There has been a pre-Pondichery time, when Rishi Agastya, during the Vedic period, is supposed to have lived in the area giving it already a holy atmosphere.
Then there has been the French Pondichery with Dupleix and high deeds this time more of an outer kind.
And there is Pondicherry for what makes it today for most visitors still a city worth coming to and staying in: the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and a few kilimeters outside of Pondicherry, the growing New City of Auroville.
Both those two major attractions that give Pondicherry a special place in many people’s journey to South India, are the result of one single crucial event that marked the Rebirth of Pondicherry:
On April 4th, 1910, Sri Aurobindo’s arrived there, as to the place indicated to him by a Divine ‘Adesh’, where he would be able to find a safe refuge from the British, and to fulfill the Divine Mission given to him: to found the New Way of Yoga that would help Humanity on its way to a New Evolutive Step.
To commemorate and celebrate this auspicious day, one of the few days in the year which later on had been declared Darshan Days by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and on which the disciples and devotees could pass one by one before them and receive their Blessings, the best way for me on this blog will be to add down below an older post I have written earlier about that date:
06 Apr 2012 1 Comment
It is on April 4th, 1910, that Sri Aurobindo, after one month of hiding in a French territory, Chandernagor, near Calcutta, arrived in the other French territory the Divine had arranged as the permanent refuge from the British, where he could henceforth do his inner work for the world: Pondichery.
As for ‘Pondy’, as it came later to be commonly called, the coming of Sri Aurobindo gave it a new life and a new importance, putting it on the map of the places where the light of the Spirit was especially shining, in this case showing the way to the evolutive future of humanity and of the Earth as a whole.
Conversely, it was in Pondy that Sri Aurobindo himself started to read the Veda, and discovered at last in it the description and explanation of some very special experiences he was having, that he had not found mentioned in any other spiritual text: in the Veda only the presence of the Divine in Matter itself was revealed, he found, indicating the possible unveiling of it and re-divinization of Matter just as of the other parts of our being, The crucial difference was that for the awakening of Matter nothing but the power of the Supramental Consciousness could do it, not in the diluted form under which some of it reaches the terrestrial plane, but in its original highly intense vibratory frequency, straight from its own supreme regions, that Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness happened to have already reached before.
Once he had settled safely in Pondichery, the stage was set for his destined spiritual collaborator to also come: in 1914 Mirra Alfassa, a very evolved French lady having already her own disciples in France came, especially to verify the suspicion she had that this Sri Aurobindo she had heard of might be the unknown being she had since a few years some regular inner contact with, without knowing if he was existing on the physical plane or not.
They met when she arrived on March 29th, and they recognized each other at once, she recognizing him as that mysterious being indeed, and he recognizing her as a full embodiment of the aspect of the Divine that in India they call the Divine Mother – hence the name he soon started to use when speaking of her to the few disciples gathered around him: the Mother.
Her stay was interrupted by WWI being declared on August 4th, 1914, but their collaboration started anyway with the translation into French by the Mother, from abroad, of all the new chapters Sri Aurobindo would add every month to the great books he was publishing through the magazine, ‘Arya’, that on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday, August 15th, had been born as the first vehicle for spreading all over the world his revolutionary vision of Evolution as the grand process slowly reunifying Spirit and Matter on this physical plane.
Mirra’s consciousness too had already stumbled upon the Supramental regions, because she had dared to go beyond the highest limit reached by other spiritual people, who had said it wasn’t possible to go beyond that limit; when Sri Aurobindo later had described to her those regions he had discovered, she knew immediately what he was talking about, and both could understand that there, at that Supramental level, was the power to raise the Earth’s consciousness, and Humanity’s, to their next evolutive step.
After WW I the Mother was able to come back and settle in Pondy for good; their shared work for the new evolutive step could really begin.
Four years ago, for the Centenary of Sri Aurobindo’s Arrival, it has been nice to see Pondy joining with its own quiet celebrations those that usually on ‘normal’ years happen only within the context of the Ashram, and of course also of Auroville.
But four years ago I hadn’t discovered yet Blogging and the wonderful way it is to speak with other people worldwide about those evolutive topics that also interest some of them, so I can only mention now what a vast change I have witnessed over the years, since my own humble arrival on August 4th, 1972, in the general attitude of the main Pondy population towards the Ashram and Auroville.
Although at the beginning Sri Aurobindo’s being from Calcutta, Bengale, and so from the North of India, hadn’t been any cause of resentment on the part of the local Tamil population, and his silent presence had on the contrary quickly earned the respect and admiration of all (including Bharati, the celebrated Tamil poet and patriot of the time), later on when the Ashram grew around him and the Mother, to the further dimensions it reached still later, the fact that most of the disciples originated from Bengale with only some Tamil exceptions has been enough to generate the usual baseless jealousy and sense of rivalry among the uneducated and unemployed – especially when inebriated…! – , leading to some tensions now and then against the Ashram between the mid Fifties and the mid-Sixties.
But all this has changed again completely, and there is a general reverence for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, with a growing genuine devotion for them, on the part of the overall population, now very grateful to them for all the improvements and development of their town, that has occurred actually thanks to their presence.
I often think of a very sweet, ardent and dedicated Tamil Yogi living three centuries ago in the area, known as Swami Ramalingam, who used to simply adore what he called the “Grace-Light’ he was seeing, and sing devotional poems to It. He experienced a remarkable beginning of transformation of his physical body, but said that this was nothing in comparison of what the future would bring: he announced that two hundred years after him, a ‘Yogi from the North’ would come and do the real work.
Two hundred years later, Sri Aurobindo arrived…