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The Mother had once called the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry a veritable laboratory to work out the future society. Its counterpart in the capital of India, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch, can best be understood as an extension of the centre of sadhana at Pondicherry. What is being done in this spiritual endeavour is the overcoming of the ascetic phase of the Indian tradition, which in a lopsided way equated spirituality with outer renunciation. In the Vedic times, integral life, prosperity, equality of sexes and a life-affirming attitude were cultivated by spiritual seekers. This integral approach was lost in later epochs when Mayavada (Illusionism) prevailed.
According to Sri Aurobindo “all life is Yoga.” In the Integral Yoga, the integral life down to the smallest detail has to be divinised : an inner illumination that does not change the outer life leaves the world as it is. The object of our Yoga is self-perfection and world-perfection.
From an early age the Mother had dreamed of a place where seekers of the Divine could completely dedicate themselves to spiritual life. “Earth needs a place where men can live away from…social conventions, self-contradictory moralities and contending religions, a place where human beings, freed from all slavery to the past, can devote themselves wholly to the discovery and practice of the divine consciousness that is seeking to manifest itself.” By providing a congenial environment and field of activities the Ashram seeks to be such a place. With the needs of the body provided, each one takes his work in the spirit of service and unselfishness, in the spirit of Karma Yoga — as an offering to the Divine.
The Delhi Branch was officially inaugurated on 12 February, 1956, with the Blessings of the Mother. To the great joy and gratitude of spiritual seekers in Northern India, the Mother graciously granted the very first Sacred Relics of Sri Aurobindo to be enshrined here on 5 December, 1957. Since then the Ashram has been growing at a steady pace. The shrine and the Meditation Hall continue to be the centre of life and the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother the guiding light. The Love and Blessings of the Master and the Mother and their Grace are always available to their disciples living here.
All live and work here as equals. No distinctions of sex, creed, religion, race, caste or national origin are observed: all are looked upon as souls and children of the Mother. There is no hierarchy of officials and subordinates. All work in association and as a unit under the general supervision of one or more sadhaks.
The doors of the Ashram are open for those who aspire for a higher life, with the trust that their aspiration will not stop merely at having a pious wish for a higher and nobler aim, but will manifest increasingly in the thoughts, the life movements and the physical expressions—which will all be progressively and integrally consecrated to the Divine.
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Among the leading lights of India’s resurgence the pre-eminence of SriAurobindo is unquestionable. He was a revolutionary national leader, a poet, a social thinker and spiritual philosopher, a visionary humanist, an educationist — all of the front rank, but first and foremost he was Master of Yoga — a rishi, a seer and realiser, the protagonist and architect of the new world that is presently emerging.
Born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872, he was educated in England at St. Paul’s School, London and King’s College, Cambridge. On his return to India in 1893, after having mastered all that was precious in ancient Greece and modern Europe, he spent 13 years in Baroda as an administrator and professor, where he made a deep study of India’s cultural and spiritual heritage and started literary and political activity.
In 1906, Sri Aurobindo went to Bengal and openly took up the leadership of the revolutionary movement. His journal Bande Mataram became the most powerful voice in the freedom movement. His meteoric but momentous role in nationalist politics came to a close when he withdrew to Pondicherry in response to a higher call in 1910.
His spiritual life had coexisted with his other activities all along. And now, after gathering up in himself the essential elements of the past spiritual traditions, he moved on in search of a more complete realisation, one which would unite the two poles of Spirit and Matter. He prepared by his lifelong tapasya a base for the advent of the next phase in terrestrial evolution beyond Mind — the Supramental — and gave the Purna or ‘Integral’ Yoga for achieving the ultimate aim of transforming human nature and divinising earthly life.
Sri Aurobindo’s comprehensive writings give clear insights into all aspects of life and their problems. He gives us the grand, all-inclusive, living and true synthesis of human culture. Romain Rolland saw in him “the completest synthesis that has been realised to this day of the genius of Asia and genius of Europe.”
he Mother was born Mirra Alfassa in Paris on 21 February 1878. An accomplished painter and musician, she began to have spiritual experiences at a very early age. In the beginning of the present century she studied occultism under Theon in Algeria.
In 1914 she came to Pondicherry and at once recognised Sri Aurobindo as the teacher who had been occultly guiding her spiritual development. She helped him start a monthly review Arya, in which most of his major writings, The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, The Human Cycle etc., appeared between 1914 and 1921. The Mother spent the years of the First World War in France and Japan. She returned to Pondicherry on 24 April 1920 and resumed her collaboration with Sri Aurobindo.
When, on 24 November 1926, Sri Aurobindo withdrew for exclusive pursuit of his spiritual work, the guidance of the spiritual disciples who had gathered around him was entrusted to the Mother. This was the beginning of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which has since developed into a many-faceted centre of spiritual endeavour and research.
In 1956, the Mother declared that “the manifestation of the Supramental upon earth is no more a promise but a living fact, a reality.” Till her Mahasamadhi on 17 November 1973, the Mother was engrossed in the arduous tapasya of what she called the “yoga of the cells” — working on the gross matter to divinise and supramentalise it … to discover the path to the Supramental being, the next higher stage in the terrestrial evolution, after man.
Special Days of Spiritual Significance and Activities
12 February : Ashram Foundation Day. All day programme.
21 February : ‘Darshan Day’ & Mother’s Birth Anniversary. All day programme.
29 February : Supramental Day.
29 March : Anniversary of Mother’s first arrival in Pondicherry
4 April : Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in Pondicherry
23 April : Foundation Day of the Mother’s International School
24 April : ‘Darshan Day’ & Anniversary of Mother’s final arrival in Pondicherry
April-June : Various camps including Study Camps, Adventure (Youth) Camps, etc. at Nainital.
August : SriAurobindo’sBirth Anniversary celebration. (Around 15 August)Lecture Series from 6 p.m (several days)
13 August : Birth Anniversary of Shri Surendra Nath Jauhar ‘Faquir’.
15 August : ‘Darshan Day’ and Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Anniversary. All day programme.
2 September : Samadhi Day of Shri S.N. Jauhar ‘Faquir’.
Variable date : Dipawali - Festival of Light.
17 November : Mother’s Mahasamadhi Day. Day of silence.
24 November : ‘Darshan Day’ & ‘Siddhi Day’. March Past & Satsang at 6 p.m
5 December : Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi Day. Satsang at 10 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.
25 December : Christmas: The descent of light /Satsang at 7 p.m
31 December : Midnight meditation & calendar distribution.