Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:01 am

15. BANKRUPTCY

There is a Western sadhak who has been here for many years. He once received a letter from his family that his brother was going to file for bankruptcy. This turn of events in his brother’s life made him sad. As his mother only informed him in one sentence about this and had not given any details whatsoever, he was unable to exercise his imagination, and just felt sad.

This sadhak had come to Mother several years before. At the time of joining the Ashram, he gave Mother all the money he had, a few lakhs of rupees. A few years ago his father and mother visited the Ashram and had Mother’s Darshan. His brother was a talented man. He had expert knowledge in more than one field. Before joining his father’s business, his brother had been in a highly paid job. His father himself was in business. Though it was a small company, by virtue of its quality and nature of service, it had attained nationwide popularity. In the 60s a multinational company was attracted by his father’s business and offered to buy the entire company and make it an independent part of their company on very profitable terms to the father. The negotiations for the sale were handled by the father and son. The father attended to the financial aspects of sale and his son concentrated on the legal aspects of transfer to the multinational. The multinational company was so much impressed by the son’s ability that they offered to employ him at a very high salary. The son had greater faith in his future prospects and preferred to remain with his father. Years later the father’s company was doing so well as one unit of the multinational that they opted to leave the parent company to function on their own. The father was the president of the company and the son, the brother of the sadhak, was vice-president. The company was innovative and introduced new concepts of work in their business. The company rose from height to greater height with every passing year. It is when the company was at its best, with the father and son at the helm, that the other son opted to go to India, join the Ashram and settle down in India permanently. Generally people who are unable to make a success of themselves in life seek out an excuse to hide their weakness and wind up in an Ashram. The brother in business was elder to the sadhak by four years. He surely felt that his younger brother was a fit case to seek asylum in an Ashram. Even when his parents visited the Ashram, the elder brother never showed any interest in the Ashram.

As years passed, the father who had founded the business took it to great heights, made good money and felt it was time for him to retire and leave the helm in the hands of the elder son. He retired and the son became the president of the company. He introduced several improvements, opened a computer division, and made himself a greater success than his father. He was married into a wealthy family. Soon after the father retired and the company became a greater success, differences of opinion began to arise between the son and the parents. The son stopped giving the parents any news of the company, which they were anxious to hear. The parents got little information of how the company was doing, and the sadhak got less information about his brother’s affairs. From other sources news came that the company’s computer division had a great potential as a money spinner. More information came that the company was shifting to the most prestigious locality in the city. All this reached the sadhak through second hand means months after the actual event.

If news took months to reach the parents, the sadhak brother at Pondicherry, if he ever heard anything, received only a trickle of news many months later. When it did come, it was only one sentence or a hint. After a successive string of positive news, a letter came saying, “He is not doing well, perhaps.” The company began to cut down its staff in big slices. At one point, the sadhak learned there were now only two employees in the company left. Next in line the office was vacated, the brother was working from his home, and he had no employees at all. What happened to the big business the father had built up, the great potential of the computer division, the prestigious office, God knows! It is at that juncture the final blow came through the letter mentioned in the beginning, that the brother had decided to file for bankruptcy. The sadhak brother was sad, but what was there in his hands except to feel sad. The sadhak was lost in thought, rather, he felt lost.

I ventured to speak to him. “I know you are not in the habit of writing to your brother. Also I know your brother would not take your words seriously. But this is a certain special moment in his life, when he may listen to you and may even consider your words seriously. I don’t know what has gone wrong where. All that is immaterial. One thing matters. You are here. That is enough to prevent your brother going bankrupt. If you are bold, conceive of a means of writing to him either directly or through your parents.” He said his sister-in-law wrote to him and she would listen to his words, but he was not sure how far his words would carry any meaning for them, as they all considered him a failure in life.

This was enough. I encouraged him to write to his brother’s wife about Mother’s way of running a business. He agreed. Together we prepared the contents of the letter. First, the letter said, “Do not file bankruptcy, if you have not already done so.” Then we cited a few examples of broken men finding their feet, rising again when they came to Mother. Lastly we added some principles of Mother’s way of running an organisation. I told the sadhak, “What is most important is a token offering from them, but in this precarious relationship, I desist from asking for it.” We ended the letter asking for $10 as an offering. Two weeks later we received a telegram from his parents: “Bankruptcy not filed. Brother will try your ideas. He has sent $20 offering and we add another $100 to it.”

Again, for weeks and months there was no news. But we were happy we did not receive the news of his filing bankruptcy. The brother’s wife wrote a formal letter of thanks and said they were seriously practicing the ideas given by the sadhak brother. Months passed. The rift between brother and parents became complete. He moved to another town to avoid his family. A few more months passed. Then news came that the rift was vanishing and a rapprochement was building up. Business for the brother was ‘all right.’ After 15 or 18 months we got news suddenly that the brother was doing well, perhaps very well. Still the news was all second hand and in trickles. One month later came a phone call on the father’s birthday to exchange greetings. Now we heard that the computer potential had started its initial yield and big customers were after the computer programme. There were signs of the brother making big money. Gone were the days of gloom, rift and bankruptcy.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:01 am

16. SRI AUROBINDO’S ROOM

One day I was starting for the Ashram with my family. When we were about to lock the front door, my sister-in-law arrived with her husband. We had planned to be out of the town for the day. To receive them just at the moment of starting was embarrassing. We could not leave them behind alone, nor did I feel free to invite them to the Ashram, as it would amount to introducing them to my faith. Sensing my embarrassment, my brother-in-law asked if they could accompany us to Pondicherry. That was a great relief.

Our visit to the Ashram was not for any special occasion there such as Darshans. But it was special to my family, as Mother had permitted us to visit Sri Aurobindo’s Room on that day. Now-a-days Sri Aurobindo’s room is open to all visitors, but in those early days Mother Herself was giving permission to visit the Room. She used to permit only a few people and, that too, not on all days. That was why I could not stay behind postponing my visit.

My brother-in-law was a superintendent in the Regulated Market. He had been there for four years temporarily and was trying to take a permanent post in the government through the public service commission. He had applied for various jobs and he was selected for the cooperative department as an officer. When he received the order of appointment, he and his wife came to our place to give us the good news and make arrangements for his training period, etc. I was happy that on his fresh appointment he would add Mother’s Blessings to it, as he had volunteered to visit the Ashram.

At the Ashram the sadhak in charge of such arrangements asked us if my guests too would like to visit the Room. I considered this as a special Grace. They agreed and the sadhak extended us the kindness of securing special permission for our guests too at that last moment.

We visited the Room guided by an elderly sadhak who was with Sri Aurobindo for 30 years. The Room was full of peace and silence. His Presence was marked. Having taken us through the Room, the sadhak came out and explained in a soft voice the details, showed us the place where Mother and Sri Aurobindo used to give Darshan until 1950, the seat of Mother from which She had been giving Darshan after 1950, and how the visitors used to go to them one by one to receive their Blessings. Sri Aurobindo’s aura was so full of peace that even during a raging cyclone neither wind nor rain entered into his Room. Inside the Room was his chair, his bed with a tiger’s skin spread out on it, and several shelves with his books and papers. We returned home that night feeling elated with the peace of his Room.

