Friday, March 20, 2015

India's Quest to Reclaim Yoga

A bronze chola statue of Nataraja [dancing the eternal flow of creation, preservation and dissolution of the Vedic yajna], at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Photographed by Kesava Mallela, July 1, 2005.


The whole of karma yoga, or any yoga for the matter of that, is centred round this principle governing all life and existence – the principle of yajna, sacrifice.

– Swami Krisnananda,
The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita

In his 17 November 2014 speech at Allphones Arena in Sydney Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that Swami Vivekananda's dream of India becoming vishwa-guru or world teacher has come true. Vishwa is a Sanskrit word meaning not only the whole world, but also the whole universe or cosmos. Guru means one who brings light into darkness, and most often connotes a spiritual teacher.
    It is true that much of the world looks to the sages and sacred texts of India for spiritual light and certainly hatha yoga has spread widely across the world, but considering the persistent disharmony seen throughout the field of India and the world it seems wise to acknowledge that both the world and India have a long way to go in terms of our understanding and embodiment of the unity-consciousness that is the Vedic basis and all-illuminating outcome of yoga.
    Sri Aurobindo, who also foresaw India's future as vishwa-guru, wrote in The Secret of the Veda that no Indian has understood the Vedas in over 2,000 years and admitted that:
"... [In] the later ages the very device used by the Rishis turned against the preservation of the knowledge. For language changed its character, rejected its earlier pliability, shed off old familiar senses; the word contracted and shrank into its outer and concrete significance. The ambrosial wine of the Ananda was forgotten in the physical offering; the image of the clarified butter recalled only the gross libation to mythological deities, lords of the fire and the cloud and the storm-blast, godheads void of any but a material energy and an external lustre. The letter lived on when the spirit was forgotten; the symbol, the body of the doctrine, remained, but the soul of knowledge had fled from its coverings." [Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo (CWSA), Vol. 15, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1997, p. 56-57.]
The device or "body of the doctrine" used by the Vedic Rishis to preserve knowledge was the yajna or sacrifice. Yajna, also spelled yagna and yaga, is the foundation and central subject pervading the Vedas, and whether many people in our day and age know it or not, it is the foundation of yoga.
"The higher light of Surya [the Sun] is that by which vision rises on our darkness and moves towards the superconscient ... is the vision of the highest to which man arrives by the Yajna or Yoga of his being, by its union through a long labour of self-uplifting and self-giving to the powers of the concealed Truth. 'O Sun, thou all-seeing Intelligence,' cries the Rishi, 'may we, living creatures, behold thee bringing to us the great Light, blazing out on us for vision upon vision of the beatitude, ascending to the bliss in the vast mass of thy strength above!'" [Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 15, p. 479.]
    In his September 2014 United Nations General Assembly speech Modi called for an International Yoga Day, saying that the ancient science of yoga is India’s gift to the world. On 11 November 2014 he appointed Shripad Yesso Naik as India's first yoga minister, tasked with the job of promoting and protecting India’s most famous export. It will be interesting to see if the yoga minister's job will include educating the world on the essential connection between yajna and yoga because, as is, ask any yoga teacher or student outside India what yajna has to do with yoga and you will likely get a very blank face. Yoga is defined in the Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon (CDSL) as:
"The act of yoking, joining, attaching, harnessing ... a yoke, team, vehicle, conveyance ... fixing (of an arrow on the bow-string) ... a means, expedient, device, way, manner, method ... any junction, union, combination, contact with ... connection, relation ... putting together, arrangement, regular succession .... [Its] chief aim being to teach the means by which the human spirit may attain complete union with Isvara or the Supreme Spirit; the union of soul with matter; the union of the individual soul with the universal soul."
    Yaga is defined in the same comprehensive dictionary as "an offering, oblation, sacrifice." Yaj is defined as "to worship, adore, honour ... with sacrifice or oblations ... to consecrate, hallow, offer." In The Secret of the Veda, Sri Aurobindo wrote that the term and form of the yajna, and hence the central theme of the Vedas, is the journey of the 12 month year.
"This victory [the possession of our complete divine consciousness delivered from all falsehood by the free descent of the truth] is won in twelve periods of the upward journey, represented by the revolution of the twelve months of the sacrificial year, the periods corresponding to the successive dawns of a wider and wider truth, until the tenth secures the victory. What may be the precise significance of the nine rays and the ten, is a more difficult question which we are not yet in a position to solve; but the light we already have is sufficient to illuminate all the main imagery of the Rig Veda."  [CWSA, Vol. 15, p. 182.]
In the same book he also wrote, "In the Puranas ... it is stated that the body of man is the year." [CWSA, Vol. 15, p. 177.] This is stated because for the Vedic Rishis yajna expressed the unbreakable link and quantum entanglement between man's physical body and the body of time and all that manifests within that eternal body. The Earth's yearly journey around the Sun is a real, not imagined, body of time lived by the Earth and all her inhabitants. It is the base unit of our time on Earth, which to the Rishis was understood as the foundation of oneness throughout all cycles and moments in time, just as the number one is the base unit of our number system. This Puranic correlation between the body of man and the body of the year gives us an extremely important key to the essence of yoga and to the universal and eternal law of our being and becoming – sanatana dharma. It may also give us an indication of how little modern man knows of this yoga, the yoga of the whole body of the eternal Self as it moves in time and space. The Vedic Rishi Dīrghatamas sung of the yajna:
Twelve are the fellies, and the wheel is single;
three are the naves.
What man hath understood it?
Therein are set together spokes three hundred and sixty,
which in nowise can be loosened.

That breast of thine exhaustless, spring of pleasure,
wherewith thou feedest all things that are choicest,
Wealth-giver, treasure. finder, free bestower,
—bring that, Sarasvatī, that we may drain it.

By means of [yajna] the Gods accomplished their sacrifice:
these were the earliest ordinances.
These Mighty Ones attained the height of heaven,
there where the Sādhyas, Gods of old, are dwelling. 

