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  1. 1. Towards TomorrowAn Introduction to Sri Aurobindo,the Mother, the Ashram,the Centre of Education andSri Aurobindo Society PART ONE
  3. 3. What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world shistory is not a teaching, not even arevelation; it is a decisive action direct fromthe Supreme. The Mother
  4. 4. Sri Aurobindo was born on 15 August 1872 in KolkataAt the age of seven he was sent to England for educationand lived there for fourteen years. He began writing poetry at an early age and during a brilliant academic career at St. Paul s in London and King s College, Cambridge, he mastered not only English but also Greek, Latin and French and became familiar with German and Italian.
  5. 5. In England from 1879 to 1893 (Age 7-21)Brilliant Academic Career Learned and mastered a number of classical and modern European languagesDeep study of Western history and culture Began writing poetry Sri Aurobindo in 1883
  6. 6. Returning to India in 1893 with a completely occidental education, he now sought for the wisdom and truth of the Orient.He learnt Sanskrit, several modern Indian languagesand assimilated the spirit of Indian civilisation in all its aspects. He spent thirteen years in Baroda in the administrative and educational services of the State. These were years of self-culture, of literary activity and a great part of his last years of this period was spent in silent political activity.
  7. 7. At Baroda, India, from 1893 to 1906 (Age 21-34)In the State administrative service,later Vice-Principal of Baroda College Period of intense self-cultureStudy of the Vedas and other scriptures Effort to give a radical turn to Indian Politics through writing and organisationBeginning of Yoga Sri Aurobindo in 1906
  8. 8. In 1906, he came to Kolkata as the Principal of the Bengal National College. He openly joined the movement for India s liberation and, revolutionising themoderate and ineffectual stand of the Congress, fixed in the national consciousness the ideal of complete independence. Along with his political activities Sri Aurobindo carried on an inner spiritual life. He was kept under detention for one year by the British Government. This proved to be a fruitful year, for during this period he had intense spiritual experiences which set him definitely on the path of his future work.
  9. 9. …long after this turmoil, this agitation will have ceased… he will be looked upon as a poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and lover of humanity… his words will be echoed and re-echoed not only in India but across distant seas and lands … - C. R. Das, while defending Sri Aurobindo in the Alipore Bomb Case Sri Aurobindo (seated centre) presiding and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (standing speaking) at the Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907In Bengal from 1906 to 1910 (Age 34-38) Leader of the freedom movement Editor of the daily Bande Mataram, the herald of the Indian revolution for complete Independence Openly declared that complete freedom was the goal of India s national awakening
  10. 10. In 1910 in answer to a command from Above, he withdrew from the political field and came to Pondicherry, aware that the movement initiated by him, would be carried on by others and his work lay elsewhere.In 1914 he started a philosophical monthly in English called the Arya , which embodied much of the inner knowledge that had come to him in his practice of yoga.Most of his important works – The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity, The Foundations of Indian Culture, Essays on the Gita, On the Veda - first appeared in this journal. His major poetical work is the epic, Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol , consisting of about 24,000 lines of blank verse.
  11. 11. In Pondicherry from 1910 to 1950 (Age 38-78) Engrossed in an Integral Yoga, that will make the earth the Spirit s manifest home Serialisation in the Arya of his major works carrying his vision of man s destiny. Sri Aurobindo in 1918-20Sri Aurobindo is one of the greatest thinkers of Modern India...[He is] the most completesynthesis achieved up to the present between the genius of the West and the East... - Romain Rolland (Nobel Laureate – France)
  12. 12. Sri Aurobindo envisioned and strove for a divine evolutionary destiny of man andfrom 1910 till his passing in 1950 he remained absorbed in this spiritual work, but at the same time he kept a close watch on all that was happening in India and the world and saw all the movements he had initiated fulfilled or approaching fulfilment.
