Guiding Light of The Month

In this immense heroic struggle, in this sublime struggle of love against hatred, of justice against injustice, of obedience to Thy supreme law against revolt, may I gradually be able to make humanity worthy of a still sublimer peace in which, all internal dissensions having ceased, the whole effort of man may be united for the attainment of a more and more perfect and integral realisation of Thy divine Will and Thy progressive ideal. - The Mother

From the Editor’s Desk

The first issue for this year, 2014, continues with the theme of Physical Education. An important focus is a particular trip that Soviet Gymnasts made to the Ashram in the month of April, in 1956. The poise, dexterity, precision with which the gymnasts demonstrated the gymnastic movements is something well known in Ashram quarters. The gymnasts themselves served as inspiring exemplars to Ashramites and Ashram school children. What brought the gymnasts to the Ashram? To India even? How did they come into the consciousness of Ashram and, for that matter, into the consciousness of all of us connected with the Ashram? This side issue will be discussed a little in this editorial to give a general background to the article, ‘Soviet Gymnasts’ from the book, ‘On The Mother’, Chapter 46 – “A glorified, not a crucified body” by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, on page 4 and Nolini Kanta Gupta and K. Amrita’s reminiscences on the occasion on pages 4 and 5.

The idea to have the Soviet gymnasts was one of Independent India’s earliest aspirations to raise the level of sports and physical culture in India by exposing Indians to top athletes from around the world. This was effected by teams of outstanding athletes visiting major Indian cities and demonstrating their skills. The first Health Minister of India, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur following independence in 1947, mooted this idea. Though it started with a noble aim of exposing Indians to various sports forms, to raise their awareness and to motivate them to pick up these for a healthy lifestyle, what was in store for the gymnasts, the Ashram community and our total consciousness about physical culture was probably beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. One of the cities that the Soviet team was scheduled to visit was Madras. Anil Kumar Jauhar of Delhi corresponded with The Mother and following her approval, arranged for the team to visit the Ashram after their programme in Madras, through the Gymnastic Federation of India. Thus the gymnasts found themselves in the Ashram in Pondicherry on the 2nd of April 1956. Read on to know of the impact of their visit there, how The Mother welcomed them through an address which she wrote and which Pranab Bhattacharya read and what The Mother had to say about physical culture and its importance for the Supramental manifestation and how this has been ingrained in the consciousness of all who were and are open to it.

Source of information

The Mother makes a clear distinction between Sports and Physical Culture.

This is a good premise to start on some self-reflection. How do we perceive physical culture? Do we engage in it even to some extent? What are all the reasons we give ourselves for engaging in it? Or not engage in it, for that matter? Why? How about our children? Do we allow them free play time? Children by nature have a great affinity to sports and games or any kind of play, whether on their own or better still in teams? Are we with them in their enthusiasm? Do we expose them to higher ideals of engaging in physical culture? What about schools? With what idea do they approach physical culture? Do children look forward to games time in school? The search begins…

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