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

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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