17th Nov 1973 is regarded as the Mother’s Mahasamadhi day.
This day and event has become the subject of much speculation. The sceptics wonder about the fate of
Integral Yoga without a spiritual successor, especially since they think that the task of physical transformation undertaken by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother has been left incomplete. Some use the term postponed, others say it has been temporarily abandoned. The faithful however continue to repose their trust in the Mother and accept everything as part of Her Divine Lila even if they do not comprehend it.
This article (running in ten parts) is an effort to take a look at some of these issues with regard to the Integral Yoga and its many-sided fulfillment.
Part 1. The Touch Divine upon Earthly Life
THE MOTHER OF GOD
A conscious and eternal Power is here
Behind unhappiness and mortal birth
And the error of Thought and blundering trudge of Time.
The mother of God, his sister and his spouse,
Daughter of his wisdom, of his strength the mate,
She has leapt from the Transcendent’s secret breast
To build her rainbow worlds of mind and life.
Between the superconscient absolute Light
And the Inconscient’s vast unthinking toil,
In the rolling and routine of Matter’s sleep
And the somnambulist motion of the stars
She forces on the cold unwilling Void
Her adventure of life, the passionate dreams of her heart.
Amid the work of darker Powers she is here
To heal the evils and mistakes of Space
And change the tragedy of the ignorant world
Into a Divine Comedy of joy
And the laughter and the rapture of God’s bliss.
The Mother of God is mother of our souls;
We are the partners of his birth in Time,
Inheritors we share his eternity.
[Sri Aurobindo, CWSA 2: 642 – 643]
If there is one joy that earthly beings can experience which is coveted even by the gods, it is the joy of feeling the touch of the embodied Incarnate Divine. This unparalleled joy is given to earth and humanity as a saving Grace. If this were not, life upon earth would become unbearable with passage of time. Aimless and directionless it would soon hurl towards the abyss as is told in the myths of old wherein the twin Asura brothers Hiranayaksha and Hiranayakashipu try to drown the earth below the waters from which it had emerged. But the anguish of the over-burdened Earth goddess reaches the throne of the Almighty who comes down in response to her cry. This special Grace is given to Earth since unlike other gods and goddesses, she alone has chosen to submit herself to the great evolutionary adventure. All other powers assist from behind; they extend their help from their station above. But Earth alone has accepted the burden of manifesting the fullness of the Divine who is concealed within creation. No doubt the Divine is everywhere, in the distant stars and galaxies drifting billions of light years away, as much as in the worlds beyond and below our mortal sight. But it is only here upon earth that the drama of His unfolding takes place. It is only here that the two poles of existence meet in a single house of flesh. It is here that the wrestle and the embrace of opposites takes place in the battlegrounds of life.
In this sense the Earth is indeed a central focal point for a great work. It is a special formation created for this work. All the elements of the cosmos converge upon Earth and all the worlds lean towards it for fulfilment. All the forces enter Earth’s arena to test their strength and thereby grow stronger and wiser. But most of all the Earth is a blessed place for many a times the Divine Himself has descended upon Earth and chosen to worn the obscure robe so that this matter may be transmuted by His alchemic Touch. Matter has responded and each time the Divine has come down, Matter has awakened to some new possibility. This new possibility is then stabilised and slowly turned into the norm by lineage of seers, sages, yogis, remarkable men and women who knead matter further, press it to extract the new grain of Light implanted upon earth. The Avatara prepares the soil and sows the seeds. He waters it with His love until the plant has taken roots and then leaves the field for the generations to follow to see the tree grow and enjoy the fruits of His coming. Yet even as He withdraws beyond the limits of human sight, seemingly in the background, yet he is still in the forefront, unseen to man’s eyes as the secret Soul of mankind and the New Age he has ushered in. His birth is the initiation of a great work for the future not an end. The lines of karma he has initiated become the tides of time preserved in the memory of the race by the trustee of God, Time. His unspoken thoughts and will continue to pour into human hearts tuning and moulding man in the direction foreseen and willed by him. It is not a narrow cult for the faithful few that he comes to establish but a wide Path through which all who are inwardly open and receptive can walk and arrive.
Sri Aurobindo himself reveals the great secret of the Avatara or God becoming human in the context of the Gita, and it applies as much to himself and the Mother:
These three are always the necessary elements of the work of the Avatar. He gives a dharma, a law of self-discipline by which to grow out of the lower into the higher life and which necessarily includes a rule of action and of relations with our fellowmen and other beings, endeavour in the eightfold path or the law of faith, love and purity or any other such revelation of the nature of the divine in life. Then because every tendency in man has its collective as well as its individual aspect, because those who follow one way are naturally drawn together into spiritual companionship and unity, he establishes the sangha, the fellowship and union of those whom his personality and his teaching unite. In Vaishnavism there is the same trio, bhagavata, bhakta, bhagavan,—the bhagavata, which is the law of the Vaishnava dispensation of adoration and love, the bhakta representing the fellowship of those in whom that law is manifest, bhagavan, the divine Lover and Beloved in whose being and nature the divine law of love is founded and fulfils itself. The Avatar represents this third element, the divine personality, nature and being who is the soul of the dharma and the sangha, informs them with himself, keeps them living and draws men towards the felicity and the liberation.
In the teaching of the Gita, which is more catholic and complex than other specialised teachings and disciplines, these things assume a larger meaning. For the unity here is the all-embracing Vedantic unity by which the soul sees all in itself and itself in all and makes itself one with all beings. The dharma is therefore the taking up of all human relations into a higher divine meaning; starting from the established ethical, social and religious rule which binds together the whole community in which the God-seeker lives, it lifts it up by informing it with the Brahmic consciousness; the law it gives is the law of oneness, of equality, of liberated, desireless, God-governed action, of God-knowledge and self-knowledge enlightening and drawing to itself all the nature and all the action, drawing it towards divine being and divine consciousness, and of God-love as the supreme power and crown of the knowledge and the action. The idea of companionship and mutual aid in God-love and God-seeking which is at the basis of the idea of the sangha or divine fellowship, is brought in when the Gita speaks of the seeking of God through love and adoration, but the real sangha of this teaching is all humanity. The whole world is moving towards this dharma, each man according to his capacity,—“it is my path that men follow in every way,”—and the God-seeker, making himself one with all, making their joy and sorrow and all their life his own, the liberated made already one self with all beings, lives in the life of humanity, lives for the one Self in humanity, for God in all beings, acts for lokasangraha, for the maintaining of all in their dharma and the Dharma, for the maintenance of their growth in all its stages and in all its paths towards the Divine. For the Avatar here, though he is manifest in the name and form of Krishna, lays no exclusive stress on this one form of his human birth, but on that which it represents, the Divine, the Purushottama, of whom all Avatars are the human births, of whom all forms and names of the Godhead worshipped by men are the figures. The way declared by Krishna here is indeed announced as the way by which man can reach the real knowledge and the real liberation, but it is one that is inclusive of all paths and not exclusive. For the Divine takes up into his universality all Avatars and all teachings and all dharmas…
[Sri Aurobindo CWSA 19: 173-174]
The Mother makes it simpler:
If you rise high enough, you find yourself at the heart of all things. And what is manifest in this heart can manifest in all things. That is the great secret, the secret of the divine incarnation in an individual form, because in the normal course of things what manifests at the centre is realised in the external form only with the awakening and the response of the will in the individual form. Whereas if the central Will is represented constantly and permanently in an individual being, this individual being can serve as an intermediary between this Will and all beings, and will for them. Everything this individual being perceives and offers in his consciousness to the supreme Will is answered as if it came from each individual being. And if for any reason the individual elements have a more or less conscious and voluntary relation with that representative being, their relation increases the efficacy, the effectiveness of the representative individual; and thus the supreme Action can act in Matter in a much more concrete and permanent manner. That is the reason for these descents of consciousness—which we may describe as “polarised”, for they always come to earth with a definite purpose and for a special realisation, with a mission – a mission which is decided upon, determined before the incarnation. These are the great stages of the supreme incarnations on earth.
And when the day comes for the manifestation of supreme love, for the crystallised, concentrated descent of supreme love, that will truly be the hour of transformation. For nothing will be able to resist That.
But since it is all-powerful, some receptivity must be prepared on earth so that the effects are not shattering. Sri Aurobindo has explained this in one of his letters. Someone asked him, “Why does it not come immediately?” He answered something like this: if divine love were to manifest in its essence upon earth, it would be like a bombshell; because the earth is neither supple nor receptive enough to be able to widen itself to the dimensions of this love. It not only needs to open, but to widen itself and to become more supple—Matter is still too rigid. And even the substance of the physical consciousness – not only the most material Matter, but the substance of the physical consciousness—is too rigid.
Later the disciple asked Mother: “Is it one single vibration which can be repeated indefinitely or which is repeated indefinitely?”
I meant several things at the same time. This single vibration is static everywhere, but when one realises it consciously, one has the power of making it active wherever one directs it; that is to say, one doesn’t move anything, but the stress of the consciousness makes it active wherever one directs one’s consciousness. (January 1961).
[The Mother: CWMSE 10: 73-74]