Brahmasrii Dr K C Varadachari
In ancient times of the confessor, the priest or the Guru is known to have the powers of reading the minds or its flow of impressions and as such one could not even try to hide or repress one’s overt feelings. Indeed the real cause of fear of the Guru in most cases is this awareness of his omniscient gaze that penetrates the core of one’s conscious as well as unconscious life. This may be called thought-reading, it is not simply that it sees through the very nature of subconscious and the unconscious as they seem to intermingle and confuse the conscious. Once this inhibition by the conscious is removed the
subconscious begins to freely express itself and in and through it the unconscious liberated gives up its tensions. A visit to the Guru is a liberating experience and when this is not done one gets a kind of feeling of not having the santi for which one went to him. The realization that not all pundits and scholars or practicants are of this caliber is also known. They are a bundle of inhibitors themselves and do not get deeper into the hearts of men – though they are generous in themselves. The choice of a psychiatrist is as much an important factor as the choice of gurus – not all can be successful in this art of removing inhibitions in confession or association. There is a sensitivity, which cannot be known at all in the person who seeks to be freed from his tensions or complexes, which gauges the confessor or psychiatrist and rejects him or accepts him. It is this sensitivity that determines the success of the psychiatrist or the Guru. Any defect in morality or seriousness or cupidity or any other defect would definitely undermine the confidence and the Guru (his modern counterpart the psychiatrist) falls in the estimation.
The important factor in Religious institutions is that the Guru must be of the ideal type, not merely one striving after an ideal – and as far from it as possible. It is usual for some to say that an ideal realized is no longer an ideal-yes, an unrealizable ideal is not ideal at all. This fact seems to have been missed by the idealists as a rule-especially British idealism suffers from this self-contradiction. This can be a ruinous disposition in any religious Guru or psychiatrist or any other. The Guru is no substitute for the psychiatrist but he does something that the latter can never do. The Guru is one who by his transcendental contact is able to stir the lowest levels of consciousness of the patient and thereafter regulate its free movement into the higher levels even as he makes the highest levels flow freely downwards to release the tension of all the three organic levels. This restoration of psychic energies – What is called homeo-stasis by psychologists in the little balances of tensions or forces built up within the psycho-physical system is the work of a Master of the psycho-physical system, is the work of a Master of the psychic and spiritual integrative processes. It is here that the truly spiritual Guru helps in a larger way
towards santi (peace). This is lasting peace and not capable of being disturbed by the next onslaught. Temporary restorations are all that psychiatrist tinkering can do.
This is not to hold the view that religious institution of the Guru is not abused. We are not concerned with the professional misuse of all sciences and arts. The craftiness of man overtakes all crafts and makes man pessimistic about men. This is as much a modern danger as it was in ancient times but only much greater.
True religious transformation demands one’s going beyond the objectifications of religious ideas and techniques. The tendency of all institutions to live for themselves and not for the purpose for which they were devised is a psychological fact or law which one should not be blind to.
True spiritual peace is possible only through spiritual freedom. This peace is something incommunicable. It is something not only felt within the individual heart but also by those who live with such as
have attained it. Men gather round such a person for their own peace. The gentle vibrations that flow into the heart of all are not like the turbulent vibrations that arise in the hearts of lovers and others, it is that which reduces these to the condition of equipoise (samatva). One begins to discern the oneness in all, absence of non-equality in all and one rests in this as the basis of one’s reality. One begins to exist in oneself truly and in all. A true cosmic awareness is available to such a person.
Thus the renunciation of the conflicts both within and without engendered by objective dependence and organic stimulations is transcended and real spiritual vision dominates that life which is beyond all this life. This transformative dynamism of true Spiritual Guidance is not only the necessity for man, it is also far beyond the grasp of the pure psychologist resting on his physical and mechanical techniques suitable for discovering his statistical laws and so on. As it was pointed out in that work called PSYCHE by Peter Hourke no psychological laboratory could find out his extraordinary faculty of predictive visions and so on. The exploration into Siddhis is not the province of this
paper. All of them are within the competence of a mind that has opened up the activities of Cosmic minds. However there are others who hold that all that is imaginative projections, but they are nonetheless phenomena we can ill afford to dismiss in so far as they could be reproduced and affect large masses of people, even like the created illusory effects in the cinema and their capacity to modify or distort young minds and this whilst satisfying the subconscious and unconscious cravings of frustrated minds. Religion protests against this aspect at modern distortions by amateur and immature creative artists and libido-mongers.
