Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

                                  Swami Vivekananda's Original Chicago Speech in 1893

                                                   *               *               *         
Not many are aware of the part played by Swami Vivekananda in the life and work of Sri Aurobindo. In fact, none at all knew of it till Sri Aurobindo himself revealed this part and its significance in a biographical note written during later years and in his talks with the disciples. Sri Aurobindo, it will be recalled, had no human guru as such, though he received important help from different sources on different occasions. And one of these was the unexpected guidance and direction received from Vivekananda under interesting circumstances, long after he left his body in 1902. 
When Sri Aurobindo returned to India at the age of 21, after a stay of 14 years in England, and took to study Indian culture and life, he came – like most educated people of the time – under the influence Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda through their sayings and writings. And though the Adwaita Vedanta expounded and popularized by them was not relevant to the turn of Sri Aurobindo’s mind, he beheld and recognized the mighty spiritual afflatus embodied in the Master. 

‘What was Ramakrishna?’ he asks and answers: ‘God manifest in a human being.’

He was an avatara ‘as much an avatara as Christ or Caitanya’ who had a definite purpose to fulfill in the spiritual evolution of humanity, viz. to found and establish the truth of the unity of all spiritual experience and realization. He was bound by no man-made rules, though he chose to manifest his divinity under human conditions. Says Sri Aurobindo: ‘Ramakrishna, having attained by his own internal effort the central illumination, accepted several teachers in the different paths of Yoga, but always showed in the manner and swiftness of realization that this acceptance was a concession to the general rule by which effective knowledge must be received as by a disciple from a guru.’ 

Giving a considered estimate, Sri Aurobindo observes: ‘In the life of Ramakrishna Paramahmsa, we see a colossal spiritual capacity first driving straight to the divine realization, taking, as it were, the kingdom of heavens by violence and then seizing upon one yogic method after another and extracting the substance out of it with an incalculable rapidity, always to return to the heart of the whole matter, the realization and possession of God by the power of love, by the extension of inborn spirituality into various experience and by the spontaneous play of an intuitive knowledge. ‘

And, ‘What was Vivekananda? A radiant glance from the eye of Siva.’ We do not pause to dwell on the full impact of this cryptic statement. It will need an exposition quite beyond the scope of this paper. 

‘Vivekananda was a soul of puissance, if ever there was one, a very lion among men. We perceive his influence still working gigantically, we know not well how, we know not well where, in something that is not yet formed, something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that has entered the soul of India, and we say: “Behold, Vivekananda still lives in the soul of his Mother and in the souls of his children”. Sri Aurobindo mentions of his contact with Vivekananda on two occasions. Note that there was no meeting between them at all during the lifetime of Viveknanda. The first occasion was when Sri Aurobindo was practising pranayama, which started in 1904 and continued for some time. He says: ‘I had direct experience of Vivekananda’s presence when I was practising hathayoga. I felt his presence behind and watching over me. That exerted a great influence afterwards in my life.’ 

The second was when Sri Aurobindo was in Alipore Jail (1908-09). By that time, Sri Aurobindo had already attained the realization of the Silent, Spaceless, and Timeless Brahman – the state of nirvana. Now let him speak: ‘From the beginning, I did not feel nirvana to be the highest spiritual achievement. Something in me always wanted to go on farther. But, even then, I did not ask for this new experience. In fact, in nirvana, with that peace, one does not ask for anything. But the truth of the Super-mind was put into me. I had no idea of the Supermind when I started, and for long it was not clear to me’. 

It was the spirit of Vivekananda who first gave me a clue in the direction of Supermind. This clue led me to see how the Truth – consciousness works in everything. He did not say “Supermind”. ‘Supermind is my own word. He just said to me, ‘This is this, that is that’ and so on. That was how he proceeded – by pointing and indicating. He visited me for 15 days in Alipore jail until I could grasp the whole thing, he went on teaching me and impressed upon my mind the working of the Higher Consciousness – the Truth Consciousness in general – which leads towards Supermind. He would not leave me until he had put it all into my head’. I never expected him and he came to teach me. And he was very exact and precise even in the minutest details. 

A host of questions arise. How is it that Vivekananda never spoke of these ranges of Consciousness leading to the Gnosis, during his life time? Did he not withdraw into nirvana or the one Self, after he “spat out the body”? Did he, and does he, still continue to be in the earth atmosphere for the benefit of humanity struggling towards Godhead? These are all pertinent questions, but they touch upon the occult side of manifestation which would require a separate treatment. We can only say there is more in the creation that meets the human ken.
                                                                                                           - M. P. Pandit


pianomonika said...

We read in this article about two great Indian men, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna and the influence to Sri Aurobindo, although a meeting with Vivekananda never took place.
When Sri Aurobindo returned to India, to study the Indian culture and life, he came under the influence of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, through their sayings and writings.
Sri Ramakrishna had attained by his own internal effort the central illumination accepted several teachers in the different paths of Yoga.
In the life of Ramakrishna is to see a colossal spiritual capacity, the realization and possession of God by the power of love, by the extension of inborn spirituality
into various experience and by the spontaneous play of an intuitive knowledge.
Vivekananda was a soul of puissance,if ever there was one, a very lion among men.
The influence of Vivekananda to Sri Aurobindo was in that way, that Sri Aurobindo felt his presence, when he was practising hathayoga.
It was like, that Vivekananda watched him, and being behind him.
The second influence happened, when Sri Aurobindo was in Alipore Jail.
It was the spirit of Vivekananda, who first gave him a clue in the direction of Supermind.
This clue led Sri Aurobindo to see how the Truth-consciousness worked in everybody.
The question at the end: Did Vivekananda not withdraw into the nirvana,still continue to be in the earth atmosphere for the benefit of humanity and struggling toward Godhead?

Anonymous said...

To explain such divine experiences, human vocabulary is insufficient and unless one has a glimpse of ANUBHAV thru a mentor,it is very difficult to grasp the meanings.What Shri Aurobindo has stated is true.These events can be experienced if one tunes his mind towards a mental frequecy which matches with the happenings in astral plane.This is similar to tuning to a radio bandwidth.
The transmission of knowledge from a guru in astral plane is much faster than a guru in physical plane.This is similar to data transfer from one system to another.There are instances in our history when illiterates became authors and commoners became kings with mere look of a guru.GITA is one such data transmission from Krishna to Arjuna thru VISION.Even Vivekananda and Ramanujam have received such transmissions ie a pulse of super knowledge engulfs the human body which totally transforms them.This downloading of super knowledge is a continuous process to help human life cycle to move in a rhythm.
Language is not a hindrance to such trasmissions.Person in any language can understand the meanings as the messages automatically covey the meanings in the language where the disciple is comfortable.

Sadhakel said...

Lorsque Sri Aurobindo parle de l'âme, il ne s'agit pas de l'être astral-vital dans le cœur mais de l'étincelle divine profond en arrière du cœur, dans la dimension correspondante de l'absolu soutenant la vie du corps profond en arrière du cœur.
De cette étincelle divine profond en arrière du cœur naît l'individu divin en développement potentiel dans le corps humain vivant.
La relation que l'individu divin incarné dans un corps entretient avec les individus divins déjà nés mais désincarnés, cela n'a pas lieu sur aucun des plans intermédiaires que sont le physique subtil, l'astral-vital, ou le mental ni dans le surmental.
Cette relation a lieu dans la dimension divine de l'être, par identification, les deux individus divins étant un seul être divin à ce moment là de leur relation; ainsi que c'est par ce biais de l'unité d'être vécue entre deux individus divins, dans la dimension divine de l'être, que se transmet la connaissance, non mentale, divine correspondante.
Il ne s'agit pas d'une connaissance dans le sens où un individu communique des informations à un autre individu , sinon que c'est une connaissance par identification, facteur de l'expérience spontanée correspondante.
Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, sont des individus divins déjà nés existant dans la dimension divine, c'est à dire faisant UN avec le Divin Transcendant.
Vivekananda n'a pas disparu parce qu'il s'est fondu en le Divin Transcendant. Simplement son individualité divine, en se fondant en le Divin Transcendant, est maintenant un aspect du Divin du Transcendant, que le Divin Transcendant peut manifester lorsque le Divin Transcendant l'estime nécessaire; comme par exemple pour communiquer, par unité d'être divin, une expérience divine à une individualité divine incarnée représentant une action du Divin Transcendant dans la Création, ou soit dit ce qu'on appelle un Avatar du Divin.
Sri Aurobindo est un avatar du Divin, en tant que telle l'individualité divine incarnée dans le corps de l'être vivant connu sous le nom de Sri Aurobindo, cette individualité divine est une oeuvre du Divin Transcendant directement, que le Divin Transcendant incarne, puis que le Divin Transcendant enseigne (pas à la façon mentale) par le biais de l'intégration des qualités divines de ses différents aspects divins individualisés; comme par exemple l'aspect divin individualisé que nous connaissons sous le nom de Vivekananda. Une intégration qui a lieu à travers la relation par unité d'être divine entre deux individualités divines dans la dimension divine de l'existence manifeste.

Anonymous said...

Swami Vivekananda was a true Spiritual giant. For an interesting view on him see