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

Reflections of a facilitator

As we begin the fifth year of integral education program, we sit back and reflect on our achievements and mistakes. As such, the time has come for us to review the work of the past five years and face our reflections as facilitators in an honest and sometimes brutal manner.

IEP began with a simple goal in 2004. The goal was to bring a group of children together for a period of one year, and impart to them the need for integrality in education, where all aspects of the being, the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual, have to be grown and developed. The group would meet every two weeks, with the exception of holidays and we would embark together with the children on this great adventure.

So, have we achieved this goal? As is the answer to most questions, the answer to this, too, is Yes and No. Yes, because parents, children and facilitators have, despite various challenges, worked together to run the program successfully for the past four years. No, because sometimes we, due to external influences and commitments, have failed to give ourselves completely to the program, thereby allowing the program to fall short of its ideal goals. But what have we achieved?

As a facilitator, nothing gives me a greater pleasure than to see the child bloom as he goes through the IEP year.

How does the child bloom? - One may ask. It is a question that one is unable to answer. A parent who called me some weeks ago to enquire about enrolling her child asked me this question. “How does the child’s personality improve by attending IEP?” Again, one can’t answer this. It is impossible for a facilitator to tell a parent, “Send your child to IEP for one year and we guarantee that he will be obedient, concentrate better in his studies, be punctual etc etc…” In fact, the child may grow up to be more free spirited than obedient by attending IEP. So it brings us back to the question – How does the child bloom?

In his book Integral Education, an inspirational guide, Sraddhalu Ranade writes that each child has his own inner nature, an inner quality. No two children are the same. One cannot take a rice plant, beat it with a stick and tell it “Become wheat! Become Wheat!” The plant would soon wither because it is not in its intrinsic nature to become wheat.

A couple of years ago, I planted in my balcony a creeper commonly known as the money plant. I watered it daily and watched it grow fast, using the balcony grills for support. Encouraged by my success and convinced that I was a great gardener; I bought a pot of flowering plants and set them in my garden. I watered them as efficiently as I had watered the money plant, took just as much care of them. But for a mysterious reason, in a month, the plant had withered and died. Why though? The money plant was still thriving in the neighboring pot!

Many of us keep plants in our homes. We would notice that some plants thrive best when watered daily. Others, such as a cactus or an African violet require the soil to be moderately dry in order to thrive. Some plants, such as orchids, do not thrive when planted in soil, they need a combination of charcoal or husk to adhere to and grow. Some require full sunlight; others need a bright but shady environment (My poor flowering plant had required full sunlight, an impossibility in a balcony). Those who have little gardens can understand the satisfaction it gives one to see their garden thriving, and knowing that it is thriving because you have understood your plants and have cared for them as they require. In the same way, less beats the regret one feels at looking at dry and withered plants and realizing that we have, for some reason, not taken care of them properly.

Fortunately for us, there are guidebooks and resources that tell us which plants thrive best under what conditions. Unfortunately, children do not come with a guidebook, nor are there resources that tell us precisely what kind of environment is best for which child. To make matters even more difficult for us, each child is different. There is no common “species”, where one can refer to others who have brought up similar children.

So when I say that the child blooms, it means that something from within the child - a shining light – comes forward. It manifests itself in several forms, a tendency towards leadership, helpfulness, sincerity, and an aspiration towards perfection… the qualities being exhibited differing with each child. There are activities, talks and games that are aimed at developing “personality aspects” of the child, such as leadership and teamwork. But more than that, we as facilitators aim to bring with us an atmosphere that will enable the child to identify for himself what his inner nature is, and that which develops it.

So in the end, the activities carried out are just vehicles for the growth and advent of a much more important part of the being, the child’s own inner star.

- Kiruthika

Flowers of The Month

Integral Wealth of Mahalakshmi

Botanical Name: Nymphaea sp
Common Name: Water lily
Large white flowers with golden centre
Spiritual Name: Integral Wealth of Mahalakshmi
Wealth of feeling and action in all fields of activity-intellectual, psychological and
material.


Smile of Beauty

Botanical Name: Prunus subhirtella
Common Name: Japanese flowering cherry, Oriental cherry;
Clusters of small single or double light pink flowers covering tree in spring
Spiritual Name: Smile of Beauty
Nature is happy to be beautiful.

Joy of Beauty

Botanical Name: Ipomoea tricolor ‘Scarlet O’Hara’
Common Name: Large bright magenta flower
Spiritual Name: Joy of Beauty
Beauty is the joyous offering of Nature.

Abundance of Beauty

Botanical Name: Rhodedendron sp
Common Name: Azalea
Dense clusters of open bell-shaped or funnel-shaped flowers in a variety of colours
Spiritual Name: Abundance of Beauty
A beauty that blossoms abundantly and without any reserve.

Beauty is his footprint showing us where he has passed

The Will of the Divine, says Mother, is to manifest and not remain withdrawn in inactivity or silence. If the Divine remained silent and inactive how could there have been any creation? It would have been a silent and empty world. The sole purpose of the Divine in creating is for Bliss or Ananda. We are born in it, as the Veda says, live and return to it. This Ananda of the Divine is manifested as Beauty, it is the footprint of the Divine showing us where he has passed and as the Mother says, the Divine manifests in the physical as beauty

Beauty is his footprint showing us where he has passed
Love is his heart-beats rhythm in mortal breasts,
Happiness the smile on his adorable face. (Savitri, Sri Aurobindo)

Beauty, love and happiness are the different manifestations of this Bliss. What are the conditions in which this power of Mahalakshmi and beauty in life be invited within us? What is the secret by which this great Power of the Divine is realized? In the precious little book, ‘The Mother’, Sri Aurobindo says that this “miracle of eternal beauty, and unseizable secret of divine harmonies” manifests in conditions where there is harmony and beauty in our “mind and soul, every outward act and movement and in life and surroundings”. Where there is disharmony and ugliness, falsehood and hearts filled with hatred, jealousy, envy, greed and where “love and beauty are not or are reluctant to be born, she does not come; where they are mixed and disfigured with baser things, she turns soon to depart or cares little to pour her riches.”

If the manifestation of beauty and harmony as Mother says is the greatest part of the Divine realization, why is it that true beauty is difficult to discover and understand? Mother’s prayer addressed to the Lord of Beauty (Jan 29, 1917) answers these questions. She explains that to violate Beauty is as great a mistake as violating Truth, as Beauty is the “divine language of forms and the consciousness of the Divine,” so if we don’t manifest it then our consciousness is incomplete.

But true Beauty is as difficult to discover, to understand and above all to live as any other expression of the Divine; this discovery and expression exacts as much impersonality and renunciation of egoism as that of Truth or Bliss.

It is difficult to discover and understand beauty as “Pure Beauty is Universal and one must be universal to see and recognise it”. One way to see and recognise will be to widen our consciousness and soar above the attachments and preferences to our family, nationality, race, language and religion, and realise that true beauty is above all this as it is universal and not limited by our preferences, personality or ego. Then we would see beauty in its pure form wherever or in whatever form it is manifested, as we are no longer limited by our ego and preferences. We will then be capable of seeing beauty as it is.

The Mother concludes the prayer of Jan 29, 1917 by invoking the Lord of Beauty and with great humility prays thus,

Give me the perfect understanding of Thy Law so that I may not again fail to keep it. Love would be incomplete without Thee, Thou art one of its most perfect ornaments, Thou art one of its most harmonious smiles...

Thou art not at all what a vain people think Thee to be, Thou art not at all attached exclusively to this or that form of life; it is possible to awaken Thee and make Thee shine in every form, but for that one must have discovered Thy secret...

O Lord of Beauty, give me the perfect understanding of Thy Law, so that I may no longer fail to keep it, so that Thou mayst become in me the harmonious consummation of the Lord of Love.

- Sudha

References:
The Mother by Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, Pondicherry.
Stories Told by The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
Prayers and Meditations by The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
Savitri by Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

What is Beauty?


And what is beauty? Beauty is a perfect coordination, a perfect proportion of everything that is involved. It is in the hands of each one of us to build ourselves in a picture of beauty. You must have heard of an ancient people, the Greeks. Among other things, they specialised in building this beauty of body. They conceived that a human being has infinite possibilities of developing into a beautiful form, not only beauty of form, but also beauty of movement. Beauty is not only in your appearance, but also in the way you walk, the way you move, the way you arrange your life. There is a beauty of form, beauty of movement, rhythm, a beauty of thought. Good vibrations do good, carry happy tidings to everyone. There is a beauty of heart that loves; you always wish well of others, you feel well and make others feel well, impulsions like heroism, courage, sacrifice express beauty of life-form. And a perfect coordination, proportion and pattern is the beauty of physical life.

In the Ashram where I am living for the past 42 years, the Mother has developed a pattern of life where a great emphasis is laid on this ideal of building right from childhood, an all-round beauty, harmony, joy. The soul of beauty is harmony, harmony between the mind, heart and the physical body. To utilise things in the best possible way, not to waste, not to throw pell-mell, but respect things, to be aware that each form has a consciousness, treat things with care as you would treat human beings, this is part of beauty.

The Mother would tell us how when she came to Japan during the First World War, she was amazed to find the sense of beauty that fills Japanese homes. She was struck by the way they have flower arrangements, the way they tend gardens, the way they situate their temples in the mountains. She would remark how in each home pictures, paintings would be hung in particular places, and they would explain to you why a picture should be where it was and not elsewhere. The Mother had a great admiration for the Japan of those days as representing the aesthetic soul of the world. Their tea ceremony, their ways of functioning at home, everything had overtones of beauty, elegance, order and harmony. In India also we had it in our early days, we always spoke of one mind, one heart and the universe as a garden of God.

- Sri M.P. Pandit

(Extract from Life Beautiful, Sri M. P. Pandit, Dipti Publications, Dipti Trust, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

Mahalakshmi


Dear to thee are gardens of the lotus,
Where else shall I spread thy seat, O Mother?
On the lotus of my heart press the dawn-roses of thy feet and make it flower.
Things ungainly afflict thee, O Mother,
I will not cherish them anywhere in me even a little.
O Queen of Beauty, charmer of the worlds,
Keep abiding thy grace upon me.
Thou sufferest not an arid heart,
So of thyself hast thou come and put on bonds of affection-
O Mother, by the magic of thy sweetness, quicken and upheave me with Love.

(Selected from To the Heights - Tranlated from French (Vers les Hauteurs) by Sri Nolini Kanta Gupta, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry)

For she throws the spell of the intoxicating sweetness of the Divine: to be close to her is a profound happiness and to feel her within the heart is to make the existence a rapture and a marvel; grace and charm and tenderness flow from her like the light from the sun and wherever she fixes her wonderful gaze or lets fall of the loveliness of her smile, the soul is seized and made captive and plunged into the depths of an unfathomable bliss.

Magnetic is the touch of her hands and their occult and delicate influence refines the mind and life and body and where she presses her feet course miraculous streams of an entrancing Ananda. And yet it is not easy to meet the demand of this enchanting Power or to keep her presence. Harmony and beauty of the mind and soul, harmony and beauty of the thoughts and feelings, harmony and beauty in every outward act and movement, harmony and beauty of the life and surroundings, this is the demand of Mahalakshmi.

(Extract from “The Mother” by Sri Aurobindo)
(Painting by Sanjiban da, courtesy: http://www.searchforlight.org/)

Why does The Mother put on rich and beautiful dresses?

Is it your notion that the Divine should be represented on earth by poverty and ugliness?

Beauty is as much an expression of the Divine as Knowledge, Power or Ananda. Does anyone ask why does the Mother want to manifest the divine consciousness by knowledge or by power and not by ignorance and weakness? It would not be a more absurd or meaningless question than the one put by the vital against her wearing artistic and beautiful dress.

Outer things are the expression of something in the inner reality. A fine sari or a palace are expressions of the principle of beauty in things and that is their main value. The Divine Consciousness is not bound by these things and has no attachment, but it is also not bound to abstain from them if beauty in things is part of its intended action. The Mother, when the Ashram was still unformed, was wearing patched cotton saris. When she took up the work, it was necessary to change her habits, and she did so.

Sri Aurobindo 22.10.1935 (Sri Aurobindo on Himself And On The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1935)

From Savitri


This greater life is enamoured of the Unseen;
It calls to some highest Light beyond its reach,
It can feel the Silence that absolves the soul;
It feels a saviour touch, a ray divine:
Beauty and good and truth its godheads are. (Book 2, Canto 6)

********

A new creation from the old shall rise,
A Knowledge inarticulate find speech,
Beauty suppressed burst into paradise bloom,
Pleasure and pain dive into absolute bliss.
A tongueless oracle shall speak at last,
The Superconscient conscious grow on earth,
The Eternal’s wonders join the dance of Time. (Book 3, Canto 6)

From the Editor's desk

Sri Aurobindo. We know him as a freedom fighter, or the poet, the writer, the literary genius, the philosopher, the Maha Purna Yogi, Master, Avatar. Having had glimpses into his life through one way or another, we cannot but admire this man, or Divine incarnate, however we approach him, this great poet, seer, yogi, avatar, all rolled into one. His multiple capacities and the place they occupy high above the highest rungs of all of human capabilities put together, invoke within us a sense of reverence for him and yet, something within stirs in an aspiration towards those very heights he scaled.

It is that time of the year again (if everyday is not an occasion for this preoccupation) to raise some questions and ponder over the reason for which he came. What is the place we have given to Sri Aurobindo and his works? Why have we been sucked into this circle? What has the opening been, the draw and our approach to the integral yoga that he practiced to perfection all his life?

For often, we fall prey to the tendency of not raising these questions now and then, letting pass an opportunity for engaging ourselves in the philosophy, which, Sri Aurobindo himself sums up with his oft quoted line, “All life is Yoga”. Behind this question, it appears that a huge gateway to self-inquiry lies. What is this Yoga? How is all life a Yoga? How more can it become a life of yoga? What characterizes this life dedicated to yoga? Is this the very meaning of Purna Yoga? In which case, what then is the meaning of “life”? What are all that it constitutes? To be aware of all of life must be a fundamental requirement in dedicating one’s life to Yoga, or to live all of life as a Yogi or to approach life as an experiment in order to steer it towards some kind of higher realization, well above and eventually beyond the ordinary life guided by nature, it appears. Then another question bordering the negative will also have to be faced. Is it utterly indispensable to view all life as Yoga? Why must one engage in this preoccupation at all? This line of questioning brings us face to face with the king- question, “What then is the purpose of one’s life?”, “Is there a purpose at all?” and, “If there is, how does one find out?”

