The Unifying Power Of Number: The Zero

The Supramental Change, The Vishaal Newsletter Volume 0 No 1, October 1985.

The supramental change is a thing decreed and inevitable in the evolution of the earth consciousness; for its upward ascent is not ended and mind is not its last summit. But that the change may arrive, take form and endure, there is needed the call from below with a will to recognise and not deny the Light when it comes, and there is needed the sanction of the Supreme from above.

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

The time has come to establish contact with the many people throughout the world who have vibrated to Sri Aurobindo’s message of a Supramental Manifestation upon Earth, who have understood that humanity stands at the threshold of a totally new development in the long history of its evolution, and who wish to be conscious participants in this great change that is upon us.

For a number of years—since the Mother’s passing in Pondicherry in 1973—the work of Sri Aurobindo appeared to be floundering. It seemed to have been left adrift in a tumultuous sea like a rudderless ship. There was no guiding light after the Mother’s passing to carry the work forward; indeed, to carry it to its most important phase of expression. However, this was the apparent state of affairs. In the background, removed from the infighting of the city called Auroville that the Mother founded in 1968, and uncontaminated by the indifference to the spiritual challenge and the stagnancy that have taken hold of the Ashram in Pondicherry, founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926, a solid work has been in progress since 1971. This has now reached a certain stage of maturity and therefore the time has come to carry the message of this work to a larger audience. Hopefully this will bring about a greater consolidation of energies.

The Supramental Manifestation has reached a certain point in its unveiling which renders it easily recognisable. Daily the active presence of Supermind is becoming more and more evident in world affairs. However, this is an entirely new manifestation. That is, Supermind itself is not new, properly speaking, for it is the upholding light of the material creation, the involved ‘seed’ in the passage of the Unmanifest to the Manifest creation, and from then onward experiencing a progressive unveiling. But what is new in the conscious experience of humanity is the manner in which this involved Light expresses itself in the course of evolution. Or, to use Sri Aurobindo’s words, how it will be “organised for Earth use”. At the time Sri Aurobindo wrote these words, this organisation had not been made apparent; Supermind had not manifested, had not crossed the threshold where it stood as an upholding but concealed power, to become the overt force in control of evolution and providing its own body of knowledge by which the human being could follow its action and become a conscious participant in the work of establishing a gnostic society on the globe under its aegis.

However, in 1956 an event occurred that signalled the momentous passage to this overt expression. This happened on 29 February, 1956 and was called the Supramental Manifestation Day by the Mother. In an especially significant experience that day, it was brought to her awareness that ‘the time has come’. And these were the very words she heard in the midst of this important event which indicated to her that the long awaited manifestation of Supermind was now a concrete fact of the evolutionary mechanism. Since that time, the work initiated by Sri Aurobindo has been accelerating the emergence of an entirely new body of knowledge by which the human being can ‘measure’ its action in the world.

In 1971, another threshold was reached and a further breakthrough was made to consolidate the organisational capacity of Supermind on Earth. Since then there have been a number of milestones along the way; and at this point, 1985, it is possible to review this activity and, as mentioned, present certain details of this revolutionary work to those who have vibrated inwardly to the call but who may have become disheartened by the outward stagnant appearance of Sri Aurobindo’s work. This has undoubtedly suffered severe blows and in its external form has found itself crippled and greatly incapacitated by the blockages in the above mentioned centres for their inability to respond to the urgency that the evolutionary crisis demands. Indeed the time has come to carry this work vigorously forward under a new banner, whose clear design announces the advent of a gnostic truth and is accompanied by the clarion call of Victory.

