Guiding Light of The Month

One must be always vigilant, attentive to the least call, so as not to be asleep or inert when Thou givest the signal for action, whether with the mind, the feelings or the body. - The Mother

Walking in Light - a peek at Physical culture

In this issue, we will tread carefully on the delicate issue of sleep. The world of science has taken multiple peeks into this mysterious phenomenon, mysterious because one probably has absolutely no clue about one’s state during sleep and added on to this, that other phenomenon called dream takes place and we move about therein with little control of ourselves. The state of dream, according to scientists, is one indication that the mind does not rest even while in sleep. Here the active will of the person is withdrawn and as such the “sensory being” of the person reacts most violently during sleep, when no longer subject to such a control. Our worst nightmares are indicative of this, one can infer1. Can such an activity like sleep be left unattended in the life of anyone at all, especially in one given to a yoga that seeks for an integral transformation of the being into a mind and life and body of light?

With sleep, several issues will confront us systematically. How long is one to sleep? How is the nature of the sleep to be? Naturally, the second question would have a ready answer from all of us, and that is a peaceful, restful sleep that results in a being who awakens into a freshness and restfulness that brings him through the next day of activities successfully, and in the life of a devotee or sadhak or yogi, a day of progressive sadhana. Modern day science tells us that different people need different periods of sleep. The requirement varies from age to age and from time to time as well. It is also said that many of us incur sleep debts upon ourselves. Whether one has incurred a sleep debt or not can be revealed upon close self-examination. Is one prone to daytime sleeping, as in falling over the work one is doing, especially if it is desk bound, or napping? Is there fatigue and difficulty in concentrating and poor thinking? These are but some obvious symptoms of sleep debt that we incur upon ourselves2.

There is a way sleeping off our sleep debt and finding out how long one’s body needs sleep. One is to go to bed at a chosen time and get up the next morning without the aid of an alarm clock. Within a few days of this practice, one would get to repay the sleep debt and the body settles on a particular number of hours for its required sleep thereafter. One then needs to follow that same sleep pattern providing the body with its needed hours of happy sleep. Once we settle this debt we owe our body, we can then posit ourselves for that plunge into our sleep for greater revelations and possible control of our night life in the light of Integral Yoga.

Flowers of the month

The red lotus is the Avatar. The white lotus is the Divine Consciousness The red lotus represents Sri Aurobindo, the white one represents me. In a general way the lotus is the flower of the Divine Wisdom, whatever its colour. But red signifies the Avatar, the Divine incarnated in matter, and white signifies the Divine Consciousness manifested in earth.
- The Mother



Progress of the New Creation (Progress of Auroville)

Each must find the activity favourable to his progress.
- The Mother

Common Name: Chinese hibiscus
Botanical Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Spiritual Name: Progress of the New Creation (Progress of Auroville)

Manifold Power of the New Creation (Manifold Power of Auroville)


The new creation will be rich in possibilities
– The Mother

Common Name: Hawaiian hibiscus
Botanical Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Splash’
Spiritual Name: Manifold Power of the New Creation (Manifold Power of Auroville)

The Mother and flowers

The Mother loved flowers. Once I wrote to her that the fragrance of the flowers given by her was extraordinary. She answered: “Flowers are very receptive and they are happy when they are loved”. As an instance of the receptivity of flowers she told me that she had seen a faded flower reviving when Sri Aurobindo held it in his hand for some time. She has also spoken of fresh flowers getting faded in the hands of persons with a closed psychic.

Mother observed flowers in great detail. One day I wrote to her: “Day before yesterday, as I was arranging my vase for You, I said to a flower, “Oh, you are going to Mother!” and it really smiled. The same thing happened again yesterday and today.” She replied, “That is very interesting indeed. Was it a rose or a hibiscus?” I informed her that it was a hibiscus and she wrote:” Yes, this flower is very conscious, I have had many proofs of that.”

There was a time when I offered flowers to Mother in the afternoon. In order to preserve their freshness I kept them in the refrigerator in the morning. The hibiscus which Mother has named Grace is white in the morning and turns pink in the afternoon. Having noticed for some days that it remained white in the fridge, I informed Mother that the Grace flower if kept in the cold does not turn pink. She remarked that it had to be kept not only in the cold, but also in the shade.

On one occasion, in pursuance of an inner feeling, I fitted the pink rose ‘Surrender’ into the top opening of the champa flower ’Psychological Perfection’ so as to look like one whole and offered it to Mother. She looked at it for a while and with a smile of understanding, said amusingly,” I thought there was some new flower!”

