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A Fragrant Flower of Cambridge

(Sri Aurobindo - His Contribution to Humanity)


Lecture delivered on 27th April at Cambridge University by Gopal Bhattacharjee

Sri Aurobindo Society (U. K.)

From publishers
On Author - Shri Gopal Bhattacharjee

"And Matter shall reveal the Spirit's face" - 
                                    Sri Autobindo
Booklet No.2. Second Edition. January 1993.
Title: A Fragrant Flower of Cambridge
(Sri Aurobindo - His Contribution to Humanity)
(Lecture delivered on  27th  April  1991  at  Cambridge
University)

Author: Shri Copalttacharjee
 Sri Aurobindo Society (U. K.)      

No matter appearing in this booklet may  be  translated
or  reproduced  without  the  wrinen  permission of the
author or Sri Aurobindo Society (U.K.)

Published by Sri Aurobindo Society (U.K.)
Printed by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press,
Pondicherty - 605 002, India

Introductory Address and University Life

    It is a very proud moment for me  today,  to  stand
before this august assembly at King's College, Cambrid-
ge,  which served as the alma mater of my  master,  Sri
Aurobindo,  who  spent the most impressionable years of
his life in this venerable Centre  of  learning.  There
are  many  institutions in England which have played an
important role in the development and growth of the In-
dian  mind  during  the last rwo centuries.  Oxford and
Cambridge, in particular, occupy an outstanding positi-
on in this regard.                                     
    I think it will not be remiss if,  before  dwelling
on the subject in hand, I revert briefly to my Master's
own experience of University life. In a lecture delive-
red at the Baroda College, where he served as a profes-
sor,  he recalls with great pleasure: "I think there is
no  student  of  Oxford  or Cambridge who does not look
back in after days on the few years of his undergradua-
te life. He goes up from the restricted life of his ho-
me and school and finds himself in surroundings  which,
with   astonishing   rapidity,  expand  his  intellect,
strengthen his character, develop his social faculties,
force out all his abilities and turn him in three years
from a boy into a man."                                
Prelude

    Today, an inscrutable wind blows across the  world.
All that seemed certain once,  now rests on the shadowy
back of doubt.  All that was considered stable  is  now
perceived to be in a state of constant flux.  Under the
present circumstances,  in the context of all the major
events of our civilisation, past and present, I feel it
would not be an exaggeration if I said that  Sri  Auro-
bindo  embodied  within himself the highest aspirations
and hopes of a humanity that is emerging  from  an  old
order which is now crumbling and moving towards a resp-
lendent future that is to be born.  We do not belong to
past dawns but to the noons of the future!             
Theme
    The theme for our discussion today is: Sri Aurobin-
do - His Contribution to Humanity.  I must however has-
ten  to add that Sri Aurobindo represents a truth which
is too vast for the human mind to  comprehend.  He  has
himself written of this in no uncertain terms and I qu-
ote:  "My life has never been on the surface for man to
see."  In the words of The Mother who was the spiritual
collaborator of Sri Aurobindo: "What Sri Aurobindo rep-
resents  in  the history of the earth's spiritual prog-
ress is not a teaching,  not even a revelation; it is a
mighty action straight from the Supreme."              
    I shall therefore make a modest  attempt  at  high-
lighting  the  cardinal principles upon which rests his
contributions to Humanity.                             
    All the  tablets  of  history bear testimony to the
fact that whenever man forgot the real meaning and pur-
pose  of  his life and felt lost in the spiritual dark-
ness of his being a mighty soul,  manifesting the power
of God,  has descended upon earth to help in the advan-
cement of human consciousness in  consonance  with  the
Divine telos or evolutionary aim in nature.  At present
mankind is undergoing a similar evolutionary crisis  in
which  is concealed a choice of its destiny.  "Humanity
has arrived at a certain stage of general tension -ten-
sion in effort, tension in action, tension in every day
life - and an over-activity so excessive,  a  restless-
ness  so  widespread that the whole human race seems to
have reached a point where  either  one  has  to  break
through  a resistance and rise into a new consciousness
or fall back into an abyss of obscurity and inertia."  
    There is  therefore  hardly a clear appreciation of
the fact that the root-cause of these inordinate tensi-
ons everywhere lies in the inner consciousness of modem
man.  All the cacophonous upheavals in  the  political,
economic,  social, moral and religious spheres are only
symptomatic of a total spiritual bankruptcy from  which
modern man suffers at the very core of his being.      
