We need to take the full facts into cognisance before passing any judgment on those who have taken cudgels against the book and its author.
1. The author is an Ashram Archives member with full access to all the documents.
2. He has used unpublished material without prior permission (though those responsible are mute on this, they have not denied it either), violating all sense of copyrights. Almost all of these quotes are to show something which may stir a controversy. One wonders why would someone with a clear conscience do that?
3. This is not his first act. Since long he has been taking some sort of a pleassure in challenging Sri Aurobindo's own statements based on some tortuous and dubious documents. One wonders why would one go to any length to prove that Sri Arobindo's Adesha of which he spoke clearly should be doubted and alternative explanations given.
4. There are several such instances that have build up over the years, which includes a bitter case of 'Savitri' which included, among other changes his attempt to replace the word Last with Lust, though the former went much accurately. Words like 'pierced' that were not only in the original version but also read by the Mother and dictated by Her to Huta has been changed to 'peered'. In all these changes there has been much more vehemence than one finds now with regard to his book. That the case was won does not assuage the heart of the devotees who felt cheated and have over the years lost their confidence in his 'good work' as the common perception (not legal) based on various issues is that there is tampering going on with Their words. All this may have nothing to do with the book but has something to do with its author for the two are inseparable.
5. It is not a question of accepting Sri Aurobindo's defects or imperfections, it is just that they have been put without referece to their inner sense. The act of Sri Aurobindo's smoking or taking an ocassional glass of wine is there in other biographies. Besides Sri Aurobindo's own statements are there relating to his not being a good husband etc. People never had any problems with that. If they were just so fundamentalist and dogmatically religious, they would have reacted long before. But these earlier biographies which also mention some of these informations have been widely read, welcomed ad appreciated. One needs to ask, - why?
6. The point is that the book often mentions one half of the truth and leaves the other to be filled in by our own minds. Naturally, some disciples fill it with the information that they have, say about Sri Aurobindo taking upon himself the burden of earth nature etc. But the book does not mention that dimension at all. It is one thing to show the human and the Divine side, the physical and the psychic facts and then putting them side by side to synthesise the two. It is quite another to overemphasise the outer and minimise the inner simply because the author does not see it. This makes the book lop-sided.
7. Is it really as objective as it purports to be? Anyone who has done some detailed reading of Sri Aurobindo knows that it is not. There is a very deliberate slant. To give just one example out of many see that part on Love where of all the available quotes he choses to quote one that may be most misundertood by someone not familiar with the totality of things or inwardly not mature enough.
8. The author himself starts the war by declaring all other biographies as exagerrations and hagiographies giving the lie to others. This and his detailed discussion of the photograph is in very bad taste and speaks of the whole approach.
9. All this is important to consider and not simply go on praising or condemning anything and everything. The whole attitude and approach of the book is more to challenge and criticise, judge and give marks to Sri Aurobindo. It is that which is the problem and not the fact of his being an Avatara or not. It is not a question whether Sri Aurobindo is perfect or not, it is also about who is judging him and believes that he is capable of judging. Is this a good approach fr a disciple and an Ashram member, whether Eastern or Western? Does the Western disciple find his path of progress opened by discussing the words of His Master with the analytical mind and the critical attitude? Is that what Sri Aurobindo has endorsed for the Western disciples? I am not talking here of discussing the principles of yoga or its experiences with the analytical mind but judging the Guru Himself? If you feel that yes that is how the Westerner should grow and it is fine for them, then there is nothing more to say. Then we have to admit that Sri Aurobindo gave two yogas, - one for the East that emphasises on aspiration for the Divine, rejection of doubts, discouragements, inertia, vital ego etc, and surrender of all one is and has, above all a wide integral opening to the Divine Mother. The other he gave to the West in which the disciple must proceed through doubt and analysis of the guru and his words, reject whatever he does not find right on the testing ground of his analytical mind, question and criticise the Master's words, regard the Mother as 'someone thriving on ceremonies' mocking things like pranam and darshan as mere adulation. The integrality of yoga is true but does it mean that there are two yogas? If so then there s nothing more to say. Each to his own and each must follow his road refers to the path and its broad outlines. Does it also mean doing whatever one wants, even disregarding what They have said or cautioned and publicly challenging at least some of them. Does it also mean, for instance one may or may not accept the Mother, one may or may not surrender, one may or may not aspire?
10. It is these issues that the book itself opens that need to be made the subject of the discussion with the will to discover the path. We need to discuss some of the hypothesis that the book advances. To name a few: - One must not accept everything that They have said and can be critical of the Master's experiences. - All talk of inner and occult dimensions and acceptance of what one cannot objectively verify by one's own mind and senses is mere hagiography and myth.- Are previous biographies mere myths.- Is faith same as dogma. There are many other such things..
11. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo themselves have turned disciples away from the Ashram and so have the trustees done that in the past because it was felt that the person's stay in the Ashram premises is detrimental to the collective atmosphere. This was not, mind you, any expulsion from Yoga, only a shift of place. So were the Mother ad Sri Aurobindo and the trustees being religious or they were simply following a simple practical truth of yoga that there are some conditions needed for the same like in any other endeavour. And if one is not ready or willing to fulfil the conditions then the world is there to try out and live your life your way. When Sri Aurobindo told someone categorically that if he is unable to accept the Mother's divinity it is better for him to leave the Ashram and go away, was He being religious? When the Mother threw away a book and exploded like a 'veritable Mahakali' when someone read out a passage that soke of Sri Aurobindo in bad taste was She being religious? When She asked Amal to ask X to discontinue contributing his articles to Mother India simply because he had a crtical attitude towards Sri Aurobindo was She being religious? To a surface view it may look like it but She was only teaching us the right attitude of spiritual life and preventing us from the much severe occult and karmic repurcussions that invariably accompany when we belittle or even question and criticise Someone who represents for 'you' the Divine and has taken upon Himself all your material and spiritual responsibilities. There is a huge difference between a disciple writing a biography with a critical attitude and smeone else who is not connected.
12. It is absolutely true that good may come out of what men call evil and evil come out of what men think is good. This applies to any book and any person. It is also true that the inner ebing may mislead while a most useless book may guide one who s destined to arrive. That is a general truth. In real life, however one has to chose and choice implies accepting one thing while rejecting another. The word Integral also did not mean accepting lower forms of knowledge such as the kind that analysis may give even as it does not mean confusiong the effervescent emotions and surface sentiments as bhakti or mere any work, even selfless work as karma. The spirit and the attitude is important, the acceptance of the higher and even an opening and receptivity, a faith in higher things is what one has to accept while one has to reject doubts on the Guru, on one's own spiritual destiny, on the truths of the yoga etc. The book gives a everse hypothesis, you must have faith in your analysis while question the higher things. Faith is dogma while doubt is the way. All talk of psychical truths is hagiography while talk about physical facts alone is true, that which is objectively verifiable with the senses is true. It will be worthwhile if the group discusses ome of these hypothesis that the book advances and finds their own answers. In this discovery, I suppose lies the path to reconciliation and understanding and not a blind sympathy or antipathy towards the author simply because he is a personal friend and known to us. That may inspire us to help him but not blindly support. And the best help one can give him at this juncture is to show him where things have gone wrong, to open him to Their Light and Love, to give him faith and ask for Grace. For whether we are out of an Ashram or not, whether people apprecaite our work or not, the real thing that matters is whether we are open and given to Them or not. The yoga is not dependent upon a geographical place but each geographical and collective unit has its own purpose and force-field. The Ashram, one supposes is a place for those who have no qualms about accepting the Mother and Sri Aurobindo as the Divine incarnate. For the rest there is the whole world to follow one's path and find one's way.
12. Yes life is long and yoga is longer and behind all experiences and appearances, however bitter, there is the luminous smile of Grace and the Light of Their Love. One wishes that the author is able to see and feel it.
Nov 27, 2008
We need to take the full facts into cognisance before passing any judgment on those who have taken cudgels against the book and its author.
Nov 12, 2008
It is possible to look at Sri Aurobindo in context of the future of humanity but that should be primarily done recognizing him as the Master-Yogi and perhaps not so much as a traditional or professional Master-Philosopher appealing to the rationalist of the western kind. It is justifiably said that Sri Aurobindo gives us a framework of thought, as well as pragmatics of psychology, that carries us forward in becoming a better acceptable individual and a better organised collectivity. Due credit is also given to him as a Master-Critic for giving us a creative expression which is futuristic uttering the Word of the Spirit. His writings do mark “a blueprint for a destiny which he announces as a life divine”.
But in order to get to this life divine, the life divine something else, something radically different from all these things has to happen. Sri Aurobindo not only does posit “Supermind as the ontological foundation of superman”; he “travels furthest from the western tradition of philosophy as speculative metaphysics and brings to its disciplinary formulations” the power of the spirit itself. That’s perfectly true. Yet there is also a tendency to contextualize his ‘philosophy’ within the history of western formulations. By doing so is seen his contribution towards the future of humanity unfolding its secret potential. But perhaps that sounds more a hard-core rationalist’s imposition on what lies beyond the restricted boundaries of the rationalist. That is not to say that rationalism has to be discarded; that is only to assert that, possibly, rationalism has a positive ability to outgrow itself. It is this aspect we generally tend to forget. There is a superior mode of logic, a superior mode of rationalism that makes existence meaningful. Indeed, there’s the Logic of the Infinite and it’s that which should be incorporated in our curriculae. If this is accepted then there is really no need to justify, à la Milton, the ways of Sri Aurobindo to the rational man, man the reasoning creature who doesn’t seem to be a reasonable creature. Any Miltonic attempt in this regard is going to prove Miltonically inadequate; not only that, but also frustrating. Was Sri Aurobindo sent to align himself with the modes of Thought, Occidental or Oriental, Modern or Ancient, Transient or Perennial? Revelatory or Ratiocinative? We seem to be quite busy ‘reconciling’ Sri Aurobindo with the stiff traditionalist notions of ours, traditions belonging to the various schools, metaphysical or darshanic. It therefore comes as a great surprise to read something of a different kind in the context of what the Mother proclaimed categorically in her message dated 14 February 1961: “What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme.” What is meant by a direct action from the Supreme? “What was this decisive action and what does it mean for humanity’s future? This is the question left for us to fathom in our grappling with the future of humanity.” But how do we answer it? “Of course, the scope of such a statement as the Mother’s opens the doors on the invisible occult action of Sri Aurobindo. To acknowledge such an action is a matter of faith, and perhaps faith is a critical component in orienting ourselves towards the future, but a more active aspect of such orientation needs to be an informed understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s contribution towards the future through his more visible expressions, particularly his writings. So what does Sri Aurobindo give us in his writings, that help in orienting us towards the future? Sri Aurobindo provides us with a comprehensive map towards the future—diverse yet integral—every part of which is pregnant with the fullness of the whole, in keeping with the perfection of a self-existent and accomplished consciousness presaging the vision of human fulfillment.” To see the direct action of the Supreme, we are told here to go by Sri Aurobindo’s “more visible expressions, particularly his writings.” Does it mean that he came to write those thirty volumes of the Birth Centenary? That will be an extraordinary way of reading the Mother’s revelation about the birth of Sri Aurobindo the Yogi par excellence. If we are not going to go by the “more visible expressions”, then we will be dubbed as credulous people who, at the best, go by faith—and there cannot be reconciliation between faith and reason. If we push this line of argument further, then we will be told that all those ‘followers’ who adhere to the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo are ‘patronized’ by the founders of this Yoga, that it has become a despicable religion. But we must recognize that Sri Aurobindo’s writings are a byproduct of Sri Aurobindo’s birth, something that has happened functionally in the sequel of the direct action from the Supreme. It was certainly not to justify the ways of God to Man—which might come about incidentally. But what is the direct action? in what context? It is of course to open “the doors on the invisible occult”. If we miss this cardinal fact then we altogether miss the meaning of Sri Aurobindo’s birth, the process and purpose of Avatarhood itself. Sri Aurobindo came, and bore wounds difficult to heal, “attempted all and achieved all”, not perhaps so much for man but more, and in every respect, for the Divine. Didn’t he say, “My Yoga is for the Divine”? He came here to do the Yoga of the Supreme himself. If we ignore this central truth of his birth then we fail to see his writings also, and then any attempt to juxtapose him with this or that thinker, or with this or that social philosophy, or with this or that formulation of ours becomes our happy pastime. And there are more serious things to do and our task lies in preparing ourselves to do them. We need not so much of Expositional Sri Aurobindo but more of Applied Sri Aurobindo. It’s a pity that The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is deliberately silent about these matters. There are superficialities aplenty in it but not to touch the core issues amounts to sheer distortion. It is that which hurts most the perceptive student of the Vision and Work of Sri Aurobindo. In fact it causes a deeper harm in putting him off from possible spiritual help and guidance from him. But if there’s the sincere call for such a life, it is always there to take him on the upward path. RY Deshpande
Was Sri Aurobindo sent to align himself with the modes of Thought, Occidental or Oriental, Modern or Ancient, Transient or Perennial? Revelatory or Ratiocinative? We seem to be quite busy ‘reconciling’ Sri Aurobindo with the stiff traditionalist notions of ours, traditions belonging to the various schools, metaphysical or darshanic. It therefore comes as a great surprise to read something of a different kind in the context of what the Mother proclaimed categorically in her message dated 14 February 1961: “What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme.” What is meant by a direct action from the Supreme? “What was this decisive action and what does it mean for humanity’s future? This is the question left for us to fathom in our grappling with the future of humanity.” But how do we answer it?
“Of course, the scope of such a statement as the Mother’s opens the doors on the invisible occult action of Sri Aurobindo. To acknowledge such an action is a matter of faith, and perhaps faith is a critical component in orienting ourselves towards the future, but a more active aspect of such orientation needs to be an informed understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s contribution towards the future through his more visible expressions, particularly his writings. So what does Sri Aurobindo give us in his writings, that help in orienting us towards the future? Sri Aurobindo provides us with a comprehensive map towards the future—diverse yet integral—every part of which is pregnant with the fullness of the whole, in keeping with the perfection of a self-existent and accomplished consciousness presaging the vision of human fulfillment.”
To see the direct action of the Supreme, we are told here to go by Sri Aurobindo’s “more visible expressions, particularly his writings.” Does it mean that he came to write those thirty volumes of the Birth Centenary? That will be an extraordinary way of reading the Mother’s revelation about the birth of Sri Aurobindo the Yogi par excellence. If we are not going to go by the “more visible expressions”, then we will be dubbed as credulous people who, at the best, go by faith—and there cannot be reconciliation between faith and reason. If we push this line of argument further, then we will be told that all those ‘followers’ who adhere to the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo are ‘patronized’ by the founders of this Yoga, that it has become a despicable religion. But we must recognize that Sri Aurobindo’s writings are a byproduct of Sri Aurobindo’s birth, something that has happened functionally in the sequel of the direct action from the Supreme. It was certainly not to justify the ways of God to Man—which might come about incidentally.
But what is the direct action? in what context? It is of course to open “the doors on the invisible occult”. If we miss this cardinal fact then we altogether miss the meaning of Sri Aurobindo’s birth, the process and purpose of Avatarhood itself. Sri Aurobindo came, and bore wounds difficult to heal, “attempted all and achieved all”, not perhaps so much for man but more, and in every respect, for the Divine. Didn’t he say, “My Yoga is for the Divine”? He came here to do the Yoga of the Supreme himself. If we ignore this central truth of his birth then we fail to see his writings also, and then any attempt to juxtapose him with this or that thinker, or with this or that social philosophy, or with this or that formulation of ours becomes our happy pastime. And there are more serious things to do and our task lies in preparing ourselves to do them. We need not so much of Expositional Sri Aurobindo but more of Applied Sri Aurobindo.
It’s a pity that The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is deliberately silent about these matters. There are superficialities aplenty in it but not to touch the core issues amounts to sheer distortion. It is that which hurts most the perceptive student of the Vision and Work of Sri Aurobindo. In fact it causes a deeper harm in putting him off from possible spiritual help and guidance from him. But if there’s the sincere call for such a life, it is always there to take him on the upward path.
[The Gita reveals that the purpose of the divine Incarnation or coming as an Avatar is to do the divine work, diyam karma. This is not only to destroy evil and establish the righteous Law, but is actually to take the progressive evolutionary march to the next higher stage. Sri Aurobindo came to do that, to bring the Spermind in the terrestrial play and make the divine manifestation here upon earth a possibility. We have to see from whatever has been revealed to us if this is present in his life and in his work. Representation of that work should be the genuine concern for any study of his, including biographical. If this is missed the that study is a waste of effort and one need not really attach any importance to it. Unfortunately that is precisely what is happening in the case of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. However, in this article we shall briefly try to look into some of the aspects of the yogic work carried out by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the work having progressed in formulating a link between Man the Mental Being and the Supramental Race, the Intermediate Race. We shall discuss this in the context of the visit of the heavenly sage Narad to Aswapati as we have in the Book of Fate of Savitri. It provides the necessary framework to appreciate the issues that are deeply involved in the process.]
The heavenly sage Narad sets himself out from Paradise to visit Aswapati and on his way to the palace sings the song of evolution. Its theme is the unfolding reality of this creation and its mood is an offering of joy to its enjoyer, to the Bhokta himself. In the sweetness of his name the song arrives at the transfiguration and the ecstasy about to be born on earth and Narad is in raptures to see it soon happen. Indeed, the chant itself is a prophetic rush
Of life that slumbers in the stone and sun
And mind subliminal in mindless life,
And the consciousness that wakes in beasts and men…
Of Godhead throwing off at last its veil,
Of bodies made divine and life made bliss,
Immortal sweetness clasping immortal might,
Heart sensing heart, thought looking straight at thought,
And the delight when every barrier falls,
And the transfiguration and the ecstasy.
The long course of evolution might have been full of travail and uncertainties; but then it is evolution with a definite purpose also, felicitous purpose, of divine birth in the material creation. In its essentiality it is the evolution of consciousness in the ascending grades of the spirit itself and it has to move on. It has presently advanced to the mental level, but there are higher and vaster ranges of consciousness stretching beyond it and these must enter into the evolutionary scheme. Conscious participation of man in it is now possible, and indeed man does make an effort also to exceed himself. But his soul is burdened by the weight of the inconscient past and a thousand forces are there to thwart his faltering attempts. In the presence of such difficulties he might easily succumb and fail to carry the evolution forward. There is even opposition built into the character of man: he is not only suspect of spiritual possibilities; there is in him a deep-seated irreverence for it, even a fierce antagonism. Oftentimes cross is the payment for the crown offered to him.
