Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Surrender completely to the Divine : Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram

You see, in the present condition of the world, circumstances are always difficult. The whole world is in a condition of strife, conflict, between the forces of truth and light wanting to manifest and the opposition of all that does not want to change, which represents in the past what is fixed, hardened and refuses to go. Naturally, each individual feels his own difficulties and is faced by the same obstacles.
There is only one way for you. It is a total, complete and unconditional surrender. What I mean by that is the giving up not only of your actions, work, ambitions, but also of all your feelings, in the sense that all that you do, all that you are, is exclusively for the Divine. So, you feel above the surrounding human reactions--not only above them but protected from them by the wall of the Divine's Grace. Once you have no more desires, no more attachments, once you have given up all necessity of receiving a reward from human beings, whoever they are--knowing that the only reward that is worth getting is the one that comes from the Supreme and that never fails--once you give up the attachment to all exterior beings and things, you at once feel in your heart this Presence, this Force, this Grace that is always with you.
And there is no other remedy. It's the only remedy, for everybody without exception. To all those who suffer, it is the same thing that has to be said: all suffering is the sign that the surrender is not total. Then, when you feel in you a "bang", like that, instead of saying, "Oh, this is bad" or "This circumstance is difficult," you say, "My surrender is not perfect." Then it's all right. And then you feel the Grace that helps you and leads you, and you go on. And one day you emerge into that peace that nothing can trouble. You answer to all the contrary forces, the contrary movements, the attacks, the misunderstandings, the bad wills, with the same smile that comes from full confidence in the Divine Grace. And that is the only way out, there is no other.
This world is a world of conflict, suffering, difficulty, strain; it is made of it. It has not yet changed, it will take some time before changing. And for each one there is a possibility of getting out. If you lean back on the presence of the Supreme Grace, that is the only way out. That I have been telling you since two or three days, like that constantly.
What to do?
What? For your work there is nothing to say. You are doing it perfectly well, exactly as it has to be done; it is all right. Your work is quite all right.
That is what I wanted to ask: whether this work is in any manner needed or not? Why should I go on doing it?
Excellent, go on doing it. You do it perfectly well. Don't expect human appreciation--because human beings don't know on what grounds to appreciate something, and, moreover, when there is something that is superior to them, they don't like it.
But where to get such a strength?
Within you. The Divine Presence is in you. It is in you. You look for it outside; look inside. It is in you. The Presence is there. You want the appreciation of others to get strength--you will never get it. The strength is in you. If you want, you can aspire for what seems to you the supreme goal, supreme light, supreme knowledge, supreme love. But it is in you--otherwise you would never be able to contact it. If you go deep enough inside you, you will find it there, like a flame that is always burning straight up.
And don't believe that it is so difficult to do. It is because the look is always turned outside that you don't feel the Presence. But if, instead of looking outside for support, you concentrate and you pray--inside, to the supreme knowledge--to know at each moment what is to be done, the way to do it, and if you give all you are, all you do in order to acquire perfection, you will feel that the support is there, always guiding, showing the way. And if there is a difficulty, then instead of wanting to fight, you hand it over, hand it over to the supreme wisdom to deal with it--to deal with all the bad wills, all the misunderstandings, all the bad reactions. If you surrender completely, it is no more your concern: it's the concern of the Supreme who takes it up and knows better than anybody else what is to be done. The only way out, only way out. There, my child.
One thing is that whatever I do there, it is not liked by my own people.
Your own people are all mixed up, as everybody is.
But my feeling is so strong--not only strong but it is as clear as daylight, as if I am just sitting in your presence--that I do not do anything myself. This is such a great, clear experience to me for all these years. Whatever is being done by me, it is being done by some Force and not by me at all. And it gets it done, but then the...
What! You expect the world to understand that?
No. They may not understand, I don't want any credit for that. But you see, the obstacles and the... 
If you consider this: that I can understand and know, then you [new p. 401]have my full support. I never told you that you were doing wrong, did I? Now, once and for all you must understand that unless people are true yogis, out of the ego, completely surrendered to the Supreme, they can't understand. How could they? They see with all the exterior eyes and knowledge; they see exterior things and appearances. They don't see the inside. When we have stopped expecting appreciation from the outside, that is from human beings, we have no reason to complain. They appreciate, so much the better for them. They don't appreciate, it doesn't matter. It's their own look-out. We do things not to please them, we do things because we feel that that is to be done.
I have never expected appreciation, Mother.
Perhaps things are coming to compel you to take up that position--because that is the liberation, that is the true liberation.
Not from ego, but I am a sadhu by nature. I don't need anything at all.
That is all right, but also you must not need the appreciation of your own family.
With all my failings and weaknesses, I don't need anything at all. I don't need any appreciation.
Then you can't suffer. Because the only thing that you need is the support of the Divine, and you have it. Then you can't suffer.
But I am suffering very much.
Yes, there is a conflict in your being. One part of your consciousness knows but there is still one part that is the slave of circumstances. 
Perhaps all that has been coming upon you for the supreme and the total liberation. And if you take it as the expression of the Grace, you will see the result. Peace, a peace that nothing can disturb, perfect equanimity and a strength that never fails.
(Long silence)
Take it as a new birth today. The new life that is beginning.
-      The Mother
(Collected Works of The Mother, Volume 15, pp. 419-423)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Death walks beside us on Life's road - Sri Aurobindo

(Mural painting of the goddess Kali)

Death is the question Nature puts continually to Life and her reminder to it that it has not yet found itself. If there were no siege of death, the creature would be bound for ever in the form of an imperfect living. Pursued by death he awakes to the idea of perfect life and seeks out its means and its possibility.

