Without patience there is little hope of changing our nature. “But there is something else in the human being which is sincere and can be a force for the change.” (Sri Aurobindo)
In addition to exploring Gratitude in a variety of hues, the issue also features pieces on the inner significance of Navaratri, the festival of Devi, and the cultural significance of Ramayana. Other highlights include a reflection on patriotism and leadership in the light of recent events in Afghanistan, and ‘The Real Gandhi’, an insightful essay approved by Sri Aurobindo.
In these passages from the Mother’s works, we find a rich variety of the various hues of the soul-quality that is gratitude. Gratitude that helps us connect with the Divine, that is a humble recognition of all that the Divine has done and is doing for us, that helps us cure our egoism, the movement that can bring us unalloyed joy.
The Festival of Devi is celebrated in India to mark the victory of the great Goddess Durga over the demon King Mahishāsura and his demon cohorts. Though outwardly it seems to be symbolic of the victory of Truth over falsehood which of course it is, there is much in it to help us understand the process of individual and cosmic evolution. A 3-part essay explores the deeper, inner significance of this festival.
The symbolism of the birth of Mahishasurmardini is presented here. The author also briefly outlines how the nine forms of the goddess form an ascending hierarchy of shakti or energy rising from the root chakra at the base of the spine, mulādhara, traveling upwards gaining strength and force and momentum with each upward gust and impulsion until it reaches the crown and passing beyond unites with its Lord.
The author, in this part, cites some significant descriptions given by the Mother of her realisations. These passages speak of how Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga takes a giant leap over tradition wherein he is not content with the slaying of a demon or many demons but by their conversion or dissolution for good. But for this not only man but even the gods must collaborate.
Sri Aurobindo summarises the essence of verses 9-14 of Isha Upanishad in ‘The Life Divine’: “Through Avidya, the Multiplicity, lies our path out of the transitional egoistic self-expression in which death and suffering predominate; through Vidya consenting with Avidya by the perfect sense of oneness even in that multiplicity, we enjoy integrally the immortality and the beatitude. By attaining to the Unborn beyond all becoming we are liberated from this lower birth and death; by accepting the Becoming freely as the Divine, we invade mortality with the immortal beatitude and become luminous centres of its conscious self-expression in humanity.”
In India, since millennia, modesty or humility has been considered the one of the most noble virtues, one that is the ornament of all virtues. In present times when self-promotion is not only an acceptable practice but has actually become a highly sophisticated skill that one must master if one wants to be ‘successful’, humility often takes a backseat. But if we step back for a moment and reflect carefully we will find that it is exactly in times like these that we must sincerely begin to examine for ourselves what is true humility. And more importantly, how it is related to our inner journeys, our growth as conscious individuals with an aspiration to grow inwardly and walk the path that takes us closer to our highest Self within. This issue is dedicated to exploring Humility as one of the Twelve Powers which the Mother spoke of as necessary for the full manifestation of Her Work.
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.
A most divine nobility and a perfectly sincere humility are the key highlights of the adorable personality of Sri Aurobindo which we see presented in this wonderful narration by Nirodbaran. This talk was given on June 12, 1970 at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education and was first published in Mother India.
Reading Nirodbaran’s narration of the divine qualities of Sri Aurobindo’s personality, one is reminded of the description Sri Aurobindo once gave of an Aryan gentleman. India’s rebirth and regeneration requires such character, such nobility in our youth; our national education must work toward this goal.