On Pendulums, Planchettes, and Automatic Writing in the Context of the Integral Yoga

In response to the 0/1 issue of The Vishaal Newsletter, October 1985, we received the letter reproduced below. Our first thought upon seeing the return address indicating that it had come from ‘the Mother’ was, ‘Who is this impostor?’ (The Mother left her body on 17 November 1973.)

TVN 0.3-001Shortly after reading the message, the source became evident as the tone is clearly that of a mediumistic message and the channel is known to us. The content of this message is characterised by a dogmatic rigidity and pomposity unlike the incarnate Mother. The disregard for knowledge and truth shown by dismissing it as ‘mental language’, and the egocentric attitude confining Sri Aurobindo’s work to a tiny locale is sufficient to indicate the nature of the entity behind it.

The unfortunate fact is that this message, and others of the same ilk, are being circulated from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram with no indication of their true origin and are being passed on as statements of ‘the Mother’. The confusion this may cause to unwitting readers is lamentable and the responsibility that lies upon the perpetrators of these false messages is considerable. By specifying the sender as ‘the Mother’, we realise that these individuals, without a doubt, have clearly lost touch with reality.

We feel the most constructive response to this ‘Letter to the Editor’ is to reproduce an article written in 1982 by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet on the subject of mediumistic activities and how they relate to the pursuit of a serious spiritual discipline.

The Editor

On Pendulums, Planchettes, and Automatic Writing
in the context of the integral yoga

Any of these mechanisms for receiving messages from the occult planes are limited in their efficacy by the condition of the medium through whom the messages are passing. There is inevitably a colouring brought about by the instrument. If it is a group engaged in these activities, then the sum total of their consciousnesses and their predominating tendencies determine the limits as it were of the incoming messages. Therefore the messages received are never objective and are almost in their entirety subjective: the truth and worthiness of their content is limited to the level of the consciousness and evolution of the person or persons conducting the sittings.

On the other hand, the nature of the transmitting ‘spirit’ is to be taken into account. This entity will usually be identified by the group as the most prominent, wisest and highest consciousness that is known to them and onto whom all their thoughts and aspirations can be focussed. This ensures clear reception of the message. However, even if the being contacted were of this highest order, the messages communicated would always be determined by the level of development of the medium.

There can be cases when the medium is completely self-effacing, which is usually attained in trance or semi-trance states. Then there is the phenomenon of messages coming through which supersede the understanding of the medium and reflect an entirely different level of consciousness. Needless to say, it is very rare to encounter such a medium. And in any case, this condition is not a desirable one – especially for those engaged in yoga – because it presupposes a completely defenceless state regarding the entry of unidentifiable forces from the occult planes.

Concerning the validity of the messages received, it must be borne in mind that these are entirely subjective. They are messages transmitted by beings or a being in connection with the medium by virtue of an affinity of development. One could consider this a sort of affinity in terms of wave lengths or vibratory speed of the consciousness. Thus the medium will always contact an entity who corresponds to his or her particular vibration, which in turn is determined by the individual’s development. The higher and wider this is, the higher and wider will be the consciousness contacted during the communication sessions.

When a group engages in these activities on a regular basis, a steady contact is established and the entities communicating are usually the same in each session. One example is the Findhorn Group which came into being on the basis of ‘guidance’ from these spirits, and they have published the communications received from them. There are even messages received from ‘Sri Aurobindo’.  By regular practice channels are opened and remain open. In some cases this can be positive – that is, a ‘good’ entity may be contacted. This of course again depends upon the state of consciousness of the principal medium. There are cases however when the entity is mischievous or narrow or has downright bad intentions; in which case the medium is carried away into the world of such a spirit and used for its purposes. Moreover, it is to be emphasised that only very rarely is the entity contacted truly the consciousness proclaimed by the spirit. For the most part the entity is simply adopting the name of the spirit the group wishes to contact, and there is no way in which this impersonation can be unmasked.

The closer a person is to a consciousness poised in truth and truthfulness of being, the closer he or she comes to the planes where this principle prevails. But given the constricting limitations of human nature, it is naive to believe that one can contact a consciousness of that superior level while being yet imprisoned in the untransformed instrument. The messages that are received in such a state always reveal this limitation. That is, the messages are always in tune with the receiving consciousness; and to a perceptive awareness poised in a higher level, this inferior receptivity is always evident by a study of the incoming messages.

Apart from the consideration of these limitations that the medium imposes, there is another factor to consider: the mental and vital energy of the medium can compel an action on the mechanism, be this a planchette or a pendulum. In the case of the latter, the possibility of imposing a movement on the instrument by the medium’s own conscious (or subconscious) will is easily verifiable. Anyone with a reasonably developed will can make this experiment: one holds the pendulum and by mental power obliges the instrument to move in a positive or negative motion. The pendulum, of all the items used for reception of messages, is the one most easily susceptible to the influence of the medium’s will. Usually the medium is not conscious enough to realise the manner in which he or she is influencing the object’s motion. Nonetheless, conscious or not, the influence is present and the pendulum is highly receptive to the medium’s will and wishes. The same can be said of automatic writing and the planchette.

In the final analysis, one is always obliged to dissuade seekers from using these methods of communication with occult planes because of the great susceptibility of the human being and his propensity to fall in awe of such processes and to believe that the being contacted and the messages received are sacrosanct and cannot be questioned, and out of this a notable dependency is established and inevitably the practitioner comes to rely on the guidance furnished by the entities contacted. But to begin with, in order for the person to be able to engage in such an activity and reach these states of dependency, a certain degree of gullibility is required. Otherwise the channel will not be opened. One may call this ‘receptivity’, in the better cases. But here we are treading on dangerous ground, as anyone truly proficient in occult practices realises.

The condition of defenceless receptivity and the powerful experience of being directly involved with an occult process and in contact with a power which actually communicates whole and coherent messages, answering any question the aspirant may pose, more often than not create a state in which the medium and persons engaged in such activities never challenge or doubt the communications. A relationship is established with the communicating powers before long, and anything that then comes through is accepted as fact. Even when these facts are contradicted by realities, the medium finds justification for these evident discrepancies, so as to be able to continue believing and indulging in the activities.

It is this state that is a danger to the practitioner of the integral yoga more than any other, this clinging to the ‘truth’ of the communications in the face of contrary indications, making adjustments, excuses, modifying the sense to suit the occasion and cover up the flaws, – all done so as not to lose faith in the entity with whom a deep bond has invariably been established.

When a person is knowledgeable in occult matters, in the true sense of the word and not a mere dabbler or amateur of such arts, then a certain detachment is possible, but not otherwise. It stands to reason that the higher the medium’s consciousness, the closer to the truth the communications will be. But even in the case of very highly evolved souls – a rarity – the messages will always be conditioned by the person’s overall and particular destiny. That is, no message can be received which exceeds or violates the boundaries established by this pattern. And no information can be given which violates the laws of larger collective and evolutionary destiny patterns.

Because of the underdevelopment of the human being and the half-light of his consciousness, indulging in such practices is not recommendable, unless a profound knowledge of the occult is present with a special protection that accompanies or arises out of a particular preparation or initiation undergone for the purpose. And even with this it is possible to be led astray and to come to rely on sources outside oneself which do not allow for positive and objective systems of verification. These methods – planchette, pendulum, and so forth – have therefore nothing to do with other systems of prophetic arts such as number-science, astrology, or even palmistry. In the art of astrology – presuming of course that the astrologer is competent and honest – there is the additional element of objectivity present by virtue of the system being founded on the cosmic harmony. Therefore, having this pattern as one’s key, it is always verifiable and the same conditions can be analysed and reanalysed by many different people at many different times. The element of subjectivity enters only into the question of interpretation, not the method itself upon which astrology is based. Therefore the method is always available for examination and open to all. Such an art, however, requires a very strict and long preparation for one to become truly proficient and master of the method, in most cases requiring more than one lifetime of dedication. Thus the point to be stressed is that these arts, which form the limbs of the Veda and are the numerous methods for studying the evolution of consciousness in Time, are in their essence bodies of objective knowledge, unlike the mediumistic pendulum or planchette or automatic writing which are in their very essence wholly subjective activities. It may be of interest to point out that in the very early days of his yoga, Sri Aurobindo experimented with automatic writing. A book was published, entitled Yogic Sadhana but was later withdrawn by him because he did not feel it was his own insofar as he had received the contents in toto through automatic writing. He suggested the identity of the entity to be a deceased yogi. These experiments took place between 1910 and 1920, at a time when spiritism was the rage throughout the world.

Any true student of the occult knows that one has to fervently doubt and test all one’s experiences until objective proof is secured. The process of doubting and testing is a healthy and essential one, especially when relying exclusively on an inner Guide. When there is an embodied Guide, reliable and true, this process can then be lessened since there is a realised source to turn to for verification of the occult experience or the quality of the message received. Such a Guide will possess or be a source of objective knowledge, the outcome of a severe initiation which the ordinary individual is incapable of undergoing.

