Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Integral Yoga is an irreversible call that make you drop everything

From Paulette to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" date 29 September 2010 15:17 subject Re: Sri Aurobindo Ashram: “Paradise on Earth” mailed-by
Tusar, Can you kindly post the following, also attached, in the Savitri Era Open Forum? Thanks
Sri Aurobindo Ashram: “Paradise on Earth”
Dry argumentations leaving no space for the heart, for the soul, for one’s cry for the Mother. I feel a chill reading the insentient comment of someone, in Auroville since only a few years, exhorting us not to bother about the fratricidal war raging at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Someone who does not have the history we old Aurovilians have – eventually, commenced at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, decades ago, as in my case. As if our past, our memories, our longings, our feelings could be chopped off, and by this act our wings as well. Our models too, predestined souls who had joined the Masters long time ago and whose sadhana was fashioned directly by Them… If I could never quit Auroville it is because I carry forever in my heart the presence of self-effaced sadhaks of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, of whom often I did not even know the name… What name and fame are to the adoring soul who works unassumingly, unpretentiously, having gathered in oneself the four varnas? What power is? And prestige?
There is no need to speak: everything is within. Who can define the Eternal, give classes about the Ineffable? We are, the One. The yearning and ecstasy of pure psychic beings is all one needs, the fragrance of flowers growing by humbly serving the Mother, tenderly attended by her. There is but she, and one’s daily offering, year in and year out, bowing at her feet. This was for me the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which Nolini Kanta Gupta had called “paradise on earth”. As long as I bathed in the atmosphere of the early, great sadhaks this was my language too, the abode of my soul, my home.
Nolini, who was to be hanged along with Aurobindo and Barin Ghose and the nationalist youth… Read the first hundred pages of “Reminiscences” and you’ll know who Nolini Kanta Gupta is! Nolini, whom Sri Aurobindo saw as his most advanced disciple, the third one to follow on the supramental path! When the Mother left the body the entire Ashram gathered around him, Nolini-da!
1973, I had just arrived at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. An unknown woman of a regal beauty (Purna, I did not know she was the Mother’s granddaughter) walks straight to me and two hours later I end up in Nolini’s room, escorted by her. He asks what I have read of Sri Aurobindo, The Doctrine of Passive Resistance I reply; one article was made an exhibit in the Alipore Conspiracy Case, I go on talking… I cross Nolini’s eyes… and see the Infinite… Enwrapped by his majestic silence, never again was I able to speak to Nolini. At five in the afternoon he used to do pradakshina around the samadhi. I waited there, with a flower for him, daily; we looked into each other’s eyes without exchanging a word, and I knew that their Path is real, Their Ashram is real, Their people are real. Never did I feel as an orphaned child, never did I look for surrogate gurus, spiritual chaperons or others. As in the Scriptures, initiation without touching… The highest satsang is silence, as in the teaching of Dakshinamurti, the guru of gurus… In the utmost silence of one’s soul the psychic threads the Path: the one and only guide, progressively merging into the Mother!
Nor was Nolini the only honey bee. Other great sadhaks were still alive and they too were my teachers, in the subtlest way: by their silent example. In their luminous presence I could tangibly feel Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Indra Sen, professor of psychology at the University of Delhi… When he started visiting the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, in the thirties, Sen was the foremost Jungian in India. He is the one who, even before joining the Ashram, introduced the concept of integral psychology, with Sri Aurobindo’s blessings. The Master had asked Nolini-da to read him every single page the professor wrote; but when finally Sen settled in Pondy, in the forties, for the first ten years the Mother made him water plants, and afterwards look after the Ashram Press and its machines… And there was Birendra, freshly graduated at Calcutta University and proud of it, whom the Mother made sweep and count bananas for the next sixteen years… Kishor Gandhi, whom the Mother had appointed as the sole editor of Sri Aurobindo’s Letters on Yoga: he lived in a tiny room that he never gave up for a better one, because from there he could glimpse the Mother’s room… Fiery-eyes Parichan, in charge of the Ashram gardens; weeds grew all around the yard outside his house and at the end of the day his elegant white clothes were stained with earth: he had no time for his person or the place where he lived… How could Parichan-da be my Sanskrit teacher, when in front of him I was unable to utter a word, feeling like an ant in front of the Himalayas? In all those years only once he addressed me directly, “To be a mother you must be a yogini” he told me.
On the Mother’s request Rishabchand had written a biography on Sri Aurobindo nationalist; also on request he wrote a fantastic compendium on Integral yoga for the purpose of introducing the Path to the American reader. The quality of his books is such that decades later still they are being reprinted, but… his day-to-day job was to look after the carpentry department! By the way, isn’t this the place where Nirod the doctor commenced his yogic career and where, when doubting himself, he wished to return? Rishabchand had given up his family and most successful business in Calcutta to live in a few square meters room whose walls were padded with books. I entered that room every afternoon to type on Rishabchand’s typewriter notes from his biography on Sri Aurobindo. The great one was no more but I felt his towering presence in every object… Rishabchand had a friend, Purod-da, a small man with a child face and enchanting smiling eyes; he too was a sweeper. Both men used to meet every evening for their daily reading of Savitri; when this reached a peak Rishabchand looked at his sweeper friend: he was gloriously asleep, after a full day work for the Mother…
Integral Yoga is an irreversible call that make you drop everything, wherever you are, whatever you own, whatever you have achieved, to come and serve the Mother: watering plants, working with machines, counting bananas, sweeping the Ashram compound or elsewhere, looking after the carpentry workshop, just anything she tells you to do. The Italian countess Marta Avogadro joined the Ashram to live in one room and work at the binding section of the Ashram Press. Gluing had become her daylong occupation. “After wasting all my life playing bridge and canasta, only now I am learning to live” the grand lady told me. This is what a sadhak of Integral Yoga is. And there is no amount of books or classes, no external ‘teachers’ or ‘counselors’, no lecturers and no priests who can make of you one. No one can give you clothes if you can’t make your own, warned the Mother.
My only reading, those years, were Sri Aurobindo’s “Last Poems”, the Mother’s “Prayers and Meditations”, and what I read on the face of those sadhaks: loyalty, humility, surrender, joy, love, empathy, compassion, ineffable peace. Has the split from that world grown irreversible? More than anything else it is our vacuum that is responsible for the no-man-land we are, in Auroville, and for the suicidal war uprooting all that the Sri Aurobindo Ashram stands for. The great sadhaks and scholars are no more, there is no one to replace them. When the few of us, initiated into that world, will be gone as well, who will tell our children and grandchildren what the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was, and the Auroville of the pioneers? How real they were? And that this is the future?
Everything is within, without any need for external crutches. Utterly alone: the Divine – and oneself. Eternal, immortal, Jivatman!
Long live the Sri Aurobindo Ashram!

1 comment:

  1. The most beautiful post I have read so far on this forum, and perhaps the only one that is truly worth reading.