[Published in Next Future, Apr 2007]
The Physical Transformation
This brings us to the practical or yogic dimension of the problem. Transformation of our earthly matter is the ultimate evolutionary destiny of our planet. But the journey towards this physical transformation begins with the earthly matter within us in our body. As Sri Aurobindo points out “—this material part is most important and indispensable. It is the earth herself in the concrete. It is part of the crude stuff you have to use for building the divine substance — it has to be mastered and transformed”1. This spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and Mother views the human body in an evolutionary perspective, as much an evolving entity like the inner being or soul of man, capable of progressive development through many cycles of birth. As Mother explains:
“As it is, the physical body is really only a very disfigured shadow of the eternal life of the Self, but this physical body is capable of a progressive development; the physical substance progresses through each individual formation, and one day it will be able to build a bridge between physical life as we know it and the supramental life that is to manifest.” 2
So the key to the ultimate evolutionary destiny of our planet lies in our body. But before coming to the path and process of transformation, we have to be clear about the meaning of physical transformation as it is conceived by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
First of all we must know what it is not. It is not a supraphysical or subtle body made of some ethereal substance; it is not the power for “materialising” or “dematerializing” the body at will or the disappearance of body in a blaze of light; it is also not the realization of perfect health or prolonging the life of body at will or mastery over the body achieved through physical means like hatha-yoga. A supra-physical body made of the substance of some supraphysical world can possibly be projected or precipitated into the earth by occult mean but it will be a temporary phenomenon and such a body cannot be fixed in the earthly life. Other achievements like dematerialization or prolongation of the bodily life is the result of a spiritual, mental or vital power and will over the body, imposing its higher law on the body, and mastering or manipulating it by the personal askesis, will and powers of an exceptional individual. All these “masteries” do not constitute physical transformation because they do not change the essential nature or dharma of the body and its substance.
But what Sri Aurobindo and Mother mean by physical transformation is not a manipulative mastery of the inner being over the body but a change or transformation in the very nature of the substance of the body, leading to a new body and a new matter with a new dharma. This new body made of new matter will spontaneously, effortless and consciously obey the law and will of the divine Nature of the Spirit within it in the same way a flower blooms instinctively and subconsicously in obedience to the laws of physical Nature within it. When Mother was asked for a message for the new Man she said “we would say: return to instinct and impulses, but they will be divine impulses”. Thus, what a flower does with an instinctive and subconscious spontaneity under the impulsion of physical Nature, the transformed body will do with a fully conscious spontaneity under the impulsion of the divine nature of the spirit.
1. Sri Aurobindo, “Record of Yoga – II”, p. 1336
2. The Mother, Mother’s Agenda, Vol. 1, p. 251