Rig Veda 1.164:48-50 (tr. by R T H Griffith)
    The Rishis and Sri Aurobindo have told us that the union or yoga of the individual self with the universal Self or vishwa-atma (the super-soul of the cosmos) is accomplished via this 360 degree framework and journey. It is important to note however that the Rishis did indicate this was not at all a simple matter to comprehend. Even Sri Aurobindo admitted to not fully understanding the 12 months or rays of the yajna in The Secret of the Veda. Yet since Sri Aurobindo's passing in 1950, this mystifying connection between the 12 month year and the unity consciousness of the Vedic Rishis has been much explained and demystified. Many missing pieces have been put into place and many misunderstandings regarding yajna and yoga have been corrected.
    Sri Aurobindo's initiation into the true and full nature of yoga began in 1908 which marked the beginning of a process of recovery of the lost truth-consciousness of the Veda, for India and for the world. Much of this initiation, which included fifteen days of instructions from the non-physical presence of Vivekananda who had left his body in 1902, occurred in the Alipore jail where Sri Aurobindo was imprisoned for one year and one day exactly by the British government for his role in the fight for India's independence. This process of recovery developed in successive stages in the natural course of time.
    Twenty-four days after his 6 May 1909 release from the Alipore jail, Sri Aurobindo spoke in Uttarpara, telling India that the truth-consciousness and sanatana dharma of the Vedic Rishis had been lost in its own motherland and needed to be fully rediscovered and restored for the benefit of the world. He acknowledged "few of us really know what [the Sanatan Dharma] is. ... the Sanatan Dharma is life itself; it is a thing that has not so much to be believed as lived."  He told India of his visions for her on that day:
"It is to give this [eternal dharma] that India is rising. She does not rise as other countries do, for self or when she is strong, to trample on the weak. She is rising to shed the eternal light entrusted to her over the world. India has always existed for humanity and not for herself and it is for humanity and not for herself that she must be great."  [CWSA, Vol. 8, p. 6.]
In 1910 Sri Aurobindo began writing The Secret of the Veda and revealed therein that, according to the Rishis, the path, way or course by which man (presumably India first) recovers the lost Sun or Light of Truth of self and world, is yajna. In 1914 he met Mirra Alfassa, who he acknowledged as the living incarnation of "The Mother" and as absolutely inseparable from his own yogic force, power and mission. They collaborated to bring down the highest spiritual light for India and for the Earth and after he left his body in 1950, she continued this work. In November of 1958 the Mother spoke of the need for a link between the prevailing consciousness of humans and the supramental or truth consciousness:
"It has not yet been built – it is in the course of being built ... The moment has come just now in the history of the universe, when that link must be established." [Collected Works of the Mother (CWM), Vol. 15, Lotus Light Publications, 2003, p. 366.]
Eleven years later, on the last day of 1969 and in the first weeks of 1970, the Mother envisioned this link in the form an inner chamber of the Matrimandir (the Mother's Temple), the measurements and features of which she documented precisely. Unbeknown to most, her vision was a perfect expression and embodiment of the fundamental pillar and fount of Vedic wisdom – the 12 month yajna or year. In addition to the fact that the primary template of the chamber is the circle of 12, the height and width the Mother gave for this inner chamber actually equals the number of days in the Earth's year. On top of that marvel of sacred geometry, the 24 meter diameter she saw for the chamber perfectly exhibits the Vedic correspondence between one 24-hour day and one year (as well as larger much cycles of time). This correspondence may not make much of an impression on the fragmented modern mind as yet, but in truth, it demonstrates a knowledge of principles of self-similarity, scale invariance, multi-local phenomenon and quantum entanglement within a unified field that extends not only through space but also through time as some modern scientists are beginning to discover.

A top-down view of the Mother's Temple vision, as constructed in
The New Way, Volumes 1&2,  Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, Aeon Books, 1981.

The Mother told her students in 1954:
"Twelve: that’s the number of Aditi, of Mahashakti. So it applies to everything; all her action has twelve aspects. There are also her twelve virtues, her twelve powers, her twelve aspects, and then her twelve planes of manifestation and many other things that are twelve; and the symbol, the number twelve is in itself a symbol. It is the symbol of manifestation, double perfection, in essence and in manifestation, in the creation." [CWM, Vol. 6, 10 Nov. 1954, p. 395.]
Throughout 1970 she attempted to convey something of the Matrimandir's connection with the progressive 12-stage evolutionary journey known to the Rishis as yajna:
"[Regarding the temple's interior] I have seen ... It will be a tower with twelve regular facets – each facet representing one month of the year. ... then inside there will be twelve columns ...." [The Mother's Agenda (TMA), Vol. 11, 3 Jan. 1970, Institut de Recherches Evolutives, Paris, 2000, p. 16]

"The Matrimandir wants to be the symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection. Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive human unity. – 14 August 1970" [CWM Vol. 13, p. 223.]

