“Towards the Superman”: An Interview of Nolini Kanta Gupta


Dear Friends,

Nolini Kanta Gupta (13.1.1889—7.2.1984) was an active participant in the Swadeshi and national education movements from the tender age of sixteen. He was introduced to Barindra Kumar Ghose, noted revolutionary and Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother, towards the end of 1907 who influenced him to join the Maniktolla Secret Society at 32 Muraripukur Road in Calcutta. On 2 May 1908 Nolini Kanta was arrested in connection with the Muzaffarpur bomb outrage along with the other members of the Maniktolla Secret Society. The trial later came to be known as the ‘Alipore Bomb Trial’. After spending a year in Alipore Central Jail as an undertrial he was acquitted in May 1909 due to lack of evidence to prove his involvement in any conspiracy of waging war against the British Empire. He withdrew from active politics after his acquittal from prison and became the chief associate of Sri Aurobindo (whom he had met during the Swadeshi movement) when the latter started the publication of his two weeklies (the Karmayogin in English and the Dharma in Bengali). When Sri Aurobindo left Bengal and migrated to Pondicherry in April 1910 Nolini Kanta too followed him seven months later. When after 1926 Sri Aurobindo withdrew into complete seclusion and the Mother took charge of the newly-formed Ashram, Nolini Kanta became its Secretary. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust was formed by the Mother she appointed Nolini Kanta as one of the founder-trustees. Regarded as one of the most advanced sadhaks of the Integral Yoga he was equally prolific in Bengali, English and French and went on to author more than fifty books in Bengali, thirty in English and five in French. In the Aurobindonian community he was known as ‘Sri Aurobindo’s manasputra’.

An interview of Nolini Kanta Gupta in French on the theme of “Towards the Superman” was video-recorded on 18 February 1981. André Morisset (the Mother’s son), his wife Wanda, Pournaprema (his youngest daughter) and Anima Mazumdar (Nolini Kanta’s attendant) were present at the time of this interview which was recorded by Sharad. The text of the interview has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Overman Foundation.


André: Bonjour Nolini!
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Bonjour, Bonjour!
André: How are you? Alright?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Fine. So the week passed happily?
André: Oh yes. Oh yes.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Please be seated.
André: Thank you.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Wanda is here?
André: Yes. She is here.
Wanda: Bonjour Nolini!
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Bonjour. You are well I hope.
Wanda: Perfectly well. Thank you.


Nolini Kanta Gupta: (to Sharad) Have you started?
André: Yes. Is the light enough?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: You want me to say something?
Sharad: Yes.
Pournaprema: Yes. He would like you to say something.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: In English?
Pournaprema: No, in French. In French it is better. You always speak with André in French.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes… There is much speculation about the future—the future of man. There is one such speculation that…man will disappear,… not today, not tomorrow, but sometime… Man will be replaced by what we call today the superman. Something absolutely different. But in the meantime, in between, there will be an intermediary species, the overmind man or the intermediary superman. The animal was replaced by man, it is true but there are nevertheless many things in common between the man and the animal. In the same way there will be many things in common between man and this intermediary species; yet man as he is will be much changed.
André: Basically, what Sri Aurobindo tells us is that man can transform himself to some extent into this intermediary being by practising his yoga.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes.
André: And therefore—one can hope—that before developing a new external form even this simple human species can bring in something of the overmind man. But now… is Sri Aurobindo justified in saying all that? We shall come to know perhaps.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: The superman will not be born in the way man is born today. He will appear… but these are only speculations… one does not know.
Pournaprema: One does not know either how man appeared. One does not know exactly.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: One does not know. It will be… it will be a descent.
Pournaprema: Manifested. Manifested like this…
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Manifested. Yes.
André: Isn’t it a fact that the primary human species—like the man of Crottagnon we see in our part of the country in France—is something like an intermediary between the animal and man at that time: he had certainly special qualities—what one sees in the caves of Dordogne for example—it proves an artistic feeling which was already very human—although with a human aspect hardly out of the monkey stage. So to know how it will happen, that is difficult.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Here, all that is needed is to manifest in each of us something of what we call the Divine, something which is not completely human, something better, something beautiful, something good…
André: Unfortunately one always takes the better human as the Divine. We do not know what it is.
Pournaprema: The better we understand as the human better. We do not know at all what the Divine better is.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Oh yes. That is true.
Pournaprema: The usual better is most probably not the Divine better.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: No. It is not.
Pournaprema: But this intermediary being, before its manifestation upon earth, will he exist in some other world, in an occult world, or does he already exist somewhere?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: It is the creation of the Mother. Even in the other worlds it is the creation of the Mother.
Pournaprema: But actually, in the earth-atmosphere, does this form already exist?
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes. It is there.
Pournaprema: I mean in a terrestrial occult world.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes. It is already there.


(Anima shows some photographs)

Pournaprema: This is beautiful. You look so young.

(On seeing the photograph of a lotus)

Pournaprema: This too is you, Nolini.
Nolini Kanta Gupta: Yes!


Nolini Kanta Gupta: There is still one other Wednesday.
André: Yes. One more week.


8 Replies to ““Towards the Superman”: An Interview of Nolini Kanta Gupta

  1. Text of Nolini Kanta Gupta’s talk to the students of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education on his Birthday on 13 January 1981:

    “I have been saying in the recent past and have said it often that the Mother possesses in Her pocket, or rather in Her bag, two chains, one made of gold and the other of iron. With the golden chain She has bound your soul to Hers; and with the iron one She has bound your body to Her. This action has entered into the very constitution of your body, it has been imprinted in the very consciousness of your cells. And the result thereof is not something that will be realised only in the far off future: it is immediate. So, be happy and remain contented.

    “Of course, it is true that all, even men of the world, will have their realisation, in the long march of time, in their own times. But for you the result is immediate. So I say to you all: Be grateful and try to be worthy of this Action of Grace. Be happy and remain contented. And that’s all I wanted to say.”

  2. Thank you, this is the best news one can read; these mails are instant joy. “Be happy and remain contented” sounds so simple, yet such unattended invitation…

  3. The works of the soul that we endear as Nolini-da are a great source of inspiration, drawing awe and even reverence by their vastness and depth. His words seem to emerge from a great profundity or descend from some empyrean height bearing in them something of the power and luminosity of the great truths that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo embodied. As an exemplar, his life carves for us a luminous path to the Divine, having as it’s fulcrum his refuge in the Mother.
    Interestingly, in one of His essays, Sri Aurobindo touches upon the subject of a superior race. He writes:

    The associations of the mind are the stuff of which our life is made. They are more persistent in the body than in the mind and therefore harder to alter. They are more persistent in the race than in the individual; the conquest of the body and mind by the individual is comparatively easy and can be done in the space of a single life, but the same conquest by the race involves the development of ages. It is conceivable, however, that the practice of Yoga by a great number of men and persistence in the practice by their descendants might bring about profound changes in human psychology and, by stamping these changes into body and brain through heredity, evolve a superior race which would endure and by the law of the survival of the fittest eliminate the weaker kinds of humanity. Just as the rudimentary mind of the animal has been evolved into the fine instrument of the human being so the rudiments of higher force and faculty in the present race might evolve into the perfect buddhi of the Yogin.

    Thanks Anurag for bringing us precious words of Nolini-da. They are always imbued with the fragrance of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

  4. The article is matchless…We all shall be highly grateful if you go on posting this sort of article which can enlighten us with the news which are all simply unheard — which runs down straight from the lips of “GREAT MAHAJAN”…..many many thanks…..

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