SAFIER, the Integral Education wing of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, organised a 2-day programme for 15 young students from the Salwan School, Gurugram, who came to Puducherry as a part of their educational tour, along with 2 of their teachers and 2 facilitators from the SAS Gurugram Centre including K C Sethi, its Chairman. It was a brief youth camp weaved together to introduce them to the spiritual atmosphere of the city and the spiritual potential within.
On 3rd April, a warm and energetic welcome note by Pradeep Narang, Chairman of Sri Aurobindo Society, and K C Sethi set the stage for the rest of the programme.
Priti guided the Students to discover their strengths as they interacted with objects of Nature, drew, coloured and wrote a short Haiku-like poem. They then introduced themselves not just by their names but with their strengths and the poem that they had written. This activity helped the students to discover a subtler part of themselves which made them open to a new experience of themselves.
With the help of a magic mirror showing the different parts of oneself, the students, with the help of Shivakumar & his team, explored and understood the basic contradicting nature of their body, emotions and mind, and also a quiet Inner Friend who is capable of bringing harmony among them. The students thus opened up to a unique way of looking at themselves and “knowing” themselves.
Post lunch, the group was taken to Sharanam, an eco-friendly community centre of Sri Aurobindo Society, where they heard the inspiring story of Kala amma and the birth of Sharanam. From there, they walked into the beauty of Matri Udyanam, the Mother's garden of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, exploring the significance of flowers, silence of the
garden space, and then immersed themselves into the colours of tranquilising sunset through the medium of art. Being with Nature helped the students and facilitators to create beautiful art-expressions which brought the whole sunset witnessed, into a large canvas of colours on paper.
On 4th April, as the devotees in Puducherry celebrated Sri Aurobindo’s arrival at Chettiyar’s House where he first resided, the children were given a glimpse into the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, followed by a guided visit to some of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Departments. First they visited Sri Smriti (The Mother’s Museum) and walked through a beautiful collection of articles acquired by the Mother and some used by Sri Aurobindo. Then to Senteurs, the Ashram’s Perfumery Department, and SABDA, the Ashram’s main bookshop. The group took home many unique Ashram products such as Power syrup, perfumes and also books.
Afternoon, they enjoyed playing games conducted by Sahana and Shantanu and were made aware of their power of attention and concentration and how life can be a rich experience if we cultivate the state of concentration. By this time, drawn in by the experiences of the students group here, the Principal of school Smt Rashmi Malik also flew down from Gurugram and joined the group!
After a Tea break, Priti facilitated the group to have a deeper look into their aim of life through an exercise of heightening and widening their aim. It was beautiful to listen to their five small things that they wrote down to practice as baby steps towards their aim of life.
After a feedback session, the programme concluded with a heartwarming note by Shri Pradeep Narang and Shri Sethi-ji. The group took the blessings from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother along with cashew toffees, some short compilation booklets from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and designer bookmarks. The following day they visited the soul of Auroville, the Matrimandir, and on 6th April, they departed to Chennai airport after having visited Mahabalipuram.
Highlights from the Students’ Feedback:
“The skit was pure reality that we all face. Everyone knows the problem, the cause, but only a few know the solution. It was shocking how the skit and the questionnaire told us the solution to anything is me, ourselves.”
- Shreen Koul
“Sunset at Matri-udyanam: how I found peace in the beauty of nature and the greenery, All away from electronic gadgets, watching the sunlight with our eyes without any filter.”
- Stuti Jain
“The story of Sharanam was really heart touching, motivating and inspiring. I personally liked the way how Shiva Bhaiyya expressed the story so beautifully with all expressions filled into him. That's the main reason why we were all ears with him.”
- Sanvi Madan
“I could actually feel the words coming out from deep within. I really liked all the haikus and poems and the idea of connecting with Nature.”
“In the Aim of Life session we could actually look into ourselves and realise ‘what we are’, ‘what we wanna be’, and ‘how we wanna be”. Really beautiful lines said by the Mother in the ‘Science of Living’.”
- Kashvi Goyal
“I liked how here the people are so generous and kind. When all the people were talking, laughing, I felt as if they were all my friends.”
- Amaira Roy
“‘Who am I’ was quite an eye opener to a whole new perspective of everything that we do as a person.”
- Aastha Yadav
“I am fascinated to know that we have so many parts working and living together. I look forward to discovering my inner personality…”
- Amisha Bansal