Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch

Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi – 110 016

PROJECT

OVERVIEW

SWACHH BHARAT MISSION takes initiative to sensitize individuals towards keeping their environment clean .Taking a lead from this, it is endeavoured to take forward the CLEAN MIND PROGRAMME.

NAME OF PROJECT:     Clean Mind Programme

RATIONALE FOR PROJECT:

            What we think is how we feel and experience the world. The kind of thoughts we keep and allow determine whether we will have a pleasant or unpleasant experience.Events alone do not cause a person to feel depressed, enraged, or highly anxious. Rather, it is one’s beliefs about the events which contribute to unhealthy feelings and self defeating behaviours.

            This programme aims at assessing various dimensions of ‘Dirt’ that occupy critical mind space and in-turn interfere with a person’s well being and growth.  Having a clutter free mind is a key ingredient in the experience of contentment for a person .The notion and experience of contentment is really the most comprehensive marker to assess an individual’s holistic health

CONTENTMENT HOLISTIC HEALTH HAPPINESS

Contentment is distinguished from complacency is perhaps the variable that in experience provides the platform to an individual to progress and grow towards a more actualised and spiritual being.

The rationale / need for the idea of  ‘Clean Mind’ is that if people can adapt ways to recognise, monitor, check and alter their maladaptive thoughts  , they will be more attuned , satisfied and calm than hustled and stressed.

Perhaps, this in general has been the focus of most psychotherapy based interventions; however our aim is not to merely look at absence of symptoms but create a foundation for an individual. The aim is to bring together an approach that aids the journey of going beyond surface consciousness to the larger life of the inner being.

PROJECT’S CONTRIBUTION:

The MIND once it gets cleaned and cleared can provide the seed for the evolution of the spirit.

MIND SPIRIRTUALIZED MIND SUPERMIND/TRUTH CONSCIOUSNESS

The primary theme of the project is the

  • Gradational ascent of consciousness from body to shift focus onto the mind.
  •  To assist people in their movement from an unclean to clean mind.
  • Clean mind will be taken though various meditation techniques towards the highest goal that is the DIVINE.

PROJECT’S VISION AND SRI AUROBINDO’S INTEGRAL YOGA: A blend.

The project is aimed at capturing the true essence of Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga. Various modalities and focus on cleansing the mind are nothing but ways to conjure up strategies to assist in the ultimate aim of integral Yoga.

THE MODAL

The core of the programme rests on the belief that a clean mind really is an Integral mind.

So with this basic tenet, we have outlined two components/parameters of thinking that derive their genesis from the foundations of both psychology and Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga.

Rational thinking and Responsible Thinking

The invoking of Rational and responsible thinking is yet another aim to reunite the infinite to finite,the timeless in the temporal and the transcendent with the immanent as is the vision of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and goal of integral yoga

Rational &responsible Thinking Foundation of the Psychic Being

Rational thinking:

Humans have both innate rational (meaning self-helping, socially helping, and constructive) and irrational (meaning self-defeating, socially defeating, and unhelpful) tendencies and leanings. It is seen that  people to a large degree consciously and unconsciously construct emotional difficulties such asself-blame,self-pity, clinical anger, hurt, guilt, shame,depressionandanxiety, and behaviours and behaviour tendencies likeprocastination, compulsiveness, avoidance,addictionand withdrawalby the means of their irrational and self-defeating thinking,emotingand behaving.

By using several direct and indirect measures, the plan is to

  1. Assess the components and contents that contribute in the contamination of the mind. (Markers of ‘dirt’). Dirt within this paradigm refers to all the self defeating attitudes, beliefs that when held thwart a human’s progress and psychic growth.
  2. Assess the individual’s overall CONTENTMENT SCORE  based on his/her scores on the parameters of health , security , personal & social relationships, emotional and spiritual quotients . Based on the scores generating ways to address gaps and deficits to enable a more holistic and integral idea of health.
  3. To enable the use of reason as a guide, as a  tool to foster frustration tolerance and make peace with the ambivalence that exists within humans.
  4.  Practices within Integral yoga. This would help in actually learning tools to help cleanse the mind experientially and maintain the cleanliness.
  5. To recognize their mature moral responsibility and movement beyond egocentricism.
  6. In their own personal journeys towards their connection with the divine , the ‘responsible ‘ virtues of grace &  gratitude etc can be imbibed and experienced.

Once the layers and clouds of constant, pervasive irrational thoughts gets removed ( Swachh), it will help the movement towards bringing to surface the latent , hidden potentialities of being .

Responsible Thinking:

When a person starts engaging with his/her self and society in a more responsible manner, it is actually symbolic of movement.  The model looks at responsible thinking as that dimension that bases its ideological markings on the goals of integral yoga.  It encapsulates the adoption of those practices that use mind, body and life as instruments in the transcendence from outwards to inwards.

 Within responsible thinking, we wish to connect individuals to

Thus it is endeavored to  discover and foster ways though which responsible thoughts can serve as a bedrock towards  ‘ Psychicisation

PROGRAMME IMPLEMANTATION & SCHEDULE :

It will involve a combination of activities and modalities to address the two critical aspects discussed above.

  • Individual and group sessions.
  • Screening individuals with basic integral health score and contentment score. Involving these individuals in sessions to address issues and inculcate them into clean mind programme
  • Organize retreats outside Delhi for learning self & experiential exercises.
  • Rural clinics will be held (Dhankot) as part of outreach community activity
  • To teach karma yoga practices and encourage individuals to the path of spiritual adventure & evolution.
  • To foster and facilitate a program from cleansing the body to the mind by incorporating elements from Hathyoga , to Rajayoga  (yoga & meditation )
  • To organize workshops on traditional & nontraditional practices to enhance mental enrichment like “the joyful exploration of self through clowning “
  • School mental health programme and discourse on teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
  • Psychiatric services to provide assistance for any disorders pertaining to the mind.
  • Organization of camps like adolescent camps, geriatric camps and family camps.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Phones: 011- 26567863,26524810

Website: www.sriaurobindoashram.net

For 28 Feb 2016

Three Cheers for a Glorious Future

A heavenlier passion shall upheave men’s lives,

Their mind shall share in the ineffable gleam,

Their heart shall feel the ecstasy and the fire.

SRI AUROBINDO (Savitri, Book 11, p. 709)

The yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is steeped in evolution, not just the evolution from matter to man, which has already taken place, but also the evolution of the future from man to ‘superman’, from the mental consciousness to the Supramental Consciousness. Further, they not only visualized the future, they also created it through their sadhana. The Mother declared that the Supramental principle had been established on earth on 29 February 1956, and over time it will manifest in more and more people. The significance of the milestone is that the while the present life of humanity is organized around the separative ego; life of the humanity of the future will be organized around the uniting Supramental Consciousness. That will be the real and lasting solution to the problems of human existence, such as evil, injustice and suffering. Glimpses of the advent of the Supramental and its impact on the world are available in several passages of Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem, Savitri, which may be considered an Upanishad in the English language. This article is based on a sample of such passages.

The achievements of the human mind

The human mind has been a unique development in evolution. Not only has man’s intellect made possible the development of science and technology, man also has, because of his well-developed mind, the urge to look deeper at existential questions such as the meaning of human life.

In waking Mind, the Thinker built his house.

A reasoning animal willed and planned and sought;

He stood erect among his brute compeers,

He built life new, measured the universe,

Opposed his fate and wrestled with unseen Powers,

Conquered and used the laws that rule the world,

And hoped to ride the heavens and reach the stars,

A master of his huge environment. (1)

What next?

