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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Individuals need and are seeking a deeper personal understanding of the spiritual dimension

International Congress in Auroville, 5-8 January 2010 "Spirituality beyond Religions" A New Path to a Universal Cultural Dialogue

There is an emergent trend worldwide to explore the integral momentum of spirituality. There is a growing awareness that although religious traditions continue to support ethical values, individuals need and are seeking a deeper personal understanding of the spiritual dimension. There is an urgent need to account for an experience of transcendence that is inherent in the universal human potential referred to as “spiritual".

The Enlightenment (Aufklärung) in the West, which founded the high ideal of political and social freedom for individuals in society, should now be combined with the perennial enlightenment as taught in the East to guarantee the spiritual freedom of the human being and promote the suitable evolutionary structures to support this. Social realty proves that it is no longer possible or workable now for a state or religious organisation to impose ethical values on a society -practical wisdom is still a universally warrantable reference, but ethical systems based on a merely intellectual, rational footing have been found wanting; they are too limited for the developed evolutionary life-force humankind has grown into and are impotent to stop the new flows of knowledge opening up in many human beings through means that are often unorthodox and that reason flounders to classify - or support. To come up with the ethical convictions of the future, which will be the foundations on which to build new kinds of society, we need an open cultural dialogue which prioritises experiential knowledge of the spiritual essence of the human being, of humanity as a whole, and of the cosmos. A trans-denominational, interreligious study of religious traditions reveals that they have at least one message in common which is considered by their respective mystics to be of primary importance: the self-transcending capacity of human nature to open to the Divine, as experienced in meditative and contemplative practices. A commitment by all nations to a secular integral spirituality could help open up this cultural dialogue.

A secular integral spirituality would respect the content of all religious traditions while seeing each as a part of a greater whole. It would thus accept their existence but seek to harmonise them through digging deep to find their common meeting places. It would thereby provide individuals with a foothold to transcend all limiting religious forms without having to lose access to their spiritual essence. This approach would also have the advantage of developing a spirituality that avoids exclusivist viewpoints, which engender fundamentalist attitudes and hatred. This is a practical solution which Mankind, in the midst of the diversity of its individual realisations, now calls for - the recognition of a living spirituality beyond religions, East and West.

"There is a common hope, a common destiny, both spiritual and material, for both (East and West) are needed as co-workers. … There has been a tendency in some minds to dwell on a spirituality or mysticism of the East and materialism of the West; but the West has had no less than the East its spiritual seekings and, though not in such profusion, its saints and sages and mystics, the East has had its materialistic tendencies, its material splendours, its similar or identical dealings with life and Matter and the world in which we live." Sri Aurobindo, On Himself, SABCL 26:414.

We are planning an international congress on "Spirituality beyond Religions" in the international township of Auroville in Southern India (www.auroville.org). Auroville has been supported from its very inception in1968 by the UNESCO with four resolutions as a 'laboratory of mankind', a 'learning society" (1983) and in October last year Auroville celebrated her 40th birthday at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The name Auroville refers to the rise of a new mankind, the City of Dawn (Ville de l'Aurore) and to the Indian sage, poet and philosopher Sri Aurobindo. The international township was brought into existence by Mirra Alfassa, a French artist and visionary whom Sri Aurobindo called "the Mother" as she joined him in Pondicherry. In 1954 she had a vision: "A Dream", and founded Auroville in 1968, "to realize human unity”. In 1969 The Mother had asked the architect of Auroville, Roger Anger, to go to the UNESCO in Paris and plead for the creation of a “University of Human Unity" which would be the key for the existence of Auroville (la clé de la raison d'être d'Auroville).

In November 2006 we started the University of Human Unity Project (www.universityofhumanunity.org, click on what is UHU, then: Introduction). The “University of Human Unity" is meant to be a place of international dialogue on Human Unity, on Eastern and Western philosophy and psychology as well as scientific studies. The UHU is part of a strong community of research in Auroville, the Centre of International Research in Human Unity (CIRHU), the Laboratory of Evolution ...

The interreligious dialogue is one of the major intellectual and cultural challenges for this millennium. The Mother had said:

"All religions will be studied in Auroville", emphasizing the spiritual teaching: "You must not confuse a religious teaching with a spiritual one. Religious teaching belongs to the past and halts progress. Spiritual teaching is the teaching of the future – it illumines the consciousness and prepares it for the future realization. Spiritual teaching is above religions and strives towards global Truth. It teaches to enter into direct relations with the Divine." (On Education, CWM, 12:319).

