Inaugural Speech by Dr. M. V. Nadkarni on 4th April, 2007

People sitting at the back, if you can not hear me, please raise your hands, I am not going to speak in Oriya, I am going to speak to you in English now that the power supply has come back, although a little while ago, it was gone. You will be quite surprised to know the reason why the electrical supply was temporarily gone.

The reason was that as I was sitting here waiting for the power supply to come back, I had time to realise how important this occasion was and how little qualified I was to perform this role of inaugurating Sri Aurobindo University. Besides, to my utter consternation, I also realised how little prepared I was to give the kind of an oration one is expected to give on an occasion like this. So, the Mother arranged for me a 10-minute break, so that I could gather some thoughts appropriate for the occasion and also think of some of the passages from SAVITRI which I could use on this occasion. That was the reason why the power supply got cut off for a brief10 minutes. I am convinced it was the Mother’s arrangement.

Let me begin by saying that I am very happy to be in Dalijoda. I have been here before and I hope I will continue to come here often in the future as well. I have spoken to many national and international audiences about Dalijoda and the great work you have been doing here, almost unknown to the world. However, I had no idea that Dalijoda had this future of being the home of Sri Aurobindo university that is being inaugurated today, and I am very happy to be a torch bearer in this march towards the future. I am very happy that the messages received by the organisers for this occasion have mentioned with gratitude Sri Prappattiji & Sri Babaji Maharaj, whose dream it was to start a University here. There was also a reference to the fact that it was they who had originally chosen Dalijoda as the seat of this university. To me this is a clear signal that the university dreamt of by Babaji Maharaj and Prapattiji will certainly be a reality sooner than we expect it to come up.

The surroundings of this place may now look quite unfavourable to the starting of a university. But let us not be despondent and be deceived by surface appearances; Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have always chosen the most impossible conditions as the arena of their work. Take for example, Pondicherry, a neglected coastal town until Sri Aurobindo landed there in 1910, full of mosquitoes, where the weather is only hot, hotter and hottest, as the saying goes. If they wanted to start an Ashram in a peaceful place, where the climate was salubrious and comfortable, they could have gone to any number of other places and started the Ashram there. But they did not. French India was in some respects immersed in greater inertia than British India. So to bring down the new light, they chose probably the most unlikely place that Pondicherry then was. For building Auroville, they chose a place, where for hundreds of years, the rain had washed off the top soil rendering the land just a barren wilderness, a waste land. Nothing could really grow on that land except some miserable-looking wild shrubs. But what a transformation already! Auroville and its surroundings are already the greenest stretches of land in Tamilnadu save the forest areas. And what kind of people did they choose to build this township of the future, this “city of dawn”? People like you and me drawn from many parts of the world. It was like the great Sri Rama trying to build a land-bridge across the sea between India and Sri Lanka, and this task was then given to monkeys. In the case of Auroville, the people chosen to build it were not very different and yet Auroville is growing everyday in spite of the many human failures of people who took upon themselves to build the city and the resistance from the adverse forces. One of the distinguishing features of any institution set up by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, is that if defies all mental calculation, as Auroville has and Sri Aurobindo Ashram has.

Do not calculate from the mind. If you want to calculate from the mind and build an institution, which the mind approves of, you should go to America or to England. But if you want to build an institution keeping yourself open to the light of the spirit, then you have to do it in a different way. Now in one of the messages received for this occasion, the gentleman who sent the message said that he was happy that, one more Sri Aurobindo university was coming up. My earnest prayer to the Divine is that, let this not be one more Sri Aurobindo University. There can not be many Sri Aurobindo Universities; there can be only one, and that university may not have a specific geographical location. Very often people ask you, do you have any blue print for this university? Have you made any plans? Do you know about the facilities that are going to be provided at this new university? Do you know what kinds of buildings are going to be built for this university? My answer to all these questions is that it is better not to know the answers to all these questions in very much in advance. You see that if there is too much light from the outside, then you tend to switch off the inner light. But if there is darkness everywhere and you have to walk the path, you have to light up the inner lamp. This is particularly true of spiritual enterprises. And this university that is going to come up here, will, I hope, depend entirely on this inner light – the light that is received from Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

This is not going to be a university which will seeks contribute something to science, to engineering, to agriculture and so on. We have universities which have been doing this, some outstanding examples being Harvard, Princeton, Cambridge, to name a few. These are some of the best universities the mental civilization has produced. They have produced some of the most distinguished people. But please remember that directly or indirectly it is these universities which are responsible for the condition of the world to day. You know that the five permanent members of the United Nation are producing 90% of the world's armaments. If there are wars to fight, you have a wide choice of weaponry available to you. You can buy American arms, French arms, British arms, German arms, Russian arms, now may be even Chinese arms. It there is destruction, devastation, economic exploitation and denial human rights, ecological devastation in any part of the world, you can be sure that it is all brought about directly or indirectly by the products of these universities. Of course these are wonderful institutions of higher learning.. Science and technology have been developed by these universities in a spectacular manner for which we are all in awe and admiration of them. But have we paused to ask what ultimate use is made of all this science, how much of it is used for the upliftment of man, and how much for his enslavement, for denying him a decent living, and a chance to live a dignified life in freedom? Poor countries are enslaved by rich countries with the help of science, technology, globalised commerce and political gangsterism. These rich countries in their turn are enslaved by their individual ego, national ego, ideological ego, and in more recent years even by religious ego. This is the game that is going on. And I do not want the university that is going to be inaugurated here today to be another Harvard or another Oxford in this sense.

This has to be a different kind university since it is to be named after Sri Aurobindo, who stood for a light higher than that of the intellect. Sri Aurobindo has pointed out, as you all know, that this movement for the higher light that shoots beyond the mind to higher levels of consciousness began in India in its modern phrase with Sri Ramakrishna. It began symbolically at the moment when Swami Vivekananda, who symbolized the intellect trained by the West bowed down and touched Ramakrishna’s feet and surrendered to him. It symbolized the surrender of the mental consciousness to a supramental consciousness. Over the last one hundred years this trend has been loly growing and spreading all over the world.

Sri Aurobindo comes after Ramakrishna to take this upward ascent of the human consciousness many notches higher. He and the Mother devoted their lives in exploring this entire range of consciousness above that of the mind. They discovered that the highest of this range of consciousnesses is the supermind. This is, according to them, the next level to which the consciousness in man has to rise if we wish to go beyond our present frustrating existence bound to death, suffering, and incapacity. In other words the human effort to rise to the consciousness of the Supermind is not a purely an academic or philosophic enterprise. It is the work of works that man has to undertake, more important than finding larger sources of energy, more important than any technological innovation, more important than conquering diseases and increasing the span of human life, etc. The very survival of the human species may depend on how we rise to this evolutionary challenge.

This discovery of the Supermind and what it signifies was not the result of Sri Aurobindo’s armchair philosophizing. It came to him from his yogic realization. All the other crises threatening humanity today are the results of this fundamental evolutionary crisis, which finds man trapped in the fishbowl of his mind. This call for man to rise beyond the mental consciousness was the central message of Sri Aurobindo’s life and vision. It finds an impassioned expression in the following passage from Savitri:

“O Force-compelled, Fate-driven earth-born race,
O petty adventurers in an infinite world
And prisoners of a dwarf humanity,
How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind
Around your little self and petty things?
But not for a changeless littleness were you meant,
Not for vain repetition were you built;
Out of the Immortal's substance you were made;
Your actions can be swift revealing steps,
Your life a changeful mould for growing gods.
A Seer, a strong Creator, is within,
The immaculate Grandeur broods upon your days,
Almighty powers are shut in Nature's cells.
A greater destiny waits you in your front:
This transient earthly being if he wills
Can fit his acts to a transcendent scheme.
He who now stares at the world with ignorant eyes
Hardly from the Inconscient's night aroused,
That look at images and not at Truth,
Can fill those orbs with an immortal's sight.
Yet shall the godhead grow within your hearts,
You shall awake into the spirit's air
And feel the breaking walls of mortal mind
And hear the message which left life's heart dumb
And look through Nature with sun-gazing lids
And blow your conch-shells at the Eternal's gate.
Authors of earth's high change, to you it is given
To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul
And touch the mighty Mother stark awake
And meet the Omnipotent in this house of flesh
And make of life the million-bodied One.
The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven;
The life you lead conceals the light you are. (Savitri; page 370)

There is a new light, a new knowledge which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have not only discovered but have also made accessible to human beings by bringing it down on earth. This is the power that you need to realize on earth. Liberty, equality and fraternity, the glorious ideals of western liberalism have so far remained only slogans and where there has been an attempt to realize them, the effort has been botched up hopelessly, making it look as though equality and liberty are incompatible. We need to give back to these mantric concepts of the French revolution the spiritual content which is missing from them. This is not possible unless man acquires the powers and the truth of the Supramental consciousness. We have now to build a university which will enable us to receive in us the new knowledge with its power; they have already come down on earth, as the Mother has assured us, and it is eagerly awaiting competent recipients.

