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

Courage



Whatever the domain, whatever the danger, the attitude remains the same-calm and assured. 

Botanical Name: Calotropis
Common Name: Mudar, Crown plant, Bowstring hemp
Spiritual Significance: Integral Courage

The Immutable Courage

If men praise thee, O man, ‘tis well; nor ill,
If they condemn. Let fortune curst or boon
Enter thy doors or leave them as she will;
Though death expect thee ere yon sinking moon
Vanish or wait till unborn stars give light,
The firm high soul remains immutable
Nor by one step will deviate from the right.
Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (May 2016)

The virtue on the board this month is Courage. The root of courage is ‘cor’, a Latin word that denotes the heart or the seat of feelings (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/courage). The dictionary defines this word as making oneself do something that frightens one, that one does not usually do or want to do out of fear, but which one brings oneself to do with a gathering of force from within. Or it could be something that one does in the face of grief and pain, despite these. All in all, there is a call to exceed oneself. 

The Mother has explained courage as an opposite force of fear, “Courage is the total absence of fear in any form”. If we were to look at all the words that make up this above explanation of fear, if we open ourselves to the key ideas that define courage, then we would find therein all it takes for that bud of courage to open, take flower into a resplendent, indomitable force. The phrase, “total absence of fear” lays the condition for the state of courage. It is that there should be no iota of fear in one’s being. Fear is said to be an impurity, “one of the greatest impurities” which we should take care to abolish from us, to not let any of it enter within the consciousness.  Fear is an unpleasant and “crippling” emotion that is caused by the threat of pain, harm and danger (as in https://www.google.co.in/search?q=what+is+fear%3F&oq=what+is+fear%3F&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.2302j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8). It is crippling because, it does not let one move forward towards one’s goal, it holds one back. This holding back itself is a great cause of grieve in most of us, as experience would tell. Fear is a force, according to The Mother, that comes “most directly from the anti-divine forces which want destroy the divine action on earth;” 

There is another clause to the definition and that is, “in any form” - the absence of fear in any form. This leaves us little room for any excuses to harbour fear, giving it any justification at all. All these require some scrutiny of one’s inner spaces, to look at the movements of resistances, refusals of opportunities for progress, or to overcome a weakness. Usually, beyond all these movements, some kind of fear, of losing one’s identity, of what one has gained so far; fear of failure and fear of pain and loss are usually there. Usually these are needless fears that arise out of our smaller, restricted selves. These are also movements that arise when we are not in our highest best, when we are given to lower movements of the being, when we open our doors for the darkness to cloud in and make obscure our vision. Fear makes us doubt our highest potential or our trust in the highest we can perceive at better times of illumination. However, once we know well the movements from within, once we understand these movements and offer them up, asking for a transformation of these, the unfailing help does come and we arise out of our small, narrow spaces into vast vistas of progress and growth. 

As we know by now, this too takes time and effort from us. We need to want to rid ourselves of fear so that the force of courage can reign victorious within and lead us in life towards a greater purpose. The installation of courage in its rightful place within requires that one is “dauntless, and never indulge in that petty, small, feeble, nasty shrinking back upon oneself, which is fear”. Finally, may we all progress to state of integral courage, which means, “…whatever the domain, whatever the danger, the attitude remains the same – calm and assured.”

Savitri

Many are God's forms by which he grows in man;
They stamp his thoughts and deeds with divinity,
Uplift the stature of the human clay
Or slowly transmute it into heaven's gold.

He is the good for which men fight and die,
He is the War of Right with Titan Wrong,
He is Freedom rising deathless from hr pyre,
He is Valour guarding still the desperate pass
Or lone and erect on the shattered barricade
Or a sentinel in the dangerous echoing Night.

He is the crown of the martyr burned in flame
And the glad resignation of the saint
And courage indifferent to the wounds of Time.


(Book seven, Canto four)

Question of the month (May 2016)

Q: Mother, if one is cowardly and avoids a difficulty, if next time the difficulty is still greater, then how long does this continue?

The Mother: It continues until one stops being cowardly, till one understands that it's not something to be done. One can overcome one's cowardice. There isn't a thing one can't overcome if one wants to. 

(CWM, Volume 7, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)



Courage – Stories told by The Mother

I shall tell you the story of Vibhishan the hero. He braved a danger that was greater than the danger of death: he braved the fury of a king and gave him the wise advice that others dared not voice.
The demon-king of Lanka was Ravana of the Ten Heads.

Ravana had stolen lady Sita away from her husband and carried her off in his chariot to his palace on the island of Lanka.

Sumptuous was the palace and delightful the garden in which he imprisoned the princess Sita. Yet she was unhappy and every day she would shed tears, not knowing whether she would ever see her Lord Rama again.

