Friday, July 30, 2010

Keep Aspirations Higher

Mother's Light

Mother's Consciousness

Sinciere Aspiration

Grace and Protection


Road to Heaven

Secret of all Power

Adapt to Transitions

Healthy Body leads to Healthy Mind

Yoga and Exercise Practice is a regular at the Aurobindo School Play ground in Pondicherry.  Every day meditation and Thursday's speech and meditation at 7.45 pm draws devotees even today to listen to the recorded speeches and group meditation

Divine Belief

Concentration

Indian Reformers on Mythology

Indian Reformers on Mythology


The Brahmin claims to be the teacher of the Word,

But he himself both lives and dies in illusion;

He spends his life in arguments over the four Vedas,

And thereby gains absolutely nothing.

- Kabir

Social reformers and sages of the past like Kabir, Surdas, and Mira, and the more recent ones like Swami Dayananda, Vivekananda, and Sri Aurobindo, along with many others, tried to educate people in the true meaning of religion. Most of them discovered the deep symbolism hidden in the mythological stories built around various gods and goddesses. They realized that the real purpose of these tales was to inculcate spiritual values in the common masses.

Swami Dayananda rejected idolatry entirely, "…not only as harmless, but as positively sinful."1 He did not believe in either the Vedantic or Hindu pantheism. He always challenged the priests to produce passages from the Vedas sanctioning idolatry or Pashanadipujanalit (worship of stones, etc.). He defined devas (gods) as "…those who are wise and learned; asuras, those who are foolish and ignorant; rakshas, those who are wicked and sin-loving; pishachas, those whose mode of life is filthy and debasing."2

The means of attaining nearness to God, according to Swami Dayananda, are "…the worship of God or the contemplation of His nature and attributes with concentrated attention, the practice of virtue, the acquisition of true knowledge by the practice of Brahmcharya, the company of the wise and learned, the love of true knowledge, purity of thought, active benevolence, and so on."3

"Devapuja (or the worship of the gods) consists in showing honour and respect to the wise and learned, to one’s father, mother and preceptor, to the preachers of the true doctrine, to a just and impartial sovereign, to lovers of righteousness, to chaste men and women." He says, "To respect and serve the good (as explained and detailed in this paragraph) is real worship, but the worship of the dead (in the belief that it benefits them) I hold to be wrong."4

Swarga (heaven), for the Swami, represents the state of happiness and Narka (hell) pain and suffering. According to him many misconceptions about the Vedas, the Scripture of the Aryans, are due to a misunderstanding of the expressions used in the Vedas. For instance, the names of so-called gods which one meets in the Vedas according to strict etymological interpretations simply represent the various aspects and powers of the One Supreme Deity. The Vedas actually teach monotheism.

The well-known verse from the Rig Veda, admittedly the most ancient book in the World, may be quoted here. Rishi Dirghatamas says, "The Existent is One, but sages express It variously; they say Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Agni; they call It Agni, Yama, Matariswan."5 This conclusive point should be taken as the key to the interpretation of all apparently polytheistic expressions in the Vedas.

Swami Dayananda’s aim was to ascertain the nature of religious truth. He was open to correction of his views. He believed that if the learned men in all religions "…give up prejudice, accept all those broad principles on which all religions are unanimous, reject differences, and behave affectionately, much good can be done to the world."6

Swami Vivekananda, a well-known Hindu saint and social reformer, when asked about the form of worship in his religion, is reported to have said that "…idols formed a part of his religion insomuch as the symbol is concerned."7 The aim of true religion "…should be to help one to live and to prepare one to die at the same time."8 He also believed in uniting materialism of the West with the spirituality of the East although it was possible that "…in the attempt the Hindu faith will lose much of its individuality."9

At the Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893, Swami Vivekananda expounded in clear and simple terms the Vedanta system of philosophy. He told the congress that "…if there is ever to be universal religion, it must be one which will be infinite, like the God it will preach, and whose sun will shine upon the followers of Krishna and of Christ, on saints and sinners alike; which will not be Brahmanic or Buddhistic, Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its catholicity will embrace in its infinite arms, and find a place for every human being, from the lowest grovelling savage, not far removed from the brute, to the highest man, towering by virtues of his head and heart almost above humanity, making society stand in awe of him and doubt his human nature. It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity, which will recognize divinity in every man and woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centred in aiding humanity to realize its own true, divine nature."10

Swami Vivekananda was fully convinced that "…without the help of practical Islam, theories of Vedantism, however fine and wonderful they may be, are entirely valueless to the vast mass of mankind. We want to lead mankind to the place where there is neither the Vedas nor the Bible, nor the Koran; yet this has to be done by harmonizing the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran. Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but varied expressions of THE RELIGION, which is Oneness, so that each may choose the path that suits him best."11

He further wrote, "For our motherland a junction of the two great systems, Hinduism and Islam—Vedanta brain and Islamic body—is the only hope."12 Swami Vivekananda foresaw that India would arise out of the present day chaos and conflict, "…glorious and invincible, with Vedanta brain and Islamic body."13 It will be clear to a discerning reader that the ‘Universal Religion’ has already been ushered in by the spirit breathed into this world by Bahá’u’lláh. It is rooted in His Most Great Law of the reality of the Oneness of mankind. Apart from fulfilling every criterion for such a religion as propounded by Swami Vivekananda in his Chicago address, the Bahá’i Faith is destined in the fullness of time to establish a divine civilization for the entire planet. Bahá’u’lláh has not only enunciated principles and ideals that will inevitably lead mankind to its destined goal, but also provided the channels and perfected the means and instruments for the practical realization of these ideals.

