Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Infinite and the Detail

'... all you need to do is to observe the ACTUAL and REAL course Sri Aurobindo’s yoga and work have taken.... You see, if you ignore this, then the stagnation in the Ashram and the chaos in Auroville and the split between those two bodies of their work would not make sense at all. But when you do see those ‘disasters’ on the background of this larger vision and fuller knowledge, then it is perfectly clear and ‘all is as it should be’. - Thea (1989)
'The Infinite and the Detail' as reproduced below is one of many 'Letters from Skambha' written by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea) to various students of her work which are chronicled in The Vishaal Newsletter. In this particular letter (published in TVN Volume 4, Issue 1, April 1989) Thea addressed a student whose description and understanding of the Integral Yoga seemed to 'take a very linear direction. And that is summed up as an ascent up and out and beyond.' She wrote:

Sun Symbol'I do not perceive any roundness, which is the key to an INTEGRAL work on oneself. Pursuing the direction you describe does not guarantee an integration and harmonisation of the consciousness-being. This can only come about when in your consciousness you create that cosmos, when you establish that Point which is the new base of life that Sri Aurobindo described. For that an entirely new dimension of the psychic realisation has to come into being. And that is the focus of my work.'

This letter is a continuation and a 'deepening of the plot' of the Being and Becoming discussion. Perhaps more accurately
it is a deepening of the EVOLUTIONARY plot, because any fruitful or non-theoretical discussion of the Supramental Yoga in the end needs to come down to the question of HOW exactly human consciousness and human civilization is to make the evolutionary shift from a mental, linear, egoic poise and perspective, to a supramental, spherical-circular, soul-full poise and perspective. Thea has answered this question with impressive yogic force; however the evolutionary story she writes/speaks of - the real and phenomenal shifts taking place under all of our collective noses - has been a bit too grand or vast for many to be able to wrap their linear minds around, and more than a few do not want to wrap their minds around it at all because it feels like something foreign, external or threatening to what they are or what they know. Maybe this is the decade that the linear mind will bend or curve enough to actually contemplate the Gnosis Thea has presented concerning our individual and collective evolutionary process/progress, and concerning the Eternal Way of Being and Becoming.

The Infinite and the Detail

[Regarding] your presentation of the Yoga and your questions about the Gnostic Circle, I think things are becoming more and more clear with the exposition you have given. But I hope I can briefly summarise the situation, because the theme is a vast one and cannot really be dealt with in one letter. It is, after all, the entire scope of the work. At that same time, it draws the discussion to this question of the new element that I have brought to the Yoga. I have gone into this matter deeply in the 3rd Volume [of The New Way]
When I read your description of the Yoga I have a strange feeling that it is something rather foreign to what I know. The words seem to be right, but there is something not right. Pondering over this I realise the problem lies in the DIRECTION you describe; and this confirms the impression I have formed of your yoga and one of the causes for the strain you feel. You see, reading your description the Yoga seems to take a very linear direction. And that is summed up as an ascent up and out and beyond. This impression comes across very clearly in what you write. The psychic realisation becomes then simply a basis for this action, a tool to be used for the transformation of the nature so that this upward and outward direction can be attained without the impurities of the being interfering in this other attainment in any way.
Now, I am fully aware that many people have this notion, and it is perhaps legitimate to believe this insofar as Sri Aurobindo himself may convey this impression in his writings. But the point is that Sri Aurobindo wrote from a transcendent poise. That is, the work he had to do resided in a transformation of THAT PLANE. What I mean to say is that if we are to bring down the light of those planes, it is necessary to prepare those dimensions for this descent as well as this material plane. Someone had to do that, just as someone had to prepare the Cosmic plane, and just as someone has to prepare this Individual Earth-plane. In dealing with the Transcendent, it is clear that Sri Aurobindo was poised THERE. This is what makes his writing so appealing and free from certain demands put upon the consciousness in, for example, my writings. But when we reach the Cosmic and Individual, these demands begin to increase and often they create insurmountable obstacles for people who want to ‘lose themselves’ in that Peace, that Vastness, that uncluttered space beyond.
With the Mother’s work we come to that eternal Knot – Matter and Form. This introduces a series of difficulties Sri Aurobindo did not have to deal with, in that incarnation. Those difficulties increase as we move on down the line, especially when we come to the Individual, in close touch with the Earth-plane.
You know, I experienced this situation very vividly when I was approaching New York by plane last September. I don’t know if you have ever been to New York, but anyone who has is forced to admit that the city is not the prettiest in the world. There are slums, dirt, congestion; and for one who is used to country living, an unbearable lack of SKY and AIR.
But, as the plane descended and circled near and over the city, I noted how extraordinarily beautiful it was, constructed as it is by the Hudson River and with its amazing display of manmade wonders such as the famous skyline of Manhattan. The layout of the city was exquisite from that height. It was sunset when we approached, and the red-pink glow added to the beauty and charm of the vision. I could not fail to see a parallel with this work and the difficulties we face. All other yogas have dealt with the human condition from those heights, and the question has been to draw the seeker UP TO THOSE PLANES. Because, you see, when one sees New York from that height, one does not see its filth, its congestion, its squalor, its lack of sun and air, and all the rest. Nor does one see the misery of many of its residents, caught in a mire that is the outcome of just such a stressful and congested living. One sees only the city’s beauty and general outlines. One does not see THE DETAIL.

Now, it is this question of DETAIL that describes the main focus of my work, and to a certain extent the Mother’s. She began to look at details; she began to DESCEND into material creation with her yogic thrust; she began to deal with matter and with form, – which is where the question of detail begins to surface. Sri Aurobindo did not do this, by his own admission. Therefore Savitri, also by his own admission, is largely a creation of the Overmental plane. This is made evident by the fact that in Savitri that perfection of form and detail is not present, and by consequence that Order that the new creation demands, the creation of a cosmos out of the chaos, to put it succinctly. The prophetic aspect of Savitri makes this clear: it is all rather helter-skelter, figures and events of the prophetic vision overlap or pop up here and there with no proper sequence, no clear time-frame for which that Order is indispensable. One is forced to leap around from page to page in order to form a clear vision with ‘each thing in its place’.
But in composing his epic, Sri Aurobindo was dealing with those planes, opening up the Overmind to the higher light and infusing it with this new and hitherto withheld element – in overt manifestation, that is, not hidden and working from behind the veils. In a sense we could say that with Sri Aurobindo’s work, in particular the creation of Savitri, the Overmind consented to this transformation and to cede the reigning position it has held for so long to the Supermind. Sri Aurobindo was clear about this. He stated quite emphatically that Savitri was an overmental creation for the most part. But the reason for this is what I am here describing: Savitri was Sri Aurobindo’s tool for the Descent.
The Mother’s tool was something quite different and far more material, we may say. It was the creation of the physical ashram but with the culminating experience of the Temple and the City. It is with her vision of the Temple, and above all with the detailed plan she gave, bearing precise measurements, that we observe this Light penetrating more and more deeply into matter and material creation. At the same time we see the murkiness which had not really surfaced in Sri Aurobindo’s time in this new creation. We see types like X coming to the fore, and all the rest. We see the mire of Auroville and all of that. But it is like the city of New York: when viewed from above the creation is magnificent. Descending into that magnificence, however, one begins to see details that from the heights were unperceived. This, in a nutshell, is the work of the second and third members of the Solar Line. And then there is the Fourth.
You see, the point of Sri Aurobindo’s incarnation is that vision from above, the transcendence, as well as that immanence. It is HIS IMMANENCE as the Fourth, as the Point, as the Seed, that puts the seal on the Descent and allows for the creation of a new Cosmos. [1] And this is what is conveyed in the Gnostic Circle. Sri Aurobindo’s position in that Circle is the 9. That point on the Sacred Triangle describes his work in that incarnation – the Transcendent. But as the Fourth it is the opposite to that 9 Point: it is the 4.5…the ‘Masked Transcendent’. This hidden, masked condition is beautifully conveyed in the Gnostic Circle by the fact that there is no Orbit marked out there by any of the enneagram’s lines, neither the Sacred Triangle’s nor the other lines forming the diagram. Yet the entire diagram focuses on that hidden orbit; all its lines point to that Orbit. Visually, this is evident, and it is something the Gurdjieff school missed entirely: the focus on that mysterious Orbit. [2]
That is the Immanent, that is the ‘gold’ hidden in matter, the Hiranyaretas or the Golden Seed. That is what permits a cosmos to be formed, an ordering to be undertaken. It is the infinitesimal point in the core of the Sun that holds a cosmos together. The 4.5 Orbit is therefore the redemption of the Buddhist and Mayavadist ‘void’. This is what Sri Aurobindo meant when he stated that ‘Kalki would come to correct the error of the Buddha’. At the same time, he referred to the experience of Nirvana as the entry into ‘the higher hemisphere’ from the lower and the beginning of the work, not the culmination. And this too perfectly tallies with the image conveyed in the Gnostic Circle because the 4.5 is indeed the half-way point in the wheel and is the threshold to the higher hemisphere. This is corroborated even in the traditional understanding of the zodiac with relation to Libra, the sign of the 4.5 Orbit.
What I perceive in your description is only half the picture, and I feel this may be the basic cause for the strain you experience. I do not perceive any roundness, which is the key to an INTEGRAL work on oneself. Pursuing the direction you describe does not guarantee an integration and harmonisation of the consciousness-being. This can only come about when in your consciousness you create that cosmos, when you establish that Point which is the new base of life that Sri Aurobindo described. For that an entirely new dimension of the psychic realisation has to come into being. And that is the focus of my work. You see, until 1971 nothing was really known of all this. But let us look at the facts: in 1970 the Mother completed her work in terms of dealing with DETAILS within the parameters prescribed for her Incarnation. The original plan of the Temple was the proof that this first ordering had taken place and that her Yoga had made that possible. The City is the physical representation of that Cosmos, which is ‘held together’ by the Temple, which, in turn, is that central Point, the core-point of the cosmos that ‘holds it together’. In this light you can understand quite easily why the actual shape of Auroville was designed by the original architect as a galaxy, and how perfectly accurate that was. [3] The only problem with the physical reality that is the Auroville we know is that there is no central Point that is capable of ‘holding the city-consciousness together’. Hence there is only chaos there as a result. But this was no fault of the Mother, insofar as she did give the key to the true foundation of the City. And here we have used that key in our work, with accurate and measurable results.
A further point is that the Matrimandir was described as ‘the soul’ of the City. And this provides another clue to the process I am describing. You see, as stated, when you are dealing with matter this question of DETAIL comes to the fore. At the same time, when dealing with matter the question of the soul’s role is immediately introduced, because the soul is the nexus of being in material creation.
Now with this you can perhaps begin to draw certain important correlations: the soul, the Individual Divine, the Third member of the Solar Line, the Temple, the question of ‘perfection in detail’. All of this begins to make very logical and coherent sense. We understand fully why the Descent was arranged the way it has been and why, at this stage, we are faced with the question of Measure in the first place, why the Mother insisted on ‘accurate measurements’ and that she wanted ‘only an engineer’ and not an architect because accuracy was of the utmost importance. And we also realise why this was so hotly combated in Auroville: we are dealing with the ‘mire of detail’ in this issue. It is like the city of New York: from above it is clean and pristine and an exquisite creation of man; but when we descend we see the other side, and we may be appalled. The same applies to the City and the Temple. In the plan stage these were impeccable creations; the Mother’s original plan of the Chamber is unparalleled, it is a perfect cosmos and a replica of the Soul in Matter as the binding nexus of a material creation.

A view of the Mother's original Temple design,
as shown in The New Way, Vols. 1&2 and also on

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet

But when in the process of bringing that perfect Vision into the material plane – that is, in EXECUTING the plans the Mother left – then we are confronted with those unpleasant facts which we would rather ignore: the murkiness of the detail, with all the knots that have come into being in this material plane because Supermind has not been the overt ruling Principle in creation. This can explain why the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and our present contribution is always so entangled, so difficult, so obstructed. We are working through those knots in the course of our collective endeavour. There is no ‘sunlit path’ here; there is only one direction. And that is through the entire wheel and all its various ‘points’. Precisely because we are dealing with an INTEGRAL REALISATION.

It is this ‘roundness’, if it may be so called, which I find lacking in your brief presentation of the Yoga. Everything is right, the words are accurate, but something is missing. And I feel that this is the root of the strain you feel. As I have written in the past, you are – no doubt very unconsciously – pursuing a wrong direction. You are not allowing the Sun-Core to bring order into your realisations and draw them together here on this material plane for the creation of a new cosmos out of the chaos of your consciousness-being. Perhaps unwittingly, the direction you are pursuing is ‘otherworldly’. This, as I have written you before, is because of your past attainments, what you have brought over from your past incarnations.
There is a lot of material in this letter to assimilate. I do not expect you to understand all of what I write since I realise this may seem to be in conflict with what you have studied of this Yoga in the past. But, to help you out of the impasse, all you need to do is to observe the ACTUAL and REAL course Sri Aurobindo’s yoga and work have taken. You will clearly have to admit, if you are honest, that what I write is borne out by the real facts of our work and the course it has taken. You see, if you ignore this, then the stagnation in the Ashram and the chaos in Auroville and the split between those two bodies of their work would not make sense at all. But when you do see those ‘disasters’ on the background of this larger vision and fuller knowledge, then it is perfectly clear and ‘all is as it should be’. However, that does not eliminate the need to struggle with those confounding ‘details’ of a material creation. What does happen when we accept WHAT IS, is that we engage in these struggles with a trust and a certainty that others lack.
The trust and certainty I write of are quite different from the blind faith displayed by most of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s disciples; or else the fallacious interpretation we have witnessed in Auroville: the Mother is in control of everything so therefore there can be no mistake in Matrimandir! (My reply to that has always been: since the Mother is in control of everything, then why bother about nuclear weapons and all the rest, since she is also behind that creation!) No, the trust and certainty I write of is something entirely different. It is a poise derived from Knowledge, from knowing and not from believing, or even from blind devotion. The world has had enough of that. What is required now is an acceptance of WHAT IS, primarily of WHAT IS in the Mother’s work. That means, accepting this new direction with all that that implies. This means seeking fervently and sincerely to understand WHY there is this direction at all, what its implications are for the Yoga and the world, what the real meaning of the Temple is in the context of this new direction and its relation to ‘perfection in detail’. Remember, Sri Aurobindo stated that this was the reigning Goddess [Mahasaraswati] of our Age. And nowhere is that better corroborated than in the Mother’s final bequeathal to humanity: the plan of her Chamber, the world’s most impeccable blueprint of ‘perfection in detail’.

