Guiding Light of The Month

It is the harmony of boundless Love, Love victorious over all suffering and all obscurity. By this law of Love, Thy law, I want to live more and more integrally; to it unreservedly I give myself. And all my being exults in an inexpressible Peace. - The Mother

The Virtues

The weekly meetings continued, and while the group had its centre in Mirra's residence in Paris, it was to register a widening circumference of beneficent influence. There were discussions, talks, plans. Experience mingled with logic, the heart wrestled with the mind; and so the spiritual seekers groped towards an integral aim in life and integral means to achieve it. In the discussion with the young Russian revolutionary leader, the emerging ideas were the need to awaken a new "intelligence", to affirm an "integral right", and to accept the identity of ends and means forged on the anvil of Purity and Truth, And of course all this had a wider application than only to Russia, for Mirra and her group were really concerned with the global human condition - how mankind might transcend its current limitations and lacerations, and deserve a new deal, a life of harmony and integral realisation.

Earlier there were evenings when the discussion wound its way to a spiritual focus; at other times the discussions were more general. Sometime in 1904 she wrote a remarkable parable entitled "The Virtues", but it is not known whether it was read at any of the weekly meetings.
In the Hall of Intelligence - the vestibule of the Palace of Truth situated on a very high cloud - a festival is held for the higher beings, who on earth are known as Virtues. They arrive one after another, and presently gather into congenial groups "full of joy to find themselves for once at least together, for they are usually so widely scattered throughout the world and the worlds, so isolated amid so many alien beings".

Sincerity presides over the festival, dressed in a transparent robe, and holds in her hand a cube of the purest crystal wherein things are reflected without the slightest deformation. Humility and Courage are her two faithful guards. Prudence, a woman wholly veiled, stands close to Courage.
Charity, "at once vigilant and calm, active and yet discreet", is at the still centre that is everywhere; and affiliated to her is her twin sister, Justice. When she moves unobtrusively in the Hall, Charity leaves a trail of "white and soft light" which suffuses the entire atmosphere. Kindness, Patience, Gentleness and Solicitude are in the background, pressing round Charity.

All are assembled - or so, indeed, they imagine - but now there appears another on the threshold, an utter stranger to the rest, "very young and slight, the white dress which she wore was very simple, almost poor". She is timid and hesitant in her steps, she feels dazzled by the brilliant company, and is almost rooted to the spot. It is Prudence who advances towards the new arrival and politely asks her name. "Alas!" she answers with a sigh, "I am not surprised that I appear to be a stranger in this palace, for I am so rarely invited anywhere. My name is Gratitude."

It is significant that, of the Virtues, it is Sincerity who presides in the Hall of Intelligence of the Palace of Truth; she accordingly takes precedence over all others. And Gratitude is hardly known, and it is with difficulty that she gets admission to the Hall, and she has actually to introduce herself.

In a talk on 25 January 1956, the Mother was to stress again the importance of these two particular Virtues, as also of Faith (or Trust in the Divine), Courage or Aspiration, and Endurance or Perseverance. In all combinations of Virtues, Sincerity must take the first place, "For if there is no sincerity, one cannot advance even by half a step.” Hypocrisy, on the contrary, is the very negation of sincerity, and assumes the shape of cloud behind cloud, screen behind screen, opaqueness behind opaqueness; but "transparency" is the crystalline lucidity of the mind and soul. In a later talk, she was to present sincerity as a progressive or evolutionary virtue: As the being progresses and develops, as the universe unfolds in the becoming, sincerity too must go on perfecting itself endlessly. Every halt in that development necessarily changes the sincerity of yesterday into the insincerity of tomorrow.

If one did not deceive oneself, if one were determined to advance and not to stagnate, then "sincerity is the safeguard, the protection, the guide, and finally the transforming power".
Again, gratitude isn't simply a dull if necessary virtue; gratitude can be a pure joy in its own right, with close affiliations with the virtue of Devotion: There is nothing which gives you a joy equal to that of gratitude. One hears a bird sing, sees a lovely flower, looks at a little child, observes an act of generosity, reads a beautiful sentence, looks at the setting sun, no matter what, suddenly this comes upon you, this kind of emotion - indeed so deep, so intense - that the world manifests the Divine, that there is something behind the world which is the Divine. So I find that devotion without gratitude is quite incomplete, gratitude must come with devotion. The love and adoration of the Divine - and the Divine behind things, beings and actions - must also induce the feeling of pure joy and gratitude as well.

(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 3 – “Encounters and Explorations”, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)


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