Guiding Light of The Month

O Lord, how ardently do I call and implore Thy love! Grant that my aspiration may be intense enough to awaken the same aspiration everywhere: oh, may good- ness, justice and peace reign as supreme masters, may ignorant egoism be overcome, darkness be suddenly illu- minated by Thy pure Light; may the blind see, the deaf hear, may Thy law be proclaimed in every place and, in a constantly progressive union, in an ever more perfect harmony, may all, like one single being, stretch out their arms towards Thee to identify themselves with Thee and manifest Thee upon earth. - The Mother

Personality traits of a true teacher

1. Complete self-control not only to the extent of not showing any anger, but remaining absolutely quiet and undisturbed under all circumstances.
2. In the matter of self-confidence, must also have a sense of the relativity of his importance. Above all, must have the knowledge that the teacher himself must always progress if he wants his students to progress, must not remain satisfied either with what he is or with what he knows.
3. Must not have any sense of essential superiority over his students nor preference or attachment whatsoever for one or another.
4. Must know that all are equal spiritually and instead of mere tolerance must have a global comprehension or understanding.
5. The business of both parent and teacher is to enable and to help the child to educate himself, to develop his own intellectual, moral, aesthetic and practical capacities and to grow freely as an organic being, not to be kneaded and pressured into form like an inert plastic material.

The interest of the students is proportionate to the true capacity of the teacher.

- The Mother

As I walked those gates

I remember my first day in school,
As I walked Those gates
I took a deep breath as I walked in

Thought of the seeds I’ll plant and nurture
That will take roots and grow
That will branch and spread
That will bloom into fruition

I took a deep breath
As I walked the corridors
Stood the centre patch of green

Thought of my children
All moving like bees with a purpose
All sprightly, happy, full of life
All chirpy like the birds
Eager to share and be there

I took a deep breath
As I stepped into the classroom

Thought of the ideas that will be born
That will be shared
That will be created
That will be shaped and moulded

I took a deep breath
As I looked all around
Every corner every tree

Thought of all We’ll do
the plants we’ll plant
sing and dance,
draw and paint,
sculpt and create
act and be the part,
read and go places

Thought of all we’ll learn and experience,
To observe and infer,
To play and win,
To clean and tidy,
To share and care
To love and respect all,

Brought back memories of my first day in school
As a child………………
The Difference each teacher made
It made a Difference
I knew It will make a Difference

That I will make The Difference

Tears rolled the cheek, mingled with the rain
It was the Best Tears of Happiness
That streaked down my cheeks in years…

- Jaishree ( 5th April ’08)

The Mother's music

My music liberates you from human pettiness and the narrowness of the ignorance, and it thrusts you up towards a communion with Eternity where leaps forth the flash of Light and an outburst of Ananda. My music purifies you with its waves of harmony surging up from the depths of the being like an aspiration, trying to bring forth an echo of the hidden harmonies in us which are the secret rhythms of Infinity… the fusion of all our spiritual substances into a single whole through a large and wide movement, gathering up all that is sublime and spiritual in us towards a divine exaltation and transcendence.

To better understand my music, you must be as calm as possible – calm and silent, the head empty; then the vibrations and rhythms of the harmony which is expressing itself will make an imprint of an expanding compassion and will establish peace, sweetness, the calm of perfect purity and the revelations of the eternal truth.

My music gives a power of certitude that seizes the soul.

My music brings down the unseizable secret of the divine harmonies, the miracle of eternal beauty, the irresistible magic of a universal charm that unifies and binds the worlds with rhythms that surpass our comprehension….In fact, my music enters through the sensations into the depths of the being and drives away discomforts and sufferings.

It was this that I was trying out on my body … Peace … Peace (pause). My music is like a wave of harmony which seizes you by its intensity – a sensation as if the Divine were entering into you… very calm and very pure, descending into you discreetly, very quietly.

Excerpts from Mona Sarkar (2000), The Supreme, Conversations with The Mother Recollected by Mona Sarkar, The Transformation of the Body, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry

Quotes by The Mother on Music

" is wonderful! Music itself pure and high and strong... It is delightful and leaves you waiting and wanting to hear more... It is beautiful, very beautiful..."

"...this music opens the doors of the future and reproduces admirably the musical vibrations of the higher regions."

SUNIL BHATTACHARYA (3 November 1920 - 30 April 1998)

Sunil was born on the 3rd of November 1920 in Krishnanagar, a small town situated about 90 Km north of Calcutta, West Bengal. His youth was spent
in a wide range of studies; literature, science, mathematics (and chess) were serious interests. He took the Bachelor's degree in Chemistry with honours from Saint Xavier's College, Calcutta.

