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

Mahashakti

Pure, immaculate, gloriously powerful


Botanical Name: Nelumbo nucifera 'Alba'
Common Name: Sacred lotus, East Indian lotus
Spiritual Significance: Aditi-the Divine Consciousness


She is the golden bridge, the wonderful fire.
The luminous heart of the unknown is she,
A power of silence in the depths of God;

- Savitri


From the Editor's Desk (Jun 2016)

We conclude with the series of themes we took up in relation to The Mother’s symbol with this edition of the newsletter. From the four inner petals representing Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati into the twelve outermost petals representing the forces emanating from these powers, we now move inwards to the innermost centre, representing the Mahashakti. In referring to the parts of The Mother’s symbol, we commonly use the word, ‘petal’. There are, as mentioned above, 4 inner petals and 12 outer petals. The Mother’s symbol is but the symbolic design of the White Lotus, which represents Supreme Consciousness. Mahashakti reigns supreme in the centre of the Lotus. She is, according to The Mother, the form of the Mother as universal creation or Divine Consciousness. She is Aditi, the One who is second to none.

What do all these mean in our earthly existence? What is the place of the symbol in our lives? Where do we place the symbol, where hold it, and how interpret? To the novice getting acquainted with the symbol for the first time, the symbol offers hope that all the positive virtues do exist and some can be cultivated in one, or others built from the strength of the few virtues one may perceive to already have in one’s possession. To another, it may appear that these are virtues owned by the Great World Mother, and that it is possible for one to bathe in different sets of lights as one invokes the presence of any one of the four emanations of the Mahashakti – Maheshwari. Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. To some, rightly, it is The Divine Mother Herself who is represented by the symbol, in all the myriad forms of manifestation in the phenomenal world, even the world beyond.  It is a reminder of her existence, the symbol, at once, upon sight, bringing to one’s consciousness her many forms and qualities that operate in this vast existence that is Her making and Her playfield. 

Mahashakti is eminent everywhere, in all the elements of the creation, ruling over these while being eminent. Sri Aurobindo explains Mahashakti’s presence and workings as such, in Her three modes of existence. Firstly, She is the original supreme Shakti, stands above the worlds and links the creation to the ever unmanifest mystery of the Supreme.” Next, She is the “Universal, cosmic Mahashakti…..creates all these beings and contains and enters, supports and conducts all these million processes and forces.” Lastly, he speaks of how Mahashakti, in her individual manifestation, brings these two ways of being, “brings the powers of these two vaster ways of her existence, makes them living and near to us and meditates between the human personality and the divine Nature.”

Mahashakti, then, is not an entity who is out there, looming far above and remote from us. Far from it, She is the very substance of each being, living or not, active or inert, and exerts Her force through her many forms and emanations. The Mother is there in every creation, working, through Her emanations and forces, to bring about Her manifestation in the physical world. 

Can we know Her concretely, working in our own being? As always, Sri Aurobindo casts his pearl of wisdom in a concrete assurance. He says, “… you can come become aware when you enter into touch of oneness with the Conscious Force that upholds us and the universe.” It is for us now to ponder over this profound statement and work out ways towards this unfolding and knowing with Her alone for our Support and Guide.

Divine Consciousness Emerging

Oil on canvas, a painting by The Mother


(Image sourced from www.motherandsriaurobindo.in)

Savitri

The Formless and the Formed were joined in her.
Immensity was exceeded by a look,
A Face revealed the crowded Infinite.

At the head she stands of birth and toil and fate,
In their slow round the cycles turn to her call;
Alone her hands can change Time’s dragon base.
Hers is the mystery the Night conceals;
The spirit’s alchemist energy is hers;
She is the golden bridge, the wonderful fire.

(Book 3, Canto 2)

O Wisdom-Splendour, Mother of the universe,
Creatrix, the Eternal’s artist Bride,
Linger not long with thy transmuting hand
Pressed vainly on one golden bar of Time,
As if Time dare not open its heart to God.

(Book 3, Canto 4)


Question of the month (Jun 2016)

Q: Do you not refer to the Mother (our Mother) in your book, “The Mother”?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.


Q: Is she not the “Individual” Divine Mother who has embodied “the power of these two vaster ways of her existence”―Transcendent and Universal?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.


Q: Has she not descended here (amongst us) into the Darkness and Falsehood and Error and Death in her deep and great love for us?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Q: There are many who hold the view that she was human but now embodies the Divine Mother and her “Prayers”, they say, explain this view. But, to my mental conception, to my psychic feeling, she is the Divine Mother who has consented to put on her the cloak of obscurity and suffering and ignorance so that she can effectively lead us―human beings―to Knowledge and Bliss and Ananda and to the Supreme Lord.

