For each one it is the path that leads fastest to the Divine.
- The Mother
Common Name: Coffee
Botanical Name: Coffea
Spiritual Name: The Perfect Path
For each one it is the path that leads fastest to the Divine.
- The Mother
Common Name: Coffee
Botanical Name: Coffea
Spiritual Name: The Perfect Path
“What would be the use of man if he were not created to throw a bridge between That which is eternal but is unmanifested and that which is manifested, between all the transcendences and splendours of the divine life and all the dark and sorrowful ignorance of the material world? Man is the link between what must be and what is; he is the footbridge thrown across the abyss, he is the great cross-shaped X, the quaternary connecting link. His true domicile, the effective seat of his consciousness should be in the intermediary world at the meeting-point of the four arms of the cross, just where all the infinitude of the Unthinkable comes to take a precise form so that it may be projected into the innumerable manifestation. . .
That centre is a place of supreme love, of perfect consciousness, of pure and total knowledge. There establish, O Lord, those who can, who must and truly want to serve Thee, so that Thy work may be accomplished, the bridge definitively established, and Thy forces poured unwearyingly over the world.”
All inspired literature has to some extent the ability to reach out and touch something deep within us that is a kind of homesickness, an awareness of something missing, a yearning that has no name. Savitri has this power to an exceptional degree and to experience it requires no special skills of interpretation or language use. A power is there, even in a single word or phrase, with the potential to awake the psychic being within and bring it forward to play its part in the surface life, as many people know through their own experience. The power comes from the spiritual light clothing itself in a language nearer to sight than thought, a language of symbols and images drawn from life, to evoke a rich tapestry of meaning that thought, with its precise narrow focus, cannot match. A single image, or a single line, can be a mantra designed ‘to overfly the ways of thought to unborn things’:
A magic leverage suddenly is caught
That moves the veiled Ineffable’s timeless Will:
A prayer, a master act, a king idea
Can link man’s strength to a transcendent Force.
Then miracle is made the common rule,
One mighty deed can change the course of things;
A lonely thought becomes omnipotent. (1:2 )
“Sometimes one life is charged with earth’s destiny.” It is a lonely thought - not a collective aspiration - that first calls down the transcendent Force. The solitude of those who are chosen to lead humanity in critical periods of transition is a constant theme: Aswapati has “no companion in the light” and Savitri too faces her long ordeal alone. Most striking of all are the lines from The Book of Fate describing a final dangerous passage in the yoga of Savitri, a crucial moment where “all is won or all is lost for
Unastonished by the immensities of space,
Travelling infinity by its own light,
The great are strongest when they stand alone.
A God-given might of being is their force,
A ray from self’s solitude of light the guide:
The soul that can live alone with itself meets God;
Its lonely universe is their rendezvous.
A day may come when she must stand unhelped
On a dangerous brink of the world’s doom and hers’
Carrying the world’s future on her lonely breast,
Carrying the human hope in a heart left sole
To conquer or fail on a last desperate verge.
Alone with death and close to extinction’s edge
Her single greatness in that last dire scene,
She must cross alone a perilous bridge in Time
And reach an apex of world destiny
Where all is won or all is lost for man.
In that tremendous silence lone and lost
Of a deciding hour in the world’s fate,
In her soul’s climbing beyond mortal time
When she stands sole with death or sole with God
Apart upon a silent desperate brink,
Alone with herself and death and destiny
As on some verge between Time and Timelessness
When being must end or life rebuild its base,
Alone she must conquer or alone must fall.
No human aid can reach her in that hour,
No armoured God stand shining at her side.
Cry not to heaven, for she alone can save.
For this the silent force came missioned down;
In her the conscious Will took human shape:
She only can save the world and save herself. (6:2)
It is evident that Sri Aurobindo is re-living the Mother’s experience. In the Agenda there is an account in her own words in which she tries to describe the strange state of transition: “A strange state of transition in the most material consciousness, the consciousness of the body. A transition from this state of subjugation, of powerlessness, where one is always at the mercy of forces, vibrations, unexpected movements – all sorts of stray impulses that impose themselves – and on the other hand the Power. The Power establishing itself and manifesting itself. The transition between these two. . . . . . The whole thing gives the impression of walking along a very sharp ridge between two precipices.”
