Sri Aurobindo Center

of Los Angeles

The Quest
September 2022

Theme - Work as Sadhana
  1. Events & Activities
  2. Introduction
  3. Work as Sadhana
  4. School of Experience
  5. The Mother’s Prayer
  6. Disinterested Work
  7. Remember & Offer
  8. Quietude in Work
  9. We Painted an Envelope
  10. Inspiring Pilgrims of the Divine
  11. Sadhana of the Body
  12. Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
  13. Empowering Lines from Savitri

Events & Activities          Home

The "Divine afflatus" that came down in August continued well into September, undiminished in its intensity. The month also had a celebratory note to it in the birthdays of many of our members, all offering themselves in the presence of the Master's relics at the Center. The Mother attached a great significance to the birthday. It is a precious day not only in the year but in one's lifetime, offering a great opportunity for an inner progress. 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.

We take a moment to express our gratitude to all who assist the Center through their offerings that include garden work, Center maintenance, hosting guests, generous financial offerings and other miscellaneous tasks.

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 and govern our lives.

Over to the theme of the month.
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


Dear Fellow Seekers,

This month Quest’s offering is on, ‘Work as Sadhana’. Sadhana is the practice followed to achieve, Siddhi, or success. A constant union with the Divine and consequently a transformation of all parts of the nature is the aim for the seekers of the Integral Yoga.

To a sincere seeker in this path aiming at total transformation one’s entire life is Yoga. He does not meditate for a certain period of the day, and live in the ordinary consciousness for the rest of the day. He does not utter lofty words only during Satsang, but practices pure speech throughout the day. He does not limit his offering to the Divine only during fixed hours of worship, but his daily life is the worship. But that is the summit of achievement. The seeker starts this journey at whatever level he stands, and work is the steps in the ascending order of stairs that connects the limited self to the infinite.

It is through work one dispels the effects of the past, change the course of life, and create a high destiny. It is through the field of work, one practices the ideals, and grows in the path of self-perfection.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo erased borders between ordinary life and the spiritual life. They reiterated countless times that it is not the type of work but the guiding motive behind the work which is important. If one is engaged in so called Spiritual work but with the motive of aggrandizing the ego or for other selfish motives, he is leading an ordinary life.   

One should not also be attached to the idea of action. A meaningless agitation without any result, but to fill up the insatiable vacuum of modern life created by absence of connection with the soul.  Ideally work should be done per the guidance of a higher force. The worker is chosen by the Divine. But what if one is yet to receive the right call? One has to take up work as per his nature and skill, and attempt to perfect that, for remember, “Yoga is for the skillful”. One, must wait patiently till the right inspiration dawns.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, seized the higher truth, brought down the Supramental force on this earth, to make our work of transformation easier. They extracted the spiritual truth from the matrix of rituals and practices of the past and presented to us in a way fit for the life of the modern man, “Remember and Offer.” As we work, we should remember the Divine and make an offering of the work, and at day end we should reflect on the practice.

Our team searched through the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, to offer the relevant passages. The art works support the texts to express ourselves more completely.  We wish you all an inspired reading, may we all be guided by the words of the Mother, “To know is good, to live is better, to be, that is perfect.”

From the Quest Team
As Sadhana
Work done in the right spirit will itself become a means of the inner siddhi.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 36, Page 232

It is the spirit and the consciousness in which it is done that makes an action Yogic—it is not the action itself.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 232

Work alone is not the object; work is a means of sadhana.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 231

I make no difference between work and yoga. Work itself is yoga if it is done in a spirit of dedication and surrender.

25 January 1938
The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 298

I have always said that work done as sadhana—done, that is to say, as an out flow of energy from the Divine offered to the Divine or work done for the sake of the Divine or work done in a spirit of devotion—is a powerful means of sadhana and that such work is especially necessary in this Yoga. Work, bhakti and meditation are three supports of Yoga. One can do with all three, or two or one. There are people who can’t meditate in the set way that one calls meditation, but they progress through work or through bhakti or through the two together. By work and bhakti one can develop a consciousness in which eventually a natural meditation and realisation become possible.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 209
School of Experience
Sadhak*: ‘All work’ is ‘a school of experience’?
(*Reading from ‘Lights on Yoga’ by Sri Aurobindo)

The Mother: Yes, surely. You don’t understand?

Sadhak: No, Mother.

The Mother: If you don’t do anything, you cannot have any experience. The whole life is a field of experience. Each movement you make, each thought you have, each work you do, can be an experience, and must be an experience; and naturally work in particular is a field of experience where one must apply all the progress which one endeavours to make inwardly.

If you remain in meditation or contemplation without working, well, you don’t know if you have progressed or not. You may live in an illusion, the illusion of your progress; while if you begin to work, all the circumstances of your work, the contact with others, the material occupation, all this is a field of experience in order that you may become aware not only of the progress made but of all the progress that remains to be made. If you live closed up in yourself, without acting, you may live in a completely subjective illusion; the moment you externalise your action and enter into contact with others, with circumstances and the objects of life, you become aware absolutely objectively of whether you have made progress or not, whether you are more calm, more conscious, stronger, more unselfish, whether you no longer have any desire, any preference, any weakness, any unfaithfulness—you can become aware of all this by working. But if you remain enclosed in a meditation that’s altogether personal, you may enter into a total illusion and never come out of it, and believe that you have realised extraordinary things, while really you have only the impression, the illusion that you have done so.

That’s what Sri Aurobindo means.

CWM Volume 7, Page 287
The Mother’s Prayer
The outer life, the activity of each day and each instant, is it not the indispensable complement of our hours of meditation and contemplation? And is not the proportion of time given to each the exact image of the proportion which exists between the amount of effort to be made for the preparation and realisation? For meditation, contemplation, Union is the result obtained — the flower that blooms; the daily activity is the anvil on which all the elements must pass and repass in order to be purified, refined, made supple and ripe for the illumination which contemplation gives to them. All these elements must be thus passed one after the other through the crucible before outer activity becomes needless for the integral development. Then is this activity turned into the means to manifest Thee so as to awaken the other centers of consciousness to the same dual work of the forge and the illumination. Therefore are pride and satisfaction with oneself the worst of all obstacles. Very modestly we must take advantage of all the minute opportunities offered to knead and purify some of the innumerable elements, to make them supple, to make them impersonal, to teach them forgetfulness of self and abnegation and devotion and kindness and gentleness; and when all these modes of being have become habitual to them, then are they ready to participate in the Contemplation, and to identify themselves with Thee in the supreme Concentration. That is why it seems to me that the work must be long and slow even for the best and that striking conversions cannot be integral. They change the orientation of the being, they put it definitively on the straight path; but truly to attain the goal none can escape the need of innumerable experiences of every kind and every instant.

 . . . O Supreme Master who shinest in my being and each thing, let Thy Light be manifest and the reign of Thy Peace come for all.

28 November 1912
The Mother, CWM Volume 1, Page 6
Disinterested Work
By disinterested work is usually meant work done for the sake of the work or for the sake of others without asking for return, reward or personal fruit or recompense; but in Yoga it means desireless work done for the Divine as an offering without condition or claim—only because it is the Divine’s Will or out of love for the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 231

There must be no demand for fruit and no seeking for reward; the only fruit for you is the pleasure of the Divine Mother and the fulfilment of her work, your only reward a constant progression in divine consciousness and calm and strength and bliss. The joy of service and the joy of inner growth through works is the sufficient recompense of the selfless worker.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 32, Page 12

You must be able, if you are ready to follow the divine order, to take up whatever work you are given, even a stupendous work, and leave it the next day with the same quietness with which you took it up and not feel that the responsibility is yours. There should be no attachment—to any object or any mode of life. You must be absolutely free. If you want to have the true yogic attitude, you must be able to accept everything that comes from the Divine and let it go easily and without regret. The attitude of the ascetic who says, “I want nothing” and the attitude of the man of the world who says, “I want this thing” are the same. The one may be as much attached to his renunciation as the other to his possession.

14 April 1929
The Mother, CWM Volume 3, Page 9
Remember and Offer
Let us offer our work to the Divine; this is the sure means of progressing.

The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 297

Sadhak: How can I offer my work?

The Mother: Usually one works for one’s own profit and satisfaction; instead of that, one should work to serve the Divine and express His will.

CWM Volume 14, Page 300

Sadhak: First of all I must know if this work can be a means of my coming a little closer to You.

The Mother: It is not the work, any work, in itself which can bring you close to me. It is the spirit in which it is done that is important.

CWM Volume 16, Page 179

Sadhak: Often in the beginning of the action this can be done; but as one gets engrossed in the work, one forgets. How is one to remember?

The Mother: The condition to be aimed at, the real achievement of Yoga, the final perfection and attainment, for which all else is only a preparation, is a consciousness in which it is impossible to do anything without the Divine; for then, if you are without the Divine, the very source of your action disappears; knowledge, power, all are gone. But so long as you feel that the powers you use are your own, you will not miss the Divine support.

In the beginning of the Yoga you are apt to forget the Divine very often. But by constant aspiration you increase your remembrance and you diminish the forgetfulness. But this should not be done as a severe discipline or a duty; it must be a movement of love and joy. Then very soon a stage will come when, if you do not feel the presence of the Divine at every moment and whatever you are doing, you feel at once lonely and sad and miserable.

Whenever you find that you can do something without feeling the presence of the Divine and yet be perfectly comfortable, you must understand that you are not consecrated in that part of your being. That is the way of the ordinary humanity which does not feel any need of the Divine. But for a seeker of the Divine Life it is very different. And when you have entirely realised unity with the Divine, then, if the Divine were only for a second to withdraw from you, you would simply drop dead; for the Divine is now the Life of your life, your whole existence, your single and complete support. If the Divine is not there, nothing is left.

28 April 1929
CWM Volume 3, Page 26

Work for the Divine and you will feel an ineffable joy filling your being.

The Mother, CWM Volume 14, Page 302

To work for the Divine is very good, it is a delight.
But to work with the Divine is a felicity infinitely deeper and sweeter still.

12 July 1957
CWM Volume 14, Page 326
Quietude in Work
As for quietude and work, quietude is the proper basis for work—not restlessness. You speak as if quietude and being alive and working were not compatible! The Mother and myself do plenty of work, I suppose, and we are quite alive, but it is out of quietude that we do it. To worry and be restless and think always “I am not doing well my work” is not the way; you have to be quiet, conscious more and more of a greater Force than your own working in you: that Force will hereafter take up your work and do it for you.

Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 29, Page 284
We Painted an Envelope
Student: My little mother,
Yesterday I told you that ‘we’ had painted an envelope. By ‘we’ I mean that there is me and you. I feel that it is not I who am working, so I say ‘we’. I am your child.

The Mother: That is really nice and I am very pleased. Yes, I am always with you and even more specially when you are working on your painting and music. Are you aware that you are making a great deal of progress? I like the envelopes that both of us are painting together very much, and that is one more proof that we are doing them together, because they are nearly always just as I thought they should be. The small one you sent this morning is very fine and the choice of colours is excellent.

Your little mother.

15 March 1934
CWM Volume 16, Page 115
Inspiring Pilgrims of the Divine

Dear Fellow Seekers,
We will learn about the life of Amrita, a dedicated soul, in this issue.

(19.09.1895 – 31.01.1969)

He was born on September 19, 1895, in a Brahmin family at a village around fifteen kilometers northwest of Pondicherry. During his younger days when he heard the names of the leaders of the Indian Freedom movement, Sri Aurobindo’s name carried a magical attraction for him.

In 1905 he came to Pondicherry for his education, and Sri Aurobindo reached there in 1910 leaving British India. The news of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival was carefully guarded, yet Amrita came to know about it within a week through his uncle, who was deeply involved in politics. The idea of meeting Sri Aurobindo seized the thoughts of the young boy, yet he found no avenue to approach his hero. He had to wait for two long years.

Subramaniam Bharati, the Tamil poet, was already in Pondicherry, as he sought asylum under the French, when Sri Aurobindo arrived. He had great respect for Sri Aurobindo, and was a regular in his house, one of the very few people to enjoy that privilege. Amrita had a friend who was a devotee of Bharati, and because of Bharati’s association had an instinctive respect for Sri Aurobindo. He had been to Sri Aurobindo’s house a few times.

One evening as Amrita and his friend were going towards the beach for a stroll, his friend decided to deposit his cycle in Sri Aurobindo’s house, as it was getting dark, and it would be cumbersome to take it along. Usually, the main door of the house was closed but not locked, but on that they found it bolted. As they knocked for some time with hesitation, the door opened and was left ajar. To their surprise they found that Sri Aurobindo had come to open the door and turned immediately as if he did not want the young men to see his face. As Sri Aurobindo walked away, in the fading twilight, Amrita could catch a glimpse of his long hair hanging gracefully on his back and the small, beautiful feet. His heart throbbed with joy, and he took some time to come back to his normal state. That was the first glimpse of his master.

1910-1914 were the years of preparation for Amrita, preparation to meet Sri Aurobindo. Bharati could meet Sri Aurobindo every day, and they would discuss almost any topic under the sun. Amrita’s uncle was known to Bharati and would visit Sri Aurobindo at times. Amrita was attracted to Bharati for his immense respect and association with Sri Aurobindo. He would meet Bharati regularly and ask him questions about Sri Aurobindo, the subject about which they spoke. Unknowingly he was getting educated by Sri Aurobindo, he found great joy in those conversations, the words had a deep influence on him. As he ruminated over them, his heart and mind widened, the grip of his orthodox upbringing gradually loosened. He had a great thirst of meeting Sri Aurobindo. He made repeated requests to Bharati and to his uncle to take him to Sri Aurobindo’s house, but met with stony silence, till he met with Va-Ra around 1913.

Va-Ra or Ramaswamy Iyenger, would later make a name as a literary figure in the Tamil world, was then an inmate of Sri Aurobindo’s household. Va-Ra and Amrita became friendly and they used to take the evening walks together. Slowly Amrita could meet him in his room, at Sri Aurobindo’s house. Though still he did not get his coveted Darshan, and he never went farther than Va-Ra’s room, but he got acquainted with the house and its inmates, one of them was Nolini Kanta Gupta, with whom he would have a long association. He requested Va-Ra too, for the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo, which were refused till 15th August 1913, when he got the permission to meet him in silence. When Amrita was asked whether he would like to meet Sri Aurobindo along with the inmates of his house or with guests such as Bharati, and he chose his slot with the inmates.  In his own words he described the first Darshan:

I was soon called in. I got up and approached Sri Aurobindo’s table. From the ceiling hung a hurricane-lamp that served to dispel the darkness only partially. Going round Sri Aurobindo by way of pradakśhinā I stood in his presence with joined palms and made my obeisance to him. Sri Aurobindo’s eyes, it seemed, burned brighter than the lamp-light for me; as he looked at me, in a trice all gloom vanished from within me, and his image was as it were installed in the sanctum sanctorum of my being… Sri Aurobindo made a gesture with his heavenly hands to one of those who stood there. A sweet was given me once again. I felt within that he had accepted me though I did not quite know it.

Gradually Amrita was making inroads to Sri Aurobindo’s house, he got familiar with other inmates, and they in turn entrusted him with errands such as sending Sri Aurobindo’s letters through French Post. Towards the end of 1913, Sri Aurobindo moved to the Guest House residence. Amrita started to spend more and more time at Sri Aurobindo’s house, his entire concentration was on Sri Aurobindo. He was also preparing for the Matriculation exam, a significant exam as it was the gateway to college education. As he grew friendlier with the inmates, one day he approached Bejoy Nag, one of the early associates of Sri Aurobindo, with his request to meet his master. Amrita’s wish came true unexpectedly one day. As he entered the Guest House on a bright afternoon, Bejoy informed him that he could meet Sri Aurobindo at that very moment. The world was hushed in the afternoon heat, as he walked to Sri Aurobindo’s room, along with Bejoy, on the first floor, everything looked crystal clear in the afternoon light. His heart leapt up in the joy of the happy anticipation. He flew through the veranda as he approached Sri Aurobindo’s room. Amrita prostrated at the feet of his master, his soul leapt up in joy and felt that it had found its refuge, tears streamed from his eyes, and he was filled up with an ineffable joy. With joy another thing came, a forgotten memory.

When Amrita was around 8 or 9 years old, one evening he was sitting on the riverbank of his village during the evening vespers. In the dim darkness, he saw a shining blue-ball, about the size of a palm fruit, approaching him and rising in the sky, the ball soothed him and seized his heart and then swam in the sky southwards, towards the destination of his life - Pondicherry. That magical memory awakened, and he relived the experience as he stood in front of Sri Aurobindo.

After his first Darshan, he requested Bejoy again in about two weeks. This time he met Sri Aurobindo alone, towards the evening. In faltering English, he appealed to Sri Aurobindo, that he wanted to meet him daily. To his overwhelming joy Sri Aurobindo complied to his request.

Amrita met Sri Aurobindo for an hour from 5:30 PM every day after his school for the next few months. The boy opened his heart to Sri Aurobindo, he poured out everything without exception about his stories in village, family, and life. He forgot that he could not speak English. One day he figured that he was speaking English fluently. Towards the end of 1914, he asked Sri Aurobindo in passing whether he could stay in his house.

But why this interest about staying with Sri Aurobindo? In March 1914 the Mother arrived in Pondicherry with Paul Richard, to meet Sri Aurobindo. Whatever be the larger significance of the event, to Amrita and some of the others, they came to know that two Europeans have considered Sri Aurobindo as their Guru. The Mother met the inmates of Sri Aurobindo’s house, and they were invited for Sunday lunches. Amrita too met the Mother, but he was introduced as a student of the local Calve college, who is interested in Yoga and not as an inmate. A local student and not an inmate of Sri Aurobindo’s house? The identity pained Amrita, for he wanted to be associated with Sri Aurobindo.

When Amrita requested Sri Aurobindo about the stay, instead of a direct reply to Sri Aurobindo answered that he expected Amrita to pass the Matriculation exam and prepare for his future studies. It was unexpected for Amrita. He was besieged with worries about the exam for he was not a great student, and about poverty for his family had financial issues. He was attracted to the life of the inmates, who led quite a carefree life. One day he told Sri Aurobindo that he wanted to pursue Yoga and sought his guidance. When Sri Aurobindo asked him that what does he mean by yoga, young Amrita had no answer. Talking to Bejoy, he formed an opinion of Yoga, it was a panacea of all maladies starting from his own family’s financial problems to the foreign rule of India.

Amrita did receive some guidance about Yoga from the Mother. He met her twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays, when his school was closed for around half an hour and studied a book of Yogic practice under her guidance. At that time people had no idea, who the Mother was, yet Amrita in his heart felt an image of immeasurable power when he approached her.  Though without being conscious of who was the Mother, he felt a child’s love towards her from the very outset.  Amrita also witnessed the birth of Arya, the philosophical review, in August 1914 that would change the course of the spiritual literature of the world. Amrita read and reread Arya, though he could not comprehend much but he was enamored with the indescribable beauty that he felt. When he told Sri Aurobindo that he found it delightful though he could not understand it, Sri Aurobindo replied: “It is not necessary to understand it all at once. Go on reading. If you find a joy in reading, you need not stop it.”

In February 1915, the Mother left for France, in March Amrita left Pondicherry for Chennai, called as Madras at that time, for his Matriculation exam.  Sri Aurobindo played a key role in his exam. Amrita had to deposit his exam fees, but his family had a financial set back and they were short of the funds. As the deadline approached, Amrita saw no means to procure the money and he approached Sri Aurobindo, explained his predicament, and sought his advice whether he should appear for the exam. The next day when he met Sri Aurobindo, to his astonishment Sri Aurobindo handed him the money that he was falling short.  Amrita did appear for the exam and cleared it. When he asked Sri Aurobindo about his next step, he was asked to prepare for the higher studies. Amrita was baffled, if he would continue to study then when he would join Sri Aurobindo, but he obeyed the words of his master and set out for Chennai for his next phase of education.

His education continued both in college as well as under the directions of Sri Aurobindo. Before he left for Chennai, at his insistence, Sri Aurobindo spoke a few words about Yogic practice that Amrita noted down in two pocket sized notebooks.  He carried these during his days at Chennai and they acted as a constant guide. Sri Aurobindo also told him to develop a witness attitude and detach himself from the outward currents of life. He carried copies of Arya and Ahana, Sri Aurobindo’s books of poems, which he read at the evenings. He visited Pondicherry during his holidays and college breaks. And during such a visit he received one of his most crucial lessons.

A tuft of hair or shikha was one of the most prominent mark of Brahmins, especially in South India. Amrita had a healthy shikha, in which his mother took immense pride. Cutting the shikha by a Brahmin youth was one of the most heinous crimes and brought disrespect to the family in those days. Amrita was attached to his Shikha and cared for his parent’s opinions. After meeting Sri Aurobindo, he observed himself carefully as to why he was following some of the rituals - whether he received his heart’s consent or wanted approval of the society. But shikha was a topic above all questions for him. One night at Sri Aurobindo’s house, where he was spending the night, he had a charged-up discussion with the inmates about the importance of the shikha. As he woke up on the next morning and felt for his shikha, and he could not find it. Nolini Kanta Gupta at Sri Aurobindo’s decision had removed it. Amrita was at a loss as to how he would face his parents, and the society. His parents’ reactions troubled his mind. He was so affected that he delayed his journey back to Chennai for few days. His parents were much angry and disappointed with his vanished Shikha, in fact his father had got a profitable marriage proposal that fell through because of this incident!  Sri Aurobindo liberated him from the patterns of the past. Later Amrita wrote that Brahmin youth offered their shikha in special temples of South India, he offered his one at the altar of Sri Aurobindo.

Amrita stayed in Chennai from 1915 to 1919, and he met important personalities such as Annie Besant, Mahatma Gandhi, and others. But none could hold his interest, he had given himself to Sri Aurobindo. In 1919 he joined Sri Aurobindo’s household and for the next fifty years he served the Mother, Sri Aurobindo, and the Ashram till he passed away in 1969. It is said that the Mother extended his life by 20 years so that he could be in the Divine Service.
Amrita (right) with Sri Aurobindo, 1921

When Sri Aurobindo and the Mother shifted to Meditation house in 1922, he shifted with them and acted as the Mother’s messenger carrying letters and attending to visitors. He was one of the lucky ones present during Sri Aurobindo’s Siddhi day in 1926. As the Mother and Sri Aurobindo moved to the current Ashram quarters in 1927, Amrita was given a room just below Sri Aurobindo’s.  He was the manager of the Ashram, looking after the well-being of the inmates, their innumerable requests, answering their needs sweetly and on time, after referring everything to the Mother. In 1955 when the Ashram Trust was formed the Mother made him one of the Trustees. In 1958 on his birthday the Mother wrote:

To Amrita
After 44 years of faithful service, I greet you at the threshold of realisation, with love and confidence.

Amrita with the Mother, 9 December 1959
Amrita was a multi-faceted personality, but he was specially noted for his witty replies. His life sketch will be seriously incomplete if we do not cover a few examples of his humor.  Quoting from the words of Nirodbaran:

… after the business sittings which used to take place on the first floor where the Mother’s chair is at present near the staircase, people, on getting up, would now and then get a knock on their heads from the plank-ledge of the adjacent almirah. Udar, it seems, proposed to remove it, but the Mother protested, saying, “No, it will make them conscious.” One day Amrita received a good bump. The Mother enquired, “What’s the matter?” “Getting conscious, douce Mere,” was Amrita’s repartee. The next joke was in the presence of a big gathering. The Mother was taking her usual French translation class in the Playground. Amrita came late and was waiting to enter. The Mother asked him, “You can’t enter before answering a question. What is the relation between the Divine and Art?” Naturally the whole class was in a hushed suspense. Amrita kept silent for a while, replied gravely, “Good relation, Douce Mere”, and quietly walked in. A peal of laughter, and the Mother smiled.

During his last illness, when Nirodbaran enquired about his health he answered, “Quite well, but at times my sweetheart gives me some trouble." That was his last humour! He left his body on the evening of 31st January 1969 without any trouble. As the news of his passing away spread, all and sundry came to pay their respects. His deathbed turned to a flowerbed. So much so that they had to control the crowd, close for the night, and resume in the morning. Everybody liked him for his simplicity.
Nolini (left), Amrita (right) with the Mother in her room, 4 January 1960
The Mother later remarked, that when Amrita left his body, he went straight to her. The young boy who wanted to be an inmate of Sri Aurobindo’s house became a permanent member of that abode.
 Sadhana of the Body  

Physical culture is the process of infusing consciousness into the cells of the body. One may or may not know it, but it is a fact. When we concentrate to make our muscles move according to our will, when we endeavour to make our limbs more supple, to give them an agility, or a force, or a resistance, or a plasticity which they do not naturally possess, we infuse into the cells of the body a consciousness which was not there before, thus turning it into an increasingly homogeneous and receptive instrument, which progresses in and by its activities. This is the primary importance of physical culture. Of course, that is not the only thing that brings consciousness into the body, but it is something which acts in an overall way, and this is rare. I have already told you several times that the artist infuses a very great consciousness into his hands, as the intellectual does into his brain. But these are, as it were, local phenomena, whereas the action of physical culture is more general. And when 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.

I do not say that people who practise physical culture necessarily do it for this purpose, because very few are aware of this result. But whether they are aware of it or not, this is the result. Moreover, if you are at all sensitive, when you observe the moving body of a person who has practised physical culture in a methodical and rational way, you see a light, a consciousness, a life, which is not there in others.

28 November 1958
The Mother, CWM Volume 10, Page 30

Illness and Health  
You ask me whether your illness comes from yoga. By no means − far from damaging health, yoga helps to build up a health that is robust and unfailing.

29 June 1942

Do not forget that to succeed in our yoga one must have a strong and healthy body.
For this, the body must do exercise, have an active and regular life, work physically, eat well, and sleep well.
It is in good health that the way towards transformation is found.

18 April 1971

It is good to do exercises and to lead a simple and hygienic life, but for the body to be truly perfect, it must open to the divine forces, it must be subject only to the divine influence, it must aspire constantly to realise the Divine.
Good health is the exterior expression of an inner harmony. We must be proud if we are in good health and not despise it.
As yet happiness and good health are not normal conditions in this world.
We must protect them carefully against the intrusion of their opposites.  

The Mother, CWM Volume 15, Page 136
Sri Aurobindo’s Humor
The Mother’s comment on Sri Aurobindo’s humor

"And you know, from the point of view of humour, I have never read anything more wonderful, oh! ... He had a way of looking at things ... it's incredible. Incredible. But it seems that for him, the outside world was something ... absurd, you know."

26 April 1972
Foreword of ‘Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo’

Empowering Lines from Savitri

This bright perfection of her inner state
Poured overflowing into her outward scene,
Made beautiful dull common natural things
And action wonderful and time divine.
Even the smallest meanest work became
A sweet or glad and glorious sacrament,
An offering to the self of the great world
Or a service to the One in each and all.

Savitri, Page 532,
Book 7: The Book of Yoga,
Canto 6: Nirvana and the Discovery of the All-Negating Absolute


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