From 5 December to 9 December 1950, Sri Aurobindo’s physical sheath was kept in state for public darshan.
Nirodbaran and Udar Pinto gives a brief description of the four days that followed Sri Aurobindo’s departure:
‘…the sadhaks came one by one and saw the Marvel and the Mystery, the body of the Golden Purusha in eternal sleep. And with tears of joy and grief they offered their prayer to the One who had sacrificed all for them.
‘I also saw, to my utter wonder and delight, that the entire body was suffused with a golden crimson hue, so fresh, so magnificent. It seemed to have lifted my pall of gloom and I felt light and happy without knowing why. When the Mother came, I asked naïvely, “Mother, won’t he come back?” No!” she replied, “If he wanted to come back, he would not have left the body.” Pointing to the Light she said, “If this Supramental Light remains we shall keep the body in a glass case.”
‘…for four days, the disciples, the people of the town, Ashram employees had the unique Darshan and paid their homage. Bhaktas had come from different parts of India for the benediction of the last Darshan of the Guru. Many of them felt the room surcharged with peace, force, light or bliss. Some saw Sri Aurobindo sitting on the bed and saying, “I am here, I am here!” as if to falsify Nature’s decree…
‘The Mother paid her visits to the room twice or thrice a day, clad in a white robe and with a scarf tied over her hair. Her face calm and grave, yet softened with a material sweetness, she looked like Maheshwari of transcendent glory. She would stand silently before the body, look at it for some time and quietly retire. Sometimes she was accompanied by Nolini, Pavitra, Amrita and others. She did not want the body to be touched and wished that an utter silence should prevail in the room at all times.’
‘The Mother then said Sri Aurobindo had lived so long in the Supramental Consciousness that it had come down into His body and made it shine with a golden light. But She added that one could not be sure how long the light would remain and in case it remained for a long time it was necessary to protect the body against dust and air-borne insects. So She asked me to prepare a large glass covering to go over the whole body in a way which would not disturb it. Immediately a man was sent to Madras to get the necessary large sheets of glass and through Dyuman we arranged for the silver angle strips to join them to form a cover.
‘In the meantime we thought it would be good if we could keep the room temperature low by arranging large blocks of ice round about with fans to blow over them. We did this without consulting the Mother. As soon as She saw it, She asked us to remove everything at once: She did not want any artificial measure to be taken at all. If the body was to remain without perishing, it would be by His will alone…
‘Mother gave me instructions for the casket which was made of solid wood and lined with silk. Sri Aurobindo was still lying on his bed and there was the most marvellous golden light emanating from his body, and a scent like a celestial perfume. The Mother told me how deep to go into the Samadhi and how to design it.
‘We built the Samadhi not as a hole in the ground but as a vault with thick concrete walls nine inches thick with cement floors and a cement roof. We went down eight feet and built a four-foot room with cement slabs. Over that the Mother instructed me to build another room also with walls, a floor and a roof. She told me to fill it with clean river sand and to put a large slab on the top. Thus was the Samadhi built.
‘Mother wanted Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Samadhi’ to be under the Service Tree in the Ashram courtyard. She gave detailed instructions, saying how deep we should go and that we should construct a waterproof chamber down below with a waterproof cement slab cover and then an air-space with another waterproof cement slab cover. Then earth was to be filled over this till it came above the surface of the ground, and around it the walls of the Samadhi were to be built.
‘The Mother also told us to prepare a fine case for His body. I got the Harpagon Workshop to start making one in solid thick rosewood with brass straps and brass rings on the side to take the ropes.
‘We started working from the morning of the 5th. We decided to build the Samadhi ourselves without paid labour. The ground was hard—very hard—and breaking it was quite a job. It was decided that the burial would take place on the evening of the 5th. Discoloration of the body generally sets in within 24 hours, 35 hours is the outside limit. But when it was about time for the burial there was no sign of decomposition at all. In fact, even though life had left the body, it was suffused with a golden light and Sri Aurobindo’s face shone with it.’