The lines that evoke the Mother’s ordeal so powerfully have sometimes been criticised because of their constant repetition of the same word, in particular the word “alone”. This seemed to some to be a mistake which Sri Aurobindo would have corrected if he had not left his body so soon, for these were among the last lines dictated by him. Such misunderstanding arises when Savitri is read by the intellectual mind alone, and the old Vedic insight that it is by the power of the heart that the mantra takes form is overlooked. Heart speaks to heart in a different way.
So here we find no ‘mistake’ but one of the finest examples of intuitive speech making use of poetic technique - assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds to obtain a desired effect. Over and over again we hear only, lonely, sole, alone – words which have something more in common than just their meaning: they have the sound Oh! which echoes like a cry of pain from almost every line; just as “alone” rings out, punctuating the description of the terrifying scene like the solemn tolling of a warning bell.
Like the poets of Vedic times, Sri Aurobindo understood that the force of mantric speech resides as much or in the sound as in the meaning. Sound speaks to the subliminal and subconscient parts of the being with suggestions heard by the heart before the mind awakes to them. Thus the response, often veiled by our surface mentality, is elicited from the whole person and in time brings about “the deeper listening of the soul”.
I remember one occasion, when I went to visit Nirodbaran in the Ashram, and he said, with a twinkle in his eye: 'I hear that you have been giving some talks called 'Savitri by Heart' - do you really want our students to learn the whole poem by heart?' I said "No, I want them I want them to understand it by heart - but learning is also a good idea.”
If ever we needed a rainbow bridge it is now, when a transition must be made from the reasoning to the intuitive mind, which alone of all the faculties presently available to us can take us further towards our evolutionary destiny. Reason is the highest faculty of mind that our species has attained in the course of its evolution – it has helped to create the world we live in, but has not been able to control the irrational and destructive impulses that arise in human nature.
Sri Aurobindo is quite clear about this. In The Human Cycle we read: “The great necessity is the conversion of the normal into the spiritual mind and the opening of that mind again into its own higher reaches and more and more integral movement. For before the decisive change can be made, the stumbling intellectual reason has to be converted into the precise and luminous intuitive, until that again can rise into higher ranges to overmind and supermind or gnosis.” (Cent. Ed. p.252)
What Sri Aurobindo is suggesting is nothing less than the rebuilding of the base of our lives. It means first of all freeing ourselves from past conceptions and old habits which impede or prevent further progress:
Our dead past round our future’s ankles clings
And drags back the new nature’s glorious stride,
Or from the buried corpse old ghosts arise,
Old thoughts, old longings, dead passions live again,
Recur in sleep or move the waking man
To words that force the barrier of the lips
To deeds that suddenly start and oe’rleap
His head of reason and his guardian will. (7.2)
This rebuilding begins with ourselves, with our willingness to clear away the old mental formations, "Our dead past that round our ankles clings."
"The help of Sri Aurobindo is constant, It is for us to know how to receive it."
In 'Savitri ' we have a mantra for transformation, and we should try to approach it as he would approach Sri Aurobindo himself, for indeed the Mantra is his own consciousness distilled into a form of words. These words are precious; they are to be read with a silent mind. Sri Aurobindo has himself taught us how to read them:
"The mind, that restless lake of samskaras, preferences, prejudices, pre-judgments, habitual opinions, intellectual and temperamental likes and dislikes ought to be entirely silent in this matter; its role is to be submissive and and receptive, detached, without passion, passivity without activity should be its state: for the sruti (spiritual text) carries within its very words, a certain prakash, an illumination - the mind ought to wait for that illumination…."