Sri Aurobindo, another prominent Indian thinker, believed that "The language of Veda itself is sruti, a rhythm not composed by the intellect but heard, a divine Word that came vibrating out of the Infinite to the inner audience of the man who had previously made himself fit for the impersonal knowledge. The words themselves, drsti and sruti, sight and hearing, are Vedic expressions; these and cognate words signify, in the esoteric terminology of the hymns, revelatory knowledge and the contents of inspiration."14 He further asserts that "…in the Vedic idea of the revelation there is no suggestion of the miraculous…."15

Sri Aurobindo notes that the interpretation of the true meaning of the Vedas is made more difficult due to the addition of a number of elements (mythological, Puranic, legendary and historic, etc.) to the Divine Word. The present form of the Vedas includes: remnants of old spiritual, philosophical or psychological interpretations of the Shruti (literally "Divine Word"); superficial understandings of the myths and stories of the gods in the Puranas in their outward form while ignoring the symbolic or spiritual meaning; traditional stories of old kings and Rishis in the Brahmanas or later traditions explaining the obscure allusions of the Vedas; and the identification of natural forces with the supernatural deities such as Indra, the Maruts, Agni, Surya, Usha, etc. A ritualistic understanding pervades all the above, and despite the hymns being the supreme authority for knowledge, they are "…principally and fundamentally concerned with Karmakanda…"16 —that is, the ritualistic observation of the Vedic sacrifices.

The rituals are signified by the characteristic words of the Vedas—food, priest, giver, wealth, praise, prayer, rite, sacrifice. The most egoistic and materialistic objects are proposed as the aim of sacrifice, possessions, strength, power, children, servants, gold, horses, cows, victory, the slaughter and the plunder of enemies, the destruction of rival and malevolent critic. No wonder Lord Krishna, in the Gita, while acknowledging "…the Veda as divine knowledge (Gita, XV.15) yet censures severely the champions of an exclusive Vedism (Gita, II.42), all whose flowery teachings were devoted solely to material wealth, power and enjoyment."17

To explain the true spiritual meaning of the Vedas, Sri Aurobindo propounds the Psychological Theory that is based on the systematic symbolism of the Vedas. In the Vedas, the mystics, in their wisdom, "…favoured the existence of an outer worship, effective but imperfect, for the profane, an inner discipline for the initiate, and clothed their language in words and images which had, equally, a spiritual sense for the elect, a concrete sense for the mass of ordinary worshippers."18 A sharp practical division came into existence—"…the Veda for the priests, the Vedanta for the sages."19 Later the Brahmanas and the Upanishads took the sacred text and ritual of the Vedas as "…a starting point for a new statement of spiritual thought and experience."20

However, Sri Aurobindo feels that "…the whole problem of interpretation of Veda still remains an open field in which any contribution that can throw light upon the problem should be welcome."21

The Bahá’í Writings, while recognizing Hinduism and Buddhism as the only existing true religions of the Far East, acknowledge the obscurities in them. The Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Shoghi Effendi, writes, "…The origins of this (Hindu) and many other religions that abound in India are not quite known to us, and even the Orientalists and the students of religions are not in complete accord about the results of their investigations in that field." 20 He, however, urges those who are interested to study the subject, "…although its immensity is well-nigh bewildering…." 23

Lord Krishna and Buddha are accepted in the Bahá’í Writings as the Prophets of Hinduism and Buddhism respectively. However, the Guardian points out that we can not be sure of the authenticity of their Scriptures.24 The Guardian was asked ‘whether Brahma is to be considered as referring to absolute deity and Krishna as the Prophet of the Hindu Religion?’. His secretary wrote that "…such matters, as no reference occurs to them in the Teachings, are left for students of history and religion to resolve and clarify." 25

‘Abdu’l-Bahá teaches that "the message of Krishna is the message of love. None has ever thought that war and hate are good…." 26 He is emphatic that "…Brahma, Krishna and Buddha never advocated polytheism. They were eminent teachers of monotheism as were all other Prophets of God; but succeeding generations misconstrued their words and in order to further their own selfish interest fabricated these false doctrines."

Credit :  In Search of Mother

Stop hatred

Rise from Every Fall

I am With You

Disciple:-"I am with you." What does it mean exactly?
When we pray or struggle with a problem within ourselves, are we really heard, always, in spite of our clumsiness and imperfection, in spite even of our bad will and our error? And who hears? You who are with us?