Sunil came to Pondicherry in 1942 and joined the Ashram's Centre of Education as one of its first teachers. He taught mathematics and botany. His love for these subjects was avid as well as contagious.

Although Sunil had no formal musical education, during his youth he received classical training on the sitar from his brother. Sunil was a gifted player, and after hearing him play the Mother sent him no less than three sitars as gifts. His musical career began in the Ashram, composing original music and orchestrating traditional Indian instruments for dance dramas.

Sunil was a footballer and was captain of the Ashram team. In what was to be his last competition, he sustained a serious fracture of the right hand. The fracture healed badly and forced Sunil to put aside his beloved sitars. It was then that he took up keyboard instruments in earnest, first the harmonium, then the electric organ and later, modern analog and digital synthesizers.

Sunil's New Year's Music had its genesis with the Mother. At the beginning of each new year, the Mother gave a special message and played original themes on the organ. In 1958, the Mother asked Sunil to orchestrate something based upon the broad outlines of one of her organ compositions. This became the New Year's Music of 1959. The Mother was so pleased with the music that beginnning with the year 1965, she asked Sunil to compose the annual new year music himself. This he did until his passing in 1998.

In 1966, the Mother asked Sunil to set her readings from Sri Aurobindo's epic masterpiece Savitri to music. She wrote to him, "Toi seul peut faire cette musique comme il convient." (You alone can do this music as it should be done). Continuously for over thirty years, this music was Sunil's preoccupation and labor.

Savitri; Music and Dance

Overpassing lines that please outward eyes
But hide the sight of that which lives within
Sculpture and painting concentrated sense
Upon an inner vision’s motionless verge,
Revealed a figure of the invisible,
Unveiled all Nature’s meaning in a form,
Or caught into a body the Divine.
The architecture of the Infinite
Discovered here its inward-musing shapes
Captured into wide-breaths of soaring stone:
Music brought down celestial yearnings, song
Held the merged heart absorbed in rapturous depths,
Linking the human with the cosmic cry;
The world-interpreting movements of the dance
Moulded idea and mood to a rhythmic sway
And posture; crafts minute in subtle lines
Eternised a swift moment’s memory
Or showed in a carving’s sweep, a cup’s design
The underlying patterns of the unseen:

- Savitri, (Book Four; Canto Two)

Music: A part of life of Yoga

"Importance of Music in Education Plato in his Republic has dealt with extraordinary emphasis on the importance of music in education; as is the music to which a people is accustomed, so, he says in effect, is the character of that people. The importance of painting and sculpture is hardly less. The mind is profoundly influenced by what it sees and, if the eye is trained from the days of childhood to the contemplation and understanding of beauty, harmony and just arrangement in line and color, the tastes, habits and character will be insensibly trained to follow a similar law of beauty, harmony and just arrangement in the life of adult man... A similar result is produced on the emotions by the study of beautiful or noble art. We have spoken of the purification of the heart, the chittaSuddhi, which Aristotle assigned as the essential office of poetry, and have pointed out that it is done in poetry by the detached and disinterested enjoyment of the eight rasas or forms of emotional aestheticism which make up life unalloyed by the disturbance of the lower self-regarding passions. Painting and sculpture work in the same direction by different means. Art sometimes uses the same means as poetry but cannot do it to the same extent because it has not the movement of poetry; it is fixed, still, it expresses only a given moment, a given point in space and cannot move freely through time and region. But it is precisely this stillness, this calm, this fixity which gives its separate value to Art. Poetry raises the emotions and gives each its separate delight. Art stills the emotions and teaches them the delight of a restrained and limited satisfaction, - this indeed was the characteristic that the Greeks, a nation of artists far more artistic than poetic, tried to bring into their poetry. Music deepens the emotions and harmonises them with each other. Between them music, art and poetry are a perfect education for the soul; they make and keep its movements purified, self-controlled, deep and harmonious. These, therefore, are agents which cannot profitably be neglected by humanity on its onward march or degraded to the mere satisfaction of sensuous pleasure which will disintegrate rather than build the character. They are, when properly used, great educating, edifying and civilising forces."

