A Talk by Alok Pandey from “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)
As we enter the week before the 24th April Darshan it may be helpful to get into the mood and atmosphere of the early days of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival and the earthly lila of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Often this is the simplest way to open one’s heart to the Love and Compassion and Grace that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo embodied.
He for Whom I was Waiting (A Vision of the Mother)
(As recounted in the Chronicles by Sujata Nahar)
“He for whom I was waiting”—”celui que j’attendais,” wrote Mirra in France, in one of the innumerable visions she had early this century.
In this particular vision she found herself in her ‘family’ house—not that she knew it physically! She was living there with her father and two brothers. All the three were big and strong. The two brothers were men of ‘not much goodwill,’ or rather, they had a disbalanced vital. The father, though not highly developed, was a man of ‘goodwill.’
All of them were assembled in a vast rectangular hall. A great big window open to the south-west let in the light. The walls were oak-panelled. In the middle of the west panel a colossal mantelpiece was built in sculpted stone. In front of it stood the old father dressed in a dark and coarse cloth. The house must have been built on a hillside, because the glass window overlooked an immense plain, bounded on the horizon by a long chain of mountains entirely covered in a purple fog. At the bottom of the valley, among the huge trees, a winding stream dazzled with a copper glow under the last rays of the setting sun. The deepening dusk made the big hall but dimly lit.
A young girl was sitting by the window with the setting sun behind her. Mirra identified herself with her. She was dressed in a simple white gown, her folded hands rested on her knees, her gaze was lost in the darkest corner of the hall, towards the east. All of them seemed to be waiting … for someone.
“Suddenly he entered without our hearing the sound of the door opening or closing. He entered from the other end of the hall which I was facing. For the others he was veiled by a sort of invisibility, wrapped in a magnificent deep purple, so as to look like an ordinary man. But, as for me, I saw quite well that although very dense, the laws of gravity and of movement (and perhaps many others besides), to which we are subject, did not exist for him. I recognized him with all my being.” She was in the grip of such a strong emotion that she could not move and “remained in my place.”
Mirra noted, “Between him and my family several things took place which I do not clearly remember, except one. My father approached the newcomer with a profound reverence to welcome him in respectful terms. The being of light responded with a warm hug. I was so affected that I did not quite grasp what passed between them. Except that when they separated, my father who had gone from his place in his grey, dark dress came back all transformed and dressed in a superb and large golden dress. Full of admiration, I said, ‘See the wonders He can perform.’
“But it was for me that He had come. He came near me slowly unveiling himself. And gradually I saw — without any amazement — that he was enveloped in a brilliant white light, and that he himself was luminous.” Young Mirra was smitten. “He was so wonderfully beautiful that, filled with wonder and ecstasy, I fell to the ground losing my consciousness for a minute. But very soon I recovered, then approached Him and first of all kissed his feet. But helped by him I at once got up, and put my head on his shoulder and we remained clasped in each other’s arms for a long time. For a very long time we remained looking through the great window, far away into the vast plains, at the last fading rays of the setting sun.” Silence reigned.
They made a sweet picture. The dark-bearded Being of light and the auburn-haired girl in the first flush of womanhood. He looking to the far beyond; she looking up adoringly at him. He, sad and serious; she, radiating happiness.
During that long contemplation wordlessly they communicated to each other the depths of their souls and thoughts. In silence they conversed about the greatness of the work to be accomplished and the splendour of the imminent victory, of which “the dazzling radiance that surrounded him was like a glorious pledge.”
After their long and silent contemplation, he turns his face towards her and puts his lips on her forehead.
“The young woman also gradually becomes luminous. Then the two of them lie down side by side, hand in hand, in a bed of rest at the bottom of the hall, and sleep.
“The white light emanating from them grows more and more intense, and spreads more and more. It radiates very far across the house, above the immense plain.
“And, wherever the balanced radiance passes, it brings with it health, hope, harmony and joy.”
In the morning Mirra wakes up late, in her own bed, strong and happy. “No words can describe the intense happiness I felt. Everything in him was familiar to me, so much so that I hardly observed him. What emanated from him, his voice, his gesture, his expression, were all so well known to me, so sweet, so beautiful, that even now that I am fully awake, I still feel deeply moved when I think of it. He was tall, thin, his hair and beard seemed dark to me, but of that my memory is not quite precise. His expression was extremely serious and sad, but infinitely gentle and tender. I could not describe him well, but I am certain that I shall recognize him among millions.”
He always looked to the far beyond. Behind the beyond. To the noons of the future.
Mirra recognized the Being of light when she met him.
It was at the ‘Guest House‘ that she first saw him, when she went to Pondicherry in 1914.
That was “merely the beginning of my vision,” Mother said. Six years later, when she returned from Japan and met him again “in the same house and in the same way—did the END of the vision occur.”
[Mother’s Chronicles, Book 6: Mirra In South India, pp 15-18]
Words of the Mother, related to the above vision
…..when I first began to work (not with Theon personally but with an acquaintance of his in France, a boy who was a friend of my brother), well, I had a series of visions (I knew nothing about India, mind you, nothing, just as most Europeans know nothing about it: ‘a country full of people with certain customs and religions, a confused and hazy history, where a lot of “extraordinary things” are said to have happened.’ I knew nothing.) Well, in several of these visions I saw Sri Aurobindo just as he looked physically, but glorified; that is, the same man I would see on my first visit, almost thin, with that golden-bronze hue and rather sharp profile, an unruly beard and long hair, dressed in a dhoti with one end of it thrown over his shoulder, arms and chest bare, and bare feet. At the time I thought it was ‘vision attire’! I mean I really knew nothing about India; I had never seen Indians dressed in the Indian way.
Well, I saw him. I experienced what were at once symbolic visions and spiritual FACTS: absolutely decisive spiritual experiences and facts of meeting and having a united perception of the Work to be accomplished. And in these visions I did something I had never done physically: I prostrated before him in the Hindu manner. All this without any comprehension in the little brain (I mean I really didn’t know what I was doing or how I was doing it – nothing at all). I did it, and at the same time the outer being was asking, ‘What is all this?!’
I wrote the vision down (or perhaps that was later on) but I never spoke of it to anyone (one doesn’t talk about such things, naturally). But my impression was that it was premonitory, that one day something like it would happen. And it remained in the background of the consciousness, not active, but constantly present……
I came here…. But something in me wanted to meet Sri Aurobindo all alone the first time. Richard went to him in the morning and I had an appointment for the afternoon. He was living in the house that’s now part of the second dormitory, the old Guest House. I climbed up the stairway and he was standing there, waiting for me at the top of the stairs…. EXACTLY my vision! Dressed the same way, in the same position, in profile, his head held high. He turned his head towards me … and I saw in his eyes that it was He. The two things clicked (gesture of instantaneous shock), the inner experience immediately became one with the outer experience and there was a fusion – the decisive shock.
But this was merely the beginning of my vision. Only after a series of experiences – a ten months’ sojourn in Pondicherry, five years of separation, then the return to Pondicherry and the meeting in the same house and in the same way – did the END of the vision occur…. I was standing just beside him. My head wasn’t exactly on his shoulder, but where his shoulder was (I don’t know how to explain it – physically there was hardly any contact). We were standing side by side like that, gazing out through the open window, and then TOGETHER, at exactly the same moment, we felt, ‘Now the Realization will be accomplished.’ That the seal was set and the Realization would be accomplished. I felt the Thing descending massively within me, with the same certainty I had felt in my vision. From that moment on there was nothing to say – no words, nothing. We knew it was THAT.
