Thursday, March 1, 2018

India's PM Narendra Modi visits Auroville on 25 February 2018



Text of PM's address at Auroville, Puducherry 

I am happy to be here today on the occasion of the golden jubilee week of Auroville. Sri Aurobindo’s vision of India’s spiritual leadership continues to inspire us, even today.
Indeed, Auroville is a manifestation of that vision.Over the last five decades, it has emerged as a hub of social, cultural, educational, economic and spiritual innovation.
It is important today to remember the vast extent of action and thought of Shri Aurobindo.
A man of action, a philosopher, a poet, there were so many facets to his character. And each of them was dedicated to the good of the nation and humanity.
In the words of RabindraNath Tagore:
Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee!
O friend, my country's friend, O voice incarnate , free,
Of India's soul!


As The Mother had observed, Auroville was to be a universal town. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.
The large gathering here today, is a reflection of that idea. For ages, India has been a spiritual destination for the world. The great universities of Nalanda and Taxila hosted students from all over the world.  Many of the world's great religions were born here. They motivate people from all walks of life,) to take to a spiritual path in their day to day dealings.
Recently, the United Nations has declared June 21 as International Day of Yoga, recognizing a great Indian tradition. Auroville has brought together men and women, young and old, cutting across boundaries  and identities.
I understand that Auroville’s Charter was hand-written in French by the Divine Mother herself. According to the Charter, the Mother set five high principles for Auroville.
The first high principle of Auroville is that it belongs to all humanity. This is a reflection of our ancient credo of VasudhaivaKutumbakam -- the world is one family.
I am told, that the inauguration ceremony of Auroville in 1968 was attended by delegates of 124 nations. I learn that today, it has over two thousand, four hundred residents from forty-nine countries.
This leads us to the second high principle of Auroville. Anyone who is willingly in service of the Divine Consciousness is entitled to live in Auroville.
Maharishi Aurobindo’s philosophy of Consciousness integrates not just humans, but the entire universe.This matches with the ancient saying in the Ishavasya Upanishad.This has been translated by Mahatma Gandhi to mean “everything down to the tiniest atom is divine”.
The third founding principle of Auroville is that it will emerge as the bridge between the past and the future. If one looks at where the world and India were in 1968 when Auroville was founded, the world was living in compartments and in a state of cold war. The idea of Auroville saw the world getting integrated by trade, travel and communication.
Auroville was conceived with the vision of enveloping the whole of humanity in one small area. This would show that the future would see an integrated world. The fourth founding principle of Auroville is that it will connect the spiritual and material approaches of the contemporary world. As the world progresses materially through science and technology, it will increasingly long for and need spiritual orientation for social order and stability.
At Auroville, the material and the spiritual, co-exist in harmony.
The fifth basic principle of Auroville is that it will be a place of un-ending learning and constant progress, so that it never stagnates.
The progress of humanity calls for continuous thinking and re-thinking, so that the human mind does not become frozen into one idea.
The very fact that Auroville has brought together such huge diversity of people and ideas makes dialogue and debate natural.
Indian society is fundamentally diverse. It has fostered dialogue and a philosophic tradition. Auroville show-cases this ancient Indian tradition to the world by bringing together global diversity.
India has always allowed mutual respect and co-existence of different religions and cultures. India is home to the age old tradition of Gurukul, where learning is not confined to classrooms; where life is a living laboratory. Auroville too has developed as a place of un-ending and life-long education.
In ancient times, our sages and ‘Rishis’ would perform ‘yagya’ to begin great endeavours. Occasionally, those yagyas would shape the course of history.
One such ‘Yagna’ for unity was performed here exactly 50 years ago. Men and Women brought soils from all parts of the world. In the mixing of the soils, began the journey of one-ness.
The world has received positive vibrations from Auroville, in many forms, over the years.
Be it un-ending education, environment regeneration, renewable energy, organic agriculture, appropriate building technologies, water management, or waste management. Auroville has been a pioneer.
You have done a lot to promote quality education in the country. On the occasion of 50 years of Auroville, I hope you can enhance your efforts in this direction. Serving young minds through education will be a big tribute to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Many of you may not be aware, but I too, have been a follower of your efforts on education. Shri Kireet Bhai Joshi, an ardent disciple of Sri Aurobindo, and the Mother, was an eminent educationist.
He was also my Education Advisor, when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He is not amongst us today. But his contribution to the field of education in India, is worth remembering.
The Rig Veda states: “आनो भद्रा: क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वत:”; Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides.
May Auroville continue to come up with ideas to empower the ordinary citizens of this country.
May people from far and wide bring with them new ideas. May Auroville become the centre where these ideas are synthesized.
May Auroville serve as a beacon to the world.
May it be the guardian which calls for breaking down narrow walls of the mind. May it continue to invite everyone to celebrate the possibilities of humanity’s one-ness.
May the spirit of Maharishi Aurobindo and the Divine Mother, continue to guide Auroville to the eventual fulfilment of its lofty founding vision.
Thank You.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose


Sri Aurobindo had a profound impact on Subhas Chandra Bose as reflected in his autobiography “An Indian Pilgrimage”:

“In my undergraduate days, Aurobindo Ghosh was easily the most popular leader in Bengal… a mixture of spirituality and politics had given him a halo of mysticism and made his personality more fascinating to those who were religiously inclined… We felt convinced that spiritual enlightenment was necessary for effective national service…”

A birthday tribute to Netaji 

Indian Independence was achieved at last due to Netaji and the I NA

During his entire political career Subhas Chandra Bose was mostly kept in jail or exiled unlike
his colleagues. He was singled out as the most obstinate opponent of the colonialists. Close to the
people, he was denied their presence for fear of his influencing them. Rulers before and after
independence were afraid of his presence, before and after his disappearance from the
political scenes.

