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

The changing face of poetry

This poem entitled “The Changing Face of Poetry” is my tribute to Mr. K.S. Rajah as a family man, a leading lawyer and especially as President of the Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore
.
A. Pancharatnam


The Changing Face of Poetry

The word-smith arranged, a tributary
of words, the building bricks of poetry,
To create a poetic-body, and a beating heart,
To give it life, with a lilting start,
To craft a poem, a practiced art.

Poems are written, for the world to read,
Poetic messages, for us to heed,
A condensed style, with figures of speech,
Pregnant ideas, born to teach,
A profound poem, a message with reach.

Shakespeare’s dramas, are in poetic form,
A poetic tongue, was a daily norm,
Today’s tongue is of beauty gone,
When will the word again, be of beauty born?
Perhaps when Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Burns
and others are reborn.

And now poetry breaks a new dawn,
Sri Aurobindo’s poem, Savitri is new born,
The greatest cosmic poem, in the English language,
A vast canvas of a new-age message,
To break the ancient seals of human bondage.

A legend, a symbol, of spiritual splendor,
A colossal epic, of immaculate grandeur,
Nearly twenty-four thousand lines of esoteric revelation,
An advent, for man’s liberation,
From mental, to supra-mental transformation.

More condolences and tributes

My family and I express our heartfelt condolence to the family of late Mr Rajah. I have always felt our dear Mr Rajah was a picture of “CALMNESS” which was very perceptible. It was a great force which could influence anybody who comes in his contact! He never lost that treasure even when I saw him a few days before his merge into the “ETERNAL CALM”. His great passion and reverence for SAVITRI made his talks spring from his heart and penetrated into ours.

I dedicate the following lines from SAVITRI to the GREAT SOUL of late Mr Rajah.

“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 expresses 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”. – (Book 4, Canto3)
Jayalakshmi
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore


I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. K.S.Rajah. I convey my heartfelt condolences to his family. He was a worthy son of the Mother and we know that his soul rests in peace at the Mother's Feet.

In Her Love,
Manojda,
- Manoj Das Gupta
Managing Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

On behalf of all the team at Savitri Bhavan in Auroville, I write to convey our sadness to learn of the passing of Mr. K.S. Rajah, who has been a generous supporter of this project since its inception. We send our sympathies and best wishes to his family at this time of loss, sure that his soul is now safely at rest with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, whom he served with such devotion for so many years. Our prayers are with you all at this time.
- Shraddhavan
Project Coordinator, Savitri Bhavan, Auroville


Needless to say, the news of Mr Rajah’s passing saddened me greatly. A flood of memories came to my mind. He was a person of an extremely sweet, charming, affable and cheerful disposition with a fine sense of humour.

I join all the members of the Sri Aurobindo Society in Singapore in expressing my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved, especially Mrs. Rajah. I pray for peace, joy and tranquility for his soul in the lap of the Divine Mother and in this hour of difficulty also pray that God grant his family members, friends, associates and well-wishers strength to face this loss.

- Prashant Khanna
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch

Being a devoted child of The Mother, K.S.Rajah lived in Her consciousness, enveloped in spiritual aura. Even during his ill health he remained calm, his face glowing with serenity. He was a man of great courage and humility. He never shied away from expressing his views but at the same time respected the views of others. His numerous admirers would miss but remember him with love.
- Jagir Singh Riar
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore


hariH OM OM namaH shivaayaH
With my last 10 years of association with Mr Rajah in relation to Gita Jayanti, and in particular the organization of many Jnana Yajna parts of it, like the Gita Forums, he was always a great source of jnana and vijnana with respect to our spiritual literature such as the Gita and the Upanishads as well as Sri Aurobindo's thoughts. His sharp legal brain, soundly based on our perennial wisdom was amply clear during many of the Gita Forum sessions where he served as the chair. His articles in the Gita Vani over the last many years were also reflections of his immense learning, wisdom, acuity as well as humility.

The drop of wisdom has merged into the ocean of bliss and eternity !
hariH OM OM namaH shivaayaH

Humble pranams.
- Krishna Kumar
Editor, ‘Gita Vani’


I am very sorry to hear the sad news of Rajahji's passing away. Let's pray for him that the blessing of Divine Mother and Sri Aurobindo will be with him. I feel very grateful for the late Rajahji's help in giving me many books of Sri Aurobindo for my Ph.D thesis.

I'd like to express my condolence to the family and members of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore.

Warm regards.
- Matius Ali.


I have over the years listened to many of Mr Rajah's talks at the Sri Aurobindo Society. Low-key in presentation, his talks were always scholarly and deep, and I found them very absorbing. As an individual too, he was unfailingly pleasant, friendly, and courteous to all - a thorough gentleman. Mrs. Rajah too has been a most worthy companion of his in their journey through life. May God bless his soul, and grant his family members the strength to bear this loss.

With deepest regards.
- Basant Kapur.


I am deeply moved to hear the sad demise of Mr. K.S. Rajah, who has been a guiding force for Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore in particular and to all devotees in general by his amicable endeavours. After long suffering, his mortal activity has come to an end but his contribution shall be cherished by one and all at Singapore for all times to come. I feel sorry for my inability to attend his funeral. May his soul rest in the Divine’s abode.

Regards.
- Sashibhusan Rath,
Rourkela, India.


From the Family of Mr K S Rajah to All…
Dear Friends,

My children and I want to thank you for your prayers, kind words and tributes. Your support has been of great comfort to us during this difficult time of our loss, pain and sorrow.

Yours Affectionately,
Gnanam.
Tributes……


Our Dear Mr Rajah,

When I met him during his last days in the hospital, he was much sedated as he was in acute pain. I held his hand to say “Hello Mr Rajah”, and pop he said “Venkat!”. It was remarkable for him to identify me in that condition, his mind was crystal clear and quick silver sharp as always. He was completely peaceful and ready for the approaching end of his cycle of life, with such equipoise. Indeed, he was so detached and well prepared from within, a trait of his own inner preparedness and yogic attitude.

He was a brilliant lawyer, jurist, arbitrator, intellectual, and community leader – but we in Sri Aurobindo Society were the only ones who experienced his spiritual dimension, something that he revealed only to the nearest and chosen few. As it were, it was a quirk of fate that perhaps his professional interest in the subject of death sentence, a piece of seminal work he did, brought him to the subject of fatality and morbidity of death, and kindled his search for answers in the spiritual works of the great masters. He came to Sri Aurobindo, and found to his great delight the leap from mortality to immortality in his epic poem ‘Savitri’. He devoured it with the interest of a lawyer reading the fine print, and dissecting its myriad hidden meanings, and relished its profound lines with the naivete and charm of an innocent child of The Mother. His talks on ‘Savitri’ at our centre were unique; at times he covered simply 3-4 lines in a whole hour, and would give the seekers a delightful new insight.

During the later years, he practiced what he spoke and certainly achieved an elevated level of consciousness. It was palpable in his company, with flashes of his tryst with the other-worldly peeping through him, sometimes like sunrays. The presence within shone on him. His last “few words”, when he was rather unwell, at our centre on The Mother’s birthday on 21s Feb 2010, came from the depths of his heart and touched one and all.

His sharp mind and quick wit were unbeatable. He maintained a clear sense of righteousness and purpose in whatever he did. He stood tall amongst equals, as a great human being with a deep sense of compassion. His needs were stark simple, and he was such an unassuming soul, self effacing to the core. He would amble into a small restaurant, to tuck in his quick lunch completely unnoticed and enjoy his meal. I once ran into him, and noticed he had a penchant for spicy food, and never liked the blandness of prescribed diets!

Truly, dear Mr Rajah was a friend, guide and philosopher to many of us and has inspired a whole generation of people. Remembering him and reminiscing his life, will in itself be a great inspiration to many. For those of us who have lived in his company, and shared wonderful moments with him, he continues to live in our hearts and we can almost hear his chuckle – he always enjoyed good humor. He would like to see us smiling, when we think of him. For his soul is resting with The Divine Mother, assimilating the entire journey of life before commencing yet another.
- Venkat Rao
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore



A DIVINITY AND KINGLINESS GRID HIS BROW

“Divinity” and “kingliness” emanated from our beloved Chairman, Mr. K. S. Rajah. The name ‘Rajah’ or King most aptly describes him, a wise king touched with light who shed his grandiose ray on human life and illumined our lives.

The Bhagavad Gita, in Chapter 16, classifies the entire humanity into two types - dvau bhutasargan, the “ignorant men who are not seeking God and the wise men who are”. Mr. K. S. Rajah was exemplary of the second category comprising the wise man, a seeker of God, with qualities such as “fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in acquiring wisdom and in practicing yoga, charity, subjugation of the senses, performance of holy rites, study of the scriptures, truthfulness, straightforwardness, radiance of character” to name a few.

Each one of us who came under his regal influence and heard his words of “ananda amrita varshini” words of divine nectar, were astounded with the fabulous garland he wove together with his deep insights, personal anecdotes, his command over words, which were threaded with his delightful humor, humility, modesty and childlike sincerity and simplicity. We sat in that blissful atmosphere on Sunday evenings as he presented to us talks on ‘Savitri’.

There for an hour untouched by the earth’s siege
They ceased from common life and care and sat
Inclining to the high and rhythmic voice,
While in his measure chant the heavenly seer
Spoke of the toils of men and what the gods
Strive for on earth, and joy that throbs behind
The marvel and the mystery of pain.

- ‘Savitri’

Sri Paramahansa Yogananda said that the right study of scriptures, svadhyaya, leads to emancipation. However “Redemption does not come from what one knows intellectually but from what one becomes as a result of that knowledge”. All of us from the Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore, saw in Mr. Rajah this deep connection between, “one’s learning and oneself”, the deep intuitional wisdom and realization he had attained and generously shared with us.

On a personal note, it was with great delight that I accepted his gracious offer to give me a ride in “his chariot” on Sunday evenings. I marveled at his deep insights and intellect and wished the ride would go on forever without an end. However, as Sri Aurobindo says, life for the embodied is one of “frail impermanence” and everything here begins and ends, but it is the end which will ever begin again as death’s grip can break our bodies but not our souls .

Uncle Rajah, as you begin yet another voyage, a new and mystical one, may it be one which is guided and led by the unerring Hand of Divine Mother and Master, may you be a voyager upon eternity’s seas with your “brilliant arrow pointing straight at heaven”.

He sails through life and death and other life,
He travels on through waking and through sleep.
A power is on him from her occult force
That ties him to his own creation’s fate,
And never can the mighty traveler rest
And never can the mystic voyage cease,
Till the nescient dusk is lifted from man’s soul
And the morns of God have overtaken his night.
- ‘Savitri’

- Sudha
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore

Mr K S Rajah as Chairman of The Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore (2001 -2010)

Mr Rajah, as he was affectionately known to us, joined the Sri Aurobindo Society of Singapore in the late seventies as a Life Member. It was the time when the late Prof. Nadkarni was in Singapore as professor of English Literature with the National University of Singapore (NUS). Prof. Nadkarni used to give a series of lectures at the Society’s Centre at Balestier Road which Mr Rajah attended every Sunday and Wednesday without fail. Prof. Nadkarni lectured on the major works of Sri Aurobindo which included “The Life Divine”, “Essays on the Gita”, “The Synthesis of Yoga”, “Savitri” and “The Foundation of Indian Culture” and about the life and works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. These series of lectures inspired many, and Mr. K S Rajah was one of them. Mr. Rajah was also inspired by other prominent speakers like our ex Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Dyne and the late President of Singapore & founder member of the Society, Mr. C V Devan Nair. Mr. K S Rajah then began to read some of the major works of Sri Aurobindo seriously, purchasing any new book available in Singapore or Pondicherry.

When Mrs. Sonia Dyne, our then Chairperson stepped down in 2001, Mr. Rajah was nominated Chairman of the Society and he accepted the post graciously. By this time, Mr. Rajah had listened to many other speakers from the Ashram such as Dr. Ananda Reddy, Sri M P Pandit, Prof. Manoj Das, Dr. Maheswary, and later Dr. Alok Pandey, Sri Shradalu Ranade and other prominent speakers. As Chairman he would invite the speakers to his house for dinner and informal discussions. Mr. Rajah was beginning to become an ardent devotee of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. He and his wife travelled to Pondicherry and Auroville a few times and had the opportunity of meeting Ashramites and prominent speakers. He would listen to lectures given by leading speakers in the Ashram too.

When Prof. Nadkarni completed his contract with the NUS and went back to India, Mr Rajah was ready to give lectures on some of the major works of Sri Aurobindo. He gave regular talks on “The Secret of the Veda”, “The Upanishads” and “Savitri”. He was a well-read man and had a good knowledge and understanding of Indian philosophy and he read the works of the great spiritual masters of India.

As the Chairman of the Society for the last 10 years, he played an active role in the management and activities of the Society. He came to the Centre every Sunday without fail. He would read The Mother’s Prayers and Meditation in a way which captivated his audience. He was a very calm and composed person and delivered his talks in a very methodical way and with conviction. His soft-spoken manner was unique and this made him an approachable person to all members. He encouraged members to take their own initiative to organize activities for the Centre. Thus the Youth Group activities, the monthly walks and the monthly newsletters were managed by the members concerned without too much interference by the Chairman or the Executive Committee.

Besides the Society, Mr Rajah was also supportive of other spiritual organizations in Singapore but he remained focused on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. He encouraged the Society to participate in the Annual Gita Jayanti Celebrations jointly organized by all the Indian spiritual organizations and The Hindu Endowment Board. On numerous Gita Jayanti Forums, he was appointed as the presiding Chairman. By participating in the Gita Jayanthy Annual Celebrations, more Indian organizations came to know about the activities of the Society and vice versa. At most of these Gita Jayanti forums the Society was instrumental in getting a prominent speaker from the Ashram to give the keynote address on the Bhagavad-Gita. In this way, more people came to know of Sri Aurobindo’s views on the importance of the Gita and its relevance today based on Sri Aurobindo’s classical work, “The Essays on the Gita” which is acknowledged by many as one of the best interpretation on the Bhagavad-Gita.

Mr Rajah is well known in the Indian community for his passionate contribution in promoting the essence of Hinduism and Indian philosophy in Singapore.

When I saw him in the hospital with all his family members around him, he held my palms tightly as if to say a final goodbye. It appeared to me that Mr. Rajah had no fear of death. The Mother had said that those who have sincerely turned to her in this life, She would be with them from life to life. In spite of his poor health condition, he made a special effort and attended The Mother’s Birthday celebration on 21st Feb 2010 at our Centre. Although he was frail, he read The Mother’s Prayers and Meditation as he usually does, with a wonderful robustness. That was his last visit to the Centre, his last reading of The Prayers and Meditation and the last time members saw him in the Centre.

Mr. K.S. Rajah, SC - The Lawyer

K S Rajah SC was a Consultant of Harry Elias Partnership. He served as a Deputy Public Prosecutor and Senior State Counsel and led the Civil and Criminal sections of the Attorney-General’s Chambers and was Director of the Singapore Legal Aid Bureau before serving as a Judicial Commissioner (1991 – 1995) in the Singapore Judicial Service. He also served as President for the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents and as the Chairman of the Singapore Law Society Committee on Guidance for the Legal Profession on Anti-Money Laundering. He was one of the pioneer batches of Senior Counsel who were appointed in 1997. In 1998 K S Rajah was appointed as member of the Singapore Mediation Centre and in 2003 was appointed as member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, acting as Chairman and sole arbitrator in both domestic and international arbitrations in Singapore and under ICC and UNCITRAL Rules. He was also a referee under the Ministry of Manpower Industrial Arbitration Court.

K S Rajah has written and contributed more than twenty articles to the Malayan Law Journal and to the Singapore Law Gazette. In October 2008 the Law Society of Singapore conferred on him the prestigious CC Tan Award. (Extract taken from The Law Society)

- S Dayanandan
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore.

IEP news desk: My Experience in the IEP

I have been in the IEP (Integral Education Program) for about 2 years and I always look forward to the rare alternate Sundays to learn something new and at the same time have some fun. IEP is actually about learning something new about everyday life. The facilitators are extremely kind and very concerned if anything happens to us. Their lessons are also very engaging and interesting. Sometimes, IEP conducts full-day events where new children come to join IEP. I have been for some full-day events and it is sometimes really engaging for the new ones.

After the new participants have experienced the particular event, there will be no quitting at all. Every time the participants come for IEP, they always come smiling. As a personal opinion, I actually enjoyed IEP and I strongly encourage more people to join IEP as participants or facilitators.

IEP had once organized a camp and it was a very successful one. It was at Pasir Ris Park. It was a one-night two-day camp. It was extremely fun because there were a whole lot of games organized by the facilitators. For me the best part of the camp was the night walk. We went through a very dark sort of forest at about 10 in the night and as light sources, we only had torch lights! At first it was quite frightening because it was pitch dark in the forest. But as we got along, it was quite interesting. I heard a lot of nocturnal animals in there as well. For dinner, we had a vegetarian BBQ. It was quite tasty.

The next day we woke up and immediately went to the beach. We spent about half an hour there playing catching and so on. At about four in the afternoon, we packed our bags and headed home. This camp was one of the few memorable camps I ever had.

- Jehanraj,13, IEP child

Nationalism and Internationalism in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s teachings


Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu (let the entire world be happy), Sarvam Brahmamayam (all is manifestation of Godhead) chanted the ancient Rishis. Our Master, Sri Aurobindo, showed us the path towards human unity through Divine oneness and spiritual evolution of Man.

“The Nationalism is a truth, unity of the human race is also truth and the only harmony of these two truths can bring the highest good to humanity. When complete fraternity is established then God instead of employing any earthly representative will himself rule the earth and sit on the throne in everyone’s heart. The reign of the Saints of the Christians, our Satyayuga will be established” (Sri Aurobindo - On Fraternity - Bengali Writings).

Man never preferred to live all alone from the very beginning of his advent on this earth. The physical needs for shelter, food and security compelled human beings to gather together into a family, tribe and further into clans or kingdoms. They slowly learned to interact and share all their belongings with one another for the fulfillment of their physical and vital necessities and learned to divide the responsibilities within the members of their group. Family was the smallest unit where the bonding between the members was biological as well as psychological. Gradually as the mental faculties evolved, this bonding gave rise to the emotional needs to love and to be loved. The commitment within a group too grew in course of time and consequently people were prepared to sacrifice their personal likes and dislikes as well as their own needs for the welfare of the group where they are committed to work and live together. History across the world is full of such episodes of heroism and self sacrifice of personal ego and needs for the sake of the kingdom or state to which they associated themselves as inseparable parts.

The seeds of patriotism and national feelings were in their nascent stage in the past. It is only in the recent modern times that the love for one’s country that we know as nationalism has evolved with mightier and nobler goals. At every step Nature helped man to dissolve his own identity and ego into that of a wider and greater group identity and thus paving way for its ultimate aim of bringing in the Divine oneness on this earth. In the past, immediately after each war waged between states or kingdoms, mankind began to question its validity and contemplated for means to prevent such wars in future again.

The three great concepts given by French revolution ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ gave new perspective in the formation of nations. “The three principles of the French revolution are not ethical rules for guiding the life of an individual but three ties or bonds capable of remoulding the structure of society and country, a fundamental Truth of Nature yearning to manifest itself in the external condition of society and country” (Sri Aurobindo - On Fraternity - Bengali Writings).

For the ultimate dream of achieving human unity and harmony based on the ideals of Fraternity, the world from 18h century onwards had adopted two major models of governance: Democracy emphasizing primarily on liberty to arrive at equality and fraternity; Communism enforcing economic and social equality that would lead to liberty and fraternity. We can see very clearly that both of them are able to partially fulfill the goals of achieving fraternity in the human societies. Until humanity fails to comprehend and realize the concept of fraternity based on our fundamental spiritual oneness, it will only achieve the external enforced forms of liberty, equality and fraternity and not the one originating from the universal soul of mankind. Sri Aurobindo has explained extensively about the past, present and future and goals of human race through his writings in Ideal of Human Unity, Human Cycle, War and Self Determination and several Articles and Speeches on these subjects (1993-1910) and Correspondence with Devotees.
“We are all one, the dividing intellect is a sign of ignorance, the sage should look on all with an equal eye and perceive the one soul, one Narayan (godhead) equally established in everyone. Universal love comes from this equality full of devotion. But this knowledge which is the highest goal of humanity will spread everywhere only at the final stage of our journey; meanwhile we have to realize it partially within, and without, in the family, society, country in every being” (Sri Aurobindo - On Fraternity - Bengali Writings).

There was no concept of nationalism in the past before 18th century. The geographical boundaries of countries or States were frequently redrawn several times in history owing to the mighty motives of the conquerors or regroupings done due to political and economic interests of the more powerful groups of people. The unification of different small kingdoms or states under the rule of a strong empire did not give birth to any emotional or psychological ideologies of nationalism. The nationhood is an emotional bonding between people by sharing the same past and aiming at same future by living together in the present with common aspirations and is not much dependent on their ethnic origin or religious beliefs. We observe strong patriotic and national feelings among people of countries that are multi-religious and of multi-ethnic origin. Basically it is the long association through generations with common goals and interests that germinate into mutual binding at emotional and psychological level that we can name as nationalism.

“The pride in our past, the pain of our present and the passion for the future are its trunk and branches. Self-sacrifice, self-forgetfulness, great service and high endurance for the country are its fruit. And the sap which keeps it alive is the realization of the Motherhood of God in the country, the vision of the Mother, the knowledge of the Mother, the perpetual contemplation, adoration and service of the Mother” (Sri Aurobindo - On Nationalism – page 364).

Much profounder and broader is the concept of internationalism (like global culture, interests, understanding and sharing) that never existed in the past before the 2nd World War. Sri Aurobindo, three decades before World War II, had written his visionary words ‘world-state’ and ‘world-family’ and explained the different stages the world has to pass through to arrive at it (Early Writings 1903-1910) and reminded us of the sacred syllables uttered by ancient Rishis ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ (earth is one family). 100 years after his vision, we can now get some glimpses of his words getting realized across the world.

Whenever overtaken by pessimism and perplexed about the future of human race, we may remember his immortal words and regain confidence about the destiny of mankind. The external factors like economic dependency, technological advancements have rendered the interaction between nations more of a compulsive necessity. This may be Nature’s way of fulfilling its hidden purpose by means of enforcing oneness on humanity through its play of external circumstances and apparently dividing events.

“The law for humanity is to pursue its upward evolution towards the finding and expression of the Divine in the type of mankind, taking full advantage of the free development and gains of all individuals and nations and groupings of men, to work towards the day when mankind may be really and not only ideally one divine family, but even then, when it has succeeded in unifying itself, to respect, aid and be aided by the free growth and activity of its individuals and constituent aggregates” (Sri Aurobindo Human Cycle- page71 – The Ideal law of Social Development)


References: ‘Bengali Writings’,’ On Nationalism’, ‘Ideal of Human Unity’ (SABDA publications)
(To be continued)
- K.B.T. Sundari

Flower of the month

The Divine Grace



Thy goodness is infinite, we bow before Thee in gratitude.
- The Mother
Common Name: Cotton rose, Confederate rose mallow
Botanical Name: Hibiscus mutabilis
Spiritual Name: The Divine Grace

Walking with Grace

Grace is the gift from the Divine. To receive the Divine Mother’s Grace we need to be humble. We are incomplete without the Divine’s Grace. The Mother’s Grace is constant. The definite way to get the Grace is unconditional surrender.

A sadhak in the ashram went to the Mother with severe tooth pain. The Mother looked at him and gave him a slap. He was shocked at the Mother’s action, but in seconds his tooth pain had vanished. Similarly, when we pray for a problem to be solved we should not expect the problem to be solved as per our way. We should learn to accept answers given by the Mother. We can always pray in the Mother’s words: “May Thy will be done”. (recollected from a reading on “Vignettes by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother”).

In another incident a devotee was travelling by train; he always carried Mother’s or Sri Aurobindo’s books. When the train halted in a station he got down to buy a bottle of water. When he came back he realized that he had left the book which he was carrying in the platform shop, he immediately jumped down from the train and went to get his book by then the train had already left he tried to catch up but he couldn’t after a minute he thought to himself maybe this is also Mother’s wish. After 15 minutes he came to know that the train he missed had met with an accident and nobody managed to survive. Now it was clear to him on why Mother had made him miss the train.

The same devotee reported back to duty after a long tour and was asked to go to his corporate office on the same day, without any specific reason. He was upset but obeyed his manager’s instruction and went to the corporate office. The next day he came to know that there was a major labor problem in his office, and if he had been there he would have had to face the whole problem. He thanked the Mother for saving him from uncalled for trouble. When we surrender ourselves deeply and completely to the mother our problems shall be solved without any doubt. (recollected from a reading from an old Tamil Magazine)

Another devotee lent some money to his friend. His friend seemed to be very honest and he gave a bond saying he would return the money as early as possible. Time passed and there was no sign of the friend giving back the money the devotee reminded him several times, but there was no response. The devotee consulted some of his friends on serving a legal notice. There was no positive response for this, hence he started surrendering the issue to the Mother. He realized that it was his fault and not his friend’s because he had more faith on the bond and filing a case to get his money back than to surrender to Mother. As soon as he realized his mistake he apologized to the Mother. The next day morning he got a phone call from his friend saying for some reason he could not return the money and now he wants to settle the amount by giving rice bags and as told he settled the amount by sending equivalent rice bags the same evening. The devotee was speechless. (Personal anecdotes)

This shows us that if we trust ourselves and our actions, we are sure of falling. Instead we can keep ourselves open and leave everything to the Mother.

“Grace flows from The Mother like rays from the Sun”.
- Sharadha

Maheshwari

Vast and serene as the infinite spaces,
Far away from our little earthly world,
And yet overarching and leaning down in a protective gesture-
The Mother of Light, the Mother of all-comprehending wisdom,
Throned on the highest heights,
Sheds, equal and unruffled, her benign compassion on obscure mortals,
Draws them ineffably ever nearer to her through the rolling ages-
Her very presence is the power that decrees, the grace that redeems.


-Nolini Kanta Gupta (05-Oct-1932)

(Nolini Kanta Gupta, ‘To The Heights’, Translated from ‘Vers Les Hauteurs’, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry)

.....And Above, a Supreme Grace that answers

“There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavour, a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a supreme Grace from above that answers.” (Sri Aurobindo in ‘The Mother’)

No god or goddess or angel listening to our prayers can grant them. Due to the enormity of the task before us, it is only a supreme and all-fulfilling Grace that should be called, for only the supreme Grace can answer such a call.

And what is Grace? Grace is a spontaneous movement of love from the divine towards his creation. it follows no reason, no logic in the human sense. it flows where it chooseth. it does not pause to consider whether the recipient is virtuous or sinful, deserving or non-deserving from the human point of view. Human deserts do not matter at all. The Grace flows according to its own choice. That is why in spiritual history we see instances where people who have not been paricualrly righteous according to the moral standards of the times, people who have been condemned as sinners suddenly becoming recipients of the Divine Grace. Why is this so? It is because they have within them a soul-force acquired in previous lives which make them worthy of the Grace.

Sri Aurobindo explains that before the Grace can come, a state of Grace, has to be built up. Slowly behind the veil whether the outer person is aware of it or not, the soul goes on building a condition which invokes the Grace, which is able to receive the impact of the Grace. If the outer being also puts in a conscious effort, so much the better. It seconds the inner effort; things are speeded up. But even without the outer effort, the state of grace can be built up within a person. That is the mechanics of the functioning of the Grace. It has its own standards, its own causes and its own way of functioning. thus the effort of the human soul articulated in the unfailing aspiration from below and the supreme Grace from above that answers are both indispensable and it is only when these two meet and work together that the difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavour can be effected.

When Mother was asked which of the two-human effort or the Divine Grace-is more important, she replied that the two are really the two ends of one working. Both are necessary. Without effort, the action of the Grace can be barren. Without Grace, human effort may be ineffective. Both are necessary to achieve the end.

But the Supreme Grace will act only in the conditions of the Light and the Truth; it will not act in conditions laid upon it by the Falsehood and Ignorance. For if it were to yield to the demands of Falsehood, it would defeat its own purpose.

Truth, Light, Ignorance, Falsehood- these are the four main conceptions which Sri Aurobindo speaks of in this passage. Truth is self-evident, it is the nature of the Divine being. Light is the form of Truth. In the Upanishad it has been explicitly stated that the Divine Truth has Light for its form. Ignorance is a state of consciousness which is removed from Truth, divisive in its operation and effect. Ignorance divides where there is oneness, where there is unity; Ignorance brings seperation and limitation. Limitation in knowledge and consciousness results in limitation of Power, limitation of action, limitation of joy; this state of consciousness is called Ignorance. Falsehood is something different. Falsehood is a direct contradiction of truth. It is not a veiled truth as ignorance is, not an incomplete truth as ignorance, but a perversion, a deliberate twisting by which the exact opposite of Truth is presented as Truth. There is a conscious attempt to mislead, to misguide, and to pass itself off as Truth. Falsehood is the extreme result of what begins as Ignorance. There is redemption from Ignorance but for one who sticks to Falsehood, what redemption can there be?

The Grace will act only in conditions of Light and Truth. It will not answer to a call made under the conditions of Ignorance and Falsehood. If it were to do so, then the Grace would be a handmaid of Falsehood, establishing its empire on earth.

(to be continued)

- M.P. Pandit
(M.P. Pandit, ‘Sat-Sang’, Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

The Divine Grace and love

The Mother says that there can be Love without Grace as there can also be Grace without Love, although the two are essentially one and the same.

Grace means a gift, it is a gesture of the giving of boon from the Divine. The Divine gives out of His Plentitude what we want, what we need, what we should have, naturally as per His choice. The most obvious, the most external, superficial and concrete form of gift is what meets our physical material need. And protection is the most readily available treasure. Protection in its larger sense includes all kinds and modes of welfare from the most physical to the utmost spiritual. When the aspirant prays: ‘Lead us not to temptations, give us purity and peace and truth,’ God’s answer is His Grace.

But instead of giving any boon, any treasure physical or material or even spiritual, however precious, instead of giving anything the Divine may give Himself to one who approaches Him; then it becomes something more than the Grace, it is Love, the Divine’s Love- His own Self. It is His own substance, His own delight of being that He gives, not anything external or extraneous. One remembers the story of Arjuna and Duryodhana. Duryodhana approached Krishna and thought the utmost, the best that he could secure from Krishna was Krishna’s battalions, for that seemed to him the most precious gift of all, for that is the thing he would need most in the coming battle. Arjuna asked for nothing else but Krishna Himself.

Grace is of Maheshwari, that is to say, it is the special attribute, a particular emanation of her own self, it is a form of herself in an attitude that belongs particularly to her. Love is of Mahalaxmi, it is her own special form and gesture. Or, varying the image we may say Grace is Shiva, the benign white radiance on the supreme heights enveloping the creation in its calm immutable compassion; while Krishna is Love, the immortal delight dwelling in the heart of mortality.
- Nolini Kanta Gupta

(Nolini Kanta Gupta- ‘The Yoga of Sri Aurobindo (Part Ten)’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, January 1969)

Question of the month

Q: Sir Philip Sidney said of the criminal led out to be hanged, “There, but for the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney.” Wiser, had he said, “There, by the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney.” (Sri Aurobindo).
I have not understood the meaning of this aphorism

A: The Mother: Sir Philip Sidney was a statesman and a poet, but in spite of his success in life, he retained his humble nature. Seeing a criminal being taken to the gallows, he is supposed to have said the famous words which Sri Aurobindo quotes in his aphorism and which could be paraphrased like this, “This could have happened to me too, but for the Grace of God.” Sri Aurobindo remarks that had Sir Philip Sidney been wiser he would have said, “That could have happened to me too, by the Grace of God.” For the Divine Grace is everywhere, always, behind everything and every event, whatever our reaction to that thing or event may be, whether it appears good or bad, catastrophic or beneficial.

And if Sir Philip had been a Yogi, he would have had the experience of human unity and he would have felt concretely that it was himself or a part of himself which was being led to the gallows and he would have known at the same time that everything that happens by the Grace of the Lord.

Q: How should we be on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday?

A: The Mother: Sincere and progressive.

Q: How can I make Sri Aurobindo’s influence living and dynamic in my daily activities?

A: The Mother: Be perfectly sincere and He will answer your call.

Q: You have said in one of your messages: “The number one problem for India is to find back and manifest her soul”
How to find back India’s soul?

A: The Mother: Become conscious of your psychic being. Let your psychic being become intensely interested in India’s Soul and aspire towards it, with an attitude of service; and if you are sincere you will succeed.

(Sources: CWM, Volume 13, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1980, published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

Savitri

I give peace to the humble and the great
And shed my grace on the foolish and the wise.

(Savitri, Book 7, Canto 4)

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… by the breath of grace our lives abide.

(Savitri, Book 3, Canto 1)

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Yet in the midst of our labour and weeping not utterly lonely
Wander our steps, nor are terror and grief our portion only,
Do we not hear in the heart of the peril a flute go before us?

(Descent of Ahana)

Editorial

Grace. This is the theme for the special issue of our August Newsletter. This month marks the advent of Sri Aurobindo into the terrestrial sphere, some 138 years ago. Those who know Him intimately, those who live with Him in their hearts, those who have consecrated their lives to Him unconditionally would probably refer to this advent as the descent of Grace itself.

In wanting to know about this phenomenon, Grace, one need only to revisit one’s past and sieve out incidents which one clearly perceives as acts of Divine Grace. When these are examined thoroughly, clearly and carefully, indeed, Grace may seem something quite inexplicable. One is able to relate with the fact that the giver of this boon we call grace follows His own movements, other than what we know to be workable or intelligible.

What is this “Grace”, really? Nolini Kanta Gupta, a senior sadhak of integral yoga referred to Grace as a “gift” or a “boon” from the Divine. However, it is a gift or a boon that is given according to how the Divine chooses. The Divine alone chooses what His devotee needs, and when it is to be offered to him and for what purpose. The Divine grace follows no human law, or judgment or discretion. The Divine alone, in His almighty wisdom dispenses what one needs most at a given point in time, for His high purposes.

M P Pandit, another senior sadhak, notes that the Divine does not show any concern for “whether the recipient is virtuous or sinful, deserving or non-deserving from the human point of view”.

Sri Aurobindo throws some light on Grace with these lines, “It is a power that is superior to any rule, even to the Cosmic Law….. Yet it is not indiscriminate – only it has a discrimination of its own which sees things and persons and the right times and seasons with another vision than that of the Mind or any other normal Power.”
One can know, on occssions, when Grace arrives and showers one with her bounty. However, in order to understand in full what Grace is, one needs to be party to God’s vast, Divine plan. How is this possible? We are once again posed with the one option, and that is to know the Divine, the high point of spiritual sadhana.

Sri Aurobindo considered Grace and aspiration as two pillars in spiritual sadhana. He says, in ‘The Mother’:

“There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavour, a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a supreme Grace from above that answers.”

The Grace is a “power”, one that answers from above to a particular call. The Grace answers from the highest spheres of the Divine. The call that sounds from below is the call of the human. It a call of an ardent aspiration for the Divine Himself.

Grace is said to answer only in conditions of Light and Truth. In order to receive Grace, to perceive Grace as Grace, some inner preparations seem inevitable. However, it is also said that Grace may appear without such preparations too. Grace alone decides.

Perhaps Grace is around us, working in and around us from moment to moment. It is just that perhaps, one needs the eyes to see Grace or the ears to hear. One can only invoke the descent of Grace silently, even for this purpose, then, while keeping the aspiration fixed, constant, skywards.