Vaicārikī Webinar Series

Vaicariki is an initiative for thoughts, dialogues and discussions by Rashtram School of Public Leadership, Rishihood University, Sonipat. It is part of the 150years birth anniversary celebration of Sri Aurobindo and 75years of India’s Independence. It is a series of webinars in which eminent thinkers and philosophers from all over the country and the world are invited to speak and discuss on most pressing issues of our times and try to contextualise it with the philosophical framework of Sri Aurobindo and the Sanatana tradition.

VAICĀRIKĪ 1: Integrality of the New Education Policy

The first edition of Vaicariki was based on the idea of integrality in New Education Policy. 

Keynote Speaker

 Sh. Manoj Pavitran – Educationist & Product Designer, Auroville


Ms. Divyanshi– Executive, Purnam Centre for Integrality, Auroville

 Anurag Shukla – Researcher & Doctoral Student, IIM Ahmedabad


Dr. K. Parameswaran – Associate Professor of Law, Gujarat National Law University

Prof. Priya M. Vaidya – Associate Professor, Dept of Philosophy, University of Mumbai


The keynote address began with an introduction of the Purnam Centre for Integrality. Manoj Pavithran ji, in his address, highlighted that the dominant mode of education prevalent across the world comes from the Industrial Revolution period, which were designed to meet certain specific needs like mass production, industrialized job markets, etc. He added that this mode of education was further reduced in India during the British time to produce “servants” and not for the creation of leaders, innovators and thinkers who have the capacity to self govern. Pointing out the futility of such an education system in a completely reversed world order, a world heading towards automation, he stressed upon four key ideas as propounded by Sri Aurobindo, namely, Swadeshi, boycott, swaraj and national education, an education that is rooted in Indian culture. He extensively discussed three processes to address the needs of evolutionary education: The individual’s self discovery as the foundation of the future of self education, the nation’s soul (a radically new idea), the evolutionary crisis that humanity is into, like the disconnect from nature and society. And it is because of this that a new education system is required to regenerate and accelerate the evolutionary process with an aim towards seeking harmony with nature’s own impulsions. 

After the keynote address, Ms Divyanshi ji explained how Purnam Centre at Auroville is dedicated toward such an educative environment where the normal people can become sadhaks and through art, music and poetry get a sense of the radiant soul within. 

The panel discussion started with Dr K. Parameswaran, who spoke about the challenges one has to face in a proper academic institution with all the rules and regulations, especially in explaining rationally the teachings of Sri Aurobindo in the educational context. He enlarged upon the three principles given by Sri Aurobindo which are apparent in the New Education Policy about how a teacher should be and how his teaching should be. He emphasised upon why the learning environment needs to be stimulating, enriching and positive. Enlarging upon the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, he explained how nothing can be taught and why a teacher is not an instructor or a task master but a helper and a guide whose business is to suggest and not to impose. He explained the need for educating each and every personality according to his/her own capabilities introducing creativity thereby having diversity and supported it with Sri Aurobindo’s second principle of education, that mind has to be consulted in its gross:  “The chief aim of education is to help the growing soul to draw out that which is best in it and make it perfect for a noble use.” On the issue of interdisciplinary studies, he quoted Sri Aurobindo, who said that the third principle of education is to work from the near to the far and when one delves deeper into his/her own subject, they are required to explore all the subjects that are the “integration points”. He highlighted the need for moving forward from the domain of information to the domain of intuition and inspiration.

Dr Priya M Vaidya spoke on the Integrality of New Education Policy and how Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts are inherent in the new policy. She spoke about the NEP as laying out the road map for India’s future and encouraging the principles of exploration, evolution and contribution. She emphasized upon the need of training teachers to be good facilitators and the freedom given to the teachers in the new policy to teach the way they want. 

VAICĀRIKĪ 2: Varna and Jati- An Integral Perspective

Keynote Address

Dr. Kundan Singh- Professor: Hindu University of America

Panel discussion

 Ashish Dhar- Co-Founder Upword and Pragyata

 Neelesh Marik- Director – Expense on demand


Sh.Manan Bindal- Volunteer: Sri Aurobindo ashram, Delhi Branch



In the second chapter of Vaicariki, the ideas and institutions of Varna, Jati and Caste were discussed in light of works of SriAurobindo and the Mother with the vision of defense of Indian Culture as dwelled extensively by Sri Aurobindo and to address the contemporary discourse. 

In the keynote address, Dr Kundan Singh pointed out the difficulties in dealing with issues as volatile as varna and jati. He explained the way India’s history, culture and sociology were distorted and because of various factors like invasions, foreign rule, etc. He explained the ideas contained in the Vedanta and enlarged upon the various planes of consciousness, namely, the gyanmaya kosha, the manomaya kosha, anandmaya kosha, pranmaya kosha and explained how these different planes are essentially interconnected. He explained how during the 1870s a narrative was built and “caste system” was introduced by the foreigners to represent our culture as inherently hierarchical and oppressive, which ultimately led to the distortion in the original meaning of varna and jati. Referring to Sri AUrobindo, he explained how a system has a very different understanding when it is put in place but with the passage of time certain diversions and distortions take place. He referred to the Samkhya philosophy and explained the ideas of Purusa and Prakriti, the manifest and the unmanifest, the three gunas and qualities, the idea of ego/ ahamkara. Highlighting the principles of the three gunas, he explained how different people have different interests and expertise because of the predominance of one of the three gunas. Tracing back the etymology of the word Varna, which comes from the root vri, which means to choose, he explained how Varna was not birth based but was based on one’s gunas and pravritti. 