Glorious Rama learnt from Hanuman the monkey-king where his wife Sita was held captive. He set out with noble Lakshman, his brother, and a great army of heroes to the rescue of the prisoner.
When the demon Ravana learnt of the arrival of Rama, he trembled with fear.

The advice he received was of two kinds. A crowd of courtiers thronged around his throne saying:
“All is well; have no fear, O Ravana. Gods and demons you have conquered: you will have no difficulty in conquering Rama and his companions, the monkeys of Hanuman.”

When these noisy counsellors had left the king, his brother Vibhishan entered, knelt and kissed his feet. Then he rose and sat at the right hand of the throne.

“O my brother,” he said, “if you wish to live happily and keep the throne of this beautiful island of Lanka, give back the lovely Sita, for she is the wife of another. Go to Rama and ask his forgiveness, and he will not turn away his face. Be not arrogant and foolhardy.”

A wise man, Malyavan, heard these words and was glad. He exclaimed to the king of demons:
“Take your brother’s words to heart, for he has spoken the truth.”
“Both of you have evil designs,” replied the king, “for you take the side of my foes.”

And the eyes of his ten heads flashed with such fury that Malyavan fled from the room in terror. But Vibhishan, in the bravery of his soul, remained.

“Sire,” he said, “in the heart of each man there is both wisdom and foolishness. If wisdom dwells in his breast, life goes well with him; if it is foolishness, all goes ill. I fear that you harbour foolishness in your breast, O my brother, for you give ear to those who give bad advice. They are not your true friends.”

He fell silent and kissed the feet of the king.
“Wretch!” cried Ravana. “You too are one of my enemies. Speak no more senseless words to me. Talk to the hermits in the woods but not to one who has been victorious over all the enemies he has fought.”

And as he shouted he kicked his brave brother Vibhishan.

So, with a heavy heart, his brother rose and left the king’s house.

Knowing no fear, he had spoken frankly to Ravana; and since the ten-headed one would not listen, Vibhishan had no choice but to leave.

Vibhishan’s act was one of physical courage, for he did not fear his brother’s blows; but it was also an act of mental courage, for he did not hesitate to utter words that the other courtiers, physically as brave as he, would not have let fall from their lips. This courage of the mind is known as moral courage.

***

Such was the courage of Moses, the leader of Israel, who demanded from the Pharaoh of Egypt the freedom of the oppressed Jewish people.

Such was the courage of Mohammed, the Prophet, who imparted his religious thought to the Arabs, and who refused to be silenced even though they threatened him with death.

Such was the courage of Siddhartha, the Blessed One, who taught the people of India a new and noble path, and was not terrified by the evil spirits who assailed him under the Bo-tree.
Such was the courage of Christ, who preached to the people: “Love one another,” and was not intimidated by the pontiffs of Jerusalem who forbade him to teach, nor by the Romans who crucified him.

So we have noted three kinds, three degrees of courage:

Physical courage for oneself.

Courage for the near one, the friend, the neighbour in distress, the threatened motherland.

Finally, the moral courage that enables one to stand up to unjust men, however powerful they may be, and to make them listen to the voice of right and truth.

***
In the following story, on the other hand, you will observe how calmly the people behaved and yet how brave they were in face of mortal peril at sea.

Towards the end of March 1910, a Scottish vessel was carrying passengers from Australia to the Cape of Good Hope. There was no trace of a cloud in the sky and the sea was calm and blue.
Suddenly the ship struck a reef six miles off the west coast of Australia.

Immediately the whole crew was on the move, each man hurrying as whistles were blown. But this noise was not the result of confusion and panic.

An order rang out: “Man the boats!”
The passengers put on their life-belts.
A blind man led by his servant walked across the deck. Everyone made way for him. He was helpless and all wanted him to be the first to be saved.

A short time later the ship had been evacuated, and soon it sank.

On one of the life-boats a woman began to sing. And in spite of the sound of the waves which at times drowned her voice, the oarsmen could hear the refrain which put strength into their arms:

Pull for the shore, sailors,
Pull for the shore.

The shipwrecked people reached the shore at last and were taken in by some good fishing folk.
Not one passenger had been lost. In this way four hundred and fifty people had saved themselves by their quiet courage.
-          The Mother


(CWM, Volume 2, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

The Mother Says:

There is no greater courage than that of recognising one’s own mistakes.

As flows a river…

As a spot of crimson on blue skies
Light begins its journey for the day.
Growing into a saffron ball at the horizon,
Ascends higher to spread its rays all over earth

As rivers from mountain peaks,
Flows the rays of light from sun.
Running as bountiful sources of energy,
They brighten the lives of all.


Sandhya 

March - April Sunday Activities at the Centre – A glimpse

March 20thReading from “The Secret of the Veda” by Sri Aurobindo:
                                                                                                                     
HYMNS OF THE ATRIS: Foreword (page 363 to 369)

Vedo veda-vidha-vyango vedango veda-vit-kavih (quote from Vishnusahasranama)

Lord Vishnu Himself is “VEDA” and HE embodies the eternal wisdom.

Sri Aurobindo has expressed his challenges in bringing out the meaning of the Veda. He says just a literal translation of the Veda would be a falsification of their sense and spirit. He has adopted a beautiful path in which the light of the Vedic truth gleams out from its veil of symbol and image.

Sri Aurobindo says that “Veda is a book of esoteric symbols, almost of spiritual formulae which masks itself as a collection of ritual poems.”

The meaning of the Vedas takes different “avatars” depending on the interpretation the Vedic poets or scholars give.

A few examples are given on how images of Lakshmi, Saraswati and Agni etc.... became prey to the ingenuity of the scholar who gropes for forced meaning amid obscurities and incongruities where the ancients bathed their souls in harmony and light.

The Foreword ends with “The secret of the Veda, even when it has been unveiled, remains still a secret”   
                                                                               
I would like to add an analogy to Veda in my experience.

The wonderful world around me like plants, flowers and the whole life systems all are like Vedas to me, I don’t know their origin or composition.


But I call them the names some scientists have given them, I chant slokas in my prayer which have come from some puranas and offer the beautiful flowers and enjoy the sweetness of several fruits blessed by our earth, wind, sun............ Everything is a secret, which with more revelation bring “Divine Ananda.”

March 27th – Savitri, an unending journey:

Meditation on “Savitri” with Huta’s Visuals: Book One, The Book of Beginnings, Canto One, Canto two – The Issue - Pictures 1 to 17.

The summary of the lines in pictures from Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo is given below:

Man is a being in ferment. A restless energy of life courses through the body and keeps it in a state of excitement. Passions, desires, emotions are born every moment and the nervous being is in tension. The mind is full of uncontrolled thought-activity without a moment’s respite. The mystic path demands a quieting of this multiple movement and a steady gathering of all the faculties around the chosen Ideal. This condition is usually a precursor of the advent or revelation of God. It prepares the human to receive the Divine.
It is in the supreme moments of crises that man often rises to undreamt of heights and shows capacities totally unexpected. The true vital being of courage and heroism, the true mental being of light, the true subtle-physical being of plasticity and endurance, are governed by the soul or psychic being.
Savitri had spent twelve months in the hermitage in the deep forests far from the life of busy humanity in her father’s kingdom. She had lived a life of a few wants and fewer calls amidst hills, high trees and the open skies and had grown in a unique way. For the very solitude in which she found herself opened out her being in communion with the Infinite. Everything in this unpolluted Nature linked her with the mightier life pulsating underneath and above. She had absorbed all and grown in stature.
This is the true balance at which man has to arrive: he must build up within himself a deep calm, a strength of silence which alone can bear without disturbance or breakdown the play of delight, the pressure of intense joy that comes in the fullness of the soul’s growth.
All her life there was a special Presence hovering around Savitri, nourishing her growth with heavenly strength and bliss. She had been put to birth on earth with a special purpose of the Divine and due care was lavished on her to ensure her progress, to guard her from all evil attentions that are ever on the lookout for openings to strike at the instruments or children of God.
The issue before Savitri was whether to accept life as it was characterised by Ignorance and its sequel Death or to fight to change its nature by eliminating the disfiguring agents. The only way to do it was to strike at the root of Death by refusing to accept his claims and affirming the Truth of Immortality instead. There was no ready-made way to this end and she was faced with the prospect of having to build it step by step across the slippery marshes of the dark god. She decided in favour of the more difficult but momentously decisive choice.
Life in this world presents a picture in which all seems to be determined by Fate. Fate appears to be not only the master but in its ramifications the very stuff of existence. Looked at from another view-point, all life appears to be but a heaving of a giant Desire on the bosom of which man is tossed like a cork. Every sweep of desire and the waves of desires are legions, pushes him hither and thither in his attempt to satisfy it; his life is a restless pursuit of an unending stream of desires. He is helpless and lives as a creature of circumstance without control, without direction.
As long as man remains a creature, for the most part unconscious and inert, he is nothing more than a plaything for the cosmic forces; he is a pawn. In the measure in which he is awake and develops this consciousness well enough to direct his own movements, he becomes a participant in the game, throwing his weight on any side he chooses.
Savitri was not a creature helplessly subjected to the operations of Time and Fate, at the mercy of every circumstance and impulsion that came by. She embodied a Consciousness and a Force that were not products of terrestrial workings but wholly independent of them. Her exterior was only a frame, a vibrant and wakeful frame, for the puissance that ensouled it.
The mind of man in this world is tied firmly to the tether of its physical bases. It can take flight in the skies of thought but always it has to return to the earth. The shadow of the primeval Ignorance pursues it wherever it goes into action and mars its perfection and effectivity. And life itself, organised in matter and enclosed in its formation, cannot proceed farther than the limits set to its career. Within that span life may spread itself, unearth secrets from the womb of Time, but once the fixed boundary is reached, life is devoured by Death. On all fronts the material world is a closed system.
 All such effort, conscious or unconscious, in man or nature, is aimed to produce or to find this balance. It is when this junction takes place in the subtle domains of existence that impossible is turned into possible.
This is precisely what Savitri did: she made her choice in the living depths of her soul, linked it with the Divine Will and brought it to bear upon the developing situation.

April 3rdReading from AIM Magazine, March 2016: Passages from Pathways to the Future:

No longer a hope but a certainty
Mother says that Sri Aurobindo’s New world has already taken birth, now it is no more a hope but a certainty, but it is up to us to put all our concentration, good will and to realise it soon, than let many years elapse before we see visible results.

The needed aspiration
There comes a moment when the body which is a slave to our vital urges may no longer feel it worth it to live for the present satisfaction and will be athirst for the Light which wants to manifest; they cry out for it, they find an intense joy in it and are sure of the Victory.

An ardent will for progress is Indispensable
What is indispensable is joyful renunciation of all that hampers our forward movement and set out with the ardent faith that future revelations and realisation are for us waiting there!

An exceptional hour
Mother says that if we could remember every second of our life that we are at an exceptional hour, a unique time, that we have this immense good fortune, this invaluable privilege of being present at the birth of a new world we could easily get rid of our old ways, participate  and become this NEW WORLD.

April 10thQuestions and Answers 1956, The Mother, 16 May 1956:
“In sum, it may be safely affirmed that no solution offered can be anything but provisional until a supramental Truth –consciousness is reached by which the appearances of things are put in their place and their essence revealed and that in them which derives straight from the spiritual essence. In the meanwhile our only safety is to find a guiding law of spiritual experience – or else to liberate a light within that can lead us on the way until that greater direct Truth - Consciousness is reached above us or born within us. For all else that is only outward, all that is not a spiritual sense or seeing, the construction, representations or conclusion of the intellect, the suggestions or instigation of the Life force, the positive necessities of physical things are sometimes half-lights, sometimes false lights that can at best only serve for a while or serve a little and for the rest either detain or confuse us.” Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL, vol20, pg 128-29.
The sadhak’s question to Mother “The necessities of physical things also? I don’t understand.
Mother explains that what Sri Aurobindo means is that all we think as Knowledge are only diminished knowledge mixed with ignorance. Even the physical need which we think without which the body grows weak and dies, is only a partial truth.
The example given is difference between the people who die of hunger without food for 8 days or so, but who do fasting for a higher purpose become healthier and get more detached from physical needs.
Sweet Mother, what is this “imperious law”, this “spiritual and supramental law”?
It is the truth of each being. Sri Aurobindo says that each one of us is endowed with a unique truth in us which we have to realise in the universe and the place we must occupy in the world.
It is very interesting that every glimpse of Sunday activity seems to open up a new pathway to our inner self!

-  Jayalakshmi

Along the Way…Apr 2016 Morning Walk - A Review

When Kiran Krishnamurthy suggested Upper Seletar Reservoir as the walk venue for April, I was very apprehensive about the turn out, since not many Soceitians, having been used to the walks in the East and West parts of Singapore, knew the existence of this place. However I was pleasantly surprised to see nearly 20 people turn up for the walk on a bright sunny day.
Upper Seletar Reservoir Park, I was told, has a rich history of nearly a hundred years and is one of the four reservoirs that bound Singapore’s nature reserves. It is therefore not a mystery to find the vast expanse of water not spoilt by human interference and remain pristine clear.
After the usual warm up exercise led by Saurab, all of us, young and old, set out to climbing up the majestic “Rocket Tower” (A five Storey Tower having nearly 100 steps) with all eagerness. What a sight to behold! A stunning 360ยบ panoramic view it was - vast sheet of water one side, lush green vegetation on the other side, golf course on the third and Singapore Zoo on the fourth - Divine Experience indeed. With great reluctance, we started climbing down to explore the other areas of the Reservoir before the Sun’s rays become intense.
We took a leisurely stroll admiring the serenity of the reservoir, followed by walk along the road covered by the over-arching rain tree branches forming a natural tunnel. Along the way we spotted many long tailed macaques looking curiously at us. Our Saurab had a pleasant shock, when, unknown to him a beautiful rainbow coloured macaw flew from nowhere and sat on the back of his shoulder. The young in us were very thrilled and vied with one another to hold the macaws in their hands and shoulders.
“In the very depths of your being, deep within your breast, the Divine Presence is always there, luminous and peaceful, full of love and wisdom. It is there so that you may unite with it and it may transform you into a luminous and radiant consciousness.
Together you and I shall try to silence all the external noise on the surface of your being, so that in silence and peace you may unite with this inner glory.
Then that day will become the day of your new birth.”
- The Mother (CWM Vol. 17, p. 372)

