The Cave of Tapasya

The 4th April is the Ashram New Year, date of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in Pondicherry.

The Mother [CWM 13:105]

The 04th of April is the day of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival to Pondicherry carrying the sealed orders of the Infinite in his heart. It was the end of the old ways of life, the old spiritual paths that he had trod and the beginning of the New and the Unknown. It was a totally unprecedented adventure into the hitherto Unknown splendours and domains of the Spirit that none had trod. None knew the real reason for his coming which were under the command of the Divine whom he had completely surrendered himself to. He himself spoke about the departure for Pondicherry thus:

These are the facts of that departure. I was in the Karmayogin office when I received word, on information given by a high-placed police official, that the office would be searched the next day and myself arrested. (The office was in fact searched but no warrant was produced against me; I heard nothing more of it till the case was started against the paper later on, but by then I had already left Chandernagore for Pondicherry.) While I was listening to animated comments from those around on the approaching event, I suddenly received a command from above in a Voice well known to me, in the three words; “Go to Chandernagore.” In ten minutes or so I was in the boat for Chandernagore. Ramchandra Majumdar guided me to the Ghat and hailed a boat and I entered into it at once along with my relative Biren Ghosh and Mani (Suresh Chandra Chakrabarti) who accompanied me to Chandernagore, not turning aside to Bagbazar or anywhere else. We reached our destination while it was still dark and they returned in the morning to Calcutta. I remained in secret entirely engaged in Sadhana and my active connection with the two newspapers ceased from that time. Afterwards, under the same “sailing orders”, I left Chandernagore and reached Pondicherry on April 4th 1910.

 I may add in explanation that from the time I left Lele at Bombay after the Surat Congress and my stay with him in Baroda, Poona and Bombay, I had accepted the rule of following the inner guidance implicitly and moving only as I was moved by the Divine. The spiritual development during the year in jail had turned this into an absolute law of the being. This accounts for my immediate action in obedience to the adesh received by me.  

 [CWSA 36:89-90]

 We know that each of the great beings who come upon earth chooses a spot to release the Divine Energy that they bring with them into the earth atmosphere. Later this sacred spot that gets evidently charged by the vibrations of tapasya turns into a sacred pilgrim spot. Even after the physical withdrawal of the Yogin and the Master the place continues to vibrate with the Divine Energy released in the earthly space. It is charged so to say. The Mother reveals:

Take a place like this, which is surcharged with certain forces, certain vibrations; these vibrations do not show themselves in visible and tangible things—they can produce changes, but as these changes occur according to a method (as all physical things do), you pass almost logically from one state to another and this logic prevents you from perceiving that there is something here which does not belong to normal life. Well, those who have no other perception than that of the ordinary mind, who see things working out as they habitually do or seem to do in ordinary life, will tell you, “Oh that, that is quite natural.” If they have no other perception than the purely physical perception, if they are not capable of feeling the quality of a vibration (some feel it vaguely, but those who are not even capable of feeling that, who have nothing in them corresponding to that or, if they have something, it is not awakened), they will look at the life here and tell you, “It is like the physical life—you have perhaps some ideas of your own, but there are many who have their own ideas; perhaps you do things in a special way, but there are lots of people who also do things in a special way. After all, it is a life like the one I live.” … And so, it may very well happen that at a given moment the supramental Force manifests, that it is conscious here, that it acts on Matter, but those who do not consciously participate in its vibration are incapable of perceiving it. People say, “When the supramental force manifests, we shall know it quite well. It will be seen”—not necessarily. They will not feel it any more than those people of little sensitivity who may pass through this place, even live here, without feeling that the atmosphere is different from elsewhere—who among you feels it in such a precise way as to be able to affirm it?… You may feel in your heart, in your thought that it is not the same, but it is rather vague, isn’t it? But to have this precise perception… Listen, as I had when I came from Japan: I was on the boat, at sea, not expecting anything (I was of course busy with the inner life, but I was living physically on the boat), when all of a sudden, abruptly, about two nautical miles from Pondicherry, the quality, I may even say the physical quality of the atmosphere, of the air, changed so much that I knew we were entering the aura of Sri Aurobindo. It was a physical experience and I guarantee that whoever has a sufficiently awakened consciousness can feel the same thing.

