Foundation of the Anthroposophical Society in India
October 21, 2011 was a special day. The Anthroposophical Society in India was founded in the city of Hyderabad, in the presence of Hans Mulder and many dear Anthroposophical friends from India and abroad. (A brief report of its preparation has appeared in “Anthroposophy Worldwide” of June 2011). The ceremony began with the entire group doing Eurythmy together. This was followed by the seven members affirming their commitment to their new task within the executive committee of the Society. The brief but profound ceremony ended with the recitation of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
The members of the Executive Committee of the newly founded Indian Country Society are:
Aban Bana, President (in India) and Country Representative
Nirmala Diaz, Vice President
Dr. Swapna Narendra, Treasurer
Samia Alikhan, Secretary
Jakes Jayakaran, Joint Secretary
Angelika Mandaikar, Executive Member
Francis Aradhya, Executive Member.
In India there are over a hundred active and dormant members, both individual as well as belonging to the three Branches: the Gateway Branch in Mumbai, the Rudolf Steiner Branch and the Mercury Branch in Hyderabad. In addition, there are eighteen members of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science.
This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. Many are the changes which have occurred in the history of our world since the day Dr. Steiner was born on February 27, 1861. We do not need to delve into details of all that has happened during this time, but suffice us to say that the whole of humanity has undergone a significant development, resulting in an increased awareness of the world. That can be considered a truly positive form of globalisation in the spheres of spiritual striving and culture.
One of the most enduring expressions of this development is the Anthroposophical movement, which has now spread to all parts of the world and has touched the lives of countless people, uniting us in our quest for higher knowledge. Rudolf Steiner was born in the West, and was active in that part of the world all his life, but his Anthroposophy has become a global impulse, which can be understood and realised by all individuals, regardless of their religious, social or cultural background. It is a world view based upon the individuality of the Human Being.
When we consider the origin of modern natural science, we are aware that it is a product of western civilisation and thought, and yet there is hardly any country in the world today, which has not been influenced by modern science. If used in a reasonable manner, it can benefit humanity to a high degree, and bring about tremendous progress. However, being one-sided and limited within the physical-material aspect of the world, if not used with care it could degenerate rapidly into spheres of destruction.
Modern day Spiritual Science, as founded by Rudolf Steiner, penetrates into the realms of the sense-world, into the world of nature and the cosmos, and attempts to reach out to the Spirit which is active within it. This is the new path of initiation, which has captured the imagination of many people in India, people who are well acquainted with the ancient spirituality and esoteric knowledge of the land. It is indeed enlightening to read about Rudolf Steiner’s views on reincarnation and Karma, or the holy cow or the Bhagavad Gita! In India Rudolf Steiner is also known as a Modern Rishi (seer).
Much of what we have learnt about the spiritual worlds from Rudolf Steiner is similar to the wisdom found in ancient Indian scriptures. Yet it must be emphasised that the spiritual insights gained by Rudolf Steiner are a result of his own independent research which he has conducted consciously, by means of his extraordinary clairvoyance and his spiritual-scientific methods and precise thinking. It is by no means simply a revival of ancient texts for the modern world, as is sometimes assumed. Rudolf Steiner borrowed many terms from the ancient Sanskrit language, which he then replaced with German words in keeping with the modern human consciousness. The German language he used for Anthroposophy is similar to Sanskrit; both languages are capable of precisely expressing spiritual thoughts.
What is it in Anthroposophy that holds so much love and interest for people in India, a land which has nine world religions and innumerable spiritual streams? The answer is, the capacity of Anthroposophy to permeate various fields of everyday existence with spiritual insight. Whether it is Education, Agriculture, Curative Education, Social Therapy, Medicine, Architecture, Social Sciences or the Arts, Anthroposophy enlivens them all spiritually, and brings new light into their practical application for the benefit of humanity. In ancient India too, everyday life was imbued with spiritual knowledge, but today much of that has either been lost or fallen into decadence. With the practical application of Anthroposophy, one connects oneself with the earth and activates the will forces; an important aspect in India today.
The number of people active within the Anthroposophical movement in India, a land of one point three billion people (1.300.000.000!) is miniscule, but it is growing. There are seven Waldorf schools in the country, and over fifty schools which are Waldorf-oriented/interested. Then there are homes and institutions for the mentally challenged, Bio Dynamic farms involving hundreds of farmers, a committed group of doctors, psychologists and therapists working in the field of Anthroposophical medicine, as well as hygienic and curative Eurythmy. In each of these subjects there are regular training courses, seminars and workshops, which ensure positive growth. We are deeply grateful to Rudolf Steiner, that we are able to experience a new meaning in life.
~ ABAN BANA