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


Intuitive knowledge leaping into speech,
Hearing the subtle voice that clothes the heavens,
Carrying the splendour that has lit the suns,
They sang Infinity’s names and deathless powers
In metres that reflect the moving worlds,
Sight’s sound-waves breaking from the soul’s great deeps.

Invested with a rhythm of higher spheres
The word was used as a hieratic means
For the release of the imprisoned spirit
Into communion with its comrade gods.
Or it helped to beat out new expressive forms
Or that which labours in the heart of life,
Some immemorial Soul in men and things,
Seeker of the Unknown and the Unborn
Carrying a light from the Ineffable
To rend the veil of the last mysteries.

(Savitri, Book 4, Canto 4)

Question of the month

Q: Nirodbaran: We have been wondering why you should have to write and rewrite your poetry – for instance, Savitri ten or twelve times- when you have all the inspiration at your command and do not have to receive it with the difficulty that faces budding Yogis like us.

A: Sri Aurobindo: That is very simple. I used Savitri as a means of ascension. I began with it on a certain mental level, each time I could reach a higher level I rewrote from that level. Moreover I was particular – if a part seemed to me to come from any lower levels I was not satisfied to leave it because it was good poetry. All had to be as far as possible of the same mint. In fact Savitri has not been regarded by me as a poem to be written and finished, but as a field of experimentation to see how far poetry could be written from one’s own yogic consciousness and how that could be made creative. I did not rewrite Rose of God or the sonnets except for two or three verbal alterations made at the moment.

Q: Nirodbaran: Is silencing the mind to be done only at the time of writing?

A: Sri Aurobindo: Silencing the mind at the time of writing should be sufficient, even not silencing it but its falling quiet to receive.

Q: Nirodbaran: One of my methods in composing is to try to find out the rhymes.

A: Sri Aurobindo: Just the thing you should not do. Let the rhyme come, don’t begin dragging all sorts of rhymes in to see if they fit.

Q: Nirodbaran: Do you want to say that if I have discovered some lines I must not think of the next lines, but try instead to keep absolutely silent?

A: Sri Aurobindo: That is the ideal way; but usually there is always an activity of the mind jumping up and trying to catch the inspiration. Sometimes the inspiration, the right one, comes in the midst of this futile jumping, sometimes it sweeps it aside and brings in the right thing, sometimes it asserts itself between two blunders, sometimes it waits till the noise quiets down. But even this jumping need not be a mental effort- it is often only a series of suggestions, the mind of itself seizing on one or eliminating another, not by laborious thinking and choice, but by a quiet series of perceptions. This is the method No. 2, No. 3 is your Herculean way, quiet the slowest and worst.

Q: Nirodbaran: I have worked today from 1.30 to 6.15 p.m. – 5 hours ! – and composed only 16 lines ! Is this a sign of laziness?

A: Sri Aurobindo: But that is quite magnificent – 16 lines in one day, 3 1/5 lines an hour about! Remember that Virgil used only to write 9 lines a day. At this rate you will end by being twice as inspired and fluent as Virgil.

(Nirodbaran, ‘Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1969).

Poetry and Yoga

Literature and art are or can be a first introduction to the inner being- the inner mind, vital; for it is from there that they come. And if one writes poems of bhakti, poems of divine seeking, etc, or creates music of that kind, it means that there is a bhakta or seeker inside who is supporting himself by that self expression. There is also the point of view behind Lele’s anwer to me when I told him that I wanted to do Yoga but for work, for action, not for sannyasa and Nirvana, but that after years of spiritual effort I had failed to find the way and it was for that I had asked to meet him. His first answer was, “It would be easy for you as you are a poet.”

I used to write poems on vital love, I could not do it now (for if I wrote of love, it would be of psychic and spiritual feeling) not because I have narrowed or deteriorated but because I have centred myself in a higher consciousness and anything merely vital would not express me. It must be the same with any one who changes his level of consciousness. Can one say of the man who has grown out of childishness and no longer plays with nursery toys that he has narrowed and deteriorated by the change?

On Mystic poetry

There are two kinds of mystic poetry: Occult – mystic and spiritual-mystic. That poem of mine about the moon and the star or ‘The Bird of Fire’ is occult mystic. In ‘Nirvana’, for instance, I have put exactly what Nirvana is.