Now that man is approaching the limits of what may be achieved by the mind, he is becoming aware of, and wants to explore what needs going beyond the mind. The part in him that was asleep so far is waking up.

Now through Mind’s windows stares the demigod

Hidden behind the curtains of man’s soul:

He has seen the Unknown, looked on Truth’s veilless face;

A ray has touched him from the eternal sun;

Motionless, voiceless in foreseeing depths,

He stands awake in Supernature’s light

And sees a glory of arisen wings

And sees the vast descending might of God. (2)

Certitude

That the future will be radically different is certain; it is only a matter of time.

Our greater self of knowledge waits for us,

A supreme light in the truth-conscious Vast:

It sees from summits beyond thinking mind,

It moves in a splendid air transcending life.

It shall descend and make earth’s life divine. (3)

Instrument for the Advent of the Supramental on Earth

The Divine needed an instrument in human form to establish the Supramental on earth. In Savitri, it is Savitri who is the chosen instrument. It is generally agreed that in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, the character Savitri is none other than the Mother. Savitri knows what her mission on earth is, but initially the Divine resists her attempts. The Divine first appears surprised that Savitri has been able to see what had been hidden from mankind so far.

How hast thou seen beyond the topaz walls

… …

In thee the secret sight man’s blindness missed

Has opened its view past Time, my chariot-course,

And death, my tunnel which I drive through life

To reach my unseen distances of bliss. (4)

Then she is told that man does not want to get liberated from his ignorance. He is so bogged down by his earthly needs that he does not look beyond them.

Heaven’s call is rare, rarer the heart that heeds;

The doors of light are sealed to common mind

And earth’s needs nail to earth the human mass, … (5)

Then she is told that evolution is a slow process, and therefore she should not be in a hurry. Let nature take its course, as it has done in the past.

Leave to the circling aeons’ tardy pace

And to the working of the inconscient Will,

Leave to its imperfect light the earthly race:

All shall be done by the long act of Time. (6)

Then she is offered a temptation. The Divine tells her to be satisfied with her own salvation.

Clasp, Ocean, deep into thyself thy wave,

Happy for ever in the embosoming surge. (7)

But Savitri is deeply touched by the misery of the world. Her dictum is:

Imperfect is the joy not shared by all. (8)

She wants to provide mankind the comfort of a mother’s arms.

“Thy energy, Lord, to seize on woman and man,

To take all things and creatures in their grief

And gather them into a mother’s arms.” (9)

All the arguments and the temptations of the Divine were meant to test the instrument. After Savitri clears the test, the Divine is pleased, and tells her:

“O beautiful body of the incarnate Word,

Thy thoughts are mine, I have spoken with thy voice.

My will is thine, what thou hast chosen I choose:

All thou hast asked I give to earth and men. (10)

The Divine tells Savitri how granting her what she wanted will affect her.

All beings shall be to thy life my emissaries;

Drawn to me on the bosom of thy friend,

Compelled to meet me in thy enemy’s eyes,

My creatures shall demand me from thy heart.

… …

Hearts touched by thy love shall answer to my call,

… …

Enamoured of thy spirit’s loveliness

They shall embrace my body in thy soul,

Hear in thy life the beauty of my laugh,

Know the thrilled bliss with which I made the worlds.

All that thou hast, shall be for others’ bliss,

All that thou art, shall to my hands belong. (11)

The Process

The number of supramental beings will grow only slowly. When their number reaches a critical mass, they will be able to dominate the affairs of the world, making the world a better place to live in. The first supramental beings to arrive will naturally be children.

I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers

Over the heavenly verge which turns towards life

Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth;

Forerunners of a divine multitude,

Out of the paths of the morning star they came

Into the little room of mortal life.

I saw them cross the twilight of an age,

The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,

The great creators with wide brows of calm,

The massive barrier-breakers of the world

And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,

The labourers in the quarries of the gods,

The messengers of the Incommunicable,

The architects of immortality. (12)

Some shall be made the glory’s receptacles

And vehicles of the Eternal’s luminous power.

These are the high forerunners, the heads of Time,

The great deliverers of earth-bound mind,

The high transfigurers of human clay,

The first-born of a new supernal race. (13)

After the forerunners, will come much larger numbers of the new race.

Even the multitude shall hear the Voice

And turn to commune with the Spirit within

And strive to obey the high spiritual law:

This earth shall stir with impulses sublime,

Humanity awake to deepest self,

Nature the hidden godhead recognise.

Even the many shall some answer make

And bear the splendour of the Divine’s rush

And his impetuous knock at unseen doors. (14)

A peep into the world of the future

What will the world be like when the supramental beings have reached a sufficient number to be able to determine how the world will function? We can get a glimpse of it from the following passages.

All shall be drawn into a single plan,

A divine harmony shall be earth’s law,

Beauty and joy remould her way to live:

Even the body shall remember God,

Nature shall draw back from mortality

And Spirit’s fires shall guide the earth’s blind force;

Knowledge shall bring into the aspirant Thought

A high proximity to Truth and God.

The supermind shall claim the world for Light

And thrill with love of God the enamoured heart

And place Light’s crown on Nature’s lifted head

And found Light’s reign on her unshaking base.

A greater truth than earth’s shall roof-in earth

And shed its sunlight on the roads of mind;

A power infallible shall lead the thought,

A seeing Puissance govern life and act,

In earthly hearts kindle the Immortal’s fire. (15)

A divine force shall flow through tissue and cell

And take the charge of breath and speech and act

And all the thoughts shall be a glow of suns

And every feeling a celestial thrill.

Often a lustrous inner dawn shall come

Lighting the chambers of the slumbering mind;

A sudden bliss shall run through every limb

And Nature with a mightier Presence fill.

Thus shall the earth open to divinity

And common natures feel the wide uplift,

Illumine common acts with the Spirit’s ray

And meet the deity in common things.

Nature shall live to manifest secret God,

The Spirit shall take up the human play,

This earthly life become the life divine. (16)

Conclusion

A glimpse of the event on 29 February 1956 that marked a radical departure from the past is also available in Savitri. The final barrier between man and the Highest Truth, has been likened to a golden lid in the Isha Upanishad (Verse 15). The Mother also saw a golden door, which she broke to let the Light on the other side of the door rush to the earth. Savitri also talks of ‘golden bars’. The gold is symbolic of a temptation. The golden barrier is so tempting that there is not much motivation to cross over to the other side.

Then from a timeless plane that watches Time,

A Spirit gazed out upon destiny,

In its endless moment saw the ages pass.

All still was in a silence of the gods.

The prophet moment covered limitless Space

And cast into the heart of hurrying Time

A diamond light of the Eternal’s peace,

A crimson seed of God’s felicity;

A glance from the gaze fell of undying Love.

A wonderful face looked out with deathless eyes;

A hand was seen drawing the golden bars

That guard the imperishable secrecies.

A key turned in a mystic lock of Time.

But where the silence of the gods had passed,

A greater harmony from the stillness born

Surprised with joy and sweetness yearning hearts,

An ecstasy and a laughter and a cry.

A power leaned down, a happiness found its home.

Over wide earth brooded the infinite bliss. (17)

REFERENCES

All references are to Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. The ‘Book’, ‘Canto’ and page on which the passage occurs is given below. Book 11 has only one canto.

