In the blue of the sky, in the green of the forest,
Whose is the hand that has painted the glow?
When the winds were asleep in the womb of the ether,
Who was it roused them and bade them to blow?
He is lost in the heart, in the cavern of Nature,
He is found in the brain where He builds up the thought:
In the pattern and bloom of the flowers He is woven,
In the luminous net of the stars He is caught.
‘Who’ – Poem by Sri Aurobindo
What do people belonging to as diverse professions as a lawyer, ayurvedic doctor, teacher, business owner or house maker and just curious onlooker have in common? And why do they travel from great distances from far reaches of the country – from Nasik, Bengaluru, Agra, MP, Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and so on, and of course, from Auroville and Puducherry? They all take the arduous journey to gather at the foothills of the mighty Himalayas at Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch at Nainital in Uttarakhand to attend the eight-day “Sourcing Our Oneness 2018” camp.
The group of more than 80 participants ranging from the age group of 18 to 82, were already one; in the sense that they already had one overpowering calling – a single source of overriding inspiration, as it were – that of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
And so on a cold and rainy day they arrived at the courtyard of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch in Nainital amidst the greenery of Pine, Deodar and a large variety of trees and flowers, bird chirpings and winding dreamy mountain roads, welcomed with warmth and smiles by Jayanthy and Jaya and other camp organizers. The camp held from September 23 to 30, 2018, was jointly organized by Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, Auroville and Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry. The focus of this year’s camp was the ‘Fifth Dream of Sri Aurobindo’.
Following the first couple of days of being stuck entirely indoors, the camp participants finally had the freedom to explore the mountains and venture out when the sun came out miraculously on the third day – 25 September. Without getting too much into the nitty gritty of rescheduling the programmes, etc., everyone spontaneously got together and headed towards Sri Aurobindo peak – following the familiar trekking trail of so many campers before them – under the excellent guidance of Jayantha. This is when the real oneness began. Later the campers also trekked up to Naina peak and Tiffin Top.
“Oneness” then has varied layered of meanings: it’s not only our oneness of belonging to the same vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother; the oneness of belonging to this great nation that India is; the oneness of belonging to the “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” of man and woman and finally to all life on this planet; but it’s also the harmony we strive for between our inner and outer selves; our body, emotions, mind and soul. And as the Masters put it: “A perfect equality of our spirit and nature is a means by which we can move back from the troubled and ignorant outer consciousness into the inner kingdom of heaven and possess the Spirit’s eternal kingdoms of greatness, joy and peace.”
Meanwhile, the ‘Fifth dream of Sri Aurobindo and the Vision of a Perfect Society’ chosen as the topic is still very apt for the times we live in today. The fifth dream “was a step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and dream of individual perfection and a perfect society. This is still a personal hope and an idea, an ideal which has begun to take hold both in India and in the West on forward-looking minds. The difficulties on the way are more formidable than in any other field of endeavour, but difficulties were made to be overcome and if the Supreme Will is there, they will be overcome”. The key phrase here then is “difficulties are meant to be overcome”.
Organizing a camp of this scale is a huge responsibility and, needless to say, the organizers led by Jaya and Manoj of Auroville, Shivakumar and Dr Arati of Sri Aurobindo Society and Tara di and Jayanthy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, along with a large number of students of Delhi Ashram School and other Society centres, handled the eight days of hard work, contemplation and play with great efficiency. Participants had to rise early and attend Yoga or Awareness of Body sessions conducted by Shekhar and Jayanthy. The rest of the day was spent engaging in group discussions/activity, physical activity, questions & answers sessions, mandala/art workshops, readings from Savitri (mostly by Tara di*), watching films and in meditation.
The camp was planned in such a way that progression towards the alignment of inner and outer awareness was made in a gradual-guided manner – unfolding layers of deep emotions that sometimes can hinder us to achieve our goals of internal and external unity and equanimity. Dissolution of all insecurities and fears disappear when people come together for a common aspiration. Using many creative tools and modes of expression focusing on topics such as “Individual Perfection” and “Perfect Society” – via art, music, drama, song, tableau and recitation – the participants came to recognize their true nature reconsidering some of the priorities in their life. It’s never an easy task to acknowledge one’s fears and pain, but it’s not an impossible one as was proved in the eight days amidst the misty Himalayan environs filled with bright flowers and foliage and the camaraderie notable among the happy attendees. The joy was palpable among all when rappelling, singing, dancing and being inside Cave Garden or boating in Nainital town.
Sheetal gave away adorable Tsunamika dolls, with inspiring messages tagged, brought from Auroville to the campers; Anurekha rendered gracefully in dance form Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Who’ read by our beloved Tara di; Gaurav and Shivam left members mesmerized with some memorable songs; while Dr Sehdev Kumar from Toronto, Canada, shared his soul-stirring translation of Kabir’s verses from his book The Vision of Kabir; while young students served warm meals and tea. Some of the films shown threw more light on the struggles and spirit of people who work tirelessly to realize the Mother’s dream of unity and peace.
A special treat was lined up for campers on the final day (30 September)! Tara di organized a trip to Madhuban, Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, Talla Ramgarh, for meditation and lunch. With its breath-taking view and gardens, it was a perfect ending for this year’s ‘Sourcing Our Oneness” camp.
*You can watch “Interaction With Tara Jauhar (Sourcing Our Oneness, Nainital 2018)” here.
“SOO 18 brought together some amazing children of the Mother consciously moving toward Human Unity. The Himalayan ambience and Goodwill of the group made it unique and fulfilling.” – B, Auroville
“I can't believe that our days passed by so quickly. . . ! Now that I am on my way back home, the warm embrace of my jacket has no more the same feeling. I miss the cold-cold weather, the green-green mountains; the sunrise and the rain; then the invisible leopard, chirping birds, buzzing insects, and the charming flowers who were one with our Oneness Camp!!”
“It was a wonderful journey with you all. . . Thank you!” – Sahana, Bengaluru
“My heart has expanded with love. My limbs are stretching out to hold you all and my mind is dancing with joy. Love.” – Anurekha, Puducherry
“Grateful for all the time we shared in the mountains. Thank you all for being part of the journey into Oneness.” – Sheetal, Pune
“It was a wonderful and divine experience at the SOO 2018 Nainital camp. All the participants were also divine and peaceful. The Mother’s message on the qualities of life using flowers were also very well explained and appreciated by all.” – Riddhi Raval, Ahmedabad
What I experienced in the camp was something beyond words. We try to find deeper meaning in everything, but at the camp anything put before us had deeper meaning attached to it. At the end of it, we achieved the oneness we sought in the beginning. I never felt so much connected to new souls in such a short span of time . . . I am grateful. – Trupti, Mumbai