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 9. The Work Before us: Are we Ready?
Our focus therefore has to be on the goal and its fulfilment and not on speculating about where the work stands as of now and how much has been accomplished or even whether it has been postponed etc. Who can say this with certainty? But one thing we can surely have and keep is faith in its inevitable and eventual fulfilment. What does it matter if it takes a few centuries or a few millenniums now that we are engaged by the Divine in this wonderful divine project. Let us play out our part with the utmost sincerity we can command and leave the rest in Her safe hands. If it takes millenniums we shall have the joy of His Service and Her Love through this period. If it gets over earlier we shall have the joy of identity and the fulfilment of the Divine Work. Does one enrol in the Divine Service after calculating profit and loss, much in a business-like manner after confirming whether the work will succeed or not! Does one love the Divine only if He is successful in His undertaking right away. Of course there can be no doubt that the Divine Victory is as certain and more certain than the rising of tomorrow’s sun. But time is an imponderable and the less we think and worry about the time taken, the better it is. Aspiration for the ‘now’, yes but neither impatience nor doubts will help us. To learn to wait with trust and patience, to aspire steadily but leave all result in the Divine hands is surely the best way to bring Time on our side.
This is not to say that the earth would not feel the absence of the embodied Divine. Nothing can replace that touch-divine and the thrill of contact in the very physical. It is also a tremendous help for the outer being to follow the movement of yoga. However, the yoga in itself does not depend upon that. It depends upon the fundamental movements of aspiration, sincerity, surrender, faith, devotion. Who knows that this apparent physical withdrawal may not awaken an intense aspiration in the very cells of the body for the Divine. When it was there we took it for granted. Krishna’s departure from Vrindavan released the streams of devotion in the human consciousness. Perhaps Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s physical withdrawal may well light up the fire of aspiration in the very dust that constitutes our physical body. If that be so, then the withdrawal may well have been a divine strategy to prepare Earth and humanity to come even closer to the Goal. Was the world ready for the shattering Divine Touch? Are we still ready? That is the question to be asked and we shall find the answer to Her physical withdrawal:
Whenever a god has donned a body, it was always with the intention of transforming the earth and creating a new world. Yet until now, he always had to give up his body without being able to complete his work; and it has always been said that the earth was not ready, that mankind did not fulfill the conditions necessary for the work to be accomplished.
But it is the very imperfection of the incarnate god that makes the perfection of those about him indispensable. If the god incarnate realized the perfection needed for the progress to be made, this progress would not be conditioned by the state of the surrounding matter. However, interdependence is doubtlessly absolute in this world of utmost objectification, and a certain degree of perfection in the general manifestation is indispensable before a higher degree of perfection can be realized in the divine, incarnate being. It is the need for a certain perfection in the environment that drives human beings to progress; it is the insufficiency of this progress, whatever it may be, that impels the divine being to intensify his effort for progress in his own body. Thus both movements for progress are simultaneous and complementary.
[Conversations with a disciple: April 1954]
Shortly before the 15th of August I had a unique experience that exemplifies all this. For the first time the supramental light entered directly into my body, without passing through the inner beings. It entered through the feet (a red and gold color – marvelous, warm, intense), and it climbed up and up. And as it climbed, the fever also climbed because the body was not accustomed to this intensity. As all this light neared the head, I thought I would burst and that the experience would have to be stopped. But then, I very clearly received the indication to make the Calm and Peace descend, to widen all this body-consciousness and all these cells, so that they could contain the supramental light. So I widened, and as the light was ascending, I brought down the vastness and an unshakable peace. And suddenly, there was a second of fainting.
I found myself in another world, but not far away (I was not in a total trance). This world was almost as substantial as the physical world. There were rooms – Sri Aurobindo’s room with the bed he rests on – and he was living there, he was there all the time: it was his abode. Even my room was there, with a large mirror like the one I have here, combs, all kinds of things. And the substance of these objects was almost as dense as in the physical world, but they shone with their own light. It was not translucent, not transparent, not radiant, but self-luminous. The various objects and the material of the rooms did not have this same opacity as the physical objects here, they were not dry and hard as in the physical world we know.
And Sri Aurobindo was there, with a majesty, a magnificent beauty. He had all his beautiful hair as before. It was all so concrete, so substantial – he was even being served some kind of food. I remained there for one hour (I had looked at my watch before and I looked at it afterwards). I spoke to Sri Aurobindo, for I had some important questions to ask him about the way certain things are to be realized. He said nothing. He listened to me quietly and looked at me as if all my words were useless: he understood everything at once……
I remained in that state for two full days, two days of absolute felicity. And Sri Aurobindo was with me the whole time, the whole time – when I walked, he walked with me, when I sat down, he sat next to me. On the day of August 15th, too, he remained there constantly during the darshan. But who was aware of it? A few – one or two – felt something. But who saw? – No one.
And I showed all these people to Sri Aurobindo, this whole field of work, and asked him when this other world, the real one that is there, so near, would come to take the place of our world of falsehood. Not ready. That was all he replied. Not ready.
Sri Aurobindo gave me two days of this – total bliss. But all the same, by the end of the second day I realized that I could not continue to remain there, for the work was not advancing. The work must be done in the body; the realization must be attained here in this physical world, for otherwise it is not complete. So I withdrew from that world and set to work here again.
And yet, it would take little, very little, to pass from this world to the other, or for the other to become the real world. A little click would be enough, or rather a little reversal in the inner attitude. How should I put it? … It is imperceptible to the ordinary consciousness; a very little inner shift would be enough, a change in quality.
[Conversations with a disciple: October 6, 1959]