Re: 09: Her Mortal Birth by RY Deshpande
Avatar and Grace On my previous comment-posting there have come a few thought-provoking observations from Rich, Debashish and Rakesh. In the following I am trying to make my response to them in a more generalised manner. It so turns out that this discussion will also prove helpful in looking at the passage we have in this article, Her Mortal Birth. The word ‘Avatar’ appears only twice in The Life Divine. In either case the context is different—it is not vis-à-vis Avatar as an Incarnation of the Divine. This absence of the concept of Divine Incarnation in Sri Aurobindo's very major work cannot be taken as he not recognising the necessity of Avatarhood in the evolutionary process. We have also another interesting situation: the word ‘Grace’ does not appear even once in The Life Divine. But the fruit of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga without the Divine Grace is inconceivable. In this connection, let us first read a couple of passages from his little masterpiece, The Mother: There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavor,—a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and - a supreme Grace from above that answers.
*** For the grace of the Divine Mother is the sanction of the Supreme and now or tomorrow its effect is sure, a thing decreed, inevitable and irresistible.
*** The supramental change is the thing decreed and inevitable in the evolution of the earth-consciousness; for its upward ascent is not ended and mind is not its last summit. But the change may arrive, take form and endure, there is needed the call from below with a will to recognise and not deny the Light when it comes, and there is needed the sanction of the Supreme from above. The power that mediates between the sanction and the call is the presence and power of the Divine Mother. The Mother's power and not any human endeavour and tapasya can alone rend the lid and tear the covering and shape the vessel and bring down into this world of obscurity and falsehood and death and suffering Truth and Light and Life divine and the immortal's Ananda.
What this situation, of the absence of 'Grace' and 'Avatar' in its deeper occult connotation, means is that, Sri Aurobindo is more than his works, prose or poetry, including perhaps Savitri. And didn’t he say, apropos of his Arya-writing, that had he continued it, not for seven but seventy years, still his knowledge would not have been exhausted? In The Life Divine he has taken a certain stand to present a certain point of view for a certain type of the soul-need, which does not make it sole or absolute or exclusive in every sense. This is true in other works also. The question is, of one’s perception, perceptions which can be different for different individuals. When this is recognised, there should not be any necessity of thrusting one viewpoint on the other, which will be fallacious, fundamentalist, un-Aurobindonian. Eschewing it is broadening, even globalising, one’s consciousness for a greater spiritual progress. Let me just quote here quickly a few passages from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s writings. ---Sri Aurobindo on Himself
There are two sides of the phenomenon of Avatarhood, the Divine Consciousness and the instrumental personality. The Divine Consciousness is omnipotent but it has put forth the instrumental personality in Nature under the conditions of Nature and it uses it according to the rules of the game—though also sometimes to change the rules of the game. If Avatarhood is only a flashing miracle, then I have no use for it. If it is a coherent part of the arrangement of the omnipotent Divine in Nature, then I can understand and accept it.
*** Let me make it clear that in all I wrote I was not writing to prove that I am an Avatar! You are busy with your reasonings with the personal question, I am busy with more with the general one. I am seeking to manifest something of the Divine that I am conscious of and feel—I care a damn whether that constitutes me an Avatar or something else. That is not a question which concerns me. By manifestation, of course, I mean the bringing out and spreading of that Consciousness so that others also may feel and enter into it and live in it. (8 March 1935)
*** I have a strong faith that you are the Divine Incarnation. Am I right? Follow your faith—it is not unlikely to mislead you. [This is the closest he can be said to have admitted he being an Avatar. There are a couple of other corroborative suggestions.]
The Mother on Sri Aurobindo
(From a meditation written on the day after the Mother first saw Sri Aurobindo)
It matters little that there are thousands of beings plunged in the densest ignorance, He whom we saw yesterday is on earth; his presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, and Thy reign shall be indeed established upon earth. O Lord, Divine Builder of this marvel, my heart overflows with joy and gratitude when I think of it, and my hope has no bounds. My adoration is beyond all words, my reverence is silent. (30 March 1914)
*** What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme. (14 February 1961)
*** What Sri Aurobindo represents in the history of the earth’s spiritual progress is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a mighty action straight from the Supreme. (15 August 1964)