"The Matrimandir wants to be the symbol of the Universal Mother according to Sri Aurobindo’s teaching. – 15 November 1970" [CWM Vol. 13, p. 223.]
    Aditi, besides being universal mother and supporter of all creation and of all gods, including Agni, is described by the Rishis as "all that hath been born and shall be born." [RV 1. 89.10, tr. Griffith.]   
    The Mother was 90, going on 91 when she had her vision of the inner chamber of Matrimandir which visually and spatially enacts the eternal birth of Agni – the hidden One and the sacred fire which upholds the 12-rayed yajna (also spelled yagni). With this vision she established the missing link between the mortal-mundane consciousness of the human race and the immortal-divine consciousness of the Vedic Rishis. Thus she also illuminated the connection between the Vedic goddess Aditi and yajna. Three years later the Mother left her body, leaving behind the temple vision as her final and finest offering of supramental seeing to her students, conveying the true Vedic essence, foundation and field of unity-consciousness.   
    When the Mother realized these students were going to discard the specific measures and characteristics she gave for the inner chamber of this temple (and her gnosis along with it), she let them have their way, saying, "[They] understand what they have inside their heads. They change the meaning of the words .... So one must wait and wait until they are ripe – a lot of time is wasted, you understand. It is better not to say anything: apply the Pressure. Oh [in that] I am pitiless!"  [The Mother's Agenda (TMA), Vol. 11, Institut de Recherches Evolutives, Paris, 2000, p. 56-57.] A temple was subsequently built in the Mother's name in Auroville, which ignored and destroyed the sacred geometry of the temple. This temple continues to be celebrated by many who have yet to reestablish in their consciousness the significance of the Vedic Year (yajna) and its importance for the uplifting of consciousness not only in India, but throughout the world.
    The word "sacrifice" – the English translation of yajna, has come to mean to offer something for something in return, or to selflessly offer, give up or lose something, even one's life, for someone else or for a larger cause. It also unfortunately means to murder or slaughter innocent animals or persons as an offering to an unseen divine or perhaps demonic entity or higher power with the hopes of gaining sustenance, riches or favor from that entity or higher power. Sakrit in Sanskrit is translated in CDSL as "acting at once or simultaneously." Its prefix is sa meaning "junction," "conjunction," "similarity," "equality," and "together with" and is the root of the English words "same" and "similar" as well as "sacred". The second half of the word "sacrifice" likely comes from the Sanksrit word viz meaning, among other things "to enter in," "pervade," "to enter the fire," "to join or flow into" as well as "home" and "dwelling."  Viz is closely related to vish meaning "to do" or "perform" as well as "pervasion," "to extend" and "to go in various directions." Vish is the root of the word vishwa (as in vishwa-guru and vishwa-atma previously mentioned) which in addition to meaning universal, means "in all places, everywhere," "all-pervading or all-containing" and "omnipresent" and is used by the Vedic Rishis to describe Agni, known as the lord of the sacrifice.
    These Sanskrit root words convey something of the true sense of the Vedic sacrifice or yajna in which all creatures on Earth share the same home and are joined in the same evolutionary journey towards unity-consciousness. In the Vedas this journey towards and continuous display of wholeness, holiness or sacredness is orchestrated by the hidden one, the eternal flame or lord which pervades all of creation, personified as Agni. The boons said to be generated via this sacrifice are the treasures, both material and immaterial, that are generated from the cultivation and establishment of unity-consciousness, including the boon of trikaladristi – a unified vision of all time, past, present and future. The boons of sacrifice were not meant to delight and facilitate a divisive, egoic consciousness and selfish lifestyle, but rather to free mankind from such ignorance via progressive revelations and manifestations of the higher Self. India would do the world a great service if it were to help reestablish the original significance and gnosis of this divine and universal sacrifice, which Sri Aurobindo indicates is her destiny.
    Time after time the Vedic Rishis sang of the importance of this yajna – the journey of the one Self in many forms. They sang of the importance of the correct measure of its body whose joints and limbs are equivalent to the months and seasons of the year. We are told in the Rig Veda that Agni "wins the sacrifice by its form." We are told, "They who have established year and month and then the day, night, sacrifice and holy verse have won dominion which none else may gain." [RV 7.66.11, tr. Griffith.] Sri Aurobindo wrote, "[T]he luminous fathers ascended by the power of the Word ... by the power of the Sacrifice into the fearless light and stood upon the wide and open levels of the supramental existence." [CWSA, Vol. 15, p. 476.] The Rishis sang:
'[L]et us make ourselves conscious of the jointings of [the year's] times and its seasons. It shall so perfect our thoughts that they shall extend our being and create for us a larger life.' [RV 1.94:4, tr. Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 11, p. 66.]
    The Sanskrit word rtam is found over and over again in the Vedas. Its root rta is defined in CDSL as "luminous, fixed or settled order, law ... sacred action or custom, divine law ... divine truth ... sacrifice ... the sun ... to go the right way." On Wikipedia it is also defined as "that which is properly joined." From this word comes the English words "rhythm," "ritual" and "right." In the Vedas rta is inseparable from yajna. In other words, the rhythms of the Earth's year are inseparable from the divine law, truth or oneness of our existence. Sri Aurobindo wrote in Hymns to the Mystic Fire:
"We have to find our way to that, to get into touch with this Truth and Immortality, sapanta rtam amrtam, to be born into the Truth, to grow in it, to ascend in spirit into the world of Truth and to live in it."  [CWSA, Vol. 11, p. 17.]
    The Rishis tell us that when the yajna is mis-measured, not observed or wrongly-observed, all hell breaks loose and the rakshasas (disturbers of the sacrifice) and other lords of darkness, described as coverers, hoarders, destroyers and tearers of truth and light, rule our time on Earth. In other words disharmony and the splintering of truth – the splintering of yoga and its body of gnosis, is the inevitable result of ignorance of yajna. The passageway, link or yoke between the mundane and the divine consciousness is thus blocked by such ignorance or ayajja – a Sanskrit word meaning a "bad" or "miserable sacrifice". Yagakantaka, meaning "sacrifice-thorn," is the name given to a "bad sacrificer ... who does not know the god, metre, glossarial explanation affixes of the Vedic verses." [CDSL]
    The Rishis clearly knew the dire consequences of mis-measuring the sacred year just as those familiar with the construction of sacred temples know that mis-measuring or mis-constructing any sacred measure of the temple will lead to disharmony in its field. In the case of mis-measuring the year, it is the entire world which suffers the loss of ritam or truth. With this in mind and considering that yajna is the Vedic foundation of not only yoga but of India's entire culture, one wonders if India's new yoga minister will be tasked with investigating the divergent measures of the Vedic yajna throughout India. Director of Tamil Nadu's Aeon Centre of Cosmology Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet has been making the case for the need to restore the true Vedic sense and measure of the yajna for over forty years.
    Norelli-Bachelet was occultly called to India by the Mother in 1971 and subsequently inherited from her and Sri Aurobindo the unfinished and colossal task of illuminating the still-relevant function and importance of the Vedic yajna and the knowledge contained within. [The Tenth Day of Victory, Aeon Books, 2003, p. 7-18] Upon examination of her writings, it becomes apparent that despite the intensive yogic efforts of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and all that they accomplished, they only scratched the surface of what needed to be known by India and the world about the Vedic yajna. It becomes apparent that the task of restoring the foundation of Vedic gnosis, and hence the foundation of yoga, was far from complete upon their respective samadhis. Together they established the importance of the yajna as a link to the solar or supramental consciousness, but they were not responsible for explaining why and how this link was valid. Neither were they responsible for telling India the challenging news that the truth and rhythm or rtam of the Vedic yajna is the tropical year, measured out by the Earth herself, not according to the uneven distribution of distant stars and constellations of the sidereal zodiac which have nothing at all to do with the Earth's seasons and months by which life on Earth is actually created and nurtured. These weighty responsibilities fell to Norelli-Bachelet.
    The basis for her seeing and knowledge of these sacred matters flowed from discoveries she made in her early thirties regarding our 0/9-based number system inherited from the Vedic civilization. She began to see how this 0/9 system functions in conjunction with the 360 degree, 12 month year as a key of supramental gnosis. She later discovered that the 12 month zodiac is the basis of St. John's revelation, the Vedic yajna, the Hindu tradition of yugas and the ten avatars of Vishnu. Many Indians accept the common story or history that the 12 month zodiac was imported into India by Babylonia, not recognizing that it is actually the very foundation of the Vedic Sacrifice and Vedic civilization, subsequently exported from India into Babylonia and beyond. Norelli-Bachelet has had the task of challenging this significant historical error.
    After the Mother passed in 1973 and students began to deform her temple vision, Norelli-Bachelet became responsible for deciphering, revealing and preserving the true significance of the original vision and measure of the Mother's Temple, made in the image of the Vedic yajna. Her work towards recovering the measure and highest meaning of the Vedic yajna for India and the world, based on the supramental light Sri Aurobindo and the Mother threw on the matter in their lifetimes, has been unwelcome to those who feel that the yajna is already correctly understood and correctly measured in India, and therefore think no re-calculations or re-thinking on the issue is needed.
    It would be fitting for India's new yoga ministry to investigate this matter. It seems only natural that this ministry would extend its interest in preserving the purity of yoga to a concern for the purity of the Vedic yajna. Otherwise, if there is no meaningful restoration of this key of sanatana dharma, it would seem the word and practice of yoga is apt to continue losing its connection with "the soul of knowledge" of the Vedic Seers as Sri Aurobindo noted was a large problem for not just India, but the world at large. Much of the world's words, language, numbers, forms, mythologies, religious rituals, deities, celebrations, holy days and symbols can only be truly understood and appreciated in the context of the yajna which birthed and yokes them all. Thus re-establishing the true foundation of yoga will have a radical integrating, harmonizing and transformative effect on the world's divergent and often disastrously conflicting ideas about what certain words, rituals, symbols and deities actually mean. These words, rituals, symbols and deities will necessarily come to be understood in terms of our common rtam, our common journey and in the context of an all-embracing unity and continuity of our being throughout time and space. Thus words that have gotten "lost in translation" over many millennia will no longer be fuel for conflict and hatred.
    2016 will mark 108 years since Sri Aurobindo was initiated in 1908 into his divine mission or adesh to help India recover its true knowledge and experience of sanatana dharma and to effectively reverse "the Falsehood that has governed the minds and hearts of men for so long" with the "power of Truth." [CWSA, Vol. 35, p. 290.] Perhaps India's yoga ministry will be moved to honor Sri Aurobindo's 144th birth anniversary by celebrating the remarkable progress he has made together with the Mother and Norelli-Bachelet towards the recovery of the lost "soul of knowledge" since the year 1908.
    The Rishis tell us in many and various ways throughout the Vedas that the illumined seers who win the highest consciousness for mankind "are able to hold the seat of illumined knowledge, to mentalise the supreme abode of the [yajna]." Via this instruction it becomes apparent that India's destiny to become vishwa-guru will be better fulfilled once it is able to fully understand and hold this seat or foundation of yoga for the world. Considering Prime Minister Modi's sincere interest in reclaiming the ancient science of yoga and protecting it from further degradation by the West, perhaps humans can be hopeful that this fulfillment will illuminate our world's immediate, rather than distant, future.
"It is by the satya mantra [the true sacrificial verse], the true thought expressed in the rhythm of the truth, that the hidden light is found and the Dawn brought to birth, gūḍhaṁ jyotiḥ pitaro anvavindan, satyamantrā ajanayann uṣāsam (VII.76.4). For these are the Angirases [seers of Agni] who speak aright, itthā vadadbhiḥ aṅgirobhiḥ (VI.18.5), masters of the Rik who place perfectly their thought, svādhībhir ṛkvabhiḥ (VI.32.2); they are the sons of heaven, heroes of the Mighty Lord who speak the truth and think the straightness and therefore they are able to hold the seat of illumined knowledge, to mentalise the supreme abode of the sacrifice, ṛtaṁ śaṁsanta ṛju dīhyānā, divas putrāso asurasya vīrāḥ; vipraṁ padam aṅgiraso dadhānā, yajñasya dhāma prathamaṁ mananta (X.67.2)."  [Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 15, p. 185.]  
"[The] old Vedic poets . . . spoke of the spiritual life as a constant ascent . . . 'The priests of the world climb thee like a ladder, O hundred powered. As one ascends from peak to peak, there is made clear the much that has still to be done.' But once the foundation has been secured, the rest develops by a progressive self-unfolding and the soul is sure of its way. As again it is phrased by the ancient Vedic singers . . . 'State is born upon state, covering after covering becomes conscious of knowledge; in the lap of the Mother the soul sees.'" [Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 25, p. 268.]

"A day will dawn when people of all classes in my country will band together as one living mass at the sacred altar of the World-Mother, represented here by our Motherland and face the rest of [the] world with heads held high." [Sri Aurobindo, Tales of Prison Life, v2, Sri Aurobindo Institute, p. 27.]

Lori Tompkins
20 March 2015


Friday, March 13, 2015

Aeon Centre of Cosmology Website Launched


"It is not through a repetition of rituals, as inspiring as they may be, or by the chanting of mantras that the connection with the Veda is maintained, rather, only the thread of Knowledge can be the direct link between India today and of the Vedic Age, precisely as the word implies - veda, knowledge.  That this potent word lies at the root of the civilisation surely indicates a unique destiny." 



New Website Launched

We are pleased to announce the official launch of our new website:
 

It's hard to believe that only two months have passed since The Future Realisation exhibition in New Delhi. Among other things, Thea has been writing a new series of articles, The Conundrum of India's Choice of Destiny, which are being published in the Organiser magazine and are also available on our website in their full, unedited form.

The website itself has grown organically out of our experience in New Delhi and our understanding for the need to make this work more accessible to a wider public. We hope that it will become an important resource for those who vibrate to the mission of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother -- all who aspire to be conscious instruments of the Supramental Manifestation upon Earth.

We are re-issuing the Vishaal Newsletter, originally written by Thea and published by the Aeon Centre of Cosmology between the years 1985-1995, packed with in-depth applications of the New Way. The first issue is now online and we will be releasing new issues regularly. Stay tuned for much more to come.

We have also created Aeon Forum, a place where everyone can engage in dialogues beyond science and spirituality. We hope that you will join us in the important work of seeing in understanding, and evolving our collective views beyond the polarities of secular and spiritual dogma. Although the polar tension continues to increase in India and abroad, this only means that those who see the way out of the morass have a greater responsibility now than ever to light the way forward. And those of us who are just learning to see -- a greater responsibility now than ever to focus our lens of perception, to learn to see in a new way.

Included below is the Welcome Message that our director, Thea, wrote for the new website. We hope you will take the time to read it, and join us in this new and exciting phase of the work!
________________________________________

"Why is Aeon Centre of Cosmology putting forward its work of the past several decades in this new comprehensive format? The reason is that never like now has the national discourse in India and throughout the world become so intensely polarised. In India this polarisation revolves around a question that seems to defy solution: Is India, born as an independent nation in 1947, to revert to establishing itself on its ancient moorings, or will those be discarded in favour of the reigning principles of our 21st Century, in many ways foreign to the ancient tradition?

"This is the new India’s 67th year. However, that newness is only a small part of her history. The contours of her abiding civilisation are found in carry-overs from very ancient times. Having this dual living framework of destiny and being unique among all nations for this very reason, Aeon Centre of Cosmology is duty-bound to provide answers that can help resolve the issue of an amalgam of both ancient and new as a living force within the context of conditions on the globe today."


Link to full message at www.aeoncentre.com
 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Escapist Spiritual Traditions, the Buddha and the Function of the Avatar


The Mother's Completed Works, Vol. 7,
Questions and Answers, 1955 (pp. 288-293)

7 September 1955

The Mother answers Saptrem's questions (in italics) regarding escapist spiritual traditions in India, the Buddha and the function of the Avatar in the Indian tradition:
 
[Why] do all the spiritual schools in India have as their doctrine escape from action?
 
Yes, because all this is founded upon the teaching that life is an illusion. It began with the teaching of the Buddha who said that existence was the fruit of desire, and that there was only one way of coming out of misery and suffering and desire; it was to come out of existence. And then this continued with Shankara who added that not only is it the fruit of desire but it is a total illusion, and as long as you live in this illusion you cannot realise the Divine. For him there was not even the Divine, I think; for the Buddha, at least, there wasn’t any.

Then did they truly have experiences?

That depends on what you call “experience”. They certainly had an inner contact with something.     The Buddha certainly had an inner contact with something which, in comparison with the external life, was a non-existence; and in this non-existence, naturally, all the results of existence disappear. There is a state like this; it is even said that if one can keep this state for twenty days, one is sure to lose one’s body; if it is exclusive, I quite agree with it.
    But it may be an experience which remains at the back, you see, and is conscious even while not being exclusive, and which causes the contact with the world and the outer consciousness to be supported by something that is free and independent. This indeed is a state in which one can truly make very great progress externally, because one can be detached from everything and act without attachment, without preference, with that inner freedom which is expressed outwardly.
    Yet this is the real necessity: once this inner freedom has been attained and the conscious contact with what is eternal and infinite, then, without losing this consciousness one must return to action and let that influence the whole consciousness turned towards action.
    This is what Sri Aurobindo calls bringing down the Force from above. In this way there is a chance of being able to change the world, because one has brought in a new Force, a new region, a new consciousness and put it into contact with the outer world. So its presence and action will produce inevitable changes and, let us hope, a total transformation in what this outer world is.
    So we could say that the Buddha quite certainly had the first part of the experience, but that he never dreamt of the second, because it was contrary to his own theory. His theory was that
one had to run away; but it is obvious that there is only one way of escape, to die, and yet, as he himself has said so well, you may be dead and be completely attached to life and still be in the cycle of births and not have liberation. And in fact he has admitted the idea that it is by successive passing lives on the earth that one can manage to develop oneself to reach this liberation. But for him the ideal was that the world would not exist any longer. It was as though he accused the Divine of having made a mistake and that there was only one thing to do, to rectify the mistake by annulling it. But naturally, to be reasonable and logical, he did not admit the Divine. It was a mistake made by whom, how, in what way?—this he never explained. He simply said that it was made and that the world had begun with desire and had to end with desire. He was just on the point of saying that this world was purely subjective, that is, a collective illusion, and that if the illusion ceased the world would cease to be. But he did not come so far. It is Shankara who took over and made the thing altogether complete in his teaching.
    If we go back to the teaching of the Rishis, for example, there was no idea of flight out of the world; for them the realisation had to be terrestrial. They conceived a Golden Age very well, in which the realisation would be terrestrial. But starting from a certain decline of vitality in the spiritual life of the country, perhaps, from a different orientation which came in, you see... it is certainly starting from the teaching of the Buddha that this idea of flight came, which has undermined the vitality of the country, because one had to make an effort to cut oneself off from life. The outer reality became an illusory falsehood, and one had no longer to have anything to do with it. So naturally one was cut off from the universal energy, and the vitality went on diminishing, and with this vitality all the possibilities of realisation also diminished.
    But it is very remarkable... I have met many people who were trying this method of detachment and separation from life, and living exclusively in the inner reality. These people, almost all of them, had in the outer life absolutely gross defects. When they returned to the ordinary consciousness, they were very much lower than one of the élite, for instance, a man of great culture and great intellectual and moral development. These people in their ordinary conduct, when they came out of their meditation, their exclusive concentration, lived very grossly. They had very, very ordinary defects, you see. I knew many of this kind. Or perhaps they had come to a stage where their outer life was a sort of dream in which they were, so to say, not existing. But one had altogether the impression of beings who were completely incomplete, totally incomplete, that is, outwardly there was nothing at all.

