Sri Aurobindo and the 18 Siddhasi

One of the few people of modern times who could truly appreciate the greatness of the divine transformation of humanity was Sri Aurobindo. While most orthodox-orthodox pandites and leaders looked at the writings of the Siddhas in which they spoke of physical immortality as a product of the imagination, Aurobindo tried for 40 years to reach such a stage. He never claimed to be part of the tradition of the 18 Siddhasi, but it is obvious that the transformations experienced by Thiruloolar, Ramalinga, Aurobindo and Mama (Aurobindo’s main disciple) were similar.

Aurobindo Ghose was born in Calcutta, August 15, 1872. He has been in England since the age of five to the age of 20. After returning to India in 1892, Aurobindo worked as a professor of French and English and later as secretary to the Prince of Baroda. He married in 1901. In the following years, he turned his energy to the ideal of Indian independence. He has become one of the main leaders of this movement. The English accused him of subversives and he was sent to prison, but was acquitted after a trial for lack of evidence.

Aurobindo’s inspired vision was expressed in “Divine Life” and “Yoga Synthesis”, and his transformative experiences in the epic poem “Savitri”. The last two works describe in detail the stages Sri Aurobindo and the 18 siddhasiles and the difficulties involved in this transformation. For Aurobindo physical immortality is a staint in the evolution of humanity. It is a result of spiritual transformation: the culmination of the process in which the Divine “Supramental” Consciousness descends into the low planes of consciousness, even to the unconscious level of Matter. Aurobindo’s way of describing this transformation process and its results are strikingly similar to that of the 18 Siddhasi and Ramalinga, particularly with regard to references to the “golden body” or “golden luminescence”. His deep love for humanity as well as his orientation towards the problems of the physical world and his actions are similar to those of the Siddhas.

Meeting yogi Lee

In the midst of these political activities, on December 30, 1907, Aurobindo met a yogi named Vishnu Bhaskar Lele. He said to him:

“I want to do yoga, but for action, not for sannyasa (giving up the world) and Nirvana. The two spent three days alone in a room. Ole told him, “Sit in meditation, but don’t think and pay attention to the work of your mind; you’ll see how thoughts come to mind; before enter banishing them away until the mind will gain total tranquility. Aurobindo later said: “The first result was a series of earth-shattering experiences and radical changes in consciousness that were never in my intention… and which was in total contradiction with my old ideas, causing me to see with astonishment the world as a huge cinema on which the forms of impersonal universality of the Absolute Brahma moved.”

Aurobindo entered the state of nirvikalpa samadhi or what Buddhists refer to as nirvana, the final stage of the mystical tradition around the world, which few have achieved after special efforts. But this point was the beginning for other extraordinary experiences:

“I stayed in nirvana for days and nopt. Finally I began to melt into Superconsciousness.No diminution fell from the supreme experience, rather a constant upheacity and understanding of the Truth. Nirvana in my liberated consciousness was just the beginning of my realization, a first step in a complete work, so not the ultimate realization of the soul or the climax. Nirvana cannot be the end of the path beyond which nothing can be explored-is the end of the lower path of Lower Nature and the beginning of the High Evolution.

Aurobindo continued to remain in this state while editing his daily newspapers and organizing clandestine demonstrations. Before such a demonstration, he told Lele that he was hesitating to give a speech. Lele asked him to pray, but he was so absorbed by The Brahman Silent that he could not pray. Ole told him it didn’t matter; he and the others will pray; will only have to go to the demonstration; to bow to the audience, to wait, and words will come from a source other than the mind. Aurobindo followed these instructions and “words came as if they were dictated. Ever since then, speeches, writings, thoughts and external activities came from the same source, beyond the mind. This was the first experience in Superconsciousness. His speech was wonderful:

“Try to realize the power that is within you, try to manifest it over and over again, so that everything you do is not done by you but by that Truth within you. because you are not this, it is something inside you. What can all these courts, all the powers of the world, the Truth that is in you, that Eternal, that Nescut, the Colorless One, whom the sword cannot penetrate and the fire cannot burn? Why would you be afraid, if you are aware of Him, who is inside you?

