21st February, The Mother's Birthday
It was a wonderful day yesterday with thousands of people visiting The Mother's Room in Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and receiving a Prasad as below at the end. The atmosphere was as if charged with some energy and everyone was enchanted.
Supreme Lord is indeed always with us, in us, all around us and above us transcending to the infinite heights and depths. All of us are blessed with His Divine Presence.
RamaNarayana and Uma
Message Distributed in Ashram, 21st Feb 2009
Live always as if you were under
the very eye of the supreme and of
the Divine Mother. Do nothing, try to
think and feel nothing that would
be unworthy of the Divine Presence.
- Sri Aurobindo
21st February 1878, The Mother's Birthday
In Sri Aurobindo Ashram it is observed as Darshan Day
On this special day devotees are allowed to visit the room of Mother and Sri Aurobindo
Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.
8 September 1965
We are not here to do (only a little better) what others do. We are here to do what others cannot do because they do not have the idea that it can be done.
The Mother is the Divine Consciousness-Force that makes Him manifested. It is She who forms all worlds and beings and things and souls for the Divine Inhabitant. She is the Divine Will that is one with Divine Truth.
"The Mother's consciousness and mine are the same, the one Divine Consciousness in two, because that is necessary for the play. Nothing can be done without her knowledge and force, without her consciousness - if anybody really feel her consciousness, he should know that I am there behind it and if he feels me it is the same with hers." (Sri Aurobindo).
Mirra Alfassa (Paris 21.2.1878 - Pondicherry 17.11.73) was born as the second child of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father, a few months after her parents had settled in France. An extraordinarily gifted child, who became an accomplished painter and musician, she had many inner experiences from early childhood on. In her twenties she studied occultism in Algeria with Max Theon and his English wife Alma, who was a highly developed medium. After her return to Paris, the Mother worked with several different groups of spiritual seekers.
Meeting Sri Aurobindo
She first heard of Sri Aurobindo from her friend Alexandra David-Neel, who had visited him in Pondicherry in 1912; and in 1914, along with her second husband Paul Richard, she was able to travel to Pondicherry and meet him in person. There, she immediately recognised him as a mentor she had encountered in earlier visions, and knew that her future work was at his side. Although she had to leave India after the outbreak of the First World War, first returning to France, and then accompanying Richard to an official post in Japan, in April 1920 she returned to join Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry and never left again. Sri Aurobindo recognised in her an embodiment of the dynamic expressive aspect of evolutionary, creative Force, in India traditionally known and approached as the 'Supreme Mother'.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville
It was the Mother, as Sri Aurobindo's 'Shakti', who organised the growing group of followers around him into the Sri Aurobindo Ashram from November 1926 onwards, and who in 1952, after his passing in 1950, created the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education to fulfil his wish to provide a new kind of education for Indian youth. In 1968 she founded the international township project of Auroville as a yet wider field for practical attempts to implement Sri Aurobindo's vision of new forms of individual and collective life, preparing the way towards a brighter future for the whole earth.
Humanity is not the last rung of the terrestrial creation. Evolution continues and man will be surpassed. It is for each individual to know whether he wants to participate in the advent of this new species.
For those who are satisfied with the world as it is, Auroville obviously has no reason to exist.
The Mother, 1966
Inspired by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the overall vision of Future School is to develop educational environments for adolescents in which Aurovilian students reach their own unique potential through a balanced development of body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Underlying this integral approach is the development of faculties that will allow our students to pursue the unfolding of their inner truth in harmony with the material world.
Aravind Ghose (Calcutta 15.8.1872 - Pondicherry 5.12.1950), along with his two brothers, was given an entirely Western education by their Anglophile father. After infant schooling at a convent in Darjeeling, they were taken to England to live with a clergyman's family in Manchester. From there they joined St. Paul's public school in West London, and later went on to Cambridge Unversity. There Sri Aurobindo was a brilliant scholar, winning record marks in the Classical Tripos examination. But he had already been touched by a will for the Independence of India, and did not wish to become an official of the colonial administration - the position his father and his education had marked him out for. He managed to disqualify himself by failing to take the mandatory riding test, and instead returned to India in 1893 in the service of the Indian princely State of Baroda, where he remained up to 1906.
