Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles

The Quest
September 2020

A havan ceremony on the banks of the Ganges, Rishikesh.
The practical application of Integral Yoga is founded on the three principles of Aspiration, Rejection and Surrender.
Aspiration - The adventure of consciousness, the inner call that inspires an individual in his journey of becoming the Divine Man. 
If aspiration is the active method of becoming, rejection is the passive process of purification of the individual. The steady process of refinement through which an individual removes the dross elements, preserves and nourishes only those that aid the flourishment of the soul.
And finally, surrender, a glad and tireless offering of all the efforts and actions to the Divine, to ultimately replace the ignorant will with the Divine Will.
Our current issue of Quest is on Rejection. Rejection is not suppression, which means that an element is there but not expressed; rejection is the alchemic method of replacing the baser elements in an  individual with the higher elements.  As the light of the soul will grow in a being the darkness will recede – that is the secret of Rejection.

Events & Activities
Medicine as Priesthood
To Cling
To Reject – What
To Reject - Why
To Reject - How
Words of Solace
The Pilgrim of the Night
In Gratitude
Sri Aurobindo's Humor
Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities                                                    Home

The "Divine afflatus" that came down in August continued well into September, undiminished in its intensity. Many celebrated their birthdays this month by offering themselves in the presence of the Master's relics. It is a day that powerfully reminds us of the truth of utmost significance in our life: we have been bestowed with the greatest gift that life can offer, the presence of the Mother in our life.

There was a motley of other offerings apart from the ongoing heavy garden work, the regular maintenance of the house, renovation of the Center, and resumption of Tai-Chi classes. Most notable was the installation of a set of new photos of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

Lakshman and Hansa Sehgal on their visit to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, selected photographs of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo of various sizes for the Center, had them framed, and finally installed. Sam, our Divine architect, did a meticulous job in installing the photos over the course of a whole day. Others helped with sumptuous meals and general organizing and cleaning. It was a truly collective effort and a great reminder by example that the Divine in the physical manifests as beauty and harmony. The large-sized rare pictures of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in their teens, the Samadhi and Her chair, all create a magnetic pull and one feels as though one were stepping into an abode of Their presence.

We also welcomed medical doctors couple Ranju and Dhanraj, who enriched us with their buoyant spirit and enthusiasm that is rooted in humility and deep devotion for the Mother. This became evident in the first virtual meeting where they outlasted our over-extended Satsang!

Our virtual meetings over Zoom continue and all readers are welcome. The aim is to foster a collective aspiration which yet intensifies our individual one to the Divine inhabitant within who waits eagerly for our call so He can emerge from within and govern our lives.

We also thank Jishnu, who though physically far from us, in India, joins us regularly at "the hour before the Gods awake" and adds ardor to our meetings.
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.
Artist - Dhanwanti
Medicine as Priesthood                                             Home

In the ongoing pandemic we would like to take a moment to express our gratitude to all the brave healthcare workers.

"If the body is considered as the tabernacle of the Lord, then medical science, for example, becomes the initiatory ritual for service of the temple and doctors of all categories are the priests who officiate in the different rituals of the worship. Thus, medicine is truly a priesthood and should be treated as such.”

- The Mother, CWM, Volume 15, Page 374
To Cling                                                                    Home

To cling to something one believes that one knows, to cling to something that one feels, to cling to something that one loves, to cling to one’s habits, to cling to one’s so-called needs, to cling to the world as it is, it is that which binds you. You must undo all that, one thing after another. Undo all the ties. And it has been said thousands of times and people continue to do the same thing.... Even they who are most eloquent and preach that to others, do c-l-i-n-g — they cling to their way of seeing, their way of feeling, their habit of progress, which seems for them the only one.

No more bonds — free, free. Always ready to change everything, except one thing: to aspire, this thirst.

- The Mother, CWM, Volume 11, Page 6
To Reject – What                                                   Home

Aspiration, prayer, bhakti, love, surrender are the main supports of this part of the Sadhana —accompanied by a rejection of all that stands in the way of what we aspire for.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 32, Page 205

… —rejection of the mind’s ideas, opinions, preferences, habits, constructions, so that the true knowledge may find free room in a silent mind, …

—rejection of the vital nature’s desires, demands, cravings, sensations, passions, selfishness, pride, arrogance, lust, greed, jealousy, envy, hostility to the Truth, so that the true power and joy may pour from above into a calm, large, strong and consecrated vital being, …

—rejection of the physical nature’s stupidity, doubt, disbelief, obscurity, obstinacy, pettiness, laziness, unwillingness to change, tamas, so that the true stability of Light, Power, Ananda may establish itself in a body growing always more divine; …

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 32, Page 6

Doubts rise in all, they are natural to the human physical mind—reject them.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 111

Q: What do I need to develop most? And what do I need to reject most?
The Mother: Develop—sincerity (that is, an integral adhesion to the Divine’s way). Reject—the pull of the old human habits.

25 February 1970
CWM Volume 14, Page 67
To Reject - Why                                                           Home

That is well understood. It is not enough to have a positive movement, there must also be the negative movement of rejection. For you cannot attain a stable transformation as long as you harbour in your being elements which oppose it. If you keep obscurities within you, they may for a time remain silent and immobile, so well that you attach no importance to them, and one day they will wake up again and your transformation won’t be able to resist them. Not only is the positive movement of self-giving necessary but also the negative movement of rejection of everything in you that opposes this giving. You must not leave things “like that”, buried somewhere, in such a way that at the first opportunity they wake up and undo all your work. There are parts of the being which know very well how to do this, there are elements of the vital which are extraordinary from this point of view: they keep quiet, hide in a corner, remain so absolutely silent and motionless that you think they don’t exist; so you are no longer on your guard, you are satisfied with your transformation and your surrender, you think everything is going well, and then, suddenly, one fine day, without warning, the thing jumps up like a jack-in-the-box and makes you commit all the stupidities in the world. And it is the stronger for having remained repressed—repressed and closed tight in a corner—it has remained as though buried so as not to draw your attention, it has kept very, very quiet, and the moment you are not expecting it, it springs up and you tell yourself, “Oh! What was the good of all my transformation?” That thing was there, and so it happened. It is just like that, these things remain there and hide themselves so well, that if you do not go looking for them with a well-lit lantern, you will not know they are there till the day they come out and demolish all your work in one minute.

26 April 1951
- The Mother, CWM, Volume 4, Page 358
To Reject - How                                                      Home

Q: Sweet Mother, how can we empty the consciousness of its mixed contents?

The Mother: By aspiration, the rejection of the lower movements, a call to a higher force. If you do not accept certain movements, then naturally, when they find that they can’t manifest, gradually they diminish in force and stop occurring. If you refuse to express everything that is of a lower kind, little by little the very thing disappears, and the consciousness is emptied of lower things. It is by refusing to give expression—I mean not only in action but also in thought, in feeling. When impulses, thoughts, emotion come, if you refuse to express them, if you push them aside and remain in a state of inner aspiration and calm, then gradually they lose their force and stop coming. So the consciousness is emptied of its lower movements.
But for instance, when undesirable thoughts come, if you look at them, observe them, if you take pleasure in following them in their movements, they will never stop coming. It is the same thing when you have undesirable feelings or sensation: if you pay attention to them, concentrate on them or even look at them with a certain indulgence, they will never stop. But if you absolutely refuse to receive and express them, after some time they stop. You must be patient and very persistent.

22 September 1954
CWM, Volume 6, Page 330
Artist – Usha Patel
Sadhak: Here Sri Aurobindo says: “As for the things in our nature that are thrown away from us by rejection but come back, it depends on where you throw them. Very often there is a sort of procedure about it.” What is this procedure, Sweet Mother?

The Mother: It is what he describes later. He explains afterwards that what is in the mind is thrown out into the vital, what is in the higher vital is thrown out into the lower vital, and what is in the lower vital is thrown out into the physical, and what is in the physical is thrown out into the subconscient. He says it—all this.

Sadhak: But I thought there was a procedure for rejection?

The Mother: No, this is the procedure, to reject always into a lower part of the being, and finally the last refuge, he says, is in the inconscient; and in order to get rid of something, to tell the truth, you must go right into the inconscient; if one pursues it there, it cannot go lower down. So there is only one solution for it, to transform itself.

Sadhak: Can’t one transform it without going further?

The Mother: One can. But it is quite difficult. But one can do it, because rejecting is not the best method. You see, to do this (gesture) is the easiest way; something troubles you, you do this (gesture), as you do for flies; but it is a little as with the flies, it takes a round and then comes back.

But what is necessary is what I explained to you last time in detail: to find out why it comes, why it is there, and change it—the cause itself. Then it no longer returns, there is no affinity any longer.

Things come to you because they have an affinity. There is something to which they can cling, a kind of sympathy somewhere, which may not be very conscious or very open, but there is one. And if it were not there, the thing would no longer come. There is a whole set of things which never come to bother you any longer, once you have changed the essential points in your nature.
Words of Solace                                                  Home
Garden Croton
Significance given by The Mother - Power to reject adverse suggestions.
It is necessary to observe and know the wrong movements in you; for they are the source of your trouble and have to be persistently rejected if you are to be free. But do not be always thinking of your defects and wrong movements. Concentrate more upon what you are to be, on the ideal, with the faith that, since it is the goal before you, it must and will come. To be always observing faults and wrong movements brings depression and discourages the faith. Turn your eyes more to the coming light and less to any immediate darkness. Faith, cheerfulness, confidence in the ultimate victory are the things that help, - they make the progress easier and swifter.

- Sri Aurobindo, Bases of Yoga, Page 51
Keep yourself open to the Mother, remember her always and let her Force work in you, rejecting all other influences—that is the rule for Yoga.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 29, Page 109

One cannot be perfect … in rejection either. The one indispensable thing is to go on trying sincerely till there comes the full success. So long as there is complete sincerity, the Divine Grace will be there and assist at every moment on the way.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 29, Page 53

It is always better to make an effort in the right direction; even if one fails the effort bears some result and is never lost.

- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 29, Page 87

And finally, lest you get discouraged by your own faults, the Dhammapada gives you this solacing image: the purest lily can spring out of a heap of rubbish by the wayside. That is to say, there is nothing so rotten that it cannot give birth to the purest realisation. Whatever may be the past, whatever may be the faults committed, whatever the ignorance in which one might have lived, one carries deep within oneself the supreme purity which can translate itself into a wonderful realisation. The whole point is to think of that, to concentrate on that and not to be concerned with all the difficulties and obstacles and hindrances. Concentrate exclusively on what you want to be, forget as entirely as possible what you do not want to be.

- The Mother, CWM, Volume 3, Page 215

The Pilgrim of the Night                                        Home

Artist – Ivan K. Aivazovsky 

I made an assignation with the Night;
In the abyss was fixed our rendezvous:
In my breast carrying God’s deathless light
I came her dark and dangerous heart to woo.
I left the glory of the illumined Mind
And the calm rapture of the divinised soul
And travelled through a vastness dim and blind
To the grey shore where her ignorant waters roll.
I walk by the chill wave through the dull slime
And still that weary journeying knows no end;
Lost is the lustrous godhead beyond Time,
There comes no voice of the celestial Friend,
And yet I know my footprints’ track shall be
A pathway towards Immortality.
- Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Volume 2, Page 603

In Gratitude                                                                 Home

It all started in the late 1950s, when my father was on an official visit to Pondicherry. While departing Pondicherry early in the morning, he found several people gathered under a balcony looking up. He stopped and looked up to see Her for the first time. It changed his life and generations that came after him.

I was born to parents who have dedicated their lives to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. My parents lived in the Delhi Ashram where my sister & I were born.  We moved to Pondicherry shortly thereafter - when I was about 3 years old. I am blessed to have grown up in the Ashram and have attended the Ashram school. I did not realize it back then, but the value of education at the Ashram school is priceless. We had the most wonderful teachers who built our souls, body & mind in the teachings of the Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Free Progress at the Ashram school meant we could learn anything we want, and our teachers supported it. Growing up in the Ashram also meant we learnt of the Mother’s writing directly in French.  It was one of the best experiences in my life. My mother continues to live in Pondicherry.

Back in the year ’00, when I learnt of Sri Aurobindo Center right here in Los Angeles, I printed directions on After circling around the center for 4 hours, I finally found it and met Debashish-da.

Today I live in Simi Valley with my two beautiful daughters: Nishta, Sadhna & my wife Sunitha.

- Sada Kubsad, a dedicated devotee of Sri Aurobindo Center LA

Sri Aurobindo's Humor                                           Home

Sadhak: You hardly take the initiative and ask people to do this or not to do that. It is your principle to give them a long rope either to hang themselves or have a taste of the bitter cup.

Sri Aurobindo: I am to put everybody into leading strings and walk about with them — or should it be the rope in their nose? Supermen cannot be made like that — the long rope is needed.

CWSA, Volume 35, Page 438

Empowering Lines from Savitri                             Home

Artist - Usha Patel

All that denies must be torn out and slain
And crushed the many longings for whose sake
We lose the One for whom our lives were made.
Now other claims had hushed in him their cry:
Only he longed to draw her presence and power
Into his heart and mind and breathing frame;
Only he yearned to call for ever down
Her healing touch of love and truth and joy
Into the darkness of the suffering world.
His soul was freed and given to her alone.

- Savitri, Page 316

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