The Mother’s Withdrawal — 17 November 1973 by R. Y. Deshpande

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


3 Replies to “The Mother’s Withdrawal — 17 November 1973 by R. Y. Deshpande

  1. 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

    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…”

    1. “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.

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