An Integral Approach to management and human development based on the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with an emphasis on its application to various domains of knowledge and life.
[Published in Next Future, June 2007.]
The Cellular Transformation
This pioneering attempt of the Mother is an incredibly difficult adventure. First of all, body is the least conscious part of our human organism. Our bodily substance is not just brute matter. It has a consciousness of its own. As we have explained, there is a consciousness even in “dump” matter and our human bodily matter has gone through a process of animal and human evolution. In other words, the present condition of our bodily substance contains whatever that is added to “dump” matter by the pre human and human evolution; it was “worked-upon” by the instinctive, sensational, emotional and the thinking mind of the reptile, animal and man. As a result our bodily substance has a vital and mental dimension added on to it by the process of evolution. However, in spite of all this inherent and evolutionary consciousness in our body, its consciousness is mostly sunk in the subconscious and the subhuman part of our being.
The second difficulty is the natural condition of the body. The consciousness of our body which we may call as the “Physical Consciousness” contains all the millennial inheritance of our pre human evolution. It has a mental dimension, a physical mind, which is more or less in the consciousness of an animal; a vital dimension a physical vital, which is at the level of a reptile; and the most material cellular dimension, which is at the level of an amoeba. The work of bodily transformation, or the Yoga of the Body, involves purifying all these primitive layers of the body and elevating them to the spiritual consciousness. In other words, the physical consciousness and the bodily substance as a whole have to be prepared to receive and manifest the light and force of the Spirit dwelling within the inner most core of the cellular organism of the body. This means compressing the millennial evolution of Nature within the short life span of a human body.
The body has to go through a similar process of inner discipline needed for the spiritual transformation of the mind and the heart. The main principles of the Yoga of the Body is more or less the same as that of the mind or heart: infusing consciousness, freedom from ego and desire, bringing peace and silence, universalisation of consciousness, eliminations of all conscious and subconscious habits and impression accumulated in the past. But all this has to be lived and realized in the physical consciousness of the body and the body as a whole has to be prepared to receive the spiritual consciousness. And this is the work which the Mother has done in her own-body. All the spiritual experience and achievements, which the traditional systems of Yoga realized in the spirtualised mind and heart, Mother was able to realize in her own spirtualised body.
As Mother explains, referring to her earlier spiritual experiences in her inner being “all these experiences, I had in the mind, even in the vital…. But what’s happening now is all that is, all these living experiences are taking place in the body itself”.1 This includes the highest spiritual experience of the Supreme in the body. Referring to this direct experience of the Supreme in the body, Mother says, “Spiritually, you have that experience as soon as you come into contact with the Divine within, mentally, you have the experience as soon as the mind is purified; vitally you have it as soon as you get out of the ego. But it’s the consciousness of the Body – the consciousness of the cells – which had the experience that moment. Everything else had had it long before and was constantly aware of it, but the body — it had been told about it and believed in it, but it didn’t have the experience in such a concrete and absolute manner that it can’t be forgotten for a single second.”2
The third, and the most crucial difficulty, involves dealing with the environmental influences on the body. The body, as it becomes more and more universalized and spiritualised will increasingly feel a sense of oneness and identity with the body of the whole earth, especially with the minds and bodies of the people in the surrounding environment; and that too with a tremendously heightened sensitivity. So the individual Yogi who does this Yoga of the cells, will be invaded by a massive barrage of conscious and subconscious thoughts, feelings and influences of the people in the surrounding environment. Apart from the imperfections of his or her own body, the Yogi has to bear and deal with the imperfections of the people in the surrounding environment. Here there are two possibilities—the Yogi can isolate himself or herself from the surrounding environmental influences and concentrate all energy on transforming the body. This will speed up the process of individual transformation, but minimize its spiritual impact on the terrestrial environment. The second possibility is to accept the environmental imperfections and try to purify and transform them in the fire of spiritual consciousness. This will slow down the progress of the individual but will have a much more positive impact on the evolution of the terrestrial consciousness.
This brings us to another important factor which will determine the final success in this difficult spiritual endeavour. It is the close interdependence between the individual and collective consciousness. The progress of the pioneering individual is to a certain extent limited by the condition of the collectivity. If the gap in consciousness between the individual and the collectivity becomes too big, then the individual cannot progress beyond a certain stage in the path of physical transformation. For, a spiritually transformed body radiating directly the light and power of the infinite spirit will be too difficult to bear for the surrounding substance of the human mass, not yet ready or prepared to receive the light. For example, if the entire light and energy of the Sun is brought down to the earth, then our planet will just evaporate. Something similar will happen to the human mass when the entire light and power of the Spirit is brought down and made to radiate through the material substance of a body. As Mother points out:
“But the whole world would disappear! That’s the problem, you understand.
When that comes, when the Lord is there, there isn’t one in a thousand for whom it’s not terrifying. And not to the reason, not to the thought: to the flesh like that. So assume – assume it happens and a being is the condensation and expression, an embodiment of the supreme Power, the supreme Light – what would happen. If everything could be transformed at the same time, it would be all right, but it’s clearly not like that. It’s one being was transformed all alone….”3
So the transformation of the most material part of the body which leads to material immortality belongs perhaps to a more distant future, when the substance of the human mass is prepared for it. But before that final transformation, the inner dimensions of the body like the physical mind, physical vital, and the mind of the cellular substance, have to be spirituality transformed. This is the work which Mother has done in her own body.
However, in a pioneering spiritual work like that of the transformation of the body, both “success” and “failure” have a deeper and more positive significance, than the usual meaning attached to these words. Whatever realizations the pioneer achieves in his or her body creates a potential capacity for a similar realization in all other bodies and makes the path of transformation easier for those who follow and tread a similar path in the future, while any apparent “failure” paves the way for the eventual success in a future body.
In our next instalment we will take a look at some of the amazing discoveries made by the Mother in her journey of transformation.
1. The Mother, Mother’s Agenda, Vol. 5, p. 98
2. The Mother, Mother’s Agenda, Vol. 3, p. 445
3. The Mother, Mother’s Agenda, Vol. 7, p. 221-22