Auroville's mission is to realize human unity and to advance the spiritual progress of humanity. In his book on the "Ideal of Human Unity", Sri Aurobindo wrote:

“A spiritual religion of humanity is the hope of the future. By this is not meant what is ordinarily called a universal religion, a system, a thing of creed and intellectual belief and dogma and outward rite. Mankind has tried unity by that means; it has failed and deserved to fail, because there can be no universal religious system, one in mental creed and vital form. The inner spirit is indeed one, but more than any other the spiritual life insists on freedom and variation in its selfexpression and means of development. A religion of humanity means the growing realisation that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality, in which we are all one, that humanity is its highest present vehicle unearth, that the human race and the human being are the means by which it will progressively reveal itself here. It implies a growing attempt to live out this knowledge and bring about a kingdom of this divine Spirit upon earth". Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, CWSA Volume 25, pp.577-8. Written between 1915 and 1918; revised in the 30s and in1949.

We plan the International Congress on "Spirituality beyond Religions" for January 2010, Tuesday 5th to Friday 8th. Welcoming and respecting the spiritualities deriving from all religions, the word beyond is meant here in the sense of above: "Spiritual teaching is above religions" (The Mother, cf. above).It is about the universal dimension of spirituality that the mystics of all religions and ages agree upon...As an event of the "University of Human Unity" – a project that as early as in 1969 the United Nations invited the UNESCO to establish in Auroville, with the cooperation of the Centre of International Research in Human Unity (CIRHU), the UNESCO Transdisciplianary Chair "Human Development and Culture of Peace” at the University of Florence and The Californian Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco (CIIS) – this International Congress endeavours to provide an open forum for a process of transformative practices and discussions in the field of philosophy, psychology, religious studies, spirituality and healing arts, sacred music, to study the idea of a secular spirituality from different perspectives.

Workshops, conferences, panels and seminars will provide the arena for a creative, participatory research process. This mail is to welcome you to this Congress with your innovative ideas and papers, inviting you as well to contemplate possibilities of facilitating connections with foundations for donations/grants. Auroville is a non-profit organization. We will be happy to meet with you in Auroville in January 2010! Cordially, Rudy (co-organizing the event – rudolf_schmitz-perrin_phd@hotmail.com)

Friday, June 26, 2009

You are for me a man of the Franco-Indian renaissance

Ishâni (catherine) MUKHERJEE requests the pleasure of your company at the award ceremony of the insignia of the CHEVALIER DANS L’ORDRE DES ARTS ET DES LETTRES
BY THE MINISTER OF CULTURE & COMMUNICATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF FRANCE
To PRITHWINDRA MUKHERJEE
in presence of Sm Bhaswati Mukherjee, Ambassador of India at unesco,
Jacques Attali, Bikas sanyal & gérard pedraglio
The ceremony will take place at 6.00 p.m. on 24 june 2009 at the salle indira Gandhi, Maison de l’inde 7 boulevard jourdan, 75014 paris

from Prithwin Mukherjee prithwin.mukherjee@gmail.com to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 26 Jun 2009 20:13 subject hello! Bhâi Tusar,

I had chosen the 24th June for the ceremony of my award, paying thus tribute the centenary of my father Tejendranath's birth.
The President of the event had to be out of station on official mission and had come home to explain to me the situation and to give a DVD recording of his message for the audience. I am reproducing an English translation.
Warm regards.
Prithwindra

JACQUES ATTALI (DVD message) Homage.
Well, dear Prithwin, it is really with a great sorrow that I am not among you today, but this is the occasion for me to tell you in a lasting manner – since this DVD will remain – my gratitude for the help you have been to me, in pondering with me on Indian history and by allowing me to understand it and, to tell you as well how much it was for me an occasion to discover the extraordinary person you are.

You are for me a man of the Franco-Indian renaissance. Renaissance because, in the sense of men of the Renaissance, you have an exceptional culture, in literature, in philosophy and of course in music, not only pertaining to the French world, not only to the Indian world, but to the totality of universal culture and you can build such bridges that few people are capable of.

