The Yoga and Its Objects

The yoga we practice is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature and a divine life into the mental, vital and physical nature and life of humanity. Its object is not personal Mukti*, although Mukti is a necessary condition of the yoga, but the liberation and transformation of the human being. It is not personal Ananda*, but the bringing down of the divine Ananda – Christ’s kingdom of heaven, our Satyayuga – upon the earth. Of moksha* we have no personal need; for the soul is nityamukta* and bondage is an illusion. We play at being bound, we are not really bound. We can be free when God wills; for he, our supreme Self, is the master of the game, and without his grace and permission no soul can leave the game. It is often God’s will in us to take through the mind the bhoga* of ignorance, of the dualities, of joy and grief, of pleasure and pain, of virtue and sin, of enjoyment and renunciation: for long ages, in many countries, he never even thinks of the yoga but plays out this play century after century without wearying of it. There is nothing evil in this, nothing which we need condemn or from which we need shrink, – it is God’s play. The wise man is he who recognises this truth and knowing his freedom, yet plays out God’s play, waiting for his command to change the methods of the game.

The command is now. God always keeps for himself a chosen country in which the higher knowledge is, through all chances and dangers, by the few or the many, continually preserved, and for the present, in this Chaturyuga* at least, that country is India. Whenever he chooses to take the full pleasure of ignorance, of the dualities, of strife and wrath and tears and weakness and selfishness, the tamasic and rajasic pleasures, of the play of the Kali in short, he dims the knowledge in India and puts her down into weakness and degradation so that she may retire into herself and not interfere with this movement of his Lila.  When he wants to rise up from the mud and Narayana in man to become once again mighty and wise and blissful, then he once more pours out the knowledge on India and raises her up so that she may give the knowledge with its necessary consequences of might, wisdom and bliss to the whole world. When there is the contracted movement of knowledge, the yogins in India withdraw from the world and practise yoga for their own liberation and delight or for the liberation of a few disciples; but when the movement of knowledge again expands and the soul of India expands with it, they come forth once more and work in the world and for the world. Yogins like Janaka, Ajatashatru and Kartavirya once more sit on the thrones of the world and govern the nations.

Sri Aurobindo
SABCL, Volume 16, page 411-412

*Sanskrit words:
mukti – liberation
Ananda – bliss
moksha – liberation
nityamukta – perpetually in the state of liberation
bhoga – enjoyment
Chaturyuga – a cycle of the four yugas or ages
Narayana – the Divine

Crib Death

(The following concerns Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (‘Crib Death’). A student of the New Way, who is a social worker in a programme that provides assistance to parents of victims of this bizarre death, has prepared an introduction with some data on the phenomenon. This is followed by two letters from Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet on the subject.)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (’Crib Death’) is the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant, usually during a sleeping period, whose death remains unexplained after a case study and a thorough autopsy.

SIDS is the leading cause of death in the post-neonatal period, i.e. from 1 month to 1 year of life (in the USA), occurring more often in the cold months, with a slight predominance in males (as in many diseases). It occurs across all socio-economic lines and is more common among the poor of no matter what ethnicity. The highest incidence in the USA is among the Native Americans in Reservations, followed by Blacks and Hispanics. The lowest incidence is among Orientals.

When looking at those infants at greater risk, statistics reveal that they are more often born prematurely, are of low birth weight, their mothers are under 20 years of age, who smoke, who are drug addicted, who have had intra-uterine infections, elevated blood pressure. At the same time, there are many infants who die of SIDS whose mothers have not one of these features.

Because SIDS occurs without cry, without warning, there is no opportunity to prepare for it. A parent can turn away to prepare a bottle and return to find the infant lifeless. Resuscitation efforts are to no avail usually, and if an infant is revived it is ‘brain dead’ and succumbs in a matter of days. Parents’ grief is compounded by guilt and blame from others who create doubts through criticism of parental care or insinuations about the parent’s actions. Families are forced to deal with police, medical examiners and hospital personnel who must investigate such deaths and are not gentle.

Autopsies are done in order to rule out other causes of death.

Some statistics: 85% of deaths in infancy are due to SIDS. The other 15% are due to other causes. Rate: about 2 per 1000 live births. 7000 per year in the USA.

*

24 November 1986

‘…The point is the illness [Sleeping Sickness] came and went mysteriously. In a similar fashion there is this “Crib Death”. But to me the matter is even clearer in the latter. This is evidently a “decision” taken by the soul to withdraw. In a way this corresponds to the greater consciousness coming into being regarding death (and birth). It indicates a far greater awareness in the processes. That is, the infant is aware of what he has stepped into and “decides” to leave before he/she has forged “ties” – or a certain network of time-energy, which makes the enacting of such a decision possible. Between 1 and 6 months, provided this awareness exists, it is easier to leave the body, to “slip out” like one steps out of a dress. Usually it is done through the top of the skull, which is also facilitated by the fact that it is still “open”. But in any case, that opening is just indicative of the condition of being in early infancy, which is yet to be firmly “cemented” on earth, in Earth life.

‘These infants then desire to leave, perhaps because of the trying conditions and atmosphere of the Earth. They can do this easily if there are no connections made as yet with others, no conscious experiences lived in time and which begin to draw a network around the soul and rivet it to a collective karmic web. Hence the reason why these deaths occur at such a young age. It will also explain why there are no traces, no illnesses.

‘I have come across such situations in older people, two cases of such “deaths” that I knew of in Pondicherry, after the Mother left. But there is an age by which the enactment of these decisions becomes more difficult. Then a form of “suicide” is reverted to. I have discussed this with regard to the Auroville children in The Gnostic Circle (See Chapter 15) and their connection to the collective movement and karma.

‘I was wondering whether these deaths were occurring elsewhere in the world. If it is only in the USA that is doubly interesting, in its connection with Cancer…’

19 February 1987

‘I have gone over the material you sent on SIDS. From studying this it all seems to confirm my original feeling. There are certain significant details. Foremost is the fact that hardly any of these deaths occur in the first month. They begin then and increase until a peak at between two and four, and then peter out after six. Dapena significantly writes, “There is a clue in there if we only understood what it’s all about.”

‘Well, to me this is in order because if, as I more firmly than ever believe, we are dealing with voluntary withdrawals, then certain aspects of the process of birth have to be taken into consideration. I realise that what I write will have no effect on people who do not understand birth and death in terms of more or less conscious transitions from one plane to another. But whether this is accepted or not by the medical world, believe me, it is the only answer to this mystery.

‘You see, in the process of incarnation, various “layers” of consciousness must be gathered around a central axis, a nucleus, a seed, – or a soul, if you will. There is a critical transition when one diminishes the consciousness, a sort of tightening and confinement. Just like I described in the discussion on Sleeping Sickness. (See TVN, 2/1, April 1987) The individual soul repeatedly experiences this same process, each time a new birth comes about. Compared to the condition in a physical body confined to a delineated space, sojourn “on the other side” is akin to the Transcendent’s “freedom”. I think for this reason the human being is so obsessed with freedom.

‘When the moment comes to enter this physical plane of the 9 – or the densest part of creation – it is like a whirlpool: the consciousness is regrouping. That is, the mental and vital sheaths are being collected around the axis/soul, and a “materialisation” is engendered by the speed that the consciousness attains due to this tightening and confinement. It is during this phase that the vital and mental sheaths come into being. Remember that these sheaths disintegrate after death – sometimes quickly, sometimes more slowly, depending on the development, the focus of the previous life. A strongly vital person will retain his/her vital sheath for a longer period. Or else, something of that sheath may be passed on to a living person; or it remains in the atmosphere as a “ghost” and makes periodic appearances. But if there is no “axis” the apparition is hollow, a vacant shell, as it were. Any power it may appear to have is simply a projection from a living being – fear, for example.

