Guiding Light of The Month

O Lord, how ardently do I call and implore Thy love! Grant that my aspiration may be intense enough to awaken the same aspiration everywhere: oh, may good- ness, justice and peace reign as supreme masters, may ignorant egoism be overcome, darkness be suddenly illu- minated by Thy pure Light; may the blind see, the deaf hear, may Thy law be proclaimed in every place and, in a constantly progressive union, in an ever more perfect harmony, may all, like one single being, stretch out their arms towards Thee to identify themselves with Thee and manifest Thee upon earth. - The Mother

In Loving Tribute to a Dear Friend

Among the younger members of our Society, he was known affectionately as 'Patel Uncle' - but Nandalal Patel, was also a father - a founding father of the Sri Aurobindo Society of Singapore. If the collective membership of a group can be likened to a living body, then he was from the first its warmly beating heart. The source of this warmth that radiated from his unforgettable personality was undoubtedly his deeply sincere and unconditional devotion to the Mother. Because of this he was able to bring with him from Pondicherry something of the Ashram atmosphere, and he delighted in keeping alive the tradition inaugurated by the Mother of giving birthdays a special significance. He took note of the birthdays of friends and members of the Society (including their families), often preparing a beautiful greeting to remind us of the Mother's teaching that on this day the individual soul returns to its origin to renew its energies for the life-mission it has chosen. The old saying 'If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well' could have been made for him. For a time, we worked together on the Singapore Newsletter, and he took endless trouble to ensure that everything needed for a particular issue was in place. All visitors to the Society from abroad, whether friends or strangers, were given VIP treatment when it came to making travel arrangements, obtaining visas, finding accommodation and in many other ways ensuring that their stay was an enjoyable experience.

I myself experienced his generous hospitality from the first minutes of our meeting in 1976, on a memorable day that literally changed everything for me. I had gone to the Ramakrishna Mission on a Sunday evening, after reading in the local newspaper that someone from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram would be giving a talk. Three years earlier I had come across some lines from 'Savitri' and wanted to know more about this poet, of whom I knew nothing at all. Those were the days before the internet made getting such information easy! So I was delighted when Shri M.P. Pandit, who was the speaker, began by saying;: "I have come to put before you the teaching of Sri Aurobindo". He spoke about the Integral Yoga, and at the end I stood up to ask a question. As I was leaving, someone came up to me and invited me to lunch at his home the next day to meet the speaker, who was staying there as his guest. That is how I came to meet my dear friend for the first time.

Last month during a short stay in Singapore. I had the great joy to spend some time with him, and to tell him face to face of my heartfelt gratitude to him because that single act of kindness to a complete stranger had brought me to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I wanted him to know that on this occasion, as on many others, he had been the instrument of Their Grace.

- Sonia Dyne

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