Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15th August, 1872. His father, Dr. Krishnadhana Ghosh “was determined that his children should receive an entirely European upbringing.” Therefore, he first sent the young Aurobindo to a convent school at Darjeeling at the age of four. Then at the age of seven, in the year 1879, Aurobindo was sent to England along with his brother Manmohan so that they could be brought up in an English environment. Their caretaker Mr. Drewett was strictly instructed: “that they should not be allowed to make the acquaintance of any Indian or undergo any Indian influence.” Sri Aurobindo grew up in entire ignorance of India, her people, her religion, and her culture. During his stay of 14 years in England, Aurobindo mastered not only English, French, Greek, and Latin but also became familiar with few other European languages.
It is surprising that such an English-educated person could, on his return to India, turn to the study of Sanskrit, the Vedas, and the Puranas and later become known as Sri Aurobindo, the great yogi, poet, philosopher, and critic. Even at an early age Sri Aurobindo “had already strongly received the impression that a period of great upheaval and great revolutionary changes was coming in the world and he himself was destined to play a part in it.” When on the 8th of February, 1893, he stepped again on Indian soil, “a vast calm descended upon him.”
Sri Aurobindo, Indian Culture and Sanskrit
Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on the Sanskrit Language
Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on the Sanskrit Literature
Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on Tantra
Sri Aurobindo’s Original Sanskrit Writings
The three-day National Seminar on Sri Aurobindo and Sanskrit was organised between 11th and 13th November 2022 at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch. The seminar was organised by the Centre for Human Sciences, Rishihood University, in association with the Ministry of Education, Government of India, Central Sanskrit University, New Delhi, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch, Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, New Delhi. This seminar was part of the celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, where we are celebrating 75 years of India’s independence and 150 years of Sri Aurobindo’s birth.
Three days of philosophical deliberations, academic papers, artistic dance performance on Bhairav Bharathi, Sanskrit poets meet, Sanskrit songs, profound keynote speakers and plenary sessions, offered the perfect tribute to the polymath and the Maharshi Sri Aurobindo. Three days witness invigorating plenary sessions and more than 25 research papers. The two plenary sessions include the one by Shri Vedveer Arya, on the theme, the origins of language and Sri-Aurobindo, and the second plenary session by Prof Joy Sen, New Lights on Sanskrit & Its Episteme based on Sri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Vedas. The three days of seminar witnessed 6 technical sessions on the theme Sri Aurobindo and his Sanskrit writings.
The first day of the seminar began with the Inaugural Session at 3.30 pm. The event started by observance of a minute of silence. The mangalacharan was performed with beautiful mantra chanting by Minnati ji, who is a volunteer at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi. This was followed by the invocation through a dance performance based on Sri Aurobindo’s Bhavani Bharati by Sangeeta Majumder ji.
After the invocation, the esteemed guests of the seminar were invited on the dais and honoured with gifts and tulsi plants. The first address was given by Prof. Sampadananda Mishra ji, convener of the seminar. In his address, he explained the content of the seminar to all the participants. He also talked about the novelty of the theme and the challenges faced in conceptualisation of the seminar. Guests at the occasion addressed the gathering on the importance and relevance of Sri Aurobindo and Sanskrit. The prominent invited lists of the guest address included the Keynote speaker, Prof Ramchandra Bhat Kotremani, Ex Vice-Chancellor, SVYASA University, Bangalore, where he delved into recitation and poetic elucidation of Sanskrit works of Sri Aurobindo. There was also a special message by Shri Akhilesh Mishra, Indian Ambassador, a special Address by Shri Shobhit Mathur, Vice Chancellor, Rishihood University who talked about the University’s values and future plans to spread Indic wisdom to the youth of today. An address by Prof. Murali Manohar Pathak, Vice Chancellor, LBS Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Delhi followed by an Address by Prof. Sachchidananda Mishra, Member Secretary, ICPR. The event was also graced by Mrutyunjay Behra, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Education andMr. Deepak Kumar Srivastava, Member Secretary, ICSSR. Prof. Shashibala from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan too spoke on the importance of holding such seminars and emphasized that people need to read more about Sri Aurobindo. Finally, it was followed by a Presidential address by Prof. Shrinivasa Varakhedi, Vice Chancellor, CSU, Delhi. The session ended with the Vote of Thanks addressed by Aarti Panchal from Rishihood University thanking all guests and audience for their presence at Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The session concluded with the launch of the book, “Geeta in the Light of Sri Aurobindo” by Dr Prafulla Mishra followed by High Tea at 5.30 pm.