[December 20, 1961]
“The Scene I Saw” – Reminiscences of Amrita da
It was for the first time I got up to the first floor of Sri Aurobindo’s house. In the long verandah overlooking the wide courtyard below, there were big windows giving a wide view southwards… all the doors of all the rooms were open… Everywhere and on everything there fell an all-revealing light, nothing but light… nothing was seen covered or screened, nothing was unrevealed… no spot hidden from light… My heart too, unwittingly, with no doors to close or conceal anything, free of confusion or perplexity, wide-open, soared up in sheer delight! I was in this state and Sri Aurobindo stood there, his eyes gazing southwards… His small feet appeared to my eyes as two red lotuses. His hair partly hung on his chest, partly on his back. It was still wet from his bath; water dripped from its ends. His bare broad chest shone in great beauty… His divine gaze did not yet turn towards me…
Bejoykanta got up first, I followed him, reached the head of the long corridor and, as I just stood there, Sri Aurobindo, who was about twenty feet away, turned his eyes upon me. Whether I walked to him or took a leap to him, I do not know. What I remember is that a lamp was lit everywhere in me and I saw in a spontaneous and automatic movement in front of me an intense celestial beauty. My being unknowingly swam, as it were, in a sea of silence, it fell prostrate at the lotus-feet of the Master, it did not utter “My Refuge, my Refuge”, but lay there body, life and mind all together a single block. Sri Aurobindo touched me with his flower-like hands and made me stand up. I drank the drink he gave me. That eternal sight still lives in my memory in the same form. I do not know why I burst into sobs as I clasped him. Tears streamed down from my eyes. Were they tears of delight now that I had attained the celestial joy of Indra-loka, or were they the regrets of my ego watching the imminent end of its life? I cannot say. Bhakti is a divine acquisition, a thing of wonder; it cannot have its birth without divine grace. When the heart is aroused from sleep by the all-ruling grace, one sees that greatness; it is so delightful to the sight; then only one’s life, possessed of the knowledge of the Lord’s universal state and His transcendent state, will know how to live at once in all the three states.
The sight seen by me at that young age, as I lay at Sri Aurobindo’s feet, comes vividly into my memory. Immeasurable wonder drowned me. What I saw was the repetition of a marvel of many years before.
Our village. A huge sand-hill far away from the village. On the sand-hill stood rows of thick-set palm trees almost striking the sky. On the north of the hill in the lowland was a wide and deep reservoir of water. It was the village-tank. The tank was full of lotuses and there were lilies too in a little corner of it. On its eastern bank was a banyan tree; at a distance from that a peepal tree.
In the evenings the Brahmins of our village in order to perform their evening rites (sandhya-vandanam) would start from the village, cross the mango-grove, amalaki-grove, tamarind-grove, date-palm forest, etc., wade through the small stream flowing with a soft murmur, climb the sand-hill with its palm forest, get down to the bank of the tank and sit by its edge. After having performed the evening rites, Japa and Tapa, they would get up and, all of them reciting together the Vishnusahasranama (the thousand names of Vishnu), come back to the village.
On the eastern bank of the tank was a small temple of Ganesh, the holy image of Eyenar at the border of the village.
One evening. Darkness had just crept over the place. I was sitting on the sand-hill by the tank. I was then about 8 or 9 years old. Four or five Brahmins were still on the bank occupied with the performance of rites. In that dim darkness of the evening, just two or three stars twinkled in the western sky.
And then, in front of me at a short distance and gradually drawing nearer and rising above as it came close to my head, there appeared a shining ball, a big ball of the size of a palm fruit. Its lustre was dark blue. My eyes fixed on it, I kept looking at it. That ball shone soothing my eyes, comforting my body, seizing my heart and, as it slowly swam up, proceeded far to the south; my sight followed its course till it disappeared.
I must have been immersed deep within me at that time because I was oblivious of the earth and voyaging in the sky. Someone in the darkness, his face I could not see, called me to go home and so I came back to the waking state. Ten miles away from our village to the south-east was Pondicherry!
Sri Aurobindo had not yet come to Pondicherry. The beings of the upper worlds were as if making ready the blessed town of Pondicherry to receive Him!
While I lay at Sri Aurobindo’s lotus-feet for the first time I saw once again that glowing ball, familiar to me and quite close, appearing in the dark blue sky within me and leading me towards the south. It seemed as if the star had accomplished its ordained work.
[Old Long Since, pp 32-34]