                                                                - Sri Aurobindo
(SABCL, Vol. 16, Page 386)

*                     *                     *

Death walks beside us on Life's road,
A dim bystander at the body's start
And a last judgment on man's futile works,
Other is the riddle of its ambiguous face:
Death is a stair, a door, a stumbling stride
The soul must take to cross from birth to birth,
A grey defeat pregnant with victory, 

A whip to lash us towards our deathless state.

                                                              -  Sri Aurobindo
     (Savitri, SABCL, Vol. 29, pp. 600-601)   

*                   *                   *

On Death : An interesting experience of the Mother
K left his body. The operation had been extraordinarily, almost miraculously successful—one of those dreadful operations where they extract part of your body. He was quite all right for four days afterwards, then everything went wrong.
During the operation and just afterwards, I had simply put the Force on him, as I always do in such cases, so that everything would turn out for the best. Then a few days ago, during my japa, a kind of order came—a very clear order—to concentrate on him so that he would be conscious of his soul and able to leave under the best conditions. And I saw that the concentration worked wonderfully: it seems that during his last days he was ceaselessly repeating Ma-Ma-Ma—even while he was in a semi-coma.
And the concentration grew stronger and stronger. The day before yesterday it became very, very powerful, and yesterday morning, around half past noon, it pulled me inward; he came to me in a kind of sleep, a conscious sleep, and I even said almost aloud, ‘Oh, K!’
It lasted fifteen minutes; I was completely within, inside, as if to receive him.
But there is something interesting: when I went down at 2 pm, I found the family had come to inform me that they had been notified by telephone that he had died at 11:45 am. Myself, I saw him come at 12:30.
So you see, the outer signs … It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this—the doctors observe all the outer signs, then they declare you dead, but you’re still in your body!
In other words, he was still in his body.
So it’s probably during this period that people are ‘resuscitated,’ as they say. It must be during this period, for they have not left their bodies, they are not really dead, though the heart may give every appearance of having stopped. So K left his body at around half past noon, and officially it was at 11:45. Forty-five minutes later, in other words.
And it takes place very gently, very gently (when it’s done right), very gently, very gently, smoothly, without any shock.
So this morning they’re burning him.
When they’re in too much of a hurry to burn them, sometimes they burn them alive! … They should wait.
For, there’s a consciousness of the form, a life of the form. There’s a consciousness, a consciousness in the form assumed by the cells. That takes SEVEN DAYS to come out. So sometimes the body makes abrupt movements when burned—people say it’s mechanical. It’s not mechanical, I know it’s not.
I know it. I know that this consciousness of the form exists since I have actually gone out of it. Once, long back, I was in a so-called cataleptic state, and after awhile, while still in this state, the body began living again’; that is, it was capable of speaking and even moving (it was Théon who gave me this training). The body managed to get up and move. And yet, everything had gone out of it! [1]
Once everything had gone out, it naturally became cold, but the body consciousness manages to draw a little energy from the air, from this or that … And I spoke in that state. I spoke—I spoke very well, and besides, I recounted all I was seeing elsewhere.
So I don’t like this habit of burning people very much.
I think they do it here (apart from entirely sanitary considerations in the case of people who have died from nasty diseases), here in India, mainly because they are very afraid of all these little entities that come from desires, impulses—things which are dispersed in the air and which make ‘ghosts’ and all kinds of things. All desires, all attachments, all those things are like pieces that break off (each one goes its own way, you see), then these pieces gain strength in the surrounding atmosphere, and when they can fasten on to someone, they vampirize him. Then they keep on trying to satisfy their desires.
The world, the terrestrial atmosphere, is full of filth.
And people here are much more sensitive than in Europe because they are much more interiorized, so they are conscious of all these little entities, and naturally they’re afraid. And the more afraid they are, the more they’re vampirized!
I think that many of these entities are dispersed by fire—that creates havoc.
I know one person, a boy who died here, who was burned before he had left! He had a weak heart, and not enough care was taken—that is, they probably should not have operated on him. He was our engineer. He died in the hospital. Not a serious operation, an appendicitis, but his heart could not take up its natural movement.
But as he was accustomed to going out of his body, he didn’t know! He even used to make experiments—he would go out, circle around in his room, see his body from outside, observe the difference between the subtle physical and the material physical, etc. So he didn’t know. And it’s only when they burned his body …
I tried to delay the moment, but he was in the hospital, so it was difficult. I was in my room when they burned his body, and then suddenly I saw him arrive—sobbing—saying, ‘But … But I’m dead. I DIDN’T WANT to die! Why am I dead, I DIDN’T WANT to die!’ It was dreadful. So I kept him and held him against me to quiet him down.
He remained there for years.
And whenever we used to have meetings to decide on the construction of something or on repairs to be made, for example, I always felt him there and he influenced those who were present.
He wanted to live again; I managed to give him the opportunity. He was very conscious; the child isn’t yet so.
But people are such fools, they are so ignorant! …
                                                                   - The Mother
([1] It was at Tlemcen, in Algeria. While Mother was in trance, Théon caused the thread which linked Mother to her body to break through a movement of anger. He was angry because Mother, who was in a region where she saw the ‘mantra of life,’ refused to tell him the mantra. Faced with the enormity of the result of his anger Théon got hold of himself, and it took all Mother’s force and all Théon’s occult science to get Mother back into her body—which created a kind of very painful friction at the moment of re-entry, perhaps the type of friction that makes new born children cry out.)
(Mother’s Agenda, Vol. 1, pp. 375-377) *                   *                     *

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sri Aurobindo and Yogi Vishnu Bhaskar Lele

(Sri Aurobindo and yogi Lele shut themselves away in house of 

Khaserao Jarvi not letting anybody know it. [January 1908, 

Baroda] Lele said to Sri Aurobindo to silent down his mind and 

doing this Sri Aurobindo got realisation of silent Brahman.)

