The Mind of Light and the Yoga of Physical Transformation
by RY Deshpande on Wed 20 Feb 2008 01:45 AM PST Permanent Link
Can we say that the Mother’s work of physical transformation is a triumph? There are people who express doubts about it; they maintain that both she and Sri Aurobindo had promised it in the here-and-now, at this particular juncture, during this birth of theirs, right today, in our own lifetime, and not in some other age, in the distant future. In the strictest literal sense, for those who put forward scholarly dialectical arguments, the answer to the question if transformation is a triumph would then simply be ‘No.’
This is particularly so when they even go to the strangest extent of saying that Sri Aurobindo's retirement after getting the Overmind siddhi in the physical, in November 1926, was due to "inner despair". If not this assertive ‘No’, at the best, as if to accommodate or patronize the believers of the Avataric success, their line of thinking would be to concede a highly condescending ‘Yes’. But then is that the kind of a report the Guardian Spirit is going to give to the Eternal that she who had come "to open the doors of Fate, the iron doors that seemed for ever closed" forgot her mission, that the power he kindled in her body failed,
His labourer returns, her task undone? 
However, such a question simply belongs to the category of the physical mind and could perhaps be ignored. Or else the answer itself would be in the manner of the physical mind passing judgements on matters beyond its domain, matters that are totally occult-spiritual. Both lack perception and in the deeper sense one need not be much concerned about the question. There has to be another vision and another observant intuition, intuition born of wide luminous knowledge that comes only by identification with the spirit of the things. But in the absence of it one can at least be perceptive and try to understand the situation more open-mindedly, open-heartedly. Rational mind surely has the capacity to grow; it can acquire gnostic sense cognisant of spiritual shades and nuances and it should be promoted. The discerning insight of enlightened reason could be a sufficiently good guide.
Firstly, it should be recognised that what the Mother accomplished was something not only marvellous; it was also unique in the earth’s entire evolutionary history and that it is in full harmonious conformity with the aims and objectives of the Yoga of the Supramental Descent and Transformation. We must not forget that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were dealing with the problem of the material world, a world that arose out of the Inconscience and that their method was more concerned with the basics than with the transient flashing miracles which avail nothing.
Although this world arose out of the Inconscience, both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother found that there is also sufficient truth in it to become overtly and manifestly truth-conscient in its truth-dynamism. The Mother’s intense yoga-tapasya proceeded in the depths of Matter, invoking in it, in the very density of darkness, the Will of the Lord himself. She suffered greatly in the process, painful as the resistance of the tamasic and brute ignorant material Nature is; at the same time, and undaunted by it, she won several grim battles while carrying this God-given mission...
But a question, a strange question, is at times asked whether Sri Aurobindo had realised the Mind of Light in himself at all. This may appear somewhat odd with its oddity implying that he was only theorising about the Mind of Light when he wrote those eight articles for the Bulletin of Physical Education during 1949-50. It is however hard to believe that the convincing Agenda he had put forward in his absolutely the last sequence of prose-writings could have originated without any experiential basis: that would have reduced him to a mere armchair philosopher and denied the status of a Yogi par excellence who indeed he was. Nor would it have concerned us in any deeper sense.
His was a world-redeemer’s task and tirelessly he had carried out the God’s Labour and “willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all” for this woe-begone mortality. His dynamism was committed to the action of the Spirit in the very inertia and resistive opacity of the material life...
When was this prerequisite complied with, fulfilled? At what point of time in Sri Aurobindo’s yogic life? We may do a bit of archival exploration while going through his relevant Savitri-drafts looking for possible clues if they are anyl. And the findings are interesting indeed. Fortunately for us the drafts at places do bear the dates of composition and these are pretty useful.
The “Mind of Light”-line—“His brain was wrapped in overwhelming Light”—in this form belongs to a revised version in Sri Aurobindo’s own hand and the date at the end of the Canto put by him is 6 September 1942. The first occurrence of this line pertains to a manuscript of the period prior to 1936 and it runs as follows: “His brain was swathed in overwhelming light.” At this stage of drafting Aswapati’s cosmic ascent on the world-stair occupied only one page which now stands expanded into several Cantos, in thousands of lines. The revision of “swathed” and “light” to “wrapped” and “Light” should be considered of capital importance. It suggests the definite entry of the Mind of Light in him by 1942.
The yoga-tapasya of the next eight years was chiefly concerned with the collective action of this achievement. Indeed, it is because Sri Aurobindo had realised the Mind of Light in him that he could gift it to the Mother at the time of his passing away on 5 December 1950. The subsequent saga presenting the Mother’s work, dealing with the cellular transformation, unfolds its manifesting aspect, it by now having become a part of the earthly evolution heading brightly towards the Supramental Descent and Transformation.