Review of Beyond Man by Georges Van Vrekhem
By Carel Thieme from The Awakening Ray, Jan/Feb 1998, p. 34-35.
If any persons from India's political history, philosophical thought and spiritual greatness can be labeled as The Great Unknown, they are Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Few indeed know about Sri Aurobindo's role as one of the leaders of India's early independence movement; or of his theory of evolution beyond mankind; or of his and The Mother's occult action on world events. Even less is their true mission known: to bring down on earth a higher level of consciousness, called by Sri Aurobindo "the Supermind", in order to make a divine life on earth possible. For, says Sri Aurobindo, "Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges." The book comes as an unexpected, agreeable and timely surprise, in this 125th year of Sri Aurobindo's birthday and the 50th anniversary of India's freedom, to which not only Sri Aurobindo but also The Mother have contributed so much. While reading, one starts to realize how much outward facts are determined by interventions from other levels of consciousness, for which those facts are only the external appearances and signs. The writer has presented us the biographical material in this context, for instance when explaining Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's occult action on world events. In Beyond Man, the importance of the transitional being, called in French by The Mother "le surhomme" is stressed. The Mother, announcing the descent of the consciousness of the 'surhomme' in January 1969, explains that, just as in every other great leap in evolution, this time too transitory beings or races will appear. They, born like all of us from human parents, but manifesting a certain degree of a supramental consciousness, will in turn find the key for the creation of the supramental beings. This important element in the evolution, first described by Sri Aurobindo in 'The Supramental Manifestation Upon Earth' and afterwards time and again elaborated upon by The Mother, has rarely been given due attention. It is one of several illuminations in this important book. It is unavoidable in a book of this magnitude that some prevailing standpoints and opinions on the life and work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are being put into question. But Van Vrekhem's comments are always restrained and worded in a language of moderation. He clearly has been writing in a spirit of understanding, inclusion and construction. His guiding idea seems to have been to consider all Aurobindonians as one family. So doing, Beyond Man shuns no important point or argument, but it is never polemical. Beyond Man is being published by Paragon House in fall 1998 under the title Beyond the Human Species: the Life and Work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother