Guiding Light of The Month

WHY all this noise, all this movement, this vain and futile agitation; why this whirlwind carrying men away like a swarm of flies caught in a storm? How sad is the sight of all that wasted energy, all those useless efforts! When will they stop dancing like puppets on a string, pulled they know not by whom or what? When will they find time to sit quietly and go within, to recollect themselves and open that inner door which screens from them Thy priceless treasures, Thy infinite boons? - The Mother

The joy of union; the ordeal of the foreknowledge of Death and the Heart’s grief


All-love was hers and its one heavenly cord
Bound all to all with her as golden tie.




Botanical Name: Ocimum Basilicum
Common Name: Common Basil
Spiritual Significance: Joy of Union with the Divine


These she controlled, nothing was shown outside:
She was still to them the child they knew and loved;

The sorrowing woman they saw not within;
No change was in her beautiful motions seen:
A worshipped empress all once vied to serve,
She made herself the diligent serf of all,

Nor spared the labour of broom and jar and well,
Or close gentle tending or to heap the fire
Of altar and kitchen, no slight task allowed
To others that her woman’
s strength might do.

-          Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor’s Desk (Jul 2018)

  The July edition of our Newsletter has as its theme the lead chapter of Book Seven of Savitri, the Book of Yoga. With this book, we are led into the wonder and miracle of Savitri’s Yoga which brings her from the throes of deepest grief into worlds where she stands alone with the strength within her and eventually wins for herself and the rest of existence the heavens promised. Interestingly, her intense Yoga which is to be described in this book, begins with, “The Joy of Union; The Ordeal of the Foreknowledge of Death and the Heart’s Grief and Pain” all contained within the first chapter of Book Seven.

Released from the clutches of her past, leaving behind sights and scenes of her childhood and bringing with her the little foundation of all the growth she had attained till then, in this life and lives before, Savitri approaches her future’s abode and the work awaiting her for which she came to earth. She joins Satyavan in his hermitage after a brief separation during which time she learnt of Satyavan’s fate from Narad’s lips. A new Savitri approaches Satyavan, one curiously in knowledge of the secret of his fate, his impending death in the next year or so. 

Savitri’s joy in this union probably comes from a sense of obeying her innermost call at the time she met him in the emerald glades. An act carried out in identification with one’s innermost truth surely is a joy? And the manifestation of that love truly was nothing but Joy? And so she spends her time with Satyavan, deeply in love and he with her, equally, if not more, in love. However, the foreknowledge of the future, though a boon, acts itself out against this joy of union. It pricks and prods her constantly with its insistence, far but ever so near. That was Savitri’s ordeal; each time she looks at the face of her beloved, the joy is instantly replaced by grief at the foreknowledge. The irony was that that Joy was not a lasting sunshine. The dark clouds gathering in the corner, threatening to engulf the joy of her heart’s call constantly dogged her. That was fate’s iron law which plunged itself time and again upon Savitri’s path. There was her heart’s grief, now multiplied folds by the condition that she was the only one who knew, in that blessed household and had none else to confide in. Circumstances worked themselves up to deny Savitri the fortune of resting on her joy lest she forgets the work at hand, perhaps.  

Sri Aurobindo penned this significant chapter as a prelude to the intense Yoga she would eventually plunge herself in as the one and only option left for her, come what may. Savitri was, as it were, swept to the very edge of a flat earth, compelled to jump off it, not knowing what would await her following the plunge. One can imagine what this means in our own life, if at all we would have lived such an ordeal as she. Ordeals may be aplenty, in any mortal’s life. However, with what spirit one confronts ordeals, with what faith and for what life’s aim makes all the difference. Savitri stands before us with all the strength of character and purity of soul before the ordeal fronting her, though tortured and tormented by it.

We will agree that this is one of the chapters, besides the one just passed, “The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain” that we can relate with in all our humanness. Sri Aurobindo draws us, along with Savitri, through familiar human pathways and prepares us to stand with Savitri when she finally takes the plunge into the unknown to know herself and the secret of all life and her life’s purpose.

