Guiding Light of The Month

Extricate me from the illusory consciousness of my mind, from its world of fantasies; let me identify my consciousness with the Absolute Consciousness, for that art Thou. - The Mother

Equality


Lo! Here are flowers and benedictions! Here is the smile of divine Love! It is without preferences and without repulsions. It streams out towards all in a generous flow and never takes back its marvellous gifts!

Her arms outstretches in a gesture of ecstasy, the Eternal Mother pours upon the world the unceasing dew of Her purest love!”
-      The Mother

From the Editor’s Desk (Feb 2016)

This month’s issue of the newsletter examines the quality of equality. In the English dictionary, it is defined as the state or quality of being equal. Equal means being evenly proportioned or balanced
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/equal?s=t). In the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, equality is elaborated as a quality that is when the mind and the vital are quiet and unmoved in the face of all kinds of disturbances that trouble one, all that is said or done to one.  It means to look at all of these without “distortions created by personal feelings” and “understand what is behind them, why they happen, what is to be learnt from them and what is it in oneself which they are cast against and what inner profit or progress one can make out of them;” In these few lines, Sri Aurobindo makes the meaning of equality in its relationship with spiritual progress, which is actually all about the exceeding of one’s small limited self and growing into a largeness and a height such that there is a progressive shift in one’s state of consciouness. By this, he means a self-mastery over vital movements, such as, “anger and sensitiveness and pride as well as desire”. For once these enter into our system, they disturb inner peace, and throw the being into the vortex of a turbulent sea upon which even to maneavour a raft to its destination becomes a herculean task. The goal in this instance, is for us to reach a “calm inner poise of the spirit” and to work from this centre. Sri Aurobindo also cautions us that to have equality in our possession wholly and perfectly is not easy but that one should try and develop this quality to stand as a firm basis for spiritual progress. 

Once again, self-observation becomes a great help in starting our journey towards aspiring for the quality of equality and establishing it firmly within. For, a first glance and then a dive inwards, treading on the periphery of the being with well fitted goggles of clear glass would show up fuzzy images in murky water. A mind ticking incessantly on its unending cyclic path and a heart crying out in defiance and pain while suffering from a deficit syndrome are common comrades we meet in our journey inwards. It is prudent to understand these movements in one, the causes and cure and follow a rigorous discipline in nurturing the quality of equality and see for oneself the fruits of one’s effort offered. Read the pages that follow for precise insights and guidance on cultivating or nurturing that quality of equality.

The cycle of the annual calendar wheels into our midst the month of February – a month breathing maturity, calm, peace, silence, joy of life, joy of action and joy of being. In its simplicity, it defeats opulence and yet stands supreme amongst the many other months of the lunar calendar. The Mother’s 138th Birth Anniversary falls on the 21st of February, followed by Auroville’s 48th Birthday on the 28th and lastly, but most gloriously appears The Golden Day, on the 29th of February. This was the day marking the Descent of the Supermind in 1956, sixty years ago and six years after Sri Aurobindo left his body to continue his divine work from an occult plane. The Mother had given a special significance to special days such as these. Let us loose no time in finding out about the special significances placed on these dates occurring in the month of February.  These are definitely days on which, by being part of the collective movement of aspiration towards the divine, we can hope to elevate our state of consciousness and better still, try to hold something of the brilliance, something of the Grace they bring. Let this Golden Year carry us on its golden back, its golden wings spread wide all the way through.

Savitri

The first fair life that breaks from Nature's swoon,
Mounts in a line of rapture to the skies;
Absorbed in its own happy urge it lives,
Sufficient to itself, yet turned to all.
It has no seen communion with its world,
No open converse with surrounding things.
There is a oneness native and occult
That needs no instruments and erects no form;
In unison it grows with all that is,
All contacts it assumes into its trance.
Laugh-tossed consents to the wind's kiss and takes
Transmutingly the shocks of sun and breeze:
A blissful yearning riots in its leaves,
A magic passion trembles in its blooms,
Its boughs aspire in hushed felicity.

(Book Four, Canto One)

Waking and sleep lay locked in mutual arms;
Helpless and indistinct came pleasure and pain
Trembling with the first faint thrills of a World-Soul.
A strength of life that could not cry or move,
Yet broke into beauty signing some deep delight:

(Book Two, Canto Five)


Question of the month (Feb 2016)

Q: What is the difference between outer equality and the equality of the soul?

The Mother: The equality of the soul is a psychological thing. It is the power to bear all happenings, good or bad, without being sad, discouraged desperate, upset. Whatever happens, you remain serene, peaceful.

The other is the equality in the body. It is not psychological, it is something material; to have a physical poise, to receive forces without being troubled.

The two are equally necessary if one wants to progress on the path. And other things still. For example, a mental poise; such that all possible ideas, even the most contradictory, may come from all sides without one’s being troubled. One can see them and put each in its place. That is mental poise.

(CWM, Volume 5, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


The Mother's oneness with Nature

(Dream-white Lotus – Painting by Sudha)

The Force in her drew earth's sub human broods;
And to her spirit's large and free delight
She joined the ardent-hued magnificent lives
Of animal and bird and flower and tree.
They answered to her with a simple heart
What seemed herself was an image of the Whole,
She was a subconscient life of tree and flower,
The outbreak of the honied buds of spring;
She burned in the passion and splendour of the rose,
She was the red heart of the passion-flower,
The dream-white of the lotus in its pool

-       Sri Aurobindo, Savitri
(Book seven, Canto seven)
When she was about twelve, Mirra used to go for solitary walks in the woods at Fontainebleau, and she would often sit for hours at the foot of a tree losing herself in communion with Nature. It was a singular concatenation, the ardent young girl self-absorbed in the infinitudes, and the silent ageless tree with the imperious woods around: quite an equation of the mathematics of the Spirit! The very birds and squirrels made friends with her, and would often perch on her, or crawl lovingly over her. And, indeed, Mirra felt perfectly at peace there in the bosom of Nature, and experienced a sense of identity.

Some of the trees at Fontainebleau were supposed to be quite ancient - perhaps two thousand years old or more ­ and it was as though Mirra had captivated the heart of primordial Nature. The trees almost seemed to understand her, and whisper in a familiar language to her. The spirit of a tree had once become aware of the talk of cutting it down, and when Mirra went to sit under it began soliciting her to somehow save it from the threatened destruction. In later life she

intervened in several cases and succeeded in staying the murderous axe. Her companionship with Nature was thus no pose, no mere figure of speech, but a deep commitment flowing from a sense of spiritual oneness with all life, all Nature.


(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 1 – “Childhood and Girlhood”, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)

Ocean Oneness

Silence is round me, wideness ineffable;
White birds on the ocean diving and wandering;
    A soundless sea on a voiceless heaven,
        Azure on azure, is mutely gazing.

Identified with silence and boundlessness
My spirit widens clasping the universe
    Till all that seemed becomes the Real,
        One in a mighty and single vastness.

Someone broods there nameless and bodiless,
Conscious and lonely, deathless and infinite,
    And, sole in a still eternal rapture,
        Gathers all things to his heart for ever.
-       Sri Aurobindo

(CWSA, Volume 2, Collected Poems, Poems Published in On Quantitative Metre)

Equality in the Body

It is good health, a solid body, well poised when one does not have the nerves of a little girl that are shaken by the least thing; when one sleeps well, eats well... When one is quiet calm, well balanced, very quiet, one has a solid basis and can receive a large number of forces.
If anyone among you has received spiritual forces, forces of the Divine, Ananda, for example, he knows from experience that unless he is in good health he cannot contain them, keep them. He begins to weep and cry, gets restless to expend what he has received. He must laugh and talk and gesticulate, otherwise he cannot keep them, he feels stifled. And so by laughing, weeping, moving about he throws out what he has received.
To be well balanced, to be able to absorb what one receives, one must be very quiet, very calm. One must have a solid basis, good health. One must have a very solid basis. That is very important.
-       The Mother 
(AIM magazine Feb-Mar 2001, Yogic Equality, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry)


The Golden Day


We aspire that its rays may illumine and transform us

Botanical Name: Anthocephalus Cadamba
Common Name: Kadam Tree
Spiritual Significance: Supramental Sun

“…by the very fact that you live upon earth at this moment – whether you are conscious of it or not and even whether you wish it or not – you absorb with the air that you breathe this new Supramental substance which is spreading in earth’s atmosphere and it is preparing in you things that will manifest all on a sudden, as soon as you have taken the decisive step”
-       The Mother
An account of the Golden Day at the Ashram:

That day the Ashram put on a look of all gold. The balcony where the Mother used to appear at 6-15 am was covered with gold satin which had Supramental-Manifestation flower embroidered on it. Visitors from all over India and abroad came to Pondicherry for the Golden Day. The women were in saris with golden borders, which they had received from the Mother herself a fortnight earlier.

The “Service” tree above the Samadhi and other plants were illuminated with little bulbs of gold and other colours. The Mother, clad in a golden sari, was seated in a golden chair covered with orange silk in the Meditation Hall (the walls of which were also covered with orange silk). The dome was specially made of aluminium sheets so as to reflect the golden rays of tube-lights. The distribution lasted till 5:30 p.m. While returning from Darshan we saw an announcement in the Mother’s own handwriting in French and in English, put on a board:

The Golden Day
Henceforth the 29th February will be the day of the Lord.

(“Life in Sri Aurobindo Ashram” by Narayan Prasad, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry)
(Picture of flower sourced from 2016 flower calendar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry)

Birth of New Light

(Picture of Dawn – Sandhya)


Like a fire from cave depths
Like a chant of hymn from silence’ self
Like a living symbol from ocean-ness
Awakes the Dawn from Nature’s bosom.

She leans Her hands of blessing
As fresh pink hues on blue sky
Secretly knocks the petals opening
On the flame-flowers of ecstasy.

A welcome song for the day is Dawn,
A miracle birth of light in morn.
-          Sandhya
***

Dr. Prema Nandakumar, in her PhD thesis titled “Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, A study of the cosmic epic”, gives a beautiful account of how Dawn is picturized in Savitri. She says:

“This sublime picture of Dawn is verily infused with the symbolism of growth in consciousness: that is, Woman inconscient waking up from her stupor and becoming slowly transformed into the superconscient goddess”.

References:
·         Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, “A study of the cosmic epic”, by Dr. Prema Nandakumar.


December - January Sunday Activities at the Centre – A glimpse

December 20th and 27thMeditations on Savitri and Savitri reading circle:

In our final two sessions of the year, we reached the last canto of Savitri: “The Return to Earth”. On earth, though from heaven, Savitri began her life. Now returned to earth, after wrestling with Death and God in Night and supernal Day, Savitri stands before Satyavan, and the whole earth, as the embodiment of supramental Grace and Life:

“A power dwelt in her soul too great for earth,
A bliss lived in her heart too large for heaven;
Light too intense for thought and love too boundless”

Yet the mystery of human love is not cancelled but fulfilled by their ordeal. Still is she Savitri, the sweet Madran, and the wife of Satyavan, her beloved:

“Our love has grown greater by that mighty touch
And learned its heavenly significance,
Yet nothing is lost of mortal love's delight.”

Hand in hand, they walked. And from far off came the cry of the human world: For Savitri had won many boons from Death, not least the restoration of Dyumatsena’s sight and kingship. Savitri and Satyavan rejoined the kingly party, opening up a new chapter on earth just as one has already opened up in heaven.  In her, a priest and sage saw the embodiment of a ‘greater dawn’ but she herself simply answered:
                      
“Awakened to the meaning of my heart
That to feel love and oneness is to live
And this the magic of our golden change,
Is all the truth I know or seek, O sage.”

Thus, the final word, and perhaps the first, is Love.

We meditated on this canto through listening to the Mother’s readings, full of the power of her voice. We concentrated on Huta’s paintings and we read the mantric verses. Each time we read Savitri, the Truth grows in us, bringing understanding, peace and every blessing. 

January 3rd - Readings from AIM Magazine The Mother’s Yoga:

In this session we delved into the incredible details of the Mother’s Yoga after the supramental descent in 1956. We read various passages detailing the yoga the Mother was performing for the earth – opening her body and being up totally – as a representative and example for all of us - to the Supreme. 

We also read about the descent of the Overman consciousness in 1969 – which has brought powerful new possibilities to humanity, and further accelerated the spiritual evolution of the earth.

-          Jared

Along the Way… January 2016 Morning Walk – A Review

The first walk for the Golden Year 2016 hosted by Kirthika and Adrian was held at Bukit Timah Natue Reserve on 3rd January 2016. Despite the possibility of a wet weather, ten of us including two children gathered at the car park eagerly looking forward to the walk, as the Reserve is a home to thousands of species of plants, some very visible and some not so visible to an untrained eye.

 (Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Photos by Ramanathan)

Instead of taking one of the tracks to the top of the Bukit Timah hill, we had to explore a different route, due to some work that was happening in the Nature Reserve. Adrian led the way forward through some parts of the old rail track leading towards one of the Quarries. Due to the rains for the past few days, we expected the track to be slightly muddy. Fellow trackers returning to the base, warned us of muddy tracks ahead, and we plodded on with care hoping to save our shoes from the mud. The greenery surrounding us was refreshing and at the same time beautiful and they kept re-inforcing the fact that we need to protect and sustain the forest, if we want to experience the joy of being with nature. 


(Bukit Timah Nature reserve. Photos by Rama)

We reached the Quarry after making a short and difficult climb towards one of the old railway bridges. The view at the Quarry Site was breadth taking, like you see in some old Chinese paintings.  We spent a few minutes at the spot, enjoying the view and also took some group photos, after which we started the return journey. I took the return journey to the hosts' home through Hill View road which had broad side walks with lots of greenery. Some of us took another track, back to where we started. 

We reached the hosts home at about 10.10 am and met some of our fellow members who had come directly to the home for the collective meditation. We started the meditation shortly after 10.30 am. It was a simple and meaningful session with some beautiful prayers being read by some of those celebrating their birthdays in January. We had a good brunch with lots of variety. We would like to thank Adrian, Kirthika, their two children, together with Kirthika's parents Mr and Mrs Ramanathan for hosting the walk and the meditation followed by the brunch.

Best Wishes for the New Year!!
-         Ramachandran