Celebration of the August 15, 1924 – Recollections by A. B. Purani

Who can describe this day? Nothing can be added by the colours of imagination, poetic similes, and loaded epithets. It is enough to say “It was the 15th of August.” No other day can come up to it in the depth and intensity of spiritual action, the ascending movement of the flood of emotions, and the way in which each individual here was bathing in the atmosphere.

It is the supreme sign of the Master to assume all possible relations with his Disciples, make them real, and Concrete, Each Disciple knows him as his own, and each the Master accepts as his. Each believes the Master loves him most and it is true that he loves each the most. This feeling is not an illusion or delusive self-hypnotism but quite real. The spontaneous dynamic law of the Suprerne Truth which he embodies is love — divine love.

In all the inmates the delight of surrender is overflowing — the bliss of surrender, its sparkle pervades all. All is given up, everything is surrendered. How free you feel! How light and unburdened you feel! There is someone to take up the whole of your burden, — there is a power of Supreme Love. Him you can trust implicitly. You need only to give up your little self, the rest is his work you have no worry, no anxiety! No effort — only the way of loving surrender! How easy!

Every face is beaming with the joy of surrender, every one is happy and overflowing with joy. And yet there is no external reason, no outer materials for this intense joy. From where is flowing this unlimited Delight? They say the Master was not in such a happy mood these two or three years.

From early morning the Ashram is humming with various activities: decoration, flowers, garlands, food, bath etc. All are eager to go up to the Master for his Darshan. As the time passes there is a tide in the flood of rising emotion. It is “Darshan” — we see him everyday, but today it is “Darshan”! To-day each sees him individually, one after another. In the midst of these multiple activities the consciousness gets concentrated. To-day is “Darshan” — not of human being but of some Supreme Divinity. To-day is the rare chance of seeing the Divine.

There he sits — in the royal chair in the verandah — royal and majestic. In the very posture there is divine self-confidence. In the heart of the Supreme Master, the great Yogin — a sea of emotions is heaving — is it a flood that mounts from or a flood that is coming down on humanity

Those alone who have experienced it can know something of its divinity. Those who have bathed in it once can never come out of that ocean. He sits there — with pink and white lotus garlands. It is the small flower-token of the offerings by the Disciples. Hearts throb, prayers, requests, emotions pour forth — and a flood of blessings pours down carrying all of them away in its speed. Lack of faith, doubts get assurance. All human needs the Divine fulfils and, after fulfilling, his grace overflows. Love and grace flow on undiminished. The look! — the enrapturing and captivating eyes! Who can ever forget? — pouring love and grace and ineffable divinity. If some transcendent Divinity is not here where else can he be?

He is usually an embodiment of Knowledge. But to-day he is different. He is all love. Here is the Great Poet and the Supreme Lover incarnate! It is an inquiring, loving and blessing in a glance! Man does wonders with his eyes and looks but to do so much divinity is needed.

The question is what to ask? love or blessings! or, should one pray for love and blessings both and in addition for the acceptance of unworthy persons like us? Standing on the brink of Eternity when the soul saw his dreamy and loving eyes, then was it captured for ever. The inexplicable mystery of divine love was here a tangible experience! who can explain a fact? A fact is a fact and an experience an experience. There is no explanation possible.

“What should I give him?” is the question of the mind. “What should I ask?” is the question of the heart. Both refuse to answer and both are unanswered. The mind feels the insignificance of its offering, and remains mute. The heart is ashamed because of its beggar’s attitude, it even feels its pride wounded. How to solve this pleasant embarrassment? The beggar heart carries the day. There is even a kind of curiosity to find out how one is accepted, what happens to oneself.

But all this was before Darshan. As one actually stance in front all curiosity, all pride, all thoughts, all questions all resolutions are swept away in some terrific divine Niagara. Thou embodiment of love Supreme! what transparency! In the heart of the Supreme Master also an ocean of emotion is heaving. The heart melts and falls at his feet without knowing, it surrenders itself! where is here a place for speech! There is only one speech! — the language of the body and its flexion, that of the! prostration of the body in the act of surrender, throbbing of the heart and that of the flow of tears from the eyes! What a peace pregnant with divinity! What a beauty of this experience!

Everyone is trying to maintain samatā — equality. Everyone is quiet and is trying hard to remain calm. But to-day all the barriers of humanity are swept away by the flood of Divine Love. The soul has its samatā — its equality — but the whole nature is in agitation as unknown waters have rushed into it. Knowledge is laid on the shelf — and it is all a flood of love. To-day the soul has received the certitude of the Divine’s victory as it had never done before.

In the dining room are gathered all bathing and bathed in delight. Everyone is happy — supremely happy — in perfect ecstasy. To-day there is an empire of Delight! O Artist! what a marvellous art! So much of delight — for everyone of them! delight that fills each and overflows.

At four o’clock all gather at the usual place of sitting — the verandah. All sit there full of hope in silence; one or two whisper to each other. The mind of the company is silently repeating, “When will he come? May he come.” It is four fifteen; — the old familiar and yet new ‘tick’, behind the door! Slowly a door opens: The Master steps out first behind him the Mother with white creamy san-with broad red border. He sat in his usual broad Japanese chair. The Mother sat on the right side on a small stool. For a short time — about five minutes there was complete silence!

Then he glanced at each one separately. The minutes were melting into the silence. There is again a wave of emotion in all, all bathe again into an ocean of some divine emotion. How wonderful if the whole Eternity would flow in this experience! Time, poor Time and its flow is blamed by men. But where is the fault in the flow of Time? If so much Love and such Divine Delight can have its play — let poor Time flow and have its Eternity! And let the world become Divine! Another powerful aspiration that came to the surface was: “Expression is not needed — let the whole of eternity flow away in this silence!”

*

When the Master came for the evening sitting emanating joy he asked with a smile, “What do you want to-day? — Silence or speech?” As if he had come to confer whatever boon we ask. For a time it was silence that reigned. Then from that silence a flow appeared to start. The hearts of the Disciples were tip-toe with expectation, for to-day they were hearing not human speech but words from the Divine. To hear with human ears the Lord speak! What a fulfilment!

 

The substance of what Sri Aurobindo Spoke on the 15th August 1924

(This year Sri Aurobindo came out at 9-15 in the morning and again at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. He spoke for about 30-35 minutes, 10-15 minutes he remained silent in the beginning.)

It has become customary to expect some speech from me on this day. I prefer to communicate through the Silent Consciousness, because speech addresses itself to the mind while through the Silent Consciousness one can reach something deeper. We are practising together a yoga which is quite different in certain essentials from other methods which go by the same name. According to the old method we have to select the intellect, the emotion or the will or to differentiate between Purusha and Prakriti, the conscious Soul and Nature. By that we arrive at an Infinite of Knowledge, an all-Loving and all-Beautiful Supreme or an Infinite Impersonal Will, Or the Silent Brahman beyond our mind, emotional Being or, Will or our individual Purusha.

Our yoga does not aim at an Impersonal Infinite of knowledge, Will or Ananda but at the realization of a Supreme Being, an Infinite Knowledge which is beyond the limited infinity of the human knowledge, an Infinite Power which is the source of our personal will and an Ananda which cannot be seized by surface movement of emotions.

This Supreme Being that we want to realize is not impersonal Infinite but a Divine Personality; and in order to realize Him we have to grow conscious of our own true personality. You must know your own inner y being. This Personality is not the inner mental, the inner vital and the inner physical being and its consciousness as is many times wrongly described, but it is your true Being which is in direct communication with the Highest. Man grows by gradual growth in Nature and each has to realize his own Divine Person which is in the Supermind. Each is one with the Divine in essence but in nature each is a partial manifestation of the Supreme Being.

Such being the aim of our yoga we want to return upon life and transform it. The old yogas failed to transform life because, they did not go beyond mind. They used to catch at mental experiences but when they came to apply them to life they reduced it to a mental formula. For example, the mental experience of the Infinite or the application of the principle of universal Love.

We have therefore, to grow conscious on all the planes of our being, and to bring down the Higher Light, Power and Ananda to govern even the most external details of life. We must detach ourselves and observe all that is going on in the Nature, not even the smallest movement, the most external act must remain unnoticed. This process is comparatively easy in the mental and vital planes. But in the physico-vital and the physical plane the powers of ignorance hold their sway and reign in full force, persisting in what they believe to be the eternal laws. They obstruct the passage of the Higher light and hold up their flag. It is there that the powers of darkness, again and again, cover the being and even when the physico-vital is opened the elements of ignorance come up from the lower levels of the physical being. To deal with them is a work of great patience. The physico-vital and the physical being do not accept the Higher Law and persist. They justify their persistence and their play by intellectual and other justifications and thus they try to deceive the sadhaka under various guises.

Generally, the vital being is very impatient and wants to get things done quickly on the physico-vital and physical planes. But this has very violent reactions and therefore the mental and the vital being, instead of seizing upon the Higher Light and Power, should surrender themselves to the higher Power. We have not to rest satisfied with partial transformation. We have to bring down the higher Power to the physical plan and govern the most external detail of life by it. Mind cannot govern them. We have to call down the Higher Light, Power and Ananda to transform our present nature This requires an essential utter sincerity in every part of the being, which can see clearly all that is going on in the Being and which wants only the Truth and nothing but the Truth.

The second condition of the Light coming down and governing even the smallest detail of life is that one must grow conscious of his Divine personality which is in the Supermind.

There is sometimes a tendency in the sadhaka to be satisfied with experiences. One should not rest content with mere experiences.

Another thing is that, here, as we are, all of us together, given to the pursuit of the same Truth the whole time we have arrived at some kind of solidarity so that we can mutually help or retard our progress.

The conditions of transformation of the being are the opening of ourselves to the Higher Light and an absolute surrender. This brings about the transformation, so that if there is the entire essential sincerity, opening to the Light and surrender and a gradual growth of consciousness on all the planes, you can become an ideal sadhaka of this Yoga.

[A.B. Purani, Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, 3rd ed., pp.486-492]

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