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Sri Aurobindo Center
of Los Angeles



The Quest
June 2021

Theme – Judgements & Opinions
  1. Events & Activities
  2. Introduction
  3. Mind Incapable of Judging Spiritual Things
  4. Who is Really Normal?
  5. On Judging Others
  6. The Significance of Our Reactions
  7. Mother’s Advice to Remain Insulated from Other’s Opinions
  8. How to Make Correct Judgement
  9. To Rise Above Opinions
  10. In Gratitude
  11. On the Body
  12. Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
  13. Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities                                                    Home

The month of June was special. The colorful blooms in the garden were symbolic of a breath of Grace that came upon our collective and revealed in the continuous stream of devotees driving to the Center from near and far for work – offerings.  One could see their love for the Divine glow through their work. 

The regular activities continue including new planting in our Garden of Joy, collective sadhana over Zoom, receiving devotees on their birthdays, and the Center’s renovations and repairs.

We went onstream to participate in the digital event organized by LA Grace Center covering all Sri Aurobindo Centers  across the United States.

It gives us great joy to welcome Serene deRae to our collective.  She recently discovered the Mother and has since been an eager participant in our collective activities. Her splendid work in organizing the large book cabinets has been a labor of love. It is always a delight to behold the flowering of Divine love and miracle of a new birth by the touch of Divine Grace.

We hope to celebrate in person, Sri Aurobindo’s birthday in August.

Introduction                                                             Home

This month’s offering is on, “Opinions and Judgements”. Opinions pose obstacles in the path of serious seekers. Some are too involved in spending their energy on misjudging others, while others let themselves to be guided by external judgements, stymieing their natural growth. We try to present the issue from the angles of both the provider and receiver of opinions.

Opinion is a fruit of our mental faculty, and Mind is the scale that we use to measure the truth. Mind, though can climb immeasurable heights, is limited by its nature, and incapable to grasp the complete truth. Not always, but usually the Mind is neither independent nor neutral. It is conditioned by a plethora of factors such as customs, environment, culture, experience and health. Hence an opinion is often stained by the incapacity and limited understanding of its provider.

An aspirant should carefully observe the objective behind the opinion passed, is it a work that one performs in a professional capacity, is it a reaction of one’s individual ego with one’s surrounding, is it a benefit that one wants to derive or is it a view that one presents with the dream of shaping the world around oneself as per one’s vision? If requested, will one know how to provide an impartial opinion that will be useful both for oneself as well as for others? An alert self-observation will be the friend for a progressive seeker, who wants to transcend one’s little self.

Conversely a seeker affected by an external opinion or judgement should examine why it is important for him - to gain acceptance, fame, or for self-aggrandizement? Why does one allow another to alter one’s own concept of self? External opinion is often a idle prattle to an aspirant guided by one’s inner light. A sincere sadhak, will find precious pearls amidst grey criticism. Things become easy for both the receiver and the provider, if progress is the central aim.

In the gratitude section we will learn about Dr. Dan Raj, the ever enthusiast participant in our Satsangs and Savitri sessions, the heavenly scribe taking copious notes during the sessions and sharing for the benefit of others. “On the Body”, “Sri Aurobindo’s Humor”, and “Empowering Lines from Savitri” will come next in the list. Finally, the artwork, design and the layout form the fabric of Quest, that helps us to communicate effectively and aesthetically with our readers.

Wish you all a luminous reading!

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

Free Flowing Discussion – Tuesdays, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Pacific Time

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.

Mind Incapable of Judging Spiritual Things      Home
 
The first and perhaps the most important point is that the mind is incapable of judging spiritual things. All those who have written on this subject have said so; but very few are those who have put it into practice. And yet, in order to proceed on the path, it is absolutely indispensable to abstain from all mental opinion and reaction.

The Mother, CWM Volume 12, Page 33

Who is Really Normal?                                            Home
 
Whenever somebody is not just according to the usual pattern, if all the parts and activities in him have not the usual balance, if some faculties are more or less missing and some others are exaggerated, the common and easy habit is to declare him “abnormal” and to have done with him after this hasty condemnation. When this summary judgment is passed by somebody in a position of power the consequences can be disastrous. Such people ought to know what true compassion is, then they would act differently.

The first necessity is to abstain from thinking of anyone in a depreciatory way. When we meet a person, our criticising thoughts give to him, so to say, a blow on the nose which naturally creates a revolt in him. It is our mental formation that acts like a deforming mirror to that person, and then one would become queer even if one were not. Why cannot people remove from their minds the idea that somebody or other is not normal? By what criterion do they judge? Who is really normal? I can tell you that not a single person is normal, because to be normal is to be divine.

Man has one leg in animality and the other in humanity. At the same time he is a candidate for divinity. His is not a happy condition. The true animals are better off. And they are also more harmonious among themselves. They do not quarrel as human beings do. They do not put on airs, they do not consider some as inferiors and keep them at a distance.

One must have a sympathetic outlook and learn to cooperate with one’s fellows, building them up and helping them instead of sneering at whatever seems not up to the mark.

Even if somebody has a deficiency and is hypersensitive and self-willed, you cannot hope to improve him by summary measures of compulsion or expulsion. Do not try to force his ego by your own, by behaving according to the same pattern. Guide him gently and understandingly along the lines of his own nature. See whether you can place him where he can work without coming into conflict with others.

If those who are in power are puffed up with their own importance, they disturb the true working. Whatever their abilities, their achievement is not the real thing.

But it is not that they are always lacking in good-will. They have false ideas of what is proper. If they become more conscious of the divine aim, they can surely succeed in carrying it out.

The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 272
 
On Judging Others                                                  Home

The more a mind is ignorant, the more easily it judges everything it does not know or is incapable of understanding.

The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 271
________________________________________________________

With our own perfection grows in us a generous understanding of others.
18 July 1954

Do not trouble yourselves with what others do, I cannot repeat it to you too often. Do not judge, do not criticise, do not compare. That is not your lookout.
1957

You have no right to judge a man unless you are capable of doing what he does better than himself.
27 June 1964

The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 273
_________________________________________________________

Do not mind the stupidity of others, mind your own.

The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 274
Significance of Our Reactions                                 Home

We find in others what is in us. If we always find mud around us, it proves that there is mud somewhere in us.

*

Each of those who are around us can be for us, provided we are attentive, a mirror in which one or more aspects of our being are reflected. If we know how to profit by it, it is a powerful help for our progress. And when the mirror is sincere and of goodwill, the value of the help becomes considerable.

The Mother, CWM Volume 12, Page 275
Mother's Advice to Remain Insulated from Other's Opinion Home

You are quite right in not allowing the moods and fancies of people to effect you. You must soar above all that in the constant feeling of the Divine’s Presence, Love and Protection.

*

To feel hurt by what others do or think or say is always a sign of weakness and proof that the whole being is not exclusively turned towards the Divine, not under the divine influence alone.

And then, instead of bringing with oneself the divine atmosphere made of love, tolerance, understanding, patience, it is one’s ego that throws itself out, in response to another’s ego, with stiffness and hurt feelings, and the disharmony is aggravated. The ego never understands that the Divine has different workings in different people and that to judge things from one’s own egoistic point of view is a great mistake bound to increase the confusion. What we do with passion and intolerance cannot be divine, because the Divine works only in peace and harmony.

You are distressed because instead of listening to the voice of your soul, you have accepted the suggestions of vulgar minds and obscure consciousnesses who see ugliness and impurity everywhere because they are not in contact with the psychic purity.

Refuse to listen to these wrong suggestions, turn deliberately to the Divine and rekindle your faith in His Supreme Guidance.

The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 279

________________________________________________________

… This life is not so simple and straight – it is like the waves of the ocean.

Do not care about what people say because they are ignorant – their judgment leads you nowhere.

Remain in the vastness of Supreme Love, Light and Peace....
This is the law of the Supreme.

- The Mother, ‘Mother You Said So’, Page 66.
How to Make Correct Judgement                             Home



As a rule, everything is thought to be all right when judgments are based on a thorough technical knowledge and on a sufficient degree of impartiality. These judgments rely on sense-perception, which is normally considered incontrovertible. In fact, however, this mode of perception is in itself uncertain. The sense-organs are directly under the influence of the psychological state of the individual who uses them, and thus the sense-perceptions are altered, falsified, distorted in one way or another by the perceiver’s feelings towards the thing perceived.

For example, those who belong to a group or an association are either too lenient or unduly severe towards the members of this group. From the point of view of truth, neither leniency nor severity is worth more than the other, for in both cases the judgment is based on a feeling and not on the objective and disinterested perception of the facts. This is a very obvious case, but even without going to this extreme, no human being, unless he is a Yogin, is free from these attractions and repulsions, which are rarely perceived by the active consciousness, but which nonetheless exert a great influence on the functioning of the senses.

Only one who is above all likes and dislikes, all desires and preferences, can regard all things with perfect impartiality; the purely objective perception of his senses becomes like that of an extremely delicate and faultless mechanism which benefits from the light of a living consciousness.

Here too yogic discipline will come to our aid by helping us to build characters of such nobility that they can become instruments of the truth.

November 1949
The Mother, CWM Volume 12, Page 263
To Rise Above Opinions                                              Home

The Mother: … I am constantly receiving letters from people who want or do not want to do something and tell me: “This is my opinion, this is true, that is not true”, and always, more than ninety-nine times out of a hundred it is wrong, it is nonsense. One feels very clearly — in fact, it is visible — that the opposite opinion has just as much value, that it is simply a question of attitude, nothing more. And naturally the ego’s preferences are always involved: you like it better like that and so you have the opinion that it is like that.

Sadhak: But until one can act with the higher light, one needs to use opinions.

The Mother: It would be better to have some wisdom rather than an opinion, that is, to consider all the possibilities, all the aspects of the question and then try to be as unegoistic as possible and to see, for example, in the case of an action, which one can be of service to the greatest number of people or is the least destructive, the most constructive. Anyway, even from a standpoint that is not spiritual, but merely utilitarian and unselfish, it is better to act according to wisdom than according to one’s opinion.

Sadhak: Yes, but what would be the right way to proceed when one doesn’t have the light, without involving one’s opinion or one’s ego?

The Mother: I think it is to consider all the aspects of the problem, to lay them before your consciousness as disinterestedly as possible and to see which one is the best — if this is possible — or which one is the least harmful if there are unpleasant consequences.

CWM, Volume 10, Page 234.
For Those who are Concerned about the Progress of Others:

In Gratitude                                                               Home
Dr. Dhan Raj

I am Dhan Raj. I retired as an Anesthesiologist after a practice of 45 years. My connection to the Mother goes back to the 1950s when I used to visit my uncle, who with his family, were lifelong sadhaks at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I fondly recall the Balcony Darshan of the Divine Mother and the monthly Darshan with the sweet distribution after Pranaam. My turning point was in November of 1973. There was an observance, at the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, after the Mother's withdrawal. I saw a light emanate from Her picture and come to my heart. From then, my life was transformed. Their presence and their infallible guidance never left me, guiding every step of my life to find the Divine in life, and to nourish my Psychic Being, to whom I can offer my Adoration and Surrender. Their Grace knows no bounds. My wife Ranjana and I have been blessed to have all my children and their life partners as physicians with four wonderful grandchildren.
 
- Dr. Dhan Raj, whom we address as Dhanu bhai with love and respect, has been with us in all our Zoom Collective Sadhana Sessions - three times a week.

Though it has been only a year since he has joined us, it feels like he has been a part of our Mother’s Family at the Los Angeles Center for at least ten years! He is not only a good listener but actively participates, contributing with love and devotion, and at times energizes the discussions to a meaningful level.

As you read above, he has been a devotee of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo for nearly five decades. He is an avid reader, researcher of Their works and writings, conversant with Hindu scriptures and philosophy, and adds lot of depth to our discussions in our Collective Sadhana Sessions. Being a physician, he has shared great insights on the pandemic in our discussions. He is truly a gift to us and the wider community!

On the Body                                                              Home
OM, supreme Lord,

God of kindness and mercy,

OM, supreme Lord,

God of love and beatitude...

...I am tired of our infirmity. But it is not to rest that this body aspires, it aspires to the plenitude of Your Consciousness, it aspires to the splendor of Your Light, it aspires to the magnificence of Your Power; above all, it aspires to the glory of Your all-powerful and eternal Love.

21 July 1965

- The Mother, Agenda Volume 6, Page 118.

Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                             Home
Sadhak: Now that I shall be in charge of the Dispensary I feel afraid about my prestige. People expect great things from an England-returned doctor (who I may confide in you, hasn’t had enough time for experience). If you can’t save my prestige, save at least my face.

Sri Aurobindo: People are exceedingly silly – but I suppose they can’t help themselves. The more I observe humanity, the more that forces itself upon me – the abysses of silliness of which its mind is capable. The prestige I can’t guarantee, but hope to save something of the face.

Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo, Page 108.
By Nirodbaran . Volume 1.

Empowering Lines from Savitri                             Home
The eternal Advocate seated as judge
Armours in logic’s invulnerable mail
A thousand combatants for Truth’s veiled throne
And sets on a high horse-back of argument
To tilt for ever with a wordy lance
In a mock tournament where none can win.
Assaying thought’s values with her rigid tests
Balanced she sits on wide and empty air,
Aloof and pure in her impartial poise.
Absolute her judgments seem but none is sure;
Time cancels all her verdicts in appeal.
Although like sunbeams to our glow-worm mind
Her knowledge feigns to fall from a clear heaven,
Its rays are a lantern’s lustres in the Night;
She throws a glittering robe on Ignorance.

- Savitri, Page 252
Book 2: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds,
Canto 10: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind
 
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