- Sri Aurobindo

Flutings and Movements

The morning due is there
Asleep upon the glades of green
Bees are about, free of care
Without the dimming screen
Against all that beauty can bare
And the birds’ flight one can glean
Effortless, through lightning glare

And this the moment
When it all begins
Life and all it means

The drift of the lilting voice
Flutings of a rarer kind
Rising and sinking without choice
In the vista of a thick set mind
Floating free, soft and light
Piercing through the hardest core
Setting alive the flicker of love’s flight
A sweet symphony, It is joy’s score
Set to the rhythm of heart’s delight

It wafts from the deep of our forest
Music of sweet whisper
Through the thickness of green
Towards peripheries of perception
Into the heart of the hearing
When the outer eyes close
And Outer ears, they lose the cries
Awake to something out of place
Or so it appears
When the vision rests
On the cell of emptiness inside
And the hearing hears
Multiple deflections
Of one single note

When thus the world is shut to the outside
And tuned towards the one inside
A movement is born, grows and flows
A rhythmic motion bursts alive
And dance sets forth her feet
On the bare grounds of our earth
Inscribing in perfection’s prints
In language of meticulous motion
The script of the fluting call
That words do not describe
In sways and surging waves
Flowing from within
To the touch
Of the magic wand

This the walk of music and dance?
When we touch the chord within
Hidden in the secret cave
Of our hearts’ space?
Marching hand in hand
In the grove
Of Nature’s dream?

Artistic impression by Sudha

Jayanthy (9 May 2008 9.45am)

Other Questions on Music and the mother's answers

Q: Mother, when one hears music, how should one truly hear it?

The Mother: For this - if one can be completely silent, you see, silent and attentive, simple as though one were an instrument which has to record it - one does not move, and is only something that is listening - if one can be absolutely silent, absolutely still and like that, then the thing enters. And it is only later, sometime later, that you can become aware of the effect, either of what it meant or the impression it had on you. But the best way of listening is this. It is to be like a still mirror and very concentrated, very silent. In fact, we see people who truly love music... I have seen musicians listening to music, musicians, composers or players who truly love music, I have seen them listening to music... they sit completely still, you know, they are like that, they do not move at all. Everything, everything is like that. And if one can stop thinking, then it is very good, then one profits fully... it is one of the methods of inner opening and one of the most powerful.

Q: Mother, how can one enter into the feelings of a piece of music played by someone else?

The Mother: In the same way as one can share the emotions of another person by sympathy, spontaneously, by an affinity more or less deep, or else by an effort of concentration which ends in identification. It is this last process that one adopts when one listens to music with an intense and concentrated attention, to the point of checking all other noise in the head and obtaining a complete silence, into which fall, drop by drop, the notes of the music whose sound alone remains; and with the sound all the feelings, all the movements of emotion can be perceived, experienced, felt as if they were produced in ourselves.

Q: In the same way as here?

The Mother: There certainly is a sound in all the manifested worlds, and when one has the appropriate organs one hears it. There are sounds which belong to the highest regions, and in fact, the sound we have here gives the feeling of a noise in comparison with that sound. For example, there are regions harmonious and musical in which one hears something which is the origin of the music we have here - but the sounds of material, physical music seem absolutely barbaric in comparison with that music! When one has heard that, even the most perfect instrument is inadequate. All constructed instruments, among which the violin certainly has the purest sound, are very much inferior in their expression to the music of this world of harmonies. The human voice when absolutely pure is of all instruments the one which expresses it best; but it is still... it has a sound which seems so harsh, so gross compared with that. When one has been in that region, one truly knows what music is. And it has so perfect a clarity that at the same time as the sound one has the full understanding of what s said. That is, one has the principle of the idea, without words, simple with the sound and all the inflexion of the... one can't call it sensations, nor feelings... what seems to be closest would be some kind of soul-states or states of consciousness. All these inflexions are clearly perceptible through the nuances of the sound. And certainly, those who were great musicians, geniuses from the point of view of music, must have been more or less consciously in contact with that. The physical world as we have it today is an absolutely gross world; it looks like a caricature. Conscious Hands ... I knew how the consciousness works. Well, it is impossible to learn piano or to do painting unless the consciousness enters into the hands and the hands become conscious independently of the head. The head can be busy elsewhere, that has no importance. * Q: Is it possible to make my hands conscious so that they do nothing imperfect, incorrect or wrong? What is the way to do it, Mother? It is quite possible, by concentrating on the hands when they are doing something. The hands of painters, sculptors, musicians (especially pianists) are usually very conscious and always are skillful. It is a question of training.


What is the relation of art to Yoga

“Is it possible for a Yogi to become an artist or can an artist be a Yogi? What is the relation of Art to Yoga?

The two are not so antagonistic as you seem to think. There is nothing to prevent a Yogi from being an artist or an artist from being a Yogi. But when you are in Yoga, there is a profound change in the values of things, of Art as of everything else; you begin to look at Art from a very different standpoint. It is no longer the one supreme all – engrossing thing for you, no longer an end in itself. Art is a means, not an end; it is a means of expression. His personality counts no longer; he is an agent, a channel, his art a means of expressing his relations with the Divine. He uses it for the purpose as he might have used any other means that were part of the powers of nature.