Apart from the technical inadequacies of these methods, there is above all the question of the state of consciousness of the practitioner. A deep-rooted sincerity is required on the part of the medium, if he or she does not wish to be led astray. While indulging in these pastimes, one has to recognise honestly one’s limitations and the extent to which the wishful thinking of the person or the group is colouring the communications. Needless to say, this honest evaluation is very difficult to encounter. These activities can be considered harmless only when a real and not an imaginary contact is established with an entity proven beyond a doubt to be the true thing. And this requires a great objectivity, a high degree of Knowledge and, above all, a deep sincerity.

However, what one invariably encounters are inflated egos because mediums consider themselves altogether special, ‘chosen’ by some higher power to be the recipients of this ‘occult wisdom’. Once this becomes consolidated, it is virtually impossible to liberate those who indulge in these practices from these delusions. They are too hopelessly convinced that they are the official and exclusive instruments through whom the spirit speaks, whatever its identity. And this is the surest way to block any progress in yoga.

Kodaikanal, 1982

The Truth of That Which Moves

What is the nature of a universe without Time? If we imagine such a world  the immediate picture is a static one; there is no movement and consequently no change, no development, no progress, nor even any decay. Motion is the primary truth of our material universe, because of which we know that change and evolution are the foremost realities of our existence within this creation. For motion to be, there must be Time. The two are inextricably linked. Thus if we deny the fact of evolution as a central reality of existence, we automatically make of our world a static one. […]

One of the principal characteristics of Greek thought as it has reached us today and as it has influenced modern-day living until the advent of relativity theory and quantum physics, is its preoccupation primarily with Space. Time was not the major focal point of Greek thought, and hence the line of knowledge that developed in Greece culminated in Aristotle and his largely static image of the world. We find the seeds of this development present in the teachings of Pythagoras as well. His ‘geometry of number’, beginning with 1 and ending with 10, indicates clearly the emphasis on Space — or the horizontal movement. The Zero, which contains the key to Time, was unknown to the Greeks. And hence even in the grand vision of Pythagoras’ ‘music of the spheres’, the major element — the Zero — which could truly harmonise the system and make of his vision the basis of a dynamic model of the universe, was lacking.

Critics of ancient Greek thought lament that the direction the early Ionians gave to science led to what is called Classical Physics, which holds as firm pillars of its system the absolutes Time and Space, largely unconnected and unrelated to each other. Yet the situation in the East was quite different in ancient times. India possessed knowledge of the Zero and with that she was able to unify concepts which in the West took a rigid and separative shape. In consequence, or along with this divisive vision, the religious consciousness in the West also evolved into a more and more rigid formalism, until, as mentioned, the stage has been reached where fundamentalist Christians can refuse to accept the findings of science in matters that now stand beyond question. The religious consciousness of the West, which has evolved from Judeo-Christianity and its sister Islam, is exclusive and dogmatic, quite contrary to the Eastern way, in particular the Indian.

Epur si muove, were Galileo’s words when forced by the clerics to deny his theory of a moving Earth. ‘Nonetheless she moves!’ was his cry in defence of that which moves, of the truth of movement. And it is motion far and above any other universal principle that characterises the cosmos in which we live, as well as the bodies we inhabit. That same whirling, dynamic universe that our Earth inhabits is the truth of our own habitat: the human body is a whirling mass in constant progression, never static, ever in a state of dynamic change.

Movement is given a supreme place in Indian thought. It is the essence of the Mother, the Shakti or Power, the feminine principle. But the denial of Motion, or Time, is nonetheless not confined to Western philosophy. India too has progressed to a point where there is a fundamental split in understanding regarding dynamics and statics. We find that though the Zero was known in India its truth is now largely ignored in its relation to spiritual evolution. Thus in many ways time and motion, though retained as pillars of worship throughout the country in the form of the Mother, or Nataraja, or Agni, and so forth, are finally set aside in favour of the static realisation beyond this world of time and space and hence movement. On the other hand, the ancient Vedic Seers lived in quite a different consciousness, as revealed by their hymns in the Rig Veda, India’s most ancient scripture and considered to be the womb of all her subsequent spirituality. This may be true, but it is important to understand that all of Indian spiritual achievement since that time — perhaps 6,000 to 8,000 years ago — has been moving away from the truth of the Vedas, for the purpose of rediscovery and the possibility thereby of uncovering the same truth while embracing a much larger sphere. This also meant that the high truth of the Veda was destined not to remain the sole possession of India but was to permeate the entire Earth. Or better said, the whole Earth was destined to evolve in consciousness toward the one Truth. By this it is not meant that all men must believe the same thing, but rather that the entire civilisation of Earth, as a collective body, is now being revealed as the vehicle for manifesting the one though many-faceted truth, which is the goal of evolution. Thus to deny evolution is to deny the purpose of humanity’s existence; and the logical outcome is a world that seeks to destroy itself.

Though science has proven the truth of evolution, we find that fundamentally it too negates life; and the result is that science has been the vehicle for the development of tools capable now of colossal mass annihilation. Thus both science and spirituality have developed pari passu. Both ignore the purpose of evolution, and without this understanding the final result is a collective death wish. Religion claims that the world is static and man is the ultimate creation of God. Science claims the world is dynamic and evolution is the truth of the human race and all biological species. But science does not perceive Consciousness as the seed or source of these dynamics. Thus the progression of the world and the dizzying movement of our universe and our own bodies is simply a dumb and unconscious process. It sees this process but knows not why.

We have discussed this matter extensively in Volumes 1 & 2 of The New Way. Indeed it can be considered the central theme of the book. For ultimately if we have seen the truth in the realisation of a divine life on Earth, it stands that the mechanics of evolution must be fully appreciated. And in this matter movement is then to be fully accepted and not rejected. Unfortunately, over the centuries the principle of dynamics has been relegated to an inferior status in spirituality, which has itself been a victim of the same divisive action of Mind as science. It is perhaps well to stress once again at this point that the Earth carries evolution forward as one unified movement, in which science, technology, philosophy, politics, spirituality, and so on, all journey together as parts forming one whole. Therefore their progress is invariably linked and the perceptive eye can see a concurrent development’. This is readily perceived in what are considered the two opposing poles of human expression, matter and spirit. But oneness is also the field of their apparently diverse play, and if science extols dynamics while at the same time denying purpose and consciousness and hence prepares to annihilate the world, spirituality does the same by upholding a static realisation as the highest goal of earthly spiritual achievement.

Thinkers throughout the world are appreciating nonetheless that an important juncture has been reached: Science in the West has reached an understanding of matter which closely resembles Eastern thought. One such thinker who comes to mind is Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics. His exposition of the similarity between present-day science and Eastern wisdom, as well as those of several others working on the same subject, is very intelligently presented. But the important point to stress is that these comparative studies are all based on an incomplete vision. Eastern spirituality is treated as a static reality and as having reached a culmination. For example, most thinkers accept all the ways of Indian spirituality as representations of the heights human consciousness can attain. Enlightenment or illumination for them is an eternal and unchanging poise. What is realised is one truth and this one truth is the truth of all sages of all times, though the form it takes can vary as in the Indian ways where, it is believed, the same reality is experienced through diverse forms.

This picture, however, is far from true. Spirituality is a progressive movement the same as biological evolution. There is a progressive unfolding. The experience is not static and indeed it has developed hand in hand with science, revealing constantly new and fuller aspects of the Divine Consciousness. And like science of the classical age, we have paths of the spirit which are incomplete and a denial of dynamic creation. Or if this is accepted it is merely to propel us out of this material universe and into a static void.

This discussion could be a lengthy one and is not entirely the purpose of this study. It is touched upon here in order to stress the concurrent movement of science and spirituality in that both are in a state of progress and evolution. Spirituality of today is as incomplete as science. It too cannot answer the funda-

mental questions that plague human consciousness. These are, namely, Is our world real and if so, is it equal or inferior to the absolute and supreme Truth? Is this material creation merely a hell to be lived in for the purpose of expiation in order to reach a higher goal beyond it, or is that goal of this creation itself? These are some of the burning questions that spirituality, as we know it today, cannot answer – because for the spiritualist too the faculty of perception in these matters must widen, just as for the scientist the instrument of measurement must change if the fundamental answers he seeks are to be revealed.

Both science and spirituality of our times — and by this is meant the whole period of our recorded history — are subject to the same insufficiency imposed by the limitations of the human observing instrument; spirituality and mysticism no less than science. It is a limitation proper to the entire human race, imposed by the nature of the instrument and its level of development. But the grand achievement of our age is the manifestation of precisely the faculty in human consciousness which alone can allow both scientist and yogi the joy of a new and truer perception. This is Supermind, the faculty above mind, which is the new Eye and which brings thereby the experience of the true and divine Measure.

