Guiding Light of The Month

O LORD, Thou art my refuge and my blessing, my strength, my health, my hope, and my courage. Thou art supreme Peace, unalloyed Joy, perfect Serenity. My whole being prostrates before Thee in a gratitude beyond measure and a ceaseless worship; and that worship goes up from my heart and my mind towards Thee like the pure smoke of incense of the perfumes of India. - The Mother

The Mother’s Symbol



The central circle represents the Divine Consciousness. The four petals represent the four powers of The Mother. The twelve petals represent the twelve powers of The Mother manifested for Her work.
  
-      The Mother,  24th January, 1958.


The four Powers of The Mother are four of her outstanding Personalities, portions and embodiments of her divinity through whom she acts on her creatures, orders and harmonises her creatures in the worlds and directs the working out of her thousand forces.

-         Sri Aurobindo.

From the Editor’s Desk (Jan 2015)

A symbol is a material object or a tangible manifestation that represents something that is generally immaterial or intangible. It serves as an intermediary to convey usually lofty ideas which may or may not be better expressed with words – something which also depends on and varies from person to person. Usually philosophical, humanitarian and spiritual ideals tend to be represented by symbols so that the interested individual may better grasp these, both intellectually and psychologically.

In the realm of Integral Yoga, both in its philosophy, psychology and practice, two symbols predominate as representative of the ideal, completing each other in this representation. Sri Aurobindo’s symbol consists of two triangles, one descending and one ascending. The descending triangle signifying the triple truth of Sat-Chit-Ananda and the ascending triangle (formed by life, light and love) of the triple aspiring response from matter; the junction of the triangles forming a square representing the perfect manifestation and having at its centre the lotus, the Avatar of the Supreme rising from the waters of the Multiplicity or the Creation.” The Mother’s symbol represents the “one primal Power emanating out of itself four major Powers and twelve subsidiary powers of creation.

The first for the year 2015, this issue of the Newsletter ushers in the new year with the larger theme of The Mother’s symbol. Each issue of the following months will feature one aspect of The Mother’s symbol. In this issue, we take a general look at The Mother’s symbol. Essentially The Mother’s symbol, graphically a transverse section of the lotus flower, is made up of one central circle, four outer petals and 12 outer most petals. In The Mother’s words, “The central circle represents the Divine Consciousness. The four petals represent the four powers of The Mother. The twelve petals represent the twelve powers of The Mother manifested for Her work.” The articles in this issue provide an overview of what The Mother’s symbol may mean. We may also find a special connection with The Mother’s symbol with our own lives and contemplate on this special thread of connection.

As always, the drawing of one year to a close and the approach of another year is a significant moment on our lives bound by time. We can look back at the waning year with gratitude for all the lessons it taught and for the little victories over our nature. Even if so called failures have dotted our paths, let light be cast on them that they be failures that enlightened and also showed many ways in which something need not be done. An important part of a new year is the new year resolutions we make. May these be deeper aspirations for a meaningful life of more conquests over weaknesses and inching closer to a better knowledge of one’s own self. Whatever the case may be, may our resolve towards self-discovery gather a new momentum over this new year and be sustained in its efforts towards one’s inner growth.

The editorial team wishes all members and readers of our Newsletter and the larger Sri Aurobindo family and everyone a beautiful year ahead of peace, harmony and integral progress. 

Savitri

An image sat of the original power
Wearing the mighty Mother’s form and face.
Armed bearer of the weapon and the sign
Whose occult might no magic can imitate,
Manifold yet one she sat, a guardian force:
A saviour gesture stretched her lifted arm,
And symbol of some native cosmic strength,
A sacred beast lay prone below her feet,
A silent flame-eyed mass of living force.


(Savitri, Book 7 Canto 5)

Question of the month (Jan 2015)

Q: I have been frequently thinking of The Mother’s symbol of “Chakra” and its significance. I have understood it as follows:

Central circle - Transcendental Power.

Four inner petals - Four powers working from the Supermind to Overmind.

Twelve outer petals - Division of four into twelve powers from Overmind to Intuition and mind.

Do you think I have understood the significance correctly?

A:  Sri Aurobindo :  Essentially (in general principle) the 12 powers are the vibrations that are necessary for the manifestation. These are the 12 seen from the beginning above The Mother’s head. Thus there are really 12 rays from the sun not 7, 12 planets etc.
As to the exact interpretation of the detail of the powers, I see nothing against the arrangement you have made. It can stand very well.

(‘Sri Aurobindo on Himself and The Mother’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1978, Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry)


From Prayers & Meditations (1st January, 1914)

To Thee, supreme Dispenser of all boons, to Thee who givest life its justification, by making it pure, beautiful and good, to Thee, Master of our destinies and goal of all our aspirations, was consecrated the first minute of this new year.

May it be completely glorified by this consecration; may those who hope for Thee, seek Thee in the right path; may those who seek Thee find Thee, and those who suffer, not knowing where the remedy lies, feel Thy life gradually piercing the hard crust of their obscure consciousness.

I bow down in deep devotion and in boundless gratitude before Thy beneficent splendour; in the name of the earth I give Thee thanks for manifesting Thyself; in its name I implore Thee to manifest Thyself ever more fully, in an uninterrupted growth of Light and Love.

Be the sovereign Master of our thoughts, our feelings, our actions.

Thou art our reality, the only Reality.

Without Thee all is falsehood and illusion, all is dismal obscurity.

In Thee are life and light and joy.

In Thee is supreme Peace.


-          The Mother (1st January, 1914)

On The Mother’s Symbol



For the first time, The Mother's symbol appeared in Sri Aurobindo's ‘The Mother’ - as if illustrating its meaning and message. There was already Sri Aurobindo's symbol: the descending triangle signifying the triple truth of Sat-Chit-Ananda and the ascending triangle (formed by life, light and love) of the triple aspiring response from matter; the junction of the triangles forming a square representing the perfect manifestation and having at its centre the lotus, the Avatar of the Supreme rising from the waters of the Multiplicity or the Creation. The Mother's symbol henceforth published, may be seen as the one primal Power emanating out of itself four major Powers and twelve subsidiary powers of creation.
Actually, the two symbols are but two formulations of the same Truth, uncomplicated and immediately suggestive. There is the union of the many in the One, and there is the play of manifestation, alongside of mediation and transcendence. The Mother's symbol, which is a stylised lotus in bloom, has verily reserves of potency. If one must go into greater detail, one may say that the central circle signifies the Divine Consciousness, the four surrounding petals connote Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and  Mahasaraswati, and the twelve outer petals or twelve powers “ the vibrations that are necessary for the complete  manifestation “.

Sri Aurobindo also gave his approval to the interpretation of a disciple that the central circle “ of the  Mother's symbol of Chakra “ meant the Transcendental Power, the four inner petals the four powers working from the  Supermind to the Overmind, and the twelve outer petals the powers from the Overmind to Intuition and Mind. But of course the real worth of a symbol is in its fusion of connotative richness and aesthetic appeal.  “ Always the symbol is legitimate, “ says Sri Aurobindo,  “ in so far as it is true, sincere, beautiful and delightful, and even one may say that a spiritual consciousness without any aesthetic or emotional content is not entirely or at any rate not integrally spiritual.

The Mother's symbol has certainly this “integrally spiritual” power, and helps a great deal to spread the Light in the Ashram and outside.


(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 23 – “A God’s Labour”, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)


The symbol, from the outermost, consists of 12 outer petals that represent the 12 qualities in the following order, starting from the 12 o'clock mark, clockwise: Progress, Receptivity, Aspiration, Perseverance, Gratitude, Humility, Sincerity, Peace, Equality, Generosity, Goodness and Courage. Sri Aurobindo says that, "Essentially the 12 powers are vibrations that are necessary for the complete manifestation. These are the 12 seen from the beginning above The Mother's head. Thus they are really 12 rays from the sun…" [The Mother With Letters on The Mother and Translations of Prayers and Meditations, Sri Aurobindo]. These qualities come with their own wavelength of light, ranging from orange red, to deep green, deep blue to reddish violet and red.

The four inner petals represent the Four Aspects of The Mother, namely, Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. Of the Four aspects, Sri Aurobindo says, "Only when the Four have founded their harmony and freedom of movement in the transformed mind and life and body, can those of other rarer Powers manifest in the earth movement and the supramental action become possible.



Sri Aurobindo On the Four Powers.....

"The four Powers of The Mother are four of her outstanding Personalities, portions and embodiments of her divinity through whom she acts on her creatures, orders and harmonises her creations in the worlds and directs the working out of her thousand forces..."

The Mother On the Twelve Powers.....

 ”It signifies anything one wants, you see. Twelve: that's the number of Aditi, of Mahashakti. So it applies to everything; all her action has twelve aspects. There are also her twelve virtues, her twelve powers, her twelve aspects, and then her twelve planes of manifestation and many other things that are twelve; and the symbol, the number twelve is in itself a symbol. It is the symbol of manifestation, double perfection, in essence and in manifestation, in the creation.

The first eight concern the attitude towards the Divine, and the last four towards humanity.


The Golden Flower


There is a flower, bright, multi-colored,
Deep in the garden of all our hearts
Profound message each petal carries,
Significant of its opening.

It is an experiment to open each door,
Walk through each room,
Her grace, the way forward,
Our faith, the key.

With a joyful essence of these petals,
Flower blooms to reveal the inner layers,
Guarded by the four pillars,
Magnetic powers of the Divine Mother.

The secret chamber then opens,
Powerful and Serene,
Connected in strength with a higher source,
The Sun stroking the golden flower.

Murmuring softly, silky water flows,
Her musical Love connecting the elements,
Merging all in a sweet harmony
At the white lotus river flowing on earth.

- Sandhya

A Symbol......

A symbol, as I understand it, is the form on one plane that represents a truth of another. For instance, a flag is the symbol of a nation.... But generally all forms are symbols. This body of ours is a symbol of our real being and everything is a symbol of some higher reality.” - Sri Aurobindo SABCL (23:953).

