Tara Didi’s birthday, 5 July 2017

taradidi birthday card

Like every year, this year also Tara Didi’s birthday saw spontaneous outpouring of love, which kept her busy receiving greetings and good wishes from the ashram community and a large number of visitors. Being a workaholic, this is not how she likes to spend the day, but politeness compels her to tolerate this intrusion once a year.

The day started with meditation in which Tara Didi recited prayers written by the Mother on 4 & 5 July 1914. The recitation ended with the very significant words of the Mother, “What has to be done will be done. The necessary instruments will be prepared. Strive in the calm of certitude.”

taradidi and malhotrajiAfter the meditation, Tara Didi and Mr. Y.R. Malhotra planted a sapling each in the Samadhi Lawns.  Mr. Y.R. Malhotra, a senior ashramite and an engineer by qualification, who has supervised a lot of construction work in the Ashram, has his birthday also on July 5.

In the afternoon, there was a musical presentation of slides from different facets of Tara Didi’s life covering several decades, bringing back some very pleasant memories, followed by the inevitable cutting of the cake amidst the chorus of ‘Happy birthday to you’. After cake and tea, there was a massive tree plantation.

The 7 pm meditation started with the recording of a devotional song by Karuna Didi. Then Tara Didi read a few stanzas from Savitri, Book 3, Canto 3 (The House of the Spirit and the New Creation). In the end was silent meditation with the Mother’s music in the background.

The Mother’s Integral Health Centre

SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM – DELHI BRANCH

 

Certificate course on Teaching Yoga (2017)

A Course for Aspiring Yoga Teachers

Learn Yoga with a difference!

 

There is no dearth of yoga courses which teach the student a comprehensive set of asanas and pranayamas, and sometimes also a technique of meditation, and equip him with skills for teaching the same to others. But is that all there is to yoga? How about Sri Aurobindo’s celebrated quote, “All life is yoga”? “Yoga is not just a set of techniques but a way of life” is a hackneyed expression which is repeated parrot-fashion in every yoga course, but what actually happens in the course seems to equate yoga with its techniques.

Here is a yoga course with a difference. Sri Aurobindo worked out about a hundred years ago a very powerful synthesis of all the major traditional schools of yoga, and the Mother demonstrated how the path of yoga can be walked every minute of the life while living in the real world. The course being offered would explore the depths of yoga, bring out its role in a life-affirming spiritual quest, and illustrate how yoga enables us to live a life full of love, peace, joy, and above all, fulfillment. Further, the course would enable you to translate this comprehensive view of yoga into a concrete short-term program for your students.

 

Objective

The broad objective of the courseis to prepare qualified and competent yoga teachers capable of imparting instructions on yoga to the general public in tune with integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. At the end of the course, the student should not only be able to bring yoga into his/her life but also organize a course on integral yoga for diverse groups such as children, young adults and the elderly as well as give instructions for the common yogic practices.

 

Course Content

The course would include THEORY modules on

  • Yoga (schools of yoga, with special reference to integral yoga; the spiritual philosophy underlying yoga; the place of yoga in health and disease; and the role of yoga in stress management)                               
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Nutrition
  • Ayurveda                                                                           
  • Communication skills                                                                                                    

And PRACTICE sessions on

  • Asanas and Pranayamas                                                                                            
  • Meditation
  • Teaching yoga                                                                                                                 

Duration

The duration of the course is about 20 weeks (2 August – 15 December 2017)

with a contact time of 200 hours (Theory, 80 hours; Practical, 120 hours).

The classes would be held from 10 am – 12.30 pm, 5 days a week (Monday - Friday).

 

Timeline

Last date for submitting the application: 24 July 2017

Interview for selection: 26 & 27 July 2017

Inauguration of the course: 2 August 2017, 10 am

 

Medium of Instruction

English

 

Eligibility

The minimum qualification for eligibility is graduation. It may be relaxed in case of candidates with appropriate work experience or special aptitude.

 

Selection

The selection would be based on information provided in the application form and an interview.

 

Seats

Twenty

 

Resource persons

Lead Facilitator: Prof. Ramesh Bijlani

Dr. Ramesh Bijlani is a medical doctor, writer, teacher, scientist, and above all a person committed to using his unique blend of talents for touching the hearts and lives of his fellow beings. Educated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, where he did his MBBS and MD, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge MA, USA, where he did a master’s course (SM) in nutrition, Dr Bijlani spent nearly 30 years on the faculty of AIIMS, teaching and conducting research on nutrition in relation to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In 1992 he started going into the depths of yoga, specially the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. His personal and professional life converged in the year 2000 when he initiated at AIIMS a patient care facility for providing lifestyle modification courses based on yoga for prevention and management of chronic disease. He took voluntary retirement from AIIMS in May 2005 to find more time for disseminating yoga. Prof. Bijlani was conferred an honorary doctorate in yoga by Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), Bangalore in 2006. Besides his more than 200 research publications, he has written extensively for children, medical students and non-technical adult readers. He has to his credit 17 published books, more than 50 popular articles, and more than 200 blogs on spiritual subjects on the spiritual networking website, The Speaking Tree, managed by the Times of India group. His books include Back to Health through Yoga, Rupa Books, 2008, Essays on Yoga, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Prakashan, 2011, Eating Wisely and Well, Rupa Books, 2012, and A Primer on Yoga, NBT, 2015. He has been staying and working at Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch since 2007, where he gives talks, conducts yoga courses and workshops, and continues to write. For more about and by Dr. Ramesh Bijlani, you may visit www.speakingtree.in/ramesh-bijlani and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramesh_Bijlani

 

The Guest Faculty is likely to include:

Dr. Surinder Katoch, a holistic health consultant with an M.D. in Ayurveda, has worked as a faculty member at Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, and Dhanwantri Ayurvedic College, Chandigarh, and as a medical officer at Moolchand Khairati Ram Hospital, New Delhi, and Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi. She has been associated with The Mother’s Integral Health Centre for about 10 years.

(As at the time of going to print: details subject to change)

CleanMindProg 2017-page-001CleanMindProg 2017-page-002

The Mother, to Women

TheM in Japan

When the Mother was in Japan, she once addressed the women there, and said something that should be of tremendous interest not only to women anywhere in the world, but to mankind as a whole. She spoke on the mundane subject of maternity, but gave it a twist that makes women potentially the agents of a radical change in human nature. The process of creating a new life through maternity can be a conscious process. The mother’s thoughts and feelings during pregnancy can shape the consciousness of the baby taking shape in her womb. The Mother had once seen two beautiful little girls, twins, whose beauty had the perfection of a child in a painting by Reynolds. The girls resembled neither parent, but it so transpired that the girls’ mother had looked at consciously, throughout pregnancy, especially just before going to bed, and on getting up in the morning, a painting by Reynolds, and had prayed that she give birth to a child as beautiful as the child in the painting. The physical features offer much more resistance to any modifying influence than do thoughts and feelings. Therefore, if even the body of her child can be affected by a pregnant mother, it should be easier to influence the child’s mind during pregnancy. Hence, the Mother urged women to use the power of their minds to “conceive and create a character capable of manifesting an ideal”. This, the Mother said, is more important now than ever before in history because we are on the verge of a new step in evolution. The first among the supermen will naturally be born to women, and therefore women can contribute to the process by treating maternity as a process of conscious creation. The superman the Mother had in mind was not the same as visualized by Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s superman is “a man aggrandized, magnified, in whom Force has become super-dominant, crushing under its weight all the other attributes of man”. Instead, the superman that the Mother visualized is the man who lives by a principle higher than reason. The superman’s guiding Light would be the Spirit within, the highest Truth of which man is capable. This faculty would change human nature itself in such a way that evil and injustice, and the consequent misery associated with human life would be wiped out. The Mother also said something extremely interesting about the superman: his mental ability might be less than that of man. But this foresight should not be so surprising, because evolution has not been accompanied by a linear and progressive increase in all abilities. Man’s predecessors like the lion have far more physical ability; man cannot even jump from tree to tree like a monkey. Similarly, the superman might lose some of man’s mental abilities. What the Mother said further is even more significant. By losing some of man’s mental abilities, the superman will lose the “ability to deceive himself and others”. It is such a superman, who will change the very character of terrestrial life, that women should concentrate on creating consciously through maternity. For this, they, and their partners, need to be on the spiritual path all along, not just during the woman’s pregnancy. We must change if we want to see the change in the next generation.

(Based on: Words of Long Ago by The Mother. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, fourth edition, 1994, pp. 115-126.)

The Mother spent about four years in Japan from May 1916 - March 1920. It was from Japan that she sailed for Pondicherry, where she arrived, for the second time, on 24 April 1920. After that, She never left Pondicherry for even a single day. 24 April is, therefore, an important date in the calendar of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and is one of the four Darshan Days celebrated every year.

The Legend Lives On
... to feel love and oneness is to live
SRI AUROBINDO (In: Savitri, Book 12, p. 724)

SN JAUHAR

Chacha ji, c. 1980

 

Not all great men are famous; this is the story of one such great man. He was born in 1903 in a village called Vahalee in the Punjab, and named Sikandar Lal. When he was 16, Mahatma Gandhi gave a call to the youth of India to interrupt for a few years whatever they were doing to join the struggle for the freedom of the nation. Seems simple, but it is not easy. Therefore, not many responded to the call, but Sikandar Lal was one of those who did. How is it that a few make choices that the majority consider rash, if not foolish. We have three basic tools for making choices: feelings, reason, and an intangible inner voice. In this case, the part of us that is guided by feelings would see in responding positively to Gandhiji’s call a life in prisons, certainly not a very pleasant prospect. Reason may see the significance of freedom, and hence the nobility of responding to the call positively, but would also argue against the wisdom of a rash decision that crushes the career and neglects the family for the sake of an uncertain outcome in an unpredictably distant future. Even if the reckless idealism of youth motivates a young man to take the plunge, his parents and other well-wishers may foist on him their discouraging ‘mature advice’. However, there is an inner voice, emanating from our deepest Self, which is illumined by our divine essence, the soul. This voice whispers to us what the right choice is. But this voice, although very clear, is a voice that does not insist; it is quite content to be ignored. Therefore, when pitted against the clamour of feelings and reason, this voice does often get ignored. It is only a few rare souls, who are in conscious contact with their deepest Self, who can ignore, oppose and conquer or ignore all opposition in order to act on the dictates of the soul. Sikandar Lal Jauhar was one such person. He responded to Gandhiji’s call positively, in spite of opposition from his own family. He joined the freedom struggle, stayed with it till the goal of independence was realized, and during the intervening almost 30 years faced the lathis and bullets of the British police while participating in several demonstrations, and went to jail several times where he was tortured with fetters and beatings, the scars of which he carried on his ankles and the back all his life. He changed his name to Surendra Nath, which he said was a minor phonetic variation on his true nature, which was to ‘surrender not’. During the 30 years that he was with the freedom struggle, starting almost penniless, he also initiated a business. God helps those who help themselves. The business flourished, and that is how he acquired in the 1930s a plot of land near Mehrauli. The land was also used for serving the cause of the freedom struggle, but to cut a long story short, when the country became free, Surendra Nath ji faced another dilemma, whether or not to continue with politics. He responded to the faint whisper of his deepest Self once again, and decided not to. This time the choice was easier, because in 1939 he had discovered his true calling. In 1939, an ‘unplanned’ visit to Pondicherry led to his discovery of The Mother, a discovery that he calls in his memoirs, “the Supreme Discovery of my life, the miracle of Pondicherry where I lost my heart and won the soul and the real life”. His dedication to The Mother after 1939 was total, as it had been to the freedom struggle since 1919. The commitment that he made in 1939 finally culminated, with the permission and blessings of The Mother, in the establishment of an Ashram on the land that he had bought in the 1930s on 12 February 1956, the date chosen by The Mother, with its name ‘Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch’ also given by The Mother. In keeping with the spiritual philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, which is a life-affirming philosophy, the Ashram started a school in the same year, the school that is now known as The Mother’s International School and has on its rolls more than 2000 students. Besides education, health care is another major activity of the Ashram today. This is the story of a man who started with the resolve that he would ‘surrender not’, but ended with total surrender to The Mother. This is the story of a man who started with the ambition of seeing his country free, and ended with the aspiration of liberating the world from the ignorance of a dividing ego-dominated consciousness towards a consciousness dominated by love and oneness.

(Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, established on 12 February 1956, is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this year)

 

 5 dec 2011 027 shrine 450x400

 

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.