Ceremony of Washing the Goddess Cali, and the Idol Jagan-Nath: “Where Time’s last ridges touch eternity’s skies” (Savitri, Sri Aurobindo)

“Ceremony of Washing the GoddessCali, and the Idol Jagan-Nath”, by J. Wilkes,London, 1803.

“Where Time’s last ridges touch eternity’s skies/ And nature speaks to the Spirit’s absolute”. (Book II, Canto XI, Savitri, Sri Aurobindo)

“Mahakali is of another nature.

Not of wideness but of height, not wisdom but force and strength are her peculiar power. There is in her a overwhelming intensity, a mighty passion of force to achieve, a divine violence rushing to shatter every limit and obstacle.

All her divinity leaps out in a splendour of tempestuous action; she is therefore swiftness, for the immediately effective process, the rapid and direct stroke, the frontal assault that carries everything, before it”.- Sri Aurobindo on the Four Aspects of the Mother (Selection from ” The Mother” By Sri Aurobindo)     




Passed are the seasons

In the frame of their minds

The lonely idol of truth

Travels into another year

In the crude hands of fate

She stands above all, eternal and free

A lovely sweet autumnal moon

A handiwork of the of All –Supreme Delight

Like the dark restless slumbering night

Is seized by the hands of the ‘blood-dimmed tide’

A changeless muse of the sovereign star

She watched the fire-dance of the innumerable waves

From the boat she watched gaily on the seas

Nothing remains all are fixed to the change

Time’s transience cannot hold the birth of a god

Like a wheel on the road toiling, tumbling and turning

Eternity recurs like a sweet envelope harping the ‘nine changes of the watery star’                          

And life’s sharp points are caught by the fidelity of art

People in a circle, laughs, cries, sings and dies not

Fellini watches them go by.

– Joy Roy Choudhury


1. Photograph of Divine Mother and Sri Aurobindo taken by Henri-Cartier Bresson in 1950

2.‘Blood-dimmed tide’- Reference to WB Yeats’s The Second Coming (1919): The ‘Blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/ The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity./ Surely some revelation is at hand;/ Surely the Second Coming is at hand…’

Sri Aurobindo has said that man is a transitional being and he later he explores this transformation through his epic work Savitri, where he sees man in a new light where ‘he lifts himself to be a conscious god’. (Book III Canto IV, Savitri)

 3.  ‘Nine changes of the watery star hath been/The Shepherd’s note since we have left our throne/Without a burden’- Polyxenes in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Reference here, is to the watery star that draws the tides with more implicit connection been drawn between moon (The Roman Goddess, Diana) and its association with chastity, fertility and with growth, regeneration and decay.

 There is also an undertone of the Summer Harmony of Heaven and Earth and the association of music with starry spheres and cosmological harmonies. Please read the line: Eternity recurs like a sweet envelope harping the ‘nine changes of the watery star’- harp and the fidelity of art (to Fellini its with the Cinemascope, with Beethoven or Bach its with the music, to Tagore and Jibanananda its with the form of language, images and metrical rhythm) are key central signifiers that help to create the new race of the gods.

– Joy Roy Choudhury

Hyères, France, (1932), Henri Cartier-Bresson: Time Unwraps an Infinite Reflection

Hyères,France, (1932), Henri Cartier-Bresson

Consciousness-Analogue: Time Unwraps an Infinite Reflection

The time-keeper unwinds his sense of time

Down the spiral stairway into the pavement and the dust

Behind its motion like a proleptic arc

Its wheels static the centre evolutes

Beyond any fixed determined absolute point

Surrounding the whole of the corpus mundi

With a consciousness of the unity of love

Revolving around a million stars

Weaving the sun-dance of transmutational ecstasy

Into a motionless rim of life’s emblem

There are no more the words, gestures and statutory thoughts

No more the reasons that turn away from the divine light

An eye a camera has caught the finite moment of an infinite strength

And the eukaryotic cells are glistening with grace.

– Joy Roy Choudhury

Notes: Corpus Mundi (Lat) refers to  ‘Body of the World’ or the Physical World/Phenomenal World

Henri-Cartier Bresson also has taken a number of photographs of Sri Aurobindo at His room  in Pondicherry on April 25, 1950 (The Last Photographs of Sri Aurobindo). Recalling the moment, he said: ‘Mother was so helpful and She convinced Sri Aurobindo and I came to his bedroom with my camera. The room was so neat and tidy and impersonal. Sri Aurobindo did not blink an eye during the entire ten minutes. I was watching him, he did not seem to belong to that impersonal setting.’ And in a tribute paid after Sri Aurobindo’s mahasamadhi, he remarked: “…when I had the privilege of seeing Sri Aurobindo, I had the impression that he was beyond time…”

Sri Aurobindo photographed by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 25th April 1950

Paul Gauguin’s The Seed of Areoi (1892): A Higher Bodhi Embodiment of the Radiant Phalanxes of the Sun

The Seed of Areoi, 1892,  Paul Gauguin (French 1848-1903), MoMA: Mesuem of Modern Art, NY

Consciousness-Analogue: The Seed of Areoi

The colonial arcades banished the dream

Art sprang from the five senses of the Spirit

That ever revolute ensphering beauty’s occult lines

Each hemisphere allocates a design, a diagram

A pattern inborn from the self-dissolution of the cosmic force

Bridal and creative it projects itself into the surrounding space

In colored lines or in diamond flakes of the crystal sound

The rim of the letters are edged in gold

A conscious chanting was an essential prayer

It unraveled the secrets of an ancient race

Something that lost its own sense of wonder and awe

Because the riddle was unlocked for such a long time

It’s the pressure of a new advent that unwind the soul

The Surya-Devas manifest in beings

Inanimate felt the sudden touch of the mother’s conscious force

As if the inconscient was teased out from its colonized captivity

Incarceration was a dead old chapter

New action has triggered the foundation of peace

A new race stands affirm like pillars in burning gold

Their consciousness their guiding force, their love their sacred hearts

A musical overflow ran into every leaf, bole, nectar and nest

Substance not unveiled was responding to her call

Like a bird that hears the call of a mating song bird

Like a soul that passes through the arches of time to embrace it’s longing soul

A festival ran riot not in the profuse vision of a film or art

But in every matter’s subatomic domain

A wave surged itself into the ocean of infinity

Trinetra expressed itself through every gate of  the new consciousness

And the Will took the command from the man to Superman.

– Joy Roy Choudhury

Notes: Surya-Devas refers to the Sun God (Apollo) and it can widen to include vedic solar deities as well.

Trinetra: It is the vertical eye, the front eye of Lord Shiva usually designated as the eye of fire (agni) for the  perception of higher consciousness.  It can also mean self-intuitive faculties and higher yogic reflexes used in the process of creational cognition and self-dissolution of the senses when required.

Superman: A term coined by Neitzsche but used experientially by Sri Aurobindo in his Integral Yoga.  ” Supermind is superman; therefore to rise beyond mind is the condition.  To be the superman is to live the divine life, to be a god; for the gods are the powers of God. Be a power of God in humanity.  To live in the divine Being and let the consciousness and bliss, the will and knowledge of the Spirit possess thee and play with thee and through thee, this is the meaning.  This is the transfiguration of thyself on the mountain. It is to discover God in thyself and reveal him to thyself in all things. Live in his being, shine with his light, act with his power, rejoice with his bliss. Be that Fire and that Sun and that Ocean. Be that joy and that greatness and that beauty.  When thou hast done this even in part, thou hast attained to the first steps of supermanhood”. – Sri Aurobindo in the 1st section of The Hour of God (The Divine Superman, 1918)

1st Jan, 1969, The Mother experienced the descent of Superman Consciousness in herself.  In her words what followed:  ‘A golden light, transparent and… benevolent. “Benevolent” in the sense of a certainty – a harmonious certainty…. It gave the impression of a personal divinity who comes to help….’.

Friedrich’s The Monk by the Sea (1808-10): Self-Meditative Reflexes of the Consciousness in Art & Beyond

The Monk by the Sea (Der Mönch am Meer), Caspar David Friedrich,1808–10, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Consciousness-Analogue: Der Mönch am Meer

The sound receded fast into the core of the vibrating universe

It was expanding like the template of the eternal

There were suns, moons, stars and galaxies

All luminous like giant orbs that are set on gyres

Spinning like a top from the centre of four petals

I felt the mother force have entered my being

Like thunder and lightning amidst distant seas

Abandoned was the shell of her old cosmic dance

New waves have splashed across the feet beneath the sand

A new higher consciousness glamorous like the drone of air

Have spread affront the waters in placid pace

Like a conch shell it shattered death and dementia

I, alone walked into the shore of this new enchanting world

Not in art or in vision but with eyes forever open

Where beauty cannot escape images that float

Or miss the Word that forms a ring around the mandala of the sun

The Supramental Ship has descended on earth

Broken harps bring newer vaster incantations

They can lead the Will steadfast to a farther Light

Alone I exist not; She the Power and my Glory

It’s the crown of her life that manifests the highest Truth.

– Joy Roy Choudhury

Symbols of Sri Aurobindo (L) and The Mother (R)

The significance of Symbols in Mother’s own words:

1. Mother on Sri Aurobindo’s Symbol 

2.  On Mother’s Symbol

Titian’s Holy Family with a Shepherd, 1510: Twilight Receded into the Sanctorum of Truth

The Holy Family with a Shepherd, Titian, 1510 , National Gallery, London

Thanks to Google Art Project and National Gallery, London


The twilight receded into the sanctorum of truth

The grazing horses have returned home

Old father of the flock have spend his time

Autumn was the monarch of his passing things

Fragrant was the delicate air that harped on his days

It counted not the leaves but waited for its turn

The child saw inly a far home in the east

He saw the forests motionless in the daylight,

And the chirping birds and the humming bee

He felt the presence of the moonlit night

That falls upon a deep tract of solitary trance

Beautiful souls accompany the pilgrims of the stars

Their music was laughter of the rising gods

A betoken smile was a glimpse of paradise

Happiness lurked beneath the depths of the blue ocean

It felt the source, it knew the deity

It was resplendent with a white peace of sublime earth

Energy refound matter in the Supermind of the Soul

And derived the calculus of its conscious existence

Formulated new time in the registry of space

For the end is always the eternity of life.

– Joy Roy Choudhury

In Savitri, Sri Aurobindo writes on the Adoration of the Divine Mother, where he describes the process of supramental descent: “This Light comes not by struggle or by thought;/ in the mind’s silence the Transcendent acts/ And the hushed heart hears the unuttered Word./A vast surrender was his only strength. /A Power that lives upon the heights must act…”

So, the key to this descent of light is “surrender”.   Earlier he has said: “Surrender is giving oneself to the Divine -to give everything one is or has to the Divine and regard nothing as one’s own, to obey only the Divine will and no other, to live for the Divine and not for the ego”.  (Sri Aurobindo, 6th June 1933)

   The core of the inner surrender is trust and confidence in the Divine. One takes the attitude: “I want the Divine and nothing else. I want to give myself entirely to him and since my soul wants that, it cannot be but that I shall meet and realise him. I ask nothing but that and his action in me to bring me to him, his action secret or open, veiled or manifest. I do not insist on my own time and way; let him do all in his own time and way; I shall believe in him, accept his will, aspire steadily for his light and presence and joy, go through all difficulties and delays, relying on him and never giving up. Let my mind be quiet and trust him and let him open it to his light; let ,my vital be quiet and ‘ turn to him alone and let him open It to his calm and Joy.

   All for him and myself for him. Whatever happens.. I will keep to this aspiration and self-giving and go on in perfect reliance that it will be done.” – Sri Aurobindo

Adoration of the Divine Mother