15. The Transformed Being
The seeker of the integral truth is therefore like a battler of death, but that was in fact what he had been doing all along, ever since he stopped a minute on that boulevard to pierce that dark rush of the machine with his cry. He has struggled against the falsehood of unconsciousness in his mind, in his heart, in his life and every gesture, and in his subconscious; and now falsehood shows its real face: It was death that paraded about the boulevards of the mind, in the recesses of the heart and the caves of the gray elf, death that secretly invited the corrosive thoughts, the dark slippages of desire, the grip of the ego. Behind that unrelenting quest of thirst and possession, behind the thousand questions of the mind, the thousand craving gestures, there were as if two mortal arms yearning to interlock forever and press against a heart, quiet at last, the great satiety of a nothing without desire, without a breath, without the least tension of pain anywhere. The gray elf has assumed its face of stone; the mental ego has laid the last brick of its impregnable fortress. Our brilliant masteries are the masteries of death; one day, they let the cat out of the bag, when the imprisonment is complete: the dead man inside comes to superimpose himself on the dead man outside, exactly, as we have built him gesture by gesture. One does not go to the other side; one always has been on the side of death. But for the battler of Truth, the game becomes clear. Ten times, a hundred times a day he catches himself going to the side of death; he crosses the line again and again, tilts imperceptibly into falsehood with minute nothings in which death takes refuge, goes back and forth between life and death in his body's arteries. He learns the technique of the passage. He sorts out the mortal mixture.
I left the surface gods of mind
And life's unsatisfied seas
And plunged through the body's alleys blind
To the nether mysteries.
It is a long, monumental work. Each victory changes into defeat; each defeat becomes a greater victory; and it must be begun again at another point, and still another, endlessly. And we seem to hear Sri Aurobindo's moving voice at the end of the long journey, his cry of indomitable certitude reverberating through the fragile walls of death:
I made an assignation with the Night; . . .
And traveled 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.
But this is still a negative way of saying things, for the traveler of the sunlit path seeks neither hells nor Night, nor the tiny flash-deaths, though they sometimes befall him in a cry of suffocation. He seeks to remain always tuned in to the great flow of Harmony and Light and Truth, in everything he does, his every function, every breath of air he takes, every heartbeat. He is a meticulous colonizer of the Light. He pushes it into every nook and cranny of his body, into his sleep as well as his waking, into every activity, every movement, every dark alley of the body, as in the past on the boulevards outside, and he gains ground step by step, cell by cell. He lights the fire of need - need for truth, need for light, need for space - in every one of those infinitesimal fortresses and pushes back ever farther the line of unconsciousness. Illnesses befall him, his strength declines(48), death smirks for an instant, but this is no longer even a trap or a fall, for he has his eyes wide open and sees that an infallible Hand has led him into this abyss so he can light a fire of truth there, too, a cry for help, a need of space and infinity - and the second the true cry bursts out, everything vanishes; illness, death, all are gone in a split second, like an unreal dream. He learns the unreality of death. It is the supreme unreality; it crumbles in the twinkling of an eye under a single little breath of truth. But if we believe in it, it is instantaneous death. The implacable flow of basalt swallows us up into its nothingness - which is nothing really, nonexistent; the cry of a child pierces it effortlessly! There is but one reality, which is the immortal Truth, the eternal Sun, the great and soft flowing that moves the worlds and bodies - if we want to believe in it, want to let ourselves be carried by It; if we consent to the sunlit path. It is the only Reality. Death does not exist; it is only the forgetting of That. A second of recall, and everything sparkles in the sun again - everything has never ceased sparkling in the sun. There was never any shadow, never any death; there was that false look. Death is a false look. The world is growing toward its true Look, which will change everything into what it really is; it is growing toward its Fire, which will transmute everything into what it really is. The Truth of one point will unveil the Truth of all points; the Truth of matter will act on every fragment of matter - and death and the shadow and the NO buried in the heart of the world will reveal their immortal face, their eternal light, their consenting and glorious YES, because they will have touched their supreme bottom and completed their mission, which was to take us to the gates of the Sun, in our body and upon an earth of truth.
But tracking down falsehood and unconsciousness in the body would still not bring us immortality. It would only prolong life at will. And "who would care to wear one coat for a hundred years or be confined in one narrow and changeless lodging unto a long eternity," said Sri Aurobindo(49). To perpetuate life in its present, coarse functioning would indeed be a dreadful burden, which we would soon wish to be rid of. Thus, this prolongation of life at will is only a first operational step to give us the time to build the supramental being in our body. Doing it takes time; it is a race between the swiftness of death and the speed of the transformation. Sri Aurobindo estimated that it would take three hundred years to form that being. But it does seem that the movement is accelerating more and more, and perhaps that supreme transformation does not depend so much on the length of time of individual preparation as it does on the preparation of the earth body as a whole and on its ability to accept the new world. And the Force of the New World is pounding the earth mercilessly; it is advancing with giant strides. The seams are cracking, and what seemed like a distant peal is becoming a thunderous death knell, which hides the next resurrection. We are touching rock bottom; we are before the gate of the deep Night which veils the unexpected.
All's miracle here and can by miracle change.(50)
This genesis of the supramental being is not really a distinct stage; it is intimately mingled with that of the superman, and only the mind forces us to draw partitioning lines. Actually, it is a long journey through lives and ages, body after body, the slow growth of a little fire within, no bigger than a firefly, which was already hidden in the atom, the stone, the plant, and which has become conscious of itself in man, which has grown through struggle and pain, experience after experience in a brown skin or a white one, under this latitude or another, which has emerged in the mind as a cold ray, split the darkness into a thousand contradictory beams, which has beat in the heart like a warm little flame, struggled and striven against wind and tide, toiled in love and toiled in grief and toiled in pleasure; which has pierced this shell of life, shone for nothing, pure, like an autumn bonfire on the shores of the world, searched here and searched there, kindled its flame with a thousand nothings that never made plenitude, set the days and hours ablaze, taken in the minutes, the big gestures and the small, the cold seasons and the hot, until there was a single season of fire, a single song of flame here and there. And it has become the body of our body, the heart of our heart, the high thought springing from the white flamings of the Spirit, the pure vision piercing the pain of appearances, the pure love like a vermillion snow upon the sad fields of the earth, the pure music, the pure rhythm attuned to everything - it has become our body of prayer for the world, our body of light for mankind, our ardent body for the earth's future, our living pyre for matter's transfiguration. And the deeper it plunged into that dense darkness, that negation in the depths, that pettiness of a thousand gestures and heartbeats for nothing and routines of death, the brighter it became, the more it shone, the more golden it glowed like a sun, became concrete, as if it were on the verge of an ultimate transfusion, a golden invasion of matter, one last cry of love that would topple the walls and bring forth the living glory of the new body, of the Master of all this evolution. "O Fire . . . the flaming rays of thy might rush abroad on every side violently," says the Veda. "The Flame with a hundred treasures... O Son of the body... Thou foundest the mortal in a supreme immortality."(51)
One day he will emerge, the Master of the long journey of fire, the goal of all those sufferings, the epitome of the ages. And the whole earth will be changed by it, seized by its irresistible ray of joy and beauty, won over to the smile by a smile. And all the shadows will be dispelled, as though they had never existed.
One man's perfection still can save the world.(52)
His Look of truth will unveil the true look in each of us. His pure Truth will make the same Truth shine in every heart and every atom. His Reality will make the world real. The earth will be transfigured by the irresistible radiance of her own Sun.
Only joy can convert to joy.
What will that supramental body be like, that "life divine" on earth? Here again, miracles will turn out to be the simple nature of the world and the new life to follow a divine logic, the logic of the divine truth of matter. What will be is already here, crude, coarse, scarcely aware of itself, limited by our own limited vision, for truly the world is a vision being unveiled. That stupendous, innumerable, inexhaustible Energy, that Consciousness-Force, that immense Harmony we are cut from - barricaded as we are in an egoistic little body, confined in a little quiver of desire and pain - will flow through us unimpeded, because our self will have become the world's self, our mind the transmitter of the great rhythm, our heart the diffuser of the great throbbing of oneness, our law the one sunlit Law that moves the worlds, and our body the symbol of the great earthly body. There will be no more false note in us, no more personal screen, no more distorting glass, no more egoistic will, but the one Will that moves the worlds and the one note that makes the spheres sing. The Harmony will then be able to flow at all the levels of our body, directly, mightily, purely. The little centers of consciousness(53), the chakras of the various plexuses, will have become powerful condensers of the cosmic Energy, its projectors onto matter. They will nourish our own body directly the way today food nourishes us indirectly and heavily. They will eachreceive the exact vibration corresponding to their function, the light "frequency" corresponding to their action: the rays of the instant will-thought that executes, the flashes of the truth-vision that puts things into place and opens up and frees the truth of each being, each object, each circumstance, the sun of the heart that heals, the flood of Life-Force that sweeps away obstacles, the great ray of the original Force that fashions matter by the truth of matter. All the nerves, tissues, cells that we have demechanized, purified, freed from their congestion of unconsciousness will become free channels for the supramental Force and will flood our body with the lights of the Spirit, with the Joy of the Spirit, with the immortal nectar - until the day this golden Influx is sufficiently concentrated and individualized to replace the heavy functioning of the organs and shows through all the pores of the old skin, permeating and transmuting the gross body, or reabsorbing it into its solar blaze, as the powerful gravitation of atoms reabsorbs the particles and frees their body of radiant energy.
We know nothing, nothing at all of the ultimate movement! But it will take place, as unavoidably as the laburnum pod bursts open to release its golden cascade. The mortal body will have finished its work, which was to generate an immortal body on earth by its own cry and to reveal the Spirit forever contained in its dark cells.
The freed supramental being will then be able to move within his own fluid, light, luminous solar substance, to travel at will, to withdraw into an invisible self-concentration or project himself victoriously outside, to change color and shape according to his state of being, level of concentration or operational need, to communicate directly and musically, to handle matter at will, modify it at will, recreate or reshape it at will, by the simple and direct manipulation of the vibration of truth in things, to build at will, dissolve at will and perform simply and instantly all the operations that our machines accomplish indirectly through a clumsy translation of our mental powers. For, in truth, he is a "supramental" being not because he is endowed with a super-mind poised one degree higher than the mind and possessing a more imperative power over matter, but because he is endowed with a more interior degree of power, which does not impose itself on matter or wrest violent miracles from it, but releases its own creative energy, its own creative joy, and makes it sing its own note of light the way the shepherd makes his pipe sing.
And life outside will obey life inside.
It will be the end of the Artifice. This fabulous, monstrous world bristling with machines on every floor and every level - swallowed up by a machinery that swallows us and swallows life's slightest movement, the least breath of thought, the lightest heartbeat, that rolls us under its enormous armored tank in which those richest in false powers, most armed with deceptive words, most affluent in false colors and tinsel and fake, artificial television lights, whose shell of triumphant unconsciousness is the heaviest, dominate a hypnotized mass which consents to this barbarous sacrifice to Moloch, this universal and total slavery, detailed down to the tiniest subconscious reaction, in which even the most enlightened men are still impelled by the muffled reverberation of the Machine, alienated from their own powers of seeing, feeling and communicating, smothered beneath an enormous apparatus that conditions their thought and feelings and beliefs, regimented by science, regimented by the law, regimented by the Machine one must keep clicking in order to live, eat, breathe and travel, keep alive in order to stay alive - will vanish like some unreal nightmare under the tranquil gaze of Truth, which will put each thing in its place, endow the truer ones with power, clothe each according to his own light, illuminate each one in his true color, expose the innermost vibration without subterfuge, without false clothing, rank beings spontaneously, automatically, visibly, according to the quality of their flame and the intensity of their joy, impart its powerful rhythm to the clearer ones, give to each a world in his measure, a dwelling in his color, an immortal body attuned to his joy, a scope of action commensurate with the scope of his own ray, a power to mold and use matter proportionate to his intensity of truth, his capacity for beauty and his degree of genuine imagination. For, in the end, Truth is Beauty, is supreme Imagination which, through those millions of years and billions of sorrows, sought to make us rediscover our own power of loving, of creating and of uprooting death through immortal joy.
But how will this matter, as heavy and stubborn as it is, this unfeeling rock, obey the power of the Spirit? How will the earth's matter allow itself to be transformed without being crushed, violated, pulverized by some sledgehammer of one kind or another, heated to a few thousand degrees in our nuclear kettles? We might as well ask how that rock could ever escape the tortuous climb of the caterpillar - we see no farther than our mental conditioning, but our vision is false and the matter we crush without mercy is as living, active, responsive as the stream of stars above our heads or the invisible quivering of the lotus under the summer sun. Matter too is living; it too is a substance of the Eternal, and it can respond as much as the mind, heart or plant. Only we have to find the point of contact, to know the true language, just as we have found the language of numbers, only to extract a few monsters. Another language needs to be found for another vision, a concrete language that imparts the experience of what it names, brings to light what it says, touches what it expresses, which does not translate but materializes the vibrations and moves things by emitting the same note. A whole magic of the Word needs to be found again.
For there is also a Rhythm, which is not a fiction either, any more than that "fire" or "flowing" is. They are one and the same thing with a triple face(54), in its individual and universal aspects, in its human condensation or interstellar space, in this rock or that bird. Each thing, each being has its rhythm, as well as each event and the return of the birds from the north. It is the world's great Rite, its indivisible symphony from which we are separated in a little mental body. But that rhythm is there, in the heart of everything and in spite of everything, for without it everything would disintegrate and be scattered. It is the prime bonding agent, the musical network that ties thing together, their innermost vibration, the color of their soul and their note. The ancient Tantric texts said, "The Natural Name of anything is the sound which is produced by the action of the moving forces that constitute it."(55) It is the real Name of each thing, its power of being, and our real and unique name among the billions of appearances. It is what we are and what is behind all the vocabularies and pseudonyms that science and law inflict upon us and upon the world. And perhaps this whole quest of the world, this tormented evolution, this struggle of things and beings, is a slow quest for its real name, its singular identity, its true music under this enormous parody - we are no longer anybody! We are anyone at all in the mental hubbub that passes from one to another; and yet, we are a unique note, a little note which struggles toward its greater music, which rasps and grates and suffers because it cannot be sung. We are an irreplaceable person behind this carnival of false names; we are a Name that is our unique tonality, our little beacon of being, our simple consecration in the great Consecration of the world, and yet which connects us secretly to all other beacons and all other names. To know that Name is to know all names. To name a thing is to be able to recreate it by its music, to seize the similar forces in their harmonic network. The supramental being is first and foremost the "knower of the Word" the Vedic Rishis spoke of, "the priest of the Word,"(56) "the one who does" by simply invoking the truth of things, poits - he is the Poet of the future age. And his poem is an outpouring of truth whose every fact-creating and matter-creating syllable is attuned to the Great Harmony: a re-creation of matter through the music of truth in matter. He is the Poet of Matter. Through this music, he transmutes; through this music, he communicates; through this music, he knows and loves - because, in truth, that Rhythm is the very vibration of the Love that conceived the worlds and carries them forever in its song.
We have forgotten that little note, the simple note that fills hearts and fills everything, as if the world were suddenly bemisted in orange tenderness, vast and profound as a fathomless love, so old, so old it seems to embrace the ages, to well up from the depths of time, from the depths of sorrow, all the sorrows of the earth and all its nights, its wanderings, its millions of painful paths life after life, its millions of departed faces, its extinct and annihilated loves, which suddenly come back to seize us again amid that orange explosion - as if we had been all those pains and faces and beings on the millions of paths of the earth, and all their songs of hope and despair, all their lost and departed loves, all their never-extinguished music - in that one little golden note which bursts out for a second on the wild foam and fills everything with an indescribable orange communion, a total comprehension, a music of triumphant sweetness behind the pain and chaos, an overflowing instantaneousness, as if we were in the Goal forever.
We have reached the shore.
The supramental being and the superman are only the perfection of that little note. They are there! They are coming! They are knocking at the door of our age:
I saw them cross the twilight of an age,
The sun-eyed children of a marvelous dawn, . . .
The massive barrier-breakers of the world, . . .
The architects of immortality. . . .
Bodies made beautiful by the Spirit's light,
Carrying the magic word, the mystic fire,
Carrying the Dionysian cup of joy.
And they will topple our walls.
(46)Sri Aurobindo, "A God's Labour," 5:101.
(47)Sri Aurobindo, "The Pilgrim of the Night," 5:132.
(48)Indeed he is far more conscious of the old vital forces he is losing than of the new forces he is acquiring, which are subtler, unusual for his body, and whose workings he is not familiar with - they seem to vanish in one second, by a minute shift of consciousness, and to return also in one second and refresh him, by another shift of consciousness which he does not fully understand yet. But that one little second of refreshment is inexpressibly more invigorating than hours of physical rest and seems to put everything back in order from top to bottom, like a complete renewal of the being.
(49)Thoughts and Aphorisms, no. 376.
(50)Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, 28:85.
(51)Rig Veda, I.97.5, I.59.7, III.4.2., I.31.7.
(52)Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, 29:531.
(53)See "Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness".
(54)Does not the Rig-Veda say, in one of its striking phrases, "This is he [the flame] who has the word of the truth." (I.59.7)
(55)Arthur Avalon, "The Serpent Power", p. 96.
(56)Rig Veda, I.10.1.
(57)Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, 28:343-44.
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