Guiding Light of The Month

Tell me, wilt Thou grant me the marvellous power to give birth to this dawn in expectant hearts, to awaken the consciousness of men to Thy sublime presence, and in this bare and sorrowful world awaken a little of Thy true Paradise? What happiness, what riches, what terrestrial powers can equal this wonderful gift! - The Mother

Spiritual Power of Healing


Opening and Receptivity to the Divine influence


Botanical Name: Petrea Volubilis
Common Name: Purple Wreath
Spiritual Significance: Spiritual power of Healing


The Divine is present in the very atoms of our body.
-          The Mother

A Power within her awed the imperfect flesh;
The self-protecting genius in our clay
Divined the goddess in the woman’
s shape
And drew back from a touch beyond its kind,
The earth-nature bound in the sense-life’
s narrow make.


-          Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (Jun 2017)

This June issue of the Newsletter examines the Spiritual Power of Healing as a follow-up to the series on Well-Being published in the past twelve months. In the last issue on Integral Health, we looked at the need in our being, to open consciously, wherever possible and progressively, all parts of the being to the influence of the Force from above. What is this ‘Force’? This Force is a helpful force from realms high above, or dimensions which we may be able to feel, which may descend or infuse and act on and have an effect on the receiving receptacle according to the capacity of its opening and capacity of strength to bear the descent of that force of purity and light from above. On the other hand, there is some help perhaps in contemplating upon this assurance of The Mother too: “The Divine is present in the very atoms of our body.” Here is a beautiful passage on that which descends from above:

“In the whole manifestation there is an infinite Grace constantly at work to bring the world out of the misery, the obscurity and the stupidity in which it lies. From all time this Grace has been at work, unremitting in its effort, and how many thousands of years were necessary for this world to awaken to the need for something greater, more true, more beautiful.”

We perceive that there is a power beyond us, above us, around us that saves, guides and heals. The attitude of “receptivity” has been mentioned in many of The Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s writings as of paramount importance if one were to benefit from the beneficence pouring from that Force. What Sri Aurobindo writes to someone corresponding with him is most revealing as he simply states, “All I can do is to send you the Force that if received would help you to change your conditions; it is what I have always done. 

But it cannot act effectively –  or at least not at once – if the doors are shut against it.”

The spiritual power of healing and how far it can help in the healing process is, as is clear from the above statement, dependent upon the opening one has to the force. What does an opening entail? Spiritual force belongs to one realm of Power, Light, Beauty, Purity and Truth, Love and Bliss. On the other hand, the “opening” is that which has to manifest in the recipient who has not the force but has a need for it to prop him up, heal him and help him along the journey. The opening therefore calls for an effort on the part of the aspiring individuality. It has to be willed and not only that, the opening has to be so perfect that the incoming spiritual force can do its work perfectly. The opening or receptivity rests on several attitude one has to take on and actualise in oneself; trust and faith perhaps and that too, unconditional. Or at least, the effort to open must be sincere. Here is what Sri Aurobindo writes about the spiritual attitude that would help in the spiritual force to act in one:

“Even in the ordinary life disquietude and depression create an unhelpful atmosphere for one who is ill or in difficulties. Once you are a sadhak, then whether for yourself or to help others for whom you still feel, the true spiritual attitude of reliance on the Divine Will and call for the help from above is always the best and the most effective course.”

It appears that the secret of health and healing rests on us too. The onus is on us to aspire ardently for health and to will an opening to receive the spiritual force to restore harmony and peace where there was none and collaborate with the Force in its healing process.  

Savitri

Our lives are God’s messengers beneath the stars;
To dwell under death’
s shadow they have come
Tempting God’
s light to earth for the ignorant race,
His Love to fill the hollow in men’
s hearts,
His bliss to heal the unhappiness of the world.

I am the living body of his light,
I am the thinking instrument of his power,
I incarnate Wisdom in an earthly breast,
I am his conquering and unslayable Will.

The formless Spirit drew in me its shape;
In me are the Nameless and the secret Name.