*** He has come to bid the earth to prepare for its luminous future. (15 August 1964)
*** Sri Aurobindo has brought to the world the assurance of a divine future.
*** Sri Aurobindo has come on earth not to bring a teaching or a creed in competition with previous creeds or teachings, but to show the way to overpass the past and to open concretely the route towards an imminent and inevitable future. (22 February 1967)
*** Sri Aurobindo does not belong to the past nor to history. Sri Aurobindo is the Future advancing towards its realisation. Thus we must shelter the eternal youth required for a speedy advance, in order not to become laggards on the way. (2 April 1967)
*** Sri Aurobindo came to tell the world of the beauty of the future that must be realised.He came to give not a hope but a certitude of the splendour towards which the world moves. The world is not an unfortunate accident, it is a marvel which moves towards its expression. The world needs the certitude of the beauty of the future. And Sri Aurobindo has given that assurance. (27 November 1971)
*** The red lotus is the flower of Sri Aurobindo, but specially for his centenary we shall choose the blue lotus, which is the colour of his physical aura, to symbolise the centenary of the manifestation of the Supreme upon earth. (21 December 1971)
*** Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to announce the manifestation of the supramental world and not merely did he announce this manifestation but embodied also in part the supramental force and showed by example what one must do to prepare oneself for manifesting it. The best thing we can do is to study all that he has told us and endeavour to follow his example and prepare ourselves for the new manifestation. This gives life its real sense and will help us to overcome all obstacles. Let us live for the new creation and we shall grow stronger and stronger by remaining young and progressive. (30 January 1972)
*** Sri Aurobindo is an emanation of the Supreme who came on earth to announce the manifestation of a new race and a new world: the Supramental. Let us prepare for it in all sincerity and eagerness. (20 June 1972)
*** Sri Aurobindo came on earth from the Supreme to announce the manifestation of a new race and the new world, the Supramental. Let us prepare for it in all sincerity and eagerness. (15 August 1972)
*** Man is the creation of yesterday. Sri Aurobindo came to announce the creation of tomorrow: the coming of the supramental being. (15 August 1972)
*** Sri Aurobindo incarnated in a human body the supramental consciousness and has not only revealed to us the nature of the path to follow and the method of following it so as to arrive at the goal, but has also by his own personal realisation given us the example; he has provided us with the proof that the thing can be done and the time is now to do it.
*** In the eternity of becoming, each Avatar is only the announcer, the forerunner of a more perfect realisation. And yet men have always the tendency to deify the Avatar of the past in opposition to the Avatar of the future. Now again Sri Aurobindo has come announcing to the world the realisation of tomorrow; and again his message meets with the same opposition as of all those who preceded him. But tomorrow will prove the truth of what he revealed and his work will be done. (21 February 1957)
*** You must understand that what Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history, is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme. And I am just trying to fulfil that action. (1961)
*** What is the Divine? The Divine is what you adore in Sri Aurobindo. (28 March 1932)
*** (Mother designated the red lotus as the flower of Sri Aurobindo and the white lotus as her own. 2 February 1930) Red lotus—symbol of the manifestation of the Supreme upon earth. White lotus—symbol of the Divine Consciousness.
*** Under the painting of a red lotus by Champaklal, Sri Aurobindo wrote: Avatar. Knowing that Red Lotus represents Sri Aurobindo—White Lotus represents Aditi, the Mother—we have here a private disclosure made by Sri Aurobindo. ---Perception of Avatarhood is an individual matter, and it may be governed by the cultural, historical, philosophical, religious, even temporal, spiritual factors. But there is also a hope that these factors can be set aside when one comes in contact with the inner or higher reality which, and nothing else, should indeed count for an individual. If this is done then we keep all danger away from us, rather all danger is kept away from us. In this context, let me make another observation here. In the April 2007 issue of Auroville Today we have the following statement, a statement which rather stunned me greatly: “…there's a danger that an over-reliance on the psychic being and surrender to the Divine, as it is practised… can devolve into passivity.” I must say that there can never be over-reliance on the psychic being and surrender to the Divine. Wasn’t that the Mantra of the Mother, particularly “What Thou Willest, What Thou Willest” when she was busy with the cellular transformation? If somewhere, and sometimes,—and it is immaterial where that somewhere could be and when that sometimes was or will be,—it is not practised ‘properly’ it cannot be the fault of the principle, of the occult and spiritual truth that is there behind it. RYD