With the coming of the 9th Evolutionary Avatar, Sri Aurobindo, Earth herself emerges as a conscious entity, her soul a reality; it is on this planet that the next evolutionary stage will unfold, it is here that a divine life will be established. This is the purpose for The Gnostic Circle. This revolutionary diagram depicts the full potential that humankind can achieve on our planetary home at this very special moment in the evolution of our earth. It shows the process, it shows the goal. Part One presents an overview of the revolutionary yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the two female powers (shaktis) who assisted him to fulfil his mission (end note 1); Part Two presents details about the journey through The Gnostic Circle.
In the recently published book, Revolutionaries: the other story of how India won its freedom, (Harper, 2022), Sri Aurobindo emerges, along with V. Savarkar, as the ‘founding father’. Building on the nationalism emerging at the turn of the century and the demands for full independence from the British, they activated a revolutionary network across the country ‘that inspired a new generation of Indians to take up arms’. Sri Aurobindo chose not to return to the political movement after his year of incarceration in the Alipore jail; in 1910 he made his base in Pondicherry, a French protectorate in India. Many people did not understand this, but author Sanjeev Sanyal presents the reason for his change of direction. There was far more at stake for India than political freedom, the country was no longer in touch with their own civilizational roots after centuries under foreign rule. Sri Aurobindo believed it was his duty to ‘rediscover the true core of Indian civilisation and present it to Indians and the wider world. With this in mind he dived deep into the Rig Veda, the most ancient and revered of Hindu texts’.
Sri Aurobindo had been drawing inspiration from the hymns for many years and from his experience they were not a product of an uncultured barbarous civilisation, they flowed from a people who produced the highest thought of that time. (Sri Aurobindo, Secrets of the Veda, vol. 14, p 10). The divine word was ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ by the Rishi, it came by intuition and inner experience; the goal was illumination. The Seers used images from nature to hide their knowledge (‘veda’) from the general populous while presenting their ‘secret vision’ only to the initiated. To work out and illustrate his hypothesis that this ancient text held a hidden knowledge, Sri Aurobindo explored one of the most famous of the Rig Vedic myths, ‘the Legend of the Lost Sun and the Lost Cows’.
We learn from him that the Sanskrit word ‘go’ has the double meaning of both ’light’ and ‘cow’. Usha, the Divine Dawn, first appears with her shining herds, but soon the cows (or the rays of light) are stolen and hidden in caves. At the heart of the legend is the battle between the Aryan warriors and Vala, the hostile power, to find the rays/cows. Sri Aurobindo shows the correspondence between their release and the inner battle of the individual to attain the light of knowledge and immortality. The victory can be achieved in one’s life-journey, ‘represented by the twelve months of the sacrificial year’ (Ibid, p.182); it is assured for those warriors who can endure, particularly from the ninth through the tenth month, which is the most difficult part of the journey.
These ideals were presented in the journal, Arya, in monthly instalments from 1914 through 1919 under the title, The Life Divine. The first chapter opened dramatically: Nature is seeking to evolve beyond Mind and there is every reason to believe that this aspiration, deeply embedded in humankind, will lift us out of ignorance and move us on a path of progressive self-enlargement. From the dense physical through the subtle spirit, Nature is arranged in ascending planes of consciousness with the three lower grades of our physical body, emotions and mind linked to the higher planes (Sat, Chit and Ananda) through the Supramental plane of consciousness. The descent of the Supramental pressing on the lower planes compels them to release their potentials; the ‘soul’ hidden in matter rises upward, out of the darkness emerges the light. This is how evolution happens; this is how the individual and society transform.
In August, 1920, Dr. Moonje, national secretary of the International Congress, asked Sri Aurobindo to return and take up the work of President, but he explained ‘…I have definitely commenced another kind of work with a spiritual basis, a work of spiritual, social, cultural and economic reconstruction of an almost revolutionary kind…’ Indeed, the yoga Sri Aurobindo undertook during those years to bring down the power of the Supramental into the physical consciousness of our earth had never been done before.
‘… just as there has been established on earth a mental consciousness and power which shapes a race of mental beings… so now there will be established on earth a gnostic Consciousness and Power which will shape a race of gnostic spiritual beings and take up into itself all of earth nature that is ready for this new transformation.’ (The Life Divine, volume 2, part 2, ch xxvii)
It was not until six years after Sri Aurobindo’s passing, that the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, in Pondicherry, announced the monumental happening: ‘The Time has Come’ (29 February, 1956). The Supramental Consciousness has manifested on this Earth, it has become an active part of Earth evolution, generating a force which radically alters all the patterns of the old earth, causing a self-generated process of caving in of the old structures. At the same time there began a great rise forward: as the Supramental ‘seed’ grows and continues to pierce down into the farthest layers of darkness and ignorance, into the ‘inconscient’, this action causes the collapse of the outer veils that hide the seed and gives shape to the Ideal – the cell of a new Earth (Thea, The New Way, Volume one, ch 3).
The secret key to this renewal is a ‘precise control’ governed by the power of Time. In the very depth of the Earth herself is hidden the original seed, the Divine Transcendent. Through the evolutionary cycles of Time, The Transcendent One takes form, and keeps manifesting in an unending display of forms in Nature. Evolution on this Earth is for the purpose of refining the species, continuously creating a more and more perfect form for the indwelling seed (soul). All are the extension of that ‘original seed’, from the most ethereal to the most material all are one, the Brahman. Our mental human race is the highest evolutionary form so far.
Our human body as it is now, will not be adequate to house the evolving new seed; a great pressure will be exerted to transform the physical body for the growth of that ‘original seed’. In this present limited form we accept the condition of mortality, that our human journey ends at death.
But when humanity is able to widen and deepen and heighten their consciousness, when they can begin to live in a consciousness of the One and the Many, they will be approaching the condition of immortal being, not only spiritual but physical as well (Ibid p. 47).
The Mother laboured to create an entirely new foundation, an expanded field for this new and superior energy that was unfolding on our Earth. In January 1970, over a period of eighteen days, she had a complete vision of the Chamber of a Temple which was to be the centre of the new township she created, Auroville. Around that same time, in another part of the world, Thea (Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1938 – 2016) wrote The Magical Carousel. By September, 1971, after a nine month inner initiation with the Mother, she found herself and her seven year old son at the Mother’s feet in Pondicherry. Both feminine powers (shaktis) of The Mother and Thea were necessary to complete Sri Aurobindo’s mission. The Mother’s experience was ‘to see’ the Temple and root it into the Earth by giving it exact measurement. Thea was to formulate a body of knowledge, an ‘applied cosmology’, to explain the profound wisdom and essence of the Mother’s imprinting process.
With the Mother’s passing in November, 1973, Thea received from her certain keys of knowledge which enabled her to write The Gnostic Circle, and soon after, The New Way, Volumes 1 & 2 (www.aeoncentre.com). In May of 1974 Thea came upon the Mother’s original plans of the Chamber of her Temple and she found that neither disciple nor architects could understand the profundity, or symbolism, of the measurements; all had been changed. The temple standing in Auroville, is but a ‘shadow of the Mother’s original.’ (The New Way, Volume 2). Thea’s cosmology of The New Way ensured that although the true Temple could not be erected, it was ‘built’; the Sanatana Dharma was preserved and renewed on fuller foundations for our new Aquarian Age.
In January 1986, Thea purchased 12 acres of land in Pethuparai village in the Palani Hills of South India, approximately 18 km below the tourist town of Kodaikanal. People of the village were employed to build the long entrance road down the winding mountain side and by 3 August 1987 she was able to move into her new home and research centre. In a 1987 progress report to the first Board of Directors of Aeon Trust, Thea wrote that Aeon Centre of Cosmology (ACC) was neither an ashram or a traditional educational institution. It was a ‘centre … where people may come who are interested in the new Consciousness that is manifesting on Earth… a centre of cosmological/yogic studies, but an applied cosmology’. Thea underlined ’applied’ to emphasise this would not be a place to only learn theory; ‘the student will learn how to practice Sri Aurobindo’s revolutionary Supramental Yoga’.
