Guiding Light of The Month

O LORD, Thou art my refuge and my blessing, my strength, my health, my hope, and my courage. Thou art supreme Peace, unalloyed Joy, perfect Serenity. My whole being prostrates before Thee in a gratitude beyond measure and a ceaseless worship; and that worship goes up from my heart and my mind towards Thee like the pure smoke of incense of the perfumes of India. - The Mother

Walking in Light: Sleep

For many into the life of samsara - raising a young family, pursuing a demanding job, keeping up with the demands of the place and clime one is part of, - inadequate sleep can pose challenges to a quality life, or to anyone for that matter who does not pay heed to healthy sleeping habits. Perhaps it is time to consider our sleep a little more in depth and put in a little more of awareness into it, to begin with, so that we get a chance to understand this activity to which one third of our life is devoted to. The Mother called it a huge uncultivated land . Can weeds grow on it and encroach upon the rest of the land we cultivate during our waking hours? She invites us to cultivate the vast fields of our nights and contribute in helpful ways to our growth into integral beings.

What exactly happens in sleep? Sri Aurobindo has thrown some light into this, highlighting the scientific as well as the occult point of view. According to the scientific view of sleep, we pass in many “phases” of sleep until we arrive at that phase that gives us complete rest and silence. This phase is said to last only ten minutes. It is these ten minutes that are said to restore our energies and make us feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Then, Sri Auronbindo relates the occult view of sleep as experienced by The Mother. One passes through many states of “sleep consciousness”, as in entering and exiting various worlds and finally reaching the Satchidhanada state. This state is said to give one “rest, light and silence”. After experiencing this state, one “retraces one’s way till one reaches the waking physical state.”1

The Mother has advised many a sadhak who has approached her for some guidance on how to sleep, on how to sleep in a better and progressive way, how to attain a certain control over oneself during sleep. The Mother has categorically mentioned that one can will a sound sleep. A sound sleep and quiet sleep is one which can get one in touch with the deeper part of oneself. One can also will one’s movements during sleep, The Mother assures.

In short, it appears that the world of sleep can be a refreshing boost to a progressive life provided one aspires for that progress, even during sleep and makes the necessary effort in order to establish a sleep pattern that elevates one’s being and not one that throws one into the dark gallows of the inconscient where one looses oneself and emerges out of that region battered, exhausted and lost. Once again, it appears that one cannot flee from a certain attitude in order to gain a sound sleep, and these would be - an ardent aspiration for a sleep that saves, constant work on one’s sleep following the guidance of The Mother, from texts she has written on this subject, persistence in the effort and as in any other endeavour one undertakes along the line of this yoga, lots and lots of patience and endurance.

The topic of sleep is one that deserves much attention. Besides being an essential component of building a sound body and mind and a capable physical frame, it also is an avenue capable of opening up many windows and doors to our inner lives, the knowledge of which is crucial for anyone set upon the path of integral yoga.

Flowers of the month


Road to the Divine

Always long, apparently dry at times, but always abundant in its results!
- The Mother

Botanical Name: Drimiopsis kirkii
Spiritual Name: Road to the Divine

Perfect Path

For each one it is the path that leads fastest to the Divine.
– The Mother
Common Name: Coffee
Botanical Name: Coffea
Spiritual Name: Perfect Path

IEP Night Walk – Pranav’s Perspectives

From the top of Mount Faber, we could admire the sight of Sentosa Island, as well as the Integrated Resorts (which were still under construction at that time). We stopped at Mount Faber for a small break, tired after racing to the top. From there we continued to the Faber walk also passing by a miniature version of the Merlion. The walk was interesting for me too, as I accompanied some of the budding young boys from the IEP. Throughout the walk, I engaged in conversation with the children about the trail.

We then moved on to the Henderson Waves Bridge, one of the highlights of the walk due to its different design. We had another break at the Henderson waves, playing around and having fun at the bridge. We continued from Henderson waves, racing down steep slopes. We happened to pass by an ice-cream stall, and all the young Children suddenly wanted ice cream. This had to be contained by all the parents, as we were about to have dinner. We proceeded to the terrace garden, and had dinner in the dark, sharing all the different dishes amongst ourselves. Following the sumptuous dinner, we went on the forest walk, a 1.3km elevated walkway made out of metal. The fascinating thing about the metal walkway bridge…..was that it was almost 36 meters above the street level.

