Sri Aurobindo Center
of Los Angeles

The Quest
November 2020

Theme: Surrender II

Events & Activities
The Practice
From Prayers & Meditations
Detailed Surrender
Examples of the Artist
All Can Be Done
Sonnet: The Triumph-Song of Trishuncon
In Gratitude
Sri Aurobindo's Humor
Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities                                                    Home

The notable events in November were the solemn observance of Mother's Mahasamadhi on the 17th, and the celebration of the Nov 24th Siddhi Day.  The Center also participated in a joint virtual celebration of the 24th organized by seven or more Centers nationally. This was a unique and refreshing experience in a quiet and concentrated atmosphere permeated with joy.  One was reminded of what She once stated to a disciple:   "It may take fifty years, it may take a hundred years, and you may doubt about my being there; I may be there or not, but these children of mine will be there to carry out my work".
Siddhi Day Observance at Sri Aurobindo Center Los Angeles 
November 24, 2020

The Mother said Surrender is the decision to hand over the responsibilities of one’s life to the Divine. This decision, though sounds simple, is one of the most difficult steps of the sadhana. Seekers will have questions about their capacity and levels of surrender. Complete surrender is not achieved in a day, one inches through the grand stairs of the surrender progressing in bits. If one feels despondent looking at his un-surrendered parts or attitude, it will be relevant to refer to the Mother’s prayer of 2nd Nov 1912. She opens us to the experience of Prayers and Meditations with this piece where She says that though Her whole being is consecrated to the Divine, yet She finds it hard to carry out this consecration in detail. Finally, one must be alert about the shades of surrender, it should not be confused with inert passivity, a tamasic approach yielding to the influences of desires and adverse forces. One has to surrender to the higher influences, and till it is perfected with time, personal effort is required to grow towards the light. As the light grows, the darkness recedes – the secret is to persist and not to give up.
If the tempest of life is distracting and overwhelming at times, then let these words in Savitri, “A vast surrender was his only strength”, be the guide-star. True surrender enlarges a seeker, it strengthens him, aiding him to become what he cannot be on his own. Considering the importance of Surrender in the path of Integral Yoga and for spiritual life, we continue to cover the topic in November too. Hope we all will find something valuable from the treasure mined from the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

The Mother, CWM Volume 3, Page 126.
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.

CWM Volume 14, Page 86.
The Practice                                                             Home

If you can’t as yet remember the Divine all the time you are working, it does not greatly matter. To remember and dedicate at the beginning and give thanks at the end ought to be enough for the present. Or at the most to remember too when there is a pause. … When people remember all the time during work (it can be done), it is usually with the back of their minds or else there is created gradually a faculty of double thought or else a double consciousness— one in front that works, and one within that witnesses and remembers. … Aspiration and will of consecration calling down a greater Force to do the work is a method which brings great results, even if in some it takes a long time about it. That is a great secret of sadhana, to know how to get things done by the Power behind or above instead of doing all by the mind’s effort.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 214.

Sadhak: How to persuade the recalcitrant parts of our nature to surrender?
The Mother: Try to make them understand, as one does with a child who does not understand, by all kinds of means: pictures, explanations, symbols. Make them understand the necessity of union and harmony with the other parts of the being; reason with them, try to make them conscious of their acts and the consequences of these. Above all, be very patient; do not tire of repeating the same things.

Sadhak: In this work, can the mind be of help?

The Mother: Yes, if a part of the mind is fully enlightened, if it is surrendered to the psychic light and has a sense of the truth, the mind can be of great help, it can explain things in the true way.
8 March 1951
CWM Volume 4, Page 182.


Three typical modes of total self-giving to the Divine:                       
1. To prostrate oneself at His feet, giving up all pride in perfect humility.

2. To unfold one’s being before Him, open one’s whole body from head to foot, as one opens a book, exposing one’s centres so as to make all their movements visible in a complete sincerity that allows nothing to remain hidden.

3. To nestle in His arms, to merge in Him in a loving and absolute trust.

These movements may be accompanied by three formulas or any one of them according to the case:

1. Let Thy Will be done and not mine.
2. As Thou willest, as Thou willest.
3. I am Thine for eternity.

Generally, when these movements are done in the true way, they are followed by a perfect identification, a dissolution of the ego, giving rise to a sublime felicity.
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 102.
From Prayers & Meditations                                 Home

….. In any case, I do not struggle; and like a child in its mother’s arms, like a fervent disciple at the feet of his master, I trust myself to Thee and surrender to Thy guidance, sure of Thy victory.
January 4, 1914
The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 46.


WHEN physical conditions are a little difficult and some discomfort follows, if one knows how to surrender completely before Thy will, caring little for life or death, health or illness, the integral being enters immediately into harmony with Thy law of love and life, and all physical indisposition ceases giving place to a calm well-being, deep and peaceful.
March 17, 1914
The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 101.
Paul Neyron Rose - Perfect Surrender
Detailed Surrender                                                    Home

Detailed surrender means the surrender of all the details of life, even the smallest and the most insignificant in appearance. And this means to remember the Divine in all circumstances; whatever we think, feel or do, we must do it for Him as a way of coming close to Him, to be more and more what He wants us to be, capable of manifesting His will in perfect sincerity and purity, to be the instruments of His Love.
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 108
Because the least detail of life and action, each movement of thought, even of sensation, of feeling, which is normally of little importance, becomes different the moment you look at it asking yourself, “Did I think this as an offering to the Divine, did I feel this as an offering to the Divine?...” If you recall this every moment of your life, the attitude becomes quite different from what it was before. It becomes very wide; it is a chain of innumerable little things each having its own place, whilst formerly you used to let them go by without being aware of them. That widens the field of consciousness. If you take a half hour of your life and think of it, putting to yourself this question: “Is it a consecration to the Divine?” you will see that the small things become a big thing and you will have the impression that life becomes rich and luminous.”
22 February 1951
The Mother, CWM Volume 4, Page 133.
Artist - Damodar
Examples of the Artist                                                   Home

Sadhak: You have said: “If you surrender you have to give up effort, but that does not mean that you have to abandon also all willed action.”

But if one wants to do something, it means personal effort, doesn’t it? What then is the will?
The Mother: There is a difference between the will and this feeling of tension, effort, of counting only on oneself, having recourse to oneself alone which personal effort means; this kind of tension, of something very acute and at times very painful; you count only on yourself and you have the feeling that if you do not make an effort every minute, all will be lost. That is personal effort.

But the will is something altogether different. It is the capacity to concentrate on everything one does, do it as best one can and not stop doing it unless one receives a very precise intimation that it is finished. It is difficult to explain it to you. But suppose, for example, through a concurrence of circumstances, a work comes into your hands. Take an artist who has in one way or another got an inspiration and resolved to paint a picture. He knows very well that if he has no inspiration and is not sustained by forces other than his own, he will do nothing much. It will look more like a daub than a painting. He knows this. But it has been settled, the painting is to be done; there may be many reasons for that, but the painting has to be done. Then if he had the passive attitude, well, he would place his palette, his colours, his brushes, his canvas and then sit down in front of it and say to the Divine: “Now you are going to paint.” But the Divine does not do things this way. The painter himself must take up everything and arrange everything, concentrate on his subject, find the forms, the colours that will express it and put his whole will for a more and more perfect execution. His will must be there all the time. But he has to keep the sense that he must be open to the inspiration, he will not forget that in spite of all his knowledge of the technique, in spite of the care he takes to arrange, organise and prepare his colours, his forms, his design, in spite of all that, if he has no inspiration, it will be one picture among a million others and it will not be very interesting. He does not forget. He attempts, he tries to see, to feel what he wants his painting to express and in what way it should be expressed. He has his colours, he has his brushes, he has his model, he has made his sketch which he will enlarge and make into a picture, he calls his inspiration. There are even some who manage to have a clear, precise vision of what is to be done. But then, day after day, hour after hour, they have this will to work, to study, to do with care all that must be done until they reproduce as perfectly as they can the first inspiration.... That person has worked for the Divine, in communion with Him, but not in a passive way, not with a passive surrender; it is with an active surrender, a dynamic will. The result generally is something very good. Well, the example of the painter is interesting, because a painter who is truly an artist is able to see what he is going to do, he is able to connect himself to the divine Power that is beyond all expression and inspires all expression. For the poet, the writer, it is the same thing and for all people who do something, it is the same.
13th May 1953
The Mother, CWM Volume 5, Page 46.
Progress                                                                Home

Even a faltering faith and a slow and partial surrender have their force and their result, otherwise only the rare few could do sadhana at all.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 96.
Child: Sweet Mother, the following question has been put here: “What is the sign to indicate that a sadhak’s determination to surrender to the Divine is having practical effect in his life?” …..
The Mother: ….. He (Sri Aurobindo) says that the determination to surrender brings certain results. The first result is simply to be obedient without questioning, and the second is to have the power of rejecting all influences except that of the Divine. These are great results. When one has attained these, one is already quite advanced.
 CWM Volume 6, Page 129.
Surrender to the Divine is the best emotional protection.
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 108.
When man becomes a little wiser, he will not complain about anything and will take the things the Divine sends him as a manifestation of His all-compassionate Grace. The more surrendered we are, the more we shall understand. The more grateful we are, the happier we shall be.
The Mother, CWM Volume 10, Page 342.
True surrender enlarges you; it increases your capacity; it gives you a greater measure in quality and in quantity which you could not have had by yourself. This new greater measure of quality and quantity is different from anything you could attain before: you enter into another world, into a wideness which you could not have entered if you did not surrender. It is as when a drop of water falls into the sea; if it still kept there its separate identity, it would remain a little drop of water and nothing more, a little drop crushed by all the immensity around, because it has not surrendered. But, surrendering, it unites with the sea and participates in the nature and power and vastness of the whole sea.
The Mother, CWM Volume 3, Page 115.
All Can Be Done                                                   Home
All can be done by the Divine,—the heart and nature purified, the inner consciousness awakened, the veils removed,—if one gives oneself to the Divine with trust and confidence and even if one cannot do so fully at once, yet the more one does so, the more the inner help and guidance come and the experience of the Divine grows within. If the questioning mind becomes less active and humility and the will to surrender grow in you, this ought to be perfectly possible. No other strength and tapasya are then needed, but this alone.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 69.

Sonnet : The Triumph-Song of Trishuncon         Home

I shall not die.
       Although this body, when the spirit tires
       Of its cramped residence, shall feed the fires,
My house consumes, not I.

Leaving that case
       I find out ample and ethereal room. 
       My spirit shall avoid the hungry tomb,
Deceiving death’s embrace.

Night shall contain
       The sun in its cold depths; Time too must cease;
       The stars that labour shall have their release.
I cease not, I remain.

Ere the first seeds
       Were sown on earth, I was already old,
       And when now unborn planets shall grow cold
My history proceeds.

I am the light
       In stars, the strength of lions and the joy
       Of mornings; I am man and maid and boy,
Protean, infinite.

I am a tree
       That stands out singly from the infinite blue;
       I am the quiet falling of the dew
And am the unmeasured sea.

I hold the sky
       Together and upbear the teeming earth.
       I was the eternal thinker at my birth
And shall be, though I die.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 2, Page 215.

In Gratitude                                                                 Home

Sam Gravef
I would like to share some of my early personal experiences at the East West Cultural Center. I was fortunate to have Dr. Tyberg who Sri Aurobindo named Jyotipriya, introduce me to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. A friend who had loaned me Satprem’s book ‘The Adventure of Consciousness’, wanted me to meet Jyotipriya. This was in the late 60’s and at a time when many other young people were looking for meaning and spirituality in their life.  Every Thursday night Jyotipriya would hold informal discussions around spiritual topics and especially readings of Savitri.  At first only a few folks attended but after a while the library was full, mostly young folks like me.  Jyotipriya would read a few lines from the epic poem and explain the context. I was fortunate to be exposed to Indian Spirituality through these open discussions.
I can only describe this experience as really a spiritual awakening. Jyotipriya had spent time in the Ashram with both Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. She did speak about these meeting as well as Ramana Maharshi and other well-known spiritual leaders of the time.  She was a linguistic scholar with several degrees but would accept any question and listen with kindness and answer with a wholeness and a wideness that demonstrated to the listener her keen integrated Spiritual vision.

We would always close the gathering sharing a meditation with Jyotipriya giving a mantra first.  At these times it was often my experience that the library was suffused with both a soft light and intense power. These mantras are among those that are on the website with the translations in English.

The mantra tape has been very valuable to me for many years and I recommend them.  Especially the Isha Upanishad and Guru Stotram.  I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the late Jyotipriya for her lifelong service to Them and to establish this center that has served and continues to serve people of all ages from different parts of the world who pursue the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother with harmony and joy.  It was Their vision that she brought forward, and it is by Their Grace that we take part in it.
- Sam Gravef, a long-time devotee of the Sri Aurobindo Center, Los Angeles.
Sam's quest for the Divine was lit by Jyotipriya, our founder, and led him to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. It was in their lives and teaching that he found the truth of all seeking. His service and offerings to the Center have spanned many decades and covered the gamut of its functioning from administration and finance to architecture and construction. They are a living and lavish expression of his deep love for the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                           Home

Sri Aurobindo was lying on the bed. We were talking in whispers among ourselves. Champaklal who had been trying to suppress his laughter let go suddenly and had to run away from the room. Sri Aurobindo, looking at us, said, “What divine descent was it?” I replied, checking my mirth, “Champaklal burst into laughter.” 

Sri Aurobindo: Oh, so it was Vishnu’s Ananda that descended! 
- Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo by Nirodbaran, Page 168.

Empowering Lines from Savitri                             Home

Thus is it even with the seer and sage;
For still the human limits the divine:
Out of our thoughts we must leap up to sight,
Breathe her divine illimitable air,
Her simple vast supremacy confess,
Dare to surrender to her absolute.
Savitri, Page 276.

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