These are just some upheavals that one may face on this occasion that marks Sri Aurobindo’s birth anniversary. Or it could well turn out to be an occasion that draws one into a deep inner contemplation, a contemplation upon his presence that a remembrance of his name and form and thought may evoke, and in that silence that could prevail, to offer ourselves to the difficult task that he initiated – transformation of our nature so that the hidden therein can awake and manifest and express himself in and through that nature.…and this brings us back to the point of all life being yoga. For it is only this living and giving, within oneself, that could very well aid that transformation. Like in any experiment, one just has to find out for oneself.

On this occasion of his birth anniversary, may each of us find some time to be with him within ourselves and let that connection provide the lead, wherever we may be, at whatever station, in this business of Yoga.

Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary celebrations

SRI AUROBINDO SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE 2A Starlight Road, #01-07 Singapore 217755

136th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Sri Aurobindo On Friday 15th August 2008

He drew the energies that transmute an age (Savitri, Sri Aurobindo)

A humble Offering at the Lotus Feet of Sri Aurobindo

Silent Meditation in the morning: 10.00am
Evening Program: 6.45pm

Meditation with Sunil’s Music

Readings of Prayers by Shailaja and Jayanthy

Reading of Darshan Day Message from Pondicherry by Mr. N C Patel

Welcome Address by Mr. K S Rajah

Special Musical offering by SIFAS teachers -

Ms. Sonali Biswas – Hindustani Classical Vocal
Mr. Mihir Kundu – Tabla
Mr. Chandranath Bhattacharya – Harmonium

Word of thanks by Mr. Shashi Lal Kashyap

Closing Meditation

Buffet Dinner

All are cordially invited
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Ms. Sonali Biswas

Ms. Sonali Biswas will perform her first music programme in Singapore on August 15th, on the special occasion of Sri Aurobindo's Birth Anniversary celebrations. She is a proficient artist, who is learning Hindustani Classical Vocal music under the renowned musicans Padmabhushan Pt. Rajan Sajan Mishra since 1993. She has received several prizes and awards in recitals and concerts. She is also the recipient of the National Scholarship award, Junior Fellowship, and Sur-Mani award to name a few. She is presently doing her doctorate in music from Delhi University. Previously, she had been working in Sangeeth Bharati, New Delhi and now she has joined the SIFAS illustrious staff as the new Hindustani Classical Vocal teacher. She will be accompanied by Sri Mihir Kundu on the Tabla and Sri Chandrakant Bhatacharya on the Harmonium.

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Mr. Mihir Kundu

Mihir hails as one of the most promising and talented amongst his contemporaries in India. His initial training was from Shri Sabyasahi Sengupta and he later on went to do his guru-kula immersion training under the illustrious Pandit Shankha Chatterjee. Mihir also went on to acquire Bachelor’s degree from the Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) Calcutta. An All- India B High artitse,Mihir also holds the title of Sangeet Visharad from Bhatkande Sangeet Vidhypaith, Lucknow and Sangeet Bhibakar with distinction from RBU. He has accompanied several renowned artistes like Pandit V.G Jog,Pandit Kartik Kumar and Professor Naren Dhar. Mihir has performed extensively in India and abroad in Germany and Czechoslovakia. He joined SIFAS as a tabla tutor in February 2007

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Mr. Chandranath Bhattacharya

Chandranath started his music lesson with Gopi Mohan Bose. He later took lesson from the famous Sitar Player Shyamal Chatterjee. He then took master classes from the internationally famous sitar Maestro Padmabhushan Pandit Debu Chowdhury of the Senia Jaipur Gharana. The Senias of his Gharana play the traditional sitar with 17 frets and distinct stroke patterns maintaining the principle ragas. Chandranath is a gold medallist from Delhi University MA Music. He is a regular B High-grade artist with ALL-India-Radio and Television, New Delhi. He established himself as the best performer with credit at sitar recitals all over India. He possesses an excellent style in playing of the Sitar. He joined SIFAS Academy as a Sitar & Hindustani Vocal Tutor in July 2003.

August 15th 1947 is the birthday of free India


August 15th is my own birthday and it is naturally gratifying to me that it should have assumed this vast significance. I take this coincidence, not as a fortuitous accident, but as the sanction and seal of the Divine Force that guides my steps on the work with which I began life, the beginning of its full fruition. Indeed, on this day I can watch almost all the world-movements which I hoped to see fulfilled in my lifetime, though then they looked like impracticable dreams, arriving at fruition or on their way to achievement.

(Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Birth centenary Library edition, Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1972, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)



What is a Nation? The Shakti of its Millions


For what is a nation? What is our mother-country? It is not a piece of earth, nor a figure of speech, nor a fiction of the mind. It is a mighty Shakti, composed of the Shaktis of all the millions of units that make up a nation, just as Bhawani Mahisha Mardini sprang into being from the Shakti of all the millions of gods assembled in one mass of force and welded into unity. The Shakti we call India, Bhawani Bharati, is the living unity of the Shaktis of three hundred million people; but she is inactive, imprisoned in the magic circle of Tamas, the self-indulgent inertia and ignorance of her sons. To get rid of Tamas we have but to wake the Brahma within.

Sri Aurobindo, Bande Mataram- Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Volume 1
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1972, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry

Sri Aurobindo and his first madness

stomachache to avoid going to school while having a chocolate milkshake brought to bed by a butler while the cI watched a Hindi movie recently that took me a little by surprise on how much things have changed in India, if the lifestyle and the upbringing of children depicted in the movie were actually true. The story revolved around how a very wealthy but socially awkward man is forced to adopt four children after the death of their parents in a road accident where this man happened to be the culprit. The movie had a very controlled performance by Saif Ali Khan, and Rani Mukherjee was brilliant in every scene that she appeared in. But what really got me thinking, and indeed a little unsettled, was the lifestyle that the children were brought up in. Luxury would be an inadequate description of what was portrayed. I am not sure how many in my generation would have had the luxury of faking a hild is busy playing a video game. I say “my generation” because to even think of luxuries at the time our parents and grandparents were growing up is impossible. Virtually every home in India would have stories of struggle and determination of members of these earlier generations. We and the generation that is coming up are really enjoying the fruits of that struggle.

Anyway, back to the movie. Being neither a parent nor a teacher, I am not sure what the right way to bring up and educate a child is. I am not sure if the upbringing depicted in the movie is one to be aspired for by parents. However, this incident strongly reminded me of Sri Aurobindo’s “first madness”. In a letter to his wife, Mrinalinidevi, dated 30th August 1905, Sri Aurobindo writes “I have three madnesses. The first is that I firmly believe that whatever virtue, talent, learning and knowledge and wealth that God has given me, all belong to Him, and that I am entitled to spend only as much as is needed for the maintenance of the family and what is absolutely necessary. Whatever remains should be returned to God”. (The other two “madnesses” were an intense desire to realize God and burning conviction that India was a land destined for greatness and it would be through spiritual awakening that she would realize this greatness). This “madness” of Sri Aurobindo goes against the very grain of material acquisition and the ostentatious flaunting of these acquisitions that are seen by some as signs of success in the modern world. It goes against the portrait in the Gita of the ideal person who is unaffected by the trappings of the world and is in a state of perfect equanimity in the presence and absence of material wealth….the “sthitha prajna” of the Gita. I believe each one of us can actually vividly visualize what a state of bliss and happiness such a person would be enjoying. What a state of contentment and freedom he/she would experience. What a perfect instrument of the Divine such a person would be as a karma yogi. Yet there is something that prevents us from realizing such a state even though we can almost physically feel the bliss that it would endow. Call it the ego or the attachment that material objects have for us, but they do indeed create strong bondages.

Urged on by Sri Aurobindo’s “madness, I decided to do a mental inventory of the bondages, emotional and material, that I had created for myself. I viewed them as tentacles that were holding me down. And there were more of them than I had imagined. Simple bondages like the material possessions that had begun to form the trappings of my life to egoistic notions and ideas that had almost created a parallel world for me. The list would not end and eventually I was overwhelmed by the exercise. It was a tiring and humbling experience and I came out of it a little shaken. It was a case of “I know what would make me free and yet I can’t bring myself to do it”. The tentacles hold me down and I fear I would add new ones that would only bog me down further.

The experience, however, was a cathartic one too. I realized confronting one’s own bondages can be a liberating experience for a start. However, I am convinced that this start would be futile if the journey is not embarked upon. As The Mother says, vigilance is to be the watchword in the way forward. Vigilance against the ego ascertaining itself through our desires and will and a self-scrutiny of all our actions. A daunting task for sure, walking the “razor’s edge” as the Katha Upanishad so vividly puts it, but one that I am convinced would be worth every effort. One can only pray for Sri Aurobindo and The Mother’s blessings and grace to be with us as one embarks on this journey.
Sumant Balakrishnan

The Mother on Sri Aurobindo


What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme.

14 February 1961

Sri Aurobindo has come on earth not to bring a teaching or a creed in competition with previous creeds or teachings, but to show the way to overpass the past and to open concretely the route towards an imminent and inevitable future.

22 February 1967

Sri Aurobindo is constantly in the subtle physical, very active there. I see him almost daily, and last night I spent many hours with him.

