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Sri Aurobindo

"On Himself and on The Mother"

Section 1: Leaders of Evolution

On Himself and on The Mother:

1 - Leaders of Evolution
2 - Identity of Their Consciousness
3 - Difficulties of the Path-Finders
4 - Helpers on the Way



Q: We believe that both you and the Mother are Avatars. But is it only in this life that both of you have shown your divinity? It is said that you and she have been on the earth constantly since its creation. What were you doing during the previous lives?

A: Carrying on the evolution.

Q: I find it difficult to understand so concise a statement. Can't you elaborate it?

A: That would mean writing the whole of human history. I can only say that as there are special descents to carry on the evolution to a farther stage, so also something of the Divine is always there to help through each stage itself in one direction or another.

Q: The common mass of mankind in the past may not have recognised your presence amongst them, especially when outwardly both of you may have had personalities like those of ordinary human beings. But how is it that even Sri Krishna, Buddha or Christ could not detect your presence in this world?

A: Presence where and in whom? If they did not meet, they would not recognise, and even if they met there is no reason why the Mother and I should cast off the veil which hung over these personalities and reveal the Divine behind them. Those lives were not meant for any such purpose.

Q: If you were on the earth all the time it would mean that you were here when those great beings descended. Whatever your external cloak, how could you hide your inner self - the true divinity - from them ? It could not have mattered whether you and any of them were born in the same country or not. They ought to have discovered by their own higher light that the Divine Consciousness from which they had descended was already here in a physical form.

A: But why can't the inner self be hidden from all in such lives? Your reasoning would only have some force if the presence on earth then were as the Avatar but not if it was only as a Vibhuti.

Q: You have asked, "Presence where and in whom?" Why have you put those question-words? What exactly is conveyed by them ?

A : ... It is "presence" in or behind some body and behind some outer personality. Also "presence" in what part of the world? If the Mother were in Rome in the time of Buddha, how could Buddha know as he did not even know the existence of Rome?

Q: I did not mean that you or the Mother needed to cast off your veil. It is those Great Men who should have recognised you in spite of the veil.

A: One can be a great man without knowing such things as that. Great Men or even great Vibhutis need not be omniscient or know things which it was not useful for them to know.

Q: You said, "But why can't the inner self be hidden from all in such lives?" I fail to understand how anyone could hide one's inner self from Avatars and Vibhutis.

A: An Avatar or Vibhuti have the knowledge that is necessary for their work, they need not have more. There was absolutely no reason why Buddha should know what was going on in Rome. An Avatar even does not manifest all the Divine omniscience and omnipotence; he has not come for any such unnecessary display; all that is behind him but not in the front of his consciousness. As for the Vibhuti, the Vibhuti need not even know that he is a power of the Divine. Some Vibhutis like Julius Caesar for instance have been atheists. Buddha himself did not believe in a personal God, only in some impersonal and indescribable Permanent.

Q: Still I can't understand one thing: even though you did not cast off your veil, how could people like Buddha or Christ not help casting off their veil (of ignorance) in order to recognise you ?

A. Why should they? The veil was there necessary for their work. Why should it be thrown off? So if the Mother was present in the life of Christ, she was there not as the Divine Manifestation but as one altogether human. For her to be recognised as the Divine would have created a tremendous disorder and frustrated the work Christ came to do by breaking its proper limits.

Q: You must have heard that just before Christ was born some Rishis from India knew of the divine Descent and set out for Jerusalem merely by their intuition, though they had not known what and where Jerusalem was.

A: I never heard of Rishis from India going there. There is a legend of some Magi getting an intuition that a divine Birth was there on earth and following a star that led them to the stable in which Christ was born. But this is a legend, not history.

Q: Since you and the Mother were on earth constantly from the beginning what was the need for Avatars coming down here one after another?

A: We were not on earth as Avatars.

Q: You say that you both were not on earth as Avatars. And yet you were carrying on the evolution. Since the Divine Himself was on the earth carrying on the evolution, what was the necessity for the coming down of the Avatars who are portions of Himself?

A: The Avatar is necessary when a special work is to be done and in crises of the evolution. The Avatar is a special manifestation while for the rest of the time it is the Divine working within the ordinary human limits as a Vibhuti.

25.9.1935 - 25.7.1936


Q: The Mother has written: "In our daily practices we are endeavouring to express the great mystery of Divine Incarnation." What does it mean?

A: It means that we act as we do because we take it as a fact that the Divine can manifest and is manifested in human body.


Q: What is the utility of making effort for other realisations once we have known the supreme secret (uttamam rahasyam) that you are the Divine Incarnate and the Mother is the Para-Shakti? That alone, I think, is the highest realisation and all others - the realisation of the cosmic consciousness, or of the Presence of the Immanent Divine, or even of the silent immutable Brahman - are lower or secondary in comparison with it. Whatever is to be done in the world will also be done by you and the Mother and hardly anyone else is even an instrument for that work.

A: Yes, but for that to be a constant realisation in its fullness the same effort has to be made and if made will bring the other realisations with it as parts of the main realisation.



It is rather surprising that you should be unable to understand such a simple and familiar statement; for that has been always the whole reason of this Yoga that to follow after the Impersonal only brings inner experience or, at the most, mukti. Without the action of the integral Divine there is no change of the whole nature. If it were not so, the Mother would not be here and I would not be here if a realisation of the Impersonal were sufficient.



Q: It seems to me that if the Supermind is not established in Mother's body-consciousness, it is not because she is not ready for it like us, but because in order to establish it she has first to prepare the physical of the Sadhaks and of the earth to a certain extent. But some people take it in the wrong way; they believe that the Supermind has not been established in her body because she has not yet reached perfection. Am I right?

A: Certainly. If we had lived physically in the Supermind from the beginning nobody could have been able to approach us nor could any Sadhana have been done. There could have been no hope of contact between ourselves and the earth and men. Even as it is, Mother has to come down towards the lower consciousness of the Sadhaks instead of keeping always in her own, otherwise they begin to say, "How far away, how severe you were; you do not love me, I get no help from you, etc., etc." The Divine has to veil himself in order to meet the human.


Yes, of course. What is being done is meant to prepare the manifestation of the Supermind on the earth consciousness down to Matter itself, so it can't be for the physical of myself or the Mother alone.
If it [the Supermind] comes down into our physical it would mean that it has come down into Matter and so there is no reason why it should not manifest in the Sadhaks.



Q: In her book "Conversations" the Mother says: "We have all met in previous lives ... and have worked through ages for the victory of the Divine."[July 1971 Edition, p. 6] Is this true of all people who come and stay here? What about so many who came and went away?

A: Those who went away were also of these and still are of that circle. Temporary checks do not make any difference to the essential truth of the soul's seeking.


Q: In what way have we all "worked through ages for the victory of the Divine" ? How much has been achieved till now ?

A: By the victory is meant the final emergence of the embodied consciousness on earth from the bondage of the Ignorance. That had to be prepared through the ages by a spiritual evolution. Naturally, the work up till now has been a preparation of which the long spiritual effort and experience of the past has been the outcome. It has reached a point at which the decisive effort has become possible.


Sri Aurobindo

in SABCL, volume 26, "On Himself" - Part Two (pages 445-451)
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA

On Himself and on The Mother
1 - Leaders of Evolution / 2 - Identity of Their Consciousness / 3 - Difficulties of the Path-Finders / 4 - Helpers on the Way

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