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The Seeds of Undermining

Inadequacies of the Indian System:
An essay on ESSENCE and FORM

 by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet  

[Author’s Note: This essay was written on 27 October 1989 and published in The Vishaal Newsletter of Aeon Centre of Cosmology. Given the current interest in the questions it raises, it is being published again for a wider audience. The cosmology providing the backdrop for this analysis is not treated in this essay. Suffice to state that it is on the order of a ‘new astrology for a new age’. Accordingly, though written before the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the decade of political instability India experienced, the text has a certain prophetic ring. The reader may judge just how timely these questions have become, and whether or not any progress has been made in rectifying the decay it details.]


‘Afterwards came the night and a temporary end of all political initiative and creation. The lifeless attempt of the last generation to imitate and reproduce with a servile fidelity the ideals and forms of the West has been no true indication of the political mind and genius of the Indian people.’ Sri Aurobindo, ‘The Foundations of India Culture’, p. 380-1.

Prominent thinkers throughout the world realise that the old order has come to an end. We witness the crumbling of iron barriers between nations, hitherto believed to be unshakeable and resistant to any attempt at change. However, the question remains, What is to emerge in place of the old?

In a number of my published works, I have shown in detail how the Measure of 9 with its intrinsic formula, 9/6/3/0-1, has been active in the Indian subcontinent. But in India too, in spite of this remarkable display of the power of Time, the old order persists and we find no spirit in the nation bold enough to introduce the new. Consequently, we hear unending laments from the political opposition about the ‘dynastic rule’ of the Nehru family. I, for one, have often referred to the need to modify the actual parliamentary system of governance precisely because its continued use OBLIGES this dynasty to perpetuate itself. But the Opposition (as well as the ruling party) silences or disregards any voice that calls for a change in the system, often to the extent of accusing the innovator of wishing to introduce a dictatorship via, for example, the adoption of a presidential form of government. (How a presidential system can be equated with dictatorship is difficult to understand.) The result is that due to this resistance an inadequate political structure must somehow serve as the vehicle for the Measure of 9 to hold the nation together.

India inherited its present system from the British. Many of the ills the nation suffers from can be traced to this factor: a ‘foreign’ system has been imposed upon a country that has not been allowed to breathe its independent breath and follow its own rhythms and expressions. This is easily appreciated in an assessment of the Indian model of parliamentary democracy compared to the British image of which it is meant to be a somewhat modified reflection.

To begin, in Great Britain we have a true dynasty, a real and healthy monarchy. The monarch in England is not elected of course; he or she is a part of a lineage that cuts through time and is therefore independent of the uncertainties of political fortunes. Consequently, the enviable qualities of stability and continuity arise. They are not fictitious; they are real components of the national heritage.

However, this is not the Indian reality. Every effort has been made to create this situation in India via the office of President, which is meant to provide the same qualities of stability and continuity by being out of the political struggle of the various parties, whose members are elected to parliament approximately every five years on a representative basis. In this way the President stands outside of the political arena; and this, coupled with the fact that his election to office by members of Parliament ordinarily follows a different cycle than the parliamentary polls, is meant to provide that stability and continuity which the British system enjoys via its monarch.

We know that this is not the case. The British monarch and the Indian president have little in common because the former is not a construed but a real component based on a quasi-organic, evolutionary fact. In contrast, the office of the Indian president is imposed in an effort to mimic the British system by introducing a form of government that is supposed to produce the same results, but without those legitimate components underlying the arrangement. Continuity and stability are characteristics that cannot be imagined or mentally devised. They arise due to a series of circumstances that organically confer these conditions in a process of natural development. They are not accommodations but come into being in harmony with certain essential ingredients found in the national psyche. When these conditions exist then stability and continuity become pillars for nation building.