True – It is indeed a unique place for those who wish to escape from the concrete world we find ourselves surrounded by and soak in the magical glow of a quiet, relaxing place for contemplation.
Feeling exhausted after the walk, we reached the host’s place and were warmly welcomed by our ever cheerful Mr. Krishnamurthy. We had a sumptuous treat first for our ears when Mr. Krishnamurthy led us to spiritual ecstasy by his lecture on Sri Aurobindo’ s insight into  Ishavashya Upanishad and thereafter for our gastronomical tastes by Swati by her delicious home cooked food. Little Deepika with her Elsa Tiara celebrated her birthday month and exuded so much joy showing the guests around her new home.
Thank you Kiran and Swati for unearthing a hidden gem (Upper Seletar Reservoir) as the walk venue. May your new home bring you every joy your hearts wish for!

Ramanathan.

Goodness


Modest in appearance, does not make a show but is always ready to be useful. 

Botanical Name: Lobularia maritima
Common Name: Sweet Alison, Sweet alyssum
Spiritual Significance: Goodwill


An inner happiness abode in all,
A sense of universal abode of all,
A sense of universal harmonies,
A measureless secure eternity
Of truth and beauty and good and joy made one.

-       Savitri


From the Editor’s Desk (Apr 2016)

This month’s issue of the Newsletter visits the next quality on The Mother’s symbol, “goodness”. Goodness stems from the word, “good” which means, as an adjective, something desired or approved of and having the required qualities or of a high standard. As a noun, it is that which is morally right or of benefit or advantage to somebody. In this month’s reflection, it is taken as a noun. Goodness denotes the quality of being good. 
(https://www.google.co.in/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=meaning+of+goodness%3F).

Goodness that stems from deeper within oneself is worth exploring. This Goodness is usually universal, open, benevolent, magnanimous. It is a quality that perhaps comes to the fore when one has dealt with the many obstacles within, cleared more of the haze and the clouds, and perhaps developed a deeper trust and faith in the greater Good (or God) in oneself and the other, and in the evolutionary progression of the whole of life. It is that part in oneself that responds without failure to the goodness around; or seeks to chase away all ill and establish itself where it has to. Goodness breeds goodwill around and creates a positive energy that makes any work seem an easy task. Besides making the task easy, it helps complete the task with a greater degree of dexterity, to a higher degree of perfection. It helps actually in a happy completion of the task at hand. 

So what exactly is the condition of goodness within? Has one felt or known goodness? Is one able to cultivate this goodness within? Is it easy, or does it come easy? What could one do to have more and more of this goodness expressed more and more? Can one?

It is obvious that on one plane, what is goodness differs from one person to another. In collective living, such a goodness, small and limited, would hardly serve to be of any significance in terms of living a life. It has to be a good that is high just as it is wide, reaching out to all; it has to be goodness also that stems from one’s depth and hence devoid of all self-seeking and self-fulfilment. The Mother distinguishes goodness in two ways. One way is suffused with the sight of a consciousness wide and high, deep and all encompassing. Here is her view on goodness of that kind:

“You must be good for the love of goodness, you must be just for the love of justice, you must be pure for the love of purity and you must be disinterested for the love of disinterestedness; then you are sure to advance on the way”

The need of the hour is goodness of a more refined quality. It appears to be an integral part of an integral person. It is the same goodness that would enable one to be as The Mother points out.
  
“A tireless benevolence, clear-seeing and comprehensive, free from all personal reaction, is the best way to love God and serve Him upon earth.”

Perhaps, as always, if one wants to cultivate this quality of goodness in oneself, it helps to observe oneself stringently and watch when one is good, how one is good and of what quality of goodness one exudes. For often, we may assume oneself to be good in one’s own limited frame of reference. In this way, working on oneself while at work would be the greatest opportunity in understanding oneself and the goodness one is capable of and also its quality.

Savitri

A heavenlier passion shall upheave men's lives,
Their mind shall share in the ineffable gleam,
Their heart shall feel the ecstasy and the fire,
Earth's bodies shall be conscious of a soul;
Mortality's bond-slaves shall unloose their bonds,
Mere men into spiritual beings grow
And see awake the dumb divinity.
(Book Eleven, Canto One)
A secret air of pure felicity
Deep like a sapphire heaven our spirits breathe;
Our hearts and bodies feel its obscure call,
Our senses grope for it and touch and lose.
If this withdrew, the world would sink in the Void;
If this were not, nothing could move or live.
A hidden Bliss is at the root of things.

Awakened to the meaning of my heart
That to feel love and oneness is to live
And this the magic of our golden change,
Is all the truth I know or seek, O sage

(Book Twelve)


Question of the month (Apr 2016)

Q: “Sweet Mother, it is said that always the good and the true triumph, but we see that often in life it is otherwise. The wicked win, seem somehow to be protected from suffering.”

