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

PROGRESS



Botanical Name: Catharanthus roseus
Common Name: Madagascar periwinkle, Old maid, Cayenne jasmine, Rose periwinkle
Spiritual Significance: Integral Progress 
Can only be satisfied by integrality. The best way to go fast – The Mother


PROGRESS

It is especially the will for progress and self-purification that lights the fire. The will for progress. When those who have a strong will turn it towards spiritual progress and purification, they automatically light the fire within themselves.
-          The Mother

From the Editor’s Desk (Jun 2015)


In the last four issues, we examined the four inner petals of The Mother’s symbol, namely, Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. From this June issue onwards, we visit the qualities of the outer petals of The Mother’s symbol. In all, there are twelve such petals representing twelve qualities. In this issue, we take a glimpse of the first quality, Progress.

Progress denotes an onward, forward or an upward movement where one emerges better off than at the starting point of the movement in any area chosen to progress in. In our usual parlance, we refer to progress in studies, progress in one’s career, progress in one’s health conditions and life as a whole. In a more detailed analysis, Progress is the result of an effort one would have out into improving oneself in an area, for example, in improving one’s handwriting. The effort required would be first of all, to recognize that one’s handwriting is beyond legibility and hence of no worth to another who may be reading it. A reasonable reaction would be to desire legibility so that one’s handwriting may be read and understood by the reader. The severity of this requirement is added more value especially when one’s handwriting affects one’s performance in work or in an examination. Hence follows a string of action and effort towards correcting the undesirable nature of one’s handwriting. The reward becomes a focus point, the effort proceeds and one progresses in presenting one’s writing legibly, after systematic correction efforts. 

Prioritising the area for progress differs with people and their levels of consciousness. But the spirit of progress is one. Though  seemingly mooted by outer needs or expectations, it stems from a need from the depth to exceed oneself, one’s nature, one’s habits, and to attain a level of perfection in the way of expressing ourselves through any work we do.


However, in a life given to spirituality, where conscious and consecrated living is attempted, motivated by spiritualised reasons of existence, then ‘progress’ takes a more refined meaning. The idea itself of an end result or goal or aim recedes into the background and disappears. Progress becomes the natural state of a life consecrated to the Divine, for the sake of the Divine and His expression through the being. This attitude does not place any demands on the Divine. This attitude places on oneself the only demand of making the right and prolonged and sincere effort for progress in an attitude of self-giving and surrender to the Divine will, be it in the developing of a helpful habit, in relinquishing an unhelpful one on the path. The Mother explains thus:

“As with everything in yoga, the effort for progress must be made for the love of the effort for progress. The joy of effort, the aspiration for progress must be enough in themselves, quite independent of the result….. Indeed, in life, always, in all things, the result does not belong to us. And if we want to keep the right attitude, we must act, feel, think, strive spontaneously, for that is what we must do, and not in view of the result to be obtained.” 

“What does progress mean to me?” If one were to simply put this question to oneself, the answers would come quite spontaneously, and it only leaves for one to pick each, one by one, and chart out the path of progress consciously, and walk on this path diligently, calling for Divine grace all along the way. Success is not at all promised. Patience become a need and the certitude of victory a reliable stroke of the oars along the way, on the seas of time.

Savitri



A fire shall come out of the infinitudes,
A greater Gnosis shall regard the world
Crossing out of some far omniscience
On lustrous seas from the still rapt Alone
To illumine the deep heart of the self and things.
A timeless knowledge it shall bring to Mind,
Its aim to life, to Ignorance its close.

(Book Two, Canto Ten)

Yet shall there glow on mind like a horned moon
The spirit’s crescent splendour in pale skies
And light man’s life upon his Godward road.
But more there is concealed in God’s Beyond
That shall one day reveal its hidden face.

(Book Eleven, Canto One)

Question of the month (Jun 2015)



Q: It has been said that in order to progress in Yoga one must offer up everything to the Divine, even every little thing that one has or does in life. What is precisely the meaning of that?

A: The Mother: Yoga means union with the Divine, and the union is effected through offering - it is founded on the offering of yourself to the Divine. In the beginning you start by making this offering in a general way, as though once for all; you say, “I am the servant of the Divine; my life is given absolutely to the Divine; all my efforts are for the realisation of the Divine Life.” But that is only the first step; for this is not sufficient. When the resolution has been taken, when you have decided that the whole of your life shall be given to the Divine, you have still at every moment to remember it and carry it out in all the details of your existence. You must feel at every step that you belong to the Divine; you must have the constant experience that, in whatever you think or do, it is always the Divine Consciousness that is acting through you. You have no longer anything that you can call your own; you feel everything as coming from the Divine, and you have to offer it back to its source. When you can realise that, then even the smallest thing to which you do not usually pay much attention or care, ceases to be trivial and insignificant; it becomes full of meaning and it opens up a vast horizon beyond.

This is what you have to do to carry out your general offering in detailed offerings. Live constantly in the presence of the Divine; live in the feeling that it is this presence which moves you and is doing everything you do. Offer all your movements to it, not only every mental action, every thought and feeling but even the most ordinary and external actions such as eating; when you eat, you must feel that it is the Divine who is eating through you. When you can thus gather all your movements into the One Life, then you have in you unity instead of division. No longer is one part of your nature given to the Divine, while the rest remains in its ordinary ways, engrossed in ordinary things; your entire life is taken up, an integral transformation is gradually realized in you.
In the integral Yoga, the integral life down even to the smallest detail has to be transformed, to be divinised. There is nothing here that is insignificant, nothing that is indifferent. You cannot say,

“When I am meditating, reading philosophy or listening to these conversations I will be in this condition of an opening towards the Light and call for it, but when I go out to walk or see friends I can allow myself to forget all about it.” To persist in this attitude means that you will remain untransformed and never have the true union; always you will be divided; you will have at best only glimpses of this greater life. For although certain experiences and realisations may come to you in meditation or in your inner consciousness, your body and your outer life will remain unchanged. An inner illumination that does not take any note of the body and the outer life, is of no great use, for it leaves the world as it is. This is what has continually happened till now. Even those who had a very great and powerful realisation withdrew from the world to live undisturbed in inner quiet and peace; the world was left to its ways, and misery and stupidity, Death and Ignorance continued, unaffected, their reign on this material plane of existence.

For those who thus withdraw, it may be pleasant to escape from this turmoil, to run away from the difficulty and to find for themselves a happy condition elsewhere; but they leave the world and life uncorrected and untransformed; and their own outer consciousness too they leave unchanged and their bodies as unregenerate as ever. Coming back to the physical world, they are likely to be worse there than even ordinary people; for they have lost the mastery over material things, and their dealing with physical life is likely to be slovenly and helpless in its movements and at the mercy of every passing force. An ideal of this kind may be good for those who want it, but it is not our Yoga. For we want the divine conquest of this world, the conquest of all its movements and the realisation of the Divine here. But if we want the Divine to reign here we must give all we have and are and do here to the Divine. It will not do to think that anything is unimportant or that the external life and its necessities are no part of the Divine Life. If we do, we shall remain where we have always been and there will be no conquest of the external world; nothing abiding there will have been done.

(CWM, Volume 3, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

The Mother on Progress of Humanity



In spite of all adverse appearances, it may well be that earth has been preparing for a certain realisation by steps and stages. There has been a change in civilisation and a change in nature. If it is not apparent, it is because we see from an external point of view and because matter and its difficulties have never been seriously or thoroughly dealt with up till now. Still internally there has been a progress; in the inner consciousness there have been descents of the Light. But as to any realisation in matter, it is difficult to say anything, because we do not exactly know what might have happened there.

There have been in the long past great and beautiful civilisations, perhaps as advanced materially as ours. Looked at from a certain standpoint the most modern might seem to be only a repetition of the most ancient cultures, and yet one cannot say that there has been no progress anywhere. An inner progress at least has been achieved and a greater readiness to respond to the higher consciousness has been born into the material parts. It has been necessary to do over and over again the same things, because what was attempted was never sufficiently done; but each time it has come nearer to being adequately done. When we practise an exercise over and over again we seem to be only repeating the same thing always, but still the accumulative result is some effective change.

The mistake is to look at these things through the dimensions of the human consciousness, for so seen these deep and vast movements seem inexplicable. It is dangerous to try to explain or understand them with the limited mental intelligence. That is the reason why philosophy has always failed to unveil the secret of things; it is because it has tried to fit the universe into the size of the human mind.

(CWM, Volume 3, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)