhi.

To deal with a buddhi disturbed by vital questions is always challenging. It is more so when it comes to ascertaining the mental aberrations of a spiritual aspirant. For, a spiritual aspirant is an earnest seeker of truth. He is profoundly distressed by the riddle of death and doesn’t stop short of a satisfactory answer.

The matter of the Gitā happens to be a premise where buddhi and buddhi-yoga have been handled perfectly with certitude. Arjuna is neither obsequious nor intrepid in his search. But he is full of shraddhā. He is a spiritual seeker with the necessary prerequisites such as humility and inquisitiveness. Sri Krishna is therefore serious and unreserved in his tutelage to free Arjuna’s mind immured in myopia. Arjuna’s query begins with a doubt regarding the legitimacy of killing the multitudes, along with his kin, in a battle for enjoying the world.

Sri Anirvan brings out all the delicate issues concerning buddhi and buddhi-yoga on board from the core of the Gitā to their right perspectives. He does it successfully with the help of his excellent erudition and sādhanā. His approach in this book is both analytic and synthetic. He at first makes a sincere survey of all the principal scriptures and philosophies, and then locates how buddhi is being ramified and treated by them in its different aspects.

Sri Anirvan makes its metaphysical aspect transparent to the students of philosophy in precise argument and language. He writes, ‘it has both a psychological and a cosmic aspect, the relation between the two in spiritual realization being that between a means and an end.’

The publication is an anthology of his English writings and the half of its matter contains a rich essay—‘Buddhi Yoga of the Gita’. The rest eight chapters are also quite valuable for his scholarly and insightful dispositions. Only a spiritually advanced soul like him could justly produce such pieces. His life and ideas are soaked in the elevated thoughts of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Wherever he finds opportunity in the course of these writings he makes an allusion to them and upholds their example. He is deeply moved by the reflections of Sri Aurobindo too. There is an article by him in this collection devoted to Sri Aurobindo and the mystery of death. His poems (based on the Vedic texts) available in this work carry a mystical flavour.

Sri Anirvan is highly admired and respected by many for his renunciation, scholarship and spiritual attainment. Ram Swarup elaborately presents him and his achievements in a tributary Introduction which is, undoubtedly, a fitting prelude to the writings of Sri Anirvan.

Swami Sandarshanananda

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Sri Aurobindo by K. M. Munshi

Dear Friends,

Dr. Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi (30 December 1887—8 February 1971) was a famous politician, educationist and author. In 1938 he established Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He was the Minister for Agriculture and Food in independent India and also served as the Governor of Uttar Pradesh from 1952 to 1957.

The text of a speech titled “Sri Aurobindo” which Dr. K. M. Munshi had delivered at Sri Aurobindo Niketan Meeting at the Constitution Club (New Delhi) on 16 August 1951 has been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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Sri Aurobindo

K. M. Munshi

The life and work of Sri Aurobindo are encyclopaedic; his personality and achievements have different facets; at least five different facets: the man, the man of action, the man of letters, the seer and the Yogi.

Gifted with a vast intellect, great and noble emotions and unbounded aspirations, his ambition was to measure the immeasurable. Unflinching in his devotion to duty on the threshold of life, he made a plan of life and pursued it steadfastly. Later, the sense of duty grew and he embraced man, in all his aspects, with a parent’s ceaseless solicitude.

He was an artist of life. As a professor, as I knew him, perfect; as a patriot, he was a passionate devotee of the Motherland in 1907 quivering with passionate longing for her freedom and greatness. On 9th July 1950, when I last saw him, he was a thing of living beauty in his voice, manner and dress. His personality had assumed a beauty far surpassing that which we associate with human beings.

Was Aurobindo a man of action? It is a superficial view which identifies a man of action necessarily with restless hours, ceaseless jostling with men, with public meetings, and newspaper headlines. If action implies power to move men, Aurobindo was a great Karmayogi. He left the coveted career of a Civil Servant to work for the country. As an obscure professor, he, in his “New Lamps for Old” first raised the unequivocal battle-cry of “Freedom”. During the Partition of Bengal days he actually joined the National Movement, gave up service and prospects, started ‘Bandemataram’, established a Technological Institute, made men dance to the tune of his powerful pen and voice driving them to action. He moved thousands to take to boycotting British goods, singing the Vande Mataram. He went to jail, and in view of his connection—distant though not intimate with the first terrorist movement—he risked his life.

Then he retired. ‘Retired’ is not the proper word, for, by his sudden withdrawal from direct contact, he made his pen and personality the media of galvanising men’s mind and action. Did Aurobindo inspire men to action? His personality became integrated; the spark of action was communicated not by physical contact, but by words, by the imponderable power of an integrated personality, a medium of action more powerful than word or pen or social contact. In distant parts of the world, his words echoed in devoted hearts impelling them to make experiments with life itself.

As a man of letters, Sri Aurobindo was one of the greatest literary men of any time. He has written on almost all subjects of intellectual and emotional interest. His poems have a boldness of imagination almost unequalled in modern literature. Imbued with the best traditions of Greek and Sanskrit literature, he was the master of the living phrase of beauty. Few now know the scathing sarcasm, the passionate denunciation, the biting incisiveness of the leaders of the Bande Mataram when he slashed the Moderate Politicians of India in 1905 and 1907. In those days, his words were power-winged shafts, with envenomed tips. In his letter to his disciples later, we find a rare affection, a light touch, an endearing solicitude. In some of his early speeches like that of Uttarpara, the heart-going directness and simplicity overwhelms the soul with the inspiring, far-visioned compelling power of a Master; he often spoke and wrote, as was said of Jesus, ‘with authority’.

For the ordinary reader, his philosophic works are too difficult. Even a student of philosophy finds Aurobindo’s thoughts moving in a sphere of distinctive ideas and it becomes difficult to follow their line unless one is familiar with the world in which he lived and had his being.

As a Seer, he was one of the greatest in the world. He tried to sense the beautiful in word and phrase and life and personality. He was the first in India to squarely see the conflict between India and Britain. He was again the first to envisage a vast struggle to drive out the British. After the Russo-Japanese War, he first gave us the slogan—“Asia for Asiatics”. During the Partition of Bengal Movement, he made of the drawing room nationalism of the day, a militant and powerful all-embracing emotion. He invested the boycott of British goods with a new political significance. With vivid passion he made ‘Vande Mataram’ a ‘Mantra’ of undying martyrdom to secure the freedom and glory of India. He was the first again to emphasise that Indian freedom can only come by non-violent action, though in principle, at appropriate places, he declined to abjure violence. He prophesied that after him will come someone who will achieve which he could not. [1]

He brought the whole range of Indian culture under his transvaluing gaze. He found a new meaning in our art, our poetry, our classics, our religious and social movements. He has been the Prophet of Indian Renaissance.

More, he drank deep at the fountain source of Indian thought and religion and helped in the secularisation of the Hindu religious sentiment. In the Motherland, he found the deity of his heart. In being ready to invite martyrdom for Her freedom and glory, he discovered Karma Yoga; and when in the Uttarpara speech, he said ‘Nationalism is Sanatana Dharma and Sanatana Dharma is Nationalism’, he restored to India the universal creed for the uplift of man for which she had lived during the ages. Sanatana Dharma to him was not the castes, the creeds, the temples and the rituals. It was the one and the universal law embracing humanity in one elevating and sweeping movement of the Spirit.

He gave a new value to the Vedas. He saw beyond the philosophies of all ages and produced a system more comprehensive than what had been formulated by Shankar or Kant or Spencer. And like a true Prophet, he replanted philosophy in the realities of life, and uplifted the reality of crude existence into a continuum of matter and life and mind seeking to evolve Over-mind and ready to bring forth a new race of beings working to realise the Super-Mind to replace the present inferior race.

He saw into the hearts of things. In July, 1950, for over twenty minutes he spoke to me on contemporary affairs with a thorough grasp of what was happening in the world. His perception of the political situation in India was always unerring. When the World War came in 1939 and when the whole country wanted to maintain neutrality, it was he of the unerring eye who said that the triumph of England and France was the triumph of the divine forces over the demonic forces. We were very angry, but it was a fact. If the Allies had not won, the darkness of Fascism would have descended upon mankind.

He spoke again when Sir Stafford Cripps came with his first proposal. He said: ‘India should accept it’. We rejected the advice. We who rejected it had some reasons for it, but today we realise that if the first proposal had been accepted, there would have been no partition, no refugees and no Kashmir problem.

Last year he expressed himself in favour of supporting the United Nations in the Korean War. He was again right. In the United Nation’s action in Korea, the civilised world, for the first time, combined to fight an unjustified aggression. For the first time, a composite world action became a reality and, but for United Nation’s action, it would have been a different world today.

Last year he talked to me of India and Pakistan. In a prophetic vein he said ‘they will be united’. I respectfully demurred. He added ‘Pakistan must be brought within the ambit’. Yes, of cooperation and allied strength. But when?

I come to the last facet of Sri Aurobindo—that of a Yogi. I saw from 1904 to 1906, how the Europeanised Professor took to Yoga. We took to finding out what Yoga was, because our professor, under whose influence we were, had taken to Yoga. Few can speak of a Yogi, without having studied and practised in Yoga. But I knew the gentleman under whom he began to study; and he was an adept. At the first effort, 45 years ago, Sri Aurobindo attained a stage higher than most students in Yoga. In 1909 he communed with God and that led him to change in life. For 40 years he ceaselessly reached towards progressive realisation. His letters to his pupils are the only practical hints on Yoga in our voluminous literature on Yoga, showing a mastery over the whole range of transformation both of the mind and the spirit into Divine Consciousness. All his writings indicate that complete universality of outlook, that active movement of the spirit, that freedom from fear, wrath and attachment—which are the high privilege of the Emancipated. The descent of the Divine Consciousness which he teaches is itself the result of an experience achieved in a bold endeavour to reach unexplored regions of the Spirit. A Yogi is the one who attempts an ascent to Divine Consciousness. An Avatar is the one who is born in Divine Consciousness. Perhaps Aurobindo is the only Yogi who individually achieved an ascent to Divine Consciousness and attempted to bring it down for collective good. Heir to Ramakrishna he has given to Indian culture a fresh vigour and a new validity, and, to the world, a message of hope.

And here we are in a region where the ordinary faculties of man stand dumb-founded, in all humanity.

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[1] A Note: What Sri Aurobindo actually said was that he “was compelled to recognise that the nation was not yet sufficiently trained to carry out his policy and programme… he saw that the hour of these movements had not come and that he himself was not their destined leader.”

