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At the Feet of The Mother

The Golden Day, – a few reflections

Mankind lives in a state of frightening ignorance. At best it is a seeking ignorance. At worst it is frightening since many of us do not even feel the need or urge to go beyond our human state. We are too satisfied so to say in our state of ignorance. Here it must be understood that ignorance, from a spiritual perspective, is not an absence of knowledge. It is rather a partial knowledge. It is knowledge of the surfaces of life, the forces that uphold the tent of matter and move us psychologically as it were. But there are depths within depths even as there are heights beyond heights.

We remain unaware of these profundities of our existence, depths where rare pearls of wisdom are found, heights where we can discover sun-blaze and moon beams pouring upon our earthly thoughts uplifting them towards hidden possibilities of knowing through inspiration, revelation, intuition and identity. Once awakened, these faculties and possibilities can reshape human existence. They can turn our mind of ignorance into a mind of light, our narrow and suffering human heart into a wide receptacle of sweetness, harmony and delight, our struggling and stumbling life energy into luminous force and even our inertia burdened body into a beautiful temple of the Divine.

These possibilities have been glimpsed from time to time in rare mystics who can be rightly called the genius of the race. Through a process of intense and sustained concentration they pierced through the magic circle of nature and its inferior modes of functioning. By an inner concentration they broke through the subjective spaces of our being and found the treasures of the deeps. They were like explorers and adventurers of the inner worlds. Yet it was up to a point they could go. Human instruments and the human consciousness, in general cannot hold this wealth for long. It is not habituated to this much light. It breaks down under its pressure or it diffuses as they come in contact with the world. This glimpse was however enough for them to know that there is a state, a domain of consciousness that is free from our human limitations and ignorance. It was a state of plenitude and perfection. Having known this they used all their concentration to migrate to these domains, either to annul their being into the silence of Nirvana and be done with the whole cycle and the circle of nature or else, to rest in any of these higher planes in a luminous and blissful state after shedding their mortal body even as the great gods dwell in their mighty heavens.

This much is common to all genuine mystic experience. Some returned back but only to help few other souls struggling and suffering in the human ignorance to show them the door of escape and the way to arrive there. These are the great Masters who have thus far helped nurture the aspiration for the Beyond in humanity by keeping alive some memory of this higher state. When it stayed as a memory combined with a set of beliefs that grew up over a period of time then the teaching of these Masters turned into a Religion. Few followed the Master and walked the way in real earnest; the rest failed and fell from the way. Still others built a religion or worse still a socio-political system from the scanty scraps of the experience of the Master, often ill-understood in the absence of it being reproduced afresh in the consciousness of other human beings who followed thereafter.

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were very well aware of all this through their own direct experience of the worlds of Splendour beyond, except for two important things. First and foremost, they entered what the Vedic mystics glimpsed from afar, to the very source of the effulgence and the power whose scattered rays itself were so potent as to awaken new possibilities within man. Not for them were the half way homes of the Spirit. Entering consciously into these domains of Light and delight needed a super-herculean tapasya in which they were engaged. But most importantly they came with this mandate to dare and accomplish the impossible. Secondly, they did not want to turn it all into yet another Religion with Popes and intercessors between man and God. Sri Aurobindo called it the old fiasco. The Mother stated even more categorically. She said we do not want any more religions, either new or old. The Age of Religions is over. Nor did they want to repeat the efforts of the past yogis with some variations so as to open one more window or door through which man could escape into the ineffable. This desire for escape was a luminous illusion, the last refuge of the subtilised ego attracted to the lure of selfish escape from earthly suffering while the rest of humanity carries the burden and the cross upon its shoulders. Not an escape away from the earth but a transformation of the earthly life into a Life Divine.

This however could only be done if a new principle of creation, a principle or power of Light and Truth, a new consciousness instinct with harmony and unity, a new and all-victorious vibration of Divine Love than earth has ever known, could be established upon earth and begin to mould humanity just as the establishment of the Mind principle began to mould the quadruped ape into an upright human. In short, the Divine Perfection glimpsed by the rare mystics from afar had to be brought down here and integrated with the earthly life. Simultaneously earth and humanity had to be prepared to open and receive this New Principle, new for the earth but native to the Divine Consciousness, lest it breaks down under its powerful impact. It may however be noted that this New principle, this New Consciousness is new only as far the earth and the worlds of mind and life and matter are concerned. Otherwise it is a self-existent Reality, the Truth-Consciousness with which the One Divine plays with His manifold world and many-toned, many-layered creation.

The opening of the flood gates of the Supramental Consciousness is somewhat like the story of the descent of Ganges as told in the Puranas. According to this legend King Bhagirath and undertakes an arduous tapasya with the objective of bringing down the Ganges so as to redeem the restless and errant energies of nature typified as the sixty thousand sons of his ancestor Sagar. Due to their errant behavior they have been burned down by sage Kapila and can be redeemed only if the waters of the heavenly Ganges born out of Vishnu’s heart in a sublime moment of the gods could be brought down to the earth. The ancestors of Bhagirath try but in vain. Finally, this great effort is rewarded due to the tremendous tapasya of Bhagirath. He completes what his ancestors dreamed and hoped for. But the descent would be catastrophic since man and earth are not ready to bear the onrush of the powerful purifying energy. Hence Shiva offers to hold it in his mighty locks and break down the descending force. The dance that ensues is the Tandava and there is massive breaking down of many unwanted things upon earth before the Ganges comes down.

The story is clearly symbolic and has certain parallels to Sri Aurobindo’s yoga for the supramental descent. This time of course it is not the purifying stream found in the higher layers of consciousness but the very highest transforming supramental Force that he calls down. Embodying the anguish and dreams of the Ages, Sri Aurobindo brings to a grand finale, a decisive victory that would redeem earth and humanity. Here with regard to the descending current of the Supermind, Sri Aurobindo had to play the part of tapaswi Bhagirath as well as of Shiva. But this was a massive descent and Sri Aurobindo had assumed a human body unlike the body of the gods. This bearing of the onrush of the Supramental force from above and, absorbing into himself, the poison of earth-nature to clear the way, yet again like Shiva was the secret reason for his withdrawal from the physical body on the 5th December 1950. Yet it is through this tremendous sacrifice that the Supramental could be fixed into matter.

What happened on the 5th December 1950 was a prelude to the event of 29th February 1956. The former prepared the latter. The former was the descent of supramental light into matter, in his physical body. The latter was the general manifestation of the Supramental Light and Consciousness upon earth and the beginning of its action in a larger collective way. Of course its initial action had to be felt first amongst the few who were open and receptive being prepared through the integral yoga which the Mother and Sri Aurobindo had given to earth. The purpose of the integral yoga is to open to the New Force, to be receptive to the New Supramental Consciousness, to be able to hold it rightly in the instrumentality of mind and life and body.

There is another parallel too with the story. The descent of the Ganges is too strong in spite of Shiva breaking down the force. The powerful Goddess goes straight to the underworld, right into the subconscious layers before re-emerging upon the earth. After all that is where the purification must begin. Here too the Mother recounts how the Supramental Light was swallowed up by the Inconscient. It is but natural that the work must begin in the very depths, something that She describes vividly in Her conversations with a disciple. The first effect naturally is to wash out the underlying muck and mire that had settled for millenniums in man’s subconscious nature.

This too we witness today, a clearing and a cleansing as it were of some fundamental obstacles that whose hidden roots were holding back man’s progress. Once these roots are dissolved with the solvent of Divine Light while the plant of humanity is watered by Her Divine Love the fruits and flowers of the Divine Life will bloom suddenly and unexpectedly. This too has begun though it is not yet widespread. The average human being is only seeing the emerging mud and not the bud that is awaiting its hour of the sun-touch to bloom. After all we can notice only what we are ready to experience. If we want to see the Supramental action we need to exchange our old set of eyes with a new one, renounce our mind-centric, desire-burdened life for a divine center of vision and action, discard the ego-self telling it clearly that its hour is over, and replace it with the true divine center, the psychic being. Then through this psychic door we can have a little glimpse of what is happening and lift our hearts with gratitude and cry the immortal litany declaring the great victory of the Divine Mother and Her all-powerful Love.

Let us close with words of the Mother that show us the way towards the Future:

…one must not cherish any illusions and fancy that one can begin to know what the supermind is and form any idea of it or assess it in any way, however minimal, before having had that experience.

 Therefore, if you want to advance on the path, you must very modestly start on your way towards the new birth, first, and realise it before cherishing the illusion that you can have supramental experiences.

 To console you I may tell you that by the very fact that you live on earth at this time—whether you are conscious of it or not, even whether you want it or not—you are absorbing with the air you breathe this new supramental substance which is now spreading in the earth atmosphere. And it is preparing things in you which will manifest very suddenly, as soon as you have taken the decisive step…. (Silence)

 The whole of life is so dependent on the ego that it seems absolutely impossible to live and act except with or by the ego, but after this new birth you can look at the ego with a smile and say to it, “My friend, I don’t need you any more.”

 This is also one of the results which brings you a very decisive sense of liberation.

[CWM 9: 337]

* * *

If you are a candidate for supermanhood, you must resolve to dispensewith your ego, to go beyond it, for as long as you keep it with you, the supermind will be for you something unknown and inaccessible.

But if through effort, through discipline, through progressive mastery, you surmount your ego and go beyond it, even if only in the tiniest part of your being, this acts like the opening of a small window somewhere, and by looking carefully through the window, you will be able to glimpse the supermind. And that is a promise. When you glimpse it, you find it so beautiful that you immediately want to get rid of all the rest… of the ego!

Please note that I am not saying that you must be totally free from all ego in order to have a glimpse of the supramental; for then that would be something almost impossible. No, to be free from ego, just a little bit somewhere, in some corner of your being, even only a little corner of the mind; if it is the mind and the vital, it is well and good, but if by chance—oh! not by chance —if by repeated efforts you have entered into contact with your psychic being, then the door is wide open. Through the psychic you can suddenly have a very clear and beautiful vision of what the supermind is, only a vision, not a realisation.

That is the great way out. But even without going so far as this beautiful realization, the psychic realisation, if you succeed in liberating some part of your mind or your vital, that makes a kind of hole in the door, a keyhole; through this keyhole you have a glimpse, just a little glimpse. And that is already very attractive, very interesting.

[CWM 3: 242]

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