Guiding Light of The Month

In this immense heroic struggle, in this sublime struggle of love against hatred, of justice against injustice, of obedience to Thy supreme law against revolt, may I gradually be able to make humanity worthy of a still sublimer peace in which, all internal dissensions having ceased, the whole effort of man may be united for the attainment of a more and more perfect and integral realisation of Thy divine Will and Thy progressive ideal. - The Mother

The Word of Fate


He sang of the Truth that cries from Night’s blind deeps


Botanical Name: Clerodendrum quadrilocilare
Common Name: Bag Flower
Spiritual Significance: Divine Will Acting in the Inconscient


My spirit has glimpsed the glory for which it came,
Beating of one vast heart in the flame of things,
My eternity clasped by his eternity
And, tireless of the sweet abysms of Time,
Deep possibility always to love.

-          Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (May 2018)

In this issue of the newsletter, we turn our attention to the advent of Narad, the “heavenly sage from Paradise” and the word of fate that spills from his mouth and his prophecy of the occurrence of a Divinely sanctioned event. Savitri, having heeded her father’s call to find her soul-mate, returns to the palace, having set her gaze on Satyavan and knowing him to be the one with whom she would walk her life and carry out what she was divinely meant to. The moment was opportune, as Narad the sage, descend on earth and is in converse with King Aswapathy and his Queen, mother of Savitri. Sage Narad throws his glance upon her and in a moment knows who she was and what destiny lay before her. He pronounces the fate of Satyavan:“Twelve swift-winged months are given to him and her; This day returning Satyavan must die.”

 This pronouncement of Satyavan’s fate, and also Savitri’s, unleashed waves of anguish -  the anguish of the mother of Savitri. However, as the Queen Mother’s anguish was on the incline, Savitri’s resolve to stand face to face with the pronounced fate of Satyavan and hold on to the only Truth she knew remained strong. Savitri, here wields her will of steel. It was an immaculate show of the greatness in her; she would confront, both formidable mountains of obstacles and deep troughs of darkness, in order to live out the truth of her destiny. 

It will be pertinent at this juncture to examine a little this episode in relation to what Sri Aurobindo wrote, “Thy goal, the road thou choosest are thy fate.” There is an indication here that what we call our fate is what we author  or direct as more or less, conscious or ignorant beings. We can put these questions to ourselves for a moment of contemplation. What is the motivating cause behind one’s action, every word uttered, every thought and feeling even? Is this cause born out of and held in light or darkness? Is this cause born from joy and a deeper sense of being or frivolous and surface, devoid of a deeper meaning? Here then we come to the question of how much in consciousness are our thoughts, feelings, words spoken and actualized. In this condition, who determines one’s fate? Can it be decided by something else greater? Is there a control we too can exercise, over these so called external forces that determine our being in action, thought and feeling? 

Lets look at another quote from Sri Aurobindo: “The soul in man is greater than his fate….” Now, it is evident that contrary to our ordinary way of looking at fate, we can view fate as not the final word but one which can be overruled by the soul within., which knows and has the power to efface fate.

So it was with Savitri then. The fate of Savitri was pronounced to be a life without Satyavan but her soul came forward and refused to acknowledge the stamp of fate withdraw from life. Savitri proclaims: 
If for a year, that year is all my life.

And yet I know this is not all my fate

Only to live and love awhile and die.
For I know now why my spirit came on earth 
And who I am and who he is I love.

I have looked at him from my immortal Self, 
I have seen God smile at me in Satyavan;
I have seen the Eternal in a human face.”

Savitri, a journey of Love and Light



He sang to them of the lotus-heart of love
With all its thousand luminous buds of truth,
Which quivering sleeps veiled by apparent things.

 (Savitri)
                                                                                          
(Picture: A lotus pool, painting by Sandhya)


My will is part of the eternal will



By perception does one first come to a certain conclusion and then one holds it by speech; only afterwards is it put into action. That perception for me is the one single authority.
My will is part of the eternal will,
My fate is what my spirit’
s strength can make,
My fate is what my spirit’
s strength can bear;
My strength is not the titan’
s, it is God’s
(Savitri)

(A comparison of the Sanskrit text of ‘Savitri’ as in Mahabharatha and Savitri written by Sri Aurobindo. Sanskrit text extracted from ‘The Ancient tale of Savitri according to Mahabharata’, RY Deshpande, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)


My father, I have chosen. This is done.


In silent bounds bordering the mortal's plane
Crossing a wide expanse of brilliant peace
Narad the heavenly sage from Paradise
Came chanting through the large and lustrous air.

Narad is Heaven's minstrel and messenger in one, but he can jumble his functions well so that his deeper purposes cannot at once be seen. What brings him from the spaces of heaven to "these rooms of a see-saw game of death and life?" As he wings and sings his way to Aswapati's abode, the seer rapidly reads as from an open book the secrets of life; the cosmic panorama unrolls before him, he passes from mind to the realm of material things; and what he sees, what he reads, he tunes to immortal song. As he gazes at the terrestrial play, his mood changes, his voice quivers with pathos and pity, and he chants the still sad music of humanity. He sings of the beginnings, "how stars were made and life began"; he sings of dumb matter and its veiled self, "its blind unerring occult mystery"; he sings the saga of darkness yearning towards the Light, of death aspiring to immortality; of man and the blossoming of his mind and the throb of his soul and the ache of his brooding Love; and also of his future and his destined rise to the godhead:
     
He sang of the glory and marvel still to be born,
Of Godhead throwing off at last its veil,
Of bodies made divine and life made bliss,
Immortal sweetness clasping immortal might,

As he steps into Aswapati's palace, Narad's face wears "a beautiful mask of antique joy", and the king and queen give him a royal welcome, and for an hour he feasts their ears with his "measured chant" bespeaking the tale of human joys and woes:

He sang to them of the lotus-heart of love
With all its thousand luminous buds of truth,...
And one day it shall hear a blissful voice
And in the garden of the Spouse shall bloom
When she is seized by her discovered lord.

Even as Narad sings of this transfiguring marvel, the miracle of the bud of the human heart's sudden efflorescence under the warmth of Love, there appears Savitri herself before them as if in quick fulfilment of the sage's prophetic song. Narad himself is taken aback, but as he flings on her "his vast immortal look", knowledge streams into him, and there is nothing that he cannot see. Yet he holds back this shaft of foreknowledge but rather gives vent to his seeming sense of wonder and glorious surmise. Who is this marvel, the flame-born, the beauty-arrayed? Can the halo of love bring about such a wondrous sea-change and cast a miracle-light on a human frame? Narad is so touched with ecstasy that he cries out to her:

From what green glimmer of glades
Retreating into dewy silences
Or half-seen verge of waters moon-betrayed
Bringst thou this glory of enchanted eyes?...
Reveal, O winged with light, whence thou hast flown
Hastening bright-hued through the green tangled earth,
Thy body rhythmical with the spring-bird's call.

Narad has travelled oft in the realms of this earth and the other earths; but this vision is like no other he has seen. Here is spring poised towards summer, here is morning making towards the noon, here girlhood glows into womanhood, and here is earth's hope straining towards fruition. Narad's sudden immortal gaze has seized the truth behind the layers of appearance, he knows Savitri's high destiny on earth, he knows too how her path will be strewn with difficulty and danger. Although he has striven to rein back knowledge, the words escape him all the same:

O thou who hast come to this great perilous world
Now only seen through the splendour of thy dreams,
Where hardly love and beauty can live safe,
Thyself a being dangerously great,...
As high, as happy might thy waking be!
If for all time doom could be left to sleep!

The dreaming—and the waking; and the shadow of doom in between, this is what Narad sees, and the word is almost spoken. The dream is vivid, being decked in golden hues. Savitri has been to an enchanted grove, she has drunk a joy from no earthly cup, her soul has "answered to a Word unknown". The "ravishing flutes of heaven" are still echoing in the secret chambers of her heart. The "thrill of a remembered clasp" burns into her still. But can reality rise to the expectation of the splendour of her dreams? Is the world of reality safe enough for love and beauty to live in peace? Isn't doom always round the comer, as it were!

      Narad has spoken one word too many; he checks himself too late. Aswapati has "marked the dubious close" and inferred behind the words a sinister hint, but he covers up his anxiety with tact and asks the sage rather to bless his child, who is his treasure and his sole hope and only heir:

Behold her, singer with the prescient gaze,
And let thy blessing chant that this fair child
Shall pour the nectar of a sorrowless life
Around her from her lucid heart of love,
Heal with her bliss the tired breast of earth
And cast like a happy snare felicity.

What can Narad say, knowing as he does that "words are vain and Fate is lord"? Assuming, therefore, a mere human curiosity, he asks about the "mission" from which Savitri has returned with "Paradise made visible in her eyes". Aswapati turns to Savitri, and she gives the answer in a few chosen words sufficient to the occasion:

I have obeyed my heart, I have heard its call.
On the borders of a dreaming wilderness
Mid Shalwa's giant hills and brooding woods
In his thatched hermitage Dyumatsena dwells,
Blind, exiled, outcast, once a mighty king.
The son of Dyumatsena, Satyavan,
I have met on the wild forest's lonely verge.
My father, I have chosen. This is done.

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

Flowers Speak…


Joy of Integral Faithfulness

That bond of love which makes all faithfulness so easy.

Reveal, O winged with light, whence thou hast flown
Hastening bright-hued through the green-tangled earth,
Thy body rhythmical with the spring-bird’
s call.

Savitri

***



Resolution

Nothing can stop its development

Once my heart chose and chooses not again.
The word I have spoken can never be erased,
It is written in the record book of God.

Savitri

***



Will one with the Divine’s Will

The condition that triumphs over all obstacles

Let Fate do with me what she will or can;
I am stronger than death and greater than my fate;
My love shall outlast the world, doom falls from me
Helpless against my immortality.
Fate’s law may change, but not my spirits will.

Savitri

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




Happy Birthday, Sweet Mother.


21/02/2018

Happy Birthday, Mother.

Thank you for the joyous moments, they make my life so worth-while.
Thank you for the sad moments because they taught me how to be stronger.

Thank you for opening the door to new opportunities as they enable me to grow.
Thank you for closing doors on other opportunities, probably because someone else is more deserving of it, and it is the best for me too.

Thank you for the success stories, its all your doing.
Thank you for the failures and hardships for they were important lessons in life, nothing could have been a better teacher.

Thank you for the love that I receive from You and everyone around me, I feel so blessed.
Thank you for the times when I did not receive love from others because it makes me realise that love should not be taken for granted.

Thank you for giving me such great parents, I don't know what I did to deserve them.
Thank you for all their naggings that I resent, for I know that they care so much & what they're saying is the best for me.

Thank you for giving me the basic needs and other things which allow me to lead a peaceful and comfortable life.
Thank you for not giving me all that I ever wanted because I understood that materialistic things are not the ones which give me true happiness.

Thank you for giving me the access to education, I will give back to the society.
Thank you for not making me smart because I understand how to work hard to become who I aspire to be.

Mother, thank you for always holding my hand and walking all my paths with me - you make life so much bearable.

Today, I pray for your happiness and peace. Thank you for all that you have sacrificed for us.

I love you, Mother.
-          Meenakshi
(A diary entry by Meenakshi on Sweet Mother’s birthday)

March-April Sunday Activities at the Centre - A glimpse


March 25th – Self-Dynamising Meditation using Savitri and Huta Paintings

We continued our self-dynamising meditation viewing the Huta Paintings of all the Cantos of Book 3 (‘The Book of the Divine Mother’) along with Mother’s organ music and Her Voice. We continued our attempt to weave using the threads of the last nine months of glimpses into a Spiritual fabric. This Book provided us the perfect framework for aligning with the Future Poetry Jared is navigating us through. Here we can discover the essence and secret of the whole creation of which poetry is just a part.
This is an unending delight and even though we just managed to scratch the surface, we were thrilled with the experience of the journey to the transcendental world of The Absolute, The Supreme Mother and Her infinite aspects including the Flame, the symbol OM, Satchidananda and The Godhead of the Whole (Supermind and its comprehending (Unity) and apprehending (multiplicity) aspects).

April 8th – The Future Poetry

Jared navigated us through the key points of Chapter 5: Vision and The Mantra. The poetic vision, like everything else, follows necessarily the evolution of the human mind and according to the age and environment, it has its ascents and descents, its high levels and its low returns. The eye of early man is turned upon the physical world about him. Next there comes a period in which he feels the joy and curiosity and rich adventure of the expanding life force within him. Afterwards he begins to intellectualise.

The poet can attempt to reveal unsuspected ranges and motives and use the outward physical and vital and thought symbol only as a suggestion of greater things. Yet a higher level can be attained, deeper depths, larger horizons when the soul in things comes nearer to man or when other worlds than the physical open themselves to him. And the entire liberation of the poetic vision to see most profoundly and the poetic power to do its highest work will arrive when the spiritual itself is the possession of the greatest minds and the age stands on the verge of its revelation. We enjoyed as Jared covered sample works of Homer, Shakespeare, Dante and our Master highlighting the different levels of focus.

April 15th – A Talk by S K Sunil

S K Sunil from Pondicherry who is visiting Singapore joined us on the morning walk, April 8th evening and April 15th evening. He shared his experience in creating the Divine Plan diagram with detailed notes as well his website www.sriaurobindo.love. He walked us through our Master’s words on our Yoga:
“Renunciation of ego, acceptance of God in life is the Yoga I teach, - no other renunciation. As the mind is a permanent state of consciousness in humanity, so also we want to create a race in which the supermind will be a permanent state of consciousness. Live always as if you were under the very eye of the Supreme and of the Divine Mother. Do nothing, try to think and feel nothing that would be unworthy of Divine Presence”.

- Ramadoss

Along the Way… April Walk Review (walk no 392)


The starting point of this month’s walk at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park was located a short distance away from Bright hill columbarium. Visitors were pouring in that Sunday to the complex because of the Qingming festival. On this day, members of the Chinese community visit the gravesites of their ancestors to clean them and make ritual offerings. As expected, this resulted in a lot of traffic along Sin Ming Avenue. Having successfully gathered at the meeting point, we commenced with the warmup and proceeded on with the walk.
Redeveloped at a cost of approximately $76 million, the park has become a beautiful green space for the community with numerous playing spaces, ponds, gardens and cafes. Evidently, it was a popular spot among residents in the area. The most prominent feature of the park is the Kallang river, which meanders along the park flanked by green riverbanks. It was converted at a great cost from a concrete canal to a beautiful river as part of the redevelopment.

Walking along the western section of the park, we caught up with fellow regulars at the walk as well as two guests visiting from Pondicherry. There were numerous cyclists and runners all around us, as well as families enjoying a day out on Easter Sunday. Admittedly, I did not converse much with anyone else, choosing to be with my thoughts and walking mindfully instead. This was indeed a pleasant experience as I took in the various scenes that presented themselves before me, be it couples running, siblings playing or groups of senior citizens partaking in group exercises. I even got to observe various features of the park that I would have otherwise missed had I been deep in conversation with someone else. I noticed large sculptures in the distance, lotus ponds hidden away from the main walking and cycling paths and park benches with no legs that looked like deck chairs along a swimming pool. It was definitely a refreshing experience to walk around with a stream of thoughts and observations acting as my companion

Having walked through both sections of the park and crossing marymount road back to the western section, we ended our walk promptly at 9:50am just like Mr Ramanathan wanted us to. We were soon joined at the meeting point by a couple of our younger members like Anjali, Sophia and Anushna who had chosen not to walk and opted to move around on a skateboard, inline skates and a scooter, respectively.
We were joined by the remaining members at Mr Krishnamurthy’s residence, most notably by Mr Shashi Lal Kashyap who had been unable to attend previous walks & brunches. Mr Ramanathan and Mr Krishnamurthy chanted Bhu Suktham before the closing meditation, with Mr Krishnamurthy making sure to patiently explain the profound meaning behind the verses that were chanted. This was followed by a sumptuous brunch that was prepared by Jayalakshmi aunty. The brunch was enjoyed by everyone.

Pranav Venkat