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The Mother's Birthday 2021 at the Los Angeles Center


Sri Aurobindo Center
of Los Angeles



The Quest
February 2021

Theme: Equality
 
 
  1. Events & Activities
  2. Introduction
  3. First Necessity
  4. Firm Foundation
  5. From Prayers & Meditations
  6. Equality of Mind, Vital & Body
  7. Equality does not mean Indifference
  8. The Goal
  9. The Sea at Night
  10. In Gratitude
  11. On the Body
  12. Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
  13. Empowering Lines from Savitri
The Mother’s Room on Her Birthday 21st Feb 2021

Events & Activities                                                    Home

The 21st of February being the Mother’s birthday, the days were a joyous remembrance of the Mother. The love for the Mother glowed in the beautiful altar made by the devotees for the darshan celebrations. In the global Darshan program, a senior devotee from our Center shared the treasure of his moments with the incarnate Divine, reminding us that Her presence as a source of inspiration is as concrete – perhaps even more than before. The Center celebrated the day with music, readings, and meditation, with the soul-stirring songs kindling an aspiration.

The collective sadhana continues in our offerings including the garden work at the Center in preparation for summer blooms, the maintenance of the premises, and the meetings on Thursdays and Saturday with insightful summaries of our readings.

We take a moment to acknowledge the offerings of Jishnu and Ashwin, both in India and precious part of our collective, for providing the content every month from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and also insightful reflections upon the theme as an introduction to the newsletter.
 
Introduction                                                              Home
 
This month our team’s offering is on Equality. A quality that Sri Aurobindo called as the foundation of Sadhana, the spiritual practice. Equality is a sign and proof that one is near the spiritual goal and it gives us the capacity to pass unperturbed through the vagaries of life.

Sincere seekers will question that we are supposed to treat everything equally then what path of action should one take? Should one take actions to resist forces which one knows as adverse? One can act with full force of opposition, if so required, maintaining the inner understanding, balance and equality. The Mother also stated equality is not indifference. Equality is not superficial tolerance, but the inner balance and appreciation that comes from the deeper understanding that everything represents an aspect of the Divine and it is acting as per its nature. Hence there is a scope of opposition without hatred and agreement without personal gain.

Please read through the issue to know about deeper shades of this quality, its practice and its importance in the path of spiritual quest and self-perfection.

We feature Ms Ambarina Dawson, a long-time friend of the Center in the Gratitude section, to learn something about her journey.

Quest is not complete without empowering lines from Savitri and the section on Body, a topic of central importance in the Integral Yoga, artwork manifesting inner beauty, and finally some humor where we get the opportunity to laugh together and with the Lord.

Wishing you all a Happy Reading.

The Quest Team
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.
First Necessity                                                      Home

The very first necessity for spiritual perfection is a perfect equality.
- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 24, Page 698.
 
The first business of the sadhaka is to see whether he has the perfect equality, how far he has gone in this direction or else where is the flaw, and to exercise steadily his will on his nature or invite the will of the Purusha to get rid of the defect and its causes. There are four things that he must have; first, equality in the most concrete practical sense of the word, samata, freedom from mental, vital, physical preferences, an even acceptance of all God’s workings within and around him; secondly, a firm peace and absence of all disturbance and trouble, santi; thirdly, a positive inner spiritual happiness and spiritual ease of the natural being which nothing can lessen, sukham; fourthly, a clear joy and laughter of the soul embracing life and existence.
- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 24, Page 721.
 
Candytuft
Significance: Equanimity - Immutable peace and calm
 
Firm Foundation                                                      Home
There can be no firm foundation in sadhana without equality, samata. Whatever the unpleasantness of circumstances, however disagreeable the conduct of others, you must learn to receive them with a perfect calm and without any disturbing reaction. These things are the test of equality. It is easy to be calm and equal when things go well and people and circumstances are pleasant; it is when they are the opposite that the completeness of the calm, peace, equality can be tested, reinforced, made perfect.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 129.

It is not enough to have that equality and silence and freedom only when you are in communion with the sky and sea. It is at all times that you must be able to receive it from above—then there will be a true foundation of the sadhana.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 135.
From Prayers & Meditations                                Home

In Peace and Silence the Eternal manifests; allow nothing to disturb you and the Eternal will manifest; have perfect equality in face of all and the Eternal will be there. . . . Yes, we should not put too much intensity, too much effort into our seeking for Thee; the effort and intensity become a veil in front of Thee; we must not desire to see Thee, for that is still a mental agitation which obscures Thy Eternal Presence; it is in the most complete Peace, Serenity and Equality that all is Thou even as Thou art all, and the least vibration in this perfectly pure and calm atmosphere is an obstacle to Thy manifestation. No haste, no inquietude, no tension, Thou, nothing but Thou, without any analysis or any objectivising, and Thou art there without a possible doubt, for all becomes a Holy Peace and a Sacred Silence.
And that is better than all the meditations in the world.

5 December 1912
- The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 10.
 
Equality of Mind                                                         Home

The equality of the thinking mind will be a part and a very important part of the perfection of the instruments in the nature. Our present attractive self-justifying attachment to our intellectual preferences, our judgments, opinions, imaginations, limiting associations of the memory which makes the basis of our mentality, to the current repetitions of our habitual mind, to the insistences of our pragmatic mind, to the limitations even of our intellectual truth-mind, must go the way of other attachments and yield to the impartiality of an equal vision. The equal thought-mind will look on knowledge and ignorance and on truth and error, those dualities created by our limited nature of consciousness and the partiality of our intellect and its little stock of reasonings and intuitions, accept them both without being bound to either twine of the skein (length of a thread) and await a luminous transcendence.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 24, Page 706.
 
CWSA Volume 23, Page 223.
Equality of Vital                                                        Home

A perfect equality not only of the self, but in the nature is a condition of the Yoga of self-perfection. The first obvious step to it will be the conquest of our emotional and vital being, for here are the sources of greatest trouble, the most rampant forces of inequality and subjection, the most insistent claim of our imperfection. The equality of these parts of our nature comes by purification and freedom. We might say that equality is the very sign of liberation. To be free from the domination of the urge of vital desire and the stormy mastery of the soul by the passions is to have a calm and equal heart and a life-principle governed by the large and even view of a universal spirit. Desire is the impurity of the Prana, the life-principle, and its chain of bondage. A free Prana means a content and satisfied life soul which fronts the contact of outward things without desire and receives them with an equal response; delivered, uplifted above the servile duality of liking and disliking, indifferent to the urgings of pleasure and pain, not excited by the pleasant, not troubled and overpowered by the unpleasant, not clinging with attachment to the touches it prefers or violently repelling those for which it has an aversion, it will be opened to a greater system of values of experience. All that comes to it from the world with menace or with solicitation, it will refer to the higher principles, to a reason and heart in touch with or changed by the light and calm joy of the spirit.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 24, Page 702.
 
Equality of Body                                                         Home

Suppose you have a pain somewhere; the instinct (the instinct of the body, the instinct of the cells) is to shrink and to seek to reject—that is the worst thing, that increases it invariably. Therefore, the first thing to teach the body is to remain immobile, to have no reaction; above all, no shrinking, not even a movement of rejection—a perfect immobility. That is bodily equality. A perfect immobility. After the perfect immobility comes the movement of inner aspiration (I always speak of the aspiration of the cells— I use words for what has no word, but there is no other way of expressing it), the surrender, that is to say, the spontaneous and total acceptance of the supreme Will (which one does not know).

- The Mother, CWM Volume 11, Page 13.
 
Equality does not mean Indifference                    Home
Physical troubles always come as lessons to teach equality and to reveal what in us is pure and luminous enough to remain unaffected. It is in equality that one finds the remedy. An important point: equality does not mean indifference.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 15, Page 138.
 
Equality is a very important part of this Yoga; it is necessary to keep equality under pain and suffering — and that means to endure firmly and calmly, not to be restless or troubled or depressed or despondent, to go on in a steady faith in the Divine Will. But equality does not include inert acceptance. If, for instance, there is temporary failure of some endeavour in the sadhana, one has to keep equality, not to be troubled or despondent, but one has not to accept the failure as an indication of the Divine Will and give up the endeavour. You ought rather to find out the reason and meaning of the failure and go forward in faith towards victory. So with illness — you have not to be troubled, shaken or restless, but you have not to accept illness as the Divine Will, but rather look upon it as an imperfection of the body to be got rid of as you try to get rid of vital imperfections or mental errors.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 134.

Equality does not mean a fresh ignorance or blindness; it does not call for and need not initiate a greyness of vision and a blotting out of all hues. Difference is there, variation of expression is there and this variation we shall appreciate, – far more justly than we could when the eye was clouded by a partial and erring love and hate, admiration and scorn, sympathy and antipathy, attraction and repulsion. But behind the variation we shall always see the Complete and Immutable who dwells within it and we shall feel, know or at least, if it is hidden from us, trust in the wise purpose and divine necessity of the particular manifestation, whether it appear to our human standards harmonious and perfect or crude and unfinished or even false and evil.

And so too we shall have the same equality of mind and soul towards all happenings, painful or pleasurable, defeat and success, honour and disgrace, good repute and ill-repute, good fortune and evil fortune. For in all happenings we shall see the will of the Master of all works and results and a step in the evolving expression of the Divine. He manifests himself, to those who have the inner eye that sees, in forces and their play and results as well as in things and in creatures. All things move towards a divine event; each experience, suffering and want no less than joy and satisfaction is a necessary link in the carrying out of a universal movement which it is our business to understand and second. To revolt, to condemn, to cry out is the impulse of our unchastened and ignorant instincts. Revolt like everything else has its uses in the play and is even necessary, helpful, decreed for the divine development in its own time and stage; but the movement of an ignorant rebellion belongs to the stage of the soul’s childhood or to its raw adolescence. The ripened soul does not condemn but seeks to understand and master, does not cry out but accepts or toils to improve and perfect, does not revolt inwardly but labours to obey and fulfil and transfigure. Therefore we shall receive all things with an equal soul from the hands of the Master. Failure we shall admit as a passage as calmly as success until the hour of the divine victory arrives. Our souls and minds and bodies will remain unshaken by acutest sorrow and suffering and pain if in the divine dispensation they come to us, unoverpowered by intensest joy and pleasure. Thus supremely balanced we shall continue steadily on our way meeting all things with an equal calm until we are ready for a more exalted status and can enter into the supreme and universal Ananda.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 23, Page 224.
 
The Goal                                                                   Home
But ultimately the true attitude, the sign and proof that we are near the goal, is a perfect equality which enables us to accept success and failure, fortune and misfortune, happiness and sorrow with the same tranquil joy; for all these things become marvellous gifts that the Lord in his infinite solicitude showers upon us.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 10, Page 59.
 
There will be plenty of stumblings and errors and imperfections of adjustment of the instruments to their new working, but the increasingly equal soul will not be troubled overmuch or grieve at these things, since, delivered to the guidance of the Light and Power within self and above mind, it will proceed on its way with a firm assurance and await with growing calm the vicissitudes and completion of the process of transformation. The promise of the Divine Being in the Gita will be the anchor of its resolution, ‘Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone; I will deliver thee from all sin and evil; do not grieve.’

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 24, Page 706.
 
I don't think that one can ever smile too much. Someone who knows how to smile in all circumstances is very close to true equality of soul.

- The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 177.

The Sea at Night                                                        Home

The grey sea creeps half-visible, half-hushed,

And grasps with its innumerable hands

These silent walls. I see beyond a rough

Glimmering infinity, I feel the wash

And hear the sibilation of the waves

That whisper to each other as they push

To shoreward side by side,– long lines and dim

Of movement flecked with quivering spots of foam,

The quiet welter of a shifting world.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 2, Page 211.

In Gratitude                                                                 Home

Ambarina Dawson

How I came to the East West Cultural Center I do not remember, but I remember "why" I stayed:  Savitri.

The word resonated within. It had a logic, a sound, a form my rational mind did not recognize.

Through the center I learned about Sri Aurobindo, The Psychic Being, The Supramental, The Life Divine - fascinating images and information- but little did I know that over the years, I would come to realize that Savitri contained them all.

“...Her lashes fluttering upwards gathered in
To a vision which had scanned immortal things,
Rejoicing, human forms for their delight.”

Savitri, Page 723, Line 313.

And just like that fluttering butterfly alluded to coming out of her chrysalis, learning to fly with a new vision, I too "feel the Divine Fluttering" in my heart. Guiding me through my own metamorphosis.
 
- Ambarina Dawson is a devotee of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. She is an avid Savitri reader and an active participant in zoom "collective Sadhana" of Savitri as well as Essays on the Gita. She joyously attends various Zoom events of the Center including Darshan celebrations as well as observance of special days.

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 71.

Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                           Home

Sadhak: I am plunged in a sea of dryness and I am terribly thirsty for something. Along with it waves of old desire. Any handy remedy?

Sri Aurobindo: Eucharistic injection from above, purgative rejection below; liquid diet, psychic fruit juice, milk of the spirit,

- Twelve years with Sri Aurobindo, Nirodbaran, Page 170.

Empowering Lines from Savitri                             Home

To the still heights and to the troubled depths
His equal spirit gave its vast assent:
A poised serenity of tranquil strength,
A wide unshaken look on Time’s unrest
Faced all experience with unaltered peace.
Indifferent to the sorrow and delight,
Untempted by the marvel and the call,
Immobile it beheld the flux of things,
Calm and apart supported all that is:
His spirit’s stillness helped the toiling world.
 
- Savitri, Page 36.
A Collective Offering by

Team at Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles.
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