Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC, an initiative of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry) organized its 2015 Special Lecture Programme on March 11, 2015. What an evening of revelation. A packed, standing-room-only crowd with eyes, mind and heart looking out for knowledge of ancient India packed in Vedas to spill out in words which would make the path forward enlightened and easier. Dr Sampadananda Mishra, Director, Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC), in his introductory remarks quoted from Sri Aurobindo on how the Vedas are the foundation of Sanatana Dharma and then went on to introduce the speakers of the day.
Padma Bhushan Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr David Frawley), Founder Director, the American Institute of Vedic Studies, as one of main speakers at the event, delivered a talk on the ‘Relevance of the Vedas in the Contemporary World’, starting with his own spiritual journey of with the help of the Vedas, and how he approached it not through the eyes of an academic, but directly as a seeker. Later, his writings received the stamp of encouragement from Shri M. P. Pandit of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He explained how the Vedic knowledge has been revived experientially through some of the modern rishis such as Swami Dayananda of Arya Samaj, Sri Aurobindo, Shri Kapali Shastri of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Shri Kavyaganta Ganapati Muni, and it continues through Dr Sampadananda Mishra of Sri Aurobindo Society.
Pandit Shastri very briefly explained some of the keywords appearing in the Vedas, like Manu, Surya, and Agni and their significance. Finally, he mentioned that the Vedas are the heritage of the entire humanity, and in order to allow it to take root in us, we must bring in a deep inner stillness where these great ancient scriptures can manifest without distortion.
Yogini Shambhavi Chopra, co-Director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, was also present as a Guest of Honor at the event, gave a brief recount of a beautiful and profound experience she had before coming to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where she had the vision of Sri Aurobindo looking at her through a window, before withdrawing into his room. She also shared her love of flowers and how their spiritual significance revealed by the Mother was a source of help in her sadhana. She also made an appeal to Pandit Vamadeva Shastri that the beautiful works on Tantra of Shri Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni should be translated from Sanskrit into English so that it can reach to a wider audience.
Last, but not the least, was a talk on ‘Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo’ by Dr. Alok Pandey. He spoke on the human soul’s precarious position in its journey of evolution—that it can glimpse the divinity to be manifested and yet has to struggle to realize it. Vedas capture this inner journey of the Soul and also the destination towards which it should move. But the Vedas available to us in book are nothing but a small portion of the Vedas that lie hidden deep within our heart. He then narrated the journey of the human evolution and how the various scriptures attempted to synthesize this knowledge with the life of human soul. Gita did it; the Tantras did it; and now, for our age, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have not only revealed a new synthesis for the New Age that is dawning, they have expounded the way of the Integral Yoga as a continuation of the Sanatana Dharma.
Dr Pandey also said that in this Yoga, the Mother assumes the role of the guide in helping us in not only tasting this realization, but taking a plunge in order to fully live a life divine.
Shivakumar, on behalf of Sri Aurobindo Society, proposed a vote of thanks to all the speakers after briefly summarizing the talks. It was an event where a few glimpses of the beauty and depth of Vedas were revealed to all the seekers.
The audio files of the talk are available at http://www.atthefeetofthemother.org/2015/03/special-lecture-programme-of-safic.html