Is the True Significance of Immortality Day
Lost on Followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother?
by Lori Tompkins
23-24 December 2008
[Note: This article was written in response to the 26 November Mumbai attacks and to an article by Anurag Banerjee entitled 'Death in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram' (http://seof.blogspot.com/2008/12/how-notion-of-attaining-immortality.html).]
The 26 November Mumbai Attacks fell on the 82nd anniversary of Immortality Day, and 36 years exactly after the Mother gave the following ‘Immortality Day’ message:
‘Before dying, falsehood rises in full swing. Still people understand only the lesson of Catastrophe. Will it have to come before they open their eyes to the truth? I ask an effort from all so that it has not to be. It is only the truth that can save us; truth in words, truth in action, truth in will, truth in feelings. It is a choice between serving the truth or being destroyed.’ – The Mother, 26 November 1972
Do these synchronicities fall into the mind’s waste bin of random coincidence? Is it at all significant that the passage of the Indian Constitution also transpired on 26 November, in 1949?
On the occasion of India’s Independence, 15 August 1947, Sri Aurobindo wrote:
‘August 15th is my own birthday and it is naturally gratifying to me that it should have assumed this vast significance. I take this coincidence, not as a fortuitous accident, but as the sanction and seal of the Divine Force that guides my steps on the work with which I began life, the beginning of its full fruition.’
For those who agree that India’s independence falling on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday was no ‘fortuitous accident’, and for those who agree that India must recover her true Self and recover the Sanatana Dharma, perhaps the Mumbai attacks effected on “Immortality Day’ will wake up a revived sense that the Divine Force spoken of by Sri Aurobindo is active in our world today.
For thousands of years India’s ancient culture and knowledge have been thoroughly walked on, eroded, and distorted as a result of occupations, invasions, migrations and religious conversions (whether forced or peaceful). Perhaps with the Mumbai attacks, the passivity that allowed such encroachment on India’s soul, is now, from this important date, giving way to a stronger sense of self and a stronger will to be WHOLE. Surmising Sri Aurobindo’s vision for India, Sisir Kumar Mitra wrote:
‘… the task ahead of building up a new India is a tremendous one requiring the application of more than the utmost normal capacities of the race. The endeavour therefore must be made to reconstruct the national life on the basis of India's own culture, the truth of her soul and the purpose of her existence. Indeed the free India of today is not at all what she is destined to be. Her territorial integrity, her political oneness is vitally necessary for her growth as a nation as well as for the accomplishment of her mission in the world. Verily it is for this particular work that she has lived through the ages. A resurgent India, a strong, united and above all, an illumined India able powerfully to revolutionise the consciousness of the entire world and shape it anew by her own illimitable spiritual force is the hope and need of humanity today. That will be the noontide of her freedom, the high watermark of her greatness and her supreme raison d'etre among the peoples of the world.’ [Bold emphasis added]
– Sri Aurobindo and Indian Freedom by Sisirkumar Mitra 
Those who follow the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother must wonder how the Supramental Shakti is active in accomplishing the tremendous task and destiny which Sri Aurobindo envisioned for India, which would ‘new-mould the life of the world and restore the peace of the human spirit’.  They must wonder at the coincidence of the Mumbai attacks beginning precisely on the 26th of November – ‘Immortality Day’, precisely at Apollo Bunder, the locale where Sri Aurobindo returned to Indian soil in 1893 to begin his epic work towards restoring India (and the Sanatana Dharma) to its full glory and potency.
In 1978 the Sri Aurobindo Ashram press began a publishing run of a book by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet which discussed, among other things, the reincarnation of Sri Aurobindo. Against the wishes of the Ashram Trustees, all but three of the books were destroyed by the press managers.  The birth date given in that book for Sri Aurobindo’s rebirth was 26 November 1963. The story Ms. Norelli-Bachelet has told in her books – of her own role in the Yoga, of the rebirth of Sri Aurobindo, and of the Supramental Will expressing itself in cycles and geometries of time – won her few friends and many enemies amongst followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. They could not imagine that the Supramental Descent would proceed in such a manner, and could not imagine that the Supramental Shakti would express herself or be visible in cycles and geometries of time.
One wonders if those persistent in dismissing Ms. Bachelet’s yoga, have yet paused to consider if the coincidence of the Mumbai attacks on the 45th birthday of the said reincarnation of Sri Aurobindo was not at all a ‘fortuitous accident’. For those who see 26/11 only as a tragedy, this association would seem unfortunate. But for those who understand and agree with the assessment that India’s ‘territorial integrity, her political oneness is vitally necessary for her growth as a nation as well as for the accomplishment of her mission in the world’, 26/11 can be appreciated as a profound seed of change and an important summoning of vital energies necessary for India’s reclamation of her own soul and her recovery of the Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Truth of Being and Becoming) for all the world.
Those who understand something of the ‘secrets’ of the Vedic texts will not be adverse to the idea, as proposed by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, that the recovery of the soul and of the eternal dharma involves a retrieval of gnosis of the circle of 360, gnosis of the 9 number system used throughout the world and attributed to ancient India, gnosis of the Earth’s year as traveled in a twelve month journey around the Sun, and gnosis of the living Cosmos and its harmonies. Evidence for such retrievable gnosis can be found in both the Rig Veda itself and in Sri Aurobindo’s writings on Vedic truth:
Twelve spokes, one wheel, navels three.
Who can comprehend this?
On it are placed together
Three hundred and sixty like pegs.