Savitri, a journey of Love and Light


Although life-born, an infant of the hours,
Immortal it walked unslayable as the gods:
Her spirit stretched measureless in strength divine
An anvil for the blows of Fate and Time:
Or tired of sorrow’
s passionate luxury,
Grief’
s self became calm, dull-eyed, resolute
Awaiting some issue of its fiery struggle,
Some deed in which it might for ever cease,
Victorious over itself and death and tears.

(Savitri)


It was all her life, became her whole earth and heaven.


'Fix fate: Free will' is the seeming paradox at the heart of existence. Man has freedom of choice, but once the choice has been made, he cannot control the consequences. As we sow, so shall we reap. Is even the act of choice no real choice at all but an item of unalterable predestination? Is, then, 'free will' itself a delusion?
                                               
Man's hopes and longings build the journeying wheels
That bear the body of his destiny
And lead his blind will towards an unknown goal.
His fate within him shapes his acts and rules;
Its face and form already are born in him,
Its parentage is in his secret soul:...
Nature and Fate compel his free-will's choice.

Free will is a misnomer, then; yet this too is not the whole truth about the matter. The wages of sin, we know, is death; but Grace has limitless powers. By definition the Almighty is all-mighty; nothing is impossible for him. From the human end things may seem unalterable; but from the divine end? And where exactly do we draw the line that separates the human from the divine? Man ordinarily is a slave of circumstance, a pitiable victim of fate, a creature subject to the curbs of death, desire and incapacity. But humanity can range from the level of the near-inconscient to the dizzy heights of the superconscient—from the beast to the god. Thus it appears that to the adamantine law of fate there can be exceptions:

       But greater spirits this balance can reverse
       And make the soul the artist of its fate.

Savitri's resolution to keep faith with Satyavan in defiance of Sage Narad's premonitory forecast of the coming events is no mere exercise in willfulness but rather the measure of her own strength which, if put to the supreme test, may very well bend "the long cosmic curve" itself. But this consciousness of the indwelling power doesn't blot out the human Savitri, the creature of trembling sensibility, who has made a willing and total surrender of herself to Satyavan.

      Leaving her parental home a second time, Savitri speeds back to rejoin Satyavan. It is a sharp fundamental passage from the palace with its "tinged mosaic of the crystal floors" to the bare hermitage in the bosom of the forest. But affection and infinite consideration await her here, and so she commences in the wild woods her married life with Satyavan. This solitude strikes her for a time as the sweetest society:

      There was a chanting in the casual wind,
      There was a glory in the least sunbeam;
      Night was a chrysoprase on velvet cloth,
      A nestling darkness or a moonlit deep;
      Day was a purple pageant and a hymn,
      A wave of the laughter of light from morn to eve.

Can love with its divine accent and 'sex' with its human base ever fuse into the 'holy' wedded state? Before their 'fall', did Adam and Eve experience what C.S. Lewis has called 'paradisal sexuality'? John Keats could not imagine any mingling of 'goatish winnyish lustful love with the abstract adoration of the deity'. But nothing is impossible to the "greater spirits" who are called into being to enact the higher synthesis. The first realisations of the wedded life of Savitri and Satyavan are of this order:
                                                           

      A fusing of the joys of earth and heaven,
      A tremulous blaze of nuptial rapture passed,
      A rushing of two spirits to be one,
      A burning of two bodies in one flame…

The woman at no time is less than woman merely because she is also potentially divine.

       It is doubtless an intolerable situation for Savitri. She alone has the foreknowledge which Narad has communicated to her; Satyavan, his revered parents, the other inmates of the hermitage, all are spared the knowledge that continually lacerates her. She cannot share her pain, she musn't even give the remotest hint of it. Can she at least try to forget? She tries desperately, she tries to lose herself in love's divine frenzy:

Vainly she fled into abysms of bliss
From her pursuing foresight of the end.
The more she plunged into love that anguish grew;
Her deepest grief from sweetest gulfs arose.
Remembrance was a poignant pang, she felt
Each day a golden leaf torn cruelly out
From her too slender book of love and joy.

Vain is her attempt—vain are all her attempts—to escape the pain in her heart that is like her own inseparable shadow. Her life with Satyavan, although it is the very image of love's complete fulfilment, is for her now more and more a mask. Nor love's maddening excesses nor the minutiae of an ardent housewife's round of duties are an effective cure for the wound in her heart that she cannot bare to others, not even to her soul's mate, dear Satyavan. She brings more and more concentration into her routine movements, achieving thereby,
                                                                                               
A oneness with earth's glowing robe of light,
A lifting up of common acts by love.

From her actions flow peace and joy to others, and to her too, because others are happy; yet the void within remains, the space of the allotted year contracts, the tread of remorseless Time approaches. In a new frenzy of alarm she rushes to Satyavan's arms again:

      Intolerant of the poverty of Time
      Her passion catching at the fugitive hours
      Willed the expense of centuries in one day
      Of prodigal love and the surf of ecstasy;

Has Satyavan no hint of this hell that is hidden in her heart? Doesn't love give him a sixth window of sense to see the spectre she fain would hide? She will not tell him, she cannot tell him, yet he knows, however obscurely, that something, somewhere, somehow is wrong:

      Satyavan sometimes half understood,
      Or felt at least with the uncertain answer
      Of our thought-blinded hearts the unuttered need,
      The unplumbed abyss of her deep passionate want.

But the barrier of reticence remains. For his part, he readily, eagerly, gives her as much of his time as he can—still rushing to her from the forest after hewing wood or from attendance on his sightless father.
                                   
      Retired to the still secrecy of her heart, Savitri ponders whether, when the trial is upon her at last, she must not immolate herself and follow Satyavan "into the sweet or terrible Beyond". What would happen, then, to "those sad parents", Satyavan's mother and blind father? Who will "help the empty remnant of their day"? Nay more: the burden of the whole world's pain presses on Savitri, for in her own pain she recognises the world's as well. She is now like,

      .. .a dumb priest with hidden gods
      Unappeased by the wordless offering of her days,
      Lifting to them her sorrow like frankincense,
      Her life the altar, herself the sacrifice.

The sole year of permitted bliss now draws to a close. Like a jungle crouching in silence, Savitri waits in sombre expectancy.

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

Flowers Speak…




Vital aspiration for the union with the Divine

It raises straight up in an intense and concentrated movement

All-love was hers and its one heavenly cord
Bound all to all with her as golden tie.

Savitri

***



Is it not a supreme sacrifice for the Divine to renounce the beatitude of His unity in order to create the painful multiplicity of the world?

Thus in the silent chamber of her soul
Cloistering her love to live with secret grief
She dwelt like a dumb priest with hidden gods
Unappeased by the wordless offering of her days,
Lifting to them her sorrow like frankincense,
Her life the altar, herself the sacrifice.
Savitri
(Flowers and Messages, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)



All was fulfilled the heart of Savitri


All was fulfilled the heart of Savitri
Flower-sweet and adamant, passionate and calm,
Had chosen and on her strength’
s unbending road
Forced to its issue the long cosmic curve.

Once more she sat behind loud hastening hooves;
A speed of armoured squadrons and a voice
Far-heard of chariots bore her from her home.
A couchant earth wakened in its dumb muse
Looked up at her from a vast indolence:
Hills wallowing in a bright haze, large lands

That lolled at ease beneath the summer heavens,
Region on region spacious in the sun,
Cities like chrysolites in the wide blaze
And yellow rivers pacing, lion-maned,
Led to the Shalwa marches’
emerald line,
A happy front to iron vastnesses
And austere peaks and titan solitudes.

Here is an excerpt comparing the canto with the ancient tale of Savitri according to Mahabharatha
Aswapati began attending to the details of marraige. He invited the wise experienced Brahmins, and all the priests officiating at the holy sacrifice, and the chanters of the Riks. Choosing an auspicious day and time he, along with them and his daughter, commenced the journey to the forest-hermitage where dwelt the king-sage Dyumatsena. On reaching the place, and following the high tradition of proposing a marriage, he formally made a request to Dyumatsena to accept Savitri as a bride for his son, Satyavan. Dyumatsena was somewhat hesitant in the beginning, as he felt that he was living the life of a destitute, devoid of royalty, having lost his kingdom and having been driven out into the wilderness; he felt that he was in several respects no equal to King Aswapati to establish this tie. He also had the apprehension whether the young Princess would at all be able to adjust herself to their present pattern of cloistral life and bear the hardships of a forest-dwelling. But Aswapati assuaged his fears, and assured him that he had made the proposal in the full knowledge of all these circumstances, and pleaded not to be refused. He further told him it was with affection, and in the friendship which does not discriminate between persons according to their status, that he had approached him. Dyumatsena finally accepted the offer and confided in him that, in this relationship it was actually his own long-cherished desire that was getting fulfilled. The marriage was duly solemnised by the learned Brahmins in the presence of the great Rishis of the forest. Satyavan was happy that in Savitri he had found a beautiful wife with all the exquisite qualities of a high-born virgin; Savitri too was joyous that her heart’s desire had been so well fulfilled:
सत्यवानपि तां भार्यां लब्ध्वा सर्वगुणान्विताम्
मुमुदे सा तं लब्ध्वा भर्तारं मनसेप्सितम्

Satyavanapi tham bharyam labdhwa sarvagunanvitham
Mumudhe sa cha tham labdhwa bhartharam manasepsitham.

(The ancient tale of Savitri according to Mahabharatha, R Y Deshpande, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)



The flower of grace



As a river flows through lands
Waterfalls silver down high mountains
The rain showers musically on earth
Her grace sings with the jingle of her bangles.

A sweet flower, over there in the mellifluous air,
A little shy, white and pink, smiling as the Sweet Mother,
Blossoms every day to fill the air with her Grace.
The flower of grace, Hibiscus mutabillis.

It sings of Her grace,
The grace that saves lives.
It invokes Her grace,
The grace that enriches lands
It brings her grace,
The grace that progresses lives.

A sweet music is Her grace,
It is her music for life on earth.

Sandhya

May - June Sunday Activities at the Centre - A glimpse


May 20th – Savitri: The Glory and Fall of Life
Chhalamayi, with her extensive research and meditation, enthralled us with a beautifully woven snippets from Savitri, Book 2 focusing on Life and through that touching a deeper and a wider canvas. The central focus was on the Canto 3, ‘The Glory and Fall of Life’ – Aswapati’s Journey into the kingdom of Life. The Book 2 is about his journey into the various planes of Consciousness - of Subtle Matter, Life and Mind and last into the Spiritual Worlds.
                  
May 27th – Self-Dynamising Meditation using Savitri and Huta Paintings
We continued with our deep dive on the Book 3, ‘The Book of the Divine Mother’, Canto 2, ‘The Adoration of the Divine Mother’. It was a Divine Delight experiencing momentarily ‘The Flame Discovery of God’ – though this discovery is explicitly touched upon in the Canto 3, as a prelude, we could feel the voice that chants to the creator fire. The flames of Divine Mother take on infinite forms to accomplish the eternal dynamic Divine Delight uniting behind The One. Through this canto, we too can get a glimpse of Aswapati’s Darshan of The Mother which is far and beyond Vishwaroopa Darshan of Krishna to Arjuna.

‘His spirit was caught in her intolerable flame.
Once seen, his heart acknowledged only her.’

June 10th – Poems and paintings of Niranjan Guha Roy
Jared navigated us through the selected poems and the corresponding paintings of Niranjan Guha Roy (1920 to 2005). Niranjan was a pilot in the Royal Air Force during the war and was an Ashramite from 1945 to 1984. We could feel the deep aspirations of Niranjan so vividly expressed through his poems and paintings. We briefly glimpsed at the Elan, The Shrine and The House of the Mother.

- Ramadoss


Along the Way… June Walk Review (walk no 394)




June walk this month was at East Coast Park, a much loved walk venue for all of us. After many months, Auropriya and I managed to make the morning walk along with Anushna who was very excited to ‘go near ocean’.
I always find these walks a great reminder of how important exercise and in particular getting out into nature early in the morning is to our health and wellbeing. For Anushna as well, such exposure at a young age is great for her development. The Mother herself once said, “for a good many bodily defects can be rectified and many malformations avoided by an enlightened physical education given at the proper time”.
We walked along the coast and looking out at the sea with all the ships docked is always a pleasant sight. There were many others working out this morning, which was a great motivation for all of us. Our route towards the city and back was particularly challenging especially on the way back given it was a pretty warm and sunny day, but as a group the spirits were very high and we all completed the walk on time. A few other families and friends joined along the way making it for a sizable group and healthy turnout for the walk by the end.
We were joined this month by a few new faces namely Mr. Ram Chandrasekhar,   M/s Madhavan & Family who are long term devotees who we warmly welcomed into the Aurobindo family in Singapore.
Post the walk we were hosted this month by Popat Bhai and family. Vrunda, Anand and family who are always very warm and gracious hosts and this time was no different. After the meditation, prayers and reading of birthdays and anniversaries, we cut a cake for the June babies. This was particularly special for Anand, Vrunda and family as it is Shiv’s birthday in June.
This was followed by a sumptuous brunch of Thai food, which was a unique change of cuisine that was very well loved by all in attendance.  

                                                                                    Anuvrat Rao

Tributes to Shri Shashi Lal Kashyap


06.10.1936 – 06.06.2018

Shri Shashi Lal Kashyap, the chairperson of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore since 2010, passed away peacefully on the 6th of June 2018 in his home in Singapore. He leaves behind very many people who have benefitted from his way of being as well as his generosity, materially or through his unrelenting spirit that always surges forward to accomplish a work he would have taken up for himself. In this issue of our Newsletter, we carry a few pages of tributes bestowed upon him by society members and well-wishers 

***

‘Shashi-bhai’, as we used to call him, occupies a very special place in our hearts. We shifted to Singapore in the mid 90’s and, he has been a very loving and steady family friend since then for the last 2 ½ decades. We came to know him through Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore and late Nandalal Bhai (NC Patel) introduced him to us. Our first meeting was very interesting, it was a special function at Sri Aurobindo Society, and I had just heard that there will be a sitar recital and some songs. I had little introduction and assumed Shashi-bhai was a musician who is going to perform ! …. Only later that I realised he was the key sponsor and organiser of the program and we met him at the centre, with his beaming smile.

Shashi bhai, has led a most remarkable like that is multi-dimensional. He was not only a leading member of Sri Aurobindo Society, SIFAS amongst others, over the later years he became deeply interested in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. He had has great proclivity and a wide inner opening for all things that were spiritual. His own prayer room (pooja room), was a most beautiful place full of all Hindu Gods, Goddesses, Saints, and prophets that were displayed with much artistic fervour, and included musical instruments. He used to practice there every day, as a way of invoking the Gods with his music. His innate ability to synthesise all the good that flows through multiple streams of spiritual lineage and finding a common patterns was a natural gift to him.

This nerve centre of a prayer room was central to a most beautiful home he built and lived in with his large family. It was a remarkable edifice, that truly represented the best of the values of a three generation, large Indian Hindu joint family living together. His love for the good things in life, good food, life, travel, holidays, or cars was equally remarkable and he delighted in them to the full, with no deep attachment as he would also enjoy the simple joy of a road side meal with equal delight. Living in happiness and spreading delight to all around him was his natural personality.
He was man of action. He built a very successful business with hard work, brick by brick, he was a dutiful Grihasthi (family man) who delivered on all his worldly obligations, and a community leader who gave much of his time and resources to public institutions – SIFAS and Sri Aurobindo Society amongst many others. He was a very organised man, who never missed his appointments and was always on time, and meticulous to the core.

I was privileged to know him rather closely in SAS and SIFAS, and he was instrumental in bringing me into the committee at SIFAS given my interest in music. I admired him for zest and positivity. I have seen him always mighty cheerful, happy and smiling. He enjoyed whatever he did and he always gave his 100% devotion and attention to whatever he took up, which was the secret of his superlative and achievements that made him a perfectionist of sorts.

One of his great qualities was to never keep anything in his heart – he always tabled what he felt most honestly, and almost with a childlike innocence and candour.  This was truly a quality that is so very rare, and if he ever felt upset or unhappy it would all be over by his expressing it directly and squarely and there it would disappear into vapour in a few minutes. He thought through well, and often took time not to be hasty, for his decisions always were from his heart and that made him a whole-hearted person in his dealings with all. His charming nature was the outer expression of a whole-hearted person that he always was. He could make friends instantly, and he understood the true joy of giving and helping. He was large hearted, and very generous in helping people and being most kind. He could never be harsh to anyone.

His interest in Hindustani Music was so wonderful that he continued to learn till the last and was a great student all through the years, and mastered singing. He also released CDs of his bhajans and distributed them to friends with much joy. He would look for opportunities to perform and sing for you his most favourite bhajans, and compositions and enthral you. He managed to pass his love for music to his entire family and all the three generations today have some interest or the other, making the family together a self-sufficient orchestra of sorts.

Just as he loved life it its various colors, he was an avid photographer who shot over 400000 pictures in his lifetime. He took thousands of pictures of Sri Aurobindo Society monthly walks and events, and he told me he catalogues personally over 18000 pictures of the society that holds a pictorial history. Last Aug 2017 he personally presented the pictorial history of Sri Aurobindo Society, of selected pictures with much love, to trace how it grew over the years.

His attitude to life, was most positive. He was a self-made man who fought adversity with tenacity and knew that there are no short cuts to success. This made him a great mentor to many, in his own business, family and extended friends. He was a patient listener and would come up with very sensible advice to those who went to him. Over the years, he started facing some health challenges but always remained steadfast and bounced back to health, with positive thinking and good disciple. He was a disciplined swimmer and an early morning walker, for years.

In the last phase when his health started deteriorating, he took a very positive outlook. When we visited him a few weeks before his departure, he bore his characteristic smile and cheer and had tea with us. He said to me that he is blessed by God for having given him a wonderful family, a great life and he said “I have no regrets, actually I am prepared. I feel much blessed”. This ability to transcend and look upon one’s own life as a sheer ‘witness’ and rise above human failings and attachments is a proof of his spiritual maturity and all the good work and sadhana he did through is life. As he left this world, with a smile and a quiet wish as he expressed, his indelible smile and lifetime of experiences will continue to inspire, motivate, cheer and enthuse his family and friends, to lead a meaningful and whole-hearted life that he led.

His was a blessed soul, that will reach the Divine and follow its destined journey for the lives it will recommence in this world of ours.

Shashi bhai we miss you, but your cheer will bring a smile to us always ! …

- K. Venkatesh Rao

***
Dear Members of the Society, I have just heard the sad news that my old friend Shashi Lal Kasyap has passed away and indeed that his funeral may be taking place in Singapore even as I write. Please convey my sincere condolences to Urmil and members of his family. He will be greatly missed.
What a loyal and dedicated supporter of our Singapore Sri Aurobindo Society he has been for so many years! I am now in my 75th year and yet my own memories of our dear friend are undimmed by the passing of time. I will always have a special place in my heart for the members of our Sri Aurobindo study group in Singapore to which he made an outstanding contribution over many years, and indeed became the chief chronicler of our events and excursions through his wonderful collection of photographs! I still recall with great pleasure  gatherings at a beautiful house in Broadrick Road where I enjoyed his most generous hospitality on several occasions. Now that I am no longer resident in Singapore I look back on those happy days and send greetings and good wishes to all those who will attend the commemoration of the life of a remarkable man and friend to many on 24th June.  My thoughts will be with you all on that special day
- Sonia Dyne
***

We have learnt that Sri Shashi Lal Kashyap, Chairperson, Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore, left his body to be in the Mother’s lap on 6 June 2018. We shall cherish the memories of his visits to Delhi for a long time. On behalf of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, I wish his family the strength to bear the separation with fortitude, and pray for peace to the departed soul.

In the service of The Mother,
Tara Jauhar
Chairperson
Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch

***

An irreparable loss to Sri Aurobindo Society Singapore.

Despite his advanced years, he never missed to attend Society’s monthly walks whenever he was in Singapore. What I admired most was his punctuality. You could see him at the starting venue @ 7.58 am sharp for the walk scheduled to start @ 8 am. 

In the year 2012, when he offered to host the October Monthly walk in Gardens By the Bay- a new venue, he asked me if we could do a recce first. I reached his home to find him readily waiting for me. On knowing that I came in public transport to his home and that I did not know driving, he was thoughtful for a split second and said that he would take his car. On our way he stopped in every traffic junction asking me to note the directions, road name etc taking care to explain to me that he would not like the walk participants to lose their way when coming for the walk- Such was his attention to the minutest details . After completing the recce he insisted to drop me in my home never mind my home was at the opposite end of Singapore. Only on reaching our home he told me the reason for the split second thoughtfulness – he had a cataract operation just a day before, was unsure if his vision would be good enough to drive a car so soon after the operation and as luck would have it there were no other driver readily available in his home then. 

I was humbled by his sincerity and his consideration for others despite his physical challenges.
-          S Ramanathan
***

He was a Towering personality in all his social and spiritual activities. He liked his morning walks with Shri. N C Patel ...an elder brother to all of us and perhaps he longed to resume his walks and chats with him and so left us in a hurry.May his soul rest in peace with Mother's Blessings.
- J K Gopalratnam
***
Dearest Shashi Uncle,
Today when I look back on your extraordinary life, the singular thought that strikes me is that you are a complete human being. And among all your qualities, the one I admire the most is your sincerity towards whatever you choose to undertake - business, family life, spirituality and social life. This sincerity, blended with a unique and remarkable simplicity at heart has made you a perfect example to all of us on how we should lead our lives.
I know you will be reading this news letter cover to cover, as always. I have been very fortunate to have gotten your love as a daughter. You were always there for Ashish and I whenever we needed you. For me, you will always be with us.
Affectionately,
Nisha
***


I am away and am shocked to hear this very sad news. The last I met him was a couple of years ago in a conference. He was a great man and an admirable personality. I remember his passion for music too amongst a number of other things. May his soul Rest In Peace and our heart felt condolences to his near and dear ones.
- Rajah Kumar
***


Here is our humble tribute to our beloved Shashi uncle through this picture which speaks million words through the apt lines from Savitri. These lines were allotted to uncle during the recent Savitri Around the World chanting! Uncle drove from home to our centre wading through a heavy thunder storm, displaying his deep aspiration and determination. We will for ever remember uncle's all-inclusive love, charm, hospitality, humility, sincerity, generosity and goodness - Divine qualities indeed. Thank you uncle for everything
- Ramadoss and Lata
***

I am in San Francisco Bay area right now and just saw this shocking email.
I immediately called the family and had a chance to speak with Shashibhai's son. I have been out of touch since leaving Singapore some years ago, but Shashibhai was a dear friend with whom I served on the Management Committee of Sifas. Both of us were passionate about classical music and dance and I enjoyed many concerts with him at his home, SIFAS and other venues.
I often talked about him with friends in the US and India as someone I admired greatly for his humility, kindness and selfless dedication to preservation and promotion of our classical art forms.
He was truly one of a kind.                                      
- Taroon C Kamdar
***
All our condoléances
We Will miss him

- Konkona Mukherjee and family
***
Dear Sirs,
We acknowledge the passing away of Mr. Kashyap with regret and pray that he may rest in the nestling arms of the Mother.

Yours faithfully,
The Members of the Nairobi Centre of Sri Aurobindo Society.
Jaybharat Jethwa
Chairman

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Dear All at the centre
It is with fond memories that I recollect Kashyap ji... generous to the core.. helpful..ever smiling. ..
We will all miss him... for long time to come..
He is taken to the Mother's Feet for his eternal rest.
- Ananda Reddy, Deepshikha
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The Kashyap and Kapur families have known each other for seven decades, ever since my parents arrived in Singapore in the late 1940’s. Words cannot express the depth of the ties between the two families. I personally have known Shashi Praji (‘Praji’ means ‘Respected Brother’ in Punjabi) since 1958, when my family returned from a 4-year stay in England. In all the years since, he has been an embodiment of love, care, and concern. He introduced me to the Sri Aurobindo Society in 1984, and my wife and I were blessed to attend the late Professor M V Nadkarni’s talks up till about 1989. This is just one of the innumerable blessings my family and I have received from Shashi Praji, his life partner Mrs Urmil Kashyap, and their extended family. It was always a great joy for me to meet him, and have long discussions on an entire range of subjects, from Astronomy to Philosophy to Politics and Economics. May his soul rest in peace, and may God grant his family and relatives the strength to bear his loss. 

- Basant Kapur
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Mr Kashyap was a sweet person greeting us with a smile and always enquiring about everyone. I admired his zeal and enthusiasm towards music and he proved that age is just a number when it came to learning. He has always encouraged and has been accepting the artistic skills of the current generation. Kashyap Uncle will be missed in all our society functions and will be remembered forever.

- Swati Kiran
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Uncle is a very loving person who always greeted us with a sweet and kind smile whenever he met us. He never failed to enquire about our folks back home every time! We will always remember him for his constant optimism and generous affection. His cheerful and courageous spirit will always be a source of inspiration and guidance for us. We pray that uncle's soul rests in peace.
- Ramya and Ram
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Even when he was unwell, we could always see in Shri Kashyap's messages the energy, enthusiasm and spirit to serve Sri Aurobindo Society and its members.
It is very rare to find a person who has reached very great heights in his profession still always remaining very humble, kind and affectionate to everyone. Persons like Sri Kashyap are role models for us to emulate.
May God bestow upon the family the strength to bear the loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
- Mrs and Mr. Suryanarayanan
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Shashi Bhai will be dearly missed. A very gentle soul, he was affable, kind, courteous and humble. He was an active participant and patron of the Singapore Indian community social, cultural and spiritual activities. He will be remembered fondly by all of us.

- Anju Aditya

Shashi Bhai Rest In Peace ! You are with the divine Mother. Here on earth we shall miss your smiling presence. 
Mother said money force should be with good people who will use this force for the Divine works. This is so true in your case. Your life will continue to inspire us and show us how to lead a full life - with joy and humility. You also showed us how to face death with courage and calm. 
I know you will be watching over us at Sri Aurobindo Soceity Singapore which was so dear to you. And in my heart I shall always remember you in our Savitri sessions at the center .

- Shailaja Kamarshi
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Shashibhai  was a remarkable man who even with his heavy business responsibilities found time to pursue other interests like music , singing , photography , travelling on leisure and spirituality . When I asked him how he managed to do all that his reply was a broad smile which he always  wore on his face. He was generous , humble and treated everyone equally irrespective of one's social status. Once I asked him to find an experienced doctor for a friend of mine who had to go for a major operation. He must have had many other engagements and yet he took the trouble to recommend a suitable doctor for the operation without delay. Like many of his admirers I will miss him.

- Jagir Singh Riar

***
A hymn of adoration tireless climbed,
A music beat of winged uniting souls,
Then all the woman yearningly replied:
"Thy embrace which rends the living knot of pain,
Thy joy , O Lord, in which all creatures breathe,      
Thy magic flowing waters of deep love,
Thy sweetness give to me for earth and men". 

-- Sri Aurobindo , Savitri

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Uncle Shashibhai . His sweetness, love, generosity , and regal nature will ever be in our hearts.  love for music, sweet , childlike innocence is truly unforgettable. We will cherish his memory in our hearts always. Our condolences to his family and Prayers for them to bear this great loss.

- Sudha and Surendra Ranganath, Adi and Maya.