(Founder of Centro Sri Aurobindo e Mère)
"Sooner or later all hearts ask themselves the why they beat"
AGHNI is not only the founder of the centre, he is the conductor to which all the members refer to and whom they recognize as a guide; he is the forger, the conscious soul, the one who embodies the dream of unity and is the example of every moment; it is he who takes charge, internally and externally, of every person, thing and event that gravitates to the atmosphere of the centre; he makes his own being and experience available in order to concertize a particular type of 'whole', of a center on Earth; it is only thanks to Aghni that this 'living laboratory' exists which is the Centro Sri Aurobindo e Mère.
But Aghni's experience is far from being purely personal: when individual consciousness opens up to the higher regions it automatically becomes, carries and lives within itself a dimension that no longer has the limits of a single mind and body, that it increasingly crosses the boundaries that separate the individual's reality from the total reality; for this reason the experience and reality of each member of the center are also those of Aghni and his can sometimes become his own, if allowed.
To open the doors of the possible to a dream, to a project, to a future realization (even if, as in this case, it is an evolving 'something', which is built and outlined gradually), it is necessary someone who becomes an instrument of its realization and becomes an irradiating cell of the possibility seen and dreamed. Aghni is this 'Someone' for what concerns an attempt such as the Centro Sri Aurobindo e Mère; an attempt which, in the footsteps of the experience revealed by the Work of Sri Aurobindo and Mère, carries within it a dream: that of realizing and becoming a " Gnostic centre",
"... a 'whole' where the one takes charge of the whole and the whole supports the individual with equal intensity and strength;
a knowledge of intimate feeling, action, thought, vision, strength and sense, where universal and individual consciousness merge into a single supermental Consciousness of Truth ... "(Aghni)
A dream that, for Aghni who embodies it and for those who are aware of it, already hovers present and active in a more subtle, parallel dimension; but in the present, in the 'daily', it must be built day after day, experimenting, trying and suffering if necessary, in search of that higher and more true something that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have called the Consciousness of Truth, the New World, the Supermind.
It is difficult and arbitrary to describe what Aghni's action as the "soul", guide and precursor of this attempt can be, if not, perhaps, using words such as self-giving, immolation, sacrifice.
"Any leader of any movement who is truly a "leader" cannot be seen as a simple individual incarnation; he brings with him in addition to his personal destiny a "dream", a "project ", an "ideal", social, political or religious that it is, which obliges him to a centrifugal action addressed to others, to the environment and to the whole world. This action can only take place through a "sacrifice" and a "self-giving". It must be offered and offered in a a more or less constant gift if you want to have a minimal chance of success; you have to abandon yourself, overcome yourself, your limitations, your inability, your gains, if you want to channel and materialize until materialization a subtle possibility, such as Equality, Freedom, Equanimity or Knowledge by identity. Abandonment and Self-giving are the wings necessary for the spirit that truly wants to be an instrument and not a mere agent of the Universal Force. " (Aghni )
The very essence of the term 'sacrifice' (as it is understood in Vedic culture, and not in the more narrow and negative sense it assumes in western culture) is also intimately connected to the profound meaning of its name: Aghni, in the Vedic myth, it is not only the homonym divinity, the will inspired by divine wisdom and its active and effective power, but it is also the sacrificial and purifying fire, its warmth, its energy: qualities that in fact well distinguish, in practice, the energetic, intense and particular action of Aghni as the 'teacher of life'.
Aghni's own words can better highlight his role:
" In the world there are various types of teachers: spiritual teachers, masters of occult and non-occult sciences, social and political teachers, etc ... A particular type of teacher is the" Gnostic "one. Going to see the etymology of these words, we see that : 'master'' = 'the strongest', 'the greatest', 'the one who educates'. 'Educate' = 'lead out'. 'Gnostic' = 'True Higher Knowledge'.
In summary, here is who I am: I am someone who can 'bring out' the essence of things. I was born to teach this. I can only do this well. All those who aim to know and become the secret Self of manifestation, who consciously seek Existence must confront the mind, life and matter and find the hidden reasons of "being".