The next morning while I was reading the newspaper, my brother-in-law drew my attention to a news item which said the government had raised the basic salary of the Market Committee Superintendents to Rs.200 from the present Rs.140. He was excited about the rise in salary and explained enthusiastically the steps the superintendents’ organisation took to represent to the government that the salary should be raised. He wound up saying, “It is all very exciting and good, but I am leaving the department. I am not going to benefit by this raise. In the Cooperative Department again I will start afresh at Rs.140.” He was disappointed that he could not share the benefit for which they had all worked for so long and so successfully.

For me the news item was another confirmation, perhaps the thousandth one, of Mother’s Grace that is showered on all, if only they come into contact with it consciously or unconsciously. I wished he had stayed in this department and enjoyed the higher scale. As he was a relative and the husband of my sister-in-law, I could not express all the thoughts that crossed my mind. The situation called from some restraint. He was younger to me and, therefore, I had some freedom of expression, but it had its own limit. He was not a devotee of Mother and did not understand Mother’s ways, nor did I feel free to share my full understanding of the situation, which might look like an imposition of my faith on him. I could only speak about the relative merits of the scales, departments and jobs.

He was alternately overjoyed at the new permanent job and frustrated at not being able to benefit by the new scale in the old job. During the conversation I asked whether he would not like to stay on in the old job and benefit by the higher scale. His cryptic reply was, “I would very much like to, but my probation there has not been completed and job confirmed.”

Later, when he was not at home, my sister-in-law referred to the subject in detail, expressing the same mixed sentiment of joy and disappointment. I sought a clarification from her for his cryptic statement that he was not confirmed in his old job. Her reply was more concise and explained, “He has not passed the account test.” I ventured to suggest that he could reappear and complete it. She said, “He took even the second attempt.”

Obviously he and she were very anxious to remain in the old job, now that there was a higher salary, but it was no longer possible. Being a touchy subject, I stopped all my conversation with them on this topic.

In private I spoke to my wife that, if he applied for an exemption, the department might grant it, and he could still complete the exam. Bang came the reply, “Through my uncle, who is a high officer in the department, that exemption was secured last year and that too was not helpful.” As my wife is very knowledgeable about Mother’s ways of life, I explained to her how this opportunity came from Mother’s Blessings and, if pursued, would certainly bear fruit, even if the case appeared to be hopeless. I told my wife that in certain extreme cases the department might grant an exemption a second time. As he has earned a reputation in the department for efficiency, he might still get that exemption.

He and his wife discussed with us arrangements for his family during his training, his stay at the training, and several other things before finally deciding on his profession and he left for his native village, leaving my sister-in-law with us.

My wife privately asked me not to be concerned about his job and his future prospects, etc., as it was a sensitive issue. She also heard from her sister that a second exemption too had been secured through some political influence. That too was in vain. My wife added that it seems there was another agriculture test also in arrears. What had so far been a riddle to me was now very obvious. There was not even a ghost of a chance for him to remain in the old department.

I mused, “Mother has given them unasked a blessing. For him to arrive at this new salary at the new job will take six years after training. Also he would lose the four years of service in the old department. Ten years of service in the government is no mean thing. Even a day matters. Mother who has given the new scale would also remove all further obstacles, if he only had faith and took the necessary effort fully. He does not understand it and I do not feel free anymore to approach this topic. But I don’t think this is the end of the matter. Let me await and see, without taking any further initiative from my side.”

Just then a man came to report how he had miraculously saved his six acres of crop, after losing all hope by praying to Mother.

In the afternoon my sister-in-law, who was engrossed in some needle work, put it aside and addressed me, "Do you have something to tell my husband about this new job? What would be your advice?” I explained my understanding briefly and emphatically said that he would steer clear of all the difficulties, if he only had faith and did his part.

A few days later he returned. He came to me and announced that he and his wife had decided to reject the new appointment and try his best to remain in the old job, completing his arrears. Obviously his wife had spoken to him prior to that. I was happy.

After he took this bold decision, life became different for him. Everywhere he went, life was supportive. There was a kind officer who gave another exemption. Someone took interest in him and helped him to prepare for the examination. Contrary to his previous life experience, wherever he went to get a work accomplished in this connection, he found an old classmate, a friend, a relative, etc. All went smoothly and he passed both the exams. He was confirmed in the old department on the new scale.

For a couple of years we did not meet. Again he came, this time alone, to tell me he had been transferred to Ramnad District. I wondered why a transfer to such distant place. He explained that he had been promoted and transferred. He was now promoted as the Secretary for a whole district, under whom all the superintendents worked. He said this was possible because the department was rapidly expanding, many new posts had been created, and he had ten years’ experience! Ordinarily this promotion was not his due for another six or seven years.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:01 am

17. THE TOUCH OF HER FEET

Mother is an avatar. Sri Aurobindo says She is universal Mother Devi who has come down in her individual aspect. She has lived amongst us for nearly 100 years, during which She headed Sri Aurobindo Ashram for 47 full years. As Devaki saw the whole creation in the mouth of Krishna, we see every aspect of creation in Mother’s life in the Ashram. Those who have joined the Ashram have given up family, career, worldly life and all their worldly wealth, seeking only Her Grace in good measure. She had the unique capacity of being over-generous and also a strict disciplinarian. Her Love embraces all mankind and all creation. There are several legends of Her infinite compassion to the dozen cats She reared. Also She is known for very strict disciplinary measures. I would like to relate an incident in Her life that may be considered unique in spiritual history.

People who join the Ashram generally enjoy good health, rather better health than before. Their faces acquire the shine of the inner light. Even in old age most are in good health and are moving about without help or even the customary walking stick. The life span granted to one by destiny itself is given a longer lease when one takes to Mother. All this, Mother says, is because She is centrally lodged in their hearts.

Soon after World War I, an elderly sadhak who had joined Sri Aurobindo at the turn of the century fell ill. He was old by any reckoning. Though there were minor diseases, he was not disabled by any serious disease. The Ashram doctor who attended on him said he was suffering the infirmities of old age that arose out of the wearing out of the parts of the body. In such a general condition of deterioration, it is likely that minor ailments get lodged in the system. Doctors, co-sadhaks, volunteers attended on him in turn with love and devotion. His condition grew worse day by day. He lost speech. Movements were nil. The little food he was taking was replaced by a liquid diet, which was not easy to administer. It was obvious that his days were numbered. Those around him were eager to serve him and do any little thing that would please him or cheer him. He was not in a coma. He was awake and conscious. But it was hard to know his present thoughts as he did not speak. His earlier spartan habits did not leave much room to guess what things he would like. The question of calling for his relatives did not arise. Suddenly, one day there was a moment of intensity in the sadhak’s look. It was obvious he had something in mind. Communication was not easy. Sign language was used by the sadhak in a broken way. His mind seemed to be clear and his face was bright. Unfortunately his understanding could not be communicated back to those around. After some exercise in sign language, guess work, inference, etc., it was discovered that he wished to be taken to Mother. After fully ascertaining that this was his wish, Mother’s advice was sought and She readily agreed to bless the departing soul.

He was put on a stretcher and was taken to Mother’s Room upstairs. As soon as he came into the Presence of the Mother, his face brightened and his eyes became moist with gratitude. Though he could not move even a little, he appeared as if he was no longer a dying man. Mother left the chair and came near his stretcher, bending over him. His condition was becoming better with every second, but perhaps he was not thinking of death or his dying condition. It became apparent that he wanted to communicate something to Mother. The difficulty of communication that had been there between his co-sadhaks and him did not seem to be there between him and The Mother. Each seemed to understand the other very well. There was a gleam of a smile on his dry lips. Suddenly he mustered enough energy to point at his chest and then at Mother’s foot. She beamed with a smile which She alone can give. It was clear that the sadhak was asking Mother to put Her foot on his chest.

Though Mother is generous beyond measure in showering materials gifts on visitors and conferring spiritual blessings on sadhaks, for Her own reasons She had many discriminations to make. Often, She responded not to the expressed prayer but to the highest aspiration of the devotee which was unspoken and, perhaps, a wish the devotee was not even fully aware of. For instance, a visitor who was childless for ten years came to Mother and prayed for a child. He was rewarded with a rare promotion in his job, which was unusual for that job. Later the devotee explained that this promotion was closer to his heart than anything else. When devotees or sadhaks start any work and ask Mother for blessings and an emblem for their department, She gives different types of emblems. The State Bank emblem was given by Her. When sadhaks insist on something of hers, She gives her symbol modified, a message, etc. There is a drawing of Mother’s feet and a photograph of Her feet. This She rarely gives as an emblem to a department. She did give this as an emblem to a few whose aspiration She knew to be very pure. It is Grace to see Her, which is Darshan. Sadhaks know it is supreme Grace when She touches their heads for blessings. When we go to Her for pranams, the most auspicious moment is when we touch Her feet. This dying sadhak had asked Mother for something unknown in spiritual history, Mother’s foot on his chest.

She was gracious and consented to the prayer by a broad smile. The sadhak melted in emotion to know of this divine consent. Large drops of tears of gratitude collected in his eyes. She touched his chest with Her foot. The appearance of the sadhak became transformed. In a trice his eyes which had tears became flowing streams of tears. A very bright light leaped onto his face and quickly spread all over his body. He was in ecstasy. His soul was in front receiving the physical expression of Divine Grace. There was an intense descent of Peace in the room and a strong jet of joy entered the devotee. While he was being carried away from Her room, his eyes stayed on Mother meeting Her gaze, which was turned toward him. He returned to the Nursing Home. His last wish had been graciously fulfilled, but he did not die. Health began to return and he felt better day by day. Every activity, such as speech, motion, etc., which had been lost, now returned. After a week he was up and about. He lived for another 20 years to a very ripe old age.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:02 am

18. AN EXPERIENCE IN MEXICO

The main gate of the Ashram is opened at 4:30 a.m. to the sadhaks and remains open until 11 p.m. Though there is a strongly felt atmosphere of peace around the Samadhi all the time, the Peace is more easily felt early in the morning and late in the night. These are hours when there are only a few sadhaks near the Samadhi. For many years I used to go to the Samadhi at 9 p.m. and remain there till the gates were closed. One night, on coming out of the Ashram at 11 p.m., I found someone waiting for me. He eagerly came towards me and introduced himself as one who had met me three years before. He was a foreigner named Tom. I mistook him to be another foreigner with the same name who had been in the World Neighbours movement and who met me three years before in connection with our development work. Very eagerly, Tom asked me for an appointment the following day. This was at a time when for four years I had stopped receiving visitors for general discussion. I was hesitant to accept the meeting, but soon I found he was hurt by the fact that I had not recognised him. With great enthusiasm he recalled his earlier meetings with me and repeated the details of our conversation. I quickly reversed my hesitation and agreed to see him the next day.

He came the following morning and was very eager to know more about Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. He addressed a great many questions to me which the initial enthusiasm releases. I was trying hard to make up for my previous night’s lack of recognition of one who was so interested. Tom is an American. He had traveled all over the world in search of spirituality. This was his second tour of the world. Before reaching Pondicherry, he had visited Mysore, Calcutta, the Himalayas, etc. and met various types of spiritual people. He was also interested in ideas that would better the lot of poor people. He said that though he had visited a great many places, the peace at Sri Aurobindo’s Samadhi had made a deep impression on him. Since his last visit he had read many of Sri Aurobindo’s major books. It seems during his last meeting with me I had told him about several yogic practices and he kept most of them in mind. Though his quest for the spirit took him to several types of gurus, he was trying to practise what he had heard from me about Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. Having said that and taking for granted the earlier reference, he went on developing the discussion. As I had forgotten the earlier meeting, I felt embarrassed. I was anxious not to offend him again, especially because he was so friendly and enthusiastic. Fortunately for me he turned to the topics of his own experiences during the tour around the world, one of which I shall report in his own words.

Tom said, “After my visit to Pondy, I left India and during my travels I read a lot of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy, which I like and admire. I visited Australia and later South America. While in South America the thought occurred to me that I should start practising Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. I was looking for practical clues in his book. Sri Aurobindo’s books are wonderful but more philosophical than practical. The practices he suggests are too difficult, even to begin with. But the desire to make a practical beginning of yoga began to take possession of me, even though I was not equipped enough. Later I moved to Mexico, where I hired a Volkswagon to tour the country. This was a van which I drove by myself. It had facilities for writing, cooking, bathing and sleeping, like a house on wheels. One day I had been driving since the morning and by lunch time I was tired. I did not want to cook my meal and for a change I stopped at a motel—a roadside hotel for motorists. After lunch I was reluctant to resume driving, since I had been driving the van for more than two weeks by then. I had some rest and felt somewhat refreshed. Feeling better, I started again, but after an hour of 50 or 60 miles drive I felt bored and stopped by the roadside so that I could relax sitting on the grass. After a little while I had to start again, but in another half hour boredom overtook me and again I stopped for relaxation. I was intermittently stopping every half hour or one hour like that.

