LETTERS ON YOGA
Volume 2. Part Three
2. Visions and Symbols
II III IV V VI VII
All visions have a significance of one kind or another. This power of vision is very important for the yoga and should not be rejected although it is not the most important thing – for the most important thing is the change of the consciousness. All other powers like this of vision should be developed without attachment as parts and aids of the yoga.
Visions are not indispensable – they are a help, that is all, when they are of the right kind.
Visions and voices have their place when they are the genuine visions and the true voices. Naturally, they are not the realisations but only a step on the way and one has not to get shut up in them or take all as of value.
The visions you describe are those which come in the earliest stages of sadhana. At this stage most of the things seen are formations of the mental plane and it is not always possible to put on them a precise significance, for they depend on the individual mind of the sadhak. At a later stage the power of vision becomes important for the sadhana, but at first one has to go on without attaching excessive importance to the details – until the consciousness develops more. The opening of the consciousness to the Divine Light and Truth and Presence is always the one important thing in the yoga.
The frequent seeing of lights such as those he writes of in his letter is usually a sign that the seer is not limited by his outward surface or waking consciousness but has a latent capacity (which can be perfected by training and practice) for entering into the experiences of the inner consciousness of which most people are unaware but which opens by the practice of yoga. By this opening one becomes aware of subtle planes of experience and worlds of existence other than the material. For the spiritual life a still further opening is required into an inmost consciousness by which one becomes aware of the Self and Spirit, the Eternal and the Divine.
Visions do not come from the spiritual plane – they come from the subtle physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic or from the planes above the Mind. What comes from the spiritual plane are experiences of the Divine, e.g. the experience of self everywhere, of the Divine in all, etc.
Visions and experiences (especially experiences) are all right; but you cannot expect every vision to translate itself in a corresponding physical fact. Some do, the majority don't, others belong to the supraphysical entirely and indicate realities, possibilities or tendencies that have their seat there. How far these will influence the life or realise themselves in it or whether they will do so at all depends upon the nature of the vision, the power in it, sometimes on the will or the formative power of the seer.
People value visions for one thing because they are one key (there are others) to contact with the other worlds or with the inner worlds and all that is there and these are regions of immense riches which far surpass the physical plane as it is at present. One enters into a larger freer self and a larger more plastic world; of course individual visions only give a contact, not an actual entrance, but the power of vision accompanied with the power of other subtle senses (hearing, touch, etc.) as it expands does give this entrance. These things have not the effect of a mere imagination (as a poet's or artist's, though that can be strong enough) but if fully followed out bring a constant growth of the being and the consciousness and its richness of experience and its scope.
People also value the power of vision for a greater reason than that: it can give a first contact with the Divine in his forms and powers; it can be the opening of a communion with the Divine, of the hearing of the Voice that guides, of the Presence as well as the Image in the heart, of many other things that bring what man seeks through religion or yoga.
Further, vision is of value because it is often a first key to inner planes of one's own being and one's own consciousness as distinguished from worlds or planes of the cosmic consciousness. Yoga-experience often begins with some opening of the third eye in the forehead (the centre of vision in the brows) or with some kind of beginning and extension of subtle seeing which may seem unimportant at first but is the vestibule to deeper experience. Even when it is not that, – for one can go to experience direct, – it can come in afterwards as a powerful aid to experience; it can be full of indications which help to self-knowledge or knowledge of things or knowledge of people; it can be veridical and lead to prevision, premonition and other openings of less importance but very useful to a yogi. In short, vision is a great instrument though not absolutely indispensable.
But, as I have suggested, there are visions and visions, just as there are dreams and dreams, and one has to develop discrimination and a sense of values and things and know how to understand and make use of these powers. But that is too big and intricate a matter to be pursued now.
He made a mistake when he stopped the visions that were coming. Vision and hallucination are not the same thing. The inner vision is an open door on higher planes of consciousness beyond the physical mind which gives room for a wider truth and experience to enter and act upon the mind. It is not the only or the most important door, but it is one which comes readiest to very many if not most and can be a very powerful help. It does not come as easily to intellectuals as it does to men with a strong life-power or the emotional and the imaginative. It is true that the field of vision, like every other field of activity of the human mind, is a mixed world and there is in it not only truth but much half-truth and error. It is also true that for the rash and unwary to enter into it may bring confusion and misleading inspirations and false voices, and it is safer to have some sure guidance from those who know and have spiritual and psychic experience. One must look at this field calmly and with discrimination, but to shut the gates and reject this or other supraphysical experiences is to limit oneself and arrest the inner development.
You take a very utilitarian view of spiritual things. Whatever develops in the sadhana, provided it is genuine, has its place in the total experience and knowledge. A knowledge of the occult worlds and occult forces and phenomena has its place also. Visions and voices are only a small part of that vast realm of occult experience. As for utility, for one who has intelligence and discrimination, visions etc. have many uses – but very little use for those who have no discrimination or understanding.
I do not know what you mean by practical sadhana. If one develops the occult faculty and the occult experience and knowledge, these things can be of great use, therefore practical. In themselves they are a part of opening of the inner consciousness and also help to open it further – though they are not indispensable for that.
What do you mean by progress? The Mother spent many years entering the occult worlds and learning all that was to be learnt there. All that time she was making no progress? She sees things always when she goes into trance. Her capacity is a thing of no value? Because a great number of people don't know how to use their faculties or misuse them or give them excessive value or nourish their ego by them, does it follow that the faculties themselves have no yogic use or value?
Even by itself it [the development of the occult faculty] is a progress in the development of the consciousness though it may not carry with it any spiritualisation of the nature.
People who have the occult faculty always tend to give too large a place to it.
He [Ramana Maharshi] discouraged his disciples [from having any dealings with the occult faculty] because his aim was the realisation of the inner Self and the intuition – in other words the fullness of the spiritual Mind – visions and voices belong to the inner occult sense, therefore he did not want them to lay stress on it. I also discourage some from having any dealing with visions and voices because I see that they are being misled by false visions and false voices. That does not mean that visions and voices have no value.
Visions come from all planes and are of all kinds and different values. Some are of very great value and importance, others are a play of the mind or vital and are good only for their own special purpose, others are formations of the mind and vital plane some of which may have truth, while others are false and misleading, or they may be a sort of artistry of that plane. They can have considerable importance in the development of the first yogic consciousness, that of the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical or for an occult understanding of the universe. Visions which are real can help the spiritual progress, I mean, those which show us inner realities: one can, for instance, meet Krishna, speak with him and hear his voice in an inner "real" vision, quite as real as anything on the outer plane. Merely seeing his image is not the same thing, any more than seeing his picture on the wall is the same thing as meeting him in person. But the picture on the wall need not be useless for the spiritual life. All one can say is that one must not attach oneself too much to this gift and what it shows us, but neither is it necessary to belittle it. It has its value and sometimes a considerable spiritual utility. But, naturally, it is not supreme – the supreme thing is the realisation, the contact, the union with the Divine, bhakti, change of nature, etc.
These lights and visions are not hallucinations. They indicate an opening of the inner vision whose centre is in the forehead between the eyebrows. Lights are very often the first thing seen. Lights indicate the action or movement of subtle forces belonging to the different planes of being – the nature of the force depending on the colour and shade of the light. The sun is the symbol and power of the inner or higher Truth; to see it in meditation is a good sign. The sea is also often symbolic, indicating usually the vital nature, sometimes the expanse of consciousness in movement. The opening of vision must be allowed to develop, but too much importance need not be given to the individual visions unless or until they become evidently symbolic or significant or shed light on things in the sadhana.
Visions and voices are not meant for creating faith, they are effective only if one has faith already.
No, it was neither optical illusion nor hallucination nor coincidence nor auto-suggestion nor any of the other ponderous and vacant polysyllables by which physical science tries to explain away or rather avoid explaining the scientifically inexplicable. In these matters the scientist is always doing what he is always blaming the layman for doing when the latter lays down the law on things about which he is profoundly ignorant without investigation or experiment, without ascertained knowledge – simply by evolving a theory or a priori idea out of his own mind and plastering it as a label on the unexplained phenomena.
There is, as I have told you, a whole range or many inexhaustible ranges of sensory phenomena other than the outward physical which one can become conscious of, see, hear, feel, smell, touch, mentally contact – to use the new established Americanism – either in trance or sleep or an inward state miscalled sleep or simply and easily in the waking state. This faculty of sensing supraphysical things internally or externalising them, so to speak, so that they become visible, audible, sensible to the outward eye, ear, even touch, just as are gross physical objects, this power or gift is not a freak or an abnormality; it is a universal faculty present in all human beings, but latent in most, in some rarely or intermittently active, occurring as if by accident in others, frequent or normally active in a few. But just as anyone can, with some training, learn science and do things which would have seemed miracles to his forefathers, so almost anyone, if he wants, can with a little concentration and training develop the faculty of supraphysical vision. When one starts yoga, this power is often, though not invariably – for some find it difficult – one of the first to come out from its latent condition and manifest itself, most often without any effort, intention or previous knowledge on the part of the sadhak. It comes more easily with the eyes shut than with the eyes open, but it does come in both ways. The first sign of its opening in the externalised way is very often that seeing of "sparkles" or small luminous dots, shapes, etc., which was your first introduction to the matter; a second is, often enough, most easily, round luminous objects like a star; seeing of colours is a third initial experience – but they do not always come in that order. The yogis in India very often in order to develop the power use the method of trāṭak, concentrating the vision on a single point or object – preferably a luminous object. Your looking at the star was precisely an exercise in trāṭak and had the effect which any yogi in India would have told you is normal. For all this is not fancy or delusion, it is part of an occult science which has been practised throughout the historic and prehistoric ages in all countries and it has always been known to be not merely auto-suggestive or hallucinatory in its results, but, if one can get the key, veridical and verifiable. Your scepticism may be natural in a "modern" man plunging into these things of the past, present and future – natural but not justifiable, because very obviously inadequate to the facts observed; but once you have seen, the first thing you should do is to throw all this vapid pseudo-science behind you, this vain attempt to stick physical explanations on supraphysical things, and take the only rational course. Develop the power, get more and more experience, develop the consciousness by which these things come; as the consciousness develops, you will begin to understand and get the intuition of the significance. Or if you want their science too, then learn and apply the occult science which can alone deal with supraphysical phenomena. As for what showed itself to you, it was not mere curious phenomena, not even merely symbolic colour, but things that have a considerable importance.
Develop this power of inner sense and all that it brings you. These first seeings are only an outer fringe – behind lie whole worlds of experience which fill what seems to the natural man the gap (your Russell's inner void) between the earth-consciousness and the Eternal and Infinite.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter see here
There is a physical aspect of things and there is an occult supraphysical aspect – one need not get in the way of the other. All physical things are the expression of the supraphysical. The existence of a body with physical instruments and processes does not, as the 19th century wrongly imagined, disprove the existence of a soul which uses the body even if it is also conditioned by it. Laws of Nature do not disprove the existence of God. The fact of a material world to which our instruments are accorded does not disprove the existence of less material worlds which certain subtler instruments can show to us.
26.03.1937 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter see here
Well, sir, the Presence not finding an entrance into your waking mind easy, tried to take advantage of half sleep to do it. (Half sleep is always a favourable condition for these things.) But your body consciousness, not being familiar with such spiritual penetrations, got into a stew — and as a stew is accompanied by heat and steam, so your body got hot and perspired.
Sir, is the Presence of a physical nature or a spiritual fact? And is the physical sense accustomed or able to see or feel spiritual things – a spiritual Presence, a non-material Form? To see the Brahman everywhere is not possible unless you develop the inner vision – to do that you have to concentrate. To see non-material forms is indeed possible for a few, because they have the gift by nature, but most can't do it without developing the subtle sight. It is absurd to expect the Divine to manifest his Presence without your taking any trouble to see it, you have to concentrate.
It simply means you have a subjective sense of Presence. But must a subjective sense of things be necessarily a vain imagination? If so, no yoga is possible. One has to take it as an axiom that subjective things can be as real as objective things. No doubt there may be and are such things as mental formations – but, to begin with, mental formations are or can be very powerful things, producing concrete results; secondly whether what one sees or hears is a mental formation or a real subjective object can only be determined when one has sufficient experience in these inward things.
Nirodbaran: Is this what you call going inward?
No, not quite — but it is evidently the result of some opening from within — for without that opening one cannot become aware of Presences or Forms that are supraphysical in their nature.
There is nothing to do but to go on concentrating and calling the Presence within and without you, the opening, the power to receive and let it come. The more the mind falls quiet during or as the result of concentration, the better (no other thought in or out) but no need to struggle for that, must come of itself by the concentration.
Subjective visions can be as real as objective sight – the only difference is that one is of real things in material space, while the others are of real things belonging to other planes down to the subtle physical; even symbolic visions are real in so far as they are symbols of realities. Even dreams can have a reality in the subtle domain. Visions are unreal only when these are merely imaginative mental formations, not representing anything that is true or was true or is going to be true.
This power of vision is sometimes inborn and habitual even without any effort of development, sometimes it wakes up of itself and becomes abundant or needs only a little practice to develop; it is not necessarily a sign of spiritual attainment, but usually when by practice of yoga one begins to go inside or live within, the power of subtle vision awakes to a greater or less extent; but this does not always happen easily, especially if one has been habituated to live much in the intellect or in an outward vital consciousness.
I suppose what you are thinking of is "darshan", the self-revelation of the Deity to the devotee; but that is different, it is an unveiling of his presence, temporary or permanent, and may come as a vision or may come as a close feeling of his presence which is more intimate than sight and a frequent or constant communication with him; that happens by deepening of the being into its inner self and growth of consciousness or by growth of the intensity of bhakti. When the crust of external consciousness is sufficiently broken by the pressure of increasing and engrossing bhakti, the contact comes.
