Selections from various writings and talks of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are presented to help us understand the meaning of true humility, which is about constantly referring oneself to the Divine, placing all before the Lord, and having a living sense that one is nothing, can do nothing, understand nothing without the Divine. We also learn that excessive self-esteem and self-depreciation are both wrong attitudes when cultivating the quality of true humility.
In this interesting conversation of Sri Aurobindo with a small set of disciples, dated January 6, 1939, about methods of effacing the ego, Sri Aurobindo makes an important distinction between outward modesty and the true attitude of psychic humility which can help the sadhak get rid of the vital ego. As an added bonus, we also get a glimpse here of a facet of Sri Aurobindo’s outer personality during his political revolutionary days.
Our guest Mr. Madhu Jagdhish is a heritage photography enthusiast, with special interest in documenting the rich Indian heritage of temple sculptures. A thoughtful exposure to our culture’s artistic heritage and an overall development of aesthetic sensibility and artistic appreciation are important parts of any meaningful education. In the age of smartphones with photography becoming available at fingertips, it is important that youngsters interested in exploring photography as an art-form and a possible vocation are shown this possibility that photography can also become a great medium to go deeper into one’s cultural roots and in the process discover and reveal (for oneself and for others) the rich artistic and aesthetic traditions that we have inherited. In this regard, Mr. Jagdhish’s work makes a significant contribution.
The Mother reminds us that vigilance is indispensable for all true progress. As we try to grow in sincerity and practice true humility, it is important to stay vigilant and not get bloated with our own egos that we are some great sādhakas. The Mother is the path and the Mother is the goal, says Sri Aurobindo. It is always the Mother who does the sādhanā in us. Our effort is to ensure that we keep our inner temple clean and purified and for that sincerity, humility and vigilance are all very important. This little story told by Swami Sivananda emphasises how essential vigilance is for any aspirant; it also highlights what is fake humility and the necessity to be wary of that.
Written in response to a disciple’s query about a particular statement of Gandhi, this letter of Sri Aurobindo strongly emphasises the need to develop a deeper and wider understanding of truth that is beyond mental-moral-ethical ideals. We also get a glimpse of a significant difference between the Christian or Semitic and the Hindu understanding of virtues or qualities, particularly Humility, which are considered important from a spiritual point of view.
During her stay in Japan from 1916 to 1920 the Mother translated and adapted some stories written by F. J. Gould. Her versions, written in French and first published as Belles Histoires, later appeared in English translation as Tales of All Times. The Mother explained that these stories were written for children “to discover themselves and follow a path of right and beauty.” The timeless nature of these stories make them equally appealing to grown-ups, or shall we say, to all who aspire to be truly a child of the Mother. In this issue, we are retelling a story titled ‘Modesty’ in multiple languages.
We feature a very special essay by Sri Aurobindo from his Bande Mataram writings in which he writes about the birth and growth of Indian nationalism invoking the advent and avatāric work of Sri Krishna. The selection of this piece is most appropriate since this month we also celebrate Krishna Janmashtami.
Compiled here are a few words of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother which highlight the significance of Sincerity on the path of yoga. Sincerity in yoga means to have all the being consciously turned towards the one Truth, the one Divine. But that is one of the most difficult tasks for human nature, much more difficult than a rigid asceticism or a fervent piety. This is why constant guidance and inspiration from Their Words are our support on the way.
These selections taken from the Mother’s volumes highlight some practical advise on how to inculcate the values of sincerity, honesty, straightforwardness, courage, unselfishness, patience, endurance, perseverance, and self-control in children from an early age. She reminds the parents and educators that these things are taught infinitely better by example than by beautiful speeches.
This month, we have selected a beautiful, meditative artistic creation by an international volunteer group ‘Art Studio-12 Qualities”. Watching this small film and listening in silence to the words of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on sincerity is a meditative experience. Join us in this collective aspiration for growing in Sincerity.
We present four brief passages from Sri Aurobindo’s writings done in early 1910. The immense value and significance of these ‘passing thoughts’ can’t be missed in today’s cultural and intellectual climate of India when Indian mind is trying to rediscover the true essence of Indian-ness and create new forms to express the eternal truth of the Indian spirit.
Every month we feature a small prayer or meditation, with an aspiration that this will be the Light illuminating and purifying all our movements every day of the month. May our conscious effort to refer all the movements in all parts of our being to this dhyāna-mantra be our offering into the yajñá for a true rebirth of the Indian soul, a rebirth in which not only the Mind but the entire Life begins to experience the touch of the Spirit.