“ But does the work of an artist improve if he does Yoga?”
The discipline of Art has at its centre the same principle as the discipline of Yoga. In both the aim is to become more and more conscious; in both you have to learn to see and feel something that is beyond the ordinary vision and feeling, to go within and bring out from there deeper things. Painters have to follow a discipline for the growth of the consciousness of their eyes, which in itself a Yoga. If they are true artists and try to see beyond and use their art for the expression of the inner world, they grow in consciousness by this concentration, which is not other than the consciousness given by Yoga. Why then should not Yogic consciousness be a help to artistic creation? I have known some who had very little training and skill and yet through Yoga acquired a fine capacity in writing and painting. Two examples I can cite to you. One was a girl who had no education whatever; she was a dancer and danced tolerably well. After she took up Yoga, she danced only for friends; but her dancing attained a depth of expression and beauty which was not there before. And although she was not educated, she began to write wonderful things; for she had visions and expressed them in the most beautiful language. But there were ups and downs in her Yoga, and when she was in a good condition, she wrote beautifully, but otherwise was quite dull and stupid and uncreative. The second case is that of a boy who had studied art, but only just a little. The son of a diplomat, he had been trained for the diplomatic career; but he lived in luxury and his studies did not go far. Yet as soon as he took up Yoga, he began to produce inspired drawings, which carried the expression of an inner knowledge and were symbolic in character; in the end he became a great artist.

- The Mother (Words Of The Mother)

Words of The Mother on Music

Music too is an essentially spiritual art and has always been associated with religious feeling and an inner life. But, here too, we have turned it into something independent and self-sufficient, a mushroom art, such as is operatic music. Most of the artistic productions we come across are of this kind and at best interesting from the point of view of technique. I do not say that even operatic music cannot be used as a medium of a higher art expression; for whatever the form, it can be made to serve a deeper purpose. All depends on the thing itself, on how it is used, on what is behind it. There is nothing that cannot be used for the Divine purpose- just as anything can pretend to be the Divine and yet be of the mushroom species.

Among the great modern musicians there have been several whose consciousness, when they created, came into touch with a higher consciousness. Cesar Frank played on the organ as one inspired; he had an opening into the psychic life and he was conscious of it and to a great extent expressed it. Beethoven, when he composed the Ninth Symphony, had the vision of an opening into a higher world and of the descent of a higher world into this earthly plane. Wagner had strong and powerful intimations of the occult world; he had the instinct of occultism and the sense of the occult and through it he received his greatest inspirations. But he worked mainly on the vital level and his mind came in constantly to interfere and mechanised his inspiration. His work for the greater part is too mixed, too often obscure and heavy, although powerful. But when he could cross the vital and the mental levels and reach a higher world, some of the glimpses he had were of an exceptional beauty, as in Parsifal, in some parts of Tristan and Iseult and most in its last great Act.

Look again at what the moderns have made of the dance; compare it with what the dance once was. The dance was once one of the highest expressions of the inner life; it was associated with religion and it was an important limb in sacred ceremony, in the celebrations of festivals, in the adoration of the Divine. In some countries it reached a very high degree of beauty and an extraordinary perfection. In Japan they kept up the tradition of the dance as a part of the religious life and, because the strict sense of beauty and art is a natural possession of the Japanese, they did not allow it to degenerate into something of lesser significance and smaller purpose. It was the same in India. It is true that in our days there have been attempts to resuscitate the ancient Greek and other dances; but the religious sense is missing in all such resurrections and they look more like rhythmic gymnastics then dance.

Today Russian dances are famous, but they are expressions of the vital world and there is even something terribly wrong and there is even something terribly vital in them. Like all that comes to us from that world, they may be very attractive or very repulsive, but always they stand for themselves and not for the expression of the higher life. The very mysticism of the Russians is of a vital order. As technicians of the dance they are marvelous; but technique is only an instrument. If your instrument is good, so much the better, but so long as it is not surrendered to the Divine, however fine it may be, it is empty of the highest and cannot serve a divine purpose. The difficulty is that most of those who become artists believe that they stand on their own legs and have no need to turn to the Divine. It is a great pity; for in the divine manifestation skill is as useful an element as anything else. Skill is one part of the divine fabric, only it must know how to subordinate itself to greater things.

There is a domain far above the mind which we could call the world of Harmony and, if you can reach there, you will find the root of all harmony that has been manifested in whatever form upon earth. For instance, there is a certain line of music, consisting of a few supreme notes, that was behind the productions of two artists who came one after another – one a concerto of Bach, another a concerto of Beethoven. The two are not alike on paper and differ to the outward ear, but in their essence they are the same. One and the same vibration of consciousness, one wave of significant harmony touched both these artists. Beethoven caught a larger part, but in him it was more mixed with the inventions and interpolations of his mind; Bach received less, but what he seized of it was purer. The vibration was that of a victorious emergence of consciousness, consciousness tearing itself out of the womb of unconsciousness in a triumphant uprising and birth.

