Guiding Light of The Month

O Lord, how ardently do I call and implore Thy love! Grant that my aspiration may be intense enough to awaken the same aspiration everywhere: oh, may good- ness, justice and peace reign as supreme masters, may ignorant egoism be overcome, darkness be suddenly illu- minated by Thy pure Light; may the blind see, the deaf hear, may Thy law be proclaimed in every place and, in a constantly progressive union, in an ever more perfect harmony, may all, like one single being, stretch out their arms towards Thee to identify themselves with Thee and manifest Thee upon earth. - The Mother

A single lamp lit in perfection’s house

All her life’s turns led her to symbol doors
Admitting to secret Powers that were her kin;
Adept of truth, initiate of bliss,
A mystic acolyte trained in Nature’
s school,
Aware of the marvel of created things
She laid the secrecies of her heart’
s deep muse
Upon the altar of the Wonderful;
Her hours were ritual in a timeless fane;
Her acts became gestures of sacrifice.
When she was about twelve, Mirra used to go for solitary walks in the woods at Fontainebleau, and she would often sit for hours at the foot of a tree losing herself in communion with Nature. It was a singular concatenation, the ardent young girl self-absorbed in the infinitudes, and the silent ageless tree with the imperious woods around: quite an equation of the mathematics of the Spirit! The very birds and squirrels made friends with her, and would often perch on her, or crawl lovingly over her. And, indeed, Mirra felt perfectly at peace there in the bosom of Nature, and experienced a sense of identity. Some of the trees at Fontainebleau were supposed to be quite ancient – perhaps two thousand years old or more ­ and it was as though Mirra had captivated the heart of primordial Nature. The trees almost seemed to understand her, and whisper in a familiar language to her. The spirit of a tree had once become aware of the talk of cutting it down, and when Mirra went to sit under it began soliciting her to somehow save it from the threatened destruction. In later life she intervened in several cases and succeeded in staying the murderous axe. Her companionship with Nature was thus no pose, no mere figure of speech, but a deep commitment flowing from a sense of spiritual oneness with all life, all Nature.

On one occasion, however, as Mirra was climbing a hill in the Fontainebleau woods, her foot slipped, and she started falling down. Would she hit the flint stones below? She was unafraid all the same, and she felt as though Somebody was supporting her during her seemingly precipitate fall, and she safely reached the ground as though nothing had happened, as though she had but leisurely walked down the hill.

From the age of twelve, Mirra started doing what we might term Yoga, and her deep interest in occultism also sprouted at about the same time. Doing Yoga meant aspiring steadily for union with the Divine, and this led to the recurrence of certain dreams, visions, and even realisations. She read, and she pondered, and she had long meditative sessions.

These comrade selves to raise to her own wide breadths
Her heart desired and filled with her own power
That a diviner Force might enter life,
A breath of Godhead greaten human time.

Between her eighteenth and twentieth years, Mirra was able to achieve “a conscious and constant union with the divine Presence” and for effecting this communion she had neither Guru nor Book to guide her. In other words, with unerring intuition and a compulsive psychic movement Mirra had been able to reach the heart of the great mystery: her own secret Self which was at once the best Shastra and the sanctuary of the ultimate Guru. While describing the instruments of Yoga-Siddhi, Sri Aurobindo says in The Synthesis of Yoga:
The supreme Shastra of the integral Yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every thinking and living being ….
As the supreme Shastra of the integral Yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every man, so its supreme Guide and Teacher is the inner Guide, the World-Teacher, jagad-guru, secret within us. It is he who destroys our darkness by the resplendent light of his knowledge …. He discloses progressively in us his own nature of freedom, bliss, love, power, immortal being.

But of course, ordinarily the written or received Shastra, “the Word from without, representative of the Divine,” does help the psychic efflorescence. Where the self-unfolding has already taken place, as with Mirra in the first flash of her flowering womanhood, subsequent access to a received Shastra or an external Guru could be, “as it were, a concession of the omnipotent and omniscient Divine to the generality of a law that governs Nature”.

This was how Mirra began reading Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga and later, more important still, poring over the Bhagavad Gita. She found Vivekananda’s lectures illuminating, and it seemed a marvel that somebody could explain something to her so clearly. Then an Indian* introduced her to the Bhagavad Gita and said, “Read the Gita, and take Krishna as the symbol of the immanent God, the inner Godhead.” And in one month, even though she had access only to a poor French translation, she was able to enter into its spirit and find the immanent Divine, the God within.

Thus was it for a while with Savitri,
All worshipped marvellingly, none dared to claim.
Her mind sat high pouring its golden beams,
Her heart was a crowded temple of delight.
A single lamp lit in perfection’s house,
A bright pure image in a priestless shrine,
Midst those encircling lives her spirit dwelt,
Apart in herself until her hour of fate.

Mirra’s manifesto for the future, a matter of hardly three pages, and originally given in two instalments, although rather too analytical in appearance and even repetitive in part, is nevertheless a remarkably comprehensive enunciation of the ends and means before modern man “who needs must choose between the abyss of imminent destruction and the steep and narrow golden path of endless possibility. Early in her life, certain dreams and visions had come to her with a persistent frequency, certain avenues had seemed to open up, whose materialisation or fulfilment was to be promoted during the wide expanse of her later life.

She had already come across several people with a high aspiration and a keen urge to move towards new horizons, but the tiresome struggle for existence was wearing them down. Although very young at the time, Mirra had wanted to create a little sheltered world where such sincere aspirants would be freed from the exhausting preoccupations of earning and spending, but assured of the material necessities of life – food, clothing, shelter – so that they could turn towards the higher life.

And in her middle age she was actually to be in a position to organise such a community life for a large group of spiritual aspirants. Thus, in the wider background ‘of the inspiring epic of her divine ministry and manifestation, this 1912 manifesto has a key place, like the corner-stone of a magnificent edifice.

(On The Mother, K.R.Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

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