Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture. (SAIIC) Shillong workshop, 26,Oct -7 Nov, 2006 - 2. Challenges before India; Transformation

India has to understand this problem. According to me, along with the problem of education, along with the problem of religion or nationalism, internationalism, this problem is equally important. What is happening in the world and how India has to react to it. Will India act or only react all the time? This is the question at present. We are all the time reacting to something that is happening. This problem Mother made me aware of and I’m still studying. I cannot say that I have read now Sri Aurobindo and I can tell you. I’m a kid. I’m studying—and I like everybody to study, my only request is: let us study together, reflect on this. I can share with you what I have studied. You take your pool of knowledge, all that you can study, all that you have reflected put together, then east will rise again. I have no doubt that the east will lead India in the world. What is said here is very briefly stated. I think I'll stop here now.

Next Session: Transformation

For the third stage we use the word transformation to mean conversion that is converted fully. You have this and now it is transformed when conversion takes place. A man who is Valmiki who was a robber, now he becomes the poet, we call it transformation. Now one of these three beings are applicable to what Sri Aurobindo means by transformation. It was such a remarkable change like the change from robber to a poet, as it happens to Valmiki, is not transformation. The highest example in evolution that you'll find of transformation is when an animal begins to think, one of the great transitions in the history of evolution by the development of the brain. The animal which was instinctive, impulsive, sensitive, aware of moment to moment, suddenly by the change of the skull and its protrusion, begins to reflect beyond the horizon of the expanse. He is able to connect events, begins to detect laws, some universal patterns, and predict, to design and to engineer. This is the greatest transformation that we can speak of, which has occurred in human history. Sri Aurobindo tells you even this is not transformation. Even now with all the power of our evolution, we have achieved only a capacity of rapid thinking and through computerization, we think that we should be able to make even machine learning, it's the utmost that we can think of as a possibility for man. We cannot come out of the formula of what is called groping. For human consciousness gropes. We are like blindfolded. We are probing by touching this thing, touching that thing by the help of science. Blind men walk because they get some signs, some signals of some kind. Similarly, our great signs are language. Language is a sign, and by touching the language, we feel as if we enter into this realm of knowledge or that realm of knowledge. And as we go deeper and deeper, we find that even all that, it's all conjectured like a blind man. We cannot say definitely this is this.

Now one of the signs of transformation that Sri Aurobindo speaks of is that human consciousness would be so changed that it will not need to grope. In every situation it will know. It’s not a question of this may happen, this is perhaps so and so, that is perhaps so and so. Sri Aurobindo conceives of a possibility of consciousness in man whereby instead of groping there is this movement of Knowledge, definiteness of Knowledge. And the future progression will be from knowledge to knowledge. At present our movement is from ignorance to lesser ignorance, and to still lesser ignorance, which we call knowledge but is actually lesser ignorance. And to farther lesser ignorance, but that is all. We cannot come out of this circle of movement, from ignorance to ignorance or more ignorance to less ignorance. whereas with transformation that Sri Aurobindo speaks of is a possibility of moving from that stage where movement is from knowledge to knowledge.

As an example, we take Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, the great epic. It is said that Sri Aurobindo made a number of drafts of Savitri. So many times he had written something then he changed it, again changed it. This is an example of knowledge to knowledge. It’s not as if the first draft is incomplete, it was not adequate, but it was luminous, but even in luminosity, he said there are many luminosities and you can go on more wide, more intense, more deep and there's no end of it. And every one of them is right. There is no question of their being false, that this is not true. Sri Aurobindo spoke of going from truth to truth. That is one of the signs of transformation, change of our consciousness in such a way that we move from knowledge to knowledge.

But this is not all. After all, what is knowledge? One of its aspects is power. If you move from knowledge to knowledge, you also move from power to power. Therefore human consciousness will be empowered in a way which you cannot imagine today. Supposing we are told you change the composition of the skull, this is a word given to us. This is one of the central questions of humanity. All our conquests, all over victories, all our defeats, all our tragedies are a result of the functioning of our skull. As long as our skull works in the way in which it is working, the history of mankind will be repeated all the time. We cannot come out of the circle of the wreck which the skull has made for mankind in the history. But supposing we are told that this skull cannot sustain movement from knowledge to knowledge, but if you want to sustain it even today, for example after five hours of vigorous thinking we are tired, we cannot sustain it, our skull is tired. In fact our skulls has become so numb at present that when you talk to somebody about a serious matter, his brain switches off. Today, man wants entertainment to such an extent that 10 minutes of serious talk makes him tired. The skull has become extremely delicate, every 10 minutes a punch of humour, some relief. That’s why people get glued to their television, because every five minutes there is an interval and there is some humour, some advertisement to make you doubt. Then you can bear further. Now here Sri Aurobindo speaks of that capacity of the skull which can bear movement from knowledge to knowledge. So what Sri Aurobindo actually is proposing is the transformation of the skull.

Human skeleton is bound up with these limitations. It is always slow because a human skull cannot do more than what it can do. One of the greatest examples of what a human skull can do is Napoleon, one who can forecast 10 alternative strategies and keep them ready. If you fail this, you take this; if you fail then you take that, more than a supercomputer. That was his brain. That is why Sri Aurobindo has said that Napoleon has one great utility to show to mankind what the human brain can do at the highest as far as particular affairs are concerned. Even Napoleon can be sent to exile at Elba. This can happen in spite of everything. It’s a tragedy actually. If you read the story of Napoleon, it’s a story of a great tragedy and mankind is wedded to tragedy. Satprem has written a very interesting book called Tragedy of the Earth. It’s a small little book, but very, very interesting. And Sri Aurobindo wants to eliminate tragedy from the earth. What Sri Aurobindo has discovered, what he is proposing for mankind is something more revolutionary than anybody can think of. How can you eliminate tragedy from the earth? If human beings remain what they are, even if they become saints, you cannot eliminate tragedy. Christ had to ascend. It's a tragedy. You have to raise up the mankind to such a level that this constant tragedy of mankind, the cycle that is constantly running and repeating itself, this tragedy can be eliminated only if the human skeleton is changed. Even before that skeleton can be changed something more has to happen.

But what is transformation? It is nothing less than changing the composition of the skeleton. That’s what Mother says that every cell of the body is to be supramentalised. To reach the Supermind is not the goal. Vedic rishis had already reached the Supermind. That is why the importance of the Veda. Even that is not enough, that supramental consciousness is to be engineered further because it's a question of engineering. Actually, how do we engineer supramental consciousness? Even the cells of the body are to be impregnated by the supermind. When that happens, then the skeleton can be changed. Actually, all evolutionary movements in the past have arisen out of such transformation. How animals began to think because of some kind of a change in the structure of the skull. It’s not easy to change the structure of the skeleton; evolution takes millions of years even to make a little change. You are a scientist, you know how long it takes one species to convert to another species, millions of years. And that too because of skeleton change. Now what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have proposed is that this is inevitable. The human brain has come to such a point that it has come to an exploding point, and if human beings do not do it..