Tag Archives: Pondicherry

Energy but it is not my energy

These are the reminiscences of an Aurovillian named Roy who came to India in the 1970s.  The article was posted earlier on Savitri Era Devotees and Afforestation Auroville blogs.

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Xu Fancheng (徐梵澄) : a Chinese disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Xu Fancheng (Chinese: 徐梵澄) was born in Changsha, Hunan province, on 26th October 1909. As a child he studied classical Chinese. In 1929 he went to Germany to study the History of Art at Heidelberg University. He also practiced wood engraving there and became the first Chinese artist of the new style wood engraving. He came back to China in 1932, and encouraged by Luxun (one of the most famous writers of modern China), he started to translate the works of Nietzsche from German into Chinese, and became the first expert of Nietzsche’s philosophy in China.
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Reminiscences of the Mother’s physician, Dr. Bisht

Dr. D. B. Bisht had a distinguished career in the medical profession. He was the Director-General of Health Services, Govt. of India, and upon retirement joined the World Health Organisation.  While Dr. Bisht was posted at JIPMER in Pondicherry, he was called to attend on the Mother and served as her physician.  He captured the interactions he had with her in a book titled Mother and me.  I haven’t read the book but I am reproducing two reviews of this book in this post.

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Mahabiplabi Arabindo: Bengali movie on Sri Aurobindo’s early life

Mahabiplabi Arabindo is a 1971 Bengali film (don’t worry, it has English subtitles) which covers the life of Sri Aurobindo from his return to India in 1892 to his retirement to Pondicherry in 1910.  Angel Television has uploaded the movie on youtube in 13 parts.  The duration of this movie is about two hours.  I have added brief descriptions of the content before each clip below.

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Practicing Yoga without a Guru

As seen in the previous article on “Yogic Illness”, deliberately pushing oneself into deeper Kundalini-type experiences without a Guru can be perilous to one’s health.  An authentic Guru, if you can find one, is not a suave orator or an object of worship but someone who links their consciousness with yours during initiation (Diksha) and gradually elevates you to their level by transforming you from within.  Such a Guru can also detect and purge the energy blockages which develop in the subtle body (i.e. aura) during the transformation process.  The disciples who came in physical contact with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were fortunate to obtain this intimate guidance.  What happens to those who are called to Yoga but remain devoid of a Guru?  The Mother once provided a sagacious description of the meandering manner in which the spiritual path unfolds for such seekers.

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Mahatma Gandhi’s aborted 1934 attempt to meet Sri Aurobindo

In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian freedom struggle, sought to meet Sri Aurobindo because they had never met in person before.  The latter declined the request because he didn’t want to break the seclusion that he had been observing since 1926.  Strangely, the Mother who had no such restriction also declined to meet him.  By combining the correspondence available in the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi with the records in the Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo, it is possible to build a complete picture of why this important meeting never transpired.  One of Mahatma Gandhi’s letters seen below also furnishes us with a second-hand account of daily life in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

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Predictions of Sri Aurobindo

This article brings together some predictions and uncanny observations made by Sri Aurobindo that were fulfilled later in time.  To preserve chronological fidelity, I will only draw on remarks which predate the actual occurrence of the event.  If the modern tech-savvy yogi had to record predictions about the future, he or she could use Trusted timestamping(digital notary), a cryptographic technology which is now available in commercial software products.   Such technology was unfortunately not available in Sri Aurobindo’s time nor did he care to impress others with his yogic abilities.  Consequently, the neutral observer wishing to verify these predictions has to rely on a combination of trust as well as the fact that the original manuscripts from which these remarks are drawn are preserved in the Archives Department of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry.

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Sri Aurobindo’s prose style – by Goutam Ghosal

Goutam Ghosal is the Head of the Department of English and Other Modern European Languages at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan (for those who may not know, this was the experimental school founded by Rabindranath Tagore).  His research areas include Sri Aurobindo’s Prose, Poetry and Drama, Tagore’s Poetry and Songs, Shakespeare’s Characters and Poetry from the point of view of Consciousness, Indian Poetry in English (Old and New School), 19th Century British and American Literature.  The following article appeared as chapter nine “Style in the Major Works: Fusion of Myths and Seven Kinds of Style” of Ghosal‘s book Sri Aurobindo’s Prose Style published in 1990.


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On Conservation and Progress

This is an essay by Sri Aurobindo analyzing the two antipodal forces – conservative and progressive – which bedevil the human mind and tear society apart in country after country across the globe.  This essay first appeared in volume II (August 1915 – July 1916) of the Arya magazine which was written and edited by Sri Aurobindo.

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Where music and spirituality meet, with Anie Nunnally

Sounds Brazilian

In the summer of 2011 I had the pleasure of participating in the AUM Conference in Lodi, CA. The Conference gathered  many spiritually oriented people who receive inspiration and guidance from the teachings of  Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. For 3 days we all joined in to hear insightful lectures, participate in meditations and workshops, and receive offerings of poems and music.
During the Conference I met Anie Nunnally, President of Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles and accomplished singer.  As we got to know each other I became  extremely curious about Anie’s connection with music and about her spiritual path. Some months later I had the chance to  sing at the beautiful Center in Los Angeles and I asked her to share with us some of her experiences and perspectives on music and spirituality.
Anie’s inclination toward music and spirituality started early in life. Initiated in music by her…

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Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Anandamayi Ma

Anandamayi Ma(1896-1982) was a spiritual personality from Bengal, India.  Her birth name was Nirmala Sundari.  She attended the village school for two years.  Although her teachers were pleased with her ability, her family thought she was dull-minded because of her indifference and constantly happy demeanor. When her mother once fell seriously ill, relatives remarked with puzzlement about the child remaining apparently unaffected.

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Sri Aurobindo on lawyers

Ethical quandaries abound for those hardy souls who, shunning the sheltered existence of a remote hermitage, aspire to practice spiritual ideals  in the chiaroscuro of everyday life.   How does one make a living while surrounded by insecure people who are themselves struggling to secure their own financial and other physical comforts ?  Whom to trust and how much truth to disclose ? When should one take a principled stand and when should one just let go?  One can be forced into some pretty disappointing and unsavoury choices in this ambiguous battle of life.  In this article, we read the advice given by Sri Aurobindo to a disciple who was dismayed by the corrosive effect the legal profession was having on his soul.

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The first meeting of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa

About midway down the Coromandel coast of southeastern India stands the quaint little port-town of Pondicherry, which was a French colony from 1673 to 1954.  It was here on a nondescript afternoon in March, 1914 that the spiritual collaboration between Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa began.   This is an account of that memorable meeting along with some related anecdotes.

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The Mother Mirra Alfassa as a Guru

The Mother Mirra Alfassa was a much misunderstood Guru outside the  confines of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.  Some  derided her as authoritarian presumably because she supervised parades in the Ashram(these were intended to instill the discipline required for yogic transformation).  Others, after reading of her intimate involvement in the day-to-day decisions of the disciples, concluded that she had turned the Ashram into a cult.  Men especially had difficulty accepting an European (not to mention French) woman as a Guru.   Many hasty, as well as nasty, misconceptions arise because we superficially evaluate her external behaviour based on our own preconceptions and prejudices.  A proper appraisal of her functioning as a Guru requires some patience along with a nascent psychic sensitivity to perceive the luminous consciousness behind her frontal personality.

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Sri Aurobindo’s interaction with an American soldier during World War II

One night, holed up in a trench in France during World War II, Sgt. John Kelly of the US Army (Easy Company, 276th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry) began  having spectacular visions of two beings of Light whom he called ‘Great Sir’ and ‘Heaven Lady’.  Their continuing guidance through visions and voices saved him from enemy fire a few times.  After the war, John found a copy of Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine in a library, and then came across a photograph of the Mother Mirra Alfassa.  At this point, he realized that the two Beings who had guided him during the war were Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa.  He visited the Ashram in Pondicherry in 1966 and met the Mother.  In this article, he recounts his experiences from the war.  This article first appeared in the Spring/summer 1984 issue of the Collaboration journal.

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Sri Aurobindo’s 1947 meeting with two French visitors

Towards the end of September 1947, leading Indian newspapers carried reports that Sri Aurobindo, in seclusion since 1926 had received two visitors, the first it was said since his meeting with Rabindranath Tagore 19 years earlier. These two visitors who remained with Sri Aurobindo in his room for three-quarters of an hour were M. Maurice Schumann, leading a cultural mission despatched to newly-independent India by the Government of recently-liberated France, and M. Francois Baron, then Governor of Pondicherry.  Three members of Auroville International France were privileged to meet M. Schumann in December 1988 and to interview him about his visit to Sri Aurobindo.   The text that follows is an extract translated from the account of this interview published in the Summer 1989 issue of La Revue d’Auroville. It tells us something of what happened in Sri Aurobindo’s room that day.  This article was written by Shraddhavan and has also appeared in the 1989 issue of the Mother India magazine and Summer 1990 of  the Collaboration magazine

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