But if in the outer consciousness one is very low, how can one meditate? It becomes very difficult, doesn’t it?

Yes, very difficult!

Then how do these people succeed?

But they came out of it completely, they left it as one takes off a cloak, then they put it aside and entered another part of their being. And this is what happened exactly, it was as though they took away this consciousness, laid it aside and entered another part of their being. And in their meditation, as long as they remained there, it was very good. But these people, most of them, when in that state, were in a kind of samadhi, and they could not even speak; and so when they came back and returned to the ordinary consciousness, it was just where it was before, completely unchanged; there was no contact.
    You see, what makes the thing difficult for you to understand is that you don’t know concretely, practically, that there are... different planes of your being, as of all beings, which may
not have any contact among themselves, and that one may very well pass from one plane to another, and live in a certain consciousness, leaving the other absolutely asleep. And moreover, even in activity, at different times different states of being enter into activity, and unless one takes the greatest care to unify them, put them all in harmony, one of them may pull from one side, another from the other, and a third pull from the third, and all of them be absolutely in contradiction with one another.
    There are people who in a certain state of being are constructive, for example, and capable of organising their life and doing very useful work, and in another part of their being they are absolutely destructive and constantly demolish what the other has constructed. I knew quite a number of people of this kind who, apparently had a rather incoherent life, but it was because the two parts of the being, instead of completing each other and harmonising in a synthesis, were separated and in opposition, and one undid what the other did, and all the time they passed like this from one to the other. They had a disorganised life. And there are more people of this kind than one would think!
    There are very outstanding examples, striking ones, so clear and distinct they are; but less totally opposed conditions, though all the same in opposition to one another, occur very, very often. Besides, one has oneself the experience, when one has tried to make progress; there is one part of the being which participates in the effort and makes progress, and suddenly, without rhyme or reason, all the effort one has made, all the consciousness one has gained, capsizes in something which is quite different, opposed, over which one has no control.
    Some people can make an effort the whole day through, succeed in building something within themselves; they go to sleep at night and the next morning all that they had done on the previous day is lost, they have lost it in a state of unconsciousness. This happens very often, these are not exceptional cases, far from it. And this is what explains, you see, why some people—when they withdraw into their higher mind for instance— can enter into very deep meditation and be liberated from the things of this world, and then when they return to their ordinary physical consciousness, are absolutely ordinary if not even vulgar, because they haven’t taken care to establish any contact, and to see that what is above acts and transforms what is below.
    That’s all.

Mother, about the Buddha I have a question. You said that the Avatar comes to the earth to show that the Divine can live upon the earth. Then why did he preach just the contrary? Is he an Avatar or not?
That!... Some people say he was an Avatar, others say no, but this, to tell you the truth, it is...
    I think that this first thing, that the Avatar comes to the earth to prove that the Divine can... it is not so much to prove by words as to prove by a certain realisation; and I think that it would be rather this aspect of the Divine which is constructive and preservative, rather than a transformative and destructive aspect. You see, to use the Indian names known in India, well, I think they are Avatars of Vishnu who come rather to prove that the Divine can come upon earth; whereas each time Shiva has manifested he has always manifested like this, in beings who have tried to fight against an illusion and demolish what is there.
    I have reasons to think that the Buddha was one. To speak more accurately, he manifested something of the power of Shiva: it was the same compassion, the same understanding of all the misery, and the same power which destroys—obviously with the intention of transforming, but destroys rather than constructs. His work does not seem to have been very constructive. It was very necessary to teach men practically not to be egoistic; from that point of view it was very necessary. But in its deeper principle it has not helped very much in the transformation of the earth.
    As I said, you see, instead of helping the descent of the higher Consciousness into the terrestrial life, it has strongly encouraged the separation of the deeper consciousness, which he said was the only true one, from all outer expression.
    Now, you see, this question of the Divine upon the earth: well, quite naturally those who believed in him have made a god of him. One has only to see all the temples and all the Buddhist
godheads to know that human nature has always the tendency to deify what it admires.
    So, there it is!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Error of the Nirayana or Constellational Zodiac in India


In her last post for Puranic Cosmology Updated titled 'The New Order Is Born', Thea addresses among other things the ongoing error of measuring the zodiac in terms of the constellations, an error which crept into India circa the 11th Century and continues to darken the light/soul of India and impede her power in the world. In the post, Thea's discussion of the issue begins with a reference to a recent statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which highlights the misunderstanding and confusion caused by this error:

‘Friends, Makar Sankranti was celebrated on 14 January. It is an important festival. It is the beginning of Uttarayan, which is considered to be a punya kaal (auspicious time). The Lohri festival also coincides with it. On this day the sun begins its journey north. This marks the transition from winter to spring…’. - Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 16 January 2015

[Thea:] The Prime Minister and the whole of the Hindu Samaj would find no error in the above statement, though surely the astronomical flaw should be evident. But it is not, and therein lies the problem, especially since the sign’s hieroglyph describes the actual physical body of the undivided nation, making accuracy especially important in all matters involving this ‘auspicious time’. Capricorn of the tropical zodiac cannot be separated from the shortest day of the year, the December Solstice which is the legitimate uttarayana, the north Cardinal Pole. This is sacrosanct in all higher studies of cosmic harmonies throughout the world; but only in India, with Capricorn as her astrological ruler, have the two been separated, therefore making the aberration especially damaging.'

[Click HERE to read the rest of Thea's discussion of the error of the Nirayana/Constellational measure of the zodiacal year, this discussion continues in the Appendix]

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Correcting the Ongoing Misperceptions of the Kali Yuga

 
'Kaliyuga is only the key. In effect it does not exist, or, as was stated in the ['The Mysterious Yugas']: "We are always in a Kaliyuga.

 . . . In truth mankind is in the 'dark' simply by not realizing that there is no such thing as a Kaliyuga, and that in effect the Age of Darkness is only determined by an ignorance of Truth, which can come about in any age." 

'The Sphinx was built precisely at the time the precession [of the equinoxes] was passing over or within the vicinity of 0° Leo, carrying humanity into the Satyayuga
some 10,800 years ago.'

- Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, The Gnostic Circle [bold emphasis added]


After reading 'Our Ancient Origins: The Cycles of Time & The Kali Yuga' by V. Susan Ferguson as published on a website entitled Ancient Origins - Reconstructing the Story of Humanity's Past, I thought perhaps it is once again to revisit the work of Vedic Cosmologist Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet on this subject, in efforts to correct the ongoing misconstructions of the story of humanity's past. I whipped up the above image on Inkscape to help give people a visual of the Yugas as seen in conjunction with the Precessional Cycle and the Astrological Ages.

"The figures of the Yugas (Ages)," Ms. Norelli-Bachelet writes her book The Gnostic Circle, 'are not in actual fact years, as is commonly believed, but rather to seconds of degrees of celestial longitude.' She notes that the 432,000 measure of the yugas, when understood in terms of the 360° circle is equivalent to 120°. Applied to the Great Year or the 25,920 year Precession of the Equinoxes, this measure is equivalent to 1/3rd of the 12-age Precession of the Equinoxes (= 8,640 years or 4 Astrological Ages).

In the image above it can be seen that the Kaliyuga is the INTEGER, or the ONE of the circle of 9.

1 Kali Yuga = 1/3 Precessional Year
3 Kali Yuga = 1 Precessional Year
9 x Kali Yuga = 3 Precessional Year 

Those truly interested in SEEING the truth of the Yugas, and thus the story of not only humanity's past but also its present and future must take into consideration the Vedic Laws of Equivalence wherein the evolutionary laws of the Vedic Year equally applies to the 12 months of the Earth's year and the 12 age Great Year (Precessional Year), and wherein all cycles are known to be self-similar. Understanding that the Vedic Year is a description of the Earth's journey around the SUN, it then makes perfect sense that the measure of this SUN as passed down to us from the Vedic age, is 432,000 miles. Thus the Kali Yuga is equivalent to the SUN and thus one Great Year (Precessional Year) consists of 3 SUNS and the Maha Yuga cycle [shown above] consists of 9 SUNS.

