Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Puducherry potpourri

Shyam Srinivas Technical Blog Shyam Srinivas K has left a new comment on your post "Nashram!":

I like to introduce myself as Shyam, Webmaster of . I am an IT professional who love my native city, Pondicherry. Over the years I have entertained and helped many visitors to our city. It's been fun. However, one common feedback I have received from many of them has been that there is a lack of structured information about Pondicherry on the web.

So I decided to create a website with all the information that we believe a visitor might want. I realized that as we have lived here for more than two decades and have entertained so many guests, over time I have come up with a list of places that people seem to like. So I threw in a personal touch and came up with a list of places that we think will make you return to our city, and hopefully to this website. If you have a chance please visit

I would be really thankful if you can visit the site and provide me your valuable suggestions and feedbacks about the site. Thanks and Regards, Shyam Email: Website: Posted by Shyam Srinivas K to Savitri Era at 2:16 AM, April 27, 2009


Amitava Chakrabarty The Statesman Monday 27 April 2009

ANYBODY who has visited Pondicherry must have felt the eerie sense of tranquility in the air. Everything over there is replete with a sense of uncanny silence where the heart and mind can find solace. Probably because of the presence of the ashram and its disciplined devotees, who roam about with minimum interaction among themselves or the visitors, who automatically inculcate within them the discipline of the ashram that make the French Rivera of the East so calm and divine.

It is said that the great saint Agastha had his ashram over here. Probably it is for this reason and for the fact that this hamlet was immuned from the clutches of the British, that Rishi Aurobindo decided to establish his ashram over here. The British was still suspicious about his antecedents and considered him to be one of their principal adversaries though he was acquitted in the famous Alipore Bomb Case. He had no other options but to leave Bengal and settle in a French colony far off, to pursue the newly found divinity deep within him while he was in the lonely cell of the Alipore Central Jail between 1908 and1909. On 4 April 1910, he landed in Pondicherry for the first time and after years of Sadhana in internal Yoga he decided to set up his own ashram with only 24 disciples on 24 November 1926. Today, the ashram has become a gigantic institution disseminating the idea of higher spiritual consciousness for oneself and the community.

I happened to be in Puducherry (as Pondicherry is officially called now) a decade back and visited it recently for the second time and hardly saw any change in the ambience except a few more devotees and tourists. The same colonial heritage buildings, the same clean roads or rues, as they call in French, the same unhurried pace of the people, the same giant doors on walls decorated with bougainvillea, the same noisy surrender of waves of the Bay of Bengal on the rocky beach, all conspiring together to “give time a break”. In a few days Puducherry can take you in her ambit to lull your false ego and rejuvenate your battered soul. If you are willing for some meditation near the Samadhi Sthal, where the mortal remains of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is kept within the precincts of the ashram, you can even feel the magic of the soothing ambience creep into you.

The second visit gave me a strange sense of bliss, though the scorching summer sun was unrelenting. I stayed in the park guesthouse, which has a beautiful garden full of soft, carpet-like grass, ready to welcome your bare feet with its morning dew. I used to sit in a corner for a lonely recluse trying to reach out for my inner-self, which has been brutally subjugated by the urban world around me. After three consecutive days of this lonely practice I felt somewhat relived internally and was convinced to have added some spirituality in my consciousness. I was eager to stay for a few days more but compulsions back home barred my wish of continuing with this newfound rendezvous with myself.

Time’s break was over for me. But before leaving Pondicherry I made it a point to visit the famous churches. So I visited the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was awestruck by the beautiful Gothic architecture. The gigantic columns holding the cross shaped arches, the fabulous inscriptions in the glass panes, the twin tower belfry, the sheen of the interior… all made me astounded. Amid that gigantism I came across a fragile lady clad in a tattered violet sari touching the illuminated glass pane, which had mother Mary etched upon it. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, I knew not for what. I couldn’t decipher whether she wanted something or was only there for the sake of faith. Then from the knot of the anchal of her sari she brought out a fifty-rupee note — must be her entire day’s earning — pressed her lips upon it, then worked her skinny hand up the glass so that it reached Mother Mary’s feet before dropping it in the drop-box.

I realised that to attain such level of devotion one had to grow up in the atmosphere, which Pondicherry offers. Personally, I have miles to go before I reach such level of selflessness.

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