If by Yoga you are capable of reaching this source of all art, then you are master, if you will, of all the arts. Those that may have gone there before, found it perhaps happier, more pleasant or full of a rapturous ease to remain and enjoy the Beauty and the Delight that are there, not manifesting it, not embodying it upon earth. But this absentation is not all the truth nor the true truth of Yoga; it is rather a deformation, a diminution of the dynamic freedom of Yoga by the more negative spirit of Sannyasa. The will of the Divine is to manifest, not to remain altogether withdrawn in inactivity and an absolute silence; if the Divine Consciousness were really an inaction of unmanifesting bliss, there would never have been any creation.

- The Mother


Music. What place does music hold in our lives? Its time to dwell on this special topic of interest to many. In fact, to state it boldly, there is no one who is not touched in a special way by music. What kinds of music are there? We know of the popular, the classic, the fusion varieties, Eastern, Oriental, Indian or Western music. Each of these touch us in different ways. In fact, our preference for different kinds of music changes with the flight of time. What may have appealed to us in one phase of life does not appeal and in some cases, turns one off, at another. Music is like a living entity, something real and true we respond to, relate with, something that may bring out the best in us or the worst sometimes, without our even knowing it. Perhaps taking a closer look at our relationship with music would reveal a whole world within us, our many planes with which we establish relationships with or sometimes, and perhaps rarely, identify with.

Wikipedia defines music, quite comprehensively to the measuring and calculating mind, as “an art form that involves organised sounds and silence. It is expressed in terms of pitch (which includes melody and harmony), rhythm (which includes tempo and meter), and the quality of sound (which includes timbre, articulation, dynamics, and texture).” Scientifically, according to the laws of physics, music can be defined as "sound through time."

The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (3rd Edition, 1995) defines music as “The arrangement of sounds made by instruments or voices in a way that is pleasant or exciting”.

The above definitions of music are representative of what the academic human mind has gleaned of music and classified according to its highest (presumably) mental precepts. What does the genius of Sri Aurobindo speak of music? In The Indian Renaissance (Pg 227, 228), Sri Aurobindo, writes of how in ancient India, music, like the other art forms, was placed under the sanction of the Rishis “and were made instruments of the spirit’s culture.” Though it was, like the rest of the art forms, nurtured and enjoyed for pure aesthetic satisfaction, it was “still raised up to minister to the intellectual, ethical and religious development of the being.” In Essays Divine and Human (Pg 389), Sri Aurobindo points out how “music and art reveal perhaps more absolutely the soul of a nation..” In Savitri (Pg 235), he writes prophetically about there being a music “that can immortalize the mind…make the heart wide as infinity..”

There is certainly more to music than meets the eye. What is this music “that can immortalize”?. What is it, at its highest expressions and possibilities? What of the listener of music, what of its composer. Let’s venture on.


The glories of nature have to be lived to be understood. There is probably not one amongst us who has not been touched by nature in one way or another, we who are after all, of the very stuff of nature in one portion of our being. In unsuspecting moments, we must have communed with nature deeply, this entity that we unfortunately project out of our being and place as external to us most often. Nevertheless, nature exists in all her glory, whether we are watching or not, aware or not aware.

In the flight of birds soaring high in the vast blue sky, in the ardour of the tall trees reaching out towards the sky in one-pointed determination, in the starkness of silence amidst moving mountains, in the potency of the raging rivers seeking out their ends in the seething seas, in the incessant call of the waves as they throw themselves tirelessly, time and time again, upon the brown bodied earth, in the many voices of nature in a happy chatter or else, fierce competition, in the speechless beauty of the dark, night sky illumined by one single disk of silver, in the candid joy of a thousand twinkling stars, in the sweetness of a casual breeze brushing past, in the incessant beating of the heart, in the tidal waves of the tsunami, in the earth-shattering earthquakes that rock existence in her cradle for seconds, in the fierce glow of forest fires that rage on madly for days, in the seemingly unending torrents of rain that soak the earth right through, for days on end, in the intensity of the scorching sun creating instant deserts within weeks, in the flash of floods that submerge the rest of nature, in the flow of rivers of red-hot larva …. in all these and many more faces that nature wears, we glimpse something of her beauty, her majesty, her awesome presence and touch…these are moments when nature bares herself before our half-closed eyes. And then comes a time when all eyes on the outward must turn inwards too, inevitably, someday. To be aware of all these externalities is one thing. To dive into one’s own nature, bringing in the light of consciousness therein and witness the whole works of it, is quite another stupendous task of beauty we can indulge in.

