Guiding Light of The Month

THE result of all my reflections of yesterday is the finding that the only disturbance I experience comes from my fear of not having been or of not being perfectly identified with Thy law. - The Mother

Sachchidananda

Strong and pure, it stands erect with its creative power.

- The Mother

Common Name: Ginger lily. Garland lily

Botanical Name: Hedychium

Spiritual Name: Sachchidananda

From the Editor's desk

This issue of the Newsletter brings to a culmination months of dwelling on different planes of our existence. There are vistas in us that elude our touch and feel and mental perception. Yet, if we can reverse the way we see things; if we can direct our gaze more and more inwards than outwards, we have been promised of access into these worlds. When we embark on true adventures, the end is not shown us, neither is the path charted. Every moment opens up its own world, its own aroma, texture, a unique experience. We embark on these adventures with gusto and a never-say-die spirit. We cling onto an unexplainable certitude that something, something special will emerge, something that means a self-exceeding. The same or perhaps a more intense experience must besiege us when we embark on an inner adventure, an adventure of discovery that only we alone can fathom, understand, feel and an experience which, unfortunately, loses half its intensity the moment we attempt to code in our conventional languages.

It appears that the mind (since we are essentially mental creatures) is able to grasp all that fits its own structure, its own mould or pattern. It can go a distance more, if it wants, to alter its patterns slightly, its mould, to accommodate alien suggestions, observations and perceptions. But there is a lid placed above, it appears. Life beyond that lid must be totally, absolutely different. One does not know enough. This realization necessarily brings in quietude. There must be some hope. There is, they say.

The region in question is that of Sachchidananda, a region over and above the plane of the Supermind or Supramental. How would one perceive this region, while housed within this small frame of mind?

Having reached this point, one is compelled to turn to luminous words of practitioners in the adventure of consciousness.

The region of Sachchidananda is itself made of three planes – Existence-Consciousness-Bliss – states which flow one into the other without any separation, we are told. In appreciating, at least mentally, to some small degree the principle of Sachchidananda, reference has been made to a compilation by P.B. Saint Hilaire (1962), ‘The Future Evolution of Man’, especially from the notes compiled by him, explaining terms Sri Aurobindo used in his major texts, such as ‘The Life Divine’, ‘The Human Cycle’ and ‘The Synthesis of Yoga’.

Of the planes of Sachchidananda, Saint Hilaire writes, “The three superior planes of this universe are called the planes of Sachchidananda. They form the universal and fundamental states of the spiritual Reality in which the unity of the Divine Existence, the power of the Divine Consciousness, the bliss of the Divine Delight of existence are put in front. They are far above the reach of normal human consciousness and experience.”

Sachchidananda is the One, the highest spiritual perception of That which is tri-natured: Existence-Consciousness-Bliss (in Sanskrit, Sat-Chit-Ananda) and hence, that One, That, is known as Sachchidananda. Nothing more can be said than to perhaps awaken a deep, hidden urge to know That which is said to be the essence of all existence, in the experience of those who have indeed, tasted Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.

Savitri

She knew herself the Beloved of the Supreme
The Mother was she of Beauty and Delight,
The Word in Brahma’s vast creating clasp,
The World-Puissance on almighty Shiva’s lap.

(Savitri, Book 7 Canto 5)


The world’s senseless beauty mirrors God’s Delight,
That rapture’s smile is secret everywhere:
It flows in the wind’s breath, in the tree’s sap,
Its hued magnificence blooms in leaves and flowers.

(Savitri, Book 2 Canto 4)


Arisen beneath a triple mystic heaven
The seven immortal earths were seen sublime:
Homes of the blest released from death and sleep.

(Savitri, Book 10 Canto 1)


Ascending out of the limiting breaths of mind,
They shall discover the world’s huge design
And step with the Truth, the Right, the Vast.

(Savitri, Book 11 Canto 1)

Question of the month


When I had the dividing reason, I shrank from many things; after I had lost it in sight, I hunted through the world for the ugly and the repellent, but I could no longer find them.”

Q: Is there really nothing ugly and repellent in the world? Is it our reason alone that sees things in that way?

A: The Mother:To understand truly what Sri Aurobindo means here, you must yourself have had the experience of transcending reason and establishing your consciousness in a world higher than the mental intelligence. For from up there you can see, firstly, that everything that exists in the universe is an expression of Sachchidananda (Being-­Consciousness­-Bliss) and therefore behind any appearance whatever, if you go deeply enough, you can perceive Sachchidananda, which is the principle of Supreme Beauty. Secondly, you see that everything in the manifested universe is relative, so much so that there is no beauty which may not appear ugly in comparison with a greater beauty, no ugliness which may not appear beautiful in comparison with a yet uglier ugliness.
When you can see and feel in this way, you immediately become aware of the extreme relativity of these impressions and their unreality from the absolute point of view. However, so long as we dwell in the rational consciousness, it is, in a way, natural that everything that offends our aspiration for perfection, our will for progress, everything we seek to transcend and surmount, should seem ugly and repellent to us, since we are in search of a greater ideal and we want to rise
higher.

And yet it is still only a half­-wisdom which is very far from the true wisdom, a wisdom that appears wise only in the midst of ignorance and unconsciousness.

In the Truth everything is different, and the Divine shines in all things.
  • 17thFebruary 1960

(The Mother, ‘CWM’, Vol. 10, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry)



God had opened my eyes; for I saw the nobility of the vulgar, the attractiveness of the repellent, the perfectionof the maimed and the beauty of the hideous.”


A: The Mother:This aphorism is the complement and almost an explanation of the previous one.

Once again, Sri Aurobindo tells us clearly that behind the appearances there is a sublime Reality which is, one may say, the luminous opposite of all external deformations. Thus, when the inner eyes are open to this divine Reality, it is seen with such power that it is able to dissolve all that normally veils it to the ordinary vision.
  • 24thFebruary 1960

(The Mother, ‘CWM’, Vol. 10, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry)

Sri Aurobindo on Sachcidananda


  • God is Sachchidananda. He manifests Himself as infinite existence of which the essentiality is consciousness, of which again the essentiality is bliss, is self-delight.

  • The Supreme is Pure Being, Absolute Existence, sat….
The Supreme is also Pure Awareness, Absolute Consciousness, cit….
The Supreme is , finally , Pure Ecstasy, Absolute Bliss, ananda.

  • That which has thrown itself out into forms is a triune Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, Sachchidananda, whose consciousness is in its nature a creative or rather a self-expressive Force capable of infinite variation in phenomenon and form of its self-conscious being and endlessly enjoying the delight of that variation. It follows that all things that exist are what they are as terms of that existence, terms of that conscious force, terms of that delight of being.

  • Ananda is Beatitude, the bliss of pure conscious existence and energy.

  • The world lives in and by Ananda. From Ananda, says the Veda, we were born, by Ananda we live, to Ananda we return, and it adds that no man could even have the strength to draw in his breath and throw it out again if there were not this heaven of Bliss embracing our existence as ether embraces our bodies, nourishing us with its eternal substance and strength and supporting the life and the activity.

Because Thou Art

Because Thou art All-beauty and All-bliss,
My soul blind and enamoured yearns for Thee;
It bears Thy mystic touch in all that is
And thrills with the burden of that ecstasy.
Behind all eyes I meet Thy secret gaze
And in each voice I hear Thy magic tune:
Thy sweetness haunts my heart through Nature’s ways;
Nowhere it beats now from Thy snare immune.
It loves Thy body in all living things;
Thy joy is there in every leaf and stone:
The moments bring Thee on their fiery wings;
Sight’s endless artistry is Thou alone.
Time voyages with Thee upon its prow –
And all the future’s passionate hope is Thou.


(‘Collecteed Poems’,Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

The Secret Diamond


A space where the land, trees, flowers and every structure aspires and each breathe, a miracle spawn out of a beautiful dream that the Mother had. The place is made a field of discovery with little amazing experiments that each one performs within oneself and with everyone around. Auroville, a land, where equality and human unity are there in each step, where we do less but feel more, has emerged into an exciting place for the flow of Her energy.

This book, “Tell me, my friend, what is this Auroville”, describes this place in a magical way, with all love and strikingly colourful pictures. The narration, story-like, almost a guessing game is most inviting for little kids, for them to get a sense of the future growing in there and to be with it. There is a little introduction of how the seed was sown for the growth of this place and then the story begins.

It starts with a rabbit asking the banyan “Tell me, my friend, what is this Auroville?”. The dialogue is narrated as a dream that the rabbit has when it sleeps under the banyan. In the dream, the banyan tree takes us on a beautiful journey of what that place would be. Each view is an answer for the question that the rabbit asks the banyan and it is matched with capturing paintings in bright colours.
We all stand together, holding hands, in a circle. That’s not just a circle; Her jewel, a bracelet probably, each one of us a bead in it, the centre of which is adorned with a beautiful shining diamond. The one very same thing that connects us all. Next time we go to Auroville, let’s ask the banyan tree, where the diamond is!!
- Sandhya

April-May Sunday Activities at Centre – A glimpse



28 April 2013 –Meditations on ‘Savitri’

That evening, we turned our attention to one of the many turning points of the epic poem, ‘Savitri’. Book 3, Canto 4, ‘The Vision and the Boon’.Ashwapathy has the vision of the One Worshipped. Like in a whirlwind trip, in a jiffy, the six pictures that made up that section of Meditations on ‘Savitri’, brought us through the whole of the Canto 4. This section in a sense, brought before us about 6 aspects of the canto: Ashwapathy’s magnificent tryst with the Divine Mother, his mighty vision of Shiva’s dance which tore the past, his luminous vision of “the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers”, his ardent prayer for Her to descend upon earth and the benevolent granting of the supreme boon and his return to the “speed and noise Of the vast business of created things.” Following meditation on the words of Mother and the paintings by Huta, we settled to read the lines that came along with the pictures. These lines were heavily laden and reading them had an effect on our state of consciousness. A few questions were raised, mainly by those seeking some clarifications. It was good sitting together and going through those very significant lines. We ended the evening with New Year meditation music and headed home, looking forward to next Sunday’s activities.


5 May 2013 - Readings on Mother’s Work and OM Choir

We were still on the broad topic of exploring the inner world. Our reference for the day was Mother’s words compiled in ‘Living Within’ by A.S. Dalal. We did a simple exercise on quietening the mind and focusing our attention inwards. Participants shared their experience in gong within for those few seconds. One participant mentioned that she immediately could go in and be with a silent self within. Another mentioned that thoughts of events preceding his arrival at the Centre dominated his mind space. Another simply allowed her attention to be occupied by items and articles she saw in the room prior to the exercise. Following this sharing, we read a passage The Mother had written on the best attitude one could hold towards events in one’s life, from within. We concluded this part of the evening reading short but poignant passages on that helped us contemplate on what it meant to be living within.

OM choir followed next. We enjoyed the harmony of our voices offering the majestic OM that filled our outer as well as our inner world. The fact that our inner world was also filled with only this sound became evident when we stopped OM choir and let ourselves be led by the vibrations produced by the sound OM on our being. For some time, the ringing of OM continued. We concluded this first Sunday evening with meditation on New Year’s music by Sunil-da.




12 May 2013 - Talk by Jared Quek- “The Spiritual Transformation”

The second Sunday is when we have been having talks by Jared at the Centre. The topic this time was “The Spiritual Transformation”. As always, we were each given a hand-out with excerpts from The Life Divine. Spiritual Transformation, just as in any other form of Transformation, is a steady process with constant evolution across a period of time. Every bit of Transformation that one undergoes comes with effort from our side,at least initially (which may last life times, we have been told) and a lot of Grace from the Divine.

The first part of the talk was about the three essential motions that pave the path to the process of Spiritual Transformation. These three motions are The Rift in the lid of the stubborn Mind, The Ascent and The Descent. It is the rift that opens our vision to something above us, the SOMETHING here is the eternal Presence which signifies infinite Bliss. It is the same rift which also helps in the descent of powers of this Presence into our being.

From this topic, we went on to the next topic, The Spiritual Nature. This brought about a fundamental question relating to this subject—“Who exactly is a Spiritual Person?”. We shared our views and opinions on what we thought necessarily constituted a person who is aspiring to be Spiritual. After this discussion, Jared also highlighted briefly the Danger and Limitation of pulling down the Forces hastily, before the wholesome Transformation is complete. We concluded the day with a few lines on “The Supramental Necessity”.


19 May 2013 - Musical Offering by PanditBarun Pal on the Hans Veena

It was a privilege indeed for us to have Barun Pal ji at our Centre. He filled the room with the melodious strains of offering, devotion and gratitude through the Hans Veena, accompanied by the assenting notes of the tabla, played by Sri Mihir Kundo of The Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS). The first Raag to fill the space was Shivaranjani and the second, Jansamodini. Besides being a musical offering dedicated to the Divine, it was also an occasion for the disciple to honour his guru. Barun Pal ji’s guru was none other than the late Pandit Sri Ravi Shankar, the Sitar Maestro. It was indeed our privilege to have Barun Pal ji and Sri Mihir Kundo in our midst. They indeed brought us on a special journey through music.

- Jayanthy and Preethi

Observance of the Anniversary of The Mother’s Final Arrival in Pondicherry



93 years ago, on 24th April, The Mother arrived in Pondicherry to settle permanently and carry out her immense sadhana alongside Sir Aurobindo.

Last month, on the 24th of April, 2013, we commemorated Mother's final arrival in Pondicherry through a special program.It began with invoking the power of the Om, through the Om Choir. It was followed by chanting of mantras from the Mandukya Upanishad. This is the Upanishad which explains the universal sound of the Om. Twelve verses from the Mandukya Upanishad were chanted. The verses essentially introduced and described the three states of the being together with a fourth and transcending state of consciousness. OM is the one word that encapsulates the three states and itself transcends above the three states into the fourth.

The second section revolved around the Arts as a means of interpreting the divine. In this section, scenes of culturally significant personalities were enacted. In the backdrop, lines from Sri Aurobindo’s works such as ‘The Foundations of Indian Culture’, ‘Essays on the Gita’ and ‘The Future Poetry’, amongst others, were recited. These were in reference to the personalities and the larger movement they were a part of. Children dressed up, sang and narratedthe life of each personality in a beautiful and heart warming manner. 

We began with three stalwarts of Bhakti Yoga, several aspects of which Sri Aurobindo had high regard for.Our first segment revolved around the 8th century Alvar saint, Andal. She was the only female Alvar of the 12 Alvar saints of South India and is credited with the great Tamil work ‘Thirupavai’.Our next segment revolved around the 16th century Indian princess Mira. So lasting was her impact that even today, in many regions of Rajasthan, bhajans of Mira are still common in religious night gatherings known as 'Ratijuga’. Post this, we concentrated on the 13th Century Sanskrit poet,Jaidev. He is most known for his composition, the epic poem ‘GeetGovinda’. The next segment revolved around the great Greek epic poet, Homer. He was the author of the great Greek epics ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’. Sri Aurobindo interpreted the epilogue of ‘The Iliad’ in his epic, ‘The Ilion’.We then moved onto Leonardo da Vinci who was an Italian Renaissance polymath. Sri Aurobindo was a great admirer of his many talents, stating that Leonardo was an example of someone who had a higher consciousness.  His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. 

In the third and final section, we turned to Mahasaraswati and invoked her Power. Mahasaraswati is The Mother’s Power of Works.  Sri Aurobindo states that “All the work of the other Powers leans on her for its completeness; for she assures the material foundations, elaborates the stuff of detail and erects and rivets the armour of the structure”

With that we came to an end of the day's program. It was a deeply moving program at the end of which we partook of Mahaprasad. 

- Saurab