  1. Book 10, Canto 3, p. 622.
  2. Book 10, Canto 3, pp. 622-623.
  3. Book 7, Canto 2, p. 484.
  4. Book 11, p. 683.
  5. Book 11, p. 689.
  6. Book 11. p. 691.
  7. Book 11, p. 692.
  8. Book 11, p. 686.
  9. Book 11, p. 697.
  10. Book 11, p. 698.
  11. Book 11, p. 701.
  12. Book 3, Canto 4, pp. 343-344.
  13. Book 11, p. 705.
  14. Book 11, p. 709.
  15. Book 11, p. 707.
  16. Book 11, p. 710.
  17. Book 11, p. 712.

The full text of Savitri may be downloaded from https://www.google.co.in/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=sri+aurobindo+savitri+pdf

21 FEB - THE MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY

Darshanday

dual-darshan

When I Grow Up…

 Until we know the essential thing we are intended to do, we must therefore find a temporary occupation which will be the best possible manifestation of our present capacities and our goodwill. … … To the extent we lose the habit of referring everything to ourselves and learn more and more to give ourselves more completely, with greater love, to earth and men, we shall see our horizons widen and our duties become more numerous and clear.

THE MOTHER (Words of Long Ago, p. 51)

Mother

“What would you like to do when you grow up?” is one of the commonest questions put to a child. After going through many fantasies and fluctuations, often also failures and frustrations, the person settles down for a routine that may have little to do with the dreams of childhood. Ideally, a person should be doing what he is made for. What a person is made for is a discovery that can take a long time, sometimes more than a lifetime. But some cues are available from the unique talents and gifts the individual has received, and the circumstances in which he is placed. Assuming that the person has succeeded in securing an occupation that uses his strengths well, an occupation in which his weaknesses do not matter, the person could still be doing something that is not his final calling, but what the Mother calls a ‘temporary occupation’. The important thing is to engage with the temporary occupation in the spirit of karma yoga. Instead of worrying about what one would really like to do, one should learn to like what one has to do. As the Mother has said, “Try to take pleasure in all you do, but never do anything for the sake of pleasure”. It is possible to take pleasure in all one does, if one does it in the spirit of karma yoga. Doing it in the spirit of karma yoga means doing it as an instrument of the Divine, with gratitude to the Divine for being given the qualities and qualifications required for the job and for being chosen as the instrument, with one’s heart and soul in the job, and with focus on how it is helping somebody and yet not being attached to the outcome of the work. In short, karma yoga is self-giving; giving what one has to those who need it. Engaging with the ‘temporary occupation’ in the spirit of karma yoga will eventually lead the person to his final calling. To illustrate it with an example from recent history, the final calling of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was that of a teacher. But his ambition as a young man was to become a fighter pilot. After qualifying as an engineer, he failed to clear the entrance test for becoming a fighter pilot by a very narrow margin: he finished ninth while the number of seats was eight. As a frustrated young man, he wandered into Sivananda Ashram at Rishikesh, where Swami Sivananda told him that in his failure lay the key to his destiny. In retrospect, these were prophetic words. Dr. Abdul Kalam went on to work with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for about four decades. While his work there could be used in warfare, without his involvement in such work he might have never realized his true calling. It was this work that brought him close to several successive Prime Ministers and Defence Ministers of the country. Without this proximity, he might have never become the President of India in 2002. However, even becoming the country’s President was not his true calling. He realized his true calling after he finished with his tenure as the President in 2007. He wanted to reach out to children in schools and the youth in colleges across the country as a teacher. In the eight years that he had before he called it an innings, he had one of the world’s biggest classrooms available to him. This classroom had components direct and indirect; real and virtual. He was a visiting professor at a large number of top institutions of the country; besides, he travelled far and wide to schools and colleges where he interacted with the students. In addition to this direct contact, he taught indirectly through his books, and reached millions across the globe through the internet. This huge classroom would not have been available to him unless he had become the President of India, and he could not have become the President if the political leadership was not aware of his existence, and the political leadership was aware of him only because he had been the missile man of India. Thus his failure to become a pilot, and his involvement in scientific work related to the defence of the country were steps by which his destiny as a teacher of the masses was getting worked out. For Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, being a scientist and the President were both temporary occupations. Till the final calling is discovered, however, the temporary occupation is the vehicle that has been given to the person to fulfill the purpose of life, which is spiritual growth. Dr. Kalam eventually realized his final calling because he used his temporary occupations well. He was a hardworking and conscientious worker; he slept for only about five hours a day. He lived an austere life, did not accept any gifts, and remained unmarried; he was wedded to his work. He engaged with his temporary occupations in the spirit of karma yoga.

Life is a journey, and the work that we do is the vehicle that we are given for going towards the goal of the journey. If we know where we have to go, even a bike will take us there; if we do not, even a car cannot. If we seek to grow spiritually through the work that we do, one day we will also discover and realize our final calling.

(February 21 is the birthday of the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram)

 

 

Sri Aurobindo took Mahasamadhi on 5 December 1950, and his material envelope was laid to rest in Samadhi on 9 December 1950

 

SA 5DEC 1950

 SRI AUROBINDO’S PHILOSOPHY: A Few Highlights

Thus shall the earth open to divinity

And common natures feel the wide uplift,

Illumine common acts with the Spirit’s ray

And meet the deity in common things.

Nature shall live to manifest secret God,

The Spirit shall take up the human play,

This earthly life become the life divine.

SRI AUROBINDO (Savitri, Book 11, Canto 1, pp. 710-711)

Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy is rooted in Vedanta, but has a distinct tilt, a unique emphasis, and a significant extension. Vedanta is a spiritual philosophy, the three pillars of which are the Upanishads, the Gita, and the Brahm Sutras. A key feature of Vedanta is that the creation of the material universe was the result of a non-material Supreme Consciousness itself becoming the universe. In other words, the Creator did not create the creation; It became the creation. Thus, through the process of creation, the Creator became visible in a material form, or manifested itself. Hence all creation is the Creator (called God or the Divine) itself in a material form. As a corollary, it follows that the Divine is present in every bit of the creation. For example, if a child takes a square piece of paper, folds it, and makes a boat out of it, we do not need any evidence to prove that the paper is present in every bit of the boat. Since the boat is nothing but the paper in another form, the paper has an all-pervasive presence throughout the boat. Similarly, the universe is nothing but the Divine in another form. Therefore, the Divine has an all-pervasive presence throughout the universe. The universal presence of the Divine is what is called the Spirit, and the presence of the Divine in an individual is what is called the Soul. With this basic background, let us examine three highlights of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy.

