Thirty delegates, both women and men from across India, braved the rough weather and attended the seminar on ‘Integral Protection’ held in Puducherry on November 21, 22, and 23, 2015. This seminar, which is an annual event of Sri Aurobindo Society’s Women’s Council, concentrated on the aspect of protection which is a culmination of aspiration, faith and surrender for the Divine’s constant presence and guidance in our lives. The three days dawned from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for the delegates with beautiful ‘Rhythmic movements and exercise session’ conducted by Dutta of the Ashram’s Centre of Education. She taught a series of intensely focused and synchronized movements with the imagery of a flame within, whose warmth emanates a healing effect throughout the body.
The seminar commenced with the Mother’s recorded music ‘Compassion of the Divine’ followed by a soulful invocation by Aishiki Sen, 11-year-old student of the Centre of Education at the Ashram and the youngest delegate at the seminar. Shri Pradeep Narang introduced the theme of the seminar in a very succinct and simple way with short anecdotes and also by accentuating the fact that though we are surrounded by numerous forces, if we are conscious and remember the Divine, we are integrally protected.
Krishna Modi gave a power-point presentation with different-coloured bougainvillea flowers to which the Mother has given the significance of ‘Protection’. After self-introductions, the delegates sat for group discussions in smaller groups with a group guide, where each member exchanged experiences and thoughts based on the text from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on ‘Integral Protection’. A power-point presentation of Sri Aurobindo’s sonnet ‘The Godhead’, based on a personal experience recounted by Sri Aurobindo, was recited and explained by Rathi.
Another power-point—‘Images of Protection in Indian Art’—was presented by Sagarika who with great delight portrayed them with prominent stories from Indian mythology, with the relevant paintings as backdrop. Saikat Sen conducted an interesting and thought-provoking ‘Workshop on Integral Protection’, which included practical activities, questionnaire for reflection and video clippings to highlight how each one is protected at all times.
A 20-minute video on Sri Aurobindo Ashram showed how the Ashram was set up and the various departments under the guidance of the Mother progressed towards their current functioning. Dr Maya Kirpalani spoke of a doctor’s role in integral protection. In his active interaction with the delegates, Dr Alok Pandey elaborated the key to protection with beautiful stories in response to the questions put forth by the delegates. Dr Shakuntala Manay shared the presence of the Divine Protection and Grace throughout her life.
Shweta and Shekhar taught ‘Yoga-nidra’ as an instrument for Divine protection by emphasizing on body awareness. The delegates woke up deeply relaxed and refreshed.
The session on the final day started with a heart-rending musical offering by Aishiki, Kajari and Saikat Sen, which uplifted the whole atmosphere with peace and harmony. Later, Harvinder engaged the delegates in a dynamic session with novel activities. She organized the delegates in four groups and gave 15 minutes to each group to discuss and choose an incident either from their life or mythology and create tableaus, without any verbal description, to narrate it to others. The group that came first was Lord Krishna holding Govardhan mountain with one finger protecting the gopis and others. Meanwhile Akhila, a healer, demonstrated how the body can protect itself with simple techniques for its well-being. The delegates were then exposed to an entirely new perspective of tuning to the Divine through music by Dr Bharathi, who explained how music can be therapeutic and healing components besides being entertaining.
In the final session, the delegates gave their feedback and shared their individual experiences of protection. The three-day seminar ended with the collective chanting of Om and receiving Prasad from the Mother.
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