Guiding Light of The Month

O LORD, Thou art my refuge and my blessing, my strength, my health, my hope, and my courage. Thou art supreme Peace, unalloyed Joy, perfect Serenity. My whole being prostrates before Thee in a gratitude beyond measure and a ceaseless worship; and that worship goes up from my heart and my mind towards Thee like the pure smoke of incense of the perfumes of India. - The Mother

Physical Culture

 A promise of good health.

Botanical Name: Dombeya Xcayeuxii
Common Name: Pink-ball
Spiritual Significance: Conquest over the Greed for Food


A divine force shall flow through tissue and cell
And take the charge of breath and speech and act
And all the thoughts shall be a glow of suns
And every feeling a celestial thrill.


- Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (Aug 2016)

On this special month of Sri Aurobindo’s 144th Birth Anniversary, we invoke His Grace upon the Earth, on all events acting as turning points in Its long history, and on all beings living these moments, whether in bewilderment, frustration, in innocent ignorance or in detachment; to arm all with a keen  vision of the purpose of every line and curve and to gift all with the unshakeable certainty of His victory over all forces that resist and oppose, so that he may reign over us all, possessor of His Kingdom.  

We continue with our series on “Integral Health” taking a closure look at physical culture, one of whose component is food. In this issue, we take a look at food in our lives. A few questions directed towards ourselves may set the stage for further inquiry into the topic of food. What does one fancy as food? What types of food draws one? Has one observed the effect of certain kinds of food and beverages on one’s body? Does one crave for certain kinds of food? Does one eat out of habit? Does one eat only when hungry or despite it? How does one eat? Does one eat, in a group or does one eat in solitude; fast or slow? Which is better? Does one eat consciously or unconsciously? What are the effects of these two attitudes on the body? What is the food that one eats made of? Do we know the details of every element that enters into our body during the consumption of food? These questions may seem far too many and unnecessary since eating is, simply, eating! Or, is it? 

It is said that the food that one eats makes one. The Taittiriya Upanishad mentions that from earth are made herbs, from herbs, food, and from food, seed and from seed, man. Man is an essence of the food he consumes. The physical sheath of the human body has been referred to as the annamayakosha for this reason, in our ancient texts. Our civilization, since yore has given food the highest status of divinity, “Annam Parabrahma Swaroopam”. Also, only that food was worth eating, that was offered as a sacrifice to the gods. It is quite easy to relate to this idea of the sacrifice of food to the human frame, as the food consumed is literally ‘burned’ in the body to release the energy needed for sustenance and carrying out worthy activities that would uplift oneself and the environment one lives in, in whatever way.  However, food and the act of consuming food, when considered as a pleasure leads to bondage, imbalance and suffering as a result of the imbalance. In the end, the being meant to gain from food, actualising his purpose of birth on earth, is indeed prevented from this. So, how do we, at our own personal levels really view food? 

We are now aware that one needs to take a certain conscious attitude towards food. First it would help to know why we eat. Next, how and how much we eat and lastly what we eat and for what purpose. It would help one to be conscious of the impact of food on the state of our mind, vital and physical beings. We can even strive harder and trace out its impact on our inner and innermost vistas. Perhaps, we could start with a glass of water regularly consumed, or the milk we drink before going to bed. If we are into the habit of consuming alcohol, even that can be consciously followed to understand its impact on one’s state of being, if at all consciousness is still left. These activities may seem too tiresome, but they can be quite interesting if one really wants to know the intimate relationship between the food one consumes and one’s state of being. Even better, if carried out with the rectitude of a true investigator out after some truth he is seeking, then, the subject of food can become even more meaningful and intimate, since it probably makes oneself or one’s being.

Savitri

The Spirit’s tops and Nature’s base shall draw
Near to the secret of their separate truth
And know each other as one deity.

The Spirit shall look out through Matter’s gaze
And Matter shall reveal the Spirit’s face.
Then man and superman shall be at one
And all the earth become a single life.

