‘Sourcing Our Oneness’ aims at working towards creating a space of oneness and harmony in and through the Organisations working to realise the Vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
A 4-day Sourcing Our Oneness (SOO) Camp was organised at the beautiful green setting of ‘Ompuri – A City for the Divine’ as named by the Mother, from 3rd to 7th December 2022. The theme was to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary year of Sri Aurobindo by Aspiring for the Divine. The camp was a collaboration of the various organisations embracing the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, namely, Sri Aurobindo Society, Auroville, Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, and other related centres.
During the camp, we collectively engaged with Sri Aurobindo’s Five Dreams. To deepen our understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s vision, we explored the 12 Qualities from the Mother’s Symbol. The highlight of the camp was a visit on the 5th December Darshan day to Sri Aurobindo Nivas at Vadodara where Sri Aurobindo had stayed when he was living in Baroda. We also visited Karnali where Sri Aurobindo had his early spiritual experience of seeing the Divine Mother in the deity of the Kali temple there (which he later described in his sonnet ‘The Godhead’). There were daily interactions with Nature, and also opportunities to dive into the quiet spaces within through meditation, chanting, and reading of ‘The Mother’. It was a process of opening up, and connecting with our inner self as well as the Divinity in the world around us.
Day 1, 3rd December 2022
Welcome and Introduction to SOO
Jaya and Uma from Auroville, welcomed all the participants of the camp on behalf of the Sourcing Our Oneness Team and gave an introduction to the SOO series of camps. The 7th Oneness Camp was being held for the first time at the Sri Aurobindo Society Ompuri Centre, Matar, Gujarat.
Shining Your Light
Uma explained that each one’s identity is much more than their name, so to find their true identity one has to find the qualities that are inspirational and one has to stand by those qualities, by making an intention and aspiration to live those qualities. This was done as an activity.
Reading of the ‘The Mother’
Every day from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm the participants gathered at the Meditation hall where the Relics of Sri Aurobindo are kept, for the collective reading of the sixth chapter of the book “The Mother” by Sri Aurobindo, which was facilitated by Shivakumar from Sri Aurobindo Society. This chapter focuses on 4 aspects of the Divine Mother. The reading of the Mother happened on all the 3 evenings of the camp.
Day 2, 4th December 2022
The second day started with the morning activities of ‘silent walking by the river’ led by Jaya, ‘doing Garba steps with awareness’ led by Priti and ‘Awareness through the Body’ led by Jayanthy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch. This was followed by Chanting by Shantanu and his team.
Five Dreams of Sri Aurobindo
Dr. Arati from Sri Aurobindo Society spoke about the five dreams of Sri Aurobindo with a lot of zeal and emotion. She spoke about the contents of the dream in a simple and comprehensive manner so that one can get a clear mental understanding about them.
Sri Aurobindo’s five dreams are as follows:
- A revolutionary movement which would create a free and united India (akhanda bharat)
- Resurgence and liberation of Asia
- A World Union - dharma of oneness
- The spiritual gift of India to the world: emergence of India as the Vishwa-Guru.
- Evolution of the human race to a higher and larger consciousness In 1954, the Mother gave a 6th dream: of having a place which would not be divided by religion or countries (development of the Ashram and the community of Auroville). This theme was taken up briefly by Jaya.
Deepening with the Twelve Qualities
A group activity was facilitated by Jaya where the participants were divided into 11 groups and each group got one of the qualities from the Mother’s symbol, namely, Sincerity, Humility, Gratitude, Perseverance, Aspiration, Receptivity, Progress, Courage, Goodness, Generosity, Equality, and Peace to explore. Each group presented their quality through an expressive and graphical presentation on a chart, after they had got ample time for resonating and deepening with the quality given to them.
Day 3, 5th December 2022
Visit to Vadodara:
A visit to Sri Aurobindo Niwas at Vadodara was organised, where Sri Aurobindo stayed from 1893 to 1906. Shri Sharadbhai briefed all the participants about the place and a few details about Sri Aurobindo’s stay, the time he spent with Shri Vishnu Bhaskar Lele for getting initiated in Yoga and also about Champaklal’s room. Since 5th of December was a darshan day, everyone sat for meditation in the meditation hall of the Niwas and each one also received the darshan message card.
After this, the participants visited the Ashram of Ganganath Maharaj, where Sri Aurobindo had met Brahmanand maharaj over there. The participants had a simple meal at the Ashram and then the whole group headed to Karnali.
Then, everyone visited the Kali temple, where Sri Aurobindo had felt the living presence of Kali in the idol. Later on, everyone enjoyed a boat ride in the clear blue waters of the Narmada River.The day ended with dinner after returning to Ompuri.
Day 4, 6th December 2022
Exploring the Mother’s symbol
Priti from Sri Aurobindo Society elaborated the importance of the sixth chapter of the book ‘The Mother’ and brought out through an activity the understanding of the four powers of the Mother and its significance in our lives.
Jayanthy facilitated an activity which helped the participants to centre oneself and to observe the different parts of one’s being.
Post this session, the participants were asked to share their overall experience of Sourcing Our Oneness Camp. All participants were grateful for the deep experiences facilitated throughout the camp by the SOO team and were inspired by the warm hospitality offered by the sincere team at OmPuri centre of Sri Aurobindo Society.
The camp concluded with the invocation of ‘Om’ and the collective chanting of the sacred mantra which created a powerful vibration that helped the participants assimilate and absorb the understandings and insights gained during the 4 day camp.
After dinner, there was a cultural offering where everyone performed garba on the beats of the drum.
Day 5, 7th December 2022
A Visit to Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat
Interaction with Faculty Members of Bhaikaka University Shivakumar, director of SAFIER (the Integral Education vertical of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry) visited the Bhaikaka University, Karamsad, Gujarat, to deliver a lecture for its faculty members on Integral Education.
During the interaction, Shivakumar explained that Integral Education covers the discovery of the different parts of our being – governed by the physical, emotional and mental energies in each one of us – and the possibility of integrating them through the spiritual part in us called the Psychic Being. An intense discussion followed, on the possibility of making such an education available to all the students. Shivakumar emphasised that it is very much possible and practical, if we are willing to have it and work towards having it, not just at the school but even at the college level.The Sourcing Our Oneness team was also interviewed by the local FM Radio host Dr Vibha Vaishnav.
Guest Lecture at Sardar Patel University
Shivakumar, Director of SAFIER (the Integral Education vertical of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry), with the team of Sourcing Our Oneness comprising members from various organisations working for the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, visited the Sri Aurobindo Society Centre at Vallabh Vidyanagar and interacted with its members.
After the visit, Dr Bhalendu Vaishnav accompanied him to the M.P. Patel Auditorium of the Sardar Patel University for a Guest Lecture on the topic of Integral Education, organised by the Sri Aurobindo Chair of Integral Studies of the University. Shivakumar spoke of the importance of having an aim that is aligned with one’s own deeper aspirations and that college is the right time for students to start thinking about what type of an aim they would like to have. He revealed that the approach of Integral Education starts with this, as given by the Mother in her writings of Integral Education. The lecture was attended keenly by the students and faculty of the B.Ed. and M.Ed. streams of the university.
The Sourcing our Oneness team is moving towards offering more and more programmes to hold the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The next - the 8th Sourcing our Oneness camp, will be held in the Nainital Centre of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch towards the end of September 2023.
Some Feedback from the participants:
“I was touched by the session ‘Shining Your Light’ where I stood for Peace and Equality. I want to be like ‘The Mother’ and I want be like all the facilitators who are so calm and peaceful. Four days are not enough!”
- Vishwa Mandavia, A young participant from Rajkot
“I came alone, but now I have an aim to discover myself. I came to know about Mother’s symbol and the 12 qualities. I feel overwhelmed!”
- Poonam Batra, A teacher from Chandigarh
“We all, people who are connected with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo have ‘Auroville within’; we are one big world. I felt very blessed to go to Baroda.”
- Kamala, Auroville
“It was an inspiring, elevating programme. I discovered the depth of the words like ‘Generosity and Faith’ I am grateful to all organisers.”
- Harendrakumar, Philately department, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry
“I slept very peacefully, was in a peaceful state throughout the camp. ‘Sincerity’, one of the 12 qualities really touched me, I will always remember my Sincerity group. The food arrangement was good and the food was very tasty. We would be happy to hold SOO camps in Nashik. It was a spiritual sojourn for me.”
- Manoj Tibrewala, Bejon Desai Foundation, Nashik