4.4.1910: Sri Aurobindo’s Arrival in Pondy meant a New Education too, for Evolution

I feel prompted this morning to write something in celebration of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in then French Pondichéry, on April 4th, a hundred and nine years ago.

This date certainly marked the starting-point of the present much more ‘awake ‘Pondy’, from the slumbering French ‘comptoir’ it was then, one of the five coastal places in India which were called so at the time and still are ‘special’ to some extent, somewhat regrouped as they are under a common kind of status, with recently renamed ‘Puducherry’ by far the most important of those five remnants of the French cultural influence in India.

The discrete coming in 1910 and subsequent quiet permanent stay there of a famous political refugee from Calcutta, Aurobindo Ghose – whose rapidly growing spiritual reputation soon established him among the greatest known yogis as ‘Sri Aurobindo’ – indeed marked the beginning of a new era for the small ancient city where some affirmed that the Rishi Agastya himself had lived in Vedic times.

It is true that only after having found there the needed political asylum  did Sri Aurobindo get to read the Rig Veda in its original text – which allowed him to at last recognize, in some of the experiences described there, the special ones among those he himself was having, that he had been surprised not to find described in any later Indian spiritual scripture. The identity of inner experience in those specific cases enabled him to discover the lost, deeply spiritual true meaning of the Rig Veda, which he revealed later, from 1914 on, in the chapters of ‘The Secret of the Veda’, published month after month along with his other early big books soon famous, in the philosophical review ‘Arya’ started on August 15th (his birthday) in collaboration for the French version with the Mother (then Mira Alfassa), even after she had to leave because of WWI.

After the Mother’s return in 1920, what those two Pioneers of Conscious Evolution gradually created together has been this immense new spiritual path that they named the ‘Integral Yoga’, as this Integrality was necessary for an Evolution towards a ‘Life ‘Divine’ here on Earth instead of the usual (and only possible option till then) Escape to the Beyond.This has been already a major gift to Humanity.

But a less known fact is that they created also a corresponding, equally important new process of Education, that could now be extremely useful anywhere, as our entire terrestrial world, thanks to the secret but decisive inner Action of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s themselves,, has since then moved into its next Evolutive Step, in which our present educational systems are becoming more and more blatantly outdated and inadequate, when not plainly harmful, especially as the children being born now are often ready from the start to evolve much faster than their parents and than the stagnant societies around them.

For what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother advised went much further than simply returning to the glorious cultural or even spiritual past of India. It is our Evolutive Future that is now calling us forward, it is towards a new, truer, transformed Human Being that we are evolving, who as time passes will be able at some point to embody this very ‘Life Divine’ announced, made possible and prepared by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as the Next Step of Evolution for the Earth.

What is still practiced in the Ashram’s International Centre of Education created by the Mother in 1952, as well as in the Aurovilian equivalent, happening since 1984 officially under the vast umbrella known as ‘SAIIER’ (the Sri Aurobindo Internatioal Institute of Educational Research) is still based on the fundamentals pointed out by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother :

It is what they called the Psychic Being, the deep Inner Being formed over many lifetimes around the spark of the Soul, that is the most important element in the child, and must be helped to remain active and strong even as the child grows older and the outer parts of his/her individual nature exert a stronger influence on his/her behavior: the Mental part, the Vital Part and the Physical part will turn more easily towards the Divine if they develop under the influence of the Psychic Being – which is the only part in us still conscious of the Divine and of being a Happy and Loving Child of the Divine – rather than under the usually stronger influence of the ego.

The ego is the outer, superficial sense of an individual self, that is indispensable at the beginning for the process of Individuation that the Divine spark in each of us is to undergo for the Manifestation of the Divine in all the infinite Diversity It contains.

But as just an ego, that superficial self has lost all contact with its own secret Divinity, with Divine Love and with the Oneness behind everything there is. The ego is left only with the sense of separation, which tends to become a sense of division and opposition, hence all the struggles and wars between egoes among human beings, when the Psychic Being in each of them isn’t active and influential enough yet to  bring back and keep alive and strong in them the Love and sense of Oneness, but still together with the  also needed sense of Divine Individuality with a specific Way of Being and Purpose in Life.

Once the Psychic Being has been sufficiently called forth in the young child – above all, by the active presence in the parents and teachers of their own Psychic Being, so this is an obvious requirement for all those who would be parents or teachers – the only thing to do is to provide the child with as rich and diverse an environment as possible: this will make it easier to discover what are his or her true interests and motivations for learning and growing. The actual growth and development of the child will then unfold by itself  most spontaneously and happily, through the constant inner lead and guidance straight from within, from the Psychic Being itself, just as a seed knows exactly what plant or flower it is meant to become – and, given the environment and care it requires, will indeed become in time.

The child will be allowed to choose freely the activities he or she wants to do, and for the length of time that their interest for it will keep them genuinely happy being busy doing them and learning and growing through them. This, the Mother called the Free Progress, and it is the way, or at least some approximation of it, in most of the Auroville schools.

