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, July 2007.]
Higher Potentialities of the Body:Towards a New Science of Matter
The average mind considers the body as inert matter. The scientific mind looks at the body as living matter and admires at the amazing and intricate complexity and organization involved in the functioning of this physical organism, and its building blocks, the Cells. But still the modern scientific mind is reluctant to admit any intelligence or consciousness behind the physical organism of the body. But Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have perceived a deep inner dimension in the body with immense psychological and spiritual potentialities. These inner potentialities of the body come alive, with concrete experiences in Mother’s Agenda, which is a record of her “Yoga of the Cells” in the laboratory of her own body.
The Mother has found, that our body has, potentially, a capacity of understanding and experience which far exceeds that of the supposedly “higher” parts like the mind or heart. The understanding and experiences of spiritually awakened body has a concreteness and absoluteness which the mind and heart, even that of a spiritualised mind or heart do not possess. As Mother points out:
“…when one comes to the work of transformation of the body, when some cells of the body, more ready than others, more refined, more subtle, more plastic, are able to feel concretely the presence of the divine Grace, the divine Will, the divine Power, this knowledge that is not intellectual but a knowledge by identity, when one feels this in the cells of the body, then the experience is total, so imperative, so living, concrete, tangible, real that everything else seems a vain dream.
And so we may say that it is truly when the circle is complete and the two extremities touch, when the highest manifests in the most material, that the experience will be truly conclusive.
It seems one can never truly understand until one understands with one’s body.”1
The experiences of the spiritual mind and heart have a concreteness which the ideas and experiences of the ordinary unspiritualised mind and heart do not have. A somewhat similar transformation happens with the experiences of the spiritualised body. The spiritual experiences of the body have a concreteness, intensity and absoluteness which even the spiritual mind do not have. Comparing her spiritual experiences in the body with her earlier experiences in the spiritual mind and vital, Mother says:
“What’s very interesting is that all those experiences you’ve had in your inner and higher beings, in your every state of being, appears feeble, flimsy, like a dream in comparison with the same experiences in the body. There, it becomes so…the Power and Intensity are so fantastic, that all of a sudden, you understand why there is a material world.”2
The other very interesting feature of Mother’s discoveries was her experiences of the wave-theory of Matter. According to modern physics, the ultimate unit of matter is at once a “particle” and a “wave”. But, as we have already indicated, modern physics is not able to say precisely what is the nature of this “wave” “Saying that it is a mathematical wave of probabilities or it is like a crime wave and not something physical may make new physics appear esoteric. But it doesn’t help much to understand the essence of matter. A mathematical wave cannot possibly create an atom bomb! The mathematical equations of physics describe the movements or laws of something, a great force or energy which creates and destroys the worlds. It is that tremendous something behind the equations of physics which the Mother has experienced in her own body. The discoveries of quantum physics, perceived conceptually in intellectual and mathematical abstractions, were experienced concretely as potent vibrations in Mother’s body. As the Mother describes:
“For example, everyday I walk a little to re-accustom my body…and I have noticed a rather peculiar condition…and the consciousness is like a consciousness without limits which feels like waves, but not separate waves; it’s a whole movement of waves, a movement of material, corporeal waves, as it were, as vast as the earth and not…round or flat – something that feels very infinite and undulating. And this undulation is the movement of life.”
“And the consciousness (of the body, I suppose) floats in this with a sensation of eternal peace. But there is no sense of size whatsoever; it is a movement without any limit, with a very quiet, vast and harmonious rhythm. And this movement is life itself. I walk about my room, and that’s what is walking. It is very silent, like a movement of waves with no beginning and end with a condensation like this (vertical gesture) and condensation like that (horizontal gesture). And it moves by expansion (gesture of a pulsating ocean). That is, it contracts and concentrates then expands and spreads out.”3
This means, to experience the material essence of universal life in the body, in other words, cosmic consciousness in the body. As Satprem, a close disciple of the Mother, to whom Mother confided the experiences of her body, comments, “Here, we touch on a stupendous mystery: how is it possible for a material, cellular body to be a wave that carries the worlds in its infinite movement and governs existence of atoms and galaxies. How is it possible to be an infinite, omnipresent, electromagnetic wave while remaining within the narrow confines of a human body…. In other words, a body, the size of the universal”.4
These experiences of the Mother gives a glimpse of the immense potentialities lying untapped in our body, and its implications for the future of our earthly life. For these experiences may be at present exceptional, but in the future will spread into more and more bodies which are receptive. For what is possible for a body is potentially possible for all bodies.
The Mother’s experiences in the body also give a new perspective to the future of physical sciences. We have discussed in our previous article about a new Science of Consciousness as one of the main motifs of the future. But Mother’s experiences points out also to a new Science of Matter. Our present physical science is based on the study of Matter through external observation and rational analysis. But as our body becomes more and more conscious and spiritually awakened, it will be able to know the truth of matter by an experiential identity, by becoming one with that part or aspect of Matter we want to know. And when our bodily matter is able to feel its indivisible oneness with all earthly matter, it will lead to a new science of Matter based on an experiential unity with the universal truth of matter.
At present, theoretical physics is in search of a unified field theory of matter. But a day may come when we are able to know the unified field of Matter, not merely as an idea or concept, but as a concrete union or identity with the spiritual source of Matter, not in some inner spiritual realms of our consciousness, but in our body. This will lead to an entirely new form of physical Science and Technology discovered not by the mind, but by the new transformed body. Modern Science and Technology of Matter is the attempt of the scientific and pragmatic mind of our externalized surface consciousness to know and master the energies of Matter through a complex and clumsy material instruments. The occult science and technology of the subliminal mind will be a more direct action of the mind over matter without the material instrument. But a future science and technology of Matter will proceed from a spontaneous knowledge and force or will of the spiritualised body acting on Matter or in other words Matter over Matter. This will create not only a new science but a new culture of Matter, with a new system of aesthetic and spiritual values discovered by a divinized body or in other words shall we say a divine materialism? As Sri Aurobindo sums up succinctly, the potentialities of a transformed body of the future:
“New powers have to be acquired for the body which our present humanity could not hope to realize, could not dream of or could only imagine. Much that can now only be known, worked out or created by the use of invented tools and machinery might be achieved by the new body in its own power by the inhabitant spirit through its own direct spiritual force. The body itself might acquire new means and ranges of communication with other bodies, new process of acquiring knowledge, a new aesthesis, new potencies….”5
1. The Mother, CWM, Vol. 9, p. 325-26
2.The Mother, Mother’s Agenda, Vol.3, p.99
3. Satprem, Mind of the Cells, p. 24-25
4. ibid. 25
5. SABCL, Vol.16, p.44