Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research (S.A.C.A.R.) and is based in Pondicherry, southern India,
near the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The University is situated in a building of 10,000sft with
2 large halls for lectures and workshops; a meditation room and library;
offices and guest rooms; a spacious terrace overlooking the ocean, and a
beautiful garden of about 3000sft that caters to various extracurricular
activities such as musical performances and exhibitions. The library is home to approximately 3000 texts in a wide variety of subjects from psychology to futurology to world literature, philosophy, and education.
It specialises in literature by and about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother,
their philosophy and yoga.
Foundation of SACAR
Dyuman Bhai placing Mother's Blessings in the box, 29.02.1992
Dyuman Bhai with Ananda Reddi placing the Box, 29.02.1992
Where and Who
Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow, is a project of the Sri Aurobindo Centre of Advanced Research (S.A.C.A.R.) , located in Pondicherry, India. S.A.C.A.R. is a Charitable Trust sponsored by the Institute of Human Study (I.H.S.), Hyderabad. Its objective is intensive research into human issues: social, cultural, and psychological, from a spiritual perspective, to find new paradigms that can help solve problems in these areas.
The following are the key participants in the work of the University and of S.A.C.A.R.
TRUSTEES OF S.A.C.A.R.
Dr. Ananda Reddy (Managing Trustee, Director of the University)
Dr. Dhananjay Reddy (Trustee)
Ms. Manorama Vira (Member)
Dr. Alok Pandey (Member)
Professor M.V. Nadkarni
Professor Arabinda Basu
Mr. Michel Danino
Professor Sachidananda Mohanty
Dr. A. S. Dalal
Professor N. Jayashanmugam
Dr. Soumitra Basu
Dr. Goutam Ghoshal
(Literature and Literary Criticism)
(Integral Yoga Psychology)
Dr. Daryl Paulson
(Theory of Social Development)
Dr. Ananda Reddy
(Sri Aurobindo's Social and Political Thought)
Professor Kittu Reddy
(Sri Aurobindo's Social and Political Thought)
Dr. Don Salmon
(Integral Yoga Psychology)
Dr. Larry Seidlitz
(Lights on Indian Scriptures, Integral Yoga Psychology)
Dr. Girija Shettar
(Sri Aurobindo's Integral Metaphysics and Integral Yoga Psychology)
In the last millennium (1998-1999)
It was a very important year for SACAR regarding its contribution to Sri Aurobindo teachings. Its Director was invited by Sri Aurobindo Association, U.S.A. for an All U.S.A. Meet 98, held in San Francisco. This was the occasion when different centers of Sri Aurobindo and some Universities in Europe invited the Director. On the same trip he covered the Far-East and gave talks in Japan and Bangkok and Singapore. He delivered 36 talks in his world trip, visited 9 countries and was also successful in raising funds for SACAR's building.
The summer camp workshop was given again at Nainital on “Savitri: Sri Aurobindo Vision & Boon”. Participants from different states of India as well as from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram & Auroville attended the workshop.
YEAR - 2001
On the 22nd of April 2001, a one-day seminar was arranged on Natural Healing with a special emphasis on its relevance to modern times. Eminent doctors with different specialisation in their own field participated and interacted with an enthralled audience present that sunday morning. Doctors from twelve different systems of healing shared their expertise with all.
From the 1st of May to 7th, a teacher's training course was conducted with the primary school teachers coming from Andhra Pradesh, Integral Education schools. It was conducted by the eminent educationist Ms. Neeltze from Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
The Director of SACAR was invited to Germany, Holland & Belgium for extensive talks in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy from the middle of May to the middle of June.
In the middle of June from the 19th to 29th he was invited to conduct a 10-day residential study camp at the Nainital Centre of Van Nivas. The subject deliberated upon was ‘Savitri: a Legend and Symbol'.
I) On the 12th and 13th August, the Director gave a short course in Sri Aurobindo's thought for a group of aspirants who came from France. It was conducted in French language.
II) On the 13th August, the Director gave a talk on the occasion of the platinum Jubilee of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at the Sri Aurobindo Society conference.
III) On the 19th of August, he was invited to give a talk on “Savitri: The Yoga of the Earth” in Auroville and around 300 people from different countries attended his talk.