In that year he returned to his birthplace, Calcutta, as the first Principal of the new Bengal National College. He resigned that post because of his increasingly active involvement in the Nationalist Movement. Sri Aurobindo was the first of the Nationalist leaders to insist on full independence for India as the goal of the movement, and for several years he lent all his considerable abilities and energies to this struggle. This led to him being arrested on a charge of treason and being kept in solitary confinement for almost a year as an 'under trial' prisoner in Alipore jail. During this time he had a number of fundamental spiritual experiences which convinced him of the truth of the "Sanatana Dharma" - the ancient spiritual knowledge and practice of India.
After he was acquitted and released, this spiritual awareness led him to take refuge from continuing pursuit by the British authorities in Pondicherry, then part of French India, where he devoted himself intensively to the exploration of the new possibilities it opened up to him. Supported by his spiritual collaborator, The Mother, and using his new-found spiritual capacities, he continued to work tirelessly for the upliftment of India and the world. When India gained its Independence on 15.8.1947, he responded to the request for a message to his countrymen by speaking of five dreams that he had worked for, and which he now saw on the way to fulfilment.
These five Dreams were:
"... a revolutionary movement which would create a free and united India." " ... the resurgence and liberation of the peoples of Asia and her return to her great role in the progress of human civilization." "... a world-union forming the outer basis of a fairer, brighter and nobler life for all mankind." "... the spiritual gift of India to the world." "... a step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society."
Optimistic and dynamic world-view
The great originality of Sri Aurobindo is to have fused the modern scientific concept of evolution with the perennial gnostic experience of an all-pervading divine consciousness supporting all phenomenal existence. His synthesis was not a philosophic construct, but a realisation stemming from direct spiritual experience. The unfolding of more and more complex forms and higher levels of consciousness out of an original total material inconscience is seen as the gradual return to self-awareness and the diverse self-expression of involved Spirit. This process is evidently not complete, and the evolution of higher levels of consciousness and less unconscious forms of expression are to be expected. But with the development of Mind, individual human beings can, if they choose, use their will and intelligence to begin to participate consciously in this process of self-discovery and self-exploration. This knowledge founds an optimistic and dynamic world-view, which gives each individual a meaningful place in a progressive cosmic unfolding, and casts our understanding of human endeavour, whether individual or collective, in a new and purposeful perspective. Many facets of this world-view are elaborated in the 35 volumes of Sri Aurobindo's Collected Works.
Many Aurovilians, certainly those who have specifically come for Auroville's spiritual vision and call, are practicing the 'Integral Yoga' as described by Sri Aurobindo, and naturally refer to it in their communications in daily life as well as on this site. We add here below some introductory definitions relating to the yoga in the words of Sri Aurobindo himself:
Central purpose of the Integral Yoga
Transformation of our superficial, narrow and fragmentary human way of thinking, seeing, feeling and being into a deep and wide spiritual consciousness and an integrated inner and outer existence and of our ordinary human living into the divine way of life.
This yoga accepts the value of cosmic existence and holds it to be a reality; its object is to enter into a higher Truth-Consciousness or Divine Supramental Consciousness in which action and creation are the expression not of ignorance and imperfection, but of the Truth, the Light, the Divine Ananda (Bliss). But for that, the surrender of the mortal mind, life and body to the Higher Consciousness is indispensable, since it is too difficult for the mortal human being to pass by its own effort beyond mind to a Supramental Consciousness in which the dynamism is no longer mental but of quite another power. only those who can accept the call to such a change should enter into this yoga.
Sâdhanâ of the Integral Yoga
The Sâdhanâ [practice] of the Integral Yoga does not proceed through any set mental teaching or prescribed forms of meditation, mantras or others, but by aspiration, by a self-concentration inwards or upwards, by a self-opening to an Influence, to the Divine Power above us and its workings, to the Divine Presence in the heart and by the rejection of all that is foreign to these things. It is only by faith, aspiration and surrender that this self-opening can come.
The method we have to pursue is to put our whole conscious being into relation and contact with the Divine and to call Him in to transform our entire being into His, so that in a sense God Himself, the real Person in us, becomes the sâdhaka of the sâdhana* as well as the Master of the Yoga by whom the lower personality is used as the centre of a divine transfiguration and the instrument of its own perfection. In effect, the pressure of the Tapas, the force of consciousness in us dwelling in the Idea of the divine Nature upon that which we are in our entirety, produces its own realisation. The divine and all-knowing and all-effecting descends upon the limited and obscure, progressively illumines and energises the whole lower nature and substitutes its own action for all the terms of the inferior human light and mortal activity.
* Sâdhana, the practice by which perfection, siddhi, is attained;
Sâdhaka, the Yogin who seeks by that practice the siddhi.
Aim of the Integral Yoga
It is not merely to rise out of the ordinary ignorant world-consciousness into the divine consciousness, but to bring the supramental power of that divine consciousness down into the ignorance of mind, life and body, to transform them, to manifest the Divine here and create a divine life in Matter.
Conditions of the Integral Yoga
This yoga can only be done to the end by those who are in total earnest about it and ready to abolish their little human ego and its demands in order to find themselves in the Divine. It cannot be done in a spirit of levity or laxity; the work is too high and difficult, the adverse powers in the lower Nature too ready to take advantage of the least sanction or the smallest opening, the aspiration and tapasyâ (concentration of the will) needed too constant and intense.
Method in the Integral Yoga
To concentrate, preferably in the heart and call the presence and power of the Mother to take up the being and by the workings of her force transform the consciousness. one can concentrate also in the head or between the eye-brows, but for many this is a too difficult opening. When the mind falls quiet and the concentration becomes strong and the aspiration intense, then there is the beginning of experience. The more the faith, the more rapid the result is likely to be. For the rest one must not depend on one's own efforts only, but succeed in establishing a contact with the Divine and a receptivity to the Mother's Power and Presence.
The way to devotion and surrender.
It is the psychic movement that brings the constant and pure devotion and the removal of the ego that makes it possible to surrender.
The way to knowledge
Meditation in the head by which there comes the opening above, the quietude or silence of the mind and the descent of peace etc. of the higher consciousness generally till it envelops the being and fills the body and begins to take up all the movements.
Yoga by works
Separation of the Purusha from the Prakriti, the inner silent being from the outer active one, so that one has two consciousness or a double consciousness, one behind watching and observing and finally controlling and changing the other which is active in front. The other way of beginning the yoga of works is by doing them for the Divine, for the Mother, and not for oneself, consecrating and dedicating them till one concretely feels the Divine Force taking up the activities and doing them for one.
Object of the Integral Yoga
The object of the Integral 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.
Principle of the Integral Yoga
The whole principle of Integral Yoga is to give oneself entirely to the Divine alone and to nobody else, and to bring down into ourselves by union with the Divine Mother all the transcendent light, power, wideness, peace, purity, truth-consciousness and Ananda of the Supramental Divine.
Fundamental realisations of the Integral Yoga
The psychic change so that a complete devotion can be the main motive of the heart and the ruler of thought, life and action in constant union with the Mother and in her Presence. The descent of the Peace, Power, Light etc. of the Higher Consciousness through the head and heart into the whole being, occupying the very cells of the body. The perception of the one and Divine infinitely everywhere, the Mother everywhere and living in that infinite consciousness.
From 'Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga', compiled from the writings of Sri Aurobindo by M.P. Pandit, published by Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
Dear Leo, Hello!
I am glad to introduce my self as a friend of Mr. Ananta Kumar Giri, PhD
Madras Institute of Development Studies
Chennai-600 020, India
In fact I am referred by Mr. Ananta to contact you and see you in Saint Petersburg. I am visiting Saint Petersburg next month for two weeks on invitation from our family friend Ingrid and her family. My wife Uma and son Om also will be traveling together with me. We arrive there on 7th and leave on 20th June. If you are in town during this period and you have some time for us we will be glad to see you. I quote the contact details of our friend with whom we will be staying:
2nd linia 41 – 27
Tel: 007 812 3280507
To introduce myself I would like to state that I am an Aurovillian discharging the responsibility of Coordination in Administration at Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER) in Auroville, the international township.
We have a website: http://www.auroville.org/education.htm. You are welcome to visit it when you have some free time.
Hope to find a reply from you.