The Mother: (Mother laughs, then remains silent.) People always confuse two ideas. It is from the universal and spiritual point of view that, not positively the “good” as men understand it, but the True, the Truth, will have the last word; it goes without saying. That is to say, finally the Divine will be victorious. That is what is said, what all who have lived a spiritual life have said—it is an absolute fact. Men, in translating it, say, “I am a good boy, I live in accordance with what I think to be true, therefore, all existence should be good for me.” (Mother laughs) First of all, one’s own appreciation of oneself is always doubtful, and then, in the world as it is now, all is mixed, it is not the Law of Truth that openly manifests itself to the half-blind human consciousness—it will not even understand it. I mean, to be more exact, that it is the supreme vision that is realising itself constantly, but its realisation in the mixed material world does not appear to the ignorant human sight as the triumph of good, what men call good and true. But (to say it in a joking way) it is not the fault of the Lord, it is the fault of men! That is to say, the Lord knows what he is doing, and men do not understand it.

(CWM, Volume 11, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


Savitri – A poem of Truth, Beauty and Goodness

Such is the Mahabharata 'legend'. No summary or paraphrase, no attempt at translation, can do adequate justice to the bareness and strength and utter self-sufficiency of the original. Not a word is wasted, and as one reads the poem one feels that what needs to be said has been said; one accepts the story as something primordial and permanently significant like the Sun itself. There are other 'episodes'—the Nala and the Sakuntala, for example—in the Mahabharata that have also won the affections of many generations of men, but the Savitri stands apart even among them, verily a star. "The 'story of Savitri' is the gem of the whole poem", wrote Alfred Wallace, "and I cannot recall anything in poetry more beautiful, or any higher teaching as to the sanctity of love and marriage. We have really not advanced one step beyond this old-world people in our ethical standards."

Savitri is presented by the ancient poet as beauty, truth, goodness, and, above all, power incarnate. She is the gift of the Goddess Savitri and the fruit of eighteen years' severe austerities. She is so beautiful that like the Sun itself she keeps at a distance would-be wooers. She doesn't speak an untrue word even in small matters. She radiates goodness as a matter of course, and all benefit by it. But shakti or power is what makes Savitri unique among the heroines of legend and history. It is characteristic of her that she never weeps. Satyavan weeps aloud thinking of his parents, Dyumatsena weeps thinking of his son; Savitri does not weep—not when Narad speaks the cruel words, not when Satyavan dies, nor when, after coming back to life, he breaks down at the thought of his parents. Neither is it callousness, indifference, or want of feeling; rather is it the measure of her stern purpose, her poised readiness to face any eventuality whatsoever, her tranquil consciousness of her own strength.


(Excerpt from chapter ‘The Wonderful Poem’, Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri – A study of the cosmic epic, Dr. Prema Nandakumar)

Benevolence and Goodwill

A tireless benevolence, clear-seeing and comprehensive, free from all personal reaction, is the best way to love God and serve Him upon earth.

I mean a benevolence sincere and spontaneous in thought and speech and not a supposed benevolence in acts which is accompanied most often by a dreadful sense of condescending superiority serving chiefly as a platform for human vanity.

***

Indeed, the good will hidden in all things reveals itself everywhere to the one who carries good will in his consciousness.

This is a constructive way of feeling which leads straight to the Future.

***

One should keep goodwill and love constantly in his heart and let them pour out upon all with tranquility and with equanimity.

Benevolence makes life fragrant without attracting attention.

***

Your heart is the home of a luminous goodness; let it govern your whole being.
-       The Mother

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

Song of light


Pure rays of light break through the darkness
Welcoming the next future of goodness
Harbingers of a beautiful tomorrow
Spreading over flower-valleys their warm glow.

Graceful is a diya with smiling light
Golden is its flame-bud shining bright
Singing of musical light around everyone
Gathering all to its awakening tune.

Aflame the guiding light within us
One step at a time it calmly portrays
Our leader and our friend
Walks us to the light at the tunnel’s end.
-          Sandhya

*Image of diya sourced from internet

The Banyan Talks

Pre-dawn bonfire, a special moment of meditation and communion

The bonfire burned bright in the wee hours of Sunday as Aurovillians celebrated the 48th anniversary of the founding of the universal township by The Mother.


By custom, the Auroville fraternity which now has members from across 53 countries, gathers for the pre-dawn bonfire ceremony on two special days of the year — February 28 to commemorate the founding of the City of Dawn by Mirra Alfassa, spiritual associate of Sri Aurobindo, on the day in 1968 and Sri Aurobindo’s birth anniversary on August 15.