‘So, when the time comes to reincarnate the soul requires these subtle sheaths – in particular the vital, which is indispensable for life on this planet. One can survive with a weak or even an absent mental sheath, but not the vital. The bizarre stories of zombies, for example, are cases in which a magician with certain knowledge calls a vital sheath of some dead person (perhaps recently deceased), or a sheath crystallised in the vital plane, into a dead body and animates the corpse in this way. The technique is known in India and is one of the lower powers a Tantrik can acquire.

‘Just imagine the process visually, like a whirlpool; and then you will come to understand that from a certain wideness there is an increasing tightening, to a point. This is what “drops into” the waiting physical vessel. There are separate dimensions here: above and below. The physical vessel is prepared below and awaits the soul, around which these sheaths are gathered. In a sense, they attach themselves to this axis. They are propelled and usually compelled to enter the waiting vessel. (Sri Aurobindo describes this so beautifully at the end of Book 11 in Savitri, when the Goddess takes birth again.)

‘But the transition is critical because the passage “puts one to sleep”. That is, the consciousness “falls asleep” in the transition. It is during this passage that the awareness of what constitutes the Beyond is lost. And this is the answer to why those SIDS babies do not leave immediately. It takes a while to adjust to the transition, to “awaken” to the new condition and to adjust to the confinement. A shock is experienced.

‘When one comes out of one’s body by a conscious process in the waking state, during the first experiences it is rather depressing because one becomes acutely aware of the heaviness of the physical. After all, in the subtle sheaths one can move through dense objects. There is no limitation in this sense, just as one can pass into other dimensions. All of that is lost when in the physical. And so, in the early stages effort has to be made to overcome a certain sense of unhappiness with our condition which appears to be so limited compared to the other. But this limitation has its own rewards.

‘These SIDS babies take a while before they realise where they are; and what their options are in this new condition. But, you see, the “decision” was taken on the other side, before the plunge through the waters of oblivion. It takes a while to recall that decision also.

‘This is why there are so few deaths in the first month but they begin immediately when this adjustment sets in and these babies then get down to work to find release. I would imagine that the longer it takes them the harder it would be for them to leave – the more complicated the process.

‘I can see why these two phenomena came to my awareness at the same time: Sleeping Sickness and SIDS. It is because in a sense they are related. That is, by understanding the plunge of the Transcendent through Sleeping Sickness (and Sri Aurobindo’s tapasya), you can understand better the process of incarnation of the individual soul, which will give you the answers to the how and why of many aspects of these SIDS.

‘The data are interesting. One aspect seems to point to the will. A weak will to live is why they encounter certain traces of a physical weakness – i.e. somewhat underweight, etc. I believe that these data are simply the result of over-scrupulous autopsies. That is, in the effort to find clues to these deaths, clearly these babies are put through tests that would not be done under normal conditions. Or, say babies who live, reach adolescence and beyond. If ALL babies were put through these exacting tests, I wonder how many who survive healthily and grow to a ripe age would also show the same signs of weakness, etc., as the SIDS baby. But I suppose this is taken into account in the data. Perhaps for this very reason they hesitate to blame the deaths on any of their findings and prefer to believe that the cause lies in a combination of malfunctions, however slight.

‘If however, a soul incarnates having already taken the decision to leave as soon as possible, you understand that this “decision” must affect the baby’s vitality to some degree. And it would not necessarily be marked. There would most likely be just traces, some disquieting hint of an undermining willessness. This undermining would seem to me to be thoroughly consistent with what medical examinations have unveiled regarding certain hints of weakness or underweight in these babies.

‘Then there is the other, perhaps more important aspect to the matter. This is the environment into which the plunge is made.

‘A baby and a child are extremely sensitive to the “psychic atmosphere” of their surroundings. Depressed atmospheres are readily felt by the baby and the child. This sensitivity lasts for each one different lengths of time. In some it continues for several, even more, years. For others a dullness sets in quickly – precisely as a protection, as a means to stay rooted in the body. This knowledge has far-reaching consequences because, you realise, it influences our ideas about child-care in subtle but significant ways. Because what is this psychic atmosphere? And, where lies the real answer to a psychically harmonious atmosphere?

‘You see, we have many ideas about these things. Sincere and serious attempts are made to understand and to create congenial conditions for the healthy, happy and fulfilling growth of a child. But often these ideas are far off the mark. An ignorance in certain key spheres produces these contrary effects – without any realisation that such is the case.

‘This could be a long discussion, so let’s leave it at that and return to our subject. A baby responds to an atmosphere which 99% of adults are oblivious to. But, this much is clear to all of us: the deprived classes of society carry an aura of deprivation around them. True. But the “atmosphere” I am referring to cuts across economic lines. As an example, take the deprived population of India. I am certain you have never seen anything like the poverty one finds in India. I can tell you, having travelled all over the world, that there is little comparable to the degree of abject poverty one finds here. And yet, that psychic depression is absent here. It is hard to believe at first, but after living for a while in India one realises this is so. And I often wonder if this is the reason this poverty drags on. Something continues to “smile” in these people. And that “smile” is perceptible, tangible. It creates an “atmosphere”.

‘In contrast, I have never found deprivation as depressing as what I witnessed in New York City in l981. My rational mind could clearly see that what I was witnessing was nothing compared to the starkest poverty of India. But I saw real human misery [in NYC]. The most miserable in fact. Squalor of the psyche more than the body. And this is far worse. To this the baby responds rather than the mere physical conditions. Obviously if we combine the two, as is often the case, we have the most abject conditions a soul can be born into.

‘And so, the data you sent, strangely enough, brought to mind a particular sorrowful experience I had a few years back. Going through one of the weekly news magazines, I came upon an article about the condition of American Indians on the Reservations. There were some statistics given, i.e. the high rate of alcoholism, and such things. But more moving of all was a photo of one of the women, apparently drunk on beer, throwing beer bottles around. You know, I have never forgotten the face of that woman. The pain of the soul…so evident. Compared to the Indian (of India) deprived class, her economic condition appeared reasonably adequate. In fact, she appeared overfed. In contrast, here we see, we live next to people who have not even one meal a day. But her psychic pain, her racial awareness of a lost state of beatitude, was so evident on her face, in her being. I realised then that the American Indian is by far the most unfortunate ethnic group in America. Their fall would be proportionate to the level of their former condition, which in many ways was so high, so close to the Earth and healthy living. This reminds me of the Indians I saw in Peru, in Bolivia – that same psychic sadness. Or in Mexico. More-so in countries that have known such formidable civilisations.

‘A soul, incarnating in the body of an American Indian, would immediately respond to that sorrow, that particular type of psychic depression more than any other. It is fortified, in a sense, by the collective condition, which adds power to it.

‘And so, I was not surprised to read in the data that you sent how much higher the incidence of SIDS is among American Indians, almost double that of other lower socio-economic groups. I am convinced that it is because of the racial, collective psyche that fortifies the depression and makes the atmosphere more tangible in this respect for the infant. But, once again, this could be a long discussion….

