Guiding Light of The Month

To Thee, supreme Dispenser of all boons, to Thee who givest life its justification, by making it pure, beautiful and good, to Thee, Master of our destinies and goal of all our aspirations, was consecrated the first minute of this new year. - The Mother

Physical Education – Life at the Ashram

The combination of physical culture with spiritual life in sharp contrast to the prevailing Indian ideas of Ashram life sprang a surprise upon all. When youthful girls of aristocratic families took to sports in shorts and shirts, throwing shyness and reserve aside, it was for all a happy wonder.

It also marked a sudden change in their outlook on life. A new strength and overwhelming joy seemed to seize on them. Many of them had various sorts of physical trouble. Whoever sought medical treatment was advised to take physical exercises. Even ladies with grey hair were seen running, doing march past, like men in a separate group.

The use of medicine was reduced to the minimum. An elderly lady had been suffering for long from a pain in the legs; the Mother wished her to take some sort of exercise. Generally speaking, whoever wanted to join Playground activities got encouragement from the Mother.

Asked what the ideal of Physical Education is for a girl, the Mother said: "I do not see why there should be a special ideal of physical education for girls and another for boys.

'The aim of physical education is to develop all the possibilities of a human body, possibilities of harmony, strength, plasticity, skill, agility, endurance, and to increase the control over the functioning of the limbs and the organs, and to make of the body a perfect instrument at the disposal of a conscious will. This programme is excellent for all human beings, equally, and there is no point in wanting to adopt another for girls."

To the query, what should be the ideal of a woman's physical beauty, her answer was:

"A perfect harmony in the proportion, suppleness and strength, grace and force, plasticity and endurance and above all, excellent health, unvarying and unchanging which is the result of a pure soul, a happy trust in life and an unshakable faith in the Divine grace."

(“The Ashram Atmosphere”, Life at Sri Aurobindo Ashram by Narayan Prasad, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

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