The first thing we have to do is to ensure that everybody associated with this university is a seeker of truth, a yogi; a yogi is one who not only seeks the truth of a new consciousness but lives it. Those who have made the deliberate choice of coming to this university primarily for this inner growth, will flock to this university, whether as an educational facilitator normally known as the teacher, or an administrator or a technocrat or a seeker we normally call a student. This university will aim at bringing them all together in an ardent aspiration and give them a chance to bathe under the cascading waters of the light of the new consciousness.

Who will build such a university? Let us not worry too much about this. This is not our project, this is not a human project. This is one of the Divine’s own projects. And I am sure that these “Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers” will come. They have already been described by Sri Aurobindo who has seen them “crowding down the amber stairs of birth”

The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,
The great creators with wide brows of calm,
The massive barrier-breakers of the world
And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,
The labourers in the quarries of the gods,
The messengers of the Incommunicable,
The architects of immortality.
(Savitri: pages 343-44)

Where are these people? Let us not be in a hurry to build this university, this is not a project of 15 years or 20 years: this is not that type of project. We don’t want just a modern, state-of-the-art version of an old fiasco. This is God’s own protect. He will take his own time to find the right people, He will find the right organization, and He will find the right modes of instruction, the right teachers, right curriculum. And these things will come from above if you have the capacity to receive this downpour. If it does not come from above, if you sit down and try to work it out with your mind, you will only produce another university of the Harvard or Cambridge type; we have enough and more of these already. We don’t have to build one more. Even if we tried to build one more such university, we will not succeed in doing so in this backwoods of Orissa. We want a totally different kind of university.

We have now seen how it will come. We should not be despondent on that ground. This understanding is crucial to the building of the new university. The Mother has said somewhere something to this effect: "Give me your consciousness, give me your capacities, I will transform them, I will fill them up with my power, with my knowledge, with my wisdom, with my consciousness”. It is this kind of university that we are hoping to build here.

There is often a debate in our country what education would be best for our universities today. Shall we go back to the educational lore of ancient India and teach what it had to teach and shun the modern world? Often there is a wrong perception that to be spiritual is to return to the past and revive it and relive it. Sri Aurobindo was second to none in holding that a true national education had to be modern and up to date in its content. The real issue is not a choice between modernism and antiquity, but between an imported civilisation and the greater possibilities of the Indian mind and nature, not between the present and the past but between the present and the future. We seek not to return to the fifth century but to initiate the centuries to come. We do not seek to revert our past but take a step or more forward from the present artificial falsity towards India’s own greater innate potentialities. That step is demanded by the world, as well as by the Shakti of India.

As you all know, India is called the guru of the world, but from this we should not draw the conclusion that Indians are the Gurus of the world. It has become very fashionable for Indian men of wisdom to go on a world tour as often as they can manage it. One of the real great men who had so much to offer and yet did not go on any such world tour was Sri Aurobindo. The more and more he got from above, the more and more he went into isolation. This is what he wanted us to realize. The first thing necessary for us is to make our country as close to our ideal as possible. Your country should be a laboratory where you have tried out successfully the wisdom you preach to the world. When your country has achieved an all round development, when in your country nobody is lacking in food and education or the basic necessities of life, when there is no exploitation of the weak by the strong, when no body is discriminated against on the grounds of birth, sex, religion and ethnicity, people from all over the world will come here and ask you how you have managed to perfect individual and social life in your country to such a high degree? How did you achieve what none of us has? Otherwise what often happens is that we declare ourselves experts in agriculture and yet our families do not have enough to eat. So what kind of agricultural expert are you? You can not raise a decent crop in your own field, enough for your children to eat, and yet you presume to have the expertise to teach about agriculture to other people! When you find that your crop is the richest crop, your harvest is the most abundant harvest, all the neighboring farmers will come and ask you how you did this"? So our first responsibility is to build this country.

