Silviu Craciunas has a dream of Sri Aurobindo

Silviu Craciunas was a Romanian who was being tortured in prison by Communists around 1953. He was contemplating suicide when he began having visions of an unknown Indian sage whose name he heard as “Aurobin Dogos” [ homonym for the real name Aurobindo Ghosh 1872-1950].Those visions and the conversations he had with this unknown sage gave him strength and enabled him to survive the ordeal. After his escape from prison, he wrote a book “The Lost Footsteps” [ISBN 978-0882641768, published around 1960] where he describes these visions.

Here is the relevant excerpt from his book.  (Click on the link for the PDF  –  craciunas_thelostfootsteps). The interaction with Sri Aurobindo begins on page 167. I have copied some passages here.

One evening, when the radiator had begun its mournful music, the wall in front of me rolled back and a chain of snowy mountains gleamed in the rising sun. In the foreground was a little Indian temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. A tall tree shaded it. At its foot an old man sat with his legs tucked under him and his hands resting on his knees in Brahmin fashion. He had a long and very thin white beard. His ascetic face had the same serenity as the blue sky stretching over the dazzling peaks. (Note: It is worth noting that Silviu Craciunas’s description of Sri Aurobindo’s visage is quite accurate although no photograph of Sri Aurobindo had been released since about 1920. ) As I gazed at him he bowed his head slightly, smiled and said: “I can see you have forgotten me. Don’t you remember Aurobin Dogos, the Brahmin?”

I heard myself replying: “You have no idea how long I have been looking for you and calling you …”

“I had to make a long journey to get here,” he said. “It took me sixty years.”

For months after this I lived in the company of the “Brahmin” whom I believed at the time to be a real person other than myself. But these visions were different in character from the nightmare hallucinations I had had before. It seemed that, somehow, I had reached a deeper level of my being and these new experiences, instead of helping my enemies, marked the beginning of a period of spiritual integration.

I held long conversations with the “hermit” and it was “he” who argued me out of committing suicide, persuading me that life was sacred and must be lived to the last breath. I complained to him that, locked inside these walls and thinking ceaselessly night and day without a moment’s respite, I had reached the limits of my endurance. “Tell me,” I begged him, “am I the victim of these men who hold me captive, or at the mercy of some harsh, blind laws of nature?” He explained to me his view of suffering. “Some people it destroys,” he said, “other are challenged by it to resist some evil or to undertake some positive, creative act; some are corrupted, lose control over themselves and become cruel and vengeful, others grow in strength and grace.”

“But what can a man do alone, armed with nothing but his free will, against an overwhelming evil?” I asked him.

In answer, he told me a story. Two swallows nested under the eaves of a fisherman’s hut near the sea-shore. Teaching their young to fly, they took them out over the sea, gradually training them to cross long distances and to face the hardships they would have to undergo during their migration. The fledgelings shot into the air, exulting in the joy of flight and freedom, but a gust of wind caught one of them and flung it down upon the surface of the waves. The small bird kept its wings outstretched so that it did not sink, but neither could it rise; floating like a leaf, it called piteously to its parents as they circled over it. The parent swallows did their best to calm and to encourage it, then they flew back to the shore and made innumerable journeys to the water’s edge, each time carrying a drop of water in theirbeaks and pouring it into the sand. Thus they hoped to empty the ocean and to save their young.

“Their heroic effort is a lesson to us,” the “Brahmin” went on. “The human will and spirit must also not be resigned at moments of crisis; it must go on looking for a solution, however overwhelming the odds. You must not accept defeat, you must not believe your efforts to be in vain. If you have the blind courage to continue to endure and to struggle, you will find a new beginning in your life.”

My conversations with the hermit living in solitude near the temple to the goddess Kali had lasted several months. Outside spring was appearing; the strength of the light and a suspicion of warmth in the air were the first signs. Who was the “Brahmin”? Why was he trying to give me precious support? Understanding my perplexity, he gently held out a pale, skeleton-like hand and stroked my forehead with his cold fingers. Somehow transfigured, he said to me with emotion: “You want to know who I am? I am your spirit; your reason! You appealed to me in a moment of abject despair. In your isolation and helplessness, only I am capable of encouraging you to bolster your morale and strengthen your will; apart from me, there is no one who is able to come to your aid. Put your trust in my strength and you will never regret it!”

This encounter was indeed a turning point in my existence. Gradually my nightmares left me and I discovered an inner calm and balance and achieved control over my mind and body.

After days and weeks of practice I found that I could sit motionless on my chair for hours, my head leaning gently against the wall and my eyes open. I breathed deeply and quietly, my will controlling my heart-beats and keeping them steady. Hunger and fatigue took less toll of my strength than when I had dissipated it in pacing up and down my cell, fighting against drowsiness. My small ration of food and the two or three hours’ sleep I was allowed out of the twenty-four were now sufficient for my bodily needs.

To detach my mind totally from my surroundings took more time and effort. At first I told myself that I was a spectator in a darkened room: my prison life was nothing but a film projected on a screen, which I trained myself to interrupt at will. At a later stage I succeeded in looking upon my body, sitting motionless in the chair, as though it were a photograph. Still later I felt my spirit able to escape the prison walls and undertake long journeys. The warders were puzzled by the transformation which had taken place before their eyes: a man who had been frantic, driven to the verge of madness by lack of sleep, now sat calm and as still as a statue. From time to time they knocked on the door and ordered me to move my head or blink my eyes, to make sure that I was still alive and lucid. Inwardly I had reached a peace and a serenity which I had never known before.

The Mother Mirra Alfassa commented on this incident in her journal, the Mother’s Agenda:

Because do you know the story of that Romanian who was tortured by the Communists and had visions of Sri Aurobindo[[Silvius Craciunas, author of The Lost Footstep. ]] (he didn’t see him as he is, in fact, he saw him according to his own conception: thin and ascetic), and finally the apparition told him, “I am your soul,” and so on? But he had never read Sri Aurobindo’s name, he only heard it, and he wrote it in a very odd way [“Aurobin Dogos”]…. It SEEMS to be something of Sri Aurobindo. Anyhow it gave him the strength to go through all those tortures – appalling tortures, unimaginable. And he was able to escape, somebody helped him escape (now he is safe in England). But before that, he suffered so much that he thought of letting himself die, and that “voice,” that apparition which came and spoke to him for hours, was what gave him courage and told him that “the soul NEVER gets discouraged, it has something to do, and you must endure.” He endured thanks to that voice.

The Mother, Mother’s Agenda: June 15, 1963

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33 thoughts on “Silviu Craciunas has a dream of Sri Aurobindo

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  5. vijay

    i have this book with me. And the passages are correctly laid out over here. Silviu Craciunas had helped so many people ( mostly the leaders of the party who believed in freedom democracy ) to go out side of Romania as he knew the secret roads and ways to which could take out of the country without passing through the searching eyes and informers of Communists. But in the last attempt he was caught by a communist soldier and he had faced the torture that may be nobody has faced. There Sri Aurobindo’s help came and gave him that strength and vision and actions with which he was able to free himself and written down this book – ‘the lost footsteps’. The title suggest the popular technique adopted by the communists to put the sand for 500 feet around the rooms ( jails) of the prisoners so that if somebody had run out of the jail can easily be recognized through the foot prints on the sand. It is a worth reading book to see the brutal torture, the will of a human being and the power of the sole. Sri Aurbindo even told him the story of a bird who was trying empty the sea who has taken her young ones and pour the strength to that unknown prisoner.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      The title suggest the popular technique adopted by the communists to put the sand for 500 feet around the rooms ( jails) of the prisoners so that if somebody had run out of the jail can easily be recognized through the foot prints on the sand

      AH… thanks…I had no idea that was the reason it is called “lost footsteps”

      Reply
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  8. mike

    “I had to make a long journey to get here,” he said. “It took me sixty years.”

    That’s strange. What could it mean??? Unless He was referring to sixty years of sadhana!!
    “I held long conversations with the “hermit” and it was “he” who argued me out of committing suicide, persuading me that life was sacred and must be lived to the last breath”
    lf it was Sri Aurobindo and it’s a verbatim quote, it would suggest that SA doesn’t agree with euthenasia.

    John Kelly’s story is equally fascinating about his vision of SA and the Mother on a french battlefield during WW11.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      “I had to make a long journey to get here,” he said. “It took me sixty years.”

      I have wondered about that remark too. Perhaps it was something not heard or recalled properly.

      lf it was Sri Aurobindo and it’s a verbatim quote, it would suggest that SA doesn’t agree with euthenasia.

      No, I don’t see it that way. Preventing someone from committing suicide in the midst of life is quite different from recommending euthanasia for those who have terminal disabilities. The circumstances merited that Craciunas recover his aspiration to live on. He did get out of prison eventually.

      There are three factors in favour of the hermit being Sri Aurobindo
      1) The name – Aurobin Dogos – is a close homonym for Aurobindo Ghosh.
      2) This interaction occurred in 1954 and the book was published in 1961. In 1954, the only publicly available photos of Sri Aurobindo were from the 1910s that showed him in dark hair. Craciunas gives an accurate description of the older Sri Aurobindo with a “long and very thin white beard”.
      3) Craciunas sees the hermit sitting before a “little Indian temple dedicated to the goddess Kali.” Sri Aurobindo was a worshipper of Kali.

      I don’t recall where I read it but Craciunas died sometime in 1990s. I think he never figured out that the hermit he had interacted with was a real person.

      Reply
  9. mike

    Yes, it’s a strange business, both with Craciunas and John Kelly [although j.kelly did discover who SA and The Mother were]. lt’s makes you wonder why SA chose these two individuals. Guess we’ll never know the answer to that.
    l’d forgotten that SA was originally a worshiper of Kali. Thanks for reminding me.
    l had a dream in connection with this once. l was in SA’s house on the subtle planes [been there a few times and l’m pretty sure it’s a real place. Certainly felt real] and as l go through the door l hear a booming voice telling me that it will do something ‘IN THE TIME OF KALI’ . l then went into the house and had an interview with the Master.
    Perhaps someone knows what the ‘Time of Kali’ would mean???

    Reply
  10. mike

    Thanks Sandeep,
    That link with ‘Kali yuga’ actually said this:

    ” Most interpreters of Hindu scriptures believe that earth is currently in Kali Yuga. Many authorities such as Swami Sri Yukteswar,[2] and Paramhansa Yogananda[3] believe that it is now Dwapara Yuga. Many others like Aurbindo Ghosh have stated that Kali Yuga is now over.”

    Did Sri Aurobindo actually say that? If He did, l don’t think it fits in with what l heard in the dream because what was said hasn’t happened yet. Could ‘Time of Kali’ refer to another world war, perhaps???

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Many others like Aurbindo Ghosh have stated that Kali Yuga is now over.”

      I am aware of one brief remark in his Bengali writings (SABCL vol. 4, p 239) which goes “Whose [Sri Ramakrishna’s] holy feet touch on earth, he has brought Satyayuga at our doorstep.”

      In SABCL, vol. 22, p 403, he downplays the exact timelines attached to these cycles:

      Too much importance need not be attached to the details about Kalki (Avatar) —they are rather symbolic than an attempt to prophesy details of future history. What is expressed is something that has to come, but it is symbolically indicated, no more.

      So too, too much weight need not be put on the exact figures about the Yugas in the Purana. Here again the Kala and the Yugas indicate successive periods in the cyclic wheel of evolution,—the perfect state, decline and disintegration of successive ages of humanity followed by a new birth—the mathematical calculations are not the important element. The argument of the end of the Kali Yuga already come or coming and a new Satya Yuga coming is a very familiar one and there have been many who have upheld it.

      Could ‘Time of Kali’ refer to another world war, perhaps???

      I have no idea ! 🙂

      Reply
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  12. mike

    “l was in SA’s house on the subtle planes [been there a few times and l’m pretty sure it’s a real place. Certainly felt real] and as l go through the door l hear a booming voice telling me that it will do something ‘IN THE TIME OF KALI’ ”

    ln the above post the full message l heard was ‘l will release you IN THE TIME OF KALI’. l don’t know what ‘release’ means either – possibly physical or Spiritual Release. lf ‘THE TIME OF KALI’ refers to a time of world war [actually a lot of ppl are getting worried about that at the moment] then it could be physical release.
    One thing l’ve noticed in these dreams about visiting what l believe is the Master’s house on the subtle physical, is that when l get to the house l always place something on the ground near the door, before l go in. l have no idea why l do this! Does anyone know if there is some lndian tradition like this?? l know the jews do something similar before they enter a house, but l’m not aware of any indian ceremony.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      l don’t know what ‘release’ means either

      I would suggest waiting for another dream which might explicate the significance of this remark.

      One thing l’ve noticed in these dreams about visiting what l believe is the Master’s house on the subtle physical, is that when l get to the house l always place something on the ground near the door, before l go in. l have no idea why l do this! Does anyone know if there is some lndian tradition like this??

      Indians leave their footwear outside the house before going in. One might also bow before entering the Guru’s house.

      Reply
  13. mike

    Yes, lt could be footwear. l left it a few feet from the actual doorway so there might have been other shoes before mine.
    l actually did have another dream almost straight after this one, which appeared to be connected, because SA and Mother figured prominently.
    l was just standing somewhere and suddenly heard Mothers voice saying ‘michael, your in the matrix of a dream’. l saw SA and Mother standing a little way off and the next moment l was sitting with Her looking out on some vast scene. Not sure what the scene was about.Probably the Mother teaching me something.
    Yes, sandeep, l’ll be waiting for them to explain that ‘release’ dream. it sounds important.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Yes, lt could be footwear. l left it a few feet from the actual doorway so there might have been other shoes before mine.

      Why do people wear footwear in their dreams? If you lose them, you would have to buy new shoes.

      Reply
  14. mike

    “Why do people wear footwear in their dreams? If you lose them, you would have to buy new shoes.”

    One of those silly Mental habits we carry into our dreams, l suppose. Although, recently, l have found myself walking baerfoot in a few dreams – has to be symbolic. One interpretation of shoelessness is:

    “If your forget your shoes, then it suggests that you are leaving restraints behind you. You are refusing to conform to some idea or attitude.”

    This would definitely fit with the way l feel at the moment, and also my refusal to conform to life outside the Yoga or my attitude to ordinary life in general.

    Reply
      1. ipi

        What is a ” jest”? Is there are a place where Integral yoga related questions are asked?
        I want to know on this for a long time?

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