Sri Aurobindo: The Divine puts on an appearance of humanity, assumes the outward human nature in order to tread the path and show it to human beings, but does not cease to be the Divine. It is a manifestation that takes place, a manifestation of a growing divine consciousness, not human turning into divine. The Mother was inwardly above the human even in childhood, so the view held by “many” is erroneous.


Q: I also conceive that the Mother’s “Prayers” are meant to show us―the aspiring psychic―how to pray to the Divine.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

(SABCL, Volume 25, The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


April - May Sunday Activities at the Centre- A glimpse

April 17th- Savitri, An Unending Journey:

Meditation on “Savitri” with Huta’s Visuals: Book One, The Book of Beginnings, The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of The Soul’s Release-Pictures 1-7

The summary of the lines in pictures from Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo is given below:.
The growth of the world in evolution is a two-way process. It proceeds by an upward effort from below and a downward descent from above. The aspiration from the ascending Soul on earth calls for a response from the Grace of the Divine that oversees from the supreme heights of the Spirit. When conditions on earth are ready for a next turn which cannot be effected without an intervention from the Divine or when they are helplessly heading towards chaos as a result of some wrong deviation, a pull is exerted by the aspiring will in creation and a special manifestation of the Divine takes place in answer to it. The Avatar appears.
Such an aspiration from humanity focussed through the will of King Aswapathy brought a special puissance of the Divine Mother into human birth as Savitri.
A miracle is always the result of an intervention of some element that transcends the existing scheme of things and its laws. It is abrupt too. There comes a sudden precipitation of a process, a working that is proper to another scheme of organisation, into this world of ours governed by its own laws. And it is because the happening is contrary to the operations natural to this plane of existence that it is called a miracle.
This is precisely what happened in the case of Aswapathy. Something super-human, divine, came into the human frame of the king and he ceased to be merely human. Both the human and the divine normally distinct and different in structure and functioning joined together.
The natural limits of Aswapathy, the human person, got erased. The little, self-divided and self-centred ego-personality, usual to man, dissolved and he became one with the Divine Being. All bounds mental, vital, subtle-physical had been acted upon and increasingly stretched by the Power at work till they gave way and all divisions ceased. The consciousness formally confined to human boundaries flowed out and joined the larger divine consciousness, of which it is in truth a segment.
Aswapathy crossed the barrier of the physical consciousness which shuts off all the regions of subtler existence and found himself at the entrance of a new world which was guarded by the sentinel of the gods, the mystic serpent that allows no one to cross unless he has fulfilled the conditions demanded: the leaving behind of the all too human elements of desire and ego. To enter the higher worlds we must cast away the legacies of the lower ones.
There is a continuous struggle between the hosts of Darkness and the children of Light.The Asuras, the Rakshasas, the Demons and their brood of falsehood and egoism on the one hand and the Gods and their Powers of radiance on the other for the domination and possession of this creation of the Divine. And man, as the spear-head of this evolving manifestation, is the special centre of this battle. His life is a field for the concentrated projection of this universal combat, and a soul gained or lost is a significant victory or setback for either side. At each moment of his life, man is confronted with the choice between good and evil, with their protagonists ever on the watch to seize the situation.
On this level of manifestation, all the truths formulated by the mind and warring with each other on the lower planes of mentality converge into the one Truth of which they were the deflected rays. All recover this element of truth in this fulfilling meeting. All ideas, which are really sparks of the One Reality caught and formulated in its conceptual mould by the mind as if they were independent truths, recover their source and fall into the right pattern.

April 24th - Darshan Day - The Mother’s final arrival in Pondicherry:
                                                                                                                     
After the meditation music, Mr KV Rao read the Darshan day message of 24 April 2016.
“We read, we try to understand, we explain, we try to know.
But a single minute of true experience teaches us more than millions of words and hundreds of explanations.
So the first question is: “How to have the experience?”
To go within yourself, is the first step.
And then, once you have succeeded in going within yourself deeply enough to feel the reality of that which is within, to widen yourself progressively, systematically, to become as vast as the universe and loose the sense of limitation.
These are the first two preparatory movements.
And these two things must be done in greatest possible calm, peace and tranquillity. This peace, this tranquillity brings about silence in the mind and stillness in the vital.
This effort, this attempt must be renewed very regularly, persistently. And after a certain lapse of time, which may be longer or shorter, you begin to perceive a reality that is different from the reality perceived in the ordinary, external consciousness.”
-          The Mother
But to silence the powerful vital needs a lot of will power!
Then we went onto read the chapter “THE SEVEN HIDDEN YEARS” - from the book- THE MOTHER - THE STORY OF HER LIFE by the Author Georges Van Vrekhem which talks about the initial years of the Mother’s experience in Pondicherry.