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Speeches, Resolutions and Minutes of Sri Aurobindo Memorial Convention (April 1951)

Dear Friends,

On 24 April 1951, a two-day long convention named “Sri Aurobindo Memorial Convention” was organized at the Tennis Ground of Sri Aurobindo Ashram where it was resolved to establish an International University Centre in the memory of Sri Aurobindo. Stalwarts like Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, Surendra Mohan Ghose, Dr. Kalidas Nag, Hemendra Prasad Ghose and Surendranath Jauhar had participated in the said convention.

The speeches, resolutions and minutes of Sri Aurobindo Memorial Convention have been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation along with some photos of the said convention.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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Inaugural Message of the Mother

24 April, 1951

Sri Aurobindo is present in our midst, and with all the power of his creative genius he presides over the formation of the university centre which for years he considered as one of the best means of preparing the future humanity to receive the supramental light that will transform the elite of to-day into a new race manifesting upon earth the new light and force and life.

In his name I open to-day this Convention meeting here with the purpose of realising one of his most cherished ideals.

Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee’s Presidential Speech

It is difficult for an ordinary individual to realise in full the significance of the message of Sri Aurobindo’s life and teaching. His philosophy forms an integrated system of thought created out of the highest and most sustained efforts of the human spirit. It is given to very few of us to attain that level of spiritual effort, for it demands a thorough discipline of the body and the mind, and what is still more difficult, the sacrifice of the immediate for the ultimate. Once upon a time, the Rishis of ancient India rose above the calls of the present, the clash of arms, the rise and fall of Empires, to contemplate the eternal verities of existence.

Coming much nearer to our own times, when the favourite disciples of Guru Govind wanted him to lead them in the affairs of the world, he declined and warned them not to tempt him with ephemeral offerings. Similarly, when in 1922 Mr. C. R. Das asked for Sri Aurobindo’s help in the political struggle, the sage declined on the ground that he had not attained the fullest realisation of the spiritual reality, without which efforts to seek the salvation of mankind would only create an illusion.

These spiritual efforts of the great masters often defy common understanding. Yet the call of the times was never so imperious as it is now. What India is suffering from today is not so much the poverty of material existence. She is suffering much more from the bankruptcy of her spiritual resources. The Government moves in the same vicious circle. Moral standards are at a discount. High purpose is reserved exclusively as an adornment of pontifical pronouncements from high offices. The scene is virtually littered with the debris of the spiritual achievements of a people that was once great.

The fact is that we have lost track of our real culture. The culture of a people, as Sri Aurobindo tells us, may be roughly described as the expression of a consciousness of life which formulates itself in three aspects. “There is”, he explains, “a side of thought, ideal, upward will and the soul’s aspiration; a side of creative self-expression and appreciative aesthesis, intelligence and imagination; and a side of practical and outward formulation”. Philosophy and religion belong to the first of these three aspects of culture; art, poetry, literature to the second; and society and politics to the third. In India, however, the master idea that has governed the life, culture and social ideals of her people has been the seeking of man for his true spiritual self and the use of life. We have lost track of this noble idea. A base hedonistic view of life seems to inform all our activities today, even where they belong to the realm of the first two aspects of culture.

It is thus that the establishment of a University, where the eternal verities of life will be taught and re-taught to a stricken people, becomes supremely relevant. This is the task of an International University and it is in the fitness of things that the University should be dedicated to the sacred memory of Sri Aurobindo. It is in the fitness of things that along with its sister University at Santiniketan, named after another great Indian, this University should also be located in India where so many peoples and so many cultures have met and found their home. The Upanishads have expressed this synthesis and harmony by the three words, Shantam, Shivam, Adwaitam. Sri Aurobindo has also taught us the same truth. He even goes further and says that this synthetic turn of India’s spiritual vision “is not peculiar to the mystics or the literate or the thinkers, nourished on the high sublimities of the Veda and the Vedanta, but permeates even the popular mind”. It is here, on the sacred soil of India, where the call for synthesis first went out to the world and it is here that at the proposed University, scholars from the different parts of the world would assemble and inaugurate a new era of cultural renascence for India and the world.

I have so far dwelt on the spiritual call of Indian culture, even though the call may be going unheeded today. As Sri Aurobindo says, it is a spiritual, an inner freedom, that can alone create a perfect human order. But his freedom does not ignore, cannot ignore, the evolution of man’s lower, physical, vital and mental nature. Progress to the age of the spirit must pass through the three conceptions, each regarded as a reality, the third leading to the subjective age of mankind. We cannot skip over any of the intermediate stages without peril to mankind, though such an adventure may succeed in the case of particular individuals. Body, life and mind, all these must assume significance in man’s adventure of the spirit. The highest achievements may yet elude all except a few. But the disciplines they indicate are meant for the upliftment of mankind as a whole, their ascent from the ignorant nature to the spiritual existence. This great adventure is characteristically typified in the life of Sri Aurobindo. It began in an urge for the political liberation of India. It paved the path for a miracle, the great revelation that came to him in 1909 in his prison. The window that had been closed flew open and the Divine stood revealed before him. With the same abandon with which he had struggled for India’s political freedom, he began his long patient quest for the freedom of the spirit. The two Aurobindos merged with each other, the political fighter and the yogi. Even then his earlier patriotism was tinged with a spiritual penumbra. He was thus a true Indian. When we read from his books, he seems to appear out of the pages of our ancient sacred lore, the representative of all their wisdom made dynamic by an awareness of the present spiritual crisis. I am sure the proposed University will symbolise the world’s urge for a new spiritual rebirth; it will stand out as an oasis amidst the barren tracts that breed jealousies, suspicions and petty conflicts.

Extracts from the Concluding Speech of Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee.

The work that is about to be undertaken is a mighty one. No doubt, there will be support throughout the world. Let us not minimise the difficulties and complexities of the task. We propose to work this University for imparting training to men and women in accordance with the highest standards for the purpose of participating in the great task of reconstruction of humanity. Institutions of this type are bound to fail unless we can gather men and women who will not only feel on the lines that Sri Aurobindo lived, but also act upon them. This place has already within its resources such men and women who will be able to undertake this gigantic responsibility. It is our hope that men and women from all parts of the world will be attracted by the ideology for which this institution will stand.

Men and women selected for training must be carefully chosen because they must be able to absorb cent percent the ideology for which this institution will stand. We need not pay attention to the quantitative aspect of the problem, because we have many Universities where thousands of students pass out and we do not want to see any replica of such institutions.

The policy of our Government should be to encourage experiments of the type being made here so that the work may be carried on without hindrance or difficulty.

Any institution, if it is to function, must be under proper discipline and be conducted in a manner which will lead to smooth and efficient work. At the Ashram, we see abundant evidence of the great organizing ability of the Mother, who is the presiding deity over this place. Everywhere there is regularity, smoothness and efficiency. There is no hue and cry. This is a remarkable feature which, obviously, is an asset to any institution of the type we propose to develop. And with the Mother here, we have not the least doubt that this institution will grow from strength to strength and will be the pride of not only India, but of the entire civilised world.

India has a mission and a destiny to fulfil. Some voice will rise from this land to which the world has to listen. It will not be the voice of conflict or chaos but the voice of peace where self-respect and honour will be kept. That voice was discovered by Aurobindo and the people all over the world will come to tread Aurobindo’s path.

Sri Hemendra Prasad Ghose

I have given the proposal to establish an International University Centre at Pondicherry as a memorial to Sri Aurobindo my most anxious consideration, and give it my whole-hearted support. Sri Aurobindo was a great teacher—one of the greatest of the age in which he was born and which he adorned. It was as a teacher that Sri Aurobindo began his work in Baroda and it was to shoulder the responsibilities of a teacher that he left Baroda for Calcutta where, he thought, he would get ample opportunities to prepare his students for the struggle ahead. That struggle was not only economical and political but psychological as well.

In the words of Tennyson Sri Aurobindo could say when he became a teacher—

“I dipped into future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.”

And his sight penetrated into the future when the vision of a new world rose before his mind’s eye as rose the vision of New Jerusalem before the rapt eyes of the author of the Apocalypse. He was convinced that Spirituality alone could supply the passport to the new World. This realisation had come to him when he had studied the history of the world. He found that Rome under the heels of whose cohorts the earth shook, so to say, to its centre had faded away and only reminded one of the lines of the poet:—

“Where Empires towered that were not just:
Lo! the shulking wild fox scratches in a little heap of dust.”

He found that Greece, the mother of Western civilisation, was sleeping the sleep that knows no waking and was almost forgotten. He found that Egypt hoary with age lay buried under the sphinxes and the pyramids of her desert. And lo and behold! India lived. She lived in her spirituality. And he said:—

“What was the secret of that gigantic intellectuality, spirituality and superhuman moral force which we see pulsating in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, in the ancient philosophy, in the supreme poetry, art, sculpture and architecture of India? What was at the basis of the incomparable public works and the engineering achievements, the opulent and exquisite industries, the great triumph of science, scholarship, jurisprudence, logic, metaphysics, the unique social structure? What supported the heroism, the self-abandonment of the Kshatriya, the Sikh and the Rajpoot, the unconquerable national vitality and endurance? What was it that stood behind the civilisation second to none in the massiveness of its outlines or the perfection of its details? Without a great and unique discipline involving a perfect education of soul and mind, a result so immense and persistent would not have been possible.”

The realisation became clear with the revelation which awaited him in incarceration; and Sri Aurobindo began to teach a new Gospel which gave the world the eternal message in the shape which suited the needs of the age—the requirements of the people immersed in materialism.

He sought political freedom, because “to attempt social reform, educational reform, industrial expansion, the moral improvement of the race without aiming first and foremost at political freedom is the very height of ignorance and folly.”

He placed before the people the ideal presented in the Gita—the “living message” of the teacher who is “the God in man who moves our whole world of action, by and for whom all our humanity exists and struggles and labours, towards whom all human life travels and progresses.”

Political freedom was not an end itself, but means to an end in view. And the end in view was the completion of what Sri Aurobindo has called the human cycle.

The system of education which is prevailing now is not conductive to the end in view. For though we talk of diffusing the fertilizing waters of intellectual knowledge from their great and copious fountain-heads at the Universities by a thousand irrigating channels, we overlook the significant fact that mere scholarship and learning and the knowledge of books do not by any means arrest and dissolve all the travelling acids of the human system. And as Sri Aurobindo has said—we are only beginning to understand the new aim of education—“to help the child to develop his intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, moral, spiritual being and his communal life and impulses out of his own temperament and capacities,”— a very different object from the prevailing education which is “simply to pack so much stereotyped knowledge into his resisting brain and impose a stereotyped rule of conduct on his struggling and dominated impulses.”

To achieve the end in view a new education has to be imparted. That education will be based primarily on Sri Aurobindo’s teaching. The proposed University, therefore, will give not merely instruction and education but a way of life to lead the students on to a greater, ampler and divine existence.

