SAS Hyd.Branch History (as gathered from living memory)

(Contributed by: Sri. V.Subbarao, Secretary & Treasurer 2009)

3Like at all other places, the activity of Sri Aurobindonian movement started at Hyderabad also initially through voluntarily formed study circles. While we do not know how many such study circles existed in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, and from what point of time, it may be said for all practical purposes, that the starting of any activity at Hyderabad has to be traced to the arrival of Sri R.K.Talwar in January, 1965.in Hyderabad as the Chief General Manager of State bank of India in Hyderabad. Sri Talwar was not only a great devotee of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, but a true and ardent practitioner of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga in his daily life. After retiring as Chairman of that bank, in 1976, and until his death at the age of eighty, Sri Talwar spent his entire post-retirement life in Pondicherry by settling down in a humble apartment not far from the Ashram in Pondicherry. While serving as Chairman of the bank at Bombay, Sri Talwar once (during the year 1969 or so) came to Andhra Pradesh and associated himself with the establishment of a Sri Aurobindo School and installation of Sri Aurobindo’s relics at Gaddipalli village in Nalgonda district, while inaugurating a Lift Irrigation Scheme financed by State Bank of Hyderabad at that village.

Subsequent years after Sri Talwar saw the arrival on the scene of devotees like Sri Ramachandran, a retired Army Official, Sri K.D.Shandilya, (also a Chief General Manager of State Bank of India in Hyderabad), Dr.M.V.Nadkarni, then working in Central Institute of English, Sri R.L.N.Sastry working in DRDL, Sri Guru Pershad, retired from APSRTC and probably working in Hyderabad Allwyn at that time, Sri K.Veerraju working in AP Central Land Mortgage Bank. Sri M.L.M. Sarma, etc. The relative period may be stated as 1969 to 1974.

Study Circles

4During this period also while there was still no formal centre of Sri Aurobindo Society at Hyderabad, the set-up continued as  study circles only. However, there used to be very regular Sunday evening meetings at the residence of Sri Shandilya in Dwarakapuri Colony. These meetings used to start with Smt.Vasanti Devi’s rendering of “Guru Stotram, played on the tape, a meditation session with the Mother’s music for about 20 minutes, followed by a talk by Dr. Nadkarni and used to close with the prayer of “Nitya Prardhana” sung again on the tape  by Smt.Vasanti Devi.

During this period separate gatherings and meetings also used to take place in the Osmania University campus organized by or under the auspices of the Institute of Human Study set up by Dr.V.Madhusudan Reddy and the educational institutions set up by Dr.V.Manmohan Reddy. Small groups of people also used to meet separately at the residences of Sri Ramachandran, and Dr. Nadkarni, At this time, although there was no formal centre of Sri Aurobindo Society, Sri Shandilya used to play the role of a Chairman and Sri Verraju that of a Secretary. Sri Shandilya, Dr. Nadkarni Dr. Madhusudan Reddy and other active devotees, during this period, used to associate themselves with the activities of devotees at other parts of the State also and encourage them. It is in that process, this period saw the installation of the Relics in the Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad and at Proddatur centre in Cuddapah dt., celebrations of the centenary of SriAurobindo in 1972, purchase of centenary volumes of Sri Aurobindo’s works by many devotees in Hyderabad, and a Conference of all centres in Andhra Pradesh at Tadpatri in Anantapur dt. with the active participation of  Sri Shandilya, Dr.Nadkarni, Dr. Madhusudhan Reddy, Dr. Manmohan Reddy etc.

In the years that followed, Shri Shandilya left Hyderabad, Sri Guru Pershad got busy at Pondicherry as General secretary at Pondicherry and Shri 6Veerraju’s health was failing. Meetings were taking place at different places in the city-at Sri M.L.M.Sarma’s house opposite Old MLA quarters, Sri R.L.N.Sastry’s house in Chikkadpally for sometime and thereafter at Ramnagar. This went on almost upto the end of the decade of 1970s. Dr. Nadkarni too thereafter left for Singapore.

Establishment of the Center

It is in this situation, it appears that on the initiative of Sri Guru Pershad, efforts were made by him to secure a fixed place for our activities and he succeeded in getting the present place close to Musheerabad Cross Roads allotted to Sri Aurobindo Society on long lease by the Hyderabad Muncipal Corporation. Sri Guru Pershad with his own contributions and the funds raised by him from outside, got the present building, known as “Sri 5Aurobindo Bhavan”, constructed in the allotted plot. Shri Narsi Bhai and Sri V. Manmohan Reddy actively collaborated with Sri Guru Pershad in this effort and all of them together made the present location possible.

A centre of Sri Aurobindo Society was thus formally established at this location, which became a branch later. We are happy to state that this branch completed 25 years of its existence in the year 2006. As Sri Guru Pershad , a man of foresight, got the building constructed in such away that while the ground floor of the premises will be used for all its activities by housing a Meditation Hall, Samadhi with relics, Library, Sales Section, some2 guest rooms, etc., the rent coming from the other two floors would serve as a constant source of revenue to the branch, this branch has turned out to be the most financially strong branch in the whole State. To commemorate memory of Sri Guru Pershad, the branch instituted about ten years back a “Guru Pershad Memorial Lecture” to be delivered by some selected eminent person in each of the Annual Conferences of all centres and branches in Andhra Pradesh, to be held each year under the auspices of the Andhra Pradesh State Committee of Sri Aurobindo Society.

1Ever since the centre/branch started from its present location, one important activity that took place at the centre was delivery of lectures by Sri T.Poornachandra Rao on almost every important work of Sri Aurobindo. Nis lectures continued for almost two decades. Dr.Nadkarni too gave several talks whenever he was in town. The centre Conducted/hosted State level Annual Conferences twice in its history so far.

(Living Memories by Sri V. Subba Rao )

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