Guiding Light of The Month

OH, let Light be poured on all the earth and Peace inhabit every heart. . . Almost all know only the material life heavy, inert, conservative, obscure; their vital forces are so tied to this physical form of existence that, even when left to themselves and outside the body, they are still solely occupied with these material contingencies that are yet so harassing and painful. . . - The Mother

Darshan Days at the Ashram – Some reminiscences

August 15th every year is celebrated as one of the Darshan Days at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, August 15thbeing Sri Aurobindo’s birthday. This August, we celebrate Sri Aurobindo’s 141st birth anniversary. The following is an extract from K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar’s book, ‘On The Mother’, and speaks of the experiences of sadhaks, receiving blessings from Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, on DarshanDays at the Ashram.

For the sadhaks and disciples, the Darshan days came to acquire the character of milestones on the great journey to the Supramental Light and Force. There was hope and high expectancy in the air, the small room on the first floor of the Meditation House where the Darshan was to take place came to be decorated with loving care, and for the Ashram they were festive days as also days of fulfilment. "Each Darshan in our life," wrote Sahana Devi, "was an experience, nearly a supra-realisation." From Darshan to Darshan the heart yearned once again for the mystic face, the magic touch, and when another Darshan day dawned over the Ashram, there was a new elation and joy:

It brought to us the golden opportunity to reach out to the unattainable. He (Sri Aurobindo) instilled into us something that no one else could. Thus as the Darshan day approached our minds too, leaned to a self-gathering, with a view to receiving rightly.

And here is Narayan Prasad's remembrance of these regular occasions of benediction and grace:

To each the Master gave a penetrating and gracious look and then blessed him .... In those days the Master's Grace would rain over us like Amitabha Buddha's. As through glass windows the things in a room are visible, so the Master's yogic eye would penetrate our being and read our possibilities. Newcomers would return with a new energy to fight the battle of life.

The Sri Aurobindo-Mother-sadhak relationships in the Ashram acquired a focus and a clarification at the time of the Darshans. Although the sadhak could see the Mother daily, when he saw her on a Darshan day sitting by side of Sri Aurobindo, it was an enriching and revealing moment for him. On one such occasion, in August 1934, Nirodbaran "felt a great dryness", instead of the expected Ananda, Force or Light. On the next Darshan, in November, Nirod thought that it was Shiva he was seeing, and felt Ananda too, and "these happy impressions and recollections were with me vividly for 2 or 3 days. Then I found that all that consciousness has evaporated - and I have passed these days most passively, without any strong aspiration. But I marked that there was no depression." On yet another occasion, while Nirod found Sri Aurobindo "grave and austere", he found the Mother smiling seraphically. But a more vivid index to Nirod's opening and reception is his poem:

A moment's touch - what founts of joy arise
Running through dull grains of my life's dead sands
Like a cool stream where once never was shade!
The finite for this one moment brief drinks
The Infinite.

Kapali Sastry's notes are brief but suggestive. Thus, after the Darshan on the Mother's birthday in 1936: "Sri Aurobindo gave recognition-smile. The Mother was gracious, putting a seal on his blessings." Again, on the same day next year:

“The Mother looked long into me with a very benign smile and blessed me longer while my right cheek rested on her lap. Sri Aurobindo, majestic as usual, but not serious.”

Darshan was always a seminal moment, an act of divine insurance, a moment in time and out of time when something that was truly timeless was sought and won. About the sort of instantaneous effect the Darshan could produce there is this testimony by a visitor:

One look of Sri Aurobindo at a man's heart, and it is conquered. There is a lustre in his eyes that infuses itself into the soul of man and sets it aflame. The flame goes on growing in intensity. He puts into the heart of man the flower-seed of Divine love that is sure to grow.

Such, then, were the gains of the Darshan for the sadhaks, disciples and visitors who filed past Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and received the touch of their palms as the concrete symbol, as the electric currency, of their benedictions. It was certainly worth waiting for weeks, months and (with some) even for years; - but when would they be vouchsafed that grace again?

(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 25, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)

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