But higher still can climb the ascending light
Sri Aurobindo, original name Aurobindo Ghose, Sri Aurobindo (born 15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950) was an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet, and nationalist. He joined the Indian movement for independence from British rule, for a while was one of its influential leaders and then became a spiritual reformer, introducing his visualisations on human development and spiritual evolution.
Sri Aurobindo studied for the Indian Civil Service at Cambridge. After returning to India, he became increasingly involved in nationalist politics and the nascent revolutionary movement in Bengal. He was arrested in the aftermath of several bomb outrages linked to his organisation, but in a highly public trial where he faced charges of treason, Aurobindo could only be convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence could be provided, following the murder of a prosecution witness during the trial. During his stay in the jail, he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work.
At Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo developed a spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga. The central theme of his vision was the evolution of human life into a divine life in divine body. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated but transformed human nature, enabling a divine life on earth.
The driving force behind the manifestation of Auroville was The Mother (Mirra Alfassa), under the determining inspiration of the mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s dual philosophies, Auroville materialises as a unique, multi-cultural confluence where matter and spirit, the individual and the collective meet in the pursuit of a greater consciousness
Mirra Alfassa was born in France in 1878 as thew child of Egyptian mother and a Turkish father. Mirra was renowned as an extremely gifted child, who became an accomplished painter and musician, she had many inner experiences from early childhood on. In her twenties she studied occultism in Algeria.
Meeting Sri Aurobindo
She first heard of Sri Aurobindo from her second husband Paul Richard, who had visited him in Pondicherry in 1910; and in 1914 she was able to travel to Pondicherry and meet him in person. There, she immediately recognised him as a mentor she had encountered in earlier visions and knew that her future work was alongside Sri Aurobindo.
Although she had to leave India after the outbreak of the First World War, first returning to France, and then accompanying her husband to an official post in Japan, in April 1920 she returned to join Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry and never left again.
Sri Aurobindo recognised in her a personification of the dynamic expressive aspect of evolutionary, creative Force, in India traditionally known and approached as the ‘Supreme Mother’.
It was The Mother who was responsible for the increasing collection of followers around Sri Aurobindo into the Ashram from November 1926 onwards, and who in 1952, after his passing in 1950, created the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education to fulfil his wish to provide a new kind of teaching for the youth of India.
In 1968 she founded the international township project of Auroville as a yet broader field for practical efforts to apply Sri Aurobindo’s vision of new forms of individual and collective life, preparing the way towards a brighter future for the globe.
Humanity is not the last rung of the terrestrial creation. Evolution continues and man will be surpassed. It is for everyone to know whether they want to contribute to the advent of this new species.
For those who are satisfied with the world as it is, Auroville understandably has no reason to exist.
The Mother, 1966 – Consciousness beyond Mind
Both Sri Aurobindo and The Mother worked all their existence for the manifestation of a method of consciousness beyond mind, which Sri Aurobindo named “Supermind” or “The Supramental”.
The full expression of this consciousness on earth would result not only in a new species, as far beyond the human, as human race is beyond the animals, but also in a modification of the whole terrestrial creation, even more complete than the change brought about by the entrance on the world scene of humanity.
Between humankind and the fully Supramental species there would have to be one or several transitional steps, represented by transitional beings, born in the human way, but able to contact and express the higher consciousness. These transitional beings would prepare the way for the advent of the Supramental Race by establishing suitable conditions.
After Sri Aurobindo’s passing, The Mother continued his work of psychological and physical transformation with the help of the new force. An account of her experiences in the course of this work is given in The Mother’s Agenda, an intimate record of the last 18 years of her life.