‘… we are “hewing a path”, and therefore it is often not possible to explain a work that is unveiling itself before the clear lines of its new course have been traced… This work can be a beacon, a stable point in the midst of a decaying civilisation. For that reason I have named the new land “Skambha”, that “Support of the World” sung of in the Arthavaveda, that ”cosmic pillar”, that “axis mundi”. With a final blessing. she signed her name, Thea, and wrote: ‘When all else fails and collapses, Skambha shall ever remain.’
Thea’s ‘New Way’ attracted much attention; she was writing bimonthly issues of The Vishaal Newsletter to stay in touch with students in India and throughout the world. Her Centre was established in India, she reminded her students, because India is a civilisation which from very ancient times has had ’a superior understanding of cosmic harmonies’; all collective life flowed from a deep relationship with the cosmos. There must be one nation that functions as the ‘soul-centre’, that lives consciously our Earth’s contribution to the Solar System. India is the ‘planetary soul’, the nation that is to come forth to assist the Earth in the work that needs to be done to unveil our planet Earth’s unique role among the nine.
As a result of partial spiritual visions over thousands of years, the destiny of Earth has been totally misunderstood, explains Thea; seekers were encouraged to deny life on their own home planet. Western spirituality encouraged believers to accept life on Earth as a ‘springboard’ to attain a better life after death, suffering here was to be rewarded by a heaven beyond this life. Earth was considered a prison, a ‘fall from grace’. Eastern systems of philosophy and spirituality encouraged a denial of earth as a means to escape from the suffering and pain on Earth.
It is only now, as our planet entered the Age of Aquarius (in 1926), in this 9th Manifestation of our earth (end note 2), that our planet emerges as a conscious entity, her soul a reality. With the coming of the 9th Evolutionary Avatar, Sri Aurobindo, It is on this planet that the next evolutionary stage – the Supramental – will unfold, it is here that a divine life will be established.
The primary tool Thea used to help students practice Sri Aurobindo’s yoga was The Gnostic Circle (TGC); this diagram was to help them achieve a certain poise of consciousness which is required if they wanted the ‘lived experience ‘ of the new descending supramental Truth-Consiousness. (ACC, The nature of its activities, 1991). Each of us has a specific destiny, once in a while we get a glimpse of that, but the moment passes, and we forget our purpose for taking birth on Earth. Thea instructs the student:
With the first indrawn breath at the time of our birth on earth, a convergence is set in motion from all the cosmic surround onto the centre of our being, our individual soul. An imprinting connects us to the pulse of the Sun; Time begins to unfold, and the individual joins the grand universal mosaic, the family of Earth all taking the same yearly journey on the ecliptic path around the Sun (Thea, Simultaneity, Destiny and the Magical Carousel, 2007). But for most people on Earth the soul-centre does not exist, it remains hidden or veiled… To make that connection to the Supramental Sun, we must embark upon a special journey, we must step out of our limited personal world and identify with that which has been imprinted in our being with our first breath. We must begin a search for our soul (ibid).
The Gnostic Circle shows us how to do this. The symbol itself, built on a widening series of circles, evokes a new poise of consciousness: the eye is first drawn to the astrological sign of the Sun at the centre (the circle with the point); it then moves outward to the Sacred Triangle which contains the three aspects of the Divine: the Transcendent Divine (the 9), the Cosmic Divine (the 6) at the right angle, and the Individual Divine (the 3) at the angle on the left. Around these are the circles of the nine planets of our solar system and the twelve hieroglyphs of the tropical zodiac.
The four cardinal points of the Earth divide the circle into planes of ascending consciousness: physical, vital, mental and Supramental. The revolution of Earth on her axis around her Sun through her four cosmic periods of Time describes not just a mechanical process, but one that is deeply psychological; each of the four quarters of the journey expresses a particular relationship which she has with her sun (Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, The New Way, Volume 3, 2005, Ch. 18).
The student enters this ‘mosaic’ at a particular point, on his/her birthdate, and from then onwards they fulfil their destiny through the eternal rounds of the months and the years. Immediately there is a breakthrough. The unity of all things in our universe emerges first to the eye, then it stirs the mind and the heart. The student/seeker is moved to go beyond their personal limiting world view. They cannot ignore the unique destiny (or journey) of our Earth, third planet from the Sun; they cannot detach themselves from what they must do to help our planet become the home of a divine race of gnostic beings. With a deep penetration into the circle, the student becomes aware of the movement of Time and the forward march of consciousness; they begin to understand the purpose for ‘destruction‘ in the evolutionary design, how Mother Nature makes use of all the current violence and war to accelerate her goals.
The Year is the same 12 month ‘sacrificial journey’ taken by the Rig Vedic warriors – Earth’s ecliptic path round the Sun, divided by the pillars of the Solstices and Equinoxes.
- Cosmic Dawn: On the Vernal Equinox (this year 20 March, 2023) the planet crosses the celestial equatorial line and heads northward; this marks the beginning of the solar year. Day and night are nearly equal all over the world, and the first zodiacal sign, 0 degrees Aries, begins. Thea calls this opening quarter of the annual journey Cosmic Dawn. Taking birth on Earth is not ‘a fall’, rather it begins a separation process. Involution of the divine soul into material creation appears to put out the light of our inner ‘Sun-soul’, but this is only for a while, only to allow the ‘seed’ of the spirit which has involved into Matter to grow and ultimately unveil the divinity hidden within us.
- Cosmic Midnight: The second phase of the evolutionary journey takes the seeker away from the Sun – the yearly revolution of our planet on her axis around the Sun describes this process exactly. Earth moves toward the Summer Solstice (this year 21 June, 2023) and on 4 July she experiences aphelion, her farthest distance away from the Sun, out on the edge of time, the farthest reaches of the southern rim. Cosmic Midnight aptly describes the process: just as our Earth is far away from the Sun, similarly, the human condition, be it an individual or the entire mental race of humanity, is in darkness, or a state of ‘cosmic ignorance’, so to speak: the immortal rays of the sunlight are hidden in the cave, protected by the veils of the ego. The zodiacal sign, Cancer, opens this quarter. This time period was known traditionally as dakshinayan and considered inauspicious; but it is not. Rather Cosmic Midnight is a period of ‘gestation’ or preparation for a greater light to come (uttarayan).
- Cosmic Sunset: The Earth now reverses herself, so to speak, and begins her slow movement toward the sun; It is the September Equinox (this year, 23 September, 2023). The astrological sign Libra, the sign of awakening consciousness, opens this third quarter. On this day, as on the March Equinox the tilt of the Earth with respect to her Sun is 0 degrees and the duration of day and night are almost equal on all parts of our Earth. As the earth-family emerges toward the light there is anticipation and hope, for this is the time when the true seekers struggle to awaken to their purpose for taking birth on Earth, i.e., to release the ‘rays of light’ hidden in the cave of darkness, to unveil the divine Agni in their being.
For the Vedic Rishi, the great luminous ‘fourth world’ or the Supramental world of ‘Swar’ was the goal, it could be achieved only in the final quarter of the journey – Cosmic Midday. According to Sri Aurobindo’s commentaries (End note 3), it was a special type of Rishi who could endure through the ninth month, who could supplicate and rely upon the gods to protect them from the assaults of the ‘sons of darkness’ rising up in great force during this period of time; it takes a warrior in our third stage of the journey, Cosmic Sunset, to complete the full travel northward in consciousness. The soul is hidden deep behind the allures of the ego’s enticements, and the seeker – traveler has to make an effort to understand the dynamics of the evolutionary journey of which they are a part, and not succumb to the inertia of the past.
- Cosmic Midday: Capricorn opens this fourth quarter. On the December Solstice (Makar Sankranti), either north or south of the Equator, the whole Earth physically approaches extreme North in the elliptical orbit she traces around her luminary. This year the Solstice is 21 December 2023. Over the next 15 days our whole planet experiences perihelion, our Earth reveals her full perfection, her full midday rays – she is truly a Festival of Light. Traditionally known as the auspicious ‘uttarayan’ or northern pathway, Thea calls this apex point, and this quarter of the cycle Cosmic Midday. The rays of the Supramental Light (the seed of Truth – consciousness) have been gestating in the planet and her family. Now the goal of the entire quest can be achieved, from the caves of the misers, these rays can be released – the seekers who aspire to give birth to Agni in their soul are filled with joy, and ultimately Earth’s four-fold cosmic journey implants within them a new divine purpose.
The year long journey of our Earth around her Sun is the same today as it was yesterday; the same four cosmic pillars remain our guide: Cosmic Sunrise, Cosmic Midnight, Cosmic Sunset and Cosmic Midday. The ‘warriors’ journey’ is the nation’s journey – Bharat’s civilisational journey. There must be one nation that functions as the ‘soul-centre’, that lives consciously our Earth’s contribution to the Solar System. India, by destiny, has this role among the nations, for millennia she has been preparing for this time; now as in the past, the world looks to her for how to undertake the warriors’ journey (End note 4).
End Note 1
In a 1962 dialogue the Mother speaks with confidence that it is not one Avatar, no matter how realized, who can bring about the establishment of the Supramental seed on Earth, but it will be a ‘line in time or space – or both’. (Thea, The Supramental Synthesis: A Third Poise, The Vishaal Newsletter, Volume 0, no 3, February 1986)
I do not think that a single individual (on the earth as it is now), however great he is, however eternal his consciousness, and origin, can alone, by himself change and realise, – change the world, change the creation as it is and realise the Higher Truth that will be a new world, a world more true, if not absolutely true. It seems a certain number of individuals (till now it appears to be rather in time, as a succession, but it may also be in space, a collectivity) is indispensable so that this Truth may concretise and realise itself. I am practically sure of it.
That is to say, however great, however conscious, however powerful ONE Avatar may be, he cannot, all alone realise the supramental life on Earth. It is either a group in time, arranged in a line in time, or a group spread over space – or both – that are indispensable for this realisation. I am convinced of it.
The individual can give the impetus, indicate the way, WALK himself on the path, that is to say show the way by realising it himself – but not accomplish it. The accomplishment obeys the collective laws which are the expression of a certain aspect of the Eternal and the Infinite – naturally! it is all the same Being. It is not some different individuals or some different personalities, it is the same Being. But it is the same Being that expresses itself in a certain way which, for us, translates itself by means of an ensemble, a group, a collectivity.
There…Have you any other questions to ask about this?
End Note 2
Thea differentiates the incarnations of Vishnu’s Line of Ten from others we might call ‘avatars’ by calling them ‘evolutionary avatars’: ‘The Supreme Intelligence periodically sends beings to our planet to reveal certain keys to humanity, beings that live in a particular consciousness, with certain centres attuned or sensitive in a different way than the ordinary human being… they come from a realm that is close to the source of Light as messengers with a specific task.’ (The Gnostic Circle, ch 5, p 37).
These special appearances, coming every 6480 years, only during the four Ages of Preservation, are necessary for the evolutionary process; they do not start religious movements that would defeat the purpose of their coming. Each of the 12 Manifestations of the Earth (see map below) reveals a greater aspect of the Divine Truth; the ‘evolutionary’ avatar shows the next step in the divine unfolding on Earth, ‘he is the seed of the movement’. (ibid, p. 58)
End Note 3
‘in other words it is when the nine-months sacrifice is prolonged through the tenth, it is when the Navagwas become the ten Dashagwas by the seven headed thought of Ayasya, the tenth Rishi, that the Sun is found and the luminous world of Swar in which we possess the truth of the one universal Deva, is disclosed and conquered. This conquest of Swar is the aim of the sacrifice and the great work accomplished by the Angiras Rishis.’ (Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, Volume 15, CWSA, p 177)
End Note 4
See The Magical Carousel & Commentaries for full details on the 12 signs of the tropical zodiac; see the Gnostic Circle for full details on the circle of the nine planets of our solar System and their function as guides in the journey (https://www.aeoncentre.com/shop/)