The visions he has between the eyebrows are not imaginations – they could be so only if he thought them first and his thoughts took shape, but as they came independent of his thoughts, they are not visual imagination but vision. This faculty is a useful one in yoga and it can be allowed to develop; it should not be discouraged. I do not know what he means by not having śraddhā in them. What he sees now are probably only images of subtle (sūkṣma) scenes and objects; but, when developed, this can become a power of symbolic, representative or real vision, showing the truths of things or realities of this or other worlds or representations of the past, present or future.
If the concentration goes naturally to the centre between the eyebrows which is the centre of inner mind and its thought, will and vision, there is no harm in that.
There is no utility in his coming here now. He has first to go through the process of purification and preparation of the nature and at least an initial development of the positive yogic consciousness without which his coming here would be useless.
What was developed in you is a power of true inner vision – this will help you to enter through it into touch with the Divine; you have only to let it develop. Two other things have to develop – the feeling of the Divine Presence and power and inspiration behind your actions, and the inner contact with myself and the Mother. Aspire with faith and sincerity and these will come. I do not wish to give any more precise instructions until I see what happens in you during your stay here; for although the path is common to all, each man has his own way of following it.
When you see Light, that is vision; when you feel Light entering into you, that is experience; when Light settles in you and brings illumination and knowledge, that is a realisation. But ordinarily visions are also called experiences.
Usually the visions precede realisation, in a way they prepare it.
The vision of the higher planes or the idea of what they are can be had long before the transformation. If that were not possible, how could the transformation take place – the lower nature cannot change by itself, it changes by the growing vision, perception, descent of the higher consciousness belonging to the higher planes? It is through aspiration, through an increasing opening that these visions and perceptions begin to come – the realisation comes afterwards.
Yes, it [the higher consciousness] can come down into the mind plane bringing peace, wideness, the cosmic consciousness, the realisation of the Divine, the sense of the cosmic forces and other things – without any breaking of the veil through vision. Ordinarily, however, with most people the inner vision comes first.
I said the realisation of the Divine in the mind. If there is to be the total realisation, the breaking of the veil is indispensable.
Sometimes a vision accompanies an experience and is as it were a visual rendering of it or accompaniment to it, but the experience itself is a separate thing.
That does not follow. By going deep a person may see visions, another may fall in deeper consciousness and see no vision and so on. The result varies with the nature.
Inner vision is vivid like actual sight, always precise and contains a truth in it. In mental vision the images are invented by the mind and are partly true, partly a play of possibilities. Or a mental vision like the vital may be only a suggestion, – that is a formation of some possibility on the mental or vital plane which presents itself to the sadhak in the hope of being accepted and helped to realise itself.
The mental visions are meant to bring in the mind the influence of the things they represent.
Cosmic vision is the seeing of the universal movements – it has nothing to do with the psychic necessarily. It can be in the universal mind, the universal vital, the universal physical or anywhere.
What do you mean here by psychic vision? Inner vision means the vision with the inner seeing as opposed to outer vision, the external sight with the surface mind in the surface eyes. Psychic, in the language of this yoga, is confined to the soul, the psychic being – it is not as in the ordinary language in which if you see a ghost it is called a "psychic vision"; we speak of the inner vision or the subtle sight – not the psychic vision.
Vision in trance is vision no less than vision in the waking state. It is only the condition of the recipient consciousness that varies – in one the waking consciousness shares in the vision, in the other it is excluded for the sake of greater facility and range in the inner experience. But in both it is the inner vision that sees.
The inner vision can see objects, but it can see instead the vibration of the forces which act through the object.
Visions are of all kinds – some are merely suggestions of what wants to be or is trying to be, some indicate some approach of the thing or movement towards it, some indicate that the thing is being done.
Nothing has to be done to develop the images seen in the vision. They develop of themselves by the growing practice of seeing, – what was faint becomes clear, what was incomplete becomes complete. One cannot say in a general way that they are real or unreal. Some are formations of the mind, some are images that come to the sight of themselves, some are images of real things that show themselves directly to the sight – others are true pictures, not merely images.
This realm (whose centre is between the eyebrows) is the realm of inner thought, will, vision – the motor-car indicates a rapid progress in this part of the consciousness. The motor-car is a symbolic image, these images do not refer to anything physical.
These things take place in the inner mind or inner vital and usually there is a truth behind them, but the form in which they come into the mind may be imperfect – i.e. the meaning may be something not perfectly revealed in the words.
These are not mental images. There is an inner vision that opens when one does sadhana and all sorts of images rise before it or pass. Their coming does not depend upon your thought or will; it is real and automatic. Just as your physical eyes see things in the physical world, so the inner eyes see things and images that belong to the other worlds and subtle images of things of this physical world also.
Things inside can be seen as distinctly as outward things whether in an image by the subtle vision or in their essence by a still more subtle and powerful way of seeing; but all these things have to develop in order to get their full power and intensity.
Subtle images can be images of all things in all worlds.
Everything not physical is seen by an inner vision.
The seeing of colours is the beginning of inner vision, what is called sūkṣmadṛṣṭi. Afterwards this vision opens and one begins to see figures and scenes and people. It is good that the seeing began with an image of the Mother.
When the inner vision opens, there can come before it all that ever was or is now in the world, even it can open to things that will be hereafter – so there is nothing impossible in seeing thus the figures and the things of the past.
When one tries to meditate, the first obstacle in the beginning is sleep. When you get over this obstacle, there comes a condition in which, with the eyes closed, you begin to see things, people, scenes of all kinds. This is not a bad thing, it is a good sign and means that you are making progress in the yoga. There is, besides the outer physical sight which sees external objects, an inner sight in us which can see things yet unseen and unknown, things at a distance, things belonging to another place or time or to other worlds; it is the inner sight which is opening in you. It is the working of the Mother's force which is opening it in you, and you should not try to stop it. Remember the Mother always, call on her and aspire to feel her presence and her power working in you; but you do not need, for that, to reject this or other developments that may come in you by her working hereafter. It is only desire, egoism, restlessness and other wrong movements that have to be rejected.
This gazing on a flame or a bright spot is the traditional means used by yogis for concentration or for awakening of the inner consciousness and vision. You seem to have gone by the gazing into a kind of surface (not deep) trance, which is indeed one of its first results, and begun to see things probably on the vital plane. I do not know what were the "dreadful objects" you saw but that dreadfulness is the character of many things first seen on that plane, especially when crossing its threshold by such means. You should not employ these means, I think, for they are quite unnecessary and besides, they may lead to a passive concentration in which one is open to all sorts of things and cannot choose the right ones.
