Guiding Light of The Month

THE result of all my reflections of yesterday is the finding that the only disturbance I experience comes from my fear of not having been or of not being perfectly identified with Thy law. - The Mother

ASPIRATION


Botanical Name: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
Common Name: Night jasmine
Spiritual Significance: Aspiration

Innumerable, obstinate, repeating itself tirelessly – The Mother

This taste for supreme adventure is aspiration - an aspiration that takes hold of you completely and flings you, without calculation and without reserve and without any possibility of withdrawal, into the great adventure of the divine discovery, the great adventure of the divine meeting, the yet greater adventure of divine realization…
-       The Mother

From the Editor's Desk (Aug 2015)

Aspiration is the theme for this month’s scrutiny.  Mother refers to Aspiration as one of the cornerstones of integral yoga or an important aid. She refers to it as the “taste for supreme adventure.” The aspire to aspire is something probably everyone of us, almost without fail can attempt, to a smaller or greater degree of perfection. How is aspiration different from a desire? Sri Aurobindo has described it as “an inner soul’s need, and quiet settled will to turn towards the Divine and seek the Divine”. A quiet examination of our tendencies of wants and needs and aspirations using such a parameter may help. For very often when we feel desirous of something, there is an excitement and a vehemence within, unsettling the quietness therein. However, an aspiration, on the contrary, is simple, sincere and “not mixed with any interested and egoistic calculation.”

In reality, when one looks at aspiration, one realizes that it shuns anything mediocre, mundane, ordinary and limited. It leaps towards the higher and sublime possibilities from within, hoping to transcend the earthbound lower nature. Sri Aurobindo symbolizes aspiration, it appears in these line of the poem, A Tree:
A tree beside the sandy river-beach
    Holds up its topmost boughs
Like fingers towards the skies they cannot reach,
    Earth-bound, heaven amorous.

Man could be one special being as he, perhaps, more than all other creatures of this earth, is the only one on earth, who can recognize his limitations and aspire! Sri Aurobindo writes, “Man has seen that there can be a higher status of consciousness than his own; the evolutionary oestrus is there in his parts of mind and life, the aspiration to exceed himself is delivered and articulate within him…”

The Mother says that it is aspiration, sincere, strong and unflinching, that can attract towards it favourable conditions which would ultimately lead to the realization of the aspiration. And here is evident why in this yoga, a clear, sincere aspiration is one of the most important aids in sadhana. In this state, “Everything comes, everything as though there were a perfect and absolute consciousness organizing around you all things…”

The month of August is special as we anticipate Sri Aurobindo’s 143rd birth Anniversary and the 68th Independence Day of India. To bring to mind a little the life that Sri Aurobindo lived, the sadhana that he accomplished while in his body on this earth, kindles a deep reverence for this son of Bharatam. That he would share the same date with the Independence of India has been noted to be of an occult significance.

May all our challenging moments kindle the mystic Fire from our depths and initiate the certain march towards the golden dawns that Sri Aurobindo promised:

Then kindling the gold tongue of sacrifice,
Calling the powers of a bright hemisphere,
We shall shed the discredit of our mortal state,
Make the abysm a road for Heaven's descent,
Acquaint our depths with the supernal Ray
And cleave the darkness with the mystic Fire.


Savitri

Life was a marvellous journey of the spirit,
Feeling a wave from the universal Bliss.
In the kingdom of the Spirit's power and light,
As if one who arrived out of infinity's womb
He came new-born, infant and limitless
And grew in the wisdom of the timeless Child:
He was a vast that soon became a Sun.
A great luminous silence whispered to his heart;
His knowledge an inview caught unfathomable,
An outview by no brief horizons cut:
He thought and felt in all, his gaze had power.

(Book two, Canto fifteen)

The soul must soar sovereign above the form
And climb to summits beyond mind's half-sleep;
Our hearts we must inform with heavenly strength,
Surprise the animal with the occult god.
Then kindling the gold tongue of sacrifice,
Calling the powers of a bright hemisphere,
We shall shed the discredit of our mortal state,
Make the abysm a road for Heaven's descent,
Acquaint our depths with the supernal Ray
And cleave the darkness with the mystic Fire.

(Book two, Canto five)

His speech carries a light of inner truth,
And a large-eyed communion with the Power
In common things has made veilless his mind,
A seer in earth-shapes of garbless deity.
His sweetness and his joy attract all hearts
To live with his own in a glad tenancy,
His strength is like a tower built to reach heaven,
A godhead quarried from the stones of life.

(Book six, Canto one)

Again the might yearning raised its flame
That asks a perfect life on earth for men
And prays for certainty in the uncertain mind
And shadowless bliss for suffering human hearts
And truth embodied in an ignorant world
And godhead divinising mortal forms.


(Book four, Canto three)

Question of the Month (Aug 2015)

Q: Sweet Mother, it is said that if one sees a shooting star and at that moment one aspires for something, that aspiration is fulfilled within the year. Is this true?

A: Mother: Do you know what that means? ― The aspiration must be formulated during the time the star is visible; and that doesn’t last long, does it? Well, if an aspiration can be formulated while the star is visible, this means that it is all the time there, present, in the forefront of the consciousness―this does not apply to ordinary things, it has nothing to do with that, it concerns a spiritual aspiration. But the point is that if you are able to articulate your spiritual aspiration just at that moment, it means that it is right in front of your consciousness, that it dominates your consciousness. And, necessarily, what dominates your consciousness can be realised very swiftly.

I had the opportunity to make this experiment. Exactly this. The moment the star was sing, at that very moment there sprang up from the consciousness: “To realise the divine union, for my body.”
That very moment.

And before the end of the year, it was done.

But it was not because of the star! It was because that dominated my whole consciousness and I was thinking of nothing but that, I wanted only that, thought only of that, acted only for that. So, this thing which generally takes a whole lifetime ― it is said the minimum time is thirty-five years! ― before twelve months had, it was done.

But that was because I thought only of that.

And it was because I was thinking only of that, that just when the star flashed by I could formulate it―not merely a vague impression―formulate it in precise words like this: “To realise union with the Divine”, the inner Divine, the thing we speak of, the very thing we speak of.

Therefore, what is important is not the star but the aspiration. The star is only like an outer demonstration, nothing else. But it is not necessary to have a shooting star in order to realise swiftly! What is necessary is that the whole will of the being should be concentrated on one point.

(CWM, Volume 8, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Q: What is exactly meant by a sincere aspiration?


A: Mother: An aspiration which is not mixed with any interested and egoistic calculation.


(CWM, Volume 14, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

The Mother Says:

All is mute in the being, but in the bosom of the silence burns the lamp that can never be extinguished, the fire of an ardent aspiration to know and to live integrally the Divine.

Aspiration

(Flame of Aspiration - A flame that illuminates but does not burns)

Aspiration is like an arrow.... So you aspire, you want very earnestly to understand, to know, to enter into the Truth. Yes? And then with that aspiration you do this (gesture upwards). Your aspiration rises, rises, rises, rises straight up, very strong and then it strikes against a kind of— how to put it? — a lid which is there, hard like iron and extremely thick, and it does not pass through. And then you say, "See, what's the use of aspiring? It brings nothing at all. I meet with something hard and cannot pass!" But you know about the drop of water which falls on the rock, it ends up by making a chasm: it cuts the rock from top to bottom. Your aspiration is a drop of water which, instead of falling, rises . . . and when it makes the hole suddenly it springs up out of this lid and enters an immensity of light.


(Aspiration in the Physical – Manifold, simple and joyous)

When I speak of aspiration in the physical I mean that the very consciousness in you which hankers after material comfort and well-being should of itself without being compelled by the higher parts of your nature, ask exclusively for the Divine’s Love. Usually you have to show it the Light by means of your higher parts; surely this has to be done persistently, otherwise the physical would never learn and it would take Nature’s common round of ages before it learns by itself. Indeed the round of Nature is intended to show it all possible sorts of satisfactions and by exhausting them convince it that none of them can really satisfy it and that what it is at bottom seeking is a divine satisfaction. In Yoga we hasten this slow process of Nature and insist on the physical consciousness seeing the truth and learning and to recognise and want it.

(Excerpts from ‘Flowers and their Messages’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry)

Mounting Flame


(Mounting Flame - Painting by Sudha)

When the sun sets and all becomes silent, sit down for a moment and put yourself into communion with Nature: you will feel rising from the earth, from below the roots of the trees and mounting upward and coursing through their fibres up to the highest outstretching branches, the aspiration of an intense love and longing,—a longing for something that brings light and gives happiness, for the light that is gone and they wish to have back again. There is a yearning so pure and intense that if you can feel the movement in the trees, your own being too will go up in an ardent prayer for the peace and light and love that are unmanifested here.                     


(CWM, Volume 8, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)  

Story of a Dream

I reside deep inside a black mass. Just a tiny little speck. Yet, I have a dream. A big beautiful dream. I can feel there is a bright world outside. I wish to be an enveloping heart. A shade. I am waiting… For a long time, I remain inside the dark layers. Nothing stirs…

I make an effort by Aspiring quietly. I find few fingers of warmth touch me. I speak with him tenderly and I know him as my friend and will remain so forever. I receive him with gratitude. He helps me to open out little tendrils. But he also says there is still a long way to go…A guidance. I make efforts, calm efforts.

The efforts make me dry. I yearn for something cool. With shimmering eyes I enjoy a cheerful shower. A hand brings me out into the light. It feels like a pull by Mother Nature. And now I am a tiny green – I heard a little one call me – leaf. Yes, I am a new leaf in this colourful world.



Sunshine and Rain, love and warmth makes me grow into a beautiful tree. Serving all and growing, I live joyously. Spotted dears and many sleep in my shade. I bow down bearing fruits and offering flowers for love and prayers.

The aspiration within me is now growing upwards, to the sky. And I continue my efforts to see the world beyond…*

Hands of receiving. With gratitude. It germinates the little seeds sown within us. The seeds that have dreams of growing into a big beautiful tree.
-          Sandhya

References:

*”The Trees rise towards the sky, beautiful symbols of Nature’s aspiration towards the light” – The Mother.

A Call to Mother India



O India,
land of light and spiritual knowledge!
Wake up to your true mission in the world,
show the way to union and harmony.

O our Mother, O Soul of India…
Guide us so that we may be
always on the side of great ideals
and show to men thy true visage,
as a leader in the ways of the spirit
and a friend and helper of all the people

-          The Mother

The Living Symbol



"A living knot of golden Paradise,
A blue Immense he leans to the longing world"
-          Savitri
The Mother's explanation of this symbol is:
The descending triangle represents Sat-Chit-Ananda.
The ascending triangle represents the aspiring answer from matter under the form of life, light and love.
The junction of both - the central square - is the perfect manifestation having at its centre the Avatar of the Supreme - the lotus.
The water - inside the square - represents the Multiplicity, the Creation.

There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavour, a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a supreme Grace from above that answers.

-  Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

His single being excels the works of Time

Paul Richard arrived in Pondicherry in mid-April 1910. He was of course busy with politics - for that was the ostensible reason for his coming - but he also kept in the forefront his inner quest, and in fact he was more at home with intellectuals and students of spiritual philosophy than with politicians and electioneering strategists. Soon after his arrival, Richard made inquiries: was there any great spiritual adept at Pondicherry? People shook their heads at first, for in those days Pondicherry was little more than "a dead city .... It was like a backwater of the sea, a stagnant pool by the shore"; it was even akin to a "cemetery ... infested by ghosts and Goblins". An adept, a realised saint, a yogi - at Pondicherry? Knowing people raised their eyebrows, but at last one of Richard's friends suddenly remembered. Quite recently, a yogi from North India - a yogi doubled with a fiery patriot - had taken political asylum there, and perhaps he would serve M. Richard's purpose! Accordingly, Zir Naidu agreed to fix up an appointment, and thus it was that Paul Richard met Sri Aurobindo, who had as yet no home of his own and was staying as a guest in Calve Shankar Chetty's house. He was in near total seclusion too, and few strangers were permitted to see him. Richard was one of the rare exceptions, and this game of Destiny was fraught with consequences which nobody could foresee at the time.

Their talks ranged over a wide spectrum, from French-Indian politics to the probable future of mankind, and Sri Aurobindo learnt about Mirra, of her small group of seekers who met weekly in her room, of her occult and spiritual experiences, and of her dedicated ministry in the service of the Future. It was believed, we have said, that Mirra had given Richard several questions to be solved, including the significance of the symbol of the Cosmic Movement. What is especially significant is that the same symbol, with certain geometric modifications and the lotus drawn in outline diagrammatically, was to become Sri Aurobindo's own symbol of mystic knowledge and yogic action.

We may also conceive the lotus as standing for the opening of the human Consciousness to the Divine: the bud of aspiration receives the warmth of the rays of the Sun, and there is the splendour of efflorescence petal by petal, the pointed aspiration from below being met by the answering response from above. Indeed, all the mystique and marvel of Yoga.
Sadhana and Siddhi are embodied in the lotus symbol.

That Sri Aurobindo had made an overwhelming impression on Richard may be inferred from subsequent happenings. Wherever he went, he spoke in superlative terms of the Indian Yogi. Writing of "The Sons of Heaven", Richard said that they were of all religions, and indeed they transcended religions:
The religions are the paths below, but they are on the summit; on the summit where all the paths join, where all religions are accomplished, where Heaven becomes one with the earth.
Richard had traversed the earth looking for these "Sons of Heaven", and found them too, especially one "greater than all, a solitary, the Chosen of the future".5 An even less veiled reference to Sri Aurobindo occurred in the course of a speech he made to a Japanese audience:
The hour is coming of great things, of great events, and also of great men, the divine men of Asia. All my life I have sought for them across the world, for all my life I have felt they must exist somewhere in the world, that this world would die if they did not live. For they are its light, its heat, its life. It is in Asia that I found the greatest among them - the leader, the hero of tomorrow. He is a Hindu. His name is Aurobindo Ghose.

There are no qualifications here, and many years later, when Dilip Kumar Roy met him in France and opened up a conversation on Sri Aurobindo, Richard spoke again with the same conviction and vigour of phrasing, and with a more detailed particularity:
I have not met his peer in the whole world. To me he is the Lord Shiva incarnate.... If Aurobindo came out of his seclusion today he would overtop all others as a king of kings. But he has chosen to decline his country's invitation to resume his leadership - a renunciation I look upon as the most convincing proof of his spiritual royalty....

Sri Aurobindo would have risen to the top in any walk of life - as a philosopher, poet, statesman or leader of thought. But he spurned these lures - why? Only because his vocation was to be an instrument of God missioned to fulfil a human destiny which no other master-builder could have achieved.

To the question "What exactly is Sri Aurobindo's ideal?", Richard gave the answer:
It is that Man must not rest content with his humanity, however brilliant or many-splendored. He has to win through to a new vision and follow it up to reach a peak his predecessors never dared to assault. Nietzsche had indeed heard the call- the call to transcend humanity.... But the mistake he made, as Aurobindo has pointed out, is that one who is going to fulfil humanity is not the superman of power but the Superman of Love who expresses his love through power. Love is necessary because when it is absent Man becomes not a god but a titan. But power is also necessary because without its support he can't help but fail to translate his ideal of Love into a real f1ower-fulfillment in the wilderness of life. This is the Call Aurobindo has heard - a call that once heard can be unheard no more. But you cannot hear such a fateful Call till you are chosen by the One on high who leads us on. It is He who has coronated Aurobindo as His Messiah. So march on he must, for harking to His Call has transformed him into what he is today - a herald of the Power that never came down to earth, though it was destined.

(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 4 – “Agenda for Future”, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)


July Sunday Activities at the Centre – A glimpse

July 12th  - Reading Question and Answers:

AGM was conducted between 4:00PM to 6:00PM. It was well attended.
At 6:00PM the programme started with meditation.
From the Book “Questions and Answers 1956, The Mother” we read the question and answer on page 22. The question “Sweet Mother, here Sri Aurobindo writes” For all this first period he (the individual) has to work by instruments of the lower Nature.” The Synthesis of Yoga, page 79
What is this work, how is it accomplished?
Mother in her answer makes it very clear about the positive and negative side of our lower nature!
We can use the positive side to gather all our parts, movements and activities to fall into their true place in relation to our psychic being and have an aspiration to progress towards the divine.

And have a vigilant mode to resist with discernment all the negative side influences from outside, from subconscient or inconscient which are hindrances in our progress towards the Truth.
Mother says Cheerfulness is very important, not to get upset or discouraged by any failure and face everything with a smile and determination!

July 19th - Meditation on Savitri:

Meditated on the painting by Huta on Savitri and Mother’s accompanying recitation from Book 10, Canto 4. Pictures 8 to 18.

I was so lucky to find this beautiful explanation for the above and am sharing with you:

SAVITRI: A Summary of Sri Aurobindo's Epic Poem [Dr. Tyberg, who prepared this summary of the poem, was the founder of the East-West Cultural Center in Los Angeles and its guiding light for years until her passing in 1980. She is the author of several articles and two books on Sanskrit, First Lessons in Sanskrit and Language of the Gods.]

The Dark King still trying to discourage her, ironically speaks of her fantasy of Truth, says that Truth is hard as stone. Back and forth sparkle the words of the debate. Death uses subtle reason and arms himself with all man's faltering searches, his limiting spiritual goals, and exaggerated and imperfect understanding of Truth to prove the futility of God's power, but Savitri, delivered of twilight thoughts, with a heart of Truth, answers his lures. Here Savitri chants lyrics of Nature’s miracles, of the wonders of the Infinite and of the limitless powers of a soul integrally surrendered to God. Death, suspecting her to be the Mother of the Gods embodied, challenges her to show a body of living Truth, for has matter ever been able to hold Truth? Savitri tells Death who he really is and warns him he will cease to be when he touches the embodied Truth Supreme, and then reveals her being all one with God. Death, still unconvinced, makes his last stand in support of his blind force and dares Savitri to reveal the Power of the Divine, for many have Truth, but who has the Power to radiate it? Then is given a picture of Savitri as she becomes transformed into a divine being with all her chakras or lotuses of Power scintillating. The most powerful speech of all follows, and Savitri exhibits her living Power of Truth and proves that death is needed no more. Death is shown gradually vanishing and finally defeated, eaten by light.

Jayalakshmi

Along the Way… July 2015 Morning Walk – A Review

It was the first Sunday of July. The climate was slightly breezy. It was morning, but we still saw the moon. We did warm up exercise. Then a few of us went to a bike rental shop to rent bikes. First of all, we went to the mangroves. We got a little lost but soon found the place. In the midst of the towering mangroves, we saw a few saplings and three or four crabs. After looking at the mangroves for a while, we went on our way again. We were cycling for a while and we, kids, saw a playground. Like all other kids, we wanted to play, so a few adults stayed with us and the rest continued biking. We kids played until the adults said it was time to go. We were sad to leave the playground for it was a big one but we were also looking forward to the big feast that awaited us.

When we got to Ami auntie’s house, we drank some drinks and settled down for opening meditation. After opening meditation, the birthdays and anniversaries were read. Finally we had closing meditation. Soon after closing meditation, we had a delicious brunch. It had been a fun and exciting day.

-          Anjali Curic

A walk in Pasir Ris Park

As clich├ęd as it sounds… a lot can happen over a cup of tea. A random conversation starter morphed in a delightful Sunday morning experience for me.

For someone who is not very involved in active sports, a walk sounded like a good way to exercise. Joining a monthly walking group seemed like a wonderful way to begin. So when Shailaja Aunty mentioned that one of the activities organized by SAS is a monthly walk, I jumped at the chance.

Getting lost on my way from the MRT to Car Park C was a mini-adventure but with the help of a friendly but equally lost taxi driver and GPS (what would we do without it!), I made it to Pasir Ris Park for my first ever walk with the group where I was warmly welcomed.

After a fun warming up routine under the capable direction of young Dhiraj, we set off. The temptation of the bike kiosk was far too much to resist for some of us and we soon split ourselves into a walking group and a cycling group.

In a very Sound of Music style, we set off on our bikes on the sheltered and breezy cycling lanes towards the mangrove forest. We probably cycled our way through routes not meant for bikes though, since we cycled past groups of seniors practicing their Tai Chi..oops! We had a great time walking in the mangrove forest spotting Mud Crabs, what we thought were Hermit Crabs but could have well been Snails and Mud Skippers and climbing up the 3 level Bird Tower. We even had our little celebrity Sophia become a flower girl with the Mangrove flowers. A special mention to the Professor and his wife who managed to make riding a tandem bike look very simple!

Our explorations then led us to the playground which had all sorts of fun activities for the kids like the regular slides and rope climbing including what appeared to a mini zip-lining. A tired but happy and hungry bunch of us made our way to the Mehta residence where there was a veritable feast awaiting us. After a peaceful prayer and calming meditation session, the Birthdays and Anniversaries were celebrated. It was a wonderful way to spend my morning and I feel blessed to have met and be so affectionately welcomed by such lovely, warm and wonderful people!

-  Mrudula Damisetti

Receptivity






Botanical Name: Gladiolus Xhortulanus
Common Name: Garden gladiolus
Spiritual Significance: Integral Receptivity
The whole being perceives the Divine Will and obeys it – The Mother


Receptivity

The power to receive the Divine Force and to feel its presence and the presence of the Mother in it and allow it to work, guiding one's sight and will and action.
Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (Jul 2015)

Receptivity. This is the virtue we are taking a look at in this issue of our Newsletter.  The word “receptivity has a Latin base. The root word of receptivity and receive is recipere which means "bring back, recover, take in, or admit." (Source: http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/receptivity). 

We can spend a few seconds quietly visualizing the word, “receiving”. Immediately, as it were, like a mirror image, another appears. It is the idea of “opening”. One cannot admit or take in without opening the portal. In fact, the very idea of “admitting” means there is a screen or an obstruction before the admittance, which needs parting or opening or removing.

In the integral yoga, the virtue of receptivity is like a key with opens the door to the steps of progress on the path. Sri Aurobindo explains “openness” thus: “… openness is a state of consciousness which keeps it turned to the Mother, free from other movements, expecting and able to receive what may come from the Divine.” And The Mother elaborates, “…receptivity, something that opens in order to receive..” and Mother too emphasizes the source from which one should be naturally open too, “Now, instead of opening and receiving from all sides and from everyone,… one opens only to the Divine to receive only the divine force.”

There is another insight into receptivity. The Mother makes a direct and binding connection between aspiration and receptivity. She says, “When you have an aspiration….It is going to call down the answer to what you aspire for.” However, there are some who may say, “..I aspire all the time and still I receive nothing.” The Mother asserts, “…the answer is sure to come. But it is they who do not receive. The answer comes but they are not receptive, so they receive nothing…”

Now, turning our attention to our lives, in a deeper contemplation on our dealings with ourselves and others, how do we relate with “receptivity”? Do we see ourselves as open or closed? When are we open and when closed? What are the conditions that make us open and what conditions, closed? How do we feel when we are open and how do we feel when we are closed? What consequences do we face in the external realm when we are open and vice-versa?     

These questions may be answered best when one sincerely spends some time visiting one’s inner realms and facing oneself honestly, truthfully as they are, poring and sieving through plane after plane of one’s being, starting with the surface being that is most in contact with the outer world in most of us. It also requires a good power of relentless self-observation in order to arrive at the truth of who we really are. This process is facilitated when the will turns towards going through the work of constant  self-observation just to find out one’s true nature about how open or closed we are and to what or whom we open to, and why and to what effect. 

Once genuine answers to these few questions are surfaced, then one is able to make decisions about the state one wants to be in, either in a receptive state or in a non-receptive state and if the former, then contemplate on the object to which one would want to turn to receive. Ultimately, one’s idea or perception of one’s raison d’etre or reason for being drives the process of decision making about one’s stance on receptivity. Anyone aspiring for the Divine to drive one’s life instead of one’s ignorant ego would be probably driven to work on his or her receptivity to the Divine working. We each will know what this entails in our own lives.

Savitri

At first she raised no voice, no motion dared:
Charged with world-power, instinct with living force,
Only she clung with her roots to the safe earth,
Thrilled dumbly to the shocks of ray and breeze
And put out tendril fingers of desire;
The strength in her yearning for sun and light
Felt not the embrace that made her breathe and live;
Absorbed she dreamed content with beauty and hue;


(Book two, Canto five)

Aspiration and Receptivity

Aspiration in everyone, no matter who it is, has the same power. But the effect of this aspiration is different for aspiration is aspiration: if you have aspiration, in itself it has power. Only, this aspiration calls down for an answer, and this answer, the effect, which is the result of the aspiration, depends upon each one, for it depends upon his receptivity. I know many people of this kind they say" Oh! I aspire all the time and still I receive nothing." It is impossible that they should receive nothing, in the sense that the answer is sure to come. But it is they who do not receive. The answer comes but they are not receptive, so they receive nothing.

When you have an aspiration, a very active aspiration, your aspiration is going to do its work. It is going to call down the answer to what you aspire for. But if, later, you begin to think of something else or are not attentive or receptive, you do not even notice that your aspiration has received an answer. This happens very frequently. So people tell you: “I aspire and I don't receive anything, I get no answer!" Yes, you do have an answer but you are not aware of it, because you continue to be active in this way, like a mill turning all the time.
(The Sunlit Path - Passages from Conversations and writings of The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)


The Mother and Flowers

The Mother loved flowers.
Once I wrote to her that the fragrance of the flowers given by her was extraordinary. She answered:
“Flowers are very receptive and they are happy when they are loved”.
As an instance of the receptivity of flowers she told me that she had seen a faded flower reviving when Sri Aurobindo held it in his hand for some time. She has also spoken of fresh flowers getting faded in the hands of persons with a closed psychic.

Mother observed flowers in great detail.
One day I wrote to her: “Day before yesterday, as I was arranging my vase for you, I said to a flower. ‘Oh, you are going to Mother” and it really smiled. The same thing happened again yesterday and today.”

She replied. “That is very interesting indeed. Was it a rose or a hibiscus?”


I informed her that it was a hibiscus and she wrote: “Yes, this flower is very conscious, I have had many proofs of that”

There was a time when I offered flowers to Mother in the afternoon. In order to preserve their freshness I kept them in the refrigerator in the morning, the hibiscus which Mother has named Grace is white in the morning and turns pink in the afternoon. Having noticed for some days that it remained white in the fridge, I informed that the Grace flower if kept in the cold does not turn pink. She remarked that it has to be kept not only in the cold, but also in the shade.

On one occasion, in pursuance of an inner feeling, I fitted the pink rose ‘surrender’ into the top opening of the champa flower ‘psychological perfection; so as to look like one whole and offered it to Mother. She looked at it for a while and with a smile of understanding, said amusingly, “I thought there was some new flower!”


(“From the Editor’s Desk” by Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala, Sri Aurobindo’s Action, Puducherry)

May- June Sunday Activities at the Centre – A glimpse

May 17th and 24th - Meditation on “SAVITRI” – Book 10, Canto 1, 2 and 3:
The Dream Twilight of the Ideal, The Gospel of Death and Vanity of The Ideal, The Debate of Love and Death
We read the passages twice and shared our thoughts on them.
Given here a summary for a better understanding of the dialogue between Savitri and the God of Death.
Savitri's soul continues to wrestle with Death and to ridicule his words of Reason. Death challenges her to seek to know, for knowledge kills love. Quickly comes her response that the Nature of Love gives birth to knowledge. Drifting along with them as they move into the Land of Nought (book 10), we hear the debate continue, hear them pit all the contraries of life against each other, and we hear from Savitri the very reason of Death's existence.
Death peals forth a long proclamation of how he cancels all life's golden truths. To his dangerous music this warrior-maiden gives a picture of what her God of Love has done and will yet accomplish, and dares Death to produce a greater God to captivate her soul. Death sneeringly interprets her words as hallucinations of the mind and gives an oration on the deceptions of mind and raises Unconsciousness as the pinnacle of all.
Savitri answers in Death's own words, calling him the dark browed sophist of the universe masking divinity with his dance of death. She sings forth in glorious poetry the occult miracle of God's wonders from a tiny seed; and then again in lines of majesty power speaks of her assured triumph, of her love as stronger than his bonds of death.
The Dark King still trying to discourage her, ironically speaks of her fantasy of Truth, says that Truth is hard as stone. Back and forth sparkle the words of the debate. Death uses subtle reason and arms himself with all man's faltering searches, his limiting spiritual goals, and exaggerated and imperfect understanding of Truth to prove the futility of God's power, but Savitri, delivered of twilight thoughts, with a heart of Truth, answers his lures.


Here Savitri chants lyrics of Nature’s miracles, of the wonders of the Infinite and of the limitless powers of a soul integrally surrendered to God.
Death, suspecting her to be the Mother of the Gods embodied, challenges her to show a body of living Truth, for has matter ever been able to hold Truth? Savitri tells Death who he really is and warns him he will cease to be when he touches the embodied Truth Supreme, and then reveals her being all one with God. Death, still unconvinced, makes his last stand in support of his blind force and dares Savitri to reveal the Power of the Divine, for many have Truth, but who has the Power to radiate it?
Then is given a picture of Savitri as she becomes transformed into a divine being with all her chakras or lotuses of Power scintillating.
The most powerful speech of all follows, and Savitri exhibits her living Power of Truth and proves that death is needed no more. Death is shown gradually vanishing and finally defeated, eaten by light.                
Taken from, SAVITRI: A Summary of Sri Aurobindo's Epic Poem
[Dr. Tyberg, who prepared this summary of the poem, was the founder of the East-West Cultural Center in Los Angeles and its guiding light for years until her passing in 1980. She is the author of several articles and two books on Sanskrit, First Lessons in Sanskrit and Language of the Gods.]

May 31st - Readings from “More Vignettes of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother” by Shyam Kumari:

The book has 421 True Stories, the reminiscences of the devotees of their experiences with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. We picked up a few stories and reading them really made us feel the vibrant presence of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

June 7th - Readings from The Mother’s Works, Questions and Answers, 1955:

A circle of eight members gathered this evening for the reading of The Mother’s Question and Answers, Vol. 7, entry for 3 August 1955. We studied three questions and the answers to them, based on The Mother’s reading on, “Lights on Yoga – Surrender and Opening”. The following are the three questions:

1.      What is “the true life-activity”?
2.      Sweet Mother, here Sri Aurobindo has said “It is impossible.” Why? For You have said that nothing is impossible!
3.      Sweet Mother, here Sri Aurobindo has said: “If the inmost soul is awakened, if there is a new birth out of the mere mental, vital and physical into the psychic consciousness, then this Yoga can be done…” Why Has he said “the inmost soul”? Is there a superficial soul?

We all appreciated The Mother’s point blank answers yet so succinctly and laboriously explained to the questioning children. Pat came the answer to the first question, without any further elaborations : “It is to express the Divine”.  In answer to the second question, The Mother explains that in the larger scheme of space and time, there may be nothing that is impossible. However, given a particular point in space and time, conditions exists and nothing can happen if these given conditions are not fulfilled and as such, something may be rendered possible or impossible, accordingly. For the last question, The Mother offers that there is a difference


between experiencing the innermost or central soul or psychic being and a part of the surface being influenced by the innermost being.

For greater clarity and infinite benefit, the reader is requested to visit and contemplate on pages 258-260 of Questions and Answers, 1955, Vol. 7, published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1979, 2003.


June 14th - Readings from The Mother’s Works, Questions and Answers, 1956, on “Synthesis of Yoga”:

This evening ten of us gathered at the center to read on the Mother’s responses to questions on Sri Aurobindo’s “Synthesis of Yoga” posed to The Mother on the 11th of January 1956. The series of questions we read were:

Mother, “this craving life-force or desire-soul in us has to be accepted at first, but only in order that it may be transformed” (Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL, Vol. 20, p. 77). But even when we understand that it is a desire and must be rejected, there are difficulties in discerning if it is a desire leading us to the Divine or if it is purely desire.
The Mother: One deceives oneself only when one wants to deceive oneself. It is very, very different.
But within, one understands.
The Mother: Good. Well, then that’s enough, if one understands somewhere, that’s enough. Is that all? No questions?
Mother, on January 6 you said, “Give all you are, all you have, nothing more is asked of you but also nothing less.”
Yes.
What is meant by “all you have” and “all you are”?
The Mother’s succinct answer to this last question was: “… that each one is asked to give what he has, that is, all his possessions whatever they may be, and what he is, that is, all his potentialities — which corresponds to the consecration of one’s life and the giving of all one’s possessions — and that nothing more than this is asked. What you are, give that; what you have, give that, and your gift will be perfect; from the spiritual point of view it will be perfect. This does not depend upon the amount of wealth you have or the number of capacities in your nature; it depends upon the perfection of your gift, that is to say, on the totality of your gift.”
The Mother then recounts an ancient story about a poor woman, the visitor and the half-eaten mango. Do visit pages 14-16 of Questions and Answers, 1956, published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1984.

-          Jayalakshmi and Jayanthy