Yoga - Yoga of the cells
Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s best known and most read books do not give the full measure of what their evolutive work for the earth has been. Apart from both the intellectually challenging as well as the down-to-earth modes of communicaton employed by them, there is an immensely vast and deep work both these pioneers of conscious evolution quietly accomplished for decades, secretly preparing in their own being the divine future of humanity right here upon earth.
What is truly important about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother isn’t really any ashram or future township, however great those might be. If those are to any extent successful, it is thanks to the decisive evolutive victories their founders had won for the earth, which are still mostly unknown and unspoken of. Their books by themselves are extremely helpful, but they aren’t the most important things either. They could as well not have written a single line about anything, nor spoken a word to anyone about the evolutive changes that were taking place in them, and still, their true contribution to the earth’s evolution would have happened just the same. That is the only important fact.
To grasp the magnitude of what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother accomplished, one must first understand that for a true ‘Life Divine’ upon earth to become realised in its completeness, not only our thoughts and emotions have to be gradually replaced by their divine equivalent, but our body too must undergo the same kind of transformation.
Only the Power (that is, the Consciousness), which is beyond the Mind, can effect such a transformation of a first body, in the way it must be effected, if it is to have the needed influence on other bodies. The transformative action must be effected by awakening the usually obscure consciousnesses of individual body cells.
Only the ‘supramental’ consciousness-force, as Sri Aurobindo and the Mother called it, is able to do that in the required way, by awakening in matter, including in the biological matter of our body cells, the same supramental power which as a ‘seed’ has been lying dormant since the beginning of evolution.
In previous stages of evolution, it had been first the ‘seed’ of the life power, and then that of the mind power, which had awakened one after the other in their respective ‘season’. The former had given birth to the myriad plants and animals that express life power; the latter gave birth to the human being, endowed with the form and the ‘improved biological equipment’ required for emitting and receiving that mind power better than other existing species. This new species was meant to express the mental consciousness to its fullest potential.
For the first two evolutive ‘seeds’ to be activated, a tremendously long time had been necessary because there couldn’t be any conscious participation from anything existing yet on earth in this evolutive process. But now, the human species, thanks to its mind power, was able to discover that there was such a process of ‘evolution’: that’s what Darwin did. Even better, a human being was able to discover evolution’s spiritual laws and deliberately hasten the process: that’s what Sri Aurobindo did. Such a feat couldn’t have been done by the mere power of the mind.
To hasten the advent of the supramental consciousness-force upon earth, one had first to become aware that such a power existed, far above the highest spiritual regions traditional spirituality had explored and conquered. Then, after one would have become able to stand the intensity of the vibrations of that higher power, one had to find the way to gradually pull down this consciousness-force towards the earth, until it would penetrate the very substance of earth. A tremendous task.
This is what Sri Aurobindo set out to achieve, but although the results were promising, they were slow because of the unconscious but ancient and strong resistances in human beings and in matter itself. He persevered, digging deeper in the dark layers of the collective subconscious. His poems of that time tell of the potent inner victories, but also of the terrible dark forces to be faced.
In spite of the serious setbacks that the two World Wars represented, with those very same dark forces behind them, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s inner influence finally prevailed. Secretly helped and inspired by them (which is usually not known), the Allies won, not that they were perfect, far from it, but at least on the basis of their relative sincerity of purpose, evolution could go on. Nazism would have meant a return to the most demoniac barbarity, and the true new step in evolution (not the one Hitler spoke about!) would have been greatly delayed.
After World War II had been won, Sri Aurobindo realised that the only way to get the supramental to finish descending was to do it from outside the physical plane, from behind the scenes, as it were. So on December 5, 1950, he deliberately left his physical body, transmitting to the Mother’s body all the supramental energy his own had accumulated.
This ‘strategy’ did hasten the descent—hardly a few years later, on February 29, 1956, the Mother saw inwardly the moment when the supramental forces started at last pouring down in an irresistible flow and entering the earth’s atmosphere and substance. Since then, it has been a date celebrated every leap year in the Pondicherry Ashram, Auroville and all related places as the anniversary of the ‘Supramental Manifestation upon Earth’, as the Mother called it. This is what Sri Aurobindo’s most specific gift to the earth has been, which humanity one day will be grateful about, for it laid the necessary basis for a whole new evolutive step to begin.
Then started the Mother’s own specific contribution. First, the human body had to somehow learn how to make itself receptive to the new force, and how to function with this new energy instead of the ordinary physical, vital and mental energies a human body normally functions with. Another tremendous task.
It is for this nearly impossible mission that the Mother had accepted to stay on in her physical body when Sri Aurobindo saw that he would have to leave his own. He had explained to the Mother that only her body, because of the most remarkable endurance it was endowed with, would be able to bear the enormously difficult (and often painful) process of this beginning of transformation that had to be attempted once the supramental would be there. “Your body is indispensable for the Work. Without your body the Work cannot be done,” Sri Aurobindo said to the Mother.
the Mother’s experiments
Over the next almost two decades, the Mother (and her body-cells!) gradually discovered for humanity the transformative process that one day will culminate in the first fully supramentalised body. These experiments are chronicled in the 13 incredible volumes of The Mother’s Agenda, the invaluable and moving document transcribed by Satprem, a French disciple, from the recorded bi-weekly conversations he had during most of those years with the Mother.
In these, she confided some of what was increasingly happening in her body—groups of cells here and there, not only awakening but also starting, independently from her, their own yoga. When the Mother, after 1956, begins to speak of “the yoga of the cells”, she doesn’t mean simply herself doing the yoga at the cellular level, but this mind-blowing new phenomenon of the cells themselves turning towards the Divine Presence and doing their best to evolve towards a divine life.
This fantastic document is a must-read for those interested in the future of our human body and of the planet. Satprem later also published The Mind of the Cells, an introductory book to The Mother’s Agenda, written around chosen extracts from those 13 volumes. One can start with this book indeed with great profit, but only the Agenda can give the full scope of what the Mother went through in order to secure an easier way for those who would follow in her and Sri Aurobindo’s tracks.
One of the happiest discoveries made by the Mother concerned the capacity that her own body cells had over the years acquired to receive in the right way the new energy. Moreover, she found that this capacity was ‘contagious’! That is, it could be passed on to cells in other bodies almost automatically, if there was in the other body the needed receptivity, and this without the other person consciously knowing it, at least until a certain point.
The Mother observed this phenomenon many times, long before she left her body on November 17, 1973. This ‘contagion’ was a most wonderful way, seemingly built-in within the cells, through which nature had insured that a new way of functioning, once effectively learned by enough cells in one body, could then be passed on to other bodies much more rapidly than if the cells in each body would have to learn it from scratch, like the very first cells in the first body had had to at the beginning.
Readers with a scientific background might find all this strangely reminiscent of the discoveries made only two decades ago by British scientist Rupert Sheldrake, about similar phenomena observed in the behaviour of animals and even in chemical substances. Sheldrake has proposed the theory of ‘morphic resonance’ as “the basis of memory in nature...the idea of mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms and of collective memories within species”.
This is not the only instance when the Mother’s direct observation of what was going on in the tiny consciousness of her body cells has received indirect confirmation from scientific quarters. Already in the Agenda, the Mother describes visions she had of Sri Aurobindo or herself secretly collaborating with scientists here and there, who were actually (and unknowingly) inspired by the New Consciousness.
In a short article like this one, it is not possible to give several precise examples, but I will just mention some of the topics of research which happen to have become the ‘hottest’ in science lately—DNA, the human genome, biophotons. Is it surprising that they all have to do with cells? They also have to do with cellular consciousness, of course, but not many of the scientists involved suspect that yet.
A new consciousness
All of us have to be aware that the needed transformation of our body will not happen mainly through genetic manipulation from outside, but rather from within, in the way foreseen by Sri Aurobindo and described in his last piece of writing, The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth (1949), the only thing he cared to work upon before he left his body, besides his vast epic poem Savitri, which he considered his true legacy to the world.
In Savitri, the Mother was to find endless indications and confirmations of her own experiences at the cellular level. But in Book III Canto Four, one finds also a promising prophetic passage, part of a vision of the future of the earth by one of the main characters. From that passage, I quote a few lines:
‘Forerunners of a divine multitude, (...)
I saw them cross the twilight of an age,
The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn’...
In the Agenda itself, which the Mother subtitled ‘Agenda of the Supramental Action upon Earth’, she speaks several times from 1965 on of ‘the new children’, that is, newborn children in whom she could see a consciousness much more awake than in earlier babies. For her, this was one more sign of this ‘supramental action’ she could perceive behind many events in the world. It seems, from certain astonishing scientific reports, that some of the recently born children already have a slightly modified DNA.
What about the adults from the previous generations?
Seeing the emphasis that our collective mind, especially in the West, is putting nowadays on the body and its health, the importance that the concept of ‘fitness’ has acquired, the participation which many people now expect in their dealings with their doctors, the right they insist they have to seek alternative, non-invasive therapies whenever possible, one can easily guess that not only all this is due to the influence of the supramental, but that this new consciousness-force is at the same time taking advantage of it all for secretly helping our cells too to change their ways.
This is exactly what has started happening, quite unexpectedly, in the body of this researcher, about 25 years ago; and later I discovered in some of the books I was acquiring (for the specialised library of the research-unit I had been able to start in Auroville, the ‘Laboratory of Evolution’), that here and there in the world, some other individuals, a number of them not knowing anything of Sri Aurobindo or the Mother, were also suddenly becoming conscious of their body cells and starting to work with them.
What I have personally witnessed since about a decade is a totally new, spontaneous interest in the cleaning of cellular memory, as proposed in workshops by other people in the West. Better still, since a few years there is also an interest in the consciousness of cells, and how to help it awaken gradually to its own divine potential: the workshop on this topic which I had been asked to put together first in Auroville, based on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s own advice, is somehow becoming known elsewhere too. I am being invited to various parts of France, Europe, the Americas and recently for the first time in India (outside Auroville), by people wanting to know and experience something about that whole new field of exploration, and integrate it into their overall evolutive effort.
This is definitely a most encouraging sign about the on-going supramental action upon earth! May our gratitude go to the two pioneers who made all this possible, as well as all which will continue to unfold.
Bhaga, a Frenchwoman, discovered the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in 1971 and immediately started practising Integral Yoga. In 1972, she joined Auroville where in 1985 she started the Laboratory of Evolution, a resource and research centre on evolution, and its twin unit, the Centre for Human Unity. There the research she had been doing on her own for years found its collective usefulness.
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