(Book ten, Canto three)


Certitude of Cure

When one is normal, that is to say, unspoilt by bad teaching and bad example, when one is born and lives in a healthy and relatively balanced and normal environment, the body, spontaneously, without any need for one to intervene mentally or even vitally, has the certitude that even if something goes wrong it will be cured. The body carries within itself the certitude of cure, the certitude that the illness or disorder is sure to disappear. It is only through the false education from the environment that gradually the body is taught that there are incurable diseases, irreparable accidents, and that it can grow old, and all these stories which destroy its faith and trust. But normally, the body of a normal child – the body, I am not speaking of the thought – the body itself feels when something goes wrong that it will certainly be all right again. And if it is not like that, this means that it has already been perverted. It seems normal for it to be in good health, it seems quite abnormal to it if something goes wrong and it falls ill; and in its instinct, its spontaneous instinct, it is sure that everything will be all right. It is only the perversion of thought which destroys this; as one grows up the thought becomes more and more distorted, there is the whole collective suggestion, and so, little by little, the body loses its trust in itself, and naturally, losing its self-confidence, it also loses the spontaneous capacity of restoring its equilibrium when this has been disturbed.
                                               
But if when very young, from your earliest childhood, you have been taught all sorts of disappointing, depressing things – things that cause decomposition, I could say, disintegration – then this poor body does its best but it has been perverted, put out of order, and no longer has the sense of its inner strength, its inner force, its power to react.

If one takes care not to pervert it, the body carries within itself the certitude of victory. It is only the wrong use we make of thought and its influence on the body which robs it of this certitude of victory. So, the first thing to do is to cultivate this certitude instead of destroying it; and when it is there, no effort is needed to aspire, but simply a flowering, an unfolding of that inner certitude of victory.

The body carries within itself the sense of its divinity. There. This is what you must try to find again in yourself if you have lost it.
-          The Mother
(CWM, Volume 9, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


Imagination and Faith

Sweet Mother, what does “a Couéistic optimism” mean?

Ah! Coué. You don't know the story of Coué? Coué was a doctor. He used to treat by psychological treatment, auto-suggestion, and he called this the true working of the imagination; and what he defined as imagination was faith. And so he treated all his patients in this way: they had to make a kind of imaginative formation which consisted in thinking themselves cured or in any case on the way to being cured, and in repeating this formation to themselves with sufficient persistence for it to have its effect. He had very remarkable results. He cured lots of people; only, he failed also, and perhaps these were not very lasting cures, I don't know this.

But in any case, this made many people reflect on something that's quite true and of capital importance: that the mind is a formative instrument and that if one knows how to use it in the right way, one gets a good result. He observed – and I think it is true, my observation agrees with his – that people spend their time thinking wrongly. Their mental activity is almost always half pessimistic, and even half destructive. They are all the time thinking of and foreseeing bad things which may happen, troublesome consequences of what they have done, and they construct all kinds of catastrophes with an exuberant imagination which, if it were utilised in the other way, would naturally have opposite and more satisfying results.

If you observe yourself, if you… how to put it?… if you catch yourself thinking – well, if you do it suddenly, if you look at yourself thinking all of a sudden, spontaneously, unexpectedly, you will notice that nine times out of ten you are thinking something troublesome. It is very rarely that you are thinking about harmonious, beautiful, constructive, happy things, full of hope, light and joy; you will see, try the experiment. Suddenly stop and look at yourself thinking, just like that: put a screen in front of your thought and look at yourself thinking, off-hand, you will see this at least nine times out of ten, and perhaps more. (It is very rarely, very rarely that one has in the whole day, suddenly, a dazzling thought about what is going to happen or the state one is in or the things one wants to do or the course of his life or world circumstances – it depends, you see, on your preoccupation). Well, you will see, it is almost always foreseeing a bigger or smaller, more or less vast catastrophe.

Say you have the slightest thing that is not getting on quite well; if you think of your body, it is always that something unpleasant is going to happen to it – because when everything goes well, you don't think about it ! You will notice this: that you act, you do all that you have to do, without having a single thought about your body, and when all of a sudden you wonder whether there isn't anything that's going wrong, whether there is some uneasiness or a difficulty, something, then you begin to think of your body and you think about it with anxiety and begin to make your disastrous constructions.

Whereas Coué recommended… It was in this way that he cured his patients; he was a doctor, he told them, “You are going to repeat to yourself: ‘I am being cured, gradually I am getting cured' and again, you see, ‘I am strong, I am quite healthy and I can do this, I can do that’.”