IV) From 16th to 22nd, August, SACAR held an important seminar, on “Sri Aurobindo's Vision and Philosophy” in which several eminent scholars participated. In this week long seminar there was a wonderful interaction with an overwhelming audience both in the morning and evening. In the evenings there were the summary lectures on The Life Divine by the Director as usual. The areas covered were The Life Divine, Psychology of the Vital, Biotechnology and Transformation, the Vedas, Upanishads and a “New Approach to Stress Management” etc.
The Darshan issue of the New Race Journal was brought out as usual.
YEAR - 2002
SACAR launched the programme called “Celebration Savitri” from 15.02.2002 to 21.02.2002 in which many international and national scholars participated and presented their papers on the different aspects of Savitri.
From 23rd February to 3rd March Dr. Ananda Reddy gave summary talks on The Life Divine every evening from 4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. to 80 members or so who have been attending these courses, held twice regularly each year, for three years consecutively.
In February a group of students came from the US to learn about Indian culture, tradition and the background of our religion and spirituality.
Dr. Reddy visited again to Europe; Holland, England, Italy and Russia and returned only in the month of July. He had a series of talks and seminars based on Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, psychology, education and Yoga in the countries mentioned above.
Dr. Reddy returned to India. He again had to travel to the USA for the Auroville International Meet 2002 in California where he was the keynote speaker on the subject of the “Spiritual Basis of the International Zone at Auroville”. The talk launched the spirit of the conference.
Mrs. Reddy along with two teachers from Bangalore visited small private schools in the vicinity of Pondicherry to have informal talks with the teachers after their school hours along with their principals to look into some important areas of psychological built-up of the children. The discussions were beneficial.
Dr. Reddy returned in the first week of August for a major seminar to be held for Sri Aurobindo's birthday as well as the Independence Day, both on 15.08.2002.
Independence day was celebrated by Auroville children with amazing fervour to serve the country. SACAR was invited to participate.
For Sri Aurobindo's birthday, Dr. Ananda Reddy gave talks on The Life Divine on ten evenings. Also, Dr. Reddy gave an AIR talk on Sri Aurobindo that was telecast on 13.08.2002.
A New Race journal issue was released this month.
Towards the end of August, the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, New Delhi, had given us the project of Teacher Training Programme for the Pondicherry school teachers. In the month of September we started this programme, and on 11th, 12th and 13th of September, SACAR conducted two Teacher Training programmes on Value Education for 120 teachers in two camps of 60 teachers each. It was a full-day workshop with food and refreshment for all. Professors were invited from the Pondicherry University and other educational organisations to participate in the programme. The teachers were mainly from the Immaculate Girls Higher Secondary School.
SACAR held two more teacher-training workshops for 240 teachers – 60 teachers in each workshop on value-based education. One was held at DIET on 3rd, 4th and 5th of October for the DIET teachers. The next one was held in the middle of October for the Wiseman's Higher Secondary School teachers. Holy Angel's High School also participated in the programme.
Both Dr. Reddy and Mrs. Reddy participated in the Academic Staff College, Pondicherry University's Orientation Course.
YEAR - 2003
Apart from the regular classes on the major works of Sri Aurobindo conducted by Dr. Reddy, SACAR held important seminars from 15th to 28th February.
On the 15th, 16th and 17th February, Dr. Reddy held a full-day workshop on “The Gita and Beyond”. On the 18th, 19th and 20th, SACAR invited elderly sadhaks from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for a programme to commemorate the 125th Birth Anniversary of the Mother. From 22nd to 28th, the usual Summary Talks on The Life Divine were given to a regular audience of about 75 persons.
On the 21st of February, SACAR launched a virtual University: “Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow.” It is an online university with the website: www.theuniversityoftomorrow.org which will disseminate worldwide the vision and thought of Sri Aurobindo to all those who are interested to learn.
YEAR - 2004
SACAR conducted a National Seminar on " Resurgent India " in which the UGC Vice chairperson, the Education Minister of Pondicherry and the Vice Chancellor of Pondicherry University along with 30 other emionent scholars from India participated.
Launched on 04.04.04 the "Sri Aurobindo Darshan" lectures for the Online Program of the University.
Opened the website of "Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow" for admissions to courses on Sri Aurobindo Studies.
