Sri Aurobindo Center
of Los Angeles

The Quest
January 2021

Theme: Daily Sadhana
  1. Events & Activities
  2. Introduction
  3. Mantras of Life
  4. Be Simple, Be Happy
  5. From Prayers & Meditations
  6. Unify your Consciousness
  7. Concentration is the Key
  8. On Food
  9. Love Her Always
  10. Rhythm of Movement
  11. On Sleep
  12. The End?
  13. In Gratittude
  14. Control over Body
  15. Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
  16. Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities                                                    Home

The members gathered together to usher 2021 on Jan 1 with an invocation to the Divine in the form of a new year’s program with delightful offerings of music, readings, songs and dance from adults and children. Particularly enthralling was the experience of the spontaneity and simplicity of the children, reminding seekers of Her words, “Try to be spontaneous and simple like a child in your relations with me ― it will save you from many difficulties.” 

The aspiration of the collective continues to manifest itself in the dedicated upkeep of the Center, virtual meetings over zoom and other miscellaneous collective activities. It is a joy to see that when the service to the Mother is the driving force of the collective, there is a harmony that ensues without the need of a laboured organized effort. This brings us to  the precious offering below from one of our members on Daily Sadhana.

CWM Volume 15, Page 218
Introduction                                                         Home
One waits for special moments, people, and circumstances to do Sadhana ignoring the precious time and opportunities that our daily life offers. But Sadhana, as Sri Aurobindo lucidly explained, is the purification of nature, the consecration of the being, the opening of the psychic and the inner mind and vital, the contact and presence of the Divine, the realization of the Divine in all things, surrender, devotion, the widening of the consciousness into the cosmic Consciousness, the one Self in all, the psychic and the spiritual transformation of the nature. Each moment of our life is a rich field to practice Sadhana. The Mother said that each new dawn brings opportunities of progress. Each day as we wake up, eat, interact, perform the chores however ordinary they might be such as picking up things from the floor or taking a flight of stairs, organize our space, to the time we sleep, and if we are conscious, even in our sleep we can use the time to practice Sadhana. To live consciously amid action and neither retiring into seclusion nor leading a somnolent existence was the message of Sri Aurobindo.

This month’s offering is on Daily Sadhana, a vast topic, and only a brief outline is provided, but a little practice is more important than voluminous essays. We hope that this issue will inspire us to make a sincere effort to live consciously, consider each moment as sacred and lead our daily life in beauty and happiness, which comes naturally when one is connected with the inner self. To borrow from Savitri:
Even the smallest meanest work became
A sweet or glad and glorious sacrament,
An offering to the self of the great world
Or a service to the One in each and all.
Wish you all an attentive reading.
All are invited to join us for the following virtual events taking place via Zoom video and teleconferencing calls.

Savitri Reading - Thursdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Pacific Time
Essays on the Gita - Saturdays, 4:30 pm- 6:00 pm Pacific Time

Click here for the Zoom Meeting details.
Mantras for Life                                                       Home

Each new dawn brings the possibility of a new progress.
The Mother, CWM Volume 15, Page 74.
Let your highest aspiration organise your life.
The Mother, CWM Volume 15, Page 222.
If you can always smile at life, life also will always smile at you.
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 178.
At each moment of our life, in all circumstances the Grace is there helping us to surmount all difficulties.
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 89.
Be Simple, Be Happy                                              Home
Be simple,
Be happy,
Remain quiet,
Do your work as well as you can,
Keep yourself always open towards me —
This is all that is asked from you.

A message given by The Mother to Champaklal
CWM Volume 13, Page 77.
From Prayers & Meditations                                Home

The outer life, the activity of each day and each instant, is it not the indispensable complement of our hours of meditation and contemplation? And is not the proportion of time given to each the exact image of the proportion which exists between the amount of effort to be made for the preparation and realisation? For meditation, contemplation, Union is the result obtained — the flower that blooms; the daily activity is the anvil on which all the elements must pass and repass in order to be purified, refined, made supple and ripe for the illumination which contemplation gives to them. All these elements must be thus passed one after the other through the crucible before outer activity becomes needless for the integral development. Then is this activity turned into the means to manifest Thee so as to awaken the other centers of consciousness to the same dual work of the forge and the illumination. Therefore are pride and satisfaction with oneself the worst of all obstacles. Very modestly we must take advantage of all the minute opportunities offered to knead and purify some of the innumerable elements, to make them supple, to make them impersonal, to teach them forgetfulness of self and abnegation and devotion and kindness and gentleness; and when all these modes of being have become habitual to them, then are they ready to participate in the Contemplation, and to identify themselves with Thee in the supreme Concentration. That is why it seems to me that the work must be long and slow even for the best and that striking conversions cannot be integral. They change the orientation of the being, they put it definitively on the straight path; but truly to attain the goal none can escape the need of innumerable experiences of every kind and every instant. …

28 November 1912
The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 6.
Unify your Consciousness                                  Home

Question: When we are concentrated in mental movements or intellectual pursuits, why do we sometimes forget or lose touch with the Divine?

The Mother: You lose it because your consciousness is still divided. The Divine has not settled into your mind; you are not wholly consecrated to the Divine Life. Otherwise you could concentrate to any extent upon such things and still you would have the sense of being helped and supported by the Divine.

In all pursuits, intellectual or active, your one motto should be, “Remember and Offer.” Let whatever you do be done as an offering to the Divine. And this too will be an excellent discipline for you; it will prevent you from doing many foolish and useless things.

Often in the beginning of the action this can be done; but as one gets engrossed in the work, one forgets.
How is one to remember?

The condition to be aimed at, the real achievement of Yoga, the final perfection and attainment, for which all else is only a preparation, is a consciousness in which it is impossible to do anything without the Divine; for then, if you are without the Divine, the very source of your action disappears; knowledge, power, all are gone. But so long as you feel that the powers you use are your own, you will not miss the Divine support.
In the beginning of the Yoga you are apt to forget the Divine very often. But by constant aspiration you increase your remembrance and you diminish the forgetfulness. But this should not be done as a severe discipline or a duty; it must be a movement of love and joy. Then very soon a stage will come when, if you do not feel the presence of the Divine at every moment and whatever you are doing, you feel at once lonely and sad and miserable.

Whenever you find that you can do something without feeling the presence of the Divine and yet be perfectly comfortable, you must understand that you are not consecrated in that part of your being. That is the way of the ordinary humanity which does not feel any need of the Divine. But for a seeker of the Divine Life it is very different. And when you have entirely realised unity with the Divine, then, if the Divine were only for a second to withdraw from you, you would simply drop dead; for the Divine is now the Life of your life, your whole existence, your single and complete support. If the Divine is not there, nothing is left.

CMW Volume 3, Page 25.
CWSA Volume 29, Page 215.
Concentration is the Key                                  Home

… Moreover, whatever you may want to do in life, one thing is absolutely indispensable and at the basis of everything, the capacity of concentrating the attention. If you are able to gather together the rays of attention and consciousness on one point and can maintain this concentration with a persistent will, nothing can resist it — whatever it may be, from the most material physical development to the highest spiritual one. But this discipline must be followed in a constant and, it may be said, imperturbable way; not that you should always be concentrated on the same thing — that’s not what I mean, I mean learning to concentrate.

And materially, for studies, sports, all physical or mental development, it is absolutely indispensable. And the value of an individual is proportionate to the value of his attention.

And from the spiritual point of view it is still more important. There is no spiritual obstacle which can resist a penetrating power of concentration. For instance, the discovery of the psychic being, union with the inner Divine, opening to the higher spheres, all can be obtained by an intense and obstinate power of concentration — but one must learn how to do it.

There is nothing in the human or even in the superhuman field, to which the power of concentration is not the key.

You can be the best athlete, you can be the best student, you can be an artistic, literary or scientific genius, you can be the greatest saint with that faculty. And everyone has in himself a tiny little beginning of it — it is given to everybody, but people do not cultivate it.

The Mother, CWM Volume 9, Page 360.
On Food                                                                  Home
... In fact, the best thing is not to think about it but to regulate one’s life automatically enough not to need to think of eating. You eat at fixed hours, eat reasonably, you don’t even need to think of the food when you are taking it; you must eat calmly, that’s all, quietly, with concentration, and when you do not eat you must never think about it. You must not eat too much, because then you will have to think about your digestion, and it will be very unpleasant for you and will make you waste much time. You must eat just… you must put an end to all desire, all attraction, all movements of the vital, because when you eat simply because the body needs to eat, the body will tell you absolutely precisely and exactly when it has had enough; you see, when one is not moved by a vital desire or mental ideas, one grasps this with surety. “Now it is enough,” says the body, “I don’t want any more.” So one stops. As soon as one has ideas or else desires in the vital, and there is, for instance, something that you like particularly, because you like it particularly you eat three times too much of it …

23 February 1955
The Mother, CWM Volume 7, Page 62.
Love Her Always                                                 Home
.. It is not necessary to call her [The Mother] for any fixed number of hours. It is enough if you love her always, remember her often, sit every day a little time before her photograph and call her. ...

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 32, Page 283.
.. think .. that “the Mother loves me and I am the Mother’s.” If you base your life on that thought, everything will soon become easy.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 32, Page 480.
Rhythm of Movement                                           Home
Going up and down the stairs—you cannot imagine how useful that can be from the point of view of physical culture, if you know how to make use of it. Instead of going up because you are going up and coming down because you are coming down, like any ordinary man, you go up with the consciousness of all the muscles which are working and of making them work harmoniously. You will see. Just try a little, you will see! This means that you can use all the movements of your life for a harmonious development of your body.

You bend down to pick something up, you stretch up to find something right at the top of a cupboard, you open a door, you close it, you have to go round an obstacle, there are a hundred and one things you do constantly and which you can make use of for your physical culture and which will demonstrate to you that it is the consciousness you put into it which produces the effect, a hundred times more than just the material fact of doing it. So, you choose the method you like best, but you can use the whole of your daily life in this way…. To think constantly of the harmony of the body, of the beauty of the movements, of not doing anything that is ungraceful and awkward. You can obtain a rhythm of movement and gesture which is very exceptional.

17 July 1957
The Mother, CWM Volume 9, Page 156.
On Sleep                                                                   Home
Sadhak: How can one remain conscious in the midst of unconsciousness?

The Mother: One must be vigilant.

Sadhak: Then one doesn’t sleep!

The Mother: Not at all, one sleeps much better, one has a quiet sleep instead of a restless one. Most people do so many things in their sleep that they wake up more tired than before. We have already spoken about this once. Naturally, if you keep yourself from sleeping, you won’t sleep. I always tell those who complain of not being able to sleep, “Meditate then and you will end up by sleeping.” It is better to fall asleep while concentrating than “like that”, scattered and strewn without knowing even where one is.

To sleep well one must learn how to sleep.

If one is physically very tired, it is better not to go to sleep immediately, otherwise one falls into the inconscient. If one is very tired, one must stretch out on the bed, relax, loosen all the nerves one after another until one becomes like a rumpled cloth in one’s bed, as though one had neither bones nor muscles. When one has done that, the same thing must be done in the mind. Relax, do not concentrate on any idea or try to solve a problem or ruminate on impressions, sensations or emotions you had during the day. All that must be allowed to drop off quietly: one gives oneself up, one is indeed like a rag. When you have succeeded in doing this, there is always a little flame, there — that flame never goes out and you become conscious of it when you have managed this relaxation. And all of a sudden this little flame rises slowly into an aspiration for the divine life, the truth, the consciousness of the Divine, the union with the inner being, it goes higher and higher, it rises, rises, like that, very gently. Then everything gathers there, and if at that moment you fall asleep, you have the best sleep you could possibly have. I guarantee that if you do this carefully, you are sure to sleep, and also sure that instead of falling into a dark hole you will sleep in light, and when you get up in the morning you will be fresh, fit, content, happy and full of energy for the day.

CWM Volume 4, Page 351.

The End?                                                               Home

Is this the end of all that we have been,
         And all we did or dreamed,–
A name unremembered and a form undone,–
         Is this the end?

A body rotting under a slab of stone
         Or turned to ash in fire,
A mind dissolved, lost its forgotten thoughts,–
         Is this the end?

Our little hours that were and are no more,
         Our passions once so high
Being mocked by the still earth and calm sunshine,–
         Is this the end?

Our yearnings for the human Godward climb
         Passing to other hearts
Deceived, while smiles towards death and hell the world,–
         Is this the end?

Fallen is the harp; shattered it lies and mute;
         Is the unseen player dead?
Because the tree is felled where the bird sang,
         Must the song too hush?

One in the mind who planned and willed and thought,
         Worked to reshape earth’s fate,
One in the heart who loved and yearned and hoped,
         Does he too end?

The Immortal in the mortal is his Name;
         An artist Godhead here
Ever remoulds himself in diviner shapes,
         Unwilling to cease

Till all is done for which the stars were made,
         Till the heart discovers God
And the soul knows itself. And even then
         There is no end.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 2, Page 643.

In Gratitude                                                                 Home

Hardik Patel
I was introduced to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother from a very young age by my father. As a child, I was very fond of reading small booklets with writings from Sri Aurobindo and The Mother even though I didn't fully understand their meaning. As an adult, life has brought me closer and closer to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, and I can't imagine my life and purpose in life without them. Every word that Sri Aurobindo and The Mother has said is like a revelation to me and I aspire to surrender to them more and more each day. The LA center has given me the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and a place to perform karma yoga.
Hardik is a devotee of the Sri Aurobindo Center, LA. He attends the weekly collective sadhana and joyously helps out maintaining the Center’s Garden, offering his Karma Yoga.

Control over Body                                                      Home

Few persons understand that generally they who are against this external discipline, this concentration on a material achievement like sports, are exactly the people who lack totally control over their physical being. But to realize the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo, control of the body is one of the first indispensable steps. They who despise physical activities are people who will not be able to take a single step on the true way of integral yoga, unless they get rid of their despise first. The control of the body in all its forms is an indispensable basis.

The Mother, CWM Vol 9, Page 81.

Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                           Home

The readers of Talks with Sri Aurobindo must have observed how Sri Aurobindo threw aside his mantle of gravity and enjoyed with us pure fun and frolic, as if we had been his close playmates. In the preceding chapter we have already touched upon one instance. In the period after the accident to his right leg, when he failed to carry out Dr. Manilal’s instructions about hanging the leg, he would exclaim as if out of fear, “Oh, Manilal is coming, I must hang my leg.” And one of us, piqued by his fear, would remark, “Sir, you seem to be afraid of Dr. Manilal.” When Manilal arrived and enquired about the leg, he replied, “The leg is still hanging.”

Twelve years with Sri Aurobindo by Nirod Baran, Page 167.

Empowering Lines from Savitri                             Home

A worshipped empress all once vied to serve,
She made herself the diligent serf of all,
Nor spared the labour of broom and jar and well,
Or close gentle tending or to heap the fire
Of altar and kitchen, no slight task allowed
To others that her woman’s strength might do.
In all her acts a strange divinity shone:
Into a simplest movement she could bring
A oneness with earth’s glowing robe of light,
A lifting up of common acts by love.

Savitri, Page 470.
A Collective Sadhana by

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