In the New Delhi edition of The Times of India, dated 9 March 1989, an interesting news item appeared. It provides another example of the special quality of our work: the symbol is the thing symbolized. Over the past year I have written a series of articles for VISHAAL, illustrating the truth of this aphorism. At the same time a very important aspect of the Mother’s own yoga was highlighted, an aspect which I feel has been entirely overlooked. This concerns the ‘collaboration of material Nature’ which in 1957 she understood would play an intrinsic part in the manifestation of the new supramental creation. As I have written in past articles, this collaboration is essential when the question is a transformation of physical conditions, patterns, habits, structures; and it is also when dealing with the physical dimension that the question of symbols equal to the things symbolized assumes a prominent place in the Yoga.
The Times of India news item offers a further proof of this position, perhaps even more astonishingly concrete and non-speculative than anything I have presented for VISHAAL readers so far. This is because it involves the crux of our Yoga, its central purpose. I refer to the special transmutation of energy which, in the human mental creature, has always served to poison the consciousness-being insofar as the present mentally-poised structure of the species offers no ‘extended boundaries’ for this energy to exceed itself, or to carry the individual beyond his/her actual limitations and on to deeper depths and greater heights. This situation has become especially acute in our New Age when a greater influx and release of energy is being experienced. The present human structure cannot contend with this increase.
This ‘penned-in’ energy is also the subject of the Rig Vedic myth. Consequently, it concerns the 8th month of the Vedic year-sacrifice, which in the zodiac is the eighth sign/month Scorpio. The Veda is very specific in relating this ‘penned-in’ energy not only to the eighth level, but also to the ‘dark sun’. Sri Aurobindo makes this clear in his The Secret of the Veda, when discussing Martanda, that mysterious ‘son/sun’ of Aditi:
‘Whence then comes this falsehood, sin, death, suffering of our mortal existence? We are told that there are eight sons of the cosmic Aditi who are born from her body; by seven she moves to the gods, but the eighth son is Martanda, of mortal creation, whom she casts away from her; with the seven she moves to the supreme life, the original age of the gods, but Martanda is brought back out of the inconscient into which he had been cast to preside over mortal birth and death.
‘This Martanda or eighth Surya [sun] is the black or dark, the lost, the hidden sun. The Titans have taken and concealed him in their cavern of darkness and thence he must be released into splendour and freedom by the gods and seers through the power of the sacrifice.’
I have discussed this eighth Sun at length in The New Way, Volume 2, Chapters 4 and 10. In the former this eighth ‘dark sun’ is related to the Mother’s Chamber and the important central solar Ray, the measure of ‘twenty-one suns’.
In a more pointed reference this eighth sun is indeed the ‘dark sun’ of, what I have called, the binary system that we are. The human mental being is structured binarily, with a light and a dark sun holding together one’s consciousness-being. The result is that one’s true centre is not realised, energies are lost or ‘fallen’, tension, antagonism, struggle and ultimately death are the result. This Dark Sun is the poison of our existence, just as Sri Aurobindo describes above.
This condition is a cosmic, evolutionary necessity – for a time. And being a map of evolution, the zodiac also connects this fallen dark Sun to the eighth month and the sign Scorpio. But traditional astrology grants two symbols to this sign: the lowly and obnoxious Scorpion, and the majestic, awesome and powerful Eagle. It is said that when the energy of Scorpio is transmuted the sign’s imagery changes from the Scorpion to the Eagle. The Eagle is then the symbol of that liberated flight of the energy, unfettered and unlimited, having been released from the ‘cave’ where the Panis of the Rig Vedic myth, the ‘hoarders’ had enclosed it.
This ‘cave’ is, rightfully speaking, the sex centre in our present physical structure which feeds the most material layers. What is meant is that this ‘centre’ is the pivot of the consciousness-being of the mental species in that procreation with its accompanying atavism is the intrinsic ‘purpose’ of the species. The boundaries which are to be exceeded are these limiting functions that confine the consciousness of the human being in this ‘pen-cave’ and do not permit a release which would enlarge the perceptive capacities and thus permit an entirely different experience of life on this planet. The Eagle with its formidable vision, its piercing eye, represents that greater capacity of seeing and hence being.
