Arun Vaidya

Holocaust is derived from Latin word holocaustum. It means whole burnt offering. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother frequently used it, as the Supreme’s sacrifice for the humanity. The term holocaust is used in this article for the Supreme’s sacrifice for the humanity and for sacred offering of man to Divine. It is not used in the historic context of the WW-II.

One of the persistent questions of an aspiring man in quest of the spiritual enlightenment is about the nature of the Existence and the significance of the man in it. An integral man tends to seek a holistic answer.

Many religious interpretations are prevalent to address both the interrelated issues of the Existence and the place of man in the divine scheme however, they seem to be in the nature and scope of the children’s stories and the rational man is left to interpret the most unfathomable mystery shrouded in the quagmire of simplistic beliefs barely adequate even to satisfy a simpleton mind. In the Western world Aristotelian methodology based deterministic model of Science appeared to be a promising venue with its objective and consistent cause-effect driven prediction capabilities for earth and the Universe. However it is found to be inadequate as after many astounding milestones to expand our horizon of information and knowledge about the phenomenon Reality we still only know about 5% of the known Universe and the 95% is attributed to the unknown “dark-matter” and “dark-energy”!

To probe the nature of intriguing Existence one of the most respected scientists of the 20th Century, Einstein devoted 30 years to create a revolutionary “unified theory” of four fundamental forces* but the success eluded him.

Gravity: Cosmological scale Electromagnetism: Holds atoms together as molecules, fires synapses of brain, brings us light from sun etc. Weak Nuclear Force: Very short range. Governs some form of radioactive decay. Strong Nuclear Force: Very short range. Holds hadrons in the nucleus together and locks quarks into hadrons. Keeps protons and neutrons bundled together in nuclei of atoms. So far only two of them, # 2 & #3 are successfully unified as Electroweak 

It may be so because the Reality transcends the Phenomenon-Reality. Ancient India was not only the luminous center of learning of Science and Spirituality but also the sole place of the synthesized, unified, and integrated enlightenment. According to Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, “Atomism has roots in Indian metaphysics that go back even earlier than Democritus and Leucippus.”*

*Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, Pantheon Books, New York, 1992, p. 7.
Steven Weinberg is one of three physicists who successfully established unification of two of the four fundamental forces, electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force called Electroweak for which in 1979 Weinberg, Glashow, and Salam received Nobel Prize.
Books by him: The First Three Minutes, The Discovery of Subatomic Particles, Gravitation and Cosmology, Dreams of a Final Theory, Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics (with Richard Feynman).

Pre-eminent German nuclear physicist Heisenberg’s comment, “After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.” is indicative of enduring value of India’s spiritual enlightenment. May be there is a need of a paradigm change requiring spiritually infused aspiration and quest in tandem with fuzzy-logic and subjective probabilistic intuitive insight to comprehend the infinitesimal world of subatomic particles, infinitely vast Universe and the unfathomable Transcendental Supreme. A dialogue of Varuna with his son Brighu in Taittiriya Upanishad points out the integrality and successive hierarchy of the Truth of Existence incorporating Matter, Energy, Life, Mind, and all as part and parcel of the Transcendental Consciousness. Sri Aurobindo however cautioned that, “humanity may not be as persistent or as plastic as the son of Varuna, the search may stop short anywhere….”1 Yes, the partial-truth and partial-success do tend to be some of the worst obstacles in continuing to strive to attain the goal.

There have been some optimistic developments to possibly steer our inquiry. The Cosmology continues to postulate the theory of Creation of Universe as a “Big Bang”. Here energy manifesting into matter found support in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Einstein’s E=mc² showed that the matter’s mass is a very potent and highly concentrated form of energy consistent with the law of mass-and-energy conservation.

However, at the very moment of creation of the Universe as a “Big Bang”, it was in the form of the fundamental evanescent subatomic particles that can only be investigated by pursuing the Quantum Theory. CERN in Europe and Fermi Lab in USA fully concur on that, as it is the basis of their humungous investment of international goodwill, human intelligence, time, and money. Thus, at the very inception of the Universe, Matter-Energy interrelation provides the common ground for the applications of the Theory of Relativity and the Quantum Theory. At least it is encouraging that the Matter-Energy component has received quite a serious attention from the scientific community around the world to probe further into unraveling the mystery of the Existence. In 2012 what is termed as the “God particle” is to be investigated thoroughly as never before done.

The realm of Spiritual-Reality deals with Infinite and Eternity with sophistication and complexity far beyond the rigid domain of mental-mind. To quote Sri Aurobindo, “Spiritual truth is a truth of the Infinite, one in an infinite diversity, and it can assume an infinite variety of aspects and formations…. This many-sidedness is the sign of the approach of the soul to a living reality, not to an abstraction or a constructed figure of things that can be petrified into a dead or stony formula.”2

All existence is an expression of the Supreme’s manifestation*

*Tat Tvam Asi – Thou art it. … and Ayam Atma Brahma – I am the Sole Reality.

– this truth was proclaimed by the Vedic Rishis of India whose consciousness by their steadfasttapasya-askesis had become universal and then in unity of their inner-beings, with the Cosmic-Self, and the Supreme-Transcendental-Divine they realized the mysterious spiritual knowledge by identity. These Brahm_rishis did not follow the mental practice of analysis, synthesis, induction, and deduction. To them the revelations came to them with drushti and shruti, which they collectively collaborated to expound in the compendium of Vedas and Upanishads, which have been the fount of profound Truth and no quest is complete without their enlightenment.

Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga incorporates and supersedes teachings of the Vedas, Upanishads and Gita. Sri Aurobindo revealed to us full spectrum of minds. The higher hemispheric minds include Supermind, Overmind, Intuition, Illumined Mind, and Higher Mind. The lower hemispheric minds include Thinking Mind (Mental mind), Vital Mind, Physical Mind, and Sub-conscient Mind. In higher hemispheric minds at each level, the distinct perspective of Truth is recognized and innately each is intertwined and progressive in its scope and integrality to the Supramental Truth:

• “The higher mind is like a broad clear day revealing through a spiritual rather than intellectual thought the divine substance and its multiform activity…
• The illumined mind is more a luminous seeing than luminous thinking: it is a play of spiritual sight; the divine secrecies are disclosed through a crowd of colorful yet subtle images in a swift design with thought as a subordinate element…
• Intuition is not what usually passes by that name, a quick abbreviated movement of thought itself or a rapid seizing through the vital drive: it is a profound penetration into the essence of things by a spontaneous inner intimacy on a superhuman level. … Even in that touch, however, the direct knowledge is not complete; the whole sense of the divine being and becoming is not caught in pure identity….
• Overmind is what the world has hitherto known as the extreme Godhead. Also the overmind vision, word and rhythm are at once intense and immense to the utmost. The voice of the overmind is the mantra, the eternal word spoken of and sought for and often found by the Vedic Rishis.”3
• “Supermind alone has the truth-consciousness in full and, if this comes down and intervenes, mind, life and body too can attain to the full power of the truth in them and their full possibility of perfection.”4

Succinctly, in Overmind ideally, we have the multiplicity of truth-expressions, where each represents unique accentuating individuality in a collective harmony with unison. However, unfortunately for the mental Humanity, the inherent individuality aspect has a potential problem of propensity of division and separation, which leads to partial truth perception, contradiction, conflict, and chaos. However, in Supermind we have the unity of oneness of the truth in everything, which is always integral and absolute. Therefore, Supermind ensures reign of truth-bliss-beauty (Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram), harmony, collaboration, and collective delight with the Supramental Truth consciousness.

Thus, to seek synthesized comprehension of Existence and the oneness of Truth, we need trinity: at macro level Cosmology, at micro level Quantum Physics and for subjective experiences at the spiritual level Integral Yoga. This is indeed a daunting task but Sri Aurobindo inspires:

“As a star, uncompanioned, moves in heaven
Unastonished by the immensities of Space,
Travelling infinity by its own light,
The great are strongest when they stand alone.
A God-given might of being is their force,
A ray from self’s solitude of light the guide;
The soul that can live alone with itself meets God;
Its lonely universe is their rendezvous.”5

A few have ventured*1 as it is a long arduous journey; first to pursue self-discovery and self-actualization, second to unify diverse disciplines of deterministic and probabilistic science for the holistic understanding, and third to spiritualize integrally all these to attain unity with the Existence to know it by identity. I would not be surprised when this is accomplished one finds that Cosmology and Quantum Physics are indeed the subsets of the all encompassing Spirituality!

*1. The luminary in the scientific field who gave us hopes in bringing science closer to spirituality (going beyond the issues of religious faith) was John Archibald Wheeler (July 9, 1911 – April 13, 2008) professor emeritus of physics at Princeton and the University of Texas. He believed that quantum uncertainty is the key to understanding why anything exists at all. He was a versatile genius. He helped build the atomic and hydrogen bombs and pioneered the study of black holes. His adventuric mind was probing the great questions: How Come the Universe, How Come Us, How Come Anything.

The significance of the Man in the Creation is that he is an evolutionary transitional being domiciled on the only evolutionary spiritual locale in the Universe called Earth. He has a pivotal role in the scheme of the Nature and on going evaluation of evolution through the lessons learnt from his semi-spiritual odyssey involving sub-conscient, conscient, matter, vital, mind, psychic, soul, and super-conscient. He is a work in progress in the framework of the Integral Yoga. With a soul, a man is potentially divine but with his mind, vital, and sub-conscient each individual is actually a unique set of impossibilities for the required Integral transformation as a preparatory step for the spiritual Supermind-Superman Transformation*2.

*2. The Spiritual Superman is fundamentally different from the superman envisioned by Friedrich Nietzsche, who was more like Asura Ravan; gifted, talented and affluent with super abilities and depicted with 10 heads. However, he was not free from the negative influences of vital and mind such as boundless ego and unchecked desire. Probably, the word contentment was not in his vocabulary. He was just a very powerful creature of vital and mental elements like Mahabali and others before him.

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as the dual Avatars of the Supramental Transformation on Earth went through the uncharted realms of the most difficult and agonizing issues to resolve and to find the necessary means on Earth to create a feasible progressive transition from man to spiritual Supermind-Superman with human body and then to the Supramental Being made out of the Supramental substance. In Savitri Sri Aurobindo has foretold us about their autobiographical unique transformation sadhana for the mankind. The descent of the Overmind Krishna Consciousness–24th November 1926 paved the way for the descent of the next higher level–The Supramental Manifestation-29th February 1956. The Realization of the Immortality Day–26th November 1926 was that it was feasible to transform physical consciousness and physical substance with Supermind in future. *3

*3. Mother India, February 21, 1976.and Path to Perfection, Compiled from the Writings of the Mother by Keshavmurti (Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1967), p. 79.

During the Cellular Transformation with the help of operational Mind of Light-5th December 1950, the Mother determined that human physical and psychic are in alignment with the Supramental Consciousness and may play a significant role in the final formation of the spiritual Supermind-Superman. In 1958, the Nature surrendered and consented to collaborate with the Supermind. Some ensuring thoughts of Sri Aurobindo on this subject are as follows:
“If Matter and Life had not already been ensouled, man could not have appeared or only as an intervention or an accident, not as a part of the evolutionary order.”6

“The soul is not bound by the formula of mental humanity: it did not begin with that and will not end with it; it had a prehuman past, it has a superhuman future.”7

“Man himself may well be a thinking and living laboratory in whom and with whose conscious co-operation she (Nature) wills to work out the superman, the god. Or shall we not say, rather, to manifest God? … If it be true that Spirit is involved in Matter and apparent Nature is secret God, then the manifestation of the divine in himself and the realisation of God within and without are the highest and most legitimate aim possible to man upon earth.”8

The Supramental transformation and the sustainment of the evolution on earth are not done mechanically, randomly, or with indifference. On the contrary, never before the Divine incarnates came together as dual Avatars to undertake the evolutionary mission of the manifestation of the Truth-consciousness to enable the divinization of life on Earth. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother enabled the manifestation of the evolutionary epitome truth-consciousness called the Supramental-Consciousness for pioneering the pathway for the next progressive evolutionary transformative step after the creation of man by the Nature. It had taken millions of years for the Nature to evolve from animal-mind to ape-mind and from that to human-mind. The dual Avatars laboured so hard and for so long to manifest the Supramental-consciousness and then focus on the Supramental-transformation for the divinized life on Earth to create a feasible progressive transition from man to spiritual Supermind-Superman with human body and then to the Supramental Being made out of the Supramental substance. To this end, they made the strategic choices and even sacrificed their mortal beings. Their lives, sadhana, and sacrifices are the silent Holocaust of the Supreme to enable and to hasten the process of transformative evolution on Earth in about 300 years instead of typically needed many millions of years with the aid of the Supramental-consciousness.

Holocaust of the Supreme is Divine’s willing subjugative participation from His Transcendental Supreme State by descending on evolutionary Earth to ensure survival, progress, evolution, and integral transformation at each level of Existence including in-conscient, sub-conscient, conscient, matter, physical, vital, life, mental, psychic, soul, and super-conscient. The Nature spearheaded evolution, procreation, multiplicity, and diversity of themes, purposes, and capabilities. However the expedited evolutionary epical-future of the Truth-Consciousness on Earth rests with the Supramental Right-Vast-Truth Consciousness and the choices made by the dual Avatars. The role of man is to be a willing, able, and available participant in the integral transformation for the smooth transmutation in a matter of centuries instead of the millions of years it took the Nature to evolve mental-man from animal-mind. The freedom of choice granted to mankind is an unfathomable act of divine Grace. However, the Humanity is prone to be influenced by its own preferences, priorities, and prerogatives being preoccupied with its endless Vital and Mental impulses. We have the freedom of choice but being too selfish, self-centric or self-focused with our transient perpetual self-interests, we tend to remain indifferent and do not choose to collaborate or even cooperate to the extent needed. Sri Aurobindo had foretold us about the events to follow:

“With wind and the weather beating round me
Up to the hill and the moorland I go.
Who will come with me? Who will climb with me?
Wade through the brook and tramp through the snow?”9

“I had hoped to build a rainbow bridge
Marrying the soil to the sky …
I have been digging deep and long
Mid a horror of filth and mire …
I have laboured and suffered in Matter’s night
To bring the fire to man; …
The Truth of truths men fear and deny,
The Light of lights they refuse;
To ignorant gods they lift their cry
Or a demon altar choose. …
My gaping wounds are a thousand and one
And the Titan kings assail,
But I cannot rest till my task is done
And wrought the eternal will. …
I saw that a falsehood was planted deep
At the very root of things
I have walked in the bottomless pit.”10

“A day may come when she must stand unhelped
On a dangerous brink of the world’s doom and hers,
Carrying the world’s future on her lonely breast, …
Her single greatness in that last dire scene
Must cross alone a perilous bridge in Time
And reach an apex of world-destiny
Where all is won or all is lost for man. …
Alone she must conquer or alone must fall.
No human aid can reach her in that hour,
No armoured god stand shining at her side.
Cry not to heaven, for she alone can save.
For this the silent Force came missioned down;
In her the conscious Will took human shape:
She only can save herself and save the world.”11

“Our life is a holocaust of the Supreme.
The great World-Mother by her sacrifice
Has made her soul the body of our state;
Accepting sorrow and unconsciousness”12

“In her deep and great love for her children she has consented to put on the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of the Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass through the portals of the birth that is a death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.”13

Holocaust of the Divine is a poignant and sobering event leading to paradigm change and fundamental modification of the future life on Earth as a field of spiritual evolution and integral transformation. It must make us sombre and fully aware of our responsibilities and accountabilities. It also requires the holocaust of man.

The Mother told us the root-cause of the problem for Sri Aurobindo’s Maha-Samadhi,

“The lack of receptivity of the earth and men is mostly responsible for the decision Sri Aurobindo has taken regarding his body.”
– The Mother, 8 December 1950

The Mother had reemphasized the dire failure of the humanity due to its indifference,

“Sri Aurobindo has given up his body in an act of supreme unselfishness, renouncing the realisation in his own body to hasten the hour of the collective realisation. Surely if the earth were more responsive, this would not have been necessary.”
– The Mother, 12 April 1953

The following message of the Mother on 9 December 1950 inscribed on the Samadhi was on behalf of the Humanity addressed to Sri Aurobindo and it became applicable to Her on 20 November 1973. Do we and can we live up to these solemn words? Are we ready for our role and responsibility? Are we prepared to undertake the holocaust of man for the collective transformation to enable the reign of truth-consciousness-delight (Sat-Chit-Ananda), bliss, beauty, and harmony for the divine life on earth?

“To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee.”

Holocaust of the Divine must inwardly implore us and impel us to become constantly and continuously worthy of His Grace, Love, Compassion, Care, and to be integrally His. To become progressively more of His instrument, His worker, Integral to His Will, and His entirely. To offer Him all that we are, all that we will be, all that we can be. The Mother’s message of the fateful day is our guiding light for our role and conduct,

“Grant that we may be worthy of this marvellous Presence and that henceforth everything in us be concentrated on the one will to be more and more perfectly consecrated to the fulfilment of Thy sublime Work.”
– 7 December 1950 – Maha-Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo

The Mother is the example of the perfect consecration for us to fulfill the Dual Avatars’ sublime Work, as we can see in a narration by Her on 10 July 1957,

“One day, I went as usual to relate to Sri Aurobindo what had been happening—we had come to something really very interesting, and perhaps I showed a little enthusiasm in my account of what had taken place—then Sri Aurobindo looked at me… and said:

“Yes, this is an Overmind creation. It is very interesting, very well done. You will perform miracles which will make you famous throughout the world, you will be able to turn all events on earth topsy-turvy, indeed,…” and then he smiled and said:

“It will be a great success. But it is an Overmind creation. And it is not success that we want; we want to establish the Supermind on earth. One must know how to renounce immediate success in order to create the new world, the supramental world in its integrality.”

With my inner consciousness I understood immediately: a few hours later the creation was gone… and from that moment we started anew on other bases.”14

Granted that we are not the Mother or Radha or Varuna’s son Brighu Rishi but if we are honest in our resolution, sincere in our consecration, steadfast in our commitment, and absolutely unselfish in our work as our offering, we can always be a Gopi of Krishna. May the Divine be our goal, path, and guide. May our aspiration, prayer, and action be in unison with our soul, psychic being and individual self to discover our truth of the being, to actualize our true being, to be one with the Divine as integral to Him; not just His. This is our holocaust – humble individual’s surrender and sublimation.

Holocaust of Man is his samarpana, consecration, offering, sublimation, submission and services rendered to the Divine. This is our mission, path, and journey where we instinctly offer Him the fruits of our labour. Our solemn holocaust journey begins in earnest with true humility, sincere attitude, honest aspiration, and unflinching commitment to be one with the Divine and unwavering willingness to surrender to His Will individually and to collectively collaborate. After all,
“Involution of a superconscient Spirit in inconscient Matter is the secret of this visible and apparent world and the evolution of this Superconscient out of inconscient Nature is the keyword of the earth’s riddle. Earth-life is the self-chosen habitation of a great Divinity and his aeonic will is to change it from a blind prison into his splendid mansion and high heaven-reaching temple.”15

Some may find life as walking on a razor’s edge*4 since we are trying to be human and not remain animal in human body.

4. “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard.”
– The Katha-Upanishad – 1.3.14.

Innately human soul and psychic being are aligned to Brihadaranyak Upanishad:
“From the non-being to true being,
from the darkness to the Light,
from death to Immortality.”

Human offering-holocaust is comparable to a river flowing into an ocean at the end of its journey. It happens in so many tributaries that it creates fertile delta and profusion of life forms. It is when the river sublimates itself in becoming one with the ocean it also actualizes its latent power to enrich and flourish life in innumerable ways. River at last finds its fulfillment. We can find our fulfillment on a daily basis being reborn each day in our offering of the self and actualizing our greater self. One of the commonest ways this can be done effectively is to work as an offering to the Divine. Let all the obstacles become the opportunities to unravel our limitations and shortcomings to resolve and overcome. Let all the inter-personnel difficulties become a training of establishing equanimity and harmony within. Let all the impossible tasks facing us become means to harness and actualize our latent capabilities. Consequently we progress, evolve, transform and become better poojary-worshiper, warrior, worker, servant, and slave to serve the Supreme, to be of some utility to Him. Thus, we find our place in His temple, in His battlefield, in His mansion and by His side, at His Feet or in His Arms. Lord Krishna in Gita provides us a timeless message,

“The secret of action is one with the secret of all life and existence. Existence is not merely a machinery of Nature, a wheel of law in which the soul is entangled for a moment or for ages; it is a constant manifestation of the Spirit. Life is not for the sake of life alone, but for God, and the living soul of man is an eternal portion of the Godhead. Action is for self-finding, for self-fulfillment, for self-realisation and not only for its own external and apparent fruits of the moment or the future. …offer, first, all your actions as a sacrifice to the Highest and the One in you and to the Highest and the One in the world; deliver last all you are and do into his hands for the supreme and universal spirit to do through you his own will and works in the world. This is the solution that I present to you and in the end you will find that there is no other.”16

Kara Kennedy, daughter of Ted Kennedy speaks from her heart and soul to ours,
“What mattered to my father was not the scale of an accomplishment, but that we did our share to make the world better,” she wrote. “That we learned we were part of something larger than ourselves.”

The Mother speaks (28 October 1954) on behalf of all,
“Our constant prayer is to understand the Divine’s will and to live accordingly.”17

Date: 28 September 2011


1. Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 15: (Social And Political Thought), p. 234
2. Amal Kiran (K.D. Sethna), “Science, Materialism, Mysticism”, The Integral Life Foundation, USA, 1995, p. 85.
3. K. D. Sethna, “The vision and work of Sri Aurobindo”, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1968, pp. 209-210.
4. CWSA, Vol. 13, (Essays in Philosophy and Yoga: Supermind and Humanity), p. 577.
5. Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vols. 33-34: (Savitri — A Legend and a Symbol), pp. 460-461.
6. Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 18-19: (The Life Divine), p. 761.
7. Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 18-19: (The Life Divine), pp. 760-761.
8. Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 18-19: (The Life Divine), p. 4.
9 Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 5: (Collected Poems-Invitation), p. 39.
10. Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 5: (Collected Poems-God’s Labour), pp. 99-101.
11. Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vols. 33-34: (Savitri — A Legend and a Symbol), p. 461.
12. Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vols. 33-34: (Savitri — A Legend and a Symbol), p. 99.
13. Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 25: (The Mother Part One), pp. 24-25.
14. The Mother, CWMCE, Vol. 9: (Questions And Answers-10 July 1957) p. 149.
15. Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol. 17: (The Hour of God – Evolution), pp. 17-18.
16. Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 19:33-34: (Essays on the Gita), p. 572.
17. The Mother, CWOM, Vol.14: (Words of the Mother-II), p. 110.