(From the Editor’ Desk- ‘Some Socio- Spiritual Perspectives ‘ – Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala- ‘Sri Aurobindo ‘s Action ‘, Pondicherry ).
********
The red lotus is the Avatar. The white lotus is the Divine Consciousness The red lotus represents Sri Aurobindo, the white one represents me. In a general way the lotus is the flower of the Divine Wisdom, whatever its colour. But red signifies the Avatar, the Divine incarnated in matter, and white signifies the Divine Consciousness manifested in earth.
- The Mother

Aspects of Sadhana

How to open to The Mother? The following are the means:

(1) To remember You constantly or from time to time -
Good.

(2) By taking your name through Japa -
Helpful.

(3) With the help of meditation -
More difficult if one has not the habit of meditation.

(4) By conversation about You with those you love and respect You -
Risky because, when talking, often some nonsense or some useless things can be said.

(5) By reading your books -
Good.

(6) By spending time in thoughts of You -
Very good.

(7) By sincere prayers -
Good.

Three things are indispensable to begin with:

Absolute sincerity in the whole being and in all it's activities.
Complete self-surrender without any reservation.
Patient work on oneself and at the same time a steady conquering of perfect unshakable peace and equanimity.
- The Mother, 4 Feb 1932.
Our human consciousness has windows that open on the Infinite but generally men keep these windows carefully shut. They have to be opened wide and allow the Infinite freely to enter into us and transform us. Two conditions are necessary for opening the windows:

Ardent aspiration;
Progressive dissolution of the ego.

The Divine help is assured to those who set to work sincerely.

What is the best method to find the Divine who is in each of us and in all things?

Aspiration.
Silence.
Concentration in the solar plexus region .
If need be, a prayer addressed to the Divine: ‘I belong to You and I want to know You so that all that I do is nothing but what You want me to do.’

(CWM Volume 14, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1980. Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

The crystal orb


'A crystal globe in the center, a sun-ray passing through it the whole day' - that was part of the Mother’s vision of the interior of the Matrimandir in Auroville. It has materialized.

'No religion, no religion of the sun either'- she had warned.

What does the crystal globe with the sun-ray signify? An indication may be had from the entry dated May 25,1914, in the Mother’s Prayers and Meditations :

“O Divine Master of love and purity, grant that in its least stages, its smallest activities, this instrument which wants to serve Thee worthily may be purified of all egoism, all error, all obscurity, so that nothing in it may impair, deform or stop Thy action. How many little recesses lie yet in shadow, far from the full light of Thy illumination for these I ask the supreme happiness of this illumination.

Oh, to be the pure flawless crystal which lets Thy divine ray pass without obscuring, colouring or distorting it. Not from a desire for perfection but so that Thy work may be done as perfectly as possible.

And when I ask Thee, this, the “I” which speaks to Thee is the entire Earth, aspiring to be this pure diamond, a perfect reflector of Thy supreme Light.”

(From the Editor’ Desk- Some Socio- Spiritual Perspectives – Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala- ‘Sri Aurobindo ‘s Action ‘, Pondicherry ).

Turning Points: An inner story of the beginnings of Auroville

This new book is not primarily about Auroville's physical beginnings and development. It's about how the pioneers were drawn here and what keeps them here today.

Christine, the editor, asked 24 Aurovilians the simple yet profound question: How did She catch you and bring you here? The answers are as varied as the Aurovilians.

Jocelyn Shupack (‘Big Jocelyn') was sitting in a room in Arizona looking at a painting when it disappeared and she heard a voice say, “Come to India now!”

Tim Wrey and family set off to explore Africa and India . They covered 25,000 kilometres without a hitch. Then their Land-Rover broke down…under the Banyan Tree. Francis came to Pondicherry looking for a good French restaurant. Charlie was virtually deported to India by his parents. Patrick initially stayed on because he was attached to his partner, Heidi, who was attracted to the Ashram.

While differing outer circumstances brought them here, most of the people interviewed were looking for something different. Andre Hababou was unsatisfied with his work in France . “I sensed there was a greater Truth, something in life to discover more important than the petty things my friends were talking about.” Vijay, whose colourful background included fighting Franco's forces in Spain explains, “I could not live without a meaning in my life”. Janaka wanted to be free “from the prison of myself”. Paul Vincent wanted “to get hold of something worth living for – so that it would give me the strength to avoid being a bad person; so that I could transform my inner revolt into something positive and constructive”.