    What then is Sri Aurobindo's solution to this prob-
lem?  He  points  out  that what man faces today is not
just a social,  political,  economic,  ecological or  a
nuclear crisis but an evolutionary crisis.  The highest
power of consciousness at present available to man, na-
mely the mental consciousness,  seems totally incapable
of solving these problems.  The  very  accumulation  of
these  intransigent  problems is an indication that the
time has come for man to transcend the  limitations  of
his mental consciousness. In Sri Aurobindo's view: "Man
is a transitional being; he is not final. The step from
man  to superman is the most approaching achievement of
earth's evolution.  It is inevitable because it  is  at
once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of
Nature's process."                                     
    The Mother's own commentary on this is equally suc-
cinct:                                                 
    "There is  an  ascending  evolution in nature which
goes from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the
animal, and from the animal to man. Because man is, for
the moment,  at the summit of the ascending  evolution,
he  considers himself as the final stage in this ascen-
sion and believes there can be nothing on earth superi-
or to him.  In this he is mistaken. In his physical na-
ture he is yet almost wholly an animal,  a thinking and
speaking  animal,  but  still an animal in his material
habits and instincts. Undoubtedly, nature cannot be sa-
tisfied  with  such  an imperfect result;  she tries to
bring out a being who will be to man what man is to the
animal,  a  being who will remain a man in its external
form,  and yet whose consciousness will rise far  above
the mental and its slavery to ignorance."              
    Sri Aurobindo, a Master patriot, who later became a
Master  Yogi,  is  a unique phenomenon in human history
with a significance for the whole world.  Although,  at
the  beginning  of his life,  his main objective was to
liberate India from the foreign  yoke,  his  real  work
started  when  he wrote:  "Trust the Divine power.  She
will free god-like elements in you and shape  all  into
an expression of the Divine Nature."                   
Sri Aurobindo's Life - A Brief Review
    Now, before  we  launch ourselves on a study of his
action,  contributions and discoveries, let us review a
few events from his life which will enable us to reali-
se that his physical existence upon earth was a  conti-
nuous fulfilment of the Will of God.                   
    Sri Aurobindo was born on the 15th of August  1872,
in  Calcutta,  and  this  was the day ordained to be 75
years later the Independence day of India. Sri Aurobin-
do,  a Bengali by birth,  was educated from his seventh
year to his twenty-first year in England;  first at St.
Paul's  School,  London,  and  then  at King's College,
Cambridge. He wielded the English language as if it we-
re  his  mother  tongue.  He  was a brilliant classical
scholar who made his mark not only  at  Cambridge,  but
also  in the open competition for the Indian Civil Ser-
vices examination.  It may be also added  that  he  was
highly proficient in French,  Italian and German.  Upon
his return to India,  in the year 1893, after delibera-
tely absenting himself from the riding test for the ICS
Examination,  he joined the Baroda State service  as  a
principal Secretary to the Maharaja of Baroda.  Here he
spent 13 years where he prepared himself  silently  for
his future mission.  During this period,  he learnt his
mother tongue Bengali,  and achieved mastery over Sans-
krit,  as  well  as  in several other Indian languages.
Then,  suddenly,  he threw aside all the benefits of  a
secure and enviable position in the Baroda State servi-
ce in response to the call of the Nation. His fiery ar-
ticles  and revolutionary activities soon projected him
on to the national stage as the unquestioned leader  of
India's freedom struggle. In eight years he changed the
fate of the Indian National Movement and was the  first
person who, in close cooperation with Bal Gangadhar Ti-
lak,  another staunch Nationalist, demanded Poorna Swa-
raj  or  complete  Independence for his country and its
people.  His pen was mightier than  the  sword  and  it
didn't  come  as a surprise when the British Government
arrested him for sedition by implicating him in a false
bomb  conspiracy  case.  He was incarcerated in Alipore
Central Jail of Calcutta which was the milieu  for  his
major  spiritual  experiences.  What the Government was
thinking about him at that time is very clear from some
words  of  Lord Minto,  the then Viceroy of India,  who
wrote to Lord Morley, Secretary of State for India. The
letter said: "Aurobindo Ghosh is the most dangerous man
we have to deal with at present and he has great influ-
ence with the student class. I believe every effort has
been made by his Indian friends to reclaim him and they
tell me it is hopeless."                               
    The famous Alipore trial of Sri Aurobindo created a
sensation all over the country. The British Government,
in order to nail him,  brought an eminent public prose-
cutor from England,  Mr. Norton, to ensure that Sri Au-
robindo would be either hanged or imprisoned for  life.