I had the contrary experience also, the first time that I went out in a car after many, many years here. When I reached a little beyond the lake, I felt all of a sudden that the atmosphere was changing; where there had been plenitude, energy, light and force, all that diminished, diminished… and then… nothing. I was not in a mental or vital consciousness, I was in an absolutely physical consciousness. Well, those who are sensitive in their physical consciousness ought to feel that quite concretely. And I can assure you that the area we call “the Ashram” has a condensation of force which is not at all the same as that of the town, and still less that of the countryside.

[CWM 4: 222-224]

This the true Reality of the Ashram. Just as the books written by Him are His Word-body, vangamaya deha, so too the seat of His tapasya which also became His yajna-vedi, where He presides as the Yajna purusha, the karmasthali, from where He directed all the major world movements and contuse to do so in his Supramental body, is His Action-body, karma deha. It is the place where the New Yoga started and was given to man. It is the place where the tremendous adventure of the New Consciousness began. It is the place where the work for a New Creation was undertaken. It is the place where the first seeds of the Supermind were rooted in the soil of earth nature through the sample of humanity that gathered around Them. It is the place of ‘central influence’ where the Supramental Consciousness is felt in its most intense, almost concrete form and from where it radiates all over the world and beyond. Together They used this place as the great launching pad for the Evolution Next, the transmutation of man into superman, of earthly life into Life Divine.

The Mother reminds us:

If something is not all right and you would like to know the cause, or you want to get rid of a weakness, or get cured, or be cleansed, to have a difficulty removed in order to be purified, — for any answer, come and ask Sri Aurobindo at the Samadhi and you will have the answer. Not only His answer but also His blessings, His compassion, His peace and His illumination. You will be engulfed and seized by His love that is all-powerful. Once you abandon yourself to Him, you will be protected against all mishaps. It is like this — His influence. He reveals Himself to all those who are simple, sincere and humble. He is there, perfectly con­scious, and He directs all the activities of the world….

It is formidable. His presence vibrates, concrete, all around the Samadhi. And His influence penetrates and touches the central being and awakens the consciousness to the spiritual life. Even the agnostics, the unbelievers, people of bad-will who come out of curiosity to visit the Samadhi, return amazed by a mysterious alchemy and find an inner peace, because there He showers His peace and His compassion constantly. It is this that bathes them when they pass before Him. It is an unbelievable surcharged activity of His force and His presence.

When I look at the Samadhi and see what is happening there, I am astonished to find this column of dazzling light vibrating with an energy and a transforming force. It rises like this — (Mother makes an upward movement with the hands) with a splendour and a brilliance like an effu­sion of light from the length and breadth of the Samadhi. It is the New Light materialising….

It is a sanctified place for meditation and not for gossip. Never to speak — one disturbs the atmosphere. He is there with His glorified body sustaining the entire world in a subtle movement, manifesting gradually His consciousness, partially veiled for the Divine descent.

He is the living assurance of our divine possibility, the promise of the Divinity radiating with the divine Light and divine Power — the pro­gressive march towards the Divine Manifestation. That is why the whole atmosphere is charged with a divine and sublime Peace, you understand? It is He who is there — in the divine body — Himself divinised, the rep­resentative of the whole humanity, He who, by His own effort, by His tapasya and by the sadhana that He has done in His body, has made His body glorious. The realisations and the experiences He has had, what He has accumulated in His body by this yogic effort, has charged His body with a transforming power. It is charged — charged dynamically with a force and a light that overflows; it is this that envelops the whole atmos­phere. All around, it is His presence. It endures because it is the Supra­mental force and shows no sign of diminishing. It cannot.

It is this that the people absorb when they pass around the Samadhi. Without knowing it, they are bathed by His love and they do not even re­alise as to why they are mystified when they approach the Samadhi. It is amazing! They are bewildered when they touch the Samadhi because the force that is working all around demolishes their so-called religious sen­timents, shatters the emotions clamouring towards the heavens and puts them before a Reality that they do not understand. They are astounded by this extraordinary phenomenon of the Truth that manifests there. Those who are open are touched, and they return to recharge themselves and to imbibe in their being, this Peace that is in the atmosphere. His presence is so concrete and so living — like a conscious Immensity that dominates and charges this atmosphere. I see how it seems to float in evanescent lights and colours, a beauty of unseizable delight, a spirit of purity and an elusive presence, though unsubstantial yet nearly material, carrying a sweetness unknown to the world. It seems to me that a heart that is one-pointed, aspiring ardently for the Divine, if it stands before the Samadhi and desires nothing but His beatitude, will be transported into a region of delight much better and higher than the ecstasy experienced by the all- powerful heavens or that the earth has ever known.

His devotees and those who aspire — truly aspire to unite their con­sciousness with Sri Aurobindo who dominates this place with His formi­dable presence — find the grandeur of His majestic presence, as concrete as you see me now. And those who wish to communicate with Him find His invariable answer. He is there — all-puissant with all His power and He presides over the New Creation from behind the veil with a sustained insistence and an unbelievable patience, but determined, as is His mode of action, gaining victories one after another, first to change the conscious­ness of humanity and then to transform it in all its dimensions, knowing well that these resistances and these momentary falls prepare humanity to overcome the obstacles before it, and guiding its mode of action and its attitude by a global movement in the peace of His light. And, above all, this is based on spirituality and not on those so called pseudo-religious movements whose essence is fanaticism, war and unnecessary quarrels. You see the results.… The world is tired of the cruelties of men, — blood flows and violence predominates, we have never seen such terrible dev­astations. Men have become beasts, even worse than beasts!

… So long as man does not try to change his consciousness … it is an unsurmountable impasse. No one, neither man, nor individuals en­dowed with extraordinary faculties can do anything or bridge the chasm between the Divine and the adverse forces. It is ignorance which has pushed man into this state.

But do not worry. One who has been given the charge, One who is responsible, works to bring man towards the frontiers of a New World; He uproots the difficulties and the obstacles incessantly, guiding man towards a luminous future. He alone can cure this malady, because he is the Master of our existence. Have confidence and all will be all right. This is perhaps the lowest point that man has reached in the spiral of evolu­tion, in the vicissitudes of his terrestrial existence. But soon, we shall see the light — the hope of a great change — the certitude of His presence which alone can bring down and establish the kingdom of the Divine upon earth.    

Blessings of the Grace: 121-124

Now of course the seed has grown into a tree with its branches bearing beautiful flowers and fruits all over the world. The seeds of Light released by Them have taken roots further into many an individual and blossoming into plants and trees of the future like the big Banayan tree that sends its roots down into the soil for many more trunks to grow. Yet it is here that one finds the sacred soil, the piece of earth that gave itself to the Divine Work. The soil must have had this aspiration for long. We are told by competent authorities including Nolini da that this place that we know today as Pondicherry was known in far back ancient times as Vedapuri. It was the seat of tapasya of Rishi Agastya and his consort Lopamudra who were engaged in a similar tapasya of bringing the light of higher consciousness into the subconscient caves. Stories attributed to Rishi Agastya include one of drinking the ocean waters to break open the (subconscient) caves of the panis (the Asuric beings) so that they may be exposed to the Light and Flashing thunderbolt of Indra, the God of gods (in the Vedic Age and not the later Indra of the Puranas). It is believed that the Mother once, pointing to the area that we know today as the Samadhi of the twin Avatars, said that this is where the yajna vedi of Rishi Agastya was located. Like Sri Aurobindo he too had come southwards crossing the Vindhyas to balance the energies of tapasya released by the Himalayan sages and thereby recreated the Ganges releasing its waters into the river Cauvery also known as Dakshin Ganga. In a similar vein, we see Sri Aurobindo releasing the Ganges of the New Creation, the Supramental Consciousness that is beginning to redeem earth and mankind that has gone wayward like the children of Saagar. The Samadhi is such a Gangotri of the New Age where the centre and power of a New Life have been released and continues to be released ceaselessly flowing far and wide into every part of the world. His body bore the first impact like the locks of Shiva on the 05th December 1950 before it was released for all earth on the 29th February 1956. The story of Ganga is at once a symbol and an allegory. While on earth it flows from Gangotri (the Himalayan glacier from where the Ganges starts its course) to the sea (Saagar) because of which the sea derives its name and is also regarded as one form of the river itself. But the original Ganges was released from the feet of the Lord and his heart where she originated in the finest godwards emotions that arose in the Great Preserver of the worlds. This new ganga too, the Supramental Ganges is found wherever the Feet of the twin Avatars have trod and finally settled, here in Pondicherry as also it is found in every heart that rises in the sublimest of emotions in a gesture of self-giving to the Divine and His Work. The world is the sea to which it flows endlessly continuing its perennial work of purifying and transforming mankind.

 

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