“Sisters and brothers,
I am very happy to be here today to inaugurate the photo-exhibition on the ‘The Sacred Journey of Sri Aurobindo’s Life’.
Sri Aurobindo, the great revolutionary Yogi, philosopher, poet and freedom fighter remains an eternal source of inspiration for every Indian. Through his speeches and writings, he not only kindled a strong desire for complete independence among the masses but also focused on spiritual regeneration of the nation through his teachings of ‘integral yoga’.
It is indeed a proud moment for the entire nation that this year, the auspicious day of August 15 marked two historic events – 75th Independence Day of our country and also the 150th Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. On this momentous occasion, it is time to revisit the vision and mission of this great Maharishi to seek guidance for our future.
Sri Aurobindo had expressed his prophetic vision of the future in his message to the nation on the day of Independence, in 1947, in terms of his five dreams. All five of them have great purpose and relevance at the individual, national and global level.
In his first dream, Sri Aurobindo called for bridging all divisions in the society to forge a strong, united India. He deemed “it necessary for the greatness of India’s future”. Recognising in 1947 that “India today is free but she has not achieved unity”, he appealed for an end to all strife that resulted in Partition. Sri Aurobindo gave a clarion call to re-establish the greater cultural and spiritual India.
Thanks to the vision and leadership of another great son of this land, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India achieved political unity with the successful assimilation of over 500 princely states. In the 75th year of our Independence, let us all pledge to fight any divisive force that seeks to divide society on lines of religion, region, language, cast, creed or colour. Let us commit ourselves to further strengthening unity and harmony in our hugely diverse society.
Sri Aurobindo’s second dream revolved around “the resurgence and liberation of the peoples of Asia and her return to her great role in the progress of human civilization”. Moving towards achieving the first dream of building a prosperous and united India will be crucial for the rise of Asia to establish her status in the world.
Sri Aurobindo’s third dream envisioned “a world-union forming the outer basis of a fairer, brighter and nobler life for all mankind”. The establishment of Auroville—a township of world unity at Puducherry is a living example of the possibility for this dream of human unity to be realized.
In his fourth dream, the great Rishi underlined the importance of “the spiritual gift of India to the world”. A reawakening needs to come about in terms of India’s rich legacy of spiritual wisdom which would need to be recast into new forms and expressions to make it globally relevant and in keeping with the contemporary times. Bharat Mata needs to delve deep into her own treasures and cast away the shackles of the borrowed British legacy. As he saw it, the youth of India need to be independent and original in their thinking, drawing upon native sources instead of being content as poor imitators of the west. He pointed out that it is time to rewrite our history with an Indian perspective and instil a sense of pride of our glorious cultural heritage among the younger generation.
Sri Aurobindo’s final dream is at the very base of the four—a growth towards a higher and a larger consciousness. He wished for “a step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness”, that would in turn, present solutions to the many problems faced by humanity. He believed that spirituality is the master key of India’s great culture whose greatness needs to be rediscovered by reliving it in our daily life.
Through these five dreams Sri Aurobindo has clearly indicated the great potential of India. And upon you, the youth of India, lies the responsibility of forging these dreams into reality. More than a 100 years ago, way back in 1918, Sri Aurobindo asserted, and I quote, “the greatest knowledge and the greatest riches man can possess are India's by inheritance; she has that for which all mankind is waiting.... But the full soul, rich with the inheritance of the past, the widening gains of the present, and the large potentiality of the future, can come only by a system of National Education. It cannot come by any extension or imitation of the system of the existing universities with its radically false principles, its vicious and mechanical methods ... and its narrow and sightless spirit.” How prophetic his vision proved to be!
The principle, ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’—the whole world is one family—encapsulates the essence of our civilizational consciousness. The concern for the welfare of all and uplift of all human beings is at the core of Sri Aurobindo’s teachings. We need to make consistent efforts to spread his vision and thoughts not only in India but across the world. This Exhibition has expressed the sacred journey of Sri Aurobindo’s life through Ikebana arrangements, both artistically and meaningfully.
I am happy that Sri Aurobindo International School is doing excellent work by inspiring children with the spiritual teachings of Sri Aurobindo. The presentations in Sanskrit and local language were praiseworthy attempts to pay tributes to the great son of Bharat. Sri Aurobindo’s shlokas of Bhavani-Bharati in Sanskrit can be taught to students to create an awakening in them to serve the motherland. Burrakatha is a wonderful medium to spread his message locally and the effort is commendable.
I am happy to know that your school is based on the vision and practice of Integral Education envisioned by Sri Aurobindo which is in alignment with the National Education Policy 2020. I suggest you share your practices with other schools so that more children benefit through this methodology. It is the sacred duty of teachers to ensure that their students imbibe noble spiritual ideals of our ancient Indian wisdom and take pride in Indian culture. With characteristic sagacity and profound insight, Sri Aurobindo observed—“the business of both parent and teacher is to enable and to help the child to educate himself, to develop his own intellectual, moral, aesthetic and practical capacities and to grow freely as an organic being, not to be kneaded and pressured into form like an inert plastic material.”
Sri Aurobindo was the principal of the Bengal National College, and in 1907, while leaving the college he addressed the students and teachers. Sri Aurobindo said-
“What we want here is not merely to give you a little information, not merely to open to you careers for earning a livelihood, but to build up sons for the Motherland to work and to suffer for her. That is why we started this college and that is the work to which I want you to devote yourselves in future.”
Let these lines serve as a guiding light for all of you in your future endeavours.
I wish you all the best for your programs in seeking to spread Sri Aurobindo’s vision locally, in India and across the world.