A handwritten manuscript with an untitled poem, circa 1936-37, found in Sri Aurobindo’s notebooks included a beautiful poem which now carries the title ‘Seer deep-hearted’. The poem reads as follows:
Seer deep-hearted, divine king of the secrecies,~ CWSA, Vol. 2, p. 677
Occult fountain of love sprung from the heart of God,
Ways thou knewest no feet ever in Time had trod.
Words leaped flashing, the flame-billows of wisdom’s seas.
Vast thy soul was a tide washing the coasts of heaven.
Thoughts broke burning and bare crossing the human night,
White star-scripts of the gods born from the book of Light
Page by page to the dim children of earth were given.
This poem, like most other poems of Sri Aurobindo, expresses an autobiographical truth of his inner life. For a long time, every time I would visit the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo at the Ashram, after doing pranams at the samadhi, my eyes would inevitably go up to that corner window of the covered verandah just outside Sri Aurobindo’s room. And a picture would start floating in front of my eyes – of Sri Aurobindo sitting on his desk and writing page after page after page….giving for us ‘dim children of earth’ the ‘white star-scripts of the gods born from the book of Light.’
As I would recall this poem, an image of Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Arya’ days of prolific writing would come alive. Day after day, week after week, his pen would put on paper those highest and deepest truths he had seen and heard in inspired and illuminating passages. He dealt with the fundamentals of existence, the progressive unfolding of truth as the hidden plan of the Divine, the true meaning and aim of yoga of nature and life, the foundations of Indian culture, the possibilities of realizing the dream of a united humanity and more.
* * *
Sri Aurobindo was and is the ‘Seer deep-hearted’ who had not only seen and heard the secret mysteries of Existence, but also walked the paths no Rishi had trod before and brought down on the earth a new consciousness. In this Truth-consciousness, satyam ritam brhat, truest love, harmony and unity can prevail. The truest truth of this Supramental consciousness and the sunlit path to it only a Rishi like Sri Aurobindo could have expressed in a form which transcribed directly the high, vast and deep supramental and spiritual realizations and experiences into words and thoughts leaping down from the planes of inspiration and revelation.
His ‘book of Light’ may be different for each one of us – depending on our temperament, inner turning, receptivity, adhikāra and journey of the soul. To some it may be his ‘The Life Divine’, to others ‘Savitri’, to yet others it may be his writings on Indian culture while for some it may be the small volume – ‘War and Self-determination’. But all carry his Light and Force, the energy and consciousness of a Rishi, the power to elevate and transform. This is the work of a Rishi, a Maharshi.
On 15th August 2023, as we enter the 151st year of Sri Aurobindo, we celebrate this occasion by releasing this special issue of Renaissance on the theme – Sri Aurobindo, the Rishi. In the Guiding Light feature titled ‘The Rishis as Makers of Indian Civilization‘ we highlight selected words of Sri Aurobindo on who is a Rishi and how the essence of Indian civilisation was shaped by the great Rishis. Another featured titled ‘Of Supermind, Vedic Rishis and Sri Aurobindo‘ features conversations of the Mother which speak of the hint of Supermind in the Veda and Sri Aurobindo’s yogic work with regard to the descent of the Supermind.
* * *
In a 2-part article, ‘Sri Aurobindo’s Concept of Evolution and Superman‘ we have Kireet Joshi’s explanation of Sri Aurobindo’s concept of complete person which reveals the futuristic vision of Sri Aurobindo for humanity. An important essay of Sisirkumar Ghose, first published in the 1986 issue of Sri Aurobindo Circle, titled ‘New Dimensions in Spirituality‘ is presented in two parts in this issue. This essay presents a broad but profound overview of the new dimensions and dynamism that Sri Aurobindo brought in the timeless spiritual vision and thought given to us by our ancient sages and seers.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram – The Golden Temple of The Mother Divine – this is the title under which we present a small but beautiful writing of Nolini Kanta Gupta. Here he describes how Sri Aurobindo established the Ashram, the golden temple of the Mother Divine, in Pondicherry, amidst the pathetic deadness of then Pondicherry and the conspiracy and serious attacks from the British government. He also brings out the connection of Sri Aurobindo’s yogic aim with the yoga of Vedic Rishis.
In ‘What Sri Aurobindo Means to Me‘ K. D. Sethna (Amal Kiran) highlights the vast, integral being of Sri Aurobindo, the Rishi, as well as the greatly endearing personality of Sri Aurobindo, the modern Guru. The article titled ‘Sri Aurobindo and India of the Future‘ by Sachidananda Mohanty reminds us of the seer-vision and the divine force with which Sri Aurobindo, the Rishi of our times, has shown the path for the future march of India and the world.
* * *
In a two-part article, our regular contributor and Renaissance volunteer, Narendra Murty, reminds us of the higher ranges of consciousness beyond the intellect — inspiration, intuition and revelation — from where a Rishi receives knowledge. A Rishi is someone who sees and hears the Truth which he then expresses as Mantra. Using several insightful passages from Sri Aurobindo’s writings, particularly The Future Poetry, the author brings out Sri Aurobindo’s rishihood.
But at the end of all this research and writing and editing work, we go back to the truth revealed by the Mother –
Who can understand Sri Aurobindo? He is as vast as the universe and his teaching is limitless…
The only way to come a little close to him is to love him sincerely and give oneself unreservedly to his work. In that way, each one does his best and contributes as much as he can to the transformation of the world which Sri Aurobindo has predicted~ CWM, Vol. 16, p. 309
As we begin a new year of Renaissance with this special issue commemorating 151st birthday of Sri Aurobindo, we are also happy to announce the year-long theme – ‘Streams of Sadhana’ which we will be exploring through various sub-themes in the upcoming issues. The first sub-theme we shall take up for the September 2023 issue is ‘Concentration and Focus’. We invite submissions by interested authors.
As always, we offer this work at the lotus feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Beloo Mehra (for Renaissance Editorial Team)
~ Design: Beloo Mehra