Dear Friends and Well-wishers,
The eleventh ‘Auro Ratna Award’ ceremony was held on Sunday, 14 August 2022 at ‘Agastya’, the residence of Dr. R. Y. Deshpande who was presented with the ‘Auro Ratna Award’ for the year 2022 for his invaluable contribution in the fields of research and education.
The occasion was graced by Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni, noted educationist and former Principal of Maharshi Valimki College of Education, University of Delhi, Shri Surendra Singh Chouhan, an international educator and a frequent visiting trainer and faculty in the world of academia who had taught Philosophy to the Chinese students in Shanghai under the auspices of Shanghai Normal University, Shri Anmol Jain, researcher and Aurobindonian scholar and the family members of Dr. R. Y. Deshpande.
The ceremony began at 3.40 p.m. following the Mother’s organ music. Shri Anurag Banerjee, Founder of Overman Foundation, briefly spoke about the objectives of the ‘Auro Ratna Award’ and its past recipients. While introducing Dr. R. Y. Deshpande, he said:
Born on 17 April 1931 in Aurangabad district of Marathwada, Dr. R.Y. Deshpande did his science studies from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, in 1955, and joined as a research physicist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai in the same year. Later he worked at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Berkeley, California USA, and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai.
While at BARC he was in the beginning engaged in particle detectors and crystal growth. Later he headed several Atomic Energy and Space Projects in Advance Technology. He has some fifty research papers published in national and international scientific journals. He was also an examiner for a number of PhD theses in the field of Solid State Physics.
In 1981 R. Y. Deshpande joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry in search of deeper academic and spiritual matters. Here in the Ashram’s International Centre of Education he taught at higher level for thirty years physics and a few other subjects such as Astrophysics, Savitri, The Future Poetry, Science and Society. During the same period he was for eight years the associate Editor of Mother India, a Monthly Review of Culture, published by the Ashram.
During 2007-2008 R. Y. Deshpande was a senior editor of Science-Culture-Integral Yoga Web-Magazine, SCIY founded in Los Angeles. For three years he ran a highly successful web-journal, Mirror of Tomorrow, with a readership running at times to 1500 each day. Presently he is connected with a website, http://savitri.in, devoted specifically to Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri and cultural matters of national and international interest. He gave on different fora, including Radio and TV, interviews, talks and seminars dealing with social, spiritual, scientific and literary aspects.
Deshpande-ji’s literary activities include writing poetry, essays, articles, book reviews, comments which have been published in a few cultural periodicals. He is a published author of some fifty books of poetry, literary criticism, Aurobindonian philosophy and culture, two reflective books on science and related social matters.
His interest in science continues to ask deeper questions. One of the questions he asks is: “Can there be an Indian Science?” He believes that there has to be one, an Indian scientist asking Indian questions of fundamental nature, and not doing follow-up research of the western kind, an Indian doing here in India or in the western laboratories and universities.
These questions could be, for instance, what is it that really constitutes the materiality of Matter, the substantiality of Substance, Matter as a foundation and as an instrument for the action of the spirit in its growing manifesting dimensions, Matter discovering its growing widening truth or truths. This has to be done in the originality of Indian psyche, Indian search of the basics, establishing-interweaving link between Space-Time-Matter and the forces of interaction in form-building. Eventually these must stand up the tests of empiricism.
As a poet he has a book of selected poems, titled Pravarā in Spate running into 300 pages, published in 2020 by Savitri Foundation. His deeper connection with privileged Néwasé where Jñāneshwarī was composed is striking, is felicitous.
In 2015 he visited Italy extensively and gave Savitri-related talks at various places; many of these have now come out in the book form, some of them in Italian. He would however now like to focus his attention mainly on Savitri in its several creative dimensions. It is believed that his full series of talks on Savitri, particularly Book Seven, The Yoga of Savitri, will be an enduring major contribution in this field. These are available at savitri.in.
R. Y. Deshpande’s anthologies of poetry include titles like The Rhododendron Valley; All is Dream-Blaze; Under the Raintree; Paging the Unknown; Passing Moments; Birth of Savitṛ; Isn’t that something?; Pravarā in Spate; These mountains; Triads and Sonnets; Hymns to Becoming; Episodes; Cantos for Recitation; The Nod of Nandi; Collected Poems — Narratives; Collected Poems — Musings and Marvels; Collected Poems — Lyrical; Collected Poems — These Mountains; The Master and the Mother. His prose works include titles like : The Ancient Tale of Savitri; Vyasa’s Savitri; “Satyavan Must Die”; Narad’s Arrival at Madra; Sri Aurobindo and the New Millennium; Towards New Age; The Wager of Ambrosia; Savitri Talks: The Symbol Dawn; A Look at the Symbol Dawn; The Symbol Dawn: An Extended Resumé; Savitri’sSwapna Yoga; Sonnet- like Passage in Savitri; Savitri the Poetry of Immortality; A Few Aspects of Savitri; The Vision and the Boon — A Recitation in Ghana Style; At the Motrano Retreat — The Book of the Divine Mother; The Editing of Savitri; Man- handling of Savitri; Music from the Black Piano; Apropos of Savitri Composition; Running through Savitri; Sanātana Dharma; Four Powers in the Social Dynamics; Nagin-bhai Tells Me; An Atrocious Biography; Big Science and India; Islam’s contribution to Science; The First Hymn of Rishi Vāmadeva; O Fire, O divine Flame; Savitri in Ghana Recitation Part One; Savitri in Ghana Recitation Part Two; Savitri in Ghana Recitation Part Three; Scansion of Savitri — Book One — The Book of Beginnings; Book One Canto Four: The Secret Knowledge; Scansion of Savitri — Book Three — The Book of the Divine Mother; Chants to Agni; Savitri — Notes and Comments Part I; Savitri — Notes and Comments Part II; Two Dialogues Apropos of Savitri; Stray Essays; Of Inspiration and Technique in Savitri; Upon My Honour; Scribbles and Notes; The Book of Abhirūpā; Towards Intermediate Race; Savitri — Notes and Comments Part III; The Book of Love and Glory to Them. He has also edited Perspectives of Savitri in two volumes, the first edition of Savitri, The Mother on Savitri; Wisdom Quotes from Savitri; The Radiant Daughter; Savitri with Accents; Savitri and The Yoga of the Cells; Amal Kiran Poet and Critic; One-line Sentences in Savitri. Presently, he is working on a trilogy entitled Apropos of the Divine Body—Tome One: Towards the Intermediate Race, Tome Two: Savitri and Krishna-Kali and Tome Three: The Essential Agenda.
Shri Anurag Banerjee narrated how his literary career began as a regular contributor to SCIY and Mirror of Tomorrow, the two web-journals managed and edited by R. Y. Deshpande and the role played by him in inspiring the former as an independent researcher. “Certain debts in life can never be repaid; they can only be acknowledged. Today I take the opportunity to acknowledge my debts to Deshpande-ji,” remarked Shri Banerjee.
Tributes were also paid to Dr. R. Y. Deshpande by Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni, Shri Surendra Singh Chouhan, Shri Anmol Jain and Deshpande-ji’s sister and wife following which he was presented with the angavasram by Shri Anmol Jain while the certificate, trophy and the cash prize were presented to him by Dr. Prabhjot Kulkarni and Shri Surendra Singh Chouhan.
To listen to the tributes paid to Dr. R. Y. Deshpande and his acceptance speech, the readers are requested to watch the video of the ceremony uploaded to the youbtube channel of Overman Foundation.
With warm regards,