Aurobindo was arrested by British police a second time on the morning of 4 May 1908. In the court of worship in Alipore, during a period of daily exercise, a series of spiritual experiences brought a change in his consciousness. He began to see God in each.

In Search of “The Secret”

After his release from the alipore prison, Aurobindo resumed his revolutionary work. Following his experience in Alipore prison, he achieved the “supermental consciousness” whereby the separate truths of existence—such as Peace, Love, Beauty, Power, Knowledge, Will—are fully experienced but independent of each other. However, the limitations of consciousness have clearly stood out. Through its structure, the supramental consciousness divides the unit and the lower it descends into the low planes, the more fragmented it becomes. There was also a need for a truth of the body and the earth, not only a truth of the spirit and the sky. Another power was needed to resist in low planes where human nature is the subject of the power of division. Aurobindo began to look for the key to the true life that can be lived here in the low spheres.

In February 1910, a year after his release from prison, he was to be arrested and deported to the Andaman Islands. He received a sudden guidance, which said, “Go to Chandernagore.” He left immediately on a boat, on the Ganges, down.

At Chandernagore in 1910, he found the “secret” he was looking for. Circumstances were never reported by him. However, from his late writings, we learn that he was in hell, in the low planes of existence, and that is because one cannot rise more than he can descend. “With every height we conquer we must bring back, in the low vibrating planes, its power and its illumination.” For the Divinity to descend into us and transform human nature, progress does not consider our upbringing as much as it relates to the cleansing of all the obscurities of our vile being. Cleaning the subconscious of fears, desires and pains is a matter of primary importance. The lowest level of human consciousness lies in the subconscious, which is the result of the evolution of life in Matter. It contains all the habits of life, including the one that keeps you from sickness and death. At Chandernagore, Sri Aurobindo reached the ultimate depths of the physical subconscious. He said: “No, not with the heavenly I am busy; I wish I was. More of a way than the end of things that were in opposition.”

He reached the upper frontier of the supermind where the “magnificent colored waves” melt into the White Light. Moved to another Time and Space. All values have been overturned. The High meets the bottom, both in one plane. He penetrated the Supramental, which is the true basis of the whole matter and experienced enlightenment in every cell of the body. The secret of transformation was this: the lower consciousness is the consciousness above.

“Golden” supramental

The descriptions of the “supermental” are reminiscent of similar descriptions made by the 18 sidhasi in reference to the samadhi soruba, or the golden samadhi. Aurobindo’s main discipline, Mama, after his first experience wrote:

“It was an impression of power, of warmth, of gold: it was not fluid, it was like the twinkle of dust. Each of these things (cannot be called particles or fragments, not even points, as they are mathematically stated) were like vivid gold, a warm gold dust – it cannot be said that it was bright or dark or made of light, in the sense that we understand it. It was all a gathering of little golden dots, nothing but that. I could tell they were touching my face, my eyes. And this one with formidable power. At the same time, a sense of fullness, of peace for all powers. There was so much wealth, there was so much fullness. It was movement at its maximum rate, infinitely faster than anyone can imagine, and at the same time it was an absolute peace, a perfect silence… I have noticed that in this state of consciousness, movement exceeds the force of power that makes cells become an individual form.”

This description is a reminder of one of the famous statements of the Siddhas:

“Stay silent and know that I am God.” Immobility is the basis of supermental power.


After two weeks in Chandernagore, Aaurobindo heard the Voice again asking him to “go to Podicherry”. Shortly afterwards he left in secret and narrowly escaped from the British police. Podicherry was a French colony in southeastern India. It was the last place anyone would expect to start a spiritual revolution.

It was difficult for Aurobindo in his early years at Podicherry. Some of his revolutionaries came with him, expecting him to sum up his activities in this field. But Aurobindo had no intention of doing so. When it came to question the fact that he must carry out his political struggle, he promptly replied that there was a need “not for a revolution against the British government, through which no one can succeed easily, but for a revolution against the whole universal Nature.”

Aurobindo read the Vedas, the ancient sacred writings, in their original form, for the first time during his early years at Podicherry. He found in them experiences that he had himself and translated some of them into the light of his experience.