Mankind on the March
The story of creation is nothing else than the unfolding of consciousness. Out of matter — practically a mass of inconscience, — stirred by a semi-awakened pulsation came Life. There was again a period of gestation and incubation because of which emerged rudimentary Mind, and then evolved self-conscious consciousness. With the emergence of elementary consciousness came into existence the animal world, and with the higher grades of self-conscious Mind Man appeared. Matter, Life and Mind are the three major planes of consciousness which Man has taken up into himself and is expected to transcend them all into yet another dimension of consciousness. Such then are the stages in the progression of consciousness. Mankind on the March is the story of the birth and the adventure of consciousness and an evolutionary history of human civilisation.
An undertaking of such a nature is as formidable and difficult to accomplish as it is alluring and rewarding; it seems to be as ambitious as it is imperative. Few nations in the contemporary world know as much as India about the great movement, now astir in all mankind to live together as a single family. India has not a little contributed to carry it forward and install in the minds of millions of people all over the world the great ideal of world-fellowship founded on the principles of liberty, equality and spirituality. Perhaps no single nation has been so close to this ideal, none else has sympathised so deeply with the aspirations of sensitive men and women the world over for the unity of humankind and peace among fundamental unity of the human spirit in spite of the infinite variety which faced man from the dawn of history of man is indeed the story of the increasing manifestation of Spirit in an through Matter – of the growing establishment of Heaven upon Earth.
Of course attempts have been made by outstanding people like Toynbee, Oswald Spengler, Niebyhr, Will Durant and A. L. Bhasam, but the present Project differs from all these in that the scope of the project is more inclusive and global and not confined just to civilisation, history or other specific aspects. In a way the present Project is an attempt to integrate these earlier efforts and also extend the scope. Mankind on the March has its focus on the nisus of Consciousness through History and its manifold manifestation in different cultures. Its theme is the evolutionary thrust in nature leading to a greater understanding of the truth of multiplicity in the context of their underlying essential spiritual oneness.
The Project will primarily be an ‘Exploration Consciousness' — a comprehensive study of the many maps of consciousness devised through the ages to free man from the limitation of his phenomenal nature. It will be an educational experience of the entire gamut of human achievements in natural and social sciences, psychology and sociology, world-literature and world-polity, philosophy and fine arts within the theme of the evolution of consciousness, for it is the chemistry of inner change that lends us the planetary perspective and unfolds Nature's secret design of shaping man as a cosmic being.
It is now becoming increasingly evident that humanity is passing through a profound crisis which is inalienably linked up with its spiritual renewal. It certainly warrants an extension of our perception to follow the big change that is coming about and to integrate the simultaneous expansion of our world in both outer and inner directions. It is a case for a new human renaissance, it is the beginning of a new cycle of all-inclusiveness – the signaling of a new creation as it were, and the birth of a planetary awareness.
The Project will be a major contribution to evolutionary and inter-cultural studies intended to promote the vision of the world as a big global community with the Superconscient as its foundation. It will be a symbiotic and comprehensive design study of all of mankind since the dawn of history with a focus on consciousness-expansion and integral perfection. It will be the story of man's secret aspiration and heroic effort at perpetual self-transcendence.
The project includes studies in World Philosophy, History and Meta-History, Fine Arts and World Literature, Science and Evolution-Theories, Social and Political thought, comparative Religion, Philosophy and Psychology of Religion, the many cultures and civilisations through the ages, spiritually and Yoga as well as Integral and Future Studies in the context of the rapidly changing images of Man with a focus on Human Unity, Universal Peace and Man's golden destiny. In brief, it will be the story of the adventure of consciousness with a nisus toward world fellowship, freedom, and manifestation of infinite human potential.
Tentatively, it is planned to bring out the project in three seed volumes which could then be developed in 12 volumes. These will contain the cumulative accomplishment of the human race in different parts of the world in successive epochs of history with the underlying theme of Evolution of Consciousness.
It is hoped that this series of volumes will make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the cultural heritage of mankind and its evolution and promote better understanding among different peoples of the world.
Our ideal is to help learners to develop the psychological and intellectual faculties and skills required for them to know clearly, and to manifest, their highest ideals. We focus on the thought of Sri Aurobindo, which we believe is extremely relevant to the modern world as it struggles to find its future and its new form and spirit. Our aim in taking Sri Aurobindo as a central focus and starting point is to provide learners with what we consider to be the best exposition of the spiritual bases of the new creation that is emerging, and of the role, destiny, and proper function of the human being in this process. Our courses aim to help individuals to acquire and develop faculties, skills, ideas, and ideals that will help them to formulate their own and the world's best future. We encourage our learners to study widely, and to know other schools of thought and to compare and contrast these with the thought, work, and ideals of Sri Aurobindo. We do not insist that our learners accept any particular teaching, practice, or point of view, and encourage a thoughtful and critical examination of all ideas. We believe that learners will find our programmes and courses of study a refreshing and illumining alternative to traditional fields of higher study.
