Date: January 11, 2023
Venue: Sri Aurobindo Society
As part of the All-India Youth Camp 2023 organised by AuroYouth, the Renaissance team from AuroBharati was invited to conduct a panel discussion on the topic ‘Rethinking Relationships in a New Light’. The team included Renaissance Editor, Dr. Beloo Mehra, Renaissance Editorial Assistant, Raamkumar Loganathan and AuroYouth volunteer Rahul Sharma.
The January 2023 issue of Renaissance (https://journal.aurobharati.in/) is also focused on the theme – Human Relations and Yoga. So the topic of panel discussion fit in perfectly with the ongoing work of the Renaissance team.
The session began with Dr. Mehra and her team-members setting the context through some preliminary comments on how each understands the topic of relationships in the light of their own understanding of ‘all life is yoga’. She pointed out that the moment we think of relationships, we assume that we are talking of something outside of our individual self, relation with others outside of us. But an individual life is not completely independent. We are not completely independent beings, even though on the surface we seem separate and distinct. This is in fact one of the first truths we discover about ourselves when we turn inward and start to go beyond the surface level understanding of egoistic individualism.
Another layer to this assumption is that often our concern remains exclusively on understanding only relation with others. What about relation with oneself? In many ways, how we connect or relate to our many selves becomes the basis of how we relate with others. So becoming aware of our many selves becomes the key to understanding our relation with others, Dr. Mehra pointed out.
Dr. Mehra also briefly contextualised the topic in the light of wisdom from ancient Indian socio-cultural thought on organisation of individual and collective life. She spoke about Sri Aurobindo’s description of ‘triple quartette’ and encouraged participants to reflect on how the spirit of the ancient system could be given new forms for modern times.
Speaking of love as the basis of human relationships, Rahul focused on the Mother’s discussion on the various rungs of love. He highlighted how through our experiences in life and in our relations with others we slowly work our way up through the different rungs of love.
Raamkumar highlighted that it is important that we become conscious of the level of our development in various parts of our being as we contemplate on the words of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on human love and relations. He reminded that participants that even when our highest aspiration is to live the ideals given to us by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo — whether it is about relationships, love, marriage, sex, work or any aspect of life — it is important to be precisely aware of and clear on where one is in terms of one’s own evolutionary journey. To what extent it is possible for me to live their teachings at this moment? And for which teaching I may still need to make much inner progress?
We must be realistic in this awareness, and simultaneously continue to keep calling for the divine grace every moment so that we can progress towards greater possibilities. Raamkumar added that it is good to accept one’s present state completely, including all the defects, without beating oneself for what one is not today. This does not mean that we entertain the defects or hold a diluted aspiration, but that we do not depreciate ourselves or feel dejected in the name of aspiration or humility.
Rest of the session was also devoted to Questions and Answers. In a free and frank exchange of ideas, many layers to the issues surrounding love and relationships were explored in this session. The young participants were quite receptive to the perspectives being shared by the panelists, and at the same time openly expressed their concerns and brought up several practical questions.
The session ended with Dr. Mehra giving a brief virtual tour of the Renaissance online journal and inviting participants to not only subscribe to the journal but also contribute their writings, artworks and other content for publication consideration.