Archive for April 2016
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Sj Lalit Mohan Ghose,
The purpose of your letter was communicated to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. They give you permission to open a study-circle and send you Their Blessings.
No formal rules and regulations are necessary. It is sufficient if you arrange things as conditions or circumstances demand.
Souvenir – Mother’s Work in Orissa iàeYòKû 2015
“Mother, U.N. Samantray from Cuttack has sent a telegram for your Blessings and Protection for the Grand Cinema”
Dr. Shyama Kanungo
There are few unsung heroes who have contributed massively to the Divine Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s Work in Orissa but have themselves remained in the background avoiding any occasion to come to the forefront and be visible-one of them was our dear Uchhab Mousa. If there was a human pivot central to the support offered to Babaji’s and Prapatti’s way of translating the Great Masters’ Vision in society it was our dear Uchhab Mousa. The land of Matrubhaban donated by him is the epicenter of the entire State’s Organisational Work. There are numerous centres which have received financial help to go forward in the Mother’s work. He had donated profusely without a single iota of hope of any returns. It would not be an exaggeration if we could call his family as the first Mother Sri Aurobindo’s family of Orissa. Not without reason was the Mother’s standing instruction to allow this family to visit Her Room at any time throughout the year. It was for this man’s unstinted self-effacing collaboration to Her Divine Work. It was not without reason that Champaklal observed that children born to this family were special. The entire Samantaray family is blessed because of this man. His consort and lifepartner Nishamani who was even more self-effacing than him with a rare compassionate heart and was perhaps his strength to become such a wonderful son of the Divine Mother.
His son Animesh carried on the spirit of his parents’ self-giving as long as he lived and is loved by all involved in The Mother’s Work. Orissa will never forget him and his family for the unstinted collaboration in participating in the momentous events of ushering in the Sacred Relics of The Lord to this land time and again. Orissa will never forget his role in supporting the visit of the great children of the Mother –Babaji Maharaj, Prapatti, Champaklal, Kamala ben, Manoj Das, Udar, Madhav Pandit, ChhoteNarayn Sharma, Maheswari, Madhusudan Reddy, Mangesh V. Nadkarni, Purnaprema and others. Most of them had to be his guest with Nishamanimausi having the joy of serving them and looking into their comfort to a fault. The list of the occasions of Uchhab Mousa’s participation in Their Work in Orissa is endlessThe activity closest to his heart was the All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Conference from 4th to 7th April. This is the centenary of his birth. The great Soul’s loving self-giving has compelled another great child of the Mother Prof. Manoj Das to come down to participate despite his health challenges and heavy assignments to the April Conference commemorating his birth Centenary. This is nothing short of the Divine Masters’ sanction and seal to the greatness of Their child Utsabananda Samantaray. We are indeed truly fortunate to have this stupendous litterateur and humane thinker who has won the hearts of millions through-out the world and has channelized through his sublime yet compelling thoughts pathways to the Sublime for many a soul. How could Manoj Das not come to immortalize the life of a man so rare in his total consecration to such a profound mission of the Supreme?
Prof. C.N. Sharma
Sri Aurobindo’s work in Orissa is an enigma and so is Matrubhban and every thing else related to this great movement. When I say great it does not mean great in the sense all man-made movements be they revolutions or reforms-are great. For in our times we have seen many such movements and we know how soon humanity having tasted its last fruit strides away in search of other experiments of the kind. The battle is fought and refought and man keeps on moving in the charmed circle. It is after ages that the evolutionary graph of earthly life moves on to a new dot or the tree of evolution bears a new leaf. It is when the creative impulse manifests a new splendour. It may seem to have been caused by the conditions then prevailing in earthly life but its roots are far beyond in upper heavens even beyond in the Timeless Eternity! All the cosmic existence are its many branches spreading out below. Any thing that leads us unexpectedly to the realisation far beyond the measure and scope of visible possibilities points out to the invisible and the occult. And the highest term of such an action is the AVATAR who personifies the Supreme’s intervention in earthly life. Sri Aurobindo’s Ideal represents a mighty action from the Supreme. Those who follow Sri Aurobindo are instruments of an Ideal that seeks to establish a new Truth in earthly life. Orissa is in the vanguard of such a movement. Sri Aurobindo was born in Bengal, was educated in England and when he came to India he served for over a decade under the Maharaja of Baroda in Gujarat. It was only when he sought to organise resistance to the rule of the Britishers in India that he came back to Bengal. He sought to organise this resistance on a deeper vision of Truth that India has preserved through the ages from all vicissitudes not so much in her outworn outer existence but in the inner chamber of her life and spirit. It is the very Truth that India held, that in the vision of Sri Aurobindo, was to become the future need of humanity for building up its Next Future. Modern life had its birth in the West. Now it has spread out and covers in varying degrees the whole world. Even the East has felt its impact. Science and technology are its great instruments. Materialism is its dominant tendency. But the countries of Asia with their ancient cultures, even if adopting and incorporating some of its own tremours and it has shaken the West. In this regard India’s role has been more challenging. It started with Swami Vivekananda. But now Sri Aurobindo comes with the announcement of a future realisation which opens out before man not the vision of an improved but transformed life. Sri Aurobindo’s message besides being revolutionary in approach. His writings most of it are in English. He likes no propaganda or publicity and has kept himself away from public contact while through long spiritual endeavor developed his own line of action. Most of the people who have turned towards him have come to know him after he left his body. The vast body of knowledge the literature he has left- is the visible source through which people can contact him. But he has spoken to the soul of humanity and an ever increasing number of aspirants is seen making a beeline to Pondicherry where his most unconventional ashram is situated on the sea-shore of the town which was formerly the capital of French India. Against such a background and extensive and powerful working of the spiritual force emanating out of the Ideal set forth by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo is a visible enigma though it may not be so to the awakened vision of a spiritual person.
Till 1950, when Sri Aurobindo left his body there were very few sadhaks from Orissa in the Ashram. Sri Ramakrushna Das was an outstanding personality devoted to his sadhana. It was he who acted as the sole source of inspiration and pulled to the fold of the devotees. Prof. Kangali Charan Pati-later on known as Prapatti-acting in close collaboration with Sri Rama Krishna Das moved through the length and breadth of Orissa taking the message of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo to which the people turned with readiness and enthusiasm. The way people of Orissa responded to the message of Sri Aurobindo has been most surprising specially in view of the fact that the state of Orissa can not claim a high position in the scale of English Education or material prosperity. This gives lie to the objection of the people who label Sri Aurobindo as being inaccessible because of the language he uses and of the unconventional attitude of the Ashram which has been the sole creation of The Mother who was born in France. That spirituality like sunshine and air is universal and is available to those who aspire for it. Of this truth Orissa is a standing demonstration. It was twenty five years ago that Matrubhaban was founded. The plot on which it stands was donated by Sri U.N. Samantray. It has the suggestive figure of a boat in the middle of which is a raised platform which enshrines the Relics of Sri Aurobindo. An extensive area around it provides the sitting arrangement for sadhaks who come to meditate around the samadhi. This covers a pool of water with fishes swimming in number and providing relief to the eye of the onlookers. Matrubhaban soon became a place of attraction for those who sought peace and solace in the atmosphere vibrating with the living presence of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo’s yoga is not a world-shunning yoga. It embraces earthly life and proposes a spiritual orientation to it. Unlike a religion for the religious or the devout, it is universal. It is like the sunshine that covers all. That is why it is open to all that seek for it. It is like the veda of life that teaches from alphabets to the children to the highest wisdom to the seekers of knowledge. It is an attempt that seeks to recast humanity into the image of the Truth whose imperfect figure man is. It is a conscious endeavour towards Divine Perfection. In Orissa Sri Aurobindo’s yoga initiated a many pronged movement in life. Education became one of its main fields. Matrubhaban soon developed as one of the most prominent centres in the province. The school in Matrubhaban was started with young kids admitted to the kindergarten class. But as natural to Sri Aurobindo’s yoga the child became a medium to introduce a new discipline in the family. He became an open window that admitted a new light and air into the family atmosphere. The movement gathered force and whole state came under the spell of the transforming movement of life Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga proposes to man.
Matrubhaban, since it is established in Cuttack which with Bhubaneswar forms the centre of life of the state and houses the authority both political and financial, has been able to conduct itself as a veritable centre of inspiration. People from all corners of Orissa are in touch with this centre. The flame of sadhana has been kept burning through the sincere devotion of individuals receiving constant help and guidance from Sri Rama Krishna Dasji of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The Shrine housing the Relics of Sri Aurobindo has kept the atmosphere vibrant with the living presence of the Masters. Even a short stay there or a brief contact with the atmosphere assuages the strained feeling of an afflicted person. Though visitors keep pouring all day long, every morning and evening they flock in large number to meditate in the atmosphere which includes inwardness and peace. Beyond all formalities beyond all distinction of caste or creed or sex, people can come here with spontaneous ease like a child to its mother. Matrubhaban is an example, a hope. It inspires love in the heart left lone and depressed. It is a window on the Next future of mankind. Mother and Sri Aurobindo through their unique tapasya have built this Future for humanity. Matrubhaban is a flower symbol offered to this vision of the Master.
Matrubhaban, Cuttack A Beacon of hope, light and faith
Dr. Mangesh V. Nadkarni
This is a very significant year for all those who believe in the message and vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The country is celebrating this year Sri Aurobindo’s 125th birth anniversary and also the 50th year of India’s independence. I need not remind my countryment that Sri Aurobindo was the most dynamic leader of our struggle for independence until he retired to Pondicherry in 1910; he was the first to proclaim unconditional independence as the goal of our struggle for independence. Acharya Kripalani in a broadcast over the All India Radio on 15th August 1948 pointed out that if when Gandhiji’s appeared on the Indian horizon he did not find the field fallow, it was because the field was prepared and made fertile chiefly by the writings of Sri Aurobindo. Even the instruments of the freedom struggle which the country waged under Gandhiji’s leadership were first forged by Sri Aurobindo; the use of indigenous goods and materials, boycott of all things British, passive resistance to the colonial authority, a new educational policy suited to the genius and the needs of the country. But even after he had withdrawn from the public scene, he continued to be the Bhagyabidhata of our country as was recognised by Rabindranath Tagore, who after a meeting with Sri Aurobindo in 1928 said to him. ‘You have the Word and we are waiting to accept it from you. India will speak through your voice to the world…’ Sri Aurobindo has spoken and done so most eloquently and radiantly but so far as India is concerned these words by and large have fallen on deaf years. We are still busy genuflecting intellectually and culturally before the iron and plastic gods of the West. But the discerning ears the world over have heard his voice and are responding to it. Some of us in India too have received the Grace and something in us has responded to his call. We have become his devotees, and some of us his disciples. What is our role and responsibility in the realisation of Sri Aurobindo’s great objectives at the present moment? It seems to me that there are two great dangers which the Sri Aurobindo movement in the country has to avoid. One is to give into the age old weakness of mankind of turning evey sacred and dynamic truth into a cult or a sect, or a church. Fortunately, at least some people everywhere seem to be aware of this danger in various degrees, and I do not wish to say more about this here. The other danger is that of falling into the typical rationalist’s trap, of raising questions and spreading disbelief about the very objectives of Sri Aurobindo’s vision and about the feasibility of achieving them. There is nothing wrong about raising questions about matters belonging to what is generally called the ‘lower knowledge’, or the intellectual knowledge, which is generally a mixture of falsehood or incompleteness. But where spiritual truth is concerned, what is not yet realised must be prepared for by faith, not by sceptical questioning. In this realm one has to grow into the greater reality and one has to live it inwardly; it is not a truth which can be proved. …
Those who have some appreciation of the magnitude of the change envisaged by Sri Aurobindo would never ask the question “How soon will the Supramental Consciousness descend here? This is to assume that it has not descended yet, and if it has, it is obliged to act in a miraculous way, giving instant immortality to the likes of you and me. This immortality we do not yet see anywhere on earth. Even Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have left their bodies! This of course is to make a further assumption that the conquest of death is the first or the most important result of the descent of the Supramental Consciousness. How wrong such an assumption is can be seen from one of Sri Aurobindo’s letters to Nirodbaran (Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo: Vol.2-p.704) in which he repudiates such an assumption. Furthermore, in the same letter Sri Aurobindo says that to make such an assumption is to reverse all spiritual values it would mean that the seeker was actuated, not by any high spiritual aim but by vital clinging to life and a selfish and timid seeking for the security of the body such a spirit could not bring the supramental change. I would like to conclude by referring here to another important thing that Sri Aurobindo once said about the descent of the Supramental Consciousness and our responsibility as sadhakas to it. Once one of his disciples asked him how he could help the descent of the new Consciousness. Sri Aurobindo replied: Well, you can help the attempt by one-pointed aspiration. You should reject everything that stands in the way of fulfilling this ideal. But, instead of doing that, you go on accepting the suggestions of the hostile forces and repeat their mantras which would give you and the others the idea that it is not possible, then you help them. This then is our responsibility in these trying times to try and avoid becoming unwitting accomplices of the hostile forces. This reminds me of a potent line from the Mother’s Prayers and Meditation: Grant that nothing in us shall be an obstacle in Thy Work. And on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the Matrubhaban I hope and pray that it will continue to be a beacon of light, hope and strength and fill all of us with faith in the certainty of the victory of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, and save us from being an obstacle in the Divine’s Work.
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