This year saw an extraordinary turnout for Auroville’s dawn bonfire, which has always attracted non-Aurovillians, from casual visitors to school children. For participants, the bonfire offers a special moment of meditation and communion.

The celebration is marked by playing a music score, the audio recording of The Mother’s address about Auroville’s founding principles, her vision of the experimental township being a place upon earth that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world.

The crux of the Auroville charter is also disseminated in French, English, Sanskrit and Tamil (the four official languages of the “City of Dawn”), which is essentially of being a place of an unending education and constant progress and representing a bridge between the past and the future.

A special team at Matrimandir is in charge of the arrangements of the bonfire ceremony which takes place in the amphitheatre. Floral decorations deck the floor in front of the bud-shaped urn here that contains a handful of soil from the countries across the world that shared The Mother’s vision for a universal township, where in her own words, “men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities” and strive to achieve the higher purpose of human unity.

(Article written by M. Dinesh Varma and sourced from The Hindu)

February - March Sunday Activities at the Centre – A glimpse

February 21st – The Mother’s 138th Birth Anniversary:
                                                                                                                     
The program started with Meditation with Sunil’s Music and Readings from “Prayers and Meditations”.

Following Darshan Message was read:
Concentrate in the Heart, Enter into it; go within and deep and far, as far as you can. Gather all the strings of your consciousness that are spread abroad, roll them up and take a plunge and sink down.
A fire is burning there, in the deep quietude of the heart; it is the divinity in you - your true being. Hear its voice, follow its dictates.

Musical offering by Members of the Society:
Musical Felicitations, Theme: “Mother” and Words from Mother & our Master about music

Shashilal Kashyap
Shailaja Kamarshi
Anand Venkat
Sridhar Raman
Saurab Nair (Guitar)
Preethi Saroja
Lakshmanan G (Tabla)

Like a garland of fragrant jasmine flowers and beautiful roses, the visual entries inter twined with musical offering by our dear friends, helped us experience the divinity of true music, reach our inner sanctum.

A glimpse of Mother’s words on music:

v  The role of music lies in helping the consciousness uplift itself towards the spiritual heights.
v  Indian music when sung by good musicians almost always has a psychic origin.
v  The best way of listening (to music) is this. It is to be like a still mirror and very concentrated.
v  It is one of the methods of inner opening and one of the most powerful.
v  The true and highest art must be the expression of a divine world brought down into this material world. All true artists have some feeling of this kind, some sense that they are the intermediaries between a higher world and this physical existence. If you consider it in this light, Art is not very different from yoga
-          The Mother
Closing meditation was followed by “Mahaprasad” offered by our society members.


February 28th – Savitri, an unending journey:

Meditation on “Savitri” with Huta’s Visuals: Book One, The Book of Beginnings, Canto One The Symbol Dawn - Pictures 11 to 23.

The summary of the lines in pictures from Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo is given below:

The Infinite in itself has neither a centre nor a circumference. But when it chooses to manifest, it collects itself for the purpose and formulates what is to be expressed. The Goddess of Eternal Light is such a self-formulation of the Infinite Divine, centering in herself the potentialities to be put out, shaping and holding in herself the blissful calm of the Ineffable.
The Goddess of Eternal Light forms the link between Timeless Existence and this creation in Time; she renders the truths of the former into terms proper to the latter. She is able to do it for she holds the knowledge of what is to be worked out and in what precise manner. She knows the steps, the course and the goal.
The smile of the Goddess is aglow with the Light of Life, and when she casts it on the existence below which lies dumb and still, under the spell of Inconscience, all there leaps to life; aspiration for her Light and Presence springs up everywhere and all creation is caught into a movement upwards.
The earth we inhabit gives no clear clue to the purpose of its existence. Obscure in its organisation, characterised by insentience in the mass, it is not even articulate enough. The best light that is found wherewith to guide our life-movement is that of an ignorance which is only a half-light, a state of awareness that is not in possession of the truth but seeking for it, partially turned towards the knowledge.
Life on earth is a field for the effort of man to build and speed up his evolution. He participates in the general movement of progression in Nature, fights his way against the elements that oppose or arrest his advance—both within himself and without—, now rises, now falls but is always on the move. This whole sequence of his march onwards through all its ups and downs, struggles and anxieties, joys and griefs, goes on under the watchful eye of the presiding Spirit which is more concerned with the broad lines of development rather than with happenings of local and temporary significance. These circumstances are left to themselves to work out their bearings in the overall situation.
With all his limitations of body, life-energy, sense-instrumentation and groping reason, man is at the head of the evolutionary movement of Nature. He sums up in himself all the past effort of the evolution and represents a departure from the mode of unconscious development followed so long by Nature in her creations. For in him there is the birth of an overt consciousness and he can follow, direct and speed up the course of his evolution, unlike other creatures who are led by Nature in her own tardy process. Of all the creatures on earth, man alone stands erect, lifts up his head from the ground ward position and looks straight upward. He alone has the capacity to think, to see ahead, to plan, to control the course of life. He is the rightful leader of the evolutionary progression in Nature.
As a manifestation of the Divine Consciousness, Savitri came with all the power, luminous wideness and joy characteristic of that Consciousness but these powers could not function in their effectively on the human soil. For in this rushing movement of Time, with no sure foothold, life stands precariously organised in brittle, small and divided forms and being unable to assimilate the workings of powers beyond its accustomed range, contrary to its habitual nature, it rejects them.
The gods have their splendours but also their limitations. For they are typal beings, fixed in their nature beyond which they cannot move. If they want to change, progress into a state that is greater than theirs, e.g. to become one with the Divine, they are obliged to come to this Earth, the field of evolution and progress. They have to take a human birth or draw upon human help in order to progress. It is given to man to change, to progress, to evolve because he has within him a psychic being—a soul whose nature it is to progress towards the Divine. Other orders of beings are not possessed of this privilege. Thus it is that a god assuming human birth, human life-load, is richer in potentialities than his compeer in his own world.
Savitri was aware that the pain and the dread that were gnawing at her were only her individual share of the evil of pain and suffering that is the malady affecting all life in this world at its very roots. She decided to strike at this affliction at its fundamental base and for that purpose sharpened her resolution with the intensities of the suffering she was put to. Each pang added an edge.
Immobile in herself, she gathered force, This was the day when Satyavan must die. (last 2 lines from Canto 1)
That is the condition for all effective evocation of power. It is on a calm base that strength can build itself and acquire unfailing power. Poised in the silence of the soul, holding her nature from all movement, Savitri summoned the force of the Spirit within to collect itself for action.

