May 28, 2008

It took us more than fifty days to cover almost the whole of Orissa

Sri Ramakrishna Das
by Prof. Chhotenarayan Sharma Souvenirs/Souv_AC_2008

The discipline Babaji had acquired in his Sadhana at Ayodhya had prepared him for necessary endurance and peace, but it was not sufficient for the new adventure. The Integral Yoga includes even the body which in the Yoga is to be endured only as long as it lasts without any programme for changing it or transformation. It simply means that body has to be endured or tolerated without special attention paid to it. Old age, disease or death are to be seen as unwanted inevitable guests which are like necessary arrangement of Nature to facilitate our change of the body like the changing of the old garment for the new one. And this change goes on till a person acquires a spiritual status to attain liberation called Mukti or Nirvana. It was for the first time that Sri Aurobindo speaks of the evolutionary march of nature towards spiritual transformation. This is what the Divine Creator intended by casting himself into the world. The Vedas call this Self-sacrifice of the Purusha.

It is Purusha, the Supreme who by his self sacrifice called in the veda as Purusha-yagnya that transformed himself into matter and became the foundation, the basis of all creation. In fact Purusha the Supreme who is the Truth Consciousness and Bliss sacrificed himself into his own opposite and became the very inconscientopposite of what in his true status he himself is. Sri Aurobindo as an avatar, incarnating the Supreme descended into the very depth of the inconscient, which is like an absolute night and storehouse of all the contrary elements like a thick and impenetrable shadow of the Supreme. It is like an endless depth of the contrary features, dark and inconscient opposite to all positive features. Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga meant wooing the heart of this dark shadow and making it consent to change. As such it was an impossible endeavour for whatever goodwill and sincerity man could command in his efforts. A supreme intervention was needed.

Mental consciousness which is the highest manifest now in the earthly life with its repeated attempt has brought its evolutionary march to almost the end of its possible capacity. A new manifestation was needed which brought a higher consciousness and force, light and power. Sri Aurobindo called it the Supramental Consciousness.

And it was in the very nature of the evolutionary march of earthly life that it should be so. Sri Aurobindo, in a sense, reviews the earthly life and presents a cogent picture of it relating the whole of creation to a meaningful organised picture as a willed movement of The Supreme. It is an unfolding process and the earthly life is at present passing through a period which is in his words ‘The Hour of God’. It is a period marked by upheavals of unprecedented nature. It is also a period of difficult but willed choice and movement. The help of the Supreme is there, but man embodying the highest consciousness in earthly life has to make a choice and effort in the right direction.

This is almost the superficial summary view, the sadhaks of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga are called upon to do. Babaji had not only opened for it, but threw himself heart and soul to its realisation. It was indeed a Herculean resolve that he had taken from an old customary sadhana to an adventure which even the most advanced in life were questioning. But did not have much organized schooling but he partook of the native intuition of very ancient India and he plunged himself in to the very heart of its secret. And in this effort, he also knew that he was partaking into an endeavour that advanced towards a collective fulfillment.

And it also meant sharing the collective difficulty. It was after Sri Aurobindo’s withdrawal and more after Supramental Descent in 1956 that the ideal proclaimed by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother was sought to be taken beyond and proclaimed to the outside world. Babaji by his inner growth and training was naturally inclined and inspired and spoke to those whom he found curious and open. In the Ashram he was working hard to cultivate his body and open his physical towards the new consciousness. The mood of the Ashram was also showing change as increasing number of aspirants could get admission now. The number of Oriya sadhaks was not much in the Ashram and Babaji who was eager to get Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s book translated had to take the help of C.C. Dutta (Sri Charu Chandra Dutta) a Bengali- a retired I.C.S. officer now settled at the Ashram. It was a difficulty from which he could be saved only when proper persons became available for the purpose. Babaji’s sincere aspiration and prayer was bountifully answered by the Divine and the heart of Orissa opened to the Ashram.

A number of Oriyas came and a separate office for Orissa called the Navajyoti office was opened. It was in the early sixties that Babaji appeared to be deeply anxious for the spread of the new ideal. For Orissa he was highly solicitous. While still doing sadhana in Ayodhya Babaji was known to many devotees in the Hindi belt of India. But the response from there was poor. We find a curious rhythm in the steps, the developing consciousness has taken. The Vedic Age seems to have been in the northern part of India. The age of the two Avatars Sri Ram and Sri Krishna is towards the middle, of the Buddha still eastward and Sri Aurobindo still further. Beyond the Bindhyas Mountains great commentators saints and sages were born. It is only now Sri Aurobindo has combined both the functions and he represents a global action. It is not only combining North or South of India but combining the East and West of the Globe- in fact the whole world.

Sri Aurobindo represents a rounded movement. Babaji wanted that his own people know this message and follow it. It was such a vision that seems to have inspired him that he prepared to go to Orissa. It was I think in the year (1969?) that he took a detailed travelling in Orissa. He was accompanied by Shree Ram Nath Panda of Jeypore and myself. In his journey he met and discussed with many people and it was indeed a sight to see that some of the conventional people were so easily moved by his arguments. To me it was a great experience! In our journey we were mostly kept at the same place. I could then see Babaji sitting for quite long in the night. Even mosquitoes did not seem to disturb him so much as they did disturb us. I told Ram Nath Babu that Babaji not only knew more about God but about tiny things like mosquitoes also.

It was then uttered just in joke, but now I think over the truth of the old saying which reminds us of the wisdom that proclaims of a supreme truth knowing which all is known. ..... we moved from place to place and it took us more than fifty days to cover almost the whole of Orissa. On the way Babaji was igniting a fire. For it was due to the response from Orissa, a number of people came attracted to the Ashram and it appears that the heart of Orissa opened itself to the Ashram.

The Oriyas are simple unspoiled by too much intimacy to and enamoured by the flood gates of western culture. They still cherish the old wisdom of which Babaji was a living symbol. Babaji had a sincere collaborator in the form of Professor Prapatti who did the ploughing of the field if Babaji can be thought to have sown the seeds. Subsequently Babaji went to Orissa but rarely. He stayed in the Ashram rendering physical work as sadhana of the most material aspect of life, but by doing so preparing a solid foundation for its copious flowering.

In the Ashram Babaji lived like a sadhu or saint. It was the result of his previous initiation at Ayodhya. But he was not bound by its form and he could modify or change his ways if he found them a hindrance in any way. We have seen while living in Ayodhya Babaji had many admirers. Some wanted him to initiate them. But there was only one whom he had initiated! He had come to the Ashram and was here for about a month. Thus we see that some of his old associates came to the Ashram and I think some of them wanted to take him back to his old order but they went back defeated or changed.

For the people of North India an elderly sadhak of the Hindi belt was given the responsibility of mediating their correspondence to the Mother. Babaji had taken to this intermediary authority with due reverence and that attitude of reverence he kept throughout. Thus Babaji appears like a bridge between the old and the new. He loved the old, was opened to the new, and was on a sincere journey to realize the Truth which wears all forms and is ever new. He had acquired an intuitive sight which revealed to him the things that lie hidden for us.

To exemplify it can be said : Once there was a person who unreasonably was proving himself troublesome to X. The Divine Mother had withdrawn from the body and X went to the Managing Trustee. But the man would not listen. X approached Babaji. He wanted to see him. X arranged a meeting with this man. Babaji later on told X that he will not leave and that he will have to be forced. He suggested a law suit which miraculously worked and the man had to leave. There have been many example of showing some powers that are unseen for commoners.

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