Friday, December 12, 2014

Sri Aurobindo and Yogi Vishnu Bhaskar Lele

(Sri Aurobindo and yogi Lele shut themselves away in house of 

Khaserao Jarvi not letting anybody know it. [January 1908, 

Baroda] Lele said to Sri Aurobindo to silent down his mind and 

doing this Sri Aurobindo got realisation of silent Brahman.)

(Here, in January 1908, Sri Aurobindo got fundamental

 realisation of silent Brahman.)


Swing at Sri Aurobindo Nivas, Vadodara [Baroda].

Sri Aurobindo sat on this swing for three days and

meditated with Yogishree Lele and silenced his

mind. )

The Maharashtrian Yogi, who helped Sri Aurobindo to make important step in Yoga.
Barin Ghose, who was looking for a guru for his Maniktala ashram, had met Vishnu Bhaskar Lele. Barin recollected: “... quite accidentally I had met for a few minutes a Maharashtra Brahmin, Vishnu Bhaskar Lele by name, in the Chandote Asram. I did know that this man was a great and real Yogi. While returning to Bengal quite disappointed in my quest, I met Lele again in a friend’s house at Navasari. He made me sit in a dark room with him for a few minutes and as a result three days afterwards I had my first glimpse of spiritual awakening, my first psychic experience. Aurobindo hearing about him from me had expressed a desire to meet this wonderful devotee of love. As soon as the Surat Congress was over I wired to Lele requesting him to come to Baroda to meet Aurobindo.”
In 1916, Lele told A.B. Purani that when he received the telegram telling him to go to Baroda he had an intuition that he would have to give initiation to a very great soul.
On 31 December 1907 Sri Aurobindo and Barin arrived to Baroda from Surat. Barin recollected: “we reached Khasirao’s Bungalow at 8 a.m. and immediately after Vishnu Bhaskar Lele arrived. I left Aurobindo alone with him for half an hour. When he had left I asked my brother how he found him so far as Yoga was concerned. Aurobindo said in his characteristic cryptic way, «Lele is a wonderful Yogi.»”
Lele was a man in his late thirties, a year or two older than Sri Aurobindo. He worked as a government clerk and looked it. But Sri Aurobindo saw in his eyes both childlike devotion and latent power, and he had no qualms about putting himself in his hands. He told Lele that he had taken up yoga three years earlier, beginning with pranayama. For a while he had obtained some interesting results: great energy, visual phenomena, fluency in writing poetry. Then he got involved in politics. His pranayama became irregular and he fell ill. Since then he had been “doing nothing and did not know what to do or where to turn.” He wanted to resume his practice but was unwilling to give up his work. Rather, he hoped that yoga would give him the strength to do it better. Lele replied, unexpectedly, that yoga would be easy for Sri Aurobindo, as he was a poet. There was no need to give up his work, but it would be better if he could take a few days off.
Sri Aurobindo’s friends spirited him away to a house in the middle of town that was owned by Sardar Majumdar. Here, in a room on the top floor, Sri Aurobindo and Lele sat down together, they shut themselves away there not letting anybody know it.
Barin recollected: “Day in and day out, crowds surrounded our house and programmes of public meetings were being arranged for him. Lele suddenly spirited Aurobindo away from the midst of all this commotion to a lonely old place tucked away in the heart of the city. There, day in and day out, the two of them sat wrapped in deep meditation facing each other. Their simple needs were looked after by Vishnu Bhaskar’s wife, a matriculate girl of small stature of very subdued nature. I was also there and used to sit in meditation with them morning and evening in my restless and perfunctory way. My mind was divided between my ambitious national work and this inner life of Yoga.”
Sri Aurobindo recollected: “«Sit in meditation,» Lele said, «but do not think, look only at your mind; you will see thoughts coming into it; before they can enter throw these away from your mind till your mind is capable of entire silence.» I had never heard before of thoughts coming visibly into the mind from outside, but I did not think either of questioning the truth or the possibility, I simply sat down and did it. In a moment my mind became silent as a windless air on a high mountain summit and then I saw one thought and then another coming in a concrete way from outside; I flung them away before they could enter and take hold of the brain and in three days I was free. From that moment, in principle, the mental being in me became a free Intelligence, a universal Mind, not limited to the narrow circle of personal thought as a labourer in a thought factory, but a receiver of knowledge from all the hundred realms of being and free to choose what it willed in this vast sight-empire and thought-empire.” [SABCL, Volume 26.- On Himself.]
Lele wanted Aurobindo to silence his mind so that he could establish a relationship with a personal godhead and learn to follow its guidance. He told his student that a voice would arise in the silence. None did.