Hard is the world-redeemer’s heavy task;
The world itself becomes his adversary,
His enemies are the beings he came to save.
Those he would save are his antagonists.
This is what Narad tells to Savitri’s mother who questions God for the kind of world he has created. In 1616 Galileo maintained that Faith and Reason, Fides et Ratio, can never contradict each other; for holding such a view he had to suffer and pay a heavy price. Marx loudly proclaimed that “religion is the sigh of the oppressed class”, and a whole section of the society fell prey to its logic. True, creedal religion is a monstrosity and “excessive legalism of the Roman Catholic Church” is anti-spiritual; same is the story with other forms of orthodoxy and fundamentalism, classical or modern, even with scientific and materialistic philosophies with all their stubbornness and arrogance, their irrational denials. With the least hesitation all such retrograde impositions must be removed, dismissed at once. Jean-Paul Sartre’s is a godless universe and he tells us that in such a universe the only meaning or purpose of life is to set the goals for oneself and achieve them. But then these existential notions or ideas make the universe a stopped-up system, closing on itself, without the occurrence of further openings or prospects. But there are also noble and elevating thoughts and feelings and deeds in various branches of human activity, with its conquests and triumphs which must be duly acknowledged. There is the religio-mystical experience of seeing God in the world and the world in God. There is the fine perception that “Logos is the blueprint and exemplar of the created universe.” Indeed, Jalalu’d-din Rumi, the thirteenth century Persian Sufi poet, has the intuition of a unique dawn breaking in our skies, of the happy naissance to new-shape our life:
… to-night this world is heavy and in travail,
Striving to give birth to an eternal world.
In the possibility of such a birth here is the wonderful perception of a genuine mystic. Yet the question is: will that eternal world’s birth occur at all? And how will it happen? Or is it just a small vulnerable imagination, feeble, flickering, a longing and an anticipation of a dreamy poet to escape sorrow and suffering that to-night characterise heaviness and anguish of this transient world? And then will this to-night’s struggling world by itself, by its own effort, its own propulsion, bring about a world of undecaying and deathless happiness? Even granting for a moment that in its deepest secrecy there is something remarkable, something truly magnificent, yet a misgiving remains whether this to-night’s world with its own endeavour, by its own labour and struggle can give rise to the eternal world. Is it in a position to assert itself against all opposition? Can man play any pivotal role in this respect and, if he can, will he? Is he capable to do this at all?
“If a spiritual unfolding on earth is the hidden truth of our birth into Matter, if it is fundamentally an evolution of consciousness that has been taking place in Nature,” writes Sri Aurobindo, “then man as he is cannot be the last term of that evolution: he is too imperfect an expression of the Spirit, Mind itself a too limited form and instrumentation; Mind is only a middle term of consciousness, the mental being can only be a transitional being. If, then, man is incapable of exceeding mentality, he must be surpassed and Supermind and superman must manifest and take the lead of the creation. But if his mind is capable of opening to what exceeds it, then there is no reason why man himself should not arrive at Supermind and supermanhood or at least lend his mentality, life and body to an evolution of that greater term of the Spirit manifesting in Nature.” Behind this luminous metaphysics is knowledge of the yogi-seer founded on his realisations. We have here the revelation of what is held for the evolution.
Sri Aurobindo in his independence-day message, of 15 August 1947, speaks of “a step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society.” Undoubtedly, there are difficulties on the way but difficulties are made to be overcome and if the supreme will is there, tells Sri Aurobindo, they will be overcome.
One way out of the difficulties could be Nirvana; but its immutable peace is at the cost of making nonsense of life, this samsāra; no doubt this life is despicable, yet in its intrinsic contents it has a meaning and a purpose also. In Nirvana there is neither the growing individual perfection nor a society making more progress; they have to be here in the world-dynamism based on its truth. According to the Jewish myth Adam was created immortal but death entered the world through sin. The saviour came and bore the cross of pain, yet fundamentally no transformative change took place. But there is something positive also in man. The flame in him may be flickering. But why does a flame flicker, leap? The core of the flame, the hottest part in it, becomes lighter due to the gaseous combustion and the lighter gases at the core of the flame move upward and the denser air from beneath the flame fills the void at the core. The lamp continues to burn in leaps. Hence we have leaping tongues. There is something in the heart of man which keeps on burning and its leaping is a sign of its growth, progress. Rumi has a vision of exceeding what man presently is, exceeding even the greatness of the angels of heaven. Here is his song of evolution:
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetablensss I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth the wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels—
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.
In spite of his diffidence and refusal and opposition, in spite of his dumbness, man’s hope and longing and aspiration lead him on to nobler heights, to bluer and brighter skies, to the gold-hued empyrean. The psychic flame within him continues to burn, and leap. His spirit climbs the ascending slopes of heaven. He crosses the Upanishadic gates of the sun to live in immortality of the Self. He certainly has an inkling that this creation’s bliss is in truth, as much as its truth is in bliss. There is even the revelation that God’s glory shines throughout the universe. “Dante informs us that he has been to paradise, and has seen things so extraordinary that he cannot possibly hope to tell about them. Nevertheless, he determines to make this final song his crowning achievement as a poet, and he calls on the Muses for inspiration as he focuses on his journey heavenward. At noon on the spring equinox, Dante, still in the Earthly Paradise, sees Beatrice gazing into the sun, and he imitates her gaze. In so doing, he becomes aware of an extraordinary brightness, as though God had placed in the heavens a second sun, and feels himself being ‘transhumanised’ in preparation for his experience of Paradise. He then finds himself soaring heavenward through God’s grace, although he is uncertain whether it is his soul or his corporeal self that rises. As Dante and Beatrice pass out of the earth’s atmosphere into a sphere of fire that lies above it, Dante hears the music of the spheres. This music fills him with wonderment and perplexity, but before he can question Beatrice about it, she explains to him the teleological order of the universe, and how it is only natural that, having been purified, he should now rise heavenward.”
Yet, if at all, only awhile can stay such a state—because our restless nether members get tired of it. On the “heart’s altar the sacred fire is dim, and an old pull of subconscious cords renews, and the unwilling spirit is drawn back from the heights.” Here is in fact a fundamental issue staring at the soul of man, and it has to meet the challenge. The Mother explains: “This is the great difficulty in the physical life. It is the strength of the old habit that pulls down the body to its old way. Then comes the struggle, and if the faith is sufficient, if the ardour for progress is there, then out of this fall we can rise to a higher receptivity and a better achievement. In fact, there is nothing in this experimental life that is not meant to push the whole creation towards the luminous, marvellous Divine End that is promised to our effort and to our faith… . If we can enlarge our consciousness sufficiently, we see that even the apparent defeats are marvellous steps towards the final Victory.” The pull-and-push is real in this world, the ancient tussle between the forces of light and darkness, between evil and good, between ignorance and knowledge, between life and death, between Matter and Spirit.
But the solution lies in our enlarging the consciousness sufficiently. Man should be in a position to keep aside his mind and open to the superior states waiting to descend in him. That is the true evolutionary answer to the thousand problems that afflict him. The knowledge of intuition and the knowledge of rationality are quite different things and it may not be even possible for them to come together. From the infra-rational stage to the rational was a great leap; a greater leap from the rational to the supra-rational will make man’s manhood progressive, complete. He must understand it—because he is equipped to understand it; the evolutionary foundation has already got it established in its design. In the course of time his faculties must become sharper, keener, subtler, more intense; it is only then will he exceed the typal limits under which he presently works.
It is true that with progress in awareness the consciousness of time, for instance, marks a definite step forward, that it can differentiate time from changes and events “taking place” in it. Yet the fact that time itself is a dynamic power effecting changes and events is difficult for rational mind to recognise. We speak of zeitgeist but do not acknowledge it as an entity per se. The being of time is an occult reality and we are oblivious of it. Only when our psychic faculties open out, when the flame within us burns in a steady manner, “motionless like the light of a lamp in a windless place” as the Gita says, when the Godward will is unfaltering and intense, can we then get a glimpse of it. Will man keep aside his mentality and live in his soul? We are presently living in the hour of God and we are not aware of it. When the hour comes “even a little effort produces great results and changes destiny.” In it can be achieved all that the soul aspires for; in it can be the true fulfilment also of the human race. In it is the glad celebration of the work of time. An “aeon”, meaning not only “eternity” but also universe, is itself a power emanating from the supreme Being, playing various roles in the operation. It is personification of an age and new aeons are equinoxes of God. The two aeons of Christianity are Jesus and Sophia. When Sophia emanates without her partner aeon, the result is the Demiurge. In many gnostic systems the various emanations of God are called aeons. They constitute the pleroma, the “region of light”. The lowest regions of the pleroma are closest to the darkness; that is, the physical world. Here is time in its several manifestations.
In this physical world appearance of a being greater than man is the “divine promise” to be realised in the majesty of the steps of this dynamic and participative time. Time-Spirit as the Devourer was abroad on the battlefield of the epochal Kurukshetra; in our own fierce and forceful times it thundered through nations and trampled over them during the Second World War. Kāla-Bhairava dances wild to destroy all that stands across the path of the divine Event. He opens out a new era in evolutionary march of the soul of the earth. “Man is a transitional being” and in time there has to arrive the superman.
Speaking of the vaster light and profounder bliss Sri Aurobindo writes as follows: “Mind indeed can never be a perfect instrument of the Spirit; a supreme self-expression is not possible in its movements because to separate, divide, limit is its very character. Even if mind could be free from all positive falsehood and error, even if it could be all intuitive and infallibly intuitive, it could still present and organise only half-truths or separate truths and these too not in their own body but in luminous representative figures put together to make an accumulated total or a massed structure. Therefore the self-perfecting mental being here must either depart into pure spirit by the shedding of its lower existence or return upon the physical life to develop in it a capacity not yet found in our mental and psychic nature… . The mental being exceeding his sphere does not… bring down its greater spiritual nature into this lower triplicity; for here the mental being is the highest expression of the Self. Here the triple mental, vital and physical body provides almost the whole range of our capacity and cannot suffice for that greater consciousness; the vessel has not been built to contain a greater godhead or to house the splendours of this supramental force and knowledge.”
The problem is therefore to build a vessel to hold the greater godhead in life here. The Vedic Rishis called the human body an unbaked vessel, atapta tanu, in which practically no tapas has been done, no spiritual consciousness has been established to receive Light, Knowledge, Power, Immortality, transcendental Ananda. But there is a possibility of human mind standing perfected in the Light and a new humanity taking its place as part of the new order. There could be a liberated mind escaping from ignorance into light, aware of its affiliation to supermind. In that eventuality there would be a new mental being, an intermediate race able to climb consciously towards and into living vastness of superconscience. If this could happen then the physical body too would prepare itself for the divine transformation. “The full emergence of supermind may be accomplished by a sovereign manifestation, a descent into earth-consciousness and a rapid assumption of its powers and disclosing of its forms and the creation of a supramental race and a supramental life.” But ever the question remains: how is this going to be achieved? It might be a possibility, a possibility already built into the scheme, but its realisation is a process to be worked out.
But who is going to work out this possibility? To shape humanity as the harbinger of this new supramental life is a yogic task to be done by a Yogi only. The power or principle or agent who could organise this new humanity, the intermediate race, Sri Aurobindo called the Mind of Light, the mind of the very physical that has opened itself to the supramental. Mind of Light is the presiding deity or adhişţātā of the new race. In the dynamism of this operation the presence of the Mind of Light, the physical receiving the supramental light, is the decisive stage in the final arrival of the superman proper. From this nature of the Mind of Light as the leader and governor of the intermediate race, the race of the true Overman, we might get an idea why Sri Aurobindo took the practical step of establishing it first as an imperative towards further evolutionary growth: he saw the necessity of the intermediate race governed by this Mind. It is the precursor, even a prerequisite, for the appearance of the supramental race, collective supermanhood. Yogically, Sri Aurobindo first created it in the transcendental and then established it in himself; his body’s cells became receptive to the supramental light and force. He gave the Mind of Light to the Mother as a yogic gift when he withdrew on 5 December 1950, thus making it dynamic here; not too long after this, in fact in less than six years, occurred the great event of the supramental descent and manifestation in the earth’s subtle physical.
Apropos of the role of the Mind of Light in the evolution of the future race of superior gnostic beings, K D Sethna writes: “The Mind of Light in its plenary form, leading to the fullness of what we may call the Life-force of Light and the Body of Light, would constitute the Intermediate Race between the Human and the Supramental Races. The Supramental Race would be a directly manifested line of Divine Beings who have never gone through the process of earthly evolution: they would be the Supermind humanised, as differentiated from Humanity supramentalised. Humanity would be supramentalised by a natural means of spiritualisation; the Supermind would be humanised by an occult means of materialisation developed by Humanity when it has supramentalised itself. The two achievements would be complimentary aspects of the complete manifestation of the Divine upon earth—the crowning vision of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and the all-consummating goal of his Yoga.” It would perhaps be necessary to pause and consider whether a “natural” means of spiritualisation can really supramentalise humanity. It was indeed the yogic endeavour of the Master-Yogi that had opened out the prospects.
Sethna explains the nature of this achievement through the spiritual realisations or siddhis of Aswapati, as we have in Savitri: “... there took place in his very physical substance an extraordinary growth of consciousness, a supernormal intensification of perception and puissance, due to the unfoldment of the real being in him, the essential animating self of him, and resulting in a wide-awake sustained ascent to a visionary and intuitive plane... Aswapati caught ... a sense akin to or instinct with the drive of the Primal Truths of the Transcendent that have to become the Final Realities of the Individual in the life-terms of the physical universe.” Even in the early stages of Aswapati’s Yoga there is the aspect of the body seeking its meaning and its fulfilment in the aggregate scheme of this vast and purposeful creation. Body’s cells acquire an extra-dense luminosity to promote prospects of undimming substantiality in the Spirit’s ever-growing immensities. The archetypal Harmony becomes definite and concrete, not only in terms of ideas alone but also in terms of established possibilities, in terms of multiply-realised relationships even in the material expression. The Cosmic and the Transcendental join the rich Individual, now ready to support and to articulate them variedly. When this begins to happen, then is ushered in a new age. This can be so only because someone has made himself available for the complex play of the countless universal forces. Soul’s release from the ignorant Nature is a first step without which this radical change cannot occur. With this soul’s release Aswapati, tells Sethna, “faces the objective and subjective Nature that constitutes our common habitual experience, our life of Ignorance, the physical and psychological fields of our works.”
Such may be taken as a statement of the Yoga of Evolution, Yoga as a creative-operative process in the dimensions of the vast Reality that initiates it and supports it. Such is the work which an Avatar alone can do. Indeed, his coming here is the sine quo non for the spiritual advance to take place; it is he who carries the evolution forward. Sri Aurobindo had gathered the supramental Light and Force and fixed the Supermind in his physical body. In yogic-spiritual terms, he attempted all and achieved all. Whatever was to be done was done, not for himself, nor for the sake of humanity; all that he did, he did for the sake of the Divine. One definite result of this was that the Mind of Light got fixed in the Mother. This happened in that midnight’s “tremendous hour”, at the time of his passing away. A decisive step towards supermanhood was taken.
The Yogi Purusha did his job, of creating the body of the Vijnanmaya Purusha. Now the Bhagavati Shakti must attend to her task right away. The foundational Nature has to receive this new Light and this new Power. That is her difficult task. That was the assignment given to the Mother by Sri Aurobindo. And she did carry it out. What was promised got fulfilled: “A new Light breaks upon the earth, a new world is born,”—she declared on 24 April 1956. The event had taken place much earlier, on 29 February 1956, when during collective meditation in the evening the golden Supermind leaped down on the golden Wednesday. Since then things remained no more the same. Supramental manifestation took place in the earth’s subtle-physical. What had exactly happened on 29 February 1956? The Mother says: “This evening the Divine Presence, concrete and material, was there present amongst you. I had a form of living gold, bigger than the universe, and I was facing a huge and massive golden door which separated the world from the Divine. As I looked at the door, I knew and willed, in a single movement of consciousness, that the time has come, and lifting with both hands a mighty golden hammer I struck one blow, one single blow on the door and the door was shattered to pieces. Then the Supramental Light and Force and Consciousness rushed down upon earth in an uninterrupted flow.” She also declared: “A new world is born, born, born.” It was not the old world transformed, but it was a new world that had taken birth. Her missioned work was completed in 1956. But then in the wake of supramental descent and manifestation she got preoccupied with readying humanity’s soul to receive this exceptional Light and Power. Once the Mother asked Sri Aurobindo: “After the descent of the Supermind, how long do you think the process of transformation will take?” He looked up and told her: “Perhaps 300 years.” Later the Mother added: “He said 300 years, but you know there is something like Grace—anything can take place.”
Some of the ancient traditions speak of the glorious body, but the divine body, divya deha, housing the gnostic being as revealed by Sri Aurobindo is something radically different from all that. He writes in August 1949: “This destiny of the body has rarely in the past been envisaged or else not for the body here upon earth; such forms would rather be imagined or visioned as the privilege of celestial beings and not possible as the physical residence of a soul still bound to terrestrial nature. The Vaishnavas have spoken of a spiritualised conscious body, cinmaya deha; there has been the conception of a radiant or luminous body, which might be the Vedic jyotirmaya deha. A light has been seen by some radiating from the bodies of highly developed spiritual persons, even extending to the emission of an enveloping aura and there has been recorded an initial phenomenon of this kind in the life of so great a spiritual personality as Ramakrishna. But these things have been either conceptual only or rare and occasional and for the most part the body has not been regarded as possessed of spiritual possibility or capable of transformation. It has been spoken of as the means of effectuation of the dharma and dharma here includes all high purposes, achievements and ideals of life not excluding the spiritual change: but it is an instrument that must be dropped when its work is done and though there may be and must be spiritual realisation while yet in the body, it can only come to its full fruition after the abandonment of the physical frame. More ordinarily in the spiritual tradition the body has been regarded as an obstacle, incapable of spiritualisation or transmutation and a heavy weight holding the soul to earthly nature and preventing its ascent either to spiritual fulfilment in the Supreme or to the dissolution of its individual being in the Supreme. But this… is insufficient for a… divine life upon earth… . The body is an offspring and creation of the Inconscient, itself inconscient or only half-conscious… but the fact that it has developed a soul and is capable of serving it as a means may indicate that it is capable of further development and may become a shrine and expression of the spirit, reveal a secret spirituality of Matter, become entirely and not only half-conscious, reach a certain oneness with the spirit.”
If there is going to be a divine Destiny for earth, it must be so because of a free choice of the soul of the earth itself. Not pressure or impulsion from above, nor just solicitude, but a glad spontaneous urge from within has to be there to get ready to receive that Destiny. The fundamental issue is of manifestation in the physical. The Mother was busy with it. Her occult work got focused to make the mind of the earth’s physical ready for that. The divine will has to be awakened even in the cellular physical; the divine flame has to be kindled in that house for the divine to dwell in a divine way. It looks rather paradoxical that, as if only during the last few years of her presence here upon earth, she should have said that “the more we advance on the way, the more the need of the Divine Presence becomes imperative and indispensable.” It is not that on 21 February 1973 she realised this imperative; it is the very physical that realised it on this day. It means, the physical was making a direct response for the Divine Presence in it. How marvellous!
“The supramental change is a thing decreed and inevitable in the evolution of the earth-consciousness,” wrote Sri Aurobindo in 1928. The supramental change was decreed by him and he and the Mother had set themselves to work out its inevitability. But to realise it in us there is needed the call and we have to be ready to receive what they are constantly showering on us. Tapahprabhava and Devaprasada together can, as the ancient Upanishadic scripture says, bring fulfilment to our longings, to our soul’s aspiration. To be engaged in that spiritual growth, to live and work and enjoy divinely in the Divine is the aspiring soul’s glad path of the future.
Apropos of the gnostic being a pertinent question that could be raised here is: will he be any different than the Avatar or Incarnation of the Divine himself? are the Superman and the Avatar the same? But the function of the Avatar is to establish a new principle of consciousness and enable evolution to move closer towards the secret divinity that is pressing to manifest itself with an increasing play of higher possibilities. Establishment of the Dharma, dharmasamsthāpanam, of the Law of the manifesting Truth, has been proclaimed to be the function of Avatarhood. In the case of the supramental Avatar it will be the supramental Dharma that will be founded; he will open out the way towards supermanhood. Can such an Avatar be called a superman? No, he cannot be; he belongs to a totally different category. While the Avatar accepts the conditions of world-ignorance to work out the divine Purpose and Will in it, superman belonging to the race of the gnostic beings does not accept any basis of ignorance for its existence; it cannot, by its very quality and integrity. Which means a supramental race, though evolutionary, will always live and grow in the widening Truth-Consciousness. That should also imply no need of any further Avatar of the Supreme.
Long ago the Mother had obtained the consent for collaboration from the material Nature. That was a great advance in the evolutionary process. Nature saw the distinct possibility and gained confidence in the work, as if she knew that this time she will not be duped. She discarded her earlier frustrating reservations. The Mother experienced the Divine alone acting in the body. In fact the Divine had become the body, with the power of omniscience and omnipotence operating in it. She was busy with the formation of the new body. A golden light, transparent and benevolent, very strong, very powerful filled the body’s cells. It is said in the Veda that the body of Agni is made of gold, it is hiraņya tanu. The Mother did it as a part of the evolutionary process. She was trying to fuse this material body with that supramental body. She would then simply walk into that body— without dying. This happened on 17 November 1973. She walked into the New Body.
If we have to mark a few important stages in the process of physical transformation, these could be quickly enumerated as follows: Sri Aurobindo’s descent into death, 1950; supramental manifestation in the earth’s subtle physical, 1956; realisation of the surhomme consciousness, 1958; consent for collaboration from the material Nature, 1958; the descent of the surhomme consciousness in 1969; the psychic being itself getting materialised, 1970; supramental body, 1972. It is the psychic being which will materialise itself and become the supramental being, the Mother told on 1 July 1970. It is precisely the psychic being which survives death. So, if it itself materialises, it means the abolition of the death of, and in, the physical. That is the central importance of the psychic being. Whatever is not in accordance with the Truth thus just disappears. Materialisation of the psychic being gives continuity to evolution. In the material world immortality means the materialisation of the psychic being. The New Body makes it possible. Perhaps that is the process. Now it is the New Body which will do whatever is to be done. It is not an inert lump of matter, but is charged with the luminous dynamism of the Divine. It is going to exert pressure upon the material in the evolutionary process. The supramental Presence is a sufficient, a wonderful necessary and sufficient basis for that to happen. Such is surely the greater gain than perhaps the transformation itself.
On 14 March 1970 the Mother spoke of the work Sri Aurobindo had given to her. He himself had, after 1950, willed and worked so much for the physical life to be governed by the higher consciousness that it became now possible for it to change into an authentic life. But it had to be translated into the process of time. The Aeon has to open out to receive it. The Mother was here to accomplish it. The emphasis was on the higher Power working in the physical, of manifesting in it. In 1967 she had the early certitude of it being done. There was even a conscious prayer from the cells of the body to the Supreme: “O Supreme Lord of the universe, we implore Thee, give us the strength and the beauty, the harmonious perfection needed to be Thy divine instruments upon earth.” Now the age-old illusion that the physical is incapable of opening to the higher Consciousness was altogether removed. The body started responding to it, joyously, submitting to it with an attitude of “It is as Thou Willest, Lord, as Thou Willest.” The body was no more as it was, said the Mother. The progress was such that it started breathing divinity, started living in divinity.
When the Mother’s sadhana entered the stage of awakening consciousness of the body’s cells, she found that they started chanting constantly the name of the Lord. They were all the while imploring the Lord for the strength and the beauty, for the harmonious perfection needed to be the divine instruments upon earth. Om Namo Bhagavate, Om Namo Bhagavate became the specific Word of Realisation. The Mother even spoke of the path that was never trod by anyone. Sri Aurobindo had done it in principle, she said on 26 November 1960; but she also added that the details had to be worked out. To make the body’s cells awake to the divine reality was an unprecedented task and the Mother had to discover the means for accomplishing it. It is here that she found the power of the Mantra coming to a definite aid in fixing the higher subtle-luminous in the dark and crude gross. Only Japa or repetition of the Mantra has direct action on the body. While she was engaged in this intense Japa-Yoga, she was actually invoking the “Lord of Tomorrow”.
Indeed, a very mysterious process accepting the circumstances of life, life as is, nourishes our urge towards immortality; this urge in turn is nourished by an equally enigmatic as well as stiff ordaining agent of creation: life only would be a blind attempt to grow but life and death together are presently the promoters of evolution. But if the transcendental immortality has to be housed here in Man the Mortal, here upon mrityuloka, then he has to exceed himself. He has to become Superman. Vijnanamaya Purusha or the Being of Knowledge has to arrive here. The well fashioned and beautifully made Upanishadic Man cannot be the ultimate crown of this great endeavour. The problem is the physical and it is in the physical that the new tapas-yoga has got to be done. We have to acquire the golden body, hiraņya tanu, of the Divine Agni. This needs another kind of Yoga, the Yoga of the Future. If by Tapas Brahma creates the world, then by Yoga the world in its totality has to see and breathe and live Brahmanhood in every respect.
This well fashioned Man is presently endowed in his subtle physical only with seven Chakras or centres of occult energy. What is below him and what is above him have not yet entered into its swift functioning. The rush of the Kundalini Force, of the occult Pranic or Vital Energy in these seven Chakras is a great beginning but in the veritable Yoga of Transformation what is necessary is that the two Chakras below the body and the three above have to materialise and become operative. This is what the Mother was told long ago by her occultist teacher Théon, and it was her experience also. For these Chakras to come into operation it is necessary to do another type of occult-spiritual yoga-tapasya. It is only then that the physical can respond to the working of the higher consciousness-force. A new body is necessary for this, a body that must emerge out of the Yajna of the Shakti. In it must be kindled the golden flame invoking the rush of the divine existence-substance as the basis of life in truth-conscient delight of the manifesting Spirit. But how exactly the new body will be made, that cannot be said or disclosed in the beginning. This however became the main thrust of the Mother’s yoga-tapasya during the last fifteen years or so of her work. The Mantra-japa she discovered was one possible method to achieve this. That was an unexplored technique.
The Mother was concerned with the almighty powers that are shut in the body’s cells. She awoke them. Not only that. The cells started joyously vibrating and opening out more and more in the aspiration for the Divine. This was something new. She said: “I have been sent upon earth to do the work of supramental transformation and the bringing about of the new creation, and I have been trying to do this... .” Sri Aurobindo had indicated that the new golden body is to be first formed out of the inner mental, inner vital and inner physical renewed and reshaped. The difficulty that notably comes in the modus operandi is that of the inner physical with its stubborn mind. While this mind, mind within matter, was gainfully formed under compulsion of the difficulties present in the unevolved obscure stuff, it also inherited those very stiff and harsh difficulties. If this mind—the Mind of Night standing across the path of the divine Event as we might see in Savitri—is transformed, then the transformation of the body can follow “quite naturally”. The Mother found Mantra-japa to be a definite way towards this. She was repeating everyday 1400 times the Mantra Om Namo Bhagavate. While the Mother was doing the Japayoga of the cells with the Mantra, with absolute faith she entrusted the entire work and the result to the Will of the Lord.
In October 1959 the Mother spoke something significant about the new world: “… it is not as if this new world of Truth had to be created from nothing: it is fully ready, it is there.” It is fully ready. Yes, it was made ready in the House of the Spirit. Sri Aurobindo had brought it into existence there fully. When in one of their occult-spiritual meetings she asked Sri Aurobindo as to when this other world, the real one that is there, so near, would come to take the place of this world of falsehood, he replied: “Not ready.” The Mother was given the charge of this “not ready”-earth; she took its burden upon herself.
At this most crucial stage her method was to leave everything to the Will of the Lord; yet in that Will she had also something to will. Four great times she was given the choice,— and she made the choice in it. She had the freedom to exercise her own will. It means that the whole being lived “only to know and serve the Divine”. To know the Divine, to will and to serve the Divine that his Will be done—this is what is to be practised.
Not what we think and see for ourselves, but what is thought and seen for us is all that matters. When there is no difference between our will and the Will of the Divine Shakti, then it is she who takes full charge of our life. Then we acquire our genuine freewill. In it can then be the truest expression of Krishna-Kali in us. When this is achieved then the Being of Delight, Anandamaya Purusha, with his Consciousness-Force or Shakti working for his joy, comes down wearing a crown of peacock plumes to play on his flute the Song of New Creation. This song of new creation is born in the fierce “death” of Death, in his transformation into the being of the Truth, he becoming the unveiled Sat-Purusha. Then begins the real re-creation of the Lord and his Shakti, of Krishna and Kali. “When the Unity has been well founded,” wrote long ago Sri Aurobindo, in 1916, “the static half of our work is done, but the active half remains. It is then that in the One we must see the Master and His Power,—Krishna and Kali.”
During the period 1912-20 we see the Krishna-Kali aspect occurring repeatedly as the most decisive and fundamental experience of Sri Aurobindo in the context of the Spirit’s dynamism in life. In his noting dated 1 January 1915 he writes: “Kali is now everywhere revealed in the bhāva of the madhur dāsī dominated by Krishna and administering to his bhoga.” Then, again, in February 1920: the Krishna-Kali relation founded on madhura dāsya is the foundation of tapas siddhi; it has the power to change the world. In fact Krishna’s delight and Kali’s action in his pleasure, Divine Action and Divine Enjoyment,—these two form the entire basis of this divine dynamism in the creation. If this world also has to be creatively progressive in this sense, then Krishna and Kali must step into it; that is the Avataric yoga-tapasya which has to be carried out. Belonging to the same period 1912-20 of Sri Aurobindo’s writings, we also have an early draft of Savitri in which the coming down of Krishna and Kali figures as the finest thing that can happen to this creation. It is with this most excellent boon that Savitri returns to earth with the soul of Satyavan:
Pursuing her in her fall implacably sweet
A face was over her which seemed a youth’s
Crowned as with peacock plumes of gorgeous hue
Framing a sapphire, whose heart-disturbing smile
Insatiably attracted to delight.
Often it changed, though rapturously the same,
And seemed a woman’s dark and beautiful,
Turbulent in will and terrible in love,
A shadowy glory and a stormy depth,
Like a mooned night with drifting star-gemmed clouds.
This Tapas-siddhi of bringing down Krishna and Kali is the entire purport of the yogic Savitri. Whatever stood in its way had to be removed and the path cleared to usher in the divine Event. In it is won the higher Amrita that was postponed earlier. In it is a Siddhi that does not remain static, but which by the work of Kali in the will of Krishna keeps on adding to itself realisable possibilities of the vast yet widening Truth-conscient Delight.
While this is the grand finale of the evolutionary scheme on its way to supermanhood, the actual modus operandi to effect it as a reality on earth, to look into details in the context of the existential parameters, is the pressing imperative. Here we must go to the last set of Sri Aurobindo’s prose writings, published during February 1949 and November 1950. In them he has asserted the fundamental role of the Mind of Light and the possibility of the Intermediate Race on the verge of realisation. As an evolving principle, he says, the Mind of Light marks a stage in the human ascent; it evolves a new type of human being. In this birth of the Mind of Light there are two stages: in the first, it gathers itself out of the Ignorance, assembles its constituent elements, builds up its shapes and types; in the second stage it develops itself in greater light taking its higher shapes and forms till it joins the supermind. Thus is built up the possibility of human ascent towards a divine living; then will there be an illumined divine life. During the entire process of evolution there has been the covert operation of supermind, out of Matter the emergence of Life and out of Life that of Mind; now Mind of Light as the last word of the lower hemisphere of being and the first word of the higher hemisphere provides the operating connection to supermind.
The arrival of the earth-evolution at the Mind of Light, at the threshold of supermanhood itself thus means the birth of a new aeon, of a new being of transcendental Time. In the rush and dynamism of the golden Kali it is the naissance of the golden Spirit, of the evolutionary Kala in a body of delight. Indeed, a new aeon is formed in it, created in it, established in it. Narad’s jubilant recital of the song of the transfiguration and the ecstasy is a cursor indicating the prospects that lie in the working of this new aeon, the Aeon of Krishna-Kali. In it all the barriers of the inconscient time crumble and fall, dissolve; in it the demons weep with joy and, having completed their dreadful task, prepare themselves to return to the One from whom they had come. Narad sees these prospects being realised in the work of Savitri and therefore, in that sweetness and harmony, in that felicity, he sings glory of the manifesting name. The work itself is done by Kali and is offered by her as a yajna to Krishna, but it is the divine Aeon who actually sees the sacrifice done; he is the yajamāna whose presence is necessary to every movement of the sacrifice. He is the Purusha of the Intermediate Race.
[The present article is actually a chapter in the author’s book entitled Narad’s Arrival at Madra published by Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry]
I will be brief. We have a series: physical instruments of observation in the scientific sense, such as microscopes, telescopes, modern accelerators; physical organs of contact, eye-ear-taste-smell-touch; behind them manas, mind as the true sense; finally sense in its purity samjnana that exists behind and beyond mind.
Kena Upanishad speaks of a Sight behind our sight and a Hearing behind our hearing, not in general terms of a Sense behind our sense. It starts with a series of questions and straightaway asserts a few things:
1. By whom missioned falls the mind shot to its mark? By whom yoked moves the first life-breath forward on its paths? By whom impelled is this word that men speak? What god set eye and ear to their workings?
2. That which is hearing of our hearing, mind of our mind, speech of our speech, that too is life of our life-breath and sight of our sight. The wise are released beyond and they pass from this world and become immortal.
3. There sight travels not, nor speech, nor the mind. We know It not nor can distinguish how one should teach of It: for It is other than the known; It is there above the unknown. It is so we have heard from men of old who declared That to our understanding.
4. That which is unexpressed by the word, that by which the word is expressed, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.
5. That which thinks not by the mind, that by which the mind is thought, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.
6. That which sees not with the eye, that by which one sees the eye's seeings, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.
7. That which hears not with the ear, that by which the ear's hearing is heard, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.
8. That which breathes not with the breath, that by which the life-breath is led forward in its paths, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.
Sri Aurobindo’s commentary in chapter IX (pp. 148-55) is reproduced in the following:
Mind was called by Indian psychologists the eleventh and ranks as the supreme sense. In the ancient arrangement of the senses, five of knowledge and five of action, it was the sixth of the organs of knowledge and at the same time the sixth of the organs of action. It is a commonplace of psychology that the effective functioning of the senses of knowledge is inoperative without the assistance of the mind; the eye may see, the ear may hear, all the senses may act, but if the mind pays no attention, the man has not heard, seen, felt, touched or tasted. Similarly, according to psychology, the organs of action act only by the force of the mind operating as will or, physiologically, by the reactive nervous force from the brain which must be according to materialistic notions the true self and essence of all will. In any case, the senses or all senses, if there are other than the ten,—according to a text in the Upanishad there should be at least fourteen, seven and seven,—all senses appear to be only organisations, functionings, instrumentations of the mind-consciousness, devices which it has formed in the course of its evolution in living Matter.
Modern psychology has extended our knowledge and has admitted us to a truth which the ancients already knew but expressed in other language. We know now or we rediscover the truth that the conscious operation of mind is only a surface action. There is a much vaster and more potent subconscious mind which loses nothing of what the senses bring to it; it keeps all its wealth in an inexhaustible store of memory, akshitam shravah. The surface mind may pay no attention, still the subconscious mind attends, receives, treasures up with an infallible accuracy. The illiterate servant-girl hears daily her master reciting Hebrew in his study; the surface mind pays no attention to the unintelligible gibberish, but the subconscious mind hears, remembers and, when in an abnormal condition it comes up to the surface, reproduces those learned recitations with a portentous accuracy which the most correct and retentive scholar might envy. The man or mind has not heard because he did not attend; the greater man or mind within has heard because he always attends, or rather sub-tends, with an infinite capacity. So too a man put under an anaesthetic and operated upon has felt nothing; but release his subconscious mind by hypnosis and he will relate accurately every detail of the operation and its appropriate sufferings; for the stupor of the physical sense-organ could not prevent the larger mind within from observing and feeling.
Similarly we know that a large part of our physical action is instinctive and directed not by the surface but by the subconscious mind. And we know now that it is a mind that acts and not merely an ignorant nervous reaction from the brute physical brain. The subconscious mind in the catering insect knows the anatomy of the victim it intends to immobilise and make food for its young and it directs the sting accordingly, as unerringly as the most skilful surgeon, provided the mere limited surface mind with its groping and faltering nervous action does not get in the way and falsify the inner knowledge or the inner will-force. These examples point us to truths which western psychology, hampered by past ignorance posing as scientific orthodoxy, still ignores or refuses to acknowledge. The Upanishads declare that the Mind in us is infinite; it knows not only what has been seen but what has not been seen, not only what has been heard but what has not been heard, not only what has been discriminated by the thought but what has not been discriminated by the thought. Let us say, then, in the tongue of our modern knowledge that the surface man in us is limited by his physical experiences; he knows only what his nervous life in the body brings to his embodied mind; and even of those bringings he knows, he can retain and utilise only so much as his surface mind-sense attends to and consciously remembers; but there is a larger subliminal consciousness within him which is not thus limited. That consciousness senses what has not been sensed by the surface mind and its organs and knows what the surface mind has not learned by its acquisitive thought. That in the insect knows the anatomy of its victim; that in the man outwardly insensible not only feels and remembers the action of the surgeon's knife, but knows the appropriate reactions of suffering which were in the physical body inhibited by the anaesthetic and therefore non-existent; that in the illiterate servant-girl heard and retained accurately the words of an unknown language and could, as Yogic experience knows, by a higher action of itself understand those superficially unintelligible sounds.
To return to the Vedantic words we have been using, there is a vaster action of the Sanjnana which is not limited by the action of the physical sense-organs; it was this which sensed perfectly and made its own through the ear the words of the unknown language, through the touch the movements of the unfelt surgeon's knife, through the sense-mind or sixth sense the exact location of the centres of locomotion in the victim insect. There is also associated with it a corresponding vaster action of Prajnana, Ajnana and Vijnana not limited by the smaller apprehensive and comprehensive faculties of the external mind. It is this vaster Prajnana which perceived the proper relation of the words to each other, of the movement of the knife to the unfelt suffering of the nerves and of the successive relation in space of the articulations in the insect's body. Such perception was inherent in the right reproduction of the words, the right narration of the sufferings, the right successive action of the sting. The Ajnana or Knowledge-Will originating all these actions was also vaster, not limited by the faltering force that governs the operations directed by the surface mind. And although in these examples the action of the vaster Vijnana is not so apparent, yet it was evidently there working through them and ensuring their co-ordination.
But at present it is with the Sanjnana that we are concerned. Here we should note, first of all, that there is an action of the sense-mind which is superior to the particular action of the senses and is aware of things even without imaging them in forms of sight, sound, contact, but which also as a sort of subordinate operation, subordinate but necessary to completeness of presentation, does image in these forms. This is evident in psychical phenomena. Those who have carried the study and experimentation of them to a certain extent, have found that we can sense things known only to the minds of others, things that exist only at a great distance, things that belong to another plane than the terrestrial but have here their effects; we can both sense them in their images and also feel, as it were, all that they are without any definite image proper to the five senses.
This shows, in the first place, that sight and the other senses are not mere results of the development of our physical organs in the terrestrial evolution. Mind, subconscious in all Matter and evolving in Matter, has developed these physical organs in order to apply its inherent capacities of sight, hearing etc., on the physical plane by physical means for a physical life; but they are inherent capacities and not dependent on the circumstance of terrestrial evolution and they can be employed without the use of the physical eye, ear, skin, palate. Supposing that there are psychical senses which act through a psychical body, and we thus explain these psychical phenomena, still that action also is only an organisation of the inherent functioning of the essential sense, the Sanjnana, which in itself can operate without bodily organs. This essential sense is the original capacity of consciousness to feel in itself all that consciousness has formed and to feel it in all the essential properties and operations of that which has form, whether represented materially by vibration of sound or images of light or any other physical symbol.
The trend of knowledge leads more and more to the conclusion that not only are the properties of form, even the most obvious such as colour, light etc., merely operations of Force, but form itself is only an operation of Force. This Force again proves to be self-power of conscious-being in a state of energy and activity. Practically, therefore, all form is only an operation of consciousness impressing itself with presentations of its own workings. We see colour because that is the presentation which consciousness makes to itself of one of its own operations; but colour is only an operation of Force working in the form of Light, and Light again is only a movement, that is to say an operation of Force. The question is what is essential to this operation of Force taking on itself the presentation of form? For it is this that must determine the working of Sanjnana or Sense on whatever plane it may operate.
Everything begins with vibration or movement, the original kshobha or disturbance. If there is no movement of the conscious being, it can only know its own pure static existence. Without vibration or movement of being in consciousness there can be no act of knowledge and therefore no sense; without vibration or movement of being in force there can be no object of sense. Movement of conscious being as knowledge becoming sensible of itself as movement of force, in other words the knowledge separating itself from its own working to watch that and take it into itself again by feeling,—this is the basis of universal Sanjnana. This is true both of our internal and external operations. I become anger by a vibration of conscious force acting as nervous emotion and I feel the anger that I have become by another movement of conscious force acting as light of knowledge. I am conscious of my body because I have myself become the body; that same force of conscious being which has made this form of itself, this presentation of its workings knows it in that form, in that presentation. I can know nothing except what I myself am; if I know others, it is because they also are myself, because my self has assumed these apparently alien presentations as well as that which is nearest to my own mental centre.
All sensation, all action of sense is thus the same in essence whether external or internal, physical or psychical. But this vibration of conscious being is presented to itself by various forms of sense which answer to the successive operations of movement in its assumption of form. For first we have intensity of vibration creating regular rhythm which is the basis or constituent of all creative formation; secondly, contact or intermiscence of the movements of conscious being which constitute the rhythm; thirdly, definition of the grouping of movements which are in contact, their shape; fourthly, the constant welling up of the essential force to support in its continuity the movement that has been thus defined; fifthly, the actual enforcement and compression of the force in its own movement which maintains the form that has been assumed. In Matter these five constituent operations are said by the Sankhyas to represent themselves as five elemental conditions of substance, the etheric, atmospheric, igneous, liquid and solid; and the rhythm of vibration is seen by them as shabda, sound, the basis of hearing, the intermiscence as contact, the basis of touch, the definition as shape, the basis of sight, the upflow of force as rasa, sap, the basis of taste, and the discharge of the atomic compression as gandha, odour, the basis of smell. It is true that this is only predicated of pure or subtle Matter; the physical matter of our world being a mixed operation of force, these five elemental states are not found there separately except in a very modified form. But all these are only the physical workings or symbols. Essentially all formation, to the most subtle and most beyond our senses such as form of mind, form of character, form of soul, amount when scrutinised to this fivefold operation of conscious-force in movement.
All these operations, then, the Sanjnana or essential sense must be able to seize, to make its own by that union in knowledge of knower and object which is peculiar to itself. Its sense of the rhythm or intensity of the vibrations which contain in themselves all the meaning of the form, will be the basis of the essential hearing of which our apprehension of physical sound or the spoken word is only the most outward result; so also its sense of the contact or intermiscence of conscious force with conscious force must be the basis of the essential touch; its sense of the definition or form of force must be the basis of the essential sight; its sense of the upflow of essential being in the form, that which is the secret of its self-delight, must be the basis of the essential taste; its sense of the compression of force and the self-discharge of its essence of being must be the basis of the essential inhalation grossly represented in physical substance by the sense of smell. On whatever plane, to whatever kind of formation these essentialities of sense will apply themselves and on each they will seek an appropriate organisation, an appropriate functioning.
This various sense will, it is obvious, be in the highest consciousness a complex unity, just as we have seen that there the various operation of knowledge is also a complex unity. Even if we examine the physical senses, say, the sense of hearing, if we observe how the underlying mind receives their action, we shall see that in their essence all the senses are in each other. That mind is not only aware of the vibration which we call sound; it is aware also of the contact and interchange between the force in the sound and the nervous force in us with which that intermixes; it is aware of the definition or form of the sound and of the complex contacts or relations which make up the form; it is aware of the essence or outwelling conscious force which constitutes and maintains the sound and prolongs its vibrations in our nervous being; it is aware of our own nervous inhalation of the vibratory discharge proceeding from the compression of force which makes, so to speak, the solidity of the sound. All these sensations enter into the sensitive reception and joy of music which is the highest physical form of this operation of force,—they constitute our physical sensitiveness to it and the joy of our nervous being in it; diminish one of them and the joy and the sensitiveness are to that extent dulled. Much more must there be this complex unity in a higher than the physical consciousness and most of all must there be unity in the highest. But the essential sense must be capable also of seizing the secret essence of all conscious being in action, in itself and not only through the results of the operation; its appreciation of these results can be nothing more than itself an outcome of this deeper sense which it has of the essence of the Thing behind its appearances.
If we consider these things thus subtly in the light of our own deeper psychology and pursue them beyond the physical appearances by which they are covered, we shall get to some intellectual conception of the sense behind our senses or rather the Sense of our senses, the Sight of our sight and the Hearing of our hearing. The Brahman-consciousness of which the Upanishad speaks is not the Absolute withdrawn into itself, but that Absolute in its outlook on the relative; it is the Lord, the Master-Soul, the governing Transcendent and All, He who constitutes and controls the action of the gods on the different planes of our being.
Since it constitutes them, all our workings can be no more than psychical and physical results and representations of something essential proper to its supreme creative outlook, our sense a shadow of the divine Sense, our sight of the divine Sight, our hearing of the divine Hearing. Nor is that divine Sight and Hearing limited to things physical, but extend themselves to all forms and operations of conscious being.
The supreme Consciousness does not depend on what we call sight and hearing for its own essential seeing and audition. It operates by a supreme Sense, creative and comprehensive, of which our physical and psychical sight and hearing are external results and partial operations. Neither is it ignorant of these, nor excludes them; for since it constitutes and controls, it must be aware of them but from a supreme plane, param dhama, which includes all in its view; for its original action is that highest movement of Vishnu which, the Veda tells us, the seers behold like an eye extended in heaven. It is that by which the soul sees its seeings and hears its hearings; but all sense only assumes its true value and attains to its absolute, its immortal reality when we cease to pursue the satisfactions of the mere external and physical senses and go beyond even the psychical being to this spiritual or essential which is the source and fountain, the knower, constituent and true valuer of all the rest.
This spiritual sense of things, secret and superconscient in us, alone gives their being, worth and reality to the psychical and physical sense; in themselves they have none. When we attain to it, these inferior operations are as it were taken up into it and the whole world and everything in it changes to us and takes on a different and a non-material value. That Master-consciousness in us senses our sensations of objects, sees our seeings, hears our hearings no longer for the benefit of the senses and their desires, but with the embrace of the self-existent Bliss which has no cause, beginning or end, eternal in its own immortality.
If these aspects are not present in a work presenting Sri Aurobindo then it becomes a farce.
Sri Aurobindo in a letter, dated 12 July 1911 to Barin, his younger brother and revolutionary, written a little after one year of his coming to Pondicherry, reveals as what he was busy with:
I am developing the necessary powers for bringing down the spiritual on the material plane… What I perceive most clearly, is that the principal object of my Yoga is to remove absolutely and entirely every possible source of error and ineffectiveness… It is for this reason that I have been going through so long a discipline and that the more brilliant and mighty results of Yoga have been so long withheld. I have been kept busy laying down the foundation, a work severe and painful. It is only now that the edifice is beginning to rise upon the sure and perfect foundation that has been laid.
In another letter he tells us about his earliest connection with the Mother, that they were in material and spiritual contact with each other since his coming to Pondicherry.
But the identity was in fact at a much deeper level. Even before the actual meeting took place for the first time on 29 March 1914, the Mother was significantly speaking of “us” in a few contexts. Thus we have the Mother’s revealing prayer of 11 January 1914.
I know that a day will come when Thou wilt transform all those who come to us; Thou wilt transform them so radically that, liberated completely from the bonds of the past, they will begin to live in Thee an entirely new life, a life made solely of Thee, with Thee as its sovereign Lord.
Again, on 11 August 1914, after the meeting, the Mother speaks of their being sent upon earth to prepare the Unknown’s ways. The Unknown One, she says, is waiting for the propitious hour of manifestation in which His Will will be done. Indeed, behind their coming together there was the Divine Will itself. It was in that Will, in that high samkalpa that everything was going to be worked out. That Will became dynamic in their wonderful undertaking.
It is unfortunate that we do not have anything of the sort in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo.
Nov 11, 2008
Related to Rationalism and Devotion is the question of Biography and Hagiography, in fact here they are just two representations of the same. If hagiography is biography revering its saint, then any non-hagiographic biography of a saint will deprive him of his sainthood. This is precisely what the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is doing in his presentation of a Saint and a Rishi and a Yogi. Posted at the Columbia University Press in CUP the author himself gives the following summary introduction to us. He poses a question to himself and sets to answer it: “How do you write about a man who is known to some as a politician, to others as a poet and critic, to still others as a philosopher, and to a not inconsiderable number as an incarnation of God? This is one of the problems a biographer of Sri Aurobindo has to face.”
The answer is simple: ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the sainthood of Sri Aurobindo. If he is not a saint or spiritual guide then it is absurd to speak of being a practitioner of his path, the Path of Integral Yoga given by Sri Aurobindo, which is precisely what the author of the Lives mantains. But if he is a saint, then any denial of sainthood in the biography will give rise to abundant irrationality of the author as much as of the publishers also who didn’t look into these details carefully enough, it seems. Not presenting the aspect of sainthood of a saint will thus amount to falsehood.
The author is puzzled about Sri Aurobindo sitting with a guru in the last week of January 1908, “a guru who taught him a meditation technique, and that, as Aurobindo later put it, ‘In three days—really in one, my mind became full of an eternal silence’—by which he meant the mental stillness and freedom from ego known as Nirvana.” Does “mental stillness” mean “eternal silence”? But they are two different things. What this experience meant was that the mind had fallen totally silent, a state in which he could see thoughts not rising from the brain but coming from outside, from the cosmic field. He could stop them entering into him or allow them in. This is the state in which he would receive the higher knowledge directly, without mental interference, and all his Arya and later writings came in that state. It is not a state of Nirvana, nor does the ego really disappear in it. It is an experience of the Vedantic Passive Brahman. This is one of the major realizations he had just within three days. The other realization, within months of this one when he was in Alipore jail as an undertrial prisoner, was that of Active Brahman; there he witnessed the all-pervasive presence of Vasudeava. Can one ignore these master-experiences to satisfy the demands of a rational mind? These are spiritual realizations which come after lives of yogic effort and here’s Sri Aurobindo who got within months. What does that mean? But it is this Silent Mind that the Mother received as the first gift from Sri Aurobindo when they met on 29 March 1914.
But let us see further what our author has to say. “It certainly is legitimate to cite Aurobindo’s own statements about this and other inner experiences. But personal reminiscences don’t count for much in scholarly biographies unless they are backed up by objective data and analysis.” He adds: “It certainly would be uncritical to accept at face value all that Aurobindo wrote about his inner life; but it would be a different sort of negligence to refuse to consider accounts of inner experience a priori grounds, or to explain them away according to the assumptions of one or another social-scientific orthodoxy.”
As far as spiritual experiences and realizations are concerned, by saying so it is as good as trying to bring what is transcendental into the domain of the limited, mundane or rational, a thing which is simply impossible. You accept them or you just forget about them. Not seeing the difference between the two is sheer inanity of the rational mind and such inanity has no value in spiritual matters, perhaps nowhere.
And there’s yet another brave statement: “I don’t have the necessary discernment to criticize Aurobindo’s visions as visions; but I recognize—as Aurobindo himself did—that inner visions and experiences are open to different interpretations.” But “different interpretations” by whom? Of course by one who has the “necessary discernment” not to criticize, but to perceive things that are absolutely spiritual. In such a case the best thing should have been to keep quiet and not throw careless assertions around.
Even if we assume the best intentions of the author to bring the rational mind to Sri Aurobindo, he must first understand both. His method instead is by cutting up the uncleavable to one-fourth of its size. That is the absurdity of the entire approach and it’s a pity there are wise folk who applaud it—not recognizing what the Integral Yoga really is. After all, the solution to rationality is by transcending rationality and seeing it from that higher location. That is the solution for every problem and, if we are earnest, our endeavour should be to transcend all limitations to which we are tied. That needs great inner spiritual preparation and unless that is done one does not talk of biography and hagiography, least in the disparaging manner.
Nov 10, 2008
I’m reproducing in the following a comment by Debashish Banerji which appears at:
The yoga today is in serious need of being made accessible to a larger sector of humanity, who shy away from either new age mish-mash or overt devotionalism. Sri Aurobindo has built a bridge between rationaity and suprarationality. There is an aspiration within rationality also towards certitude of the truth, which it lacks. If someone can speak to that, it will mean addressing the predominant faith of the modern age and showing it that a way exists. After that, it is for those who wish to, to follow. But if one is not allowed to show this way, on the grounds that a devotional approach is the only way to understand the spiritual life shown by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, humanity at large will have been rejected from the yoga and it will have to remain a practice of the self-chosen few. This is what The Lives has attempted in essence. The totality of the work and its effect must be seen and not some partial representation which alone we insist on or consider adequate.
The problem in this posting is the divisive nature of approach towards spiritual pursuit, pursuit in the light of Sri Aurobindo. The follower of the Integral Yoga understands well that every aspect of human nature and personality has a role to play in terms of his spiritual realization. He has a mind, he has a heart, he has a will and he has an opening possible through luminous strength. But each one follows his own basic swabhava or intrinsic character that makes him a true individual. If one’s swabhava is for Jnana or for Bhakti or for Skill in Work or enlightened Heroism one goes by that. What counts for him is his spiritual progress by recognizing his swabhava. But in the pseudo formulation of Integral Yoga a trenchant division is made for instance between Rationalism and Devotion, between Jnana and Bhakti. Although this is not new to spiritual history, the tendency now is to throw one or the other out of the precincts of the Aurobindonian Integralism. While there can be an aspiration in the rational mind, to debunk the devotionalism is an extreme expression of its irrationality. The reverse is also true. Now it is here that a great injustice is done for the cause of valid Integral Yoga by the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. While presenting the Master to the rational audience no care has been taken by him to see that he is causing harm to other aspects. Would that not deprive the rational mind the possibility of turning towards devotion for instance or to some other aspects? If a rational mind wants to remain rational only, then there seems to be some kind of lacuna and this the Integral Yoga cannot admit. The integration in his swabhava has of course to be on the basis of Jnana, but Jnana itself gets enriched by other aspects also. It is a reiterative process, and everywhere so. What is the scope for that in the Lives? None, and all we can say is poor rationalism! I don’t think there is anybody in the integral followers doing something for the “self-chosen few.” This will be a contradiction by itself and it is that which unfortunately is being perpetrated by the non-bhakti pro-jnana tribe. That is the disservice done by the latest biography of Sri Aurobindo.