Sri Aurobindo, the Divine Mother and a New Global System
by William Netter
Sri Aurobindo’s evolutionary vision from the big bang to the descent of supramental stage of evolution.
India’s great teacher, seer and avatar, Sri Aurobindo, has written of a new world system that will replace current ones, such as democratic capitalism and communistic socialism. All his prophetic works are characterised with man’s evolutionary march towards a further place and more spiritual society. He describes more pointedly these patterns in his earlier books. The Human Cycle gives a brilliant, clear and rational picture of the past and future trends of human society. In his later years and till the end of his life, his most important work was Savitri, which is the longest epic poem ever written in the English language. This last great book was completed after he was joined in Pondicherry by his spiritual partner, The Mother. In Savitri, Sri Aurobindo completes his prophetic picture of a new world order. It shows how this new system could be accomplished on earth through the simple soul forces of the Mother. Actually, this is nothing more than ancient Indian dharma brought up to date but with emphasis on the great new power of the spirit in our times, the woman, the Divine Mother.
The Human Cycle
Moving towards the gradual emergence of a more spiritual age, the history of human society might be considered in four stages:
- The symbolic stage – basically religious where all life is shaded by a mythical and mystical sense of the divine… ritual, sacrificial, fearful, primitive … the Vedic period in Indian history… the American Indians in America.
- The conventional stage – basically ethical and psychological… the caste system in India… the feudal period in the west.
- The individualistic stage – a period of reason, revolt, material progress and the search for a certain kind of freedom… the modern day democracy, capitalism, communism and socialism.
- The subjective stage – a period when man begins to work within to find deeper meaning and new directions in existence… could end in a more spiritualised society.
The symbols of the first stage have faded, and the conventions of the second stage have become meaningless. The material progress and the so-called freedom of the third stage are now being questioned all over the world. And questioned with a force which is shocking and violent, so it seems that human society has been rushed to the edge of a true subjectivity willy nilly, whether they like it or not.
The west is more ready now to catch up with the east in the realisation that man must look within to become conscious of his true destiny, his self, his soul, and all the levels below the surface. The nation, like the individual, has a soul, a deep spiritual principle and a law of being. It can be found through this deep and thorough interiority.
To move into subjectivity (interiority) correctly is to look for something far deeper than the individual or collective ego. It is to try and find the true self and to see how the individual and the collectivity is participating in the One, pervading Self of the Divine, which is at one time the same and different in all. It is to begin to realise the full implications of the mysterious process of evolution in which each takes part and in which each will find the full flowering of his being. It should be remembered also that the real meaning and law of our being cannot be found first outside, but rather within, the self.
In the process of finding the true self (which, it must be clearly admitted, is united with the divine self), the individual, the group and the nation should each strongly protect their own individuality; at the same time each protects the individuality of others. This, of course, would be the ideal law of social development, but this has certainly not been entirely the case so far. If science and technology have put an end to physical barbarism for the most part, economic barbarism is still a live threat. The bully has been replaced by the plutocrat, and self-realisation remains unrealised by the majority of men. Philosophy, education, art and religion must rediscover their foundations in the true self.
We have evolved through inorganic matter, plant and animal to man, and man has evolved through brute barbarism, through sensual egoism and hypocrisy (the philistine with his deep down contempt for culture of any kind). Man is now evolving through mental egoism with a democratised culture and a more subtle hypocrisy (the modern philistine boutique consumer), but now recently with a much larger openness to true self-knowledge, and perhaps, the hope at last, of a truly cultured humanity, aesthetic and ethical. To rise above the hypocrisy and frustrating ignorance of the modern philistine we must live in an atmosphere of the deeply beautiful, and move according to an open knowledge, which aspires constantly for the highest truth. To do this and to experience the joys of a rich human culture, we must exert discipline and strength of will to realise the source of true delight and to hold on to it after it has been found. It should help to remember that all delight and no discipline leads to disorder and disintegration, while all discipline and no delight leads to frustration (sometimes even rage) and to boredom.
It is reason and enlightened will that have led man to the cultural heights he has achieved so far and to denigrate these faculties immaturely is folly. However, reason has never been able to grasp all of human life and fulfilment, nor has intelligence been able to set up a completely satisfactory system. Reason and will cannot rule because they are only a means of ruling and being ruled. Only after reason is faced for what it is, incapable of holding any view which is completely sufficient for man, when it is seen as a brilliant and faithful servant, only then can it lead us to a point where a true psychic atmosphere can open. Only then can we find the attitude to experience the spiritual depths in existence – the soul, the self, the God with us, the God in us, divine bliss!
There are aids to finding these new attitudes. For example, religion can be a fruitful way for man to maintain contact with his spiritual nature. In their most enlightened state, reason and religion will encourage a journey beyond themselves towards illumined intuition and even higher kinds of direct knowledge, towards a dynamic and more constant experience of the divine. Great art would be another aid towards attaining these new psychic attitudes. The full experience of true art (nowadays more and more expressionistic, more subjective) is direct contact with the spiritual realm of absolute beauty beyond reason. Here too, reason is most helpful when it leads man in his response to the beautiful towards more direct experience, towards artistic intuition, catharsis, the direct suprarational touch. Striving for the absolute good is another aid. This good is sought after by man with his will, in his ethics. This ethical drive, helped by a free progressive education, is like the aesthetic drive and the religious drive, in that it is seeking after the eternal, here with an emphasis on goodness, right law, absolute strength, absolute love and self-giving. Another aid can be the very force of life itself. It too is seeking its suprarational absolute and ultimate fulfilment. It is only when the life force begins to achieve its more spiritual goals that the frustrating dualities which now flood our lives (money, power, consumerism, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll) can be resolved. Only then can our new lives in the spirit take on a more definite and satisfying shape.
A true spirituality, which takes up into itself man’s varied urges and will inevitably lead to a spiritualised society have its seeds in man’s first infrarational stages. But now these seeds, these bursts of true spirituality, must be universalised in the race for the growth in evolution to continue. Therefore, a natural movement into the rational age must take place before a suprarational or spiritualised society can begin to exist. In his attempt to direct human society through his reason, man has passed – is still passing – first, through a system of individualistic inspired democracy ending in the ordered conflict of materialistic, darkly motivated, unfair competition; next through a system of socialism ending in unfree, fearful, totalitarianism; and now, he seems to be moving towards a kind of classless society, and reason will be put to its ultimate test. While democracy seems headed towards a materialistic, unhealthy competition, and socialism is ending in its totalitarian loss of personal freedom, a classless society (a sort of spiritual anarchy) will also fail if its solution to the problem of the one and the many in the human race is not based in deeper roots than a vital or mental brotherhood. The prevalence of transformed love as the ground for true growth must be based on the inner realisation of man and the race that each is a self meant to be perfected individually and collectively as it participates consciously in the Self of the Divine.
The true aim of the modern spiritual life is not a move “away from” but a “move within”. The more man and race become more subjective, move within themselves, the more they will be able to grasp heartily all the aspects of life, and to allow all their drive and power to assert themselves and, in their transformation in the spirit, to find their right direction and largest fulfilment. We must find at last that everything on the earth is divine, including our own selves. Man will realise that all his frustrations and unhappiness in the past have happened because he has never constantly, fearlessly moved within to find and live in the divine participation of his true self.
The closer mankind approaches normalcy in the current stage of evolution (through clear reason, high ethical and aesthetic sense, and the dominance of human will), the more man realises he is being led to an absolute normality and absolute success only in some higher state of being. To human consciousness this absolute normality and success must now seem abnormal in the extreme and so the time has come for man to go beyond his human self. He is at a crisis where human enlightenment and the dominance of the human will must be enlarged and ultimately replaced by a total transformation in the spirit. To begin leading mankind towards this transformation will be the fullness of India’s next destiny. The solutions on this path are extreme and would seem impossible, but in the current frightening state of affairs, the leaders of India must rise above timidity and try to actuate the “hour of God” which is trying to manifest itself.
For the actual coming of the spiritual age, hour of God, must show themselves on earth, and simultaneously, both a group of individual leaders who really “see” and who have a new pioneering strength to live entirely in the spirit, and, at the same time, a larger mass of human beings ready to see and to be led into a new spiritual age. There would also have to be signs of subjectivity in all the various areas of human life, such as philosophy, education, art, ethics, politics and economics, science and religion. There would have to be a sophisticated domination by mankind of its life powers and mind powers so that these powers would at the same time be exerted to their fullest, and be used constantly as instruments of the spirit. The mass of mankind would begin to admit at last, and with a dynamic realisation in their manner of life, that the sole reality is participation in the eternal, divine spirit. They would find this within as true freedom and new joy, and without as the joy and true freedom of their brothers, united in the one self of the divine.
As impossible as it seems, once this vision of a spiritualised society is realised as the real hope for the future of mankind and its ultimate destiny, there should, at this point in world history, be an active restlessness until this ideal begins to become a lived reality on the earth. Without worry about when the new spiritual age in evolution will come or exactly how many will be admitted to it when it does, India must go after it now with full vigour, and with all her powers directed towards helping the Divine reveal itself to as many as possible, soon.
Savitri – An Evolutionary Vision
Savitri is a huge book that contains all of Sri Aurobindo’s evolutionary vision from the “big-bang” to the descent of the supramental stage of evolution. Since it is a poem it is open-ended and covers many things, which might not have been said explicitly. Certainly, it enlarges and enriches Sri Aurobindo’s vision of a new world order as expressed in The Human Cycle. This book was written by him in his early years in Pondicherry before he was joined by the Mother, and of course, before he wrote Savitri. The ideas presented in The Human Cycle are rational, clear and right, but ideas alone are not enough to accomplish a vision this large in an environment still steeped in the ways of the past. Deeper motivations, and new spiritual powers beyond the mind are needed now to activate these great potencies on earth. These new powers of the spirit are indicated in Savitri, Book Seven, Canto Four, and The Triple Soul Forces:
First – compassion, ‘a woman sat in pale lustrous robe’, at the bottom of the mystical mountain, the mother of compassion, with tears of empathy for all of suffering humanity, with mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love.
Second – consciousness, ‘a woman sat in gold and purple sheen’, at the middle of the mystical mountain, the mother of higher consciousness, with trident and lightning bolts, signs of victory… and an end to just “lip service”… a total commitment to progress in the spirit.
Third – bliss, ‘a woman sat in clear and crystal light’, at the top of the mystical mountain, the mother of divine bliss, just sheer joy, in fantastic, rarefied divine light, the key, the core, the soul of everything that is.
These new forces of the mother are simply the ancient dharma of India brought up to date:
First – to have a lasting influence on others – compassion… not a fist in the face, not a bullet between the eyes, not great airplanes crashing into skyscrapers, crushing innocent human loved ones, and then not a retaliation ad infinitum, but rather, by a truly compassionate and empathetic concern for others with different views than one’s own.
Second – to have real security in the material world – consciousness… not the endless accumulation of money and power and the mindless flaunting of it in the false prestige of vulgar displays of success and consumerism, but rather, by accepting power and money as a sacred trust with the true security and joy of selfless generosity and the strong psychic opening of committed sharing.
Third – to have access to the best of human pleasure and joy – bliss… not by constantly giving in to every carnal instinct… not by settling for “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll”, as all there is in human destiny, but rather, by accepting and practising a healthy self-control and discipline for deep and lasting participation in the profound, exciting joys of higher human nature, moving towards the divine.
These new powers for change come from a different place than those which have been mostly motivating current society so far. They come from a more loving, more feminine, a gentler side of human nature. They come from the woman, the Divine Mother!…Call her Shakti… call her Durga… call her Mahakali… Mahalakshmi… call her Mary, Mediatrix of all grace… call her the Divine Mother… she can conquer death… she will lead us back to the great personal trinity of unconditional love, from which we came… to the full, active loving perfection of being, consciousness and bliss, in the Self of the Divine. She, Savitri, Mother will see to the human cycle coming into its own, to its full completion in the spirit, transformed into the divine mandala, which has always been its destiny. She can arrange for the victory of this new world order. At the very least, the great vision of Sri Aurobindo with the Mother now in equal stance will make us realise that the days of terrorism, exploitation, wars and all the other male-dominated games must be stopped, if the human race is to survive… to even get a chance at the new global order trying to descend on the earth.
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