I just looked at a very inviting website I didn’t know of before, the site of a beautiful lady my age, from Europe just like me, and having grown up in Africa towards the end of the colonial era, just like me. And just like me as a young adult she has become a spiritual person, dedicating her life to the Divine. How interesting, all those similarities!
The Master she met, though, and continues the teachings of, was of the lineage of the very well-known Yogi from South India, Ramana Maharshi, who selected the Sacred Hill of Arunachala in Tamil Nadu as his place of residence, for some time in the cave found there at some height on the side of the Hill, and also down at the foot of the Hill, in the Ashram that grew around him.
That Ashram still exists, and I stayed for a few days there, years ago, two or three times, for I too have always been attracted to places of silent and solitary contemplation like that one, as I reported in the following much earlier post on my blog:
I was even attracted to some extent also to Ramana Maharshi himself, to the life-sized picture of him kept centrally at the Ashram, that showed him reclining on his couch, resting on his right elbow, his whitening head on his hand, smiling that almost ironical smile that seemed to silently say:
“Well, all of this here is but an Illusion. I prefer to withdraw back into the Eternal Self that is all there really Is, and that we all really Are…!”
Sri Aurobindo spent the second part of his life in nearby Pondicherry. He was the other very well-known Yogi that 200 years before, Swami Ramalingam, a previous other remarkable Yogi in Pondicherry’s area, had prophecised would come in that later time from the North, to accomplish much more than he himself (Ramalingam) had been able to, thanks to what he called ‘The Grace-Light’ bestowed on him by the Divine.
Although Ramana Maharshi lived around the same time as Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and not very far away from Pondy, he never quite understood the new, evolutive spiritual goal that the two great Pioneers of the Integral Yoga had set for themselves: bringing down the Supramental Consciousness-Force from its own much higher realm, in order to initiate the new step in terrestrial Evolution, that would lead towards the ‘Life Divine’ right here that they foresaw and announced.
The point I want to make I already expressed in a much earlier post of this blog;
As that older post was quite long and addressed several other issues too, I’ll quote here the few paras from it directly related to that central point:
“The crucial thing to be understood, then, is that not all spiritual paths will lead you to the same result, and certainly not to the full result that is needed if your aim as a soul is to participate in the Divine Plan going on here on this terrestrial plane, through the immense Process of Evolution.
If my personal goal had been only to achieve what the central aim of all spiritual paths is, that is, to realize (= live the Reality of) my Divine, immortal and eternal Essence, with the intention then to withdraw entirely and for ever from this Physical Dimension, that spiritual goal would have been reached already since many years and I would only need to wait until this physical body I have been wearing in this lifetime finally dies and my spirit is free to return to its true realm of existence, away from physicality.
But as such is not my full goal at all, the central Fact described above, experienced only briefly at first and then becoming a permanent Realization, wass indeed the indispensable beginning, the necessary central starting-point for achieving all the further conquests I want to achieve too; but I cannot stop at that traditional only goal, a lot more inner work remains to be done, that can be addressed only through the new spiritual path that has been figured out and traced more recently for this newly discovered purpose of Spirituality: Conscious Evolution. It is only through Conscious Evolution that we can reconquer here, for the Divine in ourselves and in everything else, this realm of Matter.
So for example you may discover the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great yogi of Arunachala Hill in Tiruvanamalai, Tamil Nadu, and be attracted to those teachings; but you better know in advance that they talk only of the central awakening needed, and that even after this awakening had happened in Ramana himself years before, his mind didn’t get really transformed, and he remained unable to perceive the divine Meaning and Purpose also of this physical dimension; when in his later years his body was affected by a painful illness, some disciples were telling him,
‘What terrible nuisances those physical diseases are!…’
‘But the physical body itself is a disease!!!’
Well, when I read that, I saw at once that the Maharshi’s way towards the Spirit wasn’t the right one for me, as for me this poor body is not at all a disease of the spirit, but, in the more complete understanding that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother described so luminously, the body is the means of existence and expression of ‘me’, individualized divine spirit among innumerable other ones, for the progressive manifestation of the overall One Spirit in this specific physical dimension of Itself.”
So the beautiful spiritual lady of that website may have reached indeed her own only goal as an individual soul, by following the teachings she has followed, but until now she has missed entirely the more complete goal that is also there for those interested in pursuing it. Again, it would be her own right to do so as an individual soul having made that choice, but the teachings posted on her website do deny also any need for transformation at all, which goes too far, as it presents this limited view as the Absolute Truth and negates the vaster spiritual perception of other beings whose consciousness simply wasn’t limited any more, like hers and her Masters’, to the Mental level and its inevitably incomplete way of perceiving and understanding things.
This inability, even in many ‘realized’ traditional gurus, to bring their mind, its perceptions and its conclusions, higher than the simple Mental level, demonstrates exactly why the transformation of the outer instruments is necessary too: the inner spirit in them may have become ‘free’, but what is that ‘freedom’ which leaves the beings still subjected to all the usual limitations of their outer personality??? And it is not just the mental, but also the vital and physical parts of their personality, with their desires and other propensities that may remain quite active in them- and not only they don’t see the discrepancy, but they make it look like it were part of their inner freedom!…. Something I noticed immediately, in the biography of that lady and of the ‘Master’ she met – at a time when at least he was supposed to be already a ‘Master’ – is that they got married and had a daughter. Well, this isn’t my idea of Spiritual Mastery. To me, it rather exemplifies precisely the kind of ongoing normal human behaviour that Sri Aurobindo explains is quite fine, but only as long as one is not on the spiritual path.
So all in all, I was rather disappointed by the lady on the website, and I cannot recommend her to any seeker, as she, just like her Masters before her, simply denies the validity of the complete Transformation that is the purpose of the Integral Yoga. Furthermore, she takes such a public stance not just out of sheer ignorance, but with the arrogance of the Mind imagining it knows all and has the Absolute Truth, misleading actually the sincere other seekers that such a stance may confuse and take away from the Integral Yoga they would have otherwise chosen.. as she herself might do some day, whether in this lifetime or the next, when the Supramental Consciousness-Force now activated upon Earth as a whole, thanks to the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, will have become an undeniable Fact for her, perhaps straight in her body-cells, just as it did and keeps doing in my body-cells, ‘contagioned’ already in November 1973 by the cells of Mother’s own body…
Yes, all here is but an Illusion indeed, but it so happens that it is an Illusion set up by the Divine, for a Divine Purpose: a special Divine Victory each of us embodied here may wish to help bring about!
As Mother was saying in her New Year Message for 1970:
“The world is preparing for a big change. Will you help?”