The Northeast Monsoon has been pouring out its gifts at the Bay of Bengal — sometimes a bit too excessively. On this day as the rain gods seem to be taking a bit of a break, I find myself recalling and reflecting on some lines from Savitri, which I happened to read last evening.
For though a dress of blind and devious chance
Is laid upon the work of all-wise Fate,
Our acts interpret an omniscient Force
That dwells in the compelling stuff of things,
And nothing happens in the cosmic play
But at its time and in its foreseen place.
(Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book V, Canto I, p. 389)
Our acts interpret an omniscient Force….nothing happens in the cosmic play, but at its time and in its foreseen place.
I find myself unable to express why I felt such a deep relief — or was it a release? — after reading these lines. Maybe the mind doesn’t know the reason or maybe it does, but does it really matter? What matters is what was experienced, what was felt.
Even if such experiences of release are for a few moments, perhaps their value lies in the way they leave their imprint drop by drop on our mental-emotional selves gradually preparing these parts for seeking greater calmness and equanimity.
I find myself reflecting on life — its straight lines and curves, its ups and downs, the good and the bad that often come together in life. In its ignorance the mind naturally attributes these things to mere Fate or Chance, not only failing to see the good in what appears as the bad — or vice versa, but also failing to recognize the working of an omniscient Force behind all this play of Life, this cosmic play.
But when there is the Guru’s assurance, the Divine’s assurance, such as this one — “Our acts interpret an omniscient Force,” wouldn’t the mind naturally relax, experience a deep release? An experience of letting go, because there IS an assurance that an omniscient Force “dwells in the compelling stuff of things.” If only the ignorant ego-mind’s insistence that it knows better can be replaced with a deep trust in That omniscient Force, that unfailing Power which operates in the ignorant domains of a million conflicting possibilities, possibilities which seek their realization through the acts we choose — consciously or unconsciously.
As I sit here on my desk recalling many happenings and events from the years gone by, things which I could hardly control in any way — or anyone else could — I continue to discover the much needed strength and comfort in the line, “Nothing happens in the cosmic play, but at its time and in its foreseen place.” Oh, how in our ignorance and impatience we go on imposing our timelines on the Universe, forgetting that such restlessness of our nature only prolongs the suffering!
With the passing of time and the additional knowledge by the hindsight (and hopefully some wisdom gained through experience), we slowly recognize that all life-experiences come to help us learn some much-needed lessons. Lessons we need to grow and progress in our inner life, our real life — lessons in detachment from our own narrow ideas and preferences of what should happen in our lives and when; lessons in acceptance of what does happen and when; lessons on how to go with the flow of things and stay as calm as possible despite and underneath all the turmoil on the surface.
Lessons in being like the ocean.
The ocean, because all the surf is only on its shore; as our vision moves farther and farther from the shore there is only a calm vastness. The mighty waves come one after another, hitting the shore and receding one by one, but all this activity is on the surface; in its deepest depths the ocean remains untouched, calm, detached.
What does it take to be like the ocean? To be that still, deep within?
Maybe the path of healing, the path of recovering what is lost on the meandering, zig-zag, up-down curves of life, goes through such a seeking, such an effort to move beyond the surface waves to a deeper quietude within. Because “nothing happens in the cosmic play but at its time and in its foreseen place.”