Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year in Sri Aurobindo Ashram



JANUARY 1 - NEW YEAR'S EVE

Starting in the year 1927, the Sri Aurobindo ashram began the first New Year’s Celebration. On this eve of the New Year day, the sadhaks assembled in the Ashram around  midnight and as soon as the clock struck midnight The Mother welcomed the new year with music on her organ. This was followed by Pranams in the stillness of the night and The Mother blessed everyone.

The last of the midnight Pranams was on the 31 December 1937. “From the 1st January 1939, this Pranam began to take place in the morning … The midnight silence was replaced by the Mother’s ‘Bonne Année’ which was reciprocated.

From 1933, The Mother started distributing a message after her serene music — a thought, a prayer, an aspiration to serve as a guide for the whole year. These messages, written both in English and French, are reproduced in facsimiles of the Mother’s handwriting whenever possible. Between 1974 and 1984, New Year messages were not distributed at the Ashram.
By and by the cards came to be distributed even outside the Ashram; thus those who could not participate in the midnight ceremony of [the New Year] were also able to receive The Mother’s benediction and guidance for the New Year.”


From 1985 to the present, the Pondicherry Ashram has distributed messages selected from the writings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo to devotees around
the world.




                                                                            







Courtesy and Link:
http://www.searchforlight.org/ecards/NYmessage1/ecardssend.asp

  *                                                   *
That's what Sri Aurobindo once said to me. What he saw was that the supramental Force would have enough influence on the various governments of the earth, of the nations, to permit hope for a harmony.
                                                                                                  - The Mother
(Mother’s Agenda, Volume 8, Page 138)
                                                

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Messages by the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram



                                                                     
                                                                         




                                           
 (Christmas was designated by the Mother as the festival of 

the return of the Light .)

                                                     

                                                                                         
1962
May the New Light illumine your thoughts and your lives,
govern your hearts and guide your action.
Blessings.

1963
Joyeux Noel.
Let us celebrate the Light by letting it enter into us.

1964
If you want peace upon earth, first establish peace in your heart.
If you want union in the world, first unify the different parts of your being.
Blessings.

1965
Bon Noel to all.

1966
Bon Noel to all, in Peace and Joy.
May this new Christmas be for you the advent of a new light, higher and purer.

1967
Union and goodwill upon earth.
Behind the rigidity of the outward celebrations there is a living symbol;
it is this that we must remember.

Peace and goodwill to all.
Unless a break is made with the habits and the beliefs of the past,
there is little hope of advancing rapidly towards the future.

1968
Love the Truth.
Let the light dawn in your consciousness.
Blessings to all.

1969
Hail the new light.
That it may grow in all hearts.
Blessings.


1971
The time has come for the rule of falsehood to end.
In the Truth alone is salvation.


1972
We want to show to the world that man can become a true servitor of the Divine.
Who will collaborate in all sincerity ?


*
* *

The Mother's prayer to Father Christmas)

Father Christmas,
I evoke you today!
Answer our call. Come bearing all your marvellous gifts.
You are the great dispenser of worldly possessions;
you are the untiring friend who hears every request
and grants it generously.
Give each one the material object he desires,
and as for me, give me enough,
give me much so that I may give largely to all.



Significances of the gifts offered by the three Magi to Jesus at the time of his birth )

Gold: wealth of the world and supramental knowledge.
Frankincense: purification of the vital.
Myrrh: immortalisation of the body.

                                                                                              - The Mother


                           *
Sweet Mother,
Why do we celebrate Christmas here? What special meaning does this day have for us? And why is a distinction made here between Europeans and Indians on Christmas Day?
Long before the Christian religion made December 25th the day of Christ’s birth, this day was the festival of the return of the sun, the Day of Light. It is this very ancient symbol of the rebirth of the Light that we wish to celebrate here.
As far as I know, everyone in the Ashram is allowed to come to the Christmas tree and the distribution.
The custom of sending special baskets to the Europeans and Americans comes from the fact that in those countries they usually give presents to each other on Christmas Day, instead of on January first. That is all.
Blessings.
The Mother 
                                                                   *

A young Muslim girl who had a special liking for “Father Christmas” – I

don't know why, as it was not part of her religion!  Without saying 

a word to me, she called on Santa Claus and told him, “Mother doesn't 

believe in you; you should give Her a gift to prove to Her that you exist.

You can give it to Her for Christmas.” And it happened!... She was quite

proud.
    -      The Mother

(Mother’s Agenda, Vol. 1, Page 176)
                                       
                                

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mother's Darshan Video by Filmmaker Flame Schon


Video Credit :

This Video was shot on 24 April, 1973,  by filmmaker 
Ms. Flame

Schon (Diane Rochlin). She had lived in Sri 
Aurobindo Ashram, 

Pondicherry and Auroville from November 1970 to April 1974.