(Book Two, Canto Three)


Questions and Answers (Aug 2016)

Q: Is taking very little food helpful in controlling the senses?

The Mother: No, it simply exasperates them—to take a moderate amount is best. People who fast easily get exalted and may lose their balance.

Q: If one takes only vegetarian food, does it help in controlling the senses?

The Mother: It avoids some of the difficulties which the meat eaters have, but it is not sufficient by itself.”

Q: Sweet Mother, if the agony of a chicken can attack us, so too can that of a beetroot or a carrot, can’t it?

The Mother: For all that, I believe the chicken is more conscious than the beetroot. (Laughter) But I ought to tell you my own experience. Only I was thinking this was not something common.
In Tokyo I had a garden and in this garden I was growing vegetables myself. I had a fairly big garden and many vegetables. And so, every morning I used to go for a walk, after having watered them and all the rest; I used to walk around to choose which vegetables I could take for eating. Well, just imagine! There were some which said to me, “No, no, no, no, no.”... And then there were others which called, and I saw them from a distance, and they were saying, “Take me, take me, take me!” So it was very simple, I looked for those which wanted to be taken and never did I touch those which did not. I used to think it was something exceptional. I loved my plants very much, I used to look after them, I had put a lot of consciousness into them while watering them, cleaning them, so I thought they had a special capacity, perhaps. But in France it was the same thing. I had a garden also in the south of France where I used to grow peas, radishes, carrots. Well, there were some which were happy, which asked to be taken and eaten, and there were those which said, “No, no, no, don’t touch me, don’t touch me!” (Laughter)

(CWM, Volume 6, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


A Simple life: Stories by The Mother on Food and Drink

One thing is certain, that a simple life has never harmed anyone, while the same cannot be said for luxury and over-abundance. Most often, the things which are of no use to men are also those which cause them harm.

In the reign of the famous Akbar, there lived at Agra a Jain saint named Banarasi Das. The Emperor summoned the saint to his palace and told him:

“Ask of me what you will, and because of your holy life, your wish shall be satisfied.”
“Parabrahman has given me more than I could wish for,” replied the saint.
“But ask all the same,” Akbar insisted.
“Then, Sire, I would ask that you do not call me again to your palace, for I want to devote my time to the divine work.”

“Let it be so,” said Akbar. “But I in my turn have a favour to ask you.”
“Speak, Sire.”

“Give me some good counsel that I may bear in mind and act upon.”
Banarasi Das thought for a moment and said:
“See that your food is pure and clean, and take good care, especially at night, over your meat and drink.”
“I will not forget your advice,” said the Emperor.

In truth the advice was good, for healthy food and drink make a healthy body, fit to be the temple of a pure mind and life.

But it so happened that the very day on which the saint visited the Emperor was a fast-day. And therefore Akbar would only have his meal several hours after midnight. The palace cooks had prepared the dishes in the evening and had placed them in plates of gold and silver, until the time of fasting should be over.

It was still dark when Akbar had them brought before him. Despite his haste to take some nourishment, he suddenly remembered the words of Banarasi Das: “Take care over your meat and drink.” So he examined the plate before him carefully and found that the food was covered with brown ants. In spite of all precautions, these ants had crept in and spoiled the Emperor’s meal.
Akbar had to send away the dishes, and this incident strongly impressed on his mind the useful advice he had received.

For you will understand that Banarasi Das had not intended to warn Akbar merely against brown ants, but against anything in his diet that might not be good for the health of his body or mind.
Many diseases come from an unhealthy diet.
One who knowingly sells unwholesome products is in fact making an attack on the lives of his fellow-citizens. And unwholesome products are not only those that are adulterated or spoilt but all those that may be in any way harmful to eat.

The story does not tell us that Akbar found brown ants in his cup as well, and yet Banarasi Das advised him to be careful about his drink. For there are indeed cups which look bright to the eye and which seem to contain a pleasant and cheering drink but which are nevertheless full of danger for men. Foremost among them are those which contain alcohol.

