“Footprints of the Future”, parts 1-2

A New Creation

A Bliss, a Light, a Power, a flame-white Love
Caught all into a sole immense embrace;
Existence found its truth on Oneness’ breast
And each became the self and space of all.
The great world-rhythms were heart-beats of one Soul,
To feel was a flame-discovery of God,
All mind was a single harp of many strings,
All life a song of many meeting lives;
For worlds were many, but the Self was one.
This knowledge now was made a cosmos’ seed:
This seed was cased in the safety of the Light,
It needed not a sheath of Ignorance.
Then from the trance of that tremendous clasp
And from the throbbings of that single Heart
And from the naked Spirit’s victory
A new and marvellous creation rose
[Savitri: 322]

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Ashram School, which was founded in 1943 and has over time evolved into what we know as Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE). Like the Ashram itself, the Ashram School is the Divine Mother’s creation and therefore fundamentally differs from human creations.

Human creations start and finish in the mind and hence therefore are limited by context and circumstances and the inherent inability of the human mind (reason) to foresee through vast spaces of Time. Human creations generally aim to satisfy our needs or even desires, to equip us with human capacities to survive and excel, at best to be the best among human beings, the noble, the srestha of the ancient Aryan world. But the Ashram strives to go beyond all that humanity has and can achieve while still remaining human. It aims at and integral growth and all-round progress rather than outer achievement and material success, it endeavours to bring into play new and unknown forces of a higher order rather than perpetuate the old ways of being and thinking and living. It looks at far off results now invisible to human sight and even mocked at by ignorant minds that cannot understand how the future unfolds.

There are many other ways in which the Mother’s creation differs from the way we as human conceive and create. Even though instruments of the Divine we distort the original Will by bringing in our own limited ideas and preferences for certain ways of life to which we are accustomed. But here, the Mother aims at resetting the balance between the original Divine Will and its distortions that has taken place through the human journey, in fact through the unfolding of the epic drama of creation itself. We have missed the original intent thereby turning the play into something tragic and painful instead of a joyous unfolding. Neither success nor failure, happiness nor sorrow, personal comforts and pleasures nor pain are the real purport of the game. Its aim is progress and progress to the eye of the Divine means growing into the likeness of the Divine, a manifestation of the divine possibilities latent and inherent within us. But here too we are limited by our own ideas and conceptions of the Divine, ideas that mankind has developed in its search for the ultimate Reality.

This is no easy task, nor one that can be accomplished in a limited period of time. Most would not even conceive of its possibility. But it is precisely this seemingly impossible work that the Divine Mother has undertaken upon Herself. All that She needs is our openness and receptivity, in one word collaboration so that Her Will may be accomplished with the least distortion. The conditions for such a collaboration is the whole process of the integral yoga. In other words, the teachers here are not simply professionals trained experts in a subject; they are supposed to undertake the great journey of yoga along with the knowledge of the subject. This is the great challenge and also the limitation. No more the old way of life but something new, an unprecedented new is being brought into the human play. This is so new that even the best of human intelligence is baffled. Yet sure are Her footsteps and what She Wills that the universe is bound to eventually create.

 

The Making of God in Earth

If earth can look up to the light of heaven
And hear an answer to her lonely cry,
Not vain their meeting, nor heaven’s touch a snare.
If thou and I are true, the world is true;
Although thou hide thyself behind thy works,
To be is not a senseless paradox;
Since God has made earth, earth must make in her God;
What hides within her breast she must reveal.
[Savitri: 692-693]

We may say that in a way the whole drama of creation is being worked out in its last details. It is being carried to its logical possibility. In a sense our stories of life are intimately linked with the story of creation itself. The Origin of creation, whatever or whoever it be dwells within each atom of existence and therefore within us too. But man has the unique capacity to enter into conscious contact with this origin and reclaim his lost parentage. That is the first axiomatic principle of any genuine yoga. It is a principle at once sound and logical as also replicable and reproducible in practice.

At the same time, it is not just the origin but all the forces that have gone into creation continue to live and linger within us in some shadowed corner of our nature. The dinosaur has not become extinct, only the form has. Its habits and memories continue to stamp and seize upon human life, modified by the action of the mind and feelings within us. The ghosts of our past continue to haunt us as phantom realities. Human beings are like a melting pot of all the forces that have gone into creation. But even more importantly they are also pulled unknowingly by the forces of the future that seek to manifest through them. Until now it is the forces of the past that have continued to thwart and frustrate the forces of the future.

Yet these attempts were needed to prepare matter. Many approximations are needed before one can arrive at the goal. But the time has now come to resolve this long standing original conflict that tears at our very souls. It is with this view that the Ashram and the Integral Yoga has been given to man. Not to perpetuate the human ways, even the best of human ways so to say, but to discover the pathways of the future and a new way to live. Yes in principle it has been discovered and given to us by the intense tapasya of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, yet this discovery has to be made afresh in each one of us and lived by each person in his or her own unique way. Or else it will have little meaning for the earth beyond becoming yet another religion that colours our life without really transforming it.

But no more of that old story with the bad ending, the end of a great and profound truth in a religious creed, an ideological cult or a dry philosophical system that kills the truth by preserving it too rigidly in jackets of human thought and a set of external rituals and rules. No more of the old fiasco as Sri Aurobindo remarked, or the same old wine in a new bottle.

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