  13. 13. I could realise he … had accumulated within him a silent power of inspiration. …I said to him, You have the Word and we are waiting to accept it from you. India will speak through your voice to the world, Hearken to me... -  Rabindranath Tagore Nobel Laureate - IndiaCreation has a purposeand man marches onward towards a goal.He will rise beyond Mindto another level of consciousness – Supermind.It was Sri Aurobindo s spiritual endeavour tousher in this new phase in evolution.
  14. 14. Sri Aurobindo in 1950 Sri Aurobindo has come to tell us: It is not necessary to leave the earth to find the Truth, it is not necessary to leave life to find one s soul,it is not necessary to give up the world or to have limited beliefs in order to enter into relation with the Divine. The Divine is everywhere, in everything, and if He is hidden... it is because we do not take the trouble to discover Him. - The Mother
  15. 15. Sri Aurobindo has not left us. Sri Aurobindo is here, as living and as present as ever and it is left to us to realise his work with all the sincerity, eagerness and concentration necessary. - The MotherSri Aurobindo in Mahasamadhi
  17. 17. Like his personality, the teaching of Sri Aurobindo is multifaceted. The core of it, however, is his perception that though Mind is the highest term yet reached in earthly evolution, it is not the highest possible. Mind is an ignorance seeking after Truth but there is above it a Supermind,or eternal Truth-Consciousness, which is the light and power and bliss of a Divine Knowledge. It is possible to rise to this Truth-Consciousness, discover one s true self, remain in constant union with the Divine and bring down the Supramental force for the transformation of mind, and life and body.
  18. 18. It is only by the descent of the Supermind that the perfection dreamed by all that is highest in humanity can come.Not only the individual but his social existence also can be remoulded into a divine pattern. To realise this possibility has been the dynamic aim of Sri Aurobindo s Yoga.
  19. 19. It is not Sri Aurobindo s object to develop any one religion or to amalgamate the older religionsor to found any new religion – for any of these things would lead away from his central purpose. The one aim of his Yoga is an inner self-development by which each one who follows it can in time discover the One Self in all and evolve a higher consciousness than the mental which will divinise human nature.
  21. 21. … you have to fulfil our yoga of supramental descent and transformation. Sri Aurobindo
  22. 22. Sri Aurobindo once said, My life is not on the surface for men to see. This applies as well to the Mother. Yet we may mention a few significant dates and features of her life.
  23. 23. The Mother was born in Paris on February 21, 1878. Even as a child she had unusual dreams, visions and spiritual experiences and felt constantly that she had a work to do, a mission to fulfil upon earth.The Mother at the age of Seven
  24. 24. She was a brilliant student and acquired agreat mastery in painting and music.In the early years of the twentieth centuryshe also went to Algeria and gained aprofound knowledge of occultism. The Mother in Algeria, about 1904
  25. 25. But the call of the Supreme was always foremost inher life and in Paris she became the centre of a groupof ardent seekers and idealists.While pursuing a deep inner spiritual life, the Motherhad frequent visions in which she was guided byspiritual personages many of whom she metphysically later in life. One in particular she calledKrishna, the Lord of the Gita.When she came to Pondicherry on March 29, 1914, ather very first glance at Sri Aurobindo, she recognisedin him the Krishna of her vision and knew that herplace and her work were with him in India. The Mother in France
  26. 26. The next day she recorded in her Prayers and Meditations: It matters little that there are thousands of beings plunged in the densest ignorance,He whom we saw yesterday is on earth; his presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, and Thy reign shall be indeed established upon earth.
  27. 27. She collaborated with Sri Aurobindoin starting the monthly Arya .But, after a few months, due toexigencies of the First World Warshe had to go back to France.In 1916 she sailed for Japan andreturned to Pondicherry in 1920. The Mother in Japan around 1918
  28. 28. I am French by birth and early education, Iam Indian by choice and predilection. Inmy consciousness there is no antagonismbetween the two, on the contrary, theycombine very well and complete oneanother.I know also that I can be of service to bothequally, for my only aim in life is to give aconcrete form to Sri Aurobindo s greatteaching and in his teaching he reveals thatall the nations are essentially one andmeant to express the Divine Unity upone a r t h t h ro u g h a n o rg a n i s e d a n dharmonious diversity. The Mother
  29. 29. From the very beginning, the task of giving a concrete shape to Sri Aurobindo s visionwas entrusted to the Mother. The creation of a new world, a new humanity, a new society,expressing and embodying the new consciousness, was the work undertaken by her. In thenature of things, it was a collective ideal calling for a collective effort to realise it interms of an integral human perfection.
  30. 30. The Mother distributing cards to children, 1955 The Ashram, founded and built up by the Mother, has been the first step towards the fulfilment of this goal. Sri Aurobindo Society and Auroville are the next steps, moreexterior, seeking to widen the base of this endeavour to establish harmony between soul and body, spirit and nature, heaven and earth, in the collective life of humanity.
  31. 31. Story-day in the Mother s class for children
  32. 32. The Mother on a visit to the Ashram Library
  33. 33. The Mother at the Ashram Power Generating Unit
  34. 34. The Mother left her body in November 1973, but her consciousness and presence are thereas concretely as ever and her new creation continues to grow under her constant guidance and inspiration.
  35. 35. Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  36. 36. The Ashram has been an organic development,a natural and growing expressionof the ideals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. At first only a few of Sri Aurobindo s associates lived with him as members of a household.As years passed, others joined. But it was in 1920, after the Mother s final arrival, that the numbers began toincrease and a collective life took shape.
  37. 37. The term ashram is commonly understood to bea kind of monastery, a cloister for recluses andascetics, but this was not what the word meantin the ages of the Vedas, the Upanishads or theEpics. Sannyasa or asceticism, as popularlyunderstood, was never accepted by SriAurobindo as part of his Yoga, and the Ashramat Puducherry is thus very different frompopular conceptions of an ashram.
  38. 38. Its members are not Sannyasis, they do not wear ochre robes or practise rigorous asceticism, but are sadhaks, seekers and aspirants of a life based on spiritual realisation, the ideal being the attainment of the life divine here on earth and in physical existence. This was the character of the Ashram when it had 8 members and it is so today, when it has 1,200 with a large floating population of visitors and temporary residents.
  39. 39. The stress is on a change in consciousness and nature with aview to preparing men and society for the higher stage in evolution. All activities in the Ashram are centred on this faith or truth. They include agricultural farms,workshops, industries, arts, and an educational centre embracing all disciplines, from nursery to post-graduate levels.
  40. 40. Each one chooses the workmost congenial to his nature and does it in a spirit of service and perfection, keeping always in view the aim of integral transformation.
  41. 41. This erring race of human beings dreams always of perfecting their environment by the machinery of government and society;but it is only by the perfection of the soul within that the outer environment can be perfected. What thou art within, that outside thee thou shalt enjoy; no machinery can rescue thee from the law of thy being. Sri Aurobindo
  42. 42. With trust in the sublime destiny of man, 1200 members of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, coming from all races and religions, take up all types of work, as it is not rejection of the world but its transformation that they aspire for.
