Archive for November 2009
A Vision of Sujata Nahar
[Translator’s note: In 1995, Sujata Nahar’s younger sisters Sumitra and Suprabha had gone to visit her at her residence in Kotagiri. One day, they requested Sujata to tell them a story. What follows is the translated version of the transcript of the recording of the story she had narrated in Bengali. The italicized words are those which she had spoken originally in English. The vision was of an ancient legend of the Vedic era which she had witnessed. It is rather noteworthy because it provides us with the assurance that if we plunge deep into matter, the ‘riddle of death’ can be solved and the ‘secret of immortality’ can be found. The vision echoes Sujata’s revealing words: ‘The hymns of the Veda are the triumph songs of the soul’s battle in Matter, and its victory.’]
—Tell us another story.
Sujata Nahar: So you want to listen to another story? Well, I don’t know whether what I’m going to narrate was a story or a real-life incident. As you know, I wake up quite early when the night is still dark. In the clear sky I see many stars, constellations and planets; then I move here and there for my work and I witness how the sky gradually gets illuminated with the sun-rays. It reminds me of a line from Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry—Dawn came and opened the gates of the East—do you remember it? When the cowshed is opened, I see how the glimmer of the light descends, the Sun-God himself comes to cleanse the path of darkness with the poetry of light. Then the cows go out to graze, the birds sing and after awakening from their slumber they talk for a while amongst themselves and then leave in quest for food. At least this is what I behold here. Then comes the Sun-God in his chariot—he changes his outfits daily just like us—sometimes he wears red and sometimes pink. So I witness his change of attire and colours every day.
One day what happened was: I observed that the darkness was not dispelling at all. Sometimes when the sky is cloudy darkness does exist in the region but this time it appeared to be rather dense, it looked precisely like night. One or two birds called out when they thought that dawn had arrived but they too ceased after a while. “What happened?” I wondered. The clock indicated that it was pretty late. Then what did go wrong? The entire day was spent like that and I must say that I have never seen such a deep night-like darkness because even when the sky is cloudy…
—There remains a little light.
Sujata Nahar: Yes, the difference between day and night can be understood. I was unable to comprehend what could have happened. And I was feeling a bit uneasy as well. It is difficult to grasp that particular feeling. That night also I was quite restless. Then probably I had gone to sleep; the body was on the bed while I had gone somewhere else. This happens quite often, I leave the body for some different adventures.
I saw a young paragon of beauty sobbing inconsolably. What happened to her? Then I saw people rushing towards her from the four corners. By the time I had gone there many incidents had occurred and those were revealed to me like the flashback of a movie.
Usha, the Dawn, had gone as usual to open her cowshed when she noticed that the door was already open. She was taken aback a bit. When she went forward and opened the doors wide she saw that the cowshed was empty, not a single cow was there. “Where did my cattle go?” she wondered. Then she thought of calling the Sun, her elder brother, and ask him about the whereabouts of the cattle but when she called him, there was no response. Someone had abducted the Sun as well. Usha’s wail made the other gods and goddesses come rushing to her; they wondered what could have happened to Usha whose face was ever-smiling and heart always full of joy! Saraswati came, Sarama came, Lila came and so did all the goddesses. And from the other side came rushing to her, her brothers Indra, the Aswins, Agni, the Moon and all the other gods who rallied around Usha and understood what exactly had occurred. They realized that the cattle-stealers were none other than the Dasyus [robbers]—I’m unable to recall their names—so now they would have to go to the land of the robbers. “But how to go there?” they wondered because the path to their land was unimaginably perilous. They thought of approaching the Night and to please her. The Night happens to be Usha’s elder sister (I think I have heard that there is a sutra in the Vedas known as the Ratri-sutra). But who would lead the way because the path is unknown to all? Then arrived Sarama—whom we address as Helen in English mythology—(it’s from Sarama that the word sarameya [meaning dog] has come). So she led the way and was followed by Indra, the King of gods.
—The Chief of Gods.
Sujata Nahar: Yes, the chief. First went Indra, the Chieftain of the gods, followed by Agni who was like a priest—like what we call Purodha. But despite this arrangement, they felt that the presence of humans was required. The chiefs of the humans were the Angirasa Rishis; some say there are nine of them some say seven; they are called Angirasa because they took birth from fire just like us. The Nahars were born from the Fire. So they moved through that path of darkness. Sometimes they had to travel through several kingdoms from where at times someone came to offer some help and appeared as foes. By crossing several hurdles they continued to advance slowly. Then the Night too left the gods in the middle of the way for she was apprehensive that Sarama would supersede her. Hence she moved away and Sarama led the gods. At times the road was so narrow and steep that if one missed a step he would be gone for ever. But the Moon was with them, he made the gods drink soma-rasa because no food was available in those places and despite the fact that the gods were gods, they too felt tired like us. Therefore something was required to boost them up—it’s symbolic. They moved on and on when suddenly Sarama heard the lowing of the cattle. From a valley amid steep mountains came that sound. But who would descend in it? However Sarama guided the gods to that place; then she searched the region and informed the gods that the cattle were there. Thus ended her work which was to show the way. The task of rescuing the cattle belonged to others. She, in Sri Aurobindo’s terminology, is the Intuition.
The robbers were hiding in what we call an impregnable fortress, there was no gap or hole in it so how would the gods enter? The robbers—the Panis—had Vallar as their chief. He sent his men when he heard the commotion to inquire what the matter was. The Panis spied from a distance and reported to their chief accordingly. He instructed his men to shut all the gates so that no gods could enter. But the gods had Vrihaspati—the chief of the Angirasas on their sides—the power of his chanting of the hymns threw open the gates. Then all the creatures of darkness came out in groups and what to say about the fierce battle that ensued! It was a terrible war! Innumerable Panis were killed. The gods fought quite brilliantly. Indra was…
—Equal to a hundred.
Sujata Nahar: He was equal to a thousand. With his thousand eyes and vajra [his weapon] he fought fiercely and the Aswins too were present to help him. Those who got wounded were healed by the Aswins. And then there were Indra’s forty-nine brothers who also helped. All came to help and each killed as many as possible. At last the Panis were defeated, Vallar too was vanquished. After defeating the Panis, the gods entered the cave and found that the cattle were indeed there. Then Usha, with the help of the Aswins, brought her cattle out and took them to her own kingdom—to the land where the cows of the Sun graze. That is the field of Truth. And what sort of Truth? You must have noticed that when you dip a stick in water, it appears as if the stick is bent but in that land it does not happen thus. Straight stick remains straight. That’s why it is called ritam. Anyway, the gods went back but the sages went further inside the cave. Then they arrived at a pit which we call as gumpha.
Sujata Nahar: I think the monasteries of the Buddhists are called gumphas. And this was a cave. The sages entered more and more in it and they saw someone sitting in heart of the cave: someone immense and alone to quote Sri Aurobindo. And who was he? He was the eighth son of Aditi whom she had left behind. He was lost in darkness. He was Martanda, he is the eighth Sun. And he was hidden in the darkness of the cave by the robbers. But with his own luminous light he had illuminated everything in that dark cave. Then Martanda came out to the world.
Our Fathers the Angirasa Rishis pursued further to the end. They came to the darkest cave yet—I’m speaking in my own words. The darkness repelled—this is from Sri Aurobindo’s poetry. They entered the caves on their hands and knees…they crawled on their hands and knees—because they were unable to enter on their feet as the cave had a very small opening. And in the heart of darkness they discovered Martanda who had been concealed there by the Titans. Martanda, the eighth son of Aditi. Who is Aditi? The All-creating Infinite Mother. Then the eighth son of Aditi was seated there, immense and alone. He is the black or dark, the lost, the hidden sun, the son whom he met.
I don’t recall the reason. I remember the story Mother had recounted. She had seen that in the matter, in the deep matter, there is the Divine. Mother had seen it when she had gone to the Subconscient and she saw that the Being opened his eyes—the Divine in Matter in the Subconscient. If you follow Mother’s visions, you will find a lot of things…She had seen it in 1907-1908 or may be even before that period. She didn’t have the experiences of Savitri then. Mother’s experiences were noted down by Sri Aurobindo much later. I don’t recall well but Mother read Savitri much later.