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At the Feet of The Mother

Sri Aurobindo as Guru


The Upanishads and the Gita have compared the path of yoga with the sharp edge of a razor-blade and have established as an absolute rule that it should not be practised without the help of a guru. With a few exceptions, this strict injunction has been obeyed even to this day. One seeks, waits, prepares oneself, and if one is sincere, the guru comes at the proper time. The traditional experience and teaching have confirmed that “he who has chosen the Infinite, has been chosen by the Infinite.”

The guru once found, many relations are possible between the guru and the disciple, as with the Divine. In effect, for the disciple, the guru is the representative of the Divine on the earth: the relation can be that of father and son, master and servant, lover and beloved, etc. This relation is indissoluble and can cease only with death or with the guru’s permission. The guru takes entire charge of the disciple; he loves him, guides him, protects him like a mother. His only reward is the accomplishment of his sacred trust. Also, not to discuss the master’s directions but to obey him to the letter was an absolute rule to be followed by the disciple.

To illustrate the responsibility of the guru Sri Aurobindo recounted to us an anecdote. A disciple, wanting to be a guru, sought his own guru’s advice in the matter. He got the reply: “To your already heavy burden you are going to add another one; for you have to take upon your shoulders all your disciple’s faults, and his sins.” Such was in particular the case of Sri Ramakrishna.

Sri Aurobindo has given to the hoary but still continuing tradition of the mystic tie between guru and disciple a new character. The practice of yoga, while losing nothing of its essential spirituality, has become much more supple. Sri Aurobindo’s yoga being new, the methods and means too must be adapted to the modern spirit. Thus, first of all, Sri Aurobindo allows each disciple a great liberty. He should himself find out his own path, that which suits his own nature. Sri Aurobindo believed that without liberty the soul cannot attain its full development. “You truly give us a long rope!” I told him. “Even if we make grave errors, you simply observe silently, expecting us to approach you for advice.” To which Sri Aurobindo replied, “A long rope is necessary!” And the Mother spoke to the young people in these terms: “All of you, my children, live here in exceptional freedom: no social constraints, no normal constraints, no intellectual constraints, no principles. Only a Light is there.” Rabelais also gave this freedom in his Abbaye, but there was no Light.

At the same time Sri Aurobindo accorded to us the privilege to ask him questions, to have intellectual, literary and yogic discussions with him and follow Ramakrishna’s advice to Vivekananda not to accept anything blindly. The mind has its need to be satisfied. Sri Aurobindo understood the modern mind, its doubts, its intellectual curiosities, because he himself was agnostic for a certain time and suffered from doubt. He never imposed his ideas, but considered everything with largeness, tolerance and sympathy. When somebody behaved badly, we would suggest that he should be either sent away or put in quarantine. Sri Aurobindo would answer with a smile, “Yes, it is a simple remedy, no doubt, and in the outside world it would be fitting. But here we can’t apply it.” On another occasion a sadhak was asked why he did not listen to the Mother; he said, “That is my weakness.” The same sadhak dared to write to Sri Aurobindo a letter of sixty pages — on a different subject! Sri Aurobindo never lost his temper. “Anger is foreign to my nature,” he said. His relation with each individual varied in tone, accent and style according to the nature and each felt the Master near to him. It can be said in passing that when the Mother accepts a disciple, she accepts him as he is, and cannot abandon him for his weakness, because he also has left the world for the sake of sadhana.

It was my great good fortune to have Sri Aurobindo as my guru. In my exploration of spiritual history I have not come across any other guru who can be compared to him. He was not only guru, but also the Divine in a human body, the last Avatar, the supramental Avatar according to the Mother. A synthesis of two cultures, oriental and occidental — poet, philosopher, politician, linguist, literary critic — he was also the yogi who might well say: “I have drunk the Infinite like a giant’s wine.”

My relation with him seemed exceptional to other disciples. None could imagine he would behave with a young novice like an intimate friend.

A medical man, materialist by education, I cared very little for God and had no faith. I started the sadhana without having any idea about it, as Stendhal’s Fabrice joined the army in utter ignorance of what war was like. And out of this raw and sceptic fellow Sri Aurobindo has made a fighter for the Divine. I am going to tell how it was done and, if possible, give at the same time a glimpse of Sri Aurobindo’s life as I have come to know it.

I came to the Ashram at a period when the sadhana was going on in the subconscient, as Sri Aurobindo said to me. The subconscient is like a dense virgin forest; we find a superb description of it in his God’s Labour. From his retreat he was corresponding with all disciples, writing every night for about five to six hours. This period which I have called the correspondence-period lasted about twelve years. Each one related his inner and outer life, asked very often quite ordinary questions, and to all our human follies Sri Aurobindo replied with the patience and solicitude of a god. One day he wrote, “An avalanche of correspondence has fallen on my head.” Another day when I asked back my “hibernating” typescript of a poem, he replied, “My dear Sir, if you saw me nowadays with my nose to paper from afternoon to morning, deciphering, deciphering, writing, writing, writing, even the rocky heart of a disciple would be touched and you would not talk about typescripts and hibernation. I have given up (for the present at least) the attempt to minimise the cataract of correspondence; I accept my fate like Raman Maharshi with the plague of prasads and admirers, but at least don’t add anguish to annihilation by talking about typescripts.”

All were surprised to find that Sri Aurobindo took up this familiar and humorous tone with a fresher, and were even shocked, for was not Sri Aurobindo the incarnate godhead, majestic and grave and serene, and should he not therefore be without any taint of humour? During the Darshan his ‘immobility’ inspired an august fear. This was the prevailing conception of a god.

I did not fail to grasp my good fortune with both hands. When the Divine gives himself, one has only to accept Him to the full. I asked him all sorts of questions from the most profane to the sublime, and he satisfied them in a simple, familiar style, always with an incomparable indulgence as if I was a prodigal son, though most of these questions had already been answered in his works. Thus our correspondence swelled up, striking many notes, sometimes sounding like a trumpet, sometimes murmuring sweetly like a stream, often bursting with a divine laughter. When I had a headache, I wrote:

My head, my head,
And this devil of a fever!
I am half dead!

Sri Aurobindo replied: “Cheer up! Things might have been so much worse. Just think if you had been a Spaniard in Madrid, or a German communist in a concentration camp. Imagine that, and then you will be quite cheerful with only a cold and headache. So

Throw off the cold,
Damn the fever,
Be sprightly and bold
And live for ever.”

Another time I asked him what Brahmic consciousness was. In a light vein he explained to me a profound truth:

“Eternal Jehovah! you don’t even know what Brahman is! You will next be asking me what Yoga is, or what life is, or what body is or what mind is, or what sadhana is!….

“Brahman, Sir, is the name given by Indian philosophy since the beginning of Time to the one Reality, eternal and infinite which is the Self, the Divine, the All, the more than All, which would remain even if you and everybody and everything else in existence or imagining itself to be in existence vanished into blazes — even if the whole universe disappeared, Brahman would be safely there, and nothing whatever lost. In fact, Sir, you are Brahman, and you are pretending to be Nirod; when Nishikanta is translating Amal’s poetry into Bengali, it is really Brahman translating Brahman’s Brahman into Brahman. When Amal asks me what consciousness is, it is really Brahman asking Brahman what Brahman is. There, Sir, I hope you are satisfied now.

“To be less drastic and refrain from making your head reel till it goes off your shoulders, I may say that realisation of the Self is the beginning of Brahman realisation — the Brahman consciousness — the Self in all and all in the Self etc. It is the basis of the spiritual realisation, and therefore of the spiritual transformation, but one has to see it in all sorts of aspects and applications first….”

Thus from these letters were born two small volumes of Correspondence, containing side by side literary, medical, spiritual and even political questions. Audaciously, following Vivekananda’s example, I tried to argue with him and even dared to differ on points about which my knowledge was as much as that of a village schoolmaster. But he suffered all my foolishness, my impertinence and never uttered a hard word or showed bad temper, only a sun-like magnanimity. I wanted to have with him the father-relationship — as particularly the lady-disciples did. But he refused sharply, saying, “Let the ladies father me as much as they like. The ‘father’ has a Jewish and Hebrew odour, that I don’t like much.” Later on when I asked him why I was exceptionally favoured, he said, “Find out for yourself.”

It seemed he wanted to “intellectualise” me, but alas, he must have found that my grey matter was no better developed than a rabbit’s. But he did succeed, thanks to this special relation, in drawing me out of the chronic pessimism and doubt from which I suffered quite a lot. I wrote to him, “Your grandeur, your Himalayan austerity frightens us.” To which came the vibrant reply: “O rubbish! I am austere and grand, grim and stern! every blasted thing I never was! I groan in an un-Aurobindian despair when I hear such things. What has happened to the commonsense of all you people? In order to reach the Overmind it is not at all necessary to take leave of this simple but useful quality. Commonsense by the way is not logic (which is the least commonsense-like thing in the world), it is simply looking at things as they are without inflation or deflation. Not imagining wild imaginations — or for that matter despairing ‘I know-not-why’ despairs.”

This magnanimity, this sunny humour at last chased away the Man of Sorrows who had taken shelter, like the Panis of the Vedas, in my subconscient. The force was of course there working constantly, but what I felt was the joy of rasa of life engendered by the inimitable humour. I was tempted one day to ask how two incompatibles, humour and yoga, could so unnaturally combine in him. His reply was the Upanishadic: “He is indeed the veritable rasa.”

This relation, however, did not mean that I was dearer to him than the others. He would not be divine in such a case, for the Divine is samam Brahman, equal and impartial to all, He gives himself entirely to all, only the relation differs according to each one’s need, like the relation of the mother with her own children.

My intellectual preparation glided insensibly into creative activity. I wanted to be a poet. I had started writing in Bengali, then in English. There too my talent was green as a cucumber. But this didn’t matter, for Sri Aurobindo said that in the Ashram atmosphere a creative force was in action that could serve anyone’s aspiration to be a poet or artist. Every day he not only sent me inspiration but corrected my poems, gave concrete suggestions, explained the meaning of the poems which I composed without understanding what they meant. Strangely enough in both Bengali and English I wrote, medium-like, many such poems, some of which Sri Aurobindo called surrealist-mystic. Many times I was on the point of throwing up the sponge since the inspiration got blocked or the result was not to my taste! But always his letters, persuasive like the wind, pushed me on till one day he cried out, “The poet is born. What about the yogi?” And he wrote to me this letter:

“As there are several lamentations today besieging me, I have very little time to deal with each separate Jeremiad. Do I understand rightly that your contention is this, “I can’t believe in the Divine doing everything for me because it is by my own mighty and often fruitless efforts that I write or do not write poetry and have made myself into a poet?’ Well, that itself is ‘patient, magnificent, unheard of. It has always been supposed since the infancy of the human race that while a verse-maker can be made or self-made, a poet cannot. ‘Poet a nascitur non fit,’ ‘a poet is born, not made’ is the dictum that has come down through the centuries and was thundered into my ears by the first pages of my Latin grammar. The facts of literary history seem to justify this stern saying. But in Pondicherry we have tried not to manufacture poets but to give them birth, a spiritual, not a physical birth into the body. In a number of cases we are supposed to have succeeded — one of these is your noble self — or if I am to believe the man of sorrows in you, your abject, miserable, hopeless, ineffectual self. But how was it done? There are two theories, it seems — one that it was by the Force, the other that it was by your own splashing, kicking, groaning, Herculean efforts. Now, Sir, if it is the latter, if you have done that unprecedented thing, made yourself by your own laborious strength into a poet (for your earlier efforts were only very decent literary exercises) then, Sir, why the deuce are you so abject, self depreciatory, miserable?”

We see then that Sri Aurobindo was not only a poet but a creator of poets as well.

We were at this stage of our collaboration when, in 1938, a grave accident happened to him and we were brought face to face. In the small hours of the morning we found him lying on the floor of his room. He seemed to have been in that condition for about an hour without having called any one. He had tried all sorts of manipulations with the leg, but all in vain. The Mother felt in her sleep the vibration, and came up to find Sri Aurobindo in this state of immobility. She perceived at once what had gone wrong and sent for the doctors. After a series of examinations it was decided that the right femur had got badly fractured and that Sri Aurobindo should be kept in bed for some months. One can understand how the news shocked the whole Ashram. What struck me most was that while the Mother was discussing with the doctors all about the accident and its treatment, Sri Aurobindo listened in silence and accepted meekly like a child all the necessary medical prescriptions approved by the Mother. That was a lesson in submission to all of us. The doctors had observed that Sri Aurobindo was an ideal patient.

The accident compelled him to abandon his solitude and accept the help of his disciples for medical reasons. Even after his cure, our services were retained.

Truly speaking, I had nourished in my secret heart a desire to see him from near at hand, hear his voice, talk with him and if possible serve him. Perhaps our correspondence pushed me to this utopian reverie. But when we actually met, no sign of recognition on his face! It was as if we had been unknown to each other — or too well known? His attitude towards all of us was most impersonal to start with.

During the two or three months of his illness, he kept his unperturbed calmness and good humour. Neither the gravity of the accident nor its inconveniences affected him in any manner. He told us later on that before the accident he could change pain into joy, but the suddenness of the accident and the intensity of the pain made him powerless for the moment…. He did succeed afterwards. He said also that the accident, the illness etc. were for him only a phase of the inner battle.

We heard very little complaint during the long months of hospitalisation. Not only did he obey all the medical restrictions and physical discomforts with equanimity but lightened our own burden by cheerful talks. The Mother used often to ask, “Are they making you talk?” And his smiling reply was, “Oh, that’s nothing!” For over a year he had only a sponge bath; hunger did not seem to gnaw him; nor did heat unnerve him; he did not seem to live in the body. But he was far from being dry or austere, he was not an ascetic. He enjoyed good food, witty words and slept like all of us. He was not a “puritan god who had made of pleasure a poisoned fruit”; he read newspapers (but not books, for — in Mallarmé’s words — he ‘had read all books’!). He was not lost in meditation, eyes closed and legs crossed. In short, no external evidence would proclaim to us, “Here is the yogi who has reached the Supermind.” People were surprised to hear that his external life differed in no way from that of a common man, simple, natural and healthy. “To be transformed radically within, remaining apparently human without,” such is in effect the principle of his yoga.

And this was amply illustrated by the calm and serenity he maintained even in moments of great disturbance. He taught us that one must be able to keep a perfect equanimity even in the midst of massive destruction. We saw how, during the troubled period of war, he went on with his usual daily activity, never changing the normal rhythm of his life. He attended to his intellectual work. He started rewriting a good deal of The Life Divine soon after his convalescence and finished it in two years. We used to see him sitting on his bed with his pen, papers on the table, but no books. He had forgotten the world with its devastating war-thunder; the words came ‘flowing direct to his pen, as from a hidden silence.’ Now and then he would stop, look in front and dive again. The Mother would come with a glass of coconut water, and wait till he would look up. He needed no books, no thinking. He had stopped thinking long ago — after his Nirvanic experience in 1907 and since then all that he wrote or said or did had come from the higher silence. “To be free from the responsibility of thinking is a great relief,” he used to tell us.

About the second or third volume of The Life Divine, when it came out, he remarked, “It is a huge elephant.” All three volumes, neatly bound in polished white cloth, were sent to him to be blessed with his autograph. On each one he would write the name of the purchaser, add his blessings and his own signature. More than three hundred such copies have conserved his autograph as an act of Divine Grace.

The Life Divine over, Sri Aurobindo took up his epic Savitri. I had the unique opportunity to follow its growth and development from a tiny seed into an ashwattha tree. With an infinite care, exacting at each step a flawless perfection, he worked and worked, slowly, silently like a god in labour. One would gape with wonder to see how many versions he had made of some cantos! At the end when his vision was affected he had to dictate the verses like Milton. I remember that he dictated in successive sittings near about four hundred lines of The Book of Eternal Day. He had made about twelve revisions of the first Book. And he would certainly have done the same for the entire Savitri had he had sufficient time. Many other incidental tasks like correspondence with sadhaks, answering letters from outside, reading of theses, essays, poems and other miscellaneous intellectual tasks took up much of his time till one day he had to speak out: “I find no time for my important work!” Then he began systematically the work on Savitri and we were proceeding finely when again all of a sudden I heard him utter, “I want to finish Savitri soon.” That struck my ear like a sharp slap! It was in 1950, a few months before his passing away. Such an accent was most foreign to his nature. In everything that he did, his talk, his walk, his eating, his dictation, there was not the least haste; he would give the impression as if “all eternity was before him.” “Well then,” I asked myself, “what imperious need could make him impatient, he who was an example of patience and equanimity?” The work was, however, finished somewhat hurriedly and even so some parts were not revised. Afterwards of course we could see in a clear light what had pressed him inordinately.

One can imagine then that his seclusion was neither that of an ascetic’s refusal of the world nor an absorption in samadhi away from life. One might, on the contrary, reasonably ask, “Where in the midst of so much activity was the yogi? In what way was he different from other great men?” Here some understanding of the principle of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga is necessary. It is radical departure from most of the traditional yogas. For Sri Aurobindo all action depends on the consciousness from which it is done. Firmly seated in the divine consciousness one can do any kind of work which will be the reflection or translation of that divine consciousness. So whether in work or in activity, one is always united with the higher consciousness. And Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga demands that there should be no division between the external and the internal life. All life is yoga. “Do you imagine that when I write to you these letters, I lose the divine consciousness?” he wrote to me. He has also said that so long as one cannot undertake any work with a perfect equality, one is not a yogi. The Mother too says that so long as this division remains in the mind, transformation of life is impossible. Similarly when Sri Aurobindo used to give us inspiration for writing poetry, it was not to make us poets but that it might help us in our sadhana.

Even so, Sri Aurobindo reserved a big part of his daily life for what he called his personal work of concentration. Generally, the whole morning till the time of breakfast, which was gradually pushed to three or four o’clock in the afternoon, he passed in complete silence. None but the Mother was supposed to ‘disturb’ him except for exceptional reasons. We kept ourselves ready behind his bed, talking merrily or reading, while he was seated at ease in the bed, with eyes wide open, absorbed or concentrated God knows on what! His consciousness was “voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.”

During this period, he was quite a different person, far remote from that of the Correspondence or of Evening Talks.

This period was perhaps the most mysterious part of his life. Nobody except the Mother had any idea of what he was occupied with. Was he drawing down the supramental Force or concentrating on cosmic problems or even some individual cases needing some special attention? At these moments we were strangers to him: we might be crossing his presence many times, but we had no apparent identity. If he needed something, it was an impersonal voice calling somebody impersonal, as it were, for he would call by any name, and the voice would come from afar, the tone grave, the look elsewhere; the noise, our chatter fell into a vacancy. Even the explosion of a bomb would have left him serene and silent.

On this point the Mother has told us a story. One day when a storm was raging outside, she entered Sri Aurobindo’s room to find that a complete silence was reigning inside. This side of Sri Aurobindo I called the impersonal aspect of his person. People believed that we were all the time talking with him and that his radiant humour was pouring in a cascade and bathing us in its exultant flow. What a surprise to hear that such moments were numbered when he descended from his inaccessible heights to become ‘human’. And this short time was our divine moment. Like bees to the flower we would gather round him. The supramental cloak would slip down from his shoulders to reveal a friend who talked with us without any conventional constraint. Philosophy, literature, politics, yoga, even the most common jokes about snoring or the Sunday-Times trivialities were our fare. No ethical distinction between high and low, right or wrong ostracised any topic, only it must have some rasa in it. On one side his vast knowledge, his prajna was at our doors, on the other many small incidents, hitherto guarded secrets came to us in the form of reminiscences seasoned with light humour. One day he said, “All that I see in this room, these walls, these tables, the books, etc, etc., and yourself, Dr. Manilal, I see all as the Divine. No, it is not an imaginary vision, it is a concrete realisation.” Another day, Dr. Manilal having stopped his own meditation from fear, Sri Aurobindo scolded him mildly and said, “Oh, this fear! Even if you had died at that moment, it would have been a glorious death!” To another who had come out of his meditation he remarked with a smile, “I see your face beaming with a supramental ananda!” Such humour, sweet, refined and restrained, put us on a footing of equality.

But there too, as in all other things, he kept his tranquil spirit, his impersonal way. He never raised his voice, looked down or in front when he talked, and he talked very slowly, did not insist on his point, while a benign sweetness softened his countenance. When he criticised men or countries, there was no contempt or malice in his expression. He saw the Forces of which men are nothing but poor puppets. His divine compassion was over all. The impersonal again saw all with an equal eye.

I have often asked myself how such a division was possible. How could he be both personal and impersonal at the same time? Did he not lose his universality when he became an individual with us in his talks? It appears that one can be the transcendent, the universal and the individual simultaneously. Similarly he could keep an absolute silence in the midst of full activity. His luminous verse, “Force one with unimaginable rest,” gives a glimpse of what was a baffling mystery to me. All his activities, political, literary or otherwise, emerged from this Nirvanic silence and none knew it. All the volumes of the Arya had their source in this sovereign silence. And it was this force of silence that caused Hitler’s downfall and India’s independence. “There are two great forces in the universe, silence and speech…. Infinite is the power of this calm and silence, in which the great forces prepare for action.” Let us remember Buddha whose prodigious activity welled out from the ineffable silence of Nirvana!

In this modern age of feverish excitement and dizzy speed, Sri Aurobindo was never in a hurry, he remained calm and unperturbed even in the face of darkest calamities. He had an unshakable faith. His room was, as it were, packed with a concrete silence, but the force, the peace, the joy, the light were also there for anybody to feel and breathe them. During the first years of our stay with him, we were working almost twenty hours a day and yet there was no fatigue! Whence came all that joy and energy, I used to ask myself. I understood only after I had read Kalidasa” epic Kumarsambhava, “The Birth of the War-God.” There the poet describes how Shiva’s two servants were filled with inexhaustible energy that streamed from Shiva’s third eye. Very often we had the feeling that Sri Aurobindo was himself Shiva, or rather Shiva was an aspect of his personality. His total abnegation, his non-attachment to material things, his liberality, universal compassion, childlike attitude, distaste for physical work, his complete surrender to the Mother who looked after him, all these are features that we associate with Shiva. His very body had a likeness.

One can say then that impersonality was the essence of his nature. All that he did, all that came from him, his ease, reserve, calm slowness, even certain aspects of humour gave me that impression. We know that in his political activities he preferred always to remain in the background: one day he said, “The confounded British Government spoiled my play.” He was not even calling us by names when he needed something!

Though impersonal, he was a person and his personal body was so sweet, so tender! A perfume like that of a child’s body emanated from it. His small feet supporting a massive frame were warm like the down of a bird, and his palms were soft and velvety like those of a woman. When he lay down on the bed, his body covered the entire bed, and the trunk, lightly powdered after bath, hair plaited or loose falling down the neck reminded us again of Shiva. Sometimes the body was radiant with a white light. At other times when, seated on the edge of the bed, he waited for the Mother’s coming, his majestic posture evoked the figure of Moses. The portrait of his last days is nothing but a travesty of this supreme grandeur. Sri Aurobindo has said that the Supreme is both personal and impersonal at the same time. His own life is a luminous example of this truth and has given me a small insight into the working of the Divine in the world. We had the unique opportunity of seeing two personalities together, the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, the Shakti full of energy, dynamism, Shiva, impassive, immobile; the Prakriti, the Purusha, two-in-one.

This impassivity was, to my shocked surprise, one day suddenly snapped when he uttered, “I want to finish Savitri soon.” It is true that during the last phase of his life he became very grave and withdrawn. One of us dared to ask him the reason. He gave an enigmatic reply: “Things are getting very serious!” The meaning was clear only after he had left his body and this he did in a normal manner. An extraordinary phenomenon was observed the next day: the entire body was suffused with a golden light. The Mother said that if the Light remained the body would be preserved in a glass case. But alas, after five days the Light vanished, which is quite in conformity with Sri Aurobindo’s mode of life for he never wanted to capture the world’s imagination by miracles; he was not a thaumaturgic magician.

One can imagine the enormous void created in the Ashram by his unexpected departure. It was a thunderstroke. And if the Mother had I not absorbed the shock I do not know what a formidable chaos would have reigned in our world! She filled the void by her Grace, her power, by her very person. Sri Aurobindo’s absence has brought into the world-gaze the greatness, the supreme power of the Mother. She has, by her love and care, rebuilt the nest badly shaken by the storm. Before his passing, Sri Aurobindo had written in Savitri, “She alone can save the world and save herself,” which clearly pointed to the Mother’s future role.

If Sri Aurobindo is physically absent his subtle presence is yet very near us, alive and active, and as before it is continuously working on to establish the supramental kingdom on earth, “In Death to repatriate Immortality.”

Such was the Master’s life, and such it abides even now, always silent and impersonal, a total self-effacement. We lived the last twelve years of his life following him like a shadow. We saw how much the Divine in the form of Guru, the Avatar, works, suffers for our ‘confounded humanity.’ He has said, “My yoga is not for myself, I need nothing, neither salvation nor anything else, but precisely for the earth-consciousness, to open a way for the transformation of the earth-consciousness.”

We have also watched the tragedy of his passing away in a normal tranquil manner like a common man, not like some yogis who give up the body in meditation. Like Sri Ramakrishna, he took up the disease, allowed its natural course and reached the natural end. His whole life was an extraordinary phenomenon, but its external form so simple, natural and human, so to say, concealed the inner miracle. What we have seen are nothing but a few waves, small and big, on the surface, while his true life was ‘never on the surface’. The depth of that life will always remain unfathomable. The Mother alone knows what he was and what he has done for the world. One day the world will wake up to a recognition and accept him as the Avatar, the World-Teacher.

(Mother India, February 1967)

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One question which often arises in the mind of those exposed to traditional yogic practices, is that since the first step is finding the Divine why not find Him by any means and later return to the integral yoga.