A giant dance of Shiva tore the past;
There was a thunder as of worlds that fall;
Earth was o’errun with fire and the roar of Death
Clamouring to slay a world his hunger had made;
There was a clangour of Destruction’s wings:
The Titan’s battle-cry was in my ears,
Alarm and rumour shook the armoured Night. [Savitri: 343]
But then the ancient Adversary had his eyes upon the divine endeavour. It started calling down all its hidden powers from the vital and subconscient worlds to give a last ditch resistance. They spread like dark clouds of war all around. They spread as a dark miasma flaring forces of hate and fear and vengeance and greed upon earth. The world was soon going to be embroiled in the worst ever unimaginable horror of a war that the world had never experienced before. But even before the battle grounds were clearly drawn and the trumpets sounded the force that opposed God’s plan stealthily entered Sri Aurobindo’s Room, the Divine Sanctuary managed to attack him. It was the night of 23rd November. While the devotees, among them the distinguished daughter of the US President, Margaret Wilson, waited eagerly for the 24th November darshan the alarm bells had sounded in the Ashram. The Incarnate Divine lay on the floor as the Golden Purusha, his leg struck with an ‘accidental fall’. His calm countenance still victorious over suffering and pain knew that this blow portended a much greater blow that the Adversaries were planning against his work.
These occult hostile attacks on the seers engaged in yagna and the Avatars is well known to Indian mystic thought. Though they could not damage much yet it was enough for them to precipitate the Second World War using instruments receptive to the Asura. Sri Aurobindo declared it as The Mother’s War and put all his occult spiritual force behind the Allies. His support to the Allies was initially misunderstood by some of those in the Ashram as well as leaders engaged in the freedom movement. Sri Aurobindo explained that this was not just another war done for ambition and expansion but it was a spell of the Asuric Maya to push back human evolution millenniums behind by releasing the darkest, cruelest energies from the abysses of creation to rob civilization of its noblest values. Sooner than later the pushback started with Sri Aurobindo unarmed leading the chariot of the gods towards victory. The victory came and the world woke up to the horrors of Hitler and his tribe. While the world was busy celebrating the crown of the victory, Sri Aurobindo’s face was turned towards the Night to see what else still lurks in the Abyss and which needs clearance.
Sri Aurobindo had declared that the second world war was the Mother’s War. In fact he openly declared his spiritual support with the Allies, a statement that had perplexed many a people in the Ashram community as well as outside. For them the equation was very simple, the enemy of the enemy is a friend. Not so thought Sri Aurobindo. In fact his support had nothing to do with enmity and friendship the way we understand it. Nor was his support based on an anti war or anti violence stance, nor even because of the ambition for territorial expansion of a nation. Wars have been one of the favourite pastimes of humanity since man began to form collective groups as tribes. What was at stake here was much more. On the one side were forces of Falsehood who wanted to exterminate an entire section of humanity through a mass genocide conducted in the cruelest ways one could imagine. This was barbaric to say the least. On the other side were forces that were resisting the advance of the Asura and we’re fighting for the ideals of freedom and equality for mankind. Cruelty was the farthest from the Divine centre. Meanness and selfishness were the only sins. Courage and Love were the only indispensable virtues, said Sri Aurobindo. In this war one could see the two extremes facing each other.
This is how Sri Aurobindo saw the war:
You should not think of it as a fight for certain nations against others or even for India; it is a struggle for an ideal that has to establish itself on earth in the life of humanity, for a Truth that has yet to realise itself fully and against a darkness and falsehood that are trying to overwhelm the earth and mankind in the immediate future. It is the forces behind the battle that have to be seen and not this or that superficial circumstance. It is no use concentrating on the defects and mistakes of nations; all have defects and commit serious mistakes; but what matters is on what side they have ranged themselves in the struggle. It is a struggle for the liberty of mankind to develop, for conditions in which men have freedom and room to think and act according to the light in them and grow in the Truth, grow in the Spirit. There cannot be the slightest doubt that if one side wins, there will be an end of all such freedom and hope of light and truth and the work that has to be done will be subjected to conditions which would make it humanly impossible; there will be a reign of falsehood and darkness, a cruel oppression and degradation for most of the human race such as people in this country do not dream of and cannot yet at all realise. If the other side that has declared itself for the free future of humanity triumphs, this danger will have been averted and conditions will have to be created in which there will be a chance for the Ideal to grow, for the Divine Work to be done, for the spiritual Truth for which we stand to establish itself on the earth. Those who fight for this cause are fighting for the Divine and against the threatened reign of the Asura. [CWSA 35:211-212]
The Allies supported from behind by Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual force won the victory. But the war had taken its toll. The human consciousness, even if for one brief moment of history, had touched its nadir. And out came from its billows the dark poison of hate and terror and deceit and falsehood and all the rest that lurks in the subconscious parts of man. These poison fumes had to be removed so that the earth atmosphere can be cleared and the path, now obstructed and obscured by the rising resistance, be opened once again for the descent of Truth and Light and Peace and Harmony. In a gesture of Supreme Sacrifice Sri Aurobindo took the poison into Himself and offered his body as a divine sacrifice so that man may walk free and godlike upon earth.