The Necessity of a Transformation of the Body for the Supramental Manifestation

Teachers and guides throughout the world, in the field of yoga, sports or even the military, stress the need for preparedness, training and readiness to face the pressures that will come in the course of the activity. The story of the “unbaked jar” that falls apart when water is poured into it is one illustration of the principle. When we overstress these systems we have mental or nervous breakdowns, vital or emotional imbalances, health breakdowns or physical injuries.

Each of the major aspects of our human lives, each level of consciousness that has been active, is called upon to take on more and grow, expand, increase flexibility and wideness, and endurance to hold the force as a new power of consciousness becomes manifest. Yoga teachers throughout the ages have emphasized the need for adequate preparation. In Raja Yoga, these are categorized as the development of the qualities of management and control of the mental and vital energies, and establishment of a solid physical basis. Failure to adequately prepare before invoking spiritual forces or latent energies can lead to mental delusion, madness, unrestrained and imbalanced vital drives that lead one into trouble, illness or death!

The issue is compounded when we consider an entirely new force manifesting and working through the mind, life and body to carry out its larger view and more powerful energetic capabilities. The risk of breakdown or injury, in the absence of adequate preparation, is clearly one that needs to be addressed, and which thereby counsels the seeker towards a patient and persistent effort of dedication that systematically works to widen the mind, purify the vital force and strengthen and prepare the physical instrument. Eventually the supramental force will have to move beyond the limits of even a developed instrumentality, and implement further changes to more precisely manifest it without distortions or breakdowns.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “It might be that a psychological change, a mastery of the nature by the soul, a transformation of the mind into a principle of light, of the life-force into power and purity would be the first approach, the first attempt to solve the problem, to escape beyond the merely human formula and establish something that could be called a divine life upon earth, a first sketch of supermanhood, of a supramental living in the circumstances of the earth-nature. But this could not be the complete and radical change needed; it would not be the total transformation, the fullness of a divine life in a divine body. There would be a body still human and indeed animal in its origin and fundamental character and this would impose its own inevitable limitations on the higher parts of the embodied being. As limitation by ignorance and error is the fundamental defect of an untransformed mind, as limitation by the imperfect impulses and strainings and wants of desire are the defects of an untransformed life-force, so also the imperfection of the potentialities of the physical action, an imperfection, a limitation in the response of its half-consciousness to the demands made upon it and the grossness and stains of its original animality would be the defects of an untransformed or an imperfectly transformed body. These could not but hamper and even pull down towards themselves the action of the higher parts of the nature. A transformation of the body must be the condition for a total transformation of the nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Divine Body, pg. 44

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