Since this has been lacking in India the line of prime ministers – contrary to Great Britain – has had to serve as the element of continuity. Indeed, the most politically uncertain period India has known since independence was certainly the two and a half years of Opposition rule, from 1977 to end 1979, when there was no member of the ‘Nehru Dynasty’ in office.

Thus, in opposing change to some other form of government, which would better accommodate this legitimate need for a vehicle capable of providing continuity and stability, the Opposition is condemning itself to continuous defeat at the polls, inasmuch as the Nehru Line is the means to hold the country together, given the inadequate system India has adopted for her political expression. This is an example of the failure to recognise and appreciate the true character of a nation and the measure of its individual pulsation.

A development of this nature was seen as inevitable from the cosmological point of view. The most revealing hint was the date of Independence itself. Though significantly falling on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday, I have often pointed out that the number-power of the day was 8, just one short of the complete cycle. This fact reveals that full independence from the British had not been attained on some levels. More was yet to come to bring the movement to the 9, or the completed process. Sri Aurobindo himself, in his message to the nation at the time of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, commented on this very fact: Independence had occurred on his birthday and was a confirmation of his work, but the partitioned condition of the nation had to be healed to make the movement worthy of his highest aims.

The prominent position of the 8 also reveals that there is a residue of a sort that does not easily allow the movement to complete itself. This is explicitly the problem India now faces.

We see that British rule left this residue in the new Indian nation in the form of a political and administrative system that has, in its general character, no real connection with the national spirit. It was an imposition from outside, the result of colonial rule. The bureaucracy, for example, was devised to serve that rule rather than self-rule. Out of this, bearing no harmony with the true pulse of the civilisation, laws and methods of governing were imposed which to this day hinder rather than further the free and forward-moving thrust the country needs to faithfully fulfil its noble destiny along the lines arising from its own individual web of destiny. One specific aspect of this residue is the increasing chasm between the bureaucracy and the public, as if the public were the enemy of the administration rather than the elements to be served. The explanation for this lamentable situation is simply the fact that indeed the ‘natives’ were the enemy of the Raj and the administration was arranged in such a way as to permit that native populace to be effectively ruled by suppression of its any aspiration and effort at upliftment. The situation in India today, with the almost complete lack of openness (at a time when even the Soviet Union has opened its society) and the nefarious secrecy which characterises the Indian system, are the inevitable outcome of the residue the country inherited and which it refuses to shake off.

However, this situation in a very profound sense mirrors the condition of our entire civilisation – east and west. The new must arise amidst the old; but for the true new way, it must somehow come into being uncontaminated by the old. Throughout the world nations and individuals face the same dilemma. We are born into a particular structure or environment. We must evolve within that, bearing the limitations that our heritage may foist upon us. Yet in the midst of these very fields, and no other, new structures must nonetheless arise.

India is no exception. Indeed, her task is perhaps more complex than that of any other nation. But in spite of this limitation she has played out for over a century the patterns of her higher destiny which the new cosmology describes so thoroughly, regardless of any existing limitation. Nonetheless, it is precisely these limitations, this residue that is burdening the nation at this critical crossroads of her destiny.

Essence and Form: the integral paradigm

We do not place in doubt that India’s higher destiny is being fulfilled despite the inadequacy of the system within which this superior pattern must draw its lines. We cannot doubt insofar as the facts prove the victorious existence of this higher pattern which, like it or not, has been the pattern the nation has been made to adhere to. However, the 8 makes its presence felt constantly by a certain ‘baggage’ that the country totes on its back. Thus that extraneous element acts as a corrosive agent. It contaminates everything. It is like a parasite draining the host tree of its most vital substance. And as the tree grows, so does the parasite grow. Until a threshold is reached. Then either the tree develops sufficient strength to throw off the parasite, or the latter succeeds in destroying the tree that permitted its growth in the first place.

By examining certain original components such as the health and the condition of the soil and other environmental factors, the emergence of a parasite can more or less be pre-dicted. Thus, given the conditions prevailing at the time of the independence movement the growth of this parasite was easily predicted. Its forecasting required no special occult powers or clairvoyant capacities.

India stands at a crossroads of her destiny. The parasite this nation/tree bears is flourishing and threatens to destroy its host altogether. Indeed, the stronger the host grows, the more nourishment and vital sap are made available to the parasitic appendages. At some point a drastic measure must be taken, for when the critical threshold is reached, to continue feeding the host tree simply means giving more and more power to the parasite to destroy the host or the element that sustains it and gives it its life. This becomes a self-defeating exercise. In the day-to-day functioning of a nation, a development of this sort is perceived in a number of ways, but the common characteristic of them all is the constant presence of a sense of waste, of pouring resources into what appears to be a black hole in the national field of consciousness-being, a bottomless pit, as it were. Over-population, of course, is an easy tool for this insatiable and destructive drainage. But there are many more, over-population being simply the most obvious.

This is a mathematical occurrence. The development follows organic lines, albeit of an order which the ordinary intelligence cannot perceive or accept. Because these laws involve a play of forces, or energies which constitute the body of a nation – any nation. Physical, to be sure, but a body also animated by a vital force and held together by a purpose which is lodged deep within the nation’s innermost psychic essence. A leader can be considered outstanding to the extent to which he or she is able to reach and draw out the nectar of that purpose from the deep recesses of the nation’s soul.

Considering this play of forces – a unique combination for each nation – the pattern of India’s higher destiny has evolved. And according to this pattern, and no other, the nation’s political life has taken shape, particularly in these first decades of its independent life. But the structure within which this superior model has had to express itself has been inadequate.

Put more simply, there is an essence and a form to all things in this material universe. In a world of disharmony such as ours, ruled by the Ignorance and the Falsehood (and I purposefully use these terms capitalised to lay emphasis on their cosmic origin and hence the evolutionary limitations imposed upon a species that must grow according to a certain cosmic tempo and a largely predetermined pattern), a cleavage exists between the two. Essence is always pure and true, but in a material universe, that same essence must be provided with the proper FORMS to express itself uncontaminated, undistorted and, above all else, not subjected to any imposition from external quarters that bear scant relation to that unique essence of being. Indeed, the singlemost indicative factor that allows us to identify the consciousness that reigns on Earth as one of Ignorance and Falsehood is that to one who sees, to one who has the capacity to penetrate beneath outer layers and see the soul-essence, it is apparent that along its evolutionary way, in the course of the development of these ‘limbs’ or forms, externals have oppressed that essence and it therefore does not find any fitting vehicle to express itself according to the truth of its essential being.

The Original ‘Seeds’

When we say that the nation has lost its dharma, or that we must ‘reestablish’ this dharma, we mean something quite different than the spiritual leaders who, by the dozens, repeat ad nauseam this call. The point is precisely this: these fervent and well-meaning pleas receive no response, particularly from those quarters that appear to bear the greater responsibility for the decay, for the decline of the Dharma. Indeed, they are crusted over so to speak. They are impenetrable. Thus, no amount of preaching will render them pliable, plastic and open to the light of the true Dharma.

The problem is, once again, mathematical. There is a cleavage, a chasm between the psychic essence of the nation – or the seat of its inherent Dharma – and the external dimensions where the forms to express that Dharma in a material universe must evolve. The origin or the seeds for this cleavage date back hundreds of years, millennia in fact. To be precise, they initially surfaced about the time of Gautam the Buddha, over 2500 years ago. It was approximately then that the seeds were planted in the spiritual consciousness of the civilisation to undermine that Dharma. Over the ages those ‘seeds’, similar to the parasite in our analogy, have borne their entirely predictable fruit.

But who in the nation can see the connection? Who can travel back through the corridors of Time and ferret out those turning points when the environment and the terrain were fertile for the insemination of these nefarious seeds of undermining that were destined to foist upon the nation, two thousand years into the far future, the contaminated forms of a political system which is clearly and unmistakably the result of those ancient seeds?