One of the most powerful symbols of the Divine Mother is the Sri Chakra - a symbol cloaked in mystery and power. Often one is warned that meditation on the Sri Chakra is not for the uninitiated and, since such meditation brings with it greater access to the Divine, it is also not for the faint of heart. Such yantras (geometric representations of the higher Truths) are often touted for granting various blessings even as they are regarded as objects which need to handled with care because of the power they carry.

Of these many efforts to represent the Divine Mother, The Mother’s symbol is one we approach with the least trepidation. To those who are unaware of The Mother at Pondicherry, a first glance conveys only simplicity and a sense of beauty. For those who are blessed to be aware of her, the symbols represents The Mother’s love. Like her physical form, the symbol is delicate, beautiful and vibrant with power. Seeing The Mother’s symbol reminds me of the story of Ramanuja, the Vaishnava saint. When he was initiated into the 8-letter mantra (Om Namo Narayanaya) which grants the highest knowledge of the Lord, his guru warned him that this knowledge was so powerful, it would grant the person meditating on it immediate access to Lord Vishnu. Immediately after he is initiated, Ramanuja runs to the top of the nearest hill and shouts out the mantra for all to hear. His guru is dismayed and warns Ramanuja that by disobeying his teacher and revealing this secret, Ramanuja will be cast into hell. Ramanuja replies, “My lord, if by my sin, millions are saved, then what does it matter if I am not?” Thus, the world is granted a mantra which is so familiar that it is often recited by rote as part of many other prayers. So too with The Mother’s symbol - we have seen it and read about what it means so often that we take it for granted. As with The Mother herself, so with the Symbol:  the more we think we know, the more we are drawn to think further and deeper into the reality it represents.

At the heart of The Mother’s symbol is Aditi, the Mahashakti. In the symbol, this space is a circular field of white which represents the Divine Consciousness. She is the life force which empowers our existence. As Sri Aurobindo says, ”The Mahashakti, the universal Mother, works out whatever is transmitted by her transcendent consciousness from the Supreme and enters into the worlds that she has made; her presence fills and supports them with the divine spirit and the divine all-sustaining force and delight without which they could not exist.” It is her presence that enables the breath which allows my mind the energy which it needs to contemplate. It is her presence that propels the contemplation, enables how I articulate and fills the silence first with purpose and then with sound. The joy that comes as the words appear - that too is her force.

Speaking of how to read Savitri, The Mother said “You must read with an empty head, a blank and vacant mind, without there being any other thought; you must concentrate much, remain empty, calm and open; then the words, rhythms, vibrations will penetrate directly to this white page, will put their stamp upon the brain, will explain themselves without your making any effort.” So too without any effort to understand The Mother, one must wait with the blank and vacant mind. The white space at the heart of the Symbol reminds me of the blank page, both the virtual page on this screen and a real blank page. I am almost impelled to fill it with what I have read and resisting that urge, waiting for the revelation is a harder task. I am struck that white is the colour which contains all colours - just as the Mahashakti manifest herself in various forms but is really greater than the sum of her parts. As we read, not just Savitri, but all of The Mother’s words, that stillness, which is really a waiting, is essential.

One of my favourite lines in Savitri, is when Sri Aurobindo says, “Our ignorance is Wisdom's chrysalis,(Book 2, Canto 10, p. 256). We have trained ourselves to fight ignorance, to overcome it as if it were an enemy. Simply by changing the metaphor from the martial to the natural, we begin to see ourselves as growing. Our ignorance is part of the childhood we outgrow. If we wait, as the caterpillar does within its chrysalis, then we are able to enjoy the experience of the Divine.  Sri Aurobindo describes this Divine:

Above the Silence and its thousandfold Word,
In the immutable and inviolate Truth
For ever united and inseparable,
The radiant children of Eternity dwell
On the wide spirit height where all are one.

(Book 2, Canto 12, p 281).

We aspire towards this Truth - “above the Silence and its thousandfold Word” and it is to this place that the centre of The Mother’s symbol draws us.

-          Ramalakshmi

    Ramalakshmi Janamanchi has grown up in our Centre and was introduced to ‘Savitri’ by Professor Nadkarni and Mrs. Sonia Dyne. Now a mother of two, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio and is a member of our virtual community. She used to contribute to our Newsletter at one time. We are glad to include another of her insightful articles in this issue of our Newsletter.

November - December Sunday Activities at the Centre – A glimpse

24 November 2015: Darshan day or Siddhi day

On 24th Nov 1926, a great descent took place in the earth consciousness. The starting and ending meditation and reading of selected prayers to create a meditative atmosphere were done. The Darshan message is : "the word is a sound expressive of the idea. In the supra-physical plane when an idea has to be realized, one can by repeating the word-expression of it, produce vibrations which prepare the mind for the realization of the idea. This is the principle of the Mantra and of japa. One repeats the name of the Divine and the vibrations created in the consciousness prepare the realization of the Divine."

A few extracts from the book ‘The Life of Sri Aurobindo' by AB Purani were read and contemplated upon.  "It [the 24th November 1926] was the descent of Krishna into the physical. Krishna is not the supramental Light. The descent of Krishna would mean the descent of the Overmind Godhead preparing, though not itself actually bringing, the descent of Supermind and Ananda. Krishna is the Anandamaya; ˙He supports the evolution through the Overmind leading it towards his Ananda." (in "On Himself" ... "Silence absolute, living silence - not merely living but overflowing with divinity. Then meditation lasted about forty-five minutes. After that one by one the disciples bowed to The Mother. She and Sri Aurobindo gave blessings to them. Whenever a disciple bowed to The Mother, Sri Aurobindo's right hand came forward behind The Mother's as if blessing him through The Mother. After the blessings, in the same silence there was a short meditation." .. "By six o'clock most of the disciples had gathered. It was becoming dark. In the verandah on the wall near Sri Aurobindo's door, just behind his chair, a black silk curtain with gold lace work representing three Chinese dragons was hung. The three dragons were so represented that the tail of one reached up to the mouth of the other and the three of them covered the curtain from end to end. We came to know afterwards that there is a prophecy in China that the Truth will manifest itself on earth when the three dragons (the dragons of the earth, of the mind region and of the sky) meet. Today on 24 November the Truth was descending and the hanging of the curtain was significant." We all made a conscious effort to transport our consciousness in time and space to experience the atmosphere and the entire environment .

30th November 2014:  Readings from Savitri Book 8, Canto 3 'The Death in the Forest'

This is central and eternal question of man about birth and death of the body and the unknown factor called Fate governed by the Divine Will. There were seven selected slides and only one  canto in Book 8. The Divine Mother taking up the human body of Savitri to experience the human pain of Love and Death and giving her leading hands to uplift humanity towards the conquest of Death is profoundly expressed in this canto and transport from this 'Earthly life towards Life Divine'. After one year of Tapasya on the destined day of Satyavan's death she follows him to the forest and remains continuously beside him. They were happily together experiencing the 'Nature's mystic silence’ in the 'Beauty and grandeur' of the woods. Then suddenly a shooting pain develops in Satyavan's heart and he lays down on her lap while she hugs and kisses him - the most realistic and ultimate expression of conjugal attachment by the divine Prakriti and Purusha or Nature and Truth manifested in human forms to show the path of immortality to the striving humanity.

All were attempting to understand the Sri Aurobindo's mystic symbolism underlying the expressions. Even though we know the etymological meaning of the English words and the expression from our physical mental level, we will be carried to different worlds as we move on the path of Sadhana and Intergral Yoga. It is like a core Truth that we are all distantly encircling at different distances and the more we approach the inner circle of Light we would experience the lines of Savitri. It has been said that even those lines that we memorize and repeat daily would reveal differently as we progress inwardly.

No conclusion on the meaning at mental level is possible as contemplating on the Mantras from Savitri is an endless beginning for an infinite immortality. All of us experience the parting of a loved one and helplessly look at it. This helplessness is the burning question of humanity… ,"She knew that visible Death was standing there ... And Satyavan had passed from her embrace."

December 5th 2014: Mahasamadhi Day

The altar was decorated very beautifully and being a working day people came to the Centre to do Pranam at different times and there were some who came to the Centre, read the message and did a long meditation "Supreme Lord, teach us to be silent, that in the silence we may receive your force and understand Your will". - The Mother

December 7th Sunday: Readings from Sri Aurobindo's 'Bases of Yoga'

We read some passages from "Bases on Yoga", pages 104-106 from the chapter "Physical Consciousness - Subconscient - Sleep and Dream – Illness". The topic was about the layers of sleep and dreams. Mother never encouraged sleeplessness or reduction in the duration of sleep. The body's need should be fulfilled. It was about how to be remain conscious in sleep that brings silence and real rest to all parts of the body.


14th December 2014: Readings from Words of The Mother and Om Choir

There were around 8 persons on this day and none of them had attended the previous sessions of the “Words of The Mother”. We re-read the same chapter from ‘Bases of Yoga’, this time pages 105 to 107.  We shared our experiences about dreamless sleep and illness. One of the members  shared an explanation from the Ashram teachers reply to students questions about the medical facilities provided in the Ashram and the need of medical aid until the body reaches a state of divine receptivity wherein it can heal itself or prevent the entry of diseases. Then Om Choir was conducted by one of the member to end the session.

21st December 2014:  Readings from Sri Aurobindo's ‘Bases of Yoga

We read from pages 107 to 109 on illness of the body. Members shared their experiences and discussed about what Sri Aurobindo has said about the various means of sadhana to overcome or prevent the body's ailments and attack of diseases.

- Sundari

Along the Way… The December 2014 Walk

The nature walk along Bedok Reservoir park on 7th December 2014

The Word'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 II Canto 4

The Singapore Sri Aurobindo Society has been organizing, on the first Sunday of the month, Nature walks since 40 years uninterruptedly in the various beautiful Nature parks and reserves perfectly maintained by the pro environment and Nature lovers here, in Singapore. Physical fitness is given high importance for Sadhana in Sri Aurobindo's integral Yoga. Mother says:

"Physical culture is the process of infusing consciousness into the cells of the body. One may or may not know it, but it is a fact. When we concentrate to make our muscles move according to our will, when we endeavour to make our limbs more supple, to give them an agility, or a force, or a resistance, or a plasticity which they do not naturally possess, we infuse into the cells of the body a consciousness which was not there before, thus turning it into an increasingly homogeneous and receptive instrument, which progresses in and by its activities. This is the primary importance of physical culture."

