The genesis of Sri Aurobindo’s superman

“Man is a transitional being” – Sri Aurobindo averred when he envisioned the coming of a new species he called “superman”.  It is generally not necessary to practice Yoga after you attain Self-realization but both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother continued to do so in order to attain the next stage, which they called the “supramental transformation” (hence the epigram “Sri Aurobindo’s yoga begins where other Yogas end”). This aspect of their work is often misunderstood by pedantic scholars who have the irksome tendency of rashly equating superficially similar ideas espoused by various thinkers across the globe.  These scholars tend to claim that Sri Aurobindo’s idea of the superman must have been influenced by Neitzche’s Ubermensch or by Darwin’s theory of evolution.  In this article, I will endeavour to demonstrate the actual origin of the concept of the superman through numerous remarks made by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the subject.  As much as possible, I shall present original quotations in order to avoid adding a layer of (mis)interpretation.

A cartoon published in 1871 after Darwin’s theory was published. The gorilla is saying: “That man wants to claim my pedigree. He says he is one of my descendants.” Mr Bergh (the founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) replies: “Now, Mr Darwin, how could you insult him so?”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s views

Before she met Sri Aurobindo in 1914, the Mother had lived with occultists Max and Alma Theon in Algeria from 1906-1908.  The three of them had conducted a detailed exploration of the occult worlds which exist “beyond” the physical world.   During some of these sojourns, the Mother had seen a “prototype” in the border between the manifested worlds and the Formless regions above it.   There are two conversations recorded in the 1960s where she relates these details to her disciple, Satprem.  On 7th Nov, 1961, she said:

Well, one time I was there (Theon used to warn against going beyond this domain, because he said you wouldn’t come back), but there I was, wanting to pass over to the other side, when – in a quite unexpected and astounding way – I found myself in the presence of the ‘principle,’ a principle of the human form. It didn’t resemble man as we are used to seeing him, but it was an upright form, standing just on the border between the world of forms and the Formless, like a kind of standard. [[By ‘standard,’ Mother means a sort of model or archetype.]] At that time nobody had ever spoken to me about it and Madame Theon had never seen it – no one had ever seen or said anything. But I felt I was on the verge of discovering a secret.

Afterwards, when I met Sri Aurobindo and talked to him about it, he told me, ‘It is surely the prototype of the supramental form.’ I saw it several times again, later on, and this proved to be true[1].

The content of another conversation recorded on 12th Oct 1966 is quite similar:

12th Oct, 1966: When one went beyond and entered those regions, then there was … it was the Supreme outside the creation, beyond the creation. That’s where I saw the representative form of the new creation (and that was before I ever heard anything about Sri Aurobindo and the Supermind), that’s where I saw the form that must succeed the human form, like the symbolic representation of the new creation. That was two or three years before I heard of Sri Aurobindo and met him. So when he told me about the supramental creation, I said to him (laughing), “But of course, I know, I saw it up there!” [2].

There is no record of Sri Aurobindo having similarly glimpsed the “supramental prototype” but according to the diary he kept of his occult experiments (now called “The Record of Yoga”), it seems that in March of 1914, he was shown the vast evolutionary scale through which life evolves on Earth.  According to the Hindu scriptures, the universe has been created and destroyed many times. Each such creation, which is called a Kalpa(Aeon), comprises of fourteen Manvantaras(age of Manu) and in each Manvantara, life evolves through the descent of plant, animal and human prototypes from the higher occult worlds into the material world.  It is not just one human race, but multiple types of humanoid races which progressively manifest.  In the Record of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo calls these prototypes as Pashu, Vanara, Pishacha, Pramatha, Rakshasa, Asura, Deva, Sadhyadeva, Siddhadeva and Satyadeva.  You can see a slightly different classification on wikipedia under Manvantara.

In one vision, Sri Aurobindo was given a glimpse of life in the first two Manvantaras

A series of images and a number of intimations have been given yesterday in the chitra-drishti(visions) to illustrate the history of the first two Manwantaras & the vicissitudes through which the human idea has gone in the course of these unnumbered ages. It is not at all surprising that there should be no relics of those vicissitudes in the strata of the present earth; for the present earth is not the soil of the planet as it was in the earliest Manwantaras[3].

According to another diary entry, he was shown a humanoid race which had existed in an earlier age:

22nd March, 1914:

3. Also in the clouds. Certain scenes of a pursuit in the early Manwantaras of a race of divinised Pashus by Barbarians. Also, animals & arms of other ages. (The latter are common).

The whole of 3 (i.e.the vision above), which is recorded elsewhere, was an instance expressly given of the way in which the Theosophists arrive at their results & shows both their sincerity & the possibilities and pitfalls of their method[4].

Once, he was shown the animal prototypes which are formed in the higher worlds before the actual animals manifest on the Earth.

26 March, 1914: Fantastic images of animals, a lion with an impossibly slender body, a cock face on a fourfooted animal, belonging to the idea-world of the Manus where types are evolved & varied before they are fixed in the sthula (gross physical world) [5].

Based on such insights, Sri Aurobindo reached the following conclusion of how evolution proceeds on Earth:

Every race that thus overshoots its mark & goes a step farther than their immediate next race in evolution aids powerfully that evolution, but becomes unfit for survival & has to disappear. For this reason the Gandharva race of the Pashus disappeared & the Asura Rakshasa type reappeared, then took up something of the Gandharva & advanced one step towards the Asura-Pashu of the Asura type. By such overleapings & recoilings human evolution has always advanced [6].

I have provided a glimpse of the visions Sri Aurobindo had on the occult mechanism behind evolution.  The entire text is too voluminous to reproduce here.  If you are curious, you can read pages 1323-1335 of the Record of Yoga (CWSA vol 10-11) available online

There are worlds upon worlds “above” our gross physical world, and these worlds shape the forces and forms that eventually manifest in the physical world.  Before a species appears on the planet, its prototype becomes visible in these occult worlds.  As the Mother explains above, she had seen the “supramental prototype” and that is what convinced her that a new species would someday emerge on earth.  In an essay written in the Karmayogin journal sometime in 1909-1910, Sri Aurobindo had explained the occult mechanism that brings about the evolution of a new species:

The whole burden of our human progress has been an attempt to escape from the bondage to the body and the vital impulses. According to the scientific theory, the human being began as the animal, developed through the savage and consummated in the modern civilised man. The Indian theory is different. God created the world by developing the many out of the One and the material out of the spiritual. From the beginning, the objects which compose the physical world were arranged by Him in their causes, developed under the law of their being in the subtle or psychical world and then manifested in the gross or material world. From karana(causal) to sukshma(subtle), from sukshma to sthula(gross physical), and back again, that is the formula. Once manifested in matter the world proceeds by laws which do not change, from age to age, by a regular succession, until it is all withdrawn back again into the source from which it came. The material goes back into the psychical and the psychical is involved in its cause or seed. It is again put out when the period of expansion recurs and runs its course on similar lines but with different details till the period of contraction is due [7].

(Note: Karana, sukshma, sthula above refer to the gradations of the worlds of consciousness)

Similarly, during a conversation with Ashram inmates, the Mother elucidated on this world of archetypes:

Question: What is “the heavenly archetype of the lotus”?

Mother: It means the primal idea of the lotus.

Each thing that is expressed physically was conceived somewhere before being realised materially.

There is an entire world which is the world of the fashioners, where all conceptions are made. And this world is very high, much higher than all the worlds of the mind; and from there these formations, these creations, these types which have been conceived by the fashioners come down and are expressed in physical realisations. And there is always a great distance between the perfection of the idea and what is materialised. Very often the materialised things are like caricatures in comparison with the primal idea. This is what he calls the archetype. This takes place in worlds… not always the same ones, it depends on the things; but for many things in the physical, the primal ideas, these archetypes, were in what Sri Aurobindo calls the Overmind.

But there is a still higher domain than this where the origins are still purer, and if one reaches this, attains this, one finds the absolutely pure types of what is manifested upon earth. And then it is very interesting to compare, to see to what an extent earthly creation is a frightful distortion. And moreover, it is only when one can reach these regions and see the reality of things in their essence that one can work with knowledge to transform them here; otherwise on what can we take our stand to conceive a better world, more perfect, more beautiful than the existing one? It can’t be on our imagination which is itself  something very poor and very material. But if one can enter that consciousness, rise right up to these higher worlds of creation, then with this in one’s consciousness one can work at making material things take their real form [8].

Those who find this discussion evocative of Plato’s Theory of Forms should not be surprised because Plato’s remarks may have been based his occult perception.  Western philosophy tends to appropriate the rational side of Greek thought and ignores its mystical dimension thereby creating a lop-sided view of Greek philosophers.

The preceding discussion raises the question: since the prototype of the next species exists out there, it is guaranteed that there will be a new species a few centuries from now.  If that is so, what was the need for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to engage in the supramental transformation?  This kind of work is usually driven by Divine guidance (called sankalpa in Sanskrit).  They acted because their conscious participation would augment the process, as we can gather from the following passage in the Life Divine.  This passage is part of a new chapter which was written by Sri Aurobindo in 1940:

It is conceivable indeed that, without the descent, by a secret pressure from above, by a long evolution, our terrestrial Nature might succeed in entering into a close contact with the higher now superconscient planes and a formation of subliminal Overmind might take place behind the veil; as a result a slow emergence of the consciousness proper to these higher planes might awake on our surface. It is conceivable that in this way there might appear a race of mental beings thinking and acting not by the intellect or reasoning and reflecting intelligence, or not mainly by it, but by an intuitive mentality which would be the first step of an ascending change; this might be followed by an overmentalisation which would carry us to the borders beyond which lies the Supermind or divine Gnosis. But this  process would inevitably be a long and toilsome endeavour of Nature. There is a possibility too that what would be achieved might only be an imperfect superior mentalisation; the new higher elements might strongly dominate the consciousness, but they would be still subjected to a modification of their action by the principle of an inferior mentality: there would be a greater expanded and illuminating knowledge, a cognition of a higher order; but it would still undergo a mixture subjecting it  to the law of the Ignorance, as Mind undergoes limitation by the law of Life and Matter. For a real transformation there must be a direct and unveiled intervention from above; there would be necessary too a total submission and surrender of the lower consciousness, a cessation of its insistence, a will in it for its separate law of action to be completely annulled by transformation and lose all rights over our being. If these two conditions can be achieved even now by a conscious call and will in the spirit and a participation of our whole manifested and inner being in its change and elevation, the evolution, the transformation can take place by a comparatively swift conscious change; the supramental Consciousness-Force from above and the evolving Consciousness-Force from behind the veil acting on the awakened awareness and will of the mental human being would accomplish by their united power the momentous transition. There would be no farther need of a slow evolution counting many millenniums for each step, the halting and difficult evolution operated by Nature in the past in the unconscious creatures of the Ignorance [9].

Other concurring views on the prototype

The fact that a “prototype” of every species exists has also been affirmed by other occultists.  Madame H.P. Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society, states in the Secret Doctrine that the astral prototype of man preceded his physical appearance. After the physical form appeared, it became subject to the processes of differentiation (i.e. Darwinian evolution.)  The following text appears in a footnote in the Secret Doctrine:

This will be pooh-poohed, because it will not be understood by our modern men of science; but every Occultist and theosophist will easily realize the process. There can be no objective form on Earth (nor in the Universe either), without its astral prototype being first formed in Space. From Phidias down to the humblest workman in the ceramic art — a sculptor has had to create first of all a model in his mind, then sketch it in one and two dimensional lines, and then only can he reproduce it in a three dimensional or objective figure. And if human mind is a living demonstration of such successive stages in the process of evolution — how can it be otherwise when Nature’s Mind and creative powers are concerned? [10].

Carlos Castaneda seems to have had an occult vision of the human prototype, as per the text in his book “Fire from Within”.  Castaneda refers to the prototype as the “mold of man”.  His teacher Don Juan told him that mystics who see the prototype often mistake it for God !

As I gazed into the light with all the passion I was capable of, the light seemed to condense and I saw a man. A shiny man that exuded charisma, love, understanding, sincerity, truth. A man that was the sum total of all that is good.  The fervor I felt on seeing that man was well beyond anything I had ever felt in my life. I did fall on my knees. I wanted to worship God personified, but don Juan intervened and whacked me on my left upper chest, close to my clavicle, and I lost sight of God….

He gave me a detailed explanation of what the mold of man was. He did not talk about it in terms of the Eagle’s emanations, but in terms of a pattern of energy that serves to stamp the qualities of humanness on an amorphous blob of biological matter. At least, I understood it that way, especially after he further described the mold of man using a mechanical analogy.  He said that it was like a gigantic die that stamps out human beings endlessly as if they were coming to it on a mass production conveyor belt.  He vividly mimed the process by bringing the palms of his hands together with great force, as if the die molded a human being each time its two halves were clapped.  He also said that every species has a mold of its own, and every individual of every species molded by the process shows characteristics particular to its own kind….

He began then an extremely disturbing elucidation about the mold of man. He said that the old seers as well as the mystics of our world have one thing in common-they have been able to see the mold of man but not understand what it is. Mystics, throughout the centuries, have given us moving accounts of their experiences. But these accounts, however beautiful, are flawed by the gross and despairing mistake of believing the mold of man to be an omnipotent, omniscient creator; and so is the interpretation of the old seers, who called the mold of man a friendly spirit, a protector of man….

For the mold of man cannot under any circumstances help us by intervening in our behalf, or punish our wrongdoings, or reward us in any way. We are simply the product of its stamp; we are its impression. The mold of man is exactly what its name tells us it is, a pattern, a form, a cast that groups together a particular bunch of fiberlike elements, which we call man [11].

The wikipedia page on Hindu views on evolution claims that a 8th century C.E. scripture called the Tiruvacakam discusses evolution, but after taking a cursory glance at the online translation, I was unable to find a suitable reference.

Biological perspective

Advances in biological understanding raise obvious questions as to how the occult prototype influences or interferes with the visible biological aspect.  For example, what happens to the prototype when a species become extinct? I don’t know but it is possible that the prototype continues to exist until the dissolution of the universe.   One could also wonder how the prototype is affected or changed when a new species is created, either in the laboratory or in the field due to reproductive isolation (the biological term is “speciation”).  As it stands, there is disagreement between scientists over what constitutes speciation.  In the absence of any original occult insight into these matters, its best to let this question float for now.

