Guiding Light of The Month

One must be always vigilant, attentive to the least call, so as not to be asleep or inert when Thou givest the signal for action, whether with the mind, the feelings or the body. - The Mother

From the Editor's desk

The month of December observes Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi on the 5th. It is also a month we have chosen to celebrate the life of Amal Kiran, one of Sri Aurobindo’s foremost disciples. He left his physical body this year, on the 29th of June, at the age of 106. Amal Kiran was born on 25th November 1904 as Kaikhushru Dhunjibhoy Sethna. It was in December, at the age of 23, in 1927 that Amal Kiran joined the ashram in Pondicherry. Three years later, on 3rd September 1930, upon his request, Sri Aurobindo named him Amal Kiran, or The Clear Ray. This name, coming from the master, must have been an impetus to its actual realisation to any extent in a human soul in the guise of K D Sethna.

Before his advent into ashram life, Amal Kiran was already an erudite scholar of letters, winning many prestigious prizes, awards and a scholarship. In the ashram, he devoted himself to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother with unreserved fervour and remained one of their truest children till the end. Known as a multi-faceted genius, he has produced about 50 scholarly writings and was the editor of Mother India. Through some of his writings one can sense the immense devotion he had for Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and the crystal clear knowledge of the purpose of his life upon earth. His sole preoccupation in life seemed to have been his seeking for a transformation of his being through opening himself to the light of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Here is an excerpt from his writings that gives us a taste of the kind of self-consecration his life was: “…There is one single wish running through all the years—and that is to be open more and more to the transforming grace of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. On each birthday it gets an extra spurt.”
He entwined everyone with this love we may call impersonal love, the highest form of love that is bound not but reached far into the secret spaces within. Strangely, all who speak of him posthumously speak of him with light in their eyes and joy. This must be the result of the mark he had left on people who came to know him. The late Jugal Kishore Mukherjee had remarked, “K.D.S.’s shining complexion, his delicate sensitive face, two eyes radiating a keen and kind glint of intelligence and a sweet smile as innocent as that of a child, cannot but captivate the hearts of the visitors.” (http://overmanfoundation.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/the-passing-of-amal-kiran-alias-k-d-sethna/)

Perhaps, above all qualities, his sense of humour puts a stamp on his personality as one who finds amusement in the play of God, with his life the playing-field. In a recent conversation, Sudha-di, an ashramite and a close friend of Amal-da, shared with delight some of her personal encounters with his humour:
• Amal Kiran had received a phone call. At the other end the voice queried, “Is this Auro-Food” (a wrong call). Pat came the reply from Amal Kiran, “No this is Amal-Drink.”
• Amal Kiran had injured his hip and was in traction and he had to keep himself quite still. Sudha-di queried,” You must be feeling like the immobile Brahman.” And with a chuckle he replied, “Fortunately not the motionless one!”

• His close friend Raja had brought his 3-year old daughter to see him. The child stood before Amal Kiran in awe and blurted out in Tamil, “He looks like God!” Amal Kiran wanted to know what she had said and her father translated. Upon hearing this, Amal Kiran patted her chubby cheeks and said something to the effect, “I haven’t lived in vain then!”

Let us turn a few leaves and take a peek into the life of this inspiring gem, a colossus amongst sadhaks.

Savitri

The gulf between dream-truth, earth-fact was crossed,
The wonder-worlds of life were dreams no more;
His vision made all they unveiled its own:

(Savitri, Book 2, Canto 3)

These are high forerunners, the heads of Time,
The great deliverers of earth-bound mind,
The high transfigurers of human clay,
The first-born of a new supernal race.
The incarnate dual Power shall open God’s door,
Eternal supermind touch earthly Time.
The superman shall wake in mortal man
And manifest the hidden demigod
Or grow into the God-Light and God-Force
Revealing the secret deity in the cave.

(Savitri, Book 11, Canto 1)

A wide God-knowledge poured down from above,
A new world-knowledge broadened from within:
His daily thoughts looked up to the True and One,
His commonest doings welled from an inner Light.