In 1910, Paul Richard, a French writer, came to Podicherry. The second time came in 1914, with the intention of seeing Aurobindo and then proposed to him to make a bilingual monthly philosophical magazine, Arya, or A Goodbye to the Great Synthesis. From 1914 to 1920 Aurobindo published this magazine as well as most of his works – nearly 5000 pages, which were contained in several books. These included: Divine Life, in which he expressed his own fundamental philosophical view of the evolution of man; Synthesis of yoga, in which he described his integral yoga, which is in contrast to other yogic disciplines; Essay about Gita, in which the Bhagavat Gita is interpreted in the light of Aurobindo’s vision of the descent of the “supramental consciousness”; The Secret of the See And The human cycle.

In 1921, he put the pen aside. The final edition for Arya has been published. Over the next 30 years, his writings were limited to an enormous correspondence as well as the poem Savriti , which encompasses his perfect vision of the evolution of humanity, his work with the subconscious and the unconscious, and his experience with the high spheres of consciousness.

Crises of transformation

Aurobindo saw humanity at a crossroads in its evolution.

“If there is a spiritual truth on Earth that is the other valence of our birth in Matter, and if fundamentally in nature there has been an evolution of consciousness, then man cannot be the last stage of this evolution: he is an imperfect expression of the spirit and his mind is a limited instrument and form; the mind is only half the evolution of consciousness, the mental being can only be a tational being.”

According to Aurobindo, we have reached a “crisis of transformation” which is “as crucial as was the crisis that marked the emergence of Life in Matter or the crisis that marked the emergence of the Mind in Life”. Unlike previous crises, humanity can be seen as “aware collaborators to our own evolution”.

However, for Aurobindo, it is not our human forces that will bring transformation but a consciousness that surrounds the divine Force above.

The supramental matter will submit to the will of consciousness and thus manifest the qualities of the spirit: immortality, maleability, brightness, beauty and bliss. Significant physical transformations will occur: “Transformation consists in the fact that the entire material arrangement will be replaced by force concentrations, each having a different mode of vibration; instead of organs will be conscious energy centers, set in motion by the will of consciousness. There will be no stomach or heart, no circulation and no lungs. All these will disappear and give way to a game of vibrations representing what these organs are symbolically.” The body will be made of a “concentrated energy that will be subject to will.” “The change of consciousness will be the main factor, the initial movement, and the physical change will be the subordinate factor, a consequence.”

Aurobindo was by no means a theorist or a science fiction writer. He wrote on the basis of his experience and his experience of “transformation” has three distinct phases: the first, a brilliant phase, from 1920 to 1926, in which many miraculous phenomena and powers manifested themselves by the power of the supramental consciousness that Aurobindo first manifested in 1910; the second, a phase of retreat, in which Aurobindo and his main disciple, Mama, Mirra Richard, tested on their own bodies the effects of several experiments, working at the level of the subconscious and unconscious from 1926 to 1940 and the third phase, in which efforts concerned the whole of humanity and the world, from 1940 to the present.

At the end of the first phase, on November 24, 1926, he abruptly ended the manifestation of powers and miracles and announced his retreat into solitude. Officially, the ashram was established under the leadership of Mother.

From 1926 to 1940 he and Mama experimented on sleep, food, the laws of nature, going through many experiences at the cellular and subconscious level. It was a race against time that reminds us of what the Siddhas described in the science of Kaya Kalpa herbs by which they tried to prolong life long enough to allow more subtle spiritual forces to accomplish the deity.

Cell preparation, mental silence, vital peace, cosmic consciousness were vehicles that allowed cellular and physical consciousness to expand and universalize. Then it became clear that “the body is everywhere” and no one can transform anything without transforming everything. Aurobindo and Mama have found that complete transformation is not possible for the individual unless there is a minimum transformation for everything.

“To help humanity,” Aurobindo noted, “it is not enough for an individual to find the ultimate solution individually so that when the light is ready to come down, it cannot stand until the lower plane, below, is prepared to bear the pressure of the Descendant.”

“If one wants to do the work on his own,” Mama said, “it is absolutely impossible to do it in a total way, because every physical being, however accomplished it may be, even if it belongs to a consciousness of higher totality, even if it were done for a special work that takes into account totality, it is only a partial and limited being. This is the truth and the law – complete transformation cannot be done on their own, through one body, so if someone wants to have a general action, at least a minimum number of physical beings are required.”

