Guiding Light of The Month

All is light, all is love, ignorance and egoism are but vain phantoms, they can be dissolved. And over all things spreads Thy sovereign peace, Thy fecund calmness. - The Mother

Widening of the Mind


Botanical Name: Asteraceae
Common Name: Dahlia
Spiritual Significance: Supramentalised Mental Dignity


Widen yourself to the extreme limit of the universe… and beyond.

Always take upon yourself all the necessities of progress, and resolve them in the ecstasy of Unity. Then you will be divine.
                                                                                                       

-          The Mother

From the Editor’s Desk (Apr 2017)

We proceed, in this issue of the newsletter, with mental wellbeing, with a special focus on ‘Widening of the Mind’. The mind is the ideating instrument around which thoughts are formulated and expressed or actualized through various means. Our mind, we must have observed, “acts according to hard and fast rules and standards”. In order to realize this, effort is needed at self-observation as one lives life. How often are we carried away by the mind as the rushing waters of a vibrant river carry away a fragile leaf? In that speed and force, we forget; forget to take cognizant of who we are and how different parts of our being work and express. The mind, more over, may not be acting sovereignly on its own conviction and strength. It may very well be playing second fiddle to our whims and fancies; the will, thus weakened, cannot prevail over it to establish a certain course of the events that occur. 

Our ordinary mind poses several obstacles towards perceiving a higher consciousness at work in our lives. The ordinary mind insists, with its “wrong reasonings, sentiments and judgements…. Or its mechanical activity, the slowness of response to the veiled or the initial touch…” The mind cannot be an instrument of truth as is shown too by the subjectivity of individual minds. We must have observed that one mind receives one thing and deduces about, reacts to it or concludes about it in one way and another mind does so in a diametrically opposite manner. This is because mental activities are different and therefore make different results of the same experience. One who is inclined towards discovering the truth behind the apparent, needs to, as a result, look beyond and above the mind towards the sustaining substance that animates all that we are. A conscious collaboration with a higher force may be a possibility, in this way.

Sri Aurobindo says, “Ideas and ideals belong to the mind and are half-truths only; the mind too is more often then not, satisfied with merely having an ideal, with the pleasure of idealizing while life always remains the same, untransformed or changed only a little and mostly in appearances…To realize the Divine Truth is always the aim, either beyond or in life also – and in the latter case it is necessary to transform mind and life  which cannot be done without surrender to the action of the Divine Force, the Mother.”

It is said that the first aim in Yoga is to open the mind to a higher spiritual consciousness. “The Divine Consciousness acts from a light that is beyond that level of human consciousness which makes the human standard of these things. It acts for and from a greater good than the apparent good men follow after…. And conceive.” The human mind therefore needs to rise to a higher consciousness. Then perhaps a transformation is possible. How then to transform mind? A restless mind cannot possibly open to a higher spiritual consciousness; “… a quiet mind is the first need.” 

We are back at an aspiration, a self-effort and an offering of that effort to the Divine. The school in which widening of the mind can take place is, happily, one’s own day to day, minute to minute life…” - varied, complex, full of unexpected experiences, problems to be solved, clear and striking examples and obvious consequences..” A quiet, silenced mind opens the door to receive, process and select, while reaching out to something greater, that stands beyond and above the mind.

Savitri (Apr 2017)

On a height he stood that looked towards greater heights.
To these high-peaked dominions sealed to our search
Too far from surface Nature’
s postal routes,
Too lofty for our mortal lives to breathe,
Deep in us a forgotten kinship points
And a faint voice of ecstasy and prayer
Calls to those lucent lost immensities.

(Book one, Canto four)

So it towered up to heights intangible
And disappeared in the hushed conscious Vast
As climbs a storeyed temple-tower to heaven
Built by the aspiring soul of man to live
Near to his dream of the Invisible.

(Book two, Canto one)

God wrapped his head from sight in Matter’s cowl,
His consciousness dived into inconscient depths,
All-knowledge seemed a huge dark Nescience;
Infinity wore a boundless zero’
s form.

His abysms of bliss became insensible deeps,
Eternity a blank spiritual Vast.


(Book ten, Canto three)

Goodwill



“Goodwill for all and Goodwill from all is the basis of peace and harmony”
-          The Mother

To a space she came of soft and delicate air
That seemed a sanctuary of youth and joy,
A highland world of free and green delight
Where spring and summer lay together and strove
In indolent and amicable debate,
Inarmed, disputing with laughter who should rule.
-          Savitri

Rantideva who was a king, became a hermit in the forest. He had given his wealth to the poor and lived a simple life in the solitude of the jungle. He and his family had only the bare necessities of life.
One day, after a fast of forty-eight hours, a light meal of rice with milk and sugar was prepared for him.

A poor Brahmin came up to the door of the hut and asked for food. Rantideva gave him half of his rice. Then came a Sudra begging for help and Rantideva gave him half of what remained.

Then he heard a dog barking; the poor beast seemed to be starving. Rantideva gave him what was left. Last of all came a Pariah who stopped at the hermit’s door and asked for help. Rantideva gave him the milk and the sugar, and continued to fast.

Then came four gods who said to him:
“It was to us, Rantideva, that you gave food, for we assumed the forms of a Brahmin, a Sudra, a dog and a poor outcaste. You were good to us all and we praise you for your loving thoughts.

A kind heart treats all men and even animals as members of one family, one humanity.

-          The Mother

(CWM, Volume 2, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Cheerful Mind and Heart


“Keep a cheerful mind and a peaceful heart. Let nothing disturb your equanimity and make every day the necessary progress to advance with me steadily towards the goal.”
-          The Mother
A sigh was straying among happy leaves;
Cool-perfumed with slow pleasure-burdened feet
Faint stumbling breezes faltered among flowers.
-          Savitri

In the next story I shall tell you, the joyous spirit bubbles up like water from a beautiful spring. The person it tells of had nothing to do with the desire for custom or gain: he was the famed and glorious Rama.

Rama slew Ravana the ten-headed and twenty-armed demon-king. I have already told you the beginning of the story. It had been the most terrible of all battles. Thousands of monkeys and bears had been killed in the service of Rama, and the corpses of their demon enemies were piled one upon another. Their king lay lifeless on the ground. But how hard it had been to fell him! Time and again Rama had cut off his ten heads and his twenty arms, but they all grew back immediately so that he had to cut them off many times over; they were so numerous that at last it seemed as if the sky was raining down arms and heads.

When the terrible war was ended the monkeys and bears who had been slain were brought back to life, and all stood like a great army awaiting orders.
Glorious Rama whose manner remained simple and calm after the victory, looked kindly upon his faithful friends.
Then Vibhishan, who was to succeed Ravana on the throne, had a chariot-load of jewels and rich robes brought for the warriors who had fought so valiantly.
“Listen, friend Vibhishan, said Rama, “rise high in the air and scatter your gifts before the army.
The king did as he was told, and from his chariot in mid-air strewed glittering jewels and brightly coloured robes.
The monkeys and bears tumbled over one another as they rushed to seize the falling treasures. It was a merry scuffle.

And Rama laughed heartily and his wife, the lady Sita, and his brother Lakshman laughed with him.

For those who are courageous know how to laugh like this. There is nothing more cordial than a good and hearty cheerfulness. And the word ‘cordialhas the same origin as the wordcourage’. In difficult moments, the cheerfulness that comes from a cordial spirit is truly a kind of courage.
Surely it is not necessary to be always laughing; but liveliness, serenity, good humour are never out of place. And how helpful they are! With them the mother makes the home happy for her children; the nurse hastens the recovery of her patient; the master lightens the task of his servants; the workman inspires the goodwill of his comrades; the traveller helps his companions on their hard journey; the citizen fosters hope in the hearts of his countrymen.

And you, happy boys and girls, is there anything your cheerfulness cannot accomplish?


-          The Mother

Wisdom in the Physical Mind


A first step towards the Supramental manifestation upon earth.
-          The Mother

Leaving earth’s safety daring wings of Mind
Bore her above the trodden fields of thought
Crossing the mystic seas of the Beyond
To live on eagle heights near to the Sun.
There wisdom sits on her eternal throne.
-          Savitri

The Japanese have a picturesque way of expressing their idea of prudence.
They have in one of their temples an image of a meditating Buddha seated on a lotus-blossom. In front of him are three little monkeys, one with its hands over its eyes, another over its ears, and the third covering its mouth. What do these three monkeys signify? By its gesture the first one says:
“I do not see evil and folly.
The second one says:
“I do not hear them.
And the third:
“I do not speak them.
In the same way, the wise man is prudent in what he looks at, in what he listens to, and in what he says.
He considers the consequences, thinks of the morrow, and if he does not know his way, he asks.

-          The Mother
(CMW, Volume 2, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)           

One shall descend and break the iron Law

The Mother’s final arrival at Pondicherry, 24th April 1920


One shall descend and break the iron Law,
Change Nature’s doom by the lone Spirit’s power.
And in her body as on his homing tree
Immortal Love shall beat his glorious wings
She shall bear Wisdom in her voiceless bosom,
Strength shall be with her like a conqueror’s sword
And from her eyes the Eternal’s bliss shall gaze.
A seed shall be sown in Death’s tremendous hour,
A branch of heaven transplant to human soil;
Nature shall overleap her mortal step;
Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.
-         Savitri

That call must haunt those who had heard it once, and Mirra of course had come to Pondicherry in 1914 even without that particular call, and instantaneously recognised in Sri Aurobindo "the Lord of my being and my God"; and now, after an absence of five years in France and Japan, she was coming back to Pondicherry. She was leaving behind in Japan her good friends - the Kobayashis, the Okhawas, and others - and Japan meant the kindliest memories. But the boat was carrying her towards the shores of India, and she was sublimely content. And on 24 April 1920, the boat approached the shores of Pondicherry. As she was to recall her experience thirty years later:
“I was on the boat, at sea, not expecting anything (I was of course busy with the inner life, but I was living physically on the boat), when all of a sudden, abruptly, about two nautical miles from Pondicherry, the quality, I may even say the physical quality of the atmosphere, of the air, changed so much that I knew we were entering the aura of Sri Aurobindo. It was a physical experience.”

Again, returning to the subject two days later:
... in the experience I was speaking about, what gave it all its value was that I was not expecting it at all, not at all. I knew very well, I had been for a very long time and continuously in "spiritual" contact, if I may say so, with the atmosphere of Sri Aurobindo, but I had never thought of the possibility of a modification in the physical air and I was not expecting it in the least, and it was this that gave the whole value to the experience, which came like that, quite suddenly, just as when one enters a place with another temperature or another altitude.

(“On the Mother”, Chapter 14, K.R.Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)
                                                                      

On a song of treasures

The sun has arisen from the bosom of darkness,
The light has spilled over earth
And the space is filled with an energy
Awakening lovely flowers, sweet birds and noble people.

In a little spiritual land at southern India,
A young sage, wise and spirited,
Blossoms his eyes to the touches of fresh light,
A day is in his hands, a blank page,
Looking forward to new experiences,
He brightens up to write the song for the day
To create treasures that will live on through ages.

Bhavathi Bikshandhehi, Bhavathi Bikshandhehi,
Reverberates his sweet voice through the streets of the town.
His seer’s eyes capture a rickety old hut
And he stops by, asking for alms, enlivening the spaces.
The door of the hut creaks open, slowly and carefully,
 Walks out an old woman, very poor, very noble.
“Greetings! O Sage. We are blessed to have your presence.
Poor and old we are though, and do not have anything to give you”
Speaks the woman to the sage, humbly, in a gentle voice.
“Perhaps, there must be something, something very little,
Little that you can offer this young sage” is the sage’s response,
His heart brimming with blessings for the poor woman.

The old woman walks in for a search,
Searches her old small hut,
And she spots a mellow little amla fruit at one corner.
Mustering a lot of courage, full of reverence,
She places the little fruit in the hands of the sage.
“Forgive me for it is old and too small,
But this is all we have”.
The sage is pleased with her offering.

A beautiful song he sings, a song of Sanskrit verses.
Living in the song, Goddess Lakshmi.
Delighted by the young sage’s praise,
She appears before him in all splendor and glory.
“O living symbol of my Light,
what is it that you need?”
“Poor is the woman, but her heart, a glory of diamonds.
Grant, Goddess, that the woman be filled with riches,
And she has a lot more to give to all”
There comes a shower of gold and rubies
And the Generosity of the wise woman’s heart,
Converts her into a woman of riches.

The song of Sanskrit verses is revered as Kanakadhaara stotram,
And the young sage, Adi Shankara.
 Sandhya

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanakadh%C4%81ra_Stotra%E1%B9%83


I'll cherish that moment without having to interpret what it means or why I was blessed to have it.

For the first time I travelled to India at the end 2016, leaving Northern California barely in time to reach India to celebrate my sixty-seventh birthday on December 31st. I travelled to India primarily to visit two dear, dear friends, Sudha and Surendra Rangnath.

Surendra worked with my now long deceased husband for a couple years in the mid-1980s in New York State. The two guys bonded quickly in part because they were so alike in temperament and outlook, and also because life events, like flooding basements, provided opportunities for serious engineering collaboration. The two of them are/were long, lanky, serious thinking types albeit with really fun sides. Sudha and I also experienced a particular kinship, with especially fun interesting “getting to know you” times as I taught her how to drive. Have you ever seen a proper Hindu, Brahmin, vegetarian, calm lady hunting for a parking spot in New York? It’s a pleasure to see the “hunter” come out? We feel as if we were sisters in some other time.

Years have passed. The Ranganaths spent time in Singapore raising their children, and my husband and I built a life in Palo Alto, California. Yes, Silicon Valley. We’ve visited intermittently, albeit not frequently, but whenever we get back together it always feels as if we’ve only been apart for a few moments, perhaps a couple of weeks. There’s that degree of connection.

I relate all this history, because frankly I am profoundly perplexed by my experience during the two weeks of my stay in India. I experienced a deep sense of familiarity, and an extremely rapid adaptation to what could be perceived as “exotic” and “alien”. Just to take the most mundane: oxen carts, heavily loaded tractors conveying hay, scooters with five family members assembled on a machine meant for one, buses racing to compete for passengers, trucks of all sizes driving as if they were compacts, passenger vehicles with horns blaring, pedestrians risking life and limb, stray dogs and other creatures attempting to cross thoroughfares…… all co-existing. A cacophony unknown to me became quickly a delight of wondrous coordination, as did groups of brightly clad spiritual pilgrims, and other serious seekers seeming to envelope entire complexes and city streets, engaging in all manner of daily living.

Against the backdrop of India’s chaotic, colourful and vibrant splendour, my experience in Pondicherry and Auroville was an oasis of calm. I hesitate to make comparisons or even to comment about differences, because my experience was so unique, being in the care and consideration of the Ranganaths who organized our plans and shepherded me with care and watchfulness. However, that said, I have to wonder whether some of Pondicherry and Auroville’s charm and allure might not well be this touch of calm in the midst of India’s cacophony and pulsing spirituality.

Our time in Pondicherry was almost entirely spent in the French section, a “familiar” geometrically organized space, with an orderly ashram dining room, and the resplendent quiet calm of the ashram complex. This calm sanctum was in counterpoint to the pulsing, at times heated sanctums of Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, to name a few. Not more, not less, but different.

Auroville and the Matrimandir afford, and facilitate, an interiorized reflective stance that contrasts to the expansive and exuberant experience created in the Hindu temples, at least to my Western eye. Particularly while sitting by the Lotus Pond with other novice Auroville visitors (9 rows of 24 petals/lotus with water running over and down them, a meditative focus) I thought of the letting go of habit, the washing away of past pains. I felt a calm and connectedness to the experience, sitting there with other “pilgrims” as we waited to enter the inner sanctum. A connectedness I didn’t necessarily, perhaps couldn’t, feel with the reddish-orange clad pilgrims I’d met at Mahabalipuram.

And, this is one of the wonderings I’m continuing to have now, at home in Silicon Valley. I could most easily “understand” the peaceful time in silence at the Lotus Pond and in the Matrimandir, and appreciate it within my own mental context. And, yet, certain moments within the Hindu temples, as in the presence of the reclining Vishnu in Mahabalipuram, not in the “tourist” shore temple but in the less pristine central temple, or in the heated Parvathi side temple in the Bhrihadisvara complex in Tanjore, were extremely vital and intense.  There appears to be some pulsing vital spiritual nature in India (about which I’m reading now that I’m home) that insinuates through one’s “normalizing” defences if one allows.


To visit and touch this “pulsing” nature is tricky. How to “touch it”? Where to touch it? What to make of having touched it, Is hard.

Near to my front door hangs a collage I made with sayings embossed on some of my sketches and drawings. One of these sayings seems to speak to my experience in India, and in Pondicherry and Auroville especially: There is an invisible world out there and we are living in it.

I feel as if I touched different parts of that “invisible” world in each of the places I visited in India. Each gave me a tiny window on the country and the people. And as the wise men and the elephant, I’m not sure I can cobble together a coherent whole. The depth of peace I felt in Pondy looking out of my ashram hotel window at the dawn over the Bay of Bengal is a blessed moment. I’ll cherish that moment without having to interpret what it means or why I was blessed to have it.

-          Judith Stewart

Judith Stewart is a clinical psychologist and art museum docent living in Northern California. She relishes traveling, learning about unfamiliar cultures and lands, and meeting people from around the world. it is with gratitude that she embraces opportunities to write about her reflections and experiences---while traveling, in her work, and on museum tours with adults and school children.

February – March Sunday Activities at the Centre - A glimpse

February 19th –  Study of Secrets of the Veda:
This was conducted to consolidate our understanding on some of the critical topics as below:
The central conception of the Veda:
·         Conquest of the Truth out of the darkness of Ignorance  & falsehood.
·         Converting a divided & limited being into higher Consciousness and Bliss.
·         Vedic Ritam is a spiritual as well as a psychological conception. 
Who are the Gods to be invoked and sacrifices offered ?:
(taken from Sri Aurobindo’s book ‘ Hymns to the Mystic Fire’ Pages 26 to 30)
There  are 4 primary Gods – Agni, Indra, Surya & Soma and their deputies such as Vayu, Ashwins, Saraswati, Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, Viswedevas etc.,
Difference between Gods & Demons:
Gods are children of Aditi – Infinity & Light, help increase the Truth in human beings and prevent attacks from hostile forces.    
Demons are children of Diti – They are dark forces - Powers of division & limitation, also named as Dasyus, Vritras, Panis Vala etc.,
Vedic Symbolism: 
For example:  ‘Gritha’ (Clarified butter) represents knowledge ,
                      ‘go’ (Cow) represents – Ray of Light or Light
                      ‘Ashwa’ (Horse) – represents Force, Power & Strength
                     ‘ Adri’  (Hill) – represents Ignorance or inconscience

February 21st – Mother’s 139th birth anniversary:

Evening Programme started at 7:00 PM

Meditation with Sunil’s Music
Readings from The Mother’s ‘Prayers and Meditations
Reading of Darshan Message from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puthucherry
Welcome Address by the Chairman
Devotional Music Offering by Ms Sushma Somasekharan
Closing Meditation
Mahaprasad

It is always a joy to be part of the Mother’s Birth Anniversary celebration.

The arrangement of flowers at Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s altar was enough to capture our hearts and our spirits glow! The meditation music and the prayers brought so much calmness in the mind. Our dear chairman Sri Kashyapji spoke much lovingly about our Centre and the members’ contribution in various ways. Ms Sushma’s rendering of the devotional music on the Divine Mother  was so melodious and soaked us in the delight of the devotion!

Like the beautiful flowers of different colours and fragrance suddenly bloom in the garden of Mother Nature in the early morning, the variety of delightful dishes bloomed on the buffet table offered by our lovely and loving friends!

Darshan Day Message: “ The Grace is always with you, concentrate in your heart with a silent mind, and you are sure to receive the guidance and help you aspire for”
-          The  Mother
February 26th – Savitri, An unending Journey – Book 2:
                                                                                                                                                              (The Traveller of the Worlds) - Canto 3 – The Glory and Fall of  Life (pictures 1 to 7)

Mr Ramadoss facilitated the video session on the Meditations on Savitri, where Mother reads certain passages from Savitri with Huta’s paintings as the backdrop. 

Picture 1: The course of Life even in her own world is  set under certain conditions inherent in the creation of that  plane of existence. There is a large freedom of movement and effectuation but it is governed by the operations of a Time-rhythm  relevant to its order of existence. Time and  Circumstance walk together!
   
 Picture 2: Human imagination just looks for unending and uninhibited satisfaction of vital desires and passions, not knowing the diviner quality of joy, a celestial nature free and limitless and extending towards receding limits.

Picture 3: That in the above domains of deathless Light,luminous soothing belts of peace, flowing seas of joy, sunlit realms, where grief is not, that vouchsafe themselves to the grasp of man’s consciousness for however brief a moment. Such an experience can impress itself on man and form a permanent part of his consciousness or leave a memory which comes alive at will. What is once so experienced can always be called back in recollection and relived in a subtle way. They are the Kingdoms of Beatitude!

Picture 4: These regions of the Life-world are fields for the play of an untrammelled Life force.  There is here a purity, a brightness of the spirit that renders all movement delightful uninterrupted by flaws and twists!

Pictures 5-7: Goes back to the primitive beginnings of the earth-creation, there was no life, no mind, no sense. All was dead matter.

Slowly there gathered an urge within for movement, for expression and the original harmony was disturbed. There was an awakening and a call went forth to Life to descend from her native plane above and activate the myriad forms into movement. Life heard the call and invaded the material kingdom in order to fill it with all her joy and power.

There was a wider movement of joy and happiness and the glory of Life thrilled in the swiftness of the beauty of beasts. It became possible for man to appear and front the world with his thought and soul.

 But before Life could establish her full sway a dark Power of Nescience cast its shadow on the soul and imposed a purposeful ordeal on the Spirit that was manifesting through its Life-Power. Life underwent an arrestation of her dynamisms, a diminution and deformation of her natural beauty and bliss. Her immortality got veiled and in her constricted movement, desire and struggle afflicted Life. Life turned into a purveyor of Death.

Source: Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo.


March 5th - Reading from AIM Magazine:

Read a few passages from January 2017 issue of AIM, The Path of Agni

Rishis of the Vedas: The Vedic Rishis were men of great spiritual and occult knowledge and only their descendants were given the initiation of their knowledge and not the ordinary human beings. The Mantras were given to the Vedic rishis by the hidden planes of consciousness and contained the secret knowledge.

The Seer –poets: Our greatest Seer-poets like Vishvamtra, Vamadeva, Dirghatamas and many others touch the most extraordinary heights and amplitudes of a sublime and mystic poetry and for example poems like the Hymn of Creation move in a powerful clarity on the summits of thought on which the Upanishads lived constantly with a more sustained breathing!

The Veda-Mantras: What the Vedic poets meant by Mantra were an inspired and revealed seeing and vision thinking attended by a realisation. It was the innermost truth of God and self and man and nature, it was a thinking that came on the wings of a great soul rhythm, Chandas.


March 12th-   Read a passage from Questions and Answers, 1956 The Mother. Volume 8

 18 July 1956.

Mother talks about the Divine Love which is obscured by ignorance and our mind cannot seize the ecstasy of the heart and passion of the pure and sublimated sense and the attraction which is the call of the divine flute player.

Lord Krishna is the immanent and universal Divine who is the supreme power of attraction and soul the psychic personality, called here Radha. Just like Radha answers to the call of Divine flute player, we can for sure find divine Ananda in all things around us immaterial of whether it is just grass or an animal or the human beings, by seeing the one divine presence and a complete self giving to that Presence.
We can enjoy the perpetual ecstasy getting closer the divine in us!

-          Jayalakshmi


Along the Way… March 2017 Walk Review

This was not my first monthly walk organised by the Singapore Centre but it was my first one with Anushna my darling granddaughter!  Shailaja was kind to have driven us to the venue. Once we commenced the walk, I was wondering how long Auropriya my daughter would last holding Anushna in her baby carrier but we happily sauntered on for 45 minutes one way. Anushna loved it as she enjoys the outdoors and was delighted to gaze at Nature and see the birds in the cages while returning. 

It is always such a pleasure to join in the monthly walks in Singapore as the locales are one better than the other; at least to me as I do not reside here.
This time the site selected was Bedok Reservoir. To walk along its waters on one side and the green lawns on the other was a rare treat for me and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Mr Ramanathan along with ten others took a full circle around it.     
    
After this invigorating walk, we made our way to Sheetal and Anand Venkat’s home, our hosts for the brunch. We started with a meditation followed by prayers. This was well attended and to say the least the spread was delicious. – a favourite destination for brunch for many.  Sheetal graciously ordered a cake to our luck as it was her son’s birthday in March which coincided with Anushna’s birthday end of the week. It was a joyous occasion and celebrating it with the Ashram family was even more so. As this centre brunch coincided with the Executive Committee meeting, we stayed for a bit longer in the host’s house and Anushna was no short of entertaining everyone.

I am sure I will be making many more visits to Singapore in the future and look forward to creating more fond memories with my granddaughter.

-          Mrs. Chhalamayi Reddy

Aspiration for Silence in the Mind


Botanical Name: Eranthemum pulchellum
Common Name: Blue Sage
Spiritual Significance: Aspiration for Silence in the Mind


Hidden in silent depths the word is formed,
From hidden silences the act is born
Into the voiceful mind, the labouring world;
In secrecy wraps the seed the Eternal sows
Silence, the mystic birthplace of the soul.

-          Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (Mar 2017)

This March issue of the newsletter casts a glance at, “The Aspiration for Silence in the Mind”. This theme holds within its ambit a number of ideas one should be attempting to make clear to oneself from the out start. Firstly, its about the aspiration for silence in the mind.  Next, is the idea of silence and lastly is the idea of mind. It is about the well-being of the mind that we begin with, in this issue, having been very briefly introduced to it in the February issue. 

Mind is not mind alone. The Aurobindonian philosophy has treated mind in its complexity and organized it in its many forms and strata. There is the outermost mind, the inner mind and the innermost mind, concentric layers from outside to inside. Then there is the hierarchical strata of mind, from the lowest upwards, namely, the Physical Mind, Vital Mind, Mental Mind, Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind, Overmind and Supermind. There are indeed, vistas of mind spaces, many of which are not yet realized by our ordinary consciousness. How many of these layers may we be aware of? Which level of mind is most accessible to us in our day-to-day functioning? What efforts are we making in getting to know the various layers of mind? These are questions that need some contemplation and would eventually lead us deeper into the theme of this issue. 

Next, Silence. The commonly known meaning of silence is the absence of any kind of sound. It comes with another connotation and that is ‘stillness’. A silenced mind is one in which the churning of thoughts is ceased. A silenced mind may be, therefore, a mind of “profound stillness”. A silent mind is usually porous, and open. It can open to vistas of force and light from above. In order to know the Self, Sri Aurobindo writes that the mind has to be passive, free of all boundaries and limiting perceptions, hard and fast. “In a complete silence only is the Silence heard…” This Silence with a capital “S” that Sri Aurobindo celebrates is nothing but That; “….to us the name of That is the Silence and the Peace.” 

Have we heard that Silence? 

Silence is the Highest form of Consciousness, or Divinity. The knowledge of this idea of silence, which is a “capacity” and “power” poses before us a fresh challenge, coupled with the challenge of establishing this very silence in a mind that is far complex, multi-tiered and multi-faceted, of which we may actually know very little of.

Now the idea of aspiration comes before us as something which is within one’s own control, which one has to will and one has to feel and voluntarily put forth as a call to the highest we can perceive from our depths, from whichever mind or consciousness level we operate. Aspiration may be looked upon as the key that would or could enable this huge feat of silencing the mind. Why this task is a feat, anyone of us who has attempted to silence the mind would know.

Here we are then, posed with the task of silencing the mind as the best means of receiving the highest force and light of transformation so that the descent of all that is Light, all that is Ananda, all that is Consciousness can take place in us and establish their reign upon earth. Then, in this state, the total well-being of the being is a given; it becomes then, the natural field of expression and play of Divinity. 

Savitri

An equal Cause of things, a lonely Seer
And Master of its multitude of forms,
It acted not but bore all thoughts and deeds,
The witness Lord of Nature’
s myriad acts
Consenting to the movements of her Force.

His mind reflected this vast quietism.

(Book two, Canto Eleven)

In moments when the inner lamps are lit
And the life’
s cherished guests are left outside,
Our spirit sits alone and speaks to its gulfs.

A wider consciousness opens then its doors;
Invading from spiritual silences
A ray of the timeless Glory stoops awhile
To commune with our seized illumined clay
And leaves its huge white stamp upon our lives.


(Book one, Canto four)