And also the Franco-Indian Renaissance because you incarnate this renewal of relations so necessary between France and India, which are not restricted only to relationship of economics, but which will be increasingly relationship of cultural exchanges, of reciprocal fertilisation, of common fecundation to search into the sources of our music, into the sources of our philosophy, into the sources of our politics, into the sources of our revolutions – wherein you family and your grand-father constitute one of the essential axes of history -, a seed for a better future in which India and France will be the essential actors.
Thanks for everything.
Jacques ATTALI

The Ceremony
It all began on the 24th evening with a DVD message from the President of the ceremony, Dr Jacques Attali, who had to leave on mission and who had come home to give me a recorded tribute for the public. There were about 200 guests, according to the Indian Caterer-in-Charge. As soon as the French text is translated, I shall send you a copy (unless you want the original). Eminent succeeding speakers were: Swami Veetamohananda (President of The Vedanta Centre in France), H.E. Ranjan Mathai (India's Ambassador), Henri Dutilleux (Senior-most Western composer, running 94), Professor Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat (French Academy), Dr Bikas Sanyal (Director of the Maison de l'Inde) and Gérard Pédraglio (representing the Government).

Tribute to the centenary

After bestowing on me the award, GP gave me the microphone; my speech lasted about 20 minutes. It was followed by a song I composed in French for the occasion and beautifully interpreted by Florian Westphal (a well-known opera singer), an item of African drums by my assistant (a professor of music) and, and my patriotic song in Hindi, mâ tujhé bulâtî hain, was interpreted by Bittoo, a young Punjabi singer, with my own orchestration on the computer. It was followed by a grand-scale Indian buffet. Above all, the wakeful and devoted omnipresence of Shrimati Priti Sanyal, Attachée Culturelle of the Maison de l'Inde, added more than an official touch to the preparation and elaboration of the ceremony. Thanks for such a rare gift. My wife offered me the Golden Book with messages from Pandit Ravi Shankar and other personalities. Togo intends to bring it out as a book; in that case, you will receive a copy, of course.

A message from Shri Deepak Mathur, retired engineer in Dassault aviation :
Dear Prithwindra, Again CONGRATULATIONS on this well deserved honour which was bestowed upon you yesterday. It was a pleasure to be a witness to this event and hear your well delivered speech full of emotions and experiences of your life. You have accomplished a journey which has revealed to you so many facets of this worldly existence. The different episodes of your life related during the ceremony by your admirers highlighted your determined efforts to contribute something useful to the benefit of mankind.

If I may say so, you excel in painting the picture with your beautiful command over the languages! Your work should still go on in the field of literature, art and music. On the musical side we have had several occasions to seek your precious advice. I will end now with warm regards to you, Ishani and your family. Deepak.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The One Mind links us in common thought

Mark David Gerson has left a new comment on your post "Intuitably the synaptic is musical, replete with s...": "The muse is the living voice, as each of us experiences it, of intuition."

Beautiful...and very much the theme of my book, The Voice of the Muse; Answering the Call to Write. So wonderful when the One Mind links us in common thought, even though separated by thousands of miles.

Mark David Gerson, author The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write Posted by Mark David Gerson to Musepaper at 9:53 PM, June 11, 2009

At the newly constructed Samadhi, she experienced the ‘living presence’ of Sri Aurobindo

“I am with you”: A Review
By Anurag Banerjee

We often read books penned by intellectuals and we sometimes glance through the works of the pseudo-intellectuals as well but rarely do we come across the works of true souls, of people who consecrate all they have to the Divine. Such children of the Divine do not always express or reveal their inner experiences to the world; it is only when we look into their eyes that we understand which level of consciousness do they reside in. But there are some who, fortunately for us, reveal their inner experiences and cite personal incidents to show how the Divine Grace works in our day-to-day life and activities. One such person—a true child of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother—is Kailas Jhaveri who has gifted to us a mind-boggling book titled “I am with you” in two volumes.

Born on 11 June 1926, Kailas Jhaveri took her B.A. (Honours) and M.A. in philosophy from the university of Bombay. As a student of Elphinstone College she was introduced to the works of Sri Aurobindo, who would become the supreme master of her life as he represented the ‘Supreme Consciousness’ and the ‘Future in the making’, by Dr. J.N. Chubb.

