13. And Then?

We do not have the power because we do not have total vision. If, by some miracle, power were given to us - any power, on any level - we would instantly turn it into a lovely prison corresponding to our small ideas and sense of good, we would lock our whole family up in it, and the world, if we could. But what do we know of the good of the world? What do we know even of our own good, we who today lament this misfortune only to realize tomorrow that it was knocking at the door of a greater good? For the last two thousand years and more, we have been devising beneficial systems, which crumble one after another - fortunately. Even the wise Plato banished poets from his Republic, much as today we would perhaps banish those useless eccentrics who roam the world and knock blindly at the doors of the future. We complain about our incapacity (to heal, help, cure, save), but it is exactly, minutely commensurate with our capacity of vision - and the philanthropists are far from being the most gifted. We are forever running up against the same mistake: we want to change the world without first changing ourselves.

The superman has lost his small self, lost his small ideas of family and country, good and evil - he has in effect no more ideas, or has them all, exactly when needed. And when one comes, it is carried out, very simply, because its time and moment have come. For him, ideas and feelings are simply the imperative translation of a movement of force - a will-idea or force-idea - which is expressed here by this gesture, there by that action or plan, this poem, that architecture or cantata. But it is one and the same Force in different languages - pictorial, musical, material or economic. He is tuned in to the Rhythm, and he translates according to his particular talent and place in the whole. He is a translator of the Rhythm.

There every thought and feeling is an act,
And every act a symbol and a sign,
And every symbol hides a living power.

But when nothing impels him, he is perfectly still and tranquil, like the lotus on the pond, drinking in the rays of the sun, without a quiver, without a ripple, without the least trace of "I want" anywhere - he only wants what that wants. And as for the rest, he is simply aglow in the sun, leaving it to others to gather a little honey (or not, for he shines for everyone). This is the simple state par excellence, the simplicity of the Truth. And the instantaneous effectiveness of the Truth without screens.

But his tranquil silence is not inactivity - nothing is inactive in the world, not "even the inertia of the clod, even the silence of the immobile Buddha on the verge of Nirvana."(32) He is distinguished from others neither by ecstatic meditations atop a festooned gaddhi(33) nor by a white beard and immaculate clothing. He attends to the trifling details of life, and no one knows who he is. He cares nothing about being recognized, he who recognizes all. And those trifling details are the minute lever with which he operates on all similar substance throughout the world, for there are no boundaries anywhere, except in our heads and our small imprisoned body - life extends infinitely, and this birdcall answers that birdcall, this sorrow, a thousand sorrows. His whole life is a meditation.

Its stillness bears the voice of the world.(34)

His gestures are the symbol of a great Rite that embraces the stars and the movement of crowds, together with this young locust sapling and that wayside encounter.

He may also lead a revolution or accomplish an awe-inspiring and striking deed, if such is the flow of the Truth in him. He is unpredictable, elusive as Truth itself; he chaffs as he looks grave and smiles as he pores over the world's misery; for he listens to invisible calls and works ceaselessly to pour the Rhythm over the earth's wounds. He does not perform miracles that flare up like a flash in the pan, then leave the earth to its unrepentant darkness; he does not play with occult siddhis(35) that upset the laws of matter for a time, then let it fall back into its old routine of pain; he has no need to convert men or preach to nations, for he knows all too well that men are not converted by ideas or words or by sensational demonstrations, but by a change of inner density, which creates a sudden little breath of ease and sunshine in the darkness - he sows another law in the world, opens the window to another sun; he changes the density of hearts by the tranquil outpouring of his ray. He does not strike or break, does not condemn or judge; he tries to free the same particle of truth contained in each being and each thing and each event, and convert each by its own sun. His power is a power of truth, of matter to matter, and his vision embraces everything, because he has found the little point within that contains all points and beings and places. In this beggar walking by, that cloud tinged with pink, this chance accident, the little nothing that jostles his house or the young shoot growing, he sees the whole earth and its millions of buds growing toward their kindred Truth, and the world's exact position in a faltering of chance or the remark of a passerby. Everything is his field of action. Through the minuscule, he acts upon the whole; in the minuscule, he deciphers the whole. From one end of the world to the other, he touches his own body.

But the work is not finished. Evolution has not reached its summit; it has not even entered its solar Truth. If the Work were to stop here, we would have reached the summit of man and produced a super-man, but not the being of the next age. Our widened consciousness, our direct perceptions, our refined senses, our exact gestures and movements, our perfect actions, our right thoughts and right wills, our unalterable joy would still rest upon an animal body - an aging, precarious and decaying body, which would threaten our luminous poise with abrupt collapse at every moment, checking the operation of our truth-consciousness with a tiny grain of sand - and what kind of truth is that if it is so fragile? Truth is or is not, and it is immortal, infinite, invulnerable. It is light and luminous, incorruptible, and it cannot be prevented from being all that it is, any more than the mango tree can prevent itself from being a full tree with all its flowers and every one of its golden fruits. It will not stop at that limited accomplishment and will not rest until the whole earth and all beings are in its likeness, since the whole earth and all beings are in fact its own seeds. The superman, too, is a "transitional being." He is the forerunner of another being on earth, as different from man as we are from the ape, and maybe even more, for man is still made of the same substance as the ape while the new being will be made of another substance - immortal, luminous and light as Truth itself. He is the elaborator of the "supramental being" announced by Sri Aurobindo, and his substance is the humble laboratory of a perilous adventure.

Our body's cells must hold the Immortal's flame.
Else would the spirit reach alone its source
Leaving a half-saved world to its dubious fate

For the point is not to produce a mind endowed with miraculous and luminous powers, to impose on this body a law superior to its own, or even to push the physical substance to its supreme degree of refinement, but "to create a new physical nature"(37), and yet out of this body, this poor, frail animal body, since it is our very base, our instrument of evolution. The new being will not come out of the clear blue sky, ready-made. We have to make it! We have to find the key to our own transmutation in our substance, the Secret of all secrets in the microscopic, in the smallest cell. It is in our body that the transition, the difficult passage, must be effected. If we capture that Secret, perhaps we shall have the divine key to matter, the key to the long earthly pilgrimage, and the radiant and potent look that one day launched us on our journey. We must knock at the door of death and free its powerful secret - for Truth hides there too, since everything that is is Truth. We must unseal the rock of the Inconscient and find the primal base, the solar foundation upon which all existence rests. We have to touch rock bottom in order to touch the supreme Sun. Within a cell of our body lies the identical mystery of all galaxies and all earths. One point, one minuscule point, contains all - the supreme Power and ever radiant Truth, the supreme darkness and death eternal (or so it seems), bound together in a perilous embrace pregnant with an inconceivable Possibility. Another mystery summons us.

A voice arose that was so sweet and terrible
It thrilled the heart with love and pain, as if all hell
Tuned with all heaven in one inextricable note.
Born from abysmal depths on highest heights to float,
It carried all sorrow that the souls of creatures share,
Yet hinted every rapture that the gods can bear

It is up to us to unravel this knot, this mortal mixture, up to us to find the key and dare the supreme adventure.

The path of descent is not yet finished.

(31) Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, 28:183.

(32) Sri Aurobindo, "The Synthesis of Yoga", 20:253.

(33) Throne (in particular for spiritual leaders).

(34) Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, 29:573.

(35) Powers.

(36) Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, 28:35.

(37) Sri Aurobindo, "On Himself", p. 172.

(38) Sri Aurobindo, "A Voice Arose," 5:117.

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