The nature walk prepares the body and by observing Nature's beauty our emotional vital being too gets tuned for silent meditation and the psychic opening. After the brunch we proceed to the host's place where a beautiful alter is arranged and sumptuous brunch awaits. This helps in collective interaction and bonding between the members of the society and the exchange of thoughts.

This month there were around twenty persons participating in the beautiful Bedok reservoir walk and more than thirty joined us at the brunch and meditation. We all assembled at the Car park adjacent to the Aquarius condominium and took the circular itinerary of approximately four to five kilometres along the reservoir filled to the brim with water.  The park, with its foliage of beautiful trees and carpet of verdure during this monsoon season along the water reservoir with ripples dancing in the wind reminds us of the narratives from Divine Mother when she used to go for similar walks with Pavitrada and Udarda along the Ashram Lake estate and plantation. During one of such walks, The Mother said, emphasising upon the importance of flower gardens in the Lake estate of Ashram :

“Since flowers are the manifestation of the psychic in the vegetal kingdom, love of flowers would mean that one is drawn by the psychic vibration and consequently by the psychic in one's own self. When you are receptive to the psychic vibration, that puts you in a more intimate contact with the psychic in your own self. Perhaps the beauty of flowers too is a means used by Nature to awaken in human beings the attraction for the psychic."

Anand and Sheetal hosted this significant and symbolising event for the first time. Their enthusiasm and hospitality with welcoming gestures in serving the brunch is most remarkable. A video co-authored by Anand Venkat in Tamil and English 'An offering to The Mother and the Ashram' was shown during the starting and ending meditation sessions. After brunch the quarterly committee meeting was held with Venkatesh's participation via video conferencing, a good intermixture of technology bringing people together.

We must also thank Singapore Parks management for such perfect upkeep of the Nature Reserves and Parks that provide us this rarest facility to be transported to Nature in the buzzing metropolitan city and fulfil the physical fitness needs and simultaneously enhancing the sense of love for Nature and the environment.

-          Sundari

Bedok Reservoir - Walk and Talk



Friends: what a beautiful day it was !!! 7th December 2014 was our 135th walk for the society and I joined my dad and grandad along with other uncle and aunties from the society to walk all across the new and happening Bedok Reservoir.

To start with, we did a little warm up guided by Saurab uncle and he invited me to share some warm up that I have learnt in my school. Once we finished the warm up with a little prayer of OM chanting, we started walking the beautiful park along the sides of the reservoir. Some walked very fast and some went in small talking groups too.

We saw nature at its best green after a good shower the day before but we were lucky with a good morning sunlight and cool breeze.  With clear markings, it was easy to track how much we walked and as we walked 3/4th of the stretch, there was also a Red Bull sponsored event with  speed boats which had one part of the park totally occupied and vibrant.

We had few more joining the walk half-way and we all finished not so tired but little hungry though and took some group snaps before heading back home for prayer, special day wishes and some yummy food that mama had prepared.

Lots of fun on the whole and wish to do lot more of these walks as we get to see new places and a simple walk is a great exercise for the body and the mind.

- Rishabh Anand 

Goodwill from lilting Seasons!

With jingling little Christmas bells and shining silver stars, we welcome the bright and happy New Year.



Evergreen and grand,
Thou vividly stand
Spreading cheer all around.

Little hands walk to you,
With a blossoming smile so cheerful,
Adorning bells, stars, light and snow.

And lo! Comes Secret Santa,
Carrying a red bag filled with good wishes
For everyone in this bright world.

The Mother’s invocation to Father Christmas:
Father Christmas:
I evoke you today!
Answer our call. Come bearing all your marvelous gifts. You are the great dispenser of worldly possessions; you are the untiring friend who hears every request and grants it generously. Give each one the material object he desires, and as for me, give me enough, give me much so that I may give largely to all.

(Extracted from Story of the Soul by Huta, Volume One)


-          Sandhya




Pure Spiritual Surrender


Candid, simple, spontaneous and complete in its multiplicity. - The Mother


Common Name: Rose
Botanical Name: Rosa ‘Prosperity’
Spiritual Name: Pure Spiritual Surrender


Man shall desire to climb to his own heights.
The truth above shall wake a nether truth;
Even the dumb earth become a sentient force.
The Spirit’s tops and Nature’s base shall draw
Near to the secret of their separate truth
And know each other as one deity.
The Spirit shall look out through Matter’s gaze
And Matter shall reveal the Spirit’s face.

- Sri Aurobindo, in ‘Savitri’

From the Editor’s Desk (Dec 2014)

We observe the anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi on the 5th of December.

Following Sri Aurobindo’s passing, The Mother sent out three significant messages to devotees. These messages seemed to offer to devotees a certain way of looking at death, especially of one such as Sri Aurobindo’s. The Mother wrote out a series of messages consecutively, from the 7th to the 9th of December 1950, following Sri Aurobindo’s passing. The one written on the 9th of December 1950 found its place on the Samadhi, situated in the courtyard of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

It is pertinent to recall at this point in time this message of gratitude, aspiration, reminder and resolution all rolled into one. Meditating on this message brings one in touch with feelings of gratitude and aspiration that transcends the small self and keeps one in a state of alignment with a larger aim and purpose of life. Here is this special message, available to the hundreds of people who pay their respects or surrender at the  Samadhi:

“To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee.”  - The Mother.

The theme for this December issue is Spiritual Education, Part 2. The Mother makes a clear distinction between Spiritual education and Psychic education by examining the kinds of lives that both these forms of education would characterise. This distinction creates clarity to one and all, still on the path to discovering both the Psychic and the Spiritual. In the words of The Mother, “psychic life is the life immortal, endless time, limitless space, ever-progressive change, unbroken continuity in the world of forms.” On the other hand, spiritual life is characterised by a life that lives “the infinite and eternal, to throw oneself outside all creation, beyond time and space.” According to The Mother, what is demanded for the establishment of a psychic life is the abolition of selfishness. However, to establish a  Spiritual life, the demand is selflessness. It calls for the identification of the being with Something All-encompassing, beyond the Universe, beyond name and form. The Mother explains, “Beyond the frontiers of form, a new force can be evoked, a power of consciousness which has not yet manifested and which, by its emergence, will be able to change the course of things and bring to birth a new world.”

While this seems a tall order to beings entrenched in the daily tumult and toil of life, there may be no other alternative that may provide a fundamental change in the nature of humanity. It is such a transformation, though a long term process it may be, that is needed for the ascent of the being from Manhood into Supermanhood, according to Integral Yoga. In Spiritual education is seen the hope of bringing about this change in humanity.

Savitri

Often a lustrous inner dawn shall come
Lighting the chambers of the slumbering mind;
A sudden bliss shall run through every limb
And Nature with a mightier Presence fill.
Thus shall the earth open to divinity
And common natures feel the wide uplift,
Illumine common acts with the Spirit’s ray
And meet the deity in common things.
Nature shall live to manifest secret God,
The Spirit shall take up the human play,
This earthly life become the life divine.

And Truth shall gaze out of her nether deeps.
When superman is born as Nature’s king
His presence shall transfigure Matter’s world:
He shall light up Truth’s fire in Nature’s night,
He shall lay upon the earth Truth’s greater law;
Man too shall turn towards the Spirit’s call.


(Savitri, Book 11 Canto 1)

Question of the month (Dec 2014)

Q: Sweet Mother, I would like to have the explanation of a sentence. Sri Aurobindo has said somewhere, “Materially you are nothing, spiritually you are everything.”?

A:  The Mother: That means that it is the Spirit, the spiritual consciousness and the divine Presence which give to life all its value, that without this spiritual consciousness and divine Presence life has no value.

The same holds true for the individual, whatever his material capacities and the material conditions in which he lives, his only worth is that of the divine Presence and the spiritual consciousness in him.

And so from the point of view of the truth of things, a man who has no material possessions and no remarkable capacities or possibilities, but who is conscious of his psychic being and united with the Divine in him, is infinitely greater than a ruler upon earth or a millionaire who possesses considerable material power but is unconscious of his psychic being.

From the point of view of the truth, it is like that. This is what Sri Aurobindo means; no apparent and outer things have any true value. The only thing which is valuable is the divine consciousness and union with the Spirit..


(CWM Volume 12, ‘On Education’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1978, Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry)


The Mother, on Supramental Education

From beyond the frontiers of form a new force can be evoked, a power of consciousness which is as yet unexpressed and which, by its emergence, will be able to change the course of things and give birth to a new world. For the true solution to the problem of suffering, ignorance and death is not an individual escape from earthly miseries by self-annihilation into the unmanifest, nor a problematical collective flight from universal suffering by an integral and final return of the creation to its creator, thus curing the universe by abolishing it, but a transformation, a total transfiguration of matter brought about by the logical continuation of Nature’s ascending march in her progress towards perfection, by the creation of a new species that will be to man what man is to the animal and that will manifest upon earth a new force, a new consciousness and a new power. And so will begin a new education which can be called the supramental education; it will, by its all-powerful action, work not only upon the consciousness of individual beings, but upon the very substance of which they are built and upon the environment in which they live.

In contrast with the types of education we have mentioned previously, which progress from below upwards by an ascending movement of the various parts of the being, the supramental education will progress from above downwards, its influence spreading from one state of being to another until at last the physical is reached. This last transformation will only occur visibly when the inner states of being have already been considerably transformed. It is therefore quite unreasonable to try to recognise the presence of the supramental by physical appearances.

For these will be the last to change and the supramental force can be at work in an individual long before anything of it becomes perceptible in his bodily life.

To sum up, one can say that the supramental education will result no longer in a progressive formation of human nature and an increasing development of its latent faculties, but in a transformation of the nature itself, a transfiguration of the being in its entirety, a new ascent of the species above and beyond man towards superman, leading in the end to the appearance of a divine race upon earth.

-          Bulletin’, February 1952.

(CWM Volume 12, ‘On Education’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1978, Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry)

The Mother Says:  

"Before the untiring persistence of your effort, an inner door will suddenly open and you will emerge into a dazzling splendour that will bring you the certitude of immortality, the concrete experience that you have always lived and always shall live, that external forms alone perish and that these forms are, in relation to what you are in reality, like clothes that are thrown away when worn out. Then you will stand erect, freed from all chains, and instead of advancing laboriously under the weight of circumstances imposed upon you by Nature, which you had to endure and bear if you did not want to be crushed by them, you will be able to walk on, straight and firm, conscious of your destiny, master of your life."

Some practical hints for Spiritual Education - Part 2

(continued from the November 2014 issue)

The child should be taught that whenever there is an inner uneasiness, he should not pass it off and try to forget it, but should attend to it, and try to find out by an inner observation the cause of the uneasiness so that it can be removed by inner or outer methods.

It should be emphasised that if one has a sincere and steady aspiration, a persistent and dynamic will, one is sure to meet in one way or another, externally by study and instruction, internally by concentration, revelation and experience, the help one needs to reach the goal. Only one thing is absolutely indispensable: the will to discover and realise. This discovery and this realisation should be the primary occupation of the being, the pearl of great price which one should acquire at any cost. Whatever one does, whatever one’s occupation and activity, the will to find the truth of one’s being and to unite with it must always be living, always present behind all that one does and that one experiences, all that one thinks.

There are aspects of the mental, vital and physical development which contribute to the psychic and spiritual education. They can be briefly mentioned.

In its natural state the human mind is always limited in its vision, narrow in its understanding, rigid in its conceptions, and a certain effort is needed to enlarge it, make it supple and deep. Hence, it is very necessary to develop in the child the inclination and capacity to consider everything from as many points of view as possible. There is an exercise in this connection which gives greater suppleness and elevation to thought. It is as follows: a clearly formulated thesis is set; against it is opposed the antithesis, formulated with the same precision. Then by careful reflection the problem must be widened or transcended so that a synthesis is found which unites the two contraries in a larger, higher and more comprehensive idea.

Another exercise is to control the mind from judging things and people. For true knowledge belongs to a region much higher than that of the human mind, even beyond the region of pure ideas. The mind has got to be made silent and attentive in order to receive knowledge from above and manifest it.

Still another exercise: whenever there is a disagreement on any matter, as a decision to take, or an act to accomplish, one must not stick to one’s own conception or point of view. On the contrary, one must try to understand the other person’s point of view, put oneself in his place and, instead of quarrelling or even fighting, find out a solution which can reasonably satisfy both parties; there is always one for men of goodwill.

And there are many such exercises.

A wide, subtle, rich, complex, attentive and quiet and silent mind is an asset not only for the psychic and spiritual discovery, but also for manifesting the psychic and spiritual truths and powers.

The vital being in us is the seat of impulses and desires, of enthusiasm and violence, of dynamic energy and desperate depression, of passions and revolt. The vital is a good worker, but most often it seeks its own satisfaction. If that is refused totally or even partially, it gets vexed, sulky and goes on strike.

An exercise at these moments is to remain quiet and refuse to act. For it is important to realise that at such times one does stupid things and in a few minutes can destroy or spoil what one has gained in months of regular effort, losing thus all the progress made.

Another exercise is to deal with the vital as one deals with a child in revolt, with patience and perseverance showing it the truth and light, endeavouring to convince it and awaken in it the goodwill which for a moment was veiled.

A wide and strong calm but dynamic vital, capable of right emotion, right decision, and right execution by force and energy, is an invaluable aid to the psychic and spiritual realisations.

The body by its nature is a docile and faithful instrument. But it is very often misused by the mind with its dogmas, its rigid and arbitrary principles, and by the vital with its passions, its excesses and dissipations. It is these which are the cause of the bodily fatigue, exhaustion and disease. The body must therefore be free from the tyranny of the mind and of the vital; and this can be done by training the body to feel and sense the psychic presence within to learn to obey its governance.

The emphasis on the development of strength, suppleness, calm, quiet, poise, grace and beauty in physical education will ensure the contact of the body with the psychic centre and the body will learn to put forth at every minute the effort that is demanded of it, for it will have learnt to find rest in action, to replace through contact with the universal forces the energies it spends consciously and usefully. By this sound and balanced life a new harmony will manifest in the body, reflecting the harmony of the regions which will give it the perfect proportions and the ideal beauty of form. It will then be in a constant process of transformation, and it will be possible for it to escape the necessity of disintegration and destruction, and death.

At a certain stage of development, when the seeking of the student is found to be maturing, he can be directed more and more centrally to the psychic and the spiritual discovery. And here we come to yoga proper, the nature and problems of which have to be studied separately.

(concluded)

(Selected from Kireet Joshi’s essay – “Some Practical Hints For Spiritual Education”,‘Dimensions of Spiritual Education – Integral Education Series’, Published by Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences, A Unit of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry)


The Mother Says:

"With very few exceptions, parents are not aware of the disastrous influence that their own defects, impulses, weaknesses and lack of self-control have on their children. If you wish to be respected by a child, have respect for yourself and be worthy of respect at every moment. Never be authoritarian, despotic, impatient or ill-tempered. When your child asks you a question, do not give him a stupid or silly answer under the pretext that he cannot understand you. You can always make yourself understood if you take enough trouble; and in spite of the popular saying that it is not always good to tell the truth, I affirm that it is always good to tell the truth, but that the art consists in telling it in such a way as to make it accessible to the mind of the hearer."

The Mystic Feather

I found you, soft, pleasing and colourful,
Swaying along with a lovely bird.
Beautiful it dances, pride of India,
Spreading its magical wings of life.

Little violets from the bird fell on earth,
And I found you there,
Spotted with green, blue and gold
You were lying there with a yearning.

A little blue boy walked by,
Glancing a graceful look on you,
Did he like you so much? I am jealous of you,
For His red tinted hands picked you up,
Softly, he placed you on his turban.

And you remained there forever,
Adorning the crown of a prince,
Turban of a cow herd,
The stealer of all our Hearts.


-          Sandhya.

The Symbol Dawn - Part 2

We had the privilege of listening to the talk of Sri S. S. Lahiri, from the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Ulsoor on the evening of the 28thof September, 2014. As an added bonus, Lahiri-ji had compiled excerpts of his talks from his notes, which we reproduce here. The subject of the talk was on ‘Savitri – The Symbol Dawn’. Sri Lahiri explored many ideas presented in this canto lucidly and candidly, drawing from other works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother as well as ancient Vedic texts and epics and his constant cross-references to world events and events that occurred in the lives of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. We present these notes in two parts. The November 2014 issue of our Newsletter contained Part1, and below is the concluding part.

The Dawn, Night and Inconscient
in the opening section of

The Symbol Dawn
(continued from the November 2014 issue)

Part 2


1.                                                                      In the Vedas Nakt Usha is the term used to covey the idea of Night and Dawn, the two mothers who suckle the child sun. In Savitri and specially in The Symbol Dawn these mothers have been extensively and very vividly portrayed. The night symbol itself has been portrayed as a double symbol- a temporary one and the other the primordial Night. The temporary fall is  brought out
           “…As in a dark beginning of all things…”
           “…A mute featureless semblance of the Unknown…”
           “…Thrown back once more into unthinking dreams…”
           “…Condemned to resume the effort and the pang…”

The primordial and the fundamental fall is also depicted and we find terms like,
”…Abysm of unbodied Infinite’’….
     “…Fallen boundless self…’’
     “…Vacant Naught’’…
     “…Athwart the vain enormous trance of space,…’’.

2.      In the opening canto, Sri Aurobindo brings in an infinite number of suggestive lines to depict the emergence of Dawn with a failing of darkness, ‘Dawn built her aura of magnificent hue’.  Amal Kiran says, ‘So subtle is the flexibility of expression, that one tends to get blown away and often fail to notice the  richness so delicately spread.’

3.      As the Mother says “Satyavan is the soul of the earth, the earth’s jiva”. Then it is Satyavan, the soul of earth, who has been kneading the soil of earth, and making it ready, for the descent of the Truth.  But the final descent of the Sun of Truth would perhaps require an encounter with Night. In his poem The Pilgrim of the Night he says, “… my footprints’ track shall be A pathway towards Immortality”. Then only “ Heaven’s fire is lit in the breast of the earth And the undying suns here burn”.  Likewise Savitri tells her queen mother in the presence of Narad,“I am stronger than death and greater than my fate; “The Mother says that the big difficulty in Matter is the material consciousness; the mind in Matter was formed under great difficulties, obstacles and struggle. It was “worked out” by these agencies and that gave it the impression of defeatism and pessimism. These are the greatest of all difficulties, and Matter needed to be “whipped” into action. This is the difficulty with the Night that has to be tackled.

4.      We find in the second sentence of the canto

“Across the path of the divine Event
The huge foreboding mind of Night, alone
In her temple of eternity,
Lay stretched immobile upon Silence’ marge.”

The advent of the divine Event of the Supramental decent is prevented by the formidable ‘mind of Night’. The term ‘mind of Night’ came as a replacement of the previous term, ‘mind of Spirit’. The term, ‘mind of Light’ got introduced by Sri Aurobindo some time in 1935. By this phrase it was meant the physical’s mind receiving the Supramental Light. Drawing from this we may say ‘mind of Night’ would mean physical’s mind receiving the Inconscient. Mother says in her talks on 21 Aug 65, “The physical’s mind (or the mind of Matter) is the link joining the physical mind and this material substance”. It is the most unconscious part. So the real problem lies in the very Matter, in the very cells as also the solution too lies there. Satprem says in his book, ‘Mother on Divine Materialism’, “… He   (Sri Aurobindo) set into motion Matter’s truth so that Matter itself would do the work- which is precisely what happened when Sri Aurobindo was speaking to Richard; without his trying….silence was established in Mother from within….. He let Matter itself speak if we may say so …”

5.      Therefore first the advent of Truth and then the descent of Divine Love would follow. And for Truth to win, Falsehood must be transformed. Then,
“… God needed no more the Inconscient’s screen.”(664).

The return of Savitri and Satyavan followed by Krishna Kali is the statement made through the epic, that the work on the earth has begun. What was fore-shadowed, would be true. The Mother says, “Savitri is the epic of the victory over death.”

-          Sri Lahiri
Om Sri Aurrobindo Mirra.


(concluded)