  43. 43. True spirituality is not to renounce life, but to make life perfect with a Divine Perfection. The Mother
  44. 44. All life is only alavish and manifold opportunity given us to discover, realise, express the Divine. Sri Aurobindo
  45. 45. In works, aspiration towardsPerfection is true spirituality. The Mother
  46. 46. The aim of its economics would be not to create a huge engine of production, whether of the competitive or the co-operative kind, but to give to men – not only to some but to all men each in his highest possible measure – the joy of work according to their own nature and free leisure to grow inwardly, as well as a simply rich and beautiful life for all. Sri Aurobindo
  47. 47. It is not what you do that matters most,but the way in which it is done and theconsciousness you put into it. The Mother
  48. 48. We are not working for a race or a people or a continent or for a realisation of which only Indians or only orientals are capable.Our aim is not, either, to found a religion or a school of philosophy or a school of yoga, but to create a ground of spiritual growth and experience and a way which will bring down a greater Truth beyond the mind but not inaccessible to the human soul and consciousness.All can pass who are drawn to that Truth,whether they are from India or elsewhere, from the East or from the West. Sri Aurobindo
  49. 49. Website: www.aurosociety.orgTelephone: 91 - 413 - 233 0331 / 233 6396 Email: END OF PART ONE
  50. 50. Towards TomorrowAn Introduction to Sri Aurobindo,the Mother, the Ashram,the Centre of Education andSri Aurobindo Society PART TWO
  51. 51. Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
  52. 52. A new centre of thought implies a new centre of education. Sri Aurobindo Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education - with 120 teachers for 400 children – is an experiment in integral education,where amid a healthy freedom, scope is created for a harmonious development of all parts of the child s personality.
  53. 53. The Centre of Education is an integral part of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and it serves as a field for new experiment and research in education. At present the Centre has provision for studies from the nursery to the higher and advanced levels.It has facilities for Humanities, Languages, Sciences, Engineering, Technology, Physical Education, Art, Music, Dance and Drama, as well as for practical and manual work.
  54. 54. The objectives of the institution are: 1.  To evolve and realise a system of integral education which will emphasise the unity of all knowledge and synthesise the humanities and the sciences. 2.  To organise an environment and an atmosphere affording inspiration for the development of the five essential aspects of personality, the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual. 3.  To develop the sense of oneness of mankind and international collaboration
  55. 55. Education is a process of a harmoniousand progressive awakening, of self-revelation of knowledge that is within.As Sri Aurobindo has said: The firstprinciple of true teaching is that nothingcan be taught.This is the truth underlying the FreeProgress System which is followed atthis Centre of Education. In this systemeach student is free to study any subjecthe/she chooses at any given time, toprogress at his/her own pace andultimately to take charge of his/her owndevelopment.The general medium of learning isEnglish and French. Along with theseeach child is encouraged to study his/her mother tongue and Sanskrit.
  56. 56. The role of the teacher may be summarised asfollows:To aid the student in uncovering the inner will togrow and progress – that should be the constantendeavour of the teacher.To evolve a programme of education for eachstudent in accordance with the felt needs of thestudent s growth, to watch the students with deepsympathy, understanding and patience, ready tointervene and guide as and when necessary, tostimulate the students with striking words, ideas,questions, stories, projects and programmes, –this should be the main work of the teacher.But to radiate inner calm and cheerful dynamismso as to create an atmosphere conducive to thedevelopment of higher faculties of innerknowledge and intuition – that may be regardedas the heart of the work of the teacher.
  57. 57. An aimless life is always a miserable life. Every one of you should have an aim. But do not forget that on the quality of your aim will depend the quality of your life. Your aim should be high and wide, generous and disinterested; this will make your life precious to yourself and to others. The Mother
  58. 58. The future belongs to the young.It is a young and new world which is now under process of development and it is the young who must create it. Sri Aurobindo
  59. 59. The finest presentone can give to a childwould be to teach him to know himselfand to master himself. The Mother
  60. 60. A free and natural growth is the condition of genuine development. Sri Aurobindo
  61. 61. Strange, remote and splendidChildhood s fancy pureThrills to thoughts we cannot fathom,Quick felicities obscure. Sri Aurobindo
  62. 62. The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught.The teacher is not an instructor or taskmaster, he is a helper and guide. His business is to suggest and not to impose. Sri Aurobindo
  63. 63. The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in its own growth…The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use. Sri Aurobindo
  64. 64. The third principle of education is to work from the near to the far, from that which is to that which shall be. Sri Aurobindo
  65. 65. Whatever is capable of beingmanifested as Beauty, is thematerial of the artist. Sri Aurobindo
  66. 66. Beauty interprets, expresses, manifests the Eternal. The Mother
  67. 67. Between them music, art and poetry are a perfect education for the soul. Sri Aurobindo
  68. 68. Its basic programme will beto build a body that isbeautiful in form,harmonious in posture,supple and agile in itsmovements, powerful in itsactivities and robust in itshealth and organicfunctioning. The Mother
  69. 69. Replace the ambition to be first by the will to do the best possible.Replace the desire for success by the yearning for progress.Replace the eagerness for fame by the aspiration for perfection. The Mother
  70. 70. The Supramental Descent took place in 1956.In 1960, the Mother founded Sri Aurobindo Society, with herself as its Executive President, to take the spiritual message of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to people all over the world and to work for its realisation.
