Lucknow: The 5th Edition of Seth M.R. Jaipuria School’s Spiritual Retreat, conceptualised by the Vice-Chairperson, Mrs. Anjali Jaipuria, was organised from the 23rd to the 27th of May, 2022.
A five day virtual meet, the retreat had 6 speakers addressing the participants across 8 highly engaging and interactive sessions. The topics they touched upon ranged from the Innermost Being and the Divine to Success, Destiny and the Vital.
The ultimate aim of the Retreat is to provide for a space of learning, wherein students, teachers, and parents alike can connect with their Innermost Being and seek to be better versions of themselves, thereby helping them evolve. A platform where knowledge can be shared and questions can be answered, the Spiritual Retreat fulfils its objective as an initiative that brings about conscious transformation.
Participants embarked on a journey of realisation, welcoming insights that lead to an awakening of the Self through conversations, stories, meditation and affirmation exercises, and question-answer sessions.
The speakers of this year’s sessions were:
Mrs. Anjali Jaipuria – Vice-Chairperson, Seth M.R. Jaipuria School, Lucknow
Dr. Sampadananda Mishra – Sanskrit Scholar, Researcher, Speaker, Author & Teacher
Sri Shivakumar – Director, Sri Aurobindo Founder for Integral Education & Research (SAFIER)
Sri Sraddhalu Ranade – Scientist, Educationist & Scholar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
Sister BK Shivani – Spiritual Guide & Mentor, Goodwill Ambassador (World Psychiatrist Association)
Dr. Alok Pandey – Psychiatrist & Philosopher
The Retreat commenced with Mrs. Anjali Jaipuria speaking on how ‘God doesn’t test us, God doesn’t punish us.’ Answers to who the Divine is, his nature, his proximity to us and the ultimate aim of life were sought out through this enlightening and informative session. Connecting our Will with the Divine’s Will by consciously transforming oneself as the aim of life was elaborated upon. The participants were able to internalise how the Divine never punishes but only presents difficult circumstances as opportunities to transform weak links in our nature.
Day 1 then had Dr. Sampadananda Mishra share some ‘Stories from the Upanishads’, which provided clarity on several topics relating to Spirituality, Truth, Prana, Oneness and Gratitude. The participants connected to the stories and realised the importance of surrendering and remaining infinitely grateful to the Divine Will. They understood how true initiation to higher light can be brought about only when the mind is quiet and at peace.
‘How to Contact the Divine’ was the next topic discussed in detail by Sri Shivakumar, who first clarified how the Divine exists in three capacities or aspects (The Transcendent, The Cosmic Divine and the Inner Divine). Lighting the fire within is what will bring us closer to our Psychic Being – the Inner Divine, which will bring out the Perfection we are meant to live in this life. Achieving this Perfection can be done through Aspiration and will-power, and by offering everything we do to the Divine.
He then detailed the ‘Three Gateways to the Divine’ in the fourth session of the Retreat. Uniting with the aspects of the Divine can be done through majorly three gateways – the Gateway of Divine Work, the Gateway of Knowledge and the Gateway of Love (Karma yoga, Gyana yoga, Bhakti yoga). These paths of selfless actions, focusing on and connecting with what one wishes to gain knowledge about, and finally, expressing love, helped the participants grow closer to the Divine.
For Day 3 of the Retreat, Sri Sraddhalu Ranade spoke about ‘Our Four Powers necessary for Success’. The session acted as a practical realisation of how biology and even societies are designed on the four stages which flow in a natural sequence – Knowledge, Energy (Dynamism), Resources and Perfection (Precision of Skill). For an idea to flourish, its conception has to be clear to the minutest detail. This in turn, needs strength and enthusiasm, and then the resources to effectuate it. The last and the most important aspect of its execution is precision which is crucial for Perfectionism.
In his session on the ‘Importance and Value of Meditation’, Sri Sraddhalu Ranade explained that Mediation is the practice of turning awareness inwards which gives one access to the deeper and higher consciousness. Meditation can cut through appearances and activate one’s deepest potential, helping one grow. This growth inwards can help one experience the whole Universe within. Participants followed his words as he guided them to meditate and helped quieten the surface to gain access to the Innermost Being.
Sister BK Shivani elaborated upon ‘Creating your Destiny’ through a session on Day 5, explaining concepts with simplistic analogies that were easily understood by all. Our Destiny is a result of our Karma which is the energy we create through our thoughts, feelings, words and behaviour. Good Karma is what begets blessings and happiness. The source of our thoughts is content (everything we watch, read, listen to), which is why we need to be conscious of the information we consume. She clarified how God is a teacher who shows us how to write our Destiny, giving us ‘Gyan’, ‘Pyaar’ and ‘Shakti’.
The session on ‘Refining the Vital’ was then conducted by Dr. Alok Pandey, who brought together the Retreat, emphasising on how life is like a journey with the human body as a vehicle, the mind as its driver, the soul as its owner and the different kinds of fuels that drive it forward. He enlisted four kinds of fuels – the Tamasik (which lowers our progression and is inferior), the Rajasik (which drives us based on desires and ambitions), the Satvik (which depends on love, harmony and compassion) and the Spiritual and Psychic energy (which is the highest form of fuel leading to Truth, Joy, Perfection and the Divine). Art, Music and Poetry are mediums through which one can share their thoughts with the Divine, refining our Vital Being and thereby raising our Universal Consciousness.
The Spiritual Retreat concluded with the Closing Ceremony where participants engaged in a quiz and shared their learnings derived from the sessions organised, through words and poetry. The enlightening sessions engulfed all involved in a blanket of harmony, peace, oneness, and gratitude. As they expressed their observations, it was evident that the Retreat had been successful in achieving its purpose of providing answers to the inquisitive minds, connecting to the Divine through oneself.