(We would like
to thank The Mother's
providing material that is the basis for this article.)
Sri Aurobindo is the
sage and seer who, along with his partner
their lives to bringing about the next stage of evolution
of life on earth. Throughout
his life Sri Aurobindo worked outwardly on his massive body of writings,
and inwardly to connect to the divine consciousness, to bring down
its properties into the world. The Mother followed a similar
path, focusing on the transformation of her own physical body in order to become the
forerunner of a new type of human being, what Sri Aurobindo calls the
supramental being. The Mother also served as a conduit, an
intermediary between the new evolutionary spiritual
force that Sri Aurobindo had spent his life
uncovering and their followers who were trying to open themselves to this
Aurobindo's vision begins with the assertion that humans may not be the
final rung on the evolutionary scale. That we might witness the
emergence of a new species, one that is above and beyond the present
human race as we know it. Or, perhaps we could say that it is perhaps
the same human species, but that is evolving to a new level that appears
very different in functioning, inwardly and outwardly, from the
current humanity. Different, emotionally, mentally, spiritually -- even
one day physically!
Aurobindo gave us a vision of what a future society could be like if we
transcended the limited thinking of the old religions, the old
superstitions, of both East and the West; if we saw beyond our
physical/material view of the world; if we went beyond an analysis of
existence based solely only on a scientific method that did not include
the realm of consciousness and spirit. Sri Aurobindo invites us to walk
through the doors that he has opened, and journey into a new frontier of
understanding and experience; into a new future of infinite, never
before thought of possibilities.
Aurobindo believed that there is a future before us so utterly different
than what we might expect, that there are forces and possibilities so
staggering, that we must reevaluate our entire belief system, dismantle
much of our intellectual underpinnings, and relearn a new vocabulary of
life so we can understand this new future.
follows is an overview of Sri Aurobindo's life and teachings.
Calcutta in 1872 and educated in England, Sri Aurobindo came back to
India with only one aim: liberating India from the foreign yoke of
England. His father was a doctor who never wanted his three sons to
inherit anything of the Indian culture, including their mother tongue
Bengali. He admitted all his sons into an English school in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling and its British atmosphere were not a source of pride for Sri
Aurobindo. While there, he had a vision of a dark force entering him,
which remained until he returned to India about 20 years later.
Darjeeling they were taken to England and put in St. Paul's and later
Cambridge. He then returned to India. Back in India, he was supposed to
enter the Indian Civil Service, but his anti-British feeling did not
allow him to serve the British masters. By making himself absent from
the compulsory horse-riding test, Sri Aurobindo disqualified himself
from the ICS.
Thereafter the Maharaja of Baroda was looking for an administrator for
his state and spotted in Sri Aurobindo a suitable candidate. And so Sri
Aurobindo landed in Baroda, served the state, taught in the college, and
returned to Bengal.
was at the time of great ferment. To that end Sri Aurobindo organised
the youth under the Congress party, and voiced radical ideas from the
several journals he contributed to. Their nationalist activities led to
a journal Vandemataram, the founding of a National College, the
worshipping of the god Kali, and experimenting with several ideas,
including the procuring of chemicals with which bombs were made. Still
Sri Aurobindo did not believe in terrorism, even though he was a radical
to the core. The British police arrested him and clapped him in Alipore
jail, implicating him in a bomb throwing case.
his brother came down with a severe fever, Sri Aurobindo watched as a
Sanyasi chanted a mantra, crossed a cup of water with a knife, and gave
it to his brother. The fever suddenly vanished. Suddenly Sri Aurobindo
became interested in acquiring such a power to liberate India from the
British domination. In pursuit of this goal, he approached several yogis
for help. What he got in return was silence in his mind, the realization
of oneness, and the vision of the Cosmic divine.
sought the help of Vishnu Lele, a yogi. The yogi accepted Sri Aurobindo
and offered to initiate him into silence. "Sit down, close your eyes.
You will see thoughts entering your mind from outside. Refuse them
entry," he said to Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo did so and found Lele's
words to be true. He could, after considerable effort, reject the
thoughts. In three days, Sri Aurobindo succeeded in establishing silence
in his mind. To Lele this was unbelievable, since success in such an
experiment would normally be achieved only after a number of years.