When I was driving after one of these rests, casually I turned around and noticed that my shoulder bag, which I usually keep at a certain place, was not there. A chill passed through my spine, as the bag contained my passport and all the money I had. I made light of it, telling myself that I should have placed it on the table behind me and drove on. An uneasy feeling was growing in me and I stopped to make sure the bag was safe. I ransacked the whole van and it was nowhere to be found. I was a foreigner in Mexico and with my passport lost I could be in serious trouble. With all the money lost I did not know what to do. I felt dizzy. I vividly remembered that while in the motel I had the bag and took the money out of it for paying the bill. I had traveled nearly 100 miles from the motel and stopped at four or five places on the way. There was no way of knowing the places where I had stopped. I drove back to the motel and made thorough enquiries, searched at the table where I had sat in the lounge. The bag was nowhere to be found. With utter bewilderment I drove back trying to locate the points where I had taken rest. Stopping at dozens of places which resembled my places of rest, I searched in vain. I started for the car to resume my journey. What journey! In the next couple of hours the petrol would run out. Where was the next meal to come from? How to contact home? I had no dime on me. I was at the end of my wits. Just then I remembered our earlier conversation in which you quoted Mother’s words: “If at anytime you arrive at a point that there is nothing more to be done, the situation is hopeless and everything is lost, that is the best moment to call Mother. She answers the call instantaneously. Mother is Universal and She is not confined to Pondicherry.” The recollection of these words came to me like lightning and my failing strength returned. I moved to the side of the highway, sat down cross-legged, closed my eyes and began calling Mother fervently. How long I sat I do not know, but I felt a great peace in me. The fear left. Reassured, I walked back and got into the van and sat behind the wheel. Before I could start, something on the roadside, till now hidden by the parked car, caught my attention. It looked like a piece of cloth. Impelled by curiosity at the sight of a cloth near the highway, I alighted to examine it. Going near the cloth, I came upon a bush and in the middle of it lay my bag! To my utter amazement and intense surprise, when I opened it there were the passport and money intact! I could not believe myself. Ever since that time, the experience has been fresh in me. I was anxious to tell you this incident.”

His was no mere enthusiasm. It was faith. His eyes gleamed with joy.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:02 am

19. RAMAPURAM

Having had a successful experiment in raising coconut palms over 15 acres, I thought of creating a 100 acre coconut plantation. Someone responded to the idea, and I was looking for a hundred acre vacant piece of land for this venture. It was a five year quest and did not seem to lead us anywhere. Finally, it was suggested that it may be possible to buy a 100 acre cashew garden. I had no experience in rearing cashew, nor was I interested.

As there was no alternative, I began to examine the potentialities of cashew and decided upon buying a cashew garden. The garden for sale was located on a hilltop and was part of a 1,000 acre area officially described as a jungle. It was a deserted place. Agriculture itself had not taken roots there. Water was scarce. In summer there would be no drinking water in any wells in the area, except for one at a depth of 70 feet. I was warned against the folly of buying a property in such a primitive forest area, where one’s very physical safety was not assured. As my faith in Mother was great and I felt inwardly the sanction of Mother for the purchase, I went ahead buying a garden for a friend of mine and worked for the improvement of the place in several ways. Everything went according to my expectation and showed greater promise than anticipated. People who questioned the wisdom of that purchase congratulated me on the luck of the venture. More than one person from nearby towns had moved in there to buy large adjacent properties.

I was giving thought to the idea of somehow serving the adjacent village in some fashion. It was a village without electricity, drinking water, road facilities, etc. The population was very poor. The main occupation was raising dry crops in their fields for the annual food supply and walking to the town five miles away in search of daily employment. In these conditions, it is very difficult to think of any financial scheme of assistance to the village. Many of the villagers worked in our garden and I found them very good at work. I asked many of them what kind of help would be beneficial to them. The usual answer was that work in their own fields was very helpful to them as it saved them the need to walk long distances everyday in search of work. Their lands were rain-fed. Their usual crops were kambu (millet) and black gram. Some raised rain-fed peanut. For any financial scheme of assistance a surety of property was needed and an assured income from the property. This was before the nationalisation of the banks, and the idea of banks advancing money for agriculture was unknown in those days. As I was toying with the idea of assisting the villagers financially through a scheme, I received copious warnings from friends in the government, banks, the villages, etc. that money traveled only one way and never in the reverse direction.

Just about this time, news came that in a village gathering it was decided that everyone should voluntarily give up drinking. I thought it was a good sign, but when it comes to lending money and collecting it back, these ideal moments turn out to be only skin deep. I myself borrowed money from a bank for improving our lands. A year later another leading bank invited me to their bank. I asked them whether they could serve my village in any capacity. They never liked the idea of visiting a remote village as part of their work. In the meantime the Chairman of this bank was introduced to me. He also renewed the invitation to his bank. I renewed my request that they should come to that village with assistance. Both of us agreed to each other’s proposals. But there was unwillingness all around. Other officials in the bank refused cooperation. My own friends on the farm through whom I expected to organise the scheme expressed dissatisfaction at my proposal to lend bank money to the villagers and were emphatic in saying that it would not be possible for them to assist in collection of repayment. The Karnam and Village Munsif advised me against the scheme, saying it was rash. My proposal to the bank was that they should initiate a trial scheme, lend money, and I would collect the money after the harvest. The idea was to lend crop loans in the first year, and, if that succeeded, follow it up with well loans the next year.

The bank officers paid an initial visit to the village. They were full of doubts but were willing to try with a small amount. This was followed by the visit of the Chairman himself to formally inaugurate the scheme. The next groundnut season was one month away. All was agreed upon. Between the visit of the bank officials and the actual disbursement of cash, I began to receive several warnings, advice, experiences of others, all indicating that I was moving in the clouds. An elderly man who had managed our own garden for the past 40 years said, “I am from this village. I was born here and I know the conditions far better. You are inviting the bank to lend money. I do not think you will be able to collect even a part of it back. Please think it over and then act.” A batch of men who had worked in our own garden for five years said, “Money can be lent but not collected back. This applies to us also. No one thinks in terms of returning a government loan. Now things are all right with us. Let us not disturb the conditions.” The bank officials said, “We know nothing of village conditions. We are going ahead on the strength of your words.”

I was anxious to hear one good word of encouragement from someone. On any side I turned, a warning was waiting for me. The more I listened to people, the more it was discouraging. Though I was not shaken in my original decision to help the village, I wanted to examine again the wisdom of my move. From the practical social point of view, on any showing, it was a wild idea, playing ducks and drakes with money. All the advice I received was right from the other’s own point of view. But this was not a work done for charity or philanthropy or for personal satisfaction. This was the first of its kind in India. If this succeeded, there would be a good chance of the scheme being extended to other places. For the very same reason, a failure here could be fatal for any future hope for agriculture financing. The key question for everyone was, “How to collect the money back from the villagers?” In my own mind I had only one answer for this question. If any work is done in good faith, if the money goes to a good use, good yields will be the result and out of that chain, repayment should come easily. This is what I know from Mother. As far as I was concerned, there was no other motive than to help the farmers. The farmers are simple people who would use the money to raise crops, as that was their first priority. I was sure of this. If the yield was good, there would not be any difficulty in repayment. Here I differed from the general opinion that villagers would not repay, even if the harvest was good. I also believed that as long as our motives were good and we based ourselves in Mother, the villagers motives were bound to be good. My mind was clear and the entire amount of Rs.63,000 was disbursed in one week. Our village became the first village to be adopted by a bank.

The groundnut crop that year was a bumper in the village. Prices rose from Rs.90 per bag to Rs.180 per bag. Everyone had his fill and beamed with joy. There was no pest. Farmers who went to town to sell their nuts all returned home only after paying their bank dues. One man even called at the bank at 6:30 p.m. and insisted on paying his dues. All dues were collected far ahead of time and, on the stipulated last date, one remaining farmer paid. Neither the bank officials nor any of us visited the village for collection of dues. The next year this was followed by well loans. Year after year the village gradually moved into prosperity. In the next two or three years commercial banks all over India adopted 2000 villages.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:02 am

20. INDUSTRIAL PEACE

Many people who run an establishment, institution or an industry generally used to discuss their work with us and often asked whether Mother gave any guidelines for such a work. As these are people in worldly life of family or business (though the money involved is sometimes lakhs or even crores) and Mother’s consciousness is of great power [1], a deeply felt prayer releases on their work Himalayan energies and in no time any existing problem is wiped away. Some friends desired to know more of this and in response to their request once we made a list of ideas useful to industrialists, collecting the principles from Mother’s writings. Following some of them, several people expanded their institutions, settled labour strikes, repaid accumulated loans, averted closure of their businesses and benefited in one way or another. We give below a few examples to illustrate the workings of the principles.

There is a multi-crore Public Sector project which had started accumulating several crores of loss year after year. Labour had come under political leadership and had become a thorn in the flesh for the management. The place became known for unmanageable labour situations. Any small cause would lead to a great effect. Production had come down to about 40 to 50% of the installed capacity. Officers here anxiously accepted other jobs at lower salaries and were leaving the place. For over a decade, life in the project had come to be accepted as such. The wish of everyone was that it should not further deteriorate. One unit of this project is a 100 crore section and a key part of the project. The head of the unit had earned a reputation for his excellent efficiency in production, but he too was helpless with labour. He came to a meeting at our centre, where we had gathered on a certain occasion. Incidentally he was also the President of this centre. After the meeting was over, he invited me to his house and his wife received us. She had a long story to tell. She broke out in a detailed narration of her husband’s suffering at the hands of the intransigent labour and explained how they both had no peace of mind at all. Any sound, anywhere, she explained, disturbed them as it might be the shouting of a crowd. Life had become miserable. They were allergic to any development there regarding labour. Finally, she asked if there was no way out and whether Mother could not help them. I replied that Mother’s help was always there, only that one should approach Her with faith. The problem that was knotty, thorny and appeared insurmountable would soon disappear, if Mother’s Grace were invoked, I said.

Both responded with deep interest and expressed that they had great faith in Mother and would do anything I said to get rid of the troubled situation that had become permanent.

I gave the following explanation: “Mother is great. Her Power is infinite. Her methods are complex (in one sense). That is all true for those sadhaks who do their yoga and it is for them to understand Her complex philosophy. Yours is a human difficulty and a life problem. However difficult it is and complicated it had become, for Mother’s powers it is indeed easy to wipe out. All that one should do is to firmly decide to pray to Mother to remove his difficulty. Only that this prayer should be made in good faith. If you agree to do that much, you can take it for granted that the problem will be solved.”

He readily agreed. Further, I asked him to write down the history of the installation, so that at several points I could comment from Mother’s point of view. Later he showed us around the project and expressed a desire that we should meet his five deputies. I hesitated and said that it might not work and such proposals might not meet with general approval. He insisted and I agreed. The five of them came and formally appeared willing to listen. One of them, perhaps the best and brightest among them, spoke out frankly, “There is no place in India where the discipline is worse. I have no faith in spirituality or anything else. The only thing that could set the situation right is determined enforcement of discipline. Those who disobey must be taken to task.” The head of the unit felt embarrassed for creating this situation in spite of my warning. But I explained to him that no one there believed and everyone was simply polite. He who had spoken was frank and honest, but unfortunately it was not possible for him to know what the spiritual force was. I summed up saying, “Send me your summary of the problems you face. I shall offer my comments. Please remind yourself twelve months from now of my present statement: ‘Labour unrest will be a thing of the past. You will never be able to see any trace of it.’

He sent me his summary. I marked some portions and commented from the points of view of soft speech, cleanliness, orderliness, regularity, attention, maximum utilization, etc.—all general ideas of Mother. I added, “As your project is spread over 12 acres, is kept spotlessly clean, and your efficiency in production is already famous, Mother’s Force will act more effectively there.”

Several devotees were coming from there. The head of the unit began sending word about the vast improvement in labour relationships. After twelve months the secretary of that centre came to me with a special message from the head: “Labour has become quiet and cooperative. The only strike that was in the canteen at the time of your visit moved away the next day. The last twelve months have been without an incident. Moreover, production moved up to 60 or 70% and is presently at 97%. Labour unrest has vanished, not only from this unit but from the entire project. I do remember your words and they are true. Only that I do not understand how it all happened.” He may not understand, but every devotee of Mother will. Her power and force are so great that no human problem can survive their healing touch.

About five years ago, we compiled a set of principles from Mother’s ideas which would be useful to the industrialist, management consultant, manager, etc. One of our friends spoke these ideas to a section of delegates of the All India Management Conference of that year. Several industrialists evinced interest in following them. We prepared a short summary of this and supplied it to all those who asked for it. We sent a copy of it to the President of the Management Centre Europe. In 1978 the devotee who had prepared this paper attended the World Management Conference as a delegate representing us. The President of the European Centre was also there as a main speaker. The devotee met this man and the latter readily recognised him. He started speaking about the paper we had sent him several years ago. He explained, “I appreciated all these principles and would like to know more about it. In truth, I followed the principle of ‘service before profit’ and to my surprise the practice was effective. Unexpectedly, now I am the President of the more powerful American centre.” As he was interested in this topic further, we supplied him with additional materials and he constantly asked for more. A year later our friend met him in New York and had a long discussion with him in which he offered detailed explanations to his questions. By now, he was very much satisfied and wanted to test these principles in an organisation. Some months later he informed us, “I have had occasion to use your principles in my own organisation which was losing half a crore of rupees a year. The losses stopped and we are now making substantial profits. In addition, one of my subordinates in South America is spending half his time cleaning. From the organisational profit point of view, he tops the list. It is interesting to see the relationship between cleanliness and profitability.” Again he asked our friend for some suggestions for a college in New York that had a budget deficit of half a crore. Our general ideas were made particular to suit this place and we submitted our recommendations. Eight months later, he said there was definite improvement in the college finances. We learned that the deficit was reduced to half its original size.

______________

Notes:

1. Mother’s power acts effectively in the field of creation. Here it is used for yoga. In comparison to these fields, worldly life is a lower plane. Hence Mother’s Force acts here with far greater effectiveness.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:02 am

21. MENTAL TENSION

It was 10 o’clock in the morning. A friend of mine who was an officer in an erstwhile British-owned company walked into my house. He was in a kind of despair. He announced with suppressed fear that his boss had come and wanted to meet me. A minute later the boss came in. The boss was in a curious state of mind and his manners were odd. He was polite, deferential, interested, curious but also felt strange about something which I could not guess. My friend would not even sit down. He was virtually trembling and was taking notes of our talk. The boss asked me about the farms, about my job and then suddenly exclaimed that he had heard I was a regular visitor to the Ashram, as if it was a strange act or a mortal sin. In fact, the general population had no idea of what the Ashram was about. In the next breath he said he had been visiting the Ashram rest houses and found that there was peace in those places. He commented, as if to himself, that if there was peace in the guest houses, there should be much more in the Ashram itself. I felt he was incoherent and appeared under stress, being disturbed deep down. As if to echo my thought, he said he had some kind of lack of balance and his visits to the Ashram guest house had a soothing touch. He asked me why I was going to the Ashram, whether I had any imbalance, and what I felt about the place. He was asking the questions for the sake of asking and expected no reply. I noticed a strange pain had descended on my head and was spreading all over. Soon the pain lodged itself in my neck and became excruciating. After an initial spell of an odd exhibition of behaviour, suddenly he calmed down, found himself restored to the personality of the top business executive he was, relaxed and waited for me to say something. Surely, the man was a high-strung difficult case of deep disturbance which had lodged in him decades ago. The case was intricate, the acquaintance was fresh, the man was in no great mood to listen and understand, but something in him was attracted to the peace in the Ashram and was interested. My poor friend, who was himself a high officer, was a spectacle of sorrow at once terrified to be in the company of his chief executive and happy he was introducing his boss to me. I spoke briefly that Mother was peace, joy, love and sweetness. Her Presence was felt in every part of the Ashram and physically all over Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo’s Samadhi, I said, was a place for realisation. The man listened intently. When I finished, he took leave of me. He went up to his jeep and came back inside the house again. He requested that I might call on him at his factory, if ever I visited his town. The pain in my neck intensified and rolled into a knot, shooting shock vibrations from there for almost an hour. My pain directly reflected the intensity of this man’s years of suffering, from what I had no idea.

From then on, he began to meet me off and on. Gradually he told me the background of his particular complaint. He was directly under the Chief Executive of a multi-crore factory with a history of a hundred years. The factory gave him a high salary, a spacious bungalow, unlimited authority and almost all types of perquisites. Thirty years earlier his father had held the same post and in the previous generation his grandfather had also held that post. Over the generations they had acquired a vast landed property and accumulated wealth of every desirable description prevalent in rural areas. The family was very orthodox and was scrupulously religious. In that part of the district the family was a kind of legend and known for their traditional piety, philanthropy, interest in modern civilisation and high administrative position. Early in life this man had taken with zest to all the religious rituals connected with the tradition. There were many around who spoke highly of each type of pranayanam, japa, puja, etc. He was introduced to the religious scriptures, particularly the Vedas and some powerful portions of it. Unfortunately, this poor man accepted all of this, little understanding the high significance of these scriptures and the equally high importance of taking to them through the right Guru or right traditional method. He avidly gathered all of them in a somewhat undigested fashion and began to follow them with meticulous care. He was still augmenting this ‘wealth’ of anushtanam.

When he became somewhat close to me, he disclosed that in spite of being a kind of favourite child of fortune, he had one serious problem. His mind was under a terrible tension, a devilish fury all the time. He was happily married and had a child. Materially he was affluent; socially he was in the highest bracket; officially, he was respected as an efficient, honest, dynamic executive. There was no known reason for any lack of satisfaction, much less any grievance. Still, he confided, he was under a great inner conflict. He knew no rest or respite. Though everyone knew him to be polite, he explained that he felt like throwing the chairs at others. He felt that his whole nervous system was on fire, but he managed to maintain a quiet front. This effort aggravated the situation even more. Occasionally he said he used to lose his temper powerfully with his subordinates for no fault of theirs. He would soon regret it, call and make up with them. His envy was for any man who could sleep soundly. Peace of mind was something unknown to him. He was jealous of anyone who had a quiet bearing.

It was clear he was looking for relief and was willing to receive it from any quarter. This was a fertile situation for favour-seekers as well as genuine well-wishers. He religiously followed the instructions given by orthodox priests, donated liberally to temples of family deities, celebrated festivals in famous temples. The whole district was combed out in this relief-operation and a good part of the state was covered. There was a peculiar inevitable result each time. His inner tension increased.

He disclosed that the very first time he had felt any touch of peace was at an Ashram guest house. His perception was true in his nerves and was a real experience, but his extreme orthodoxy stood in the way. He was undecided. Surely this was not an individual to whom anyone can offer advice, even if it is apparently sought for. In a vein of detachment, he said he was prepared to resign, settle down to work on a farm or offer his services to an institution, if only it would bring peace to his turbulent soul. He asked me whether he could join Sri Aurobindo Ashram and whether it would administer a permanent relief. I explained that it was uncalled for, too great a step to seek so small a relief. He was intrigued to see that I considered his suffering too small. I explained that it was too small a problem considering the great spiritual power coming from Mother in the Darshan. Anyway, he felt, his condition was less intolerable than before. With that amount of positive response, I ventured to mention he could attend one of Mother’s public Darshans. He agreed and did so. He felt a substantial relief. Now he could consider the possibility of seeking Her Darshan privately. On his suggestion I arranged for it, though it was not a pleasant idea to introduce a mentally distracted individual to Mother. I explained the great stress the man was under and that he desired some relief. Mother was amused and agreed.

A month later, we met. He was sorry he had not told me what happened with Mother. It was a meeting of a split second. As he entered Her room, She turned around and looked at him for a second. The devilish tension that had haunted him for decades dissolved and disappeared. Mother’s look was too powerful for him to bear anymore. He left the room as if new-born into peace and calm.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am

22. EX-SERVICEMAN’S PLOT

He was an only child who had inherited some lands and a house and had settled as a graduate teacher in his native place. He had more than one ambition, but was not a dynamic man. As he was comfortably settled, though not on a grand scale, he never ventured to try anything new. His one real hope was an acre and a half of lands suitable for conversion into plots. In the mid 50’s the craze for plots was unknown. It was a time when not even one of the present score of colonies in that town had sprung up. As this piece of land was on the fringe of a main road of the town and was facing the most important office complex there, he was pinning his hope on its conversion into plots. He aimed at a sum of Rs.17,000, which was very high at the time for that town.

One day he came with a face charged with depression and dismay. It did not take long for him to disclose the source of his depression. One of his friends employed in the office opposite to his plot had called on him and narrated an important development. The staff members of that office had been feeling the need for a housing colony. Some arrangements were made and all the members had agreed on the idea of founding a housing society. They approached the government for sanction of housing loans to the members. Many successive collectors had not evinced any enthusiasm for such a proposal. Therefore, no such proposal had taken shape till then. The Collector at that time offered all encouragement to the idea and asked the representatives of the staff society to arrange for a plot. This spurred the office staff and they again approached the Collector with the idea of acquiring the 1½ acres of land just opposite to their office. The Collector readily approved of the idea and agreed to pass orders to acquire the area. The plot had been surveyed, the value fixed, the necessary formalities were being gone through. After elaborate revenue calculations, the compensation was fixed as Rs.2,000 for the entire land according to the prevailing rules. It is at this stage that the owner of the plot got the news. His disappointment and despair were understandable, as the proposal had taken shape and the Collector was personally enthusiastic about the idea. In a matter of a month or two the plot might be taken away and the owner informed and compensated. The one hope of making some money was now slipping away. Being a young man and not placed in a position to move higher-ups to stall the move to acquire the land, he was steeped in gloom. The problem was real to him and the authority he had to face was formidable for his social position. His one lingering hope was to bring some benevolent influence on the Collector and request him to change to another plot. The advantageous position of his plot for the staff of that office was a difficult point to argue against. He mustered courage after some time and started talking to me. The very first question he asked me was whether I knew anyone whose word would weigh with the Collector. Having said this, he gave the above details.

I had a totally different view of the situation. I refrained from answering him but asked him a counter question. My question was how that property had been originally acquired by his family. He asked whether it was possible to save the situation and avert the acquisition. I knew that this man had visited the Ashram and had the Darshan of the Mother a little while earlier, not so much impelled by devotion as to oblige an elderly relative’s invitation. My view was that no wrong would come to a person who had seen Mother. As he was not a devotee in any sense of the word, if I explained my thought to him, he would only be irritated. I simply said that this property would never be lost, if only he could assure me that it was acquired originally by fair means. He took great pains to give me the details of its original purchase by his father some twenty years earlier. It was done with hard earned money. He was eager to get some right word from someone and obliged me with every possible information. I explained that if only he could give the history of the plot couched in the history of his family, certainly a way out would emerge. He started, “My father was a doctor who joined the active service.” I got my clue and asked him to stop any further narration. As an ex-service man’s family, they would normally enjoy a special treatment at the hands of the government. I suggested that he move the ex-serviceman’s organisation. He in turn entrusted me with the task of drafting an application to their head office in Delhi.

On the seventh day he came to me with a broad smile. He said that on receiving his application the Delhi office telegraphically instructed the District Ex-Serviceman’s Association to approach the Collector to drop the move of acquiring his plot. A man from that office called on him that morning and assured him that no one on earth would lay a finger on his property. The Collector (who was President of the District Ex-Serviceman’s Association) was also telegraphically requested by Delhi to drop the proposal. A few years later, the plot was sold for Rs.47,000.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am

23. WATER DIVINER

He is a tall majestic figure with white hair, grey with age, and he is clad in sparkling white clothes. A man of austere habits and deeply versed in Tamil spiritual literature, he is a bachelor whose face shines with energy and purity. He speaks forcefully as per the tradition of scholars in Saivism and Tamil. He migrated from his native district into our town and settled down to a single life. At a young age, having come under the influence of a realised soul of his place, he shunned family life and the search for material rewards in life. Early in life someone explained to him, perhaps his Guru, that he had the rare endowment of water-divining.

As I was in farming in those days, he was introduced to me as a water diviner. On enquiry in my town where he had lived for 30 years, I realised he was an able water diviner. It was said that no place which he had spotted had failed to disclose a water stream underground. I myself availed of his services for about a dozen wells. Every point he chose proved to have copious water springs underneath. For one of the biggest borewells in South India for agriculture 600 feet deep, he successfully chose the spot.

One day he came to me saying that someone from Auroville had called on him in his absence. He requested me to contact that Aurovilian on his behalf. Auroville is a desert of parched red soil in South Arcot District. He wanted to offer some service to this International city. He was taken there and he located 18 spots suitable for digging wells. All the tubewells that are now working in Auroville are in the spots he had chosen. Mother was pleased by this gesture of service by someone who was not even her devotee. Being a traditional Saivite, he looked on these modern versions of religion (like the Ashram) with a scornful eye instead of veneration.

As we now were relating to each other on water divining, we had more opportunities to meet. He is an elderly, respectable man, immaculate in appearance and spotless in character. As I am far younger to him, discussions with him meant that I would listen in silence and in reverence. Difference of opinion or dissent was not part of our relationship. That being the case, the topics of Mother, Sri Aurobindo or the Ashram were respectfully kept out of our conversations.

One day he asked me somewhat curiously what secret was there in The Mother and added that each time he visited the Ashram and returned home, there was an order waiting for him in the room. I became interested, but was not bold enough to offer any explanation of the fact that Mother was the source of all prosperity and his generous service to Mother had begun to show results in his life. On his insistence I began to give information in little bits with much hesitation. After some time, he began to evince more interest in Mother and asked me whether he could have a Darshan of Mother. Mother was then over 80 and She had stopped leaving her room, receiving only very few people for blessings. In special cases of aspiration, She might agree to receive the person on his birthday. I was delighted at his proposal and I knew Mother would be glad to bless him in view of his pure life and the service he had volunteered. Mother agreed to bless him and receive him on his birthday. I had the good fortune to accompany him to Her. The day before that he came to my house and asked me if there were any formalities or procedures to be fulfilled in going to Mother. His age, his forceful personality, his strong adherence to tradition, my deferential relationship with him—all permitted me to explain nothing. I spoke to him about these matters in monosyllables. Now I quoted the tradition that in meeting great souls we should carry an offering of flowers or fruits. He wanted to know the details. I hastened to add that I had already arranged for a bouquet of flowers from the flower service for him to offer to Mother. He wanted to know if there was anything more. After hesitating, again I quoted the tradition that one may make a token cash offering, if he chose, and added that those who sought blessings for the soul carried flowers and those who sought prosperity from Mother often made a cash offering. He expressed his emphatic personality and declared, “No cash offering is necessary, blessings alone are needed for my continued service.” My mouth was shut forever on this topic with him.

We both went to Mother. She received us with her gracious Smile. He was introduced as the water diviner who had visited Auroville. She blessed us both. We made our pranams and offered the flower bouquets. She gave him a lovely bouquet of flowers and a birthday card and smiled on him. He was touched. Coming out, he exclaimed, “No doubt, Divinity. Mother is great.”

For at least six months I could not meet him. Each time I sought him, his room was locked. I didn’t know what had happened. The man was totally missing. Finally, he made his appearance, looking tired but happy. He explained how he had been travelling all over the state water divining, as he had been approved by the government as a water diviner. There was something lingering in his mind which he was holding back. Before he left me, he said that in one year he had done as much water divining work as he had done in all his long life. There was something more unexpressed. After much hesitation and beating about the bush, he explained that a great deal of work had come to him, but no money. In one case the government procedure held up payment, in another case some error in the cheque delayed payment, while in certain cases he offered to receive payment when the water was struck, but the farmers did not dig the wells, and so on and so forth. I mustered courage and recalled to him his emphatic statement that he needed only blessings for service and no cash offering was necessary.

Mother says She fulfills the highest aspiration of anyone who meets her, even though the individual never voices it as a prayer. And many devotees have vouchsafed to that fact. Here in this case, the water diviner declared emphatically that he needed only service. And he seemed to have received it in copious measure from all over the state. He sat lost in thought and asked what would happen if he now changed his mind and made a token cash offering. I said it would certainly do him good. Soon he brought me an offering to be given to Mother. I was struck by his generous gesture again. Mother received it with a lovely smile.

Again for several months he was missing. This time as I was lost in a huge pile of work I had almost forgotten him. One day in the midst of heavy work, when there were a dozen guests intending to go to the Ashram, Mr. Mudaliar made his benevolent appearance. I was anxious to know why he had been missing and how his affairs stood. I put aside all work and sat with him. He said he had left for his native place in the neighbouring district, bought a piece of land and a small house, installed a borewell for the land, and arranged for cultivation. Now he had come back to vacate his place here so that he might permanently go back to his place. With a smile he explained that all the money came to him after he had made the offering and that money helped him settle down in his old age.
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Re: Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Postby admin » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am

24. LUCK

When I went to the shop where I generally buy my stationery, the owner of the shop asked me if I could suggest the name of a good hostel where he could put his ten year old son. He said his son was dull and might not complete SSLC. I did not approve of a parent putting his child in a hostel, while he himself lived in the same town. He said, “I have worked hard all my life and earned enough. Of the three children, he is the only son but he is always playful. He never thinks of studying. Though I am not educated, I wish my son to complete SSLC.” I wanted to meet the child before deciding on the issue. When I saw the boy, he looked brisk, bright, fairly intelligent. Only that he paid little attention to studies. I advised the parent suitably and assured him that his son would certainly take a degree. The father was pleased. The subsequent improvement in the boy’s education made us good friends.

He lived in that part of the town which is surrounded by very fertile paddy lands. To own some lands in that stretch was a matter of prestige. When anyone here first acquired some wealth, they would buy a few acres of land in that area. Lands were irrigated from the river. Water supply was copious and unfailing during the years of good monsoon. Even during the years of monsoon failure, these lands would unfailingly receive good water supply for the samba season, as it so happened that the little water that flows in the river is stopped by a hill and all of it is available for irrigation. In such years a second crop is not possible. As every land owner there was well-to-do, people erected electric motors, so that during years of drought also they can have a second and even third crop. It is an irony of nature that at a place which abounds in surface water, ground water is scarce. Many dug bore-wells there after trial and error. Some did not succeed. It was the ambition of this man to buy some lands there, which he had done. He had a further desire to fit his lands with a borewell. Knowing my experience with borewells, he asked me for ideas and explained the problem there with the ground water. His neighbour unsuccessfully tried ten times and he was still trying for the 11th time, he said.

I spoke to him of the Mother and asked him to pray to Her. He had many relatives in Pondicherry and his business took him there quite often. So he said he would visit the Ashram to obtain Mother’s blessings before starting to dig a well. Any other type of help with respect to digging the well I offered to give. Digging started and was finished in two weeks. Water was struck! He came to me to express his thanks and surprise at striking water in the first trial. He said, “I started life at the bottom, went to Singapore, and worked hard. Now I am well off. I have earned enough for the rest of my life, though I am not one of the richest merchants. But it is my luck that any work that others can complete easily will lead me through detours, difficulties, lapses until frustration mounts beyond measure. However, finally I will succeed. This has always been the pattern of life, achieving through the hard way what is easy for everyone else. This digging of the well has been arduous, uncertain, complicated for everyone else, but it turned out to be easy for me. This is a standing wonder in my life.”

I added that once people take to Mother, such a change inevitably comes over their lives and his was another expression of Mother at work.

A few years later during one of his visits to me, he expressed his dejection over the attitude of his partner. His was the biggest shop in the town. There were three partners from its inception, all having equal shares. These were all boyhood friends who went to Singapore during their boyhood. All of them returned together with substantial savings. They desired to remain together in future, too. With that in view, they together bought the biggest shop in the locality. Soon business flourished and all the partners, being in their prime of life, started buying properties, building houses, investing the surplus funds in other trades independently of the other partners. One of them struck gold in another business he chose and began to prosper beyond measure and soon became a VIP. Then he stopped coming to the shop any more, except for periodic visits. The other two flourished in a few other lines, though not rising to greater heights. My friend and this other man together managed the shop. My friend was less dynamic and less ambitious. So he saved all his excess cash in terms of immovable properties. His was a modest outlay fitting his quiet temperament.

Now my friend had come to me to unburden his woes regarding this partner, whom he had to meet everyday and work with all the time, co-ordinating purchases, accounts, displays in the shop, floor management, cash handling and the multitude of responsibilities that go with running a business. In spite of being a boyhood friend, his partner now showed a new side of his personality. His daily increasing wealth turned his head. He was no longer level-headed. His interference was often and comments were impolite. His manner was intolerable. His language became objectionable and he became a nagging pain-in-the-neck at work. My friend, who had a quiet sweet temperament, would not retort. But his partner had become a nightmare for him. Not being able to be rude, not being able to stand the situation, he was suffering and oppressed. He told me that he would gladly give up his share and retire into his house, as he had enough money for the rest of his life. He said he could start another shop all on his own and make as much income, but he was polite enough and good enough not to express it to either of his partners. But now a point had come beyond which he could not remain quiet. He said he had decided to take some action to free himself from the trouble, but was undecided on what it should be.

I advised him not to take any outward action. His patience, politeness, self-restraint, and consideration for others were commendable and any action now might lessen the value of his great, good behaviour so far. Instead, he could pray to Mother for relief, I said. He agreed. He added that he would visit the Samadhi, as he often went to Pondicherry. Within a week, I heard he was trying to meet me and thought there should be some developments with his partner. Soon he met me. He said, “I am relieved, relieved of my nightmare under unpredictable circumstances which are almost miraculous. My nagging partner went to the house of the other partner and displayed the wares of his beautiful temperament. The other man was outraged. He offered to buy this man off on the spot and did so. The trouble was over. As to my share of the newly acquired one-third of the shop, it was also paid on my behalf. You see, now I am a 50% shareholder! To my surprise, the other partner, contrary to his wont, asked to be paid back at my own convenience!”
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