Phase three

With this idea, the period of individual work ended in 1940, and Sri Aurobindo and Mama began the third stage of their transformational work. During this phase, the orientation was towards a global transformation. “This ashram was created, not for giving up the world but as a center and a place where the evolution of another life form takes place.” The ashram was organised to be open to all types of creative activities, as well as to all types of individuals, men, women and children, of all social classes.

The activity in the world was of paramount importance::

“Spiritual life finds the most potent expression in the man who lives an ordinary life through the power of yoga practice. Through a union of inner and outer life, humanity will be lifted up and become strong and divine.”

The dilemma of revolutionary leaders

The third phase grew the dilemma that Sri Aurobindo and Mama tried to solve at the end of the second phase. Faced with the collective resistance of the subconscious and the unconscious, they wondered whether they could achieve a transformation of the individual self into isolation from others and then return to help humanity as revolutionary leaders. They decided against this strategy because, in Aurobindo’s words, a void would result between them and humanity.

Sri Aurobindo said: “Once started, work will not advance quickly from the very beginning of the decisive internship. It can be centuries of effort. Even if the first decisive change is achieved, it is certain that not all humanity will be able to rise to that level. There will be a division between those who will be able to live at the spiritual level and those who will be able to live in the light that descends from this level to the mental level. And below these will be a great mass influenced by superior reality but not ready for light. But even this will be a transformation and a beginning that has not been touched.”

This inevitable division and “empty” that will occur are probably the reasons why Aurobindo and Mama did not lower the “supermental” into their own bodies and possibly keep it there. What’s more, isn’t the “golden body” of the Siddhas, Ramalinga and the Taoist Chinese just a phase of the long collective transformation of all humanity?

In his effort to try to solve this problem, the author of Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition, Marshall Govindan, visited Pondicherry and The Valuable. He recalled a phrase he saw many years ago, in which Aurobindo and Mama stated that “what they tried to achieve was already touched by Ramalinga Swami only 100 years ago.” He met with T.R. Thulasiram in Podicheri and learned that two volumes of works were published by him Arut Perum Jothi and the Body Without Death in 1980, which contain the topics of discussion that were considered in meetings with Mama regarding Ramalinga, as well as everything Aurobindo wrote about Ramalinga.

In his exhaustive study, Thulasiram observed:

“Sri Aurobido came to understand in the latter part of his life that few yogis had achieved supramental transformation as a personal siddhi (supernatural power) maintained by Yoga-Siddhi and not as a dharma (law) of nature.”

Thulasiram’s fascinating study provides evidence that the transformative experiences of Thirumoolar, Ramalinga, Aurobindo and Mama were all similar. The “golden brightness” that Aurobindo manifested at his death reminds us of the “golden body” of immortality to which Ramatinga and the 18 Siddhasi referred.

Death of Sri Aurobindo

Towards the end of November 1950, Sri Aurobindo began to show symptoms of a blood disease, which returned from time to time over several years. In contrast to previous occasions, he said he would no longer use his yogic powers to heal. When asked why, he said, “I can’t explain, you won’t understand.” On December 4th the symptoms miraculously disappeared. But late that night it became apparent that he would retire for a well-defined purpose.

On December 5, 1950, he decided to postpone this until the body showed signs of decomposition. The body gained a new glow, “a luminous cloak of golden light around it,” as described by Mother. Many others reported on the golden aura around him. For more than four days the body remained intact, with a persistent golden hue. On December 8, the Mother asked Aurobindo, in an occult meeting, to return to life, but he answered according to the Mother’s confession:

“I left this body for a specific purpose. I’m not going to take him back. I will manifest myself again through the first Supermental Body built by the Supramental Way.”

“The lack of receptivity of the earth and the people” said Mama on December 8, “is most responsible for Sri Aurobindo’s decision regarding his body.” On December 9, in the morning, after more than 100 hours, the body began to show the first signs of decomposition and was buried in the morning in the yard of the ashram. Sri Aurobindo’s writings continue to provide us with a vision for our collective evolution and important indicators for each individual so as to achieve a divine transformation of life

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