However since Sri Aurobindo was an avatar [a being who has come to
enable a new stage in human evolution], such a great yogic realization
came to him in a few days.
addition, later Sri Aurobindo attained the state of Nirvana, the
hallmark of a great avatar.
in Alipore Jail, Sri Aurobindo used to be visited by the renowned Swami
Vivekananda in his meditation. The swami guided Sri Aurobindo's yoga
[the discipline to attain union with the Divine] and helped him to scale
great heights. It was there Sri Aurobindo saw the convicts, jailers,
policemen, the prison bars, the trees, the judge, the lawyer etc., in
the experience and realization of Narayana -- that all is Divine in
essence. Sri Aurobindo was even able to see compassion, honesty and
charity in the hearts of murderers.
During the trial, Sri Aurobindo was prompted to help the lawyer with
facts, opinions, etc., but his inner voice advised him to desist from
giving advice to the lawyer. "The case is in my hands, do not interfere,
keep quiet" was the dictum that was whispering from inside.
Sri Aurobindo was found innocent in the trial, his inner voice
instructed him to go to Chandranagore, a French territory. His heart was
burning with one passion, the freedom movement and the release of Mother
India. The Divine voice within instructed him that Indian freedom was
assured and accomplished in the subtle (i.e. non-material) plane. The
Divine had another work in store for Sri Aurobindo. To accomplish that
work on earth, Sri Aurobindo was told by that same inner voice to go to
Pondicherry located in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu.
Aurobindo arrived in Pondicherry in 1910, and was followed there by
several associates. Sri Aurobindo there examined his Divine mission, and
contemplated the best possible course to follow. With the Inner Guide
silently leading, Sri Aurobindo mapped out his yogic course, and then
fixed its landmarks.
Down the Truth Consciousness
had earlier had the experience of spiritual liberation (moksha) but he
did not accept that as his final course or goal. The Divine's intention
for him lie elsewhere. It intended Sri Aurobindo to become a pure
instrument that would hasten the descent of the Divine consciousness
into earthly life to enable a divine life on earth.
yoga -- i.e. the method of spiritual progress -- of Sri Aurobindo can be
summed up as follows:
the spiritual experience of liberation (moksha) is accepted as the goal,
the yogi normally goes within to find the divine spirit, and remain
there -- no longer relating to or participating in the unfoldings,
problems, and issues of the world. However if one wants to bring the
Divine attributes, powers, and consciousness into one's life, the yoga
cannot be a partial one of liberation. Instead, it has to be an integral realization of perfection and spiritual realization
in this way not the Divine intention for the embodied soul (i.e. the
individual human) to seek release from the cycle of birth and
death; instead one should seek total release from the
ego of the parts of the being; and, rising to the spiritual heights,
bring down the spiritual Force and truth into life, so that death,
suffering and disease can be abolished forever. It is the difference
between liberation into the spirit, and ascent to the spirit and its
descent in order to bring down its properties to enable the
transformation of the individual being and all life around him.
the context of Indian yogic tradition this is quite a departure;
sometimes difficult for student of traditional Indian personal
transformation to understand. Therefore, in order to make his yoga more
accessible, Sri Aurobindo developed new terminology to explain the
tenets of his radical new approach, which he called the "Integral Yoga".
of this acquired a special and full significance when The Mother [born
Mira Alfassa, and his future spiritual partner] arrived in the 1920s.
She was keen on a plan of action and had her own original ideas for
redeeming the earth from falsehood, suffering, and pain. Therefore, Sri
Aurobindo and Mother shared their individual approaches, and finally
arrived at a future course of action.
next consider Sri Aurobindo's understanding and experience of the Divine
Reality, and the process by which the universe emerged from it.
Aurobindo suggests that when we consider the creation as a whole, the
lower part consists of matter, life, and mind, while the higher part
consists of Spirit. In the lower 'hemisphere" energy formulates into
matter, evolves to life, and further evolves to mind. Mind itself is
also capable of rising to spiritual mind -- where e.g. knowledge enters
the mind through sudden descents of knowledge without the need for
thought -- and then further to overmind, the highest state of this lower
hemisphere where division of the Spiritual consciousness first takes
Conscious Force (Chit)
(Planes of Existence)
the upper hemisphere is the pure Spiritual Reality taking shape in three
forms of Existence, Conscious- Force, and Delight -- otherwise known as
Sat-Chit-Ananda. Together, they can be called (in western terms) the
Absolute, or (in Indian terms) Brahman.
Between the lower hemisphere's highest reach -- overmind -- and the
spiritual worlds of the Absolute lies a zone which was known to the
ancient spiritual seekers called rishis, and which Sri Aurobindo called
"Truth Consciousness;" or to use his own phraseology, the plane of
Mother was of the opinion that the power of the overmental world would
serve the aim of their yoga -- namely the abolition of falsehood,
suffering, and death in life. Sri Aurobindo explained to her that in the
overmental world Truth was not self-existent; i.e. it had the beginnings
of the negative side. Thus, overmind could build a partial world of
truth uniting all available truths, but would
overcoming the ignorance. Should the power of this world descend
on earth, a great transformation would occur, but it would still leave a
base of ignorance -- which means the body and life of Man would still be
left untouched. In Supermind however, Truth is self-existent. The Truth
of Supermind can also penetrate ignorance and reach its basis of truth
and unite all such truths and build upon them.
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother saw that the body and its inconscient base
would not yield to the overmental force, but could not resist the
onslaught of the supramental Force and truth. The Mother saw the
profundity of Sri Aurobindo's experience and gave up her preference.
1926, the overmental force descended into the mind, vital and very
physical depths of Sri Aurobindo. After that momentous victory, he
retired to make further gains in his yogic adventure -- which was to
rise and bring down the supramental truth consciousness into the earthly
From 1926 to 1950
Sri Aurobindo lived in complete retirement and total silence, constantly
raising himself to the level of the Truth Consciousness, i.e. Supermind.
Even his experience while in Alipore jail, of feeling Narayana for
everyone, was a supramental experience according to The Mother.
According to Sri Aurobindo, each level of the ascent of consciousness is
followed by the descent of forces of that level into the being. In his
case, he first raised himself to the level of higher (silent) mind, and
waited for the force of that level to descend into him, saturating his
nerves and mind, and even reaching down to the very physical body.
Beyond higher mind, the first level of spiritualized mind, lies the
realm experienced by the rishi where one is endowed with vision and
experiences knowledge as a descent of light, which Sri Aurobindo's
describes as illumined mind. The yogi can even go beyond this state and
receive the divine intuition directly without the aid of vision,
where knowledge just appears in mind complete. This is the realm of
intuitive mind. The overmental world of the gods is then beyond that, a
level where the Absolute, the Omnipresent reality divides into its
unique aspects so each entity can have their own personal experience the
These levels of the physical, the vital, the body, mind, higher mind,
illumined mind, and intuitive mind, together with the overmind make up
the lower hemisphere; it is essentially what exists in creation. The
Supramental Truth Consciousness is the bridge and ordering mechanism
between this lower hemisphere and the higher hemisphere of the
unmanifest Absolute, of Brahman. Supermind is the entity that rendered
creation from out of the Divine source, formulating Its inherent Ideas
it wish to establish in the universe as forces and forms. Supermind is
also the plane one can open to in our own lives to set right the
conditions of life and manifest positive results from seemingly out of
nowhere. Sri Aurobindo worked to bring this realm of consciousness
into the earthly sphere to enable a new type of existence on earth.
|(Planes of the Individual)
Sri Aurobindo was engaged in the yogic adventure of raising his being to
the supramental world, and bringing the power of that world into the
earth through the instrumentation of his own body. He accomplished this
feat fully before his passing in 1950. His yoga in that sense was thus
realized, as the highest aspect and realization of the Divine had been
reached. Now the Truth Consciousness, the Supramental Force was ready to
move from its origin, descend on earth, abolish death and suffering,
transform life, and enable a new divine life on earth.
Sri Aurobindo saw at this point that the transformation of the earth
presupposed one other condition. When he left the blue light of the
overmind, he envisioned the Golden Light of the supramental world. If
the Golden Light were to remain on earth forever after the descent, he
saw that it would require about ten followers to fully have the
Supramental Consciousness. In other
words, even if the power of Supermind descended through Sri Aurobindo's
efforts, that light could not remain on earth without others'
collaboration. Unfortunately, no one was able to help him further in his
attempt to bring down the Truth Consciousness.
then spoke to The Mother and said one of them had to leave the earth and
continue the yoga from the subtle [i.e. he non-material] plane to
expedite the advent of the Supramental Consciousness and Force on earth.
The Mother offered to leave her body. However, Sri Aurobindo showed her
that the unique constitution of her body could enable her to accomplish
the supramental transformation at the physical level; i.e. bring that
Force and transform her own physical body into it supramental
equivalent, ending physical suffering and death itself. Thereafter he
decided to withdraw, and continue his work from the subtle plane.
1950, he had offered his own body to the descending supramental light as
a fit receptacle. At the time he left his body, the Golden Light invaded
it and remained there for three full days. All the other yogic powers he
had gathered within, he deposited in The Mother before he withdrew from
his body. In six years, Sri Aurobindo's work prepared the Earth
Consciousness as a whole to receive the supramental force, power and
1956, Sri Aurobindo's work from the subtle plane bore fruit. During the
meditation in the playground on February 29, 1956, The Mother saw Her
subtle body enlarging to the size of the universe and becoming golden.
Before her appeared a massive golden door, and beside her was an equally
massive golden hammer. With one blow, The Mother smashed the door,
breaking the curtain between earth and the golden supramental realms.
Floods of living light of golden color poured down onto earth. Earth had
thus realized the Supramental Truth Consciousness.
Instantaneous to the descent, the inertia of the earth rose up in
equally great floods and swallowed up the descending Force and Grace.
Following this great event, Divine Love descended on earth in 1962, and
in 1967 the Supramental Force advanced further by manifesting itself in
the very consciousness of the earth. At that point, The Mother saw that
the supramental truth consciousness was now available to anyone,
including any of the governments of the world. On January 1st, 1969
there was another event involving the supramental Force, when an
individual, supramentalized being appeared before The Mother.
Mother says that since its advent in 1956, when the Force first
descended into the earthly sphere, It has effectively determined the
course of earthly events. For example, the diffusion of the Cuban
crisis, as well as the simultaneous inexplicable withdrawal of the
Chinese from the Indian border when invasion was immanent were the
results of the workings of the Force*. Finally, The Mother said that
children born after 1962 have greater receptivity to this supramental
Force and power.
also believed that this Force later in the 1980s brought Gorbachev to
power and influence that led to the dismantling the Soviet system,
ending the Cold War and avoiding an immanent global nuclear war.
attaining samadhi [i.e. spiritual liberation from the material world] in
1950, his body was laid on his bed. It was kept there for over four
days. Over 100,000 people then had Darshan [i.e. passed in front for the
purpose of spiritual connection] with the Master. The Golden Light
slowly entered his body for three full days, and then gradually
withdrew. During that time, The Mother said she 'saw' him sitting on his
bed -- though the body was lying flat, and now fully supramentalized and
The Mother joined Sri Aurobindo in the 1920s, there were about a
dozen or more people around him. Six years later in 1926, around the
time he withdrew completely, she founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in his
name. From the beginning of the century it was The Mother's dream that
there should be a place on earth where humanity could devote all his
energies to seek the Divine without having to work for food and shelter.
In founding the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, she was trying to create such a
The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have said that they had been on earth since
the beginning of creation, and at every critical juncture of the earth's
evolution they have intervened and played a crucial role in the earth's
development. Addressing the children of the Ashram school, The Mother
once said that everyone in the ashram had been with her in previous
lives, and in those past lives they had prayed to her that they could be
with her at the time of Divine fulfillment of the earth. That was why
they were there in the Ashram.
Sri Aurobindo said that this is the "Hour of God" when the awakened soul
can accomplish in a short time what would normally take centuries in
other periods. This
was the message to the ashramites who had gathered there.
The Ashram was founded in an atmosphere of such beliefs. The Mother also
said that if anything new should take place on earth, it should first
happen in the ashram.
short, The Mother conceived of the ashram as a micro-unit of the world.
