Sri Aurobindo has written that an Avatar “is never in fact merely a prophet, he is a realizer, and establisher—of something essential and radical needed for the terrestrial evolution which is the evolution of the embodied spirit through successive stages towards the Divine.” (CWSA vol 28, pg 491). And in the Essays on Gita, Sri Aurobindo states: “The crisis in which the Avatar appears, though apparent to the outward eye only as crisis of events and great material changes, is always in its source and real meaning, a crisis in the consciousness of humanity when it has to undergo some grand modification and effect some new development. For this action of change a divine force is needed…..” (CWSA vol 19 pg 168).
Thus it is evident that the Avatar is not merely a prophet, he is a doer, a realizer, an establisher, who comes for a certain purpose and who comes during a crisis of consciousness of humanity, when it has to take a leap, a move forward in the evolution of Consciousness. This crisis of Consciousness is the real inner meaning of his coming and in the physical plain this is generally expressed as a time of great material changes and of crisis of events, which we call war, revolution, upheavals, break-down of all existing norms, etc. The greater the power for change that descends, the greater the outer crisis of events. Thus viewing from the other side, it may be almost said that the greater the war, the upheaval, the greater is the Consciousness that descends for bringing about the change. So viewed it may be said that an Avatar is generally accompanied by his war. As Nolini Kant Gupta, the leading disciple of Sri Aurobindo writes: “……there is no insurmountable disparity between spirituality and worldliness, between meditation and the most terrible work – ghore karmani. The Gita has definitively proved the truth of the fact millenniums ago. War has not been the monopoly of warriors alone: it will not be much of an exaggeration to say that Avatars, the incarnations of the Divine, have done little besides that. And what of the Divine Mother herself? The main work of an Avatar is often to subdue the evil doers, those that follow and pull others to follow the Wrong Path. And the Divine Mother, She who harbours in her bosom the Supreme Truth and Consciousness and Bliss, is in one of her essential aspects the slayer of the Demon, of the Asura.” (Life in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, pg 238). Thus along with Sri Rama was the great Lankan war, with Sri Krishna came the great Mahabharata war and Sri Aurobindo was faced with the great world war. Always the bringer of light, truth and love, has to face the full might and fury of the forces of darkness, falsehood and ignorance, who have held sway on this earth since time immemorial and have no intention to give up their hold without a fight to the finish, a total war with no quarters given, for the dark forces are well aware that the establishment of the Avatars reign, will mean their end, their extinction. Thus, always the greater the power which descends to save, the greater is the opposition and greater the magnitude of the war.
The Nature and Characteristic of the Avataric wars
The war which the Avatar faces is always a war between the conscient and the inconscient, between light and darkness, between truth and falsehood, between knowledge and ignorance. Sri Rama had to face and overcome the great Rakhshic forces represented by Ravana and Kumbhkarna, Sri Krishna was opposed by the formidable forces of darkness represented by the Kaurvas and their allies, so what was the nature of forces ranged against Sri Aurobindo and the Mother? What have they said about the opposing forces? What have they characterised the Great War as? Who were the forces, behind the scenes, manipulating the human actors?
Before we examine and answer these questions, a short recap about the Great War, more commonly known as World War II, would be in order. On the human level the opposing camps were the Allied forces consisting of Great Britain and its commonwealth constituents, and France and America while opposed to them were the Axis forces consisting of Germany, Italy and Japan. Russia at beginning was leaning towards the Axis camp but subsequently, after it was attacked by Germany, made common cause with the Allies. The Allied leaders were Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Franklin Roosevelt, President of America and Charles De Gaul, leading the French government in exile. The Axis were lead by Hitler of Germany, Mussolini of Italy and Tojo of Japan. Russia was led by Stalin. It is generally agreed that the war began in 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and ended in 1945, with the surrender of Japan. This war was the bloodiest conflict in human history with estimated causalities of in excess of 50 million.