We have to rebuild this country and for our inspiration in this task we must go to Sri Aurobindo, India’s real Bhagya Vidhata. I was speaking in Kolkata the other day when I told my audience that at one time Kolkata was preeminent in many cultural and intellectual fields in India. It has lost that pre-eminence today. The only way they can regain the lost ground, is to claim Sri Aurobindo once again. An important section of Orissa has turned to Sri Aurobindo for its inspiration and a new Orissa is emerging. In this respect, Bengal has to learn from Orissa, and once again claim Sri Aurobindo as their own. That will set in motion a powerful renaissance in West Bengal and help it regain its pre-eminent position in our national life.

This new University that we are dreaming about, will be our golden bridge for achieving two goals – one, to build for the state and the country a rich, opulent and modern outer life and the other to make that an expression of a higher consciousness. For achieving both these we need to do the enabling sadhana and the university will aim at being an ideal place for such a sadhana. This will be a place where people will keep continuously offering themselves to the Mother, will try to be constantly open to Her and be ready to receive what she pours down into them. When the Mother’s force comes down and you are capable of receiving it in the adhara of your mind, you will have an illumined intellect. If you can receive that force in your body, it will undergo the needed transformation. Similarly your life-force, your emotions, every part of your being, to the extent it is open, will undergo a transformation, and we will go on to discover

A new mind and body in the city of God
And enshrine the Immortal in his glory's house
And make the finite one with Infinity.
(Savitri: Page: 72)

I am hoping that in this new university, the presiding deity will be the Spirit.. where everything will be done under the guidance and inspiration of the spirit. But if that does not happen, and if you go the western way, go merely the way of science and technology as the human mind has been directing it, we will eventually end up building a very efficient, and glistening Asuric civilization. This is not a just a question of you and me, this is a question of the entire future mankind. For that future of mankind, the building up of University, this University of Spirit, where everything will be done under the inspiration of the Spirit, under the inspiration of a higher life is necessary. It is a necessity not only for Dalijoda, or for Orissa, or for India alone, but for the whole of humanity. This is my dream of a new University.

Earlier we heard Dr Shyama reciting an inspiring passage from Savitri, I was very moved to listen to her reading. It was a very inspirational kind of reading. And I am happy to see that many people now are reading Savitri the way it should be read. I do not know whether I will be able to give you such an inspirational kind of reading today, but I shall try. I shall read to you a passage describing Aswapati standing at the height of the intellectual mind and looking around. He sees clearly that no matter what we create from this mind, it is going to end, ultimately, in futility.

The world seemed a long aeonic failure's scene:
All sterile grew, no base was left secure.
Assailed by the edge of the convicting beam
The builder Reason lost her confidence
In the successful sleight and turn of thought
That makes the soul the prisoner of a phrase.
Its highest wisdom was a brilliant guess,
Its mighty structured science of the worlds
A passing light on being's surfaces.
There was nothing there but a schema drawn by sense,
A substitute for eternal mysteries,
A scrawl figure of reality, a plan
And elevation by the architect Word
Imposed upon the semblances of Time.
Existence' self was shadowed by a doubt;
Almost it seemed a lotus-leaf afloat
On a nude pool of cosmic Nothingness.
This great spectator and creator Mind
Was only some half-seeing's delegate,
A veil that hung between the soul and Light,
An idol, not the living body of God.
(Savitri; page 286).

Therefore Aswapathy feels that he should seek a new light, a new consciousness to build a new world. This would be a world whose foundation came from another level, another consciousness.

Recently Bill Clinton, the former president of U.S.A., a very pragmatic man, was at the World Economic Forum, that is held once a year, in a place called Davos in Switzerland. This Forum brings together most of the leading industrialists, scientists, leading universities Professors, leading politicians, etc. to discuss the problems facing our world. Clinton was answering some questions from a panel and one of the questions asked to him was "Sir, what do you think are the two most problems facing us today? In reply Bill Clinton said "The first problem is the climate change we have been experiencing for some time now; the climate all over the world is deteriorating so fast , that in twenty five years from now we will see this world greatly devastated by various man-made calamities brought about by climate changes. Already the level of the sea water is rising and it is quite possible in the next twenty years, the level of sea water may rise by 15 to 20 feet inundating some of the densely populated areas in the world. This is because all the ice caps are melting, and the temperature of the world is rising because of the green house gas effect from the industrial emissions and the emissions from our cars. One of the main contributors to this effect is the cars that we ride. We want to have five cars in front of our house, at least one for wach member of the family, and one for special occasions!. That is everybody's dream and you will have to be prepared for the consequent natural disasters caused by the emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from these cars The world may be destroyed by our own greed for a better standard of living.

