One of the pleasures of studying dual Gurus like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is that sometimes one can find spontaneous and fascinating coincidences in their records. It is as if they had independently experienced the same occult phenomenon. The Mother had once remarked after Sri Aurobindo had left his body: “Nirod (a disciple) is reading me his correspondence with Sri Aurobindo. Strangely enough, there are all sorts of things that I said much, much later, I had no idea he had written them! Exactly the same things. I found that very interesting.” In this article, we will examine some striking parallels in the observations they made fifty years apart pertaining to Nature’s reaction to machinery.
During his early years in Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo made copious notes on his evolving spiritual powers as well as various occult phenomena which were being revealed to him. Among these notes are certain enigmatic references to the probable causes of shipwrecks, airline accidents and rail disasters, which are presented below prefixed with the date of recording.
Three keywords employed in the subsequent passages need to be first defined:
- Sortilege: indicates divination which is gained by opening a book at random. See an earlier post Guidance by random book opening for details.
- Trikaldrishti: indicates the occult vision of the past, present and future.
- Lipi: indicates etheric writing which is seen during an occult vision or dream.
Between July 1912 and Feb 1913, there are five instances where Sri Aurobindo recorded previsions regarding ship, airline and railway accidents. This was just after the gigantic passenger steamship, the RMS Titanic, sank in April 1912 during her maiden voyage.
noted on July 2, 1912: I may note that a former sortilege occurring after the Titanic disaster and pointing to fresh disasters in the struggle of machinery with Nature, which I had supposed to be false or falsely interpreted, is today vindicated. No less than four accidents (three fatal, one extensive) in two days in aviation! It is noteworthy that I was wondering only a day or two ago at the comparative freedom of Germany from these accidents but these accidents (except one, I think) are in Germany .
It is well nigh impossible to recover all the news sources that Sri Aurobindo accessed in those days. Secondly, one must account for the delays in news transmission that occurred in that era to avoid making incorrect inferences. Nevertheless, thanks to wikipedia, google books and other historical websites, some news can indeed be reconstructed. A few days before, on 28 June 1912, a Zeppelin airship, the LZ 10 Schwaben crashed in Germany in a gale; the subsequent fire killed about 30-40 people who were aboard. The Times of India dated Jul 2, 1912 carried a story headlined “The German Airship Schwaben” which stated “This is the seventh airship which Germany has lost through accidents, the number including the six Zeppelins”. On 2nd July, 1912, American adventurer Melvin Vaniman died when his airship Akron exploded off the New Jersey shore. This kind of corroborates the aviation accidents that Sri Aurobindo mentioned above.
noted on Jan 15, 1913: Again, as foreseen to be willed by the Ishwara(Lord) only recently, there have been fresh aviation accidents, more storms & wrecks and a serious railway accident all in the news of a single day; all occurred in England, but this was not foreseen. The revolt of Nature against machinery continues .
A list of railway accidents has been compiled on wikipedia but it is probably incomplete. The nearest match to the railway accident Sri Aurobindo indicates could be the Ditton Junction rail crash that occurred four months prior on 17th Sept 1912 in which the driver, fireman and 13 passengers were killed.
noted on Jan 17, 1913: The old trikaldrishti & sortilege about the frequency of wrecks is confirmed by today’s telegram giving the number lost in 1912 as 228 (82 British) .
According to http://www.wrecksite.eu which claims to the world’s largest online shipwreck database, 214 ships were lost in 1912. See also List of shipwrecks in 1912. This closely matches the number Sri Aurobindo recorded above.
noted on Jan 30, 1913: Trikaldrishti of farther sea-accidents in the papers, of which the loss of a naval officer washed off his bridge, announced today, is a previous hint, showing the tendency still at work .
I am currently unable to locate the incident of a naval officer being drowned.
noted on Feb 2 1913: the loss of a boat and grounding of a ship, (lipi more shipwrecks), and the storm & railway accidents in Germany (trikaldrishti); .
Railway accidents statistics for England during these years are available. In 1911, there were 14 killed and 324 injured. In 1912, the number was 20 killed and 683 injured. The average in the years before is pretty much the same . In 1913, there were 33 killed and 723 injured .