The second day began with technical sessions. The first technical session of the event Technical Session 1 was from 9.30 am to 12 pm. The session was based on the theme Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita. It was chaired by Pranav Kumar Vashishth ji from Purna Pramiti Center for Integrated Learning, Bangalore and an expert on Dharmashastra and Constitution of India)
PAPER 1: Prof. Prafulla Kumar Mishra (Vice Chairman, Maharishi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishtha) presented on the to Vedic Vision of Savitri. He talked about parallels between the Vedas and Sri Aurobindo’s lines quoting suktas from many scriptures like Hiranyagarbha Sukta, Purusho sukta etc.
PAPER 2: Dr. Shweta Prajapati (Director of Oriental Institute, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara) presented the talk on the topic “Interpretation of some vedic concepts by Sri Aurobindo where she discussed the spiritual significance of vedic concepts like sacrifice, aspirations in line with Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy.
PAPER 3: Dr. Aruna Kumar Mishra (Professor, Department of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit, Vishwabharti Central University, Shantiniketan). His topic of presentation was Sanskritic Glow in the World Classic Savitri where the presenter recited stanzas of Savitri and thereby explaining the sanskritic essence in each of them in Sri Auribindo’s writings.
PAPER 4: Prof. Niraajan Kafle (Associate Professor, Sanskrit, Ashoka University) presented on the topic ‘Visnusukta and Sri Aurobindo’s rendition on it in which he explained all mantras of Visnusukta as interpreted by Sri Aurobindo.
PAPER 5: Dr. Nandita Singhavi (Associate Professor, Government Dungar College, Bikaner) who presented the talk on the topic “बृहस्पति सूक्त(4/50) के प्रथम मन्त्र की श्रीअरविन्द कृत व्याख्या:एक परिशीलन” where she talked about mantras in Brahaspati Sukta and its interpretation of it by Sri Aurobindo.
PAPER 6: Prof. Pijus Kanti Pal (Research Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Kharagpur) presented on the topic “Sri Aurobindo on daivī and āsurī sampad” where he explained the significance and differences between Daivi (satvik) and Asuri (Rajasic) and Sri Aurobindo’s psychological explanation on the verses in the book Essays of Gita”.
PAPER 7: Ms. Anusree S.L (Phd Scholar, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady Cochin) presented on the topic “The Terminology as the Key to Sri Aurobindo’s Psycho-Philogical Approach on Upanishads” where she explained the philosophical interpretation of Upanishads in the language of Sri Aurobindo and how it serves as the conceptual foundation for Upanishads expansive psychological system.
The technical session ended with the concluding remarks by the Chair Pranav Kumar Vashishth ji from Purna Pramiti Center for Integrated Learning, Bangalore and an expert on Dharmashastra and Constitution of India and then session was followed by a lunch break.
The second session began at 1 pm and continued till 2.30 pm and was chaired by Prof. Shashibala (Dean of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan’s K M Munshi Centre for Indology) and the theme was Sri Aurobindo, Indian Culture and Sanskrit.
PAPER 1: Pranav Kumar Vashishth ji from Purna Pramiti Center for Integrated Learning, Bangalore and an expert on Dharmashastra and Constitution of India presented on the topic “Hayagriva Mandir: A Call In the Light of “Bhawani Mandir” where he talked on understanding the presence of Hayagriva – the fountainhead of knowledge, nationalism and divine shakti in Sri Aurobindo’s writings.
PAPER 2: Dr Sheojee Singh (Government College of Education, Chandigarh) presented on the topic Sri Aurobindo, Sanskrit and Resurgence of the Eternal Spirit of India where he talked on the evolution of consciousness and Vedic literature in the words of Sri Aurobindo.
PAPER 3: Dr Ashutosh Pareek (Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan Government College, Ajmer) presented on the topic महर्षि अरविन्द की सांस्कृतिक दृष्टि : संस्कृतशास्त्रों और संस्कृतभाषा के विशेष सन्दर्भ में.
