[A page from The New Horizon]
A voyager upon uncharted routes
Fronting the viewless danger of the Unknown,
Adventuring across enormous realms,
He broke into another Space and Time.
On 9th December 1950, the Body of Sri Aurobindo was finally kept inside the Samadhi in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram premises. As is known universally, He passed away, medically, on 5th December 1950. Many, including The Mother Herself, experienced a Supramental radiance from His Body from the 5th to the 8th of December 1950.
A few days prior to 24th November 1950, specially from 17th November 1950, an ailment from which Sri Aurobindo suffered earlier but within limits, uremia, recurred in a way that caused heavy and definite anxiety. In spite of it, the daŕsan of 24th November 1950 had taken place. Hundreds of people had His daŕsan and passed by Him, but they did not have the least suspicion that anything was wrong!
Of course, a few persons, besides The Mother, knew about His illness. Nirodbaran, an eminent surgeon and a close disciple of Sri Aurobindo, looked after Him. On 30th November, Dr Sanyal came from Calcutta to look after Him.
On 4th December 1950, at His request, He was helped out of His bed. He was able walk to His arm-chair and take His seat. The disciple were very happy, but their joy did not last long!
Later, at night it was clear that Sri Aurobindo was withdrawing Himself. At 1.26 AM, on 5th December, Sri Aurobindo withdrew Himself finally, in presence of The Mother there in the room. Earlier, She told Dr Sanyal: “He is fully conscious within, but he is losing interest in Himself.”
Two hours after His passing away, The Mother announced the news to the Ashram inmates. The news spread rapidly and was transmitted throughout the world immediately.
Not only Pondicherry, but the whole of India and the world at large were stunned at the news of His departure.
Sri Aurobindo’s Body was to lie in state, all the Ashram gates were thrown open, so that all could pay their homage to Sri Aurobindo.
One of the disciples, Dara (Aga Syed Ibrahim), who paid his homage to Sri Aurobindo on the 5th December, stated :
I found myself in Sri Aurobindo’s own room by the side of his cot. He seemed so peaceful and happy, and the flesh shone with a new luster which I failed to see at the daŕsan time on 24th November. Why could I not see it before?... I could not take my eyes off his face and arms. It seemed to me he was alive. It was certain that he was in a condition of a deep and upward soaring trance just then.
The Mother had announced on 5th December :
The funeral of Sri Aurobindo has not taken place today. His body is charged with such a concentration of Supramental light that there is no sign of decomposition and the body will be kept lying on his bed so long as it remains intact.
By the evening of 5th December, more than 60000 people filed past “the sublime Master.”
“For everyone — for almost every one of the sixty thousand — it was a unique moment, a moment abstracted out of the stream of time when eternity was made out of the moment. Each took the burden o of his (or her 0 personality, carried his own inner climate of the soul; and the figure of the Purusha lying in the ananta-sayanam posture affected each a little differently perhaps, yet it was also on the whole a cleansing, cathartic and chastening experience for more.”
( Sri Aurobindo: K R Srinivasa Iyyengar)
Sri Aurobindo’s Body lied in state till 9th December 1950. On 9th morning, the first signs of decomposition were noticed. As such the Body was interred in the evening. It was carried by the Ashram sadhaks and placed in the cement concreted vault prepared in the Ashram courtyard under the Service tree. The place is now called the Samadhi, where devotees from all corners of the world offer their respects and prayers. As is known by all concerned, The Mother’s Body was also interred on 20-11-1973 in the same Samadhi in the upper chamber, after Her withdrawal on 17-11-1973.
Sri Aurobindo’s departure was no ordinary death of a mortal man. And this is not a matter of Faith only. When seen by an understanding, visionary, mystic and open consciousness, not blinded by darkness and ignorance of an ordinary consciousness, one may realize that His Withdrawal was a turning point in the history of Evolution. It was the first step of human victory over Death.
Sri Aurobindo knew of the Supermind in 1910. Satprem says :
It may be worth stressing that Sri Aurobindo made His spiritual discovery in 1910, even before having the read the Veda, at a time when nuclear physical was still at a stage of theoretical conjectures.