The Sun's Symbol
The Sun's radius in miles: 432,000

______________________________________

'Revisiting the Measure of the Yugas'
'Revisiting the Measure of the Yugas, continued'
'The Unifying Language' (PNB's comments on the Yuga issue)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sri Aurobindo - 'Nothingness is a creation of our mind'


'Nothing can arise from Nothing. Asat, nothingness, is a creation of our mind; where it cannot see or conceive, where its object is something beyond its grasp, too much beyond to give even the sense of a vague intangibility, then it cries out, "Here there is nothing." Out of its own incapacity it has created the conception of a zero. But what in truth is this zero? It is an incalculable Infinite... Our sense by its incapacity has invented darkness. In truth there is nothing but Light, only it is a power of light either above or below our poor human vision's limited range.' 

Sri Aurobindo, The Web of Yoga, 
Centenary Edition, Vol. 17, p. 48

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga - A Call to End the Unnecessary Negation of Matter - Part II


An Excerpt from The Life Divine, Book II - 'The Knowledge and the Ignorance ˗ The Spiritual Evolution', Chapter VI - 'Reality and the Cosmic Illusion'  by Sri Aurobindo 
The Buddha applied his penetrating rational intellect supported by an intuitive vision to the world as our mind and sense see it and discovered the principle of its construction and the way of release from all constructions, but he refused to go farther. Shankara took the farther step and regarded the suprarational Truth, which Buddha kept behind the veil as realisable by cancellation of the constructions of consciousness but beyond the scope of the reason's discovery. Shankara, standing between the world and the eternal Reality, was that the mystery of the world must be ultimately suprarational, not conceivable or expressible by our reason, anirvacanīya; but he maintained the world as seen by the reason and sense as valid and had therefore to posit an unreal reality, because he did not take one step still farther. For to know the real truth of the world, its reality, it must be seen from the suprarational awareness, from the view of the Superconscience that maintains and surpasses and by surpassing know it in its truth, and no longer from the view of the consciousness that is maintained by it and surpassed by it and therefore does not know it or knows it only by its appearance. It cannot be that to that self-creative supreme consciousness the world is an incomprehensible mystery or that it is to it an illusion that is yet not altogether an illusion, a reality that is yet unreal. The mystery of the universe must have a divine sense to the Divine; it must have a significance or a truth of cosmic being that is luminous to the Reality that upholds it with its transcending and yet immanent superconscience.
        If the Reality alone exists and all is the Reality, the world also cannot be excluded from that Reality; the universe is real. If it does not reveal to us in its forms and powers the Reality that it is, if it seems only a persistent and yet changing movement in Space and Time, this must be not because it is unreal or because it is not at all That, but because it is a progressive self-expression, a manifestation, an evolving self-development of That in Time which our consciousness cannot yet see in its total or its essential significance. In this sense we can say that it is That and not That,– because it does not disclose all the Reality through any form or sum of its forms of self-expression; but still all its forms are forms of the substance and being of that Reality. All finites are in their spiritual essence the Infinite and, if we look deep enough into them, manifest to intuition the Identical and Infinite. It is contended indeed that the universe cannot be a manifestation because the Reality has no need of manifestation, since it is for ever manifest to itself; but so equally it can be said that the Reality has no need of self-illusion or illusion of any kind, no need to create a Mayic universe. The Absolute can have no need of anything; but still there can be,– not coercive of its freedom, not binding on it, but an expression of its self-force, the result of its Will to become,– an imperative of a supreme self-effectuating Force, a necessity of self-creation born of the power of the Absolute to see itself in Time. This imperative represents itself to us as a Will to create, a Will of self-expression; but it may be better represented as a force of being of the Absolute which displays itself as a power of itself in action. If the Absolute is self-evident to itself in eternal Timelessness, it can also be self-manifest to itself in eternal motion of Time. Even if the universe is only a phenomenal reality, still it is a manifestation or phenomenon of Brahman; for since all is Brahman, phenomenon and manifestation must be the same thing: the imputation of unreality is a superfluous conception, otiose and unnecessarily embarrassing, since whatever distinction is needed is already there in the concept of Time and the timeless Eternal and the concept of manifestation.
        The one thing that can be described as an unreal reality is our individual sense of separativeness and the conception of the finite as a self-existent object in the Infinite. This conception, this sense are pragmatically necessary for the operations of the surface individuality and are effective and justified by their effects; they are therefore real to its finite reason and finite self-experience: but once we step back from the finite consciousness into the consciousness of the essential and infinite, from the apparent to the true Person, the finite or the individual still exists but as being and power and manifestation of the Infinite; it has no independent or separate reality. Individual independence, entire separativeness are not necessary for individual reality, do not constitute it. On the other hand, the disappearance of these finite forms of the manifestation is evidently a factor in the problem, but does not by itself convict them of unreality; the disappearance may be only a withdrawal from manifestation. The cosmic manifestation of the Timeless takes place in the successions of Time: its forms must therefore be temporary in their appearance on the surface, but they are eternal in their essential power of manifestation; for they are held always implicit and potential in the essence of things and in the essential consciousness from which they emerge: timeless consciousness can always turn their abiding potentiality into terms of time-actuality. The world would be unreal only if itself and its forms were images without substance of being, figments of consciousness presented to itself by the Reality as pure figments and then abolished for ever. But if manifestation or the power of manifestation is eternal, if all is the being of Brahman, the Reality, then this unreality or illusoriness cannot be the fundamental character of things or of the cosmos in which they make their appearance.
        A theory of Maya in the sense of illusion or the unreality of cosmic existence creates more difficulties than it solves; it does not really solve the problem of existence, but rather renders it for ever insoluble. For, whether Maya be an unreality or a non-real reality, the ultimate effects of the theory carry in them a devastating simplicity of nullification. Ourselves and the universe fade away into nothingness or else keep for a time only a truth which is little better than a fiction. In the thesis of the pure unreality of Maya, all experience, all knowledge as well as all ignorance, the knowledge that frees us no less than the ignorance that binds us, world-acceptance and world-refusal, are two sides of an illusion; for there is nothing to accept or refuse, nobody to accept or refuse it. All the time it was only the immutable superconscient Reality that at all existed; the bondage and release were only appearances, not a reality. All attachment to world-existence is an illusion, but the call for liberation is also a circumstance of the illusion; it is something that was created in Maya which by its liberation is extinguished in Maya. But this nullification cannot be compelled to stop short in its devastating advance at the boundary fixed for it by a spiritual Illusionism. For if all other experiences of the individual consciousness in the universe are illusions, then what guarantee is there that its spiritual experiences are not illusions, including even its absorbed self-experience of the supreme Self which is conceded to us as utterly real? For if cosmos is untrue, our experience of the cosmic consciousness, of the universal Self, of Brahman as all these beings or as the self of all these beings, the One in all, all in the One has no secure foundation, since it reposes in one of its terms on an illusion, on a construction of Maya. That term, the cosmic term, has to crumble, for all these beings which we saw as the Brahman were illusions; then what is our assurance of our experience of the other term, the pure Self, the silent, static or absolute Reality, since that too comes to us in a mind moulded of delusion and formed in a body created by an Illusion? An overwhelming self-evident convincingness, an experience of absolute authenticity in the realisation or experience is not an unanswerable proof of sole reality or sole finality: for other spiritual experiences such as that of the omnipresent Divine Person, Lord of a real Universe, have the same convincing, authentic and final character. It is open to the intellect which has once arrived at the conviction of the unreality of all other things, to take a farther step and deny the reality of Self and of all existence. The Buddhists took this last step and refused reality to the Self on the ground that it was as much as the rest a construction of the mind; they cut not only God but the eternal Self and impersonal Brahman out of the picture.
