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

Vital well-being

Nature of the vital realm


An important stage on the way to transformation.


Botanical Name: Alcea rosea

Common Name: Hollyhock

Spiritual Significance: Integral offering of the Vital

 
The Vital being in us is the seat of impulses and desires, of enthusiasm and violence, of dynamic energy and desperate depressions, of passions and revolts. It can set everything in motion, build and realise; but it can also destroy and mar everything. Thus it may be the most difficult part to discipline in the human being.

-         The Mother


From the Editor’s Desk (Oct 2016)

This October issue of our Newsletter takes a look at the Vital being. It is vital to establish at the beginning, what is meant by the vital, in this context. The root word of vital is “vit” or “vita” meaning, in Latin, life or live (https://www.google.co.in/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=meaning20of%20 vital). In Sanskrit, it may be denoted as “PranaShakti”. The vital may entail “life-force”. In the parlance of Integral Psychology, it is a term used to denote one of the 5 primary parts and planes of the being, the others being the physical, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual. Sri Aurobindo defines the vital as that in us “…which seeks after life and its movements for their own sake and it does not want to leave hold of them if they bring suffering … or …. pleasure.” Desire is the vital’s principle support. All in us that is the substance of desire is, therefore, the vital. Further to this, Sri Aurobindo characterises the vital with these phrases: impulses, force-pushes, emotions, sensations, seeking after life-fulfillment, possession and enjoyment. Being the seat of desire and therefore passions, one can understand then the related tendencies of the vital towards disappointments and envisage violent impulses, violent reactions, revolt and depression as results of these disappointments.
 
According to Sri Aurobindo, many people live in their desires. They are wrapped in their own desires, in the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and the imaginations that these desires evoke and support. In The Synthesis of Yoga, he states that most of our works of life are a result of this soul of desire, including the ethical or religious and all those works that are garbed in altruism, philanthropy, self-sacrifice and self-denial. The desire soul is said to be a separative soul of the ego itself and therefore does everything for its own separate self–existence. What is our state of being like? Can we relate to this and arrive at some understanding at the way in which we operate?
 
On the opposite pole of Depression stands Enthusiasm as the vital’s driving force. When there is this enthusiasm, driven by whatever reason, one finds oneself full of power, of energy to get up and pursue the object of desire relentlessly. At such times, when one steps back to look within, one would recognize this force, this energy or power in us that drives us to carry out actions and actualize what was desired.
 
The Mother adds that the vital has three sources of subsistence. Firstly, the subsistence comes “from below, from the physical energies through the sensations”. This is probably best known to most of us, in the way we experience sensations received first by the sense organs of the body, the physical entity, and then translated into an enhanced experience, no matter of what level, by the brain. Secondly, the subsistence comes from the vital plane itself, from the universal vital forces. However, this is effected only when the vital is itself widened and vast enough, open and receptive enough to receive the forces from the universe. Thirdly, the subsistence comes from above, from spiritual forces and inspiration. To receive these high forces is possible only to a vital that is in a deep state of aspiration for progress.
 
What kind of vital does one wants to cultivate in oneself? The vital is said to be a great store-house of energy and of power when its instruments become more cultivated, sensitive, subtle, refined and illumined. This vital too can be “noble and heroic and disinterested” and ultimately turn exclusively to a high and elevated living, serving the Divine alone and not the ego.
 

Savitri


Their anger rushed galloping in brute attack,

A charge of trampling hooves on shaken soil;

Hate gripped hate and love broke in on love,

Will wrestled with will on mind's invisible ground;

Other's sensations passing through like waves

Left quivering the subtle body's frame.

He tore desire up from its bleeding roots

And offered to the gods the vacant place.

 

(Book three, Canto three)

 

An abyss yawned suddenly beneath her heart.

A vast nameless fear dragged at her nerves

As drags a wild beast its half-slaughtered prey.

 

(Book seven, Canto six)

Questions and Answers (Oct 2016)


Q: Sweet Mother, how can one draw on “the universal vital Force”?

 

The Mother: One can do it in many ways.

 

First of all, you must know that it exists and that one can enter into contact with it. Secondly, you must try to make this contact, to feel it circulating everywhere, through everything, in all persons and all circumstances; to have this experience, for example, when you are in the countryside among trees, to see it circulating in the whole of Nature, in trees and things, and then commune with it, feel yourself close to it, and each time you want to deal with it, recall that impression you had and try to enter into contact.