Role of Education in Inter-faith Harmony
Dr. Pravat Kumar Dhal
Member of Global Harmony Association
HOD, Department of Education, Magadh University, Bodh Gaya
A paper Presented at the National Seminar
Importance of Inter-religious understanding: Its implications for Mankind
Jointly organized by
Forum of Inter-religious Understanding, IOS, New Delhi, and Dept. of Budhist Studies and DDE, Magadh University, Bodhgaya(Bihar)
Date: 24th-25th September, 2016
Role of Education in Inter-faith Harmony
Let pure seekers of wisdom arrive unto us for learning and wisdom from all directions. Let them arrive unto us by diverse paths. Let untainted seekers of knowledge reach unto us in proper form. Be they blessed with mastery over their senses. on them be conferred the strength of controlling their thoughts.
-Taittiriya Upanishad 1/4/2
Facing various challenges India has been taking unique leadership in the field of peace and harmony for the ages among other countries in the global context. India has an enriched spiritual tradition. Since ‘Gurukula’ system of education to yet it has been reflecting her greatness in various means. It embraces all the religions, communities, castes and creeds in her lap without any hesitation. Mother India is well aware of her messages of scriptures (The Vedas): ‘Let noble thoughts come from all sides’, ‘Let all men live in peace and harmony’, and ‘Let all people be happy in life’. This is the foundation of her culture. According to Kothari Commission of 1964-66, “Indian culture has strong and honorable tradition of International Understanding of valuing of the whole with an open mind, the contributions of different countries and races to human civilizations.”
The concept of inter-religious understanding in India is not new .In our constitution it is inscribed as secularism. Its implementation has been enacting since its inception. We live in a global village that brings people of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds into contact. Indeed, plurality is our world context and is the context within many countries. In this paper, it is focused on the phenomenon of our religious plurality: the challenges and how education helps to combat the challenges.
The Asia-Pacific Region is the most culturally diverse region in the world, containing a rich tapestry of languages, ethnicities and religions.1 It is a religiously plural society, a home for believers of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Judaism and tribal religions. Sadly, in the past this diversity has often been used as a reason to mobilize people toward rivalry and even violent conflict. It remains as an increasingly significant challenge of our time. Over the last several years, there has been a rise in extremism and fundamentalist religious movements. The experience of 9/11, the war in Iraq and URI incident have polarized religious and ethnic communities and have placed the world in a perilous situation. The credibility of religion as a force that is peace-promoting is now on trial.2 Hans Küng, an authority on world religions, has made the conclusion that “there can be no peace among the nations without peace among religions; no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.”3 This statement has gained acceptance among major religious traditions and now we find a growing inter-religious/interfaith dialogue movement. As described by various proponents,4 Inter-faith dialogue aims to: - acquire an empathetic understanding of other religions so that all may live in harmony and with respect - improve communication and to promote openness and trust - cooperate with and support each other for the good of society/humanity - unite people in a common purpose of shared responsibility for the planet.
What is Interfaith Harmony?
Harmony is about co-existence that means live and let live together without any conflict or disturbance. It is a way forward towards peace and prosperity, both urgently required in a world of growing political and economic dissonance. Inter-faith harmony is signifying peaceful co-existence among members of various religious beliefs, aimed at eliminating the possibility of discord, violent or non-violent. Such a condition calls for a global level of understanding that all religions are mutually acceptable in terms of their basic tenets as well as manifestations in human behaviour along with all ramifications of traditions and their evolution to the contemporary life. However, this could change, given the will to show respect and consideration for one another. Growing awareness of the ideal of interfaith harmony and the urge for its realization is valuable. Moreover, it would appear to be steered politically, misguided as it were, in the name of an artificially created condition of religious discord.
Need and Significance
According to Dewey, “A religion can be realized itself only through science that is through ways of understanding human nature in its concrete actuality and of discovering how its various factors are modified by interaction with the variety of interaction with the variety of conditions under which they operate. Without science this religion is bound to become formal, hypothetical and a mass of dogmas.”5(Education Today, pp148-49) This is the reflection of western civilization.In reality, scientific advances are even causing dissonance among the religious orders of the societies of their origin. In fact, the Western civilization still appears to be trying hard to adjust their own religious values in the light of scientific data pertaining to the available secrets of nature. They tend to reduce tensions between scientific perceptions and religious tenets by subsuming the former under the Creation Plan of the Almighty Creator. only the fresh scientific data, seemingly posing a challenge to all religions, would need to be placed in the context of various religious orders. None-the-less interfaith harmony contributing to peace and prosperity would continue to remain a desirable objective. For facilitating movement towards the valuable objective, Inter-faith dialogue is being looked upon a possible option. Such experiments have been carried out in the past without persuasive reconcilable results.