                            *                              *
                            Reminiscences
 (The crack in the photo is perfect; we can know that it is very old (1970).
 It was shot just after the first private Darshan with the Mother in November 1970 by the Ashram Photographer. I believe his name was Barun. He, of course, posed it in the way of studio photopraphers. So, it is a somewhat studied-portrait and not a simple snapshot. Yet, it was shot outdoors under a tree in front of the Ashram.)



        It was all so long ago. Of course, meeting the Mother was a unique opportunity. When we, that is, my husband Sheldon Rochlin and Iarrived in Pondy early Nov. 1970, she did see each of us privately very soon after our arrival, after I sent her an earnest and urgent request. Sometime shortly after  that she stopped giving private darshans,  generally speaking. We were able however to have at least another private darshan with her when Sheldon showed her footage of the beginning of the digging of the Matrimandir. I can't totally remember-- was I there at that time or not? I mean at the showing the Mother this footage. Anyway she was pleased and even giggled a bit at it. I remember one birthday, whose? since she did see each of us on our own respective birthdays ... when we would bring her a flower - oh, my memory fails me... anyway, I believe that Sheldon gave her a flower and she promptly gave that very flower back to me.
   I can still remember the intensity of my focused feeling looking through the camera viewfinder directly at the Mother. All ALL of my being was there in those few minutes...saying MOTHER. She of course knew that we were there, Sheldon & I. Somehow permission to be there had been granted. I cannot remember the details but it was all arranged. We were on a balcony across the street from her balcony and as you can see from the angle , we were just about on a level with her balcony. And as you can also see, she looks directly at us for a brief moment of acknowledgement of our presence.
    This was in the early days of portable video and the Sony Porta- Pak was still state-of-the-art, I think. 

                                                                                       -  Flame Schon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Darshan Days in Sri Aurobindo Ashram


Video Credit : This Video was shot by filmmaker
Ms. Flame Schon (Diane Rochlin). She had lived
in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry and Auroville
from November 1970 to April 1974.
I have her permission to share this Video with all of you.
*                                             *



IMPORTANT DATES IN THE ASHRAM

Shortly after the Siddhi day in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo retired from daily contact with his disciples and placed the Mother in charge of their care. Thereafter he saw them only a few times a year on what came to be known as Darshan days. The Sanskrit word "Darshan" means "seeing" and refers, in this context, to seeing Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and to receive their blessings.
At first there were three Darshan days: the Mother's birthday, Sri Aurobindo's birthday, and the Siddhi day. In 1939 a fourth day was added: the Mother's final arrival in Pondicherry. On these occasions, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother sat together in a small room, while the sadhaks and devotees approached one by one and offered flowers and bowed down at their feet.
After Sri Aurobindo left his body in 1950, the Mother continued to give Darshan on these days. From 1963 onwards, she gave Darshan from the terrace for five or ten minutes as she gazed upon those who had gathered in the street below.



 A Brief Timeline
 15 August 1872Sri Aurobindo's birthdayAurobindo Ghose is born in Calcutta. At the age of seven he leaves for London.
 21 February 1878The Mother's birthdayThe Mother is born in Paris to a Persian father and an Egyptian mother. She is named Mirra Alfassa.
 24 April 1920The Mother's final arrival in Pondicherry
The Mother first visits Pondicherry in 1914; she returns
to settle permanently in 1920.
 24 November 1926Siddhi day or the day of Victory
Sri Aurobindo experiences
 the descent of Krishna into his body. He explains, "The descent of Krishna would mean the descent of the Overmind Godhead preparing, though not itself actually bringing, the descent of Supermind and Ananda."
 02 December 1943The Mother inaugurates the opening of a new school
The Mother starts a school for 20 children and becomes herself one of its first teachers. This school later grows into Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.
 5 December 1950Sri Aurobindo's Mahasamadhi daySri Aurobindo leaves his body.
 9 December 1950Sri Aurobindo's body laid to rest
 29 February 1956Day of the Supramental ManifestationThe Mother has the concrete experience of the descent of the Supramental Consciousness on Earth.
 17 November 1973The Mother's Mahasamadhi dayThe Mother leaves her body.
 20 November 1973The Mother's body laid to rest


Courtesy and Link :

http://www.sriaurobindoashram.org/ashram/saa/dates.php


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Fairy-Tale of the Earth: ‘Savitri’ - by Bhaga




Sixty-three years ago today, on December 9, 1950, Sri Aurobindo’s body was put into the  white marble Samadhi that had been built for this purpose in the central courtyard of the Ashram after his passing away on the 5th.
On the longer sides of the Samadhi was engraved, in English on one side, in French on the other side, the Prayer written and signed by the Mother:
“TO THEE WHO HAST BEEN THE MATERIAL ENVELOPE OF OUR MASTER, TO THEE OUR INFINITE GRATITUDE. BEFORE THEE WHO HAST DONE SO MUCH FOR US, WHO HAS WORKED, STRUGGLED, SUFFERED, HOPED, ENDURED SO MUCH, BEFORE THEE WHO HAST WILLED ALL, PREPARED, ACHIEVED ALL FOR US, BEFORE THEE WE BOW DOWN AND IMPLORE THAT WE MAY NEVER FORGET, EVEN FOR A MOMENT, ALL WE OWE TO THEE.”




When I arrived in Auroville in 1972, I was but a young woman who basically knew nothing yet about Sri Aurobindo except that he had written ‘The Life Divine’, the incredible, magnificent book that had at last decided me to live on, because it had revealed to me at last the true, complete, illuminating meaning of Life on Earth:  the divinely driven and guided process of Evolution that was happening here and was now nearing its decisive stage, the advent of the Supramental Era.
Having read also after that a few more books on that Vision, but not knowing anything yet about the actual lives of either Sri Aurobindo or the Mother, and having no idea yet of all the tremendous amount of work both of them had indeed quietly accomplished for the Earth, when I read that Prayer by the Mother as I came for the first time near the Samadhi, I was struck by its extraordinary beauty and intensity, but the mental part of me, still imbued with some of the typical Western arrogant ignorance, couldn’t help but assume that the Mother must have exaggerated a little in her appreciation of what we owe to Sri Aurobindo.
Forty years later, I know better, and would like to share with you all today, some at least of what I have discovered over those many years, that we indeed all owe to Sri Aurobindo.
Exploring the shorter writings of Sri Aurobindo as well as his longer, better known ones, I had discovered his poetry, starting with his sonnets, and then graduating to his other poems. Most of it was extraordinary inner experiences that for me were exhilarating and inspiring, stars to reach myself some day perhaps.
The first real hint of the unimaginable difficulty of the full purpose of Sri Aurobindo hit me through one specific poem of his I read:

A God’s Labour

I have gathered my dreams in a silver air
Between the gold and the blue
And wrapped them softly and left them there,
My jewelled dreams of you.

I had hoped to build a rainbow bridge
Marrying the soil to the sky
And sow in this dancing planet midge
The moods of infinity.

But too bright were our heavens, too far away,
Too frail their ethereal stuff;
Too splendid and sudden our light could not stay;
The roots were not deep enough.

He who would bring the heavens here
Must descend himself into clay
And the burden of earthly nature bear
And tread the dolorous way.

Coercing my godhead I have come down
Here on the sordid earth,
Ignorant, labouring, human grown
Twixt the gates of death and birth.

I have been digging deep and long
Mid a horror of filth and mire
A bed for the golden river’s song,
A home for the deathless fire.

I have laboured and suffered in Matter’s night
To bring the fire to man;
But the hate of hell and human spite
Are my meed since the world began.

For man’s mind is the dupe of his animal self;
Hoping its lusts to win,
He harbours within him a grisly Elf
Enamoured of sorrow and sin.

The grey Elf shudders from heaven’s flame
And from all things glad and pure;
Only by pleasure and passion and pain
His drama can endure.

All around is darkness and strife;
For the lamps that men call suns
Are but halfway gleams on this stumbling life
Cast by the Undying Ones.

Man lights his little torches of hope
That lead to a failing edge;
A fragment of Truth is his widest scope,
An inn his pilgrimage.

The Truth of truths men fear and deny,
The Light of lights they refuse;
To ignorant gods they lift their cry
Or a demon altar choose.

All that was found must again be sought,
Each enemy slain revives,
Each battle for ever is fought and refought
Through vistas of fruitless lives.

My gaping wounds are a thousand and one
And the Titan kings assail,
But I cannot rest till my task is done
And wrought the eternal will.

How they mock and sneer, both devils and men!
“Thy hope is Chimera’s head
Painting the sky with its fiery stain;
Thou shalt fall and thy work lie dead.

“Who art thou that babblest of heavenly ease
And joy and golden room
To us who are waifs on inconscient seas
And bound to life’s iron doom?

“This earth is ours, a field of Night
For our petty flickering fires.
How shall it brook the scared Light
Or suffer a god’s desires?

“Come, let us slay him and end his course!
Then shall our hearts have release
From the burden and call of his glory and force
And the curb of his wide white peace.”

But the god is there in my mortal breast
Who wrestles with error and fate
And tramples a road through mire and waste
For the nameless Immaculate.

A voice cried, “Go where none have gone!
Dig deeper, deeper yet
Till thou reach the grim foundation stone
And knock at the keyless gate.”

I saw that a falsehood was planted deep
At the very root of things
Where the grey Sphinx guards God’s riddle sleep
On the Dragon’s outspread wings.

I left the surface gods of mind
And life’s unsatisfied seas
And plunged through the body’s alleys blind
To the nether mysteries.

I have delved through the dumb Earth’s dreadful heart
And heard her black mass’s bell.
I have seen the source whence her agonies part
And the inner reason of hell.

Above me the dragon murmurs moan
And the goblin voices flit;
I have pierced the Void where Thought was born,
I have walked in the bottomless pit.

On a desperate stair my feet have trod
Armoured with boundless peace,
Bringing the fires of the splendour of God
Into the human abyss.

He who I am was with me still;
All veils are breaking now.
I have heard His voice and borne His will
on my vast untroubled brow.

The gulf twixt the depths and the heights is bridged
And the golden waters pour
Down the sapphire mountain rainbow-ridged
And glimmer from shore to shore.

Heaven’s fire is lit in the breast of the earth
And the undying suns here burn;
Through a wonder cleft in the bounds of birth
The incarnate spirits yearn

Like flames to the kingdoms of Truth and Bliss:
Down a gold-red stair-way wend
The radiant children of Paradise
Clarioning darkness’s end.

A little more and the new life’s doors
Shall be carved in silver light
With its aureate roof and mosaic floors
In a great world bare and bright.

I shall leave my dreams in their argent air,
For in a raiment of gold and blue
There shall move on the earth embodied and fair
The living truth of you.


This was written by Sri Aurobindo on 31-7-1935.
I was so shattered by the shock of the horror and incredible beauty of it, I cried and cried,  asking inwardly Sri Aurobindo to forgive us our deep unconsciousness. I was realizing for the first time what a Being had lived and died in our midst, while so few of us had any idea what exactly he was doing in the decades of solitary silence he spent in his room after 1926, inside that Ashram mostly full of naive disciples convinced they were gathered around a simple “guru” having a new approach  to Yoga for them to learn and do their best to actually practice. Only a few had some notion, at least at the mental level, of what he was really doing, and why, and what tremendous importance it would have for the Earth when he would at long last succeed. Those slightly more aware disciples had made it a yearly habit to ask Sri Aurobindo each year on his birthday (August 15) how things were going with “the coming down of the Supramental”.
In 1935 Sri Aurobindo said he was  making good headway and was rather optimistic, final success might come in not too long a time.
But 1935 turned out to be the year when Hitler, elected to full power in 1933, started implementing his real plans, that steadily brought about the Second World War in 1939, and ‘all hell broke loose’, that time literally and right here upon Earth, with the demoniac influence behind him rapidly threatening to engulf all countries one after the other under the Nazi ever expanding hegemony – to the point that Sri Aurobindo had to stop temporarily any further effort to bring down the Supramental, as the very first priority was now to prevent Hitler from winning altogether the War and having the whole world under Nazi Rule, which would mean absolutely no hope of the real, true New Evolutive Step happening in any near future.
So this is how in the end the secret inner action from Sri Aurobindo and Mother helped invisibly but powerfully the Allies to stop Hitler and the War; but even after that was done, in order to win the only irreversible Victory by accelerating the Supramental’s direct contact with the Earth, thus activating the same Supramental energy dormant inside Matter,  Sri Aurobindo, as we have seen, had to sacrifice his own life and purposely leave his physical body on December 5th, 1950.
This ultimate action to save the world was accompanied by a last Gift, a sort of Testament he left, that could help us follow him and the Mother towards the Future of the Earth: the wonderful epic poem on Evolution that he had titled ‘SAVITRI’. It evokes in a thrillingly beautiful manner not only the past of terrestrial Evolution, but also its present unfolding, and the radiant future it prepares: the Life Divine here in this poor physical world that used to be considered so un-divine and un-redeemable.
It is now many years I keep reading ‘Savitri’, together with ‘Mother’s Agenda’.  Somewhere in her ‘Agenda’ (her recorded Diary 1956-1973) Mother speaks of the whole Story of Sri Aurobindo’s  invisible Action for the Earth, as something akin to a ‘Fairy-Tale of the Earth’, leading to the Transformation of Matter back into its veritable, divine nature.
Whenever I am reading ‘Savitri’, I feel I am reading ‘The Fairy-Tale of the Earth’…
And there too, but in an even more detailed and stunning description than in ‘A God’s Labour’, one finds out with total awe and wonder all that Sri Aurobindo has done for us (all that he describes is actually from his own inner experience and action), for which we may indeed pray, along with Mother, “THAT WE MAY NEVER FORGET, EVEN FOR A MOMENT, ALL WE OWE TO THEE”.
*************** Bhaga