Now this important task of rebuilding the base seems to belong quite naturally to Auroville, the City of
Even the physical labour involved in the building of a city, the clearing and planting of land, the construction of roads and waterways, the creation of good channels of communication - all these enterprises, useful in themselves, might be even more valuable if they could be undertaken with the specific intention of opening up the sealed consciousness of Matter to the Light and releasing new energies in order to rebuild our base of life. If this could be done consciously and with dedication, it would be a great step towards a truly future - orientated society. To recognize and respect the consciousness of the material world is a new idea, a new area for research on lines suggested already in many places by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Science in our own century is struggling to understand the nature of matter, while all the discoveries lead to still more difficult questions. Sri Aurobindo suggests a different line of enquiry, opened up by an expanding human consciousness:
‘We begin to perceive too the key to the enigma of matter, follow the interplay of Mind and Life and Consciousness upon it, discover more and more its instrumental and resultant function and detect ultimately the last secret of Matter as a form, not merely of Energy, but of involved and arrested or instably fixed and restricted consciousness; and begin to see too the possibility of liberation and plasticity of response to higher powers, its possibilities for the conscious and no longer the more than half inconscient incarnation and self-expression of the Spirit.” (Letters on Yoga Vol2 Cent.ed)
Auroville may one day begin to explore such distant horizons, as part of its essential research into the evolution of consciousness. Matter yearns towards transformation, yearns to express the beauty that is the first manifestation of the Divine in the material creation: the marble rejoices in the shaping touch of the sculptors chisel; paint and canvas embrace the artist's skill; clay longs for the potter's hands to release its fulfilment in beauty of form.
When we contemplate a great work of art, we can almost feel this material joy, which our bodies share, the mind being all the time unaware of it. It may be that Matter's joy is that secret of great art which no one has ever been able to define, the secret that distinguishes a masterpiece from the inferior stuff. The Mother understood this when she spoke of the divine Love 'infusing itself' into all the atoms of the most obscure Matter.
Why should such work fall within the remit of Auroville’s research? Because one of the chief obstacles to rebuilding the base of life in a new way is the persistence of “the leaden formulas of mind” as Sri Aurobindo calls them, old fixed opinions and ideas running in narrow grooves of thought. In a homogenous society it is difficult for people to be different, to step out boldly in a new direction, whereas in Auroville, where people from all parts of the world rub up against each other all the time, the mental grooves we bring with us begin to wear thin.
One final passage of prophecy – a comforting one, for it affirms that even if we fail, Nature will not fail and the omnipotent Spirit cannot fail:
The Spirit shall be master of his world
Lurking no more in form’s obscurity
And Nature shall reverse her action’s rule,
The outward world disclose the Truth it veils;
All things shall manifest the covert God,
All shall reveal the Spirit’s light and might
And move to its destiny of felicity.
Even should a hostile force cling to its reign
And claim its right’s perpetual sovereignty
And man refuse his high spiritual fate,
Yet shall the secret Truth in things prevail.
For in the march of all-fulfilling Time
The hour must come of the Transcendent’s Will:
All turns and winds towards his predestined ends
In nature’s fixed inevitable course
Decreed since the beginning of the worlds
In the deep essence of created things:
Even there shall come as a high crown of all
The end of Death, the death of Ignorance.
But first high Truth must set her feet on earth
And man aspire to the Eternal’s light
And all his member’s feel the Spirit’s touch
And all his life obey an inner force.
This too shall be; for a new life shall come,
A body of the Superconscient’s truth,
A native field of Supernature’s mights;
It shall make earth’s nescient ground Truth’s colony,
Make even the Ignorance a transparent robe
Through which shall shine the brilliant limbs of Truth
And Truth shall be a sun on Nature’s head
And Truth shall be the guide of Nature’s steps
And Truth shall gaze out of her nether deeps. (Bk 11)
It is a wonderful thing to be here and to read Sri Aurobindo’s prophetic lines within the embrace of these white walls, knowing that others will do the same, day after day until – all is done for which the earth was made. There are many ways to rebuild the base of life, and I hope Auroville will explore all of them. But of these, Savitri is the most immediately accessible, and probably the most effective. Sri Aurobindo’s great legacy has the power to transform the consciousness of all who approach it in a spirit of persistence and faith. Of that there is no doubt. I hope all who are able to come will take advantage of the great opportunity you have here at the Savitri Bhavan, to experience this for yourselves. It is never a question of purely mental understanding - Savitri as a Mantra for transformation will open up new pathways to knowledge through the intuition and through the heart. “The heart and the mind are one universal Deity and neither a mind without a heart nor a heart without a mind is the human ideal…… The integral divine harmony within, but as its result a changed earth and a nobler and happier humanity.”
It may be that in the 21st Century we have something still to learn from those distant ancestors of ours, who kept their belief that the world around them was created and sustained by the power of their song. We too have a song, Sri Aurobindo’s great hymn celebrating the marriage of our soil to the sky. We could even now be singing a new world into existence.
On the eve of her birthday, the last word belongs to the Mother:
"The moment you open to the divine Love”, she said , "You also receive the power of transformation."
- Sonia Dyne
Bedok Reservoir is a place where Mother Nature through her infinite manifestations, represents the core elements. Nature is our first teacher when we first set foot onto this world. She is stoic and silent. Tuning in with this Silence gives a sense of expanse and it removes all kinds of constrictions of the mind. Nature is our teacher and listening to her from the core of the heart, tunes us with the infinite. “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” (“The Teacher as Evolutionary Energy” by Robert Bainbridge)
So do join us ALONG THE WAY for the October walk. - Jaishree
Entrapped between the
Ever dominating Blazing Red,
And the Snobbish regal Violet,
The students sought to examine,
Each of the brilliantly hued ones.
Raising remainders of Supreme Sacrifice
The valiant Orange glowed.
Whilst the Yellow and Green sought
To convey the essence of Nature.
Poised cool on the Precipice was
The eternal favourite Blue,
While Indigo made its presence between
But, the pupils still and forever preferred
The lovely WHITE
Pure, Serene , Supreme
One into whom everyone could mingle
And be ONE.
September is the month both Singapore and India celebrate Teachers Day. Jaishree was sent the poem above by a friend on the occasion.
These 421 short stories are vibrant with the presence of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Here is a window into a fascinating world where "All life is yoga." These stories have the power to enlighten and elevate. The reader, while delightfully entranced, may also find his faith strengthened and discover that the flame of aspiration burns brighter in his heart. Gems of spiritual guidance abound throughout this treasure of lovingly collected stories. This is an extraordinary record of the Grace and guidance of the Avatars of the Supermind. Two stories are selected from the book and published below. We will read more stories on Sunday, 23 October 2011 at 6.00 pm for half-an-hour followed by OM Choir.
Auroville and the Russians
He was thrilled with the idea. I added, "Finally we come to an Ultimate Perfection. What do you say to that?" He frowned and said, "Now you are becoming a philosopher. Ultimate Perfection means nothing to me. Just nice-sounding words. It doesn't mean anything, an empty phrase; it just sounds good, without any meaning. What is Ultimate Perfection?" I replied, "Well, I don't know what it means and what it does not mean, but what I know is, we have other words like that — we have 'zero,' we have 'infinity' — they also mean nothing and yet we have to accept them, especially in mathematics. You Russians are great mathematicians. If you remove zero or remove infinity, they will shoot you. You can't do without that." He said, "Ah! you have caught me nicely. It is a fact, you are right. Zero and Infinity also mean nothing. All right, we accept Ultimate Perfection." I said, "That is the Divine." He asked, "Is that so?" I replied, "The Divine is the Ultimate of everything. If you take perfection, it is Ultimate Perfection. You can take it anyway, give it any name, it is the Divine. Why should you object?" He said, "Oh! That puts quite a different picture on it. All right, we accept. We will come."
Auroville Inauguration Ceremony
Thus I was pitch-forked into something I did not want. I had to go and be the master of ceremonies. The whole ceremony was very, very beautiful and it went perfectly, smoothly, without the smallest hitch, without even the smallest hesitation, so much so that the American Consul-General came to me afterwards and asked, "How many times have you rehearsed this ceremony?" I replied, "We have never rehearsed it." He exclaimed, "No?" "No," I emphasised. He commented, "I have seen so many ceremonies but I have never seen anything go so perfectly, without the slightest hitch or hesitation. Absolutely perfect, like a well-oiled machine."