(Savitri, Book 1, Canto 3)

Question of the month

Q: Could you say something about your birth? What is its aim and object?

A: Amal Kiran: My aim and object is always to be near Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I have to manifest whatever qualities I have absorbed from them.

Q: Now you are entering your centenary. Your friend, Nirodbaran-da, has completed his centenary. What does this centenary mark for the development and progress of the humanity?

A: Amal Kiran: Oh! … How one can be a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It meant to show that.

Q: Yes, it seems very important. Does it mean to realise Their ideal and all that They have said?

A: Amal Kiran: Yes, as far as that is possible.


(From a pamphlet – ‘Wonder No More, Amal-Kiran at 100’, issued by Aditi-Utsang, Sri Ma-Sri Aurobindo Purna-yoga Kendra, Jalada, Dist. Balasore ( Orissa) on the occasion of Amal-Kiran ‘s 100th Birthday on 25.11.2003.)
Amal Kiran: Won’t you tell me something to which I can always turn for help and contact during my stay in Bombay?

Sri Aurobindo: Remember the Mother and, though physically far from her, try to feel her with you and act according to what your inner being tells you and act according to what your inner being tells you would be her Will. Then you will be best able to feel her presence and mine and carry our atmosphere around you as a protection and a zone of quietude and light accompanying you everywhere.

(‘Amal-Kiran, Poet and Critic’, Edited by Nirodbaran and R.Y. Deshpande, Sri Aurobindo Ashram , Pondicherry)

Forerunner of the Divine Word – by C.V. Devan Nair




[We present here some extracts of an article written by the late C V Devan Nair, former chairman of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore and also former President of Singapore]

I love and admire Amal Kiran, not only for himself, but for the entire context of space , time and atmosphere which engendered so variegated a flower. And for the fact that I personally came to know this phenomenon and to partake of some at least of its hues and scents. I deliberately use the plural in this regard, simply because this particular bloom is so multi-hued that one does not know where to begin.



In any case, I am not qualified to speak about the multifarious achievements of a man who can only be described as a polymath. I forget the details, but I recall that even the Mother once had occasion to speak to Sri Aurobindo about her discovery that Amal was so amazingly knowledgeable. Pose a riddle, and he will produce exactly the right rabbit from an inexhaustible hat. He had even remembered, it seems, the title of some western opera, which Mother had forgotten.


Sri Aurobindo knew perfectly well what he was doing when he named K.D.Sethna Amal Kiran- The Clear Ray. For among those who responded to the rhythmic footfalls of Divinity, Amal is surely the greatest, if one goes by the collection of his poetry so aptly titled: The Secret Splendour.

With his innate poetic genius, his phenomenal memory of everything he reads, and an extraordinary sensitiveness to ever-so-subtle nuances of shade and significance, Amal proved to be an uncommonly clear conduit for the Truth-burdened word and phrase. Indeed, Sri Aurobindo’s comments on several of his poems, as on those of Nirodbaran, Dilip and others constitute, in themselves, a practical education with regard to the shape and thrust of the Future Poetry.

The prolific polymath who Amal Kiran is, discoursing learnedly on the principles of modern physics; probing into India’s historical past; is at once also a searching literary critic, a formidable debater on a variety of subjects, a devastating critic of literary or metaphysical poseurs and know-alls; and a Bhakta who yearns for the Divine Beloved. Who else but a Bhakta could have written This Errant Life?

This errant life is dear although it dies;
And human lips are sweet though they but sing
Of stars estranged from us; and youth’s emprise
Is wondrous yet, although an unsure thing.

Sky-lucent Bliss untouched by earthiness!
I fear to soar lest tender bonds decrease.
If Thou desirest my weak self to outgrow
Its mortal longings, lean down from above,
Temper the unborn light no thought can trace,
Suffuse my mood with a familiar glow.
For’tis with mouth of clay I supplicate:
Speak to me heart to heart words intimate,
And all Thy formless glory turn to love
And mould Thy love into a human face.

