“A widest and highest spiritualising of life on earth is the last vision of all that vast and
unexampled seeking and experiment in a thousand ways of the soul’s outermost and innermost experience which is the unique character of [India’s] past; this in the end is the mission for which she was born and the meaning of her existence.”
As a mark of commemorating the completion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo & 75th year of India’s Independence, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society organized a seminar on the theme ‘Spiritual Gift of India to the World’ on 23rd August, 2023 at Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.
During the inaugural ceremony, Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society said that the rich and diverse spiritual heritage of India that spans thousands of years, and has influenced countless people around the world. Indian spirituality is characterized by a deep reverence for the divine, and an emphasis on inner transformation. It encompasses a wide range of traditions, each with its own unique perspectives on the nature of reality and the path to enlightenment.
He mentioned the dream of Sri Aurobindo “the spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India’s spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever-increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice.” He also highlighted the vision of the Mother on the spirituality “We have entered the age of universal spirituality, of spiritual experience in its initial purity.” He mentioned the exhibition which was hosted on this special occasion and was an attempt to showcase the diversity of cultural expressions which has deep roots and are connected with the spiritual tradition of India.
Shri Pradeep Narang, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society congratulated the artists who have collaborated for the mega exhibition which was organized on the theme ‘Spiritual Gift of India to the World.’ He appreciated the efforts undertaken by AuroBharati, especially the creative expressions of the artists, who have defined spirituality through different forms of art, including painting, sculptures and photographs. He emphasized on creative and symbolic expressions of the local artists and the creation of opportunities for sustainability.
Shri Kalia Perumal, Director, Department of Art and Culture, Government of Puducherry said that spiritual means not an object or something that we are seeing but something we have to sense it and feel it. He mentioned about the supreme reality including different forms of Shiva, Vishnu, Buddha, Aurobindo or Sri Annai or any form but we can think that spiritual through these Gods and goddesses. He appreciated the efforts undertaken by AuroBharati for taking serious steps in exploring the rich and diverse cultural tradition of Puducherry. He congratulated the artists who contributed their artworks for the exhibition. He emphasized on joint collaboration with the department of art and culture, Government of Puducherry for research, publication and awareness programs.
Padmashree Thiru V.K. Munusamy, Sthapathy, Terracotta Sculptor after presenting the Terracotta Statue of Thiruvalluvar to the Sri Aurobindo Society expressed his views on the special occasion of the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo and the 75th year of India's independence. He appreciated the efforts undertaken by AuroBharati for hosting this event as well as creating new opportunities for the local artists in the areas of art, culture and heritage. Moving forward, he extended his salutations to Sri Aurobindo and the compassionate Mother, who played pivotal roles in shaping Puducherry into the exceptional place it is today. He conveyed his heartfelt thanks for their unwavering motivation.
Recalling the past, he mentioned their earlier establishment, the shop "Pudhumai," situated by the beach. He accredited the Art & Culture director as a trailblazer in encouraging them. Filled with gratitude, he continued by highlighting that numerous artists, akin to himself, hold optimism for government assistance and encouragement. He stressed the importance of artists needing a variety of schemes from both the Puducherry government and the central government. He shared that he had received invitations for numerous such scheme-related events in the past.
He then pointed out that on September 17, an allocation of 13,000 to 15,000 crore rupees was sanctioned for the welfare of artists, benefitting an estimated 30 lakh artists. Transitioning to contemporary times, he emphasized the growing need for marketing. While acknowledging the viability of a commission-based approach, he also acknowledged the government's limitations in consistently providing assistance to artists at every stage. Expressing his aspiration, he articulated a dream wherein artists would have access to a facility where they could showcase their creations 365 days a year, without any hindrance. He passionately described this gallery of dreams of every artist, making a heartfelt request for its realization.
On this occasion, a panel discussion session was organized on the theme ‘Spirituality and the National Value of Art Indian Perspectives.’ The panel discussion was started by Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy with emphasis on the National Value of Art by Sri Aurobindo ‘In India, the greatest efflorescence of a national Art has been associated with the employment of the artistic genius to illustrate or adorn the thoughts and fancies or the temples and instruments of the national religion.’ He focussed on the ‘spiritual aspirations cantered’ approach to art which is the unique feature of Indian Spirituality.
Shri Sushanto opined on the significant factor of the study of sensations, observations, technique and comparative studies to explore the creative expressions in the field of art. Dr. Gopal Jayraman, Regional Director, Regional Centre Puducherry, IGNCA, Puducherry spoke about the Indian tendency to reach the highest place of the spirit through art. He further spoke about the final self-revelation of which is the goal of humanity. Shri Raghavan N., Artist, Sculptor, TamilNadu said about significant factors about the highest self-expression of spirituality through art. He elaborated how art can be useful to develop the human aspiration toward divine knowledge, divine love and divine joy.
Dr. R.Rajendran, Founder, Assist World Records Research Institution, Puducherry emphasized on the appreciation and promotion of art. Shri Jagdish Mohanty, Art Teacher, The Study School, Puducherry spoke on the promotion of art galleries to showcase the creative expressions of the artists. Dr. Sashikant Dash, Principal, Tagore Government Arts and Science College, Puducherry submitted his views on the integral vision of man, nature and the universe. Shri Kalia Perumal, Director, Department of Art and Culture, Government of Puducherry highlighted about promotion and development of art. At the end of the program, Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy emphasized that creative expression and capacity-building programs can be useful to explore the rich and diversity of cultural expressions as well as creating new opportunity for the artists for sustainability.