May 1st - Reading from the AIM Magazine, February 2016 -Times of Transition:

We focused on articles to relate how the state of humanity determines God’s treatment: ferocious for the dull and obstinate material; gracious for the open and humble and wise. Yet even in the hammering of God and in the midst of destruction - a new world is prepared and will grow. Indeed, the greater the destruction, the greater the future creation. The next article discusses the special destiny of India which has preserved the truth of the ancient Satya Yuga as in a seed and in her soul - and it is therefore awakening India which holds the key to humanity’s future: ‘In India alone can the effective Avatar appear to the nations.' 

May 8th - Questions and Answers 1956, The Mother, 28th March 1956:

“If a departure from the world and its activities, a supreme release and quietude were the sole aim of the seeker, the three great fundamental realisation would be sufficient for the fulfilment of his spiritual life: concentrated in them alone he could suffer all other divine or mundane knowledge to fall away from him and himself disencumbered depart into the eternal silence. But he has to take account of the world and its activities, learn what divine truth there may be behind them and reconcile that apparent opposition between the divine truth and the manifest creation which is the starting point of most spiritual experience.”
(The Synthesis of Yoga, p.110)
Q: I don’t understand the meaning. Why is this opposition the starting point of the spiritual experience?
The Mother: When difficulties and disappointments push us into the realm of spirituality it is usually negative. But it can lead to positive need to know the Divine and unite with Him.
And there are a few people who have the fortune of perfect inner and outer harmony and they feel no need to think of the divine.
The pathway to real spiritual life is to see the indwelling thought of god in every atom and behind every appearance and reconcile all oppositions. It is the ascent first and descent next to bring the “Moksha Samrajyam” (Self Realisation) on our beautiful Mother Earth!

May 15th - The Secret of the Veda, by Sri Aurobindo

Read pages 370 and 371 from “The Doctrine of the Mystics”
Vedas have the high spiritual substance which was experienced by our Seers. But at a later time when they became abstract to the human mind, Upanishad was born with philosophical structure and modified Veda with the intellect and logical dogma. But Vedas are still like a free flowing river free from any obstructing dams.
The intellect even with mastering of all Upanishads cannot experience “THAT” which is beyond names and forms though given many names and forms unless it  breaks past the physical and mental consciousness and soars like Hansa ( the celestial bird) to merge with the Divine Light within and without!
On the lighter side, I feel it is like my granddaughter drawing sun god with dark glasses, moustache and sun screen lotion thinking He is a human and protecting from His own rays!
Reading the passages from the Secret of Veda, we experience an “Ananda” not found in my dry glimpse!

-  Jared and Jayalakshmi

Along the Way… May 2016 Morning Walk - A Review

The wonderful tradition of a monthly walk followed by meditation and brunch has led to over 300 walks without any break so far. Young and old members alike walk together in warm camaraderie. Isn’t it simply wonderful?

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.  Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes.  All is a miracle."-   Thich Nhat Hanh

On 1st May 2016, we gathered for a walk at the ECP. Although the group turned out to be tiny, comprising of only three walkers, their enthusiasm was not dampened by the warm and sultry weather.

We set off along the clean walking path meandering along the sea. The park seemed to be buzzing with fellow walkers, joggers, campers, cyclists. We had to be careful lest we bumped into someone!

The warm yellow morning sun beckoned from the blue sky. The faintly cool breeze from across the azure sea waters nudged gently. Birds sang out from amidst the bright green leaves of the trees. The sea waves churned into white foam and hit the shores.

This part of the ECP was in direct line of the flight path that airplanes use for descent to Singapore. It was fun to see the planes coming lower and lower until at one point I felt as if I could put up my hand overhead to almost touch one.

We walked for almost an hour before we decided to retrace our steps. Just at that moment we gladly welcomed another walker who had braved the heat to join the walk. The hosts too later joined the party to escort us back to their home.

It was delightful to meet all the friends who had gathered for meditation. In the peaceful ambience of the Patel residence. We all warmly remembered Mr. Patel and his innumerable wonderful qualities. Cute baby Anushna Rao was introduced to her admiring audience even as she slept blissfully. The walk ended on a note of gratitude to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo for guiding us now and in the future.