The Genesis of Sri Aurobindo Darshan:
The University of Tomorrow
Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow is an online educational facility offering higher education equivalent programmes in the vision, thought, work, and yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Its genesis was pure inspiration.
The making of this inspirational vision into a reality was dependent upon Prof. V. Madhusudan Reddy's devotion to the great contemporary spiritual masters of India – Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Professor Reddy was an inspired scholar who wrote prolifically on Indian philosophy and culture, specialising in Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's spiritual work for India and the world. He was also the founder of several educational institutions such as the Institute of Human Study, and Matridarshan.
Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow was a recurring dream-vision that Professor V. Madhusudhan Reddy experienced in 1966 while travelling widely throughout southern India. These dreams were
“grandiose and utopian, apocalyptic and revelatory – of a sprawling campus of education and culture, of a living laboratory of Light and Truth-seeking, an academy of seeker-souls with a spiritual focus.”
V. M. Reddy, The Alchemy of Her Grace, p.108
The Mother was living at the time that the vision of the University came to Professor V. Madhusudhan Reddy and so it was to her that he wrote to ask whether the vision could indeed be realised. The relevant parts of the letter he wrote to the Mother are reproduced below:
“Ma, I am submitting at your Lotus Feet the programme of studies that the Institute of Human Study proposes to undertake during 1972-1973 …
Gracious Mother, since November 1971 I have been trying for the setting up of a Central University by the Government of India at Hyderabad named after Sri Aurobindo – truly a new University and a true University – a University without Walls. … there is a growing feeling in me that without waiting for or asking the government to set up such a University, the Institute itself should undertake this project and start it during the Centenary Year, especially in August. … It … shall try to evolve a system of education which will not be a system, but a dynamic movement, an endless expansion of knowledge. This world University centre, to start with, will have three departments:
I) Human Unity
II) Theatre of the Future
III) Philosophy or the Quest for Truth. These will be more like movements rather than departments.
… The students will have a flexible curriculum and a free and creative environment of study and learning. … If it meets with the Mother's Approval I have the following names at Her Lotus Feet for this project.
I) Sri Aurobindo Darshan: A World University Centre
II) Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow.”
V. M. Reddy, The Alchemy of Her Grace, p.110
The reply sent through the Managing Trustee of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram read as follows:
“Dear Dr Madhusudhan Reddy,
Your letter … has been placed before the Mother. The Mother has approved the following items …… The Mother has also approved the University project of the Institute. The name approved by the Mother is your second proposal: Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow. She has underlined [this name] and put Her blessing [upon it].”
V. M. Reddy, The Alchemy of Her Grace, p.110
The dream-vision of the University came to Professor V. Madhusudhan Reddy in 1971. By this time he had already started two educational centres: the Sri Aurobindo International School and the Institute of Human Study (I.H.S.), the latter being the main administrative hub of the various educational projects started by Professor Reddy. The Institute for Human Study is located in Hyderabad and was opened in December 1964 with the blessings of the Mother, who also accepted to be its permanent Honorary President.
Subsequently, on April 24th, 1998, the Institute of Human Study sponsored the establishment of the Sri Aurobindo Centre of Advanced Research (S.A.C.A.R.), a Charitable Trust, in Pondicherry, India. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow is a project of S.A.C.A.R. and physically came into being in February 2004.
Inauguration of The University of Tomorrow
In the present condition of the world, the centre and foundation of people's lives and the chief concerns tend to be material. Although in India it is generally understood that the Divine Spirit is in fact the true nature, centre, and foundation of all life, due to changing fortunes and trends, the influence of a living and transforming spirituality in developing and organizing the material life has been hindered. Spiritual ideals tend to be sought outside the social life, and the latter is yet to find its true direction and method of progress. Each nation has its own problems and we therefore wish to provide a forum where the hiatus and reconciliation between spiritual and material existence, in all its many forms, can be studied and addressed. In this endeavour, the power of the idea, whether it is experientially based, intuitively conceived, or developed by an enlightened academic approach, will play an important and leading role. It is for this purpose that this University has been created.