Far from ignoring—Sri Aurobindo recognised and accorded full importance to the idiosyncrasies of individuals and nations. In his article on the Doctrine of Passive Resistance he wrote:—

“Hinduism recognises human nature… It sets one ideal for the saint, another for the man of action, a third for the trader, a fourth for the serf. To prescribe the same ideal for all is to bring about Varnasankara, the confusion of duties, and destroy society and race.”

In his Ideal of the Karmayogin he wrote:—

“In all life there are three elements, the fixed and permanent spirit, the developing yet constant soul and the brittle changeable body. The spirit we cannot change, we can only obscure or lose; the soul must not be rashly meddled with, must neither be tortured into a shape alien to it, nor obstructed in its free expansion; and the body must be used as a means not over-cherished as a thing valuable for its own sake.”

The idiosyncrasies of the students, therefore, must be studied and every one of them given full scope to develop towards the ideal along the path it finds ready and on the line of least resistance.

A University which will proceed on these lines will prove a boon to those who will be its alumni. They will not only learn to earn and serve society but, what is even more important, will help to create a new society for the new world of Sri Aurobindo’s dream.

Every department of knowledge—theoretical and practical will be taught the institution to students who may come from any part of the globe irrespective of nationality and religion. It will be a bold experiment but worthy of the man who conceived the idea of establishing an international university centre which will include within its ample sweep all departments of knowledge and students of every nationality.

There may be objections, hesitations, difficulties postulated. But all must be swept by the fervour of sincerity and the realisation of the nobility of the work. There will be criticism. It should be welcomed. For, criticism is something you can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.

In 1897 Swami Vivekananda, of whom Sri Aurobindo wrote that we perceive his “influence still working gigantically,” wrote:—

“We Hindus, have now been placed under God’s providence, in a very critical and responsible position. The nations of the West are coming to us for spiritual help. A great moral obligation rests on the sons of India to fully equip themselves for the work of enlightening the world on the problems of human existence.”

For years Sri Aurobindo had been doing that work. Fully equipped for the work he gave the seekers after truth the secret of Life Divine, for as he said:—

“It would be a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage at the very moment when in the world there is more and more a turning towards her for spiritual help and saving light.”

The equipment necessary for the teacher who will give the world spiritual life and saving light will be supplied by the University Centre which is to be established at Pondicherry. On its success will depend continuance of that stream of Truth which is to resuscitate the world desponding, distressed and drooping—to quicken the atrophied veins of the East and chasten the materialism of the West with the spirituality of the East so that a new world may come out and the struggles of humanity may become the cruel sweet pangs of parturition.

I have exceeded the allotted span of human life, the sands in the glass are fast running out.

“I feel like one who treads alone
Some banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead
And all but he departed.”

It may not be left to me to see the accomplishment of the work which is being undertaken. But I am confident that it will “orb into the perfect star” which we do not and cannot see today. I wish the undertaking the success it richly deserves.

Before I conclude I cannot help referring to an objection to the University Centre proposal which has been recently made. I would not have taken any notice of it if it had not emanated from one who had been one of Sri Aurobindo’s trusted lieutenants in his campaign for political freedom. Sri Barindra Kumar Ghose has opposed having an international university at Pondicherry for two reasons:—

(1) He thinks that the memorial should take the form of an intensive Yogic Centre—“carried on under the guidance of great Indian Yogis”.

(2) He objects to Pondicherry being the seat of that centre till it ceases to be a French pocket in the Indian Union, as, otherwise, it may “easily degenerate into a means of further foreign grip on India and Asia.”

The first suggestion would take us back to the Mediaeval times—if not into the dim recesses of a more distant past. This would be contrary to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo who stood for progress.

The second would only mean the postponement of the work for an indefinite period. One fails to understand how the proposed University may degenerate into a means of further foreign grip on India and Asia though the author of the “Wounded Deer” had supported the retention of British supremacy in India. On the other hand the University may help to remove the grip of one people on another through the teaching of Sri Aurobindo.

The Ashram cannot be removed from Pondicherry redolent of the aroma of Sri Aurobindo’s teaching and the last resting place of his physical remains. The University ideal has not been vamped up in a hurry but had been the ideal of Sri Aurobindo himself, as we have been given to understand. And we are here today to give shape to that ideal of which we have the clay model.

Let us hope that the University will only help to spread Sri Aurobindo’s teachings so that the future may be flushed with the radiance of a new dawn beckoning us into a greater light than has ever yet shone on mankind.

May the Divine Mother whose creed stands today above the contending creeds of India, at whose temple Sri Aurobindo acted as a worshipper and a priest bless the organisation. May he speak to the world, trumpet tongued from the silence of his samadhi

“When all the temple is prepared within,
Why nods the drowsy worshipper outside?”

Bande Mataram.

Prof. Somnath Maitra

I consider it a singular privilege to be allowed to address this distinguished gathering where disciples and admirers of Sri Aurobindo have assembled to discuss, under the guidance of the Mother, ways and means of founding an international university in Pondicherry to serve as a fitting memorial to our Master.

It is difficult for me, after the profoundly inspiring message of the Mother and the brilliant address of the President who is widely known as one of the foremost living authorities on matters educational in India, and after the thoughtful papers read by the speakers before me, to say anything of value about the details of the project for an international university. I shall, therefore, content myself with putting before you my idea of the distinctive character which a university established in Pondicherry, under the auspices of the Mother, is likely to develop.

There are universities galore in most countries of what we call the civilised world, and we have quite a few in India also. They have more or less the same objective everywhere: the imparting of instruction and the encouragement of research in the various branches of human knowledge, with an increasing emphasis on the study of Science and Technology. These institutions—some great, some small—are all attempting, according to their own lights, to equip their alumni with knowledge of the world and of themselves, knowledge that will give them control over the forces of nature and help them to remove the ills of humanity—ignorance and disease and poverty—and make them better and happier men and women.

Are we then, it may be asked, endeavouring to add one more to the number of such useful—and one may say, more or less international—centres of learning and culture? If the answer were to be in the affirmative, if we were to say, “Yes, we desire to have another seat of learning in this part of the land as each such institution is an asset to the country,” there would be nothing to be ashamed of in such a reply. But that would not be the whole truth about the matter.

The establishment of a University in Pondicherry sponsored by the Mother, besides being a welcome addition to the existing seats of learning has a special significance. The new university will be informed by the spirit of our great Master, the spirit of the Life Divine. It will not only arrange for the study and propagation of his teachings and take steps to bring humanity nearer to the realisation of his supreme ideal of the perfectly integrated life, but it will also be invisibly fashioned and moulded at every turn by a sense of his deathless Presence. And for this no better site could be chosen than the neighbourhood of the Ashram where the Master spent his best years labouring in silence to change man’s nature that he may be reborn in the Spirit, providing by the very example of his life a refuge to the spirit of man in a dark and distracted world and holding out, to a blundering and suffering humanity, the hope of the ultimate glory and bliss to which it is destined.

A university here, therefore, under the Mother’s control and guidance will be something more than a mere centre for study and research in a wide variety of subjects, or a congenial meeting-ground for men and women of different races and cultures. The Mother’s Shakti working behind the contemplated organisation will make all the difference in the world. Those who have any knowledge of her ways and of her power, those who have watched the marvellous working out of her will in the multifarious activities of the Ashram, will understand that whatever work she inspires becomes at once a service for the Divine, whose performance is regarded not as an irksome duty but as a joyful privilege. It is only natural to expect, therefore, that in any new undertaking launched by her, there will be this consciousness of a Divine purpose and goal directing all activity. To the architects and masons of the great edifice to be built she will give strength and courage and skill, and their myriad separate endeavours will be held together in a supreme unity of inspiration.

It is said that Divine Grace can put words of fire into the mouths of the dumb, and enable the halt and the maimed to scale and cross the proudest mountains. The Mother’s Grace will transmute the common work of day-to-day into something rich and beautiful and the common worker into a master craftsman. For it is perfectly true to say of her, in the words of one of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous songs:

Jara taba shakti labhila nija antara-majhey
Barjila bhaya, arjila joy, sarthak hala kaje

Those who receive your power in their hearts fulfil themselves
in work, casting out fear and marching on to Victory.

Prof. Tan Yun-Shan

(Director of the Cheena Bhavana of Visvabharati, Santiniketan)

I can hardly express in words the joy I have been feeling since my arrival here after twelve years. This joy deepens with the hours of my stay here and as I stand before you now. In the midst of this joy there is a poignancy because our Master is physically not here, though his presence is there pervading the whole Ashram and I began to feel it as soon as I arrived.

Universities in ancient India were famous all over the world for their catholic outlook and particularly for the knowledge of the highest kind they imparted to all, irrespective of caste, creed or race. They were also alive to the need for disseminating the fruits of India’s manysided cultural endeavours through these selfless ambassadors whom they sent to various parts of the world. It is due to the work of these devoted sons of Mother India that the priceless gems of her eternal wisdom shine even to this day in the world’s treasures of knowledge as the foundation of the future empire of the spirit.

A rediscovery of the truth of India’s past as also the truth of all the ancient countries and a correct appraisement of the values of modern culture in the light of the revelatory vision with which we have been blessed by the Maha-Yogi-Sri Aurobindo, are of vital importance to the building up of the new world of God in which alone lies the hope of a happier future of mankind.

The Master has therefore given us the sublime idea of an International University, the culture-centre where, as in those of old, men and women from the whole world would receive training in the various arts and sciences whose essential verities will be reinterpreted as dynamic factors in the cultural evolution of man preparing him for his divine destiny.

Many of the well-known universities in the world have developed out of the medieval monasteries. In ancient India also her seats of learning traced their origin to the ashramas, hermitages and monasteries. We recall today a hoary tradition as we think of the future of this World-University growing out of this Ashram at Pondicherry whose aim is pursuit of knowledge for the attainment of a perfect life in which lies its unique character.

I am exceedingly happy to be able to associate myself and my country with this great venture whose success is certain because it is the Mother who is planning and guiding it, the Mother who has come to give shape to the Master’s vision.

Summary of Dr. Kalidas Nag’s Speech

I consider it a privilege to be invited to participate in the inauguration of the Sri Aurobindo University and to address the assembly after Sri Hemendra Prasad Ghose, who had the honour of collaborating with Sri Aurobindo in the epoch-making journal Bande Mataram. The fiery lines penned by Sri Aurobindo in that journal used to be quoted on the cover of the exercise-books and those lines used to inflame the soul of mere school boys like us. 1905-1910 was a quinquennium which opened with the expulsion of Sri Aurobindo as Principal of our first National Council of Education, and with the inauguration of the University of Freedom, where thousands of youths flocked in the highways, parks and bye-lanes of Calcutta, to get initiated into the cult of Swadeshi and total sacrifice for our country’s liberation. Jails and gallows lost their terror and youths sacrificed their lives freely and cheerfully with the Bhagavad Gita and the words of Sri Aurobindo on their lips.

I remember today that Sri Aurobindo was born to celebrate in Asia, as it were, the centenary of the Rights of Man of the French Revolution; and naturally, the first phase of his public career was devoted to the Political liberation of Man in Asia. After the Alipore Bomb case and his retirement to Pondicherry we witness the second phase in the evolution when Sri Aurobindo laid the foundations of our intellectual liberation through his creative and synthetic writings of the Arya epoch and the First World War. A synoptic vision of World literature and of future Poetry emerged from the profound utterances in prose and poetry by Sri Aurobindo the World Poet, expressing himself in a world language which he enriched more than any writer of his age. Then, when Rabindranath—who greeted him with a magnificent poem in 1908—came to see him in Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo was already retiring completely within himself to work out the third and final phase: the spiritual liberation of Mankind through “integral yoga”—the half-forgotten but eternal heritage of Mother India to humanity. Thus, Sri Aurobindo is the University pointing to a radically new conception of the term. It should not be a mere copy of any of the universities of India and abroad. Sri Aurobindo University should aspire to provide the training ground for youths who would build up a new personality in a new universe.

The syllabus as well as the system of studies in this university should attempt a synthesis of the East and the West; for, Mother—came to collaborate with Rishi Aurobindo of the Orient. The magnificent sea-front of the Pondicherry Ashram reminds me of the fact that our Indian Ocean is the receptacle of the Atlantic and Pacific cultures, and into that confluence have flowed in the spiritual rivers of diverse countries and continents. It is a striking coincidence that in the very year 1893 when Sri Aurobindo was returning after 14 years to Mother India from Europe, Swami Vivekananda was going by the eastern route to attend the Parliament of Religions at Chicago and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was going by the western route to South Africa to tackle, as ‘Coolie Barrister’, the ominous race problem of modern history. We must remember these fundamental facts while framing the basic regulations of the Sri Aurobindo University, and if we prove ourselves worthy of the great tradition of culture and spirituality that was Sri Aurobindo, we need not worry about the human or material aids and equipments. Let us work in that faith, and Sri Aurobindo will bless us in our endeavour to vindicate the Life Divine in this Atomic age threatening to annihilate Life and perpetrate the greatest sacrilege in history.

Sri Surendra Mohan Ghose (M.P.)

I am very grateful to you all for giving me this opportunity to associate myself with the main resolution of this noble and sublime conference. I also consider this opportunity to be a very great privilege in my life.

Friends, let me tell you frankly at the very outset that after hearing the learned speeches of eminent scholars those who are expecting to hear another speech from me will be very much disappointed.

At the very early age of fifteen I accepted Sri Aurobindo as my leader and have been all through my life a humble worker with his light as my constant guide and as such I have with all humility tried to execute his ideas avoiding speeches as far as possible.

Of all Indian leaders Sri Aurobindo was the first to rightly proclaim to the world that complete independence outside British control was the aim of the people of India in their hard struggle for liberation. We bow down our heads with great reverence at his feet, taking a solemn vow with all seriousness pledging every thing to translate into action the great ideals preached by him as a great Yogi. Those who have ears to hear will certainly hear, and are as a matter of fact hearing, the sacred voice of Sri Aurobindo out of silence. The voice of Sri Aurobindo is the true Voice of India with her hoary civilisation and culture and has universal application.

The first point in the main resolution is the establishment of an International University at Pondicherry, as was originally conceived by Sri Aurobindo himself, the entire control of which, in all its aspects, shall remain in the divine hands of the Mother. In this connection let me state that the use of the word “University” to express the idea of Sri Aurobindo is liable or likely to create some confusion in the minds of some people.

We have to use the word ‘University’ because we have not got at present a better and more comprehensive word to convey correctly the concept of Sri Aurobindo. But I am sure in due course of time with the development of this University either the word ‘University’ will have fuller meaning or we shall have to coin some new word to fit in with the activities of Pondicherry Ashram under the benign control and guidance of the Mother.

In the Memorandum it has been rightly pointed out that Sri Aurobindo teaches us that “there are two kinds of knowledge, that which seeks to understand the apparent phenomenon of existence externally, by an approach from outside, through the intellect,— this is the lower knowledge, the knowledge of the apparent world; secondly, the knowledge which seeks to know the truth of existence from within, in its source and reality, by spiritual realisation”.

One of our previous distinguished speakers, Dr. Kalidas Nag repeatedly and very rightly too emphasised the fact that Sri Aurobindo himself was the “University” and that University was already there at Pondicherry from the date when he came there and it has been functioning there vigorously till now and that our object is not to establish a new University there but we are to simply accept the University which already exists there i.e. Sri Aurobindo.

Friends, I submit that truly speaking the University is the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. They are not two different personalities. We should not make the mistake in thinking that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are two different personalities. Both represent two aspects of one and the same Personality. I would very much like to say that we should not think that Sri Aurobindo is the University but we should firmly accept and proclaim that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo is the University.

Another point and I have finished. The idea of having an International University at Pondicherry must not be confused with the idea of the present day Universities all over the world, because we are to always remember that the fundamental and essential conception of Sri Aurobindo is to build up a society of immortals on this mortal earth—that makes all the difference. We must not forget what Sri Aurobindo has said: the supramental descent is an absolute certainty.

Mr. President and Friends, I whole-heartedly support the resolution in its entirety which, as it has been pointed out, is in reality one integral proposal although apparently divided into three—the different portions of the resolution are self-explanatory and do not require much elucidation.

With these few words I bow down my head most reverentially to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and pray with all humility for their Blessings for the success of our efforts.

Bande Mataram

Nolini Kanta Gupta

24th April, 1951

I just rise to call upon our friends and comrades to help us in our endeavour in whatever way each can and is willing—in deed, in thought or even in word. Our ideal is, as you know, the formation of a University Centre, an international university, as it has been called, which in fact is nothing less than the founding of a new mankind upon earth—with a new life and a new consciousness. The promise has been given that the thing can be done and will be done. And She is in our midst who will make good the promise.

25th April, 1951

Friends and comrades, we are now at the end of our deliberations—a happy and successful end, you will agree, which, however, is only the beginning of a still happier and greater end. It remains for me to thank you all for the sympathy and goodwill you have shown and the promise of help and cooperation meant thereby. I have to thank especially our President, Srijut Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, who has been so extremely affable and helpful to us.

I thank again all of you who have come from far and near, and we hope to see many of you in future coming here and spending a few days now and then in our midst.

*

MINUTES
of
Proceedings of
The Sri Aurobindo Memorial Convention
held in Pondicherry at the Tennis Ground of Sri Aurobindo Ashram,
on April 24 & 25, 1951

The proceedings commenced at 4.15 P.M. after Tea.

Sri K. C. Dutt proposed Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee to the chair and Sri S. N. Jauhar seconded the proposal. Dr. Mukherjee then occupied the chair.

The Mother inaugurated the Convention with a brief Message in which she announced that Sri Aurobindo considered the formation of an International University Centre here as one of the best means of propagating his Ideal of a new supramental race.

This was followed by the singing of Bande Mataram and other songs by Sri Dilip Kumar Roy and party.

Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee then delivered his presidential address. He emphasised the need, at the present juncture, of such a university centre which would be not only the fittest Memorial to Sri Aurobindo but would, under the guidance and inspiration of the Mother, develop into a rejuvenating Force for the entire human civilisation.

Sri Nolini Kanta Gupta, following, made an appeal to all to contribute to the establishment and success of the projected Centre, each in the way he best could.

Messages received from all over India and abroad, wishing success to the Function and godspeed to the proposal were read out.

Mr. Soli Albless then spoke on the character and significance of the proposed International University and presented an outline of the Blueprints for the immediate beginnings.

Professors Somnath Maitra and Tan Yun Shan, Mr. Pollack and Sri Keshavdev Poddar made brief speeches welcoming the formation of the University Centre on the lines envisaged by Sri Aurobindo.

After a closing song by Sri Dilip Kumar Roy, the President adjourned the session for the day, at 6 P.M., to meet again the next day at 9 A.M.

25th April, 1951

When the Convention reassembled at 9 A.M., the President Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee moved Resolutions, three in number (vide enclosure I), for the consideration of those assembled.

Dr. Bernard Phillips, Justice Bhagavati, Sri Hemendra Prasad Ghose, Dr. Kalidas Nag, Justice B. N. Rai, Sri Chapalakanta Bhattacharya, Sri Surendra Mohan Ghose and Dr. R. Vaidyanathaswamy spoke supporting the Resolutions and pledging their support to the proposals contained therein.

The President then put the Resolutions to vote and they were, all three of them, passed unanimously, all raising their hands for aye and none for no. Dr. Mukherjee proceeded to make a few concluding remarks in the course of which he paid feeling tributes to the personality of the presiding genius of the Mother around whom, he confidently predicted, an eventual blossoming of a Centre which will be a credit not only to India but to the whole of civilised mankind and conveyed to her the gratitude of all those present and all those who could not be present but desired to associate themselves with the Great Cause in hand for what she has done and was going to do in this regard.

Sri Nolini Kanta Gupta, Secretary of the Ashram, spoke a few words thanking all for the warm interest and goodwill they had shown in assembling here for the deliberations of the Convention and specially thanked the President Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee for all that he did in guiding the proceedings to a successful close.

After a formal announcement by the President that the proceedings of the Convention were now terminated, the delegates and visitors dispersed with the prophetic utterance of a distinguished speaker, made earlier in the day, still ringing in their ears:

“One day it will be said that a Daughter of the West
fulfilled the Promise given by a Son of the East.”

25-4-1951.
PONDICHERRY

Sd. S. P. Mukherjee
President

RESOLUTIONS

I

This Convention resolves that with the purpose of realising one of the most cherished ideals of Sri Aurobindo and of giving concrete shape to what he regarded as one of the best means of preparing humanity to receive the Supramental Light, an International University on the lines approved by the Mother, and under her guidance and control, be established in Pondicherry as a fitting memorial to the Master.

This Convention notes with satisfaction that encouraging response has already been received from various quarters within and outside the country. This Convention appeals with confidence to all people in and outside India to contribute liberally to the fund which has already been started by the Mother for the purpose and to send their contributions directly to the Mother at Pondicherry.

This Convention resolves that a suitable appeal for support be issued to be signed by representative men and women in India and abroad and the President be authorised to take the necessary steps on this behalf.

II

This Convention welcomes the move to establish as Memorials to Sri Aurobindo, Centres at Calcutta and Baroda—places long associated with significant and sacred chapters of Sri Aurobindo’s life and activities—for the study and propagation of his teachings. This Convention expresses the hope that similar institutions will be opened at different centres of Culture in India and abroad.

