Sri Aurobindo Center
of Los Angeles

The Quest
September 2021

Theme - Peace
  1. Events & Activities
  2. Introduction
  3. What is Peace
  4. Why Men Don’t Seek Peace
  5. The Necessity of Peace in the Sadhana
  6. Calling Peace
  7. Sri Aurobindo’s Room
  8. On the Body
  9. Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
  10. Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities                                                  Home

The month of September passed with the powerful atmosphere of August with us imbued with thoughts and feelings of Him, and most of all, a powerful soul-call to feel His Presence and belong to Him and Him only. Normally, one closes the doors of outwardness and goes within to a quietude to feel Him; however, in current times, even when we look out into the world He seems to be smiling and present everywhere; we are overwhelmed to see His dreams taking concrete shape. As we enter the 150th anniversary of His birth, He has come to us.
Devotees are visiting the Center increasingly to meditate, offer work at the garden, and for overnight stays. The podcasts of The Mother put out by the devotees powerfully draw Her to the listener. In the renovation of the Center, we are now in the cabinetry project phase; it is educative to learn and work with the devotees having a fine artistic sense and working harmoniously.
The collective sadhana three times a week reinforces our bond with the Divine keeping our flame lit.
Now over to the theme for this month.

Introduction                                                             Home

Dear Fellow Seekers,

Our offering this month is on Peace. Knowingly or unknowingly the whole world aspires for it. The term has made its way in popular narrative, daily prayers, blessings, and good wishes. But what is Peace? Is it a dream of the escapist, an inert state that does not sanction any movement? Peace is the foundation of our sadhana, that lets all experience to settle down in our being and transform it. It is an active, dynamic condition, that promotes growth. Peace is a harmonious and joyous state, which we attain when we are surrendered and connected with our inner self, and can be found in the midst of activities. Please read through this month’s offering to know in detail about peace and practical guidance about how to aspire for it.

In the Gratitude section we will be introduced to the ever-smiling Bharanidharan or affectionately Bharani, meaning the adventurer, - the loving member of the Center, and the tireless worker offering his services at the altar of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Quest will not be complete without, “Sri Aurobindo’s Humor”, “Empowering Lines from Savitri”, “On the Body” and finally carefully curated art works and layout. The podcast of the center offers rare and relevant materials related to Integral Yoga, please make use of it.
Wish you all a very happy reading, may all we achieve Peace and Progress in our respective paths.

From Quest Team.
All are invited to join us for the following virtual events taking place via Zoom video and teleconferencing calls.

Aspiration for the Divine – Tuesdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Pacific Time

Savitri Reading - Thursdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Pacific Time

The Mother - Saturdays, 4:30 pm- 6:00 pm Pacific Time

Click here for the Zoom Meeting details.
Introducing the Podcast

We are happy to announce that Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles has recently started a podcast dedicated to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The podcast is titled "Sri Aurobindo", and is available on your mobile device, tablet and laptop/desktop.
To subscribe, click on one of the links below from your mobile device. When you click the link, it will automatically open the podcast. Click the "Subscribe" button. You will automatically receive notifications on your phone or tablet when new recordings are available. You can also access this on your laptop computer or iPad/tablet if you prefer that option.
(Link for iPhone, iPad/tablet and laptop)
(Link for non iPhone users)
The podcast has The Mother's reading of Savitri (all cantos), additional talks by The Mother, talks by Nolini da, Tara Jauhar and Nirodbaran. New recordings are added weekly, and all previous recordings are always available for playback. We are initially focusing on recordings from the works of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and will start expanding to additional recordings from other disciples in the future
For suggestions and/or questions, please email

What is Peace                                                          Home

But the spiritual peace is something other and infinitely more than the mental peace and its results are different, not merely clear thinking or some control or balance or a sattwic state. But its greater results can only be fully and permanently manifest when it lasts long enough in the system or when one feels spread out in it above the head and on every side stretching towards infinity as well as penetrated by it down to the very cells. Then it carries with it the deep and vast and solid tranquility that nothing can shake—even if on the surface there is storm and battle.
23 July 1935
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 35, Page 45
Peace is more positive than calm—there can be a negative calm which is merely an absence of disturbance or trouble, but peace is always something positive bringing not merely a release as calm does but a certain happiness or Ananda of itself. There is also a positive calm, something that stands firm against all things that seek to trouble, not thin and neutral like the negative calm, but strong and massive. Very often the two words are used in the same sense, but one can distinguish them in their true sense as above.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 148
Question: Sweet Mother, what does “solid peace” mean?

The Mother: You see, there is a negative peace, that is, an absence of disturbance; but solid peace is a positive peace. One may feel a peace which is absolutely positive, which is not the negation of the absence of peace, a peace that is something solid, concrete, very... almost active, you see, that is, having a power of contagion, of spreading through the whole being and bringing peace even in places where there is none. This becomes something very positive and concrete... as though one were touching a solid object. This indeed is true peace. The other is just the preceding step—the negation of the disturbance—that is to say, one remains untroubled, one has no vibration which shows any disturbance.
13 October 1954
CWM Volume 6, Page 361
Why Men Don't Seek Peace                                      Home
Ordinary human minds, Europeans especially, are accustomed to regard thought as indispensable and as the highest thing — so they are alarmed at silence. V.V. S. Aiyar when he was here asked for Yoga. I told him how to make his mind silent and it became silent. He immediately got frightened and said “I am becoming a fool, I can’t think”, — so I took what I had given away from him. That is how the average mind regards silence.

11 December 1935
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 35, Page 437
Question: Why don’t men want to rise above the falsehood and ignorance that reign everywhere in the world?
The Mother: Because they love falsehood, vital agitation, violence, drama. The peace of eternity seems to them as empty as death because they live exclusively in the mind and vital.

29 January 1935
CWM Volume 17, Page 178
*To turn towards Thee, unite with Thee, live in Thee and for Thee, is supreme happiness, unmixed joy, immutable peace.... Why do men flee from these boons as though they fear them?
The Mother: I still wonder why and I can find no answer except that stupidity rules the world.

25 June 1932
CWM Volume 16, Page 17
*Extract from the Mother’s Prayers and Meditations, 18 June 1913
The Necessity of Peace in the Sadhana               Home

Peace is the basis of the sadhana.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 124
The first thing to do in the sadhana is to get a settled peace and silence in the mind. Otherwise you may have experiences, but nothing will be permanent. It is in the silent mind that the true consciousness can be built.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 149
Peace is necessary for all; without peace and an increasing purity, even if one opens, one cannot receive perfectly all that comes down through the opening. Light too is necessary for all—without light one cannot take full advantage of all that comes down.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 123
The first thing that you have to bring down is a positive, complete and enduring peace from above — that is the only foundation on which the rest can be done, i.e. the development of the higher consciousness, force, knowledge, love, Ananda.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 123
If the peace or silence is once absolutely established, no amount of movements on the surface can impair or abolish it. It can bear all the movements of the universe and yet be the same.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 150
Calling Peace                                                               Home
Question: How can we establish a settled peace and silence in the mind?

Mother: First of all, you must want it.
And then you must try and must persevere, continue trying. What I have just told you is a very good means. Yet there are others also. You sit quietly, to begin with; and then, instead of thinking of fifty things, you begin saying to yourself, “Peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, calm, peace!” You imagine peace and calm. You aspire, ask that it may come: “Peace, peace, calm.” And then, when something comes and touches you and acts, say quietly, like this, “Peace, peace, peace.” Do not look at the thoughts, do not listen to the thoughts, you understand. You must not pay attention to everything that comes. You know, when someone bothers you a great deal and you want to get rid of him, you don't listen to him, do you? Good! You turn your head away (gesture) and think of something else. Well, you must do that: when thoughts come, you must not look at them, must not listen to them, must not pay any attention at all, you must behave as though they did not exist, you see! And then, repeat all the time like a kind of – how shall I put it? – as an idiot does, who repeats the same thing always. Well, you must do the same thing; you must repeat, “Peace, peace, peace.” So you try this for a few minutes and then do what you have to do; and then, another time, you begin again; sit down again and then try. Do this on getting up in the morning, do this in the evening when going to bed. You can do this...  look, if you want to digest your food properly, you can do this for a few minutes before eating. You can't imagine how much this helps your digestion! Before beginning to eat you sit quietly for a while and say, “Peace, peace, peace!” and everything becomes calm. It seems as though all the noises were going far, far, far away  (Mother stretches out her arms on both sides) and then you must continue; and there comes a time when you no longer need to sit down, and no matter what you are doing, no matter  what you are saying, it is always “Peace, peace, peace.” Everything remains here, like this, it does not enter (gesture in front of the forehead), it remains like this. And then one is always in a perfect peace... after some years.

But at the beginning, a very small beginning, two or three minutes, it is very simple. For something complicated you must make an effort, and when one makes an effort, one is not quiet. It is difficult to make an effort while remaining quiet. Very simple, very simple, you must be very simple in these things. It is as though you were learning how to call a friend: by dint of being called he comes. Well, make peace and calm your friends and call them: “Come, peace, peace, peace, peace, come!”
8 September 1954
CWM Volume 6, Page 313
Sri Aurobindo's Room                                              Home

... the thing is to hold the true consciousness in the body itself and not have the least fear and be full of the divine peace. Then indeed there is no danger. Not only can attacks of men be warded off, but beasts also and even the elements can be affected. I can give you a little example. You remember the night of the great cyclone, when there was a tremendous noise and splash of rain all about the place. I thought I would go to Sri Aurobindo’s room and help him shut the windows. I just opened his door and found him sitting quietly at his desk, writing. There was such a solid peace in the room that nobody would have dreamed that a cyclone was raging outside. All the windows were wide open, not a drop of rain was coming inside.
The Mother, CWM Volume 3, Page 155

In Gratitude                                                               Home
Bharanidharan Ranganathan
(Bharanidharan means Guider, Discipline, Adventurer)
I am Bharani, and I work in the IT industry. My connection with The Mother started at high school. My mom, and I were introduced to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo through my best friend's mom. She took us to a center, located near our house in Chennai (Sri Aravindar Dhyana Maiyam). From the moment I walked in there, I sensed an indescribable vibration in me. That changed the course of my life. We have been visiting that center regularly, participating in Saturday evening meditations and other activities and gradually I found myself completely surrendered to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
Chennai being very close to Pondicherry, I could visit the ashram often and have peaceful meditations at the samadhi. Later when I first met Janani (my wife), I saw Mother’s picture in her room and that made me very happy to have a life partner who also is on the same path. Since we moved to Los Angeles, we have been with the LA center. I should say we have been very blessed to live in the vicinity of the center and be able to spend time there.  Mother’s presence and Blessings are ever-present, I can feel Her guidance in my everyday life and in every step that I take. Mother has blessed Janani and me with two beautiful girls Nitika and Nishtha.

As you read above, Bharani is a young devotee of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo for many years, long before he married Janani. He is a true karma yogi and has a deep love for The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. When I think of Bharani, I see a big smile full of humility and respect. He loves to look after any and every need of our LA Center – the garden, house, photography or outside errands simultaneously. 

Without any hesitation I can say that his understanding of Their work is nailed in his system. He tries to come daily to have a meditation in the Center’s Relic Room.

Bharani reads Savitri with joy. He brings his very young children, along with Janani, no matter what he has to do for the Center and they assist him. He handles them with love and gentleness, which is what the Divine Mother has written over and over about parenting.
Bharani’s devotion and sweet and subtle personality is reflected in every aspect of his being. All the devotees of the Center enjoy working with him.
He is a very valuable asset to our LA Center. Thank you, dear Bharani!
Significance: Joy of Integral Peace
Calm and tranquil, an unfailing smile.

On the Body                                                              Home
The Problem of Matter

This problem is of a fundamental importance. For all here, mind, life, body, depend on Matter, evolve out of it; Matter is their support, conditions their emergence and action. Man rose out of the animal by developing a body capable of a progressive mental illumination; to rise beyond himself to a divine manhood or supermanhood he must develop a physical instrumentation or body capable of a still greater supramental illumination.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 13, Page 504
Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                             Home
Sadhak: It is very problematic, however, how many will reach your Heaven alive, like Yudhishthir.
Sri Aurobindo: And his dog. You have forgotten the dog*.
*According to the Mahabharata, Yudhishthira, the eldest of the four brothers of Arjuna, was the only person to reach Heaven alive in his mortal body. He was accompanied by a dog which he had found on the way. It is said that the gate-keeper of Heaven would not allow the dog to enter, but King Yudhisthira himself refused to enter without his dog, since being a king, it was his duty to protect all those who had asked for his protection. Thus the dog entered Heaven. Then the dog resumed his true form. He was none other then Dharmaraj, Lord of the Law.

Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo, Nirodbaran, Page 96
Empowering Lines from Savitri                             Home
Far-wandering seekers on the Eternal’s path
Brought to these quiet founts their spirit’s thirst
And spent the treasure of a silent hour
Bathed in the purity of the mild gaze
That, uninsistent, ruled them from its peace,
And by its influence found the ways of calm.
Savitri, Page 382,
Book 4: The Book of Birth and Quest,
Canto 4: The Quest
A Collective Offering by the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles.
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