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Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo

The Complete Set

Excuse my writing today, since all days are Sundays for you it is all right, I suppose.

The whole Ashram seems to reason in the same way and to draw the farther consequence that the perpetual Sunday is the proper day for each writing his special letter to me! What a touching proof of unanimity and solidarity in the communal mind!

You say that since “these things”1 have been possible in you, they are possible in the earth-consciousness. Quite true; but have they been done? Has any sweeper or street beggar been changed into a Buddha or a Chaitanya by the Divine? We see in the whole history of spirituality only one Christ, one Buddha, one Krishna, one Sri Aurobindo and one Mother. Has there been any breaking of this rule? Since it has not been done, it can't be done.

The question was not whether it had been done but whether it could be done. The street-beggar is a side-issue. The question was whether new faculties not at all manifested in the personality up to now in this life could appear, even suddenly appear, by force of Yoga. I say they can and I gave my own case as proof. I could have given others also. The question involved is also this – is a man bound to the character and qualities he has come with into this life – can he not become a new man by Yoga? That also I have proved in my sadhana, it can be done. When you say that I could do this only in my case because I am an Avatar (!) and it is impossible in any other case, you reduce my sadhana to an absurdity and Avatarhood also to an absurdity. For my Yoga is done not for myself who need nothing and do not need salvation or anything else, but precisely for the earth-consciousness, to open a way to the earth-consciousness to change. Has the Divine need to come down to prove that he can do this or that or has he any personal need of doing it? Your argument proves that I am not an Avatar but only a big human person. It may well be so as a matter of fact, but you start your argument from the other basis. Besides, even if I am only a big human person, what I achieve shows that that achievement is possible for humanity. Whether any street-beggar can do it or has done it is a side-issue. It is sufficient if others who have not the economic misfortune of being street-beggars can do it.

What a wonderful argument! Since it has not been done, it cannot be done! At that rate the whole history of the earth must have stopped long before the protoplasm. When it was a mass of gases, no life had been born, ergo, life could not be born – when only life was there, mind was not born, so mind could not be born. Since mind is there but nothing beyond, as there is no supermind manifested in anybody, so supermind can never be born. Sobhanallah!2 Glory, glory, glory to the human reason!! Luckily the Divine or the Cosmic Spirit or Nature or whoever is there cares a damn for the human reason. He or she or it does what he or she or it has to do, whether it can or cannot be done.

Kindly excuse the impudence of the next question; it has been hovering at the back of my mind for some time. Can a Muthu or a sadhak be ever a Sri Aurobindo, even if he is supramentalised? I say that it is absolutely impossible, impossible, a thousand times so.

What need has he to be a Sri Aurobindo? He can be a supramentalised Muthu!

If anybody comes and says “Why not?” I would answer, “You had better rub some Madhyam Narayan oil3 on your head.”

I have no objection to that. Plenty of the middle Narayan is needed in this Ashram. This part of your argument is perfectly correct – but it is also perfectly irrelevant.

And how can it be otherwise? You are looked upon by here, and even by many outside, as a full Incarnation of the Divine. The sadhaks here at best are misty sparks of the Divine. I cannot by any empyrean flight of imagination conceive of this possibility even for a second.

The psychic being is more than a spark at this stage of its evolution. It is a flame. Even if the flame is covered by mist or smoke, the mist or smoke can be dissipated. To do that and to open to the higher consciousness is what is wanted, not to become a Sri Aurobindo or equal to the Mother. But if we are the Divine, what is the harm of evolving into a portion of the Divine, living in the divine Consciousness even if in a lesser degree? No middle Narayan will then be needed for anybody's head.

Once when Y had said she wanted to be like the Mother – you thundered saying, “How can it be? That is an ambition! Do you say now it's possible?”

Certainly not, it is not intended and I never said that [she] could as a practical matter.

All this is really too much for me. Please give a more direct answer – is it possible or not? Can a Muthu be changes into a being as great as an Avatar? If he can be, I have nothing further to say; if not, there is a limit to the omnipotence of the Divine. It is for this reason that I said that your own example doesn't prove much.

Not at all. You are always making the same elementary baby stumble. It is not because the Divine cannot manifest his greatness anywhere, but because it is not in the conditions of the game, because he has chosen to manifest his centrality in a particular line that it is practically impossible.

Next point: it is hoped that the sadhaks will be supramentalised. Since it is a state surpassing the Overmind, am I to deduce that the sadhaks would be greater them Krishna, who was the Avatar of the Overmind level? Logically it follows, but looking at others and at myself, I wonder if such a theory will be practically realised. Past history does not seem to prove it. In Krishna's time, no disciple of his was a greater spiritual figure than the preceding Avatar Rama, even though Krishna was an Avatar of a higher plane.

What is all this obsession of greater or less? In our Yoga we do not strive after greatness. It is not a question of Sri Krishna's disciples, but of the earth-consciousness – Rama was a mental man, there is no touch of the overmind consciousness (direct) in anything he said or did, but what he did was done with the greatness of the Avatar. But there have since been men who did live in touch with the planes above mind – higher mind, illumined mind, Intuition. There is no question of asking whether they were “greater” than Rama; they might have been less “great”, but they were able to live from a new plane of consciousness. And Krishna's opening the overmind certainly made it possible for the attempt at bringing Supermind to the earth to be made.

I would not mind your fury in revenge if only you would crush me with a convincing assault. I hope to close the chapter on “Divine Omnipotence” with this last letter, but you keep me hoping with that promise of yours to write at length some day –

“Peace, peace, O fiery furious spirit! calm thyself and be at rest.” Your fury or furiousness is wasted because your point is perfectly irrelevant to the central question on which all this breath (or rather ink) is being spent. Muthu and the sadhaks who want to equal or distance or replace the Mother and myself and so need very badly Middle Narayan oil – there have been several – have appeared only as meaningless foam and froth on the excited crest of the dispute. I fear you have not grasped the internalities and modalities and causalities of my high and subtle reasoning. It is not surprising as you are down down in the troughs of the rigidly logically illogical human reason while I am floating on the heights amid the infinite plasticities of the overmind and the lightninglike subtleties and swiftnesses of the intuition. There! what do you think of that? However!!

More seriously. I have not stated that any Muthu has equalled Ramakrishna and I quite admit that Muthu here in ipsa persona has no chance of performing that feat. I have not said that anyone here can be Sri Aurobindo or the Mother – I have pointed out what I meant when I objected to your explaining away my sadhana as a perfectly useless piece of Avatarian fireworks. So in my comment on the Muthu logic, I simply pointed out that it was bad logic – that someone quite ignorant and low in the social scale can manifest a great spirituality and even a great spiritual knowledge. I hope you are not bourgeois enough to deny that or to contend that the Divine or the spiritual can only manifest in somebody who has some money in his pockets or some University education in his pate? For the rest as I myself have been pointing out all the time there is a difference between essential truth and conditional truth, paramartha and vyavaharika, the latter being relative and conditional and mutable. In mathematics one works out problems in infinite and in unreal numbers which exist nowhere on earth and yet these are extremely important and can help scientific reasoning and scientific discovery and achievement. The question of a Muthu becoming a Ramakrishna, i.e. a great spiritual man may look to you like being an exercise in unreal numbers or magnitudes because it exceeds the actual observable facts in the case of this Muthu who very evidently is not going to be a great spiritual man – but we were arguing the matter of essential principle. I was pointing out that in the essentiality all things are possible – so you ought not to say the Divine cannot do this or that. But at the same time I was pointing out too that the Divine is not bound to show his omnipotence without rhyme or reason when he is working by his own will under conditions. For by arguing that the Divine cannot, that he is impotent, that he cannot do what has never yet been done etc., you deny the possibility of changing conditions, of evolution, of the realisation of the unrealised, of the action of Divine Power, of Divine Grace, and reduce all to a matter of rigid and unalterable status quo. Which is an insolent defiance to both fact and reason (!) and suprareason. See now?

About myself and the Mother, – there are people who say, “If the supramental is to come down, it can come down in everyone, why then in them first? Why should we not get it before they do? Why through them, not direct?” It sounds very rational, very logical, very arguable. The difficulty is that this reasoning ignores the conditions, foolishly assumes that one can get the supramental down into oneself without having the least knowledge of what the supramental is and so supposes an upside-down miracle – everybody who tries it is bound to land himself in a most horrible cropper – as all have done hitherto who tried it. It is like thinking one need not follow the Guide, but can reach up to the top of the mountain from the narrow path one is following on the edge of a precipice by simply leaping into the air. The result is inevitable.

About greater and less, one point. Is Captain John Higgins of S.S. Mauretania a greater man than Christopher Columbus because he can reach America without trouble in a few days? Is a university graduate in philosophy greater than Plato because he can reason about problems and systems which had never even occurred to Plato? No, only humanity has acquired greater scientific power which any good navigator can use or a wider intellectual knowledge which anyone with a philosophic training can use. You will say greater scientific power and wider knowledge is not a change of consciousness. Very well, but there are Rama and Ramakrishna. Rama spoke always from the thinking intelligence, the common property of developed men; Ramakrishna spoke constantly from a swift and luminous spiritual intuition. Can you tell me which is the greater? the Avatar recognised by all India? or the saint and Yogi recognised as an Avatar only by his disciples and some others who follow them?



1 Cf. the last letter: Sudden opening in the understanding of painting, liberation of the mind in three days, transformation of Nature.


2 Urdu term meaning “Glory to God”.


3 Oil used for insanity, composed of thirteen herbs and barks. Madhyam literally means “middle”











1935 02 10 Exact Writting Letter Nirodbaran