(Here, in January 1908, Sri Aurobindo got fundamental

 realisation of silent Brahman.)


Swing at Sri Aurobindo Nivas, Vadodara [Baroda].

Sri Aurobindo sat on this swing for three days and

meditated with Yogishree Lele and silenced his

mind. )

The Maharashtrian Yogi, who helped Sri Aurobindo to make important step in Yoga.
Barin Ghose, who was looking for a guru for his Maniktala ashram, had met Vishnu Bhaskar Lele. Barin recollected: “... quite accidentally I had met for a few minutes a Maharashtra Brahmin, Vishnu Bhaskar Lele by name, in the Chandote Asram. I did know that this man was a great and real Yogi. While returning to Bengal quite disappointed in my quest, I met Lele again in a friend’s house at Navasari. He made me sit in a dark room with him for a few minutes and as a result three days afterwards I had my first glimpse of spiritual awakening, my first psychic experience. Aurobindo hearing about him from me had expressed a desire to meet this wonderful devotee of love. As soon as the Surat Congress was over I wired to Lele requesting him to come to Baroda to meet Aurobindo.”
In 1916, Lele told A.B. Purani that when he received the telegram telling him to go to Baroda he had an intuition that he would have to give initiation to a very great soul.
On 31 December 1907 Sri Aurobindo and Barin arrived to Baroda from Surat. Barin recollected: “we reached Khasirao’s Bungalow at 8 a.m. and immediately after Vishnu Bhaskar Lele arrived. I left Aurobindo alone with him for half an hour. When he had left I asked my brother how he found him so far as Yoga was concerned. Aurobindo said in his characteristic cryptic way, «Lele is a wonderful Yogi.»”
Lele was a man in his late thirties, a year or two older than Sri Aurobindo. He worked as a government clerk and looked it. But Sri Aurobindo saw in his eyes both childlike devotion and latent power, and he had no qualms about putting himself in his hands. He told Lele that he had taken up yoga three years earlier, beginning with pranayama. For a while he had obtained some interesting results: great energy, visual phenomena, fluency in writing poetry. Then he got involved in politics. His pranayama became irregular and he fell ill. Since then he had been “doing nothing and did not know what to do or where to turn.” He wanted to resume his practice but was unwilling to give up his work. Rather, he hoped that yoga would give him the strength to do it better. Lele replied, unexpectedly, that yoga would be easy for Sri Aurobindo, as he was a poet. There was no need to give up his work, but it would be better if he could take a few days off.
Sri Aurobindo’s friends spirited him away to a house in the middle of town that was owned by Sardar Majumdar. Here, in a room on the top floor, Sri Aurobindo and Lele sat down together, they shut themselves away there not letting anybody know it.
Barin recollected: “Day in and day out, crowds surrounded our house and programmes of public meetings were being arranged for him. Lele suddenly spirited Aurobindo away from the midst of all this commotion to a lonely old place tucked away in the heart of the city. There, day in and day out, the two of them sat wrapped in deep meditation facing each other. Their simple needs were looked after by Vishnu Bhaskar’s wife, a matriculate girl of small stature of very subdued nature. I was also there and used to sit in meditation with them morning and evening in my restless and perfunctory way. My mind was divided between my ambitious national work and this inner life of Yoga.”
Sri Aurobindo recollected: “«Sit in meditation,» Lele said, «but do not think, look only at your mind; you will see thoughts coming into it; before they can enter throw these away from your mind till your mind is capable of entire silence.» I had never heard before of thoughts coming visibly into the mind from outside, but I did not think either of questioning the truth or the possibility, I simply sat down and did it. In a moment my mind became silent as a windless air on a high mountain summit and then I saw one thought and then another coming in a concrete way from outside; I flung them away before they could enter and take hold of the brain and in three days I was free. From that moment, in principle, the mental being in me became a free Intelligence, a universal Mind, not limited to the narrow circle of personal thought as a labourer in a thought factory, but a receiver of knowledge from all the hundred realms of being and free to choose what it willed in this vast sight-empire and thought-empire.” [SABCL, Volume 26.- On Himself.]
Lele wanted Aurobindo to silence his mind so that he could establish a relationship with a personal godhead and learn to follow its guidance. He told his student that a voice would arise in the silence. None did.
“I myself had my experience of Nirvana and silence in the Brahman, etc. long before there was any knowledge of the overhead spiritual planes; it came first simply by an absolute stillness and blotting out as it were of all mental, emotional and other inner activities – the body continued indeed to see, walk, speak and do its other business, but as an empty automatic machine and nothing more. I did not become aware of any pure «I» nor even of any self, impersonal or other, – there was only an awareness of That as the sole Reality, all else being quite unsubstantial, void, non-real. As to what realised that Reality, it was a nameless consciousness which was not other than That; one could perhaps say this, though hardly even so much as this, since there was no mental concept of it, but not more. Neither was I aware of any lower soul or outer self called by such and such a personal name that was performing this feat of arriving at the consciousness of Nirvana.” [Ibid.]
“There was an entire silence of thought and feeling and all the ordinary movements of consciousness except the perception and recognition of things around without any accompanying concept or other reaction. The sense of ego disappeared and the movements of the ordinary life as well as speech and action were carried on by some habitual activity of Prakriti alone which was not felt as belonging to oneself. But the perception which remained saw all things as utterly unreal; this sense of unreality was overwhelming and universal. Only some undefinable Reality was perceived as true which was beyond space and time and unconnected with any cosmic activity, but yet was met wherever one turned. This condition remained unimpaired for several months and even when the sense of unreality disappeared and there was a return to participation in the world-consciousness, the inner peace and freedom which resulted from this realisation remained permanently behind all surface movements and the essence of the realisation itself was not lost.” [Ibid.]
“There was no ego, no real world — only when one looked through the immobile senses, something perceived or bore upon its sheer silence a world of empty forms, materialised shadows without true substance. There was no One or many even, only just absolutely That, featureless, relationless, sheer, indescribable, unthinkable, absolute, yet supremely real and solely real. This was no mental realisation nor something glimpsed somewhere above, — no abstraction, — it was positive, the only positive reality, — although not a spatial physical world, pervading, occupying or rather flooding and drowning this semblance of a physical world, leaving no room or space for any reality but itself, allowing nothing else to seem at all actual, positive or substantial. I cannot say there was anything exhilarating or rapturous in the experience . . . but what it brought was an inexpressible Peace, a stupendous silence, an infinity of release and freedom.” [Ibid.]
“There was nothing sugary about it at all. And I had no need to have any memory of it, because it was with me for months and years and is there now though in fusion with other realisations.” [Ibid.]
Barin recollected: “Seven days passed almost in continuous and silent meditation while batches of young men traversed the town in search of their newly-found leader who had so suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from among them upsetting all their crowded programmes and arrangements.”
Eventually Sri Aurobindo had to emerge. After finishing his business in Baroda, he, Barin, and Lele took the train to Bombay. There Barin departed for Calcutta, while Sri Aurobindo and Lele went on to Poona.
On 19 January 1908 Sri Aurobiindo was going to deliver a speech before the Bombay National Union. Sri Aurobindo recollected: “Not inexplicable certainly; it was the condition of silence of the mind to which he had come by his meditation for 3 days with Lele in Baroda and which he kept for many months and indeed always thereafter, all activity proceeding on the surface; but at that time there was no activity on the surface. Lele told him to make namaskara to the audience and wait and speech would come to him from some other source than the mind. So, in fact, the speech came, and ever since all speech, writing, thought and outward activity have so come to him from the same source above the brain-mind.” [Ibid.]
Sri Aurobindo remained in Bombay until January 24. Before leaving the city, he went to Lele to ask for guidance. Lele began to give him detailed instructions — to meditate at a fixed time, and so forth — then stopped and asked him if “he could surrender himself entirely to the Inner Guide within him and move as it moved him; if so he needed no instructions from Lele or anybody else. This Sri Aurobindo accepted and made that his rule of Sadhana and of life.”
“From the time I left Lele at Bombay after the Surat Sessions and my stay with him in Baroda, Poona and Bombay, I had accepted the rule of following the inner guidance implicitly and moving only as I was moved by the Divine.”... “After that it was impossible for him to put himself under any other guidance and unnecessary to seek help from anyone.”
Toward the end of February, Lele came to Calcutta. When he met Sri Aurobindo, “he asked me if I meditated in the morning and in the evening. I said, «No.» Then he thought that some devil had taken possession of me and he began to give me instructions. I did not insult him but I did not act upon his advice. I had received the command from within that a human Guru was not necessary for me. As to dhyana — meditation — I was not prepared to tell him that I was practically meditating the whole day.” [A.B. Purani, Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo]

Courtesy and Link:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram had a vision of Auroville : Mrs. Bilkees Latif

     It was in 1948 or 1949. Mother used to go for drives and on a number of occasions she asked me to accompany her. On this particular occasion, the car stopped somewhere near the sea. She got out and sat on a small folding stool, while we sat on the ground around her. First of all, she looked at one of my portraits --- I was sketching at this time --- and made some corrections. Then she looked around and said, “I have a strong feeling. I envisage a time when there will be people from all over the world here, living together in harmony.” There was a very strong atmosphere, a sense of peace. And although I drove with her on other occasions, this is the one that stays in my memory.
     Many years later, when I heard that Auroville had been founded. I wondered if it was in this place. So last year, when I came for the Governing Board Meeting, I described to Aster the place where we stopped, and she recognized it as being on the path to Auroville, not far from her house in ‘Auromodel’.
     My family used to visit the Ashram frequently. When my mother, who was French, first saw Sri Aurobindo, she said there was a golden light around him so strong that she fell at his feet. I remember seeing Sri Aurobindo at ‘darshan’ time. He sat there, very very peaceful and distant --- as if he was seeing something else. Whereas Mother would take us children up to her room in the afternoons, and read to us from Prayers and Meditations, explaining each prayer. She told us so many things about herself, including occult experiences --- I wish somebody had noted them down… Auroville is a fantastic concept. That’s why any disharmony brings a lot of sadness, because I know that people have given up so much and come from all over the world because of a belief in this place. It means so much to so many people, but, somehow, it has to be realized that Auroville is something above the ego, something above everything else, if it is to succeed. And nothing comes easily. Mother said there are forces which always fight against something like this. And that we must always be conscious, and not let these forces descend into us. We must all work together to make a success of Auroville.

