Integral Musings | Towards a Holistic Vision

An Integral Approach to management and human development based on the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with an emphasis on its application to various domains of knowledge and life.

The Fire and the Flower –M.S. Srinivasan

(Published in Awakening and NAMAH)

(This is a recreation of an encounter between an American scientist and his Guru, a red-Indian sorcerer based on the encounters of the American anthropologist Carlos Castonanda with his Red-Indian Guru, Don Juan. The names are changed to indicate that it is a free and complete recreation of the episode.)

That day I went to see Marquis; He was in his garden, standing, gazing upwards into the sky, with his tall, massive and shapely body glistening with a golden glow in the sun light. As I went near him, he turned and looked at me for a long time with his large, eagle eyes, which always squinted with a tinge of mischief. He placed his muscular arms over my shoulders and said:

“Louis, I want you to know the exact condition of your emotional nature. I am not interested in your thoughts. Do not bother about your thoughts. It is very easy to be noble in your thoughts and deceive yourself that you are a saint. This is something, which all your stupid western thinkers who write endless books on ‘positive thinking’ do not understand. Positive thinking will only lead to delusion and fantasy. Thought, however positive and noble can never master life and nature. The inner weapons which bring mastery over self and nature are feelings like the fiery petals of a flower and a will which is like a sword made of lightening and thunder. So for the next three days just watch your emotions. Watch it vigilantly as it is without interfering and suppressing your feelings; Be extra vigilant when you come into contact with something unpleasant or in conflict with someone. Do not bother about your thoughts; try to feel the emotional content of your thought. Do this for three days and tell me what you have found”.

I did what Marquis told and was totally disgusted with what I discovered about myself. I found my emotional being was full of violent lust and rage. I am aware of my passionate nature but was not as concretely conscious as I was in this three day of the intensity of violence it is capable of. So I went again to Marquis’s house very much disturbed.

Marquis was doing his morning physical exercises and it was an amazing thing to watch. For a big man, towering above six and a half feet, and built like a heavyweight boxer, his body is astonishingly supple, plastic and flexible and the movements were swift, agile, and rhythmic. He was probably doing his exercises for some time, perhaps more than half hour; he was sweating profusely. But there was not the slightest trace of tiredness in his face or breath. When people do exercise, they soon become tired, out of breath, and when they speak during or after the exercise they gasp for breath. There was none of these in Marquis. When he stopped his exercises for a few minutes and turning towards me, asked, “So what you have found Louis”, his breath was slow, even and relaxed, as if he had just come out from meditation, and his voice was steady, clear, metallic and thundering. “You seem to be disturbed”, said Marquis looking at me.  “Tell me what happened” and went back to his exercise. I muttered. “It was very disturbing Marquis”. Marquis, without stopping his exercise spoke, “Do not weep and lament like a child. Just say what you have observed”. I said, “Marquis, my emotional being is full of fiery passion and violence”. Marquis finished his exercises, stood still with closed eyes for a few minutes, and took a deep breath. I felt for the first time a mighty and formidable presence and a tremendous force and energy around him and filling the whole atmosphere. I felt very small physically and psychologically before the titanic presence of this Red Indian sorcerer. But it is not a threatening presence, it is a friendly, smiling and benevolent presence, which wanted to help.

Marquis opened his eyes and said, “There is nothing to be disturbed. But tell me precisely how intense your emotions are?” I told, “Very intense Marquis, it comes with a ferocious violence”. Marquis laughed and said heartily, “Not bad my dear little scientist, you have the stuff of a warrior”. I shook my head and said, “I do not understand”. “You have the Fire”, said Marquis, “but not the Flower in your heart”. “Be clear, Marquis”, “I said impatiently, “Do not confound me with your mystic language”. Marquis smiled and said, “Well, let me see whether I can put it in your dry scientific language” and explained:

There are two aspects to the development of the emotional being. First is the Fire which means force, intensity, energy and the passion. Second is the Flower which is compassion, tenderness, love, kindness and generosity. Both are needed for the perfection of the emotional being. The Fire without the Flower results in the fanatic and the maniac of various kinds, religious, sexual or others. On the other hand the Flower without the Fire may create the poet, artist, reformer or philanthroper but not effective for the mastery of self and life.”

“But how to get the Flower?”, I asked.

“For you it has to be through the Fire”.

“But how?”

Whenever you have an intense emotion, love or hatred, anger or affection, do not identify yourself with the outer form of the emotion but with the warm and fiery energy behind them. Identify with that vital energy of which all emotions are made and using your will turn it upwards. Do not focus the energy on anything but identify with it, turn it upwards and be just a flaming energy burning upwards. If you are able to do it everytime you get an intense emotion, then soon you will find all the negative emotions are burned off. Your heart will become vast and impersonal, capable of fiery as well as the flowery feeling depending on the needs of the moment. It can be fiery in fighting the inner and the outer enemy, soft and tender to your sister, passionate to your lover, delicate in handling or appreciating a flower. At the height of emotional development, there will be perfect reconciliation of all contradictory emotions in a great synthesis of feelings. In fact, much of the emotional contradictions are due to social morality. When you are able to achieve this emotional synthesis, you will experience a fascinating phenomenon.  In your relationship with others, especially with those who are close to your heart, you will feel that for each one you have an utterly  unique and beautiful feeling which cannot be put under any fixed emotional or moral categories like brotherly, sisterly or romantic.  For example you know Clara who is my student like you.  I have deep, tender feelings for her.  She is like my daughter in age.  But my feelings for her neither fatherly, brotherly nor romantic, but something unique to her, which can only be called, “claraly”.  This feeling may have the fatherly, sisterly or romantic element but fused into something beautifully unique.

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This entry was posted on January 23, 2013 by in Tales of Light.