Sri Aurobindo has stated that Kalki must come to correct the error of the Buddha. Yet none, even his closest disciples, know with the exactitude demanded of the Supramental Manifestation that he heralded, just what his words meant. They too are the victims of the great Undermining, similar to the consciousness of the entire nation with its manifold avenues of expression – political, cultural, social, economic, and above all, spiritual.

But the undermining was clear; it was unmistakable. And the results were predictable. The seeds of otherworldliness were sown over 2000 years ago. This simple fact, a ‘truth’ totally alien to the Vedic spirit and soul, produced a schism in the energy field of the nation. The energies within that field then gradually became ranged on either side of the ever-widening chasm: Spirit and Matter. Simultaneously, an indelible line was drawn between Essence and Form. The two went off in tangents and apparently, at this stage of the development, they shall never again be able to meet.

Once more I must ask, Who in the nation can perceive this development with courage and boldness of spirit and can trace it to its origin back through the thick folds of Time? For even those who might perceive have not the impulse or the intrepidity to formulate their perceptions boldly and to help the nation heal the chasm once and for all.

We witness the result of the incapacity: the spiritual leader’s voice becomes weaker and weaker and evermore distanced from the field in which this play of energies evolves. While that field becomes evermore choked by the rapidly increasing encumbrances of the parasites which this abandonment produced: the most vigorous and creative energies of the nation have been posited ‘elsewhere’, in a beyond which now, on an increasing scale, has become defined as some far away paradise, a heaven or a plane of consciousness entirely apart and separate from this ailing planet Earth. Yet who then, or which energies are to renew the national environment and restore its health if not those which are more finely tuned?

This is what is meant by reestablishing the Dharma. It has little or nothing to do with moralistic notions, all of which are leaves and branches on the parasitic appendages and have no essential relation to the Tree. The Dharma responds to mathematics not sentiment.

The Parasite becomes the Tree
The cleavage between essence and form plagues the entire world. A simple and rather obvious example is the campaign the Prince of Wales has felt himself obliged to carry on in the field of architecture, where his complaints tally with ours regarding essence and form, albeit his are concerned more with function and aesthetics. The questions are nonetheless related as he seeks to impress upon the community of architects that a form must not only be functional but it must also be in harmony with the total environment and aesthetically proper.

The human being sees only the dense physical. One’s vision is closed to the deeper strata and the more subtle play of energies in dimensions hidden from the physical eye. This is precisely the result of the cleavage, the predictable effects of those seeds of undermining sown 2000 years ago.

The confusion and unknowing are great indeed. The ‘crusts’ provided by the folds of Time make the truth almost impossible to expose. Especially when the parasitic appendage has grown hardy and agile in its ability to survive the attempts by the host subject to cast off its draining serpentine form. The only way to illumine this condition thoroughly is to make the connections outlined here, from the distant past to this chaotic present; and thereby to see clearly the root of the problem. A fearless penetration which alone can uproot the parasite. And to perceive how all structures (forms) which we rely upon to express essence – any essence – are distortions or products of those original undermining seeds that have the power to thwart the expression of the pure and full Dharma.

This is the situation prevailing in the political structure (form) of the nation. But the hidden pattern of India’s destiny has survived via the factual and undeniable existence of the Solar and Lunar Lines, the helical arrangement by which the nation is held together in spite of any attempts to undermine its essential unity.

However, and this is the most important point to highlight, the consequences of that undermining and the form it has foisted upon the nation are apparent to all and daily the corrosive power extracts its pound of flesh. The obvious effects are a prevailing, increasing chaos and insatiable voracity of a corrupted ‘system’, which is the most visible and effective tool of those original seeds of undermining. At this point the separation between Essence (the Dharma) and Form (the system) is complete. The latter IS India now – or at least this is the appearance; and indeed, it is the tactic or finality of the agents of the Falsehood: to strengthen and foster the growth of the parasite to such a degree that its ‘form’ (the system) appears to be the tree itself. That is, one has so completely overtaken the other (while draining it of its sap of life and revitalising power) that none can see the original form which still hosts the parasite, or supports and fosters its growth.

This is the graphic image of the destruction of the Dharma, and how, at the very same time, it is the Dharma itself that supports the degenerative form. The latter feeds off the Dharma, making the distortion all the more difficult to detect, for indeed, who knows where to look for the origin of the decay? The Tree is covered entirely and stands totally occulted. At the same time, when the critical threshold is reached this intertwined existence serves to render correction of the problem impossible – for to attack the parasite that has so completely overtaken the host body would mean to destroy the Tree itself. This is the compulsion behind drastic revolutions – especially those which turn violent, ruthless and bloody. The Chinese revolution, for example, brought a thorough and drastic cut with the past: China of ancient times is gone; the present China is something of a soulless structure wherein ‘form’ has become top-heavy as it were, and has smothered the soul of the nation to a large degree.

India has not reached that point yet. Indeed, the cosmological model arranged for the nation is the only thing that has prevented such a drastic occurrence. But again it must be stated, a crossroads has been reached. Clear seeing based on real knowledge, the knowledge of these eternal truths, must be allowed to evolve new forms to express the soul of the nation without permitting that parasite to stamp out the civilisation’s psychic imprints that have survived in its cultural body through unimaginably powerful onslaughts, which would surely have destroyed the psychic fibre of a nation with a less potent force of destiny.

It is naïve to believe that having survived this long the nation is out of danger. The truth is another: the time has come for bold measures to be taken in order to remake those inherited structures, the result of those ancient seeds of undermining, and to thus reestablish the Dharma on the basis of outer forms which are in harmony with the inner essence.

Today there is no such harmony, hence the system is thoroughly corrupted, contaminated, corroded – the system which is supposed to be the very tool for implementation of essence, of policy and programmes, and so on; as well as the corrective mechanism to lop off any growth on the tree of Essence that might threaten its healthy and uncontaminated survival. When such a point arrives it is the signal that a major crossroads stands before us. The time for change – deep and thorough – has come.

‘But amid all the mist of confusion there is still the possibility of a new twilight, not of an evening but a morning yuga-sandhya. India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last creative word; she lives and has still something to do for herself and the human peoples.’ Sri Aurobindo, ibid.

Endemic Corruption
We are saddled with false conceptions often dating back thousands of years. One is that the spiritual truth is untouched by the corrosive substances of a material world – to the extent that that world became known as maya and equated with ‘illusion’. Sri Aurobindo consistently pointed out the fallacy in this concept and sought to redeem maya by revealing its ancient Vedic sense to the world: measure, knowledge, the formative power of the Absolute. I have carried this work forward and ‘materialised’ this effort somewhat by providing the seeker with the actual Divine Maya or Measure – the Golden Rod of ancient traditions whereby enlightened ‘measure’ comes into being that eliminates distortions or the disfiguring veils dividing Essence and Form. The illusion of Maya is that abysmal chasm with its exuding toxic fumes and not the material universe. Therein obscuring waves arise which cast the two worlds farther and farther apart, to the point where there seems to be no meeting ground at all, no possibility of the emergence of a connecting bridge, - the effects of which are a totally separative existence and the loss of a ‘one world’ perception, the plague of our times. Pursuits of the spirit become one thing, the material another. The inadequate tools for governing which India is saddled with are the direct result of that abysmal chasm.

In practical terms, what does this mean? How does it become reflected in the life of a nation? In India this has resulted in a totally egocentric, egoistic consciousness that replaced the wide and all-embracing vision of ancient times, those prior to the schism. The individual is out for his own personal gains; the state or the community mean nothing to him at all. Increasingly we witness that corrosive elements cannot be corrected or eliminated. They are a ‘world unto themselves’. They abide in their own ‘universe’ or ‘space’. They are out of the reach of the usual channels (unaccountable is the common term), because they are the channels: the parasite has finally become the tree.

New channels are sought to rectify the position; but they too arise from within the ranks of the already contaminated body/system, hence they themselves bear the corrosive seeds within and become additional means to further the contamination they are supposed to eradicate. We attempt to reform, we seek to introduce a new ‘raj’ in which local bodies are given more power, closer to the people and therefore more directly accountable to them. But the people respond with indifference and wisely point out that these bodies are also limbs of that parasite-ridden tree, parts of that ‘system’, the whole of which is contaminated, saddled with inadequate forms. Thus the well-intentioned move has no guarantee of success or that it will alter matters in any significant way. On the contrary. Many believe it will only spread the rot more deeply down and into the system and reach those (grass)roots of the Tree more easily. In other words, it is not truth or rightness that is spread through the system but rather the corrosive seeds. It is then that whatever slogan is adopted rings hollow. The ‘form’ is devoid of any resounding essence.

This is again mathematical. Inadequate forms will invariably, inevitably, predictably distort or corrode even the finest essence (intention). Thus, to bring about any real change and consequent benefit to the people, one must go to the source; or rather, construct that ‘bridge’ and heal this age-old, slowly but steadily growing chasm. This can be done only by persons of Knowledge.

‘And that which we must seek now to awake is not an anglicised oriental people, docile pupil of the West and doomed to repeat the cycle of the occident’s success and failure, but still the ancient immemorable Shakti recovering her deepest self, lifting her head higher towards the supreme source of light and strength and turning to discover the complete meaning and a vaster form of her Dharma.’ Sri Aurobindo, ibid.

The Golden Age

And thus we stumble upon another ancient truth of the Indian polity: the Brahmin stood above kings, the man of God-realisation was the highest and first ‘citizen’ of the nation and the one who inspired and advised kings, who guided the course of the kingdom and even, in certain instances, guided it through the turmoil of war. But in very ancient times, before these corrosive seeds of undermining were planted, the matter/spirit split did not exist. It exists today. Hence, where is the sage who lives in a unified consciousness that permits this superior guidance? We do not mean by ‘unified consciousness’ a union with God elsewhere, ‘up there’, away from this material plane and thus removed from the realities of existence in a universe of matter and subject to as well as a participant in the cosmic play of forces. By unified consciousness we mean one who accepts the world as the Body of the Lord, as the truth-essence of matter, and therefore a consciousness that is able to perceive the unbroken link between essence and form where lesser mortals fail. In a word, we mean a consciousness that has no difficulty whatsoever in perceiving the exact and unadulterated form or system or structure which is the only real channel for that essence to express itself in the world, on this planet Earth, at this precise crossroads in Time.

The present abounding crop of Godmen are incapable of providing this impeccable guidance because the current attitude is one of denial of the physical reality as being intrinsically real and equal to the subtle essence; not to speak of religions and religious leaders who gave up the struggle to establish a ‘heaven upon Earth’ long ago. None see the truth of Form. Each and every one bears in his consciousness the seeds of that infamous Undermining of ages gone by, which the passage of Time has covered over in thick crusts and layer upon layer of now depleted and de-energised consciousness-soil.

Time is thus the agent of Maya, of that deceptive act of veiling. Time it is therefore who must be the instrument of unveiling. Time it is who nurtured, who gestated those seeds to produce the distorted forms which burden our civilisation today. Time it must therefore be who gestates and gives birth to new Seeds, the golden seeds of Truth-Consciousness which produce undistorted, uncontaminated forms of Itself. Time it is therefore who has provided us this superior equation: 9/6/3/0-1. People of Knowledge know this formula and use it, and it alone, to build the uncontaminated structure of a new world.

© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1989


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