PAPER 4: Dr.Gunanidhi Sharma (Ph.d., Sanskrit) presented on the topic संस्कृत एवम् उपनिषद्, सत्यान्वेषण की भारतीय प्रणाली on which he discussed how the culture of India is intertwined with Upanishads in the words of Sri Aurobindo.
The session ended with the concluding remarks by Chair Prof. Shashibala (Dean of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan’s K M Munshi Centre for Indology).
The third session began at 2.30 pm and continued till 4.00 pm and was chaired by Chair: Prof. Bhagirath Nanda (Professor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, New Delhi) and the theme was Sri Aurobindo on Indian Classical Literature and Poetics.
PAPER 1: Keshav Dev (Lecturer in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan) presented on the topic Sri Aurobindo and Kalidas on which he discussed the passages from the writings of Sri Aurobindo’s poems which describes the evolution of life into a “life divine”.
PAPER 2: Dr. Priyabrata Mishra (Associate Professor, Shree Jagannath Sanskrit University,Puri) presented on the topic ‘Shree Aurovindo and Bhartrihari’ which emphasized on Sri Aurobindo’s three leading motives of the mind of the age, its reflective interest in life and turn for high and strong and minute thinking.
PAPER 3: Prof. Rabindra Kumar Panda (Prof. Rabindra Kumar Panda, Vice-chancellor, Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri , Orissa. ) presented on the topic Sri Aurobindo and Gaudapadakarika where he spoke on subtle ideas of Gaudapada and its relevance today in Sri Aurobindo’s words.
PAPER 4: Devaki Sapkota (Graduate in Indology from Hamburg University) presented on the topic Kumārasaṃbhava and Śrī Aurobindo’s translation where she explained and sang shlokas and discussed their meanings as interpreted by Sri Aurobindo.
The session ended with the concluding remarks by Prof. Bhagirath Nanda (Professor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, New Delhi)
The session was followed by a break of 10 minutes after which the Seminar’s first plenary session was to be held. The Plenary Session was conducted by Shri Vedveery Arya (Joint Secretary and Additional Finance Advisor) on the topic ‘The Origins of Language and Sri Aurobindo’ where he spoke of chronology of Sanskrit language in Indian History. It ended with a QnA round.
Day 2 session ended at 5.30 pm with a one minute of silence followed by a snack break. It continued with Poets’ Meet from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm where various poetries of Sri Aurobindo in Sanskrit were recited by participants. The session was moderated by Prof. Bhagirath Nanda Ji (Professor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University, New Delhi). The participants were Dr. Keshav Dev, Dr. Anil Kumar, Prof. Lala Shankar Gayawal, Prof. P K Mishra, Prof. Kaliprassana Satpathy, Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, Dr. Rabindra Kumar, Dr. Purnachandra Upadhyaya, Prof. Priyabratta Mishra.
The last day of the National Seminar began with the Plenary Session by Prof. Joy Sen. He is Chairperson of Center of Excellence for Indian Knowledge Systems at IIT Kharagpur. He gave an excellent presentation on “Sanskrit and its Systemic Episteme” based on Sri Aurobindo’s “Secret of the Vedas”. He started with explaining the nuances and beauty of Sanskrit – its syntax, semantics and semiotics. He further explained Sri Aurobindo’s writings in the book Secret of Vedas on the double movement in sadhna viz. ascent and descent. He also cited the case study on ‘The Principle of Matariswan – The Septuple Chord ” which is a philosophical expression for Vayu which moves in the mother or matrix. The session was well received by the audience and was followed by an interesting question answer session.
Then followed the Technical sessions. The fourth technical session of the event was held on the theme “Sri Aurobindo’s Original Sanskrit Writings” and was chaired by Rabindra Kumar Panda ji (Prof. Rabindra Kumar Panda, Vice-chancellor, Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri , Orissa. ). It began at 1 pm and ended at 2 pm.
PAPER 1: Prof. Banamali Biswal (Dean Academic Affairs and Students Welfare Central Sanskrit University). The presentation was given on the topic “Sri Aurobindo and his Creative Writings with special reference to Bhavani Bharati”. Professor emphasized on the spiritual quality of the poem in Sri Aurobindo’s writings and importance of mantras and Sri Aurobindo’s poetic philosophy.
