Archive for December 2008
The quest of Mirra Alfassa PERFECT BALANCE: Mirra Alfassa’s personal narrative marks a life of inner search and outer perfection
Most members of the public are unaware of the Mother or the precise nature of her many contributions to India and the world. She once described herself as French by birth and Indian by choice. While her spiritual collaborator Sri Aurobindo is more widely known in India, the Mother’s extraordinary range of personality has not been sufficiently grasped or recognised.
From her life as a fin de siecle artist to the world of inner experience in the company of great occultists like Max and Alma Theon in Algeria, her voyage to Japan and later meeting in India with the noted freedom fighter and spiritualist Aurobindo Ghosh, (Sri Aurobindo), her founding of the ashram at Pondicherry named after her spiritual collaborator, and her establishment of the international township of Auroville in South India, Mirra Alfassa’s personal narrative marks a life of inner search and outer perfection that few can rival. Regrettably, this narrative and its relevance to the ongoing crisis of humanity have not received the attention they deserve outside the circle of devotees and disciples.
Mirra’s quest has many dimensions: her role as a seeker of truth beyond religious, political and cultural barriers, her advocacy of the cause of women beyond conflict and antipathy, her creation of a new community management, her utopian dream of the new city of dawn based on the principle of holistic living, anchored to freedom and goodwill among inhabitants beyond caste, creed, gender, ethnicity and nationality while recognising the value of each of these categories.
What lessons do Mirra’s experiments have for understanding religion and spirituality of our nation and humanity?
How can her dynamic evolutionary spirituality based on the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo counter the current threat of divisive and fundamentalist ideologies?
How does her vision of alternative living, health and family welfare, of peace, disarmament and one world based on the common spiritual legacy and destiny of human kind act as viable models of governance: Swarajya and Samrajya?
Clearly, it will be hard to give a complete and comprehensive account. Attempts to do so are being tried out in many parts of the world today, including at Pondicherry and Auroville (Tamil Nadu). Hyderabad has two leading centres: The Institute of Human Study founded by late Professor Madhusudan Reddy is located on the Osmania Road, the other is Sri Aurobindo Society at Musheerabad Cross Roads. Over the years, a number of activities such as seminars, concerts, workshops and exhibitions have been conducted by these and allied organisations in collaboration with like minded groups for a better understanding of the Mother’s vision of the future.
SACHIDANANDA MOHANTY (The writer is a professor of English literature at the University of Hyderabad.) The Hindu Monday, Dec 30, 2002
All that is done with the purpose of pleasing the public and obtaining success is vulgar and leads to falsehood
Posted December 3, 2008on:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “Issues and not personalities – it is with that a c…“:
Trying to bring this important passage to your attention anonymously. Regarding the book controversy
You might want to make this a separate post and not a comment.
See Sethna, Our Light and Delight
Chapter on The Mother’s Attitudes and Actions
A man in Bombay who had been once a devotee had become sceptical and sarcastic. He was contributing a series of commentaries on an Upanishad to Mother India. The articles were appreciated very much. I had kept the man’s personal attitude apart from my judgment of his writing. As long as the writing bore no trace of the attitude, I could afford to be impersonal. The Mother came to be told of his attitude and the several unpleasant things he had said. She knew also that his series was appearing in Mother India.
She raised the topic with me one afternoon. I told her how much the articles had been admired and that they had no tinge of his critical approach to the Mother’s workings. She very calmly heard me out. Then she expressed her wish that we should not seem to support the man by publishing his work. I inquired whether I could be allowed to run the series to its end and then forswear publishing anything else by the same hand. She paused for a minute and said: “It is best if we stop just now.”
I could see that there was no personal feelings involved on her part. Actually, I had noticed in the past that com- plaints had been made to her about somebody or other’s hostile remarks against her and the proposal had been made that she should take steps against that person. She had said:
“As the remarks are about me, I can’t take any stand. If they were about Sri Aurobindo, I would certainly act.” On the present occasion her decision must have had behind it some insight into occult forces which might harm either me or the readers or else the Ashram’s general work. Obviously, through my backing of the article the hostile elements were drawing sustenance. Purely literary principles have little validity where the battle between the illumined future and the obstructive past is concerned. I put aside the impersonal editor in me and acted as the obedient disciple.
It was a test for me over and above its being a lesson to the writer of the commentaries. There cannot be a compromise in such matters. But, of course, as the Mother’s talk with me indicated, everything has to be done without personal animosity. A wide and wise serenity has to be at play in all decisive moves.
I dare say the Mother’s move was even for the benefit of the writer himself — a quiet criticism which was an act of Grace to stir his soul to come forward again. And I am told that before his premature death he did turn to the Mother once more.
While I am about the subject of Mother India in relation to the Mother’s wishes, I may touch upon the hints she gave me of what Mother India should never stoop to. Once a coworker offered the suggestion that we should ask our readers their reactions and their expectations, so that we might increase our periodical’s popularity and be more successful. No doubt, the co-worker had no insistence in his suggestion and was as willing as myself to accept the Mother’s ruling in every respect. But somehow the Mother came down with a pretty heavy hand. She must have intuited a non- Aurobindonian force putting out its tentacles from behind the coworker’s innocent inquiry. She wrote to me: “Let us become as vulgar as we can and success is sure to come.” (16-1-1965)
We were a little taken aback and I pursued the topic by seeking her views on what changes the journal might undergo without falling below standard. She was again un- compromising: “No — I have no superficial views on the subject — and what I could say would not fit the ‘new spirit’ of the journal. Let me out of all this, it is better.” (17-1-1965) One point, however, she clarified by adding the next day: “All that is done with the purpose of pleasing the public and obtaining success is vulgar and leads to falsehood. I enclose a deeper view of the subject. Blessings.” The deeper view was expressed in a Message of hers that we should want to please neither ourselves nor others but only the Lord.
Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 6:43 AM, December 03, 2008