To commemorate Sri Aurobindo’s 150th birth anniversary year, the Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad along with Samvit Kendra and Pragna Bharati under the sponsorship of Ministry of Culture, Government of India organised on August 21, 2022 a one-day Seminar on ‘Sri Aurobindo and India.’ The event was held at the campus of Center of Economic and Social Studies (CESS) at Hyderabad.
Dr. Beloo Mehra, Senior Academic Mentor, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society was invited as a speaker at the seminar. The other speakers included Dr. Ananda Reddy, Chairman of Institute of Human Study, Prof. Makarand Paranjape, Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Shri J. Nandakumar, Convenor of Pragna Pravah.
Hon’ble Governor of Telangana and Lt-Gov. of Puducherry, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan was the Chief Guest at the event. After the introductory welcome address by Dr. Challamayi Reddy, the convener of the event and Principal of Sri Aurobindo International School, the Hon’ble Governor addressed the gathering via videoconferencing.
At the seminar, Dr. Beloo Mehra spoke on the topic – Indian Artistic and Literary Culture in the Light of Sri Aurobindo. She highlighted a few key points from Sri Aurobindo’s vast writings on Indian art and aesthetics. She emphasised the role of inner vision as a starting point for all great art in India. She reminded the audience how Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have spoken of the oneness of delight and harmony as essential aspects of Indian perspective of Beauty, Art and Aesthetics.
Speaking of the spiritual foundation of arts in India, she reminded the audience that Sri Aurobindo speaks of soul-realisation as the basis for all artistic creation as well as all artistic appreciation in India.
Dr. Mehra in her presentation had included a few pictures to highlight some examples from Indian sculpture, architecture and painting traditions. Bringing some insights from the vast body of Indian artistic and aesthetic literature, she narrated a few stories that speak of the divine origins of painting.
She also spoke of Sri Aurobindo’s emphasis on the role of arts and aesthetic development for character building – both at the individual and collective level. She reminded the audience of the significance of Sri Aurobindo’s essays on National Value of Art.
Dr. Mehra brought in several relevant examples of paintings which can be interpreted using the deep insights we find in Sri Aurobindo’s extensive writings on Indian art. She gave a couple of examples – one painting from Ajanta on which Sri Aurobindo himself has commented, and another one from Nandlal Bose on which Ananda Coomaraswamy had made some important comments.
Full recording of Dr. Mehra’s lecture can be accessed here.