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1989

Endnotes: (All endnotes and pictures added by Lori, i.e. not in the original letter.)
[1] 'The Fourth' refers to the reincarnation of Sri Aurobindo. in 1963 This matter is fully discussed in The New Way, Volumes 1 & 2, and lightly in the article 'Is the True Significance of Immortality Day Lost on Followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother?'
[2] The 4.5 point/enneagram image is from Fission and Fusion, © Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1989.
[3] This plan of Auroville (by Roger Anger 1968) is [no longer] shown and described on Wikipedia as 'Auroville's master plan [incorporating] several design improvements for Auroville'. For images see CtrlShift blog.

Other Letters from Skambha by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet:
* 'Fission and Fusion: Symbols of the Old World and the New'
* 'Feminism's Conundrum'
* 'The Void Where Thought Was Born'
* 'The Relative, the Absolute, the One'

T O   S H O W E R   T H I S   B L O G / P O S T  with   W E B   L O V E 
S H A R E   IT  using  A N Y  of  the  I C O N S  below  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In Harmony's Way

The day after I posted ‘A Higher Vision of Time’ (an extension of the Being and Becoming line of thought), while singing along to streaming radio, I began to think of how obvious disharmony and lack of rhythm is when considering music or dance. One either joins the song, with its particular measures, tones and rhythms or one is doing one’s own thing (out of whatever ignorance or lack of interest in finding some resonance with the song). When one adds one’s own contributions without regard for a song’s measure, tone, rhythm and progression, the result is typically unpleasant … a disjointed cacophony or chaos of sound or movement.

I had these thoughts in contrast to how entirely unobvious the need for attunement to and alignment with the real measures, tones, rhythms and progressions of our Earth, of our universe has become in our civilization. This need was clearly obvious to the sages of the ancient Vedic civilization. They fully recognized that the divine creator/creatrix of the Earth and the Cosmos could be approached, experienced, known and enjoyed via attunement to the Earth’s song and its particular measures, tones, rhythms and progressions. The Earth is, in a sense, a singer or dancer in a celestial symphony or musical – her core and axis of being is one with the core and axis of All Being (especially with the Sun of our Solar System) and hence her unique self-expression, her unique individuality, is never off-key, never out of step or out of harmony with the conductor or the other celestial singers/dancers.

Solar system model. (Credit: iStockphoto/Baris Simsek)
Such perfectly aligned individuality, presence, self-expression and voice is the true goal of yoga – i.e. to become a consciousness agent or instrument of the eternal or perpetual Self of All-Being, orbiting the luminous Truth of the Self rather than dark ignorance or a void. This is the true potential of the individual and the only means by which any sort of genuine human unity and solidarity with all of creation is possible.

Accordingly, Vedic sages were known as Rishi which the Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon [1] defines as ‘a singer of sacred hymns, an inspired poet or sage, any person who alone or with others invokes the deities in rhythmical speech or song of a sacred character.’ Many modern minds get horribly triggered or perplexed by the idea of ‘deities’ or gods, while in the Vedic mind deities were simply forces, phenomena or beings of our Earth and Cosmos that carry on or persist in perpetual tune with the One Song. Examples can be found in the Trimurti (three gods who are one) – Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. Thus the triguna of creation, preservation and destruction (rajas, sattva and tamas) were recognized as individual divine forces of a unified divine movement, a unified evolution, a unifying consciousness-force. The Sun, the Earth, the Moon, and the planets in our solar system were also considered deities, for they indeed exist and evolve in perpetual tune with the One Song. Usha is an example of a deity who represents a perpetual or cyclical phenomenon. Usha is the Dawn – a Dawn from freefoto.comreal phenomenon and an important part of the real symphony of cosmic and earthly movement. She symbolizes the real shift from darkness to light and from ignorance to knowledge which unfolds in the due course of time, in due course of human evolution.

The god Shiva is sometimes depicted as Nataraja, with one leg in the air, hair akimbo, dancing within a circle, oval or womb of flames. Nata means ‘dance’ and raja (in this case) means ‘lord’ or ‘king’, and so Nataraja is most commonly translated as ‘Lord of the Dance’. The circle represents the body, movement and rhythms of the Cosmos; and Nataraja moves within and in perfect attunement to and alignment with That. His four arms represent the four Cardinal directions/points of the Earth; and his head and the heel of his right foot are in perfect alignment with the vertical axis of the circle. Nataraja dances the tandava – the universal dance of creation, preservation and destruction; and he stands victorious on top of a dwarf demon who represents ignorance of the cosmos and its movement.

Nataraja is one of many Vedic deities and characters who represent a force or being, or a force of Being that is in perpetual harmony with the Absolute – the One Self and all its multiple or relative expressions or tones. When I was contemplating the apparently unobvious need to attune and align oneself and the Earth collective to the measurements, tones, rhythms and progressions of our Earth song and the Harmonies of the Cosmos, the image of Nataraja, dancing within the 360° circle, popped into my head as a key to unveiling the obvious. Because clearly singers and dancers must learn to sing or move in harmony with, in tune with and in perfect time with the song at hand. As true as this necessity is for those who want to sing or dance well, it is even more profoundly true for those who want to participate in a divine unity and harmony on Earth.

In looking up the Sanskrit word nata, I found some intriguing definitions and expansions of the word. For instance vijaanatah (vijaya = ‘victorious’, nata = ‘dance’) means ‘one who is in complete knowledge’. Nata, in addition to meaning ‘dance’, also means ‘curve’ and ‘hour-angle’. An hour-angle, is a cosmological time-space measurement concerning the apparent 360° rotation (and curve) of the celestial sphere due to the Earth’s real 360° rotation in one 24 hour day. Also natanadi means ‘an hour of birth that is after noon and before midnight’.

This etymological escapade got me wondering if the English word ‘natal’ is actually descendant from nata. After all the architects of the Sanskrit language were well aware that we are all born into a cosmic dance, into a celestial song – a celestial body – that moves and perpetually curves around us, nurturing us towards fuller and fuller awareness and expression of our true nature. Perhaps even the word ‘nature’ hails from the same root as Nataraja. Nature is certainly a divine dance, well-choreographed by and fine-tuned to the rhythms of a divine harmony. In astrology, a natal chart shows the positioning of the 360° celestial womb at the time of birth. Such a 360° snapshot of the exact moment when an individual is born (or enters) into the cosmic harmony gives a real indication of what note that individual is to play out or carry within the whole. It is a snapshot of the same celestial womb, body of lights or circular song that surrounds Nataraja. The 360° progressions, harmonies and rhythms of that celestial circle, which some will recognize as the ecliptic path of the Earth, are the progressions, harmonies and rhythms to which Nataraja is dancing.

Another Sanskrit word that suspiciously contains nata and speaks of the perpetual dance of being and becoming is sanatana. Sanatana is commonly used in conjunction with dharmasanatana dharma, which means something to the order of ‘the eternal truth of being and becoming’. It is also translated as ‘the Eternal Way’. Sanata means ‘from of old’ and sanatana means ‘eternal, perpetual, permanent, everlasting, primeval, ancient’. Interestingly enough, the English word ‘senate’ actually comes from this lofty Sanskrit root. Dharma is often translated as ‘truth’ or ‘law’ but more specifically it is a stable truth or law that upholds and orders becoming (i.e. evolution). It seems to me that sanatana dharma could also be understood as the upholding LORD of the eternal dance, but as far as I can tell, no one connects the word sanatana to Nataraja, even though they share the root nata. The idea is the same. There is a perpetual and eternal cosmic curve of becoming (i.e. the 360° circle, cycle or orbit) which is stabilized, ordered and harmonized by a real force of Truth, a real Skambha or Cosmic pillar. The Vedic sages made it abundantly clear that the highest goal of humanity was to become a collective (sanga) of illumined travelers, knowers, singers or dancers of this 360° way of truth and harmony, which was also described as the 12 month sacrifice (yajña) or year which – if observed, seen and celebrated correctly – would generate knowledge of the divine and hence knowledge of immortality. Sri Aurobindo wrote much about this journey-sacrifice (adhvara yajña) towards divine consciousness in The Secret of the Veda. It is a journey towards discovering the ‘hymn of the soul’ that is in absolute attunement to and absolute harmony with the hymn of the Earth, the hymn of the Sun and our Solar System, and the Hymn of the Whole creation.
‘The sacrifice is also a journey; indeed the sacrifice itself is described as travelling, as journeying to a divine goal; and the journey and the sacrifice are both continually spoken of as a battle against the dark powers.' (p.183)

‘[The] part of the Angiras Rishis in the sacrifice is the human part, to find the word, to sing the hymn of the soul to the gods, to sustain and increase the divine Powers by the praise, the sacred food and the Soma-wine, to bring to birth by their aid the divine Dawn, to win the luminous forms of the all-radiant Truth and to ascend to its secret, far and high-seated home.’ (p. 187)

‘[The] gods are invoked for this great journey, adhvara yajña, the sacrifice that travels or is a travel to the home of the godheads and at the same time a battle: for thus it is sung, “Easy of travelling for thee is the path, O Agni, and known to thee from of old. Yoke in the Soma-offering thy ruddy (or actively moving) mares which bear the hero. Seated, I call the births divine” …. What path is this? It is the path between the home of the gods and our earthly mortality down which the gods descend through the [antariksha], the vital regions, to the earthly sacrifice and up which the sacrifice and man by the sacrifice ascends to the home of the gods.’ (p.188)

‘By the truth, in the revolution of the year, they broke Vala ....’ [RV X.62.2] (p. 177)

‘[The] secret eternal worlds have been closed to us, says the Rishi, by the movement of Time, by the months and years; therefore naturally they have to be discovered, revealed, conquered, created in us by the movement of Time ….’ (pp.179-180)
– Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda
The Vedic texts, and especially Sri Aurobindo’s translations of it, are an unparalleled resource to draw on for evidence that the Earth’s year is an eternal or perpetual path, which when traveled, known or observed correctly, will lead past all obstacles and Ignorance (Vala) to Truth-Consciousness/Unity-Consciousness. But no amount of study of Vedic wisdom can be a substitute for actually tuning in to and harmonizing one’s own consciousness and existence with the divine rhythms, tones, measures and progressions of the divine Earth and Cosmos. One literally tunes the instrument of one’s own being to the divine hymn of the Earth, to the divine harmonies of the Cosmos. The result is the realization of the hymn of the soul and an appreciation for how the soul, how the divine spark (Agni) expresses itself throughout all circumstances. One becomes, in a real sense, a Lord of the Dance. One knows the Universal Song that is being played out and can appreciate it and offer one’s own contributions to the harmony accordingly. [Note that in the image of Nataraja on the right (from wikipedia), his cosmic surround is perfectly divided by 12.]

As people take on and succeed in this task of tuning in to the real rhythms that underlie, inform and allow our material existence and evolution, appreciation will certainly grow for the depth of consciousness, the depth of gnosis of the Vedic Rishis; but the process of restoration, expansion and application of this consciousness, of this gnosis in our own age will take on an epic life of its own, centered here and now … not divorced from the past in any way, but also in no way dependent on the sacred texts of the past to validate our own experience of the Eternal Way (sanatana dharma) in the present. Our own living experience of the supramental divine consciousness-force that moves through all form and all time and space will generate its own field and monuments of gnosis, around which a new and much-improved civilization will form. [2]

The funny and intriguing thing is that people throughout the world do, albeit unconsciously, inharmoniously and ineffectively, hum along with the eternal song, travel along the eternal path. After all, all of us here on Earth without exception do share the same 360 degree ride or journey around the Sun. Accordingly, we recognize and celebrate yearly birthdays and anniversaries, as well as yearly holidays whose significance or origin is often tied to cosmological phenomenon. We recognize (and some celebrate) the change of seasons which are marked by the equinoxes and the solstices (i.e. the four cardinal points of the tropical zodiac). We measure the Earth’s body and cyclical movement in 360° and track our movement through the year in 12 stages or months. Some even study astrology and acknowledge the Earth’s movement through the Precession of the Equinoxes in 12 stages or astrological ages. These unconscious or partially conscious habits and practices we owe to our Vedic ancestors who over 5,000 years ago, knew and sang the Eternal Song, traveled and documented the Eternal Way that connects the individual to the whole. All these millennia latter we still manage to hum along or move along (however distorted, off-key, off-rhythm and tone-deaf) to the same underlying eternal measure.

Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three.
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
three hundred and sixty like pegs.
They shake not in the least.
(Dirghatama, Rig Veda 1.164.48)

Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, most Indians who do remember and value their Vedic heritage enough to try to consciously hum, sing or move along with the Earth’s hymn, to celebrate the Vedic sacrifice and to resurrect the sanatana dharma, are typically some 23-24 days out of synch with the tune of the Earth’s year which is perpetually and perfectly marked out in 360° time and space by the equinoxes and the solstices. Few Indians can actually agree on what the true Vedic calendar/sacrifice/year/hymn is that should be celebrated or sung; and so their ‘singing’, or their celebrations of the Vedic sacrifice – of the year and of larger cycles of time (such as the Kumbha Mela) – are terminally ill-coordinated and inauspiciously disharmonious, not in keeping with the Earth’s own sacred or eternal measure and rhythm as set by the four cardinal points.

To be or move in perfect time with the Earth’s own song, its own perpetual and ancient laws and truth, one cannot drift one’s attention from, or drag behind the 12 month year which is absolutely set, fixed or stabilized by the four equinoctial and solstitial points. Yet post-Vedic astrologers, temple priests, yogis and cosmologists of our modern age – who imagine they are carrying on the Vedic Way in correct fashion – do drift and drag behind this true and stable measure. Therefore ignorance of the Eternal Way of Harmony, ignorance of Cosmic Dance remains and the ‘eternal worlds’ that could be opened for individuals and for a larger collective by being in proper tune with the months and years, with the real measures and rhythms of our evolutionary journey, remain closed for the vast majority.

It may sound far fetched to some readers that any of this matters at all. If so, just do an experiment and start singing out of synch, out of rhythm, and out of tune with a song and see what happens. It is not pretty. Add a few more out of synch and out of tune and disharmonious people to the mix. Then what? Quickly the lack of resonance, attunement and alignment becomes a problem … a noisy, unmanageable, unintelligible, unpleasant chaos. After this exercise (even if just in one’s own imagination), is it so hard to imagine that huge problems arise when humanity loses its consciousness of and alignment with the rhythms of the Earth and our Cosmic surround, or that greater unity and harmony arise when humanity attunes and aligns itself with the Earth’s rhythms.

As it is, multitudes of nations, religions, scientists, scholars, spiritual seekers and teachers sing countless conflicting, out of tune and out of time songs and the results are not good. Individuals and collectives express themselves with no real awareness or consciousness of a central shruti or unifying tone and no common rhythm. Our civilization carries on in its fragmented and fractious ways, oblivious that self-expression and individual or group action can actually be executed in harmony with a central pulse and fundamental song which are common to all beings on Earth and are the unifying force and field of our shared evolutionary journey in time and space. The vehicle or container of this shared journey is the Year – its unifying and compelling force/pulse/shruti is the Sun. The habit or custom of taking this common journey and common center for granted and not making efforts to harmonize ourselves according to its eternal, ancient and perpetual truth and law, is a habit of ignorance – a true and titanic blind spot of the modern mind.

Many in our era teach or preach of the need for global harmony and unity, but very few understand the real axis, the real upholding law or truth or ‘Lord’ of our collective existence and evolution in time and space. How can one teach of harmony and unity when one does not know the actual Song being sung? Until one knows the REAL common song or hymn that connects us to the cosmic harmony and hence to the divine truth-consciousness, there is only so much one can comprehend or transmit to others about the eternal, unifying and all-harmonizing Truth of Being and Becoming. [3] Just as real harmony is based on a real song and its real rhythms, movements, measures and tones … a real world sanga or harmonious world community must be based on the very real rhythms, movements, measures, structures, laws of our Earthly existence. No real sanga is going to emerge from any religion’s or any teacher’s philosophically, ideologically, academically, mentally, emotionally or faithfully contrived center or field. It has literally got to be the Real Deal if the center is going to hold, persist and transform our modern cacophonous, dog-eat-dog, free-for-all ‘global pillage’ into a well-coordinated, harmonious truth-consciousness global village. [4] Philosophically, ideologically, mentally or emotionally contrived fields always collapse in on themselves and/or dissolve via their creators’ own ignorance of what is real dharma or real upholding truth. In short, no idea of a Sun, or belief in a Sun, is going to uphold and harmoniously sustain a Solar System.

As I began winding down this article, a Sanskrit word for the year kept popping into my head – samvatsara. I noticed that samvat actually sounds something like ‘same vat’ in English, which is truly what the year is, i.e. the unifying container or vessel of our common experience. It turns out that sam means ‘together with, along with, together, altogether, conjunction, union, completeness, to join together, to place together’. Vat means ‘to surround, encompass, to tie, string, connect’ as well as ‘to divide, partition’. And sara interestingly enough means ‘course, motion, stretching out, extension’. The connotation is thus something to the order of ‘a unified, all-encompassing, all-connecting whole movement or course or extension of being’. The Vedic Rishis flat out knew that samvatsara – the year – was the Real Deal, the real unifying container, the real and unifying journey that joins together all past, present and future Earthly beings. Natural and geometric division and partitions of the year, such as the days, months and seasons, were an acknowledgement of unity, of the sacred way parts of the whole fit and move together … not a conspiracy of fragmentation.

Interestingly enough, the correct Sanskrit formation of the word sanga, which is commonly used to described as one’s spiritual community, is actually samgha, meaning it hails from the same root word as samvatsara as defined above. The suffix gha is something of an exclamation point, meaning ‘verily’, ‘surely’ or ‘indeed’, indicating that a samgha/sanga is that which is indeed or truly joined together or united.

After reading about and considering the depth of the Vedic Rishi’s gnosis of the very real eternal path towards a divine and terrestrial harmony, perhaps some can begin to understand how far off-center and out of tune our own consciousness and actions have flown or drifted from the Eternal Way and how important it is to begin a process of re-cognition of and realignment with our own material reality.


[1] The majority of Sanskrit definitions in this article were found in the Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon.
[2] The Mother’s Temple was intended to be such a monument of gnosis, but as discussed elsewhere [see] it was distorted by those in charge of its construction.
[3] Andrew Cohen comes to mind here, but he is certainly not alone with regards to this limitation.
[4] I borrowed this ‘global pillage’ pun from the book Global Village or Global Pillage by Jeremy Brecher and Tim Costello. (1998, South End Press)

© Lori Tompkins 2010

Related Articles:
* Number and the Supramental Matrix
* The Simultaneity of Time, Spirit and Matter 
* Macrocosm, Microcosm & the Laws of Time and Space
* 'A Higher Vision of Time Is Needed...' (Quotes from PNB's Time & Imperishability and some commentary)
* The ALL-pervading Energy of Time - the New Time (Quote from PNB's The New Way, a study in the rise and establishment of a gnostic society).

* ‘The Geometry and Superstructure of Time’ 

* 'Time as a Power (not an Enemy) of Self'  

* Learning the One Song, Learning the Universe
* The Vedic Circle of 9 and 0

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Fission and Fusion: The Old Consciousness in Contrast to the New

The following is an excerpt taken from from 'Fission an Fusion - Symbols of the Old World and the New' (Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1989). The full article discusses our civilization's need for new non-toxic energy sources as a symbol of our need to evolve a new non-toxic consciousness; and invites the reader to see the deeper rhyme and reason underlying ordinary events and circumstances. The article begins: 'I have always sustained that the course of evolution of consciousness takes on this planet is easily discernible in a host of ordinary developments. That is, we can, when equipped with the proper keys of higher knowledge and trained to see in a new way, assess not only WHERE we are headed as a civilization but also at which point we stand in this transitional period.' A few sections of the article discuss how the Gnostic Circle is a key to understanding and aligning with the immobile core of being so that one's dynamism (or becoming) is akin to fusion - like the massive solar power of the Sun, producing no waste, rather than a dynamic fission whose byproduct is deadly waste.

The old consciousness in contrast to the new:

'...the old [consciousness] ‘creates’ but in such a manner that it produces ‘wastes’; and to such a degree that the benefits are ultimately cancelled out when a certain threshold is crossed. This critical threshold has been reached and as a civilisation we must come to terms with its implications. ...

'The phrase that best indicates the nature of this threshold is ‘creation or destruction’. In past articles I have emphasised the distinction that must now be made in the light of new attainments in the Yoga. It is the difference between DESTRUCTION and DISSOLUTION. I would like to discuss this to some extent, but the focus of the present article is rather the actual mechanism which distinguishes the old from the new in its cosmic and evolutionary workings.

'To illustrate, I shall give a brief presentation of the manner in which the new cosmos operates. And once again we shall investigate the BINARY nature of the old creation in order to comprehend better the essential differences between the two and the changes that must come about before the new creation can truly become a reality on Earth. Thus, one essential ingredient in a new cosmos based on an integral creation is that it must have a single ‘centre’, like the Sun in our solar system. This centre/sun maintains the system or cosmos not by feeding off its orbiting, peripheral bodies, but simply by its presence or being. It is Being, as a result of IMMOBILITY which holds the cosmos together. This is the definition of an ‘axis’, in this cosmology. [bold added]

'Another distinction must be made at this point. Immobility in terms of an individual’s realisation is not to be confused with equanimity. The latter is largely a psychological condition, whereas immobility is a condition of being. When through the Yoga the new alignment is brought about in one’s consciousness-being, this axis is forged and the realisation of Immobility is achieved.

'This condition produces a situation in which there is no collapse, no caving in. In the core of a sun we find this condition and hence it supports the play of its orbiting bodies, creates ORDER and HARMONY and a truly CREATIVE manifestation. Energy in the core comes about by alignment, or a special convergence of ‘orbits’ or ‘directions’, as I have called them. What this superior alignment produces is a self-contained, self-replenishing source of power, hence the Centre does not feed off any other body in its system; or rather, to explain the process more accurately: it does not feed off its own body.

'Fusion – the news of the day – produces energy similar to what is believed to transpire in the core of the Sun. This means a process of increase based on union, a joining of elements to create something else, rather than a shattering or a splitting of particles, the method employed in fission.' ... [bold added ;
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© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1989

This post as well as five out of six of the 2010 Circumsolatious posts so far, and probably many more to come, were born in a way from my first article of the year/decade: 'Being and Becoming'. Since then I have been somewhat compelled (and delighted) to dive into and expose different layers and facets of this issue. I hope some readers are enjoying the ride.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Higher Vision of Time is Needed to Appreciate, Experience and Enjoy the Relationship between Being and Becoming

‘… today’s warrior … must face Time …’.

Photo by ToniVC

As a follow up to ‘Being and Becoming’, I am posting some valuable excerpts from Time and Imperishability (1997) by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet. The subject matter includes the error of spiritual paths that divorce the dynamic Becoming of material creation from the static or immobile Transcendent Being, as well as the necessity of knowing the reality of Time (Mahakala) and its laws if one is to experience, appreciate and enjoy the real relationship between Being and Becoming and the real relationship between the Transcendent, the Cosmic and Individual Self. Also discussed is the process by which the Unmanifest is born as a point or seed (bija) and extends itself in time and space. This line of thought is deeply rooted in Vedic gnosis, as well as in the supramental gnosis of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It is the product of and a call towards cultivating the ‘Supramental Time Vision’ that Sri Aurobindo foresaw and discussed in The Synthesis of Yoga. [1]


From Time and Imperishability, Part I, ‘Transcendence and the Immanence of the One’

… [T]oday’s warrior … must face Time, must face Death, and thereby come upon the element in our being which survives destruction. Nay, which uses destruction as well as creation as the modes of its expression, as the vehicles upon which it moves in the world, immobile yet fully engaged in the mobility of this universe in an eternally renewing process.
This path lies in the opposite direction to the one seekers have been encouraged to pursue since the time of the Buddha. It lies in the core of creation, not in the Beyond, or whatever name we give to this extra-cosmic reality.

A core must not only survive the action of disintegration; it must be the central pivot of the process, and even, we may add, its controlling element. It is that ‘centre that holds’, in contrast to Yeats’ vision of an apocalyptic disintegration due precisely to the fact that ‘the centre cannot hold’, as he describes in his majestic verse. What then is this core? How does it arise, and moreover, how can it be experienced?
These are questions we shall endeavor to answer in this study. But first it is necessary to know the exact nature of the Reality we wish to explore, in the effort to clarify these fundamental questions. For the problem before us concerns our entire perception of the Absolute and our approach to that highest Reality. Indeed, a study of the developments of spirituality and the course it has taken over the millennia is a precious aid in the knowledge we are seeking.
Undoubtedly all spiritual paths have led seekers to a Beyond, to a Transcendent Reality. Even religions have fostered the same emphasis. Some call it Heaven, others Nirvana. Whatever the designation, it is evident that we are dealing with one avenue of experience; or we may say, with one ultimate goal. This is by no means a false perception. It is deeply true, and for this very reason innumerable yogins and tapaswins have devised the means to carry the aspirant to this static Beyond. Once one attains the capacity to place the consciousness out of the cosmic dimension, it is believed that one can enter into a transcendence which is an upholding or all-encompassing Consciousness that somehow, in some magical way, is not involved in the flux and flow of material creation and hence is untouched by the ravages of time and decay and death which appear to be the principal features of our universe. Methods of escape to this transcendent Brahman were thus devised in order to grant the troubled human spirit the solace of a peace that by virtue of its static quality could liberate the seeker from any further involvement in the torment of life and death. Rebirth, in this instance, was accepted only as a means to achieve this liberation ultimately. Unlike the mid-Eastern religions that have arisen in this 9th Manifestation (beginning in 234 BC and lasting for 6480 years thereafter*), the pursuit of such an attainment was not limited to just one lifetime. Nonetheless, the goal was the same: a path out of the cosmos, hopefully never more to return.
The realization such illumined beings attained cannot be denied or doubted. These yogins themselves stand as luminous beacons to the truth of the way and the goal. However, the time has come to view dispassionately such accomplishments in the light of our present discussion, insofar as the acquisition of a transcendent poise naturally suggests ultimate liberation from future birth. We are drawn to believe that the process of birth, death and rebirth, holds only as long as the human being is caught in the coils of the Ignorance. When finally he or she does attain liberation, concurrently with this accomplishment the realiser is freed from any further involvement with material creation and this ecstatic yet more often maddening Dance of Shiva.
However, the power of Arjuna’s vision still lingers in the consciousness of all who seriously pursue the path of Truth. That vision, if indeed it is the highest, presents a stark contrast to the static Beyond. Are we then not justified in questioning the content and direction of these ways which have not carried seekers to the truth of Mahakala but rather away from it? The conventional paths would have us believe that it is precisely a realization or occupation with Time that is the inferior poise, and that the transcendent reality is the higher. But the Gita contradicts this notion, and it has held its place at the heart of Indian wisdom far longer and more persistently than any other scripture. It has thoroughly pervaded all Indian spirituality and captured the imagination of seekers for several millennia. But perhaps it is time itself that can give us the answers we seek.
Time is the great Controller. Thus if spirituality has moved in a direction opposite to Time’s mystery and truth, it must be Mahakala himself who is ‘responsible’ for the divergence. We shall see anon how indeed this has been the case, when we bring into our discussion the line of the Ten Avatars of Hinduism. [2] But for the present, it is important to discover the true nature of Reality, in its most limpid form. That is, we must ‘unmask’ the Transcendent itself, unveil it as we would unveil Guha, free it of the many elements which have diluted its pristine truth. At the same time certain fundamental aspects of that ultimate Beyond must be grasped, for only in this way can we appreciate – without any illusions – our real condition in life and the material dimension.
The first aspect of the Transcendent that arises in our purview is its unmoving nature. That is, if indeed it is extra-cosmic and represents something, some dimension, some plane of consciousness which from our poise within the cosmos we must view as ‘beyond’, then, given the fact that the principle feature of the cosmos is movement, it stands that in the Transcendent this element is withheld. We know therefore that one of the prime attributes of the extra-cosmic Absolute is that it is unmoving and immobile. This represents the great divide between Cosmos and the Transcendent Brahman. It is this immobility that has provided yogins with the exquisite experience of Peace. Extending the consciousness to the ultimate reaches of itself, all relatives in the universe dissolve into this great and immense static Calm.
If indeed the Transcendent is significant of that which lies beyond movement and the snare of the Gunas – creation, preservation and destruction – it is recognizable that this Ultimate Beyond does not suffer the fate of decay. For in such a condition, what can there be that is subject to decay? The process that engenders decay and death is irrevocably related to movement. The Transcendent does not perish because it is, in fact, unborn, – unborn in our moving and evolving universe. There is nothing of it that can be born and hence no experience of decay and death, much less of any rebirth.
Without a doubt the experience of that irrefutable imperishability is the single most enticing factor that has instigated the pursuit of realms beyond. At the same time, it is that devastating perception of disintegration that has established the vision of Mahakala as a prize for only those ‘rare highest souls’.
However, we approach now a third characteristic which has the intrinsic power to overturn our secure understanding and cast an element of paradoxical doubting into our quest and experience. It is this: If the Transcendent is unmoving and imperishable due to its otherworldliness, or its poise beyond and outside of the cosmos, then we encounter a particular aspect of its nature which has been the bed-rock of Indian spirituality from time immemorial. This is indivisibility. Given the fact that it is a homogeneous Consciousness beyond the planes of existence in which division occurs, it stands that this Transcendent is hence indivisible. Consequent to this we know that this perception offers the most compelling aspect of the Absolute: its unity, its oneness. Yet with this appreciation many of the paradoxes which face the human spirit arise; and due to this unity, oneness and indivisibility, it can be shown how until now no path has truly bridged the chasm that this experience of transcendent indivisibility and unity has created in our spiritual experience. And it is precisely because of this chasm that the highest Vision has been withheld from the seeker. For to bridge this intriguing chasm is to resolve the paradoxes.
The main aspect of the paradox is this: If the Transcendent or Static Brahman is indeed indivisible, then it stands that none of the experiences seekers have until now had of Its poise beyond and out of the moving cosmic dimension have been faithful to the truest and highest Truth. They have been real and overwhelming experiences, but they have suffered from a severe limitation. This limitation resides exclusively in the fact that any experience of the Transcendent which does not include the totality of Itself must be, to a certain extent, deceiving. For we cannot divide the indivisible. If the Transcendent is all-encompassing – and this is one of its most secure attributes – within Itself lies that which we consider irredeemably subject to division. The unity of the Transcendent carries us to the clear perception that the only true experience of Reality is an integral one. How then to achieve this perception of wholeness? and what would be its relation to the question of rebirth, the theme of our analysis?
It must be stated that this discovery is the key that unlocks those iron doors which do not permit entry into Mahakala’s sanctum sanctorum, and hence withhold from us the true meaning of life and death and our purpose in this material creation.
We cannot divide that which is indivisible. This means then that there can be no true experience of those attributes that have been here enumerated of the Absolute which introduce the element of division.
Thus the Transcendent’s stasis can never be disconnected from its kinesis which in any case arises in its own Being. Likewise, its imperishability must contain within it the elements of all that is created, preserved and destroyed. But how is this accomplished?
The chasm is cleared of darkness and the bridge is constructed in our awareness when we understand that the vast Transcendent in the act of manifestation is reduced to a seed. This is the profound mystery of creation. It is the origin of all things. The Unmanifest enters the Manifest (of Itself) by virtue of this compression to a Seed, – that precious bija, that miraculous Hiranyaretas which is Agni. This Flame-Child stands at the Origin, he who is the first God extolled in the Veda. Thus all the attributes that we can conceive of in the Transcendent Beyond are drawn, by its own power of manifestation, into the Seed of Itself. That is, immobility, indivisibility, imperishability, are all properties which are contained in this miraculous Golden Bija.
What happens then to this Seed, which stands as the foundation of material creation?
The Golden Bija is the origin of spatial reality and the base of material creation. Manifestation (of the Unmanifest) results then in a central truth-seed, which from that Point extends itself, multiplies, grows, in the experience of creation, preservation and dissolution. This can be appreciated if we observe the nature of the cosmos we inhabit, which confirms this perception in that all its material bodies orbit a Centre. Indeed, centrality is one of the foremost aspects of the universal dimension. Yet there is a consciousness, a reality that extends beyond the material creation, or rather within which creation in matter is contained. But in appreciating this fact, a curious phenomenon took possession of the human mind. Somehow, along the way of human evolution the experience of God resulted in the fact that the Transcendent (the very significance of the word stands as a clue: that which lies beyond…), which contains this universe in its Being and is all-encompassing, became veiled or masked to the perceptive eye of consciousness in the human being; and these contained dimensions came to be considered or seen as somehow inferior, or reflected an inferior spiritual poise and realization, or a partial reality. This then reached its extremes in the formulation of theories of Illusionism in all its many facets, and ultimately laid emphasis on an escape from these apparently inferior cages in which the human consciousness was seen to be imprisoned.
A divisive perception of this nature is not a property of the Divine Consciousness. It reflects a wholly human, mental poise and suffers from the scourge of a separative vision and experience, results of the mental orientation of the species. Because of this limitation of the present instrument, the Lord withdrew the vision of Himself as the Time-Spirit from Arjuna, since in this state it is not possible for humanity to attain a fuller and truer unified vision due to these limitations of the instrument and its subjugation to the rule of Mind.
The human species is an evolving collective entity. At present, civilization as a whole is experiencing the pain of realising its limitations and insufficiencies and of knowing that as a race its actual constitution cannot permit a higher experience to come. To reach a wider and deeper collective experience, a new, more refined, more enhanced instrument is demanded. The turmoil of humanity at present is due largely to the fact that pressure is being applied on all quarters of Earth existence to compel the emergence of higher faculties so that a new way can manifest. Some details of this evolutionary process are given in Indian Scriptures. For example, in the Puranas we find mention of ‘the Nine Creations’. The final stages, the 7th, 8th and 9th, refer to the mental, the overmental and the supramental creations, respectively. Mental man is not the ultimate and highest but is merely a transitional creature. The evolutionary process, governed by the play of tattwas and the gunas, is the mechanism to evolve a higher species. And one of the principle characteristics of this newly-emerging creation, superior to the present mental being, is a capacity to experience the indivisibility of God – a consciousness, hence, of true unity. For this the being of the human experiencer must be fortified in such a way that it can withstand the impact of seeing the Time-Spirit working in the worlds, via the action of creation, preservation and destruction or dissolution, with an equanimity of being that arises from the knowledge of the Core-Purpose at the heart of material creation. (pp. 7-14)


Time’s function in the material universe is to draw the compact, involved elements held in the Seed to fruition. Time is the motor of Consciousness. It draws out and into extension that which arose at the Origin, at the moment of passage of the Unmanifest to the Manifest. This passage is the bridge connecting statics to dynamics. Time is movement, or rather it gives forth a body of itself in the cosmic principle of perpetual motion, or dynamic consciousness. Hence we encounter the splendid, colossal image in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of the universe in the form of a Horse, – that great and majestic Vedic symbol of energy, speed, kinesis. ‘Time’, the Upanishad tells us, ‘is the self of the horse sacrificial’. In this superb image the Seer describes the deepest truth of cosmic existence: that Time is the propeller and stands in the inner recesses of material creation and urges, propels it onward to completion, to fulfillment of its inherent purpose… ‘the self of the horse sacrificial …’ (p.16)

