Tusar Nath Mohapatra

Sri Aurobindo’s symbol first appears in 1933 in the Arya Publishing House’s issue of his The Riddle of this World

Posted on: June 15, 2008

Re: Max Théon—the Symbol of Sri Aurobindo
by RY Deshpande on Sat 14 Jun 2008 06:45 AM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent Link
The Symbol of Sri Aurobindo

The Mother explains the significance of the various parts of the symbol as follows:

The descending triangle represents Sat-Chit-Ananda.
The ascending triangle represents the aspiring answer from matter under the form of life, light and love.
The junction of both—the central square—is the perfect manifestation having at its centre the Avatar of the Supreme—the lotus.
The water—inside the square—represents the multiplicity, the creation.

About the significance of the ‘square’ Sri Aurobindo writes in one of his letters, in another context, that it is the symbol of “complete creation”.

The early history of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol is not known. In fact we do not know whether he had at all thought of a symbol of his own. There was none used for his monthly Arya published during the period 1914-21; the cover of the journal had instead the word ‘Arya’ written in large and bold Devanagari script. His very early books including The Yoga and its Objects published in 1921 do not bear any symbol anywhere. The symbol first appears in 1933 in the Arya Publishing House’s issue of his The Riddle of this World.

The earliest trace of the symbol could be the Mother’s sketch made before she met Sri Aurobindo in 1914. It seems that she had drawn what is called Solomon’s Seal—Sceau de Salomon—and given to her husband Paul Richard when he was to visit Pondicherry in 1911. He was to check the person who could reveal its significance and the Mother would accept him as her future guide. About the story of the symbol, Nolini Kanta Gupta reminisces as follows:

It was Sri Aurobindo himself who told us about a French lady from Paris who was a great initiate. She was desirous of establishing personal contact with Sri Aurobindo. That the Great Soul whom she meant was no other than Sri Aurobindo would be evidenced by a sign: she would be sending him something that he might recognize. The something was Sri Aurobindo’s own symbol—in the form of a diagram, known as Solomon’s Seal. Needless to add, after this proof of identity, steps were taken to facilitate her coming.

We could accept this account as fairly dependable as Nolini Gupta would not go out of the way to narrate it had there been any element of uncertainty about it. We must remember that he was directly associated with Sri Aurobindo in Calcutta as a revolutionary and in Pondicherry since his early days as a practitioner of his spiritual discipline, that is, the account should not be merely considered as “apocryphal”.

Sri Aurobindo’s symbol underwent several transformations before it was given the final approval by the Mother in July 1964—the final form of the symbol was prepared by Pavitra, the name given by Sri Aurobindo to his French engineer-disciple—under the direct instructions from her and approved by her. This is now taken as Sri Aurobindo Ashram’s official symbol with the copyright possessed by it.

The Mother certainly had Théon’s symbol in her view while she was working out the symbol for Sri Aurobindo, and she said so: d’après ça. She also added that Théon had told her that his symbol was the Seal of Solomon. We can get some idea about it from the cover page of The Cosmic Movement Théon was bringing out.

If the central square in Sri Aurobindo’s final symbol is of side a, then the larger triangle has the base 2.58a and height 1.63a; other details in the square are also fixed in its term.

We cannot say in this entire development that the Mother borrowed the design of Théon’s symbol while working out the symbol for Sri Aurobindo. More appropriately, more occult-yogically she imposed Sri Aurobindo’s on Théon’s.



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Tusar N. Mohapatra

Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum
SRA-102-C, Shipra Riviera, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad - 201014 (UP) India + 91 96500-65636
Aadhaar No. 3628 2075 7337
SELF posits a model of counselling and communicative action as an instrument in order to stimulate the public sphere. The model aims at supplementing the individual’s struggle for a successful social adjustment with more aspirational inputs so as to help one take an informed and balanced attitude towards life as well as society.
Savitri Era of those who adore,
Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.

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