By: Robert E. Wilkinson
26 May, 2010
Any serious student of Sri Aurobindo’s life and yoga will agree that his work represents a radical departure from all previous spiritual paths. It challenges thousands of years of traditional wisdom that regards a transcendence of the physical world to be the highest possible attainment. In an epochal reversal of direction, Sri Aurobindo and his line have presented humanity with a New Way, an entirely new direction that foresees the possibility of a material union with the Divine, one that takes us into the core of this world of matter and the innermost mysteries of time. In his 1915 letter to the Mother, Sri Aurobindo discusses this new creation which derives from, ‘... the union of the “Earth” of the Veda with the divine Principle, an earth which is said to be above our earth, that is to say, the physical being and consciousness of which the world and the body are only images’. The principal feature that unites these two realms within a single Integral Vision is a New System of Measure, a non-speculative formula that reveals the utter perfection of a Supramental Consciousness as it deploys itself on the Earth. In order for us to perceive the workings of this new consciousness, one that unites the Spiritual and Physical in a seamless view, the Mother commanded that we abandon the old paths in their entirety. She insisted that there could be absolutely NO MIXTURE with the partial and incomplete teachings of the past that might contaminate the new way. What we see instead, from people claiming not only to be devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, but leaders of their cause, is a complete dismissal of some of the most critical aspects of their teachings and a willful disobedience of their most inviolable commands. Nowhere is this more evident than in the veritable orgy of MIXTURE now taking place on the Deshpande blog, ‘Mirror of Tomorrow’ http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org .
For the past several months ‘Mirror of Tomorrow’ has published a serialization of David Johnston’s articles on the works of the famous Swiss psychologist, Carl G. Jung. In this series, Johnston, who claims to be first and foremost a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, makes every possible effort to insinuate Jung into their work to justify his own intellectual theories which place Jung's experiences on an equal footing with Sri Aurobindo’s. He does this in spite of Sri Aurobindo’s letter to Dilip Kumar Roy in 1932, in which the master characterized Jung together with other Western psychologists, as: ‘children scrutinizing spiritual experiences with the flicker of their torch-lights’. Not content with Sri Aurobindo’s unequivocal statement on the matter, Johnston condescendingly opines that the reason the Avatar was so mistaken about Jung was that he was pre-occupied with his own journey and had no time to devote to a serious study of Jung’s works. Johnston’s outrageous presumption provides a perfect example of someone desperately trying to Mix the old with the New in order to justify his own pet theories. He has become so completely invested in Jung’s psychology that he cannot rise above the dogmatic mental filter that prevents anything from entering that does not reinforce his old and limited point of view. This is MIXTURE in its most insidious form, and like his cronies in Auroville, Johnston is only too willing to misrepresent and distort Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s teachings in order to flatter his ego and prop up his grossly unfounded beliefs.
One of David Johnston’s most glaring errors in judgment is his belief that Jung’s Individuation process is in some way equivalent to, or a preparation for the Aurobindonian transformation. From what he writes, he wants us to believe that ‘Self’ in Jungian terms is the same realization that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother identify as the ‘Psychic-Being’. This is clearly impossible since Jung and his followers seek the Self through a psycho-mental process designed to take one downward, just below the threshold of consciousness. The ‘Psychic-Being’ as Sri Aurobindo describes it is not simply the unconscious psyche but the foundation of the Supermind and its realization demands a process of Centering that may only be achieved through a long and rigorous yogic sadhana.
‘There are in fact two systems simultaneously active in the organisation of the being and its parts: one is concentric, a series of rings or sheaths with the psychic at the centre; another is vertical, an ascension and descent, like a flight of steps, a series of superimposed planes with the supermind-overmind as the crucial nodus of the transition beyond the human into the Divine.
First, there must be a conversion inwards, a going within to find the inmost psychic being and bring it out to the front, disclosing at the same time the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical parts of the nature. Next, there must be an ascension, a series of conversions upwards and a turning down to convert the lower parts.’ Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, p.251
In the Jungian context, Self is merely an idea, an archetypal hypothetical center of the unconscious. But for Sri Aurobindo, ‘Self’ is Agni, the individualized Absolute giving to the being Knowledge, Vision, and Stability of Purpose. The realization or unveiling of this Divine presence may only be achieved through an act of Surrender and the practice of an integral yoga, not psychotherapy as Johnston prefers to believe. I am in complete agreement with Thea who writes, ‘…Western psychology no matter how evolved cannot be equated with Indian systems of Yoga’.
This distorted Jungian view of Self Realization is being hotly debated on the Deshpande blog between David Johnston and Paulette Hadnagy, an Aurovillian ideologue. By their own admission, neither of these individuals has actually realized the Self, yet they go on and on arguing about what the ‘Psychic Being’ is and how to achieve it. The sad fact is that neither has any understanding about the true nature of the Soul and this is precisely why they have been denied the realization. They cannot understand it because they are using instruments and seeking old paths that cannot comprehend it. As the Mother wrote, ‘...It cannot be understood: It must BE. When you become it, then you will be it, that’s all, there will no longer be a problem.’ But how does one become the Self? What turn of awareness can bring about such a profound existential shift that one realizes immortality, eternity, and infinity as immediate qualities of consciousness? Clearly it is not something new to be obtained because one already is the eternal Self. It is simply the REALIZATION of something that one already is. So what can one do or perhaps un-do to bring about this realization? Is it possible to realize the Self, as David Johnston believes, through the pursuit of a Jungian ‘Individuation’? Unquestionably NO! Carl Jung’s discoveries, grounded as they are in the old ‘Anatmic’ schools of dissolution, are not designed nor are they able to provide the inner alignment from which genuine Self-Realization can arise. The very pursuit of Jung’s psychology is a deviation from the principles of Jnana designed to bring about the Soul’s realization and moreover creates a binding for consciousness that leads the seeker into a further accumulation and compounding of that ignorance. In Paulette’s case, which applies to all of the so-called Auroville elites, a similar problem arises due to an outright rejection of the Supramental Jnana. Having abandoned the contributions of the Cosmic and Individual powers of the Supramental Line, they are left with only a fragment of the Supramental formula and virtually no way to access the Psychic Being. Simply put, they have locked themselves out of the house of the Spirit and have thrown away the KEYS. Both have denied the natural lineage of the Solar Line from the Transcendent to the Cosmic and finally to the Individual Soul where the mysteries of Self Realization are given out in full. David seeks to substitute Jung and his colleague Marie Louise Von Franz for the Third member of the Line while Paulette vehemently denies even that there is a Third. In each case there is a distinct absence of Jnana which bars the way to any real progress. The consequences of this arrogant rejection of legitimate guidance and knowledge is that both are destined, to quote Emerson, ‘…to live on the brink of mysteries and harmonies into which they can never enter, and with their hand on the door-latch they die outside.’ But for those more mature seekers who have the wisdom and humility to obey the Mother’s commands and rise above the old and partial systems of knowledge that obscure the Supramental vision, let me lay out the lines of the New Jnana prescribed by Sri Aurobindo the Mother and Thea for the realization of the Psychic Being.
Anyone familiar with Sri Aurobindo’s work must agree that Jnana, the Yoga of Knowledge, is an indispensable element of the Integral Yoga. It is based upon the understanding that Realization comes with the full conformity of the mental mode with reality itself. In other words, the more the mental mode conforms to the eternal truths of reality – Sanatana Dharma, the more organic and spontaneous the realization. One might even say that the whole of realization is based upon Alignment, and one of the most important areas of this alignment, one that contributes directly to the realization of the eternal Self, is an awareness of the mysteries of Time. In fact, the Bhagavad Gita affirms that it is Mahakala, the Time-Spirit who holds the grandest truths and its realization is the highest accomplishment that the seeker can aspire to in his or her lifetime. But what can Time have to do with the Psychic Being or Self and what has Sri Aurobindo written about this supremely important subject?
To better understand this unbreakable bond between Time and the Soul we must listen to the voices of the ancient Sages letting their words sink deep into our being. We can begin with the writer of the Katha Upanishad who tells us:
“A being, the size of a thumb, like a flame without smoke, dwells deep within the heart. He is the lord of time, past and future, the same today and tomorrow. Having attained him, one fears no more. He, verily, is the immortal Self.” Katha Upanishad
In this brief but revealing passage the sage tells us that the Self, located in the lotus of the Heart, is the ‘lord of time, past and future, the same today and tomorrow’. What exactly does he mean? Sri Aurobindo explains that one of the primary attributes of the Soul is the triple time knowledge ‘Trikaladristi’, held of old to be a supreme sign of the seer and the sage, not as an abnormal power, but as its normal way of time knowledge. It is precisely through this triple time knowledge that one acquires an irrefutable consciousness of Unity and the capacity of changing the individual destiny into a higher spiritual destiny and eventually extending that capacity towards the change of the destiny of the collectivity and the race. Do we find any mention of this extraordinary yogic capacity in the teachings of Carl Jung? Absolutely not!
Let us move on then to the Rig Veda where the Rishi reveals the ‘secret of secrets’, a Time Jnana that leads the seeker to the realization of ‘Swar’ or the Truth Consciousness.
‘Certain eternal worlds are these which have come into being, their doors are shut to you or opened by the months and the years. Without effort one world moves in the other, and it is these that Brihaspati has made manifest to knowledge’ Rig Veda (II.24.5)
Again we find a promise of an eternity of Time opened to us by the ‘months and the years’. This is a familiar refrain in the Vedic hymns that speak of the fruits of a ‘sacrificial year’. In his ‘Secret of the Veda’ Sri Aurobindo explains the occult symbolism of these revolutions of time through which the victory is won:
‘...when the nine-months’ sacrifice is prolonged through the tenth, it is when the Navagwas become the ten Dashagwas by the seven-headed thought of Ayasya, the tenth Rishi, that the Sun is found… but what is meant by the figure of the months? For it now becomes clear that it is a figure, a parable; the year is symbolic, the months are symbolic. It is in the revolution of the year that the recovery of the lost Sun and the lost cows is effected, for we have the explicit statement in X.62-2… “by the truth, in the revolution of the year, they broke Vala”…’
‘The expression in the hymns, daso maso ataran, indicates that there was some difficulty in getting through the full period of ten months. It is during this period apparently that the sons of darkness had the power to assail the sacrifice; for it is indicated that it is only by the confirming of the thought which conquers Swar, the solar world, that the Rishis are able to get through the ten months…’
‘I hold for you in the waters the thought that wins possession of heaven by which the Navagwas [nine] passed through the ten months…’ (V.45-11)
‘This victory is won in twelve periods of the upward journey, represented by the revolution of the twelve months of the sacrificial year, the periods corresponding to the successive dawns of a wider and wider truth, until the tenth month secures the victory…What may be the precise significance of the nine rays and the ten is a more difficult question which we are not yet in a position to solve.’ Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, pp. 176-177.
In this passage, perhaps one of the most recondite in the Vedic texts, Sri Aurobindo explains the Cosmological process by which Vala, an Asura of the Rig Veda, in the form of a stone cave, was broken to liberate the cows (light) hidden in the cave of the Panis. To my knowledge, no one in Auroville or the Ashram, least of all David or Paulette, has been able to address the supreme knowledge contained in this commentary on the Veda. Even Sri Aurobindo himself admits in the text that he is not yet in a position to solve this riddle of time. He would later write, ‘the tail of the Supermind is descending… my formula is working out rapidly…now I have the hang of the whole hanged thing…like a very Einstein I have got the mathematical formula of the whole affair and am working it out figure by figure’. His Supramental Time Vision was to have been explained in the last chapter of the ‘Synthesis of Yoga’ but, as we know, it was never finished. The ‘formula’ remained a mystery until 1975 when Thea, Third in the Line unveiled the Supramental knowledge contained in the Mother’s plan for her temple and published her discoveries about the nature of Time (the months and the years) in a cosmological framework known as the ‘Gnostic Circle’. The immensities of knowledge that open to the touch of this cosmological key are simply breathtaking and yet almost none of Sri Aurobindo’s many devotees have bothered to read this groundbreaking text that reveals the connections of Time with the Soul. On the contrary, Paulette has even boasted of burning Thea’s books.
The cosmological ideas in the Veda that Thea has revealed have eluded some of the greatest spiritual figures of all time. Even the great Swami Vivekananda was compelled to admit his non-comprehension of Vedic cosmology. But it is abundantly clear that in our new age, the Supermind, in order to be intelligible, demands a system of measure capable of embracing, measuring and limiting, one which moulds forms in the formless, psychologises and makes knowable the Unknowable, geometrises and makes measurable the Limitless. And Thea’s Gnostic Circle is the ruler by which we can now measure what has been previously considered un-measurable because of its otherworldly ‘location’. As Thea explains:
‘The cosmological model used in this exposition is the same known in ancient Vedic times. Hence so much importance was given then, as we note from the Hymns and Scriptures that have been handed down, to the phenomenon of the seasons, the measure of the Day and of the Year. Particularly revered was the shortest day of the year, or the beginning of the Winter Solstice, Capricorn (Makar). A scrutiny of the Shastras discloses various formulae specifically for determining this special point in time. We can safely say that the ancient Rishi was obsessed with Time, for Time regulates these movements which find their perfect harmony in the figure of the Year. Thus the sacrifice is known to be experienced in twelve stages, culminating in the Tenth, which is the 10th month, Capricorn, the period of the victory of the Aryan Warrior. Capricorn from most ancient times has been considered by all schools of astrology to rule India. It is this same tenth-month victory that we celebrate this year, 1999, as the culmination of the centenary Navaratri. In the Map we see that the hieroglyph of the tenth (month) zodiacal sign whose origin is so ancient that it is lost in the mists of time, can be accurately superimposed on the body of Akhand Bharat. This superimposed symbol is the seal of the Supreme.’ Thea, The Nine Nights of Durga – the destiny of India across the century in a new Cosmological Paradigm. November, 1999.
The student will find specific examples of the application of Thea’s cosmology in her blog, Puranic Cosmology Updated (http://puraniccosmologyupdated.blogspot.com/).
If we will simply follow the accomplishments of the Solar Line, they form a self-evident descent of Knowledge and Force out of the subtle planes and into the physical. Sri Aurobindo spoke of, a UNION with ‘the “Earth” of the Veda, said to be above our earth...the physical being and consciousness of which the world and the body are only images’ His words echo the Mother’s statement that, ‘…the whole earth and everything it contains is a kind of concentration, a condensation of something which exists in other worlds invisible to the material eye. Each thing manifest here has its principle, idea or essence somewhere in the subtler regions.’ Both acknowledge that behind the apparent reality there exists a more essential occult reality that defines the true context of external events and organises their outcome in accordance with a kind of formulaic super-logic moving always toward greater order and harmony. Sri Aurobindo called this super logic ‘The Mind of Light’, a consciousness that pierces the veil of appearances and SEES into the underlying web of causality that manifests as our individual and collective life. It is not a vision that seeks the transcendence of Time and Space but one that embraces them in a ‘New Way’ revealing an unerring Divine ‘plan’ in the cyclic patterns and cosmological measurements that accompany the Supramental Creation. In her Feb. 5th, 1969 Agenda, the Mother spoke of the supramental descent as a force ‘imposing itself and commanding the action on earth’. She described this supramental action in terms of ‘numbers, groups of figures and planets’. And perhaps most importantly, she goes on to say, ‘...Not only does it express this thing (the supramental action) but it has a power for realizing it’. Within a year after her Feb. 5th discussion, the Mother incorporated her realizations in the sacred geometry of her Vedic temple, a structure that she defined as, ‘a symbol of the Future Realization’. It fully contains the Time Jnana that Sri Aurobindo described in his ‘Secret of the Veda’, a knowledge that Thea has revealed in its entirety in her numerous books and articles. The knowledge given out in her temple not only expresses the dynamics of the supramental manifestation but, as she said, IT INCLUDES THE POWER FOR REALIZING IT. Contained in the sacred geometry of the Mother’s Inner Chamber is the cosmological formula that Sri Aurobindo, like a very Einstein, was working out figure by figure, and this is the key to the realization of the Soul or Psychic-Being. Is there anything comparable to this supramental cosmology in the psychology of Carl Jung? Absolutely not. Neither David nor Paulette has even the slightest understanding of Supramental Time and yet they go on representing themselves to the community of devotees as credible authorities on Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s work.This simply cannot go on. For those serious students of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother who wish to see their work come out of the shadows and take its proper place in the world, the time has come to take a stand. We can no longer tolerate the hypocrisy of those self appointed authorities who make the hollow claim of loving Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and who then go right on distorting their teachings and disobeying their commands. They must be called to account. If they believe that they are in possession of some advanced level of realization, let them speak up and answer the points I have made in this article in particular Sri Aurobindo’s unequivocal statements about the role of Time in his yoga.
"...Time is the remaining aid needed for the effectivity of the [Supramental yoga].
Time presents itself to human effort as an enemy or a friend, as a resistance, a medium or an instrument. But always it is really the instrument of the soul.’...‘To the ego it is a tyrant or a resistance, to the Divine an instrument. Therefore, while our effort is personal, Time appears as a resistance, for it presents to us all the obstruction of the forces that conflict with our own. When the divine working and the personal are combined in our consciousness, it appears as a medium and condition. When the two become one, it appears as a servant and instrument ..." Sri Aurobindo; The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 61.
When we see pundits like David or Paulette boldly putting themselves forward as authorities on Sri Aurobindo’s work and message while, at the same time conflating their teachings with whatever strikes their fancy, you can be absolutely sure that they are mired in Mixture and have no idea what they are talking about. It is simply not possible to speak authoritatively about Sri Aurobindo’s work while, at the same time, ignoring the importance of Time, the Mother’s Inner Chamber or Thea’s updating of Vedic Cosmology. Indeed, the goal of this work is not an Individuated psyche or a rigid evolutionary ideology as David or Paulette would have us believe, it is Gnosis grounded in a New Seeing capable of transforming both the Individual and the World. To suggest anything less, to quote Thea is, ‘ignorance, pretension and empty words’.