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.)