Guiding Light of The Month

I feel as though I have done nothing yet, as though I have not lived the spiritual life, only entered the path that leads to it, it seems to me that I know nothing, that I am incapable of formulating anything, that all experience is yet to begin. - The Mother

Vital well-being

Mastering Vital Energy


Radha's Consciousness in the Vital - Perfect attachment to the Divine replaces all vital attractions and passions.

Botanical Name: Clitoria ternatea
Common Name: Blue Pea
Spiritual Significance: Radha's Consciousness in the Vital


An inner law of beauty shapes our lives;
Our words become the natural speech of Truth,
Each thought is a ripple on a sea of Light.


-         Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (Jan 2017)

New Year Greetings to all from the Newsletter team and the Society! A beginning is always welcome, and even more so, a new beginning. Inevitably, anyone who has put oneself on the path of inner progress is greeted by new beginnings every now and then. Let us mark this special New Year of 2017 collectively as a year of new beginnings for everyone. The first month of this year continues to contemplate on our well-being and particularly, on the Vital Well-Being, which is a direct result of the mastering of the vital energies of the being. In the previous few issues, we looked at the nature of the vital being and some of the challenges it poses us. 

How can the vital energy be put at the service of the aspiring being surging towards a life divine? It is important to know that the vital being has “that dynamic energy which makes no difficulty too difficult for it; but it must be on the right side.” Now, what is this ‘right side’? We can surmise that being on the wrong side amounts to it using its energy to gain a satisfaction over its desires, to gain some fruits out of its works and when denied, withdrawing into a depression and sullen inaction or wrong action. Sri Aurobindo says that “interfered with by the attractions and repulsions, the acceptances and refusals, the satisfactions and dissatisfactions, the capacities and incapacities of the life-energy in the body it is, … limited in its scope and, secondly, forced in these limits to associate itself with all these discords of the life in Matter. It becomes an instrument for pleasure and pain instead of for delight of existence.” However, the collaborating vital of the seeker, the aspirant is quite of another nature. Sri Aurobindo writes, “The proper function of the life-energy is to do what it is bidden by the divine principle in us, to reach to and enjoy what is given to it by that indwelling Divine and not to desire at all.” When the vital is consecrated to the Divine, then, “…all human problems would move harmoniously to their right solution.” 

Where do we stand in light of this? What can we do to help ourselves, to will that the vital, as far as possible, be in a state of well-being, and bring us smoothly on the path of inner discovery and the ultimate meaning and purpose of our lives? The Mother offers two ways in preparing it and making it ready to collaborate with the divine will: “The first concerns the development and use of the sense organs. The second the progressing awareness and control of the character, culminating in its transformation.” 

The sense organs of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch stand at the doorsteps of the vital, opening to it vast vistas of experiences. Instead of considering these only as needed for our normal day-to-day existence, one can take upon one the task of developing them further. Here is an interesting prospect that The Mother puts before us: “…  the ability to widen the physical consciousness, project it out of oneself so as to concentrate it on a given point and thus obtain sight, hearing, smell, taste and even touch at a distance.” Having perfected the sense organs to these magnitudes, there is then the call to offer to these only the highest, the subtlest and the most “beautiful and harmonious, simple, healthy and pure” stimulus. This asks for the ability of discrimination, ‘viveka’ and the necessity of exercising a conscious choice. Next, we are invited to be vigilant about our nature, catching hold, at each instance, what needs to be weeded out and what needs to be planted afresh and what needs to be nurtured, leading to a transformation of the nature. In all these, a constant aspiration and a calling of the Grace for help and sustenance must take a permanent place in the consciousness of the aspiring soul.  Then will the vital well-being be.

Savitri

The harmony of a rich culture’s tones
Refined the sense and magnified its reach
To hear the unheard and glimpse the invisible
And taught the soul to soar beyond things known,
Inspiring life to greaten and break its bounds,
Aspiring to the Immortal’s unseen world.

(Book four, Canto two)

A joy in the world her master movement here,
The passion of the game lighted her eyes:
A smile on her lips welcomed earth’s bliss and grief,
A laugh was her return to pleasure and pain.


(Book seven, Canto five)

Energy Inexhaustible

One of the most powerful aids that yogic discipline can provide to the sportsman is to teach him how to renew his energies by drawing them from the inexhaustible source of universal energy.
Modern science has made great progress in the art of nourishment, which is the best known means of replenishing one’s energies. But this process is at best precarious and subject to all kinds of limitations. We shall not speak about it here, for the subject has already been discussed at great length. But it is quite obvious that so long as the world and men are what they are, food is an indispensable factor. Yogic science knows of other ways of acquiring energy, and we shall mention two of the most important.

The first is to put oneself in relation with the energies accumulated in the terrestrial material world and to draw freely from this inexhaustible source. These material energies are obscure and half unconscious; they encourage animality in man, but, at the same time, they establish a kind of harmonious relationship between the human being and material Nature.

Those who know how to receive and use these energies are usually successful in life and succeed in everything they undertake. But they are still largely dependent on their living conditions and their state of bodily health. The harmony created in them is not immune from all attack; it usually vanishes when circumstances become adverse. The child spontaneously receives this energy from material Nature as he expends all his energies without calculating, joyfully and freely. But in most human beings, as they grow up, this faculty is blunted by the worries of life, as a result of the predominant place which mental activities come to occupy in the consciousness.

However, there is a source of energy which, once discovered, is never exhausted, whatever the outer circumstances and physical conditions of life may be. It is the energy that can be described as spiritual, and is received no longer from below, from the inconscient depths, but from above, from the supreme origin of the universe and man, from the all-powerful and eternal splendours of the superconscient. It is there, all around us, permeating everything; and to enter into contact with it and to receive it, it is enough to aspire sincerely for it, to open oneself to it in faith and trust, to widen one’s consciousness and identify it with the universal Consciousness.

At the outset, this may seem very difficult, if not impossible. Yet by examining this phenomenon more closely, one can see that it is not so alien, not so remote from the normally developed human consciousness. Indeed, there are very few people who have not felt, at least once in their lives, as if lifted up beyond themselves, filled with an unexpected and uncommon force which, for a time, has made them capable of doing anything whatever; at such moments nothing seems too difficult and the word “impossible” loses its meaning.

This experience, however fleeting it may be, gives a glimpse of the kind of contact with the higher energy that yogic discipline can secure and maintain.

The method of achieving this contact can hardly be given here. Besides, it is something individual and unique for each one, which starts from where he stands, adapting itself to his personal needs and helping him to take one more step forward. The path is sometimes long and slow, but the result is worth the trouble one takes. We can easily imagine the consequences of this power to draw at will and in all circumstances on the boundless source of an energy that is all-powerful in its luminous purity. Weariness, exhaustion, illness, old age and even death become mere obstacles on the way, which a persistent will is sure to overcome.


(CWM, Volume 12, On Education, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

How to use the Vital Energy?

"The vital being in us is the seat of impulses and desires, of enthusiasm and violence, of dynamic energy and desperate depression, of passion and revolt. It can set in motion everything, build up and realise, it can also destroy and mar everything.”

Education of the vital proceeds in various stages. Firstly, a good amount of life energy must be generated by the vital. When the body functions in its optimum health and fitness, and there is harmony between the body, the vital and the mind, plenty of vital energy is generated in the system. This balanced state of the various parts of the being also creates a very congenial condition for contact with the universal energy from which, if one is trained sufficiently, one can draw almost inexhaustibly.

The second step is to learn how to preserve this energy within oneself and not to throw it out and waste. If the vital is left to itself it brings in strong desires, impulses and their variable reactions draining the energies. The process of coercion and suppression will not do. That can only bring violent disturbances in the being. Or if one sits tightly upon it in order not to give it an expression, the vital is likely to get weakened.

But this energy is not meant to be bottled up. It is to be used. And the next part of vital education is to learn how to use this energy rightly.

To be able to use it properly one must take up the education of the senses, the eyes, ears, nose, palate and touch, which gather and feed the mind with their experience. These senses must be trained to perceive and receive correctly and report exactly to the mind. The mind too must be taught to interpret them justly without bias or preconceived notions or ideas.

Sufficient use of the senses, exercise or full attention and power of observation, a strong memory, along with the discipline of the emotions with the purification of moral habits, can help in this regard. An aesthetic sense and feeling for harmony and beauty must be cultivated.
A good amount of the vital energy is needed for the normal life-process. But still a good part remains unutilised. That must be tapped for individual and collective progress, and there is so much to build and create in this beautiful world of ours. To conclude in Sri Aurobindo's own words:

"Our life, still full of obscurity and confusion and occupied with so many dull and lower aims, must feel all its urges and instincts exalted and irradiated and become a glorious counterpart of the Supramental super-life above. The physical consciousness and physical being, the body itself must reach a perfection in all that it is and does which now we can hardly conceive. It may even in the end be suffused with a light and beauty and bliss from the Beyond and the life divine assume a body divine.”


(By the Way Part – III, Pranab Bhattacharya, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Flowers speak… On Vital well-being



Conscious Vital Immortality: The immortality of an organised and conscious vital being.


The vital is the seat of our power, energy, enthusiasm, effective dynamism. It needs a systematic education.

***



Vital Contentment

To harmonise the vital is a psychological masterpiece.

Happy is he who accomplishes it.

***



Trust of the Emotional Vital in the Divine: Smiling and sweet, it is sheltered from grief.

Our heart is purified from the trouble and anguish; it is firm and calm, and sees the Divine in everything.

***



Vital Attachment to the Divine: Manifold and abundant in its multiplicity.

The Divine is always seated in your heart, consciously living in you.

(Flowers and their Messages, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Jasmine flowers

Oye Jasmines!

Did you take birth from flower-sweet hearts?
Or heavens crystal pure stars?

You are white pearls of Nature…
Stringing you together brings forth a garland of rapture!

Pure devotion radiates as your essence,
Your offering illumines us with a spiritual sense.

You are flowers of milky whiteness
Filling the world with glorious richness.


-          Sandhya

November - December Sunday Activities at the Centre - A glimpse

November 17th – The Mother’s Mahasamdhi Day:

We observed Mother’s Samadhi Day.  We read from The Mother’s Prayers and Meditation as well as from The Savitri, Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem.

November 20th – Readings from Secrets of Veda:

Mr Krishnamurthy led the session on the “Secrets of the Veda”.   The topic for the week was a review of verses 6, 7 and 8 of Sukta 1 Mandala 3 of the Rig Veda.  He also gave a recap of the previous sessions, highlighting the following principle ideas of the Rishis:

·         The conception of Truth – Consciousness
·         God as powers of the Truth to raise the humans out of falsehoods of the mortal mind.
·         Attainment in and by this Truth for an immortal state.
·         Inner sacrifice and offering as a means of divine consummation.
After reading slokas 6, 7 and 8, Mr Krishnamurthy shared Sri Aurobindo’s translation of the shlokas.

November 24th – Siddhi Day:

We observed Siddhi Day. We read from The Mother’s Prayers and Meditation as well as from the Savitri, Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem.

November 27th – Meditations on Savitri:

Book 1 - Canto 5 – The Yoga of the King:  The Yoga of the Spirit’s Greatness and Freedom (pictures 11 to 20)

Mr Ramadas coordinated the video session on the Meditations on Savitri, where Mother reads passages from the Savitri with Huta’s paintings as the backdrop.  After watching the video, the members read the lines once again and discussed the interpretation of the lines. 
December 4th – Reading from AIM Magazine:

We read a few pages from the Nov 2016 issue of the AIM magazine (Krishna the Eternal God) and followed it up with a discussion.

December 11th - Reading from Questions and Answers, The Mother:

We read the following question and its answer from page 203 of the book.  How is the Supermind going to act? What should be done to receive it? In what form will it manifest?
Mother replied that Sri Aurobindo has answered this question as follows:  “The supramental world has to be formed or created in us by the Divine Will as the result of a constant expansion and self-perfecting.” That is to say, to hope to receive, use and form in oneself a supramental being, and consequently a supramental world, there must first of all be an expansion of consciousness and a constant personal progress: not to have sudden flights, a little aspiration, a little effort, and then fall back into somnolence.
This must be the constant ideal of the being, the constant will of the being, the constant effort of the being, the constant preoccupation of the being.

- Rama

Along the Way… December 2016 Walk Review

Coney Island formerly known as Pulau Serangoon and inherently famous for the lone bull found on the island generates a sense of curiosity and mystery. The walk on the 4th of December 2016 enabled my first visit to this tranquil island and it literally helped me get a breath of fresh air owing to its tall trees of varying types all around the island.

We assembled in front the Punggol Ranch at 8 am and had a good strength of people in a long time along with Uncle Kalu Sarkar. We started walking the short stretch to the West Entrance of the Coney Island and were invited with a huge gate with “Coney Island” inscribed on it. This was a gate separating the urban Punggol settlement from the dense natural world of Coney Island.

A dense forest awaited us not only making the environment around us healthy by providing us fresh air but also shielding us from the intensive heat of the sun. The trees were tall and close not allowing the sun to reach the bottom just like a tropical forest. The sun managed to peak out in some areas rewarding us we beautiful pictures of a morning in the natural world. We had the opportunity to walk on different terrains throughout the Island from the smooth manmade trails in short patches, the uneven forest trail to the sand beaches of white sand.

We visited 2 of the several beaches throughout the Island and were greeted by beautiful calm waves gliding across the clean white sand. The beaches were picturesque and we took short stops near them to appreciate their beauty and take some snaps. From one of the beaches we could get a glimpse of the resorts of vast Pulau Ubin Island. We also came across mangroves surrounding the island in some parts. We came across many people out for their morning walk around the Coney Island and also some cycling enthusiasts enjoying their ride along the natural trails.

The island not only boasts of a rich history but also a high valued biodiversity. It is home to 157 species of fauna and 86 species of trees. Around 80 bird species can be sighted but owing to the dense forest I was able to sight just one which I believe was an Oriental Magpie Robin. The island is buzzing with the sounds of insects and varying birds chirping occasionally from the depth of the forest. There is a bird watching hide for wild life observation. And to make the walk more adventurous we were about to encounter a Wild Boar but had to with a warning instruction for the same.

To avoid introducing manmade substances and polluting the forest with unnatural substances the wood from the uprooted trees in the forest were used to make park signage, seats, benches, a boardwalk and exhibits. Another fascinating thing we came across was the fungi growing on the wooden walkways forming beautiful and colorful patterns. We also came across demonstration plots for Coastal Forests, Black Mangroves and Mangroves which showcased potential species to be introduced on the island and which would add to the diversity and attract more fauna.
After an enriching walk in a rustic natural environment we headed to our host’s house. 

Ritesh and Upali hosted us in their new home. We began with meditation and Om chanting. The much awaited brunch was delicious and with loads of options. We would like to thank Ritesh and Upali for making us a part of their happiness and congratulate them for their new home.

-          Dhanashree Vaidya

***

Coney Island is beautiful place with a superb sea view. It is full of nature and life, the feeling of enjoyment is very overwhelming to one. The history behind the island is just as puzzling. If the island is called Coney Island, why aren't there any cones on the island? Pinecones for example. I still have to find the answer to this puzzling question. Now where was I? Ah yes. Coney Islands’ waters are teaming with life as well. There are crabs, jellyfish, snails and lots of other sea creatures as well. There is also a beautiful river leading to the sea so if you like the subject of potamology you had better go look at it. Overall, Coney Island is a great place for everyone!

Anjali Curic