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Experiences and Realisation

 

(Ref: Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga (Vol. 2),Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry

 

EXPERIENCE is a word that covers almost all the happenings in yoga; only when something gets settled, then it is no longer an experience but part of the siddhi; e.g. peace when it comes and goes is an experience - when it is settled and goes no more it is a siddhi. Realisation is different - it is when something for which you are aspiring becomes real to you; e.g. you have the idea of the Divine in all, but it is only an idea, a belief; when you feel or see the Divine in all; it be­ comes a realisation.

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All this is to make unnecessary distinctions. An experience of a truth in the substance of mind, in the vital or the physical, wherever it may be, is the beginning of realisation. When I experience peace, I begin to realise what it is. Repetition of the experience leads to a fuller and more permanent realisation. When it is settled anywhere, that is the full realisation of it in that place or that part of the being.

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It is spirituality when you begin to become aware of another consciousness than the ego and begin to live in it or under its influence more and more. It is that consciousness wide, infinite, self-existent, pure of ego etc. which is called Spirit (Self, Brah­man, Divine), so this necessarily must be the meaning of spirituality. Realisation is this and all else that the experience and growth of this greater consciousness brings with it.

 

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The sky is a symbol of the mental consciousness (or the psychic) or other consciousnesses above the mind -e.g., the higher mind, intuition, overmind, etc. Sky as the ether indicates also the infinite.

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The higher consciousness in any of its levels is seen usually as a sky or ether, but when felt through the vital it is often perceived as a sea.

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Sat, Chit, Ananda, Supermind, Mind, Life, Matter are the seven planes described in the Veda - but in this yoga one sees many levels of consciousness which appear as skies or else as seas.

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The blue sky is that of the Higher Mind - the nearest of the planes between human mentality and the supermind. The moon here is the symbol of spirituality in the mental planes. The world of the Higher Mind is above those directly connected with the body-consciousness.

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The sky is always some mental plane. The stars indicate begin­nings or promises of Light - the various lights indicating va­rious powers of the consciousness; gold = Truth, blue = higher spiritualised mind, violet = sympathy, unity or universal compassion.

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The first sea is the ordinary consciousness, the second sea is the higher consciousness over which is the Sun of Truth. The mountain represents the ascending planes of the higher consciousness. The journey in the train is the passage from one consciousness to another.

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The sea with the sun over it is a plane of consciousness lit by the Truth. To enter into the rays is to be no longer merely lit by it, but in one's own conscious being to begin to become a part of the Truth.

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The blue ocean is often a symbol of the spiritual consciousness in the higher Mind one and indivisible.

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Dawn always means an opening of some kind - the coming of something that is not yet fully there.

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The Night is the symbol of the Ignorance or Avidya in which men live just as Light is the symbol of Truth and Knowledge.

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The mountain is the symbol of the embodied consciousness based upon earth but rising up towards the Divine.

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The mountain always represents the ascending hill of existence with the Divine to be reached on the summits.

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The mountain is a very usual symbol of the consciousness with its ascending levels. The flowing of water from the peak indicates some flow from the higher consciousness above.

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The vision you saw of the snow is probably a symbol of the con­sciousness in a condition of purity, silence and peace like a snowy ground; in that a new life (psychic, spiritual as indicated by the flowers) appears in place of the old mental and vital life which has been covered by that mantle of snowy whiteness.

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The river represents some movement of the consciousness.

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Water is the symbol of a state of consciousness or a plane.

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When the water is symbolic [of a plane of consciousness] it is a big expanse of water - but a river or a pond are not large enough to symbolise a plane.

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Sometimes a part of the consciousness is seen in the image of a pond, lake or sea. The fish must be the vital mind.

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The lake is the being in its individual consciousness, the sea is the same being with a universalised consciousness which can hold the universe and its cosmic forces in itself - the one (individual) merges into the other (the universal). The boat is the formation of the Mother's consciousness in you in which you are preparing to sail in this sea.

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The rain is the symbol of the descent of Grace or of the higher consciousness which is the cause of the riches, the spiritual plenty.

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The rainbow is the sign of peace and deliverance.

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Clouds are symbols of obscurity.

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Patala simply means the subconscient below the Earth - the Earth being the conscious physical plane.

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The jungle must be some unregenerated part of the vital nature and the serpent a wrong force emerging out of it.

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The tree is the symbol of subconscient vital.

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A bird is a very frequent symbol of the soul, and the tree is the standing image of the universe - The Tree of Life.

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The Aswattha usually symbolises the cosmic manifestation.

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Flowers indicate a blossoming in the consciousness, sometimes with special reference to the psychic or the psychicised vital, mental and physical consciousness.

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It is usually when the psychic is active that this seeing of flowers becomes abundant.

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Red flowers would ordinarily indicate an opening of the con­sciousness either in the physical or some part of the vital accor­ding to the shade.

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The [flower named] eternal smile means the self-existent joy and gladness of the Spirit.

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In sadhana [the flower named] vital intimacy would ordinarily signify inner intimacy with the Divine on the vital plane.

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The fruits are the results of the sadhana.

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The cow in the occult symbolism indicates Light or the con­sciousness - white indicates the purified or spiritual conscious­ness - the white Light.

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It is quite clear; it is the Vedic image. In the Veda the Cow is the Divine Light - the white cow is the pure consciousness in which there is the Light. The milk is the Knowledge and Power descending from the Divine Consciousness.

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The Cow usually 'means the Higher Consciousness. Perhaps the calf indicates the truth of the higher consciousness (white) in the physical (red).

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The vision of the cows must have taken place in the psychic world. It has also a symbolic significance. The sun is the symbol of the Divine Truth, the cows are its powers, rays of the sun, source of true knowledge, true feeling, true experience.

The descent you felt must have been into some depth of light, probably in the psychic nature.

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Milk is always the symbol of the flow of the higher consciousness.

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The Horse is Power, usually Life-Power, but also it may mean Mind-Power or Tapas if it is dynamic and mobile.

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Dark horse - means a horse whose qualities are unknown whether it is good or bad, will win the race or lose it - an obscure and unknown factor.

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As for the two dreams you wrote about in your shorter letter of the I st May, the one about the horses is not so clear as the other about the white calf. But the horse is always the symbol of Power; it must be then a Power which you were trying to catch and make your own while sometimes it was trying to come up with you, perhaps to use you. This is what happens in the vital where there are these uncertain and elusive movements. The high platform was evidently the level of a higher Consciousness which stilled this fluctuating movement and made control of the Power more possible, as it became still and clear.

The white calf is the sign of a pure and clear consciousness, - the cow or calf being the symbol of Light in the consciousness, something psychic or spiritual that you felt natural and intimate to you and inseparable.

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The horse is a force acting for progress. The railway train at full speed means rapid progress.

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The ass is the symbol of the inertia and obstruction in the body.

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The horse is the symbol of force or power. The tunnel of water must be the vital physical and the arch is a passage out, by which, if the ass can cross it or rather be pulled across, then it becomes a horse. In other words, the inertia and obstruction in the physical will be changed into Power and Force of Progress.

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The elephant is Strength - sometimes Strength illumined with Wisdom.

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The elephant is strength - sometimes strength removing obstacles.

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The lion means vital force, strength, courage - here full of the light, illumined by the spiritual consciousness.

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The lion indicates force and courage, and strength and power.

The lower vital is not lion-like.

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It all depends on the attitude of the tiger. If fierce and hostile, it may be a form of an adverse force, otherwise it is simply a power of vital nature which may be friendly.

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It [the boar] is rajasic strength and vehemence. Much, however, depends on the context, - these figures have also other meanings.

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Yes, buffaloes indicate rash and obscure vital forces.

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A buffalo conveys the idea often of an obscure violence in the nature - here it seems tied up - i.e. under control but not eli­minated. But it is not clear to what it refers - if it is symbolic       at all.

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The goat in vision is often symbolic of lust.

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The dog is the symbol of devoted affection and obedience.

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The dog usually indicates fidelity and as it is yellow, it would be fidelity in the mind to the Divine - but the other black and white one is difficult to interpret - it is something in the vital, but the meaning of the black spots is not clear.

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The deer is perhaps a symbol of speed in the spiritual progress.

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Hanuman = complete bhakti.

The deer = speed in the spiritual path.

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Frog = modest usefulness.

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The fish is always the moving vital mind making all sorts of formations.

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 [Flies:] Something small in the smaller vital.

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Obviously it [white ants] must have been symbolic of small but destructive forces in the lower vital or physical.

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The image of the spider in the Upanishads is used for the Brah­man creating the world out of itself, dwelling in it and with­drawing it into itself. But what matters in a symbol is what it means for you. It may mean for you success or successful formations. .

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The snake indicates some kind of energy always - oftener bad, but it also can indicate some luminous or divine energy. In this experience it is an ascent of some force from the physical upwards. The other details are not clear.

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The serpent is a symbol of force, very often a hostile or evil force of the vital plane.

The sea is a symbol of a plane of consciousness.

The white light is a manifestation of pure divine force descending from one of the truth-planes leading to the supramental.

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The opening of the hood indicates the victorious or successful activity of the Energy indicated by the snake.

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The serpent with the hood over the head generally indicates future siddhi.

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The cobra is a symbol of the Energy in Nature - the upraised hood and light indicate the illumination and victorious position of the emerged Energy.

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It is in answer to your aspiration that the Mahakali force des­cended - the serpent is the Energy from above working in the vital answering to the Serpent Kundalini which rises from below. The white fire is the fire of aspiration, the red fire is the fire of renunciation and tapasya, the blue fire is the fire of spirituality and spiritual knowledge which purifies and dispels the Ignorance.

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The serpent is the symbol of energy - especially of the Kundalini Shakti which is the divine Force coiled up in the lowest (physical) centre, Muladhara, and when it rises it goes up through the spine and joins the higher consciousness above. Energies are of all kinds and the snakes can also symbolise the evil powers of the unregenerate vital nature - but here it is not that.

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The Lotus is the symbol of the opening of the centres to the Light. The Swan is the Indian symbol of the individual soul, the central being, the divine part which is turned towards the Divine, descending from there and ascending to it.

The two serpents interlaced are the two chanels in the spine, through which the Shakti moves upward and downward.

The serpent with the six hoods is the Kundalini Shakti, the divine power asleep in the lowest physical centre which, awakened in the yoga, ascends in light through the opening centres to meet the Divine in the highest centre and so connect the manifest and the unmanifested, joining spirit and Matter.

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1. Narayana is usually taken as a name of Vishnu -  to the Vaishnavas He is the Supreme as Shiva is to the Shaivas. Both are cosmic Personalities of the Divine and both like Brahma have their original place in the overmind, although they take different forms to the human consciousness in the mental, vital and subtle physical planes.

2. Lakshmi is usually golden, not white. Saraswati is white.

3. The snake is simply a symbol of Energy or Power.

Narayana in your vision is clearly Vishnu as is shown by the presence of Lakshmi and the single many-hooded snake.

4. Vishnu or Narayana in this image which is a normal Puranic image is the Lord of the waters of Space and Time ~ the Preserver of the principle of the Universe which he maintains as a seed in himself even in intervals between one creation and another. Out of that seed on his navel (thc navel is the central seat of the Vital, the Life Principle) Brahma the creator arises in the Lotus (cosmic consciousness) which grows from it when Vishnu awakens from the intra-cyclic sleep. The snake Ananta is the Energy of the cosmic manifestation of the Infinite in Space­ Time.

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The serpent Ananta is the infinite energy in infinite Time-Space which supports the universe.

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About the snake you saw in your meditation - serpents indicate always energies of Nature and very often bad energies of the vital plane; but they can also indicate luminous or divine energies like the snake of Vishnu. The one you saw was evidently of this latter type - a luminous divine energy and therefore there was no cause for alarm, it was a good sign.

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A lotus flower indicates the open consciousness.

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The red lotus is the presence of the Divine on earth; the sun is the Divine Truth. It indicates the Divine manifestation on earth raising earth consciousness towards the Truth.

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The white lotus is the symbol of the Mother's consciousness, - it does not indicate any part of the individual consciousness.

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The opening of the lotuses in your experience means, I suppose, the opening of the true vital and physical consciousness in which the' spiritual being (the Swan) can manifest with all the consequences of that opening.

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The Swan is a symbol of the soul on the higher plane.

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The swan is the liberated soul, the lotus is either the conscious­ness reddening to the colour of Divine Love or else the symbol of the Divine Presence on earth.

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The Hansa is the symbol of the being - it regains its original purity as it rises until it becomes luminous in the Highest Truth.

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The duck is the symbol of the soul; silvery colour, the spiritual consciousness; golden wings, the power of the Divine Truth.

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The duck is usually a symbol of the soul or inner being­ perhaps it was the four beings - mental, psychic, vital and physical that you saw.

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Both [the goose and the swan] are symbols of the beings in a man - but the goose or ordinary Hansa usually refers to the manomaya purU$a.

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The bird is a symbol of the individual soul.

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The bird is usually a symbol of some soul power when it is not the soul itself - here it is a power (awakened in the soul) of the whitish blue light - Sri Aurobindo's light.

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Birds often indicate either mind-powers or soul-powers.

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The dove signifies peace. The colours indicate the vital - green would be self-giving in the vital, blue the higher consciousness in the vital. So it must be peace casting its influence from above on the vital.

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The white pigeon must be peace.

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The peacock is the bird of victory.

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A peacock is the sym