The new “Integral Yoga Talks” Website
A rich gift-economy resource created by Aurovilian Loretta
Thanks to the dedicated work of long-time Aurovilian Loretta, we now have access to her newly-created open-access, gift- conomy website, which is freely available to everyone: “Integral Yoga Talks” https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/ Loretta’s goal is to bring the presence of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother through this site, and encourage the practice of their Integral Yoga. Holding an immense wealth of information – text, audio and film – the site features a seven-year ongoing series of Auroville Radio talks on Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem, “Savitri” and a series of talks on Mother’s “Questions and Answers”. We are pleased to share this wonderful resource, as well as Loretta’s story of the beautiful adventure of creating the film “The Teachings of Flowers – The Life and Work of The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram”.
About Loretta and her dedicated work
Loretta came to see The Mother because of The Mother’s work on the immortality of the physical body and she had Her Darshan in February, 1972. The next day after this first Darshan, The Mother put Loretta in Auroville. Since then Loretta has been an Aurovilian, with time also as a resident of the Ashram. Loretta has devoted her life to working for Mother and Sri Aurobindo and doing Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga. Over the years, she has presented photograph exhibitions, published books, given lectures and workshops, participated in the Art for Land action with special talks, and recorded Auroville Radio podcasts about Mother and Sri Aurobindo and their teachings.
PART 1 – The Website and its contents
Website Chapters and Links :
Main website: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/
Audio Talks: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/audio-talks
About page: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/about
Details of each website section :
The Teachings of Flowers: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/videos/the-teachings-offlowers/
Mother’s Question and Answers: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/audio-talks/mothersquestion-and-answers/
Savitri Talks: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/audio-talks/savitri/
Finding the Psychic Being: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/books/finding-the-psychicbeing/
The Mother’s Yoga (EN, FR, Vol I and II): https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/books/the-mothers-yoga-english/
The Supramental Transformation: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/books/the-supramental-transformation/
The Teachings of Flowers: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/books/the-teachings-of-flowers
A Tribute to Sri Aurobindo: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/lectures/a-tribute-to-sriaurobindo
Death and transformation: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/lectures/death-andtransformation
Entering Into the Inner Worlds: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/lectures/entering-intothe-inner-worlds
Integral health and healing: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/lectures/integral-healthand-healing
Mother’s Flower Road to the Divine – Help and Guidance: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/lectures/mothers-flower-road-to-the-divine-help-and-guidance
Mother’s Guidance with Flowers: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/lectures/mothersguidance-with-flowers
Death and transformation: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/additional-materials/deathand-transformation
Finding the Psychic Being: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/additional-materials/finding-the-psychic-being
Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga and Roberto Assagioli’s
Talks on Transformation: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/additional-materials/talks-ontransformation
The Force of Consciousness: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/additional-materials/theforce-of-consciousness
Sri Aurobindo: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/about/about-sri-aurobindo
The Mother: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/about/about-the-mother
The Yoga of Sri Aurobindo: https://www.integral-yoga-talks.com/en/about/about-the-yoga-ofsri-aurobindo
PART 2 – The Teachings of Flowers – Loretta’s Story of Making the Video
In 2009, I put up an exhibition in Savitri Bhavan called “Mother and Flowers”. Suddenly people were asking me to make a video about Mother and flowers. I felt that Mother wanted me to do it. I had never made a video before, but for years I watched certain videos many times, looking at different aspects of how they were made, the composition, the camera angles, the actors’ interpretations, etc. I had been an artist all my life, and I knew I could make a video, but I had no technical knowledge or computer skills. So I said to Mother, “I will make this video, but you will have to give me the right people and the equipment needed for the work”. Mother gave everything. Every aspect of the work was a beautiful experience and a beautiful gift. Here is the remarkable story, more magical than any child’s fairy tale.