February 29th – Darshan Day special meditation:

The Supramental Manifestation Day

Following the meditation we read about the significance of the day from the AIM magazine - The Golden Day.

During the common meditation on Wednesday 29th February 1956,

Mother writes: 
“This evening the Divine Presence, concrete and material, was there present amongst you. I had a form of living gold, bigger than the universe, and I was facing a huge and massive golden door which separated the world from the Divine.

As I looked at the door, I knew and willed, in a single movement of consciousness, that “the time has come”, and lifting with both hands a mighty golden hammer I struck one blow, one single blow on the door and the door was shattered to pieces.

Then the Supramental Light and Force and Consciousness rushed upon earth in an uninterrupted flow”.

This was followed by silent meditation.



March 6th – Reading from February 2016 AIM Magazine: Times of Transition

The Hour of God:

Birth pangs of a New world

This passage tells that how new creations can happen with only the destruction of the old ones.

Kala Purusha is already risen to his dreadful work of destroying the old knowledge and beliefs and establish the first Satya yuga of Kali.

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in chapter 11 that, No construction is possible without a corresponding destruction of its own previous condition. Today has arisen from the graves of yesterday. Krishna introducing Himself here as “I am the MIGHTY WORLD – DESTROYING TIME”, who has manifested to wipe out the generation that has suffered decay in its own false sense-of-values and wrong assumptions about life and its purpose.

The first outbreak of a New Dawn

This passage talks about how Truth is the same at all times but takes different forms. It is inward Eternal taking the joy of outward Mutability. In India, the chosen land, it is preserved and awakens with effective Avatar

The time for revolutionary changes

This passage tells how the higher power is compelling people to do what they must......
It is like a sort of revulsion with stagnation. A thirst for something which is ahead and appears more luminous, better.

The confusion is there to teach us

To avoid confusion and disorder caused by pre planning, thinking and arrangements, enter into the consciousness where we can see only one Being, one Power and live day to day!

The extremes have become more extreme

Mother tells that she believes in the golden force pressing down that has no material consistence and yet seems to be tremendously pressing upon Matter, thus to compel it to turn towards Divine inwardly. At the same time bad is becoming worse.

The values have intensified

The Supramental makes the creation more sensitive to higher power.
All our common sense, all our logic, all our practical sense is dashed to the ground! Useless! It has no force anymore; It no longer corresponds to what is. It is truly a new world,


March 13th – Q&A from The Mother, Complete Works Volume 8 followed by Om Choir

Q: Sweet Mother, Where does our true spiritual life begin?

The Mother: True spirituality begins when one is in constant communion with one’s psychic being and conscious of this divine presence and the will become a constant collaborator with divine will.

Q: Sweet Mother, I would like to have the explanation of a sentence. Sri Aurobindo has said somewhere, “Materially you are nothing, spiritually you are everything.”

The Mother: One who is conscious of his psychic being and united with the divine within is infinitely greater than a ruler upon earth or a millionaire who possesses considerable material power but is unconscious of his psychic being. 
The more we read about psychic presence in us, our aspiration to get in contact with that intensifies!

This was followed by Om Choir.
-  Jayalakshmi