The present systems of so-called Education elsewhere may be perfect for turning children into the passive and docile sheep needed by those who would perpetuate indefinitely for their own profit and continued domination the mere Consumers’ Society that human life has been by now reduced to; but it isn’t at all an ineluctable Fatality that it should go on this way. We have been given the True Education’s simple inner secret by those who opened for Humanity as a whole the Way to our evolutive Future. In the very interest of our present Human Species, at least those children who are inwardly ready to grow towards that Future should be allowed and helped to do so.

I just found again the card commemorating the 10th Anniversary of SAIIER on Feb. 21st, 1994, with this superbly strong quote by the Mother, which I always loved, and was so glad that it had been chosen for the occasion:

‘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.

We are here to open the way of the Future to the children who belong to the Future.

Anything else is not worth the trouble and is not worthy of Sri Aurobindo’s help.’

    (The Mother, 6.09, 1961)

In the image down below, this text by the Mother  (without its last line) has been joined with a prayer she had written mostly for the children… but which I too learned with great enthusiasm when starting as a teacher after I arrived in Auroville in 1972, although I didn’t know yet that all this had been heralded by Sri Aurobindo’s own arrival in Pondichéry on April 4th, 1910:

Image result for "We are not here to do (only a little better) what the others do" The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. donsalmon
    Apr 04, 2019 @ 14:11:38

    hi again – just wanted to say, i added a few more verses, didnt’ want people to think “remember to be” was only about being, stillness, etc: not sure if they’re too corny or too “new age”

    Whatever the place you’re in
    Whatever you feel
    Whatever is going on
    Rtb

    Let go of the future
    Let go of the past
    Set all your concerns aside
    Rtb

    CHORUS

    No matter the grief or pain
    We still can be free
    With just the most gentle shift
    Rtb

    VERSE

    Whenever the stillness blooms
    The heart can breathe free
    the chains of the slaves are broke
    just ‘membering to be

    CHORUS

    No matter the grief or pain
    We still can be free
    With just the most gentle shift
    Rtb

    VERSE

    Whatever the place you’re in
    Whatever you feel
    Whatever is going on
    Rtb

    Let go of the future
    Let go of the past
    Set all your concerns aside
    Rtb

    CHORUS

    No matter the grief or pain
    We still can be free
    With just the most gentle shift
    Rtb
    rtb

    Now all can join hands and sing
    We all can create
    A world filled with joy and bliss
    Just ‘membering to be
    RTB

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Bhaga
      Apr 16, 2019 @ 07:11:23

      Very intense and active time… since months, not to say years, but even more so now!!! No internet access for several days recently, which prevented me from welcoming earlier your great comments, Don, although while first reading them I had exclaimed with joy ‘Wonderful! Don is back commenting my blog!!!’, but that got expressed only orally then…
      I enjoy so much your little poem/song; it sounds and feels pretty much like the many similar ones that started pouring out of me since 1975 when the Psychic Being really came forward… Nice and appreciated way to re-appear on my blog!
      My reply to your next comment will have to wait still longer., please forgive me for that..

      Like

      Reply

  2. donsalmon
    Apr 04, 2019 @ 14:19:09

    hmmm, not sure if my first comment made it. Let’s see – our other theme song first: https://beyondthematrixnow.wordpress.com/open-your-heart-and-your-mind/

    So, first i wanted to say, great post and yes, I and a number of other IY’ers have noted that in just the last few years, it’s felt more clear – not just to us but a remarkable number of people outside “The Yoga” – that we’re in a new era (especially the kids get this!!)

    Just wanted to mention Dan Siegels’ extraordinary work in ushering in the new education. Dan has work in thousands of schools now, teaching people to “be aware of awareness.”

    He has taught his “wheel of awareness’ exercise to over 30,000 people. They almost universally describe it as profound peace, joy, warmth, all embracing, vast. These \are people who never heard of such things, who never did any “sadhana.” 5 year old kids in some instances.

    But he doesn’t stop there. integrating over a dozen scientific disciplines from physics to neuroscience and psychology, with a non materialistic philosophy and a deep sense of beauty and creativity, he goes on to teach the necessity of integrating this awareness with mind, heart, life and body.

    But not stopping there, his “interpersonal neurobiology” integrates mind, body and relationships, but even beyond that, he speaks of the ultimate as “transpirational integration” – and integration with the community, world, and beyond to the entire universe.

    While not integral “yoga” – it’s the closest thing I’ve found in the mainstream world of education or mental health. And the wonderful thing about it is we can teach something so close to integral yoga without mentioning a word about religion, something acceptable even in our uptight US schools.

    Jan and I just last month completed 2 1/2 years of work on our 12 week e-course, “Train your Brain, Change Your Life,” and will be working the next 3-6 months on getting it up on our RememberToBe.Life website (not yet online) and the Thinkific Course site. The work is based mostly on Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s writings on education (though we do not use IY terminology – which I believe is in line with the spirit of Mother’s writings on education as well), though it draws a great deal from Dan’s work as well.

    ****

    Great post as always!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. everest24
    Apr 05, 2019 @ 04:53:06

    “4.4.1910: Sri Aurobindo’s Arrival in Pondy meant a New Education too, for Evolution”

    Thanks once again, Bhaga, for your gifts to the world through this and other articles on your blog. It is people like you who re-assure me of the potentiality of Auroville for India and the humanity.

    ..am giving link to this article on Auronet and my twitter account Pact Auroville.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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