The panel discussion started with Shri Manan Bindal, setting the context. 

Shri Ashish Dhar explained how caste was a socialistic institution for hindu civilization, which being spiritual based its institutions on spiritual and moral foundations and  subordinated the material elements and material considerations. He emphasised that caste therefore was not only an institution which ought to be immune from the second-hand denunciations so long in fashion but a supreme necessity without which hindu civilization could not have developed its distinctive character or worked out its unique mission. He talked about the culture of the shudras and how colonial historians created a fabricated narrative. He emphasised upon  the art architectural and artistic accomplishments of the hindu civilization achieved by the sudras and so there is no question about their being educated or even having access to; not just access to but in some cases having a complete command over the knowledge as evident in the inscriptional evidence where the shudras have themselves written about their piece of art or piece of the the sculpture or the temple that they have made and they’ve given credit to themselves or the chief architecture deck in sanskrit itself. The kind technical expertise required to build and to create such forms of art and architecture would not have been possible without advanced knowledge of material sciences mathematics so these are just logical deductions one has got to make and there is enough scholarship which is already present which talks about these things and unfortunately what has happened is that these forms of scholarship have been systematically kept away from public consciousness because of political agendas.

Shri Neelesh Marik explained the need of reclaiming the intuitive power and also the need for evolution of consciousness. He spoke of the symbolic understanding of the parts of the divine body, the representative of the intention of the spirit to embody these different faculties in the social fabric through individuals as being the symbolic stage and the origin of the varna system. He presented an extensive discussion on swabhava and swadharma and presented a correlation between swabhava, swadharma and the concept of Varna. He also cautioned against the solidification of hierarchies leading to discrimination. 

VAICĀRIKĪ 3: The Spirit of Indian Nationalism

Inaugural Address

Dr. Bharat Gupt – Professor, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA)

Keynote Address

Dr. Anirban Ganguly – Director, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation (SPMRF)

Panel Discussion

Shri Devdip Ganguli – Faculty, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education

Shri Raghava Krishna 


For Sri Aurobindo, nation was not just a superficial construct but also had a subtle body embodying “the thoughts, the literature, the philosophy, the mental and emotional activities, the sum of hopes, pleasures, aspirations, fulfilments, the civilisation and culture”. His vision of nationalism went beyond the search for a merely political ideal and transformed it into a spiritual goal, a way to recover Indian thought, energy and greatness, not only for India but for the cause of the whole world.

In the Inaugural address, Dr Bharat Gupt pointed out the challenges our country is facing amidst the religious fanaticism.  He explained in details the idea of nationalism with respect to Sri Aurobindo and how it essentially is synonymous with Hindu nationalism and the principles of Sanatan Dharma. 

In the Keynote address, Dr Anirban Ganguly explained how Sri Aurobindo’s idea of nationalism is not limited to a single epoch but universally applicable to all ages throughout history. He explained how this idea of nationalism is based on the Sanatan siddhant of karma and everyone doing their own work with utmost honesty.  He talked about a new India and new nationalism, and this new nationalism that we are seeing manifesting before us today in terms of expansion, in terms of inclusion, in terms of a rising consciousness. and empowerment, at all levels, political, economic and educational. A churning awareness has come about a rising consciousness that India can collectively rise and can attain the past position of a vishwa guru only when all her parts, all her dimensions, move ahead equally equally and are empowered in uh empowered comprehensively. He also discussed the idea of freedom and what India can do once it has achieved freedom in every aspect of being. 

In the panel discussion, Shri Raghav Krishna and Shri Devdeep Ganguly discussed the challenges that India is facing. They discussed the idea of nationalism as a historical force and as an emotional, social and political reality of our nation and how it is a motivating as well as a unifying force. They extensively discussed the various theories and worldviews surrounding the idea of nationalism and contextualised the idea of Indian nationalism and its uniqueness in the global scheme with respect to the ideas of great thinkers like Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda. 

VAICĀRIKĪ 4: Death, Dying and Beyond- Sri Aurobindo’s Perspectives

Keynote Address

 Dr. Alok Pandey – Doctor- Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry

Panel Discussion

Prof. Joy Sen – Professor-IIT Kharagpur

Dr. Vladimir Yatsenko – Director of Research- Institute of Applied Research in Integral Studies, La Grace Sri Aurobindo Integral Life Center


Dr. Mala Kapadia – Professor & Director of Centre for Wellness and Wellbeing, Rashtram



The Covid-19 pandemic has instilled the fear of death across the globe on an unprecedented level. Yet, death and life beyond dying has always intrigued mere mortals since time immemorial.