 

Some people discover that with certain movements, certain gestures, certain activities, they enter into contact more closely. I knew people who gesticulated while walking… this truly gave them the impression that they were in contact—certain gestures they made while walking… But children do this spontaneously: when they give themselves completely in their games, running, playing, jumping, shouting; when they spend all their energies like that, they give themselves entirely, and in the joy of playing and moving and running they put themselves in contact with this universal vital force; they don’t know it, but they spend their vital force in a contact with the universal vital force and that is why they can run without really feeling very tired, except after a very long time. That is, they spend so much that if they were not in contact with the universal force, they would be absolutely exhausted, immediately. And that is why, besides, they grow up; it is also because they receive more than they spend; they know how to receive more than they spend. And this does not correspond to any knowledge. It is a natural, spontaneous movement. It is the movement… a movement of joy in what they are doing—of joyful expenditure. One can do many things with that.

 

I knew young people who had always lived in cities—in a city and in those little rooms one has in the big cities in which everyone is huddled. Now, they had come to spend their holidays in the countryside, in the south of France, and there the sun is hot, naturally not as here but all the same it is very hot (when we compare the sun of the Mediterranean coasts with that of Paris, for example, it truly makes a difference), and so, when they walked around the countryside the first few days they really began to get a terrible headache and to feel absolutely uneasy because of the sun; but they suddenly thought: “Why, if we make friends with the sun it won’t harm us any more!” And they began to make a kind of inner effort of friendship and trust in the sun, and when they were out in the sun, instead of trying to bend double and tell themselves, “Oh! How hot it is, how it burns!”, they said, “Oh, how full of force and joy and love the sun is!” etc., they opened themselves like this (gesture), and not only did they not suffer any longer but they felt so strong afterwards that they went round telling everyone who said “It is hot”—telling them “Do as we do, you will see how good it is.” And they could remain for hours in the full sun, bare-headed and without feeling any discomfort. It is the same principle.

 

It is the same principle. They linked themselves to the universal vital force which is in the sun and received this force which took away all that was unpleasant to them.

 

When one is in the countryside, when one walks under the trees and feels so close to Nature, to the trees, the sky, all the leaves, all the branches, all the herbs, when one feels a great friendship with these things and breathes that air which is so good, perfumed with all the plants, then one opens oneself, and by opening oneself communes with the universal forces. And for all things it is like that.

 

Can one do the same thing when it is cold?

 

Yes, I think so. I think one can always do the same thing in all cases.

 

The sun is a very powerful symbol in the organization of Nature. So it is not altogether the same thing; it possesses in itself an extraordinary condensation of energy. Cold seems to me a more negative thing: it is an absence of something. But in any case, if one knows how to enter the rhythm of the movements of Nature, one avoids many discomforts. What makes men suffer, what disturbs the balance of the body is a narrowness, it is always a narrowness. It happens because one is shut up in limits, and so there is, as Sri Aurobindo writes here, a force which presses too strongly for these limits—it upsets everything.

 

Q: How can one conquer the obscure vital? Rather, how is it possible to change the obscure vital into a luminous vital?

 

The Mother: By the surrender of the vital, its opening to the light, and by the growth of consciousness.

 

Q: I have become very sensitive and get upset for the slightest reason.

 

The Mother: These are vital perturbations which show themselves in the course of the Sadhana and have to be eliminated. They must not be regarded as natural movements justified by the wrong actions of others and bound to continue so long as there is an external cause. The real cause is internal and it can be got rid of by yogic discipline, vigilance, self-detachment and a quiet but strict rejection.

 

(CWM, Volume 7&14, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

 

 

Opening to the Universal Vital forces


When one is in the countryside, when one walks under the trees and feels so close to Nature, to the trees, the sky, all the leaves, all the branches, all the herbs, when one feels a great friendship with these things and breathes that air which is so good, perfumed with all the plants, then one opens oneself, and by opening oneself communes with the universal forces. And for all things it is like that.

 

-          The Mother

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

 

The Mother says … on Vital well-being

 
 
 
 
Cheerful Vital Enthusiasm - Very precious if it persists in spite of difficulties.
 
It is the vital that gives enthusiasm, but the vital by nature is unsteady and always wants new things. Unless it is converted and becomes a docile servant of the Divine, things are always fluctuating.
 
***
 
Right attitude in the vital:
Self-confidence, mental and vital quiet faith in your own realisation and in the Divine’s help.
 
***
 
To harmonize the vital is a psychological masterpiece.
Happy is he who accomplishes it.
 
***


 
 

The vital governed by the Presence: the vital force rendered peaceful and disciplined by the Divine Presence.
***
 
Vital consecration: delightfully modest and fragrant, it smiles at life without wanting to draw attention to itself.
***
 
Spiritual awakening of the vital: it soars towards the heights in the hope of reaching them.
 
Trust in the Divine: very indispensable for the impulsive vital.
 
Vital trust in the Divine: full of courage and energy, no longer fears anything.
 
Vital joy in matter: the reward for abolishing selfishness.
 
Peace in the vital: the result of abolishing desires.
 
Silence in the vital: a powerful help for inner peace.
 
Sincerity in the vital: the sure road to realisation.
 
Light in the vital: one of the first steps on the long road.
-          The Mother
(CWM, Volume 14, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)
 

Garden at Twilight

Oil on Canvas, A painting by Sandhya

August - September Sunday Activities at the Centre- A glimpse


August 21st – Study of Secret of Veda:
 
Sukta 2 of Mandala 1 of the Rig Veda was chanted, translated and discussed. For our interpretation of the Veda, we drew on the Secret of the Veda by Sri Aurobindo and the Siddanjana of Sri Kapali Sastry. Translations and transliterations of the verses were made available.

 Sukta 2:

1.      Come, O Life beautiful, these soma-pressings are made ready. Drink of them. Hear the call. 

2.      Life, thy lovers laud thee with words that express Thee. They have pressed the Soma, they have known the Day. 

3.      Life, thy filling stream moves towards the giver, widening to drink the Soma. 

4.      Indra and Vayu, here are the pressings of Soma: come with your satisfying things: for the gladdeners desire you. 

5.      Vayu, O Indra, become conscious of the pressing of Soma, O rich in plenitude, hither running approach. 

6.      Vayu and Indra, come to the perfected gift of the presser of Soma, soon with thought inclined, O Leaders. 

7.      Mitra of purified understanding I call, and Varuna who destroys our hurters, together effecting a clear luminous thought. 

8.      By the Truth Mitra and Varuna whose touch is on the Truth, and who increase the Truth, enjoy a vast will-power. 

9.      For us Mitra and Varuna, seers, multiply-born, wide-housed, uphold the strength that does the work. 

Translated by Sri Kapali Sastry, Sri M.P. Pandit and Sri Aurobindo (line 9).

 August 28th – Study of Savitri:

 Savitri Book 1, Canto 4: The Secret Knowledge, was further discussed and studied, using the quotations by the Mother found in Meditations on Savitri. 

 September 4th – Study of Questions and Answers:

We discussed the Mother’s Q&A, focusing on why true joy is so transient while depression can be much more prolonged. We also explored why there is the mixture of pure psychic emotion and vital feeling in the heart.

September 11th - Study of Secret of Veda:

The final 6 lines of Sukta 2 of Mandala 1 of the Rig Veda were chanted, translated and discussed, with many relevant quotations from Sri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Veda and some input from the Siddanjana.

-          Jayalakshmi

Along the Way…Sep 2016 Walk Review


I had taken the responsibility to lead the September walk as Mr. Ramanathan was away. To me, it was a challenge as usually I do not go for the walks. The walk was at the usual East Coast Park. The park is a beautiful place and is always enchanting. We were 10 of us, including Uncle Kashyap. It is always a sheer pleasure to see his zeal and enthusiasm even at his age to attend the walks and take pictures of the participants. For this walk, we also had a very young participant, daughter of our young members, Anuvrat and Auropriya - probably one of the youngest participant till now.

 

I was walking with Uncle Krishnamurthy and Mr. Kiran. Uncle Krishnamurthy narrated his career life. It was yet another fine example of how life flourishes with sincerity, dedication and hard work. As we finished the walk, we realised that we had walked for about 6.3 kms. It is truly said that the journey of life becomes easy and pleasant with the right travellers.

 

We then proceeded to Arjun Madan's residence for prayers and brunch. He had created a very serene atmosphere and arranged for a delicious brunch.

 

The morning ended with watching Deepika, Ananya, Akash, Shiv and Priyanka rehearsing for an upcoming offering based on Gita for Krishna Manjari. Swati had taken up the challenge to prepare it with these 5 children.

 

It was yet another lovely Sunday which left me feeling blessed.

 

Om Namo Bhagvate Shri Aravindaya Sharnam Mama.




-          Anand Patel