Light of life

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An SAS Journal (Blog). Updated fortnightly.

LIGHT on LIFE

We often receive questions from aspirants who are not satisfied with their present state, who are trying to find a meaning in their lives, a deeper reason for why things happen as they do, and who are searching for a light to guide them in their actions.

Here are some questions of this nature compiled under various topics. The answers to these questions on life are from the writings of two great spiritual masters of our times Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and they present with great insight, the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of things. We welcome suggestions and more questions from you, the reader, to enrich this section.

TOPICS

We do hope that this list of compilations will inspire the readers to go to the complete works, help them to uncover the deeper purpose of their life, and set them on the path of ever greater perfection:

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (alphabetically listed by topic)

Accidents Accidents do happen in our life. What are the deeper causes for such mishaps? Can the accidents be prevented? If yes, how?
Agitation & Restlessness Agitation and restlessness leads only to waste and dilution of the creative energy. How to overcome this undercurrent of restlessness and agitation within us and act from creative silence?
Anger We flare up at every provocation. What is the source of this red flame of violence within us and how to overcome it?
Art What is the meaning of true art? Is it just music and painting? Does it have any practical significance for our life?
Astrology Is Astrology a science or a superstition? What is the relationship between stars and fate? Does our horoscope determine our fate?
Beauty All of us are enchanted by beautiful forms. What does Beauty entail of? Is Beauty completely subjective, or is there any objective reality to it? What is there behind or beyond beauty, of which it is an expression? Is it possible to make our whole life into a masterpiece of art and beauty?
Business Business is the dominant social organ of our modern age. Can business be done with higher ideals beyond making money? Is doing business incompatible with spiritual life?
Care for Material Things Material objects like chair or watch are a part of our daily life. What is their real nature? Are they mere “things”, dumb and inanimate? How to use them with the right attitude?
Causes of Illness Health disorders, big and small, are part of our life. What are the deeper causes of illness? What are the true remedies?
Circumstances We tend to be disturbed or overwhelmed by circumstances. Is it a necessity or a habit which can be overcome? Is it possible to remain inwardly calm and undisturbed under all circumstances?
Compassion Compassion is a primary virtue of the heart. What is the nature of compassion? Is it the same as pity? What is the relation between compassion and sorrow?
Concentration Concentration is the key to success in whatever we want to achieve in life. What is concentration? How to develop the power of concentration?
Confidence Those who are confident go through life with a triumphant march. But what does it mean to be confident? What is the deeper source of this virtue?
Consciousness We hear so much about this word, but what exactly is consciousness? Does consciousness belong only to humans or do animals, plants and stones also have consciousness? Is consciousness something static and passive, or can it be active as well?
Courage Courage is a warrior virtue. What are the nature and source of Courage? How does one conquer its opposite, Fear?
Creation & the Creator The origin and nature of Creation are a divine mystery and a subject of everlasting debate among philosophers. If the divine is Supreme Truth, Beauty and Bliss why are there evil, suffering and pain in His Creation? Is it because there is a flaw in the Creator? What is the relationship between the Creator and His Creation?
Criticism To receive criticism with grace and learn from it is a sign of maturity. What should be my attitude towards criticisms? How should I deal with it?
Dealing with Pain & Suffering Pain and suffering, and their opposites pleasure and happiness are part of the dualities of life? What are the root causes of pain and suffering and how to overcome these unpleasant facets of life?
Death Death is a dark mystery of terrestrial creation. Why do we die? What is the right attitude towards Death? What happens to our inner being after the death of the body? How to overcome the fear of death?
Depression According to many research studies, depression is a major psychological malady of humanity. What are the root causes of depression? How to overcome it?
Desire Conquest over desire is a well-known principle of all religious and spiritual disciplines. But what is precisely the nature and source of desire? How to distinguish between a legitimate need and a desire? How to conquer desire?
Devotion In the Indian spiritual tradition, a heart’s devotion to God, called Bhakti, is regarded as the easiest path to the Divine. What is Bhakti? Is it some extravagant religious sentimentalism? Is it inferior to the path of Knowledge? What is the nature of pure and complete spiritual devotion to God and how to realise it?
