The Intermediary between the Human and the Supramental Being
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother wrote and spoke at a time before the awareness of “gender specific language”. Yet, they more than anybody else stood for the importance and dignity of the individual in all its aspects, male and female. For those who are not familiar with their personalities and their work, it may suffice to say that they admitted in their Ashram sadhaks and sadhikas on an equal footing at a time when this was most unusual.
When writing on subjects in connection with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother it is not always possible, however hard one tries, to adapt one’s language to the present sensibilities.
The book before you offers an important new presentation of an aspect of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ’s vision and yogic development. The Mother ’s French term surhomme, meaning the intermediary between the human and the supramental being, has until now been wrongly translated as “superman”, the word which in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s work stands throughout for the supramental being. To end this confusion and to clearly indicate the place the intermediary being occupies in the ongoing evolution beyond humankind, I find it essential to translate surhomme as “overman”.
“We start from the idea that humanity is moving to a great change of its life which will even lead to a new life of the race, – in all countries where men think, there is now in various forms that idea and that hope, – and our aim has been to search for the spiritual, religious and other truth which can enlighten and guide the race in this movement and endeavour. …”
“As man arose out of animal, so out of man superman shall come,” said Sri Aurobindo. Overman is a metaphysical book which dwells upon the concept of the ultimate progression of man into a highly enlightened species called the supramental being, towards which, the author says, the intermediary stage (the Overman) has already been reached.