It is her philosophy that earth is a micro unit of the universe. By
extension, the Ashram is a representative pioneer of the future world.
If the Ashram represents the future achievements of the earth as a
pioneer and as a microcosm, it also represents and embodies all the
present difficulties of the universe. If those knots were to be loosened
in the Ashram, humanity would be freed in those corresponding aspects.
the later days after Sri Aurobindo's passing away, and particularly
after her own retirement from the public, she did not encourage people
to join the ashram. In fact, after 1970, she advised a foreigner to do
her yoga from where she was. She explained that joining at that stage
might actually cause the inner difficulties to surface in unmanageable
For anyone who has been to the ashram, they know that a spiritual peace
permeates the atmosphere. It is not only there, but every article coming
from the ashram carries that peace, be it a book or even a brick. For
example, a business executive came to a rest house on one of the ashram
farms and was struck by the peace that prevailed there. He could
appreciate the peace in the rest house and exclaimed that if peace,
which he had not found in the hundreds of temples he had visited, was
there in the rest house, how much more pronounced would it be at the
The atmosphere of the ashram is very pronounced; it cannot be missed or
mistaken. Even walking on the roads adjoining it, one can feel it.
Although it is full of peace, in truth the atmosphere also carries
silence, joy, and delight. One feels a sudden
elevation in the
atmosphere there. Someone once said, "Blindfold me and take me to
several places in Pondicherry. I shall tell you when I come to the
precincts of the ashram."
Though the Ashram was established so that a dedicated group of
individuals could gather focus their lives to make the decisive
spiritual/supramental change, the Mother also conceived of another
institution that would serve a wider
purpose. That was Auroville.
Matramandir in Auroville
The Mother founded
Auroville, the international community of peace and spiritual
growth. Its purpose is to be an experimental community where
individuals can make the effort to evolve beyond their present
limitations. Auroville has been established as an experiment in Human
Unity where each individual is freed from bondage to moral and social
conventions and the necessity of working for material possessions. There
is no religion practiced there, nor is there ownership of property. The
emphasis is on each person discovering his/her own inner center behind
the social, moral, cultural and racial heredity and appearances, and
actively living from that center, expressing it in outer work for the
community. Auroville is a UN sponsored endeavor that attracts people
worldwide because of its openness, new age lifestyle, and dedication to
a vision of a new humanity.
One main reason
The Mother had in mind in founding Auroville was that the city must be a
symbol of human unity and thus prevent the next world war by its very
presence on earth. She even declared that as long as Auroville existed,
no war would break out.
of pugnacity, competition, spite, jealousy, and rivalry are bound to
surface in such a cosmopolitan place where hundreds of men and women
gather and live. Their daily lives offer thousands of occasions for
human interactions. The Mother wanted those innumerable occasions to
become the anvil on which human nature would consent to be beaten into a
divine shape. If in Auroville individuals shape themselves anew in the
image of the Divine and endeavor to transform their own human nature
into Divine nature, life on earth would gently turn to the Divine. This
was The Mother's intention. She even said that Auroville was a field of
experimentation, not an exhibition of already accomplished perfection.
Several Nobel laureates have commented on Sri Aurobindo's magnum opus
The Life Divine. Some critics have said he was the foremost thinker
on earth. The London Times Literary Supplement said that Sri Aurobindo
wrote as if he was "planted amid the stars."
major works are (1)
The Life Divine, a philosophical exposition of his ideal, the
nature of creation, and the path to a Divine life on earth; (2)
Synthesis of Yoga, where he explains his yoga from the point of view
of knowledge, works, love and self-perfection; (3)
The Ideal of Human
Unity, a treatise on the course of the world's historic currents;
(4) The Human Cycle, his thoughts on the social evolution of
Savitri, an epic poem of 12 books, 20000+ lines containing the
story of Satyavan and Savitri, two lovers who find the divinity in one
another who open the doors to a spirit-based life on earth; (6)
Future Poetry, his explanation of the makeup, formulation, and
expression of a new intuitive and spirit-influenced poetry; (7)
Foundations of Indian Culture; and other compositions that fill an
additional 23 volumes.
A French writer commented that Sri Aurobindo was the only writer in the
history of world literature who had started writing all of his five
major works simultaneously and finished them within five years.
His writings embraced a staggering breadth of subjects, from the meaning
of the composition of the atom down to the subject of cruelty to
Mother said that in his writings she saw intuition pouring down from
above into his mind and saturating his thoughts and language.
The Life Divine
Sri Aurobindo most famous and important work is
The Life Divine. He
designed the work in two books -- the first
containing 28 chapters, and the second consisting of two parts, each
containing 14 chapters, for a total of 56.
is essentially an examination of the nature of the omnipresent Reality, how
the universe came to be from that Divine source, and how Man arrived in this
process as a divided, ignorant being, preventing him from fulfilling his
deepest aspirations in life. It is also an exposition of how Man can evolve
in consciousness, shed his essential Ignorance, overcome his divided nature,
and fulfill his spiritual destiny by bringing the spirit into life, ushering
in a new stage of human evolution. Along the way, we are introduced to
Supermind, which he explains is the power that rendered a universe of forms from a
Divine Source. It is also the means of our ascent so that we can fulfill our
own and the Divine's evolutionary purpose.
Book II Sri Aurobindo discusses the nature of our Ignorance born of
creation and how Man can rise out of it by moving to a deeper
consciousness within, culminating in the the Psychic being, i.e. the
evolving soul and true self. As a result, of moving to the depths, we
overcome our separative and exclusive consciousness of Ignorance, and
develop a many-sided Integral knowledge, enabling us to perceive the
oneness, unity, and integration of life beyond its dual, contradictory
Also, as we connect to the Psychic entity, our mind expands to its
spiritual planes, enabling descents of knowledge in the form of light,
intuition, and revelation, as well as force to uplift and purify the
mental, vital ,and physical parts or our being. Beyond that, we can
open to the supramental power to enable a ultimate transformation of
our being, and therefore of life around us. When a number of such
individuals develop, a new Divine Life will begin to appear on earth
based on the powers of the spirit; of peace, harmony, wisdom, truth,
goodness, love delight, timelessness and infinity. It will be the
culmination of our evolutionary destiny, fulfilling the intent of the
Infinite consciousness when out of it arose a universe of forms.
His Theory of Creation
In The Life Divine and elsewhere Sri
Aurobindo posits that man is not the final rung in the evolutionary
scale, but will evolve beyond his current status and become the
supramental being. This view is based on his understanding of how the
universe came to be from a Divine source, and the logical projection
of where Man is headed in the evolutionary process.
Sri Aurobindo speaks of two movements in the
creation process: an involution of consciousness from a Divine Source
rendering a universe of inconscient forms; and an evolution of
consciousness from inconscient matter upward to life and then mind and
The process by which the Energy of
creation emerged from a timeless, spaceless, ineffable, immutable
Reality, and became Matter, Sri Aurobindo called the "Involution." In
that process the Supreme Consciousness first manifest as pure being
(Sat) that was self-aware of its existence, because of which it
emanated a Conscious Force (Chit), which it Delighted in (Ananda).
Through the action of a fourth
dimension, Supermind (i.e. Truth Consciousness), the Force (Chit) of
Sat-Chit-Ananda divided into Knowledge and Will, eventually
formulating as an invisible Energy that would become the source of
creation beginning as Matter. Through its own willful self-absorption
of consciousness, the universe would begin as Inconscient material
interesting to note that as the Involution progresses, the original
Conscious Force increasingly hides. When matter takes shape from an
Essential energy, the Conscious-Force is "involved," hidden
completely. Matter is thus the opposite of a Conscious force, as it is
unconscious, which Sri Aurobindo calls "inconscient.
question that arises is why
would there be a lessening of spirit
in this process; a decreasing consciousness, of conscious-force
instead of an increase? It is to enable more possibilities at play in
the universe -- including good and bad, positive and negative, large
and small, the pleasurable and the painful, the knowledgeable and the
ignorant, the harmonic and the conflicting, the love and the hate,
The Divine wanted to create infinite variation so that when
individuals overcame them and discovered their higher nature, they
would have a unique experience of joy which is a step beyond the more
static Joy of the supreme.
involution is for the purpose of creating infinite variation of forms
that emerge from the Spirit. So the Spirit can be experienced in
infinite ways when humans discover their higher nature.
thus the process of self-absorption of consciousness to enable
ultimate possibilities and therefore
infinite variation of joy.
The final outcome of the involution is that energy formulates into
matter, where all consciousness is lost, yet where infinite variation
of possibility can begin. Matter is where life has divided down
to the infinitesimal of the atom and beyond, lost its connection to
the whole and is devoid of all conscious-force that was its source.
Matter begins as unconscious existence.
The process of conscious existence emerging out of the Inconscient Sri
Aurobindo calls the "Evolution." Initially, it emerges gradually in
the successive stages of matter, life, and mind. First matter evolves
from simple to complex forms, then life emerges in matter and evolves
from simple to complex forms as well. Finally mind emerges in life and
evolves from rudimentary to higher forms of thought and reason.
Beyond that is further
evolution upward to planes of spiritualized Mind, Supermind, and
above, and inward to the subliminal and psychic being (evolving soul)
the Conscious-Force that was hidden in the involutionary process comes
out, expressing more of itself at each rise amongst the planes and
sub-planes. In addition, there is also a push from that preexisting
plane from Above further driving the evolution of the form, the
individual at that plane. So if an individual comes to realize the
importance of developing a more silent mind instead of incessant
thinking, not only is the conscious-force further emerging in his
mind, but the plane of Silent Mind above is pressing down and
fortifying that movement.
another aspect of evolution that we can call "Ascent and Descent."
When the individual moves to higher consciousness and therefore to
higher planes or subplanes, the evolutionary movement is completed
through a descent into the lesser planes of being. Thus each ascent is
matched by a complementary descent for the personal progress to be
completed. for example, if an individual uses his mind and perceives
the importance of taking care of his weight and makes the decision to
do just that (the ascent), he must implement it at a lower level (the
descent) by changing the habits of his physical being -- by eating
properly, exercising, and so forth.
upward spiraling cycles of ascent and descent
amongst the planes is the process of the Evolution.
the Involution involves, hides, buries, the spirit, the conscious
force for the purpose of infinite possibility to emerge for the
purpose of infinite variation of discovery and therefore of joy,
the Evolution is the process of the re-emerging of the conscious force
in forms at increasingly higher planes, thus fulfilling the Divine
Note that it is not just the individual that is going through this
process, but also organizations, business, families, communities, and
even society itself.
tradition Sri Aurobindo posits that there is an ultimate Reality that
permeates all things. It is all and everywhere, and in everything.
Thus planes of matter, vital, life, mind, etc. are simply different
formations of the same omnipresent Reality. From that standpoint one
sees the necessity of all things in life; that every detail is
necessary in the unfolding, and therefore we should not discount
anything in the unfolding of our lives. Thus even evil, the negative,
the seemingly unimportant are necessary parts of existence to further
enable the evolution.
To see that all
of life is inextricably woven and connected is to have the vision of
Brahman, which one can accede to by developing a supramental (truth)
consciousness. there we are undisturbed as we see the necessity of all
things, even as we bring a higher consciousness to bear to overcome
the limits/negatives in the world. To perceive the oneness of All
things in the details of life is an ultimate capacity of spiritualized
In Synthesis of Yoga,
Letters on Yoga,
in The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo lays out his method of
conscious evolution and transformation of the individual into an
ultimate supernature to enable a divine life on earth. This is his
yoga, which he called the 'Integral Yoga.' Here are a few comments:
Sri Aurobindo calls His
yoga “Integral Yoga.” It is so called because this yoga is
integrated with all of life; is to uplift life to its ultimate
possibilities. In Sanskrit it is called Purna Yoga, meaning
everything in creation is included in this yoga.
Surrendering our very
essence and being to the Divine, the Divine Mother,
coming in touch with the Psychic Being, and
opening to Her spiritual Force to enable
the transformation of our being and all of life at all planes,
leading to a new, supramental existence -- free of ego, ignorance,
division, conflict, strife, want, suffering, disease and death --
is the object of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga.
Purna Yoga aims at bringing
down the power of the Supramental plane; the descent of Supermind
abolishing pain, suffering and death from the face of the earth.
The yoga we practice is not
for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out
the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual
transformation and to bring down a divine nature and a divine life
into the mental, vital and physical nature and life of humanity.
Sri Aurobindo recognizes the essential
divided nature of man. He lives in his ego, in ignorance, in time,
in limitation, finite, and suffers from disease and death. Yoga is
the conscious method of overcoming Man's limited nature and
arriving at his spiritual and supramental Nature.
Integral Yoga enables the
evolution and transformation of the individual, as well as the
world around him.
[The object of the Yoga ]
is the liberation and transformation of the human being … the
bringing down of the divine Ananda upon the earth. (Sri Aurobindo)
Discovering the spirit in
all planes of our being, and enabling the same for Nature is the
goal of yoga.
Sri Aurobindo also said
that this is a yoga of Self-Perfection. The Self that is known to
be aloof, perfects itself by emerging through our minds, lives and
bodies. Hence the Yoga of Self-Perfection. In perfecting life,
this Self enriches life, makes it spiritually opulent.
Integral yoga aims at ALL aspects
integrating in supramental harmony to bring heaven on earth.
Parpahrase of Sri Karmayogi's Detailed Comments on Integral
Sri Aurobindo's spiritual vision extends beyond
the perfection and transformation of the individual; it includes in
its scope the evolution and transformation of human society. In both
the individual and in the society, the soul and spirit is at first
hidden and occult, influencing the direction and course of development
from behind, but allowing nature to follow its gradual, zigzagging,
and conflict-ridden course. Afterwards, as mind develops and becomes
more and more dominant over the obscure impulses and ego-centered
drives of the vital nature, a clearer, more objective and enlightened
perception and approach towards human existence and development become
possible. At some highest stage of mental development, there comes
into view a greater possibility and principle that is spiritual and
supramental in nature, and it is at this point that a true solution to
humanity's persistent problems becomes visible in the context of a
greater and more radical transformation of human life into a divine
In The Human Cycle, Sri Aurobindo
describes the stages of development of human society, illustrating
with a perceptive analysis of historical and political developments
and trends, and outlining a future ideal society towards which he says
it is moving. Starting from Lamprecht's theory that societies pass
through several distinct psychological stages of development
-- symbolic, typal and conventional, individualist, and subjective -- Sri Aurobindo
expresses his view of historical and sociological development in the
light of his own theory of spiritual evolution. After taking a passing
glance at the symbolic, typal, and conventional stages in Indian and
European history, Sri Aurobindo focuses on the individualistic and the
beginning subjective stages of modern societies. He then presents a
more detailed picture of a future spiritual stage in which he
indicates all the others will find their meaning and towards which
they unconsciously move.
Miscellaneous Thoughts on Sri Aurobindo
worked for spiritual transformation, human unity, and Divine life on
-Sri Aurobindo was born on the day of Indian
independence. He worked his whole life, especially inwardly, toward
that goal. His birthday also marks the end
of the WWII in Asia, the birth date of Napoleon, and the commencement
of the Woodstock festival of 1969.
was more than an Avatar. He was the closest thing to giving voice to
the makeup and being of the Infinite Consciousness. In that sense he
qualifies as Divine incarnate; as the living Mind of God. I.e. he embodied the Infinite
through intuition and supramental vision of the Supreme.
-The fact that
the world has not yet taken to his Knowledge shows that more
preparation is needed in humanity.
that a few would lead the way. They would help in the interpretation
and application of his knowledge and wisdom for modern Man.
lives in the subtle physical plane, where Mother recognized him in
1959. (He passed in 1950.) They then communicated regularly for 15
To read a summary of the essential spiritual
experiences of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, click
an article that describes Sri Aurobindo's path to the future, click
To read an article on Sri Aurobindo's Vision of the Future and
how Roy Posner came his teachings, click
to the area that analyzes Sri Aurobindo's metaphysical opus,
additional thoughts on the life and
teachings Sri Aurobindo from the Growth Online Knowledge Base, click