Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vedic In the Real Sense - The Mother's Experience of Material Union With the Divine

The Mother related her experience of a physical/material union with the Divine to Sri Aurobindo in a letter dated 26 November 1915. It was translated by Sri Aurobindo from the original French and included in his book The Mother.
'The entire consciousness immersed in divine contemplation, the whole being enjoyed a supreme and vast felicity.

'Then was the physical body seized, first in its lower members and next the whole of it, by a sacred trembling which made all personal limits fall away little by little even in the most material sensation. The being grew in greatness progressively, methodically, breaking down every barrier, shattering every obstacle, that it might contain and manifest a force and a power which increased ceaselessly in immensity and intensity. It was as a progressive dilatation of the cells until there was a complete identification with the earth: the body of the awakened consciousness was the terrestrial globe moving harmoniously in ethereal space. And the consciousness knew that its global body was thus moving in the arms of the universal Being, and it gave itself, it abandoned itself to It in an ecstasy of peaceful bliss. Then it felt that its body was absorbed in the body of the universe and one with it; the consciousness became the consciousness of the universe, immobile in its totality, moving infinitely in its internal complexity. The consciousness of the universe sprang towards the Divine in an ardent aspiration, a perfect surrender, an it saw in the splendour of the immaculate Light the radiant Being standing on a many-headed serpent whose body coiled infinitely around the universe. The Being in an eternal gesture of triumph mastered and created at one and the same time the serpent and the universe that issued from him; erect on the serpent he dominated it with all his victorious might, and the same gesture that crushed the hydra enveloping the universe gave it eternal birth. Then the consciousness became this Being and perceived that its form was changing once more; it was absorbed into something which was no longer form and yet contained all forms, something which, immutable, sees, the Eye, the Witness. And what It sees, is. Then this last vestige of form disappeared and the consciousness itself was absorbed into the Unutterable, the Ineffable.

'The return towards the consciousness of the individual body took place very slowly in a constant and invariable splendour of Light and Power and Felicity and Adoration, by successive gradations, but directly, without passing again through the universal and terrestrial forms. And it was as if the modest corporeal form had become the direct and immediate vesture, without any intermediary, of the supreme and eternal Witness.'
Sri Aurobindo responded on 31 December 1915:
‘The experience you have described is Vedic in the real sense, though not one which would be easily recognized by the modern systems of Yoga which call themselves Yogic. It is the union of the “Earth” of the Veda and the Purana with the divine Principle, an earth which is said to be above our earth, that is to say, the physical being and consciousness of which the world and the body are only images. But the modern Yogas hardly recognise the possibility of a material union with the Divine.'

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'The Mother' by Sri Aurobindo – Progress in the Earth-Consciousness

Question [Student]: Is there really an internal progress in the universe – “marche interne d’univers”, as the Mother says? Except in a few individuals there is hardly any progress in mankind. Internally and externally the universe seems to be moving in the same circle always without making any essential progress.

Answer [Sri Aurobindo]: “Univers” in French usually means not the whole universe but the “world” – the earth. There must be a progress in the earth-consciousness, otherwise there could have been no evolution. The evolution of mankind may go in circles or spirals, but there is all the time an opening of more and more complete possibilities till the possibility of the evolution of a higher race becomes valid.
– 1 November 1936, found in The Mother by Sri Aurobindo

Today I've been re-reading certain sections of The Mother, and found the above jewel/quote thanks to the following comment on another blog post:
'Regarding [Sri Aurobindo] I read his book on Integral Yoga (compilation of letters) but the one that most deeply changed my life is his book "The Mother", which really simplifies his yoga and it has really changed my life. Few people seem to have read this gem while getting lost in philosophical issues in his other books, without really getting to the essence.'
Below are links to a video series wherein the Mother reads from this book:

“The Mother. Part 1. The Conditions of the Light and the Truth”

“The Mother. Part 2. The Integral Rejection”

“The Mother. Part 3. Complete Surrender”

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

For Want of a Common Soul & a Supramental Knowledge

'Peter Heehs' Betrayal and an Ashram in Upheaval - Two Sides of the Same Mistake' which discussed the nagging central flaw in both sides of the brouhaha, noting that each of the prominent sides of the argument 'have belittled the full scope of the yoga and blocked the true flow and essence of [Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's] Work'. The following article by Robert E. Wilkinson deepens this line of thought and expands on the idea that Peter Heehs' biography of Sri Aurobindo has been a catalyst to expose the lack of true center in Auroville and in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram since the Mother's passing in 1973.

Stop Scapegoating Peter Heehs

by Robert E. Wilikinson

Alok Pandey’s thoughtful article about the Heehs imbroglio brought up a number of important points but his burning questions about HOW and WHY this dispute occurred in the first place remain unanswered. To understand the HOW and WHY behind the Heehs controversy, one must be willing to stop the scapegoating and go deeper into the origins of the ignorance and confusion from which Heehs’ literary heresy came into being.

Since the Mother’s departure in 1973 both Auroville and the Ashram have suffered and continue to experience the eroding effect of incompetent leadership. Instead of forming around a common Soul and a Supramental knowledge, which was the Mother’s avowed intention, Auroville and the Ashram have formed around a Collective Ego. Instead of a true spiritual community guided by Realized Beings, the seat of Sri Aurobindo’s work was taken over by the Indian government and is now run by Philosophers and Politicians who, the Mother warned us, would be the very last to be transformed. This is the polluted soil from which Heehs' book emerged and the noxious influence that nursed his iconoclastic attitude.