And is it you in your supreme consciousness, an impersonal divine force, the force of Yoga, or you, Mother in a body, with your physical consciousness? A personal presence that really knows each thought and each act and not some anonymous force? Can you tell us how, in what way you are present with us?

Sri Aurobindo and you, it is said, form one and the same consciousness, but is there a personal presence of Sri Aurobindo and your personal presence, two things distinct, each playing its own particular role?







Answer By The Mother:-



The Mother:- I am with you because I am you or you are me.

I am with you, that signifies a world of things, because I am with you on all levels, on all planes, from the supreme consciousness down to my most physical consciousness.

Here, in Pondicherry, you cannot breathe without breathing my consciousness. It saturates the atmosphere almost materially, in the subtle physical, and extends to the Lake, ten kilometres from here. Farther, my consciousness can be felt in the material vital, then on the mental plane and the other higher planes, everywhere. When I came here for the first time, I felt the atmosphere of Sri Aurobindo, felt it materially at a distance of ten miles, ten nautical miles, not kilometres. It was very sudden, very concrete, an atmosphere pure, luminous, light, light that lifts you up.

It is now long since Sri Aurobindo has put up everywhere in the Ashram this reminder that you all know:- "Always behave as if the Mother was looking at you, because she is, indeed, always present."

This is not a mere phrase, not simply words, it is a fact. I am with you in a very concrete manner and they who have a subtle vision can see me.


In a general way my Force is there constantly at work, constantly shifting the psychological elements of your being to put them in new relations and defining to yourself the different facets of your nature so that you may see what should be changed, developed, rejected.

But that apart, there is a special personal tie between you and me, between all who have turned to the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and myself,—and, it is well understood, distance does not count here, you may be in France, you may be at the other end of the world or in Pondicherry, this tie is always true and living. And each time there comes a call, each time there is a need for me to know so that I may send out a force, an inspiration, a protection or any other thing, a sort of message comes to me all of a sudden and I do the needful.



These communications reach me evidently at any moment, and you must have seen me more than once stop suddenly in the middle of a sentence or work; it is because something comes to me, a communication and I concentrate.



With those whom I have accepted as disciples, to whom I have said Yes, there is more than a tie, there is an emanation of me. This emanation warns me whenever it is necessary and tells me what is happening. Indeed I receive intimations constantly, but not all are recorded in my active memory, I would be flooded; the physical consciousness acts like a filter. Things are recorded on a subtle plane, they are there in a latent state, something like a piece of music that is recorded without being played, and when I need to know with my physical consciousness, I make contact with this subtle physical plane and the disc begins to turn. Then I see how things are, their development in time, the actual result.

And if for some reason you write to me asking for my help and I answer "I am with you", it means that the communication with you becomes active, you come into my active consciousness for a time, for the time necessary.
And this tie between you and me is never cut. There are people who have long ago left the Ashram, in a state of revolt, and yet I keep myself informed of them, I attend to them. You are never abandoned.

In truth, I hold myself responsible for everyone, even for those whom I have met only for one second in my life.

Now remember one thing. Sri Aurobindo and myself are one and the same consciousness, one and the same person. Only, when this force or this presence, which is the same, passes through your individual consciousness, it puts on a form, an appearance which differs according to your temperament, your aspiration, your need, the particular turn of your being. Your individual consciousness is like a filter, a pointer, if I may say so; it makes a choice and fixes one possibility out of the infinity of divine possibilities. In reality, the Divine gives to each individual exactly what he expects of Him. If you believe that the Divine is far away and cruel, He will be far away and cruel, because it will be necessary for your ultimate good that you feel the wrath of God; He will be Kali for the worshippers of Kali and Beatitude for the Bhakta. And He will be the All-knowledge of the seeker of Knowledge, the transcendent Impersonal of the illusionist; He will be atheist with the atheist and the love of the lover. He will be brotherly and close, a friend always faithful, always ready to succour, for those who feel Him as the inner guide of each movement, at every moment. And if you believe that He can wipe away everything, He will wipe away all your faults, all your errors, tirelessly, and at every moment you can feel His infinite Grace. The Divine is indeed what you expect of Him in your deepest aspiration.
And when you enter into this consciousness where you see all things in a single look, the infinite multitude of relations between the Divine and men, you see how wonderful all that is, in all details. You can look at the history of mankind and see how much the Divine has evolved according to what men have understood, desired, hoped, dreamed and how He was materialist with the materialist and how He grows every day and becomes nearer, more luminous according as human consciousness widens itself. Each one is free to choose. The perfection of this endless variety of relations of man with God throughout the history of the world is an ineffable marvel. And all that together is only one second of the total manifestation of the Divine.

The Divine is with you according to your aspiration. Naturally that does not mean that He bends to the caprices of your outer nature,—I speak here of the truth of your being. And yet, sometimes he does fashion himself according to your outer aspirations, and if, like the devotees, you live alternately in separation and union, ecstasy and despair, the Divine also will separate from you and unite with you, according as you believe. The attitude is thus very important, even the outer attitude. People do not know how important is faith, how faith is miracle, creator of miracles. If you expect at every moment to be lifted up and pulled towards the Divine, He will come to lift you and He will be there, quite close, closer, ever closer.

The Mother

Mother Smiles

Miracle goes on

Aurobindo - Life History in Brief

SRI AUROBINDO

There is an ascending evolution in nature which goes from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the animal, from the animal to man. Because man is, for the moment, the last rung at the summit of the ascending evolution, he considers himself as the final stage in this ascension and believes there can be nothing on earth superior to him. In that he is mistaken. In his physical nature he is yet almost wholly an animal, a thinking and speaking animal, but still an animal in his material habits and instincts. Undoubtedly, nature cannot be satisfied with such an imperfect result; she endeavours to bring out a being who will be to man what man is to the animal, a being who will remain a man in its external form, and yet whose consciousness will rise far above the mental and its slavery to ignorance.

Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to teach this truth to men. He told them that man is only a transitional being living in a mental consciousness, but with the possibility of acquiring a new consciousness, the Truth-consciousness, and capable of living a life perfectly harmonious, good and beautiful, happy and fully conscious. During the whole of his life upon earth, Sri Aurobindo gave all his time to establish in himself [for the earth] this consciousness he called supramental, and to help those gathered around him to realise it.
*****

What Sri Aurobindo represents in the history of the earth’s spiritual progress is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a mighty action straight from the Supreme. – The Mother

In 1906, Sri Aurobindo openly joined India’s freedom movement. He quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he became one of the leaders of the Indian national movement. As editor of the newspaper Bande Mataram, he boldly put forward the idea of complete independence from Britain. Arrested three times for sedition or treason, he was released each time for lack of evidence.

Sri Aurobindo began the practice of Yoga in1905. Within a few years he achieved several fundamental spiritual realisations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in French India in order to pursue exclusively his spiritual work. During his forty years there, he developed a new spiritual path, the Integral Yoga, whose ultimate aim is the transformation of life upon earth by the power of supramental consciousness. With this a new phase in the evolution of mankind began. In 1926, with the help of the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. His vision of life is presented in numerous works of prose and poetry, among which the best known are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. His Letters on Yoga in three volumes give practical guidance to seekers of Divine Life. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5th December 1950. On 7th December the Mother wrote, “Lord, this morning Thou has given me the assurance that…all of Thyself would remain here and not leave the earth atmosphere until earth is transformed.”

Attempt Towards Perfection

Bourgainvillea - Magenta

The Divine Smile

THE MOTHER


…. the Mother is one but she comes before us with differing aspects; many are her powers and personalities, many her emanations and Vibhutis that do her work in the universe. The One whom we adore as the Mother is the divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, one and yet so many-sided that to follow her movement is impossible even for the quickest mind and for the freest and most vast intelligence. The Mother is the consciousness and force of the Supreme and far above all she creates. But something of her ways can be seen and felt through her embodiments and the more seizable because more defined and limited temperament and action of the goddess forms in whom she consents to be manifest to her creatures.

*****

The Divine Mother is the Consciousness and Force of the Divine – which is the Mother of all things.

OM anandamayi chaitanyamayi satyamayi parame – Sri Aurobindo
*****

OM – She, the Delight

She, the Consciousness

She, the Truth

She, the Supreme.

(Translation by the Mother)

A Sketch of Her Outer Life

The Mother was born as Mirra Alfassa on 21 February 1878 in Paris. A student at the Academie Julian, she became an accompolished artist. Gifted from an early age with a capacity for spiritual and occult experience, she went to Tlemcen, Algeria, in 1906 and 1907 to study occultism with the adepts Max Theon and his wife Alma. Between 1911 and 1913 she gave a number of talks to various groups of seekers in Paris.

In 1914 the Mother voyaged to Pondicherry, South India, to meet the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo. After a stay of eleven months, she was obliged by the outbreak of the First World War to return to France. A year later she went to Japan, where she remained for four years. In April 1920 the Mother rejoined Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. Six years later, when Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its material and spiritual charge to her, for he considered her not a disciple but his spiritual equal and collaborator. Under her guidance, which covered a period of nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community. She established Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education in 1952, Sri Aurobindo Society in 1960, and an international township, Auroville, in 1968. Her talks to the inmates are published in several volumes.

The Mother, on her ninetieth birthday, summarized her life and work in this way:

The reminiscences will be short.

I came to India to meet Sri Aurobindo. I remained in India to live with Sri Aurobindo. When he left his body, I continued to live here in order to do his work which is, by serving the Truth and enlightening mankind, to hasten the rule of the Divine’s Love upon the earth.

The Mother left her body on 17 November 1973.

Flowers Details In Tamil

SNO Malargalin Tamil Peyyar Malargalin gunam pattri Sri Annaiyin Vilakkam


1 Chembaruthi poo (Vellai) Vettri kuriya shakthi tharum, padippil sirakka, kudumbathil magizhchi undaaga, padhavi uyarvu pera, ida maarudhal pera

2 December poo Vizhipunarvai tharum

3 Gladyolas poo Iraiyanbai erkkum thrianai tharum

4 Kozhikondai poo Thunivai tharum

5 Kodirose poo Sumugathai tharum

6 Erukkam poo Dhairiyathai kodukkum

7 Kanagambarampoo(manjal) Ninaitha kaariyathai niraivetri tharum

8 Kanagambarampoo(sivappu) Sanjalam neengum, thittangal niraiverum

9 Alamandaa poo Vetriyai kodukkum

10 Alli poo (Vellai) Dharalamana selva valam tharum

11 Alli poo (Sivappu) Mahalakshmiyin anugraham kidaikkum

12 Nagalinga poo Kadan neengi valamai tharum

13 Poovarasam poo Udal nalam pera udhavum

14 Vadamalli poo Marana bayathil irundhu meetka udhavum

15 Poosani poo Abarimidha munnetrathai kodukkum

16 Samandhi poo Shakthi,thembai tharum,virumbiya velai kidaikkum

17 Nithyakalyani poo Poorana munnetrathai tharum

18 Crotons Thavarana ennangalai thurathidum

19 Kaagidha poo Iraivanin poorana padhugappai tharum

20 Vaepam poo Aanmiga choozhalai tharum

21 Maghizham poo Porumaiyai tharum

22 Thennam poo Ella thevaigalaiyum niraivetri tharum. (ithudan December poo, Samandhi poo serthu vaithu vazhipattal kuzhandhai peru nichayyam)

23 Sivappu Arali poo Thavarai nerpaduthum

24 Sambangi poo Pudhiya thiramaigalai alikkum

25 Malligai poo Mana thuimaiyai alikkum

26 Thulasi Bhakthiyai valarkkum

27 Nattu roja Sharanagadhi adaiya udhavum

28 Maramalli poo Manam maara udhavum

29 Murungai poo Soozhnilai thuimaiyagum

30 Marukozhundhu poo Pudhu piravi alikkum

31 Venthamarai poo Iraiyunarvu perugidum(SriAnnaikku ugandhadhu)

32 Senthamarai poo Avadhara arul shakthiyai pera udhavum (SriAravindharukku ugandhadhu)

33 Roja Iravanin meedhu anbu perugum

34 Kalli poo Selva sezhippai tharum

35 Vellai arali Manam amaidhi pera udhavum

36 Ottrai raja Velai vaippai pettru tharum

37 Mampazham Dheiva gnanathai tharum

38 Patchai thratchai pazham Dheiviga anandhathai tharum

39 Goyya pazham Thalaradha urudhiyai tharum

Her Grace

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Asa Tho Ma Sadga Maaya...

Eternal!

Identify Absolute

Calm makes you strong

Prefer Light

Mother's Divine Eyes

Our Mother

What have you given to the Lord?

What have you given to the Lord?




























My father once narrated the story of Krishna and Sudama. I write this only for the moral of the story as he told it to us.



When Sudama goes to meet him, Sri Krishna is overjoyed rushes out to meet Sudama. He embraces his friend lovingly and receives him with great honour. Later he himself gives Sudama a royal bath. Now Sudama's wife had given him some paunva [flattened rice or rice flakes] in a tiny cloth bundle to offer to Lord Krishna, but seeing the opulence there, Sudama is unable to do it. He tries to hide the bundle under his armpit but Sri Krishna snatches it away. Opening it he takes a handful of paunva and eats it; then he eats a second. But as he is about to put a third handful in his mouth Queen Satyabhama holds his hand and stops him. She says, "Lord, with the first handful You turned his hut into a palace, with the second You gave him riddhi-siddhi [prosperity and attainments] ; if You take this one You Yourself will have to go to him."



The moral is that even if the Lord wants, until Sudama himself offers Him something, He cannot bestow anything. That is why in order to grant Sudama what He wanted to give him, the Lord has to snatch away his tiny bundle. Only when we surrender all to Him, does He abide eternally with us.



When our maternal cousins visited us on certain occasions, our parents gave us special instructions such as, "Do not say anything that might hurt their feelings. Behave nicely with them even if they do any mischief or are rude to you, and not only when they behave well. Then alone can we say, 'How generous are our children!' It will be a matter of pride for us."



Once my father rendered great help to a relative, financial and otherwise. Still that person's behaviour towards our family was disagreeable and this greatly angered my mother. My father then told her, "There is nothing unusual in treating someone well who behaves decently. To do so even when he mistreats you, would show the generosity and nobility of your nature." I remember very well how these words calmed my mother.



Whenever we were to visit somebody our mother would



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instruct: "Remember, work is appreciated by everyone, so wherever you go do some useful work and do not keep playing or sit idle." In this regard our mother was very particular. She inculcated in us four brothers the habit of working and being useful to others. In those days, certain chores such as sweeping, fetching water and washing vessels were done only by girls. But it was not so in our house. We boys were made to do all these things. I recall my mother once asked my sister who had just swept the room, "Have you finished sweeping?" When she said yes, my mother pointed out the corners behind the doors: "Have you cleaned here?" My father told us that whatever the work, if one does it methodically and with an attitude to do better, we learn more and more things.



In my work with the Mother all that my parents taught me about work proved very useful. Mother was always happy with my work, and often expressed her happiness in words.



Nowadays, when I read letters sent to me, I recall my father's remarks regarding handwriting. He often told to me, "Your writing resembles brambles. You should form the habit of writing in fine curved letters. In the beginning the letters may not be well formed but if you write slowly, patiently and attentively, they are bound to improve." Then pointing to certain letters in my writing he said, "See these? How nicely they are shaped. There are others like them. So, if you decide to write beautifully, and remember your decision, you will be able to do it."



Along with such encouragement he would also give specific hints. One must always re-read what one has written so as to correct mistakes and make certain that the reader will not mistake one word for another. Sometimes letters are illegible and the reader is put to much trouble. This should not happen. He would stress the point about legibility and ask me never to forget it. My father's handwriting was remarkably beautiful; while our letters largely depended on the kind of pen or nib we used, his came out the same, whatever he wrote with.



"When you write a letter," he would say, "pay great attention to the words as well as the numbers in the address on the envelope. Practice makes one a good scribe, so form the good habit from now and your handwriting will become beautiful."



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Recently, a man came to me with a family problem. "My wife is simple, kind-hearted and innocent, but the behaviour of other family members towards her is not good. They constantly insult her and are often unjust to her, treating her as if she were insane. I am unable to say anything to my elders. As yet I am neutral, but what should I do?" Then by Mother's grace I was reminded of an incident my father told me in my childhood. I recount it here because it may help some in their own progress and in their behaviour with others.



My father had a lawyer friend whose wife was mad but he took extremely good care of her. Sometimes for this he had to disregard others in the family, yet he always favoured her. His family complained about this to my father who also saw for himself that his friend did take excessive care of his mad wife.



One day my father asked him, "Don't you think you are doing too much for your wife?" (My father had many admirers and devotees but only one friend, this lawyer.) He replied, "I understand all this. Don't I know that my wife is mad? But do you know what her plight would be if I were not partial to her — how my relatives would treat her in my absence? Now, in order not to displease me, they behave nicely with her. If she had not been mad, if she had even a little understanding of things, I would certainly not act like this. But since she is not sane, unless I behave as I am doing, my wife would be totally neglected by all, I know that too. It is only sometimes that they have to suffer some inconveniences. But I do consider their needs and am careful not to neglect or disregard them; I am always conscious of that. Now do you have anything to say? The others have someone or the other to support and console them, but who is for her? Because I take care of this mad woman others behave properly with her. That is human nature. In a family, we have to sacrifice something for every individual. I am not as blind to my wife's shortcomings as they think, I can see very well who is at fault and who is not. Tell me, do you want me to prove it? If I change my behaviour towards her, in just two days the behaviour of the rest towards her will change and then you will see the pitiable fate that will befall her."



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The Hand of Grace

Part I-RECOLLECTIONS AND DIARY NOTES

LOOKING BACK: THE HAND OF GRACE

I was a simple lad, .somewhat introverted, unable to mix freely with others, with little understanding of things. I had no interest in studies. My teacher, whatever else he may have been, was always friendly. Another teacher was a friend of my father's and he felt he could exercise all rights upon me and say whatever he pleased. In the classroom he would openly ask me questions which I could not answer, then mock at me saying that I had grown only in body but not in mind. The students would naturally laugh and he joined in the laughter. I could do nothing about it except pray to God to reduce my body. But apparently He did not hear my prayer, for my body continued to be robust and I was nicknamed Ganesh.

In 1918, when I was fifteen, I joined the Jnanaganga abhyasagriha. [study-home] opened that year by the famous academician Dr. Pandya in our town Patan. It was run by my mother's maternal uncle, Manilal Dave.¹ Students would spend the whole day there except meal times when they would go to their homes. I was very happy there.

Every year one of my paternal uncles used to go to a Shiva temple in a village near our town for a month-long puja in the holy month of shravan. When he passed away, my father asked me to perform that puja. I accepted on condition that after the month was over and I returned home, I would not rejoin regular school. He agreed. At the end of the month, I stopped going to school but continued in the abhyasagriha.

Somehow, a copy of Ramakrishna- Kathamrita came into my hands at this time and I devoured it avidly. I lost interest in everything. But I retained my interest in the akhada [gymnasium] which was popular in our town and where I went regularly, not so much for doing the exercise as to enjoy the freedom of the place. There I met Punamchandbhai, a very popular man who had a well-built body like that of the famous wrestler Sandow. I learnt that he not only looked after the boys' exercises, but also followed the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. I met him at his house. I was much influenced by him. Mother was to tell me later how hard she had to work to remove his influence over me; it remained

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with me till 1930 when I was 27.

Some time later Shri Kesarlal Dikshit - a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and a very respected figure in the educational circles in those days — came there and met Punamchandbhai. Both of them decided to go to Kashibhai's place near Bharooch [on the estuary of the N armada]. Punamchandbhai asked me to proceed with Dikshitbhai and said he would follow, along with his wife. Although my father knew very well that I would not be doing any studies there and it was only an excuse to leave home, he raised no objection. He did not believe in imposing anything on children after a certain age and simply kept quiet. My mother (whom we called jl) had two brothers. The younger was highly educated and took a deep interest in us. He had a very close relationship with Dikshitbhai. So my jl consulted him. When Dikshitbhai learnt of their reluctance to send me, he came to my father and said to him; "I am asking for bhiksha [alms], give me Champak. He is a jewel wrapped in rags." Father consented. That was how I left home when I was 17.


The ashram was on the island of Kansia , a few miles from Bharooch town. It was a fine place on the estates of Kashibhai, Kamala's father. He led a spiritual life and used to invite saintly personalities to stay there so that all of us who lived there could benefit by the satsang and build up good sanskara. He had invited Dikshitbhai to come there, Dikshitbhai' s wife and son were already there when he and I reached the ashram. Kamala was then 5 years old. Later, Punamchandbhai and his wife Champaben, and Chimanlal, elder brother of Kesarimal [who later opened the Ayurvedic Section in Sri Aurobindo Ashram], arrived". Kanti, brother of Chandulal and Vasudha2, left his college and joined us. Also came Natwarlal. Though in the beginning we had separate kitchens, after some time there was one joint kitchen along with Kashibhai's family. Dikshitbhai was the director of the ashram. A book can be written about what I learnt from him and about the history and management of this ashram.



Kashibhai's brother Haribhai lived in Bharooch and was a political leader at that time. Many important people used to visit him; I remember seeing C.F. Andrews at his place. Sri Aurobindo



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considered Haribhai exceptional enough to give him instructions in sadhana even though he accepted the Swaminarayan cult after retiring from politics. I learnt that the instructions were such that Haribhai could go his own way helped by them.



Kanti and I went to Haribhai's house on the day of Ramakrishna Jayanti. We meditated there. Our desire to see Sri Aurobindo increased so much that I wrote to my aunt Motibai (my father's sister) about it. She had loved me very much from my childhood and I felt I must inform her. I did not want anything from home. She did not reply. I learnt later that she had not received my letter at all.



I told Dikshitbhai that we intended to go walking to Pondicherry. He declined to send us that way, on our own. He talked to Punamchandbhai and decided that all of us should start together. Dikshitbhai, Punamchandbhai and his wife Champaben, Zaverben whose husband Narayanbhai was Kashibhai's munim [estate manager], Chimanlal, Natwarlal, Kanti and myself formed the group. Dikshitbhai' s son and the son of Dikshitbhai' s maternal aunt also started with us but they went back from the next village.



We came to Navasari where Punditji, a disciple of Motilal Roy of Chandernagore, ran an ashram and published books in Gujarari. We stayed there for a while. I did not know what the elders of our party told him, but I learnt that we were to make sandals, sell them on the way and travel on the proceeds. Kanti knew how to make sandals. One big bag of leather was procured; we had to carry it by turns. Once while crossing a bridge over a river, Kanti was so tired that he wanted to throw the whole bag into the waters! Somehow he did not do that. At last we came to Bilimora from where three of us, myself, Kanti and Natwar, were to be sent by train to Bombay. I learnt that Champaben's ornaments were mortgaged in the town and tickets were purchased for us with that money. At Bombay we went to the bungalow of a disciple of Dikshitbhai, a businessman of Ghatkopar. Dikshitbhai had given us a letter of introduction to him. We procured a letter from a high railway officer, Motilal Mehta, to a certain Narandas (a C.I.D. man!) in Pondicherry. We were to stay at his place. How we met him and what happened subsequently I shall tell you next.

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By the way, in the course of our journey, we all had gone for a bath in a river. Zaverben came with us saying that she could swim. While I was enjoying myself in the water, I suddenly noticed that she was struggling to keep her head above the water; as soon as I swam close to her, she caught hold of me. Somehow I extricated myself and managed to pull her back into shallow waters. I do not know how I did it or how I got the strength to save both of us. Obviously I had to come to Pondicherry. The Grace works in many ways.

Meeting an avadhut

In 1921, after returning from my first meeting with Sri Aurobindo, I accompanied my father and my aunt Motiben on their pilgrimage to Nashik, Tryambakeshwar, etc. On our way back we visited Chanod and Karnali' where we bathed in the holy Narmada. The stone stairs of the ghat along the river start unusually higher than the level of the water. I was sitting on the topmost stair, enjoying Nature's beauty all around, when suddenly I heard someone singing in a grand but melodious and soothing voice. Two lines of this song specially drew my attention:



The Soul is all, the Soul is all is the refrain;

But who gives up this bodily attachment?

These words were sung again and again, and were infused with

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such feeling that they could penetrate the listener's heart and awaken his inner consciousness.

The voice came from the window of a house on the riverside. I was attracted to it and felt like going there. While I was wondering which way to go, a student passed by on his way to the ghat. I asked him, "Which way should I go if I wish to meet the singer of this melody?" He said, "It is not possible to go there now. You are extremely fortunate to have heard him sing at this time. He sings only at the evening collective devotional singing; and he never meets anyone, whosoever it may be. But all are allowed to attend the evening singing; that is the only time you will be able to meet him."

C: "What is his name?"

Student: "He calls himself Paagal [Madman], Ghanchakkar [Idiot] etc. His real name is Janardan."

C: "I want to go there; will you show me the way?"


Student: "There is no point in going there now. It will be in vain. Even if you go, he will definitely not open the door."

But I made him show me the way and managed to reach the place on my own. I knocked on the door and at once it was flung open as though he had been waiting just behind it for me. I was astonished to see him; it was the same saint I had met at Jhadeshwar2 — his father was once Kashibhai's secretary! There was a lady beside him and he told her, "Now you see? Hasn't he come?" Turning to me he said, "I saw you sitting there. At this time I rarely open my window and look out, but today I spontaneously opened it and looked to where you were sitting and felt impelled to call you here. I told this lady that the man who is sitting there will soon come, for I am going to call him. Then I sat down with the tanpura. I sang just to bring you here. And see, you have arrived! Otherwise, I never sing at this time."
Then he asked me to attend the collective singing in the evening. My father, aunt and I went there. Some of his melodies were so touching and so simple that they just stuck in my memory:

Abandoning your hankering after earthly tastes,
Echo, 0 tongue, His nectarous Name.

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Who is Chhagan and who is Magan, who Chandu or Bandu, Mere illusions are these names and forms!

When vairagya has not stung you,

what can your guru do?

When there is no child in the womb,
what can the midwife do?

Thus we saw that he was an impromptu composer. These couplets seem quite ordinary but when he sang them the effect was so powerful that one would forget everything and just sit there. At Jhadeshwar, I had seen Kamala's father spend the whole day in his company. He used to keep a dhuni [a sacred fire tended with pungent herbs etc.] constantly lit in front of him. His massive physique reminded one of Bhimasen of the Mahabharata but his loving and carefree personality captivated everyone. As we were already concentrated on Sri Aurobindo's yoga, his personality did not touch us to that extent, but had I nor already come in contact with Sri Aurobindo, I might have joined him.



To resume the tale of Chandod-Karnali. After he finished singing in the evening he told me, "Come tomorrow to my house at midnight. I will take you to an avadhut [ascetic]. Even if he abuses you or loses his temper and asks you to get out, do not leave." The next night we went to the avadhut. His fair complexion and white beard added to his luminous personality. He was sitting peacefully in front of his dhuni. Smilingly softly at me, he gestured to me to sit near him and asked: "Is it going on constantly this way?" At that time I was following the sadhana given by Sri Aurobindo. I replied, "I am trying." Then he said, " Jumna maiya will fulfil your sankalpa. I can see your Guru behind your head. Jumna maiya will help you attain your goal. I may get a chance to meet you again." He thus welcomed me very nicely and instead of abusing, blessed me.



On our way back, I was shown another sadhu, but from a distance: "That man too is a saint." His dress was in tatters and his actions seemed those of a madman; but he was only pretending to be mad, so that people stayed away from him. He filled a vessel



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with water from the river and, standing on the last step of the ghat, splashed it all around. I had met this 'mad' sadhu before in a small hut in Jhadeshwar and had been very impressed by his carefree nature. He had spoken a lot about Swami Ramatirth but as we had already met Sri Aurobindo, we enjoyed his company without being overwhelmed. When we first met, he wanted to make me his disciple. But nowadays, when we meet, he introduces me to his disciples as his close friend.

1. Chandod is on a tributary of the Narmada; Karnali, only a few kilometers away, is on the Narmada. It was during a visit to Karnali that Sri Aurobindo had a vision of the World Mother in a Kali temple. He described it in his poem "The Stone Goddess". Sri Aurobindo: Archives and Research, December 1978, pp. 209- 10.

2. Jhadeshwar is near Bharooch; both are on the estuary of the Narmada.

3. Mother Jamuna or Yamuna - a holy river of North India.

Matrimandir outview in the night

Peace Meditation Chamber

Matrimandir Banyan Tree

Nobility

Refrain from foolish anger

Golden Plates- Closer View

Matrimandir under the rain

Matrimandir from outside

Matrimandir Meditation