It  is very interesting to note that although Sri Auro-
bindo is today recognised the world  over  as  a  great
philosopher and seer, in the year 1908 he was not known
to the world as a great Yogi or visionary with his rea-
lisations of the Supermind and the Life Divine. On this
momentous occasion,  when he had gone through a  period
of one year's undertrial detention, barrister C.R. Das,
the future leader of Bengal,  appeared as  his  defence
counsel  and by a curious stroke of fate,  which cannot
but be explained as the Will of God,  the judge at  his
trial was one Mr.  Beechcroft whom Aurobindo had beaten
to second place in Greek and Latin in the ICS  examina-
tion. On the closing day of the cross-examination Beec-
hcroft asked:  "Mr. Das, do you have any other evidence
to  produce before the court or shall we close the pro-
ceedings of cross-examination?" C.R. Das, before a pac-
ked  crowd in the Court room,  told Judge Beechcroft in
an emotion-choked voice: "My Lord, if the pronouncement
of  Freedom is a crime,  Sri Aurobindo Ghose will admit
his guilt.  Therefore,  my appeal to you.  Sir, is this
that  a man like this who is being charged with the of-
fences imputed to him stands not only before the Bar of
this  Court but stands before the Bar of the High Court
of history for all time to come.  Your honour, long af-
ter  this controversy is hushed in silence,  long after
this agitation and turmoil have ceased,  long after you
and  I  are dead and gone,  he will be looked upon as a
poet of Nationalism,  a prophet of Patriotism and a lo-
ver of Humanity. His words will be echoed and re-echoed
not only in India but across distant lands  and  seas."
Obviously these were not the words of C.R.  Das but the
voice of God. Sri Aurobindo was honourably acquitted.  
    Upon his release,  he addressed a vast gathering at
Uttar-para where he described the nature of his  spiri-
tual experience in jail. It may be summarised as a rea-
lisation of the omnipresence of God.                   
    The Nation  rejoiced  at having found back its lea-
der.  The-future Nobel prize winner and literary genius
Rabindranath  Tagore made famous later by his Gitanjali
wrote:
              "Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee!
     O friend, my country's friend,
O voice incarnate free,  
Of India's soul..."      
    Under a  Divine Command from within,  Sri Aurobindo
withdrew from politics when he was assured by the  same
Command  that the Independence of India was certain and
that his work lay somewhere else - a  mission  for  the
whole  of humanity.  In the year 1910 he came from Cal-
cutta to Pondicherry,  a coastal town in  South  India,
which was then under French rule,  fur concentrated at-
tainment and manifestation of the Supermind.  He  lived
in  Pondicherry  for  forty  years of which twenty-four
years were spent in near-seclusion.  He remained in his
room  without  coming out,  not meeting anyone with the
exception of The Mother and his personal attendants. He
remained totally engrossed in his work which was to ma-
nifest the Supramental Force upon earth.  I will  later
explain what Supermind connotes and how it operates. In
1950, at the age of 78, on the 5th of December, Sri Au-
robindo  left  his physical body as a strategic move in
order to work more effectively from the  occult  planes
to hasten the Supramental Manifestation upon earth. The
physical body, after he had withdrawn from it, remained
a-glow, surcharged with a concentration of light, defy-
ing decomposition for more than 100 hours in a tropical
climate,  which  was  a bewilderment to medical science
and a reversal of nature's laws.  Well-known French and
Indian doctors were unable to certify it as a dead body
until,  on the 5th day, the Supramental Light withdrew.
The  Mother  later  told a disciple that this light was
the first visible proof of the Supramental Descent  and
as  a result,  in spite of all the established opposing
forces,  this Supramental Force would progressively  be
able  to express unity in diversity instead of division
and limitation,  truth instead  of  falsehood,  freedom
instead of tyranny,  goodwill instead of jealousy, love
instead of hatred and immortality instead of death.    
Key Concepts in Sri Aurobindo's Teachings
    To grasp what Sri Aurobindo  stands  for,  we  must
first  understand  the significance of a few words like
Spirit,  Yoga,  Evolution and  Supermind,  which  recur
constantly  in  all  his works spanning 30 volumes with
each volume containing on an average 500 foolscap  she-
ets.                                                   
  Some of his major works include The Life Divine,  The
Synthesis of Yoga,  The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human
Cycle, The Foundations of Indian Culture, The Secret of
the  Veda  and  his magnum opus in poetry,  Savitri.  I
shall now dwell a little while on Savitri.             
    In Savitri  he  recaptures  the fundamentals of all
religions, philosophies and yogic practices. He descri-
bes  the cosmogony of the universe; from bhu - earth -
to bhavah,svar,mahas,sat,citand ananda  the seven
planes  of existence,  the various grades of conscious-
ness. He describes them in vivid detail and unveils the
occult  geography of the universe.  That is perhaps the
largest part of the epic.                              
    And then  he narrates how man has grown up from the
pure physical,  concerned with his  creature  comforts,
the tamasic man,  the rajasic or vital man and from the
rajasic man into the sattwic or mental man.  He discus-
ses the various gradations of the mind, why life is ma-
imed,  why death enters at all into the cosmic  scheme,
why if ananda,bliss, is the base,ananda the sustenan-
ce and ananda the goal, we feel so much  of  suffering
and  pain?  He  also discusses the problem of free-will
and determinism.                                       
    Coming back to Sri Aurobindo's cardinal concepts we
find that,  in his dictionary,  spiritual does not mean
merely cultural or moral, but in his own words: "Spiri-
tuality in its essence is an awakening to the inner re-
ality of our being,  to a Spirit,  Self, Soul, which is
other than our mind, life and body, an inner aspiration
to  know,  to feel,  to be that,  to enter into contact
with a greater reality,  beyond and pervading the  uni-
verse, which inhabits also our own being."             
    The word Yoga has the same root as the English word
"yoke". Yoga is a disciplined process of inner develop-
ment which attempts to yoke the  individual  soul  with
the more-than-human, the divine, the perfect. Yoga does
not mean,  as is  popularly  understood,  extraordinary
physical postures and breathing exercises.  Yoga is the
cover term for a range of mainly psychological  discip-
lines  used in India tor bringing about a change in hu-
man consciousness.                                     
    Unlike most philosophic schools and Yogic discipli-
nes in India and the West which have counselled the es-
cape and release of the individual soul from the Empire
of Ignorance, dismissing terrestrial existence as radi-
cally  opposed  to  the incommunicable stillness of the
Spirit,  Sri Aurobindo's Yoga takes the body,  the life
energies and the mind to be the instruments of the soul
and seeks to-perfect them.  The Yoga of  Sri  Aurobindo
does not lead to dissolution but gives man a new birth,
and enables him to play his part in the cosmic evoluti-
on  as  a channel of the Divine's Will in the becoming.
Thus,  in Sri Aurobindo's words: "The ascent to the di-
vine life is the human journey,  the Work of works, the
acceptable Sacrifice. This alone is man's real business
in  the  world  and the justification of his existence.
Without it he would be only an  insect  crawling  among
other  ephemeral  insects on a speck of surface mud and
water which has managed to form itself amid the  appal-
ling immensities of the physical universe."            
    Another seminal concept is Evolution. Evolution, as
it  is widely understood,  is a biological concept used
in the West to explain the gradual  emergence  of  more
and  more  complex  forms,  an emergence beginning with
uni-cellular organisms and culminating in man.  It  was
Sri  Aurobindo's  distinctive  contribution when he was
able to show that Yoga and Evolution are but two  pers-
pectives of a single process.                          
    Sri Aurobindo has himself explained that  the  con-
cept  of  Supermind was not entirely his new discovery.
As early as in the Vedas of India there was the  vision
of it as Satyam Ritam Brihat - the True, the Right, the
Vast - and it was symbolised as the  Sun  of  Knowledge
shining in the highest heaven.  But either it was expe-
rienced in a deep trance from which  its  whole  impact
could  not  be transmitted or was seized as a pale ref-
lection on the several grades between it and the mental
level  -  gradations  of consciousness distinguished by
Sri Aurobindo upwards as Higher Mind,  Illumined  Mind,
Intuition,  Overmind and finally Supermind.  On each of
these levels the Spirit has an organised  existence  in
which  it  is self-revealed,  each carries something of
which our universe seems a half-lit image-echo, but the
spirit's self-revelation differs in intensity from gra-
de to grade. In the Overmind it is so intense that most
Yogis and Mystics have hardly looked further, they have
believed the ultimate Omniscience and Omnipotence to be
here,  and yet this greatness has not the secret of the
total transformation.  No more  than  grand  hints  and
glimmerings  of  the  Supermind  have been caught up to
now.  If there had been a clear and concrete seizure of
it, its precise potentialities in reference to the evo-
lutionary process would have been gauged.  The realisa-
tion of the Supermind's significance and intention,  by
a wide-awake union with its TruthConsciousness,  is Sri
Aurobindo's  contribution to spiritual experience.  The
systematic detailed exposition of them is his contribu-
tion to philosophy.  And the direct application of them
to the problems of individual and collective living  in
his  Ashram at Pondicherry is his contribution to prac-
tical world-work. We see here an exploration of the Di-
vine inseparably linked with worldly life, irrespective
of caste, colour, creed, nation and race.              
    These three  contributions render Sri Aurobindo the
most important influence  for  humanity's  future.  The
spiritual  India  of history is reaching its climax and
giving modern times a stimulus of the profoundest crea-
tivity.                                                
Avoiding Misconceptions
    It must  be  stressed  however that Sri Aurobindo's
evolution and Darwinism are not the  same  thing.  Dar-
win's  theory of Natural Selection is a biological pro-
cess,  whereas Sri Aurobindo's evolution relates to the
growth of consciousness.  Further, it has nothing to do
with Hegel's metaphysical theory of evolution.  An  un-
warranted  comparison between Bergson and Sri Aurobindo
is also often made.  Again Sri Aurobindo's Superman, is
often  mistakenly identified with Nietzsche's Superman.
These somewhat hasty misconceptions based on  semantics
need to be eschewed.                                   
    It is the uniqueness of Sri Aurobindo that his the-
ory  of  evolution not only synthesises the best in the
Eastern and Western systems but also opens up new  vis-
tas and uncharted horizons.                            
Sri Aurobindo's Catholicity
    Sri Aurobindo was proud of India and proud of Asia,
but from the beginning he had also cultivated a  global
outlook, and his concern ultimately was with the future
health of the human race itself. His dispassionate glo-
bal  view helped him to appreciate the admirable traits
in other nations and peoples - England's practical  in-
telligence,  France's  clear  logical brain,  Germany's
speculative genius, Russia's emotional force, America's
commercial energy - but he also thought that the West's
mastery of the arts of material life was certainly  not
enough.  Asia's  awakening was necessary to restore the
balance; "Asia is the custodian of the world's peace of
mind,  the physician of the maladies which Europe gene-
rates," he said.  And in Asia,  India has the lead role
to play.                                               
The Failure of Western Remedies
    The classless society prophesied by Marx and Engels
cannot materialise  because  democracy,  socialism  and
communism  haven't  been able in actual practice to end
the human tendency to egoistic separativity, assertive-
ness and rivalry and their attendant evils of exploita-
tion in economic life,  corruption, violence and liqui-
dation in political life. It is only when the spiritual
revolution resulting in the cracking of the  human  ego
comes  about  that  the godheads of the soul - justice,
liberty,  equality, brotherhood  will be realised on a
permanent  basis in a "Kingdom of Heaven" as was dreamt
of by Christianity and the Hinduism of old.  That would
be the Gnostic society of the future.                  
    "Prophets of a new humanity have followed one anot-
her, religions, spiritual or social, have been created,
their beginnings were at times full of promise: but, as
humanity  was not transformed at heart,  the old errors
arising from human nature itself have reappeared gradu-
ally  and  after  a time it was found that one was left
almost at the same spot from where one had started with
so much hope and enthusiasm."                          
    We must clearly recognise the fact that  Sri  Auro-
bindo  does  not  intend to "give his sanction to a new
edition of the old fiasco" - an inner development, with
the  outer nature still remaining the same:  the Supra-
mental consciousness alone has the power to deal victo-
riously  with  both the inner and the outer problems of
human existence.                                       
    This is  the message for humanity from Sri Aurobin-
do.                                                    
Negotiating the Arguments of the Positivists
    But some people of the  positivistic  school  argue
that the Supermind is not something that is going to be
accessible to us in the near future,  at least  not  in
our lifetime.  Its coming is still in the distant futu-
re,  and how distant we do not know for certain. But in
the meanwhile we have urgent problems confronting us on
all sides.  There are hunger,  poverty, lack of housing
and  medical  care.  Children  are dying in hundreds of
thousands every year for want of nutritiously  adequate
food.  Then  there are the terrors of a nuclear holoca-
ust, of population explosion, of pollution and ecologi-
cal disaster,  etc. etc.; the list is endless. Would it
not be unwise to busy ourselves at this  juncture  with
something as vague and distant as the Supramental cons-
ciousness when we are threatened by so  many  of  these
problems?                                              
    This has been explained by Shri Nolini Kanta Gupta,
an exponent of Sri Aurobindo's teaching.  He points out
that men have attempted social, political, economic and
moral reforms from time immemorial.  It is not that re-
formers and do-gooders have appeared on earth  for  the
first time now. Many of them did get busy with the task
of getting something done in the physical and  material
world.  But  they found that achieving something in the
material world such as procuring food for each and eve-
ry person,  clothing and housing, is also an ideal. But
the mystery is that it is not always the ideal  nearest
to  the  earth  which  is the easiest to achieve or the
first thing to be done.  Do we not see before our  very
eyes  how some very simple innocent social and economic
changes are difficult to carry out - they bring in the-
ir train,  quite disproportionately, gestures and move-
ments of violence and revolution. This is so because we
seek  to cure symptoms and not to touch the root causes
of the disease.  For even the most innocent-looking so-
cial,  economic and political abuse has at its base far
reaching attitudes and life-urges -  even  a  spiritual
outlook - that have to be sought out and tackled first.
Even in mundane matters we do not dig  deep  enough  or
rise high enough. We must first realise that: "No mate-
rial organisation is capable of bringing a solution  to
the miseries of man. Man must rise to a higher level of
consciousness and get rid of his ignorance,  limitation
and  selfishness in order to free himself from his suf-
ferings."                                              
The Mother and the Practice of Sri Aurobindo's Ideals
    It is said that a drop of practice  is  worth  more
than an ocean of theory. Has Sri Aurobindo remained on-
ly of academic interest to us or have his  ideals  been
put into practice?                                     
    The task of implementing Sri Aurobindo's Vision was
devolved upon the mother. She was born in Paris on 21st
February,  1878, and came to Pondicherry on 29th March,
1914. There she recognised the Master at first sight.  
    In 1954, Pondicherry merged politically with India.
On  this  occasion the Mother made an open declaration:
"I am French by birth and early education,  I am Indian
by  choice and predilection.  In my consciousness there
is no antagonism between the two,  on the contrary they
combine very well and complete one another. I know also
that I can be of service to both equally,  for my  only
aim  in life is to give a concrete form to Sri Aurobin-
do's great teaching and in his teaching he reveals that
all  the  Nations are essentially one and meant to exp-
ress the Divine Unity upon earth through  an  organised
and  harmonious  diversity." Thus it was She who gave a
physical formulation to the ideals of my Master.       
Sri Aurobindo and World Events
    It may be asked by some of you what  Sri  Aurobindo
did for Humanity. Many would feel that a person who was
confined to his room for nearly 24 years could not have
done  anything  tangible  to  alter the course of human
history. But let me assure you to the contrary. Sri Au-
robindo  was not only keeping a close watch on all that
was happening in the world and in India,  but  actively
intervened whenever necessary, but solely with a spiri-
tual force and silent spiritual action.                
    When the  First World War broke out,  Sri Aurobindo
said that it would mark the end of colonialism and  the
reawakening  of Asia which was for him a very important
step forward. He pointed out that the German militarism
was driven by the national ego and not the soul of Ger-
many,  and therefore it had to fail.  That was  a  very
bold statement at that time.                           
    At about that time when a  sadhak  expressed  fears
about the freedom of India,  Sri Aurobindo told him ca-
tegorically that the Indian freedom was  certain,  that
the instruments would be found, and that he himself was
working on what India would do with her freedom.       
    During World War II,  Sri Aurobindo sent his spiri-
tual force to work upon Churchill who was then found to
be  a fit instrument of the Divine to counter the demo-
niacal forces led by Hitler who  then  represented  the
force of retardation and negation of the spiritual life
and consciousness.  The same man who had  fought  tooth
and  nail  to lift the foreign yoke was now openly len-
ding his support to the allied cause. He sent a special
emissary  to  Delhi  to direct the political leaders of
the time to lend their unstinted cooperation  and  sup-
port to the war effort.                                
    Churchill's ouster after the war to  pave  the  way
for  India's  freedom is clearly indicative of the fact
that he was an instrument used for a  specific  purpose
and discarded later when he opposed the Divine Will.   
Sri Aurobindo's Five Dreams
    Sri Aurobindo had five dreams.  His first dream re-
lated to the freedom of India. And yet this freedom was
fissured.  Sri  Aurobindo  explained why.  He said that
when he had initiated the movement for India's freedom,
his consciousness was established at the Overmental le-
vel, and because of that the freedom was fissured, even
though  a way out had been offered with the Cripps mis-
sion.  If Sri Aurobindo's  consciousness  had  operated
from the Supramental level, the freedom would have been
whole.  In his Independence-day message he says: "India
is free but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured
and broken freedom. But by whatever means, the division
must  and will go.  For without it the destiny of India
might be seriously impaired and  even  frustrated.  But
that must not be."                                     
    Sri Aurobindo's second dream was the freedom of the
Asian peoples.  After 1947 we find that gradually colo-
nies have broken down and Asia has earned her  freedom.
Today  most of these countries are politically and eco-
nomically free.  Japan is one of the  largest  economic
powers in the world. South Korea and some of its neigh-
bouring countries have made giant leaps in economy.    
    India is  still to take its economic leap.  India's
greatest problem - its enormous population -  may  well
turn  out  to be its greatest asset.  When that massive
population gets down to work, when it begins to be pro-
ductive, when it decides to build new things, that will
mark India's resurgence as a mighty economic power. But
more  important  will be its spiritual contribution for
the rest of mankind.                                   
    The third  dream  of Sri Aurobindo was a compulsive
movement towards world unity. In his scheme, world uni-
ty will not come in one single stroke.  First there wo-
uld be the formation of regional  groups  of  countries
co-operating with one another.  These groups would then
form the basis for the new world order. Don't we alrea-
dy find that his dream has at least in part been reali-
sed?  Gorbachev's call for a united Europe  and  recent
developments  of  a European Economic Community are il-
lustrative of the fulfilment of Sri Aurobindo's dream. 
    His fourth  dream  was  the re-emergence of India's
spirituality. India would be the Guru of the world, the
Mother said.  Not necessarily in the form of saints go-
ing out of India to preach and establish Ashrams.  More
importantly  Indian thought and philosophy is establis-
hing itself in the world,  primarily in the  fields  of
science and psychology.  It is establishing itself with
the intelligentsia of the world,  here,  which is where
it really counts.                                      
    The fifth dream was a new step in the evolution  of
human   consciousness,   a  step  beyond  mind  to  the
Truth-Mind.  Here again we find philosophers and scien-
tists responding first.  Without exception every philo-
sopher worth his name, every scientist worth his vision
has  proclaimed the possibility of a state beyond mind.
Sir Arthur Eddington, Sir James Jeans, Erwin Schroedin-
ger and a host of other illustrious men have all affir-
med this.                                              
    Many yogis have confirmed that after 1956, the year
of the Supramental Manifestation,  there has been a ma-
jor  precipitation  in  their yoga.  Obstinate problems
that have been dogging yogis all over  the  world  have
suddenly vanished, common barriers in yoga have sudden-
ly crumbled.  We have to take their word for it  as  we
may not have experienced these things.                 
    All five of Sri Aurobindo's dreams  are  definitely
in the process of realisation,  precisely in the manner
that he envisaged them.                                
Sri Aurobindo's Teachings
    Finally, what in essence is  Sri  Aurobindo's  yoga
and method of practice?  To summarise in his own words:
"The teaching of Sri Aurobindo starts from that of  the
ancient  sages  of India that behind the appearances of
the universe there is the Reality of a Being and  Cons-
ciousness,  a Self of all things,  one and eternal. All
beings are united in that One Self and Spirit but divi-
ded by a certain separativity of consciousness,  an ig-
norance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, li-
fe and body.  It is possible by a certain psychological
discipline to remove this veil of separative conscious-
ness  and  become aware of the true Self,  the Divinity
within us and all.                                     
    "Sri Aurobindo's  teaching states that this One Be-
ing and Consciousness is involved here in Matter.  Evo-
lution  is  the  method  by  which it liberates itself;
consciousness appears in what seems to  be  inconscient
and  once having appeared is self-impelled to grow hig-
her and higher and at the same time to enlarge and  de-
velop towards a greater and greater perfection. Life is
the first step of this release of  consciousness;  mind
is  the second;  but the evolution does not finish with
mind,  it awaits a release into  something  greater,  a
consciousness  which is spiritual and Supramental.  The
next step of the evolution must be towards the develop-
ment  of  Supermind and Spirit as the dominant power in
the conscious being.  For only then will  the  involved
Divinity in things release itself entirely and it beco-
mes possible for life to manifest perfection.          
    "But while the former steps in evolution were taken
by Nature without a conscious will  in  the  plant  and
animal life,  in man Nature becomes able to evolve by a
conscious will in the instrument.  It is not,  however,
by the mental will in man that this can be wholly done,
for the mind goes only to a  certain  point  and  after
that can only move in a circle.  A conversion has to be
made,  a turning of the consciousness by which mind has
to change into the higher principle.  This method is to
be found through the ancient  psychological  discipline
and practice of Yoga.  In the past, it has been attemp-
ted by a drawing away from the world and a disappearan-
ce into the height of the Self or Spirit. Sri Aurobindo
teaches that a descent of the higher principle is  pos-
sible  which will not merely release the spiritual Self
out of the world,  but release it in the world, replace
the mind's ignorance or its very limited knowledge by a
Supramental Truth-Consciousness which will be a  suffi-
cient instrument of the inner Self and make it possible
for the human being to find himself dynamically as well
as  inwardly  and grow out of his still animal humanity
into a diviner race.  The psychological  discipline  of
Yoga  can  be used to that end by opening all the parts
of the being to a conversion or transformation  through
the  descent  and working of the higher still concealed
Supramental principle.                                 
    "This, however,  cannot  be  done  at  once or in a
short time or by any rapid or miraculous  transformati-
on.  Many  steps  have to be taken by the seeker before
the Supramental descent is possible.  Man lives  mostly
in his surface mind, life and body, but there is an in-
ner being within  him  with  greater  possibilities  to
which  he has to awake - for it is only a very restric-
ted influence from it that he  receives  now  and  that
pushes  him  to a constant pursuit of a greater beauty,
harmony, power and knowledge. The first process of Yoga
is therefore to open the ranges of this inner being and
to live from there outward,  governing his outward life
by  an inner light and force.  In doing so he discovers
in himself his true soul which is not this outer mixtu-
re of mental, vital and physical elements but something
of the Reality behind them, a spark from the one Divine
Fire.  He  has  to learn to live in his soul and purify
and orientate by its drive towards the Truth  the  rest
of  the nature.  There can follow afterwards an opening
upward and descent of a higher principle of the  Being.
But  even  then  it is not at once the full Supramental
Light and Force for there are several ranges of consci-
ousness  between the ordinary human mind and the Supra-
mental Truth-Consciousness.  These  intervening  ranges
have  to be opened up and their power brought down into
the mind,  life and body.  Only afterwards can the full
power  of  the  Truth-Consciousness work in the nature.
The process of this self-discipline or sadhana is  the-
refore  long and difficult,  but even a little of it is
so much gained because it makes  the  ultimate  release
and perfection more possible.                          
    "There are many things belonging to  older  systems
that  are necessary on the way - an opening of the mind
to a greater wideness and to the sense of the Self  and
the  Infinite,  an  emergence into what has been called
the cosmic consciousness,  mastery over the desires and
passions;  an outward asceticism is not essential,  but
the conquest of desire and  attachment  and  a  control
over  the body and its needs,  greeds and instincts are
indispensable. There is a combination of the principles
of  the  old systems,  the way of knowledge through the
mind's discernment between Reality and the  appearance,
the heart's way of devotion, love and surrender and the
way of works turning the  will  away  from  motives  of
self-interest to the Truth and the service of a greater
Reality than the ego.  For the whole being  has  to  be
trained  so that it can respond and be transformed when
it is possible for that greater Light and Force to work
in the nature.                                         
    "In this discipline, the inspiration of the Master,
and  in the difficult stages,  his control and his pre-
sence are indispensable - for it  would  be  impossible
otherwise  to  go through it without much stumbling and
error which would prevent all chances of  success.  The
Master  is  one who has risen to a higher consciousness
and being and he is often regarded as its manifestation
or  representative.  He  not only helps by his teaching
and still more by his influence and example  but  by  a
power to communicate his own experience to others."    
    This is Sri Aurobindo's Yoga and method of  practi-
ce.  It  is  not his object to develop a religion or to
amalgamate the older religions or to found any new  re-
ligion  -  for any of these things would lead away from
his central purpose.  The one aim of his Yoga is an in-
ner  self-development  by which each one who follows it
can in time discover the One Self in all and  evolve  a
higher  consciousness than the mental,  a spiritual and
Supramental consciousness which will transform and  di-
vinise human nature.                                   
    Finally, the world can ignore Sri Aurobindo at  its
own  peril.  He does not concern himself with those who
do not take him seriously,  for he had himself foreseen
this possibility.  In an illuminating passage, he says:
"The way of Yoga followed here has a different  purpose
from  others,  - for its aim is not only to rise out of
the ordinary ignorant world consciousness into the  di-
vine consciousness,  but to bring the Supramental power
of that divine consciousness down into the ignorance of
mind, life and body, to transform them, to manifest the
Divine here and create a Divine Life and  Matter.  This
is an exceedingly difficult aim and difficult yoga;  to
many or most it will seem impossible. All the establis-
hed forces of the ordinary ignorant world consciousness
are opposed to it and deny it and try  to  prevent  it,
and  the  seeker will find his own mind,  life and body
full of the most obstinate impediments to its  realisa-
tion.  If you can accept the ideal wholeheartedly, face
all the difficulties,  leave the past and its ties  be-
hind  you  and  be ready to give up everything and risk
everything for the divine possibilities,  then only can
you  hope  to  discover  by experience the truth behind
it." It is this same thought which bodies forth in mys-
tical poetry in Sri Aurobindo's Savitri:               
A few shall see what none yet understands          
God shall grow up while the wise men talk and sleep
For man shall not know the coming till its hour    
And belief shall be not till the work is done.     
The world is preparing for a big change and the respon-
sibility to bring this about lies with us.  Whether  we
like it or not:                                        
The frontiers of the ignorance shall recede,        
More and more souls shall enter into light...       
Nature shall live to manifest secret God,           
The Spirit shall take up the human play,            
This earthly life become the life divine.           

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