So what did they find? What kept them here? It was the freedom to experiment, to create something from scratch, to be pioneers in a unique endeavour. Above all, it was Mother. The most interesting portions of this book describe the interviewees' meetings with her. What makes these accounts so moving is not just the overwhelming nature of the experience – the feeling of being known, accepted and unconditionally loved for the first time in their lives – but the fact that some of the Aurovilians initially struggled to resist it.

But Turning Points is also about what it meant to live in Auroville in the early years. Andre Hababou saw an illustration of the Galaxy and thought the city was already built and that its inhabitants were transformed beings. The reality was somewhat different, as Vijay discovered. “I put up a hut, it cost me two hundred rupees at the time. There was nothing else. From here you could see the Banyan. Everybody thought I was mad. There was no road, no water, no fence, no nothing. I had a few books, a mat, a kerosene lamp (which was stolen the first day) and I lived there for a year.”

And yet, as Shyama remembers it, “It was a wonderful time. We were so full of faith…For us it was sacred, this land. This was the divine city.” “Those days carried so much force,” says Jocelyn Elder (‘Small Jocelyn'). “It was really like we were carrying the torch for her.”

And today? Is the torch still alight? Christine has no doubts. “This collection of stories is not about the past. It is about a hidden source of water which has irrigated this land for more than 40 years […] 40 years ago a Lady Diviner struck a rock and out of this rock water sprang. It gave life to this place, it gave life to the people and sustained them. It is still here and flowing. Its name is faith.”

Above all, reading this book is a little like receiving darshan of the Mother. We experience how she approached each individual differently – now gentle, now amused, now penetrating – yet flooding them all with her light and unconditional love. We are reminded of her laughter, of her joyful unpredictability (When Big Jocelyn discovered that somebody had taken her hut she wrote to Mother asking what she should do. ‘Find your psychic being' Mother replied!).

Turning Points. An inner story of the beginnings of Auroville. Auroville Press Publishers, 2008. Rs. 245.Those living outside Auroville who wish to purchase a copy may contact aurovillepress@auroville.org.in . …..to be continued Extracts from the book will be published in the next issue of our Newsletter

The blue flag

Sri Aurobindo: About the blue flag, I presume you mean the flag with the white lotus. If so, it is the Mother’s flag, for the white lotus is her symbol as the red lotus is mine. The blue of the flag is meant to be the colour of Krishna and so represents the spiritual or divine consciousness which it is her work to establish so that it may reign upon earth. This is the meaning of the flag being used as the Ashram flag, that our work is to bring down this consciousness and make it the leader of the world’s life.

Question of the month

Q: Am I right in thinking that she as an individual embodies all the Divine Powers and brings down the Grace more and more to the physical plane, and her embodiment is a chance for the entire physical consciousness to change and transform?

A: Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Her embodiment is a chance for the earth consciousness to receive the Supramental into it and to undergo first the transformation necessary for that to be possible. Afterwards there will be a further transformation by the Supramental, but the whole earth-consciousness will not be supramentalised- there will be first a new race representing the Supermind, as man represents the mind.

(‘Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother’- Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1953).

Q: It seems to me the very land of Auroville aspires. Is it true Sweet Mother?

A: The Mother: Yes, the land itself has a consciousness, even though this consciousness is not intellectualized and cannot express itself.

(The above question was asked of The Mother by Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala - From the Editor’s Desk , ‘Sri Aurobindo Action ‘, Pondicherry)


Q: I have been frequently thinking of the Mother’s symbol of “Chakra” and its significance. I have understood it as follows: Central Circle- Transcendental power. Four inner petals- Four powers working from the Supermind to the Overmind. Twelve outer petals - Division of four into twelve powers from Overmind to Intuition and mind. Do you think I have understood the significance correctly?

A: Sri Aurobindo: Essentially (in general principle) the 12 powers are the vibrations that are necessary for the manifestation. These are the 12 seen from the beginning above the Mother’s head. Thus there are really 12 rays from the sun not 7, 12 planets etc.

As to the exact interpretation of the detail of the powers, I see nothing against the arrangement you have made. It can stand very well. 15-Apr-1934.

(‘Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother’- Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1953).

From Savitri

The Force in her drew earth’s subhuman broods;
And to her spirit’s large and free delight
She joined the ardent-hued magnificent lives
Of animal and bird and flower and tree.
They answered to her with the simple heart.

***********
A wonder lifted up its bardic voice,
A key to a Light still kept in being’s core,
The sun-word of an ancient mystery’s sense,
Her name ran murmuring on the lips of men
Exalted and sweet like an inspired verse
Struck from the epic lyre of rumour’s winds
Or sung like a chanted thought by the poet Fame.
But like a sacred symbol’s was that cult.
Admired, unsought, intangible to the grasp
Her beauty and flaming strength were seen afar
Like lightning playing with the fallen day,
A glory unapproachably divine.

(Savitri, Book 4, Canto 2)

**********
She shall bear Wisdom in her voiceless bosom,
Strength shall be with her like a conqueror’s sword
And from her eyes the Eternal’s bliss shall gaze.
A seed shall be sown in Death’s tremendous hour,
A branch of heaven transplant to human soil;
Nature shall overleap her mortal step;
Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.

(Savitri, Book 3, Canto 4)

Editorial

The Mother has said on herself,

Do not ask questions about the details of the material existence of this body; They are in themselves of no interest and must not attract attention.
Throughout all this life, knowingly or unknowingly, I have been what the Lord wanted me to be, I have done what the Lord wanted me to do. That alone matters
.”

These words of the Mother reveals a life decisively given to the Lord alone, for his use. She also lays importance to the inner attitude, the inner tempo and temperament more than what is visible on the surface.

But watch we must, her children with our outer eyes as well and marvel at the embodiment of Maha Shakti herself who has consented to be our earthly Mother; marvel we must at the manner in which she has presented to us her physical envelope very much touched by that immense light of divinity emanating from within.

The many accounts of her life’s incidents reveal the divinity she was born and her attempts to live that divinity here on earth, seeking only its most perfect expression. The Mother herself has said, “I am here because my body has been given for the first attempts at transformation. Sri Aurobindo said it to me. Well I am doing it.” One can get a sense of how much she was “doing it” till her last earthly breath through her own accounts on “The Agenda” and her other writings and the accounts of close associates, those children closer to her material envelope, working with her, serving her, who were constantly watching her be. How much (for this measure is difficult for earthly mind to fathom – so the least said on it, the better) she succeeded as long as she lived on earth, The Mother alone knows.
And what is it that we as her children need to accomplish during this tenure on earth where we have consented, in strange ways, to hold her as the reigning deity in our hearts, and more than our consent, a life which she has consented to fill in all the ways we would allow?

Instinctively, the answer echoes in the heart space, “live up to it, to all she has done and attempted and sought and been!”.

The Divine Mother has set a goal before all of us. Someone asked the Mother, “Why did you come like us? Why did you not come as you truly are?” and she replied, ”Because if I did not come like you, I could never be close to you and I would not be able to tell you: “Become what I am.””
This is the goal she has set before us

A tall order? But being born into this circle, this high aim cannot escape our consciousness. It will haunt us wherever we are, whatever we do. We may forget for a while, but come back to face this immense goal before us, we must.

Eons it may take, or it need not, but we are set on the path. Move on it, we must. And it promises to be a joyous journey with Her and Him by our sides always, always waiting for us to open and ask, for them, to help to achieve this ‘highest’ – which yet cannot be defined. The definition would probably lie in the living of it. A guiding hand holds ours, She will be there for eternity and it is a promise She has made. She has said, “Since the beginning of the earth, whenever and wherever there was the possibility of manifesting a ray of Consciousness, I was there.” She is here!

Happy Birthday Dearest Mother!

Krishna Bhakti: Photos and videos

Our Society had the opportunity to be part of Krishna Bhakti - a cultural program held in conjunction with Gita Jayanti 2011. The fifteeen minute segment saw the Bhakti of differnt saints of India and their devotion to krishna - Aandal, who saw krishna as her love; Jaidev who sang of the beauty of the Krishna of the Gita; Soordas, who brought the lofty krishna to the child who plays in the backyard and steals butter when his mother is not looking and Radha, Krishna's constant companion.

We present the video of our program here














Krishna Bhakti: Photos and videos

Our Society had the opportunity to be part of Krishna Bhakti - a cultural program held in conjunction with Gita Jayanti 2011. The fifteeen minute segment saw the Bhakti of differnt saints of India and their devotion to krishna - Aandal, who saw krishna as her love; Jaidev who sang of the beauty of the Krishna of the Gita; Soordas, who brought the lofty krishna to the child who plays in the backyard and steals butter when his mother is not looking and Radha, Krishna's constant companion.

We present the video of our program here