To Castro (2006), first of all, the changing world order is being driven by the forces of market economy which stand galvanized by the revolutionary technological changes based on scientific researches of the 20th century in the fields of cyber technology and their effects on the speed of communication. This has given rise to the urge of establishing world-wide economy of scales by pooling global resources leading to the overarching concept of globalization. Globalization, which is still in progress, has caused fresh strains on developing economies, creating an atmosphere of mistrust, fear and uncertainties. Increasing automation in productive technologies has led to decreasing dependence on manpower resources resulting in massive lay-offs and crisis in job markets, changing market conditions in the wake of revolutionary technologies calls for change in thinking patterns to cope with the emerging reality. Those, unwilling or reluctant or resisting the changes are looked upon as stumbling blocks in the path of required transition. For them time appears to be out of joint. Driven to the wall by the pressures of scientific innovations to cope with the mundane realities, they begin to fear that their religious world-view was under jeopardy. In point of fact, their own earthly existence was endangered. Those steering the scientific revolution are also singled out in terms of the dissidence of their moral and spiritual values, leading to the diversionary tactics that their religion was.
Education as a Vital Tool
According to Sri Aurobindo, “If you want to change the world, you first change yourself’”. He wanted a transformation in the consciousness of individuals and in the society.This transformation of consciousness is possible through integral education. Integral education is the practical aspect of his ideas, which is implemented throughout the world for transformation of the society. All kinds of curricular and co-curricular activities should aim at inculcating spiritual and psychic values like love, truth, faith in God, competency in performance strength of mind and heart. International understanding, Universal love, sympathy, fellow feeling and mutual understanding are the desirable characteristics to be developed among children.It seeks peace and justice, and supports interfaith dialogue and cooperation. In interfaith dialogue, it is essential to cooperate with each other for the good of society and to unite people towards a shared responsibility for the planet. Integral education integrates the inner and outer realities of life. It believes in harmony and synthesis. It leads individual, social and universal development. It draws at a world unifying consciousness that spreads towards the greater harmonies of being, individually, socially, geopolitically. ‘Auroville’ is a unique example of this. In this system there must be balance and harmony in the individual and in the society.
How Education can Promote Interfaith Understanding and Cooperation?
Castro(2006), Dhal(2007) and others have given following suggestions to develop interfaith harmony among the masses through education.
1. Integrate into the content of our education (curriculum) the following ideas and perspectives, particularly through subjects in the social sciences and religious studies:
a. Shared the values of all religions in the World
b. Coming out of narrow thinking
c. Re-Think and rejection of prejudices against other religions
There are certain age-old prejudices against other religions, have to be challenged, because these prejudices can lead to discrimination and conflicts. These are hindrance to cooperative efforts among people of different faiths and to establish of a peace culture. The study of the “Declaration of Principles on Tolerance” made by UNESCO in 1995 would be appropriate here. As the Declaration states, “Tolerance is respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief.”6
d. Sharing responsibility among the religions
Each religion has certain good for the wellbeing of society. Try to understand it deeply. All religions need to cooperate for the good of society and to exercise their shared responsibility. Human being should understand deeply the philosophy of each religion. Each religion should develop his peace promoting role to help reduce tension, build trust, prevent violent conflict and create conditions for reconciliation. They have to take collaborative role and social justice work.
2. Use pedagogy or methods that promote interfaith understanding and cooperation
There is evidence that the internalization of values is facilitated by the use of following:
·Reflective and critical thinking and a dialogical teaching method,
·Using experiential approaches such as cultural exchanges and immersion opportunities;
·Students’ exposure program or service learning in other cultural communities;
·Organizing seminar, conferences or symposium
·Inquiry learning and collaborative learning are recommended as processes that cultivate interfaith insights;
·Use of personal stories as well as stories from the religious traditions,
·The communal model/shared learning environment, where there is more social interaction, is also suggested;
·Other pedagogical principles like holistic understanding used in peace education are also helpful;
·To improve intercultural and interfaith relations requires us to build trust, mutual respect and understanding of each other’s values and traditions.