She arrived in Pondicherry on 9th December 1950, just four days after the passing away of the Yugavatar and at the newly constructed Samadhi of the departed sage, she experienced the ‘living presence’ of Sri Aurobindo and received the assurance from him that he would be with her ‘in every ebb and perilous tide.’ Kailas Jhaveri migrated to the United States of America in the 1950s where she worked at the U.N.O. and also took courses for Ph.D in International Organization and International Relations but in due course of time she was disillusioned by the way U.N.O. was functioning and she left U.S.A. and came to Pondicherry in August 1964 to spend the rest of her life at the lotus feet of the Mother whom she had met during her first visit to the Ashram in December 1950 and with whom she had kept a regular correspondence and a deep, inner and living contact.

  • The first part of “I am with you”, which has been published in the form of a booklet, deals with the story of how Kailas Jhaveri came to the Ashram;
  • the second part portrays her life with the Mother and her association with Sri Aurobindo Society, Auroville, Unesco and Madras Institute of Development Studies while
  • the third part illustrates her life after the physical departure of the Mother and it also includes a record of her travels and works in the various parts of America, Canada, Europe and India.

This book is not a mere autobiography. It is the story of the journey of a living soul penned by the living soul herself in the simplest of language. Each and every word conveys her deep love for the Mother whom she considered her “All in all.” One might ponder:

  • why did the author decide to include her spiritual experiences she has been blessed with in her autobiography?
  • Is it not rather personal? But hasn’t M.P. Pandit said that nothing is personal for a sadhak?

Let’s read what Kailas Jhaveri has to say about this query:

‘…I cannot help but sing aloud the Grace and the Glory of Their living Presence and Help at each moment of my life through all its vicissitudes and share the bliss I experience.’

She has explained the difficulties she had to face as a sadhika and how she conquered them by the Grace of the Mother. The ‘help’ Sri Aurobindo had assured to her was always present to guide her on the path of her sadhana and then there was the presence of the Mother who made her spiritual foundation as solid as a rock and lifted up her consciousness to higher levels and transformed her difficulties into avenues of progress and growth. The book is a testimony which proves that whatever occurs in one’s life is, in fact, an act of grace. Let’s not forget what the Mother has said with reference to this context:

‘When in your life, you meet with hardship, take it as a grace from the Lord, and indeed it will become so.’

Let’s also read what Kailas Jhaveri writes of her hardships:

‘I churn and churn within and without till I come to grips with the forces involved and finding the truth behind, harmonise all movements within. One must never be afraid to search, to discover, to reject, to rebuild—to go through error and pain so that one may know the truth and the delight it veils. One must be prepared to go through hell so that it too may bear the footprints of heave and know its bliss.’ (p. 179)

Thus, her journey of the inner worlds commenced and it went on till the vision of her soul stood victorious.

After the Mother left her physical body on 17 November 1973, her physical absence was acutely felt by all but Kailas Jhaveri tells us that she can still feel the Mother who has provided her with everything that was required for her integral and spiritual progress and she writes:

‘For me, She is concretely present with Her benign smile the minute I utter Her name or even think of Her…I am sure anyone who loves and adores Her and seeks Her guidance can always contact Her as the universal and transcendental Mother. For, She is still in the subtle physical atmosphere for anyone throughout the world to reach out to, just as Sri Aurobindo is present and can be contacted. In truth, She is always seated in our heart.’ (p. 389)

As an able instrument of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Kailas Jhaveri has spread their message across the world and has inspired many a seeker to come to the Path. But she claims that she has not achieved anything by her own effort and the effort itself was inspired by ‘the Supreme Mother and the Lord’ and she adds:

‘They are the effective Force working behind the scene.’ And she has called herself ‘a tiny drop that has, by Their Grace, learned to experience the bliss of living in the vastness of the limitless luminous ocean of Their Light, Love, Glory and Splendour.’

The practitioners of the Integral Yoga are deeply indebted to Kailas Jhaveri for gifting this treasure house of realizations and experiences to them. Reading the book is like drinking nectar in a golden cup and that too from the hands of the one whose very touch makes the nectar sweeter. This book is an assurance for all those who were born after the physical departure of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as it assures that when one accepts Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, they in turn take the charge of his life and sadhana and leads him to Light from Darkness. And Kailas Jhaveri informs us:

‘I am certain that every child of Hers has received and is capable of receiving even more that what I have received from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.’

The book also contains valuable correspondence Kailas Jhaveri had with the Mother along with some of her illuminating articles on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. It should be read by all those aspirants who want to make considerable progress in the path of sadhana. “I am with you” comes from the pen of a living soul and it indeed touches the soul.

*

Born on 13 October 1984, Anurag Banerjee is an essayist, biographer, poet and researcher. His first book, Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey was published in December 2006. He wrote the biography of Dilip Kumar Roy at the age of twenty in 2005 and translated 100 poems of Sri Aurobindo into Bengali at the age of twenty-one in 2006. His published works include Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey (2006), Achinpather Dibyapathik (2008), and Debotar Shrom (2008).
Amal Kiran on the Mind of Light
André Morisset
Arjava
Aspects of Amal Kiran
Attaining immortality
Avatarhood
Datta (Dorothy Mary Hodgson)
Dilip Kumar Roy
Dr. Govindo Gopal Mukhopadhyay
Krishna Chakravarti
Nirmal Singh Nahar on Satprem and Sujata
Nirodbaran, Amal Kiran and Udar Pinto vis-à-vis Satprem
Nishtha
Pournaprema
Prithwi Singh Nahar
Rijuta (Patricia Noonan)
Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Place
Suresh Chandra Chakravorty (Moni)
Udar

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

School of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Studies (SOITS)

International Centre for Integral Studies ICISForumsSite news ► POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATE COURSES BEGINNING 7TH AUGUST 2009

POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATE COURSES BEGINNING 7TH AUGUST 2009
by Anuradha Agrawal - Tuesday, 2 June 2009, 11:50 PM
The Postgraduate Certificate Courses in Applied Integral Studies are offered ONLINE by ICIS, in collaboration with IGNOU, under the School of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Studies (SOITS).
The students can accumulate credits towards a PG Diploma (24 Credits) or a Masters (66 Credits) in Applied Integral Studies, through these courses which are 6 to 10 credits each.
Courses beginning 7th August, 2009:

PARADIGMS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE: A HISTORICAL & CROSS CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
Facilitator: Suneet Varma, PhD
Credits: 8 Duration: 150 days
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE VEDAS IN THE LIGHT OF SRI AUROBINDO
Facilitator: Vladimir Yatsenko
Credits: 8 Duration: 150 days
FOUNDATIONS OF GROWTH OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Facilitator: Ameeta Mehra Credits: 8 Duration: 150 days
AN INTRODUCTION TO INTEGRAL STUDIES: KEY IDEAS FROM THE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO & THE MOTHER
Facilitator: Monica Gupta Credits: 6 Duration: 120 days
For Application form & Details - as well as Enquiries, e-mail to: admin@integralstudiescentre.org ; ameetamehra@hotmail.com . Call: +91-9811066667, 9810052545, 9810515693

Introduction Faculty Courses Activities Feedback School Board Contact us
E-mail: soitds@ignou.ac.in Programmes on Offer
i) Ph.D. Sri Aurobindo Studies ii) Integrated Ph.D Progamme in Physics & Astrophysics (with IIA, Bangalore) iii) M.Phil in Sri Aurobindo Studiesiv) M.A. in Sri Aurobindo Studies v) PG Diploma in Studies in Indian Culturevi) PG Diploma in Integral Educationvii) Certificate Programme: Introduction to Sri Aurobindo Studies
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
Application Forms & Prospectus

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Margaret Woodrow Wilson was far ahead of her time

2 Responses to “Margaret Woodrow Wilson was given the name of Nishtha by Sri Aurobindo” 1 Mary Achor June 3, 2009 at 3:38 am I am one of the authors of “All the Presidents’ Children,” by Doug Wead.

When I started researching Margaret, all I could find was that she was “squirrely” and had gone to a guru named “Sri Abobimbo.” Fortunately, I have enough spiritual training to know who was in Pondicherry! The research on her was absolutely fascinating, and she remains my favorite presidential child. She was a woman far, far ahead of her time. (I think we are the first history book to actually give Margaret her due.)

2 Mary Achor June 3, 2009 at 3:40 am
I forgot to let you know that more information about Margaret Woodrow Wilson and other presidential children is available at http://upstairsatthewhitehouse.com/