The initiative for such Memorials should come from the localities in which these are intended to be established. It is desirable that such institutions should work in close association with the central organisation at Pondicherry specially to maintain co-ordination and a uniform standard in work.

III

This Convention requests the Mother to nominate a committee whose purpose would be to be in touch with the Mother and assist in the collection of Funds and materials.

*

EXTRACTS FROM MESSAGES

Senor Salvador De Madariaga, Professor of Spanish studies at Oxford:

“I send you my best wishes. The analytical age is coming to its close. It fulfilled its purpose. But now something else is needed. The age of synthesis is about to begin. And how could it begin if no high centre of perspective were provided for all the parts to fall into harmony?”

The American Academy of Asian Studies, San Francisco:

“Glorious success assured to your venture towards integral transformation. The cooperation of all spiritual forces throughout the world certain.”

Dr. Frederic Spiegelberg, Director of Indian and Tibetan Studies, The American Academy of Asian Studies:

“Glory to the International University Centre, which is certain to become the best school in the world. The Master will live in it, just as he has been the life-giving flame of our new school here.”

M. Brodethky, President Hebrew University, Jerusalem:

“Our wishes (for) successful establishment International University which we hope will contribute the increase of knowledge and better understanding among nations.”

M. Bergman, Hebrew University:

“May this be milestone on way fulfilment Ideal unity Mankind.”

Dr. R. K. Yajnik, Director of Education, Saurashtra:

“This movement will gather momentum as it deals with the progress of human civilisation and perfection of man as man from within and without. Sri Aurobindo’s spoken and written words and the fountain-source of his magnetic personality will be an important bearing on the evolution of this International University. On my side I can assure you of my whole-hearted support in this great mission.”

S. G. Amin, Kenya:

“We find great reverence in wide unexpected circles and enthusiasm for international university.”

Dr. P. S. Naidu, University of Allahabad:

“I wish it were possible for me to go to the sacred Ashram and participate in the noble Function.

I am deeply moved by the sentiments which have prompted the calling of the Convention. You are aiming at bringing together men and women whose thought and action are ‘based on a knowledge higher than the intellect, and on capacities deriving their support from oneness with the Divine.’ We do need, and need most urgently, a dynamic Centre for spreading the consciousness of our oneness with the Divine. The ‘Sickle and Hammer’ cult is furiously spreading the doctrine of our oneness with the animal. And it is succeeding as it is easy to rouse up the animal in man. This doctrine has to be fought on all fronts. And the hollowness and tendentious pomposity of dialectical materialism has to be ruthlessly exposed. The University you are contemplating will, since it will be inspired by Sri Aurobindo’s ideals, give the death-blow to Communism and all that it stands for.”

Dr. K. C. Varadachari, Head of the Dept. of Philosophy, Sri Venkateshwara College, Tirupati:

“I deem it a great honour and call to service to participate in the important Convention at Pondicherry the results of which may be considered to be most important and epoch-making in the history of not only India but the world. The founding of an International University on the lines envisaged by Sri Aurobindo who is more and more clearly being recognised as the most magnificent thinker of the present Age and the Prophet of the future may rightly be the turning point of human history.”

*

A

B

C

D

[Photographs courtesy: Tara Jauhar and Anurag Banerjee]

*

The History of the Ashram School (Concluding Part) by Prof. Kittu Reddy

We shall now take up the period from 1968 to November 1973 when the Mother left Her body.

As already mentioned En Avant was started in December 1967. We still had the two separate sections En Avant and Vers La Perfection, functioning separately. However in December 1968, the two sections got united and we had one section called En Avant Vers La Perfection. In the first two years, the responsibility of running these sections were given to Tanmay, Amita and Kittu. Despite the two sections being united, they were still sitting in two separate blocks in the Eastern and Western parts respectively. One revealing incident happened at that time. I asked Mother through Pavitra-da whether we could start the classes in our part of the section also at 7-45 am with Mother’s music. She replied to Pavitra-da that She wanted to know why I wanted to start with Mother’s music. Do the students want it? Besides it should not become a ritual that we should start with Mother’s music wherever there is a Sri Aurobindo School. So I checked with the students and the majority wanted it. I then wrote a letter to Mother and She replied as follows:

1

Here is the English translation:

Sweet Mother,

Next year we would like to start cleaning the rooms of En Avant. This work will be done each morning by some teachers and students. We shall start at 6 in the morning and the work should be over by 6.45.

Many students and teachers have asked me if we could start the classes daily with Mother’s music. We are praying for Thy permission.

Thy child

Kittu

Mother’s answer:

That is good. Blessings
Mother

In 1970 it was decided to divide EAVP into six sections and give the charge of each section to a group of teachers. That system is still continuing today.

It will not be out of place to relate one interesting development that took place in 1967. Many teachers felt that during the last few years there was a marked lack of interest among the students to become more conscious of why they are here; one of the reasons could be that the Mother had stopped taking classes since 1958; after that the students had very little direct contact with Her. The teachers were concerned as to how to remedy this state of affairs. Therefore after a great deal of discussion among the teachers and Kireet-bhai, a proposal was made that a study project named “The Spiritual History of India” should be taken up; it was decided that all the teachers and students of the Secondary classes would get involved in it. An outline was prepared and was sent to the Mother for Her approval. After reading it, this is what She commented:

No! It won’t do. It is not to be done that way. You should begin with a big BANG! You were trying to show the continuity of history, with Sri Aurobindo as the outcome, the culmination. It is false entirely. Sri Aurobindo does not belong to history; he is outside and beyond history. Till the birth of Sri Aurobindo, religions and spiritualities were always centred on past figures, and they were showing as “the goal” the negation of life upon earth. So, you had a choice between two alternatives: either —a life in this world with its round of petty pleasures and pains, joys and sufferings, threatened by hell if you were not behaving properly, or —an escape into another world, heaven, nirvana, moksha… Between these two there is nothing much to choose, they are equally bad.

Sri Aurobindo has told us that this was a fundamental mistake which accounts for the weakness and degradation of India. Buddhism, Jainism, Illusionism were sufficient to sap all energy out of the country. True, India is the only place in the world which is still aware that something else than Matter exists. The other countries have quite forgotten it: Europe, America and elsewhere…. That is why she still has a message to preserve and deliver to the world. But at present she is splashing and floundering in the muddle. Sri Aurobindo has shown that the truth does not lie in running away from earthly life but in remaining in it, to transform it, divinise it, so that the Divine can manifest HERE, in this PHYSICAL WORLD. You should say all this at the first sitting. You should be square and frank… like that! (With her hands Mother makes a big square sign on the table.) Then, when this is told, strongly, squarely, and there is no doubt about it—and then only—you can go on and amuse them with the history of religions and religious or spiritual leaders. Then—and then only—you will be able to show the seed of weakness and falsehood that they have harboured and proclaimed. Then—and then only—you will be able to discern, from time to time, from place to place, an “intuition” that something else is possible; in the Vedas, for instance (the injunction to descend deep into the cave of the Panis); in the Tantras also… a little light is burning.

31 March 1967
(Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 12, On Education, pp 210-11)

After receiving Mother’s comments there was a discussion among the teachers in Kireet-bhai’s office; there were many differences of opinion as to what should be done. I wrote a letter to the Mother. The letter is reproduced below. I am giving first the English translation:

Sweet Mother

This Sunday Kireet read to us what you had said on the project “The Spiritual History of India”. Among the teachers there are differences of opinion as to what should be done now.

There are those who believe that we should abandon the project and that we should concentrate solely on Sri Aurobindo.

The other say that we should not abandon the project but we should insist first on Sri Aurobindo as you had wanted and then gradually introduce the other parts like the Vedas, Buddhism etc by stressing on what Sri Aurobindo had said on these topics.

We pray to you in this situation to tell us what you would like us to do.

Thy child

Kittu

The Mother picked out the second suggestion and wrote:

This is good. Blessings.
Mother

2
It was early in 1967 that I was approached by Sisir-da and Sanat-da to take charge of the History Board. I told them to refer the matter to Kireet-bhai who would refer it to the Mother. The Mother warmly approved of it and let me know this through Pavitra-da.

It was later in the year that the concept of Spiritual History of India was mooted. Regarding the project, The Spiritual History of India, I wrote another letter to the Mother; this letter was concerning the part that I was entrusted with two other teachers. I was to take up Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. One of the students in the group wrote a letter to Mother which prompted me to write to Mother a question.

Here is the letter to the Mother which I wrote and Her reply.

Kittu’s letter to Mother

We have started the project “The Spiritual History of India”. Priti, Ratna and myself are doing the part related to Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. There are 16 children who have joined the project and most of them are between the ages of 11 and 14. One of the students showed me a letter written by you to him, which says: “There is no harm in studying but their teachings have been surpassed; and to know the Truth it is safer to understand Sri Aurobindo’s teaching.

After reading this, the question that comes in front of me is: Is it really useful to speak to such young children about Ramakrishna and Vivekananda and is there not a risk in doing this? Will they be able to understand all this in the proper perspective even after it is explained to them? Personally, I have my hesitations, but we would like to know what you have to say on this.

3

4

Mother’s Answer

All studies or at least the greater part of studies consists in studying the past with the hope that this would make one understand better the present. But if one wants to avoid the danger that the students would get stuck to the past and refuse to see the future, one must take great care to explain to them that all that has happened in the past had the aim of preparing all that is happening now and all that is happening now is preparing the road to the future which is really the most important thing for which we have to prepare ourselves. It is by cultivating intuition that one prepares to live for the future.

5

6

7

8

9

In 1972 I organised an exhibition on Sri Aurobindo. Mother gave me her fullest support and the exhibition which was held from August 12 to 20 was a tremendous success; in fact Mother told Satprem that Sri Aurobindo was present in the hall during the Exhibition. I requested Mother to grant me permission to meet her to express my gratitude. She fixed 31 August at 10 am to meet her with André. After some initial talk about the exhibition, I told Mother that after coming in contact with the manuscripts of Sri Aurobindo which we had exhibited, I had fallen in love with them and would like to help in preserving them in the new department of the Archives. Mother asked me if I knew anything about the preservation of manuscripts and as I was preparing to answer, André intervened and said that I was very much needed in the school. Mother paused for a while and then said: “Kittu, my dear child, Kireet is often outside travelling and Tanmaya has gone to France; I count on you to do something for the school”. I replied: “Mother, I am already working in the administration of the school and also taking classes, what else do you want me to do?” Mother replied that André would tell me.

After a few days, André called me and told me that after a detailed discussion with Mother the following points were decided.

1. I was to take immediate charge of the Avenir section in the Flower Room. This section consisted of children from the age of 6 to 9. She wanted me to observe the classes and see whether even at that age there were some children who could be given some freedom. In fact, after Tanmay’s return from France in November, he was requested to go and pick out children who were ready to use the freedom. More about that later.

2. I was also told that after a year or so, I should do the same thing for the next higher group of classes from the age of 10-12. Mother was very clear in her mind that we should start choosing children right from the early stages who were to be the future leaders.

I started my work in dead earnest and many teachers of that section wrote letters to Mother and sent them through me; Mother sent the replies generally written by André and these were communicated to the teachers by me. Mother was not writing much at that time. André also met many of the teachers to get a first hand report of their views which he then conveyed to Mother.

I was also assigned an unpleasant task by Mother. Mother expressed her wish that a few teachers needed to be weeded out of the school and She asked André to find out how it could be done. When André stated the problem to me, I told André quite clearly that it was beyond me to do it, but since Mother wanted it to be done, I can make a suggestion. I proposed that I could meet the section heads and ask them to give a written report on the teachers they felt should to be removed with the reasons. I also told the section heads that these reports should be shown to the teachers concerned. After that they would give them to me and then I would show them to André; this was followed by a detailed discussion with the section heads. After he was fully satisfied, he would present them to Mother. Mother rapidly went through the reports and then took her decision. She decided that some teachers would be given a warning and a few others were asked to work in some other department. What is very clear is that Mother was taking a lot of interest in the School and trying to bring it on line to fulfil the ideals set before us.

In November André left for France and Tanmay returned from France; Kireet-bhai was also back in Pondicherry. Mother started meeting them for discussing matters relating to the School. This started in the end of November. In the first week of December I joined them in the meetings. The meetings were held with the Mother every alternate evening between 7 and 7.30. These meetings lasted till March 29th after which they were stopped as Mother started meeting very few persons. Tanmay recorded most of the talks with a small tape recorder and transcribed many of them which he passed on to Kireet-bhai and myself. I still have them with me. In all there were about 60 meetings with the Mother in four months. Evidently many areas of great importance regarding the School were covered, besides some other topics connected with the Ashram and even her physical transformation. Another point that needs to be noted was that Mother clearly indicated to Tanmay that all the tapes should be given to Satprem who would then decide what to publish.

I shall not give all the details of the talks that took place, but I shall highlight some of the points that emerged which are very relevant to the Centre of Education.

*

Before we move on to the next part dealing with the meetings with Mother, it is important to mention about another aspect of the project of The Spiritual History of India. Manoj Das Gupta wrote a letter to Mother regarding the project to which Mother replied with a long comment in a conversation with Satprem. We are reproducing the conversation below.

5 April 1967
(Mother writes a note.) It is an answer to a question. Do you know what I told the teachers of the school? I have been asked another question. Here is the beginning of my reply:

“The division between ‘ordinary life’ and ‘spiritual life‘ is an outdated antiquity.”

Did you read his question? Read it again to me.

“We discussed the future. It seemed to me that nearly all the teachers were eager to do something so that the children could become more conscious of why they are here. At that point I said that in my opinion, to speak to the children of spiritual things often has the opposite result, and that these words lose all their value.”

“Spiritual things” – what does he mean by spiritual things?

Obviously, if the teachers recite them like a story…

Spiritual things… They are taught history or spiritual things, they are taught science or spiritual things. That is the stupidity. In history, the Spirit is there; in science, the Spirit is there – the Truth is everywhere. And what is needed is not to teach it in a false way, but to teach it in a true way. They cannot get that into their heads.

He adds: “I have suggested that it might be better to meet and listen to Mother’s voice,1 for even if we don’t understand everything, your voice would accomplish its own inner work, which we are not in a position to evaluate. About this, I would like to know what is the best way of bringing the child into relation with you. For all the suggestions, including mine, seemed arbitrary to me and without any real value.

“Mother, wouldn’t it be better if the teachers were to concentrate solely on the subjects they are teaching, for you are taking care of the spiritual life?”

I shall give him this reply: There is no “spiritual life”! It is still the old idea, still the old idea of the sage, the sannyasin, the… who represents spiritual life, while all the others represent ordinary life – and it is not true, it is not true, it is not true at all.

If they still need an opposition between two things – for the poor mind doesn’t work if you don’t give it an opposition – if they need an opposition, let them take the opposition between Truth and Falsehood, it is a little better; I don’t say it is perfect, but it is a little better. So, in all things, Falsehood and Truth are mixed everywhere: in the so-called “spiritual life”, in sannyasins, in swamis, in those who think they represent the life divine on earth, all that – there also, there is a mixture of Falsehood and Truth.

It would be better not to make any division.

(Silence)

For the children, precisely because they are children, it would be best to instil in them the will to conquer the future, the will to always look ahead and to want to move on as swiftly as they can towards… what will be — but they should not drag with them the burden, the millstone of the whole oppressive weight of the past. It is only when we are very high in consciousness and knowledge that it is good to look behind to find the points where this future begins to show itself. When we can look at the whole picture, when we have a very global vision, it becomes interesting to know that what will be realised later on has already been announced beforehand, in the same way that Sri Aurobindo said that the divine life will manifest on earth, because it is already involved in the depths of Matter; from this standpoint it is interesting to look back or to look down below – not to know what happened, or to know what men have known: that is quite useless.

The children should be told: There are wonderful things to be manifested, prepare yourself to receive them. Then if they want something a little more concrete and easier to understand, you can tell them: Sri Aurobindo came to announce these things; when you are able to read him, you will understand. So this awakens the interest, the desire to learn.

I see very clearly the difficulty he is referring to: most people – and in all the things that are written, or in the lectures they give – use inflated speech, without any truth of personal experience, which has no effect, or rather a negative effect. That is what he is referring to.

Yes, that is why they should do as I have said.

Ah! But not so long ago, most of the teachers were saying, “Oh! But we must do this, because it is done everywhere.” (Smiling) They have already come a little distance. But there is much more to be covered.

But above all, what is most important is to eliminate these divisions. And every one of them, all of them have it in their minds: the division between leading a spiritual life and leading an ordinary life, having a spiritual consciousness and having an ordinary consciousness – there is only one consciousness.

In most people it is three-quarters asleep and distorted; in many it is still completely distorted. But what is needed, very simply, is not to leap from one consciousness into another, but to open one’s consciousness (upward gesture) and to fill it with vibrations of Truth, to bring it in harmony with what must be here – there it exists from all eternity – but here, what must be here: the “tomorrow” of the earth. If you weigh yourself down with a whole burden that you have to drag behind you, if you drag behind you everything that you must abandon, you will not be able to advance very fast.

Mind you, to know things from the earth’s past can be very interesting and very useful, but it must not be something that binds you or ties you to the past. If it is used as a spring-board, it is all right. But really, it is quite secondary.

(Silence)

It would be interesting to formulate or to elaborate a new method of teaching for children, to take them very young. It is easy when they are very young. We need people – oh! we would need remarkable teachers – who have, first, an ample enough documentation of what is known so as to be able to answer every question, and at the same time, at least the knowledge, if not the experience – the experience would be better – of the true intuitive intellectual attitude, and – naturally the capacity would be still more preferable – at least the knowledge that the true way of knowing is mental silence, an attentive silence turned towards the truer Consciousness, and the capacity to receive what comes from there. The best would be to have this capacity; at least, it should be explained that it is the true thing – a sort of demonstration – and that it works not only from the point of view of what must be learned, of the whole domain of knowledge, but also of the whole domain of what should be done: the capacity to receive the exact indication of how to do it; and as you go on, it changes into a very clear perception of what must be done, and a precise indication of when it must be done. At least the children, as soon as they have the capacity to think – it starts at the age of seven, but at about fourteen or fifteen it is very clear – the children should be given little indications at the age of seven, a complete explanation at fourteen, of how to do it, and that it is the only way to be in relation with the deeper truth of things, and that all the rest is a more or less clumsy mental approximation to something that can be known directly.

The conclusion is that the teachers themselves should at least have a sincere beginning of discipline and experience, that it is not a question of accumulating books and retelling them like this. One can’t be a teacher in this way; let the outside world be like that if it likes. We are not propagandists, we simply want to show what can be done and try to prove that it must be done.

When you take the children very young, it is wonderful. There is so little to do: it is enough to be.

Never make a mistake.

Never lose your temper.

Always understand.

And to know and see clearly why there has been this movement, why there has been this impulse, what is the inner constitution of the child, what is the thing to be strengthened and brought forward – this is the only thing to do; and to leave them, to leave them free to blossom; simply to give them the opportunity to see many things, to touch many things, to do as many things as possible. It is great fun. And above all, not to try to impose on them what you think you know.

Never scold them. Always understand, and if the child is ready, explain; if he is not ready for an explanation – if you are ready yourself – replace the false vibration by a true one. But this… this is to demand from the teachers a perfection which they rarely have.

But it would be very interesting to make a programme for the teachers and the true programme of study, from the very bottom – which is so plastic and which receives impressions so deeply. If they were given a few drops of truth when they are very young, they would blossom quite naturally as the being grows. It would be beautiful work.

(Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 12, pp 401-405)

We shall now take up the talks that we had with Mother for a period of four months from December 1972 to March 29, 1973. It will not be possible to give all the details of the conversations, but I will try to give the highlights and the key points that Mother stressed upon. As already reported earlier, Mother took a lot of interest in the running of the school and was keen that it should be brought up to the expected standard. The key points may be summed up as follows:

1. She wanted to introduce the free method of education from the earliest possible age. In fact She sent Tanmay to the Primary section Avenir (age 7 to 9) to select students who were ready for the gradual use of freedom.

2. She was insistent that in order to succeed in this endeavour, the most important requirement was that at least some teachers should be in contact with their psychic being, or at least make a serious effort to do so.

3. She also identified the obstacles that were blocking the progress of the school. They were first the attitude and the expectations of most parents and second the giving of certificates after they finished their studies; she felt that it was one of the main reasons for diluting the motives of the students.

4. She was clear in Her mind that many of the text books in the field of Humanities like History, Literature etc, should be rewritten in the light of Sri Aurobindo.

5. She was at a very sensitive stage of the transformation of her body and every dispute in the school or in the Ashram affected Her. She explained a mantra that She would repeat all the time.

All these points will be illustrated in the next article with quotations from Her conversations first in French and then in the English translation.

*

We shall now go into the details of the points mentioned at the end of the previous article.