(‘Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Sri Aurobindo’, Compiled by M.P.Pandit, Deepti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

The Mother on Inspiration

“…inspiration from regions far above the mind surpasses in value and quality the highest achievements of the mind, such as reason. Reason is certainly at the apex of human mental activity. It can review and control the knowledge acquired with the help of the senses. It has often been said that the senses are altogether defective instruments of knowledge, that they are incapable of perceiving things as they are, that the information they supply is superficial and very often faulty. When it is fully developed, the human reason knows this and does not trust the knowledge of the senses. It is only if one is infrarational, if I may say so, that one believes that all one sees, hears, or touches is absolutely true. As soon as one is developed in the region of higher reason, one knows that all these notions are almost essentially false, and that one can in no way rely on them. But the knowledge one receives from this supramental or divine region surpasses all that can be conceived or understood by reason, at least to the same extent that reason surpasses the knowledge of the senses.

Several questions concern a practical point: ``How to develop the capacity for inspiration?''; ``What are the conditions needed to receive inspiration and is it possible to have it constantly?''

I have already replied to this. When one opens oneself to the supramental regions, one puts oneself in the right state for receiving constant inspirations. Until then, the best method is to silence the mind as much as possible, to turn it upwards and to remain in a state of silent and attentive receptivity. The more one is able to establish a silent, perfect calm in the mind, the more one becomes capable of receiving inspirations.”

(‘CWM- Volume 10’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1979, published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram)

Salute to the Mother! Vande Mataram! Jai Hind!

“O our Mother, O Soul of India, Mother who hast never forsaken thy children even in the days of darkest depression, even when they turned away from thy voice, served other masters and denied thee, now when they have arisen and the light is on thy face in this dawn of thy liberation, in this great hour we salute thee. Guide us so that the horizon of freedom opening before us may be also a horizon of true greatness and of thy true life the community of nations. Guide us so that we may be always on the side of great ideals and show to men thy true visage, as a leader in the ways of the spirit and a friend and helper of all peoples.”

Also, in the morning the Mother hoisted her flag- which was to be called “The Spiritual Flag of India" - blazoning forth India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Ceylon all together, with her own symbol at the centre, over the main Ashram building. There was a record number of visitors to the Ashram, and over two thousand had Darshan in the afternoon. Presently the Mother appeared on the low terrace over Dyuman's room; the courtyard was packed to capacity. The Bande Mataram was sung as it had never been sung before, for now it was a moment of fulfilment, and the Mother responded with 'Jai Hind' and the congregation was to cherish the memory of her marvellous gesture for long afterwards.

The Mother's flag- the Spiritual Flag of India- which since 15th August 1947 has been for us a flaming minister, a symbol of hope and a declaration of faith, has been flying high and serene in the minds and sensibilities of countless number of Indians. The blue flag figuring the great Indian subcontinent stretching from Kashmir to Sri Lanka, from Sind to Burma, environed by the Himalaya in the North, the Indian ocean in the South, the Arabian sea on the West and the Bay of Bengal in the East, and with the Mother's symbol of her Shakti, her four powers and her twelve emanations concentrically arranged as the heart of the living Mother of a seething mass of humanity numbering almost a billion- what is this Spiritual Flag of India but a revelation, an ephiphanic projection, a visual recordation of the deeper reality, the inspiring Truth, of this primordial Asiatic region, the matrix of the stupendous human adventure on the earth, and the destined scene of the next leap forward to the horizons of supermanhood ?

This flag symbolising the spiritual reality and unity of Greater India- the true India- was verily the Mother's answer to the brutal partition of India decreed by the erstwhile British rulers and accepted by the short-sighted and faint-hearted Indian leaders of 1947, for the Spiritual Flag of India with the Mother's symbol as the central design and highlighted by the blue background was the Ashram's flag as well. Explaining the significance, Sri Aurobindo said in 1949:
“The blue of the flag is meant to be the colour of Krishna and so represents the spiritual or Divine Consciousness which it is her work to establish so that it may reign upon earth.”

The world's deep contrasts are but figures spun
Draping the unanimity of the One.
My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,
My body is God's happy living tool,
My spirit a vast sun of deathless light.