I needed a video camera, but I knew nothing about them. Soon somebody told me about a good camera which was easy to use, so I got it and used it. I was working in the Matrimandir at the time, and I met Coren Lindfield, who was also working there. He didn’t know I wanted to make a film. One day, he spoke about his photography, and he sent me some of his photographs. Coren was born in the Findhorn community when the Nature Spirits were very active there. He grew up in that very special atmosphere for his first eight years. His nature photographs were so beautiful and deeply expressive, that I asked him if he would help me to film the video. Making a video was a new subject for him, just as it was for me. I gave him free use of the video camera and told him to film and photograph anything that inspired him. I saw how deeply and beautifully he related to Nature in his filming. He filmed and photographed light itself. I felt that it was the perfect way to present all the flower filming and still photographs, and I followed his style when I filmed and photographed. The style of the visual presentation was set in this way.
For over a year we collected visual material for the video, both in Auroville, and in America. Filming and photographing for the video was always a beautiful, light-filled experience. It was being in another world of good feeling that I can’t describe. The most interesting and beautiful things came before us when we were using the cameras. Birds flew in, or a beautiful flower was blooming, or the light changed, or something special caught the eye and carried us to new, unexpected places.
I wanted to do a sequence on the flower which Mother named “Imagination”, because she said a lot about it in one of her classes to the children of the Ashram school. There was an Imagination tree growing behind my house, which never had a lot of flowers on it. The year we were filming it was covered with flowers. Flowers bloomed in my garden that never looked so beautiful before. We filmed it all. They were Mother’s gifts for her video.
I wanted only flute music in the video. For one year I listened to all the flute music I could find, and none of it was right. I kept telling Coren, “The music will come, the music will come.” Then one day, Jean-Christophe Bonnafous walked into Savitri Bhavan during another exhibition that I had there. He asked me, “Can I play my instrument in your exhibition?” I agreed without knowing what instrument he played. It turned out that he played the flute. He had been learning Bansuri flute for seven years with Hariprasad Chaurasia, a greatly respected musician and revered teacher in Mumbai.
Jean-Christophe had a bamboo Bansuri flute, and he played so beautifully that I asked him if he would do the music for the video. We showed him some of what had been filmed. I told him to play whatever came to him, because Mother would inspire him. He went back to Europe, and rented a sound studio, and then mastered the music. He sent us a music file with one and a half hours of beautiful, original flute music in twelve melodies.
Coren put Jean-Christophe’s music on a CD. I listened to his inspired compositions over and over. I felt the same way I felt when I was doing the visual work. Soon I had titles for all the pieces he played, and I knew where they had to be placed in the film. His flute music plays throughout the video.
I believe that Mother sent me the best people in the world to make her video. Whether or not they were famous on the world-stage, they had the very best of what was needed. Coren came from eight years of growing up in Findhorn, surrounded by the Nature Spirits and the people who were relating to them. He brought his dedication and sensitivity to creating beauty with Light and Nature. Jean-Christophe came with his devotion and sensitivity to music, his education and experience in flute playing, and his dedication to creating musical beauty. A far greater gift to me is that I made two very precious lifetime friends.
As I wrote the script for the video, it began to take its own shape. I realised that even though it was about Mother and flowers, it had to have Mother’s life story, told with flowers. I found stories that Mother told the Ashram school children about how she knew the spiritual significances of flowers and how she learned to use them in her work. The film grew into the story of Mother’s whole life and her work in the Ashram. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo’s story was also briefly told.
For images of Mother and her work in the Ashram, I was able to use paintings of Mother in France, done by her husband, Henri Morriset, and paintings by the early Ashramites, done when they were with Mother, and rare photographs of Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Manoj Da, the Managing Trustee of the Ashram, gave permission to use photographs of all the original paintings, and I was given everything I asked for. Tara Jauhar, head of the Delhi branch of the Ashram, had the photographs of Mother and Sri Aurobindo. She also gave everything I asked for. There was never any problem getting the material for the film.
