Spirituality & Consciousness

On 26 September a Webinar was organized by SAFIC in collaboration with Transform India Project to Initiate the Decisive Action Project conceived by Transform India as a part of the Sri Aurobindo Sesquicentenary Celebration.

Transform India, is an initiative that aspires to create new models of social, economic and political models in line with Indian ethos, culture and spirituality. Founded by Gitanjali and co-founded by Sonam Wangchuk and Dr Sampadananda Mishra, it is a collective action in line with the forces of evolution to create abundantly in 12 Decisive action areas namely Spirituality & Consciousness, Language & Literature, Politics & Governance, Art & Culture, Technology & Artisanship, Health & Wellness, Education & Research, Humanities & Liberal Arts, Dairy & Agriculture, Design & Architecture, Business & Economics and Maths & Pure Sciences. It was launched on August 22, 2020 as a part of 150 years of Sesquicentenary Celebration of Sri Aurobindo in collaboration with SAFIC.

The idea is that each of the Decisive Action Areas will identify a research / action research program to work on, and will be mentored either by an organisation or a thought leader. Youth interested in this sublime task of nation-building are invited to apply (hyperlink to: www.transformindia.com/apply) as change-makers to work along with mentors in areas they resonate with. 

The first phase of the project will culminate on August 15, 2022, which will mark 150 years of Sri Aurobindo’s birth and the completion of 75 years of Indian Independence during which we would consolidate deliverables of the action research that would be carried out in the 12 Areas for the next two years, after which implementation of these ideas as micro-enterprises would be undertaken; thereby transforming India, one village at a time. 

The first of the Decisive action areas, Spirituality & Consciousness was launched on the 26th of September 2020. The session began with Sri Aurobindo’s Gayatri Mantra and a passage from the Mother’s Prayers and Meditation. Ms Gitanjali presided over the session by establishing the need for having Spirituality & Consciousness as the first Decisive Action Area. She said that every nation exists to bring its essence to human evolution and for India this essence has been its Spirituality, the fountainhead of its Culture and the foundation of its individual and collective life. But what is true spirituality? Is it an escape from life or a fulfillment of it. Is it the practice of some rituals, religious traditions, postures and breathing exercises or an evolution of consciousness of which the former are some of the many tools? Is it withdrawing from life into some beatific beyond or facing life head-on and solving the contextual problems with the light from the Beyond? These are the questions, said Gitanjali in her introduction that the webinar would seek to answer.

Ms Nilima Bhat, Founder, Shakti Fellowship introduced the speakers and moderated the first half of the session.

Dr Anand Reddy, Founder-Director of Sri Aurobindo Centre of Advanced Research, Puducherry, SACAR explained the concept of Evolution of Consciousness in Indian Spirituality in the light of Sri Aurobindo.

Dr Vladimir Yatsenko, a researcher in General and Theoretical Linguistics, Philosophy of Language, Indian Philosophy, Integral Yoga Psychology, Vedas, Upanishads, and the Gita spoke about the Vedic Vision of Life-Affirming Spirituality, how the vision was lost and recovered again by Sri Aurobindo. 

Ashish Dhar, co-founder of Upword and Pragyata and Director Operations of Indic Collective Trust reflected upon how the problems that we see around us are the Crisis of Consciousness within and tell us if these external problems can be solved by inner spiritual means.

Finally the youth of India represented by Palak Dubey, a young professional and Arjun Agarwal, a first year University student asked relevant questions to the panel like, how is Indian spirituality, the tenets of which were outlines thousands of years ago still relevant today and where do science and spirituality meet which were deeply reflected upon by the panellists. The tenets of Spirituality they said were eternal and had a universal and eternal relevance and science and spirituality had a common objective: to the find the Truth, while one did it objectively the other approached it subjectively! It was a very though-provoking session which was brought to a meaningful closure by Gitanjali who in addition to summarising the insights that emerged from the seminar, outlined the action research projects that would be taken up in the Decisive Action Area ‘Spirituality & Consciousness’ over the next two years. They are:

  1. Introduction to the Vedic and Upanishadic Vision in the Light of Sri Aurobindo
  2. Learnings from the Gita for the 21st Century
  3. Spiritual Solutions to the Crisis facing the World Today: Climate Change, Mental Health, Partition of India, Crisis of Leadership
  4. Establishing True Individuality through Spirituality (Research in Consciousness Studies)
  5. Symbolism as a way of Indian Thought (Puranas, Upanishads, Vedas)

Uday Arya brought the seminar to a successful close with a vote of thanks!

Here is the link to the Video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/SStYhdorYms

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