·When economic and political injustices lie at the base of the conflict, these also need to be addressed. Hence, the call is for an educational approach that looks at an issue holistically including the interconnectedness of causes and of the effects.
·Finally, the so-called “valuing process”is one that would likely lead to behavioral change. This teaching-learning process includes: the cognitive level (for example, knowing and understanding other faiths); the affective level (for example, accepting, respecting and appreciating these other faiths through an experience-reflection activity); and the active level (challenging and inviting learners to act or behave in a way that is consistent to what has been learned in the cognitive and affective levels).
3. Initiate interfaith projects, activities and services for the students and faculty
It is recommended that educational institutions and educators also complement the curricular and pedagogical efforts with an out-of-classroom and even non-school based programs that seek to reinforce the goal of interfaith understanding and cooperation. Some of them are:
i)Notre Dame University (NDU) has a Catholic chapel and two Muslim prayer rooms, an indication of its sensitivity to its Muslim student population. The Religious Studies Department of the university offers symposia on Religious Pluralism regularly while the Institute of Inter-Religious Relations conduct interfaith retreats/spiritual recollections for joint groups of Muslim and Christian students.
ii)The project, with the theme, “Building Bridges of Understanding and Peace,” started in September 2004 with the students’ exchanging letters.
iii)The project involves the development of materials and the conduct of teachers’ workshops (including multi-faith groups) on the “Spiritual and Ethical Foundations of Peace Education.” These workshops have been held in Japan, Philippines and Korea, and, hopefully, in other places, too, in the future.
iv)Projects and Curriculum prepared by Global Harmony Association(GHA)
v)Establishment of Auroville
vi)World interfaith harmony week
4. Prepare and support teachers
The teacher can promote values for interfaith understanding, because he is the real agent who will facilitate the above mentioned recommendations. This has implications to our pre-service and in-service training programs for them. Teachers must also be supported in terms of time and resources as they are already burdened with too much work.
We have to be aware that there are many organizations that pursue efforts that extend beyond the school or university, offering their interfaith knowledge and inspiration through:
·interfaith social action and/or
·Publication of materials.
The Multi-Faith Centre based in Griffith University in Australia; the United Religions Initiative (URI) Cooperation Circles, GHA, GHF, GHCH, GMA, IION, IOS and other religious institutions are found in many countries of the world. Educational institutions will be enriched by their engagement and cooperation with these and other interfaith organizations. Engagement with government agencies is also fruitful of results.
Human Unity and International Understanding in Integral Education
The foundation of integral education is meant for the whole world. This leads to the unity of all nations, international understanding and interfaith harmony. According to The Mother, “unity of the human race can be achieved neither by uniformity nor by domination and subjection, but by a synthetic organisation of all nations, each one occupying its true place according to its own genius and the part it has to play in the whole. In order to make this synthesis a living one, the grouping should be effectuated around a central idea that is as wide and as high as possible, in which all tendencies, even the most contradictory, may find their respective places. Education has a positive role to play in bring world union by making the children accustomed from a very early age not merely to the idea itself, but to its practice”7.Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education at Pondicherry is a step towards the achievement of this ideal. The attempts of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother to educate people for human unity and international understanding include the creation of Auroville - a city of the future humanity which has spiritual principle as its base. It is observed that the world trends in education are moving towards that.
Auroville a Light House of Interfaith Harmony
Greetings from Auroville to all men of good will and are invited to Auroville - all those who thirst for progress and aspire to a higher and truer life. Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries will be able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The aim of Auroville is to realize Human Unity8.
Auroville, the City of Dawn, is a place in south India where, for more than thirty years, an increasing number of people from all over the world and of all faiths have been quietly and painstakingly working on the construction of a new township, a new way of living, a new way of being. Something is being attempted here for the benefit of all.
Auroville is to be a major vehicle of this evolutionary thrust and, eventually, a platform for transformation. Auroville is a collective experiment dedicated to human unity and international understanding. Auroville is intended as a city for up to 50,000 inhabitants. Today its number of inhabitants is around 2,000 people, drawn from some forty four nations and tens of religions. They live in about 100 settlements of varying size, separated by village and temple lands and surrounded by Tamil villages with a total population of over 35,000 people.
Since the very beginning, Auroville has received the unanimous endorsement of the General Conference of UNESCO in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1983. In 1988, the Government of India passed the Auroville Foundation Act to safeguard the development of Auroville according to its Charter. Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations in India and abroad have funded various development programmers, and donations have been received from foundations all over the world.
The Mother, founded the township in 1968 and gave its Charter
“Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville, one must be the willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness. Auroville will be the place of an unending education,of constant progress, and a youth that never ages. Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realizations. Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity”9
Auroville wants to be the first realization of human unity based on the teaching of SriAurobindo, where men of all countries and faiths would be at home. Auroville is the city of universal harmonious culture. It is a world university of harmony.
Interpersonal Harmony in Sri Aurobindo’s Thought.
According to Sri Aurobindo, Unity, Harmony and Solidarity are the ideals of Collective living. It is relatively easy to achieve outer harmony but more difficult to achieve inner harmony among people. Without this inner harmony, outer harmony is uncertain and unsustainable. Living and working together, though helpful, neither bring everlasting inner and outer harmony among people, nor can overtake unnecessary conflicts among individuals. To achieve an integral harmony we have to understand the major causes of conflict among individuals and also the factors, which lead to inner and outer harmony.
Unity and harmony within the individual is the foundation of unity and harmony in collectively. When the individuals in a community are at peace and harmony with themselves, it leads to a spontaneous harmony in the community. So to bring unity and harmony in the community, every individual in the community has to make a conscious effort to integrate his body, mind and heart and his thought, feeling, will and action around some life-enriching values which unite people.
It is also seen that there are conflicts among religions. Regarding this, Sri Aurobindo wrote: "The conflict of religions arises because each one claims the exclusive truth and demands complete adherence to it by the method of dogma, belief, ritual ceremony and prescribed acts. The solution would be to recognize that the real truth of religion is in the spiritual experience of which it is an outer formation".10
Srinivas beautifully summarized this idea of Sri Aurobindo. The inner psychological fraternity made up of mutual goodwill is the basis of peace and harmony in a community. But for this to happen, goodwill should be not only mutual but also integral which means it must be present in thought, feeling and will. In the will this positive state of consciousness manifests as a constant and persistent urge for the well being of others. In the feeling it expresses itself as kindness, compassion, generosity, trust, forgiveness. In thought it is understanding, tolerance, non-judgmental attitude and benevolence. All these qualities of the mind and heart have to be consciously cultivated and their opposites have to be firmly and persistently rejected. In yoga this inner discipline is called Chitta-shuddhi, which means purification of the mind.
However, this inner fraternity created by human love, goodwill and compassion is not the highest state of unity and harmony. This inner fraternity prepares our individual consciousness to rise beyond human fraternities to the true and everlasting unity of the spirit in which we can feel our oneness not only with all human beings but also with all creation, human and non-human. To realize this spiritual unity, we have to enter into inner depth of our being and come into some form of direct or reflected contact with our inner most spiritual self in the stillness of our mind or heart. But it is not so easy. It can be generated through a process of progressive inner evolution, which prepares the inner being of the individual and collectively for moving forward towards the spiritual unity. The next stage is shifting of our consciousness from the surface level to the deeper subliminal and spiritual level where we can feel a concrete experiential unity. This can be achieved only through the psychological and spiritual disciplines of yoga.
This inner unity of consciousness expressing itself at the outer life as perfect mutuality and unity is the spiritual ideal of collective living. Hence Sri Aurobindo says: “Unity is the basis of the Gnostic consciousness, mutuality the natural result of its direct awareness of oneness in diversity, harmony the inevitable power of its force, unity, mutuality and harmony must therefore be the inescapable law of a common and collective Gnostic life” 11.
Role of Global Harmony Association (GHA) towards Inter-faith Harmony
The GHA is meant for world peace and harmony civilization. The ABC of Harmony (www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=478) and based on it harmonious education continue, develop and raise the ideas to a new level of the 21st century as a stage of harmonious civilization and world interfaith harmony on the foundation of global harmonious consciousness developed of this ABC. The ABC of Harmony is a modern peace based philosophy in the Global scenario. It looks harmony in all subjects of study like physics, mathematics, history, politics etc. It is both scientific and democratic thinking. It embraces thoughts of the all great thinkers of the world. It is a new concept which stresses on four-dimensional thinking.
