Saturday, December 16, 2006

Savitri takes us to that source of true sense

Foreword to Jugal Kishore Mukherjee’s The Ascent of Sight in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri published in 2001 by the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. by RY Deshpande on Fri 15 Dec 2006 07:28 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
From Galileo to Hubble telescope in our nearer sky has been a long leap of science. The sight that would show us the dark spots on the sun has now travelled to the farthest reaches of the universe. Yet the end doesn’t seem to be in sight. The 240-cm eye looking at the galaxies receding swiftly away from us is puzzled at the miracle that lies beyond its gaze. So also is the microscopic vision scanning distances in the atomic world. It all seems to be a wavy dance with the substantial entities masked behind the instrument’s alertness. Designed with one of the objectives of studying the universe and put in the orbit at a cost of $1.5 billion, the Hubble is a marvel of technology unparalleled in history. It weighs 11 tons on earth, is 13.2 m in length and has a diameter of 4.2 m at its maximum. But the cold universe doesn’t breathe life in its amazing peep. This eye cannot show us the “invisible day of our night”— to use Arjava’s phrase.
In that respect our eye spans sights beyond sight. It enables us to see objects at variable distances and under different conditions of light. An incredible biological evolution has brought out a complex structure by which this wonder is achieved. For an optician our eye may simply be an advanced camera bearing many similarities with its functioning. But an ophthalmologist looks at it in some other details. If the cornea, the iris, the pupil and the lens act like an optical system controlling and focusing light rays onto the retina, the retina senses them and creates impulses that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. Macula, a small specialised area in the retina, contains certain specific light sensitive cells that allow us to see fine details. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. It carries the impulses to it where they are interpreted as images. In the entire process the optical aspect slowly starts becoming a mini-computer with several layers of information getting processed in a complex sequence until the object is recognised by us.
But there are eyes and eyes. Once in a while we experience the “artifice of eternity”. There are also eyes that draw “peacefulness from tarns on mountain tops”. Abanindranath Tagore affirmed that “every artist must first weave to his own design a dream-catcher’s net.” In that endeavour he must develop a sight almost yogic in character and from that should come the arts of painting and sculpture. He must mould “Time’s clay to everlasting Art”. When one has not trained one’s vision one sees imprecisely, says the Mother. Plato’s eye views a wonderful world of forms of which things are just remote copies here. A technique, rather a faculty of vision that sees objects with another sensitivity, has been highly specialised in India. A seer’s knowledge is a visioned truth and that is why it is called a darshana. But sight does not stop simply at seeing the metaphysics of the world or in defining a shape for the abstract. Perhaps it goes pretty far beyond to grasp the form standing behind the formless. There seems to be another eyesight which, without the instrumental aid, can see remote distances both in space and time. Let us take some examples.
In the Ramayana we come to the episode after the abduction of Sita when the efforts to locate her whereabouts are on. The party sent by Sugriva to find her has arrived at the inaccessible Vindhya Mountain. But as yet there is no success in fulfilling the difficult mission, as there are no clues available to carry out the search. While all were in a state of despondency Sampati, the elder brother of Jatayu who was killed by Ravana, approaches them for his own reasons. But soon he understands the nature of the task they are engaged in. Seeing their helpless plight Sampati tells them that he could easily see the presence of Sita in the far Ashoka Vana in the south some 100 yojanas (1200 km) away from that place. He also tells them that he could spot her there unmistakably, for he belongs to that class of birds whose flight is the highest in the sky; by the potency of his birth he has that natural sight to see objects at great distances. Sampati also tells the party about the prediction made by the Rishi Nishakara who could, by the power of his tapasya, foresee future events, that Rama would succeed in getting Sita back.
We have been told about the third eye of Shiva. It has another power. The bodacious demons were causing havoc and the world was in trouble. The gods were concerned, but they were also helpless. They knew that if only Shiva married and begot a son could the menace be stopped. This son of Shiva alone could become the leader of the divine army and their rescuer. But Shiva was absorbed in meditation and none dared disturb him. There was however a sense of urgency and hence Kamadeva was sent by the gods to arouse Shiva’s passion for Parvati. But when Shiva opened his third eye Kamadeva was burned to ashes. In the meanwhile, however, the deed was done and Skanda was born. Later, at the pleading of Kamadeva’s wife Rati, her husband was revived. This is an eye that is turned towards action in the destruction of all that is evil, a destruction by which the divine task is furthered.
It is said that in the case of a Yogin the third eye in the middle of the forehead becomes visible during deep meditation. This eye is also known as the star of the East, or the inner eye, or the dove descending from heaven; it is the eye of intuition which can open in him and show to him the worlds otherwise lying hidden from sight. Since the third eye will give him whatever he asks for, it is important that the Yogin should possess a certain capacity, adhikāra, to hold the gifts ensuing from its occult power which, if misused, can prove to be disastrous. The gift is meant to further his spiritual progress.
According to the Tibetan lore the third eye is “the director of energy or force, and thus an instrument of the will of the Spirit… It is the eye of the inner vision, and he who has opened it can direct and control the energy of matter, see all things in the Eternal Now, and therefore be in touch with causes more than with effects, read the ākāshic records, and see clairvoyantly… It is through the medium of this ‘all-seeing eye’ that the Adept can at any moment put Himself in touch with his disciples anywhere.”
In the Gita, the war reporter Sanjaya had televisionic eye by which he could see all the events taking place on the battlefield; thus he could narrate the happenings to the blind king Dhritarashtra. This sight was a gift he had received from Vyasa. We are also told in the Gita that the “human eye can see only the outward appearances of things or make out of them separate symbol forms, each of them significant of only a few aspects of the eternal Mystery.” But Arjuna wished to see the imperishable Self of the pre-eminent Being. He was given a divine eye, divya chakshu. With that the Master of the great Yoga showed him his supreme Form. Arjuna saw what was never seen before. “Neither by the study of Vedas and sacrifices, nor by gifts and universal rites or severe austerities,” Arjuna is told, “can this form be seen.” The infinite Godhead with the cosmic manifestation spreading in its splendour everywhere is what he saw with that sight.
But it was a sight that brought the vision of the Time-Spirit specifically poised for the destruction of nations. It was an “overwhelming appalling” form, and Arjuna was eager to see the earlier reassuring gracious form, close to him, friendly and intimate, approachable to him, familiar and dear to his heart. The sight that was granted to him was too great to bear. It was a sight meant to see one particular aspect of the supreme and the sights that lie beyond it can open out only by going to the worlds past the cosmic manifestation. The ascent of sight has to continue not only to see the triple glory in the superconscient but also its manifestive play in this material creation. Rare is such a sight even for the Yogins to possess.
We have in St. Matthew the following: “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” If it is in connection with the treasures of heaven which can be spotted by this eye, then it is a luminous seeing by which everything becomes luminous; by it even the body becomes full of light,—a remarkable revelation indeed. When in Savitri Sri Aurobindo says that Aswapati saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers crowding the amber stairs of birth, certainly he must have seen them with the supramental sight. In it alone is the infallibility of the vision. He saw the sun-eyed children with the eyes brighter than even their eyes. Is that the ultimate sight? Although it is a supramental sight, here it is a sight which is only in a certain context, the context of the evolutionary need to make the next decisive leap. There is also the gaze of two tranquil eyes that look into man’s and see the god to come. In the entire Aurobindonian fulfilment there is the topaz wonder looking at rapt divinities in all forms.
When one reads Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri one opens oneself to the infinity of sight. It is not only an inspired mantra with the power to establish fully what it utters, but is also a revelatory vision that gives to the unmanifest a luminous shape in manifestation. In it the silence speaks of forms that can become living realities even in this material creation. Within, without, around, everywhere there is the splendid urge to make those realities patent upon earth in the triple richness of the truth-conscient happiness. The supreme sense of delight gathers in its essentiality all the other senses.
Jugal Kishore Mukherjee in his beautiful study of the ascent of sight aptly draws our attention to Sri Aurobindo’s explicit statement about it: “This essential sense [sanjñān] is the original capacity of consciousness to feel in itself all that consciousness has formed and to feel it in all the essential properties and operations of that which has form, whether represented materially by vibration of sound or images of light or any other physical symbol.” It is here in sanjñān that we have the primary source of all perception. Savitri takes us to that source of true sense.
Tracing the various degrees of sight-perception the author takes us from sightless sight of the inconscience, through its ascending grades, all the way up to the superconscient sight. The Upanishadic golden lid is lifted, and is left behind the cosmic gaze of Overmind, and at once one has the Sachchidananda vision of all existence. It is a sight by which the ultimate reality sees itself dynamically in manifestation. Sachchidananda sees himself by the supramental sight, sees his own being and the entire manifestation of himself, beyond space and time, as much as in space and time, the omnipresent reality in its splendid vastness. What otherwise appears dark assumes significance in its full operative sense. Such are the Sachchidanandaic realities in the world. RYD


  1. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi2:43 PM, October 22, 2010

    Myth may also be a reality. Mythological facts are not averse to scientific investigation. We know that some solar systems other than ours have binary star (Sun). Ours has only one Sun. But there may be a possibility that our solar system might also have binary star some millions or billions year ago. It is written in Hanuman Chaleesa:”Bal samay Ravi bhaksh liyo tab teenahu lok bhayo andhiyaro” in English it mean that during his childhood Hanumanji had gobbled up Sun and darkness spread in entire universe. But this is cosmological phenomena. This not possible for some super natural power who assumes physical frame on this Earth Planet to gobble up Sun. The other Sun(?) might have met Its natural death. Hanumanji is believed as the Incarnation of Lord Rudra. According to Hindu Mythology Lord Rudra is the God of Destruction or God of Annihilation.

  2. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi6:14 AM, October 28, 2010

    I know one story (imagination) of H.G.Wells. About 35 years ago when I was doing my first degree course in science, one of my senior colleague told me a story from Time Machine that a day will come when the size of humans would of size of a rat. Now see what has actually happened afterwards. About 2 or 3 years back I saw in a news paper that a giant sized rodent fossil had been found. This was almost to modern elephant size. This confirmed my belief that dinosaurs had not been wiped out. They are still found in smaller and smaller size, yes of course with some different characteristics. I think Gravitation Force is one of the major cause of genetic mutation. Gravitation Force is gradually increasing towards centre and compressing all members of animal kingdom bringing about genetic change with respect to size. A new evolved species or same species with some new characteristics created. I further believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. I know one evidence in support of this.