You can do it yourself if you want, but Divine Wisdom foresees that you can take advantage of the work of those who have already investigated, sweated and often suffered for it; hence the role of the masters: living incarnations of secret Essences. "
Regarding the origin and meaning of his name, Aghni replies: “ Each of us has a double Truth, a double aspect: external and internal, superficial and deep. Everything that surrounds us, lives and throbs, moves, presents this double character. The flowers, so beautiful and fragrant, are the materialization of a 'Something else' that expresses itself here. Even animals 'materialize' more subtle and etheric forces and principles: the fox represents craftiness, the lion strength, the eagle acuteness, etc ...
We humans, higher animals, with greater evidence and vigor express and concretize extra-physical or supernatural entities and personalities. We all keep in our deep the presence of some Cosmic or Divine Principle whether we are aware of it or not. And there is a moment when this Principle emerges on the surface and reveals itself to the thinking consciousness of who hosts it. "
In Aghni this happened in the early 1980s. At first in a latent way, then with increasing vigor, a certain 'Something' emerged, followed by a certain 'Someone'. In a continuous and ever more intense way, an increasing number of qualities or inner attributes converging towards one of the 'primordial Essences' or 'supreme Consciousness' have imposed themselves on his frontal personality, which, more and more, came to preside over his ideas, his choices, feelings, emotions, desires and instincts themselves. It is difficult now to explain these Essences, including Aghni.
“ I could speak of Divinity. I could speak of Cosmogony. I could talk about the involution of the Spirit and its universal plans. Instead, I will just say that every human being is shaped in the 'image and likeness' of a 'Something' that religions call God, philosophers call Origin, occultists call Supreme and adepts call Lord.
This 'Something' progressively emerges in physical and material manifestation, it shapes this world of form to translate more and more the immeasurable Perfection hidden in itself. "(Aghni)
(February 2020) Interview by Narad,
in the same YouTube channel you will find also the second part, don't miss it!
Nirod da inaugurated one of Aghni's first exhibitions in Pondicherry in the early 90's
During a conference at House of associations, April 2019, Torreglia (PD)
Aghni and Usha at Matrimandir - Auroville in 1989
Aghni in the gardens of
Sri Aurobindo Ashram-Delhi Branch
Giovanni Tonioni (Aghni) was born in 1952 in Savignano S. P. (MO) where he still resides. From an early age he lived intensely a succession of existential experiences that led him to get closer and closer to yoga. In the 1970's he directs the "Center of information and yoga philosophy", he joins the Self Realization Fellowship; he becomes an instructor of hatha yoga and he teaches the traditional ways of yoga: hatha yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga.
In 1986, on the basis of the thought of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, he founded the "Centro Sri Aurobindo e Mère" which will materialize, a year later, in the Germoglio Group: a handful of people who, united by the need to know them-self, the world and the consciousness that permeates everything, live together, study, work and research the 'how' and 'why' of life. Through the common need to know themselves, the world and the conscience that permeates everything, being and event, the members of the Center live together as a large family on sixteen hectares of hilly terrain located in the foothills that frames the splendid valley of the cherry trees Vignola, about thirty kilometers from Bologna or from Modena.
From a certain moment onward Aghni ceases his teaching activity and dedicates himself exclusively to the harmonization of the different consciousnesses and to the concretization of the subtle energies present in the Center with the ultimate aim of materializing "a Gnostic Body", a Supramental Being on Earth.
The contents and stages of this experience are described in some of his literary works, such as "Oltre ogni Trama", "Step by step" and "Beyond death: dialogue with a transitory being". He writes several books collected in the series "Knowing yourself". Aghni's work and research are also set in his artistic and didactic works: "Namasté Savitri" (watercolors), canvases with existential themes, (gypsografie), "The Evolution of Consciousness on Earth" (graphic schemes on the plans and parts of being), Savitri (oil paintings), "The Hour of God" - "The Law of the Way" - "The Divine Superman" etc... (paintings with mixed techniques inspired to some essays written by Sri Aurobindo).