We express our thanks to Archana and Upasana and their husbands for superbly managing the walk in the absence of their parents (Mr. Ashok & Mrs. Bhakti Patel) who had to leave for overseas due to a family emergency.

We look forward to the next month’s walk and hope more members will join with full gusto to fully enjoy the benefits of walking and resultant good health.

“Jack Lalanne once said walking was the king of exercises. He is right in that walking improves not only our mood, but our endurance and strength as well.  Walking keeps the joints lubricated and nourished, strengthening the ligaments and tendons throughout our ankles, hips and knees. Walking works to strengthen our heart and lungs by increases in our respiratory and heart rates.”


-          Anju Aditya

Like Mount Fuji

An excerpt from chapter ‘Like Mount Fuji’, On the Mother
In answer to a pointed question as to how Mirra had struck the Okhawas when they knew her, whether they had seen then any indications of her vast spiritual reserves and her future divine ministry at Pondicherry. Dr. Okhawa paused a little, and spoke slowly, as if carefully weighing his words:
No...no ... we were too near her, we all lived in the same house for about a year we were too intimate ....
You know Mount Fuji ... you can't appreciate it in full when you are very near, when you are too close ... some distance is needed ... from a distance, ah! it is grand, it is breath-taking, it is sublime!
She was like Mount Fuji, Mirra was....
After a significant pause, Dr. Okhawa added slowly:
But even then, even forty years ago, I could see that Mirra was deeply mystical, she was often withdrawn, with a faraway look, a look sometimes of infinite anxiety, sometimes of ecstatic happiness....
And also - at the same time - Mirra was thoroughly scientific, thoroughly practical. That was an extraordinary combination....
I can see that Pondicherry is a great spiritual centre today. I am not surprised ... I am happy!
That was a marvellously sincere and marvellously accurate assessment. Dr. Okhawa seemed to be a little exhausted, and he quietly listened when Gokakand I described the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of ,Education that was coming up under the aegis of the Ashram and the direct inspiration and guidance of the Mother.

(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 12 – “Like Mount Fuji”, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)

(Image of Mount Fuji sourced from https://in.pinterest.com/pin/374572893986285763/)

Mother of Dreams

Goddess supreme, Mother of Dream, by thy ivory doors when thou standest,

Who are they then that come down unto men in thy visions that troop, group upon group, down the path of the shadows slanting?

Dream after dream, they flash and they gleam with the flame of the stars still around them;

Shadows at thy side in a darkness ride where the wild fires dance, stars glow and glance and the random meteor glistens;

There are voices that cry to their kin who reply; voices sweet, at the heart they beat and ravish the soul as it listens.

What then are these lands and these golden sands and these seas more radiant than earth can imagine?

Who are those that pace by the purple waves that race to the cliff-bound floor of thy jasper shore under skies in which mystery muses,

Lapped in moonlight not of our night or plunged in sunshine that is not diurnal?

Who are they coming thy Oceans roaming with sails whose strands are not made by hands, an unearthly wind advances?

Why do they join in a mystic line with those on the sands linking hands in strange and stately dances?

Thou in the air, with a flame in thy hair, the whirl of thy wonders watching,
Holdest the night in thy ancient right, Mother divine, hyacinthine, with a girdle of beauty defended.

Sworded with fire, attracting desire, thy tenebrous kingdom thou keepest,

Starry-sweet, with the moon at thy feet, now hidden now seen the clouds between in the gloom and the drift of thy tresses.

Only to those whom thy fancy chose, O thou heart-free, is it given to see thy witchcraft and feel thy caresses.

Open the gate where thy children wait in their world of a beauty undarkened.

High-throned on a cloud, victorious, proud I have espied Maghavan ride when the armies of wind are behind him;

Food has been given for my tasting from heaven and fruit of immortal sweetness;

I have drunk wine of the kingdoms divine and have heard the change of music strange from a lyre which our hands cannot master;

Doors have swung wide in the chambers of pride where the Gods reside and the Apsaras dance in their circles faster and faster.

For thou art she whom we first can see when we pass the bounds of the mortal,

There at the gates of the heavenly states thou hast planted thy wand enchanted over the head of the Yogin waving.

From thee are the dream and the shadows that seem and the fugitive lights that delude us;

Thine is the shade in which visions are made; sped by thy hands from celestial lands come the souls that rejoice for ever.

Into thy dream-worlds we pass or look in thy magic glass, then beyond thee we climb out of Space and Time to the peak of divine endeavour.


(SABCL, Volume 5, Collected Poems, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)