I knew someone who was losing her hair disastrously, by handfuls. She was made to try this method. When combing her hair she made herself think, “My hair will not fall out.” The first and second time it did not work, but she continued and each time before combing the hair she used to repeat with insistence, “I am going to comb my hair but it won’t fall out.” And within a month her hair stopped falling. Later she again continued thinking, “Now my hair will grow.” And she succeeded so well that I saw her with a magnificent head of hair, and it was she herself who told me this, that this was what she had done after being on the point of becoming bald. It is very, very effective. Only, while one is making the formation, another part of the mind must not say, “Oh, I am making a formation and it is not going to be successful”, because in this way you undo your own work.

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


Widen Oneself

Sweet Mother, how can we make our consciousness vast?

Vast? Ah, there are many ways of doing this.
The easiest way is to identify yourself with something vast. For instance, when you feel that you are shut up in a completely narrow and limited thought, will, consciousness, when you feel as though you were in a shell, then if you begin thinking about something very vast, as for example, the immensity of the waters of an ocean, and if really you can think of this ocean and how it stretches out far, far, far, far, in all directions, like this  (Mother stretches out her arms), how, compared with you, it is so far, so far that you cannot see the other shore, you cannot reach its end anywhere, neither behind nor in front nor to the right or left...   it is wide, wide, wide, wide... you think of this and then you feel that you are floating on this sea, like that, and that there are no limits... This is very easy. Then you can widen your consciousness a little.

Other people, for example, begin looking at the sky; and then they imagine all those spaces between all those stars, and all... that kind of infinity of spaces in which the earth is a tiny point, and you too are just a very tiny point, smaller than an ant, on the earth. And so you look at the sky and feel that you are floating in these infinite spaces between the planets, and that you are growing vaster and vaster to go farther and farther. Some people succeed with this.

There is a way also by trying to identify yourself with all things upon earth. For example, when you have a small narrow vision of something and are hurt by others' vision and point of view, you must begin by shifting your consciousness, try to put it in others, and try gradually to identify yourself with all the different ways of thinking of all others. This is a little more ... how shall I put it?... dangerous. Because to identify oneself with the thought and will of others means to identify oneself with a heap of stupidities (Mother laughs) and bad wills, and this may bring consequences which are not very good. But still, some people do this more easily. For instance, when they are in disagreement with someone, in order to widen their consciousness they try to put themselves in the place of the other and see the thing not from their own point of view but from the point of view of the other. This wide the consciousness, though not as much as by the first ways I spoke about, which are quite innocent. They don't do you any harm, they do you much good. They make you very peaceful.

There are lots of intellectual ways of widening the consciousness. These I have explained fully in my book. But in any case, when you are bored by something, when something is painful to you or very unpleasant, if you begin to think of the eternity of time and the immensity of space, if you think of all that has gone before and all that will come afterwards, and that this second in eternity is truly just a passing breath, and that it seems so utterly ridiculous to be upset by something which in the eternity of time is...   one doesn't even have the time to become aware of it, it has no place, no importance, because, what indeed is a second in eternity? If one can manage to realise that, to... how to put it?...  visualise, picture the little person one is, in the little earth where one is, and the tiny second of consciousness which for the moment is hurting you or is unpleasant for you, just this – which in itself is only a second in your existence, and that you yourself have been many things before and will be many more things afterwards, that what affects you now you will have probably completely forgotten in ten years, or if you remember it you will say, “How did I happen to attach any importance to that?”... if you can realise that first and then realise your little person which is a second in eternity, not even a second, you know, imperceptible, a fragment of a second in eternity, that the whole world has unrolled before this and will unroll yet, indefinitely – before, behind – and that... well, then suddenly you see the utter ridiculousness of the importance you attach to what happened to you...  Truly you feel... to what an extent it is absurd to attach any importance to one's life, to oneself, and to what happen to you. And in the space of three minutes, if you do this properly, all unpleasantness is swept away. Even a very deep pain can be swept away. Simply a concentration like this, and to place oneself in infinity and eternity. Everything goes away. One comes out of it cleansed. One can get rid of all attachments and even, I say, of the deepest sorrows – of everything, in this way – if one knows how to do it in the right way. It immediately takes you out of your little ego. There we are.

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


The Power of Thought

The power of thought on the body is tremendous! You cannot imagine how tremendous it is. Even a subconscious or sometimes unconscious thought acts and provokes fantastic results! ... I've studied this. I've been studying it in detail for the last two years - it's incredible! If I had the time one day to explain all this, it would be interesting.

Even tiny, the tiniest mental or vital reactions - so tiny that to our ordinary consciousness they don't appear to have the least importance - act upon the body's cells and can create disorders ... You see, when you observe carefully, you suddenly become aware of a very slight uneasiness, a mere nothing (when you're busy, you don't even notice it), and then if you follow this uneasiness to see what it is, you perceive that it comes from something quite imperceptible and 'insignificant' to our active consciousness - but it's enough to create an uneasy feeling in the body.

Which is why - unless you are intentionally and constantly in what here is called the Brahmic consciousness - it is practically impossible to control. And this is what gives the impression of certain things happening in the body independently of ... not only of our will but of our consciousness - But it is not true

Only, there is all that comes from outside - that's what is most dangerous. Constantly, constantly - when you eat, you catch it ... oh, what a mass of vibrations! The vibrations of the thing you eat when it was living (they always remain), the vibrations of the person who cooked it, vibrations of ... All the time, all the time, they never stop - you breathe, they enter. Of course, when you start talking to someone or mixing with people, then you become a bit more conscious of what is coming, but even just sitting still, uninvolved with others - it comes! There is an almost total interdependence - isolation is an illusion. By reinforcing your own atmosphere (Mother gestures, as if building a wall around her), you can hold these things off to a certain extent, but simply this effort to keep them at a distance creates (I'm thinking in English and speaking in French) ... disturbances.' Anyway, now all this has been seen.


(Agenda, Volume 01, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Krishna’s Integral Play


All the parts of the being respond to His influence.

The mind, the life and the body must become and live what the Soul knows and is.
-          The Mother


At last I find a meaning of soul’s birth
Into this universe terrible and sweet,
I who have felt the hungry heart of earth
Aspiring beyond heaven to Krishna’
s feet.

I have seen the beauty of immortal eyes,
And heard the passion of the Lover’
s flute,
And known a deathless ecstasys surprise
And sorrow in my heart for ever mute.

Nearer and nearer now the music draws,
Life shudders with a strange felicity;
All Nature is a wide enamoured pause
Hoping her lord to touch, to clasp, to be.

For this one moment lived the ages past;
The world now throbs fulfilled in me at last.
-         Sri Aurobindo
(SABCL, Volume 5, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


Shrine of Mother’s Love


Advancing amid tall heaven-pillaring trees,
Apparelled in her flickering-coloured robe,
She seemed burning towards the eternal realms
A bright moved torch of incense and of flame
That from the sky-roofed temple-soil of earth
A pilgrim hand lifts in an invisible shrine.
-          Sri Aurobindo, Savitri


(The above picture is a painting by Sandhya of the Shrine at Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch)

April - May Sunday Activities at the Centre - A glimpse

April 16th – Secrets of the Veda, facilitated by Sri Krishnamurthy:
Based on Sri Aurobindo’s commentary on the verses in Mandala 1, Sukta 4, a recap was done on:

·         How the ancient Vedic seers went about to establish perfection in each of their psychological realms and to establish harmony between various realms.
·         Their realization, that the above cannot be achieved without the active collaboration with several cosmic gods.
·         Importance of Indra - the ‘Lord of Mind &Intelligence’ to help seeker’s spiritual progress by preventing attacks from dark forces like Vritra, Vala, Panis etc.
·         Summary of the message conveyed by Verses 1 to 3 – Indra

§  as the ‘Fashioner of right or perfect forms’,
§  accepting the Soma drink and showering the rays of consciousness  on the seeker
§  being requested not to transcend beyond the limited capacity of the seeker’s vision.

Covered in detail the Verses 4 to 6 – containing Sri Aurobindo’s translation, commentary, as also word for word meaning of the verses.

·         Verse 4:   Seeker seeing the spiritual progress of his comrades requests Indra to further his own.
·         Verse 5:   Here are described that suits towards which the seeker aspires.  With fuller Light opening, the dark powers of Limitation will be satisfied and themselves withdraw.
·         Verse 6:   The seeker is appealing to the fighters to affirm that their task is completed by the fullness of human bliss accomplished.  With this the soul shall rest in the peace of Indra.

April 24th – The Mother’s final arrival in Pondicherry, Darshan Day
The program started off with Meditation music and reading of prayers.

Some passages from the Book, Sri Aurobindo, THE MOTHER with Letters on The Mother was read.
                   
April 2017 Darshan Day message was read and as follows:
“The Mother guides helps each according to his nature and need and where necessary, herself intervenes with her Power enabling the sadhak to withstand the rigours and demands of the Path.
She has placed herself-with all the Love, Peace, Knowledge and consciousness that she is at the disposal of every aspiring soul that looks for help”.
-          Sri Aurobindo
April 30th - Prayer meeting in memory of our late senior member Mr Dhana

Mr. Dhana (Mr. Dhanabalasingham son of Mr. Vallipuram Sinnathamby) who passed away on Tuesday, 28/02/2017 in Singapore.

It was a very touching session when Ms Dhana, Mr Sashilal Kashyap, Mr KV Rao, Mr Ramanathan and Shanthi, daughter of Mr and Ms Dhana recollected how wonderful a person Mr Dhana was. He was a role model for every one of us, in living a disciplined and time conscious daily routine. He was a great enthusiastic player of golf, cycling and hiking. Today we the members of Sri Aurobindo Society enjoy the Morning walks of every first Sunday of the month because of his initiative and strengthening the course to the core!
Ms Dhana read the favourite prayer of Mr Dhana. From Prayers and Meditations, it is a very beautiful prayer dated February 15,1914.
May 7th – Readings from AIM Magazine: Read a few passages from April 2017, All India Magazine
The Two Who are One, The first page has lines from Savitri , page 61-63. This issue revolves around the central truths of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga.
There are Two who are One and play in many worlds;

The Supreme Reality, the Divine is One. But for purposes of manifestation, the Wonder-Plan of Delight, the One becomes the Two. It takes one poise as the Existent and another poise as Consciousness. They are not really two different realities but the same Reality in two self-aspects who exists; . This biune reality is the dynamic basis of all manifestation; it reproduces itself at different levels of creation as Brahman-Maya, Ishwara- Shakti, Purusha-Prakriti. All World-play is a working out of their respective relations.

The Two, the Being and the Power, carry their interplay through all the states of existence, in all conditions of the manifestation. Also, one presides from his status in Knowledge while the other functions in the limitations of Ignorance; the interaction of the two works, out the evolution of the world from the obscurities of Matter to the luminosities of the Spirit.

Our pleasure and pain are their wrestle and embrace,
Our deeds, our hopes are intimate to their tale;
They are married secretly in our thought and life.
The universe is an endless masquerade:
For nothing here is utterly what it seems,

What is seen in this universe is not the whole truth of it. All is a surface appearance of what truly exists behind the veil of apparent form. What is observed by the physical eye, what is experienced by the physical senses, is not.

The world-play is enacted by Kali, the Shakti, in the form of a Cosmic Dance, a gigantic whirl of her Energies. For this creative display of her powers, Shiva, the static partner, provides the stage on his immovable body. His willing person is the ground on which her feet stamp the steps. He supports the world-dance with his will of assent.

This Dance of Kali is enacted not only on the universal stage, but also on the stage of each individual life. Each one is able to withstand the pressure of her movement because of the strength of Shiva that is individuated in him and supports the corresponding kinesis. And in spite of all its stresses, none is willing to withdraw from the play because each tastes something of the bliss that the Shiva within derives from it.
Source: Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo.

Note: The Editorial passage says that Sri Aurobindo clearly and categorically stated that not only there is no difference between The Mother’s consciousness and His consciousness but revealed that one of the fundamental steps in His Integral Yoga is to open to the Mother and take refuge in Her.

May 14thTalk on “General Overview of Indian scriptures through ages - in the Light of Sri Aurobindo”, by Sundari

The talk began by showing a confession from Sri Aurobindo, as follows:

"When I approached God at that time, I hardly had a living faith in Him. The agnostic was in me, the atheist was in me, the sceptic was in me and I was not absolutely sure that there was a God at all. I did not feel His presence. Yet something drew me to the truth of the Vedas, the truth of the Gita, the truth of the Hindu religion. I felt there must be a mighty Truth somewhere in this Yoga, a mighty Truth in this religion based     on Vedanta” Sri Aurobindo”.

The following points were sequentially covered during the entire session:

·         Hinduism as “Law of Life”.  The most sceptical and the most believing too.  While it has been greatly questioned and experimented, it has given the deepest experience of positive spiritual knowledge too.
·         “Bharatiya Scriptures” - A chart was shown covering Sections of Vedas, Upanishads, Vedanagas, Upavedas, Smritis, Darshan Shastras, Puranas, Itihasas and Gita.

·         “Major classifications” – like Shruti, Smriti, Samhitas and Shastras.
·         “Literary Structures” – as elaborated by Sri Aurobindo in SABCL Vol 10, The Secret of the Veda – page 501.
·         “Difference between Vedas & Upanishads” – the types and what each contains.
·         “Vedangas – Like Shiksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta Or Nighantu, Chandas, Jyotisha
·         “Six Darshanas” – Like Poorva Mimamsa, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga
·         Talk ending with mention of Tantra & Dharma Shastras, Major Puranas and Bhagavad Gita.

May 21st - The Secret of the Veda session:

A quick overview was done of the main message conveyed in verses 1 to 6 (of Mandla 1, Sukta 4).    Then rest of the verses (7 to 10) were explained in detail – covering, Sri Aurobindo’s translation / commentary, and word for word meaning of the verses given by Sri Kapalli Shastry / M.P.Pandit.

·         Verse 7:   Here the emphasis is on Rishi Madhucchandas’ intent in making the ‘Divine Ananda’ (that is poured out earlier) to be made swift and intense in the system and to be offered back to Indra for the support of his intensities further.  It is the profound joy manifest in the inner sensations that gives the ecstasy by which the man or the God grows strong.

·         Verse 8:   Due to Indra’s continued support, the ‘Divine Mind’ in the Rishi gained strength leading to the destruction of all that opposed, as ‘Coverers or Beseigers’.  Also this gave protection to the possessions already won in past battles from ‘Atris & Dasyus’ -devourers & plunderers.

·         Verse 9:   Though the Rishi’s 'intelligence’ has already become rich and variously stored, he seeks to increase its force of abundance yet more – in order to remove the ‘Restrainers’ as well as the ‘Vritras’.  This way full and assured possession of the riches can be maintained.

·         Verse 10:  In this concluding verse, the Rishi praises Indra as ‘a continent of bliss in his vastness’ and ‘the friend of the Soma’ to whom one should rise the chant.  Also this ‘Divine Light’ obtained in its entire greatness – free from limitation – befriends the human soul and carries it safe through the battle, to the absolute end of its march – ‘the summit of its aspiration’.

·         Thus ends Madala 1 Sukta 4.
-          Jayalakshmi


Along the Way… May 2017 Walk Review

I have never really associated myself as being a morning person but all that changed after the birth of my daughter Anushna. After we moved to Singapore now almost 4 years back, we regularly attended the monthly brunches but less so the walks. After Anushna came of a young age of 8 months or so, we made it a point to attend the center walks as a way of exposing Anushna to the beauty of Nature and to breathe in some fresh air. In turn it was also a good way for us, her parents to stay fit. As we started to become regular members, Mr Ramanathan caught on me for writing my experience for this month’s May newsletter which is quite a special month. For the past 3 years, my parents have always been with us during this month as it is summer holidays in India. As they are also well acquainted with the hosts late Patel Uncle, and his family, my parents together with my family here makes it an even more memorable day.

We promptly started the walk from the host's residence which has an underpass that connects us directly to the East Coast Park. It was a beautiful morning; sunny but not hot with an occasional cloud cover and fresh sea breeze. Anushna was excited and energetic. We constantly ensured to show her everything around: the trees, the sea, the sand, people cycling and walking. After her initial enthusiasm, her sleep caught on with her and she dozed off. We continued along. My mother then made a remark on the numerable ships that were dotting the blue and we both reminisced about how when each of us were much younger during our school days at the Ashram school in Pondicherry, spotting even one ship was such an excitement and thrill for us. And now, it was next to impossible to keep count of these vessels as Singapore boasts of being one of the busiest harbours in the world. Before we could realise, it was time to make our way back to the host’s house. A bit tired and expectant of a good meal ahead, the Patels menu and spread of dishes did complete justice. Even Anushna had a good fill and she enjoyed picking on the grape fruits. She mingled in a friendly manner with everyone. 

After thanking the hosts profusely, we made our way back home. I felt good and was really glad that I had made the effort to wake up early to attend this walk and am hopeful for continuing to do so for the many more occasions that come. 

-          Auropriya Reddy

Reflective practices in Integral Health



Botanical Name: Thespesia populnea
Common Name: Portia Tree
Spiritual Significance: Health


A perfect harmony in the proportions, suppleness and strength, grace and force, plasticity and endurance, and above all, an excellent health, unvarying and unchanging, which is the result of a pure soul, a happy trust in life and an unshakable faith in the Divine Grace.
                                                                                                       
-          The Mother


From the Editor’s Desk (May 2017)

The current issue of the newsletter focuses on the significance of reflective practices in Integral Health. Reflection refers to serious thought or consideration or contemplation. It implies that for every event or experience in one’s life, for every move he or she makes, for every action or non-action, there is a corresponding movement of reflection, of serious thought, a consideration or contemplation. This further implies that impulsion is no more a primary player in the motivation of an action but rather, a back bencher held in check by the “serious thought, consideration or contemplation” on the action and its source and cause. Integral Health refers to the order and balance operating in the three aspects of nature, namely, health in the physical, the vital and health in the mental. Integral Health means that the higher portion of the being, The Psychic, which is a spark of the Divine Force or Soul, takes over the play of nature, perfecting these parts and opening them to a higher light and subsequently rendering these parts capable of expressing the Highest or the Divine in a progressive precision. In this newsletter, we take a glimpse of how reflective practices contribute towards Integral Health.

A crucial aspect of reflective practices is the practice of self-observation coupled with self-reflection. Both these practices are self-motivated and can happen only when one sees the need to truly know oneself, all one’s strengths that uplift and all the defects in one’s nature that plunge one down into darkness and chaos. The inbuilt instinct in one to progress sets into motion in one who finds the need to be progressive. Self-observation and self-reflection are effective tools that can steer one in the direction towards the realization of one’s goals, whatever these may be. In one who has chosen to progress spiritually, these tools may even be are indispensable aims. 

According to The Mother, when an ailment inflicts the being, the root cause may either be a mental, vital or physical shrinking in the being. These shrinkages throw the being off balance, manifesting some kind of disorder that interferes with the fine working of the being. His progress forward is naturally slowed down or even curtailed. Self-observation throws light on parts of the being that are off balance. Through self-reflection, one understands the nature of the disorder and the manner in which the being is being thrown off-balance in whatever measure according to the magnitude of the disorder and imbalance. One knows himself in different parts of the being; what disturbs the being, what contributes to calm and peace and well-being. This knowledge is powerful. This knowledge throws light over one and opens pathways that would seek to reduce, clear and eliminate the disorder. The Mother has suggested the widening of the consciousness in order to keep each part wide and open and receptive to the healing rays of light and love from regions above and yet accessible. When this light of consciousness reaches out to the physical parts of the being, and the vital and the mental, removes all contractions, spots of darkness and obscurity, balance is restored. Integral Health becomes a possibility.

We often read in the works of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo that the nature that is full of goodwill towards oneself and towards others tends to be a happy one. One who does not have desires or does not nurture them is one who tends to be a balanced one. In one where joy overflows, one finds health. Most of all, when one is in touch with the psychic being, the being, it seems, reverts to its natural state of deep peace, joy and love. In such a one, there is a natural harmony and balance, which is the hall mark of the psychic entity. When this is discovered and expressed in the being from the core to the outermost crust, Integral Health is established.

Savitri

His grasp was a young god’s upon earths limbs:
Changed by the passion of his divine outbreak
He made her body beautiful with his kiss.

(Book four, Canto one)

“O soul, my soul, we have created Heaven,
Within we have found the kingdom here of God,
His fortress built in a loud ignorant world.

Our life is entrenched between two rivers of Light,
We have turned space into a gulf of peace
And made the body a capitol of bliss.
What more, what more, if more must still be done?

In the slow process of the evolving spirit,
In the brief stade between a death and birth
A first perfection’
s stage is reached at last;
Out of the wood and stone of our natures stuff
A temple is shaped where the high gods could live.

(Book seven, Canto five)

Our imperfection towards perfection toils,
The body is the chrysalis of a soul:
The infinite holds the finite in its arms,
Time travels towards revealed eternity.


(Book ten, Canto one)

Questions and Answers

Q: How can one increase the receptivity of the body?
The Mother: It depends on the part. The method is almost the same for all parts of the being. To begin with, the first condition: to remain as quiet as possible. You may notice that in the different parts of your being, when something comes and you do not receive it, this produces a shrinking — there is something which hardens in the vital, the mind or the body. There is a stiffening and this hurts, one feels a mental, vital or physical pain. So, the first thing is to put one’s will and relax this shrinking, as one does a twitching nerve or a cramped muscle; you must learn how to relax, be able to relieve this tension in whatever part of the being it may be.
The method of relaxing the contraction may be different in the mind, the vital or the body, but logically it is the same thing. Once you have relaxed the tension, you see first if the disagreeable effect ceases, which would prove that it was a small momentary resistance, but if the pain continues and if it is indeed necessary to increase the receptivity in order to be able to receive what is helpful, what should be received, you must, after having relaxed this contraction, begin trying to widen yourself — you feel you are widening yourself. There are many methods. Some find it very useful to imagine they are floating on water with a plank under their back. Then they widen themselves, widen, until they become the vast liquid mass. Others make an effort to identify themselves with the sky and the stars, so they widen, widen themselves, identifying themselves more and more with the sky. Others again don’t need these pictures; they can become conscious of their consciousness, enlarge their consciousness more and more until it becomes unlimited. One can enlarge it till it becomes vast as the earth and even the universe. When one does that one becomes really receptive. As I have said, it is a question of training. In any case, from an immediate point of view, when something comes and one feels that it is too strong, that it gives a headache, that one can’t bear it, the method is just the same, you must act upon the contraction. One can act through thought, by calling the peace, tranquillity (the feeling of peace takes away much of the difficulty) like this: “Peace, peace, peace... tranquillity... calm.” Many discomforts, even physical, like all these contractions of the solar plexus, which are so un- pleasant and give you at times nausea, the sensation of being suffocated, of not being able to breathe again, can disappear thus. It is the nervous centre which is affected, it gets affected very easily. As soon as there is something which affects the solar plexus, you must say, “Calm... calm... calm”, become more and more calm until the tension is destroyed.
In thought also. For instance, you are reading something and come across a thought you don’t understand — it is beyond you, you understand nothing and so in your head it lies like a brick, and if you try to understand, it becomes more and more like a brick, a stiffening, and if you persist it gives you a headache. There is but one thing to do: not to struggle with the words, remain just like this (gesture, stretched out, immobile), create a relaxation, simply widen, widen. And don’t try to understand, above all, don’t try to understand — let it enter like that, quite gently, and relax, relax, and in this relaxing your headache goes away. You no longer think of anything, you wait for a few days and after some days you see from inside: “Oh! How clear it is! I understand what I had not understood.” It is as easy as that. When you read a book which is beyond you, when you come across sentences which you cannot understand — one feels that there is no correspondence in the head — well, you must do this; one reads the thing once, twice, thrice, then remains calm and makes the mind silent. A fortnight later, one takes up the same passage again and it is clear as daylight. Everything has been organised in the head, the elements of the brain which were wanted for the understanding have been formed, everything has been done gradually and one understands. I knew many people who, when I used to tell them something, argued, — they did not understand anything at all. They were shut up in their mind which could not catch the thought, which threw it out, refused it violently. You have said something, you don’t insist; you have said it, that’s all; if need be you say it a second time, but you don’t insist. A week, a month later, those very people come looking for you and tell you with strong conviction, “But things are like that, you don’t understand, things are like that!” It is exactly what you have told them, you know. But they tell you, “I thought about it, now I know, it is this, it is truly this.” If you have the misfortune to tell them, “But this is exactly what I had told you”, they pull a long face! And they don’t understand any longer.
(CWM, Volume 4, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)