Part 4: A Giant Dance of Shiva

A Giant dance of Shiva

A giant dance of Shiva tore the past;
There was a thunder as of worlds that fall;
Earth was o’errun with fire and the roar of Death
Clamouring to slay a world his hunger had made;
There was a clangour of Destruction’s wings:
The Titan’s battle-cry was in my ears,
Alarm and rumour shook the armoured Night.
I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers
Over the heavenly verge which turns towards life
Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth;
Forerunners of a divine multitude,
Out of the paths of the morning star they came
Into the little room of mortal life.
I saw them cross the twilight of an age,
The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,
The great creators with wide brows of calm,
The massive barrier-breakers of the world
And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,
The labourers in the quarries of the gods,
The messengers of the Incommunicable,
The architects of immortality.
Into the fallen human sphere they came,
Faces that wore the Immortal’s glory still,
Voices that communed still with the thoughts of God,
Bodies made beautiful by the spirit’s light,
Carrying the magic word, the mystic fire,
Carrying the Dionysian cup of joy,
Approaching eyes of a diviner man,
Lips chanting an unknown anthem of the soul,
Feet echoing in the corridors of Time.
High priests of wisdom, sweetness, might and bliss,
Discoverers of beauty’s sunlit ways
And swimmers of Love’s laughing fiery floods
And dancers within rapture’s golden doors,
Their tread one day shall change the suffering earth
And justify the light on Nature’s face.
[Savitri: 343]

Historically, the School, like all other activities in the Ashram, started quite informally following the influx of devotees during the Second World War. Families came seeking refuge at the Feet of the Divine Mother. But as is Her Way, the Divine Mother turned this challenge into a divine opportunity to initiate a new project of preparing the children for the coming Future. Her gaze turned always towards the Future, She began pouring Her Consciousness into this new project so that the children may be made ready to embody the New Consciousness that was pressing for manifestation upon Earth. This New Consciousness made its own demands so to say. For its manifestation upon earth, it needed not only the awakening of the soul and enrichment of the inner being through the influx of spiritual experiences. The entire being had to open to its working and made ready for the leap towards the inevitable Future. It may be noted that the Mother did not once doubt about the luminous Future that awaits man at the end of the present cycle of ignorant seeking and struggles through toil and wants and hopes and cataclysms and wars. She knew that all the trouble and the turmoil that the earth experienced is the tilling of the human soil so that the divine seed hidden in its folds of darkness can burst forth and blossom. She knew this luminous future not only because She saw it but also because She along with Sri Aurobindo worked for it through many lives. Now the hour had come and the New Force was pressing upon earth in response to their tapasya. The question before them was not whether this New Consciousness would manifest or not, but even more importantly whether man will be ready to receive It when It comes and tries to establish Itself upon earth in and through man. Therefore they called some representative souls to prepare mankind, through them, for this New Consciousness. This became the beginnings of the Ashram, again formed spontaneously under the creative pressure of the incarnate Mahashakti as souls came drawn towards them as flowers are attracted by the light of the Sun. But the sun of Divine Consciousness that they were bringing down was not the morning glory nor the twilight ray but the fullness of the Supermind much like the mid-day sun of summer that initially warms up and then heats the earth for the sowing of flowers that would survive the approaching winter and usher the new spring. A new cycle of evolution had to begin of which they were the heralds.

But while the first sun of summer is a welcome touch, the heat gets intolerable as it grows in intensity and light. Yet the seeds that survive through this intense love of the sun for the golden earth will eventually ripen and bear the flowers of the spring. As the pressure of the New Consciousness mounted up, the resistances of human kind tied down to the old philosophies, old thinking and the old ways began to show up. This was of course not unusual. Men get crusted over after adulthood. They are trapped in the illusion of knowledge and suffer from the sense of self-importance. it needs just a little sincere observation to see through this brilliant illusion that paints the interior chambers of our mind with colourful utopian dreams about ourself and our role in the world. Some go beyond the little personality of the moment and dream of an ideal earth, a perfect utopia. But a utopia is not created by dreaming in sleep and mere wishful thinking when awake. Whatever age of mankind has seen even a little momentary glimpse of an ideal collective life, it has come through hard sacrifice and relentless toil. The cup of man has to be ready to receive the gifts of heaven. Men are easily drawn towards the promise of an ideal world but they want to step into it ready-made. Very few want to labour and build the Utopia they conceive and dream of. Perhaps that is what happened to a few and still happens to those who come to the Ashram and Auroville dreaming of entering a ready-made Utopian world. What people need to know that it takes centuries to build an ideal and establish it upon earth well fastened to bear the onrush of weather and winds and the fury of all that resists the Ideal. The same happened and continues to happen with the gifts that the New Consciousness has brought for man as a consequence of the tapasya of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Little do we realize that the joy of working for a ‘seemingly impossible’ Ideal actually makes us truly ready to receive and enjoy the gift better. The danger and delight of a New Discovery go hand-in-hand and often complement each other.

The great War was destroying the past like a veritable dance of Shiva. All the cherished old values of mankind, his cherished ways of life, his systems of philosophy and even his religions were put as if under a gigantic grinding machine, either to be pulverised and provide material for the future or else to pass away into the shadows of a bygone era over the next century or so. It was a pressure for everything to reinvent itself or else to transfigure and return with a new form more adapted for the future. But there was, along with the world-shaking dance of Shiva, the saving Grace of the Divine Mother setting into motion a new rhythm of life. A future was being silently shaped, unseen by human eyes, unrecognized by the human, hidden from the glitter and glamour of powers that imitate the new while perpetuating the old. But even as the old was dying there were descending upon earth through the stairs of birth, new children who would be needed to build the future. After the bad dreams of the night there was to shine the new and golden dawn. This then was the opportunity hidden behind the dance of death and destruction that the Divine Mother seized upon to bring a new rhythm into the life of humanity. The Ashram School was meant to precisely serve this purpose. Of course the Divine Mother very well knew the difficulty and the challenge. Children are not a blank slate. Apart from being impacted by the collective life around them, each child also brings with him its own unique past. The seeds of old deeds lurk still in our subconscious terrains, hidden from human sight yet ready to spring a surprise any moment. All this had to be tackled forthwith in this new venture.

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