Goddess Durga and the Festival of Devi (7/7) The Unfinished Tale

We may however note that the slaying of the demon does not finish the consciousness that stands behind it. By its very nature consciousness, like energy, cannot be destroyed. It can take new forms or it can undergo a change or it can reabsorbed back into its Source. This is where we see Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga taking a giant leap over tradition wherein he is not content with the slaying of a demon or many demons but by their conversion or dissolution for good. But for this not only man but even the gods must collaborate. It is a new game plan, the unique and ultimate divine strategy which the Mother and Sri Aurobindo have attempted. In the course of this new strategy even the gods must surrender to the Supreme to allow the New Force, the New Consciousness to work unhindered by their cosmic action. Rather they need to now align to this New Consciousness and help the process of transformation. This is what we see revealed in the following conversation of the Mother:

I had a very interesting experience – it was last year or the year before, I don’t recall, but after I retired to my room upstairs… You know that during pujas these goddesses come all the time – they don’t enter the body and tie themselves to it, but they do come and manifest. Well, this time – I think it must have been for last year’s puja – Durga came (she always arrives a few days in advance and remains in the atmosphere; she is present, like this – gesture as if Durga were walking up and down with Mother). I was in touch with her during my meditations upstairs, and this new Power in the body was in me then as it is in me now, and … (how to put it?) I made her participate in this concept of surrender. What an experience she had, mon petit! An extraordinary experience of the joy of being connected with That. And she declared, ‘From now on, I am a bhakta of the Lord.’

It was beautiful.

This formidable Power, you see – a universal Power, an eternal and formidable Power – well, she had never had such an experience before, she had only experienced her OWN power. She was used to receiving and obeying Commands, but in an automatic way. Then all at once, she felt the Ecstasy of being a conscious instrument.

Truly … it was truly beautiful.

Let us close with a wonderful description of the awakening of this Divine Shakti in man revealed in Savitri which is going to open the doors to an inevitable divine destiny bequeathed to man since first his heart dared death and suffered life. It is this that is symbolized in the legend of Durga, a truth that we can relive within us by undergoing the intended transformation by opening to Her Divine Force, Shakti and undergoing the desired transformation:

In its deep lotus home her being sat
As if on concentration’s marble seat,
Calling the mighty Mother of the worlds
To make this earthly tenement her house.
As in a flash from a supernal light,
A living image of the original Power,
A face, a form came down into her heart
And made of it its temple and pure abode.
But when its feet had touched the quivering bloom,
A mighty movement rocked the inner space
As if a world were shaken and found its soul:
Out of the Inconscient’s soulless mindless night
A flaming Serpent rose released from sleep.
It rose billowing its coils and stood erect
And climbing mightily, stormily on its way
It touched her centres with its flaming mouth;
As if a fiery kiss had broken their sleep,
They bloomed and laughed surcharged with light and bliss.
Then at the crown it joined the Eternal’s space.
In the flower of the head, in the flower of Matter’s base,
In each divine stronghold and Nature-knot
It held together the mystic stream which joins
The viewless summits with the unseen depths,
The string of forts that make the frail defence
Safeguarding us against the enormous world,
Our lines of self-expression in its Vast.
An image sat of the original Power
Wearing the mighty Mother’s form and face.
Armed, bearer of the weapon and the sign
Whose occult might no magic can imitate,
Manifold yet one she sat, a guardian force:
A saviour gesture stretched her lifted arm,
And symbol of some native cosmic strength,
A sacred beast lay prone below her feet,
A silent flame-eyed mass of living force.
All underwent a high celestial change:
Breaking the black Inconscient’s blind mute wall,
Effacing the circles of the Ignorance,
Powers and divinities burst flaming forth;
Each part of the being trembling with delight
Lay overwhelmed with tides of happiness
And saw her hand in every circumstance
And felt her touch in every limb and cell….
A secret soul behind supporting all
Is master and witness of our ignorant life,
Admits the Person’s look and Nature’s role.
But once the hidden doors are flung apart
Then the veiled king steps out in Nature’s front;
A Light comes down into the Ignorance,
Its heavy painful knot loosens its grasp:
The mind becomes a mastered instrument
And life a hue and figure of the soul.
All happily grows towards knowledge and towards bliss.
A divine Puissance then takes Nature’s place
And pushes the movements of our body and mind;
Possessor of our passionate hopes and dreams,
The beloved despot of our thoughts and acts,
She streams into us with her unbound force,
Into mortal limbs the Immortal’s rapture and power.
An inner law of beauty shapes our lives;
Our words become the natural speech of Truth,
Each thought is a ripple on a sea of Light.
Then sin and virtue leave the cosmic lists;
They struggle no more in our delivered hearts:
Our acts chime with God’s simple natural good
Or serve the rule of a supernal Right.
All moods unlovely, evil and untrue
Forsake their stations in fierce disarray
And hide their shame in the subconscient’s dusk.
Then lifts the mind a cry of victory:
“O soul, my soul, we have created Heaven,
Within we have found the kingdom here of God,
His fortress built in a loud ignorant world.
Our life is entrenched between two rivers of Light,
We have turned space into a gulf of peace
And made the body a Capitol of bliss.
What more, what more, if more must still be done?”
In the slow process of the evolving spirit,
In the brief stade between a death and birth
A first perfection’s stage is reached at last;
Out of the wood and stone of our nature’s stuff
A temple is shaped where the high gods could live.
Even if the struggling world is left outside
One man’s perfection still can save the world.
There is won a new proximity to the skies,
A first betrothal of the Earth to Heaven,
A deep concordat between Truth and Life:
A camp of God is pitched in human time.
[Sri Aurobindo: Savitri 529-531]

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