40. The Grace That Always Helps
41. The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo
42. Mother's Name, Repetition of Mother's Name and Calling Her
GLOSSARY of italicized terms
About fifteen years ago I was seriously engaged in agriculture. Coconut and cashew were my chief crops. My coconut garden was near the seashore. The backwaters formed the borders of my garden on all sides, except to the West. People used to buy coconut husks in the backwaters and let them soak for four to five months. Then they would draw fibers out of them and make ropes. If such soaked-up husks are beaten with a stick, the non-fibrous parts fall down as powder on the ground and make good manure. Such manure helps keep the moisture in the soil.
The distance between the rope-making units and my garden was three miles. I used to bring the coconut husks to my garden by bullock carts and lorries. Neither the lorry nor the cart could come into my garden as the backwaters formed a barrier. Therefore, the husks had to be brought into my garden only by head load for a distance of two furlongs. A few years passed in this fashion. Then some coir workers told me that right in my garden itself they could convert the husks into fibers and make ropes. They also told me that this was a very profitable industry. I had a few husks soaked and extracted the fibers to practically verify their proposition. It proved to be true. I thought this was a very good way to get a lot of manure.
One had to buy the husks from coconut merchants. The husks were in great demand, as the industry was very profitable. It was the custom to pay the coconut merchants as advance the price of a year's supply of husks. I decided to start this industry with an advance payment of Rs. 7,000. I approached the biggest coconut merchant in the town and shared my thoughts with him. He took my Rs. 7,000 as advance and gave me a promissory note. He agreed to supply coconut husks and said he had taken an advance of Rs. 7000 from the co-operative society.
That year it did not rain well. If it does not rain well for a year, the next year the coconut harvest gets reduced to a quarter of its size. Therefore, that coconut merchant could not sell enough husks to earn the money due to the co-operative society. The next year also it did not rain well. It became plain that the merchant could not supply the husks I needed. So I went and spoke to him. He said to me, "You know the nature of the coconut business. There is nothing anybody can do."
In the meanwhile I had arranged bank loan facilities for the villagers of Ramapuram and had started planting banana, jasmine and Crossandra flowers in the estates there. That kept me busy, so I had no time to visit my coconut garden. Hence, I decided to give up my coir business and spoke about it to the merchant. He also agreed and promised to return the advance.
He was a big merchant with houses and lands as assets. His properties were easily worth two lakhs. He also had a money-lending shop. As such, there was no difficulty for him to repay my advance. Naturally, I expected to get it back soon. However, the state of affairs was different. The response of the merchant was not convincing. It seemed as if he was not willing to give the money back. He delayed for six months. Then I personally went to his house and met him. Though he spoke politely, there seemed to be no truth in his words. He said his father-in-law had planted ten acres of sugar cane and he hoped to repay me through that cane harvest. Those cane fields were in Pondicherry and, he said, he would have to get my money from the Pondy sugar mill.
I felt a little confident, as I knew the owner of that sugar mill. I asked the merchant to give me a letter asking the mill owner to give me Rs. 7,000 of the money due to him from the cane harvest. I thought I could get the money in this way. The merchant hesitated and refused to give me the letter. He said he would anyhow give the money from the cane harvest.
I enquired about the man from people who knew him well. They all told me, "You can forget your money. That man has earned all his money only in this way. Why did you give your money to him?"
Though I had his promissory note with me, going to the court was not appealing. I had decided to get the money without going to court. Then an acquaintance of his came and met me. He said, "You can go to court, but even then you won't get your money back. Before you take action please note the pros and cons of this problem." What he said stirred my thinking seriously. I thought of all the advice I had given to friends in a similar situation and followed them myself. But nothing seemed to work.
I prayed to Mother to help me get my money back. My prayer was heart-felt and I felt free from worry. It seemed like there was no serious problem. Though all signs were positive, the merchant still kept giving negative replies.
A few more months passed. The problem did not get solved. If another few more months passed, the promissory note would become invalid. I had to take some action before that. I started thinking seriously. Soon a friend came and sat by me. He asked me what my problem was and I shared my feelings with him. He listened and kept quiet. I thought of asking for his views on this matter. I told him, "You know that prayers to Mother get answered quickly. But, with respect to this merchant, it has failed. What do you think can be wrong from my side? I don't think there is anything wrong." He said, "You are wrong in having given him the money." I said, "Everybody gives him advance. He is a propertied man who has given me a promissory note. What can be wrong?" His reply was, "This won't work for us, it will work for other merchants only." When he said that, a simple thing which I had been unaware of suddenly dawned on me.
If I get a promissory note from people who are at my level, it will be honoured. If the merchant gives promissory notes to others at his level, they will also be honoured. As I did not have the resources to enforce his payment, I realised that what I had done was fundamentally wrong. With that realisation, I felt unburdened in my feelings. The problem seemed to be solved and a prayer seemed unnecessary. The first time I relied on my positive feelings, but it did not work. Why rely on them a second time. However, I placed my hopes on my positive feelings and decided to meet the merchant the next morning.
The next morning I left in my car for the estate in Ramapuram. On the way back I stopped to meet the merchant. My driver showed me a coconut garden and said, "The man dressed in a white shirt is the merchant."
I proceeded towards the garden and on seeing me, the merchant also began walking towards me. We met halfway and unusually he looked cheerful and spoke pleasantly. I opened the topic of money. He said, "The harvest is over. My men are threshing the paddy. I will give you the money this evening." I did not believe him and even thought of sending a worker to the paddy-threshing place. He asked if I did not believe him and took a paper out of his pocket. He showed me the paper and said, "Look, this is a list of all the people I am going to give money to this evening. Please see the top of the list." I saw that my name was on the top of the list with a figure of Rs. 7,000. He said he could not give the interest then and promised to give it to me at the next harvest. I expressed my wish to have my due in the form of paddy. He agreed. Accordingly, I sent my men and had Rs. 7,000 worth of paddy bags brought to my house. Just as he had promised, he paid the interest at the time of the next harvest.
If one is active, interested, and responsible and functions by basing himself on Mother, there is no need to pray. The Mother will help execute our tasks with ease. If obstacles arise, then prayer will move things. If things do not move, then it can only mean that something is wrong with our feelings, acts or way of life. If we find out that fault and feel sorry, then as usual the problems get solved.
The world regards men like Einstein as geniuses. Men like Socrates, Bernard Shaw and Newton have attained the peaks of knowledge. The human mind has reached its highest limits in them. Human thought matures and shines through these people, giving illumination to the world. Great men of philosophy also merit this distinction. Men who offer new ideas to the world belong to this category. In life, the human mind is able to achieve this level. Beyond this, there is no greater level to achieve in worldly life. However, there are still higher levels within the reach of the human mind. They are not possible within the scope of worldly life. They are possible only if one takes to yoga.
The yogi who meditates on God tries to still his thoughts and eliminate them altogether from his mind. Such efforts bear fruit for those yogis who sit in meditation for 20 to 25 years. Their minds fall silent and become devoid of thought. If universal silence settles in them permanently, they earn the name of Muni. The sage Vyasa was such a great Muni. The power of such silence is incalculable. The sage Durvasa gave a boon to Sri Krishna that nobody could harm him physically in the body. Such is the power of silence that it enables a Muni to grant a boon to an Avatar.
When yoga goes to the next higher stage, the thoughts that come in the yogi's mind come in the form of images. Then he becomes the Rishi. He acquires the power of mental vision. It helps him see things that happen at a distance. When he is able to see what happened in the past and what will happen in the future, he becomes the Rishi with Jnana drishti.
At the next stage, the tapasvi enters into direct relation with the divine light. Without the help of either thought or vision, the divine light is able to reach the tapasvi's mind. Those who hear him speak from such a stage feel he has attained illumination. He then becomes the Yogi. The word yoga means union. The state of union with God is called yoga. It is of different kinds.
Those are called Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Tantra Yoga, etc. The goal of yoga is to become free of the cycle of birth and death and attain union with God. The soul that is afflicted with birth, death, sorrow, falsehood, disease and ignorance wants to escape from them. What gives the liberation to the aspiring soul is yoga sadhana.
The mind, heart and body are parts of the being. Each is capable of becoming the gate of liberation for the soul. Before that, it has to become purified and lose its ego. Then sadhana can make it the door of liberation.
The Jnani makes thought the key to open the mental door. He purifies it and turns it into light. When his mind comes under the influence of the soul, it takes on the shine of the soul. Those people who persist in such a state have their mental doors opened and attain liberation.
The bhakta seeks the Psychic being that is in the cave behind the heart centre. If devotion is to ripen, then the devotee must become free of attachment. He must detach himself from the wife, children, house and possessions. Purified feelings form the basis of devotion. When the bhakta sits in meditation wishing to be one with God, such devotion opens the emotional doors and gives the soul the release from birth.
The Hatha Yogi seeks moksha with the help of the body. He purifies the body through asanas and acquires an amazing power. The body takes on a shine. He can even stop the heart for some time. Through pranayama he releases the Kundalini shakti lying coiled up in the physical centre at the bottom of the spine. He raises it gradually and finally makes it go out through the mental centre at the top of the head called the "thousand-petalled lotus". It goes out and merges with God, giving him the liberation he wanted.
The aim of all these yogas is to give liberation to the soul afflicted with the bonds of death and birth. The mind, heart or the body becomes an instrument for this task.
The purpose for which God has made this world and made millions of souls take birth is to attain the Truth while remaining in the physical realm. The soul should take on a body, be in life, and realise and manifest the light of the Supreme. That is the first and primary ideal of the Supreme. That is why great souls like the Buddha and Vivekananda have chosen to remain in the world in a subtle form and help in the liberation of each and every human being on earth. Sri Aurobindo says, "The soul seeking liberation is contrary to the ideal of the Supreme. What is fitting is for the soul to remain in the world and help manifest the Godhead."
Jnana yoga makes the mind luminous, but the Jnani ignores his body as something perishable. There are jnanis who even ridicule men of devotion. Therefore, the feelings and the physical body of the jnani do not get the purity that the mind enjoys. Even if the jnani with mental realisation wants to stay in the world, the imperfection of the rest of the personality will not allow the soul to stay on. For that, each and every part of the being must become perfect.
What applies to the jnani applies equally to the devotee and the hatha yogi.
Sri Aurobindo calls his yoga Purna Yoga or Integral Yoga. For this yoga, the method of using a single part of the being is not sufficient. The soul that encompasses all the parts of the being should itself become the tool of the sadhana.
In Purna Yoga, the soul does not seek liberation. The first task is to purify the mind, heart and body. The mind mistakes its own ignorance to be knowledge and feels satisfied. It gets released from that delusion and attains true knowledge and light. The heart frees itself from its attachments and has union with God as its only aim. One does not neglect the body as perishable and false. One takes an effort to make it luminous. In brief, what the Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga and Hatha yoga seek as their goals becomes the basis for Purna Yoga.
As parts of the being are ruled by emotions such as love and hate, the soul itself is stained by the ego. Only when the ego gets fully dissolved does the soul become totally pure. For that pure soul, the illumined mind, heart and body open their gates of liberation. Such a soul is in a position to attain liberation.
However, in Purna yoga, liberation not being the goal, the soul does not choose to be liberated. With the body purified, the soul is in a position to stay on and help in the manifestation of the divine.
The Supreme is not satisfied with the realisation of a single integral yogi. The Supreme's purpose must be realised in each and every human being.
The man who is identified with his body regards others only as physical beings. The man who admires the mind notices only the intelligence of others. But the Purna Yogi does not consider either the body or the mind of others as important. Being a realised soul, he is able to see the soul of others. He sees every other man as another soul. It is not a mere mental knowledge for him, but is true in his very feelings. Therefore, he is able to communicate with others at a soul level. When Sri Krishna sat in meditation on the Govardhana hill, he saw that he contained the whole world in himself. What Krishna showed to Arjuna in his Vishvarupa was the same thing. That is the result of Integral Yoga, too.
The soul of the integral yogi strengthens its relationship with its origin when it meets the divine consciousness. Since it is already in touch with the millions of living beings in the world, it is able to be a good instrument of the divine.
The integral yogi does not aspire for liberation for his soul. He only tries to liberate the parts of his being from falsehood. He turns himself into an instrument of Truth and works for the salvation of the rest of creation from falsehood too. He works so that Truth may descend and reign on earth. This in essence is the "Integral Yoga" of Sri Aurobindo.
Mother's name as word and sound is very powerful. Repetition of Her name is known to relieve devotees of their problems, answer their prayers, and even evoke a personal response from Her. Repetition can be verbal, mental or taken to the heart centre, each being more powerful than the previous one. When the repetition by the devotee turns into self-repetition by something inside, the power begins to spread all over the being. Sometimes it is felt spreading all over the nerves and the body. As long as the devotee takes an effort to repeat, the power generated is enough to relieve a problem or answer a prayer in mind. The moment the repetition is taken over by the thing inside, problem-solving and prayer-answering become a small part. A greater spiritual energy is generated, and it begins to fill the being. This is a conducive state for one to strengthen his concentration or aspiration or any other spiritual faculty.
The same can be done somewhat differently too, if one is so inclined. One can start concentrating on oneself and keep pushing the centre of concentration deeper and deeper as far as it can go. It may stop at any one centre like the mental, vital, etc. It may begin to deepen its hold in the centre where it has stopped. At any given moment, each man has a deepest possible concentration and that has a corresponding centre. It is possible for one to reach there. When the repetition is made from there, it turns into a CALL. One can see the whole being responds to the call with a gentle inner movement. Mother, too, can be felt entering the being and filling the whole being with force and joy. This can be kept up for hours or days. Normally after about a week's intense calling, one will be able to see that he is in a different world. If he is one who is beset with a host of insoluble problems, he will find all of them giving way. If he is one who has no known life problems, all his psychological deficiencies will open to the force and lend themselves to dissolution. From that time onwards, it is only a matter of time for them to disappear. If he is one not endowed with such deficiencies too, he can find or even actually feel that his parts of being are filled with new forces, new capacities and talents being shaped. At a very high level of perfection in one's consciousness, such a call gives birth to god-like powers in one's being. It is then we say that such and such a god is born in someone.
By Mother's name, we mean "MOTHER", the word mother itself. It carries mantric power.
original divine female principle, the Divine Mother. )
Advaitic -- monistic
agarbathi -- incense
Agastya -- a Vedic sage
akanda mounam wide Silence
Ananda -- bliss
ananda loka the world of bliss
anushtanam -- rituals
Anusuya wife of a Rishi
archana shlokas recited in worship
Arjuna the hero of the Gita, one of the five Pandava brothers
asanas physical poses as part of yoga
asuras -- titans
avatara God descended as a human being
Bhagavad Gita -- The sacred Indian scripture recited as part of the battle of
Bhagavan -- God
bhakta -- devotee
bhakti yoga -- yoga of devotion
Brahma God who created the universe
brahmachari -- celibate unmarried spiritual disciple
brahmanda jyothi infinite light
casurina an Indian tree used as fuel
chakras -- subtle centres in the body
Chettiar -- the third caste in India
chit loka -- the world of consciousness
crore ten millions
dakshina token offering
darshan audience that God grants, literally meaning seeing God
darshans -- the four important days in the Ashram when Sri Aurobindo saw devotees
Deepavali festival of light
Devaki mother of Lord Krishna
Devi female god
Divya Prabhandam a devotional hymn of an Indian sect
drishti -- seeing
Durga Kali, an Indian goddess
Durvasa -- a Rishi
Ganesh son of Lord Shiva, a member of the Indian trinity
Gayatri mantra mantra that worships the sun god
Govardhana a hill
hatha yoga a form of yoga where asanas are prominent
Indra -- a God
janma a period of one birth
japa repetition of a mantra
jnana drishti vision of knowledge
jnanalaya -- temple of knowledge
jutkaman driver of a horse carriage
jutkawalla driver of a horse carriage (another term)
karma -- a persons actions in one life determining fate in the next
karma yoga yoga that sacrifices, that makes an offering of life actions
karma yogi one who does karma yoga
karnam village revenue official
Krishna Lord Krishna
kundalini shakti spiritual power in the subtle centre at the lower end of the spine
lakh hundred thousand (100,000)
Lakshmi a goddess of beauty of wealth
Madhvachariyar a south Indian rishi, founder of a sect
Mahakali Great Kali (* one of the four aspect of the Divine Mother)
Mahalaxmi Great Lakshmi (*)
Mahasamadhi state of body of rishi when he voluntarily withdraws from the body
Mahasaraswati Great Saraswati (*)
Maheswari -- Great Ishwari (*
mandapam -- hall
mirasdar -- landowner
moksha realisation of God
mukti another term for moksha meaning fulfillment
muni one who has attained silence
Munsif village official
naga -- serpent
nakshatrathirtam -- star
Narada -- a god interested in creating quarrels
Narayana Lord Krishna
nishkamya without desire
nishkamya karma work done without desire
paan betal leaf
Pillaiyar -- Ganesh
poorva janma punya virtues of the last birth
pradakshina -- perambulation
pranams prostrating before the guru or elders
pranayanam breathing exercise
prasad -- blessing
PUC pre-University class
puja religious ceremony, worship
Puranas ancient scriptures of Indias early history
purna -- total
Purushas gods; being of god; male aspect of Shakti
rahasyam -- secret
rahukalam inauspicious hour
raja yoga King of Yogas
rishi -- saint
Rishyasringar a saint mentioned in the Puranas; wherever he went, it rained
Rudra Another term for Shiva
sadhaks disciples of yoga
sadhana -- yoga
Saivism religion worshipping Shiva
Saivite follower of Saivism
samadhi trance; tomb
samipa -- near
sanyasi -- one who has renounced life
Saraswati goddess of learning
sat loka world of existence
Satchidananada -- Existence-Consciousness-Bliss
Shakti female aspect of Purusha
Shankara an Indian saint of the 9th century who won India back to Hinduism from Buddhism
Shiva a member of the Indian trinity
siddhi -- realisation
SSLC Secondary School Leaving Certificate
swabhava -- nature
swar -- paradise
taluq a division of a district
tamas -- inertia
tantra yoga a form of yoga that worships the Divine Mother
tantric follower of Tantra yoga
tapas -- austerity
tapasvi -- one who practices tapas
tapasya -- tapas, austerity
tahsildar a revenue official
tejas glow of light on the face or skin
Tirumurthis Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva
uttara yogi yogi from the North
vijnana loka Surpamental world
Vinayagar -- Ganesh or Pillaiyar
Vishnu one of the Trimurthis
Vishvarupa God revealing his universal form
Vyasa a Vedic sage