Sri Aurobindo Learning Center
Knowledge. Devotion. Service. Community.
Nestled at the base of the sacred Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Crestone, Colorado
"Our yoga is not a retreading of old walks, but a spiritual adventure." ~Sri Aurobindo
Our mission at the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center is to provide a spiritual knowledge center that offers the study and realization of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother through individual and collective experience.
Sri Aurobindo Learning Center is closed at this time due to Covid
New Zoom Event
The Uddhava Gita’s Teachings on Reducing Suffering in Four Ways
By the kind arrangements of the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center of Crestone, we have the opportunity to gather together once again to explore the different ‘natural resources’ which we have available to us for our continued inner healing and transformation on all levels of our experience.
Many of us may be acquainted with the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths beginning with the first principle that duhkhaor suffering is an inevitable component of life within the material realm of samsara, ‘the world as we know it’ which is said to be a temporary dreamlike expression of ultimate reality. In conjunction with this, however, numerous spiritual teachers have said that “Some amount of physical pain in the body is indeed unavoidable, yet most psychological and emotional suffering is optional.”
In gradually coming to recognize the truth of this statement over the course of the past 45 years, my direct experience has been that the experience of suffering can be reduced in four significant ways—in the frequency of its arisings; in the intensity of its manifestation; in the duration which it lasts when it does arise; and in the extent of its influence not only on ourselves, but on all of life around us owing to the natural interconnectedness of all life. In this regard we may find Sri Krishna’s teachings in one of his previous incarnations as the Hamsa (swanlike) avatar to be especially helpful in awakening greater understanding and attentiveness within us in all of our daily life activities, thereby leading to our naturally experiencing greater peace and joy within ourselves which can then be shared with all others around us.
The Zoom sessions will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday, February 13th and 14th, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon MST. They will begin with a short, partially-guided meditation, and interactive participation inviting questions and personal sharings during readings from my newly-published book The Heart of the Uddhava Gitawill be welcome throughout the program. The meetings will be open for entrance beginning at 9:30 a.m., so please enter the Zoom meeting well before 10:00 a.m. so that we may collectively begin on time. Also, please be aware that there will be two separate, entirely different Zoom links—one for Saturday and one for Sunday—and simply click on the link which corresponds to each day accordingly.
These programs are offered on a donation basis. I look forward to seeing you there.
Sincerely, with love,
Our mission is to provide a spiritual knowledge center that offers the study and realization of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother through individual and collective experience. As an integral and inclusive community, we support one another through love, compassion, truth, consciousness and service.
We hold at our core Sri Aurobindo’s vision of conscious evolution and the profound impact it has had for all of humanity.
SALC envisions a “new humanity” of true collective harmony based on mankind exceeding its current limitations of mind, life and body through the finding of the soul, the spiritualization of the mind and ultimately exceeding mind through the descent of the supramental manifestation of Truth into matter.
Located where the distinctive Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet the sacred plains of the San Luis Valley, SALC is home to several buildings and beautiful gardens. Savitri House and the Solar Bridge are residential and are also used for community meetings, retreat functions and learning circles. The Solar Dome is a powerful sanctuary for meditation and is additionally used for collective intentional activities. In addition, SALC maintains a library and bookstore in Savitri House.
The rich history of the land along with the active intentional communities in the Baca make this residence a perfect retreat facility and special refuge for silence and renewal. Our residents and guests particularly love the starry nights (without interruption of city lights), fresh produce from the garden and an array of wildlife that comes to visit.
SALC makes available to the public a variety of events and retreats for spiritual advancement, cultural enrichment and shared learning. The Sri Aurobindo Learning Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt organization.
About our Founder
Seyril Schochen (1915-2006) founded the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center in Crestone, familiarly known as Savitri House, in 1986 as an educational foundation. Her vision was aligned with the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in association with Auroville, the City of Human Unity in southern India. She lived in India for nearly 8 years,working on the Matrimandir and making progress on her spiritual path. When she returned to the United States, Seyril came to Crestone and created SALC to continue this important work.
Located in Saguache County, Crestone is a small but unique town at the base of Kit Carson Mountain in the Sangre de Cristo Range. With sweeping views of the San Luis Valley, Crestone was named for the 14,000 foot peaks that lie east of town: Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. This village is nestled up against forests and peaks at an elevation of almost 8,000 feet, with Mount Blanca and the Great Sand Dunes National Park to the south. The valley is known for its tremendous watershed beneath the dry valley floor and for the hot springs in the area.
Just 40 miles north of Alamosa on Colorado Highway 17 and another 10 miles east, you will find yourself at the doorstep of this charming town. There is a gas station, a health food store, a convenience store, a hotel or two, restaurants, a hardware store, lumberyard and lovely gift shops. Activities include sightseeing, hiking, climbing, fishing, camping, cultural events and plenty of festivals. The Fourth of July parade is not to be missed! The Crestone area including the Baca Grande has an amazing diversity of people and cultures.