‘To conclude, I just want to mention that I think they are exaggerating in their effort to locate cases of SIDS throughout history, through a scrutiny of scriptures, etc. Certainly some of the cases in the past which were thought to be death by smothering (“overlaying”) were probably SIDS – but probably the majority were not. And the important point, in our case, is the increase, the collective phenomenon; and in particular the fact that these deaths are so much more numerous in the USA. 200 per year in New York City alone! And how to prevent something over which we seem to have no control?

‘It is clear that we have to improve conditions of life on this planet, so that we cease to “frighten” souls away. We have to create a congenial psychic atmosphere. The question is, what is that, and how do we attain it?

‘About the strange synchronisation in the “crib deaths” with the mother’s birthday, etc. I think this is most probably due to a certain horoscopic combination [between the two] which permits or sets such events in motion – a harmony of time, quoi. Not all infants have such horoscopic combinations with their parents. But the ones that do may respond to these synchronistic impulses.

‘And I wonder if the fact that these deaths occur more to teenage mothers isn’t because they themselves are less stable, less rooted; and so the process is somehow easier when there is less maturity, the network is not so consolidated.

‘You know, yogis learn to die voluntarily, to leave in the same way [as SIDS]. Infants know how instinctively, but later forget. The process of living roots us here. Then we have to use dramatic means to leave – by suicide. Or else, an act of will to fall ill and go by this means…’.


Thea

From Man to Superman

‘Man is a transitional being, he is not final. He is too imperfect for that, too imperfect in capacity for knowledge, too imperfect in will and action, too imperfect in his turn towards joy and beauty, too imperfect in his will for freedom and his instinct for order. Even if he could perfect himself in his own type, his type is too low and small to satisfy the need of the universe. Something larger, higher, more capable of a rich all-embracing universality is needed, a greater being, a greater consciousness summing up in itself all that the world set out to be. He has…to exceed himself; man must evolve out of himself the divine superman; he was born for transcendence. Humanity is not enough, it is only a stepping-stone; the need of the world is a superhuman perfection of what the world can be, the goal of consciousness is divinity. The inmost need of man is not to perfect his humanity, but to be greater than himself, to be more than man, to be divine, even to be the Divine.’

Sri Aurobindo

‘Perspectives’ – Evolution and the Genesis Bind

I was trying to find this piece…I can’t find it in the book. Peck’s book [The People of the Lie, M. Scott Peck, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1983]. Anyway, what brought it to mind now is this talk we were having about evolution – because this is the problem that they cannot face in Christianity, in the Christian way of thinking. The problem they have with it is true. But at the same time it is also their limiting factor.

Now, if you take what we were saying before, that it is not evolving from the apes – the human consciousness – that it is not a question of preparing a vessel via that ape, or monkey, or whatever, but that…

 

That Consciousness is trying to find a form…

 

…It is trying to develop a form to fit it. And these species represent these developments, these processes in which the atmosphere of the Earth is being prepared to house higher and higher levels of consciousness.

Yes, you have to say in a sense we do evolve from that, because if that hadn’t been it would not have been possible for the human being to establish his habitat on Earth. But that if you look at it in the strictly physical sense and you cannot see that all these species are forming aspects of the Divine Consciousness in evolution, then you are stuck there.

So, there will always be that ‘missing link’, because there is no link.

In other words, when that consciousness was ready the form was also ready. I mean, the consciousness was being prepared all along, in all these other trials. But then the consciousness of man – the mental human being – actually descended then.

So, in a sense the Christian theory, Genesis, is right. In a ‘sense’.

 

It is that man descended ‘ready made’.

 

…In a way it is right.

 

The trouble is when you understand it literally then it becomes disastrous because it becomes a dogmatic falsehood.

 

And it is a joke because then you say NO to the other, YES to this. Whereas in actual fact, what I am saying is yes to the both of them, because without that evolutionary process the human consciousness… Because as you mentioned before, it is true: it is involved. Mind is involved, life is involved in matter. So it is a question of this gradual unfolding. And the animal phase of this was very important because that developed life. That is that vital level (vital-physical, really speaking). That was what was unfolding then.

Then comes the other. And obviously you’ve got to find forms that are suitable to this habitat.

 

But the problem so far in the evolution is that it has been… The involution has taken place and there is an evolution, but it is evolving in ignorance; or from the Inconscient. Up to this point.

And now, with the fourth element you get what you once described…about the ‘reversal’. I think you wrote about it once in one of your journals: The reversal of the 4th. Then you get evolution in truth.

 

That’s right. This is the point where something else can take place. For example, we are preparing a new form right now. This is evident. Now, it doesn’t mean, really, that out of my brain is going to come the new Brain. You know what I mean?

It is not that somehow, either to my children, or whatever. I mean biologically, genetically, I am going to pass that new form on. This isn’t the way it happens.

You ‘pass on’ a consciousness, a state of consciousness.

 

I think you pointed that out pretty well too with the Mother’s transformation and what that was involving. There’s a classic case: everybody is expecting the 95-year old person to turn into the new species.

 

This is precisely the point.

Now, what was it that the Mother was doing? She was doing exactly this work. She was preparing the field so that this other could manifest.

You see, again you come to this question, all these ideas about…it is going to ‘descend’ from outer space, also, in a way, have their truth. But, yet again, they’re off! Because, there again, they do not see that what we are doing here would allow for something like that to happen. That you cannot even descend in a space suit from outer space if it is not ready here. You see?

So, we are in this transitional phase, and we are working on the consciousness which will then be able to develop its own forms accordingly.

It is a very important phase. It is essential, because without this nothing else happens. But it is not that you, or me, or somebody else…we are going to turn into the supramental beings overnight, because it is really… It is irrelevant! That is not the point.

The point is to prepare the Earth for this advent, in whatever way then that the Divine… You see, it gets far more ‘mechanical’ than that: In whatever way this seed flowers. Of course it already contains in itself the means for its own flowering. And, as I’ve already said, the Supermind creates its own conditions.

 

These are just our mental projections, our ideas…

 

All the time we’ve got these ideas: it has got to be like this. I mean, I can experience in my own consciousness that there is something different here than in other consciousnesses because…. I experience it in what way? I experience it in this way, in that there is some kind of a connection made, somewhere ‘up above’ that other people do not have. Because how do I ‘see’ these things? I always feel that it is like a descent. It is almost like a seed that comes in and it’s like a suggestion, sort of. Obviously these are ‘intuitions’ – that is what it is all about. But the only thing is that in my case I feel that it is almost a constant contact; whereas somebody else may have an intuition, a ‘flash’, and you know, then they build up a whole school on one insight.

With me there seems to be some sort of a constant flow. It just keeps coming and coming. And so, that gives you the clue then, because it is something steady then that is created. A bridge that is opened. There is already something that you can go back and fourth on, let us say.

 

What in the Veda they called ‘stable lightnings’.

 

Sri Aurobindo must have written about that in those portions [of his book The Secret of the Veda] about Saraswati and the Rivers…the ‘stable lightnings’…

Well, that is the way I feel about it because they do come like lightnings. Suddenly. But it is a constant flow. I can give you any number of examples.

How did it ever occur to me, for example, in the discovery of the new planets, how they fit into that [pattern]. Now I don’t even remember. I only know that there was some clue given – not a direct clue, but something that X said. It just made me look – just look, cast a glance in that matter and that whole thing opened up.

The same thing with the Lunar Line. What is it? Some ‘seed’ that comes in and you follow that thread. But it is a steady thing. These are the preparations.

Now, obviously I wouldn’t be able to do this if Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had not cleared the way. This is clear. It is also clear that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were experiencing this kind of steady flow too.

But that is the thing. Then you carry that forward and you realise that at a certain point you are going to have beings incarnating with the channel open.

 

Nothing special at all. It will be the normal level of consciousness.

 

Of course. But in order for that to happen you have got to prepare a field here. You have got to make the field congenial for those beings, that being – to make a permanent, stable ‘home’ here. So, it cannot be just sporadic.

 

It would be an abomination otherwise.

 

Not only that. It is a horizontal movement. This field is horizontal: you have to create a horizontal field that receives this and that is…congenial, that is attuned to this ‘new matter’, let us say.

 

The way things are arranged, if something like that were even conceivable you get the impression that it would just annihilate the physical universe, if something like that ‘broke the laws’.

 

I know.

 

It is not possible because it is not arranged that way.

 

…because it is such a perfection, where each part supports the other, that you really could not… But, you see, even these kinds of perceptions – they are impossible for the human being. Then again, he cannot conceive of something that is an evolving perfection. He conceives of a perfection as something static. But a perfection of each moment, of something in movement, is something quite difficult.

 

And it frightens him because it is something too impersonal. It seems to be so… To the mental consciousness it is sort of…

 

Unrelated.

 

Yes, you know, ‘What about ME!’

 

Unrelated to himself.

 

Because he is too much bound to that immediate physical frame that he happens to inhabit at this time.

 

You see, at this point I don’t know that we are going to be stuck with a ‘missing link’ along the way, as there was from the vital consciousness, which was the habitat of the animal kingdom, to the mental. That ‘missing link’ there… Because you were dealing always in the lower hemisphere then.

What I think now happens is something far more…well, as you said before, conscious. And so, by conscious processes of yoga of course there are greater possibilities.

In any case it is immaterial. The important thing is this: that it is getting done. And the important thing to see is that it is not that we actually evolve from the apes but that we could not have evolved without the apes. Let’s put it like that.

 

(Pause)

 

There was something extraordinary in this book. The other night it opened up such a clear perception of Genesis that… And I wish I could find it. I wish I had written it down. I may have. I don’t know…

There was this question of the Serpent, and he wrote something here, without realising it. It is not that he was writing about what I am talking about. He was describing his Christian ethos. But it made it so clear that these people…they got stuck at the first part of the book, you know. They didn’t go all the way through!

I wish I could find [the passage]. It was on evil and sin; the whole book is on this question of evil, and of course he brings in sin all the time.

It had to do with… It was so evident what had happened along the way and how really beautiful it is that there is no ‘lie’. The Serpent is the symbol of time in the evolutionary drive, let us say… The power of time in the evolution. This whole question of Eve succumbing to the temptation of the Serpent is so beautifully accurate; and that from that point on they could not accept Woman anymore… That became the symbol, you see, because obviously the symbol is one – this feminine power and the Serpent, being that symbol of the evolutionary force. And Christianity – and probably Judaism, I haven’t gone into that much – has gotten stuck. And they are still combating this.

The only thing that could come out of it was this stark dichotomy: up above/here below, and good and evil. Then they got caught in this trap. That is what this book is about. The whole book is about good versus evil.

It was such a clear seeing of the truth of their position and how that tells you how far off they are… It was pathetic and at the same time so beautiful to see this. I said, at some point I will have to write about this.

But there were certain details… They will come to me, if I find the passage. There were ways that he was expressing this without realising it. Then he was saying some formidable things because he was revealing the condition of consciousness of the Christian in this matter. And how this…

Why is it that they have to deny the evolution, that the ones that are denying it are simply being true to their own experience in a way. They cannot do otherwise. But at the same time, of course, it is completely wrong. They are blocked in that consciousness.

And then… The problem as I saw it just resided in the simple fact that they made an absolute of the human being. In other words, the human being was not evolving. And therefore they made an absolute of Satan: evil – because they were putting as the ‘measure’ man, in his transitional phase. You understand? This was the problem.

So, when they began denying the Serpent and Eve and all the rest of it, and putting it all in one bundle and throwing it away in the sea, what they did then is they made an absolute condition of evil. There was Good and there was Evil, and these were absolutes. They remain that way today in the Christian faith. But they were basing this perception… (There were some things in here that he wrote which made it all so clear…) They were basing this perception on the human being.

In other words, that so-called ‘devil’ is in man, you understand? It is in man. Without the human instrument as it is now you would not perceive it. I mean, if the human being did not exist on this Earth there would be no evil.

It is clear that what Genesis says is absolutely accurate: that you ‘eat of this fruit’ and you have the knowledge of good and evil – because you have the mental capacity and no higher light with which to be able to make this distinction then.

If you remain at that – which is what the Christian has done – if you remain at that level you can only make of evil an absolute because you also make of the human being an absolute. There is nothing beyond that…

Now I remember… When we were talking about evolution it brought all this up. Because there is nothing beyond the human being. This race isn’t in transition toward something else. You make that the highest, or whatever, and you also make the devil a permanent element – because he is not going anywhere too! Because the human being is not evolving, then evil is not evolving. It is static too and it stays as a permanent feature.

Now, evil as he is describing it is purely a condition resulting from the inadequate human instrument, which in any case was never meant to be a permanent instrument, you understand? It is part of the ‘growing pains’.

So, all of this cruelty, this torture, the twist of the human  consciousness that he is describing… Oh, that’s another thing, when he brings in the question of ‘will’. For him it all revolves around that. And he brings in the question of freedom, free choice, all of that… And that these so-called evil people, where their real aberration lies is in wanting to impose their will, you see, and it is their will against God’s will.

Okay, very true. But, you know, it is a problem that arises out of this off-centre poise; and there are only different degrees of that. Some people go off on a tangent, let’s say, and become crystallised at that point; others manage to skirt around it. But the problem exists as an evolutionary problem.

So, that is why they got stuck at this immature stage, because they would not accept evolution like they would not accept the Serpent, like they made something evil of the Serpent, you see.

The Serpent was that power of evolution. So the whole thing is perfectly logical and coherent – the way it happened and the way it got crystallised like that. It is perfectly logical: Reject the Serpent, you have to reject at the same time Eve – or Womanhood, the Shakti, that power… That is what the Serpent symbolises. At the same time you have to reject evolution… They are still fighting battles over that. They are really only just now coming to terms with people like Galileo. Just imagine! Darwin? I think he is in the doghouse for good!

But, you see, the beauty of it is that it is so coherent, and all because… Of course, this is what I was seeing: why then is Sri Aurobindo’s message so important. It is so important simply because he says – this is the really big thing of his message – that we are in transition to something else.

 

            ‘Man is a transitional being’…

 

Because if you do not accept that, this change cannot come about here. And then you have to deal with all these problems about evil and good and the absolute nature of… Sure, you make of this imperfect human being a permanent, unchanging, static element and you have all of his evil static too. Because, as I say, it is through those eyes, through that instrument that these ‘absolutes’ are fixed. You change that and you come to some other possibility.

And then of course they have had to put God up in some other ‘paradise’, some other ‘garden’ somewhere else. They had to because how could you then reconcile this, you see. I mean, if you make this an absolute here, based on Man in his own image, let us say, then how can you reconcile this? How can you? Of course you have to say, No, God is separate, and it is blasphemy to say that ‘I am God’…because in me is this crystallised evil and God is all perfect and all good.

 

What a mess they made of it!

 

So total that you wonder how – for thousands of years now, more than that – you wonder how they are going to unravel it all.

He is big on sin, [Scott Peck] because he says every good Christian realises that he is sinful and that he is born in sin. That is one of their main doctrines.

 

It seems to me such a silly thing!

 

Well, it is something that has become a central tenet of their faith. Whereas you have in Hinduism this idea of sin and the punya which absolves your sins, in the bathing in the Ganges, and so on; but it is not a central feature of… It is just so conditioned by the transitional features of this race that it takes on those characteristics too. Like something peripheral. It is not at all central to Hinduism in any way. Whereas in Christianity original sin is…that is the first thing you learn about.

 

All the Protestant sects split up because they couldn’t come to terms with it: Calvinism and all the different European sects that developed because of that whole problem with original sin.

 

 Can you imagine what torture! Torture over the Shadow! And all of this, as I say, because they are not appreciating that the Divine Consciousness is evolving through all these channels, and the major one right now is through the human channel. And that it is evolving always higher and higher forms.

It is so simple.

And so, there is this desperation to find ‘the missing link’. Now, what do they expect to really find? Because, you see, what will they find? They will find, maybe, a specimen ever older of what they consider to be man’s ancestor. And then they push it back and back. But how are they ever going to get to that so-called missing link? Because, you see, what can it possibly be, I mean, that would indicate: Ah yes, this is the way you sprang from the animal state to the real human consciousness.

I don’t think they will ever come across anything like that because, again, I don’t think that is the relevant point. The point is when was the atmosphere ripe on Earth, ready to receive that? That is the important thing. And for that you have to come to an understanding of the evolution of consciousness and what it uses to prepare the terrain. And you have to look for clues like that, you understand? I mean, you wouldn’t look for clues in bones and a species. You would look for clues in a different way. Like, what was happening in the atmosphere of the Earth that would have indicated that the time was ready for that sort of a manifestation. That’s all.

But, you see, it is hopeless. It is like finding the original moment of creation. That is hopeless, all that. The important thing right now is to be conscious of this process, – right now, because essentially it is the same.

That is what hit me so strongly. You know, Sri Aurobindo’s message, really… ‘Man is a transitional being’. And of course then he goes into the nitty-gritty of it: What then is coming after this; what is the next phase? What is it?

And that is why what you can imagine happened when the mental being came was that it really was an unconscious process. That, you can imagine very easily. Something like this was almost a command. Like in Genesis: God did all the creation and put everything there, and that was it! Whereas now it is almost like… ‘the Gods descend’, really. And they participate from the other side AND here.

 

That is when he says, I think it is in ‘The Supramental Manifestation’, at that point evolution itself evolves.

 

 That’s it. That is the idea. That is exactly the idea. Because in actual fact it takes on different characteristics. Of course. It creates its own conditions then.

 

It becomes a luminous development then.

 

Of course.

 

And then it becomes very exciting.

 

Right. That is why I feel it IS exciting, because I can see what is happening. I am sure you can too. So, it is only that there is all this obstruction and opposition and everything…

 

‘How shall your voice convince the mind of Earth?’

 

Yes, really.

Well, then he [the Mother’s disciple with whom she held the discussions recorded in L’Agenda de Mere] says this about the Mother and that experience that I read out the other day [see: TVN, 2/3, August 1987]. About that experience of Absolutism: ‘The Mother has said all of this in a profound trance. It seems that one could compare her experience to that of the Vedic Rishis, as they said, “Like an eye extended in heaven”’… Because there she is talking about… Remember that experience of Absolutism? Well, and then he ends by adding, ‘Maybe this is the secret of the whole Agenda!’

Quite extraordinary, no? And the most extraordinary thing is that you cannot even write to this fellow and say, ‘You’re right on! That’s exactly what it is! You’ve found the Secret!’ Because he would combat it to death… I mean, isn’t that tragic?

 

Because he thinks he’s got the Secret.

 

No. He presumes that only HE could find it. So, if somebody else even came and said. ‘Yes, you’ve found it,’ that would presuppose that somebody else knew more than him. Because in order for somebody else to come and say, You’ve got it, it means that the other person has to know what had to be gotten in the first place!

I’m telling you, this is the way it works in the human consciousness… Because my work has been around now for ten years at least, and he could have easily come upon the verification of his feeling that this was the ‘secret’. The Magical Carousel was there; I was quoting all of this in the Commentaries

But this is the question of that ‘evil’ that Peck writes about, where these are twists in the consciousness. These are the reasons why the human being cannot perceive. One person has got this kind of a ‘hang-up,’ somebody else has got something else… And all these things are blocking that ‘eye extended in heaven’, you know, that is able then to see these things. It is the incapacities of the human instrument which indicates… It is not that I am blaming the instrument. It is not so much that I am saying the instrument conditions us as I am saying we are responsible also for the condition of that instrument; that that instrument is as it is because the evolution of consciousness has reached only this far. So, it can only house a consciousness that has these twists, let us say.

It is not even that it has these twists. Its level of…

 

(Later)

 

You know, time is the key to it. Only so much can be done. Only so much of that Consciousness can manifest at certain points because time controls that manifestation, that unfolding of what is involved. So time controls the process, and nothing can manifest before ‘its time’. Because ALL the totality of conditions go into allowing whatever it is that is to come about. The human instrument is what it is because that consciousness manifesting can only express itself in certain terms which the human instrument is harmonised to express.

Clear. As you go on you have got to, at the same time, work on the instrument; that these two things are going to go hand in hand. As the time approaches when this other possibility comes into play, then at the same time it is going to evolve its own vehicle for expression.

This seems to me to be so evident. It seems to be what is happening right now: We are simply preparing, quite accurately, this new race.

But certainly NEVER in the past, in the lower echelons, was there the process as it is manifesting right now, in so conscious a form. Never was it possible for Sri Aurobindo to come and say, ‘This is the way it is going to be.’ I mean, when the mental phase came about it was a phase of ignorance, totally.

But, you are in the 9th Manifestation now. So you have come to that point where it is the birth into the higher… It is THE BIRTH! Before there wasn’t even that. So it is now that you have the… You have, well…you have the REAL destiny of Earth coming about. You have now evolving… well probably the highest species that the Earth will know. And that is when it then starts evolving consciously, you see.

Now, what I mean by that is the species, the instrument. I don’t mean that the consciousness that manifest then is static, but rather that the next instrument that evolves out of this will be that instrument that is sufficient to express all these higher states of consciousness because as yet we really have NOT expressed them. We have been evolving in ignorance and all of these instruments have been instruments of ignorance. Whereas now, at this 9th Manifestation, that so-called ‘Child’ is born – which means that it is the Earth’s child. You know what I mean. You see, it is really that Son, that divine Son that is born then: S-O-N… And that is the purpose for which she exists as a planet, you see….

 

            S-o-n and S-u-n.

 

Yes, exactly.

But how beautiful Genesis is. How accurate. I have to admit, it is probably one of the most accurate documents of a…tragic misconception!

 

(Laughter)

 

And so accurate that it HAS to be divinely inspired. It HAS to be the ‘word of God’, because the Word of God was telling them: This is all you are going to know for the time being. And this is going to explain your calamities from now on.

This is what they say, no? That this is it: the Serpent, Eve, it was all responsible for the big mess here! And that is what happened. Genesis is telling you: This is how you came into this ‘original sin’, and this is why you are ‘born in sin’ and this is why you have to labour and sweat and all of this and ultimately die.

But what they did not say was: BUT THIS IS ONLY A PORTION OF IT!

 

 

(Laughter)

 

And yet, then of course you have The Revelation.

It is almost too fantastic for words, when you think that through the Christian scriptures you have got probably the most accurate prophecy of what was going to happen on Earth than probably you have in any of the Indian ones, you know.

Clear. Because Christianity was the world vehicle, really. It conditioned the consciousness all over.

 

Right. Very centrally.

 

(Pause)

 

And so, what was the Mother seeing with this? I mean, how formidable! That totally new consciousness. And she said, Keep it secret. Destroy it [the tape]. Don’t let it out because they will think we are mad.

And then he [the disciple] says, How could I keep it secret? You know… This may be the big thing that we are looking for in the whole Agenda!

Isn’t that phenomenal?

The Capricorn Factor, Part One

In the 1960s the Mother, realizing the grave peril that existed if India was forced by circumstances to manufacture nuclear weapons, expressed her concern in the following:

‘The particular view of evolution which I here present will bring out some significant facts. The first phase of evolution was of matter and on this Earth, for millions of years, elements of matter were in great conflict with each other, each one trying, as it were, to suppress or obtain dominance over the others. This process was necessary so that the primary fury of these forces could be expended and by mutual destruction or subservience the substance of the Earth as a whole be tamed and made a more fit place to receive the next phase of evolution, that of life or the vital principle.

‘When this force of life arrived, settled, and grew over the centuries, again great conflicts developed between the numerous species, arising first out of the need for their very existence and then for aggrandisement and domination. Again by this act of Nature in inflaming the species against each other, the most ferocious ones were destroyed or sufficiently subdued so that the next phase of evolution could arrive and survive.

‘When reason descended into the animal, the chosen creature was much inferior physically and vitally compared to some of the other species. But yet, both on account of the power of the new instrument of reason and because the furies of the other species had been somewhat lessened, primitive man survived and grew and ultimately established dominance over the rest of creation.

‘Now the process is repeating itself. The forces brought up by reason have not only advanced man to a very superior position, but are also working towards a mutual self-destruction so that a fourth phase of evolution can safely arrive and be established and grow.

‘This, as I have said, is the pattern of the procedure followed so far in the evolutionary movement. But it is not necessarily the only method. Man, by the correct use of his reason, inspired and enriched by the higher knowledge already descending in the new phase of evolution, can prevent the great destruction and even actively collaborate in the descent. This is the opportunity now presenting itself and it is left to be seen if man will rise to meet it or allow the old process to repeat and allow himself to be almost annihilated. We have come to the crisis of decision.

‘There have been many such crises in man’s history, but all relatively minor ones, yet growing in intensity and preparing for the great final one which we now face.

‘If we can now see this fact, let us next see how we can prevent the holocaust and even, as I have said, collaborate in the evolutionary leap that is preparing.

‘It is clear that the atom bomb and other nuclear weapons are ultimate instruments of almost global destruction. Can we prevent them being used and how?

‘The key to this new phase of evolution lies in India. This may seem strange when one considers that in many respects India lags behind other countries – but nevertheless it is a fact. The consideration that the new phase [of evolution] will act more in the spirit than in the mind may help one in understanding how India is destined to lead the world on its new path. By that token, it is in India therefore that the destructive process will begin, if the old pattern is to be followed. A little reflection should make this clear to anyone. Hence the manufacture of the atom bomb by India assumes great significance for the whole world and not for India alone. No matter which other countries, or how many of them, make the bomb – there is good chance that human reason with some enlightenment, may refrain from using it. But if India makes the bomb, then there is no chance at all. By this very act the formation that has been built up for preventing the Pralaya and which particularly protects India will be broken. Then the Bomb will be used, widely used – and it will no longer be a question of India defending itself from attack, but of the survival of the whole human race.

‘That India is in this position is not by our choice. It is so ordained by the process of evolution itself. And for this purpose there is a special dispensation working in India, that shapes its ends and has preserved its integrity through all vicissitudes.’

I propose to comment extensively on the Mother’s observations primarily because that ‘crisis of decision’ which she describes has arrived. When the Mother spoke of this matter there was little to make one suspect or believe that the central role she was attributing to India could in any way be true. Especially in what concerns nuclear weapons. India did not have this nuclear potential then. But just six months after the Mother’s passing, on 18 May, 1974, India exploded a nuclear device. The Mother’s vision was beginning to prove itself true.

That ‘explosion for peaceful purposes’, as it was called, thrust me into a state of dismay. I was aware of the Mother’s injunction concerning the fact that manufacturing the bomb would break an occult protection India was under. For this reason the possibility that it could actually come to pass caused me the deepest concern.

My distress at that time was heightened because I had just then begun to have very clear perceptions of India’s place in the new Creation and her central and dynamic role in the Supramental Age. Therefore, did the Mother’s injunction and the fact that India had indeed acquired that dreaded nuclear potential mean that all was lost, that everything that I had seen regarding the nation’s unique destiny was erased by this one act?

My concern went very deep because at the time this experiment in nuclear technology took place I was in the midst of writing The Gnostic Circle. Knowledge was descending in a steady stream as a result of the continuous flow of yogic experiences; the main foundations of the New Way were right then being laid in which India was central. Was it all to be cast to the winds because of this new course India seemed to be embarking upon?

I knew that the Mother’s seeing was accurate; it contained ‘the Power of the Word’. There was no doubt of it. But I also knew that my vision of an invincible destiny for India was equally true. The new knowledge that was descending and which I was recording right then in The Gnostic Circle confirmed this ultimate apotheosis in which India stood as the central figure in a new world order, in the new dispensation of the Supermind. How then to reconcile these two positions?

The Mother was stating that if India produced the bomb she would be central to the greatest holocaust the Earth has known. And what seemed to be merely a possibility and entirely in the realm of speculation, had now become a reality. That ‘possibility’ became a fact of the nation’s destiny on 18 May, 1974.

But still the ultimate play-out was far off. There was no immediate danger; the crisis appeared to be as yet far away. However, in matters of higher Knowledge and Seeing one is trained to look into the ‘seed’ of things, of events, and in this act to perceive what is but what has not yet unfolded in the inevitable course that that seed determines. Knowing this, realising that 1974 marked a decisive and perilous turning point for India and the world, I prayed fervently to the Divine Mother for guidance. My prayer consisted in this plea: the Supreme should send me a ‘sign’, a clear and unmistakable one that what I was seeing of India’s destiny would hold, that the nation would be victorious in realizing her destiny, her unity above all, which was crucial not only for her own survival but for the entire Earth, and by consequence for the Supramental Creation. I had seen India to be ‘the soul of the Earth’ within the symphony of nations. I prayed ardently for a ‘sign’ that this soul-essence would establish itself, that all that I was then seeing was indeed true. Foremost was the ultimate victory of Truth and the establishment of the new Creation first on Indian soil.

Within a few days of this fervent prayer I did indeed receive ‘a sign’ – and it was unmistakable in its significance. It was, in fact, a sign that I alone, perhaps more than anyone else, could understand. It was the Capricorn hieroglyph superimposed upon the geography of India, in an exact correspondence.

The features of this sign can only be understood properly by those who know exactly what Capricorn indicates in the harmony of the twelve zodiacal signs. Astrologers from the most ancient times have unanimously considered Capricorn to be India’s ruling sign. But no one, to my knowledge, had ever seen that this hieroglyph actually delineates India’s physical boundaries. But of course it is an India whole and intact, as she was before the devastation of Partition. This too was a profound verification: India’s true form is delineated by the hieroglyph of the zodiacal sign that is her ruler. That glyph in ancient tradition is called the Name of God, this I knew; but I also knew that everything I had been seeing concerning India’s central position as the Earth’s ‘soul’ is contained in the inner and esoteric experience of Capricorn. In that secret dimension its real mystery was disclosed, its deepest truths. And with this answer to my prayer the Supreme had not only confirmed a vision in a way that could only be understood by someone initiated into the secrets of Capricorn, but the sign itself would be a potent tool ever after in the work I was to do for India.