In the context of this discussion, it is worth noting that about a hundred years ago, Sri Aurobindo had envisioned that one day man would be able to modify plants and animals.  In a commentary on the Isha Upanishad written in during the 1913-1914 period, he wrote:

Modern man has not yet succeeded in discovering or using the laws of Life, but there is no reason to suppose that he will not one day make that discovery also. The day must inevitably come when he will be able even to originate no less than to modify freely both plant life and animal life in matter and govern them for his purposes as he now originates mechanisms of material force and modifies and governs its currents, combinations and separate workings so as to abridge distance, to invade the air, to economise the expenditure of his own life energies or to serve a hundred other purposes of human construction, destruction or development [12].

Conclusion

To conclude, Sri Aurobindo’s idea of the superman was derived neither from Darwin nor Nietzche, but from the occult visions that he and the Mother had experienced.   They were aware of the existence of the prototype of a new species and thereafter undertook the work of supramental transformation to prepare for its coming.  It would be too onerous to discuss the precise details of the supramental transformation in this article.

People who are exposed to the topic of supramental transformation inevitably ask the question: well, then when is this huge supramental change going to happen?  Certainly not in our lifetimes, in which case it doesn’t really matter.  There are a couple of occasions when I had to answer this question on this blog so I am going to reproduce the answers here.

In this comment, I said:

“Such high-level questions are best left unanswered because they serve as a litmus test to separate wheat from chaff. Those who are discouraged by such questions tend to be unfit for Yogic practice. On the other hand, those who have received the inner call to practice Yoga will continue to stake the path irrespective of any doubts regarding current status, because they have realized that there is no other choice, since the phenomenal world cannot offer the joys that Yoga brings.

So you have to find the answer on your own through your yogic practice. And if you don’t practice, then the question doesn’t need to be answered, because if I give you an answer, it becomes dogma.”

In another comment, I replied:

“I don’t spend any time speculating on such lofty questions regarding the supramental, mahapralaya, etc. Knowledge in the spiritual path is given on a need-to-know basis. When you are inwardly ready for something, the knowledge will be automatically disclosed to you in a vision.

Until then, one has to focus on bread-and-butter issues. One has to learn to live better by regulating food consumption and speech, sleeping well, extending the duration of mental silence, etc. When you reach a certain stable point in the spiritual path, your intuition awakens and automatically provides you with the answers to the questions as required.”

We end up with some verses from Savitri:

I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers
Over the heavenly verge which turns towards life
Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth;
Forerunners of a divine multitude,
Out of the paths of the morning star they came
Into the little room of mortal life.
I saw them cross the twilight of an age,
The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,
The great creators with wide brows of calm,
The massive barrier-breakers of the world
And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,
The labourers in the quarries of the gods,
The messengers of the Incommunicable,
The architects of immortality.
Into the fallen human sphere they came,
Faces that wore the Immortal’s glory still,
Voices that communed still with the thoughts of God,
Bodies made beautiful by the spirit’s light,
Carrying the magic word, the mystic fire,
Carrying the Dionysian cup of joy,
Approaching eyes of a diviner man,
Lips chanting an unknown anthem of the soul,
Feet echoing in the corridors of Time.
High priests of wisdom, sweetness, might and bliss,
Discoverers of beauty’s sunlit ways
And swimmers of Love’s laughing fiery floods
And dancers within rapture’s golden doors,
Their tread one day shall change the suffering earth
And justify the light on Nature’s face.

(Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book III, Canto IV)

References

  1. Mother’s Agenda.  7th Nov, 1961.
  2. Mother’s Agenda, 12th Oct, 1966.
  3. Sri Aurobindo.  Record of Yoga, CWSA vol. 10-11, p 1326.
  4. ibid., p 395.
  5. ibid., p 410.
  6. ibid.,p 1334.
  7. Sri Aurobindo. Essays in Philosophy and Yoga CWSA vol 13, p 18.
  8. The Mother.  Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 7, p 122.
  9. Sri Aurobindo.  The Life Divine, CWSA vol. 21-22, p 956.
  10. H.P. Blavatsky. The Secret Doctrine, 3rd edition, vol. 2 – Anthropogenesis, London : Theosophical Publishing Society, 1893, p 697. (google books) (online)
  11. Carlos Castaneda.  Fire from Within, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984, pp 254-267 passim. (google books)
  12. Sri Aurobindo.  Isha Upanishad CWSA vol 17, p 536.

Related Posts

  1. Supermind: descending vs latent
  2. Progress reports of Sri Aurobindo
  3. Early mystic experiences of Sri Aurobindo
  4. Man the microcosm, Universe the macrocosm
  5. Spacetime in occult worlds
  6. Twelve occult dimensions
  7. The latent Consciousness within Matter
  8. Does Nature revolt against machinery?
  9. On spirit possession and mental imbalances
  10. Difference between genius and mysticism
  11. Why the future is veiled from us
  12. Perception of Time changes with the concentration of consciousness


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142 thoughts on “The genesis of Sri Aurobindo’s superman

  1. Tusar N. Mohapatra

    Sri Aurobindo’s own adumbrations to Darwin, Spenser, and Nietzche, however, have not been covered, thus accentuating a suspected bias. [TNM55]

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      There is no bias. In fact, I got exhausted by the effort of bringing together all the material! We can keep adding material here in response to your questions.

      In the recently released “Letters on Himself and the Ashram” (CWSA vol. 35), Sri Aurobindo completely rejects the insinuation that supramental evolution has anything to do with Darwin’s theory of evolution.

      Disciple: Supposing that this physical body has evolved on this planet in the way understood by Darwin . . .

      Sri Aurobindo: It has nothing to do with Darwin. (page 645)

      Disciple : I do not understand what you mean by “It has nothing to do with Darwin.”

      Sri Aurobindo: The evolution I speak of is not the evolution of the Darwinian theory. (page 650)

      Disciple: Probably you spoke of a psychological evolution whereas Darwin spoke of the evolution of the physical species.

      Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. Many centuries before Darwin Puranic and Tantric writers spoke very explicitly of an evolution of the soul’s birth through the vegetable and animal to man. (page 652)

      Reply
      1. Samir

        I hope it was a “Disciple:” and not “Darwin:” that was having that conversation towards the end of your extract… otherwise things are getting very complicated indeed! 😛

        Your conclusion above struck a chord. Thanks.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        > I hope it was a “Disciple:” and not “Darwin:”

        Fixed the typo 🙂 Thanks. The original quotations are not demarcated so I had to add the names.

      3. artcritique

        BYE BYE DARWIN – Sri Aurobindo’s Genesis of the Superman was the result of direct experience and it had nothing to do with Western Evolutionary Concepts prevalent in that scientific age. But it has much in common with what is relevant now which is the age of post-scientific materialism. The Universe /multiverses are evolving in tandem with human evolution and there is direct perceptible non-local communication taking place with the FIELD (where all information is stored /Super-Implicate Order). I will persistently admit that Sri Aurobindo only said 5% of the things he knew at that time because time wasn’t ripe for the human conditioned intelligence to absorb those things. But by the Lords’s grace things are looking up now!
        The DNA Super-Helix is not the one that only determines our behaviour – Information is not flowing in a uni-directional manner that we know as the foundation of life-sciences – i.e. from DNA to RNA to Proteins which are building blocks of life. But on the contrary it’s flowing from Proteins to the DNA via Membranes so non-local signals from the cosmic consciousness is actually informing our genes and changing our behaviour. This is what Mother was explaining to Satprem in the New Species. The signals are vibrations that excite the cells – raising cellular consciousness – there is tremendous Absolute energy pulsating in the Quantum Vacuum State – energy equivalent to many galaxies and this can be tapped (Zero-Point Energy) but all by the grace of the Lord with perfect sincerity and surrender and of course the thing that is missing today which is above all realizations is the LOVE. (to be understood in the Enlightened sense!)This sense of feeling – the love is important to run the rasa-lila (the dance or the equipoise) because each one of us is the Pin-Point of Singularity and this is a participatory system – we contribute to the creation to the creatrix unknowingly. So, every vibration of love is imp.

        Thou who pervadest all the worlds below,
        Yet sitst above,
        Master of all who work and rule and know,
        Servant of Love!

        Thou who disdainest not the worm to be
        Nor even the clod,
        Therefore we know by that humility
        That thou art God.

        Sri Aurobindo

        – We never forget that Thou who pervadest all the worlds is after all the Servant of Love!

        I liked your article a lot – and we are the point of singularity.

        All the best – Happy Easter!

        Joy

    2. Sandeep Post author

      Sri Aurobindo on Nietzche’s superman conception:

      Nietzsche first cast it(supermanhood), the mystic of Will-worship, the troubled, profound, half-luminous Hellenising Slav with his strange clarities, his violent half-ideas, his rare gleaming intuitions that came marked with the stamp of an absolute truth and sovereignty of light. But Nietzsche was an apostle who never entirely understood his own message. His prophetic style was like that of the Delphic oracles which spoke constantly the word of the Truth but turned it into untruth in the mind of the hearer. Not always indeed; for sometimes he rose beyond his personal temperament and individual mind, his European inheritance and environment, his revolt against the Christ-idea, his war against current moral values and spoke out the Word as he had heard it, the Truth as he had seen it, bare, luminous, impersonal and therefore flawless and imperishable. But for the most part this message that had come to his inner hearing vibrating out of a distant Infinite like a strain caught from the lyre of far-off Gods, did get, in his effort to appropriate and make it nearer to him, mixed up with a somewhat turbulent surge of collateral ideas that drowned much of the pure original note.

      Especially, in his concept of the Superman he never cleared his mind of a preliminary confusion. For if a sort of human godhead is the goal to which the race must advance, the first difficulty is that we have to decide to which of two very different types of divinity the idea in us should owe allegiance. For the deity within may confront us either with the clear, joyous and radiant countenance of the God or the stern convulsed visage of the Titan. Nietzsche hymned the Olympian but presented him with the aspect of the Asura. His hostile preoccupation with the Christ-idea of the crucified God and its consequences was perhaps responsible for this distortion, as much as his subjection to the imperfect ideas of the Greeks. He presents to us sometimes a superman who fiercely and arrogantly repels the burden of simple sorrow and service, not one who arises victorious over mortality and suffering, his ascension vibrant with the triumphsong of a liberated humanity. To lose the link of Nature’s moral evolution is a capital fault in the apostle of supermanhood; for only out of the unavoidable line of the evolution can that emerge in the bosom of a humanity long tested, ripened and purified by the fire of egoistic and altruistic suffering.

      (CWSA vol. 13, Essays in Yoga and Philosophy, p 151)

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        Sri Aurobindo on Nietzschean supermanhood:

        But this must not be confused with past and present ideas of supermanhood; for supermanhood in the mental idea consists of an overtopping of the normal human level, not in kind but in degree of the same kind, by an enlarged personality, a magnified and exaggerated ego, an increased power of mind, an increased power of vital force, a refined or dense and massive exaggeration of the forces of the human Ignorance; it carries also, commonly implied in it, the idea of a forceful domination over humanity by the superman. That would mean a supermanhood of the Nietzschean type; it might be at its worst the reign of the “blonde beast” or the dark beast or of any and every beast, a return to barbaric strength and ruthlessness and force: but this would be no evolution, it would be a reversion to an old strenuous barbarism. Or it might signify the emergence of the Rakshasa or Asura out of a tense effort of humanity to surpass and transcend itself, but in the wrong direction. A violent and turbulent exaggerated vital ego satisfying itself with a supreme tyrannous or anarchic strength of self-fulfilment would be the type of a Rakshasic supermanhood: but the giant, the ogre or devourer of the world, the Rakshasa, though he still survives, belongs in spirit to the past; a larger emergence of that type would be also a retrograde evolution.

        (Life Divine, SABCL Volume: 18-19, p 1067)

      2. Ian James

        Hello Sandeep,

        When I recently read this article I thought it prudent to augment my highly superficial understanding of Nietzsche as a man of somewhat dark & joyless thinking. Searching for a suitable ‘idiots guide’ I was presented with ‘Nietzsche – A Very Short Introduction by Michael Tanner’; sounded just the job.

        Reading the first couple of chapters didn’t seem to disabuse me of my original impression, then, at the top of page 19, I read the following:
        ‘At the beginning of the Duino Elegies, Rilke writes: “For Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure, and we are so awed by it because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.” That, one could fairly say, is the basic thought of [The Birth of Tragedy]. It is at the least disturbing, and may even be felt to be disgusting.’

        I somehow felt it unnecessary to read any further. 🙂

      3. Sandeep Post author

        Nietzche enthusiasts would ask you to read Walter Kaufmann’s Portable Nietzsche which paints a more positive portrait of him.

        I have read Tanner’s book and also attempted to read “Thus Spake Zarathrustra” wherein he first expounded the idea of Ubermensch, but I was disenchanted and couldn’t go far.

  2. ipi

    Some thoughts by Nolini Kanta Gupta on the subject

    (Sandeep: Sri Aurobindo had once said, “If Nolini does not know my Yoga, who. does?” (Srinivas Iyengar’s book “On the Mother”, p 196)

    Is it said that when the supramental descends, it will come with such an overwhelming and irresistible force that all humanity will be changed forthwith, that is to say, all men whether they wanted it or not, sought for it or not, would be automatically transformed? It cannot be so: it is a comfortable doctrine putting a premium on laziness and inertia.

    There is no necessity for all men turning into supermen, the normal human race disappearing altogether. Mankind need not become extinct like the ancient Mammoth and Mastodon in order to give place to Superman. Both the races can dwell together; earth is wide enough. Man has appeared; for that reason the ape has not disappeared, although it is said man came out of the ape genus. The superman will come and live with his new law of life; man too will continue with his human dharma. Not only so, they need not be separated into watertight compartments, there may be interaction or interchange between the two. With the coming of Superman there will naturally be a descent of harmony and peace and happiness and goodwill into the earth’s atmosphere and mankind is likely to be benefited by it. The conditions of life will be changed and will affect man’s life too. An element of light and joy and tranquillity will enter into humanity’s normal dealings. And man, on his side, may offer his services as the recruiting ground of the super-race. Furthermore, the whole of Nature being a unified movement, no level of creation being totally separate from others, the change may very well touch the animal and even the vegetable kingdom. The plant may put on, for example, a luminous or greener tint and the animal may develop a happier and livelier spring.

    There may be less scarcity, dearth, aridity, fewer convulsions and catastrophes on earth.

    Always, however, exceptions are possible. Even now, where conditions of life are happier and things are expected to be more smooth and harmonious, there exist people who are by nature so obscure, quarrelsome and turbulent that they are not touched at all and go on in their way finding always occasions to quarrel and fight and create trouble. They will be in the midst of the new humanity as Hottentots or Headhunters–aborigines and savages–are today in the eyes of civilised humanity.

    (Nolini Kanta Gupta was a revolutionary, linguist, scholar, critic, poet, philosopher and a man of deep spiritual realisation. Author of nearly 60 books he was a Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram.)

    source:
    http://nextfuture.sriaurobindosociety.org.in/feb04/nffeb04_superman.htm

    Reply
  3. Diane

    Bravo Sandeep you have excelled yourself!!! When I was reading this, it reminded me of when I was preparing an essay for my university studies. I would read, and read and not be able to pull it all together, and then suddenly I would read something which would connect all the various strands and weave it into an essay I had the same feeling here, I have read most of this material, and have ponder many of the issues you have raised, but this is the first time I feel that it makes a comprehensive sense, rather than a jumble of ideas and thoughts.
    I would like now, to spend a couple of days going through it more closely and may then comment again. This should really be read widely by the IY community
    Diane

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      thanks Diane 🙂 I would like to find the Tantra and Purana scriptures that discuss evolution as Sri Aurobindo pointed out in the comment above (“Many centuries before Darwin Puranic and Tantric writers spoke very explicitly of an evolution of the soul’s birth through the vegetable and animal to man”). That should complete the goal of this essay.

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        Sri Aurobindo: “Many centuries before Darwin Puranic and Tantric writers spoke very explicitly of an evolution of the soul’s birth through the vegetable and animal to man”

        The Aitareya Aranyaka II.3.2 tells us that Atman is all pervading. He is undeveloped in plants. In animals He finds more scope for development, and hence we mark instincts. passions, etc. in them. He is more developed in man, and goes on developing.

        (M.T. Sahasrabuddhe, A survey of the pre-Śaṅkara Advaita Vedānta, Poona, University of Poona, 1968, p 34)

      2. hari

        I have a doubt. Why does the soul, being pure and powerful, evolve at all by occupying plants, animals etc. and suffering in the process? Why can’t the soul just remain as it is without taking on bodies?

      3. Sandeep Post author

        Mystics claim that the world has been created as the Lila (play) of the Divine. It is difficult to be convinced of this answer but that is what it is. When the mind matures philosophically and we feel a radiating bliss in the heart, evolution begins to make sense.

      4. hari

        Could you explain that a little? I am assuming that in SA’s philosophy, the divine created us (souls) but trapped us in matter so that we could evolve and eventually become divine ourselves. Is this right?

      5. Sandeep Post author

        Sorry, but I am terribly busy right now and might even suspend blogging for a few weeks. Read the “Life Divine” or check some of the booklets published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

  4. Tusar N. Mohapatra

    [I occasionally found the references to the thought of Nietzsche and other thinkers whose influence still looms large today, to be illuminating and to provide interesting context. – a Review by J. Kepler]

    By the way, the Vedic Colloquy of Indra and Agastya is a prime source of the theme. [TNM55]

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      > By the way, the Vedic Colloquy of Indra and Agastya is a prime source of the theme.

      Which theme are you referring to?

      > I occasionally found the references to the thought of Nietzsche…illuminating

      Read the rest :”At other times the repetition of seemingly stock phrases stating that some idea from the SaptaC lends itself to comparison with Deleuze’s idea of “Body without Organs”, had a certain artificial feel. This leads to a deeper question of how far it’s even possible to bring Integral Yoga into relation with contemporary continental philosophy. Yoga is not religion, but it is not philosophy either. It is related to both (as well as to other domains, e.g. psychology, empirical science), but it is also a distinct range of experience and theory. Within intellectual discourse, Yoga fits more naturally with Indian philosophy”

      The connection between Nietzsche’s Ubermensch and the evolutionary insights of seers is tenuous, especially since the latter derive their knowledge from deeper zones of consciousness. Otherwise, one might as well compare Sri Aurobindo’s superman with Ayn Rand’s John Galt character, who tried to rise above humanity!

      Reply
    2. Sandeep Post author

      > By the way, the Vedic Colloquy of Indra and Agastya is a prime source of the theme.

      That (Rig Veda I.170) is a little cryptic to use here because it doesn’t refer directly to the supramental being. For those who may not know, this comment refers to the text found in the Sri Aurobindo’s “Secret of the Veda (CWSA vol. 15, pp 253-256)

      Reply
  5. Sandeep Post author

    It is stated above “If that is so, what was the need for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to engage in the supramental transformation? This kind of work is usually driven by Divine guidance (called sankalpa in Sanskrit). ”

    Sri Aurobindo and his disciples once discussed why Ramana Maharshi did not engage in the supramental transformation.

    Nirodbaran: Does he (Ramana) believe in transformation of this life?

    Satyendra: No. He says he has no such Sankalpa (will). Dilip asked him once what he thought of your idea of ascent, descent, transformation, etc., and whether he wanted to change earth-life. He replied that there was no Sankalpa in him for it.

    Sri Aurobindo: The Mother also believes in Sankalpa, as you can see from what she said to Paul Brunton when he asked her what he should do. She said, “You have to follow whatever will arises in you. When you have realised the Self, the Self will choose for you what to do.” That is another thing European minds can’t understand. They think all spiritual personalities must be of the same fixed type.

    (Nirodbaran. Talks With Sri Aurobindo,vol. 1, p 291, 7 December 1939)

    Reply
  6. Tusar N. Mohapatra

    [many who have read Sri Aurobindo have never read Nietzsche and acquire some preconceptions of what the Nietzschean Superman is all about.   I’d encourage them to divest themselves of these ideas. 
    The overman according to Nietzsche is like the gods of the Greek classical heritage. -Banerji]

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Nietzsche may have caught a glimpse of the idea through some capricious intuitive process but he did not have complete insight into the workings of the universal consciousness. The “eternal recurrence of the same” that he speaks of originates from Indian philosophy which has always viewed Time as cyclic – unlike Christianity which sees Time as linear.

      In the Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo speaks of further evolution beyond the superman. This is pretty consistent with the Manvantaras.

      A supramental manifestation in its ascent would have as a next sequence and culmination of self-result a manifestation of the Bliss of the Brahman: the evolution of the being of gnosis would be followed by an evolution of the being of bliss; an embodiment of gnostic existence would have as its consequence an embodiment of the beatific existence
      (Life Divine, CWSA vol. 21-22, p 1026)

      Rajiv Malhotra in his book “Being Different” says educated Indians suffer from “difference anxiety”. They are eager to map all their ancient concepts to Western philosophy, even when it is not compatible, in order to be accepted. Maybe we are seeing something similar here 🙂

      Reply
  7. a_dt

    comment to the above: <>

    David R. Hawkins: “I, Reality & Subjectivity”

    p. 154
    Question: When the consciousness level goes over 600 [enlightenment], does it usually just remain there or continue to progress spontaneously?
    Answer: The condition above 600 is self-sustaining and usually remains stationary. No energy is required. Some beings at that level cease functioning except for having visitors, and some remain silent, merely conveying their blessing on spiritual seekers. The state feels and is complete.

    Question: It this is so, why would spiritual endeavor continue?
    Answer: It is really not a ‘personal’ choice. The power of the Presence acts like a magnetic field. If the consciousness of the enlightened being has the capacity to move on, it does so because it has the innate qualities required for the stresses that will ensue. […]

    p. 159
    Question: Is there still a motive to evolve through higher levels?
    Answer: No. It comes about not as a motive but from the Allness of the Self, which then encompasses all mankind. The compassion is for the consciousness of humanity as a whole. One is inspired to the perfection of being a perfect mirror to reflect God’s grace to be shared by all. True spiritual authority is rooted in Truth and thus has no need or desire to be authoritarian. […]

    Reply
    1. a_dt

      The above means to be a comment to
      “Sri Aurobindo: The Mother also believes in Sankalpa, as you can see from what she said to Paul Brunton when he asked her what he should do. She said, “You have to follow whatever will arises in you. When you have realised the Self, the Self will choose for you what to do.” That is another thing European minds can’t understand. They think all spiritual personalities must be of the same fixed type.” “

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        Yes, I did get the context.
        Sri Aurobindo was referring to the European minds of his time
        Today the situation may be different 🙂

  8. a_dt

    I don’t know why everything between these brackets disappears. I will post this again, please, sandeep, delete my previous post.
    Comment to: “The genesis of Sri Aurobindo’s superman”

    Dr David R. Hawkins in “I, Reality & Subjectivity”, a complementary approach.

    p.401, Chapter “Homo Spiritus”
    BEGIN QUOTE
    “Although human history has been documented as to times, persons, places, and events, it is still lacking a comprehensive contextualization that embraces the totality of this great phenomenon and extracts overall meaning and significance. The material reductionist sees history as merely a “biologic evolution with survival as its primary goal.” This mechanistic, ‘hard-core’ scientific view believes that life spontaneously arose in some unknown manner as a fortuitous convergence of matter and energy.
    The linear Newtonian paradigm is based on the notion that intrinsic to evolution, there is a mysterious intention or cause. It is also teleological in that it presupposes that evolutionary events accrued ‘in order’ to bring about a specific end or purpose, such as survival. how a nonthinking organism could have a purpose, intention, or desired end is not explained. This materialistic explanation satisfies the average person since it sounds ‘scientific’. However, Darwin and the Theory of Evolution calibrate at 455 (simplistic reasoning [linear intellect]) which is insufficient to penetrate or elucidate the mysteries of life. […]

    p.404
    […] It is important to note that the Newtonian materialistic paradigm is rigidly ordered, limiting, and predictive. It is not capable of explaining creativity or evolution, which requires operational possibilities that are only inherent in nonlinear chaotic systems that occur between disorder and order. True creativity and evolution require chaotic attractors that allow for unpredictable transitions and novel chaotic energy trajectories in the infinite quantum potentiality, free of constraint systems. […]

    p.418 […] These advanced, evolving states of spiritual consciousness were enormously more powerful than their ego-based predecessors and, in fact, had the prerequisite power to discern, undo, and absorb the lower levels of ego positionalities. The illumination of the radiance of the inner Self could thereby dissolve the ego and displace it as the sense of “I-ness”. The appearance in humanity of the realization of God as the ultimate Reality, substrate, and source of Existence and Creation marked the beginning of the emergence of a new, evolutionary branch of mankind called ‘Homo spiritus’. The term “Homo spiritus” refers to the awakened man who has bridged the evolutionary leap from physical to spiritual, from form to nonform, and from linear to nonlinear. The awakened man realizes that it is consciousness itself which constitutes the core of the evolutionary tree in all its seemingly stratified and evermore complex expressions as the evolution of life. Thus, life transforms from the relatively unconscious linear to the fully conscious nonlinear, and Creation reveals itself to be the ongoing unfolding of the Unmanifest becoming Manifest. The capacity to reach the condition or state classically called Enlightenment represents the fulfillment of the potential of consciousness in its evolutionary progression. […]
    END QUOTE

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      A quick internet search reveals that David Hawkins has proposed the “homo spiritus” as the next stage after “homo sapiens”.

      Andrew Cohen also talks about evolutionary enlightenment. He was influenced by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo but never acknowledges that.

      Given the spread of esoteric knowledge in recent times, there are going to be many people who will voice the same ideas. It’s become difficult to disentangle who is what. The situation today is qualitatively different from about a hundred years ago when mass communication was not highly developed. We just have to stick to the teaching that makes sense and carry on with our lives. For me, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are sufficient.

      Reply
    2. Sandeep Post author

      David Hawkins on page 82 of “Creativity Revealed: Discovering the Source of Inspiration” claims that Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa were at a higher level of Enlightenment (level 700) than Sri Aurobindo or Ramakrishna Paramahansa (who he claims were level 600).

      This is ridiculous! Mahatma Gandhi was not even Enlightened and made several political miscalculations in his life.

      Anyway, the less said the better about the proliferation of these Gurus. I prefer to stick to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother !

      Reply
      1. a_dt

        I appreciate and accept your point of view. I do not pretend to know what the levels are really about. [These are not what I appreciate most in Hawkins’ teachings]. They are certainly not about being better or worse, they are certainly not about better or worse personalities. As Sri Aurobindo points out, somebody may be enlightened and not have their lower nature transformed. Here lies the background of all what might seem contradictory for us about the “levels of consciousness”. This is why it [the Map of Consciousness] is probably a different approach and not worthwhile arguing about these.

  9. mike

    “David Hawkins on page 82 of “Creativity Revealed: Discovering the Source of Inspiration” claims that Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa were at a higher level of Enlightenment (level 700) than Sri Aurobindo or Ramakrishna Paramahansa (who he claims were level 600).”

    l’d say it’s beyond ridiculous.
    l’ve seen a few ppl claiming Sri Aurobindo wasn’t Enlightened at all LOL. lf SA isn’t enlightened then no-one is IMO. Personally l can see why gandhi is even included. As sandeep said, he doesn’t even qualify. David Hawkins needs to invent tools if going to attempt to measure Enlightenment [which is totally absurd in itself].
    lt’s like Rajneesh [the sex-obsessed osho ] saying about Sri Aurobindo:

    “Rajneesh said in his book, Krishna In My Eyes” that Sri Aurobindo Could not reach or pierce through beyond the area and space of the mind” while the curious thing is that Sri Aurobindo is the only person who has written extensively and exclusively on the matters and areas beyond mind.”

    Rajneesh is hardly qualified to judge Sri Aurobindo considering the train wreck of ruined souls he left in his wake.

    Reply
    1. a_dt

      “l’ve seen a few ppl claiming Sri Aurobindo wasn’t Enlightened at all LOL. lf SA isn’t enlightened then no-one is IMO. Personally l can see why gandhi is even included.”
      Noone here contests that Sri Aurobindo was enlightened. About Ghandi being included or excluded, like I say, I am not in a position (and I think nobody here is) to say one or the other. But I would like to point out, that there are spiritual masters / enlightened beings who do not act as a spiritual teacher or guru.
      Some are gurus, some do their work in their area, some live as recluse.
      I like very much what Sri Aurobindo says about spiritual personalities being of different types. And I would not like to judge anybody publicly.

      Reply
  10. Tusar N. Mohapatra

    [From Footnotes to Plato:Darwin is supposed to have discovered something nowadays called “evolution” and to have laid to rest something nowadays called “creationism.” But if this is so, what are we to make of the theories ofSchelling and Goethe in Germany, and of Coleridge in England, articulated several decades earlier than he? Their Romantic conception of the transformation and morphogenesis of molecules, plants, and animals, is already fully evolutionary.]

    Reply
  11. mike

    “Noone here contests that Sri Aurobindo was enlightened. About Ghandi being included or excluded, like I say, I am not in a position (and I think nobody here is) to say one or the other. But I would like to point out, that there are spiritual masters / enlightened beings who do not act as a spiritual teacher or guru.
    Some are gurus, some do their work in their area, some live as recluse.
    I like very much what Sri Aurobindo says about spiritual personalities being of different types. And I would not like to judge anybody publicly.”

    No, of course not A_DT, that was not directed at you. l only mentioned it [about some saying SA wasn’t enlightened] in passing, as a joke.
    l agree, not every Guru will be ‘out in the open’ so to speak, or start up ashrams etc… SA and The Mother [l’m inclined to believe them] had a great work to manifest which required a public arena, and this is usually how Avatars work, l believe – guru’s and other Spiritual Masters don’t have to do this…
    Yes, l’m pretty sure l’m not enlightened enough to say who is or who isn’t enlightened lol, although a lot of my experiences with SA and The Mother indicate they definitely are. lt’s all down to personal experience in the end.

    lt’s also absurd to compare two of the greatest Avatars of the Age [Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Aurobindo] with a mere politician like gandhi. l’m not even sure he deserves the title of Mahatma [great soul, l believe]. Mother Theresa probably is a Great Soul and quite likely had a Psychic Realisation – this would make her a ‘saint’ not an Avatar in Sri Aurobindo’s terminology.
    lt’s obvious mr hawkins has no concept of Avartarhood.

    “[From Footnotes to Plato:Darwin is supposed to have discovered something nowadays called “evolution” and to have laid to rest something nowadays called “creationism.””

    There seem to be lies on both sides of that argument. l can’t really take the ‘Creationists’ seriously, especially with the biblical creation of the earth 6000 years ago.
    And ppl like Richards Dawkins are a little too arrogant for my liking. Darwinism might be right [dawkins seems to think it’s proven fact nowadays]. The point is it isnt important and it isn’t what SA is concerned with. l don’t think it matters if we were apes or not. All that matters is the evolution of the Soul through thousands [or more] of incarnations leading to the the appearance of Supramental man/woman one day [although there might not even be a gender involved in that].

    Reply
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  13. RJ

    Wow! Great work, Sandeep. I will definitely check out the section in Record of Yoga about the Manvantaras – this information seems to answer some questions that have been lurking in the back of my mind for a while.

    Hopefully this article will dispel some confusion people may have about SA’s conception of the supramental being. It’s probably inevitable, unfortunately, that subtle and complex ideas will be caricatured by the public mind. (For example, the theory of biological evolution is widely misunderstood by fundamentalist religionists. Of course, this is somewhat ironic with respect to the current discussion!) I suppose those who need to know will figure things out.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Apropos Darwinism:

      Question: Sweet Mother, how did the first man appear?

      Mother: Sri Aurobindo says here,¹ precisely, that if we take the scientific point of view, we see that theories follow one another with great instability, and seem more like a kind of series of imaginations than things which can be proved – if one takes the purely materialist point of view. People believe that because it is a materialist point of view, it is the easiest to prove, but quite obviously it is the most difficult. If we take the occult standpoint, there have been traditions, based perhaps on certain memories, but as they are altogether beyond any material proof, this knowledge is considered to be even more problematic than scientific imaginations and deductions. For any inner logic, it is easier to understand and admit, but one has no more proof than one has material proof that there was one first man or that there were several first men or that there was something which was not yet a man but almost a man. These are speculations.

      Traditions – which of course are only oral traditions and from the scientific point of view quite questionable, but which are based on individual memories – say that the first man or the first human pair or the first human individuals were materialised in accordance with an occult method, something like the one Sri Aurobindo foretells for the future supramental process; that is, that beings belonging to higher worlds have, by a process of concentration and materialisation, built or formed for themselves bodies of physical matter. It probably wasn’t the lower species which progressively produced a body which became the first human body.

      (Collected Works, vol. 9, p 236)

      Reply
  14. mike

    l think SA and Mother said we won’t see a supramental being on earth for around 300 years [possibly 200 now because SA said it about a 100 years ago].

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Something like that, but it doesn’t really matter because we won’t be here to find out – at least not in this body!
      Anyway, for what its worth here are some remarks on the subject said on 10 Oct 1956.

      Mother: I am reading this to you because I have been asked about the action of the Supermind, and I had pared this manifestation of the Supermind to that of the mind which, according to all modern scientific discoveries, took nearly a million years to evolve from the animal brain, the ape-brain, to the first human brain. And I told you that, consequently, one should not expect this to take place in a few months or a few years, that it would obviously take much longer. Some people, it seems, thought that I was announcing that the superman would not come before another million years! I want to correct this impression.

      Sri Aurobindo has said that as the development rises in the scale of consciousness, the movement becomes more and more rapid, and that when the Spirit or the Supermind intervenes, it can go much faster. Therefore we may hope that in a few centuries, the first supramental race will appear.

      But even that is rather disconcerting for some people, for they think it contradicts what Sri Aurobindo has always promised: that the time has come for the supramental transformation to be possible…But we must not confuse a supramental transformation with the appearing of a new race.

      What Sri Aurobindo promised and what naturally interests us, we who are here now, is that the time has come when some beings among the élite of humanity, who fulfil the conditions necessary for spiritualisation, will be able to transform their bodies with the help of the supramental Force, Consciousness and Light, so as no longer to be animal-men but bee supermen.

      This promise Sri Aurobindo has made and he based it on the knowledge he had that the supramental Force was on the point of manifesting on the earth. In fact it had descended in him long ago, he knew it and knew what its effects were.

      And now that it has manifested universally, I could say, generally, the certainty of the possibility of transformation is of course still greater. There is no longer any doubt that those who will fulfil or who now fulfil the conditions are on the way to this transformation.

      (Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 8, p 322)

      Reply
  15. mike

    Thanks for that quote, sandeep.

    “But we must not confuse a supramental transformation with the appearing of a new race.”

    lt’s important to know the difference.
    lt’s good to think there might be Supramental beings walking amoung us [very few l imagine].
    l mean, how many would fill those conditions – can’t be many, surely?

    l’m sure l read somewhere that Sri Aurobindo had said that man was never an ‘ape’.
    There is so much coming to light [apparently] – like the book ‘forbidden archeology’ – about relics found millions [even billions] of years ago that defy all scientific explanation. l was watching the author of this book last night.
    Of course, a lot believe alien races seeded the planet [anunaki etc]. l find it easier to believe what SA said above about higher beings ‘occultly’ manifesting a physical body. lf you read the ‘autobiography of a yogi’ by yogananda it seems quite an easy thing for them to do.

    l think l’ll wait until l’m able to consult the Akashic records LOL.

    Reply
  16. thestumblingmystic

    What do you suppose happens at the end of a Manvantara? It’s not a dissolution of the cosmos, so is it some kind of mass extinction so that the evolution of life starts all over again? Also, why would this need to happen? I.e. for life to evolve from plant to animal to humanoid, and then start everything all over again? Why not just improve the existing humanoid type rather than starting again?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I can offer no rational reason for why dissolution has to happen. These things were recorded in the Puranas many centuries ago and Sri Aurobindo’s visions seem to have confirmed those ancient records. There are 18 major Puranas and they all carry largely similar accounts of the creation story.

      The Puranas distinguish between
      1) sarga (primary creation) where the ontological structures (principles or Tattvas) of the cosmos are fixed.
      2) visarga(secondary creation) where the living forms are created. Human beings are called “Arvak-Srotas”. This visarga can occur many times after each dissolution(Pralaya).

      It seems that only the lower triple worlds are dissolved, as per a translation of the Bhagavata Purana by Purnendu Sinha:

      “But in another sloka(verse), the Purana says :” When the night of Pralaya (dissolution) follows, the three Lokas, Bhur, Bhuvar and Svar, are burnt by the fire from the mouth of Sankarshana. Troubled by the excessive heat of that fire, Bhrigu and others proceed from Mahar Loka to Jana Loka.” Ill-II-30.

      You can check out the creation story in a very readable translation of the Bhagavata Purana written by Sinha (a Theosophist) in 1901.
      Download it from the internet archive and goto page 51 of the PDF
      http://archive.org/details/astudyofthebhaga00sinhuoft

      Reply
      1. thestumblingmystic

        Thanks for this reply.

        I guess this whole issue throws a wrench into the way I was conceiving of these things, and the way most people who buy into “evolutionary spirituality” conceive of evolution. My previous interpretation was that the evolution of complex life is ultimately teleological and is occultly driven by a divine impulse to conquer evil and death. But if life itself evolves to certain levels of complexity (including humanoid forms!), only to face mass extinctions, and only to start all over again, I have to wonder how purpose-driven or teleological any such process even is. Makes you wonder also whether the Master of the Yoga isn’t just having a bit of fun at the expense of his creatures and there’s no actual grand plan or anything. 😛

      2. Sandeep Post author

        I don’t know if it ameliorates the situation, but the Mother says somewhere that this may be the final evolution(last Manvantara). Its in the Collected Works but I can’t find it right away. If I find it, I will add it later.

        It just dawned on me that for some practitioners, the above article shatters the hope that one could just push through and get out of the dreadful misery of human existence once and for all. If that is the case, then the ambition to engage in the supramental evolution is also a form of escapism 🙂

        One begins the practice of Yoga with a specific aim but sooner or later, all aims have to be dropped because they are mental ideals which obstruct the discovery of the Truth. The final motivation has to be pure joy and nothing else. As I noted in the conclusion, if you are called to the path, you will persevere purely for the exaltation.

      3. Sandeep Post author

        Here is the promised quote (thanks to Anmol).

        “According to Théon, you know, the world has been created and destroyed – creation and pralaya – six times. And each time, a particular attribute was manifested, but since that attribute couldn’t reach fulfillment, the world was “swallowed up again.” Now it’s the seventh time, and the attribute is Equilibrium. And when Equilibrium is established, there will be uninterrupted progress – with no disequilibrium, naturally: that is, a deathless state, with no disintegration.”

        (Agenda, December 15, 1962)

        “There are three powers of the cosmos to which all things are subject – creation, preservation and destruction; whatever is created lasts for a time, then begins to crumble down. The taking away of the Force of destruction implies a creation that will not be destroyed but last and develop always. In the Ignorance destruction is necessary for progress – in the Knowledge, the Truth-creation, the law is that of a constant unfolding without any Pralaya.”

        (Letters on Yoga, The Supramental Evolution, Volume One)

      4. thestumblingmystic

        Just to be clear, the idea of cosmic dissolution does not seem incompatible with what we know from science. There is evidence of a cyclic cosmos in physics, and there could be genuine reasons why cosmic dissolution is inevitable (e.g. build-up of entropy). But the idea that the evolution of lifeforms itself goes through plant –> animal –> humanoid cycles repeatedly within a cosmic cycle, or that humanoids existed before the times indicated by the fossil evidence, has no support from science that I’m aware of.

      5. Sandeep Post author

        Yes, the cyclic model has been proposed before, most recently by Roger Penrose
        See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model

        If the Universe dissolves and is recreated, then lifeforms would have to evolve repeatedly, no ? Otherwise where would they go, unless you are assuming Noah’s Ark was real ? 🙂

    2. thestumblingmystic

      Also, see p. 395 of the Record where he talks about what this section, “The Evolutionary Scale”, was a vision of …

      “The whole of 3, which is recorded elsewhere, was an instance
      expressly given of the way in which the Theosophists arrive at their
      results & shows both their sincerity & the possibilities and pitfalls
      of their method.”

      It seems the section “The Evolutionary Scale” was a vision of how the Theosophists arrived at their results and it’s hard to know how much of this he himself believed was literally true. Absent occult vision of my own, I’m suspending judgment and sticking to scientific archaeology and evolutionary biology.

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        It seems the section “The Evolutionary Scale” was a vision of how the Theosophists arrived at their results and it’s hard to know how much of this he himself believed was literally true.

        That one allusion to Theosophists should not be given disproportionate importance . There are extensive notes on pages 1323-1335, which he wouldn’t have bothered to write if he thought these visions were all hogwash.

        See also this passage on page 1326 where he says the present Earth is not the Earth on which those past forms evolved:

        “A series of images and a number of intimations have been given yesterday in the chitra-drishti to illustrate the history of the first two Manwantaras & the vicissitudes through which the human idea has gone in the course of these unnumbered ages.. It is not at all surprising that there should be no relics of those vicissitudes in the strata of the present earth; for the present earth is not the soil of the planet as it was in the earliest Manwantaras. The detritions, the upheavals, the convulsions, the changes that it has undergone cannot be estimated by the imaginative & summary methods of the modern geologists, men who think themselves advanced & masters of knowledge, but are only infants & babblers in their own sciences. It is unnecessary to go at present into the scene or habitat of the incidents & peoples shown in the drishti. The facts are sufficient” (Record of Yoga, p 1326)

        Absent occult vision of my own, I’m suspending judgment and sticking to scientific archaeology and evolutionary biology.

        That is the right approach. Your yogic practice does not depend on believing or disbelieving these occult concepts. The mind has to be silenced instead of being stuffed with concepts. That is why I don’t post any of the “supramental”-related stuff on this blog; it distracts people from more pressing matters.

        The only take-home lesson from this essay should be the relevance of the higher-world “prototype” to the supramental evolution.

  17. Pingback: Adventures in Consciousness with Sri Aurobindo: part 3 « Aaron Asphar

  18. Sandeep Post author

    A couple of articles on Sri Aurobindo’s concept of superman. I haven’t read them yet. I am just adding it here for ready reference

    A PhD dissertation in 1973 from McMaster University by Chitta Ranjan Goswami entitled “Sri Aurobindo’s Concept of the Superman”. It is available for download from http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/opendissertations/2957/

    Lars Sorgenfrei’s article “Superman in Aurobindo & Nietzsche” published in The Journal of Yoga, Sept 2002, Vol. 1, no. 1

    Reply
  19. mike

    Would these Manvantara’s possibly relate to the extinction of Lemuria and Atlantis etc.. that the theosphists and ppl like Edgar Cayce refer to, or is it on a grander scale??

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I haven’t read enough to say for sure. Atlantis was first described by Plato in Timaeus and Critias.

      Plato in Timaeus: Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in our histories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end. This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. This vast power, gathered into one, endeavoured to subdue at a blow our country and yours and the whole of the region within the straits; and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars. But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.

      Reply
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  21. Rajesh

    >The wikipedia page on Hindu views on evolution claims that a 8th century C.E. scripture called the Tiruvacakam discusses evolution, but after taking a cursory glance at the online translation, I was unable to find a suitable reference.

    Dear Sandeep,
    Great Job, Congratulations on a blog that is inclusive of other views instead of being exclusive. Thats true Sri Aurobindonian spirit. BTW, I wrote a paper on Tamil connection to Supramental evolution “The metaphysical meaning of Tamil by Saint Ramalingam”. Just thought it may be of general interest. Following is the link to the document. http://www.scribd.com/doc/86567910/Tamil-Metaphysical-Meaning

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Rajesh

      If you can find the verse in the Tiruvacakam which discusses evolution, that would be wonderful.

      Coming to your paper, I wanted to read it before responding. I had read a short bio of Vallalar once, and the Mother was asked about him (see the Agenda)

      You write “Sri Aurobindo, the great Yogi, Mystic Philosopher defines Supramental as Self Existent Truth Consciousness. This exactly translates to the definition Vallalar gives to ‘Sivam’.(or SatChitAnanda)”

      I am not sure this correspondence is accurate. The Supermind is the 4th plane in the seven planes of consciousness. Its the middle plane. The Sat-Chit-Ananda are above it.

      You also state :” Sakalar are ordinary Human beings, Pralayakalar are Overmental beings, Vignanakalar are Supramental beings. ”

      How did you derive this correspondence?

      Has anyone done an English translation of Vallalar’s work which is not colored by references to Sri Aurobindo’s terminology?

      Reply
  22. Rajesh

    Sandeep,

    I only heard of some discussion on evolution in Tiruvacakam, but not read directly. A better source of knowledge will be Mr.Kuppusamy, his contact in pdf link.
    He has also written/edited a magazine about the Science of Enlightenment and Immortality available for download http://www.vallalarfiles.com/file/zzbxb/none/12182570.pdf

    >I am not sure this correspondence is accurate. The Supermind is the 4th plane in the seven planes of consciousness. Its the middle plane. The Sat-Chit-Ananda are above it.

    Thanks for pointing out, I should have written “Siva (not SiVam) translates to Supramental – Self Existent Truth Consciousness”. SiVaM corresponds to the Sat-Chit-Ananda. Will correct it.

    >You also state :” Sakalar are ordinary Human beings, Pralayakalar are Overmental beings, Vignanakalar are Supramental beings. ” How did you derive this correspondence?

    If one has to classify human beings, overmental beings and supramental beings based on only 3 fundamental attributes ego,maya & karma (even based on Sri Aurobindo’s teachings) I hope the following makes sense.
    Sakalar – Human beings have Ego, Maya, Karma
    Pralayakalar – Overmental Beings have Ego and Maya
    Vignanakalar – Supramental Beings have Ego alone. (Ego as a sort of individualization, not impure ego)

    >Has anyone done an English translation of Vallalar’s work which is not colored by references to Sri Aurobindo’s terminology?

    There are many independent articles in http://www.vallalarspace.com/
    BTW, Why one should NOT use Sri Aurobindo’s terminologies to explain Vallalar’s teachings as Mother herself mentioned Vallalar is directly in touch with Supramental ? Does this not contradict Mother’s teaching ? If one wants know to the Truth, its better to read his writings directly in Tamil and find out for oneself, because translation always depends on the translator’s spiritual level and varies.

    In general (not making any judgements) I feel some Sri Aurobindo disciples come to a false conclusion about Vallalar’s (St.Ramalingam) dematerialization.without even reading his original teachings. Sri Aurobindo himself referred to Vallalar, a few times quite implicitly. Inspite of Thulasiram, Mother’s disciple did a great research on the relations between Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Thirumoolar and Vallalar, and published the book “ArutPerunJothi and Deathless Body Vol.1&2”, it remains largely unknown to the Integral Yoga community. Experience of Vallalar gives a better insight into some of Mother’s experiences in Agenda from 1969 – 1973.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Rajesh

      BTW, Why one should NOT use Sri Aurobindo’s terminologies to explain Vallalar’s teachings as Mother herself mentioned Vallalar is directly in touch with Supramental ? Does this not contradict Mother’s teaching ? If one wants know to the Truth, its better to read his writings directly in Tamil and find out for oneself, because translation always depends on the translator’s spiritual level and varies.

      You might have mistaken the intent of my reply. I don’t know what other Sri Aurobindo disciples think of Vallalar, but I just wanted to read Vallalar’s writings without Aurobindonian terminology in order to see the original unbiased description. While the Mother may have said he was in touch with the Supramental, that doesn’t imply that she read and approved of everything he had written. At lower levels of granularity, there can be differences in the way various sages express their realizations which are worth investigating. For example, how does Vallalar himself describe Pralayakar beings? In general, the field of comparative spirituality is rife with misunderstandings created by adhoc mixtures and correspondence tables. There are people who compare Plotinus with Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi with Sri Aurobindo, and so on and so forth. It all becomes very confusing in the end so I rarely venture into investigating these similarities.

      To read Vallalar’s works in original Tamil would require me to learn Tamil, which is not feasible right now given other constraints. However, I do intend to check out the links you gave above.

      Ramalingam is mentioned in the Agenda July 22, 1970 and Agenda July 11, 1970

      Reply
      1. Rajesh

        >but I just wanted to read Vallalar’s writings without Aurobindonian terminology in order to see the original unbiased description ….
        Appreciate your sincere intent, Best wishes

        >For example, how does Vallalar himself describe Pralayakar beings?
        The one line explanation he gave is what is in the paper. I hope there are other references in Saiva Siddhanta literature. In future, if there is Divine will, will come up with a more detailed paper with prior literature. Given the constraints of my work for bread and butter, if not me, some other better subject will do.

        > There are people who compare Plotinus with Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi with Sri Aurobindo, and so on and so forth

        In my humble opinion, Comparing Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharishi is like comparing apples and oranges, while comparing Vallalar and Sri Aurobindo is like comparing Sri Aurobindo and The Mother (because one cannot really compare). So much Unity.

        >To read Vallalar’s works in original Tamil would require me to learn Tamil, which is not feasible right now given other constraints.
        Understand perfectly. I myself struggling for time and sincerity to learn Sanskrit.

        >While the Mother may have said he was in touch with the Supramental, that doesn’t imply that she read and approved of everything he had written

        Well, not everything he had written was communicated.. And it was wrongly communicated that Vallalar died in 1874, while really he never died, but dematerialized (no euphemism), which was a well known fact in Tamilnadu. And we don’t know exactly what exactly are Mother’s views from 1969-73, not everything is expressed, All Divine’s Will. While we talk of Supramental prototype the following experience of Vallalar (July 11,1970 Agenda ) needs a sincere investigation
        “O my unique Love which sprang from my heart and filled it so much that it made my life blossom. O my Lord of unique Love who has given himself to me wholly and by the Grace-Light has transmuted me. My Love that has entered and unified with me in my heart, so as to transform my body into a golden body. The skin has become supple, the influx of the nervous current all over the body is vibrating, with pauses in between; the bones have become pliable and plastic in their nature; the soft muscles have become truly loosened; the blood has become condensed within; the semen has become concentrated into a single drop and confined in the chest; the petals of the brain [[In traditional Indian experience, the centers of consciousness or chakras are compared to lotuses whose petals open or close. ]] have blossomed or expanded; amrita [nectar of immortality] is welling up into springs all over the body and filling it up; the luminous forehead perspires; the luminous face brightens up; the breath full of peace becomes cool and refreshing; the inner smile beams up; the hair stands on end; tears of joy flow down towards the feet; the mouth vibrates into the passionate calling [of the Divine]; the ear tubes ring with the sense of musically humming sound; the body has become cool; the soft chest moves; the hands join [as in prayer]; the legs revolve or spin round; the mind melts sweetly, the intelligence becomes full of light; the will becomes full of joy and harmony; the individuality has enlarged itself everywhere; the heart has blossomed into the universality of feeling so as to be felt by the world outwardly; the whole knowledge-body has become blissful; even the spiritual egoism of the senses has gone away; the senses (tattva) have been replaced wholly by the truth (sattva), the truth-principle or truth-substance which alone prevails now uniquely; attachment to objects of the senses and to things of the world has dissolved away, and only the aspiration and will towards the illimitable Grace grows and intensifies.” [[This translation of the original Tamil text into English (with minor editing here) probably gives only a very rough idea of the experience. ]]”

        The circumstances were different in 1970 and now the Time has changed. May be The Mother want us to put more sincere effort in understanding this and its the job of the current and future generation. I apologize for the long replies, but had to, given the importance of the topic.
        Your blog itself is one step further in this direction, as its unifying.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        That’s an incredible description of Vallalar’s realization! Did he make any references to the Vedic verses? Sri Aurobindo used to say that the Vedic sages had discovered the Supramental path.

        BTW, just as you seem frustrated that more people are not aware of Vallalar, similarly there are people who are frustrated that more people do not understand Sri Aurobindo. In India, Gandhi and Tagore are given more importance than Sri Aurobindo while in the West, there is Ken Wilber and a cluster of other epigonic teachers besides of course, the perennial Christ, Muhammad and Buddha. There is only so much one can do to spread the word. The masses prefer a simple set of instructions and that is what mainstream religion provides. Ultimately, every person naturally gravitates to the teaching which matches his or her current level, so the best option is to live the teaching and let the Divine Power handle the rest!

      3. Rajesh

        As you know, that was Thulasiram’s translation of a passage from Vallalar’s “ArutPerumJothi Agaval” (Vast Grace Light Call). Vallalar started the Suddha Sanmarga (Pathway to Supramental Truth) that encompassed and went beyond the 6 anthas. (Vedantha that encompassed Bothantha, Yogantha and Siddhantha that encompassed Naadantha, Kalantha). So there are some references to Veda-Agamas, but need a more serious study from my side before writing anything.

        I agree, best option is to live the teaching and be receptive to Divine Grace.

      4. Jason Wingate

        I’ve looked at that description many times, what’s particularly interesting is the correspondence with Taoist thought, in which the same kind of new body that backcycles towards youth and then disappears altogether is the aim of meditations. Many Taoists are said to have achieve that, as indeed Vallalar is said to have done.

        I know Sandeep isn’t too fond of comparative mysticism, but it’s a main interest of mine. Comparing Vallalar’s “the semen has become concentrated into a single drop and confined in the chest” with the Taoist Neiye, which says that when jing (or “vital essence”) is stored in people’s chests “we call them sages”, gives me pause for thought. Jing plays roughly the role in Taoist meditation that ojas plays in Tantric.

        I’m grateful to Rajesh for the sources about Ramalinga, he’s a very interesting study and a great saint.

      5. Rajesh

        Hi Jason,
        I like to highlight one thing about Vallalar, while comparing with Taoists. (BTW, I don’t have any knowledge about Taoist transformations). Vallalar seems to have attained a Triple Deathless Body. They are called Suddha Deha, Pranava Deha and Gnana Deha meaning Pure Physical Body, Subtle Body, Knowledge Body mapping to Effectual Body, Causal-Effectual Body and Causal Body respectively. Vallalar says that “Vast Grace Light Divine” granted this deathlessness and emphasizes that it could be achieved only through Divine Grace. No other method/technique helps to achieve this. And regarding Vallalar’s disappearence/dematerialization, Why would one dematerialize the deathless physical body ? Its almost a Divine Act of Compassion. One should consider his final words before his dematerialization in Jan 30, 1874 “I am in this body. Henceforth, I would enter all the physical bodies”. Having granted the final transformations, his next step was to reach all the living beings through this Universalization (dematerialization is a misnomer here). This is in perfect harmony with the “One Divine becoming Many” principle. Its interesting to note his name “Vallalar” given by people, in Tamil, means ‘One who donates everything’.

        OfCourse, Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga has widened the path of Yoga like never before (“All Life is Yoga”) and paves the path for the descent of Divine Grace and Collective Evolution. The Mother has showered us with her guidance and even more details on physical transformation in Mother’s Agenda.

        Wish you all the best on your research.

      6. Sandeep Post author

        Jason

        I am not implacably opposed to comparative mysticism. Its just that sometimes people draw spurious conclusions based superficial similarities.

        The Taoist-Vallar similarities could be possibly due to the spread of Buddhism in China.

      7. Jason Wingate

        Its just that sometimes people draw spurious conclusions based superficial similarities.

        Oh certainly, that bothers me too, more than a little. In fact that’s one of the things I’ll write about in the series coming up.

        The Taoist-Vallar similarities could be possibly due to the spread of Buddhism in China.

        Nah, Buddhist missionaries didn’t make it to China before 200 BCE (probably far later); the Neiye dates from about two centuries before that. It’s older than Daodejing and Zhuangzi in actual fact.

        If interested, Harold Roth’s book with a full translation is excellent:

        Original Tao

        All best wishes Sandeep! JW

  23. Pingback: What is Truth? by Iilana C. Hakes-Martinez « Voiceless in America

  24. NAshwin

    Brother Sandeep,
    I have read nearly 20 articles in this website.You have put Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s views in a crisp manner and I enjoyed all of the articles.I have some queries to put forth regarding some of Sri Aurobindo’s views.Can i put forth my queries here?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Yes, sure. Go ahead and ask, but mindful of the caveat that my understanding of Sri Aurobindo is also partial.

      Reply
      1. NAshwin

        Here are some of my queries:
        1.What are the views of Sri Aurobindo and Mother on atheism and agnosticism?
        2.I read the natural disasters article.The natural disasters affect the human lives.Why are those necessary?Are they not in the control of the Supreme?From my understanding of souls and karma,this entire universe is designed for souls’ evolution.Then in what way those disasters help souls except mass destruction?
        3.What is the age of the universe according to Sri Aurobindo?
        4.About various invisible worlds and the beings populated there,what is the use of those for souls?
        5.Some scholars say that salvation is finite ie some multiples of creation and destruction cycles.What are the views of Sri Aurobindo and Mother about this?
        6.How can one verify whether there are sheaths such as vital,mental etc in our body?
        Also,how can we assure that the visions appearing in our minds are not hallucinations and are true and they are experienceable?
        7.According to Sri Aurobindo’s evolution,souls evolve through a number of species(correct me if i am wrong).Then the theory that humans are descendents of apes is ruled out.How did the first humans came into existence according to Sri Aurobindo?
        Pardon me if the questions are amatuerish.
        Thank you.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        Each of your questions is worthy of a blog post! I will answer them over a few days

        Ashwin: Pardon me if the questions are amatuerish.

        No they are not amateurish. I also had similar questions many years ago. This is a stage of development that all people pass through. Some day, you might also have to answer such questions posed by someone else ! 🙂

        Ashwin Question 2: I read the natural disasters article. The natural disasters affect the human lives. Why are those necessary? Are they not in the control of the Supreme? From my understanding of souls and karma, this entire universe is designed for souls’ evolution. Then in what way those disasters help souls except mass destruction?

        What is being destroyed? Material bodies only. The soul is indestructible and keeps reincarnating.

        If there were no disasters or hardship, people would continue to engage in hedonistic pleasures without any contemplation on the greater purpose of life. Most people are quite satisfied with trivial pleasures – eating, sex, shopping, comfortable home and family life. Difficulties are necessary to awaken people’s minds to the ultimate questions of Existence. An aphorism is Sri Aurobindo on this matter puts it succinctly: “To commit adultery with God is the perfect experience for which the world was created.”

        Disasters do not occur under direct supervision of the Supreme, because the the Supreme has divided itself and produced many different entities (gods, asuras) as part of Creation. These entities are endowed with special powers and act according to their own nature, which may or may not suit human requirements.

        Ashwin Question 6: How can one verify whether there are sheaths such as vital, mental etc in our body?

        There is no objective third-party proof available. It is a subjective proof that you can gain through an out-of-body experience. When you exit out of your physical body and stand outside it, you can no longer deny the existence of other sheaths.

        Ashwin Question 6: Also, how can we assure that the visions appearing in our minds are not hallucinations and are true and they are experienceable?

        Generally speaking, a vision does not occur in isolation. It is followed by many other visions and spiritual experiences. (A spiritual experience is distinct from a vision because the former is an immersive experience which leaves a lasting effect on the consciousness while the latter plays briefly before the inner eye). See difference between vision and experience

        There are indeed some visions which are hallucinations. These emerge from the subconscious and are often seen in the initial stages of the spiritual path. But they disappear as the consciousness are transformed and the subconscious is purged. The visions which come after this cleansing are more authentic but one still has to test them.

        If the visions are related to future events, one has to wait and see if they come true.
        If they are related to past events, one should check historical sources if possible for confirmation.
        If the visions are related to other occult worlds, it becomes more complicated because it could also come from a hostile entity which seeks to mislead you. One has to remain detached and wait for further visions or experiences to determine if there is any truth in the vision.

      3. Sandeep Post author

        Ashwin Question 1.What are the views of Sri Aurobindo and Mother on atheism and agnosticism?

        An aphorism by Sri Aurobindo on atheism: “Atheism is a necessary protest against the wickedness of the Churches and the narrowness of creeds. God uses it as a stone to smash these soiled card-houses.”

        In the same vein, the Mother said: “So long as religions exist, atheism will be indispensable to counter-balance them. Both must disappear to make way for a sincere and disinterested search for Truth and a total consecration to the object of this search.” (CWMCE 10:286)

        Atheism is a necessary stage in human development. When people who do not have proper mental and emotional balance prematurely embrace a religious life, they tend to misinterpret spiritual truths, become overly emotional or volatile and create havoc for themselves and others. Therefore, it is good for people to go through the stage of atheism in order to strengthen the rational side of their personality. In ancient India, there existed atheists called Charvakas who denied Karma, rebirth and God. Their modern-day counterparts are groups like Nirmukta which are playing a useful role by debunking fake miracles perpetuated by charlatans in India. In the West, there is a similar tradition of (scientific) Enlightenment which is continued by stalwarts like Richard Dawkins.

        If you take a panoramic view of life, you will observe that people are in different stages of development. They are born with certain gifts and specific temperament causing them to be oriented towards business, sports, science, arts, politics, etc. These differences arise because of the way we have evolved through our past rebirths. Some of us have to be criminals as well in order to balance everything out. By virtue of evolution, there will always be people called atheists who will continue to deny the existence of Divine because their very personality is so fiercely rational that it veils any glimpse of their inner soul. People can only absorb as much Truth as their temperament is capable of absorbing. If you prematurely attempt to draw atheists to the spiritual path, they will quickly become disillusioned and turn into your harshest critics. Therefore, it is best to let people co-exist without pressurizing anyone to believe in anything.

        If you like to directly read Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on this matter, check out Chapter XIII “Reason and Religion” in the Human Cycle, CWSA volume 23

      4. MT

        There is not such theory claiming that humans are descendents of apes. The theory says that humans and apes have a common ancestor.

      5. Sandeep Post author

        Ashwin Question 7.According to Sri Aurobindo’s evolution,souls evolve through a number of species(correct me if i am wrong). Then the theory that humans are descendents of apes is ruled out.How did the first humans came into existence according to Sri Aurobindo?

        No, Darwin’s theory is not ruled out. Souls may evolve through various species but bodies also evolve across species. There are very fine distinctions on this topic which need to be grasped.

        There is overwhelming evidence across embryology, genetics and paleontology which proves the veracity of Darwin’s theory. For example, the human embryo develops in phases such that first it looks like an embryonic fish, then amphibian, then reptile and finally mammal. This is indicative of our evolutionary legacy. (Read Jerry Coyne “Why Evolution is True” and Neil Shubin “Your inner fish”)

        While Darwin’s theory is right on the mark about the origins of the physical body, it cannot explain the existence of the soul and the mental and vital sheaths, which many yogis have experienced. There is a qualitative difference between the mental and vital sheaths of humans and other species which creates a difference in their cognitive capacity. It is this disconnect between materialistic theories and spiritual experience that has to be bridged. That is why Sri Aurobindo accepted Darwinian microevolution but not macroevolution (i.e. one species transforming into another without any intervention from a higher plane).

        See the Life Divine chapters titled
        1. “The Evolutionary Process—Ascent and Integration”
        2. “Man and Evolution”
        3. “The Ascent of Life”

        In the chapter “The Evolutionary Process—Ascent and Integration”, he alludes to missing links in Darwin’s model: “Even in the outward evolution, even in the development of physical forms where the data are clearly in evidence, there are missing links that remain always missing”.

        In the chapter “Man and Evolution” he speaks of variation within a species: “All the facts show that a type can vary within its own specification of nature, but there is nothing to show that it can go beyond it. It has not yet been really established that ape-kind developed into man; for it would rather seem that a type resembling the ape, but always characteristic of itself and not of apehood, developed within its own tendencies of nature and became what we know as man, the present human being.

        In the chapter “Ascent of Life” he integrates the evolutionary struggle of life of Darwin into the greater picture: “It is this truth that Darwinism sought to express in the formula of the survival of the fittest.”

        Ashwin: How did the first humans come into existence according to Sri Aurobindo?

        We don’t know for sure but it must have been some occult method by which a higher prototype (bearing more cultivated mental, vital and higher sheaths) descended to create a new body or modify an animal body. This is exactly what the article discusses above when it talks of prototypes – “prototypes as Pashu, Vanara, Pishacha, Pramatha, Rakshasa, Asura, Deva, Sadhyadeva, Siddhadeva and Satyadeva”.

        See an earlier comment where the Mother said: “Traditions – which of course are only oral traditions and from the scientific point of view quite questionable, but which are based on individual memories – say that the first man or the first human pair or the first human individuals were materialised in accordance with an occult method” (Collected Works, vol. 9, p 236)

      6. NAshwin

        Brother Sandeep,
        Thanks for answering my questions.I have a desire to learn our scriptures,yoga,spirituality etc.But I dont know whether I am eligible for doing these eventhough I am much more interested than before.Also,there are many confusions popping up these days.I asked about the views of Sri Aurobindo and Mother on atheism and agnosticism only after visiting the Nirmukta website.I am puzzled how to come out of these isms such as atheisms,agnosticisms,naturalisms etc and how to approach these things with an unbiased mind. That website discards the science behind temples,chanting mantras etc and states that as pseudoscience.

        One more thing is that I am more inclined to learn Vedas than any other scriptures.But if i get a chance,i will try to learn as much as possible.
        I want to more about you.Are you a learner of our scriptures?Are you practising yoga,pranayama etc?
        Thank you.

      7. Sandeep Post author

        Ashwin: I asked about the views of Sri Aurobindo and Mother on atheism and agnosticism only after visiting the Nirmukta website. I am puzzled how to come out of these isms such as atheisms, agnosticisms, naturalisms etc and how to approach these things with an unbiased mind. That website discards the science behind temples, chanting mantras etc and states that as pseudoscience.

        You should ignore the Nirmuktas for now 🙂
        They have a piece of the truth but they are not aware of deeper esoteric truth (and neither are you)

        Ashwin: One more thing is that I am more inclined to learn Vedas than any other scriptures.

        The Vedas are too complicated to learn for beginners. I don’t read them much. There are lots of Hindu scriptures written by a variety of individuals, not of all of whom had the same level of Enlightenment. Some scriptures are verbose, others concise, all in all a mixture of truths and fables.

        One of the pitfalls of being born a Hindu is that one can become emotionally attached to the ancient past – the scriptures, cultural mores, arcane rituals, mythology, superstitions, temples, etc. This motivation prejudices the thought process and distorts the dispassionate search for the Ultimate Truth. It is futile to revere and defend things which have no contemporary relevance. That is why a dose of atheism is beneficial, as said in an earlier comment.

        Instead of being driven by this premeditated reverence for the Vedas, you should start with the aspiration to “know thyself”. Practice meditation, understand human psychology (depression, anger, thoughts, intuition) and later as you mature, you will automatically discern which scriptures are relevant and which are not.

        So ignore the Vedas for now. Start by reading Sri Aurobindo, Vivekananda, Yogananda, Sivananda, etc.

        Ashwin: Are you a learner of our scriptures?Are you practising yoga,pranayama etc?

        As I said already, I don’t care much about scriptures. I am an explorer of consciousness. And yes, I practice Yoga otherwise there would be no point in writing this blog ! 🙂

      8. Sandeep Post author

        This is the final installment of answers to your questions

        Ashwin Question 3: What is the age of the universe according to Sri Aurobindo?

        He was never asked this question, but based on the responses he gave to similar questions below, I imagine he would have said “rely on science”. One can live without knowing the age of the universe, right?

        Nagin: Each religion or sect says something different about the creation of the earth. The Buddhists declare it as from nothingness; some from the Shabda (original word), the Mahabharata as from the Egg. What is actually the truth of this subject?

        Sri Aurobindo: For the physical creation it is best to look to the knowledge Science gives. The egg is only an image — if we accept the present scientific theory of an expanding universe out of an original compact mass, the egg may represent that original mass.

        Nagin: It is said that before this Iron Age (Kali Yuga) there was a Golden Age (Satya Yuga). It is also said that the world is always progressing. How then comes this downward turn (Iron after Gold)?

        Sri Aurobindo: There is no great utility in such theories. It was supposed that there was only movement in a constantly repeated cycle. The idea of progress was not there when the theory came into existence. Progress of course can be by cycles and not in a straight line, spirals with downward and upward curves.

        (Nagin Doshi, Guidance from Sri Aurobindo, vol. 3, p 274)

        Ashwin Question 4: About various invisible worlds and the beings populated there, what is the use of those for souls?

        It is impossible to say why the world was created as this onion-ring like structure. These things were discovered by various mystics when they withdrew their consciousness from the physical world. The occult idiom is that “man is a microcosm of the Universe”, in the sense that the inner sheaths in human beings are in one-to-one correspondence with the layers of occult worlds.

        When we dream, part of our consciousness leaves the physical body and travels through these occult worlds using our inner sheaths. Similarly, when we die, the consciousness exits the physical body and persists for a while in the inner sheaths, before these are destroyed and then we take rebirth with new sheaths. We are like multi-stage rockets which shed layers when we need to enter another atmosphere!

        See the Life Divine chapters on “Sevenfold Chord of Being”, “Rebirth and Other worlds” and a few others for a more elaborate explanation.

        Ashwin Question 5: Some scholars say that salvation is finite ie some multiples of creation and destruction cycles. What are the views of Sri Aurobindo and Mother about this?

        I also used to ponder on these weighty matters early on. We tend to worry about such questions because our limited egoistic mentality is reluctant to endure any suffering. We want God to take care of us and make things logical and easy. Instead of searching for these answers, if you devote yourself to the spiritual path, you will find that these questions automatically dissolve themselves.

  25. Ian James

    Just another perspective to toss into the mix, this time from quantum physics…
    All that seem to be required is to develop a consciousness capable of ascending ‘high’ enough to ‘witness’ the ‘prototype’ for the Supramental Being thereby collapsing the quantum superposition… how hard can it be? 🙂

    “Quantum physicist Amit Goswami is his book ‘The Visionary Window’ believes that the quantum leaps in the development of species may be explained by quantum science. A number of quantum scientists have created the foundation for what they call quantum evolution.

    “The basic idea of quantum evolution is that gene mutations take place in the quantum state and not in the classical state of Newtonian physics. Quantum superpositions of gene mutations do not manifest immediately in the phenotype of the organisms but accumulate in the gene pool of the species over millions of years. Goswami mentions that morphic genetic fields could be the storage space for these quantum mutations.

    “Quantum mutations allow for an endless number of possible gene combinations taking place at the same time. Only changes in the genome of a new life form that makes biologically more sense eventually collapse from the quantum state to the classical state. He mentions that consciousness must be involved to trigger the collapse of the quantum state before the new specie emerges.

    “Quantum evolution could explain why transitional life forms were never found in the fossil records, since the transitional life forms only virtually existed in the quantum realm. It’s only in quantum leaps that complete new species emerge. After these new species have come into existence, nature uses the natural selection process to select those genes that are available in the gene pool of the new specie that best fits the environment. However the adaptive changes of the specie to new environmental situations have always been available in the collective gene pool. So quantum evolution embraces Darwinism in the sense that it believes that the natural selection mechanism is a pressure that allows for species to adapt in the period in between quantum leaps of new species.

    “Unlike Darwinism believing that there is no purpose in evolution, Goswami’s theory states that there is a discernable direction in evolution from simple to more complex life forms. He believes that the conscious choice for the collapse of the quantum potential of genes to create new species is in accord with a greater plan. The fundamental question indeed is why did life on Earth develop from primitive unconscious single cellular life to self-aware human beings? What could be the purpose of self-awareness if evolution is only about Darwin’s survival strategies of selfish genes?”
    ~ Jan Wicherink – A Convergence of Science and Spirituality [p. 139]

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Interesting, but I haven’t had the time to read Goswami’s works.

      Goswami mentions that morphic genetic fields could be the storage space for these quantum mutations.

      The Mother spoke of the “Spirit of the Species” which sits behind each species and drives changes.

      In the article above, Sri Aurobindo says forms are first created in the “idea world of the Manus” (“Fantastic images of animals, a lion with an impossibly slender body, a cock face on a fourfooted animal, belonging to the idea-world of the Manus where types are evolved & varied before they are fixed in the sthula”)

      Its an open question for now…

      Reply
  26. mike

    Ashwin,
    Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Letters onYoga’ are a great help IMO, because they cover everything you need to know. They taught me a lot in the beginning and still do, of course.

    Reply
  27. Pingback: On Atheism and Agnosticism | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  28. mike

    lt’s amazing how much confusing information is out there.
    l was reading today some things by a man who says he’s the ‘world teacher – kalki etc..]. He’s sounds quite feasible lol. He says that Padmasambhava [Guru Rimpoche] had actually achieved what SA and M failed to do [supramentalized immortality] and that they knew nothing about this Tibetan sage, who is believed to still be alive in what l think, they call a ‘Rainbow Body’. He claims that SA was only obsessed with wanting to be the first to achieve a supramentalised immortal body. [Gary Chicoine is this person’s name].
    Anyway, apart from all that speculation, it threw me into a little doubt and confusion so l went searching. Ended up on one of the Ramalingam sites, somehow, and came across a quote by SA which cleared it up for me [l’m still not sure if SA and M failed in this or whether it’s an ongoing thing, though – l’ve probably missed something. There’s a lot l’m not sure about at the moment, or whether total dependance on the Guru is the right way, either.
    These are Quotes in which SA says that others had actually achieved ‘supramental transformation’ in a personal way.
    When SA said He would return in the first ‘supramental body’ created in the ‘supramental way’ He must be referring to something completely different to what these previous yogi’s achieved.

    “”The endeavour towards this achievement (i.e.supramental transformation) is not new and some yogis have acheived it, I believe- but not in the way I want it. They acheived it as a personal siddhi maintained by yoga-siddhi – not a dharma of the nature” (On Yoga Tome I-P.102)

    “The complete change down to the physical was only sought for by a few and then more as a “siddhi”than anything else, not as the manifestation of a new Nature in the earth-conciousness”- (Ibid,p.110)
    – Sri Aurobindo

    T.R.THULASIRAM’S NOTE ON THE ABOVE REMARKS OF SRI AUROBINDO

    Sri Aurobindo, who held the view that none had ever before attempted the supramental transformation, made a drastic revision of his stand-point in the later part of his life, and observed that he came to believe that some yogis had in the past acheived the supramental transformation of mind,life and body, though as a personal yoga-siddhi, and not for changing the earth-nature.

    – Arut Perum Jothi &Deathless Body (Vol I,Appendix III)

    “Sri Aurobindo’s Supramental Integral Yoga distinguishes a personal yoga-siddhi from a natural collective siddhi which imply according to our understanding the fixing of the powers of transformation and deathlessness of the body into theearth-nature or at the least an endeavor towards such fixation by bringing intomanifestation the Divine Light on the earth(universally or at one’s place) as a preliminary requisite”

    – T.R.Thulasiram in his book Arut PerumJyothi&Deathless Body (Vol II,P.532)”

    Reply
  29. mike

    Also, there’s a letter about Mother Meera by satprem in that book l mentined above – for anyone interested:

    “June 1979

    In reply to a letter from Micheline, who wrote in particular: “Hardly a week goes by without a visitor to the association asking us if we know Guru X, Mother Yor Mother Z (so-called reincarnations of Mother or con-tinuators of Sri Aurobindo’s work), what we think of them and whether we acknowledge them as such.”

    I read X’s letter about “Mother-Meera.” There will be other ones. Here is what I have to say:

    Everyone is free to believe what they like. But “to believe” is so easy, mind you, it exempts you from becoming yourself. Since a few Christs and others, men have spent their time saddling one Avatar then another with the care of making the progress for them. One “believes” and one is exempted from everything else. And when the Avatar is there, fully alive, one crucifies him or shoves him into the grave for he is really a little disturbing with his exact Light. History goes on — and men remain the same as their crass.

    “Mother’s reincarnation”?… She is still healing the wounds men have inflicted on her. Perhaps She is a little fed up with the Pondicherrians, no? Is She going to shut herself up again in a yellow dungeon, under the supervision of some little Pranab? To be surrounded by worshippers who will not understand Mother No. 2 any more than Mother No. 1 or Mother No. 10,000 — one keeps going round and round in circles, but who wants to become the other species in his flesh, the one that has lost all its human illusions?

    The “reincarnation” of Mother, yes: in every sincere heart, in every right effort, in every conscious gesture — in every place where there is an effort toward.

    And when we have all overcome our stupidity of little worshippers, then perhaps we will see her, but we need eyes to see the Truth, even eyes in our bodies. It is not She who has the need to reincarnate, it is we who need to get out of our idiotic incarnation.

    So let’s smile about all that. Men need a certain dose of illusions and “tricks” to take their little steps of progress — if they were put directly in contact with the naked Truth, they would burst. Let everyone go his own way and catch his little trick or his big trick — the main thing is to go to the end, where there is no trick left. But we, I mean the Institute, have nothing to do with all this “spiritual” puppet show — we are here to publish Mother’s Work integrally, that’s all. But neither 13 nor 230 volumes will remove the scales from the eyes of those who, truly, don’t look at themselves in anguish and with an almost painful intensity, with such a poignant question, saying to themselves: what is man, what is he, where is he going? what power has he? Or who doesn’t look at this Earth, this poor Earth, painful and malefic and cruel and so small, oh! so small, asking themselves again, with this pain and this poignancy: but Earth, this Earth … where is it going with its burden of falsehood and cruelty and unconsciousness — is it going to change? Or are we all going to burst once more without truly getting out of it? Ah, who wants, who truly wants things to change and, first of all, to change himself? This is the reincarnation of Mother, in the burning intensity of the question that She is asking the entire Earth and in each heart. Mother burns there, Mother is there, in this burning.

    Everything else is circus.

    Then finally they expel this poor “Meera” (I mean the Pondicherry Ashram) as if she were Mother’s “rival” — all that is so ridiculous, ridiculous in two respects: Sri Aurobindo does not expel anybody, and Mother smiles: yes, may you all become Me … then the Earth will go on a little better.

    But good Lord! become.

    So, happy journey to Meera and happy journey to whoever: as for us, we want to become, that’s all. And no fuss.

    Satprem”

    Reply
  30. Pingback: Mahabiplabi Arabindo: Bengali movie on Sri Aurobindo’s early life | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  31. hari

    Is it possible that the Christian idea of second coming and supermind are the same? In christian theology, christ will come back to make all things new, to make a ‘new’ earth and heaven. Isn’t this similar to the descent of the supermind – because once it descends, the earthly plane will be transformed completely?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      No, they are not the same although they seem superficially similar.

      The Christian idea of the Second Coming is a piece of fiction which was invented by evangelists in the early days of Christianity (100-200 AD) to attract new followers to the new cult of Jesus, a Messiah who had been prematurely crucified in his early 30s after a ministry lasting mere 4 years. You should read books on early Christianity to understand how their fictional stories have evolved over the centuries.

      See
      1) Henry Chadwick’s Early Christian thought
      2) Geza Vermes’s Christian beginnings
      3) James Charlesworth’s Historical Jesus essential guide

      Reply
      1. amsha

        What do you think about this then?

        169. Christ came into the world to purify, not to fulfil. He himself foreknew the failure of his mission and the necessity of his return with the sword of God into a world that had rejected him.

        Thoughts and Aphorisms
        Sri Aurobindo

      2. Sandeep Post author

        Frankly, I don’t know what to make of it. I guess studying too much history makes you skeptical of divinity 🙂

  32. mike

    l’ve been checking some of this Sri Ramalingam stuff for about a week and although l believe, as Mother says, He was in touch with the Supramental [not that l’m really able to judge of course], l don’t think he had the same goal as SA and Mother. lf it was, why did He just shut himself away and de-materialise his body into Light?
    lt’s nothing like what SA and Mother were aiming for, unless l’m sadly mistaken…

    ln agenda the Mother ans satprem explain all this:

    “”Through your answer, T. [Ramalingam’s disciple] understood

    that the only difference between Ramalingam’s supramental

    yoga and yours or Sri Aurobindo’s is that his was concerned

    with an individual supramentalization, whereas you and Sri

    Aurobindo also worked for a collective supramentalization.

    “T. is convinced of this and also declares that Ramalingam

    had attained the complete supramentalization of the body….

    We didn’t say that!

    “… In his opinion, what you said confirms it.

    “I tend to regard his whole stand as rather fantastic; it shows

    me that T. has failed to understand Sri Aurobindo’s vision,

    work and yoga at their true value. I believe that not only the

    collective supramentalization , but the individual supramentalization have never been attempted previously, not to

    speak of realization. Even the full knowledge of the Supra

    mental through an ascent into the Supramental and a

    sovereign entry into the Supramental has not been done.

    How then can one speak of a practical realisation of the full

    dynamics of the supramental descent?

    “At least that is what I understood from a study of Sri Aurobindo’s and your writings. Am I wrong? A clear indication from you would be very helpful to make us see things
    in the true light.”

    l mean there is a whole section devoted to Sri Ramalingam on the Ashram website. Even Gangadharan [one of Mother’s most cherished disciples] had an incredible vision of what happened to Vallalar at the end – apparently in His Supramentalized body according to whoever put up the article:

    http://www.motherandsriaurobindo.org/Content.aspx?ContentURL=/_staticcontent/sriaurobindoashram/-03%20the%20ashram/Inspiring%20Connections/Swami%20Ramalingam/-03_Vision%20of%20Sri%20Gangadhar.htm

    One of Vallalars books has been rendered into english [according to Vallalar, which l read today, the Tamil language is the father of all languages, even sanskrit – which surprised me].

    http://www.motherandsriaurobindo.org/Content.aspx?ContentURL=/_staticcontent/sriaurobindoashram/-03%20the%20ashram/Inspiring%20Connections/Swami%20Ramalingam/On%20Ramalingam%20by%20different%20Authors/English%20Renderings%20of%20Thiruarutpa.pdf

    l do know that Sri Ramalingam’s photo’s have a definite Power [what little l know about Power, that is] – because l’ve experienced it from just glancing at His picture. lt’s happened twice in the last week or so – like a Power and Light at the chest region which fills the body and has a widening effect too. Has anyone else had this from His photo??
    l wasn’t looking for it [l only turn to SA and Mother] but this just happened unexpectedly.
    l didn’t get anything from that place [the little square] in T.R. THULASIRAM house where Sri Ramalingam was supposed to have materialised in front of him and embedded some kind of Supramental Force into the floor – or the stick they say you only have to touch to experience the Grace-Light – His picture is a different matter, though…
    l think T.R. THULASIRAM may have lost the plot with all that magnet stuff – but what do l know, he spent about 40 years on them, l think…

    Reply
    1. Rajesh

      Hi Mike,

      > Mother says, He was in touch with the Supramental [not that l’m really able to judge of >course], l don’t think he had the same goal as SA and Mother. lf it was, why did He just shut >himself away and de-materialise his body into Light?

      I would not conclude on St.Ramalinga’s dematerialization hastily as some other Sri Aurobindo disciples did. I don’t know if thats due to their vital that it is only their Master opened the path to Supramental and no one else. Even Sri Aurobindo and Mother did not claim so. Sri Aurobindo many times had to clarify the uniqueness of his new path, to distinguish from the old school of Yoga. Moreover one cannot conclude everything based only on the 2 discussions with explicit mention to St.Ramalingam in Mother’s Agenda. From 1970 to 1973 Mother follows up on this but very implicitly and indirectly. Mother says (somewhere else) what is not told outside is more important than what is told.

      Also as mentioned before in reply to Jason, dematerialization is a misnomer here. It is actually Universalization. What will one do after being granted the deathless physical body by the Divine Grace, if he finds out that people around in the world are resistant to change (in 1874). He says he’ll enter all the bodies and will bring about transformation. Things have changed a lot in the last century due to them.
      At this point I leave it to Sri Aurobindo and Mother. Only time will tell.

      > l think T.R. THULASIRAM may have lost the plot with all that magnet stuff – but what do l >know, he spent about 40 years on them, l think…

      Thulasiram himself changed some his views on his experiments in later years when I last met him a year before his passing away. But his research study about the Masters is excellent in ArutPerumJothi and Deathless Body Book I and II.

      > l do know that Sri Ramalingam’s photo’s have a definite Power …..
      > l wasn’t looking for it [l only turn to SA and Mother] but this just happened unexpectedly.

      This is a sure sign. Similar experience by Alan Kazlev in
      http://integraltransformation.blogspot.com/
      and Sobhana has written a book available for download “The Supramental Truth Body” in
      http://ramalinga.com/

      To add my few cents, I myself an aspiring devotee of Sri Aurobindo and Mother was initially restless thinking if there would be conflict in teachings. But over years looking back, their teachings perfectly fit harmoniously. It will take an entire book to write to show how each and every bit matches, in fact one can follow St.Ramalinga better if he/she is sincere to Sri Aurobindo and Mother.

      Best Wishes

      Reply
  33. mike

    Thanks for your reply rajesh. lt is a curious business and as you say it’s best to leave it to SA and Mother to work it our both individually and collectively.

    l know that T.R.Thulasiram did say that The Mother also appeared in his vision of vallalar that day in his house [a short while after vallalar if l’m right] – but was it a false vision??

    Mother also warns us about accepting the influence of other Guru’s [there is a whole post about it on this blog], of course, when your not even looking for it, what can you say lol…
    Yes, the dematerialization aspect – what it was or what it mean’t is probably beyond our understanding.
    Ramalingam might easily have initiated the supramental work – but it’s still speculation for me until SA and M clarify and confirm it directly in some definite way…

    l’m not so sure about the Theosophy prediction they attribute to him [Ramalingam], either. Apparently he said the likes of blavatsky and olcott would come to lndia and spread a greater knowledge through the influnce of their so-called ‘mahatmas’. – ramalingam said the true members of the ‘great brotherhood’ were in the north of lndia. l’m a bit dubious about all that, because SA once said there was no such thing as a ‘white brotherhood’ [l think the theosophist usually referred to their ‘mahatmas’ being in some kind of white brotherhood]. Also, SA didn’t have a very high opinion of things like theosophy – He said they were usually created and controlled by asuric types. So, that’s difficult to accept…

    Reply
  34. priyanka mukhopadhyay

    I am a devotee of sri aurobindo and the mother.I am blessed to have an oppertunity to do my desurtation research work on sri aurobindo while doing my M.A. in comparative literature from jadavpur university, kolkata in 2004. This is my husbands mail I’d since mine is hacked some time ago. My contact no is xxxxxxxxxx(erased by blog author) -i truly believe sri aurobindo’s theory of the superman.

    Reply
  35. Ian James

    Wanted: Supermen.
    Must possess universal love, fearlessly strong vital, immorality.
    Good psychic potential preferred but not essential.
    Liberation & uniform supplied on request.

    Where could one best recruit such men?

    What will be man’s attitude towards the superman?

    Ah! (Laughter) Let us hope that it is not the same attitude as the one which man has towards all his gods, because he has rather ill-treated them. His prophets and his gods, he has put them upon the cross, he has stoned them, has burnt them alive — indeed, man has behaved rather badly with all those who came to preach a new life to him. Let us hope that man becomes a little more reasonable… Now he would put them in prison.
    ~ The Mother, 12 October 1955.

    Reply
  36. mike

    Yes, lol, Her friend abdul baha was put in prison for around 40 years – l forget how long his father was behind bars for..

    Even the catholic saint padre pio was persecuted by his own church for 50 years – the ravening wolves of traditional religions..

    Reply
      1. Bishnu

        Not ‘in this lifetime’ or ‘in our lifetime’?Of COURSE IT MAY NOT HAPPEN IN NEXT 50 YRS OR 100 YRS, BUT as it is going to appear, when should we expect/After a 1000 yrs, 10000 yrs or 500 yrs or 1lakh yrs, out of curiosity we want to know.
        Thanks.

      2. Arpan

        >Evolutionary timescales cannot be simplistically determined in “number of years from now” a.k.a human time conventions. Evolution, even Darwinian is measured in terms of progress of the species(genetic in Darwinian terms, and spiritual in Aurobindian terms), which in turn are determined by a complex interrelationship between a host of complex natural factors. Scientists aren’t able to predict, even “retrospectively”, what species they would expect before a given one. They continue to update evolutionary timescales of Homo Sapiens and other species, whose genetic codes are readily available, on a regulare basis, what to expect of “future predictions”. If physical evolution is that complex to predict in terms of “human concepts” of time, predictions about spiritual evolution(determined by an exponentially greater number of factors, many of which are difficult to determine or measure) is best left unattempted.Sri Aurobindo, as far as I know didn’t give any timing for it.It is a well known fact that “intensity of effort”(non deterministic factor) is inversely proportional to time required for progress.
        (Don’t know much about SA and Mother, still studying them, but I am a great fan of scientific method and an engineer, so I can see a fallacy in logic where it appears.)

        >In “this life time” and in “our lifetime”, both hold the same meaning here in semantic terms.

        >”out of curiosity we want to know”, better put as “we wan’t to know out of curiosity”. It ,is understandable that classical writers like Aurobindo maybe difficult to understand by those who don’t know the language in which they write properly(English in most cases for Aurobindo), but it is better to read them in original, if “out of curiosity one wants to know”. If nothing, one’s language skills would improve.

      3. Bishnu

        Arpan,
        If you want to explain, explain clearly , do not make a mess. one reads philosophy of Aurobindo to gain knowledge and to know teachings of Sri Aurobindo , Not to improve English Language skill, in fact no one can gain language skill, else you would have explained .

      4. Sandeep Post author

        It is supposed to occur during an equinox in the latter half of the 23rd century.

  37. mike

    There are statements by SA and M on this:

    “Once the Mother asked Sri Aurobindo: “After the descent of the Supermind, how long do you think the process of transformation will take?” Sri Aurobindo 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.”

    Also, l believe SA said He would manifest in the first Supramental Body.

    There is also the opinion that there will be an intermediary species [called Overman], which some believe is already among us…. G.VAN.Wrekham goes into this….

    Reply
  38. mike

    “When on December 8, the Mother inwardly asked him to resuscitate himself, he clearly answered, “I have left this body purposely. I will not take it back. I shall manifest again in the first supramental body built in the supramental way.””

    Reply
  39. Arborescence

    This may be a bit off topic but I don’t know where to post this question anywhere else:

    Did the Mother and SA talked about nature (I mean the woods, trees, animals, stones) and the transformation/conversion of the physical world and universe as well?

    I know that SA once was not affected by an external typhoon with his window open and that the mother used to talk to plants, so they had interaction with this nature, but as everything is the brahman, even this “lower” consciousness should be converted and transformed, even Asuras should be, everything, not just highest consciousness on this earth, the human, right?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      In the Evening Talks of A.B. Purani, Sri Aurobindo states that the supramental descent will not change trees or other parts of Nature(sorry can’t find the passage). As for Asuras, some may change if they wish it.

      However, it is true that as part of evolution, everything will evolve (spiritually by taking new forms) and get transformed, since the Universe passes through multiple cycles of creation and dissolution.

      Reply
  40. RJ

    Interesting quote from correspondence with Nirodbaran. Note that Sri Aurobindo is often jovial and sarcastic corresponding with Nirod, so it’s open to interpretation how seriously to take the comment – but it does suggest something interesting…!

    [Nirodbaran:] Don’t forget to make us, at least, feel the Descent. 30 years’ sadhana, by Jove!. . .
    [Sri Aurobindo:] 30 years too little or too many? What would have satisfied your rational mind—3 years? 3 months? 3 weeks? Considering that by ordinary evolution it could not have been done even at Nature’s express speed in less than 3000 years, and would ordinarily have taken anything from 30,000 to 300,000, the transit of 30 years is perhaps not too slow.

    http://www.sriaurobindoandmother.com/Content.aspx?ContentURL=_StaticContent/SriAurobindoAshram/-09%20E-Library/-03%20Disciples/Nirodbaran/Correspondence%20with%20Sri%20Aurobindo-Vol_2/-006_September%201936.htm

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Can you clarify the question ? Do you mean
      1) in his writings ?
      2) in the future ?
      3) in Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness ?

      Reply
  41. mike

    First, will be an ‘lntermediary’ stage called ‘Overman’..this is discussed in George Van Wrekham’s books..

    Reply
  42. Kian Tandava

    Speaking of Alma Theon, I’ve just discovered the following two pamphlets written by her under the name “Una”, printed in 1884 by the Universal Philosophic Society. I learned of them reading this article about her:

    http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/other/mme_theon_e.pdf

    The pamphlets can be found here:

    http://ssoc.selfip.com:81/1884__una___sayings_of_sibyl_alta_una.pdf

    http://ssoc.selfip.com:81/1884__una___objects_axioms_laws_of_ups.pdf

    The SSOC (Standard Spiritualist and Occult Corpus) website is a goldmine (or interminable labyrinth) of arcane occult publications. There are two books by Max Theon, “Doctrine Spirite De Kardec” and “Spiritisme Experimental”, on this page:

    http://ssoc.iapsop.com/

    as well as copies of his Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor’s “The Occultist” and “The Occult Magazine” (one issue of the former before the publication changed its name to the latter):

    http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/occultist_hbl/

    http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/occult_magazine_hbl/

    Several books by his student Thomas Burgoyne are also on the site, along with other items of relevant interest I’m sure I haven’t discovered yet.

    Reply
  43. Sandeep Post author

    a remark by the Mother on this subject

    Traditions — which of course are only oral traditions and from the scientific point of view quite questionable, but which are based on individual memories—say that the first man or the first human pair or the first human individuals were materialised in accordance with an occult method, something like the one Sri Aurobindo foretells for the future supramental process; that is, that beings belonging to higher worlds have, by a process of concentration and materialisation, built or formed for themselves bodies of physical matter. It probably wasn’t the lower species which progressively produced a body which became the first human body.

    (Mother, Questions and Answers 11 Dec 1957)

    Reply
  44. Tux (@lordtux)

    Amazing, I read through the comments and I ended reading this
    http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/other/van_vrekhem-overman.htm

    Has Sri Aurobindo in any moment commented anything regarding another civilizations? I mean, not from another dimension, but another civilization, another race, like human, because the universe is so big that is hard to imagine that we, human are the only inteligent, the only life on this part of the Universe, I’m just wondering if there is another civilizations like human out there, if they will pass or passed for the same process regarding the supramental evolution

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      There is a recorded discussion on extra-terrestrial life

      08.08.1926

      Disciple: Is there life on the Moon? You said that the life-wave travels from planet to planet. Is this statement founded on experience?

      Sri Aurobindo: No. I have no experience of other planets. I did not say “the life-wave travels” — I only said it is mere reaction that may have travelled. You don’t mean to say that the earth is the only planet with life and others are only lifeless ones.

      Disciple: Conditions on the Moon and other planets for sustaining life are not propitious.

      Sri Aurobindo: Why not? The same conditions must not be there. There can be other conditions and other forms!

      Disciple: Uranus-Sirus is a double planet. The matter of one has fifty thousand times the density of water. We cannot form an idea of such matter, but it exists there in that form!

      Sri Aurobindo: It is one of the stupid limitations of the human mind that nothing can exist which does not agree with its preconceived ideas of conditions. Fire-walking, it maintains, is impossible. Not only it is possible, it is done. It does not matter in what way.

      LINK : http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/purani/00/evening_talks.htm

      Reply
  45. arya

    ***Sri Aurobindo and his disciples once discussed why Ramana Maharshi did not engage in the supramental transformation.***

    I find this interesting. People like Ramana and Buddha did not believe in supramental manifestation. They only believed in individual liberation.

    Will such people be forced to take birth on earth again and again (like us regular people)? Or can rebirth be avoided even without an understanding of supermind etc.?

    My question pertains only to rebirth: Can someone be totally oblivious to evolution of consciousness, supermind, etc. (like the Buddha) and still avoid rebirth entirely?

    Reply
    1. mikran

      The bringing down of the Supremental is a spiritual evolutionary process which may take eons. Every individual has a choice, many take the traditional path, and once all dharma has been exhausted may permanently retire to Brahmaloka or whatever.Best to read the chapter on Rebirth in the Life Divine for a clear exposition of Sri Aurobindo’s views on the subject. The Intergal Yofa of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is difficult and requires a strong persistent call. “hard is the Path to tread sharp as the razors edge.” Good luck in your journey
      Diane

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        Good to hear from you, Diane ! Happy New Year

        Yes, as Diane says, such liberated beings retire to Brahmaloka from where they may descend as Avatars if they wish to participate in evolution of consciousness.

        I faintly recall but can’t find the reference, but the Mother had told Paul Brunton that one must have the “sankalpa” (work assigned by the Divine) in order to undertake this path. Ramana Maharshi, apparently, did not receive any suck sankalpa.

      2. Arya

        Let’s say a person only wants liberation or escape from rebirth ( not super mind etc). What practice would aurobindo suggest? Would it be completely different from integral yoga?

      3. Sandeep Post author

        Integral Yoga is the union of Bhakti, Jnana and Karma Yoga towards the Triple Transformation. So technically, yes you could practice Integral Yoga to gain Self-Realization and stop there but it doesn’t work that way.

        In reality, the motivation with which we start Yoga usually gets dropped later. Ultimately, it is the Divine which decides what you do after the separative ego disappears.

        The Gita describes the four types of seekers

  46. mikran

    I think the questions you ask are very common to spiritual seekers. One of the best sources I know is Dilip Kumar Roy memoir Sri Aurobindo came to me. It is a very honest account of Dilip”s struggle with his love for Sri Aurobindo and his devotion to Krishna. Up until recently you could read this at the SriAurobindoAshram website. Unfortunately the website is undergoing changes and the publication is no longer available. You can always try reading the Letters on Yoga many of which were addressed to Dilip

    Reply
  47. Pete

    I am so glad to have found other interested in Aurobindo. I have read “Synthesis of Yoga” and am half way through “The Life Divine” and have no one to discuss with. Reading him is alike a meditation. I can almost feel my mind being aligned. What a gift it has been to find him.

    Reply
      1. Pete

        Thank you. Good place here with a lot to read. I tried to read him back in the 70’s and just couldn’t. Now I cant stop. I would like to try Savitri but is there a commentary to help me understand the terms?

    1. mikran

      Welcome Pete
      I have been reading the Life divine since 1989. It takes me 3-4 months, so thats about 3 times a year. It is a meditation and a guide to my sadhana.I am also reading the Human Cycle at the moment, imperative in these interesting times
      we are indeed blessed
      Diane

      Reply
      1. Pete

        Thank you. But now I have also started on the Record of Yoga. So much to read.

        If only…
        “Nati is the submission of the soul to the will of God; its acceptance of all touches as His touches, of all experience as His play with the soul of man.”

    1. Mark

      I read it and sometimes pieces of it make meaning, but for its entirety, no way, out of my range. But I read it as my mantra.

      Reply
      1. mikran

        Ah no classical education , of course Sri Aurobindo was steeped in the classics ☺ I have been reading Savitri since 1990. I have a book by Prema Nandakumar, a Study of Savitri which I read many years ago and I found it very helpful. Steer clear of books by westerners (I am a westerner) as they tend to be dismissive of mystical poems. For many years I favoured Aswapathy’s journey but have Côme to a greater awareness of Savitri’s dialogue with death after reading Thé Mothers commente in thé Agenda (The Mother was doing a translation from1964 on. The Russians (www.aurobindo.ru) have on their board the recordings of The Mother reading Savitri with and without Sunil’s music. Now that is a meditation
        Regards
        Diane

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