The Prophet Mohammed taught that there was sin in wine and gambling; and therefore all who respect the words of the Koran abstain from wine and gambling to their profit.

But on the other hand there are many good people all over the world who find it right to take spirits. We respect their opinions. But these same people cannot assert that it is wrong not to take alcohol.

If, then, there are people who think that it is wrong to take fermented drinks, and others, on the contrary, who think that it is good, yet there is no one to maintain that it is wrong not to take any. It is also debatable whether or not it is useful to drink, but no one would dream of claiming that it is harmful not to do so. And everyone would agree that in any case it is cheaper.

In every country there are societies for temperance or even total abstinence, whose members undertake not to touch spirits. And in certain towns it is even forbidden to sell them.

But in other places, the use of alcohol, formerly unknown, is spreading. In India, for example, where abstinence had reigned for so many centuries, alcohol has been introduced, more terrible than any demon in the ancient legends. For the terrible Rakshasas of which they speak could be harmful only to the body, whereas alcohol has even the power to kill thought and destroy character. So first of all it hurts the body. It hurts the children of parents who drink to excess. It hurts the intelligence of man and enslaves those who should be the servitors of humanity.

For every one of us should be a servant of humanity; and if by our food or our drink we weaken our minds or bodies, we are then only bad servants unable to perform their task. What happens to the soldier when his weapon is broken, to the sailor when his ship has lost its masts, to the horseman when his horse is lamed? And what can a man do if he loses possession of his most precious faculties?

He no longer even has the worth of a good animal, for the animal at least avoids eating and drinking things that may harm it.

The Roman poet Virgil liked to live in the countryside. He admired the powerful bullock that draws the plough and cuts the furrow where the next harvest will spring up. Strong is his body, powerful his muscles and hard is his labour year in and year out.

And Virgil adds: “Wine and too much feasting are unknown to him. He feeds on grass, quenches his thirst from running rivers and crystal streams; and no care disturbs his peaceful slumber.”

Be temperate to be strong.
You would be offended if someone were to tell you, “Be weak.”
Moderation increases the strength of the strong and preserves the strength of the weak.
Remember the advice of Banarasi Das:

Take good care over the dish.
Take good care over the glass.


(CWM, Volume 2, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)
(Image sourced from internet)

Food of Tomorrow

There will also be some attempt to find the food of tomorrow.

The whole process of assimilation which makes you so heavy—it takes so much of a person’s time and energy—that should be done beforehand, you should be given something which is immediately assimilable, like the things they are making now; for example they have vitamin pills and proteins which can be assimilated directly, nutritious elements which are found in one thing or another and which don’t have much volume—a huge quantity is needed to assimilate very little. Now that they are skillful enough in chemistry, it could be simplified.

People do not like this simply because they take an intense pleasure in eating; but when you no longer take pleasure in eating, you still need nourishment without wasting your time on it. An enormous amount of time is wasted—time in eating, in digesting, and all the rest.

(CWM, Volume 13, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


Conquest over the greed for food

It is an inner attitude of freedom from attachment and from greed for food and desire of the palate that is needed, not undue diminution of the quantity taken or any self-starvation.

One must take sufficient food for the maintenance of the body and its strength and health, but without attachment or desire.
***

It would be a hundred times more effective to never waste food than to cut down one meal as a show and to eat more before and after.

A strong, ardent, sincere campaign against the waste of food is essential and full-heartedly I approve of it.

Let the inmates of the Ashram show their goodwill and collaboration in never eating more than they can digest and never ask for more than they can eat.

***

If you prefer the pleasures of the palate to the union with the Divine, it is your own look-out and I have nothing to say, except that I do not approve, but each one must be free to choose whether he will rise above his lower nature or sink down in the material pit. My help is always for those who choose the higher path.
***

Greed for anything concerning physical consciousness, so-called necessities and comfort of whatever nature―this is one of the most serious obstacles to sadhana.

