Sri Aurobindo - the Lotus and the Avatar

On 27 June 2008 Barindrinath Chaki wrote an article titled ‘Sri Aurobindo and Avatar-hood’. It was republished on Savitri Era Open Forum by Tusar N. Mohapatra with the title ‘Sri Aurobindo need not be in the series of Ten Avatars’. The gist of the article is as follows:
‘A few persons have said that Sri Aurobindo was the ninth Avatar of Vishnu. And it is also further claimed by them that He has again been reborn in the year 1963 and is the Tenth Avatar of Vishnu. These claims are not true…. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have never and nowhere stated that He was an Avatar of Vishnu. As The Mother has stated, Sri Aurobindo is an emanation of the Supreme. Vishnu is an aspect of the Supreme, according to the Indian mythology.… Sri Aurobindo need not be in the series of the Ten Avatars.’ – Barindrinath Chaki
Mr. Chaki posts a handful of quotes of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to ‘prove’ his assertion (stated as fact) that Sri Aurobindo could not have been the 9th Avatar of Vishnu, nor could he be reborn as Kalki, the 10th Avatar of Vishnu. This absolute assertion and the evidence used to support it is pale and unconvincing in light of Sri Aurobindo’s unparalleled role as the seed or catalyst for a global evolutionary shift towards the full Supramental Manifestation. It is also pale and unconvincing in light of the several volumes written by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet on the matter. Chapter 9 of her latest book Secrets of the Earth – Questions and Answers on the Line of Ten Avatars of the Vedic Tradition, actually addresses Mr. Chaki’s emphatic rejection of Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood as well as Peter Heehs’ statement that no one alive today could prove the matter conclusively. The entire book is relevant towards developing an understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood and rebirth but it is the 9th and final chapter which addresses the vested interests of those who refuse to consider that the Vedic Line of Avatars is an evolutionary reality – an eternal dharma that has been brought out of the realm of myth and restored in our own age through the life and yoga of Sri Aurobindo. On this matter Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet has recently written:
‘Why is it that certain people, while pretending to be devotees of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo should protest so loudly that Sri Aurobindo is NOT an avatar – without even having studied the proof? I have given extensive proof. I have explained in detail Vishnu's method of avataric descent in multiple texts. I have explained in detail the mechanics of the supramental evolution and its irrefutable cosmic formulas, given out by Sri Aurobindo himself. What is to be gained by 'devotees' who reject Sri Aurobindo as an avatar of Vishnu? This question demands to be answered. All true lovers of Sri Aurobindo should join and in one voice ask these deniers WHY. Because it is not just an idle doubt expressed on their part. It is an active, relentless campaign, no less strident or vocal for lack of knowledge of the Dasavataras. At least we can see exactly who these deniers really are. Their arguments remain suspiciously hollow.’ [emphasis added]
It is a really good question. When offered such thorough and ample proof, WHY are certain devotees or practitioners of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga so absolutely and obstinately adverse to him being included in Vishnu’s Line of Ten Avatars? What is the real basis of the aversion? From what I have seen the arguments presented in no way portray a curiosity or quest for the truth of the matter. The arguments rather reveal a blanket refusal to consider Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood. Why would any sincere student of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother refuse to consider and research this possibility, especially given that Sri Aurobindo’s Siddhi Day in 1926 consisted of Krishna or Krishna consciousness descending into his body. Krishna of course is the 8th Avatar of Vishnu. Why do Mr. Chaki and others who toe the same line believe it is in the Integral Yoga community’s best interest to disassociate Sri Aurobindo from the Hindu tradition of Vishnu’s Dasavataras?

Lately I have been studying Sri Aurobindo’s symbol with its ascending and descending triangles bound together by a square which houses a lotus resting on seven waves. The Mother clearly describes this 9 petal lotus as ‘the Avatar of the Supreme'. It is the center of the ‘perfect manifestation’ which is presumably the Supramental Manifestation which Sri Aurobindo incarnated to establish. What I do not understand is how Mr. Chaki and others can miss this very prominent indication of Sri Aurobindo’s true position. Mr. Chaki writes that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ‘never and nowhere stated that He was an Avatar of Vishnu.’ Well who in the world is indicated in his own symbol as ‘the Avatar of the Supreme – the lotus’ if not Sri Aurobindo, whose very name happens to mean ‘lotus’ (aravindha) in the Sanskrit language? How is it missed that ‘the Avatar of the Supreme’ is one and the same as the Avatar of Vishnu, whose names include parameshvarah – the Supreme Lord, as well as aravindaksha – Lotus-Eyed One.

Is it believable that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not understand the lotus as a well recognized symbol of Vishnu the Supreme Lord, and that they did not actually mean to convey via the symbol that Sri Aurobindo was actually ‘the Avatar of the Supreme’? A 9 petal lotus would certainly be an ingenious symbol for the 9th Avatar of Vishnu, the Supreme Lotus-Eyed Lord of the Cosmos, especially if his parents happened to have named him ‘lotus’. I for one do not imagine that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were ignorant of these profound subtleties and correspondences. There is ample proof that the Mother knew exactly what Sri Aurobindo had accomplished, not only during his life as the 9th Avatar, but after his departure and return as the 10th. It is all 'written' methodically in the plan she gave of the Inner Chamber (see Chronicles of the Inner Chamber). But, similar to the persistent campaign to dislodge Sri Aurobindo from his position in the Line of Ten Avatars, the ruling camp at Auroville destroyed (or have attempted to destroy) all the means the Mother gave to recognize and affirm his avatarhood by that plan. Those who protest the loudest against Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood, like those who support the distorted dimensions of the Mother’s Temple in Auroville, have (for whatever reasons) taken up the onerous life purpose of denying the terms of the Supramental Manifestation as it has actually presented itself, as it has actually unfolded. If they understood the methods the new creation utilizes for its self expression, this denial would be impossible.

Readers who wish to learn about, rather than simply reject, how Sri Aurobindo fits into the evolutionary scheme of avatarhood and how his rebirth is known should read Secrets of the Earth, The New Way Volumes 1, 2 & 3, Chronicles of the Inner Chamber, and The Hidden Manna, all by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet. Thereafter an intelligent exchange would be possible.

Related Links & Blog Posts:
The Mother’s description of the significance of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol from the Sri Aurobindo Society website
‘Shed emotional bonding with past religious icons’ by Tusar N. Mohapatra
‘We read the exact year and month of Sri Aurobindo’s return to this earth’ by Robert E. Wilkinson
‘Waving the Flag of Cosmic Ignorance in the Face of Sri Aurobindo and the Vedic Tradition of Avatars’ by Lori Tompkins
* Number and the Supramental Matrix by Lori Tompkins
* The Simultaneity of Time, Spirit and Matter
* Macrocosm, Microcosm & the Laws of Time and Space (Quote from PNB's The Gnostic Circle
* A Higher Vision of Time Is Needed... (Quotes from PNB's Time & Imperishability and some commentary)
* The ALL-pervading Energy of Time - the New Time (Quote from PNB's The New Way, a study in the rise and establishment of a gnostic society).

* The Geometry and Superstructure of Time 
* 'Time as a Power (not an Enemy) of Self' by Lori Tompkins
Learning the One Song, Learning the Universe by Lori Tompkins
In Harmony's Way by Lori Tompkins
* God Forever Geometrizes  by Lori Tompkins

T O   S H O W E R   T H I S   B L O G / P O S T  with   W E B   L O V E 
S H A R E   IT  using  A N Y  of  the  I C O N S  below  


  1. Lori, I have read your paper ... some of the points raised have not been answered, such as their demand for a NEW ontology - which already exists in its totality, including the new Vedic Temple, and which they have all summarily rejected. This 'new' ontology does not exclude what has come before. India presents the only civlization in the world where the thread from the ancient past to the present is still in tact, albeit requiring a re-establishment and a new synthesis from time to time. Synthesis by its very name means a larger vision which fits all that came before in its proper place, not necessarily to omit it. Certainly in India's case this would be counterproductive and a real falsehood. And this is what these characters are seeking to do: to diminish Sri Aurobindo's mission. The Line of Vishnu has for its specific purpose the re-focusing of the lens yuge-yuge so that the thread CAN AND MUST BE MAINTAINED. These guys are playing into the hands of western Indologists by denying Sri Aurobindo that connection to the past (certainly he NEVER DISCONNECTED HIS WORK FROM ITS VEDIC MOORINGS) and of which his Coming is the culmination. There is too much proof of his position to even bother with the likes of Tusar and Despande who have no REALISATION on which to base their musings and imaginings. There is no Knowledge-Content to what they write, only ideas, substanceless at that. Thea

