Senior Academic Mentor and Renaissance Editor, Dr. Beloo Mehra participated in a 3-day literature festival organised by Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research (SACAR), Puducherry. The festival (August 1 to 3, 2023) titled ‘Celebration Sri Aurobindo: Exploration of His Creative Word’ was sponsored by Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
The inaugural event on August 1 included special address by distinguished guests – Prof. Sachidananda Joshi, Member Secretary, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, and Prof. Raghuvendra Tanwar, Chairman, Indian Council of Historical Research and Indian Council of Philosophical Research.
Dr. Jayanti Ravi, Secretary Auroville inaugurated an exhibition on the theme ‘Some of the Greatest in Indian Literature’ and also addressed the gathering on first day of the event.
On Day 2, August 2, Dr. Mehra chaired and moderated a panel discussion on ‘Indian Culture: Its March toward Greater Dawns.’ Dr. Anuradha Choudhary, Mr. Devdip Ganguli and Dr. Pranjal Garg were the other co-panelists.
In her introductory comments Dr. Mehra expanded on the point – What do we understand by “greater dawns” in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s writings on Indian culture and in his vision for the future of India and her role for humanity? She invoked Sri Aurobindo’s discussion of three stages of the evolutionary nature of the religio-spiritual culture of India, the Sanatana Dharma. And briefly referring to the first two stages, she reminded the audience that Sri Aurobindo writes that these two stages were primarily outwardly-oriented stages especially where the mass of humanity is concerned; while a third, more inwardly-turned stage has taken its initial steps and is the destiny of India’s future.
The deepest knowledge which was once reserved for a small group of initiates capable of great intuitive and revelatory capabilities gradually became more widespread in the second stage of Indian civilisation. What was once a more outward-focused religion for ordinary men and women gradually became more inward oriented as schools of systematic and rational philosophies were founded. But the evolution continues. Not only the Mind but the entire Life has to experience the touch of the Spirit. This necessitates further widening of the spiritual impulse.
Expanding on the third stage further, Dr. Mehra added that here Sri Aurobindo clarifies that the index vision of this third spiritual movement is pointed to a truth that not only exceeds the human mind but once it is realised in all parts of the man’s being, would turn human life into a divine superlife. She said that reflecting on this one gets this sense that Sri Aurobindo is here leading us toward the possibility of a new greater dawn.
Dr. Mehra added that Sri Aurobindo explains in his Secret of the Veda that Usha or Dawn is the goddess symbolic of new openings of divine illumination on man’s physical consciousness. And the descent of Supermind marks that new greater dawn which like the Vedic goddess, Usha, brought with her a new Sun of Truth. This is the new supramental Truth-consciousness which has the potential of turning human life into a divine super-life – a new divine illumination on man’s very physical consciousness.
Dr. Mehra then invited her co-panelists to highlight some of the markers through which we can know to what extent India is slowly but surely marching toward this greater dawn which has the potential to bring divine light to all aspects of life and transform earthly life into a divine life. She first invited Dr. Anuradha Choudhary to address the question – What role does our Education, specifically Higher Education, have in this march to greater dawns, particularly with regard to promoting Indian knowledge systems? And what are the challenges?
Next was Mr. Devdip Ganguli who was invited to share some thoughts on the question – What is the true role of India as a world power, a role that is more in harmony with her inner genius? And to what extent are we marching toward that role as a nation? And finally, Dr. Pranjal Garg addressed the question – To what extent knowing our past prepares us as we march toward the greater dawns? And what does it mean to know our history in the light of Sri Aurobindo?
Some interesting exchange of thoughts and Q & A followed the four presentations.