Monday, August 23, 2010

The Mahakali entrance to Matrimandir

Sri Aurobindo's mantra Om Anandamayi Chaitanyamayi Satyamayi Parame in the western pillar

Ramps the heaven

The ray of light descends from the chamber onto the symbol of The Mother in the centre of the staircase a complete vision from above.
Going up the Ramp to the inner chamber in Orange light

Beginning of the Ramp to the Inner Chambers

Core of the Matrimandir..a divine spell

Bottom Part Of Matrimandir With Mother's Symbol
This pond is situated under the Matrimandir of Auroville, and collects in this crystal ball the ray of sun that has been captured from the top, has crossed the whole structure including the "white chamber" and the crystal at the core of it.

Close up of Crystal

The ray of light striking the crystal present in Inner Chamber.

Crystal Bowl- The Inner Awakening

Crystal bowl receiving the sun ray that has crossed the Chamber and the whole building

The water has been running along the whole Matrimandir (inside) and terminates here

Matrimandir- Inner Corridors and Crystal Bowl

The corridor connecting the meditation chambers in the petals

Pathway to Lotus pond and petals chamber. Petals are situated on right and left side of the structure.

Lotus Pond at Night
A close look at the crystal bowl receiving the sun ray that has crossed the Chamber and the whole building

Matrimandir in Mist

Matrimandir in Mist

Auroville Amphi-theatre

Matrimandir Garden with Lotuses

Socks are compulsory wear in Matrimandir so as to preserve its sanity, these are provided by Matrimandir only

Meeting an avadhut

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
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.
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
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.

We Arrive

[The following account is based on Champaklal's diary.]

At last, Natwarlal, Kanri and myself arrived at Pondicherry at a.m. on April 1, 1921. Feeling that it was not proper to sit in rickshaws pulled by human beings we did not hire one. We walked the distance from the railway station to the residence of our host Narandas in Mary Street. Though it should have taken only ten minutes, it took us half an hour as we did not know the way. On reaching Narandas's house, we presented to him the letter of introduction given by Motilal Mehta. After we had our bath, we were blandly informed that there was a measles case in the house and so no meals could be served to us. I cooked my own meal, as I always did, and my companions went to Amanivasam.'

My mind was impatierit to See Sri Aurobindo and, though I attended to the daily chores, my attention was fixed there. But when we got ready to set out we were told not to go outdoors between 11.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. as it was scorching hot. Even dogs were not allowed to run about in the streets during that time, as it was believed that heatstroke caused rabies. We were told that unless they carried a proper collar, dogs found in the streets at this time were killed by government order.

However, we could not remain confined to the house for long and started out at 1 p.m. and came to the Guest House, where Sri Aurobindo was then staying. There we met Amrita and informed him that we had come from Bharooch in Gujarat. "Babuji is sleeping," he replied (Sri Aurobindo was addressed as 'Babuji' in those days) and told us to come back a little before 5 p.m. We said we would sit there and wait. But he told us that we couldn't sit there and must go back and come at the specified time. We felt dejected.

Then we went to the seashore and, in spite of our depression, found the place beautiful. We sat under a tree and passed some time thinking about Babuji. But we were forced to get up because of ants and went to the pier. Then with our minds still on Sri Aurobindo we went back and sat under another tree. In the cool breeze and peaceful atmosphere we were overpowered by sleep. We woke up at 3.45 p.m. and with our attention once more focussed on Babuji, came back to his temple. We sat in the verandah inside and asked Amrita for some water to drink. It was given and we eagerly quenched our thirst. I may mention here that though it was true that we were thirsty due to the climate, what made us ask for water was the desire to taste the tirtha in Sri Aurobindo's house. After Amrita had gone back we sat on. Some time later he came back and said, "Babuji is busy; I will call you." The call came at ten minutes to five.

Before that, as we were sitting in the verandah, we heard someone coming down the stairs. As soon as his foot touched the floor I spontaneously ran forward. I felt it must be Sri Aurobindo. I touched his lotus feet and prostrated myself in sashtanga dandavat pranam [with feet, trunk, shoulders, palms and head touching the floor like a rod — signifying surrender of the whole being]. Then he proceeded to the courtyard. Later I was to learn from the Mother that it was at a corresponding spot on the first floor that she had first seen Sri Aurobindo; that was at 3.30 p.m. on 29th March 1914. And I had, rather I was granted, the good fortune of meeting him just at that spot.

Page - 9


When we went upstairs Sri Aurobindo was seated in the verandah. I saw nothing except him and when I prostrated before him I lay there for one full hour. I just could not get up. No one disturbed me. At the end of that hour Sri Aurobindo placed his hand on my head, blessed me and said "Tomorrow." Then I got up.

