17 November 1973 was the 321st day of the year 1973 in the Gregorian calendar. There were 44 days remaining until the end of the year. The day of the week was Saturday.
17 November 1973 Saturday
17 November 1974
“Without Him I Exist Not; Without Me He is Unmanifest.”
17 November 1993
Om She, the Delight — She, the Consciousness — She, the Truth — She, the Supreme
17 November 1995
‘The Divine puts on an appearance of humanity, assumes the outward human nature in order to tread the path and show it to human beings, but does not cease to be the Divine. It is a manifestation that takes place, a manifestation of a growing divine consciousness, not human turning into divine.’
About the Mother’s withdrawal Nolini Kanta Gupta scripts:
‘The Mother’s body belonged to the old creation. It was meant to be the pedestal of the New Body. It served its purpose well. The New Body will come.
‘The revival of the body would have meant revival of the old troubles in the body. The body troubles were eliminated so far as could be done while in the body—farther was not possible. For a new mutation, a new procedure was needed. “Death” was the first stage in that process.
‘Your physical body belonged to the old creation because you wanted to be one with your children. You wanted this body to uphold the New Body you were building upon it, and it gave you the service you asked of it. You will come with your New Body.
A: The Mother dies on 17 November 1973 at 7.25pm
Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, the Mother’s personal attendant for years and her permanent partner when she played tennis and the Head of the Physical Education Department of the Ashram, narrates in a talk given in the Ashram Playground the sequence of events of the last few days of the Mother’s physical presence here. He also takes precaution by saying that he will be faithful to his own feelings and observations; it shall be what he had seen and what he felt personally. He begins:
‘At the beginning of April this year the Mother became unwell while she was giving blessings. We stopped it as well as the special interviews. She took to her bed. She wanted to see people again as usual. But she saw only a dozen people, who used to come to her daily for work.
‘On the 20th of May, at about 9:30pm, I found her extremely restless, a bit dejected and, I must say, annoyed with herself. She said she didn’t have any control over her body. In the beginning, she refused to take any food or drink.
‘According to the advice of Dr Sanyal we were to give her about 20 to 25ozs of food everyday. It consisted of a little vegetable soup, milk with some protein compound, a paste made of almonds, mushrooms, artichokes or things like that and some fruit juice at the end. She took them all right; and sometimes the quantity was just what the doctor had suggested, sometimes it was more, at other times less. On the 10th of November, we noticed that a kind of hiccup had developed.
‘I noticed this hiccup coming soon after her lunch, and in the evening when she started taking her dinner it was still there. The doctor examined her and found that her blood pressure was very low, her heart extremely weak and there was a frequent missing of beats. In fact, the heart started failing from that time. On the night of the 13th, at about 10 o’clock, she told me to lift her shoulders up from the bed. From 10th November onward she remained absolutely in bed. After the doctor had examined her he said we should not bring her out of the bed any more. On the 13th night, at about 10 o’clock, she asked me to just lift up her shoulders so that she might be for a little while in a sitting position. I did so. Then she said her whole body must be lifted up from the bed. With Champaklalji on one side and I on the other we lifted her. She was finding it very comfortable.
‘She had developed some bedsores on her back, on her hips and on other parts of her body. Our lifting her must have given her some comfort. She asked that night, after every ten, fifteen or twenty minutes, to lift her up. At 4 o’clock she went to sleep.
‘On l4th she was more or less normal. She took some food and the day passed quite well. Then at night she started telling me again to raise her shoulders, her legs and later her whole body. Then she said, “Make me walk.” We were very hesitant, but as she insisted, we lifted her up from the bed. She could not walk, staggered a little, almost collapsed. Seeing this, we put her back in bed. We saw that her face had become absolutely white and the lips blue. She took about twenty minutes to recover; she started saying, “Lift me up again, I shall walk.” We refused. She began to plead, sometimes shout. At that time we thought we would give her some sedative. We gave her Siquil as the doctor had prescribed. It took her about 45 minutes to become quiet and she slept from 2 to 4 o’clock, but after getting up she started saying, “Pranab, lift me up and make me walk. My legs are getting paralysed; if you help me to walk again, they will become all right.” But we did not listen.
‘The 15th passed off quite well. She took more food than usual. At night again she began asking me to lift her up. We lifted her up, then she wanted us to help her to walk, we refused to do that. We said, “Mother, you should not walk.” She obeyed us. She became absolutely obedient. The l6th also passed nicely.
‘The 17th morning passed very well. Every morning we gave her a laxative. She took it without any objection that day. Her breakfast she took very well, lunch also. I noticed that she was making some strange sounds. Champaklalji and Kumud came and I reported to them what I had seen. I left at 2 o’clock. When I came back at 5 o’clock, Champaklalji told me that he had seen the same thing, but sometimes the Mother had been shouting a little louder. I was with her from 5 to 6:30. At 6:30 Champaklalji and Kumud came. While I was leaving, the Mother called me and said, “Lift me up.” Again from two sides Champaklalji and I caught hold of her hand and lifted her up. Then we lowered her on the bed and I left. The Mother wanted that her whole body should be lifted. So that was done. After she had been lowered on the bed, André came in. A few minutes later Kumud noticed that there was some sound coming from her throat and the head was moving in a certain way which she did not like. She consulted Champaklalji and then sent for Dr Sanyal and for me.
‘I arrived at about five past seven and saw that Dr Sanyal was already there examining her. Dyumanbhai also had come. I went and felt the Mother’s pulse. It was still there, beating at long intervals. There was still some respiration. But slowly everything stopped. The doctor gave an external heart massage to her. It had no effect. Then he declared that the Mother had left her body. This was at 7:25pm.
‘At that time, there were present André, Champaklalji, Dr Sanyal, Dyumanbhai, Kumud and myself. I talked with André and told him that I wanted to wait for some time and then take the Mother’s body down, place it in the Meditation Hall for people to see. We would keep the body in such a way that it was not disturbed. André agreed to my proposal.
‘Dr Sanyal said that we must not disturb the body in any way for several hours. So the Mother was left as she was and after 11 o’clock, when the gate of the Ashram was closed, we cleaned her body with Eau de Cologne, put a nice dress on her, arranged everything and then Dyumanbhai and I went down and called Nolinida. Nolinida came up, saw everything, and asked what we were going to do. I mentioned my plans to him.
‘He said the Mother had once told him that if it looked to us that she had left her body we should not be in a hurry, but see that her body was properly kept, and then wait. He agreed to our proposal. We came down—Dyumanbhai, Bulada, Nirodda, Kumud and myself—and arranged the place. At about 2 o’clock we brought the Mother’s body down. Then I went out, called Mona, told him to come and see me with four other boys. When they came I explained to them what to do: to call the photographers first, then to call the trustees, then all those who were very close to her. I told them also to organise volunteers to look after the work that was coming. Then, from 3 o’clock the people who had been called started coming.
‘While we were upstairs, we prepared some kind of statement that would go to the Press and to All India Radio so that no wrong information might go out. Nirod-da corrected our draft and we gave it to Udar to circulate.
‘At 4:15 in the morning we opened the gate of the Ashram for people to come in and have her last Darshan.
‘Did the Mother give you any indication that she was going to leave her body? To this I would say, “No.”
‘She fought and tried up to the end. She had a tremendous will and she was a great fighter and she fought and tried to do what she had taken upon herself. She never said that she would like to leave her body. The explanation for her suffering: because she resisted, because she fought, she suffered. If she had yielded to natural laws, that is, decay, disintegration and death, there would not have been much suffering for her.
‘She said nothing before leaving her body. In fact, for the last six months she spoke very little. Most of the time she remained with her eyes closed. Whatever she said was mostly about her body—that she was feeling pain.
‘One thing she repeated often, that all the work she was doing on her body could be spoilt in two ways. One, this force she was pulling down on her could be so strong, so great, that the body would not be able to tolerate it and the body might fail. The second thing was that if ever she went into a deep trance and it looked to us that she had left her body, then if by mistake we put her in the Samadhi, that would absolutely spoil her work.
‘She did not want to leave her body and she worked up to the end. After she had been seriously unwell since the 20th of May, she said that she was undergoing a process of transformation.
‘About any sign of physical transformation on her body, but it is not possible to see anything outwardly. She was trying and I appreciated her invincible will, her determination and strength.
‘When she left her body she was extremely peaceful. When Dr Sanyal declared that she had left her body, I did not feel any want. I felt that at last she had come out of this agony. She had prepared me enough for it from quite a long time back.
‘Long before, say, in the year 1948, when Sri Aurobindo was still living, she told me, “I am not willing to go, I will not go, and this time there will be no tragedy; but if it so happens that I leave my body, then put my body under the Service Tree.” And when Sri Aurobindo had passed away, she ordered Udar to make two chambers in the Samadhi vault, one upon the other. After 15th August 1972, I felt perhaps what has happened was going to happen. I was fully prepared from almost the beginning and I did not feel any want inside me when she left her body.
‘About her leaving the body I would say that the physical laws still held tight and they could not be brought under control. On the other side was our insincerity. She had to fight the onset of decay and old age, and fight against this dirt constantly thrown upon her. I felt and I have seen also some kind of despair and I think these two things were fully responsible. Nobody can convince me that she had decided and therefore she left.
‘I am absolutely sure that if she had not the conviction that she would bring the Supramental Transformation in her present body, she would not have been able to do all the Great Work she did. This conviction has made it possible to establish this Truth firmly in the earth- consciousness.
‘“Will she come back again in the same body?”My feeling is “No.” If she is to come back, there was no necessity of leaving the body. And the body itself was worn out; and to come inside such a body and to cure all that and to bring back health and youth, I think—it is my feeling—that is not possible.
‘Will she come back in a new body amongst us? “Certainly.” Throughout the ages, from the beginning of creation, she has come several times, many, many times, to help us progress, she will come again in the future to lead us further.
‘Do you think we shall be able to go through on the path she has laid down for us? Yes, if we have a strong aspiration, a strong will, and the maximum of sincerity. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother came to us and they have shown us our goal. They have brought down the necessary powers into this world so that this goal may be reached.’
B: The Mother passes away on 17 November 1973 at 7.25pm
Pranab himself had made it, says Udar Pinto, quite clear that he would speak only of what he saw and give his own impressions of it. So he talked of the Mother’s physical condition, of how she first retired on the 2nd April, and started seeing some people again, and finally stopped seeing anyone from the 21st May.
‘Pranab’s conclusion, that although the Mother fought to the very end for the transformation of her present physical body, it was the natural process of death that finally prevailed. The Mother had always foreseen the likelihood that she might have to leave her body. At her firm orders a chamber above the chamber for Sri Aurobindo under the Service Tree was kept ready for her on the 5 December 1950 itself.
‘Sri Aurobindo had long ago shown two possibilities. One is of transforming the present human body into a body still human but a super one. The other relates to a supramental body. The superhuman body would be a big step towards the supramental body. But the supramental body would be realised by some sort of materialisation into the physical from a subtle stuff, a kind of projection. The process has yet to be established.
‘The Mother first tried for her body to become superhuman but at last decided to give up the attempt and made the second choice. I base this feeling on what Pranab said about her last moments: how she who had evidently and visibly been fighting for transformation suddenly became quiet and peaceful for sometime before the end. This, I feel, is the moment she took her momentous decision. I can affirm that she left her body by her own decision, not by the usual process of nature.
‘Why didn’t the Mother choose the second alternative? It was because the way of transformation, if once achieved by her would open the path to others; the other way of projecting a supramental body is still unknown. This entailed unbelievable physical suffering for her body and this was her Great Sacrifice.
‘I recollect the event at the time Sri Aurobindo withdrew. I was by his side and so I kept very calm and objective. I remember it all so clearly—how it was decided to put his body next day in the Samadhi. We had worked night and day to get everything ready. Then it was found that there was no sign at all of decomposition, and the Mother said we should wait. The Mother showed me how the Golden Light had faded; that was the sign from him that guided her. On the evening of the 9th I lifted his body with my own hands to place it in the box; I was covered with the liquid that had come out; it was a liquid with a wonderful perfume which I carried on me for two days. Even his mattress was soaked with it and had this wonderful perfume in it for months. The mattress was kept at Golconde.
‘After the Mother’s leaving her body I had immediate work to do, to send telegrams to the President of India, the Prime Minister and others. After the Mother’s body was laid in the Samadhi I felt a very great joy. I felt she was now free to do her great work for the whole world, no longer tied to her body.
‘The Mother’s physical presence was an indispensable condition for the descent of the supramental and for its manifestation in the earth-consciousness. The event took place in 1956.
If the Mother’s physical presence was indispensable for the continuance of this work, she would not have left her body.’
“Do you think that the mission of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother will be successful this time?” This was a question asked to MP Pandit. He replied: “It has already succeeded.” The objective to bring down the Truth-Consciousness has been achieved.
‘In 1950 if the Supramental Force were to come down, things would break. To see that it done Sri Aurobindo withdrew.
‘The Mother’s luminous body was ready and she just walked into it without dying; “without dying” means not necessarily keeping the body, but without the gap in consciousness; keeping up the continuity of the personality she just crossed into it.
‘On the morning of 17th November at about nine o’clock, a particular friend of mine—he has a certain grounding in occult experience, occult knowledge—told me, “I have seen the Mother’s body full of light but it is not yet dense enough to function in earth conditions. As I was looking at it I felt that the Mother would enter this body the moment it became dense enough to stand and function in the earth atmosphere. But there is no question of revival of the material body.”
‘That evening at 7.25pm the Mother withdrew from her body. They say the cause was heart failure, but the heart failure was the result of her withdrawal. She had decided; the moment things were ready she walked into that body.She has not passed away; she just changed her body.
‘It was some years ago, before 1958, when the Mother was still going to the playground and holding classes: she said that a body born in the present normal way would have a normal end; second, a body born in the normal sexual way could not become supramental proper. A supramental body will have to come from above. The human body can be brought up to the level of the Superman, but not the Supramental Being straight away.
‘Physical immortality is not central to transformation; it is only a consequence of complete transformation. Sri Aurobindo gave very little importance to it. All that is needed is conquest over death, freedom to keep or shed the body when one wants it.
‘Her horoscopes indicated she living up to a hundred years; at the end of it no death was indicated, it was left to her choice. But it she took a different decision because the body would not support further working. She saw no use in continuing in this body. She went on preparing the other body during the last six or seven months in which she was in-drawn; she was staying in this body till she could enter into the other body.’
And here is Amal Kiran on the passing of the Mother. Her departure has been attributed to heart failure. Spiritually, we may assert that there could never be a failure of the Mother’s heart. Its fate cannot be designated in clinical language.
While going through Amal’s draft about the unexpected event of Sri Aurobindo’s passing away, the Mother paused over the expression “the mortal remains of Sri Aurobindo.” She said: “There was nothing ‘mortal’ about Sri Aurobindo. You must write only ‘remains’.” And she added: “Sri Aurobindo did not die of physical causes. He had complete control over his body.” With that change in the draft the Mother ordered 15,000 copies to be printed. From such clues one may understand something of the step the Mother took regarding her own passing away.
She said Sri Aurobindo now possesses more power for action than when he was in his body. The Mother characterised the action of Sri Aurobindo as “concrete”, almost “material”. The same holds for her own action today. [Bulletin, February 1973]
Nirodbaran narrates: ‘In Champaklal’s talk to me there was an uncertain tone ending with “Only He can help”. Dr Bisht was called and an electro-cardiogram was taken; other tests also were done, and all the reports were depressing.
‘The August Darshan was at hand. Speculations were rife as to whether there would be any Darshan. But the Mother did appear at the Balcony. It was a sheer act of grace on her part. The condition began to deteriorate from that day. On André’s birthday soon after the Darshan it seems she made no response. 17 November was my birthday. There was no question of having her darshan. We could not imagine that things were so serious. Everything went on as usual, even the weekly cinema-show that evening.
‘I was sitting outside; Kumud opened the door of the Mother’s room and asked me if I could find Pranab and call him. It was about 7pm. He came running. The doctor was also sent for before his usual time. Dyuman who never went up at that hour was there. So was André. The situation must be critical, I felt. Pranab uttered the fatal words, “Mother has left her body.”
