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At the Feet of The Mother

The New Idea (HH 115)

The coming together of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo was the starting point of the Birth of a New World. Sri Aurobindo had seen this New World at the apex of creation and so had the Mother felt it stirring in her depths. This world foreseen of old by mystics at different points of Time and hinted in different traditions was the radical remedy to all the countless problems that have vexed humanity since its inception. But what was not foretold was how and when this much awaited and hoped for New World will come. The coming together of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother was the starting point for the manifestation of this New World. The labour pains of this New Birth were going to shake the nations soon and put the earth in the grip of violent forces and the convulsion thereof.  All this had to be faced and bourne as part of the process. It was not going to be easy at all. The entire resistance of Earth buried in its subconscious depths, reminiscent of past forms was going to erupt and if man was not prepared to receive it then everything would collapse. Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had to first prepare humanity to receive this New World. This was the first task undertaken by them. Towards this end, the first step was to initiate humanity into this New Thought. The Mind and Heart of man had to understand and feel the need of this New Idea, his life parts had to will it and want it, seek it and aspire for it, his body itself had to participate in this New Becoming.

The New Idea was started as a first step in this great ascent. Here the word Idea has to be seen in its original sense wherein it is not just a Thought or conception but an initiating Creative Power that leaps from some sublime highest and clothes itself into a form of thought and faith and will. Sri Aurobindo has Himself used the word Real Idea as indicative of the Supramental Gnosis. It is the original prototype, a kind of ‘packet of Light’ that contains within it the true Knowledge which seeks expression through creation. The Divine Consciousness brings it out of the folds of the Unmanifest by ‘a brooding over it’, termed Tapas, in ancient Indian Thought. 

It is not easy to embody this ‘New Idea’ here. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo would want it embodied and manifested not only in thought and faith and will, not only in life and action but in the very body itself. The present human body is built very much under the stress of the ‘old animal creation’. Though it carries within it the possibility of a ‘New Creation’; yet it is only a possibility that must progressively realise itself through a similar kind of tapas. But his tapas must be done while within the body itself. That was the challenge. The human consciousness must ‘brood’ (concentrate, contemplate, put forth a dynamic effort in that direction) upon this New possibility that would, if realised, naturally and spontaneously, integrate the world and God, physical life and the life of the soul, the spiritual and the material aspects of existence. What would be the first steps towards this New Becoming? It was towards this end that a small group of seekers came together and formed the society called as the New Idea. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo were the centre and core of this group, though the Mother had not yet declared Herself and the full identification with the Divine Mother was yet to take place a few months later. It was a first seed attempt to reorient, if not yet completely dedicate, their life towards this Work of a New Birth for humanity and the Earth. What was that work going to be and what were the means of realising it? In a letter written in 1912, Sri Aurobindo hints at some aspects of this work that He is destined to undertake and fulfil:

‘The Yoga I am practising has not the ghost of a connection with Sannyasa. It is a Yoga meant for life and life only. Its object is perfection of the moral condition and mental and physical being along with the possession of certain powers, – the truth of which I have been establishing by continuous practical experiment, – with the object of carrying out a certain mission in life which God has given me.

I may say briefly that I have been given a religious and philosophical mission, to re-explain the Veda and Vedanta (Upanishads) in the ancient sense which I have recovered by actual experience in Yoga and to popularise the new system of Yoga (new in arrangement and object) which has been revealed to me and which, as I progress, I am imparting to the young men staying with me and to others in Pondicherry.

I have also to spread certain ideas about God and life by literary work, speech and practice, to try and bring about certain social changes and, finally, to do a certain work for my country in particular, as soon as the means are put in my hands. All this to be done by God’s help only and not to be begun till things and myself are ready.’

Things indeed started getting ready with the Mother re-uniting with the Lord. Many a lives they had spent in preparing humanity, carrying on the evolution step by step. But now the decisive hour was close and the preparation too had to be done directly and not behind the veil as in Their past incarnations. The Mother too had foreseen this Work and spoken about it to a group of seekers in 1912. To a question regarding the most useful work to be done and the most helpful ideas to be kept before man as an example, She replied and then eleborated revealing the Agenda of the Future that She had come to execute: 

The question can be considered in two ways, a very general one applicable to the whole earth, and another specific one which

concerns our present social environment.

From the general point of view, it seems to me that the most useful idea to spread is twofold:

1) Man carries within himself perfect power, perfect wisdom and perfect knowledge, and if he wants to possess them, he must discover them in the depth of his being, by introspection and concentration.

2) These divine qualities are identical at the centre, at the heart of all beings; this implies the essential unity of all, and all the consequences of solidarity and fraternity that follow from it

* * *

The general aim to be attained is the advent of a progressing universal harmony.

The means for attaining this aim, in regard to the earth, is the realisation of human unity through the awakening in all and the manifestation by all of the inner Divinity which is One.

In other words,—to create unity by founding the Kingdom

of God which is within us all.

This, therefore, is the most useful work to be done:

(1) For each individually, to be conscious in himself of the Divine Presence and to identify himself with it.

(2) To individualise the states of being that were never till now conscious in man and, by that, to put the earth in connection with one or more of the fountains of universal force that are still sealed to it.

(3) To speak again to the world the eternal word under a new form adapted to its present mentality. It will be the synthesis of all human knowledge.

(4) Collectively, to establish an ideal society in a propitious spot for the flowering of the new race, the race of the Sons of God.

* * *

The terrestrial transformation and harmonisation can be brought about by two processes which, though opposite in appearance, must combine—must act upon each other and complete each other:

(1) Individual transformation, an inner development leading to the union with the Divine Presence.

(2) Social transformation, the establishment of an environment favourable to the flowering and growth of the individual.

Since the environment reacts upon the individual and, on the other hand, the value of the environment depends upon the value of the individual, the two works should proceed side by side. But this can be done only through division of labour, and that necessitates the formation of a group, hierarchised, if possible.

The action of the members of the group should be threefold:

(1) To realise in oneself the ideal to be attained: to become a perfect earthly representative of the first manifestation of the Unthinkable in all its modes, attributes and qualities.

(2) To preach this ideal by word, but, above all, by example, so as to find out all those who are ready to realise it in their turn and to become also announcers of liberation.

(3) To found a typic society or reorganise those that already exist.

* * *

For each individual also there is a twofold labour to be done, simultaneously, each side of it helping and completing the other:

(1) An inner development, a progressive union with the

Divine Light, sole condition in which man can be always in harmony with the great stream of universal life.

(2) An external action which everyone has to choose according to his capacities and personal preferences. He must find his own place, the place which he alone can occupy in the general concert, and he must give himself entirely to it, not forgetting that he is playing only one note in the terrestrial symphony and

yet his note is indispensable to the harmony of the whole, and its value depends upon its justness.

* * *

We see clearly that though separated by a large distance in Space both the Mother and Sri Aurobindo were carrying in their hearts an agenda of the future. Even more interestingly we can see how the Mother brings down to the most practical level what is still only conceptual in the Lord’s heart. After all this is Her true relation and the nature of Her Work as She would note later:

‘Without Him, I exist not.

Without me, He is unmanifest.’

Sri Aurobindo would confirm to a disciple how His work and its fulfilment, especially its collective side were waiting for the Mother’s coming. And the Work did start soon after Her coming. It took a threefold approach to begin with. This was the purpose of the formation of the Society by the name of ‘New Idea’. A prospectus of the Society published in the Arya reveals the following:


In close connection with the intellectual work of synthesis undertaken by this Review a Society has been founded in French India under the name of the New Idea, (L’Idee Nouvelle.) Its object is to group in a common intellectual life and fraternity of sentiment those who accept the spiritual tendency and idea it represents and who aspire to realise it in  their own individual and social action.

The Society has already made a beginning by grouping together young men of different castes and religions in a common ideal. All sectarian and political questions are necessarily foreign to its idea and its activities. It is on a higher plane of thought superior to external differences of race, caste, creed and opinion and in the solidarity of the spirit that unity can be realised.

The Idee Nouvelle has two rules only for its members, first, to devote some time every day to meditation and self-culture, the second, to use or create daily at least one opportunity of being helpful to others. This is, naturally, only the minimum of initial self-training necessary for those who have yet to cast the whole trend of their thought and feeling into the mould of a higher life and to enlarge the egoistic into a collective consciousness.

The Society has its headquarters at Pondicherry with a reading-room and library. A section has been founded at Karikal and others are likely to be opened at Yanam and Mahe.’

A small beginning was thus made. A little seed was sown that would eventually flower and develop into the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Sri Aurobindo Society, Auroville, the many Centres dedicated to Sri Aurobindo’s Work and Vision until the whole world became an ashram of the Lord or to use a phrase from Savitri,

– ‘A playground of the living Infinite.’


Feb 7 2015

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