Sri Aurobindo’s Supermind is not a completely new discovery. In the Vedas, there is a reference to it as Satyam Ritam Brihat — The True, the Right, the Vast — and it was symbolically described as the Sun of Knowledge. But it was perhaps experienced in a yogic condition of deep trance, or perhaps what was experienced was the reflection of the Supramental Light and Consciousness in the mind or in the levels termed by Sri Aurobindo as the different levels the Superconscient —the Higher Mind, the Illumined Mind, Intuition, and Overmind — without having any knowledge about these different planes.
Even in some references in the Veda, it had been stated that if this level of Consciousness realized, the body will be destroyed within a period of forty days!
Sri Aurobindo was in contact of the Supramental Consciousness for a period of forty years. What happened on 5th December 1950, was the Descent of the Supramental Consciousness in a wider and larger scale, not for His transformation only, but to bring an earthly transmutation. It became necessary for Sri Aurobindo to receive the full force of the Supramental Light and Consciousness, so that the Supramentalization of the earth and the mankind will become assured! This was act of the greatest possible Sacrifice, comparable to the act of Lord Shiva accepting halāhala (poison) at the time of amŗta-manthan, as in the Indian mythology.* Had the humanity remained prepared and receptive, He perhaps would not embrace death!
Towards the last days of his earthly existence, Sri Aurobindo got realized what He termed the Mind of Light**. A mind of Light is a ‘mind capable of living in the truth, capable of being truth-conscious and manifesting in its life a direct in place of an indirect knowledge.’ It is a mind that would be an instrument of the Light, the Supramental Light and Consciousness, and no longer of the Ignorance or of any plane from the Higher Mind to the Overmind.
When Sri Aurobindo withdrew, the Supramental Consciousness and Force got also realized in The Mother and She had in Her descended the Mind of Light. And the Process of began and continued, we find the consequence if the Supramental Manifestation on the 29th February 1956. I am again placing below here the oft-quoted declaration of The Mother:
FIRST SUPRAMENTAL MANIFESTATION
(During the common meditation on Wednesday
The 29th February 1956)
This evening the Divine Presence, concrete and material, was there present amongst you. I had the form of a living gold, bigger than the universe, and I was facing a huge and massive golden door, which separated the world from the Divine.
As I looked at the door, I knew and willed, in a single movement of consciousness, that ‘the time has come', and lifting with both hands a mighty golden hammer I struck one blow on the door and the door was shattered to pieces.
Then the supramental Light and Force and Consciousness rushed down upon earth in an uninterrupted flow.
And now the Supermind is on earth, actively present on earth.
The Mother has stated :
The Manifestation of the Supramental upon earth is no more a promise but a living fact, a reality. It is at work here, and one day will come when the most blind, the most unconscious, even the most unwilling shall be obliged to recognize it. [Mother's Agenda Vol.1]
When the Supermind will start functioning in the full swing, many things will change, more or less. However, even when supramental beings will be there, there still may be human beings. And everything need not change for them, but still there will be improvements in all their circumstances also.
We know that all apes have not become human beings. Even all kinds of apes were not evolved as human beings. Apes are present very well now also. All ape laws are still applicable to them, like jumping from one tree to another.
So, human beings may still reside on earth, in a better society, in a better life, when the supramental race will manifest, as they will be directly influenced by the Supramental Consciousness.
And we have been observing several changes on earth, in the human circumstances, after the 5th day of 1950, and specially after the 29th February 1956.
The first thing is gradual globalization. Now the entire earth has become, and is still becoming more and more, one place, united and unified. Men and women are becoming more and more free and emancipated. Darkness is leaving our social and political lives and evrything is coming to an openness. Wrong social customs and inhibitions and prohibitions and superstitions are becoming less and less active. The iron curtains of Soviet land has been broken and China has also opened the Door to the outer world. Autocrats have diminished in number, and it is hoped that they will leave for ever soon.
It may be recalled that the Mount Everest was conquered by Tenzing and Hillary after 1950 only; the confirmed ascent (and of course, safe descent) of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay took place in 1953. [Ref : Wikipaedia]
Colonel Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut, became in 1961 the first human in space and the first human to orbit the Earth. And thereafter there have been enough progress in space adventures and space technology by the humans, which all of us more or less know.
Next, we find that there have been sufficient progress in medical and biological sciences. The life expectancy have increased and is increasing more and more. Now Medical Science is changing our concept of Old Age. “While many agree that our human life span has an upper agelimit of 120 years, it now looks like we may be able to grow older as our bodies may be kept artificially young.”[The End of Aging : Carol Orlock]
Carol has further referred to a process of selective breeding, which may increase the average of life-span of a human being from 150 to 160 years. He says : “In human terms, that would mean an avrage life span of 150 to 160 years —assuming, of course, that any human population would accept the prospect of selective breeding for 1400 or so years.”
The goal of life is to die young — as late as possible. [Ashley Mantagu]
We have also seen that two of the disciples of Sri Aurobindo — Nirodbaran and Amalkiran — have lived for more than a century each.
It is not possible here to make an exhaustive list of the changes and progresses made by and occurring to the human society after 1950. But any onlooker will admit that there have many progressive changes and many more will be. And these changes will be there, so that Man can progressively prepare Himself for the transformation into the New Man, so that the New Race, the Supramental Race may have an advent on earth.
Let us always gratefully remember that all these progressive changes on earth are the result of the Descent of the Supramental Consciouness and the Supramental Manifestation.
The basis of the Supramental Manifestation on earth on 29th February 1956 is the Sacrifice made by Sri Aurobindo on the fateful day, the 5th December 1950.
*Amrita or Amrit (Sanskrit: अमृत) is immortal nectar or ambrosia (of which it is a cognate). It is the drink of the gods, which grants them immortality. In Sanskrit the word amrita literally means "without death", and is often referred to in texts as nectar.
Amrit features in the myth of the Samudra manthan, where the gods, because of a curse from the sage Durvasa, begin to lose their immortality. With the help of the asuras (demons), they churn the sea in order to find the nectar of immortality: amrit. Drinking it, the gods regained their immortality and defeated the the demons.[Samudra is sea, and manthan is churning.]
**A new humanity means for us the appearance, the development of a type or race of mental beings whose principle of mentality would be no longer a mind in the Ignorance seeking for knowledge but even in its knowledge bound to the Ignorance, a seeker after Light but not its natural possessor, open to the Light but not an inhabitant of the Light, not yet a perfected instrument, truth-conscious and delivered out of the Ignorance. Instead, it would be possessed already of what could be called a mind of Light, a mind capable of living in the truth, capable of being truth-conscious and manifesting in its life a direct in place of an indirect knowledge. Its mentality would be an instrument of the Light and no longer of the Ignorance. At its highest it would be capable of passing into the Supermind and from the new race would be recruited the race of supramental beings who would appear as the leaders of the evolution in earth-nature. Even, the highest manifestations of a mind of Light would be an instrumentality of the Supermind, a part of it or a projection from it, a stepping beyond humanity into the superhumanity of the supramental principle. [Sri Aurobindo]
The Withdrawals 1
My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,
My body is God’s happy living tool,
My spirit a vast Sun of deathless light.
They say that Sri Aurobindo passed away on 5th December 1950. Even, it is said that it was His withdrawal. Did He really pass away, away from us, from the Humanity and the World? Did He pass into ignominy and ignorance and Darkness, into Death? Did He really withdraw Himself from the Mankind, from His Work of the Supramental Manifestation and Transformation?
In 1956, one of my teachers, son of one who closely knew Sri Aurobindo and remained in the Ashram, asked me the question: why did He die? At that time, I could not explain the matter or meet the challenge thrown to me. But the question lived in me and forced me to find the answer in course of time.
Majority of the people, now and then, took it and believed and knew it as a great withdrawal of a great Person, of a great Divine Person, who endeavored to cause descent of the Supermind and Manifestation of the Supramental Consciousness and Force. Indeed, the very event was beyond human words. Sri Aurobindo’s “Withdrawal” was a necessity for the Supramental Descent on earth.
Prior to that, Sri Aurobindo was ill. His illness continued and it caused a deep concern in the Ashram. Dr Nirodbaran and Dr Sanyal looked after his treatment. The illness prolonged. The Mother told Dr Sanyal: “He is fully conscious within, but he is losing concern in himself.” Champaklal, however, asked Sri Aurobindo : “Are you not using your Force?” The Master replied : “No.” Dr Nirodbaran asked then: “if you don’t use you Force, how is the disease to be cured?” The reply was: “Can’t explain, you won’t understand.”
The reply, if possible for us, to the human question about the Withdrawal would have also been—“You won’t understand.”
As K D Sethna puts it, Sri Aurobindo was both a Pilgrim of Day and also of Night. He went to the Highest height of Consciousness and, as well, he went to the lowest of the planes of Darkness and Inconscience, in order to kindle the Light there and accelerate the Transformation of the Earth and the mankind. He had to combat with Death, so that in due course, in the Next Evolution, Death comes to an end.
I made an assignation with the Night;
In the abyss was fixed our rendezvous:
In my breast carrying God’s deathless light
I came her dark and dangerous heart to woo.
I left the glory of the illumined Mind
And the calm rapture of the divinised soul
And travelled through a vastness dim and blind
To the grey shore where her ignorant waters roll.
I walk by the chill wave through the dull slime
And still that weary journeying knows no end;
Lost is the lustrous godhead beyond Time,
There comes no voice of the celestial Friend,
And yet I know my footprints’ track shall be
A pathway towards Immortality.
[A Pilgrim of Night : Sri Aurobindo]
The Mother wrote on 9th December, which is for the mankind the mantra of rejuvenation and of starting anew from the stupefaction that resulted from His “Withdrawal”:
To THEE who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to THEE our infinite gratitude. Before THEE who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before THEE who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us,
before THEE we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to THEE.
As everybody knows, this has been inscribed on the Samadhi. This inscription has been addressed to “the material envelope” of Sri Aurobindo, but not to Sri Aurobindo himself.
Sri Aurobindo is a Being and a Consciousness and a Force that cannot die. His coming to earth was, and is, a Hope for the Earth and the Mankind, a Promise by the Supreme for the conquest of Ignorance and Darkness and Death on earth, a Dream to be fulfilled.
Sri Aurobindo did never leave us. His Presence is always with us here on earth. His “Withdrawal” was simply the act of leaving the body.
The Mother wrote on 7th December 1950:
“Lord, this morning Thou hast given me the assurance that Thou wouldst stay with us until Thy work is achieved, not only as a consciousness which guides and illumines but also as a dynamic Presence in action. In unmistaken terms Thou hast promised that all of Thyself would remain here and not leave the earth atmosphere until earth is transformed. Grant that we may be worthy of this Presence and henceforth everything in us be concentrated to the fulfilment of Thy sublime work.”
The Mother has even said that "Sri Aurobindo has come to announce to the world the beauty of the future that will be realized. He has come to bring not a hope but the certainty of the splendour towards which the world is moving. The world is not an unfortunate accident: it is a miracle moving towards its expression."
Thus, Sri Aurobindo is not only a Hope, He stands for a certitude — the certainty that through further Evolution and Progress, there will come the conquest of Ignorance and Darkness and Death. He embraced Death, so that Death and Darkness and Ignorance shall be conquered on earth. The Dream which Sri Aurobindo has bought for us is positively a Future Reality.
He dies that the world may be new-born and live.
He is a turning point in the Evolution, in the Next Evolution. With his Descent on earth, the New Evolution has begun. He came to earth and is here to change the Earth and bring in Joy and Life and Light and conquer Death. He made a supreme sacrifice and left His Body, so that the Way is open to conquer Ignorance and Darkness and Death on earth.
He who has found his identity with God
Pays with his body’s death his soul’s vast light.
His knowledge immortal triumphs by his death.
Sri Aurobindo’s sacrifice has been sufficiently and greatly fruitful, as The Mother continued His Work, which is also Her Work, and then there was the Supramental Descent on earth on the 29th February 1956. And then began the Supramental Manifestation on earth. The Mother walked into the New Body on 17-11-1973.
[Ref: The Transition— The Seventeenth November, by Barin Chaki].
There has been some progress, in the meantime, in the transition from Man to Superman. The Mother has said on 15 April 1972:
The transition from man to the supramental being is accomplished through the overman. There may be a few overman - there are - who will actually make that transition. [Mother’s Agenda]
Written on 5th December 2007
[ This is a page from the website The New Horizon, published here in ASPIRATION, and also in All Choice, in reverence to The Master, on the anniversary of His Withdrawal.]
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