The Yoga of Physical Transformation

What work remained to be done now for the Mother, after the supramental manifestation and Nature’s consent to participate in the divine work? In 1958 her Yoga of physical transformation began in its most material sense, that is, her working on the cells of the body, their purification, their liberation not only from the suggestions of the physical mind, but also from what the Mother termed the body-mind, the basic cellular consciousness as it has been up till now. The former with its seemingly ineluctable mechanisms, keeps telling us, ‘if you do this, you will fall ill’, ‘if there is rain, you will catch a cold’, ‘today you will have a bad day’, ‘nothing works any more’, etc., repeating such suggestions with obstinate persistence until we ourselves start believing it. Of course, the physical mind can also be given a positive direction, with the help of a mantra, for instance. The Mother herself was using the following mantra to help the process of physical transformation: OM NAMO BHAGAVATE. The functioning of the cellular consciousness, the body-mind, is more difficult to define.

The first stage of the transformation, the complete deprogramming of the cells, took about ten years until 1968. In the remaining five years until 1973 the Mother tried to direct the cells towards a new working and ultimately the formation of a new body which would be physically immortal – an impossible-seeming undertaking, an attempt to achieve the ultimate victory for mankind and to conquer for good Disease and Death.

This work of cell-transformation was like entering a no-man’s land, and the Mother had hardly any clues for her work except a few hints in Sri Aurobindo’s writings. Her body itself had to find its way, independently of the mind and the vital which, as she said, had been ‘sent away’ in the process of this I work. It may sound astonishing, but the Mother had reached now a stage in evolution – we may say a stage which is beyond our imagination – where these two principles of human existence were not required any more:

“…the mental and vital have been instruments for… grinding Matter – … the vital by its sensations, the mind by its thoughts… But they seem to me to be passing instruments that will be replaced by other states of consciousness…”[1]

The Mother was therefore thrown back on the most material aspect of her being and she was attempting to attune the cells themselves to the Divine in a most laborious precision-work. No spectacular successes or results were to be expected here and yet the whole process was necessary if Sri Aurobindo’s ideal of an irreversible divinisation of the body was to be accomplished. A particular difficulty she was facing was the complete uncertainty as to where she had reached, what distance had been covered and what still remained to be done. It was, as she once remarked, like wandering in a virgin forest. At the same time she had to continue her outer occupations, receive visitors, sign cheques and work out the vibrations of the ‘old world’. About the body she said:

“… it is still open to all the influences from outside and… is obliged to do things that are not directly the expression of the Supreme Impulse; hence fatigue, friction…”[2]

As the Mother was more and more getting in touch with the cellular consciousness, she made the amazing discovery that the cells themselves had the aspiration for the Divine, for immortality, or even the feeling of immortality, and they were rejecting illness and falsehood like a foreign body. It was as if here, on the ground of matter, the deeply buried Divine showed a golden seam which the Mother started pulling, as it were, in order to link Spirit and Matter, the two ends of the divine Tissue. But again and again there were new resistances in the physical which could only inadequately receive the supramental vibrations. This total and inescapable identification with the physical matter of her body and, as a result of it, the frequent entry into a complete night, as it were, entailed often unbearable suffering for the Mother. And yet this was part of the work for which she had come:

“I am here because my body has been given for the first attempt at transformation… it is not very pleasant, but I do it willingly because… everybody will be able to profit from it.”[3]

What the Mother was doing now, was a race between Life and Death, between the old habit of becoming old and dying and the new goal of remaining young forever with the immortal Divine. In the outside world too there was a similar race – the struggle between constructive and destructive forces was becoming more and more critical:

“…it is a kind of race or struggle as to which will reach the goal first. It would seem that all the adverse, anti-divine forces, forces of the vital world, have descended upon the earth… at the same time a new, higher, more powerful spiritual force has also descended upon earth to bring it a new life.”[4]

On 30 August 1945, three weeks after the bursting of the atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Mother had told her disciples: “I cannot promise you that the Divine’s will is to preserve the present human civilisation.” On 5 March 1963 a disciple in the Ashram took up the question again and asked her, “Can you now say that the Divine has decided to preserve the present human civilisation?” The Mother concentrated for a while and then answered: “It will be settled in 1967. Do not change my words: it will be settled in 1967.[5]

Her new year message of 1967 was:

“Men, countries, continents!
The choice is imperative:
Truth or the Abyss.”[6]

Sri Aurobindo had already written long ago in a letter: “The supramental consciousness will enter into a phase of realising power in 1967.” With these and other predictions in view the Mother said on 15 May 1967: “Since a few months ago the children born, among our people mostly, are of a special kind.”[7]

While the Mother was in these years invisibly working on the deprogramming of her cells, the Hippie-movement in the world outside gained more and more momentum and the Hippies in their turn tried the ‘deprogramming’ of life in a society of which they were tired, whose rigid mechanism they wanted to escape, whose falsehood they had seen through. The Mother’s commentary on this movement may surprise many a conservative reader:

“In America… the entire youth seems to have been taken up with a sort of curious brain-wave which would be disquieting for reasonable people, but which is certainly an indication that an unusual force is at work. It is the breaking up of all habits and all rules – it is good. For the moment, it is rather ‘strange’, but it is necessary.”[8]

But it then turned out that the movement was not long-lived, and perhaps it died of the grotesque illusion that a chemical formula and its product, LSD, could give its users the new consciousness and life. Thus they were escaping one mechanism, the routine of the ‘old world’, in order to plunge into another, the much more dangerous process of biochemical manipulation. The Mother pointed out that drugs like LSD were only precipitating people into the lower vital and objectifying earlier experiences – good or bad – in the subconscious. In fact, it was not a true widening of the consciousness but only a risky disturbance of the inner balance. This was not the path into the future. However, the starting-point of the new movement, the search for a new consciousness and a life free from conventions was correct in essence and actually reflected the impact of the New Force on the world. But how could such a life, free from conventions, be realised in a world which is built on fixed principles and which would immediately plunge into chaos if there were no laws, taxes, law-courts, police and identity cards? This was the problem facing seekers in East and West, and the Mother’s answer to it was: Auroville.


[1] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:751
[2] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:730
[3] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:788
[4] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:657
[5] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:696
[6] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:732
[7] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:733
[8] K. R. S. Iyengar’s On the Mother 2:702

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