Psychology can gain a lot of impetus from a study of Religious and spiritual phenomena-and these are more likely to be found in books of the highest caliber and from the Saints. Modern sainthood is not immune from some of the drawbacks of modern knowledge. We are however clear that Upanishads and the great scriptures can directly help to throw light. Jung has shown a right perspective approach to this problem (of. Psychological Types where he has tried to interpret Vedic passages).
The general laws of psychology in religion are modified in the context of a different layer or level of consciousness. The physiological counterpart of this area in the human organism has not yet been awakened in most and it plays only the unconscious role-that is to say one is not able to locate or determine it. Ancients in the West located this in the Pineal gland. But in India it has been located in the Cerebellum (Sri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur).
The spiritual activity is in the form of vibrations and these have any number of modifications and grossening in the physiological system. The psychic or psychonic system (Bousfield’s term) has to be recognized as the field of operations of the Extrasensory and Astral Vision and audition and recognition. It is this most causal field that reveals activities in progress long before their physical occurrence that is worked upon by the Spiritual Genius or Guru. This too he is permitted to do for the transformation of the individual so that he can grow into a healthy and transcendental being in due course. Such a one is cured of his complexes and repressions and
conflicts, and all such tendencies as the inordinate Will to Pleasure, to Power, to Life and to Die.
The transcendence ultimately from the astral being of the individual to the spiritual releases him from the binding nature of all these life-phenomena and mind-phenomena and makes him realise himself as the spirit that is harmony and freedom for which we yearn in our depths, to which we turn as to a haven, and to which we endeavour to return even through death or suicide in our moments of greatest distress and conflict and inadaptability. The Spiritual Realisation is not had through this physical death as such but through a significant knowledge that liberates one truly and not only temporarily by suspending the physical body from existence. The astral and the unconscious bodies are casual bodies which yearn to create new bodies for enjoyment and fulfillment. The transcendence of the causal is the condition of perfect peace and freedom even in the causal and the physical. This is the promise of the Upanisads and the Yogis of India.
The mere study of the darsanas where in the terms and manas buddhi and ahamkara are analysed
and expounded leaves much to be desired. The Philosophic understanding of these terms is very abstract and concreteness is sacrificed for the purposes of an abstract theory.
For example, the placing of buddhi (or mahan) above ahamkara means that ahamkara is a derivative from mahan or buddhi. This may be very good as a kind of anticipatory Kantianism in epistemology-the subject is a product of experience rather than its cause or its possibility. The object implies a subject but is recognized as subject only after the experience of the object. This is precisely what Indian Samkhya holds. But this almost means to explain that individual creation or the individual bodies are products of “I-awareness’ (ahamkara or I-Products) and this individuation is said to start only after the universal prakriti (Nature) has come to take pose of Mahan (vastness ) or an intellection that is yet unindividuated. The order theory of the Bhagavad Gita and perhaps of Earlier Samkhya (theistic), is that individuation is earlier (I-product ahamkara) is the first formation of the nature and the intellection (buddhi) or mahan, because of its becoming poised for further manifestation as the foetus, organs
and so on both subtle and gross, is the result of the earlier ego formation. This is a distinct point of psychological experience to explain. Do intellection and individuation maintain a relationship of cause and effect; which precedes which?
So too the point of enquiry makes us ask the question whether activity produces organs or organs produce activities? And are not activities equally as much as cognivities sources of knowledge? Could we separate the two functions which are in integral relationship between themselves in the organism and claim that only one set produces the knowledge and the other hardly does so and is in fact is an interference to knowledge? These questions have hardly been seriously noted by theoretical darsanikas without any direct inspection of experimental data. Religious Experience both in its interiority as well as in its objectivity tries to bridge the gulf that intellectual and abstract philosophies raise.
What is needed is a sound religious sensibility seeking to fathom the depths of the individual consciousness in all its levels so as to provide the main
challenge to the self-the attainment of inward smrti or pratyabhijna that liberates from his privativeness and insularity and dialectical conflict with all, and facilitates the expression of freedom that is the love of God”
RELIGION AND THE MODERN WORLD
Religion has indeed become a point of discussion nowadays. The interest in it has of course proceeded out of curiosity. Even the savants of religion betray a curiosity-impulse in the forms of religion. They have conceded that it is a social phenomenon, socially useful for coherence and cooperation and unity, rather than a phenomenon that urges man to a different relationship with reality other than the social or the economic or individual freedom from wants and fears. Natural Religion almost divided its interest between the social and individual realization of the sense of holiness in life. All life is holy, because the whole is valuable for itself. The other interest that had dominated the religious philosopher has been the cultivation of a sense of harmony and happiness in all persons because of their being inheritors of the spiritual life of God assumed as the creator and father of all. It was
held to be useful as a restraining influence on the pugnacious and marauding spirit of man and both the ruler and the ruled found in religion and God their security. There has however in modern times grown a sense of futility of the ancient superstitions of religion thanks to the so called advance of scientific techniques. Religion and science have arrayed themselves against each other and science has now become the modern religion which commands awe and reverence. Science halls, rather than churches, nowadays are holy places. Such a transformation of the situation has its own lessons to offer. Firstly, it is increasingly being realized that real understanding of reality demands the cooperation of knowledge, competent if possible, verifiable, and useful to life. Religion if it is based on belief that relies on no such cooperation of the inner demands for knowledge, not exactly logical, cannot instil faith. Faith is not a matter of the head it is sure, but it is not void of head either. The cumulative effect of modern knowledge would certainly win men to the understanding of the need for a different approach to Reality than the sensory empirical and the economic hedonistic.
Secondly, men have to cast off the fear that religion is an opium, a drug that religious addicts more and more need only to make them more and more imbecile. The fear of this drug, so well expressed by Marx and the materialists, is a real fear. The release it offers is said to entail an illusory freedom but it is an escape-phenomenon. When men cannot think they seek refuge in religion.
Thirdly, we have modern substitutes for religion, may be they hardly improve upon religion. Educational institutions, humanistic hedonistic organizations have been able to harness the creative sympathies of man and women, even as in early times religion harnessed them. The nearness of the ideals and the goals fixed by modern plans give a concrete object for fulfillment within a limited and prescribed time, unlike religions which more and more have begun to feel that they are just idealisms which never can arrive at their goals. Concern for post-life is not a matter of the moment and preparation for it is deemed to be the job for an idler, or misfit.
But all these are criticisms have been growing in volume and intensity during the past two or three centuries. The said period can be said to be the period of transition to secular knowledge. The knowledge of the world we live in is paramount over the knowledge of the other-world, the life here is more important than the life in the next, and it is clear that we can understand this world surely and more correctly thanks to our capacity to devise instruments of observation and experimentation. To say that the known world is inexplicable is unwarranted and has been shown to be just nonsense. Science has given the lie to this illusionistic superstition. Philosophy also has changed its master, science has become its guide in matters physical and psychical, and religion has been abandoned as irrational belief. Morals even have become scientific and laws of morals have been framed with the sole object of proving that happiness is what all desire and seek to promote, whatever this happiness may be, whether all inclusive or otherwise hierarchically arranged according to intensity or extensity and altruism or universalism.
