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

His single being excels the works of Time

Paul Richard arrived in Pondicherry in mid-April 1910. He was of course busy with politics - for that was the ostensible reason for his coming - but he also kept in the forefront his inner quest, and in fact he was more at home with intellectuals and students of spiritual philosophy than with politicians and electioneering strategists. Soon after his arrival, Richard made inquiries: was there any great spiritual adept at Pondicherry? People shook their heads at first, for in those days Pondicherry was little more than "a dead city .... It was like a backwater of the sea, a stagnant pool by the shore"; it was even akin to a "cemetery ... infested by ghosts and Goblins". An adept, a realised saint, a yogi - at Pondicherry? Knowing people raised their eyebrows, but at last one of Richard's friends suddenly remembered. Quite recently, a yogi from North India - a yogi doubled with a fiery patriot - had taken political asylum there, and perhaps he would serve M. Richard's purpose! Accordingly, Zir Naidu agreed to fix up an appointment, and thus it was that Paul Richard met Sri Aurobindo, who had as yet no home of his own and was staying as a guest in Calve Shankar Chetty's house. He was in near total seclusion too, and few strangers were permitted to see him. Richard was one of the rare exceptions, and this game of Destiny was fraught with consequences which nobody could foresee at the time.

Their talks ranged over a wide spectrum, from French-Indian politics to the probable future of mankind, and Sri Aurobindo learnt about Mirra, of her small group of seekers who met weekly in her room, of her occult and spiritual experiences, and of her dedicated ministry in the service of the Future. It was believed, we have said, that Mirra had given Richard several questions to be solved, including the significance of the symbol of the Cosmic Movement. What is especially significant is that the same symbol, with certain geometric modifications and the lotus drawn in outline diagrammatically, was to become Sri Aurobindo's own symbol of mystic knowledge and yogic action.

We may also conceive the lotus as standing for the opening of the human Consciousness to the Divine: the bud of aspiration receives the warmth of the rays of the Sun, and there is the splendour of efflorescence petal by petal, the pointed aspiration from below being met by the answering response from above. Indeed, all the mystique and marvel of Yoga.
Sadhana and Siddhi are embodied in the lotus symbol.

That Sri Aurobindo had made an overwhelming impression on Richard may be inferred from subsequent happenings. Wherever he went, he spoke in superlative terms of the Indian Yogi. Writing of "The Sons of Heaven", Richard said that they were of all religions, and indeed they transcended religions:
The religions are the paths below, but they are on the summit; on the summit where all the paths join, where all religions are accomplished, where Heaven becomes one with the earth.
Richard had traversed the earth looking for these "Sons of Heaven", and found them too, especially one "greater than all, a solitary, the Chosen of the future".5 An even less veiled reference to Sri Aurobindo occurred in the course of a speech he made to a Japanese audience:
The hour is coming of great things, of great events, and also of great men, the divine men of Asia. All my life I have sought for them across the world, for all my life I have felt they must exist somewhere in the world, that this world would die if they did not live. For they are its light, its heat, its life. It is in Asia that I found the greatest among them - the leader, the hero of tomorrow. He is a Hindu. His name is Aurobindo Ghose.

There are no qualifications here, and many years later, when Dilip Kumar Roy met him in France and opened up a conversation on Sri Aurobindo, Richard spoke again with the same conviction and vigour of phrasing, and with a more detailed particularity:
I have not met his peer in the whole world. To me he is the Lord Shiva incarnate.... If Aurobindo came out of his seclusion today he would overtop all others as a king of kings. But he has chosen to decline his country's invitation to resume his leadership - a renunciation I look upon as the most convincing proof of his spiritual royalty....

Sri Aurobindo would have risen to the top in any walk of life - as a philosopher, poet, statesman or leader of thought. But he spurned these lures - why? Only because his vocation was to be an instrument of God missioned to fulfil a human destiny which no other master-builder could have achieved.

To the question "What exactly is Sri Aurobindo's ideal?", Richard gave the answer:
It is that Man must not rest content with his humanity, however brilliant or many-splendored. He has to win through to a new vision and follow it up to reach a peak his predecessors never dared to assault. Nietzsche had indeed heard the call- the call to transcend humanity.... But the mistake he made, as Aurobindo has pointed out, is that one who is going to fulfil humanity is not the superman of power but the Superman of Love who expresses his love through power. Love is necessary because when it is absent Man becomes not a god but a titan. But power is also necessary because without its support he can't help but fail to translate his ideal of Love into a real f1ower-fulfillment in the wilderness of life. This is the Call Aurobindo has heard - a call that once heard can be unheard no more. But you cannot hear such a fateful Call till you are chosen by the One on high who leads us on. It is He who has coronated Aurobindo as His Messiah. So march on he must, for harking to His Call has transformed him into what he is today - a herald of the Power that never came down to earth, though it was destined.

(‘On The Mother’, Chapter 4 – “Agenda for Future”, K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry)

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