A seminar for scholars and academicians was organized at Puducherry by SAFIC on the topic—‘Sanskrit and Sri Aurobindo’—in which 13 participants presented their papers and research on the various contributions of Sri Aurobindo in the field of Sanskrit. The participants included Ph.D. and M.Phil. scholars as well as teaching faculty from three different educational institutions—the Visva Bharati Central University, Shantiniketan (West Bengal), S.B. Women’s College, Cuttack (Odisha) and Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya (SCSVM), Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu). Some of the dignitaries, who also chaired the sessions included:
• Professor P. K. Mishra—Vice-Chancellor of the North Orissa University, Baripada, Odisha, and a long-time devotee of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother
• Professor Arun Ranjan Mishra—HOD, Department of Sanskrit, the Visva Bharati Central University, Santiniketan
• Dr. Debajyoti Jena—HOD, Sanskrit and Indian Culture, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya (SCSVM), Kanchipuram
On October 25, 2016 there was a brief presentation by Romila Sil (coordinator at SAFIC) on the various activities undertaken by the Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC), after which the group was taken for a visit to few of the Ashram Departments. On October 26, 2016, from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm there were a series of paper presentations by the participants. Some of the topics covered included Sri Aurobindo’s work on Bhartrihari’s ‘Nitishatakam’, his Sanskrit poem ‘Bhavani Bharati’, his work ‘Aravindopanishad’ and various other Sanskrit and related works of Sri Aurobindo, the philosophy of Integral Education and so on. Many of the participants, though having an educational background in the different subject areas of Sanskrit, had no connection with the works of Sri Aurobindo till a few months ago. With the vision of bringing them in touch with the Sri Aurobindo’s profound writings, books were sent from SAFIC to the different educational institutions in West Bengal and Odisha and the interested students were given time to study his works and present their views in this Seminar.
After every paper presentation, Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, Director, SAFIC, would give his comments and highlight topics such as the connection between the five aspects of Integral Education and the ‘panchakoshas’; the philosophy of the Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita and why they should not be studied in isolation; the poetry of Sri Aurobindo and his thoughts on the future poetry and what defines a real poet; the four powers of The Mother and how it relates to the fourfold nature of Man. These discussions were highly appreciated by the participants and guests, who stated in their feedback session that they were inspired to read and learn more of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.