Like the human soul, the nation's soul too defies all man-made boundaries - physical, legal, constitutional- and embraces the infinities. Even so, by charging the new Map of India with a spiritual glow and infinitude of connotation, the Mother tried to undo in some measure the mischief of the Partition mentality of self-fragmentation, the surge of mutual suspicion and hatred, and the enthronement of communal and sub-national egoism that were alien to the spiritual ideal of oneness, wholeness and intergrality, Mother was not limited to the head alone, the feet alone, the hands alone or even the visible body alone. The Mother's ambience of protective love and sovereign Grace overflowed the visible boundaries. Salute to the Mother! Vande Mataram! Jai Hind!
India is my true country, the country of my soul and spirit...

“I want to mark this day by the expression of a long cherished wish; that of become an Indian citizen. From the first time I came to India- that is in 1914 - I felt that India is my true country, the country of my soul and spirit... Now the time has come when I can declare myself.

But, in accordance with Sri Aurobindo's ideal, my purpose is to show that truth lies in union rather than in division. to reject one nationality in order to obtain another is not an ideal solution. So I hope I shall be allowed to adopt a double nationality, that is to say, to remain French while I become an Indian.

I am French by birth and early education, I am Indian by choice and predilection. In my consciousness there is no antagonism between the two, on the contrary they combine very well and complete one another. I know also that I can be of service to both equally, for my only aim in life is to give a concrete form to Sri Aurobindo's great teaching in his teaching he reveals that all the nationals are essentially one and meant to express Divine Unity upon earth through an organised and harmonious diversity.”

Commenting on the Mother's declaration, K.D. Sethna wrote: Here is a flaming milestone in a mighty mission- the mission to incarnate the true spirit of this great land and by that incarnation bring forth again and carry to its climax the light of a more than human consciousness that India throughout her history has sought to manifest.

This concept of double citizenship was a challenge to the "Lord of the Nations”, the Asuric being who receives the ready homage of all rabid "national" egoisms. By expressing her wish for 'double citizenship', the Mother planted a potent seed in the human consciousness, and in the fullness of time mankind would want to shed its diverse, divisive, nationalist labels to seek a 'world citizenship' in a world polity as visualised in Sri Aurobindo's seminal treatise, ‘The Ideal of Human Unity’. With this very end in view, the 'World Union' movement was to be launched by A. B. Patel, with its headquarters in the Ashram and the Mother as President.

(Extracts from ‘On The Mother- The Chronicle Of A Manifestation And Ministry’- K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry).

"August 15th is the birthday of free India. It marks for her the end of an old era, the beginning of a new age. But it has significance not only for us, but for Asia and the whole world, for it signifies the entry into the comity of nations of a new power with untold potentialities which has a great part to play in determining the political, social, cultural and spiritual future of humanity...

I have always held and said that India was rising, not to serve her own material interest only, to achieve expansion, greatness, power and prosperity, -- though these too she must not neglect --, and certainly not like others to acquire domination of other peoples, but to live also for God and the world as a helper and a leader of the whole human race."

In Memoriam – Amal Kiran (K.D. Sethna )

(26-Nov-1904 to 29-Jun-2011)

"..the long years of aspiration are coming to fruition. Those four lines:
Arms taking to a voiceless supreme delight,
Life that meets the Eternal with close breast,
An unwalled mind dissolved in the Infinite,
Force one with unimaginable rest.

It was in 1937 that I wrote to Sri Aurobindo, "I aspire to live, as well as echo in quality of inspiration, those four lines of yours which I consider a plenary Mantra. Show me a way to realise my aspiration, I feel very impatient though I must confess to my shame that aspiration of the poet is more frequently in the forefront than that of the Yogi."

Sri Aurobindo's reply started with "Impatience does not help; intensity of aspiration does..."

At last this aspiration is coming to fruition."
- Amal Kiran, 29/30 October 1992.
Amal Kiran is nothing if not a sadhak, - a sadhak with a most intense and ardent aspiration for self-realisation and God-union and eventually, the divine life... Amal Kiran's burning faith in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is an iridescent example to all disciples and devotees of the twin Avatars.

Who is Amal Kiran ? Kekoo D. Sethna - a sadhak resident at Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

What is Amal Kiran ? In his being a spiritual soul whose one preoccupation is its evolution to the integral Divine; in his nature a pure ray serene; an incandescent, receptive intelligence, buddhi; a quiet resolute determination, samkalpa, a flaming, unifying love, prema.

- Arabinda Basu