A short video overview of Sri Aurobindo, The Mother and Auroville, India
About Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo was born, Aurobindo Ghose, on
August 15, 1872 in Calcutta, India. He was educated in England at the age of seven along with his two brothers. A brilliant student in the classics, he won a scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, where he excelled in his studies. He worked in London before returning to India in 1893, where he worked for the Baroda State in various departments, as secretary to the Maharaja, as professor of English at the Baroda College and then as Vice-principal. In 1905, he left Baroda and became Principal of the Bengal National College in Calcutta. By 1902, Sri Aurobindo’s passion had focused on the liberation of India from British rule and his move to Calcutta enabled him to fully engage in political work. He first began the practice of yogic spiritual discipline in 1905 and with the help of a yogi, he achieved a decisive spiritual realization in 1908 while actively working in the political arena. After being jailed, released and under continual pressure from the British, in 1910 he went to live in Pondicherry, a French settlement where he remained for the rest of his life. He realized that his outer role in that work had ended, and that his future work lay in the spiritual field. It was there that the Mother joined him for that spiritual work. He left his body on December 5, 1950.
Sri Aurobindo was a prolific writer, captured by 37 large volumes in The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo. Some of his most well-known offerings include The Life Divine, Letters on Yoga, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri, the longest poem in the English language.
Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not wish that people emphasize their outer lives and they did not wish to draw attention to themselves as spiritual personalities to be worshipped. Especially they did not want to found another religion. What they did emphasize was the development of consciousness of both individuals and societies, and were supportive of all such efforts towards this end.
Most of the information above was taken from the book, Transforming Lives, An Introduction to Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga by Larry Seidlitz and published by the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research in 2014. This book is available for purchase in the SALC Bookstore and is highly recommended as a source book to learn more. You can also CLICK BELOW for additional resources.
About The Mother
“I am not eager to be the Guru of anyone. It is more spontaneously natural for me to be the universal Mother and to act in silence through love."
The Mother, Mirra Alfassa, was born on February 21, 1878 in Paris, France to affluent parents who had come from Egypt only one year earlier. At the age of 5, the Mother began to have psychical and spiritual experiences that then continued all through her life. Between 18 and 20, she achieved a “conscious and constant union with the Divine Presence”.
In 1914, she met Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry, recognizing him to the spiritual teacher that had been coming to her in her dream experiences since childhood. In 1920, she permanently settled in Pondicherry and ultimately created and took charge of the Ashram and its sadhaks. The work was extensive including an ashram school for the children, a printing press, vegetable and flower gardens, clothing production and many other departments.
Ultimately, she birthed the intentional community called Auroville, not far from the Ashram, for the purpose of realizing human unity. Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother worked tirelessly on their spiritual practice as well as supporting other centers all over the world. The Mother passed at the age of 95 on November 17, 1973.
About Integral Yoga
Sri Aurobindo along with his spiritual partner, Mirra Alfassa, brought to the world a spiritual path, not yet seen, that they called the Integral Yoga. This path is based in part on an integration of ancient methods, but is original in other respects, especially in its aim of a thorough transformation of our minds, our life energy/emotions and even our physical bodies. Their vision also included a wider, long term aim of the establishment of the next stage in the earth’s evolution – a new species of supramental beings – that would be a complete divergence from the “thinking animal” that we currently are. They were also unique in that they combined an exceptional inner spiritual attainment with a powerful outward creativity and accomplishment. This outward work included a vast and detailed intellectual explanation and expression of their spiritual experience and vision in writings and talks; the establishment of a spiritual community in Pondicherry, India; the founding of Auroville, an international city of human unity based on their core spiritual principles; as well as their support of other centers and institutions internationally that were committed to their work.
The aim of the Integral Yoga is to enable the individual to attain conscious identity with the One Reality, the Self, and to transform the mind, life and body so they become fit instruments for a divine life on earth. The Yoga utilizes various yogic practices of India’s cultural heritage and synthesizes them with its own unique methods; however, there is no one set method or practice that its practitioners follow. Many guidelines and basic approaches have been described but for each individual the specific path will differ.
The central guiding principle of this Yoga is a complete surrender to the Divine Mother. For this reason, the conscious activation and identification with the soul is considered a preliminary step to its workings so that the Divine’s influence can shape the aspirant’s inner and outer life. Sri Aurobindo has characterized the discipline to be followed as a “triple labor of aspiration, rejection and surrender.” It is through a completeness of surrender that the individual will experience the Divine taking up the being and working in it, pouring into it its own higher powers of peace, wisdom, harmony, force, beauty and delight.
Several approaches or lines of spiritual discipline are emphasized including the yoga of works; the yoga of knowledge; the yoga of love and devotion; and the yoga of self-perfection. Each of the four feeds into the others and assists in their development and perfection. Though one approach may be emphasized in the beginning eventually all are developed so as to include all the parts of the inner realization and the outer transformation of the being.