A one-day retreat for a group of about 25 senior managers and management executives from iLink Systems – an ISO 9001:2008 Certified Global IT company – was organized by Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC) on December 20, 2018. The programme was conducted at the Society House of Sri Aurobindo Society.
The day started with a 45-minute morning yoga and pranayama session. The careful selection of asanas, mudras and breathing exercises by Ranjana Swain (Yoga Instructor, SAFIC), provided a revitalizing and relaxing experience for the participants.
After a refreshing breakfast, the group reassembled at the Society House, where a short introduction to Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Sri Aurobindo Ashram was given by Beloo Mehra (Research Associate, SAFIC). This was followed by a talk on the significance of making a continuous effort at becoming aware of oneself in every activity of the mind, heart, life-force and the physical body as the basis of spiritual discipline. Several key aspects of the Ashram which make it different from other ashrams were also emphasized. A specific mention was made of the Ashram being a veritable laboratory to work out the future society, where following the motto, ‘All Life is Yoga’, that is, all outer activity is invested with the effort to become conscious and raise its quality in the subjective existence along with an effort to inject this motive in the activities of everyday life.
A small walking tour of the Ashram area, led by Beloo Mehra, Ranjana Swain and Priya Taneja (intern at SAFIC), was the next session on the agenda. The tour included a visit to the Samadhis of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother; Sri Smriti (a little museum with a few articles of importance to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, SABDA (the
Ashram bookshop) and Auroshikha (an outlet of the Ashram products). A few other places on the way, such as the Ashram school, playground building, etc., were also pointed out. Many informative conversations took place during the walk.
Next, the group had a 2-hour technical session, which was organized by their team leaders, followed by lunch at the Seaside Guest House.
The post-lunch session started with an invigorating talk by Ved Prakash Sharmaji from the Executive Committee of Sri Aurobindo Society. With great enthusiasm, he shared insightful experiences from his army and corporate backgrounds as well as his current work in the social entrepreneurship sector. He focused on some of the key personal lessons he has learned along the way which marked his inner growth journey, thus bringing out relevant insights for the group. He highlighted the significance of developing inner qualities such as humility, sincerity and gratitude, as well as refining one’s aesthetic sensibilities as ways to facilitate greater harmony between outer professional success and inner personal growth.
Ved Prakashji also spoke about some of the challenges for 21st century India, especially the rural India, and pointed out some ways in which technology and entrepreneurship can play significant role in offering sustainable solutions. He stressed on the need for looking beyond the gloomy scenarios often painted by mainstream media, especially about places such as Jammu and Kashmir, and take in a deeper view of things as emerging on the ground. While sharing some of his rich and positive experiences of working in the social sector in some of these areas he emphasized that there is a great amount of positivity, optimism and hope among the people, even in the midst of much material adversity and difficult circumstances. This, he accentuated, gives us a peek into the Indian collective psyche and helps us renew our faith in the higher force that is driving India’s destiny. The group thoroughly enjoyed this talk and engaged with the speaker through questions and answers afterwards.
This session was followed by another brief overview of Sri Aurobindo Society, including its history, objectives and activities, as well as SAFIC and its various projects and programmes. In her presentation, Beloo Mehra underscored the life-affirming spirituality, and individual and collective growth of consciousness as two of the fundamental bases of Integral Yoga, and pointed out some of the ways these are reflected in the various activities taken up by Sri Aurobindo Society. It was also highlighted that despite all the limitations of human nature, the members of SAS and SAFIC continuously make the conscious effort to consider their work as their individual field of sadhana for inner growth.
After the evening tea-break, the iLink group had another three hours of technical sessions. The programme was very well received by the group. Several members, including the CEO of the company, Sree Balaji, spoke of the positive and inspiring ambience of the whole environment and the uplifting experience of being in a place infused with spiritual vibration and listening to talks and insights that inspire and motivate on a deeper level.