        An uncompromising theory of Illusion solves no problem of our existence; it only cuts the problem out for the individual by showing him a way of exit: in its extreme form and effect, our being and its action become null and without sanction, its experience, aspiration, endeavour lose their significance; all, the one incommunicable relationless Truth excepted and the turning away to it, become equated with illusion of being, are part of a universal Illusion and themselves illusions. God and our-selves and the universe become myths of Maya; for God is only a reflection of Brahman in Maya, ourselves are only a reflection of Brahman in illusory individuality, the world is only an imposition on the Brahman's incommunicable self-existence. There is a less drastic nullification if a certain reality is admitted for the being even within the illusion, a certain validity for the experience and knowledge by which we grow into the spirit: but this is only if the temporal has a valid reality and the experience in it has a real validity, and in that case what we are in front of is not an illusion taking the unreal for real but an ignorance misapprehending the real. Otherwise if the beings of whom Brahman is the self are illusory, its selfhood is not valid, it is part of an illusion; the experience of self is also an illusion: the experience “I am That” is vitiated by an ignorant conception, for there is no I, only That; the experience “I am He” is doubly ignorant, for it assumes a conscious Eternal, a Lord of the universe, a Cosmic Being, but there can be no such thing if there is no reality in the universe. A real solution of existence can only stand upon a truth that accounts for our existence and world-existence, reconciles their truth, their right relation and the truth of their relation to whatever transcendent Reality is the source of everything. But this implies some reality of individual and cosmos, some true relation of the One Existence and all existences, of relative experience and of the Absolute.
        The theory of Illusion cuts the knot of the world problem, it does not disentangle it; it is an escape, not a solution: a flight of the spirit is not a sufficient victory for the being embodied in this world of the becoming; it effects a separation from Nature, not a liberation and fulfilment of our nature. This eventual outcome satisfies only one element, sublimates only one impulse of our being; it leaves the rest out in the cold to perish in the twilight of the unreal reality of Maya. As in Science, so in metaphysical thought, that general and ultimate solution is likely to be the best which includes and accounts for all so that each truth of experience takes its place in the whole: that knowledge is likely to be the highest knowledge which illumines, integralises, harmonises the significance of all knowledge and accounts for, finds the basic and, one might almost say, the justifying reason of our ignorance and illusion while it cures them; this is the supreme experience which gathers together all experience in the truth of a supreme and all-reconciling oneness. Illusionism unifies by elimination; it deprives all knowledge and experience, except the one supreme merger, of reality and significance.
        But this debate belongs to the domain of the pure reason and the final test of truths of this order is not reason but spiritual illumination verified by abiding fact of spirit; a single decisive spiritual experience may undo a whole edifice of reasonings and conclusions erected by the logical intelligence. Here the theory of Illusionism is in occupation of a very solid ground; for, although it is in itself no more than a mental formulation, the experience it formulates into a philosophy accompanies a most powerful and apparently final spiritual realisation. It comes upon us with a great force of awakening to reality when the thought is stilled, when the mind withdraws from its constructions, when we pass into a pure selfhood void of all sense of individuality, empty of all cosmic contents: if the spiritualised mind then looks at individual and cosmos, they may well seem to it to be an illusion, a scheme of names and figures and movements falsely imposed on the sole reality of the Self-Existent. Or even the sense of self becomes inadequate; both knowledge and ignorance disappear into sheer Consciousness and consciousness is plunged into a trance of pure superconscient existence. Or even existence ends by becoming too limiting a name for that which abides solely for ever; there is only a timeless Eternal, a spaceless Infinite, the utterness of the Absolute, a nameless peace, an overwhelming single objectless Ecstasy. There can certainly be no doubt of the validity,– complete within itself,– of this experience; there can be no denial of the overwhelming decisive convincingness,– ekātma-pratyayasāram,– with which this realisation seizes the consciousness of the spiritual seeker. But still all spiritual experience is experience of the Infinite and it takes a multitude of directions; some of them,– and not this alone,– are so close to the Divine and the Absolute, so penetrated with the reality of Its presence or with the ineffable peace and power of the liberation from all that is less than It, that they carry with them this overwhelming sense of finality complete and decisive. There are a hundred ways of approaching the Supreme Reality and, as is the nature of the way taken, so will be the nature of the ultimate experience by which one passes into That which is ineffable, That of which no report can be given to the mind or expressed by any utterance. All these definitive culminations may be regarded as penultimates of the one Ultimate; they are steps by which the soul crosses the limits of Mind into the Absolute. Is then this realisation of passing into a pure immobile self-existence or this Nirvana of the individual and the universe one among these penultimates, or is it itself the final and absolute realisation which is at the end of every journey and transcends and eliminates all lesser experience? It claims to stand behind and supersede, to sublate and to eliminate every other knowledge; if that is really so, then its finality must be accepted as conclusive. But, against this pretension, it has been claimed that it is possible to travel beyond by a greater negation or a greater affirmation,– to extinguish self in Non-Being or to pass through the double experience of cosmic consciousness and Nirvana of world-consciousness in the One Existence to a greater Divine Union and Unity which holds both these realisations in its vast integral Reality. It is said that beyond the duality and the non-duality there is That in which both are held together and find their truth in a Truth which is beyond them. A consummating experience which proceeds by the exceeding and elimination of all other possible but lesser experiences is, as a step towards the Absolute, admissible. A supreme experience which affirms and includes the truth of all spiritual experience, gives to each its own absolute, integralises all knowledge and experience in a supreme reality, might be the one step farther that is at once a largest illuminating and transforming Truth of all things and a highest infinite Transcendence. The Brahman, the supreme Reality, is That which being known all is known; but in the illusionist solution it is That, which being known, all becomes unreal and an incomprehensible mystery: in this other experience, the Reality being known, all assumes its true significance, its truth to the Eternal and Absolute.
        All truths, even those which seem to be in conflict, have their validity, but they need a reconciliation in some largest Truth which takes them into itself; all philosophies have their value,– if for nothing else, then because they see the Self and the universe from a point of view of the spirit's experience of the many-sided Manifestation and in doing so shed light on something that has to be known in the Infinite. All spiritual experiences are true, but they point towards some highest and widest reality which admits their truth and exceeds it. This is, we may say, a sign of the relativity of all truth and all experience, since both vary with the outlook and the inlook of the knowing and experiencing mind and being; each man is said to have his own religion according to his own nature, but so too each man may be said to have his own philosophy, his own way of seeing and experience of existence, though only a few can formulate it. But from another point of view this variety testifies rather to the infinity of aspects of the Infinite; each catches a partial glimpse or a whole glimpse of one or more aspects or contacts or enters into it in his mental or his spiritual experience. To the mind at a certain stage all these viewpoints begin to lose their definitiveness in a large catholicity or a complex tolerant incertitude, or all the rest may fall away from it and yield place to an ultimate truth or a single absorbing experience. It is then that it is liable to feel the unreality of all that it has seen and thought and taken as part of itself or its universe. This “all” becomes to it a universal unreality or a many-sided fragmental reality without a principle of unification; as it passes into the negativing purity of an absolute experience, all falls away from it and there remains only a silent and immobile Absolute. But the consciousness might be called to go farther and see again all it has left in the light of a new spiritual vision: it may recover the truth of all things in the truth of the Absolute; it may reconcile the negation of Nirvana and the affirmation of the cosmic consciousness in a single regard of That of which both are the self-expressions. In the passage from mental to overmind cognition this many-sided unity is the leading experience; the whole manifestation assumes the appearance of a singular and mighty harmony which reaches its greatest completeness when the soul stands on the border between Overmind and Supermind and looks back with a total view upon existence.