If Radha saw divine Love moulded in Krishna’s face, why not Amal Kiran who saw it moulded in Sri Aurobindo’s? Anyway, here is Sri Aurobindo’s own comment on the poem:

“A very beautiful poem, one of the very best you have written. The last six lines, one may say even the last eight, are absolutely perfect. IF you could always write like that, you would take your place among English poets and no low place either. I consider they can rank-these eight lines- with the very best in English poetry”.

No mean, praise, coming from so high a source! One more of Amal’s poems, this time on Sri Aurobindo, titled The Master:

Bard rhyming earth to paradise
Time-conqueror with prophet eyes,
Body of upright flawless fire,
Star-strewing hands that never tire-
In Him at last earth-gropings reach
Omniscient calm, omnipotent speech,
Love omnipresent without ache!

Does still a stone that cannot wake
Keep hurling through your mortal mind
Its challenge at the epiphany?
If you would see this blindness break,
Follow the heart’s humility-
Question not with your shallow gaze
The Infinite focused in that face,
But, when the unshadowed limbs go by,
Touch with your brow the white footfall:
A rhythm profound shall silence all!

When I first read this poem, a profound gratitude, welled up in my deepest heart. I, who had greatly regretted not having had Sri Aurobindo’s personal darshan, felt that regret almost disappear. It was as if Amal’s lines gave me the much-coveted darshan of the Lord, and I was reduced to a trembling bundle of ecstasy. Thank you, dear Amal, thank you!

No piece on Amal would be complete without reference to his wit and humour. For if he was formidably cerebral in his prose writings, deeply intuitive in his poetry, in his humour he went unabashedly for the belly, as I came to know personally.

How gently, how wittily, how vividly he had once suggested a correction to an atrocious verbal slip on my part in an article I had sent him for Mother India. I had referred to “persons turning their noses down” on things they deemed beneath them. Amal’s corrective response caused me to laugh till my belly ached. He wrote: “As far as I know, elephants are the only animals which can turn their noses up and down and sideways.” And with what joy I made the necessary correction!

Finally, I will acknowledge that Amal himself might not know. It was largely thanks to his sympathy, and his enlightening words of encouragement that I was able to recover from what at the time had seemed to me a personal calamity. It turned out to be a vast liberation instead.

One more thing I need very much to say to Amal in this commemorative volume: “Carry on, dear Amal, in our midst. You have given so much, as only you can. You can give more. I would like to be around to contribute to the festschrift volume to observe your hundredth birthday as well. I will only be a mere stripling of eighty-one then.”

(This extract of C.V. Devan Nair’s article is taken from ‘Amal Kiran, Poet and Critic’, edited by Nirodbaran and R.Y. Deshpande. Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Due to a lack of space we regret not carrying the article in its entirety. Due apologies.)

Albert Einstein’s letter to Amal Kiran

Coming of the disciples – Amal Kiran

Almost a year earlier, K. D. Sethna had come from Bombay. A brilliant Philosophy graduate, he had done desultory Yoga, and was researching on "The Philosophy of Art" for his M.A. In the meantime, having bought a new pair of shoes wrapped in an old newspaper, he returned home and saw an article on "The Ashram of Aurobindo Ghose" in that paper. His mind was suddenly made up: Pondicherry would be his place of sadhana - what he had bought must have served as the shoes of a pilgrim! He arrived in December 1927 and was received by Purani who had been the link in the correspondence between the Ashram and this newcomer. On entering the room of Purani (who was staying then in the Guest House, in the room once occupied by Sri Aurobindo), Sethna happened to look through the north-facing window and caught a glimpse of the Mother walking on the roof-terrace of the Meditation House, and he said to himself, "She is very beautiful!" A meeting with her was arranged, and he told her that, having seen everything of life, he now wanted nothing except God. The Mother was amused and said sweetly:

“Oh, at 23 you have seen all of life? Don't be in such a hurry, you must take your time. Stay here, look about, see how things are, see if they suit you and then take a decision.”

Although a bit disappointed, he agreed - but the Mother's eyes! What eyes! What radiance!

“When I was talking with her I felt as if from her face and eyes some silver radiance were coming out... I could not make out how this was happening ¬ nor could I doubt that this was happening. Apart from this impression of light, there was another - something out of the ancient Egypt.”

