Guiding Light of The Month

Like a flame that burns in silence, like a perfume that rises straight upward without wavering, my love goes to Thee; and like the child who does not reason and has no care, I trust myself to Thee that Thy Will may be done, that Thy Light may manifest, Thy Peace radiate, Thy Love cover the world. - The Mother

Growth of the Flame

One close to their bosoms, yet divine and far.

Of thought’s transcendent climb and heavenward leap,
A brooding world of reverie and trance,
Filled with the mightiest works of God and man,
Where Nature seemed a dream of the Divine
And beauty and grace and grandeur had their home,
Harboured the childhood of the incarnate Flame.

-          Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (Nov 2017)

As has been traditionally inferred, the flame has been a symbol of hope, power of vision, Light, an agent of purification and aspiration, always rising up in an ardent yearning to realize itself and at the same time, always submitting a prayer to this end, to higher forces, far above the limitations of the human might. In the epic poem Savitri, the flame is a personification of Savitri herself, who is the full form of all that a flame represents. The Canto titled, “Growth of the Flame”, is the theme of this edition of the Newsletter. In this Canto, Sri Aurobindo brings alive in our consciousness the wonder of the Flame’s growth from its birth in time, towards a full-blown manifestation of divinity that it might take up arms against falsehood and ignorance and illusion, at the appointed time and place. 

An earthly place of unearthly charm and beauty 
“Harboured the childhood of the incarnate Flame. 
Over her watched millennial influences

And the deep godheads of a grandiose past
Looked on her and saw the future’s godheads come 
As if this magnet drew their powers unseen.”

It is evident here that this Flame that was being nurtured was no ordinary Flame. Or perhaps it was not even nurtured; It was there growing of its own strength and might, and was preparing the divine ground for future greatnesses to come, and which come as if pulled by that Flame alone. These few lines in themselves give us a direct indication of the vast Divine plan for earth. It was an announcement of the coming of a Force that would change the earth and manifest God’s greatness here. This was Savitri, the Flame, God’s gift to the yearning aspiration of one man, to save the world.

The symbol of the Flame may also be extended, if we allow, to the growth of our own innermost being, hidden deep within, veiled by layers after layers. This revelation of the innermost being, also known as the Psychic Being in Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga, is akin to a growth of a flame, when it comes forward to the forefront, showing itself more and more as the growth process progresses till finally it stands unveiled at the front of the being, influencing all its parts and planes and leading it simultaneously to a Life Divine where every act and move is a Divine sanction executed by the enlightened being, as it proceeds to open itself to the manifestation of Divinity in the earthen clay. How does this growth take place? How do we remove the layers which block the real Person within? How do we unmask ourselves, removing those masks we have put over us knowingly and without any consciousness of them? It is indeed a tall order. But this human birth is also worthy of reverence. There is an opportunity, so it seems, given to us to realize the greatness, the flame within so that life may assume a beauty and light, its right, now veiled. The process has to be worked out in each individual with clues along the way, as we journey on in life. 

This month of November also sees two important occasions. On the 17th, we remember The Mother’s Mahasamadhi Day. This will be observed as a day of silence. On 24th we observe the 91st anniversary of Siddhi Day or the day of Victory, signifying the descent of the Overmental or Krishna’s Light into the Earth plane in 1926. 

Savitri, a journey of Love and Light

Aware of the universal Self in all
She turned to living hearts and human forms;
Her soul’
s reflections, complements, counterparts,
The close outlying portions of her being
Divided from her by walls of body and mind
Yet to her spirit bound by ties divine.

