Sri Aurobindo Center

of Los Angeles

The Quest
October - November 2022

Theme - Hope
  1. Events & Activities
  2. Introduction
  3. Hope on the Path
  4. Power of Imagination
  5. The Eternal Flame
  6. From Prayers & Meditations
  7. Hopelessness
  8. Hope with Patience
  9. The Psychic and Hope
  10. The Supreme Discovery
  11. Inspiring Pilgrims of the Divine
  12. Sadhana of the Body
  13. Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities          Home

The months of October and November passed quietly with work-offerings of devotees in the regular maintenance of the Center and the garden. We received overnight visitors, and their eager and enthusiastic help in the garden and house, and other miscellaneous tasks such as painting. One devotee has moved in for a longer stay and her loving, devotional, and hospitable presence keeps the Center in order. The meditation room, enshrining the relics of Sri Aurobindo, regularly receives a steady stream of visitors, serving as an oasis of calm, nurturing inner growth, and reminding always of the assurance of the presence and protection of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in our lives.
It is notable that the theme of this newsletter is "Hope". The solemn occasion of Nov 17 (Mother's leaving Her body) followed by the Nov 24 (Victory Day or Siddhi Day) is a sure reminder of the assured Victory of the vision and work of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on earth. It is a powerful stream of "Hope" that not too far behind the solemnity and sadness is the blaze of Light.

The Center continues to meet collectively thrice a week virtually over Zoom. Since inception, the meetings have had a singular aim: fostering an inner growth and making the Divine a growing center of our life and keeping alive in us the fire of aspiration. The deep devotion of the attendees gathers into a single powerful flame in the meetings, urging us collectively and individually to a greater consecration to the Divine.
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

Readings from The Mother by Sri Aurobindo - Saturdays,
4:30 pm- 6:00 pm Pacific Time

Click here for the Zoom Meeting details.
Introducing the Podcast


Dear Fellow Seekers,

This month’s offering is on Hope. Hope is a quality closely associated with Faith, which is a Psychic movement. One who has Faith carries Hope too.

Faith is the belief in something that the soul has identified directly before any material proof, while Hope is the vision of the future that the soul sees bypassing the human reason pathways. When the inner-being has this glimpse of the future, the memory of this vision knowingly or unknowingly influences the actions, nourishes, and energizes the person to transcend the circumstances of his life. Hope carries the promise of the future for the soul.  

One who has not felt hope has not tasted the joy of life, for hope is man’s link to future. Through hope man ideates and channelizes his energy to achieve that ideal and in the process he progresses. An ideal makes our lives purposeful, helps us to concentrate our energies, intensify our consciousness and build a life around the aim. When we work towards the ideal, we feel a joy, though it is the effort more than the goal that provides the joy. The efforts connect us to the universal vibrations through which we sense the pulsations of joy.  

Hope is a helpful tool in the path of yoga.  The Mother said that one must be a voluntary optimist, by that she meant that one should have the vision of what life will be. In yoga we are all aspiring for the union with the Divine and the ultimate victory, unshackling the earth from the bonds of ignorance and to be guided by light. Aspirants should keep this vision forever alive in their consciousness and work towards that aim, contemplation on this ideal will open their individual paths of Sadhana.  

Our team has dived deep into the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo to present relevant passages to you, they have carefully selected the art works to expand the range of experience that Quest can offer.

We wish you all a very happy reading. We wish that all of you live with the hope to materialize the Golden Future.

From the Quest Team
Hope on the Path

A steady hope helps much on the way.

15 August 1954
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 174

Our courage and endurance must be as great as our hope and our hope has no limits.

2 August 1954
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 174

Soar ever higher, ever farther, without fear or hesitation!
The hopes of today are the realisations of tomorrow.

The Mother, CWM Volume 15, Page 73

Yes, you are right to have hope; it is hope which builds happy futures.

The Mother, CWM Volume 16, Page 183
Power of Imagination
.. The power of mental formation is most useful in Yoga also; when the mind is put in communication with the Divine Will, the supramental Truth begins to descend through the layers intervening between the mind and the highest Light and if, on reaching the mind, it finds there the power of making forms it easily becomes embodied and stays as a creative force in you. Therefore I say to you never be dejected and disappointed but let your imagination be always hopeful and joyously plastic to the stress of the higher Truth, so that the latter may find you full of the necessary formations to hold its creative light.

The imagination is like a knife which may be used for good or evil purposes. If you always dwell in the idea and feeling that you are going to be transformed, then you will help the process of the Yoga. If, on the contrary, you give in to dejection and bewail that you are not fit or that you are incapable of realisation, you poison your own being. It is just on account of this very important truth that I am so tirelessly insistent in telling you to let anything happen but, for heavens sake, not to get depressed. Live rather in the constant hope and conviction that what we are doing will prove a success. In other words, let your imagination be moulded by your faith in Sri Aurobindo; for, is not such faith the very hope and conviction that the will of Sri Aurobindo is bound to be done, that his work of transformation cannot but end in a supreme victory and that what he calls the supramental world will be brought down on earth and realised by us here and now?

The Mother, CWM Volume 03, Page 156
The Eternal Flame
This is not a prayer, but an encouragement.
Here is the encouragement and a comment upon it: “At the very moment when everything seems to go from bad to worse, it is then that we must make a supreme act of faith and know that the Grace will never fail us.”
The hours before the dawn are always the darkest.
The servitude just before freedom comes is the most painful of all.
But in the heart endowed with faith burns the eternal flame of hope which leaves no room for discouragement.

The Mother, CWM Volume 15, Page 177

One must never lose hope or faith — there is nothing incurable, and no limit can be set to the power of the Divine.

The Mother, CWM Volume 16, Page 191
From Prayers & Meditations
It is Thy Presence in every being, O divine Master of love, that makes it possible for every man, even the most cruel, to be open to pity and even the most vile to respect, almost despite himself, honour and justice. It is Thou who, beyond all conventions and prejudices, illuminest with a special light, divine and pure, all that we are and all that we do, and makest us see clearly the difference between what we actually are and what we could be.
Thou art the impassable barrier set up against the excess of evil, darkness and ill-will; Thou art the living hope in every heart of all possible and future perfections. To Thee all the fervour of my adoration.

Thou art the gateway within reach of our conception leading to unsuspected and inconceivable splendours, splendours which will be revealed to us progressively.

29 January 1914
The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 60

Let me be a vast mantle of love enveloping all the earth, entering all hearts, murmuring in every ear Thy divine message of hope and peace.

9 May 1914
The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 137
No sadhak ought ever to indulge thoughts of unfitness and hopelessness — they are quite irrelevant because it is not one’s personal fitness and worthiness that makes one succeed, but the Mother’s grace and power and the consent of the soul to her grace and the workings of her Force.

Turn from these dark thoughts and look to the Mother only, not with impatience for the result and desire, but with trust and confidence and let her workings bring you quietude and the renewal of the progress towards the psychic opening and realisation. That will bring surely and without doubt the fuller faith and the love which you seek.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 34

There is no reason why you should abandon hope of success in the Yoga. The state of depression which you now feel is temporary and it comes even upon the strongest sadhaks at one time or another or even often recurs. The only thing needed is to hold firm with the awakened part of the being, to reject all contrary suggestions and wait, opening yourself as much as you can to the true Power, till the crisis or change of which this depression is a stage, is completed. The suggestions which come to your mind telling you that you are not fit and that you must go back to the ordinary life, are false tamasic promptings from a hostile source. Ideas of this kind must always be rejected as inventions of the lower nature; even if they are founded on appearances which seem convincing to the ignorant mind, they are false, because they exaggerate a passing movement and represent it as the decisive and definite truth. There is only one truth in you on which you have to lay constant hold, the truth of your divine possibilities and the call of the higher Light to your nature. If you hold to that always or, even if you are momentarily shaken from your hold, return constantly to it, it will justify itself in the end in spite of all difficulties and obstacles and stumblings. All in you that resists will disappear in time with the progressive unfolding of your spiritual nature.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 31, Page 712
Hope with Patience
Those who hope violently, despair swiftly ..

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 13, Page 209

“Work as if the ideal had to be fulfilled swiftly and in thy lifetime; persevere as if thou knewest it not to be unless purchased by a thousand years yet of labour. That which thou darest not expect till the fifth millen nium, may bloom out with tomorrow’s dawning and that which thou hopest and lustest after now, may have been fixed for thee in thy hundredth advent.”

(From Sri Aurobindo’s Thoughts and Aphorisms)

This is exactly the attitude we should all have towards transformation: as much energy and ardour as if we were certain of achieving it in our present life, as much patience and endurance as if we needed centuries to realise it.

29 January 1970
The Mother, CWM Volume 10, Page 301
The Psychic and Hope
Love, hope have their primary seat in the heart

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 28, Page 193

The psychic is always turned towards the Divine in faith, joy and confidence — whatever aspiration it has is full of trust and hope.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 359

Child: How can one know whether the psychic being is in front or not?

The Mother: Who? Oneself?... It is not felt, no? You don’t feel it? I am not speaking of a small child, for it has no means of control and observation, it lacks the capacity of observation. But then, when one is no longer a baby, doesn’t one feel it? It doesn’t make a difference?... (The child nods in assent.) Ah!... There is not one of you who will dare to tell me that it makes no difference when the psychic is there, when one feels better within oneself, when one is full of light, hope, goodwill, generosity, compassion for the world, and sees life as a field of action, progress, realisation. Doesn’t it make a difference from the days when one is bored, grumbling, when everything seems ugly, unpleasant, wicked, when one loves nobody, wants to break everything, gets angry, feels ill at ease, without strength, without energy, without any joy? That makes a difference, doesn’t it?

CWM Volume 6, Page 6
The Supreme Discovery
You who are weary, downcast and bruised, you who fall, who think perhaps that you are defeated, hear the voice of a friend. He knows your sorrows, he has shared them, he has suffered like you from the ills of the earth; like you he has crossed many deserts under the burden of the day, he has known thirst and hunger, solitude and abandonment, and the cruellest of all wants, the destitution of the heart. Alas! he has known too the hours of doubt, the errors, the faults, the failings, every weakness.

But he tells you: Courage! Hearken to the lesson that the rising sun brings to the earth with its first rays each morning. It is a lesson of hope, a message of solace.

You who weep, who suffer and tremble, who dare not expect an end to your ills, an issue to your pangs, behold: there is no night without dawn and the day is about to break when darkness is thickest; there is no mist that the sun does not dispel, no cloud that it does not gild, no tear that it will not dry one day, no storm that is not followed by its shining triumphant bow; there is no snow that it does not melt, nor winter that it does not change into radiant spring.

And for you too, there is no affliction which does not bring its measure of glory, no distress which cannot be transformed into joy, nor defeat into victory, nor downfall into higher ascension, nor solitude into radiating centre of life, nor discord into harmony — sometimes it is a misunderstanding between two minds that compels two hearts to open to mutual communion; lastly, there is no infinite weakness that cannot be changed into strength. And it is even in supreme weakness that almightiness chooses to reveal itself!

Listen, my little child, you who today feel so broken, so fallen perhaps, who have nothing left, nothing to cover your misery and foster your pride: never before have you been so great! How close to the summits is he who awakens in the depths, for the deeper the abyss, the more the heights reveal themselves!

The Mother, CWM Volume 2, Page 43
Inspiring Pilgrims of the Divine

Dear Readers,

This month the Pilgrim of the Divine section is dedicated to Nirodbaran, or Nirod to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and Nirod Da for countless people in the Ashram circle.
(17.11.1903 - 17.07.2006)

Nirodbaran Talukdar was born in a wealthy Buddhist family in Chittagong, currently in Bangladesh and then British India, on 17th November 1903. He lost his father at a tender age of 5, but his mother took great care of him in his growing up years. After finishing his primary school, he came to Kolkata for further studies. During this phase he got drawn into the currents of the Indian freedom movement and received a prison sentence of two months. He had a wish, which he termed as quixotic, to complete his higher education in United Kingdom. Though initially he intended to study law but ultimately, he chose to study medical science at the University of Edinburgh, the same university where Dr Krishan Dhan Ghosh, Sri Aurobindo’s father studied.  Education abroad was a very expensive proposition, but with much grit and determination he managed to complete the course of six years.

He was in a tour of Europe with his niece and had a chance meeting with Dilip Kumar Roy in Paris. Dilip was also touring Europe that time, just after his famous meeting with Sri Aurobindo. During conversations Dilip brought up the topic of Sri Aurobindo, which intrigued Nirod’s niece. Eventually she sought out for Sri Aurobindo and had the Darshan of the Mother.  On her repeated requests Nirod came to the Ashram in 1930 and had his first Darshan of the Mother. Much later he said that during their first meeting the Mother’s eyes lit up as if she recognized a much-known soul. The Mother reminded him of the Durga idol, the form of Universal Mother in which she is worshipped specially by the Bengalis in their annual festival. He stayed in the Ashram for a month then. Though other disciples got a feeling that the Mother was pleased with his visit, and would accept him, but he did not feel any inclination for the spiritual life. Nirod da wrote a letter to Sri Aurobindo stating that he wanted to practice Karma yoga, not fathoming much about the depth of the term then, outside the Ashram and that he did not feel any special pull for the spiritual life. To his surprise Sri Aurobindo replied to him in a friendly tone, that karma yoga can be practiced outside the Ashram, and it was a good decision because it will be a preparation for him if in future, he takes up a spiritual life. As he boarded the train back to Kolkata, he had a beatific experience, he could see the smiling face of the Mother wherever he looked. But the dark thought lurked in the horizon of his mind that the experience will end sometime, and slowly the experience faded away.
Nirod in his younger days

His life took him then to Rangoon, now Yangon, the capital city of Burma or Myanmar now. Rangoon of the ’30s was a vibrant city, an important link in the trade route between Kolkata and Shanghai. People flocked there to make a fortune or at least in search of a good life. The circumstances favored him and easily he got a good government job there. The job and little private practice made his life comfortable. He flowed with the easy Rangoon life, forgetting Karma yoga, the memories of the Ashram receded. Suddenly he received a book from the Mother, specifically for him, signed by her with his name on it. He was touched by the incident, the Ashram recollections resurfaced. Thereafter life took a difficult route, there was an unexpected police search of his house. While they did not find anything incriminating, but they took away his precious letter from Sri Aurobindo. The early ’30s British Police was quite active in repressing the Indian freedom movement and its sympathizers. Soon he received a notice from his employer that his services will be terminated, through there was a contract for a longer period. Under the circumstances he went to Chittagong, his hometown, where he felt more grounded. He found a few friends connected with the Ashram. He would receive letters from his niece, who had already joined the Ashram, and blessings of the Mother for him. The inner connection was re-established.  One day a letter from his niece reminding him of his real goal in life acted as the catalyst to take up the road to Pondicherry.  That was sometime in 1933.
Nirod with his niece Jyotirmoyee

He reached the Pondicherry a few days before the February Darshan, and wrote a letter requesting Sri Aurobindo about joining the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo asked him to wait till the August Darshan, before deciding forever. That was his period of internship. Curiously after August Darshan he did not make a fresh request, nor did anyone asked him about his intentions and he continued to stay. Like all ashramites he was allocated some work. First in the Building Department, and then to House Painting Department. He did not like either of the jobs, for he had the old notions of the yoga. He felt no interest in maintaining books of accounts nor doing physical labor. After that he was posted as the Supervisor in the Timber Section. He did his work perfunctorily; leaving the carpenters, he would spend the time reading books. He had the literary inclinations and wanted the life of the Ashram intellectuals, engaged in literary pursuits. But he was woken up with a psychological jolt. One day in his daily report to the Mother, he wrote, "Can reading be done during the working hours?" Sri Aurobindo wrote back, "I don’t know your work." The short sentence carried the seeds of his future life, he felt humiliated and ashamed and thought, "If Sri Aurobindo doesn’t know what is my work, then what kind of work am I doing?" It brought a conversion, and he started taking his work sincerely. Later Sri Aurobindo once wrote to him "The timber godown made you make a great progress and you made the timber godown make a great progress too." But he had to move on once his lesson was over.

Once during his written conversations with Sri Aurobindo, by a slip of his pen, he lamented about the futility of his expensive medical education. Sri Aurobindo seized the sentence to plod deeper into the matter, ultimately Nirod became the Ashram doctor as there was a vacancy. Though he was a medical degree holder, he took up the work with some hesitation as he did not have sufficient experience. Thus, the Medical Sadhana began.

It was another chapter of his life. He had to go beyond the realms of the modern science of the day, expand his thinking and learn about the effect of different kinds of forces, occult and spiritual, causing diseases as well as healing patients. The biggest learning for him was that it is the Faith that cures. He had to maintain a delicate balance on more than one fronts. Pondicherry was a French territory and hence the British subjects had no right to practice there, a limited exemption was granted to the Ashram to treat the inmates. But such exemption came with great responsibility. Secondly, he had to maintain a fine balance among the patient, his faith, the spiritual force of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and the medicines that he gave. He had to send detailed medical reports to his Gurus, explaining the exactly the condition of the patients. We can learn a lot from these correspondences to understand the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s views about medical matters. His medical Sadhana too gave way to something more important.

Sri Aurobindo had an accident on the eve of the November Darshan of 1938. The Mother immediately formed a team of attendants to assist him. Nirod was chosen as one of the members. The Mother continued the arrangement of attendants even after Sri Aurobindo’s health settled for the better. He served Sri Aurobindo in different capacities then.

Around 1945, Sri Aurobindo wanted someone to be his scribe as his eyesight was failing, and Nirod was the chosen one. Starting with letters, Sri Aurobindo chose him to dictate Savitri. He watched in adoration how Sri Aurobindo created the epic as if the words came down directly from a higher sphere. Nirod not only experienced something unique but also shared with us this precious experience through his writings. In December 1950 Sri Aurobindo left his physical body, Nirodbaran was with him at the time of the grand departure. Around ten minutes before leaving his body, Sri Aurobindo called him and asked for some drink. It was a deliberate last gesture, an act of love of his Guru, the words and the incident remained inscribed in his soul and acted as a constant reminder of the assurance which Sri Aurobindo gave him once, that he will never forsake him.

Nirod felt rudderless after the physical departure of Sri Aurobindo, but on the other hand the Mother opened new avenues for him. When he approached her about his future life, she immediately answered that he had lot of work to do, to start with he had to work on the manuscripts of Sri Aurobindo. She also stated that he would continue to sleep in Sri Aurobindo’s room as he used to do when he was in his body. In one moment, he got clarity of all the nagging questions of his life. The Mother got also a workplace fixed for him near her room. So, it was a transition to another life.
Nirod with the Mother taking classes in 1951

He took up his pen seriously after Sri Aurobindo’s physical departure, it was the Mother who impelled him to do so. There were talks in some quarters that the doctors had been giving medicines to Sri Aurobindo, during his last illness, against his consent. When Nirodbaran complained to the Mother, stating that such rumors were false, she asked “Why don’t you write an article yourself?”. When he wrote a small brochure, the Mother liked it so much that she wanted it to get distributed, that was May of 1951.

Soon Nirodbaran got the engaged with the newly formed Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education where he taught for years English, Bengali and French. Beyond teaching he gave talks over a variety of Ashram related topics, which are getting published now.

He was a good sportsman; a complete man who exercised both with his body and the mind. The Mother kept him away from the high contact sports such as Soccer, when he was attending Sri Aurobindo, but he could play that sport well. He used to play Tennis and Volleyball and was a good player in the Ashram circle.

We have been covering about his life and the external part of the work. It is inspiring to see that a person who was averse to physical work was transformed by the touch of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. He had another personality as well, that was of a poet. He started writing in English without having any understanding of the meters or rhythms, but he opened himself up completely to Sri Aurobindo on this matter. Their relationship deepened on the topic of poetry. While his correspondences with Sri Aurobindo on poetry are much read, but we serve a few pearls from that ocean for our general benefit where he spoke about inspiration, perfection and becoming an instrument of the higher force.

He [Sri Aurobindo] used to say: “Before you begin to write, all that you should do is to will and aspire; aspire for what you want, and will that your poems may be better, that you may write with greater perfection.” You will see, whatever I have written, I did not understand many of them; I could understand only those poems of mine which were very simple, but not those which came from deeper levels. As a result, I could not then very well see which ones were better; so I argued with Sri Aurobindo and said to him: “Do you say this is a good poem?” He replied in jest: “Good Lord! you could not see that you have written such a fine poem?” That’s why I did not quite enjoy writing them; I may say that I was a passive instrument — it was as if the Ustad was playing on the Sitar, but the Sitar could not feel anything.

To take an example: once Sri Aurobindo made this comment on a particular line of my poem: “This is a magnificent line!” I argued with him: “Is this a magnificent line? What magnificence do you see in it?” So, this is how I wrote my poems. I kept silent and the lines would come; when no lines came, I again waited in silence, and kept praying — then the lines seemed to flow; this is the technique I followed in my composition, one might say, in my voyage through poetry. Gradually it so happened that the instrument became almost perfect. There were no flaws, each poem was perfect from beginning to end; I did minor corrections. At this stage, I said to Sri Aurobindo: “Then, wherein lies my credit in this composition?” He said: “Your credit is that you have been a perfect instrument!”

But sometimes it so happened that, in the course of composition, a line had come, but Sri Aurobindo pointed out to me: “This line is faulty.” I asked: “Why is it faulty?” He explained to me saying, “Somewhere in the consciousness your mind had interfered.” I myself did not understand all this — I just wrote on. At a particular time I would sit with pencil and paper; perhaps I kept waiting for an hour — no line came; sometimes it would come; but I had a feeling within that it had not come from true inspiration: I could only feel that this word or that line was not the right one — it was like that. All of you who would like to write will have to follow more or less the same way — ask for inspiration from Sri Aurobindo, pray for his help. This applies to every sphere — writing, teaching, delivering lectures, or for that matter any kind of work. But it is you who have to gradually realize what perfection you have attained and what more you have still to achieve.

Some of his poems were highly praised by Sri Aurobindo and later they have been published. After Sri Aurobindo’s departure, Nirod has written profusely. He has covered his years as an attendant of Sri Aurobindo, in the book ‘Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo’. He read out the manuscript to the Mother first, at that time he had no firm plans of publishing. The Mother enjoyed it immensely and wrote a message:

Thanks to Nirod, we have a revelation of an altogether unknown side of what Sri Aurobindo was.

Without that book, we would not be aware how much Sri Aurobindo took interest in the world affairs and the role he played in World War II and on the future of the earth. Later he wrote ‘Memorable Contacts with The Mother’, initially he penned it as his homage to her in her birth centenary in 1978, later he expanded as a book form. It covers his personal connections with the Mother, her way of working in the Ashram, the guidance that he received on medical matters from her amongst many other topics. The most important aspect that is evident in his writings about the Mother is his deep gratitude towards her.  While the book contains many important materials for one’s sadhana, we are reproducing one exchange between the Mother and Nirod, which is particularly important as we usually live in an atmosphere of doubt:

… when I met her[the Mother], after a talk on personal matters, the Mother said in a very affable tone, "Do you want to hear my story? … One night as I had gone into the subconscient - I was working there, I actually went down - I came to a place filled with doubt, depression, etc. It was the abode of Doubt. There in a big public hall I was doing my work. Many people were constantly moving to and fro. I saw people trying hard to throw away their doubts but they were returning again and again.

"After some time, I saw that there was another hall inside and I was told that Sri Aurobindo was there. So I went in that direction and knocked at the door. I could not see anything inside. When someone came, I told him that I wanted to see Sri Aurobindo. He answered rather rudely, ‘You can’t see him; he won’t see you.’ A bit surprised, I came away quietly. After a while I went back and knocked again. This time I could have a glimpse of the interior through a slit in the door. I noticed particularly three people, you, D and S. Somebody came, the same person as before or another, I don’t know, and opened the door. When I repeated my desire to see Sri Aurobindo he replied, ’You can never see him and he will never see you. You are insincere; what you are doing is all for power, fame and ambition.’ As he said this, I saw a tall figure, taller than Sri Aurobindo; he was thin and appeared to be like Sri Aurobindo, but was really a hostile force. He came and stood in front as if to give support to his statement. He was cruel, hard, full of rigid principles; no love, no compassion at all. It was, I believe, a sort of distant distorted figure of a part of Sri Aurobindo’s mind, or what they believed to be Sri Aurobindo’s mind. Looking at that figure I said, ‘It is a negation of all spiritual experience.’ Till then you [Nirod] were not taking any part in all this; you were sitting somewhere inside. But as soon as I uttered that sentence, you came forward like this (stretching out her arms) and exclaimed, ‘Mother, you have helped me a lot; you have given Light, Force...’ And immediately everything vanished. Sri Aurobindo came out and descended into my body, full of love. ...You remember Sri Aurobindo was writing to X about X’s doubt, not to play with it but to throw it away, that it was fatal to harbour it. So perhaps X had made a formation with something from his own mind and mixed it with something of what he thought to be Sri Aurobindo’s mind; it is all very complex.”

He published his correspondences and talks with Sri Aurobindo, which contain a rich treasure for us. Apart from being an accomplished writer, poet, and a scribe, he was a keen human archivist. Thanks to him we can learn about the other ashram personalities of his time about whom he has spoken in talks or covered in his writings.

Nirodbaran was an elder brother to many inside as well as outside the Ashram. After the departure of the Mother and Nolini Kanta Gupta, he stood like a rock for the unity of the Ashram community, generously sharing time with all and sundry, welcoming people with beautiful tea at his place.  He always looked upon Auroville as the Mother’s work, even during the period when a chasm was built between the Ashram and the Auroville communities he made efforts to mend them. During the ’90s when he learnt about Auroville’s Savitri Study Circle, he encouraged them and laid the foundation stone of Savitri Bhavan in 1995. Similar he was instrumental in founding the beautiful Gnostic Centre in Delhi, which is a relics center and carries on experiments with the new ideas of education in the light of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
Nirod at the Samadhi

Nirodbaran was blessed with a long life, which he sincerely used at the service of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Apart from the organizations he touched lives of many over his lifetime, and then through his books and talks, some of them are still getting published.  He passed at an advanced age of 103 in 2006 at the Ashram Nursing Home, without any complications. He remained usually in good health till the last of his life. His niece Dolly and student and confidante Sudha used to take care of him and assist him in his literary works.

One may wonder what is the identity of Nirodbaran? A doctor, a man of letters, Sadhak or a yogi? Sri Aurobindo said once “Nirod is no doctor to me, he has come to serve me.” Dilip Kumar Roy, his close friend and co-disciple, to whom Sri Aurobindo wrote the largest number of letters complained that Sri Aurobindo’s tone with him was that of like a father whereas his tone with Nirod was like that of a comrade. That was his identity, Divinity’s Comrade.
 Sadhana of the Body  

Physical culture is the process of infusing consciousness into the cells of the body. One may or may not know it, but it is a fact. When we concentrate to make our muscles move according to our will, when we endeavour to make our limbs more supple, to give them an agility, or a force, or a resistance, or a plasticity which they do not naturally possess, we infuse into the cells of the body a consciousness which was not there before, thus turning it into an in- creasingly homogeneous and receptive instrument, which progresses in and by its activities. This is the primary importance of physical culture. . . . And when one sees the absolutely marvellous results of this culture, when one observes the extent to which the body is capable of perfecting itself, one understands how useful this can be to the action of the psychic being which has entered into this material substance. For naturally, when it is in possession of an organised and harmonised instrument which is full of strength and suppleness and possibilities, its task is greatly facilitated.

28 November 1958
The Mother, CWM Volume 10, Page 30



Sleep cannot be replaced, but it can be changed; for you can become conscious in sleep. If you are thus conscious, then the night can be utilised for a higher working—provided the body gets its due rest; for the object of sleep is the body's rest and the renewal of the vital-physical force. It is a mistake to deny to the body food and sleep, as some from an ascetic idea or impulse want to do—that only wears out the physical support and although either the Yogic or the vital energy can long keep at work an overstrained or declining physical system, a time comes when this drawing is no longer so easy nor perhaps possible. The body should be given what it needs for its own efficient working. Moderate but sufficient food (without greed or desire), sufficient sleep, but not of the heavy tāmasic kind, this should be the rule.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 31, Page 448
Sunrise behind the Mother's room, Pondicherry Ashram
Empowering Lines from Savitri

All can be done if the god-touch is there.
A hope stole in that hardly dared to be
Amid the Night’s forlorn indifference.
As if solicited in an alien world
With timid and hazardous instinctive grace,
Orphaned and driven out to seek a home,
An errant marvel with no place to live,
Into a far-off nook of heaven there came
A slow miraculous gesture’s dim appeal.
The persistent thrill of a transfiguring touch
Persuaded the inert black quietude
And beauty and wonder disturbed the fields of God.

Savitri, Page 3
Book 1: The Book of Beginnings,
Canto 1: The Symbol Dawn

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