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3. Purna Yogi Sri Aurobindo


 While standing on the threshold of Moksha, Swami Vivekananda said to himself that he would not accept the boon of heaven as long as millions of souls on earth were plunged in darkness. Thus, actuated by high selflessness, he denied himself the heavenly privilege. So did Buddha refuse to accept the liberation, moksha, that came to him. Sri Aurobindo began a parley with the Divine as to what he could do to wipe off sin, suffering, ignorance and darkness on earth. The Voice never failed to guide him. Now it asked him to totally surrender to the Divine Purpose on earth, so that the Divine might achieve in the world through him as a surrendered instrument.

 Yogis aspire for moksha and attain it through Jnana. Others open the heart of love and attain the same goal. Karma yogis resort to desireless work--Nishkamya---to reach heaven. All of them consider the body as false, an impediment. For this reason yogis disregard the body. This is our tradition. Sri Aurobindo realised that the Jnani who attained wisdom could spread light in the world but that would reach only a handful of high souls; the Bhakta, who in his laya dwelt in God's chamber, in his Samipa poured the divine love on his devotees and followers, but the elevation of the masses at large was transitory. The Nishkamya Karma Yogi set a high ideal for other aspirants to follow. All this could touch vast humanity only on the fringe of its existence. After thousands of jnanis, rishis, and yogis have appeared on earth, the ignorance of the masses, their dense darkness, their infinite suffering still remain a reality. Sri Aurobindo realised that for this suffering to dissolve, it was not enough that several thousand souls reached the high heavens. The Divine should come on earth, bringing His light, love, and power not only to the minds and hearts of men but also to their very bodies, which had up until then been considered reservoirs of falsehood to be shunned and dreaded. All the tapas of the muni, all the yoga of the rishis are not enough to wipe out the falsehood of the body. These are individual efforts to reach the Divine. Sri Aurobindo realised that a higher power, higher than that of the aspiring yogi, should come into the human frame, if the dense falsehood of the body should dissolve and turn into divine light. His inner voice showed him that if a few--maybe 20--people could bring this higher light into their very bodies and their falsehood dissolve into light, the entire falsehood on earth would disappear, along with the age-old suffering and original sin. Perhaps this is analogous to one scientist making a wonderful discovery of a radio or a telephone and the whole ignorant world happily sharing the full benefit of it for no particular virtue of theirs.

 With this guiding star of Jnana held before his vision, Sri Aurobindo set his foot firmly on the path of Purna Yoga. Moksha, the final goal of yoga or tapas, becomes the first step in this purna yoga. Long before Sri Aurobindo came to Pondicherry, he had attained this individual mukti, but had opted not to leave the body and the earth. Later in the Alipore Jail, God showed himself to Sri Aurobindo as the Cosmic Divine, the divine dwelling in every heart. After his release from jail, the inner voice led him to Pondicherry and his effort became more and more concentrated. His Presence was an ocean of peace, a peace that could not be penetrated even by the raging cyclone through an open window. He was able to pass the Akanda Mounam, the grand achievement of decades of tapas, to The Mother while he was engaged in conversation with her husband, Richard. Krishna came down and incarnated in Sri Aurobindo's body, a vessel of light, to complete his mission initiated during the period of the Bhagavad Gita. When asked by a disciple, Sri Aurobindo explained that Shiva was a part of his inner being. He told the world that his was not a yoga for attaining moksha or a yoga for any high human ideal. It was a yoga of the Divine. He aspired to surrender himself more and more fully to the Divine, so that the Divine might achieve His Purpose on earth for His own delight.

Retiring into his room, he did his yoga with all his might and found the response of the Divine always there to come down into his own body and consequently on earth through his body of light. The Divine was totally ready. Sri Aurobindo's body was very pure. But that was not enough for the Light to come on Earth. A few more yogis of his level, maybe 10 or 20, had to be available with the same purity of being and purity of the physical, for the Light to descend permanently on earth. He was striking a new path, a highway to heaven or, rather, a way for heaven to come down on earth. When he realised that all his great heroic effort had succeeded in bringing the Light down on earth, he was happy; but when he saw that the descent was limited to his own body, he understood his mission was not completely fulfilled. Still, he decided that the descending Light should, at least, touch earth once. That was possible, he saw, only if he withdrew from his body and offered that pure vehicle as a receptacle for the Divine descent. Having seen that, he decided to withdraw himself, so that the Light might come on earth for at least a few days. He withdrew from his body in 1950. The Golden Light came down and occupied his yogic frame for four long days. He promised to remain in the subtle world to continue his work and not leave for heaven in pursuit of his own salvation.

book | by Dr. Radut