1. The first point was Mother’s keenness to introduce the free system from the Primary section to those children who were ready; this was to be done in a graduated manner starting at the age of 7-9 in the section known as Avenir. Almost from the very beginning of December when the first interviews began, Mother wanted us to explore the possibility of finding out the children in the Primary section who were ready to use their freedom in the right way. As expected there was some resistance from some teachers and a lot more from parents; there were also some minor misunderstandings among the teachers. Some of them did write to Mother to explain their position; while Mother appreciated their goodwill, She was firm that this should be started and tried out on however small a scale. Consequently She sent Tanmay to identify these children and two or three were chosen with Mother’s approval. Here is an extract from the Mother’s talk:

Mother: En principe c’est les enfants qui devraient choisir….. parce que vous n’etes pas sure de ne pas vous tromper. En principe c’est les enfants qui … en tout cas, d’abord, on devrait dire aux enfants: “Voila il y a maintenant deux classes. Dans laquelle voulez-vous etre? S’ils disent: Ah! Nous ne savons pas… alors, ceux la, ca ne fait rien. Il peut y en avoir qui diront : “Oh! Nous voulons aller la.”

Tanmay: C’est ca.

Mother: Et alors, il faudrait que toi- toi, je veux dire Tanmaya – que tu voix ces enfants et que tu taches de faire sortir d’eux ce qu’il y a. Et alors après ca on decidera.

Here is the English translation.

Mother: In principle, it should be up to the children to choose… because you can’t be sure you are not mistaken.. In principle it’s up to the children who… Anyway, first of all, one should tell them:” There are now 2 classes. Which one do you want to attend?” If they say :” Ah! We don’t know….” Then for those, it doesn’t matter. There may be some who will say :” Oh! We want to go there!”

Tanmay: That’s it.

Mother: Then you should… you, – I mean Tanmaya-, you should see these children and try to bring out what there is deep inside them. .And after that we’ll decide.

It is obvious that Mother had a lot of confidence in Tanmay.

2. At the same time Mother was absolutely clear that for this to be successful the teachers or at least some of them must be in contact with their psychic being or at the least, it must be their chief preoccupation. This point is central to education in the Ashram school; it is the importance of discovering the psychic being particularly by the teachers; only then can they help students who have the possibility and the aspiration. On February 8th, Mother met six teachers, namely Kireetbhai, Tanmay, Paru, Arati, Jhumur and Kittu. She explained in some detail what She expected from us and also from the students. I am reproducing the conversation in French and the English translation.

Tanmaya: Quelle est la meilleure moyen de nous preparer pour faire un vrai progress dans le sens de ce que tu attends de nous.

Mother: Naturellement, c’est d’elargir et d’eclairer la conscience… mais comment faire! Votre proper conscience … l’elargir et l’eclairer. Et si vous pouvez trouver, chacun de vous, votre psychique et s’unir a lui, tous les problems seraient resolus.

L’etre psychique, c’est le representant du Divin dans l’etre humain. C’est ca, n’est-ce pas … le Divin n’est pas quelque chose de lointain et d’inaccessible. Le Divin est en vous mais vous n’en ’etes pas completement conscient. Vous avez plutot …ca agit maintenant comme une influence que comme une Presence. Il faut que ce soit une Presence consciente… que vous puissiez a tout moment .. vous demander quell est, comment le Divin voit . C’est comme ca – d’abord comment le Divin voit et puis comment le Divin veut et puis comment le Divin fait. Et ce n’est pas s’en aller dans des regions inaccessible , c’est ici meme. Seulement, pour le moment, toutes les vieilles habitudes et l’inconscience generale, mettent comme un sorte de couverture qui nous empeche de voir et de sentir. Il faut lever, il faut soulever ca.

Au fond il faut devenir des instruments conscients conscients, conscients du Divin.

D’habitude ca prend toute une vie,ou quelquefois , pour certains c’est plusieurs vies. Ici dans les conditions actuelles, vous pouvez le faire en quelques mois. Pour ceux qui sont, qui ont une aspiration ardente en quelques mois, ils peuvent le faire.

Here is the English translation:

Tanmay: What is the best way to prepare ourselves to make a real progress in the sense of what you are expecting from us?

Mother: Of course it is to widen and enlighten consciousness… but how to do that! Your own consciousness… expand it and enlighten it ; and if you could find, each one of you, your psychic being and unite with it, all the problems would be solved.

The psychic being represents the Divine in the human being…. It is…. The Divine is not something remote and out of reach..The Divine is in you but you are not completely aware of it.

You have rather… At present, it acts rather like an influence than like a Presence . It has to be a conscious Presence… that you can anytime… wonder what, how, the Divine sees. It is that way,— first how the Divine sees, and then how the Divine wants and finally how the Divine does. And it is not going to some inaccessible realms, it is right here. Only, for the moment, all the old habits and the general unconsciousness, put a kind of coating that keeps us from seeing and feeling. It must be shifted, removed.

Finally, one must become instruments, aware, aware, aware of the Divine.

Usually it takes a whole lifetime, or, for some people sometimes several lives. Here in the current conditions you could achieve it in few months. For those who have a fervent aspiration within a few months time, they can do it.

When She was asked whether we could give this as the aim for all the students, She replied:

Tanmay: Et Mère on peut donner ça comme objectif à tous les enfants?

Mother: Tous…non ! ils n’ont pas tous le meme âge…meme quand ils ont le meme âge physiquement. Il y a des enfants qui..qui sont primaires. Il faudrait…n’est-ce pas! si. vous étiez pleinement conscients de votre psychique vous sauriez les enfants qui. ont un psychique développé….il y a des enfants où le psychique… le psychique est seulement embryonnaire. L’âge du psychique n’est pas le meme, il s’en faut de beaucoup.

Normalement le psychique met plusieurs vies à se former complétement et c’est lui qui passe d’un corps dans un autre et c’est pour ça que nous ne sommes pas conscients de nos vies passées…. parce que nous ne sommes pas conscients de notre psychique… mais quelquefois il y a un moment où le psychique a participé à un évènement…il est devenu conscient et ça ça fait un souvenir. On a quelquefois…. on a .quelque fois un souvenir fragmentaire, le souvenir d’une circonstance ou d’un évènement, d’une pensée ou d’une action …comme ça … et c’est parce que le psychique était conscient.

Qu’est-ce que vous voulez…. Maintenant, je suis près de la centaine, n’ èst-ce Pas il s’en faut de cinq ans seulement j’ai commencé 1′effort pour devenir consciente à cinq ans, mon petit. Voilà.., c’est pour vous dire.., et je continue et ça continue. Seulement…naturellement, j’en suis venue faire le travail pour les cellules du corps, mais il y a longtemps que le travail est commencé.

C’est pas pour vous décourager…mais c’est pour vous dire que ça se fait pas comme ça !

Le corps…le corps est encore une matière qui est encore très lourde…et c’est la matière elle-meme qui doit changer pour que le supramental puisse se manifester.

Here is the English translation:

Tanmay: And Mother, can we give this as the aim for all the children?

Mother: All of them… No! they are not the same age… even when they are the same age physically… some children are …. primary. One should… If you were fully conscious of your psychic being you could tell which children have a developed psychic being. Some children only have an embryonic psychic being . The age of the psychic being is not the same as the physical age.

Normally, it takes several lives for the psychic being to take full shape and it is that which passes from one body to another and this is why we are not aware of our past lives…. because we are not conscious of our psychic being.. but sometimes the psychic being has been involved in an event …it has become aware and that creates a memory… one sometimes has a sketchy memory… the memory of a circumstance or an event or a thought or an action… like that and it’s because the psychic being was conscious at that time.

Now, of course I am close to the hundred or so, save five years… I started striving to become conscious when I was 5 years old, my child ..that’s just to say….and I carry on and it goes on…Only naturally I end up doing the work for the cells of the body, but the work began a very long time ago.
It is not to discourage you … but just to warn you it doesn’t get done by itself!

The body…the body is still very heavy matter… it‘s the matter itself that has to change so that the Supramental can emerge.

We are reproducing a note from the Mother on the qualities that a teacher must possess:

PERSONALITY TRAITS OF A SUCCESSFUL TEACHER

1. Complete self-control not only to the extent of not showing any anger, but remaining absolutely quiet and undisturbed under all circumstances.

2. In the matter of self-confidence, must also have a sense of the relativity of his importance. Above all, must have the knowledge that the teacher himself must always progress if he wants his students to progress, must not remain satisfied either with what he is or with what he knows.

3. Must not have any sense of essential superiority over his students nor preference or attachment whatsoever for one or another.

4. Must know that all are equal spiritually and instead of mere tolerance must have a global comprehension or understanding.

5. “The business of both parent and teacher is to enable and to help the child to educate himself, to develop his own intellectual, moral, aesthetic and practical capacities and to grow freely as an organic being, not to be kneaded and pressured into form like an inert plastic material.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle)

Never forget that to be a good teacher one has to abolish in oneself all egoism.

10 December 1959
(Collected Works of the Mother, Vol 12 p. 167)

She also identified the obstacles that were blocking the progress of the school. The first one was the attitude and the expectations of most parents and the second one was the giving of certificates after the students finished their studies; she felt that it was one of the main reasons for diluting the motives of the students.

Mother then asked Kireetbhai to write a note for the parents; Kireetbhai wrote that note which Mother appreciated and then it was sent to the parents. This note explained the work that was being done here and what was expected from the parents. It was an appeal to them to cooperate with the aims of the school.

Regarding the motivation of the students; Mother was keenly aware that the orientation of many students was towards getting jobs and success in the world. She felt after a few discussions that one of the main causes for this was the issuing of certificates after they completed the Higher course She therefore decided to stop giving certificates. She asked Kireetbhai to write a note announcing once more the statement that had been made earlier by the Mother herself as to why we do not give certificates and diplomas ; and in pursuance of that objective, the certificates would be stopped in a gradual fashion. Students who were already in the Higher course would be given their certificates; but students who would be entering the Higher course would be told clearly that they would not be given certificates. These students would have to decide whether they would like to continue studying here or whether they would leave and study outside in any other college or institution.

A meeting was called of all the students of the Higher course and the students who were in the last year of the Secondary course; Kireetbhai addressed them and they were informed of this decision and were asked to make their choice and inform the authorities well in time. It was absolutely clear that Mother wanted to encourage students to study for the sake of knowledge and not primarily for jobs or any other mundane reasons.

We are reproducing below a letter of the Mother which illustrates this.

Question: Why are no diplomas and certificates given to the students of the Centre of Education?

Mother: For the last hundred years or so mankind has been suffering from a disease which seems to be spreading more and more and which has reached a climax in our times; it is what we may call “utilitarianism”. People and things, circumstances and activities seem to be viewed and appreciated exclusively from this angle. Nothing has any value unless it is useful. Certainly something that is useful is better than something that is not. But first we must agree on what we describe as useful—useful to whom, to what, for what? For, more and more, the races who consider themselves civilised describe as useful whatever can attract, procure or produce money. Everything is judged and evaluated from a monetary angle. That is what I call utilitarianism. And this disease is highly contagious, for even children are not immune to it. At an age when they should be dreaming of beauty, greatness and perfection, dreams that may be too sublime for ordinary common sense, but which are nevertheless far superior to this dull good sense, children now dream of money and worry about how to earn it. So when they think of their studies, they think above all about what can be useful to them, so that later on when they grow up they can earn a lot of money. And the thing that becomes most important for them is to prepare themselves to pass examinations with success, for with diplomas, certificates and titles they will be able to find good positions and earn a lot of money. For them study has no other purpose, no other interest.

