My Pilgrimage to the Spirit
Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
December 30, 1927 — March 1935
Govindbhai Patel. My Pilgrimage to the Spirit.– Second Revised Edition: August 1977.– Ahmedabad-380021: Gift Publications, .– 176 p.
The Divine gives itself to those who give themselves without reserve and in all their parts to the Divine. For them the calm, the light, the power, the bliss, the freedom, the wideness, the heights of knowledge, the seas of Ananda.
Foreword to the First Edition
How and why I came to Pondicherry
Part I. Sri Aurobindo’s Letters
Experiences of Overmind
Experiences of Cosmic Consciousness
Attitude to Money and Things
To Sex and Power
To the World
To Personal Effort
The Psychic or Yogic Attitude
To Spiritual Connection and Openness
Chitta and Chit
Demand and Desire
Approach to the Mother
Experiences in Sleep
Illness and its Cure
Fatigue and its Cure
Collection of Money
Collection of Letters
This is a spontaneous creation of the bounty of Divine Grace that descended while following an ideal “All life is Yoga”, in the shape of visions, experiences and realizations; and guide lights in the form of letters from the Divine Masters of Yoga — the Mother and Sri Aurobindo to explain them. It is presented to the reader as a simple and joyful offering in the book form, with love and devotion. The author claims here nothing of his own. He is simply a vehicle for expression of Grace of the Divine Masters.
I am thankful to the copyright department of Sri Aurobindo Ashram for permitting me to publish the second revised edition of the book.
I should not miss this opportunity of thanking all those who have kindly extended their co-operation in giving the book its present shape.
I am particularly grateful to Sri G. N. Sharma who has written the detailed introduction to the present edition. Sri C. N. Sharma was formerly Principal of S. S. College at Jehanabad (Bihar); and now he is an inmate and devoted worker of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He is an eloquent exponent of the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo.
I hope lovers of Aurobindonian literature will welcome the revised edition.
August 15, 1977
My Pilgrimage to the Spirit by Dr. Govindbhai Patel is the book of his experiences in sadhana in Sri Aurobindo Ashram as well as in his life outside, while following an ideal of Sri Aurobindo — “All life is Yoga.” The book therefore is significantly divided mainly in two parts. The first part covers his Yogic experiences and visions guided by the Divine Grace in the form of letters by the Divine Master of Yoga in Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The second part covers his experiences in the thick of life outside, guided by the Divine Grace, which gives a touch of originality and uniqueness to the book, for it is the first book of its type which contains author’s experiences outside the Ashram, moulding his life with care, by the touch of the Grace and fulfilling it into a stream of dedicated pilgrimage. Here we have the pleasure to see, how skilfully the door of the human life which is a paradox, is opened by the key of the Divine Grace, turning it into a fulfilment of life as a dedicated pilgrimage. «Life is a paradox, with God for key.»
Govindbhai heard the “call of the Spirit” while still young. He was accepted by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo when he was only twenty-one years of age. He started getting valuable experiences as he was gifted with a great capacity for concentration and could open to the occult world with marvellous ease and naturalness. Also that was the golden period in the sadhana of the Ashram. In the author’s own words «It was the period, when Gods were called down to inhabit those who were fit to assimilate their consciousness. The Grace of the Divine Mother had favoured and had begun to work upon me and I was dragged many a time in trance and came back with different types of experiences. Once I saw myself acting as a military officer on a mountain in one of my past lives.» Dr. Govindbhai reported this matter to the Mother. She not only confirmed it, but added «you were with me in Italy and was one of the best sculptors».
Givindbhai had thus joined the stream of Yoga with varied experiences in the past births. He acquired a certain discipline in no time and started reaping a rich harvest of visions and experiences. This continued for years. But the pressure increased and he had to seek a change into a relaxed pace. He returned to Gujarat to normal life. But in fact it was a return upon life with a measure of Yogic preparedness. The touch of the Grace he continues to receive is nothing but the Yoga applied to life in normal circumstances.
The author’s experiences in the Ashram are valuably recorded both for their clarity of description and for the elucidations they draw from the Masters. They are so living and vivid that the reader feels naturally borne towards the land of the occult and the indescribable.
The amazing variety of the feelings and revelations the author speaks of, the dreams and visions he has can only be explained in the light of the central objective of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga which aims at an integral union with the Divine and affect a total transformation of the earthly life. In the past the aim of Yoga was salvation. To kindle the fire of knowledge or devotion and seek the door of escape is the imperial theme of which the different systems of spiritual disciplines are different variations and styles. But Sri Aurobindo’s attitude is totally different, in a sense, revolutionary. It is an invitation to the Infinite to flood and transform life with its Light and Power. It has been said that the path of Yoga is difficult; it is a walk on the razor’s edge. The path of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga is much more difficult. In the course of sadhana the Force touches many planes, works on many levels, arouses many possibilities of fulfilment as well as fall.
Sri Aurobindo corresponded with his disciples on topics of Yogic interest. No question has been considered too trivial and no path of approach to the Master barred. Thus he has left us a literature of immense value. The present volume is only a leaf out of that. Not that this literature is of a passing value. For it deals on individual fronts with universal problems and is therefore universally relevant to the seekers. The hints and guidance Sri Aurobindo has left are like lamp-posts in the expanding horizons of the unknown.
Pilgrims to the land of the Spirit have variously related their experiences and made various claims in all the ages. This has led man to a variety of beliefs, cults and religions. The descriptions come mixed with fantasy. They draw criticism and disbelief more easily than credibility. The present volume is a compilation of Dr. Govindbhai’s experiences. But to have experiences is one thing, to describe, analyse and interpret those experiences giving them their true value and significance is quite another. It is here that the value of the book is evident. For the experiences are of the author, but the explanations of those experiences are given by Sri Aurobindo, the Divine Master of Yoga.
The author had started getting experiences in abundance as he had an easy and natural opening to the occult and the unseen. To such a seeker guidance has to be all the more alert, all the more detailed and plenary. For the many-levelled working of the Yoga-Force opens the doors in many directions towards many possibilities. Occasions arise when the ego is pushed up, ambition increases. One feels absolutely certain of one’s action. Through the author the ringing warning of Sri Aurobindo comes to all the seekers. He says:
«Overpowered by this sense of certitude, vividness, appearance of profusion and richness, the mind of the sadhaka enters into a great confusion which it takes for some larger organization and order; or else it whirls about in incessant shifting and changes which it takes for a rapid progress, but which lead no where. Or there is the opposite danger that he may become the instrument of some apparently brilliant but ignorant formation, for the intermediate planes are full of little Gods or strong Daityas or smaller beings who want to create, to materialize something or to enforce a mental or vital formation in the earth life and are eager to use or influence or even possess the thought and will of the sadhaka and make him their instrument for the purpose.» This remark is enough to show that only an awakened vision can sort out the true from the false. Guidance of the Master is needed at each step for when “one founders there, recovery is difficult.” The author draws out Sri Aurobindo in topics of great significance like the Overmind, the Purushottama of the Gita, the Supramental Truth, the problem of bringing down the Supermind, preparing the earth atmosphere for the descent and the cosmic view on things etc. He describes his experience of union with the Guru. He tells him how he feels while taking food or his experience of vastness and the expanding consciousness. Nothing of note has been left unreported and no mystery remains unexplained by the Master. One feels like moving with the author through the land of the Yoga of transformation. The Yoga-Force is applied to life, its various principles and formations. The attitude to be adopted towards sex, money or power, the attitude that should govern us while reading books or while formulating, modifying or maintaining our relation with the society and the world around us, our measure of sleep or of personal effort in sadhana — all should proceed from the Yogic consciousness from the central preoccupations to realize and express the Divine. Whether it be a consideration of the Divine will or of ego or surrender or approach to the Mother; whether it be an understanding of the Chakras or of Trance, a knowledge to be acquired of illness and its cure or fatigue and recovery from it or the attitude to be adopted to work or gossip — all should be guided by this imperial consideration. And Sri Aurobindo is there to help and guide accurately and infallibly.
If the first part of the book is for the initiates and seekers, the second part is a treasure-house for the seekers as well as for the common readers. Govindbhai had left Pondicherry, but he had not drifted away. The strange turn he had taken was indeed a significant turn. For he had drifted into the vastness of the Presence. The events and experiences he describes bear it out in ample measure. The life meandering back towards worldliness after years in sadhana will be, to say the least, full of uncertainties. But to him it comes with its itinerary accurately planned and its course minutely charted. He carries the Breath of Grace wherever he goes. Or shall we say that the Breath of Grace carries him safe through all exigencies of life as events seem to come beautifully planned from a high ether. It is the ether of the enveloping Presence. His worldly life is a happy confluence. The sense of deduction with which he leads his worldly life, the spiritual culture which informs his return to life is like the purifying stream of the Ganges absorbing its many propensities and purifying its outcomes. The author’s journey in life is a real pilgrimage. Its guiding light is the Grace of the Divine Mother. His difficulties are transformed into challenges, nay, opportunities. He is transported to the place that is destined; he is thrown into the work that is ordained by the Grace. In the beginning he is advised to start a bank which becomes successful. But the Grace that guides his steps has been preparing him for something more directly related to human suffering. He becomes a Doctor; but he is of no specific brand, nor does he prescribe medicines like physicians of high conventional training. He practises the art of healing. And he heals the body with tenderness and faith. For he is healing that which is the instrument and vehicle of the Spirit. In healing others he is always healing himself. He is always growing, his relation always deepening with the vast Presence. The amazing stories of success in restoring sight to the blind, the technique of cure he practises and is constantly developing are all gifts of the Divine to the pilgrim advancing towards the Spirit.
After Govindbhai has left the Ashram, the course of events that follow are very much the same as in any one else’s life. He has to settle himself in a profession, he marries, has children, educates them and helps them to settle themselves in life. This is the course that people ordinarily follow. Here we have the story of a veritable pilgrimage. It starts with a well-founded attitude. His marriage is a union of two fighters, as he himself puts it. It was the fighter for the freedom of the Spirit joining the fighter for the freedom of the country. It is a reformist marriage. The fighters join their fighting instincts to fight the evils in life. They start with faith, in themselves as well as in the Power that guides their steps.
Govindbhai speaks of the miracles that follow. But they are not unrelated miracles. His developed intuition helps him to study the mysteries of life and develop a course of treatment that proves itself effective in chronic and sometimes also in lost cases.
Vistas of fame and wealth open up before him. But he cannot be lured. The goal he has set before himself beckons him to the expanding horizons of the Spirit and he presses forward with the zeal of an explorer. He charts a new life of sacrifice and service, as he goes on telling people about the art of living effectively and fruitfully. His pilgrimage into the social life is a transforming crescendo. He inspires as he moves. For he inspires people to a spiritual attitude.
As we approach the end of the book and have listened stories of the Touch of Grace we feel like having passed through illustrative exercises worked out by the Divine Grace. These are episodes that concern problems of practical life. The light that Grace sheds is shared by the readers in abundant measure and that too for the simple reason that they are not unrelated miracles but they assure us that we too can approach the Divine to open the doors to our higher destiny.
C. N. Sharma
Foreword to the First Edition
Of all the voluminous writings of Sri Aurobindo, his letters are perhaps the most relevant and helpful to practitioners of Yoga or of the art of perfect living. Written in answer to various questions of moment in sadhana, in explanation of the many types of experiences got by seekers on their path to the Divine, they cover an incredibly vast field and deal with practically every situation that can arise in the course of the inner pursuit by the awakened man. The collection of letters presented in this volume are a selection from the large number received by Dr. Govindbhai during his eight years of stay in our Ashram during the formative period of his life.
No question was too trivial to ask and none was ignored by Sri Aurobindo when it concerned the practice of Yoga. Dr. Govindbhai is to be thanked for the rich treasure of spiritual knowledge and guidance he was able to draw from the Master. Every page of this correspondence is a boon to the aspirant. Whether it is the gradation of the inner worlds that is made explicit or the dangers that lurk on the route to the Destination, whether it is the analysis of the constitution of man or a study of the working of forces in the world, the light that these letters shed is luminous and the guidance they provide is clear and complete. Their presentation here in the context of the questions raised, adds to their force and clarity.
This main part of the book is prefaced and followed by an interesting and instructive narration by Dr. Govindbhai of the course taken by his life under the loadstar of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He bares his entire career of three scores and gratefully acknowledges the action of Divine Grace in every field of his life. Indeed the Grace acts in the life of every seeker, but not everyone is aware of it. Dr. Govindbhai is wide awake and never fails to recognize the working of Grace in the least detail.
December 10, 1973
M. P. Pandit
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
How and why I came to Pondicherry
I am a deputy of the aspiring world,
My spirit’s liberty I ask for all.
.I was born on the auspicious Ekadashi day of Kartik, on a Sunday, which according to the Gregorian calendar was the 28th day of October, the month of revolutions, and the year was 1906 when Sri Aurobindo was living in Baroda and had already made some advance in his sadhana.
About the time I was born, my father was frantically searching for a guru who would help him to swim across the sea of ignorance which this human life is and attain liberation. He was, however, a teacher, and was endowed with a rather critical intellect. He used to say that a teacher would teach but could not easily learn from another teacher. Hence, however much he felt attracted towards a prospective guru, he would sooner or later notice some weakness in him and go away from him. Once he did succeed in finding a guru whom he could accept and he was so happy in his devotion to the chosen guru that he wrote and published a pamphlet entitled Easy Path to Deliverance. But this devotion, too, did not last long. His desire for liberation had thus remained unfulfilled, when I was born and he had been content to lead a decent moral life and be a model teacher in a Government school. After twenty-five years of brilliant career as a teacher. and winning recognition for his services, he retired from service. Against the twenty-five years of active service, he lived for thirty years in retirement and died at the ripe old age of eighty-five.
My father inculcated in me a deep love for morality and religion and sent me for my secondary education to the famous Dadabhai Naoroji High School in Anand, where I was put up in the school’s boarding house. I was twelve at that time. The atmosphere in the school was permeated with great moral idealism in those days and the teachers, who lived near the school premises, exercised a wholesome moral influence on the pupils. Being rather quick in my studies, I did not have to spend much time over the texts and preferred to give a good deal of it to reading biographies of saints and holy men. Thus the love of good life inculcated by my father found rich nourishment in the school and at the young age of fourteen I had imbibed the inspiring influence of men like Swami Ramatirtha, Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Inspired by the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, at the age of sixteen I started the practice of meditation. During the long school vacation, I would stay on in the boarding house and day after day pore over the book containing Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings. My efforts to practise whatever I understood from the book were rewarded with happy experiences. I read the Bible, too, and under its influence tried the method of prayer to cure ailing friends. I also made successful experiments in thought-transference through mental communion with friends and sending messages to distant friends and calling them over to me. Thus the seed sown by my father sprouted into a plant and bore some fragrant flowers.
Since Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were no longer alive to guide me in my newly awakened spiritual quest, I started, even while in the D. N. High School at Anand, looking for a guru who would help me to realize the presence of God. I came to hear about Sri Aurobindo, who was asking his disciples not to renounce the world but to realize the Divine in the midst of the world. But it took me some time to procure any of his writings. At last, I read a book called Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy and felt that he would be an ideal guru for me and resolved to accept his sadhana which was to be done in the midst of the world and decided to go to him one day and surrender myself to his way of life.
While still at the school, I read Jnaneshvar’s commentary on the Gita and was deeply impressed by the incident referred to in it of Jnaneshvar humbling Change’s pride by ordering the porch where he was sitting to move forward to receive the latter who was coming to meet him, seated on a tiger. I wondered in my mind what perfect oneness Jnaneshvar must have established with the inert porch to make it obey his order. This incident silenced my sceptical mind ever prone to doubt and filled me with the ambition to cultivate strength of mind and spirit.
When, after repeated readings of the teachings of Swami Ramatirtha, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, I started practising meditation, my mind would often sink into total silence and remain in that condition for many hours. Man is a slave of his nature, prakriti. The awakened soul keenly feels this slavery and, failing in its struggle to master the prakriti, it turns towards the Lord of Mercy and prays to Him for deliverance from its slavery. In such a state of mind one day, all alone on a dark night in the school compound during the vacation, I was praying to the Lord from the depth of my heart to deliver me from the bonds of my nature, prakriti, and was sunk into the silent depths of my heart, when all at once the darkness was transformed into a blue light and I saw Sri Krishna, flute in hand, standing beside me and gently soothing me with his hand. I heard him repeat the Gita verse, “Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in me alone; I will deliver you from all sins; do not grieve”. I woke up from the trance and ever since I have been trying to understand the meaning of this vision and trying to live up to Sri Krishna’s teaching. The Lord’s Grace descended on me and He took me up in His lap, as a mother takes her child in hers.
In the school the birth anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna, Janmashtami and other sacred days were celebrated with great devotion so as to awaken love of holiness in the pupils’ hearts. Both teachers and pupils participated in these celebrations with utmost zest. During the annual day celebrations trained pupils staged skits and dramatic scenes on moral and religious themes. On one such occasion I was selected to represent the dialogue between Nachiketa and Yamaraja, the Lord of Death. Even today I find myself ceaselessly striving against Yamaraja as Savitri had done in the ancient legend.
This religious atmosphere in the school awakened and strengthened spiritual aspirations in the pupils’ hearts and the pupils spontaneously engaged themselves in activities intended to build strong character. Some of us who stayed in the school’s boarding house, had started a “self-improvement society”. The society’s meetings used to be held in secret late in the night after the other pupils had gone to bed. We met every week and each member gave an account of the efforts he had made during the preceding week to improve his habits. This exchange of our experiences was a great source of strength to those of us who really wished to grow morally and spiritually. Though our meetings were held in secret, our beloved teacher Sri Bhikhabhai Pat el, who acted as a kind of moral guardian, watched the proceedings unknown to us, and rejoiced over our zeal for moral improvement.
As the Matriculation examination drew near, we realized that we would soon be leaving our dear school. We felt sad and shed tears in secret for many a day. On the other hand, my efforts to seek Sri Aurobindo’s guidance had become more intense than ever. Two of my teachers had some writings of Sri Aurobindo with them and also subscribed to the journal Arya published from Pondicherry. I used to read those writings and have occasional discussions with the teachers as also practised meditation. In 1925, they left the school and went over to Pondicherry. I had left off study and joined Gandhiji’s movement for swaraj which had swept over the country since 1920. I had two attacks of appendicitis that year but had cured them with the help of nature-cure methods. When, however, I got the third attack, Gandhiji decided, without asking for my consent to get me operated upon, telling me: “We don’t wish to lose you.” He called in the doctors and handed me over to them, after obtaining from them an assurance that I would be returned to him safe and healthy. He then left to attend the Annual Session of the Congress at Gauhati. After the operation the intestines became so weak that I could take nothing except liquids. After returning from Gauhati, Gandhiji sent me over to the Antyaja Sevamandal Ashram at Navsari to rest and recover my health there by living on mango juice and milk for some weeks.
While I was at the Navsari Ashram, I was in correspondence with my school teacher, Sri Rambhai who was living in Pondicherry. After the establishment of the Ashram in Pondicherry in November 1926, I wrote for permission to join it. The Mother asked for my photograph and it was sent to her. I was accepted as one of the sadhakas and left Navsari for Pondicherry in the last week of December 1927.
When I alighted at Pondicherry station, my school teacher Sri Rambhai, who had come to receive me, told me that Sri Aurobindo had retired into complete seclusion and the Ashram was being run by the Mother. This was news to me. I was both surprised and pained. But Sri Rambhai added that I was to meet the Mother at 11 a. m. the next day in the library-room of the Ashram and that she had got a room cleaned and furnished for me. During the very first night of my stay in that room, I had a wonderful experience. I dreamt as if a wonderful golden sun was shining in front of me and I became a small flame with my gaze fixed on it. I spent the whole night in indescribable bliss. The next day was the 31st of December and, when I met the Mother on that day, I saw shining over her the same sun which I had seen in my dream the previous night. Spontaneously I bowed down to her and obtained her blessings.
I got my first opportunity to see Sri Aurobindo on February 21, 1928. It was a great experience and I felt that the decision I had made while at school to accept Sri Aurobindo as my guru was perfectly right. I, therefore, surrendered myself heart and soul to him and felt reassured that he would save me from all my sins in the same way as Sri Krishna had promised Arjuna. When I had my second darshan of Sri Aurobindo in the August of 1928, he was satisfied with my yearnings for sadhana and progress in it and conveyed his satisfaction and had sent compliments to me through the Mother. After that day my spiritual bond with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother continually grew stronger and my gurus helped me in my sadhana with all their spiritual powers.
In 1929 Barindrakumar, the younger brother of Sri Aurobindo, left the Ashram without informing the Mother or taking her permission. Next morning the Mother sent a note asking me to shift to that room vacated by Barindrakumar. This room was situated on the back side of Sri Aurobindo’s room, on the first floor of the office of the building department of the Ashram where I was working. A road was running between the Master’s residence and my room.
In this way, the Master’s grace granted me the boon of physical nearness, when I was striving to understand the real meaning of the word-»yoga», and the significance of the retirement of the Master. One day during meditation, the Master made me understand that the meaning of the word “yoga” is to unite, to establish inner relation. ‘It is for teaching the sadhakas, the way to establish the inner relation that I have withdrawn, so that I can help them in a better way.’
In 1931, I felt the longing to withdraw from the outer world, to hark to music of the inner Self, who was calling me. I informed the Mother of my feeling, Sri Aurobindo, replied immediately: “You can withdraw if you are feeling so. The Mother will make all necessary arrangement for you.” When one accepts a guru, and the guru takes him to his heart; when their relation is deep and intimate enough, the disciple approaches and identifies himself with the Master; the Master receives him with all love and makes him sit in his great heart and he takes his seat in the heart of the disciple. They remain no more separate entities, but begin to live in union.
It was for this reason that I was granted the physical nearness. It was the Master who had suggested me to retire, so that he can teach me how to establish intimacy and union. In this way, he started sadhana within me and gave me hundreds of experiences and wrote hundreds of letters to explain them. During meditation, when I rushed to him, entered his heart, united and identified with him,... he would run with all love to his window, open it, build a bridge of Light between our two windows, and will tell me.... “I am with you”. I can see his majestic form standing there to respond to the call of his devotee, defying all rules and breaking all bondages....
Here is the graceful bounty of the Divine Master. The experiences given by him and the letters written to explain them are being offered here for. those who are on the path, my fellow-pilgrims, to remind them of the presence of the Master’s guide lights to support their conviction and faith.
“A mutual debt binds man to the Supreme;
His nature we must put on as He puts ours,
We are sons of God and must be even as He;
His human portion, we must grow divine,
Our life is a paradox with God for key.”
I reached the Ashram on 30th December 1927, i. e., thirteen months after the birth of the Ashram. The descent of the light of overmind consciousness had illumined and charged the atmosphere with concentration and dynamic electrification, and whoever entered and breathed the air used to get his mind illumined and feel as if he was pushed deep into the ocean of a dynamic peace. The pressure and the working of overmental descent was so very strong throughout the day and night that everyone was driven to remain inward and one could hardly open his eyes fully even while working. Everyone was having two types of experiences — there was an experience that sat-chit-ananda consciousness with all its peace and power was forcing its way through the top of the head; there was another experience that a strong stream of peace and meditation was being poured in through the head, and everybody in the Ashram was forced to remain under the spell of peace and meditation throughout the day and night and was having a multitude of experiences.
When I reached the Ashram, the number of the inmates was about 30 and my number was 31. When I reached the Ashram in December 1927, I was a young boy of twenty-one and perhaps the youngest among those who were in the Ashram at the time.
In the morning there used to be a common meditation in the presence of the Divine Mother on the ground-floor verandah of Sri Aurobindo’s house. The Mother comes down at 7 a. m. In meditation, I open myself up in all parts of my being and strive to receive her Light and Grace to purify and illumine my whole being. The meditation lasts for half an hour or forty minutes. After the meditation everyone offers pranam to the Mother and after receiving a suggestive flower message from her everyone returns to his room and retires for breakfast or to the work which each sadhaka accepts as his daily sadhana as a preparation for meeting the Divine.
The Mother came to the library-room at a 11 a. m. and saw the newcomers and gave them interviews. The interviews over, the Mother proceeded to the dining-room, which was situated in the corner by the side of the present ‘Prosperity’. It was a small room, and at the entrance a chair was kept on which the Mother sat and gave each of us our dishes kept ready for distribution which we received after offering our pranam to her. The Mother first tasted the food separately kept in small dishes. She threw a gracious glance on each of us while going.
There was a cook servant who used to prepare only rice and vegetables. We used to get bread from the market. The morning breakfast at 6 a. m. consisted of bread, milk-cocoa and plantains. The lunch at 11. 30 consisted of bread, rice, vegetable, curd or milk, plantains and one dish prepared by a batch of inmates. Dara was fond of preparing payasa. Merchantman was fond of preparing potato vada. The Bengali batch used to prepare puri and we used to prepare special khichri (kedgeree). Evening meal at 6. 30 p. m. consisted of bread, vegetable, milk and plantains.
In the beginning the Mother came on the terrace of Sri Aurobindo’s house at 6 p. m. and walked there for half an hour. After a year she started going out to the lake in the car that was driven by Pavitra, and walked there for half an hour or more and returned at 6. 30 p. m.
There was a programme of soup distribution at about 7 p. m. above the reception-room verandah. During the soup distribution most of us reported our experiences of the day to the Mother and she gave explanations of our experiences and at times she would tell us her experiences regarding each of us.
This was a golden period in the sadhana in the Ashram, when gods were called down to inhabit those who were fit to assimilate their consciousness. The Grace of the Divine Mother had begun to work upon me and I was dragged many a time into trance and came back with different types of experiences. Once I saw myself acting as a military officer on a mountain in one of my past lives. When I reported this vision at soup time, she said ‘Yes, in one of your past lives you were that officer’ and then added, ‘You were with me in Italy and were one of the best sculptors.’ She had suggested me to write poetry because I was a well-known poet in France in one of my past lives.
There was night meditation after 9-30 p. m. We sat in the upper veranda in the presence of the Mother. During this session of night meditation many people used to have experiences.
There are many incidents which took place by the Grace of the Divine Mother. It so happened, one day, that the main gate was locked from inside for morning meditation by a young gate-keeper and he joined the meditation. When the meditation was over we were leaving the Mother and receiving flowers from her. The gatekeeper was to bow first of all to receive flower blessings from the Mother and then he would open the gate. On that day I had finished my pranam and after receiving flowers I approached the gate, but it was closed and the younger gate-keeper was searching the gate-key. I asked him and he said that he had lost the key. I was in a most collected and concentrated mood and by the Grace of the Mother, I followed the Light that was flowing out from my third eye, asking him to follow me. I proceeded with semi-closed eyes where my third eye led me and led the gate-keeper to the key which was lying in a corner of the garden.
There were many such incidents of miraculous nature. However, I was much alert about these powers and miracles. I had been acquainted with thought transmission, telepathy and establishing keen contact at long distances through identification since my school days. But these things had not helped me to control my nature or to transform it. These did help me to break my mental, vital and physical limitations or to grow into a wider consciousness. I was no more at the mercy of circumstances. The Grace of the Mother made it possible for me to control external conditions.
Time was passing fast and the number of inmates increased from 24 to 150 in 1935. The descent of the over-mental consciousness and Light had charged the atmosphere of the ashram with dynamic silence. The main object, however, was to transform the human nature into the divine and that demanded its own pace. A good deal of human patience was called for.
Part I. Sri Aurobindo’s Letters
The time has not yet come for me to write about these things — (the physical transformation, its circumstances and its nature). Mentalizing about it is not of much use at this stage: The physical is the part of the being, least open to mental influence. A higher Power and Light are needed.
It was the overmind power (that was working), not pure, but modified, mixed, clouded by the Ignorance of the lower planes. The stuff of the lower planes always mixes with the overmind forces and diminishes or even falsifies and prevents their truth and power.
There was an attempt to become an instrument conscious of the forces.... The first result of the down flow of the overmind power is always to exaggerate the ego, which feels itself strong, almost irresistible (though it is not really so), divinized, luminous. The first thing to do after some experience of the thing is to get rid of this magnified ego. For that, you have to stand back, not allow yourself to be swept in by the movement, but to watch, understand, reject all nature, aspire for a purer and yet purer Light and action. This can be done perfectly if psychic comes forward. The mind and vital, especially the vital receiving these forces, can with difficulty resist a tendency to seize on, and use them for the ego’s objects or, which comes practically to the same thing, mix the demands of the ego with the service of a higher object.
February 23, 1932
What is the difference between spiritual and Supramental realization?
Spiritual realization can be had on any plane by contact with the Divine (Who is everywhere) or by the perception of the Self within, which is pure and untouched by the outer movements. The Supermind is something transcendent — a dynamic Truth-consciousness which is not yet here and is to be brought down from above.
There is no mention of “overmind” anywhere in the Arya. The experiences which I am passing through are similar to indications given in the last chapters of the Synthesis of Yoga, which are considered as the chapters on Supermind. The meaning given by you to my experiences says that they are “overmind experiences”. Then what to think of those chapters of the Arya? Can they be taken as overmind chapters?
At the time when these chapters were written, the name “overmind” had not been found; so, there is no mention of it. What is described in these chapters is the action of the Supermind when it descends into the overmind plane and takes up the overmind workings and transforms them. The highest Supermind or Divine Gnosis existent in itself is something that lies beyond still quiet above. It was intended in later chapters to show how difficult even this was and how many levels there were between human mind and Supermind; and how even Supermind, descending could get mixed with the lower action and turned into something that was less than the true truth. But these later chapters were not written.
What is the difference between direct and indirect descent of the Light?
When a higher force comes down into a lower plane, it is diminished and modified by the inferior substance, lesser power and more mixed movements of that lower plane. Thus, if the overmind power works through the illumined mind, only part of its truth and force can manifest and be effective — so much only as can get through this less receptive consciousness. And even what gets through is less true, mixed with other matter, less overmental, more easily modified into something that is part truth, part error. When this diminished indirect force descends further down into the mind and vital, it has still something of the overmind creative Truth in it, but gets very badly mixed with mental and vital formations that disfigure it and make it half effective only, sometimes ineffective.
Is it not possible to get the direct Supramental working now?
It is not possible to have the direct Supramental working now. The Adhar is not yet ready. First one must accept an indirect working which prepares the lower planes for Supramental change.
May 5, 1932
If Supermind has not come down in your body, then in what respect we used to observe immortality day — 26th of November?
It was not the immortality of the body, but the consciousness of immortality in the body; that can come with the descent of overmind into matter or even into the physical mind, or with the touch of the modified Supramental Light on the general physical mind-consciousness. These are preliminary openings, but they are not the Supramental fulfilment in matter.
Is overmind descent a necessity in sadhana?
Certainly, it is necessary for those who want the Supramental change. Unless the overmind opens, there can be n o direct Supramental opening of the consciousness. If one remains in mind, even in illumined mind or the intuition, one can have indirect messages or a n influence from the Supramental, but, not a direct Supramental control of the consciousness or the Supramental change.
April 15, 1932
Dynamism is everywhere, because the Force (Shakti) is everywhere. The perfect dynamism is there in the Supermind; no other can be unfailing.
Why does the body not stand dynamism?
Why not? It depends on the condition of the body or rather of the physical and most material consciousness.
In one condition it is tamasic, inert, unopen and cannot bear or cannot receive or cannot contain the force; in another rajas predominates and tries to seize on the dynamism, but wastes and stills and loses it; in another, there is receptivity, harmony, balance and the result is a harmonizing action without strain or effort.
I have not said that to reach the overmind is impossible; I have only said that it is difficult. Difficulty is not a reason why things should not be done.
It is not easy for a physical being to reach the highest truth because its consciousness is something ignorant that has emerged out of the material inconscience and is very much tied to and hampered by the obscurity of its origin — in addition to the mental and vital difficulty of ego and desire. Yoga itself is not easy; if it were so, it would be multitude and not only a few that would be practising it.
November 6, 1932
In our yoga one is to pass through many planes and zones, not known to the past yogas. How can one know that they are transitional stages? How can one save oneself from misunderstanding and struggle resulting from it?
All these experiences are of the same nature and what applies to one applies to another. Apart from some experiences of a personal character, the rest are either idea-truths, such as pour down into the consciousness from above when one gets into touch with certain planes of being, or strong formations from the larger mental and vital worlds which, when one is directly open to these worlds, rush in and want to use the sadhaka for their fulfilment. These things, when they pour down or come in, present themselves with a great force, a vivid sense of inspiration or illumination, much sensation of light and joy, an impression of widening and power. The sadhaka feels himself freed from the normal limits, projected into a wonderful new world of experience, filled and enlarged and exalted; what comes associates itself, besides, with his aspirations, ambitions, notions of spiritual fulfilment and yogic siddhi; it has represented itself even as that realization and fulfilment. Very easily he is carried away by the splendour and the rush, and thinks that he has realized more than he has truly done, something final or at least something sovereignly true. At this stage the necessary knowledge and experience are usually lacking which would tell him that this is only a very uncertain and mixed beginning; he may not realize at once that he is still in the cosmic Ignorance not in the cosmic Truth, much less in the Transcendental Truth, and that whatever formative or dynamic idea-truths may have come down into him are partial only and yet further diminished by their presentation to him by a still mixed consciousness. He may fail to realize also that if he rushes to apply what he is realizing or receiving as if it were something definitive he may either fall into confusion and error or else get shut up in some partial formation in which there may be an element of Spiritual Truth, but it is likely to be outweighed by more dubious mental and vital accretions that deform it altogether. It is only when he is able to draw back (whether at once or after a time) from his experiences, stand above them with the dispassionate witness consciousness, observe their real nature, limitations, composition, mixture that he can proceed on his way towards a real freedom and a higher, larger and truer siddhi. At each step this has to be done. For whatever comes in this way to the sadhaka of this yoga, whether it be from vermind or Intuition or Illumined Mind or some exalted Life Plane or from all these together, it is not definitive and final; it is not the Supreme Truth in which he can rest, but only a stage. And yet these stages have to be passed through, for the Supramental or the Supreme Truth cannot be reached in one bound or even in many bounds; one has to pursue a calm, patient, steady progress through many intervening stages without getting bound or attached to their lesser Truth or Light or Power or Ananda.
This is in fact an intermediary state, a zone of transition between the ordinary consciousness in mind and the true Yoga knowledge. One may cross without hurt through it, perceiving at once or at an early stage its real nature and refusing to be detained by its half-lights and tempting but imperfect and often mixed and is leading experiences; one may go astray in it, follow false voices and a mendacious guidance, and that ends in a spiritual disaster; or one may take up one’s abode in this intermediate zone, care to go no farther and build there some half-truth which one takes for the whole truth or become the instrument of the powers of these transitional planes, — that is what happens to many sadhakas and yogis. Overwhelmed by the first rush and sense of power of a supernormal condition, they get dazzled with a little light which seems to them a tremendous illumination or a touch of force which they mistake for the full Divine Force or at least a very great Yoga Shakti; or they accept some intermediate power (not always a Power of the Divine) as the Supreme and intermediate consciousness as the supreme realization. Very readily they come to think that they are in the full cosmic consciousness when it is only some front or small part of it or some larger Mind, Life-Power or subtle physical ranges with which they have entered into dynamic connection. Or they feel themselves to be an entirely illumined consciousness, while in reality they are receiving imperfectly things from above through a partial illumination of some mental or vital plane; for what comes is diminished and often deformed in the course of transmission through these planes; the receiving mind and vital of the sadhaka also often understands or transcribes ill what has been received or throws up to mix with it its own ideas, feelings, desires, which it yet takes to be not its own but part of the Truth it is receiving because they are mixed with it, imitate its form, are lit up by its illumination and get from this association and borrowed light an exaggerated value.
There are worse dangers in this intermediate zone of experience. For the planes to which the sadhaka has now opened his consciousness, — not as before getting glimpses of them and some influences, but directly, receiving their full impact, — send a host of ideas, impulses, suggestions, formations of all kinds, often the most opposite to each other, inconsistent or incompatible but presented in such a way as to slur over their insufficiencies and differences, with great force, plausibility and a wealth of argument or a convincing sense of certitude. Overpowered by this sense of certitude, vividness, appearance of profusion and richness, the mind of the sadhaka enters into a great confusion which it takes for some larger organization and order; or else, it whirls about in incessant shifting and changes which it takes for a rapid progress, but which lead nowhere. Or there is the opposite danger that he may become the instrument of some apparently brilliant but ignorant formation; for these intermediate planes are full of little gods or strong daityas or smaller beings who want to create, to materialize something or to enforce a mental and vital formation in the earth life and are eager to use or influence or even possess the thought and will of the sadhaka and make him their instrument for the purpose. This is quite apart from the well-known danger of actually hostile beings whose sole purpose is to create confusion, falsehood, corruption of the sadhana and disastrous unspiritual error. Anyone allowing himself to be taken hold of by one of these beings, who often take a divine Name, will lose his way in the yoga. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the sadhaka may be met at his entrance into this zone by a Power of the Divine which helps and leads him till he is ready for greater things; but still that itself is no surety against the errors and stumblings of this zone; for nothing is easier than for the powers of these zones or hostile powers to imitate the guiding Voice or Image and deceive and mislead the sadhaka or for himself to attribute the creations and formations of his own mind, vital or ego to the Divine.
For this intermediate zone is a region of half-truths — and that by itself would not matter, for there is no complete truth below the Supermind; but the half-truth here is often so partial or else ambiguous in its application that it leaves a wide field for confusion, delusion and error. The sadhaka thinks that he is no longer in the old small consciousness at all, because he feels in contact with something larger or more powerful, and yet the old consciousness is still there, not really abolished. He feels the control or influence of some Power, Being or Force greater than himself, aspires to be its instrument and thinks he has got rid of ego; but this delusion of egolessness often covers an exaggerated ego. Ideas seize upon him and drive his mind which are only partially true and by over-confident misapplication are turned into falsehoods; this vitiates the movements of the consciousness and opens the door to delusion. Suggestions are made, sometimes of a romantic character, which flatter the importance of the sadhaka or are agreeable to his wishes and he accepts them without examination or discriminating control. Even what is true, is so exalted or extended beyond its true pitch and limit and measure that it becomes the parent of error. This is a zone which many sadhakas have to cross, in which many wander for a long time and out of which a great many never emerge. Especially if their sadhana is mainly in the mental and vital, they have to meet here many difficulties and much danger; only those who follow scrupulously a strict guidance or have the psychic being prominent in their nature pass easily as if on a sure and clearly marked road across this intermediate region. A central sincerity, a fundamental humility also save from much danger and trouble. One can then pass quickly beyond into a clearer Light where if there is still much mixture, incertitude and struggle, yet the orientation is towards the cosmic Truth and not to a half-illumined prolongation of Maya and ignorance.
I have described in general terms with its main features and possibilities this state of consciousness just across the border of the normal consciousness, because it is here that these experiences seem to move. But different sadhakas comport themselves differently in it and respond sometimes to one class of possibilities, sometimes to another. In this case it seems to have been entered through an attempt to call down or force a way into the cosmic consciousness — it does not matter which way it is put or whether one is quite aware of what one is doing or aware of it in these terms, it comes to that in substance. It is not the Overmind which was entered, for to go straight into the Overmind is impossible. The Overmind is indeed above and behind the whole action of the cosmic consciousness, but one can at first have only an indirect connection with it; things come down from it through intermediate ranges into a larger mind-plane, subtle physical plane and come very much changed and diminished in the transmission, without anything like the full power and truth they have in the Overmind itself on its native level. Most of the movements come not from the Overmind, but down from higher mind ranges. The ideas with which these experiences are penetrated and on which they seem to rest their claim to truth are not of the Overmind, but of the higher Mind or sometimes of the illumined Mind; but they are mixed with suggestions from the lower mind and vital regions and badly diminished in their application or misapplied in many places. All this would not matter; it is usual and normal, and one has to pass through it and come into a clearer atmosphere where things are better organized and placed on a surer basis. But the movement was made in a spirit of excessive hurry and eagerness, of exaggerated self-esteem and self-confidence, of a premature certitude, relying on no other guidance than that of one’s own mind or of the “Divine” as conceived or experienced in a stage of very limited knowledge. But the sadhaka’s conception and experience of the Divine, even if it is fundamentally genuine, is never in such a stage complete and pure; it is mixed with all sorts of mental and vital ascriptions and all sorts of things are associated with this Divine guidance and believed to be part of it which come from quite other sources. Even supposing there is any direct guidance, — most often in these conditions the Divine acts mostly from behind the veil, — it is only occasional and the rest is done through a play of forces; error and stumbling and mixture of Ignorance take place freely and these things are allowed because the sadhaka has to be tested by the world-forces to learn by experience, to grow through imperfection towards perfection — if he is capable of it, if he is willing to learn, to open his eyes to his own mistakes and errors, to learn and profit by them so as to grow towards a purer Truth, Light and Knowledge.
The result of this state of mind is that one begins to affirm everything that comes in this mixed and dubious region as if it were all the Truth and the sheer Divine Will, the ideas or the suggestions that constantly repeat themselves are expressed with a self-assertive absoluteness as if they were Truth entire and undeniable. There is an impression that one has become impersonal and free from ego, while the whole tone of the mind, its utterance and spirit are full of vehement self-assertiveness justified by the affirmation that one is thinking and acting as an instrument and under the inspiration of the Divine. Ideas are put forward very aggressively that can be valid to the mind, but are not spiritually valid; yet they are stated as if they were spiritual absolutes. For instance, equality which in that sense — for yogic samata is a quite different thing — is a mere mental principle, the claim to a sacred independence, the refusal to accept anyone as guru or the opposition made between the Divine and the human Divine, etc., etc. All these ideas are positions that can be taken by the mind and the vital and turned into principles which they try to enforce on the religious or even the spiritual life, but they are not and cannot be spiritual in their nature. There also begin to come in suggestions from the vital planes, a pullulation of imaginations romantic, fanciful or ingenious, hidden interpretations, pseudo-intuitions, would-be initiations into things beyond, which excite or bemuse the mind and are often so turned as to flatter and magnify ego and self-importance, but are not founded on any well-ascertained spiritual or occult realities of a true order. This region is full of elements of this kind and, if allowed, they begin to crowd on the sadhaka; but if he seriously means to reach the Highest, he must simply observe them and pass on. It is not that there is never any truth in such things, but for one that is true there are nine imitative falsehoods presented and only a trained occultist with the infallible tact born of long experience can guide himself without stumbling or being caught through the maze. It is possible for the whole attitude and action and utterance to be so surcharged with the errors of this intermediate zone that to go further on this route would be to travel far away from the Divine and from the yoga.
Here the choice is still open whether to follow the very mixed guidance one gets in the midst of these experiences or to accept the true guidance. Each man who enters the realms of yogic experience is free to follow his own way; but this yoga is not a path for anyone to follow, but only for those who accept to seek the aim, pursue the way pointed out upon which a sure guidance is indispensable. It is idle for anyone to expect that he can follow this road far, — much less go to the end by his own inner strength and knowledge without the true aid or influence. Even the ordinary long-practised yogas are hard to follow without the aid of the guru; in this which as it advances goes through untrodden countries and unknown entangled regions, it is quite impossible. As for the work to be done it is also not a work for any sadhaka of any path; it is not, either, the work of the “Impersonal” Divine — who, for that matter, is not an active Power but supports impartially all work in the universe. It is a training ground for those who have to pass through the difficult and complex way of this yoga and none other. All work here must be done in a spirit of acceptance, discipline and surrender, not with personal demands and conditions, but with a vigilant conscious submission to control and guidance. Work done in any other spirit results in an unspiritual disorder, confusion and disturbance of the atmosphere. In it too difficulties, errors, stumblings are frequent, because in this yoga people have to be led patiently and with some field for their own effort, by experience, out of the ignorance natural to Mind and Life to a wider spirit and a luminous knowledge. But the danger of an unguided wandering in the regions across the border is that the very basis of the yoga may be contradicted and the conditions under which alone the work can be done may be lost altogether. The transition through this intermediate zone — not obligatory, for many pass by a narrower but surer way — is a crucial passage; what comes out of it is likely to be a very wide or rich creation; but when one founders there, recovery is difficult, painful, assured only after a long struggle and endeavour.
Experiences of Overmind
Rising into the higher Sat-Chit-Ananda Consciousness, I united myself with you.... I found myself standing upon a ball of world in the golden lights of infinite vastnesses... a sun was radiating through all the centres ofthe body and turning each centre into a small radiating sun and flowing powerful electric currents in the body....
Multitudes of people lived upon this world and were seen moving in different directions.... The radiating Light was flowing upon all these people through unity of the centres of the Sukshma Deha....
This is the opening by the power of the overmind, to the Cosmic Consciousness — to a certain extent, not complete. For, the complete Cosmic Consciousness takes time to come. What you saw was a symbol of the Cosmic force acting upon and through the separate individuals even when they were not conscious of it.
Several times I see a sort of current running from each individual to his relations. In this way each individual has his own cosmos which is always in communication — in interchange and exchange with its each centre governed by a radius of current, and with other centres also. Many times these currents become very tangible and are visible even with open eyes-physical eyes.
In this way I see currents of various colours,— enveloped with the atmosphere of its source —running in the whole atmosphere.... Do these currents exist?
Yes, it is the current of the cosmic forces.
February 20, 1932
See larger variant of the text
I have seen that there are some planes where all the notations of this world — its conditions, circumstances and changes are noted. There are others still where things become ready prearranged to manifest upon the physical plane.
Do these planes of notations and prearrangements belong to the overmind?
It is from or at least through the overmind plane that the prearrangement comes. And from it the determining vibrations originally come; but there are corresponding movements on all the planes.
Your experience means manifestly the uniting of the Ishwara-Shakti sides of the manifestation — as in the Hara-Gauri figure — with the result of a universalization of the individual consciousness indicated by the shooting out towards infinite distances. The currents are of course, the currents of the double force working to make this liberation. The blue and gold must be the blue of Krishna and the gold of the Mother (Durga — Mahakali) ).
All this is not a Supramental experience but comes from the overmind. But overmind experiences must come first and liberate the consciousness. It is only after the overmind liberation that the true experience of the Supermind can come.
Rising in the Consciousness of Sat-Chit-Ananda, I find myself as if standing above the universe.... The whole universe is under my view....
2. There appears a sun in the heart, radiating its light on the universe.... The things become more exact and tangible; and, as if turning into the physical facts — there begin to run away troops and troops of serpents and goats....
3. All sorts of forces rush up by the pressure and appear rushing out of the general atmosphere.... Such force carries with it the atmosphere of its source (of the individuals who feed or tame them).... The atmosphere which envelopes these forces is of unwillingness to depart with them and desires to keep them for some more time....
1. An image of the overmind action and cosmic consciousness.
2. The Light of the sun descending into the heart (the Sun of Knowledge) turns upon the physical and purifies it. Serpents indicate adverse energies, goats usually indicate sex-tendencies.
3. It is the forces of the lower nature compelled to appear by the rays of the sun of knowledge and seem moved to depart but something in the ego-nature still clings to them and delays the true purification. That always happens in everybody.
It is the Overmind transmitting something of the Supramental Light — but so long as the Supermind does not directly manifest, it is that Light modified by Overmind and applied to the needs of the individual nature.
Its success, e. g., in purifying the physical is not immediate and absolute as the full and direct Supramental action would be but still relative, conditioned by the individual nature and balance of the universal forces, it is progressive, but resisted by the adverse powers, by the unwillingness of the lower workings to cease, by the want of complete consent in the personal nature.
I can become one with the Mother and you both even in cells of the body which was not possible before. Was not the physical mind standing in the way when the experience was not possible?
2. Is it not that after a course of purification and liberation of the physical consciousness that this intimacy and union were made possible?
There was something in the vital also (which was standing in the way of union).
2. Some purification perhaps of something that acts between the vital and physical consciousness.
Is there any significance in Mother’s standing on the right side and your standing on the left side in my experiences?
Yes, she is the executive power and must have the right arm free for action. The symbolism which puts her on the left side belongs to the ignorance. In the ignorance she is in the left side, not free in her action — all is a wrong action or half result....
That is how the overmind influence works on the lower planes, when it descends, but, it is not clear here whether it is the direct overmind influence or indirect power of it projected through the illumined mind — probably the latter. The Sun-symbol indicates a direct Light — whether Supramental, Overmental or Intuitive Truth.
I have already explained the goats and serpents.
The moon is sometimes a symbol of the Light in the mind — if it is a full moon. The crescent moon may be a symbol of growing spirituality of the mind centre.
I have written hastily and roughly. If you find it difficult to read you can send it back marking the places.
What is the fundamental difference in the understanding of the dynamic divine Truth between the old Yogas and our Yoga?
The fundamental difference is in the teaching that there is a dynamic divine Truth (the Supermind) and that into the present world of Ignorance that Truth can descend, create a new Truth-consciousness and divinize Life. The old Yogas go straight from mind to the absolute Divine, regard all dynamic existence as Ignorance, Illusion or Lila; when you enter the static and immutable Divine Truth, they say, you pass out of cosmic existence.
I have repeatedly said recently that we are trying against great difficulties to bring down the Supramental into the physical plane. If the Supramental were already there, the body divinized, matter transformed, there would be no difficulty and no need of the endeavour.
I would recall to you what I said in my letter to D. that it was not the direct Supramental Force which was working up till now but a preparatory force that carried in it a modified light derived from the Supramental. The direct Force can begin working only when the mind, vital and physical are sufficiently ready.
March 5, 1932
How far can its general atmosphere and general conditions help or delay your bringing down the Supermind? Are these conditions interdependent?
To a certain extent. If the Supramental descent is decreed, nothing can prevent it; but all things are worked out here through a play of forces, and an unfavourable atmosphere or conditions can delay even when they cannot prevent. Even when the thing is destined, it does not present itself as a certitude in the consciousness here (overmind, mind, vital, physical) till the plays of forces have been worked out up to a certain point at which the descent not only is, but appears as inevitable.
March 5, 1932
What should be the true attitude of one who wants to be helpful to you, or what exact conditions you want us to fulfil to create here the Supramental possibility?
1. Get the psychic being in front and keep it there putting its power on the mind, vital and physical — so that it shall communicate to them its force of simple-minded aspiration, trust, faith, surrender, direct and immediate detection of whatever is wrong in them and turned towards ego and error, away from Light and Truth.
2. Eliminate egoism in all its forms and from every movement of the consciousness.
3. Develop the cosmic consciousness — let the egocentric outlook disappear in wideness, impersonality, the sense of the Cosmic Divine, the perception of the universal forces, the realization and understanding of the cosmic manifestation, the play.
4. Find in place of ego the true being — a portion of the Divine issued from the World-Mother and an instrument of the manifestation. This sense of being the portion of the Divine and an instrument should be free from all pride, sense of claim of ego or assertion of superiority, demand or desire. For if these elements are there, then it is not the true thing.
5. Most, even in doing Yoga, live in mind, vital, physical, lit up occasionally or to some extent by the higher mind and by the illumined mind; but to prepare for the Supramental change it is necessary (as soon as, personally the time has come) to open up to the intuitive and the overmind, so that these may make the Adhar ready for the Supramental change. Allow the consciousness quietly to develop and widen, and the knowledge of these things will progressively come.
6. Calm, discrimination, detachment (but not indifference) are all very important; for their opposites impede very much the transforming action. Intensity of aspiration should be there, but along with these — no hurry, no inertia, — neither rajasic over-eagerness nor tamasic discouragement — a steady and persistent but quiet call and working. No snatching or clutching at realization, but allowing realization to come from within and above, and observing accurately its field, its nature, its limit.
7. Let the power of the Mother work in you but be careful to avoid mixture or substitution in its place of either a magnified ego-working or a force of Ignorance presenting itself as Truth. Prepare especially for the elimination of all obscurity and unconsciousness in the nature.
These are the main conditions of preparation for the Supramental change, but none of them is easy, and they must be complete before the Adhar can be said to be ready. If the true attitude (psychic, unegoistic, open only to the Divine Force) can be established, then the process can go on much more quickly. To take and keep the true attitude, to further the change in oneself, is the help that can be given, the one thing needed to assist the general change.
You seem to be very much in hurry to get at the Supermind. I have said that it cannot be done like that, a patient preparation of the nature is needed and I am concerned with that now.
Death and disease can only disappear by divinization of the body — and that is not yet here.
I said I would write hereafter because, on those points there are things that need to be said (not for you alone); as regards the overmind especially; for the sadhakas as yet seem to understand very little about these matters. But, I cannot fix a time.
November 7, 1932
If everything else is falsehood except the Supramental Truth, how can the lower Overmind be a passage to the possibility of the Supermind?
I have not said that everything is falsehood except the Supramental Truth. I said that there was no complete Truth below the Supramental. In the Overmind the Truth of Supermind which is whole and harmonious enters into a separation into parts, many truths fronting each other and moved each to fulfil itself, to make a world of its own or else to prevail or take its share in worlds made of a combination of various separated Truths and Truth-forces. Lower down in the scale, the fragmentation becomes more and more pronounced, so as to admit of positive error, falsehood, ignorance, finally inconscience like that of Matter. This world here has come out of the Inconscience and developed the Mind which is an instrument of Ignorance trying to reach out to the Truth through much limitation, conflict, confusion and error. To get back to Overmind, if one can do it completely, which is not easy for physical beings, is to stand on the borders of the Supramental Truth with the hope of entry there.
Is Purushottama of the Gita and Supermind the same?
No, that is quite a different matter. Purushottama of the Gita is the Supreme Being; the Supermind is a power of the Supreme — or proceeding from Him....
July 27, 1932
The Supermind has nothing to do with passing into a blank. It is the mind over passing its own limits and following a negative and quietistic way to do it that reaches the big blank. The Mind, being the Ignorance, has to annul itself in order to enter into the Supreme Truth — or, at least, so it thinks. But, the Supermind being the Truth-consciousness and the Divine Knowledge, has no need to annul itself for the purpose.
Supermind is not the Purushottama consciousness, it is in a Purushottama consciousness, a certain level and power of being which he can share with his “eternal portions” Anshah Sanatanah, provided they can climb out of the Ignorance. As for embodying, it is certainly difficult, but, not impossible.
November 12, 1932
... Do not be overeager for experiences; — for experiences you can always get, having once broken the barrier between the physical mind and the subtle planes. What you have to aspire for most is the improved quality of the recipient consciousness in you — discrimination in the mind, the unattached impersonal witness look on all that goes on in you and around you, purity in the vital, calm, equanimity, enduring patience, absence of pride and the sense of greatness — and more especially, the development of the psychic being in you — surrender, self-giving, psychic humility, devotion. It is a consciousness made up of these things, cast in this mould, that can bear without breaking, stumbling or deviation into error the rush of lights, powers and experiences from the Supraphysical planes. An entire perfection in these respects is hardly possible until the whole nature from the higher mind to the subconscient physical is made one in the light that is greater than Mind, but a sufficient foundation and a consciousness always self-observant, vigilant and growing in these things is indispensable — for perfect purification is the basis of the perfect siddhi.
Facsimile of a letter from Sri Aurobindo printed on p. 37
... The only creation for which there is any place here is the Supramental, the bringing of the Divine Truth down on the earth not only into the mind and vital but into the body and into the Matter. Its object is not to remove all “limitations” on the expansion of the ego or to give a free field and make unlimited room for the fulfilment of the ideas of the human mind or the desires of the ego-centered life force. None of us is here to “do as we like”, or to create a world in which we shall at last be able to do as we like: We are here to do what the Divine’ wills and to create a world in which the Divine Will can manifest its Truth, no longer deformed by human ignorance or perverted and mistranslated by the vital desire. The work which the sadhaka of the Supramental Yoga has to do is not his own work for which he can lay down his own conditions, but the work of the Divine which he has to do according to the conditions laid down by the Divine. Our Yoga is not for our own sake but for the sake of the Divine. It is not our personal manifestation that we are to seek, the manifestation of the individual ego freed from all bounds and from all bonds, but the manifestation of the Divine, of that manifestation our own spiritual liberation, perfection, fullness is to be a result and a part, but not in any egoistic sense or for any ego-centered or self-seeking purpose. This liberation, perfection, fullness too are not to be for our own sake, but for the sake of the Divine. I emphasize this character of the creation, because a constant forgetfulness of this simple and central truth, a conscious, half-conscious or wholly ignorant confusion about it has been at the root of the most of the vital revolts that have spoiled many an individual sadhana here and disturbed the progress of the general inner work and the spiritual atmosphere.
The Supramental Creation, since it is to be a creation upon earth, must be not only an inner change, but a physical and external manifestation also. And it is precisely for this part of the work, the most difficult of all, that surrender is most needful; for this reason that it is the actual descent of the Supramental Divine into Matter and working of the Divine Presence and Power there that can alone make the physical and external change possible. Even the most powerful self-assertion of human will and endeavour is important to bring it about....
May 15, 1932
The aim of the Yoga is to open the consciousness to the Divine, to live in the inner consciousness more and more while acting from it on the external life, to bring the inmost psychic into the front and by the power of the psychic to purify and change the being, so that, it may become ready for transformation and in union with Divine Knowledge, Will and Love. Secondly, to develop the Yogic consciousness, e. g., to universalize the being in all the planes, become aware of the cosmic being and cosmic forces and be in union with the Divine in all the planes up to the overmind. Thirdly, to come into contact with the transcendent Divine beyond the overmind, through the Supramental consciousness, supramentalised the consciousness and the nature; and make oneself instrument for the realization of the dynamic Divine Truth and its transforming descent into the earth-nature.
I do not know that there is anything like Purushottama consciousness which the human being can attain or realize for himself; for in the Gita, the Purushottama is the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Being, who is beyond the immutable and the mutable and contains both the One and the Many. Man, says the Gita, can attain the Brahmic consciousness, realize himself as an eternal portion of the Purushottama and live in the Purushottama. The Purushottama Consciousness is the the consciousness of the Supreme Being and man by loss of ego and realization of his true essence can live in it.
The conditions for living ever in union with Purushottama: —
1. Loss of egoism — including all ambition (even “spiritual” ambition) pride, desire, self-centered life, mind, will.
2. Universalization of the consciousness.
3. Absolute surrender to the transcendental Divine.
There can be no mental rule or definition (for the life, after attaining the Purushottama — the highest consciousness). One has first to live in the Divine and attain to the Truth — the Will and the awareness of the Truth will organize the life.
In this Yoga certainly — transformation is the essential aim, the transformation of the fundamental consciousness first, through that a progressive transformation of the instruments.
Experiences of Cosmic Consciousness
What is the difference between the individual and Cosmic Truth and Cosmic Ignorance?
There is no ignorance that is not part of the Cosmic Ignorance, only in the individual it becomes a limited formation and movement, while the Cosmic Ignorance is the whole movement of world consciousness separated from the Supreme Truth and acting in an inferior motion in which the Truth is perverted, diminished, mixed and clouded with falsehood and error. The Cosmic Truth is the view on things of a cosmic consciousness in which things are seen in their true essence and their true relation to the Divine and to each other.
While taking food I experience as if its soul or “that something within” shoots out of its heart and rises... unites and merges in the heart of each atom of air — as if a spark uniting with another spark.... Everywhere there streams out the joy of union.
Fine elements of food get analysed... rise; each one merges in the same kind of element of the body... and there streams out the joy of inter-union....
Inner and outer union makes one complete flame of a harmonious union and rises towards the Supreme.... Ah! the living air and the lifeless stones also unveil their hearts... bare their souls.... Sparks vibrant with Light and Life come out of the lifeless stones and join... revel... enlarge this sweetest tune to its infinite vastness...
It is one of the thousand experiences one gets when the Cosmic Consciousness is opening.
As soon as I unite myself with you, the whole form gets extended in all directions — the head touches the sky; the feet go deep down in the ground and hands get extended into infinite distances in the ecstasy of the timeless, eternal, infinite consciousness.....
I feel as if the whole is aspiring through me and... there descends the sun radiating golden light and flows out from the whole body as orange-coloured fire....
No aspiration remains self-centred, nor is there any desire to keep the descending lights for personal use.... Everything flows out unhindered to the universe as Divine’s Grace.... Day and night I see myself in this huge form... radiating the only thing — fire! fire!
It is what it represents itself to be — an experience of the universal consciousness aspiring to the Divine Truth and beginning to receive its light. It is not your own consciousness, although you feel it in yourself, but a symbolic experience of the universal Vishwa-Purusha. These things one sees when one opens to the Cosmic Consciousness. Observed, felt and taken rightly, they help to liberate, universalize and impersonalize....
Observe and go forward.
March 11, 1932
The cosmic consciousness does not belong to overmind in especial; it covers all the planes.
Man is shut up at present in his surface individual consciousness and knows the world (or rather the surface of it) only through his outward mind and senses and by interpreting the contacts with the world. By yoga there can open in him a consciousness which becomes one with that of the world; he becomes directly aware of a universal being, universal states, universal force and forces; universal mind, life, matter and lives in conscious relations with these things. He is then said to have the cosmic consciousness.
As soon as I rise in the higher consciousness, first, the heart begins to feel a pain of unbearable expansion. It gets expanded and there comes a descent of that wide consciousness — with a jerk as if the heart is bursting; — Light makes its way and shoots out in all directions and gets united with the hidden heart of everything — with the soul-ray of each object....
The Light descends up to the navel and infinite vastness is felt not only in the mind but up to the navel. And in that entire portion I feel as if there is no cover of limiting body, but there is infinite vastness....
It is the experience of cosmic wideness descending from centre to centre.
Sometimes, I find myself descended among these planes — mind, life and body, living in that infinite vastness and in oneness with all the beings on all the planes....
This is the beginning of the fundamental universalization of the consciousness.
Neither calm nor disturbance; neither joy nor sorrow; no individuality nor universality, but everything melting away in an unimaginable vastness which is behind and beyond everything...
This state which cannot be called static nor can it be called dynamic, but such state, which is neither a state conditioned or limited by any word but which is beyond all conditions or meanings attached to it, because it is none of these conditions and yet all.
I do not live in this limited body all the time, but I feel a living presence in each and every atom, which links the whole universe with one inconceivable unity in universal multiplicity...
There does not exist any “I”, but the hierarchy of the universal planes full of the one reality, the sole support — the Divine Presence.
There are rainbow colours on all planes above which I stand and observe. Even here on the one hand the living Presence of the Divine tries to beguile this pose of mine by its sweetness; and on the other hand, the unseemliness and the impurity of things try to drag and disturb, but nothing really touches me. There is no desire to nullify the coming vibrations nor is there any opening through which they can penetrate... complete aloofness... complete freedom... no fear of death or of ego....
If your description is accurate, it is a realization or reflection — one cannot say easily which — of the state of consciousness of the Neutral Witness. These experiences are always felt in the subtle consciousness somewhere. To make it a reality in the exterior being and in the physical consciousness is a very difficult and laborious affair — it means an application to every movement, act, happenings, impact in life — in an active life. Those who make this neutral state their aim, usually draw back from active life and remain within.
Attitude to Money and Things
What is the difference between samata of the soul and mental equality?
Yogic samata is equality of soul, equanimity founded on the sense of the one Self, the one Divine everywhere — seeing the One in spite of all differences, degrees, disparities in the manifestation. The mental principle of equality tries to ignore or else to destroy the differences, degrees and disparities, to act as if all were equal there or to try and make all equal. It is like Hridaya, the nephew of Ramakrishna, who when he got the touch from Ramakrishna began to shout, “Ramakrishna, you are the Brahman and I too am the Brahman; there is no difference between us”, till Ramakrishna, as he refused to be quiet, had to withdraw the power. Or like the disciple who refused to listen to the mahout and stood before the elephant, saying, “I am Brahman”, until the elephant took him up in his trunk and put him aside. When he complained to his guru, the guru said, “Yes, but why didn’t you listen to the mahout Brahman? That was why the elephant Brahman had to lift you up and put you out of harm’s way.” In the manifestation there are two sides to the Truth and you cannot ignore either.
Is the way of sending stamps for correspondence objectionable?
No, it is not objectionable; on the contrary, people who want to correspond with the Ashram do well to send stamps for replies. But, as these are of the especial kind, the Mother takes them for the Ashram collection; She will give you ordinary stamps in exchange.
Should a sadhaka ask for things from outside?
A sadhaka should not have demands and ask for things for his personal use from people outside, but if they of their own accord and without any request or suggestion send them to him, he can receive them. The most important point is that he should not indulge any spirit of greed or desire under any excuse or colour; and should be unaffected in his vital being by the presence or absence of these things that satisfy desire.
What should be the true necessity of a sadhaka? Should he try to get extra things from outside — apart from Ashram supply? What is the idea behind giving pocket expense?
The idea when the arrangement was made was simply to see how and in what spirit the sadhakas dealt with money when they had any at their disposal.
The necessities of a sadhaka should be as few as possible; for there are only very few things that are necessities in life. The rest are either utilities or things decorative to life or luxuries. These a yogin has a right to possess or enjoy only on one of two conditions:
(1) If he uses them during his sadhana solely to train himself in possessing things without attachment or desire and to learn to use them rightly, in harmony with the Divine Will, with a proper handling, a just organization, arrangement and measure; — or
(2) If he already attained a true freedom from desire and attachment and is not the least moved or affected in any way by loss or withholding or deprival. If he has any greed, desire, demand, claim for possession or enjoyment, grief, anger or vexation when denied or deprived, he is not free in spirit and his use of the things to possess is contrary to the spirit of sadhana. Even if he is free in spirit, he will not be fit for possession, if he has not learned to use things not for himself, but for the Divine Will, as an instrument, with the right knowledge, and action in the use for the equipment of a life lived not for oneself but for and in the Divine.
To Sex and Power
What should be the true attitude of a sadhaka of this Toga towards sex and power?
The sadhaka has to turn away entirely from the invasion of the vital and the physical by the sex-impulse; for, if he does not conquer the sex-impulse, there can be no settling in the body of the Divine Consciousness and the Divine Ananda.
March 8, 1932
There should be no straining after power, no ambition, no egoism of power. The power or powers that come should be considered not as one’s own, but as gifts of the Divine for the Divine’s purpose. Care should be taken that there should be no ambitions or selfish misuse, no pride or vanity, no sense of superiority, no claim or egoism of the instrument, only a simple and pure psychic instrumentation of the nature in any way in which it is fit for the service of the Divine.
To the World
Should my attitude towards the world be only to remain detached from it? Is there no positive side to it?
That (detachment) is the basis: detachment with a quiet goodwill not disturbed by what they seem to be or do.
That is a necessary element. What is positive, should come through union with the Divine, not in a separate relation to others.
Why do you allow yourself in the least to be troubled and concerned by what people say about you? It is for you to see whether there is any shadow of truth in what is said about or to you by others: If there is, you can yourself put it right in yourself; if there is no truth, then what is said is not worth notice.
We can’t prevent gossip and talk and fault-finding by decree; it is from within themselves that people must change in this matter.
The value does not depend upon my writing to you or not, but on whether you are able to receive anything from us and whether you can profit spiritually by what you receive....
Dedication to the Divine. To read what will help the Yoga or what will be useful for the work or what will develop the capacities for the Divine purpose. Not to read worthless stuff or for mere entertainment or for a dilettante intellectual curiosity which is of the nature of a mental dram-drinking. When one is established in the highest consciousness, one can read nothing or everything. It makes no difference — but that is still far off.
To Personal Effort
March 5, 1932
What is the difference between the personal effort and the action of the Divine Force? How can the personal effort be eliminated?
It is not possible to get rid of the stress on personal effort at once — and always desirable; for personal effort is better than tamasic inertia.
The personal effort has to be transformed progressively into a movement of the Divine Force. If you feel conscious of the Divine Force, then, call it in more and more to govern your effort, to take it up, to transform it into something not yours but the Mother’s. There will be a sort of transfer, a taking up of the forces at work in the personal Adhar — a transfer not suddenly complete but progressive.
But the psychic poise is necessary: the discrimination must develop, which sees accurately what is the Divine Force, what is the element of personal effort and what is brought in as a mixture from the lower cosmic forces. And until the transfer is complete which always takes time, there must always be as a personal contribution, a constant consent to the true Force, a constant rejection of any lower mixture — that is very important.
At present to give up personal effort is not what is wanted, but to call in more and more the Divine Power and govern and guide by it the personal endeavour.
The Psychic or Yogic Attitude
Very good and true. Yes, that is the true Yogic attitude.
Very good. Surely, this is what we want you to do (and everyone who is capable of it) to take the true psychic attitude or the true Yogic attitude and make a true progress — for it is only so that there can be something like a straight line of progress. If you take and keep this attitude, the true and constant connection is sure to be established.
I will see whether I will find some work for you.
If you take and keep this attitude, the true and constant connection is sure to be established.
The psychic or the yogic attitude consists of calm, detachment, equality, universality — added to this the psychic element — bhakti, love, devotion to the Divine.
To Spiritual Connection and Openness
Yes, the connection is always there in the self and the psychic; but if there are obstacles in the mind, vital and physical, then, the connection cannot be manifest or, if at all manifest, it is mixed with elements which make it imperfect and unstable. The true connection is the psychic and spiritual relation; the relation in the other parts must be kept up on this psychic and spiritual connection and then it can be permanent.
April 25, 1932
(a) Openness and, whenever needed, passivity, but to the highest consciousness, not to anything else that comes.
(b) Therefore there must be a certain quiet vigilance ever in the passivity. Otherwise there may be either wrong movements or inertia.
Chitta and Chit
July 25, 1932
What is the difference between “Chitta” and “Chit”?
Chit is the pure consciousness — as in Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Chitta is the stuff of mixed mental-vital-physical consciousness, out of which arise the movements of thought, emotion, sensation, impulse, etc. It is these that in Patanjali’s system have to be stilled altogether so that, the consciousness may become immobile and go into Samadhi.
Is stilling contradicted in this Yoga?
It has a different function. The movements of the ordinary consciousness have to be mastered and quieted, and into the quietude, there has to be brought down a higher consciousness and its powers which will transform the nature.
July 26, 1932
What is the difference between stilling, suppressing and controlling or mastering?
If you suppress, you will have no movements of the chitta at all. All will be immobile, until you remove the suppression — or will be so immobile that there cannot be anything else than immobility.
If you still, the chitta will be quiet; whatever movements there are will not disturb the quietude.
If you control or master, then the chitta will be immobile when you want, active when you want, and its action will be such that, what you want to get rid of, will go; only what you accept as true and useful will come.
What are the main disadvantages of negative means from the positive point of view?
The negative means are not evil. They are useful for their object which is to get away from Life. But, from the positive point of view, they are disadvantageous, because, they get rid of the powers of the being instead of divinizing them for the transformation of Life.
Demand and Desire
Demand and desire are only two different aspects of the same thing nor is it necessary that a feeling should be agitated or restless to be a desire; it can be, on the contrary, quietly fixed and persistent or persistently recurrent. What I wanted to say was, that demand or desire comes from the mental or the vital and psychic or a spiritual need is a different thing. The psychic does not demand or desire; it aspires; it does not make conditions for its surrender or withdraw if its aspiration is not immediately satisfied — for the psychic has complete trust in the Divine or in the Guru and can wait for the right time or the hour of the Divine Grace. The psychic has an insistence of its own, but it puts its pressure not on the Divine, but on the nature, putting a finger of light on all defects there, that stand in the way of the realization, sifting out all that is mixed, ignorant or imperfect in the experience or in the movements of the Yoga and never satisfied with itself or with the nature till it has got it perfectly open to the Divine, free from all forms of ego, surrendered, simple and right in the attitude and all the movements. This is what has to be established entirely in the mind and vital and in the physical consciousness before supramentalisation of the whole nature is possible. Otherwise what one gets is more or less brilliant, half luminous, half cloudy illuminations and experiences on the mental and vital and physical planes, half truth half error or at the best true only for those planes and inspired either from some large mind or larger vital or at the best from the mental reaches above the human that intervene between the intellect and the overmind. These can be very stimulating and satisfying up to a certain point, and are good for those who want some spiritual realization on those planes, but the Supramental realization is something much more difficult and exacting in its conditions and the most difficult of all is to bring it down on to the physical level.
The principle of all sadhana is to fix the will not on desires — even if presented to the mind as needs — but on realization only.
Our object is the Supramental realization and we have to do whatever is necessary for that, or towards that under the conditions of each stage. At present the necessity is to prepare the physical consciousness; for that a complete equality and peace and a complete dedication free from personal demand or desire, in the physical and the lower vital parts is the thing to be established. Other things can come in their proper time. What is the real need now is the psychic opening in the physical consciousness and the constant presence and guidance there....
Approach to the Mother
The right attitude in approaching the Mother when she sees one, is to keep the being perfectly quiet and open to receive, without any activity of the mind or desire in the vital, with only the surrender and the psychic readiness to accept whatever is given.
Tomorrow, 24th the Mother sees you for meditation, so that she may see and do whatever is needed.
The conditions for following the Mother’s will are to turn to her for Light and Truth and Power, to aspire that no other force shall influence or lead you, to make no demands or conditions in the vital, to keep a quiet mind ready to receive the Truth but not insisting on its own ideas and formations; finally to keep the psychic awake and in front, so that you may be in constant contact and know truly what her will is; for the mind and the vital can mistake other impulsions and suggestions for the Divine Will, but the psychic makes no mistake.
As regards your other questions, a perfect perfection in working is only possible after Supramentalisation; but a relative good working is possible on the lower planes if one is in contact with the Divine and careful, vigilant and conscious in mind and vital and body. That is a condition, besides, which is preparatory and almost indispensable for the Supramentalisation.
The mind and the vital are much more full of ego than the body — in the body the ego is obscure and instinctive only. There is no reason why ego should not be conquered in the end — although it is difficult — even in the external nature.
November 21, 1933
(1) It is true that there is a surrender beyond mind, vital and physical surrender which Krishna asks Arjuna to attain by saying — nistraigunyo bhavarjuna?
Naturally, the whole being must surrender, not the mind, vital and body alone.
(2) Is this surrender the same as the psychic surrender?
No, it is the surrender of the self on the higher planes.
(3) Is this surrender final among all surrenders?
Neither is complete without the other. The psychic brings about the surrender of the manifested nature — the self on the higher plane surrenders to the Divine all the spiritual possibilities including that of Moksha.
(4) Can anybody pass beyond the barrier of the gunas and ego?
It is the double surrender that makes one free from the gunas. If only the higher self is free from the gunas and other parts remain their subject, then there is not the full liberation.
(5) Surrender to the Divine and surrender to the Guru are said to be two different things. Is this true?
No. In surrendering to the Guru, it is to the Divine in him that one surrenders — if it were only to the human entity it would be ineffective. But it is the consciousness of the Divine Presence that makes the Guru a real Guru, so that even if the disciple surrenders to him thinking of the human being to whom he surrenders, that Presence will still make it effective.
(6) Does surrender to the impersonal (formless) Divine leave the parts of the being subject to gunas and ego to a certain extent?
Yes — because the static parts would be formless, the active nature would be still in the play of the gunas. Many think they are free from ego because they get the sense of the formless existence. They do not see that the egoistic elements remain in their action just as before.
(7) What makes the surrender to the Guru so grand and glorious as to call it the surrender beyond all surrenders?
Because through it you surrender not only to the impersonal, but to the personal, — not only to Divine in self but to the Divine outside you; you get a chance for the surpassing of the ego not only by retreat into the self where ego does not exist, but in the personal nature where it is the ruler. It is the sign of the will to complete, surrender to the total Divine.
Of course it must be a genuine spiritual surrender for all this to be true.
If absolute surrender1 to the Guru leaves one helpless like a puppet in the hands of forces – what good is it? I think what is harmful is to surrender only to the Divine in the Guru and not to the Divine in one’s Self. It is this one-sided surrender which is harmful.
What is harmful is to surrender to something in yourself which flatters your ego and which you call the Divine. It is that which makes you a puppet in the hands of Forces.
If Divine Will is being done in the universe, then, where is the place at all for any individual (egoistic) initiation for the Divine creation?
The Divine does not act in the void, but through instruments, embodiments or channels. If creation is intended, there will have to be prepared those who can be part of the creation and at the same time the means of developing it.
Can there be anything like the will of the instrument in the practical field?
As long as there is egoism, the egoistic will is there. And as long as there is Ignorance, there will be a will of the instrument in the practical field. If the ignorant egoistic will is to be considered as a manifestation of the Divine Will, then there is no utility in Yoga — in that case the Yogi and the ordinary man stand on the same footing; they are both the Divine and their Will is the Divine Will.
Sometimes sleep is really an experience of death, for the consciousness merges into the Matter. Outwardly one becomes absolutely unconscious, one loses his real self in some dull and gloomy state and one does not know what happens around him.
In such death-like sleep, in such unconscious state even if we experience something, we do not remember anything when we awake. In such unconscious condition, the forces from the dark regions attack us.
Sometimes I have experienced, they send waves of darkest lower movements. If I continue to have unconscious sleep, I fear, they will succeed in creating those lower movements.
.... Last night I was in sound sleep, and the waves began to come. I felt that something very dark was coming to attack the sex centre.... I became conscious, I jumped out of the bed and began to walk in the room, aspiring and praying for protection and light....
After this experience, I try to avoid sleep as much as possible.... I think sleep is nothing but one of the worst habits the human being has developed and has become slave of it.
If you like and if you allow, I would like to come into a more helpful and favourable atmosphere. I will come in your house after 12. 00 p. m. and sit in the stairs, meditating.... Will you kindly allow?
This is quite impossible. It is better to go to sleep and make it a discipline to become conscious in your sleep. Sleep may be only a habit, but it is a necessary habit at present and the thing is not to suppress but to transform it into a conscious inner state.
Sleep cannot be replaced but can be changed, you can become conscious in sleep. If you are conscious, then the night can be utilized for higher working — provided the body gets its due rest, which is the object of sleep. It is a mistake to deny to the body food and sleep, as some ascetics want to do — that only wears out the physical support and although the Yogic or the vital energy can long keep at work a declining physical, a time comes when it is no longer possible. Moderate but sufficient food (without greed or desire), sufficient sleep but not heavy tamasic sleep — this should be the rule.
I would like to know how to establish balance between the trance, the waking state and sleep, which can make possible the establishment of the timeless infinite consciousness.
There can be no balance (in sleep) in the present condition. The balance can only come as the sleep becomes conscious and free from tamas....
I am concerned with preparing the nature for the Supramental possibility — however long that may take and I have no time or energy to waste on side issues. That preparation is the only thing I can recommend to you; all the “sides” necessary will come with it.
The sleep in which there is a luminous silence or else the sleep in which there is Ananda in the cells, these are obviously the best states. The four hours of which you are unconscious may be states in which you have gone out of the physical into the mental, vital or other planes. When you say, unconscious, it may simply be that you do not remember what happens; for in coming back there is a sort of turning over of the consciousness in which everything experienced in sleep except perhaps the last or else one that was very impressive recedes from the physical consciousness and becomes as if a blank. There is a state of inertia, but that is when one gets into the subconscient, and that is very undesirable; but, it is not very likely that you are in this condition at night often.
Experiences in Sleep
One night something came rushing and pushing and caught all the parts of the body with its many hands. It began to put some of its fingers in my nose, some in my ears; and closed the mouth with one of its hands and took its seat on the feet which were outstretched.... The whole body and breath were possessed. Neither could I move nor breathe nor shout. Everything was under a crushing pressure....
I began to observe the nature of the powerful being that was sitting on my feet.... Became conscious... called for the supreme help and with a decisive Will I caught the leg of that being and threw it on the ground... and everything merged away... in the air... as if it was made of air....
You did the right thing. Not to be afraid, to call in the protection and to act decisively — that is always what must be done against these vital attacks.
All of a sudden I found as if the whole house was on fire. So vivid was the scene that in the quietude of the night the crackling of the fire and the falling of burning logs were heard....
There was nobody in the house in reality, but the cries of weeping people and their pathetic appeal to save their lives were heard....
I separated myself and began to look from above. I saw there was nothing like real fire; but there were some half-visible forms making this scene so vivid by adding their appeal to save their lives....
As soon as I came to the decision, they changed their plan and began to encircle me and to spin circles around me. I decided to meet them face to face and challenged....
I made a circle over them, beginning from the left side. They fell into pieces and merged away — melted away in the air....
Again, they began to come in groups.... I kept my “finger of Light” outstretched and the finger began to throw sparks of fire.... all of them were burnt down....
This was not all. These beings are very clever and the most cunning one of them took the form of the Mother and came.... But it was quite visible from its atmosphere and the lines of its masked face that it was a blood-hound.... It came near the windows and the windows got closed of themselves automatically.... It could not enter the room....
These are the usual forms of the Rakshasi Maya, illusory formations of the vital world. They wanted to make a formation of the house on fire in order that you might accept it and then with the help of your acceptance they would have tried actually to put the house on fire. Reject and dissolve these formations as soon as they appear. To take the appearance of myself or the Mother is also a familiar trick and a dangerous one. But as long as you keep the power of discrimination, all is well.
Do hostile forces attack a person to test him? Why do they attack particular persons?
Hostile forces attack every sadhaka; some are conscious, others are not. Their object is either to influence the person or to use him or to spoil the sadhana or the work or any other motive of the kind. Their object is not to test — but their attack may be used by the guiding Power as a test.
Last night at about 10-30 p. m., I saw a big valley near the slope of a hill. Four or five dark dwarfs were standing with logs of wood in their hands... after some time, I saw some of our people being beaten with those logs of wood by those dwarfs. All those who were beaten were thrown into a pit and were buried.
I saw B standing in a corner frightened and collapsed by terror — Many were under the ground within a few minutes....
I just tried to identify through my heart with those who were buried. After identification I gathered the dynamic power and threw it upon the dwarfs, and immediately they turned into clods of earth and those who were buried were drawn up and life was given to them....
You seem to have gone into some very disagreeable part of the vital world and brought back a rather imposed transcription of some very unpleasant experiences. Things that happen in the vital world are, if it may be so expressed, often half-truths of possibility on that plane; sometimes actual events there, sometimes constructions of the vital mind, sometimes vital formations that want to realize themselves here and may or may not realize themselves, not in the terms in which they are seen but with a difference, unless they are vital records or transcriptions, of physical happenings — past, present or future — which sometimes occur.
Last night I found myself near the house of S — of course, I do not know where her house is situated; but the atmosphere told me that it was her house — somewhere along the road near the sea....
I found Mr. R ordering all his servants to pack their things as quickly as possible. As the things got packed up, they were being arranged in a motor-lorry waiting outside the house. When the motor-lorry was fully loaded, servants came in disguise and took their seats by the side of the driver. All the children were dressed in torn clothes, and were packed up in a motor-car and were sent away to some unknown place.
A specially prepared horse-carriage arrived and Mr and Mrs both dressed in disguise., hid themselves in the specially prepared box of the carriage, and the carriage was driven away at full speed as if running away to save their lives....
What you say was some possibility, created there probably by the thoughts of people on the earth — especially as this is the election time when such things are likely to run about in people’s minds.
In answer to my experiences about going to other planes, you have said — “Again in the vital world” Do you mean to forbid me by saying that? Sometimes I go to those planes consciously and with intention.
I don’t understand why it should be a forbidding order.
Very few go to these planes of their own will. Very often one has to pass through them in going out of the terrestrial plane.
Last night I had been to some palatial Court where many kings were present in a gold-plated room. The atmosphere was like that of a Swayamvara, where all big kings were invited and the princess was going to find out her lost husband.... The princess was moving with a brand new earthen pot, containing some grains.
She was moving to each king and was offering him the pot and was waiting in intent expectancy. She finished her turn to each of them but was not satisfied with the response less behaviour of the kings who were present.....
A servant entered the Court and announced that a very beautiful black man wanted to enter the Court.... All were amazed by this news and were waiting to see what is happening the next moment....
The princess at once ordered the servant to show the man in... and there entered amidst the amazement of all. The princess offered me a gold chair... all began to laugh and sneer at her, but she was very decisive in her movements and did not care for their taunts.... She came smiling and offered the earthen pot and opened it.... I kept my hand on the pot for some time and returned the pot, saying — “Put some water in it, and the grains will be cooked, no fire will be required”... up to this everything tended towards a happy ending, but as soon as the garland was raised to put around my neck, I withdrew from that happy scene...
It looks like a vital dream (I mean something “created” on the stuff of the vital plane). It does not seem to be symbolic.
A possibility of R’s coming back is transcribed in the vital plane, which I saw last night. It was unexpectedly announced to D that R had come.
D informed the Mother and D was asked to take him to T’s house. He was given the vacant room in that house.... Though the room was prepared by T, she was grumbling — “He was coming from such a hedious atmosphere.” If I stop hearing all these things what will happen? Do you think that I can have any positive gain from all this? What should be the true attitude towards all these things?
All these dreams are very obviously formations you meet on the vital plane, more rarely on the mental. Sometimes they are the formations of your own mind or vital, sometimes the formations of other minds with an exact or modified transcription in yours; sometimes formations made by forces or beings on that plane. These things are not true in the physical world, but they may have effects in the physical if they are framed with that purpose or that tendency and if they are allowed. The proper course with them is simply to observe and understand or, if they are from a hostile source, like this one, reject or destroy them.
There are other dreams of course that have not the same character but are things that happen on other planes, in other worlds. There are others still that are symbolic; and others again that indicate movements and propensities or old memories or things stored or still alive in the subconscient which have to be changed or got rid of as one rises into a higher consciousness.
1. If I meet my own formations why can’t I recognize them as formations of my own mind and vital?
2. What about the promised letter? Probably you had no time as yet.
1. Nobody can until he becomes very conscious and practised in these things.
2. That is it; interrupted by a strong pressure or flood of things.
February 24, 1932
While meditating with the Mother, I saw a golden light descending from above, touching the body, turning into orange-coloured light and flowing away....
The golden light is usually a light from the Supermind — a light of Truth-Knowledge (it may sometimes be the Supramental Truth-Knowledge turned into overmind or intuitive Truth). Orange often indicates occult power. You have a strong power of (subjective) creative formation, mostly, I think in the mental but partly too in the vital plane. This kind of formative faculty can be used for objective results if accompanied by a sound knowledge of the occult forces and their workings; but by itself it results more often in one’s building up an inner world of one’s own in which you can live very well satisfied, so long as you live in yourself, apart from any close contact with external physical life; but it does not stand the test of objective experience.
Probably what you felt today was the Mother’s bringing down of Supramental Light with the object of changing this power of subjective formation into or replacing it by the true occult force (that would be the significance of the golden light becoming orange). It is an indication of a certain line of development possible to you if you can receive and assimilate the true guidance.
February 28, 1932
What we mean by occultism is the knowledge of the hidden forces and the way to use them on the occult forces of nature.
Is occultism helpful in transformation?
It is part, not of transformation but of self-development. A large self-development makes supramentalisation easier than a small development.
February 25, 1932
What is meant by turning the subjective side of experience into objective result? Is it to put the experience in practice — in actual physical life?
No, in each plane there is an objective as well as a subjective side. It is not the physical plane and life alone that are objective.
That is not occultism, it is sentimental philanthropy. (Sending vibrations of peace, love, meditation, etc. ) (Clairvoyance, clair-audience, thought-transmission, etc. ) That is a lower kind of occultism.
February 29, 1932
There are two different things — one, when you have done things before in another life and work them out again with less effort, because, the power is already there in you — the other is when you have the power of formation of which I spoke, and whatever is suggested to the mind, the mind constructs and establishes a form of it in itself. But this latter power can cut two ways; it may tempt the mind to construct more images of the reality and mistake them for the reality itself. It is one of the many dangers of a too active mind.
February 29, 1932
Is the faculty of formation different from creative power?
You make a formation in your mind or on the vital plane in yourself — it is a kind of creation, but subjective only; it effects only your mental or vital being. You can create by ideas, thought-forces, images — a whole world in yourself or for yourself; but it stops there.
Some have the power of making consciously formations that go out and effect the minds, actions, vital movements, external lives of others. These formations may be destructive as well as creative.
Finally, there is the power to make formations that become effective realities on the earth-consciousness here, in its mind, life, physical existence. That is what we usually mean by creation.
March 11, 1932
What is meant by occult forces of nature?
The forces that can only be known by going behind the veil of apparent phenomena — especially the forces of the subtle physical and supraphysical planes.
If by trance, you mean going inside in meditation altogether, there is no harm in it. Only, it is not good to be always in that condition or too long a time in it during the day; for the hold on the external must be kept and, besides, the best part of the work to be done, just note, is the change of the physical consciousness and external nature.
If you mean by trance going out of the body, that should only be done under conditions which make it safe.
This action of the mental nature is the usual obstacle to progress. Each part of the nature wants to go on with its old movements and refuses, as far as it can, to admit a radical change and progress, because that would subject it to something higher than itself and deprive it of its sovereignty in its own field, its separate empire. It is this that makes transformation so long and difficult a process.
Mind gets dulled because at its lower bases is the physical mind with its principle of tamas or inertia — for in matter Inertia is the fundamental principle. A constant or long continuity of higher experiences produces in this part of the mind a sense of exhaustion or of unease or dullness.
Trance or Samadhi is a way of escape — the body is made quiet, the physical mind is in a state of torpor, the inner consciousness is left free to go on with its experience. The disadvantage is, that trance becomes indispensable and the problem of the waking consciousness is not solved, it remains imperfect.
The Moon is sometimes a symbol of the light in the mind — if it is a full moon. The Crescent moon may be a symbol of growing spirituality of the mind-centre.
March 10, 1932
If by Centres you mean “Chakras” these are seven:
1. The thousand-petalled lotus on the top of the head.
2. In the middle of the forehead — the Ajna-Chakra — (Will, Vision, Dynamic Thought). It is not called the psychic eye.
3. Throat-Centre — Externalizing mind.
4. Heart-lotus — Emotional Centre in front, Psychic behind it.
5. Navel — Higher Vital (Proper) Centre.
6. Below Navel — Lower Vital Centre.
7. Muladhar — Physical Centre.
All the Centres are in the middle of the body, not on left or right; they are supposed to be attached to the spinal cord; but in fact all these things are in the Sukshma Deha, though one has the feeling of their activities as if in the physical body when the consciousness is awake.
What are the extremities and eyes through which light and currents flow out?
These are not Centres; Light, etc., can flow anywhere. The eyes and the extremities are naturally parts through which light or dynamism concentrated in the body can be poured out on the surroundings.
Psychic eye is merely a phrase for the direct vision of the psychic being or its intimate feeling of the Truth. It does not refer to any Centre. The Centre of the psychic being is behind the heart and not in the forehead. The eye in the forehead is the eye of inner vision — this Centre is partly a Centre of vision, partly of will and its powers.
Is constant running of the Kundalini a necessity in this Yoga?
Such running of currents is frequent at different stages. They come when they are needed. I have not found that a continuous or systematic action of Kundalini is usual in this Yoga.
Illness and its cure
The problem of health in general and medicines has to be considered before giving an answer.
Meanwhile, it does not seem that the wash can do harm, and it might serve to help the object you consider most important — keeping the bowels clear.
Sudarshan is usually an inoffensive remedy which helps the liver. You may take it or not, as you think best.
To heal by the true force is obviously the best — provided the body is amenable. It has a consciousness of its own which must be fully enlightened before it gives a full response.
It has nothing to do with sadhana except that there is evidently some weakness or obscurity in the physical consciousness that opens it to these things — but, that is a general principle and does not help for a precise cure.
Certainly; one can act and cure it. Only it is not always easy as there is much resistance in matter, a resistance of inertia. Much persistence is necessary; gradually the control of the body or of a particular illness becomes stronger. Again, to cure an illness, is comparatively easy, to make the body immune from it in future is more difficult. A chronic illness is more difficult to deal with entirely than an occasional one. So long as the control of the body is imperfect there are all these difficulties.
If you can succeed by the inner action in preventing increase, that is always something; you have then by abhydsa to increase the power till it becomes able to cure. Note that so far as the power is not entirely there, some aid of physical means is not to be altogether neglected.
My constipation is greatly cured. It may be the action of the Divine Will which I was putting and concentrating upon the physical centre, Muladhara.
Inflammation is greatly cured. I am looking upon the hardened veins. If it is Divine’s Will it will be done in its time.
Good, it is a progress.
It is better to take medicine as a help. D. has sent no detailed report or recommendations as yet — he merely mentioned the illness in his book. Perhaps he is still consulting his authorities.
The Mother had said to D. that the doctor should see you for diagnosis. If it has not been done already, you should go to him to-morrow. It is no use neglecting a thing of that kind.
I think this will be the last illness of my life. It is both a feeling and a conviction to me. I am very keen about it and want to clear it out absolutely by the help from above and the help from below — the material help.
I am calling down the higher power to clear the physical perfectly. This may bring out dormant elements, but, ultimately it comes out to go for ever. This is my psychological understanding of the present illness.
You know my invocations, from my prayers to the Supreme — from the collections of my experiences which are with you. ]
Shall I do this or not? Is it safe and advisable?
I think it is not safe to clear things in that way.
If it is not to be done in that way, then, how it is to be done? How long to remain under the bondage of the physical?
By this way, you know I am victorious in mind and vital; then, why can’t it be done in the same way?
The method you speak of is, I understand, that of raising up the difficulties in order to know and exhaust or destroy them. It is inevitable once one enters into the Yoga that the difficulties should rise up and they go on rising up so long as anything of them is left in the system at all. It may be thought then that it is better to raise them oneself in a mass so as to get the thing done once for all. But though it may succeed in some cases, it is not even in the mental and vital a safe or certain method. Exhaustion, of course is impossible; the things that create the difficulties are cosmic forces, forces of the cosmic Ignorance, and cannot be exhausted. People talk of their getting exhausted because after a time they lose strength and dwindle, but that is only by force of the constant rejection by the Purusha and by force of a divine intervention aiding this rejection and dissolving or destroying the difficulty each time it shows its face. Even so, the idea of getting rid of difficulties in a lump seldom works; something remains and returns until suddenly there comes a divine intervention which is final or else a change in consciousness which makes the return of the difficulty impossible. Still in the mental and vital it can be done.
In the physical it is much more dangerous because here it is the physical Adhar itself that is attacked and a too great mass of physical difficulties may destroy or disable or permanently injure. The only thing to do here is to get the physical consciousness (down to the most material parts) open to the Power, then to make it accustomed to respond and obey and to each physical difficulty as it arises apply or call in the Divine Power to throw out the attacking force. The physical nature is a thing of habits; it is out of habit that it responds to the forces of illness; one has to get into it the contrary habit of responding to the Divine Force only. This of course so long as a highest consciousness does not descend to which illness is impossible.
Fatigue and its Cure
April 25, 1932
Fatigue may come from various reasons:
1. It may come from receiving more than the physical is ready to assimilate. The cure is then a quiet rest in conscious immobility receiving the forces but not for any other purpose than the recuperation of strength and energy.
2. It may be due to the passivity taking the form of inertia — Inertia brings the consciousness down, towards the ordinary physical level which is soon fatigued and prone to tamas. The cure here is to get back into the true consciousness and rest there, not in inertia.
3. It may be due to mere overstrain of the body — not giving it enough sleep, etc. The body is not inexhaustible and needs to be husbanded. A certain moderation is needed even in the urgency for progress — moderation not indolence.
It is more perhaps an attitude of eager straining and pulling that tires the physical than anything else. Of course, if there is undue tapasya — not eating, not sleeping or resting enough etc., that also brings in the end a reaction in the body.
In writing about the body and its fatigue, I merely intended to state the general principles. You have to see for yourself how much does or does not apply in your case.
What should be the true attitude towards food? Not to take it from desire is sufficient?
2. Yes, if salt is needed it should be taken; but it should be free from desire.
3. Yes, it depends on the fixing of equality in the nature.
August 28, 1931
If you feel strongly that this is the thing needed for your sadhana and if that is your considered resolution, the Mother can make no objection to your retirement for a time.
In view of this request of yours, I need not write about the work. I intended merely to emphasize this very point that the work here is not intended for showing one’s capacity or having a position or as a means of physical nearness to the Mother but as a field and an opportunity for the Karmayoga, part of the integral Yoga — for learning to work in the true Yogic way — dedication through service, practical selflessness, obedience, scrupulousness, discipline, setting the Divine and the Divine’s work first and oneself last; harmony, patience, forbearance, etc. When the worker will learn these and cease to be ego-centric, as most of you are now, then will come the time for work in which capacity can really be shown — though even then the showing of capacity will be an incident and can never be the main consideration or the object of Divine Work.
The Mother considers that in any case you should leave the work you are doing now; for it is not in harmony with your nature. You may give it up from tomorrow. Some other work will have to be found which you can do quietly by yourself. But at present it is not apparent what work of this kind can be given to you.
Meanwhile, you can take your whole time for your sadhana, but the Mother does not see the necessity of such a complete and drastic retirement as you propose.
I would willingly give you work if I had any; but the only regular work I had, has long been entrusted to N.... and with the exception of some very occasional things done by A,... it is all.
Nothing depends on a name at the present stage. As for the work, the only one I could think of was one I would have had to prepare for you and I have not been able to make sufficient time to do it.
The work I thought of was some copying work for me; but it failed for two reasons:
1. Illegibility of my handwriting and chaotic confusion of my manuscript.
2. Want of time (the matter being urgent) for anybody to read the illegibility and extract order out of the chaos, except a veteran expert like Nolini.
I have read only a part of what you have sent to me; when I have finished it, I shall have something to write. It is only afterwards that I can decide about the work.
It does not at all concern the sadhakas to know to whom the messages are addressed. In fact, I do not know why they should be called ‘messages’; for in fact they are answers to questions or to letters, and only as much is circulated as is considered apposite or of general interest or use from the point of view of sadhana.
These movements obviously belong to the lower vital and physical consciousness. It is the petty love of gossip and the pleasure in small talk and scandal and fault-finding and the rest that are responsible. These are activities that, I believe, are generally supposed to be part of the “human nature,” but do not adorn it and certainly quite foreign to sadhana and Yoga.
Obviously, curiosity and gossip and wrong movement cannot be helpful to sadhana. The messages are not meant as food for gossip, but to give sadhakas indications that can be of use to them in their sadhana. If they misuse them in this way, it is their own loss.
Care nothing about them; regard them with perfect indifference and reject them from the personal atmosphere. Do not do these things yourself and do not mind if others do them.
I quite agree with your postscript; that kind of thing means a maximum of talk with a minimum of profit, and sometimes the reactions are opposite.
[A photograph sent by a friend was sent to Sri Aurobindo and was returned with the following remarks: ]
I return the photograph. Evidently, since then you have changed beyond recognition and become another being.
I do not know what answer you can give to your uncle that would satisfy him, as he is evidently living in mentality of the past and would not readily understand anything about spiritual evolution, the Supermind and the Divine manifestation in life and matter. You can perhaps tell him casually that it is not our hope to transform suddenly the whole human race. Your object is precisely to lead a higher life away from ordinary world. It is not solitary; there is a collective side to it and a side not only of meditation, but of work, action and creation. There is nothing in this that is impossible.
[One letter on the psychic being and a conversation about the parts of the being were sent to Sri Aurobindo for correction: ]
This is certainly not a letter of mine, for it is full of mistakes in English and sometimes the things are not properly expressed. It has perhaps been taken down from something I said or is a summary or incorrect copy. But the things said are correct and useful and I am keeping it for correction.
The conversation you sent me is not of much use as it stands. It is either an incorrect report or it has put together what I said partially and without the proper sequence. I will work at it again.
Collection of Money
I wrote to you before that I did not see my way clear in this matter. My main reason, or one of the main reasons, was that the time and the present conditions are adverse to success. All the information I have received since entirely confirms it; most have suffered by the long prevailing depression and few are either in a mood or a position to give largely. In these circumstances the idea of a mission to collect lakhs of money must be abandoned or at least postponed to better times.
There were other difficulties I saw, but these need not be discussed at present, since the mission itself is barred by the lack of all reasonable chance of success....
Collection of Letters
You are not to take any letter written to you. It is the collections that were asked for of messages, etc.; as it is found that things unauthorized, inaccurate, not mine, are often included and afterwards they get copied and end by being circulated even outside the Ashram. Also things that are quite private or are not intended to circulate leak out in this way, since some people are unscrupulous in copying (like P who took things he was asked not to take). A control and sifting is necessary, therefore, so that we may know what there is in these collections.
Sri Aurobindo has sent compliments to you for the greater change that took place in you.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote to me as follows:
December 25, 1933
After receiving your letter, I enquired and came to know that there was an invitation from Pondicherry and most probably I shall have to go there. If I come, I would very much wish to see Sri Aurobindo. So, see if you can arrange for an interview, without much trouble. Personally I am going to ask for it when my coming is finally decided.
The following reply was sent throught me:
... I am unable to see him because for a long time past I have made it an absolute rule not to have any interview with anyone. I do not even speak with my disciples and only give a silent blessing to them three times a year. All requests for an interview from others, I have been obliged to refuse. The rule has been imposed on me by the necessity of my sadhana and is not at all a matter of convenience or anything else. The time has not come when I can depart from it.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote to Sri Aurobindo directly again if he could see him if his retirement was not a vow. When I enquired, Sri Aurobindo wrote to me as follows:
In the letter he simply expressed the desire he had for a long time to meet me and asked me to see him if my retirement was not a vow. I have written that I cannot depart from the rule so long as the reason for it lasts.
[Mahatma Gandhi wrote to me that he had not yet received any answer from Sri Aurobindo. This was his second letter enquiring about the answer to his long letter to Sri Aurobindo. When I informed Sri Aurobindo of this enquiry, he sent me the following reply: ]
I wrote to him a short letter explaining the nature of my retirement and regretting that I could not break my rule so long as the reason for it existed. It was addressed to Bangalore, I believe, and ought to have reached him, unless it has been pocketed by the C. I. D. I suppose even if he had left Bangalore it could have been forwarded to him. You can write and inform him of the fact.
As there has been established on earth a mental Consciousness and Power which shapes a race of mental beings and takes up into itself all of earthly nature that is ready for the change, so now there will be established on earth a gnostic Consciousness and Power which will shape a race of gnostic spiritual beings and take up into itself all of earth-nature that is ready for this new transformation. It will also receive into itself from above, progressively, from its own domain of perfect light and power and beauty all that is ready to descend from that domain into terrestrial being.
— The Life Divine
If my understanding is limited, widen it;
If my knowledge is obscure, enlighten it;
If my heart is empty of ardour, set it aflame;
If my love is insignificant, make it intense;
If my feelings are ignorant and egoistic,
Give them the full consciousness in the truth
— The Mother
The Touch of the Grace
He who would bring the heavens here,
Must descend himself into clay
And the burden of earthly nature bear
And tread the dolorous way.
The Touch of Grace in the Thick of Life
Heaven’s touch fulfils but cancels not our earth
With the establishment of the Ashram in 1926, a message of hope spread throughout India and abroad that a lighthouse has been erected at Pondicherry to guide the spiritual seekers, to help them to their destination — to realize the Divine, and in addition something new and unprecedented, to help divinize the human consciousness by a special Yoga of self-perfection, a stream of spiritual seekers from all sides, especially from Gujarat and Bengal, began to flow towards the beacon light of the Ashram, for guidance and help in their strivings to break the bondage of animal-human nature and to find a way to change the present ignorant, self-centred, imperfect human life into a higher life. But in those days, as the general masses were quite ignorant about the new ideal and teachings of Sri Aurobindo, many sadhakas were persuaded by their friends and relatives to return to their old unhappy ordinary life. In spite of all these cross currents, the number of such spiritual freedom-fighters went on increasing in the Ashram and by 1935 it rose up to nearly 150.
My parents too came to the Ashram in 1933 to take their son back from the Ashram, to save him from what they regarded as a vain effort to change human nature. They stopped almost a year in a rented house opposite to the present ‘Cosy House’. They tried their best to understand the new ideal of Sri Aurobindo. When they found it difficult, almost impossible, they returned without success in their mission.
In my school days, Sri Ramkrishna and Vivekanand were a great source of inspiration and help to me in my spiritual quest. I had started to meditate and had many experiences, but I did not like the idea of renouncing the world for the realization of the Divine. It was for this main reason, that I was in search of a Guru who can help me to realize the Divine in the midst of the world — without renouncing the world. It was for this reason that I turned and selected Sri Aurobindo as my Guide and Guru.
Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana consisted of a double process — ascent and descent. One is to rise to the Truth-consciousness and from there bring down the light and power of that consciousness and apply it for the transformation of the animal-human nature, and divinize the ignorant and self-centred human life. This double process of sadhana was a journey to be performed with a return-ticket, in a most natural and normal way. This sadhana was not for personal gain, not for personal moksha, but for establishing the Divine life upon earth, by transforming the triple human nature of mind, life and body. In short it is a sadhana of self-perfection, which is to be practised in the conditions laid down by the Divine Grace: opening yourself to the divine and allowing the Grace to do whatever is necessary.
After striving in a most sincere way for eight years, I found that the transformation of the human nature was a long process to be effected with a slow and natural pace, and may take several lives to complete it. However, a time came by the pressure of my sadhana, after wandering on the unknown tracks and the intermediary planes above, when I realized that the path was difficult and too long and only the Divine Grace could lead me to the destination at the right hour. I had to give up my impatience and wait for a change to be effected at the right time. I decided to return to Gujarat to practise this Yoga in the midst of the world and to lead a life based on the same principles inviting the help of the Divine Mother and with a feeling that “All can be done if the God-touch is there.”
Eight years of my stay at the Ashram had taught me very clearly that without the Divine Grace, no human strivings, however powerful they may be, could lead one to successful transformation of nature and to divinization of life. Consequently, I resolved to continue my contact with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo inwardly as well as externally by correspondence. I knew that nothing could be successful without their continuous help and guidance. I made it a rule to begin my day with meditation and prayer, invoking her Presence in my activities and allowing her Grace to guide me in my effort to learn to work for the Divine. I tried to remember the Mother almost all the time in my activities. My difficulties and my failures made me alert to open myself more and more to the Divine Grace and allow it to work out the difficulties. At the end of the day I thanked the Divine Mother most gratefully and prayed. I should record here most gratefully that all my prayers and calls were generously responded to. My difficulties were transformed into opportunities. Here I offer the reader a story of the Divine Grace, how it helped, guided, enriched and developed my life in such a way as to enable me to live with the Divine as the centre of my existence.
I left Pondicherry for Gujarat. Till I reached Madras where I halted with my old friend who was a doctor, my mind was perfectly blank. In the ordinary course, I ought to have been thinking of the ways and means of re-arranging my life. That idea did not occur. Perhaps it was left for somebody else to think over! After I reached my friend’s house, the first thing he told me was that he was waiting for me. Surprised, I asked him who told him that I was coming. He said that he had a dream that I was due. He took me to visit one of his patients. The patient’s son was an astrologer and he told many things of which I did not know anything at that time, but ninety-nine per cent of what he said turned out to be true. The astrologer said that I was coming from Sri Aurobindo but now proceeding towards north and might maintain the contact but would not be able to come to Pondicherry for another ten years. Thus my friend came to know about my return to Gujarat. The next day (as predicted by the astrologer) an offer came to me from a Bank to become an Agent in one of its branches to be opened in Bombay. I was immediately deputed for training for six months. After completion of training I was sent to Bombay to find a suitable office and residential accommodation. I was offered a good salary, city allowance, residence, a car and car allowance. I was instructed to create a circle and to open a branch and to develop the business. When I reached Bombay, my friends told me that South Indian Banks had no creditworthiness in the Bombay market and that I had undertaken a responsibility which was almost impossible to discharge successfully. I promised them that nothing wrong would be allowed as long as I was there and they agreed to co-operate. They even co-operated with me in bringing up the Bank successfully within six months. We were able to add one more branch in the Fort area. When we succeeded in getting very good business, the Managing Director came to Bombay and asked me to transfer some amount of the fixed deposits to Madras. I bluntly refused and explained how we had taken the risk of opening the branch, when there was no credit in the Bombay market. When I felt [that the intention of the Managing Director was to send me away and put a South Indian in my place, I informed my friends and resigned from the Bank.
While going to Bombay from Madras to open the branch of the Bank, I was travelling in a third-class compartment and four of my co-passengers were going to-Bangalore. Somehow the train left Madras one hour later than the scheduled time. They were very anxious to-catch the connecting train as otherwise they would have to pass the whole night at the railway station. They were very uneasy and perturbed. I assured them that they would get their connecting train by the Grace of the Divine Mother. Since they were Christians they placed faith in what I said. When they became quiet, I told them not to forget to thank God if they were able to catch the train. I then closed my eyes and tried to work out the circumstances by the Grace of the Divine Mother. I was in deep concentration and felt as if I entered the engine and was driving the train with much greater speed. I was awakened by the noise of the passengers getting down from the train and to my great amazement the Bangalore passengers were very happy to find their train waiting for them. They thanked me while going and promised me to thank God after occupying their seats in the Bangalore train.
After I resigned from the Bank, I went straight to my village. I was anxious to find out a suitable work which could support me financially and help me to maintain my contact with the Divine Mother. When I had joined the national movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi, I was a medical student. Though I left the medical school to take part in the movement for the freedom of the country, I could not give up the comparative study of all the branches of medicine — allopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurveda, etc. Having genuine interest in the subject, I continued to study them at home by myself. I tried to go deep into the subject, and prepared exhaustive and detailed notes which became very useful to many students and medical practitioners afterwards. While preparing the notes, I had already selected some harmless effective medicines from all systems for general practice. Also I learnt to prepare some important and useful Ayurvedic medicines. With this preparation already there, I thought of starting a dispensary in my village where medical facilities were not available to the public in those days. But before I expressed my plan to anybody, some friends came to me with a request to arrange for medical aid for our village, because influenza was rampant in our village at that time and every house had two or three bed-ridden patients. When they came to know that I was thinking of starting a dispensary, not only were they very happy but they arranged for the necessary premises for the dispensary and promised me full co-operation and support in my work. A scheme was prepared, according to which I was to visit seven villages of the surroundings. Every village was to be visited once a week by turns and given the necessary medical aid, as all those villages were under the epidemic. A horse was purchased to enable me to visit the villages on calls. The dispensary was opened with a prayer to the Mother to guide and help us to learn to do this work for the Divine and I decided to send some offering to the Divine Mother every month regularly.
I gave two hours everyday in visiting one village in the surroundings and gave the rest of the time to my village. I earned a good name as an honest adviser and helper to the suffering patients. Some social workers and friends requested me to shift my dispensary to a central and bigger village named Haldharwas of Ghodasar State in Kaira district. I accepted the offer of the social workers and shifted to Haldharwas where they had made good arrangements to open a dispensary at a central place in the market. The dispensary was opened and from the very first day it received a marvellous response.
This was a transitional period of movements external as well as internal in all spheres of life, especially social and political. There was a call among the people to break the existing social and political structure and to build up a new pattern of social customs which could effect an integration in the society. At this juncture there was a move to start a movement of reformist marriages to break all existing customs in our society, and I was requested to be the pioneer of reformist widow-marriage since a political freedom-fighter and Congress worker from a high Patel family of Kaira district came forward to offer herself in marriage on condition that I was to train her in nursing and make her useful in my practice. I accepted the offer and the marriage was performed under the auspices of Reformists’ Association of Gujarat on Ramanavami Day in 1940. Thus a political freedom-fighter working for the freedom of the country joined a spiritual freedom-fighter who was trying to break the bondage of human nature and to win the freedom of the spirit — two soldiers, each having an independent nature and ideal, were put together by fate to build up a new destiny for themselves. It was a test to maintain harmony between two sharp-edged swords. We launched our boat and commenced our voyage to meet the Divine in every act of our life. She started her practical training under my supervision. The British Government passed a Bill for the medical profession prescribing that the intending practitioners in medicine had to get themselves registered and prohibiting their practice without registration. In 1941 both of us got ourselves registered as R. M. P. S. Though our practice was progressing well, there was not sufficient work for both of us. So we thought of shifting to Ahmedabad where we have-an old house purchased by my father but rented out. The house is on the main road and has some shops on the ground floor and residential accommodation on the upper floor. One of the shops was rented to a doctor for his dispensary. We had to request the doctor to vacate the shop and we got the upper floor vacated for our residential use.
Ahmedabad was smouldering with communal tension and riots in 1941. We shifted to our house. We arranged our furniture in the shop and wanted to begin and put up our sign-board the next day. But look at the mercy of the Mother’s Grace! I received a call for visiting a patient suffering from chronic fever. I went to the patient, noted down his history, examined his lungs, abdomen and tongue. There was nothing wrong with his lungs but his tongue indicated that his was a chronic case of constipation, gastric complaint and weak digestion and that he was not a patient of tuberculosis. I gave him a medicine to move his bowels and gave one injection and the next day he was much better and four days later he was almost cured. This case gave us a great boost as doctors, because he had been under the treatment of a foreign-returned physician for over six months for T. B. He had taken one hundred injections and had spent a great deal for the treatment. As we cured him in three weeks, he brought us many chronic cases and all were cured. The dispensary began to remain over-crowded with patients, because the city doctors were not able to attend to their dispensaries in suburbs only out of fear of the communal riots in Ahmedabad. This was how the Divine Mother gave us an unexpected miraculous start, and we had a very good response and goodwill from the patients. Slowly and steadily we developed our field of work and opened two more dispensaries in the surroundings, keeping our house and the main dispensary in the centre. We earned the goodwill and trust of the middle-class patients as honest advisers and successful practitioners. We began to get all night calls to visit the patients from the surroundings and as it was almost impossible to attend to the work by a cycle, I was compelled to buy a military motor-cycle first and a car after some months. This establishment and development took ten full years (1936-1946).
I was in close inner contact with the Mother. In spite of my keen desire, I could not proceed to Pondicherry for darshan of the Divine Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The work that we wanted to do for the Divine required this long period of ten years by way of preparation and establishment of a sound foundation.
In our daily practice, we used to have difficult and chronic cases and we attended them with care and with very quiet concentration on the Mother. There were a few cases which required to be treated for more than a week. We never exploited our patients for money. There were many who came to us after taking a year’s treatment without results from expensive consultants. Such cases were examined more than once if necessary and we used to diagnose the disease and detect the mistake in the treatment. After finding out the cause, we used to relieve them of their complaints within ten to fifteen days or at the most within a month. Here I narrate two acute cases to show how the Mother gave us the light to find out the patient’s trouble and how she helped us in treating difficult cases.
A patient, aged 35 years, was under the treatment of the President of the Medical Association for more than a year without any relief or a cure. He was treated as a T. B. patient. The temperature continued without the least change. He was given sixty injections of a strong drug with some tablets and other medicines without any improvement. When this case came to me with all the papers of the prescribed medicines and injections, I asked him to narrate his history. I was absolutely quiet with closed eyes and while hearing the story I asked the patient to tell me the details of the fever he had had on the first day. The patient said that he had had fever accompanied by shivering cold and had to cover himself with heavy blankets; immediately I found the clue that the patient was suffering from malaria and not from T. B. He had bronchitis, which was because the patient was a chain smoker. I examined his lungs and abdomen and found out that the lungs were sound, but he experienced pain in the abdomen, when I pressed it for examination. I gave him one dose of purgative and one injection of quinine with an expectorant mixture. The next day the patient came and fell at my feet. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he was saved as the fever had left him after thirteen months and there was less trouble of bronchitis. I told the patient that if he wanted to save himself he had to give up smoking. He accepted my advice and gave up smoking. Within a fortnight he was cured by the Grace of the Mother.
A child of two years had an attack of fits and was lying in the bed exhausted and senseless for hours. The parents thought that the child was dead. I was called to confirm if he was dead. When I reached there, I saw that the relatives were on the point of carrying the child to the cremation ground. I examined the heart, it was about to stop. I gave him some exercise to stimulate the heart and gave one injection of musk in ether. I went on giving exercise for half an hour to move the lungs. After half an hour, by the Grace of the Mother, the child opened his eyes and tried to move. I was assured of the cure and I repeated the injection a n d the child was cured.
One day, 26 years after the above incident, an income-tax officer came to my house on an official visit. He wanted to scrutinize my income. I gave him all the necessary papers he asked for and the details of my bank accounts. He took down the details and after half an hour when he was satisfied, he asked me whether I knew him. I fumbled with my memory but could not recognize. He bowed to me and said, “Papaji, I am your child who was brought back from death by you twenty-six years ago. My name is Sharen Gupta.”
The Touch of Grace in Family and Social Life
I am a deputy of the Aspiring World,
My Spirit’s liberty I ask for all.
When I joined the Ashram in 1927 I had the good fortune to accept two reformists — Sri Aurobindo and the Mother — as my Gurus. Both of them have revolutionized and reformed human life into Divine life and transformed the old face and outlook of Indian spirituality. They are the pioneers of a new ideal, namely that of transformation of human nature and divinization of human life.
This was the first time in the spiritual history of the whole universe that two mighty spiritual giants joined to become one spiritually though maintaining two separate envelopes. This divine union of two mighty powers of the Divine created a great force and attracted both men and women who joined them with trust and confidence, because they had the fortune of getting love along with guidance on the path from the Mother who was Divine. Theirs was such a living unity that Sri Aurobindo said that the Mother was his consciousness and the Mother said that Sri Aurobindo remained unmanifest without her. Also She said that without Sri Aurobindo She had no existence.
Sri Aurobindo had intensified the fire of aspiration which was burning within me during my childhood. I was imbued with the breath of his Grace and his revolutionary spirit. And when I went out from the Ashram in 1955, whether I wanted it or not, I was made to start my life as an Agent of a Bank and then as a medical practitioner.
Marriage is said to be a step towards the Divine. That marriage also I had to accept in order to revolutionize and to reform the rigid customs of dowry and the like in society. A freedom-fighter (who has been awarded a pension by the Government of India) joined in 1940, by the sheer and irresistible weight of her destiny another freedom-fighter who was preoccupied with the work of winning the freedom of his spirit from his nature.
The fusion of the two freedom-fighters gave birth to a girl named Arvinda in 1943, when our medical practice was in full swing in three dispensaries in the surroundings of Gomtipur, a suburb of Ahmedabad. It was difficult to go and attend the distant calls of the patients on a cycle. So a motor-cycle and a motor-car had entered our life to help the work. The work was being poured upon me and I had learnt to work in a quiet and prayerful mood and developed my consciousness which had transformed my work into a constant meditation and that continuous meditation was the only work that was naturally flowing out from me to meet the Divine at every moment.
Both of us desired no further children, if only we had one son. We prayed to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo for that and our prayer was granted and a boy named Prakash was born in 1946. He is now in the State Government service as an electrical engineer in Ahmedabad. It was after the birth of this child that I thought of proceeding to the Ashram after a period of eleven years to breathe in the bounty of the Grace of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo which led us to success. As I was learning to live for the Divine and to do every little work for the Divine, our whole life had become a process of Yoga leading us towards the union of the Divine with the result that our nature and life were undergoing a process of great change. In this way of life it was absolutely normal and natural for us to put all our problems, big or small, with trust and confidence before the Divine Guides — the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and they never failed us.
My sleep was full of significant experiences and dreams. It appeared as if sleep was my via media to develop one side of my sadhana as work was the means to develop another side of my sadhana. As the Mother says in About Savitri:
For those who are more developed in the inner being than in the body, those who come down upon earth fully conscious and had their consciousness veiled and dulled by the contact of Matter, sleep is often a revelation. Because the body is asleep, inactive, the inner consciousness is more free, and in contact with what it knows more directly.... So all those who have come down upon earth fully developed and fully conscious at night when the body rests, remember what they were and what they can do. In fact, they actually continue to do their work at night when their body is immobile, they continue their activity and they do what they came to do upon earth, even before the body knows and can help in the work.
Lighting a pathway through strange symbol dreams
Across the ebbing of the seas of sleep.
In 1950 the preparations for the celebrations of the 80th birthday of Sri Aurobindo was getting on with great enthusiasm all over India. K. M. Munshi, the veteran man of letters and a disciple of Sri Aurobindo had taken much interest and committees were appointed in all cities of India for the celebration of Sri Aurobindo’s birthday. Sri Jauhar from Delhi had written to me to take interest in the celebration, but somehow I was not finding my way clear to join the celebration in spite of myself. Whenever I set out to plan, some obstacle or other came in my way. My friends were astonished to find me in this condition, for I was considered to be the life and the soul of all activities of Sri Aurobindo centre in Ahmedabad. They asked me what the matter was with me. I could not express anything with certainty but I said: “I don’t know, but we shall not be able to celebrate the 80th birthday. I had a vision of sunrise followed by a sunset and that was followed by unfathomable darkness. I felt we had to face the great sunset.”
We had arranged a programme of our great musician of the Ashram, Sri Dilipkumar Roy in the town hall of Ahmedabad and collected a sum of Rs. 10, 000 which was offered to the Mother Divine. After the programme was over and Dilipkumar’s party had left for Patna, I received a telegram that Sri Aurobindo was not well. This news was a blow to me and at once made me uneasy. Hearing this news Dilipkumar postponed all his programmes and ran down to Pondicherry to our beloved Master.
The night that he left his body (December 5, 1950) I saw a dream. I was waiting in a beautiful garden full of wonderful flowers. There was a track in front of me and I was waiting for somebody who was to come by that track, and there appeared a burning sun rushing towards me. When it came nearer, I could recognize the face in the midst of the burning sun. It was the face of Sri Aurobindo. The rest of the body was not visible, but when it came nearer and nearer I could see a naked body in the burning sun and the three others who followed him. When they were quite near, the Master made a gesture to me to follow him, and within a few moments we were in his room. The Master took me on one side and asked me if I wanted any siddhi. I was rather astonished. When I kept quiet, he embraced me and kept his hand on my head and poured down whatever he had to give me. I was so much struck by this manner of his distributing his powers to his disciples that a feeling came to me that this distribution was the last award. These feelings moved me and in sleep I began to weep spontaneously. When my wife woke me up, she was surprised to see me in this condition. My pillow was completely wet with tears. She asked me what had happened. I told her that our Master Sri Aurobindo had left us physically. She could not believe me and then she also began to weep. She tuned in the radio in the morning, and we heard the news that Sri Aurobindo had left his body.
In 1956 I went with the members of my family to the Ashram with the idea of settling down in the Ashram if the Mother permitted. The children were of 13 and 10 years of age respectively. We stayed there for six weeks. The Mother was informed of our idea through my friend Dyuman and the reply that Dyuman brought was: “There is no objection to your staying here, but if you stay with the members of your family, they will not allow you to stay peacefully”. No financial arrangements had been made for the family and I had to go back and wait for the hour of God to arrange everything in a way that either all or anyone who wanted to join the Ashram could do so without being a burden to it.
In our social life I was a revolutionary and a reformer. Those who have to do the pioneering work have to face the worst of difficulties and gain strength and energy and experience which are useful in fighting the battle of life. I was to face such difficulties, being a father of a girl for whom I had to find a suitable boy for marriage. The Patel community is the most rigid in these matters. When Arvinda passed the S. S. C. examination and when she expressed her desire not to study further but to take up some work, I asked her to select any work which she liked. At that time there was a strong movement to separate Gujarat from the Bombay State and many young students had sacrificed their lives in that movement. Finally, it was decided to make a separate State of Gujarat and applications were invited from those who wanted to join the State service. Arvinda got employed in the Secretariat in Ahmedabad. I had written to the Mother to solve the problem of her marriage and I was waiting quietly for the solution. One day a friend came and informed me that there was a boy who was a science graduate serving as a chemist in Alembic Chemicals at Baroda. Generally, I am not in the habit of attending social functions like marriages, for I am against the present structure of customs of our society. So I had very little chance of knowing many people in the society and I was rather in a bad fix while making an attempt to know the family of the boy who was in the service of Alembic Chemicals. One day a relative who was married in the village of that boy came to see me and I requested him to inquire and get detailed information regarding the boy and his family. He went to his house and asked his wife if she knew anything about the boy. She said she would get the details from her father. That evening her father accompanied the boy’s grandfather who had missed the last bus to their village and came to pass that night in her house. She enquired and got the necessary information regarding the boy and told them all about Arvindabehn and her service. After a few days I went to Baroda and saw the boy in Alembic Chemicals and directly proposed to the boy to accompany me and have an exchange of ideas and to decide whether they could marry and be happy. This direct approach (instead of an approach through the boy’s father) was not possible in that society but the boy agreed and my difficulty was solved. Now it was necessary to bring both of them together so that they could see each other, exchange their ideas and decide for themselves whether they should join to be happy or not. Their meeting was arranged, they had a talk and they decided to marry. The boy came forward to say that the marriage ceremony should be performed in a simple way and that it should be over by the evening. The Divine Mother so arranged that this was the first and the only boy I saw for Arvinda. I thanked the Mother Divine with gratitude for solving this problem. An invitation for the marriage was sent to the Divine Mother, I invoked her Presence in the marriage ceremony to bless the couple who had decided to proceed towards the Divine through marriage. We received the blessings from the Mother on the day of the marriage. The ceremony was kept at the bungalow of Sri Gatubhai Dhru, President of the Association of Reformist Marriages of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, in 1963.
By this time Prakash had passed his S. S. C. examination with first class and had joined St. Xavier’s College of Science. After some years he joined L. D. Engineering College and at the end of three years he passed the last course of B. E. (Elec. ) in 1968 and joined the State Government service at Baroda in the beginning, but subsequently he was transferred to Ahmedabad.
When he was in Baroda some relatives of his maternal side belonging to that orthodox society who had revolted against our reformist marriage in 1940 made a move to push one girl of that society into our house. I opposed. Later Prakash married the -same girl of his own choice from Nadiad.
All this time I was thinking to make some arrangements by which I could stay at the Ashram on my own. On the other hand the house where we lived was rather too small to accommodate the enlarged family and the visitors. Whatever we saved was being spent in the establishment of business and for the education of the children. We were accommodating our family with difficulty, while the other half of the house was in possession of my younger brother. After the death of my father and mother, we had to divide our ancestral property in our village. We had a house and two shops in the village. My brother wanted to have that house independently for himself. He was allowed to have the village house on condition that he gave us his portion of the house where we lived in Gomtipur. The brother tried his best to dispose of his portion of the city house to outsiders. I had written the whole story to the Mother and was waiting for the Divine Grace to change the circumstances in our favour. When he was in need of money and when he could not sell it to anybody else, he sold his portion of the house to me for Rs. 7, 000 and I had to reconstruct the second floor and build a third floor which cost me Rs. 20, 000. Though I had spent Rs. 35, 000 for repairing the whole house the house remained old in appearance. But while spending this amount I had to keep in mind to get the return of amount I had invested at the minimum rate of 10%. The portion that was purchased was in the possession of old tenant paying very little rent. But it was against my feeling to ask them to increase the rent. I maintained very good relations with them and that paid me at the end — slowly I had prepared five shops on the road side of my house and excepting five shopkeepers there was no residential tenant.
Another matter I had to surrender to the working of the Grace of the Divine Mother was of one of the shopkeepers who was trying to sell away his shop with goodwill and wanted to make money. It was extremely difficult and complicated to prevent him from doing it. The law also could not prevent it. I permitted him to sell the shop with goodwill on condition that he should arrange to fix up new rent for the shop. He agreed but could not get any buyer. I wanted to go to the Ashram for darshan but I was detained by his movement which was creating complications for me. The shopkeeper got into difficulties and one day I came to know that he was dead. His son was more clever and was more difficult to deal with. He also tried to sell the shop with goodwill but when he could not do so he came to me to give the possession of the shop. I asked him to pay the amount of the rent and taxes that were due. Finally, I had to let go the amount and somehow I got the possession by the Grace of the Mother. The whole village was astonished to hear that I was given the possession by the shopkeeper. This shop was very big and had been in the possession of this shopkeeper for twenty-five years and fetched a rent of 25 rupees only. I made some changes and divided the shop into two equal parts and prepared two shops by spending a good amount of money and gave away both the shops on rent for 75 rupees each a month. So the shop which made me struggle for three years got me a rent of Rs. 150 per month. Who else could transform and raise the income from Rs. 25 to Rs. 150 excepting the Grace of the Divine Mother?
There was another case of the Divine Mother’s help and protection. There are two houses in our khirki both having their ownership rights of the open land of that khirki. My neighbour insisted that open land of the khirki was solely his. I inquired in the city survey department but found that the land of khirki was going on in the name of the person who had sold his house to us and there was no trace of my neighobur’s name nor of his father’s. I applied for transferring the rights of the old owner who had sold the house to my father. After making necessary enquiry my name was entered as the owner of the open land of the khirki in which my house was situated. When my neighbour came to know about it, there was a great quarrel and I had to drag him to the criminal court three times. He tried to bribe the city surveyor and got his name entered but I took objection and I took the matter to the Chief Minister of Gujarat State. The struggle and the quarrel lasted for three full years with no result and with the death of my neighbour the matter stopped there.
It was by the Grace of the Divine Mother that I could get my brother’s portion of the house in Gomtipur where I have been living since then. While repairing that portion of the house I had to spend a good amount. Anyway slowly I was able to arrange six shops and the Mother’s Grace had changed most of the old tenants to fetch the best possible return for the money that had been spent in rearranging the house and in constructing six shops on the ground floor. This was a great solace and a gift from the Divine Grace to get a regular income of Rs. 300 out of shops which had fetched only Rs. 50 when we came to live in that house. It was by the Divine arrangement that in the last years of my life when I was eagerly waiting to dedicate the rest of my life to the Divine that I was awarded by the Divine Mother a providential pension of Rs. 300 per month and a house to live in. This was also an arrangement made by the Divine Grace that I might not have to look to my son or anybody else for living in the last days of my life. It was an arrangement made by the Divine Grace for our independent living.
It so happened that one of the shopkeepers in our house, a radio repairer who was regular in paying the rent, was not able to pay the rent for a long time. I had made it a rule not to go to collect the rent, unless they did not pay in time. We had developed good relations almost like members of one family and a tie of goodwill had developed day by day. As the radio repairer was too late in paying his rent, I went to him to inquire if he was in difficulty. He was not present, and somebody else was there. I asked him whether the shopkeeper was sick and inquired the cause of his absence. He was not able to give a satisfactory reply. By the time I was about to return, the radio repairer came and I asked him the cause of his absence and why he was late in paying the rent. In reply to my query he said he had been to the police station to get his brother-in-law released from the custody of the police as he was arrested for committing a theft in the studio of the Governor’s photographer. I had read the news about the theft in the papers that the studio of the Governor’s photographer was opened very skilfully with a duplicate key and articles worth thirty thousand were stolen along with a film on Bangla Desh which had been taken recently and was to be shown to Mrs. Indira Gandhi. While reading it I had felt that the theft was committed by the radio repairer’s brother-in-law. My feeling was so strong that I warned the radio repairer to keep away from his brother-in-law because he was the man who had committed the theft. Also I warned him that if he continued to try to get him released from the custody of the police he would be entangled in the case and have to suffer the consequences. He tried to tell me that his brother-in-law was with him in his house that night up to 10-30 p. m. and then he went to his house. I told him that he had not gone to his house but had gone to commit this theft after leaving his house that night. So I advised him not to keep contact with him.
After four days my wife brought the news that four jeep cars full of police had cordoned off the shop of the radio repairer and were making some investigations. They were beating the radio repairer and asking questions. The police had also brought one man well-tied with ropes. Hearing this my doubts were confirmed and my warning to the radio repairer proved absolutely correct. When I read the news about the theft in the studio of the Governor’s photographer, I had actually a vision of the radio repairer’s brother-in-law opening the door of the studio with a duplicate key in the night and entering the studio. The expression of his face and his movement told me that he was there to commit a crime. When the police were searching the shop of the radio repairer, the whole of Gomtipur area rushed to the scene. When they came to know that I had warned the radio repairer, to his own astonishment, that his brother-in-law had committed that theft and that he should keep away from the man to save himself they were quite astonished to hear that and had come to ask me what power enabled me to have fore-knowledge about the theft. I told them that I knew many such things and I would not normally reveal those things to others. I had told this time to the radio repairer only to save him from the coming consequences.
After the search the radio repairer was also arrested and put in the police custody. The father of the radio repairer was informed by telegram. He came down immediately and got his son released on bail. This incident reflected upon the business of the radio repairer. Though he was an expert in his work people lost faith in him. It became difficult for him to get sufficient work and therefore he began to make attempts to sell his shop with goodwill. I had to make a great effort to prevent him from doing that. But one day he himself vacated the shop and gave possession of the shop to me by the Grace of the Divine Mother.
Six decades of my life in this body were over and when the seventh decade was running fast and was nearing its completion, I gave away the rights of publication of the third edition of my Gujarati book on Preservation of Health and Sight to Mahatma Gandhi’s Navajivan Trust, Ahmedabad, as I was seriously planning to go to the Ashram and settle there for the rest of my life to complete my ascent to the spirit. The stream of my life was flowing so naturally that I learnt to do every little work for the Divine and to establish a constant union with Him and my existence was thus gradually getting transformed into a pilgrimage to the Spirit.
My pilgrimage to the Spirit had become a dedication pilgrimage for the rest of my life. I was pondering over the following conditions of the Divine’s help mentioned by Sri Aurobindo:
A fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a Supreme Grace that answers from above.... But the Supreme Grace can act only in the conditions of Light and the Truth.... A glad and strong and helpful submission is demanded to the working of the Divine Force, the obedience of the illumined disciple of the Truth, of the inner warrior who fights against obscurity and falsehood, of the faithful servant of the Divine.
It was my sincere effort that had spontaneously led and transmuted my life into an ever flowing river that absorbs all ills wherever it flows, and sanctifies and suggests by its own movements that it is moving towards the Divine. Life is a voyage towards the Divine and I was trying to prove it through my dedication pilgrimage. I did not attribute these successes to my individual capacity. All positive, inspiring and miraculous results were brought about by the Grace of the Divine Mother and not by that little T’ of mine. I am ever grateful to my beloved Master and the Mother for their help to me to walk safely on the muddy and thorny path of life and to lead it to its fulfilment by transmuting it into a pure stream of Dedication Pilgrimage.
When I looked into the messages given in my blessing-card for my birthday on 28th October, 1973 I realized that I had been always praying to my Master to be with me throughout day and night and to make me feel his Presence in sleep as well as in waking. I was always praying for growth in me at all times, of the Truth, the Consciousness and the Bliss constantly.
I had indeed been keeping in my mind the direction given by him to live within and not to be shaken by outward happenings, to aspire intensely but without impatience, to remember that all shall be done if the God-touch is there, and his promise of hope that all things shall change in God’s transfiguring hour.
There was the simple but most important message by the sweet Divine Mother asking us to be simple, to be happy, to remain quiet and do our work as well as we can — to keep ourselves always open towards her.
Shall we be able to do this?
He who wants the Divine, is
wanted by the Divine....
The Touch of Grace in the Activities of Sri Aurobindo Centre
To know is Good,
To do is Better,
To become is the Best.
I went to the Ashram for darshan in 1946 after a long period of ten years. Purani had then gone to Ahmedabad to attend the All-India Dharma Parishad. During his stay there he was the guest of my friend Sri Narendra L. Sheth. Purani gave a series of lectures on Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri which created much interest in many people. Those who attended the lectures wanted some arrangements to continue their interest in the literature and teachings of Sri Aurobindo. When they approached Purani, and requested him to make some arrangement so that all of them could read together and maintain their interest in Sri Aurobindo, Purani suggested that they might form a group and write a letter to the Divine Mother to permit them to start a study circle. All those who were interested in reading Sri Aurobindo’s books signed a letter addressed to the Mother and gave it to Purani to obtain the Divine Mother’s sanction. They had not mentioned in the letter the name of the person who was to be responsible to look after the activities of the study circle to be started in Ahmedabad.
During my stay at the Ashram, some of my old friends suggested to me to start a study circle at Ahmedabad. I asked one of my friends who was the secretary of the Ashram to explain to me the conditions for starting such study circles and getting the Mother’s permission to. start it. Nolini made me understand that “the Mother gives permission to a person, only if he is fit to take up that responsibility.”
I stayed at the Ashram for three weeks and on my return some of my friends informed me that they had sent a letter with Purani to get the Mother’s permission to start a study circle in Ahmedabad. I asked them as to who had taken up the responsibility to look after the activities of the circle. They said it was an important point but it had not been mentioned in the letter to the Mother. They sent repeated reminders to the Mother as well as to Purani but could get no permission. They asked me if I would move in the matter, take up the responsibility and get the Mother’s permission. When I felt I was ready to take up the responsibility, I took a decision and wired “I think the time is ripe enough to start a study circle in Ahmedabad. If you permit I can start.” I sent another telegram on the same day praying for the blessings of the Divine Mother on the occasion of the opening of an eye clinic to be operated along the lines of Dr. Bates’ methods, in Ahmedabad. I received blessings in reply to both of my telegrams and we held our first meeting of Sri Aurobindo Centre at Prof. Sethna’s house on 4-10-1947 (Vijayadashami). The centre in Ahmedabad was known as Sri Arvind Mandal. It was started on the same day with the blessings of the Divine Mother. After getting the Mother’s blessings, I started the eye clinic in the name of “Arogyamandir” also on the same day.
The field of our activity was enlarged and we had a chance of inviting the Mother’s Grace in our activities. Now we shall have a look at the action of the Divine Grace in three different streams of life lived for a single destination, which taught me to do all activities for the Divine and realize the Divine at every moment in waking as well as in sleep.
I was trying to invoke the Mother’s Grace in all my activities and wished to make my whole life an ascent towards the Divine and have all the time genuine contact with the Divine as naturally as a stream flows towards the ocean. I had taken up the centre’s activity as a part of my sadhana and learnt to dedicate every work to the Divine alone. This had purified the ways and means of doing work and had naturally brought about the experience of facing and meeting the Divine almost all the time.
We used to meet every Saturday evening at 6 p. m. at a place where we were invited by one of the members of Sri Aravind Mandal. In the meeting we had meditation for fifteen minutes, readings from Sri Aurobindo’s or the Mother’s writings for fifteen minutes. I was establishing a contact and trying to identify myself with the Mother and was praying to her to be present and allow her Grace to act upon our nature. The atmosphere of meditation was becoming powerful, full of peace and silence and we felt as if we were in the Ashram. We felt the Presence of the Mother full of dynamic peace and we allowed our hearts to be filled with it.
We celebrated the Master’s birthday on 15th August, Siddhi day on 24th November and the Mother’s birthday on 21stFebruary, and the final arrival day of the Mother on the 24th April. We used to celebrate all these Darshan Days with some special programme of a talk on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy by an invited speaker. Occasionally there was a talk by someone who had gone to the Ashram for darshan on his experiences during his visit. Slowly the atmosphere had developed and most of us looked forward to the Saturday meetings. The number of members of Sri Aravind Mandal reached sixty in 1950.
There was another bigger group consisting of the general public which was ignorant of the ideal and the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and was not able to attend the meetings of Sri Aravind Mandal, but was eager to know about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Some friends approached and requested me to arrange programmes for placing Sri Aurobindo’s ideal before the general public. In response to this request we decided to celebrate Sri Aurobindo week, with the blessings of the Mother, from 10th August to 16th August (1950). The celebrations were held in Premabhai Hall, a well-known public place in Ahmedabad. Good speakers were invited to give talks on different aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s personality, his ideals and his teachings. The members of all the Sri Aurobindo centres in Gujarat with their friends and relatives filled the hall and relished the lectures and the atmosphere of the Presence of the Divine Mother. We received messages from many well-known persons.
This was the first chance for the masses of Gujarat to know and assimilate something about the ideal and the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and the Ashram at Pondicherry. The daily papers took a note of the lectures. The All India Radio, Ahmedabad, covered these celebrations and gave extracts from the speeches in its fortnightly reviews.
Again we had a chance of arranging a music programme of Dilipkumar Roy, a well-known name in Indian music and a disciple of Sri Aurobindo. Sri Dilipkumar Roy had been giving programmes of Indian music in all big cities of India as an offering to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. We arranged this programme in the Town Hall of Ahmedabad in November 1950. Two days’ programme brought about an offering often to twelve thousand rupees to the Mother.
Some friends approached me to inaugurate Sri Aurobindo Centre at Sojitra (Kaira District). I explained to them that it was the Mother’s work and I could not take up the responsibility without the Mother’s order. They requested the Mother to bless me to inaugurate Sri Aurobindo centre at Sojitra. After getting the blessings of the Mother in November 1950, I performed the ceremony most prayerfully and invoked her Presence. The inauguration speech is given separately, under the title “The Art of Living”2.
Again in 1952 some friends from Barwala (Ghelasa) wanted me to inaugurate Sri Aurobindo Centre at Barwala near Bhimnath. When they got the Mother’s permission and blessing, I performed the ceremony. During the ceremony the atmosphere was surcharged with the dynamic Presence of the Divine Mother.
On 24th April 1973 I was requested by Sri Ratilal Shah from Kapadwanj (Kaira District) to perform bhumi puja of the building to be constructed for Sri Aravindayan which was to be the venue of the activities of Sri Aurobindo centre at Kapadwanj. I was ever ready to do Mother’s work and when she sent her blessings I performed the ceremony very willingly, praying to the Mother to be present and guide us all in our activities of the centre and of life at large.
Think only of the Divine
Live only for the Divine
Aspire only for the Divine
Work only for the Divine
Seek only the Divine
Serve only the Divine
Adore only the Divine
— White Roses
The Touch of Grace in the Practice of Naturopathic Eye Clinic
Health is the expression of Harmony,
If Harmony is disturbed, ill health is expressed
The eye clinic was started on 4-10-1947 (Vijayadashami) under the name of “Arogyamandir” with the blessings of the Divine Mother. It was started in an aristocratic area where people had tried excessive use of allopathic medicines and were suffering from the reactions of sulfa and other drugs and were anxious to find a new treatment which could save them from these reactions, and a new way which could train them for a natural way of living. Arogyamandir got its establishment on the top floor of the Orient Club, near Gujarat College, on the other side of the Sabarmati river, at the west end of Ahmedabad city. I was living outside the fort area of the city, in a mill area, named Gomtipur at the east end of the city. Every morning my pilgrimage started from the east end to the west end to attend the eye clinic from 7 a. m. to 10 a. m., the rest of my time- being given to my general practice.
After I left my study and joined Mahatma Gandhi I had continued at home the comparative study of allopathy, ayurveda, homeopathy fjand naturopathy and that was continued at Pondicherry. During my stay at Pondicherry I had come across a book named Perfect Sight Without Glasses by an American allopathic eye specialist and ophthalmologist, Dr. Bates. He had revolutionized the outlook of ophthalmic science and he was the founder of the well-known Bates’ methods in which the patient was taught and trained to reform his springful habits of using mind, body and eyes and establish a new outlook and a new way of living and using the eyes and discard the use of a mechanical device called spectacles.
Many English and German doctors had written books on Dr. Bates’ method. I kept in touch with every new publication on Bates’ method and studied all these books including the famous book The Art of Seeing by Aldous Huxley, who wrote the book out of gratitude to pay off his debt to the theory, which saved him from blindness and helped him to continue his life as a well-known author.
In India the standard of general health is very low. Unless this standard is raised, the relaxation and other exercises alone can never succeed in giving long-lasting results in improving the state of eyes. The results brought about by exercises alone, however attractive they may be, cannot last long in the absence of sound health of the body. To obtain better results and to make them long-lasting, I prepared a theory of treating eye diseases by relaxation and other exercises founded on a treatment for raising the standard of general health. When I was pondering over this theory in the Ashram at Pondicherry, Dr. Agarwal, a practitioner of Bates’ method from Delhi visited the Ashram and tried to introduce and experiment the new method on some cases of defective eyesight in the Ashram. I attended his talk and treatment as an onlooker and did not reveal my interest in the theory. I realized that the fundamental difference in the application of Bates’ method between myself and Dr. Agarwal was that he was applying only relaxation and other exercises alone and not touching on the general health at all in the treatment of eye diseases, while I wanted the foundation of general health to be raised and exercises to be founded on that sound footing for better and long-lasting results.
The theory that I prepared in Pondicherry Ashram found a field of application in Arogyamandir that was opened in Ahmedabad in 1947. Before opening the eye clinic I had begun to write a series of articles in daily papers and magazines of Gujarat to create a favourable atmosphere and to revolutionize the existing mode of living of the general masses and to awaken them to learn to preserve their health and sight by self-effort and to train them to co-operate in the process of living instead of helping and co-operating in the process of dying. In response to the articles published in the papers, I received hundreds of letters requesting me to continue the series and publish them all in the form of a book as early as possible.
The publication of articles in the papers and magazines had created the necessary atmosphere and generated interest about the subject among the educated classes and members of aristocratic society. So I began to receive calls from educational institutions, colleges and secondary schools for giving talks on preservation of health and sight. By the time I published the first edition of my book on preservation of health and sight with an introduction of Sri Umashankar Joshi, the Vice-chancellor of the Gujarat University and a patient of Bates’ method for his weak sight, in December 1950, my Master Sri Aurobindo left his body. I had completed the first round of lectures on preservation of health and sight in almost all the educational institutions of Ahmedabad city; all these institutions accorded a warm welcome to the book. Some high schools purchased 50 copies each and others purchased according to their necessity with the result that the whole edition of 1, 250 copies was sold out within a month. I was invited by the All India Radio, Ahmedabad, to give two talks on preservation of health and sight.
The readers of the series of articles were so much impressed that one paper which published the articles prominently, regularly, got one thousand new subscribers added to their list. The editor of the paper requested me for my permission for publishing and printing twenty thousand copies of the book for giving a free copy to each of the subscribers. I consented to his proposal but owing to some difficulty, the proposal did not materialize.
I wrote another book on main diseases of the eyes. It was published with the introduction of late Sri Dhoomketu, a well-known writer of Gujarat. The second edition of the book on Preservation of Health and Sight was published and three thousand copies were sold out.
During this period I received a letter from Dr. Agarwal inquiring whether I could make an arrangement for his consultation camp for the eye patients in Gujarat in my eye clinic; he expressed his intention to offer the income of that consultation camp to the Divine Mother. I was extremely glad to have an opportunity to serve the Divine Mother. I therefore planned out a programme to make his visit successful. I wrote two articles about Dr. Agarwal who was a pioneer in the practice of Dr. Bates’ method for eye troubles in India. In those days we two were the only followers of Dr. Bates’ method in India. I arranged for his public lecture in Premabhai Hall. Another lecture was arranged under the auspices of the Ahmedabad Medical Association and the third lecture was arranged in the University Hall. There was a good response. Within a week he gave consultation to 300 patients and there was a sale of his books and medicines worth Rs. 1, 500. A sum of rupees six thousand was collected to be offered at the feet of the Divine Mother.
An atmosphere was prepared to some extent for nature cure treatment for the eyes but very few turned to this treatment in the beginning. Usually they came to naturopathy as a last resort, after trying all other systems. It is absolutely out of question to consider naturopathy as a source of good income. According to my experience I had to spend some money every month regularly for developing the work of naturopathy and it was never a source of livelihood. When people came to me as a last resort, I found that they were usually difficult and incurable cases. By nature I had been interested in facing and fighting all that is incurable and impossible. At the end of 1948 I got a case of accidental blindness due to haemorrhage in the eye. The patient was an uncle of the superintendent of fire brigade of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Sri Sorabji Bharucha was 65 years of age and was a veritable reservoir of many diseases — constipation, gastritis, diabetis, blood pressure etc. He was blind for five years. According to the opinion of twenty allopathic doctors he had lost his vision owing to haemorrhage in the eye.
When he came to me, I took down the history of the case and examined his eyes. After repeated examination I found that one eye was showing some reactions to the light. I told him that his eyes required to be bandaged for 72 hours and kept in compulsory rest so that they could reveal the possibility for improvement.
Charak, a recognized authority in Ayurveda, classifies the treatment of the eyes into three different categories: (1) Treatment by application of crushed leaves of medicinal herbs, (2) Treatment by application of bandage, (3) Treatment by feeding the eyes directly by honey, milk, glucose solution etc. I have tried bandaging in most difficult cases with success, for examination and for treatment. Sri Sorabji Bharucha was bandaged for 72 hours after flushing his bowels. After bandaging he was sent home with a psychological suggestion that many people begin to see when we open the bandage and that he too will see. In response to this suggestion, the patient asked: “Can I also see?” I said: “Why not?” The family members also reminded the patient many times during the day that in all probability he would be able to see when the bandage was removed. Every morning the patient visited me to ask me whether he would be able to see. I encouraged and stimulated his eagerness to see and requested him to pray to God to give back his vision. During the bandage he was kept on a special diet of a mixture of milk, honey and ghee.
Before bandaging, Sri Bharucha was tested by showing him the light of a thousand watt electric bulb, and by making him stand in the open sun, but he said he felt the heat but could not see the light.
After 72 hours the patient was brought to the clinic by the fire brigade superintendent Sri Soli Bharucha for opening the bandage. I took him to the dark room and opened the bandage asking the patient not to expose his eyes staringly. He was asked to blink and see and as soon as he opened his eyes, he said, “Sir, there is a torch in your hand and the light is coming out from the end which is red”. Soli Bharucha was standing behind his uncle when I was removing the bandage. He roared with laughter and said, “We told you uncle that you will see when the bandage is removed and you are now able to see”. Soli embraced his uncle with tears of joy and thanked me for the result.
In dealing with such incurable cases I always collected my consciousness and went into the heart of quietness and prayed to the Mother to guide and suggest me the ways and means to shatter all impossibility and to lead me from darkness to light and to lead the patient from blindness to vision. When the patient reacts positively and when the sense of seeing that had withdrawn (by the submission to the suggestions of the doctors that he had lost his vision and nothing can be done for him) has been pulled out once more, the patient is in such a joy that no words can express it. On the other hand, a delicate and difficult position is created for the doctor for further treatment. It is a big interrogation for the doctor to find a way to nail down, fix and establish the sense of seeing which had been pulled out and which may recede again leaving the patient to his old condition of blindness.
I was puzzled for a moment; from the depth of my quiet consciousness I heard as if the Mother was saying: “Let him exert his vision”. In a moment I asked Sri Sorabji Bharucha to sit in the sun and try to find out the white and black portion of the paper that I had given. He asked me whether he can take the paper near the eyes, when I allowed him to try to see as was convenient to him. He exerted his eyes from a distance of four inches and after ten minutes of effort he said that it was a photograph that I had given him to see. He took some rest and then I asked him to find out, whether the photograph was of a male or of a female. He tried and found that the person in the photograph had a moustache, that it was a male and as he had a crown on the head, it should be a photograph of a king. After taking some rest he tried again and found that the king had glasses on his eyes. The first day’s treatment after the bandage was removed ended with exerting the patient’s vision and after verifying minute details of the object he was asked to see. He was sent home with a suggestion that the members of his family should show him some big articles to exert his vision from a distance where he could see easily, but they should be careful not to break the pillar of faith on which the patient was to build and establish his sense of seeing so that he could strive for a better tomorrow and a new life. Sri Sorabhji Bharucha kept on recognizing small and big articles at home and visiting my clinic for further advice and other treatment for a fortnight. Within this period we prepared special charts of big letters for training his vision and when they were ready he was given the Montessory training of moving his finger on the b lack letter and reading. I went on changing the size of th e let t er s and the patient progressed in reading smaller and smaller letters. This training lasted for two months and the patient was asked to read the headlines of the papers and then was asked to read the news and tell us in the clinic. The patient was very happy and was progressing with great enthusiasm. After six months of training and treatment of his eyes and especially of his general health he was a new man with a new hope’ to restart h is new life given to him by the Grace of the Divi n e Mother, Sorabji Bharucha gave a party in 1949 to honour the result obtained by naturopathy, under the presidentship of Dr. Hariprasad Desai, a well-known public figure of the time. This was an honour given not to me but to the Divine Mother’s Grace who had guided, helped and secured the success that was a miracle.
The second case of blindness came to me in 1950. Balaben Vyas, aged 27, was admitted to the maternity home of V. S. Hospital of Ahmedabad for delivery. She lost her vision by the extreme strain caused by delivery. She had undergone such strain that the eyes rushed out of their sockets. She was treated for six months by the V. S. Hospital without any result. Her husband was a science teacher who took her to Calcutta, Bombay and Nagpur for treatment, but when there was no sign of cure, the teacher who had no faith in naturopathy came to me as a last resort after wandering for twenty months and spending ten thousand rupees.
When Balaben Vyas was examined she was absolutely broken down physically, nervously and psychologically. She had lost all hope of life and was in a very sad state. When I asked her to narrate her history, she broke down with tears and told me that God was very unkind to her and that she had no hope of getting pardoned by the Divine. I assured her that if she prayed to God with all her heart to be kind and to give back her sight, God was sure to hear. In examination I found that she had inflammation of the uterus and had lost her weight owing to chronic fever. She was also bandaged for 72 hours with a psychological suggestion that she was sure to see when the bandage was opened. She was kept on the diet of mixture of milk, honey and ghee. After 72 hours when the bandage was removed she reacted nicely and was able to see the light, recognize colours which she was not able to do before. Her general health was very bad and she was treated for five months to improve her health along with the training and exercises for establishing the vision which was brought back. When she was perfectly cured, she was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude and expressed her desire to present something to me. When I said that she had paid my fees and I did not accept any present for myself she was not satisfied with my reply and presented me a shield made of silver worth Rs. 600 for starting competitions among students to create interest in developing their health and sight. This shield was handed over to the Gymnastic Association of Gujarat by Sri B. K. Thakor, a prominent poet and critic of Gujarati language who came to me from Bombay for the treatment of his eyes and was cured by one month’s treatment and training.
When the Gymnastic Association of Gujarat could not organize the competitions they returned the shield to me after five years and I offered it to the Divine Mother whose Grace was at the root of all the miraculous results.
The Mother worked many more miracles in my practice of the eye treatment, but this is not the place that I can relate all of them. Apart from five blind cures many incurable cases of high myopia and especially cases of children whose education was withheld on account of their bad eyes were cured and they became high officers or great industrialists. Here it is worth mentioning that the Government servants from all different offices, pilots and captains of steamers had the privilege of being helped by the Grace when they had failed in their eye tests.
The Dedication Pilgrimage
The Grace is sure to be victorious one day.
The third Gujarati edition of Preservation of Health and Sight was published with the introduction of Kakasaheb Kalelkar in July 1972 by Gandhiji’s Navajivan Trust. I received presentation copies from the publisher and when I turned through the pages of the book at night, I was held up when I came to the page of dedication. The book was dedicated to the Divine Mother. Whenever I published a new edition, I used to send an offering of some token amount to the Divine Mother, because the sale of the books was under my control. After giving away the copyright to the Navajivan Trust the position became quite different. I tried to find a way for dedication. I, therefore decided upon taking up the sale of the book.
I became calm and quiet and remembered the Mother and there was a contact with her. In that quiet concentrated mood I took a decision to stop my usual efforts to earn my bread but to start a dedication pilgrimage to approach every small or big educational institution and introduce copies of the book for their class library and for being given away as prizes. The sale proceeds of the dedication pilgrimage were to be offered to the Divine Mother. I experienced sound sleep after taking this decision and after pondering over the ways of surrender to the Mother. I was awakened at 4-30 a. m. by the idea of praying to my body which was 67 years old and by which I was to carry out the arduous programme of going from village to village for the dedication pilgrimage. I prayed to the body in a concentrated mood that it was very fortunate to get this opportunity to do this pilgrimage to realize the Divine. This work could not be carried out without the co-operation of the body. I prayed to the body to co-operate and in response joy, peace and power filled up every cell of my body. I approached members of my family early morning and told them that since the Mother had arranged for their bread and other necessities of life, I should not endeavour to earn their bread and they had to be satisfied with whatever was given by the Divine Mother. I arranged and organized my programme and started the pilgrimage and the first order I got was for one hundred copies from the President of Vaso Kelavani Mandal. The book received an encouraging response. Vaso purchased 100 copies, Borsad purchased 97 copies, Sardar University Campus purchased 63 copies. All educational institutions of Anand including D. N. High School where Dyuman, Shivabhai, Ambu and I studied and to which we are so much grateful for preparing us for spiritual development, purchased 51 copies; Nadiad purchased 36 copies, Petlad 36 copies, Khambhat 30, Sojitra 26 and Kapadwanj 24 copies. Generally Gujarat is believed to be much backward in these matters, but the same Gujarat responded to this book with great love and respect to the Divine Mother who was approaching them through me, and my head bowed to Gujarat in all humility. The whole edition of of 2000 copies was sold out within the record time of one hundred days.
I wrote to my friend Dyuman to request the Mother on behalf of me to grant me an appointment — an opportunity — for performing the dedication ceremony of my book. With the Grace of the Mother I got the appointment on 24 August ‘72. Then the Mother had stopped seeing and interviewing people since April 1972. When I reached the Ashram, I was not sure whether the Mother would grant me an interview. I approached Dyuman and inquired about my appointment. He told me to my astonishment, “Your appointment is not cancelled, so the Mother will see you on 24th of August.”
When I saw the Mother on 24th August ‘72, she was sitting on the ground. I approached her with all humility, offered a sum of Rs. 400/-, net income of the sale of 400 copies of my book. I bowed and kept my head in her lap. She held the head with her two hands for a few minutes and blessed me in that way. I stood up after pranam, she searched out a blessing-packet from the dish that was kept by her side, and she raised her hand to give the blessing-packet to me and cast a piercing glance into my eyes. Her eyes as if conveyed to me: “Good bye... ta-ta... we will not meet again physically.”
This disturbed me a good deal. My difficulty was that I could not convey this feeling to anybody else... and I had to be in this agony till the arrival of the memorable day when the Mother left the body.
The dedication pilgrimage had become a means to revolutionire the final change in my life to lead me to the Divine and to be its humble instrument. It had filled me with a new spirit of dedicated life. I was moving with great speed; I used to walk ten to fifteen miles everyday and if necessary covered more than 60 miles on cycle per day. All members of my family, the educationists to whom I approached for the sale of the book and the Ashram people and the Divine Mother were astonished when they came to know about it. The Mother Divine was much pleased to hear from Dyuman the story of the dedication pilgrimage and the body that was co-operating in the work so nicely and she had sent her blessings both to the work and the worker.
The fourth edition of the book was available for sale in August 1973. I had decided to visit the Ashram again in October to celebrate my birthday only after selling five hundred copies of the books so that I could offer five hundred rupees to the Divine Mother. In Gujarat the rains were very heavy and incidents of communal tension had occurred in the Modasa district, where I was moving on my pilgrimage. It was extremely difficult, almost impossible, to move in that area. Despite these circumstances I tried and could sell 495 copies within a month.
The dedication pilgrimage marks a transformation of the old life. It was the concentrated move towards the Divine. In the course of the pilgrimage on the muddy roads of the villages, birds, trees, and the whole of nature talked and sang to me musical tunes of the Grace of the Divine Mother. It was a journey in a state of peace and bliss. After my return at the end of the day I used to feed my body with fruits or whatever I got from that locality and sit in deep concentration for hours inviting the Mother’s force to fill up every cell of the body to remove the exertion and to replenish with a new energy and I was ready and refreshed the next morning to restart my journey to the Divine.
Once I had been to visit Dhansura in Sabarkantha and its surrounding villages. The Principal of a High School in Dhansura expressed his desire to take me to a patient — a boy of 12 years — who had become blind all of a sudden ten months ago. We had to go to a small village named Taka-tuka 100 miles away from Dhansura. Both of us travelled by bus and sat side by side. In the bus as usual I was in a concentrated mood and went deep into trance and established a contact with the Mother. After some time a stream of Light rushed down my head. Then, with a thundering noise, Light broke through the head, pervaded the whole body and every cell of my body was filled with power and bliss and began to glimmer like gems. The whole body, each and every part, became transparent as if made of small diamonds, and began to throw multi-coloured light that created an aura of multicoloured rainbow around the body. After a time again a thundering noise and multi-coloured light began to flow from each pore of the body and established union with the whole universe, and the hills we were passing through also began to glimmer with multi-coloured light, that was flowing out of the body and melting everything into a blissful universal Sat-chit-Anand Consciousness that had descended and a strong wave of inexpressible bliss pervaded throughout. We had travelled for more than two hours and we were nearing a bus stand where we were to change our bus. So the Principal tried to wake me up. He had been watching my face and had been convinced that I was neither asleep nor awake. He had found an extraordinary light round my face and my body. He was much puzzled to see a face so quiet and so much full of some unknowable light and joy. He tried to wake me up but as I was not in the surface consciousness, I could not hear his shouts. He shook my body and went on shouting. After fifteen minutes I could open my eyes, though I could not come out immediately. It took me another fifteen minutes to come to the surface consciousness, slowly took my bag and got down from the bus. The Principal enquired with amazement and with reverence about my state in the bus, giving me the description of what he saw around my face and my body and how he felt when he was looking at me. We changed our bus and reached our destination and found out the house of the patient. I examined him and found it to be a case of detachment of retina caused by dashing his head against the door.
The above experience came and disappeared with the following poem:
The Divine Grace descended into every cell of the body
And awakened me to the touch of the Divine
It created the union with the Grace
And a union also with the Divine.
— Victory to Sri Aurobindo
(By the touch of the Grace)
There was a move in the Matter
And that created an ocean of Chaitanya
It was a shower of the nectar Grace
Thus descended as the blessings of the Divine.
— Victory to Sri Aurobindo
Every cell turned into shining Diamond
That created multi-coloured aura of Rainbow
A sun began to shine in each body
Began to shine in the whole universe.
— Victory to Sri Aurobindo
There resulted a strong wave of joy and bliss
As if Sat-Chit-Ananda was out to play.
— Victory to Sri Aurobindo
There was a great astonishment by the touch
Of waves of Joy and Bliss
And there was a realization of the Descent of
Grace of the Personal and Impersonal Divine.
— Victory to Sri Aurobindo
I launched on the dedication pilgrimage with the object of learning to live for the Divine, to do every little work as best as I can for the Divine and to establish a living and constant contact with the Divine through work. It began with the introduction of my book in all educational institutions, and along with the sale of the books it opened a way to establish a new contact with students. Principals of educational institutions requested me to give talks on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and their Ashram and on preservation of health and sight. The sale proceeds were being offered to the Divine Mother. But all these, however attractive and useful they might appear had very little importance to me if they did not lead me nearer to the Divine and establish a closer union with the Divine.
This pilgrimage to the educational institutions was started in August 1972. It completes five years in August 1977. During this period I visited 1800 educational institutions of seven districts (Baroda, Kaira, Sabarkantha, Panch-mahal, Mehsana, Gandhinagar and Banaskantha) of North Gujarat and distributed more than ten thousand copies of my Gujarati book on preservation of health and sight and 1200 copies of the first edition of this book My Pilgrimage to the Spirit.
During my visit to the Ashram in August 1972 I met the Mother on 24th August for the last time and offered the sale proceeds of the book to her. When I saw her that time I was most collected and concentrated. She was also in deep concentration. But during the period I was there, only once she opened her eyes and then closed them. I came again in October 1973 to celebrate my birthday in the Ashram for the first time. The first night after I came to the Ashram I had a dream in which I saw the same Sun that I saw on the first night after I joined the Ashram on 30th December 1927. This experience has been continuing since then. I had seen the same Sun around the Mother’s face when I saw her for the first time in the morning of 31st December 1927 at 11-00 a. m. in the Library room of the Ashram. In November 1973 I had a vision in which there appeared in the Sun the upper part of Mother’s transparent body except legs in deep trance. She dragged me also in trance and she showed me several worlds of Gods and the inner world of the Ashram. After more than an hour she kept her hand on my head and told me: “Integration of sincerity and faithfulness to the Divine is the present necessity. Establish integrated sincerity and faithfulness first in all parts of your being and then only will it spontaneously spread around you and in the whole universe. Without integration and harmony in the idea and action even the Ashram will lose its validity and the purpose for its existence.” This experience took place on the day when the Mother left her physical frame.
I woke up with the conviction that she had given me her last message and quietly tried to follow her message and began to contemplate on its significance.
On my birthday on 28th, October 1973 I went to the Ashram and sat in deep meditation near the Samadhi. Two forms made of transparent semi-fluid, golden light, energy and fragrance came out - of the Samadhi and stood in front of me. Both of them had long golden hair reaching to their knees. I could recognize one that was of Sri Aurobindo whom I had seen many times before, but could not recognize the other.... I tried and tried but could not make out because the features w er e changing. I bowed to both the forms and prayed for their b less ings. When I came out of meditation and went to see Dyuman, both the forms led me to Dyuman’s room and there I stood for ten minutes in deep concentration. They were there. But when I came out of Dyuman’s room both the forms proceeded towards Samadhi and disappeared. I received birthday blessing-card with the touch of the Divine Mother. I remained in contact with these two semi-liquid forms till the Memorable D ay of the Mother’s withdrawal. Then I could see that the se con d form which I could not recognize during a earlier experience was that of the Mother. It was the same form which was present by h er body which was kept for Darshan, I bowed to that holy sheath of the Divine Mother.
Grace that Fulfils
Life is a Paradox with God for Key
Indian philosophy and scriptures like the Bhagavata speak very highly about the Divine Grace; and saints like Narasimha, Mira and others are inspiring and striking examples in the spiritual history of India, whose lives were looked after, inspired, guided, moulded and were finally fulfilled by the Divine Grace, even though they had not renounced the family life.
A man can make best efforts, but the success is in the hands of the Divine. A sadhaka can aspire, can surrender totally, can perform difficult tapasya, but the realization — the siddhi — the fulfilment comes if only the Divine intervenes — the Grace descends and blesses.
The Grace is the last word and culmination of all kinds of sadhana. There does not remain any realization after one’s ego is entirely merged with the Divine and one is favoured by the Divine Grace, and ego is transformed into an instrument of the Divine — a channel. No hunger or thirst remains after the Divine replaces the ego and takes possession of the whole being. The Grace fulfils the life and the life becomes a living fountain of Peace — Harmony-Joy. Life vibrates with Grace and creates an atmosphere of fulfilment all around. It flows out in a natural way like the fragrance of a flower.
The Grace is a special favour of the Divine and an act of supramental light and power to replace the ego and transform the sadhaka into an instrument of the Divine. But the Grace can act only in conditions of absolute surrender and total reliance on the Divine alone. Its action is beyond calculation and can be understood by its own favour, but never by the reasoning mind.
The Grace has been acting since the birth of the universe or rather, the creation of the universe is a sovereign act of the Divine Grace, but there are only a few who are blessed to recognize, understand and accept or allow the Grace to act. The man born and bound by ego exists because he is destined to become the instrument of the Divine manifestation. The life will continue to remain a paradox till he allows the Grace to dismiss the ego and the key of the Divine Grace releases him from the bondage, fulfils and creates a Divine Kingdom.
The Mother Divine had been very gracious to use the Key of the Divine Grace to arrange, organize and mould my life and transform it into a successful instrument. Under the training of the Divine Grace, the divine intervention is very natural and one is to face it joyfully at every step of life. The reader has come across many such incidents fulfilled by the Grace in the preceding Chapters. I am giving two more incidents out of many, which have been culminated and were solved after many years by constant working of the Divine Grace.
In 1965 a friend borrowed some money from me for expanding his business, and on his request, I gave away all that I had. It was a saving of the whole life. The transaction went on smoothly for a year or two but collapsed soon after.
I waited for a year or more, but when there was no improvement, I approached the Mother, and details of the transaction were placed before her for the divine intervention. I suggested to my friend also to pray to the Mother for her help. A letter sincerely praying for the Mother’s help to solve the problem was sent by registered post with a copy of my friend’s photograph.
I was to go to Pondicherry soon after the letter was dispatched. So, I took with me a copy of the letter and the photograph. When I met the Mother personally, I gave her the letter and all the details regarding the money transaction. After hearing everything, she closed her eyes and concentrated. Coming back from meditation, she gave me two blessing-packets, one for my friend and another for me.
The blessing-packet was sent to my friend by registered post and he kept it in his purse with faith and devotion. The time passed on and we went on changing the promissory note every three years.
I was sure of the action of the Divine Grace. It went on improving the condition of my friend. We met to change the promissory note in October 1976. He signed it and informed me that the Mother’s Grace has improved his business and he will be able to return the money soon. The Divine Mother’s intervention and constant help, solved the problem, and my friend returned the amount in 1977 t hat he had taken twelve years ago.
I had accepted the marriage to revolutionize and to reform the rigid customs of our society. In 1940 a Congress worker and freedom-fighter had come forward to cast in her lot with a freedom-fighter who was busy winning the freedom of the spirit from his nature.
The path of the reformist is not only not smooth but full of struggles and difficulties. Our society and relatives resolved to boycott us. But we had accepted the reform, to reform ourselves with full understanding and we knew what was to come and we were ready to face everything.
The time passed on, the social functions — the marriage of our children were favourably performed by the favour and protection of the Divine Grace in the opposite camp under the amazement of the society who boycotted us.
All relatives except my brother-in-law took part in the marriage ceremony of our children. This break of the relation between brother and sister lasted for 37 long years.
In the Kingdom of the Divine nothing is constant. Unknowingly the action of the Grace was constantly working from behind and bringing about a wonderful change. Every night is followed by the illumining light of the dawn.
A fine morning after thirty-seven years, a messenger appeared at our door with the message of the victory of the Divine Grace. It was my brother-in-law’s son’s wife, who was a Principal of a Girls’ High School at Sojitra, who had come to say that the mist of misunderstanding had vanished and she had come to invite us to attend the marriage ceremony of her husband’s younger brother. She said, some members of the family will come to take your whole family respectfully to attend and to adorn the occasion. Please accept our invitation and oblige.
This is how the Divine Grace turned the table and a boycotted sister met her brother honourably after a long period of 37 years. It is the Grace alone that can make possible the impossible. “All can be done if the God-touch is there», and «All things can change in God’s transfiguring hour.”
“The Grace is sure to be victorious one day.”
The Art of Living
[The following is the report of the author’s inaugural address on the opening of Sri Aurobindo Centre at Sojitra in November 1950. ]
Life, down the centuries, has been an enigma for every thinker. It is of great importance to understand what we really mean by the word “Life” before we can discuss the art of living. Only after we have a clear conception of “Life”, can we learn the art of living. The modern scientist says: “Life is movement, motion”. But he is hardly aware that aimless motion results in a circular movement which means absence of any progress and development. The West has attained unprecedented growth in the field of the physical sciences. The scientific development has overpowered all other activities of man. And now it threatens his very existence. The prolific means for fulfilment of desire that have been supplied by these sciences have made man a slave of his senses, licentious, unnatural and mechanical. The axiom “Life is progress” no longer holds good. The natural and simple course of life is arrested and the modern man finds himself suffocated with the unnatural way of present life. Imprisoned within the walls raised by modern scientific conveniences, man is groping in the dark in the fond hope of touching some secret that will open up an escape from this labyrinth. In their despair, the Western people have turned to India in search of a solution to these burning problems of life, and realization of the goal of life. And when they turn to India they find that they have stumbled upon a new concept of life, which can be expressed thus:
Life is an agelong march towards God. In every activity a step in the direction of God means progress and any step in any other direction is degeneration, death and ruin.
What is life? What is the purpose of living? These questions are daily growing in importance and urgency among the seekers and searchers throughout the world. For the very fact that these questions are raised indicates a thirst for knowledge. A blind groping for solution to these problems evidences the urge for knowledge, i. e., aspiration, while a conscious and systematic search for their answers consists of sadhana, i. e., steady and conscious pursuit of Truth.
This problem is as old as the hills and has been an eternal quest. The Vedas and the Upanishads gave the solution to this problem several centuries ago. Yet the most of men remained unaware of this. And so after all these ages, this stubborn question is still astride awaiting spiritual awakening and its active application in life. It is seldom realized that life means active application of spiritual findings. How can we find solution to this riddle without actually moulding life by that practical application of sadhana in one’s daily life?
All living beings are endowed with a thirst for knowledge. A major part of life is spent in reading and understanding. But this part of life would be well-spent only if whatever is read and understood is implemented in one’s own life. But how many can speak of such an application of their knowledge? However few they may be, there exists a class of people whose lives are constantly altered and modified by their reading and understanding. And on attaining a measure of success in experience and awareness, they come face to face with the same old questions which they are better equipped to tackle: “What is life? What is its purpose?” They are thus inspired to seek answers to these questions. The initial blind thirst for knowledge eventually leads man to a conscious pursuit of knowledge.
After making some progress in this conscious pursuit, sooner or later man gradually finds answers to these questions. When we penetrate into the spiritual depth of life, when we make every effort to live on all the three levels — mental, vital, and physical — with the inner light, when we harmonize the entire life with the inner notes or when we reconstitute the outer life at the behest of the inner voice, then spiritual living becomes the normal and natural process of living. Life without these efforts then appears like a veritable death itself. Then one receives Grace and, from behind appears the Lord of life, Who initially inspires the quest, and says: “I am the purpose of life, and the life lived for me alone is life”.
“A true life is a life lived for God”. From this standpoint, life today can hardly be described as “life”. Modern living is pivoted on Mind and its object is n-o longer the quest of the Supreme. Its object is self-interest and pampering of the ego. Down the ages we have been flattening our egos. For personal pleasure and satisfaction we never mind if others are hurt. We never lend a moment’s thought to it! Incessant and global wars are waged ostensibly for the establishment of peace. But we have fallen into the wont of cultivating unhappiness and unrest, instead of happiness and peace.
Physical Science is the glory of life in the West, while Spiritual Science is the soul of life in the East!
Physical science is a creation of mind. It gives power but not wisdom. Power bereft of wisdom turns destructive. A living illustration of this is the gloomy world devastated by the two world wars. Science ought to have induced man to enter into one’s inner self, to acquire that inner power and to attain control over one’s nature. But instead, science has urged man to conquer the moon. Thus he may some day acquire the empire of the planets but, in the process, has been reduced to the state of a slave of his own nature.
The craze for pleasure, prodded by scientific inventions like wireless and the television, has driven man to the point of insanity. The craze for power and domination over others has been further heightened by radio-operated aeroplanes, guns and the atom bomb. The craze for world conquest has gripped Western politicians who have acquired lethal weapons and devices that can reduce millions of their fellow-men to ashes in a matter of seconds. Have they at any time shown even a semblance of prudence by employing all these new-fangled inventions in the service of mankind? It is a painful irony that all our efforts are turned to suppressing and tyrannizing others; and yet we harbour the hope that by some quirk of Fate these efforts will yield happiness and peace! It is sheer moonshine!
Thus we eternally widen the gulf between practice and precept thereby giving rise to several problems and yet have the face to ask: “What is life? What is its purpose?”
Considering the object of Creation, sooner or later, it was a very natural development that we should encounter this problem and yet it was an inevitable outcome. We can arrive at the solution of this question only when the entire process of living is turned towards God-realization, when every individual would do the work assigned to him as a vehicle for God-realization. This practice of Karmayoga, i. e., doing one’s duty as a means for attaining self-realization, may be employed to purify life and the way of doing one’s duty and prepare all the three levels of nature — mental, vital and physical — for the attainment of God which is the object of our existence. When every person will thus lead every province, every nation and ultimately all the nations of the world will be devoted to the same pursuit of life. Thus mankind will be linked together with divine ties, and wake up into a millennium of peace and happiness in the quest of which man has been engaged in an eternal odyssey. “All men are brothers” will not then be a mere pedantic quotation but a fact of life.
The Ishopanishad says: “All that lives is full of God.” In this world He has set up an experiment of proliferation of his own image. He has created the world for His own expression, and so He alone should be the object of all living beings. The further you go from this object, the wider becomes the chasm between you and the rest of the creation. The more we ignore this the more we give rise to discord and widen the cleavage between our life and God.
The modern attempt to instal ego on the pedestal of God has enslaved man to the pursuit of individual interest and pleasure and confined him to a vicious circle of more efforts for individual pleasure resulting in more unhappiness and distress. All happiness, all satisfaction and all peace reside in the Lord. This hard fact is ignored and modern life is virtually in an open revolt against the Almighty as Milton’s Satan did in Paradise Lost. It is small wonder therefore, that man has lost his paradise, his happiness, and finds himself groping in the pervading gloom without the slightest ray of hope. And in this human situation, if at all we really and thoroughly feel besieged with the choking environment, and if we seek an escape into fresh air, we shall have to surrender ourselves to God, restore him to His place at the helm of life, dedicate all our actions to Him and try to recover our pristine love and unity with Him. Resigning ourselves to His benevolent will, we should perform every act of life with such purity and sincerity that every action will be prayerfully dedicated to Him. A steady practice of such prayerful Karma will one day transform us and our way of life, and every moment will be filled with incessant endeavour of strengthening the vital chord tying us with the Supreme. Then this thoroughly natural prayer will be the sole Karma in life. When this transformation takes place, the long-awaited downfall of the Satan and the resurrection of the Kingdom of God will be achieved over the ashes of the tyranny of the ego.
In explaining the nature of the Lord, Whose Kingdom we desire to establish on this tormented earth and with Whose spirit we want to inform our lives, the Divine Mother says:
The wisdom that we wish to acquire, the power we want to gain, the love we want to realize, the perfection we want to attain, the harmonious and progressive state we wish to reach, and the unknown and novel treasures we wish to inherit, all that wisdom, power, love, perfection, harmony, progress and treasures are embodied in the Incarnate Lord in human frame. This God wills to express Himself in human form with all His powers and glory. As a result of opposition to and revolt against His appearance or expression in human frame today’s life has become individualistic, egoistic, discordant and bleak, whose Satanic gloom is smothering the whole world.
The whole world, both the Orient and the Occident, is trying to evolve a remedy for the present malaise. But so long as the world craves for ungodly pleasures, it will have to stagnate in the cesspools of the ego and face the resultant putrefaction. Ignore God and you forfeit your right to peace and happiness!
We have seen earlier that God is life’s sole object. He has also from behind the veil announced: “Life is to be lived for me!” In pursuance to this command, if every act of living is undertaken with the sole aim of God-realization, we will experience the real fulfilment. To render this realization as an everyday natural phenomenon is to be free from the shackles of human existence. Even after this highest state of living moksha, to fulfil His will, to become a tool for his expression, an instrument for his creation is the sole purpose of life. Then we should allow the highest light to react on the threefold nature for its transformation into divine nature. Thus God and His nature embodied in human frame, will manifest in transparent shape to us and the world. This manifestation is a divine boon to humanity.
The Mother says:
Every individual comes across a moment in his life when he has to choose between sadhana and chaotic life. You cannot put one foot in sadhana and another in confused life. Any attempt to do that will rend the person to shreds. The heart which does not make a correct choice dies.
The time is ripe. It is high time we abandoned the struggle against His manifestation and prepare ourselves to receive Him amidst us. Today we are at the crossroads to choose our course between the ungodly Satanic life and the life for His sake. Is the goal of life to forsake God and lead a selfish satanic life or to realize Godhead by living for his sake? The whole mankind has been offered the chance of allowing itself to be the vehicle of His expression. Let us seize this chance, this opportunity. How long can we deny ourselves this golden opportunity of imbibing life with His spirit, and steeping the whole world in his power, happiness and peace?
This is the art of living. There are four objects to be achieved in this life — Duty, Wealth, Desires and Salvation. For each of these objectives a healthy, strong and fair body is not only necessary but indeed indispensable. As the Sanskrit saying goes “For the fulfilment of duty, wealth, desires and salvation best health is basic.” But the modern man has turned his back on duty and salvation, i. e., liberation. He has drowned himself in the pursuit of wealth and pleasure. This has resulted in a gloomy and unhappy life, weak and diseased body, lustre less myopic eyes guarded by eye-glasses.
To utilize the golden opportunity of living for the sake of God and attaining union with Him and transforming one’s existence into divine life, the body is the only instrument. Let us fulfil our duty of maintaining this instrument as fit as a fiddle and the eyes as fine as divine sparkle. To achieve this let us learn the art of preserving health and preserving our eyesight. Thus we shall be living a conscious life that leads us to fulfilment.
One day I shall return, his hand in mine,
And then shall see the face of the Absolute.
The Mother and Her Creation
In Yoga also it is the Divine who is the Sadhaka and the Sadhana; it is his Shakti with her light, power, knowledge, consciousness, Ananda, acting upon, the adhara and, when it is opened to her, pouring into with these Divine forces that makes the Sadhana possible.
“The Mother”, also sung as “Ma Mira”, came to India in 1914, met Sri Aurobindo and vividly felt that India was the home of Her soul and that Her work lay here with Sri Aurobindo for the spiritual regeneration of man. Since then She felt a deep identification with the country, her great past, her present basic atmosphere and her unique capability in regard to the future of man. She sought that India should become free, should recover her soul and show to the world the path of future progress.
Her first work here was the organization of “The Arya”, a monthly publication for the presentation to the world of Sri Aurobindo’s vision of the future. Thus came into being Sri Aurobindo’s great writings on the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gita, Social Progress, Human Unity, Future Poetry, a New Philosophy of life and existence and a new Yogic Path for the realization of the new personality needed for a new world. This literature has recreated Indian culture for the present and the future, as also created for the world its true future possibility.
The deepest perceptions of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have been that man has reached a high level of mental development, high enough acutely to feel the limitations of it and seek to exceed it. From a superficial, piece-meal, seeking for truths in more or less isolated fields of knowledge, which has created so many acute imbalances in life, we should grow into a capacity of thought, feeling and will, which would enable us to comprehend wholes, unities, totalities. We have already developed at our mental level a seeking for integration and integrality and this seeking is pressing for effectivity, but effectivity demands a consciousness of a larger and fuller kind more capable of dealing with the entire fact of existence and of guiding life as a whole, integrally. Such consciousness at its highest has been called by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo Supramental and all the endeavour of their life was devoted to the realization and dissemination of it.
The endeavour entails a profound change in consciousness, a growth in depth, in width and in height. Our ordinary knowing, feeling and willing is extremely limited, fragmented and divided. Anxiety, partiality, conflict, doubt, vacillation and incapacity of will are normal. To change it into a knowing, feeling and willing, which is clear, sure, integral and effective is a high vision of life. The educational work of the Mother arose of this perception and in 1943 a school was started with the intention of taking up children with such possibility and affording to them the right atmosphere, the right care and attention, the right training which would slowly bring about a steady widening and growth of consciousness.
The school thus started grew in, course of time into Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education with proper facilities from the kindergarten to post-graduate research. A new system of education thus came into being, which is called Integral Education.
A stage came when the Mother wanted to attempt a real integration in social and cultural living and the township of Auroville was taken in hand. This evoked a wide response and the project has already yielded some fine results. The partialities of the normal human nature, its limitations and prejudices presented tremendous difficulties. But integration and integrality are high ideals, which must be pursued and therefore the difficulties faced and overcome. The Mother had the vision and the courage and the capacity and She achieved demonstrably in the field of education as also in that of integral life and culture of man.
But her main field of work was the Ashram, where spiritual seekers lived, devoting all their energy in a conscious manner to the realization of the larger consciousness of the soul, the spirit, the supermind. But here the aim was not a personal peace and bliss, but a recreation of contemporary life as such on a spiritual basis. That meant carrying on all the normal activities of life, even industrial and commercial, out of a larger spiritual attitude. This was among all the undertakings of the Mother, the most painstaking, most detailed and stretched over the longest period of time. This work slowly extended much beyond the Ashram, covering spiritual seekers all over the world who sought to grow under her care.
All these undertakings have shown Mother’s varied aspects, those of a spiritual master, an educationist, an organizer and an administrator and a creator of great vision. She is, besides, a literary person, a painter, a musician. But her spiritual personality central to all these aspects is the most astounding. She aimed at ever higher and higher goals and discovered and revealed endless realms of the Spirit. This gives us the most thrilling possibilities of life.
The Mother’s own writings are now coming out as collected works in 15 volumes and much has been written on her too. All this shows what the Mother was, what She attempted and achieved and above all the inspiration that She continues to be.
II A Great Spiritual Personality
The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry was indeed ta great spiritual personality, very profound, most varied and highly creative. Hailing from the West, She settled in India, her “spiritual home” for all her long life, and sought to build up a new spirituality on the long traditions of India, a pathway of future growth for mankind as a whole. She created a comprehensive new Sadhana for the seekers of the East and the West, a large new process of education for children from all over, and a township for a true international living. Her writings — consisting largely of talks — are an inspiration. Her artistic recreation of Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem “Savitri” is a visual pursuit of bliss and immortality. Her messages are thrilling directives for life. But the most wonderful of all is an inner contact with her, which we get in a mood of love and adoration. And our appreciation and enjoyment of Her objective creations become much intenser when they evoke or proceed from an inner contact with her.
The Mother had sought persistently to lift us to a higher vision of life — larger, wider, truer, much happier, more effective and truly harmonious. And She did this essentially by imparting to us some inspiration of her own Being through an intimate personal contact.
It is most interesting that this marvellous contact continues to be available. We have to turn towards her inwardly, think of her, concentrate on her, feel joy in doing so, do it again and again and we would soon get into the proper form for the thrilling inner contact. And when it comes, it is most vivifying. It gives us hope, joy, courage, purposiveness, a feeling of worthwhileness in life.
Evidently, we celebrate the Mother’s Birth Centenary best when we thus grow in life — in joy and effectivity through repeated inner contacts with her. And these contacts may presumably be more sulabh (available) during this year of the Centenary. Such approach and such growth will surely please the Mother more than anything else. While organizing meetings, seminars, exhibitions and planning publications we naturally cannot afford to leave out of consideration this essential fact — the fact of the delightful inner contact with her.
Our celebrations can overtly take many forms. A quiet nice meditation, an inner collectedness and concentration on the Mother, on any aspect of her life or any word of her is always the most important thing, whether individually practised or collectively done. The Mother’s music as an attendant circumstance to meditation, or by itself, for appreciation and enjoyment is also a very fine thing. Readings from the Mother, selected for different occasions, individual or collective, are so inspiring and uplifting. Papers written on the Mother will need to reflect the central spiritual truth of her personality, whatever they may otherwise deal with. A purely academic treatment of her orientations on different matters is perfectly possible, but it has its limitations. Of course, an elaboration of the orientations, indicated sometimes in brief messages, is a legitimate field of work for the intellectual approach. And if that is done, then the orientations, perceptions and visions of the Mother will become available for an intellectual appreciation and utilization. In fact, there is quite a large field for this kind of work.
May we have a rich and an inspiring year of frequent contact with our gracious Mother and a fruitful celebration of the Centenary.
II The Mother’s Life — Salient Facts
1. The Mother was born in Paris in 1878 in an influential family. Her father was a Banker and brother a Governor.
2. As a child She was highly introspective, clear-minded and firm in will and conscious of a mission in life.
3. At 13 years of age She had, for almost a whole year, repeated every day, a most wonderful spiritual experience — an experience of a high spiritual status rendering help to men, women and children, bringing to them through spiritual contact hope, joy, health and general well-being.
4. During the early years of this century She practised occultism — the science and art of the subtle truths of life and existence — under a Polish teacher in Algeria.
5. Around 1912 She led in Paris a group of spiritual seekers and revealed to them profound spiritual insights as to the growth and fulfilment of individual and social living. She had at this time a clear and a conscious perception of the aim of an integral transformation of life and the spiritual processes involved in it.
6. At the same time She had a persistent longing for a visit to India and a further and a higher pursuit of spiritual life.
7. She arrived in India in 1914 at the age of 36 and on meeting Sri Aurobindo spontaneously saw and felt in him a demonstrative assurance that the aim of the integral divine transformation of life was a complete possibility and that Her life’s work lay here beside Him. And the same She pursued incessantly (with an interruption during the years of the World War I) in her embodied form up til the age of 96 and built up Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual work from the very beginning to an international status in Sadhana, in education and in the construction of an international township. In the literary way, the organization of “The Arya”, which brought forth Sri Aurobindo’s main works, and Her own writings, which came later are additional. Further additional are Her capacities and creations in painting and music.
8. In Sadhana, the work consisted of giving continual individual attention and help to seekers to grow in consecration, selflessness, harmony, peace and the realization of soul and God. Objectively it was to recreate the entire contemporary cultural life on the spiritual basis. Sri Aurobindo Ashram with its large community of about 2, 000 persons and a vast set-up of varied departments with wide international contacts is the present shape of things.
9. In education, the work consisted of organizing a proper environment, creating a new atmosphere and providing for each child the individual attention necessary for promoting in him the inmost spiritual fact of his personality rather than stuffing him externally with information and stifling the inner fact which brings unity, harmony and creativity to life. Sri Aurobindo’s International Centre of Education with its facilities from the kindergarten to post-graduate research is the ostensible result.
10. The International township of ‘Auroville’ was the last thing to be undertaken. The aim was to concretise human unity beyond ordinary barriers of nationality, race, language, religion etc. on a true spiritual basis. And in this too a promising good start has been made.
11. The Ashram life and its promotion has been the basic work all along and there are thousands today who rejoice over the inspiring contact they have had from the Mother. The educational work was taken in hand in 1943 and Auroville was inaugurated in 1968.
12. All the three undertakings being basically spiritual, are essentially most uphill tasks, which have had constantly to fight against the down-hill movements of normal human nature.
13. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were most realistic in their approach and entirely aware of a continuing and a mounting action needed to overcome the hard resistances of life and circumstances, even when they pressed for an early decisive result. Sri Aurobindo worked long for the overmental siddhi, which came about in 1926. Much longer and more strenuous was the next phase of work that was crowned with Supramental Descent in 1956 and created the necessary condition for the transformation of the physical, which engaged the Mother for a long time and continues to be the further quest of the spiritual work here.
14. Sri Aurobindo’s continued spiritual action in the pursuit of the aim of integral transformation of life was vouchsafed by the Mother repeatedly after his passing in 1950. The same must be presumed of the Mother after She left her body in 1973. And there is testimony enough, inner and outer, that they both continue to look after their work and the sadhakas have thus every reason to be happy in their pursuit. An energetic and a persistent pursuit of the high ideal under the inspiration of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother carries its own immediate satisfaction and the assurance of a full ultimate result.
Dr. Indra Sen
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
IV A Few Words of the Mother
[Let] all circumstances, all happenings in life be occasions constantly renewed, for learning more and ever more.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 12. - On Education
Let the aspiration and love for the Divine conquer in you all desires and all difficulties.
Never grumble. All sorts of forces enter you when you grumble and they pull you down. Keep smiling. I seem always to be joking but it is not mere joking. It is a confidence born from the psychic. A smile expresses the faith that nothing can stand against the Divine and that everything will come out all right in the end.
28 May 1954
Suffering is not something inevitable or even desirable, but when it comes to us, how helpful it can be!
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 2. - The Path of Later On
Let your life be a constant search for the Truth and it will be worth living.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 15. - Words of the Mother
Anxiety is a lack of confidence in the Divine’s Grace, the unmistakable sign that the consecration is not complete and perfect.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 14. - Words of the Mother
The fatigue comes from resistance and worry; do not worry, let yourself go, and the fatigue will go also.
When one does not progress, one feels bored, everyone, young or old; for we are here on earth to progress.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 12. - On Education
Work done in the true spirit is meditation.
15 September 1934
Try to take pleasure in all you do, but never do anything for the sake of pleasure.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 12. - On Education
When we have to work collectively, it is always better to insist, in our thoughts, feelings and actions, on the points of agreement rather than on the, points of divergence.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 14. - Words of the Mother
All work must be play, but a divine play, played for the Divine, with the Divine.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 14. - Words of the Mother
Indeed, all life is love if we know how to live it.
13 July 1963
The Grace and the help are always there for all who aspire for them and their power is limit less when received with faith and confidence.
20 November 1948
India must rise to the height of her mission and proclaim the Truth to the world.
15 November 1955
The number one problem for India now is to find back and manifest her soul.
The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 12. - On Education
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
The Ashram has been an organic development, a natural and growing expression of the ideals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. At first only a few of Sri Aurobindo’s associates lived with him like members of a household. As years passed, others joined. But it was in 1920, after the Mother’s final arrival, that the number began to increase and a collective life took shape. The Ashram as it is now and its ever expanding activities, here and around the world, are inspired and guided by the Mother.
By the term ‘Ashram’ is often understood something like a monastery, a cloister for recluses and ascetics, but this was not what it meant in the ages of the Vedas, the Upanishads or the Epics. An Ashram was the house of the Master where the disciples gathered to acquire knowledge and to perfect their lives. Sannyasa or asceticism as popularly understood was never accepted by Sri Aurobindo as part of his Yoga and the Ashram at Pondicherry, obviously different from the popular idea of an Ashram. Its members are not sannyasis, they do not wear ochre robes or practise rigorous asceticism, but are sadhakas, seekers and aspirants of a life based on spiritual realization, the ideal being the attainment of the life divine here on earth and in physical existence. This was the character of the Ashram when it had 8 members and it is so today when it has 2000 with a floating population of more than 200 visitors and temporary residents.
Only those are accepted who have an inner call for the Divine. All other considerations are secondary. While it is expected that all those who are thus accepted, will offer their material possession to the Ashram, it takes charge of them materially and spiritually and provides them with all facilities for a healthy and reasonably comfortable living. The visitors, who are allowed to participate in the Ashram life, though they may be staying on a temporary basis, meet their own expenses. The expenses of the Ashram are largely met from offerings and contributions. To the inmates of the Ashram the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are lights on the way. The stress is on a change of consciousness and nature with a view to preparing man and society for the next higher stage of evolution. All activities in the Ashram are centred round this faith or truth.
In the Integral Yoga work is an indispensable means of self-perfection. Each member takes up the work that is allotted or suited to him. As the Mother puts it: ”To work for the Divine is to pray with the body.” No gradation, of higher and lower, is attached to any kind of work. There is no hierarchy of officials and subordinates. What is important is not so much the capacity or the efficiency of the individual as the consciousness or the spirit in which the work is done.
All activities are represented in the Ashram. They include agricultural farms (meeting a part of the Ashram requirements of rice, fruits and vegetables), dairies, workshops (including automobiles and machinery repairs), factories (hollow-bricks, mosaic-tiles, ceramics, smithy, foundry, woodworking, sheet-metal, handmade paper), printing presses (letter press and offset with printing done in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and nine Indian languages), oil mill, cottage industries, perfumery, art gallery, embroidery, hand-marbling (a process of textile printing), weaving and handloom and other services like common kitchen and dining room, laundry, bakery, allopathic and homeopathic dispensaries, ayurvedic section, house-maintenance, sanitary, furniture, tailoring, Prosperity (Ashram stores for supplies to inmates), transport, secretariat, cashier’s office, postal service, granary, SAACSO (Sri Aurobindo Ashram Central Sales Organisation), Reception Service (helping to show visitors around the Ashram), Visitors’ Service (receiving visitors and arranging for their stay), liaison office (dealing with labour and inter-departmental affairs), SABDA (Sri Aurobindo Books Distribution Agency), garden, flower and fruit service, cinema (usually on Saturday), guest houses and an educational centre ranging from nursery to post-graduate levels. The Ashram has grown up and developed like a tree and each branch was created not by any artificial planning but in a spontaneous way.
Each one chooses the work most congenial to his nature and must do it in a spirit of service and unselfishness keeping always in view the aim of integral transformation.
The external rules are very few so that each one can have the freedom needed for his development. But once a person has been accepted he has to observe the following: (a) no smoking, (b) no alcoholic drinks, (c) no sex, (d) no politics.
In all spheres of Ashram life there is perfect equality between men and women. Great care is taken for the maintenance of good health and the growth and perfection of the body for all, young and old. In the words of the Mother, “The Ashram has been founded and is meant to be the cradle of the new world.... The door is open and will always remain open to all those who decide to dedicate their life for that purpose”.
The Sri Aurobindo Society with its members, centres and branches all over India and in many parts of the world and its project of Auroville, the city of Human Unity supported by UNESCO, the World Union Movement and Sri Aurobindo’s Action are other international organizations helping to spread the message of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother all over the world.
21st February: The Mother’s Birthday.
24th April: The Mother’s final arrival in Pondicherry.
15th August: Sri Aurobindo’s Birthday.
24th November: Day of Realization (Siddhi Day).
Other Important Days:
17th November: The Mother’s Withdrawal.
20th November: The Mother’s Mahasamadhi.
1st December: Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.
2nd December: Demonstration by Physical Education Department.
5th December: Sri Aurobindo’s Withdrawal.
9th December: Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi.
Once known as “Puducherry” (New Town), Pondicherry is a port 100 miles to the south of Madras. Legend says that in the olden days it was known as “Vedpuri” (The City of Vedas) where the renowned sage Agastya had had his Ashram.
It is located at latitude 12° N. and longitude 80° E. on the eastern coast of India, 160 Km. (100 miles) south of Madras on the Madras-Tindivanam-Pondicherry highway.
There is a regular bus service between Madras and Pondicherry with a bus almost every two hours. The journey takes about four hours. Taxis are available. Pondicherry is also connected by train to Madras via Villupuram. The train journey takes a little longer time and one has to change trains at Villupuram.
The Climate is hot and humid from April to October. It is pleasantly cool from November to March, though it is never very cold. Light woollens are rarely required during December-January. The rains occur principally in October, November and December, with a few showers from July to September. Cyclones are not unusual.
Mean monthly temperature: Maximum: 36. 5° C. (98° F. ) June
Mean monthly temperature: Minimum: 20. 1° C. (68° F. ) Jan.
Maximum temperature: 41. 0° C. (106° F. ) June
Minimum temperature: 18. 4° (65° F. ) Nov. March
Rainfall: 100 cms. (40 in. ) to 150 cms. (60 in. ) annually.
Ashram & Auroville:
The Ashram institutions and houses are scattered all over Pondicherry and even in the neighbouring areas. Auroville areas are 3 to 5 miles from the main Ashram building on the way to Madras spread on the borders of Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.
These services are open from 8 to 12 in the morning and 2 to 5 in the afternoon. If a visitor wishes to go round the Ashram departments, a tour is conducted from 8-15 a. m. The visitors are requested to assemble near the Ashram Gate a little before the bus leaves.
The Darshan of the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is from 8 a. m. to 6 p. m. everyday for casual visitors.
A conducted tour of Auroville is arranged at 2-45 p. m. For further information, visitors may contact Auroville Information Office, opposite the Ashram.
The Ashram and the Society maintain a number of Guest Houses for visitors to the Ashram with well-furnished rooms, many with attached baths. The charges range from Rs. 5/-to Rs. 40/- depending on the type of accommodation. Dormitory type of accommodation is available at Rs. 3-00 per head per day.
Dining Rooms & Restaurants:
The Ashram Dining Room provides simple but hygienic food to Ashramites as well as visitors. The charges for visitors are Rs. 3-00 per head per day. (Breakfast, Lunch and Supper).
The Society runs a kitchen where the charges are Rs. 7-00 per head per day (Breakfast, Lunch, Tea and Dinner). The Cottage Restaurant of the Ashram prepares varieties of sweets and snacks and also serves meals.
The Ashram Main Building: 4-30 a. m. to 11-00 p. m.
The Ashram Departments: 8-00 a. m. to 11-30 a. m. and 1-30 p. m. to 5-00 p. m.
Meditation at the: 7-45 p. m. to 8-15 p. m.
Playground: (Thursdays & Sundays)
Ashram Dining Room: Breakfast 6-40 a. m. to 7-45 a. m.
Lunch 11-15 a. m. to 12-30 p. m.
Supper Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 5-45 p. m. to 6-00 p. m.
7-45 p. m. to 8-30 p. m.
Thursdays & Sundays: 5-45 p. m. to 6-00 p. m.
8-15 p. m. to 8-45 p. m.
Saturdays (If there is a Film-Show): 6-15 p. m. to 7-00 p. m.
Society Kitchen: Breakfast 7-00 a. m. to 7-45 a. m.
Lunch 11-30 a. m. to 12-30 p. m.
Tea 3-45 p. m. to 4-15 p. m.
Dinner Mondays, Tuesdays,
Wednesdays, Fridays: 7-00 p. m. to 7-45 p. m.
Thursdays & Sundays: 7-00 p. m. to 7-20 p. m.; 8-20 p. m. to 8-30 p. m.
Saturdays: 6-15 p. m. to 7-00 p. m.
These Timings are subject to change whenever there is a special programme. Changes are announced on the Ashram Notice Board along with the announcement of the Programme.
7-00 a. m. to 10-00 a. m.
12-00 noon to 1-00 p. m.
3-00 p. m. to 7-30 p. m.
Sri Aurobindo Society Pondicherry-605002.
There should be somewhere upon earth a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the Supreme Truth, a place of peace, concord, harmony, where all the fighting instincts of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his sufferings and miseries, to surmount. his weakness and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities: a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and possions, the seeking for material pleasures and enjoyment. In this place, children would be able to grow and develop integrally without losing contact with soul. Education would be given not with a view to passing examinations and getting certificates and posts, but for enriching the existing faculties and bringing forth new ones. In this place titles and positions would be supplanted by opportunities to serve and organize. The needs of of the body will be provided for equally in the case of each and everyone. In the general organization intellectual, moral and spiritual superiority will find expression not in the enhancement of the pleasures and powers of life but in the increase of duties and responsibilities. Aritstic beauty in all forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, will be available equally to all, the opportunity to share in the joys they give being limited solely by each one’s capactities and not by social or financial position. For in this ideal place money would be no more the sovereign lord. Individual value would have a greater importance than the value due to material wealth and social position. Work would not be there as the means for gaining one’s livelihood, it would be the means whereby to express oneself, develop one’s capacities and possibilities, while doing at the same time service to the whole group, which on its side, would provide for each one’s subsistence and for the field of his work. In brief, it would be a place where the relations among human beings, usually based almost exclusively upon competition and strife, would be replaced by emulation for doing better, for collaboration, relations of real brotherhood.
The Mother. Agenda. - Volume 5. - 1964
Auroville, The City The Earth needs
Greetings from Auroville to all men of goodwill.
Are invited to Auroville all those who thirst for progress and aspire to a higher and truer life.
Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.
Auroville: at last a place where one will be able to think of the future only.
The Mother. Agenda. - Volume 9. - 1968
From Auroville Charter
28th February, 1968
Auroville belongs to nobody in particular, Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to-live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress and a youth that never ages.
Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future.
Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realizations.
Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.
The Mother. Agenda. - Volume 9. - 1968
The Mother on Auroville:
Auroville should be at the service of Truth, beyond all social, political and religious convictions.
Auroville is the effort towards peace, in sincerity and Truth.
20 September 1966
Auroville wants to be the first realisation of human unity based on the teaching of Sri Aurobindo, where men of all countries would be at home.
Let Auroville be the symbol of a progressive Unity. And the best way to realise this is a unity of aspiration towards the Divine Perfection in work and in feeling, in a consecration of the entire life.
21 February 1972
Auroville wants to be a new creation expressing a new consciousness in a new way and according to new methods.
18 August 1969
Auroville wants to be this place and offers itself to all who aspire to live the Truth of tomorrow.
20 September 1969
Auroville is the effort towards peace, in sincerity and Truth.
20 September 1966
Auroville is an attempt towards world peace, friendship, fraternity, unity.
20 September 1966
Auroville is the shelter built for all those who want to hasten towards a future of Knowledge, Peace and Unity.
16 March 1967
Humanity is not the last stage of terrestrial creation. Evolution continues and man will be surpassed. It is for each individual to know (whether he wants to know) whether he wants to participate in the advent of this new species.
For those who are satisfied with the world as it is, Auroville obviously has no reason to exist.
To work for Auroville is to hasten the advent of a more harmonious Future.
27 March 1971
Auroville is meant to hasten the advent of the Supramental reality upon earth.
The help of all those who find that the world is not as it ought to be, is welcome.
Each one must know if he wants to associate with an old world ready for death, or to work for a new and better world preparing to be born.
1 February 1972
To be a true Aurovilian one must never tell a lie.
28 December 1972
The ideal Aurovilian, eager to become conscious of the Divine Consciousness, takes neither tobacco, nor alcohol, nor drugs.
We are not living in Auroville to be comfortable but to grow in consciousness and to serve the Divine.
1 March 1971
Auroville has been created for a superhumanity, for those who want to surmount their ego and renounce all desire, to prepare themselves for receiving the supermind. They alone are true Aurovilians.
Those who want to obey their ego and satisfy all their desires belong to a subhumanity and have no place here. They must return to the world which is their true place.
18 December 1972
Everybody has to progress and to become more sincere. Auroville has been created, not for the satisfaction of the egos and their greeds, but for the creation of a new world, the Supramental expressing the Divine perfection.
12 December 1972
At last a place where one will be able to think only of progressing and transcending oneself.
At last a place where one will be able to live in peace, without conflicts and without rivalries of nations, religions and ambitions.
At last a place where nothing will have the right to impose itself as the exclusive truth.
To Be A True Aurovilian
1. The first necessity is the inner discovery in order to know what one truly is behind social, moral, cultural, racial and hereditary appearances.
At the centre there is a being free, vast and knowing, who awaits our discovery and who ought to become the active centre of our being and our life in Auroville.
2. One lives in Auroville in order to be free from moral and social conventions; but this freedom must not be a new slavery to the ego, to its desires and ambitions.
The fulfilment of one’s desires bars the way to the inner discovery which can only be achieved in the peace and transparency of perfect disinterestedness.
3. The Aurovilian should lose the sense of personal possession. For our passage in the material world, what is indispensable to our life and to our action is put at our disposal according to the place we must occupy.
The more we are consciously in contact with our inner being, the more are the exact means given to us.
4. Work, even manual work, is something indispensable for the inner discovery. If one does not work, if one does not put his consciousness into matter, the latter will never develop. To let the consciousness organise a bit of matter by means of one’s body is very good. To establish order around oneself helps to bring order within oneself.
One should organise one’s life not according to outer and artificial rules, but according to an organised inner consciousness, for if one lets life go on without subjecting it to the control of the higher consciousness, it becomes fickle and inexpressive. It is to waste one’s time in the sense that matter remains without any conscious utilisation.
5. The whole earth must prepare itself for the advent of the new species, and Auroville wants to work consciously to hasten this advent.
6. Little by little it will be revealed to us what this new species must be, and meanwhile the best course is to consecrate oneself entirely to the Divine.
13 June 1970
Conditions for Living in Auroville
To be an Aurovilian one must at least belong to the enlightened portion of humanity and aspire for the higher consciousness which will govern the species of tomorrow.
Always higher and always better, beyond egoistic limitations.
From the psychological point of view, the required conditions are:
(1) To be convinced of the essential unity of mankind and to have the will to collaborate for the material realisation of that unity;
(2) To have the will to collaborate in all that furthers future realisations.
The material conditions will be worked out as the realisation proceeds.
19 June 1967
Auroville will be a self-supporting township.
All who live there will participate in its life and development.
This participation may be passive or active.
There will be no taxes as such but each will contribute to the collective welfare in work, kind or money.
Sections like industries which participate actively will contribute part of their income towards the development of the township.
Or if they produce something ( like foodstuffs ) useful for the citizens, they will contribute in kind to the township, which is responsible for feeding its citizens.
No rules or laws are being framed. Things will get formulated as the underlying truth of the township emerges and takes shape progressively. We do not anticipate.
30 December 1967
The Mother gave her sketch of the new symbol of Auroville. The tracing of the design was seen and approved by her on 24-8-71. She explained the significance thus:
The dot at the centre represents Unity, the Supreme: the inner circle represents the creation, the conception of the City; the petals represent power of expression, realization.
16 August 1971
Auroville — The City of New Life
Auroville, sponsored by the Sri Aurobindo Society, is being established to give a concrete shape to its ideal of a progressive universal harmony. Named after Sri Aurobindo, Auroville literally means the “City of Dawn”. Introducing the project, the Mother, President of the Society declared:
Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.
The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.
8 September 1965
Auroville proposes to realize this unity in diversity and not in uniformity. In fact the first condition to live in Auroville is to be convinced of the essential unity of mankind and the will to collaborate in the material realization of that unity. On 28th February, 1968, was laid the foundation-stone of of this unique town. On this occasion, young people came from all over the world, bringing love in their hearts and and soil from their countries in their hands, which they placed in a lotus of marbled-mosaic as symbolic of their cooperation in this project.
The town, planned for 50, 000 residents, will be an expression of beauty in all its forms. The site selected is on a high level land in Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, in South India, and provides a panoramic view with the sea on the east and a number of lakes on the west and the north.
The town will be divided into four zones: international, cultural, industrial and residential with a central sector. Nothing necessary for life will be forgotten.
Permanent cultural pavilions for each country and also for each State of India, are an important feature of Auroville activities. An attempt will be made to represent here the cultures of the different regions of the world in such a way as to be accessible to all, not merely intellectually but also vitally in habits, customs, in art in all its forms, and physically too through dress, games, sports, industries, food and even reconstruction of natural scenery, all leading to a unique cultural synthesis.
The activities in the project cover a very wide range; industrial, agricultural, educational, artistic and others. Each nation will have the opportunity to participate in the project in which it specializes. The work in Auroville will not be a field which one is compelled to accept for earning one’s livelihood but joyful means whereby to express oneself while doing at the same time service to the whole group. In fact, the whole of Auroville will be a living university, a place of unending education, of constant progress. There will be thus an integrated effort and a practical research towards creating conditions where each individual can occupy the place for which he is best suited, develop himself to his highest possibilities, inner and outer, and give his maximum to mankind.
Auroville has been unanimously supported by the General Assembly of UNESCO in Paris. “Rotary” and “Lions” organizations have also resolved to lend their support to Auroville. Architects, engineers and many other specialists have offered their services voluntarily.
At present there are nearly 300 persons, from all the continents of the world, from various walks of life, who are staying at Auroville, in small communities significantly named, “Promesse”, “Hope”, “Peace”, “Fraternity”, “Utility”, “Success”, “Aspiration”. Also there are three villages, Kuilapalayam, Kottakkarai, Edyanchawadi, within the urban area of Auroville which are being given a chance to participate in the building up of Auroville and also to learn various crafts and skills without any interference in their community structure.
Work is continuing in agricultural farms, dairy, orchards, gardens and industries. Research is being carried on in various fields of practical importance: Energy and waste recycling, reforestation and organic farming, food and nutrition, environmental and architectural research, art and culture, education and research on man.
Matrimandir, the soul of Auroville, at the centre of the town is under construction presently. The four huge pillars supporting the Matrimandir sphere, symbolically representing the four aspects of the Divine Mother, Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati, have been completed. The concreting of the first layers of all the four ribs of Matrimandir sphere was completed in time for the Mother’s 96th birthday, 21st February, 1974,
The central sector comprises of Matrimandair, the Garden of Unity around the banyan tree and an amphitheatre built around the marbled lotus into which the soil from the different countries of the world, was poured on 28th February, 1968. In the residential sector a few permanent houses have already come up.
In the International zone, the construction work on the auditorium and the restaurant of the Bharat Nivas, the pavilion of India, is nearing completion. The construction of four pavilions for the States of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh has been undertaken by the Auroville construction team. Work on other State pavilions will be taken up gradually. Site clearance and initial preparations were started on 28th February, 1974.
At “Aspiration”, which houses 125 persons, a new school has been opened, sports facilities have been created, a printing press, a handmade paper factory, a polyester factory and a health centre are functioning and three more schools are under construction. Many of the goods made in these small production units and some articles of village crafts are exported. A Cultural Centre and a Television Centre are also slowly taking shape. Near this is being but “Auro-Model”, the advanced colony for builders and technicians.
For the moment life is hard and full of challenges and sacrifices. But there are always those with an adventurous spirit who want to be pioneers of the new world. Auroville invites all those who are aspiring for a better humanity and a better world, to participate in this unfolding saga of the world progress.
Here are the beginnings of a “dream city” of which we have dreamt as little children and hoped that someone, some day, would fulfil it. And now it is on the way to fulfilment — the city of happiness, harmony and progress, with no politics, no economic exploitation, no rich or poor, no employer or employee but all brothers, united in their upward march.
The evolution on earth from stone to plant, plant to animal and animal onward, cannot stop with man. It continues and man will be surpassed. In this further evolution lies the fulfilment of present humanity and a solution of all the problems with which it is faced today.
Contributions to Sri Aurobindo Society — Auroville, qualify for tax-exemption under section 88 and section 35 (1) (iii) of the Indian Income-Tax Act. Under section 35 (1) (iii), the limit of 10% of profits does not apply and the whole donation is treated as an expense i. e. the tax-relief will be be on 100% of the amount contributed. All cheques should be drawn in favour of “Sri Aurobindo Society — Auroville”. All enquiries may be addressed to Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry-605002, India.
Auroville — Physical Data Location:
The location of Auroville is at latitutde 12°N. and longitude 80°E., about 160 Km. (100 miles) south of Madras on the Madras-Tindivanam-Pondicherry highway, mainly in the State of Tamil Nadu with some areas in Pondicherry State. The town is flanked by new Madras highway on the west and the old Madras road on the east, about 10 Km. north of Pondicherry. The site, 50 to 60 metres above sea level, gradually sloping down to the sea osi the east and to the lakes on the west, commands a panoramic view of the coromandel coast. It is planned to cover an area of about 40 sq. Km. (15 sq. miles), for 50, 000 residents.
The climate is hot and humid from April to October. It is pleasantly cool from November to March, though it is never very cold. Light woollens are rarely required during December-January. The rains occur principally in October, November and December. Cyclones are not unusual.
Mean monthly: Maximum: 36. 5°C. (98° F. ) — temperature June.
Mean monthly: Minimum: 20. 1°C. (68° F. ) — temperature January.
Maximum temperature: 41. 0°C. (106°F. ) — June.
Minimum temperature: 18. 4°C. (65°F. ) — November March.
Rainfall: 100 cms. (40 in. ) to 150 cms. (60 in. ) annually.
Visitors are advised to stay in Pondicherry. There is no public transport to Auroville, but conducted tours to Auroville, by bus or taxi are arranged by Auroville Information Office, opposite the Ashram Main Building, Pondicherry 605002.
1 The last question and answer were absent in thes edition amd were taken from Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Himself and the Ashram // CWSA.- Volume 35.- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2011.- 658 p.
2 Please see page 140.