Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Part V: Inner and Outer: the One and the Many

[This is Part V of The Chronicles of the Inner Chamber; readers of this series may first want to read the blog's 'Introduction' and the Matrimandir Action Committee's 'Manifesto',  Part I - PrefacePart II, Part III, or Part IV before continuing.]


The Mother was very clear: ‘I did not see the outside…only the inside…’ Further, she indicated that she was open to suggestions. In the Matrimandir Talks, 17 January 1970, there is even some discussion on the subject, and a sketch as well. What begins to emerge is the temple’s outer shape, the Vishnu Shalagrama, one of the most sacred forms in Vedic culture.
This was to be the collectivity’s contribution to the Mother’s temple. The cosmic/yogic principles involved are the One and the Many; or else, the Unity and the Multiplicity; or the Point and the Circle; or the Centre and the Periphery. These are different ways of expressing a key aspect of the Supermind. That is, when we have a ‘supramental manifestation’, we know that in some way these two seemingly opposing positions or principles must be reconciled.
India has grappled yogically with this conundrum for two thousand years - and has been seemingly unsuccessful. From the time of Gautam the Buddha to the present, we observe how slowly and steadily the issue has been entirely shelved; no such reconciliation was possible. The only ‘solution’ was to escape, to ignore the problem, to undermine its very existence by describing the components involved as ‘illusion’. The direction of the quest was changed and consequently the goal; Sri Aurobindo has elaborated on the matter in his Letters on Yoga.
This was the fate of the Vedic Divine Maya. UP THERE she was allowed her ‘space’. When a split in the yogic perceptive capacity arose ‘down here’, she was simply Maya, devoid of any divine attributes. The yogic spirit of India succumbed to the same disease which afflicted the entire globe at the end of the 8th Manifestation of Sri Krishna when realms BEYOND became the goal of the quest, unlike pre-Buddhist Vedic India. Some described it as the onset of a Kaliyuga.
This split was indeed felt throughout the world. It is most clearly recognisable in the occident where orthodox religions finally made a dogma of the split and Spirit and Matter became forever stark opposites in the binary creation of the mental human being, whose sustenance is this pole of tension engendered by the split. The material world of time and space was not known as ‘illusion’ in the West but evil, and a downright Hell. It became a prison, a place where sinners could find a springboard to heaven after death if they were fortunate enough to recognise the one Saviour, and only that one, who could lead them out of their misery. However he managed it, the mental human being could not reconcile these opposites because of his binary affliction.
India somehow survived the devastation simply because nothing was organised, no orthodox religion, no pope, no Imam, and above all, no dogma. The yogic realiser was free to pursue his or her preference, even when the predominant influence was the way of Advaita and Mayavada. There was, however, a price to pay: India lost her hold over the material plane that, in the language of Number, is 9, and that, according to the Mother’s designation, is defined as creation in matter. Having abdicated, having opted for otherworldliness as the goal, all else was undermined. As a result, down the centuries with the corrosion that set in, from within, India suffered invasion upon invasion, conquests, colonisations, humiliations, desecration of her most sacred treasures; and finally, every illness we see around us today. At the root of it all was the loss of the Divine Measure several thousand years ago with all its repercussions thereafter.
This was what the Mother set about to rectify in her ‘act of measuring’. This she DID accomplish in spite of the recalcitrant ignorance and the bad will she encountered during that infamous 18-day struggle to establish that Measure at the heart of her temple. 

The supramental task at hand involving the temple can be described geometrically by the ancient symbol of the Sun, a circle with a central point, thus: . After the split, when science was divested of the sacred (as a correlation to the yogic split), that astrological symbol was incorporated by astronomy. To this day it remains in use.
The Sun is considered by Sri Aurobindo to be a symbol of the supramental Gnosis. We shall see in what way this particular symbolism takes shape in the inner chamber. These Chronicles will progressively demonstrate how this simple geometric form holds the key to the entire body of Knowledge captured in the Mother’s plan. But it is not enough to describe the elegant simplicity of the geometry involved. When the Supermind is made manifest all the Knowledge has to be applied today. In other words, it must be rendered dynamic.
The Sun’s astrological symbol indicates the One (Point) and the Many (Circle). It also offers the geometric understanding of the Mother’s mission as Divine Maya and the purpose of her ‘act of measuring’. For the inner chamber is the Point; the outer Shalagrama shape is the Circle. This simple correlation describes certain specific boundaries. Her sacrosanct domain was the Inner Chamber (‘I saw only the inside…’); the outer shape was to be the contribution of the collectivity. She did not impinge upon their domain, - but the collectivity had no respect for hers.
We must not lose sight of the fact that though the Shalagrama was the responsibility of the group (in this case represented by the architect), its measure was nonetheless established by the Divine Maya. Two key elements were given by her to grant legitimacy – or a Divine Sanction, if you will – to the outer shape.
More importantly, it could then be drawn into the integration process, thereby reconciling one of creation’s greatest paradoxes. It is the same conundrum quantum physics faces when it seeks to measure the position of point and/or wave: it is one or the other. This symbol, transposed to the respective duties of the Mother and the group, reconciles the paradox and expresses the simultaneous harmony of the two. Those two elements were, first and foremost, the 24m chamber floor diameter – no more, no less – and the placement of the chamber of 24m in a perfect circle with a consequent radius of 14.40m. They determined the correct dimensions of the Shalagrama whereby it became integrated into the whole. It was then elevated to the realm of sacred geometry.
In this simple manner, via sacred geometry applied to an architectural form, one of the deepest truths of the Supermind is made manifest and its goals are furthered.
 
Some basics
The classic Shalagrama is constructed on the basis of three interrelated circles. This in itself allows us to appreciate why in India it is one of the most sacred forms of geometry, revealing as it does the triune nature of reality, which Sri Aurobindo describes as Transcendent, Cosmic, and Individual; or else Sat-Chit-Ananda. Reproduced below is the construction of the three circles with their respective radii.                   

From: The New Way, Vol. 2, Chapter 11, p. 425,
The Inner and Outer Harmony
(
© Aeon Books, 1981).

The inner chamber whose diameter is 24m is placed within the central circle (in a ‘perfect circle’, as the Mother mentioned). When the walls are extended upward they meet that circle at a height of 8.65m. This ‘perfect circle’ determines the proportions of the circumscribing Shalagrama. With the Mother’s chamber of the specified measurements at the centre, it will be 36m x 28.80m.
In the Auroville Matrimandir there is nothing touching those crucial points in space. There is no 24m and by consequence no 8.65m meeting that significant inner occult circle.
There is thus no harmony between inner and outer, irrespective of the fact that the architect seems to have maintained the correct measurements for the Shalagrama.
If the floor diameter is 23m, or thereabouts, as is presently the case in the Auroville Matrimandir, then the Shalagrama cannot have a total width of 36m as advertised. It must be less. A Shalagrama can be constructed on the basis of any radius; but whatever that is, the central circle will determine the proportions of the figure which are 5:4. Width and height will vary accordingly. While this is possible geometrically, the result in the Mother’s temple is that two important harmonies are lost, which we will describe in these Chronicles.
 
What was lost
The idols of a Hindu Temple must be fashioned according to set rules. These were laid down centuries ago based on the visions of sages. It is only when those exact proportions are reproduced that the idol is truly infused with a certain energy that is the cosmic essence of that particular deity. If, in the fashioning of the murthi, the sculptor introduces a variation without the inspired drishti, the connection is lost. The idol is then abandoned and certainly never installed in the temple. Thus, accurate proportions are crucial to the function of the idol.
In earlier times, before the decline, idols were not required for this function, only pure geometry was used. This was the Vedic Age several thousand years ago. The construction, known as vedi, was simply a particular geometric form made of bricks. These structures for the homam were often quite elaborate and the geometry involved was complex. The sacrifice could only be ‘pleasing’ to the Godhead (Agni, for example) if the geometry was executed with meticulous care. Then, and only then, was it elevated to the level of the sacred.
It is known that the Mother did not want photographs of herself and Sri Aurobindo in the temple, particularly in the Inner Chamber, ‘only the symbols’, - i.e., only the geometry. This injunction was the signal that she was resuscitating a very ancient Vedic tradition. It is similar to the difference between Carnatic and Hindustani music. The former is like the skeleton of the structure (music); the bare and pure essence; the latter is a step or more removed from the basic structure or pure essence. In certain periods of evolution the vedi is the way; in times when the Knowledge, pure and overt, has to be covered in veils in order to preserve it, then the skeleton/essence structure acquires outer sheaths – like Guha covered in veils.
Bearing the above in mind, we can analyse the geometry of the Mother’s Vision and reveal how it is sacred only when HER plan in its complete form is the blueprint. There may be geometry in the Shalagrama of the Auroville Matrimandir, but it has not been sanctified by the innermost essence which is provided by the 24m diameter of the Chamber, since that does not exist.
Within the ‘perfect circle’ of the Shalagrama (below), as the Mother specified, we have inserted the Inner Chamber. The element of crucial importance is the floor diameter of 24m. This is where the walls are set (‘…it is understood the 24m ends at the walls’) and then extend upward to join the occult circle at 8.65m. If not, if, as in the Auroville Matrimandir, the chamber measures 23m, nothing HOLDS. Those points in the temple’s inner spaces do not exist. Yes indeed, Ruud Lohman, everything ‘falls apart’.
For only when the geometry is faithful to this inner measure can the Shalagrama bear the correct proportions with a horizontal 36m and a vertical of 28.80m.

From The New Way, Vol. 2,
Chapter 11, p.433,
The Inner and Outer Harmony,
© Aeon Books, 1981

Added to the vertical are 30cm at the top and 30cm below to close the three Shalagrama circles and seal the form, indicated by the dotted lines in the diagram on page 3. We then have 29.40m, the sidereal ‘year’ of Saturn, ruler of India’s zodiacal sign Capricorn. In future Chronicles this will be explained in full when the chamber is given dynamism, like a carousel that is set in motion.
The true measure, the Divine Maya, moves from inner to outer, be this in the Rishis’ vision or in truly sacred temple architecture. But since the Matrimandir architects and builders refused to incorporate the correct room diameter, as the Mother so clearly specified, that divine Measure does not exist in what they have constructed. The harmony between inner and outer has been lost there forever.
Had the community respected the boundaries that Supermind determined, with specified tasks allotted to all the participants, the desired integration of inner and outer would have occurred. As things stand, though the correct measurements seem to have been adopted for the outer shell of the temple, they bear no relation to the inner chamber. It, in turn, cannot ‘support’ the outer since the ‘skeleton’ that the room must provide by its perfect measurements does not exist. The entire exercise has been a pathetic waste.
There is something else that has been lost of perhaps greater importance. It concerns the very nature of the geometric forms involved in both inner and outer structures. Regarding the latter, it is essential to note that true to the Divine Principle the Mother embodied, the Shalagrama is a feminine form, unlike the angular shapes, - i.e., pyramids, squares, rectangles, and so forth. This is fully in keeping with the Avataric mission of this 9th Manifestation.
Indeed, with the number 9 itself – the ultimate Feminine. The round form reveals a key feature of the Age of Supermind that is upon us in that perception is spherical, not linear; above all, it is a vision from the core. 

But that core, that ‘centre that holds’, does not exist in the Auroville Matrimandir. Therefore the entire exercise is laid waste and with it the crores of rupees already invested in the colossus. Surely if the members of the community sought in their Matrimandir a field for their yoga and discovery of human unity, something less costly could have been devised.
         
The significance of this loss, this deliberate unwillingness to allow the Mother that sacrosanct inner space has had grave consequences for Auroville. Under the circumstances, any pretensions of being ‘the cradle of the Superman’ have to be seen for what they are: illusions, even arrogant illusions. In the language of sacred geometry such as the Mother has employed, this is easily explained. There must be a harmony, spherical and non-speculative, precise and not approximate, between inner and outer because only then can the dynamics of Supermind be organised for deployment on this third planet from the Sun. Indeed, this is the message contained in our luminary’s very symbol: , the Point in the Circle.
This harmony has never been achieved or even suggested in any extant example of sacred architecture across the globe. It was to be India’s contribution to the 9th Manifestation of the Supermind. 

***
Matrimandir Action Committee
31 March 2003

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