In our Yoga of the Chamber the exclusive focus of the individual and collective endeavour over the past decade has been this transmutation of the Scorpio energy. To be more exact, it is a question of the transmutation of the energy of Mars, ruler of Scorpio. But Mars also rules the first sign, Aries. Thus these two signs have been prominent in our Yoga. Indeed, true once more to the concrete and non-speculative nature of this applied cosmology, all the participants in this effort were born either under Aries or Scorpio.
Scorpio is the sign of death in traditional astrology. In this new Cosmology it is no longer so cut and dry. In Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem ‘Savitri’, when the Goddess finally conquers Yama, the Lord of Death, in the 10th book of the epic, she commands him to be still her ‘instrument a while’. The exact nature of Death’s continued instrumentation is what requires a special and precise knowledge to perceive. And this involves the transmutation of Scorpio. It is a process in which a far more conscious death is experienced, not only of those creatures who might actually be dying, but also of those who in some way are participants or witnesses in this act of dying. To a certain extent I have described this more conscious involvement in the series ‘Animals in the Emerging Cosmos’.
The effort at this transmutation, hinging as it did on the Yoga of the Chamber, had its counterpart in the Temple episode: the poisoning energy which had to be released and transmuted is the very energy that lodged itself at the heart of the Mother’s township, preventing a successful fulfillment of its destiny. Thus this ‘Scorpion’ had to have its ‘stinger cut’. In another interesting parallel, the two persons largely responsible for the obstruction and blockage in the right construction of the Mother’s Chamber were born under Aries and Scorpio.
My purpose in writing this piece is not to enter into a detailed discussion of the exact nature of this transmutation. I have done this elsewhere. In particular, for precise connections with the zodiacal sign Scorpio, the reader may refer to The Magical Carousel and its companion volume, Commentaries. From Chapter Seven onward a description is given of the work entailed in such a transmutation and its connection to the eighth sign. In this brief space I would merely like to present VISHAAL readers with another example of ‘the symbol is the thing symbolised’. For this purpose I reproduce the Times of India news item, dated 9 March 1989, and entitled, ‘Scorpions with a difference’:
‘Bangalore, March 8 (PTI): Indian entomologists claim to have discovered a “friendly” species of scorpions, which does not kill fellow scorpions, caters to the needs of its young and is sensitive to its environment.
‘The scientists from the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, have named the new species, Hetrometrus Fulvipes, and have sent their findings to the zoological survey of India for confirmation.
‘The behaviour of the new species is markedly different from other such species. To begin with, its members are not cannibalistic, unlike other scorpions which feed on one another, with the fittest eating all the others.
‘Experiments on friendly scorpions over the past two years have shown that the animals refrain from attacking one another, even under conditions of starvation. They also did not fight amongst themselves when attacking crickets, grasshoppers and other insect food thrown into the pen where they were kept.
‘The “friendly” scorpions exhibited another remarkable trait: they dug their own burrows and cared for their young, giving them food and running to their protection in face of danger. Normally scorpions live in others’ nests and do not care for the young.
‘These scorpions also had regular feeding habits and were sensitive to their habitat conditions. Presence of moisture was a must for their survival, and they died when transferred to hot and dry conditions.
‘Their stinger – the small piercing organ with which the animals sting their prey – and the poison sac are comparatively smaller. The UAS entomologists believe that continuous non-usage or lesser usage of these led to a reduction in their size.
‘The scientists say that the “friendly” scorpions could be evolutionarily more advanced than the other scorpion species.’
It goes without saying that this research carried out, as reported, over the past two years – that is, AFTER the major breakthrough in our Yoga of the Chamber – confirms by the formula ‘the symbol is the thing symbolised’ that indeed the ‘stinger has been cut’ in that hostile power. There is an immediate correspondence: first the breakthroughs in the Yoga of the Chamber (namely, in 1983 and 1984) and then the ‘discovery’ of the friendly scorpions by scientists in Bangalore. It is clear (or is it so clear?) that this new species did not develop overnight: but the synchronicity of its discovery with the breakthroughs in the Yoga of the Chamber is what must be noted. I must also point out that the creatures I discussed in ‘Animals in the Emerging Cosmos’ – namely the Horse and the white Fantails – have all come from Bangalore. This city, in more ways than one, has continued to play a prominent part in our Yoga. In addition, even into the present, for one reason or another, I am obliged to make regular trips to Bangalore.
How does Skambha, the permanent seat of the Work, which was ‘discovered’ after the above-mentioned breakthrough, fit into the ‘scorpion scenario’, if at all? The student may be certain that these ‘friendly’ scorpions are found at the Centre. Indeed, three years ago in 1986/7, when we began construction of the kilometer-long driveway which cuts into and down the mountain to reach the estate’s central portion, countless ‘friendly’ scorpions were encountered under the rocks and in the crevices and burrows as their habitat was being disturbed by the construction work. The remarkable thing was that these black, ENORMOUS, dreadful-looking scorpions were, as it turned out, entirely harmless!
The local workers at Skambha are accustomed to working barefooted, as labourers do throughout India and in the rest of the tropics, for the most part. I was therefore considerably alarmed when I first spotted the scorpions – identical to the one silhouetted in the illustration in The Magical Carousel, page 78. Yet, though I was deeply concerned for the labourers, they, on the other hand, were unperturbed. In fact, one young man showed me the wounds he had received when he accidentally stepped on one of the animals: the sting was less than a small bee would produce!
I cannot know whether or not these Skambha scorpions are the same as those discovered by the Bangalore entomologists, but certainly, equal to the ‘friendly’ species, their stings are virtually harmless. And Skambha, located in what was once a dense rain forest before man devastated the area by massive tree felling, may provide that moist environment which this species requires for survival.
Let us note the other features of this new species and the student will observe how accurate astrology has been in perceiving the characteristics of each of the twelve zodiacal signs and finding parallels in certain animal figures. Where this ancient tradition has failed, or suffered limitations or a decline, is in the lack of a unified perception of the wheel. Consequently, it became impossible to see the zodiac’s connection and relevance to evolution on Earth. But even a perception of its unity would not have sufficed: a more complete vision had to manifest, a greater revelation which could reveal certain characteristics of the signs previously hidden. This is precisely the work of redeeming that ‘dark sun’. The evolution of consciousness had to reach the point where the vision of the cosmic harmony had to be truth-based, unlike the formula the cosmic Ignorance has produced for the past several thousands of years as a result of the binary imposition.
With this more complete vision based on the Cosmic Truth, Scorpio is supremely expressive of the severe limitations of the mental human being. The ‘pen’ where those precious ‘rays of the sun’ are ‘hoarded’, as the Rig Veda tells us, is simply the constricting confinements of an instrument that cannot house a greater awareness and sustain the impact of the increase in energy required for the expansion. Consequently that energy ‘turns back upon itself’ and death is the inevitable finality of this human, mental creature – just like the older species of scorpions cannibalistically turn against each other in gruesome acts of destruction when they are threatened in any way.
This condition can be carried over to everything produced by a civilisation which results from a collective experience within this limiting structure. Therefore, our primary concern must perforce be to realign the consciousness-being of the human species in such a way as to bring into existence instruments which are capable of the expansion demanded by this increase. The release of the ‘penned-in’ energy must have an adequate field in which to expand and be liberated from the pattern of auto and mutual destruction which results from the cramped condition it finds itself in.
Without being aware at all of their cannibalistic nature and that when threatened the ‘old-style scorpion’ turns against others of its kind, in 1970 I described just such a situation in the 8th chapter of The Magical Carousel, when the climax is reached in the sign-land of Scorpio and the children, Val and Pom-pom, are attacked by the small-bodied warriors of Hayala’s camp, she being the personification of the sign’s power:
‘Pom-pom and Val are horrified at what has happened. How could they have known? She was so lovely! They had to save her. They try to explain but one by one the warriors rise and come toward them. Val and Pom-pom back up farther and farther until they reach the altar. They jump on top by climbing up Hayala’s throne and become encircled by the men. There is no way to escape, yet just when the first warrior is ready to climb after them, the dark sky is lit up by a great flame that shoots through the air and falls on Hayala’s tent, setting it ablaze.
‘The soldiers become frantic. They rush to save themselves as the sky is filled with flaming arrows. The place is turned into a battleground for, in spite of themselves, the warriors turn against one another in their desperation to escape the fire, and a mass destruction commences.
‘The sound of galloping hoofs and a hearty laugh come from the distance, growing increasingly louder. And all at once a glorious, radiant archer charges into the encampment, shooting his arrows of fire into the sky. He is not an ordinary archer for the back half of his body is that of a horse, a lively spirited animal that gallops through the camp and up to the altar. There the Archer whisks up the two children, placing them on his horse back, and rides off as the warriors continue their destruction. In a last attempt to avenge his mistress, the stingless [Pom-pom had severed his stinger] Scorpion chases after them. They race through the land that Val and Pom-pom crossed on their arrival, onto the beach and through the tunnel of shallow water which the Centaur lights up by the use of his fiery arrows. The door blocks their way and the Scorpion is just behind them at the Centaur’s hoofs splashing in the water, when the Archer sends his mighty arrow into the construction immediately setting it ablaze. With the children clutching to him tightly, his horse half leaps through the flames and onto the other side. The Scorpion is left behind, fortunately without a stinger to use upon himself, and rendered impotent by the fire.’
The pigmy-sized warriors engaging in this orgy of mutual destruction are, by their reduced size, symbolically describing the constricted structure of the mental instrument. It must be remembered that Scorpio falls in the third quarter of the Gnostic Circle, precisely in the heart of the mental triad, consisting of the signs Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius. Therefore we see that the death of Scorpio is simply due to this restriction and that, as Sri Aurobindo had prophesied in the beginning of the century, a total transformation, even and especially of the physical, would be required to annul the ‘sting of death’.
The new ‘friendly’ species of scorpions gives us an indication of what life would be like on this planet when that stinger is finally cut: there is no mutual destruction and these creatures live in harmony with their environment; there is a sense of ‘each thing in its place’, in that the new scorpion attends to its duties, as the former, older species had not.
In The Magical Carousel that stinger is cut, and the tale continues with the saving grace of the Sagittarian Centaur carrying the children to ‘realms beyond’. This is the expansion permitted when that penned-in energy is released and instead of destroying the children, it serves as their fuel in the discovery of what until now for the human mental being is a heaven beyond material creation. That is, only in death can the human being experience those realms. However, when the instrument is realigned on the basis of the new Yoga of the Chamber, those realms are brought within and into the dimension of our lived experience on this planet. It is then a life divine on Earth, as Sri Aurobindo had foreseen.
The Magical Carousel provides a full description of the course the individual and the group must follow in order to be instruments for this great change on Earth. It is a question of introducing a new direction in the quest. Its three chapters corresponding to the mental quarter of the Gnostic Circle – Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius – are perhaps the book’s most important revelation. For example, the animal symbols which appear in these chapters are clearly indicative of the nature of this change in direction, in particular the Horse symbol, for in Chapter 7, the first sign/chapter of the mental quarter, the Horse is a white one, in keeping with the symbolism of Agni, but with meaningful differences. It is winged, for one, and therefore AIR is its natural element – meaning those ‘lofty’ mental regions above. This is important to note because after their passage through Scorpio, the 8th and next sign/land, the Horse, which in Libra was an Air symbol, is transformed into the Centaur. In addition, in Libra the children are carried out of that sign/land by the white winged Horse but in a chariot, – that is, not in close physical contact with the energy that the Horse represents. Here is the portion of the story describing their descent from those airy Libran heights and into the land of the penned-in energy, the land of the ‘unknown’:
‘The voices fade in the distance as the chariot is pulled through the infinite blue by the winged horse, farther and farther away, on to the realm of the Unknown. They glide through the clear sky for a long time until they are plunged into a thick grey mist that becomes darker and darker as they penetrate it.
‘Suddenly, completely taken by surprise, the children are snatched up by two powerful, enormous claws that pull them with great force out of the chariot and into the mist. Val looks up to see what has stolen them, yet she sees nothing but the claws of some obviously huge bird, whose body remains completely covered in the dark grey blanket.
‘They seem to descend and the air becomes very hot and sticky. There is such tension, as that felt before the release of rain; it is almost suffocating. The bird stops its powerful flight, hovering slightly, and Val and Pom-pom can just make out below them a somewhat rocky land of intense sombre colours. And as the bird comes closer, carefully selecting the right spot on which to deposit them, they notice that the intense heat causes steam to come from the rocks, filling the air with an eery fog.
‘The bird sets them down and now the children can just barely make out its shape. They seem to have been carried by a great Eagle whose huge shadow disappears through the fog.’
The Eagle, having carried the children into the sign/land of Scorpio, is the promise of the ultimate victory over that 8th son of Aditi, Martanda.
From time to time in VISHAAL and in all my books – published and unpublished – I have presented simple facts such as the above regarding the recent discovery of ‘friendly scorpions’ to illustrate the truth of Sri Aurobindo’s prophecies, and also to provide proof that the Yoga of the Chamber, exactly as I had been describing while it was unfolding, has produced positive results. However, the results obtained so far are the impact this special process has had on evolution, or in the primary blueprint for the evolution of consciousness. Thus the effects are still far from reaching the individual seeker; though the change, having taken place in the original matrix, makes the realignment of consciousness in the human being an inevitable attainment. The question is when.
It has been my experience that the human being must make far greater efforts for this realignment than he or she has made until now. In addition, and complicating the matter considerably, there is the newness of the process. There are no previous models to serve us – similar to our work with animals. One had to hew the path through a virgin forest, but at the same time a conscious participation was necessary. This unusual, almost contradictory combination could only be achieved if the poise vis-à-vis the Divine, or the immaculate Centre, was the correct one. For this there is the question of sincerity to consider, as well as the true surrender, so central an aspect of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. The atmosphere for this attainment was a trusting offering of oneself in the full awareness of engaging in a process not as a blind tool but with the certainty that knowledge is our right; and with this trusting confidence that what we may not understand today will surely be revealed to us tomorrow – for this is our birthright at this stage of evolution.
However, in the individual seeker the untransmuted Scorpio energy is his/her greatest stumbling block. This forms a hard ‘mass’ which is beautifully described in the Veda as a rock or a cave where the precious gold of the Truth-Conscious Sun is hoarded. One major problem for the seeker is the depth at which this mass is found. Sri Aurobindo refers to that ‘dark sun’ as the cause of all our woes and that which was ‘brought back out of the Inconscient’. Clearly then we are dealing with the central ‘knot’ in human creation. Until this Knot is undone, thoroughly and effectively, we will still be prisoners of this binary catastrophe.
In my experience with students seeking to deal with this Knot, I have seen that, as stated, the newness of the process proves to be the major problem. This translates itself into the fact that all previous codes of right spiritual conduct are practically meaningless or irrelevant when dealing with this hardened mass.
The problem to be solved lies elsewhere and not in the so-called spiritual domain. We are dealing with a basic cosmic and evolutionary fact: the human being is structured binarily and the competing ‘centre’ in this dual poise is the eighth sun/son of Aditi, Martanda, the Dark Sun, the root of whose name in Sanskrit signifies ‘death’.
The realignment we are discussing is meant to undo this binary status and place the consciousness-being of the individual in orbit of the luminous, unitary Sun of Truth-Consciousness – not as a spiritual achievement, for the most part disconnected from this cosmic and evolutionary reality, but rather as a true centre upholding all levels and parts of the being.
Thus, the major focus in the yoga of each individual seeker is a new poise vis-à-vis this Centre. That is, an entirely new attitude in one’s quest. The discovery of what this newness is and its imperative necessity is what constitutes the principal effort in one’s endeavour in the beginning stages of this Yoga. For the whole question is one of realignment, or centering. To achieve this that dark Sun must be dissolved. But the energies which had been hoarded in this hard mass cannot serve to poison one’s consciousness-being, as is presently the case. The dissolution I write of is a process in which those energies, for the first time in the evolution of consciousness, are ‘put in their right place’. That is, they are not ignored or suppressed, and therefore rendered even more heavily crusted over; nor are they permitted to be utilised any longer for the formation of a competing ‘centre’. Rather, they find their true place in their rightful orbit of the Sun of Truth-Consciousness.
At the third and fourth levels of the Supramental Manifestation this Knot is undone and the dissolution of that hardened mass is carried out. This concerns the vital and physical layers of being. However, the major culprit in the drama, impeding the right utilisation and collaboration of the vital and physical, is Mind, insofar as Mind is presently occupying a ruling position which is not its legitimate right. This false occupancy is what throws everything else ‘out of orbit’, all the way down the line, so to speak. And our entire civilisation is a consequence of this mental usurpation.
The difficulty for the individual seeker is that no matter how impressive his or her achievements have been in the yoga, they cannot be integrated in the being – and remain therefore in the category of sleeping energies – until this correct poise is attained.
Skambha, March of 1989