During the time of their embodiment, the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother was essentially of an esoteric nature. There was an outer organisation and activity, but the real potency and significance of their yoga was not revealed to others in the manner in which it is possible to do today. During their embodiment, the stage had not been reached where the full mechanism of Supermind’s organisation for the Earth could be explained simply because the main ally in the task—time—had not extended its decisive support. It was only as of 1956 that this allegiance was fully granted. This signifies that certain stages had been completed by that year and Time could begin to play its active role in the consolidation of the new body of knowledge concerning the supramental action in the world. Likewise, from 1956, a new quality began to express itself in the Mother’s yoga (Sri Aurobindo left his body in 1950). In her recorded conversations and discourses thereafter, this change, or the new formulation, is quite evident to any person who has been trained to perceive such an activity. To others, the newness that began to express itself in her yoga went largely unperceived, and lamentably this seems to have been the case in her own Ashram in Pondicherry, where the entire process was not only ignored but ultimately vigorously combated when it was finally revealed.

For this introductory Newsletter, let us take just one recorded conversation of the Mother and reveal certain aspects of this revolutionary work she embarked upon. The selection I have made is determined by the fact that this particular dialogue, perhaps more than any other, provides an exact description of what was later to become the foundation of this new body of knowledge regarding the organisation of Supermind for the Earth. In this conversation, the Mother reveals the ‘form’ it would take, in addition to offering the conclusive proof that she was its creatrix. Thus on 5 February, 1969, one year after the inauguration of Auroville, the Mother spoke to a secretary-disciple about certain unusual experiences she was then having nightly, involving groups of people throughout the world. Apart from the disciple she was speaking to, there was no mention of other members of the Ashram or Auroville being engaged in this activity with her, a significant point which was later confirmed when the meaning and purpose of these experiences were finally revealed but were subsequently dismissed by those groups. However, to call them ‘experiences’, is somewhat misleading. What the Mother described was an action, and precisely because of this she had difficulty in conveying the nature of the activity to the disciple.

In the context of our present discussion, the noteworthy aspect of this dialogue is the fact that it does not describe the usual occult activity of the Divine Shakti, countless records of which are found in her recorded talks to disciples or in the writings of Sri Aurobindo. Rather, in this particular recorded transcript, perhaps for the first time the Mother gives precise details of the activity of the Supramental Shakti. In so doing, she begins the revelation of just how the Supramental Consciousness is working in the world.

In studying this conversation we are presented with certain key elements of the Supramental Manifestation. And this is not an incoherent, random description. There was a clear and progressive method developing in the Mother’s yoga at that time, which began to take an especially overt form as of 1960 approximately, and stretched over the entire decade thereafter. Thus, 1969 was the last year of that ten year ‘arc’ she was drawing, and of which this conversation was to be a milestone, for in making it a point to have this activity recorded, the Mother gave the signal that the work had reached a decisive, actualising phase.

To illustrate this coherency, on the very first day of 1969, the Mother announced the ‘arrival of the Superman Consciousness’. Then, one month later, she revealed in the dialogue we are discussing, the way in which that Consciousness would be seen to work in the world; the process continued throughout the year and was largely concluded on 1 January, 1970,—or exactly one year later. But before proceeding with our analysis, let us reproduce the transcript of the tape recorded conversation, from which I have eliminated only the disciple’s comments and certain repetitions:

…I remember a vision when I was doing a work with numbers during the night, and I was putting numbers—numbers and groups of numbers—I was putting them in certain positions. And that is what I wanted to tell you. In the ‘dream’ (if one can call it a dream), I told myself that I should show you this.

Now I remember…it comes like that (gesture behind the head). Well, it is associated with groups of people who are all over, groups of people spread out in the world and connected with…what planet? Planets? I don’t know. And I remember that I told myself (all this during the night, not awake) when I was making this arrangement…I still see the arrangement of numbers I was making, which were totally living—numbers were living things—groups of numbers that I was arranging, and there was an arrangement like this, like that (the Mother seems to move about pieces of a puzzle)…You were there and I was telling you that when it was like this, (the Mother indicates a certain arrangement) it expressed a certain thing, and when it was like that (another arrangement of the puzzle), it expressed a certain other thing. And at the same time I was saying: ‘It doesn’t only express it, but it has a power to realise that thing…’.

All that is there, (the Mother makes a gesture behind her head to indicate a memory there) it is there somewhere. And it is in connection with groups of people who are in different parts of the Earth.

It is…well…it…was the ‘numbered’ expression—the numbered expression of the application to life in a coming realisation: life to come, but not very far away: for example, in the next century, which is beginning now.

So this is what probably stayed in my memory and which was the reason why I wanted to tell you something. But I still see the arrangements of numbers. I spent a long, long time arranging them. A long time.

A truer application, more universal, and with spiritual knowledge; the principle of the position (place) and the utilisation of individuals on Earth. Two columns here, one column there; but living columns. It was not on paper—it was in the air. I don’t know how to explain this: it was in the air, and these numbers were LIVING, it was not writing on paper.

And there were groups of numbers (the Mother tries to remember). Yes, there were groups of numbers; those of one were blue, dark blue, and the others were golden yellow. And (how to put it?), it was not masculine-feminine, but these were two principles, the two principles—the principle—not of creation but of conception (origination) (a gesture of a descent from above) and the principle of realisation.

I am completely conscious when I do this. I am asleep as it were, but I am not sleeping; and I am not ‘dreaming’: I DO, I ACT, and I am completely conscious, the same type of consciousness as in the waking state—not that of dreaming. I do that, and I was explaining to you how all these numbers were organised and that they determine future events.

When I wake up, or rather when I get up (I can’t say ‘wake up’), when I get up and begin my activities, it goes—it just ‘goes’, not that it stops: that stays in the world. And it is only because you are present now that the contact with that memory is made.

This lasted for several hours. It was not the ‘conception’ of a work: it was THE WORK itself. It was as if…as when there are levers and things that one moves, and that sets in motion. (the Mother outlines a large control panel)…It was something like that, but it was not at all that! It was the organisation of groups of numbers which determined the events and the ORDER of events (above all the order of events) and the place on earth. And probably while I was doing this, there was something that wanted me to tell you and which left this impression that there was something to tell you, but then it was all gone. When I come back to this life here, everything goes. It is only because now I searched that I made the connection (gesture of contact with that memory). I searched and it has come back. But I realise, almost surprisingly, that this must have lasted at least two or more hours—two, two and a half hours. I don’t sleep at all, but I am active, thoroughly active in the (the Mother tries to place the zone)…in what is being prepared to manifest on Earth. That is I don’t know if we must call it the ‘subtle physical’ or… It is the creative zone of the physical. And since I cannot run about from one place to another, what I do is connected to numbers like this—living numbers. Living numbers; I organise them, I put them in groups, and I remember what I did the night before and then I say ‘No, yesterday it was like that, but now it is necessary that it be like this’,—with the knowledge that tomorrow another change will be necessary. And it is this that determines the events. But the consciousness (the waking consciousness, or the ordinary consciousness) MUST NOT know what is decided there. I must only know the part that is necessary for the execution, and this is why there is a severance—it stays, it continues to live on like that (gesture behind the head) but it doesn’t come through. It is only because I had taken the decision to speak to you about it (in the ‘dream’) that I could make a connection with the memory of it, but…though I SEE—now I see those numbers, it is for this reason that I can describe them—it has no longer any meaning for me. And I don’t know if they are numbers or letters…It was numbers, I know it was numbers; there were golden numbers and blue numbers (but these are not our material colour). I was arranging them, I put a group there like this, another one this way (gesture like moving a puzzle), then I would choose. It is curious. And I must have been very large because the numbers were large. I would take them and place them on this big surface. And as I placed them a communication was made and that organised the events immediately to transpire.

Perhaps I will remember….

Last night—I knew I did it every night—but last night…There was (in the body), in the waking state yesterday, a sort of aspiration to know what the functioning, the action of the Superman Consciousness would be. I said: ‘It is not enough to have that Consciousness around one (like a rampart). It is necessary to know what the changes will be in the body’s functions, in the work and the method of the work.’ And then this experience (of the numbers) was a reply to teach me a bit how it is going to be. But it is curious, I was doing this just like they now do with certain large electronic machines, with all sorts of levers. I was doing it in this manner: I was moving them about…Only I think I must have been bigger…I don’t know. In any case, I placed the objects, it was something…but it was something fixed in form—it was fixed—and there was a sort of storage place (I don’t now how to say it), a storage place where I laid these things. Then I placed them in the arrangement like that. The arrangement in its wholeness was a continuity, but within which the details changed.

If I remember exactly it will be interesting.

I was making comments to you now and then, and I was saying: ‘These numbers (but I wasn’t calling them numbers, I don’t know…), this I am putting here because of that…’. I was giving you explanations.

It was strange.

It must be an activity of the Consciousness (of the Superman) because it was not something that I have had for very long. Last night, I knew I was doing it regularly each night, but not since very long. This must have come with that Consciousness.

This vision was like the application of certain scientific means (the large panel to begin with), but completely different! And it was based solely on… There was no thought, no reasoning, nothing of that: it was a force that acted like this, (gesture of a descent that imposes itself), as it always does. And this force made one act. No, I was seeing, I knew that it was necessary to do that, and I wasn’t thinking at all, but I could explain why. That is, I could say in advance this was for this thing. And it was the combination of those two colours of numbers (perhaps it is a translation of my consciousness, but anyway…), blue and golden numbers. And the priority for action was always with the golden numbers, while the blue ones came as if to fill in the holes. This had a form. It had a form. It is strange; it was so natural, so spontaneous, so HABITUAL: there was nothing in the being that remembered with astonishment, that is to say, it did not remember as one remembers a dream or to have done something—nothing of that. It was completely natural: I did it ‘like that’, and I knew very well that I did it every night, between midnight and three in the morning (a bit before, a bit later).

But this has a very strong action. That is, it COMMANDS action on the Earth; but it is not submissive, tied to something below that holds it: It is like this (a gesture of a descent that imposes itself). This constantly received the Will and the Power of action from above—not ‘from above’, it is not above, it is (the Mother makes a sort of gesture signifying that it is ‘everywhere inside’) …‘superior’ in the true sense of the word.

And this body RECEIVES things. It receives them. It hasn’t the impression that…I don’t know how to explain it (the functioning of thought isn’t there). Suddenly it felt the need to know what effect that Superman Consciousness would have on this consciousness here. How would it function? And then, for you I thought: ‘Yes, and how does this atmosphere work?’ And it is for this reason that I had this experience (of the numbers)…It came because of that, that was the beginning of the experience. It came in order to draw my attention to the fact that I had to know it…It is strange….

Perhaps it is the beginning of something interesting….

Translated from the French: Extracts from the conversation of 5.2.1969
L’Agenda de Mère, 1969

There are various elements of this dialogue which merit a detailed discussion. First, certain characteristics of the human perceiving instrument must be taken into account in order to establish the merits of an action of this nature,—a newly revealed supramental action. The problem lies in the connecting link with the physical plane. Thus the reader can observe that the Mother had difficulty in formulating the action she was carrying out; first because, as she explains, recollection of the experience was purposely withheld; and secondly because of the unusual nature of the work she was doing in those subtle planes. The peculiar nature of the action or rather its description, results in the fact that if the reader is not acquainted with this type of activity, this conversation appears to be the wildly imaginative fantasies of a gifted science or occult fiction writer! It goes without saying that, shorn of devotional attitudes which render every word of the Mother sacrosanct and unquestionable, a person reading this piece in a detached frame of mind and conditioned—as most of us are—by the modern sciences dealing with matter and human psychology, will find little that is meaningful or relevant in this incomprehensible record. There is no way in which any sense can be made out of this dialogue, which would bring the experience to occupy its rightful place at the heart of the new dawning world, the world of the Supermind made manifest.

The reader must realise one thing therefore, if this analysis is to prove beneficial: the Mother, as the Supramental Shakti, embodied an action which she carried out—nightly in this case—in the ‘creative zone of the physical’. She makes it clear, however, that this determines events ‘below’; and this is where the organisation of Supermind enters the scheme. But, being an action involving certain cosmic forces, the problem naturally arises of expressing in words or images comprehensible to us, the true nature of this hitherto unrevealed activity, so entirely new in a world so unfamiliar with and resistant to the idea of the existence of an embodied Power with a capacity to deal with forces in planes largely unrecognised by the contemporary human being. This is the first difficulty. Therefore the Mother chose images which can convey the idea, which transcribe her activity visually,—i.e., the electronic panel with levers, the coloured columns of numbers, etc. But this, it must be pointed out, is a transcription. And it took a form determined by the mental/vital instrument the Mother was provided with at birth. For example, being an artist, the images she employed were highly visual. Nonetheless, and this is important to note, they were entirely faithful to the action itself. There was nothing lost in the transcription or anything to indicate an obfuscating consciousness that clouds or distorts the truth of the more subtle regions. I shall provide evidence of this in the course of my analysis.

The second point to mention is the fact that the Mother insists she was not meant to remember what had transpired during the night, when back in the waking consciousness. She is emphatic on this point. It is well to consider at length the reasons for this evident limitation, inasmuch as it concerns an aspect of the Mother’s work that has not been appreciated by devotees, or even by close disciples.

The Mother was the incarnate Divine Shakti, but this has two aspects that cover the mechanism by which the realising power of the supramental creation is being established on earth. The Mother refers to numbers in the above dialogue. Likewise, using numbers, I can also express the two aspects that are complementary in a work of this nature. They are the numbers 6 and 3. The 6 represents the Mother’s action and the nature of the incarnated power centred on the cosmic dimension; what would be considered by us in this material plane, the subtle dimensions ‘above’. But she was not to provide the action from below. That is, a ‘bridge’ had to come into being connecting her activity above, so to speak, and the action of the supermind on the physical plane below. The latter is provided by the third power, or the number 3.

In consequence, the Mother’s fully conscious participation was restricted to the subtle planes and was not a formulation that could provide an explanation or a meaning as such, but was rather an action. This is difficult to understand by anyone who has not had contact with conscious out-of-the-body states, trance, or even lucid dreaming. In the latter, the dreamer discovers he is able to control his dreams and to determine the outcome. By this parallel, though very remotely, something can be comprehended of the Mother’s nightly activity concerning Supermind. Awareness of this action was carried over by her only to the portals of the physical plane, and thereafter she remembered strictly what was needed for the ‘execution’, as she indicates to the disciple.

This was part of the process. But in 1969, the time was fast approaching for the complementary action from below to begin. That ‘bridge’ was to come into existence, whereby these two dimensions could be connected for the purpose of activating the new Power and allowing it to reveal its control over events… (‘above all the order of events’). It was in 1971 that the ‘power from below’, or the Third, was incorporated in order to forge this bridge. The immediate results were a perceptible acceleration in the Supramental Manifestation.

In this dialogue, the Mother describes her identification with the Supramental Shakti; or rather, perhaps for the first time she clearly reveals herself in this respect. Significantly, this involved numbers, events, and time. The process extended through 1969, having begun on the first of that year with the ‘arrival of the Superman Consciousness’. It was coherent and detailed, yet none in her entourage were aware of this action and to this day they fail to realise, much less to accept, what was then being set in motion and since then has been worked upon and solidified to form the core of the new phase of Sri Aurobindo’s work for the world.

Thus, after this conversation, on certain occasions throughout the year the Mother returned to the subject of numbers, most notably on 19 November, 1969, which happens to be Indira Gandhi’s birthday. At that time the Mother stated, once more in connection with the newly arrived Superman Consciousness, ‘The number 9 has something to do with this…There are so many things we do not know.’ That the reference to the number 9, the master key in this new cosmology of the Supermind, should have been made by the Mother on Indira Gandhi’s birthday is not insignificant. To be specific, in her February 5 conversation, the Mother speaks of two columns of numbers, one golden yellow and the other dark blue. In the cosmological formulation of this visual image that came into existence in the 1970s—long before anything of this dialogue was known since it came to be published only in 1981—I described these same ‘columns of numbers’ as the Solar and Lunar Lines, the golden yellow being the daytime, solar colour, and the dark blue the nighttime, lunar colour. And just as the Mother states, these are related to people and events and principles.

Indira Gandhi belongs to the Lunar Line, the ‘dark blue column’ of the Mother’s transcription, while the Solar Line is Sri Aurobindo’s. The exquisite manner in which the Lines are interconnected and the detailed explanation of this unique arrangement—the mainstay of the new cosmology—can be found in my books, especially the several volumes of The New Way.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the clear manner in which the Mother transcribed her action concerns the question of ‘planets’ and ‘principles’. The Mother suggested the possibility of a planetary connection, but she was evidently not certain about the correspondence. For it is a fact that though celestial bodies are significant in the formulation, they are employed quite differently than in the usual application. The same must be said regarding the correspondence to cosmic principles of these ‘columns of numbers’, or the Solar and Lunar Lines of the new cosmology. In the Mother’s experience they were seen to be the powers of origination and realisation, rather than pertaining to the masculine and feminine qualities. In the later cosmological formulation, though the terms solar and lunar are employed, these designations, as the Mother also realised, do not refer to a masculine and feminine dichotomy, but rather to the same principles of origination and realisation, or inspirational and executive, of her vision/action.

By referring to these two phases of the work, the 6 and the 3, a certain action of the Mother on the subtle planes has been made clear, particularly the manner in which, though she experienced limitation in the formulation of the action on the physical plane, the visual images she employed in order to convey the essence of her supramental work can be seen to have been superbly accurate. Within a mere seven years after this conversation, the presentation of the new cosmological knowledge verified in every detail the truth of her experiences and the purity of the images she used to express them to the disciple. This was indeed a ‘truer application, more universal, and with spiritual knowledge’.

However, without this additional collaboration ‘from below’, on the physical plane, what sense could have been made of this enigmatic description? Bereft of the new cosmology, her dialogue can have appeal only to her close devotees; but even they must accept on faith that this activity does indeed pertain to a real process in the subtle plane. On the other hand, those who are not a part of her entourage or following, when presented with this conversation, can only suspend judgement in the kindest of cases, and ridicule it in the worst. Yet when her activity is accompanied by the formulation from below in the form of an objective body of knowledge, then we leave the realm of faith and speculation and we enter into a true new consciousness whose keyword is precision.

This ‘new precision’, to use the Mother’s words (see The New Way, Volume 2, page 319), has nowhere been more exquisitely applied than in the original plan she drew up of ‘the Mother’s Temple’. It should be noted that true to this remarkable coherency and precision in every detail, the vision she had of the Temple came exactly one year after the ‘arrival of the Superman Consciousness’, a Consciousness that required a numerical expression on this plane, as she revealed. Thus, on 1 January, 1970, the Mother closed the decade and opened a new one, when the arc she was drawing in time culminated in this most sublime architectural expression in Number. In the Temple’s original plan (and we must distinguish this one from that of the revised building that is coming up in Auroville), she gave the world the Divine Measure, to use the ancient Vedic term. This was the principal task and feature of her incarnation, and it signified the beginning of the transformation of matter.

In this, once again the Mother’s work had to be complemented by the action of the Third Power, and therefore the significance of the design and its precise measurements was revealed not by the Mother but by that power with which she formed the bridge connecting the subtle to the physical (see: The New Way). The work from below is not an occult action as is the Mother’s. It is an ‘act of seeing’ that allows for a release of the Power on this physical plane. In this manner the marriage of Heaven and Earth takes place.

In the course of these Newsletters, we shall bring to readers the numerous examples of the supramental Action, so that we may once and for all leave the realm of speculation which has been the bane of spirituality, especially in the entourage of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. There is a ‘new way’ arising which is beyond both science and spirituality. For those who have understood that the trying transitional period we are experiencing can only be successfully crossed by a new approach, then these discussions will be a precious aid along the way. At the same time, by a presentation of this nature, nonspeculative and in no way abstract, it will become apparent that Sri Aurobindo’s ongoing work is not represented by those organisations which have become bogged down in a mire of stagnancy, self-complacency, in-fighting, disputes over ownership and control, and the like, but rather by this new way that all along has been growing, while the ‘wisemen talk and sleep’.

September, 1985
The Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India
Aeon Books 1985

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