August 09, 2006


Overman - by Carel Van Vrekhem's new book deals with the intermediary being between the human and the supramental being.
'Overman', Georges van Vrekhem's most recent book, deals specifically with the transitional being that is to manifest between the mental being that we are and the supramental being which is the present end of nature's evolutionary effort. Sri Aurobindo first mentioned the probability of a transitional being in a series of articles written for the Bulletin of Physical Education between December 1948 and the time he left his body, on 5 December 1950. These articles, later published as The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth can now be found in Essays in Philosophy and Yoga, Vol. 13 of The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.
Sri Aurobindo describes this transitional being as having a body which is still animal-human in its origin and fundamental character, but be possessed already of what he called 'a Mind of Light,' "a mind capable of living in the truth, capable of being truth-conscious and manifesting in its life a direct in place of an indirect knowledge. Its mentality would be an instrument of the Light and no longer of the Ignorance. At its highest it would be capable of passing into the supermind and from the new race would be recruited the race of supramental beings who would appear as the leaders of the evolution in earth-nature." The Mind of Light is thus a subordinate action of the Supermind.
The book further details the work of The Mother in realising this intermediate being. In a conversation in 1958, The Mother mentions that this was the work she had been doing ever since Sri Aurobindo left his body. The Mother, speaking in French at the time, called this being surhomme, of which the literal translation is 'overman.' Georges, in persistently using this term, goes against the translations of these and other texts issued by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and in the thirteen volumes of Mother's Agenda that use the term 'superman' instead. The word 'superman', however, has been used by Sri Aurobindo in his extensive writings to denote the supramental being. "Its use to indicate the transitional being," writes Georges, "is therefore a calamitous mistake."
The book continues to describe The Mother's work of realising the overmentalisation of her body. This work, which she started after Sri Aurobindo's passing, reached its culmination in January, 1969, when she announced the descent of the Overmind consciousness and describes it: "It was very human, but human with divine proportions. Human without weaknesses and without shadows: it was all light, all light and smiling, and sweetness at the same time." The presence of the consciousness of the overman in the earth atmosphere has since become a permanent fact.The book ends with a cursory reference to The Mother's further development till she manifested the prototype of a supramental body in May, 1970. "But this," writes Van Vrekhem, "is outside the compass of this essay and has been narrated elsewhere," a reference to his books Beyond Man (in the USA Beyond the Human Species) and his biography The Mother.
Overman, like its predecessors, is well-written and is compelling reading for all those interested in Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's yoga. Those who have read Van Vrekhem's earlier books will find a number of repetitions, but this is unavoidable. Overman, The Intermediary between the human and the supramental being. Published by Rupa & Co, India 190 pp.Price Rs 195

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