A life-affirming tilt

The basic philosophy remaining the same, its implications for life can be diametrically opposite depending on the way we interpret it. One interpretation is that since the fundamental imperishable and constant Reality of all creation is the One Divine, the multiplicity, plurality and differentiation that characterize creation are an illusion. Although our ordinary life revolves around that illusion, the aim of life is to overcome that illusion. Therefore, we should treat this illusion with the contempt that it deserves, treat the illusion as an obstacle to the Realization of the One Reality that is truly real, and at best tolerate the illusion as a necessary evil till we shed the body and, hopefully, attain the bliss of liberation in heaven. This makes everlasting moksha (liberation) and escape from the cycle of birth and death the highest goal of life. This is a life-negating tilt, and its logical consequence is a dichotomy between worldly life and spiritual life. A select few go to the Himalayas or a cave and pursue the One that really matters; but the vast majority cannot afford such a luxury, and are therefore condemned to a worldly life full of suffering and injustice till death provides some respite. Another interpretation of Vedanta is that the world is not an illusion but a manifestation of the Divine. If the Divine is Real, its manifestation cannot be unreal. We cannot accept the invisible form of the Divine as Real, and reject Its visible form as unreal. That would be rejecting one aspect of the very Reality that we consider to be Imperishable. Although the visible form of the Divine is perishable, it is only the form that is perishable; the essence is Imperishable. Although the visible form is temporary, it is eternal in its recurrence. To give an analogy, the deeper reality of pots is clay, but while the pots exist, the pots are not unreal. They may break, and the clay we get from them may be recycled to give us new pots of a different shape, but that does not mean that the pots are an illusion. Thus the world may be a temporary reality, not the Absolute Reality, but it is not unreal. Further, if the universe is real, and to take it as the entire reality is the result of ignorance, the aim of life should be to get rid of the ignorance so that we can see the world and worldly life as imperfect manifestations of the perfect Divine. That is possible only by engaging with the world with love and a feeling of oneness. As we overcome the ignorance, the world becomes a better place to live in. Thus the goal of life is to use worldly life as a vehicle for overcoming ignorance. Hence, the world and worldly life should not be rejected, but transformed to be worthy of the One that they manifest. This is an interpretation that affirms life, accepts life, and embraces life wholeheartedly. Through this interpretation, worldly life is enriched and moves towards its highest possibilities. It is this life-affirming tilt that Sri Aurobindo gave to Vedanta.

The emphasis on evolution

When the Supreme Consciousness chose to manifest as the material universe, it became matter, which seemed to know nothing and could apparently do nothing. What a great fall! The all-knowing, all-powerful assumed a form that was highly ignorant and powerless. Thus, creation was an act of gross self-limitation, which may be called involution. However, the Supreme Consciousness did not disappear by becoming matter; it only hid itself. Then began the process of expressing the Supreme Consciousness, bit by bit, through the process of evolution. First came life, which expressed the Consciousness of the Supreme a little better than matter. Then came the mind, which expressed it still better. Man is the latest product of the process of evolution. Man has, by far, the best developed mind. But even man expresses only a small fraction of the Supreme Consciousness. However, man is unique in being able to evolve in consciousness during life through its ‘own efforts’. Self-realized seers and mystics express the Supreme Consciousness almost completely, but what enables them to express It is not a better developed mind but an element that is qualitatively different from the mind. These seers and mystics give a glimpse of what the next stage in evolution will be like. The evolutionary perspective finds a very prominent place in Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual philosophy.

A futuristic extension

Sri Aurobindo has given the assurance that the next leap in evolution, which will introduce a principle higher than the mind (the supermind or the supramental) on a significant scale in the world, is round the corner. As a result, a consciousness significantly higher than the mental, which has been so far confined to a rare few will become the norm. Further, since man can evolve during its lifetime, if a sufficiently large number of human beings engage consciously in living a life that would lead to accelerated growth of consciousness, the average level of consciousness in the world would register a significant rise. Thus, man can collaborate with nature and thereby accelerate the process of evolution. A collective rise in consciousness of our planet is the goal of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. The practical implication of a rise in the average level of earth consciousness is that the affairs of the world would then be conducted from that higher plane of awareness. At that plane, the ego-driven ignorant consciousness that works on the basis of superficial differences and divisions is replaced by a knowledgeable consciousness that acts on the basis of the underlying oneness. That will be the ultimate solution to the problems of human existence such as evil, injustice and suffering. The highly optimistic futuristic extension of spiritual philosophy is Sri Aurobindo’s unique contribution to Vedanta.

Closing thoughts

Sri Aurobindo was a seer who was also a philosopher. Philosophy can be based on rational analysis. Truth based on rational analysis can be erroneous, and is always subject to doubts and questions. But a seer has experienced the Truth. Experience has a certainty that leaves no room for doubts and questions. Therefore, the one who has experienced the Truth is called a Realized Soul, which means that the Truth has become real to him. Sri Aurobindo’s magnum opus on spiritual philosophy, The Life Divine, is based on his Realization, but for the sake of intellectuals, he has also analyzed and rationalized his experiences. Since he was not only a great seer but also an intellectual genius, The Life Divine is extremely thorough, thoroughly rational, and leaves no question untouched or unresolved. A more complete and poetic description of Sri Aurobindo’s experiences, and a summary of his spiritual philosophy, are also available in his epic, Savitri. Savitri is truly an Upanishad in the English language. Sri Aurobindo wrote about a hundred years ago but gave a roadmap that can serve mankind well for at least a few thousand years.

SAMADHI INSCRIPTION1

Experience simplicity & joy in service

Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch was inaugurated on 12th February 1956 with the blessings of the mother. The mother graciously granted the first sacred relics of Sri Aurobindo to be enshrined here on 5th December 1957.

We have expanded our footings at Van Niwas, Madhubhan and The Mountain Paradise in the sylvan hills of Uttarakhand and at the Auro-Mira Vidya Mandir in Kechla, Odisha.

Our beckoning to volunteers

Come as a resident volunteer to any of our centres to spend an enriching time with your inner ecology and discover who you are. Offer us your time and skill so that together we may carry on the work envisaged by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo.


Sri Aurobindo Ashram -Delhi Branch

Services you can offer as a volunteer

  • The Mothers Integral Health Centre:

We provide free medical services to people in need.

  • Research and resource wing:

You can work on a research project on the integration of the higher consciousness in several areas of human endeavor.

  • Flour and spice mill:

We grind our own flour and spices and you can help in the process.

  • Handmade paper unit:

We produce high quality paper for stationary, greeting cards and decorative items.

  • SABDA:

Here we handle the sale of all ashram (Pondicherry and Delhi Branch) publications, photographs and products.


Talla Ramgarh -  Madhuban

Residential volunteering in the Himalayas

If you have ever dreamt of wanting to serve the divine in a place of beauty and silence, a residential volunteer ship at Madhuban beckons you to choose:

  • Creatively helping to shape our gardens
  • Cooking up a storm in our kitchen
  • Teaching & working with the local children
  • Start a new project.
  • You can also bring your own group and conduct workshops.
  • Residential camps on Vedanta, self growth, yoga & integral living. Youth programmes and adventure camps for children.

Talla Ramgarh -  Mountain Paradise

Located in Talla Ramgarh far away from the hustling crowds is the mountain paradise. If you like your quiet and want to live and tend to the fruit orchards on a quaint mountain top, painting, creating music or just being  by yourself then this is the place for you.

The current activities include:

Fruit growing, plucking, picking, packing and sending the fruits to the markets.


Nainital -  Van Niwas

Set as a serene mountainous abode nestled in the Uttaranchal hills is the Van Niwas

Present activities

Services you can offer as a volunteer

  • Any administrative support you can give for facility and property management.
  • Start a new project.
  • You can also bring your own group and conduct workshops.

The Auro-Mira Vidya Mandir, Kechla, Odisha

Kechla is a conglomeration of several hamlets of primarily tribal populace. The area abounds in natual scenic beauty and clean unpolluted & bracing air.


You could help us with the following:

  • Primary teachers proficient in English/ Hindi.
  • If you are an artist and specialize in any art form, join us in sharing these with our children.
  • Science & environment science mentors.
  • Sports enthusiasts.
  • Administrative assignments.
  • Water and waste management.
  • Writing and whetting  your creative skills for our varied documentation work.
  • Kitchen and bakery where simple, but nutritious meals are prepared.
  • At skills in works: this is a workshop complex that takes care of construction and maintenance work. Volunteers with a background in architecture would help.
  • At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Institute of Vocational Training, we need teachers for our 3 months to 6 months vocational courses in:
    • Library science,
    • Paramedical training
    • Cookery, baking and fruit processing
    • Housekeeping, carpentry & plumbing
    • Photo framing and lamination
    • Book binding and screen printing,
    • Computer software and hardware teaching
    • Typing
    • Tailoring
    • Mobile repairing
    • Solar lighting

 


You can also volunteer at any of our centres and help us with…

If you are looking to make a difference in your own life and in the life of others, do write and share what you would like to offer.

Contact

Mail:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

web:

www.sriaurobindoashram.in

www.auromira.in

Phone No:

+91 11 8130075079

You can offer your own individual offering of seamlessly merge in the fabric of our work.

The Gita and Two Gayatris

O Lord, Eternal Master, Thou art my Light and my Peace; guide my steps, open my eyes, illumine my heart, and lead me on the paths that go straight to Thee.


THE MOTHER (in a Prayer on 13 December 1913)

In Gayatri Mantras, Gayatri refers to the name of the metre in which they are composed. In the Gita, Lord Krishna says, "I am the Gayatri among the poetic metres" (10:35), implying that it is the best among metres.

There are many Gayatri Mantras, but the best known is:

Om! Bhur bhuvaha swaha tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayaat

(O God! Let us meditate upon the splendor of that supremely desirable Divine Sun, which is in the earth, the sky, the heaven. May He stimulate our thoughts)

When the One formless Divine chose to manifest through objects that had a form, it was an act of gross self-limitation. The all-knowing all-powerful assumed the appearance of Matter that seemed to know nothing and could do nothing. But thereafter began the process of evolution, by which the Supreme Consciousness of the Divine started manifesting in small doses, little by little. First came creatures with life, who manifested a little more of the Supreme Consciousness than Matter. Then came creatures with a mind, who manifested still more of it. Man is the latest product of evolution, and has an extremely well-developed mind. However, the divinity lying hidden in the creation remained hidden even from man. The mind can ask questions, explore, discover, and reason. These mental processes have been very useful in understanding the physical universe, but the discovery of the Divine has proved beyond the reach of even the human mind. Logic is the best developed faculty of the mind, but logic measures and calculates. On the other hand, discovery of the Divine needs faith, which is beyond logic. The seed that the Divine has planted for taking us closer to the Divine is love. Love knows no logic. Love gives without calculations. Love makes us feel one with some unit of creation other than ourselves. And, the beauty is that although love is irrational, it can be rationalized. That is why; the highest reaches of the mind can take us very close to the Divine. The Gayatri mantra is a prayer for stimulation of the thoughts by the Divine itself. Stimulation by the Divine can give our thoughts the breadth, depth and purity that can take us close to the Divine. That is why, the devotee addresses Savitur, the Creative aspect of the Divine, which has created the earth, the sky and the heaven, for stimulating his thoughts so that his thoughts can reach their highest potential. The highest potential implied here is not that which will enable the devotee to make scientific discoveries, but the state in which his thoughts will work entirely in tune with the Divine. For the prayer to be effective, the devotee has resolved to focus his mind entirely on the splendor, the glory and the greatness of the Divine. For any part of the being to reach its highest potential, single-minded dedication is indispensable. As a result of uninterrupted meditation on Savitur, the devotee's prayer may be granted, and his mind blessed with a perfect understanding of the Divine.

But not many know that Sri Aurobindo has also given us a Gayatri Mantra, which is:

Om! Tat savitur varam roopam jyotih parasya dheemahi
Yannah satyena deepayet

(O God! Let us meditate on the best form of Savitri, on the Light of the Supreme, which shall illumine us with the Truth)

In this mantra also, the devotee meditates on the Light of Savitur, the Creative aspect of the Divine. But the devotee's aspiration is higher. He is not satisfied with reaching the highest potential of his mind. Thinking, even at its best, is a tedious process, and liable to error, doubts and questions. In Sri Aurobindo's Gayatri, the prayer is for the Light of the Supreme to remove all darkness, and to illumine the Truth. Switching on a bright light is a quick way of seeing what was hidden in darkness. The process is not only quick, but also leaves no doubt about what is discovered. The process of the Divine providing the necessary light to the seeker requires a mechanism higher than the mental. It is not the highest reaches of the mind, but something qualitatively different from the mind that can illumine us with the Truth.

In Chapter 10 of the Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna about His (Krishna's) multiple manifestations. That is the mental approach. Now Arjuna knows the Divine at the mental level. But he is not satisfied. That is why, he asks at the beginning of Chapter 11 that although he now knows and accepts the Divine, he still wants to see the Divine (The Gita, 11:1-4).

Since seeing is not possible at the mental level, Lord Krishna gives him divya chakshu, or 'divine eyes' (The Gita, 11:8).

'Divine eyes' are the same as that Supreme Light which can illumine mortal man with the Truth. After seeing the Truth with the 'divine eyes', knowledge of the Divine is no longer mere mental knowledge for Arjuna. Now knowledge of the Divine is part of Arjuna's experience. Experience is far more reliable and convincing than mental knowledge. Unlike mental knowledge, experience leaves us in no doubt about the existence of what has been seen. We get hints of the transition from thoughts to experience also in Chapter 10 of the Gita (10:9-11). In these verses, Lord Krishna says:

"Their consciousness full of Me, their life wholly given up to Me, mutually understanding and speaking of Me, they are ever contented and joyful. To these who are thus in constant union with Me and adore Me with an intense delight of love, I give the Yoga of the Buddhi by which they come to Me." (10:9-10)

It is Yoga of the Buddhi, that Lord Krishna says He gives to His devotees. Stimulation of thoughts by the Divine is what the Vedic Gayatri asks for, and the Lord grants it to His devotees. But the Lord does not stop there. He gives them more, which comes in the next verse.

"Out of compassion for them, I, lodged in their self, destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the blazing lamp of knowledge." (10:11)

The "blazing lamp of knowledge" is what Sri Aurobindo's Gayatri asks for, and the Lord grants it "out of compassion" for His devotees.

- Dr Ramesh Bijlani

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24 November 1926 is believed to be the day on which Sri Aurobindo brought overmental consciousness down to earth. That is why, 24 November is celebrated as Siddhi day.

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Hundred Years Ago, Hundreds Ahead


If then the world is a dream or an illusion or a mistake, it is a dream originated and willed by the Self in its totality and not only originated and willed, but supported and perpetually entertained. Moreover, it is a dream existing in a Reality and the stuff of which it is made is that Reality, for Brahman is the material of the world as well as its base and continent. If the gold of which the vessel is made is real, how can we suppose that the vessel itself is a mirage?
– SRI AUROBINDO
(Arya, Vol. 1, No.4, 15 November 1914)

Hundred years ago happened two events, both interrelated, which make 1914 a landmark year in the spiritual history of the world. On 29 March 1914, the Mother met Sri Aurobindo when she came to Pondicherry for the first time with her husband Paul Richard. This historic meeting triggered the publication of a monthly journal, the Arya. Although the Richards went back to France in February 1915, publication of the Arya continued till January 1921.

Why was the trigger important?
By 1914, Sri Aurobindo had become an unprecedented combination in human history. From age 7 through 21, he had spent 14 years in England. Being exceptionally intelligent, he had mastered the English language, learnt several modern European languages, and also the classical languages, Greek and Latin. He had also absorbed, assimilated, and evaluated critically the western culture. After returning to India in 1893 at age 21, during the 14 years that he spent in Baroda he taught himself Sanskrit, and studied the ancient Indian scriptures in their original. Thus, he became a perfect synthesis of the East and the West. He also gave evidence of his phenomenal spiritual capacity towards the end of his stay in Baroda when he went into Samadhi within three days, and again during his imprisonment in Alipore Jail from 1908-1909 where he saw the Divine in everything animate and inanimate. It was in the prison that he also discovered the true mission of his life, which was to give to the world the wisdom that it was going to need very soon. After going to Pondicherry in 1910, by 1914 he had spent another four years on intense spiritual exploration. Fourteen years in the West followed by fourteen years in the East, both spent going into the depths of two contrasting cultures and looking at them critically with a razor sharp intellect, and on top of that phenomenal spiritual capacity, is a combination unprecedented in human history, and unlikely to be repeated in the near future. Thus, in 1914 he was more than well-equipped to fulfill the mission of his life, which was to give the spiritually starved world of the twentieth century the ultimate wisdom that it needed very badly. But for him to take on the role of a communicator needed a trigger, and the trigger came when Sri Aurobindo, Paul Richard and his wife, Mirra Alfassa Richard (now called The Mother), decided in 1914 to publish a monthly journal, the Arya, which would bring together the religious and spiritual traditions of the world. Once the process had been triggered, the pages of the Arya were flooded with Sri Aurobindo's wisdom, an output that was nothing short of a tsunami of spiritual knowledge and experience based primarily on the ancient Indian tradition, but transformed by an unparalleled global futuristic insight.
Why was the journal named the Arya?
The word Arya (Sanskrit, noble) had not yet acquired in 1914 the connotation of racial superiority that Hitler gave it in the 1940s. While explaining the name of the journal, Sri Aurobindo said, "... the word Arya expressed a particular ethical and social ideal, an ideal of well-governed life, candour, courtesy, nobility, straight dealing, courage, gentleness, purity, humanity, compassion, protection of the weak, liberality, observance of social duty, eagerness for knowledge, respect for the wise and learned".1 Thus, Arya means a collection of commendable qualities worth cultivating.

Aims of the Arya
The Arya started with two principal aims: to study the highest problems of existence, and to synthesize and harmonize diverse religious and spiritual traditions of the world. It achieved these aims, but ended up doing much more. It provided not just knowledge, but also wisdom based on Sri Aurobindo's spiritual realizations. It provided guidance for living a spiritual life. It rationalized spiritual experiences, and thereby provided a rich philosophy, which can be the basis of education, psychology and medicine. It gave us a powerful exposition of the Indian culture. It looked at the history of the world from a psychological standpoint. It formulated Sri Aurobindo's vision of the future of the world, both from the evolutionary perspective and the sociopolitical perspective.
Soon after the publication of the Arya began in August 1914, the Richards left for France, Sri Aurobindo started writing for the journal all by himself, and the journal continued to be published regularly month after month till January 1921. He selected a few themes for the journal, and wrote one article on each theme. He prepared an issue in about a week, writing on an average more than one article a day, straight from the mind to the typewriter. What he wrote in six and a half years is more than what an average person can read in a lifetime, leave aside understand and act upon. Although the material was prepared with, what Prof. K.R.S. Iyenger calls "journalistic hurry", the language was not only flawless but also elegant; even prose reads like poetry. Later on what was done was that the issues of the Arya were dismantled, and articles were assembled, theme-wise, in the same sequence as they appeared in the Arya. For example all the 48 articles that Sri Aurobindo wrote on the Gita were put together, and the collection gave us the book titled Essays on the Gita. Most of the major works of Sri Aurobindo were originally serialized in the Arya. The remarkable thing is that although these works (except The Life Divine, which received the benefit of a complete revision by Sri Aurobindo) were published essentially as they appeared in the Arya, and there was a month's gap between two consecutive articles, there is perfect continuity from one chapter to the next, and the collection reads exactly like a book.

Themes in the Arya
The major themes chosen for the Arya may be divided into translation and/or commentaries on the scriptures, and original themes.
Scriptures
The scriptures chosen by Sri Aurobindo were the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Gita.
Vedas have the experiences of rishis couched in symbolic language, and rituals with deep symbolic significance. However, with passage of time, what the symbols denote has been forgotten, and even the Sanskrit language has changed over the 5,000 years since the Vedas were written. That is why, a literal translation of the Vedas, and attempts to understand them entirely at the mental level, are unfair to the Spirit of the Vedas and have been responsible for their gross misinterpretation. Sri Aurobindo, with his spiritual insight and intellectual genius, has unraveled the symbolism of the Vedas. His articles on the Vedas in the Arya are now available as The Secret of the Veda.
Sri Aurobindo's commentaries on the Isha and Kena Upanishads are much longer than the translations, and illustrate how the Upanishads never intended the dichotomy between worldly life and spiritual life that crept into the Indian psyche later. Thus the powerful life-affirming tilt that Sri Aurobindo gave to Vedanta is rooted not only in the Gita, but also in the Upanishads – two of the major pillars of Vedanta.
Sri Aurobindo wrote forty-eight articles on the Gita in the Arya, and these are now available as Essays on the Gita. These essays stand out among the innumerable commentaries on the Gita in two important respects. First, they are not verse by verse translation of the Gita, with a commentary following the translation of each verse. Instead, in order to achieve lucidity and to make a point clearly, Sri Aurobindo has taken the liberty of going back and forth, if necessary, to give us forty-eight stand-alone essays embodying exceptional and unconventional insight. Secondly, and even more importantly, his commentary looks at the Gita as a whole, and drives home the important point that the three streams of the yoga of the Gita are three only for the convenience of the seeker to make a beginning somewhere. If the seeker continues on the path that he has chosen long enough and sincerely enough, he will eventually be walking a path incorporating action, knowledge as well as devotion.
Original themes
Sri Aurobindo's essays on spiritual philosophy, based primarily on Vedanta but cosmopolitan in their approach, were published in the Arya under the title The Life Divine. Sri Auobindo was neither a philosopher nor liked to be called a philosopher, because, as he said, philosophers think whereas he 'saw'. He had seen with the inner eye the all-pervasive Spirit of the Divine in everything animate and inanimate, and also the transcendent Divine. Experience provides a far more reliable answer to the riddle of existence than the philosopher's method of rational analysis. But, in order to convince those who neither have the experience nor trust those who have, the mental, or philosophical approach is necessary. Thus, while The Life Divine is based on Sri Aurobindo's spiritual realization, he has used his razor-sharp intellect to rationalize the deeper truths of existence. Further, he has used the basic tenets of Vedanta to make a powerful case for the life-embracing version of spirituality. However, he has also presented the life-negating version, and given the rationale behind it. It is characteristic of Sri Aurobindo to present the point of view opposite his own, rationalize it better than his opponents could have done, and then to go about justifying why in spite of the justification, when the issue is considered in greater depth, there is a different view that seems more logical. Thus, he ends up considering an issue from every possible angle, is a sympathetic but invincible critic of his opponents, and leaves no questions unanswered.
Sri Aurobindo also worked out in the pages of the Arya a powerful synthesis of the traditional schools of yoga. His synthesis harmonizes the central principle of all yogas, and the particular principles of the major traditional schools of yoga into a single entity, now called integral yoga. The synthesis was necessary to revive the spirit underlying yoga, which had been overshadowed by the form. The essays on yoga were published under the title The Synthesis of Yoga, and are now available as a book with the same title.
An interesting series of essays started as a sharp response to the criticism of the Indian culture by a British journalist, William Archer. While some of the criticism might have been valid in view of the degeneration that prevailed in India then and has not disappeared even today, Sri Aurobindo made an important point that a culture cannot be judged from its most decadent phase. The essays ended up becoming an enlightened exposition of a variety of expressions of the Indian culture, such as religion, spirituality, art, literature and polity, and were later published in a single volume under the title The Foundations of Indian Culture. The central thesis of the book is that in India, spirituality is not a compartment of life, but pervades life and all expressions of culture. It is this deeply ingrained spiritual impulse that characterizes the Indian mind, and is responsible for survival of the Indian culture in spite of all the onslaughts of history.
Another set of very scholarly essays covering a very wide canvas in terms of time as well as space were published under the title The Psychology of Social Development. Now the essays are available as a book titled The Human Cycle. In these essays, Sri Aurobindo has looked at the history of the world from a psychological standpoint. Every society, he says, passes through a cyclic process. Starting with the age of symbolism, the society moves on to the age of convention. In the age of convention, the symbolism behind the conventions is forgotten, but the conventions continue. A few non-conforming rebels keep protesting against meaningless conventions, but it takes these rebels to reach a critical mass for the society to graduate from the age of convention to the age of reason. The age of reason is full of vigour and vitality. By the time the benefits of the age of reason have been harvested, the society also starts realizing the limitations of reason. Now the society is ready to move from the age of reason to a subjective supra-rational age. This makes it easy to understand why the receptivity for ancient Indian wisdom is today higher in the West than in its birthplace. India is today stuck in the age of conventions, and has yet to enter the age of reason. On the other hand, the West has just left behind the age of reason, and is ready to enter the supra-rational age. That is why there is great appetite in the West for the products of India's supra-rational age. India went through its supra-rational age in the Upanishadic period.
A related set of essays appeared in the Arya under the title The Ideal of Human Unity, and are available now as a book bearing the same title. In these esays, Sri Aurobindo has looked at the evolution of the nation state, and the evolution of still larger conglomerations. So far, the larger conglomerations, called empires, have been achieved through conquest and coercion, and have therefore risen and fallen. While the empire has lasted, there has been a tendency to impose on the subject nations the language, culture, religion, etc. of the masters, and thereby achieve uniformity. Sri Aurobindo has predicted that as the level of human consciousness goes up, there will be that critical mass of highly evolved people in the world who will dominate the planet. When that happens, the affairs of the world will be conducted from a higher plane of consciousness. As a result, conglomerations larger than the nation state will become the norm. But these conglomerations will be achieved because of a psychological unity, not through conquest. Further, in these large units, the diversity of cultures will be preserved; no attempt will be made to wipe out the diversity under the mistaken assumption that uniformity is essential for unity. The culmination of this process would be a world government.
These were the major themes that Sri Aurobindo picked up, on which he wrote in the Arya month after month, for six and a half years. Besides these themes, there were essays on war (because much of the Arya was published during the First World War), other essays, thoughts and aphorisms, poetry, and 'question of the month'. Why the Arya stopped in January 1921 was because by then Sri Aurobindo had already given nothing short of a prescription for 'the remaking of man', to borrow an expression from Alexis Carrel's Man, the Unknown. It was enough homework for the world for several centuries. Anything beyond that would have been completely redundant for man at the current stage of his evolution.

Hundreds of years ahead
When a hundred years ago Sri Aurobindo talked of the evolution of man beyond his present mental consciousness to a radically different Supramental Consciousness, it might have looked like fantasy. But today it looks within the realm of possibility. When he wrote it, hardly anybody really understood him; today many thinkers are talking in a similar language. Sri Aurobindo saw in an evolutionary leap the ultimate solution to the evil, injustice, pain and suffering that have characterized the world since times immemorial. He also anticipated, in The Ideal of Human Unity, the several failed attempts that man will make before finding the ultimate solution. After giving up the hope that science and technology would solve all our problems, the western world turned to the same tool that gave us modern science. The tool is: rationality. It was through reason that different forms of government, such as democracy, socialism and communism were conceived. It was through reason that the ideals of equality, liberty and fraternity were formulated. The last and most commendable attempt to improve the world through reason was humanism, which Sri Aurobindo has called The Religion of Humanity. But all these attempts were doomed for failure because although idealistic in their conception, when executed by man at his present level of consciousness, the egoistic selfish tendencies of man crept in and corrupted the ideal. Those who had the power, continued to exploit the weak. But these failed experiments were an important learning experience for mankind. They taught man the methods that will not work. The failures compelled man to look at solutions that go beyond rationality. That is why, the world, particularly the western world that has tried and exhausted rational instruments for more than a hundred years, is now looking at the supra-rational instruments available in ancient Indian wisdom. This wisdom is available to the West in cotemporary terms in the English language. It was because the current state of the world had been foreseen by the Divine that Sri Aurobindo came to the world, and he was sent away to England at age seven for a long spell of fourteen years. It was for the same reason that Sri Aurobindo received communications from the Divine in Alipore Jail (1908-1909) about the mission of his life. Now that the western world is ready for the supra-rational solutions, guidance is available to it in Sri Aurobindo's works in a language that it understands. All this is easy to see with hindsight, but the foresight of the divine design is truly amazing. That the world is gradually but surely getting there is clear from the writings of many of today's thinkers, who have perhaps not even read Sri Aurobindo, which makes it even more significant. What it means is that a new consciousness is in the earth atmosphere, which has now started making more and more persons see the future of the world the way Sri Aurobindo saw it a hundred years ago. I shall cite here only the two examples that I am familiar with; there may be many more. Gary Zukav, a physicist, says that evolution so far has favoured the selfish species that could control the environment better. Future evolution would favour the species that loves all life. The five-sensory mean and selfish man is going to give way to the multi-sensory magnanimous and altruistic man.2 David Hawkins, a psychiatrist, has quantified consciousness. His scale is logarithmic, and runs from 0 through 1000. Since the logarithmic scale is a condensed scale, a difference of 50 on the scale represents a huge difference in the level of consciousness. On Hawkins' scale, 200 is an important cut-off point. At a level below 200, man is arrogant because separative ego dominates his psyche. At a level above 200, people "put back into the world as much energy as they take". Further, he says that "The collective level of consciousness of mankind remained at 190 for many centuries and, curiously, only jumped to its current level of 204 within the last decade".3 The decade Hawkins is referring to is roughly 1980-1990. This is the most emphatic assertion of the phenomenal rise in consciousness within a very short recent period after centuries of stagnation that I have come across.

Closing thoughts
Sri Aurobindo created within an incredibly short period of six years and a half a body of literature based on ancient Indian wisdom in the English language, the quantity and quality of which remains unsurpassed to this day. In his works, he touched just about every subject under the sun, and whatever he touched acquired a unique timeless spiritual orientation. He transfigured with his magical touch history and politics, psychology and science, sociology and pedagogy, yoga and spirituality. What he was striving for was the ultimate solution that would wipe out all misery from human life. Rather, he attempted, and successfully prepared the background for transforming earth into heaven. As Sri Aurobindo wrote in a famous letter to the Mother on 20 May 1915, "Heaven we have possessed, but not the earth; but the fullness of the Yoga is to make, in the formula of the Veda, "Heaven and Earth equal and one"."4 Although Sri Aurobindo was a prolific writer, so often a single sentence has enough material for a book. About Sri Aurobindo's writings, Raymond Piper says, "I could pick a thousand sentences from his writings and say of any one of them: trace its implications, and you will be led into the deep wonderlands of philosophic wisdom. I have never read an author who can compact so much of truth into one sentence as this master."5

REFERENCES
1. K.R. Srinivasa Iyenger. Sri Aurobindo: a biography and a history. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Fifth edition, 2006, p. 402.

2. Gary Zukav. The Seat of the Soul. New York: Simon & Schuster (A Fireside Book), 1989, pp. 13-21.

3. David Hawkins. Power Versus Force: An Anatomy of Consciousness. The Hidden Determinants of Human Behaviour. Sedona Arizona: Veritas Publishing, Second Edition, 1998, p.67.

4. K.R. Srinivasa Iyenger. Sri Aurobindo: a biography and a history. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Fifth edition, 2006, p. 408.

5. K.R. Srinivasa Iyenger. Sri Aurobindo: a biography and a history. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Fifth edition, 2006, p. 515.

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Sri Aurobindo was born on 15 August 1872. The first issue of the Arya was published a hundred years ago on his forty-second birthday. India became free on his seventy-fifth birthday.
This article is also available on www.speakingtree.in/public/rameshbijlani

THE MASTER’S WORD AND OUR HOME WORK

Sri Aurobindo’s mission was to speak ‘the word’, as he revealed in the Uttarpara speech delivered shortly after his release from Alipore Jail. And, he did speak the word, most visibly in the Arya, from 1914-1920. ‘The word’ was a flood of words, a tsunami that swept into the pages of the Arya Vedantic wisdom, as seen by one who had seen the Truth, could rationalize what was beyond reason, express in words what was beyond words, and put into poetic English prose ideas for which the right words did not exist in the English language. Born with an amazing intellect and tremendous spiritual capacity, the master had been schooled for fourteen years in the West, had taught himself Indian wisdom for fourteen years in Baroda, and had combined the East-West synthesis with years of intense personal sadhana. With this preparation and several yogic siddhis to top, Sri Aurobindo was an unprecedented personification of all that it takes to give the world ‘the word’ that it needed.

            ‘The word’ that Sri Aurobindo gave the world is difficult to encapsulate in one paragraph. It was nothing short of a prescription for ‘the remaking of man’, to borrow an expression from Alexis Carrel’s Man, the Unknown. In the Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo worked out a powerful synthesis of all the major traditional schools of yoga, retaining the core of each without the rigidities or superfluities of any. In the Essays on the Gita, he saw the Gita in one sweep, the way few others have. Instead of analyzing the Gita verse by verse, Sri Aurobindo synthesized the three paths of the Gita into one, and demonstrated how it is impossible not to walk all the three after walking on any one of the three long enough and sincerely enough. In The Life Divine, he solved the riddle of existence. Although based on Vedanta, his approach was universal and non-denominational. Although based on his personal experience of the Divine, he has spoken almost entirely in the third person. Although he has brought out the limitation of reason, he has used incisive reasoning to do so! Being an impartial and sympathetic explorer of all aspects of truth, he has looked at the Truth from all angles. He has discussed even points of view different from his own at length, and justified them better than the proponents of those points of view could have themselves done, before demolishing them systematically. The result is that he does not leave any question unanswered, or any doubt unresolved. Reading The Life Divine is a humbling experience, a transforming influence. In the Gita, Arjuna becomes a devotee after receiving the knowledge of the Supreme Secret from Krishna. The same thing happens to the reader of The Life Divine. As a corollary to the knowledge received, he becomes a devotee. In The Secret of the Veda, Sri Aurobindo uncovers the symbolism of the Vedas. Using scholarly analysis of the etymology of words, profound logic, and his exceptional spiritual capacity, he brings out the deeper meanings of the apparently meaningless Vedic expressions and rituals. In The Foundations of Indian Culture, he establishes the justification for India’s role as the spiritual guru to the world. He does not deny the backwardness of the country at the time of writing (the early twentieth century), but makes the important point that a culture cannot be judged on the basis of its most decadent phase. Whether it is discussion of art, literature, social life, or religion of India, the thread that runs all through is that the Indian culture emphasizes a rich life, a full life, a multi-faceted life, a balanced and harmonious life, but every aspect of life here has a spiritual orientation, and is linked to the ultimate goal of life, which is spiritual growth. Thus Indian spirituality is not an otherworldly spirituality; it does not place spirituality in a compartment clearly demarcated from worldly life. In India, spirituality has an all-pervasive overriding presence in everyday life. In The Human Cycle, Sri Aurobindo has traced the psychological basis of the cyclic process through which societies pass. We can see clearly today that the world is passing through a transition from the age of reason towards a subjective age striving to overcome the limitations of reason, as predicted by Sri Aurobindo a hundred years ago. In The Ideal of Human Unity, he went into the history of formation of large aggregates such as the nation state and empires, and the reasons for their repeated collapse. He has also discussed the future possibility of a world union, the obstacles that will be encountered in the realization of the possibility, and the unsuccessful experiments that are likely to be made before we realize that the only durable basis for such a union is a psychological unity based on the spiritual oneness of mankind. Sri Aurobindo’s integral philosophy that runs through all his works forms the basis of a complete and ideal system of psychology and a system of education. Integral education seeks not only the clichéd all-round development of the individual but also includes the development of that inner monitor in-built in each one of us that enables us to make the choices in life that make life fulfilling and meaningful. Ignoring the inner monitor (called the psychic being by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother) leads to uneasiness, and listening to it gives us immense joy and lasting mental peace. The citizens of tomorrow appreciating the value of this joy in life, in contrast with the so-called happiness dependent on external circumstances, is the surest basis of a sane society. That integral education can be translated into practice was shown by the Mother in the school that she started in the Ashram at Puducherrry, and the experiment has been repeated since in several integral schools. Finally, Sri Aurobindo’s integral philosophy is couched in terms of evolution. He had visualized a hundred years ago that we are on the threshold of an evolutionary crisis. In the next evolutionary leap, mental man must give way to a supramental being – a necessity, potentiality and inevitability that many other noted thinkers have also lately hinted at.

            Such then is a glimpse of the word that the Master spoke to the world. There is hardly any subject under the sun that he did not touch, and he gave everything he touched a unique timeless spiritual orientation. Following the publication of the Arya were decades of sadhana by the Master and the Mother aimed at the descent of the supramental on earth. The call was answered on 29 February 1956. However, for the effects of the descent to be visible and significant, we have to be ready. Our getting ready means that we examine everything we do in terms of the effect it will have on the level of our consciousness. Raising the level of consciousness is no longer just an individual pursuit for individual fulfillment. It has implications for the level of consciousness of the human race, the consciousness of our planet. It needs a critical mass of people to be at a very high level of consciousness for the supramental descent to have a perceptible impact on human affairs. Making our contribution to this critical mass is our homework.  It is for this homework that the Mother asked mankind: “Are you ready?”

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The first issue of the Arya was published on 15 August 1914