  2. hi!

    whil i was going through this article by you...i felt to ask you something..

    you have written that:

    Krishna of course is the 8th Avatar of Vishnu.

    can you list out the avatars of Vishnu as you know it?

  3. Hi Gopal, Am realizing the way I worded the above didn't acknowledge that there are those who do not consider Krishna to hold the 8th place in the line. From what I've read, the standard list seems to be: 1st - Matsya, the fish; 2nd- Kurma, the tortoise; 3rd - Varaha, the boar; 4th - Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion; 5th - Vamana, the dwarf; 6th - Parashurama, Rama with the axe; 7th - Rama, the ideal man,; 8th - Krishna; 9th - Buddha; and 10th - Kalki. Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet discusses Sri Aurobindo as the rightful 9th Avatar of Vishnu (instead of Buddha) in Secrets of the Earth - Questions and Answers on the Vedic Line of Ten Avatars. I am in agreement with her understanding of the Dasavataras.

  4. "It is also pale and unconvincing in light of the several volumes written by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet on the matter"

    First ... Who is this lady?

    Mr. Barindranath Chaki has quoted verbatim to Sri Aurobindo and Mother. He has not speculated nor has permitted himself the license of correct the words of the Master or Mother.

    One final thought: Yes, Sri Aurobindo would have strongly protested...but, perhaps, He would have done this for not quote exactly his own words and create sects camouflaged under his teachings.

    Again: Who is this lady?

    PS: I know a neighbor who claims to be the reincarnation of Cleopatra.

  5. Hi Jordi, if you are genuinely curious about who Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet is, you should read/study the books she has written about the Supramental Yoga ... just as someone who is genuinely curious about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother should read their works directly. Otherwise the transmission of consciousness is lost. In my experience Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet is a Supramental Yogi whose yoga and teachings are a necessary extension and expansion of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's work ... not representing a sect or a tangent, but rather resonating with and expressing the true heart of the work. I get that some people are closed to this idea (maybe you are one of those people?); but to me, the Supramental Knowledge she has presented in her books speaks for itself ... it is self-evident; i.e. it is its own proof that can be ignored or belittled, or explored and confirmed by one's own study and yoga/practice.

  6. What want you say for "Supramental yogi"?
    Perhaps that she is a Purna Yoga practicer?
    Or, perhaps that she has achieved the Supramental consciousness?

  7. Below is an excerpt from Aeon Group website that might answer your above questions. I'm sure it will raise new ones; but truly her books will be a better source for you than me if you are curious about her consciousness. When I read her books and consider her yoga and work in the world, it is clear to me that she is a source of Supramental Knowledge, furthering Supramental Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. She furthers the individual's ability to witness and experience the Supramental Consciousness-Force in the flow of his or her life and in the flow of world affairs.

    From Aeon Group:

    "The work of the Supramental line has now reached the Third stage, the realization of the INDIVIDUAL Soul. That same secret force, which had brought the Mother from France to join Sri Aurobindo, introduced Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet to the Indian scene. She arrived at the Pondicherry ashram just in time to assume her crucial role in this evolutionary process. By this time, Sri Aurobindo had left the earth and the Mother was over 90 years old. Many of her physical faculties had begun to fail but on the inner planes she was hard at work. Over the next several years, the Mother occultly transmitted an entire body of Supramental knowledge to Patrizia which would enable her to carry on this epochal work.

