The integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is, in fact, a programme of yogic research,—a programe of scientific
and applied research. For Yoga is not a closed book. It is not a body of revelations made once for all, unverifiable and unsurpassable. It is not a religion; it is an advancing science, with its field of inquiry and search always enlarging; its methods are not only intuitive but include also bold experimentation and rigorous verification by means of abiding experience, and, finally, even by physical change and transformation. It is in this spirit that Sri Aurobindo and Mother went on testing day and night their experiments and results over decades and decades. Their programme of yogic research took within its sweep all the domains of life, all aspects of culture, and arrived at a synthesis of yoga based upon the discovery of the supermind, resulting in an ever-growing methodised discipline for the transformation of man and the eventual transmutation into a new species.
It is this discovery which is at the base of the affirmation that `spiritual liberation' or Mukti is not the highest possible aim for
Man on the earth, and that there is a farther aim imperatively demanded by the concealed intention of 'evolutionary' Nature. Not merely the liberation of the Spirit from Nature, but also the liberation of Nature itself from its limitations by a radical transformation; not an escape into the a cosmic static Reality of featureless Nirvana or into supraterrestrial planes of heavenly existence, but the establishment of the kingdom of the Spirit on the earth; not merely an individual achievement but a collective one for the earth; not merely the realisation of the Divine, but the realisation of the integral Divine and its integral manifestation in the physical life,—this is the aim which, according to Sri Aurobindo and Mother, is demanded of us, and which can be fulfilled only by the descent and manifestation of the Supermind.
There is, indeed, an ascending path which, by various processes or by the combination of various processes takes us to higher and higher levels of consciousness. And then there is a descending path for bringing down the higher levels of consciousness, including supermind, into lower levels of Matter, right up to the lowest, which is the Inconscient, in order to bring about transformation.
Sri Aurobindo's Record of Yoga (2 volumes) and the Mother's Agenda (13 volumes) constitute the rarest documentation of scientific accounts of the explorations in the formation, development and major accomplishments of the new synthesis of yoga, which is now known as the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Sri Aurobindo himself maintained the Record of Yoga, and the two volumes cover the period 1909-1927 and the Mother 's Agenda covers the period 1950-51 up to 1972-73. There are also three volumes of Letters on Yoga, which Sri Aurobindo wrote to his disciples, which too, shed light on the progression of the development of Integral Yoga. These volumes largely cover the period between 1926 and 1939. In addition there are three volumes of the Mother's letters to disciples and seven volumes
of the Mother's questions and answers. An extremely important volume of the Mother's yoga is the one entitled Prayers and Meditations, which covers the period 1912-1919. There are also two other volumes by Sri Aurobindo entitled On Himself and The Mother. All these volumes stand as testimony for the scientific rigour with which the Integral Yoga has been developed and built up. As a result, Sri Aurobindo's two volumes on The Synthesis of Yoga are a scientific exposition of the objectives, methods and processes of the Integral Yoga. Sri Aurobindo himself has stated the following to explain the scientific rigour and accuracy that are evident in developing the Integral Yoga:
...we do not found ourselves on faith alone, but on a great ground of knowledge which we have been developing and testing all our lives. I think I can say that I have been testing day and night for years upon years more scrupulously than any scientist his theory or his method on the physical plane.1
Perhaps the most important exploration was connected with Saptachatushtaya, which describes the seven limbs of the Integral Yoga. In Sri Aurobindo's Record of Yoga, we find a day-to-day progression of Sri Aurobindo in the process of the accomplishment of summits pertaining to purification, liberation, divine joy and perfection. A detailed but incomplete explanation of Saptachatushtaya is to be found in the last part of Sri Aurobindo's Synthesis of Yoga (SABCL, Vol. 21). Since the Mother 's Agenda is a continuation of Sri Aurobindo's Synthesis of Yoga, we can find in it some of those summits of accomplishment, which were not reached during Sri Aurobindo's life in his body but were achieved by the Mother. The fact that the experiences and realisations were
1. Sri Aurobindo, On Himself, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Vol. 26, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1972, pp. 468-9.
not confined to Sri Aurobindo alone, or to the Mother alone, but were shared by both of them and confirmed by both of them, removes the basic obstacle which presents itself to any scientific account which concerns only one person and is therefore likely to be considered subjective. Authenticity and objectivity are extremely important for yogic knowledge, since yogic knowledge is not speculative but scientific and carries with it, not only the idea that it is based upon repeated verification and upon the proof of its effectiveness, but also that it can be tested again by others by the pursuit of the methods that have been laid down. It is on account of this soundness of the validity of the knowledge that we find in Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's writings on yoga, that enables us to put forward Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's task of supramental manifestation on the earth as directly relevant to the highest welfare of the evolutionary development of humanity of today and tomorrow.
It is impossible to exaggerate the value of the Mother 's Agenda. It contains the Mother's day-to-day account of her experiences and realisations covering the long period 1950-1 up to 1972-3. This account is in the form of conversations with a disciple, Satprem, whose own yogic tribulations have incidentally been described in the Agenda. These conversations were tape-recorded and the transcriptions were often read out to the Mother for authentication. Fortunately, all the conversations that were tape-recorded have been brought out, and the authenticity of the texts can be verified by comparing them with the corresponding cassettes.
Satprem (1923-2007) was a famous French writer, who was born in Paris. His original name was Bernard Enginger. Satprem was the name given to him by the Mother. He spent much of his childhood sailing off the coasts of Brittany in France. He was arrested at the age of twenty by the Gestapo, and he spent a year and a half in a German concentration camp. This difficult so-
journ, during which he lived between life and death constantly, deepened his quest for a true meaning of life and led him to Egypt, to the forests of Guyana, finally to India. It was here that he discovered "the new evolution" heralded by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and he participated thereafter in the practice of this evolutionary yoga.
As we read Mother 's Agenda, we find ourselves transported into unknown regions of consciousness and incredible capacities and potentialities of consciousness. Although the account is conversational, expressions are chiseled and meticulously precise with microscopic care to ensure that the records bear scientific accuracy. Her experiences which have been recorded included from time to time her reminiscences, her early childhood and various stages of her own personal yogic development. These reminiscences reveal unimaginably exceptional dimensions of her being and her personality. They also speak of the Mother's past births, and we come to know how ancient she was and how she even recalled her own first birth in the human body at the beginning of human evolution on earth. She narrates her experiences of the various traditions of the world, including those of the Veda, Egypt, Chaldea, Greece and others. She has also narrated her own experiences of the gods and goddesses that are known in various traditions. In regard to the Vedic times, she has traced the highest achievements of the Rishis. As she read Sri Aurobindo's book The Secret of the Veda, she relived her experiences of the Vedic gods. She speaks of the glory of the gods but also of their limitations and how the human being, on account of his inmost soul and the psychic being, is superior, and capable of complete surrender to the Supreme Divine who transcends all the gods and goddesses. Her knowledge of the Supreme Divine, she states, is integral and confirms that she had already covered the ascending path to the Supermind by the beginning of the twentieth century and "had established a constant relationship with the
Supreme—That which is beyond the Personal and the gods and all the outward expressions of the Divine, but also beyond the Absolute Impersonal".1 The Mother also narrates some amazing experiences and her explorations in occultism in Algeria under the guidance of Max Theon who had worked with Blavatsky and who had a good knowledge of the Rigveda. One of the most extraordinary experiences of the Mother was a vision of Sri Aurobindo in 1904—years before she had even heard of Sri Aurobindo and ten years before she actually met Sri Aurobindo. This vision, the Mother tells us, was frequent, and each time it was the same, and in that vision she saw herself prostrating at the feet of Sri Aurobindo in the Indian way, a way that was alien to her knowledge and practice. She was born French, but as she declared:
From the first time I came to India in 1914—I felt that India is my true country, the country of my soul and spirit... I am French by birth and early education, I am Indian by choice and predilection.2
Her knowledge of all the systems of yoga of the past and the present was colossal, and her accomplishments were innumerable.
The Mother describes her own life, and Sri Aurobindo's life as a fairy tale, the events of which are as unlikely and even miraculously true as they are in a fairy tale. It is through the Agenda that we come to understand Sri Aurobindo in his full majesty and as a leader of human evolution to supermanhood jointly with the Mother. As Sri Aurobindo has declared, the Integral Yoga is a joint yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and Mother's Agenda
explains in detail how both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and their joint work has been indispensable in the development of the Integral Yoga. In this brief introduction, it is impossible to bring out, even faintly, the immense value of this fabulous document of six thousand pages, which the Mother herself had called Agenda of the Supramental Action upon Earth. The most important aspect of the Agenda is the meticulous account that the Mother has given of the critical passage of the Integral Yoga when the human species through the instrumentality of the Mother was passing into the next species. For the proof of evolution, for the proof of consciousness as a leading principle of evolution, and for the proof of the methods and stages by which the laws of evolution themselves are undergoing a change, Mother 's Agenda is indispensable. To say more at this stage may not be necessary, and the best thing would be to study all the thirteen volumes of the Agenda. A few extracts from the Mother's Agenda, will give to the reader some introductory idea of the colossal but scientifically microscopic work that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have accomplished for human evolution in its transition to superman-hood and for the consequent uplifting of humanity from the evolutionary crisis through which it is passing today.
The unprecedented importance of this work can be seen from the following statement of the Mother:
Sri Aurobindo had made it clear to me when I was still in France that this yoga in matter is the most difficult of all. For the other yogas, the paths have been well laid, you know where to tread, how to proceed, what to do in such-and-such a case. But for the yoga of matter, nothing has ever been ne, never, so at each moment everything has to be invented.1
1. Mother's Agenda, Vol. 1, p 357.
The dimensions of the difficulty of the work have been brought out by the Mother in the following statement:
When you follow the ascending path, the work is relatively easy. I had already covered this path by the beginning of the century and had established a constant relationship with the Supreme—That which is beyond the Personal and the gods and all the outward expressions of the Divine, but also beyond the Absolute Impersonal. It's something you cannot describe; you must experience it. And this is what must be brought down into Matter. Such is the descending path, the one I began with Sri Aurobindo; and there, the work is immense.
The thing can still be brought down as far as the mental and vital planes (although Sri Aurobindo said that thousands of lifetimes would be needed merely to bring it down to the mental plane, unless one practiced a perfect surrender). With Sri Aurobindo, we went down below Matter, right into the Subconscient and even into the lnconscient. But after the descent comes the transformation, and when you come down to the body, when you attempt to make it take one step forward—oh, not even a real step, just a little step!—everything starts grating; it's like stepping on an anthill....
The path is difficult.... 1
As we see above, the Mother had attained the realisation of the Supreme and also the Supermind, much before she came to Pondicherry from France and met Sri Aurobindo. In the following extract, the Mother gives an account of an early stage of her sadhana:
1. Ibid., p 300.
... when I first began to work (not with Theon personally but with an acquaintance of his in France, a boy who was a friend of my brother), well, I had a series of visions (I knew nothing about India, mind you, nothing, just as most Europeans know nothing about it: 'a country full of people with certain customs and religions, a confused and hazy history, where a lot of "extraordinary things" are said to have happened.' I knew nothing.) Well, in several of these visions I saw Sri Aurobindo just as he looked physically, but glorified; that is, the same man I would see on my first visit, almost thin, with that golden-bronze hue and rather sharp profile, an unruly beard and long hair, dressed in a dhoti with one end of it thrown over his shoulder, arms and chest bare, and bare feet. At the time I thought it was 'vision attire' ! I mean I really knew nothing about India; I had never seen Indians dressed in the Indian way.
Well, I saw him. I experienced what were at once symbolic visions and spiritual FACTS: absolutely decisive spiritual experiences and facts of meeting and having a united perception of the Work to be accomplished. And in these visions I did something I had never done physically: I prostrated before him in the Hindu manner. All this without any comprehension in the little brain (I mean I really didn't know what I was doing or how I was doing it—nothing at all). I did it, and at the same time the outer being was asking, 'What is all this?!'
I wrote the vision down (or perhaps that was later on) but I never spoke of it to anyone (one doesn't talk about such things, naturally). But my impression was that it was premonitory, that one day something like it would happen. And it remained in the background of the consciousness,
not active, but constantly present.1
The following extract, which is taken from her great book, Prayers and Meditations, the Mother speaks of her union with the Divine, which had become constant. This is dated November 19, 1912.
I said yesterday to that young Englishman who is seeking for Thee with so sincere a desire, that I had definitively found Thee, that the Union was constant. Such is indeed the state of which I am conscious. All my thoughts go towards Thee, all my acts are consecrated to Thee; Thy Presence is for me an absolute, immutable, invariable fact, and Thy Peace dwells constantly in my heart. Yet I know that this state of union is poor and precarious compared with that which it will become possible for me to realise tomorrow, and I am as yet far, no doubt very far, from that identification in which I shall totally lose the notion of the "I", of that "I", which I still use in order to express myself, but which is each time a constraint, like a term unfit to express the thought that is seeking for expression....
The state of consciousness and realisation that the Mother had attained was to continue to develop further as we see it described in numerous entries in the above book. In 1914, she sailed for Pondicherry from France and the entry of 30th March concerning her first meeting with Sri Aurobindo, states as follows:
He whom we saw yesterday is on earth.
1. Ibid., Vol. 2, p 404.
Much later, she narrated her experience of this meeting with Sri Aurobindo during her conversation recorded in Mother's Agenda dated 20th December 1961:
EXACTLY my vision.
"He" whom she was seeing in her vision, since 1904, corresponded exactly with Sri Aurobindo. In her own words:
I came here.... But something in me wanted to meet Sri Aurobindo all alone the first time. Richard went to him in the morning and I had an appointment for the afternoon. He was living in the house that's now part of the second dormitory, the old Guest House. I climbed up the stairway and he was standing there, waiting for me at the top of the stairs ... EXACTLY my vision! Dressed the same way, in the same position, in profile, his head held high. He turned his head towards me ... and I saw in his eyes that it was He. The two things clicked (gesture of instantaneous shock), the inner experience immediately became one with the outer experience and there was a fusion—the decisive shock.
But this was merely the beginning of my vision. Only after a series of experiences—a ten months' sojourn in Pondicherry, five years of separation, then the return to Pondicherry and the meeting in the same house and in the same way—did the END of the vision occur.... I was standing just beside him. My head wasn't exactly on his shoulder, but where his shoulder was (I don't know how to explain it—physically there was hardly any contact). We were standing side by side like that, gazing out through the open window, and then TOGETHER, at exactly the same moment, we felt, 'Now the Realisation will be
accomplished.' That the seal was set and the Realisation would be accomplished. I felt the Thing descending massively within me, with the same certainty I had felt in my vision. From that moment on there was nothing to say—no words, nothing. We knew it was THAT.1
Her meeting with Sri Aurobindo on 29th March 1914, had an important sequel, since on the next day when she met Sri Aurobindo, she had a decisive experience of mental silence. The Mother has narrated the meeting in the following words:
I was sitting there on the veranda. There was a table in front of him, and Richard was on the other side facing him. They began talking. Myself, I was seated at his feet, very small, with the table just in front of me—it came to my forehead, which gave me a little protection ... I didn't say anything, I didn't think anything, try anything, want any thing—I merely sat near him. When I stood up half an hour later, he had put silence in my head, that's all, without my even having asked him—perhaps even without his trying.
Oh, I had tried—for years I had tried to catch silence in my head... I never succeeded. I could detach myself from it, but it would keep on turning... But at that moment, all the mental constructions, all the mental, speculative structures ... none of it remained—a big hole.
And such a peaceful, such a luminous hole!
Afterwards, I kept very still so as not to disturb it. I didn't speak, above all I refrained from thinking and held it, held it tight against me—I said to myself, 'make it last, make it last, make it last. ...'
1. Mother's Agenda, Vol. 2, pp. 405-6.
For years, from 1912 to 1914, I did endless exercises, all kinds of things, even pranayama—if it would only shut up! Really, if it would only be quiet! ... I was able to go out (that wasn't difficult), but inside it kept turning. This lasted about half an hour. I quietly remained there—I heard the noise of their conversation, but I wasn't listening. And then when I got up, I no longer knew anything, I no longer thought anything, I no longer had any mental construction—everything was gone, absolutely gone, blank!—as if I had just been born.1
In August 1914, World War I broke out as a result of which she had to leave Pondicherry for France, and after a short sojourn in France she stayed for nearly four years in Japan. An important experience that she has narrated in her Prayers and Meditations (20" December, 1916) relates to the answer that she received to her search about the Work that she was missioned to do. This answer she received from the Buddha, Sakyamuni. The Mother has written the following:
(Communication received at 5.30 in the evening after meditation.)
As thou art contemplating me, I shall speak to thee this evening. I see in thy heart a diamond surrounded by a golden light. It is at once pure and warm, something which may manifest impersonal love; but why dost thou keep this treasure enclosed in that dark casket lined with deep purple? The outermost covering is of a deep lustreless blue, a real mantle of darkness. It would seem that
1. Ibid., Vol. 1, pp. 421-2.
thou art afraid of showing thy splendour. Learn to radiate and do not fear the storm: the wind carries us far from the shore but shows us over the world. Wouldst thou be thrifty of thy tenderness? But the source of love is infinite. Dost thou fear to be misunderstood? But where hast thou seen man capable of understanding the Divine? And if the eternal truth finds in thee a means of manifesting itself, what dost thou care for all the rest? Thou art like a pilgrim coming out of the sanctuary; standing on the threshold in front of the crowd, he hesitates before revealing his precious secret, that of his supreme discovery. Listen, I too hesitated for days, for I could foresee both my preaching and its results: the imperfection of expression and the still greater imperfection of understanding. And yet I turned to the earth and men and brought them my message. Turn to the earth and men—isn't this the command thou always hearest in thy heart?—in thy heart, for it is that which carries a blessed message for those who are athirst for compassion. Henceforth nothing can attack the diamond. It is unassailable in its perfect constitution and the soft radiance that flashes from it can change many things in the hearts of men. Thou doubtest thy power and fearest thy ignorance? It is precisely this that wraps up thy strength in that dark mantle of starless night. Thou hesitatest and tremblest as on the threshold of a mystery, for now the mystery of the manifestation seems to thee more terrible and unfathomable than that of the Eternal Cause. But thou must take courage again and obey the injunction from the depths. It is I who am telling thee this, for I know thee and love thee as thou didst know and love me once. I have appeared clearly before thy sight so that thou mayst in no way doubt my word. And also to thy eyes I have shown thy
heart so that thou canst thus see what the supreme Truth has willed for it, so that thou mayst discover in it the law of thy being. The thing still seems to thee quite difficult: a day will come when thou wilt wonder how for so long it could have been otherwise.
The Mother's mission was now clear. It was to turn to the earth, and after a series of innumerable experiences in Japan, she arrived from Japan to Pondicherry 24th April 1920. From that day onwards, the objective of the Integral Yoga, viz., the transformation of the levels of consciousness descending downwards and reaching the Inconscient was pursued with unprecedented acceleration of progression and of this process, the Mother explains a few important points in the following extract:
One can realize the Divine in the Inconscient rather quickly (in fact, I think it can happen just as soon as one has found the Divine within). But does this give the power to TRANSFORM DIRECTLY? Does the direct junction between the supreme Consciousness and the Inconscient (because that is the experience) give the power to transform the Inconscient just like that, without any intermediary? I don't think so. I simply haven't had that experience...
One thing is certain—as soon as one goes beyond the terrestrial atmosphere, beyond the higher mind's 'highest' region, the sensation of 'high' and 'low' totally vanishes. There are no longer movements of ascent and descent, but (Mother turns her hand over) something like inner reversals.
`It is by rising to the summit of consciousness through a progressive ascent... that one unites with the Supermind.
But as soon as the union is achieved, one knows and one sees that the Supermind exists in the heart of the Inconscient as well. When one is in that state, there is neither high nor low. But GENERALLY ... it is by REDESCENDING through the levels of the being with a supramentalised consciousness that one can accomplish the permanent transformation of physical nature.' (This can be experienced in all sorts of ways, but what WE want and what Sri Aurobindo spoke of is a change that will never be revoked, that will persist, that will be as durable as the present terrestrial conditions....)'
This durable transformation necessitated the descent into Inconscience with the power of the Supermind. Necessarily, owing to the resistance of the lower levels of consciousness, particularly of Matter and Subconscience and Inconscience, the process is long, and, there are several stages. Higher and higher levels of consciousness had to be fixed in Matter. By 1926, the Overmind was brought down into Matter, and an overmental creation came into view. Something momentous was being worked out. As the Mother explained:
In 1926, I had begun a sort of overmental creation, that is, I had brought the Overmind down into matter, here on earth (miracles and all kinds of things were beginning to happen)... Well, with my very own eyes I saw Krishna, who had always been in rapport with Sri Aurobindo, consent to come down into his body...
Yes, in fact I wanted to ask you what this realization of 1926 was.
1. Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 381-82.
It was this: Krishna consented to descend into Sri Aurobindo's body—to be FIXED there; there is a great difference, you understand, between incarnating, being fixed in a body, and simply acting as an influence that comes and goes and moves about. The gods are always moving about, and it's plain that we ourselves, in our inner beings, come and go and act in a hundred or a thousand places at once. There is a difference between just coming occasionally and accepting to be permanently tied to a body—between a permanent influence and a permanent presence.
These things have to be experienced.1
Volumes can be written about the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother from 1926 to 1950, the year in which Sri Aurobindo withdrew from his body.
A few weeks after the passing of Sri Aurobindo, the Mother said, in one of the conversations with a disciple:
As soon as Sri Aurobindo withdrew from his body, what he had called the Mind of Light2 got realised here.... The Supermind had descended long ago—very long ago—into the mind and even into the vital: it was working in the physical also but indirectly through those intermediaries. The question was about the direct action of the Supermind in the physical. Sri Aurobindo said it could be possible only if the physical mind received the
Supramental light; the physical mind was the instrument for direct action upon the most material. This physical
1. Ibid., pp. 298-301.
2. See Chapters 7 & 8 of Sri Aurobindo's The Supramental Manifestation Upon Earth, Vol. 16, pp. 66-70, which deal with Mind of Light.
mind receiving the Supramental light Sri Aurobindo called the Mind of Light1
In a strikingly revealing talk in the Agenda, the Mother says that in order to be able to continue the work; the first thing was to continue to be in her body. And for that purpose, she did something that can be regarded as truly drastic and momentous. It was to 'lock' up her psychic being for ten years, until things were ready. As she said:
Well, I saw it all, all those thirty years of life; not for a SECOND did I have any sense of responsibility, in spite of all the work I was doing, all the organizing and everything. He had supposedly passed on the responsibility to me, you see, but he was standing behind—HE was actually doing everything! I was active, but with absolutely no responsibility. I never felt responsible for a single minute—he took the full responsibility....
... when he went out of his body and entered into mine (the most material part of him, the part involved with external things) and I understood that I had the entire responsibility for all the work AND for the s adhana — well, then I locked a part of me away, a deep psychic part that was living, beyond all responsibility, in the ECSTASY of the realization: the Supreme. I took it and locked it away,
I sealed it off and said, "You're not moving until... until all the rest is ready."2
On 29th February 1956, during the meditation after her evening class, the momentous event, which was awaited since
long, occurred. She described this event in the following text given by her:
FIRST SUPRAMENTAL MANIFESTATION
(During the common meditation on Wednesday
the 29th February 1956)
This evening the Divine Presence, concrete and material, was there present amongst you. I had a form of living gold, bigger than the universe, and I was facing a huge and massive golden door which separated the world from the Divine.
As I looked at the door, I knew and willed, in a single movement of consciousness, that 'THE TIME HAS COME', and lifting with both hands a mighty golden hammer I struck one blow, one single blow on the door and the door was shattered to pieces.
Then the supramental Light and Force and Consciousness rushed down upon earth in an uninterrupted flow.1
In the evening class of September 12, 1956, the Mother recounted an experience of hers as follows:
... A supramental entity had entirely possessed me. Something a little taller than myself: its feet extended below my feet and its head went a little beyond my head. ... A solid block with a rectangular base a rectangle
with a square base—one single piece.
... A light, not like the golden light of the Supermind:
1. Ibid., Vol.1, p. 69.
rather a kind of phosphorescence. I felt that had it been night, it would have been physically visible.
... And it was denser than my physical body: the physical body seemed to me almost unreal—as though crumbly—like sand running through your fingers.
... I would have been incapable of speaking, words seemed so petty, narrow, ignorant.
... I saw (how shall I put it?) the successive preparations which took place, in certain anterior beings, in order to achieve this.
... It felt as if I had several heads.
... The experience of February 29 was of a general nature; but this one was intended for me.
... An experience I had never had.
... I begin to see what the supramental body will be.
... I had had a somewhat similar experience at the time of the union of the supreme creative principle with the physical consciousness. But that was a subtle experience, while this was material—in the body.
... I did not have the experience, I did not look at it: I
... And it radiated from me: myriads of little sparks that were penetrating everybody—I saw them enter into each one of those present.
... One more step.1
From that momentous evening of 29th February 1956, the Mother began to have from week to week, from day to day, various experiences of the Supermind in Matter. On the 3rd, February 1958, the Mother had for the first time a radical experience in which she went strolling in a concrete way in an objective supra-
1. Ibid., pp. 85-6.
mental world—a world that exists in itself, beyond all subjectivity. In the evening class of the 19th February 1958, the record of this experience, was read out by her as follows:
Between the beings of the supramental world and men, there exists approximately the same gap as between men and animals. Sometime ago, I had the experience of identification with animal life, and it is a fact that animals do not understand us; their consciousness is so constituted that we elude them almost entirely. And yet I have known domestic animals—cats and dogs, but especially cats—who made an almost yogic effort of consciousness to understand us. But generally, when they watch us living and acting, they don't understand, they don't SEE us as we are, and they suffer because of us. We are a constant enigma to them. Only a very tiny part of their consciousness is linked to us. And it is the same for us when we try to look at the supramental world. Only when the link of consciousness has been built shall we see it—and even then, only that part of our being which has undergone the transformation will be capable of seeing it as it is—otherwise the two worlds would remain as separate as the animal world and the human world.
The experience I had on February 3 proves this. Before, I had had an individual, subjective contact with the supramental world, whereas on February 3, I went strolling there in a concrete way—as concretely as I used to go strolling in Paris in times past—in a world that EXISTS IN ITSELF, beyond all subjectivity.
It is like a bridge being built between the two worlds. This is the experience as I dictated it immediately thereafter:
The supramental world exists in a permanent way, and I am there permanently in a supramental body. I had proof of this today when my earthly consciousness went there and consciously remained there between two and three o'clock in the afternoon. I now know that for the two worlds to join in a constant and conscious relationship what is missing is an intermediate zone between the existing physical world and the supramental world as it exists. This zone has yet to be built, both in the individual consciousness and in the objective world, and it is being built. When formerly I used to speak of the new world that is being created, I was speaking of this intermediate zone. And similarly, when I am on 'this' side—that is, in the realm of the physical consciousness—and I see the supramental power, the supramental light and substance constantly permeating matter, I am seeing and participating in the construction of this zone.1
On 7th November 1958, the Mother had an experience, which was a further step in the building of the link between the two worlds. The Mother described and explained the experience in the following conversation that is recorded in the Agenda:
And I had the impression ... It was not an impression—I saw it. I was descending into a crevass between two steep rocks, rocks that appeared to be made of something harder than basalt, BLACK, but metallic at the same time, with such sharp edges—it seemed that a mere touch would
1. Ibid., pp. 137-8.
lacerate you. It appeared endless and bottomless, and it kept getting narrower, narrower and narrower, narrower and narrower, like a funnel, so narrow that there was almost no more room—not even for the consciousness—to pass through. And the bottom was invisible, a black hole. And it went down, down, down, like that, without air, without light, except for a sort of glimmer that enabled me to make out the rock edges. They seemed to be cut so steeply, so sharply ... Finally, when my head began touching my knees, I asked myself, 'But what is there at the bottom of this ... this hole?'
And as soon as I had uttered, 'What is there at the bottom of this hole?' I seemed to touch a spring that was in the very depths—a spring I didn't see but that acted instantly with a tremendous power—and it cast me up forthwith, hurled me out of this crevass into ... (arms extended, motionless) a formless, limitless vast which was infinitely comfortable—not exactly warm, but it gave a feeling of ease and of an intimate warmth.
And it was all-powerful, with an infinite richness. It did not have ... no, it didn't have any kind of form, and it had no limits (naturally, as I was identified with it I knew there was neither limit nor form). It was as if (because it was not visible), as if this vast were made of countless, imperceptible points—points that occupied no place in space (there was no sense of space), that were of a deep warm gold—but this is only a feeling, a transcription. And all this was absolutely LIVING, living with a power that seemed infinite. And yet motionless.
It lasted for quite some time, for the rest of the meditation.
It seemed to contain a whole wealth of possibilities, and all this that was formless had the power to become form.
I have not described anything. I have only stated a fact...1
`At the very bottom of the inconscience most hard and rigid and narrow and stifling, I struck upon an almighty spring that cast me up forthwith into a formless, limitless Vast, vibrating with the seeds of a new world.'2
On July 24th, 1959, the Supramental light entered directly into the Mother's body. Let us read her description of the experience:
Shortly before the 15th of August I had a unique experience that exemplifies all this. For the first time the supramental light entered directly into my body, without passing through the inner beings. It entered through the feet (a red and gold color—marvelous, warm, intense), and it climbed up and up. And as it climbed, the fever also climbed because the body was not accustomed to this intensity. As all this light neared the head, I thought
I would burst and that the experience would have to be stopped. But then, I very clearly received the indication to make the Calm and Peace descend, to widen all this body-consciousness and all these cells, so that they could contain the supramental light. So I widened, and as the light was ascending, I brought down the vastness and an unshakable peace. And suddenly, there was a second of fainting.
I found myself in another world, but not far away (I was not in a total trance). This world was almost as substantial as the physical world. There were rooms—Sri Aurobindo's room with the bed he rests on—and he was living there, he was there all the time: it was his abode. Even my room was there, with a large mirror like the one I have here, combs, all kinds of things. And the substance of these objects was almost as dense as in the physical world, but they shone with their own light. It was not translucent, not transparent, not radiant, but self-luminous. The various objects and the material of the rooms did not have this same opacity as the physical objects here, they were not dry and hard as in the physical world we know.
And Sri Aurobindo was there, with a majesty, a magnificent beauty. He had all his beautiful hair as before. It was all so concrete, so substantial—he was even being served some kind of food. I remained there for one hour (I had looked at my watch before and I looked at it afterwards). I spoke to Sri Aurobindo, for I had some important questions to ask him about the way certain things are to be realized. He said nothing. He listened to me quietly and looked at me as if all my words were useless: he understood everything at once. And he answered me with a gesture and two expressions on his face, an unexpected gesture that did not at all correspond to any thought of mine; for example, he picked up three combs that were lying near the mirror (combs similar to those I use here, but larger) and he put them in his hair. He planted one comb in the middle of his head and the two others on each side, as if to gather all his hair over his temples. He was literally COIFFED with these three combs, which gave him a kind of crown. And I immediately understood
that by this he meant that he was adopting my conception: 'You see, I embrace your conception of things, and I coif myself with it; it is my will.' Anyway, I remained there for one hour.
And when I awoke, I didn't have this feeling of returning from afar and of having to re-enter my body, as I usually do. No, it was simply as though I were in this other world, then I took a step backwards and found myself here again. It took me a good half an hour to understand that this world here existed as much as the other and that I was no longer on the other side but here, in the world of falsehood. I had forgotten everything—people, things, what I had to do; everything had gone, as if it had no reality at all.
You see, it's not as if this world of Truth had to be created from nothing: it is fully ready, it is there, like a lining of our own present world. Everything is there, EVERYTHING is there.
I remained in that state for two full days, two days of absolute felicity. And Sri Aurobindo was with me the whole time, the whole time—when I walked, he walked with me, when I sat down, he sat next to me. On the day of August 15th, too, he remained there constantly during the darshan. But who was aware of it? A few—one or two—felt something. But who saw?—No one.
And I showed all these people to Sri Aurobindo, this whole field of work, and asked him WHEN this other world, the real one that is there, so near, would come to take the place of our world of falsehood. Not ready. That was all he replied. Not ready.
Sri Aurobindo gave me two days of this—total bliss. But
all the same, by the end of the second day I realized that
I could not continue to remain there, for the work was
not advancing. The work must be done in the body; the realization must be attained here in this physical world, for otherwise it is not complete. So I withdrew from that world and set to work here again.'
There is an interesting experience that describes the complete replacement of the Mother by the Supreme Lord who manifested as Krishna. The Mother has called this the experience of complete annulment of oneself so that the Lord is found to be the only existent. This experience occurred on 29th February 1960; the first anniversary of the Supramental Manifestation and it is connected with the function of that day when the Mother was to distribute gold coins to her disciples:
Experiences are coming at a furious pace—fabulous experiences. If I were to speak now, it's certain that I would not at all speak as I used to. That's why we must date all these Questions and Answers, at least all which come before the [Supramental] Manifestation of February 1956, so that there will be a clear cut between those before and those after.
Only a few days ago, on the morning of the 29!h, I had one of those experiences that mark one's life. It happened upstairs in my room. I was doing my japa, walking up and down with my eyes wide open, when suddenly Krishna came—a gold Krishna, all golden, in a golden light that filled the whole room. I was walking, but I could not even see the windows or the rug any longer, for this golden light was everywhere with Krishna at its center. And it must have lasted at least fifteen minutes. He was dressed in those same clothes in which he is
normally portrayed when he dances. He was all light, all dancing: 'You see, I will be there this evening during the Darshan.' And suddenly, the chair I use for darshan came into the room! Krishna climbed up onto it, and his eyes twinkled mischievously, as if to say, 'I will be there, you see, and there'll be no room for you.1
When I came down that evening for distribution, at first I was annoyed. I had said that I didn't want anybody in the hall, precisely because I wanted to establish an atmosphere of concentration, the immobility of the Spirit—but there were at least thirty people in there, those who had decorated the hall, thirty of them stirring, stirring about, a mass of little vibrations. And before I could even say scat'—I had hardly taken my seat—someone put the tray of medals on my lap and they started filing past.
But what is surprising is that in a flash, no one was there any longer. No one, you understand—I was gone. Perhaps I was everywhere (but in fact I am always everywhere, I am always conscious of being everywhere at the same time), though normally there is the sense of the body, a physical center, but that evening there was no more center! Nothing, no one, not even the sense that there was no one—nothing. I was gone. There was indeed something handing out the medals which felt the joy of giving the medal, the joy of receiving it, the joy of mutually looking at each other. It was simply the joy of the action taking place, the joy of looking, this joy everywhere, but me?—Nothing, no one, gone...
...There is a line by Sri Aurobindo in Savitri which expresses this very well: to annul oneself so that only the Supreme Lord may be.1
1. Ibid., pp. 358-9.
The Mother narrated to Satprem on January 24, 1961, the following experience that marks an extremely important stage:
I have something to tell you now.... We'll work later.
In the middle of the night before last, I woke up (or rather I returned to an external consciousness) with the feeling of having a much larger (by larger I mean more voluminous) and much more powerful being in my body than I usually have. It was as if it could scarcely be held inside me but was spilling over; and so COMPACTLY POWERFUL that it was almost uncomfortable. The feeling of: what to do with all this?
It lasted the remainder of the night and all day long I had considerable trouble containing an overwhelming power that spontaneously created reactions utterly disproportionate to a human body and made me speak in a way that... When something was not going well: wham! Such an instantaneous and strong reply that it looked like anger. And I found it difficult to control the movement—it had happened already in the morning and it very nearly happened again in the afternoon. 'That last attack has weakened me terribly!' I told myself, 'I don't have the strength to contain this Power; it's difficult to remain calm and controlled.' That was my first thought, so I insisted upon calm.
Then yesterday afternoon, when I went upstairs to walk,... Then suddenly, I saw a Force coming (`coming', well, 'manifesting') which was the same as that 'thing' I had felt within me but even bigger; it began whirling upon the earth and within circumstances ....
At midnight I was lying in bed. (And I remained there from midnight until 1 o'clock fully awake. I don't know
if my eyes were open or closed, but I was wide awake, NOT IN TRANCE-I could hear all the noises, the clocks, and so forth.) Then, lying flat, my entire body (but a slightly enlarged body, exceeding the purely physical form) became ONE vibration, extremely rapid and intense but immobile. I don't know how to explain this, because it did not move in space but was a vibration (that is, it wasn't motionless); yet it was motionless in space. And the exact form of my body was absolutely the most brilliant white Light of the supreme Consciousness, the consciousness OF the Supreme. It was IN the body and it was as though in EACH cell there was a vibration, and it was all part of a single BLOCK of vibration. It extended this much beyond the body (gesture indicating about six centimeters). I was absolutely immobile in my bed. Then, WITHOUT MOVING, without shifting, it began consciously to rise up—without moving, you understand: I remained like this (Mother holds her two joined and motionless hands at the level of her forehead, as if her entire body were mounting in prayer)—consciously ... like an ascension of this consciousness towards the supreme Consciousness.
The body was stretched out flat.
And for a quarter of an hour, the consciousness rose, rose, without moving. It kept rising up, up, up—until... the junction was made.
A conscious junction, absolutely awake, NO TRANCE. Thus the consciousness became the ONE Consciousness: perfect, eternal, outside time, outside space, outside movement.... beyond everything, in ... I don't know, in an ecstasy, a beatitude, something ineffable.
It was the consciousness OF THE BODY.
I have had this experience before in exteriorization and trance, but this time it was THE BODY, the consciousness of the body.
It remained like that for a certain time (I knew it was a quarter of an hour because the clock chimed), but it was completely outside time. It was an eternity.
Then, with the same precision, the same calm, the same deliberate, clear and concentrated consciousness (absolutely NOTHING MENTAL), I began to come back down. And as I was descending, I realized that all the difficulty I had been fighting the other day and which had created this illness was absolutely ended, ANNULLED—mastered. Actually, it was not even mastery but the non-existence of anything to be mastered: simply THE vibration from top to bottom; yet there was neither high nor low nor any direction.
And it went on like that. After this, slowly, still WITHOUT MOVING, everything went back into each of the different centers of the being. (Ah, let me say parenthetically that it wasn't AT ALL the ascent of a force like the ascent of the Kundalini! It had absolutely nothing to do with the Kundalini movement and the centers, it wasn't that at all.) But while redescending, it was as though WITHOUT LEAVING THIS STATE, without leaving this state which remained conscious ALL the time, this supreme Consciousness began to reactivate the different centers: first here (Mother points to the centre above the head and then touches the crown of the head, the forehead, throat, chest, etc.) then there, there, there. At each there was a pause while this new realization organized everything. It organized and made the necessary decisions, sometimes down to the most minute details: what had to
be done in this case or said in that case; and all of that TOGETHER, at once, not one by one but seen entirely as a whole. It kept on descending—I noted many things, it was extremely interesting—down and down, farther and farther, right to the depths. Everything went on at the same time, simultaneously, and at the same time this supreme Consciousness was organizing everything separately.
This descending reorganization ended exactly when the clock struck one. At that moment I knew that I had to go into trance for the work to be perfected, but until then I was wide awake.
So I slipped into trance.
I came out of this trance two hours later, at 3 a.m. And during these two hours I saw ... with a new consciousness, a new vision, and above all a NEW POWER-I had a vision of the entire Work: all the people, all the things, all the systems, all of it. And it was ... it was different in appearance (this is only because appearances depend upon the needs of the moment), but mainly it differed IN POWER-a considerable difference. Considerable. The power itself was no longer the same.
A truly ESSENTIAL change in the body has occurred.
I see that the body will have to—how can I express it? ... It will have to accustom itself to this new Power. But essentially the change has been accomplished.
It's not... it is far, very far from being the final change, there's a lot more to be done. But we may say that it's the conscious and total presence of the supramental Force in the body.
When I got up today, I was going over all this to myself, and my first instinct was not to speak of it, to observe and see what would happen; but then I received a distinct and precise Command to tell it to you this morning. The experience had to be noted down just as it occurred, recorded in its exact form.
In the body now, there is a very clear ... not only a certitude, but a feeling that a certain omnipotence is not far away, and that very soon when it sees ( 'It' sees ... `it'! There is only one 'It' in this whole affair, which is neither 'he' nor 'she' nor...), when it sees that something must be, it automatically will be.
There is still a long, long way to go. But the first step on the way has been taken.1
Extremely important experiences followed thereafter.
Since March 16, 1962, the Mother went through a grave ordeal that threatened her physical existence. Practically one full month was perilous. However, on the night of April 12-13, she had suddenly a formidable and decisive experience. On April 13, around ten in the morning, she gave her message as follows:
Night of April 12-13.
Suddenly in the night I woke up with the full awareness of what we could call the Yoga of the world. The Supreme Love was manifesting through big pulsations, and each pulsation was bringing the world further in its manifestation. It was the formidable pulsations of the eternal, stupendous Love, only Love: each pulsation of the Love was carrying the universe further in its manifestation. And the certitude that what is to be done is done and the
1. Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 38-43.
Supramental Manifestation is realized.
Everything was Personal, nothing was individual. This was going on and on and on and on...
The certitude that what is to be done is DONE.
All the results of the Falsehood had disappeared: Death was an illusion, Sickness was an illusion, Ignorance was an illusion—something that had no reality, no existence.... Only Love, and Love, and Love and Love—immense, formidable, stupendous, carrying everything.
And how, how to express in the world? It was like an impossibility, because of the contradiction.... But then it came: "You have accepted that this world should know the Supramental Truth ... and it will be expressed totally, integrally." Yes, yes ....
And the thing is DONE.
The individual consciousness came back, just the sense of a limitation, limitation of pain; without that, no individual.
And we set off again on the way, certain of the Victory. The heavens are ringing with chants of Victory!
Truth alone exists; Truth alone shall manifest. Onward!... Onward!
Gloire a Toi, Seigneur, Triomphateur supreme!1
And now, to work.
Patience ... endurance ... perfect equanimity. And
1. Glory to You Lord, Triumphant One supreme.
Compared to the experience, whatever I say is nothing, nothing, nothing but words.
And our consciousness is the same, absolutely the same as the Lord's. There was no difference, no difference at all....
We are That, we are That, we are That.
Later on, I will explain it more clearly. The instrument is not yet ready.
It is only the beginning.
The Mother later added:
The experience lasted at least four hours.
There are many things I will speak of later.1
The Mother enlarged upon the above experience on May 13, 1962, as follows:
I was at the Origin—I WAS the Origin. For more than two hours, consciously, here on this bed, I was the Origin. And it was like gusts—like great gusts ending in explosions. And each one of these gusts was a span of the universe.
It was Love in its supreme essence—which has nothing
1. Mother's Agenda, Vol. 3, pp. 131-2.
to do with what people normally understand by that word.
And each gust of this essence of Love was dividing and spreading out... but they weren't forces, it was far beyond the realm of forces. The universe as we know it no longer existed; it was a sort of bizarre illusion, bearing no relation to THAT. There was only the truth of the universe, with those great gusts of color — they were colored—great gusts colored with something that is the essence of color.
It was stupendous. I lived more than two hours like that, consciously.
And then a Voice was explaining everything to me (not exactly a Voice, but something that was Sri Aurobindo's origin, like the most recent gust from the Origin). As the experience unfolded, this Voice explained each gust to me, each span of the universe; and then it explained how it all became like this (Mother makes a gesture of reversal): the distortion of the universe. And I was wondering how it was possible, with that Consciousness, that supreme Consciousness, to relate to the present, distorted universe. How to make the connection without losing that Consciousness? A relationship between the two seemed impossible. And that's when that sort of Voice reminded me of my promise, that I had promised to do the Work on earth and it would be done. "I promised to do the Work and it will be done."
Then began the process of descent, and the Voice was explaining it to me—I lived through it all in detail, and it wasn't pleasant. It took an hour and a half to change from that true Consciousness to the individual consciousness. Because throughout the experience this present individuality no longer existed, this body no longer existed, there
were no more limits, I was no longer here—what was here was THE PERSON. An hour and a half was needed to return to the body-consciousness (not the physical consciousness but the body-consciousness), to the individual body-consciousness.
The first sign of the return to individuality was a prick of pain, a tiny point (Mother holds between her fingers a minuscule point in the space of her being). Yes, because I have a sore, a sore in a rather awkward place, and it hurts (Mother laughs). So I felt the pain: it was the sign of individuality coming back. Other than that, there was nothing any more — no body, no individual, no limits. But it's strange, I have made a strange discovery: I used to think it was the individual (Mother touches her body) who experienced pain and disabilities and all the misfortunes of human life; well, I perceived that what experiences misfortunes is not the individual, not my body, but that each misfortune, each pain, each disability has its own individuality as it were, and each one represents a battle.
And my body is a world of battles.
It is the battlefield.1
The purpose here in this chapter is not to take the reader right up to the point of the accomplishment of the work that Sri Aurobindo had given to the Mother, viz., to FIX the Supramental consciousness in the physical consciousness permanently, so that the body may be able to manifest the Supermind. This task the Mother accomplished after a long and arduous journey, during which she had to find the way by which the Supermind could enter directly into the physical mind so that it could be silenced
1. Ibid., pp. 138-9.
and go farther still to touch the mind of Matter, the material mind—corporeal mind—to transform it, to transform the mind of the cells, and to supramentalise it, as a result of which only, the Supramental could be irrevocably established in the physical consciousness. Indeed the rest of the work has to be carried out subsequently over what could be even the next three centuries, during which several intermediary bodies may have to undergo a similar process of transformation. Only then, a new body, a Divine Body, as Sri Aurobindo has called it can evolve and produce on the earth its supramental consequences.
Sri Aurobindo has outlined in his Supramental Manifestation the nature and structure of the Divine Body, and pointed out that just as the human body, even while retaining many features of the animal body evolved into a different and strikingly new form in which the human body could take an erect posture, even so, and even much more so, the Divine Body, while retaining certain basic elements of the form of the human body, will have certain radically different features. Sri Aurobindo has also explained why the emergence of the Divine Body is intended in the evolutionary process, and how the progression of evolution towards that emergence will be able to uplift humanity from the contemporary crisis and create progressive harmony and unity of humankind. But all this needs to be studied in detail in the original works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.