Each little satisfaction you get through greed is one step backward from the goal.

-          The Mother

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

The Mother on Savitri

It does not matter if you do not understand it - Savitri, read it always. You will see that every time you read it, something new will be revealed to you. Each time you will get a new glimpse, each time a new experience; things which were not there, things you did not understand arise and suddenly become clear. Always an unexpected vision comes up through the words and lines. Every time you try to read and understand, you will see that something is added, something which was hidden behind is revealed clearly and vividly. I tell you the very verses you have read once before, will appear to you in a different light each time you re-read them. This is what happens invariably. Always your experience is enriched, it is a revelation at each step. 

But you must not read it as you read other books or newspapers. You must read with an empty head, a blank and vacant mind, without there being any other thought; you must concentrate much, remain empty, calm and open; then the words, rhythms, vibrations will penetrate directly to this white page, will put their stamp upon the brain, will explain themselves without your making any effort.

Savitri alone is sufficient to make you climb to the highest peaks. If truly one knows how to meditate on Savitri, one will receive all the help one needs. For him who wishes to follow this path, it is a concrete help as though the Lord himself were taking you by the hand and leading you to the destined goal. And then, every question, however personal it may be, has its answer here, every difficulty finds its solution herein; indeed there is everything that is necessary for doing the Yoga. He has crammed the whole universe in a single book. It is a marvellous work, magnificent and of an incomparable perfection.

You know, before writing Savitri Sri Aurobindo said to me, I am impelled to launch on a new adventure; I was hesitant in the beginning, but now I am decided. Still I do not know how far I shall succeed. I pray for help. And you know what it was? It was - before beginning, I warn you in advance - it was His way of speaking, so full of divine humility and modesty. He never... asserted Himself. And the day He actually began it, He told me: I have launched myself in a rudderless boat upon the vastness of the Infinite. And once having started He wrote page after page without intermission, as though it were a thing already complete up there and He had only to transcribe it in ink down here on these pages.

In truth, the entire form of Savitri has descended " en masse" from the highest region and Sri Aurobindo with His genius only arranged the lines — in a superb and magnificent style. Sometimes entire lines were revealed and He has left them intact; He worked hard, untiringly, so that the inspiration could come from the highest possible summit. And what a work He has created! Yes, it is a true creation in itself. It is an unequalled work. Everything is there, and it is put in such a simple, such a clear form; verses perfectly harmonious, limpid and eternally true. My child, I have read so many things, but I have never come across anything which could be compared with Savitri. I have studied the best works in Greek, Latin, English and of course in French literature, also in German and all the great creations of the West and the East, including the great epics; but I repeat it, I have not found anywhere anything comparable with Savitri. All these literary works seem to me empty, flat, hollow, without any deep reality — apart from a few rare exceptions and these too represent only a small fraction of what Savitri is. What grandeur, what amplitude, what reality: it is something immortal and eternal He has created. I tell you once again there is nothing like it in the whole world. Even if one puts aside the vision of the reality, that is, the essential substance which is the heart of the inspiration, and considers only the lines in themselves one will find them unique, of the highest classical kind. What He has created is something man cannot imagine. For, everything is there, everything.

It may then be said that Savitri is a revelation, it is a meditation, it is a quest of the Infinite, the Eternal. If it is read with this aspiration for Immortality, the reading itself will serve as a guide to Immortality. To read Savitri is indeed to practise Yoga, spiritual concentration; one can find there all that is needed to realise the Divine. Each step of Yoga is noted here, including the secret of all other Yogas. Surely, if one sincerely follows what is revealed here in each line one will reach finally the transformation of the Supramental Yoga. It is truly the infallible guide who never abandons you; its support is always there for him who wants to follow the path. Each verse of Savitri is like a revealed Mantra which surpasses all that man possessed by way of knowledge, and I repeat this, the words are expressed and arranged in such a way that the sonority of the rhythm leads you to the origin of sound, which is OM.

