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Overman: The Transitional Being

by Carel

It can be asserted with certainty
that there will be an intermediate specimen
between the mental and the supramental being,
a kind of overman.

On December 17th, Georges Van Vrekhem, author of Beyond Man (in the USA: Beyond the Human Species), spoke at Savitri Bhavan on "Overman," the transitional being which will be the intermediary race between the human species and superman. Here is a summary of his talk.


Sri Aurobindo's concept that the mental being is a transitional species and will, in time, be surpassed by a being of a higher consciousness, is well-known. Those who have studied Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's writings know that they considered it their work to bring that higher consciousness down on earth, and thus found on earth the Life Divine. This consciousness was termed by Sri Aurobindo "the Supramental Consciousness" or "the Supermind", and he named the future being the "Superman", a term he first used in the Arya, the philosophical magazine in which he published his major works in monthly instalments from 1914 onwards.

It was not until December 1948 that Sri Aurobindo dictated, at the explicit request of The Mother, a series of eight articles for the Bulletin of Physical Education, later published under the title The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth. The series was probably left unfinished when Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950. The articles are often seen as a sequel to Sri Aurobindo's philosophical magnum opus, The Life Divine.

These articles are of great importance. Already in The Life Divine Sri Aurobindo had indicated that the transformation of man to superman could take place through a transitional being, or through several kinds of transitional beings. In these later articles Sri Aurobindo indicates how a new humanity, which would be that transitional being, can come into existence. The new humanity would be "a race of mental beings on the earth and in the earthly body, but delivered from its present conditions in the reign of the cosmic Ignorance so far as to be possessed of a perfected mind, a mind of light .." (CWSA 13, p. 578).

The "Mind of Light" is a new term coined by Sri Aurobindo in these series of articles. Sri Aurobindo defined it as a subordinate action of Supermind, one could say the lowest level of Supermind. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had been supramentalised many years ago in the mental and vital parts of their earthly personality. From then onwards their whole effort consisted in bringing a supramental degree of consciousness down in Matter by bringing the supramental consciousness into the cells of their bodies, as through them there is a direct influence upon Matter.

Sri Aurobindo had, at the time of writing these articles, realised this Mind of Light in the cells of his body. Mother recalled in 1958 that, as soon as Sri Aurobindo withdrew from his body in December 1950, this Mind of Light was transferred from Sri Aurobindo's body cells directly into hers, and that he told her, "You will continue, you will go right to the end of the work." And Mother explained, "And actually, to do Sri Aurobindo's work is to realise the Supramental on earth. So I began that work and, as a matter of fact, this was the only thing I asked of my body. I told it, 'Now you shall set right everything which is out of order and gradually realise this intermediate supermanhood between man and the supramental being'. or, in other words, what I call the overman.' And this is what I have been doing for the last eight years, and even much more during the past two years, since 1956 [when the Supramental descended of on Earth]. Now it is the work of each day, each minute. That's where I am. I have renounced the uncontested authority of a god, I have renounced the unshakeable calm of the sage ... in order to become the overman. I have concentrated everything upon that." (Mother's Agenda I, May 10, 1958)

In this respect it should be noted that Mother used the words 'surhumanité and 'surhomme'. These words have, in the 13 volumes of Mother's Agenda as well as in the six volumes of the Questions and Answers [the talks Mother gave at the Playground of the Ashram from December 21, 1950 till November 26, 1958] consistently been mistranslated as 'supermanhood' and 'superman'. This is a calamitous mistake because 'supermanhood' and 'superman' refer to the supramental being.

A careful reader of the Questions and Answers will notice how often Mother spoke about the experiences of her body. As early as January 4, 1951, a month after Sri Aurobindo's passing, she mentioned that the work of physical transformation was the most difficult of all works. A few months later she said that what had been up to then a "psychological" yoga had now become a material yoga, a yoga of the cells of the body. Now the consciousness in the cells themselves began to aspire and surrender to the Divine. On February 24, 1954, she mentions the enormous work which has to be done if one hopes to transform one's body, for each cell has to be worked upon.. On 21 April 1954 she states that the transformation of the body has begun. In the Bulletin of Physical Education of that month Mother published Some Experiences of the Body Consciousness and New Experiences of the Body Consciousness.

The descent of the Supermind into the earth-consciousness on February 29, 1956, must certainly have hastened the work in her body cells. On July 10, 1957, in another talk at the Ashram Playground, Mother explained how a new world had been born. "What has happened, what is really new, is that a new world is born, born, born. It is not the old one transforming itself, it is a new world that is born. And we are now right in the middle of the period of transition in which the two are intermingling-in which the old world still persists all-powerful and entirely dominating the ordinary consciousness, but the new one is slipping in, still very modest, unnoticed-unnoticed in so far that outwardly it does not disturb anything very much, for the time being, and that in the consciousness of most people it is even altogether imperceptible. And yet it is working, growing-until it is strong enough to asset itself visibly."

Shortly afterwards, on September 25th 1957, she expressed a certainty . "It is quite obvious that intermediate beings are necessary, that it is these intermediate beings who must find the means of creating beings of the supermind, and, undoubtedly, when Sri Aurobindo wrote this ["From the new race would be recruited the race of supramental beings who would appear as the leaders of the evolution in earth-nature." (CWSA 13, p. 585)] he was convinced that this is what we must do [to become the new race]. I think-I know-that it is now certain that we shall realise what Sri Aurobindo expects of us" she said to the children assembled at the Playground, and added "Let each one do his best and it may be that not many years will have to go by before the first visible results become apparent to all. It is for you to know whether this interests you more than anything else in the world.. There comes a moment when the body itself finds that there is nothing in the world so much worth living for as this, the transformation; that there is nothing which can have as great an interest as this passionate interest for the transformation. It is as though all the cells of the body were thirsting for that Light that wants to manifest; they cry out for it; they find an intense joy in it and are sure of the Victory. This is the aspiration that I am trying to share with you, and you will understand that everything else in life is dull, insipid, futile, worthless in comparison with that: the transformation in the Light." (Questions and Answers 1957-58, p 190-191)

On April 16, 1958, the Mother announced as an existing fact what Sri Aurobindo had foreseen in The Supramental Manifestation Upon Earth. She affirms that "there is already a beginning of realisation. We have the proof that in certain conditions the ordinary state of humanity can be exceeded and a new state of consciousness worked out which enables at least a conscious relation between mental and supramental man. It can be asserted with certainty that there will be an intermediate specimen between the mental and the supramental being, a kind of overman who will still have the qualities and in part the nature of man, which means that he will still belong in his most external form to the human being [i.e. species] of animal origin, but that he will transform his consciousness sufficiently to belong, in his realisation and activity, to a new race, a race of overmen. This species may be considered a transitional species, for it is to be foreseen that it will discover the means of producing new beings without going through the old animal method, and it is these beings-who will have a truly spiritual birth-who will constitute the elements of the new race, the supramental race. So we could call overmen those who, because of their origin, still belong to the old method of generation but who, because of their accomplishment, are in conscious and active contact with the new world of supramental realisation." (Questions and Answers 1957-58, p. 313 ff).

We may assume that The Mother fully realised the overman consciousness by about 1958. From 1959 onwards she withdrew into her room, and from the conversations recorded in Mother's Agenda we may deduce that from that time onwards she worked to create the archetype of the supramental being. On January 1, 1969, the Mother announced that a new consciousness had manifested-"it spread out and went in search of people who could receive it"-which she defined a few days later as the consciousness of the overman. (Notes On the Way, CWM 11, p.153). What the Mother had realised in her own body in 1958 now, on 1 January 1969, became an integral part of humanity's evolution.


(Georges' views are expounded further in his latest book "The Mother: The Story of Her Life", published by HarperCollins, India, in January 2001, and in his forthcoming book "Overman".)

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