“I myself had my experience of Nirvana and silence in the Brahman, etc. long before there was any knowledge of the overhead spiritual planes; it came first simply by an absolute stillness and blotting out as it were of all mental, emotional and other inner activities – the body continued indeed to see, walk, speak and do its other business, but as an empty automatic machine and nothing more. I did not become aware of any pure «I» nor even of any self, impersonal or other, – there was only an awareness of That as the sole Reality, all else being quite unsubstantial, void, non-real. As to what realised that Reality, it was a nameless consciousness which was not other than That; one could perhaps say this, though hardly even so much as this, since there was no mental concept of it, but not more. Neither was I aware of any lower soul or outer self called by such and such a personal name that was performing this feat of arriving at the consciousness of Nirvana.” [Ibid.]
“There was an entire silence of thought and feeling and all the ordinary movements of consciousness except the perception and recognition of things around without any accompanying concept or other reaction. The sense of ego disappeared and the movements of the ordinary life as well as speech and action were carried on by some habitual activity of Prakriti alone which was not felt as belonging to oneself. But the perception which remained saw all things as utterly unreal; this sense of unreality was overwhelming and universal. Only some undefinable Reality was perceived as true which was beyond space and time and unconnected with any cosmic activity, but yet was met wherever one turned. This condition remained unimpaired for several months and even when the sense of unreality disappeared and there was a return to participation in the world-consciousness, the inner peace and freedom which resulted from this realisation remained permanently behind all surface movements and the essence of the realisation itself was not lost.” [Ibid.]
“There was no ego, no real world — only when one looked through the immobile senses, something perceived or bore upon its sheer silence a world of empty forms, materialised shadows without true substance. There was no One or many even, only just absolutely That, featureless, relationless, sheer, indescribable, unthinkable, absolute, yet supremely real and solely real. This was no mental realisation nor something glimpsed somewhere above, — no abstraction, — it was positive, the only positive reality, — although not a spatial physical world, pervading, occupying or rather flooding and drowning this semblance of a physical world, leaving no room or space for any reality but itself, allowing nothing else to seem at all actual, positive or substantial. I cannot say there was anything exhilarating or rapturous in the experience . . . but what it brought was an inexpressible Peace, a stupendous silence, an infinity of release and freedom.” [Ibid.]
“There was nothing sugary about it at all. And I had no need to have any memory of it, because it was with me for months and years and is there now though in fusion with other realisations.” [Ibid.]
Barin recollected: “Seven days passed almost in continuous and silent meditation while batches of young men traversed the town in search of their newly-found leader who had so suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from among them upsetting all their crowded programmes and arrangements.”
Eventually Sri Aurobindo had to emerge. After finishing his business in Baroda, he, Barin, and Lele took the train to Bombay. There Barin departed for Calcutta, while Sri Aurobindo and Lele went on to Poona.
On 19 January 1908 Sri Aurobiindo was going to deliver a speech before the Bombay National Union. Sri Aurobindo recollected: “Not inexplicable certainly; it was the condition of silence of the mind to which he had come by his meditation for 3 days with Lele in Baroda and which he kept for many months and indeed always thereafter, all activity proceeding on the surface; but at that time there was no activity on the surface. Lele told him to make namaskara to the audience and wait and speech would come to him from some other source than the mind. So, in fact, the speech came, and ever since all speech, writing, thought and outward activity have so come to him from the same source above the brain-mind.” [Ibid.]
Sri Aurobindo remained in Bombay until January 24. Before leaving the city, he went to Lele to ask for guidance. Lele began to give him detailed instructions — to meditate at a fixed time, and so forth — then stopped and asked him if “he could surrender himself entirely to the Inner Guide within him and move as it moved him; if so he needed no instructions from Lele or anybody else. This Sri Aurobindo accepted and made that his rule of Sadhana and of life.”
“From the time I left Lele at Bombay after the Surat Sessions and my stay with him in Baroda, Poona and Bombay, I had accepted the rule of following the inner guidance implicitly and moving only as I was moved by the Divine.”... “After that it was impossible for him to put himself under any other guidance and unnecessary to seek help from anyone.”
Toward the end of February, Lele came to Calcutta. When he met Sri Aurobindo, “he asked me if I meditated in the morning and in the evening. I said, «No.» Then he thought that some devil had taken possession of me and he began to give me instructions. I did not insult him but I did not act upon his advice. I had received the command from within that a human Guru was not necessary for me. As to dhyana — meditation — I was not prepared to tell him that I was practically meditating the whole day.” [A.B. Purani, Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo]

Courtesy and Link:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram had a vision of Auroville : Mrs. Bilkees Latif

     It was in 1948 or 1949. Mother used to go for drives and on a number of occasions she asked me to accompany her. On this particular occasion, the car stopped somewhere near the sea. She got out and sat on a small folding stool, while we sat on the ground around her. First of all, she looked at one of my portraits --- I was sketching at this time --- and made some corrections. Then she looked around and said, “I have a strong feeling. I envisage a time when there will be people from all over the world here, living together in harmony.” There was a very strong atmosphere, a sense of peace. And although I drove with her on other occasions, this is the one that stays in my memory.
     Many years later, when I heard that Auroville had been founded. I wondered if it was in this place. So last year, when I came for the Governing Board Meeting, I described to Aster the place where we stopped, and she recognized it as being on the path to Auroville, not far from her house in ‘Auromodel’.
     My family used to visit the Ashram frequently. When my mother, who was French, first saw Sri Aurobindo, she said there was a golden light around him so strong that she fell at his feet. I remember seeing Sri Aurobindo at ‘darshan’ time. He sat there, very very peaceful and distant --- as if he was seeing something else. Whereas Mother would take us children up to her room in the afternoons, and read to us from Prayers and Meditations, explaining each prayer. She told us so many things about herself, including occult experiences --- I wish somebody had noted them down… Auroville is a fantastic concept. That’s why any disharmony brings a lot of sadness, because I know that people have given up so much and come from all over the world because of a belief in this place. It means so much to so many people, but, somehow, it has to be realized that Auroville is something above the ego, something above everything else, if it is to succeed. And nothing comes easily. Mother said there are forces which always fight against something like this. And that we must always be conscious, and not let these forces descend into us. We must all work together to make a success of Auroville.

(Mrs. Bilkees Latif in an interview for 
Auroville Today, September 1992)

(A young French girl, straight out of finishing school in Switzerland, falls in love with a handsome Nawab from Hyderabad and finds herself in a new life, amidst the grandeur of the aristocratic Nizams. She is drawn to the sun-filled skies of her new land, the fragrance of its jasmine, the spirituality of its people. Yet, despite the splendour that surrounds her, she feels isolated and lonely. She begins to visit godmen and their ashrams, becoming involved in the cultural ethos of the rural and urban poor.
In this touching biography, Bilkees Latif, against the milieu of the historical city of Hyderabad, depicts the joys, disappointments and dreams of her French mother.

Bilkees I. Latif is an author who has written three books and numerous articles on the city of Hyderabad, as well as on women. She has also been invited to lecture in France, Indonesia and the United States of America. Bilkees has been involved in social work in India's largest slums, for which she has received several national and international awards. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in 2008.)


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Concreteness of Yogic Force - Sri Aurobindo

     The invisible Force producing tangible results both inward and outward is the whole meaning of the Yogic consciousness. Your question about Yoga bringing merely a feeling of Power without any result was really very strange. Who would be satisfied with such a meaningless hallucination and call it Power? If we had not had thousands of experiences showing that the Power within could alter the mind, develop its powers, add new ones, bring in new ranges of knowledge, master the vital movements, change the character, influence men and things, control the conditions and functionings of the body, work as a concrete dynamic Force on other forces, modify events, etc., etc., we would not speak of it as we do. Moreover, it is not only in its results but in its movements that the Force is tangible and concrete. When I speak of feeling Force of Power, I do not mean simply having a vague sense of it, but feeling it concretely and consequently being able to direct it, manipulate it, watch its movement, be conscious of its mass and intensity and in the same way of that of other, perhaps opposing forces; all these things are possible and usual by the development of Yoga.
     It is not, unless it is supramental Force, a Power that acts without conditions and limits. The conditions and limits under which Yoga or Sadhana has to be worked out are not arbitrary or capricious; they arise from the nature of things. These including the will, receptivity, assent, self-opening and surrender of the Sadhak have to be respected by the Yoga-force, unless it receives a sanction from the Supreme to override everything and get something done, but that sanction is sparingly given. It is only if the supramental Power came fully down, not merely sent its influences through the Overmind, that things could be very radically directed towards that object — for then the sanction would not be rare. For the Law of the Truth would be at work, not constantly balanced by the law of the Ignorance.
    Still the Yoga-force is always tangible and concrete in the way I have described and has tangible results. But it is invisible — not like a blow given or the rush of a motor car knocking somebody down which the physical senses can at once perceive. How is the mere physical mind to know that it is there and working? By its results? But how can it know that the results were that of the Yogic force and not of something else? One of two things it must be. Either it must allow the consciousness to go inside, to become aware of inner things, to believe in the experience of the invisible and the supraphysical, and then by experience, by the opening of new capacities, it becomes conscious of these forces and can see, follow and use their workings, just as the Scientist uses the unseen forces of Nature. Or one must have faith and watch and open oneself and then it will begin to see how things happen, it will notice that when the Force was called in, there began after a time to be a result, then repetitions, more repetitions, more clear andtangible results, increasing frequency, increasing consistency of results, a feeling and awareness of the Force at work — until the experience becomes daily, regular, normal, complete. These are the two main methods, one internal, working from in outward, the other external, working from outside and calling the inner force out till it penetrates and is visible in the exterior consciousness. But neither can be done if one insists always on the extrovert attitude, the external concrete only and refuses to join to it the internal concrete — or if the physical mind at every step raises a dance of doubts which refuses to allow the nascent experience to develop. Even the Scientist carrying on a new experiment would never succeed if he allowed his mind to behave in that way.

                                                                                                 - Sri Aurobindo

(SABCL, Vol 26, pp. 197-199)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Daily Life of Sri Aurobindo

After the midday meal the inmates of the house, all except Sri Aurobindo, were in the habit of going to sleep after closing their windows to keep off the heat of the sun. They would sleep from 12.30 to 2.30 or 3. The boy carrying bread used to put it in the proper place between 2 and 2.30 and go out. He would enter by the main gate, climb the stairs and approaching the table in the middle of the verandah, which would be dark owing to the shutting of windows, put the bread and account book on it and leave the house. After 3 the bread was removed to its place and the signature put in the book. The boy returned before 5 or 5.30 to collect the book for bringing it again next day with the bread.
The verandah table had but one drawer. It had no locking arrangement. Some ten one-rupee notes and five rupees' worth in small coins would generally be inside the drawer. The inmates were not in the habit of counting the money while keeping it in. The amount would sometimes be more, sometimes less.
One day when Bejoy Nag opened the drawer to take some money out, he by chance detected an appreciable shortage. He was a bit startled. He kept observing for 2 or 3 consecutive days. All the notes vanished mysteriously. Only the small coins remained. Bejoy Nag one day kept a five-rupee note and two or three one-rupee notes together with the small coins to observe the result. The very next day a one-rupee note was missing. The next day to that, another one-rupee note disappeared. He was convinced by this that it was during their sleep that the money was being stolen. He resolved to catch the thief anyhow; he called me, asked for my help to catch the thief red-handed by keeping an eye on him from a hiding place between 12.30 and 2.30 p.m. Being young, I was over-enthusiastic to catch the culprit.
     At the appointed time three of us (besides Bejoy Nag there was someone else whose name I forget) concealed ourselves behind the doors and kept a watch from three directions. It was about 2 p.m. My heart was beating fast with impatience. The bakery boy climbed up the stairs and then walked up to the upper verandah without the least sound as if he did not intend to disturb our sleep. He took down the bread basket from his head, put the fixed number of loaves and the account book on the table (a bit of pencil would always be attached to the book), silently opened the drawer of that rickety table, picked a five-rupee note out of it and thrusting it inside his turban retraced his steps. I could no longer contain myself. All three of us leaped lightning-like upon the boy and catching him dealt resounding blows to him. The sound of beating in that silent hour fell as that of thunder upon my ear. At the first two or three blows the boy uttered no word. As the fourth blow came upon him he could not bear it and started to cry out. He confessed that he had been stealing for sometime past and promised that he would do it no more. Either on hearing the cry of the boy or for some other reason Sri Aurobindo came out of his room straight to the verandah and appeared before us. For a little while he stood without a word. On the face of the boy who had received blows there shone the solace of having seen his Saviour. Our raised fists dropped down of themselves and we stood still as though we had been the culprits. Sri Aurobindo forbade us to take the five-rupee note away from him and when we heard the order we felt as if a sentence had been passed upon us.
   -   Nolini Kanta Gupta
(Reminiscences, pp. 151-152)