Individual and Family: Insights from the Social Thought of Sri Aurobindo

Date: December 22, 2022

Venue: Sri Aurobindo Society

Watch the recording HERE.

As part of our work on the January 2023 Renaissance issue on the theme of ‘Human Relations and Yoga’, the Renaissance Journal team organised a special event on December 22, 2022. We invited Ms. Lakshmi Jyothi Manapragada to share some thoughts on the topic – “Individual and Family: Insights from the Social Thought of Sri Aurobindo.”

Held at the cosy Board Room of Sri Aurobindo Society with a small group of interested audience members, the lecture-discussion helped bring out a few aspects of our collective life in the light of Sri Aurobindo, by focusing on the deeper dimensions of the relation between individual and family.

The event opened with a brief meditation. Dr. Beloo Mehra, Senior Academic Mentor and Editor of Renaissance gave a brief introduction about the significance of the topic. She then introduced the speaker. Ms. Lakshmi Jyothi began her presentation with a short overview of the different stages of society’s evolution which Sri Aurobindo describes in his work ‘The Human Cycle.’ She pointed out that having a general idea of the evolutionary cycle of a society helps us to contextualise the changing dynamics of the relationship between individual and family.

Ms. Jyothi had selected several key passages from various works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to describe how we may begin to understand deeply the changing relation between individual and family – as two important units of a society helping each other grow and evolve. Throughout her presentation, she brought in several contemporary examples and scenarios to illustrate the point under consideration. She also shared a few interesting stories and legends from Indian cultural and literary tradition to bring home the point about the evolutionary nature of societal dynamics.

A good bit of time was spent on exploring how the institution of marriage has been changing over time and how societies have been responding to the growing individualistic and subjective tendencies. What this means for family structure and upbringing of children was also explored in the light of the Mother’s emphasis on conscious parenting. A note of caution was also added about false and true subjectivist turn in an individual’s and society’s quest for greater self-awareness.

Ms. Jyothi also emphasised that with the growing individualistic bent of mind and its impact on societal evolution, it is important to understand the need for balancing individual freedom and societal order, until a true subjective leading to a spiritual stage of society is ready to emerge.

She also shared a few practical tips on how one may bring within oneself a greater sense of harmony and peace while living a family life. These may include practices such as stepping back, cultivating greater equanimity and a deeper sense of detachment. A greater harmony within will bring in a greater harmony between individual and family, as the Mother also reminds that with a greater perfection within one grows in a generous understanding of others.

The audience members asked some interesting questions at the end of the speaker’s presentation. The interaction continued over some tea and snacks. This event was part of BhāratShakti’s ongoing series – ‘Reawakening the Bhārata Shakti: Toward an Indian Renaissance.’

Watch a gallery of pictures from the event HERE.

Video recording of the talk

About the speaker:

A third-generation follower of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Lakshmi Jyothi has a particularly deep interest in the sociological, cultural and political thought of Sri Aurobindo. She has studied these areas extensively and given talks on various topics at SACAR, Sri Aurobindo’s Action and other organisations. She regularly writes and curates for Sri Aurobindo’s Action journal and has also designed workshops and retreats. With a Masters in Tourism Administration from Pondicherry University, she has held senior positions in this field of work in both public and private sectors.

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