150 years after his birth and more than 7 decades after his assassination, Gandhi still remains a central figure not just for the future of India, but perhaps the world as well.
His trenchant critique of modern civilization and its underlying ethos has turned out to be remarkably prescient, even as we hurtle towards an existential precipice. His emphasis on Ahimsa and steadfast endeavour to apply it in all spheres of life also offer us valuable lessons in a world riven apart by hatred and polarization.
In India however, most of us are socialised into either blindly admiring or hating Gandhi, with very little actual engagement with his life and praxis.
On top of this, he is viewed as a monolithic entity to be agreed or disagreed with, to be venerated (however tokenistic) or villainised. In all this, we forget that he was a multifaceted, complex being with his own share of limitations, contradictions and blind spots, going hand in hand with the humility, honesty, courage and brilliance.
Try as we may, Gandhi cannot be straight-jacketed into simplistic narratives, and how we see him often says more about us than the man himself. This deeply subjective nature of our engagement with him is rarely acknowledged or owned up to. But it is precisely this engagement with what he means to us in our daily living process, that signifies our respect for him and what he stood for.
Ritambhara is a space for contemplative conversations fostered by a community of seekers, who are attempting to engage with the question of ‘What it means to live meaningfully in today’s times, along the path of Yoga?’ The members share a common concern for the current ecological, socio-cultural and political state of the world, and find deep wisdom and hope in the teachings and praxis of Yoga as a way forward from these crises.
The activities of Ritambhara include active co-learning through inner work, group study and practice of the various aspects of the aśtāṅga yogā, exploratory dialogues on the different facets of the Indian tradition, and facilitating learning spaces and opportunities for others on a similar quest.
Pūrṇam is a community of friends inspired by the praxis of pūrṇa yogā and the possibility of Collective Evolution Swaraj & Sarvodaya. They are concerned with reviving the Indic spirit of radical and uncompromised enquiry into all that is and building upon it towards the emergence of the New Human & Society.
About the Course
This is a 3-month long journey of self-study, punctuated by an online dialogue circle once every two weeks for about 90-minutes each.
So six such circles in total over three months. Each call will have a preparatory reading and watch list curated by us, that the participants can choose from:
A thought-provoking essay on Gandhi by an insightful commentator. There are so many good ones written on him, from a diversity of backgrounds.
A film (usually in Hindi or English), that deals with Gandhi or his philosophy.
Participants can also read about 25 chapters of ‘The Story Of My Experiments With Truth’ for each of the calls. Thereby finishing the whole book in three months. The chapters are usually short and can be easily covered.
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I am an army girl! In a barbie world! Keeper of 5 dogs. On a diet for now. Sometimes I might make punctuation mistakes, but I make up for it by bringing in a crore or two extra. What's more important, a misplaced comma, or a well-placed crore?