Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Because they did not want to establish a new religion or a cult

Beyond the Human Species: The Life and Work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Omega Books) (Hardcover) by Georges Van Vrekhem (Author) Customer Reviews
Exciting, but does it need to be?, February 16, 2005 Reviewer: Thinking (USA) - See all my reviews
A very exciting book indeed. But does it really need to be so? I do understand that the author must have put in a great deal of time into researching the material for this book. I do believe that that it was written with much sincerity. And for those who already know of the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, this book could serve as an inspiration. But frankly, as far as introducing someone else to their way of thought, I think it might actually be doing some harm. The book is a "thriller". A very great portion of the book focuses on the role played by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in World War II. In fact, there is the suggestion that Hitler made his wrong decisions because he was misled by the Mother. I am not sure if the author realizes how disturbing such a claim might be to a critical outsider. There are thousands of "spiritual gurus" with such fantastic claims. And such a story seems to put Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in their ranks. But that is NOT what they were.
Sri Aurobindo never made public statements about his "miracles". In fact, most of such stories seem to have sprouted from rumours circulating among his disciples. I am NOT suggesting that they are lies. May be there is some truth to them. May be Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did influence the course of history a great deal during that period. But that is not what we need to know about. There is perhaps a reason why they did not make public statements about their role in such things. It was because they did not want to establish a new religion or a cult. They did not want to attract people by such things. Whether the practice of Yoga has any value at all is for each individual to find out.
But if I were to do so, such stories of miracles are the last thing I would choose to think about. They may entice you and fill you with hope and inspiration when you are depressed. But I am not sure if they lead you in the right direction. So to summarize: It is a nice book. I think it might give a good notion of the kind of the ideals that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother established. It is a very inspiring book, but perhaps best taken with a pinch of salt.
If this is true, we really need this information, February 18, 2000 Reviewer: A reader
Beyond the Human Species is quite amazing to say the least, even if only 1/10 of it were true. If it's all true, then this information is something we should all know about. Fortunately, at least for me, it reads like a spiritual thriller. I just kept being amazed and, of course, it raises all kinds of questions about who we really are (individually and as a species) and where we're going. One suggestive aspect of the book has to do with the amount of sheer pain that Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in particular had to bear in their lives, in their sadana (spiritual work).
I believe at one point they called pain the "hammer of the gods". In any case, for them it was part of what they had to bear for the transformation, and I wonder if this is possibly not the case for many of us. Is it possible, that there is a deeper meaning to the suffering so many of us feel, beyond the exigencies of our material circumstances. Certainly this was the case for these two amazing spiritual explorers. Scientific materialism, as extraordinary as it is in its own domain, would have us deny all this, but the possibility is there that there is just so very, very much more. For a clear vision of the "so much more" this book is a revelation.
The Terrestrial Evolution, August 19, 1998 Reviewer: A reader
Georges van Vrekhem's long awaited book, "Beyond the Human Species" is an exquisite exegesis of the internal lives of Sri Aurobindo Ghose and Mirra Alfassa (La Mere/The Mother), arguably the most important spiritual figures of the 20th century. The "Two who were One," left an enormous literary wake, describing their development and experiences, and their lives were recorded in their letters, talks and the reminiscences of their disciples. However, until now, their integral spiritual history has not been systematically presented in a single volume. "Beyond the Human Species" addresses the most amazing journey our species has ever embarked on. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother "went forth and ploughed in other fields," to use an expression from the Rg Veda.
Never before has the Divine emergence been documented so closely, so literally, as in the words, works and lives of this extraordinary Man and Woman. Georges van Vrekhem's book is an absolutely fascinating reading experience, culled from massive amounts of material, as well as the author's personal relationship with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville. To use the words of The Mother, "Come Truth, Manifest," and the truth has manifested in this book. For those who are aware of the Integral Yoga, this book comes as a friend, a partner along the way. For those who may never have heard of the Life Divine, this book will be a beginning, and an entrance into Satyam, Rtam, Brhat, "the Truth, the Right, the Vast." This is a blessed book.

The Mother's mastery of occultism

The Mother: The Story of Her LifeGeorges Van Vrekhem
SABDA – Distributors of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publications
With less of philosophy and more of childlike wonderment, The Mother is a delight to handle and read and meditate upon. Written in a style that does not distract the mind with vain questionings, the book literally leads us by the hand to make a matri-pradakshina and takes us closer to the presence of our Mother.
One of the important steps in the Mother's sadhana was her mastery of occultism. Without knowing the background of her involvement in this aspect, miracle-mongers have been having a field day while projecting Mother's yoga. Van Vrekhem has devoted considerable space to her "exploration of the Occult" and has explained the various facets of the Cosmic Tradition propounded by Max and Alma Theon. The Theons were not engaged in mere miraculism, though towards the end, Max (who appears to have been the cosmic Asura of Death) fell a victim to self-importance. Their approach to divinise earth failed miserably. The Cosmic Tradition itself has touches of the incarnation theory and speaks of an involution into matter symbolized by the great Creatrix pouring her divine Love into the Inconscient. Anyhow, experiments with occult were given up later by the Mother on the advice of Sri Aurobindo. Van Vrekhem's inputs in this regard will be valuable for students who explore the symbol realms in Savitri's Books of Eternal Night and the Double Twilight...
Van Vrekhem wisely avoids cluttering the narrative with too many details. But there is enough to suggest the Mother's work as a divine housewife, managing a variety of people drawn together with the single aim of achieving the life divine under the aegis of Sri Aurobindo. She was strict, but not stiff. There were the practicalities of mundane living and spiritual games for the soul's ascent. There are occasional references to extraordinary happenings (like the sea remaining under her control when the seaside wall of the Park Guest House was under construction) but Van Vrekhem brings us immediately back to the earth. Antonin Raymond, architect of Golconde has described best the Ashram of those days: "Here indeed was an ideal state of existence in which the purpose of all activity was clearly a spiritual one." All life is yoga!...
The Mother was an incarnation of the Divine Mother as Mahapremi. This much is brought to us by the biographies written by Iyengar, Wilfried, Van Vrekhem and the reminiscences of innumerable disciples like Madhav Pandit, Sahana, Tara. From them we learn that she taught us to be cheerful, fearless, brave and remain tuned to the Infinite. That is all we know and we need to know. — Prema Nandakumar June 2001

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Then is thrown off the legacy of the past

Re: 05: A Many-hued inner Dawn by RY Deshpande on Sat 24 Feb 2007 07:38 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Although vanquishing Death is a divine decision taken in answer to the forceful prayer of Aswapati to the Divine Mother, it has to be implemented by her by incarnating herself here. It has to be done through an instrumental being and she herself becomes one. Now that human Savitri has to gear up for achieving the redoubtable victory. Her work is in the physical and the very cells have to respond to the call. There are some cells who know or have faith that it is the Supreme who is going to transform them; but the others say, “Ah!” Savitri has to suffer for these “Ah”-wallahs.
on Sat 24 Feb 2007 11:03 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
…only the unborn spirit's timeless power
Can lift the yoke imposed by birth in Time
Human destinies born in Time can turn into true post-human destinies, in Time, only by the unborn spirit’s timeless power—and there is no other way, nānyah panthāh asti, or as the Upanishad would say: “There is no other path for the great journey.” And yet our willing and conscious participation is expected. Post-human destinies come unto human destinies only by invoking them in various ways, actually in countless ways, by our spiritual, philosophic, scientific, religious, aesthetic, emotional, physical, technological, industrial, commercial pursuits in life and in dream and in reflection and in vision and in idea of the truth and the beautiful and the joyous.
Our thought and feeling and will and our soul and spirit can open out to the timeless power waiting to enter into the scheme of things here. When this happens, then there is no more the yoke imposed by birth in Time. Then is thrown off the legacy of the past, dissolved the vanished forms which were accepted blindly by the body and soul, accepted in a kind of pragmatism to progress. This has happened to Savitri, the interminable line erased; to an extent it can, in fact must happen to us also.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Devotees throng Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry

Puducherry, Feb 21: A large number of people from across the country visited the Aurobindo Ashram here today on the occasion of 129th birth anniversary of its co-founder the 'mother'. The devotees made a beeline at the ashram since early morning. Ashram authorities had made elaborate arrangements for the devotees to stand in que and meditate at the samadhis of the 'mother' and Sri Aurobindo. When Aurobindo founded the ashram in November 1926, he entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the 'Mother', Paris-born Alfassa. She became the leader of the community after Aurobindo's death in 1950 and passed away in 1973. (Agencies)

The Mother’s Birthday February 21st 2007. And I feel very lucky to be part of it

Meditation At Dawn Teal and I awoke at 5:00 AM this morning, an hour and some before dawn, to join the Aurovillian community celebration of the Mother’s Birthday. The community gathered in the Amphitheater, in front of the Matramandir, in silence under the still star filled pre-dawn sky. The amphitheater was beautifully illuminated by a spiral of 2007 white paper lotuses that had hundreds of candles dispersed though their paper petals. The effect is breathtakingly beautiful. Teal and I sit down on the cool sand stone surface of the Amphitheater steps above the lotus spiral, with the Matramandir in full sight to our side and the bows of the Sacred Banyan Tree in front of us.
At 5:45 AM, as the sky began to lighten with the first rays of day, the haunting sounds of a worn accordion playing a beautiful but melancholic French song from the last century, filled the space. As the vibrant colors of dawn fill the sky, a recording of the Mother’s voice, reading from Sri Aurobindo’s writings on the essence of the Divine Mother, surrounds us. The Mother’s voice fads out as the sun brakes over the horizon on the Matramandir. The energy and feeling emanating from those gathered is palpable. And I feel very lucky to be part of it.
Some Notes and Meaningful Quotes on Auroville: “Earth needs a place where men can live away from national rivalries, social conventions, self-contradictory moralities and contending religions, a place where human beings, freed from all slavery to the past, can devote themselves wholly to the discovery and practice of the divine consciousness that is seeking to manifest itself. Auroville wants to be this place and offers itself to all who aspire to live the Truth of tomorrow.” – The Mother
The Auroville Charter
1.) Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
2.) Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress and a youth that never ages.
3.) Auroville wants to be the bridge between past and future. Taking advantage of all the discoveries from without and within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realizations.
4.) Auroville will be the site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity. – The Mother (28th of February 1968)
“Only a transparent sincerity in man and among nations can usher in a transformed world. Auroville is the first attempt in this experiment.” –The Mother
By teal posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 at 2:00 am under Uncategorized

The marble slab heaving gently like a breathing breast

Debashish Banerji Collaboration [XIX-1] Winter, 1993
When I first came across Sri Aurobindo’s Relics at his birthplace in Calcutta, I had the experience, through both sight and touch, of the marble slab heaving gently like a breathing breast. This experience was accompanied with a profound inner sense of the stone slab being His physical body. This experience has subsequently been repeated at every site where Sri Aurobindo’s Relics are enshrined, and his Samadhi at the Ashram.

When I first came into possession of the book Savitri, I had an identical experience. The heavy paperback tome with its blue cover carrying Sri Aurobindo’s symbol breathed gently like the lord in repose. Ever since, I have looked upon this book as a physical part of Sri Aurobindo.

If Sri Aurobindo keeps something who are we to dismiss it?

Re: 05: A Many-hued inner Dawn by RY Deshpande on Tue 20 Feb 2007 08:22 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
An hour arrives when fail all Nature's means
An hour comes when fail all Nature's means
There is an editorial problem here, whether it should be “An hour arrives…” or “An hour comes…” As far as the sense is concerned there is really not much to choose between “arrives” and “comes”. From the point of view of poetic technique we have: An hour/ arrives/ when fail/ all Nat/ ure’s means—all five beautiful iambs; An ho/ ur comes/ when fail/ all Nat/ ure’s means—this is also acceptable, with ‘hour’ taken with two syllables, not an uncommon thing in Savitri; with this ho /ur the first line would become iamb-anapaest, etc. which is also perfectly fine. In many places Sri Aurobindo scans ‘inspires’ or ‘desires’ with three syllables, though generally they are disyllabic; so too could be taken ‘hour’ as ‘ho/ ur’.
As far as rhythm is concerned, it is a matter of one’s taste and association, one’s predilections also; nor can there be any strict formula everywhere for the same poet; it could depend upon the situation. Then, while in the first line there is a strong ‘r’-alliterative effect, in the second the additional ‘m’-alliteration brings a kind of self-closing poetic result. Nor is this line that kind of a mantra in which nothing can be changed, the exact word in the exact position. There is neither the inevitability of ‘arrives’ nor of ‘comes’.
And yet there is a problem. The whole passage we are discussing was written first by Sri Aurobindo around 1945, written on tiny chit-pad sheets. On it our line in his hand is ‘An hour arrives when fail all Nature's means.” But there were revisions by dictation around it and when the scribe made a fair copy of the text he put—inadvertently I suppose, probably being carried away by the sense of the sentence—‘comes’ instead of ‘arrives’. Obviously, ‘comes’ continued to be there through all the subsequent stages, including a number of times the line with ‘comes’ read out to Sri Aurobindo. Nirodbaran’s fair copy, Nolini’s type-sheets, proofs from the press on three or four occasions—all of them were read out to Sri Aurobindo and he never felt uneasy with his ‘arrives’ having been changed to ‘comes’ by somebody else.
It should also be noted that in a few cases there are differences between what was sent to the press and what came out of it, obviously the proofs had on them Sri Aurobindo’s revisions by dictation; but unfortunately those proofs have not survived. Which could make room for one to argue that Sri Aurobindo, at that stage, could have re-dictated the line as follows: “An hour approaches when fail all Nature's means” with the third foot as an anapaest; but this dictated change was not carried out by the press, again, something which is quite conceivable.
One way of looking at the situation, as vehemently suggested by the upholders of the ‘arrives’, is: “…an accident produced a reading that was not noticeably wrong and even found its way into the printed text. This raises the question: when Sri Aurobindo let a variant introduced by someone else remain intact, is it the same as if he had written it himself? If we want an authentic edition of Savitri in which each word is Sri Aurobindo’s own, it would seem that in such a case the word found in his manuscript should be restored in place of the word that was inadvertently substituted for it by another person.”
That is a very rational argument no doubt and sounds indisputable. But then there could also be another way of looking at things. If an author has allowed to stand something, can we really object to him in that respect? If Sri Aurobindo keeps something who are we to dismiss it? Can that which Sri Aurobindo retained be said to be not ‘authentic’? Perhaps there should be some other way to resolve the issue. I would wait for comments on it. RYD

Thus said Sri Aurobindo and thus said The Mother

Thus said Ramakrishna and thus said Vivekananda. Yes, but let me know also the truths which the Avatar cast not forth into speech and the prophet has omitted from his teachings. There will always be more in God than the thought of man has ever conceived or the tongue of man has ever uttered.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness

Submitted by silent lotus on January 18, 2007 - 9:12pm. Greetings Chris I wondered if you were familiar with the community of Auroville ????
It has a very interesting history and dynamic. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity – in diversity. Today Auroville is recognised as the first and only internationally endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, also concerned with - and practically researching into - sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Matrimandir crystal globe

The crystal for the Matrimandir arrived in Auroville on 26-4-91 at 10.15 p.m. It was moved into the Matrimandir's Inner Chamber the very next day at 09.45 a.m.
The size of 70 cm diameter was marked on the original plan that Mother had drawn for the central object in the Chamber. In July 1983, the searchlight fell on the firm of Schott in Mainz, and somewhat later on Zeiss in Oberkochen, both in Germany. These firms proposed the type of crystal - optically perfect glass - with the name of Bohr Kron 7. On the 8th of June 1984, Zeiss presented the study, and gave the estimate: approx. 230,000 German Marks.On May 12 1987, Schott wrote to Zeiss that the cast has been done, and that the mould was being cooled. When two months later a visit to Zeiss was made, it appeared that this casting was the second one, - the first one having failed for unpublished reasons.
The casting at Schott's in Mainz lasted 15 hours, and was done in a special form of refractory stone, held together by seven metal bands, which was placed on top of a platform built of iron and steel. During the casting process the glass in the form was kept at a constant temperature. After 15 hours the rough casting in the form of a massive dome with a diameter of 80 to 85 cm and a weight of 1100 kg was finished, after which it was cooled down extremely slowly (to avoid tension) in an annealing furnace for a period of 5 weeks. The rough form had to be polished on two sides, in order to test the quality of the glass. Finally, at the beginning of 1991, it became clear that the process to deliver the globe could be started, and in April of the same year it reached its destination, the Chamber.
The Heliostat and Lens
The heliostat is controlled by a computer program, which moves a mirror across the sun's path every day. This mirror projects sunlight into a lens, that projects the single sun ray down on the crystal. To make sure that the ray strikes the crystal exactly in the centre, a photo sensor is installed in the path of the ray itself and relays the data on the ray's position to the computer, which in turn will adjust the ray to the correct position if necessary.