If you read what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have written on this question, it is some very difficult research work. What is the speciality that you find in Sri Aurobindo? It emerges from the question of the Supermind. The Vedic Rishis had some experience of the Supermind, but it was incomplete. In what way does Sri Aurobindo consider it incomplete? Why does Mother? This can be seen only when you study and do research into the questions that Sri Aurobindo asked and the answers that he found. The questions the Vedic Rishis asked were of one type, the questions that Sri Aurobindo asked of a different type. It has very much to do with the question of harmony of which I spoke earlier: Can harmony be established in the physical world, in physical life?
In our own time this question has become extremely imperative. It is as if mankind cannot make the next step forward if this question is not answered. Today as never before there is globality; things are beginning to become global, universal. Even a small battle can become gradually a world war and the weapons of war today are so disastrous that all mankind can be extinguished by their use. Therefore, the search for harmony, the search for peace, is imperative, so urgent. When Sri Aurobindo turned to Yoga, he did so first to find an answer to the question, “Can Yoga be utilized to attain freedom for India?” That was his first question. And he found an answer, but when he found it he saw that he was himself led to a deeper question; he found that the mere freedom of India was not enough. The whole world should be free, - free from fear, free from hunger, free from poverty, free from war, free from all kinds of envy and jealousy and rivalries of whatever kind.
He began to ask that deeper question. He was led himself to this question, and he made this search. He discovered the Supermind on his own. It is not as though he read the Veda and found the Supermind there, then practiced Yoga, and then found the Supermind himself that is not what happened in Sri Aurobindo’s life. On his own search he discovered the Supermind, and then when he read the Veda he found verification of it. And then he began to develop this knowledge of the Supermind, and surpassed what was known in the Veda. Because his question was: Can this Supermind be utilized? Is there any means by which the Supermind can be employed to resolve the problems of the crisis that mankind is facing today? This is the question he asked.
And surprisingly, we find that Mother, who had not met Sri Aurobindo until 1914, but who was practicing Yoga on her own, had also found the Supermind.
Mother herself has said that when she met Sri Aurobindo on the ninth of March 1914, for the first time, she put a question to him. She told him that she had already discovered the Supermind on her own (and again it was not by reading the Veda, she did it by her own Yogic experience), and she asked this question: “Can the Supermind descend on the earth? Can it be brought down?”
And why did she put this question? Because she’d found that in Supermind there is automatic harmony. The Supermind is a system of relationships which are automatically harmonious. There is no need to make an effort to harmonize, it is spontaneously harmonious. So if that Supermind can come on the earth, then harmony can become automatic. Mother had seen that if Supermind could be brought down to earth, then harmony could be brought about on earth, - in the earth life, in physical life. The question was: Is it possible?
That was the question that Mother put to Sri Aurobindo in 1914. You can see the spirit of research involved. When Mother says that Auroville is meant for research, it is this kind of burning research that we must have in our own hearts, that kind of search that Mother had. She was looking for an answer to this question: Can the Supermind descend on the earth?
And Mother herself says in her account of this experience with Sri Aurobindo that he answered very briefly, and said, “Yes.”
It’s a tremendous answer. That Supermind could descend on the earth, there was no doubt in his mind he had already done all the necessaries of research. He had come to the conclusion that Supermind can descend on the earth.
Now, most of the people who’d had some vision of the Supermind had not come to this conclusion that Supermind can really descend on this earth. Actually, as Mother says in one of her other accounts later on, all the past experience had repeatedly said that the Highest cannot manifest in the physical. Whatever is the Highest (it may be Sachchidananda, the Supermind, the Supreme Love — it may be anything), you can have a little bit of it on earth, but it can never be permanently here, not even that little. It can never come down fully here in the physical world. For the first time, Sri Aurobindo made a statement: Yes, it can descend. And what is more important is Mother’s remark that when Sri Aurobindo said “Yes” she saw that Supermind began to descend on the spot, at the same time. It was not merely saying “Yes”. And then Mother made this remark: “For the first time I saw a Knowledge so powerful that it could become actualized.” The moment Sri Aurobindo said “Yes” then it began to descend.
Now you may say (and it is true) that even in the Veda there is a descent of the Supermind. But the kind of descent that we find in the Veda and the kind that we find in Sri Aurobindo, -- there is a difference. I told you last time of the “victory of the Fathers” and gave a quotation from Parashara, the great Rishi, who described the condition in which the highest victory is obtained. That description is that the powers of the gods, who are the sons of Aditi, come down, and they can be sustained by the physical without dislocation. The body remains stable like a baked jar; not an unbaked, but a baked jar. And this is the state which they described as Immortality: when the Supermind can be sustained by the body and the body does not break down. “That is a state of Immortality” does this mean that it is a physical state, physical immortality? That is a question to be raised: Did the Rishis mean physical immortality?
The answer is: It could be. In one of the conversations in the Agenda, Mother says that it is quite possible that some of the Rishis are even now alive. It is quite possible. If the physical remains sustained even when the Supermind descends, that physical can continue to live on and on. But even then Mother makes a distinction between the immortality of the body and the state of deathlessness. Deathlessness is a state in which death is not obligated. It’s a conquest of death. To merely continue to live on and on and on is not the conquest of death. The conquest of death is when death is not obligatory. One can die, but it is not obligatory, one cannot, one is not obliged to die. This is a different proposition. We shall discuss this question some other time, if there is a great sense of research in us. In fact, at one time in 1965 or 66, Mother announced that she was doing research into what death is, and said that she would help all those who wanted to do this research. What is death? Is death obligatory? Should death be there at all? Mother said that her entire life experience could be summed up in this one search. She said, as it were, “I am here on the earth to find an answer to this question ‘What is death?’ and to make the conquest of death.” Because in death is contained the seed of all that we call division, discord, disharmony, everything. There is a very interesting chapter in The Life Divine where Sri Aurobindo has brought out the issue of Immortality in fullness briefly, but in all its aspects. Mere survival of death that is, to survive after death may also be regarded as immortality. That immortality exists already in our souls, for everyone. The soul survives death, the psychic being is immortal. It passes from one body to the other, but itself it remains the same. It grows, it enriches itself in experience, becomes vaster, but it remains. That immortality is of course known to everybody. To realize the immortality of the soul is also a great step. We may have heard of “the Immortality of the Soul” but not have experienced it. So experience of it is also a kind of an experience of immortality you can say when you have experienced it, “I have become immortal” but that is not the full content of the idea of Immortality. There is a deeper idea of Immortality, when you experience the Supreme Reality, which is indestructible in its nature. The soul is only a spark of that Reality, but when you realize the Reality itself, that is another experience of Immortality.