(Mrs. Bilkees Latif in an interview for 
Auroville Today, September 1992)

(A young French girl, straight out of finishing school in Switzerland, falls in love with a handsome Nawab from Hyderabad and finds herself in a new life, amidst the grandeur of the aristocratic Nizams. She is drawn to the sun-filled skies of her new land, the fragrance of its jasmine, the spirituality of its people. Yet, despite the splendour that surrounds her, she feels isolated and lonely. She begins to visit godmen and their ashrams, becoming involved in the cultural ethos of the rural and urban poor.
In this touching biography, Bilkees Latif, against the milieu of the historical city of Hyderabad, depicts the joys, disappointments and dreams of her French mother.

Bilkees I. Latif is an author who has written three books and numerous articles on the city of Hyderabad, as well as on women. She has also been invited to lecture in France, Indonesia and the United States of America. Bilkees has been involved in social work in India's largest slums, for which she has received several national and international awards. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in 2008.)


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Concreteness of Yogic Force - Sri Aurobindo

     The invisible Force producing tangible results both inward and outward is the whole meaning of the Yogic consciousness. Your question about Yoga bringing merely a feeling of Power without any result was really very strange. Who would be satisfied with such a meaningless hallucination and call it Power? If we had not had thousands of experiences showing that the Power within could alter the mind, develop its powers, add new ones, bring in new ranges of knowledge, master the vital movements, change the character, influence men and things, control the conditions and functionings of the body, work as a concrete dynamic Force on other forces, modify events, etc., etc., we would not speak of it as we do. Moreover, it is not only in its results but in its movements that the Force is tangible and concrete. When I speak of feeling Force of Power, I do not mean simply having a vague sense of it, but feeling it concretely and consequently being able to direct it, manipulate it, watch its movement, be conscious of its mass and intensity and in the same way of that of other, perhaps opposing forces; all these things are possible and usual by the development of Yoga.
     It is not, unless it is supramental Force, a Power that acts without conditions and limits. The conditions and limits under which Yoga or Sadhana has to be worked out are not arbitrary or capricious; they arise from the nature of things. These including the will, receptivity, assent, self-opening and surrender of the Sadhak have to be respected by the Yoga-force, unless it receives a sanction from the Supreme to override everything and get something done, but that sanction is sparingly given. It is only if the supramental Power came fully down, not merely sent its influences through the Overmind, that things could be very radically directed towards that object — for then the sanction would not be rare. For the Law of the Truth would be at work, not constantly balanced by the law of the Ignorance.
    Still the Yoga-force is always tangible and concrete in the way I have described and has tangible results. But it is invisible — not like a blow given or the rush of a motor car knocking somebody down which the physical senses can at once perceive. How is the mere physical mind to know that it is there and working? By its results? But how can it know that the results were that of the Yogic force and not of something else? One of two things it must be. Either it must allow the consciousness to go inside, to become aware of inner things, to believe in the experience of the invisible and the supraphysical, and then by experience, by the opening of new capacities, it becomes conscious of these forces and can see, follow and use their workings, just as the Scientist uses the unseen forces of Nature. Or one must have faith and watch and open oneself and then it will begin to see how things happen, it will notice that when the Force was called in, there began after a time to be a result, then repetitions, more repetitions, more clear andtangible results, increasing frequency, increasing consistency of results, a feeling and awareness of the Force at work — until the experience becomes daily, regular, normal, complete. These are the two main methods, one internal, working from in outward, the other external, working from outside and calling the inner force out till it penetrates and is visible in the exterior consciousness. But neither can be done if one insists always on the extrovert attitude, the external concrete only and refuses to join to it the internal concrete — or if the physical mind at every step raises a dance of doubts which refuses to allow the nascent experience to develop. Even the Scientist carrying on a new experiment would never succeed if he allowed his mind to behave in that way.

                                                                                                 - Sri Aurobindo

(SABCL, Vol 26, pp. 197-199)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Daily Life of Sri Aurobindo

After the midday meal the inmates of the house, all except Sri Aurobindo, were in the habit of going to sleep after closing their windows to keep off the heat of the sun. They would sleep from 12.30 to 2.30 or 3. The boy carrying bread used to put it in the proper place between 2 and 2.30 and go out. He would enter by the main gate, climb the stairs and approaching the table in the middle of the verandah, which would be dark owing to the shutting of windows, put the bread and account book on it and leave the house. After 3 the bread was removed to its place and the signature put in the book. The boy returned before 5 or 5.30 to collect the book for bringing it again next day with the bread.
The verandah table had but one drawer. It had no locking arrangement. Some ten one-rupee notes and five rupees' worth in small coins would generally be inside the drawer. The inmates were not in the habit of counting the money while keeping it in. The amount would sometimes be more, sometimes less.
One day when Bejoy Nag opened the drawer to take some money out, he by chance detected an appreciable shortage. He was a bit startled. He kept observing for 2 or 3 consecutive days. All the notes vanished mysteriously. Only the small coins remained. Bejoy Nag one day kept a five-rupee note and two or three one-rupee notes together with the small coins to observe the result. The very next day a one-rupee note was missing. The next day to that, another one-rupee note disappeared. He was convinced by this that it was during their sleep that the money was being stolen. He resolved to catch the thief anyhow; he called me, asked for my help to catch the thief red-handed by keeping an eye on him from a hiding place between 12.30 and 2.30 p.m. Being young, I was over-enthusiastic to catch the culprit.
     At the appointed time three of us (besides Bejoy Nag there was someone else whose name I forget) concealed ourselves behind the doors and kept a watch from three directions. It was about 2 p.m. My heart was beating fast with impatience. The bakery boy climbed up the stairs and then walked up to the upper verandah without the least sound as if he did not intend to disturb our sleep. He took down the bread basket from his head, put the fixed number of loaves and the account book on the table (a bit of pencil would always be attached to the book), silently opened the drawer of that rickety table, picked a five-rupee note out of it and thrusting it inside his turban retraced his steps. I could no longer contain myself. All three of us leaped lightning-like upon the boy and catching him dealt resounding blows to him. The sound of beating in that silent hour fell as that of thunder upon my ear. At the first two or three blows the boy uttered no word. As the fourth blow came upon him he could not bear it and started to cry out. He confessed that he had been stealing for sometime past and promised that he would do it no more. Either on hearing the cry of the boy or for some other reason Sri Aurobindo came out of his room straight to the verandah and appeared before us. For a little while he stood without a word. On the face of the boy who had received blows there shone the solace of having seen his Saviour. Our raised fists dropped down of themselves and we stood still as though we had been the culprits. Sri Aurobindo forbade us to take the five-rupee note away from him and when we heard the order we felt as if a sentence had been passed upon us.
   -   Nolini Kanta Gupta
(Reminiscences, pp. 151-152)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Interview with Shri Kireet Joshi - His Association with the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram

The Passing of Dr. Kireet Joshi
kireet joshi
Dear Friends,
With the demise of Dr. Kireet Joshi on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 5 a.m. the Aurobindonian firmament has lost one of its brightest stars. Born on 10 August 1931, he studied philosophy and law at the Elphinstone College under the University of Bombay. In 1952 at the suggestion of Prof. Chubb he met K.D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran at Bombay at the latter’s residence. The interview with Amal Kiran which lasted for more than an hour made young Kireet Joshi feel ‘greatly widened’ and ‘deeply happy’ (to quote his own words) and he began to regard Amal Kiran as his first teacher in regards to the teaching of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
In 1953 Kireet Joshi was awarded a gold medal and the Vedanta Prize for topping the Master of Arts examination. In 1955 he was selected for the I.A.S. and in the following year he was posted as Assistant Collector of Surat. However, in November 1956 he resigned from his services to join Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry as an inmate. In 1958 he was made the first Registrar of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education where he taught philosophy and psychology to the students of the Higher Course. Under the guidance of the Mother, he took part in several educational experiments which included the Free Progress System. He authored educational materials based on Sri Aurobindo’s The Ideal of Human Unity and The Human Cycle and conducted studies on The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga as well. To share the results of his extensive research on a larger scale, he had organized numerous seminars and symposiums. It was also due to his efforts that Sri Aurobindo Ashram was recognized as a Research Institution by the Government of India and exemptions under Sections 35 (i) and (ii) were provided to it.
1976 was a significant year in the life of Kireet Joshi. A greater Call came to him from the outside world in the form of an invitation from Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, who, being well-aware of his competence in the field of education, made him the Educational Adviser in the Ministry of Education. In that very year, he was appointed Member-Secretary of the National Committee on Viswa Bharati under the Chairmanship of Dr. K.L. Shrimali. He not only redesigned and redrafted the Bill for Viswa Bharati University but also developed the ideas as well as the Bills of Pondicherry University and Indira Gandhi National Open University. Also in 1976 he was made a Member of the Central Advisory Board of Education, a post which he occupied till 1988. In 1976 he was elected as Vice-President of International Commission on Education at Geneva for a period of two years.
In 1981 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Secretary of Auroville International Advisory Council. He also played a pivotal role in the establishment of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Educational Research at Auroville. In 1999 he was appointed as the Chairman of Auroville Foundation, a post he occupied till 2004.
Also in 1981 Kireet Joshi was made a Member of the University Grants Commission, a post he adorned till 1990. During the tenure of his membership, he rendered outstanding contributions towards the development of new methodologies of education in the tertiary system. He conceptualized autonomous colleges and proposed several innovations with the view of providing cultural understanding and spiritual values through aesthetic studies and also promoted the concept of value-based system of management.
In 1982 Kireet Joshi was made the Member-Secretary of National Commission for Teachers (for school education) and National Commission for Teachers (for higher education). He played a significant role in the creation of Indian Council of Philosophical Research which was established to promote Indian philosophical traditions. For a number of years he served the organization as the Member-Secretary and from 2000 to 2006 he functioned as the Chairman of the said organization. He also developed Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratisthan and served as its Founder-Member and Secretary. From 1983 to 1989 he was a Member of the Executive Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Shimla. He represented India as a delegate in the conferences of UNESCO organized in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1985 and 1988, chaired the UNESCO Committee on International Education from 1983 to 1987 and was also the Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO Institute of Education (Hamburg) from 1986 to 1990.
In 1983 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Special Secretary to the Indian Government in the capacity of which he organized several programmes related to the various aspects of higher education, youth services, language development and UNESCO affairs. In 1987 he conceptualized the International Hindi University at Wardha to develop and promote studies in Hindi both at the national and international levels. As the Vice-Chairman of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan he guided the activities of the organization in the field of Sanskrit and also developed schemes for the promotion of Sanskrit studies in various Indian universities. Not only did he frame the constitutions of Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha at New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha at Tirupathi but also worked to provide the status of deemed universities to both the institutions. From 2006 to 2008 he was the Editorial Fellow of the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture.
In 2008 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Educational Advisor to the Chief Minister of Gujarat and he adorned the post for two years. In 2009 he was appointed as the first Executive Chairman of the Gujarat Educational Innovations Commission.
Kireet Joshi was associated with The Mother’s Institute of Research from 1977 to 2001 as the Managing Trustee and had undertaken the task of translating the thirteen volumes of Mother’s Agenda into various regional Indian languages. He was also quite close to Satprem and Sujata Nahar. It was to Kireet Joshi that Satprem had sent a note in 2006 in which the latter had written: ‘Je suis arrivé au bout’ (‘I have reached the goal’).
As a pioneer in the field of value-based education, recognitions and awards poured on Kireet Joshi. In 1989 he received an award from the Indian Council for Child Education for his invaluable contribution in the field of child education. In that very year he received the National Citizen’s Award. In 1996 Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha conferred upon him the degree of D.Litt. In the following year he received the Sewa Ratna Award.
Kireet Joshi was also a prolific writer whose published works cover a vast variety of themes including education, Indian culture, philosophy, spirituality and integral yoga. His notable works include titles like Sri Aurobindo and the MotherSri Aurobindo and the Integral YogaThe New Synthesis of YogaVarieties of Yogic Experience and Integral RealisationSignificance of Indian YogaSynthesis of Yoga in the VedaSynthesis of Yoga in the UpanishadsThe Gita and its Synthesis of YogaIntegral Yoga: An Outline of Major Aims, Processes, Methods and Results,Integral Yoga of Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and SupramentalSupermind in Integral YogaIntegral Yoga and Evolutionary MutationIntegral Yoga, Evolution and the Next SpeciesBhagavadagita and Contemporary CrisisA Philosophy of the Role of the Contemporary TeacherA Philosophy of the Education for the Contemporary YouthA Philosophy of the Evolution for the Contemporary Man,Philosophy and Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and Other EssaysPhilosophy of Value Oriented Education: Theory and PracticePhilosophy of Supermind and Contemporary CrisisPhilosophy of Indian ArtOn MaterialismTowards A New Social OrderThe Veda and Indian CultureGlimpses of Vedic Literature,Landmarks of HinduismThe Portals of Vedic KnowledgeIndian Identity and Cultural ContinuityEducation at CrossroadsA National Agenda for Education,Education for TomorrowEducation for Character DevelopmentInnovations in EducationIndian Pedagogy and Towards A New Curriculum to name a few.
A few years ago Kireet Joshi returned to Pondicherry where he stayed at ‘Care Nursing Home’. This home-coming did not imply that he retired; on the contrary, he continued to guide scholars on themes related to ‘Science and Spirituality’ and ‘Spiritual Education’. He was the living example of the Sanskrit shlokavidya dadati vinayam. He was always approachable and he encouraged youngsters to work on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. The present author fondly recalls how he had taken an avid interest in the former’s booklet Sri Aurobindo on Ethics and had asked him to work on a monograph on Sri Aurobindo’s political life. Our organization Overman Foundation was privileged to honour Kireet Joshi with the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ in August 2011.
Towards the end of his life, Kireet Joshi was diagnosed with throat cancer. A few days ago he was brought to the Ashram Nursing Home where he passed away on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 5 a.m.
In his tribute to Kireet Joshi, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has written: “Saddened by demise of Kireet Joshi. He will be remembered as a fine scholar and educationist, devoted to the principles of Sri Aurobindo. As advisor to Gujarat CM, Kireet Bhai played a key role in setting up of Children’s University and Institute of Teacher Education.”
With the demise of Kireet Joshi the Aurobindonian community has lost the last among the Greats. The emptiness created by his death is irreparable.
With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Overman Foundation.
1Kireet Joshi with Nolini Kanta Gupta, Udar Pinto, Sisir Kumar Mitra at “Knowledge”, the Higher Course of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.
2Kireet Joshi with André Morisset (the Mother’s son), Udar Pinto, Sisir Kumar Mitra and Indira Gandhi on 12 December 1972.
3Kireet Joshi with Kalyan Chaudhuri, Prapatti, Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta Gupta, André Morisset and Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala at the inauguration of “Sri Aurobindo’s Action” in July 1970.
4Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto.
5Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto, Prapatti and Babaji at the Orissa Centenary Conference.
6Kireet Joshi with Dr. Karan Singh and his wife, Udar Pinto, Charupada Bhattacharya, Nolini Kanta Gupta, Sisir Kumar Mitra and Arabinda Basu.
7Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto and Indira Gandhi at the Dining Room of Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 17 February 1974.
8Kireet Joshi and Udar Pinto with Madam Jivkova, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Bulgaria.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Ratna Chakravarti at the second “Auro-Ratna Award” ceremony in August 2011.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi receiving the trophy of “Auro-Ratna Award” from Krishna Chakravarti and Prof. Kittu Reddy.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi receiving the certificate of “Auro-Ratna Award” from Suprabha Nahar and Dr. Ananda Reddy.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Jhumur Bhattacharya, the in-charge of “Knowledge”.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Dr. Ananda Reddy and Raman Reddy.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Anurag Banerjee.


  1. Trupti said,

    September 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm
    it’s only Ma and Lord’s grace that has worked tremendously through a great but very humble instrument like Kireetbhai. i had the privilege to have his love when he was in Gujarat.

  2. surendra singh chouhan said,

    September 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm
    In the passing away of ” dearly beloved Kireet Bhai ” not only the Ashram but India and the world have lost truly an iconic figure of boundless knowledge , limitless compassion and the singer of ” the Life Divine ” it is an irreparable loss of vast magnitude . He was truly a majestic exponent of this blue print of the divine life …He would go to any length to elucidate in his melliflous voice the complex conceptual knowledge issues ..He was gifted , as it were , with seeing intelligence ..which could instantly reach the core of the problem and resolve it ..He had phenomenal memory , understanding – rather over-standing of the supernal truths as enshrined in the Vedas , the Upanishads and the Geeta . Words are utterly inadequate to choreograph the many sided genius and the splendid life of ” dear Kireet Bhai ” based entirely on the Grace and Blessings of our Lord and the Divine Mother ..It was my fortunate privilege to be his student of the Life Divne where he had unveiled the mystery and mystique of this magnum opus . Let us salute this wondrous personality who dedicated his entire life cheerfully in the service of the humanity and Divinity .. Om Shanti .. Shanti .. Shanti .. “

  3. Paulette Hadnagy said,

    September 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm
    In Auroville we knew that Kireet, a renowned scholar and advisor to leading figures, had served in many important missions. There are no words to thank him for all that he has done for Auroville. But we will remember him as a most accessible person, over enthusiastic, always ready to listen and help.
    I was very close to Mohini Dadlani; she knew him since her university years and remained his pupil for life. Mohini had joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram one year before Kireet; the Mother appointed her not only as Kireet’s secretary… but also as his cook, yet there was a problem… Mohini had to learn to cook to fulfil such task! She lived in the Golconde prototype, opposite to Ganesh Temple; the only man among ashramites ladies, Kireet was given a room in the same compound.
    When Kireet became Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, before his house in Auroville was built he used to stay in his old Pondy room. And it was at lunch time, in Mohini’s kitchen, that I used to meet him and discuss many Auroville related issues revolving around the theme of the ideal society; from humanistic education to the Auroville organization and its group soul, to individualisation by the psychic being as foundation for life in Auroville.
    The great scholar was so simple and unassuming that I felt conversing to an old friend… He had been repeatedly awarded by the Kanceepuram Shankaracarya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, my Advaita teacher; once Kireet returned from Kanceepuram… with prasad for me from the Sankaracarya! Happy like a child to show me the photographs of the ceremony at Shankar Mutt…
    He, the man who received honours and achieved so much, spent the last years of terrestrial existence in a tiny room, with scarce daylight, perfectly at ease in it as in a palace. I felt that by his serene humility he was silently teaching a tremendous lesson to all of us; living there content was the last gem of his serving the Mother till he breathed his last.
    Yes, the Avatar takes birth with his own people, they come and go together. One more of them has left us. We are even poorer, more downcast. Yet we must hold on, preparing the ground for the next golden batch.

  4. Fundacion Centro Sri Aurobindo, Barcelona said,

    September 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm
    Our sincere condolences for the loss of Dr, Kireet Joshi.

  5. KIRIT THAKKAR said,

    September 20, 2014 at 4:25 am
    We remember him for his Love for Mother and Sri Aurobindo. A great
    scholar and lover of humanity has done good work for education and Auroville.

  6. kamala menon said,

    September 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm
    A great loss to Education in India. I will always thank him for having made so many good institutions real in India.

  7. Purnendu Ghosh said,

    September 21, 2014 at 10:25 am
    We knew Dr Kireet Joshi from my early days and was influnced by his thoughts on education. It is great loss to the Country

  8. Kittu Reddy said,

    September 21, 2014 at 10:47 am
    In the early 1960s the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education began getting grants every year from the Ministry of Education. It was for that purpose that Kireet had to go to Delhi every year for 10 days or so. From Delhi he used to write to Mother daily and Mother would send a telegram every day with her love and blessings.
    From December 1973, Kireet, Tanmay and myself would meet the Mother on alternate day in the evening between 7 and 7.30 pm. In January 1973 Kireet returned from his usual trip to Delhi and came straight to the Mother’s room at about 7 pm. When he recounted to Mother that many senior officers in the Education Ministry were showing a lot of interest and openness to Sri Aurobindo’s concepts of education, Mother was very happy. Later during the same conversation She added: “Whenever you are called to assist Indira Gandhi for education you should respond positively and accept it”.
    This is the background of Kireet going to Delhi to work with Indira Gandhi after the Mother left Her body.
    Kittu Reddy

    • Angshuman Basu said,

      September 22, 2014 at 10:35 am
      “From December 1973, Kireet, Tanmay and myself would meet the Mother on alternate day in the evening between 7 and 7.30 pm.” I feel there must be a mistake in the month and year as the Mother passed away on 17th November 1973.

      • Anurag Banerjee said,

        September 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm
        You are right. I think Prof. Kittu Reddy meant “From December 1972″ instead of “December 1973″. It was surely a slip from his pen.

  9. KAILASH JOSHI said,

    September 22, 2014 at 6:26 am
    we are very thankfull to overman foundation for introducing us the genius and personality that shri keerit joshi possessed.
    Indeed we have lost the ambassador of the intregal Education.
    On the 20th . a function was organised to pay the hommage to shri keertbhai by the children s’ university , at Gndhinagar., guj.
    we simply offer our PRANAM to the departed soul.


    September 22, 2014 at 1:48 pm
    An illumined soul of the highest level, a RISHI of the modern times, an ardent devotee of the Divine Mother and Sri Aurobindo, an humble bureaucrat par excellence, an educationist to the core – all these adjectives fall short in profiling a towering personality that our Dear Uncle – KIREETKAKA was. I consider myself highly privileged to be born in his family. Being a friend, philosopher and guide to peoples of many countries, he was an international personality in true sense. Everyone who came in contact with him considers himself or herself to be very close to him. To fathom his life seems to be beyond my capacity…..and yet he was MY, NO OUR, LOVING KIREETKAKA, who always showed great concern for all of us in the family. Whenever we met him it seemed as if we were never away from him, and yet he was so detached. I fondly remember all the meetings we had at Pondicherry, at New Delhi and at various places where I attended his lectures and seminars. I bow down to that Divine Soul with great humility. May he guide us on the right path of our lives!

  11. Matriprasad said,

    October 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm
    I will never forget Kireet-bhai and the gratitude I owe to him.