Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Aurobindo

Introduction

Recent few decades are witnessing a revival of the Rama legacy in India, world-wide turning of the human mind and heart towards Sri Krishna and an increasing interest in the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. Leaving aside the forms this may be taking and the socio-political views about these happenings, there is behind these surface movements concealed waves of truth shaping our human destiny. There is something more than mere symbolism behind all this. Sri Rama can be seen as the soul of India, the legendary king and hero of Aryavarta whose nobility and chivalry find no match in ancient or modern history. To the Indian mind he is one of the ten Avataras who occupies a very important place in shaping the thought and culture of the Indian people. His influence however seems to be largely confined to India. At another level and in the same lineage of Avataras we have Sri Krishna who stands apart as a unique divinely-human figure whose exploits continue to kindle the flame of Godward love in many hearts across the globe and whose thoughts embedded in the Gita continues to inspire many a people through the world cutting across barriers of religious beliefs and socio-political identities. Many look upon Sri Krishna as the World-Soul, the charioteer of the human life in its ascension towards the Divine, the Jagadguru or Jagannath, the world-Teacher. Finally and after a long lapse of Time there emerges another figure on the human scene whose revolutionary spiritual thought and work has begun to draw the attention of all who seek a greater and reconciling spiritual vision and whose souls have become awake to a deeper need, the need of perfection of earthly life. All these are signs of a stirring going on beneath the surfaces of human life. Sri Aurobindo, when we look at his life closely, stands clearly as the herald of the New World, the Avatara of the Future. In the lineage of Avataras, there is none who can fill the place of the last and tenth Avatara, the Kalki. Be it as it may, it is not the purpose of this article to convince anyone about the Avatarahood of any of these great and powerful luminaries. It is not needed either. Their life and works stands by itself as a bright star or the sun needs no introduction. Their Glory is self-evident for one who cares to see. All that is being attempted is to bring out some interesting facets of these three-in-one personalities of the Divine walking in the garb of our humanity. We need to see them in the context of time, the kind of work they accomplished and the divinely-human example they have left for mankind to walk further.

 

Part 1 Sri Rama

The Soul of India

It is said that the Soul of India resides in its Scriptures rather than its customs and traditions. It is true but unlike other religions, India has not one or two but many scriptures that stand like shining stars guiding mankind through the Night of the Ages. The essence of these scriptures can well be traced back to the Vedas and the Upanishads and their powerful utterances. The first formula of Wisdom arising from the deep Soul of India is that there is but ‘One Reality behind countless seeming appearances’, Ekamevadvitiyam. This when read in conjunction with the other formula that ‘Truth is One, the wise call It with different Names, Ekam Sat vipra bahuda vadanti, gives us the whole secret of creation, its very purpose which is to manifest Unity in Diversity. There are of course many other great formulas born out of the seers who seeded this land with the truths they discovered. Futuristic and wise, lest men reduce it to a limited belief they preferred to call it the Sanatana dharma, the eternal Law that upholds creation, upholds the material and all other universes, upholds the march of civilization, upholds Science and Philosophy and every other approach through which man seeks to grow beyond his limited humanity and arrive at a larger and wider conception of himself and the world he inhabits. The path towards this Truth which stands as the bedrock of existence goes through truth itself, captured in another great formula, Satyameva jayate nanritam, it is truth that conquers and not falsehood.

Still the Vedas and the Upanishads are not easy for the common ordinary mind to follow. It needs a certain degree of spiritual seeking or at least a sophistication of the intellect and a philosophical bent of mind. Therefore we find the great Rishis who built the Indian civilization create a parallel kind of Scripture through which the Soul of India comes alive and real in flesh and blood. It shines through the luminous characters sketched through the great Epics and the countless legends and stories weaving the occult and the apparent, the hidden and the visible, the ethereal and the concrete, the spiritual and the material together in a fascinating tapestry of symbols. But these are not mere symbols but real archetypes woven around prominent central characters that bring out into bold relief some profound and striking aspect of Indian spiritual thought. This serves a dual purpose. On the one hand it makes the profound spiritual thought of the Vedas and the Upanishads nearer to the ordinary man, closer to the striving heart so to say. Secondly, if we take it that ultimately spirituality is not just intellectualizing, debating or philosophizing about abstract truths but essentially about changing our human nature into some semblance of divinity, then these great and noble characters, call them archetypes if we like, become a shining example to be followed. It is a simple way not only to imbibe the spirit of the Vedas but to mould our life in the light of the profound truths of the Sanatana Dharma. Many are the characters that inspire us in countless ways. The strength of Bhisma, the generosity of Karna, the prowess of Arjuna, the might of Bheema, the courage of Abhimanyu, the truthfulness of King Harishchandra, the wisdom of seers such as Vasistha and Viswamitra or Bharadwaj and Markandeya. There are powerful feminine characters too whose names and qualities are legion such as Draupadi, Kunti, Sita, Urmila, Savitri, Radha to name just a very few. But among all this galaxy of stars two names that stand prominent and which have etched themselves firmly in the Indian heart and mind, nay embedded within its very soul are those of ‘Rama’ and ‘Krishna’. So well-known are these names that they need no introduction or a prefix or suffix before or after.

Sri Rama, the scion of the Sun

One can possibly imagine India without its countless stories, myths and legends but Rama and Krishna are indispensable. They are so much integrated as part of the common Indian psyche that the best and worst all seem to draw inspiration of some kind or the other from them just as all draw their light from the sun regardless of what use they may put it to. But who are these two great Names that ring throughout India from the North to the South of Vindyas, from the Western borders to the eastern horizons of this country. Rama and Krishna are one in essence and yet they represent two distinct types of a divine humanity. Another way to look at these two central figures that have inspired and continue to inspire generations is that they represent two steps of man’s ascension towards a still higher humanity or let’s say super- humanity of the future.

When we turn the pages of Indian History the first central character unequalled in nobility by any of those who preceded him and possibly even those who came after him is Rama. If the seers and sages of the Vedas laid the spiritual foundations of Bharatvarsha, it is the great and wise kings who guarded the edifice, gave it flesh and blood and embodied the very soul of Aryavarta. They built the soul and body of the nation we know today as India. Foremost among these were the kings of solar dynasty, Sooryavanshis, who derived their lineage from Viwasavan, the sun god and his progeny Shraddhadev Manu, the seventh of the fourteen Manus who are beings of the mental world whose task has been to embody and establish the mental consciousness upon earth. The first human king of this dynasty Ikshvaku laid down the broad foundations of Dharma which were binding to the king and the people of the land alike. His lineage subsequently saw the coming of glorious kings such as Dilip, Sagar, Bhagirath, Muchukund, Trishanku, Harishchandra, Rohitaswa, Ritupurna, Raghu, Aja, Dasaratha among others. Lord Rama, son of Dasaratha was the finest flower of this illustrious lineage of kings who would give flesh and blood to the idea of India embodied in Sanatana Dharma. Indeed India is Sanatana Dharma and Rama, the Avatara, is the very embodiment of this Dharma. Noble and gentle in temperament, he combines the rare qualities of strength and tenderness, justice and compassion, the unsparing application of the law even to himself though a king. Truthful to a default, he is ever keen to keep his promise even if it costs him his kingdom and endangers his life. A friend who would go to any length to protect his friend he is mighty in the face of assault by the Asuras. The intensity of his love for his divine consort Sita is matched only by his utter detachment and renunciation wherein he is willing to sacrifice even one most dear to him for upholding the law of the land and keep intact the fabric of the dharma of those times. It was of course a time when an animal and Asuric humanity was ruling the middle and southern tip of India. Rama does the daunting task of converting this humanity into the prototype of a sattwic man who governs his life by an ideal ethic rather than by brute force.

The seeds of divine socialism

At a collective level, Sri Rama, the King, sowed the first seeds of democracy and socialism. After subjugating the Vanara King Vali he hands over the kingdom immediately to his brother Sugreeva. Similarly after killing the mighty but wayward king Ravana he hands over the prosperous kingdom at once to the demon-King’s brother Vibhisana. These are not ordinary acts for it means a complete freedom from any lust and ambition for being a ruler and wielding power over foreign lands. Yet when it comes to safeguard the land of Aryavarta, more importantly those who were quietly pursuing the path of dharma, he is swift and fearless in warding off all forces that would stifle and arise to slay them. But even as he slays the adversary he is free from all malice and prejudice and knows how to extract the best even out of the worst. He sends his brother Lakshmana to learn from Ravana even as the monarch lies fallen on the battlefield. What greater example can there be for kings and monarchs and even democratically elected Presidents to follow?

But the socialist in him is not limited only to human beings. He is a friend not only to Vibhisana, the Asura, or Sugreeva, the Vanara, but the notch girl, Ganika, Ahilya, the abandoned woman, Sabarai, the lowly outcast, Nishad the boatman, Jatayu, the vulture, the little squirrel, man and animals alike, all are recipients of his love and kindness and grace. All are equal before him but though a mighty King he bows down wherever he finds knowledge and the givers of knowledge. But what marks Rama most is the self-restraint that he exercises in all he does. He is strong and mighty and yet he will never cross the line of self-imposed dharma. That is why he is known as Maryada Purushottam, the best and noblest amongst the men of his times and all times and yet who knows how to live within the limits of dharma. Such is Sri Rama and much more.

Sri Aurobindo on Sri Rama

Sri Aurobindo beautifully summarises:

As for the Avatarhood, I accept it for Rama first because he fills a place in the scheme—and seems to me to fill it rightly —and because when I read the Ramayana I feel a great afflatus which I recognise and which makes of its story—mere faery-tale though it seems—a parable of a great critical transitional event that happened in the terrestrial evolution and gives to the main character’s personality and action a significance of the large typical cosmic kind which these actions would not have had if they had been done by another man in another scheme of events. The Avatar is not bound to do extraordinary actions, but he is bound to give his acts or his work or what he is—any of these or all—a significance and an effective power that are part of something essential to be done in the history of the earth and its races….

… It was not at all Rama’s business to establish the spiritual stage of that evolution—so he did not at all concern himself with that. His business was to destroy Ravana and to establish the Ramarajya—in other words, to fix for the future the possibility of an order proper to the sattwic civilised human being who governs his life by the reason, the finer emotions, morality, or at least moral ideals, such as truth, obedience, co-operation and harmony, the sense of honour, the sense of domestic and public order, to establish this in a world still occupied by anarchic forces, the Animal Mind and the powers of the vital Ego making its own satisfaction the rule of life, in other words, the Vānara and the Raksasa. This is the meaning of Rama and his life-work and it is according as he fulfilled it or not that he must be judged as Avatar or no Avatar. It was not his business to play the comedy of the chivalrous Ksatriya’ with the formidable brute beast that was Ball, it was his business to kill him and get the Animal Mind under his control. It was his business to be not necessarily a perfect, but a largely representative sattwic Man, a faithful husband and a lover, a loving and obedient son, a tender and perfect brother, rather, friend—he is friend of all kinds of people, friend of the outcast Guhaka, friend of the Animal leaders, Sugriva, Hanuman, friend of the vulture Jatayu, friend even of the Rāksasa Vibhisana. All that he was in a brilliant, striking but of this note or that like Harishchandra or Shivi, but with a certain harmonious completeness. but most of all, it was his business to typify and establish the things on which the social idea and its stability depend, truth and honour, the sense of the Dharama, public spirit and sense of order. To the first to truth and honour, much more than to his filial love and obedience to his father—though to that also—he sacrificed his personal rights as the elect of the King and the assembly and fourteen of the best years of his life and went into exile in the forests. To his public spirit and his sense of public order (the great and supreme civic virtue in the eyes of the ancient Indians, Greeks, Romans, for at that time the maintenance of the ordered community, not the separate development and satisfaction of the individual was the pressing need of the human evolution) he sacrificed his own happiness and domes- tic life and the happiness of Sita. In that he was at one with the moral sense of all the antique races, though at variance with the later romantic individualistic sentimental morality of the modern man who can afford to have that less stern morality just because the ancients sacrificed the individual in order to make the world safe for the spirit of social order. Finally, it was Rama’s business to make the world safe for the ideal of the sattwic human being by destroying the sovereignty of Ravana, the Rāksasa menace. All this he did with such a divine afflatus in his personality and action that his figure has been stamped for more than two millenniums on the mind of Indian culture, and what he stood for has dominated the reason and idealising mind of man in all countries—and in spite of the constant revolt of the human vital, is likely to continue to do so until a greater Ideal arises. And you say in spite of all these that he was no Avatar? If you like—but at any rate he stands among the few greatest of the great Vibhūtis. You may dethrone him now—for man is no longer satisfied with the sattwic ideal and is seeking for something more—but his work and meaning remain stamped on the past of the earth’s evolving race.

When I spoke of the gap that would be left by his absence, I did not mean a gap among the prophets and intellectuals, but a gap in the scheme of Avatarhood—there “was somebody who was the Avatar of the sattwic Human as Krishna was the Avatar of the overmental Superhuman—I see no one but Rama who can fill the place. Spiritual teachers and prophet (as also intellectuals, scientists, artists, poets, etc.)—these are the greatest Vibhūtis, but they are not Avatars….

I wanted to say this much more about Rama—which is still only a hint and is not the thing I was going to write about the general principle of the Avatar. Nor, I may add, is it a complete or supreme defence of Rama. For that I would have to write about what the story of the Ramayana meant, appreciate Valmiki’s presentation of his chief characters (they are none of them copy-book examples, but great men and women with the defects and merits of human nature, as all men even the greatest are), and show also how the Godhead, which was behind the frontal and instrumental personality we call Rama, worked out every incident of his life as a necessary step in what had to be done.’

[Sri Aurobindo to Dilip; Vol 2: 90 – 93]

 

Part 2  Sri Krishna

The progressive march of mankind

There are many things in Sanatana Dharma that make it not only unique but ever fresh like a stream regenerating itself by the waters flowing from some perennial source. It has no one scripture, no single founder, no single approach to Truth, no one Name of Deity, no single aspect of the Supreme Reality. Nor is it stuck in a particular epoch of Time. It allows and even encourages new and fresh revelations of the Spirit. It takes its stand on the fact that the Ultimate Reality though One is also infinite. It has many sides and aspects to IT. Hence it is always possible to experience and realise IT in as many ways as there are human beings. Of course the fundamental Reality will be the same but it manifests Itself in countless ways. Creation is nothing else but its progressive manifestation. Thus it allows for evolution within the individual as well as in the collectivity through ever far reaching cycles of Time. Just as Rebirth is a means for the individual soul to evolve by changing its set of experiences of life and world and itself so too, the world also evolves through cycles of dissolution (called pralaya) and new creation. Each human being passes through the four seasons of life and there is a dharma appropriate to each season of his life. So too each cycle of creation has four Ages and for each Age there is a dharma appropriate to that Age. Rama is the upholder of dharma in the Treta Yuga or the silver Age of mankind. More specifically the Avatara comes when a particular Age is passing into another, the silver into the bronze, the treta into the dwapara yuga.  The seers of course have always been there but the mass of mankind is driven by a certain evolutionary stress primarily on one aspect of man and the world. The coming Dwapara Yuga will be dominated by the vital forces. Due to Sri Rama’s intervention these forces had evolved from their cruder rakshasic, asuric and animal state to a more humanized form. In Dwapara yuga we find less of demons but strong Kshatriyas full of vital vigour, either heroic or else drunken with pride and arrogance of power. The sattwic light that Sri Rama had brought down to humanity began to fade after a passage of Time and the Rakshasa and Asura once again began to awake and stir in man. It is this that leads to the crisis of Dharma termed as dharmasyaglani, the eclipsing of dharma leading to much confusion. At this point a new and fresh revelation is needed, a new and fresh action to steer humanity through the dangerous and narrow gorge of Time. Towards the end of Dwapara Yuga, the bronze Age, we witness the rise of these beastly and demoniac forces once again though partially modified because of the touch of Rama’s light. The ancient Aryavarta united by Sri Rama’s prowess into a land of dharma right upto the southern tip begins to show pockets of resistances and a collusion of dark forces rising up to swallow the life of mankind. Jarasindh, Kansa, Duryodhana, Sishupal, Rukmi, Jayadrath begin to tie up their forces in an unholy nexus driven by lust and ambition. Even great beings like Bhisma of unmatched strength and steadfastness to truth are unable to safeguard the dharma because of the confusion created by the forces of disorder. It is at this juncture, towards the end of Dwapara, that the Divine assumes another name and form to lead humanity out of its crisis as it is about to enter another Age. Rama returns as Krishna.

 

Sri Krishna, the champion of freedom and cup-bearer of delight

Sri Krishna is born to the lunar lineage, Chandravanshis. The Sooryavanshis are like tapaswis whereas Chandravanshis are those who embody not only light but also sweetness and delight. Right from childhood we see Sri Krishna rebelling against age old traditions. He must teach men to break free from all trappings so that only truth and delight can remain. He is a rebel boy, a playmate who loves to break rule and norm, a friend who cares little for outer measures and lineage but only for the love that one holds in his heart. His socialism is not born from a rational discerning mind but from the heart. It flows upon the world drawing all kinds of people and animals towards Him. It leads the heart to the rapture born of an intimacy with God as a playmate and friend. He too like Sri Rama, reunites the ancient land of Aryavarta, now known as Bharatavarsha after the legendary king Bharat to whose lineage the Pandavas and Kauravas belong. With the help of the Pandavas, Sri Krishna establishes once again a united Bharatvarsha, frees it from forces of adharma and the danger of foreign domination through outside kings such as Kalayavan and Shakuni and installs the Sanatana Dharma in a way appropriate to the Age. This dharma would be protected through another couple of thousand years through a number of kings.

Sri Rama established the rule of a mind illumined by a sattwic light upon the animal and Rakshasa in man. With this mind, which in more modern terms is a rational discerning intellect, he whose us how to tame the animal within and even use its energies for higher and nobler purposes. He also showed us how to subdue the Asura within us and if her absolutely refuses to be subdued then the only recourse left is to slay him by an inner sword of renunciation, detachment, steadfastness to truth and dharma regardless of the personal consequences. Sri Krishna however showed us how to transcend the mind since however discerning and rational our intellect may be there are still limits to its power. These limits are shown in the life of Sri Rama himself. When confronted with conflicting dharmas, the dharma of the husband which consists of taking care of his wife and children above all things, and the dharma of the king which is to take care of his subjects and ensure that there is justice without any partiality and the rule of the prevalent law prevails over all personal preferences, Sri Rama chooses the latter. By doing this he sets a new standard of conduct. It is to respect the larger life of the society over the life of an individual. But this does not reconcile the problem of the individual and the collective existence. Sri Krishna teaches that and it consists in going beyond all the available mental standards and simply obeying the Divine Will and Its impulsion in us. This is not easy and hence he gives to man the Yoga of the Gita through which man can transcend both good and evil, virtue and vice and taking refuge in the Lord seated in his heart, go through the battle of life remembering God and offering all actions and impulsions to Him. It is a new standard for the mental man, a transhuman or divine standard so to say. This is the dharma to steer man through the dark Age of Kali when submerged in the dense obscurity of matter man’s consciousness will experience much confusion and conflict. The light of mind is an insufficient light. It does not have the power to resolve all the complex and perplexing issues that human beings face. The world of Sri Rama is relatively simple. But the world has changed much when Sri Krishna, the Anandmaya, arrives on the human scene. He stands above the Mind, literally the Overmind consciousness and from that vantage point surveys creation and its goal and the path that man must lead.

Of course both Sri Rama’s and Sri Krishna’s action were not limited to the inner psychological being of man but also upon the larger world forces and their human, animal and Asuric representatives. While both are important the stress should be upon the inner. Thus man rises from the animal and the Asuric stage of evolution to the human and godlike stature. In dealing with these elements within and wihout, Sri Krishna discards the self-imposed limits of the sattwic man. He is not Maryada Purushottama but the Purushottama Himself, eternally free and in delight, even in the thick of the battle. He came to teach man how to be inwardly free even when outwardly involved and engaged in countless activities. Because of this transcendence of human limits and the human formula of life, Sri Krishna remains at once a wonder and a mystery. We are drawn towards him and feel him to be too intimate to our hearts and soul. He is clearly not human but superhuman. This superhumanity of Sri Krishna awakens and inspires us also to rise to a higher level of evolution.

Sri Aurobindo on Sri Krishna

Sri Aurobindo reveals to us:

I am rather perplexed by your strictures on Rama. Coward ice is the last thing that can be charged against Valmiki’s Rama; he has always been considered as a warrior and it is the “martial races” of India who have made him their god. Valmiki everywhere paints him as a great warrior. His employment of ruse against an infrahuman enemy does not prove the opposite—for that is always how the human (even great warriors and hunters) has dealt with the infrahuman. I think it is Madhusudan who has darkened Valmiki’s hero in Bengali eyes and turned him into a poor puppet, but that is not the authentic Rama who, say what one will, was a great epic figure—Avatar or no Avatar. As for conventional morality, all morality is a convention—man cannot live without conventions, mental and moral, otherwise he feels himself lost in the rolling sea of the anarchic forces of the vital Nature. Even the Russells and Bernard Shaws can only end by setting up another set of conventions in the place of those they have skittled over. Only by rising above mind can one really get beyond conventions—Krishna was able to do it because he was not a mental human being but an overmental godhead acting freely out of a greater consciousness than man’s. Rama was not that, he was the Avatar of the sattwic mind- mental, emotional, moral—and he followed the Dharma of the age and race. That may make him temperamentally con- genial to Gandhi and the reverse to you; but just as Gandhi’s temperamental recoil from Krishna does not prove Krishna to be no Avatar, so your temperamental recoil from Rama does not establish that he was not an Avatar. However, my main point will be that Avatarhood does not depend upon these questions at all, but has another basis, meaning and purpose. 

[Sri Aurobindo: Letters to Dilip; Vol. 2: 88]

In the age of the Mahabharata the earth was groaning under the load of titanic power. Neither before nor after, was there in India such an outbreak of strong and powerful and violent Kshatriya power, but there was little chance of that terrible power being turned to good purpose. Those who were the vehicles of this power were all of them of an asuric nature, vanity and pride, selfishness and selfwill were in their very bones. If Sri Krishna had not established the rule of law by destroying this power, then one or the other of the three types of results described above would certainly have happened. India would have fallen prematurely into the hands of the barbarian. It should be remembered, that the Kurukshetra war took place five thousand years ago,1 it was after two thousand five hundred years had elapsed that the first successful invasion of barbarians could reach up to the other side of the Indus. The rule of law founded by Arjuna was therefore able to protect the country under the influence of a Kshatriya power inspired by that of the Brahmin. Even at that time there was in the country such an accumulation of Kshatriya power that a fraction of itself has kept the country alive for two thousand years. On the strength of that Kshatriya power great men like Chandragupta, Pushyamitra, Samudragupta, Vikrama, Sangramasingha, Pratap, Rajasingha, Pratapaditya and Sivaji fought against the country’s misfortunes. Only the other day in the battle of Gujarat and on the funeral pyre of Lakshmibai was the last spark of that power extinguished; with that ended the good fruit and the virtue of Sri Krishna’s political work, there came necessity of another full Incarnation for the saving of India and the world. That Incarnation has rekindled the vanished power of the Brahmin, that power will create the Kshatriya power. Sri Krishna did not extinguish the Kshatriya power of India in the blood-bath of Kurukshetra; on the contrary by destroying the titanic power he saved both the power of the Brahmin and the Kshatriya.

 [Sri Aurobindo: Sanjaya’s Gift of Divine Vision; Bengali Writings, 1991, pp. 148-149]

 

Part 3 Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo: The next logical step in evolution

The yoga that Sri Krishna gave to earth and man continued to inspire and awaken humanity. It helped man join the evolutionary march through a widest possible door of spiritual self-finding and growth. Yet over a period of Time there began once again the fading of Sanatana dharma. By its very nature this Dharma cannot perish but it can get momentarily eclipsed and seem to fade under the growing darkness. This happens when Nature and God’s Wisdom are working towards a new cycle of evolution. The Age of Kali had reached its peak with an exclusive material monism that completely denied the very possibility of God became the new gospel. The truths of the Gita began a subject of intellectual debate and discussion, even a ritualistic recitation and a mechanical memorization began to replace the living practice. The great divide between life and spirituality that Sri Krishna had filled by his life and teachings began to be forgotten and once again spirituality began to be largely confined to the Ashramas avoiding the battle and the struggle of life. The Asura of the East which Sri Krishna had subdued began to be compounded by the Asura of the West who invaded India from every side. It was as if many streams began to flow towards one ocean in the hope of redemption. At the same time there was the uprising of the Asura of Marxist communism that had declared man as nothing but an animal walking on two legs instead of four, or Freudian psychology which was very much the same but in the field of humanities rather than politics. Even Darwin with his brilliant observations only testified that man is a descendent of the ape. If only he saw in man the ascendant from the ape, he would have been perhaps nearer the truth. Imperialism had justified itself by declaring the superiority of certain races over others. This disparity gave birth to the evil of fascism and an Asuric dictatorship that threatened to swallow all mankind. It was not enough for man to simply know that there is a soul within and God above. That was enough for the bhakta and could satisfy the faithful devotee but the intellectual Asura in man wanted something more convincing. The great Scriptures had lent themselves to dubious interpretations and the opinions swung between a credulous belief and a superstitious practice or else a rational mumbo jumbo that confused the seeker more than it clarified. It was truly the thick of Night as perhaps never before. The Age of Kali was at its extreme peak. It is then that we see the coming of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Possibly this is the second coming spoken of by the Christian mystics as the second coming of Christ and the Mahayana Buddhists in their conception of Amitabh Buddha. Sri Krishna had of course declared that whenever there is an uprising of adharma, a decline in dharma then he casts himself forth into birth. From Age to Age he comes to redeem mankind and show the way forward, lokasangrahartha, for the march of mankind and out of love for humanity. The time had come and Sri Krishna returned to resume his unfinished work or rather the unfinished work of all the Avataras, Rama, Krishna. Buddha and Christ.

The unfinished work

This unfinished work, the last needed step was the divinization of matter itself. The stronghold of the Asura is there, in matter and the dark subconscient terrain which is his native home. The Fury was let loose as Sri Aurobindo and the Mother took up this work of transformation of matter. The two great Wars within the span of less than a quarter century and the heavy physical and psychological casualty it entailed was simply a foretaste of things. There was and upsurge of diseases and a near complete breakdown of all mental systems. It was a meeting point of the Kali passing towards a New Satya Yuga, the transmutation of iron into gold. Like Sri Krishna, Sri Aurobindo first cleared the field of human thought. He woke up the sleeping soul of India, invoked the guardian Deity Durga whom both Sri Rama and Sri Krishna had invoked before the great Wars. The invading forces started retreating. Marxism has nearly vanished except into some small violent pockets, Freudianism is no longer the mainstay of human psychology. It is relegated into another corner of a growing body of Knowledge declaring that man is not just a glorified animal but an imprisoned god. Imperialism not only retracted its steps but found its soul floundering in the light of a new daybreak that had arrived over earth and mankind. The light hidden in the Vedas and Upanishads and the Gita that were misinterpreted by small minds began to once again shine drawing more and more people towards their truths. Racism is no more a favoured word and humanity is swiftly waking up to the need of unity in diversity. Spiritual truths began to burn through the human heart and one saw and still sees the rise of spiritual Masters and a deeper seeking. India had become politically free and humanity had broken the shackles of earth exploring far distant outer as well as inner spaces. If we try to trace all this back to its source we shall see that the world is moving or rather beginning to sail in the direction laid out for it by Sri Aurobindo’s mighty and luminous Thought currents. What is left still is the complete transformation of matter which is also assured as the action of the Supramental Force brought down by Their twin tapasya gathers momentum. Sri Rama and Sri Krishna are fulfilled in Sri Aurobindo as with this New Force is the power to transform the animal in us into a vehicle of the Divine Force and convert the Asura in us through the one and only all-powerful agency of the Divine Mother’s Love.

A Golden Force (The Mother Reveals)

 … there’s a kind of golden Force pressing down (gesture); it has no material substantiality, and yet it feels terribly heavy….

 … It presses down on Matter, to force it, to compel it to turn INWARDLY to the Divine – not an external flight (pointing above) but inwardly turning to the Divine. And the apparent outcome seems to be inevitable catastrophes. But along with this sense of inevitable catastrophe, there come solutions to situations or events that look simply miraculous.

 As if both extremes were becoming more extreme: the good getting better and the bad worse. Like that. And a stupendous Power PRESSING down on the world. Such is my impression.

Yes, it’s as tangible as this (Mother feels the air between her fingers). And even in life circumstances, many things otherwise indifferent are becoming suddenly acute – acute situations, acute differences, acute ill wills – and at the same time, singular miracles. Singular. People on the verge of death are saved, inextricable situations are suddenly untangled.

And the same for individuals too.

Those who know how to turn to … (how shall I put it?) who sincerely call upon the Divine, who feel it’s the only salvation, the only way out, and who sincerely offer themselves, then … (gesture of bursting open) within a few minutes, it becomes a wonder – for the least little thing: there’s no big or small, important or unimportant, it’s all the same.

The whole scale of values changes.

The vision of the world is as though changed.

(silence)

This gives an idea of the change brought about in the world by the supramental Descent. Things that were insignificant are becoming quite categorical: a small mistake becomes categorical in its consequences while a little sincerity, a true little aspiration becomes miraculous in its results. The values are intensified in people. Even materially, the least little error has huge consequences, while the slightest sincerity of aspiration has extraordinary results. The values are intensified, they stand out more….

… I have seen that what we call the “Supramental,” for lack of a better word, is actually making the creation more susceptible to the higher Power, which we call “divine” because we … (it is divine compared to what we are, but … ). It’s something (gesture of descent and pressure) that will make Matter more susceptible and responsive to the Force….

… There’s really something new – things are no longer what they were.

 All our common sense, our human logic, our practical sense – collapsed, finished! No longer effective. No longer realistic. They are no longer relevant.

 A new world, really….

But there is one essential condition: the ego’s reign must come to an end. The ego is now the obstacle. The ego must be replaced by the divine consciousness – what personally I call divine consciousness. Sri Aurobindo called it “supramental,” so we can call it supramental to avoid confusion, because as soon as you say “Divine,” people start thinking of a “God,” and that spoils everything. It isn’t like that. Not like that, it is the descent of the supramental world (Mother slowly lowers her fists), which is not mere imagination (pointing above): it is an absolutely material Power. But (smilingly) with no need for any material means.

 A world is trying to be born into this world….

The Mother: Conversations with a disciple: 06 May 1972

***

(disciple) I had a question about Sri Aurobindo. I was wondering what stage he had reached when he left – what stage in the transformation? For instance, what difference is there between the work you are doing now and what he was doing at the time? […] Perhaps the difference lies in the general or collective intensity of that Power, that Force?

…. There is a difference in the POWER of the action.

 He himself – he himself has a greater action, a greater power or action now than when he was in his body. Besides, that’s why he left – because it had to be done that way.

 It’s very tangible, you know. His action has become very tangible. Of course, it isn’t something mental at all. It is from another region. But it isn’t ethereal or – it’s tangible. I could almost say material.

The Mother: Conversations with a disciple: 20 December 1972

 


Alok Pandey,
December 2019

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