Discoveries of The Vedic Rishis - Session 6

The five discoveries of which I spoke to you during the last few days are extremely important. In a sense, they are stupendous discoveries. Because they are stupendous, there is a tendency to be so overwhelmed by them that it seems that all that is to be known is already known in the Veda. This sometimes puts a brake on new developments and new discoveries.

We have to underline however that the Vedic Rishis never claimed that all that has to be known is known. They themselves claimed that knowledge is infinite, that it is endless. It is stated in the very first chapter of the Rig–Veda that as we rise higher and higher, new vistas of knowledge open before us. In the sixth chapter there is a very special verse by Bharadwaja in which there is a special prayer to Agni: “O Agni, protect those who are the discoverers of new knowledge!” So the very spirit of the Veda is a spirit of the constant discovery of new knowledge.

Perhaps because of this, there has been in India no dogmatism of the kind that we find in many traditions. There is dogmatism, but not of the kind or of the degree that you find elsewhere. You might say that in India there is a very great deal of the scientific spirit. The scientific spirit consists of a few elements which are distinguishable from many other attitudes.

There is for example a skeptical spirit, which is just to remain in a constant state of doubt. This is not the scientific spirit. Skepticism can be a part of science and philosophy, but not the spirit of skepticism. The aim of philosophy or science is not to arrive at doubt — though doubt can be an instrument, a springboard for discovery of new knowledge — but to arrive at the Truth. That is the scientific and philosophical spirit.

There is what is called the critical spirit, which always wants to criticize whatever is presented. Now again, this spirit is fine, it has its value, its place. But if you were to take it as a permanent spirit then it would mean that Truth could never be discovered, and that you could never arrive at a point where there would be no criticism. So this also is not a part of the scientific spirit.

At the other end there is the religious spirit, which is an advocate of revelation. The Truth is known, according to this spirit, by revelation, and can never be questioned nor criticized. It can never be renewed, it can never be modified, it can never be enriched — it is known once and for all. This is the dogmatic spirit.

Having spoken of these different spirits, now we can say what the scientific spirit is, and also why it is a special characteristic of the Veda.

The scientific spirit consists of a few elements. The first thing is that in all scientific movements there is freedom to observe — and to observe as much as possible, as wide, as high and as deeply as possible. Second is to make experiments. You observe a fact, then you want to observe the facts under certain special conditions and see how in those conditions the same facts or different facts appear — this is experimental. Then you develop the process of induction, in which you try to see if there is a causal connection between one set of facts and another. And if you see a causal connection, then you arrive at a law, at the knowledge of a law. There is a causal connection between the mixture of oxygen and hydrogen — the formula H²O gives you water — this is a causal connection. And you establish a law that wherever this mixture occurs, this will be the consequence. It’s a piece of knowledge; wherever a causal connection is established you arrive at knowledge.

But having arrived at that knowledge the door is not closed; you don’t say that this can never be questioned or modified or that we can never go deeper. According to science, you can ask the question, “Why is it that whenever H² and O, that is to say hydrogen and oxygen, come together in such–and–such a proportion, water is produced?” This question is legitimate. You might be able to find the answer to this question as well, and if you do so it will be an addition to knowledge.

So the marks of science are: a movement towards knowledge, a search for the truth, and the establishment of the truth — but with the provision that you are free to investigate further and discover new knowledge, or to confirm, repeat, modify or enrich the old knowledge, or to verify it again and again.

I spoke yesterday of the Yoga of the Veda, which has precisely this attitude. The knowledge which has been obtained can be verified in personal experience, so that you can be personally satisfied about what is contained in the statement of knowledge. You can therefore modify and enrich; you can have new knowledge. That is why Sri Aurobindo speaks of the “Science of Yoga” — Yoga is a science, it is a scientific knowledge, and when we are dealing with the Veda we should do so in a scientific spirit. Fortunately, in India Yoga has been recognized as a science, and there have been lots of developments in the knowledge which has been achieved through Yoga. If you look at the history of Yoga in India starting from the Veda, you can trace a kind of chart and find out, first of all, how the knowledge gained by Yoga has been confirmed. That is one mark of science: You can confirm it again and again throughout history.

So you can see how the yogic knowledge of the Veda has been confirmed in later times, but also how that knowledge has become more specialized. Sometimes, by narrowing the field of knowledge you can discover some special knowledge pertaining to that domain. This also has happened, as in the Upanishads. (The Upanishads were very near the Vedas, and I will tell you more about how the Upanishads developed from the Vedas later on.) In the Upanishads there was a kind of narrowing, a specialization, but as a result there was also an enrichment, even a culmination of the movement of knowledge that you find in the Veda. That is why the Upanishads are called “Vedanta”. Anta means “culmination” — the culmination of Veda. There was a knowledge that was built up in the Veda and that reached, not a full culmination, but a kind of a culmination in the Upanishads. And we can see further on a great landmark in the development of Yoga when we come to the study of the Bhagavad–Gita.

To make a very brief summary of the history of Indian Yoga, I normally put down five landmarks: the Yoga of the Veda, the Yoga of the Upanishads, the Yoga of the Bhagavad–Gita, the Yoga of the Tantra, and the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. These are the five big landmarks, but there are others. Take for example the landmark that you find in Sri Chaitanya. I’ll take as few names as possible so that your mind does not get blocked up by names, but Sri Chaitanya is one of the very great names in the history of Indian Yoga. He advocated a Yoga of Devotion, and the kind of Love that was underlined by and manifested in him is a very special development which is not in the Veda, the Upanishads or the Gita. It was a new development. The kind of synthesis of yogas of Knowledge, Action and Devotion that you find in the Bhagavad–Gita is also very special; it is a kind of a new synthesis, all the elements of which are not to be found in the Veda or the Upanishads except in seed form. You might say that the Veda is a seed. As a seed it is very potent — it contains so much! —and the whole of Indian development may be regarded as a banyan tree that has grown from this seed. But still the seed is not the banyan tree itself, there is a difference between them. The tree is a development, and as a development it manifests many things which are not visible in the seed.

The point is that in India, Yoga is not a closed book — that is the difference between religion and Yoga. The religious spirit is to consider the revelations of the past as something unsurpassable, which cannot be questioned further — it is a closed book. In Yoga the book is not closed, there is a constant development of knowledge. That is why in India, those who have surpassed the past are not easily condemned. In many other traditions the moment you surpass the past you begin to be condemned, but in India this has been allowed. There has been an acceptance of the fact that one can move forward, that one can propound something new. The only thing is that when you propound something new, it should be scientific in character; it should be based upon observation, experiment, and verification — and in the case of Yoga, verification by abiding experience. “Abiding” means an experience which constantly lives with you, that is not lost.

Since I want to take you straight from the Veda to Sri Aurobindo, I will not burden you now with the many developments that took place with regard to Vedic knowledge during the intermediate period. I will simply take up the discoveries made by the Veda and compare them with the discoveries of Sri Aurobindo, both with regard to those discoveries and to discoveries that were not even contemplated in the Veda.

Let us first of all state them one by one, very briefly. The first discovery I told you about was that life is a battle. I spoke to you of the sentence “The eater eating is eaten” — that is the formula of the struggle that is there in this battle — and told you that this battle is not only among visible creatures. Behind it there is a battle of invisible forces, which are even greater. Sri Aurobindo confirms this position, first of all. He has declared that this world is a world of battle, and that this battle is not only between living creatures but is fought also among invisible forces, consisting of the gods and the adverse forces such as Asuras, Rakshasas, Pishachas, Vritra, Dasus and Panis. Even this classification of adverse forces is confirmed by Sri Aurobindo. He has written on this question of the battle of life in such a large way that we do not find its equal even in the Veda. Taking advantage of what is given in the Bhagavad–Gita, where there is the great scenario of Kurukshetra, he has spoken of the whole world as a Kurukshetra, he has spoken of the battle of life.

Sri Aurobindo confirms the Vedic perception that this battle is not the end of human life. The ultimate end is harmony. We are passing through a battle in order to arrive at harmony, and the ultimate message of the Veda is to establish harmony. Sri Aurobindo confirms that we are moving towards greater and greater harmony, and he has dealt with this question of harmony in an even greater way than all that has been done in the whole history of the world. This is a new element, the concept of harmony.

There has been in the past a concept that harmony is almost like a promise, like a dream. But very often in history the overwhelming tendency is to consider harmony as something not attainable in physical life. Although the Veda speaks of harmony here, the question whether it can be established on the earth on a permanent basis is not answered. If you look through the pages of the Veda, there is an incomplete statement. Whereas in Sri Aurobindo there is a new element: that in the physical world, harmony can and will and must be established. This is a very positive statement that Sri Aurobindo makes.

We shall come back to this again. This is just a brief statement as to what is new in Sri Aurobindo, and this is a very important element but let us come to the second discovery of the Veda… I want to warn you about one thing: It is not as if the Vedic Rishis say, “We have made five discoveries.” This is my statement. For my expounding of the Veda (for the sake of brevity, for the sake of bringing to you the message of the Veda in a brief, intelligible manner), I have spoken of five discoveries. But there are many–many discoveries. It is in that context that I have spoken to you about the second discovery of the Veda: the discovery of the power of sacrifice, the need to offer oneself in order to make progress, in order to attain the Truth, to attain Immortality.

This concept of sacrifice has been confirmed by Sri Aurobindo. He has written at length on this subject. In his book The Secret of the Veda, in his Essays on the Gita, in his book on the Upanishads, in his great book The Synthesis of Yoga, in The Life Divine and elsewhere, he has spoken of this principle of sacrifice, he has explained what sacrifice is. But very often the word “sacrifice” gives in India the image of lighting a physical fire and offering the rice and wooden sticks and clarified butter, and reciting mantras, and so on, this is the idea of “sacrifice” that is prevalent in India. In the Veda itself this concept is transcended. The Veda does not speak only of the sacrifice of the physical fire. I told you the word “fire” is an algebraic term in the Veda: Agni is a power of illumined will, and when it is said that you light the fire it means that you give illumination to your inner will. You offer yourself to this Will, make that Will the leader. In the writings of Sri Aurobindo you will find that it is the inner meaning of sacrifice already present in the Veda, in the Gita, etc., which is brought out fully. Whenever Sri Aurobindo speaks of sacrifice he speaks of the inner sacrifice, and he explains this very clearly and very vastly. In the entire literature of India, in the entire literature of Indian Yoga, we do not get the kind of formulation of the idea of sacrifice that you find in Sri Aurobindo. It’s a new element.

Sri Aurobindo has spoken of a triple sacrifice: sacrifice by the power of Knowledge, sacrifice by the power of Love, sacrifice by the power of Works. Sacrifice is therefore something that pertains to all three paths of Yoga. Very often in the past the idea of sacrifice was largely confined to the path of Works; in Sri Aurobindo we find a full formulation of the path of sacrifice being itself a triple path, a synthesis of Knowledge, Works and Devotion.

The third discovery of the Veda was the Supermind. We spoke of turiyam swid, the discovery of “that fourth one”. Beyond the body, life and mind, they discovered the Supermind. There is a very curious description in the Veda of the Reality having four horns and three feet. Chatuhshringa trayopadasya, “it has got three feet and four horns”. The four horns consist of, first, the Reality that exists, the principle of existence; the second horn is that of Consciousness; the third horn is Delight; the fourth is the horn of the Supermind. These are the four horns in the Veda, as Sri Aurobindo himself has explained. The three feet are the body, life and mind. So if you look at the entire Reality you get seven principles. And to confirm the entire discovery of the Veda, as it were, Sri Aurobindo has spoken of “the sevenfold cord of Being”. The Reality is sevenfold; he has confirmed this discovery of the Veda. Wherever you move, whether in the manifest or the un–manifest, there is a sevenfold Reality. Just as the ray of light has a spectrum of seven colors, and whether they are manifested or not they are always present, similarly there are seven principles of Being whether they are manifested or not. Sri Aurobindo has described these seven principles of Being in a most elaborate manner. This is not only confirmation of what was in the Veda. What is new in this is a detailed explanation of the whole Universe such as has never been done in the history of the world. The explanation of the Universe that we find in Sri Aurobindo, in its totality, in all its amplitude, with its fullness of data, is completely new. And Sri Aurobindo describes the Supermind in a most ample manner which is not to be found anywhere in the history of the world.

The question is: Was the Supermind known to the Vedic Rishis as fully, in such amplitude as we find in Sri Aurobindo? I cannot dare to make a statement myself, but shall take a statement from the Mother. This is from The Mother’s Agenda. The disciple asks a question; he starts by saying:

You don’t have time now or I would bring up a problem. It can wait for another occasion.

Which problem?

About the discovery of the Supermind in the Veda and by Sri Aurobindo, there is something I don’t quite grasp.

Because in the Veda it is incomplete.

This is the statement of the Mother: “Because it is incomplete”. Then She continues:

“No. They had a hint, like a vision of the thing, but there is no proof that they realized it. What is more, had they realized it seems to me that we would certainly have found some traces, but no traces remain.”

That’s a very important statement. It is a claim that whenever you proceed to do Yoga, and you do it thoroughly and sincerely, in all its depth, the Yoga gives you all that has been realized in the past, so that you find the traces. If somebody has trodden a path then it becomes easier for you to tread it. You don’t have to make a great effort to hew a new path.

I’m omitting something from the text to make it briefer for you:

“According to what Sri Aurobindo saw, and what I saw as well, the Rishis had the contact, the experience… How to put it? A kind of lived knowledge of the thing, coming like a promise, saying, ‘THAT is what will be.’ But it's not permanent. There is a big difference between their experience and the descent — what Sri Aurobindo calls "the descent of the Supermind": something that comes and establishes itself.” (Agenda 7 November 61)

And then Mother goes on further, you can read it in your own time. But this is an important statement, that Sri Aurobindo made a kind of discovery which you don’t find in the Veda. It’s a new discovery.

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 the 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.

In the Katha Upanishad the Immortality that is described is that experience of the ultimate Reality. To live all the time in the experience of the Supreme Reality is to attain to Immortality. The physical may die, but when you experience your oneness with that Reality — which is indestructible and vast, which is Supreme — that experience is the experience of Immortality. But can that Immortality be experienced even while in the body? — That was the question. In India and elsewhere there is a big controversy on this. According to one belief you can experience this Immortality while in the body, according to others it is only when you leave the body that you can experience it, otherwise you can’t.

Immortality as understood in the Veda is much vaster. You can experience in the body the Immortality of the Supreme, you can experience His Reality in its supramental character. The powers of the gods, who are the sons of Aditi, the Supreme Mother, come down and inhabit your body, and your body remains. Prithivi vitasthe, in Parashara’s words. Prithivi means “the physical”, vitasthe “stood unshaken” — that is Vedic Immortality.

Yet this does not mean cutting out the principle of death in this evolutionary world. One can live on, even physically. Sri Aurobindo speaks of triple Immortality, apart from all these experiences of which I spoke: immortality of the Soul, immortality of the experience of the Supreme, immortality of the Supreme with the Supermind in the body. Apart from these three connotations of the word immortality, Sri Aurobindo speaks of triple Immortality: immortality of the mind, immortality of the vital, and immortality of the body. The triple Immortality is a special kind of immortality, in which there is a constant progression, without the necessity at any stage of any kind of dissolution. You can have the mind developing in such a way that it goes on developing but at no stage is required to dissolve itself in any way. It is a progression all the time, similarly with the vital and the physical. And Sri Aurobindo has laid down what is the condition when this kind of immortality is achieved. When the mind is able to be guided constantly by the inner soul, by the psychic being, not only inwardly but even on the surface — in other words, when all the movements of the mind become psychicised — then the mind does not need to be dissolved for further progression. Otherwise the law of progression is that when you make some progress, at a certain critical point, in order to make a further progress, something of the old has to be dissolved. And then again you make some progress; something of the old has to be dissolved. Has to be dissolved, compulsorily — if you don’t dissolve it you can’t make more progress. This is the normal process, but when the mind is fully psychicised, and since the psychic being is immortal, this capacity of the immortality of the soul is reflected and partaken of by the mind. But this would be even further enhanced if the mind were supramentalised — not only psychicised, but supramentalised. And similarly the vital is psychicised and supramentalised and the body is psychicised and supramentalised.

This question of supramentalisation is very important. You can eliminate the principle of death— this is the new discovery that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have made. Even while remaining in the body, without the necessity of dissolution, whether the body can respond to the Will of the Supermind constantly, uninterruptedly — this is the question that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have raised. And unless this is done, harmony on the earth is not possible, because ultimately, harmony on the earth has to be a physical harmony, on the physical plane.

There is a difference between the body remaining stable even when the Supermind descends into it, and a new concept that you find in the Mother and Sri Aurobindo: permeation of the physical by the Supermind. The Supermind coming in the body and living in the body, but not yet permeating the body, is one stage. But the Supermind entering a body that remains stable and then going further, permeating into the physical — this question of permeation was never raised in the whole history of mankind. Is it possible for the Supermind to permeate the physical? And what is the condition of it? What forces are needed? How can you do it?

This is a very big discovery: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have said that this can be done. Supermind can permeate the physical, so as to eliminate the necessity of death. The necessity of death — one can die, but the necessity of death, the obligation to die, would be eliminated. One can continue to live for thousands of years, but yet be obliged to die, that obligation would not be eliminated. Here one may die, but there’s no obligation to die. There is what is called death at will, of which India knows very much — it is called iccha–mrityu, “you die at will”. But the death at will is only a temporary kind of adjustment; it is not a conquest of the obligation to die, but merely the capacity to determine the time when one can die. One can postpone it for some time, like Bhishma — it is said that he had the capacity to die at will, and he could postpone his death by some months. This is not a conquest of the obligation to die. One knows that one has to die, but one can postpone it. That is not what Mother and Sri Aurobindo speak of. The conquest of death is the conquest of the obligation to die, and that conquest, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother said, can be achieved. I referred once to Mother’s declaration on the 14th of March 1970, where she said, “It is done.” In categorical terms she said, “It is done.” And she said that now the Supermind can be permanently established in the physical. This is the difference between the Vedic discovery of the Supermind and Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s discovery. As Mother points out, in the Veda there is no indication that they had permanently established the Supermind. Mother and Sri Aurobindo wanted a permanent fixation of the Supermind on the earth, and why this permanent fixation? –– Because unless this is done there can’t be durable peace. You must have heard in the modern world this term durable peace, the peace that endures, the peace that is never destroyed, it will remain. It’s not as if you postpone world war now and then live in the fear of its coming. There is an obligation of war, as it were. We are obliged to fight. We can postpone the fight, but we are obliged to fight. We are at present at that stage. We are still obliged to fight. If the earth is to be free from the very obligation to fight.

I said that Sri Aurobindo confirms the Vedic experience that human life is a battle. He confirms the Vedic aspiration that we must arrive at harmony and peace. But what Sri Aurobindo has done is, which was not done elsewhere at all in the history of the world, this is new, is that the world need not be obliged to be a field of battle. At present it is a battlefield, but this whole principle of conflict can be eliminated from the world experience. And Mother said that it is done. For working it out it may take centuries, it may take a thousand years — it doesn’t matter — but it is done. This gives a completely new perspective.

I told you about the letter I wrote to the Mother where I described my syllabus of the spiritual history of India. I would like to take this opportunity to read out to you the answer of the Mother. It’s a short answer, but I would like to tell you what Mother told me because it is very relevant to the present question.

You were trying to show the continuity of history with Sri Aurobindo as the outcome, the culmination. It is false entirely. Sri Aurobindo does not belong to history. He is outside and beyond history. Until the birth of Sri Aurobindo, religions and spiritualities were always centered on past figures, and they were showing as a goal the negation of life upon the earth. So you had a choice between two alternatives: either a life in this world with its round of petty pleasures and pains, joys and sufferings, threatened by Hell if you were not behaving properly; or an escape into another world — Heaven, Nirvana, moksha, liberation. Between these two there is nothing much to choose: They are equally bad. Sri Aurobindo has told us that this was the fundamental mistake which accounts for the weakness and degradation of India. Buddhism, Jainism, Illusionism were sufficient to sap all energy out of the country. True, India is the only place in the world which is still aware that something else than Matter exists, the other countries have forgotten it, Europe, America and elsewhere. That is why she still has a message to preserve and deliver to the world. But at present she is splashing and floundering in the muddle. Sri Aurobindo has shown that the Truth does not lie in running away from the earthly life, but in remaining in it to transform it, divinize it, so that the Divine can manifest here in this physical world.

Then she addresses me and says:

You should tell all this at the first sitting. You should be square and frank.

Then, when this is told, strongly, squarely, and there is no doubt about it—and then only—you can go on and amuse them with the history of religions and religious or spiritual leaders.

Then—and then only—you will be able to show the seed of weakness and falsehood that they have harbored and proclaimed.

Then—and then only—you will be able to discern, from time to time, from place to place, an “intuition” that something else is possible: in the Vedas, for instance (the injunction to descend deep into the cave of the Panis); in the Tantras also … a little light burning.

I may add that you could adopt as motto for your first project this quotation of Sri Aurobindo:

“We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of the future.”


(Essays on the Gita)

The Mother, Mother's Agenda — 1967: April 5, 1967

This is the third discovery of the Veda, about the Supermind, and I told you how Sri Aurobindo goes beyond — it’s not beyond, but something new that was not even conceived in the Veda.

In a sense, by telling you all this I have told you also what Sri Aurobindo has done with regard to the two other discoveries: the discovery of the Supreme Reality, and the discovery of the completeness of knowledge, the integrality of knowledge that we find in the Veda, and the Yoga of the Veda.

So with regard to each one of these five discoveries, there is in Sri Aurobindo, as Mother says, “the presence of the noons of the future”.