A familiar sight in the Ashram at around 4.30 or 5.00 each afternoon is students and members of the Ashram cycling or walking in their group uniforms. They are heading to the Sports ground, the Playground, the Tennis ground, to play volleyball, basketball, or hockey; to train in track and field events; to swim in the pool; to learn asanas, to do weight training or gymnastics; and to practice boxing and wrestling or compete in a tennis tournament. Physical education in the Ashram is animated by the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that a strong, supple, and conscious body is just as necessary as a quiet, enlightened mind and a purified vital for the descent of a higher consciousness to take firm hold in the sadhak. The first two books introduced below represent a history of how physical education became such a dynamic aspect of Ashram life.

Memorable Years with the Mother: The Growth of Physical Education in Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a two-volume narrative that begins with the initial impetus for physical education in the Ashram: the arrival of children in the 1940s. It documents all aspects of the physical education program as it developed from games and rudimentary exercise for the children to a complex, multifaceted organisation that included not only the children of the Ashram school but all members of the community, even the most senior, who happily joined the activities that sprang up under the Mother’s encouragement and support. Willing hands cleared grounds, built walls, constructed playing fields and a swimming pool, organised schedules and competitions, kept records, and awarded prizes. Reminiscences of some of the early participants and photographs on every page help to create a valuable and vibrant account of this part of Ashram history.
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The Mother taking the salute in the Playground
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Nolini-da doing long jump at the Tennis ground, 1950
Click to enlarge

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Clearing the terrain for the Sports ground, 1951
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The Mother coaching little ones in a novelty race at the Sports ground

The second book focuses much more on the development of physical education for women and girls. The Mother and Women’s Physical Education in the Ashram: 1946–1958 covers similar historical aspects as the other book but reminds us how particular the Mother was to break down the restrictions and pre-conceived ideas regarding sports and exercise for women. Her vision was a radical one for the times: women played all the same games as the men, learned to box and to wrestle, and even adopted the uniform of shorts, shirt, and kitty cap approved by the Mother. The book also describes how the various playing fields were acquired and developed and how the Mother involved herself in all the activities that took place there, including even dramas and other cultural programs, her French classes in the evening, and the early Christmas celebrations.
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Women playing tennis
in their group uniforms


Click to enlarge
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Champaklal was known to all for his personal service to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in their rooms in the Ashram, but in his later years he often visited the Matrimandir and Auroville. Visions of Champaklal at the Matrimandir records the inner experiences that Champaklal had at the Matrimandir between 1978 and 1987. It also contains comments by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on symbolism in visions, information on the Matrimandir and Auroville, a number of photographs, and some personal notes by friends of Champaklal.



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ENGLISH

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Memorable Years with the Mother (2 volumes)
The Growth of Physical Education in Sri Aurobindo Ashram
— Namita Sarkar
ISBN: 978-93-87175-00-6
Publisher: The Golden Chain Fraternity, Pondicherry
Binding: Hard Cover
Pages: 432
Price: Rs 1450

To manifest a divine life in a material world requires the development of a strong body and a receptive physical consciousness. This two-volume narrative and pictorial history documents how the Mother in her central role encouraged and promoted physical activities in a manner that would help prepare the body to manifest a higher consciousness. From the beginning of the Ashram school and the subsequent organisation of physical education in 1945 to the network of playing fields and facilities designed and created by members of the community, from the sports and physical exercises introduced for both boys and girls, men and women, to the Mother's intensive involvement in all activities, from gymnastic marching and a brass band to body-building and asanas, from competitions and tournaments in quest of self-perfection to the cadre of group captains at the forefront of physical education—all are described and brought to life with numerous photographs, often full-page, to tell this remarkable story. The book, which is printed entirely on art paper, also draws on interviews and reminiscences, and recognises those who contributed in special ways.

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The Mother and Women's Physical Education in Sri Aurobindo Ashram
1946-1958
— Chitra Sen
ISBN: 978-93-85391-07-1
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 250
Price: Rs 250

Tracing the beginnings of the physical education activities in the Ashram under the Mother’s guidance, the book pays special attention to physical education for women. The narrative encompasses various aspects of the overall program: the philosophical underpinnings of the approach – aimed at awakening the body consciousness to become a fit instrument for the Divine work of self-perfection –, the attention to discipline and healthy physical habits, the accretion of playing fields, grounds, equipment, and expertise as the activities multiplied and expanded. The Mother’s presence and intimate involvement in physical exercise and sport are constantly highlighted and her ground-breaking attitude towards equal physical education opportunities for women and girls was considered radical for the times. The numerous photographs and recollections from early participants reinforce the organic growth of what has become a complex and well-rounded program for the students and members of the Ashram community.