My child, yes, everything is there: mysticism, occultism, philosophy, the history of evolution, the history of man, of the gods, of creation, of Nature. How the universe was created, why, for what purpose, what destiny - all is there. You can find all the answers to all your questions there. Everything is explained, even the future of man and of the evolution, all that nobody yet knows. He has described it all in beautiful and clear words so that spiritual adventurers who wish to solve the mysteries of the world may understand it more easily.

But this mystery is well hidden behind the words and lines and one must rise to the required level of true consciousness to discover it. All prophecies, all that is going to come is presented with a precise and wonderful clarity. Sri Aurobindo gives you here the key to find the Truth, to discover the Consciousness, to solve the problem of what the universe is. He has also indicated how to open the door of the Inconscience so that the light may penetrate there and transform it. He has shown the path, the way to liberate oneself from the ignorance and climb up to the superconscience; each stage, each plane of consciousness, how they can be scaled, how one can cross even the barrier to death and attain immortality. You will find the whole journey in detail, and as you go forward you can discover things altogether unknown to man. That is Savitri, and much more yet. It is a real experience - reading Savitri. All the secrets that man possessed, He has revealed, - as well as all that awaits him in the future; all this is found in the depth of Savitri. But one must have the knowledge to discover it all, the experience of the planes of consciousness, the experience of the Supermind, even the experience of the conquest of Death. He has noted all the stages, marked each step in order to advance integrally in the integral Yoga.

All this is His own experience, and what is most surprising is that it is my own experience also. It is my sadhana which He has worked out. Each object, each event, each realisation, all the descriptions, even the colours are exactly what I saw and the words, phrases are also exactly what I heard. And all this before having read the book. I read Savitri many times afterwards, but earlier, when He was writing He used to read it to me. Every morning I used to hear Him read Savitri. During the night He would write and in the morning read it to me. And I observed something curious, that day after day the experiences He read out to me in the morning were those I had had the previous night, word by word. Yes, all the descriptions, the colours, the pictures I had seen, the words I had heard, all, all, I heard it all, put by Him into poetry, into miraculous poetry. Yes, they were exactly my experiences of the previous night which He read out to me the following morning. And it was not just one day by chance, but for days and days together. And every time I used to compare what He said with my previous experiences and they were always the same. I repeat, it was not that I had told Him my experiences and that He had noted them down afterwards, no, He knew already what I had seen. It is my experiences He has presented at length and they were His experiences also. It is, moreover, the picture of Our joint adventure into the unknown or rather into the Supermind.
  
These are experiences lived by Him, realities, supracosmic truths. He experienced all these as one experiences joy or sorrow, physically. He walked in the darkness of inconscience, even in the neighbourhood of death, endured the sufferings of perdition, and emerged from the mud, the world-misery to breathe the sovereign plenitude and enter the supreme Ananda. He crossed all these realms, went through the consequences, suffered and endured physically what one cannot imagine. Nobody till today has suffered like Him. He accepted suffering to transform suffering into the joy of union with the Supreme. It is something unique and incomparable in the history of the world. It is something that has never happened before. He is the first to have traced the path in the Unknown, so that we may be able to walk with certitude towards the Supermind. He has made the work easy for us.Savitri is His whole Yoga of transformation, and this Yoga appears now for the first time in the earth- consciousness. And I think that man is not yet ready to receive it. It is too high and too vast for him. He cannot understand it, grasp it, for it is not by the mind that one can understand Savitri. One needs spiritual experiences in order to understand and assimilate it. The farther one advances on the path of Yoga, the more does one assimilate and the better. No, it is something which will be appreciated only in the future, it is the poetry of tomorrow of which He has spoken in The Future Poetry. It is too suble, too refined, - it is not in the mind or through the mind, it is in meditation that Savitri is revealed.

And men have the audacity to compare it with the work of Virgil or Homer and to find it inferior. They do not understand, they cannot understand. What do they know? Nothing at all. And it is useless to try to make them understand. Men will know what it is, but in a distant future. It is only the new race with the new consciousness which will be able to understand. I assure you there is nothing under the blue sky to compare with Savitri. It is the mystery of mysteries. It is a super-epic, it is super-literature, super-poetry, supervision, it is a super-work even if one considers the number of lines He has written. No, these human words are not adequate to describe Savitri. Yes, one needs superlatives, hyperboles to describe it. It is a hyper-epic. No, words express nothing of what Savitri is, at least I do not find them. It is of immense value — spiritual value and all other values; it is eternal in its subject; and infinite in its appeal, miraculous in its mode and power of execution, it is a unique thing, the more you come in contact with it, the higher will you be uplifted. Ah, truly it is something! It is the most beautiful thing He has left for man, the highest possible. What is it? When will man know it? When is he going to lead a life of truth? When is he going to accept this in his life; this yet remains to be seen.

My child, every day you are going to read Savitri; read properly, with the right attitude, concentrating a little before opening the pages and trying to keep the mind as empty as possible, absolutely without a thought. The direct road is through the heart. I tell you, if you try to really concentrate with this aspiration you can light the flame, the psychic flame, the flame of purification in a very short time, perhaps in a few days. What you cannot do normally, you can do with the help of Savitri. Try and you will see how very different it is, how new, if you read with this attitude, with this something at the back of your consciousness; as though it were an offering to Sri Aurobindo. You know it is charged, fully charged with consciousness; as if Savitri were a being, a real guide. I tell you.

Whoever, wanting to practise Yoga, tries sincerely and feels the necessity for it, will be able to climb with the help of Savitri to the highest rung of the ladder of Yoga, will be able to find the secret that Savitri represents. And this without the help of a Guru. And he will be able to practise it anywhere. For him Savitri alone will be the guide, for all that he needs he will find in Savitri. If he remains very quiet when before a difficulty, or when he does not know where to turn to go forward and how to overcome obstacles, for all these hesitations and incertitudes which overwhelm us at every moment, he will have the necessary indications, and the necessary concrete help. If he remains very calm, open, if he aspires sincerely, always he will be as if led by the hand. If he has faith, the will to give himself and essential sincerity he will reach the final goal.

 Indeed, Savitri is something concrete, living, it is all replete, packed with consciousness, it is the supreme knowledge above all human philosophies and religions. It is the spiritual Path, it is Yoga, Tapasya, Sadhana, everything, in its single body. Savitrihas an extraordinary power, it gives out vibrations for him who can receive them, the true vibrations of each stage of consciousness. It is incomparable, it is truth in its plenitude, the Truth Sri Aurobindo brought down on the earth. My child, one must try to find the secret that Savitri represents, the prophetic message Sri Aurobindo reveals there for us. This is the work before you, it is hard but it is worth the trouble.


(An excerpt from ‘Sweet Mother, Luminous notes’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

The Banyan Talks…Health and Wellbeing at Auroville


Sante Clinic

Most allopathic doctors tend to define health as an absence of disease, and that is also the dictionary definition. But Auroville’s is a positive definition which includes the whole being. It’s a balance and harmony between the different planes and levels of the being. In Santé there is far more space:
now there is the potential to have five practitioners from different healing modalities working at the same time.

To integrate the different modalities they need to meet regularly, so there is a common tea-room and a meeting room where they can meet and discuss common and chronic cases, and watch educational videos together.

On a practical level, this collaborative approach means that every practitioner working there has access to the same patient records. And they will have regular patient care conferences where the practitioners discuss complex cases, and hear about exceptional results or discoveries.

The next step will be to create individually-tailored plans for patients. One of the important things is that the patient must become part of the healing process. It’s no longer the doctor who is God and the patient merely the passive recipient. Fortunately, in Auroville we already have an environment where the people who are seeking health are ready to take responsibility for themselves, cooperate, learn and change.

In Sant̩, the patients will be able to choose which primary discipline they want because they will have all the major primary disciplines Рallopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda, acupuncture, bodywork Рunder one roof.


(Source: AVI UK Newsletter)

June - July Sunday Activities at the Centre- A glimpse

June 19th  - Study of Secret of Veda:

We continued discussing ‘The Doctrine of the Mystics’ in The Secret of the Vedas. We focused on the world system as described in the Vedas - with its different layers of consciousness stretching from the world of matter to the realm of Sat-Chit-Ananda. 

June26th Meditations on Savitri:
                                                                                                                     
We watched The Meditations on Savitri video, focusing on Book I Canto IV, 'The Secret Knowledge'pictures 1 to 11. This chapter concerns the hidden truth of humanity and evolving nature. 

July 3rd – Readings from All India Magazine:

We discussed All-India Magazine Issue June 2016 on faith and its nature. In particular we discussed Sri Aurobindo’s commentary on the line from the Gita  that states how the 'soul in man, is, as it were, made of shraddha, a faith, a will to be, a belief in itself and existence, and whatever is that will, faith or constituting belief in him, he is that and that is he.’

July 10th – Readings from Questions and Answers:

We discussed the Mother’s Q&A, Vol. 8, p. 188 on the relation between the ‘mystic light’ in the heart and Intuition, in the conception of Sri Aurobindo.


-  Jared

Along the Way… Jul 2016 Morning Walk - A Review

On Sunday 3rd July, we went for a walk at Pasir Ris Park. There were only 3 people walking. Four of us went roller skating.

We roller skated uphill and downhill and oohed in delight.

We loved going downhill on our skates because we zoom down.

We then went to the mangroves where there were so many crabs. We learnt fascinating facts about mangroves like how horse shoe crabs are related to scorpions and spiders.

The brunch that followed was very tasty and delightful. We especially loved that everything there was home-made, even fizzy juice.

We are looking forward to the next walk.
-          Anjali and Sophia Curic
***

For a person living in Western Singapore, to reach Pasir Ris Park located in East Singapore promptly at 8 am was indeed a challenge especially in present times when MRT has curtailed its operating hours to start at 7 am instead of the usual 6 am. After facing such a challenge on a sultry Sunday and reaching the Meeting Point just in time, it was indeed refreshing to see our host Sanjay and his son Akash waiting for us.

The small group split into 2 – one group of 4 going for roller skating while the rest 3 started the walk. Contrary to my apprehension about searing heat, what I witnessed was ample cover from mature trees and cool breeze blowing in from the shoreline.

 It was a very enjoyable walk for me discussing with our young Akash (Secondary 1 Student in Singapore) about the Singapore School Admission systems and the education system in some special schools.

Charming and tranquil, Pasir Ris Park (meaning “narrow beach”) is indeed a great walk venue with its idyllic seaside setting (which surprisingly is a long beach though “narrow”).

With multiple trails and an excellent Mangrove Boardwalk, visitors can explore the beauty of the mangrove forest and get close to its inhabitants.

One cannot help but admire how nature in the form of Mangrove forests acts as a buffer between land and sea thus helping to halt erosion of the coast by breaking the strong forces of waves; it is also a haven for crabs which have excavated innumerous burrows for inhabitation in the mangrove.

It is a treat to watch crabs running for cover to reach the burrows once they get disturbed by human movements.

“Love of Nature is usually the sign of a pure and healthy being uncorrupted by modern civilisation. It is in the silence of a peaceful mind that one can best commune with Nature.”
The Mother 13 Nov 1969, Pg 401, Vol 16, CWM

The three-storey Bird Watching Tower located within the mangrove forest allows bird enthusiasts to observe birds in their natural surroundings and to enjoy the vast expanse of the sea before us.

Additionally it is a joy to see families with young kids having uninterrupted fun at the playground, one of the largest in Singapore and enjoying the thrill of navigating one’s way through the maze in the Maze Garden there.

-          S.Ramanathan