The question of motion and its relation to the Supreme Reality arises with great force in this new age because our present Aquarian Age falls within the 9th Manifestation — the whole of which is characterised by the ninth zodiacal sign, Sagittarius. Some of the main features of this sign are speed, motion, displacement of mass and the energy generated thereby, the capacity to break through barriers and limits, to establish new boundaries and to escape the pull of inertia. It is not sufficient to understand the cosmic influences of our age if we look solely to Aquarius as the indicator.[1] But with this fuller understanding we can better appreciate the enormous effect that travel, speed, movement have had on our present—day consciousness. Speed has not only revolutionized our mode of travel but it has also completely altered the state of relations between nations and individuals by the discovery of new methods of communication, and storage and transmission of data. It is no longer sufficient to communicate at a distance; the demands of the day are that this communication become faster and faster. The world we know is being accelerated to an unimaginable pace, as if time were somehow running out and we must pack the experience of centuries into decades. Thus speed” and motion are the major aspects of the Time-Spirit we are experiencing in this Sagittarian 9th Manifestation, covering 6,840 years from 234 BCE.

Science has revealed fascinating aspects of these major 9th Manifestation influences in its discoveries concerning the behaviour of atomic particles. These discoveries are particularly interesting in view of the revelations concerning the Solar and Lunar Lines in Volumes 1 & 2 of The New Way. Observations made by today’s nuclear physicists throw light on aspects of our own study and its newness within the field of the so-called spiritual experience. The ‘patterns’ a particle traces when under observation reveal a similarity to the patterns in time that are traced by these Lines. Fritjof Capra describes the state of nuclear science in the following words, and in so doing it seems as if he were also describing the nature of the Solar and Lunar Lines in time of our study: ‘The sub-atomic world appears as a web of relations between the various parts of a unified whole.“[2]

Indeed our method of working with Time follows this same process. A web is constructed consisting of points in Time and the lines drawn between these elements that are unified parts of one whole. If we subtract any piece from the web the construction ceases to be in its completeness and loses its full sense and purpose. But it is fascinating to note that only when all the elements are discovered is it possible to visualise this holistic microcosm whose primary structural component is Time. That is, Time is the binding force of this miniature cosmos we have built in The New Wily, and inherent in Time is motion. The energy generated in movement, the result of Time’s energy, is the force that holds this cosmic structure together and grants it permanency and stability and creative ceaselessness.

The ‘unified whole’ we are dealing with in our study is equivalent to the atom, or the cell. The tri-part structure is the foundation, and the interrelation of its parts generates a fourth principle, which, in our microcosm, is Agni, the potent energy released by speed.

There are characteristics of particle behaviour which merit attention in view of their connection with our study. Two principles of nature stand out foremost in these observations, contraction and expansion. It is stated that a particle when confined reacts to its confinement by accelerating its speed: the greater the pressure or the contraction, the faster the speed. It is this terrific speed that presents us with a solid object, inasmuch as the electron, bound to the nucleus by electric forces, moves at tremendous speed because of this contraction and thus creates solidity in the atom. As we know, the solid objects we see and feel are, in reality, the outcome of atoms whose constituent parts are engaged in a movement of unimaginable velocity. Therefore on the basis of this discovery of science, some thinkers of today consider that Eastern spiritualists have been correct in stating that the world is an illusion inasmuch as what we see is not what it appears to be. Solid bodies are merely whirling masses of energy, in appearance solid but in truth nothing but vast empty spaces populated by infinitesimal particles of energy whose rapid motions give us the impression of solidity.

The crux of the confusion and controversy regarding the illusory nature of our material universe can finally be confined to movement. Our material creation is characterised by motion which grants solidity — and solidity is the main feature of matter and distinguishes it from the subtle planes of existence; yet this solidity is in appearance only, a mask of that which is essentially impermanent due to ceaseless change. Thus at the core of the enquiry stands the truth of that which moves with respect to the static dimension. Concurrent with the truth or the falsehood of dynamics is therefore the truth or falsehood of Time.

Measurement seems to be the primary obstacle in the process of true discovery, both in the scientific and spiritual realms. Nuclear physics has understood that the observer and hence the method of measuring a phenomenon are interrelated and can no longer be considered separately. The disturbing features in sub-atomic behaviour are, in fact, largely due to the inadequacies of measuring or observing techniques. When a nucleus is bombarded by particles it splits and does not form divisions of itself into pieces as one would expect, but rather becomes more of its integral self. This occurs because of the energy generated in the process of bombardment which is incorporated by the particle in the formation of other identical particles. Thus movement generates energy for the purpose of creation. But the observer cannot really measure the process without disturbing the state of the object under observation. To measure he must use techniques which alter the state of particles. In view of this it is obvious that a new system of measuring must evolve if science is to surmount its present impasse regarding the study of sub-atomic physics and cross the threshold where answers to these problems may be found and the truth of its findings cease to appear paradoxical.

In spirituality, on the other hand, we encounter the same impasse: Reality is paradoxical and cannot be expressed in our current language because words deform the experience or are not capable of conveying the true nature of the Absolute without paradoxes. Yet like the scientist the yogi who expresses his experience in such a paradoxical way is simply revealing that he too is in need of a different instrument. His method of measuring is as inadequate as the scientist’s. Indeed, it is in many cases even more inadequate because the yogi or the mystic most often rejects the question of Measure entirely. For him that which is measurable is unreal. Therefore the very question of measuring is, in a sense, a blasphemy.

We have this expressed in the following words of J. Krishnamurti: ‘Truth cannot be exact. What can be measured is not truth.’[3] The extent of the predicament in which today’s spiritual leaders find themselves is clearly expressed in these words, and they reveal the imperative need for the manifestation of a new faculty in the human consciousness which will render such perceptions obsolete. Supermind is the faculty that is now radically changing the human being’s capacity to observe and measure. What before in both science and spirituality could only be expressed in terms of paradoxes and irreconcilables, can now be perceived in a vastly truer light. Mind indeed deforms the experience when it is used as the highest instrument of perception. And in both approaches Mind has been the tool, with its resultant language, insufficient and inadequate to express the higher reality in anything better than paradoxes. With the advent of Supermind this limitation is no longer felt; and with it comes the perception of the true nature of creation, — in particular with respect to that which moves and hence to time and matter.

Motion is the central truth of our universe, of matter. Can we resolve our difficulties in understanding this pivotal feature of creation by simply labelling it unreal, or inferior, or illusory and fleeing from the truth by positing our realisation outside this material creation; or, as science does, by advocating through the discovery, manufacture and deployment of devastating weapons the ultimate destruction of this dynamic thing that we cannot understand?

We may again refer to Capra’s text for a clear presentation of the inadequacies afflicting the human consciousness in regard to the true nature of creation and its connection to dynamics, to movement, and hence to Time. ‘The Eastern spiritual traditions show their followers various ways of going beyond the ordinary experience of time and of freeing themselves from the chain of cause and effect — from the bondage of karma, as the Hindus and Buddhists say. It has therefore been said that Eastern mysticism is a liberation from time. In a way, the same may be said of relativistic physics.’[4]

This statement makes evident the relation between these Eastern ways and Christian dogma. Is there any essential difference between them in terms of their ultimate goals? The Christian idea of an original sin is hence the same as the Buddhist and Mayavadist and to some extent the Adwaitan injunctions that all things in this universal manifestation are in a state of flux and are therefore impermanent. To seek to cling to the impermanent is hence to suffer endlessly and to be caught in the wheel of birth and death. Enlightenment is attained when one liberates oneself from this wheel or perpetual movement. And if these teachings exhort one to ‘join the flow’ and find a harmony therein, as does Buddhism in particular, it is ultimately merely for the purpose of finding the way out of this great dynamic process and into the changeless, the dimensionless, the void. Thus for the Buddhist birth into this wheel is a fall, just as birth on Earth for the Christian is a fall; and the entire race is burdened with the original sin of Adam and Eve, by their ‘fall’ from paradise into this material creation.

Christians exhort their followers to seek the attainment of heaven after death; they confine the experience to one lifetime. The Buddhist and others may extend this expiating process through several or even thousands of lifetimes, but this is immaterial to the fact of the similar goal each way seeks; and however we look at the matter we find that all paths existing today strive, in one form or another, to find release from birth on Earth and to attain an experience which will liberate them from that which moves.

The limitation of both science and spirituality is thus their understanding of the question of time and timelessness. The latter in particular has been subject to misunderstanding, primarily in the spiritual realm. Science is confronted with the problem in its study of sub-atomic particles when it cannot measure time in its usual forward flow. It appears to be directionless and lacking the continuity of before, now, and after. Studying the trajectory of a particle on the basis of the quantum field theory thus throws the observer into a dimension requiring a total perception, in a sense, where the sequence of the movement is obliterated, and one must view the process without the usual flow of time we are accustomed to in our daily living. […]

When the forward direction is eliminated we are faced with the problem of causation and effect, as Capra points out. And he states, ‘…in transcending time they (the Eastern mystics) also transcend the world of cause and effect.’[6] This question of karma will be dealt with in the following pages because it is directly connected to Time, and if our appreciation and experience of Time are being altered and a much truer understanding of its place and purpose within the Supreme Reality is to come, we must similarly come to a newer and wider understanding of the mechanics of karma.

The above material has been excerpted from Chapter 2 [of] The New Way, Volume 3, pp. 8-17.

[1] See: The Gnostic Circle, Aeon Books, 1975, Chapter 7.

[2] The Tao of Physics, Shambhala, 1975, p. 159.

[3] J. Krishnamurthy, Krishnamurthy’s Notebooks, New York, Harper & Row, 1976, p. 24.

[4] Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, Shambala, 1975, p. 187.

[5] The Sri Aurobindo Archives Department altered this line in 1997 to read, ‘I will pursue thee across the centuries’, on the grounds that the above must have been a mistake. I do not agree. (PNB) .

[6] Ibid.p. 186.

The Spiritual and Scientific Conundrum

It had always seemed to me that science, unlike spirituality, accepts the validity and relevance of certain cosmic properties such as time and space, which constitute our experience of material creation – indeed, which are fundamental to the emergence of a creation in matter. Spirituality, I had come to discover early on, denied any valid purpose and place to these aspects of creation. In fact, almost all spiritual paths can be summed up as methods devised to carry seekers ‘out of time’ (and space). However, recently I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the pioneering work of the noted physical chemist, Ilya Prigogine, which has radically altered the idea I had of science. Prigogine, I came to discover – with a certain satisfaction – is as obsessed with time as I am; and moreover, he has the same complaint about science as I have regarding spirituality: its denial of time and the contradiction this introduces in its search for truth.

Let me quote certain passages from Prigogine’s interview with OMNI (May, 1983). The interviewer questions him about his methods of discovery and his early experiences as a scientist who was decidedly a ‘nonconformist’. What I shall quote will certainly convince the reader that in the world of science, Prigogine has faced the same resistance that my work faces in the world of spirituality, where my occupation with time is often labelled ‘unspiritual’ or ‘mental’.

Can you recall a particular moment when you had a flash of insight into a specific problem you were working on?

Well, I always remember with pleasure my first work on non-equilibrium thermodynamics, in 1946, when I realised that non-equilibrium might be a source of organisation and order. I was very, very happy to have this idea, which has never left me. Perhaps in science, at some point, there is a close relationship between who you are and what you try to do. Science is a much less objective enterprise than often assumed. It’s true you need some tools. You need to write down your findings and convince yourself and others. But the driving force for new ideas has to be a deep personal involvement in the problems you’re working on.

Are you an intuitive person?

Oh yes. For me mathematics is only a tool to write down my ideas so that in the long run they can be communicated. I say ‘in the long run’ because in my history all of the ideas I have proposed have been poorly accepted.

What was the scientific climate like when you first began to study time?

Well, quite naturally I was interested in the reaction of well-known scientists to this line of research. Their reaction was uniformly negative. It was in 1946 or 1947 when one of the most famous scientists attending the lecture I gave stood up and asked, ‘Why is this young man devoting his interest to irreversible causes? Irreversible causes are just illusory. Time is just a parameter, so forget about it.’ I was so stunned by this reaction that I was unable to get up and respond. But I happen to be very stubborn; so I continued. Today the situation has changed quite a bit. Time has become an essential factor in elementary particles as well as cosmology.

You were a nonconformist, a dissident. How did you muster up the conviction to go against the prevailing ideology?

I would say, again, this probably corresponds to a deep psychological element that isn’t easy to make explicit. The attitude of Einstein toward science, for example, was to go beyond the reality of the moment. He wanted to transcend time. But this was the classical view. Time was an imperfection and science a way to get beyond this imperfection to eternity. Einstein wanted to travel away from the turmoil, from the wars. He wanted to find some kind of safe harbour in eternity. For him science was an introduction to a timeless reality behind the illusion of becoming. My own attitude is very different because, to some extent, I want to feel the evolution of things. I don’t believe in transcending, but in being embedded in a reality that is temporal.

There is no need to go into further details of the work of this notable scientist. If desired, the reader can pursue the study via his latest book, in the English translation entitled, Order out of Chaos (Bantam Books, 1984). I must point out, however, that in the above statements, Prigogine could be describing the attitude of traditional yogis or seekers on the spiritual path, and the ultimate goal they desire to attain. It is clear that, as Prigogine points out, even a scientist is necessarily influenced in his discoveries by the fibre of his own consciousness-being. Einstein, as probably all other scientists, was seeking a means to ‘go beyond’, to escape the cosmic and earthly dimensions, so painful and apparently irredeemable; just as the practitioners of yoga do, the seekers after nirvana and samadhi. In the world of science it would appear, time and all that it engenders is an illusion. In the Commentaries on The Magical Carousel (Chapter X), I have discussed in depth this position, in particular concerning the theories of Einstein.

It is evident that the life and work of a scientist like Prigogine conspires to demonstrate that the crux of the human dilemma, lodged at the root of all the known spiritual enquiries and systems, was, in its later stages, transported into the heart of the scientific enquiry. This fact, somewhat of a revelation for me, demonstrates in a most emphatic manner that the real and only answer to this problem lies indeed in a synthesis that carries us beyond both science and spirituality.

In my article, ‘The Supramental Synthesis’, I referred to the Mother’s perceptions in this regard, which determined the beginning of certain insights into the new cosmology. Without referring to the details constituting each enquiry – the scientific and the spiritual – she made it clear that ‘something else’ was needed, that pursuing either way or method to its ultimate reaches would not suffice. Indeed, it is this aspect of the Supramental Manifestation that presents the imperative necessity to evolve a new language in order to distinguish it from traditional yogas and spiritual paths, a language that describes more faithfully the new experiences of the reality of our material world and the true foundations of this new consciousness that is being established on Earth, in and of time.

Yet, as the references to Prigogine’s work reveal, this action is certainly not restricted to any one sector of society or country, or any particular discipline in the quest for truth; or to any elite which, by virtue of its dedication to a realisation of God as opposed to Mammon, entitles it to some privileged status. Rather, the Supreme Consciousness is working through inspiringly diversified channels. These may be few at present – all too few we are sometimes brought to lament – but nonetheless there are clear signs that an acceleration is in progress, and the Power is carrying us rapidly to new stages in the establishment of the supramental creation.

Prigogine’s comments expose a truly critical problem – inherent in both science and spirituality, and by consequence at the very root of the human malaise. This is the question of decay, degeneration, and ultimately death that all things born in time are subject to; the only secure fact of our human embodiment, it would seem, is the factor of an irrevocable march of time leading to inevitable death. From the moment of birth we progress toward our demise. The situation is so distressing and has reached such a desperate threshold that the utter purposelessness of such an existence – conditioned so thoroughly by the irreversibility of death – is likely to result in a global, collective suicide. The factor that stands behind and upholds the irrepressible arms race, for example, is this despair over a march of time that we cannot control, that moves us irrevocably toward a death we fear and can in no way avoid. This appears to be the sole purpose of birth.

Sri Aurobindo’s message to the world is the advent of a new way, an entirely new path for humanity. This path leads to a state of immortality. Thus the direction he provides is, quite logically, entirely different from all previous paths that sought in their entirety an escape from birth as well as death, an obliteration of the conscious Seeing Eye and a dissolution (nirvana) into the comforting transcendence of Nothingness. Though some fill this nothingness with fantasies of a blissful paradise, it is still distinctly ‘otherworldly’. But Sri Aurobindo takes us precisely into the core of this world of matter, and hence into the innermost recesses of time and not out of it. As Prigogine might explain it, ‘to be embedded in a reality that is temporal’.

Why is this so? Simply because if we speak of a transformation of matter as central to Sri Aurobindo’s revelation, then time is the indispensable ally in the task. His yoga rests in the secure womb of time, which in turn is the creative driving force behind evolution. Indeed, the last chapter of his The Synthesis of Yoga is aptly entitled ‘Towards the Supramental Time Vision’, which was to open the way to a formulation of his own yoga but which, as he stated, he had not had the time to present. He left us only with this hint that ‘a new vision of time’ would be a key.

Prigogine has described for us the reluctance of the scientific community to accept the place of irreversibility (the ‘arrow of time’, past-present-future) in its postulations. In the same light I shall now quote from a most interesting new publication on this very subject, consisting of dialogues between J. Krishnamurti and the physicist David Bohm. The book is very appropriately entitled The Ending of Time (Harper & Row, 1985). Of all the books I have read on this theme, certainly this particular collection of conversations offers the most dramatic revelation of the conundrum the world knows, engendered by the unwillingness of both the yogi and the scientist to face squarely the question of Time and find the true answer. What we have been witnessing throughout the ages is a shrinking from the problem and a maddening attempt to obliterate the individualised consciousness in order to step out of time and the entire universal creation – as if this were indeed possible – and thus escape the pain, the frustration, the exasperation that the certainty of death imposes and all the difficulties engendered by this ‘corruptible flesh’.

The problem lies in the fact that in so doing no attempt has been effectively made to understand what is the real purpose of birth on this Earth, in this cosmos. For surely the Supreme Consciousness that clearly upholds and controls the course of our lives and evolution, is not some impish, devilish, capricious God, who plays games with a hapless humanity to please and appease some insatiable sadistic hunger. Yet the way to learn what that true purpose is lies in a quest into time, rather than away from and beyond it, insofar as it is time alone that can reveal the sense of the evolutionary process.

What that sense is, Sri Aurobindo has indicated. Likewise, in my work with time via the practice of the integral and supramental yogas, I have been able to confirm those same discoveries. The present level of human evolution is a transitory passage to a higher poise. And rather than being a passage to death and total annihilation, our present Age is the glorious gateway to a splendid new future.

But it is time that offers this encouraging vision and carries us to this newness. Yet all the spiritual leaders insist that we go ‘beyond time’ in order to know God and attain liberation. Some do this openly, as we shall soon learn from the dialogue I will present between Krishnamurti and Bohm; others do it more covertly; and many without even realising that this is their aim. From The Ending of Time, the reader can assess how difficult a transition this is, and how utterly confused both the spiritualist and the scientist are at this point:

J. Krishnamurti:  We have extended our capacities outwardly, and inwardly it is the same movement as outwardly. Now if there is no inward movement as time, moving, becoming more and more, then what takes place? Time ends? You see, the outer movement is the same as the inner movement.

David Bohm:  Yes, It is going around and around.

JK:  Involving time. If the movement ceases then what takes place?… Now if that movement ends, as it must, then is there really inward movement – a movement not in terms of time?… You see, that word movement means time. (Pages 15-16)

Krishnamurti discloses here the correlation, quite logical, between time and movement. According to him, both must cease. In the course of his conversation with Bohm, he defines creation in matter, in particular in our physical bodies with all the elements they provide for experiencing life in the cosmos and on Earth, as being something of which we must rid ourselves. He makes this clear by distinguishing the mind as a property we must disconnect from the brain – the latter, the physical instrument provided for the purpose of enacting the commands of the mind on the physical plane (see Vishaal 0/2), is hence thoroughly ‘in the mire’ as it were.

JK: My brain – but not mind – has evolved. Evolution implies time, and it can only think, live in time. Now for the brain to deny time is a tremendous activity, for any problem that arises, any question is immediately solved.

…Now how are you going to open the door, how are you going to help another to say, ‘Look, we have been going in the wrong direction, there is really only non-movement; and if movement stops, everything will be correct’?

…That is, mankind has taken a wrong turn, psychologically, not physically? Can that turn be completely reversed? Or stopped? My brain is so accustomed to the evolutionary idea that I will become something, I will gain something, that I must have more knowledge and so on; can that brain suddenly realise that there is no such thing as time? (Page 18)

The next part of the dialogue specifically locates the conflict, which, according to Krishnamurti, lies between a brain that has evolved in time, and a mind that is supposedly free of time. Krishnamurti sees this as the root of the problem. However, as far as I can perceive, the conflict is not in a temporal/atemporal dichotomy, but rather in the fact that Krishnamurti is an embodied consciousness like all of us, inhabiting a physical body which is his instrument of perception and his means of participating in this evolutionary and spiritual adventure – and yet, this instrumentation is being wholly denied. To me, the problem is a perception that places us at odds with not only the bodies we inhabit but with our total habitat – the Earth and cosmic dimension. For time, movement, are the underlying truths of our world. What Krishnamurti is describing in this dialogue is the very problem I have been revealing as the root of the species’ extreme distress: the quest that is intended to carry us beyond this dimension we are born into, as the only means of escaping from a pain that we cannot understand in its true perspective and hence overcome within the legitimate boundaries provided us as an evolving species on this particular planet, Earth. And contrary to what Krishnamurti suggests, this is the attitude that is the ‘wrong turn’ humanity took; yet that very ‘wrong turn’ is precisely the remedy he is offering. That is, his solution of seeking to stop time and movement IS THE WRONG TURN, and it was taken many millennia ago, and is the focus of every spiritual discipline and religion the world knows.

The answer lies here. In time. Not out of it. Indeed, embedded deep in the core of time, as I am sure Prigogine would agree.

DB: But I think you are implying that the mind is not originating in the brain. Is that so? The brain is perhaps an instrument of the mind?

JK: And the mind is not time. Just see what that means.

DB: The mind does not evolve with the brain.

JK: The mind not being of time, and the brain being of time – is that the origin of the conflict?

DB: Well, we have to see why that produces conflict. It is not clear to say that the brain is of time, but rather that it has developed in such a way that time is in it.

JK: Yes, that is what I mean.

DB: But not necessarily so.

JK: It has evolved.

DB: It has evolved so it has time within it.

JK: Yes, it has evolved, time is a part of it…Can the brain itself see that it is caught in time, and that as long as it is moving in that direction, conflict is eternal, endless? You follow what I am saying?… Has the brain the capacity to see in what it is doing now – being caught in time – that in the process there is no end to conflict? That means, is there a part of the brain which is not of time? (Pages 19-20)

The problem becomes acute when the exchange between these two eminent men produces these memorable lines:

DB: You see, to go further, I think one has to deny the very notion of time in the sense of looking forward to the future, and deny all the past.

JK: That’s just it.

DB: That is, the whole of time.

JK: Time is the enemy. Meet it, and go beyond it. (Pages 21-22)

This represents the classic postulation of the theory of Illusionism, be this in the realm of spirituality or science. There is something fundamentally, radically, pathetically wrong in a quest that places us in the necessity of denial of our experience of life, in a body, in material creation. Conditioned by this particular vision, the only possible and logical conclusion is that existence on this planet is simply without any rational purpose. The exchange between Krishnamurti and the physicist Bohm, reaches such extremes that toward the end Krishnamurti has Bohm ‘agreeing’ that the universe is not of time:

JK: I am asking you as a scientist, is this universe based on time?

DB: I would say no, but you see the general way…

JK: That is all I want. You say no! And can the brain, which has evolved in time…?

DB: Well, has it evolved in time? Rather, it has become entangled in time. Because the brain is part of the universe, which we say is not based on time.

JK: I agree.

DB: Thought has entangled the brain in time.

JK: All right. Can that entanglement be unravelled, freed, so that the universe is the mind? You follow? If the universe is not of time, can the mind, which has been entangled in time, unravel itself and so be the universe? (Page 220) 

It is certainly difficult to understand how David Bohm, a physicist, can reconcile his lifetime involvement of the study of physical laws, for which measure is essential and temporal studies are paramount, with this perception: the universe is not of time. Furthermore, these dialogues reveal a rather incomplete understanding of just what the universe is; for it is not only the dense material substance that we can know by the external senses, but consists of other subtler dimensions that are all contained in this ‘universe’. Mind and the planes which it rules are just as much ‘of this universe’ as the physical brain. And hence mind is also ‘of time’. While we are on this planet, the brain and mind must work together in order to provide us with an instrument that harmonises our consciousness-being with the laws of time and evolution consonant with Earth’s position in the solar system, a penetrating study of which reveals the purpose of this evolving species that has been so meticulously equipped with the proper instruments to allow for this conscient experience of oneness with our total habitat, in a continuous evolution toward higher embodied states of being.

I believe that these extracts from The Ending of Time have demonstrated more clearly than any material appearing so far in the spiritual or scientific world that the root of humankind’s dilemma is this misguided quest, which over the millennia has sought to carry the human being in the direction beyond the lawful condition of his embodiment. Above all, it is the pernicious misinterpretation that the origin out of which material creation has emerged is a void of nothingness, and that this void, this nothingness is the ultimate attainment in one’s quest, which has done the most damage. This situation is poignantly conveyed in Krishnamurti’s own words:

‘…to be free of becoming? That is the root of it. To end becoming…. Of course, there is only complete security in nothingness!’   (Page 257)

To put it succinctly, this is nothing other than the denial of the Mother, of materia, of the fullness of that womb of creation, and that Vedic Divine Measure that the Mother laboured so intensely to unveil on Earth as the planet’s deepest secret and reason for being. David Bohm has recently presented his new theory of physics, the ‘implicate order’. In our terms, enfolding would be involution; and unfolding, evolution. But surely one has the right to question his position as a scientist, since all this ‘order’ implies the active participation of movement and time. It would appear then that we are here faced with a paradoxical split: on the one hand there are his statements in this dialogue with Krishnamurti to the effect that ‘the universe is not of time’, implying that time only exists as a distortion of the brain in one’s psychological experience, and not elsewhere in the universe or otherwise; on the other hand, he presents a new theory of physics, an implicate order which demands the intrinsic instrumentation of time. This would appear to reflect the same dichotomy, and in some cases down-right schizophrenia, that characterises the acute malaise of our times, discernible in practically every sphere of our collective and individual lives. Above all, with such a philosophy as one’s background, it is understandable that scientists are assiduously working to present us with greater and better means of total destruction. Why not? Insofar as it is all nothing but illusion in any case?

In concluding, this dialogue calls to mind the experiments carried out at the New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute (1983), in which hypnosis was used to erase a person’s time-sense. A group of college students were given suggestions while under hypnosis that upon awaking they would have no past or future, or sometimes no time at all. The effect on these patients was most disturbing; some turned catatonic, others behaved like schizophrenics. The conclusion was that life must have a direction provided by its ‘arrow of time’ in order for it to be worth living; and that people who are given a present but without the past and future, become preoccupied with death and behave schizophrenically.

I feel that if one were to pursue the path laid down in The Ending of Time, the results would be similar if not identical to these experiments. While it is simply an intellectual exercise and remains on the level of philosophical banter, no serious harm is done. Nonetheless, when spiritual authorities encourage people to embark upon a quest of this nature – and Krishnamurti’s credentials in this regard are certainly some of the best – then the matter requires serious deliberation. It can be emphatically stated that these old ways, these obsolete perceptions that have been pursuing us like draining phantoms throughout the ages, can in no way bring us into harmony with life, as a civilisation, and above all, solve the distressing impasse in which the human race presently lives.

This is the Age of Supermind. Sri Aurobindo has often described the Supermind as the only reconciler of paradoxes. Are not Prigogine and Stengers in their book, Order Out of Chaos, anticipating the same advent when they write:

‘We are now entering a new era in the history of time, an era in which both being and becoming can be incorporated into a single non-contradictory vision.’

The answer lies, as the Mother has suggested, in a third poise. Beyond both science and spirituality.


December, 1985

The Friend

‘Quiet’ comes a voice from the depths
Where Thou art.
Abandonment commands the being
To be silent.
Intimate joy flows in Winds
From within
As we wait in calm assurance
Of the ultimate Power.

Here, here where all was once
God’s hell;
Here where suffering wounded
And scarred,
The ageless Mystery’s secret
Effortlessly unveils
Time the relentless enemy
As Time our heartfelt Friend.


The Supramental Synthesis: A Third Poise

On April 13, 1962, the Mother experienced perhaps the most critical moment in her yoga, a process that had stretched over many decades. Her physical body was the focus of an action that was to mark the beginning of a new phase in the work she was born to accomplish. On that fateful night, she was declared ‘dead’, only to ‘resuscitate’ some time later. And then she proceeded to describe the experience she had in that state. She entered into a dimension which revealed that material creation was carried along in its manifestation by pulsations or undulations, and that the essence of these pulsations was the power of Love:

‘Suddenly in the night I awoke with the full awareness of what we could well call the Yoga of the World. The Supreme Love was manifesting through big pulsations, and each pulsation was bringing the world further in its manifestation. It was the formidable pulsations of the eternal, stupendous Love, only Love; and each pulsation of the Love was carrying the universe further in its manifestation…’

(Extracted from The Gnostic Circle, page 57)

1956, the year of the Supramental Manifestation, marked a new beginning in the unfolding of Sri Aurobindo’s vision and determined a particularly important turning point regarding the action of Supermind (see VISHAAL 0/1 and 0/2). From then onward Supermind crossed a certain threshold and the processes it controls began to overtly bear witness to its upholding power.

From that time onward as well, the Mother’s yoga gradually began to give evidence that it was being carried out in consonance with this new development, that she was in fact the instrument through which that Power was hewing its path and extending its influence in the world. But to be more specific, it was arranging a ‘new language’ for itself, precisely one of the means by which a collective change is meant to come about, bridging the consciousness of the unity and the multiplicity. Hence, the descriptions the Mother gave of her yogic experiences thereafter provide us with certain clues as to the exact language the new Knowledge would evolve. In the first issue of VISHAAL (October 1985), I have given an example of that new formulation. In this article I shall present a further example, equally accurate, of the new formulation that was arising out of the direct experiences provided by the supramental yoga.

Time, as I have pointed out in all my publications, holds the key to the new language. And this is not an abstract formula, theory or hypothesis. It is a living time, gestator of a living experience that delineates an intelligent and intelligible process, a conscious pattern in evolution and a means by which we can measure the activity of Supermind on Earth.

Considering the role time plays, the fact that this critical juncture for the Mother was reached in 1962 is meaningful in many ways. First, in terms of number-power, 1962 equals 9 (1+9+6+2=18=9). Any year of this vibration points to a new beginning. It marks a death to the prior 9-year cycle and the start of a new one, integrating in the process all that had been lived previously. The 9-power years are seed periods (by virtue of the equality of the 9 with the 0). The experiences lived at that time present a sort of condensation of what will extend outward in time, spanning the next 9-year period. This 9 rhythm may also be referred to one’s age, any year equalling 9, as, for example, one’s 18th, 27th, or 36th year, and so on.

There are many remarkable facets to this arrangement, but limited space does not permit a detailed discussion here. However, the reader may refer to my books on the subject for a more detailed presentation, with a complete exposition of the theory and the methodology in the context of the new yoga. Nonetheless, I must make brief mention of certain facts, in order to bring forth the importance of 1962 in the Mother’s life and the progress of her work. In fact, 1962 was especially important in that it marked 36 years from the beginning of the Aquarian Age (1926); and the rhythm of 36, or 4 x 9, carries a yogic (or other) process through four levels, or a complete development, corresponding to the four levels of creation: physical, vital, mental and spiritual. Indeed, that year marked a substantial change in that the Mother then withdrew permanently to her room and hence from the outer management of the Ashram which, until that time, she had supervised. From then onward she remained in this withdrawn state, fully concentrated on her new phase of yoga.

Apart from the 9-year cycle, students of Sri Aurobindo’s life and works are aware that the 12-year cycle is also significant, to such an extent that happenings involving this cycle in his lifetime cannot be easily dismissed as ‘coincidences’, – a word which in any case we employ to cover a range of striking synchronistic phenomena for which we have no valid explanation. As such, we see that 1962 marked the 12th year after Sri Aurobindo’s passing, and it was a 9-power year. These two numbers and their corresponding time cycles experienced an integration in 1962, in the Mother’s yoga. And indeed the process we shall discuss concerning the new formulation she set in motion then revolves around a harmony of 9 and 12, the former being related to time and the latter to space. These divisions of the Circle, into 9 and 12 parts, give us, in their superimposed combination, the Gnostic Circle.

Shortly after the Mother’s critical ‘death’ experience of the night of 12/13 April, 1962, a new vision began to emerge. It was truly a new beginning and set the pace for an entirely different development, not only within the parameters of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga, but in the context of the entire range of known yogas. Indeed, this marked the beginning of the formulation of certain essential elements in the supramental yoga. This was in fact the ‘newness’ that was born in the Mother’s ‘death’ experience – a death that was effectively a new birth.

I should like to present an example of this new formulation that began to take shape at that time. To do so, I shall reproduce a dialogue of the Mother’s which took place just after her momentous ‘death’. This conversation was on 24 May, 1962. I have included the major portion of this talk as Appendix VIII of The New Way, Volumes 1&2, but for this review I shall present the entire published transcript (translated from the French), taken from L’Agenda de Mere, Volume III, Institute de Recherches Evolutives, Paris (1979).

There was a time when I thought that if one could have a total knowledge, complete and perfect, of the entire functioning of physical Nature, as one perceives it in the world of Ignorance, this could be the means to rediscover or once again to reach the Truth of things. With my last experience (of 13 April), I can no longer think this way.

I don’t know if I am making myself understood . . . . There was a time – a very long time – when I thought that Science, if it went to the depths of its potential, but in an absolute form (if this were possible), would discover the true Knowledge. As for example in its study of the composition of Matter: by pushing-pushing-pushing the investigation, there would be a time when the two would join. Well, then I had the experience of the passage of the eternal Truth-Consciousness to the consciousness of the individualised world, it seemed to me that this was impossible. And if you ask me now, I think that the one and the other, that possibility of attainment by pushing Science to its limits, and then that impossibility of any conscious, real connection with the material world, are both inexact. There is something else.

And during these days, more and more I find myself surrounded by the whole problem, as if I had never seen it.

Perhaps these are two paths leading to a third point, and at the moment it is the third point that I am in the process of…not exactly studying, but I am searching for – where the two would join in a third that would be the True Thing.

But certainly objective knowledge, scientific, pushed to its extremes, if it is at all possible for it to be total (in this there is an ‘if’), at least leads to the threshold. This is what Sri Aurobindo says, only he says it is fatal, because all those who have given themselves up to this sort of knowledge, believed in it as if it were an absolute truth, and this closed for them the door to the other approach. This is what is fatal.

But according to my personal experience, I can see that for all those who believe in the EXCLUSIVE spiritual approach via the inner experience, this is in any case also fatal if it is exclusive. Because it reveals ONE aspect to them, ONE truth of the ALL, but not the ALL. The other side seemed to me equally indispensable, in the sense that when I was so totally immersed in that supreme Realisation, it was absolutely indisputable that the other external realisation, deceiving, was only a deformation (probably accidental) of something that was AS TRUE AS the other.

It is that something that we are searching for. Perhaps not merely searching for, but building.

We are being used so that we may participate in the manifestation of that which is still inconceivable for everyone, because it is not yet there. It is an expression that is yet to come.

That is all I can say.


It is truly the state of consciousness in which I live at this moment. It is as if I were in the presence of this eternal problem, but…FROM ANOTHER POSITION.

These positions, the spiritual and the ‘materialistic’, if one may call it so, that are believed to be exclusive (exclusive and unique, so that one denies the value of the other, from the point of view of Truth), are insufficient, not only because they do not admit each other, but because even admitting the two and uniting the two does not suffice to solve the problem. There is something else – a third thing which is not the result of these two, but something that is to be discovered, which will probably open the door to the total Knowledge.

This is where I am. More I cannot say because I am there.

One can ask, practically, how to participate in this…

This discovery? That…after all, it is always the same thing. It is always the same: realise one’s own being, enter into a conscious rapport with the supreme Truth of one’s own being, under NO MATTER what form, NO MATTER what path – this is unimportant – it is only the means. Each one of us carries within a truth, and it is with this truth that one must unite, this truth that must be lived; and in this way the path that he will have to follow in order to unite with and realise this truth is the path that will take him CLOSEST to the Knowledge. That is to say, the two are totally united: the personal realisation, and the Knowledge.

Who knows, perhaps it is even this multiplicity of approaches that will provide the Secret – the Secret that will open the door.

I do not think that a single individual (on the earth as it is now), however great he is, however eternal his consciousness, and origin, can alone, by himself change and realise, – change the world, change the creation as it is and realise the Higher Truth that will be a new world, a world more true, if not absolutely true. It seems a certain number of individuals (till now it appears to be rather in time, as a succession, but it may also be in space, a collectivity) is indispensable so that this Truth may concretise and realise itself. I am practically sure of it.

That is to say, however great, however conscious, however powerful ONE Avatar may be, he cannot, all alone realise the supramental life on Earth. It is either a group in time, arranged in a line in time, or a group spread over space – or both – that are indispensable for this realisation. I am convinced of it.

The individual can give the impetus, indicate the way, WALK himself on the path, that is to say show the way by realising it himself – but not accomplish it. The accomplishment obeys the collective laws which are the expression of a certain aspect of the Eternal and the Infinite – naturally! It is all the same Being. It is not some different individuals or some different personalities, it is the same Being. But it is the same Being that expresses itself in a certain way which, for us, translates itself by means of an ensemble, a group, a collectivity.

There…Have you any other questions to ask about this?

I would like to ask you: on what point has your vision become different after that experience (of 13 April)? What is the point of difference?

I repeat, for a long time it seemed to me that if one made a perfect union between the scientific approach carried to its extreme and the spiritual approach carried to its extreme – its maximum realisation – , if one joined these two, one would find, one would obtain naturally the Truth one seeks, the total Truth. But with the two experiences that I had, the experience of the external life (with universalisation, impersonalisation, with all the yogic experiences that one can have in the material body), and then the experience of the total and perfect union with the Origin, now that I have had these two experiences and there has occurred something – which I cannot describe now – I know that the knowledge of the two and the union of the two are not sufficient; that there is a third thing in which these two terminate, and it is this third thing that is in the making, in the process of working itself out. It is this third thing that can lead to the Realisation, the Truth that we seek.

This time is it clear?

It was something else I had in mind…How has your vision of the PHYSICAL world changed after this (experience)?

One can give only an approximation of that consciousness.


I arrived by yoga at a certain kind of relation with the material world based on the notion of the fourth dimension (inner dimensions that become innumerable in yoga) and I made use of this attitude and this state of consciousness. I studied the relation between the material world and the spiritual world with the sense of inner dimensions – that had been my experience before the last one.

Naturally, for a long time, there was no longer any question of three dimensions – that belonged absolutely to the world of illusion and falsehood. But now it is the use of the sense of the fourth dimension with all that it entails which appears to me as superficial! I do not find it any more, the thing is so strong. The other, the three-dimensional world is absolutely unreal; and the other one appears, how to say, conventional. It is as it were a conventional translation to give you a certain kind of approach.

And as for saying what it is, the other one, the true position?…It is so much beyond all intellectual states that I am unable to formulate it.

But the formula will come, I know. But it will come in a series of lived experiences, which I have not yet had.


The means which were for me useful, very convenient, and by the help of which I did my yoga, which gave me a grip on Matter, appeared to me like a method, a means, a procedure – but it is not THAT.

This is the state I am in.

More I cannot say. I would prefer making some progress before saying anything else.

Like the 5 February, 1969 dialogues concerning the way in which the Superman Consciousness would be organised for Earth use, utilising number-power or the mechanism of time, this conversation is another milestone. It offers an equally precise clue to a certain arrangement the Supermind uses for the purpose of producing an imprint on the evolutionary blueprint – that is, the mechanism that the Supreme Consciousness utilises in its process of deployment in the material creation. As the Mother says, ‘…the collective laws which are the expression of a certain aspect of the Eternal and the Infinite.’ This deployment is the act of giving a body to the Absolute. Our evolution as a species provides a channel for the reproduction of certain basic laws in the act of the manifestation. From an in-depth study of human evolution within the framework of terrestrial and cosmic existence, we can come to a better, a truer integral vision of the reality of our world. This is the goal that the Mother indicates in her dialogue she was set upon reaching.

The important clue the Mother provides in this conversation concerns two poises that are the mainstays of the mechanism Supermind employs. In consequence, these two poises have become the principal features of the new cosmology, that new ‘formula’ the Mother was seeking, or the laws describing the structure of the vehicle for the propagation of the Truth-Consciousness in the world. We have, then, a new cosmic language, and elements central to the Mother’s experience are found to be pillars in this new cosmology.

Insofar as the Mother embodied the Divine Consciousness focussing its action on the cosmic dimension (the number 6), it is not surprising that the successful completion of her yoga should have produced a new cosmic synthesis. It is evident that the elements constituting this unique synthesis have been in existence for centuries, millennia, and stretching back even to the origin. She did not bring them into being, but rather her yoga served to give birth to the initial stages of a process of integration, on the basis of which a new language could arise expressing a more total Knowledge. This constitutes the ‘third point’ or poise she refers to. It is not a product of scientific investigation, nor of the spiritual endeavour, properly speaking. And yet, like all true syntheses, this Knowledge harmonises both poises; and at the same time it is indeed something else. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, is an aphorism that is especially true and applicable to the process under discussion.

In the analysis of the Mother’s 5 February, 1969 experience (VISHAAL, October 1985), it was noted that her yoga was centred on the cosmic dimension and was a descending, penetrating activity, an action ‘above’ reaching down into the physical. I shall demonstrate the manner in which this ‘direction’ is registered by the use of numbers, the elements so central to her experience. This can be done by presenting the formula of the Supramental Descent: 9-6-3-0/1, which, in effect, represents a descending or inverted direction in time, – that is, time coupled with vibratory number-power. (This same formula was presented in VISHAAL 0/1, to describe the contribution of the Lunar Line.) But the exciting aspect of this revelation lies in the fact that once the Mother had broken through in her yoga to the new dimensions of the Supramental Manifestation, she immediately began to perceive the existence of this inverted direction, even though at the time she was not fully able to grasp the intricacies of its actual formulation (‘…But the formula will come, I know. But it will come in a series of lived experiences, which I have not had yet…’) and the manner in which this would come to express itself in the body of the new Knowledge. Regardless of this temporary limitation, we find that once again the Mother’s description was precise enough to provide a means which could help us to verify the accuracy of the Knowledge, once it became formulated on the basis of those ‘lived experiences’.

In this conversation, the Mother describes two poises, which for her constitute the mechanism (corresponding to higher laws) on the basis of which the Supramental Change would come about. In so doing, she provides us with the splendidly accurate description of exactly how the Supramental Manifestation would be arranged in terms of the Incarnations (the Avatars she refers to) who would form one of these ‘poises’ or directions involving an inversion of number-power, related to time via our calendar – in other words, registered by the births of these incarnations, as well as the points in time when significant breakthroughs in their yogas (and other meaningful happenings) would take place to form a new web of time, or a new ‘blueprint’. We are brought into the heart of her Yoga by these descriptions, and are able to follow the process as if it were unfolding before our eyes, even as the Mother was then engaged in a process of ‘unfolding’, or hewing the path day by day.

In 1962, the Mother began to cross the threshold to a new way and hence to make possible the precise formulation of the Supramental Action on Earth. Indeed, the avataric Descent for this new age of the Supermind has been arranged as a succession in a line in time, because this is the mechanism for the great Change, utilising certain higher laws which control the evolutionary process. The above mentioned formula (9-6-3-0/1) is the pattern of that deployment, and indeed ONE incarnation is not sufficient to secure the victory, insofar as it is a process that covers four planes of consciousness – spiritual, mental, vital and physical. This ‘line in time’ that the Mother had foreseen in 1962 – 9 years before the last components were known, or that such a ‘line’ even existed for that matter – came to be called the Solar Line in the new cosmology, or the new formulation that the Mother was seeking so assiduously. Its peripheral companion in the action is the Lunar Line of the Nehrus (see VISHAAL 0/1), and like the resistance the Nehru succession has encountered in Indian political life, so too has the Solar Line faced a similar if not worse resistance and downright hostility; as if this hostility and denial could in any way alter the power of destiny stemming from the Truth-Consciousness and erase what is and has been done.

The necessity for a mechanism using an inverted time power is fully understood when it is realised that the Supramental Manifestation has a fourfold nature, corresponding, as mentioned, to the four planes of existence. Accordingly, this renders clear why Sri Aurobindo had seen that the Square was the geometric symbol of the Supermind, insofar as this form is composed of four sides and its number equivalent is 4. As explained in VISHAAL 0/1, there is an experience of reversal at the last poise: the 3 introduces this reversal and the two dimensions, or directions, join at the level of the 0/1. This would be the interconnecting nexus for the two poises the Mother mentions in her dialogue: an avataric descent stretched out in a succession in time, AND a group spread out in space. That is, the mechanism brings into being a harmony of the unity and the multiplicity – in higher knowledge, this is its significance – or the individual poise and the collective.

But there is something even more interesting to note in this unique arrangement. At the third level, the Descent has reached the domain of the vital. It is in that domain that the ‘organisation’ of time comes into being, in its periods which civilisation has registered by calendars in consonance with the cosmic harmony. When in her talk of 5 February, 1969, the Mother spoke of the ‘creative zone of the physical’, it was this area that was indicated, and hence she mentioned ‘the order of events’ that her action would determine. This is the zone that serves as a ‘bridge’ connecting the more subtle planes to the physical. As proof of this, we may note that it was only when the third stage of the Descent was reached, centred on the third incarnation of the Line and indeed connected to the vital plane, that the question of Time became prominent and it was possible to ‘measure’ the action of the Supermind via the time factor. Added to this, all disciples of Sri Aurobindo are aware of the fact that he was rather obsessed with time. There are various, often amusing, anecdotes in circulation attesting to his interest in this fundamental element of creation.

The Supramental Descent embraces a fourfold action; it integrates four planes in the process that constitutes what I have called the vertical dimension. This implies a vertically descending direction measured through number-power and the calendar. There is a penetrating descent into the physical manifestation of this Earth-plane, thereby producing an involution: it embeds a ‘seed’, a supramental Seed in the Field of earth-consciousness. This ‘field’ is constituted by the expanding evolutionary movement, the horizontal dimension of the consciousness-cell, – a ‘group spread over space’. Thus the two poises – vertical and horizontal, or involutionary/evolutionary – join at a certain stage of the manifestation, a certain maturing point that occurs when the final two stages are reached. In the formula by which this activity can be measured, it would be at the level of the third and fourth powers (3 and 0/1). The express work of the Third in the organisation is precisely to secure this interconnection by a process of reversal. That is, the inverted, involutionary embedding reaches its compact wholeness, after which the Fourth Power engenders an expansion that overtakes the evolutionary process and plays itself out over the wider field of the Earth. Time is the instrument by which this action of the solar Line is extended to encompass the whole earth-consciousness and to permeate the evolutionary mechanism. This activity and the part time plays have been amply detailed in my books. The Mother’s yoga of the 1960s opened the way to the formidable body of Knowledge that would be fundamental in the overtaking process that is upon us.

When the Mother perceived the necessity of these two interconnected dimensions, the new language was still far from materialising. Above all, she did not have the key to the means by which such an action could not only play itself out but could also be registered in our world of material creation. The Divine Measure was yet to be established as the key element in the Supramental Change. But when that key finally did come – after the victorious completion of the Mother’s transformation – she was able to reveal to the world that time and number were the means. Thus, in 1969 she described how the Supramental Consciousness would work in the very terms we subsequently employed and have been able to verify according to the laws which comprise the new cosmology. This is the beginning of the third poise beyond both science and spirituality – a poise that does not deny the constituent elements of material creation in order to realise the heights of the supreme Spirit, nor does it deny the upholding subtle planes of consciousness in the effort to stamp its mark and mould civilisation into its image. Neither one – science or spirituality – secures its exclusive supremacy in the arena of life on Earth.

The important factor that comes forth in this analysis of the Mother’s dialogue is that an entirely new poise emerges when the Supermind reaches a particular phase in its actualisation. The time when this threshold was reached, initiating therefore the onset of this revolutionary activity, was the 9-year span from 1962-1971. By the beginning of the decade of the 70’s, the Mother’s yoga had effectively produced the Divine Measure, the truth-measure of matter, and this was indeed the Golden Rod by which a new and truer understanding of matter could begin to emerge. However, with the new revelation the method also manifested of the realistic process for establishing a new consciousness on the planet and in consequence for the emergence of a new world order. The key to this realisation lies in a harmony and integration of the above mentioned directions the Truth-Consciousness uses for its manifestation on Earth: involution and evolution, – or the vertical and horizontal poises of contraction and expansion. We can best understand their respective properties if we imagine it as a biological process. What has to come into being is veritably a new Cell. As in a biological cell, there are two parts to the supramental Consciousness-Cell: the nucleus and the cellular mass. In this new Cell the nucleus comes into being by a contracting, involutionary action, which, through the mechanism of time, forms a core from which the encircling mass receives its sustenance.

The contracting power (of time), utilised for the formation of the Cell’s nucleus, creates then a sort of binding energy, on the basis of which the new Cell is held together. As the reader can appreciate, this process involving a reduced microscopic consciousness-cell, is the same any cell is subject to; the Supramental Manifestation in fact reproduces the original act of manifestation, the fundamental laws of all creation in matter.

What is embedded in the core/nucleus then extends to the outer mass, influences it and uses it for its propagation (‘the collective laws which are the expression of a certain aspect of the Eternal and the Infinite’). The nuclear activity of the Solar Line could not succeed in penetrating the world consciousness if deprived of the cellular mass of the collectivity.

This is an evolutionary process. An experience that is, in fact, the deepest truth of the evolution of consciousness on the planet. Ever and always the first expression in any great change in evolution comes through the creation of a new cell of consciousness in some form or other, which then divides and reproduces itself according to the pattern embedded in the nucleus or Seed. The Supramental Manifestation is no different. Rather, it is the apotheosis of the entire evolutionary arc of which we are a part. That is, when the truth-conscious creation comes into being it signifies that as an evolving planetary species we have crossed a decisive threshold: from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge.

It is clear beyond any doubt that the Mother was consciously ‘in search of’ that third poise, since it involves the Divine Measure whose revelation was the core of her destiny. She was well aware of its indisputable relevance to the work of transformation she was embarked upon. Time and again I have referred to this search as something so entirely evident, if one studies the records of her yogic experiences with the right preparation and in the correct poised of consciousness. Above all, the study must be pursued on the basis of an holistic seeing and supported by a vision that provides us with the coherent thread that time weaves through the garland of innumerable yogic achievements that she was forming. Thus, in these introductory issues of VISHAAL, I have presented two milestone dialogues in which she offers us the insight into the beginning and the end of her formidable activity, embracing in fact the final years of her embodiment. In the dialogue under discussion in this issue, she describes the first glimpses she was given of the path to be hewn. Above all, the Mother knew from the first breakthrough that the ultimate answer would be a process of transformation of the earth-consciousness that would ultimately harmonise and integrate two poises of universal creation: time and space, or contraction and expansion. But in order to do so an entirely new vision of just what these universal dimensions are had to come about. Hence in the process that followed hers, covering the 1970s to the present, time and space have come to reveal aspects or certain properties ignored by both the worlds of science and spirituality. Indeed, this has carried us to that Third Poise the Mother had foreseen. By the work we are able to present in this combined third and fourth stage of the Supramental Manifestation, it is entirely possible to carry the yogic achievements of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother out of the realm of speculation and thereby secure their indisputable contribution at the heart of the new world that is being born.

December of 1985
The Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Kodaikanal, India