The Renaissance Journal along with The Brown Critique organised a webinar celebrating Sri Aurobindo’s poetry. This event held on 2nd June, 2023 was a part of the Renaissance journal’s ongoing theme - Life, Literature and Yoga. Four speakers were invited for the webinar, and the discussion was moderated by Dr Beloo Mehra, Editor of Renaissance.
Shri Pradeep Narang, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, a great enthusiast of Sri Aurobindo’s poetry and a self-described ‘poet at heart’ was the special guest for this event. After the welcome note and opening remarks, Dr. Mehra invited Shri Pradeep Narang to share a few words to inspire the gathering. He spoke about his deep love for Sri Aurobindo’s poetry, and emphasised how one can get a clear picture of Sri Aurobindo’s inner spiritual life if one goes through his poetry and keeps one open to his Grace.
The invited speakers for the webinar included poets and scholars of Sri Aurobindo’s literature.
Ms. Gayatri Majumder, an acclaimed poet, and Founder and Editor of the Literary Journal Brown Critique, has several works of poetry to her credit. She is a prominent figure in the literary scene of Pondicherry.
Dr. Charan Singh Kedarkhandi from Jyotirmath, Uttarakhand is a poet, thinker and spiritual seeker. He earned his PhD on Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri and currently serves as Assistant Professor of English at Govt College, Jyotirmath.
Dr. Shruti Bidwaikar is the Assistant Director of Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research, and has done her doctoral research on Sri Aurobindo’s poetry and aesthetics.
Dr. Shaurya Brahmabhat is Assistant Professor of English at M.S. University of Baroda, which was the same Baroda college where Sri Aurobindo used to teach. Currently he is involved in research about the poets of the Aurobindonian school of thought.
Dr. Mehra invited each speaker to speak briefly about what particular aspect of Sri Aurobindo’s poetry finds a deep resonance with them and if they would like to share one or two specific poems of Sri Aurobindo.
Ms. Gayatri Majumder talked about what drew her to Sri Aurobindo’s writings and philosophy, and read out the poem The Golden Light and also the verses of the great Tamil Poet Tiruvalluvar translated by Sri Aurobindo.
Dr. Charan Singh stated that what drew him to Sri Aurobindo’s poetry is Sri Aurobindo himself and the grace of the Mother, for he believes that nobody can come to them or approach them without their conscious will. He also maintained that Sri Aurobindo’s yoga and poetry were not different. Thereafter he read selections from Bride of the Fire.
Dr. Sruti Bidwaikar in response to the question what draws her to Sri Aurobindo’s poetry said that it was like asking a lover “what draws you to your beloved?” So, the most natural answer could be “because he is Sri Aurobindo!” Then she talked about her attraction toward poems such as Invitation, Surrender, Baji Prabhou and A God’s Labour. She read out the poem The Tiger and the Deer.
Dr Shaurya Brahmbhatt stated that he finds all his answers in the poems of Sri Aurobindo and read the poem Musa Spiritus. Himself being in the academia, he felt that all the other poets with whom he has to deal with in the course of his teaching profession fall far short of Sri Aurobindo as poets.
Thereafter, SAS Chairman Pradeep bhai started with a Hindi sher/couplet which he said came to him once. The essence of this couplet is - “Once you have made friends with God, then all else falls in place.” He then spoke about his fascination with Sri Aurobindo’s poem The Dwarf Napoleon which he said is a marvellous prophetic poem.
A lively discussion followed after that and the gathering had a pleasant surprise when Dr Ananda Reddy, Director of Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research joined the webinar and shared his insightful comment that what drew him to Sri Aurobindo’s poetry was his love for Sri Aurobindo. He stressed that first one loves God and then most naturally starts loving all his creation.
The participants continued with their enlightening discussion but it was felt by everyone that more time was needed to really go into Sri Aurobindo’s poetry. The webinar on the whole was a grand success which was wonderfully coordinated and moderated by Dr. Beloo Mehra, who also shared her own enlightening comments.
The webinar was also livestreamed on Renaissance Journal’s Facebook page and the recording can be seen here.