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Philosophical Research

Seminar at the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, March 2002

Somewhere in the beginning of 2001, Dr. Kireet Joshi, present Chairman of the Auroville's Governing Board, presented to the Auroville community the vast and ambitious project of preparing a kind of encyclopedia that would present all the various ways of yoga practiced in India, underlining what they have in common and how they are imbricated in the life of India. The project was to be undertaken by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research in New Delhi - the highest body in the country in the field of philosophy of which Dr. Joshi, who has been associated with this 

body for many years, is currently the Chairman.


Aurovilian Bhaga (right) participating, with Dr. Kireet Johi and others listening


On the left, Dr. Aster Patel from Auroville; Ganga Lakshmi, right, reading  from the Mother's Agenda

August assembly

It is in this context that six Aurovilians were contacted recently, to see whether they would agree to participate in a pre-seminar in Delhi where the project was to be presented and discussed. Two of them, Christine and Serge, could not attend and the four others - Aster, Bhaga, Ganga Lakshmi and Namah - did go to Delhi and attended this special gathering during March 18th to 20th 2002.

On the 18th, for the official opening function and first sessions during the rest of the day, all the pandits of India seemed to have converged and gathered into the grand Auditorium of Delhi's beautiful National Museum. One of Dr. Joshi's most eminent and honoured friends, Professor Murli Manohar Joshi, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Science & Technology, and Ocean Development, gave the inaugural address. Various other well-known top members of the academic world in India were also present to hear Dr. Joshi's introduction to the project, to then give their own encouraging speeches.

Encyclopedia: for whom?

The two following days brought together all those intent to stay in a smaller auditorium at a different location, where it was possible as a less imposing group to try to identify the basic structure that should be adopted for the encyclopedia project.

One of the first questions to be answered was: which audience do we want to address? Is it India or the world at large? It was widely agreed that India seems to reach a point in her history where she must find her own true nature and identity so that she may find her place in the concert of nations. What is her specificity? How to express it..?


To answer these questions among many others, the assembly met for those two days from 10 a.m. to 9 at night, with hardly a pause for meals in the hall outside the conference room. Many talks were given, all limited to 15 minutes each only, as there were so many speakers to be listened to. Presentations were given mostly on various aspects of Patanjali's work or of systems derived from it, some others more based on Bhakti, - the two representatives of Bhaktivedanta being particularly articulate. Some speakers spoke of the Vedas, some of the Integral Yoga.

When their respective turns came, the four Aurovilian women offered, each one in her own way, a share of their insights into the Integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Need for an integral approach

The four Aurovilians returned home, inspired and re-charged and determined to collaborate in the endeavor to have the various aspects of India's rich spirituality open up to the world. They felt that the Encyclopedia will be a wonderful chance and vehicle for India to respond to the urgency of the world's present crucial evolutionary crisis, and to a new need felt by more and more individuals all over the world.. - the need for a truly integral approach towards humankind's spiritual quest which alone can provide all various paths and approaches with a meaningful place in the vast scala of life.

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