Moving on, now to examine the questions we have raised earlier, about the nature and characteristic of the this war, Sri Aurobindo in an action, which surprised many of his countrymen and also many of his disciples, made a contribution of Rs.500/= to the war fund and in an accompanying open letter dated 19.09.1940, addressed to the Governor of Madras, wrote:
“We feel that not only is this a battle waged in just self defence and in defence of the nations threatened with the world domination of Germany and the Nazi system of life, but that it is a defence of civilisation and its highest attained social, cultural and spiritual values and of the whole future of humanity. To this cause our support and sympathy will be unswerving whatever may happen; we look forward to the victory of Britain and, as the eventual result, an era of peace and union among the nations and a better and more secure world-order” (CWSA vol 36 pg 453)
In another letter dated 29.07.1942, to a disciple, Sri Aurobindo, unequivocally declares the war to be Mother’s War and gives clear picture of the forces behind the scenes. He wrote:
“You have said that you have begun to doubt whether it was the Mother’s war and ask me to make you feel again that it is. I affirm again to you most strongly that this is the Mother’s war. You should not think of it as a fight for certain nations against others or even for India; it is a struggle for an ideal that has to establish itself on earth in the life of humanity, for a Truth that has yet to realise itself fully and against a darkness and falsehood that are trying to overwhelm the earth and mankind in the immediate future. It is the forces behind the battle that have to be seen and not this or that superficial circumstance. It is no use concentrating on the defects or mistakes of nations; all have defects and commit serious mistakes; but what matters is on what side they have ranged themselves in the struggle. It is a struggle for the liberty of mankind to develop, for conditions in which men have freedom and room to think and act according to the light in them and grow in the Truth, grow in the Spirit. There cannot be the slightest doubt that if one side wins, there will be an end of all such freedom and hope of light and truth and the work that has to be done will be subjected to conditions which would make it humanly impossible; there will be a reign of falsehood and darkness, a cruel oppression and degradation for most of the human race such as people in this country do not dream of and cannot yet at all realise. If the other side that has declared itself for the free future of humanity triumphs, this terrible danger will have been averted and conditions will have been created in which there will be a chance for the Ideal to grow, for the Divine Work to be done, for the spiritual Truth for which we stand to establish itself on the earth. Those who fight for this cause are fighting for the Divine and against the threatened reign of the Asura.” (CWSA vol 36 pg 463/464)
In yet another letter dated 03.09.1943, extracts from which were revised by Sri Aurobindo and published in the Ashram journal Advent and also published separately by the ashram in a booklet form, Sri Aurobindo wrote:
What we say is not that the Allies have not done wrong things, but that they stand on the side of the evolutionary forces. I have not said that at random, but on what to me are clear grounds of fact.
…..One has to look at things on all sides, to see them steadily and whole. Once again, it is the forces working behind that I have to look at, I don’t want to go blind among surface details. The future has to be safeguarded; only then can present troubles and contradictions have a chance to be solved and eliminated. . . .
* * *
…… We made it plain in a letter which has been made public that we did not consider the war as a fight between nations and governments (still less between good people and bad people) but between two forces, the Divine and the Asuric. What we have to see is on which side men and nations put themselves; if they put themselves on the right side, they at once make themselves instruments of the Divine purpose in spite of all defects, errors, wrong movements and actions which are common to human nature and all human collectivities. The victory of one side (the Allies) would keep the path open for the evolutionary forces: the victory of
the other side would drag back humanity, degrade it horribly and might lead even, at the worst, to its eventual failure as a race, as others in the past evolution failed and perished. That is the whole question and all other considerations are either irrelevant or of a minor importance. The Allies at least have stood for human values, though they may often act against their own best ideals (human beings always do that); Hitler stands for diabolical values or for human values exaggerated in the wrong way until they become diabolical (e.g. the virtues of the Herrenvolk, the master race)…..
* * *
……The Divine takes men as they are and uses men as His instruments even if they are not flawless in virtue, angelic, holy and pure. If they are of good will, if, to use the Biblical phrase, they are on the Lord’s side, that is enough for the work to be done. Even if I knew that the Allies would misuse their victory or bungle the peace or partially at least spoil the opportunities opened to the human world by that victory, I would still put my force behind them. At any rate things could not be one hundredth part as bad as they would be under Hitler. The ways of the Lord would still be open—to keep them open is what matters. Let us stick to the real, the central fact, the need to remove the peril of black servitude and revived barbarism threatening India and the world, and leave for a later time all side-issues and minor issues or hypothetical problems that would cloud the one all-important tragic issue before us.” (CWSA vol 36 pg 464/468)
Thus Sri Aurobindo in most clear terms has declared that behind the Axis side were the Asuric forces, the forces of darkness, falsehood and destruction. It is to oppose these forces that Sri Aurobindo put his force behind the Allies, for the victory of the Axis forces would have meant the destruction of all human values, all that is beautiful and noble and truthful in humanity. It would have meant putting back the evolution by centuries, specially the spiritual evolution and destruction of all that had been built over millenniums.
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s action in war
In a note on his political life, written in November 1946, Sri Aurobindo, talking about himself in the third person, has given a rare insight into his force, its nature and character and action, while writing thus:
In his retirement Sri Aurobindo kept a close watch on all that was happening in the world and in India and actively intervened whenever necessary, but solely with a spiritual force and silent
spiritual action; for it is part of the experience of those who have advanced far in Yoga that besides the ordinary forces and activities of the mind and life and body in Matter, there are other forces and powers that can act and do act from behind and from above; there is also a spiritual dynamic power which can be possessed by those who are advanced in the spiritual consciousness, though all do not care to possess or, possessing, to use it, and this power is greater than any other and more effective. It was this force which, as soon as he had attained to it, he used, at first only in a limited field of personal work, but afterwards in a constant action upon the world forces. He had no reason to be dissatisfied with the results or to feel the necessity of any other kind of action. Twice however he found it advisable to take in addition other action of a public kind. The first was in relation to the second World War. At the beginning he did not actively concern himself with it, but when it appeared as if Hitler would crush all the forces opposed to him and Nazism dominate the world, he began to intervene. He declared himself publicly on the side of the Allies, made some financial contributions in answer to the appeal for funds and encouraged those who sought his advice to enter the army or share in the war effort. Inwardly, he put his spiritual force behind the Allies from the moment of Dunkirk when everybody was expecting the immediate fall of England and the definite triumph of Hitler, and he had the satisfaction of seeing the rush of German victory almost immediately arrested and the tide of war begin to turn in the opposite direction. This he did, because he saw that behind Hitler and Nazism were dark Asuric forces and that their success would mean the enslavement of mankind to the tyranny of evil, and a set-back to the course of evolution and especially to the spiritual evolution of mankind: it would lead also to the enslavement not only of Europe but of Asia, and in it India, an enslavement far more terrible than any this country had ever endured, and the undoing of all the work that had been done for her liberation. It was this reason also that induced him to support publicly the Cripps’ offer and to press the Congress leaders to accept it. He had not, for various reasons, intervened with his spiritual force against the Japanese aggression until it became evident that Japan intended to attack and even invade and conquer India. He allowed certain letters he had written in support of the war affirming his views of the Asuric nature and inevitable outcome of Hitlerism to become public. He supported the Cripps’ offer because by its acceptance India and Britain could stand united against the Asuric forces and the solution of Cripps could be used as a step towards independence. When negotiations failed, Sri Aurobindo returned to his reliance on the use of spiritual force alone against the aggressor and had the satisfaction of seeing the tide of Japanese victory, which had till then swept everything before it, changed immediately into a tide of rapid, crushing and finally immense and overwhelming defeat…... (CWSA vol 36 pg 65/66)
From the above, we see how grave was the situation and how seriously Sri Aurobindo viewed it. All his force and time was concentrated on the war, so much so, that it lead to disruption of the Yoga. As Sri Aurobindo writes in a letter dated 13.03.1944 “….As you know it (his force) is being largely used for helping the right development of the war and of change in the human world.” (CWSA vol 35 pg 496).
And similarly, the Mother said in a conversation dated November 5, 1961:
“For instance, during the last war I spent all my nights hovering above Paris (not integrally, but a part of myself) so that nothing would happen to the city. Later it came out that several people had
seen what seemed to be a great white Force with an indistinct form hovering above Paris so that it wouldn’t be destroyed.” (Mother’s Agenda vol 2 pg 420)
And in the same conversation of November 5, 1961, the Mother has further said:
“Throughout the war Sri Aurobindo and I were in such a CONSTANT tension that it completely interrupted the yoga. And that is why the war started in the first place – to stop the Work. At that time there was an extraordinary descent of the Supermind; it was coming like that (massive gesture), a descent! Exactly in ‘39. Then the war broke out and stopped everything cold. For had we personally continued [the work of transformation] we were not sure of having enough time to finish it before ‘the other one’ crushed the earth to a pulp, setting the whole Affair back … centuries.
The FIRST thing to be done was stop the action of the Lord of Nations. (Mother’s Agenda vol 2 pg 420/421)
Even amongst the disciples there were some who did not realise the real nature of the war and the gravity of the situation and were bent on supporting the Nazis. To show them the folly of their actions, the Mother declared:
“It has become necessary to state emphatically and clearly that all who by their thoughts and wishes are supporting and calling for the victory of the Nazis are by that very fact collaborating with the Asura against the Divine and helping to bring about the victory of the Asura.” (Life in Sri Aurobindo Ashram pg 227)
Due to the misguided support to the Nazis by these disciples there was the real threat of the police taking action against the Ashram and Sri Aurobindo himself had to state rather severely:
“If these people want that the Ashram should be dissolved, they can come and tell me and I will dissolve it instead of the police doing it….Hitlerism is the greatest menace that the world has ever met.” (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg 158)
And in a letter dated 10.06.1944, to a disciple who wanted to know if idle intellectual talk and speculation about Allied defeat was harmful and improper, Sri Aurobindo wrote:
…..ordinarily it would be of no importance, except that such inventions and falsehoods are most improper in the mouth of a sadhaka and the habit must be a great obstacle to any progress. But here the wish behind, whether they are conscious of it or not, is that the Asura shall prevail against the Divine. That means a most dangerous giving of oneself to the Falsehood that is seeking to prolong its hold on the world and establish definitely the reign of Evil over the whole world. That is what the victory of Hitler would have meant—it would have meant also the destruction of my work. You are quite right therefore in resenting this kind of attitude (also there is the fact that it establishes a centre of support for the Falsehood and Evil in the Asram)…. (CWSA vol 35, pg 220-21)
Nirodbaran, one of the earliest disciples and a doctor by qualification, had the privilege of attending upon Sri Aurobindo after his accident and during the war period. In his books ’Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo’ and ‘Talks with Sri Aurobindo’, he has given a close view and glimpse of Sri Aurobindo’s total involvement with the war, especially after the fall of Dunkirk. Also given are glimpses and hints of Sri Aurobindo’s occult actions and grasp of the complex war strategies.
Nirodbarn writes “For all the war-news we had to depend on the daily newspapers, since members of the Ashram were not supposed to have radios. Somebody in the town began to supply us with short bulletins; when the war had taken a full-fledged turn, the radio news was transmitted to Sri Aurobindo’s room so he might follow the war-movement from hour to hour.” (Twelve years with Sri Aurobindo pg119)
Intially the radio was put in a building adjacent to the Ashram and one of the disciples would listen to the news and prepare a report which would be sent to Sri Aurobindo. Subsequently as the need for news grew more urgent, the radio was put inside the Ashram in Pavitra’s room and as earlier, reports would be sent to Sri Aurobindo. Still later, as the situation grew graver, direct loudspeaker connection was put in Sri Aurobindo’s room, so that the news could be heard by him directly without delay.
At another place Nirodbaran writes:
“Sri Aurobindo who was once a mortal opponent of British rule in India, came to support the Allies against the threat of world-domination by Hitler. “Not merely a non-coperater but an enemy of British Imperialism”, he now listened carefully to the health bulletin’s about Churchill when he had pneumonia and, we belive, even helped him with his Force to recover……
I still remember Sri Aurobindo breaking the news of Hitler’s march and England’s declaration of war. For a time the world hung in suspense wondering whether Hitler would flout Holland’s neutrality and then penetrate into Belgium. We had very little doubt of his intention. It was evening; Sri Aurobindo was alone in his room. As soon as I entered, he looked at me and said, “Hitler has invaded Holland. Well, we shall see.” That was all. Two or three such laconic but pregnant remarks regarding the war still ring in my ears. At another crucial period when Stalin held a threatening pistol at England and was almost joining hands with Hitler, we were dismayed and felt that there would be no chance for the Divine, were such a formidable alliance to take place. Sri Aurobindo at once retorted.”Is the Divine going to be cowed by Stalin?” When, seeing, Hitler sweeping like a meteor over Europe, a sadhak cried in despair to the Guru,”Where is the Divine? Where is your word of hope!” Sri Aurobindo replied calmly, “Hitler is not immortal.” Then the famous battle of Dunkirk and the perilous retreat, the whole Allied army exposed to enemy attacks from land and air and the bright summer sun shining above. All of a sudden a fog gathered from nowhere and gave unexpected protection to the retreating army. We said,”It seems the fog helped the evacuation.” To which Sri Aurobindo remarked, “Yes, the fog is rather unusual at this time.” We, of course, understood what he meant. It was after the fall of Dunkirk and the capitulation of France that Sri Aurobindo began to apply his Force more vigorously in favour of the Allies, and he had “the satisfaction of seeing the rush German victory almost immediately arrested and the tide of war begin to turn in the opposite direction.” (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg 119/120)
At still another place Nirodbaran writes:
“When Dr Rao, one of the consultant physicians attending on Sri Aurobindo, said that a lot of people in Madras were wondering how Sri Aurobindo, who had been so anti-British, could contribute to the War Fund, the Master explained to him at great length why he had taken that step. His intention was that Dr.Rao should speak about it to others when the occasion arose. Among the points already known, Sri Aurobindo disclosed his own occult action in the war. He said, “Do you know that Hitler is trying to get a foothold in South America and doing extensive propaganda there? It can lead to an attack against the U.S.A. He is now practically master of Europe. If he had invaded England after the collapse of France, he could have been in Asia by this time…..Now another Force has been set up against his. Still the danger has not passed. He has a 50% chance of success. Up to the time when France collapsed, he was remarkably successful because he had behind him an Asuric Power which guided him; from that power he received remarkably correct messages.
……It is for two reasons that I support the British, for India’s own interest and for humanity; and the reasons I have given are external ones, there are spiritual reasons too.” (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg123/124)
Sri Aurobindo’s statements and answers given to questions of disciples gathered around him, in the evening, in the years after his accident, give valuable insights and information about the occult forces behind the scenes involved in the war and their action upon the human instruments.
Thus on May 20, 1940, Hitler’s declaration that before August 15 the war is to be finished, was the topic of discussion between Sri Aurobindo and the disciples gathered around him. This is Nirodbaran’s recollection of it:
Q: Hitler’s declaration that before August 15 the war is to be finished and peace agreed upon seems significant.
Sri Aurobindo: That is the sign that he is the enemy of our work. And from the values involved in the conflict, it should be quite clear that what is behind him is the Asuric, the Titanic power…..
Q: It is strange how he takes his decisions.
Sri Aurobindo: It is not he who takes the decisions. The being behind him decided…..This being comes here from time to time and sees what kind of work is going on.
Q: It knows that the work here is against its own interests?
Sri Aurobindo (laughing): Of course!…..It is a very powerful Being. Paul Richard was in communion with the Being and the plans and methods he has written of in his book Lord of the Nations, are the same as carried out now. He has said there that the present Civilisation is to be destroyed but really it is the destruction of the human values of Civilisation that is aimed at and already in Germany Hitler had done it…..And he has destroyed these values wherever he has gone. Human beings by themselves are no match for the Asuras…..In Hitler’s case it is not an influence but a possession, even perhaps an incarnation. The case of Stalin is similar. The vital world has descended upon the physical. That is why the intellectuals are getting perplexed at the destruction of their civilisation, of all the values they had cherished and stood for. They deny the existence of the world beyond the physical and so they are bound to be perplexed. (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg 130/131)
Similarly on 29.05.40, Nirodbaran writes:
The Mother gave us a message that the Asuras can’t be victorius eternally against the Divine. The end of Hitler must come. Sri Aurobindo remarked: “That doesn’t mean by the Allies…..If England goes down, there won’t be any country left independent except Russia, Germany, Japan and Italy. I am talking of the old world. I think the next conflict will be between Russia and Germany. If Russia finds that England is in a difficult position, then Stalin will put pressure on Turkey and Rumania for the control of the Black Sea as he has done with the Baltic States. Hitler is not likely to keep quite or he may allow Stalin a free hand now, knowing that he can settle with him afterwards.”
We can see here that Sri Aurobindo envisaged a war between Russia and Germany, when there was hardly any possibility of it. (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg 131)
Again on August 15, 1940, Nirodbarn writes:
“On this day—Sri Aurobindo’s birthday—the radio news at noon said that 144 German planes had been brought down over England in half a day, the biggest number so far. We commented that it was the result of the Darshan. Sri Aurobindo laughed and said, “The day of Hitler’s triumphal entry into England!”
A month later, on the same date, 15.9.40, Sri Aurobindo said smiling, “England has destroyed 175 German planes, a very big number. Now invasion would be difficult. Hitler lost his chance after the fall of France. He has really missed the bus! If after the French collapse he had invaded England, by now he would have been in Asia. Now another force has been set up against him. Still the danger has not passed.”
Apropos of this battle and its date, the editor of Mother India wrote, “……Hitler fixed in 1940 the 15th of August as the day on which he would complete his conquest of Western Europe by broadcasting from Buckingham Palace the collapse of Britain…..and on that day the largest toll so far was taken of the Luftwaffe…..we will designate it as the turning point in the Battle of Britain.” (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg 132)
And we have this piece of information from Nirodbaran in which Sri Aurobindo gives a deep insight into the personality of Hitler:
“Looking at a photograph in L’Illustration, he described Hitler, Goebbels and Goering, the trio, in unmistakeable terms: “Hitler gives the impression of the face of a street-criminal. In his case it is successful ruffianism with a diabolical cunning and behind it the psychic of a London cabman,–crude and undeveloped. That is to say, the psychic character in the man consists of some futile and silly sentimentalism which finds expression in his paintings and weeps at his mother’s grave. He is possessed by some Supernatural Power and it is from this Power that the voice, as he calls it, comes. Have you noted that people who at one time were inimical to him come into contact with him and leave as his admirers? It is a sign of that Power. It is from this Power that he has constantly received suggestions and the constant repetition of the suggestions has taken hold of the German people. You will also mark that in his speeches he goes on stressing the same ideas—this is evidently a sign of that vital possession.” (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg 137)
And talking about Hitler with the disciples gathered around him, Sri Aurobindo added the following:
“……..I have not seen any other person who has followed, with such extraordinary fidelity, the Asura. Three things of the Asura he adopts strictly: 1)If you go on telling lies long enough with assurance, people will believe you, 2)You must adopt treachery and appeal to the basest passions of the people, 3)Care only for the success without regard for truth. There have been men who have done that with some pretence to truth. But Hitler speaks openly of his method of falsehood and yet people believe him” (Talks with Sri Aurobindo Pt IV pg 143/144)
On the Divine side, in Winston Churchill, Sri Aurobindo found an able and strong instrument, through whom he could act directly on the war situation. Maggi Lidchi Grassi, a long time inmate of the Ashram, writing about her conversations with the Mother about the war, in her book ‘The Light that shone in the Deep Abyss, says:
“The Mother told the author how Sri Aurobindo used to tell her of the words that he would put into the mouth of Churchill before the famous broadcasts, and certain passages were spoken by Churchill word for word. I have not found any written references to this in the texts written on Sri Aurobindo but his secretary Nirodbaran had heard of this, and Dyumanbhai, (then) Managing Trustee of the Ashram, has confirmed it. He told me that certain passages in Churchill’s speeches often were repetitions of words already spoken in Pondicherry. Anubhen Purani tells me that her father A.B.Purani, one of the few people who saw Sri Aurobindo every day, told her the same thing.” (The Light that shone in the Deep Abyss, pg 77/78 )
When on, 17 July 1940, a disciple reported that Churchill had made a very fine speech, Sri Aurobindo said: “Yes, he was inspired.” (Talks with Sri Aurobindo Pt IV pg 135)
And in response to a sadhak’s rather loose reaction to Sri Aurobindo’s contribution to the war fund, the Mother berated him severely. Here is the sadhak’s report which shows how magnificently Churchill’s soul was responding to the Divine guidance, confirmed by the Mother herself:
‘There are things that were settled long before you were even born. We have been working on them for a long time. Now you with your infinitesimally small mind believe that all that is nothing, that Sri Aurobindo and I are wrong, and that you are right in your judgment!’ I was taken aback; it flashed before me, ‘What could be the reason?’ Being nonplussed, I expressed my surprise, ‘Is it something about the War that I spoke to P?’ The Mother made the sign of Yes. I felt relieved and said, ‘Oh, it was nothing. I just spoke to him casually; it was not at all serious.’ But the Mother’s face was stern and She said, ‘Not serious? It was almost unbelievable that you of all persons could speak like that about Sri Aurobindo! Haven’t you read all that He has given out to the Press?’ I said, ‘Yes, Mother, I have. But have not the British done anything wrong to India?’ The Mother replied, ‘We never said that they had not, nor do we say that in the future they will not do so any more. But today the question is not that; don’t you understand it? When you see your neighbour’s house on fire, and yet you do not go to help to put it out because he has done wrong to you, you risk the burning of your own house and the loss of your own life. Do you not see the difference between the forces that are fighting for the Divine and those for the Asuras?’ I said, ‘Yes, Mother, I do see; only what baffles me is that Churchill, whom you and Sri Aurobindo have chosen as your direct instrument, wants today India’s help for his own country’s existence; and yet says that His Majesty’s government has no intention of liquidating its Empire!’ The Mother said, ‘But leave all that to the Divine. Churchill is a human being. He is not a yogi aspiring to transform his nature, Today he represents the Soul of the Nation that is fighting against the Asuras. He is being guided by the Divine directly and his soul is responding magnificently. All concentration must be now to help the Allies for the victory that is ultimately assured, but there must be no looseness, not the slightest opening to the Asuras. After the battle is won, if Churchill’s soul can remain still in front and he continues to be guided by the Divine, he will go very fast in the line of evolution. But generally on earth it doesn’t happen like that. His human mind and vital will take the lead after the crisis is over, and then he will come down to the level of the ordinary human being, though of a higher order.’ (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo pg 127-129)
On a lighter note, Sri Aurobindo maintained his delicious sense of humour, inspite of the grim situation. When France had capitulated and Hitler seemed invincible, Sri Aurobindo envisaged Asia and India coming under the influence of Germany or Russia. When it was reported to Sri Aurobindo that people in Pondy believed that Hitler doesn’t want the British Empire but only hegemony among his colonies, Sri Aurobindo responded:
“Are they so idiotic as to believe that he will be satisfied with that? He has said plainly in Mein Kampf that his aim is to destroy France and Russia. Now he is speaking of colonies which means that England also must be destroyed. These people know nothing about war. It is better for us to learn German now or both German and Russian—as a precaution!(Laughter) ” (Talks with Sri Aurobindo vol IV pg 56)
We have seen what Sri Aurobindo thought about Hitler and his associates, but what about the being who was behind Hitler, who lead and guided him, the asuric force that possessed him? We have seen Sri Aurobindo say that this being visited the Ashram from time to time, to see what work was being done there. What else have they said about the identity of this being, about his working? Why did Hitler attack Russia and open another front, a decision which many consider as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, blunder of the war. We have already seen Sri Aurobindo mention this possibility in May 1940, when there was hardly any possibility of it, so did he and the Mother have anything to do with this blunder of Hitler?
The Mother in a conversation dated November 5, 1961, has said the following:
“The being who used to appear to Hitler was the Lord of Nations. An incredible story! … And I knew when they were going to meet (because after all, he’s my son! That was the funniest part of it); and on one occasion I substituted myself for him, became Hitler’s god and advised him to attack Russia.
Two days later he attacked Russia. But upon leaving the ‘meeting’ I encountered the other one [the real Asura] just as he was arriving! He was furious and asked me why I had done that. ‘It’s none of your business,’ I said, ‘it’s what had to be done.’ ‘You will see,’ he replied, ‘I KNOW, I know you will destroy me, but before being destroyed I will wreak just as much havoc as I can, you can be sure of that.’ (Mother’s Agenda Vol 2 pg 420)
And in another conversation on January 12 / 1965, She has said:
“Hitler was in contact with a being whom he considered to be the Supreme: that being would come and give him advice and tell him all that he had to do. Hitler would withdraw into solitude and wait long enough to come into contact with his ‘guide’ and receive inspirations from him which he would afterwards carry out very faithfully. That being whom Hitler took for the Supreme was quite simply an Asura, the one called in occultism ‘the Lord of Falsehood,’ and he proclaimed himself to be ‘the Lord of Nations.’ He had a resplendent appearance and could pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, except one who truly had occult knowledge and could thus see what was there, behind the appearance. He could have deluded anyone, he was so splendid. He generally appeared to Hitler wearing a breast-plate and a silver helmet (with a sort of flame coming out of his head), and there was around him an atmosphere of dazzling light, so dazzling that Hitler could hardly look at him. He would tell him all that he had to do – he would play with him as with a monkey or a mouse. He had set his mind on making Hitler do all possible kinds of folly … until the day when he would come a cropper, which is what happened. But there are many cases like that one, on a smaller scale, naturally. Hitler was a very good medium, he had great mediumistic capacities, but he lacked intelligence and discernment. That being could tell him anything and he would swallow it all. That’s what prodded him on little by little. And that being would do that as a pastime, he didn’t take life seriously. For those beings, people are very small things with which they play as a cat plays with a mouse, until the day when they eat them up.
I knew that being very well (for other reasons … the story would be too long to tell), and once, I knew he was going to visit Hitler – I went before he did: I took his appearance, it was very easy. Then I said to Hitler, “Go and attack Russia.” I don’t exactly remember the words or the details, but the fact was that I told him, “Go … In order to have the supreme victory, go and attack Russia.” That was the end of Hitler. He believed it and did it – two days later, we got the news of the attack. And then, the next day, that is, when I came back from Hitler, I met that being and told him, “I’ve done your job!” Naturally enough, he was furious!
But all the same, in that consciousness, there is with that being (the Lord of Falsehood, one of the first four Emanations), there is despite everything a very deep relationship, of course. He said to me, “I know, I know I will be defeated eventually, but before my end comes I will wreak as much destruction on earth as I can.”
Then, as I told you, the next day, the news of the attack came, and that was really the end of Hitler.
As for Sri Aurobindo … (you know that there is a place in Russia where they were defeated), Sri Aurobindo had foreseen the defeat and had worked the night before, and that’s how it happened – we knew ALL THE DETAILS.
We never told this, of course, but it was perfectly precise.
But I knew that being, I had already seen him in Japan – he called himself “the Lord of Nations.” And he really was a form of the Asura of Falsehood, that is, of Truth which became Falsehood: the first Emanation of Truth, who became Falsehood.
And he hasn’t been destroyed yet.” (Mother’s Agenda Vol 6 pg 3/4)
And on August 2, 1967, this is what The Mother has said about the personality of the Asura, of those who are conscious of their ego and their power:
“The contact with the great Asuras, the first Asuras, is like that: the full consciousness of their formidable power, their marvelous capacities – they forget one thing, it’s that they deserve no credit for it, it’s not their exclusive property! So they cut the connection and become instruments of disorder and confusion.
This one, the Lord of Falsehood …
To the human consciousness, those things are terrible, but seen from up above, they make you smile. I remember, when I met him during the war (I had ruined his work with Hitler, then I met him), I told him, “You know quite well that your time is over.” He said, “I know it, but until I disappear I will wreak as much havoc as I can.”
Childishness.” (Mother’s Agenda Vol 8 pg 241)
And Sri Aurobindo told the group of disciples gathered around him, for the evening talks:
“The Asura is more concerned with us then anything else. He is inventing new situations so that we may fall into difficulties. Nazis, Fascists and Communists are all against us and we are safe under none of these.” (Talks with Sri Aurobindo Pt IV pg 121)
From the above we see what a formidable foe Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had to face during the war and how perilously close the world had come to devastation. All their force and concentration during the war years, was engaged in countering the Asuras actions and at one time the adverse forces had 50% chance of achieving their aim. It was the tireless efforts of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother which saved the world with the victory of the Allied forces. The war official ended on 15th August 1945 (on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday) with the surrender of Japan, after it had ended in Europe a couple of months earlier. The total loss of human life was in excess of 50 million. An estimated 6 million Jews, including 1 million children and 2 million women, were killed in the notorious Nazi concentration camps. About 80000 men, women and children were instantly vaporised in few seconds when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. As The Mother has mentioned above, the Asura cares little about human life. In his poem on Hitler “The Dwarf Napoleon”, written in 1939, here is what Sri Aurobindo had written and predicted:
“But if its tenebrous empire were allowed,
That mastery would prepare the dismal hour
When the Inconscient shall regain its right,
And man who emerged as Nature’s conscious power,
Shall sink into the deep original night
Sharing like all her forms that went before
The doom of the mammoth and the dinosaur.
It is the shadow of the Titan’s robe
That looms across the panic-stricken globe.
In his high villa on the fatal hill
Alone he listens to that sovereign Voice,
Dictator of his action’s sudden choice,
The tiger leap of a demoniac skill.
An energy his body cannot invest,—
Too small and human for that dreadful guest,
A tortured channel, not a happy vessel,—
Drives him to think and act and cry and wrestle.
Thus driven he must stride on conquering all,
Threatening and clamouring, brutal, invincible,
Until he meets upon his storm-swept road
A greater devil—or thunderstroke of God.
(CWSA vol 2 pg 640/641)
End of War?
Now we come to last question, has humanity learned anything from the greatest conflict it has faced? Has it spelt the end of war and war-mongering? Will war ever be eliminated from the world?
Sri Aurobindo writing in “the Human Cycle” sometime in 1918-1920 wrote:
“So long as war does not become psychologically impossible, it will remain or, if banished for a while, return. War itself, it is hoped, will end war; the expense, the horror, the butchery, the disturbance of tranquil life, the whole confused sanguinary madness of the thing has reached or will reach such colossal proportions that the human race will fling the monstrosity behind it in weariness and disgust. But weariness and disgust, horror and pity, even the opening of the eyes to reason by the practical fact of the waste of human life and energy and the harm and extravagance are not permanent factors; they last only while the lesson is fresh. Afterwards, there is forgetfulness; human nature recuperates itself and recovers the instincts that were temporarily dominated. A long peace, even a certain organisation of peace may conceivably result, but so long as the heart of man remains what it is, the peace will come to an end, the organisation will break down under the stress of human passions. War is no longer, perhaps, a biological necessity, but it is still a psychological necessity; what is within us, must manifest itself outside.” (CWSA vol 25 pg 610/611)
Unless the conflict within us is overcome, is banished, is eliminated—the war outside will not cease to exist. Only when there is peace inside, will there be everlasting peace outside.
- Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), Vol 28, Letters on Yoga – I
- Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), Vol 19, Essays on the Gita
- Life in Sri Aurobindo Ashram by Narayana Prasad
- Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), Vol 36, Autobiographical Notes
- Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), Vol 35, Letters on Himself and the Ashram
- Mother’s Agenda vol 2 : copyright Institut de Recherches Evolutives, France
- Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo by Nirodbaran
- Mother’s Agenda vol 6 : copyright Institut de Recherches Evolutives, France
- Mother’s Agenda vol 8 : copyright Institut de Recherches Evolutives, France
- Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), Vol 2, Collected Poems
- Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), Vol 25, The Human Cycle
- Talk with Sri Aurobindo vol IV by Nirodbaran
- The Light that Shone into the Dark Abyss by Maggi Lidchi Grassi