Such is the condition of religion which has become in its forms the bane of life, with its clash of tenets and dogmas and myths that man has just claimed to be above them by abandoning them. This at least was fundamentally true of the earlier period namely first half of the twentieth century. Rationalism and Empiricism joined hands against the religious Moloch. But during this period we have had very important seers who work from within, throwing up all the hidden fears and diseases even as the homeopathic drug is said to do. The work they did has begun to bear fruit. More and more men, though struck by the remarkable advances of science and happiness among men, have begun to see that it is one thing when all things are done by secular persons and quite a different thing when done by spiritual men. Not mere disinterestedness alone but dedication and direction are the cardinal principles. The happiness that scientific advance provides, is physical, economic and hedonistic; it hardly touches the core of man’s being; the direction of man’s life is for a larger comprehension of his own truth, his facts of freedom from larger fears. It is true that thanks to the advance in medical science
we are in a position to increase the longevity of men, decrease the death rates, abolish previously incurable diseases and liquidate all types of threats to life. The amazing success of medicine is one which has been achieved through science without superstition. Religion is now becoming more interested in winning clients through such service, doing what the scientists had been doing all along, The idea of course of service of the suffering is quasi religious though very early in the history of religion it played an important role. The priest and the medicine man were one and the same for a community. Healing through religion however is of a different order, but slowly the naturalistic medicine displaced the super naturalistic or the religious power. Christianity and Buddhism were always devoted to the service of the poor suffering. Cure of the suffering of soul however has been paramount in all religions and herein we can see a broad division of religions which saw to the care of the soul’s suffering, not to be identified with its physical suffering, and those which catered to the alleviation of the physical as a means to the further alleviation of the spiritual or physical.
It is surely a stooping to conquer when the attention of religion directed more to the physical suffering rather than the spiritual. Men are at any rate materialistically minded for the pain of the body is what incapacities a man from doing anything. It has become a modern truism to affirm that life must first be before it is enfranchised. The Spiritual can wait but the physical cannot. Secure happiness for the body, then the spiritual will follow. Indeed one need not worry about the spiritual. The theory of mutual contradiction between the spiritual and the material has been given up. Somehow men have come to believe that they can have the best of both worlds. The theory of niskama karma so thoroughly attenuated by the modern theory of disinterested humanism has provided for the hope of the best of both worlds, spiritual and material, here and now. The result has been the world of post-life has been of no concern at all. The two worlds previously referred to the iha and para, here and beyond, but they refer to the harmony of the spiritual and the material life of each and every individual.
But it must be clear to all those who have endured so much and thought much that the picture of reality today is rather somber, too somber indeed for our likes. Human societies suffer from some ineradicable diseases as human individuals do. The distempers of society are much more difficult to eradicate and demand quite different approaches. It has been realized that all isms, racialism, communalism, religionisms, capitalism and communisms etc. are all signs of collective disease. No doubt thanks to the two world wars we are becoming aware of the presence of these as viruses and diseases, for men probably have not forgotten that these have been considered to be virtues which have to be cultivated in a civilized society If caste much less legitimately becomes a target of criticisms, is it not surprising that today men hug to these isms with fanatical zeal? Is it not also a fact that social irrationality has become a danger and has risen to pathological proportions? A larger isms is much less commendable when in addition it has no justification either in nature or in ultimate reality of spiritual experience.
Our way to peace then will entail a close and clear inspection of the religious life. Not only that it must start with a clearer perspective of what we want for man as a whole.
Let us proceed to re-evaluate our religious thought and life. Men have of late shewn greater interest in the phenomena of personal realization rather than collective superstition. Men have taken to the path of personal exploration. Unfortunately it does not happen to these persons even to think whether they are equipped for the task. Short cuts have been proposed and have indeed been availed of. But they have not been sufficient to give results. Men have been flitting from one teacher to another. Almost a new ‘Heno-guruism’ has come into being displacing the ancient ‘henotheism’ graphically described by Max Muller. The path of course is clear to those who have the will to pursue the larger and fuller life of the spirit which transcends the physical and the physical happiness of this life. That it has quite a new claim on man is also clear. This is the inescapable search that one enters into when he enters the religious life. Not humanity but
godhood is the God that demands man’s dedication, for we are discovering that the service of man has always been deteriorating if not digressing from the real goal of human life itself.
Peace sparely we require but it is the peace of the soul in fulfillment that should be the ultimate goal. We hope that the international, inter-communal, inter-racial and inter-caste peace may be real steps towards it. On no other theory than the organic interdependence of all, both in the individual and the collective or communal, can there be an abiding peace, which is recognized and pursued as such. This is the true morality on which a rich and true spiritual life can erect itself. Without moral fitness neither sacrifice nor service of humanity can survive for long.
