‘Yesterday I was listening to some of the Gnostic Circle tapes you made here. And in the course of listening I began to wonder why the poster of Agni-in-the-Core doesn’t have the shaft of sunlight, which is so very important, falling on the globe. The two illustrations inside The New Way do show the globe-pedestal with the shaft. I wondered if you could tell me what significance it has without the shaft of sunlight. I began to feel it was incomplete in some way. These thoughts also came from reading the Mother’s description of the Temple.’
Regarding your question about Agni-in-the-Core featured in The New Way, let me discuss a few essential points that have been overlooked. They can help to clarify the matter.
You feel it is incomplete because the solar Ray is not seen in the photographic image, which the Mother described as ‘the symbol of the future Realisation’. The Ray, however, was only a part of the complete Symbol, and not the most important. Here is the description in her words: ‘…and the important thing is that, the play of the sun on the centre. Because that becomes the symbol – the symbol of the future Realisation.’ [‘The Mother’s Dialogues on Her Temple’, The VISHAAL Newsletter, 1/5, p. 32.]
This statement is pregnant with meaning, because, you see, the emphasis here is the play of the sun on the centre. That is, in referring to the sun ‘playing’ on the centre, the Mother is indicating a dynamic process. Agni-in-the-Core is not incomplete in this instance without the Ray because, as you can see, the globe is luminous. That illumination is provided by the Ray, though unseen. Thus we are seeing ‘the play of the sun on the centre’, – precisely. We are seeing that globe (the centre) illumined by the sun, and that is the fundamental part of the symbol.
In addition there is the flame emerging from the pedestal’s base. This is the secret knowledge that the Core (as I have called the centre) holds. Thus Agni-in-the-Core gives the seeker a hidden knowledge. I have explained this in detail in The New Way. (I must say that your question causes me to sympathise with Sri Aurobindo who complained about the time-consuming, endless correspondence he had to sustain with his disciples who would not, it seems read his books where they could find the answers to their questions and save him this labour!)
In presenting Agni-in-the-Core my main concern was to provide the seeker with the most important part of the Mother’s vision of the Temple. Now that in VISHAAL we have reproduced her more complete dialogues on this subject [TVN 1/5, & 1/6], I can be more specific.
Please note one fundamental point that emerges from careful study of these dialogues. We see that up to 31 December, 1969 the full vision had not yet come to the Mother of the inner Chamber. However, reviewing her Talks you can verify that practically every detail had, in effect, already been seen and known by that date. She gives lengthy descriptions of the inside of the Room [TVN 1/5, pp. 17-20]. She had already seen the Ray falling as a single shaft of light, the pillars, the bareness of the space, etc. In fact, her description is so complete that one has to question what was actually withheld from the seeing, for which reason the Mother was still open at that time to suggestions from others as to what this temple would be. For it was only after seeing one item that she closed the discussion (or at least SOUGHT to) and declared, ‘Now I have seen, now I do not need anyone.’
This item was not the Ray. It was the CENTRE. Precisely Agni-in-the-Core.
‘…A very big room, and absolutely bare, which receives a light that comes from above, which would be concentrated on a place where there would be – whatever one wants to put as the centre of the city. At first we had thought of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol, but one can put whatever one likes…’. (TVN 1/5, p. 18.)
Note that she describes this as yet unseen portion as nothing less than the centre of the city, not merely of the temple. Again, in the same dialogue, she discloses that she was in the quest of the proper item for the centre:
‘…And a ray of sun which could come at all times – it would be arranged in such a way that it enters all the time. And then there would be something there, a symbol, which would be at the same time upright so that it can be seen from all around, and flat so that it receives the light fully…’. (Ibid, p. 20.)
And further on,
‘…And that is what is needed: something, a symbol – we will find what is needed, we will see – of course like an altar, but what? A symbol that at the same time receives the light directly from above and from the side…’ (Ibid page 22)
This was the last reference to her quest for that central, most important and mysterious symbol. A few days later, by 3 January, 1970 when she again met the disciple, she disclosed the glorious news that she ‘has seen’. And what was that breakthrough? It was precisely the image I have provided seekers with in The New Way: Agni-in-the-Core.
The key feature of the vision was the Globe. But when that ‘came’ with its pedestal (and remember it is the only luminous item in the Chamber), the rest of the room was immediately set in place: namely, the 12-faceted walls. And with the centre came the divine Measure, thoroughly dependent upon the positioning of the Globe and Pedestal. In all her talks on the subject over the remaining days of this momentous 18-day period, she specifically reveals the Chamber’s connection to time (‘…each facet represents a month in the year’).
I should point out that I made the same discovery merely from seeing her original plan, months before reading the transcripts of her dialogues on the subject. The Gnostic Circle, where I first write of the Temple’s connection with time, was already in press when I was finally given a copy of these transcripts. You can imagine how thrilling it was to find my discoveries confirmed by the Mother’s words.
And so, your impression that Agni-in-the-Core is incomplete because one does not see the Ray striking the Globe is not really correct. The Ray is of course there, otherwise the Globe would not be luminous. It receives its light from there (the sun) and no other place. But my intention in presenting this image to seekers was to highlight the actual centre of the temple/city-Consciousness, – the Core. This was the formidable breakthrough the Mother made in those early days of 1970. It was not the Ray.
I must further point out that the hidden elements of the Supramental Manifestation – hidden even from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother – are revealed in Agni-i-the-Core, the centrepiece of the Temple. By itself the Ray is an undefined span of time, essentially meaningless for the purposes of this new Gnosis. You can well understand therefore what an extraordinary moment it was in the history of the Supramental Descent when the Mother had the vision of this central Symbol, the heart of the new creation. Until that time everything that the Core contains was held back, as elements of Knowledge in the Supramental Manifestation, and as a POWER working in the world. Furthermore, as I have explained in my letter on the symbol-forms of Supermind [TVN 1/6], immediately after the Mother’s seeing of the Core, or the main item withheld from her vision until that point, the Knowledge it contains began rapidly to descend. The most essential feature of this new Gnosis was the Solar Line, a gradation of the Supramental Manifestation in four stages; and of course the most stupendous tidings of all: Sri Aurobindo’s return as the fourth in the Line, with the date written therein when that would occur.
Insofar as this explains all the enigmas left unsolved, the baffling mysteries that have plagued their work from the beginning, you can understand why time and again I have sought to draw attention to the Mother’s dialogues on her Temple and the original plan she left for its execution. The key feature of that vision was the Core, consisting of a globe and a pedestal. These represent the last two stages/members of the Solar Line. The Third and the Fourth respectively. And isn’t it interesting to note that the principal item attacked and demolished by the architects was this most essential portion of her Seeing. It was straightaway eliminated entirely! In its place a HOLE was introduced (shades of that infamous Void of Nothingness?). The Core was thus done away with and in its place it was decided that the shaft of sunlight would pass through this void in the floor, where the Core was supposed to rest on the Mother’s horizontal symbol, and emerge below the temple, falling into a pool of water with Sri Aurobindo’s symbol at the bottom. The globe would be somehow magnetically suspended over that void in the centre of the room.
How revealing all this is of the human being’s approach to higher knowledge, not to speak of the philosophical implications. And how prophetic was this alteration in the design; for when the knowledge contained in the ill-fated Core was finally given out, it was treated in the very same way as the physical Core of the Mother’s vision.
Another interesting point to note for its philosophical implications is the fact that no one tampered with the solar Ray, as such. The architects never questioned it; and for all practical purposes, it remained a part of the design. However, doing away with the Core rendered that Ray ineffectual since the Core is the element that defines the Ray, that marks off the correct measures and periods in the year and the longer cycles. Without the Core, time remains elusive and the prophecies indeterminate. The Ray can mean anything and nothing. Its measure of 365 days (or years) is only established by the correct placement of the Core in the Chamber, – for which reason the Mother insisted that she wanted only an engineer, not an architect. But the fact that the Ray was left in this ineffectual condition confirms what I have always experienced in these matters: that people are very much disturbed by specific knowledge. They want vagueness, elusive metaphors and abstract symbols. When one dots the ‘i’s, trouble begins. Vagueness becomes equated with ‘freedom’, that old scourge of spirituality. The ‘new Precision’ of the supramental Gnosis is not for people who are afraid to measure and be precise.
But though I have put enormous efforts into helping people understand what stands behind the Mother’s vision by revealing its keys of knowledge and its central importance for the Supramental Manifestation, I am sorry to say that this has had no effect on those in charge of these matters both in the Ashram and Auroville. They remain completely closed and, what is worse, totally, dismayingly uninterested in these fundamental issues. Added to this are the constant attempts to undermine, to occult or distort these self-evident truths, and a refusal in fact even to read the material or discuss the issues. The documentation I have on these developments will certainly make interesting reading one day, when the ‘history’ of this affair is written.
To conclude, let me refer again to the Mother’s description of that symbol of the future realisation: the ‘play of the sun on the centre’. The dynamics are provided by the Ray, which adds to the Core the progressive time measure of the Year. But the centrepiece – the Globe and the Pedestal – is the crucial vessel into which these ‘solar seeds’ are projected and then defined, organised into a cosmos.
The Core is the new Earth (the globe) and the new Heaven (the pedestal). The tremendous innovation in this vision is the shift: Heaven is BELOW and UPHOLDING. The higher supramental Truth has been awakened in the depths of material creation. It is no longer a vision above and beyond this Earth. The Transcendent (Heaven) is immanent, in the form of the Son. The divine Life is established on Earth. Truly this is the Temple of the new Age; and Agni-in-the-Core is the new Heaven and the new Earth, central to St. John’s vision of so long ago, – of the Bride and the Lamb, of the temple and the city, and of ‘the Book’.
5 January, 1987
Aeon Centre of Cosmology