We concluded the walk at the Alexandra Arch overhead bridge with a debrief, following which we parted ways as we went back home after a tiring but enjoyable and fulfilling experience. I went away with a silent promise to myself that I must come here again really soon...

-Pranav

Krishna Manjari 2010

The Preparation

Gita Jayanthi is a great unifying event that brings together various Indian spiritual organizations in Singapore for a common cause, celebration of the Holy Bhagavad Gita.

One of the most colourful events of the Gita Jayanthi celebrations is Krishna Manjari, a cultural programme that showcases the cultural talents in the Indian community in Singapore.

Some 24 children, part of the Integral Enrichment Programme (IEP) of our centre, prepared for this event, practicing intensely under the guidance of Kiruthika since November last year. Kiruthika’s mother Jayanthi, taught the children shlokas from the Gita as well as lines from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

The children performing were between the ages 3 – 13. The commitment with which they practiced during the school holidays was commendable. Not only had the older kids memorized the lines, little Anjali, who is just over 2 was saying most of the lines of the script just by simply attending the various practice sessions and watching the other kids perform.


The Performance

‘Putting up a show with children from age 3 to 13 is no mean task’, was the comment on the lips of many people who came to watch the Krishna Manjari cultural show. That was exactly what the IEP children had done at the show which was held as part of the Gita Jayanthi Celebrations of 2010.

Children assembled well in advance to rehearse their performance and make use of the opportunity to get used to the stage. With a simple make up the children of performed the second item of the day. Despite being small children, they were quite relaxed and each one of them put up an exemplary performance.

Vishnu and Naveen introduced the Gita which was followed by the little ones chanting the shloka from the Gita where the lord says I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of everything. Then Pranav recounted Sri Aurobindo’s famous words that clarifies to us why we should read The Gita even today. Aarti, Priyadarshini, Pradeeptha, Dhivya, Alamelu, Mahasri, Surya and Shruthi chanted Sri Aurobindo’s poems. Akshitha as little Krishna was simply adorable. Interspersing the poems were the shlokas chanted by the little ones, Shreyas, Shibi, Santosh, Bharat, Ramya, and Aarthi. Pranav and Pramod anchored the middle sections with more quotes from Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on The Gita. The performance climaxed with all the children gathering on stage to chant “Yada Yada hi Dharmasya….and Paritranaya Sadhunaam…..Sambhawami Yuge Yuge”

The performance would not have been possible without the parents’ initiative, support and coordination. Our hats off to parents, facilitators and of course, the children themselves, our heroes for the night.

Turning Points: An inner story of the beginnings of Auroville …contd.


(Extracts from the book)
On meeting Mother:
"I went without expecting anything, casually. The door opened, and…I have never been so astonished in my life, because I didn't see a human being there. There was a sari, there were two eyes, but it was like a window onto the infinite. The first impression was infinity, infinite space. I couldn't believe it. I had the impression I had lived all my life in a matchbox. And then wave after wave of love, like a tsunami of love. I had a very low opinion of myself… because I was very selfish and I didn't know what love was. So I thought, ‘How can you possibly love me? I felt ashamed, “Forgive me for bringing this piece of garbage in your room; I didn't know who you were!” She was loving me. I was feeling forever safe, safe…”
- Vijay
“I felt she wanted to know me, to know who I was. But I did not want to show myself (of course all this was in silence). She looked at me and I did not want to be seen. I tried to escape but I could not. It was like a struggle, so tense that I almost passed out. So many negative thoughts assailed me, I had no control anymore. It came out of me continuously like a black cloud. Then I looked at her as if to say, ‘All right, now you know what is inside.' At that very moment her face became the smile of a 14 year-old girl, with such a delightful smile. The atmosphere had completely changed and I realised that that smile was the same inside of me; the same smile. And I was bathing in an immobile white light.”
- Andre Hababou
“I look at her eyes, and it is like an instant recognition: I know you! And you know me! And you know me better than I myself. And then you come to her and there she is, and of course one starts crying, because you are recognised…somebody, ah, truly knows you and accepts you. And you feel this overwhelming love, the power of her love, which kind of drowns you.”
- Shyama

(‘Turning Points - An inner story of the beginnings of Auroville ‘. Auroville Press Publishers, 2008. Those living outside Auroville who wish to purchase a copy may contact aurovillepress@auroville.org.in )

The Human Race in Light of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga


In this 100th year of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival at Pondichery (4th April 1910), we shall attempt a new series on ‘The Human Race’ in our monthly Newsletter with readings from Sri Aurobindo’s writings between 1893 to 1910 and further continue with the books ‘Ideal of Human Unity’, ‘Human Cycle’, ‘War and Self Determination’, ‘Foundations of Indian Culture’ (initially called ‘Defence of Indian Culture’).


‘It is spiritual revolution we foresee and the material is only its shadow and reflex” wrote Sri Aurobindo in Karmayogin 100 years ago. Today, when the world is passing through its greatest turmoil, may his immortal words guide us on the arduous path towards the Life Divine.

Master returns to Mother India

It was the ‘hour of God’ in the evolution of mankind on 6th February 1893 at 10.55am when Sri Aurobindo stepped again on the Indian soil at the Apollo Bunder of Bombay. This event is reminiscent of the great line from Savitri : ‘There are moments when the Spirit moves among men and the breath of the Lord is abroad upon the waters of our being’. This was one such moment.
India was in a pathetic condition due to economic impoverishment, high rate of illiteracy and demoralized national spirit. Sanatana Dharma was shrouded under superstitions and ignorance. She ardently welcomed the great Rishi with garlands of spiritual experiences as expressed in his own words ‘I began to have spiritual experiences, but these were not divorced from this world but had an inner and infinite bearing on it, such as a feeling of the Infinite pervading material space and the Immanent inhabiting material objects and bodies. At the same time I found myself entering supraphysical worlds and planes’.

It was not merely a coincidence that in September 1893 Sri Vivekananda departed to United States to show the Light of India and Asia to the West in the Parliament of Religions, reconfirming the advent of New Age in the history of mankind.

Sri Aurobindo has said: ‘It would be only myself who could speak of things in my past giving them their true form and significance. Neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life; it has not been on the surface for men to see.’ - (Letters with Sri AB Purani)

Like the poets of the Bhakti age, who walked from place to place in India singing ballads glorifying the anecdotes from Sri Krishna’s life, we too shall start recollecting and narrating the external episodes surrounding the life of our Master. This would enable glimpses into the ways of Divine Grace.

At the age of 21, after accumulating the profoundest knowledge of the West and attaining scholarly mastery of Greek and Latin along with other classical European languages, Sri Aurobindo returned to Mother India bringing a charming smile on her gloomy face and ushered in the hour of her renaissance. He expressed in his poem ‘Envoi’:
Me from her lotus heaven Saraswati
Has called to regions of eternal snow
And Ganges pacing to the southern sea,
Ganges upon whose shores the flowers of Eden blow.
Whenever the Divine descends upon earth in human form, it too passes through the same agony and pain in real life in order to show us the path of Sadhana.

He who would save the race must share its Pain.
The great who came to save this suffering world
Must pass beneath the yoke of grief and pain;
( Savitri book VI canto II)
‘The recovery of the perfect truth of the Veda is therefore not merely a desideratum for our modern intellectual curiosity, but a practical necessity for the future of the human race’ (‘On Veda’, Journal Dharma); ‘The Discipline (Dharma) spoken of in the Gita can be followed by everyone; it is open to all.’ (‘Asceticism and Renunciation’, Journal Dharma)

Sri Aurobindo took up a job with the Maharaja of Baroda (1893–1906) and the king was extremely overjoyed to have a person of ICS caliber and high intellect for very little remuneration. Sri Aurobindo soon took an additional assignment as Vice Principal of Baroda National College. In1906 he joined as Principal of the newly opened National College, Kolkata, after the partition of Bengal in 1905. The period from 1893 to 1910 was that of reconstruction, revival and self awakening for India owing to Sri Aurobindo’s work. She began to regain her vitality to play her future role in the evolutionary cycle of mankind.

Such was the Midas touch of his writings in transforming the Indian mind that Lord Minto(Viceroy of India) called him ‘The most dangerous man in India’. Indeed the Divine Force always appears as most dangerous to the Asuric elements that try to obstruct the ascent of humanity towards a higher Consciousness.

Like goddess Saraswathi unveiling her own Light , Sri Aurobindo mastered Bengali, Sanskrit and a few other Indian languages within a short span of one or two years and penetrated the core of Indian scriptures.

Several translations, interpretations, explanations, new ideas in the form of articles were published as periodicals in the journals listed below from 1803 to 1910. They laid the foundations for the independence of India, human unity and a new world order.

Yugantar (Bengali journal started by Barindra, Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother)
Induprakash (Marathi–English journal by KG Deshmukh, Sri Aurobindo’s Cambridge friend)
Bandemataram (English Newspaper started by Bipin Chandra Pal)
Karmayogin (English Weekly started by Sri Aurobindo)
Dharma (Bengali Weekly by Sri Aurobindo)
‘God in the nation becomes the realization of the first moment to us because the nation is the chosen means or condition through which we rise to the higher synthesis, God in humanity, God in all creatures, God in Himself and ourself’ (‘Highest synthesis’ from Karmayogin’). He further says in the article ‘Man slave or Free….The time has almost come when India can no longer keep her light to herself but must pour it out upon the world. Yoga must be revealed to mankind because without it mankind cannot take the next step in the human evolution.’

He wrote "there are some who fear to use the word 'freedom' but I have always used the word because it has been the Mantra of my life to aspire towards the freedom of my nation’ (Yugantar). The period from 1893 to 1910 was of intensive tapasya and preparation for the bringing down of Higher Consciousness on this earth. We may recollect the sweet words of his cousin Basanthi Devi, ‘Auro Dada used to arrive with two or three trunks and we always thought it would contain costly suits and other luxury items like scents etc. When he opened them I used to look at them and wonder. What is this? A few ordinary clothes and all the rest books and nothing but books! Does Auro Dada like to read all these? We all want to chat and enjoy ourselves in vacations. Does he want to spend even this time in reading these books?’ – (Bengali writings/letters Translated by – Sri Nolini Kanta Gupta).

He contributed periodicals to Induprakash under the title ‘New Lamps for the Old’ throwing light on the current situations prevailing in India and the world. Sri Aurobindo was the Chief editor of the Bande Mataram even though his name was not revealed publicly and in the words of Sri Bipin Chandra Pal : ‘Morning after morning, not only Calcutta but the educated community almost in every part of the country eagerly awaited its vigorous pronouncements on the stirring questions of the day.... It was a force in the country which none dared to ignore, however much they might fear or hate it; and Aravinda was the leading spirit the central figure in the new journal’.

On meeting a Maharastrian Yogi, Lele, Sri Aurobindo wrote, ‘I did not think either of questioning the truth or the possibility, I simply sat down and did it. In a moment my mind became silent as a windless air on a high mountain summit and then I saw one thought and then another coming in a concrete way from outside; I flung them away before they could enter and take hold of the brain and in three days I was free." He further adds "When I was in Bombay, from the balcony of a friend's house I saw the whole busy movement of Bombay as a picture in a cinema show, all unreal and shadowy."
After one year of Tapasya in the Alipore Jail, Sri Aurobindo says in his Uttarapara Speech ‘I saw Vasudeva. It was Narayana who was guarding and standing sentry over me. Or I lay on the coarse blankets that were given me for a couch and felt the arms of Sri Krishna around me, the arms of my Friend and Lover.’ Unconditional surrender of our Master to the Divine, the Divine force itself demonstrating practically to humanity the supreme totality of surrender and total identification. ‘I looked at the jail that secluded me from men and it was no longer by its high walls that I was imprisoned; no, it was Vasudeva who surrounded me. I walked under the branches of the tree in front of my cell but it was not the tree, I knew it was Vasudeva, it was Sri Krishna whom I saw standing there and holding over me His shade..’’

In the words of Chittaranjan Das (the lawyer who defended his case): ‘My appeal to you is this, that long after the controversy will be hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, the agitation will have ceased, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone, his words will be echoed and re-echoed, not only in India but across distant seas and lands. Therefore, I say that the man in his position is not only standing before the bar of this Court, but before the bar of the High Court of History’


References:

‘Sri Aurobindo’s Works - Sri Aurobindo in the First Decade of the Century’ by Manoj Das
‘Life of Sri Aurobindo’ by AB Purani
‘Letters with Sri Aurobindo’ by AB Purani
‘Evening Talks’ compiled by Nirod Beran - Bengali writings (Translated by Sri Nolini Kanta Gupta)


- Sundari KBT( kbt.sundari@gmail.com)

Secrets of the veda - a first attempt



Through the Looking Glass….


"Is there at all or is there still a secret of the Veda?" Sri Aurobindo asks in the opening sentence of this book and continues,
“According to current conceptions the heart of that ancient mystery has been plucked out and revealed to the gaze of all, or rather no real secret ever existed. The hymns of the Veda are the sacrificial compositions of a primitive and still barbarous race written around a system of ceremonial and propitiatory rites, addressed to personified Powers of Nature and replete with a confused mass of half-formed myth and crude astronomical allegories yet in the making. Only in the later hymns do we perceive the first appearance of deeper psychological and moral ideas - borrowed, some think, from the hostile Dravidians, the “robbers” and “Veda-haters” freely cursed in the hymns themselves, - and, however acquired, the first seed of the later Vedantic speculations. This modern theory is in accord with the received idea of a rapid human evolution from the quite recent savage; it is supported by an imposing apparatus of critical research and upheld by a number of Sciences, unhappily still young and still largely conjectural in their methods and shifting in their results, - Comparative Philology, Comparative Mythology and the Science of Comparative Religion.


It is my object in these chapters to suggest a new view of the ancient problem. I do not propose to use a negative and destructive method, directed against the received solutions, but simply to present, positively and constructively, a larger and, in some sort, a complementary hypothesis built upon broader foundations, - a hypothesis which, in addition, may shed light on one or two important problems in the history of ancient thought and cult left very insufficiently solved by the ordinary theories…”.


Sri Aurobindo had the conviction that the Vedic hymns were repositories of deep psychological insights and books of wisdom for all times. His own discovery that the Veda had a hidden meaning came not from his scholarly study of Vedic mantrās, but by an inner vision; it was only later that his studies confirmed his direct perception. He was himself a ‘Rishi’ and therefore had the equipment in common with the sages who visualized the mantrās. He fully knew that they are not products of superior scholarly exercises, or of clever construction of thought, diction and speech but that they had powers within, which opened up and blossomed into charming poetic articulations.

Sri Aurobindo was greatly concerned about the impact of the modern theories and became the first person in the last 2000 years to raise his voice against the injustice, impropriety and outrage to the true spirit of the Vedic lore. He even opened up his mind to give a statement in 1912 thus:

“If Indians hardly understand the Vedas at all, the Europeans have systematized a radical misunderstanding. Their materialist interpretations, now dominant in cultivated minds, translated into modern tongue and taught in our universities has been more fatal to Vedic Truth than our reverential ignorance”.

Sri Aurobindo has also stated elsewhere that “The foreign translators and their Indian followers, seek to bring out the intellectual sense without feeling the life of thought vision and the ecstasy of spiritual experience” and also that his method is “To enter passively into the thoughts of the old Rishis, allow their words to sink into our souls, mould them and create their own reverberations in a sympathetic and responsive material in submissiveness, in short, to the Shruti”.

It will be of interest here to read a quote from Sri Satprem:

“When Sri Aurobindo first read the Vedic scriptures in translation, they appeared to him as an important historical document but seemed of scant value for a living spiritual experience. Fifteen years later, he read them in the original Sanskrit and found there “a constant vein of the richest gold of thought and spiritual experience.” Meanwhile, he had had experiences for which he had found “no sufficient explanation either in European psychology or in the teachings of Yōga or of Vedānta,” but which “the mantrās of the Veda illuminated with a clear and exact light.” It was through these experiences that Sri Aurobindo came to re-discover the true meaning of the Vedās.”

Sri Aurobindo declared that the four Veda mantra Samhitās, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda and Atharva Veda are not books of ritual but books of wisdom valid for all times, particularly modern times and framed in exquisite poetry. He also declared that the Vedic hymns are repositories of deep psychological insights; the gods like Indra and Agni are not to be confused with their namesakes in the Purānās and epics like Rāmāyana. These Gods represent cosmic powers like the ‘Power of Will’(Agni), the ‘Divine Mind’ (Indra), ‘Inspiration’ (Saraswati), and the ‘Power of Delight’ in all aspects of existence (Soma), to name a few. By appropriate contemplation on these deities and chanting of the associated Vedic mantrās, the corresponding powers like willpower take birth in us and grow like a child in the womb. He translated roughly 2000 mantrās of Rig Veda addressed to God Agni showing the complex powers of this deity alone; thus Agni should not be regarded merely as fire or as a fire-god.

He authored over 1000 pages of translations and essays indicating the presence of the secret in the Veda and how to realize the secret and make it a part of our lives.

Sri Aurobindo's theory of the inner spiritual significance of the Vedas originally appeared serially in the philosophical journal ‘Arya’ between 1914 and 1920. Most of the material appeared under three headings and gives the spiritual/psychological and esoteric interpretation of the Veda.
1. The Secret of the Veda, Aug 1914 – July 1916
2. Selected Hymns, Aug 1914 – July 1915
3. Hymns of the Atris, Aug 1915 – Dec 1917

These series form the first three parts of the present volume of the book ‘The Secret of the Veda’. Other translations of Vedic hymns that came out in the ‘Arya’ but not under any of the above headings, make up Part IV. Sri Aurobindo’s Vedic writings and translations that did not appear in the ‘Arya’ are published in ‘Vedic Studies with Writings on Philology and Hymns to the Mystic Fire’, volumes 14 and 16 of ‘The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo’.

Sri Aurobindo never revised the monthly publications, except for minor alterations in Chapter 17. The last installment of this work in the ‘Arya’ ended with the following footnote - “We propose for the present to discontinue the ‘Secret of the Veda’ so as to make room in the third year of the ‘Arya’ for other matter, but we shall subsequently resume and complete the series.” He never found time to resume the series and left ‘The Secret of the Veda’ incomplete.

However the book contains several topics with detailed explanations, needing careful study for deeper understanding. Examples of some of the topics are:

• Analysis of Vedic and Modern theories
• Foundations of the Psychological theory and Philological methods
• Symbolic interpretations of several gods such as Agni, Varuna, Indra, Ashwins, Saraswati etc.,
• Selected hymns related to Agni, Indra, Vayu, Vishnu, Soma, Savitri etc.,
• Vedic hymns, Hymn of the Thought-Gods etc.,
• Interpretation of the Veda.

Towards the coverage in our newsletter for the forthcoming months, the following topics will be taken up for our initial study. However the main focus will be maintained on the message conveyed by Sri Aurobindo in his book ‘The Secret of the Veda’.

• Veda in Indian Tradition
• Commentaries or Bhāṣhyās on ‘ Rig Veda Samhitā ’
• Symbolism and the esoteric interpretation of the Veda Mantras
• Two-Fold Meaning of Mantra
• Spiritual Interpretation of the Riks
• Symbolism of Riks conveyed by double meaning
• The Four key ideas in the Secret of the Veda
• The Outer Ritual, Yajna and its Inner or Subtle counterparts
• Symbolism of Priest, Offerings, Worlds
• Essence of Spiritual Interpretation
• Overview and message of the Rig Veda

Reference will also be made to the following books by other authors affiliated to Aurobindonian thought and philosophy:

1. ‘ The Light of Veda – A Practical Approach ’ – by Sri T.V.Kapāli Sastry
2. ‘ A New Light on the Veda ’ – by Sri T.V.Kapāli Sastry
(Originally written in Sanskrit under the name ‘Siddhānjana – Bhūmika’, translated into English by Sri M.P.Pandit and thoroughly revised by the author himself, in 1952. Published by Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture, Bangalore. (SAKSI) )
3. ‘ Agni in the Rig Veda ’ - by Dr R.L.Kashyap
4. ‘ Why read the Rig Veda ’ – by Dr R.L.Kashyap
(Dr K.L.Kashyap is an Honarary Director & Trustee of SAKSI. He has to his credit 6 major books on the Veda and has undertaken a mission of writing a commentary on all the Veda mantras.)

- Krishnamurthi (chamathu2003@yahoo.co.uk)

New beginnings for 2010: Editor's foreword

It is the hope of the editorial team that members of this Society as well as followers of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo take up a detailed study of any of the great texts of Sri Aurobindo and if inclined, share their ideas, views and insights with readers via this common platform of our Newsletter. This issue sees the advent of two new columns which promise to run for some months to come, through the contributions of Krishnamurthi and Sundari. In the first column below, the writer captures in writing his understanding of the magnificent text, “The Secret of the Veda” by Sri Aurobindo. A good amount of research coupled with the writer’s long-standing commitment to consistent chanting of Vedic mantras in the traditional fashion has given to this column a personal and practical value. The next column entitled “The Human Race in Light of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga”, by Sundari, bears the trademark of the writer’s study of Sri Aurobindo’s “Human Cycle” and other readings peppered by her invaluable experiences of ashram life in her earlier days, in Pondicherry. We encourage readers to read these columns closely and share their thoughts and views on the written passages with us by posting their comments on our website or writing to the Society’s email address or directly to the writer at the email address that follows at the end of the columns. This exercise will serve to open up valuable discourses on Sri Aurobindo’s works. We can also hope that a part of the path that our inner journey is set upon may receive some rays of light while contemplating on Sri Aurobindo’s works, thus.

Sri Aurobindo on how to begin Sadhana


It is quite possible for you to do sadhana at home and in the midst of your work- many do so. What is necessary in the beginning is to remember the Mother as much as possible, to concentrate on her in the heart for a time every day, if possible thinking of her as the Divine Mother, to aspire to feel her there within you, offer her your works and pray that from within she may guide and sustain you. This is a preliminary stage which often takes long, but if one goes through it with sincerity and steadfastness, the mentality begins little by little to change and a new consciousness opens in the sadhak which begins to be aware more and more of the Mother’s presence within, of her working in the nature and in the life or of some other spiritual experience which opens the gate towards realization.

Remember the Mother and, though physically far from her, try to feel her with you and act according to what your inner being tells you would be her Will. Then you will be best able to feel her presence and mine and carry our atmosphere around you as a protection and a zone of quietude and light accompanying you everywhere.

There is no method in this Yoga except to concentrate, preferably in the heart, and call the presence and power of the Mother to take up the being and by the workings of her force transform the consciousness; one can concentrate also in the head or between the eyebrows, but for many this is a too difficult opening. When the mind falls quiet and the concentration becomes strong and the aspiration intense, then there is a beginning of experience. The more the faith, the more rapid the result is likely to be. For the rest one must not depend on one’s own effort only, but succeed in establishing a contact with the Divine and a receptivity to the Mother’s Power and Presence.


(‘Sri Aurobindo On Himself and The Mother’, Printed at Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, Pondicherry, 1953)

The path

What do you want Yoga for? To get power? To attain to peace and calm? To serve humanity?

None of these motives is sufficient to show that you are meant for the path.

The question you are to answer is this: Do you want the Yoga for the sake of the Divine? Is the Divine the supreme fact of your life, so much so that it is simply impossible for you to do without it? Do you feel that your very raison d’ etre is the Divine and without it there is no meaning in your existence? If so, then only can it be said that you have a call for the path.

When you come to the Yoga, you must be ready to have all your mental buildings and all your vital scaffoldings shattered to pieces. You must be prepared to be suspended in the air with nothing to support you except your faith. You will have to forget your past self and its clingings altogether, to pluck it out of your consciousness and be born anew, free from every kind of bondage. Think not of what you were, but of what you aspire to be; be altogether in what you want to realize. Turn from your dead past and look straight towards the future.

-- The Mother.

Question of the month

Q: Divine Mother, I wish to get light on the following points.

1. Have I the capacity and are there potentialities in me to follow this path?

A: The Mother: This is not a question, the question is whether you have the necessary aspiration, determination and perseverance and whether you can by the intensity and persistence of your aspiration make all the parts of your being answer to the call and become one in consecration.

2. How should I continue my practice (sadhana) after returning home?

A: The Mother: Quiet yourself and in the quiet see and feel the Mother.

3. How can I meditate? What is the meaning by opening? Where should I open?

A: The Mother: An inner purity and receptivity that freely lets in the Mother’s influence. Begin with the heart.

4. I aspire for the higher life from above the head; but I always feel strained in the middle part of the forehead. What should I do?

A: The Mother: Do not strain yourself.

5. How does the psychic being open? How to understand the psychic and vital beings in the Adhara?

A: The Mother: By the force of aspiration and the grace of the Mother.

Psychic: Your true being, the being that is in the heart and that is the spark of the Mother’s own consciousness.
Vital: The part from which proceeds desires and hunger and dynamic activities, having its physical basis round about the navel.

6. What should I read at present?

A: The Mother: Sri Aurobindo’s books.
-- The Mother, November, 1928.

From Savitri

O Savitri, thou art my spirit’s Power,
The revealing voice of my immortal Word,
The face of Truth upon the roads of Time
Pointing to the souls of men the routes of God.
While the dim light from the veiled Spirit’s peak
Falls upon Matter’s stark inconscient sleep
As if in pale moonbeam on a dense glade,
And Mind in a half-light moves amid half-truths
And the human heart knows only human love
And life is a stumbling and imperfect force
And the body counts its precarious days,
You shall be born into man’s dubious hours
In forms that hide the soul’s divinity
And show through veils of the earth’s doubting air
My glory breaking as through clouds a sun,
Or burning like a rare and inward fire,
And with my nameless influence fill men’s lives.

(Savitri, Book 11, Canto 1)

**********

To the height of heights rose now their daily climb:
Truth leaned to them from her supernal realm,
Above them blazed eternity’s mystic suns.

(Savitri, Book 3, Canto 4)

Editorial

The choice, simply, is left to us – the path of difficulties or the sunlit path. In one’s own life, by and large, does it appear as if one has made a choice without being aware that there was a choice in the first place, that there were actually two choices at the least to choose from? If yes, then life ought to be proceeding in a settled and happier fashion. This so called life lived by exercising genuine choice, fully aware of the nature of the choice and all its consequences and living with a deep satisfaction and sense of fulfillment – this life appears to be one given to a select few. However, on the other hand, it also appears that a larger cross section of humanity is given to another kind of life of strive, struggles, uncertainties – a life that seems quite out of one’s control, no matter what one may do to control it. Perhaps it was this cross section of humanity that The Mother was addressing when she said,
All was gold and gold, a torrent of golden light pouring down in an uninterrupted flow and bringing with it the consciousness that the path of the gods is a sunlit path in which difficulties lose their reality.
Such is the path open before us if we choose to take it.

The “us” features stark. The Mother has, so to speak, included herself in this collective, for after all, was not She the one who consented to descend into this mind, life and matter in order to reverse the order of an involved consciousness to an evolving one? The next happy point to note is, though included in the “us”, part and parcel of this flesh and blood living such a life upon earth, She has had the sweet fortune of looking upon and living in that world where “All was gold”….with a “torrent of golden light pouring down in an uninterrupted flow…” There is the promise of possibility which one of this world can nurture in one’s heart in the form of an aspiration. The next promise inherent in these lines is that this beauteous path is a matter of choice. One is in control, is the declaration; it is all in our own hands, is the insistence.

Is one game to make that choice? But this choice can only come about, it appears, when this human psychology receives some semblance of light from higher spheres and transforms. How is this transformation to be made possible? A promise lies in the uncovering of the psychic centre.

Which brings us to “sadhana”. Sadhana refers to ‘spiritual practice or discipline; the practice of yoga.’ (from The Sunlit Path - Aspects of Sadhana, Sri Aurobindo Ashran Trust, 1984). The master lays down one condition in order to be placed on this Sunlit Path, and that too a condition that is dependant upon one’s will, which brings us to The Mother’s insistence that the choice is our own. That condition is ‘surrender’. The master writes (in A Practical Guide to Integral Yoga, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1955):

“The sunlit path can be followed by those who are able to practise surrender, first a central surrender and afterwards a more complete self-giving in all parts of the being. If they can rely wholly on the Divine and accept cheerfully whatever comes to them from the Divine, then their path becomes sunlit and may even be straightforward and easy.”

At the final analysis, life stares back at us with her well-defined beautiful eyes, crystal clear and calm. Are we making of this life what someone else would want of it? Is the conditioning that one has been through since time immemorial too cumbersome even to think about? Do we leave that to slip to the background and yet would have that very conditioning form the backbone of all our thoughts and acts and tendencies, not to mention the choices we make in life? It could just be timely to review what sadhana means to one, in one’s own life.