Since the beginning of earth history, Sri Aurobindo has always presided over the great earthly transformations, under one form or another, one name or another.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 10
This is Sri Aurobindo’s teaching and method of practice. It is not his object to develop any one religion or to amalgamate the older religions or to found any new religion, for any of these things would lead away from his central purpose. The one aim of his Yoga is an inner 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 divinise human nature.
Sri Aurobindo – Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest : CWSA, Vol. 36, p. 549
The Mother on Sri Aurobindo
What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 3
Sri Aurobindo has come on earth not to bring a teaching or a creed in competition with previous creeds or teachings, but to show the way to overpass the past and to open concretely the route towards an imminent and inevitable future.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 4
..He told them that man is only a transitional being living in a mental consciousness, but with the possibility of acquiring a new consciousness, the Truth-consciousness, and capable of living a life perfectly harmonious, good and beautiful, happy and fully conscious. During the whole of his life upon earth, Sri Aurobindo gave all his time to establish in himself this consciousness he called supramental, and to help those gathered around him to realise it.
The Mother – On Education: CWM, Vol. 12, p. 116
Sri Aurobindo came on earth from the Supreme to announce the manifestation of a new race and the new world, the Supramental.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 19
Sri Aurobindo incarnated in a human body the supramental consciousness and has not only revealed to us the nature of the path to follow and the method of following it so as to arrive at the goal, but has also by his own personal realisation given us the example; he has provided us with the proof that the thing can be done and the time is now to do it.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 2
Sri Aurobindo does not belong to the past nor to history.
Sri Aurobindo is the Future advancing towards its realisation.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 5
You spoke of Sri Aurobindo’s birth as “eternal” in the history of the universe. What exactly was meant by “eternal”?
The sentence can be understood in four different ways on four ascending planes of consciousness:
1) Physically, the consequence of the birth will be of eternal importance to the world.
2) Mentally, it is a birth that will be eternally remembered in the universal history.
3) Psychically, a birth that recurs for ever from age to age upon earth.
4) Spiritually, the birth of the Eternal upon earth.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 10
Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga
The first process of the yoga is to make the saṅkalpa(resolution) of ātmasamarpaṇa(self-surrender). Put yourself with all your heart and all your strength into God’s hands. Make no conditions, ask for nothing, not even for siddhi in the yoga, for nothing at all except that in you and through you his will may be directly performed. To those who demand from him, God gives what they demand, but to those who give themselves and demand nothing, he gives everything that they might otherwise have asked or needed and in addition he gives himself and the spontaneous boons of his love.
Sri Aurobindo – Essays in Philosophy and Yoga : CWSA, Vol. 13, p. 74
Ramakrishna’s Yoga was also turned only to an inner realisation of the inner Divine,—nothing less but also nothing more.…. The traditions of the past are very great in their own place,—in the past; but I do not see why we should merely repeat them and not go farther. In the spiritual development of the consciousness upon earth the great past ought to be followed by a greater future.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, pp. 478-479
Life of Sri Aurobindo – A Glimpse
Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. In 1879, at the age of seven, he was taken with his two elder brothers to England for education and lived there for fourteen years. Brought up at first in an English family at Manchester, he joined St. Paul’s School in London in 1884 and in 1890 went from it with a senior classical scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied for two years. In 1890 he passed also the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, but at the end of two years of probation failed to present himself at the riding examination and was disqualified for the Service. At this time the Gaekwar of Baroda was in London. Aurobindo saw him, obtained an appointment in the Baroda Service and left England for India in January 1893.
Sri Aurobindo passed thirteen years, from 1893 to 1906, in the Baroda Service, first in the Revenue Department and in secretariat work for the Maharaja, afterwards as Professor of English and, finally, Vice-Principal in the Baroda College. These were years of self-culture, of literary activity – for much of the poetry afterwards published from Pondicherry was written at this time — and of preparation for his future work. He left Baroda in 1906 and went to Calcutta as Principal of the newly-founded Bengal National College.….
A sketch of Sri Aurobindo’s Life
…. The Avatar comes to reveal the divine nature in man above this lower nature and to show what are the divine works, free, unegoistic, disinterested, impersonal, universal, full of the divine light, the divine power and the divine love. He comes as the divine personality which shall fill the consciousness of the human being and replace the limited egoistic personality, so that it shall be liberated out of ego into infinity and universality, out of birth into immortality. He comes as the divine power and love which calls men to itself, so that they may take refuge in that and no longer in the insufficiency of their human wills and the strife of their human fear, wrath and passion, and liberated from all this unquiet and suffering may live in the calm and bliss of the Divine.
Sri Aurobindo – Essays on the Gita : CWSA, Vol. 19, pp 175 – 76
(Compiled from notes and letters of Sri Aurobindo)
Sri Aurobindo began his practice of yoga in 1904. Even before this, several experiences had come to him spontaneously, “of themselves and with a sudden unexpectedness”. There was, for instance, the mental experience of the atman or true Self, which he had while reading the Upanishads in London in 1892. The next year a “vast calm” descended upon him the moment he stepped on Indian soil after his long absence in England. This calm surrounded him and remained for many months afterwards. Also in 1893 Sri Aurobindo had a vision of the Godhead surging up from within when he was in danger of a carriage accident. In 1903, while walking on the ridge of the Takht-i-Suleman in Kashmir, he had the “realisation of the vacant Infinite”, and a year or two later he experienced the “living presence of Kali” in a shrine on the banks of the Narmada.
In 1904 Sri Aurobindo began yoga with the “assiduous practice of pranayama”. Around this time he met the yogi Brahmananda and was “greatly impressed by him”, but he had no helper or guru in yoga until January 1908, when he met the Maharashtrian yogi Vishnu Bhaskar Lele. Lele showed Sri Aurobindo how to establish complete silence of mind and immobility of consciousness. Within three days Sri Aurobindo succeeded in achieving this state that sometimes requires a lifetime of yoga to attain. The result was a series of “lasting and massive spiritual realisations which opened to him the larger ways of yoga”. Lele finally told Sri Aurobindo to put himself entirely into the hands of the Divine within and to move only as he was moved by Him. This henceforward became the whole foundation and principle of Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana. Sri Aurobindo and Lele parted ways after a month or two, and from this time until the Mother came to India Sri Aurobindo received no spiritual help from anyone.
In 1908 and 1909, while Sri Aurobindo was an under trial prisoner in the Alipur jail, he had the constant vision of the omnipresent Godhead: “I looked at the jail that secluded me from men and it was no longer by its high walls that I was imprisoned; no, it was Vasudeva who surrounded me. I walked under the branches of the tree in front of my cell, but it was not a tree, I knew it was Vasudeva, it was Sri Krishna whom I saw standing there and holding over me his shade. I looked at the bars of my cell, the very grating that did duty for a door and again I saw Vasudeva. It was Narayana who was guarding and standing sentry over me. Or I lay on the coarse blankets that were given me for a couch and felt the arms of Sri Krishna around me, the arms of my Friend and Lover…. I looked at the prisoners in the jail, the thieves, the murderers, the swindlers, and as I looked at them I saw Vasudeva, it was Narayana whom I found in these darkened souls and misused bodies.”
In the jail Sri Aurobindo spent much of his time reading the Gita and Upanishads, meditating and practising yoga. Even in the courtroom he remained absorbed in meditation, attending little to the trial and hardly listening to the evidence. During this period his view of life was radically changed; he had originally taken up yoga with the idea of acquiring spiritual force and energy and divine guidance for his political work. But now his inner spiritual life and realisation, which was continually increasing in magnitude and universality, assumed a larger place and took him up entirely, His work became a part and result of it, far exceeding in its scope the service and liberation of the country; it fixed itself in an aim, previously only glimpsed, which was world-wide in its bearing and concerned with the whole future of humanity. Sri Aurobindo’s yoga and spiritual philosophy are founded on four great realisations. Two of these he had realised in full before his coming to Pondicherry in 1910. The first, the realisation of the silent, spaceless and timeless Brahman, he had gained while meditating with Lele in 1908. The feeling and perception of the total unreality of the world which at first attended this realisation disappeared after the second realisation, which was gained in the Alipur Jail in 1908 or 1909, the realisation of the cosmic consciousness and the vision of the Divine, as all beings and as all that is. In his meditations in the jail Sri Aurobindo was already on his way to the other two realisations — that of the supreme Reality with the static and dynamic Brahman as its two aspects and that of the higher planes of consciousness leading to the Supermind.
By 1912 the third realisation was attained when Sri Aurobindo experienced an “abiding realisation and dwelling in Parabrahman” (the supreme Reality). The process of ascent into the higher planes of consciousness and of bringing down the power of those planes into the physical consciousness continued. On 24 November 1926 this effort was crowned by the descent of the “Godhead of the Overmind”, the highest of the planes between Mind and Supermind, into the physical. This descent was preparatory to the descent of the Supermind itself, by which “the perfection dreamed of by all that is highest in humanity can come”. From 1926 Sri Aurobindo worked spiritually to bring about the supramental descent, and in 1950 left his physical body to hasten its advent.
Sri Aurobindo’s Spiritual Life
Sri Aurobindo’s Symbol
The descending triangle represents Sat-Chit-Ananda.
The ascending triangle represents the aspiring answer from matter under the form of life, light and love.
The junction of both—the central square—is the perfect manifestation having at its centre the Avatar of the Supreme—the lotus.
The water—inside the square—represents the multiplicity, the creation.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – III : CWM, Vol. 15, p. 191
The ascending triangle is the creation’s aspiration; the descending triangle is the Divine’s response. And the junction of the two makes the square of the manifestation.
The Mother – Agenda, Vol. 9, p. 66
Without him, I exist not; without me, he is unmanifest.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 32
When in your heart and thought you will make no difference between Sri Aurobindo and me, when to think of Sri Aurobindo will be to think of me and to think of me will mean to think of Sri Aurobindo inevitably, when to see one will mean inevitably to see the other, like one and the same Person,—then you will know that you begin to be open to the supramental force and consciousness.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 32
Mother designated the red lotus as the flower of Sri Aurobindo and the white lotus as her own.
Red lotus—symbol of the manifestation of the Supreme upon earth.
White lotus—symbol of the Divine Consciousness.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 32
The Purpose of Sri Aurobindo’s Sadhana
I have no intention of achieving the supramental for myself only—I am not doing anything for myself, as I have no personal need of anything, neither of salvation (Moksha) nor supramentalisation. If I am seeking after supramentalisation, it is because it is a thing that has to be done for the earth consciousness and if it is not done in myself, it cannot be done in others. My supramentalisation is only a key for opening the gates of the supramental to the earth consciousness….
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram : CWSA, Vol. 35, p. 283
It is not for personal greatness that I am seeking to bring down the supermind. I care nothing for greatness or littleness in the human sense. I am seeking to bring some principle of inner Truth, Light, Harmony, Peace into the earth consciousness—I see it above and know what it is—I feel it over gleaming my consciousness from above and I am seeking to make it possible for it to take up the whole being into its own native power, instead of the nature of man continuing to remain in half-light, half-darkness. I believe the descent of this Truth opening the way to a development of divine consciousness here to be the final sense of the earth-evolution. If greater men than myself have not had this vision and this ideal before them, that is no reason why I should not follow my Truth-sense and Truth-vision. If human reason regards me as a fool for trying to do what Krishna did not try, I do not in the least care. There is no question of C or D or anybody else in that. It is a question between the Divine and myself—whether it is the Divine Will or not, whether I am sent to bring that down or open the way for its descent or at least make it more possible or not. Let all men jeer at me if they will or all Hell fall upon me if it will for my presumption,—I go on till I conquer or perish. This is the spirit in which I seek the supermind, no hunting for greatness for myself or others.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram : CWSA, Vol. 35, pp. 280-281
Preparing the ground for the New Path
I need some place of refuge in which I can complete my Yoga unassailed and build up other souls around me. It seems to me that Pondicherry is the place appointed by those who are Beyond, but you know how much effort is needed to establish the thing that is purposed upon the material plane….
I am developing the necessary powers for bringing down the spiritual on the material plane, and I am now able to put myself into men and change them, removing the darkness and bringing light, giving them a new heart and a new mind….
What I perceive most clearly, is that the principal object of my Yoga is to remove absolutely and entirely every possible source of error and ineffectiveness, of error in order that the Truth I shall eventually show to men may be perfect, and of ineffectiveness in order that the work of changing the world, so far as I have to assist it, may be entirely victorious and irresistible….
Sri Aurobindo – Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest : CWSA, Vol. 36, pp. 283-284
The leader of the way: Opening the Sunlit Path
You say that this way is too difficult for you or the likes of you and it is only “avatars” like myself or the Mother that can do it. That is a strange misconception, for it is on the contrary the easiest and simplest and most direct way and anyone can do it, if he makes his mind and vital quiet, even those who have a tenth of your capacity can do it. It is the other way of tension and strain and hard endeavour that is difficult and needs a great force of Tapasya. As for the Mother and myself, we have had to try all ways, follow all methods, to surmount mountains of difficulties, a far heavier burden to bear than you or anybody else in this Ashram or outside, far more difficult conditions, battles to fight, wounds to endure, ways to cleave through impenetrable morass and desert and forest, hostile masses to conquer, a work such as I am certain none else had to do before us. For the Leader of the Way in a work like ours has not only to bring down and represent and embody the Divine, but to represent too the ascending element in humanity and to bear the burden of humanity to the full and experience not in a mere play or lila but in grim earnest all the obstruction, difficulty, opposition, baffled and hampered and only slowly victorious labour which are possible on the Path. But it is not necessary nor tolerable that all that should be repeated over again to the full in the experience of others. It is because we have the complete experience that we can show a straighter and easier road to others—if they will only consent to take it. It is because of our experience won at a tremendous price that we can urge upon you and others, “Take the psychic attitude; follow the straight sunlit path, with the Divine openly or secretly upbearing you—if secretly, he will yet show himself in good time,—do not insist on the hard, hampered, roundabout and difficult journey.”
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother with Letters on The Mother : CWSA, Vol. 32, pp. 93-94
Some say November 24th is a day of victory. By that some mean that the Supermind (supramental consciousness) descended into the physical consciousness of Sri Aurobindo. Others say it was the coming down of Krishna into the physical consciousness. If it was the descent of Krishna, does that mean the descent of the supramental light?
Krishna is not the supramental light. The descent of Krishna would mean the descent of the Overmind Godhead preparing, though not itself actually bringing, the descent of Supermind and Ananda. Krishna is the Anandamaya, he supports the evolution through the Overmind leading it towards his Ananda.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram : CWSA, Vol. 35, p. 272
…. Sri Aurobindo was not compelled to leave his body, he chose to do so for reasons so sublime that they are beyond the reach of human mentality.
And when one cannot understand, the only thing to do is to keep a respectful silence.
People do not know what a tremendous sacrifice Sri Aurobindo has made for the world. About a year ago, while I was discussing things, I remarked that I felt like leaving this body of mine. He spoke out in a very firm tone, “No, this can never be. If necessary for this transformation, I might go, you will have to fulfil our Yoga of supramental descent and transformation.”
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, pp. 7-8
When I asked Him (December 8, 1950) to resuscitate his body, He clearly answered: “I have left this body purposely. I will not take it back. I shall manifest again in the first supramental body built in the supramental way.”
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 9
His was a spirit that stooped from larger spheres
Into our province of ephemeral sight,
A colonist from immortality.
A pointing beam on earth’s uncertain roads,
His birth held up a symbol and a sign;
His human self like a translucent cloak
Covered the All-Wise who leads the unseeing world.
Affiliated to cosmic Space and Time
And paying here God’s debt to earth and man
A greater sonship was his divine right.
Sri Aurobindo – Savitri: CWSA, Vol. 33, Book Three, p. 22