Guiding Light of The Month

I feel as though I have done nothing yet, as though I have not lived the spiritual life, only entered the path that leads to it, it seems to me that I know nothing, that I am incapable of formulating anything, that all experience is yet to begin. - The Mother

A teacher of yoga

Mr K S Rajah was one of my oldest friends in Singapore - indeed it was so long ago that we met for the first time at some function connected with the Law, that I remember neither the date nor the occasion. At first I knew him as a distinguished member of the legal fraternity and had no idea that 'the outstretched hand' of fate was leading us both along separate but parallel pilgrim paths towards Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Eventually we became companions on the way of their Integral Yoga, sharing a deep interest in the life and work of Sri Aurobindo and a mutual love for his great epic 'Savitri'.

During the years that we served together on the Committee of the Sri Aurobindo Society of Singapore I came to know Mr Rajah and his delightful family better. They were always dedicated supporters of the Society's formal and informal gatherings. The many 'brunches' hosted by the Rajah family at Sian Tuan Avenue were eagerly looked forward to. (On one such memorable occasion I took along a guest from abroad who later wrote to me recalling ''a wonderful warmth and hospitality, an atmosphere of almost spiritual joy''.)

As Chairman of the Society, K.S. Rajah brought to that office a humility, tolerance and kindness straight from the heart, in addition to the sound judgment he had displayed throughout a legal career culminating in his appointment to the High Court of Singapore. It was a privilege to sit next to him during the Society's celebration of the Mother's birthday earlier this year. Our Chairman had just been released from hospital where he had undergone major surgery, and his head was swathed in bandages, yet his expression was serene, and the words he spoke full of encouragement and hope. As I sat there listening, something I had read long before about the tradition of Karma yoga came into my mind. We journey through many lives in our quest for the Divine, and those who do well may be rewarded on the way by wealth or high office and the respect of their peers. But for some the highest possible reward is granted - to become a teacher of yoga!

I realised then that our dear Mr Rajah, not just through his careful study but by his living example, could count among his life's many achievements the greatest of them all - quietly, without fanfare or fuss, he had become 'a teacher of yoga'.


Sonia Dyne,
Former Chairperson,
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore

Condolences

We all knew that Mr. Rajah was suffering from an incurable disease but his departure must have left a strong sense of vacuum. I am sure the noble soul is resting on the Mother's lap.
Pradeep Narang
Chairman,
Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry


Spiritual guidance through meditation is the key to dealing with and accepting the loss of a loved one.
Sushila Ben
Secretary,
Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry


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It is with profound sorrow that we heard the passing away of Sri K S Rajah a couple of days ago. Truly he was humble but profound and unpretentious Aurobindo's Savitri scholar and both my wife and I had numerous occasions to listen to his readings from Savitri at the Aurobindo Society at Starlight Road. We had the rare privilege of knowing him and benefit from our association with him. Good people are snatched away from us and indeed inscrutable are the ways of God. A great soul indeed and may his soul rest in peace.

S Parthasarathy,
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore

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KS Rajah: He was a king in Vedic knowledge and he was kingly in his demeanour.

Love,
Ananda Reddy,
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I express my deepest condolence on the demise of the Society’s Chairman, Mr K S Rajah. My prayers for his departed soul to rest in peace.

G Sridhar,
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore

Flutist, Temple of Fine Arts

Eulogy

Delivered on behalf of the Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore
by Acting Chairperson, Shashi Lal Kashyap,
at the Cremation Ground
Saturday 19th June 2010
----------------------------

Friends,

We are present here today to bid a final farewell to our beloved Mr. K.S. Rajah who passed away peacefully after a long illness. I speak to you and make this tribute on behalf of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore. Mr. Rajah had been our leader and Chairman for the past several years.

Mr. Rajah was indeed a very remarkable person. His whole life and career was a grand success. In his legal profession he served in several highest positions, and distinguished himself as a just, honest, fair and sincere person with a compassionate and benevolent heart. His contribution to the Hindu Centre, Gita Jayanti, Self Realization Fellowship, Hindu Endowment Board and other institutions was immeasurable.

My personal relationship with Mr. Rajah and his family for the past 25 years is basically connected to our common attachment to the Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore. Since over thirty years the Sri Aurobindo Society has benefited from spiritual discourses by several eminent speakers. These included Dr. Nadkarni as well as Mrs. Sonia Dyne. Mr. Rajah had been the most prominent speaker for the past several years till now. We heard continuous and regular discourses by Mr. Rajah based upon the teachings and works of Sri Aurobindo. Mr. Rajah’s favourite was the epic ‘Savitri’ which we had been following line by line with him for some years. Mr. Rajah showed great in-depth spiritual knowledge and had a wonderful sense of humour. Even as recently as February this year, despite his illness and disability, Mr. Rajah still addressed us at the Mothers Birth Anniversary Celebrations. Furthermore, we did celebrate his 80th Birthday at his house not so long ago and he was in excellent spirits while cutting the birthday cake. It seems impossible and unbelievable that he is no more with us.

Mr. Rajah was indeed a role model and mentor to all of us. We will deeply miss his presence amongst us and we will thrive to continue and succeed in propagating his noble thoughts and actions.

May the Divine Mother give strength and courage to Mr. Rajah’s family to withstand this immense loss, and may his soul rest in peace. Om Shanti, Shanti.

Mr KS Rajah

We dedicate this issue of our Newsletter to this unique man whom we fondly remember as Mr K S Rajah, as our Uncle Rajah, our leader, our mentor, our friend and more. Besides the message from the editorial, we include in the next few pages words of members of the society and long standing friends of Mr Rajah and the society. The August issue of the Newsletter will carry more tributes from members, friends and well wishers.

Mr K S Rajah, Chairman of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore passed away peacefully on the morning of 17 June 2010 after putting up a brave battle with cancer of the blood vessels for the past one year. The society stands by the bereaved family of the departed in prayer.

Mr Rajah’s service to the society spans some 40 decades, first as a committee member and then as its chairman from 2001. During his tenure as chairman of the society, Mr Rajah had made remarkable contributions to the society, being instrumental in its evolution into what it is today, a vibrant centre with various activities carried out spontaneously by members who responded to his own enthusiasm and unconditional trust. Mr Rajah quietly set the tone that we all freely imbibed, finding fulfillment in the work we did for its own sake.

In a recent visit to Singapore, Mrs Sonia Dyne, our former chairperson, remarked on how under Mr K S Rajah’s leadership, the society had been visibly transformed. This tribute she paid him on the day we gathered to observe The Mother’s 132nd Birth Anniversary this year. That was to be Mr Rajah’s last trip to the centre. But it was a momentous occasion, a beautiful one, at least for one who walked him to and from the table at which he read two beautiful prayers. The prayers that fell into his hands were strikingly appropriate for that moment both for all of us and most personally for him who was riding through rough waters. Mr Rajah carried with him a certain atmosphere that day that only a close relationship with the divine can carry. Here was a man who appeared to have left everything at the foot of The Mother, I thought, everything.

Determination, tenacity, grit, the very stuff that must have seen him climb up the ladder in his professional and personal life and sustained him wherever he was poised, I saw exuding from him during the several hospital visits we made in the past months, to be with him for a while, as he lay on the bed, trying to play the amicable host to his guests. There was a great humility in this man that touches one to the core. Humility. This word about sums up the being and life that was Mr K S Rajah. Here is the first part of our humble tribute to him.

IEP Newsdesk: my experience at the Sanskrit workshop

The Sanskrit workshop was an enriching experience for me, as I got a chance to learn the language that is the “mother of all languages”. The course was conducted by Dr Anuradha, who even did her PhD in Sanskrit. Learning spoken Sanskrit showed us that many English words had roots in Sanskrit. We also learnt the importance of learning Sanskrit. For example, reciting the alphabet gives a proper exercise for the vocal chords. We also learnt the importance of good words and good thoughts in our daily life. A Japanese researcher did research on this subject, and found out that good thoughts and speaking good words create beautiful crystals on water, as against bad thoughts and words. Our body is made up of more than 60% of water, and our brain contains a lot of water too. This shows that we should always think good thoughts and speak good words.

Despite being from a Tamil-speaking background, and taking Tamil as a second language in school, I was able to learn and make sentences in Sanskrit easily. There were also people in the class who did not have any background in Indian languages; however, they too were able to construct sentences easily. As many Indian scriptures are written in Sanskrit, I was very interested to learn the language. We also learnt the meanings of some mantras and the importance of chanting mantras.

Overall, I found the Sanskrit workshop very enriching and despite going for the second time for the course, I felt that I had learnt a lot more than the last time.

-Pranav

Flower of the month

Call of the Divine Grace


One of the qualities that facilitate integral progress.
- The Mother

Common Name: Wooden rose
Botanical Name: Operculina turpethum
Spiritual Name: Call of the Divine Grace

The secret of the vedas - a first attempt - Auxillary texts

In the previous issue, we looked at the various books of the Vedas. Apart from the books outlined therein, there are many others known as Vedāngās, Veda-Upāngās, Upa-Vedās, Smrtīs, Itihāsās, Puranās etc. We shall look at these auxiliary texts below.

I. Vedangas- They are six in number.

Ṣiksha Science: of phonetics or pronunciation and intonation
Vyākarana: Science of the grammar of language
Nirukta: Etymology or the science of origin, meaning and explanation of the Vedic words
Chandas: Science of the composition of the hymns like meter, rhyme, pāda etc., of the mantrās
Jyotisha: Karma Kānda Astronomy and astrology mainly directed towards fixing up auspicious moments for the performance of Vedic sacrifices
Kalpa: Science or manual of sacrificial rituals, both Vedic and domestic

II. Veda-Upāngās –These are the six systems known as ‘Shad Darshanās’.
They are: Nyāya, Vaiseshika, Sānkhya, Yōga, Pūrva Mīmāmsa & Uttara Mīmāmsa

It is necessary to know details regarding the Mīmāmsās (especially Pūrva Mīmāmsa) since their conclusions are diametrically opposed to the basic principles that govern Sri Aurobindo’s approach to the symbolic and secret meaning of the Veda. According to most traditionalists, all the mantrās of Veda deal with yajna, the sacrifice. These theoreticians who follow Pūrva Mimāmsa and are called ‘Mīmāmsakās’ declare that yajna deals only with the outward rituals. Hence it is to be assumed that all mantrās regardless of which Veda they are coming from, deal only with rituals and have no connection with knowledge. Views of the Mīmāmsakās were codified by the great scholar Jaimini in his aphorisms or sūtrās. They made one package out of the mantra Samhitās and the Brāhmana books, even though their sources and contents were quite different. They hold the view that, “the Veda consisting of Samhitās and the Brāhmana books provides human kind with the one sure means for achieving the goal of life namely, to attain all that is desirable and ward off all that is unwelcome and harmful. The Veda is the source of dharma. Knowledge of the dharma can be got from the Vedās alone and it is in the form of injunctions. The observance of such dharma achieves the end of life and works out the good of man here on earth in this life and elsewhere beyond, after death. To adhere to this dharma one must faithfully perform all the rituals sanctioned by the Vedic authority. Thus the Vedic dharma is sustained by its observance. Therefore, ritual denoted by the word karma is the meaning and purpose of the Veda. The Brāhmaṇa books naturally come to occupy the main part in the Vedās in as much as they lay down the forms and procedure of the ritual. Of course the mantrās are there and they have their use too. They are meant to be recited and used as directed during the rituals; they subserve the rituals. As for the Upanishads, they are after all particular portions of the Āranyakās or are themselves part of the Brāhmaṇās. They are in the nature of appendices to the Brāhmanās and do not have an independent existence as such.

Two sections of Veda: ‘Karma Kānda’ & ‘Jnāna Kanda’

‘Karma Kanda’, the section dealing with karma (works) is based on the Brahmana books and is formulated as ‘Pūrva Mīmāmsa’ by Jaimini. ‘Jnāna Kanda the section dealing with jnāna (higher knowledge) is based on the Upanishad books and is formulated as ‘Uttara Mīmāmsa’ or Vedārtha by Sri Bādarāyana. All the mantrās – riks or yajus – are meant only for their use in ritual; for purposes of sacrifice; this has been the verdict. Even though for the praise of the Gods, for the purification of the inner being, for the attainment of the desired ends and the accomplishment of averting the undesirable, the mantras are used, sacred as they are, in japa and the like, yet ritual is the main thing and mantrās are only its subsidiaries. While ‘Pūrva Mīmāmsa’ (Prior enquiry) deals with dharma, ‘Uttara Mīmāmsa’ (posterior or higher enquiry) deals with Brahma, and is dealt with in ‘Brahma Sūtrās’.
Brahma Sutrās help in clarifying and explaining difficult passages of the Upanishads. Many philosophers such as Shankara, Ramānuja, Mādhva have written detailed commentaries on this. There are four chapters or Adhyāyās in the Brahma Sūtrās containing 545 aphorisms. The first chapter shows that ‘Brahman’ is the sole cause of ‘creation of this world’, ‘sustenance of this world’ and also ‘destruction of this world’. The second chapter discusses some of the objections in this regard put forth by other schools and proves that ‘Brahman’ is both the ‘material cause’ and the ‘instrumental cause’ of this world. The third chapter talks of salvation- what it is and its glory.

III. Upa Vedās - They are four in number one attached to each Veda


Ayurveda: Science of life, of sound health including the art of preventing and curing diseases in the Rig Veda
Gandharva Veda: Science of fine arts like music and dance attached to the Sāma Veda.
Artha Veda: Known as Artha-shāstra science of economics, politics and statecraft attached to the Atharva Veda

IV.Smṛiti: Helps us in understanding the various injunctions and truths propounded in the Vedās. More important Smritīs are: Manu, Parasarra, Yāgnavalkya, Harita and Sandilya. The Smritīs describe the codes of conduct for mankind in day-to-day life. Their content is mostly for attaining good results in the next life or for attaining heaven or celestial opulence. These generally do not provide the means for attaining complete liberation or God-realization.

V. Itihāsās: They explain the rituals of the Vedās and the highly compressed philosophy of the Vedānta sūtrās by using historical events and factual stories of many great sages, demigods and so forth. Typical examples are ‘Rāmāyana’ and ‘Mahābhāratha’.

VI. Purānās: Being an important part of the Itihāsās, they explain more clearly and completely the spiritual philosophy found in the four original Veda Samhitās. Since all are not on the same level of consciousness and are spread over different types of thinking, feeling and desiring, the Purānās are divided so that any class of people can take advantage of them and utilize them to get out of the material entanglement either gradually or rapidly. So depending on their position in life, persons can use particular Purānās that benefit them most. Of the 18 Purānās, six are considered sacred and authoritative. They are Vishnu Purāna, Bhāgavatam, Nārada Purāna, Padma Purāna, Varāha Purāna and Garuda Purāna.

References
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
to be continued……
Krishnamurthy (chamathu2003@yahoo.co.uk)

The word

“The word is a sound expressive of the idea. In the supra-physical plane when an idea has to be realised, one can by repeating the word-expression of it, produce vibrations which prepare the mind for the realisation of the idea. That is the principle of the Mantra and of japa. One repeats the name of the Divine and the vibrations created in the consciousness prepare the realisation of the Divine. It is the same idea that is expressed in the Bible, “God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light.” It is creation by the Word.”

Voice of the summits

Voice of the summits, leap from thy peaks of ineffable splendour,
Wisdom's javelin cast, leonine cry of the Vast.
Voice of the summits, arrow of gold from a bow-string of silence!
Leap down into my heart, blazing and clangorous dart!
Here where I struggle alone unheeded of men and unaided,
Here by the darkness down-trod, here in the midnight of God.

I have come down from the heights and the outskirts of Heaven
Into the gulfs of God's sleep, into the inconscient Deep.
All I had won that the mind can win of the Word and the wordless,
Knowledge sun-bright forever and the spiritual crown of endeavour,

Share in the thoughts of the cosmic Self and it's orders to Nature,
Cup of it's nectar of bliss, dreams on the breast of it's peace.

- Sri Aurobindo

On Mantra - By MP Pandit

It is one of the fundamental perceptions of the ancients that the Reality turned towards manifestation reveals itself as a primordial Sound, the Brahman is nada, God is Logos. The first stir, spanda, of the Creative Consciousness renders itself as a vibration of sound, sabda, and all else issues from this Sound-Form of the Reality. Each form in creation has this Sound-origin at its base. It may belong to any plane of existence, it may be a god, it may be a thought –form or a current of force or a material object on earth. At its root there is a Sound-substance from which it has evolved into this manifestation. Naturally, this Sound is not the sound of our physical world, but it is the Sound of the plane of the supreme Ether, paramevyoman. Indeed, it translates itself into appropriate form on the different levels of creation. It is only the last stage of this rendering of Sound-form that is the human speech. And when any particular word or words in our speech are such projected correspondences of the supreme Sound-forms, they are called mantra.

Thus the mantra is a transcript in terms of human speech of the basic Sound-body of any truth or form in creation. By dwelling upon such a word or words one can connect himself with the prototype in the higher planes and evoke the truth embodied in that original Sound-form to manifest. It is an occult law that if one can recreate the conditions in which something first manifested, an inducement, a pressure, is exerted for that thing to manifest again.

In the mantra-sastra each Deity is conceived as having its own Sound-form, which is rendered, at the human level in the body of the letters of a mantra revealed to the seer. By concentrating upon this physical nodus one evokes the Deity ensouled in its corresponding Sound-form above to manifest. Rapport is established between the person who waits upon the mantra and the Truth at its head.
Naturally, a mantra of this type is not concocted by the human mind. It is not a matter of clothing an idea into metrical form. The Word comes into the being reverberating from the depths of an eternal Silence and settles in the recesses of the heart. There it is brooded upon by the central consciousness till it is assimilated and acquires sufficient individuation in this world of flux. When it is so processed, hrda tastan, carved by the heart, it is taken up by the intelligence and subjected to a further process of fusion and then clothed in an appropriate thought-form. This thought-form flows in its inevitable sound-body, and we have the Word.

This is the sacred character of the mantra around which a whole science has been built up by the seers of yore. A mantra is not a convenient means for concentration for arresting the wayward tendencies of the mind; it is not even a vehicle to connect oneself with the Deity; the mantra is the body of the Deity, in a sense it is the Deity itself. It is when one looks upon the mantra in this spirit, adores it, takes to it with the love that one reserves for the Divine Beloved that the mantra reveals its true nature, yields its truth and becomes one with the upasaka, practicant. He attains identity with the ensouled Deity.
- M.P. Pandit.

(‘A Chapter on Mantra’ from ‘All Life Is Yoga’, M.P. Pandit, Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

The Mother on the mantra ‘Om Namo Bhagavateh’


It is there, all around me; it takes hold of all the cells and at once they spring forth in ascension. And Narada’s mantra too: “Narayana, Narayana”.

It is actually a Command which means: now you shall do as I wish. But it doesn’t come from the heart. What will it be?

It will simply spring forth in a flash, all of a sudden, and it will be very powerful. Only power can do something. Love vanishes like water running through sand: people remain beatific… and nothing moves! No, power is needed- like Shiva, stirring, churning.

When I have this mantra, instead of saying hello, good-bye, I shall say that. When I say hello, good-bye, it means Hello: the Presence is here, the Light is here, Good-bye: I am not going away, I am staying here. But when I have this mantra, I believe something will happen. (silence)

For the moment of all the formulas or mantras, the one that acts most directly on this body, that seizes all the cells and immediately does this (vibrating motion) is the Sanskrit mantra OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH.

As soon as I sit for meditation, as soon as I have a quiet minute to concentrate, it always begins with this mantra, and there is a response in the body, in the cells of the body: they all start vibrating.

This is how it happened. Y had just returned, and he brought back a trunk full of things which he then proceeded to show me, and his excitement made tight, tight little waves in the atmosphere, making my head ache; it made… anyway, it was unpleasant. When I left, just after that had happened, I sat down and went like this (gesture of sweeping out) to make it stop, and immediately the mantra began.

It rose up from here (Mother indicates the solar plexus), like this: Om Namo Bhagavateh, Om Namo Bhagavateh, OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH. It was formidable. For the entire quarter of an hour that the meditation lasted, everything was filled with Light! In the deeper tones it was of golden bronze (at the throat level it was almost red) and in the higher tones it was a kind of opaline white light: OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH, OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH, OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH.

The other day (I was in my bathroom upstairs), it came; it took hold of the entire body. It rose up in the same way, and all the cells were trembling. And with such a power! So I stopped everything, all movement, and I let the thing grow. The vibration went on expanding, ever widening, as the sound itself was expanding, expanding, and all the cells of the body were seized with an intensity of aspiration…. As if the entire body were swelling- it became overwhelming. It felt that it would all burst.

I understood those who withdraw from everything to live that totally. And it has such a transformative power! I felt that if it continued, something would happen, something like a change in the equilibrium of the body’s cells. So each time one must find something that acts on himself, individually. I am only speaking of the action on the physical plane, because mentally, vitally, in all the inner parts of the being, the aspiration is always, always spontaneous. I am referring only to the physical plane.
The physical seems to be more open to something that is repetitious- for example, the music we play on Sundays, which has three series of combined mantras. The first is that of Chandi addressed to the universal Mother:

Ya devi sarvabhuteshu matrirupena sansthita
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu shaktirupena sansthita
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu shantirupena sansthita
Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namah

The second is addressed to Sri Aurobindo (and I believe they have put my name in the end. It incorporates the mantra I was speaking of:
Om namo namah shrimirambikayai
Om namo bhagavateh shriaravindaya
Om namo namah shrimirambikayai

And the third addressed to Sri Aurobindo: ‘Thou art my refuge’

Shri aravindah sharanam mama.
Each time this music is played, it produces exactly the same effect on the body. It is strange, as if all the cells were dilating, with a feeling that the body is growing larger. It becomes all dilated, as if swollen with light- with force, a lot of force. And this music seems to form spirals, like luminous ribbons of incense smoke, white( not transparent, literally white) and they rise up and up. I always see the same thing; it begins in the form of a vase, then swells like an amphora and converges higher up to blossom forth like a flower.

So for these mantras, everything depends upon what you want to do with them. I am in favour of a short mantra, especially if you want to make both numerous and spontaneous repetitions- one or two words, three at the most. Because you must be able to use them in all cases, when an accident is about to happen, for example. It has to spring up without thinking, without calling: it should issue forth from the being spontaneously, like a reflex, exactly like a reflex. Then the mantra has its full force.

For me, on the days when I have no special preoccupations or difficulties ( days I would call normal, when I am normal), everything I do, all the movements of this body, all, all the words I utter, all the gestures I make, are accompanied and upheld by or lined, as it were, with this mantra : OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH….. OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH…all the time, all the time, all the time.

That is the normal state. It creates an atmosphere of an intensity almost more material than the subtle physical; it’s like… almost like the phosphorescent radiations from a medium. And it has a great action, a very great action: it can prevent an accident. And it accompanies you all the time, all the time.

But it is up to you to know what you want to do with it.
OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH



The first word represents: the supreme invocation, the invocation to the Supreme
The second word represents: Total self-giving, Perfect surrender.
The third word represents: The aspiration, what the manifestation must become- Divine.

(‘The Mother’s Agenda (Volume 1 and Volume 6)’. Translated from French, Institut De Recherches Evolutives, Paris, printed at Tata Press Ltd, Bombay)

Question of the month

Q: The Mother said that Sri Aurobindo did not give any mantra (“Sri Aurobindo gave none’) but despite the fact that Sri Aurobindo spoke so much about Japa, what is the significance of this statement of The Mother? Kindly explain it clearly.

A: Sri Aurobindo: The only mantra used in this sadhana is that of the Mother or of my name and the Mother’s.

(However the Mother said later “Had He reached the point where we are now, He would have seen that the purely psychological method is inadequate and that a japa is necessary, because only japa has a direct action on the body. “ )

Q: Is there any difference between the Force that helps when I call the Mother in sleep and the Force that comes when I repeat “Sri Aurobindo-Mira”?

A: The Mother: There is not necessarily any difference of Force. Usually the Mother’s name has the full power in it; but in certain states of consciousness the double Name may have a special effect.

(Sources: 1) ‘Nama Japa in the Yoga of Transformation’, by Ramakrishna Das, published by Matrubhaban, Cuttack. 2) ‘Sri Aurobindo on Himself, Volume 26’, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1972, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.)

From Savitri

As when the mantra sinks in Yoga’s ear,
Its message enters stirring the blind brain
And keeps in the dim ignorant cells its sound;
The hearer understands a form of words
And musing on the index thought it holds,
He strives to read it with the labouring mind,
But finds bright hints, not the embodied truth:
Then, falling silent in himself to know
He meets the deeper listening of his soul:
The Word repeats itself in rhythmic strains:
Thought, vision, feeling, sense, the body’s self
Are seized unalterably and he endures
An ecstasy and an immortal change:
He feels a Wideness and becomes a Power,
All knowledge rushes on him like a sea:
Transmuted by the white spiritual ray
He walks in naked heavens of joy and calm,
Sees the God-face and hears transcendent speech.

(Savitri, Book 4, Canto 3)

Editorial

The editorial, on behalf of the Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore, takes this opportunity to convey its prayer of peace to the departed soul of the chairman of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore, Mr K S Rajah and its condolences to his bereaved family. This issue of our Newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Mr K S Rajah and all that he stood for and meant to us as our leader and co-traveler on the path. The last 4 pages of the Newsletter bear tribute to Mr K S Rajah from long standing friends as well as messages of condolences. The rest of the Newsletter will be devoted to the theme of this month, mantra. Mantras have always intrigued Mr Rajah and occupied a special place in his life. Co-incidentally or otherwise, what better theme than this can decorate these pages of dedication?

Mantra. This is a frequently encountered word in the spiritual tradition of India. Sanskrit in origin and being, the root word “man” refers to “to think” and “tra” refers to a tool or instrument. Together, it appears as “instrument of thought” in literal translation. Mantras are commonly understood to be either a sound, or a syllable, or word or a group of words that are capable of bringing about a transformation. This transformation can take place in the various planes that make up our nature, such as in the mental or vital or physical planes and also in the less readily accessible inner planes in the human being. How is this possible? The ancient texts explain that the universe is nothing but a creation of sound; each created being and thing is made of vibrations of various amplitude and frequency of sound. All elements and energies can therefore be guided and influenced by mantras, which are organized sounds of varying intonations. Therein lies the power of mantras as practiced till today. Each mantra is essentially a “thought form” which can exert their influence on entities by means of sound vibrations. AUM mantra, or The Word, is seen as the king of all mantras, since it is the source of all mantras representing the underlying unity of reality or Brahman. It is also known as the mantra of creation.

In our own lives, we could have experienced the effect of mantras on us, the most foremost and noticeable effect being the descent of peace in the mind and heart. We are then better able to detach ourselves from the external happenings and their effect on us and remain centred within in calm repose. It is a physiological truth that this calm repose itself brings about a positive well being in the whole human entity. There are also instances of mantras for specific effects on our different chakras and so on. In any case, the suggestion is also spontaneous that any such dwelling with mantras need proper guidance from one learned in these matters or effects could be quite contrary to that sought after. The Mother has also cautioned that each individual should find that mantra which works best on him or her.

Sri Aurobindo, as a spiritual master and guru, refrained from handing out mantras to his followers. He considered the name of The Mother and his to be sufficient mantra capable of seeing to the transformational needs of seekers of integral yoga. Later on, The Mother revealed some short lines of mantra as essential in having a direct effect on the very matter that constitutes our being, the cells of the body. These, according to her, respond to the power of repetitive word or sound. The Mother put her entire yogic practice of transformation behind the mantra “OM NAMO BHAGAVATEH” and explains beautifully its effect in “The Agenda”.

May the myriad rays of the mantra illumine our ways.

WALKING IN LIGHT - A Peek at Physical Culture

Is it possible to know our dreams intimately? We must have encountered many instances of dreams which are hazy, incongruent, with images put together incoherently, being hardly able to remember them upon waking. We too may have dreams that are crystal clear, where we are clearly aware of sensations, thoughts, feelings, and when we awake, with a vivid sense of having been in a particular place, all the more elevating if it happens to be a wonderful experience. When one takes a serious view of dreams as gateways into one’s sub-conscience, our deeper but spontaneous self, one would make an attempt to know the dreams intimately. This deeper self is generally not revealed during the period of waking, in the ordinary sense, because suppressed or covered up by the facades put up by the mind. Once one starts analyzing dreams, then there is a good chance of delving into a deeply hidden mystery which will bring us a step closer to knowing ourselves a little better. This whole exercise appears as an important aid to self-discovery. This mindset will probably lead one to be more vigilant with dreams and to note them down and understand them, probing as deeply as one can into one’s deeper being to make sense of the images one lives in dreams and their connections to our outer or surface consciousness.

In response to a sadhak’s question, The Mother refers to sleep as a school. If one is able to learn well his or her lesson, then there is a chance that “the inner being may be independent of the physical form, conscious in itself and master of its own life.” For it is so with us presently that only when the physical body is in total immobility that the inner parts of the being can have a life of their own, independently, and consequently revealing to us our deeper nature. Besides this, sleep, as we all know, provides a sort of repose to the physical body and its parts, the mind and the vital as well. Mother has elaborated other ways of resting the mind and the vital besides through sleep, such as silence, vital equilibrium and inner harmony. She has also written about a state in sleep where the mind in silent, and the vital in repose and the body in relaxation, with a “stoppage of all activities of the being”, and then one enters into “Satchidananada”, and even three minutes of this state is sufficient than all the rest that eight hours of sleep can give.

The Mother informs us about how she has been able to cultivate a total consciousness in herself throughout the night while her body was in total repose, by taking note of all her dreams and experiences and within fourteen months, was able to follow all her dreams from their beginning. However, she cautions against this practice for one who is very active during the day and truly needs sleep during the night, in its ordinary sense.

There is an extended discipline involved in sleeping right. The period before sleep and the period just after sleep are also periods of preparation. A certain right concentration is called for with the aspiration of the highest kind of repose that can be had for the purpose of the sadhana. The Mother points out that the consciousness in the night almost always descends below the level of what one has gained by sadhana in the waking consciousness…” This in itself indicates the challenges one faces in mastering sleep experiences, in converting them into enlightening experiences. However, as The Mother’s experiences and her assurance at other places assures us, the adherence to right guidance and persistence always pay off, sooner or later, according to, as in all cases, one’s level of aspiration and sincerity.
- Jayanthy

• The Mother (1978). Words of Long Ago. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
• The Mother (1979). Questions and Answers 1954. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
• Sri Aurobindo Society (1999). ‘How to Sleep Well’. Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry

My Experience in the IEP

Hi everyone! My name is Pramod and I am going to tell you about my experience in IEP. It is always fun time in IEP and thus I like to go there. They have lots of activities for us. When we enter the room we do some opening meditation (closing our eyes and concentrate). There is also some slow and melodious music so that we can concentrate even better. After about two to three minutes we sit in a circle and listen to stories said by Jayanti Aunty. We will either play some indoor games or outdoor games after that. We go to the basketball court and play games such as Dog and Bone, soccer, captain’s ball and many more. Then we come back to the room and tell Kiruthika Akka about how we felt. Then, we do painting or coloring to cool ourselves down. Then we do a closing meditation and have announcements of what we would be doing in the next lesson. Sometimes on special occasions, we go for a walk to places such as Bukit Batok Nature Park and Mac Ritchie Reservoir Park. Every year there is a camp and it is fun as there are many activities planned for us. The camp is usually for 2 days and 1 night. It is a lot of fun in the camp and we get to sleep in tents. Camping trips are one of the most memorable IEP events. This is why I like IEP so much!

- Pramod, 11, IEP Child

My Learning Journey

My IEP (Integral Enrichment Programme) journey started when I was still in Junior College. Being the inexperienced self that I was, I mostly assisted the facilitators by managing the children. It was not a task that I enjoyed fully but it certainly instilled a lot of values in me without even me being aware of it. I understood that when I was loud and impatient, I would probably discourage the children from participating fully in the activities. I slowly became more tolerant, less impulsive, and learnt how to encourage the children in a more positive manner. However, my learning did not simply end there.

As the years rolled on, I began to discover more of myself through the various activities that we conducted for the children. With the encouragement and words of wisdom from the other facilitators, I was able to see my strengths and areas that I could improve. Through sharing our experiences and planning for the activities that we conducted at IEP, I was able to hone my skills as a facilitator. Today, I can confidently step into the shoes of a facilitator and conduct physical education activities for the children only because of the long journey that I have gone through in IEP. However, the journey has not been easy and I still face many challenges today.

One of the challenges that I faced and continue to face as a facilitator who does physical education would probably be coming up with new activities. Initially, I thought that being the sports enthusiast that I was, I would be able to easily devise games for the children to play. However, I learnt that just having interest is not enough to succeed. I have to consider the age of the children, their competency, whether they would be able to understand the instructions given, and whether they would be able to follow through with all of the instructions. While considering all these constraints, I had to modify games to suit the children’s age and ability. I learnt that I needed to break down the instructions into smaller units so that the children could grasp them easily. Sometimes, what seemed like a great idea to me did not work well with the children. It made me take the perspective of the children when I planned games at later dates. Moreover, through facilitation, my individual communication and interpersonal skills improved greatly.

While it may seem that only the IEP children learnt many new things and gained new experiences from their participation, I would say that I probably gained much more than them. Their participation is limited to the two hour fortnightly sessions. However, my learning is a continuous process, which carries on outside of IEP sessions. I hope that I would be able to pass on whatever I have learnt to others as well. While I do not know how effectively I would be able to pass on my learning, I definitely do know that this learning journey would carry on for a long while more.
- Shree Valliyammai Murugesan, Facilitator

Flowers of the month

Thirst to Learn

One of the qualities that facilitate integral progress.
- The Mother


Common Name: Spanish flag
Botanical Name: Ipomoea lobata
Spiritual Name: Thirst to Learn

Opening to the Light


Harmonises with all that can lead towards the Light.
– The Mother


Common Name: King's mantle
Botanical Name: Thunbergia erecta
Spiritual Name: Opening to the Light


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

Industry, Trade and Commerce for material prosperity in the Light of Sri Aurobindo’s teachings

Sri Aurobindo’s Poorna (Integral) Yoga accepts and transforms all that exists in life and rejects nothing as unspiritual. An attitude of sincerity and surrender to the Divine is necessary irrespective of whatever action we perform. We need not hold any prejudice against industries, commerce, trade involving production and profit by exchange of goods and services and consider them to be unfavorable for spiritual life. Sri Aurobindo frequently mentioned about the future society as ‘spiritualized society’ wherein ‘All life is Yoga’ and all our relationships and external worldly interactions will be governed by spiritual oneness. In that higher state of consciousness, the domain of industry and commerce required for our material prosperity too will be transformed.

The greedy and insincere malpractices increasingly prevailing in the domains of industries and commerce are hindering the harmonious co-existence of mankind and not the real work itself. Politics too is looked upon as belonging to falsehood. In this context, we need to remember that Sri Krishna, Sri Rama, Lord Buddha were from royal families engaged in administering the kingdoms and highly able statesmen leading great political actions. Sri Krishna explained to Arjuna that the ‘colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet liberate humanity’, that even waging a war for a right cause in an egoless state of total surrender to the Divine is yoga in itself.

Sri Aurobindo had spent 17 years (1893 to 1910) of intense activity in the political field and laid the foundation through his early writings and speeches to prepare India and the world for the intellectual and psychological transformation leading towards his visions of future world-state and world-union (Ideal of Human Unity). One century has passed since the time new nations were formed, countries began to understand their inter-dependence for peaceful co-existence and several international leagues and associations have been formed to work together for peace, progress and harmony. Many ‘isms’ and ideologies like communism, socialism and capitalism have been experimented with even though they could only partially fulfill the ideals of human unity based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. Each form of polity bore direct influence on industry and commerce leading to the material prosperity. Extremely contradicting opinions are held whether the industry and commerce should be owned by individuals in capitalist structure or owned by state in a communist or socialist pattern for the common welfare and happiness of humanity.

During his stay in Baroda in one of his public speeches Sri Aurobindo (‘Revival of Indian Industry’ CWSA – vol 1 Early Writings) emphasized the importance of industrialization for the progress of a country and further in his writings (Human Cycle, Ideal of Human Unity) he gives due credit to industry and commerce in the evolving and interdependent world order. Some quotes from his speech are given below:

‘A country without flourishing manufacturers must always be a poor country. We have to encourage and assist the commercial development of the country and so put it on the only possible road to progress, opulence and prosperity’ Speaking about the Indian industry and trade in the ancient prosperous India he says: ‘We hear of busy and flourishing ports through which the manufacturers of India flowed out to Europe, Arabia and Persia. The restriction against foreign travel is one of the most serious obstacles in the way of commercial success and must utterly be swept away if we are not to go on stagnating. Without self-confidence you can never do anything; You will never found an industry or build a trade, for you have nothing to carry you through the first anxious years when the only dividend is hope and the best assets unfaltering courage and faith in oneself.’

Sri Aurobindo says ‘But I admit, as ancient Indian thought admitted, that material and economic capacity and prosperity are a necessary, though not the highest or most essential part of the total effort of human civilization. In that respect, India throughout her long period of cultural activity can claim equality with any ancient or mediaeval country. No people before modern times reached a higher splendor of wealth, commercial prosperity, material appointment, social organization. That is the record of history, of ancient documents, of contemporary witnesses. (Renaissance of Indian culture in CWSA Vol 20 – page 119)’

Speaking about India’s past and wanting her to regain the same life force he says ‘She expands too outside her borders; her ships cross the ocean and the fine superfluity of her wealth brims over to Judaea and Egypt and Rome; her colonies spread her arts and epics and creeds in the Archipelago; her traces are found in the sands of Mesopotamia; her religions conquer China and Japan and spread westward as far as Palestine and Alexandria, and the figures of the Upanishads and the sayings of the Buddhists are re-echoed on the lips of Christ. Everywhere as on her soil, so in her works there is the teeming of a superabundant energy of life.’ (Renaissance of Indian culture in CWSA Vol 20 – page 8)

We often become pessimistic and think that India is losing her spiritual strength and forgetting her cultural heritage and social values when we see it today concentrating only on materialistic growth and economic prosperity. We may refer to his early writings wherein he gave due importance to industrialization and commerce for gaining material prosperity for India before it revives its finer aspects of aesthetics, socio-cultural progress and ultimately play its part in the evolution of mankind towards higher consciousness.

In the latter years (1930s and 1940s) Sri Aurobindo answering the questions of sadhaks writes; ‘I may say, however, that I do not regard business as something evil or tainted, any more than it is so regarded in ancient spiritual India. Even if I myself had had the command to do business as I had the command to do politics I would have done it without the least spiritual or moral compunction. All depends on the spirit in which a thing is done, the principles on which it is built and the use to which it is turned’ (Letters on Yoga-Pages 675,676). He clarifies the role of money to a sadhak saying ‘As regards money, that too is a need for life and work.... Money represents a great power of life which must be conquered for divine uses. Therefore you must have no attachment to it but also no disgust or horror of it.’(Letters on Yoga-page 1069).

Nature is forcing human unity directly or indirectly by rendering nations mutually dependent for global trade and commerce. In the 21st century no nation can survive all alone without interacting with other nations and this is resulting in an exchange of cultures, ideas and values bringing in a psychological mental bonding. ‘No nation can any longer isolate itself at will and live a separate existence. Science, commerce and rapid communications have produced a state of things in which the disparate masses of humanity, once living to themselves, have been drawn together by a process of subtle unification into a single mass which has already a common vital and is rapidly forming a common mental existence.’(Human Cycle, CWSA vol 25 - page 463)

Those engaged professionally in industries and commerce need not think that their work cannot become a means of Yoga as long it is done with sincerity and surrender to the Divine bearing in mind that we are fulfilling our Swadharma.

‘Krishna goes further and declares that a man by doing in the right way and in the right spirit the work dictated to him by his fundamental nature, temperament and capacity and according to his and its dharma can move towards the Divine. He validates the function and dharma of the Vaishya as well as of the Brahmin and Kshatriya. It is in his view quite possible for a man to do business and make money and earn profits and yet be a spiritual man, practise yoga, have an inner life. The Gita is constantly justifying works as a means of spiritual salvation and enjoining a Yoga of Works as well as of Bhakti and Knowledge. Krishna, however, superimposes a higher law also, that work must be done without desire, without attachment to any fruit or reward, without any egoistic attitude or motive, as an offering or sacrifice to the Divine. This is the traditional Indian attitude towards these things, that all work can be done if it is done according to the dharma and, if it is rightly done, it does not prevent the approach to the Divine or the access to spiritual knowledge and the spiritual life.’ (Letters on Yoga- page 675).

(An art worker at Auroville.)

The Mother envisioned industry and commerce to be an integral part of life in Auroville and a means of financially sustaining the economy of the Auroville community. She designated one of Auroville's four zones as the 'Industrial Zone', and gave it the name 'Auroshilpam'. As this Sanskrit name connotes, industries in Auroville are mainly small-scale and pollution-free. Many of them deal with handicrafts. These 'business units', as they are called, either provide the basic material necessities for the residents of the community or generate income for the general maintenance of the township, while also sponsoring other projects for the community and in the neighbouring villages.

"Money is not meant to make money. Money is meant to prepare earth to manifest the new creation."
– The Mother

Source: www.auroville.org

References: Centenary volumes 1, 20, 25; Letters on Yoga; Familiar quotes from Sri Aurobindo
- Sundari KBT( kbt.sundari@gmail.com)

‘The Secret of the Veda’ – A First Attempt

Associated with each of the ‘Samhitā’ books described in our May 2010 Newsletter, there are 3 types of books called ‘Brāhmana’, ‘Āranyaka’ and ‘Upanishad’. Thus there are 16 types of Vedic books in a 4 x 4 matrix – The columns are Rig, Yajur, Sāma and Atharva and the rows are Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. An example of relatively well known books under each head is shown below:


‘Brāhmana’ Books
At the end of the age of the Samhitās the deep knowledge in these books was almost lost; however the texts themselves were carefully preserved by special methods of recitation known as ashta vikrti which are in use even today. The loss of Vedic knowledge is mentioned repeatedly in the later books of Purānās. The ‘Brāhmana’ books are the result of the attempts to recover the lost knowledge. The recovery had two stages. First, one was to record the names or details of the hymns of the Veda Samhitā recited at various steps in the outward ritual ‘yajna’ and also the various steps of the ‘yajna’.

The second stage deals with the contemplations and the philosophical issues, emphasizing the subtle nature of the ‘yajna’ and this led to the books of ‘Āranyakās’ and ‘Upanishads’.

‘Āranyaka’ Books:

Āranya means forest. These were the books used by persons who retired from the active life of householder ‘grhasta’ and stayed in the forests to carry on their spiritual pursuits. These books do mention ‘yajna’ but emphasize their symbolism, especially the inner ‘Yajna’ occurring in the subtle body of the human aspirant. These books naturally provide a bridge between the books of ‘Brāhmana’ and the ‘Upanishad’.

Typically, these books constitute the penultimate chapters of the Brāhmaṇa books. Sometimes they are separate. Example: Rig Veda has a separate Āranyaka called ‘Aitareya Āranyaka’ which is associated with ‘Aitareya Brāhmana’. Shukla Yajur Veda has no separate Āranyaka text. The last chapter of the Brāhmana book is the ‘Shatapatha Brāhmana’ and again its last chapter(s) constitutes the famous ‘Brhadārnyaka Upanishad’. Again, ‘Chhandogya Brāhmana’ of Sāma Veda has no Āranyaka. It has the massive ‘Chhandogya Upanishad’.

‘Upanishad’ Books: Also called ‘Vedānta’ these books are clearly much later to the Samhitā books. In the course of time the outer rituals became very strong. Thus the crust of ritualism almost enveloped the deep spiritual knowledge of the mantrās. The rishis of a much later age (1000 or more years) attempted to recover the spiritual knowledge independently by means of ‘tapas’. The philosophical truths and occult knowledge recovered by them are contained in the Upanishad books. The special feature is that the intellectuals easily understood these books compared to Veda Samhitās.

A list of 108 Upanishads compiled is shown in ‘Muktika Upanishad’. However only 13 are famous, that are associated with a ‘Brāhmana’ or ‘Āranyaka’ book. They are: Īsha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Māndūkya, Aitarēya, Taittirīya, Chhāndogya, Brhadārnyaka, Kaushitāki, Shvetāshvatara, Mahānārāyana. These became famous because the great commentator on Upanishads, Bādarāyana quoted these in his classic ‘Sūtra’ book called ‘Brahma Sūtrās.

It is to be noted that the three Upanishads Mundaka, Māndūkya and Prashna which play a crucial role in the vedāntic interpretations are all associated with the Atharva Veda, showing the sacredness of this fourth Veda also.


(The peace invocation from the Brhadārnyaka Upanishad. Source: http://yogaxtc.com/mantra/)
The two massive Upanishads, Chhāndogya and Brhadārnyaka constitute 80 % of the text of all the 13 Upanishads. Also the text of all the 13 Upanishads put together is one half or less that of the Rig Veda Samhitā alone. Again, this clearly shows why the Rig Veda is so important.

Auxiliary or subsidiary texts of the Vedās: Apart from the books referred to above, there are many others known as Vedāngās, Veda-Upāngās, Upa-Vedās, Smrtīs, Itihāsās, Purānās etc., These will be given some attention in our next issue.

References
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

to be continued……
Krishnamurthy (chamathu2003@yahoo.co.uk)

The best method to profit from Sri Aurobindo’s writings

In a general and almost absolute way, if you truly wish to profit from these readings, as from all of Sri Aurobindo's writings, the best method is this: having gathered your consciousness and focused your attention on what you are reading, you must establish a minimum of mental tranquility - the best thing would be to obtain perfect silence - and achieve a state of immobility of the mind, immobility of the brain, I might say, so that the attention becomes as still and immobile as a mirror, like the surface of absolutely still water. Then what one has read passes through the surface and penetrates deep into the being where it is received with a minimum of distortion. Afterwards - sometimes long afterwards - it wells up again from the depths and manifests in the brain with its full power of comprehension, not as knowledge acquired from outside, but as a light one carried within.

In this way the faculty of understanding is at its highest, whereas if, while you read, the mind remains agitated and tries to understand at once what it is reading, you lose more than three­quarters of the force, the knowledge and the truth contained in the words. And if you are able to refrain from asking questions until this process of absorption and inner awakening is completed, well, then you will find that you have far fewer questions to ask because you will have a better understanding of what you have read.

The Mother, 19th September, 1958.

(CWM Vol 10, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1980, published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

Which is better, to read aloud or silently?

When the mind is too distracted, when either internally or externally there is distraction, for a few moments to read aloud releases certain physical sound vibrations that create the necessary atmosphere of calm and peace. But if one is not distracted, the mental vibrations that are released by reading mentally are enough. If one is extrovert by nature, reading aloud helps. But if one is normally introspective, the Indian shastras considered soundless reading more beneficial. For instance, in japa there are three categories. The lowest is the audible intonation of the mantra. The second, a little more advanced, is where only the lips move but no sound is heard. The third is where there is no physical movement and no sound, but the repetition of the mantra goes on inwardly, this is the highest stage. These relate to different stages of development in the seeker. Certainly when you read aloud a few lines in a book like Savitri, they have a great therapeutic value. They impregnate the physical atmosphere with a special vibration, which has a great spiritual impact even on those around. But for oneself, even a silent reading is enough to feel and receive those vibrations. In reading aloud, some people lose themselves in the sound, and lose contact with the sense.

- M.P. Pandit.

(M.P. Pandit, ‘The Yoga of Works’, Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

How to read Sri Aurobindo's books

To read my books is not difficult because they are written in the simplest language, almost the spoken language. To draw profit from them, it is enough to read with attention and concentration and an attitude of inner goodwill with the desire to receive and to live what is taught.

To read what Sri Aurobindo writes is more difficult because the expression is highly intellectual and the language is much more literary and philosophic. The brain needs a preparation to be able truly to understand and generally a preparation takes time, unless one is specially gifted with an innate intuitive faculty.

In any case, I advise always to read a little at a time, keeping the mind as tranquil as one can, without making an effort to understand, but keeping the head as silent as possible, and letting the force contained in what one reads enter deep within. This force received in the calm and the silence will do its work of light and, if needed will create in the brain the necessary cells for the understanding. Thus, when one re-reads the same thing some months later, one perceives that the thought expressed has become much more clear and close, and even sometimes altogether familiar.

It is preferable to read regularly, a little every day and at a fixed hour if possible; this facilitates the brain receptivity.

-The Mother.

Question of the month

Q: Mother, how can one become wise?
A: The Mother: Read Sri Aurobindo.


Q: Sweet Mother, often when I read Sri Aurobindo’s works or listen to his words, I am wonder-struck: how can this eternal truth, this beauty of expression escape people! It is really strange that he is not yet recognized, at least as a supreme creator, a pure artist, a poet par excellence! So I tell myself that my judgements, my appreciations are influenced by my devotion for the Master-and not everyone is devoted. I do not think this is true. But then, why are men’s hearts not yet enchanted with His Words?
A: The Mother: Who can understand Sri Aurobindo? He is as vast as the universe and his teaching is limitless…

The only way to come a little close to him is to love him sincerely and give oneself unreservedly to his work. In that way, each one does his best and contributes as much as he can to the transformation of the world which Sri Aurobindo had predicted.

Q: Why does Sri Aurobindo use long sentences?

A: The Mother: .. .. But all language is a language of ignorance. Our entire way of expressing ourselves, everything we say and the way in which we say it, is necessarily ignorance. And that is why it is so difficult to express something which is concretely true; this would require explanations which would themselves be full of falsehood, of course, or else extremely long. This is why Sri Aurobindo’s sentences are sometimes very long, precisely because he strives to escape from this ignorant language.


(CWM Vol 10, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1980, published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)


Seer Deep-Hearted

Seer deep-hearted, divine King of the secrecies,
Occult fountain of love sprung from the heart of God,
Ways thou knewest no feet ever in time had trod.
Words leaped shining, the flame-billows of wisdom’s seas,
Vast in thy soul was a tide washing the coasts of heaven,
Thoughts broke burning and bare crossing the human night,
While star-scripts of the gods born from the presses of Light
Page by page to the dim children of earth were given.


- Sri Aurobindo

Savitri

Intuitive beams shall touch the nature’s peaks,
A revelation stir the nature’s depths:
The Truth shall be the leader of their lives,
Truth shall dictate their thought and speech and act,
They shall feel themselves lifted nearer to the sky,
As if a little lower than the gods.
For knowledge shall pour down its radiant streams
And even darkened mind quiver with new life
And kindle and burn with the Ideal’s fire
And turn to escape from mortal ignorance.


(Savitri, Book 11, Canto 1)

Editorial

“Reading Sri Aurobindo”, or the Avatar, “one who comes to open the Way for humanity to a higher consciousness” is our theme for this issue. The Mother gives a clue to the magnitude of this endeavor in her comparison of the three conceptions of the world from the spiritual standpoint.

According to the Buddhist and Shankara, the world is perceived as illusory, “a field of ignorance” and “suffering due to ignorance”. There is a stark dualism at play here, between this earthly world and the other world of enlightenment, knowledge and bliss, and the suggestion of moving away from this world to the other.

The second conception is the vedantin’s. The world is “essentially divine” since the Divine is immanent within. However, since the Immanent is not clear, distorted by external appearances, the one aim of this life would then be to fix one’s attention on that Immanent within and to “remain fixed in that consciousness without troubling about the world.”

The last concept is Sri Aurobindo’s, a concept which is very often referred to as taking off from the point where the Vedas drew a concluding line. Sri Aurobindo’s concept necessarily points to the earth as being created to precisely manifest the Divine, the Immanent within, its Creator, “under all His forms and aspects – Light and Knowledge, Power, Love and Beauty.”

The aim of the Integral Yoga is “to open the consciousness to the Divine and to live in the inner consciousness more and more while acting from it on the external life…” It is a process and a way to transform the earthly life into Life Divine, through the bringing down “of the Supramental Consciousness on earth..”

This high aim of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga forms the subject of all his written discourses. It is these that we look upon as a source of guidance in this endeavour to collaborate with him on this mission of expressing the Divine in matter.

There appears to be nothing of this magnitude suggested before. We are therefore faced with a whole new way of thinking and of living. Sri Aurobindo’s writings, together with The Mother’s form an important source of guidance to many of his followers, devotees and sadhaks. Furthermore, Sri Aurobindo wrote from higher planes not normally reached by mortals. However, His and The Mother’s assurance that higher spheres are ours with a heightened consciousness, offer some solace. Getting back to the point, how is a mental being, to begin with, to approach Sri Aurobindo’s writings?

In the pages that follow, light is thrown upon this question, with The Mother herself, most of the time, pointing the way. The nature of the guidance is such that we, as readers, are invited to exercise our own will in the process of reading Sri Aurobindo, as in making a conscious choice of abstaining from any mental approach towards understanding what is read. There is instead a constant suggestion to quiet one’s mind, to keep as still as possible, without any effort made to understand, as we are mostly led to in ordinary reading at its natural. The force contained in that which is read is allowed to seep into one’s depth. The promise is that this force itself will create “in the brain the necessary cells for the understanding.”

Let us attempt to offer ourselves into Mother’s guiding hands and reach out to Sri Aurobindo’s writings.