Evolution of the Indian Ethos (Samvād series, 2nd edition)

Date: March 4, 2024

Renaissance Journal team and Auropublications team invited Lopa Mukherjee for the second edition of their series – SAMVĀD which celebrates Authors, Books, and Booklovers. The programme was held on March 4, 2024 at the ground floor hall of Sri Aurobindo Society.

Dr. Beloo Mehra, Editor, Renaissance Journal and Ms. Gayatri Majumdar, Auropublications, welcomed the guest speaker and the participants. A small introduction was given about the Samvād series and about Lopa Mukherjee.

Lopa Mukherjee is a writer, teacher and psycho-spiritual workshop facilitator. A former student of Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education (SAICE), Pondicherry, she currently teaches courses on Indian culture and Indian history. Her writings reflect her deep interest in Indian culture and spirituality. She has authored several books that include short stories, historical fiction, and journeys into the spiritual and occult realms. Currently, she is also writing a series of stories – The Upanishads Elucidated – for Sri Aurobindo Society’s Renaissance journal which can be accessed HERE.

Her books include “The Soma People: An adventure in mystic India” — a novel about spiritual adepts who have tantric and yogic powers; “Three Rivers of Tears” – a historical fiction that traces the birth of the Indian subcontinent; “Of Gods and Men: New Myths of Puranic Gods” – an attempt to re-mythologize our world, infusing it with divinity; “The Soul of India” – another historical fiction on post-colonial India. She has also authored two collections of short stories, including “Radha’s Pilgrimage and Other Krishna Stories” which was published by Auropublications, Sri Aurobindo Society.

Drawing some ideas from the main focus in her books, Ms. Mukherjee first walked the audience through an interesting presentation featuring examples from various art forms of India, but more specifically painting, to illustrate the evolutionary nature of the Indian Ethos. She pointed out what is truly eternal in the Indian spirit which persists through all outer changes of the form.  

She spoke about the perennial and persistent quest of ancient Indian seers and sages – of God, Light, Freedom and Immortality – which expressed in varied aspects over India’s long march, sometimes hiding beneath the more outward oriented seeking, sometimes resurfacing in newer forms, sometimes struggling because of challenges such as invasions and colonialism, and sometimes expressing themselves through newer syntheses and deeper harmonies.

The second half of the session was equally engaging as it saw inspired and inspiring interactions among the participants. There was a free yet respectful exchange of thoughts and ideas on varied topics concerning Indian history, India as a civilizational nation, causes of India’s decline, challenges faced in today’s India such as inter-religious conflict, lack of unity, materialism, and more. There was also an interesting discussion on the recent resurgence of Indian spirit and what it means in the light of the Indian renaissance that Sri Aurobindo had spoken of. Examples of some recent events were shared to illustrate some of the issues and challenges.

On the whole the entire event captured the spirit of an Samvād – a dialogue focused around a topic of common interest. The interactions continued informally over tea and snacks in the spirit of collegiality and shared learning.

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