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Visions of Champaklal at the Matrimandir
— Compiled and Edited by Roshan and Apurva
Publisher: Divyanand Kripanidhi, Surat
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 87
Price: Rs 150

These visions and inner experiences recorded by Champaklal between 1978 and 1987 form the centerpiece of this book. They are accompanied by introductory and background material related to Champaklal’s life and service to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, a narrative related to Auroville and the Matrimandir, extracts from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the symbolism in visions, and a few personal comments by Nirodbaran and other friends of Champaklal. The work is enhanced by a number of photographs, colour plates, and facsimiles of messages in the handwritings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

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House of the Lord
— Selections from the Works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
ISBN: 978-81-7060-397-9
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 57
Price: Rs 30

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Life After Death
— Selections from the Works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
ISBN: 978-81-7060-398-6
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 50
Price: Rs 30

BENGALI

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Sri Aurobindo "Ei je aami, aami ekhane"
— Nirodbaran
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Society, Kolkata
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 32
Price: Rs 30

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Ma
(Sri Aurobinder "The Mother" Granther Saransha)
— Adhyapak Haridas Chaudhuri
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir, Kolkata
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 56
Price: Rs 45

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Janani
— Sudha Basu
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir, Kolkata
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 80
Price: Rs 50

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Nomi Chorone
— Gauri Dharmapal
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir, Kolkata
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 55
Price: Rs 40

ASSAMESE

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Bharatiya Sanskritir Bhitti
— Sri Aurobindo
Publisher: Nabashristi Prakashan, Guwahati
Binding: Hard Cover
Pages: 505
Price: Rs 444

A translation of twenty-eight essays – "Indian Culture and External Influence", “Is India Civilised?”(three essays), and "A Defence of Indian Culture" (twenty-four essays) – covering all aspects of Indian culture: spirituality, religion, art, literature, and polity. These essays are found in The Renaissance in India and Other Essays on Indian Culture, formerly The Foundations of Indian Culture.

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Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee
"ati nirmal tatha nirvik jiban"
— Manoj Das Gupta
Publisher: Nabashristi Prakashan, Guwahati
Binding: Hard Cover
Pages: 127
Price: Rs 150

Assamese translation of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee

Description of content for original work:
        Based on a talk given at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education on the occasion of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee's birth centenary, this book highlights his major contributions to Indian education and politics. Later known as "the lion of the Parliament", Mookerjee was an ardent son of India who led a courageous crusade against the partition of Bengal. The Mother chose him as chairman of the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Convention in 1951, where he concluded his speech with a call for India to fulfill her destiny and for the world to heed the voice of Sri Aurobindo and his message for the future of humanity.

TAMIL

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Rahasya Gyanam
— M. P. Pandit
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Devotees Trust, Coimbatore
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 142
Price: Rs 70

KANNADA

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Sri Aravindara Savitri
Sankshipta kannada avataranike
— Dr Bheed
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Society Centre, Raichur
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 52
Price: Rs 50

ITALIAN

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Sri Aurobindo su Se Stesso
— Sri Aurobindo
ISBN: 978-93-5210-142-9
Publisher: Domani, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 292
Price: Rs 650

Tutto ciò che Sri Aurobindo ha scritto su se stesso è stato raccolto in questo volume straordinario. Si tratta in prevalenza di lettere in risposta alle domande dei discepoli, soprattutto in relazione alla loro pratica dello yoga, o di comunicati dati in ricorrenze particolari o per chiarire la sua posizione di fronte a certi eventi di interesse nazionale o mondiale. Risalta, attraverso le sue dirette parole, tutta l’azione da lui svolta per portare sulla terra la nuova forza evolutiva che egli ha chiamato Supermente.

Il volume include anche quanto Sri Aurobindo ha scritto ai discepoli sulla Madre: Lui e Lei espressione di una stessa coscienza.



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