If the law is within the mental laws, you cannot break certain things which are already wrong. Sri Rama, for example, was according to Sri Aurobindo, an Avatar of the mind. In the world of wild impulses, he came and established the law of the mind, the law of justice, love, credibility, faithfulness to be a good father, good son, good husband, good king. These were the laws which were necessary at that time he established. But even these laws could come to such a point in actual working that Kansa could be there, that Duryodhana would come and rule. Therefore, there was a kind of a break, a kind of impasse, then Sri Krishna comes and says a new law, as Sri Aurobindo says Sri Krishna was the Avatar of the overmind, a consciousness which is much above the mind. We shall come to later on what is overmind and what is mind, what is the difference between the two, but certainly a higher level of existence, but this overmental world Is not enough, the evolution of the world has come to such a point that a higher law has to be established. This is what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother said: supermind law has to be established and that is one of the most difficult tasks.
When Avatar comes on the earth there is a double phenomenon of Avatarhood. Now this is another secret of the world. I understood this secret when a question was asked by some student to the Mother. Mother answered it. It was extremely revealing to me. The question which was asked by the child was: is it true that Leonardo da Vinci is the same as Sri Aurobindo? This was the question because there was a talk that Sri Aurobindo in his past birth was Leonardo da Vinci. Everybody was talking in the ashram, so the child asked the question to the Mother, so the Mother answered and the letter passed through me. So I am a beneficiary of the question put by the child and Mother's answer, and the Mother's answer was this: “This is not true. What is true is that there is a Supreme Lord coming down on the earth who borrowed the soul that was Leonardo da Vinci’s. With that soul, he has come down as an Avatar. You see the complication of the story, there was a soul of Leonardo which was evolving like all of us, which had come to a certain point. It had reached such a point of evolution, it was about to burst but could not burst. Then the Supreme Lord borrows that soul, he accepts that soul and then with that soul he is born. So it is not entirely untrue. It is that soul of Leonardo.”
It is a wonderful story which came to me. I was already in the ashram for about 10 years at that time, and I had not known this, but it was then that Mother explained. It was such a miraculous answer to me. I mean, it was a kind of bursting of my consciousness.
This is a very interesting question actually, “burst” in the sense it has come to its own highest possibility. I mean all developed individuals.. what are that.. what are the limitations against which they are working? See if you actually examine, it is said that Sri Aurobindo’s other past three births are known. Augustus Caesar was the same as Leonardo and Leonardo was the same as Danton. These three births of Sri Aurobindo are known.
Now, if you examine the lives of these three great men, it's a wonderful story. If you open the history of the world there is one author, one historian who I regard very highly—Will Durant. He has written 11 big volumes of the history of civilization and who has written a full biography of Augustus Caesar, not Julius Caesar, normally we know Julius Caesar because there is a play written by Shakespeare, but Augustus Caesar was much much greater man. If you examine letters of Augustus Caesar, it was he who established in the world history the first Roman Empire, which was the largest in the world history, and which survived for 800 years after its establishment. This Roman Empire was so solidly established by one man. It is as if it were the very first attempt on the earth to establish unity of mankind. The human unity, which is the ultimate destiny of the supreme work to be done. That work was greatly accomplished by a soul which was called Augustus Caesar. It’s not an Avatar, it is the soul like any one of us. It was a soul called Augustus Caesar. He in his life, he established a great possibility.
When Sri Aurobindo writes in The Ideal of Human Unity, the one great example that he gives is the Roman Empire. It's very interesting also. He says that if you want to understand the problems of unity of mankind, you should study the Roman Empire. The strength and weakness of the Roman Empire has to be studied, so that in future when you build that real unity, the defects of the Roman Empire can be eliminated. This is one of the great lessons in the book itself. He said what were the defects as a result of this breakdown and could not be made a durable instrument. Now this is the great work done by Augustus Caesar.
Now you come to Leonardo again, the fullness of the biography is to be found historically in Will Durant’s books. Augustus Caesar’s biography is in the second volume, Leonardo’s is in the fifth or sixth volume. So there's a lot of distance between the two, Leonardo was in the 15th century and Augustus Caesar was in the first century AD.