This idea has both philosophical and educational (application) approach. It encourages individual, social and global harmony. It has taken experiences of long history of the world civilization. It considers harmony as integral and universal property. It takes whole in the parts and parts in the whole. This (ABC) is the beginning activity of the conscious harmonious mind. It aims at spiritual globalization and perfection. It encourages for uniting, generalizing and explaining the fundamental components of harmony of the human civilization.
It believes that, this can happen only through harmonious education, through dialogue and polylogue with others, through overcoming of conflicts, mutual alienation and hostility, after reconciliation with others and the discovery of a harmonious reason, thinking, philosophy, and worldview as universal harmonious identity.
In this harmony each may be a philosopher ora peddler, but cooperative to others and himself. It will be certainly helpful for generating harmony in the earth. Hence, it is my gratification to the authors fortheir deep philosophical understanding and versatile effort to imply the project in the Globe.
The wise sage Confucius said, “When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home,”
The enlightened one, the Buddha added, when there is harmony in the home, there is the order in the nation.”
“When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world”-Abdul Kalam
In the foregoing discussion, we have tried to establish the challenge that our cultural and religious plurality presents. We have also posited that one response that we can make is to educate toward interfaith understanding and cooperation. Some call it interfaith education, a branch among many branches of the broader field of peace education. The ultimate goal of interfaith education and of peace education as well, is for us to learn new ways of thinking and acting, based on mutual respect and shared responsibility, so that the whole human community can live in peace and can enjoy the fruits of a sustainable and equitable development. “ Let us come together, let us enjoy together, let there be light, let there be no hatred or poison ofmisunderstanding.”(Taitreya Upanishad) This is the key for interfaith harmony and peace. At the end I hope:
“Sarbe vabantu sukhinha
Sarbe santu niramaya
Sarbe vadrani pasyantu
Ma kaschit dukh bhag bhabet.”
1Learning To Be: A Holistic and Integrated Approach to Values Education for Human Development, (Bangkok: UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, 2002), p.9.
2 Wesley Ariarajah, “As Seeing the Impossible: The Basis for the New Interest in Interfaith Dialogue”, Interfaith Education Initiative Conference, Washington DC, 2004.
3Hans Küng, Global Responsibility: In Search of a New World Ethic (New York: Continuum Publ. Co., 1991), p. 138.
4 Op. Cit., p.4; Francis Cardinal Arinze, Meeting Other Believers (Manila: CBCP Publications, 1998), p. 11;
5Dewey,J Education Today,pp148-49
6 “Declaration of Principles on Tolerance”, Learning to Be: A Holistic and Integrated Approach to Values Education for Human Development (Bangkok: UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, 1998) p. 147
7The Mother 1978, Vol. 12, p.40
10 Sing,K. (2007) Interfaith Harmony in A Globalized Society, www.TimesofIndia.com
11Sri Nivasan, Interpersonal Harmony: A Psychological Perspective (A Featured Article), SAFIM, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry
Castro, L.N. The Role of Education in Promoting Interfaith Cooperation, Center for Peace Education, Miriam College, December 12, 2006
Dhal,P.(2007) Dharm Gigyansa, MIRA, Darakholi, Balasore, Odisha
Gideon Goosen, Bringing Churches Together (Geneva: WCC Publ., 2001), p.134;
Lawrence Surendra, “Inter-Religious Dialogue and Education for Peace: Report of the Symposium”, SangSaeng, Spring 2003.
S. M. Inamullah , Enigma of Inter-faith Harmony
(Writings of Sri Aurobindo)
Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Volumes Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1972.
No. Title Pages
13. Essays on the Gita 490-507
14. The Foundations of Indian Culture 108-122
15. Social and Political Thought 37-47,180-194,231-245
18. The Life Divine - I 122-141 and 271-289
19. The Life Divine - II 683-731 and 916-963
20. The Synthesis of Yoga - I
21. The Synthesis of Yoga -II 616-626 and 673-674
Sri Nivasan, Interpersonal Harmony: A Psychological Perspective (A Featured Article), SAFIM, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry
UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, 1998, pp. 12-22.
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