The most important causal factor behind the Heehs’ controversy, completely absent from these discussions, and apparently quite unknown to Alok and others, is the existence of and the occult effect of a true collective Center or Soul. In the parlance of the Integral Yoga it is called the ‘Psychic Being’. It is the ordering and unifying principle of any collectivity and if it were truly present in the Auroville and Ashram community, the bitter controversies, legal disputes and polarization of devotees upon racial and other lines would have been a virtual impossibility. The community of devotees would know this if they had bothered to acquire a direct lived experience of the Yoga and the Vedic ‘Skambha’ instead of the lifeless mental orthodoxy that has been offered in its place. Indeed, one need only look at the ongoing disharmony and chaos in Auroville and the Ashram to know TO A CERTAINTY that there is NO CENTER. William Butler Yeats, himself a realized being, eloquently describes this occult phenomenon in the first lines of his poem ‘The Second Coming’.
‘…Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.’
You could not find a better description of how Alok Pandey and others have experienced Peter Heehs’ destructive influence but what they fail to realize is that Heehs is not the CAUSE of this ongoing controversy but merely one of the SYMPTOMS of the CENTERLESS condition that exists today in Auroville and the Ashram. To someone who SEES, the situation and its errors have an almost formulaic precision to it producing a mathematical result when something essential is left out of the mix. It may be compared to G.W.H. Hegel’s famous three part dialectical formula known as Hegel’s law. If you apply the principles of Thesis and Antithesis but reject the Third principle of Synthesis, the formula is fractured, true unity cannot be achieved and an integral understanding becomes impossible…

The same principles apply to the Supramental formula. Sri Aurobindo explained to us that the Divine is not only Transcendent but also Cosmic and finally Individual – Purusha, Prakriti and the Individual Soul. Its power and force must be brought down into the world in order to effect any real transformation in the earth-consciousness. As we know, Sri Aurobindo’s work dealt exclusively with the Transcendent Plane. The Mother’s work and her Vedic Temple is an incomparable translation of the Occult-Cosmic Plane. But it isn’t until you get to the Third Level and Thea’s work that you come upon the Synthesizing principle of the Psychic Being or Individual Soul. Naturally her field is represented in the Mother’s temple architecture as the GLOBE or CENTER of the entire structure that unites the Transcendent and Cosmic planes in an integral perfection. But as we know, the Philosophers and Politicians who rule Auroville and the Ashram have rejected the Third along with her knowledge of the Mother’s Inner Chamber. As a consequence, they have consigned themselves and innocent students like Alok to a partial, dis-integrated and order-less mental dogma which cannot be brought down and applied in the earth-field. Through this disgraceful and deliberate act of omission, the usurpers in Pondicherry have reduced Sri Aurobindo’s work to what he called ‘a pompous farce’.

In my opinion, Alok has unfairly placed the Heehs’ controversy at the feet of the Ashram trustees who he believes chose to ignore the signs of an impending disaster. He does so while crediting others like Amal Kiran, and R Y Deshpande for raising a timely alarm. But what he fails to understand is that they too are complicit, if not more so, in creating the long-standing foundations of this problem. I have discussed Amal Kiran’s shameful behavior in another article* so I will not repeat my comments here. But I would like to extend this discussion of a Soulless Centerless cosmos to R Y Deshpande and his Mirror of Tomorrow blog. Here again we find with mathematical precision, the cause of the errors and shortcomings in Deshpande’s commentaries on Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. For what is Savitri but a story of IMMORTALITY and the SOUL? How on earth can anyone presume to put themselves forward as an authority on Savitri without a lived experience of the Soul and the Vedic scriptures upon which this epic is based? Absent this, Deshpande’s authoritative musings and imaginings of Sri Aurobindo’s poetic verses are simply misleading speculations which serve only to divert the students’ attention from the real and essential purpose of this epochal work. Moreover, because he presents only a dismembered or partial view of the line of Supramental descent from the Transcendent to Cosmic, leaving out entirely the Individual Soul, Deshpande consolidates the erroneous view that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother failed in their mission. It cannot be otherwise. As Thea explains:
‘It is a fact that every publication issued from Ashram and Auroville sources, Heehs’ included, passes on to the public – though the intention appears to be other – that both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother failed in their missions. Not one publication can factually prove otherwise; and since there is no one in your circles who can state the contrary and receive the accepted ‘imprimatur’, this is the result: both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother failed ‘to deliver’. Or if they did, we mortals are not qualified to prove what stands beyond human comprehension. And since this is your belief, you must accept full responsibility for spreading the idea that they seemed to have failed.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only did they complete their missions, they did so beyond our wildest expectations. You can be sure that Supermind would not leave the fulfillment of its descent and establishment on Earth to the ‘belief’ of anyone: it is its own irrefutable proof.

This has been fully documented, the only existing book [The New Way] to not only prove the victorious completion of their missions but also it is the only irrefutable documentation of the fact that they are Vishnu’s Emanations – i.e., Evolutionary Avatars who come yuge, yuge, just as the Gita states, proven as only the Truth-Consciousness can do.’

– Thea, Letter to the Board of Trustees,
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, December 26, 2008
This then is the HOW and WHY that eludes Alok Pandey and others who concentrate on the EFFECTS instead of the CAUSE. If they are ever to resolve the underlying problem, they must embrace the Third and the SOUL within which She is. Only then will their vision clear to reveal the true meaning of Sri Aurobindo’s birth and rebirth as the apotheosis so exquisitely described in his epic poem.

Robert E. Wilkinson

*AuroExpose - Reflections on the emerging 'Aurobindonian Orthodoxy', it consequences, its antidote by Robert E. Wilkinson, April 2006

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