I was always worried about getting the right equipment to edit the film. In 2010 I was in America, filming and photographing with Coren. I got on an airplane flying from Seattle, Washington to Los Angeles, California. The man in the seat next to me turned out to be a video maker. I asked him a lot of questions about what kind of computer I should use to edit the film. He offered to make a computer for me that would have everything I needed. We talked about it for the hour-and-a-half it took to reach Los Angeles. We got off the plane and I never saw him again.
I worried about what to do, and finally, just as I was about to return to India, I asked Mother, and the response was something like, “Stop wasting time and send him the check”. So that is what I did. He built a brand new computer from scratch, and put the latest video-editing program in it.
Then he sent it to Coren, who was still in Seattle. When Coren returned to Auroville, he didn’t want to put this delicate piece of machinery into airplane luggage compartments. He put the computer in a bag and carried it on his back through three International airports and flights, and nobody said anything to him. It just filled an airplane overhead-compartment.
I showed the computer to someone in Auroville who had worked for over twenty years in the Chennai film industry. He said that it was the finest, most advanced computer he ever saw. Mother arranged all of this, and she gave us the best equipment available at that time to make her video.
I had to record the voice-over story that I wrote for the film. The sound-engineer from Auroville Radio told me that I could make my own completely sound-proof recording sound-booth at home, using mattresses and thick quilts and blankets to cover the walls, ceiling and floor. I used a small hand-held Zoom recording device, of the type used by Auroville Radio for recording outside their sound studio. This allowed me to record at home in my own time. I loved making my little home sound-booth, and have since made similar sound-booths for others.With all the visual and sound elements prepared, it was time to create the film.
Coren did all the computer work with his good computer skills. We sat down in front of the computer. All along I had expected that Coren would put the film together. I asked him to begin, and he told me that he could not do it. All along he had expected that I would put the film together. So there I was. It was all up to me. I took a deep breath and started. And I knew exactly what to do all the time, where to put things, how long they should remain on the screen, what should come next, and what voice-over and music to put.
The film took shape as if it grew by itself. We worked in the same beautiful atmosphere that was there when filming. I know that it all came from Mother. Coren had never done film-editing before. We were both worried about using the new sophisticated computer and the professional editing program in it. At first we sent the video-maker frantic emails asking for help, but I think he believed that we would be able to do it, and soon he simply stopped answering emails. I watched Coren learn more and more, day after day, until he knew exactly what to do.
I am sure that Coren’s future is one of Mother’s reasons for having Coren do this work. He left Auroville after the film was edited, and the first work he got in America was for a Tibetan Rinpoche. They wanted him to work on a book about the Rinpoche’s life and work, and Coren suggested that he make a film instead. He proceeded to make a beautiful documentary, doing everything he learned while making Mother’s film, even building a sound-booth in his own house to do the voice-overs. Now he works as the video-person for a spiritual teacher in Seattle. Making Mother’s video trained him for his future work and shaped his life.
Usually film-makers review and edit their work. But Mother had other ideas for her video. I reviewed and edited a very small section of the video before we put it all together. Then it would have been time to go through the whole thing to edit mistakes and make changes.
Once it was all together, I asked Coren, “How long is the film?” He replied, “It is one-hundredtwenty- one (121) minutes long”. Mother’s birthday is 21 February. Immediately I said, “OK, we are finished. The work is all done. We have our video complete and won’t do anything else to it.” I didn’t look at it to see if there were any problems, or if anything needed to be fixed. There was no further editing work. When I finally saw the completed film, there were no mistakes, and nothing that needed any further work.
I see Mother’s wisdom working here. If I had sat there and started to judge and assess my work, my own mind and my vital being would have become active, and I would have spoiled the purity and genius of Mother’s work.
The film is very beautiful. I know that I cannot take credit for it. I was a willing instrument, chosen by Mother to make her film.
The spiritual benefit I received in this experience is a gift beyond price. I am only grateful.
Invocation, February 2023