VAICĀRIKĪ 5: Aryas, Vedas and Historical Chronology

Keynote Address Speaker

Prof. Michel Danino – Visiting Professor: IIT Gandhinagar

Panel Discussion 

Chair: Dr. Joy Sen – Professor: IIT Kharagpur

Shri Megh Kalyanasundaram – Director Special Projects, Indica

Ms. Manogna Sastry – Team Leader- Research: Infinity Foundation

Shri Amritanshu Pandey – Independent Researcher and Author


Sri Aurobindo commented in detail about “exclusive preoccupation with the naturalistic element” of Rig Vedic hymns by the European scholars. They created a gulf between early Rigvedic age and later Upanishadic and other thoughts. Sri Aurobindo remarked “The hypothesis, invented to fill the gap, that these ideas were borrowed by barbarous Aryan invaders from the civilised Dravidians, is a conjecture supported only by other conjectures. It is indeed coming to be doubted whether the whole story of an Aryan invasion through the Punjab is not a myth of the philologists.” He revealed the secret of the Vedas as the embodiment of spiritual and psychological knowledge concealed “in a veil of concrete and material figures and symbols”. His seminal works laid a new foundation for a wide range of studies like Comparative Religion, Philology, Historiography, Mythology, Archaeology etc.

VAICĀRIKĪ 6: The Divine Mother: All is SHE

Keynote Address

Dr. Ramesh Bijlani – Doctor & Trustee:Sri Aurobindo Ashram- Delhi branch

Panel Discussion

Ms. Gitanjali J B – Co Founder & CEO- Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh

Shri Mohit Bansal – Data Analyst; IIT Delhi Alumni



“In all that is done in the universe, the Divine through his Shakti is behind all action”,  Sri Aurobindo describes the all-encompassing and the transcendental Reality as the Divine Mother. The principle behind the workings is feminine in character. “In Yoga also it is the Divine who is the Sadhaka and the Sadhana”. The sixth chapter of Vaicariki will focus on the feminine aspect as expounded by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. This declutters our minds from the needless divisions and dualities due to politics of our times. 

VAICĀRIKĪ 7: Inevitable Wars and Illusionary Peace: Sri Aurobindo’s Realism

Keynote Address Speaker

Shri Aravindan Neelakandan – Contributing Editor at Swarajya | Co-author of ‘Breaking India’

Panel Discussion 

Moderator: Shri Sreejit Datta – Mentor & Assistant Professor at Rashtram | Director of Centre for Civilisational Studies

Shri Govind – President – Sri Aurobindo Yoga Foundation of North America

Shri Uday Arya – Teacher, SAICE | Co-founder BlueLotus Ventures


Over the ages, there have been several attempts by philosophers to theorise the actual causes that lead to massive devastation, brutality and cruelty brought about by wars and the ways by which it can be curbed. Some see hope in the rise of commercialism and material progress in bringing about peace, others find hope in the adoption of a democratic framework of governments. 

Sri Aurobindo discards such superficial propositions and remarks, “only when a man has developed not merely a fellow-feeling with all men, but a dominant sense of unity and commonality, only when he is aware of them not merely as brothers- that is a fragile bond- but as parts of himself, only when he has learned to live not in his separate personal and communal ego-sense, but in a larger universal consciousness can the phenomenon of war, with whatever weapons, pass out of his life without the possibility of return.

VAICĀRIKĪ 8: Religion, Conflict and Spirituality- Sri Aurobindo's Thoughts

Keynote Address Speaker (9:00 AM – 10: 00 AM)

Shri. Swami Brahmdev ji, Founder of Aurovalley Ashram (An International Centre for  Inner Ecology and Spiritual Studies), Raiwala, Dehradun.


Dr Lakshmi Saripalli– Astrophysicist , retd. Raman Research Institute, Bangalore

Panel Discussion (10:00 AM – 11: 30 AM)

Dr Pravir Malik- Chief Strategy Officer at Galaxies |  Chief Technologist at Deep Order Technologies

 Shri Amit Gujral- Fashion Designer | Businessman


Religious animosity is perhaps the most common form of conflict. Human societies have been fighting among themselves on religious grounds since time immemorial. The landmarks in history like the killing of pagans by the Roman Christians, the history of Crusades, the riots between Protestants and Catholics, the idea of Ghazwa-e-hind, the rampant riots during India’s partition, to the genocide in Kashmir, are all the examples of conflicts predicated upon the idea of religion. It is ironic to note that the word religion, which traces back its root to the Latin word, religare, meaning, to bind, is the cause of so much bloodshed, suffering and division. It is high time that we move forward from the idea of organised religion towards the realm of spirituality, where mankind may find peace, prosperity and brotherhood. Sri Aurobindo writes, “The highest spirituality indeed moves in a free and wide air far above that lower stage of seeking which is governed by religious form and dogma; it does not easily bear their limitations and, even when it admits, it transcends them; it lives in an experience which to the formal religious mind is unintelligible.