Happy 75th Independence Day! On the Diamond Jubilee of independence it’s the 150 th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. He was not only a yogi and philosopher but also a poet, visionary and a revolutionary who devoted himself for the Motherland’s freedom & her upliftment.
Walking down the memory lanes I could recollect that 2 decades ago we had been to his cave of Tapasya- At Pondicherry.
We still remember the two loaves of bread and the big bowl of yummy curd… Even today everyone stands in a line to collect the breakfast there. Everyone washes their own plate irrespective of their designation. Literally, thousands of people enjoy Ashram’s food merely within half an hour.. and the pin drop silence speaks a lot about discipline, dedication and selfless work. Generally, nobody leaves the food in the dish. If any item is left over, they use it for making compost fertilizer. This half century old tradition of the Ashram, is the need of the hour. Ashram is absolutely self-reliant in all aspects. There I experience the same tranquillity as that of a Shrine. The school for perfect eyesight of Sri Aurobindo Ashram taught us eye exercises and how to care for the eyes. Normally, doctors advise us to continue to wear the specs to avoid the increasing number. However, there we learnt that one should wear the specs as per the requirement. Otherwise, we use double power to watch and our eyes get strained. We loved the reading with candles’ light activity. We had been given a pocket sized book of Sri Aurobindo & Mother’s thoughts. To regain the original eyesight one needs to be utmost sincere, it’s sometimes a tiresome job! Nevertheless, it gives us a new insight.
Ashram strongly believes that the future belongs to the young. Brave, frank, clear hearted courageous and aspiring youth is the only foundation on which our future nation can be built. Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education has been working since 1952 to prepare the younger generation for a higher harmonious life through Sri Aurobindo and The Mother’s teachings. The fascinating thing is one can be in different standards at a time as per the performance. For example, if I am good at maths I may be in the eighth standard of maths and if I am a little slow in music I can be in the nursery of music. Besides, for further education we can choose our own teachers. What a fantastic idea! Above all, kids have the full right to decide their subjects ! I wish every child of the world should get this unique freedom, from this diamond jubilee.
Later, during the commemoration of The Mother’s centenary year, youth camps were started in June 1977. In addition to the adventure programs and youth camps, Sri Aurobindo National Integration Camps also began.
We are deeply grateful towards respected Rathi sir who guided us to the sun lit Path of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. My friends and I had been to Nainital, for the National Integration Camp. Right from the first day we all friends dispersed in different groups. On a huge ground, states were being called out and accordingly the representatives were making groups. On the very first night, I heard a cry which I may never forget… It was the Asami lady. She was frightened of a big Palm sized spider. We were left with no other option than to speak through the gestures. She pointed out the spider on the wall. Until then, I had not killed even a single mosquito. But unknowingly I assured her by asking to wait. Within no time somehow I got a big broom and like a warrior I fought with the spider! Then only the Asami lady could sleep quietly. Next day early in the morning, at 5 o’clock, we rushed to the ground carrying the socks and shoes in our hands. As the late ones had to run around the Nainital Ashram, 5 times! After exercise, shramdaan and breakfast, we used to attend some lectures and the divine music. We were taught 10 community songs of different languages. Hemant Da was trying his best to make me understand the basics of singing through Saregamapa. The day we made mistakes while singing, our trekking used to be cancelled due to heavy rains ! But at last we could make it possible as I stopped singing ! That day, it did not rain and everybody, including me, enjoyed a 20 km beautiful trek through the jungle. Besides, we could perform adventurous activities like rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing. Further, we had a group discussion regarding the important national problems. The very next day we had put forward our views. Luckily, I got the chance to represent Maharashtra as a group leader. We returned with the precious gift of the Mother. Rathi sir handed over the precious gift of learning every moment irrespective of the time, place and condition…..
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Sri Aurobindo Centre, Aurangabad.