Sacar Newsletter September 09


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Newsletter of Sri Aurobindo Center For Advanced Research

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Sacar Newsletter September 09

  1. 1. September 2009 MĀSA E-Newsletter of SACAR Volume 2, Issue 6 God shall grow up while the wise men talk and sleep: Savitri, Book I, Canto IV The programme incorporated several lecture-discussion sessions on significant To rise into the new topics of interest to students who had been consciousness, the first studying selected aspects of Sri condition is to have enough Aurobindo’s thought for two semesters. modesty of mind to be convinced that all that you think you know is nothing in comparison to what yet remains to be learnt. If you live closed up in The Mother yourself, without acting, you may live in a completely subjective illusion; the moment you From The Editor’s Desk externalise your action This ‘PCP special’ issue of MĀSA gives a peek and enter into contact into two residential study programmes held at with others, with SACAR in the last few months. As our circumstances and the readers are aware, since August 2008, SACAR objects of life, you has been offering several online study become aware absolutely programmes in collaboration with IGNOU. objectively of whether These distance programmes have one or more 4- to-7-day-long on-campus study periods which you have made progress are held at SACAR. The brief reports and or not, whether you are students’ comments included here give a taste more calm, more of the overall experience our students have The small size of the group permitted conscious, stronger, during their time at SACAR. paying considerable individual attention to more unselfish, whether each student’s academic progress and the you no longer have any future study options they must pursue in desire, any preference, Personal Contact Programme order to complete their degree (MA, MPhil any weakness, any or PhD). A visit to Auroville was also unfaithfulness—you can June 2009 arranged, and the last day of the PCP become aware of all this In June 2009, we organized a 5-day included a cultural programme in which by working. residential study programme for a small all students enthusiastically participated. The Mother group of SACAR-IGNOU students from the October 2008 batch. Jada-Chetan (Matter-Spirit) Painting by Bindu Popli See more photographs on next page!
  2. 2. Page 2 of 4 Happenings Come join us for a two-day interactive More memories from June 09 PCP! seminar at SACAR November 20-21, 2009 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT Theme: Yoga in Daily Life SACAR-IGNOU (Human relationships in sadhana, control of fear PROGRAMMES and anger, and other such topics of wide interest will be taken up in the seminar) Click: Seminar Cost: Rs. 360 per person (includes seminar fee, lunch and tea for 2 days) To apply, e-mail: For participants wishing to stay at SACAR Scholars Home, the total cost is Rs. 700 per person, which includes seminar fee, non-A/C Deadline for applications for room and full-day meals. Feb 2010 session: Time: 9:00AM-12:30PM & 3:00-5:00PM December 15, 2009 For registration, contact: Some heart-felt comments shared by the Limited seats, register early! participants of the June ’09 PCP: (Breakup of full cost is as follows: seminar fee: Rs. 200, lunch & tea: Rs 80 per day; lodging: Rs. The organized way of giving assignments and 100 per day; full-day meals: Rs. 150 per day). the immediate feedback by SACAR faculty is laudable. Every detail is coordinated in terms of academics and there is an attention to detail which is heartening. Personal Contact Programme You tell us clearly that the individual progress July 2009 is most important. The quality [of work] has to Immediately after the June ‘09 PCP our be seen from that point of view, this is very team got busy planning the next PCP encouraging. for the August ‘09 batch of students. It is so interesting to see the other students This orientation PCP seminar for 20 knowing that each one of us represents new students – enrolled at various something unique and important for the work levels of study from certificate to PhD – of Mother and Sri Aurobindo. We should have was held between July 29 and August 4. The aim of a reunion in some years to see what each has The programme included general education is not to grown into and learn from that (our group-soul sessions detailing information about the prepare a man to reunion). structures of students’ programmes, succeed in life and about the ways in which Mother’s and society, but to and Sri Aurobindo’s teachings about increase his Integral Education are being perfectibility to its implemented at SACAR through its utmost. pedagogical practices. Relevant What men call knowledge, academic policies were also discussed. The Mother is the reasoned acceptance of false appearances. Wisdom looks behind the veil and sees. Demonstration and practice sessions for Contact: Beloo Mehra Sri Aurobindo online learning were included to help Phone: 0413-2348067 prepare students for this new mode of learning via distance. Students were also given opportunities to procure On the web: their textbooks and other required study materials.