(Savitri, Book four, Canto two)

(Meditations on Savitri, by Huta, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

A single lamp lit in perfection’s house

All her life’s turns led her to symbol doors
Admitting to secret Powers that were her kin;
Adept of truth, initiate of bliss,
A mystic acolyte trained in Nature’
s school,
Aware of the marvel of created things
She laid the secrecies of her heart’
s deep muse
Upon the altar of the Wonderful;
Her hours were ritual in a timeless fane;
Her acts became gestures of sacrifice.
When she was about twelve, Mirra used to go for solitary walks in the woods at Fontainebleau, and she would often sit for hours at the foot of a tree losing herself in communion with Nature. It was a singular concatenation, the ardent young girl self-absorbed in the infinitudes, and the silent ageless tree with the imperious woods around: quite an equation of the mathematics of the Spirit! The very birds and squirrels made friends with her, and would often perch on her, or crawl lovingly over her. And, indeed, Mirra felt perfectly at peace there in the bosom of Nature, and experienced a sense of identity. Some of the trees at Fontainebleau were supposed to be quite ancient – perhaps two thousand years old or more ­ and it was as though Mirra had captivated the heart of primordial Nature. The trees almost seemed to understand her, and whisper in a familiar language to her. The spirit of a tree had once become aware of the talk of cutting it down, and when Mirra went to sit under it began soliciting her to somehow save it from the threatened destruction. In later life she intervened in several cases and succeeded in staying the murderous axe. Her companionship with Nature was thus no pose, no mere figure of speech, but a deep commitment flowing from a sense of spiritual oneness with all life, all Nature.

On one occasion, however, as Mirra was climbing a hill in the Fontainebleau woods, her foot slipped, and she started falling down. Would she hit the flint stones below? She was unafraid all the same, and she felt as though Somebody was supporting her during her seemingly precipitate fall, and she safely reached the ground as though nothing had happened, as though she had but leisurely walked down the hill.

From the age of twelve, Mirra started doing what we might term Yoga, and her deep interest in occultism also sprouted at about the same time. Doing Yoga meant aspiring steadily for union with the Divine, and this led to the recurrence of certain dreams, visions, and even realisations. She read, and she pondered, and she had long meditative sessions.

These comrade selves to raise to her own wide breadths
Her heart desired and filled with her own power
That a diviner Force might enter life,
A breath of Godhead greaten human time.

Between her eighteenth and twentieth years, Mirra was able to achieve “a conscious and constant union with the divine Presence” and for effecting this communion she had neither Guru nor Book to guide her. In other words, with unerring intuition and a compulsive psychic movement Mirra had been able to reach the heart of the great mystery: her own secret Self which was at once the best Shastra and the sanctuary of the ultimate Guru. While describing the instruments of Yoga-Siddhi, Sri Aurobindo says in The Synthesis of Yoga:
The supreme Shastra of the integral Yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every thinking and living being ….
As the supreme Shastra of the integral Yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every man, so its supreme Guide and Teacher is the inner Guide, the World-Teacher, jagad-guru, secret within us. It is he who destroys our darkness by the resplendent light of his knowledge …. He discloses progressively in us his own nature of freedom, bliss, love, power, immortal being.

But of course, ordinarily the written or received Shastra, “the Word from without, representative of the Divine,” does help the psychic efflorescence. Where the self-unfolding has already taken place, as with Mirra in the first flash of her flowering womanhood, subsequent access to a received Shastra or an external Guru could be, “as it were, a concession of the omnipotent and omniscient Divine to the generality of a law that governs Nature”.

This was how Mirra began reading Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga and later, more important still, poring over the Bhagavad Gita. She found Vivekananda’s lectures illuminating, and it seemed a marvel that somebody could explain something to her so clearly. Then an Indian* introduced her to the Bhagavad Gita and said, “Read the Gita, and take Krishna as the symbol of the immanent God, the inner Godhead.” And in one month, even though she had access only to a poor French translation, she was able to enter into its spirit and find the immanent Divine, the God within.

Thus was it for a while with Savitri,
All worshipped marvellingly, none dared to claim.
Her mind sat high pouring its golden beams,
Her heart was a crowded temple of delight.
A single lamp lit in perfection’s house,
A bright pure image in a priestless shrine,
Midst those encircling lives her spirit dwelt,
Apart in herself until her hour of fate.

