Of Holding On & Letting Go

In the cool, pre-dawn darkness of Aravind, Pondicherry I ask Dr Ravi what he thinks is Aravind’s most important message to the world. In  the course of our interviewing we have asked several leaders of the organization this same question. Their answers were thoughtful, engaging and diverse. But there is no doubt in my mind that Dr Ravi’s response was a cut above the rest in terms of cut-to-the-chase spiritual clarity. Here is a glimpse of what he shared:

Dr V and Viral at Aurofarm, 2005

“Through Dr V’s work Aravind has emerged as a place where you can manifest and practice the truth. He gave an external manifestation for an inner aspiration and ensured that there is a soul behind the systems and procedures. New leadership should not just look at Aravind’s work as the elimination of needless blindness. That is the outer goal — but there is an inner goal. We must not do the outer work at the cost of that inner goal.”

Later that morning I visit the samadhi with my aunt. This exact day marks the 100 year anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in Pondicherry. Quiet pilgrims fill the wide, tree-lined streets. My heart fills with such a sense of connection to this seaside city. It holds so much beauty and grace. We visit Sri Aurobindo’s room, and as I climb up the stairs to that spiritually charged space, I see these words on the wall:

“Cling To Truth”. A brief message that hits home. A reminder of what we hold onto when we let go.

And then we are back on the streets again, the phone rings — Viral from Day 30 of his meditation retreat. Somehow it all connects. There are so many opportunities we have in this time to align our external expressions with inner aspirations, and to practice holding fast to truth.

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