Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Salon of Singularity
According to the Wikipedia definition ‘salon’ is a tradition of literary gatherings which began in Renaissance of France and Italy. It reads;
"salon is a gathering of stimulating people of quality under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host, partly to amuse one another and partly to refine their taste and increase their knowledge through conversation and readings, often consciously following Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "to please and educate" (aut delectare aut prodesse est)."
The salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical salons of the 17th century and 18th century, were carried on until quite recently in urban settings among like-minded people of a 'set': many 20th-century salons could be instanced.
The word salon first appears in French in 1664 (from the Italian word sala, used to designate the large reception hall of Italian mansions). Literary gatherings before this were often referred to by using the name of the room in which they occurred, like cabinet, réduit, ruelle and alcôve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salon_%28gathering%29)
However, it was in eighteenth-century Paris that the salon gained prominence for lively intellectual conversation in the fields of arts and letters. The hostesses of these events were typically women of some distinction, whether by title or personal wealth. The meetings were often referred to by the day of the week on which they were held. Topics of conversation ranged from (but were not limited to) matters of literary and social taste and, increasingly, political issues. The Salon conversation was characterized by a blend of wit and oral brilliance. A notable salon hostess of eighteenth-century Paris was Madeleine de Scudéry. Famous for her "Saturdays of Sappho," she recreated salon society in her novels. What is striking about these assemblies is that they were presided over by women, a rare example of female control in a literary realm.
This paper is an expoloration into an imaginary world of the meeting of the minds and souls of some of these famous Vedantans, and some who may never be labeled as such but for this purpose. The venue for this configuration is an informal ‘salon’ style atmosphere, hosted by The Mother of Auroville, the shakti to writer, philosopher and saint Sri Aurobindo. I chose The Mother for this purpose not only because she is French, but for her sharp wit, and conscious intuition. The others I chose to be a part of this gathering are all poets, and philosophers, masters of their craft and beliefs. I chose them because I believe they all hold similar Vedantan perspectives, and yet have all evolved their spiritual belief systems differently, and perhaps independently of each other. I used a combination of direct quotes from their work, and assimilation of their ideas from reading and deducing what they might have said, or added to the conversation.
According to author Hans Torwesten in “Vedanta, Heart of Hinduism,”
Vedanta means; “the end of the vedas” a purely factual reference to the final scripures of Vedantic liturature, namely the Upanishads.” However, this notion is quite vague. One has to ponder if there is a really ‘there there.’ What is the essence of Vedantic though, and how is it that I am able to lump all of these different writers, and philosophers into the same school of pholosophy. Again, Torwesten wrote;
But just as in the eyes of the Christian the New Testament does not merely outwardly conclude the literature of the Bible but also inwardly ‘fulfills’ and transcends all that preceed it, so here too anta means not only “end” but also ‘cumulation’ and ‘going beyond’- not only with respect to the Vedic scriptures but with respect to all that we are capable of knowing. For veda means knowledge, and Vedanta is thus what transcends all (relative) knowledge. (11)
These writers, artists, philosophers that I am envoking have definitely gone beyond their cultural mimes and transcended to a path of ulitmate knowing, a space which one may call ‘Brahman’ Yet what is ironic, is that few of these philosophers I predict will be able to agree on a definition of Brahman. One of the ealiest commentators of the Brhama Sutra, Shamkara, (S`), (788-820 BCE), said to be the incarnation of Shiva, defines Brahman as; “The immediate concsiousness which shines as the self and also through the objects of congition which the self knows.”
Each of these guests who are invited to the salon this day have equally their own depth of knowledge, each have had multiple approaches at arriving at their current theories. Each use different modalities to arrive at their current transcendent belief which makes them masters in all of their own right. Wether is is through Bhakti, or poetry, scholoship, or meditation, through sadhana or activism, all have traveled different paths, and are equally learned. As “Truth cannot contradict reason and experience.” Each of these masters have ascertained their own concept of “Truth”, and this is what makes their interaction so fascinating. Vedanta is not some spiritual outlook, nor is it a closed religion with definend doctrines. Again Torwesten writes, “As far as I am concerned, one may call Vedanta a system; in doing so, however, one should never forget that we are dealing here with a system that in the end cancels itself out.”(12)
Different as these philosophers seem, they are similar in some respects. They all believe in a force bigger than themselves, which they are a part, the innately divine nature of humans, the soul or Atman, and most believe in some form of reincarnation. Most also would agree that the ‘there there’ is nothing. The there is the end of knowledge, and the beginning of pure existance. “The mere intellectual understanding is not enough. The end
of all knowledge is spiritual realisation.”
Begin the Begin
Even in Its universal being Brahman exceedes the Movement. Exceeding time, It contains in Itself past, present, and future simultaneously and has not to run to the end of conceivable time. Exceeding space, It contians all formations in Itself coincidentally and has not to run to the end of conceivable Space. Exceeding Causality, It contains freely in Itself all eventualities as well as all potentialities without being bound by the apparent chain of causality by which they are linked to the universe.
“Welcome friends. What a delightful group that have graced us with their presence for this incredible event if not for our own virtue, but for the acceleration of the supra-mental. It is for our own pleasure that we are guided to further our own growth, but when we collectively integrate our knowledge, or wisdom, it is for the grace of all. So this gathering is one for that good, the good of all. May our words and our work expand out to the planet, expanding the ‘evolution of the earth-consciousness; for its upward ascent is not ended and mind is not its last summit.’ and beyond to the outer limits of wherever it is needed, and encourage others on their paths as well. For those of you who have not yet met each other I will facilitate the discussions for the duration of our time. All of you this embodyiment, she is called The Mother. I will begin with the simple task introductions. To my right is the wandering sauka and poet Lallashvari of Kashmir. Next to her is Jelal al-Din Muhammed, also known as Rumi the sufi poet and teacher from Konya. Continuing in a counter clock wise direction is Sri Ramakrishna Paramahmsa the saint of Kolkatta, known also for his extatic trance and poetry. Next is Ramana Maharishi, or Bhagwan as his disciples call him, from the munis from Tiruvanamali. And finally, the poet, activist, and nature lover from the western continent, Walt Whitman. By the way, Sri Aurobindo is here as well, but not in form, he wants me to convey that he may be participating now and again in our discussion through me. Very good. Welcome one and all, let us begin with a silent meditaion and allign ourselves with our supra-consciousness.” Everyone closed their eyes, and began by sitting in silent meditation. After some time, the room shifted, and it was clear everyone was ready to move on.
Lalla stood up naked and spoke, “I would like to share some of what has come through this mind and body.”
At the end of a crazy-moon night the love God rose.
I said, “It’s me, Lalla.”
The Beloved woke. We became That, and the lake is crystal-clear.7
I do not know myself, nor you, my Lord.
I mistook the body for my identity.
I didn’t know that you are me, and I you,
Yet I still keep wondering who you and I are.8
She paused between poems, and the room remained silent.
Dying and giving birth go on inside the one consciousness,
But most people misunderstand the pure play of creative energy,
How indside that, those are one event.9
There is “You or “I”, no object to contemplate, no contemplation!
Everything is That lost in That.
The blind theologians didn’t understand.
Then they saw, and their seven levels of attainment dissolved to nothing.10
Ramakrisna begins to laugh, and stand up from his seat. My disciples are always asking; “Master, how do you do this? How does one kill the ego? Does anyone know the story of Shankacharya and his disciple?” Some nod, some shake their heads. He continues;
Shankacharya had a certain disciple, who served him long without receiving any teaching. One day, hearing footsteps behind him he asked, ‘Who is there? and was answered by this disciple, ‘It is I.’ Then said the master, ‘If this ‘I’ is so dear to thee, either stretch it to the infinite or renounce it altogether.’11
Laughter then fills the room, rose up and died down to a chuckle. “It is easy to say, and for some impossible to discern.” Ramakrishna said in a fit of chuckles. The Mother asks a question, “To what extent should we concern ourselves with the body, with the “I”?
“The body can help us get beyond the ego.”
Whitman interjects. “Is not nature the same stuff which is what God is made? How can we renounce perfection? That is the heart of duality. I would like to read this part of a poem I wrote that speaks to this very same issue called; “Song of Myself,”
I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God is greater to one than one’s self is…
I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least, nor do understand who there can be more wonderful than myself…
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass,
I find letters form God dropt in the street, and every one is sign’d by God’s name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe’er I go,
Others will punctually come forever and ever… 12
“Just like Lalla, I agree that the flesh is sacred as is Divine. If I believed otherwise I would be of duelist thought.”
“Yes, your flesh is God, as God takes all forms, from stray cat, to a prostitute. She is all, but what is important distinction is that the ego is not God. The ego is maya.” Ramakrishna retorts slowly and with a soft tenor in his voice. “Muddy water cannot reflect the sun.” he adds. Then began staring at the window, with his finger pointed at the glass, drifts off into Samadhi. Everyone’s attention is now wrapt on Ramarishna, as if they had never seen anyone go into Samadhi before. He is standing in the middle of the room with his arm extended, and his finger is pointing at the window. His trance induced an hypnotic quality in the room. (This causes some pause in the conversation).
“I would like to talk about the battle of the ego, or the ‘nufs’ as we call it in Islam, and Sufi tradition.” Rumi begins. “I understand this very much, and have struggled with this very thing. How do we ‘extinguish the nufs’, not by putting out the fire, but by burning it up in the cauldron of the body. I would not go so far to say that our body is … (he points up and around and makes gestures with his hands, referring by body language to Allah), you know what I mean, that is another thing all together, but to use the body to burn out the ego, this is possible. I have experienced this myself. Muhammed Iqbal says; ‘Why should a dervish be concerned about his physical torment, for flames are required to give form to glass.’13 Since the Dervish has a direct connection to Divine Love in spite of whatever hardships are imposed upon the body. The body is ‘like a piece of steel ready to receive the hammer of hardship for the sake of Divine Love.’14 Fasting and prayer are great when they empty the mind and clears it of the fog. But if the prayers and fasting, and the trials on the body don’t show any result, and if they have not brought you closer to the Beloved, then they are useless. ‘This attribution of qualities is only accidental and slaughter the shadow of a goat instead of the goat itself.’15 The Beloved is not to be bought with deeds or intellect. Only by experience can it be known. Only expereince of God is Truth. As I have written,
An eye is meant to see things. The soul is here for its own joy. Legs: to run after. Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind, for learning what men have done and tried to do. Mysteries are not to be solved.
The eye goes blind when it only wants to see why. A lover is always accused of something. But when he finds his love, whatever is lost in the looking comes back completely changed. ..16
“You see friends,” Rumi continues, “we are like fish discussing the possible existance of the sea. All worldy knowledge is transient. We think that this worldly thought belongs to us. When the light of the torch of worldly knowldege is extinguished, then what? Only that knowledge which is derrived from Divine source will never burn out. It is this attachment to ‘dunya’ (ego) which endangers our life.”
Sri Ramana Maharishi, you are noted for your silence, and I understand why, but I would love to invite you into this conversation, perhaps with a poem. The Mother requests. Bagwan, is smiling and sitting on the floor on top of his tiger skin asana, wearing his traditional white longoti. (A little white cloth covering his waist). He pauses, and slowly opens his mouth to begin.
The inner silence is self-surrender. And that is living without the sense of ego. Solitude is in the mind of a man. One might be in the thick of the world and yet maintain perfect serenity of mind; Another might be in the thick of a forest, but still be unable to control his mind. He cannot be said to be in solitude. Solitude is an attitude of the mind; a man attached to the things of life cannot get solitude, wherever he may be. A detached man is always in solitude….17
He pauses to see if everyone is following him.
…deep meditation is eternal speech. Silence is ever-speaking; it is the perennial flow of ‘language’. It is interrupted by speaking; for words obstuct this mute ‘language’. Lectures may entertain individuals for hours without improving them. Slence, on the other hand, is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity…By silence eloquence is meant…It is the best language. 18
He sits there in silence, and everyone joins him. The only sound is a grandfather clock in the room which is ticking, it is so quiet we can hear the sound of people breathing.
Ramakrishna begins to emerge from Samadhi. He looks around at everyone in silence and speaks;
It is a very risky task this preaching! Sometimes it brings great harm to the preacher. As soon as he sees men doing him honour, he puffs himself up and says, ‘Hear! O ye men, what I declare!’ This sort of idea is ruinous. His further progress ends here. A little honour, that is all his reward! At most men would say, ‘How very learned!’ Don’t let the idea enter your mind that you are speaking. I say to my Mother, ‘Mother I am the tool, Thou art the hand; I do what Thou makest me do; I say what Thou biddest me say.’ 19
Surprised by his return to the group, Bhagwan turned as if a bit startled, then smiled at Ramakrishna, and nodded. “I see you have returned to us Master.” Bhagwan said with a sheepish grin. They exchange long extended glances, for which words are unncessesary.
“Perhaps this is an opportunity to share a poem which is appropriate here,” Bhagwan says returning his attention to the group. “Somasundara Swami, one of my oldest desciples had asked me to write down in his notebook at least one akshara. (An akshara is a letter, and is also means ‘undecaying’ and denotes Brahman). These are the nine verses that came through me;
(1) One syllable shines for ever in the heart as the Self.
Who is there anywhere who can write it down?
(2) Incantation reaching to the source of sound is the best course for those
who are not firm in Consciousness which is the source for the I.
( 3) This excreta-making body for Self he who mistakes
Is worse than one who, born a pig, for food excreta takes.
(4) Incessant search for Self the love supreme of God we call. For He alone as Self abides within the Heart of all.
(5) What introverted mind call Peace outside as power as shown;
Those who have reached and found this Truth their Unity have known.
(6) He who’s contented with his lot, from jealously is free;
Balanced in affluence and mishap; not bound by action is he.
(7) By him alone who’s saved himself can other fold be freed;
The help of others is as if the blind the blind would lead.
( 8) Question and answer are of speech, duality their sphere;
Impossible in Monism to find them anywhere.
(9) There is neither creation nor destruction, neither destiny nor free-will,
Neither path nor achievement; this is the final truth.’”20
Bhagwan closes his eyes, and smiling, and returns to his silent state.
After some moments pass, The Mother clears her voice and says, “There are some very wise recommendations here. And I like the part you mentioned before Bhagwan about silence. One wise counsel I was given is never to utter too many eloquent words which are not effectuated in action- speak little, act well. This is the ideal of the real karma yogin.”
“All of us have experienced the Divine in so many ways collectively. Many of us have tried to convey this feeling in the form of prose, or expression. Many of us have followers who want to know how to be with this experience of the ‘one.’ “At the beginning of my present earthly existance I came into contact with many people who said that they had a great inner aspiration, an urge towards something deeper and truer, but that they were tied down so much, subjected, slaves, to that brutal necessity of earning their living, and that this weighted them down so much, took up so much of their time and energy that they could not engage in any other activity, inner or outer. I heard this very often, I saw manny poor people- I don’t mean poor because they felt imprisoned in a material necessity, narrow and deadening. What came through me is the vision of Auroville which will create the Supermind on earth. Auroville was designed to alleviate the necessity for humans to be mired down to the earthly things like earning a living, so that they could renounce and develop the supramental. My question is, by what technologies have you discovered bring about a shift from the unconscious indiviual to one that is aligned with the supramental?” At this question eveyone nods their heads. There is an understanding in the room that humankind is on the edge of a perillous knife. Either a conscious shift has to occur soon in this time reality, or the earth and its inhabitants will suffer enormously.
Walt Whitman begins to speak; “As I understand it, those living in places like North America, or the United States, have lost connection with the land, and the native ways of knowing. The people of the ‘new world’ could learn a great deal from retracing the belief systems about living simply with the earth, as the Native tribes did. I myself have come to a greater understanding about God through nature, observation, and through Native beliefs. ‘The smallest sprout shows there is really no death.’21 And from nature I have discovered my own true nature which is infinite as nature herself. I would add that humankind must go to this source to find themselves, and go not to God to find themselves. God is on this earth, in all its glory in everything. You see I say, ‘There is something greater my brothers and sisters. It is form, union, eternal life, and this is Happiness.’22
Lalla then got up to speak. “Beyond all, loose idenity with the body. I when I realized this, I took off my clothes and danced. And it doesn’t matter who it is, or what it is that inspires the spiritual journey. ‘My teacher told me one thing, live in the soul…. The only offering you can make to God is your increasing awareness. And the last desire is to be God in human form.’ This is what happens when you mediditate on who you really are. When you realize that you and God are the same, then the celibration really beings.”
“Yes Lalla, I would agree with you, to a certain point.” Rumi begins. “I would tell anyone searching for a path to God that you must realize that you are the macrocosm. Look, the gardener would never have planted the tree or the vine if he did not hope for fruit. Not that you are the supreme reality, but that you come from the same idea, that idea which is eternal.23 The illusion of fear is a great obsticle to the pilgrim. Intelligence alone will not save you. You must seek refuge in the arms of the Beloved. Lover and Beloved must become one. What is there to fear? If the lover is the companion of the Eternal, then there is no fear. Fear is duality, separation, and so the pilgrim must offer all their love to the Beloved, and seek nothing else. And there is another thing. Move the body. Movement stirrs the soul, that is why I dance, and spin. I wrote, ‘The mystic dances in the sun, hearing music others don’t.’ 24 One must percieve the source of inspiration from the Divine world. The essence of divine inspiration belongs to the unseen world. The journey of the spirit is outside time and space. In this journey of the heart which is intoxicated by the wine of Divine Love. Let yourself drink the wine. The body learns its way throught the spirit. The physical body is composed of time, when one is freed from time, they are freed from the physical, and those that are freed from the body, are freed from the concept of time.”25
“I have said this to my devotees many times, and will say it again,” Ramakrishna began to speak. “Without single minded devotion God cannot be realized. The moth after seeing the light, never again returns to the darkness…Similarly, the lover of God gladly devotes his life to the attainment of Divine bliss and cares for nothing else. If the mind is distracted, fickle, unsteady then even though a man has a good Guru it will availith nothing. Every indivindual is connected with the higher Self. Effort is also necessary for God vision. There are pearls in the deep sea, but if diving once do not bring pearls, you need to not conclude that the sea is without them. Dive again and again. You are sure to be rewarded in the end. So it is with finding the Lord in this world. If your first attempt prove fruitless, do not loose heart. Pereservere in your efforts, You are sure to realize Him at last. And book knowledge alone will not get you there. What is there in mere book learning, if it is not accompanied with the discrimination of real from the unreal?
When I think of the lotus feet of the Lord, I forget myself so compeletely that unconsciously my clothes fall off and there is the feeling of a current of air flowing up from the feet to the head. From that state, everything belonging to the world seems to be made of straw. Chaitanya Deva in the course of his pilgrimage through southern parts of India came across a certain devotee who was in tears all the while that a Pandit was reading from the Gita. Now, this devotee know not even the letters. He could not follow a single text of the Gita. Upon being asked why he shed tears, he replied, ‘It is indeed true that I do not know even a single word of the Gita. But all the while that it was being read I could not help seeing with my inner eye the beautiful form of my Lord Sri Krisna, seated before Arjuna in a chariot on the field of Kurukshetra, and giving out all those sublime thoughts, known as the Gita. This it was which filled my eyes with tears of joy and love.’ And there is no difference in work. Do not think that this work will lead you to God and that will not. Everything depends on His grace…whatever work you have to perform, do it with sincerity and earnest longing. I would say to anyone who is seeking, that he who wants Him finds Him. Go and verify it in your own life; try for three days and thou art sure to succeed. In this Kali-Yuga, even three days are enough to make a man perfect.”25
“Anyone who has come to see me knows what I guidance I give to a prilgrim on the path of Self-realization.” Ramana Maharishi says in a hushed tone. Everyone moved closer to hear his words. “When one persistantly inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self, and when I refer to the Self I am refering to the Self as Atman. Realization is already there. All that is necessary is to get rid of the thought, ‘I have not realized.’ This is due to the identification of the Self with the not-Self. The Self is God. ‘I AM’ is God.26 When a Disciple comes to me and asks ‘How one is to realize the Self?’ I answer, ‘Whose Self? Find out yourself. Just think over and over the question; Who is the ‘I’ in your statement? Who was born?’ Whatever form your inquiry may take, you must finally come to the one, I, the Self. The ‘I-Supreme’ alone is. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as the mind, apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. The mind defines limitation, the Self is limitless. Hence I say, know that you are really the Infinite, Pure Being, and Self Absolute. You are always that Self and nothing but that Self. True knowledge does not creat a new Being for you, it removes your ‘ignorant ignorance’. Bliss is not added to your natural state, eternal and imperishable. The only way to be rid of your grief is to know and be the Self. How can this be unattainable?27 Just as the light of the lamp is shown when there is no film to project through, so the Self alone shines without the factors of mental concepts in the form of tendencies are absent. Just as the lamp illuminates the lens, film, unaffected, the Self illiminates the ego, while remaining unaffected.”28 Ramana finishes and closes his eyes, returning to his favorite place of silence. Everyone has their eyes closed, the mood in the room is peaceful and meditative.
Suddenly, its as though there exists some other entity, a energy that was not previously felt. This consumes the room. Lalla opens her eyes and begins to look around, and Rumi gets up and begins to twirl in place. Walt Whitman stirs in his chair, and figets with his pen, scribbling frantically. Ramana remains sitting peacefully, and Ramakrishna is off in Samadhi staring with his finger pointed at the window. The Mother is smiling ear to ear with her eyes closed. “Welcome Sri Auobindo, welcome my sweet Master,” she says outloud. In a well worn armchair, his body materializes from the eathers. He is sitting up regally, with his eyes half open in a meditative state. He has a long beard and a piece of white fabric draped over his left side. Whitman looks up from his scribbling and his jaw drops at the sight of the new arrival. He continues to stare for some time. Lalla begins to laugh, loudly and joyously. Rumi stops twirling, and acknowledges the sage, and then resumes his dance. Ramana doesn’t stir, yet with his eyes closed a smile comes over his lips, and Ramakrisna remains in Samadhi.
Aurobindo having acnowleged everyone in the room begins to speak, “The thing to be done is as large as human life, and therefore the individuals who lead the way will take all human life for their province. These pioneers will consider nothing as alien to them, nothing outside of their scope. For every part of human life has to be taken up by the spiritual, -not only the intellectual, the aesthetic, the ethical, but the dynamic, the vital, the physical; therefore for none of these things or the activities that spring from them will they have contempt or aversion, however they may insist on a change of the spirit and a transmutation of the form. In each power of our nature they will seek for its own proper means of conversion; knowing that the Divine is concealed in all, they hold that all can be made the Spirit’s means of self-finding and all can be converted into its instruments of divine living.” 29 He continues to sit in silence, which in turn fills the room. Walt Whitman emerges from a stare of disbelief as though to ask a question;
“Excuse me Sri Aurobindo?” Aurobindo turns his head in Whitman’s direction. Whitman continues, “ummm, so how is it where you are? I mean, what is it like exactly, or approximately for that matter? Do you feel? Do you exist?” Again there is noticable silence in the room, as Aurobindo stares at Whitman, and Whitman returns the glance. As if they are trying to communicate in a language beyond words, as if that is the only way this question can be answered. After some time, Aurobindo began to speak; “Well, if I tried to explain what this maha-samadhi was like, it would greatly reduce the element of surprise.” Laughter again filled the room.
“Oh, are you really going to torture their little souls like that?” The Mother asks, as the laughter is calming to a few chuckles and giggles.
“What I will tell you is this.” Aurobindo speaks to his captivated audience; “I do not agree with the view that the world is an illusion, mithya. The Brahman is here (in the world) as well as in the supracosmic Absolute. The thing to be overcome is the Ignorance which makes us blind and prevents us from realising Brahman in the world as well as beyond it and the true nature of existance….30 There is possibile a realistic as well as an illusionist Adwaita. The philosophy of ‘The Life Divine’ is such a realistic Adwaita. The world is a manifestation of the Real and therefore is itself real. The reality is the infinite and eternal Divine, infinite and eternal Being, Conscoiusness-Force and Bliss. This Divine by his power has created the world or rather maifested it in his own infinite Being. But here in the material world or at its basis he as hidden himself in what seem to be his opposites, Non-Being, Inconscience and Insentience. This is what we nowadays call the Inconscient which seems to have created the material universe by its inconscient Energy, but this is only an appearance, for we find in the end that all the dispositions of the world can only have been arrranged by the working of a supreme secret Intelligence. The Being which is hidden in what seems to be an inconscient void emerges in the world first in Matter, then in Life, then in Mind and finally as the Spirit. The apparently inconscient Energy which creates is in fact the Consciousness-Force of the Divine and its aspect of consciousness, secret in Matter, begins to emerge in Life, finds something more of itself in Mind and finds its true self in a spiritual consciousness and finally a suprmental Consciousness through which we become aware of the Reality, enter into it and unite ourselves with it. This is what we call evolution which is an evolution of Consciousness and an evolution and an evolution of the Spirit in things and only outwardly an evolution of the speicies. Thus also, the delight of existence emerges from the original insentience, first in the bliss of the Spirit or, as it is called in the Upanishads, the bliss of Bhrahman. That is the central idea in the explaination of the universe put forward in The Life Divine.”30 Silence again fills the room, as if the information exchanged to this point was being injested, and well assimilated.
“It feels as though our time together is drawing to a close, although nothing is closed that begins, and nothing that begins ever closes.” The Mother observed. ‘Since the beginning of the earth, wherever and whenever there was the possibility of manifesting a ray of consciousness, I was there.’31 Our work we have done, and done it well. The hope is that one day all of our collected consciouness and that of other experimentalists and practitioners will continue these discussions, in community, universities of the Divine, and other institutes of higher living. This will be done so that the supramental Light and Force and Consciousness rush down upon earth in an uninterrupted flow. ‘The manifestation of the Supramental upon the earth is no more a promise but a living fact, a reality. It is at work here, and one day will come when the most blind, the most unconscious, even the most unwilling shall be obliged to recognize it.’32
With that statement, the sage looked at The Mother, who gazing intently back into eyes, beyond matter, substance, and grace. Eyes that held gateways to a limitless time-space portals and ever evolving tendencies of consciousness within concsiousness, within matter. The two together began to dissolve into the ethers as salt in water until their images had all but vanished. Immediately after their dissolution, strong rays of bright light shone through the window, and Ramakrishna who remained in his samadhi began to speak; “Is that you Mother? Have you come for me? My mother has come…Take me to you, take me home, take this child..” and as the light shone greater his form was absorbed into aditi, (formlessness, the unbound). Rumi who had been twirlling in place for a long while, began to spin faster and faster, until he was spinning faster than the centripical force of the earth and was no longer visible to the human eye. Whitman noticing this spectacle comments from his seat, “Well, I gues the Sufi mastered time-space travel after all. How about that.” He gets up from his chair and looks over to Ramana who is still sitting on his Tiger skin asana, blissfully in a meditative state. “Bhagwan..” he begins, but the munis puts his hand up as if not to speak. And in the quiet tone, almost not to be said aloud, he began to whisper;
In the inmost core, the Heart
Shines as Brahman alone,
As ‘I-I’, the Self aware.
Enter deep inot the Heart
By search for Self, or diving deep,
Or with breath under check.
Thus abide ever in Atman.33
“Go. I have already gone.” Maharshi explained to the poet. Walt Whitman walked over to Lalla, who was still naked. He took her hand, and said,
…Life of the great round world, the sun and stars, and of man,
I, the general soul
Here the square finishing, the solid, I the most solid,
Breathe my breath also through these songs. 34
She looked back at him, smiling, full of joy, full of bliss. They began walking toward the door which was open, and the blinding light which shone through. Before they go through the portal, Lalla stops and turns to Whitman;
I searched for mySelf
Until I grew weary,
But no one, I know now
Reaches the hidden knowledge by means of effort.
Then, absorbed in ‘Thou art This,’
I found the place of Wine
There all the jars are filled,
But no one is left to drink.35
And through the door they walked, and disappeared into the light, leaving the door ajar.
It is not explicitly clear if any of these philosophers, saints, mystics, sages, or poets knew of each other or read any of each others’ work. Even those who lived during their lifetimes, and in relative proximity to each other may never have met in person. Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi are examples of two which may never have crossed paths although they lived relatively near each other. I did not come across any cross reference of this meeting in my research. Lalla may have been inspired by Rumi, but I have not read so in her poetry, although it is certainly similarly guided. I am inspired by each of these mystics. I believe that each hold a piece to add to the common knowledge about the ineffable and have helped me in my personal journey deepening my relationship with the Self.
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_______(1971) The Isha Upanished. Pondicherry:Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Barks, Coleman (trans) Lalla, (1992) Naked Song, Lalla. Varanasi: Pilgrims Publishing p. 137
_______(1997) The Illuminated Rumi. New York: Broadway Books, p.39
_______(1993) Rumi. Birdsong Athens, Georgia: Maypop,
Harvey, Andrew (ed) (2001) Teachings of the Hindu Mysics. Boston:Shambhala
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_______ (1999) Rumi. Teachings of Rumi. Boston:Shambhala Publications,
Maharishi, Ramana, (2003) Maharishi’s Gospel . Tiruvannamali, India:Sri Ramanashram
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The Mother.(1977), The Mother on Herself. Pomdicherry, India:Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
________ (1999) The Mother. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
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