He stayed on for the Darshan of 21 February 1928, - and forgot about his M.A. dissertation. The Darshan strengthened his desire to do the Integral Yoga, and the Mother accepted him. There was of course no question of an interview with Sri Aurobindo, and like others in the same predicament, he too had to communicate through letters. "I went on writing to Sri Aurobindo," he acknowledges, "and all types of questions I used to put to him ... bombarding him with queries. Most of my questions were either philosophical or literary - because, though I had my own share of common difficulties, the real difficulty at the beginning was my Westernised intellect." Sri Aurobindo replied promptly and sometimes at length, and these letters were an amalgam of information, instruction, elucidation and initiation, and they were to grow into gorgeous epistolary treasures and significantly enrich the Aurobindonian canon. From an early part of his stay, Sethna sported the spiritual name of "Amal Kiran" (Amal for short), which Sri Aurobindo had given him. The word meant "The Clear Ray", and fitted his ardent and flame-bright nature.

It was Amal's particular destiny to correspond at length with Sri Aurobindo on the great 'work in progress', the epic ‘Savitri’, and as good as coax the poem to come out into the open. After a good deal of astute strategy and clever tactics on Amal's part, his efforts were rewarded on 25 October 1936 - "one of the most important days, if not the most important, of my life here" -- for, in a letter written on that day, Sri Aurobindo gave 16 lines from the exordium (Book One, canto I) beginning with the memorable

It was the hour before the Gods awake.

as an example of possible "overhead" poetry. But ‘Savitri’ was to be a carefully guarded secret for another ten years, and even in the Ashram itself very few knew anything authentic about it. There was some random speculation, of course, but that was about all till from the middle forties onwards the poem started appearing, first in fascicles, then in two volumes; and finally in 1954 the entire work came out in a single volume with Sri Aurobindo's letters to Amal on the poem printed at the end.

(Chapter 17, ‘On The Mother - The Chronicle of a Manifestation and Ministry' by K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar. Reprinted (third edition) 2004, Sri Aurobindo International Centre Of Education, Pondicherry.)

“From the very beginning of my stay in the Ashram I have sought to quicken to the presence of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother from the core of my heart… An inner urge…has yearned for an Unknown surpassing every object of my senses and my thought and making nothing worth while unless that Unknown were first found… There is one single wish running through all the years—and that is to be open more and more to the transforming grace of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. On each birthday it gets an extra spurt."
- Amal Kiran

The Secret of the Veda- A First Attempt: Commentaries or Bhāṣhyās on the ‘Vedās’ (contd.)

Commentaries or Bhāṣhyās on the ‘Vedās’ (contd.)
A tribute to Vedic Riṣhis:

“The Vedic Riṣhis may not have yoked the lightning to their chariots, nor weighed sun and star, nor materialised all the destructive forces in Nature to aid them in massacre and domination, but they had measured and fathomed all the heavens and earths within us, they had cast their plummet into the inconscient and the subconscient and the superconscient; they had read the riddle of death and found the secret of immortality; they had sought for and discovered the One and known and worshipped Him in the glories of His light and purity and wisdom and power.” – Thus spoke Sri Aurobindo, recounting the discoveries of these sages of ancient India who, at the dawn of ages, in sublime verses sang the hidden splendours of man and the odyssey of the soul.
T.V. Kapāli Sāstry - (1886-1953 CE):
Born in a family which, for generations, excelled in Sanskrit scholarship, in the upāsana of Sri Vidya and in the observance of rituals and ceremonials, he was taught, not only to chant the Vedās in the traditional way but also the use of mantrās in rituals. Being a multifaceted personality, he excelled in whatever field he worked. Following the trail of his masters, first of Vāsiṣhṭha Gaṇapati Muni and then of Sri Aurobindo, he unearthed many a truth concealed within the cryptic utterances of the Veda. He has played a significant part in reinterpreting the Vedās to us, along the lines of Sri Aurobindo. There are many readers who respect the spiritual view developed by Sri Aurobindo, but doubt that the spiritual interpretation can be given for all the 10,000 verses. Kapāli Sāstry took up this challenge and has given the deep meaning of the first 1400 verses.
After a life-long study, verification in personal inner life and confirmation in other branches of Indian Wisdom, he began writing his commentary on the Rig Veda in his 60th year (1945). In his Bhūmika, he presents his approach, deriving from ancient riṣhis like Yāska, medieval teachers like Madhvāchārya and modern seers like Sri Aurobindo. His great work ‘Siddhānjana’, commentary on the first Ashtaka of Rig Veda, explores the hitherto neglected psychological and spiritual sides of the ancient hymns. He works out the psychological interpretation guided by the principles of mystic symbolism of the Vedic riṣhis in his verse-by-verse explanation. Being regarded himself as a Tāntrik, he finds astonishing echoes of the Veda in the Tantra, in thought and practice. One of his great contributions, is to dispel the myth that the various Hindu Scriptures like the Veda Samhitās, Upanishads, Yōgās, Tantrās etc., are disparate and do demonstrate that they compliment each other.
Though it has become a practice to see the contents of the Upanishads purely from an intellectual viewpoint, according to the seers of the Upanishads, the truths in these books should be realized by every individual. The process of realization is sādhana, and the hints on sādhana are Vidyās. His work ‘Lights on the Upanishads’ contains detailed discussion of the six Vidyās. He has hinted at several modes of consolidation of sādhana, which will facilitate the sādhaka to evolve himself from mere materiality to super human / super divine levels of super consciousness.
His writings are in four languages namely English, Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. Sanskrit was natural to him. All his writings are collected, published and made available in eleven volumes.
A reflection on all earlier Bhāshyās - Sri Aurobindo (Concluding paragraphs of Chapter 3 (Modern theories) of ‘The Secret of the Veda’)
“The hypothesis on which I shall conduct my own enquiry is that the Veda has a double aspect and that the two, though closely related, must be kept apart. The Riṣhīs arranged the substance of their thought in a system of parallelism by which the same deities were at once internal and external Powers of universal Nature, and they managed its expression through a system of double values by which the same language served for their worship in both aspects. But the psychological sense predominates and is more pervading, close-knit and coherent than the physical. The Veda is primarily intended to serve for spiritual enlightenment and self-culture. It is, therefore, this sense which has first to be restored.
To this task each of the ancient and modern systems of interpretation brings an indispensable assistance. Sāyaṇa and Yāska supply the ritualistic framework of outward symbols and their large store of traditional significances and explanations. The Upanishads give their clue to the psychological and philosophical ideas of the earlier Riṣhīs and hand down to us their method of spiritual experience and intuition. European scholarship supplies a critical method of comparative research, yet to be perfected, but capable of immensely increasing the materials available and sure eventually to give a scientific certainty and firm intellectual basis which has hitherto been lacking. Dayānanda has given the clue to the linguistic secret of the Riṣhīs and re-emphasized one central idea of the Vedic religion, the idea of the One Being with the Devās expressing in numerous names and forms the many-sidedness of His unity.
With so much help from the intermediate past we may yet succeed in reconstituting this remoter antiquity and enter by the gate of the Veda into the thoughts and realities of a prehistoric wisdom”.
Concluded.


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


- Krishnamurthy (chamathu2003@yahoo.co.uk)

ALONG THE WAY........Musings on the November 6th, 2011 Morning Walk



It was a pleasant morning. The sight of lush greenery and the beautiful fig trees gleefully greeted me. The weather was just perfect: breezy and mild. As I walked down to Bukit Batok Nature Park, I noticed that members had already gathered and were half-way through their warm-up exercises. There were people from all walks of life dotting the park, all engrossed in their own activities. The park was brimming with life and energy.



The morning walk was exceedingly refreshing. As we started doing the warm-up exercises, a sudden energy gushed forth, and we became fully conscious of our being. It was quite overwhelming. Soon, we started exploring the park. We felt one with nature – with the trees, the morning birds, and the quiet atmosphere. It was perfectly harmonious and silent; yet, the place stirred with activity as we tried to reach the top of the park, running, and sweating, and panting. Nothing is more joyous and fulfilling than sharing a wonderful morning with people who you know are ready to share with you in return. The experience was so enthralling that we had a stranger joining us, who also started participating very actively, making the experience all the more special.




