Guiding Light of The Month

All is light, all is love, ignorance and egoism are but vain phantoms, they can be dissolved. And over all things spreads Thy sovereign peace, Thy fecund calmness. - The Mother

Psychic Offering



It is the spontaneous attitude of the psychic towards the Divine.
- The Mother

Common Name: Hollyhock
Botanical Name: Alcea rosea
Spiritual Name: Psychic Offering

With psychic education we come to the problem of the true motive of existence, the purposes of life on earth, the discovery to which this life must lead and the result of that discovery: the consecration of the individual to his eternal principle. 
- The Mother

From the Editor's Desk (Sep 2014)

We open ourselves to the Psychic Being in this series on integral education. This issue will be the first of the two issues that will focus on psychic education. The question of what the psychic being is in Integral Yoga philosophy is taken up. The excepts of The Mother’s writings “On Education” brings us through the process of facilitating the eventual emergence of the psychic being so that it can take over the instruments of body, mind and life and shape them for a higher purpose of life. In its essential nature, the Psychic Being is aligned to the Divine, since it is only a spark of that very Divine hidden in the process of the involution of the Spirit into matter and its aim and purpose is only to facilitate the evolution of that spirit from matter and merge with the Divine so that the Divine can express itself here on earth, in life. The perfection of the body, the vital and the mind will never be fulfilled unless they serve a higher, divine purpose. The Psychic Being by its very nature is aligned only to the Divine and by allowing that Psychic Being to come forward and cast its influence, first, and then to totally take up the workings of the body, the life and mind is the central aim of integral education. 

Moving away from the education of children and focusing our attention on our own aim of life may be a good start at ultimately evaluating the place of psychic education in our lives and therefore, the lives of our children. The Mother says that it is the emergence of the psychic light that will reveal to one the true the aim and purpose of one’s life. Therefore, to be a master of life, working towards the fulfilment of the purpose of one’s birth upon earth is an important mission we can set our sight on.  Do we?

In Psychic education, thereis an emphasis on the inherent goodness that lies within us and which is quite visible in children “born with a conscious psychic being within”. This “Goodness” comes forth in the form of a dream full of aspiration for a world of “beauty without ugliness, justice without injustice, goodness without limits, and a conscious, constant success, a perpetual miracle.” a trust in the manifestation of something beautiful, or incredible, which holds to no reason but is a spontaneous out-flowering from that goodness within. In Psychic education this goodness within seems to be the focus and that which needs to be encouraged and cultivated. Very often, the developed mind of the adult, rooted in reason and common sense, cancels these dreams of childhood as mere fantasies, dismissing a sweet, soft and delicate part in the child. Thus the current mainstream system of education overlooks the importance of cultivating this inherent “Goodness”, this inherent trust in Goodness and Beauty and very soon, the child loses sight of the light from within and embarks on an ordinary existence seeking the fulfillment of ordinary needs. It then takes many struggles to even seek out that “Goodness” later on in life.

It is this dream in a young child that one should recognize and nurture instead of, as The Mother puts it, “throw cold water” over the dreams of the child by bringing before the child all the justifications of why that dream would not or cannot materialize.

This issue is meant to question what we value most in ourselves and in our children. It is offered that Psychic education can revolutionize, in a subtle and significant way, what we value in the children, in us.


Savitri

A Person persistent through the lapse of the worlds,
Although the same for ever in many shapes
By the outward mind and unrecognisable,
Assuming names unknown in unknown climes
Imprints through Time upon the earth’s worn page
A growing figure of its secret self,
And learns by experience what the spirit knew,
Till it can see its truth alive and God.


(Savitri, Book 2 Canto 14)


Our soul from its mysterious chamber acts;
Its influence pressing on our heart and mind
Pushes them to exceed their mortal selves.
It seeks for Good and Beauty and for God;
We see beyond self’s walls our limitless self,
We gaze through our world’s glass at half-seen vasts,
We hunt for the Truth behind apparent things.


(Savitri, Book 7 Canto 2)

Question of the month (Sep 2014)

Q: What is the work of the psychic being?

A:  The Mother: What is the work of the psychic being? You want it to have some work? What do you want to say exactly? What is its function? Ah! Very well. One could put it this way, that it is like an electric wire that connects the generator with the lamp. Now, if someone has understood, let him explain what I said!

What is the generator and what is lamp? (laughter)

Ah, there we are! So, what is the generator and what the lamp? That is exactly it. What is the generator and what is lamp? Or rather, who is the generator and who is the lamp?

The generator is the Divine and the lamp is the body.


(“The Psychic Being, Soul: Its Nature, Mission and Evolution”, ‘Selections from the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother’ Ashram Trust 1978, Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry)

Fostering the Psychic in children

When one is very young and as I say “well-born”, that is, born with a conscious psychic being within, there is always, in the dreams of the child, a kind of aspiration, which for its child’s consciousness is a sort of ambition, for something which would be beauty without ugliness, justice without injustice, goodness without limits, and a conscious, constant success, a perpetual miracle. One dreams of miracles when one is young, one wants all wickedness to disappear, everything to be always luminous, beautiful, happy, one likes stories which end happily. This is what one should rely on. When the body feels its miseries, its limitations, one must establish this dream in it - of a strength which would have no limit, a beauty which would have no ugliness, and of marvellous capacities: one dreams of being able to rise into the air, of being wherever it is necessary to be, of setting things right when they go wrong, of healing the sick; indeed, one has all sorts of dreams when one is very young.... Usually parents or teachers pass their time throwing cold water on it, telling you, “Oh! it’s a dream, it is not a reality.” They should do the very opposite! Children should be taught, “Yes, this is what you must try to realise and not only is it possible but it is certain if you come in contact with the part in you which is capable of doing this thing. This is what should guide your life, organise it, make you develop in the direction of the true reality which the ordinary world calls illusion.”

This is what it should be, instead of making children ordinary, with that dull, vulgar common sense which becomes an inveterate habit and, when something is going well, immediately brings up in the being the idea: “Oh, that won’t last!”, when somebody is kind, the impression, “Oh, he will change!”, when one is capable of doing something, “Oh, tomorrow I won’t be able to do it so well.” This is like an acid, a destructive acid in the being, which takes away hope, certitude, confidence in future possibilities.

When a child is full of enthusiasm, never throw cold water on it, never tell him, “You know, life is not like that!” You should always encourage him, tell him, “Yes, at present things are not always like that, they seem ugly, but behind this there is a beauty that is trying to realise itself. This is what you should love and draw towards you, this is what you should make the object of your dreams, of your ambitions.”

And if you do this when you are very small, you have much less difficulty than if later on you have to undo, undo all the bad effects of a bad education, undo that kind of dull and vulgar common sense which means that you expect nothing good from life, which makes it insipid, boring, and contradicts all the hopes, all the so-called illusions of beauty. On the contrary, you must tell a child—or yourself if you are no longer quite a baby -  “Everything in me that seems unreal, impossible, illusory, that is what is true, that is what I must cultivate.”When you have these aspirations: “Oh, not to be always limited by some incapacity, all the time held back by some bad will!”, you must cultivate within you this certitude that that is what is essentially true and that is what must be realised.

Then faith awakens in the cells of the body. And you will see that you find a response in your body itself. The body itself will feel that if its inner will helps, fortifies, directs, leads, well, all its limitations will gradually disappear.

And so, when the first experience comes, which sometimes begins when one is very young, the first contact with the inner joy, the inner beauty, the inner light, the first contact with that, which suddenly makes you feel, “Oh! that is what I want,” you must cultivate it, never forget it, hold it constantly before you, tell yourself, “I have felt it once, so I can feel it again. This has been real for me, even for the space of a second, and that is what I am going to revive in myself”.... And encourage the body to seek it - to seek it, with the confidence that it carries that possibility within itself and that if it calls for it, it will come back, it will be realised again.

This is what should be done when one is young. This is what should be done every time one has the opportunity to recollect oneself, commune with oneself, seek oneself.

(CWM Volume 9, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1978, Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry)


The Mother, on Psychic Education

When the best has been achieved through physical, vital and mental education, there will be a cardinal insufficiency still: for, firstly, they cannot by themselves be integrated, and, secondly, even their sum will only be a frustrating incompleteness. It is psychic education alone that can team the other three purposively together, and also link them to the creative centre. Unfortunately, current educational systems have no idea of psychic education - thus tragi-comically playing Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark.

In their early years, children do have intimations of a higher consciousness which may puzzle or even startle their parents and elders.


As Wordsworth reminiscentially sang:

There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,
The earth and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream...
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy...

Yet the Boy beholds the Light however fitfully, and even the Youth is by the “vision splendid” attended on his way. “Every human being carries hidden within him the possibility of a greater consciousness” wrote the Mother; “a good many children are under its influence”. The crux of the educational problem is therefore to safeguard this light of consciousness, and make it illumine all thoughts, all actions, all feelings and give a new direction and a new tone to our entire life. Hence the paramount need for psychic education:

“With psychic education we come to the problem of the true motive of existence, the purpose of life on earth, the discovery to which this life must lead and the result of that discovery: the consecration of the individual to his eternal principle.”

Whether this awakening comes as the result of a mystic break-through, or of a spurt of intense religious feeling, or yet as the culmination of a course Of philosophical inquiry, “the important thing is to live the experience”.

On the one hand, unlike the body, the vital and the mind, of which we are almost constantly aware, the psychic being or soul seems generally to elude us. On the other hand, sooner or later we are driven to realise that this elusive thing is verily the deeper reality about ourselves, and it profits us little to have gained the many mansions of aparavidya or phenomenal knowledge if we have not also won the key to the psychic presence or the soul within.

But, then, how does one set upon this adventure of consciousness, this pursuit of the psychic being? The Mother talks to us directly, and the winged words go home:

“The starting-point is to seek in yourself that which is independent of the body and the circumstances of life, which is not born of the mental formation that you have been given, the language you speak, the habits and customs of the environment in which you live, the country where you are born or the age to which you belong. You must find, in the depths of your being, that which carries in it a sense of universality, limitless expansion, unbroken continuity. Then you decentralise, extend and widen yourself; you begin to live in all things and in all beings; the barriers separating individuals from each other break down. You think in their thoughts, vibrate in their sensations, feel in their feelings, live in the life of all. What seemed inert suddenly becomes full of life, stones quicken, plants feel and will and suffer, animals speak in a language more or less inarticulate, but clear and expressive; everything is animated by a marvellous consciousness without time or limit. And this is only one aspect of the psychic realisation; there are others, many others. All help you to go beyond the barriers of your egoism, the walls of your external personality, the impotence of your reactions and the incapacity of your will.”

In another essay also, ‘Transformation’, the Mother seems to refer to the awakening of the psychic consciousness. Though the preparation may have been long and slow there is “a revolution in the basic poise... like turning a ball inside out... the ordinary consciousness... ignorant of what things are in reality... sees only their shell. But the true consciousness is at the centre, at the heart of reality and has the direct vision of the origin of all movements.... Something opens within you and all at once you find yourself in a new world.” But, she cautions, “what is needed is to express it gradually in the details of practical life”.

Wonders are many, there have been great discoveries, but nothing is more wonderful, or is a greater discovery, than the soul. It is not the super-subtle or marvellously resilient mind that can run the quarry of the psychic being to its lair, it is not vital determination or physical agility that can encompass the desired catch; “the supreme value of the discovery lies in its spontaneity, its ingeniousness and that escapes all ordinary mental laws.”  But one ceaselessly hankers after, and one waits with infinite patience; one avoids all fever and fret, all anxiety and apprehension; one tries to find joy in all things, one tries to cultivate equality in the face of life's phantasmagoria; one shuns the criteria of the market weights and measures, one walks on the steep and narrow path without sense of time or assurance of success; and one longs and waits - waits on the Invisible - hearkening to steps unheard, turning to the unstruck melodies till at last “an inner door will suddenly open and you will emerge into a dazzling splendour that will bring you the certitude of immortality.... Then you will stand erect, freed from all chains... you will be able to walk on straight and firm, conscious of your destiny, master of your life.”


(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 37 – “Mother on Education”, K.R. SrinivasaIyengar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)




Sri Aurobindo Says: "It is the psychic fire kindled in the heart. The psychic being is described by the Upanishads as of the size of a thumb angushthamatrah purusho’ntaratma — it may manifest first as this psychic flame."

Showers of Joy


Mother Nature talks to us in various beautiful ways. The bright shine from the sun, chirping of the birds, lovely colours of the flowers, glow of the moon, twinkling stars, and the colourful rainbow are few happenings that bring us close to our self and open doors to unlock the beauty within us.


One fine afternoon, I was sitting on the verandah looking for some inspiration to write. The sky was a little pale with a formation of clouds that was shaped like a big ice cream. Somewhere I heard a clap, a thunder. It was as though the clouds were laughing hard. A chill breeze swiped the clouds and brought forth a few drops of rain. Little drops of water fell on dry earth. An amazing smell arose out of the wet mud. It’s a smell that brings out the child in us - young child that enjoys the secret beatitudes. As I sat absorbed in the freshness that came along with the scent of wet mud, the rain drops increased in volume and pat, pat, pat came the shower with full force. The little birds went back to their nests, cats and squirrels hid in the tiny places they could find and flowers, as if they were thirsty for a long time, leaned in and enjoyed the bath earnestly. Little children came out to dance in the rain merrily.



The drops of rain looked like little silver bells falling on earth creating a jingle as they touched the ground. Wish I had a string to pull them all together… The flowers rejoiced the shower and a solitary dove sat happily drenched in water. I saw the trees standing tall and strong despite the heavy downpour. Though they bent along with the wind they did not break. A beautiful shower is a messenger from the heavens blessing the earth with happy times. These little drops that strike the earth are going to merge with the huge ocean taking a long course down winding paths and tunnels touching and making a difference in many lives.

When a singer is about to stop singing, he slowly brings his song to an end, by reducing the volume step by step and slowing down the pace. The music reverberates in our ears even after he has finished it. Just like that, the rain came to an end with the drops reducing slowly in intensity. Little birds walked out of their nest to sing a beautiful song full of gratitude towards nature for the wonderful shower. Cats and squirrels started their play again. The dew drops on the leaves glistened in the shine and birds pecked on the little water puddles left on the ground. The Sun, which seemed to be hiding behind the clouds walked out with its smiling golden shine and lit the whole place with an air of felicity. It was as though some beautiful soul had come in and Mother Nature welcomed the little one to this earth with her joyous festival.

-          Sandhya

July - August Sunday Activities at the Centre – A glimpse

August 3rd: Readings from Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Bases of Yoga’, pages 90-94.

The passages talk about the several layers of subconscient in our human nature. It lies between the Inconscient and conscious mind, life and body. When I read this I  get the picture of layers of soil which influence the type of plants. Most of our thoughts, actions, feelings spring forth repeatedly because of our samskaras and heredity which are embedded in our subconscient and shape our character. Sri Aurobindo talks about three occult forces behind our action-the superconscient, the subliminal and the subconscient which we are not in control of, and are not even aware of. We are just tossed between the forces of this nature or caught in their waves invading us every second in some form. These inferior forces try to perpetuate their action in individual, to rebuild what he has unbuilt. Unless we are established in the Inner Self and try to get rid of the influences of these forces, they may lie in seed form and come up to take us by surprise! These readings  give a glimpse of our own nature and its origin!


August 10th : Readings from the book “On Himself” by Sri Aurobindo.

We read a few passages from the section “His Path and Other Paths”. In this chapter, Sri Aurobindo gives the essence of all his teachings. It starts from the knowledge the ancient sages got from their yogic capacity that all appearances of the Universe form the ONE REALITY OF BEING AND CONSCIOUSNESS. This ONE BEING involved in matter becomes inconscient and there is a separateness and ignorance in the mind, life and body. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness through matter. Mind is the next step. Now the consciousness awaits its release from mind into greater heights through the conscious will of the individual. For that conversion, the method is found in our ancient psychological discipline and practice of yoga. Of course this doesn’t come easy! The first step is to find the INNER BEING and fix himself there, from where the pursuit is possible to orient towards the “TRUE SOUL.” When an individual tries to bring the Truth–Consciousness into his actions in outer life, he experiences his unity in every form and life, which is the first step towards the success of sadhana.


August 17th: Readings from Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Bases of Yoga’

We continue to read in “Bases of Yoga” about the nature of the subconscious. We discussed in detail the Vedic “cavern of the Panis” and its significance: that the subconscious is like a cave holding treasure that has been obscured by the forces of ignorance and darkness. It is only when the light and fire of the higher consciousness penetrate this cavern that the hidden Truth within can be released. We related this to how Sri Aurobindo has always focused on opening up our inner centres from top down – ensuring that the higher consciousness has already been established in the upper parts, and preferably with the psychic already prominent, before opening up the lower centres. This is a secure procedure that allows us to attack the “cave of the Panis” with success, and not end up drawing out the forces of ignorance instead.


More Information

The most significant change that happened in our Centre this year, physically, was an overhaul of the room. With the collective effort of everyone in the Centre, the changes were brought about immediately after the proposal was made during our Annual General Meeting in June. The room was ready for use from the 15th of August onwards, on Sri Aurobindo’s birth Anniversary, with a special musical offering. It is also notable that this change has come about on the 42nd Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore. The curtains were changed. The Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s portraits were brought together and placed near the row of windows overlooking the larger SIFAS compound. This arrangement created a length of space where rows of chairs could be placed before the altar with an aisle in the centre to facilitate easy movement. The left of the altar houses the study table, at which prayers and meditations could be read and speakers seated as they address the members. This table could be easily replaced with a stage for offerings made on darshan days, especially musical offerings. The new-look of our Centre is indeed refreshing, like setting the stage for things to happen in a new way.

- Jayalakshmi, Jared, Jayanthy

Sri Aurobindo Society Singapore - New Look Photos








Along the Way… The August 2014 Walk

The 2ndof August started off with a slight drizzle.  That was the day of the Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore’s, monthly walk. This time, the venue for the walk was at Botanical Gardens. Upon arriving there, the slight drizzle had turned into a mild shower, delaying our walk. Due to the rain, we started our warm-ups in the building (conducted by Saurab Uncle). Just as we had finished our warm ups, the rain had subsided and we were able to begin our walk.

The rain earlier had caused the area around the Botanical Gardens to be much cooler, making the walk more enjoyable. Being early morning, the surroundings of the Gardens was very peaceful and calm. There was no doubt that everyone had enjoyed the walk thoroughly.

The brunch was held at Uncle Rao’s and Shailaja Aunty’s house. After the opening meditation, there were the reading of prayers and birthdays of the month, followed by the closing meditation. The brunch/lunch prepared by the hosts was very scrumptious and filling.

I definitely enjoyed this month’s walk and I am definitely looking forward to next month’s walk. Can’t wait!!!!!

-          Aakash Mehta