Sri Aurobindo transcends his Guru’s achievement
During the time that he was in Baroda, Sri Aurobindo looked for someone who could help him in his sadhana. His brother Barin had come to know of a Guru called Vishnu Bhaskar Lele, and this Guru was invited to come to Baroda and initiate Sri Aurobindo.
Sri Aurobindo met with Lele in 1908. Lele had great sincerity, and he agreed to instruct Sri Aurobindo. It had taken him many years to make his mind calm and quiet. Sri Aurobindo remained with Lele in a small room for three days. During that time, he succeeded in achieving what it had taken Lele years to accomplish. Much later, Sri Aurobindo wrote that his mind became “full of an eternal silence.”
Who announced this great achievement? Lele himself. He was so proud of his disciple. He told Sri Aurobindo, “I took seven years to make my mind calm, and you took only three days!” The Master was just like a father in his pride for his disciple. When the son transcends his father’s achievements, the father becomes the proudest person!
Lele’s advice to Sri Aurobindo
A few weeks after he met Lele, Sri Aurobindo was supposed to give a very important speech in Bombay. Many people would be present, and the event was very significant. Unfortunately, Sri Aurobindo was not getting any inspiration for the speech; no ideas were coming into his mind. Because of his spiritual practice under Leles guidance, his mind had become calm and silent. Quite naturally, Sri Aurobindo was extremely worried.
Lele encouraged Sri Aurobindo to go ahead and give the speech. Lele told him that everything would be fine. Then Lele advised Sri Aurobindo, “Just be on the stage and bow to Lord Narayan. As soon as you bow, you will see that you will be able to get your entire speech.”
Sri Aurobindo believed Lele, and he did exactly as his Master advised. Then he gave a most wonderful and soul-stirring speech. After that time, Sri Aurobindo followed the same advice for all the speeches that he offered. His most famous and historic speech was delivered at Uttarpara on 30 May 1909, just after his acquittal in the Alipore Bomb Case. Ten thousand people were in the audience. In that immortal speech, Sri Aurobindo described in detail all his spiritual experiences during the time he spent in Alipore Jail.
Many years later, Sri Aurobindo said, “I got three things from Lele: the silent Brahman consciousness with its infinite wideness — an experience which was concrete; the power to speak and write without using the mind; and the habit of putting myself under the guidance of a Power higher than the mind.”
Sri Aurobindo and Lele part ways
As ill luck would have it, Sri Aurobindo and Master Lele did not continue on good terms. Lele saw that Sri Aurobindo was moving very fast in his spiritual progress. Once he gave Sri Aurobindo some advice on a certain aspect of higher spirituality, and Sri Aurobindo did not accept his advice at all.
Lele said to Sri Aurobindo, “If you do not accept my advice, then I am telling you, you will be caught by the devil.”
“Fine! I am ready to be caught by the devil,” answered Sri Aurobindo. “But I do not want to listen to you any more.” By this time, Sri Aurobindo had gone much, much higher than his Master. He no longer needed a human Guru.
Lele had four very close disciples. After Sri Aurobindo and Lele developed this unfortunate feeling for each other, Leles disciples left him and began to follow Sri Aurobindo. Later they all came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. All four of Lele’s disciples were accepted by Sri Aurobindo. They became his closer than the closest attendants, and they offered him twenty-four-hour-a-day service. Many years later, one of these pillars of the Ashram came to New York and I honoured him. His name was Champaklal. At every moment of the day, he offered his service to Sri Aurobindo.
When it comes to stories of the Masters and their disciples, there is no hard and fast rule about what a spiritual Master will do when another Master’s disciple wishes to join his path. In Sri Aurobindo’s case, he accepted Leles disciples.
(Sri Chinmoy, “The power of kindness and other stories”)