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Author: Rod Hemsell

Last Updated: August 22, 2009

Sri Aurobindo Learning Center Savitri Immersion Workshops 2009

The third in a series of three workshops at the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center finished on August 15th, the birthday of Sri Aurobindo and also the anniversary of Indian Independence, celebrated as Seyril, founder of the center, would have liked best with a feast and a cake. One of the secret highlights of the sessions was in fact the exceptional quality of the food, prepared daily and often spontaneously by a talented assortment of participants from all over: India, France, California, Canada, Kentucky, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas the spiritual footprint of Crestone is still growing!

Although these Savitri retreats have been happening annually since the early nineties, usually in August, this is the first time that we have held three in one summer, and this has had the advantage - surely be appreciated by other centers and teachers - of allowing us to be exposed to a more thorough, in-depth treatment of the vision and yoga-teaching of Sri Aurobindo. The full intention of his teaching could be grasped better like this, to an extent often not possible for students even after many years of study, because of both the scope and intensity implied by the persistent exposure to a mantric transmission, renewed monthly, and assimilated over a period of several weeks by many participants. The purpose was not only for the participants to be brought face to face with the intention of Sri Aurobindos yoga of transformation, but also to make the real purpose of Savitri as a mantric invocation of the divine Word - easily accessible and effective for new students as well as long-time devotees.

The process was generally spontaneous, harmonious and fun, as it turned out, with opportunities for self expression through music, dance and painting, as well as cooking, in addition to deep meditation. Frequent references to parallels between the yoga of Savitri and other schools and practices of Buddhism and Hinduism were pleasantly reinforced by visits to the Haidakhand Ashram, the Tashi Gomang Stupa, and Dragon Mountain Zen Center. And a bonus, appreciated by many in the community, were the extra activities provided by visiting Aurovilians Aurelios Om Choir, and Oliviers dance workshop and his presentation of an alternative economic structure. Participation by friends from Auromesa in Taos and nearby Hummingbird Ranch, in New Mexico, will hopefully weld a more permanent tie between these centers and ours, strengthening the Auroville family and network in this region. Two other factors of the demographics of these workshops that were especially heartening were the increased participation by members of the local community, and the presence of three young PhD candidates from entirely different backgrounds the former mostly graying but the latter very vibrantly headed for a wonderful future. The future is of course the focus of Sri Aurobindos light, and the participation of these diverse groups was one of many signs that it is definitely there, spiritually positive, and waiting on the horizon, drawing us luminously, ineluctably forward.

Rod Hemsell