I did not quite understand from your letter what is the nature of these sights and objects that pass like a cinema film before you. If they are things seen by the inner vision, then there is no need to drive them away – one has only to let them pass. When one does sadhana an inner mind which is within us awakes and sees by an inner vision images of all things in this world and other worlds – this power of vision has its use, though one has not to be attached to it; one can let them pass with a quiet mind, neither fixing on them nor driving them away. It is the thoughts of the outer mind that have to be refused, the suggestions and ideas that end by disturbing the sadhana. There are also a number of thoughts of all kinds that have no interest, but which the mind was accustomed to allow to come as a habit, mechanically, – these sometimes come up when one tries to be quiet. They must be allowed to pass away without attending to them until they run down and the mind becomes still; to struggle with them and try to stop them is no use, there must be only a quiet rejection. On the other hand if thoughts come up from within, from the psychic, thoughts of the Mother, of divine love and joy, perceptions of truth etc., these of course must be permitted, as they help to make the psychic active.
Dreams or visions on the vital plane are usually either:
(1) symbolic vital visions;
(2) actual occurrences on the vital plane;
(3) formations of the vital mind, either of the dreamer or of someone else with whom he contacts in sleep or of powers or beings of that plane. No great reliance can be put on this kind of experience, even the first having only a relative or suggestive value, while the second and third are often quite misleading.
These are visions of the vital world and the vital planes and one sees hundreds of them there.... All the parts of the consciousness are like fields into which forces from the same planes of consciousness in the universal Nature are constantly entering or passing. The best thing is to observe without getting affected in either way and without attaching too much importance – for these are minor experiences and one's own concentration must call the major ones.
As you were concentrating your attention on the electric light, it may have been the god of electricity you saw, Vaidyuta Agni. There is no reason why he should have many faces – the many-headed or many-armed figures belong usually to the vital plane – and it may not have been in his vital form that he was manifesting. As for the colours, colours are symbols of forces and Agni need not be pure red – the principle of Fire can manifest all the colours and the pure white fire is that which contains in itself all the colours.
The gods in the overmental plane have not many heads and arms – this is a vital symbolism, it is not necessary in other planes. This figure may have belonged to the subtle physical plane.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
The world you see is in some subtle physical plane where men see the gods according to their own idea and images of them.
It is the vital plane – probably the vital physical. It is mostly there that the beings of the vital world appear with animal heads or features. A human figure with a dog's face means a very coarse and material sexual energy. Of course, all such energies can be transformed and cease to be sexual – turned into material strength of some kind, just as the seminal force can be turned by brahmacarya into ojas.
It depends on the nature of the symbolic vision whether it is merely representative, presenting to the inner vision and nature (even though the outer mind has not the understanding, the inner can receive its effect) the thing symbolised in its figure or whether it is dynamic. The Sun symbol, for instance, is usually dynamic. Again, among the dynamic symbols some may bring simply the influence of the thing symbolised, some indicate what is being done but not yet finished, some a formative experience that visits the consciousness, some a prophecy of something that may or will or is soon about to happen. There are others that are not merely symbols but present actualities seen by the vision in a symbolic figure.
When the colours begin to take definite shapes in the visions, it is a sign of some dynamic work of formation in the consciousness: a square, for instance, means that some kind of creation is in process in some field of the being; the square indicates that the creation is to be complete in itself; while the rectangle indicates something partial and preliminary. The waves of colour mean a dynamic rush of forces and the star in such a context indicates the promise of the new being that is to be formed. The blue colour must here be the Krishna light, so it is a creation under the stress of Krishna consciousness. All these are symbols of what is going on in the inner being, in the consciousness behind and the results well up from time to time in the external or surface consciousness in such feeling as the awareness of a softening and opening which you had, devotion, joy, peace, Ananda, etc. When the opening is complete, there is likely to be a more direct consciousness of the working that is going on behind, till it is no longer behind but in the front of the nature.
When you see a square, that is a symbol of complete creation; when you see a buffalo rushing upon you and missing and feel you have escaped a great danger, that is a transcription. Something actually happened of which the buffalo's ineffectual rush was your mind's transcription – the rush of some hostile force represented by the buffalo.
All that can be seen with closed eyes can be seen with open eyes also; it is sufficient that the inner sight should extend to the subtle physical consciousness for that to happen.
1. The vision was seen through the physical eyes but by the subtle physical consciousness; in other words, there was an imposition of one consciousness upon another. After a certain stage of development, this capacity of living in the ordinary physical consciousness and yet having superadded to it another and more subtle sense, vision, experience becomes quite normal. A little concentration is enough to bring it; or, even, it happens automatically without any concentration.
As the flower was a subtle physical object, not entirely material in the ordinary sense of the word (though quite substantial and material in its own plane, not an illusion), a camera would not be able to detect it – except in the case of one of those abnormal interventions by which a subtle form has been thrown upon the material plate.
It could be sensed in a dark room, though not so easily, and it would not then have so vivid an appearance – unless you are able to bring out something of the light of the subtle physical plane to surround it and give it its natural medium.
If seen with the eyes shut, it would be no longer a subtle physical form, but an object or formation of the vital, mental or other plane – unless, indeed, the inner consciousness had progressed so far as to be able to project itself into the physical planes; but this is a rare and, in most cases, a late development.
2. It is not, usually, the object that vanishes; it is the consciousness that changes. Owing to lack of sustained capacity or lack of training, one is not able to keep the subtle physical vision which is what was really seeing the object. This subtle physical vision comes easiest in the moment between light sleep and waking – either when one just comes out of the sleep or when one is just going into it. But one can train oneself to have it when one is quite wide awake.
At first when one begins to see, it is quite usual for the more ill-defined and imprecise figures to last longer while those which are successful, complete, precise in detail and outline are apt to be quite momentary and disappear in an instant. It is only when the subtle vision is well developed that the precise and full seeing lasts for a long time. This results from the difficulty of keeping what is still an abnormal consciousness and also, in this case, from the difficulty of keeping the two momentarily superimposed consciousnesses together.
3. There are all kinds in the experiences of each plane – symbolic forms, figures of suggestion, thought-figures, desire-formations or will-formations, constructions of all kinds, things real and lasting in the plane to which they belong and things fictitious and misleading. The haphazardness belongs to the consciousness that sees with its limited and imperfect way of cognizing the other worlds, not to the phenomena themselves. Each plane is a world or a conglomeration or series of worlds, each organized in its own way, but organized, not haphazard; only, of course, the subtler planes are more plastic and less rigid in their organisation than the material plane.
The power of occult seeing is there in everyone, mostly latent, often near the surface sometimes but much more rarely already on the surface. If one practises trāṭak, it is pretty certain to come out sooner or later, – though some have a difficulty and with them it takes time; those in whom it comes out at once have had all the time this power of occult vision near the surface and it emerges at the first direct pressure.
The rays which you saw the trees giving out are there always, only they are veiled to the ordinary material vision. I said the blue and gold together indicated the combined presence of Krishna and Durga-Mahakali; but gold and yellow have different significances. Yellow in the indication of forces signifies the thinking mind, buddhi, and the pink (modified here into a light vermilion) is a psychic colour; the combination probably meant the psychic in the mental.
