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At the Feet of The Mother

Life and Death (1) A Stair, a Door, a Stumbling Stride

An Offering for the December 09, 1950 Anniversary

‘Sweet Mother, How should one spend the Darshan days, December fifth and ninth, and one’s birthday?
In search of a knowledge truer than ordinary knowledge.
The fifth and ninth in understanding what death is.

The birthday in finding out the purpose of life. Blessings.’ [CWM 16:415]

These words of the Mother are a clear reminder, a luminous guideline given to us as to the way we should approach these special days.

True knowledge is the knowledge that transcends the knowledge gained by the senses and the surface mind. This surface knowledge gained through outer means has its own place in our everyday life as we navigate through the physical world. It tells us something about the appearance of things which the physical mind organises, classifies and categorises for ease of understanding and dealing with life and its different scenes through which we pass. But this knowledge, for all its immediate practical utility is not enough to tell us about the meaning and purpose of our existence. It is unable to tell us about the origin of creation and the goal, if any, towards which it moves. In fact it is not even enough to tell us about the thing in itself in all its aspects and qualities, powers and possibilities, the forces that weave the form giving shape to a formless energy to which the mind attaches a value and a name. That is why this surface knowledge of the appearances of things is called as the lower knowledge from the higher spiritual standpoint so to say. On the other hand the higher knowledge reveals to us the Divine Reality that stands behind the appearances. A still higher Supramental Knowledge reveals to us not only the Divine Reality behind appearances but Its relation with the temporal, phenomenal appearance. It gives us a complete and comprehensive, an Integral Knowledge so to say.

The Darshan days should be spent in contemplating upon this truer knowledge that takes us deeper into the heart of creation and its mystery. This truer knowledge not only gives us a better understanding of the goal of life which otherwise seems a meaningless struggle for existence but empowers us to respond to events and circumstances in a better way, keeping in mind the goal of our human journey but also, at its highest, a comprehensive understanding of the thing in itself, the true law of each in itself as well as in relation to the whole.

When we try to understand death from this standpoint then we can see it in the form of an ascending hierarchy of truths until all of these reconciled in the All-comprehending Supramental Vision and Knowledge. To the material senses and the surface physical mind of man, death is not only real but almost like the sole reality that lets life emerge from beneath its giant paws and flourish awhile under its shadow. The little plot of mortal life and the brief play ended, life is absorbed back into the jaws of death.

But there is another way of looking at Death. Climbing beyond the first surface view, recovering from the shock of the senses, our thought stretches its wings to climb towards eternity. Using the transient body as a pedestal our mind seeks the Wisdom, the Light of a Truth that does not fade away with Time. In-between life living under its shadow and chased by death does some remarkable things as if to defy and even challenge it. While the man passes away he or she may leave behind an immortal work, thoughts that inspire generations to come, deeds that outlast the hurrying feet of Time. It is as if Death has acted as a spur to goad the human soul to stamp its immortality on the pages of passing Time. It is as if, paradoxically so to say, Death has acted like a whip to hasten man to the discovery of his deathless state.

‘Death is a stair, a door, a stumbling stride
The soul must take to cross from birth to birth,
A grey defeat pregnant with victory,
A whip to lash us towards our deathless state.

The inconscient world is the spirit’s self-made room,
Eternal Night shadow of eternal Day. 

Night is not our beginning nor our end;
She is the dark Mother in whose womb we have hid
Safe from too swift a waking to world-pain.

We came to her from a supernal Light,
By Light we live and to the Light we go.’ [Savitri:600-601]

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.