In mid-1984 the work at the Aeon Centre of Cosmology in Kodaikanal, India took a decisive turn indicating that the moment for expansion had come. A reversal of consciousness in the collective yoga transpired, a process akin to the formation of a solar system. Elements of this ‘system’ had matured, or had found their correct poise in relation to each other and to the centre. In terms of the applied cosmology which is the main work of the Aeon Centre of Cosmology, the ‘planets’ were then in correct orbit around the ‘sun’.
As the Aeon Centre of Cosmology took shape, the expansion process also called for the establishment of an organisation representing and promoting the research of the Centre, outside of India. Given the close destiny ties between India and America, it was natural that VISHAAL, the vehicle created for this purpose, was located in America. The office began its work in September of 1984. Its location in upstate New York was clearly indicated when housing was offered in the very community where Vivekananda had been a guest many years before during his mission to the West. In fact, the estate of his benefactors, where he rested and met with students, is less than a mile from the VISHAAL office.
Vivekananda’s role in Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual development has been acknowledged by him in the following passage: ‘…The voice [of Vivekananda] spoke only on a special and limited but very important field of spiritual experience and it ceased as soon as it had finished saying all that it had to say on that subject.’ (CE, Volume 26, page 68) To this day we feel a spiritual bond with Vivekananda and his Guru, Ramakrishna. Their work served to prepare the ground for Sri Aurobindo both in India and the West. Many of Vivekananda’s observations about America remain relevant today, and his experiences in Europe and America and the repercussions of his teaching among certain Hindu sects in India have served to unsettle old attitudes about the spiritual life and its conduct in the world.
Since its inception VISHAAL has been able to expand the distribution of Aeon Books and to put many people in touch with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet’s yogic work. In October 1985 we began publication of The Vishaal Newsletter, a vehicle that permits a closer and more frequent contact with students of the new way, the third stage in the establishment of Sri Aurobindo’s vision. The Newsletter is offered to a world wide audience with the deep hope of bringing Eastern and Western thought into harmony and revealing more fully the new consciousness that is emerging and making itself felt in world affairs.
Sri Aurobindo’s presentation of the guiding principles of Arya, the journal that published his major works in the second decade of this century, are equally appropriate to our effort today in bringing out The Vishaal Newsletter. The dichotomy Sri Aurobindo discusses in the following passage is still present. However, where our experience differs is in the dramatic world conditions which demand a more earnest dedication in order to bring about the harmony of spirit and matter Sri Aurobindo saw as an imperative necessity. The Vishaal Newsletter, like the Arya, seeks to be an organ for this fundamental change.
‘…Our idea was the thinking out of a synthetic philosophy which might be a contribution to the thought of the new age that is coming upon us. We start from the idea that humanity is moving to a great change of its life which will even lead to a new life of the race, – in all countries where men think, there is now in various forms that idea and that hope, – and our aim has been to search for the spiritual, religious and other truth which can enlighten and guide the race in this movement and endeavour…
‘Our original intention was to approach the synthesis from the starting-point of the two lines of culture which divide human thought and are now meeting at its apex, the knowledge of the West and the knowledge of the East; but owing to the exigencies of the war  this could not be fulfilled. The Arya except for one unfinished series has been an approach to the highest reconciling truth from the point of view of the Indian mentality and Indian spiritual experience, and Western knowledge has been viewed from that standpoint. Here the main idea which has governed our writing, was imposed on us by the very conditions of the problem. All philosophy is concerned with the relations between two things, the fundamental truth of existence and the forms in which existence presents itself to our experience. The deepest experience shows that the fundamental truth is truth of the Spirit; the other is the truth of life, truth of form and shaping force and living idea and action. Here the West and East have followed divergent lines. The West has laid most emphasis on truth of life and for a time come to stake its whole existence upon truth of life alone, to deny the existence of Spirit or to relegate it to the domain of the unknown and unknowable; from that exaggeration it is now beginning to return. The East has laid most emphasis on truth of the Spirit and for a time came, at least in India, to stake its whole existence upon that truth alone, to neglect the possibilities of life or to limit it to a narrow development or a fixed status; the East too is beginning to return from this exaggeration. The West is reawakening to the truth of the Spirit and the spiritual possibilities of life, the East is reawakening to the truth of Life and tends towards a new application to it of its spiritual knowledge. Our view is that the antinomy created between them is an unreal one. Spirit being the fundamental truth of existence, life can be only its manifestation; Spirit must be not only the origin of life but its basis, its pervading reality and its highest and total result. But the forms of life as they appear to us are at once its disguises and its instruments of self-manifestation. Man has to grow in knowledge till they cease to be disguises and grow in spiritual power and quality till they become in him its perfect instruments. To grow into the fullness of the divine is the true law of human life and to shape his earthly existence into its image is the meaning of his evolution. This is the fundamental tenet of the philosophy of the Arya.’
(CE, Volume 17, pages 399-401)
Along with book distribution and publication of The Vishaal Newsletter, we have been giving legal form to our organisation, both in India and in America. Aeon Trust, in India, was registered on 27 March, 1986. A few days later, in America, Aeon Group, a Corporation for Spiritual Renaissance, was granted non-profit status, on 3 April, 1986. These twin organisations are intended to serve the Aeon Centre of Cosmology, to give support to the facility and to make the research of its Director, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, widely available. Both organisations are supported solely by contributions and we expect to be able to offer donors tax exemption before long.
In early 1986, a handsome contribution enabled the purchase of land that will be the permanent location of the Aeon Centre of Cosmology. The property is located 18kms. from Kodaikanal in an area with an ancient sacred tradition. The significance of the site and its meaning in the establishment of a new consciousness will be discussed in detail by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet in a forthcoming article. At the present time work is being carried out there developing the land, putting in a road and preparing for the construction of housing. This is an unusual opportunity to assist in the building of a new centre, and we hope that supporters of its work will come forward at this time.
In closing I would like to mention that while Vivekananda lived at Ridgely Manor, he planted a tree known locally as the ‘prophet’s tree’. Need I add that this splendid white pine is flourishing today.