Later, we gathered at Mr. Ramanathan’s house for collective meditation. We sat in concentric circles and chanted the OM mantra. It was initiated by the inner circle first, and then was followed by the outer circle. When we started chanting Sri Aurobindo’s mantra, we were overpowered by a spiritual ecstasy. The music was soul-rendering; it elevated us to a higher consciousness, making us feel the divine’s presence. As the music slowly faded away, we felt integrated as a person. It felt like a perfect culmination of a transcendental experience. It was as if we couldn’t get enough of it. We will have fond recollections of this experience for days to come. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to the next session!
- Surya

Om is the signature of the Lord



An ear of mind withdrawn from the outward's rhymes
Discovered the seed-sounds of the eternal Word
The rhythm and music heard that built the worlds

- Sri Aurobindo in ‘Savitri’

From the editor's desk

OM ..... a sound that has become a natural part of many of our lives, whether we have opened our doors to it consciously or not; whether we are associated with the spiritual depths of life or its religious frontiers. It more easily reaches the ear of those who join hands in worship along banks of rivers that emerge from the Vedic fountain. OM stands supreme, singular in the depth of its content, its meaning, its significance and above all, its integral effect on the being. The capacity inherent in this seemingly simple monosyllable confronts the mind as intriguing and fascinating. More than the mind then would be needed to unravel the hidden Idea behind this word. The November issue of our Newsletter attempts at unravelling to some small extent this mystery that is OM. Indications are aplenty of the greater role OM could yet play in our lives pacing along the path of transformation.

The Yajur Veda mentions that OM is ‘pranava’ – the humming sound or ‘udgita’ – the elevating chant (http://www.omved.com/vedicpedia/om-in-vedic-literature). OM gets its direct mention and description in several Upanishads, especially the Mandukya, which refers to OM as all that is manifest, which has its origin in the unmanifest. OM is posited as a link, bridging the manifest (which is perceived to be all of this universe and forces potential or set in motion) and the unmanifest. It is the symbol of Brahman, in his triple states, writes Sri Aurobindo, the states being the outward looking Brahman, the inner Brahman and the superconscient causal Purusha.

The pointers are ready and waiting, eager to show the mind, here leader of the pack, the way forward. The Dhyana Bindu Upanishad (http://www.omved.com/vedicpedia/om-in-vedic-literature) takes up some detailed descriptions of OM. The mind is to “reflect on the sound and meaning of OM”. There is an idea of receiving what is given, to keep as one’s object and subject of reflection the sound. One is not asked to make any connotations, arrive at conclusions or to make conjectures and inferences in the scientific order. There is an indication that the truth of the sound OM will be revealed and that one has to approach OM with an open and silenced mind and heart. In this instance, the mind is asked to be an instrument, not the master, and the consciousness to rise above the senses:

"Let Om be the bow, mind the arrow, and Higher Consciousness the target.
Those who want enlightenment should reflect on the sound and the meaning of Om. 
When the arrow is released from the bow it goes straight to the target."

And here are some indications of conditions that led to Aswapati’s inner hearing (Sri Aurobindo, ‘Savitri’):

Away from the terrestrial murmur turned
Where transient calls and answers mix their flood,
King Aswapati listened through the ray
To other sounds than meet the sense-formed ear.

And how would OM be expressed in sound?

"Like the continuous flow of an oil stream and like the vibration of a bell ... this is the way to chant Om and the way to really know the meaning of the Vedas."

OM chanting (and now, OM choir) stand poised to bring into our world treasures untold of. It remains for each to relate with this Maha Mantra and experience for oneself the unique connection one has with this Primordial Sound and the Creator.

