Celebrating the 150th birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo
Date: 25 and 26th December 2020 | 5.30 PM to 7.00 PM
Day 1: Keynote Speech by Dr Alok Pandey
Day 2: Keynote Speech by Dr Prema Nandakumar and Panel Discussion moderated by Nilima Bhat with Panellists Dr Nirupam Rohatgi and Dr Charan Singh Kedarkhandi.
Synopsis of the webinar:
The day one of the webinar began with the invocation. In the welcome note, Dr Sampadananda Mishra, Director, SAFIC and Convenor, Sri Aurobindo Sesquicentenary Celebration, explored the root meaning of the word Savitri and etymologically explained that two meanings: ‘the creator’ and ‘the delight of the existence’ are imbedded in the base word ‘Savitr’ from which the word Savitri is derived.
After the formal introduction of the speaker of the day by Harhista, a core team member of the Sri Aurobindo Sesquicentenary celebration by SAFIC, Dr Alok Pandey, the keynote speaker of the day, commenced with the thought that the Vedas are eternal truths and aim of the Vedas is to lead life as per these eternal truths (Sanatana Dharma). Sri Aurobindo, through Savitri, takes this whole project of the Vedas to the next higher level of divine fulfilment.
The Vedic seers saw the eternal truth through the luminous veil, but Sri Aurobindo was able to transcend this veil and go beyond and become one with the eternal truth. Thus, in Sri Aurobindo’s integral experience of the One, Purusha, the passive force described in the Veda and the shakti, the dynamic force describes in the tantra both come together to create ‘Creation’. Savitri contains the cosmic power/forces that we are meant to choose from – The evolutionary (light) forces and retrograde (Dark) forces. We see in Savitri that both these forces as necessary to work together for the soul and the divinisation of the body towards the life divine – the dark, retrograde forces give us the strength and wisdom and the evolutionary forces give us sweetness and delight. Savitri also gives the answer of what will happen to the Darkness/dark forces – that it will be transformed into light. – Goal of Savitri is to discover the truth/immortality within, unite with it and establish that delight (Ananda) here on Earth in the physical body so that every experience of ours is filled with that nectar of immortality/delight. While the Vedas talk about taking us from darkness to light, Sri Aurobindo through Savitri takes it to the next higher level of light to greater light. In the traditional Veda, it was about finding the soul’s immortality where as in Savitri it is about seeking for the physical immortality and supramental transformation.
Dr Alok Pandey ended his talk by mentioning that Aditi, the divine consciousness, puts us into the womb of Diti (the dark mother) so that we become individuals through the right choices and then surrender to Aditi, the divine mother. He added that Savitri embodies the future vision – an adventure of ascending to the higher truth and that we are here to make a home for that truth.
Dr. Mala Kapadia, one of the core team members of Sri Aurobindo Sesquicentenary Celebration by SAFIC, presented the summary of the address by Dr. Alok Pandey. Abhilash Rajan, another core team member proposed the vote of thanks. The meeting ended with the Mother’s Savitiri reading.
The day two of the program began with the invocation followed by the welcome address by Dr. Sampadananda Mishra. After the formal introduction to the speakers of the day by Abhilash Rajan, a core team member of the celebration, Dr. Prema Nandakumar started her keynote address.
Dr Prema Nandakumar highlighted parallels between the Vedas and Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. In Mahabharata Vyasa has shown Savitri as very strong women who performs the triratra vrata to strengthen herself to face Yama. Sri Aurobindo also has chosen a woman to be heroine of his epic and she is shown as an avatar. In another parallels between the Vedas and Savitri, Dr Prema said that it is enough if one grasp couple of sentences of the Veda to understand its purpose. “it is by the strength of your tapasya and by the grace of God that you win” proclaimed the Vedas. Similarly, in Savitri it is mentioned that ‘All can be done if the god-touch is there’ and this one sentence is enough to give you strength of purpose.
This was followed by a Panel Discussion. Ms Nilima Bhat, a core team member of the celebration, summarised key themes of Dr Alok Pandey’s keynote on day 1 session and welcome the panellist Dr Nirupam Rohatgi and Dr Charan Singh Kedarkhadi to talk about the relevance of Savitri in modern times and how can it reshape the human destiny.
Dr Nirupam Rohatgi said that both, the Vedas and Savitri are revelatory truths. The Vedas were revealed to the rishis and Savitri to Sri Aurobindo. Such a Knowledge is revealed directly from the God within and is infallible. Secondly Savitri is more futuristic in the sense that it says to work for the Divine’s Will after finding the God within. The Divine aim is to transform this earthly life into divine life by effecting transformation thru advent of a new race of divine human beings.
The Mother hinted once, recalled Dr Charan Singh Kedarakhandi during his panel discussion, that the present race of the earth is not fit to receive the whole light of Savitri. He highlighted importance of meditation to become receptive of Savitri’s full light. Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri aims at collective transformation of entire humanity and revolutionising the whole earth’s consciousness. and that is why Savitri is future of humanity.
The session summary was presented by Ms. Nilima Bhat. Ms. Palak Dubey, a core team member of the celebration proposed the vote of thanks and the program ended with the Mother’s Savitri reading.
On both the days the program was attended by hundreds of people both on zoom and SAFIC Facebook live. The questions raised by man viewers made the sessions more interactive and engaging and useful.
Here are the Facebook links where one can find the session videos: