Guiding Light of The Month

Extricate me from the illusory consciousness of my mind, from its world of fantasies; let me identify my consciousness with the Absolute Consciousness, for that art Thou. - The Mother

Integral Enrichment program: Walk at the Southern ridges

There are people who love adventure. It is these I call, and I tell them this: "I invite you to the great adventure." It is not a question of repeating spiritually what others have done before us, for our adventure begins beyond that.

It is a question of a new creation, entirely new, with all the unforeseen events, the risks, the hazards it entails - a real adventure, whose goal is certain victory, but the road to which is unknown and must be traced out step by step, in the unexplored.

Something that has never been in this present universe and that will never be again in the same way. If that interests you... well, let us embark. What will happen to you tomorrow, I have no idea. One must put aside all that has been foreseen, all that has been devised, all that has been constructed and then... set off walking into the unknown. And - come what may!

The Mother

Dear Children,

We invite you to join us on this great adventure, one in which we would like to explore what The Mother has written about education through a series of intellectually and spiritually enriching activities.

Our upcoming activity is a walk along Singapore Southern Ridges trail. Join us for this relaxing walk a we explore the greenery of a set of trails and have a picnic dinner in a secret garden.

Date: 26th December 2010
Time: Report by 4.30pm at Harbour Front MRT station. We request participants to be punctual as it is difficult to join us half way through the walk.

More information: Participants are to wear loose comfortable clothing, carry plenty of water and bring a light picnic lunch. As there will be activities on the road, please RSVp you attendance for us to plan accordingly.

If you need further information, please contact Kiruthika (kimira1012@yahoo.fr) at 9649 0670, ShreeValli (msvy001@hotmail.com ) at 90266795 or Jayanthy (k.jayanthy@gmail.com) at 9652 2197.

Faith




You flame up and triumph.
- The Mother


Common Name: Chinese hibiscus
Botanical Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Spiritual Name: Faith

Editorial

Faith. This seems ingrained in the very movement of life, in its very substance. Standing along a very crowded street of Bangalore, India, I watch a dog, waiting by the side of the road. It was watching the passing traffic, quite obviously deciding whether to cross and if so, when. I watched the dog make a move to cross as auto-rickshaws were speedily and noisily manoeuvring their way past cars and pedestrians. After a narrow escape from a speeding SUV, the dog made its way across the road. Was faith behind this movement, which over-ruled the inborn survival instinct which would have prevented any of us mortals from crossing the roads at great moments of peril, uncertainty and imminent danger?

What is it that is embedded as a seed deep inside an action that one carries out? Is it not the faith that one, firstly has to carry out an action, secondly, can carry out the action and thirdly, that the fruit that one was looking for through the action will fall right on one’s hands, no matter how long it may take and how many more efforts of that nature? It appears that there is a fundamental seed of faith in us that looks towards the future with optimism.

So what of the pessimists? Even in a pessimist, faith must be inherent though one would hear the voice of denial sounding strong. How many steps forward the pessimist would have taken in the dark, in blindness! Would it not have been still a faith inherent within that would have pushed him onwards, even in darkness although he strives on negating and denying all possibilities of the ideal and the better something from manifesting? It is indeed difficult to imagine a life without faith. Life would probably cease to exist without faith, in all likelihood.

How many of us can say that we have had the fore-knowledge of exactly how to chart one’s life? Faith seems a necessity in a thinking species that cannot divine its own future in concrete ways.

Faith brings one along virgin paths giving rise to ground-breaking discoveries and victories, big or small, internal or external. Faith is indeed, something intrinsically beautiful. Faith brings people closer. Faith makes things happen. Faith creates wonders. Absolute faith arises from the heart filled with love and if that love is an absolute love for the Divine, untold miracles happen.

For one who has plunged into the ocean of this yoga, sometimes supported by calm waters and sometimes thrown about and swept along by turbulent waves, faith is about the only rudder with which one may keep the boat of one’s life from capsizing and perhaps manage even to row towards the shores of God’s island. Demanded from the sadhak, according to Sri Aurobindo, is “not an ignorant but a luminous faith, a faith in light and not in darkness.” Contemplating upon these lines alone opens vistas of light before one! Faith is beautiful because faith is blind. Faith relies on nothing less than on seemingly unsubstantiated total trust in the highest that is to be realized. Faith has least reliance on mental reasoning and intellectual conjectures or on physical evidence.

Sri Aurobindo explains that there are four realms of action of faith, corresponding to the different planes of our being. Mental faith is that which “combats doubts and helps to open to the true knowledge”; vital faith “prevents the attack of hostile forces or defeats them and helps to open to the true spiritual will and action” and physical faith brings one through “physical obscurity, inertia or suffering and helps to open to the foundation of the true consciousness”. There is last, psychic faith that is in “direct touch” with the Divine, open to Its direct influence and “helps to bring union and surrender”, conditions for the upward spiritual march.

From Savitri

Happy are they who in this chaos of things,
This coming and going of the feet of Time,
Can find the single Truth, the eternal Law:
Untouched they live by hope and doubt and fear.
Happy are men anchored on fixed belief
In this uncertain and ambiguous world,
Or who have planted in the heart’s rich soil
One small grain of spiritual certitude.
Happiest who stand on faith as on a rock.


(Savitri, Book 7, Canto 3)

Question of the month

Q: Sweet Mother, I don’t understand very clearly the difference between faith, belief and confidence?

A: The Mother: But Sri Aurobindo has given the full explanation here. He has written “Faith is a feeling in the whole being”

The whole being yes. Faith, that’s the whole being at once. He says that belief is something that occurs in the head, that is purely mental; and confidence is quite different. Confidence- one can have confidence in life, trust in the Divine, trust in others, trust in one’s own destiny, that is, one has the feeling that everything is going to help him, to do what he wants to do.

Faith is a certitude without any proof.


Q: Mother, on what does faith depend?

A: The Mother: Probably on Divine Grace. Some people have it spontaneously. There are others who need to make a great effort to have it.


Q: If one has faith in the Divine and also trust, what is the difference between faith and trust?

A: The Mother: Faith is something much more integral - that is what Sri Aurobindo has written- much more integral than trust. You see, you have trust in the Divine, in the sense that you are convinced that all that comes from Him will always be the best for you: whatever His decision and whatever the experience He sends you or the circumstances in which He puts you, it will all be always what is best for you. This is trust. But faith – that kind of unshakable certitude in the very existence of God- faith in something that seizes the whole being. It is not only mental, psychic or vital: it is the whole being, entirely, which has faith. Faith leads straight to experience.


(‘CWM- Volume 6’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1979, published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram)

Words of The mother on faith

The perception of the exterior consciousness may deny the perception of the psychic. But the psychic has the true knowledge, an intuitive instinctive knowledge. It says, “I know; I cannot give reasons, but I know.” For its knowledge is not mental, based on experience or proved true. It does not believe after proofs are given: faith is the movement of the soul whose knowledge is spontaneous and direct. Even if the whole world denies and brings forward a thousand proofs to the contrary, still it knows by an inner knowledge, a direct perception that can stand against everything, a perception by identity. The knowledge of the psychic is something which is concrete and tangible, a solid mass. You can also bring it into your mental, your vital and your physical; and then you have an integral faith—a faith which can really move mountains. But nothing in the being must come and say, “It is not like that”, or ask for a test. By the least half-belief you spoil matters.

How can the Supreme manifest if faith is not integral and immovable? Faith in itself is always unshakable — that is its very nature, for otherwise it is not faith at all. But it may happen that the mind or the vital or the physical does not follow the psychic movement. A man can come to a Yogi and have a sudden faith that this person will lead him to his goal. He does not know whether the person has knowledge or not. He feels a psychic shock and knows that he has met his master. He does not believe after long mental consideration or seeing many miracles. And this is the only kind of faith worthwhile. You will always miss your destiny if you start arguing. Some people sit down and consider whether the psychic impulse is reasonable or not.

It is not really by what is called blind faith that people are misled. They often say, “Oh, I have believed in this or that man and he has betrayed me!” But in fact the fault lies not with the man but with the believer: it is some weakness in himself. If he had kept his faith intact he would have changed the man: it is because he did not remain in the same faith-consciousness that he found himself betrayed and did not make the man what he wanted him to be. If he had had integral faith, he would have obliged the man to change.

It is always by faith that miracles happen. A person goes to another and has a contact with the Divine Presence; if he can keep this contact pure and sustained, it will oblige the Divine Consciousness to manifest in the most material. But all depends on your own standard and your own sincerity; and the more you are psychically ready the more you are led to the right source, the right master. The psychic and its faith are always sincere, but if in your exterior being there is insincerity and if you are seeking not spiritual life but personal powers, that can mislead you. It is that and not your faith that misleads you. Pure in itself, faith can get mixed up in the being with low movements and it is then that you are misled.
- The Mother

(The Mother, ‘Questions and Answers 1929-1931’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

To the heights

Faint Heart! Kindle your faith and take courage!
Stupendous obstacles block the way.
But omnipotent is the Power that awaits you,
And under her ensign you will conquer-
Conquer all that looks unconquerable
And much more besides,
Worlds now beyond reach and out of sight.

The little being within appears so small and so helpless!
And yet it is the diamond-point
That cuts through even the hardest matter as through water,
It is the streak of light that easily pierces
The densest sway of darkness.

There is a breath that moves mountains,
There is a touch that makes the dead arise,
There is a voice that is the doom of Yesterday.
And the radiant herald of Tomorrow.

- Nolini Kanta Gupta (26-May-1933)

(Nolini Kanta Gupta, ‘To The Heights’, Translated from ‘Vers Les Hauteurs’, SAICE, Pondicherry)

Faith

A faith based on material proofs is not faith - it is bargaining.

Faith first, knowledge afterwards.

Faith is the surest guide in the darkest days.

At every moment all the unforeseen, the unexpected, the unknown is before us - and what happens to us depends mostly on our intensity and purity of our faith.

If we had a truly living faith, an absolute certitude of the almighty power of the Divine, His manifestation could be so evident that the whole earth would be transformed by it.


”There is one kind of faith demanded as indispensable by the Integral Yoga and that may be described as faith in God and the Shakti, faith in the presence and power of the Divine in us and the world, a faith that all in the world is the working of one divine Shakti, that all the steps of the Yoga, its strivings and sufferings and failures as well as its successes and satisfactions and victories are utilities and necessities of her workings and that by a firm and strong dependence on and a total self-surrender to the Divine and to his Shakti in us we can attain to oneness and freedom and victory and perfection.”

Commentaries or Bhashyas on the vedas (contd)

Shaunaka - (900 BCE)
A great Sanskrit grammarian and teacher of the Atharva Veda, his famous works are Brhad Dēvata, Rigveda-Pratisākhya and Cārana-vyūha and has united Bāshkala and Shākala Shākās of Rig Veda.

Brhad Devata: Describes the deities to which each hymn and verse of the Rig-Veda is addressed. Contains an index of the 'many gods', and about 1200 shlōkās. Following the order of the Rig Veda, its main object is to state the deity for each verse. It contains a large number of illustrative myths and legends and is of great value as an early collection of stories.

Yāska & Brhad Devata:


According to Yāska, the meaning of the mantra is difficult to grasp. The mantra called 'brahman' revealed itself to the rishīs in tapas, strict self control, and not in any other way. He further states:
"Brahman the self-born, came to the rishis who were doing tapas, therefore they became the rishīs, - in that lies the rishi hood of the rishīs” - Nirukta (2.11).

"The shore (of knowledge) of the mantra has to be reached by tapas.'' Nirukta (13.13).

Bŗhad Devata (BD) supporting Yāska, says:
"The mantra is not perceptible to one who is not a rishi.'' BD (8.129).

"He knows the Gods who knows the riks. They are to be approached through yoga with self-control and skill, understanding, general knowledge and above all tapasyā.'' BD (7. 130).

"The Gods accept the offering of the sacrificer who knows the Deity of the mantra but not of him who knows not the deit.y'' BD(131).

"The Deity does not accept the libation offered in ignorance. Therefore the libation is to be offered to the Deity with self-control in the mind.'' BD(132).

"He is like a God worthy of praise in heaven even by the Gods, who is pure and studies the Veda with knowledge of the Gods and the mantra.'' BD(133).

Also with great effort, Shaunaka has classified the vast pantheon of Vedic Gods (often said to be innumerable at different levels), and reduced them to just three prime deities for the three worlds.

Agni or Fire on Earth (Prithivi),
Vāyu or Wind in the Atmosphere (Antariksha),
Sūrya or the Sun in Heaven (Dyaus)
These three deities are three aspects of the One God or the Purusha, the supreme consciousness principle and higher Self that is pure light.
The Rig Veda is organized in this way with the hymns to Agni generally coming first in most of its ten books, then the hymns to Vāyu and Indra, and finally the hymns to the Sun.

Jaimini (3rd Century BCE):
An ancient Rishi and a great philosopher, Jaimini is credited as the chief proponent of the Mīmāmsa system. He was the disciple of Veda Vyāsa and the son of Rishi Parashara. His important works are:

Pūrva Mīmāmsā Sūtrās: Divided into 12 chapters, it is a collection of nearly 2500 aphorisms which are extremely difficult to comprehend. A great treatise also called ‘Karma-mīmāmsa’, is a system that investigates the nature of Vedic injunctions. It forms the foundational text of the Mīmāmsa school. This aims at a critical interpretation of the Vedās with regard to ritual practice (karma) and religious duty (dharma), and also commenting on the early Upanishads. Jaimini's Mīmāmsa is a ritualist counter-movement to the mysticist Vedānta currents of his day.

Jaimini Bhārata: An epic work which presents a version of Mahābhārata, and most known for its Ashwamēdha Parva.

Jaimini Sūtrās: Or ‘Upadēsha Sūtrās’, is a classic work, rated as next only to the Brihat Parashara Hōra Shāstra, to which he gave an extended commentary, thus giving birth to "Jaimini system of astrology".

Other mentions: ‘Sāmaveda’ - Veda Vyāsa divided ancient Vedic hymns into four and transmitted the Sāmaveda part to Jaimini and ‘Mārkandēya Purāna’ – one of the major purānās, where a dialogue between sage Jaimini and Mārkandēya is presented.
The Mīmāmsakās paid lip service to the greatness, glory and antiquity of the Veda, but had completely ignored its import. They were more concerned with ‘Dharma’ than with ‘mantrārtha’ (meaning of mantrās), for they regarded ‘Dharma’ itself as the ‘Vedārtha’ (meaning of the Veda). The words were all that was important for them in a mantra from the Samhita collection, because the mantrās had to be recited as part of the rituals. The meaning of the mantra was of no interest or of importance to them. Indeed, Jaimini argued that the mantrās that were not prescribed or employed in the sacrifices were irrelevant and redundant.

Ādi Shankarāchārya (788 - 821 CE):
Ādi Shankarāchārya (meaning 'the first Shankara' in his lineage), reverentially called Bhagavatpāda Ācharya (the teacher at the feet of Lord) had a profound influence on the growth of Hinduism through his non-dualistic philosophy (Advaita). He formulated this doctrine by validating his arguments on the basis of quotations from the Vedās and other Hindu scriptures. According to him, all attributes or manifestations are unreal or temporary. They are the result of our own ‘Avidya’ or ignorance.

He was the first among the three achāryās (the other two are Madhvāchārya and Rāmānujāchārya) who reformed Hindu religion by giving their own interpretation to the ancient sacred texts. This was at a time when the Vedic texts which had come down through the ages and only orally studied, were the monopoly of a certain class. He gave a new life to Hinduism at a time when Buddhism and Jainism were gaining popularity. He gives a high priority to svānubhava (personal experience) of the student.
He wrote many works in his short life span of only 32 years.

• 14 Bhāhyas (commentaries) that includes 10 important Upanishads, Brahma Sūtrās and Bhagavadgīta
• 17 Prakaraa granthās (philosophical treatise)
Many stotras (devotional hymn).

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)

Faith: A story based on real life experience

The sun’s dazzling rays slowly paved their way through the window. The birds were chirping sweetly .The world was slowly getting ready for the busy day. The smell of incense diffused in the air when Susheela, with all her devotion, was in prayer in front of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Srinivas, Susheela’s husband was plucking flowers from the garden with all his thoughts on their only daughter Reshma. When he came in, Susheela reminded him about the doctor’s appointment for Reshma at 10.00 am.

Reshma was in the family way and the entire family was looking forward to the arrival of a new member. Things were smooth till the 8th month’s regular check up for Reshma when the doctor detected a problem. There was a sudden increase in Reshma’s weight. The doctor suspected it to be excessive fluid formation which might lead to either loosing the child or the child being born with abnormalities. Reshma and Srini were tensed and worried whereas Susheela was calm and immediately started calling the Mother, and spontaneously started repeating the words from Savitri “Fate shall be changed by an unchanging Will.”1

Reshma was surprised at seeing Susheela’s calmness and asked her how she was not worried, for which Susheela told her that there are 4 types of faith.

Blind Faith
- This can be found in many people, cannot be explained
Faith based on experience
- It has happened earlier, it will happen now.
Faith based on skill/talent
- We have learnt to solve it and it can be solved
Faith in The Divine
- This is the best faith which will come when we lose our self-confidence but this faith can move mountains


Susheela told Reshma that Faith in the Divine is what she needs now and not to depend on her degree or past knowledge. She mentioned The Mother’s quote: “Faith is the surest guide in the darkest days.”2

The next day, before entering in for the scan, Reshma, with total faith repeated the words –“O Mother, please save my child!’

The scan was taken and the doctor came out smiling, saying that everything was fine and that Reshma would deliver a normal child. Susheela, Reshma and Srinivas had tears of gratitude in their eyes.

Faith is the master key for any prayer.

References
1. Sri Aurobindo (1970). SAVITRI (Pg 346) Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
2. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust,(2008). “Words of the Mother II”. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust,
Pondicherry


- Sharadha