A number of chairs had been placed near the table in front of Sri Aurobindo's chair. We were asked to sit there but we squatted on the floor by his side. He asked us our names and enquired about Dikshitbhai and Punamchandbhai; then he asked me: "Do you know English?" I said I did not. He began in Hindi and asked how we all had come.

C: "A group led by Dikshitbhai walked down from Bharooch to Bilimora and thence we three were sent by train."

Sri Aurobindo: "How long do you wish to stay here?"

C: "As long as you will permit us."

He looked around and smiled. Then he told us to come the next day and added that he would receive us after 4.30 p.m. He got up and we too stood up. He did namaskar and we did the same. Then he started towards his room and we remained standing till he entered it. When Amrita asked us to leave it was almost 6.10, When we left we were in a trance-like condition, our eyes could hardly remain open. No wonder we lost our way. Somehow we reached home, cooked our meal, ate it and, after some polite conversation with Narandas, still thinking of Babuji we fell asleep.

You ask me what were my reactions on my first darshan of Sri Aurobindo. Well, after getting up from my sashtanga dandavat pranam at his feet upstairs, I felt that I had nothing more to do in my life. This feeling itself was evident proof of our having 'arrived'.

The next day (2nd April), we went through the morning duties, had our afternoon rest and got ready to leave around four o'clock, but throughout our thoughts remained centred on Babuji. We reached his house and sat in the verandah downstairs. It was 4.30 but nobody came down and we became impatient for Babuji's darshan. Finally at 4.55 p.m. Amrita came and escorted us upstairs. As soon as we approached Sri Aurobindo we prostrated and our eyes touched his lotus feet. For about fifteen minutes we sat quietly, then the following conversation took place.



Sri Aurobindo: "How many people are there at Kashibhai's? " He stopped after uttering Kashibhai's name. The ashram was known as Dikshitbhai' s, not Kashibhai's.

C: "Twenty and a family associated with the ashram there."

Sri Aurobindo: "What are Dikshit and Punamchand doing there?"

C: "Why do you ask that? You know everything."

Sri Aurobindo smiled and almost whispered: "Yes, I know." Then looking round at all sitting there he laughed heartily.

Sri Aurobindo: "What are you doing in yoga?"

C: "I don't know what is yoga. I am practising something taught by Dikshitbhai and Punamchandbhai. "

Sri Aurobindo: "What is the practice you are doing?"

C: "Whatever work I do I offer to the Lord and I offer it through you."

Sri Aurobindo: "How many practise yoga there? Give me their names."

I gave the names.

Sri Aurobindo: "Do you feel anything during this practice?"

C: "Yes, sometimes peace; I see at times light also."

Sri Aurobindo smiled very sweetly. Then he asked: "Yes, but has Dikshit explained to you how to dedicate everything?"

C: "No. He has only told us that we must be complete instruments. "

Sri Aurobindo: "How?"

C: "I don't know."

Sri Aurobindo: "You see, the peace which you feel shows that God is near you. The Light you see suggests that you will be able to meet him in that peace and light. Gradually you will be able to stay in this state."

C: "Sometimes I feel that the light is inside me."

Sri Aurobindo: "It means God is within you. Are you practising this?"

C: "Yes."

Sri Aurobindo remained silent for some time. Then asked "What made you come here?"

I answered in some detail.



Sri Aurobindo: "Do they read any papers there?"

C: " I don't know."

Sri Aurobindo: "Do you read the Standard Bearer?"

C: "At times. When I find there something that ought to be practised I note it down."

Sri Aurobindo: "How long did you stay in Bombay?"

C: "Four days."

Sri Aurobindo: "Where did you stay?"

C: "Near Motilal Mehta's bungalow."

Sri Aurobindo: "Now what are you going to do at your place?"

C: "We have not decided yet. We are thinking of doing some farming."

Sri Aurobindo: "Someone went to Chandernagore with Dikshit. Who was that?"

C: "Dwarkanath Harkare who lived in Gandhi Ashram."

Sri Aurobindo: "Who is he?"

C: "A Maharashtrian. " (Harkare had once stayed in our study- home in Patan and taken a keen interest in me.)

It was 6.05 p.m. by now and Sri Aurobindo went into his room saying: "Now, tomorrow."

Now the third day. We got up at 6 a.m. After the day's routine we sat waiting for 4 o'clock. Our hearts were full of expectations and ardent for Babuji's darshan. Today, my mind had decided, there must be a long discussion with Sri Aurobindo; specific questions needed to be asked, and if time was too short, at least one particular one was indispensable. Joy seemed to be overflowing. But time refused to move! A thought came that we could pass the time in sleep! But today that too became difficult; finally, since we were determined, the goddess of Sleep enveloped us. After waking up we got ready quickly and set off. We went to the seashore and after a brief walk reached Babuji's temple at 4.10 p.m. Several times we sent word to Amrita. He would only say: "Babuji will see you at five. You will be called." Thereafter we tried to spend the time in japa and meditation, but it was very difficult to keep waiting. Finally we were called at 5 p.m.

After pranam when Sri Aurobindo started speaking, I said: "Please indulge us by speaking in Gujarati."



He laughed and said: "I knew Gujarari when I was in Baroda but now I have forgotten it."

C: "You know everything."

He laughed and laughed.

C: "You can speak at least in Hindi."

Sri Aurobindo: "That too I don't know."

C; "You certainly know Hindi."

And then he spoke in Hindi explaining what is meditation.

During our stay of eight days, several other things happened. Sri Aurobindo asked me to try to see the Divine Shakti of the Lord that is at work everywhere, in everything. When I asked him what books I should read, he told me to read Prakriti Rahasya (Secret of Nature) in Gujarari and Shandilya's Bhakti Sutra. He explained the subject dealt with in Prakriti Rahasya and told me that it was written by a disciple of Motilal Roy of Chandernagore who lived in Navsari.* When I read that book I experienced the awakening in me of something that perceived beauty everywhere.

Once I asked Sri Aurobindo: "When will I have realisation? "

In reply he told me the following story of Narada:

Two devotees were doing their sadhana in a forest for many years. Once when Narada passed by, one of them asked him, "Bhagavan [a form of addressing holy and venerable souls], you are regularly visiting the Lord. Would you kindly ask Him on my behalf when I shall be able to get His darshan?" A little further Narada met the second devotee. He too entreated him to ask the Lord the same question. On his return Narada told the first devotee, "You will see the Lord after as many births as there are leaves on the tree under which you are doing your tapasya." The devotee was utterly disappointed and gave up his sadhana. When Narada met the second devotee and told him the same thing, he felt unbounded joy and began to dance in delight: "Oh, after all I am certain to see the Lord!" The promise filled him with such an intense joy that he lost all sense of self and realised the Lord that very instant.

Thus Sri Aurobindo described to us how the time when we will realise the Divine depends on the one-pointedness and intensity of our aspiration.

When I asked Sri Aurobindo if we could see his room, he



smiled, said "Yes", and pointed towards his room. The three of us went inside unescorted. There, on his table, I saw an old pocket- watch. A thought crossed my mind that if I had the means I would get a better watch for his use and request this one for myself. The thought arose and disappeared like a sudden wave. (It had an interesting sequel. One day, after I had settled here and started working with the Mother, she brought that watch and asked me if I would like to keep it. I was amazed but did not answer because I had firmly decided never to take anything from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, bur to offer whatever I could, All the same she gave it to me.)

We had not decided on which day we would leave Pondicherry. On the eighth day we all felt it to be the last day; for every evening, when we took leave of Sri Aurobindo after being near him for an hour, he used to say, "Now, tomorrow." But this time he said, "Whenever you meet with a difficulty, remember me", and after a pause, "Write to me." So we understood it was the last day. The wonder was that all that we wanted to ask Sri Aurobindo, all that we had to tell him, was over in the first two or three days, and yet every day, when we were leaving he used to say, "Now, tomorrow." This shows how he showered his infinite grace to keep us in his presence for some more days.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

15th August- Darshan Card from Sri Aurobindo Society of Pondicherry

15th August is the Birthday of Sri Aurobindo and of free India. On this day, a card was distributed in the Ashram containing a rare picture of Sri Aurobindo, taken by the famous French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson in 1950, and a beautiful message in the Mother's own hand.
"What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's
history is not a teaching, not even a revelation;
it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme ".
- The Mother
If you would like to see the original Card you can see it on the Sri Aurobindo Society Website It can also be downloaded and printed as a Card.

Thanks to Vijay Bhaiya who sent this from SAS today.

The Conscious Inconscient - By Srikant Jivarajani

There is the noise of the vehicles bellow,
Car, Scooter, motor-cycle and auto's horn
Bark, and radios shout and bay and show
Above in the silence of the skies is born:

Mute, passive, indifferent to life under its dome,
Yon in north-west the twinkle of a lonely star,
That doth hide-and-seek behind the clouds that roam:
There is a gap between the two - earth and sky afar.

A gap too unbridgeable of the cronos' make,
Hath made the move, whence sprung the power,
Whose was the light, life, energy, to take
This have I asked to my being with a prayer.

Answer have I received none from the morn
Whose dew-drops peep from the lotus-leaf;
The evening in her quiet mood looks forlorn:
Thus am I left to look back to my soul's relief.

The veil lifts in yon east of Apollo's lawn,
Slowly his warmth, light, heat, truth asunder,
Apollo that of day-break tears apart at dawn,
A knowledge was held in my bosom with wonder.

In the black and dark heavens for the moment,
Do I behold the pencil-light that slowly gropes,
And Whispers to ear, "Hello!" in deep firmament
Then sinks back into clouds without any hopes.

Liquid now seems the voice travelling in night,
Its destination - darkness and inconscient deep;
In a fine ether, that hardly allows that light,
And it is lost in a slumber and wiff of sleep.

Thus rule of the silence, the light, the love,
Has no link with this dark below,- remains above
O make thy unity supreme, through the universe,
So that thy pure bliss may reign all nectarous.

12.10.96. - 14.08.10.
Thanks to Srikantji for this contribution
It is true that this world is a very dangerous one where Falsehood is still in full swing.

That is why Sri Aurobindo says, "Only were safe who kept God in their hearts."
Fear not, you are on the right side.
-The Mother

The Mother's symbol and the Petals

The Mother's symbol and the Petals

The meditation rooms inside the twelve stone-clad 'petals' surrounding the Matrimandir carry the names and colours of the 'petals' in the Mother's symbol: These are: 
  • Sincerity
  • Humility
  • Gratitude
  • Perseverance
  • Aspiration
  • Receptivity
  • Progress
  • Courage
  • Goodness
  • Generosity
  • Equality
  • Peace

 "The first eight concern the attitude towards the Divine, and the last four towards humanity." (Mother's symbol)
Meaning of colours

In March 1934, Sri Aurobindo indicated through the (above placed) colour chart of the twelve petals pertaining to the symbol:  Center and four powers, white;

The twelve all different colors in three groups: top group red, passing to orange towards yellow; next group, yellow passing through green towards blue; and third group, blue passing through violet towards red.

If white is not convenient, the center may be gold (powder). 

According to Sri Aurobindo the colours mentioned generally have the following significances, though the exact meaning may vary "with the field, the combinations, the character and shades of the color, the play of forces": red- physical , yellow- thinking mind,  blue- higher mind, orange- supramental in the physical, violet
- divine compassion or grace,  gold- divine Truth, green- life, white- the light of the Mother, or the Divine Consciousness

Colours of meditation rooms

The above mentioned names and colours have been integrated into the sequence of the meditation rooms which are being completed inside each of the twelve petals surrounding the structure in the following order: Sincerity - light blue

Peace - deep blue

Equality - blue violet

Generosity - pure violet

Goodness - reddish violet

Courage - red

Progress - orange red

Receptivity - orange

Aspiration - orange yellow

Perseverance - pale yellow

Gratitude - pale green

Humility - deep green


Matrimandir Golden Plates

Matrimandir Closer View

Matrmandir Banyan Tree with Flowers

Power of OM

Om Symbol

Aum sign is the most prominent symbol of Hinduism. The Om symbol signifies divinity and the oneness of all the creations of God. Om or Aum presents the never ending Brahman, where all forms of life exist.

Om is of utmost importance in the Hindu religion. The symbol Om is considered to be very sacred, as it represents the Brahman, i.e. the source of life. The day of Hindus begins with the chanting of Aum Mantra. Many Hindus wear the pendants of Om, as it is very auspicious. You will find the Om symbol in almost every Hindu temple. In this article, we will tell you the complete meaning of Om, which will give you clarity about Om and its relevance in the day to day life.

Om is an integral part of daily life of Hindus. It is a word that the people of Hinduism keep uttering every now and then. Infact, a Hindu baby is brought into this world by chanting the holy word 'Om'. When the child is born, he is given a holy bath and it is during this ceremony that the sacred word Om is written on his tongue with honey. Thus, the life of a Hindu begins with Om.

Power of Om
When you take a deep breath and chant Om, it causes a very calmful effect, which will totally relax your mind and body. It is the first stage of meditation, which aims at drawing your attention away from all other tensions that have occupied your mind.

Om Meditation\
Chanting Om is the first step towards meditation. All that you need to do is to hide at a peaceful place, sit down on the floor, gently close your eyes, take a deep breath and chant Om. While doing so, completely relax your muscles. Don't tighten your muscles; otherwise you won't be able to feel the energizing effect of chanting Om.

Thursday, August 5, 2010