Now when Leonardo came he had nothing to do with kingdoms. He was entirely of a different cast, and this also tells us how the soul evolves. A soul which is a poet today may be a mason in the next birth depending upon what kind of work he has to do, what kind of experience he has to gather. So in his birth, he became a supreme artist, but what a kind of artist, Leonardo is incomparable. This is not the time to say what is Leonardo, but only one word I would say is that Will Durant when he wrote on Augustus Caesar, he said the only man comparable to Augustus Caesar in the whole history of the world is Leonardo. That was his research. So I am only telling you quite impartially. When he writes on Leonardo, he says the only man compared to him is Augustus Caesar in his completeness and his final verdict of Leonardo is: he was the perfect man of the renaissance.
Now this is an impartial judgement of a very great historian, of a great value, and now the Mother says it was the soul of Leonardo which was borrowed by the Avatar, and that is Sri Aurobindo. So this is from Mother's own words, so there is no doubt about it, that Leonardo was certainly here who presided over this new manifestation.
Now Danton also if you consider, Danton is not so well known. Leonardo is well known, Augustus Caesar is very well known, but Danton is not very well known. Although in France he is quite well known. He was the first prime minister of France when France became free from the first republic. When France became revolutionised Danton was the leader of the real revolution, as Sri Aurobindo says Danton was the soul of French Revolution. This is a very great study of Sri Aurobindo and he marks Danton as the soul of the French Revolution. He was guillotined. That also is very interesting. Sri Aurobindo’s account of Danton is worth reading, sometime in your free time we can read that Historical Impressions which is very interesting to read what Sri Aurobindo said about French Revolution, about Danton particularly, it will give us insight as to how the soul is prepared.
It is again the French Revolution and these three ideals are so important for the future of mankind. If Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, are not established on the earth, the new world can't be created. Therefore, French Revolution was a necessary part of the supramental world and if you examine the work of Augustus Caesar, the work of Leonardo and the work of Danton, all the three are contributory to the supramental world. This is the whole connecting link.
Now they must have come many times, I’m only saying what is known to us here, really known to me, because there are many other knowledgeable people who may be knowing many more things, but I can only tell you what I know and what I have studied again. I have studied Leonardo quite well, I have studied Augustus Caesar quite well and I have studied Danton quite well. So I can tell you, I can verify from facts of their lives.
Now, similarly, there is a work of the Supreme Lord and the Supreme Mother and both of them whenever they come down on the earth they come down as Avatars. Therefore Sri Aurobindo said we both have been leaders of evolution, whenever there was an evolution, whenever there was a breaking point and something to be crossed over, which was not possible with the available means, I told you about three means, when those three means are not available, then they have a role to play and then they come down and they work it out.
But they work it out how? How, and that is very important to how the method of the work of the Avatar, the method of the work of the Avatar is to show to human beings how they can enter into that new world. This is a very important point. They do not come here as Sri Aurobindo says, they do not come here to display the miracles, to show, look how splendid I am. That is not the purpose of the Avatar so he doesn’t come here on earth to show human being to show look what you cannot do, I can do. It’s not that. He wants to show that you can do it and show the way.
Now how to show to the human being that you can do it? This is the only purpose because it is actually for man to do it. Only when they cannot do it he comes as a guru, as a teacher, not to show his superiority. Teacher does not tell the pupil, look what you cannot do, I can do and that you will never be able to do it. No, that's not a good teacher. A good teacher says that what you can do, I know how you can do it, and I will tell you if something is lacking, I’ll give you that thing, but at the right moment I’ll impart to you. This is the method of the Avatar. This is how he works out in the world. He doesn't come here to display. Sri Krishna did not come to display all the powers if he could kill Putna and all these people, we could not kill in the same way Kansa, there he had got to go to athura personally, he had to wrestle. He had to work out the murder of the killing of Kansa himself. He had himself to be defeated 26 times in Mathura, and then he had to go away, ranchod. He is called ranchod, to escape. It is not as if that whenever he came on the earth, he's not like a pehelwan who comes and says, look what you cannot do I can do, such is not the method. This is not the purpose of Avatarhood. The purpose of Avatarhood is modest, is benign.
He comes to you, shows you, you can do it and how can it be done. He takes birth in a soul which is like anybody's soul when in that soul working, he works from above into that soul as it were. On this body because of its past evolution has the highest difficulties of evolution in him. He concentrates in his own personality, wherever there is blockage, he comes in the highest blockage and he works out like when you want to drill somewhere, nothing is penetrating, so you bring a dynamite and you explode it into that material, this is the method of his work. So we might say that a kind of a soul which had reached a very critical point, has the highest possibilities and higher difficulties and he cannot cross through. So he comes and works out and shows that look, you can do it, it's worked out. Once that is done, Avataric work is done, then he disappears because now the evolutionary dharma, law, is established. Once the supramental world is made, Sri Aurobindo says after supramental world, there will be no need of an Avatar because that's the highest. That is to be done has been done. It’s the last Avatar, because after that there is no law which will bind man. All that man can do, with this supramental world all will be manifested.
Now, that was the critical work of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. They came at a time of the evolution of the earth when the most difficult conditions of the earth were present, even more difficult than the conditions in which Krishna was born, and that is why we find a close connection between Krishna and Sri Aurobindo. He’s not gone, he's there working and it is he who takes Sri Aurobindo because the Avatar when he comes down there, as Sri Aurobindo says that the Avatar has got a two-fold consciousness, he as a Supreme Lord and a frontal consciousness, which is the consciousness of the soul, which is at a critical point of development and has all the difficulties and defects of the developed soul and right from birth. The Supreme Lord goes on working into the field. That’s why Sri Aurobindo says that Avatarhood is a necessary part of the mechanism of the world evolution. It’s not as if it may happen, may not happen. It’s a necessary part, if Avatarhood does not take place, the world evolution cannot take place. It’s a necessary part.
Now, if you examine the life of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo from this point, you will find that they came and incarnated into the most difficult material of human life, from the childhood into the adulthood, all the conditions of life as Sri Aurobindo says: we do have to bear the burden which none in the history of the world has ever been required to bear. These are Sri Aurobindo’s words about themselves, it's not as if they came, and everything was so easy, not at all. It is to show that it is in the difficult terrain they have to work it out, a difficult obstruction to be to be broken. In their own personalities, they incarnate all the difficulties of the evolution. When Sri Krishna came he also encountered all the difficulties, such as, for example, Mahabharata. We cannot appreciate sufficiently what must have been the difficult condition of his coming on the earth when Mahabharata took place, how many kings were there in the world in the country. At that time how many kingdoms were there. They were all fighting with each other, most of them were like Duryodhana and how to work out so that they can be all exterminated, and this young man, you can imagine Sri Krishna, was not himself an emperor. He took birth at a point which was the most difficult point of birth where at the right point of the birth he was going to be killed. Such was the difficult condition in which he was bursting, as it were, at every step of Sri Krishna’s life, it is the most dangerous walking, even when he went to Duryodhana for the peace formula, Duryodhana wanted to capture him and to kill him, and then he had to manifest at that time so that he could not do it. Similarly, here Arjuna also when he says I will not fight for his whole work of his lifetime, he had come on the earth to destroy all these people, Arjuna was instrument of it and then the instrument says I will not fight. Imagine the condition in which Sri Krishna himself was put, it's the most difficult condition: it's not as if he was such a miraculous man he could do what nobody else could do. No, he had to work out that very difficulty, that way resistance had to work out and through that resistance he worked out and triumphed.
Similarly, you take only one single example, it is in the life of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo that two world wars were fought, both in the life of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Today we did not recognize that there were such devastating wars. The whole civilization would have been finished. Today because it has not happened.. there is a saying of Aldus Huxley that what does not happen, does not get accounted for. It's quite true. In fact, all politicians should know this statement. All that does not happen does not get accounted for and therefore they take it for granted. But why and how it did not happen!
Yesterday I spoke about the Chinese war. Nobody knows how China was averted. It was the Avataric work of the Mother herself, Mother has written on it in the Agenda, but she went into her occult form in the borders of India and she made an appeal to the Chinese to withdraw and she said that they obeyed. I mean for her to make them obey is only that force and therefore they withdrew, and even now we say, Oh they withdrew. We take it for granted, as if nothing has happened, but it was a great Avataric work. If Mother were not there, imagine China coming into India today we'll not be talking here. We will not be able to allowed to talk of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Now two world wars were fought. What are these two world wars? They were the wars indicative of complete devastation of the old civilization. In fact Sri Aurobindo said: the second world war was fought in the body of the Mother. People said that Sri Aurobindo was retired and he was very withdrawn. But in 1938, first of all Sri Aurobindo, if you remember, had an accident, he fell down. Why? Because he wanted to protect the Mother, something was happening and Mother was to be destroyed. Sri Aurobindo went on this vyagcharma, that is a tiger skin and there he slipped and he said I became unconscious for a second. You see, Mother was protected, it was affected, but he had to pay a price for it. He was disabled for months. He had to remain in that condition. And then the world wars could not be averted, it broke out. Maybe that they were trying to avoid the war itself, it could not be, but then they declared that their force was with the Allies between the Allies and the Axis powers. Sri Aurobindo said that the whole vital world has been born on this earth at that time. The vital world of the Asuras and the Rakshasas that is, that they were born and bringing Hitlers and Gobbles and therefore there was such a powerful force together, and they wanted to destroy the civilization.
The Mother tells the whole story of this quite clearly in the Agenda. It is written, the whole story is given by the Mother as to what she worked, according to her there is an Asura, the Asura of Falsehood. If you read the Mother’s story there are four Asuras in the world according to the Mother: the Asura of Darkness, Asura of Sorrow, Asura of Falsehood and Asura of Death. These are the four powerful asuras blocking the evolution of the earth. In fact in the world whatever is being done, these four Asuras block them. People come under the influence of Sorrow, or of Darkness, or of Falsehood, or of Death. And therefore you can't move forward in this evolutionary process and Mother says in her own life she has come across all the four Asuras.
And this one which was behind the Second World War, was the Asura of Falsehood because the Asura of Falsehood wanted to keep the entire earth under his command. And the secret target of these was Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Even the Japanese came into the picture and ultimately, even there they came very near to Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo’s room at that time, from 1939 to 1945 was the room of a war office. Every minute whatever was happening was recorded, Pavitrada was given the charge of listening to the radio, and his charge was that every radio news that he could get was transmitted to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He knew virtually every inch of the development of the war. Apart from the physical knowledge, there was occult knowledge also but both ways, physical knowledge and other knowledge, and working out at a critical point when Hitler was triumphant everywhere, Mother discovered that it was the Asura of Falsehood which was behind Hitler. This was also a big discovery to find out behind Hitler, which is the force and how is it working and she found out that Hitler has one special capacity to get into a fainted consciousness during which this Asura could communicate to him and he used to guide him—attack here, attack there. Because Asura has no limitations of physical barriers. We have physical barriers, we cannot know more than whatever our eyes can see, but Asuras even of the physical world, vital world, the mental world and all this, they don't have difficulties knowing certain things about the earth better than what we can know. So knowing the conditions they need all that sort of thing. So the result of this Mother says that at a critical point, Mother herself assumed the form of the Lord of Falsehood.
[Note: A disciple once put this question to Sri Aurobindo: "is it true that the same consciousness that took the form of Leonardo da Vinci had previously manifested as Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome? If so, will you please tell me what exactly Augustus Caesar stood for in the history of Europe and how Leonardo's work was connected with his?" Sri Aurobindo replied:]
Augustus Caesar organised the life of the Roman Empire and it was this that made the framework of the first transmission of the Graeco-Roman civilisation to Europe—he came for that work and the writings of Virgil and Horace and others helped greatly towards the success of his mission. After the interlude of the Middle Ages, this civilisation was reborn in a new mould in what is called the Renaissance, not in its life-aspects but in its intellectual aspects. It was therefore a supreme intellectual, Leonardo da Vinci, who took up again the work and summarised in himself the seeds of modern Europe.
29 July 1937
Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Poetry and Art: Augustus Caesar and Leonardo da Vinci