Discipline & Freedom In current times, most of us, especially the younger ones, demand freedom. But without discipline, freedom becomes chaotic license to “do as I like”. How important is freedom for the individual and collective progress? How to reconcile discipline with freedom?
Doubt Genuine enquiry is a legitimate path to knowledge but sceptical or cynical doubting destroys faith and confidence. Why do we doubt? How to deal with the habit of this corrosive doubting?
Dreams We all have dreams during sleep. We would like to know their meaning and significance. There are a large number of books on this subject, but they do not always give satisfying answers. What are dreams? What is their nature and importance? Why do we forget our dreams? Can we have control over our dreams? How to interpret dreams?
Education There is at present a growing recognition among progressive thinkers that it is not capital or resources but education which holds the key to effective national development. But what is the aim and purpose of education? Is it merely information, knowledge, skill development, or employability or something much deeper and higher related to the highest aims of our life as a whole?
Effort & Discouragement All progress comes from effort. What is the nature, meaning and significance of effort? Does effort bring pain or joy to oneself? While making an effort, we often we feel discouraged. What should we do to overcome discouragement?
Ego We are often disturbed and irritated by the egoism in others, but are not aware of the ego in us or its promptings. What is precisely the nature of this ego and how to overcome it?
Equality Equality is one of the qualities of a sage. Do we need to be a sage in order to have Equality? How important is it to have this Equality? And how to achieve it? This compilation deals with questions related to Equality and describes the inner discipline needed to achieve this Equality.
Faith Faith is a key factor of success in life. What is the true nature of Faith? Is it the same as belief or something deeper?
Fate, Free-Will and Karma This is an ancient and immemorial debate. Do we have a free-will or everything is determined by Fate? How far are things Predestined? What is the role of Karma? Do Prophesies and predictions always come true? Can one change one’s Destiny?
Food We need food for our physical survival. How to take food in the right way which leads to the health of our body as well as our inner growth?
Freedom and Liberty We need Freedom for our growth. But what is this Freedom? Does it mean “To do what I like”? How to discover true Freedom?
Friend Friendship enriches our life. Who is a true friend? What must be our attitude towards our friends and people around us?
Generosity Generosity is the expression of the largeness of the heart. Here are the various facets of Generosity explained.
Ghosts, Superstitions and Black Magic Ghosts and black magic are considered to be part of our fantasy, meant perhaps to intimidate infantile minds. Are they mere figments of our imagination, or are they real?
Gods and the Divine Most of the religious and spiritual traditions of the world believe in the existence of God or Gods. Who are these heavenly beings? What is their nature and source?
Grace There is a transcendent force in the Divine which can save, help, guide and uplift us if we invoke it in the right way. What is this force which we call as Grace? How to receive its help?
Gratitude To be grateful for all that we have received from the Divine is an uplifting emotion. The following quotes bring out the deeper and subtler nuances of the feeling of Gratitude.
Happiness/Joy/Cheerfulness/Delight Pursuit of joy is an intrinsic urge in human nature. What is the source of true and lasting happiness and how to find it?
Health Good health is the foundation of a happy life. Here are some practical guidelines for achieving integral health.
Helping Others and the World We all want to help others and the world. But what is best way of helping others or the world. How to help others with out thoughts
Human Relationships Most of our human relationships are conflict-ridden. How to achieve harmony in our relationships.
Humility/Modesty All truly great and wise men and woman are humble. What does it mean to be truly humble?
Imagination Imagination is a creative faculty manner? What is its nature? How to use it in a constructive manner?
Intuition Intuition is the faculty of the future? How to develop this faculty which is essential for our future and higher evolution?
Life Is there a purpose to life? How to find it?
Mantra & Japa Chanting of sacred Mantras, called Japa, is a well-known spiritual discipline in India. A brief outline of the path of Japa.
Meditation Meditation is now a well-known term, but the deeper and broader significance of meditative practices are not fully understood. This article answers some of the frequently asked questions on meditation.
Mistakes & Errors We are all prone to errors and mistakes, and knowingly or unknowingly act wrongly. What are the deeper causes of these stumblings? What is the remedy?
Money Money is something which the worldly man covets and the religious ascetic rejects. What is true nature of money and how to use it?
Music In most of the religious and spiritual traditions, music is regarded as a sacred art which can help us to come into contact with the Divine. This article brings out the deeper purpose of music as a path of spiritual development.
Natural Disasters We are horrified by the destruction wrought by the natural disaster. But could there be a deeper purpose behind the fury of Nature?
Occultism There is reluctance among the modern scientific and secular thinkers to accept the occult and invisible dimension. Is occultism a mere magic and charlatanism or a true science? A brief overview of the true meaning of occultism.
Patience Patience, perseverance and endurance are some of the less glamorous virtues which pave the road to success and achievement. This compilation brings out the meaning and importance of these virtues.
Peace Peace is one of the most sought after virtues, very much needed in our present age of stress and anxiety, change and turbulence. How to achieve inner peace?
Perseverance What is the deeper meaning of perseverance
Planes and Parts of the Being Self-knowledge must be the foundation of education. We must know what we are made of. Here is a brief review of the structure of our being.
Prayers Prayer is the key to the divine doors. By prayer and aspiration we can bring down into our human life the help and guidance of a higher Power with an infinitely greater wisdom and force than the puny intelligence and capacities of our ignorant and struggling ego. How to make our being receptive to Grace through prayer?
Progress We are part of an evolving world where anything that doesn’t progress disintegrates. How to attune our being to this universal law of change evolution and progress.
Religion The contribution of religions to human progress is a mixed bag of good and evil. Can religions help in our spiritual growth?
Remain Young We all want to remain young. What does it mean to be young?
Responsibility and Leadership We have a responsibility to our own self and if we are leaders, to those who are under our care. How to fulfill these responsibilities?
Right Attitude The Goddess of Life responds to us according to our inner attitude to her. What are the attitude which can lead us to peace, happiness and success in life?
Secret of Sadhana Is the yoga at all possible for everyone? What is its central process? What is the secret of sadhana? Sri Aurobindo in a most beautiful and reassuring reply says that the secret is to truly want the Divine, to surrender oneself completely and to hand over the entire responsibility of one’s life and sadhana to the Divine, and then the Divine will do everything
Significance of Birthdays Our birthdays are part of the rhythm of life and have an inner significance. How to spend our birthdays?
Sleep and Dream How can one sleep well? What happens during sleep? These questions may seem trivial as we all sleep everyday and there is nothing more to it. But, in fact, there are a large number of persons who have sleep problems. And even amongst those who do not have problems, very few know how to sleep properly and benefit from it.
Speech Control over our organ of speech is an important part of self-mastery. How to achieve this control over our unruly tongue?
Spiritual Path We can attain our highest potential and fulfillment only through a path of spiritual growth. Here are some luminous guidance for the spiritual seeker.
Success Most people, especially of the kinetic kind, are driven by the motive of success. How to raise beyond the duality of success and failure to a state of calm equanimity? How to define success? What are the degrees of achievement and success? What are the common factors of success?
Tamas – Laziness, Tiredness, and Fatigue Our body and mind tend to get paralyzed sometimes by laziness and inertia. What are the inner causes of laziness and how to overcome it?
Transformation This term is used mostly for some form of external change in the outer life. But for a true and lasting transformation of life there must be first the transformation of consciousness. This article brings out the nature of this inner transformation.
Truth Most of us assert our personal beliefs and opinions as “truth” and “fact”. But what is truly the Truth?
Visions and Symbols The inner journey in the path of yoga brings visions of various kinds, with a symbolic meaning. How to discover the meaning and significance of these visions?
Who We are and What We are Meant to be Who am I? Why do I have such contradictory elements within me? Why am I pulled constantly in opposite directions? What is the purpose of life? What is my mission and role? What is it that I have to do upon earth? How can I be of true help to others?

 

ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE QUOTES

SABCL: Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library Edition, published on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s birth centenary in 1972 (in 30 volumes)
CWSA: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo, published on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s125th birth anniversary in 1997 (in 37 volumes)
CWM1: Collected Works of the Mother, 1st Edition, published on the occasion of the Mother's birth centenary in 1978 (in 17 volumes)
CWM2: Collected Works of the Mother, 2nd Edition, published on the occasion of the Mother's 125th birth anniversary in 2003 (in 17 volumes)

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