PAPER 2: Prof. Kaliprassana Sathpathy (Vice President of Divine Life Society, Kendrapara Branch Orissa). The presentation was on the topic : Śrī ārōbindōpaniṣad ēkaṁ vihagavalōkanaṁ. Satpathy ji talked on one of the original Sanskrit works of Sri Aurobindo, a small book containing many priceless philosophical secrets. In nineteen paragraphs it was discussed that Brahma is truth and the world is also truth and that God i.e. the Supreme Soul is present everywhere and in every situation. It is our duty to experience the power of God in everyone with joy. Lastly Satpathy ji affirmed that God Himself ordered Sri Aurobindo that all the children of Amrit should move ahead considering the nectar as blissful pastimes of God.
PAPER 3 : Dr. Anil Kumar (Assistant Professor in Sahitya Department, Central Sanskrit University). The paper was on “संस्कृतसाहित्ये श्री अरविन्द:”.
Thereafter the same Technical Session continued post lunch.
PAPER 4: Abhishek Tripathi (Doctoral student at the Psychology and Cognitive Science department, Sapienza University, Rome). The topic of the presentation was ‘ Tāntrikasiddhi prakaraṇam – Sri Aurobindo’s Hermeneutics of Tantric Bhakti’. Abhishek Tripathi ji explained the about Sri Aurobindo’s Original Sanskrit Contribution – Tāntrikasiddhi prakaraṇam, the praxis of Tantric Bhakti and gist of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy through Hermeneutical Analysis. The presentation involved Bhakti elements in Tāntrikasiddhi prakaraṇam, historical development of Bhakti, Bhakti in medieval era of Tantra, etc.
PAPER 5: Dr. Purnachandra Upadhyaya (HOD, Department of Sanskrit, Government College, Bundi, Rajasthan) on the topic Lokachetanayah Yugapurushah Shree Aurovind (Shree Aurovindasya Sadhanacharitamityasya visheshasandarbhe.)
PAPER 6: Dr. Sangeeta Sharma (Guest faculty at Jamia Milia Islamia). The presentation was on the topic “Ramayana in the light of Sri Aurobindo”. Sangeeta ji conveyed that Ramayana is a timeless poem and how it has universal thoughts which makes it suitable to all mankind. Ramayana is core of Indian culture, the soft and bent nature of Ramkatha is formative of the Indian mind.
The session ended with the concluding remarks by Rabindra Kumar Panda ji (Prof. Rabindra Kumar Panda, Vice-chancellor, Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri , Orissa.)
The next technical session began from 2 pm to 3 pm and was on the theme Sri Aurobindo in Modern Sanskrit Literature and was chaired by Dr. Lala Shankar Gayawal (Associate Professor and HOD of Sanskrit, R D Government Girls PG College at Bharatpur)
PAPER 1: Dr. Purnachandra Upadhyaya (HOD, Department of Sanskrit, Govt. College Bundi, Rajasthan) presented on the topic Lokachetanayah Yugapurushah Shree Aurovind (Shree Aurovindasya Sadhanacharitamityasya visheshasandarbhe.).
PAPER 2: Dr. Savitri (Samskrit Asst.Professor/ GIET Degree College/ Rajanagaram/ Rajahmundry) presented on the topic ‘Sri Aurobindo -Bharatam- Samskritam.’
PAPER 3: Dr. Anuradha Chaudhary (Coordinator (Outreach),IKS Division, Ministry of Education, Government of India at AICTE) presented on the topic ‘Sanskrit as a Devabhasha: Sri Aurobindo’s experiential insights’ where she spoke on spirit of sanskrit and how it psychologically and physically affects a human from chakras to thinking patterns.
PAPER 4: Dr. Jagmohan (Assistant Professor, Department of Sanskrit, Hindu College, University of Delhi) presented on the topic श्री अरविन्द की दृष्टि में वैदिक संस्कृत अवबोध के सूत्र.
The session ended with the concluding remarks by Dr. Lala Shankar Gayawal (Associate Professor and HOD of Sanskrit, R D Government Girls PG College at Bharatpur) at 4.30 pm followed by the valedictory session.
All Event Pictures can be found here: