Developing one’s own spiritual atmosphere (Gita 3:17)

We desire security in life and the manner in which we satisfy this desire alters considerably as we evolve in consciousness.   At the lowest level stands the social individual, who prudently nurtures an extensive network of family and friends to whom he/she can turn to in times of desperation.  In the middle stands the neophyte on the spiritual path, who seeks shelter in a place of meditation – a room where the vibrations have been made serene through devotional music and incense – where he or she can withdraw to contemplate and gain strength during trials and tribulations.

At the highest level stands the adept, whose consciousness has blossomed within, who  has begun to perceive a center of immobility deep within the heart (not the same as the center of the ego), with which one can look upon the world with an attitude of detached superiority.  Such a person becomes ensconced in an aura or atmosphere of tranquility  which insulates him or her from the tumult of the phenomenal vibrations.  No longer does one need a cup of coffee, family, friends, etc to turn to for support in times of trouble !   The Bhagavad Gita (verse 3:17) uses the word Atmarati (one who lives by the pleasure of the Self) to define this condition.

yas tv atmaratir eva syad
atma trptas ca manavah
atmani eva ca santustas
tasya karyam na vidyate

Translation: One who in every way takes pleasure in the Self, who is illuminated in the Self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the Self only – for him there is no duty.

The Buddha.  Flickr (Creative Commons).            Click image for source

The Mother Mirra Alfassa, while sailing from France to India in the year 1914, jotted down these lines regarding her own experience of this inward stability.

“Those who live for Thee and in Thee may change their physical surroundings, their habits, climate, “milieu”, but everywhere they find the same atmosphere; they carry that atmosphere in themselves, in their thought constantly fixed on Thee.  Everywhere they feel at home, for everywhere they are in Thy house. No longer do they marvel at the novelty, unexpectedness, picturesqueness of things and countries; for them, it is Thy Presence that is manifest in all and Thy unchangeable splendour, which never leaves them, is apparent in the least grain of sand. The whole earth chants Thy praises; in spite of the obscurity, misery, ignorance, through it all, it is still the glory of Thy love which we perceive and with which we can commune ceaselessly everywhere.

O Lord, my sweet Master, all this I constantly experience on this boat which seems to me a marvellous abode of peace, a temple sailing in Thy honour over the waves of the subconscient passivity which we have to conquer and awaken to the consciousness of Thy divine Presence.

Blessed was the day when I came to know Thee, O Ineffable Eternity.

Blessed among all days be that day when the earth at last awakened shall know Thee and shall live only for Thee.”

The Mother, Prayers and Meditations: March 9, 1914

In moments when the inner lamps are lit
And the life’s cherished guests are left outside,
Our spirit sits alone and speaks to its gulfs.
A wider consciousness opens then its doors;
Invading from spiritual silences
A ray of the timeless Glory stoops awhile
To commune with our seized illumined clay
And leaves its huge white stamp upon our lives.

Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The Secret Knowledge

Related Posts

  1. States of self-realization defined in the Gita

15 thoughts on “Developing one’s own spiritual atmosphere (Gita 3:17)

  1. kalpana

    This post is a wonderful tonic to take, and to sip, throughout the day – magic potion for one’s trip on the ocean [samsara of daily life]. Many thanks!

  2. kalpana

    An interesting article in Huffington Post refers to some observations on how our energy fields connect with others, and therefore one could see how cultivating a spiritual atmosphere might also have wider benefits:

    ”Neuroscience, quantum biology, and quantum physics are now beginning to converge to reveal that our bodies are not only biochemical systems but also sophisticated resonating quantum systems. These new discoveries show that a form of nonlocal connected consciousness has a physical-scientific basis. Further, it demonstrates that certain spiritual or transcendental states of collective Oneness have a valid basis within the new scientific paradigm.”

  3. Pingback: How to increase will-power « Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  4. Pingback: The ability to withstand hardships in the spiritual path | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  5. Pingback: Identifying the signs of spiritual progress | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  6. Sandeep Post author

    Question: Sweet Mother, here it is written: “A spiritual atmosphere is more important than outer conditions; if one can get that and also create one’s own spiritual air to breathe in and live in it, that is the true condition of progress.” How can one get that and also create one’s true spiritual atmosphere?

    Mother: Get what? This—it is by… precisely by inner discipline; you can create your atmosphere by controlling your thoughts, turning them exclusively towards the sadhana(askesis), controlling your actions, turning them exclusively towards the sadhana, abolishing all desires and all useless, external, ordinary activities, living a more intense inner life, and separating yourself from ordinary things, ordinary thoughts, ordinary reactions, ordinary actions; then you create a kind of atmosphere around you.

    For example, instead of reading any odd thing and chatting and doing anything whatever, if you read only what helps you to follow the path, if you act only in conformity with what can lead you to the divine realisation, if you abolish in yourself all desires and impulses turned towards external things, if you calm your mental being, appease your vital being, if you shut yourself against suggestions coming from outside and become immune to the action of people surrounding you, you create such a spiritual atmosphere that nothing can touch it, and it no longer depends at all on circumstances or on whom you live with or on the conditions you live in, because you are enclosed in your own spiritual atmosphere. And that is how one obtains it: by turning one’s attention solely to the spiritual life, by reading only what can help in the spiritual life, by doing only what leads you to the spiritual life, and so on. Then you create your own atmosphere. But naturally, if you open all the doors, listen to what people tell you, follow the advice of this one and the inspirations of that one, and are full of desires for outside things, you cannot create a spiritual atmosphere for yourself. You will have an ordinary atmosphere like everybody else.

    (Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 6, pp 356-357)

  7. Sandeep Post author

    A poem on the serene Buddha by Sarojini Naidu

    To a Buddha seated on a Lotus

    LORD BUDDHA, on thy lotus-throne,
    With praying eyes and hands elate,
    What mystic rapture dost thou own,
    Immutable and ultimate?
    What peace, unravished of our ken,
    Annihilate from the world of men?

    The wind of change for ever blows
    Across the tumult of our way,
    To-morrow’s unborn griefs depose
    The sorrows of our yesterday.
    Dream yields to dream, strife follows strife,
    And Death unweaves the webs of Life.

    For us the travail and the heat,
    The broken secrets of our pride,
    The strenuous lessons of defeat,
    The flower deferred, the fruit denied;
    But not the peace, supremely won,
    Lord Buddha, of thy Lotus-throne.

    With futile hands we seek to gain
    Our inaccessible desire,
    Diviner summits to attain,
    With faith that sinks and feet that tire
    But nought shall conquer or control
    The heavenward hunger of our soul.

    The end, elusive and afar,
    Still lures us with its beckoning flight,
    And all our mortal moments are
    A session of the Infinite.
    How shall we reach the great, unknown
    Nirvana of thy Lotus-throne?

  8. Pingback: The spiritual dawn | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  9. Pingback: Practicing Yoga without a Guru | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  10. Pingback: How do movies affect yoga practice? | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  11. Mark

    An additional Quotation from The Mother on the topic of ‘Developing a Spiritual Atmosphere’:

    “The inner law, the truth of the being is the divine Presence in every human being, which should be the master and guide of our life.

    When you acquire the habit of listening to this inner law, when you obey it, follow it, try more and more to let it guide your life, you create around you an atmosphere of truth and peace and harmony which naturally reacts upon circumstances and forms, so to say, the atmosphere in which you live. When you are a being of justice, truth, harmony, compassion, understanding, of perfect goodwill, this inner attitude, the more sincere and total it is, the more it reacts upon the external circumstances; not that it necessarily diminishes the difficulties of life, but it gives these difficulties a new meaning and that allows you to face them with a new strength and a new wisdom; whereas the man, the human being who follows his impulses, who obeys his desires, who has no time for scruples, who comes to live in complete cynicism, not caring for the effect that his life has upon others or for the more or less harmful consequences of his acts, creates for himself an atmosphere of ugliness, selfishness, conflict and bad will which necessarily acts more and more upon his consciousness and gives a bitterness to his life that in the end becomes a perpetual torment.” Collected Works of the Mother 3:279

  12. mike

    About reading. l found a nice site for free ebooks by SA, M, Satprem, G Van Wrekham etc.. The books are in PDF, EPUB and KINDLE format. l was pleased with the kindle version of ‘Letter’s on Yoga’ because l like having kindle read aloud to me – l prefer listening to books. Also, you can search for words and phrase in entire books – very useful. Some of you are probably aware of this website already….

    1. mwb6119

      Thanks Mike. I don’t remember you’re sharing this before. There are a lot of good books and some I do not have. Now I need Kindle. 🙂


Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s