Start Date: 4 Jan, 2020
End Date: 7 Jan, 2020
Location: Gandhi Thidal, Beach Road and Art and Craft Village, Murungapakkam
The International Yoga Festival 2020 was organised by the Tourism Department of the Government of Puducherry. For the past 25 years the Government of Puducherry has been conducting this festival in the month of January. This is the 26th year of the International Yoga Festival and for the first time Sri Aurobindo Society (also a member Institute of Indian Yoga Association) was invited to participate actively in this International Yoga Festival.
Under the supervision and able guidance of Dr. Sampadananda Mishra a few programmes were organised on behalf of Sri Aurobindo Society. Representatives from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, SACAR, Auroville, Kallarigram actively participated in this collective programme that took place in the Gandhi Thidal opposite to the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the Beach Road.
To mention a few of our work in the programme; Dr. Shruti Bidwaikar from SACAR presented a paper titled Sri Aurobindo – A Mahayogi. Shri. Manoj Pavitran from Auroville presented a paper titled Sri Aurobindo and Future Yoga.
The program in the evening on 5th January at Gandhi Thidal started with music where a group of members from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, SAS and Kalarigram headed by Ms. Surabhi Nandi presented an enchanting cultural programme. The team presented a Garland of Devotional Songs for Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. The show began with Maharishi Sri Aurobindo, Jagatha Janani Pranam in which Sri Aurobindo is praised for taking birth in human form to transform the ordinary life to a life divine which sings his glory. This was followed by Maha Bhagvat Roop Lakhe, which speaks of taking refuge in Maa Mira and Sri Aurobindo and requests them, who have given us the mantra of immortality and life divine, to liberate us from desire and anger. The melody and the bhakti bhava brought forth by the singers had engrossed the crowd by this time. By the time Jaya Vandana Gurudev, a song that bows to the greatness of Sri Aurobindo and Jai Sri Aravinda, a Kirtanam in Sanskrit were sung, the mood and the environment had become one of deep devotion.
The second part of the program was presented in dance form and began with a sonnet by Sri Aurobindo – ‘Invitation’, choreographed in free style. The dancers brought the mood and emotion of the sonnet to life with their performance. They then performed Sudararoopam Chidatmakam which had the audience enthralled with it’s sheer simplicity and beauty. The next performance was ‘Life’, a poem by Sri Aurobindo choreographed in free style which brought out the different aspects of life as we go through it. The grand finale was the performance choreographed to a few verses from Sri Aurobindo’s Sanskrit poem Bhavani Bharati which is a prayer to the Supreme Goddess to bless our motherland. In it’s execution and evocation it was the perfect end to this beautifully thought out program that was lovingly put together by the devotees of Sri Aurobindo.
The programme was attended by hundreds of people and was very well appreciated.
Deepa Vaitheeshwaran from Kalarigram gave a wonderful introduction to Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram at the commencement of the cultural event and compered the entire event. In her brief Introduction she said:
Most of you will be aware of the deep links between Pondicherry and Sri Aurobindo. I’d like to take a few minutes to share some of this history with you. While Sri Aurobindo was continuing his Sadhana in hiding from the British, he received a Divine message which ordered him to go to Pondicherry and continue his work there. Immediately, on the morning of March 31, 1910, Sri Aurobindo commenced his onward journey to Pondicherry from Chandernagore and reached Pondicherry on April 4th 1910. To use his words –
I need some place of refuge in which I can complete my Yoga unassailed and build up other souls around me. It seems to me that Pondicherry is the place appointed by those who are Beyond
The main purpose of Sri Aurobindo’s move to Pondicherry was to focus his work on changing human nature. He believed that “all life is Yoga” and that everything has to be transformed and made divine. During the four following decades, he followed this mantra diligently and showed us the path of Integral Yoga.
In his words:
The object of the yoga is to enter into and be possessed by the Divine Presence and Consciousness, to love the Divine for the Divine’s sake alone, to be tuned in our nature into the nature of the Divine, and in our will and works and life to be the instrument of the Divine. Its object is not to be a great yogi or a Superman (although that may come) or to grab at the Divine for the sake of the ego’s power, pride or pleasure. It is not for Moksha though liberation comes by it and all else may come, but these must not be our objects. The Divine alone is our object.
At the end of the International Yoga Festival, as icing to the cake, SAS was bestowed with the “Award of Excellence” by the Government of Puducherry, Department of Tourism for its active participation in organising the “Mass Yoga Programme”.
Dr. Sampadananda Mishra received the “Award of Excellence” on behalf of SAS from the dignitaries during the valedictory function that was held on 7th January, 2020 at the Art and Craft Village, Puducherry.