  3. 3. July 2009 PCP Report, continued Page 3 of 4 The programme incorporated a variety of The essay writing sessions and student learning activities including lecture- presentations emphasized the value of discussions, films, group discussion, student reflective learning as well as the NEW CD FROM SACAR presentations, Q & A sessions, and reflective significance of developing written and and critical writing sessions. Every day the verbal expression as part of a well- morning programme started with an rounded educational experience. invocation to the Divine Mother (rendered by Deepshikha) and the afternoon sessions The programme design allowed plenty of opened with a small meditation with interactions among students and between Mother’s music. This created a concentrated students and facilitators. Lunch and tea ambience for sincere study and learning. breaks also served as opportunities to More than 12 hours of deep deliberation by Ananda Reddy on socialize in a relaxed way. While almost Sri Aurobindo’s chapter all the lecture sessions included some discussion time, separately scheduled Q The Ascent Towards & A sessions allowed students to delve Supermind (The Life Divine, Book II, Part deeper into the topics and ask the II, Ch. 26) presenters for further elaborations and clarifications. The programme also included visits to the Ashram, some other places of When I read a historical and spiritual interest near the Ashram, and also Matrimandir in wearisome book Auroville. Students also had an through and with opportunity to have meals at the Ashram pleasure, yet The topics covered by the panel of speakers Dining Hall. The programme ended with perceived all the included: Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophical an informal cultural programme in which perfection of its Roots, Sri Aurobindo & The Mother as Our almost all the students participated. wearisomeness, then Inspiration, An Outline of Integral Yoga, Sri Sitting in the SACAR courtyard we I knew that my Aurobindo on Indian Culture, Cycles of Social enjoyed songs, dance, Vedic chanting, mind was Growth, Principles of Integral Education, Free drama, story-telling and poetry conquered. Progress Method, Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of recitation. Future Poetry, Relevance of Sri Aurobindo for Today and Tomorrow, Fundamentals of Sri Aurobindo Integral Philosophy, Concept of Consciousness, A New Perspective on Sri Aurobindo’s Literature, Basics of Integral Yoga Psychology, and Yoga in Daily Life. Students were asked to keep daily journals of their impressions and reflections, which they submitted on the last day of the programme.
  4. 4. Impressions and comments from July 2009 PCP participants Page 4 of 4 A beautiful invocation in the morning, and The cultural program brought out hidden It was lovely experience, once again I feel the warmth of the entire talents of all and ended the PCP on a charged with some kind of SACAR faculty, patient, attentive and joyous note! Overall a fabulous seven-day positive force.   affectionate. event.…It was the most enjoyable study program that I have ever undertaken. The intellectual atmosphere at SACAR is Certainly, one of those things that I will very motivating. No space for mediocrity look back to fondly for my entire life! and lots of space for inner growth. The knowledge that I have a very I can only feel gratitude for all the SACAR knowledgeable community to bank on team, for the pains they have taken to make makes me feel very confident.    Learning in a natural us physically, psychologically, and environment, nothing intellectually comfortable, and for the I am all prepared to start the programme. artificial about it.   amount of self-giving they have shown, the The online classroom demonstration and constant energy they have put into it. the practice sessions were of good help. Teacher-student is one of the most exciting Interacting with facilitators and getting to experiences in the process of growing up, know them has motivated me enough to maturing, being happy about learning, and continue the study program via distance. I’m so glad and privileged to have entered into this relationship with SACAR. The homely atmosphere of SACAR and Scholars’ Home was the plus point of the The ambience of the lecture hall with the residential programme. photographs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo smiling from two sides of the         projection screen is serene. Also the fact that it is not air-conditioned and allows natural I felt a combination of the air and light is a treat for someone like me. I Intellect and the Heart.  also liked the idea of leaving the slippers          outside; it felt like one was going to do something as sacred as entering a temple! The programme is very thorough and The gesture helped in invoking the qualities gives all of us the right way to proceed in of devotion and humility so important in learning Sri Aurobindo’s works. something like higher studies. Good quality programmes should The program is designed well. It is varied, definitely have rigourous elements forcing which didn’t make it monotonous. We were the students to apply themselves to the listening to talks, writing essays, making task. The quality of this seminar was of presentations, watching movies, exploring high order including participation from Auroville and the Ashram departments, the colleagues. walking on the beach, and all the activities The seminar was immaculately planned seamlessly flowed into one another. and provided the rigour adequate for both Essay writing was like stretching the rusted certificate and Ph.D. program. It has kept intellectual muscles. They did begin to work us involved and occupied with something after a lot of coercing and cajoling. It was a to do all the time. good idea because it served as a warm up for We could experience the love and the course ahead and made us get rid of the affection that ‘the Mother’ showered on well-known “writer’s block”. her children. We felt very cared for. It        The group discussions and presentations greatly enhanced our knowledge and also There was great openness -- revealed how each one of us with some gave the confidence to speak and discuss open mindedness and also minor shades of difference is basically Sri Aurobindo and His Works. personal care. looking forward to this course to not only understanding Sri Aurobindo intellectually but living him in life. I enjoyed both participating in the discussions as also listening to and making the presentation.            Lovely intellectual feel, stimulating, simple, friendly and clear, but also fun and playful.