Why I went to Chartres: Notes of A Past Lives Review

Just like for my going to Azay-le-rideau, there was a specific, important reason for my going to Chartres Cathedral as well.
Right after I had posted here a few days ago the notes written at the time of that massive experience there, a faint memory suddenly started being felt in me, of exactly why I had gone to Chartres to start with: the faint memory re-surfacing was of a very special afternoon I had spent, in Auroville itself, with an Aurovilian lady from England, then in her sixties, and gifted since childhood with the ability to receive information from objects she would concentrate upon inwardly while holding them in her hand. It’s called psychometry.
Once again, keeping diaries served me well… Hardly fifteen minutes after the re-surfacing of that memory and going upstairs to look for the right diary, I was back from my room with the volume for the needed year, and sitting comfortably on my low chair in my tiny ‘research-office’ downstairs, I began reading my notes of Thursday August 13th, 1998; my apologies to my French-speaking visitors, those notes were scribbled down in English because that was the language this British lady and me used for communicating, so this new post will be in English, hopefully I’ll be able to translate it soon:
‘Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment with J. for a PAST LIFE REVIEW. She is clairvoyant, and many people in Auroville have gone to meet her, and her work is very appreciated. I don’t know her at all; after much reluctance, I finally decided to give it a try…
While holding (with her eyes closed) the gold ring I always wear, she started seeing things innumerable; first of all about my present life and my present state, described thus:
– A snake standing all the way up, with its hood unfolded over my crown-head chakra…!
“Full kundalini open!”, she said with astonishment. “Are you aware that it is so?… Do you feel it?… I have never seen it fully open like that, including the hood!!!” (Oh, this must be what happened to me on November 18, 1973 when Mother left her body, I thought, flabbergasted).
– An aura of beautiful colors; love, a lot, and… and an extremely good mental power, not utilized and expressed enough;
– Extremely rich diversity of elements gained during innumerable past lives, everywhere, in every possible kind of situation, going way back in time: “As far as I (J.) can look in the past, you (Bhaga) are there too. A very old soul, having come in this life to make use of all this, as the final stage of a first long phase, which will open on some new phase in a tremendously beautiful Unknown which I (J.) can hardly conceive of.”
Then she started going more into the detail of those past lives, and from now on “I”  in these notes will mean me, Bhaga, reporting what she was saying:
– In this life of now I have met an Avatar, but it is not the first time I met one: I was a monk at the time of Buddha, one of his companions, and among those who didn’t lose courage when he left his body, but went on going about the country, blessing people with their presence and the land with their feet as they walked (something I often have the feeling of doing in this lifetime too);
– Again, a monk, in Tibet, long back: a very young boy, sitting patiently at the gates of Lhassa’s monastery, with just his bowl of food and some water (and nothing left then after that), waiting to be allowed to go inside and become a monk. After three days, the big gates open finally just before midday and I am taken inside, and as the doors close behind me, I know that this is really my place;
– I have been part of every possible religion, not just Buddhism. CHARTRES is a place where I should absolutely go. I was among the initiates there long back when Joseph of Arimatheia, Jesus’ uncle, stopped on his way back to Palestine (after he had founded Glastonbury in England) when he could bear the fact of Jesus’s departure. Joseph died and was buried there in the crypt, and an occult protection was put around that crypt at that time by the initiates, among whom I was. Several times people have tried, but the crypt has never been opened. On the floor of the church above is a spiraling pattern leading to the Centre – just above the tomb in the crypt below. Extremely powerful spot (J. and her husband had to hold on each other!) which I should place myself upon whenever I will get the chance to go there. It has been a life of special importance inwardly, although in a different way than during the lives as a Buddhist monk.
– In Ancient Egypt: As a slave (a woman this time) coming from the Hebrew people, captive with my husband since early childhood. In that life I have prayed and vowed that if I ever have power and money, I will use it to give a decent life to the people who serve me.

– In Old China, as the wife of, if not a King, at least a very, very, very rich and powerful nobleman. We loved each other dearly, and I was very compassionate and caring for the slaves, servants, peasants around us and on our vast lands. Almost like a family feeling. In that life I was given a chance to fulfill my prayer and vow of the Ancient Egypt time, and I did fulfill it beautifully. And that deep caring for others on the material level is still part of what I brought into this life now (quite correct, I’d like to add here).

Two lives (at least) as a Priestess:
– In Ancient Egypt: I was  a very knowledgeable and very sincere, benevolent priestess, who was in charge of teaching young ‘novices’; one of them, particularly cherished, was with me, almost a little girl yet, and I was affectionately teaching her how to protect herself from hostile attacks. When J. described that scene she was seeing, I felt instantly that the novice was my present Aurovilian friend C. at that time.
– In Ancient Rome: a Vestal Priestess during the reign of Caligula (“oh! I don’t like this. It’s so dark!” exclaims J. softly, frowning). Given to the temple already as a child, at fifteen I had to have sex with a rich man so that he would give money for the temple etc. I didn’t accept this sad and painful experience as something true, ordered by the gods and pleasing them, but secretly I started questioning the truth of the gods, and trusting more my own feeling of Truth, from within. So even at seventeen, when I had become a priestess, I refused to do this kind of ‘sex-duty’ again, so I was faced with anger from the other priestesses, who tried to bend me into submission, then the priests, then Caligula himself, who raped me, tortured me and had me quartered as an example to others that obedience was best. I still have in me that sense of duty and trust only in my own inner Truth – not necessarily even in connection with any deity or religion (and also in this lifetime it has put me into trouble – of a lesser kind, though! – outwardly again and again, even in Auroville, I would say… And I keep revolting totally and instantaneously against any attempt to coerce me into doing something contrary to my inner Truth: I run out in tears and mad anger, while the other person(s) wonder what’s the problem with me!
Further general comments by J. about the overall results of all those lifetimes:
– Celibacy (voluntary or involuntary) as well as marital happiness, sexual torture, I have experienced many lives of totally different situations and attitudes towards sex (including lives as a courtesan, I am sure, I said to J. afterwards, and she confirmed it); and now in this life all that is there in me to be integrated and lived AS ONE TRUTH with all its apparent contradictions.
– The need of solitude and the need to be with people and have companionship are in the same way both with me now, again to be used with the right balance.
J. doesn’t know anything about my personality in this lifetime, except the appearances which are for everyone to see, but which, she discovered and told me almost immediately during this session, “hide another and very different Bhaga” with a very large aura and deep complexity and richness of being. But, she added later, people on a subconscious level are often aware of something very special about me… which scares them away, when they don’t get angry at me for being different from them and actually more evolved than them inwardly. Hence, not an easy relationship with people, and a life of inner solitude until now. But this life is extremely important, when the lessons learned and the abilities acquired during all these other lives must come together and be put to use for an integrated, harmonious and complete manifestation of what I truly am, in preparation for whatever stupendous further development is still to come.”

All right, this is what the Past Lives Review told me about myself as seen in the vast, dynamic perspective of the huge Game of Evolution on Planet Earth I got myself into at some point, apparently quite a long time ago. I listened and sometimes felt like a faint echo within my being, of whatever lifetime was being described to me; but nothing like the extreme vividness and acute sense of reality that my own ‘Far Memories’ had had when I re-lived a moment of a few of them.

Of which use can all that was said to me be for those other human beings now reading these lines? It can be of use for them to realize that I am but a good sampling of what many, many of us are, who are presently alive upon the Earth: this kind of very diversified background and experience of Life, and the inner maturity it gives, are there in the same way in a multitude of other ‘old souls’ everywhere, now getting ready for the Next Step in terrestrial Evolution, and at last, as promised from the start, the real transformation of our individual beings as well as of terrestrial Life as a whole.
This blog is just the Mirror I try to hold in front of all of you so that you start recognizing yourself in it too, or rather your Self, eternally growing along with mine and That of everyone else in the Oneness we are all part of since ever, for ever…

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. raiyankamal
    Jun 06, 2012 @ 20:42:46

    Thanks for writing more accounts of previous lives, like your narrative style. Bhaga, can I have your email address or somehow write to you? Thanks.

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  2. Jared Quek
    Oct 10, 2013 @ 08:03:12

    Hi Bhaga,

    I am Jared from Singapore, a regular visitor to Pondicherry and a friend of Shraddhavan.

    Thank you for your post. I find your account both lucid and interesting – a good ‘mirror’ indeed. I wonder if you have any memories of lives in ancient Atlantis? In particular: experiences involving the aspect of the Divine worshipped by that civilisation?

    Best regards.

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    • Jared
      Nov 02, 2013 @ 14:27:16

      Hi Bhaga,

      (Not sure whether the initial comment reached you)

      I am Jared from Singapore, a regular visitor to Pondicherry and a friend of Shraddhavan.

      Thank you for your post. I find your account both lucid and interesting – a good ‘mirror’ indeed. I wonder if you have any memories of lives in ancient Atlantis? In particular: experiences involving the aspect of the Divine worshipped by that civilisation?

      Best regards.

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      • Bhaga
        Nov 05, 2013 @ 08:26:06

        Hi Jared!🙂
        Finally I am able to retrieve a lot of comments by various people on some of my posts, that were all waiting for approval during this long period when I couldn’t go on Internet… Sorry for the unintended long delay!
        Regarding your question:
        The few memories I seem to have are too vague, alas, for any precise answers; the only moment I clearly remembered from a trance was the moment of my being ordered a Priestess, which was a great joy for me; I must have been then a follower of that Law of the One that Edgar Cayce mentions many times in his Readings related to Atlantis. More than that I cannot say.
        Any memories yourself? I would be very interested to read about them!
        And would you mind telling me what your name, ‘Jared’, means?

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  3. Jared
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 13:19:28

    Dear Bhaga,

    Thank you for your sharing.

    It is interesting you asked about the meaning of “Jared”, since it is quite a common English name and I did not expect it to catch your attention.

    Many years ago, I was given this name by someone who also asked me to find out its meaning. The sources I checked revealed that Jared is derived from the Hebrew Biblical name יָרֶד (Yared) or יֶרֶד (Yered), meaning “descent”.

    I am currently working on a series of stories on Atlantis. I have emailed you an overview of the series. The writing is crude and juvenile, but if you are interested after reading the overview, I can share one or two of the stories.

    All the best.

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    • Bhaga
      Nov 06, 2013 @ 10:09:11

      Well, dear Jared, perhaps that name is common, but it is only a month ago that I encountered that name for the first time: in the film made recently from Stephenie Meyer’s (yes, the one of ‘Twilight’ fame) latest book, ‘The Host’. One of the young men in the story has that name, Jared, and I immediately liked that name, along with the character. So of course for the time being the only way I am able to imagine you is like that Jared!!! Are you British, or from the States, by the way? Any Hebrew link in your family?
      If I understand well it wasn’t your original name but someone gave it to you? Thank you already for telling me its meaning; now would you mind telling me what it means to you personally?… , Do you feel it changed you to have a new name?
      I am definitely interested in your Atlantis stories, and looking forward to reading them!
      Did you read my much earlier post about JRR Tolkien’s own deep memory of Atlantis, which finally found its expression through one of the characters in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, Faramir, an un-corrupted descendant of the ancient Numenor Kings, and still an ardent admirer of Numenor himself?
      And did you read any of the other writings by JRRT about Numenor?
      I hope you are not overwhelmed by all this questioning from me!!! ;-D
      No rush needed for answering, though, take your time…

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  4. Jared
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 07:57:36

    Hi Bhaga,
    Thank you for your long and interesting reply!

    I will address your questions over two posts.

    I have read your earlier post and the works of JRRT. I do think that a vision of truth and great beauty is expressed through the works of Tolkien. Over the years, I have read the Silmarillion multiple times and something in me greatly resonates with the tales of the Eldar in the Quenta Silmarillion. I have also read “The Lord of Rings”, though I probably like it less than the Silmarillion.

    However, I am significantly less enthusiastic about Tolkien’s portrayal of the Numenoreans. I think that the real Atlanteans should be far more like the Eldar than the Numenoreans. If we hope to see the true Atlanteans, it is better for us to look at Galadriel and Fëanor, than Aragorn and Faramir.

    Intuition, tradition and logic indicate that Atlantis represented a culture that incarnated a more integral knowledge and wisdom than any historical culture. Besides the works of Cayce and Blavatsky, one of the seminal texts of the scientific age was “The New Atlantis” by Francis Bacon, which described his vision of a society centered around the new science that was appearing in the Europe of his time.

    In its essence, Atlantis appeared to represent the scientific spirit in its truest and most comprehensive form, being a culture devoted to the relentless pursuit of knowledge and its powerful and multitudinous utilisation. Atlantis did not seek the knowledge of the physical alone : it aspired for a comprehensive mastery of the ‘ladder of creation’. Its vision also ranged inwards and upwards in a many-sided curiosity into the hidden domains of life, mind and Spirit. To achieve this, it developed the hidden capacities of the mind and sought to light a soul Fire within. It was a civilisation that strived for the joy of knowledge, the joy of a comprehensive mastery and the joy of beauty and creation through the furthest development of the mind and soul.

    This last aspect of creative beauty implies that Atlantis was also like Japan, or ancient Egypt and Greece – a nation of Art, where beauty was celebrated, worshipped and incarnated in countless ways.

    Both aspects of wisdom and beauty seem to be quite missing from Tolkien’s portrayal of Numenor – who appears to be not much more than a glorified England or Rome. Indeed, Tolkien seemed to imply that most of Numenorean culture was simply derived from that of the Eldar. How can the word “derived” describe ancient Atlantis in any important way?

    Apologies for my long and rather heavy reply! =) Do tell me what you think.

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  5. Bhaga
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 11:20:28

    For as long as the Numenoreans kept their inner link with the High Elves and, through them, with the Valar and Maiar who were still faithful to Eru and seeking only to fulfill the Will of Eru for Arda, the Numenoreans too expressed in their lives and deeds the glory of Truth.
    It is only later on that as they gradually lost their faith and inner link with Eru, and so of course also their friendship with the High Elves, that their entire life became corrupt and the glory of Truth vanished from it, although outwardly they may have become impressively powerful to the point of building that huge Armada that in their folly they directed against their very benefactors.- except of course Elendil and his lineage who kept their friendship with the Elves and went back to Middle-earth rather than participating in their King’s mad expedition.
    At least that’s what Tolkien made their story to be in his writings, where as Mortals they were deprived of the physical immortality given by Eru to the Eldar – a major difference between the two species, that may have found its beautiful explanation in the wonderful dialogue Tolkien wrote late in life, long after ‘The Lord of the Rings’ although it is supposed to have taken place much earlier:
    ‘Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth’ (have you read that? I like it so much; it is in the volume titled ‘Morgoth’s Ring’ in the History of Middle-earth published by Christopher Tolkien), in which is envisaged with poignant expectancy and trust the far future of Arda and the way both those two species might be used by Eru to help in the Healing of Arda itself, its very Matter freed at last from the deadly and all-pervasive influence of ‘Morgoth’s Ring’.. .
    I suppose your Atlanteans were no more physically immortal than Tolkien’s Numenoreans were? What of that? Was it not a problem for them?
    There are those two so moving voices. from long. long ago: that of Lopamudra, Rishi Agastya’s wife, who in Rig-Veda, I,179,1, says:
    “So many autumns I have labored night and day; the dawns make me older, age diminishes our bodies’ glory…”
    And that of Maitreyi, echoing it in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, IV, 5, 4, saying:
    “What use is it for me, all this by which is not obtained the nectar of Immortality?”

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  6. Jared
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 08:53:36

    Hi Bhaga,
    I think your perspective on the Numenoreans is interesting and profound, and I have not seen them like that before (being linked to Truth through the Eldar). That certainly adds a deeper spiritual dimension that I have not observed before.

    On the matter of physical immortality: I do not think that cultures like the Vedic, with their deep knowledge of the inner worlds, generally pay great attention to the aspiration for bodily immortality. It would appear that the initiates of these cultures mainly aspire for immortality in the sense of becoming one with their immortal portion (whether the psychic or jivatman or even simply their true vital or mental beings) or some higher/cosmic immortal consciousness. I do not think the idea of a bodily immortality is important to most of the old traditions. Of course, there are minor exceptions, like Taoist alchemy, certain tendencies of the Hatha Yogins (am not sure they literally aim at immortality though!) and the tradition of the resurrection of the body in the Abrahamic religions and so on.

    Today, the transhumanist movement comprising of many eminent technologists seeks to conquer physical death and create an immortal post-human species through genetic engineering, nanotechnology, cybernetics and artificial intelligence. This is probably a deeply misguided endeavour (which might remind us of the Numenorean invasion of Valinor), and is basically motivated by a denial of both Spirit and inner realities.

    Coming back to your original question: I strongly suspect that Atlantis is a culture which embraced and was completely conversant with occult realities, including the existence of and paths towards spiritual immortality (not the eternal prolongation of the body). Indeed, Atlantis might well be an ancestor of Vedic culture. Given the pervasiveness of inner knowledge in that culture, the barriers between the living and the dead might well be quite thin as well. Therefore, I don’t really think the fear of death is an important component of the Atlantean psyche at all (any more than it was part of Indian high culture!). Perhaps in the last days of their degeneration this changed, and perhaps a “transhumanist” drive towards physical immortality might have something to do with their collapse – so Tolkien might be drawing on some deep memory of himself or the earth. I don’t know.

    In any case, thanks for stimulating my thoughts in this area!

    A final note to address your earlier post: No, I am not British or American, but Chinese Singaporean (most Singaporeans were originally from China, with some from India and South East Asia). However, I have studied in a British university and English is Singapore’s main language, though I am relatively fluent in Chinese as well. Having said that, I can’t exactly say I am “at home” in Singapore OR in the many different places I have gone to so far….there is beauty and wonder everywhere, just nothing totally satisfying, totally “home”.

    You asked about what the name “Jared” means to me. Frankly, this is the first time anybody has engaged me in a deep conversation about my name! Probably the person giving it to me intended it to be unobtrusive (being common) and yet meaningful (to me). I guess the name gives me a level of faith in my strange beliefs, and helps sustain me in times of doubt and darkness? The flesh and soul, the outer and inner being, seem to be from quite different places, or in any case, are in such discord. The name helps sustain faith that what is unseen and yet to be, is indeed more real and lasting than what is seen and already is.

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    • Bhaga
      Nov 12, 2013 @ 11:18:23

      It is quite true of course, generally speaking, all the religious and spiritual traditions are concerned first of all with the immortality of the soul, and they are right, this is indeed the indispensable preliminary to everything else.
      But in the Vedic times, the Rishis were still aware of the possibility of a physical immortality as well, because of the Presence of the Divne in Matter itself, to be at some future time released from its present limitations, allowing at last for physical immortality. But for that it was necessary that the Supramental would come down and awaken the Supramental dormant in Matter. That was not yet possible at the Vedic time, the Rishis could ‘only’ reach the Supramental in its own domain, not make it come down gradually here, which was the work Sri Aurobindo did in our time, making a progressive transformation of the physical body and its eventual immortality at last possible along with the transformation of all the other parts of a human being.
      After the time of the Rishis, though, this knowledge not only of the existence of a Supramental Realm, but also of the Divine Presence even in Matter, was lost, forgotten; Spirit and Matter started to be seen as opposed to each other – hence the shunning and rejection of Matter deemed necessary for anyone interested in the Spirit: it was the limiting Mental way of seeing everything only in terms of ‘either or’.
      That this more complete Truth about Matter was still known by the Vedic Rishis, is what Sri Aurobindo discovered when reading the Veda once settled safely in Pondicherry, and explained later in his book,’The Secret of the Veda’.

      Now about your name, and origin: it was so funny for me to learn that you are actually a CHINESE Singaporean!!! This is why:
      In 1991, for my first trip to the USA, I took Singapore Airlines, and of course then stopped in Singapore. I even stayed for a few days, thanks to the invitation of a British lady, disciple of Sri Aurobido and the Mother, who was still living there. Besides staying at her home I went excitedly out also with the intention of doing some shopping, particularly in that very famous big tower kind of building which is one of the hot spots in Singapore. I imagined Singapore to be mostly populated by white settlers, predominantly British like the lady kindly receiving me. Once in the streets, imagine my surprise to find myself in a Singapore actually full of Chinese absolutely everywhere, and in such big numbers that I started to feel at first vaguely and then more and more intensely scared!…
      Having grown up in the then French part of Africa, I am quite used to people from there; they do have a different appearance than the regular French people, but anyway my own family, coming from the French West Indies, has African blood too, which doesn’t show much in my own case, but each individual there comes out a unique mix, sometimes as Black as those Africans who are Black. So I didn’t mind at all the Africans, I lived among them, studied with them, and didn’t see them as strangers at all, all the more because everyone was speaking French and the French culture, type of education etc, were all very reassuringly French.
      Even when I came to live in India, Pondicherry too was at the time still a bit French, the people in this area even look a bit like some of the people in my family or generally from Martinique like us, I didn’t get too much of a culture shock, I was still to some extent on familiar ground.
      But the Chinese!!!
      Even in Auroville, we had only a few Japanese, no Chinese at all; and the Coreans in 1991 had not started arriving yet, so I had never had any exposure to anything Chinese or coming close to that.
      Except for the English language at least spoken everywhere, and the Western style of dress most everyone was wearing, I suddenly felt alone in an alien and not especially welcoming world.
      I knew about Hong-Kong, and would have been prepared there. But the sheer surprise of finding so many Chinese people in the still mostly British Singapore I had expected gave me the eerie feeling that the Chinese had appeared there kind of overnight, in a silent, discrete and all the more threatening invasion of the place,.. ! And the next thought appearing in my mind was, Singapore is so close to India they could as well appear there one fine day just in the same way!!!
      There was no rationality in my panicky feeling, I was fully aware of that, yet it became so strong, so overwhelming, that I had soon to retreat, as quickly as I could find the way again, back to my hostess’ house, where I felt immediately more secure.
      My memory of that encounter with the massive Chinese presence in Singapore being what I just described, you will understand that for me it is a fantastic Divine Joke that since a few days, without suspecting that in the least, I have come in contact in such a spontaneously deep and friendly manner with precisely a Chinese Singaporean!… 😀
      How wonderful.

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  7. Jared
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 14:28:17

    Hi Bhaga,

    Thanks again for your candid sharing. I guess your attitude towards the Chinese might mirror the complex and ambivalent attitude that the Mother herself had.

    On the one hand, there was the time where she told a Western missionary that the Chinese had discovered a way to God long before the birth of Christianity – and certainly did not need the West (or him) to show it to them. In scattered references, I believe she also mentioned how the Chinese are very intelligent, and have reached the apex in the development of the mind (meaning the intellect, I am sure) and even that no one could understand Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy better than the Chinese (?). Certainly, the Mother had high regard for Xu Fancheng (Chinese: 徐梵澄) an early Chinese disciple in the Ashram. She described him as “… a scholar who is at once an artist and a yogi.” Indeed, an online source tells us that: “Xu Fancheng is a master of classical Chinese poetry, calligraphy, sculpture, and painting, had also mastered 8 ancient and modern languages, and was a great scholar of Chinese, Western, and Indian cultures. For 33 years, Xu Fancheng led a peaceful, humble life in India. He studied and translated classical and modern Indian texts, including the Bhagavad Gita, 50 verses of the Upanishads and the major works of Sri Aurobindo, including The Life Divine, and The Mother, who was a close personal friend.”

    (http://auromere.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/xu-fancheng-徐梵澄-a-chinese-disciple-of-sri-aurobindo-and-the-mother/)

    On the other hand, she mentioned that the Chinese are spiritually cold and unreceptive. In some remarks in the Agenda, she also mentioned the lunar origin of the Chinese (???) and even that the Chinese in general do not have a psychic being. The latter shocking statement might possibly mean that most Chinese are not sufficiently evolved to have a strong and individualised psychic presence, though the psychic presence in its original form is of course found in all matter, while all human beings should at least have some beginning of an individualised psychic. Perhaps the ambiguous nature of the remark is a result of its translation from French into English, as I am not sure how we can take it literally (since it will possibly imply that the Chinese, or 1/6 of humanity, are not really human). Of course, in the Agenda, soon after the Chinese victory over India in Sino-Indian war, she also mentioned a vision of the possibility of a Chinese invasion all the way to Pondicherry.

    On my part, I would think that the puzzling final remarks aside, what the Mother said certainly appears to be true. The Chinese in general are not distinguished by high spirituality. Compared to spiritual powerhouses like Israel or India, China has been predominantly (though far from exclusively) secular and humanistic. For instance, China, with all its immense size and extraordinarily long history, has produced only one native religion, Taoism – and even that is not a “universal world religion” like Buddhism or Christianity that attempts to “democratise” a fundamental spiritual core.

    At the same time, no other culture in the world (other than perhaps the Jewish) has such respect for scholarship or intellectual achievement. China is after all the inventor of the national examinations, which in its ideal form, was used to select men of intellectual and ethical attainments to form the ruling Confucian elite. Even today, Far Eastern and Chinese-influenced cultures all focus intensely on educational attainment and achievement. For instance, if you examine international assessments of mathematics and science like TIMMS and PISA, Chinese-dominated regions like Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and Confucian-influenced countries like Korea or Japan, basically dominate the top ranks. E.g. for TIMMS (2011), the first five nations in mathematical achievement for 4th grade students were Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. For PISA Science, the top 6 countries were Shanghai (China), Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea. Of course, exam results are hardly the equivalence of culture, but they do demonstrate a nation’s focus on intellectual achievement – which is after all the base of a wider mental culture.

    China has also been home to an immense and prolonged flourishing of arts of all kinds, poetry
    (probably above all), calligraphy, music, metal-working, porcelain-making, sculpture, architecture etc. I remember a 7000-year-old jade carving I once saw in a museum in Shanghai. Besides the exquisite skill that the artist exhibited at such an early period, what struck me was how that carving looked so quintessentially Chinese. There seem to be a long and extraordinarily continuous artistic tradition stretching from the remotest time all the way to the present, with very high achievements at early dates (e.g. the Shang bronze works of about 3000-4000 years ago). Technology and the practical arts also flourished – with gunpowder, paper, the printing press, paper money and the magnetic compass among many others being first invented in China. Today’s China is the “factory of the world”, but without exaggeration, Chinese metallurgical technology was literally thousands of years ahead of Europe’s for a long time, with cast iron and blast furnaces in place 2400 years ago (Britain only made cast iron in the 14th century). Its vast metal-working industries dwarfed Europe’s and probably the rest of the world for the longest time.

    Indeed, I would think there was a very good chance Song-dynasty China could have entered into the industrial age almost a thousand years earlier than England if not for the fact that China had a huge population and no need for labour-saving machines!

    Thus, there is no doubt that if India is the land of the Spirit, China is basically the land of the Mind – with a lively and many-sided mental culture that had gone on for many thousands of years. An interesting online article that linked the technical and economic accomplishments of ancient China with its humanistic philosophies is found in:

    http://east_west_dialogue.tripod.com/id1.html

    Having said that, for the earliest few thousand years of Chinese history (inclusive of the Neolithic ages), China was basically a shamanic culture, with a strong sense of the occult. Most of the exquisite jade or bronze objects left behind from the earliest times served shamanic uses, and the earliest known Chinese writing was used by Shamans, who may even have been the earliest Chinese Kings. The earliest surviving Chinese text, the “I-Ching”, the Book of Changes, is a mystic and occult text still used today for divination. The only native Chinese religion, Taoism, is clearly a shamanic religion evolved into more “modern” guise. This ancient layer of the occult traditions (not really spiritual, probably) was submerged by the prolonged and enormous development of Reason that turned China into quite a different country. Nevertheless, the ancient layer of occultism persisted through Taoism and later, Chinese Buddhism.

    Finally, a dark side of the Chinese focus on intellectual development is also an unfortunate and very sophisticated development of the art of strategy and ruse. Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is more than 2000 years old, a great intellectual achievement and even today is widely studied by the military academies of East and West. It is however born of a culture with centuries of experience in the art of cunning deception. In later classics like the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” (a text almost like the Mahabharata of China), mingled with salutary ethical counsels and heroic deeds would be a complete education in sophisticated strategies to deceive and destroy one’s enemies – strategies that might make Machiavelli blush (or at least nod in appreciation). It might be this perverse aspect of Chinese culture that excited a good deal of the Mother’s disdain.

    I don’t know whether the above writing is helpful – but since you said China is quite an alien culture to you, hopefully it may open certain doors…

    Jared

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    • Bhaga
      Nov 22, 2013 @ 08:40:14

      the Reply from me under this one was in fact destined to you of course (as the “Hi Jared!’ also indicates), and this one too…
      I want to mention to you the fact that I had another Culture Shock just after the one in Singapore, but in the USA, when confronted, again unexpectedly, this time with the Native Americans there in the Reservations they are forced to live in, or in special places were they are better respected and accepted, but where I didn’t expect to find them either!… 😀
      This should be proof to you that my gut reaction to the situation in Singapore was not especially against the Chinese people. By the way, you must have noticed in my original post, to which our present writings are comments, I have myself be a rich and powerful Chinese woman in some ancient times; I loved the humble people serving me and took good care of them. Having been Chinese doesn’t shock me at all, I have not the slightest racial prejudice about that, on the contrary, I am rather proud of having been part also of that remarkable culture.
      My intention is to present this other instance of drastic human stupidity in myself – the one in the US -, through yet another post after the first one in Singapore.

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  8. Bhaga
    Nov 22, 2013 @ 07:55:09

    Hi Jared!
    I am glad to have now your reply to my ‘candid’ indeed telling you of my reaction when unexpectedly confronted with Singapore’s quite Chinese population!… And I am glad also that this prompted you to give me this whole lot of very interesting information about Chinese Culture, straight from your own unbiased opinion based on historical facts. Your reminiscences from some remarks by Mother that I knew already of course were a valuable addition too in themselves; but please understand that the reaction I had twenty years ago in Singapore was simply, as I tried to make clear, a gut reaction to a culture shock due only to the surprise, the unexpected discovery of Singapore’s present Chinese reality.
    I have nothing against the Chinese as such, and I did know already, although rather vaguely, of their great achievements on the practical level, and the Tao is something so profound and so vast, along with the Yi Ching, and Chinese Traditional Medicine, that I consider them extraordinary boons from China, and I revere and use them in my own life. So I don’t need to be convinced of the high value of Chinese traditional culture.
    What has probably influenced my feeling about contemporary China, though, is the fact that while I was a teenager and young adult, China was in the throes of the Cultural Revolution, quite a frightening thing in my mind at the time (all revolutions are rather bloody things while they happen, the French Revolution too, and the Russian one as well) although I knew it was a necessary throwing out of the rottenness of the past. There are always excesses that sentimental people like me wish would not be there. I understand that nowadays it is at least better, even if in China itself the Government is in my eyes regrettably still quite tough with its own citizens – and of course also with those ‘ethnic minorities’ living in areas, like Tibet, previously independent, but now considered officially part of China whether they like it or not.
    I don’t think they are heavy-handed with Singapore, are they? For actually it is that so authoritarian Governmental attitude that scares me, not only in Continental China, but anywhere else around the globe where it is still present.

    So actually it is more the human inner phenomenon of ‘Culture Shock’ that at the time I stayed shortly in Singapore I found interesting to watch happening in myself to my own total surprise… in spite of all those years in a place like Auroville, dedicated to Human Unity!!!
    If you don’t mind, Jared, I would like to take this topic as the one for my next post on this blog of mine, using my tale of Culture Shock in Singapore as the spontaneous starting-point it has been, together now with your answer.

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    • Jared
      Nov 24, 2013 @ 13:40:21

      Hi Bhaga,

      Thank you again for your insightful and honest

      Do feel free to use the topic of “culture shock” as your next post. =)

      By the way, I have also sent you my Atlantean stories through email a few days ago.

      Best regards.

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  9. Bhaga
    Nov 24, 2013 @ 14:31:10

    Yes, yes, Jared, I did receive your email with your quite remarkable Atlantean stories. If there are other examples yet in the world of Literature/Poetry (besides ‘Savitri’ of course, that the poem part reminded me strongly of) that reach these kind of intensity and heights, I am not familoar with them, and I read your stories with awe, but it kind of stunned me!… Yes, yet another sort of ‘culture shock’ again!!!😀
    So right now, before I read it all a second time as i feel the need to, I’m still digesting the first time…! I’m glad this is still only what you call a ‘juvenile’ style: what would become of me if it were already the full blast thing!
    Did Shraddhavan or anybody else here ever read yet any of those writings of yours? If yes, what did they say?
    Any idea when you will come again to Pondicherry?

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  10. Jared
    Nov 26, 2013 @ 13:20:38

    Hi Bhaga,

    It is good you find some value in these stories. I don’t think anyone in Auroville has read these stories yet. The few people here who have read them generally found them to be very baffling.

    The style is still juvenile as I hope to convey “a vision of truth” through the rhythm and imagery of my writing. Needless to say, my vision is weak and my craft is too poor to accomplish much rhythmic fidelity either. There is too much construction and too little inspiration. In addition, most of my time is taken up by my daily work or by meditation / study of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s works, and very little time is devoted to writing.

    Incidentally, I will be heading to Pondicherry this Friday and will stay for 2 weeks at the Retreat guesthouse of the Sri Aurobindo Society!

    Jared

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  11. Trackback: Culture Shock in Singapore: The Chinese… | Lab of Evolution

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