Capricorn glyph on India

Thus with this ‘sign’, the deeply meaningful answer to my prayer, I considered that whatever was to happen India would be saved, the Earth would be saved, and the things contained in the Capricorn symbol would come to pass regardless of the ‘decisions’ men take.

This conviction was tested two years later. But with this subsequent test once again Knowledge poured into me to confirm the facts seen of the country’s invincible destiny. Always the Capricorn hieroglyph was at the root of the perceptions. When this ‘sign’ had been given to me it was as though a seal and sanction had been set upon this work and that Seal would be the everlasting ‘philosopher’s stone’ as it were. With it I would always have an element of objective knowledge to verify what my yogic experiences were revealing.

This being the case, in March of 1976 once more a decisive breakthrough was made and the question of India’s central role, even in the case of a destruction, came up. This time the breakthrough involved the Mother’s Chamber. An unparalleled yogic realization disclosed the deepest meaning in the discrepancies between what was indicated in the measurements and design of the original plan the Mother gave of the Chamber, where the destiny of the Earth and India is written, and the revised plan of the builders of the temple in Auroville. Not only did those discrepancies indicate the destruction India might have to face, but they revealed to me the imminent and conclusive split between the Ashram and Auroville, a rift that soon thereafter came about and remains total to this day.

Yet the most crucial aspect of this breakthrough revealed that there was every likelihood of a very great destruction on Earth. But whatever this would be, one thing was certain: India would somehow be central to the matter; it would be played out in or through India.

In 1976 this still seemed remote and not immediately preoccupying. Yet today, as Pakistan realises its aim of manufacturing nuclear weapons, we are witnesses to the fact that India has indeed reached that ‘crisis of decision’ the Mother warned of two decades ago.

In my vision of 1976 one thing more was made clearer than ever before: the Supramental Creation was a fact, the only real reality of the Earth’s future. But in what way would it be established on this planet which is its destined home? We are all aware, as the Mother stated, that destruction this time assumes a new meaning, given the nature of the weapons that are to be used for this purpose. It may now mean total annihilation. Where then would that leave the Supramental Creation?

I would like to use the Capricorn hieroglyph for this timely discussion because it does indeed hold the key to both India’s destiny and the entire planet’s future in terms of the realization of this high goal. Let us then analyse the condition in India today of the knowledge this symbol holds. A number of very revealing facts will emerge and these will help us to understand the true position which is of vital concern to us all. As in the question of the Mother’s Chamber and the builder’s distortion of its measurements, the following will reveal that India too, centuries ago, ‘lost the measure’. Consequently, connected as these two events are, we may conclude that the loss of the Temple’s Measure was determined more than a thousand years ago.

It was a very coherent development that led to this degeneration, stretching over more than a thousand years. During the Dark Ages two concurrent movements began in India, both of which portended an ominous future for the country. One was the decisive rise and predominance of the Mayavadist school of thought and the organisation initiated by Shankara, the great philosopher and yogi of Medieval India, of Hinduism as a religion with the seeds of Illusionism at its heart. This reformation, forced upon Hinduism by the vigorous rise of Buddhism and its attack on the most central aspects of the Sanatan Dharma, was the first indication that trouble lay ahead. The consequences of the predominance of Mayavadist thought and its influence on the spiritual and cultural fabric of the nation were destined to play themselves out in the centuries to follow, long after Shankara had left the scene. This was the turning point for India, when ‘otherworldliness’ became the favoured poise in contrast to the earlier Vedic position of a quest and realisation that was Earth-oriented. Indeed, it was then that the ‘secret of the Veda’ was lost. It was then that a corrosion began in the perceptive faculties of Indian wisemen and the highest truth the Earth has known, captured in the earliest hymns of those sublime Vedic Seers became progressively more hidden from the seeker behind impenetrable veils. The Veda was then distorted to accommodate the Mayavadist ideal by interpretations that cast it into the mould of a largely ritualistic function; and at that point India began increasingly to lose touch with matter and the Earth’s purpose as a home of an evolving species, and hence with her own true destiny. In a related development she began to succumb to invasions from beyond her borders, the consequences of which she is still experiencing, the destabilising effects of which she is yet to conquer.

There was another development around the same period which proves more conclusively and objectively that India lost the Divine Measure describing her soul’s truth, that Vedic ‘divine Maya’. This Vedic truth was the Measure of the Year, Earthly and Cosmic, as the distinction is made in cosmology. It may seem absurd to state that the simple measure of 365 days could be ‘lost’, but let me explain what exactly I mean by losing the Measure of the Year in this context. The Measure’s inner truth was lost, and its power – above all its power, its potential as a transformative tool. In the way that India is still contending with the consequences of Mayavadism and the ‘illusion of the world’, she is still today contending with the consequences of having lost the Measure of the Year.

How did this come to pass? The details of this development are revealingly coherent. In the Dark Ages the split began in India – as elsewhere – between astrology and astronomy. Until then they were indisputably one. But from that point onward astronomy began to exert itself as a science, separate from its mother-source. Astronomy became concerned exclusively with mechanics, with measure for measure’s sake, divorced from the inner truth and purpose of the physical manifestation. And at that point the Vedic divine Maya (or Measure) was lost. Maya was no longer ‘divine’ and by consequence everything that was measurable was nothing but ‘an illusion’. This became the ‘truth’ of material creation in which its divine attributes were then concealed from the human perceptive faculties.

With this division between astrology and astronomy the latter became the dominant force, as it is today throughout the world. The truth of astrology as a body of knowledge could only be verified on the basis of yogic experience, whereas the other depended solely on the physical senses and the ability to verify what they perceived by mechanical means. Astrology’s truth was accessible to very few, and as ‘science’ imposed itself men and women of knowledge increasingly had to occult their light when confronted with the unenlightened systems of measurement based on entirely divisive perceptive faculties and the instruments these gave birth to. Science easily subjugated the more elusive truths of the spirit and the soul, and as a consequence the Measure of the Year was corrupted. Those seeds of corruption continue to work in India today.

Let me be more specific. Astronomy of the Middle Ages established the measure of the year with its 0 degree Aries starting point as rooted in the backdrop of the Constellations… This became the ‘fixed point’ and the basis for determining the beginning of the 12-month year in calendar reckoning, That is, the constellational circle, which could be seen and measured in the sky, was to be thereafter the one that would determine where and when the zodiacal wheel would begin and by consequence when the calendar year would start and the remaining twelve months would follow.

From astrology’s dawn, which I have good reason to believe took place in pre-historic India, there have always been two circles in the heavens to which the Earth is related in her orbit of the Sun. One is the circumscribing sphere of the constellations of fixed stars. Our planet requires 25,920 Earth years to experience passage within this full circle. The other is the tropical zodiacal circle. This consists of a band extending as a plane from the Sun a certain number of degrees on either side. Within this plane the planets are situated and revolve around the Sun in their orbits. In this band the Earth takes 365 days to complete a full orbit of the Sun. Her movements on her axis in relation to this plane give us the equinoxes and the solstices, and hence the seasons. Thus the tropical zodiac begins with the March equinox each year, on a fixed date that is determined by the Earth’s alignment in this plane that extends from the Sun. It is, therefore, a measure that the Earth receives directly from her relation to the Sun, to her source of energy and light. Further on I will discuss the importance and relevance of the constellational sphere.

In a sense the obsession with the constellational starting point was reasonable. At the time this system of measurement came into vogue the two circles, the zodiacal and the constellational, coincided. That is, the beginning of Aries of that larger, visible sphere was observed to be in line with the point on the eastern horizon, toward the end of March when the Sun is seen to cross the Equator. Thus, some 2000 years ago these two points were aligned. But it was observed that thereafter they began to move apart. Indeed, in 72 years they were one full degree apart, and each subsequent interval of 72 years brought them a further degree away from each other. The two points were clearly distancing themselves; before long, there was a distinctly measurable discrepancy between the two. But the tropical zodiac’s starting point always occurs on 21/22 March, regardless of where the constellational point is. It is a circle whole in itself and does not require the ‘support’ of the constellational backdrop. It is determined by the Earth’s rotation on her axis and around the Sun. It produces the seasons we know and is wedded to our measure of a 24-hour day. As a species we are wholly involved with this measure. In a sense we could say that we have it engrained in each cell of our bodies.

The other more distant constellational sphere has a different function and significance in cosmology. It is this circle that determines the passage of the astrological ages. Similar to the ascendant in an individual’s astrological chart, the measure this circle provides is akin to the Earth’s ascendant in her ‘horoscope’. When we say we are in the Aquarian Age we mean that the constellational 0 starting point has shifted thirty degrees (in a backward motion) to the sign Aquarius. This is called the Precession of the Equinoxes, implying that the way we determine this passage is related to the equinoctial alignment that has shifted. There is no clear consensus on the direct cause of this slow gyration the Earth experiences to produce this precessional movement.

I do not wish to make this discussion too technical, but I must provide a certain background information if any sense is to be made of the consequences these developments have brought about. For in fact what was the outcome of these observations in those remote days of history?

The ‘scientific’ observer imposed the results of his observations on the wisemen of the day and insisted that the constellational point marked the true beginning of the year, that the year’s commencement should always be wedded to this point, regardless of what was happening on Earth, regardless of the seasons, and so forth. If this point was seen to shift in the sky, then the March equinox would also have to shift. Thus 72 years after the coincidence of the two points the Equinox of March, normally celebrated on 22 March each year when the Sun is seen to cross the Equator, was celebrated a day later. And this progression increased with each passage of 72 years. The relation is approximately 72 years for an Earth day. Thus, the start of the zodiac and the year for Hindus today is no longer coincidental with Aries of the tropical zodiac. It is 23 degree/days later. In practical terms this means that a person born on January 1st is not considered a native of the sign Capricorn by an Indian astrologer, insofar as Capricorn, according to this reckoning, must be considered to begin only on 15 January since the constellational starting point has moved away from its equatorial correspondence by this amount of time and celestial arc.

At this point I am obliged to state that any moderately competent astrologer can verify that this is entirely unacceptable and inaccurate in questions concerning the character reading of a native of the sign. In my own experience, earlier as a practising astrologer and now concerned with the more precise work of evolving a new cosmology, it is ludicrous to maintain that the constellational shifting 0 point must hold for creatures born on this planet and that their zodiacal homes are not to be determined by the Earth’s measure relative to the Sun’s position and located in our year of 365 days, but rather by this remote shift of the Precession of the Equinoxes. The latter gives us an important measure – the astrological ages. With this we can determine what the greater age of the Earth is, stretched through a cycle of 25,920 years and more. But that is all. For the other we must use the circle of the twelve zodiacal signs/months, which begins each year on the same day, a fixed point in our calendar demarcation of time. Failing to do this the ultimate result is, for example, that a harvest festival will very soon fall in the middle of winter, a spring rite in the thick of summer, and so on. This is precisely what is happening in India now; before long it will be a total confusion. This is the result when such matters are determined by men who are concerned exclusively with measure for measure’s sake and have lost sight of what it is they are actually measuring, what its function really is. Discernment has been completely lost and the consequences of this error accumulate with each passing year.

A factor of additional importance concerns the question of exactly when these two points were aligned. This has never been clearly established and decided upon by astrologers. We are dealing with relationships between ‘occult’ circles, really speaking, and hence it has never been accurately determined. The revelation of that zero starting point was one of the most significant happenings in my work and laid the basis for a precision that had been unattainable without this date. It disclosed that the Aquarian Age began in 1926. But India, based on the corrupt measure, considers that the Age of Aquarius is still 500 years away!

I know of no better means than this to explain certain problems India faces in coming to terms with her high destiny. Wisemen in India believe that this significant shift to Aquarius lies far into the future; not to speak of a related development: that wretched bane hanging over the nation’s destiny called the Kali Yuga! These erroneous ideas have conditioned the consciousness of the people significantly. We observe that India is being propelled into the new Age in spite of herself. She clings to the idea that Pisces, the Age we have already left, is still the truth of her destiny, regardless of what the rest of the world believes. Thus, in many aspects of her collective life, she refuses to accept change, to go along with the pull of a new future that awaits her and that is wholly described by the shift to Aquarius. The rest of the world moves forward, largely in harmony with Time; whereas India, a nation that alone among the nations of the world, respects time and astrological wisdom, is caught in the incongruous position of being ‘out of tune with time’!

For this much must be said: India is the only country in the world where zodiacal wisdom is a consistent and decisive moulding force in the nation’s religious and cultural experience. But it is distorted. The effects of this distortion are far-reaching. Therefore, let us examine them, and let us use for this purpose India’s own sacred sign and hieroglyph, Capricorn.


Thea
Skambha August of 1987

A Preamble . . . Sri Aurobindo

‘Man is not final, he is a transitional being. Beyond him awaits formation the diviner race, the superman.’ ‒ Sri Aurobindo


‘…I seek a light that shall be new, yet old, the oldest indeed of all lights. I seek an authority that accepting, illuminating and reconciling all human truth, shall yet reject and get rid of by explaining it all mere human error. I seek a text and a Shastra that is not subject to interpolation, modification and replacement, that moth and white ant cannot destroy, that the earth cannot bury nor Time mutilate. I seek an asceticism that shall give me purity and deliverance from self and from ignorance without stultifying God and His universe. I seek a scepticism that shall question everything but shall have the patience to deny nothing that may possibly be true. I seek a rationalism not proceeding on the untenable supposition that all the centuries of man’s history except the nineteenth were centuries of folly and superstition, but bent on discovering truth instead of limiting inquiry by a new dogmatism, obscurantism and furious intolerance which it chooses to call common sense and enlightenment; I seek a materialism that shall recognize matter and use it without being its slave. I seek an occultism that shall bring out all its processes and proofs into the light of day, without mystery, without jugglery, without the old stupid call to humanity, “Be blind, O man, and see!” In short, I seek not science, not religion, not Theosophy, but Veda – the  truth about Brahman, not only about His essentiality, but about His manifestation, not a lamp on the way to the forest, but a light and a guide to joy and action in the world, the truth which is beyond opinion, the knowledge which all thought strives after. I believe that Veda to be the foundation of the Sanatan Dharma; I believe it to be the concealed divinity within Hinduism, – but a veil has to be drawn aside, a curtain has to be lifted. I believe it to be knowable and discoverable. I believe the future of India and the world to depend on its discovery and on its application, not to the renunciation of life, but to life in the world and among men.’

Sri Aurobindo, ‘Hinduism and the Mission of India’
Sri Aurobindo Archives and Research, April, 1983