Mirra’s manifesto for the future, a matter of hardly three pages, and originally given in two instalments, although rather too analytical in appearance and even repetitive in part, is nevertheless a remarkably comprehensive enunciation of the ends and means before modern man “who needs must choose between the abyss of imminent destruction and the steep and narrow golden path of endless possibility. Early in her life, certain dreams and visions had come to her with a persistent frequency, certain avenues had seemed to open up, whose materialisation or fulfilment was to be promoted during the wide expanse of her later life.

She had already come across several people with a high aspiration and a keen urge to move towards new horizons, but the tiresome struggle for existence was wearing them down. Although very young at the time, Mirra had wanted to create a little sheltered world where such sincere aspirants would be freed from the exhausting preoccupations of earning and spending, but assured of the material necessities of life – food, clothing, shelter – so that they could turn towards the higher life.

And in her middle age she was actually to be in a position to organise such a community life for a large group of spiritual aspirants. Thus, in the wider background ‘of the inspiring epic of her divine ministry and manifestation, this 1912 manifesto has a key place, like the corner-stone of a magnificent edifice.

(On The Mother, K.R.Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Flowers Speak….

Blossoming of Nature

Abundant and strong, nothing can stop its growth.

Nature proves her collaboration with a smile of flowers.


Spiritual Ascension

Fearless, regular, uninterrupted

All perfection of which the outer man is capable, is only a realising of the eternal perfection of the Spirit within him. We know the Divine and become the Divine, because we are That already in our secret nature.

(Flowers and messages, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Radha’s prayer

O Thou whom at first sight I knew for the Lord of my being and my God, receive my offering.

Thine are all my thoughts, all my emotions, all the sentiments of my heart, all my sensations, all the movements of my life, each cell of my body, each drop of my blood. I am absolutely and altogether Thine, Thine without reserve. What Thou wilt of me, that I shall be. Whether Thou choosest for me life or death, happiness or sorrow, pleasure or suffering, all that comes to me from Thee will be welcome. Each one of Thy gifts will be always for me a gift divine bringing with it the supreme Felicity.

(White roses, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

My little adventure

A world nestled in neem trees, profound pomegranate flowers, peacocks and parrots, a world where Mother sings her music and passionate children sing her praise, perhaps swans will fly there one day, perhaps lotuses will blossom all day long.

I spent a week at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi branch, along with the neem trees and pomegranates, along with peacocks and parrots, singing beautiful music, listening to the melodious harmonium that is living along with everyone and with the children and didis.

I took up a small school project in art and music, to be with the children in Mirambika and get to know everyone in the Ashram. And I had a lovely time. I assisted in giving creative ideas for artwork with children and shared few beautiful songs with them. I observed the concept of Integral Education put into practice as I worked with them. As I worked with the children of perseverance group, I relished in watching them work well in a team, in doing a science project. I suggested ideas on making the artwork more interactive and found them accepting the ideas very well. With the young kids, the green group, I worked on a quilling project and it was good to see how enthusiastic they were about it. We drew lotuses, sunshine, peacocks and a little boy wanted to do fire.

The school was filled with beautiful pictures of Sweet Mother and everywhere I turned, I saw her smiling at me. I felt really beautiful as I did music along with the children. I was given a keyboard and little children of many groups surrounded me. As I played the notes, they sang along with me and the children’s voices still reverberate in me. A very delightful moment it was, when a child told me that she didn’t want to sing, but just close her eyes and listen to what I was playing. She did so and it was beautiful. When the youngest group came over, I really did not want to teach them songs, instead, I let them teach me. And they taught me a song on Mother Saraswati. Are they all the swans flying in the school? In the Ashram? I wonder… And another evening, I spent time at Matri Kalamandir learning a song on Savitri along with didis. As I listened to the Harmonium being played, I fell in love with it!

The shrine was like a white chariot carrying a golden princess, the trees where reverberating with the chants of morning birds, the evening meditations where glorious, table roses spoke of colorful compassion, squirrels where squeaking with joy all day long and Mother was watching all with calm passionate eyes. This was my stay at the Ashram in Delhi last month. And I am back home to Bangalore with sweet little memories.