published February 2015

Sri Aurobindo Learning Center

One must be calm

Between World War I and World War II, many children came to live in the ashram.  A devotee who was five when she met the Mother said the children flocked around her, played games with her in the cool halls of the ashram building, and the little girls wanted to be just like her.  The Mother taught French to the children.  Her classes were so popular that adult devotees sat in with the children, to ask questions and learn French:

“For each one the means (to be calm) is different, but first one must feel the need of this quietude, this peace in the mind.  Now, one quickly perceives that there is another quietude which is necessary, the absence of desire.  Quietude is a very positive state; there is a positive peace which is not the opposite of conflict—an active peace, contagious, powerful, which control and calms, which puts everything in order, organizes.  When I tell someone ‘Be calm’, I don’t mean ‘Go to sleep, be inert and passive . . .’ far from that.  True quietude is a very great force, a very great strength.  And this is true even in the physical field.  I don’t know if you have observed animals like lions, tigers, elephants, but when they are not in action, they are always so perfectly still.  A lion sitting and looking at you seems always (to say), ‘Oh, how fidgety you are!’  It looks at you with such a peaceful air of wisdom.

“I have seen people who could not sit still for half an hour without fidgeting.  They had to move a foot or an arm or their head;  they had to stir restlessly all the time, for they did not have the power to remain quiet.  This capacity to remain still when one wants to, to gather all one’s energies and spend them as one wishes, is always the sign of strength.  Make your mind quiet, don’t get restless all the time in your head, don’t rake up lots of ideas, calm yourself.”

Currently, the Savitri Circle, in its Tuesday evening meetings, is working on the question of quietude.   Some members have learned ways to silence the mind and Marika is leading us in a very effective mini-workshop.  We meet for a potluck meal at 5pm during the winter, at Savitri House: 83 Baca Grant Way.  Call 256-4917 for information.