"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Fundamental Agni (Fire)

There are two statements of modern science that would stir up deeper ranges in an occultist:
1) Atoms are whirling systems like the solar system.
2) The atoms of all the elements are made out of the same constituents. A different arrangement is the only cause of different properties.

If these statements were considered under their true aspect, they could lead science to new discoveries of which it has no idea at present and in comparison with which the present knowledge is poor.

According to the experience of ancient Yogis.Agni is threefold:

1) ordinary fire, jada Agni
2) electric fire, vaidyuta Agni
3) solar fire, saura Agni
Science has only entered upon the first and second of these fires. The fact that the atom is like the solar system could lead it to the knowledge of the third.

- Sri Aurobindo

What was Sri Aurobindo driving at? And how is it that he – not to mention the rishis of six thousand years ago – knew before all our scientific laboratories that solar heat, Saura Agni, has a different origin from what we usually call fire or electricity, that it is produced by nuclear fusion and that it is the very same energy found in the atom's core? It is a fact – perhaps disconcerting for science, which needs to deal with "concrete realities" – that every physical reality is lined with an inner reality which is both its cause and its foundation; even the most infinitesimal material elements have their inner counterparts, and foremost among them are our own physical organs, which are only the material linings or supports of the centers of consciousness.

Everything here is the symbolic translation or shadow thrown by a light or a force that is behind, on another plane. This whole world is but a vast Symbol. Science observes and analyzes phenomena, devises equations for gravitation, weight, atomic fission, etc., but it only touches the effects, never the true cause. The yogi sees the cause before the effect. A scientist can deduce a certain cause from the effects produced, whereas a yogi deduces the effects from the cause; he can even deduce effects that do not yet exist from a cause that already exists (e.g., the accident will happen tomorrow from the force of the accident that is already there in the background). The scientist manipulates effects, at times bringing about catastrophes; the yogi sees the cause, or, rather, identifies with the Cause, and thereby he can alter the effects, or as Sri Aurobindo puts it, the "habits" we call laws. 

Ultimately, all our physical effects, which we have codified into laws, are nothing more than a convenient support for the manifestation of forces that are behind, exactly as a performance of magic requires certain ritualistic diagrams, certain ingredients or formulas, so that the forces invoked can manifest themselves. This whole world is a gigantic magical performance, a constant act of magic. But the earthly diagram, all the ingredients we have so earnestly and unchangeably codified, all our infallible formulas, are merely conventions. The earthly ritual can change if, instead of remaining mesmerized by the effects, we go back to the cause behind them – on the side of the Magician. There is a tale about a Hindu Brahmin who, every day at the hour of his worship, had the family cat tied up so that he would not be disturbed in his ritual. Eventually, both the Brahmin and the cat died, and the Brahmin's son, now in charge of the worship ceremony, procured a new cat, which he then conscientiously tied up during the sacrifice! From father to son, the cat had become an indispensable element in the effective performance of the ritual.Our own unassailable laws, too, may contain a few little cats.If we go back to the original force concealed behind the physical support, to the "true movement," then we begin to witness the Great Play, and to realize just how different it is from the rigid notions we have of it. Behind the phenomenon of gravitation, to take one of the rituals, there is what the ancient yogis called Vayu, which causes gravitation and the electromagnetic fields and this is how a yogi can eventually defy gravity. 

Behind the solar or nuclear fire there is the fundamental Agni, 

"the child of the waters, the child of the forests, the child of things stable and the child of things that move. Even in the stone he is there," Rig Veda. (I.70.2) 

This is the "warm gold dust" , the real cause behind the effect, the original force behind the material, atomic support; 

"other flames are only branches of thy stock." (I.59) 

It is because the rishis saw this spiritual Agni in Matter, this "sun in the darkness," that they were able to know of its material, atomic effects, and hence of nuclear fusion, long before our own scientific experiments revealed this phenomenon.This is also why, since they knew the cause, they dared to speak of transformation.

Finally, the whole universe is composed of a single substance of divine Consciousness-Force, and Agni is the element of force or energy in consciousness:

"O Son of Energy,"Rig Veda (VIII.84.4)

It is Force-Consciousness, a warmth, a flame, at whatever level we feel it. When we concentrate in our mind, we feel the subtle heat of mental energy or mental Agni; when we concentrate in our heart or in our emotions, we feel the subtle heat of Life-Energy or vital Agni; when we plunge into our soul, we experience the soul's subtle heat or psychic Agni. There is only one Agni throughout, one current of Consciousness-Force or consciousness-energy or consciousness-heat taking on different intensities at different levels. Then there is the fundamental Agni, or material Agni, which is the ultimate state of the energy of consciousness, prior to its conversion or densification into Matter. This is how one becomes the other. Modern science has also finally realized that Matter and Energy can be converted into each other (E = mc2 is its great breakthrough), but it has yet to see that Energy is consciousness, that Matter is consciousness, and that by acting upon consciousness one can act upon Energy and Matter. To transform Matter into Energy, modern science knows only of physical processes that produce heat, but by knowing the fundamental Agni, which is the foundation of Energy or Consciousness-Force, one can, in principle, act directly upon Matter and achieve the same transmutation without setting one's body on fire in the process.

The conversation of 1926 then introduces us to two material facts (and their spiritual basis) that are extremely important from the standpoint of transformation: first, that all earthly forms are made up of the same elements, and only different atomic arrangements account for the different features (this is the physical counterpart to the spiritual truth of the world's divine Oneness:

"Thou art man and woman, boy and girl, old and worn thou walkest bent over a staff; thou art the blue bird and the green and the scarlet-eyed"
-Swetaswatara Upanishad IV.3.4

And second, that the solar fire in Matter is the material counterpart of the fundamental Agni, which, as Sri Aurobindo stressed in another part of the same conversation, is the builder of forms. To wield Agni is to be able to change forms, to transform Matter: 

"He tastes not that delight (of the twice-born) who is unripe and whose body has not suffered in the heat of the fire," 
-Rig Veda 

"they alone are able to bear that and enjoy it who have been prepared by the flame." 
-(IX.83.1) It is 

The warm gold dust that will transmute its material counterpart, the nuclear dust in our body: The subtle process will be more powerful than the gross, so that a subtle action of Agni will be able to do the action which would now need a physical change such as increased temperature. Our atoms too are merely a convenient translation of the eternal ritual; nothing is fixed or inevitable. There is no end to the possible combinations, no end to the new human Being.

-From the book 'Sri Aurobindo, or The Adventure of Consciousness'
by Satprem


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