Death’s Tremendous Hour
A seed shall be sown in Death’s tremendous hour,
A branch of heaven transplant to human soil;
Nature shall overleap her mortal step;
Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.
These prophetic lines from Savitri remind us also of the ways of God’s working. When all seems to be lost, it is then that the intervention takes place and the earth is saved. The loss is as much part of the grand plan, the larger picture so to say. It ploughs the field, prepares us by pushing us out of our comfort zones and the illusory paradise of the ego-self and its confused values of good and bad. We see this thrice with Sri Aurobindo and his work. The hour of death is also the hour of God. Whether it be the Gita, the song of immortality or the Sermon on the Mount, both are given during death’s tremendous hour. The first tremendous hour of death is during the first Great War. It is during this that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother come together and through the Arya start the first sowing in the mind and soul of man. Soon thereafter the first grand experiment called the Ashram would start with the Mother’s permanent arrival. The second tremendous hour comes during the second Great War. It is during this hour that the seed of a New Creation are jointly sown in the children of the future. That is when the Ashram School starts. Savitri is completed soon thereafter even as India gains independence so that over the next century she can prepare herself for the role she must play towards the New Creation, a task unique and formidable which perhaps India alone is equipped to play given her long and deep and many-sided history of spiritual understanding. The third and final tremendous hour is when Sri Aurobindo withdraws leaving the Mother in our hearts and Savitri in our hands. It is in this hour that the Mother formally inaugurates the Sri Aurobindo memorial as a university center in his Name. Soon thereafter there is going to be the Supramental manifestation as if the Heavens as well as the great Adversary conceded before Her untiring tapasya.
It is against this background that one has to understand the origins of the Sri Aurobindo International University Centre whose 75th anniversary is being observed this year. The program was modest to begin with. The Mother revealed in a series of messages:
Inaugural Message for the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Convention
Sri Aurobindo is present in our midst, and with all the power of his creative genius he presides over the formation of the University Centre which for years he considered as one of the best means of preparing the future humanity to receive the supramental light that will transform the ´elite of today into a new race manifesting upon earth the new light and force and life. In his name I open today this convention meeting here with the purpose of realising one of his most cherished ideals.
24 April 1951
A few broad ideas will serve as a basis for the organization of this university centre and will govern its programme of studies. Most of them have already been presented in the various writings of Sri Aurobindo and in the series of articles on education in this Bulletin.
The most important idea is that the unity of the human race can be achieved neither by uniformity nor by domination and subjection. Only a synthetic organisation of all nations, each one occupying its true place according to its own genius and the part it has to play in the whole, can bring about a comprehensive and progressive unification which has any chance of enduring.
And if this synthesis is to be a living one, the grouping should be effectuated around a central idea that is as wide and as high as possible, in which all tendencies, even the most contradictory, may find their respective places. This higher idea is to give men the conditions of life they need in order to be able to prepare themselves to manifest the new force that will create the race of tomorrow.
All impulsions of rivalry, all struggle for precedence and domination must disappear and give way to a will for harmonious organisation, for clear-sighted and effective collaboration.
To make this possible, the children should be accustomed from a very early age not merely to the idea itself, but to its practice. That is why the international university centre will be international; not because students from all countries will be admitted here, nor even because they will be taught in their own language, but above all because the cultures of the various parts of the world will be represented here so as to be accessible to all, not merely intellectually in ideas, theories, principles and language, but also vitally in habits and customs, art in all its forms—painting, sculpture, music, architecture, decoration— and physically through natural scenery, dress, games, sports, industries and food….
In this way, international education will not be merely theoretical, in the classroom, but practical in all the details of life.
The first aim will therefore be to help individuals to become aware of the fundamental genius of the nation to which they belong and at the same time to bring them into contact with the ways of life of other nations, so that they learn to know and respect equally the true spirit of all the countries of the world.
For, in order to be real and workable, any world-organisation must be based on this mutual respect and understanding between nation and nation as well as between individual and individual.
Only in order and collective organisation, in collaboration based on mutual goodwill, is there any possibility of lifting man out of the painful chaos in which he finds himself now. It is with this aim and in this spirit that all human problems will be studied at the university centre; and the solution to them will be given in the light of the supramental knowledge which Sri Aurobindo has revealed in his writings.
Usually, those who become conscious of their psychic being expect that it will liberate them from vital and physical attractions and activities; they seek to escape from the world in order to live in the joy of contemplation of the Divine, and in the immutable peace of constant contact with Him. The attitude of those who want to practise Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga is quite different. When they have found their psychic being and are united with it, they ask it to turn its gaze towards the physical being in order to act on it with the knowledge that comes from the contact with the Divine, and to transform the body so that it may be able to receive and manifest the divine consciousness and harmony.
This is the goal of our efforts here; this will be the culmination of your studies in the International University Centre. So, to all those who come to join the University Centre, I shall say once more: never forget our programme and the deeper reason of your coming here. And if in spite of all your efforts the horizon sometimes darkens, if hope and joy fade away, if enthusiasm flags, remember that it is a sign that you have drawn away from your psychic being and lost contact with its ideal.
In this way you will avoid making the mistake of throwing the blame on the people and things around you and thus quite needlessly increasing your sufferings and your difficulties.
Later as are Her ways, the work expanded. In fact always Her work is many-sided and multi-dimensional, something that the linear and limited human mind glued to the moment cannot understand. She sees centuries and millenniums ahead while we cannot take our eyes off the tip of our nose and our little or big personal troubles. She boldly and prophetically declared:
I am perfectly sure, I am quite confident, there is not the slightest doubt in my mind, that this University, which is being established here, will be the greatest seat of knowledge upon earth.
It may take fifty years, it may take a hundred years, and you may doubt about my being there; I may be there or not, but these children of mine will be there to carry out my work.
And those who collaborate in this divine work today will have the joy and pride of having participated in such an exceptional achievement.