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Research, Essays, Commentaries – Inspired by the Social-Cultural-Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo (PLUS a bit of photography too!)

Chintan: India and Me: Part 4b: Source

PART 1            PART 2             PART 3a             PART 3b           PART 4a

Chintan-India-and-Me

Continued from post 4a:

After the brief concentration, the group is now ready for their session.

Mridula Di begins….

M: Well, as you remember we were discussing the three bodies of the nation – gross outer body, the subtle body and the causal body. The gross body is the physical and vital layer, the subtle body comprises of the mental layer, and the causal body, as we said in the last session, is the layer of inmost Knowledge and Bliss. Remember this?

(A few nods in affirmative).

M: Well, let me read this sentence here now from Sri Aurobindo. He says:

“These three are the bodies of the Mother, but within them all is the Source of her life, immortal and unchanging, of which every nation is merely one manifestation, the universal Narayan, One in the Many of whom we are all the children.”

(Di pauses for a few minutes and lets the words linger…)

M: Isn’t that beautiful?

Falguni: It sounds so poetic.

Hari: Yes it does.

Avi: Can we read it again?

M: Sure, why don’t you read it aloud for all of us, find it in the reading material I gave you earlier?

(Avi and a few others look through their materials).

Avi: Ok, here it is. This is the sentence:

“These three are the bodies of the Mother, but within them all is the Source of her life, immortal and unchanging, of which every nation is merely one manifestation, the universal Narayan, One in the Many of whom we are all the children.”

M: Well….

Avi: Let’s see here. So the three bodies here mean gross, subtle and causal bodies, correct?

Dia: And of course “Mother” refers to the Mother Nation, Mother India in this case.

Avi: I suppose so.

Eesh: So he says that within these three bodies, or rather behind them is the real Source of the nation’s life, something that is unchanging and imperishable. What does that sound like?

Avi: Soul, maybe?

Hari: He says here – the universal Narayan. So maybe like the Super Soul of whom we are all children.

M: Yes. Go on, keep doing the analysis. You are going in the right direction.

Dia: And he also says that it is immortal, and that every nation is nothing but one particular manifestation of this universal and eternal Source.

Eesh: Hmm.

Gul: So in essence, when we see it this way each nation becomes essentially not only equal but also one part of the One Complete Source. Each nation is a unique manifestation of that Source, just like each individual soul is a unique manifestation of the the Super-Soul.

Hari: Yeah, of the Brahman.

Colin: This is fascinating, never thought of a nation this way before!

Dia: Me neither.

M: Yes, we aren’t used to thinking and seeing things this way, that’s why. As Sri Aurobindo says at the beginning of this passage – we have been schooled in the schools of the West. By which he means the school of thought that are Western in their original idea or way of seeing.

Dia: But you said earlier that there is another kosha – what was it?

M: Anandmaya kosha?

Dia: Yes, what is that?

M: Well, we don’t have to go into too many details of this right now, because we want to keep our focus on understanding the Indian view of a nation. But let me read out this passage from Sri Aurobindo’s book The Synthesis of Yoga[1]. This gives a brief description of each. I will read it slowly so you can follow each part. And yes, we can also make copies of this for everyone else, at the end of our class.

(She begins to read slowly)

“The terminology of Yoga recognises
…besides the status of our physical and vital being, termed the gross body and doubly composed of the food sheath and the vital vehicle,…
…besides the status of our mental being, termed the subtle body and singly composed of the mind sheath or mental vehicle,…
…a third, supreme and divine status of supra-mental being, termed the causal body and composed of a fourth and a fifth vehicle which are described as those of knowledge and bliss.

M: Got it so far? The food sheath, the vital sheath – what are they?

Colin: The annamaya and pranamaya kosha?

M: Correct! And the subtle body?

Hari: The manomaya or the mental body, correct?

M: Yes, good. And then he speaks of a third, causal body which is kind of a supra-mental thing.

Hari: Yes, the one composed of those knowledge and bliss bodies.

M: Yes, corerct. Now let us then go on with the passage and read a bit more about this supra-mental or causal body. Here he says:

“But this knowledge (that is the knowledge of the fourth sheath or vehicle – vijnanmaya kosha) is not a systematised result of mental questionings and reasonings, not a temporary arrangement of conclusions and opinions in the terms of the highest probability…
…but rather a pure self-existent and self-luminous Truth.
…And this bliss (that of Anandamaya kosha) is not a supreme pleasure of the heart and sensations with the experience of pain and sorrow as its background,…
….but a delight also self-existent and independent of objects and particular experiences, a self-delight which is the very nature, the very stuff, as it were, of a transcendent and infinite existence.”

M: Interesting, no?

Hari: Oh boy, quite heavy stuff there!

(Some laughter).

M (smilingly): Sure it is! What did you expect?

Dia: But how do we understand these terms there? Self-existent, self-delight, transcendent….

M: Yes they certainly are big terms. And they also feel heavy because we haven’t experienced them (smilingly).

(Laughter).

M: No, I am serious. Because a self-existent delight, a kind of delight that is there for no particular sensory experience of joy or pain or pleasure or sorrow is not really a part of our ordinary experience. That’s why we don’t mentally understand that kind of naturally existing delight.

(Waits for a few seconds to let this sink in…)

M: Or a knowledge that is not born of mental reasoning or analysis, but rather exists because it is simply there, simply Truth. In fact, yoga or any spiritual discipline is about developing faculties that can help us access, over time, the wisdom of these inner bodies, the self-existent knowledge and bliss. But like I said, this is all a bit out of our present concern, so we should rather go back to understanding nation in this yogic way.

Eesh: Exactly. Yes I agree, we should get back to what is of our concern right now. Otherwise we will be, or at least I will be more confused.

Gul: I agree. Completely.

(A few other voices in agreement).

M: Yes, we should do that. Definitely. But I think we have had quite a long session this time. Don’t you think so?

Binoy: Oh I was going to say the same thing. We should stop now. And take it up next time. I am already a bit overwhelmed with all this.

Hari: Yes, me too.

M: But I would still like you to read the particular passages we were discussing today and sort of meditate on these, reflect a bit on these. Think what you understand. Read them a few times if you need to. Will you do that?

Hari: Sure!

(A few others nod in agreement). 

M: Good then! That’s enough for today. See you all next time!

A few collective voices: Bye, Di.

(The group prepares to leave.)

[1] CWSA, Volume 23, p. 16

To be continued….

Have you read parts 1, 2, 3a, 3b, 4a?

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About Beloo Mehra

Beloo is the author of two books, one on Indian Education, titled "ABC’s of Indian National Education" and an ebook featuring a selection of her essays, titled "The Thinking Indian." She holds several degrees in Education and Economics, has extensive teaching experience at school and university level in India and the US, and has a keen interest in the educational, social and cultural thought of Sri Aurobindo. She currently lives in Pondicherry, spends her time doing some reading, some writing, some teaching, some gardening and a whole lot of reflecting on life, living, society, politics, religion, art, literature, India, the World, and everything else under the Sun and the Moon.

6 comments on “Chintan: India and Me: Part 4b: Source

  1. Vidya Sury
    September 21, 2015

    Fascinating perspective, Beloo. Thank you. Very lyrical post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beloo Mehra
      September 21, 2015

      Thanks Vidya! And welcome to matriwords, my new space in the blog-world 🙂

      Like

  2. Pingback: Chintan: India and Me: Part 5a: Storytime | matriwords

  3. Pingback: Chintan: India and Me: Part 5b: Analysis | matriwords

  4. Pingback: Chintan: India and Me: Part 6: Connection | matriwords

  5. Pingback: Chintan: India and Me – Part 7: Essence | matriwords

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