Guiding Light of The Month

THERE is a great difference between being in the midst of active work, of external action, while keeping one’s thought constantly fixed on Thee, and entering into that perfect union with Thee which leads to what I have called “absolute Consciousness, true Omniscience, Knowledge”. - The Mother

An encounter in sleepy Pondicherry

And Thy reign shall be indeed established upon earth
- The Mother.

On 29th March 1914, a Parisian lady in Pondicherry went around 3 p.m. from the Hotel d’Europe in the Rue Suffren to No. 41 Rue Francois Martin. She was Madame Mirra Richard and she had arrived with her husband, Paul, in the sleepy colonial port that very morning. The Richards had boarded the Japanese ship Kaga Maru in Marseilles three weeks earlier, sailed through the Suez Canal up to Colombo, crossed the Palk Strait, boarded the Boat Mail at Danushkodi and arrived safely at their exotic destination.

Paul Richard was a philosopher and a politician. He had first come to Pondicherry four years earlier in order to support a local candidate during the elections for the Chamber of Deputies in Paris. As a French territory, Pondicherry was entitled to two representatives. Richard, however was also deeply interested in occultism and religion, and his main reason for having travelled to the South Indian town may well have been that he wanted to meet an Indian Yogi. In this he had been extraordinarily lucky, for Aurobindo Ghose, the well-known freedom fighter turned Yogi, had just arrived in Pondicherry, looking for a safe haven from the British authorities who wanted to arrest him, “the most dangerous man in India”, at any cost. Richard had been deeply impressed by Aurobindo Ghose and had told his wife about him. The reason she accompanied Richard on his second visit to Pondicherry may well have been that he wished her to meet Aurobindo Ghose. Richard’s aim was to get himself elected as a Deputy, but in this he would not succeed.

It would be an exaggeration to say that Mirra had been enthusiastic about undertaking the voyage. On 3rd March 1914 she wrote in her diary; “As the day of departure draws near, I enter into a kind of self-communion; I turn with a fond solemnity towards all those thousand little nothings around us which have silently, for so many years, played their role of faithful friends; I thank them gratefully for all the charm they were able to give to the outer side of our life.” This suggests that they planned to stay abroad for a long time. “Then I turn towards the future and my gaze becomes solemn still. What it holds in store for us I do not know nor do I care to know.”

After his first visit to Pondicherry, Paul Richard had brought back a photograph of Aurobindo Ghose and she, despite her advanced occult capacities, had seen only the politician in him.

Therefore, while walking the mile or so from her hotel to the house where Ghose was living with a few companions, all of the Bengali revolutionaries, Madame Richard perhaps had mixed expectations. Paul had already gone out to greet Aurobindo Ghose immediately upon their arrival in the morning; on the occasion of her first meeting with the unknown Indian, Mirra had wanted to see him alone. Expecting nothing, she had nevertheless prepared everything - as we know from her later conversations - and may have been mulling over some thoroughly considered questions in her mind.

There she stood, then, at the bottom of the staircase leading to the first floor, where Aurobindo Ghose was living - and there he stood, at the top; “Exactly my vision! Dressed in 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.” For many years Mirra had been visited and guided in her dreams by several masters, one of whom she named Krishna. This “Krishna” always appeared to her in a dress which she, at the time unfamiliar with the Indian dhoti, could not identify and which she therefore thought to be a “costume worn in visions”. Now he stood there before her in flesh, embodied on earth: Aurobindo Ghose.

The significance of the moment became immediately apparent to her, and we read in her diary entry of the next day: “It matters little that there are thousands of beings plunged in the densest ignorance. He whom we saw yesterday is on earth; his presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, and Thy reign shall indeed be established upon earth.”

The importance of the encounter is also obvious from the following entries

1st April, 1914: I feel we have entered the very heart of Thy sanctuary and grown aware of Thy very will. A great joy, a deep peace reigns in me, and yet all my inner constructions have vanished like a vain dream and I find myself now, before Thy immensity, without a frame or system, like a being not yet individualized. All the past in its external forms seems ridiculously arbitrary to me, and yet I know it was useful in its own time. But now all is changed; a new stage has begun.

3rd April, 1914: It seems to me that I am being born into a new life and all the methods, the habits of the past can no longer be of any use. It seems to me that what I thought were results are nothing more than a preparation. I feel as though I have done nothing yet, as though I have not lived the spiritual life, only entered the path that leads to it, it seems to me that I know nothing, that I am incapable of formulating anything, that all experience is yet to begin..

14th June, 1914: It is veritable work of creation we have to do: to create activities, new modes of being so that this Force, unknown on earth till today, may manifest in its plentitude. To this work I am consecrated, O Lord, for this is what Thou wantest of me. But since Thou hast appointed me for this work, Thou must give me the means, that is the knowledge necessary for its realization. Thou hast made a promise, Thou hast sent into these worlds those who can and that which can fulfill this promise. This now demands Thy integral help so that what has been promised may be realized. In us must take place the union of the two wills and two currents, so that from their contact may spring forth the illuminating spark. And since this must be done, this will be done.

(Georges Van Vrekhem, ‘Overman - The Intermediary Between The Human and The Supramental Being’, Rupa and Co., New Delhi)

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