HINDUSIM is quite clear about these in its conceptions. Truth, Knowledge and Peace (Ananda) are the ultimate values of life, these are the substance and Being and the true participation in them is attainment and perfection and realization. This is the GOD or Brahman whom all describe variously.
THE NEW EVOLUTION
Sri Aurobindo is significant to the world today. This is not to say that others are not equally significant but it is in a quite unique sense that Sri Aurobindo is significant. It is undoubtedly his superior powers of perception of the world’s need that marks him out as an outstanding personality. He has not the advantage that others who have been in the fray of things have had. He was not either a statesman or a politician or a General who easily steps into the role of a Nation Builder. He had not been a professional philosopher or psychologist and sociologist, not even a “poet”. His mould by and large is different and the direction of his life had been seriously upward and evolutionary. That the theory of evolution affected him deeply and moulded his yearning for higher than human evolution is true but what he did of it is something quite
marvellous. He worked out the implications of the need for higher evolution, not merely as an individual effort but as a cosmic effort or nisus that is inevitable and divinely ordained. Man has come to the end of his journey: the next step is to pass over to divine evolution, an evolution that is inspired by divine knowledge and sovereign delight and beauty and love. No longer has man to hug to the principle of compassion or kindliness and generosity in all affairs, for this leads to the impotent love of all and no more. Love of man is good not for its own sake, but all that modern humanism teaches is just this and no more. What is man’s destiny or his ideal: service of man as he is, or is it for the higher evolution of man – a clarion call to a higher and richer and fuller life in the Universal Divine? Service then is for the higher movement. Surely Milton might be right when he said that ‘They also serve who only stand and wait’, for is it not true that our humanistic service of man has led to many odious results and has perhaps paved the way of a great relentless destruction of man himself. Science yoked to human comfort or needs has plunged man into
the abyss of irretrievable fear and gloom – a paradoxical comfortable gloom.
There is in man, as the – Upanishads have stated, a greater than man – the empirical man of the world, the human ego – the Self that is to be chosen and followed and realized. The fulfillment of this Self is the real ideal of man – his rationale for existence and enjoyment. The discovery of this Supreme Self is about the most important for man, and it is this discovery that is the hope opened for man’s fulfillment and completion. Service that tends to lead man to this ideal and realization of it is real service - all other service is perhaps instrumental towards it; perhaps necessary perhaps not.
The second important factor that Sri Aurobindo has emphasized is that the meaninglessness of life taught by Mayavada is not a correct view. That it is meaningless to an ignorant or less than intelligent consciousness may be accepted, but in the Ultimate Reality conceived as all intelligence and bliss there can hardly be anything that is meaningless. All is significant, evolution, descent into it and ascent towards
the fullest manifestation of all the potentialities of the Infinite, all the objectification of the Infinite. In one word ‘Lila’ is the fullest expression, manifestation, perfection of the Divine not its imperfection, degradation; it is not the entropy that is tending towards the maximum: on the contrary it is the extropy that is tending towards the maximum in evolution. The spiritual evolution thus is in one sense moving opposite in direction to the material process of Nature. For indeed it is true that the physical and psychical belong to the order of Nature and matter, whereas the free Spirit moves towards the higher limits of its own infinite being and in the process modifies the entire processes of Nature itself. It is precisely the demands of spirit more easily than to the efforts of mechanics and matter. The perfection of the world or creation is the goal of the Divine Intelligence. The conception of the world as an imperfection or a fall or illusory manifestation or of ignorance stumbling to wards doom is not the real meaning of existence. This dynamic conception of Reality is a kind of perfectionism and is in contrast to the various other conceptions of the same. Philosophers no less than poets have built round this world the aura of imperfection and darkness
and escapism or renunciation of the world and its work the ethics of existence. Sri Aurobindo on the other hand rejects all such melancholy views or tragic conceptions and holds that the Divine is Good and Perfect and all that Divine does is good and perfect. All is verily of Brahman, not this inversion or perversion (vivarta).
Sri Aurobindo has by his integral theory of Reality revealed that it is wrong to reject as valueless the world of manifestation though it appears to the ignorant as meaningless nor reject as equally valueless the world of Reality for both together from one Reality; both are integrally based on Ananda and both verily are of the very stuff of Consciousness. Intelligence, though the one is of concealed or veiled intelligence and consciousness and the other is the Absolute. To realize that they are one reality and not two is the real Monism, Advaita that is integral. Even so is the relation between the One and the many - both are real and both are necessary for each other but it is the truth of integral being to feel that they are simultaneously real and have to be real to each other. Earlier thinkers counselled the acceptance of the one and the rejection
of the other or the many or else they subordinated the many to the One either ontologically or organically. Sri Aurobindo found that they are necessary to one another in a more basic manner, for they form One – a Unity in every sense. The world has argued that theoretical knowledge (tattva-jnana) is more important that hita-jnana or practical knowledge, and has from beginningless time held that the latter is avidya or ignorance whilst the former is knowledge. Sri Aurobindo found that this conception of the relationship between Tattva and Hita or theoretical and practical knowledge is one-sided and it requires the basic requirements of devotion and dedication to know the Ultimate. It is in devotion that both meet and become capable of helping the ultimate realization. So an integral knowledge includes the karma as well as devotion and is really based on the requirements of devotion that is absolute and unconditional. Such an unconditional devotion is Surrender. But surrender means a kind of helpless resignation, as in War or contests or duals. Such Surrender to God or Master may mean only that one is helpless and suffers from impotency. It has not intention of rising with the help of
the Master. At best it is repentance for the follies and sins that one has committed. A deep feeling of sin pervades the surrenderer. The falling at the feet of a Master or Guru or God (Prapat) is therefore not enough. What is necessary is the spirit of offering one-self (as Sri Krishna has stated “Pranipatena Pariprashnena Sevaya”) for the supreme service of being transformed or transmuted to be the servant of God-becoming a Brahmabhuta. Such a divinization is possible not to self-surrender but to self-offering alone. It is this need that Sri Aurobindo pointed out with luminous clarity as the primary need in divine evolution.
A mighty experiment in Divine Evolution is on foot today. The world is in the throes of a New Birth. The gnostic goal is the transformation of the earth-consciousness into the vehicle of Divine consciousness. Man has to be surpassed if mankind has to serve this purpose. Man is on the shores of a new consciousness. His psychic change is already underway. His physical changes are being ushered in by new atomic forces unleashed by man himself. A spiritual descent has indeed used and is using the forces of material nature itself for its transcendental
purpose. How it works and through whom it is for the world itself to know. But the luminous figures of this epoch in history are undoubtedly Sri Aurobindo and his collaborator the Mother. A spiritual change subtly but inexorably brings about the psychic change, which, in turn, will affect the physical and vital and the mental simultaneously or successively, and the world will breathe a different air. Man lives for this triumph of man consciously and deliberately over all that ignorance has nourished for his mental, vital and physical preservation. Sri Aurobindo has announced the next step not as an ideal to be realized but as a fact that can be noted.
Sri Aurobindo is a practical mystic but does not end up in what passes for mysticism or mystic idealism amongst us. It appears that mysticism is to be defined as that elusive indefinable experience of Monistic Oneness in which all melt away into nothingness or non-experience. Such is not the integral view. It is well known that the real mystic deals with the entire world as it is real and true within which all values, the very ultimate values, can be realized. The ancient Rishis of India were practical mystics who saw the Ultimate
every where and full (purna). Sri Aurobindo has discovered that whilst there ware certain strains in them which emphasized the contemplative life and thus led by subtle valuations to the devaluation of all manifested life and action, there were others which promise that future of a perfect and full life here and now. Thus it is not only Christianity that promised the Kingdom of God on Earth as it is in Heaven, it is the earlier Vision of the Vedic Rishi that equally emphatically announced this possibility the reign of Rtam Satyam Brahat. Yoga is the path and the way of ascent but the cooperation of the two partners-God and Man-and even Mother Nature – is an absolute necessity.
Om Tat Sat