As for aviation accidents, the Popular Mechanics journal of that year reports an increase in aviation fatalities in 1913 but states that this was expected because of increased air activity . A partial list of airship accidents can be seen on Wikipedia.
Accidents have occurred since time immemorial and will continue to occur. A cursory look at various sources does not indicate any inexplicable spike in the accident rates in the years 1912 and 1913. In the absence of further explanatory remarks by Sri Aurobindo, one cannot decipher what exactly was meant by the phrase “revolt of Nature against machinery continues”. Maybe certain accidents cannot be ascribed to “human error” or “mechanical failure”? Perhaps the introduction of new technologies like airplanes or monstrous structures like the passenger liner RMS Titanic had provoked a revolt from the forces of Nature? Purblind souls that we are, we cannot easily fathom the mechanisms that Nature wields, nor can we see the variety of occult beings which are supposed to exist in the twilight zones beyond our vision. We have to wait patiently until the “doors of perception are cleansed” in order to discover what exactly transpires behind the veil during a particular accident. There was a Q&A with the Mother which may shed further light on this topic.
Question: I didn’t understand this: “The so-called forces of Nature are but the exterior activities of beings out of proportion with man by their size and the powers at their disposal.”
Mother: For instance, take the wind which blows; now scientists will tell you: “These are manifestations of forces of Nature, and it is the result of such and such a phenomenon”, they will speak about heat and cold, high and low, etc., and they will tell you: “That’s the cause of the wind’s blowing, these are currents of air produced in the atmosphere.” But it is not this. There are entities behind, only they are so huge that their form eludes us. It would be like your asking an ant to describe the form of a man — it couldn’t, could it? It sees at the most the tiny end of the little finger and it takes a walk on the foot — it is a great journey, and it would not know what a man’s form would be like. Well, it is almost the same thing. These forces which bring about wind, rain, earthquakes, etc. are manifestations of — call them gestures, if you like — of movements of certain beings so formidably huge that we hardly see the end of their foot and don’t realise their size .
In the works of Carlos Castaneda, we find analogous discussions on the mystery behind what are conventionally denoted as natural forces. Once Don Juan told Castaneda, “I’ve told you, this is a weird world. The forces that guide men are unpredictable, awesome, yet their splendor is something to witness. Call them forces, spirits, airs, winds, or anything like that ”[ 17].
Almost fifty years after Sri Aurobindo had noted these observations regarding accidents, the Mother experienced a similar occult phenomenon. She discovered that the vital forces which are released during the crushing of sugar cane in a factory can cause machinery to fail. The following passage is from the Mother’s Agenda dated Sept 20, 1960.
I went to inaugurate the sugar factory the other day. I had an amusing experience.
From the material point of view, it’s almost hellish – the noise, the smell – a nauseating smell. I had to apply all my will not to be physically disturbed – they made me climb up narrow little stairs, go down, climb back up, look into deep pits. At some places there weren’t even guardrails, so I had really to control myself.
I was watching all this sugar cane – piles of sugar cane – which is thrown into the machine, and then it travels along and falls down to be crushed, crushed, and crushed some more. And then it comes back up to be distilled. And then I saw … all this is living when it’s thrown in, you see, it’s full of its vital force, for it has just been cut. As a result, the vital force is suddenly hurled out of the substance with an extreme violence – the vital force comes out … the English word angry is quite expressive of what I mean – like a snarling dog. An angry force.’
So I saw this – I saw it moving about. And it kept coming and coming and coming, accumulating, piling up (they work 24 hours a day, six days a week – only on the seventh do they rest). So I thought that this angry force must have some effect on the people – who knows, maybe this is what creates accidents. For I could see that once the sugar cane was fully crushed and had gone back up the chute, this force that had been beaten out was right there. And this worried me a little; I thought that there must be a certain danger in doing such a thing! … What saves them is their ignorance and their insensitivity. But Indians are never entirely insensitive in the way Westerners are – they are much more open in their subconscious.
