Nitya Teachings

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Darsana Ten - Verse Eight

5/8/18

Nirvana Darsana verse 8

 

Not knowing anything by himself,

even when informed he remains so –

such a person is the most superior.

Always without modulation, he is brahma alone.

 

Nataraja Guru’s translation:

 

He who by himself does not know anything

And even when made to know, (knows) not;

Such a one, always void of activity,

The most Elect is the Absolute alone (in himself).

 

         Not surprisingly, the class was not interested in facing up to the drastic nature of this verse. We treated its full-fledged renunciation as nothing more than a transient version of a deeply absorbed state, as in a meditation, artistic vision, or psychedelic trip that sooner or later ends and then may be integrated into our everyday life. We are all familiar with this kind of thing, the absent-minded professor stereotype or the spaced-out hippie artist, a subject for jest more than a shocking state that calls all pretense into question. So it goes.

         Nitya recounts a visit with someone matching this verse only once in his autobiography, and you can read it here in Part II. I didn’t share it with the class because it was very far from the direction we went in. The third paragraph of Nitya’s commentary assesses such a person, concluding, “Except for the continuation of the metabolic balance in some mysterious way, no sign of life is in him.” I like to recall the quote from Nataraja Guru shared in the verse 5 notes: “Here it is the inner enjoyment of the high value implied in the notion of the Absolute that serves as the diagnostic factor. The outer evidence of such enjoyment might be feeble in the eyes of an onlooker who is not conscious of the Bliss of contemplation of the Absolute.” You can say that again!

         Deb began by making the connection between the end of the garland, where we are now, and the beginning, where everything was projected out of nothing by the Supreme Lord, whatever that is. Now everything is being reduced to nothing once again, as the garland disappears from our view. She said there are moments of such “nothingness” in all our lives, where we touch the deep, wordless ground.

         I agreed that that’s the level we are most comfortable with: the dipping in and then coming back out to express our connectedness in interesting and possibly even helpful ways.

         Susan asked us for examples, and Andy was happy to oblige. He suggested if you are watching a fantastic sunrise, the experience is not only a mental event but it’s also a physical event and you’re caught right between the two. Is it the physical sun causing a mental event or is the mental the actual cause of that moment of appreciation of intense beauty? For a short at such times while we are in what Joseph Campbell called aesthetic arrest: we are taking in without analyzing, and it’s a most intensely gratifying experience.

         Deb told us how she’s writing an essay on her artistic milestones, and she shared one as her example. Many years ago when she was in a museum in New Delhi she saw Arabic calligraphy for the first time, and she was utterly transfixed. She could barely breathe. It spoke to her in a way that was completely new to her, and she was enchanted. It wasn’t long before she began to study calligraphy herself, and she has maintained a lifelong interest.

         Andy then recounted his discovery of the School of Seven—Canadian painters of the early twentieth century and how they affected him. He spoke of that whoa moment, the moment of awe that has nothing hanging on it, like why you should admire it or any technical considerations.

         This reminded Deb of a time when she was living in Massachusetts. On a classic frigid New England winter day with bright blue sky and brilliant white snow she was walking through a field and a kind of portal opened. It was like being suspended outside of time and space as if she didn’t exist, yet she was fully aware and saw everything in a much more vast perspective.

         Susan recounted a similar moment around the time of the Harmonic Convergence of August 1987, a worldwide meditation event based on a planetary alignment and implications of the Mayan calendar. Susan was at the wild and rugged Oregon beach at sunset, and caught up in the beauty as the sun made the whole scene glow gold she waded into the icy water and felt transported in just the way the others have been talking about. She felt simultaneously at one with everything, and like nothing at all. Moments like that stay vivid for a lifetime.

         Deb also shared one of her newly published poems based on a dream about Nitya, and you can read it in Part II.

         Deb concluded this interchange with an odd idea, that the sense of transcendence has nothing to do with doing the right thing, you are somehow just open and it happens. You can see that all of these accounts are actually based on something, they are a meeting of a readiness inside with a uniqueness outside that sweeps aside the trivial for a moment. That meeting is precisely the “right thing” that is being done, it just isn’t some mechanical process detailed in a book. It involves more than our wakingconsciousness. While spontaneous surges of joy are very beautiful and desirable occurrences, they aren’t exactly what this verse is talking about. It is addressing the total abandonment of the dual in favor of the unitive, which includes surrendering pretty much everything we identify with.

         Because of this I reserved my take on the verse for these notes, so as to allow the natural unfolding of the class to take place, and it was fun for all. So here it is. In place of the fortuitous moment of bliss engendering enlightened moments of popular appeal, Nitya hints at the culmination of the entire project spelled out by the Darsanamala, which has been staunchly resisted throughout, along with overcoming the impediments to it, which requires a determined effort for synthesis.

         What Nitya is subtly doing is showing a practical example of how the unifying practice of yoga reaches its ultimate fulfillment. It is by no means accidental. Why bother to teach something accidental? It would be pointless. Here  Nitya suggests three stages or possibilities that correspond to a yogic thesis, antithesis and synthesis. While all three are unitive in a sense, only the third possibility is what the practice of yoga takes us to. This secretive hint at the close of our study is well worth a close examination:

 

The term non-dual implies the transcendence of the dual. The dual alluded to is the dichotomy of the knowing subject and the known object. The arrival at the non-dual holistic appreciation is effected either by reducing the subject into the total immanence of the object, as in the case of monistic materialism, or by reducing the existentiality of the object into the transcendent substantiality of the subject, as monistic idealists do. A third possibility is cancelling out the subject-object duality and placing oneself in the precarious neutral zero where the Word becomes a synonym for both the cause as well as the effect.

 

During my brief college career I thought I should learn to meditate so I didn’t have to take LSD to get high—or really, to get neutralized, though I didn’t know this context at the time. My roommate at Stanford University told me of a typical practice of staring at a candle flame until there was only the flame, there was no you any more, and I tried it out for a while. This corresponds to Nitya’s first possibility, and as he says, it’s the materialist version. It brings you to “the total immanence of the object.” When Buddhism is described as materialistic, that is what is meant. You don’t exist, but the apparent stuff does. Sort of. You give yourself up to it. Certainly that’s what science tries to affirm too, though that solid flame dissolves the more closely it is examined, leading to the second possibility, the antithesis.

         The second possibility is that as you meditate on the flame or what have you, you realize it only exists in your mind as your personal experience. While there may well be something stimulating your registration, the entire thing is composed in your mind, or in what Nitya calls “the transcendent substantiality of the subject.” This is what we tend to categorize as spiritual or metaphysical, as opposed to the materialism or physicality of the first version.

         As the Yoga Darsana instructed, if you bring these two perspectives together in a subtly dynamic fashion, you come to the third possibility, which involves what is here described as “cancelling out the subject-object duality and placing oneself in the precarious neutral zero where the Word becomes a synonym for both the cause as well as the effect.” Nowadays we prefer terms like Force or Evolution in place of Word, but it’s the same thing.

         As Deb pointed out, the precariousness of this position is because we can hardly resist the temptation to analyze the unitive state in a dualistic framework. The allure of subjects and objects keeps catching us and bringing us back into the eternal fray between thesis and antithesis. In other words, analysis inevitably divides what has been carefully united. At this stage, as long as we can hold off on analysis, we can leave duality to its own devices and rest in the equipoise where poles like cause and effect do not need to be distinguished. Yet so long as we harbor unsatisfied predilections, the urge to express them will eventually return us to a nontranscendental condition.

         In a thoroughly absorbed state the cries of duality to reassert itself are hard to hear. Or we might hear, but do not feel any need to react or respond. Those dependent on duality (and this includes our own ego) become frustrated with the apparent inertness of the respondent. If they were open enough they might be entrained into the unitive state, but more often they pit their efforts to drawing you back out of it, into their superficial world. If you are lucky enough to be at an ashram or care center where nirvana is understood, your body might be cared for while you are checked out. Otherwise you’re food for ants, as Ramana Maharshi discovered, or some other hungry critters with bigger mouths.

         Nitya gives a brief assessment of why we might be interested in yoga instead of maintaining a linear relationship with our existence, in other words of the third possibility rather than either of the first two. For the first possibility he has the most to say:

 

In monistic materialism everything is reduced to matter, and the observing mind is treated as an epiphenomenon which has no reality of its own. The non-dual emphasis in such an outlook does not take one beyond a philosophical surmise of the system to which humans belong. This does not alter very much the whimsical characteristic and action-reaction pattern of the percipient’s behavior. Of course, it will considerably influence the judgment of such a person in the assessment of values.

 

While we often think of materialism as being dualistic, the type of nonduality Nitya is referring to here is the all-embracing domain of matter. In it there is nothing other than matter, so matter is the Absolute of the first possibility. Values of this domain are all about measurable possessions, of obtaining tangible results. Because materialism focuses exclusively on surface issues, it isn’t likely to lead to a deepening of the psyche. The votary is too busy going after or investigating stuff to worry about such intangibles. And behavior is bound to be on the eye for an eye level. As to the pure subjectivist, Nitya says only:

 

In the second case, that of the transcendental idealist, the main impact of monism can be seen in the withdrawal from all action fronts.

 

The apex of this form of nonduality is fatalism: you see how complex everything is and how it has its own trajectory, so what can you do about it? The only thing to do is to reduce the impingement of the outside world by dematerializing or defanging it. It sounds like only weirdos from far away have such fatalistic beliefs, but it is more common than we might realize, and we may buy into it without knowing it. It’s well worth taking a hard look at how we might have some of this quality too. It is most visible as the determination to not do, to dismiss activity as irrelevant if not inimical to realization. As if we can have an ocean without waves.

         Curiously, Nitya also makes light of the synthetic version of the dialectic of doing and not doing, in his summation of the third possibility. This must be due to the drastic nature of the verse:

 

As for neutral monists, they find ample excuses to do as well as not to do. Both their restraints and their indulgences are explained away as issues of [merely] semantic significance.

 

I’ve added ‘merely’ to make it clear that semantic significance means without significance. The taint that seems to be implied is that synthetic yoga, while advanced, is still being subtly managed as long as we treat it as an accomplishment. The point being that we mustn’t sit there and think, aha, I’ve got it now. It has to be an all-absorbing state, beyond analysis, including self-analysis. There is no ‘I’ in it. Nitya and Narayana Guru have taken us to yet another stage, the person that can’t be pigeonholed in any of the three categories: doing, non-doing, or balanced in between doing and non-doing. The most superior knower is beyond any kind of self-directed activity, and they cannot be accurately assessed by outsiders either. Nitya’s example from Love and Blessings is of a living corpse. It is superior only in being so totally absorbed that the world no longer exists for them, and in this extreme case there is not even any trace of a vasana to reactivate the person. It’s over, baby.

         Pretty unappealing, actually. It’s accorded a verse just to complete the picture, and “more superior” means more absorbed, not that it’s any better or worse. It has to be beyond such considerations. Our gurus lined themselves up with verse 5 as the ideal, the interactive, integrated version that was really what the class was talking about last night. Either way, the best practice of absorption comes without any reservations. You’ve got to give it your all. Check your identity at the door.

         Nitya also drops back to the yogic ideal after his dutiful nod to the most superior knower:

 

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras this state is considered as the equalization of the thinking substance and the Self. The aphorism says, “When the purity of the sattva and of the Self are equal there is aloneness.” Here Patanjali equates kaivalya with the highest kind of nirvana. In the state of aloneness the body-dweller is identical with the eternally pure.

 

Equalizing the thinking substance, consciousness, with the Self is the yogic endeavor, brought about by doing and not doing in some mystical marriage. Aloneness, as we are familiar, is a contraction of all-oneness, so it is an apt appellation for the unitive state.

         Nitya concludes with two shades of meaning of a complex term. His last sentence does not mean we aren’t dealing with final cessation in this verse, only that it is described in some more detail in the next verse:

 

The term sadavritti sunyah can be broken either as sada plus vritti sunyah or as sada and avrtti sunyah. When taken in the first sense it means the absence of the modulations of consciousness. In the second, it means the absence of any return from transcendence. Both meanings are relevant here. In the next verse final cessation is described.

 

In place of all this boring recapping of the thrust of Nitya’s commentary, we shared our exciting stories and then sank into a blissful meditation. I went into the yogic technique of dialectical synthesis and found it paved the way to an ever-deeper detachment from my chatter-filled (and rhubarb pie energized) mind. I felt absorbed yet present. It’s very beautiful to spend time there, or to spend timelessness I suppose I should say. My return vasana is I have to start the closing chant so others can go home to bed, so I can’t let go all the way. I save that for later. And so, Good night.

 

Part II

 

         Swami Vidyananda’s commentary:

 

The most elect knower of the Absolute is he who, without having any outer consciousness of things, has a mental life whereby he is always merged in the state of nirvana. This most elect knower of the Absolute is not affected by any incipient memory factor (vāsanā) which refers to his body or the physical world. He has no alternating activities of the mind such as right or wrong volitions. All acts which arise from one's preferences or hatreds of things are always motivated by the prevalence of the three nature-modalities whether they be easy or difficult. Because of transcending the influence of the three nature-modalities, this most elect knower of the Absolute is not subject to any functional activity arising in his mind. Only the basic functions of life continue to operate. Even when, by virtue of life functions persisting in him, he is seen to move, he is not aware of them. What is more, even when he is prompted by others he does not gain any consciousness of them. The normal experiences of life such as thirst and hunger are not felt by him. He does not even have the consciousness of possessing a body. He will not take food by himself. His earthly body has attained to natural inertness because the Self has attained to its proper state of aloneness. Thus, the most elect knower of the Absolute is no other than a person, who, while remaining in a body having minimum life functions, is himself merged in the highest bliss of nirvana. This bliss is of eternal and everlasting purity. Without any possibility of ever returning to life, he attains to the term of what all activities are meant to reach. In other words, he is the Absolute. As the Upanishads declare, “He does not come back.” “On attaining that there is no return at all, that is my supreme abode.” In such words what has been extolled in the wisdom texts (sruti) and even in the obligatory texts (smriti) refers to this most elect knower of the Absolute. It is this same aloneness (i.e. supreme purity of the Self) which has been referred to by Patanjali as consisting of the equality of purity between the intelligent element (buddhi) and the Self (ātmā). Here the purity of the buddhi should be understood as the state of non-action attained by transcending the three nature-modalities. Thus, when the intelligent element attains an equality of purity with the Self, the aloneness from the establishment of the Self in its own true form results. This aloneness is the same as the ultimate emancipation or absorption (paranirvana) or the most elect of all nirvanas. There is no nirvana higher than this. There is no living man of nirvana who is more elect than this most elect knower of the Absolute. Such a state is a very rare one to attain.

The term sadā-vritti-sunya (always void of activity) can also be read as, Sadā āvartti-sunya (always without return). Then we get the meaning that such a man does not come back to earthly life anymore. The interpretation is also permissible.

 

*         *         *

 

Love and Blessings, page 157, describes such a person:

 

         In my travels I went to see Siddharudha Swami in Hassan. The Swami’s ashram was a traditional old institution where many ochre robed swamis were living. Many were coming as well to pay homage to him. Nobody knew the swami’s age, maybe 100, maybe 200, or even 300. It varied according to the informant’s credibility. He looked for all the world like a living corpse.

         At five o’clock in the morning, ten disciples ceremonially came to him, prostrated at his feet, and pulled him out of bed for a hot water wash. Before the bath his body was smeared with turmeric paste, and afterwards he was painted with sandal paste and clothed with a T-string, a dhoti, a shirt and a turban. Then he was decorated with a rudraksha garland and several flower garlands. In the main hall of the ashram he was seated on a throne-like chair, where he sat cross-legged in padmasana. Then there was a ceremonial feeding. He did not open his eyes or mouth, but some milk was smeared on his lips and wiped off. I was told the swami had not taken any food or drink for twelve years.

         This ritual had been going on every day for a very long time. He did not pass urine or stools. I was also told he did not perspire. There was no evidence he was breathing. If he was dead, why wasn’t he decomposing? It was all a mystery. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed the possibility of anyone living without food, drink or breath.

         As the Swami’s face looked like a corpse, it gave me an eerie feeling to sit and watch him all day. The swamis there were very hospitable, and there was nothing lacking for a visit of any length of time, but I only stayed for three days.

 

*         *         *

 

Step Forward Step Back

         by Deborah Buchanan

 

In an open space

a thin line

the horizon.

You walk towards me,

we recognize each other,

smile, look into the other’s eyes,

then with deft movement

you reach across your chest

and open it to me,

a corporeal door swung ajar.

Nothing bloody, nothing fleshy

as I look inside, nothing.

I am you, you say,

your smile covering distance,

erasing peculiarities.

As our eyes continue to hold

you step closer and

with the same suppleness

open my torso: chest, stomach,

fluttering breath. You are me.

Still we watch, space

streaming around us.

A chirrup from the birds

in an unseen tree.

Quiet.

Your eyes.

We are nothing, you say,

We are transparent.

Transparent the line of my arm.

Nothing the shape of your mouth.

Nothing the touch on my arm.

Transparent my fingers to your face,

your lips evanescent in the startling blue.

 

Part III

 

         A couple of people were intrigued by the living corpse swami, so I thought I should add another reference to the idea of bodily immortality, from That Alone, verse 83. In it, Nitya gives a good accounting of his thoughts on reincarnation and immortality. Here’s the excerpt. The whole verse commentary is a magnificent meditation based on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad mantra we include in our chants for class, a rereading I highly recommend:

 

         Of course, it is out of the question to immortalize the body. Narayana Guru agrees here with the evolutionists that the very nature of the body is to break, then for something new to come and for that to continue for a while before it also breaks. Then its place is taken by another, and this will continue on and on. So there is nothing called the immortality of the body.

         When Sri Aurobindo expounded his theory of spiritual evolution and the descent of the supramental, I don’t know if he meant it this way, but what his devotees understood and we are likely to think when we read his book, is that the body, which is a receptacle of the spirit, is slowly changed by the supramental spirit to become an immortal vessel to hold life. He clearly seemed to imply a physical immortality rather than any theoretical one.

         During his lifetime no one in the ashram was allowed to ask the question of what would happen after Aurobindo’s death. It was taboo. They all believed he would not die and that his body was immortal. When he died, the ashram people wouldn’t believe it. They refused to bury him. There was a French government at that time, and they did not subscribe to that belief. They had a law that a dead person should be buried within three days. The ashram people said “No, he is alive. He is in samadhi.” After the third day the government decided to bury him forcefully, so the ashram finally allowed it after much dispute that he was still physically immortal.

         Then they changed their theory. They said, “He is continuing now in the Mother. He has transferred himself to her. He is immortalizing the Mother so she will not die.” She did live to be ninety-seven. But when she died, nobody made any dispute. She was immediately buried. It is not a feasible theory that the body can become immortal.

         So, then, where do you become immortal?...

 

*         *         *

 

  Jay found a fuller account of the aftermath of Sri Aurobindo’s transit that makes interesting reading. This one is firsthand; Nitya’s is secondhand, though from a good source: he knew the head of the Aurobindo Ashram in Delhi from the 1960s. They were dear friends, but may not have talked about the event very often.

 

  While we’re on this subject, I recalled a fuller version from Nitya’s In the Stream of Consciousness, in the chapter Oh, What a Noble Mind is Here O’erthrown, which talks about human efforts to access the divine by more or less mechanistic means:

         Two other people held in great esteem by their colleagues and worshipped by thousands of people have made a similar error, and I hope I can mention them without incurring the wrath of their admirers. I have in mind Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, who had been working at what they considered to be the speeding up of a “Divine Project” which they called “the supramental descent.”

         Many other intelligent people have applied their minds to the possibility of evolving a superior race. When Nietzsche spoke of supermen, not everyone dismissed it as the fantasy of an aching brain. It is even possible that Hitler thought he was going to be one of those supermen. But he was crazy enough to plague the world, so he was dismissed as a crackpot.

         Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not declare war on anyone. When they spoke, they spoke with such passion in their hearts that no one could deny the love they felt for humanity. Their expositions of integral yoga were worked out meticulously, with sound logic. Their world outlook was one hundred percent universal, and their understanding of human nature was almost perfect. There was no field of human interest that did not appeal to them. And yet they made the claim of transforming their physical bodies to become immortal receptacles for the spirits that dwelt in them.

         The idea of death was anathema in the Pondicherry ashram. When Sri Aurobindo’s life ended, his disciples did not believe he had actually died. The authorities had to take aggressive measures to get the body buried. Then an alternative theory was put forward that Sri Aurobindo was continuing to live in the body of the Mother. So then nobody was allowed to mention the possibility of the death of the Mother.

         Even a date was fixed for the supramental descent, the day on which every body on earth was to become animated by the spirit of God. That date has already passed. It might be that there is some kind of a delayed reaction in it, but when we look at the chaos all around us, we have to doubt the efficacy of the spirit that has descended upon man.

 

         And now, Jay’s letter. I should mention that rigor mortis isn’t always present, and in hot weather does not last very long. After two days it would surely not have been expected in India. Also, after my mother died she immediately looked 30 years younger, all the tension having left her facial muscles, so death doesn’t necessarily turn you into anything ghastly. So there are projections of a devotee in this, but it remains a moving account (no pun intended):

 

Dear Scott,

I always have found Sri Aurobindo's life (and death) very interesting. I had known the unusual happenings about his death and after reading your email, I did a Google search and found the following account by an American writer:

…Several days later, an English doctor staying at Golconda warned me that the condition of Sri Aurobindo's health was becoming worse. At 1:30 in the morning on December 5, 1950, he passed away of a kidney infection. About 3:30 that same morning, this was announced to everyone in the ashram. With great sorrow, I realized I had been at the last darshan at which both of them would appear together!

During the day of December 5, I hovered about the ashram grounds, feeling desolate. Already it has been decided, despite the objections of the French colonial governor, that Sri Aurobindo would be buried in the courtyard of the main building beneath a huge spreading tree. The male ashramites, including the visiting doctor, began to build the tomb. I watched the doctor, who had confided to me that he expected Sri Aurobindo to 'reveal himself as an avatar,' and he beat with his sledgehammer on the concrete slab as if he would destroy death itself.

There was weeping but no hysteria. By afternoon, men and women passed baskets of earth from hand to hand, as the digging continued beneath the tree. Then there was a new announcement. For all of us there, there would now be a second darshan. In lesser numbers, we filed through to view the body of the poet-philosopher lying upon his couch in the upper chamber.

Again, the following morning on December 6, we all filed past. The 'force field' which I mentioned earlier seemed to remain about the body and throughout the room. Dressed in white, upon a white couch before the windows, Sri Aurobindo now lay in state. Bowls of flowers stood around the couch; and at the bed's head and foot, disciples of long standing sat quietly, heads bowed.

Unexpectedly, in the afternoon, there was another darshan. Sri Aurobindo's face still did not look deathlike. The skin was golden in color, the white hair blowing on the pillow in a breeze from a fan. The aquiline profile continued to have a prophetic look. There was no odor of death and little incense was burning. To my astonishment, the repeated viewings of his body had a comforting effect.

By December 7, everyone momentarily expected the funeral. This was, after all, a tropical climate. Bodies were usually burnt as quickly as possible in India. Even the planned burial in earth was a major departure from the usual Hindu custom. The grave had now been completed with large cement blocks lining the tomb. But instead of the burial, an announcement came from the Mother:

'The funeral of Sri Aurobindo did not take place today. His body is charged with such a concentration of supramental light that there is no sign of decomposition and the body will be kept lying on his bed so long as it remains intact.'

From the French colony, already exploding with disapproval and its officials much disturbed by the burial plans, came the rumor that the body must have been 'shot with formaldehyde' secretly, to preserve it. Moreover, said the officials, the ashram was not only breaking the law in burying anyone in the garden, it was worse to keep it so long unburied. (The legal regulation was that no body should be kept unburied longer than 48 hours.)

in the morning of December 7, therefore, a French doctor representing the government, a Dr. Barbet, arrived to inspect the body of Sri Aurobindo. At the end he reported it was a 'miracle'; there was no deterioration, no rigor mortis. It was an unheard of occurrence; the weather had continued to be hot during the entire time. After this official and scientific approval, nothing further could be done to prevent another darshan.

Visitors were flocking from all over India; and the Indian newspapers now proposed that Sri Aurobindo be suggested, posthumously, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

This time, I suspected it might be the last time. Everyone and anyone was allowed into the ashram to pass by Sri Aurobindo's body: beggars in rags, curiosity seekers, villagers, ashramites, and visitors.

By December 8, silence was observed throughout the ashram grounds. Only latecomers who had just arrived in Pondicherry were allowed to view the body.

Tension grew among the ashramites, and incredible speculations became the order of the day. An Indian representative of Life magazine came around, wanting to talk to those of us from America. He told us that this phenomenon of bodily preservation after death had never taken place anywhere in India. Why, even yogis who specialized in 'live' burial had never performed such a feat. No Indian 'living saint' in history had preserved his body after death in this fashion. The Indian magazine representative wondered if Sri Aurobindo was not, after all, still alive and only in some kind of trance state or coma.

On December 9, at noon, a notice was posted that there would be a final darshan for those in the ashram at one o'clock. Later the time was changed to 2:30 p.m. and visitors from outside were allowed in first. The night before, a plane chartered by 19 people from Darjeeling had flown in. By now, in Golconda, everyone was sharing his or her room; bedrolls crowded the floors and halls of the guest house.

I had, of course, postponed my planned departure date. All of this, I realized, was a situation which would remain entirely unduplicated in my own life. I intended to remain until the end.

in the afternoon of December 9, at 5:00 p.m., the burial service finally took place after another final darshan. A feeling of force and energy remained in the atmosphere around Sri Aurobindo's vicinity, but that force had now weakened. Afterwards, in absolute silence, everyone in the ashram sat in the courtyard. The gates were locked against further curiosity seekers…. 

From https://www.collaboration.org/98/spring/text/06.darshan.html by Rhoda P. LeCocq

Jay

 

Part IV

 

         Lastly perhaps, dear Jyothi was inspired by the story about Aurobindo to send a reminiscence of Nitya’s exit:

 

Dear brother Scottappa and sweet sister Debbiema 

Greetings from India on May 14 th   A memorable day for all of us -children or disciples or friend’s what else of Dear Guru Nitya s 19 th Samadhi day. Or we can call the day Guru attained Nirvana.  

Early this morning I woke up with sweet memories of our dear Guru who connected us as brothers and sisters of the World Family.  Dear Scottappa when I read your note on Shri Aurobindo my mind went back to 14 th May 1999.  After our Guru breathed out his last by lying down in his bed. swamy Thyagi and friends made arrangements to put Guru on his chair in a sitting position. Guru used to make fun ‘if I die please do not break my leg bones for the so called burial rituals of Hinduism ‘. Anyway Guru was in his sitting position. On May 15 th my birthday morning Swamy Thyagi and friends asked me to give Guru the final bath. Some friends including our dear Rajan to assist me for this beautiful moment but sad I gave my baby a bath. While I was reaching to apply soap for Guru  s back I still feel even while typing this the wonder I felt that as if Guru was alive he bent forward for me to apply water and soap.  That day 18 Year’s back that precious moment I had a shiver and I told our friends Guru is not gone. His body is so supple even after thirteen hours in the cold weather of Ooty. 

 

The beautiful body of Guru displayed with reverence in the prayer hall with beautiful peach saffron silk and flowers in a sitting position on his chair. The villagers came with flowers to see him for a last glance. I was sitting in the prayer hall through out watching the whole. I could hear each one whispering no he is not gone it is as if he is meditating    Some village women came and sat next to me and said loudly ‘chechi Guru is not gone.  

 

Another surprising thing is we have to wait for the funeral up to the arrival of Guru sister relatives friends like Baby to fly and reach. That is in the evening five. Guru instructed us not to allow photographers or any media people to come and take his photos.Dr   Thampan came and told me (being a doctor)chechi we have to put some sea salt packets around Guru’s body so that it won’t decay and smell. You all friends know me being the strong bull I said gently to him with pain in my heart”Thampananna do not even disturb Guru by moving. Guru will remain like this until the time which all of you proposed. No smell or decay or bulging of body will happen.  I was having a kind of a certainty that Guru is a yogi.  nothing of the ordinary things will change his yogic body. It will prevail in a wonderful way to greet each and everyone who came to have a Darshana. Five in the evening Dr Sumangala her children Baby Vimal and some friends from Bombay all came and I still remember Baby said she felt by seeing Guru it was as if he was welcoming her and her little son as usual she felt.  Any way thanking you all dear brother and sisters for this beautiful connection of ours by our Guru on this beautiful day May 14 th 2018 Samadhi day. With reverence and pranams to Guru 

Always in his service

Your all sister in Guru

Jyothi 

 

 


Scott Teitsworth

rsteitsworth(at)yahoo.com