In interpreting these phenomena you must remember that all depends on the order of things which the colours indicate in any particular case. There is an order of significances in which they indicate various psychological dynamisms, e.g., faith, love, protection, etc. There is another order of significances in which they indicate the aura or the activity of divine beings, Krishna, Mahakali, Radha or else of other superhuman beings; there is another in which they indicate the aura around objects or living persons – and that does not exhaust the list of possibilities. A certain knowledge, experiences, growing intuition are necessary to perceive in each case the true significance. Observation and exact description are also very necessary; for sometimes people say, for instance, yellow when they mean gold or vice versa; there are besides different possible meanings for different shades of the same colour. Again, if you see colour near or round a person or by looking at him or her, it does not necessarily indicate that person's aura; it may be something else near him or around him. In some cases it may have nothing to do with the person or object you look at, which may serve merely the purpose of a background or a point of concentration – as when you see colours on a wall or by looking at a bright object.
The seeing of the body (at least one's own) in its internal parts is a yogic power developed by the Raja and Hathayogins – I suppose it could be extended to the body of others. There is also the sense of subtle smells and I have noticed that sometimes one smell persists.
09.1934 ▪ Prithwi Singh ▪ Full text of the letter
The sounds of bells and the seeing of lights and colours are signs of the opening of the inner consciousness which brings with it an opening also to sights and sounds of other planes than the physical. Some of these things like the sound of bells, crickets, etc. seem even to help the opening. The Upanishad speaks of them as brahmavyaktikarāṇi yoge.
The lights represent forces – or sometimes a formed light like that you saw may be the light of a being of the supraphysical planes.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter see here
The sounds or voices you hear are like the sights (persons, objects) you see. As there is an inner sight other than the physical, so there is an inner hearing other than that of the external ear, and it can listen to voices and sounds and words of other worlds, other times and places, or those which come from supraphysical beings. But here you must be careful. If conflicting voices try to tell you what to do or not to do, you should not listen to them or reply. It is only myself and the Mother who can tell you what you should or should not do or guide or advise you.
When the inner senses open, or any of them, one sees or hears things belonging to the other planes automatically. What one sees or hears of the other planes depends on the development of the inner sense. It depends on what you hear whether these are the symbol sounds only which have a connection with the sadhana or simply other plane sounds of an ordinary character.
It depends on the nature of the sounds. Some have a connection [with sadhana], others are merely the sounds of the other planes.
They [subtle sounds connected with sadhana] are the signs of a working going on to prepare something – but as that is a general thing it cannot be said from the sounds themselves what the preparation is.
An inner voice is a voice only – it may give the direction, but not the force. A voice speaks, it does not act. There is a great difference between reading a book and receiving the inner direction.
It [subtle smells and tastes] is not an opening of occult knowledge and powers, but simply an opening of the inner consciousness.
The [subtle] smell [coming from a person] is due to something in the person's vital-physical. That something may not be prominent at all times. When it is, the smell is there.
... the something may be of different kinds in different cases and one cannot give a rule that it is this or it is that. What has the dirtiest smell is sex.
A symbol, as I understand it, is the form on one plane that represents a truth of another. For instance, a flag is the symbol of a nation.... But generally all forms are symbols. This body of ours is a symbol of our real being and everything is a symbol of some higher reality. There are, however, different kinds of symbols:
1. Conventional symbols, such as the Vedic Rishis formed with objects taken from their surroundings. The cow stood for light because the same word "go" meant both ray and cow, and because the cow was their most precious possession which maintained their life and was constantly in danger of being robbed and concealed. But once created, such a symbol becomes alive. The Rishis vitalised it and it became a part of their realisation. It appeared in their visions as an image of spiritual light. The horse also was one of their favourite symbols, and a more easily adaptable one, since its force and energy were quite evident.
2. What we might call Life-symbols, such as are not artificially chosen or mentally interpreted in a conscious deliberate way, but derive naturally from our day-to-day life and grow out of the surroundings which condition our normal path of living. To the ancients the mountain was a symbol of the path of yoga, level above level, peak upon peak. A journey, involving the crossing of rivers and the facing of lurking enemies, both animal and human, conveyed a similar idea. Nowadays I dare say we would liken yoga to a motor-ride or a railway-trip.
3. Symbols that have an inherent appositeness and power of their own. Akasha or etheric space is a symbol of the infinite all-pervading eternal Brahman. In any nationality it would convey the same meaning. Also, the Sun stands universally for the supramental Light, the divine Gnosis.
4. Mental symbols, instances of which are numbers or alphabets. Once they are accepted, they too become active and may be useful. Thus geometrical figures have been variously interpreted. In my experience the square symbolises the supermind. I cannot say how it came to do so. Somebody or some force may have built it before it came to my mind. Of the triangle, too, there are different explanations. In one position it can symbolise the three lower planes, in another the symbol is of the three higher ones: so both can be combined together in a single sign. The ancients liked to indulge in similar speculations concerning numbers, but their systems were mostly mental. It is no doubt true that supramental realities exist which we translate into mental formulas such as Karma, Psychic evolution, etc. But they are, so to speak, infinite realities which cannot be limited by these symbolic forms, though they may be somewhat expressed by them; they might be expressed as well by other symbols, and the same symbol may also express many different ideas.
In one form or another all these ideas have existed in the past. The significance of numbers was one of the chief elements in the teaching of Pythagoras 5 centuries before Christ.
Fire, lights, sun, moon are usual symbols and seen by most in sadhana. They indicate movement or action of inner forces. The Sun means the inner truth.
One sometimes sees the Light in masses, sometimes in forms – and the most common forms are sun, moon, star or fire.
The light, colours, flowers are always seen when there is a working of the forces within at a certain stage of the sadhana. The light of course indicates an illumination of the consciousness, the colour the play of forces mental (yellow), physical and vital, but forces making for enlightenment of these parts of the being. The flowers usually indicate a psychic activity.
It is not necessary to have the mind quiet in order to see the lights – that depends only on the opening of the subtle vision in the centre which is in the forehead between the eyebrows. Many people get that as soon as they start sadhana. It can even be developed by effort and concentration without sadhana by some who have it to a small extent as an inborn faculty. The quietude of the mind is needed for other things, such as the feeling of the presence of the Mother etc.
A concentrated mind is not always necessary for seeing the light – if there is an opening anywhere in the consciousness, that is sufficient.
The light outside means a touch or influence of the force indicated by the light (golden is Truth-light, blue some spiritual force from the upper plane) while the light within means that it has penetrated or is established or frequently active in the nature itself. Light above means a force descending upon the mind, light around a general enveloping influence.
A glow means a subdued but rich light or else a sort of warm exhilaration of a luminous kind.
The Light is often seen in front before the centre of inner vision, mind and will which is between the eyebrows in the forehead. The sun means the formed Light of the Divine Truth, the starry light is the same Light acting as a suffused Power on the ordinary consciousness which is seen as the night of Ignorance. The call brought the Light streaming down into the inner being.
The sun is the symbol of the concentrated light of Truth.
The Sun is the Truth from above, in the last resort the supramental Truth.
Supermind is not mind at all, it is something different. The Sun indicates Truth directly perceived in whatever plane it may be. It is the symbol of supermind but the Truth may come down into the other planes and then that is no longer supramental but modified to the substance of the other planes – still it is the direct Light of Truth.
There are different suns in the different planes each with its own colour. But there are also suns of a similar colour above, only more bright, from which these minor suns derive their light and power.
The red sun is a symbol of the true, illumined physical consciousness which is to replace the obscure and ignorant physical consciousness in which men now live. Red is the colour of the physical; the red diamond is the Mother's consciousness in the physical.
The moon indicates spirituality, sometimes also spiritual Ananda.
The moon as a symbol in vision signifies usually spirituality in the mind or, simply, the spiritual consciousness. It can also indicate the flow of spiritual Ananda (nectar is in the moon according to the old tradition).
It [the spiritual Mind symbolised by the moon] is Mind in contact with truths of the spirit and reflecting them. The Sun is the light of the Truth, the Moon only reflects the light of the Truth – that is the difference.
Golden light means the light of the higher Truth – the moon is the symbol of spirituality. A golden moon means a power of spirituality full of the light of higher Truth.
The star signifies a creation or formation or the promise or power of a creation or formation.
The star is always a promise of the Light to come; the star changes into a sun when there is the descent of the Light.
Stars indicate points of light in the ignorant mental consciousness.
Moon = spiritual light.
Sun = The higher Truth Light.
A well-formed illumined thought can be seen as a spark of light.
Sparks or movements of light indicate the play of forces in the consciousness or around it.
The fire indicates a dynamic action.
Colour and light are always close to each other – colour being more indicative, light more dynamic. Colour incandescent becomes light.
Gold indicates at its most intense something from the supramental, otherwise overmind truth or intuitive truth deriving ultimately from the supramental Truth-Consciousness.
As for the exact symbolism of colours, it is not always easy to define exactly, because it is not rigid and precise, but complex, the meaning varying with the field, the combinations, the character and shades of the colour, the play of forces. A certain kind of yellow, for instance, is supposed by many occultists to indicate the buddhi, the intellect, and it often has that sense, but occurring among a play of vital forces it could not always be so interpreted – that would be too rigid. Here all one can say is that the blue (the particular blue seen, not every blue) indicated the response to the Truth; the green – or this green – is very usually associated with Life and a generous emanation or action of forces – often of emotional life-force, and it is probably this that it would indicate here.
There are no separate colours of the beings. There is a characteristic colour of mind, yellow; of the psychic, pink or pale rose; of the vital, purple; but these are colours corresponding to the main forces of mind, psychic, vital – they are not the colours of the beings. Also other colours can play, e.g. in the vital, green and deep red as well as purple and there are other colours for the hostile vital forces.
The Lights one sees in concentration are the lights of various powers or forces and often lights that come down from the higher consciousness.
The violet light is that of the Divine Compassion (karuṇā – Grace) – the white light is the light of the Mother (the Divine Consciousness) in which all others are contained and from which they can be manifested.
Purple is the colour of vital power. "Red" depends on the character of the colour, for there are many reds – this may be the colour of the physical consciousness.
The four lights were the lights of the Truth, – white the purity and power of the divine Truth, green its active energy for work, blue the spiritual consciousness of the divine Truth, the gold its knowledge.
The arrow is the symbol of the force which goes to its aim.
Blue is the higher mind.
Bells heard are usually a sign of progress in sadhana, progress to come.
The snake form is a symbol of Energy and the white blue light may be that of the Mother's consciousness in the higher mind, or if it is not two separate colours but whitish blue then it is Sri Aurobindo's light. The light is a manifestation of Force, the nature of the force being indicated by the colour of the Light.
Blue is the normal colour of the spiritual planes; moonlight indicates the spiritual mind and its light.
The lights indicate the action of certain forces, usually indicated by the colour of the light. Whitish blue is known as Sri Aurobindo's light or sometimes Sri Krishna's light.
The meaning of blue light depends on the exact character of colour, its shade and nature. A whitish blue like moonlight is known as Krishna's light or Sri Aurobindo's light – light blue is often that of Illumined Mind – there is another deeper blue that is of the Higher Mind; another, near to purple, which is the light of a power in the vital.
The pale whitish blue light is "Sri Aurobindo's Light" – it is the blue light modified by the white light of the Mother.
The pale blue light is mine, the white light is the Mother's. The world you saw above the head was the plane of the Illumined Mind which is a level of consciousness much higher than the human intelligence. It is there that the Divine Light and Power come down to be transmitted to the human consciousness and from there they work and prepare the transformation of the human consciousness and even the physical nature.
If the blue lights were of different shades it might mean the overhead planes, overmind, Intuition, Illumined Mind, Higher Mind.
There are different Krishna lights – pale diamond blue, lavender blue, deep blue etc. It depends on the plane in which it manifests....
There is one blue that is the higher mind, a deeper blue belongs to the mind – Krishna's light in the mind....
All blue is not Krishna's light....
Diamond blue, Krishna's light in the overmind – lavender blue in intuitive mind.
Blue is also the Radha's colour.
White light indicates the divine consciousness.
They have always the same meaning. The white light is that of the pure conscious force from which all the rest come. The golden light is that of the Divine Truth on the higher planes.
White indicates a force of purity.
Diamonds may indicate the Mother's Light at its intensest, for that is diamond white light.
The Sunlight is the light of the Truth itself – whatever power of Truth it may be – while the other lights derive from the Truth.
The Sunlight is the direct light of the Truth; when it gets fused into the vital, it takes the mixed colour – here gold and green – just as in the physical it becomes golden red or in the mental golden yellow.
The golden light is the light of the Divine Truth which comes out from the supramental sunlight and modified according to the level it crosses, creates the ranges from overmind to higher Mind.
The golden light is that of the modified (overmentalised) supramental, i.e., the supramental Light passing through the overmind, Intuition, etc., and becoming the Light of Truth in each of these things. When it is golden red it means the same modified supramental-physical Light, – the Light of Divine Truth in the physical.
Golden Light always means the light of Truth – but the nature of the Truth varies according to the plane to which it belongs. Light is the light of Consciousness, Truth, Knowledge – the Sun is the concentration or source of the Light.
It is again the ascent into one of the higher planes of mind illumined with the light of the Divine Truth. Yellow is the light of mind growing brighter as one goes higher till it meets the golden light of the Divine Truth.
The spiritual Power is naturally more free on its own level than in the body. The golden colour indicates here Mahakali force which is the strongest for the working in the body.
It is not clear yet. Golden red is the colour of the supramental physical light – so this yellow red may indicate some plane of the overmind in which there is a nearer special connection with that. The golden red light has a strong transforming power.
Orange or red gold is supposed, by the way, to be the light of the supramental in the physical.
Orange is the true light manifested in the physical consciousness and being.
The deep red light is a light that comes down into the physical for its change. It is associated with the sunlight and the golden light.
The deep red is the light of the Power that descended before the 24th [November, 1933] for the transformation of the physical.
Deep red is the Divine Love – rosy is the psychic love.
It seems to be an opening of various powers and the peace, light and wideness of the spiritual consciousness. The red Purusha may be the Power of the true physical – red being the colour of the physical.
Orange is the colour of occult knowledge or occult experience.
Yellow is the thinking mind. The shades indicate different intensities of mental light.
The colour of the psychic light is according to what it manifests – e.g., psychic love is pink or rose, the psychic purity is white, etc.
Reddish pink rose = psychic love or surrender.
White rose = pure spiritual surrender.
The rosy light is that of love – so probably you entered the psychic worlds – or at least one of them.
As for the experiences described in the other letter, it seems to have been a passage through worlds of neutral peace which to the mind are a darkness and stand in the way to the full light.
The violet is the light of Divine Grace and Compassion.
"Violet" is the colour of benevolence or compassion, but also more vividly of the Divine Grace – represented in the vision as flowing from the heights of the spiritual consciousness down on the earth. The golden cup is I suppose the Truth Consciousness.
Violet is the colour of the light of Divine Compassion, as also of Krishna's Grace. It is also the radiance of Krishna's protection. Blue is his special and significant colour, the colour of his aura when he manifests – that is why he is called nīla kṛṣṇa. The adjective does not mean that he was blue or dark in his physical body.
Purple is the colour of the vital force – crimson is usually physical.
The crimson colour is the light of Love in the vital and physical.
Both [purple and crimson] are vital lights, but when seen above they represent the original forces of which the vital are the derivations.
Green light can signify various things according to the context – in the emotional vital it is the colour of a certain form of emotional generosity, in the vital proper an activity with vital abundance or vital generosity behind it – in the vital physical it signifies a force of health.
Yes. The green light is a vital force, a dynamic force of the emotional vital which has the power to purify, harmonise or cure.
Green is a vital energy of work and action.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The blue ocean is often a symbol of the spiritual consciousness in the higher Mind one and indivisible.
Dawn always means an opening of some kind – the coming of something that is not yet fully there.
The Night is the symbol of the Ignorance or Avidya in which men live just as Light is the symbol of Truth and Knowledge.
The mountain is the symbol of the embodied consciousness based upon earth but rising up towards the Divine.
The mountain always represents the ascending hill of existence with the Divine to be reached on the summits.
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.
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.
The river represents some movement of the consciousness.
Water is the symbol of a state of consciousness or a plane.
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.
Sometimes a part of the consciousness is seen in the image of a pond, lake or sea. The fish must be the vital mind.
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.
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.
The rainbow is the sign of peace and deliverance.
Clouds are symbols of obscurity.
Patala simply means the subconscient below the Earth – the Earth being the conscious physical plane.
The jungle must be some unregenerated part of the vital nature and the serpent a wrong force emerging out of it.
The tree is the symbol of subconscient vital.
A bird is a very frequent symbol of the soul, and the tree is the standing image of the universe – The Tree of Life.
The Aswattha usually symbolises the cosmic manifestation.
Flowers indicate a blossoming in the consciousness, sometimes with special reference to the psychic or the psychicised vital, mental and physical consciousness.
It is usually when the psychic is active that this seeing of flowers becomes abundant.
Red flowers would ordinarily indicate an opening of the consciousness either in the physical or some part of the vital according to the shade.
The [flower named] eternal smile means the self-existent joy and gladness of the Spirit.
In sadhana [the flower named] vital intimacy would ordinarily signify inner intimacy with the Divine on the vital plane.
The fruits are the results of the sadhana.
The cow in the occult symbolism indicates Light or the consciousness – white indicates the purified or spiritual consciousness – the white Light.
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.
The Cow usually means the Higher Consciousness. Perhaps the calf indicates the truth of the higher consciousness (white) in the physical (red).
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.
Milk is always the symbol of the flow of the higher consciousness.
The Horse is Power, usually Life-Power, but also it may mean Mind-Power or Tapas if it is dynamic and mobile.
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.
24.05.1937 ▪ Prithwi Singh
(Full text of the letter see here)
As for the two dreams you wrote about in your shorter letter of the 1st May, the one about the horse 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 near [?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.
The horse is a force acting for progress. The railway train at full speed means rapid progress.
The ass is the symbol of the inertia and obstruction in the body. 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.
The elephant is Strength – sometimes Strength illumined with Wisdom.
The elephant is strength – sometimes strength removing obstacles.
The lion means vital force, strength, courage – here full of the light, illumined by the spiritual consciousness.
The lion indicates force and courage, and strength and power. The lower vital is not lion-like.
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.
The bull is an emblem of strength and force. It is also in the Veda an image of the Gods, the male power in Nature. Again, the bull is vāhana of Shiva. It may be a dream or an experience of any of these symbols, but is probably the first here.
It [the boar] is rajasic strength and vehemence. Much, however, depends on the context, – these figures have also other meanings.
Yes, buffaloes indicate rash and obscure vital forces.
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.
The goat in vision is often symbolic of lust.
The dog is the symbol of devoted affection and obedience.
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.
The deer is perhaps a symbol of speed in the spiritual progress.
Hanuman = complete bhakti.
The deer = speed in the spiritual path.
Frog = modest usefulness.
The fish is always the moving vital mind making all sorts of formations.
[Flies:] Something small in the smaller vital.
Obviously it [white ants] must have been symbolic of small but destructive forces in the lower vital or physical.
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.
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.
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.
The opening of the hood indicates the victorious or successful activity of the Energy indicated by the snake.
The serpent with the hood over the head generally indicates future siddhi.
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.
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.
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.
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 channels 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.
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 (the 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.
The serpent Ananta is the infinite energy in infinite Time-Space which supports the universe.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
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.
A lotus flower indicates the open consciousness.
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.
The white lotus is the symbol of the Mother's consciousness, – it does not indicate any part of the individual consciousness.
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.
The Swan is a symbol of the soul on the higher plane.
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.
The Hansa is the symbol of the being – it regains its original purity as it rises until it becomes luminous in the Highest Truth.
The duck is the symbol of the soul; silvery colour, the spiritual consciousness; golden wings, the power of the Divine Truth.
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.
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 puruṣa.
The bird is a symbol of the individual soul.
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.
Birds often indicate either mind-powers or soul-powers.
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.
The white pigeon must be peace.
The peacock is the bird of victory.
A peacock is the symbol of spiritual victory.
The peacock signifies victory in yoga, the divine victory. The clear sky would indicate perhaps the mental part cleared of obscurities.
Krishna with Radha is the symbol of the Divine Love. The flute is the call of the Divine Love; the peacock is victory.
The crane is the messenger of happiness.
The ostrich may mean rapidity of movement.
A dream like this of a child – especially a new-born child – usually signifies the birth (or the awakening) of the soul or psychic being in the outward nature.
It is not a fact that the psychic being always appears as a baby – it is sometimes seen symbolically as a new-born baby; many see it as a child of varying ages – it is a very common and usual experience; it is not peculiar to emotional natures. It has several significances such as the new birth of the consciousness into the true psychic nature, the still young growth of this new being, the trust, reliance, dependence of the child on the Mother.
The child usually signifies the psychic being – new-born in the sense that it at last comes to the surface. The colour of the cloth would mean that it comes with health (internal and external or both) and the spiritual riches.
The child (when it does not mean the psychic being) is usually the symbol of something new-born in some part of the consciousness. Red indicates many different things according to the shade.
I suppose the golden child is the Truth-Soul which follows after the silver light of the spiritual. When it plunges into the black waters of the subconscient, it releases from it the spiritual light and the sevenfold streams of the Divine Energy and, clearing itself of the stains of the subconscient, it prepares its flight towards the supreme Divine (the Mother).
The flute is the symbol of a call – usually the spiritual call.
The flute is the call of the Divine.
The conch is the symbol of the spiritual call.
The conch is the call to realisation.
The conch is perhaps the proclamation of victory.
It [a pearl] may be a representation of the "bindu", which is a symbol of the infinite in the exceedingly small, the individual point which is yet the Universal.
The crown is the sign of fulfilment.
The crown indicates the higher consciousness in its static condition, the wheel its dynamic action. The red light is the Power sent down to change the physical.
The book indicates some kind of knowledge.
The ears signify usually the place of inspired knowledge or else of inspired expression – red and gold mean truth and power joined together.
The building is the symbol of a new creation.
The pyramid is usually a symbol of aspiration – reddish perhaps because it is in the physical.
The Sphinx is a symbol of the eternal quest that can only be answered by the secret knowledge.
The cross is the sign of the triple being, transcendent, universal and individual.
The cross indicates the triple Divine (transcendent, universal, individual); the shield means protection.
Yes, the circular movement and the Chakra are always signs of energy in action, generally creative action.
The [Sudarshan] Chakra symbolises the action of Sri Krishna's force.
A revolving disc means a force in action on the nature. The whitish blue light is known as Krishna's light, also as Sri Aurobindo's light. White is the Mother's. Perhaps here it is a combination.
The wheel is the sign of an action of Force (whatever force may be indicated by the nature of the symbol) and as it was surging upwards it must be the fire of aspiration rising from the vital (navel centre) to the Higher Consciousness above.
The bow is a symbol of the force sent out to reach its mark.
The incense stick is the symbol of self-consecration.
Tobacco is associated with tamas and incense-sticks with adoration.
The image of journeying always signifies a movement in life or a progress in sadhana.
A journey in a boat or other conveyance means always a movement in the yoga – often an advance or progress.
Journeying on a horse or in a conveyance, if symbolic, means a progress or a movement in life, work or sadhana.
A journey in carriage, train, motor car, steamer, boat, aeroplane etc. indicates a movement in the sadhana. The white horse may be the sattwic mind and the red horse the vital rajas giving energy and both combining to make a progress.
Aeroplane, steamer and train are always symbols of a rapid progress or forward movement.
The railway line is a symbol of rapid progress.
When you find yourself flying it is always the vital being in the subtle body in the vital world that is doing it.
The piece of flesh indicates something restless in the physical being which stands by its restlessness and excessive irritability in the way of the full flow of the Ananda. In the dreams this became active and was eliminated by the pressure of the psychic.
Yes. The robbers are as in the Veda vital beings who come to steal away the good condition or else to steal the gains of the sadhana.
These vital dreams are not interpretable unless there is an evident clue. Aunt or mother usually indicates the ordinary physical Nature, a closed room would be some part of the physical nature that was not open to the light, bats would mean forces of the night i.e. ignorant movements finding a lodging in the obscurity of the unenlightened nature.
Symbolically, if the dream is symbolic, the falling of teeth means the disappearance of old or fixed mental habits belonging to the physical mind.
The feeling of being dead in a vision or dream experience comes when something in the being is to be silenced into entire inactivity and ceases to exist as a part of the nature. It may be a very small part, but as during the process the consciousness is concentrated in it and identified with it for the purpose of the working, the feeling is that "I am dead". When you said "I am dead, now let me get up and go", it simply meant "The thing is done and the process is over. There is no need to identify myself with this part any longer." There is no indication in the experience as to what the thing was that passed through this experience.
It is the purification of the physical that is usually indicated in the symbol of burning.
The vision you saw was a symbol of the outward physical consciousness obscured by the ordinary movements (clouds), but with the spirituality (the moon) still spreading its light everywhere from behind the ordinary human ignorance. The dog indicates something in the physical (the part that is faithful, obedient etc.) waiting confidently for the Light to come.
The fire you felt was the fire of purification and the heat came because it was burning up some resistance, – after that is burnt out there was coolness and peace and quietude. The voices and sounds and impression of X being there indicate a confused activity of the occult sense in the vital which hears things other than the physical. When this kind of thing comes, there has to be a quiet rejection in the being and the thing will pass away. Some people get interested and have a lot of trouble because they get into the habit of hearing voices and seeing and feeling things which are only partly or sometimes true but mixed with much that is false and misleading. It is good that there was something in your vital being which rejected it.
The separate images are very usual symbols of the inner experience, but they have been combined together here in a rather difficult way. The fire of course is the psychic fire which wells up from the veiled psychic source. The bird is the soul and the flower is the rose of love and surrender. The moon is the symbol of spirituality. As the star is within it is described as piercing through the knots of the inner darkness and worsting the vital growths that are like clouds enwrapping it. The boat also is a usual symbol in the inner visions. The elephant is the spiritual strength that removes obstacles and the horse the force of tapasya that gallops to the summits of the spiritual realisation. The sun is the symbol of the higher Truth. The lotus is the symbol of the inner consciousness.
The dream is evidently an indication of the difficulty you are experiencing. The sea is the sea of the vital nature whose flood is pursuing you (desires are the sea water) on your road of sadhana. The Mother is there in your heart but sleeping – i.e. her power has not become conscious in your inner consciousness because she is surrounded by the thin curtain of skin (the obscurity of the physical nature). It is this (it is not thick any longer but still effective to veil her from you) which has to go so that she may awake. It is a matter of persistence in the will and the endeavour – the response from within, the awaking of the Mother in the heart will come.
It is probably a symbol of three stages or developments or planes of spiritualised life. A star means creation, the triangle a triple principle. The tree is life in a new creation. Green is the colour of the emotional vital, the moon governs a spiritualised emotional life; blue is the colour of the higher mind, the moon there governs a spiritualised higher mind life; the gold colour is that of the Divine Truth, whether intuitive or overmind – the moon here is the spiritualised Truth life. As the stambha is sphaṭika-coloured, the triangle may indicate Sachchidananda principle. The butterflies and birds are, of course, life-forces and soul forces, powers or beings. Probably it indicates three stages of transformation before the supramental can reign altogether or else three that will exist as the steps leading to the supramental.