  71. 71. Motto of the Society given by the MotherTo know is good, to live is better, to be, that is perfect.
  72. 72. Sri Aurobindo has said: If we are spread out everywhere as individuals, something no doubt will be done;if we are spread out everywhere in the form of a sangha [group], a hundred times more will be accomplished.
  73. 73. The Society strives to bring together all those who want to dedicate themselves to the advent of a new world, with no distinctions of nationality, race, religion, caste, creed or sex. Sri Aurobindo Society is an international organisation, with members, centres and branches all over India and in a few places abroad, striving for individualperfection, social transformation and human unity.
  74. 74. This effort has four aspects: 1) Integral growth and perfection of the individual 2) Social transformation and the development of a collective life where each one can occupy the place for which he is best suited and pour himself out as a force for the growth and perfection of humanity 3) Building of a new India which can play its true role in the world. 4) Realisation of human unity in a harmonious and organised diversity, where each nation will become conscious of its true genius and offer its best to mankind.
  75. 75. The action of the members of the group should be threefold: 1. To realise in oneself the ideal to be attained… 2. To preach this ideal by word, but above all, by example… 3. To found a typic society or reorganise those that already exist. The Mother
  76. 76. For each individual also there is a twofold labour to be done, simultaneously, each side of it helpingand completing the other:1)  An inner development, a progressive union with the Divine Light….2)  An external action which everyone has to choose according to his capacities and personal preferences. He must find his own place, the place which he alone can occupy in the general concert, and he must give himself entirely to it, not forgetting that he is playing only one note in the terrestrial symphony and yet his note is indispensable to the harmony of the whole, and its value depends upon its justness. The Mother
  77. 77. Since the aim of the Society is to transform thewhole of life, it has taken up all activities in itscomprehensive programme.The main areas of the Society s activities are   Integral Education   Integral Health   Integral Rural Development   Sustainable Development and Science & Technology   Integral Management   Indian Culture   Youth and Women   Media, Arts & Communication   Business & Economic Development   Research & Training in Diverse Fields   Workshops, Seminars, Conferences, Exhibitions   Books, Audio-visuals, Magazines and E-journals
  78. 78. The aim of education is not to prepare a man to succeed in life and society, but to increase his perfectibility to its utmost. The Mother
  79. 79. Krishna …declares that a man by doing in the right way and in the right spirit the work dictated to him…can move towards the Divine … It is in his view quite possible for a man to do business and make money and earn profits and yet be a spiritual man, practise yoga, have an inner life. Sri Aurobindo Seminar on Management
  80. 80. Progress is youth; at a hundred years of age one can be young. The Mother
  81. 81. The true domain of women is the spiritual. We forget it but too often.… True maternity begins with theconscious creation of a being, with the willed shaping of a soul coming to develop and utilise a new body. The Mother
  82. 82. O India, land of light and spiritual knowledge! Wake up to your true mission in the world, show the way to union and harmony. The Mother
  83. 83. Message given by the Mother forthe First World Conference, Pondicherry, in August 1964
  84. 84. Website: www.aurosociety.orgTelephone: 91 - 413 - 233 0331 / 233 6396 Email: