Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, Pondicherry ISBN: 978-81-7058-899-3
About Sweet Mother: Luminous Notes
This book is a collection of conversations with the Mother on a variety of topics. They were noted down from memory except for a few that were recorded on tape. In these conversations the Mother covers a wide range of subjects, from her signature, her photographs, and the significance of flowers to palmistry, the March Past, and football. Perhaps most significantly, she talks extensively on Savitri in a manner not expressed anywhere else in her writings or talks. This book includes revised versions of all the conversations published earlier in the two parts of Sweet Mother: Harmonies of Light, as well as new material.
There are different kinds of books relating to the Truth that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo bring down to earth and men. One kind relates to the teachings; the path they have shown and the truths they have revealed. These books may have a rather impersonal tone about them and therefore appeal to a certain type of secular mind-set, one that shuns everything devotional or anything that has a ring of revelation in it. To those who can feel and know by a sense deeper than thought, and possess a certain psychic feeling, if one may say so, there is another side of the Truth that reveals itself in the persona of the embodied Divine. It is, so to say, more personal and intimate, appealing to and addressing the heart and the soul. Another kind of book relates to the life and lila of the embodied Divine and His way of dealing with our blind and ignorant humanity: leading us by the hand, as it were, or carrying us sheltered in the heart. Naturally such books carry a greater appeal for the devotee who sees with the eye of faith or knows directly by the soul's contact rather than by an indirect and laborious passage through the labyrinth of his mind.
The book under review belongs primarily to the second category. Though in many ways it also addresses the mind of the seeker its thrust is rather to touch and awaken some deeper layer of our being and through that to reach out directly to the soul of the reader. It is only natural that it be so since the book is the result of a personal interaction between a then young disciple and the Mother. To this disciple faith came naturally, and surrender and obedience were the very food of his inner life. Quite naturally it is only to such a one that the Divine reveals his deeper and intimate side. To him, endowed or rather blessed with this faith, is revealed that vision of the glory which hides behind the human persons of the Avatara. We, too, feel blessed and uplifted as he shares his experience with those of us who did not have the exceptional privilege of a personal physical contact with the twin Avataras, in this life at least. Just as a student of the Gita is enthralled with the vision of the Lord granted to Arjuna, so too, as we go through the pages of Sweet Mother: Luminous Notes, are we enchanted and enamoured, uplifted and inspired, indeed captured by the rapture of the unfolding divine vision, wonder-struck by the priceless gems of truths and rare jewels of the spirit, almost casually strewn before us by an act of Grace. The recipient of this special Grace, Mona-da, may not be an Arjuna but he is surely among the front rank of our humanity. His illustrious father Shri Sudhir Sarkar was not only a well-known and fearless freedom fighter, who was deported by the British to the Andamans, but was also close to Sri Aurobindo both during India's freedom struggle and after. Mona-da himself is presently the captain in charge of the command during the Ashram March Past. One may well surmise that his straightforward, truth-loving, simple, childlike nature, endowed with a strength and conviction born of faith, must have been one of the reasons for this special Grace. Whatever may be the inner and deeper reasons that elude the human mind, the result of this meeting between the human disciple and the embodied Divine has turned out to be most fruitful for those who followed afterwards. We are grateful that he has chosen to share with us these notes that have been revealed to him in personal moments and in an intimate vein.
The book itself has seven sections, each taking us deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Divine Mother and Her sublime play with Her children. The first section reveals to us the deeper significance of Om, of the Mother's signature, Her photographs, Her gaze, and Her vision. The second section is a most profound and amazing revelation about Savitri, "the Truth of Tomorrow". This whole chapter has an extraordinary power in it and can easily be called the very best, indeed the last word to be said on the subject. The third section deals with some personal advice given by the Mother relating to guidance in life and in Yoga. The fourth deals with the veiled realities behind numbers, dates, lines upon the palm, birthdays, etc. The fifth is an exceedingly beautiful chapter on flowers that ends with a most uplifting note inspiring us to be like a flower: open and radiant, frank and transparent, equal and without preferences, generously giving without reserve, gentle and sweet. The sixth section primarily relates to some aspects of the Mother's work and action in the Ashram context; nevertheless, it indicates Her ways of working in general upon the world. Finally, the seventh and last section tops it all by revealing, through subtly dropped hints of deep import, some profound truths about the purpose of Her embodiment, the physical transformation, Her tremendous action in matter and the physical world, and above all Her ever-present help and Grace. It is the supreme assurance always given to man by the incarnate Divine: that whatever happens we must cleave to Him by faith for He never abandons His devotee, even when appearances seem otherwise. To quote from this last part of the book:
You know, once I have taken his charge (referring to a disciple who was seriously ill), whatever may happen to him, it may be some painful or disagreeable thing, you understand…but the Grace will protect his soul and carry him nearer to me. There is nothing better one can expect.
The Grace is the greatest protection and the quickest means to come closer to me. It is invincible and does not follow the slow natural route but jumps, takes a leap, towards the goal. Whatever may be the outer consequences, the Grace carries you directly to me.
Indeed the book itself is an act of Grace and is best received as such, with gratitude and openness. It is not an intellectual treatise but a revelation that surpasses any intellectual analysis. It is about truths that the mind can never know by intellectual effort. The human mind skims upon the surface and, tied to the outposts of the material senses, cannot dive deep. This book takes us deeper, holding the hand of the Divine Mother, and shows us what mortal eyes cannot see and reveals what the mind cannot think. A priceless treasure of nearly 170 luminous pages, it is available for a mere Rs 95. Neatly printed and with a beautiful cover, it is a treat and a feast for the inner and outer eyes, a delight to the hungry heart and the seeking soul.
Dr Alok Pandey
Dr Pandey, psychiatrist and philosopher, is a seeker on the path of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga. He writes and lectures extensively on varied issues of life and yoga.