The Mother and Sri Aurobindo
This is the knot that ties together the stars: The Two who are one are the secret of all power, The Two who are one are the might and right in things.
We have a well-organised, modern kitchen, where simple nutritious food is cooked under hygienic conditions for the residents and guests and served in the Ashram dining room. The bakery produces high quality soya products, brown bread and a variety of nutritious biscuits and cakes without eggs.
We have a spacious dining hall which can accommodate approximately 200 people. Food served is simple and nutritious cooked under hygienic conditions in the Ashram Kitchen. It is primarily for the ashramite, aspirants and trainees. Food is also available to visitors/ guests at a nominal charge. Lunch coupons are available at the Ashram reception. The dining hall has fixed timings of service viz Breakfast 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., Lunch 11.45 a.m. to 1.00 p.m., Tea 4.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m., Dinner 7.40 p.m. to 8.10 p.m.
The Centre of Photography was inaugurated on 24 April 1979 by Sri Surendra Nath Jauhar, Chairman, Delhi Branch with the following message: "Let this Centre of Photography inaugurated today in Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, revolutionize the spirit of photography, that the expressions caught, processed and developed bring out and reveal the Divine Spirit." The Centre provides photographs of Ashram functions, outings and excursions, exhibitions, publications etc. Photographs of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are also available. The first studio started as a dark room to develop the negatives of photographs taken by Tara di. With the advent of digital photography, the dark room was converted into a recording studio in which currently in-house meditation music, talks and reading sessions are recorded to be distributed and archived, as well as recordings for both the schools, The Mother’s International School and mirambika in support of school programmes. Tapan da, who joined the Ashram in 1980, learnt photography techniques from Tara di and took charge of the studio and, to this day, remains with the studio, overseeing its functions.
'Tapasya' has a few guest rooms which are run with a spirit of service to the Divine. The guests, devotees or seekers who seek a spiritual life and wish to imbibe the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are welcome to stay. They are expected to abide by the rules and discipline of the Ashram, participating in the community life and helping with the cleanliness, maintenance and growth of the Ashram.
The library has a growing collection of good books and periodicals on yoga, religion, philosophy, literature, education, science, history, geography, health and hygiene etc. The collection represents 16 Indian and foreign languages. The library is open (Tuesday - Sunday) from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A security amount Rs. 300/- (refundable) is to be deposited at the Ashram Office before getting books issued from the library. Donation of good books and periodicals to the library is welcome.
While the health centre primarily caters to the needs of the school children and the Ashramites, its services are open to all. The unit houses a permanent allopathic dispensary as well as many speciality clinics viz. Homeopathy, Gynecology, Dental surgery, Opthalmology, pediatrics and more. Specialized services are available by appointment. The centre also holds regular yoga, ayurveda and eye camps. The centre also provides free services and medicines to the economically poor. It runs rural clinics in villages around Nainital in Uttarkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa etc where in addition to free medical aid, clothes and other essentials are also distributed to the needy. The eye camps provide free intraocular transplants and spectacles to the economically weaker sections of society . Timings of the health centre are 8 am to 3.30 pm Monday through Saturday.
The Asharm receives donations of children’s clothes, men’s and women’s clothes, books, furniture, utensils and other household articles. Some of these are distributed freely to distant villages and Ashram people. The rest are kept for sale. The money which is received in return is used to sponsor needy and poor children.
The accounts section of the Ashram keeps records of all income and expenditure. This includes giving prosperity to the Ashram people, keeping records of sponsorships, donations and grants, and monitoring expenditure on maintenance and food.
To meet the requirements of the vast Ashram Campus, the House Maintenance Service has a unit, each for carpentry, plumbing, water supply, electric service, whitewashing and painting which is run and supervised by Sadhaks in coordination with some employed workers. These units are also used to train new workers and teach vocational trainees. Residents and visitors of the Ashram who have suggestions regarding the maintenance of the Ashram are requested to submit a written note to the hardware store mentioning the nature of the work to be done and its exact location (room number).
The Ashram has a workshop complex called ‘Skill in Works’ that takes care of construction and maintenance works. 1. ‘Care of Materials’ : It is a store of paints and hardware used for construction and repair works. 2. ‘Works in Wood’ : The carpentry workshop is engaged with repairs of furniture of the school and the Ashram and also make new furniture, doors and windows etc. School children get training in practical wood craft under the guidance of skilled carpenters. The Ashram departments also impart training to youth under vocational training and to students under ‘S.U.P.W.’
The vegetable kingdom has a consciousness of its own and The Mother has interpreted the true inner and occult significance of each flower in terms of human language and has given them an important role in the collective life of the Ashram. The Ashram has horticultural gardens which provide flowers to adorn the Shrine and the Meditation hall. The Ashram also has a vegetable garden and part of the kitchen requirements are met through cultivation of various summer and winter crops.
The Ashram has tapped modern technology to utilize and recycle natural resources and is a pioneer in conservation. The solar heating system, the paper recycling unit which later evolved into the handmade paper unit, classified garbage disposal, rainwater harvesting and treatment of sewer water go a long way in showing the sort of seriousness the institution has towards conservation and sustainability.