Sri Aurobindo Center

of Los Angeles

The Quest
October 2021

Theme - Cheerfulness
  1. Events & Activities
  2. Introduction
  3. The Salt of Sadhana
  4. Question & Answers
  5. Be Cheerfully Open to The Mother
  6. Faster and Surer on the Path
  7. Not Cheerfully Following the Vital Life
  8. The Persian Honey-Seller
  9. In Gratitude
  10. On the Body
  11. Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
  12. Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities                                                  Home

The month of October was eventful with the devotion and inspiration that was intense in August and September now expressed itself in work offerings, both online and physically at the Center. It was wonderful to see devotees with diverse expertise share their creativity in the renovation, in particular the design of the kitchen. There was also the regular stream of visitors who come with their happy devotion to be in the presence of the relics or the auspicious occasion of their birthdays or for garden work or other miscellaneous tasks; all this reminding us of the great truth that there is a lover of the Divine in each of us and ready to respond when given the right atmosphere.

We also had a joyful time preparing the offering to join the global program for Siddhi Day organized by the La Grace Center.

Now over to the theme of this month.


Introduction                                                             Home

Dear Fellow Seekers,

This month’s offering is on a positive but rarely mentioned quality – Cheerfulness.  The path of self-discovery is long. The obstacles in the journey come more from within that outside. Once there is some psychic awakening, and we realize this truth, we are assured of the ultimate victory however long it may take. This confidence flowing out from the psychic center – the source of all noble qualities, makes us assured and centered, keeps us grounded and allows us to experience delight in daily life. The path of aspiration and joy is superior to that of struggle and gloom, for at times we fall in love with the struggles and get attached to gloom forgetting our goal. Being cheerful and glad does not make one less spiritual, for the Self or the Spirit, the pure in us is made of light and joy and not darkness and gloom.  Our team has mined through the works of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo to find gems on cheerfulness for you.

In the Gratitude section we will meet Sunitha, meaning the wise one. She has grown up very close to the idyllic, green, misty, rolling hills in south of India, where coffee has been cultivated for over last four centuries. From her we learn how to gracefully balance the different facets of life.

Quest is incomplete without, “Sri Aurobindo’s Humour”, an apt reminder for those of us who have fallen in love with seriousness and frown upon laughter. Lest we forget to take care of the vessel that embodies the soul, “On the Body” section is there. And finally, carefully chosen artworks and layout form the canvas on which our bouquet of Quest is painted.

Wishing you all happiness and joy.

From the Quest Team

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

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

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

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

The Salt of Sadhana                                                  Home

Cheerfulness is the salt of sadhana. It is a thousand times better than gloominess.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 31, Page 173

… the most essential quality is perseverance, endurance, and a — how to put it? — a kind of inner good humour that helps you not to get discouraged, not to become sad, and to face all difficulties with a smile. There is an English word which expresses this very well - cheerfulness. If you can keep this within you, you resist much better, you fight much better, in the Light, these bad influences which try to prevent you from progressing.

18 January 1956
The Mother, CWM Volume 8, Page 23

… For those who are courageous know how to laugh like this. There is nothing more cordial than a good and hearty cheerfulness. And the word ‘cordial’ has the same origin as the word ‘courage’. In difficult moments, the cheerfulness that comes from a cordial spirit is truly a kind of courage.
Surely it is not necessary to be always laughing; but liveliness, serenity, good humour are never out of place. And how helpful they are! With them the mother makes the home happy for her children; the nurse hastens the recovery of her patient; the master lightens the task of his servants; the workman inspires the goodwill of his comrades; the traveler helps his companions on their hard journey; the citizen fosters hope in the hearts of his countrymen.

And you, happy boys and girls, is there anything your cheerfulness cannot accomplish?

The Mother, CWM Volume 2, Page 191
Question & Answers                                     Home

Question: What should I do so that my work becomes an offering? What should I do so that I can always be with the Mother?

Sri Aurobindo: What you should do is to have confidence and try to remain always confident and cheerful. If you feel depressed call for the Mother’s Force to remove the depression. If you fall ill, call the Mother’s Force to cure you. When you work call the Mother’s Force to support you and do the work through you.

CWSA Volume 32, Page 217

Dear Mother,

I think this is the last thing I shall write to You. I should like to stop writing now, as I am feeling very tired.

I know that You will not like it, but I have to say that it is better to put me aside. I am quite hopeless. Again, for the last few days I have become irregular in my work. You once said that to open myself to You is my work, because Your help is always with me. But I do not know when I will open myself to You. I am as hard as a stone. If I had known before that these things are so difficult, I should never have wished to come here. Mother, I wish You would not tell me that I am rebelling, I do not like to hear that.

I do not know, Mother, why I have written all these things. Mother, please do not be angry with me, I have nobody except You.

The Mother: Why this discouragement? Each one has his difficulties, yours are no more insurmountable than those of others. You have only to remain confident and cheerful.

27 December 1932
CWM Volume 16, Page 69

Be Cheerfully Open to The Mother               Home

Sadhak: I have often seen that X would be quite cheerful just before coming for Pranam, but when he came in front of Mother he looked sorrowful and displeased. What was the reason?

Sri Aurobindo: X is doing like many others—they are cheerful outside, but sorrowful or displeased or suffering when they come to the Mother or write to her. There is a sort of idea (which was long current in the Ashram) and there is still a feeling in the vital that the more you do that with the Mother the more you will get out of her. Of course, it is absurdly untrue—the truth is the opposite; the more one is cheerfully open to her and lives in the light and gladness, the more one is likely to receive.

CWSA Volume 32, Page 560

Faster and Surer on the Path                                                               Home

In a more deep and spiritual sense a concrete realisation is that which makes the thing realised more real, dynamic, intimately present to the consciousness than any physical thing can be. Such a realisation of the personal Divine or of the impersonal Brahman or of the Self does not usually come at the beginning of a sadhana or in the first years or for many years. It comes so to a very few; ... But to expect and demand it so soon and get fed up because it does not come and declare Yoga impossible except for two or three in the ages would betoken in the eyes of any experienced Yogi or sadhaka a rather rash and abnormal impatience. Most would say that a slow development is the best one can hope for in the first years and only when the nature is ready and fully concentrated towards the Divine can the definitive experience come. To some rapid preparatory experiences can come at a comparatively early stage, but even they cannot escape the labour of the consciousness which will make these experiences culminate in the realisation that is enduring and complete. ... It is the fact that people who are grateful and cheerful and ready to go step by step, even by slow steps, if need be, do actually march faster and more surely than those who are impatient and in haste and at each step despair or murmur.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 112

The sunlit path can only be followed if the psychic is constantly or usually in front or if one has a natural spirit of faith and surrender or a face turned habitually towards the sun or psychic predisposition (e.g. a faith in one’s spiritual destiny) or if he has acquired the psychic turn. That does not mean that the sunlit man has no difficulties; he may have many, but he regards them cheerfully as ‘all in the day’s work’. If he gets bad beatings, he is capable of saying, Well, that was a queer go, but the Divine is evidently in a queer mood and if that is his way of doing things, it must be the right one; I am surely a still queerer fellow myself and that, I suppose, was the only means of putting me right.’ But everybody can’t be of that turn, and surrender which would put everything right is, as you say, difficult to do completely. That is why we do not insist on total surrender at once, but are satisfied with a little to begin with, the rest to grow as it can.

June 1944
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 31, Page 618

Not Cheerfully Following the Vital Life                                          Home

… Nor when we speak of cheerfulness as the best condition, do we mean a cheerful following of the vital life, but a cheerful following of the path to the Divine which is not impossible if the mind and heart take the right view and posture. At any rate if positive cheerfulness is not possible in one’s case, still one should not acquiesce in or mentally support a constant depression and sadness. That is not at all indispensable for keeping turned to the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 31, Page 202

It is an inner joy and cheerfulness that helps, but this [light joking] is merely a vital bubbling on the surface. It is all right in ordinary life, but in Yoga it merely expends the vital force for nothing.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 31, Page 174

The Persian Honey-Seller                                           Home

In Persia, there was a woman who used to sell honey. She had a very pleasant manner, and customers thronged around her stall. And the poet who tells her story declares that even if she had sold poison, people would still have bought it from her as if it were honey.

A sour-tempered man saw what a great profit she made from her sweet wares and decided to take up the same trade.
So, he set up a stall, but behind the rows of honeypots his face was like vinegar. All those who came near were sullenly treated. And so everyone passed by, leaving him his wares. ‘Not even a fly ventured on his honey,’ says the poet. By evening he had still earned nothing. A woman noticed him and said to her husband, ‘A bitter face makes bitter honey.’

Did the woman who sold honey smile only to attract customers? Let us rather hope that her cheerfulness came from her good nature. We are not in this world only to buy or sell; we should be here as comrades one to another. The good woman’s customers felt that she was something more than a honey-seller: she was a cheerful citizen of the world.

The Mother, CWM Volume 2, Page 190

In Gratitude                                                               Home
Sunitha Kubsad
(Sunitha means well disposed, righteous, wisdom, one with good morals, good guidance.)

I was born and raised in Hassan, Karnataka, India. I grew up with very little knowledge of Sri Aurobindo limited to school history textbooks. My first introduction to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother happened after I met Sada who is a longtime devotee and studied in the Pondicherry Ashram school.

My connection to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother has been constant since. When I moved to the US and started living in the bay area, I used to attend weekly Savitri readings and attend monthly retreat at Lodi. I got introduced to the wonderful family of the Sri Aurobindo center in Los Angeles when I moved to Southern California. I enjoy visiting the center, working in the garden, getting to know the devotees and most importantly the feeling of positivity, safety, compassion and connectedness during and after the meditation at the Center. I am really blessed to have the Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's guidance and the love and support of all members of the Sri Aurobindo center in LA.   

My husband Sada and I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters: Nishta 11 years and Sadhna 5 years old. We picked the name Nishta for our elder daughter from names given by Sri Aurobindo. We picked the name Sadhna from Savitri. Our family visits LA Center often and from a very young age kids have always enjoyed going to the Center. As they are growing up they love to offer karma yoga in the Center's beautiful garden. They have visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, several times and have enjoy spending time with their grandmother Shobha Di who lives in the Ashram there.


Sunitha with her husband Sada, and daughters Nishta and Sadhna (in her arms).

- Sunitha is a devotee of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo for over a decade. She enjoys coming to Sri Aurobindo Center, LA. She has an unassuming and introvert personality and truly takes joy in offering prasad to the Center for all devotees. She is a karma yogin. Sunitha is deeply dedicated to her children and raises them with gentle and sweet love. She always carries a gentle smile. The more you know Sunitha, the more she grows on you. The family lives a bit far from the Center, and though Sunitha and Sada are both working professionals they visit as frequently as possible. Sunitha makes it a point to come to the Center for all the Darshan Days and events celebrations.

She brings a beautiful energy to the Center with her precious and talented daughters, Nishta (Sri Aurobindo gave this name to Woodrow Wilson’s daughter) and Sadhna.

We are so delighted to have Sunitha in our Mother’s family at Sri Aurobindo Center, LA.


Gaillardia pulchella, Indian Blanket
Significance: Cheerfulness
A joyous smile of Nature
On the Body                                                              Home
Even he who might have attained a perfect contemplation in silence and solitude would have arrived at it only by withdrawing from his body, by disregarding it; and so the substance of which the body is constituted would remain as impure, as imperfect as before, since he would have left it to itself; and by a misguided mysticism, through the lure of supraphysical splendours, the egoistic desire to unite with Thee for his own personal satisfaction, he would have turned his back upon the very reason of his earthly existence, he would have refused like a coward to accomplish his mission—the redemption and purification of Matter. To know that a part of our being is perfectly pure, to commune with this purity, to be identified with it, can be useful only if this knowledge is later used to hasten the transfiguration of the earth, to accomplish Thy sublime work.

15 June 1913
The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 20

Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                             Home
Sadhak: It comes as a great surprise to hear that you consider enthusiasm so important for want of which you didn’t utilise my medical knowledge!

Sri Aurobindo: I meant that as you had no enthusiasm for drugs, you might just as well be busy with timber.

Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo, Nirodbaran, Page 99

Empowering Lines from Savitri

A hidden Bliss is at the root of things.
A mute Delight regards Time's countless works:
To house God's joy in things Space gave wide room,
To house God's joy in self our souls were born.
This universe an old enchantment guards;
Its objects are carved cups of World-Delight
Whose charmed wine is some deep soul's rapture-drink:
The All-Wonderful has packed heaven with his dreams,
He has made blank ancient Space his marvel-house;
He spilled his spirit into Matter's signs:
His fires of grandeur burn in the great sun,
He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon;
He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound;
He chants the stanzas of the odes of Wind;
He is silence watching in the stars at night;
He wakes at dawn and calls from every bough,
Lies stunned in the stone and dreams in flower and tree.

Savitri, Page 630,
Book 10: The Book of the Double Twilight,
Canto 3: The Debate of Love and Death

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