ALONG THE WAY........Musings on the October 2nd, 2011 Morning Walk

Each one of us has our very own fond memories of the beach. Be it the child-like spirit with which we stand in the water as the waves rush towards us or the sense of calm which overpowers us while we just stand on the shore and observe the vast expanse of water ahead. The beach is a place of healing and joy. The salt cleanses us and the sun embraces us in its warmth.




The October 2011 Walk of Sri Aurobindo Society was at the East Coast Park Beach. It was a very pleasant morning, all thanks to the incessant rainfall the night before. As we gathered at the “spot” for our warming-up exercise, we saw a lot of enthusiastic runners of all age groups running on the tracks. What a lovely way to start a Sunday morning! There were the others who had camped by the ocean the previous night and were just waking up to the thumping of the active runners and slowly peeping out of their tents. Our world consists of all kinds of people indeed. Each person adds his/her own colour to the vast canvas that the world is. And each colour has its own beauty which ONLY it can add.

One look at the mild waves and there was a smile on everyone’s face. The ocean heals the heart, mind and the soul. The allure and charm exuded by the ocean is unmatched. After a nice healthy round of breathing and physical exercises, we started off with some brisk walking along the walking tracks. With the waves for company on one side and our very own friends on the other, it was the perfect setting for a good walk. There were times when we decided to walk quietly and absorb everything that Mother Nature had bestowed us with that morning, and there were other times when good conversation and cheerful laughter were adding to the beauty of the walk. There was a nice pleasant breeze blowing accompanied by a very refreshing mild drizzle.



After traversing the entire path in each one’s convenient pace, we gathered again at the “spot” to embark on the next lap of our Sunday morning. We were all at Mr. Shashi Lal Kashyap’s house for Collective Meditation preceded by some wonderful OM chanting which opened each one of us to a higher realm of Concentration. Each one of us present there surely felt fortunate for being a part of the activity that morning and took whatever best we could take out of it. Such is the journey of life where there is so much to learn and live each day, each moment, to the very fullest.


--Preethi

Om- Reminisences and experiences

The year was 2006. There were a sizeable number of us seated in the old meditation hall in Delhi Ashram. The room was darkened. There was pin-drop silence even at the beginning of what was to be a precise and unique experience – uplifting. Narad was there, standing. His posture was straight but he was leaning forward slightly as he was standing. He appeared to exude some kind of warmth upon all of us there. His motive was very clear. He wanted all to have the purest experience of that one thing he was there for. He was in the process of calling down a new music.

This was OM choir in Delhi Ashram. Narad gave us some instructions on breathing and posture and carried us through exercises on voice training and tone recognition. Then we were ready. A lone voice started singing OM. We were invited to join in at different times as dictated by something deeper within, or something from above, other than the mind. We had to offer our sound and ourselves. I remember Narad asking us to produce the most beautiful sounds on OM within ourselves and then to concentrate on producing the most beautiful OM as a collective body. Just after a few OMs, I felt the magic. The hall was taken over by something spectacular that I had never encountered anytime in my life. Pure human voices, quite raw and “untrained” – as it were, were coming together in waves as if by magic and creating a unified music or harmonic resonance. This kind of music was not a common theme then, but during those seconds when it was there, all of us unified, instrumental in producing it, one instinctively knew that there, in that hall, at that moment, something pure and divine was there; a special resonance that could shake the very foundation of the past! This music was not about us. It was beyond ourselves, our little selves rather, beyond our egoistic personality that thinks that it alone achieves and is responsible. I felt what could be humility in the whole endeavour, collective. It was an experience of a life-time, those two or three days during which I attended these OM Choir sessions. The quality of music seemed to be directly proportional to our openness and aspiration and silence deep within.

Now, given the chance of reading all about the OM Choir, its origin and the way forward, everything seems to be falling into place. There is a divine music hovering above our heads which can be reached only through bridges that we can build collectively, bridges of harmony, love and joy. Even if these could be achieved for those brief periods we sit in a circle and let an OM choir emerge, something significant could be achieved. These can only be seeds to something divinely pure and beautiful that is to fill our lives as we open ourselves up more and more to the light and love pouring from above. OM has a large part to play in all these. This is an intriguing prospect.

- Jayanthy