I didn’t speak of it to anyone, but it caused me some concern. And just the next day the machine broke down! When I was informed, immediately I thought … It was then repaired, and again it broke down – three times. Then the following night, just before ten o’clock … I should mention that during the day I had thought, ‘But why not attract these forces to our side, take them and satisfy them, give them some peace and joy and use them?’ I thought about it, concentrated a little, but then I didn’t bother any further. At ten o’clock that evening, they came upon me – in a flood! They kept coming and coming. And I was busy with them the whole time. They were not ugly (not so luminous either! ), they were wholesome, straightforward – honest forces. So I worked on them. This began exactly at 9:30, and for one hour I was busy working. After an hour, I’d had enough: ‘Listen, this is quite fine, you’re very nice, but I can’t spend all my time like this! We shall see what to do later’ – for it absorbed my whole consciousness. They kept coming and coming (you understand what that means to a body?!). So at 10:30 I told them, ‘Listen, my little ones, be quiet now, that’s enough for today …’ At 10:30, the machine broke down!
I found out, of course, because they log everything at the factory, so when they came to inform me of the breakdown the next morning, I asked them what time it had happened – exactly 10:30.
After that, I made a kind of pact with them – the trouble, you see, is that there are constantly new ones. If only they were the same! They are constantly coming in new floods, so there was the need of a permanent formation over there. I’ve tried to make this permanent formation, to take and absorb them, to calm them down and scatter them a little so they don’t accumulate in one spot, which in the end could be dangerous.
I found this quite amusing.
The most recent incident took place a few days ago, for there was a general excitement in the factory due to the expected visit of a government minister during the day. That afternoon, exactly at half past three, I felt that I had to make a little concentration. So I paid attention and saw poor L’ praying to me. He was praying, praying, calling me – such a strong call that it pulled me. I was having my bath (you know what happens when I’m very strongly pulled – I’m stopped right in the very midst of a gesture, then the consciousness goes wandering off! And I can’t do anything, it stops me dead. That’s exactly what happened to me in the bathroom). When I saw what was happening, I straightened things out. Then they must have had their ceremony, for suddenly I felt, ‘Ah, now it has calmed down, it’s all right.’ And I went on to something else.
The next day, L came to see me. He told me that shortly before 3:30, the machine had stopped once again, but this time it was quickly set right; they found out right away what had to be done. And then he told me that at 3:45 he had started praying to me that all should go well. ‘Oh, I know!’ I said.
Things can be done in this way. In truth, a lot can be done – it’s man’s ignorance that gets him in trouble .
All this sheds new light on the incident where Jesus is said to have calmed the storm. There are supposed to be river spirits, elfins, fairies, occult beings which represent every species – and many other weird things which the rise of rationality that came with the Age of Enlightenment was supposed to have extinguished. (But no Virginia, there is no Santa Claus!)
All in all, it is quite possible that the world might become more mysterious once our eyes are opened to these hidden spheres of influence. Till then, we can only close our eyes and luxuriate in our imaginations !
-  Mother’s Agenda. Jan 19, 1972.
-  Sri Aurobindo. Record of Yoga, p 80
-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ_10_Schwaben
-  “The German airship Schwaben”. The Times of India, 2 Jul 1912, p 8.
-  Sri Aurobindo. Record of Yoga, p 204.
-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditton_Junction_rail_crash
-  Sri Aurobindo. Record of Yoga, p 209.
-  http://www.wrecksite.eu
-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shipwrecks_in_1912
-  Sri Aurobindo. Record of Yoga, p 222.
-  Sri Aurobindo. Record of Yoga, p 229.
-  Railway statistics of the United States of America, Chicago: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, 1914, p 115. (google books)
-  The Spectator, Volumes 92-93, 1914, p 21 (google books)
-  Popular mechanics, vol. 21, 1914, p 184 (google books)
-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airship_accidents
-  Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 5, p 384
-  Carlos Castaneda. Journey to Ixtlan, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991, p 85 (google books)
-  http://mother-agenda.narod.ru/Agenda_1/1960-09-20.htm
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