If you become conscious in the subtle physical you will surely meet him...

21 December 1969

Today is the first day of Sri Aurobindo's centenary year. Though he has left his body his is still with us, alive and active.

Sri Aurobindo belongs to the future; he is the messenger of the future. He still shows us the way to follow in order to hasten the realisation of a glorious future fashioned by the Divine Will.

All those who want to collaborate for the progress of humanity and for India's luminous destiny must unite in a clairvoyant aspiration and in an illumined work.

15 August 1971

Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to announce the manifestation of the supramental world and not merely did he announce this manifestation but embodied also in part the supramental force and showed by example what one must do to prepare oneself for manifesting it. The best thing we can do is to study all that he has told us and endeavour to follow his example and prepare ourselves for the new manifestation.

This gives life its real sense and will help us to overcome all obstacles.

Let us live for the new creation and we shall grow stronger and stronger by remaining young and progressive.

30 January 1972

When in your heart and thought you make no difference between Sri Aurobindo and me, when to think of Sri Aurobindo will be to think of me and to think of me will mean to think of Sri Aurobindo inevitably, when to see one will mean inevitably to see the other, like one and the same Person, -- then you will know that you begin to be open to the supramental force and consciousness.

4 March 1958

The above quotes are from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, "Sri Aurobindo" pp.1-35

The miracle of birth

I saw my soul a traveller through Time;
From life to life the cosmic ways it trod,
Obscure in the depths and on the heights sublime,
Evolving from the word into the god.

A spark of the eternal Fire, it came
To build a house in Matter for the Unborn.
The inconscient sunless Night received the flame;
In the brute seed of things dumb and forlorn.

Life stirred and Thought outlined a gleaming shape
Till on the stark inanimate earth could move,
Born to somnambulist Nature in her sleep
A thinking creature who can hope and love.

Still by slow steps the miracle goes on,
The Immortal's gradual birth mid mire and stone.

Sri Aurobindo (27, 29-9-1939)

Evolutionary ideas of Sri Aurobindo


 Sri Aurobindo's insight and analysis of evolution are now part of the scientific and cultural landscape. But few scientists and artists know his evolutionary theories that are being proved true by modern science.
 While probing frontiers of science, physicists have discovered the limitation of the Newtonian mechanistic model at the level of galaxies and electrons. These discoveries have no doubt given the first glimmering of the new paradigm that matter and consciousness are the primary forces in the universe.
The theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, Heisenberg's principles of uncertainty, Bohr's laws, Schrodinger's resolution of particle/wave paradox, Prigogine's discovery of dissipative structures based on self-organising and self-transcendent systems, Roger Sperry's researches in the right and left implications of hemispheric brain processes, Ervin Laszlo's Psi hypothesis have all brought about major breakthroughs that have profound philosophical implications for science as a whole.
This development marked a major shift from the clockwork paradigm to an uncertainty paradigm, from the absolute to the relative. The new model looks upon matter as being in some way a graded manifestation of consciousness. So increasingly, the West has been showing an increasing interest in Eastern thought, particularly in Buddhism and Vedanta.
 The Isa Upanishad says, "Everything that exists in the cosmos, living or non-living, is the habitation of the divine". The Mundaka Upanishad says that one perceives "Brahmn verily in this resplendent cosmos, in front and behind, above and below, in the right and to the left. The universe is indeed all manifestation of the Brahmn".
These mystical insights are being significantly recognised by physicists as a more accurate expression of the real structure of the universe than many of the classical theories of science. The dance of Shiva is inspiring physicists as a new reference point in explaining the creation of this world in terms of a unified field theory.
 The double crises of civilisation and evolution today is the product of the human mind. I see through the eye, not with it, said William Blake. He also said that "if the doors of perception were cleansed, we would see the world as it is, infinite".
Quite clearly, the human mind which imagines, reasons and creates is dynamically active, and is playing a critical role in the process of its own evolution and also in the survival and evolution of all living things. The future of our evolutionary course will be in the realm of psychic development, and the new potentialities will make us surpass ourselves.
The development of trans-disciplinary approaches to knowledge corresponding to the creative manifestations of life is our model for tomorrow. Aurobindo's philosophy of a new and higher consciousness for the future provides a convincing and viable alternative to a bewildered humanity that is living under the spell of multiple fears.
The discoveries of modern science have no doubt given their own verdict of opposing alternatives - of either the Buddha or the bomb, for instance - and it is up to each one of us to decide which path to follow. To save history from being reduced to a tragedy of successive civilisations, we need to promote the Oneness Principle. Global consciousness is the only way out.
- Kishore Gandhi  
Source: http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Sri_Aurobindo/id/221409

Magical Moments in Winter



In remembering Sri Aurobindo during this special August edition, also the month of His birth, the mind swiftly moved back in time, about 6 months ago, to a place in India that observed its 50th Anniversary of the First Enshrinement of Sri Aurobindo’s Relics. Amongst all the relic centres that exist today, this particular organsiation was blessed with the first relics all the way from Pondicherry, and that too by The Mother. The year of its first enshrinement was 1957, on the 5th of Dec, 7 years after Sri Aurobindo left his body. Some magical moments of those Winter days in Delhi are relived in the following article.

