Dates: May 21-30, 2022
Venue: Ashram Exhibition House, Pondicherry
As part of Sri Aurobindo Society’s ongoing celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo and 75th year of Indian Independence, a poster- exhibition titled ‘Bhārata Shakti – Mother India, a Power, a Godhead’ was displayed from May 21 to May 30, 2022 at Ashram Exhibition House, Beach Road, Pondicherry.
Brief description of the Exhibition
The exhibition researched and curated by Dr. Beloo Mehra celebrates the immortal Bhārata Shakti, the living force that is behind India’s persistence, survival and revival. This eternal shakti will continue to lead her toward a new future, a renaissance that is true to her inner genius and temperament.
Grounded in the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for India’s future, and closely connected with that, the future of the world, the exhibition leads a visitor on a journey to identify several key aspects of a living culture through which a nation’s, rather a civilization’s Shakti expresses itself. Sri Aurobindo’s perfectly conceived definition of a culture was the guiding spirit.
A nation’s or a people’s history is not only about the rise and fall of different empires that ruled and warred in that land. Rather a civilization’s march is first and foremost about an inner journey of its people – as expressed through its unique tuning of the soul, the mind and the body.
The exhibition display opened with the eternal soul of Mother India – her inner truth of a life-affirming spirituality, noting along the way a few salient aspects of the religion that sprang from such spiritual quest. This is that religion she called Sanatana Dharma, because of its eternal and universal truths.
A visitor is led through the different expressions of India’s creative intelligence and imagination – be it in different arts – visual and performing, literature, and various inner and outer sciences. All these expressions of the Shakti are in their highest form an offering to the Supreme Force, the Divine, that is all-pervading and eternal, Immanent and transcendent.
A complete culture would not only be concerned with the vital and mental development of the individual but also a well-harmonised physical development as a way to facilitate an integral growth – both of the individual and the society.
Going further, a visitor would note the key aspects which the Indian mind identified as the basis for a sound outer body for a collective of individuals, a society, which aspires to live up to, or rather progressively rise up to the highest ideal put before it by the people’s highest intuitive intelligence.
The exhibition also reminded that India’s true Shakti lies in her being loyal and devoted to her inmost truth, her true svabhāva and svadharma. India may be at present going through a tapasya, a national yoga of sort, in which many of the ideas and ideals put forth by Western civilization are being tested out.
The problems of modern human civilisation – whether of division and diversity, or of political or social unrest — also find their acutest expression in India because it is here that the lasting solution to these problems is to be found, because the only lasting solution is that of the spiritual kind, the kind only India’s ever-living spiritual force, the Bharata Shakti, is capable of offering to the humanity.
It is the youth of a nation who will lead the way for its cultural renewal and rebirth, but for that to happen the youth must first be educated in the right way. What will be the kind of education that will make our youth develop a love for their nation – a reverence for her past glories, an objective perception of her present condition, and a clear vision of the path she must pursue for her future progress? The exhibition hints at a few answers.
India must be reborn if it has to fulfil her destiny, her mission for the world – that of being a spiritual guru for the humanity. For that to happen, Indians must first open themselves to the spirit of India, the dharma of India, the Shakti of India. Indians must first discover the Shakti within themselves to become true sons and daughters of this sacred land, to discover within themselves the Indian-ness. It is in the discovery of that true self that the Indian will discover India.
For a gallery of photos from the 10-day-long display at the exhibition house, click HERE.
Response and Feedback
About 600 people visited the exhibition house. The evening hours of 4 to 7 PM saw more visitors. A small team of volunteers from Sri Aurobindo Society managed the reception desk during the ten days of the exhibition and helped the visitors with any questions they had.
Some teachers and students from the Ashram school (SAICE) also came to see the exhibition. One teacher from the Ashram school expressed great interest in working with us to see how these displays can be periodically shared with the students of SAICE, as well as visitors to other Ashram connected institutions.
Several visitors suggested to convert this exhibition into a book. A coffee-table book format was suggested by a few design-savvy visitors who said that the visuals used in the posters added great value and should be part of a book based on the content. Some others suggested to convert the exhibition content into a virtual gallery.
Even before the exhibition opened, requests came from Delhi Ashram, and from two schools in Bengaluru and Hyderabad about taking this exhibition there. In the coming months necessary discussions will ensue to address these suggestions and requests to take further this important work.
Here is some feedback received from the visitors (presented anonymously to ensure visitors’ privacy)
- Very well researched and organised.
- A splendid effort which has brought out all aspects of cultural life.
- Lots of informative and inspiring material to absorb and think about.
- Our students must be made aware of such knowledge about our ancient culture.
- You must publish all this information in a book form.
- Make a coffee table book using all these posters
- A great tribute to our nation, excellent exhibition.
- Very informative, thought-provoking info that I had somehow missed in other books.
- Lots of information about our culture. So useful.
- Really well-done presentation with so much information that most of us aren’t aware of.
- It was an excellent effort and very nice exhibition. Lots of useful information provided.
- Excellent exhibition to inspire the youth of India!
- Everyone should know this rich history of India that is displayed in this exhibition.
- Progressive culture of India as represented in writings & photos is very good.
- This unique exhibition really covers a total view of subject in a nutshell, very effective.
- Bharat’s history is very well described in the exhibition, need to spread this all over world.
~ Report by Beloo Mehra