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December 5th


November  10, 1998

   A devotee who has been coming to the Ashram for several years once commented, "I have attended all important days at the Ashram, and Mother's public Darshans. On my birthdays I have had Mother's Darshan in her room personally, but I have never felt the same power of the spiritual atmosphere which I felt on my first visit." His friend, who had brought him to the Ashram for the first time, answered, "That day, I remember, was the 5th of December, the Mahasamadhi day of Sri Aurobindo. It is really a powerful day. In fact, it is the most powerful day in the Ashram."

   Sri Aurobindo calls himself a Force that has come down to act. His is not a teaching or a religion or even a philosophy. A lady who is the principal of a Madras college, in her hurry to cross the traffic, thought it fit to cross at the signal. It proved to be dangerous, since the traffic had started moving and just inches in front of her was a speeding bus. She screamed ‘Mother' and fainted. When she later met me, she told me what happened in the following words, "I never knew what happened. I was hoisted into the air and dropped onto a heap of granite gravel on the side of the road. The FORCE was formidable. When I recovered, I was mumbling ‘Mother, Mother'. SHE alone could do this."

  In my forty years of experience, this was the fifth such instance. When the Force is called, it acts, and even when not called, the Force acts on all devotees in despair. This Force, Mother says, is the Supramental Force that descended on earth in 1956.

   This is the Force that Sri Aurobindo describes himself to be. It is powerfully felt on August 15th, his birthday. On Mother's birthday, February 21st, the same Force is felt as sweetness. On the 5th of December it reveals itself most powerfully. The graduate farmer whom I quoted in the beginning had felt that Force on his first visit.

   Great souls like Buddha, Shankara, Paramahamsa, Thirumoolar, the Alwars, etc. appear from time to time to reiterate the eternal truths enshrined in the scriptures. It is quite likely that Sri Aurobindo is considered one in that procession of shining souls. It may be true. But that Truth has a further shade to it. What Sri Aurobindo represents can be put in several ways. The following is one version of it:

   "Great souls have tried to conquer death individually. But no one, so far,

     has even thought of abolishing DEATH from earthly life. Sri

     Aurobindo announced that aim and brought down that FORCE

      into the earth's atmosphere.  It is for man to avail of it."

   To describe that Force, its several actions on earth, and its meaning for the aspiring yogis will be to go into the realm of Yoga. I would rather like to dwell upon the aspects of that Force in the plane of mind, in our daily life and particularly in the individual lives of honest people aspiring for social justice such as promotion for the meritorious, rewards for the hard-working, liberation from the tyranny of mother-in-law or that of the daughter-in-law, the harassment of intransigent labour.

   Sri Aurobindo attained Silence while he was in Baroda. It is said that one needs 18 births to attain to the Silent Brahman. His guru wanted him to try silence in the hope that faith and devotion would blossom in Sri Aurobindo. But Sri Aurobindo succeeded in three days in reaching the Brahmic consciousness. Silence, even as everything else, exists on several levels, maybe a dozen levels, starting from Matter, rising through life and mind and culminating in the Absolute, which we call Brahman. The Silence that Rishis aim at is the highest known in the tradition. It is two levels below the Brahman. The silence of Nirvana is between this and the highest at Brahman.

   The Silence Sri Aurobindo attained was high enough. Later it rose to the topmost height, and as further yogic siddhis descending through a dozen levels, it became integral silence.

   This silence is power itself. Once during a cyclone, Mother came into his room to shut the windows so that the rain might not splash into the room. She found him sitting by the side of the window absorbed in writing. Neither the blowing wind nor the raging rain could enter that room, his silence was so concrete and tangible.  

   Mouna Sadhu of Ramanashram, who came to have a darshan of Sri Aurobindo, found that his queue would pass through Sri Aurobindo's room before seeing him. While in the room, the Sadhu's mind went blank and he said he could not have spoken even if he wished to utter a word.

   At the first meeting of Mother and Sri Aurobindo, he was speaking to Mother's husband. Mother found that something strange and pleasant was happening in her head. Sri Aurobindo was giving her silence and it entered into her mind. It began to dissolve her thoughts, her very capacity to think and ushered her into akanda mounam, eternal silence.  That silence remained with her till the end.

   A university professor was on a visit to the USA. There he stayed with a friend for a day. While there, he put a picture of Sri Aurobindo on the table and prayed. The next day he left. Two days later, a hurricane hit the town where the professor had stayed. The damage was total and disastrous. On hearing the news, the professor returned to see his friend. That particular neighbourhood of 100 houses was in debris. Electric posts were twisted like thick rope. Not one house had been spared.  

   He found that the house he had stayed at two days earlier was intact. Even the tree before the house was standing. Except for a broken branch of the tree and a damaged windshield on the car, NOTHING was touched by the hurricane. Sri Aurobindo's Silence carries that Power. It is spiritual power.

   Those who saw Sri Aurobindo in his later years described his appearance as majestic and magnificent. An aura of golden light was around him which only those with subtle vision could see.

   After he left his body, a golden light entered into it and remained there for three days. This light was visible. No photo of his could ever capture the majesty and magnificence that he was.

   He took the greatest personal interest in the humblest of people when their reliance was complete. Barin, his brother, was once intrigued by Sri Aurobindo waiting for the mail and looking for a letter. Within a period of a few weeks, this happened twice. Barin was surprised to see his brother taking this unusual interest in someone. When he asked him, Sri Aurobindo explained the reason:

    A person from Hyderabad had written to him saying his son was trying to get selected as a sub-inspector. The collector must select. The poor patwari-a low ranking officer-had no valid recommendations. Therefore, he wrote to Sri Aurobindo for blessings. On receiving the blessings, the candidate was selected by the collector. Next, the Superintendent of Police must select. Again the patwari applied for blessings and the boy was selected. One more hurdle was there. The candidate had hydrocele. He had a fright about appearing for the medical test. Once more the patwari requested blessings. The doctor never examined the candidate carefully, and he passed the test!

   Sri Aurobindo explained to his brother that each time he had been anxious to know the result of the selection.  Because the patwari had no one to help him and his reliance on Sri Aurobindo was complete, he said, he exhibited that interest.

   A scorpion once bit one of Mother's cats. She laid the limp cat before Sri Aurobindo. He gazed at it for some twenty minutes. The cat was cured, jumped up and ran away.

   An American who applied for an interview with Sri Aurobindo found his interview would only be for a minute, for which he had to wait in a queue of 1000 people. He expressed a complaint, saying that he deserved a longer interview, as he had come from 12,000 miles away. His queue moved along and finally he came before the august Presence. He saw Force and Silence invading him to saturation. He could barely hold himself erect and just managed to steady himself.  Later the sadhak to whom he had complained came and asked him if the one minute had not been enough. Bang came the reply, "It was too much, really too much."

   There is an old saying that he who has seen God would not explain the experience. He who explains has really not seen God. Sri Aurobindo defied this old wisdom which is true. He has explained God in rational terms in The Life Divine.  Not only that. There is no theory of creation that is rational. Sri Aurobindo explains creation through perfectly logical and rational explanations. He goes further and offers in unequivocal terms the phenomenon of determinism which baffles scientists as well as philosophers. He even explains the origin of energy. Here he makes philosophy serve science. If his explanations are more widely comprehended, they will complete science and make it omniscient. He bases himself entirely on the Vedanta, but goes further to say that God is to be fulfilled here on earth, in human life, not in the heavens beyond.

   A magnum opus is always one title. With Sri Aurobindo it is different. Though The Life Divine is known as such, Savitri excels it. The Synthesis of Yoga is what Mother considered more powerful. Each of these books can claim the title, ‘magnum opus.'  His Foundations of Indian Culture and Ideal of Human Unity are of the same level as the above trio. A French writer said that no writer in history had ever started five works simultaneously and finished them all within six years. All of Sri Aurobindo's works grew into 30 volumes, but the above five stand out. Let me write only about one of them briefly. Let it be on The Life Divine.

  • 1. This is a work that explains mysticism rationally.
  • 2. Every page of this book carries mantric power. A retired IAS officer suffering from paralysis asked his son to read this to him every day for an hour, and he was cured of paralysis in twenty days.
  • 3. This book has won the title from its readers of being incomprehensible.
  • 4. A famous scientist, whose mother tongue is English, said the sentences were long enough to make comprehension difficult. He added that, as a rule, two pages of the book made him fall asleep. The mental energy required is so great that one is easily tired.
  • 5. For the scientists, The Life Divine answers several questions.
  • It explains that Force is prior to the instrument and sets at rest the eternal argument of the scientists that the instrument creates the Force.
  • It explains metaphysically the origin of energy.
  • The evolution of consciousness from the inconscient is explained.
  • 6. To those metaphysicians who claim primacy for Lila, Maya or Prakriti, Sri Aurobindo answers that He is the Play, He is the Player and He is the Playground.
  • 7. The book is a dynamo of spiritual power and one who has it, has all the protection of Sri Aurobindo from this volume.

   Sri Aurobindo's yoga is called Integral Yoga. While any other yoga uses one part of the being, this uses all the parts of the being. His method is surrender. He does not approve of asanas or pranayama or even meditation. His emphasis is on opening to the descending Truth in sincerity and calm.

   Sri Aurobindo has declared that man is not final, but the next species of the Supramental being is inevitable. What would normally take 30,000 years, he says, can be accomplished in 300 years or 30 years if sufficient aspiration from humanity is forthcoming. All this may be for the idealist or yogi or the philosopher. One may ask, what is Sri Aurobindo to the common man?

   I would say in answer, "If you have a prayer unanswered for years, now HE will grant it."  He says that when a prayer, a King Idea, or a Master Act reaches the Supreme, MIRACLES become commonplace.

story | by Dr. Radut