In this issue of our newsletter, we indulge in the flamboyant beauty of nature, her sweetness and her significance.

The ambitious violet: A story by Khalil Gibran

There was a beautiful and fragrant violet who lived placidly amongst her friends, and swayed happily amidst the other flowers in a solitary garden. One morning, as her crown was embellished with beads of dew, she lifted her head and looked about; she saw a tall and handsome rose standing proudly and reaching high into space, like a burning torch upon an emerald lamp.

The violet opened her blue lips and said, "What an unfortunate am I among these flowers, and how humble is the position I occupy in their presence! Nature has fashioned me to be short and poor.... I live very close to the earth and I cannot raise my head toward the blue sky, or turn my face to the sun, as the roses do."

And the rose heard her neighbor's words; she laughed and commented, "How strange is your talk! You are fortunate, and yet you cannot understand your fortune. Nature has bestowed upon you fragrance and beauty which she did not grant to any other... Cast aside your thoughts and be contended, and remember that he who humbles himself will be exalted, and he who exalts himself will be crushed."

The violet answered, "You are consoling me because you have that I craved.... You seek to embitter me with the meaning that you are great.... How painful is the preaching of the fortunate to the heart of the miserable! And how severe is the strong when he stands as advisor among the weak!"

And Nature heard the conversation of the violet and the rose; she approached and said, "What has happened to you, my daughter violet? You have been humble and sweet in all your deeds and words. Has greed entered your heart and numbed your senses?" In a pleading voice, the violet answered her, saying, "Oh great and merciful mother, full of love and sympathy, I beg you, with all my heart and soul, to grant my request and allow me to be a rose for one day."
And Nature responded, "you know not what you are seeking; you are unaware of the concealed disaster behind your blind ambition. If you were a rose you would be sorry, and repentance would avail you but naught." The violet insisted, "Change me into a tall rose, for I wish to lift my head high with pride; and regardless of my fate, it will be my own doing." Nature yielded, saying, "Oh ignorant and rebellious violet, I will grant your request. But if calamity befalls you, your complaint must be to yourself."

And Nature stretched forth her mysterious and magic finger and touched the roots of the violet, who immediately turned into a tall rose; rising above all other flowers in the garden.
At eventide the sky became thick with black clouds, and the raging elements disturbed the silence of existence with thunder, and commenced to attack the garden, sending forth a great rain and strong winds. The tempest tore the branches and uprooted the plants and broke the stems of the tall flowers, sparing only the little ones who grew close to the friendly earth. That solitary garden suffered greatly from the belligerent skies, and when the storm calmed and the sky cleared, all the flowers were laid waste and none of them had escaped the wrath of Nature except the clan of small violets, hiding by the wall of the garden.

Having lifted her head and viewed the tragedy of the flowers and trees, one of the violet maidens smiled happily and called to here companions, saying, "See what the tempest has done to the haughty flowers!" Another violet said, "We are small, and live close to the earth, but we are safe from the wrath of the skies." And a third one added, "Because we are poor in height the tempest is unable to subdue us."

At that moment the queen of violets saw by her side the converted violet, hurled to earth by the storm and distorted upon the wet grass like a limp soldier in a battle field. The queen of the violets lifted her head and called to her family, saying, "Look, my daughters, and meditate upon that which Greed has done to the violet who became a proud rose for one hour. Let the memory of this scene be a reminder of your good fortune."

And the dying rose moved and gathered the remnants of her strength, and quietly said, "You are contended and meek dullards; I have never feared the tempest. Yesterday I, too, was satisfied and contented with Life, but Contentment has acted as a barrier between my existence and the tempest of Life, confining me to a sickly and sluggish peace and tranquility of mind. I could have lived the same life you are living now by clinging with fear to the earth.... I could have waited for winter to shroud me with snow and deliver me to Death, who will surely claim all violets.... I am happy now because I have probed outside my little world into the mystery of the Universe.... something which you have not yet done. I could have overlooked Greed, whose nature is higher than mine, but as I hearkened to the silence of the night, I heard the heavenly world talking to this earthly world, saying, 'Ambition beyond existence is the essential purpose of our being.' At that moment my spirit revolted and my heart longed for a position higher than my limited existence. I realized that the abyss cannot hear the song of the stars, and at that moment I commenced fighting against my smallness and craving for that which did not belong to me, until my rebelliousness turned into a great power, and my longing into a creating will.... Nature, who is the great object of our deeper dreams, granted my request and changed me into a rose with her magic fingers."

