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At the Feet of The Mother

Darshan (2): Religious Rituals and a Living Reality

A question that is sometimes asked is if all this is not becoming another ritual as is known in all religions. Here we need to understand a little bit about rituals and conventions. The very first thing to note is that man can turn anything into a convention. A lot depends upon our inner attitude with which we approach Truth. There are some who would practice even meditation, a known spiritual discipline, like a ritual. On the other hand, there are others who find the flowers and fragrance of spirituality even in the most mundane things. For these rituals can become powerful means to awaken an innate sense of divinity in us. There are those who stand in front of the incarnate Divine and yet see nothing but another human being like themselves. There are others who stand before an idol made of stone or wood, even imperfectly shaped and discover in it and through it the World-Mother. Sri Aurobindo beautifully describes this experience in two of his poems, and ‘The Stone Goddess’ and ‘The Hill-top temple’ thus:

The Stone Goddess

In a town of gods, housed in a little shrine,
From sculptured limbs the Godhead looked at me,—
A living Presence deathless and divine,
A Form that harboured all infinity.
The great World-Mother and her mighty will
Inhabited the earth’s abysmal sleep,
Voiceless, omnipotent, inscrutable,
Mute in the desert and the sky and deep.
Now veiled with mind she dwells and speaks no word,
Voiceless, inscrutable, omniscient,
Hiding until our soul has seen, has heard
The secret of her strange embodiment,
One in the worshipper and the immobile shape,
A beauty and mystery flesh or stone can drape.
[CWSA 2: 608]

 

The Hill-top Temple

After unnumbered steps of a hill-stair
I saw upon earth’s head brilliant with sun
The immobile Goddess in her house of stone
In a loneliness of meditating air.
Wise were the human hands that set her there
Above the world and Time’s dominion;
The Soul of all that lives, calm, pure, alone,
Revealed its boundless self mystic and bare.
Our body is an epitome of some Vast
That masks its presence by our humanness.
In us the secret Spirit can indite
A page and summary of the Infinite,
A nodus of Eternity expressed
Live in an image and a sculptured face.
[CWSA 2: 622]

 

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There is nothing sentimental in the true weeping that comes from the soul. All that you feel now is the blossoming of the psychic being in you and the growth of a real bhakti.