        This is at least a possibility that we have to explore and pursue this view of things to its ultimate consequence. A consideration of the possibility of a great cosmic Illusion as the explanation of the enigma of being had to be undertaken because this view and experience of things presents itself powerfully at the end of the mental spiral where that reaches its point of breaking or point of cessation; but once it is ascertained that it is not the obligatory end of a scrupulous enquiry into the ultimate truth, we can leave it aside or refer to it only when needed in connection with some line of a more plastic course of thought and reasoning. Our regard can now be concentrated on the problem that is left by the exclusion of the illusionist solution, the problem of the Knowledge and the Ignorance.
        All turns round the question “What is Reality?” Our cognitive consciousness is limited, ignorant, finite; our conceptions of reality depend on our way of contact with existence in this limited consciousness and may be very different from the way in which an original and ultimate Consciousness sees it. It is necessary to distinguish between the essential Reality, the phenomenal reality dependent upon it and arising out of it, and the restricted and often misleading experience or notion of either that is created by our sense-experience and our reason. To our sense the earth is flat and, for most immediate practical purposes, within a limit, we have to follow the sense reality and deal with the flatness as if it were a fact; but in true phenomenal reality the flatness of the earth is unreal, and Science seeking for the truth of the phenomenal reality in things has to treat it as approximately round. In a host of details Science contradicts the evidence of the senses as to the real truth of phenomena; but, still, we have to accept the cadre provided by our senses because the practical relations with things which they impose on us have validity as an effect of reality and cannot be disregarded. Our reason, relying on the senses and exceeding them, constructs its own canons or notions of the real and unreal, but these canons vary according to the standpoint taken by the reasoning observer. The physical scientist probing into phenomena erects formulas and standards based on the objective and phenomenal reality and its processes: to his view mind may appear as a subjective result of Matter and self and spirit as unreal; at any rate he has to act as if matter and energy alone existed and mind were only an observer of an independent physical reality which is unaffected by any mental processes  or any presence or intervention of a cosmic Intelligence. The psychologist, probing independently into mind consciousness and mind unconsciousness, discovers another domain of realities, subjective in its character, which has its own law and process; to him Mind may even come to appear as the key of the real, Matter as only a field for mind, and spirit apart from mind as something unreal. But there is a farther probing which brings up the truth of self and spirit and establishes a greater order of the real in which there is a reversal of our view both of the subjective mind realities and objective physical realities so that they are seen as things phenomenal, secondary, dependent upon the truth of self and the realities of the spirit. In this deeper search into things mind and matter begin to wear the appearance of a lesser order of the real and may easily come to appear unreal.
        But it is the reason accustomed to deal with the finite that makes these exclusions; it cuts the whole into segments and can select one segment of the whole as if it were the entire reality. This is necessary for its action since its business is to deal with the finite as finite, and we have to accept for practical purposes and for the reason's dealings with the finite the cadre it gives us, because it is valid as an effect of reality and so cannot be disregarded. When we come to the experience of the spiritual which is itself the whole or contains the whole in itself, our mind carries there too its segmenting reason and the definitions necessary to a finite cognition; it cuts a line of section between the infinite and the finite, the spirit and its phenomena or manifestations, and dubs those as real and these as unreal. But an original and ultimate consciousness embracing all the terms of existence in a single integral view would see the whole in its spiritual essential reality and the phenomenon as a phenomenon or manifestation of that reality. If this greater spiritual consciousness saw in things only unreality and an entire disconnection with the truth of the spirit, it could not have – if it were itself a Truth-Consciousness – any reason for maintaining them in continuous or recurrent existence through all Time: if it so maintains them, it is because they are based on the realities of the spirit. But, necessarily, when thus integrally seen, the phenomenal reality would take on another appearance than when it is viewed by the reason and sense of the finite being; it would have another and deeper reality, another and greater significance, another and more subtle and complex process of its movements of existence. The canons of reality and all the forms of thought created by the finite reason and sense would appear to the greater consciousness as partial constructions with an element of truth in them and an element of error; these constructions might therefore be described as at once real and unreal, but the phenomenal world itself would not become either unreal or unreal-real by that fact: it would put on another reality of a spiritual character; the finite would reveal itself as a power, a movement, a process of the Infinite.
        An original and ultimate consciousness would be a consciousness of the Infinite and necessarily unitarian in its view of diversity, integral, all-accepting, all-embracing, all-discriminating because all-determining, an indivisible whole-vision. It would see the essence of things and regard all forms and movements as phenomenon and consequence of the essential Reality, motions and formations of its power of being. It is held by the reason that truth must be empty of any conflict of contradictions: if so, since the phenomenal universe is or seems to be the contrary of the essential Brahman it must be unreal; since individual being is the contrary of both transcendence and universality, it must be unreal. But what appear as contradictions to a reason based on the finite may not be contradictions to a vision or a larger reason based on the infinite. What our mind sees as contraries may be to the infinite consciousness not contraries but complementaries: essence and phenomenon of the essence are complementary to each other, not contradictory,– the phenomenon manifests the essence; the finite is a circumstance and not a contradiction of the infinite; the individual is a self-expression of the universal and the transcendent,– it is not a contradiction or something quite other than it, it is the universal concentrated and selective, it is one with the Transcendent in its essence of being and its essence of nature. In the view of this unitarian comprehensive seeing there is nothing contradictory in a formless Essence of being that carries a multitude of forms, or in a status of the Infinite supporting a kinesis of the Infinite, or in an infinite Oneness expressing itself in a multiplicity of beings and aspects and powers and movements, for they are beings and aspects and powers and movements of the One. A world-creation on this basis is a perfectly natural and normal and inevitable movement which in itself raises no problem, since it is exactly what one must expect in an action of the Infinite. All the intellectual problem and difficulty is raised by the finite reason cutting, separating, opposing the power of the Infinite to its being, its kinesis to its status, its natural multiplicity to its essential oneness, segmenting self, opposing Spirit to Nature. To understand truly the world-process of the Infinite and the Time-process of the Eternal, the consciousness must pass beyond this finite reason and the finite sense to a larger reason and spiritual sense in touch with the consciousness of the Infinite and responsive to the logic of the Infinite which is the very logic of being itself and arises inevitably from its self-operation of its own realities, a logic whose sequences are not the steps of thought but the steps of existence.
        But what has been thus described, it may be said, is only a cosmic consciousness and there is the Absolute: the Absolute cannot be limited; since universe and individual limit and divide the Absolute, they must be unreal. It is self-evident indeed that the Absolute cannot be limited; it can be limited neither by formlessness nor by form, neither by unity nor by multiplicity, neither by immobile status nor by dynamic mobility. If it manifests form, form cannot limit it; if it manifests multiplicity, multiplicity cannot divide it; if it manifests motion and becoming, motion cannot perturb nor becoming change it: it cannot be limited any more than it can be exhausted by self-creation. Even material things have this superiority to their manifestation; earth is not limited by the vessels made from it, nor air by the winds that move in it, nor the sea by the waves that rise on its surface. This impression of limitation belongs only to the mind and sense which see the finite as if it were an independent entity separating itself from the Infinite or something cut out of it by limitation: it is this impression that is illusory, but neither the infinite nor the finite is an illusion; for neither exists by the impressions of the sense or the mind, they depend for their existence on the Absolute.  (pp. 482-494)
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