    "In following the accomplishments of the Solar Line, one may observe that Sri Aurobindo's actual work on the subtle planes is almost never revealed. The Mother's work in the occult planes is somewhat clearer yet even she was not inclined to explain the details of what she did and saw. It isn't until the Third level of the work that these details become revealed because that is the nature of the Third, precision in truth. With Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's level of the work, we begin to perceive this precision. The ability to see with such detail comes about because the action is observed from the most intimate dimension the human consciousness can experience, the 'center' or individual Soul. This Soul realization is the channel linking "Swar" or Truth-Consciousness to the Earth plane, and one of its principle effects is the ability to "see" the sublime and perfect control in the unfolding of events accompanying the supramental creation.

    "Enhanced by the achievements of her predecessors and bearing her own gift of Supramental Time, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet has unveiled the signature of a new consciousness at work in the world. She has provided seekers with a key of knowledge which grants a direct experience of the Supreme within the physical manifestation. Her work with Time and Cosmology has finally given us the means to KNOW and not merely BELIEVE that the Truth-Consciousness has descended and is now manifest upon the earth."

  8. Who does Barindranath Chaki think he is? What lapse of intellectual integrity allows him to believe for one instant that he is qualified to make such pompous pronouncements about Sri Aurobindo’s Avatarhood and the conditions that the Supermind would employ in the process of his rebirth? This is one of the most outrageous examples of ignorance masquerading as authority I have ever seen. But unfortunately it is typical of what passes for realization in the Integral Yoga community. It is patently obvious that Chaki has no direct experience of what he claims. He has merely cherry-picked some quotations (with no citations) that appear to support his misguided premise and cobbled them together in what he believes to be a compelling argument. But to the discriminating eye, his presentation is factually flawed, wildly contradictory and worst of all, bears no relation at all to what the Avatar IS and the PURPOSE of his manifestation at this particular time in human history. He is as if seeing through a straw, seizing a fragment of an integral whole and completely misrepresenting its meaning and purpose within the larger context of Sri Aurobindo’s work and mission. Instead of sticking to facts, Chaki goes spinning off into the same kind of hyperbolic rant popularized by Tusar Mohapatra, that Sri Aurobindo is beyond all concept, system and order. He is beyond the Gods, beyond the Veda and beyond even his own Avatarhood. What we are left with are Chaki’s fanciful and romanticized notions about the actions of the Supermind and his proffer of the Mother’s speculative comments on Sri Aurobindo’s rebirth which even she cautions not to take as the final word. Chaki’s specious claims about Sri Aurobindo’s rebirth might be compared to a pompous student arguing points with a professor of Calculus, when the student himself has never even bothered to master the principles of elementary Mathematics. The result in both cases is a pretentious and dogmatic assertion of one’s ignorant and uninformed opinion in the face of incontrovertible fact.

    In mathematics there is a kind of foundational order, basic elements that you build upon to erect a sound structure of knowledge. The same is true with regard to the Supermind and the way it deploys itself in the material creation. This basic formulaic expression by which the Supermind may be Seen and Measured is called Sanatana Dharma, the ETERNAL Truth. The keys to this eternal Super-logic that reveal the exact timing of Vishnu’s emanations and the dates and purpose of their births may only be discovered in the Vedic scriptures. Thus Sri Aurobindo declares to us that, ‘the Veda was the beginning of our spiritual knowledge; the Veda will remain its end… the Veda remains to us our Rock of the Ages, our ETERNAL FOUNDATION.’ . How then can Chaki reject both the Veda and Vishnu’s Dasavatars as old and limited concepts? Will he explain to us his private revelation of the Veda and its shortcomings or are we to simply take his word on it because he claims to have no vested interest in this matter? It is time to agree with Sri Aurobindo that an INTEGRAL KNOWLEDGE IS THE PATH OF OUR YOGA, not the fanciful speculations of naysayers like Chaki, not the hyperbolic rhetoric of inflated and immature followers that cannot offer real and verifiable facts in support of their claims, only Veda - KNOWLEDGE will suffice. Those who have it will unanimously agree that the Mother’s last word on Sri Aurobindo’s rebirth was contained in the sacred dimensions of her Vedic temple, objective measurements that exclude any possibility of mental speculation about the method and timing of his return to earth. But of course Chaki has rejected that along with the Veda and Sri Aurobindo’s Avatarhood and yet still has the gall to claim he is serving the Truth. This is precisely how Sri Aurobindo’s work gets reduced to what he called a pompous farce.


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