Leonardo DaVinci's 'Sketch of a Horse' (partial)


Material creation is thus the body of Brahman, the Divine Shakti, deploying Herself for the purpose of the Absolute’s self-knowing and self-enjoying.
We cannot divorce ourselves from this truth and cosmic function. We are integral parts of the cosmic manifestation, minute as we may be in comparison to the vastness of the universe. However, does this minuteness not reflect then the very process of passage from the Unmanifest to the Manifest which has been described herein? We are, as it were, those very Seeds. We are those infinitesimal ‘eyes that see’, through which the Absolute knows, and thus knowing enjoys Itself. And this is the magic and the mystery of human birth. We are endowed with all the properties of the Transcendent and are Its instruments for this supreme Act of creative deployment of Itself.
How then can we desire to flee from this instrumentation, this glorious act of knowing along with God, of self-discovery of all the attributes contained within Itself? But at the same time we must accept the Laws which govern the orderly deployment and extension in Time of the compact particles of the Seed. These use that majestic and awesome dynamism, the Power or the Shakti in her movement of creation, preservation and dissolution. To participate knowingly and willingly in this Act, we must then accept these Laws – the essence of Time – indeed we must accept the Divine Mother. [3] Thus we must evolve as a race beyond the capacity of an Arjuna and reach the point where we can know and sustain all aspects of Mahakala, above all his consort, Mahakali, without flinching, without seeking escape to the Beyond because of the limitations and trepidant condition of the present human spirit. (pp.18-19)

* See: The Gnostic Circle, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, Aeon Books, 1975.

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1997


[1] Sri Aurobindo, ‘Towards the Supramental Time Vision’, Ch. 25, The Synthesis of Yoga:

‘All Being, consciousness, knowledge moves, secretly for our present surface awareness, openly when we rise beyond it to the spiritual and supramental ranges, between two states and powers of existence, that of the timeless Infinite and that of the Infinite deploying in itself and organising all things in time. These two states are opposed to and incompatible with each other only for our mental logic with its constant embarrassed stumbling around a false conception of contradictions and a confronting of eternal opposites. In reality, as we find when we see things with a knowledge founded on the supramental identity and vision and think with the great, profound and flexible logic proper to that knowledge, the two are only coexistent and concurrent status and movement of the same truth of the Infinite. The timeless Infinite holds in itself, in its eternal truth of being, beyond this manifestation, all that it manifests in Time. Its time consciousness too is itself infinite and maintains in itself at once in a vision of totalities and of particularities, of mobile succession or moment sight and of total stabilising vision or abiding whole sight what appears to us as the past of things, their present and their future.
‘… If our present mind untransformed by the supramental influence tries to enter into the timeless, it must either disappear and be lost in the trance of Samadhi or else, remaining awake, it feels itself diffused in an Infinite where there is perhaps a sense of supra-physical space, a vastness, a boundless extension of consciousness, but no time self, time movement or time order. And if then the mental being is still mechanically aware of things in time, it is yet unable to deal with them in its own manner, unable to establish a truth relation between the timeless and things in time and unable to act and will out of its indefinite Infinite. The action then that remains possible to the mental Purusha is the mechanical action of the instruments of the Prakriti continuing by force of old impulsion and habit or continuing initiation of past energy, prārabdha, or else an action chaotic, unregulated, uncoordinated, a confused precipitate from an energy which has no longer a conscious centre.
‘The supramental consciousness on the other hand is founded upon the supreme consciousness of the timeless Infinite, but has too the secret of the deployment of the infinite Energy in time.’
[2] See Secrets of the Earth, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, Aeon Books, 2009.
[3] The Divine Mother, the Laws of Mahakala and a supramental vision of Time – none of which can be separated from the cycles and geometries of Time – are discussed in depth in Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet’s many books and writings.

Related Posts:

* 'Being and Becoming'
* 'Sri Aurobindo, the Mother & Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet on the Subject of Being and Becoming'
* 'Geometry and the Superstructure of Time'

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Friday, January 8, 2010

'The Object of Our Yoga' by Sri Aurobindo

I first came across the following exposition by Sri Aurobindo on 'The Object of Our Yoga' from The Hour of God in a Vishaal Newsletter from June 1989. It fits well with the issues recently discussed in 'Being and Becoming' as well as with the larger subject matter of this blog, so here it is:

'The object of our Yoga is self-perfection, not self-annulment.

'There are two paths set for the feet of the Yogin, withdrawal from the universe and perfection in the universe; the first comes by asceticism, the second is effected by tapasya; the first receives us when we lose God in Existence, the second is attained when we fulfil Existence in God. Let ours be the path of perfection, not of abandonment; let our aim be victory in the battle, not the escape from all conflict.

'Buddha and Shankara supposed the world to be radically false and miserable; therefore escape from the world was to them the only wisdom. But this world is Brahman, the world is God, the world is Satyam, the world is Ananda; it is our misreading of the world through mental egoism that is a falsehood and our wrong relation with God in the world that is a misery. There is no other falsity and no other cause of sorrow.

'God created the world in Himself through Maya; but the Vedic meaning of Maya is not illusion, it is wisdom, knowledge, capacity, wide extension in consciousness… Omnipotent Wisdom created the world, it is not the organised blunder of some Infinite Dreamer; omniscient Power manifests or conceals it in Itself for Its own delight, it is not a bondage imposed by His own ignorance on the Free and absolute Brahman.

'If the world were Brahman’s self-imposed nightmare, to awake from it would be the natural and only goal of our supreme endeavour; or if life in the world were irrevocably bound to misery, a means of escape from this bondage would be the sole secret worth discovering. But perfect truth in world-existence is possible; for God here sees all things with the eye of truth; and perfect bliss in the world is possible; for God enjoys all things with the sense of unalloyed freedom. We can also enjoy this truth and bliss, called by the Veda amrtam, Immortality, if by casting away our egoistic existence into perfect unity with His being we consent to receive the divine perception and the divine freedom.

'The world is a movement of God in His own being; we are the centres and knots of divine consciousness which sum up and support the processes of His movement. The world is His play with His own self-conscious delight, He who alone exists, infinite, free and perfect; we are the self-multiplications of that conscious delight, thrown out into being to be His playmates. The world is a formula, a rhythm, a symbol-system expressing God to Himself in His own consciousness, – it has no material existence but exists only in His consciousness and self-expression; we, like God, are in our inward being That which is expressed, but in our outward being terms of that formula, notes of that rhythm, symbols of that system. Let us lead forward God’s movement, play out His play, work out His formula, execute His harmony, express Him through our selves in His system. That is our joy and our self-fulfilment; to this end we who transcend and exceed the universe, have entered into universe-existence.

'Perfection has to be worked out, harmony has to be accomplished. Imperfection, limitation, death, grief, ignorance, matter, are only the first terms of the formula – unintelligible till we have worked out the wider terms and reinterpreted the formulary; they are the initial discords of the musician’s tuning. Out of imperfection we have to construct perfection, out of limitation to discover infinity, out of death to find immortality, out of grief to recover divine bliss, out of ignorance to rescue divine self-knowledge, out of matter to reveal spirit. To work out this end for ourselves and for humanity is the object of our Yogic practice.'
'The Hour of God' CE, Volume 17, page 49

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