Guiding Light of The Month

Like a flame that burns in silence, like a perfume that rises straight upward without wavering, my love goes to Thee; and like the child who does not reason and has no care, I trust myself to Thee that Thy Will may be done, that Thy Light may manifest, Thy Peace radiate, Thy Love cover the world. - The Mother

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.

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