The rose became silent for a moment, and in a weakening voice, mingled with pride and achievement, she said, "I have lived one hour as a proud rose; I have existed for a time like a queen; I have looked at the Universe from behind the eyes of the rose; I have heard the whisper of the firmament through the ears of the rose and touched the folds of Light's garment with rose petals. Is there any here who can claim such honor?" Having this spoken, she lowered her head, and with a choking voice he gasped, "I shall die now, for my soul has attained its goal. I have finally extended my knowledge to a world beyond the narrow cavern of my birth. This is the design of Life.... This is the secret of Existence." Then the rose quivered, slowly folded her petals, and breathed her last with a heavenly smile upon her lips... a smile of fulfillment of hope and purpose in Life... a smile of victory... a God's smile.

The Mother on Nature untouched by men

The mediating light linked body's power,
The sleep and dreaming of the tree and plant,
The animal's vibrant sense, the thought in man,
To the effulgence of the Ray above.

(Savitri, Book Two, Canto Ten)

I saw in France a patch of garden: it was surrounded by walls, and the land had belonged to someone who took great care of it and had planted flowers in it. It was fairly large, but completely enclosed. That person died. It was in southern France. He died and no one (there were no heirs), no one looked after that garden... I don’t remember now, but certainly more than five years afterwards. It probably happened that the lock broke little by little and came loose; I pushed the door open and entered... I have never seen anything more beautiful! There weren’t any paths any more, there was no order any more, nothing but confusion- but what a confusion! I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. I stood there in a sort of ecstasy... There is a book (I think it’s Le Paradou by Zola) in which there is a description of a fairy place – it was just like that: all the flowers and plants entangled, in an absolutely disorderly growth, but with a harmony of another type, a much vaster, much stronger harmony.

It was extraordinarily beautiful.

We have the mental habit of wanting to order, classify and regulate everything: we always want to have order – a mental order. But that’s.... For example, in those places untouched by men, such as virgin forests, there is a beauty you don’t find in life, and it’s a vital, unruly beauty which doesn’t satisfy mental reason, yet contains a far greater wealth than anything the mind conceives and organises.

The Mother’s Agenda Volume 4, 1963. – Institut De Recherches Evolutives, Paris and Mira Aditi, Mysore.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo on change in the global weather patterns

In the past decade we have been witness to dramatic upheaval in the weather patterns and climatic changes caused by “global warming”. We have had our share of Tsunamis, earthquakes, torrential rains, sweltering heat, forest fires, droughts, blizzards and what not. Recently in tropical Singapore there was a downpour of hail- or pieces of ice falling! The bizarre and weird weather is unpredictable and violent at times. The external forces causing this are changes in the solar radiation, and greenhouse gases and rising carbon-di-oxide levels to name a few. What are the other forces behind this?

More than seventy years ago Sri Aurobindo gave five indications to recognise the coming of the New world.

The third indication is of relevance here

“The vital is trying to lay hold on the physical as it never did before. It is always the sign that whenever the higher Truth is coming down, it throws up the hostile vital world on the surface, and you will see all sorts of abnormal vital manifestations such as an increase in the number of people who go mad, earth quakes etc “ (Beyond the Human Species- Georges Van Vrekhem)

Sraddalu Ranade observes, when asked what the first signs of change in Matter would be, The Mother pointed to two indications that the Supermind is working in Matter: change in human body and change in global weather patterns.

“Mother indicated that weather all over the world would become more temperate and the extremes of both heat and cold would become less intense, in practice the changes have been towards violent and unpredictable fluctuations of precisely such extremes all over the world. One may view this as a transitional period before the fluctuations even out into a steady average.

It is interesting to observe that scientists find two contradictory trends of change in the average global temperatures: seen from satellites measuring changes in the upper atmosphere, the Earth seems to be cooling down, and seen from the ground, the Earth seems to be heating up. So is there global warming or global cooling? For the moment nobody is very sure about the answer: it depends on how you look at the data

Sraddhalu further observes that there is dramatic change in the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface, changes which have begun after the Supramental Manifestation. This explains the violent and extreme weather patterns all over the earth and the inner reason behind it. Nothing seems normal or fixed anymore, dramatic changes and upheavals all over the world and in the consciousness of people makes us aware of the Supramental Force working and tearing apart the “old and dying world”.

The Mother predicted on 14th March 1970

The change has been accomplished. The physical is able to receive the higher Light, the Truth, the true Consciousness. It is in the year 2000 that it will take a clear turn.

Service Letter- 30.1.2004 (Founder Editor: M.P. Pandit)
Beyond the Human Species –Georges Van Vrekhem, Paragon House, St. Paul, Minnesota

Savitri - nature

Life ran or hid in her delightful rooms;
Behind all brooded Nature’s grandiose calm.
Primeval peace was there and in its bosom
Held undisturbed the strife of bird and beast.
Man, the deep-browed artificer, had not come
To lay his hand on happy inconscient things,
Thought was not there nor the measurer, strong-eyed toil,
Life had not learned its discord with its aim. (Savitri, Book 8.3)

Nature has an instinctive thirst for Light and is in a state of constant communion with the Divine. There is a deep peace and silence in Nature. The Mother said that when we are silent and receptive and sit down and commune with the trees then we can feel their deep aspiration and yearning for the light and this will help us to open ourselves to our psychic.

