Transformation Poem by Sri Aurobindo
The mystic poem “Transformation” is full of spirituality and divine inspiration. The central theme of the poem is the poet’s transformation from a sensuous to spiritual existence. Here the title itself denotes a “transition of the form”. According to the poet, Transformation necessitates the change of one’s current form into the divine form.
Summary / Critical Appreciation
‘Transformation and other poems’ are included in Sri Aurobindo’s ‘collected poems and prays, vol.II’. The titular piece Transformation is a mystical sonnet in which the poet talks as an illuminated spirit about his experience of being a transformed being suffered from spiritual consciousness. The octave explains the mechanism of spiritual transformation. The poet’s breathing becomes calm and regulated, flooding every part of his body with a divine filled with divine presence. His entire system branches into fine channels for the flow of pleasure emanating from the Absolute. The full stop at the end of the eighth line marks the caesura.
The idea of transformation expressed in the octaves is fully developed in the sestet. It starts with a slight shift in thought (volta) as the poet begins to describe the transformation state. He is no longer a man of flesh and bone; he has been transformed into God’s joyful tool. His cells are illuminated with the rapture and joy of the unknown and supreme. He is an emancipated soul who can now undergo a divine transformation, not only of the soul but also of the body.
Sri Aurobindo expresses the divine transformation of his entire state of realisation in fourteen tightly packed lines. He suffers from eternal effulgence as a result of the descent of the supramental. The poet’s self gradually progresses through the levels of Higher Mind, Illuminated Mind, and Overmind before merging with Nitya Chaitanya. In writing the sonnet, the poet used quantitative metre; the rhyme scheme in the octave is abba, abba, and in the sestet is cdc, ede.
This sonnet has received a lot of praise from critics. According to M.K. Naik, the sonnet “distils” the essence of a mystic experience. In Nirmalya Ghatak’s opinion: With his supernal rapture, widening of consciousness, a symphony of words, and spontaneous stream of lyrical rhythm and harmony, the poet inspires our breast. He uses the following line to illustrate the poet’s point of view:
“My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,”
Which he says,
‘may be called eternal in the world of poetry.’
The poem incorporates Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga concept, in which transformation is the keyword. It is not for a single person, but all of humanity. Integral Yoga entails the gradual divine transformation of each individual, culminating in universal divinisation. It can be attained through the ascension of man from below in tandem with the perfection of mind, life, and body, with the psychic opening propelling them forward; similarly, involution supports the evolution of the supermind to reach the planes of sachidananda hidden in the mystic folds of light. Thus, Sri Aurobindo’s transformation described in it is the affirmation of life. It is a multifaceted transformational process. Every part and plane of the being is transformed into its highest counterparts. The transformation is to take place in the body, which is something that other yoga systems overlook. The fundamental light is to be felt in the human body’s cells, which are to be consumed by the Light, so that the body, like the self, will remember God and tingle with divine consciousness. The supermind will then descend into our nature’s subconscient and inconscient layers or planes to effect the change.
Thus, in poignant lines of poetic utterance and grandeur, the sonnet Transformation is a brilliant exposition of the concept and realisation of supramental transformation. The poet appears to declare that if every person goes through this transformation, the world will be transformed into Heaven. The poet’s mystical experience is distinct and exclusive, as evidenced by the predominance of first-person pronouns (I, me). The poem has been chastised for containing no religious overtones. However, Sri Aurobindo’s intention was far from that; he simply wanted to evoke a spiritual experience of his own.
To summarise K.D.Sethma’s opinion, the poet outdoes the ancient Indian scriptures in his desire to suffuse and transform earth’s life with the golden immortal that the Rishis saw everywhere pressing for manifestation.