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 ofIntegral 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 8. Towards the New Body (2)
The Mother gave a series of interesting messages after Sri Aurobindo’s physical withdrawal such as:
The lack of receptivity of the earth and men is mostly responsible for the decision Sri Aurobindo has taken regarding his body. But one thing is certain: what has happened on the physical plane affects in no way the truth of his teaching. All that he has said is perfectly true and remains so. Time and the course of events will prove it abundantly.
8 December 1950
We must not be bewildered by appearances. Sri Aurobindo has not left us. Sri Aurobindo is here, as living and as present as ever and it is left to us to realise his work with all the sincerity, eagerness and concentration necessary.
15 December 1950
A couple of years after Sri Aurobindo’s physical withdrawal, the Mother gave an even more intriguing message:
When I asked Him (December 8, 1950) to resuscitate his body, He clearly answered: “I have left this body purposely. I will not take it back. I shall manifest again in the first supramental body built in the supramental way.”
11 April 1952
While the sceptics again continue to see these messages as a means of giving hope to the distraught disciples, the eye of faith sees them as plain and simple spiritual facts that can be verifies through spiritual means rather than through mental analysis of surface data.
The Mother later sees Sri Aurobindo with the New Body even as He shows and explains to Her what the New Body would be like. A vivid description follows:
I spent a good part of the night (almost the whole night till 3 in the morning) with Sri Aurobindo, and he not only showed me and explained to me, but he himself was what he was showing me: he was preparing himself for the new creation. And last night he told me, he showed me how this or that thing would be, how the body would be. I remember that when I woke up, he was lying down on a bed, I was kneeling beside the bed, looking at him, and while he was that new body, he at the same time explained to me how the superman’s body would be (the supramental being). And it was so living that even when I woke up, it remained – I can still see it. But the details … (how can I put it?) the memory doesn’t have the precision that enables it to explain (I don’t know how to put it). I still have the vision … it had a color … it wasn’t casting rays of light, not that, but … and not luminescent like an object, but with a special luminosity which had that light … a little like Auroville’s flower (but it wasn’t like that, it looked perfectly natural). He was showing me his body; he was lying down, and showing me his body, saying, “Here is how it is.” The form was almost the same, with some … I still have the memory there (gesture in the atmosphere), but I don’t know how to explain …. Lately, I had been wondering, “It’s odd, we don’t at all know how it [the new body] will be.” And I was saying to myself, “There’s no one to tell me.” Because this Consciousness that came, it acts through the consciousness, but not so much through the vision. So then, I had that last night. For a long, long time I was with Sri Aurobindo, a long time, for hours. It has entered the consciousness, it will come out again one day But I kept the memory of the last thing: I saw myself, I was in two places at the same time (and maybe I too wasn’t quite as I am, but that didn’t interest me: I was looking at him, who was lying down and explaining to me), and it was … it was the same thing as a luminescent body, but it wasn’t luminescent, it was …
It’s a pink with a golden glow, you understand. So the two are seen together, like this (gesture of fusing together).
[Conversations with a disciple: August 30, 1969]
Finally the Mother sees Her own New Body in some detail:
For the first time, early this morning, I saw myself: my body. I don’t know whether it’s the supramental body or … (what shall I say?) a transitional body, but I had a completely new body, in the sense that it was sexless: it was neither woman nor man.
It was very white. But that could be because I have white skin, I don’t know. It was very slender (gesture). Really lovely, a truly harmonious form.
That’s the first time.
I hadn’t the least idea, the faintest notion what it would look like, nothing, and I saw – I was like that, I had become like that…..
[Conversations with a disciple: March 24, 1972]
Yes, I was like that. It was me; I didn’t look at myself in a mirror, I saw myself like this (Mother bends her head to look at her body), I was … I just was like that.
That’s the first time. It was around four in the morning, I think. And perfectly natural – I mean, I didn’t look in a mirror, it felt perfectly natural. I only remember what I saw (gesture from the chest to the waist). I was covered only with veils, so I only saw…. What was very different was the torso, from the chest to the waist: it was neither male nor female.
But it was lovely, my form was extremely svelte and slim – slim but not thin. And the skin was very white, just like my skin. A lovely form. And no sex – you couldn’t tell: neither male nor female. The sex had disappeared.
The same here (Mother points to her chest), all that was flat. I don’t know how to explain it. There was an outline reminiscent of what is now, but with no forms (Mother touches her chest), not even as much as a man’s. A very white skin, very smooth. Practically no abdomen to speak of. And no stomach. All that was slim…..
You see, I didn’t look to see how it worked, for it was completely natural to me, so I can’t describe it in detail. Simply, it was neither a woman’s body nor a man’s – that much is certain. And the outline was fairly similar to that of a very young person. There was a faint suggestion of a human form (Mother draws a form in the air): with a shoulder and a waist. Just a hint of it.
I see it but…. I saw it exactly as you see yourself, I didn’t even look at myself in the mirror. And I had a sort of veil, which I wore to cover myself.
It was my way of being (there was nothing surprising in it), my natural way of being.
That must be how it is in the subtle physical….
The shoulders were strikingly broad (gesture), in contrast. That’s important. But the chest was neither feminine nor even masculine: only reminiscent of it. And all that – stomach, abdomen and the rest – was simply an outline, a very slender and harmonious form, which certainly wasn’t used for the purpose we now use our bodies.
The two different things – totally different – were procreation, which was no longer possible, and food. Though even our present food is manifestly not the same as that of chimpanzees or even the first humans; it’s quite different. So now, it seems we have to find a food that doesn’t require all this digesting…. Not exactly liquid, but not solid either. And there’s also the question of the mouth – I don’t know about that – and the teeth? Naturally, chewing should no longer be necessary, and therefore teeth wouldn’t be either…. But there has to be something to replace them. I haven’t the slightest idea what the face looked like. But it didn’t seem too, too unlike what it is now.
What will change a great deal, of course – it had acquired a prominent role – is breathing. That being depended much on it.
Yes, he probably absorbs energies directly.
Yes. There will probably be intermediary beings who won’t last, you see, just as there were intermediary beings between the chimpanzee and man.
But I don’t know, something has to happen that has never before happened.
[Conversations with a disciple: March 25, 1972]
Did you see anything new since that vision of the new body?
No. It’s something totally new for me – it was the first time and it seems it’s going to be the last.
My body has asked for … (it is in a constant state of aspiration, you know), it has asked for…. It feels (I don’t know how to explain it), it feels the complete Presence of the Divine, I mean in all things, everywhere, all the time, as if it were at once enveloped and permeated by it – and it asked for something even more concrete. Then, a kind of Consciousness answered me that the body wasn’t given a more complete perception because it would still feel like … (what shall I say?) fusing into the Divine, and then the cells would … (gesture of explosion). So the body would lose its form.
[Conversations with a disciple: March 29, 1972]
With this New Body the Mother experiences tremendous Force within the body cells. Can the physical body hold that further or will it explode? Would the last step be smooth or, given the tremendous Power a sudden transition that may spell ‘catastrophe’ for whatever cells cannot follow the change.
The body is in a curious condition (Mother touches her fingertips): it feels a terrible Force – it is full of strength – and it can’t do a thing!
It is in a bizarre kind of state…..
Yes, it’s becoming terribly powerful, in a body which is … (gesture of being miserable). But the body does not feel weak, yet it isn’t hungry. It isn’t “hungry,” that went long ago; but now, recently, it’s become almost impossible to eat….
Because, according to what Sri Aurobindo said, the supramental body will be immortal and sexless – that is, no procreation. So for those who live, if the earth is still there and they are to go on living, they will have to transform themselves constantly, otherwise they won’t be able to last. Hence something has to replace food.
Food carries in itself a seed of death, of decay. So obviously, it must be replaced by something else….
[Conversations with a disciple: August 9, 1972]
What follows after this is a Silence with regard to the New Body. Was it a deliberate silence? We, in our ignorance tend to analyse the Mother’s Words and try to understand things from what They have said. But as Sri Aurobindo once remarked ‘what They have said is much less that what They have known.’ What They revealed is a small fraction of what They knew and were engaged in doing. And for obvious reasons; firstly, we would not only not understand but are likely to misunderstand. Would an ape be able to communicate with man or would a caterpillar understand or even see the butterfly world until it becomes so? Its gaze fixed to the ground on its little patch of food it would not notice the butterfly even though it has eyes. Secondly, They were not so much interested in speaking about it but in doing it, in fulfilling it, for man and earth and for generations to follow. So let us not speculate as to what happened thereafter in the last scene of Her earthly life. Was it indeed the last scene or the beginning of a New Act with the curtains dropped over our eyes and for only the gods to see? Let us rather live with this wonderful vision of Nolini da in 1974 when the Mother appeared before him in Her New Body and gave Her ‘final’ message for all of us; final in the sense of it being an ultimate truth and not in terms of time since Her play and its unfolding is constant and timeless for all of us:
The Mother says: “Just see. Look at me. I am here come back in my new body, – divine, transformed and glorious. And I am the same mother, still human. Do not worry. Do not be concerned about your own self, your progress and realisation, nor about others. I am here, look at me, gaze into me, enter into me wholly, merge into my being, lose yourself into my love, with your love. You will see all problems solved, every thing done. Forget all else, forget the world. Remember me alone, be one with me, with my love…. ”
One is reminded of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Lo, from within our heart, 0 Mother, thou hast come forth in this wonder-form of yours! I gaze and gaze and my eyes turn not aside.
Lo! The door of thy golden temple is flung wide open, 0 Mother! What a wonder-form I behold before me! I gaze and gaze and my eyes turn not aside.”
[Nolini Kanta Gupta CWNKG Vol 6: 258-259]