A spirit wandered happily in the wind,
A spirit brooded in the leaf and stone. (Savitri, Book 11.1)

Since Nature does not have a mental consciousness there is a “spontaneous and effortless offering” which makes them intensely psychic. The most wonderful thing in nature is the absence of mind and mental vibrations, with its constant need to judge and the obscurities, which we are enslaved to. This makes it silent and receptive to the Divine in an intense and natural way. This is why a walk in Nature is rejuvenating as we are in the midst of the pure vibrations, perfection, harmony and silence which emanate from trees and flowers and by being in close touch with them, we can be in a similar psychic state. Especially so since we live in a city or “concrete jungle”, being constantly surrounded by mental noise and concrete buildings. Being in the midst of Nature brings us back to our true psychic state of consciousness.

As comes a goddess to a mortal's breast
And fills his days with her celestial clasp,
She stooped to make her home in transient shapes;
In the unfeeling Vast woke thought and hope,
Smote with her charm and beauty flesh and nerve
And forced delight on earth's insensible frame
Alive and clad with trees and herbs and flowers
Earth's great brown body smiled towards the skies,
Azure replied to azure in the sea's laugh;
New sentient creatures filled the unseen depths,
Life's glory and swiftness ran in the beauty of the beasts,
Man dared and thought and met with his soul the world.
(Book Two, Canto Three)

- Sudha

The Living Question: Nature

When one is in the midst of Nature, of what should one think? Does it help us in any way to be in contact with Nature?

It is not through thought that one can be in contact with Nature, for Nature does not think.

But if you deeply feel the beauty of Nature and commune with her, that can help in widening the consciousness.

To love Nature is usually the sign of a being sane and pure whom modern civilisation has not corrupted. It is in the silence of a quieted mind that one can best commune with Nature.

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother On Nature – Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry

Reflections on IEP camp march 8th and 9th 2008

One of my favorite passages from The Mother is called "The Great Adventure"

There are people who love adventure. It is these I call, and I tell them this: "I invite you to the great adventure."

It is not a question of repeating spiritually what others have done before us, for our adventure begins beyond that. It is a question of a new creation, entirely new, with all the unforeseen events, the risks, the hazards it entails – a real adventure, whose goal is certain victory, but the road to which is unknown and must be traced out step by step in the unexplored. Something that has never been in this present universe and that will never be again in the same way. If that interests you... well, let us embark. What will happen to you tomorrow – I have no idea.

One must put aside all that has been foreseen, all that has been devised, all that has been constructed, and then... set off walking into the unknown. And – come what may! There.

In many ways the camp was the adventure that the mother had described. It was definitely not something that others had done before us, it was entirely new, with many unforeseen events, all of which were handled and solved beautifully. It was an unexplored road for many of us. As Devi mentioned later, they had "lived in Singapore for so many years but had not realized that so much fun could be had in a place that was so near". In a way, we all did walk into the unknown, braved out the adventures and came through it somewhat changed, some what grown up.

A plethora of colorful tents dotting the beach landscape - the incessant chatter of friends - the delightful squeals of children - a woman on a bench overlooking the sea, quietly playing on a flute, drawing about her a small group of fascinated children – an eleven month old grinning with six teeth as she came out of the water in her father's arms – two six year olds playing in the sea, having fun as they threw sand into the water – fifteen bicycles cruising down different paths and converging in the playground – A little girl crying as her parents tried to put her on a baby seat before finally falling asleep as her mother rode with her on the back of the bicycle - children shouting encouragement as facilitators rescued "stranded" jellyfish and put them back into the water – A peg with clothes drying cheerfully in the constant sea breeze – Children and adults roaming the inter-tidal zone, collecting seashells and exclaiming over the fauna – three little girls cluttered together in a small tent, painting the foraged seashells – easy banter over a barbecue dinner – people lying in a circle, gazing at stars – lots of teamwork, friendship and love…

Spirituality was in the very heart of the event. Not in a "sitting quiet in meditation" kind of a way, but in the pure joy of the children and the easy camaraderie with which everything was organized and carried out. At IEP, we set our standards of integrality by checking everything we do and seeing if it has "Goodness", "Truth" and "Beauty". The camp had exhibited all the three qualities in a very wholesome way, and therein lay the integrality of the event.

A longer reflection on the IEP camp and other IEP activities can be found at our blog: