Sri Aurobindo Center
of Los Angeles

The Quest
March 2021

Theme: Receptivity
01.    Events & Activities
02.    Introduction
03.    Receptivity
04.    How can we know?
05.    From Prayers & Meditations
06.    Aspiration & Receptivity
07.    The Divine’s Help, Love & Grace
08.    How to increase Receptivity?
09.    Being Receptive only to the Divine
10.    Birthdays
11.    Flowers
12.    Sonnet
13.    In Gratitude
14.    On the Body
15.    Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
16.    Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities                                                    Home

In the month of March, one felt the Grace and love for the Divine fostered in the collective taking a deeper turn. We added another day, Tuesday, to our weekly meetings, solely focused on Sadhana and the quest for the Divine. The experience of the concentrated power in the audio of the Mother, and the reading of Their words, has led to an initiative to make available to all, Her voice and Their words through podcasts.
The bond with the Divine continues to grow, expressed in the various work-offerings that include the maintenance of the Center, and the garden work. With the pandemic diminished in its intensity, the Center has been receiving devotees who wish to be in the atmosphere of the relics of Sri Aurobindo. 

And now over to the introduction to the theme of Receptivity.
Introduction                                                              Home
This month’s subject is Receptivity, the capacity to receive the Divine force, allow it to work within us, and obey to its command. The aspect of retention is relevant only after we are open, the doors that are tightly shut by our ego are flung wide open only by our surrender. Just as tilling prepares the earth for a good harvest, and without that, despite the best conditions the crop will not be good, similarly without receptivity the force that comes for our transformation will be wasted. Please read through to learn in detail about Receptivity, its significance, how we can develop it and finally how it shapes our character.

The Events & Activities section tells how our center, acting as a living nucleus, brings devotees closer.

This month we introduce our dear friend Moni, meaning precious gem, a nature lover in the Gratitude section. Our rose garden responds spontaneously and lovingly to her care.

Quest is incomplete without the sections, “On the Body”, given the pivotal role that the physical plays in the Integral Yoga, and “Sri Aurobindo’s Humor”. Sri Aurobindo called the sense of humor as the salt of existence without which the unbalanced world would be further disbalanced.

Do not forget to appreciate the artworks that form an integral part of Quest. Art is Beauty manifested. Beauty and Ananda (Delight) are intricately linked. And finally, the Empowering lines from Savitri, the fountainhead of inspiration.

It is symbolic that we cover Receptivity at this time of the year. Spring marks the commencement of a new annual solar cycle. The time earth wakes up from her winter sleep. Let us also participate in this process of awakening. Mother has been repeating that the earth is not yet ready. Let us take this moment as an opportunity to make an effort to be more open, to be more receptive.

Wish you all a very happy reading.

And our journey of Quest continues.
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.
CWSA Volume 29, Page 266.
Receptivity                                                      Home

Receptivity: conscious of the Divine Will and surrendered to it.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 146.
Receptivity is the capacity of admitting and retaining the Divine Workings.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 146.
How can we know?                                                Home

Question: How can we know that we are receptive?
The Mother: When we feel the urge to give and the joy of giving to the Divine’s work, then we can be sure that we have become receptive.

12 July 1965
- CWM Volume 14, Page 148.
To be receptive is to feel the urge to give and the joy of giving to the Divine’s Work all one has, all one is, all one does.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 148.
From Prayers & Meditaitons                                  Home

It is Thy Will that I should be like a channel, always open, always wider, through which Thy forces may pour themselves in abundance on the world. . . . O Lord, let Thy Will be done. Am I not Thy Will and Thy Consciousness in a felicity supreme? . . .

The being grows immeasurably in largeness and becomes vast like the universe.

16 October 1914
- The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 264.
Aspiration & Receptivity                                    Home

That is, aspiration in everyone, no matter who it is, has the same power. But the effect of this aspiration is different. For aspiration is aspiration: if you have aspiration, in itself it has a power. Only, this aspiration calls down an answer, and this answer, the effect, which is the result of the aspiration, depends upon each one, for it depends upon his receptivity. I know many people of this kind: they say, “Oh! But I aspire all the time and still I receive nothing.” It is impossible that they should receive nothing, in the sense that the answer is sure to come. But it is they who do not receive. The answer comes but they are not receptive, so they receive nothing.

There are people, you know, who have a lot of aspiration. They call the force. The force comes to them — even enters deeply into them — and they are so unconscious that they don’t know it! That indeed happens quite frequently. It is their state of unconsciousness which prevents them from even feeling the force which enters into them. It enters into them, and does its work. I knew people who were gradually transformed and yet were so unconscious that they were not even aware of it. The consciousness comes later — very much later. On the other hand, there are people who are more passive, so to speak, more open, more attentive, and even if a very slight amount of force comes, they become aware of it immediately and use it fully.

When you have an aspiration, a very active aspiration, your aspiration is going to do its work. It is going to call down the answer to what you aspire for. But if, later, you begin to think of something else or are not attentive or receptive, you do not even notice that your aspiration has received an answer. This happens very frequently. So people tell you: “I aspire and I don’t receive anything, I get no answer!” Yes, you do have an answer but you are not aware of it, because you continue to be active in this way, like a mill turning all the time.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 6, Page 115.
Artist: Priti Ghosh
The Divine's Help, Love & Grace                             Home

The help is always there. It is you who must keep your receptivity living. The Divine help is much vaster than what any human being is able to receive.

28 December 1972
- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 86.
My love is always with you; if then you do not feel it, it is because you are not capable of receiving it. It is your receptivity that is lacking and should be increased; for this you must open yourself, and one opens oneself only if one gives oneself. Surely you are trying more or less consciously to draw the forces and the divine love towards you. The method is bad. Give yourself without calculating and without expecting anything in return, and then you will become capable of receiving.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 148.
Who is worthy or unworthy in front of the Divine Grace?
All are children of the one and the same Mother. Her love is equally spread over all of them. But to each one She gives according to his nature and receptivity.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 85.
How to increase Receptivity?                              Home

Question: Mother, on what does receptivity depend?

The Mother: It depends first of all upon sincerity—on whether one really wants to receive—and then... yes, I believe the principal factors are sincerity and humility. There is nothing that closes you up more than vanity. When you are self-satisfied, you have that kind of vanity of not wanting to admit that you lack something, that you make mistakes, that you are incomplete, that you are imperfect, that you are... There is something in the nature, you know, which grows stiff in this way, which does not want to admit—it is this which prevents you from receiving. You have, however, only to try it out and get the experience. If, by an effort of will you manage to make even a very tiny part of the being admit that ‘Ah, well, yes, I am mistaken, I should not be like that, and I should not do that and should not feel that, yes, it is a mistake’, if you manage to make it admit this, at first, as I said just now, it begins by hurting you very much, but when you hold on firmly, until this is admitted, immediately it is open—it is open and strangely a flood of light enters, and then you feel so glad afterwards, so happy that you ask yourself, ‘Why, was I foolish enough to resist so long?’

28 April 1954
- CWM Volume 6, Page 117.
All quietude of the mind makes good conditions for the receptivity to act.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 143.
In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. Let us learn to be silent so that the Lord may make use of us.

19 December 1971
- The Mother, CWM Volume 16, Page 427.
It is with the widening of the consciousness and the one pointedness of the aspiration that the receptivity increases.

22 December 1934
- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 147.
Artist: Priti Ghosh
Being Receptive only to the Divine                       Home

Question: Sweet Mother, what does an exclusive self-opening to the divine Power’ mean?

The Mother: Instead of self-opening we could put receptivity, something that opens in order to receive. Now, instead of opening and receiving from all sides and from everyone, as is usually done, one opens only to the Divine to receive only the divine force. It is the very opposite of what men usually do. They are always open on the surface, they receive all the influences from all sides. And then this produces inside them what we might call a pot-pourri (Mother laughs) of all kinds of contradictory movements which naturally create countless difficulties. So here, you are advised to open only to the Divine and to receive only the divine force to the exclusion of everything else. This diminishes all difficulties almost entirely. Only one thing remains difficult. It is... One can do it and, unless one is in a state of total alchemy, well, it is difficult to be in contact with people, to speak to them, for example, to have any kind of exchange with them without absorbing something from them. It is difficult. If one is in a kind of... if one is in an atmosphere that’s like a filter, then everything that comes from outside is filtered before it touches you. But it is very difficult; it requires a very wide experience. That is why, also, people who wanted the easiest path went into solitude to sit under a tree, did not speak any more and saw nobody; for this helps to diminish undesirable exchanges. Only, it has been noticed that these people begin to become enormously interested in the life of little animals, the life of plants, for it is difficult not to have any exchange with anything at all. So it is much better to face the problem squarely and be surrounded by an atmosphere so totally concentrated on the Divine that what comes through this atmosphere is filtered in its passage.

7 July 1954
- CWM Volume 6, Page 212.
Birthdays                                                        Home

Question: Sweet Mother, what is the meaning of one’s birthday, apart from its commemorative character? How can one take advantage of this occasion?

The Mother: Because of the rhythm of the universal forces, a person is supposed to have a special receptivity on his birthday each year. He can therefore take advantage of this receptivity by making good resolutions and fresh progress on the path of his integral development.

25 November 1964
- CWM Volume 16, Page 308.
Garden Gladiolus
Significance – Receptivity
Flowers                                                         Home

Flowers are extremely receptive. All the flowers to which I have given a significance receive exactly the force I put into them and transmit it. People don’t always receive it because most of the time they are less receptive than the flower, and they waste the force that has been put in it through their unconsciousness and lack of receptivity. But the force is there, and the flower receives it wonderfully.

14 July 1954
- The Mother, CWM Volume 6, Page 229.

Sonnet: The Yogi on the Whirlpool                Home

On a dire whirlpool in the hurrying river
        A life-stilled statue naked, bronze, severe
        He kept the posture of a deathless seer
Unshaken by the mad water’s leap and shiver.
Thought could not think in him; flesh could not quiver;
        The feet of Time could not adventure here:
        Only some unknown Power nude and austere,
Only a Silence mighty to deliver.

His spirit world-wide and companionless
        Seated above the torrent of the days
                  On the deep eddy that our being forms,
Silent, sustained the huge creation’s stress,
        Unchanged supporting Nature’s rounds and norms,
                  Immobile background of the cosmic race.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 2, Page 599.

In Gratitude                                                                 Home

Moni Misra (Purnima)

The Mother first crossed my path when I was visiting my eldest sister’s house at the age of 12, and came across an article about Her published in the ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’, one of the leading magazines of the time. Though I have always been intrigued by spirituality, I did not have any specific guidance. My sister used to write to the Mother and would receive little packets of flowers, which now I realize were the precious blessings packets.

My next encounter with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo was when I got married to Ashoke and joined him in New York in 1976. He was deeply involved in the Integral Yoga. Then we moved to Chicago where we met Hansa and Lakshman, who used to host Darshan days in their house. My interest deepened as I attended the Darshan programs and listened to gleanings from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

When both our children, Ricky and Lonika moved to California, we decided to retire in Southern California. Here again, Hansa and Lakshman mentioned to me about the LA Center, and insisted that I should visit the Center. The positive impact of Covid 19 is that it erased distance and brought us closer through Zoom and put us in contact with other like-minded Devotees.

My spiritual aspiration finds its expression through Nature (Prakriti) - flowers, birds and butterflies. If it was not for nature who could create a rose petal with its myriad colors and gentle touch???!!!

- Moni Misra is a devotee of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and is joyously connected with the Sri Aurobindo Center, LA. She regularly participates, with great devotion, in all the activities of the Center including the thrice-weekly zoom Collective Sadhana. As she has described above she is a lover of Nature. She always takes the lead in beautifying the Center’s large garden. Her inspiration is flowers and the Center’s rose garden is very beautifully enhanced with her creativity. The Center is grateful to have Moni’s offerings to our Gurus’ Temple.
Roses from the garden at the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles.

On the Body                                                               Home

A decisive choice has to be made between lending the body to Nature’s ends in obedience to her demand to perpetuate the race as it is, and preparing this same body to become a step towards the creation of the new race. For it is not possible to do both at the same time; at every moment one has to decide whether one wants to remain part of the humanity of yesterday or to belong to the superhumanity of tomorrow. One must renounce being adapted to life as it is and succeeding in it if one wants to prepare for life as it will be and to become an active and efficient part of it.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 12, Page 54.

Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                           Home

Question: I have no desire to eat though I am hungry. I can’t even sleep at night. Can it be due to the hypersecretion of the endocrines from yogic pressure?

Sri Aurobindo: Confound your endocrines! You have got to eat. Yoga can’t be done on a hungry stomach. Sleep also is indispensable.

21 January 1935
Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo, Volume 1, Page 109 by Nirodbaran.

Empowering Lines from Savitri                             Home

Then, falling silent in himself to know
He meets the deeper listening of his soul:
The Word repeats itself in rhythmic strains:
Thought, vision, feeling, sense, the body’s self
Are seized unutterably and he endures
An ecstasy and an immortal change;
He feels a Wideness and becomes a Power,
All knowledge rushes on him like a sea:
Transmuted by the white spiritual ray
He walks in naked heavens of joy and calm
- Savitri, Page 375.
A Collective Offering by

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