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The 50th Anniversary of the First Enshrinement of Sri Aurobindo’s Relics here at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch was a spectacular event in its magnitude, in its movement across the 5 magical days, and beautifully magnificent in the dignity with which each one involved in it carried it through. It was out of this world, ethereal, surreal, in some ways. It seemed and felt as if a subtle presence manifested itself and hung over the entire stretch of the 5 magical days. As this piece is being written on the 13th of Dec, the magic is still hanging over ashram, and the blessed souls who are connected with it, whether they are physically here or not, continue to bathe in the shower of the austere silence that rains upon us continuously.

The occasion was marked by workshops, seminars, talks, musical offerings, morning invocations, Q and A sessions and distribution of Prasad every day. Sadhaks from Pondicherry and around India graced the occasion and shared gleanings of their learnings and experiences with the aspirants who gathered at the Hall of Grace and at the Hall of New Creation (Library) at Mirambika. Besides public functions like these, there were the sideline gatherings arranged on the spot, where aspirants met up with specialists from various fields to have sessions tailored to their immediate needs.

The musical offerings brought us into another dimension as each soul called out to the divine for aid and sustenance, to lead us from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge and from death to immortality. The renderings were soul stirring and brought quiet tears to the eyes, or they were deeply engrossing, pulling one to the seat in the centre of the being, even if for split seconds before the mind took over and blazed in its circuit only to be pulled out of its route, silenced and offered again, with the next invocation that shot into the internal spaces.

The Lights of Aspiration that took place every evening were a fitting culmination to a day of offerings and a heightened collective aspiration. It was a salute to an atmosphere charged with the powerful presence intangible but which something within knew and felt. It was for me, the highlight of the day and probably for many ashramites, aspirants, followers and devotees who had gathered in the heart of the city for this grand occasion.

Each evening, at 7 pm the slow procession would start, The Mother’s flag leading the way, with an able flag bearer at the helm. The line of candle bearers would snake their way very slowly and steadily on the path circumventing the lawn that surrounds the shrine, past Sri Aurobindo’s bust in front of Fakir Kutir, and then into the shrine premises and around the lawn. In the darkness of the winter night, the flickering lamps alone were visible. A marked silence arose from the sideline of onlookers. This was prominent and reflected on how, perhaps, everyone became deeply involved participants in the whole process. This fervour, this silence probably emerged from the collective aspiration that inevitably flowered in all of us while in the presence of the shrine and all that it means in our individual consciousness. And perhaps, something more was present on occasions such as these.

Each night, while many diyas are laid on the lawn, a portion of the diya bearers would quietly march into the shrine premises and place the candles on the periphery of the tiled area around the shrine, and carry away with them another lighted diya and proceed towards Tapasya courtyard to lay the brilliant lamps on the petalled symbol at the courtyard, to the accompaniment of invocatory music. Each night, the atmosphere was charged with a presence indescribable, and starkly real and palpable to our individual consciousness, however so it was ready to sense that presence. The moments spent there around the fountain were magical.

Taking a walk around the shrine later at night, when the crowds had thinned, was to invoke another magical experience. In the cool silence of the night, the mist hanging over the lawn with the flickering lamps on the ground added a beauty to the silent presence that was perceivable. Those magical moments cannot be expressed and neither would one have been satisfied with a click of the camera to capture the beauty. The beauty was there to be lived in deep association, each fraction of the second bearing the beauty was there to be lived and nothing in the whole wide world, in all of time, would have been able to capture those moments magical … except for that something within, that graciously and very quietly accepts the feast offered, consumes it and locks the essence of the experience away safely for assimilation. The entire magic of the period becomes interiorized and one with the experiencer. A salutation silent and still can be the only reciprocation possible.

Space and time took a backseat during those precious magical moments.

- Jayanthy

Flowers of The Month


Avatar - The Supreme manifested in a Body upon Earth

Botanical Name: Nelumbo nucifera
Common Name: Pink Lotus.
Spiritual Name: Avatar - The Supreme manifested in a Body upon Earth.
The pink lotus is the flower of Sri Aurobindo.

Opening to Sri Aurobindo’s Force


Botanical Name: Thunbergia Kirkii
Common Name: Very small lavender-blue salverform flowers;
Spiritual Name: Opening to Sri Aurobindo’s Force.
The help of Sri Aurobindo is constant; it is for us to know how to receive it.



Remembrance of Sri Aurobindo



Botanical Name: Lobelia Erinus
Common Name: Lobelia - Small blue half-salverform flowers.
Spiritual Name: Remembrance of Sri Aurobindo.
Let us strive to realise the ideal of life that Sri Aurobindo has shown us.


Sri Aurobindo's compassion

Botanical Name: Portulaca grandiflora
Common Name: Rose moss, Sun plant
Spiritual Name: Sri Aurobindo’s Compassion
Innumerable, always present and efficacious in every instance.

Sri Aurobindo's symbol


The descending triangle represents Sat-Chit-Ananda.
The ascending triangle represents the aspiring answer from matter in the form of life, light and love.
The junction of both - the central square - is the perfect manifestation having at its center the Avatar of the Supreme - the lotus.
The water - inside the square - represents the multiplicity, the creation.
The Mother

Question of The Month


Q: You spoke of Sri Aurobindo’s birth as “eternal” in the history of the universal. What exactly was meant by “eternal”?

The sentence can be understood in four different ways on four ascending planes of consciousness:

Physically, the consequence of the birth will be of eternal importance to the world.
Mentally, it is a birth that will be eternally remembered in the universal history.
Psychically, a birth that recurs for ever from age to age upon earth.
Spiritually, the birth of the Eternal upon earth.

- The Mother (All India Magazine- September 2005, August 15 The Truth it Symbolises- Part 2)

Savitri

His was a spirit that stooped from larger spheres
Into our province of ephemeral sight,
A colonist from immortality.
A pointing beam on earth’s uncertain roads,
His birth held up a symbol and a sign;
His human self like a translucent cloak
Covered the All-Wise who leads the unseeing world.
Affiliated to cosmic Space and Time
And paying here God’s debt to earth and man
A greater sonship was his divine right.
Although consenting to mortal ignorance,
His knowledge shared the Light ineffable,
A strength of the original Permanence
Entangled in the moment and its flow,
He kept the vision of the Vasts behind:
A power was in him from the Unknowable.
An archivist of the symbols of the Beyond,
A treasurer of superhuman dreams,
He bore the stamp of mighty memories
And shed their grandiose ray on human life. (Savitri, Book One, Canto Three)

Editorial

Beauty. How do we experience beauty? What are the feelings evoked, the state of mind that prevails during the moments when we stand face to face with beauty, be it the beauty on a face, in an act, in a gesture, in a form – a tree, a flower, a body - beauty of words? What is it in us that is touched and makes us decide that the experience was intense and unique as to term it an experience of beauty? Was there a feeling of sublimation that we feel at no other times? Or do we feel that our entire life is shrouded in and with beauty? If no, why not?

Let us take a good look at an object of beauty. I have a before me a little flame that is only as high as the blackened wick that it burns away. The flame moves gently from side to side, it almost seems like it is taking a peak at me from one side and then the other, as the top end of it moves away from the wick, gently, to and fro. I cannot help smiling. It seems like a living entity, my one living companion for now. I smile and my heart fills with joy. I exclaim quietly, “What joy in you, what candid light you emit, its almost like a smile. How you stand before me, holding your two palms together in salutation and I likewise, cannot help but return the salutation in gratitude”. Such was a monologue that arose in me and the moments were, to me, beautiful. It all started with the flame which I saw as beautiful. It appeared that there was nothing that the flame wanted from me; it gave away its beauty without asking from me anything in return. The form was beautiful, there was a beautiful light emitted, chasing the darkness of this little space away. There was a beauty in its existence. There was gladness and gratitude during those short moments.

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Is it ever present, only that sometimes we are not able to see it, because of our other preoccupations. Is everything beautiful? Some things give us pain or disgust, to see or hear. These often tend to draw away from the atmosphere a certain life-force or energy, and leaves behind a sore feeling. Now this sore feeling is something one could have fanned. Does one have a choice to turn around a not-so-beautiful feeling into something more beautiful and therefore, more gratifying. Is beauty an attitude? Does it dwell more in a heart of purity that gives away beauty to all and in so doing, attracting beauty to it as well?

In this issue, we are drawn into this inner debate about beauty. The ultimate question we can ask ourselves - Am I beautiful? Can I become more beautiful?– and like this, we build bridges inside ourselves and traverse paths never crossed before. Would it be a beautiful story that would unfold, as we go in pursuit of beauty?

This editorial concludes with what The Mother has said about beauty in several lines. Contemplating on these lines, one could see paths opening before one. Let us not leave them as only paths, virgin paths untrodden. Let these be trodden upon. Worlds of beauty may arrive before us, if we are persistent enough?

Let beauty be your constant ideal.
The beauty of the soul
The beauty of the sentiments
The beauty of the thoughts
The beauty of the action
The beauty in the work
So that nothing comes out of your hands which is not an expression of pure and harmonious beauty.
And the Divine Help shall always be with you.
The Mother