Guiding Light of The Month

Grant, O Divine Teacher, that we may know and accomplish our mission upon earth better and better, more and more, that we may make full use of all the energies that are in us, and Thy sovereign Presence become manifest ever more perfectly in the silent depths of our soul, in all our thoughts, all our feelings, all our actions. - The Mother

Satyavan


His figure led the splendour of the morn.


Botanical Name: Torenia fournieri
Common Name: Wishbone Flower
Spiritual Significance: Krishna’s Play


In her divine communion he had grown
A foster-child of beauty and solitude,
Heir to the centuries of the lonely wise,
A brother of the sunshine and the sky,
A wanderer communing with depth and marge.

-          Savitri, Sri Aurobindo


From the Editor’s Desk (Mar 2018)

This newsletter edition brings into our fold Satyavan, a significant character in the epic poem Savitri. If not for Satyavan, Savitri’s role would not have been fulfilled. Sri Aurobindo’s use of symbolism needs to be reckoned here too. In a recent edition, we examined a little the symbolism ascribed to each of the main characters of the epic poem.  While Savitri is the daughter of the Sun, Light Supreme, Satyavan, her consort, is the soul carrying the divine truth of being but descended into death and ignorance. Divine in his origin, bearer of divinity, there is in Satyavan a Divine seed waiting to manifest itself in all its splendour in this human body upon this material earth. Savitri is the Light who subsequently confronts the darkness, shadow and ignorance in the guise of Death. She stands steadfast in saving the human soul from its clutches so that God may reveal Himself. And so is Satyavan saved and brought back from death to live a higher, illumined life upon earth with his soul-mate.

Satyavan makes a glorious entry into the epic poem and also into Savitri’s life and consciousness when he appears, leaving his usual path, onto a tract unintended, only to chance upon Savitri as she speeds by in her horse-drawn chariot. The descriptions surmising his appearance and nature instantly tell us of his eligibility for one such as Savitri. These lines are a beautiful rendition of the great soul Satyavan is:

As if a weapon of the living Light,

Erect and lofty like a spear of God

His figure led the splendour of the morn.

Noble and clear as the broad peaceful heavens

A tablet of young wisdom was his brow;
Freedom’s imperious beauty curved his limbs,

The joy of life was on his open face.

His look was a wide daybreak of the gods,

His head was a youthful Rishi’s touched with light, 
His body was a lover’s and a king’s.

These lines glorify the simple and pure soul that Satyavan is. They show us a man in his state of nobility and near-perfection – in his physical, his mental and his vital too. He was surely a perfect match for Savitri. The enlightened Savitri’s heart opens the moment Satyavan appears before her and recognizes in him her soul-mate. A significant partnership (occult perhaps) begins which in the beginning was not obvious but as the story progresses, we realize the significance of Satyavan in this epic. Simple and pure he may be, he is still human acting out his humaneness here and falls into ignorance, into the grip of death, that signify these. In one way, the relationship between Savitri and Satyavan serve other purposes than meet the eye. It is a work Savitri takes up for the whole of humanity when she confronts death, wrestles with him and wins back the soul of Satyavan and continues her life with him for greater realisations.

March is a significant month. On the 29th of March 1914, The Mother comes to India for the first time and for the first time, comes face to face with Sri Aurobindo in Pondichery. This March, we oberve the 104th year of this momentous meeting between the two spiritual collaborators. The years to follow saw The Mother and Sri Aurobindo work together in bringing down the Supramental Light into the earth atmosphere, so that the life on earth may be illumined. Let us concentrate on this day and offer our gratitude towards all that has materialized for us here through their collaboration.


Savitri, a journey of Love and Light



Groves with strange flowers like eyes of gazing nymphs
Peered from their secrecy into open space,
Boughs whispering to a constancy of light
Sheltered a dim and screened felicity,
And slowly a supine inconstant breeze
Ran like a fleeting sigh of happiness
Over slumberous grasses pranked with green and gold.

 (Savitri)
                                                                                          
(Photo: Flowers at Darjeeling)



A Veda-knower of the unwritten book

As Savitri's "high carven car" winds its way through the wilderness on this day of predestination, she spies beyond the road deep recesses and groves and even catches the accents of speech:

      Sweet like desires enamoured and unseen,
      Cry answering to low insistent cry.

A "single path, shot thin and arrowlike" seems to lead into the half-hidden bowers of peace, and while following it, suddenly he appears,

      .. .against the forest verge
      Inset twixt green relief and golden ray.
      As if a weapon of the living Light,
      Erect and lofty like a spear of God
      His figure led the splendour of the morn.

He is like "a wide daybreak of the gods", his body—albeit a youthful rishi's—is "a lover's and a king's". Destiny had sent him here to be the "foster-child of beauty and solitude", and he has grown in strength of limb and transparent lucidity of soul, mastering all knowledge and finding repose in the Spirit.

This day of all days, Satyavan has—as if out to keep an appointment—strayed from his customary paths and gravitated towards the "forest's flowering verge", and there the vision of beauty, the divine shock of love, overwhelms him. At first Savitri from her car gazes vaguely about her, drinking in the loveliness of the place, and seeing him too, though not with particular intent; but presently her vision settles on him, the magic recognition takes place, and all is changed. Is he the genius of the spot? He looks "a king of life outlined in delicate air".184 But the mere thinking faculty soon abdicates its function, waves of sudden ecstasy beat upon her, she is caught in a "mystic tumult from her depths", she is smitten by the arrows of pain and desire, the birth-pangs of a great new emotion throw her into convulsion, and at last she flings open the doors of her soul to this splendorous Sun. Their eyes meet, and the great alchemy works:

Then trembling with the mystic shock her heart
Moved in her breast and cried out like a bird
Who hears his mate upon a neighbouring bough.

The reins of the horses are drawn instantaneously back, the chariot stands "like an arrested wind"; and Satyavan, now alerted into attention,

...looked out from his soul's doors
And felt the enchantment of her liquid voice
Fill his youth's purple ambiance and endured
The haunting miracle of a perfect face.

Is this a new divinity undreamt of before? Satyavan misses his moorings and flounders "as in fire"; he is lost, another has seized him entire; even in the mere "sight's embrace", infinity merges with infinity. As dazed Satyavan dares Savitri's eyes:

He met in her regard his future's gaze,
A promise and a presence and a fire,
Saw an embodiment of aeonic dreams,...

No chance or new meeting is this, though it seems such to be; nor aliens nor strangers are they, but soulmates since the beginning of things, and now awakening into a new recognition of each other by the roseate dawn of love.

      Love is a spiraling phenomenon, its base is on earth and earthy, its crown is in the highest heavens; its power has a uniform potency, though the effects may differ at different points of the spiral. At the lower reaches, there are not wanting debasing and corrupting influences that cheapen and poison love. But in its essential movement and in its proper field, "Love is a glory from eternity's sphere". None is really dead to love, but each waits "like an unopened flower" for the destined moment of unfolding. Love is the "child-god" who variously accomplishes the blaze of transfigurement in which man and woman run into mutual recognition, and each exclaims:

      Behold the one
      For whom my life has waited long unfilled,
      Behold the sudden sovereign of my days.

There is marvellous communion between heart and heart, limb and limb, and all the world seems to be charged with the beauty of heaven. Such a moment has come to Satyavan and Savitri:

      Attracted as in heaven star by star,
      They wondered at each other and rejoiced
      And wove affinity in a silent gaze.
      A moment passed that was eternity's ray,
      An hour began, the matrix of new Time.

 (“Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri – A study of the cosmic epic”, Dr. Premanandakumar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)
          

The Mother says… On Truth


Our life ought to be governed by the Love for Truth and the thirst for Light.
*

Let the light of Truth be born upon earth from today and for ever.

*

Let the flower of Truth blossom within you.
 *

Let us all work with a growing sincerity for the manifestation of the Divine Truth.

*
Be more eager for truth than for success.
*

The Divine’s Will is that the mind should know and He says, “Awake and be conscious of the Truth.

-         The Mother

Flowers Speak…



Krishna's Ananda

Manifold, abundant, and so full of charm

In her divine communion he had grown
A foster-child of beauty and solitude,
Heir to the centuries of the lonely wise,
A brother of the sunshine and the sky,
A wanderer communing with depth and marge.

***



Krishna's Light in the Mind

A charming way of becoming intelligent.

A Veda-knower of the unwritten book
Perusing the mystic scripture of her forms,
He had caught her hierophant significances,
Her sphered immense imaginations learned,
Taught by sublimities of stream and wood
And voices of the sun and star and flame
And chant of the magic singers on the boughs
And the dumb teaching of four-footed things.

***


Radha's Consciousness

Symbolises perfect attachment to the Divine.

And Satyavan looked out from his soul’s doors
And felt the enchantment of her liquid voice
Fill his youth’
s purple ambience and endured
The haunting miracle of a perfect face.

Mastered by the honey of a strange flower-mouth,
Drawn to soul-spaces opening round a brow,
He turned to the vision like a sea to the moon
And suffered a dream of beauty and of change,
Discovered the aureole round a mortal’
s head,
Adored a new divinity in things.


*Flowers and Messages, The Mother.
*Savitri, Sri Aurobindo                                         

Rainbow



According to Sri Aurobindo the rainbow is:

Sign of Peace and Deliverance.


I have gathered my dreams in a silver air
Between the gold and the blue
And wrapped them softly and left them there,
My jewelled dreams of you.

I had hoped to build a rainbow bridge
Marrying the soil to the sky
And sow in this dancing planet midge
The moods of infinity.
Sri Aurobindo

(Pictures of Sri Aurobindo’s poems, Havyavahana Trust, Puducherry)



The Mother on music


Music brought down celestial yearnings, song
Held the merged heart absorbed in rapturous depths,
Linking the human with the cosmic cry;
(Savitri)

***
                    
What is there "behind" the external form of music?

Music is a means of expressing certain thoughts, feelings, emotions, aspirations. There is even a region where all these movements exist and from there, as they are brought down, they take a musical form. One who is a very good composer, with some inspiration, will produce very beautiful music, for he is a good musician. A bad musician may also have a very high inspiration; he may receive something which is good, but as he possesses no musical capacity, what he produces is terribly commonplace, ordinary, uninteresting. But if you go beyond, if you reach just the place where there is this origin of music ̶ of the idea and emotion and inspiration ̶ if you reach there, you can taste these things without being in the least troubled by the forms; the commonplace musical form can be linked up again with that, because that was the inspiration of the writer of the music. Naturally, there are cases where there is no inspiration, where the origin is merely a kind of mechanical music. It is not always interesting in every case. But what I mean is that there is an inner condition in which the external form is not the most important thing; it is the origin of the music, the inspiration from beyond, which is important; it is not purely the sounds, it is what the sounds express.
***
What is the cause of the great difference between European and Indian music? Is it the origin or the expression?

It is both but in an inverse sense. This very high inspiration comes only rarely in European

music; rare also is a psychic origin, very rare. Either it comes from high above or it is vital. The expression is almost always, except in a few rare cases, a vital expression ̶ interesting, powerful. Most often, the origin is purely vital. Sometimes it comes from the very heights, then it is wonderful. Sometimes it is psychic, particularly in what has been religious music, but this is not very frequent.

Indian music, when there are good musicians, has almost always a psychic origin; for example, the ragas have a psychic origin, they come from the psychic. The inspiration does not often come from above. But Indian music is very rarely embodied in a strong vital. It has rather an inner and intimate origin. I have heard a great deal of Indian music, a great deal; I have rarely heard Indian music having vital strength, very rarely; perhaps not more than four or five times. But very often I have heard Indian music having a psychic origin, it translates itself almost directly into the physical. And truly one must then concentrate, and as it is ̶ how to put it? ̶ very tenuous, very subtle, as there are none of those intense vital vibrations, one can easily glide within it and climb back to the psychic origin of the music. It has that effect upon you, it is a kind of ecstatic trance, as from an intoxication. It makes you enter a little into trance. Then if you listen well and let yourself go, you move on and glide, glide into a psychic consciousness. But if you remain only in the external consciousness, the music is so tenuous that there is no response from the vital, it leaves you altogether flat. Sometimes, there was a vital force, then it became quite good.... I myself like this music very much, this kind of theme developing into a play. The theme is essentially very musical: and then it is developed with variations, innumerable variations, and it is always the same theme which is developed in one way or another. In Europe there were musicians who were truly musicians and they too had the thing: Bach had it, he used to do the same sort of thing, Mozart had it, his music was purely musical, he had no intention of expressing any other thing, it was music for music’s sake. But this manner of taking a certain number of notes in a certain relation (they are like almost infinite variations), personally I find it wonderful to put you in repose, and you enter deep within yourself. And then, if you are ready, it gives you the psychic consciousness: something that makes you withdraw from the external consciousness, which makes you enter elsewhere, enter within.
-    The Mother
(Questions and Answers, The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

Krishna’s Flute




Krishna, the cowherd, the stealer of our hearts,
Krishna, the lover of peacocks, of Radha,
A silvery flute he holds, sweetly, on his soft palms.   
When he feels rapturous,
When he wants his Radha to dance,
He plays music, a music of love, of Ras leela.

He holds his flute close to him,
His lips embrace the wood….
Wonder how it tastes?
His breath flows into the flute…
Wonder how it feels?
His fingers move over the holes…
Wonder how they touch?
And out flows the music,
From his breath, out of his self.

And it reaches me, reaches my ears,
Carrying the sweetness of his lips,
Carrying the feeling of his breath,
Carrying the warmth of his hands,
It reaches me and flows as a river,
Deep into my soul, deep into my hearts.

-          Sandhya

January-February Sunday Activities at the Centre - A glimpse


January 21st – The future poetry
We continued our exploration of the Rhythm and Movement. THE MANTRA, poetic expression of the deepest spiritual reality, is only possible when three highest intensities of poetic speech meet and become indissolubly one, a highest intensity of rhythmic movement, a highest intensity of interwoven verbal form and thought-substance, of style, and a highest intensity of the soul’s vision of truth. All great poetry comes about by a unison of these three elements. Jared explained metre (Matra) with lots of examples for us to practice through reading aloud.

January 28th – Self dynamising meditation using Savitri and Huta paintings
We continued our self-dynamising meditation viewing the Huta Paintings of Book 3, Canto 3 (‘The Book of the Divine Mother’, ‘The House of the Spirit and New Creation’) along with Mother’s organ music and Her Voice. We tried to weave using the threads of the last seven months of glimpses into a Spiritual fabric. This canto provided us the perfect framework of Cosmic and Terrestrial creation using the cosmos’ seed of integral knowledge of One Self, the Heartbeats of the One Soul representing the great world rhythms and the all conscious Light.

The great world-rhythms were heart-beats of one Soul,
To feel was a flame-discovery of God,
All mind was a single harp of many strings,
All life a song of many meeting lives;
For worlds were many, but the Self was one.
This knowledge now was made a cosmos’ seed:
This seed was cased in the safety of the Light,
It needed not a sheath of Ignorance.

February 11th – Hansaveena performance by Shri V Ramanan

Shri Ramanan is a devotee of our Mother and Master. Hansaveena was conceptualized and brought to reality by Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravishankar whose senior disciple was Pandit Barun Kumar Pal. Ramanan has followed the Gurukula system as a senior disciple under Pandit Barun Kumar Pal. Shri. Ramanan has performed at several prestigious venues and festivals, including the Indian Slide Guitar Festival, The India Habitat Centre, The George Harrison Festival at the Ravi Shankar Centre and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Mr. Ramanan has also founded a performing arts school, Sadhana School of Music, Dance and Arts, which has over 60 students training in various Indian and Western Art forms.

It was a mystical evening of musical delight. Mdm Jayalakshmi as the facilitator provided the needed support on behalf of our Society and shared a short clip of the performance to our members as it was progressing.  

A Self-Dynamising Meditation on Savitri Mantra based on ‘The Essence of Poetry’

‘The Essence of Poetry’ is the Chapter II in our Master’s divine work ‘The Future Poetry’.

He explores the grand possibility of poetry - the discovery of a closer approximation to what we might call the Mantra in poetry, that rhythmic speech which, as the Veda puts it, rises at once from the heart of the seer and from the distant home of the Truth — the discovery of the Word, the Divine movement, the form of thought proper to the reality. It is accomplished through the stress of soul-vison (Soul-idea, soul of emotion for the delight of the soul and embodied Truth of life or Truth of Nature) behind the surface view of words; it is a spiritual excitement of rhythmic voyage of self-discovery among the magic islands of form and name in the inner and outer worlds. It is the greater Truth and its delight and beauty it is seeking. It is true joy for ever with beauty which is Truth and Truth-beauty supporting each other in ever increasing fashion.

“There is perhaps a truth in the Vedic idea that the Spirit of creation framed all the movements of the world by chandas (The study of poetic metres and verse in Sanskrit), in certain fixed rhythms of the formative Word, and it is because they are faithful to the cosmic metres that the basic world-movements unchangingly endure. A balanced harmony maintained by a system of subtle recurrences is the foundation of immortality in created things, and metrical movement is nothing else than creative sound grown conscious of this secret of its own powers.”

It is a Divine Delight exploring the rhythm, the imagery, the ideas and the spiritual power packed in some of the sample passages of Savitri through meditating on the Essence of Poetry. It is still a long way for us to comprehend our Master’s Savitri Mantra – The poetic expression of the deepest spiritual reality through the unison of the highest intensities of the Rhythm, the Style and the Soul’s vision of Truth exactly reflecting the conception, perception and the sensation of the occasion; however, every step we take is a progress in our infinite journey of delight exposing every time some of the subtle and immaterial elements even to the experienced devotees – truly packed with infinite possibilities and in infinite dimensions as Jananam of Brahma - who is Sarvam, Anantam, Gnanam and Anandam – who is the Creator, the Creation and the Movement of Creation. This unending infinite scope is bewildering to terrestrial ordinary beings; in addition, the dualities of our terrestrial world make searching of the essence as looking for needle in a hay stack. The Grace of our Divine Mother makes this discovery for progress easier through our consecration and surrender.

Below is a picture reflecting our humble self-dynamising meditation attempt to contemplate on the essence of poetry highlighted above – through a deep dive into the ocean of Savitri to catch a few pearls to make a garland as our offering to our Divine Mother. Of course, it is a small crude step in our journey through the infinite golden path of delight requiring further purification, liberation, consecration and surrender. It is not just the canto or story line or passage but also beyond to get as close as possible to the transcendent Truth beauty and the beauty of Truth involved.

Here is the Mother’s quote on self-dynamising meditation: “… Everyone has his own mode of meditation. But if one wants the meditation to be dynamic, one must have an aspiration for progress and the meditation must be done to help and fulfil this aspiration for progress. Then it becomes dynamic” Mother Q&A 1956




This deep meditation can lead us to a feeling of flame discovery of God: Savitri in Her ‘all powerful and all encompassing’ state as experienced and expressed to touch our emotions, feelings and senses by our Master:

Out of the infinitudes all came to her,
Into the infinitudes sentient she spread,
Infinity was her own natural home.
Nowhere she dwelt, her spirit was everywhere,
The distant constellations wheeled round her;
Earth saw her born, all worlds were her colonies,
The greater worlds of life and mind were hers;
All Nature reproduced her in its lines,
Its movements were large copies of her own.
She was the single self of all these selves,
She was in them and they were all in her.

Book VII “The Book of Yoga”, Canto VII “The Cosmic Spirit and the Cosmic Consciousness"

Deeper dive into Savitri can reveal Beauty of Knowledge behind the ignorance surrounding our life, Delight of Truth hiding behind falsehood and Love of Goodwill behind the apparent evil.

The above pictorial representation brings to our inner vision a sense of being inside the Matrimandir accompanied by the Sound of Divine music, the mystic air of formless forms, the Light of consciousness, the water of Life and the Earth of Life forms realised. It is as if the Symbol of Sri Aurobindo at the centre is coming to Life powered by Sat and Chit for the Divine Ananda through the magic of our Mother’s Divine Love and Light thus creating the Beauty of multiplicity around us.



- Ramadoss


Along the Way… February Walk Review (walk no 390)


Walk venue for February walk was at East Coast Park.

Since I had missed the walk for the past 3 months, I very much longed to be with my SAS friends and enjoy the walk. I was not disappointed, since many of them joined the walk. The weather was also very friendly.

Mother Nature never fails to enthral us, even when we experience her beauty every day!

When I saw the vast sea and the sky, I remembered Mother answering one of the sadhak’s question as to how to widen our consciousness.  She said that to get out of our limited thought, will and consciousness, we have to think of  the endless vastness of the ocean and the sky, how they stretche out far and far in all directions. We are just a tiny point floating in the infinite space between the planets!   This will broaden our self from the closed shell of our ego. Hence this is also a kind of meditation.

It was really great of Nisha and Ashish to host this month’s walk, with Ashish’s wedding just a few days away! It was a great joy to meet her mother, sister and uncle who are here to attend the wedding. Both Sri Krishnamurthy & Sri Ramanathan chanted Bhagya Suktam and Shree Suktham, and Sri Kiran Sule chanted passages from Savitri as a blessing prayer to Ashish and Mallika.

The brunch was superb! We were treated to the most delightful dishes cooked by our dear Nisha’s mother, bringing the original pure taste of Bharata in every dish.

Our Sincere thanks to Nisha and her dear family for the beautiful morning they gifted us!
Jayalakshmi