Today we close the series of explorations on the evolution of a religious towards a spiritualized humanity with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s visions of the Future. As always these revelations are often seemingly cryptic and yet disclose a deep truth towards which we move.
Words of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo
“All would change if man could once consent to be spiritualised; but his nature, mental and vital and physical, is rebellious to the higher law. He loves his imperfection.
“Each religion has helped mankind. Paganism increased in man the light of beauty, the largeness and height of his life, his aim at a many-sided perfection; Christianity gave him some vision of divine love and charity; Buddhism has shown him a noble way to be wiser, gentler, purer; Judaism and Islam how to be religiously faithful in action and zealously devoted to God; Hinduism has opened to him the largest and profoundest spiritual possibilities. A great thing would be done if all these God-visions could embrace and cast themselves into each other; but intellectual dogma and cult-egoism stand in the way.
“All religions have saved a number of souls, but none yet has been able to spiritualise mankind. For that there is needed not cult and creed, but a sustained and all-comprehending effort at spiritual self-evolution.
“The changes we see in the world today are intellectual, moral, physical in their ideal and intention: the spiritual revolution waits for its hour and throws up meanwhile its waves here and there. Until it comes the sense of the others cannot be understood and till then all interpretations of present happening and forecast of man’s future are vain things. For its nature, power, event are that which will determine the next cycle of our humanity.”
Sri Aurobindo: Thoughts and Glimpses, SABCL, Vol. 16
Sri Aurobindo shows here, for example, what each of these religions represents in human effort, aspiration and realisation. Instead of taking these religions in their outward forms which are precisely dogmas and intellectual conceptions, if we take them in their spirit, in the principle they represent, there is no difficulty in unifying them. They are simply different aspects of human progress which complete each other perfectly well and should be united with many others yet to form a more total and more complete progress, a more perfect understanding of life, a more integral approach to the Divine. And even this unification which already demands a return to the Spirit behind things, is not enough; there must be added to it a vision of the future, the goal towards which humanity is moving, the future realisation of the world, that last “spiritual revolution” Sri Aurobindo speaks about, which will open a new age, that is, the supramental revolution.
In the supramental consciousness all these things are no longer contradictory or exclusive. They all become complementary. It is only the mental form which divides. What this mental form represents should be united to what all the other mental forms represent in order to make a harmonious whole. And that is the essential difference between a religion and the true spiritual life.
Religion exists almost exclusively in its forms, its cults, in a certain set of ideas, and it becomes great only through the spirituality of a few exceptional individuals, whereas true spiritual life, and above all what the supramental realisation will be, is independent of every precise, intellectual form, every limited form of life. It embraces all possibilities and manifestations and makes them the expression, the vehicle of a higher and more universal truth.
A new religion would not only be useless but very harmful. It is a new life which must be created; it is a new consciousness which must be expressed. This is something beyond intellectual limits and mental formulae. It is a living truth which must manifest.
Everything in its essence and its truth should be included in this realisation. This realisation must be an expression as total, as complete, as universal as possible of the divine reality. Only that can save humanity and the world. That is the great spiritual revolution of which Sri Aurobindo speaks. And this is what he wanted us to realise.
Collected Works of the Mother, Questions and Answers 1957–1958, 3 April 957
“Wherever thou seest a great end, be sure of a great beginning. Where a monstrous and painful destruction appals thy mind, console it with the certainty of a large and great creation. God is there not only in the still small voice, but in the fire and in the whirlwind.
“The greater the destruction, the freer the chances of creation; but the destruction is often long, slow and oppressive, the creation tardy in its coming or interrupted in its triumph. The night returns again and again and the day lingers or seems even to have been a false dawning. Despair not therefore but watch and work.
Those who hope violently, despair swiftly: neither hope nor fear, but be sure of God’s purpose and thy will to accomplish.
“The hand of the divine Artist works often as if it were unsure of its genius and its material. It seems to touch and test and leave, to pick up and throw away and pick up again, to labour and fail and botch and repiece together. Surprises and disappointments are the order of his work before all things are ready. What was selected, is cast away into the abyss of reprobation; what was rejected, becomes the cornerstone of a mighty edifice. But behind all this is the sure eye of a knowledge which surpasses our reason and the slow smile of an infinite ability.
All perfect perfection must have something in it of the stuff of the hero and even of the Titan. But the greatest force is born out of the greatest difficulty.”
Sri Aurobindo: Thoughts and Glimpses, SABCL, Vol. 16, pp. 392 – 93
After all, the whole problem is to know whether humanity has reached the state of pure gold or whether it still needs to be tested in the crucible. One thing is evident, humanity has not become pure gold; that is visible and certain.
But something has happened in the world’s history which allows us to hope that a selected few in humanity, a small number of beings, perhaps, are ready to be transformed into pure gold and that they will be able to manifest strength without violence, heroism without destruction and courage without
But in the very next paragraph Sri Aurobindo gives the answer: “If man could once consent to be spiritualised.” If only the individual could consent to be spiritualised… could consent. Something in him asks for it, aspires, and all the rest refuses, wants to continue to be what it is: the mixed ore which needs to be cast into the furnace.
At the moment we are at a decisive turning-point in the history of the earth, once again. From every side I am asked, “What is going to happen?” Everywhere there is anguish, expectation, fear. “What is going to happen?…” There is only one reply: “If only man could consent to be spiritualised.”
And perhaps it would be enough if some individuals became pure gold, for this would be enough to change the course of events…. We are faced with this necessity in a very urgent way.
This courage, this heroism which the Divine wants of us, why not use it to fight against one’s own difficulties, one’s own imperfections, one’s own obscurities? Why not heroically face the furnace of inner purification so that it does not become necessary to pass once more through one of those terrible, gigantic destructions which plunge an entire civilisation into darkness? This is the problem before us. It is for each one to solve it
in his own way.
This evening I am answering the questions I have been asked, and my reply is that of Sri Aurobindo: If man could once consent to be spiritualised….
And I add: Time presses… from the human point of view.
Collected Works of the Mother, Questions and Answers 1957–1958, 27 March 1957
One thing seems clear: humanity has reached such a generalized state of tension – tension in effort, tension in action, tension even in daily life – with such an excessive hyperactivity, such an overall restlessness, that the species as a whole seems to have reached a point where it must either burst through the resistance and surge forth into a new consciousness, or else sink back into an abysm of obscurity and inertia.
This tension is so total and so generalized that obviously something must break. It cannot go on like this. Yet all this is a sure sign that a new principle of force, consciousness and power has been infused into matter and by its very pressure has produced this acute state. Outwardly, we might expect to see the old habitual means used by Nature whenever she wants to bring about an upheaval; but here there is a new phenomenon, which is evidently visible only in a select few, although even these few are widespread enough – this phenomenon is not localized in one point or one place in the world, for the signs are to be found in every country all over the earth: the will to find a new, a higher, an ascending solution, an effort to surge forth into a vaster, more encompassing perfection.
Certain ideas of a more general, more extensive, more collective nature, as it were, are being worked out and are at work in the world. And the two go together: a greater and more total possibility of destruction and an inventiveness that unrestrainedly increases the possibility of catastrophe, a catastrophe that would be much more massive than it has ever been; and at the same time, the birth, or rather the manifestation, of much higher and more comprehensive ideas and wills which, when heard, will bring a vaster, more extensive, more complete and more perfect solution than before.
This struggle, this conflict between the constructive forces of an ascending evolution, of an increasingly perfect and divine realization, and the more and more destructive forces – powerfully destructive, forces of an uncontrollable madness – is becoming more obvious, unmistakably visible, and it is a kind of race or battle as to which will be first to reach its goal. All the hostile, anti-divine forces, these forces of the vital world, seem to have descended upon earth and are using it as their field of action; and at the same time, a new, higher, more powerful spiritual force has also descended upon earth to bring a new life to it. This renders the battle more bitter, violent and visible, but apparently more decisive, too, which is why we may hope to arrive at an early solution.
There was a time, not so very long ago, when man’s spiritual aspiration was turned towards a silent, inactive peace, detached from all the things of this world, an evasion of life to avoid the struggle, precisely, to rise above the battle, to be liberated from effort. It was a spiritual peace where, along with the cessation of tension, struggle and effort, suffering in all its forms also ceased, and this was considered the true and unique expression of the spiritual and divine life. This is what was considered divine grace, divine succor, divine intervention. And even now, in this age of anguish, tension and hypertension, this sovereign peace is of all help the best received, the most welcome, the relief asked and hoped for. For many, it is still the true sign of divine intervention, of divine grace.
In fact, no matter what you wish to realize, you must begin by establishing this perfect and immutable peace – it is the necessary basis for any work; but unless you are thinking of an exclusive or personal and egoistic liberation, you cannot stop there. There is yet another aspect to the divine grace, the aspect of progress that will be victorious over all obstacles, the aspect that will propel humanity into a new realization, open the doors unto a new world, enable not only a select few to benefit from the divine realization, but through their influence, their example and their power, bring a new and better condition to the rest of humanity.
It opens vistas of realization into the future and already foreseen possibilities through which an entire section of humanity, which is consciously or unconsciously open to the new forces, will be lifted up, as it were, towards a higher, more harmonious, more perfect life … and even if individual transformations are not permissible nor possible in all cases, at least there will be a kind of uplifting of the whole, a harmonization of everything, enabling a new order, a new harmony to be established and the anguish of disorder and the present strife to disappear and be replaced by an order that will allow for the harmonious working of the whole.
There will be other consequences that by opposite means will tend to eradicate the perversion and ugliness created in life due to the intervention of the mind, a whole range of deformations that have aggravated suffering, misery, moral poverty, a whole zone of sordid and repugnant miseries that makes an entire portion of human life so hideous. That must disappear. That is what in many respects makes humanity infinitely inferior to animal life, with its simplicity and its natural spontaneity, and which in spite of everything is harmonious. Suffering among animals is never as miserable and sordid as it is in a whole section of humanity perverted by a mentality exclusively turned towards egoistic needs.
One must rise above, surge forth into the Light and the Harmony, or sink back down into the simplicity of a wholesome, unperverted animal life.
(After a moment of silence, Mother adds)
But those who cannot be lifted up, who refuse to progress, will automatically lose the use of the mental consciousness and fall back into an infrahuman stage.
I’ll tell you of an experience I had which will help you better understand. It was a short while after the supramental experience of February 3, and I was still in that state where things of the physical world seemed so remote, so absurd. A group of visitors asked permission to greet me, and they came one evening to the playground. They were rich people – that is, they had more money than they needed to live. Among them was a woman in a saree. She was very fat, and her saree was so arranged as to hide her body. When she bent over to receive my blessings, a corner of her saree fell open, uncovering part of her body, a bare belly. An enormous belly. It came as a shock to me … There are obese people who are not at all repugnant, but there I suddenly saw the perversion, the rottenness that this abdomen concealed. It was like an enormous abscess expressing greed, vice, depravity of taste, sordid desire that seeks satisfaction as no animal would, grossly, and above all, perversely. I saw the perversion of a depraved mind placed at the service of the basest appetites. Then, in a flash, something leapt forth from me, a prayer, like a Veda: ‘O Lord, it is this that must vanish!’
One can well understand that physical misery or the unequal distribution of the world’s wealth could be remedied. One can think of economic and social solutions that could remedy all that, but this particular misery, this mental misery, this vital perversion – it is this that cannot change, that does NOT WANT to change. And those who belong to this kind of humanity are condemned in advance to disintegration.
The meaning of original sin is precisely this: the perversion that began with the mind.
That part of humanity, of the human consciousness, which is able to unite with the Supermind and liberate itself will be completely transformed. It is moving towards its future reality as yet unexpressed in the outer form; the part very close to the simplicity of the animal, close to Nature, will be reabsorbed by Nature and thoroughly reassimilated. But that corrupted part of the human consciousness, which through its wrong use of the mind allows this perversion, will be abolished. That kind of humanity belongs to an unfruitful attempt – and will be eliminated, like so many other abortive species which have vanished in the course of universal history.
Certain prophets in the past had this apocalyptic vision, but as usual things became mixed, and along with their vision of the apocalypse they did not have the vision of the supramental world that will come to uplift the consenting part of humanity and transform this physical world. However, to give hope to those born into this perverted part of the human consciousness, redemption through faith was taught: those who have faith in the sacrifice of the Divine in Matter will automatically be saved, in another world – faith alone, without understanding, without intelligence. They never saw the supramental world, nor did they see that the great Sacrifice of the Divine in Matter is that of an involution which will lead to the total revelation of the Divine in Matter itself.