What then was the second problem identified by Clinton? The second problem is the problem of problems, the mother of all problems; there are so many political, religious, ecomomic conflicts in the world today for which we do not have solutions yet, and we are not in sight of any either. The newspapers report of conflicts going on between Israel and Palestine, between Islamic countries and the western world, conflicts within and between several African counries, not to forget problems between India and Pakistan We try to find mental solutions to these problems and we have failed to solve any of these problems. Our experts at the various universities are trying hard to find solutions to these problems. These problems have no mental solutions because these conflicts themselves are the creations of our mind. Applying these mental solutions is no more than applying first aid. The pain will be reduced for a while. But then the problem will reappear in a more tangled form, and then we will have no solution at all. Then Clinton was asked "Sir, what then do you think would be a possible solution?" Bill Clinton has not been yet been to Pondicherry. And yet, he gave an answer which gave ample indication that he has come under the influence of Sri Aurobindo, in however an indirect manner, may be through the writings of Ken Wilbur and others in the U.S. He said somewhat hesitatingly that the only solution to many of the problems the world is facing today seems to lie in raising the level of the human consciousness. Raising the human consciousness! Who said this first? We all know Sri Aurobindo said this. When did he say this? Ninety years ago. And what have we made of it? Precious little.

Please don't think that Sri Aurobindo is working only for us, for his devotees. His devotees are certainly having the privileges and grace of being his devotees. But Sri Aurobindo lived and laboured and gave his all for humanity at large. He has been knocking at the door of every awakened, even half-awakened person in the world. He has already knocked at the door of Bill Clinton, as we have just seen. He is also knocking at the door of our Indian leaders. Some of our leaders are so fast sleep that they cannot here any knock on their door. Sri Aurobindo once said during the forties that he was applying so much force on Indian leaders but most of them suddenly woke up and danced for a few minutes and again went back to sleep. Some of them probably think that it was the knock of consumerism of the American type and so all our young people want to be either in America or bring as much of America as possible into India. I am not talking against America; some of the finest and noblest people in the world are Americans. But America today stands in the popular mind for a certain ideal – the ideal of having one car for everybody, for what may be called the ideal of conspicuous consumption. How many people are we here in India? If India tries to imitate the American model we would be depleting all the energy sources of the world and also devatating it with pollution sooner than most people fear. Some people think that this is a knock is from Mao-Tse-Tung, if not from Stalin. Do you know who Stalin and Mao-Tse-Tung were, and what untold sufferings they brought down on their own people and on others? And some people think that this is a knock from Hindu fundamentalism. Nobody recognises it as Sri Aurobindo's knock. If Bill Clinton has come to appreciate the need for efforts to raise the human consciousness, why are we so apologetic about it? I know many of our intelligentsia will scoff at me for saying this, but I am sure that in another ten years, this slogan will be raised by many of them.

Ladies and gentleman, whether any body knows it or not, we are present at a historic occasion; we are laying today the foundation of aspiration and prayers for Sri Aurobindo University. Even the Orissa government probably has not taken complete note of you yet. But they can not ignore you much longer. 429 schools with 10,000 pathachakras, 5,000 teachers, 60,000 students – you are a great rising wave in Orissa. If I stand for an election in Orissa today in the name of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, I might probably win hands down. As a community of devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, you have done great work already; its fruit may not yet be palpable. You have done the basic work of preparing the tapobhumi, of erecting the yajna vedikas. The Mother is supporting you in your work. Some time ago, I was talking with the chairman of your schools. I see what problems your have gone through during the last several years. Where did you get the money from for all these schools and institutions you have built? How did you manage to draw so many parents and children to these schools? It happened because it was sanctioned by the Mother. As the famous line in Savitri says, “All can be done of the God-touch is there.” This university for which we have made our sankalpa and offered our prayers today will also come into being in the same manner. Let us not forget what we hope to achieve is not to add our bit to the existing academic disciplines but to create a new physics, a new biology, a new psychology – all that will be needed to establish here a new world, the world of new, Supramental consciousness. . That is our goal, and that is our prayer. If we all pray ardently to the Divine Mother, and sincerely offer ourselves to this great tapasya, She will grant us our prayers. Do not ever doubt that. Let us all pray to Her for this university of our dreams. May She grant it to us in whatever form, in whatever shape, and at whatever time she thinks appropriate.

I am extremely grateful to you, for your patience and for your courtesy to me. But it is getting late and warm. All of you must be getting hungry. Thank you very much. May the Mother be with you always!