Metaphysics, music and meditation set the stage for Aurobindo sesquicentennial finale

The “Music and Moonlight” session featured Adit Ravi on flute and Manosh Bardan on tabla in Auroville as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations of Sri Aurobindo.

The “Music and Moonlight” session featured Adit Ravi on flute and Manosh Bardan on tabla in Auroville as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations of Sri Aurobindo. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

From colloquies on metaphysics to meditation, music and art shows, a series of events led by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville is setting up the finale for the year-long sesquicentennial celebrations of Sri Aurobindo, which coincides with the 75th Independence anniversary on August 15. The Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS), which has been hosting a series of lectures, will be premiering a documentary on Sri Aurobindo on the occasion, said Beloo Mehra at SAS. Titled ‘The Transformation’ in English and ‘Naya Janma’ in Hindi, the 54-minute film was a joint effort of SAS and the Kolkata Sukriti Foundation. At Auroville’s Savitri Bhavan, old-timers and prominent figures from outside, have featured in a lecture series, ‘Invocation: The Gnostic Festival’. In one of the recent talks, Radhika Khanna, head, Department of Electronic Media and Mass Communication, Pondicherry University, presented excerpts from some thoughts on Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga to highlight their transformative power. Ms. Khanna pointed to passages from Sri Aurobindo’s writings on the nature of the “divine Shakti as the timeless power of the Divine which manifests as a universal force apparent to us first on the lower levels of existence” to explain why it was necessary “for our sadhana that we should thoroughly realise this truth in order to escape from the pressure of the limiting ego view and universalise ourselves even on these lower levels where ordinarily the ego reigns in full force...” “Once we reach the stage of understanding that all mankind is one, then it is possible to achieve the goal of human unity in spite of any differences we may face on the mental, vital or physical planes”, she said. In fact, on the limitations of classical psychoanalytical theory vis a vis the yogic understanding of the nature of consciousness, Sri Aurobindo has stated: “The superconscient, not the subconscient, is the true foundation of things. The significance of the lotus is not to be found by analysing the secrets of the mud from which it grows here; its secret is to be found in the heavenly archetype of the lotus that blooms for ever in the Light above… you must know the whole before you can know the part and the highest before you can truly understand the lowest.” The ‘Invocation’ series — that are being live-streamed via Auroville RadioTv channel on YouTube — also had Nayana G. Zaveri, who came to the Ashram as a teen with her father in 1957 and from 1963 to 1988 was put in charge of Sri Aurobindo Society’s Guest House directly under the Mother, Elia, from Kashmir, then known as Nirmala who came to the Ashram in 1968, and her daughter Anjali, Anu Majumdar, writer and Pierre Legrand, artist and Aravindan Neelakandan, writer. Apart from the ‘Music and Moonlight’ event that featured Adit Ravi (flute) and Manosh Bardan (tabla), a stage show by composer Gangai Amaran, ‘Yodhayanam’, a kalaripayattu performance by Kalarigram and folk dance by Usha and team were part of the events. An ‘Art for Land’ exhibition that put on sale 160 paintings at Unity Pavilion to raise funds for acquiring lands for the township to support the ‘Acres of Auroville Land’ campaign, an ‘Om choir’ and satsang led by Narad, and a ‘sound bath’ immersive event led by Svaram were highlights. A documentary, ‘From the Iliad to Ilion,’ created by an Auroville team to commemorate Sri Aurobindo, and the dedication of a 150-inch tall portrait commemorated the occasion. Maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia’s flute recital has been scheduled for on I-Day eve at Bharat Nivas. The only jarring note in this once-in-a-lifetime celebratory moment in Auroville is the despondency among a section of residents that feels ‘silenced and sidelined’ in the wake of a bitter conflict with township governors over the manner of realising the City of Dawn as envisioned by its founder, The Mother. A call has gone out to the community to assemble for an emergency meeting at Kalabhumi on Saturday to deliberate on the situation in Auroville, the consequences of inaction from residents over the “usurping of self governance rights” and to decide the next collective move.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 1:32:17 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/metaphysics-music-and-meditation-set-the-stage-for-aurobindo-sesquicentennial-finale/article65761868.ece