Saturday, 28 March 2015

Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture, Shillong, Meghalaya: Inner Peace Found

When you are in the Scotland of the East, you cannot miss Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture (SAIIC). Well, to be very frank, I've never understood spiritualism. So, for those who really are into it, this place has it all. As for me, I had to Google a lot of things after I came back. :)

This particular institute has link ups with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram of Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu. So, you'll find pictures and symbols of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother everywhere. One thing which is bound to attract any layman like me towards the ashram is the ambiance. Its very peaceful and quiet. There are rows and rows of flowers (you aren't supposed to pluck them!) and a big meditation hall. Once you're near it, you can smell the fragrance of burning incense in the air. The inside of the meditation hall is beautiful, all wood finish. Avoid making any kind of loud sound as it is against the ashram rules.

My experience inside was no less than reading a Dan Brown novel. There's a big metal circle at the center of the hall, decorated with flowers. They call it the "Symbol of Center of Education", the effective manifestation of Ishwara (God) and Ishwari (Goddess) in union. Tough to understand, I know.


To decode this symbol, you need to understand the other two very important symbols, Sri Aurobindo's symbol and the Mother's symbol. Sri Aurobindo's symbol is represented by an ascending and a descending triangle.

Photo source: http://www.sriaurobindoashram.com

It is explained as: "The descending triangle represents Sat-Chit-Ananda. The ascending triangle represents the aspiring answer from matter under the form of life, light and love. The junction of both - the central square - is the perfect manifestation having at its center the Avatar of the Supreme - the lotus. The water - inside the square - represents the multiplicity, the creation."

Again, the Mother's symbol is a circle with petals.
Photo source: http://www.sriaurobindoashram.com

This also has an explanation, "The central circle represents the Divine Consciousness. The four petals represent the four powers of the Mother. The twelve petals represent the twelve powers of the Mother manifested for Her work."

 Sitting beside the Symbol of Center of Education

Leaving the heavy topics aside, the ashram is a wonderful place. It has a large conference hall and shops which are known as "Divine shops". You can buy a variety of items which come all the way from Pondicherry! My personal choice is Auroshikha agarbatti. Try it...its wonderful!

There's a duplex inside the ashram and they call it "Meera Cottage". Its a guest house. So you can book your stay there and enjoy. They also have dormitories and a clean canteen too.

Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture is much more than what I've described. Intellectual or not, you are sure to love the place. So the next time when you are in Meghalaya, go to Bivar Road, Shillong and do visit the place. I bet that you'll get a lot of things to ransack the Internet for!! :)