Obviously, they have altered their original plan. And there is no reason why they should not — provided they fulfil in however oblique and paradoxical a shape their fundamental mission. The Avatar, even the Supramental one, assumes certain human traits in right earnest: otherwise Avatarhood would be a flashing intrusion of the Divine and have no evolutionary significance for the world. In a very effective sense, God has to become like us in order to help us become like Him. God has to undergo our predicaments and take upon Himself our defects, pass through obscurities and come to terms with the manifold play of possibilities that work out the designs of the Supreme, a play calling for various adjustments and alterations, shifts of strategy and shufflings of tactics. The Incarnation takes his stand in the midst of a world-order that has gone on for centuries along lines often in opposition to new truths. The Incarnation enters a game proceeding according to rules partly dictated by the Ignorance through which evolution moves towards Knowledge. These rules are permitted to spring surprises even upon Divinity when It enters the human formula. The humanised Divinity holds on to Its basic vocation but needs to revolutionise Its methods, discard old projects, adopt startlingly new devices.
Thus Sri Aurobindo has spoken of an entire change of front from what was being done soon after November 24, 1926, when he and the Mother experienced the Overmind descent into their bodies. Looking back from a latter time (October 18, 1934) he writes: “…if the Mother were able to bring out the Divine Personalities and Powers into her body and physical being as she was doing for several months without break some years ago, the brightest period in the history of the Ashram, things would be much more easy and all these dangerous attacks that now take place would be dealt with rapidly and would in fact be impossible. In those days when the Mother was either receiving the Sadhaks for meditation or otherwise working and concentrating all night and day without sleep and with very irregular food, there was no ill-health and no fatigue in her and things were proceeding with a lightning swiftness… Afterwards, because the lower vital and the physical of the Sadhaks could not follow, the Mother had to push the Divine Personalities and Powers, through which she was doing the action, behind a veil and come down into the physical human level and act according to its conditions and that means difficulty, struggle, illness, ignorance and inertia…”
Alluding to the same “brightest period”, Sri Aurobindo remarks on January 14, 1932: “…the Supramental could very well have come down into Matter under former conditions, if the means created by the Mother for the physical and vital contact had not been vitiated by the wrong attitude, the wrong reactions in the Ashram atmosphere. It was not the direct supramental Force that was acting, but an intermediate and preparatory force that carried in it a modified Light derived from the Supramental, but this would have been sufficient for the work of opening the way for the highest action, if it had not been for the irruption of these wrong forces on the yet unconquered lower (physical) vital material plane.”
Again we hear from Sri Aurobindo on December 31, 1934: “It is a little difficult to say whether all have to come down totally into the physical. The Mother and I had to do it because the work could not be otherwise done. We had tried to do it from above through the mind and higher vital, but it could not be because the Sadhaks were not ready to follow…”
A change still more radical and revolutionary in the dynamics of the Integral Yoga was required in 1950. When Sri Aurobindo and the Mother saw the necessity of one of them abandoning the body and Sri Aurobindo chose to withdraw from his physical sheath on December 5, he began to operate from behind the scene as a power of manifestation from the subtle-physical plane where he had established himself and as a power of evolution from the Inconscient where he had thrust the antennae of his consciousness through the dissolution of his semi-illuminated gross-physical substance. His direct role upon the earth was projected into a future when, as the Mother communicated to us, he would come in the first supramental body built in the supramental and not the natural way. From his command to the Mother early in the year that she would have to “fulfil our Yoga of supramental descent and transformation”, we understood that just as he would represent a non-evolutionary materialisation of the Supramental she would toil on to represent an evolutionary supramentalisation of the Material: they would be the obverse and reverse of the same eternal Truth-gold made current in our Iron Age. The Aurobindonian objective would still be compassed except that, contrary to the original plan, the Master himself would not be the first body in evolutionary history to be divinised. But as he was concerned essentially with the supramentalisation of the earth-consciousness and never involved in any personal race for the Supermind all was well for him so long as his own Shakti, the Mother, with whom he was one in consciousness, was there to be the leader of the evolution, guiding the earth to its fulfilment by supramentalising herself in this life and not in another.
Yes, Sri Aurobindo’s departure, although heart-stunning, was yet not absolutely mind-bewildering. It is the Mother’s departure that is the extreme enigma. Of course, a radical and revolutionary change of plan is as legitimate for her as for him. But her change has occurred with an ostensible non-completion of the task Sri Aurobindo had entrusted to her. It is this non-completion that hits us hard and acutely challenges us.
- Sri Aurobindo on Himself, SABCL, Vol. 26, p. 472.
- Ibid., pp. 473-74.
- Ibid., p. 474.