Consciousness — Mother

Identification of Consciousness

THE Prayers¹ speak always of the identification of consciousness with the Supreme. There is also the other identification of the consciousness, on the other side, namely, with things and beings, with the world outside: to that also the Prayers refer constantly. In reality, however, there is only one consciousness; it is everywhere, in all objects, in the universe and beyond. When a limit is put around it somewhere, a frame is erected, then it becomes or appears to become an individual consciousness. It is man’s ego, a spot or point cutting and shutting itself off from the global consciousness, that has thus separated itself from the Divine; it is that ego, that separative consciousness which is asked to break the limits and regain its natural unity with the one consciousness. And when it can do so it is said to have made the identification with the Supreme. Apart from this, however, when the consciousness has separated and individualised itself in different centres, even then it exists and acts in hiding in all the multiple varieties of forms, from the tiniest to the biggest. The same consciousness is alive in the atom, the stone, the plant, the animal, in the earth and the sun and the stars, in the universe as a whole. Each object big or small, living or non-living, conscious or unconscious, contains that consciousness at its centre and embodies or expresses it in various ways.

Consider, for example, your country, India. When you say “India”, what do you mean to convey? Is it the geographical boundary that goes by the name or the expanse of soil contained within that boundary or its hills and rivers, forests and fields or the beasts that range in it or its human inhabitants or all of these together? No, it is something else; it is a centre of consciousness which has as its bodily frame the particular geographical boundary: it is that which dwells in its mountains and meadows, vibrates in its vegetation, lives and moves in its animal kingdom; and it is that which is behind the mind and aspiration of its people, animating its culture and civilisation and moving it towards higher and higher illuminations and achievements. It is not India alone, but every country upon earth has its consciousness, which is the central core of its life and culture. Not only so, even the earth itself, the earth as a whole, has a consciousness at its centre and is the embodiment of that consciousness: and earth’s evolution means the growth and expression of that consciousness. Likewise the sun too has a solar consciousness, a solar being presiding over its destiny. Further, the universe too has a cosmic consciousness, one and indivisible, moving and guiding it. And still beyond there lies the transcendental consciousness, outside creation and manifestation.

Consciousness being one and the same everywhere fundamentally, through your own consciousness you can identify yourself with the consciousness that inhabits any other particular formation, any object or being or world. You can, for example, identify your consciousness with that of a tree. Stroll out one evening, find a quiet place in the countryside; choose a big tree – a mango tree, for instance – and go and take your seat at its root, with your back resting or leaning against the trunk. Still yourself, be quiet and wait, see or feel what happens in you. You will feel as if something is rising up within you, from below upward, coursing like a fluid, something that makes you feel at once happy and contented and strong. It is the sap mounting in the tree with which you have come in contact, the vital force, the secret consciousness in the tree that is comforting, restful and health-giving. Well, tired travellers sit under a banyan tree, birds rest upon its spreading branches, other animals – and even beings too (you must have heard of ghosts haunting a tree) – take shelter there. It is not merely for the cool or cosy shade, not merely for the physical convenience it gives, but the vital refuge or protection that it extends. Trees are so living, so sentient that they can be almost as friendly as an animal or even a human being. One feels at home, soothed, protected, strengthened under their overspreading foliage.

I will give you one instance. There was an old mango tree in one of our gardens – very old, leafless and dried up, decrepit and apparently dying. Everybody was for cutting it down and making the place clean and clear for flowers or vegetables. I looked at the tree. Suddenly I saw within the dry bark, at the core, a column of thin and and dim light, a light greenish in colour, mounting up, something very living. I was one with the consciousness of the tree and it told me that I should not allow it to be cut down. The tree is still living and .in fairly good health. As a young girl barely in my teens I used to go into the woods not far from Paris, Bois de Fontainebleau: there were huge oak trees centuries old perhaps. And although I knew nothing of meditation then, I used to sit quietly by myself and feel the life around, the living presence of something in each tree that brought to me invariably the sense of health and happiness.

Another instance will show another kind of identification. It is an experience to which I have often referred. I was seated, drawn in and meditating. I felt that my physical body was I dissolving or changing: it was becoming wider and wider, losing its human characters and taking gradually the shape of a globe. Arms, legs, head were no longer there: it became spherical, having exactly the form of the earth. I felt I had become the earth. I was the earth in form and substance and all terrestrial objects were in me, animals and people, living and moving in me, trees and plants and even inanimate objects as part of myself, limbs of my body: I was the earth-consciousness incarnate.”

But the point is to be this individual consciousness anywhere I or everywhere and still to maintain the higher, the universal and transcendent, the supreme consciousness, to be simultaneously conscious in both the modes to the utmost degree.

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