They shake not in the least
– Rig Veda 1.154.48
‘It is in the revolution of the year that the recovery of the lost Sun and the lost cows [solar rays/light] is effected, for we have the explicit statement in X.62.2, rtenabhindan parivatsare valam, “by the truth, in the revolution of the year, they broke Vala [the Ignorance],” or, as Sayana interprets it, “by sacrifice lasting for a year.”’
– Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda
‘… in a hidden chamber closed and mute,
are kept the record graphs of the Cosmic Scribe,
and there the tables of the sacred law,
There is the Book of Being's index page
The text and glossary of the Vedic truth
are there; the rhythms and meters of the stars
significant of the movements of our fate:
The symbol powers of number and form,
and the secret code of the history of the world
and natures correspondences with the soul
are written in the mystic heart of life.’
– Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book I, Canto Five
In 2006, unimpressed by such words of the Veda and of Sri Aurobindo, moderators and members of Auroconf (an Integral Yoga Study Group) ridiculed Ms. Norelli-Bachelet’s notions that the Supramental Descent and Shakti would somehow be visible in ‘the rhythms and meters of the stars’ or the ‘symbol powers of number and form’.
In 2007 Auroconf member Lynda Lester co-hosted a panel discussion entitled "Facing the Challenge of Fundamentalism and other Shadow Issues in the Ongoing Evolution of Integral Yoga" at the California Institute of Integral Studies ‘AUM Conference’ held at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The opening remarks of the discussion read as follows, ‘Sri Aurobindo and [The] Mother did not want to found a new religion... but we do see a few examples of fundamentalism …’. Lester then proceeded through a list of four offenders the last of which is ‘a small but aggressive group of people following Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet who are into esoteric numerology …’
According to the conference literature, the purpose of the conference was to ‘identify, heal, and clear unconscious divisions and blockages; foster deep listening, mutual learning, and the cross-pollination of knowledge streams; expand boundaries, build bridges of trust and collaboration; develop a more integrated, effective, and applied sense of the term "integral.”’ Yet by not inviting any presenters who appreciate or understand Ms. Norelli-Bachelet’s Supramental and Integral yoga and ‘applied cosmology’, they succeeded in continuing to block out points of view that renew the Sanatana Dharma, and succeeded in dismissing and alienating a living ‘stream’ of knowledge. Under the guise of authority and the safety of group agreement, the conference succeeded in defending old boundaries, and in refusing to bridge what has been accomplished by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the past with what is being accomplished by Ms. Norelli-Bachelet in the present.
In response to Lester, and to others who label their enemies as fundamentalists, Ms. Norelli Bachelet has written:
The 'authorities' who pontificate on the danger of fundamentalism
cannot appreciate that their own consciousness is its breeding ground.
The bane of all new-agey scholarship is Liberal Fundamentalism.
The efforts to marginalize or keep on the outskirts the very new idea (which is actually a very old Vedic idea) of a Divine Consciousness-Force that eternally weaves and orchestrates patterns of sacred geometry and sacred architecture in the course of Time is painfully short-sighted by all involved. The refusal to admit or even attempt to see such a Divine Consciousness-Force at work in the progression of the year and in larger cycles of time, effectively disables seekers from comprehending the ‘body of Time’ and from integrating the past, present and future, whether on an individual or a collective scale.
Perhaps the weight of groups and institutions that participate in such dismissals will increasingly prove to be irrelevant to seekers who take on the task of determining for themselves who or what represents a religious calcification of the knowledge introduced by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and who represents a true breakthrough into previously unseen and unexplored territories of the Supramental Truth-Consciousness. One wonders, what the members of Auroconf and the ‘experts’ on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother make of the coincidence not only of the Mumbai attacks on Immortality Day and on the date that they have denied as Sri Aurobindo’s rebirth; but also that the very slow moving Pluto (the unrecognized 9th planet of our solar system) happened to move into the 10th sign of Capricorn (the very portion of the 12 spokes/months of the wheel which the Veda extols as the month of the Victory), some three hours after the attacks began. The last time Pluto made this transit into Capricorn was in 1762.
Cultivating an appreciation for sacred geometry – for the Divine’s beauty, precision and perfection as displayed in nature, in Space – is no longer considered an ‘esoteric’ pursuit in our modern times. In fact many a scientist and mathematician have contributed to (and will continue to contribute to) our ever deepening appreciation of the Earthly, Cosmic and Human design. One wonders when it will no longer be considered ‘esoteric’ to consider a sacred geometry or divine control and beauty displayed in the course of Time. That will surely be the end of the prevailing mental view which imagines events in time proceeding randomly, with no connection to the individual or collective soul.
'Observe that in the Puranas the Yugas, moments, months, etc are all
symbolic and it is stated that the body of man is the year.'
– Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda
 Sri Aurobindo and India Freedom, Sisir Kumar Mitra, Madras; Sri Aurobindo Library, 1948 (from pp. 25-26.). Mitra’s portrait of Sri Aurobindo’s vision for India drew largely from Sri Aurobindo’s writings in Bande Mataram, Karmayogin, and letters and speeches written by Sri Aurobindo, such as the 15 August 1947 Independence Day Speech that was broadcast through All India Radio. See Link.
 Bande Mataram, 2 March 1908.
 This book, The New Way - A Study in the Rise and Establishment of a Gnostic Society, was subsequently published in 1981.
© Lori Tompkins, 2008
[Author’s note: In mid-January 2009 I was alerted by a reader that I had misattributed the Sisir Kumar Mitra quote to Sri Aurobindo. I apologize for the error and have made the appropriate corrections in the text and in the endnotes.]