Champaklal tells: ‘It was between 4.30-5.00pm. Kumud was giving fruit juice to the Mother, we on both sides of her.
‘All of a sudden without any forethought I took the Mother’s hand in mine and saw her lifeline. Kumud asked what I was doing. I told her what I saw and added: “Oh, it is such a short line! But the Mother has lived much longer than is indicated by the line!”
‘I was greatly surprised. Sri Aurobindo had a very long lifeline; still he left his body early. And in Mother’s case, though she had a very short one, yet she lived so longfor us, giving herself so freely, showering her Grace so abundantly on us!
That was the day she left her body, at 7.25pm. It was only her will that prompted me to take up her hand and see her palm and that too on the very day! What Grace!’
C: The Mother withdraws on 17 November 1973 at 7.25pm
The following are abstracted from the Mother’s Conversations. Notes on the Way came out during the presence of the Mother. The Agenda Conversations were published much after the Mother’s withdrawal on 17 November 1973, first the original in French based on her tape records, later translated into English.
From Notes on the Way
‘All the laws, these laws that were laws of Nature, have lost all their despotism. That is the discovery being made more and more. As the process becomes more and more perfect — “perfect” means integral, total, leaving nothing behind — it is necessarily, inevitably, the victory over death. Not that the dissolution of cells which death represents does not exist, but it will exist only when it will be necessary: not as an absolute law, but as one of the procedures, when it is necessary.’
[30 December 1967]
‘In the night it, the superman consciousness, la conscience du surhomme, came slowly and on waking up this morning, there was as though a golden dawn, and the atmosphere was so light. The body felt: “Well, it is truly, truly new.” A golden light, transparent and… benevolent. “Benevolent” in the sense of a certainty — a harmonious certainty. It was new.’
[1& 8 January 1969]
‘Everything is getting disorganised. But the disorganisation is moving towards a higher organisation, a widening, a liberation. The body has reached a state of consciousness in which it knows death may make a change, but it is not a disappearance of the consciousness. And more acute and intense: “The only, only, one hope is… Lord, Thou. To be Thou, may there be nothing but Thee, and may this separation, this difference disappear. May it disappear, so that it be as Thou willest.”This is the absolute certitude.’
[24 May 1969]
‘The experience of the body is, at some moments it is in the consciousness of immortality, and then, through influence it falls back into the consciousness of mortality. To fall back into the consciousness of mortality is an awful anguish; when it returns to the true consciousness, that the thing vanishes. And the state of immortality is immutably peaceful, tranquil, with… like staggeringly rapid waves, so rapid that they seem immobile. And then as soon as the other state returns, all the ordinary notions also return, that gives it the pain and the suffering of a falsehood. To come out of it, the only, the only effective way is just to give up, surrender. It is a state of vibration in which nothing but the Divine Vibration has any value.’
[18 October 1969]
‘At every second it is, as if you were called upon to choose between death and immortality. And for that the body must go through a serious and very thorough preparation to bear the impact of the experience without any anxiety or recoil… it must be able to maintain its peace and its constant smile.’
[27 December 1969]
‘One feels that it is as though at every moment (it is becoming stronger and stronger), at every moment: Do you want life, do you want death; do you want life, do you want death? Life, it is union with the Supreme, and an altogether new consciousness comes. All of a sudden the body said: No! It is finished — I want life, I want nothing else. Since then, things are getting better.
Because of physical death, the subconscient is a defeatist. It has the feeling that it will always end by that. So the work is to try to introduce faith, the certitude of transformation, into the subconscient. And that… it is a struggle of every moment.’
[22 December 1971]
‘My body is beginning to know that the divine side means a life, a life progressive and luminous; but the accumulation of past experiences says: “Oh! It is not possible!” There you are, and so it is this idiotic “not possible” which delays and spoils things.
This is based upon the fact that as soon as the body gives up the true attitude, it becomes painful — the impression is there as of death, of dissolution everywhere. Therefore it is that which strengthens… the imbecility of Matter.’
[30 August 1972]
‘I am repeating always: “What Thou willest, what Thou willest, what Thou willest… let it be what Thou willest, may I do what Thou willest, may I be conscious of what Thou willest.”
And also: “Without Thee it is death; with Thee it is life.” By “death” I do not mean physical death — it may be so; it may be that now if I lost the contact, that would be the end, but it is impossible! I have the feeling that it is… that I am That — with all the obstructions that the present consciousness may have.’
[10 March 1973]
From the Agenda
On 15 July 1961 the Mother speaks of the difficulties that arise in protest against the will to transform. ‘That’s the problem: something totally new is being introduced into Matter, and the body is protesting. After my ‘interview’ with Nature, when she told me that she would collaborate, I thought this difficulty would cease; many things have improved considerably, but not this. Plainly and clearly, it comes from the subconscient and the inconscient. But these merely material resistances, hostile forces, they represent the unconsciousness of Matter.
‘For this supramental work, the way the body is formed has an almost crucial importance. The capacity to endure, to last is the important thing. Well, in that respect, it is absolutely undeniable that my body has an infinitely greater capacity than Sri Aurobindo’s had.
‘We had some conversations on precisely this subject, because we saw that … the prevailing conditions were such that I told him I would leave this body and melt into him with no regret or difficulty; I told him this in words, not just in thought. And he also replied to me in words: Your body is indispensable for the Work. Without your body the Work cannot be done. After that, I said no more. It was no longer my concern, and that was the end of it. This was said in … 1949, just a little more than a year before he left. And that’s really how it is.
‘But now I am set face-to-face with the fact … the immensity, or the … something…. This work is so formidable! But in the final analysis, everything obviously depends upon the Supreme’s Will, if one looks deeply enough into the question, even physical laws and resistances are nothing for Him.
‘But this kind of direct intervention takes place only at the extreme limit; if His Will is to be expressed in opposition, as it were, to the whole set of laws governing the Manifestation — well, that only comes … at the very last second.
‘I must say that there was a time when, as Sri Aurobindo had entrusted his work to me, there was a kind of tension to do it; a tension in the will. This too has now ended. It’s finished.
‘Some months ago, when this body had once again become a battlefield and was confronting all the obstacles, when it was suspended, asking itself which direction it was taking, which way things were going to tilt.And suddenly, in all the cells, there was this feeling: ‘If we are dissolved out of this amalgam, if this assemblage is dissolved and can no longer go on, then we shall all go straight, straight as an arrow’ — and it was like a marvellous flame—‘straight to rejoin Sri Aurobindo in his supramental world, which is right here at our door.’
‘And there was such joy! Such enthusiasm, such joy flooded all the cells! ‘Oh,’ they felt, ‘so what!’ This was truly a decisive stage in the work of illuminating the body.
‘All the cells felt far more powerful than that stupid force trying to dissolve them; what is called ‘death’, left them entirely indifferent: ‘What do we care? We shall go THERE and consciously participate in Sri Aurobindo’s work, in the transformation of the world, one way or the other — here, there, like this, like that—what does it matter!’
‘And that was when I received the Command from the Supreme, who was right here, this close. He told me, ‘This is what is promised. Now the Work must be done.’ And not individual but collective work was meant. So naturally, because of the way it came, it was joyously accepted and immediately implemented.
‘Well, what Sri Aurobindo did by leaving his body is somewhat equivalent, although far more total and complete and absolute — because he had that experience, he had it; I saw him, I saw him supramental on his bed, sitting on his bed.
‘He has written: I am not doing it individually, for myself, but for the whole earth. And it was exactly the same thing for me — but oh, that experience! Nothing else counted for me anymore.’
13 April 1962: In the night of April 12-13 there was the experience of the supreme Love manifesting through big pulsations, each pulsation bringing the world further in its manifestation. It was the formidable pulsations of the eternal, stupendous Love, only Love: each pulsation was carrying the universe further in its manifestation. The certitude that what is to be done is DONE. “You have accepted that this world should know the Supramental Truth … and it will be expressed totally, integrally.”But, 14 July 1962, Matter needs quite a preparation to make it strong enough to hold those vibrations of Love. But there’s such an immediate intensity of joy in all the cells, in the heart and organs, that it all seems on the verge of exploding.
On 21 August 1965 the Mother speaks of “transfer of power”, the former power withdrawing and the body adapting itself to the new power. The transition period between the two is going to be critical. But all the cells of the body are in a state of constant aspiration, and it is going relatively quickly.
22 November 1967: ‘The material cells have to obtain the capacity to receive and to manifest consciousness. In place of an ascent, there is a descent from above. Sri Aurobindo calls it the supramental descent; it is the descent of the supreme Consciousness which infuses itself into something that is capable of receiving it and manifesting it. Out of this a new form will take birth, what Sri Aurobindo calls the supramental form.’
8 January 1969: ‘It was the first of January after midnight. I woke up at two in the morning, surrounded by a consciousness, so concrete, and new felt never before. And it lasted for two or three hours, and afterwards it spread out and went about. And I knew that it was the consciousness of the superman, the intermediary between man and the supramental being. That has given to the body a kind of assurance and confidence.’
She further tells, this superman consciousness is very active, and that the body had never been so happy[15 February 1969]. she mentions that the superman consciousness has won the victory[14 March 1970]. But the body has some difficulty. Toward the end on 2 April 1972: “If I am here inactive, it is because the body has given itself definitely to prepare the transformation.”In it the body had given the consent for the Mother to move forward. This body-consciousness has a will; it is constantly, constantly calling upon the Lord’s will: “Lord, take possession of this, take possession of that, take….” It is the BODY’S aspiration.
D: She withdrew so that the work of superman consciousness could begin
Never in her life even when things were the darkest, the most negative or painful was there with the Mother a moment when she thought that she would like to die, never. In fact the body’s cells had the fullest sense of their immortality.[21 November 1964] Never was there a question of her leaving or passing away, and absolutely never of dying.
But for the work Sri Aurobindo had given to her, the work of supramental manifestation upon earth, there was utterly nothing that she would not do. She was always engaged with it and she carried it out in that supreme Will and Command. In it she essentially withdrew, withdrew that the work of superman consciousness could begin as a luminously widespread principle and force. In the dynamics of manifestation it had to be directly operative in the universality of functioning.
Her physical presence would have, so to say, come in the way of its action. It was analogous to the necessity of Sri Aurobindo’s withdrawal for the Mother’s work to begin. And yet from another station she worked that the superman consciousness, that is the Mind of Light, the physical’s mind receiving the supramental Light and Force, takes hold of all the terrestrial movements. What is basic for us is to open ourselves to it.
There is therefore absolutely no question of her dying. In fact it is occult-yogically very wrong to say “she died”, “she left”, “she passed away”, “she departed”. None of this is true. The nearest that can be spoken about her is “she withdrew”, the withdrawal itself is to carry out, to promote, to take forward the Divine’s scheme of things in that interminable “mighty action”.
Pranab’s understanding that nobody can convince him that she had decided and therefore she left is very valid. There is no question of her leaving, never, never, when she had based everything in the Will of the Supreme, always “what Thou willest, O Lord, what Thou willest.”In that Will she withdrew.
She withdrew, she had to withdraw for the gains to advance, withdraw yet work in another way.
She had won path-breaking victories: the supramental descent and manifestation in the subtle-physical of the earth on 29 February 1956, the birth of a new world, the supramental boat ready to take ready individuals to the supramental shores, to bring supramental verities closer to the earth; she received from Nature a happy promise for collaboration in the work of transformation; she had the experience of pulsation of Love in the deep physical, and the jubilation of the body’s cells with the Presence in them; she realised that the materialisation of the psychic being itself is going to bring about deathlessness. In the arrival of the superman consciousness, la conscience du surhomme, is the arrival of a new species, of the intermediary race governed by the Mind of Light, the race between man and the supramental being. When the collective advance towards it is made will come again Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Earth is their darling and they will come in that glory. They have been always here with her.
About the Author: Born on 17 April 1931 RY Deshpande is a professor, philosopher, author, poet and inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. After graduating from Osmania University, Hyderabad, he joined the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai as a research physicist in 1955 and worked in this organization till 1957. In 1957 he joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai where he worked till 1981 and headed several Atomic Energy and Space Projects in Advance Technology with Dr. Raja Ramanna. Having received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics in 1964, he worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California USA from 1964 to 1965. He has some fifty research papers published in national and international scientific journals. He was also an examiner for a number of Ph.D. theses in the field of Solid State Physics. In 1981 Deshpande joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram of Pondicherry. For thirty years, he taught physics and a few other subjects such as Astrophysics, Savitri, The Future Poetry, Science and Society at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. For eight years he was the associate Editor of Mother India, a Monthly Review of Culture, published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. During 2007-2008 Deshpande was the editor of a web-magazine titled Science-Culture-Integral Yoga founded in Los Angeles. His published works in prose and poetry include titles like Sri Aurobindo and the New Millennium, Vyasa’s Savitri, The Ancient Tale of Savitri, “Satyavan Must Die”, All Life is Yoga, Nagin-bhai Tells Me, The Rhododendron Valley, All is Dream-Blaze, Under the Raintree, Paging the Unknown, The Wager of Ambrosia, Savitri: Notes and Comments, Elements and Evolution, Sri Aurobindo’s Narad, The Birth of the Sun-God, Hymns to Becoming, These Mountains, The Secret Knowledge, Savitri Talks: The Symbol Dawn, Islam’s Contribution to Science, Big Science and India, Running Through Savitri, A Look at the Symbol Dawn: Observations-Comments-Discussions, Savitri: The Poetry of Immortality, and Sanatana Dharma: An Aurobindonian Perspective to name a few. He has also edited the following books: Nirodbaran: Poet and Sadhak, Amal Kiran: Poet and Critic and Perspectives of Savitri.
73 Replies to “The Mother’s Withdrawal — 17 November 1973 by R. Y. Deshpande”
I thank R. Y. Deshpande for his clarifying words, “In the arrival of the superman consciousness, la conscience du surhomme, is the arrival of a new species, of the intermediary race governed by the Mind of Light, the race between man and the supramental being”.
Because they are a good opportunity to point out Georges van Vrekhem, his book “Overman” and his highly interesting lecture on the same topic, which he gave at Savitri Bhavan on November 12, 2011. Entitled “A gaping oversight – Overman”, it can be accessed on Auroville Radio at https://www.aurovilleradio.org/a-gaping-oversight-overman/.
While Georges relegates the direct leap to the supramental to the realm of fantasy, he makes our task in the here and now all the more clear:
“What is our job? To realize the Overman, to spread that, to spread this mentality, to be Auroville in the world…”
“What is our job?” Aspiration-Rejection-Surrender, to put ourselves in the hands of the Divine Mother, individually and collectively, and she will do everything for us, that even the concern of Surhomme or Superman proper will not arise.
Some months after the Mother’s departure, a follower from Canada sent the following quotation of Sri Aurobindo to Nolini Kanta Gupta: “‘The physical nearness to the Mother is indispensable for the fullness of the sadhana on the physical plane. Transformation of the physical and external being is not possible otherwise” and inquired: ‘How are we to interpret these words in the light of the Mother’s recent passing? Does this mean that a full transformation is no longer possible to the aspirant? Or has discipleship on the material level in the path of the Integral Yoga come to an end?’
Nolini Kanta Gupta’s reply was published in the March 1974 issue of ‘Mother India’ and April 1974 issue of ‘The Advent’; both being journals published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. He wrote:
‘Obviously, the immediate programme of a physical transformation is postponed — not cancelled. But what we have been given is not less of a miracle. Mother has prepared for us her new body in the inner world, in the subtle physical which is as living and tangible as her physical body even though not as concrete. In one of her last Notes [Notes on the Way] she refers to this new transformed body and she describes it as presented in her vision. That body she has built up in her long arduous labours, built up in a complete form and left with us and with humanity.
‘This new body of hers, prepared behind the material curtain, she sought to infuse into the material form, even press into it or force into it this new element; but Matter and man’s physical nature were not ready: Earth still considered it as an intrusion, as something foreign. The material casing broke down in consequence — perhaps not broke down, rather broke through; but that must be another story.
‘But it is there living and glorious in its beauty and power and is still at work within us, and around us in the world, incessantly, towards the final consummation of its material embodiment.’
Certain points can be observed from the aforementioned text. The Mother had a new body in the subtle physical which was not ‘as concrete’. By this, he intended to say that this new body was not as concrete as gross matter. The Mother tried to ‘infuse’ Her supramental body ‘into the material form’ but as gross matter was still not ready, it rejected the supramental body owing to which the ‘material casing’ broke down. Since the material or gross physical casing broke down, the immediate programme of a physical transformation is postponed — not cancelled.’
But this particular sentence needs to be pondered over: ‘perhaps not broke down, rather broke through;’ could you please enlighten us, Deshpande-ji?
Please, instead of paraphrasing, reproduce the exact text of Nolini, he speaking of the “material casing broke down”.
In <> where does the quote end?
‘This new body of hers, prepared behind the material curtain, she sought to infuse into the material form, even press into it or force into it this new element; but Matter and man’s physical nature were not ready: Earth still considered it as an intrusion, as something foreign. The material casing broke down in consequence — perhaps not broke down, rather broke through; but that must be another story.
where does the quote end?
Here is the entire text of the ‘Canadian Question’ and Nolini Kanta Gupta’s reply:
‘It is written in A Practical Guide to Integral Yoga: “The physical nearness to the Mother is indispensable for the fullness of the sadhana on the physical plane. Transformation of the physical and external being is not possible otherwise. ” (Sri Aurobindo)
‘My question is: How are we to interpret these words in the light of the Mothers recent passing? Does this mean that a full transformation is no longer possible to the aspirant? Or has discipleship on the material level in the path of the Integral Yoga come to an end?’
Nolini Kanta Gupta’s response:
‘Obviously, the immediate programme of a physical transformation is postponed—not cancelled. But what we have been given is not less of a miracle. Mother has prepared for us her new body in the inner world, in the subtle physical, which is as living and tangible as her physical body, even though not as concrete. In one of her last “Notes on the Way” she refers to this new transformed body and she describes it as presented to her vision. That body she has built up in her long arduous labours, built up in a complete form and left with us and with humanity.
‘This new body of hers, prepared behind the material curtain, she sought to infuse into the material form, even press or force into it this new element; but Matter and man’s physical nature were not yet ready: Earth still considered it as an intrusion, as something foreign. The material casing broke down in consequence—perhaps not broke down, rather broke through; but that must be another story.
‘But her new body is there, living and glorious in its beauty and power, and it is still at work within us and around us in the world, incessantly, towards the final consummation of its material embodiment. What is expected of us is to see this golden Mother within us and try to become, as she always wanted, her golden children, within and without.
‘Sri Aurobindo speaks of an inner mind, an inner vital, an inner physical. Only the other day the passage was read out at the Playground meditation. The golden body, the new body, is formed out of an inner mind, an inner vital and an inner physical, renewed and reshaped. We can show our love for her, requite the debt that we owe to her Grace, by admitting her Presence into our physical being and allowing her to do the work she has undertaken to do.’
‘For us now it is time to make amends for the lapses of the past—there were lapses, indeed, grievous lapses. So long as her physical body was our protection, we did not suffer the full consequences of our Karma because her body acted as a buffer: it broke the force of the impact of the Karma and reduced its evil effects to a minimum. Her body bore our burden and relieved us of the misery otherwise due to us. Mankind, the world even, does not know the saving Grace that her material frame brought to it. It would have gone down to destruction and dissolution but for the presence of the Divine body.
‘The world has survived, mankind has an assured future— that is the work done by her body. It aimed at a little more, to show us something of the concrete form of the future, but evidently that was not to be, because something from us also, from the world and mankind, some helping hand in the labour, was needed. We remember her ringing words: “Si seulement l’humanité consentait à être spiritualisée” (“If only mankind consented to be spiritualised”)—well, that was the minimum; that minimum was also not granted to her body. Her body was made so easily available to all without any trouble and effort on our part that we lost all sense of the precious thing brought to us, brought to our very door. We did not know how to make use of it and have the true benefit out of it. Many a time she did say something to us to that effect regretfully; we wasted a treasure like the pampered prodigal son.
‘It is regrettable, but she has left no cause for our regret. She has left with us the true source of her protective power, her living consciousness concretised in the earth’s atmosphere, in the personal atmosphere of each one of us. We have only to open our grateful eyes and see it. The ladder has been taken away, but she has come nearer to us and a little uplift will place us again within her arms.
‘Since we have no longer the support of her body on which we depended almost exclusively, we are compelled to seek the true support, the support of her consciousness, her inner presence, her living Person within—the inner reality which her body represented, whose acquaintance we were not careful enough to cultivate. Now we are thrown back upon the only alternative available. The way will be arduous; we could have much more easily mounted up the ladder of consciousness with the aid of her body, almost playfully like children. Now a little bit of austerity will be needed on our part; the austerity will be needed to bring our external life and physical consciousness in line with her consciousness, to prepare them, to make them ready. Her material body offered an unconditional help and protection; now all that will be conditional—conditional upon our willing cooperation, our happy and conscious collaboration; of course the Grace will be always there. Once she asked us point-blank, for the crisis was upon us: “Are you ready?” Almost unthinkingly, in a gesture of bravado and gallantry, many answered: “Yes we are.” But we were not in fact.
‘The task then for us and for the world is to make ourselves ready, that is to say, to make our physical being and consciousness free of the old reactions, instilling into them the consciousness that she is, and with which she still embraces us, so that when the next call comes, although the call is always there, we may answer with truth on our lips: “We are ready.” ‘
Source: Nolini Kanta Gupta, ‘Mother Abides’, pp. 4-7. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, 2012.
Nolini writes: “Sri Aurobindo speaks of an inner mind, an inner vital, an inner physical. Only the other day the passage was read out at the Playground meditation. The golden body, the new body, is formed out of an inner mind, an inner vital and an inner physical, renewed and reshaped.”
The question that can be asked is: Will the golden body be formed of these inner elements, inner mind inner vital inner physical?
About them Sri Aurobindo writes in The Life Divine (p. 442)
“Our subliminal self is not, like our surface physical being, an outcome of the energy of the Inconscient; it is a meeting-place of the consciousness that emerges from below by evolution and the consciousness that has descended from above for involution. There is in it an inner mind, an inner vital being of ourselves, an inner or subtle-physical being larger than our outer being and nature. … There is here a consciousness which has a power of direct contact with the universal … The subliminal has the right of entry into the mental and vital and subtle-physical planes of the universal consciousness, it is not confined to the material plane and the physical world… .”
Though not explicitly stated, it is pretty obvious that, if the golden body is to be made of Truth-Substance, a new process must come into operation.
The Mother was looking for that, getting down to the nitty-gritty of it. But perhaps sufficient yoga-tapasyā in the physical has been done by her and the new Consciousness that has been set into operation will take care of it in the sequel.
We may say that precisely that is what is going on at present.
Sri Aurobindo said it may take 300 years, which is perfectly ‘understandable’, and in it the work is going on. It is that transcendental-universal-occult working which is in dynamic operation.
There is no question of any “break down” or “breakthrough” but the imperative is, working out the fundamental details, the essentials. We could say that this is what is happening.
The physical withdrawal of the Mother was an understandable part of the story of the Mother. At the time of giving ‘samadhi’ to Sri Aurobindo following his withdrawal on 5 December 1950, the Mother had asked Udar to construct a two-chambered vault under the Service Tree, the upper for her after her withdrawal. Udar had refused to do that, but she became absolutely firm and told him “I order you to do it”. Her withdrawal had to be in the very scheme of things, and there is no doubt about it. There is absolutely no need to justify the ways of the Divine to the ignorant mortal.
The term ‘postponement’ found an advocate in Amal Kiran alias K.D. Sethna. In his book ‘The Mother: Past, Present, Future’ (p. 28), he observes: “‘Postponement’ was a word which still allowed for some hope — especially after one had lived to see the passing of Sri Aurobindo and to what a miserable, pitiable shadow of her former self the Mother had been reduced, ‘a pitiful picture of helplessness, if not even of absurdity.” He further adds: ‘‘Wide-eyed amazement, dim-eyed despondence, cold-eyed scepticism, sharp-eyed opposition as well as calm-eyed acceptance have met our reasoned presentations of Nolini’s brief pronouncement that the physical transformation, though not cancelled, has been postponed because of the Mother’s giving up of her body … The physical transformation can be considered either as a process or as an end-product. The end-product, the accomplishment of the body’s supramentalization, may legitimately be taken as delayed in the sense of being put off for a future time or being deferred. The process cannot be so regarded: the Mother, whether physically present or not is constantly at work on her followers as well as, in a lesser degree, on the rest of mankind, and the new power that has become a factor in evolution is also pressing on to produce an effect in the world’s surface-life. The process is postponed only in the sense of being retarded, slowed down.’ (Ibid., p. 35) And again: ‘‘The physical absence of the Gurus is bound to postpone the success of the disciples in this particular part of the Integral Yoga [i.e. the physical transformation]. The postponement will end not before one of the Gurus reappears in some fashion or the manifested Supermind and the Superman Consciousness start operating directly in the forefront of universal evolution.’ (Ibid., p. 36). And elsewhere he observes: ‘I am afraid the logic of their revelations [of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother] can conduct us only to one conclusion: the Mother has first to come back in whatever manner and stand before us physically transformed before we can reach the last stage of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga of Supramental Descent and Transformation…’ [‘Mother India’, October 1982, p. 667]
Let us look at Amal’s following very perceptive statement put in a reasoned language: “The physical transformation can be considered either as a process or as an end-product. The end-product, the accomplishment of the body’s supramentalization, may legitimately be taken as delayed in the sense of being put off for a future time or being deferred. The process cannot be so regarded: the Mother, whether physically present or not is constantly at work… ”
While the physical transformation is certainly a process, it cannot be said that there is something like an “end-product”. Even the eventual accomplishment of a divine body for a divine life is a thing which will continue in the widening dimensions and possibilities of the manifesting spirit. The progress, the march, the unfolding is unending, is endless. The Mother’s withdrawal means the necessary and desirable handing over the matter to the transcendental-occult, the supramental taking the charge of the evolutionary greatness and grandeur. It is in that both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother will come again as the pioneering personalities to do that further work in the terrestrial soul of wonder.
Let me quote a passage from Savitri, Book One Canto Four, The Secret Knowledge:
A Voice ill-heard shall speak, the soul obey,
A power into mind’s inner chamber steal,
A charm and sweetness open life’s closed doors
And beauty conquer the resisting world,
The truth-light capture Nature by surprise,
A stealth of God compel the heart to bliss
And earth grow unexpectedly divine. ||11.46||
In Matter shall be lit the spirit’s glow,
In body and body kindled the sacred birth;
Night shall awake to the anthem of the stars,
The days become a happy pilgrim march,
Our will a force of the Eternal’s power,
And thought the rays of a spiritual sun. ||11.47||
A few shall see what none yet understands;
God shall grow up while the wise men talk and sleep;
For man shall not know the coming till its hour
And belief shall be not till the work is done. ||11.48||
It has said all that was needed to be said. Nature has been “captured” by the truth-light, but captured not by “surprise” but by intense yoga-yajña in the deep soul of the earth.
In 1949 when it became necessary for one of them to go, Sri Aurobindo told the Mother “If necessary for this transformation, I might go, you will have to fulfil our Yoga of supramental descent and transformation.” She fulfilled the expectation with the descent and manifestation of the supramental on 29 February 1956, the golden Wednesday in the glowing spiritual annals of the earth. What she was told she did it in less than six years of Sri Aurobindo’s significant withdrawal which in fact hastened the event. Was it then necessary for her to stay on after this? She as the dynamic Maha-Shakti did things as a natural sequel. Soon the powers that had come up could be given the charge of the future progress, making it, so to say, her withdrawal the sine qua non of the process, a necessary or indispensable condition.
Georges Van Vrekhem remarks about this postponement theory in his book, ‘Beyond Man’: ‘One gets the impression that ‘postponement’ had become, in those dramatic and traumatic days, the magical consoling word in the conversations among the prominent disciples. For those involved in the effort of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, it was taboo to talk about failure…. As the hearts and the faith were severely shaken, ‘postponement’ was a toffee on which the mind could suck and be appeased.’
And again: ‘To put it simply, the positive or negative interpretation of the passing of the Mother creates a positive or negative evaluation of the Work of the Avatar, a confidence that the Work either has been successful or has failed. If the ‘postponement’ is a fact, then practically speaking it means their work was a failure, whatever clamouring metaphors and other figures of speech one may use to cover up the fact. There is no known example of an Avatar who had to come back to finish his job. Asserting that the result of the physical transformation has been postponed is equal to wiping out all important intermediary stages, for instance the establishment of the Supramental Consciousness in the Earth-atmosphere in 1956 and that of the Overman Consciousness in 1969 — a fact that, just like the necessity of the appearance on Earth of transitory beings, never crops up in the reasonings of K.D. Sethna and the other commentators. Neither do they ever mention that Nolini Kanta Gupta must have revised his opinion about the postponement, as can be deduced from the fact that he testifies to the presence of the superman among us. It is worthwhile here to repeat the words of the great yogi Nolini was: ‘Although we may not know it, the New Man, the divine race of humanity, is already among us … It waits for an occasion to throw off the veil and place itself in the forefront.’ If this is so, then nothing has been postponed and the supramental change is in full swing.’
I completely agree with Georges’s concluding statement above, that, “nothing has been postponed and the supramental change is in full swing.” There is a kind of ‘divine’ continuity in the march of Evolution, it now stepping from Ignorance into the realm of Knowledge. Whatever was necessary to be done for that has been yogic-physically done and that higher Power has taken full charge of the sequence. It is in it Sri Aurobindo will come in a “supramental body made in a supramental way”; and, naturally, the Mother too. The Earth has been and is their darling, and she has to grow and widen into the dimensions of the manifesting Spirit. That will prove her to be the authentic Bhūmi, one who widens and widens.
Here are some important observations again from Georges Van Vrekhem’s extraordinary book, ‘Beyond Man’:
‘We could make the whole event of the departure of the Mother clear with a comparison she has used herself: the pupation of the caterpillar into the butterfly. When its time comes, the caterpillar withdraws into a cocoon which it builds around itself. In this cocoon the pupation takes place, a wonderful transformation resulting into a wholly different being: a butterfly. The process of pupation is one of the numerous inexplicable miracles invented by Nature millions of years ago. Can one say that the caterpillar dies in the cocoon? Can one say that the caterpillar has died when becoming a butterfly? The butterfly has originated in the body of the caterpillar, from the body of the caterpillar. The body of the butterfly is an (invisible and scientifically inexplicable) transformation of the body of the caterpillar. The caterpillar exists in the dimension of the crawling-world of the caterpillars; the butterfly exists in the dimension of the flying-world of the butterflies.
‘The human body of the Mother existed in the world of the humans, who are mental beings. Unseen by human eyes, the pupation, the transformation took place, in the cells of that material body, into a supramental body existing in a supramental world. The world of mental man is a world of darkness and ignorance, comparable to the crawling-world of the caterpillar; the supramental world is the flying-world of the colourful, winged and light butterfly, imperceptible to beings of the crawling-world and beyond the horizon of their interests.’ …
‘The caterpillar in the sadhaks was unable to see anything but the caterpillarhood of its own world. It remained not only limited but also mesmerized by its own manner of existence. The black magic of the habit of centuries had everybody believe that what was happening to the Mother was exactly what should happen, deterioration and death being the laws of Nature. Nobody can be prevented from imagining great things like the cancellation of death, a divine life upon Earth, an end to suffering, and what not — but, you see, Sri Aurobindo too had succumbed, even Sri Aurobindo. Therefore one could be reasonably certain that this lady, called the Mother, would also fail to succeed.
‘And the Mother was sitting there, fully supramentalized except for the outward appearance, with a Power which compelled her to cover herself with veil upon occult veil not to harm those who approached her….
‘The presence of this residue and the metaphor of the pupation of the caterpillar into the butterfly allow us to understand what happened on 17 November 1973… The butterfly had resulted from the pupation and existed as such, on its own. On the other hand there was the gross material body that she had taken up again in 1962 to go all the way to the destined end; this human body was the most external, atavistic aspect of her being, the remainder from the past that would not be able to cross over into the refined substance of the future. This was the body of the caterpillar, visible to our caterpillar-eyes, which had undergone the terrible process of the pupation; this was what stayed behind — a thin, dry, but extremely resistant covering ‘not thicker than an onion peel,’ representing the untransformable element of the cells.
‘Did the Mother die on 17 November 1973?
‘Can one say that the caterpillar dies? It lives on in the butterfly. Nothing has died there except an old manner of existing. What to the comprehension of the caterpillar-world is death is in fact a transmutation of life into another manner of existence. The corpse was the residue, a kind of dry membrane consisting of the elements which were untransformable and belonged to the caterpillar-world. It was because of the ‘caterpillar-body’ that the Mother still remained visible and addressable in the ‘caterpillar world,’ that she could work upon that world to transmute as much as possible of its substance into the substance of the ‘butterfly-world.’
‘To die means to leave one’s material body. The Mother existed simultaneously in two material bodies, one in gross matter, one in the true physical, supramental matter. The supramental body is by definition immortal, for it is divine. Conclusion: it is impossible to say that the Mother has died. She has laid down the untransformable residue, the pupa that was her gross material body, but she goes on living as concretely as before in her much more real and much more material supramental body. What was death to caterpillar-eyes was in fact the final phase in the Work of the humanly embodied Avatar, the Work of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.’
This is my first immediate response to the set of penetrating posts by Anurag. Maybe we will have to do it in several stages, while going back and forth and getting the responses from others on the Forum. Here we start from the Mother herself:
Agenda 7 November 1961
I know my own experience and I can speak of it in detail; and according to what Sri Aurobindo told me, it was the same for him—although he NEVER wrote of it anywhere. But since it has been my experience, I naturally feel that it’s the simplest method.
There is also what Théon and Madame Théon used to say. They never spoke of ‘Supermind,’ but they said the same thing as the Vedas, that the world of Truth must incarnate on earth and create a new world. They even picked up the old phrase from the Gospels, ‘new heavens and a new earth,’ which is the same thing the Vedas speak of. Madame Théon had this experience and she gave me the indication (she didn’t actually teach me) of how it was to be done. She would go out of her body and become conscious in the vital world (there were many intermediary states, too, if one cared to explore them). After the vital came the mental: you consciously went out of the vital body, you left it behind (you could see it) and you entered the mental world. Then you left the mental body and entered into…. They used different words, another classification (I don’t remember it), but even so, the experience was identical. And like that, she successively left twelve different bodies, one after another. She was extremely ‘developed,’ you see—individualized, organized. She could leave one body and enter the consciousness of the next plane, fully experience the surroundings and all that was there, describe it… and so on, twelve times.
I learned to do the same thing, and with great dexterity; I could halt on any plane, do what I had to do there, move around freely, see, observe, and then speak about what I had seen. And my last stage, which Theon called ‘pathétisme,’ a very barbaric but very expressive word, bordered on the Formless—he sometimes used the Jewish terminology, calling the Supreme ‘The Formless.’ (From this last stage one passed to the Formless—there was no further body to leave behind, one was beyond all possible forms, even all thoughtforms.) In this domain [the last stage before the Formless] one experienced total unity—unity in something that was the essence of Love; Love was a manifestation more… ‘dense,’ he would always say (there were all sorts of different ‘densities’); and Love was a denser expression of That, the sense of perfect Unity—perfect unity, identity—with no longer any forms corresponding to those of the lower worlds. It was a Light!… An almost immaculate white light, yet with something of a golden-rose in it (words are crude). This Light and this Experience were truly wonderful, inexpressible in words.
Well, one time I was there (Théon used to warn against going beyond this domain, because he said you wouldn’t come back), but there I was, wanting to pass over to the other side, when—in a quite unexpected and astounding way—I found myself in the presence of the ‘principle,’ a principle of the human form. It didn’t resemble man as we are used to seeing him, but it was an upright form, standing just on the border between the world of forms and the Formless, like a kind of standard. At that time nobody had ever spoken to me about it and Madame Théon had never seen it—no one had ever seen or said anything. But I felt I was on the verge of discovering a secret.
Afterwards, when I met Sri Aurobindo and talked to him about it, he told me, ‘It is surely the prototype of the supramental form.’ I saw it several times again, later on, and this proved to be true.
But naturally, you understand, once the border has been crossed, there is no more ‘ascent’ and ‘descent’; you have the feeling of rising up only at the very start, while leaving the terrestrial consciousness and emerging into the higher mind. But once you have gone beyond that, there’s no notion of rising; there’s a sense, instead, of a sort of inner transformation.
And from there I would redescend, re-entering my bodies one after another—there is a real feeling of re-entry; it actually produces friction.
When one is on that highest height, the body is in a cataleptic state.
I think I made this experiment in 1904, so when I arrived here it was all a work accomplished and a well-known domain; and when the question of finding the Supermind came up, I had only to resume an experience I was used to—I had learned to repeat it at will, through successive exteriorizations. It was a voluntary process.
Well, that says everything. But we may put it differently:
The Mother’s withdrawal is not non-individualisation. Certainly it is not succumbing to Death who brings disorganization of all that has been gained and organized in the living physical body. There is a willed action in hers, in “What Thou willest”. Hers is that action from another station, from another freer and meaningful operative base, where material organization will not be anything governed by the factors such as decay-disintegration-death, but will be in the luminous freedom of deathlessness where the physical, the body form, can be changed at will. There is nothing of the kind that may be said to be “postponed”; it is a process, a continuing process, in the sequel of operative dynamics of the occult. The Mother’s work “postponed” would mean Sri Aurobindo’s work “postponed”. It is certainly not postponed when he is active in his supramentalised form in the subtle-physical. Besides, there is an obligation in clarifying when the “postponed” work will be resumed, by what process. It must be said that “postponed” is a weak argument and we should keep it aside.
When I read the conversation of 14 March 1970, in the Notes on the Way, the Mother confirming a breakthrough realisation of “the physical is capable of receiving the Light, the Truth, the true Consciousness and of manifesting it,” I thought that with this her mission as Avatar has been fulfilled.
By the time that we can speak of a superman race with the Mind of Light as its power, we would not have only advanced far in time but surely with the supramental consciousness much deeper settled on earth. By that time the physical transformation would become a new stage and a stepping stone for the supramental being to materialise itself. How far from now would that be, centuries probably?
Agenda:The physical is CAPABLE of receiving the higher Light, the Truth, the true Consciousness, and of man-i-fest-ing it.
Le physique est CAPABLE de recevoir la Lumière supérieure, la Vérité, la vraie Conscience, et de la ma-ni-fes-ter.
Notes on the Way:The physical is capable of receiving the higher Light, the Truth, the true Consciousness and of manifesting it.
Le physique est capable de recevoir la Lumière supérieure, la Vérité, la vraie Conscience, et de la ma-ni-fes-ter.
We can read this sentence at various levels: It is an idea, a concept, a philosophical statement; it is a possibility, a perception, an image, an intuition; it is an experience, a realisable truth-fact; it is a supramental affirmation, … But perhaps the best could be a supramental intuition that is poised to be a terrestrial reality. But it is an indicative reassuring experience, that it is “capable of manifesting the true Consciousness”.
In her Conversation dated 22 February 1964 itself she says, “I have never seen such an intensity in the cells, in the consciousness of the cells … They were conscious of the light, of dazzling light.” But “capable of manifesting the true Consciousness” in 1970 indicates the progress she had made. That puts the seal on her coming close to that physical realisation.
But she is realistic also: “It is not easy, it needs endurance and will, but a day will come when this will be quite natural. It is just, just the door opened—that is all, now one must go on.” But what a door she has thrown open!
Interesting to relate this conversation of 14th March 1970 with what I read a few days ago in the book “Thoughts and Aphorisms”, Jnana 49, commented by Mother in January 1961. I translate freely from the French version but if you have the english version of the book, you can go there and have a better translation. I am talking about the last 2 paragraphs that go like this:
“And when the days come of the manifestation of Supreme Love, of a cristallized descent, concentrated, of the Supreme Love, it will really be the moment of the Transformation. Because against That, nothing can resist.
But as it is All-Powerful,it requires a certain receptivity to be prepared on earth so that the effects are not devastating. Sri Aurobindo explained it in one of his letters. Someone was asking: Why doesn’t it come at once? He said something like this: If Divine Love were manifested in its essence,on earth, it would be like a burst; because earth is neither flexible nor receptive enough to expand to the extent of this Love. It needs not only to open up, but to enlarge and soften-matter is still too rigid and even the substance of physical consciousness. Not only the most material matter, but the substance of the physical consciousness is too rigid”
It is this passage that came to my mind when I read the quote you brought forward, August:
“The physical is capable of receiving the Light, the Truth, the true Consciousness and of manifesting it”.
Does that include the Divine Love? I can’t tell, but certainly there is no “postponement” with Mother and Sri Aurobindo who are present on an ongoing basis to help the process of evolution on earth.
Soon after the Mother left Her body, Nolini Kanta Gupta had issued the following statements:
‘The Mother’s body belonged to the old creation. It was meant to be the pedestal of the New Body. It served its purpose well. The New Body will come.
‘This is a test, how far we are faithful to her, true to her Consciousness.
‘The revival of the body would have meant revival of the old troubles in the body. The troubles were eliminated so far as could be done while in the body—farther was not possible. For a new mutation, a new procedure was needed. “Death” was the first stage in that process.’
‘Your physical body belonged to the old creation because you wanted to be one with your children. You wanted this body to uphold the New Body you were building upon it, and it gave you the service you asked of it. You will come with your New Body.
‘Your children’s, the world’s call and aspiration, love and consecration are laid at your feet in gratitude.’
These two statements were printed and circulated in the Ashram community. Satprem writes in the first volume of his diaries (published as ‘Notebooks of an Apocalypse’) on 18 November 1973:
‘I have hardly sat down in front of this body… when Nolini sends for me. I refuse to translate Nolini’s “message”: “Her body was not meant to be the New Body.”
‘While Mother is lying there, in the midst of the crowd, in that “meditation hall” where they have carried her down only a few hours after she left, I hear a formidable sound pealing over the universe:
‘no obstacle — nothing impedes
‘no obstacle — nothing impedes…’
Here is an interesting passage from Satprem’s ‘The Adventure of Consciousness’ (first edition, p. 322): ‘And then death enters the picture. Between the two functionings, the old and the new which must substitute the true Vibration for the symbolic organs, the line separating life from death is sometimes very thin — perhaps we must even be able to cross over the line and return in order to really triumph? This is what Mother called dying unto death.”’
The original “Canadian question” was: “The physical nearness to the Mother is indispensable for the fullness of the sadhana on the physical plane. Transformation of the physical and external being is not possible otherwise. ” (Sri Aurobindo). How are we to interpret these words in the light of the Mother’s recent passing?
It was written very shortly after 17th november 1973 (a few months after, according to Anurag) and before Nolini’s answer of the March 1974 issue of Mother India. At this moment, every sadhak was on the shock. But what if the premise of the question is not correct? What prevents us to experiment the physical nearness to the Mother if Her Golden Body is entirely formed in the subtle physical? To the same effect, we can also quote the experience of Satprem soon after 17th NOvember 1973 hearing Mother’s voice uttering: “Rien n’empêche…rien n’empêche” (“Nothing prevents, nothing prevents”)
The Canadian question refers to Sri Aurobindo’s letter dated 18 Aug 1933. It becomes therefore anachronistic to juxtapose these two, certainly after 17 November 1973. So much had beed done in between, that all such parameters have become, in a way, irrelevant. Yet, one may live with the Divine but still not know him at all. It depends upon how one ‘benefits’ from any closeness. I might say that it was a wrong question put to Nolini, and Nolini could have remained safe by not answering it. In the final reckoning what counts is Aspiration-Rejection-Surrender in answer to which is the supreme Grace.
Here is the full correspondence:
18 Aug 1933
Q: Is there any special effect of physical nearness to the Mother?
A: It is indispensable for the fullness of the sadhana on the physical plane. Transformation of the physical and external being is not possible otherwise.
Q: Is it not likely that with more outer nearness and familiarity with the Mother, there may be less inner growth of consciousness and perhaps less aspiration?
A: It depends on the person. Some profit, some do not. No general statement can be made.
Q: Is it possible to receive the Mother’s help at a great distance—say Bombay or Calcutta—almost in the same way as here in the Asram?
A: One can receive everywhere, and if there is a strong spiritual consciousness one can make great progress. But experience does not support the idea that it makes no difference or is almost the same.
18 August 1933
Apropos of “dying unto death” here is the Mother speaking on 14 July 1962. The reference is to the experience of 13 April 1962: “There is nothing but the Lord. All the rest… what is it?… No more than a habit of speaking (not even a habit of thinking, that’s all gone). Otherwise… nothing. And what else could there be? It is He who sees, He who wills, He who acts.”
You know, there’s the same vibration here as in “to die unto death.” It’s something… yes, I think we could say it is His Presence… His creative Power…. It is a special vibration.
That [the sense of an individual position, of being a particular being in a particular place, watching and feeling oneself being] really vanished with the last experience [of April 13]. Before, it used to get in my way a lot. I was always wondering how to get rid of it.
In fact, this too is tied in with “to die unto death.” Because, just imagine, why on earth do I invariably see the experience of the 12th to 13th on my left (gesture to the left)? And rather distant, as though I had returned along a LEVEL path (horizontal gesture) from there back to my body. Out there (to the left), I didn’t have it any more! I didn’t have it—I existed in FULL consciousness, but I no longer had my body. That’s what makes me say my body was dead. I no longer had it…. The experience was far, FAR away from here (I don’t mean in the garden!)… somewhere. Somewhere very far away to the left, in the physical consciousness. And when I had traveled back here along a level path, I noticed that there was still a body.
[There is a footnote to this: When one goes out of the body (and probably at death), there is always the impression of moving “upwards,” or “inwards,” which means into a deeper plane (either way, it is simply the expression of a change of dimension). What is striking about Mother’s experience is this LEVEL movement, indicating that she had not left the physical world. We are faced with a strange enigma: a physical world WITHIN the physical world—another world, or the same one lived differently? A physical world where death no longer exists: one has died unto death. The world to come?..]
But this body is no longer MY body—it is A body.
Except that gradually the consciousness is regaining control, but not in the same manner. And when I tried to understand this “dying unto death,” I found myself over there again (gesture to the left), and I seemed to be told, “That was your experience.”
I felt MUCH more alive there than here! Much more. And even now when I want to feel that power and intensity of life, when I want to recapture my experience [of April 13], I always go off there, to the left.
This does not convey the sense of “the line separating life from death”. She is consciously living in consciousness without “the sense of an individual position, of being a particular being in a particular place, watching and feeling oneself being”.
Let us read some references from “Savitri”. We see that in the Mother’s present experience there is no question of “death as an instrument of perpetual life”, nor a body glimmering like a skyey shell, nor the mighty hush of death where love lies slumbering on the breast of peace, nor is here death as a spur to immortality, nor is her body left afloat mid drift and foam of the world-sea, “A sea of dream watched by a motionless sense/ In a figure of unreal reality.”
Her physical body is very living. The experience is in Consciousness of it being not present; that is her “dying unto death”. We can’t say that we have anything precisely of this in “Savitri”.
But, eventually, the Mother would not accept even this “dying unto death”, her concern being the physical, the body. That is absolutely singular to her.
I think Deshpande is fully right to keep pointing to Savitri and the Golden Record, the Mother’s Agenda, because it is clear that they visioned everything, including their withdrawal from the physical body.
Sri Aurobindo did the utmost during his time in the physical and withdrew for a specific purpose. The Mother did the utmost in her physical life, especially the Agenda is the witness of this. She knew of her final withdrawal from the physical body as a possible conclusion. What is also clear, to me, from the Agenda, is that as Avatars they fully fulfilled their mission while they continue with their work on the subtle plane until all is done.
I think what is important today is the bases of Yoga. Already at the very beginning Sri Aurobindo emphasises the importance of the psychic being, as the inner guide and as the being that understands what surrender means. As we know from experience, it is easy to be put off your guard without this inner guide.
And again, in the Agenda, and in the Notes on the Way, the ultimate importance of the psychic being is revealed by the Mother on 1 July 1970 when she has this breakthrough insight “But it is the psychic being, it is that which will materialise itself and become the supramental being.”
Apparently, all this has been visioned by them of how things could/would develop.
Many are aware of the controversy which had broken out soon after the Mother’s physical withdrawal on 17 November 1973. Two statements issued by André Morisset, the Mother’s son, about the Mother’s departure, have been published in the website of Overman Foundation along with a note of Herr Carlo Schüller on 31 August 2021. I am re-sharing them here again.
Here are the concluding portions of the letters André Morisset, the Mother’s son, had written to a couple of non-Ashramite friends several years after the events to which they refer. We are reproducing them from photocopies in which André Morisset’s signature appears. The photocopies were kindly sent from Switzerland to Amal Kiran alias K.D. Sethna by the latter’s friend Herr Carlo Schüller. They throw authoritative light on two events that have been topics of discussion for a long time, particularly the topic of the Mother’s departure from among us on 17 November 1973.
J’ajouterai simplement que j’ai vu Mère tous les jours depuis mai 1973, quand elle a cessé de voir les autres et que j’ai assisté à son retrait qu’elle avait décidé depuis le mois de septembre.
(I shall simply add that I’ve seen the Mother daily since May 1973 when she stopped seeing others and that I have been present at her withdrawal which she had decided upon since the month of September.)
Ce que Mère a dit à Satprem en 1967 et 1973 m’a été aussi dit en des termes presque identiques et j’ai la conviction d’avoir bien suivi ses instructions au moment où elle a quitté son corps. Par conséquent pour moi la question est close et tout réveil de cette question est simplement la manifestation d’un esprit insuffisamment informé.
(What Mother said to Satprem in 1967 and 1973 has also been said to me in almost identical terms and I am convinced that at the moment when she left her body I have followed her instructions well. Consequently the question is settled for me and all revival of this question is simply the manifestation of an insufficiently informed mind.)
Herr Carlo Schüller had also sent the following note to Amal Kiran:
‘Around October 1973 a French disciple quoted André as having told him: “Mère déjà n’est plus parmi nous.” [‘The Mother is no longer amongst us.’] A Swiss disciple remembers André having earlier expressed his respect for Nolini [Kanta Gupta] as the most advanced yogi of the Ashram and strongly suspects that André shared his knowledge about the Mother’s decision with Nolini. For obvious reasons the two men kept their knowledge to themselves. Had they breathed even a single word, it would have raised a tremendous commotion before the Mother’s passing as well as after. In fact it was only a full five years later that André made his only known statement about what the Mother had confided to him.’
Here are a few extracts from a talk on the Mother’s withdrawal delivered by M.P. Pandit at “Peace” in Auroville on 28 November 1973:
‘…The Mother said she had once asked Sri Aurobindo, “After the descent of the Supermind how long do you think the process of transformation will take?” Sri Aurobindo looked up and told her, “Perhaps three hundred years.” Now it doesn’t exactly mean three hundred years, it gives an idea of the long period of time that is required. The Mother, while she was recalling this, added, “He said three hundred years, but you know there is something like Grace—anything can take place.” But in her own mind she had no illusions; born fighter that she was, she always set about things with the faith that the things would surely be done.
‘For her there was no question of changing her human nature into divine nature, which for us is a lifetime programme. She didn’t have this question because she had already, during the course of the last fifty or sixty years, seen her human system — I wouldn’t say nature — taking on the divine nature. The process of physical transformation, she has explained, means taking up each cell, persuading it to change, coaxing it to change, exposing it to the Force of change; and where it resists, it has a repercussion in the body as a pain which no medicine can cure—one has to endure. There are millions of cells in each body, that was a laborious and a patient process which she was undergoing. Nobody seriously expected that the entire process of transformation could be telescoped within a few years, barring, of course, a miracle; but the Mother’s way was never to work in miracles or to make her time-table in terms of miracles.
‘Side by side with her effort from here, from below, of the transformation of the various cells in her body step by step, work was going on from above. Sri Aurobindo, according to his promise, had been working. A new body was under formation, the supramental body, in which she was to take her embodiment as the end-result of the transformation of this body. The body was being prepared. She gave in “Notes on the Way” descriptions of this body, described how it looked. And about a year ago she told someone, “I am trying to fuse this material body into that body but I have not been able to get the clue.” She said, “Nobody on earth has tried this, the secret is not given to me.” On that point, she said, there was no help from above. She was searching.
‘Thereafter—if I would be right in taking you into confidence—one day it flashed to me that as soon as that luminous body was ready the Mother would just walk into it without dying; “without dying” means not necessarily keeping the body, but without the gap in consciousness; keeping up the continuity of the personality she would just cross into that luminous body. It just flashed, and the way it came I thought it was something more than just an idea; I noted it down in my diary. I looked it up the other day, it was dated the 24th of July 1973. I did not think it wise to speak of it to people except in my closest circle, which I did. And thereafter one of the friends from here came to me and asked, “Why is it that for the first time I could detect a different note in your talk the other day in answer to questions regarding Mother?” I did not know what to reply but I told him the way in which my mind was working.
‘Then on the morning of 17th November at about nine o’clock, a particular friend of mine—he has a certain grounding in occult experience, occult knowledge, and normally when we meet we exchange notes—told me, “I have seen the Mother’s body of light.” I got interested. He said, “The new body is full of light but it is not yet dense enough to function in earth conditions. It is there, and as I was looking at it I got the feeling that the Mother would enter this body the moment it became dense enough to stand and function in the earth atmosphere, seen or unseen. But there is no question of revival of the material body.” And he added, “Those who are capable of seeing the Mother’s halo, aura, they will be able to see that luminous body.” It confirmed what I had perceived some four months earlier; I told him as much.
‘That evening at 7-25 p.m., as you all know, the Mother withdrew from her body. They say the cause was heart failure, but let me tell you the heart failure was not the cause, the heart failure was the result of her withdrawal. She had decided; the moment things were ready she walked into that body.
‘She has not passed away, she has just changed her body. Not changed in the manner of the Gita—soul changing bodies—but consciously; keeping the full personality she has gone into that body. And, as it was revealed to me on that day, she will function in that body, work through those instruments who are open to her, expedite the remaining work—the working out of the consequences—but her activity will not be confined to the Ashram or to Auroville; for her the whole world is her ashram. As I was led to put it on radio the next day, “The sea of Love that is the Mother swells into an ocean”: not a perception, not an idea, not an image, but an experience.’
It is the first time in more than 48 years of reading Mother, Sri Aurobindo and many, many sadhaks, that I read this talk of M.P. Pandit. A million thanks for that: It is wonderful! It is the fruit of an authentic experience of great significance.
The fact that it is brought to my attention precisely now means a lot to me. Before, it was mainly out of faith that I expressed my point on this topic (of Mother’s departure). Now, it will be with the true knowledge that She found the key She was heading for and waits for us to follow Her on the Golden Boat. The core section of the quote is this one:
“And about a year ago she told someone, “I am trying to fuse this material body into that body but I have not been able to get the clue.” She said, “Nobody on earth has tried this, the secret is not given to me.” On that point, she said, there was no help from above. She was searching.”
The help from above is always coming exactly and perfectly when the fruit is ripe. The Grace of the Divine is sublime and infinite.
P.S. Have you ever devoted an Overman Foundation article to the life of M. P. Pandit?
The following posts were published on M.P. Pandit in the online forum of Overman Foundation on various occasions.
But I have written a comprehensive biography of M. P. Pandit on the occasion of his centenary some years ago. It has been checked and approved by his collaborator Vasanti Rao and Shraddhalu Ranade. I intend to publish it this year.
Madhav Pandit attributes the following to the Mother:
//“And about a year ago she told someone, “I am trying to fuse this material body into that body but I have not been able to get the clue.” She said, “Nobody on earth has tried this, the secret is not given to me.” On that point, she said, there was no help from above. She was searching.”//
But this has not been published anywhere by the Ashram, nor is it present in the Agenda which I will have to check again more carefully. It may be authentic but perhaps it is necessary also for us to be cautious.
It seems that the Mother was not aware of Sri Aurobindo’s yogic diary, now published as “Record of Yoga”.
Apropos of these diary papers Jugal Kishore Mukherji told me that those papers of Sri Aurobindo were lying in the Library House occupied by him before he shifted to the Meditation House. This Library House room was later occupied by Anil Baran Roy. When he saw that pile of papers he handed over them to Nolini. On one occasion, much later, a few sheets were given by Nolini to Jugal just to check what these were. Jugal quickly ran through them and told him “this is entirely beyond me”. Nolini wrote on a piece of paper “Confidential, not to be published” and kept it on top of that pile of papers. Eventually the whole thing got published as “Record of Yoga”, now forming volumes 10 and 11 of Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.
With respect to Madhav Pandit’s “I am trying to fuse this material body into that body but I have not been able to get the clue”, a reference may be made to the following in the “Record”:
“Notes on Physical Transformation”
c. January 1927, CWSA, Record of Yoga II, Vol 11, pp. 1345-48.
In it we may note the following points:
i) The knowledge or idea with which it was begun was imperfect and not applicable under the present circumstances. In reality what was chiefly relied upon was a great dynamic energy and the power of the will and aspiration to bring the divine realisation into the body. These forces can do miracles under the right conditions; and now they are quite strong enough to produce miraculous results on the subjective plane, in the physical consciousness, the physical mind and the vital physical, but the most material is not yet ready. The attempt was therefore premature. In order that it should succeed, one of two things was necessary, either a right entire knowledge and process or else the divine Grace supporting a complete descent of the highest supramental Truth and a complete ascent to meet it of the supramental from below. These things should have been got first and firmly founded, for till then there can be no effective divinisation of the material body.”
ii) Now this material part is most important and indispensable. It is the earth herself in the concrete. It is part of the crude stuff you have to use for building the divine physical substance and you cannot do without it. Therefore it must be respected and not forced before it is ready. It has to be mastered and transformed, but not done violence to or neglected.
iii) The entire secret for which you are seeking can only be found and applied effectively when the material body is ready and for that a process of adaptation is indispensable. The final secret, even if you find it, must remain only a theory until this adaptation is made. What you need to find out first is a secret of the transition. For you are physically in a period of transition. The period of victorious realisation comes later.
iv) Four physical things have to be attained; stability and continuity of consciousness, stability and continuity of energy, stability and continuity of Ananda, stability and continuity of substance.
v) The power of subjective realisation in the physical is there as you see more from day to day; it will become absolute. The power through the subjective on the objective is increasing and will infallibly increase still more and become perfect. The direct power on the most material plane is the one thing still obstinately resisted. Persevere, satisfy the conditions, and it will come to you like the others.
In this context, let me share a brief write-up of respected Deshpande-ji on the history of ‘Record of Yoga’. Many years ago, on 16 March 2012, he had posted this write-up in his website on ‘Savitri’ and I had preserved a copy of it. Here is the text:
‘9 September 2007 was Jugal Kishore Mukherjee’s birthday and I had gone to see him for extending my warm and best wishes on the occasion. In the course of our brief talk, for about fifteen minutes, I asked him if I could get from him some idea about the details regarding the publication of Record of Yoga. He did it and immediately after that I wrote down what he had told me. The following is his account.—
‘Record of Yoga—this has a long history. Sri Aurobindo was living in the Library House and he had all his papers there. When he shifted to the present place, after 24 November 1926, many of his papers yet remained back, in the Library House.
‘His room was later allotted to Anil Baran Roy. Anil Baran later noticed in it a heap of papers belonging to Sri Aurobindo, these still left behind perhaps without being cognizant of them. When he looked into some of these papers, he was stunned. He wrote to Sri Aurobindo who told him to send them all to him immediately. These papers were there in his Room for years and years, none being aware of them.
‘Much later Nirod, while taking decision about all the papers in Sri Aurobindo’s Room, handed them over to Nolini. But his eyesight had already become weak and he could not read them. His cataract operation was done much later.
‘One big bundle, thick, thick about one inch, he gave to me to read for him. He wanted to use my eyes. It was there with me for a long time. Amal somehow came to know about it and wanted me to show it to him. I refused, dodged in several ways. I wanted to be clear in my consciousness, and gave the packet back to Nolini.
‘At that time Nolini was not in a position to take care of the material he had with him. And there were all sorts of people coming to his room. His attendants of course had access to all things in his room and he had to be careful.
‘Under these conditions Nolini told Nirod to take that big bundle from his room back to Sri Aurobindo’s Room.
‘And what did he not write in it! I told it to Nolini and he said not to speak about it to anybody. For instance, an entry like this: A man will be there; he will have four thousand children, and he will die, and the mystery of death will be solved. A European lady will come and she will also die, and the mystery of death will be solved.
But did Nolini approve the publication of Record of Yoga?
He will never. This cheroot and all that—never. Manoj will not do it of his own.
He will not do without consulting Nolini or Nirod or you.
Nolini never wanted it to be published.
Then who approved it?
My understanding is something like this. Jayantilal must have come to know about these papers. The paper had become very faint and brittle. Nolini had agreed to have the contents typed, without taking a copy. This was done by Peter [Heehs]. The typed copy was checked against the original by Richard [Hartz]. It was checked twice.
But who approved the publication?
Jayantilal was a dummy. They have done it.’
Thanks Anurag for posting this full text. Frankly, I had forgotten about it myself! I would love to have other points of view expressed for the completeness of the important theme.
But let me restate that the Mother was perhaps not aware of these papers who alone could have read their deepest occult contents.
Sharing with you two more posts authored by Deshpande-ji on the ‘Record of Yoga’ which had appeared around nine years ago in his website savitri.in.
Here is the first one, entitled ‘Who approved publication of Record of Yoga?’
‘4 March 1983 when Nolini Kanta Gupta issued a public notice that, only that which is supported by his signature should be taken as his authorized statement. This notice was printed in Mother India and The Advent. Something serious must have prompted him to make this extreme statement.
‘We do not know with whose authorization the publication of Record of Yoga began. The first instalment appeared in the April 1986 issue of Sri Aurobindo: Archives and Research, within two years after the passing away of Nolini Kanta Gupta. A note in the journal says the following:
‘Sri Aurobindo kept a log of his own practice of yoga of the seven chatusthayas in a series of diaries. At different times he gave this document different names, among them “Journal of Yoga”, Record of the Yoga”, “Record of Yoga”, “Notebook of the Sadhana”, “Yoga Diary” and “Yoga Record”. The title he used most often is “Record of Yoga”. In the text he generally referred to the work as: the Record”, and used the verb “record” for the act of writing it. For these reasons the editors have selected Record of Yoga as the general title of the work. The full period covered is 1909 to 1927. … It was meant, first, to be a “pure record of fact and experience”.
‘We do not know whether it was meant for publication.
‘And, significantly, this moving of Sri Aurobindo after the Siddhi Day, 24 November 1926, from the Library House to the Meditation House, means the Sadhana moving from the vital to the physical and lower below; that also means the Record has relevance only with respect to the past, prior to 1927 when it also ceased to continue; much much had happened afterwards, and we cannot limit Sri Aurobindo to the Record only. If we have to see anything of this much much had happened afterwards, then Savitri is the record of the latest spiritual-yogic realizations of Sri Aurobindo, and the Mother, particularly the last decade of Sri Aurobindo’s life here. Could it be that he worked out things in their required completeness before his withdrawal on 5 December 1959, giving the finishing touches to Savitri, his “main work” just three weeks earlier, around 15 November 1950? Whatever was to be done with Savitri, he did; there is nothing for us to do anything about it—call it editorial or whatever.
‘From the nature of things we may safely infer that Sri Aurobindo would not have bothered to publish his diaries bearing the record of his spiritual developments, certainly not in that form. The Mother was also perhaps not aware of those papers. It definitely is a post-Nolini development. To my best knowledge, Nirod was not consulted about the publication of Record of Yoga.’
Here is the second post of Deshpande-ji on the ‘Record of Yoga’:
‘In the context of Record of Yoga we must recognize a couple of things. These records were for personal “use” in the sense that, in this way, what was experienced became realized, concrete, got fixed, writing them down gave firmness to all these. What bearing that personal “use” has for others is another matter. These experiences belong primarily to the first ten-fifteen years of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga-tapasya, and it has that historical relevance, that bearing. After 1920 things started moving altogether in a different manner. Naturally, Sri Aurobindo himself felt that the earlier formulations had kind of become ‘dated’. That is what he means in his letter dated 28 October 1934, that what was described in the 1921 The Yoga and its Objects belongs to the earlier period of his yogic pursuit and formulation. The same of course applies to Record of Yoga, and we should not make a fetish of things. Let me quote here what the Mother tells about Savitri, that its breath of revelatory prophecy is extraordinary.
‘This analogy between the ancient form of spiritual revelations and Savitri, this blossoming into
poetry of his prophetic revelation is… what could be called the most exceptional part of his work. And what is remarkable (I saw him do it) is that he changed Savitri: he went along changing it as his experience changed.
‘It is clearly the continuing expression of his experience.
‘There were whole sections he redid completely, which were like descriptions of what I had told him of my own experiences. Nolini said this. When I recently reread Savitri, some phrases were very familiar and I said to Nolini, “How odd, these are almost my very words!” And he replied, “But this has been changed, it was written differently; it has BECOME like this.” As the thing became more and more concrete for him, he changed it. The breath of revelatory prophecy is extraordinary! It has an extraordinary POWER!
‘What struck me is that he never wanted to write anything else. To write those articles for the Bulletin [the Mother had asked Sri Aurobindo to write something for the Ashram Bulletin. It was later published as The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth.] was really a heavy sacrifice for him. He had said he would complete certain parts of The Synthesis of Yoga, [The Yoga of Self-Perfection which was never completed] but when he was asked to do so, he replied, “No, I don’t want to go down to that mental level!” Savitri comes from somewhere else altogether. And I think that Savitri is the most important thing to speak about.
23 September 1961
‘This “historical perspective” must be borne in mind when we are talking about the Yoga-related writings of Sri Aurobindo. The most definitive statement about these kind of writings is to be found only in his Savitri. And again in Savitri itself we should be careful not to mix up things. For instance, the Book of Yoga in Savitri, Book Seven, is specifically meant for Savitri, and not for you and me, certainly not for me, not even for Aswapati. Ditto for Record of Yoga, and other related writings.’
The Mother has said during the course of a conversation on 26 April 1972:
‘The use of this [physical] body at present is for me simply: the Order of the Will of the Lord that I do as much preparatory work as possible. It [her physical body] is, however, not the Aim at all. We have no knowledge, not the least knowledge of what the supramental life is. Consequently, we do not know if this [Mother pinches the skin of her hands] can sufficiently change to adapt itself or not. To tell the truth, there is no anxiety about this, it is a problem that does not keep me busy very much. For the problem on which I am working consists in building the supramental consciousness in a way that this becomes the being. It is this consciousness which has to become the being. This is what is important, and the rest remains to be seen… To this end, all the [supramental] consciousness which is in these cells has to assemble, to organize itself and to form a conscious being which is able to be conscious of Matter and at the same time of the Supramental. This is what is being done. How far will we be able to go? I don’t know. I do not say that this body will be able to transform itself, I see no sign of this. But there is the consciousness, the physical consciousness, the material consciousness which becomes supramentalized. This is the work that is going on. This is what is important.’
This is what The Mother has done by building a supramental body out of the supramentalized elements of Her physical body.
“… there is the consciousness, the physical consciousness, the material consciousness which becomes supramentalized. This is the work that is going on. This is what is important.”
Can one then say that there is any postponement? Certainly not. In this work, eventually, it is the psychic being which will materialise and become the supramental being, l’être supramental.
The early disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother not only expected to see Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in divinized bodies but they also expected that they would become physically immortal. In an article published in ‘Mother India’ in November 1986, Amal Kiran recalls:
‘Psychologically, one of the most central facts of the early days [of the Ashram] was the conviction that complete divinization of the physical being was not only an aim of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga but also a practical goal. “Supramentalization” was clearly understood to include a complete change in the body itself. What is most significant is that by “body” was meant the physical instrument of even the sadhaks and not simply of the Master and the Mother… In this context I remember some words of Amrita, one of the earliest sadhaks. He used to be often in my room. Once when he was there we heard the sound of a funeral passing in the street. In a whisper as if conveying a secret, he said: “I have the feeling that this will not happen to me.” I did not raise my eyebrows in the least, for most of us who understood the originality of Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual vision and his reading of the Supermind’s implications could not help the expectation of a radical body change.’
That is why, probably, the Mother had warned against such notions and expectations on many occasions. Let’s recall what She has said in Her ‘Notes on the Way’ of 1969: ‘I have looked very, very attentively: not for an instant has there been the idea “it must be this,” meaning: this body, that will undergo the transformation.’ And She pinched the skin of her hands. Then She added: ‘And the consciousness began to observe that, if there is nothing in this body which even aspires to be that, this proves that it is not its work.’ (Collected Works of the Mother, Volume XI, p. 183) In April 1972 She said: ‘We are at best — at best — transitional beings.’ The expectation of seeing Her supramentalized She called ‘figments of the imagination’.
Georges Van Vrekhem, in his extraordinary biography of the Mother, entitled ‘The Mother: The Story of Her Life’ writes in this context:
‘What the disciples, longing for a miracle, never realized was that no earthly being at present could stand the unscreened presence of a supramental being, whose light, being divine, is of a brightness compared to which the light of the sun is dark, as the Mother said. Moreover, the Supramental being the Truth-Consciousness, its unveiled presence would simply annihilate any form of falsehood, which is what the human being mostly consists of, especially in its physical elements.’ (p. 600)
Another noteworthy observation of Georges Van Vrekhem in his book, ‘The Mother: The Story of Her Life’:
‘An important factor in the understanding of what happened in the Mother’s body during the last ten years, and ultimately on 17 November 1973, is the simple fact that she had a human body made in the same way as that of the rest of us. This means that the cells of her body, just like ours, consisted for a considerable part of the dregs accumulated during the past millennia. We are the sons and daughters of humanity, which means that we are the offspring of Mother Earth. We carry humanity and the Earth’s onerous past in our cells. Sri Aurobindo, having become fully aware of this, doubted whether these dregs, which he called the ‘residue,’ could actually be transformed, and came to the conclusion that this residual body should be discarded. In the course of her yoga of the cells, the Mother thought she saw indications that even this residue could be transformed, but further progress made her conclude that it would not be possible.
‘Already in 1968 she had said: ‘The body has the feeling of being imprisoned within something. Yes, imprisoned, imprisoned as if in a box. But it sees through it. It sees through it and it can also act, in a limited way, through something which is still there and which must disappear. This “something” gives the feeling of imprisonment. How is it to disappear? That I don’t know yet.’… Later, she said that the substance of which we are built is not sufficiently purified to express the supreme Consciousness without deforming it, and that she had the impression that there would be ‘a waste product.’ ‘It will only be the untransformable residue that will really be death,’ she said.’
And he concludes the biography with the following words:
‘Then what happened on that fateful 17 November 1973 ? The best way to understand it may be a simile: the pupation of the caterpillar into a butterfly. When its time comes, the caterpillar spins itself into a cocoon. In this cocoon the pupation takes place, a miraculous transformation into a completely different being: a butterfly. Nobody knows what happens in that cocoon, how the immensely complex process of the pupation comes about. It is one of the innumerable processes in nature which may escape the knowledge of materialistic science for ever, because they happen in other dimensions than that of Matter alone. Can one say that the caterpillar dies in the cocoon? Transformation is not death, it is a change into something else. The butterfly has originated in the caterpillar, from the caterpillar. In a way, the butterfly contains the essence of the caterpillar within itself, and the dried up ‘residue’ in the cocoon is what has to be discarded, because a caterpillar exists within the dimensions of a crawling-world and the butterfly within the dimensions of a flying-world.
‘The human body of the Mother existed in the world of the humans. As her yoga progressed, that body belonged less and less to this world — except for the residue in the cells. For this residue it was impossible to transcend the world of the humans. In the meantime the supramental transformation, the supramental pupation was taking place. The butterfly — the prototype of the supramental body in the Mother — came into existence. She signalled its presence several times in the course of the final years and eventually perceived and described it in 1972. Taking into consideration the logical sequence of the development of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s avataric yoga, the graduality of the perception of the presence of the new being within her, its similarity with Rijuta’s mature psychic and the final confirmation of the personal experience in the Mother, there can be no reason to doubt this. The caterpillar nature in the human beings looked forward to a caterpillar miracle, while the golden butterfly was already there hovering among them. But they did not have the eyes to see it, as they were also unable to imagine or understand the process by which it had come into being.
‘On 17 November 1973 the Mother laid down her residual human body while she continued to exist forever in a body consisting of a supramental substance. The supramental substance as worked out by the Mother is a material substance — otherwise the earthly evolution would have no meaning — though it is composed of a substance more refined than the gross matter known to us. The gross matter of our Mother the Earth is still in the process of transformation. This process is now in an advanced stage thanks to the avataric yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. When gross matter will have become sufficiently subtle and receptive, i.e. transformed, the mature souls, ready and waiting in their soul-world, will descend and incarnate in it. The formation of their bodies will be moulded by the existence of the Mother’s supramental body, the prototype of the new species.’ (pp. 601-603)
Can one say this? “On 17 November 1973 the Mother laid down her residual human body while she continued to exist forever in a body consisting of a supramental substance.”
That would mean that what has been put in the Samadhi vault is her “residual human body”. This phrase is similar to Amal’s “mortal remains” of Sri Aurobindo that were put in the Samadhi. She told Amal that there is nothing “mortal” in Sri Aurobindo, and he dropped that phrase. There is nothing “human” in the Mother too. Her physical body is holding the Divine Light and Force, the surhomme consciousness that is now universally active, her sweetness and he love, her smile that shall change the world, son sourire qui changera le monde.
Can one say this? “On 17 November 1973 the Mother laid down her residual human body while she continued to exist forever in a body consisting of a supramental substance.”
That would mean that what has been put in the Samadhi vault is her “residual human body”. This phrase is similar to Amal’s “mortal remains” of Sri Aurobindo that were put in the Samadhi. She told Amal that there is nothing “mortal” in Sri Aurobindo, and he dropped that phrase. There is nothing “human” in the Mother too. Her physical body is holding the Divine Light and Force, the surhomme consciousness that is now universally active, her sweetness and he love, her smile that shall change the world, son sourire qui changera le monde.
Georges says: “Then what happened on that fateful 17 November 1973 ? The best way to understand it may be a simile: the pupation of the caterpillar into a butterfly. When its time comes, the caterpillar spins itself into a cocoon. In this cocoon the pupation takes place, a miraculous transformation into a completely different being: a butterfly.”
But this sounds more like literature than presenting the nitty-gritty of the process. That nitty-gritty is the real thing, and about that no knowledge has been given so far, the new Sānkhya that will come into operation. My hunch is, it is with it Sri Aurobindo is busy, that which may take 300 years.
Thank you Anurag and Deshpande. This all is a rich sharing of information, even if I have read some of it years ago but in the context of the Mother’s withdrawal this all complements the conversation.
I believe these quotes here are very relevant for India today, no?
From: Past & Present, Interview by A. Ranganathan, The Indian Review, Madras:
M.P. Pandit : Sri Aurobindo always demurred when Hinduism was called a religion. To him, Hinduism is a large way of life embracing humanity at every level of development in different wave-lengths of thinking, opening the doors to as many as possible towards an inner or higher development of Nature. It is in this sense that he once observed that the larger Hinduism was the way for the world to arrive at unity. Obviously Hinduism does not mean the system of creed, dogma and ritual as some of the obscurantists make it out to be. It is a plastic scheme by which each man can awake to the existence of God within himself and cast his life in the growing mould of that indwelling reality. If man is universal, Hinduism is necessarily universal, because it is only another name for the cultural stream of the human flowing into the divine.
And from The Mother, A Talk by M.P. Pandit on February 20, 1983:
She warned before she left: There will be many attempts to imitate me, to imitate my voice, beware. Her intimation is through the psychic. And she said: then there would be a great danger of an attempt being made to pervert Sri Aurobindo’s teaching into a religion which would be narrow and cruel. That danger is very much there as the Asura wants to pervert the Truth. We have been fortunate that wherever such attempts are made, she sees to it that they are checkmated. We don’t need to make any special effort for that if only we are sincere to her. And that was what she wanted. Provided one is sincere, she forgives everything. Whatever the foolishness, the obstinacy, she overlooks it provided there is this sincerity.
The tradition of true spiritual Hinduism is to create a new tradition. This has been happening through fruitful millennia. This is what has been done by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Divine life in a divine body is that. The Mother experientially asserts that the physical is capable of manifesting the Divine, of growing into the possibilities of the expanding Spirit. How marvellous indeed! It is to that one endears in this Hinduism.
The exchanges of yesterday are of great interest. But the main topic, the one we must all have in heart and mind (and everywhere else we can reach), is the reference made by Deshpande-ji to the Record of yoga of January 1927. This one seems to me fundamental, notwithstanding all the circumstances from which it was first hidden, then slowly emerging just in due time, as many other “miracles”( e.g. notes of John Kelly emerging suddenly from a drawer to finish for us as the famous Maggie Litchi’s book “Great Sir and the Heavenly Lady”) or “sins” (e.g. The Agenda). All these outer circumstances are fascinating, but must remain secondary.
These Notes of the Master demonstrate once again how fast he was advancing: Not even two months after the descent of the Overmind on earth (24th November 1926), the first Note is peremptory: “The knowledge or idea with which it was begun was imperfect and not applicable under the present circumstances. In reality what was chiefly relied upon was a great dynamic energy and the power of the will and aspiration to bring the divine realisation into the body. These forces can do miracles under the right conditions; and now they are quite strong enough to produce miraculous results on the subjective plane, in the physical consciousness, the physical mind and the vital physical, but the most material is not yet ready.The attempt was therefore premature”
We should probably put this Note in perspective with the great miracle Mother have prepared during this period when many Gods descended into the Sadhaks and “that would have been something completely new, a great creation”, but “not the one we are trying to establish” (I am paraphrasing Sri Aurobindo). In 24 hours, all this was over and they started again on a new basis.
And at this stage, only analysing this first half of the first paragraph of this Note of January 1927, three questions arise: 1. How long did these “present circumstances” last? 2. Are they still the same almost 100 years after the statement that was written by Sri Aurobindo? 3. What was necessary to change the “most material”?
As usual, cues of the answers are given by the Master Himself in the rest of the first paragraph:
“In order that it should succeed, one of two things was necessary, either a right entire knowledge and process or else the divine Grace supporting a complete descent of the highest supramental Truth and a complete ascent to meet it of the supramental from below. These things should have been got first and firmly founded, for till then there can be no effective divinisation of the material body.”
I would respectfully submit to you that we should read “a right entire knowledge OF THE process. We must not forget that these Notes were NOT reviewed by Sri Aurobindo or Mother before publication so slight miscomprehension or mistranscription of a few words might have occur during the process of copying these Notes. The second section, “the Divine Grace supporting descent of the highest supramental Truth” occured the 29th February 1956. It was THE necessary condition for Mother to once again undertake a process for the creation of a new world. All this we can follow (historically at least…) thanks to the Agenda. And then, the 24th November 1973 happened.
Let us continue reading the famous Note: “Now this material part is most important and indispensable. It is the earth herself in the concrete. It is part of the crude stuff you have to use for building the divine physical substance and you cannot do without it. Therefore it must be respected and not forced before it is ready. It has to be mastered and transformed, but not done violence to or neglected.”
“IT MUST BE RESPECTED AND NOT FORCED BEFORE IT IS READY.”
If we remember the context following the “simple” descent of the Overmind in 1926 (!), the huge resistance it has aroused, it is again very logical that the resistance of such a new process of the infusion of the Supramental in Matter, this time, has to be taken into consideration.
But that doesn’t mean that the “right entire knowledge of the process” could not be attained by Mother and reserved for us to discover in the near future…
Par 3 of the Note: ” The entire secret for which you are seeking can only be found and applied effectively when the material body is ready and for that a process of adaptation is indispensable. The final secret, even if you find it, must remain only a theory until this adaptation is made. What you need to find out first is a secret of the transition. For you are physically in a period of transition. The period of victorious realisation comes later.”
“Four physical things have to be attained:
1. stability and continuity of consciousness
2. stability and continuity of energy
3. stability and continuity of Ananda
4. stability and continuity of substance.”
“The power of subjective realisation in the physical is there as you see more from day to day; it will become absolute. The power through the subjective on the objective is increasing and will infallibly increase still more and become perfect. The direct power on the most material plane is the one thing still obstinately resisted. Persevere, satisfy the conditions, and it will come to you like the others.”
Somebody of a very, very high level is guiding Sri Aurobindo inwardly. We are in 1927. Sri Aurobindo noted the indications. The paper was found many, many years later, and then it was published. This is no coincidence, of course. It might be because now is probably the time for the “secret of the transition” to be discovered. It was certainly made available for us by the Master:
“What you need to find out first is a secret of the transition.”
Don’t you think that, between 1927 and 1950, He did not the necessary, going through the worst resistances, starting with the material attack of 24th November 1938 on His Divine Body up to the whole of WW2? Really, it was the labour of a God!
This is excellent, Claude.
Apropos of “the most material is not yet ready” let me quote the relevant part of the letter Sri Aurobindo wrote a few years later, in 1934.
“The physical mind is technically placed below the vital and yet it is a prolongation of the mind proper and one that can act in its own sphere by direct touch with the higher mental intelligence. And there is too an obscure mind of the body, of the very cells, molecules, corpuscles. Haeckel, the German materialist, spoke somewhere of the will in the atom, and recent science, dealing with the incalculable individual variation in the activity of the electrons, comes near to perceiving that this is not a figure but the shadow thrown by a secret reality. This body-mind is a very tangible truth; owing to its obscurity and mechanical clinging to past movements and facile oblivion and rejection of the new, we find in it one of the chief obstacles to permeation by the supermind Force and the transformation of the functioning of the body. On the other hand, once effectively converted, it will be one of the most precious instruments for the stabilisation of the supramental Light and Force in material Nature.” SABCL, Vol. 22 p. 340. The problem had been this “body-mind” the physical’s mind which must become the Mind of Light to receive the supramental Light and Force. The Mother’s Yoga-Tapasyā was focused on it, to establish the divine Will in it, for it to open itself to it, to act in “What Thou willest”.
The latest issue of the “Bulletin”, Feb 2023, has a letter from the Mother addressed to Prithvi Singh. It is as follows:
What I have said to Satprem is not to be published. Satprem is keeping a record of all I say about the body sadhana which I am doing now. But that record is not to be published, at least for the moment, nor circulated.
The part of this record which are considered useful for others are published in the Bulletin under the title “Notes sure le Chenin” [“Notes on the Way”].
12 September 1967
Bulletin February 2023
What follows is a letter written by Satprem to Sir C. P. N. Singh (Indira Gandhi’s advisor) on 10 January 1976 about the ‘Agenda’; I am only quoting the opening paragraph and the concluding one:
‘In my very first letter to you I spoke of my need to have “the protection of the Government of India.” And I had good reasons to use such words. Some two years ago, after Mother’s departure, I had the perception and almost the vision of the danger menacing Mother’s papers — these 6,000 pages of Her private talks with me. I felt and saw a gang of our young gymnasts (instigated you know by whom) coming to me and seizing forcibly this trunk of papers under the excuse of “saving Mother’s papers” and “assuring their prompt publication, prevented by Satprem.” It is very easy to move these young people and excite them. Now you must know that a number of these Trustees are afraid of what Mother told me and of the publication of those papers. What they want — and they are only waiting for an opportunity — is to seize those papers and take control of their publication … duly censored by them.
‘This is the fact…
‘I repeat, I do need the official protection from the Government of India. And quickly.’
Here is Satprem’s letter to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, seeking protecting for the Mother’s papers, that is, ‘Agenda’:
‘I have been near Mother for nineteen years. I was Her confidant and Her witness. I saw Her struggle, Her sufferings, Her slow imprisonment by a surrounding which negated Her Work. She talked to me, told me the path of the Future, the process, what Sri Aurobindo had done, why He left. All these papers, more than six thousand pages of Her confidences to me, should have been an object of love and joy for those who are here — they have become instead an object of rapaciousness and distrust. They are in danger, my life also is in danger. But it is not my life which matters, it is these papers for the whole World.
‘I see more and more clearly, and Sir C.P.N. Singh will confirm it to you, a situation which is rapidly deteriorating. I feel that these men are ready for anything. I am a son of Mother, I know that She was — and that She is with you — that She supported you and supports you actively, She told it to me, She often spoke of you to me in these papers.
‘I come to pray to you to make an act of authority so that these papers can be freely published without interference from all those greedy and unscrupulous men. Sir C.P.N. Singh has tried a lot to obtain that I be given a free hand, and I am full of gratefulness for his devotion and the clearness of his perception, but we have failed. He will tell you himself the treachery and the dishonesty which are prevalent here, and many other things which I cannot tell in a letter. Those people are in the process of destroying Mother’s Work. It is a symbol of a dark struggle menacing to devour the world. India is the field of this battle and of the birth of a New World. And Mother’s Work is closely and actively bound up with this new birth. It is the very Power of this change. There is but you personally who can take the necessary action.
‘Madam, from the depth of my heart, and for the world and for Mother’s love, I come to pray to you to help me save this Work. I feel as though Mother tells me: write to her.
‘With my deep respect and my gratefulness, Satprem.’
Here is a letter written by Satprem (dated 6 February 1977) to Nani Palkiwala, the eminent jurist:
‘Much esteemed Sir,
‘I take the liberty to call for your help and advice, knowing your spirit of justice and devotion to idealistic causes, and having heard also about you from Madame Yolande Lemoine. This is not a personal case; my own life is devoted to the progress of human consciousness and to Beauty, through my writings.
‘As you may know, I have been for 17 years the single and personal confidant of the Mother in Pondicherry. She was surrounded not by “disciples” as one might think, but by various samples of human consciousness through which She tried, after Sri Aurobindo, to work out a new Species of consciousness in Her own body, and consequently in the Earth-body. It was experimental evolution, one might say. As it happens, when one wants to create a new Species, one comes up against all that resists and negates in the old species — through this very resistance, the passage to the next species is found, just as the reptile had to find the passage to the bird in its dried up swamps of mud. The obstacle is the key.
‘In the present case, the obstacle was very much there, as Sri Aurobindo first found out, then the Mother — both had to leave their body for the same reason. Indeed, those around Them were not “disciples” but the Earth-specimens of the most obscure resistance which was to be overcome. Some little pure lights were there also, but those have no voice.
‘After Sri Aurobindo’s withdrawal, the Mother followed in His foot-steps, trying to find out what He had discovered and never explained since the “operation” was not taking place in the Mind or in nice books but in the body — a new Species is worked out in the body. So, She found Sri Aurobindo’s secret — She found also the very obstacles He had met. And She found the experimental passage to this problematic new Species.
‘This is indeed of world-interest.
‘In the midst of this somewhat dreadful struggle and knowing probably that one day She would be all alone, facing Death, deserted by all, besieged by ferocious ill-wills, She chose to take me as Her confidant. Her terrible fight was not to be lost for the future of mankind — someone should understand, follow the thread, spread the Possibility which She had wrenched from the night of the old species. The result is some 6000 pages of Her personal conversations with me where She explained step by step the process, the struggle, and finally the siege of Death and Darkness around Her. My heart is paining even while I write those words. For 17 years I have followed this agony.
‘After Her withdrawal in 1973, you can imagine my position in the midst of these very forces which wanted to destroy Her. Now they were the “heirs” and “owners” of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Now the big spiritual business could start on a grand scale — this has been the eternal story ever since Christ and even Karl Marx. Some new Rome or spiritual Kremlin wants to establish its Church — and behind, the immense ambiguous Money always ready to seize the Spirit for its temporal end. In the present case: a very well organized mafia mostly composed of business men. You can imagine also how those “disciples” and owners of the new Church look upon this single man called Satprem who was the repository of such confidences which they thought might endanger their halo of high-priests and their obscure design. You are probably aware of their scheming and tortuous means to gain supremacy over Auroville as the rightful “owners.” The same applies to Mother’s papers — these 6000 pages which She called the Agenda. On 27th of August last year, they tried to assassinate me with 3 hired men in the canyons of Auroville during my daily walk. Of course nothing can be proved: it would have been an “accident.” Some more “accident” may come. Something has to be done to save this Agenda from the greed and unscrupulous censure of these men.
‘Twice I have tried to publish these papers through the Ashram. First in the beginning of 1974, and when I moved the Ashram Press, I was told in writing by one of the Trustees of his “reluctance” to publish those papers now and specially his objection to have them published on foreign markets by foreign publishers. They conveyed to me through Monsieur Andre Morisset (the Mother’s “son”) that they doubted about the “advisability” of this publication. Privately they implied that such publication would have to be submitted to their judgment and that nothing should harm the Ashram interest, etc. From that time it was clear to me that they wanted to truncate and censure those papers to suit their special purpose.
‘A second time, in 1976, I tried to publish the Mother’s papers through All India Press which belongs (though dis-putably) to the Ashram. With the help of Sir C.P.N. Singh, whom you might know, I tried to obtain that the publication would take place under my sole supervision. They agreed to the publication but torpedoed the arrangement made by Sir C.P.N. Singh to ensure that I had the practical and material supervision of the materials given to the Press. Now it was evident that the Mother’s papers were really endangered and that only a publication outside the Ashram would ensure their integrity and non-censorship.
‘I do not mention here the various menaces and blackmail and vile calumnies to which I have been submitted. They even tried to set up my French and American publishers against me. My health has greatly suffered by this ferocious struggle which reminds me of what Mother had to go through; I do not know what will happen to me, but whatever life is left to me must be used to save those precious papers in their purity for the future of mankind — and quickly if possible.
‘Several times Mother has told me that her talks with me were only possible because of me; She even said in one place: “It is exclusively for you.” I have not the foolishness to think myself as the “proprietor” of this Treasure. I was simply a representative of the human race near Her — through me, She spoke to the Earth. I consider that these papers belong to the Earth, in the same way as Auroville does not belong to a private individual but to Humanity as a whole, as was said in the “Charter” of Auroville.
‘The “Earth” is a very vague entity, though so concrete in our hearts. Hence comes my question to you:
‘Is it not possible that as a repository of this Work and human representative of the Earth near the Mother, I could request the Government of India, as a representative of the various human nations of the Earth, to take over those papers and assure their integral and independent publication for the benefit of humanity? I have some ground to believe that the Government of India would be willing to help me, on condition I could find for it the legal arguments or legal artifice by which it can take over this charge. What article or precedent can they invoke? Or if it has to be an act of authority, what could be the administrative strategy or device by which the Prime Minister can act? I thought also to have recourse to UNESCO as a world-body, but it might be even more entangled and difficult — time is pressing. The siege around me also is pressing.
‘I know the nobility of your spirit. I have no other purpose in my life than to help develop the consciousness of my human brothers and sisters. And I know that Mother’s papers contain a process and secret of which our finishing mental race is in great need — the very secret and process of its passage to another level of consciousness and perhaps even a new body on Earth.
‘Will you help me?
‘With all my heart, Satprem’
An excerpt from a personal letter of Satprem written on 30 September 1977:
‘So last night, we received the false Agenda, published by All India Press under the management of Ashram Trust. This is in fact “Notes on the Way,” (some of my conversations with Mother that I had published in the Ashram Bulletin, though Mother was often reluctant) to which they have coldbloodedly given a different title. I am sending you this false Agenda separately, along with the corresponding text of the Bulletin that they have impudently reproduced after having changed the title.’ …
An excerpt from another personal letter of Satprem written on 14 November 1977 about the Mother’s Agenda:
‘…I told you the basis of the argument. How could we go and give the Agenda to all those people who understand nothing of it!? What’s more, I was the one who reassured Mother every time (like an idiot) and who told her: “Yes, of course, a few understand.” And I am the one who prompted her to publish, to “share,” I prompted her to publish these extracts called “Notes on the Way,” it was not Her wish at all. We should find the relevant passages of our conversations at the time (unless they have been omitted). Were it up to Mother, She would have told nothing to these people. As for me, I was a complete, innocent simpleton from start to finish. Even after Mother’s departure, I still hoped and tried to publish with them! And I was convinced (they had convinced me) that the Ashram was the “proprietor” (hence my letter to Tara) and I said to myself that I had to try and come to an agreement with the proprietors. When our lawyer told me, a few months ago only, that I was the “author,” I was flabbergasted. But I see Mother’s game, it is all deliberate. She wanted me to try with these Ashram people: I tried with each of them: twice with the Ashram Press; once with All India Press; and also with Auropress. I tried with all of them! Had they accepted, it would have been our loss — the fools! I handed it to them on a plate, and they did not want it.
Some excerpts from a personal letter of Satprem written in March 1978:
‘I woke up this morning with the mute question of my friends. Of course, they all knew of this eventuality of a transformation in a cataleptic trance, Mother had told everybody about it, including dear Andre. The typed “instructions” of 1967 were circulated: Nolini saw them, as well as others whom I do not know, and Pranab knew, of course. This possibility of a transformation in a trance had been foretold to Mother sixty years before, she had spoken to everybody about it. But then you’re seen as “making a fuss,” aren’t you? Again, in 1972 or 1973, Mother told Kumud about it, in the presence of Sujata and I. Kumud who carried Mother down with Pranab. And when I told Mother, in that famous conversation of 1973 : “I can explain to them,” Mother answered: “Will he believe you?”… “Pranab will think I am dead.” And as soon as Mother tried to speak to Pranab, in April 1973, he exploded — to understand what was there, one only has to listen to this voice bursting with pride and hatred. So, to “speak out,” to “tell” them, when I arrived there, in that hall, ten hours after the event, when thousands of people had already been informed: “You know, Messrs senior sadhaks, She is not dead, please bring her back upstairs to her room.” But they all wanted her to be dead! And I was there, in front of that body, heartbroken and dumbfounded — oh! I was not expecting that, I was perhaps the only one not expecting that — I had been there for ten minutes when Nolini had me called to his room, next door, to translate his message about Mother’s end into French. And this “message” started with these words: “This body (Mother’s) was not meant to …” I have forgotten the rest, but it was not meant to undergo the transformation. So I stood there, mute, frozen, in Nolini’s small dark room, and I said at last in a tone where anger and outrage mingled with sorrow, along with a whole burning world: I cannot translate this. “The transformation stopped,” didn’t it, Nolini said to that Canadian interviewer; and eight days ago, on February 21st, to celebrate Mother’s centenary, a long article in the Indian Express signed by Manoj Das, one of the Ashram’s shining lights, concluded: “She gave up on 17th November 1973.”
‘Tell — whom?
‘Was there anyone there, a single person, a single soul, who would have listened? Had I only opened my mouth, they would have said: oh, see that Satprem who wants to give himself the air of one who knows everything, he is trying to attract attention, or make a fuss or claim to be Mother’s spokesperson — he wants to disturb our pretty little funeral. They had had enough of Mother, all of them. The hatred I am now surrounded with visibly, officially, if I may say so, would have arisen four years earlier, they would have killed me before I could write these three volumes and save the Agenda.
‘To force my way when they closed Mother’s door on me, in May 1973?… No, no, the only solution was that Mother should go down into that tomb to undergo the transformation, hidden from these brutes. That is all. When Mother, still in 1972, told me once more: “You will tell them”, I answered: “They will say I am mad, they won’t even let me come into your room.” I was prophetic. To go and arouse Pranab’s anger by forcing my way into Her room? — but see what fell on this poor helpless body when, on April 7, 1973, Mother tried to tell. Pranab something. I was filled with horror, I told Pranab: “No, no, no” … and Mother so white, with her eyes closed, receiving all that, in the raw. Ah, my heart sinks. They are accusing me — they will accuse me in all possible ways, I am the great culprit and the cause of all the evil. I carry all their blackness on my back. I am the one they chose to relieve their own misery. As for me, I struggled on and on, I struggled in these books and I am struggling in all possible ways. Even in my sleep, my heart is full of it. Then I close my eyes for a second, and Mother envelops me. It is all white, so tender and solid. I feel like staying there and not moving anymore. Everything else is sorrow.’ …
Here is a letter written by Satprem on 22 January 1978 which reveals a well-guarded secret:
‘Yesterday evening, I heard something that upset me. Oh! I knew it, but I did not really know. An electrician from the Ashram, who also works in Auroville and wants to settle in Auroville, recounted that the day after Pongal, “they” (I don’t know who these “they” were, probably the sordid bunch) had met to listen to a cassette that had been recorded by a “sadhak close to Mother.” First he did not want to say who this “sadhak” was, but he said in the end: Satprem. And he recounted: there was a leak among Satprem’s last recordings with Mother, precisely in a conversation where Mother’s “death” was talked about and the possibility of a yogic trance and it was this cassette that they were listening to…. The Ashram, he said, is divided between those who want Mother’s exhumation and those who don’t want it.
‘Oh, how abominable they are!
‘But there was never any “leak” or possibility of leak of my tapes, nobody but Sujata and me ever touched those tapes, and I never copied any cassette. So?….Yes, I wrote in volume III, “Even our conversations were spied on” — they were not only spied on but fraudulently recorded by Kumud, who came to switch on the tape recorder under the pretext of bringing a glass of water to Mother or of putting a napkin away, then the pirate recording was given to Pranab by Kumud….It is so abominable, I still hear Mother telling me: “I can’t speak anymore.” But it had quite a different meaning! All those silences and silences of the last year, I thought it was her interiorization, but it was perhaps, too, those abominable people, with their ears everywhere and their hidden microphone. Sujata did tell me one day: “Kumud records our conversations,” but I did not want to believe it. All that seemed impossible to me — impossible. Then another time, Sumitra came to be at Mother’s, while Andre and Kumud were translating, or rather noting down a conversation that Mother had just had with another person and that She wanted to keep. And as Andre + Sumitra + Kumud were struggling to find the exact words, Mother turned to Kumud and told her in Her neutral, quiet little tone: “You see, you record when you shouldn’t, and you don’t record when you should.” That is all. She knew. She knew everything. And She swallowed that, day and night and night and day, ceaselessly. Ah, one day, She took my hands in hers, Her eyes were filled with tears, and She asked me: “Do pray for me.”
‘It breaks my heart.’…
“at least for the moment”
I will consider all this simply belonging to the stubborn unregenerate past, past in the ferocity of the spirit of the night, standing “across the path of the divine Event”. It may be good to document it for a certain purpose, perhaps, perhaps, peut-être. But, definitely, its force, of that ferocious past, has got lost, has got exhausted by its own occult of the negative and the undivine. One may be very close to the Divine, even for seventeen years, yet may never know the Divine, may yet remain benighted and unperceptive. Therefore it is best to dismiss all this.
It must be dismissed in order to move forward, move forward on the path of the bright promising spirit, of tomorrow. Our genuine concern has to be not the past, not at all, pas du tout, not the ugly past but the coming future of glorious possibilities, l’avenir de possibilités glorieuses. That is what they stand for; they do all for that.
We have it all given to us in Savitri and the Essential Agenda. We must study it, we must breathe in it, we must live in it, grow in it, get closer to them in it. That is the only way and there is no other, the way that has been given to the aspiring soul of the forthcoming. Their living and dynamic presence is in it, and the merit lies in profiting from it.
We must all be “aspiring souls of the forthcoming”. Together. Within Their Love and Consciousness.
It still surprises me that in a collective aspiring for the truth-consciousness the difficulties of the past and present are not addressed in an adult way. If I listen to the recordings of the Agenda I observe that the Mother is fully in her element and speaks very openly and is personal with Satprem. To me it is clear that without Satprem there would be no Agenda, and with that, also no essential Agenda.
I would think that especially aspiring yogis would come to a truthful way of discussing problems and dealing with that in a superior way than what happens in society at large. Is that not what the word “collaboration” stands for, to go beyond one’s petty feelings and let the higher consciousness take over? That is the whole exercise and responsibility of developing a workable collective and a better society. From experience we know that this is not easy but that is what this yoga is all about, not only internally but also externally. All Life is Yoga.
This is well said. There is no doubt that “collaboration” and “collective” are important if there has to be a “race”, a new race, preparing for the higher manifestation. Present humanity, even the best of it, the genuinely aspiring humanity, may not be as yet ready for it. But “a collective aspiring for the truth-consciousness” has to be preceded by the individual’s self-finding, by psychic opening and going by the psychic promptings, being discernibly attentive to the superior intuition that comes by a contact with a faculty far greater than the mental and the rational. All old sanskaras, formations due to upbringing and cultures, due to traditions, those individualisations start occupying less and less space in one’s progress when one is on the sunlit path.
It seems that the Mother was in a kind of hurry in establishing things futuristic when in a few contexts Sri Aurobindo had spoken to her that things are not “ready”. That “not ready” could show up itself in conflicts that one sees everywhere, in the Ashram, in Auroville, in India, in the world. But the Mother is the Mother, and in her dynamic movement she would not wait for the world, for the things to become “ready”. She has cast the crimson-glowing seeds of the future and with the right soil and the sunshine and the rain these will sprout and bear honey-dripping harvest.
To quote from Savitri:
The prophet moment covered limitless space
And cast into the heart of hurrying Time
A diamond light of the Eternal’s peace,
A crimson seed of God’s felicity;
A glance from the gaze fell of undying Love. ||156.14||
Of this “undying Love” here is the Mother’s experience:
14 July 1962
From time to time, one touches the vibration of the Supreme’s Love, the creative Love, Love that creates, upholds, maintains, fuels progress and is the Manifestation’s very reason for being (these great pulsations were the expression of That), and That is something so stupendous and marvellous for the material frame, the body, that it seems to be dosed out. Matter needs quite a preparation to make it strong enough to hold those vibrations of Love, and … and the body seems to be given a trickle to see how much it can bear. But there’s such an immediate intensity of joy in all the cells, in the heart and organs, that it all seems on the verge of exploding.
For me, it’s a simultaneous contact with the Eternal, the Infinite, the Vast, the Totality of everything — the totality of everything: all that is, all that has been, all that will be, everything. And “That”… is a spontaneous, constant, immediate experience.
The intensity of these vibrations is above and beyond anything we are used to feeling. And what a Wisdom! … It knows how to make use of time — that is, it actually changes itself into time — so as to … minimize the possibilities of damage.
This body-consciousness has a will; it is constantly, constantly calling upon the Lord’s will: “Lord, take possession of this, take possession of that, take….” It is the BODY’S aspiration.
When that intensity of Love is there then Aswapati’s assertion in Savitri gets fully justified:
In anguish we labour that from us may rise
A larger-seeing man with nobler heart,
A golden vessel of the incarnate Truth,
The executor of the divine attempt
Equipped to wear the earthly body of God,
Communicant and prophet and lover and king. ||90.18||
I know that thy creation cannot fail. ||90.19||
If we look through a wider window of Time, certainly, her creation cannot fail, even as the work continuously goes on.
29 September 1969
In 1919 Sri Aurobindo wrote that the chaos and the calamities were perhaps the pangs of the birth of a new creation. How long are these pangs going to continue—in the Ashram, in India and eventually in the world?”
It will continue until the world is ready and willing to receive the new creation; the consciousness of this new creation is already at work upon earth since the beginning of this year.
If, instead of resisting, the people were collaborating, it would go quicker.
But stupidity and ignorance are very obstinate.
Love and blessings.
[CWM Vol 17]
There is only one new fact—from the beginning of this year a new consciousness has manifested and is working energetically to prepare the earth for the new creation.
17 April 1969
[CWM Vol 15]
Three months after the physical departure of the Mother, the following notice, entitled Publisher’s Note Concerning ‘Notes on the Way’ was published in the February 1974 issue of the ‘Bulletin of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education’ by Nolini Kanta Gupta who was, at that time, the senior-most member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust as well as the Secretary of Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
‘The ‘Notes on the Way’ have come to an end with Mother’s passing. Not that the Way traced by Mother or her notes have reached an end, but that was all She wanted to say for the moment. And indeed, it is really not a question of saying anything “more”, but, for everyone, of entering deep within his own heart and understanding—perhaps understanding that there is ‘something’ to understand.
‘It seemed to us that to choose from among Mother’s words would already be “to orient” and in a way to falsify the facts and the experience by giving them a prominence or a meaning they do not have when taken all together. Mother has always warned us against this kind of “extracts” which extract only the narrow meaning of our own conceptions.
‘Thus it was felt that the only authentic possibility was to publish the entire set of what Mother called her ‘Agenda’—“the Journal of the Supramental Action”—from the beginning.
‘Certainly a complete text is not yet possible, for a good number of these diary-notes allude to events or circumstances which are too close to us to be spoken about in the coming years. However, as far as possible, and when necessary, we shall publish, without hesitating to mention certain personal aspects, all that may clarify or concern directly Mother’s Work.
‘The set-up of the present ‘Bulletin’ did not seem to us suitable for the publication of this Journal, for we felt that Mother would not have liked to use an “official” organ to state openly such intimate experiences. Besides, the enormous mass of these documents—of which the “Notes on the Way” represented only a few fragments—could never have found a place in a quarterly publication. The only solution that seemed practicable was to publish this Journal in the form of fascicules, as ‘Savitri’ was first published in fascicules gradually as Sri Aurobindo released his text—and indeed, the Journal of the Supramental Action is in a way Mother’s epic poem.
‘Some time will certainly be necessary for us to be able to put a little order into the extraordinary torrent of this epic and to weigh very conscientiously what can or cannot be said immediately—though one day ‘all’ will be said, and perhaps there will be no need to say it: we shall see—but the first fascicule will possibly appear for the first anniversary of Mother’s passing, next November, and be followed by others as they are ready, without any fixed dates, but probably every month.
‘So the “Notes on the Way” open on to the ‘Journal of the Supramental Action upon Earth.’’
Satprem wanted the ‘Agenda’ to be published from the Ashram Press. But the Trustees and André Morisset, the Mother’s son, wanted to go through the text of the ‘Agenda’ and edit it before publication in case they found something objectionable. But Satprem was adamant: he wanted the Mother’s conversations to be published as they were recorded. On 2 October 1974, Counouma, the then Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, asked Satprem about the “opportuneness” of publishing the Agenda. Satprem mentions in his diary on the same day: “They are afraid of the Agenda.”
In a letter to Nani Palkiwala on 6 February 1977, Satprem writes:
‘I was told in writing by one of the Trustees of his “reluctance” to publish those papers now and specially his objection to have them published on foreign markets by foreign publishers. They conveyed to me through Monsieur Andre Morisset (the Mother’s “son”) that they doubted about the “advisability” of this publication. Privately they implied that such publication would have to be submitted to their judgment and that nothing should harm the Ashram interest, etc. From that time it was clear to me that they wanted to truncate and censure those papers to suit their special purpose.’
When it was evident that the Ashram Press would not publish the ‘Agenda’, Satprem approached the All India Press, an auxiliary press of the Ashram. But his request was turned down on 21 February 1976 (mark the date). So Satprem decided to publish the ‘Agenda’ on his own. In July 1977, he founded the Institute of Evolutionary Research and also wrote to the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust announcing the publication of the ‘Agenda’. The first volume of the ‘Agenda’ was published in September 1977.
Interestingly, Satprem called the ‘Notes on the Way’ the ‘False Agenda’. To a friend he wrote on 30 Sept
‘…Last night, we received the false Agenda, published by All India Press under the management of Ashram Trust. This is in fact “Notes on the Way”, to which they have coldbloodedly given a different title. I am sending you this false Agenda separately, along with the corresponding text of the Bulletin that they have impudently reproduced after having changed the title.’
Satprem was eventually expelled from the Ashram in January 1978.
Here is an interesting excerpt from a letter written by Satprem on 11 September 1977:
‘I remember, on that day of November 18 or 19, 1973, as I was there staring Mother straight in the eye and asking with such intensity: “Why did you go, why? You dropped everything …” I seemed to hear a rather thundering voice, like Mother’s when She was very angry, or pretending to be angry (but “thundering” without thunder, with just the pressure of Consciousness, like a mixture of Kali and Krishna), answering my challenge or my pain or my reproach for having dropped it all: “Well, do it!”
‘It was a little frightening. But She actually may want her unbearable children to do the work a little, to try a little, so that it would spring up from them and She would not have everything to do by Herself. She hewed the path. But She wants us to walk on the path. Well, do it!
‘We don’t know what we have to “do,” but the main thing is to walk on the invisible path to render it visible.’
We don’t know what we have to “do,” …
maybe; but the problem is, we also don’t know what not to do.
I must congratulate Anurag to bring contextually out all these now half forgotten details at one single place. That rightly proves the Overman Foundation to be “India’s (only) leading research institute dedicated to the ideals of Sri Aurobindo and Mother.” These posts and comments should prove of immense value to the researchers keen going into depths of the issues. And let their “tribe” grow and prosper.
Let me repeat its quotation from The Human Cycle:
“… the coming of a spiritual age must be preceded by the appearance of an increasing number of individuals who are no longer satisfied with the normal intellectual, vital and physical existence of man, but perceive that a greater evolution is the real goal of humanity and attempt to effect it in themselves, to lead others to it and to make it the recognised goal of the race. In proportion as they succeed and to the degree to which they carry this evolution, the yet unrealised potentiality which they represent will become an actual possibility of the future.”
I fully agree, the Overman Foundation is thanks to Anurag Banerjee a truthful centre of diverse and important resources that should never be forgotten, also if the Past hurts. My personal attitude toward the Agenda is, because it is published in its full content, there is only one way to address it and that is with respect for the Mother. Also with respect for Satprem, for producing this invaluable resource of direct communication with the Mother. Individuals who feel hurt by the criticisms coming from the Mother that are exposed in the Agenda should remind themselves that such a “hurt” opens the door to true insight and progress. I rather become deeply hurt by a remark coming from the Divine for the personal progress it initiates. Yoga is also about respecting others with a different insight, and rather stimulate conversation than harsh judgment and exclusion on basis of disagreement. That is the way forward, I think, with the Past and also with the Present.
It is not the question of sanitising those thirteen volumes of Agenda, made less offensive by eliminating anything unwholesome, objectionable, incriminating, things of least concern, things one need not care about. The point is, there is in them something absolutely marvellous, dazzling and glorious, that which comes in the highest class of utterances of the Rig Veda and Savitri, that which will stand for thousand and thousand years hence, if not for ever. I believe this is what is going to happen when “a silence shall awake to a hymn of joy”, to adapt a line from Savitri. In this trio, — Rig Veda, Savitri and the essential Agenda, — is the divine outpouring of “the revelation and the flame”.
Personally, I see no harm contemplating the Divine Rose as a whole, with all our senses and capacities, but also extracting its essential oil for the preparation of perfumes or encenses, or for any other useful purpose for mankind. Both will be offerings to the Divine.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That is St John.
And the Upanishad has: With OM Brahma begins creation. ओमिति ब्रह्मा प्रसौति ।
But later in the hands of man the Word, la Parole, became Literature, OM became Vāk, Speech.
In the present Agenda of thirteen volumes we have both the Word and the Literature. After some time “Literature” will fade away, it will disappear, ça va disparaître, and what will stay will be the Word, the “Revelation and the Flame”, establishing itself in the greatness of the Earth in every detail.
By the way, in the Rig Veda “brahma”, ब्रह्म, translates as “Word”.