Today we share some interesting aspects of the mantra given by Sri Aurobindo in the Gayatri meter which is now known as Sri Aurobindo’s Gayatri.
Let us meditate on the most auspicious (best) form of Savitri, on the Light of the Supreme which shall illumine us with the Truth.
19 March 1933
Tat Savitur Varam Rupam Jyoti Parasya Dhimahi Yannah Satyena Dipayet.
Transliteration using phrases from Sri Aurobindo’s translation:
Tat = That
Savitur = Sun-god who is the Creator
Varam = most auspicious
Rupam = form
Jyotih = Light
Parasya = of the Supreme (since para = Transcendental)
Dhimahi = meditate on (since Dhi = Intellect)
Yannah = by which
Satyena = Truth
Dipayet = shall illumine (dipa = light)
Words of Sri Aurobindo
Sadhak: When does the Mantra succeed ?
Sri Aurobindo: The japa is usually successful only on one of two conditions – if it is repeated with a sense of its significance, a dwelling of something in the mind on the nature, power, beauty, attraction of the Godhead it signifies and is to bring into the consciousness, – that is the mental way; or if it comes up from the heart or rings in it with a certain sense or feeling of bhakti making it alive, – that is the emotional way. Either the mind or the vital has to give it support or sustenance. But if it makes the mind dry and the vital restless, it must be missing that support and sustenance. There is, of course, a third way, the reliance on the power of the mantra or name in itself; but then one has to go on till that power has sufficiently impressed its vibration on the inner being to make it at a given moment suddenly open to the Presence or the Touch. But if there is a struggling or insistence for the result, then this effect which needs a quiet receptivity in the mind is impeded. That is why I insisted so much on mental quietude and not on too much straining or effort, to give time to allow the psychic and the mind to develop the necessary condition of receptivity – a receptivity as natural as when one receives an inspiration for poetry and music.
[SABCL, Vol. 23, Letters on Yoga, Sadhana through Meditation, Page 745]
MORNING INTERVIEW OF 21 September 1925
Narmadashanker B. Vyas, a native of Lunavada, came here some days back and wanted to take up Yoga from Sri Aurobindo. He refused to give him the Yoga saying : – “He has some demand, but I would not give him this Yoga”.
A photo was taken and shown to Sri Aurobindo. It made a favourable impression and he found that the psychic being could open-though he found (on reading the photograph) that there was hardly any development of the mental being and the physical being was too weak for this Yoga. He saw him seven days later and told him that he could not give this Yoga. to him : “This “is a very difficult Yoga and it makes no less demands on the Sadhaka than the old methods. Everything is to be given up to the Power that is above the Mind. This Yoga accepts life but that does not mean that it accepts the ignorance of life”.
The second time he was permitted to see Sri Aurobindo on the 21st.
Sri Aurobindo : “I can’t give my Yoga as I do not find the necessary capacity in your nature. But, if you like, I can give you something that may prepare you for this Yoga”.
Vyas : Very well.
Sri Aurobindo : Did you follow any religious practice in your life ?
Vyas : I did only Gayatri Japa for some years when I was young.
Sri Aurobindo : Do you know the meaning of the Gayatri Mantra ?
Vyas : It is a great Shakti – power – but I do not know the meaning.
Sri Aurobindo : It means : “We choose the Supreme Light of the divine Sun; we aspire that it may impel our minds.”
The Sun is the symbol of the divine Light that is coming down and Gayatri gives expression to the aspi ration asking that divine Light to come down and give impulsion to all the activities of the mind.
In this Yoga, also, we want to bring down that divine Sun to govern not only the mind but the vital and the physical being also. It is very difficult effort. All cannot bear the Light of the Sun when it comes down, “Gayatri chooses the Divine Light of the Truth asking it to come down and govern the mind. It is the capacity to bear the Light that constitutes the fitness for this Yoga.
You can meditate on this Mantra, keeping in mind meaning, and you can aspire also to become fit for yoga. When you are able to fix your mind you remember any one of the forms of the Godhead. You can pray to your Ishta-Devata that he may make you fit for this Yoga and that it may come and work in you.
Really speaking, this Yoga is not done by the power of man; it is done by the Divine Power and so She can bring about every change in the capacity of the Sadhaka.
You should direct the aspiration towards the Supreme. When you have succeeded in doing it, you should watch all your inner activities and see what they are. Whatever you find there you must calm down. This calm you must go on deepening, so much so that you should feel quiet, wide, and large in consciousness. If you can establish this calm you will be able to do this Yoga.
The calm must become deep and so settled that even while doing ordinary work you should feel it within yourself and see the activity as something quite separate from yourself.
You should have a fixed time for meditation and must be regular in doing it. You can write about your experience from time to time.
Words of the Mother
I would like us to make the resolution to raise ourselves each day, in all sincerity and goodwill, in an ardent aspiration towards the Sun of Truth, towards the Supreme Light, the source and intellectual life of the universe, so that it may pervade us entirely and illumine with its great brilliance our minds and hearts, all our thoughts and our actions.
Then we shall acquire the right and the privilege of following the counsel of the great initiate of the past, who tells us:
“With your hearts overflowing with compassion, go forth into this world torn by pain, be instructors, and wherever the darkness of ignorance rules, there light a torch.”
* * *
One may ask how taking things seriously prevents life from being more perfect?
(After a long silence) Virtue has always been busy eliminating things from life and (laughing) if we could put together all the virtues from all the countries in the world, nothing much would remain in life!
Virtue claims to seek perfection, but perfection is a totality. So the two movements are contradictory: virtue, which eliminates, prunes, sets limits, and perfection, which accepts everything, rejects nothing but puts everything in its place, evidently cannot go well together.
Taking life seriously generally consists of two movements: the first is to give importance to things that probably have none, and the second is to want life to be limited to a certain number of qualities considered to be pure and worthy. With some (for instance, those Sri Aurobindo refers to here: the prudish or the puritans), that virtue becomes dry, barren, gray, aggressive, and almost always finds fault in all that is joyful, free and happy.
The only way to make life perfect (I mean here life on earth, of course) is to look at it from a sufficient height to see it in its totality, not only its present totality, but over the whole past, present and future: what it has been, what it is, what it must be – you must be able to see it all at once. Because that’s the only way to put everything in its place. Nothing can be done away with, nothing SHOULD be done away with, but each thing must find its own place in total harmony with the rest. Then all those things that appear so “evil,” so “reprehensible” and “unacceptable” to the puritan mind would become movements of joy and freedom in a totally divine life. And then nothing would stop us from knowing, understanding, feeling and living this wonderful Laughter of the Supreme who takes infinite delight in watching Himself live infinitely.
This delight, this wonderful Laughter which dissolves all shadows, all pain, all suffering … We only have to go deep enough into ourselves to find the inner Sun and let ourselves be bathed in it. Then everything is but a cascade of harmonious, luminous, sun-filled laughter which leaves no room for shadow and pain.
In fact, even the greatest difficulty, even the greatest grief, even the greatest physical pain, if you can look at them from THERE, take your stand THERE, you see the unreality of the difficulty, the unreality of the grief, the unreality of the pain – and all becomes a joyful and luminous vibration.
It is ultimately the most powerful means of dissolving difficulties, overcoming grief and getting rid of pain. The first two [difficulties and grief] are relatively easy (relatively), the last [pain] is more difficult because of our habit of regarding the body and its sensations as extremely concrete and positive – but actually it is the same thing, it’s just that we haven’t been taught and accustomed to seeing our body as something fluid, plastic, uncertain, malleable. We haven’t learned to permeate it with this luminous Laughter which dissolves all shadows and difficulties, all discords, all disharmony, all that grates, cries and weeps.
This Sun – the Sun of divine laughter – is a: the core of everything, it is the truth of everything. What is needed is to learn to see it, feel it, live it.
And for that, let us flee from those who take life seriously, they are the most boring people on earth!
But it’s true. The other day I was telling you about some cellular difficulties. I noticed that as soon as they start, I start laughing! But if someone is here and I tell him the difficulty solemnly, it goes from bad to worse; if I start laughing and talk about it laughingly, it vanishes. Really, it’s dreadful to take life seriously! Dreadful. Those who have given me the most difficulties have always been the people who take life seriously.
I’ve had this experience even just recently. All that comes to me from people who have dedicated their lives to “spiritual life,” people who do a yoga in the traditional way, who are very solemn, who see adversaries everywhere, obstacles everywhere, taboos everywhere, prohibitions everywhere, oh, how they complicate life … and how far they are from the Divine! I saw this the other day with someone you know. With that kind of people, you “should not” do this, “should not” do that, “should not” … At such and such time you “must not” do this, on such and such day you “must not” do that; you “should not” eat this, you should not … And then, for heaven’s sake, don’t you go mixing your daily life with your sacred life! – that’s how you dig an abyss.
It’s the exact, exact opposite of what I feel now: no matter what happens – something wrong in the body, something wrong with people, something wrong in circumstances – instantly, the first movement: “O my sweet Lord, my Beloved!” And I laugh! And then all is well. I did this the other day (it’s spontaneous and instantaneous, it isn’t thought out or willed or planned – none of it – it just happens), it happened the other day (I don’t recall the details but it was over a circumstance that hardly seemed sacred): I saw myself, and I started laughing. I said, “But look! I don’t need to be serious, I don’t need to be solemn!”
As soon as it comes (Mother makes a solemn face), I get suspicious, I say to myself, “Oh, something is wrong, some influence or other must have entered the atmosphere that shouldn’t be there.” All that remorse, all that regret, all that … ooh! The sense of indignity, of fault … and, going a little farther, the sense of sin – oh, that…! That seems to me to belong to another age, a Dark Age.
But especially all the prohibitions. For instance, let me quote you a statement from X which I heard from a third person: “I will do a special puja to help money come. I will prepare a special yantram9 to bring money. But FOR GOD’S SAKE don’t say anything [to Mother], don’t do anything or give anything before January 14, because until January 14, a certain planet is in opposition to a certain other planet (Mother laughs), so things follow a downward trend and won’t be successful. But afterwards, that particular planet will be ascending and everything will be successful”! (Mother laughs) Something in me said spontaneously (“something,” well, someone), spontaneously and immediately, “But why? I can always hear!” And I laughed. So they thought I was making fun of him – I don’t make fun: I laugh, it’s not the same!