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Sri Aurobindo Center
of Los Angeles



Perfection of the Body
November 2021
 
In the one task for which our lives were born,
To raise the world to God in deathless Light,
To bring God down to the world on earth we came,
To change the earthly life to life divine.
                                                   
  Savitri, Book XI, Canto One, page 692

June 15, 1913

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 re- main 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. 

Psychic Offering
From the Mother and Sri Aurobindo
"... [W]hen 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."

CWMCE 28 November 1958

Few persons understand that generally they who are against this external discipline, this concentration on a material achievement like sports, are exactly the people who lack totally control over their physical being. But to realize the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo, control of the body is one of the first indispensable steps. They who despise physical activities are people who will not be able to take a single step on the true way of integral yoga, unless they get rid of their despise first. The control of the body in all its forms is an indispensable basis.”

Questions-and-Answers-November-1956
 
“From our experience we have found that a particular system of exercises cannot be stamped as the only yogic type of exercises and we cannot definitely say that participation in those exercises only will gain health because they are yogic exercises.... Any rational system of exercises suited to one’s need and capacity will help the participant to improve in health. Moreover, it is the attitude that is more important. Any well-planned and scientifically arranged programme of exercises practised with a yogic attitude will become yogic exercises and the person practising them will draw full benefit from the point of view of physical health and moral and spiritual uplift .”

CWMCE Bulletin, April 1959 

OUR EXPLORATION

This Issue - Unity through Sports
This year is being celebrated around the world as the 15th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. In His address to the nation on August 15th 1947 He expressed His five dreams. In one of them He states:

"The third dream was a world-union forming the outer basis of a fairer, brighter, and nobler life for all mankind. That unification of the human world is underway; there is an imperfect initiation organized but struggling against tremendous difficulties. But an outward basis is not enough; there must grow up an international spirit and outlook, international forms and institutions must appear, perhaps such developments as dual or multilateral citizenship, willed interchange or voluntary fusion of cultures."

Outside the political attempts, the world of sports provides an independent means of achieving His dream. The Olympics has been a symbol but now many international events take place covering many sports from gymnastics to track and field and tennis. The camaraderie and relationships that are fostered among athletes from all parts of the world exemplify what the future can be. Currently, this example set by international athletes stand in sharp contrast to the divisiveness, often with violence, one sees in many societies around the world. The athletes may well be the only example of world unity that Sri Aurobindo envisaged.
Gold medalists Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar shared the podium after the men's high jump at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. They decided to share the  gold medal rather than continue competing.
 
This what Sri Aurobindo had to say on the value of sports, both individual and group:
"The presence and power of consciousness of this Superconscience in every part and movement of the material universe. It is there in the body, has made it and its emergence in our consciousness is the secret aim of evolution and the key to the mystery of our existence.

In the use of such activities as sports and physical exercises for the education of the individual in childhood and first youth, which should mean the bringing out of his actual and latent possibilities to their fullest development, the means and methods we must use are limited by the nature of the body and its aim must be such relative human perfection of the body's powers and capacities and the powers of mind, will, character, action of which it is at once the residence and the instrument so far as these methods can help to develop them.

It is a general fitness of the body for all that can be asked from it which is the common formula of all this action, a fitness attained by a few or by many, that could be generalised by an extended and many-sided physical education and discipline. Some of these activities can be included under the name of sports; there are others for which sports and physical exercises can be an effective preparation. In some of them a training for common action, combined movement, discipline are needed and for that our physical exercises can make one ready; in others a developed individual will, skill of mind and quick perception, forcefulness of life-energy and subtle physical impulsion are more prominently needed and may even be the one sufficient trainer. All must be included in our conception of the natural powers of the body and its capacity and instrumental fitness in the service of the human mind and will, and therefore in our concept of the total perfection of the body."
CWSA,Vol 28, Page 14, 15, 16
 
In one of His other dreams He states:
“ Another dream, the spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India's spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice. “
CWSA, Vol 36, Page 477

Here again one is beginning to see an increasing number of athletes resorting to meditation as an integral part of their physical training. The Mother had remarked after witnessing the performance of the Russian gymnast that in addition to the use of the “enlightened human will if they brought in a little bit of the Spirit, the results will be miraculous”.

Her words were indeed prophetic. Nothing She did was accidental. Remarkably, this is what we are witnessing today. Profound spiritual truths and methods that used to be confined to spiritual aspirants only, and dimmed and removed from the sphere of active life, are now voiced by top sportsmen who are integrating their practices and bringing their power into their bodies. Novak Djokovich, currently the top tennis player for 7 years (and counting), and arguably the greatest tennis player of all time says:  
"I consider myself and everything as a Divine soul". 
And for his practice he says:
"Meditation is really important to me; it is one of the main points in my day to day, not only in training or in my tennis career ... I have incorporated aspects of meditation into my daily routines".
Novak Djokovich with his son. The background picture is of Krishna who embodies the Spiritual Truth in Hinduism.
With the Mother’s focus on the Sadhana of the body, She has said:
“ Yes, people in their mind and their vital asked to become divine; well, it is all the old story of spirituality, reiterated for centuries. No, now it is the body. It is the body that wants to participate. It is altogether a progress."
CWM, Vol 11, Page 91

When the property on the ocean front was acquired in 1947, the Mother wanted tennis courts built. This was completed in record time and She resumed playing tennis in 1948 at the young age of 70. This was in a field of activity whose place in Yoga is strongly challenged, The Mother herself used it as a means of sadhana.

She goes on further to say:
“ The same consciousness which was the monopoly of the vital and the mind has become that of the body: the consciousness is working in the cells of the body.
The cells of the body are becoming something conscious, wholly conscious.
A consciousness that is independent, not depending at all upon the vital or the mental consciousness: it is a bodily consciousness."
CWM, Vol 11, Page 93

But since it is happening in one body, it can happen in all bodies! I am not made of something different from the others. The difference is in consciousness, that is all.
CWM, Vol 11, Page 93
Team Australia forward Sam Kerr (2) is consoled by Team United States midfielder Kristie Mewis (6) on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, after the US wins the bronze medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium.
Light shall invade the darkness of its base.
Then in the process of evolving Time
All shall be drawn into a single plan,
A divine harmony shall be earth’s law,
Beauty and Joy remould her way to live:
Even the body shall remember God,
 
Savitri, Book XI, Canto 1, Page 707
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