C.V. Devan Nair
level above the mind we can ascend to is proportionate to the descent we can safely make into the regions below our surface mind. To descend even deeper we need to ascend even higher above. Those who rashly attempt a precipitate descent without the necessary preparation risk becoming dangerously unhinged and cast into stark raving madness. Several such lapses are recorded in the history of the spiritual journey. We would do well to heed Sri Aurobindo's precautionary words in an essay titled "The Way":
First be sure of the call and of thy soul's answer. For if the call is not true, not the touch of God's powers or the voice of his messengers, but the lure of thy ego, the end of thy endeavor will be a poor spiritual fiasco or else a deep disaster.
ur safest course would be to tread what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother called the sunlit path which involves the primary discovery of the truth of our own beings, the psychic being or soul. During a personal darshan some three years before Mother left her physical body, I took the opportunity to ask her blessing to enable me to achieve the highest supramental consciousness. I also asked how I could collaborate in her work.
Her response: "In the individual, it is the psychic that represents the Divine. Find it and unite with it." Then, in her infinite compassion, she handed me a card with a mantra inscribed on it, and a blessing packet, saying: "This flower is of the Divine Love." And, as I knelt before her, She laid her hands of power on my benighted head and blessed me.
There are revealing references in Savitri to the true person in each one of us--the psychic being or soul. I quote one of them:
It is and acts unseen as if it were not;
It follows the line of sempiternal birth,
Yet seems to perish with its mortal frame.
Assured of the Apocalypse to be,
It reckons not the moments and the hours;
Great, patient, calm it sees the centuries pass,
Awaiting the slow miracle of our change
In the sure deliberate process of world-force
And the long march of all-revealing Time.
Always we bear in us a magic key
With the discovery of the psychic being, and the mental and vital psychization that follow, we can safely begin our spiritual journey, for the psychic can unerringly sift the wheat from the chaff, distinguish the genuine from the spurious, the beneficent from the baneful, true spiritual experience from vital-theater. We cannot deal today with the other ascending and descending grades of the journey. We might merely state this. Following the psychic transformation of our being comes the spiritual transformation. Exceeding, yet inexplicably including both, comes the ascent to the supramental, followed by the descent into what Sri Aurobindo called "the bottomless pit" where he had walked. He tells us in "A God's Labour":
Armoured with boundless peace,
Bringing the fires of the splendour of God
Into the human abyss.
And he concludes the poem with two verses:
Shall be carved in silver light
With its aureate roof and mosaic floors
In a great world bare and bright.
I shall leave my dreams in their argent air,
he superhuman labors of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and particularly the descent of the supramental force into the earth's subtle physical atmosphere on February 29, 1956, announced by the Mother, certainly make our own labors less onerous, but by no means render them unnecessary. Nor do they annul the ordeals of the spiritual seeker. But we can confidently overcome the ordeals if we consciously carry within us God's deathless light.
Neither Sri Aurobindo nor the Mother give any specific method or path to arrive at the goal of their yoga, for the good reason that each person has his or her own window on Deity. All they required was the discovery by each seeker of the hidden truth of his or her own being--the soul or psychic being. By any path chosen, said Sri Aurobindo. That's of no importance whatever, added the Mother. But a silent mind and purified vital are necessary preparations. Said Sri Aurobindo:
Cease inwardly from thought and word, be motionless within you, look upward into the light and outward into the vast cosmic consciousness that is around you. Be more and more one with the brightness and the vastness. Then will Truth dawn on you from above and flow in you from all around you.
It was the psychic influence, in the first place, that awakened the spiritual call in us. We feels its influence, for instance, in that sudden leap of joy within when we hear, see, or read something ablaze with a radiant revelatory beauty and power. But mostly, it is a game of hide and seek. We don't want the psychic hidden behind the scenes. We want it out in front to lead our mental, vital, and physical lives. Only then can the tremendous adventure of consciousness begin. Two magnificent sentences in Sri Aurobindo's Life Divine, which exercised a powerful influence in my own journey into the Great Unknown, read as follo ws:
The ascent to the divine Life is the human journey, the Work of works, the acceptable Sacrifice. This alone is Man's real business in the world and the justification of his existence, without which he would be only an insect crawling among other ephemeral insects on a speck of surface mud and water which has managed to form itself amid the appalling immensities of the physical universe.
hat was this tremendous being we call Sri Aurobindo like? Nobody knows. He merely told a disciple, "My life has not been on the surface for men to see." Those who had the exceptional privilege of having had his darshan can only speak in superlatives. We know that the Mother prostrated herself before him. We know that his very name was like a mantra for her. She told us that the powerful silence that emanated from him blocked a cyclone from entering his room, even though his windows were wide open. On another occasion she said, "I saw him supramental on his bed."
To conclude, let me take you back to the celebration by the inmates of the Ashram of August 15 in the year 1924, as recorded by a hard-headed revolutionary disciple of Sri Aurobindo, the late A.B. Purani:
Who can describe this day? Nothing can be added by the colors of imagination, poetic similes, and loaded epithets. It is enough to say, "It was the 15th of August." No other day can come up to it in the depth and intensity of spiritual action, the ascending movement of the flood of emotions, and the way in which each individual here was bathing in the atmosphere.
We also have the Mother's declaration: "What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; It is a decisive action direct from the Supreme."
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