The founder of the University, Professor V. Madhusudhan Reddy, had written out five objectives for this visionary project:
1. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow will be our homage of aspiration and service, of love and consecration to Sri Aurobindo's sublime vision of the Future.
2. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow wants to be an international center of education with a soul.
3. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow will be a place for true and living education, of endless search for Truth and its progressive manifestation and creative expression.
4. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow will be a place of integral and future studies where seekers from all parts of the world can devote themselves wholly to the knowledge of the Truth of Tomorrow.
5. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow wants to consecrate itself faithfully and completely to the discovery and practice of the fundamental principles of a New Society embodying and expressing the New Consciousness.
Academic Vision Statement
We… stand at the head of a new age of development which must lead to… a new and larger synthesis. We are not called upon to… create our spiritual life out of the being, knowledge and nature of others, of the men of the past, instead of building it out of our own being and potentialities. We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of the future. A mass of new material is flowing into us; we have not only to assimilate the influences of the great theistic religions of India and of the world… but to take full account of the potent though limited revelations of modern knowledge and seeking….
(SABCL , Vol.13, Essays on the Gita , p.8)
An integral education which could, with some variations, be adapted to all the nations of the world, must bring back the legitimate authority of the Spirit over a matter fully developed and utilised.
(1965 in reference to the Education Commission,
quoted in India and Her Destiny, p.18)
Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow is a centre of research and learning dedicated to acquiring and implementing in all areas a new and broader perspective on human life. This new perspective has a spiritual aim and basis, and underlies and unifies the multifarious solutions and changes to be made throughout the nations of the globe. The guiding principle of all our activities is the synthesizing movement to unite in a practical and progressive way the highest spiritual realisations with the development and perfection of the outer life—two fields that have been historically the special domain of Eastern and Western nations, respectively. Our focal point in this endeavour is the spiritual knowledge and vision behind this effort of synthesis.
Aims and Methods
"…the thought of India [has always maintained that a human being is a portion of the Divinity enwrapped in mind and body, a conscious manifestation in Nature of the universal self and spirit. Always she has distinguished and cultivated in him a mental, an intellectual, an ethical, dynamic and practical, an aesthetic and hedonistic, a vital and physical being, but all these have been seen as powers of a soul that manifests through them and grows with their growth, and yet they are not all the soul, because at the summit of its ascent it arises to something greater than them all, into a spiritual being, and it is in this that she has found the supreme manifestation of the soul of man and his ultimate divine manhood…"
Sri Aurobindo, (SABCL, Vol.17, p. 199)
“Those systems of education which start from an insufficient knowledge of man, think they have provided a satisfactory foundation when they have supplied the student with a large or well-selected mass of information on the various subjects which comprise the best part of human culture at the time. The school gives the materials, it is for the student to use them, — this is the formula. But the error here is fundamental. Information cannot be the foundation of intelligence, it can only be part of the material out of which the knower builds knowledge, the starting-point, the nucleus of fresh discovery and enlarged creation. An education that confines itself to imparting knowledge, is no education."
Sri Aurobindo, (SABCL, Vol.17, p. 331)
The educational approach of Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow is inspired by the Free-Progress Integral Method developed by the Mother at the school and college of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, and utilised successfully in a variety of learning institutions. The term ‘free-progress' means that within certain basic educational structures, the learner is given full freedom to approach and explore the subjects they study in their own unique manner, but without sacrificing the concentrated focus and rigour necessary for high quality work. This educational method encourages the development of the individual and fosters original and courageous thinking.
The term ‘integral' highlights the psychological foundation of this method of learning. The aim is to achieve a psychologically complete approach to education. It achieves this through including all parts of the human being in the learning process. Thus the programmes offered by the University address not only the cognitive faculty; through the Science of Living Programme and courses, the vital/emotional, the physical, and the spiritual parts of the being also are included in the studies of each learner. The Science of Living courses are experientially focused and deal with practical issues in which the other parts of the being, besides the mind, play an important part. Psychological and cognitive skills that an integral education helps the learner to acquire are listed below.
1. A high level of motivation and sense of direction
Freedom and trust are at the heart of free-progress integral education's facilitation methods because they endow the learner with confidence, which allows innate perceptions and convictions to emerge. Intellectually, this provides a strong foundation for study and research – encouraging the learner to develop unique ways of thinking, and unique methods of approach. Psychologically, it results in motivation, self-confidence and vision.
2. A fuller perception and greater mastery of human nature
Through work dealing with the practical aspect of existence, the fact that the learner has a vital/emotional, physical and spiritual existence is fully acknowledged. Their input is thus treated with the seriousness and rigour that pure academic courses place upon the development of cognitively-based skills. The learner thus emerges from their period of study equipped with not only cognitive skills and insights, but also with psychological skills and insights necessary for dealing with the complexities, problems and opportunities of life.
1. Widening and clarity
Learners are encouraged to become aware of alternative perspectives and approaches to their subjects, and to tackle profound and complex subject matter to widen and clarify their faculties of thought, reasoning and understanding.
2. Idea development
Learners are assisted to broaden the way they think about their area of research, and are helped to clarify their chosen approach to the subject matter. Facilitators foster the learner's ability to focus upon a single idea, and to work out the implications of that idea through the consideration of theses, antitheses, and syntheses. This process helps the learner to make useful connections between subjects, ideas, and concepts, which widens the learner's intellectual horizons.
3. Critique awareness
Facilitators encourage personal engagement with a subject so that learners develop a secure basis from which to approach their subjects with confidence and interest. This strong foundation enables the student to more quickly spot problems with, or questions that need to be asked about, the subject matter or about their own perceptions, preconceptions, or ideas. Clarity of query promotes research and demands the clear articulation of perceptions. A useful outcome of this process is that the learner begins to perceive consequences and ramifications of an idea or an approach.
4. Contribution to a Field of Study
Having developed the skill of being able to see where problems or loopholes exist in a field of knowledge, the learner can creatively develop new approaches, theories, original applications, thus making a constructive and true contribution to their field of study.
Implementation of Free Progress Education Online
1. Choice and Guidance
Within each programme, learners are given a broad choice of courses that focus either on different subjects considered in the main lines of Sri Aurobindo's thought or on the multifarious aspects of integral yoga. Facilitators guide each learner individually, thus helping the learner to find their special interest and to explore the queries particular to each learner.
2. Facilitator's Aid
Facilitators aid learners in developing and expanding their understanding through answering questions, through posing thought-provoking questions, through expanding on learners' own perceptions, and through pointing out subtle links between different ideas. Each facilitator has his or her own methods of guiding a learner through the study experience, but some of the key methods universally adopted are:
I) analysis of and commenting on textual passages about specific topics in the classroom. This enables learners to develop their understanding of a subject, and how to articulate that understanding;
II) written assignments of various kinds, short and long, exploring certain key questions in the subject. This develops the learner's critical thinking faculty and enables the learner to express, and to explore, investigate and elaborate upon their own perceptions and ideas about a subject;
III) tests, sometimes conducted with reference to texts to challenge the research and critical abilities of the learner, and sometimes to be conducted with the memory and thinking faculties alone, are useful and enjoyable methods to develop a learner's cognitive skills.
3. Virtual Classrooms
These are the arenas where detailed and analytical discussions for the University's Programmes take place. These classrooms function in a manner similar to an email discussion group, in which each member can send text messages to the other members and respond to their messages. Reading assignments may be posted here by the facilitator, but learners may be required to purchase or borrow text books for their reading assignments. Typically, facilitators will stimulate discussions among the class-members about the reading material with specific thought-provoking questions, and these discussions are organized according to the topic-question. In addition, facilitators may express their own viewpoints and insights about the material. Learners may also pose their own questions about the course material in the classroom.
4. Personal Messaging
Each learner is set up with a personal messaging facility in which they can exchange email-like messages with other learners and facilitators in the University. This facility enables learners to communicate privately with their facilitators or with other learners. It is encouraged that this facility be used by learners to discuss their own progress and difficulties with their facilitator, and to provide feedback to facilitators about the course materials and instructional methods used.
5. General Discussion Cafe
This discussion arena is open to all learners and facilitators of the University. It is a place where conversations upon any and all topics related to the subjects taught at the University can proceed with input from diverse points of view and levels of study.
6. Open Forum
This is a facility on the public area of the website where articles or papers written by facilitators, learners, or other academics are posted that the public can read.
7. Web Links
This is a facility that learners can use to quickly access online books, articles, photographs, recordings, and other information related to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.