Under house arrest, he escaped on 16 January 1941and reached Germany incognito. During
the perilous days of the Second World War, on 8 February 1943 he reached Madgaskar in
German Uboat (Submarine). In the perilous water amid scattered boats, men and whizzing
bullets they were transferred in a dinghy to a Japanese submarine and reached Tokyo on 13 June
1943.In Singapore Bose assumed charge of the Indian Independence League as its President. In a
speech on 9 July 1943 he asserted to a gathering of 60000 people: There is no nationalist
leader in India who can claim to possess the many-sided experience that I have been able to

In August 1943 he assumed Supreme Command of the INA. Netaji is ever remembered for
his clarion call to his countrymen, "Give me blood and I promise you freedom" and a battle cry
of “March to Delhi or Delhi Chalo”. Bose inaugurated the Provincial Government of ‘Free India’
on 21 October 1943. The provisional Government acquired its first Indian territory when Japan
handed over Andaman and Nicober islands to it on 6 November 1943. Indian flag was hoisted in
Kohima in March 1944. The INA with the Japanese soldiers carried out a heroic campaign
against the Allied Forces. Netaji moved from battle field to battle field. With Axis Power’s fall
INA was fallen.

In his speech to the House of Commons (on 15.3.1946) British Prime Minister Clement Attlee
said, “The temperature of 1946 is not the temperature of 1920 or of 1930 or even of 1942. The
slogans of an earlier day are discarded . . . . I am quite certain that at the present time the tide
of nationalism is running very fast in India . . . . Today I think that national idea has spread right
through and not least, perhaps, among some of those soldiers who have given such wonderful
service in the war.”

I. K. Gujral, Ex-Prime Minister of India, who was present at the Karachi uprising of the Royal
Indian Navy in 1946, wrote on 20.2.2006,
“The naval mutinies of February 1946 remain indelible in the Nation’s mind and even more
deep in the psyches of those like me who had witnessed this turning point in history of the
freedom struggle. . . .

“Their high morale was inspiring. The on-lookers spilled on the road to join the slogan
shouting, ‘Netaji ki jaiand Bharat Mata ki jai’”.
Once when Lord Atlee visited Calcutta in 1956 he gave an interview to the then Governor of
West Bengal, P. B. Chakraborty, in 1956. Chakraborty adds, "My direct question to Attlee was
that since Gandhi's Quit India movement had tapered off quite some time ago and in 1947 no
such new compelling situation had arisen that would necessitate a hasty British departure, why
did they had to leave?"

"In his reply Attlee cited several reasons, the principal among them being the erosion of
loyalty to the British crown among the Indian Army and Navy personnel as a result of the
military activities of Netaji."

“That's not all. Chakraborty adds, “Toward the end of our discussion I asked Attlee what was
the extent of Gandhi's influence upon the British decision to quit India. Hearing this question,
Attlee's lips became twisted in a sarcastic smile as he slowly chewed out the word, ‘m-i-n-i-m-al!’"
Fact is that Indian Defence forces turned entirely against the rulers. This was their main
reason for leaving an Empire 200 years old for ever. Indian independence came as a result of
armed struggle, not a bit for non-violent movement, not as a result of ‘Quit India’ exactly; it was
a part of ongoing Indian Independence movement, violent of course.
“Before he was assassinated in 1948, Gandhi-a senior journalist told me-rebuked Nehru and
Patel for not being able to reign in partition madness and wished that his other son(Subhas)
was here!Reminded by Congressman, who had witnessed the dressing down, that Bose was
dead and he had himself come to that belief, Gandhi shot back, ‘He’s in Russia.’” (Anuj 45)

From all facts it may be gathered that if Netaji the Hero of Modern India lived in the country
then there might not be a partition, at least not a blood-bathed partition as happened. He was the
only leader who galvanized all sections of Indian community. He could have ushered in a path of
united India towards real development and progress. Should we look clearly at the recordings
of events and facts in history and change the notion about how India achieved
independence or stick to our prejudiced mindset to teach wrong history to our students and
the posterity?
                                                        © Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rishi Agastya and Sri Aurobindo Ashram

As per many legends and myths, Pondicherry was supposed to be the home to Rishi Agastya. It is believed that the ashram of sage Agastya was at the same place where Sri Aurobindo Ashram is located at present. Initially, Pondicherry was named as the Vedapuri and was one of the main centers for Vedic studies. According to some excavations at Arikamedu, few researchers guessed the place to be a port town and also there may be the rule of Roman rulers before 2000 years. Also, the place went into the hands of the Pandiyas, the Pallavas and the Muslim rulers for few years.
     During the early 16th century, Pondicherry was conquered by the Portuguese and remained in power for few years. Gradually, the interference of the French and the Dutch began just because of trade affairs and they invaded the town. The French rulers completely took over its control in 1673 and later on, many minor conflicts took place between the Britishers and French rulers to capture Pondicherry. But finally, both the parties decided to end up the struggle for Pondicherry and decided to do settlement with mutual agreement. And as per agreement, the Britishers handed over the Pondicherry to French forever but lastly in 1954, India was quite fortunate to have Pondicherry under his control.