To learn for the sake of knowledge, to study in order to know the secrets of Nature and life, to educate oneself in order to grow in consciousness, to discipline oneself in order to become master of oneself, to overcome one’s weaknesses, incapacities and ignorance, to prepare oneself to advance in life towards a goal that is nobler and vaster, more generous and more true… they hardly give it a thought and consider it all very utopian. The only thing that matters is to be practical, to prepare themselves and learn how to earn money.

Children who are infected with this disease are out of place at the Centre of Education of the Ashram. And it is to make this quite clear to them that we do not prepare them for any official examination or competition and do not give them any diplomas or titles which they can use in the outside world. We want here only those who aspire for a higher and better life, who thirst for knowledge and perfection, who look forward eagerly to a future that will be more totally true. There is plenty of room in the world for all the others.

17 July 1960

(Collected Works of the Mother, Vol. 12 p. 352)

She also stressed that some of the text books in the field of Humanities (not of Science and Maths) should be written here by our own teachers or by the followers of Sri Aurobindo in that light. This conversation took place of 20th February 1973. She even suggested to me that I should write a book on Indian History in the light of Sri Aurobindo. She also emphasised that Her work depends to a certain extent on the success of this project. .When she asked me to write the book, I was very diffident about it, but since She asked me to do it, I decided to go ahead with it. I do not know why Mother chose me to write that book; probably it was because a few years earlier in early 1968, I had prepared a syllabus for the two highest classes of the secondary. It was shown to Mother who appreciated it. Here is the purpose of the syllabus:

Syllabus for EAVP

The purpose of this syllabus is to give to the students the necessary background information which will help them understand the books of Sri Aurobindo—The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity, and The Foundations of Indian Culture—when they go to the Higher Course. Ten topics have been selected for study in the Classes 5 & 6. All these topics have been extensively covered by Sri Aurobindo in these books. Each topic will be covered in a period of two months. I shall not go into the details of the syllabus, but it is sufficient to note that Mother was happy that these studies should be centred around Sri Aurobindo’s vision.

One day She spoke about the mantra She uses regularly. Here is the conversation:

Oui oui mais notre langage … j’allais te dire c’est une bonne idée « et je me suis attrappee par l’oreille au moment ou je me disais c’est pas une idee. Tu comprends c’est notre langage qui a la .. c’est comme une cloche qui est sur lui, une cloche mentale dont il ne veut pas se debarasser, vraiment c’est un moment difficile . Je crois qu’il faudrait etre tres tranquille , tres tranquille, tres tranquille. Je vais dire mon ancien mantra. Celui la tiens l’etre exterieure tres tranquille.

Aum Namo Bhagavate ces trois mots.

Pour moi, ils voulaient dire :

Om: J’implore le Seigneur Supreme.

Namo : obeisance a lui.

Bhagavate : rends moi divin.

C’est une traduction de ca, je veux dire. Tu as entendu.

Ca pour moi, ca a le pouvoir de calmer tout.

Below is the English translation:

Yes, yes but our language.. I was going to tell you it is a good idea and I caught myself by the ear right when I was saying to myself it is not an idea. You understand, it’s our language that has..It ‘s like a bell that is on him, a mental bell that he doesn’t want to get rid of, actually it is a difficult time. I believe one should have to be very very quiet,very quiet, very quiet.

I am going to chant my old mantra. This one keeps the outer being very quiet.

Aum Namo Bhagavate those three words.

To me they meant:

Om: I implore the Supreme Lord

Namo: obedience to Him

Bhagavate: make me divine.

It is a translation of that, I mean. You’ve heard.

That for me, has the power to pacify everything

I am adding a side note that took place during our talks. This is to dispel the impression that is currently widespread in some circles that Mother was against taking help from the Government of India.

Kireet went to Delhi twice during the period January-March 1973 for finalising grants given by the Government of India. On both occasions when he returned and met Mother, She was very happy to get the grants. Kireet also recounted how some of the senior officers were open to the educational philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. On one such occasion, She told Kireet that if Indira Gandhi asked for help, you should respond positively

In this series of articles, I have presented my interaction with the Mother both as a teacher and as one working in the administration of the school. Naturally it does not give a total view of the Mother’s educational philosophy. Still it does reveal certain very important components of the Mother’s vision. For Mother was just giving a body to the educational concepts of Sri Aurobindo. In a way of speaking, one might say that Mother tried to concretize and implement the educational philosophy of Sri Aurobindo on a small scale. We are quoting below an extract of the educational principles as laid down by Sri Aurobindo.

Sri Aurobindo on the three principles of Education

In teaching the first principle is that nothing can be taught. The teacher is not an instructor or taskmaster, he is a helper and a guide. His business is to suggest and not to impose. He does not actually train the pupil’s mind; he only shows him how to perfect his instruments of knowledge and helps and encourages him in the process. He does not impose knowledge to him; he only shows him how to acquire knowledge for himself. He does not call forth the knowledge that is within; he only shows him where it lies and how it can be habituated to rise to the surface.

The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in his growth. The idea of hammering the child into the shape desired by the parent or teacher is a barbarous and ignorant superstition. It is he himself who must be induced to expand in accordance with his own nature. There can be no greater error than for the parent to arrange beforehand that his son shall develop particular qualities, capacities, ideas, virtues, or be prepared for a prearranged career. To force the nature to abandon its own dharma is to do it permanent harm, mutilate its growth and deface its perfection. It is a selfish tyranny over a human soul and a wound to the nation, which loses the benefit of the best that a man could have given it and is forced to accept instead something imperfect and artificial, second-rate, perfunctory and common. Everyone has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere, which God offers him to take or refuse. The task is to find it, develop and use it.

The third principle of education is to work from the near to the far, from that which is to that which shall be. The basis of a man’s nature is almost always, in addition to his soul’s past, his heredity, his surroundings, his nationality, his country, the soil from which he draws sustenance, the air which he breathes, the sights, sounds, habits to which he is accustomed. They mould him not the less powerfully because insensibly, and from that then we must begin. We must not take up the nature by the roots from the earth in which it must grow or surround the mind with images and ideas of a life, which is alien to that in which it must physically move. If anything has to be brought in from outside, it must be offered, not forced on the mind. A free and natural growth is the condition of genuine development.

The question that arises is whether we—the followers of Sri Aurobindo, the government of India and humanity—are ready both physically and psychologically to implement this; for this demands a radical shift in the aims, goals and policy of education. But whether we are ready or not, it is always desirable to keep the ideal in front of our consciousness so that sooner or later the attempt to change will begin in real earnest.

It will be a great step forward if the governments started at least considering these ideas and then initiate the changes in a gradual manner.

To conclude, the points that Mother stressed for our education were:

1. Introduce the free system as early as possible to prepare the children for a free growth and flowering

2. Take the parents into confidence and make them understand the goals and methods of the new educational system. Their cooperation is indispensable.

3. Replace the utilitarian motivation by a higher motivation of seeking for knowledge and fulfilling one’ swadharma. This does not mean that education must not be useful; on the contrary it is most useful when one is true to oneself.

4. Rewrite the text books in the light of the true and deeper Indianness and in the light of Sri Aurobindo. This is applicable for India. For other nations, the text books must reflect their deepest inner being.

5. The evaluation system prevailing now, based on exams does not give a complete picture of the student; it must be much more broad- based and take the whole personality into account.

6. Teachers must try to develop the personality traits already mentioned in this article. Ultimately they must try to come in contact with their psychic being. A teacher must be a living example.

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About the Author: Kittu Reddy was born on 2 July 1936 in the district of Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. His father Narayan Reddy was one of the members of the Swaraj Party founded by Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das and his uncle Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was the sixth President of India. At the age of five he was brought to Sri Aurobindo Ashram by his parents. After graduating from Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education in 1957, he joined the very Centre as a teacher in 1958. After teaching the students at the school level for a decade he began to take classes at the Higher Course (college level) of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education from 1968. His areas of specialization are History, Political Science, Social Science and The Foundations of Indian Culture. He was also involved in the administration of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education from 1958 to 1976. In 1987 he came in contact with the Indian Army and has been giving talks and conducting workshops on Motivation, Leadership and the Mission of India for the armed forces at various training centres in India. At the request of General B.C. Joshi (the then Chief of Indian Army), he shifted to New Delhi in 1994 for two years to help the former in his work. He was appointed Advisor to the organization named Army Welfare Education Society which looks after the Army Schools. He was also entrusted with the task of penning capsules for the training institutions of the Indian Army right from the stage of induction to the rank of senior officers with the purpose of introducing spirituality as a factor of motivation. At present he is a Founder-Member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Army Welfare Education Society. He has also worked with General Shankar Roy Chowdhury after the demise of General B.C. Joshi. In 1995 he visited the United States of America and England. In England he addressed the Royal College of Defence Studies. In November 2006 he was invited by the Indian Army to its Headquarters at New Delhi for a discussion on stress management and tackling problems of suicide and fratricide. In 2006 he visited Sweden and gave a few talks at the Indo-Swedish Association and the National Defence College in Stockholm. He has also delivered several lectures at Jadavpur University and Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture on Social Science and World Unity, Education in India and various allied topics. He has also organized workshops for NIIT on stress management. Presently he is working with the Indian Army on Morals and Ethics. He has contributed a number of articles to prestigious French journals on the problems of World Unity and psychological development on spiritual lines. He has authored the following books: Bravest of the Brave, Kargil: The Manifestation of a Deeper Problem, Secularism, Religion and Spirituality, History of India—A New Approach and A Vision of United India—Problems and Solutions.

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R.Y. Deshpande’s new book “A Look at the Symbol Dawn: Observations—Comments—Discussions”

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that R.Y. Deshpande’s new book A Look at the Symbol Dawn: Observations—Comments—Discussions is now available at Overman Foundation.

A look at the symbol dawn--cover

Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri opens with the Symbol Dawn and immediately in the first two sentences poses the problem of this creation. It says that the Gods are not yet awake and that the mind of Night is standing in the way of the divine Event. The divine Event is the manifestation of a new creation upon earth, manifestation in the mortal world. If that is to happen then the mind of Night should be first dislodged from the path.

But how? The book answers this question.

Comprising 400 pages, A Look at the Symbol Dawn: Observations—Comments—Discussions is available at a price of Rs. 400 (Four Hundred) only.

To place an order for A Look at the Symbol Dawn: Observations—Comments—Discussions, please write to the following email address:

overmanfoundation@gmail.com

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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