Watch the full recording of the event here.
As part of Sri Aurobindo Society’s ongoing celebrations of Sri Aurobindo’s 150th Birth Anniversary (August 15, 2021 to August 15, 2022), AuroBharati and AuroYajna have been organising a series of Special Lectures organised under the Theme: ‘India – Our Mother.’
The fifth lecture in the series was especially organised to mark Auroville Foundation Day. Inaugurated on Feb 28, 1968, Auroville is the Divine’s dream, a living experiment in human unity, a city of dawn at the service of Truth. So to mark the 54th birthday of Auroville, we had invited a very special guest – Mr. Manoj Pavithran from Auroville, who shared some thoughts on Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of Human Unity – a topic which has gained even greater significance in the light of ongoing world events.
After a moment of silence invoking the Mother’s presence, the event opened with brief introductory remarks by Dr. Beloo Mehra of AuroBharati. Referring to Sri Aurobindo’s famous ‘Five Dreams’ she reminded the audience that he had spoken of human unity as his third dream. Unification, he said, is a necessity of Nature, an inevitable movement, and only human imbecility and stupid selfishness can prevent it; but these cannot stand for ever against the necessity of Nature and the Divine Will. This was followed by an introduction of the speaker by Dr. Shivaram Prasad of AuroYajna.
Mr. Manoj Pavithran began by briefly referring to how increasing aggregation has been a truth of all evolution in nature – from atoms to species, and from individual to family to clan to nation and community of nations. He pointed out another truth in this context mentioning that when larger aggregates appear, the previous smaller aggregates do not dissolve. This, he added, has important implication for the question that is often asked about the future of nations as the world moves toward greater human unity.
He then brought up the topic of nation-soul, adding that this is one of the most significant aspects in Sri Aurobindo’s deeper vision for human unity. Each nation must undertake a deeper discovery of its nation-soul, its true mission and work, its svabhāva and svadharma. Only from that inner space, a nation is truly capable of entering into a relation of mutual self-giving which can then form the basis of a true and lasting unity.
Mr. Pavithran emphasised that external pressures of time and context which can compel nations to enter into some type of association and cooperation with one another can not ensure a lasting unity. What is true of the individual – that only an evolving soul can feel the joyful inner connection with another soul – is also true for the nation.
He added that it can’t be denied that some nation-states have in the past and continue to be predatory and exploitative. And human mind has a tremendous capacity to destroy and for the most part intellect has been used by individuals and collectives to serve their own narrow self-interests. Therefore, the immediate necessity is for the nations to discover their innermost truth, that which is the source of its highest ideals and values. In this context, Mr. Pavithran pointed out that Sri Aurobindo had correctly emphasised that national education for India must be rooted in the deepest and highest Indian values.
This discussion set the right context for the speaker to share a few key points about the history of Auroville and especially the world circumstances in which Auroville was inaugurated. Referring to a few conversations of the Mother, Mr. Pavithran reminded the audience that the very presence of Auroville on earth is a reminder that the seeds of a true human unity have been sown by the Supreme Himself, a direct action of Sri Aurobindo.
At the same time, he reminded that we must not forget that India has also become a representative of all problems of humanity, and the Mother assures us that in India the lasting solutions to these problems will be found. This is because India, for several millennia, has been engaged in a deep R & D in the field of consciousness and yoga. And it is that which has the potential to lead the world to a greater and truer unity.
Mr. Manoj Pavithran also shared a few insights he has gained from having lived and worked in Auroville for more than 25 years. He spoke about how it was after coming to Auroville he began to become deeply aware of his Indian-ness and the uniqueness that each national culture brings to the whole life experience one gains at Auroville. Adding that diversity is the key to unity, he shared that it is not the Aurovillians who are building Auroville, but rather Auroville which is slowly and patiently building and facilitating the growth of each individual who lives and works there.
Towards the end, Mr. Pavithran shared a few examples from the fields of digital technology (e.g., increasing innovations in open-source technologies) as well as the fast-growing global concerns for sustainability and ecological health of the planet to emphasise that a consciousness of unity is already at work.
When a question was asked about how to make sense of the ongoing world events, Mr. Pavithran emphasised that the first thing we must always remember is that through our mind and intellect we will never be able to fully know what are the real reasons behind the current events. Only through a higher suprarational faculty one becomes aware of the deeper forces at play. And for that sadhana must be our means to enter into the deeper truth of one’s being.
He added that often we engage in intellectual discussions about these things because we refuse to give up our own mental inertia and would rather believe that the ideal is too high for humanity and hence unreachable. Rather our attitude should be to ask ourselves – what am I doing to discover that deeper unity and harmony within me? Because only by first becoming whole and unified in one’s various parts of the being, one can truly enter into a relation of true unity with others.
The event was also live-streamed on Sri Aurobindo Society’s Facebook page.
About the speaker:
Manoj Pavithran is an integral yoga practitioner and educator. He started exploring Integral Yoga in 1989 right after graduating as a production engineer. He did post-graduate studies in Product Design from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad in 1993. After a short period of working as a professional design consultant, he quit the profession and joined Auroville in 1995 to immerse in Integral Yoga and collective evolution.
Manoj is a co-founder of the Purnam Centre for Integrality in Auroville, where he offers transformative educational courses. Using 3D motion graphics he has made videos to share the vision and work of Sri Aurobindo. Mention must be made of the film series called Evolution Fast-forward which can be found at www.sopanam.org. He has also authored a book - Pilgrims of the Infinite.