The Way of the Alchemist

Apropos of Andre VandenBroeck’s book 'AL-KEMI, A Memoir', On the work of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz

The Spirit in man has one aim before it in all

mankind; but different continents or peoples approach

it from different sides, with different

formulations and in a different spirit. Not

recognising the underlying unity of the ultimate

divine motive, they give battle to each other and

claim that theirs alone is the way for mankind.

The one real and perfect civilisation is the one

in which they happen to be born, all the rest

must perish or go under. But the real and perfect

civilisation yet awaits to be discovered…’

                                                            Sri Aurobindo

                                                            Foundations of Indian Culture

                                                            CE, Volume 14, Chapter 3



I am finding the book immensely interesting. Not for the newness it reveals, but for the ‘oldness’ which affords us another concrete example of the contrast between this work and others seeking along the same lines. But in this case the connections are remarkable and immensely interesting. They are direct, unlike with Castaneda where it is only through the similarity of the teaching but no personal contact. In this case there has been a contact. It is only logical that it should be so since we are dealing with a creation IN THE PRESENT, which Schwaller de Lubicz intuited had to be, but sought the keys to it in the past. This is the most important difference in our work. Whatever I have discovered, whatever Knowledge has come – and I use the word capitalised, as de Lubicz does – has been through the yogic experience in the present.

 Another important difference lies in the fact that I received the Knowledge FIRST – or at least the basic formula – whereas in cases such as with de Lubicz, there was a quest and a formulation BEFORE anything real or lasting came. Consequently, his earlier publications before the important breakthrough into Pharaonic Egyptian mysteries were disowned by the author. This has not been the case in my work. And it is this that establishes a completely different basis from the outset. There is the realisation and Knowledge is its spontaneous handmaiden.

Language is also a part of the difference. Schwaller de Lubicz admits that before his contact with Pharaonic Egypt he did not have ‘the right language’ to present his thought. On page 74, AVB quotes de Lubicz as saying, ‘…It took me a long time to find the language for what I had to say, and only with Pharonic Egypt did I find my cipher, my symbolique. A symbolique must show itself, it cannot be invented, and it cannot be conventional, like the artificial languages of symbolic logic…’

I have to admit that this was never a problem for me. I believe the reason lies in the fact that I was a virgin field for the Knowledge. I had no special academic preparation and hence the mind was uncluttered. What came, came strictly on the basis of the LIVED EXPERIENCE. There was no groping, no pulling down…nothing of the sort. It was a spontaneous flowering, and it accompanied the breakthroughs in my own Yoga. That is, Knowledge flowed as a result of those breakthroughs and not otherwise. And it was always a thing of the present, while from the beginning it brought its own language. This too required no lengthy seeking.

This brings me to another point: de Lubicz sought for the keys in the past. One can understand why: the present offered nothing comparable, as far as he was concerned. Indeed, it was an aberration, science itself was an aberration, and only in sacred science could the true answers be found, as well as the right technology. There is certainly a truth in his position, but seeking in the past for the answer to the present can never bring the real Knowledge. I hope to be able to make this clear in the course of what I have to write.

All of this would be just an academic discussion if there were not those wonderful interconnections that so characterise my work. Therefore, let me give a background to this discussion which will put what I have to write in a different bracket. My interest in AVB’s book is not so much in what he reveals of de Lubicz’s thought and work but in the wonder of the interconnections and the proof these offer of the progress of this New Way. Each time I come across something of this order I become extremely excited because we are able to perceive in WHAT IS how the new creation has come into being and what its goal is. In this case the interconnections are remarkable, even to the fact that de Lubicz centred all his work on ‘the temple’. For him it was the Egyptian Temple and no other. For me it is the Mother’s Temple and no other. No other from the past that is.

In his work there is also the question of Number. His background is the Pythagorean School. My background has been, once again, the lived experience of Number in the present. And of course the yogic experience that offered me the pivotal breakthrough into the nature of the Zero.

But the Temple is the main connecting link. If you recall, in the VISHAAL in which I deal with the history of the Temple episode in Auroville (TVN 3/2, June 1988), I quote a letter I had received from my brother in which he describes an unplanned meeting with a clairvoyant in Rome. This woman began speaking about me and my work regarding ‘a temple’ and its ‘measurements’. If you recall she specifically related this to Egypt, that there was some connection with Egypt, and that I should ‘insist on the accurate measurements’, that this was very important.

At the time I was in the thick of the temple affair, seeking to convince the architects that they should respect the plan the Mother gave. We all know what happened thereafter and how these efforts failed. You were witness to much of what transpired. But the connection with Egypt was true. However, it was true in the sense that what was transpiring in the Ashram and Auroville regarding this issue was a means to draw the Work into the present. And there was a person involved in its early stages, who later became involved very closely with de Lubicz’s work. This was X. But, let me go step by step otherwise some points will be missed and they are all relevant to the assessment I wish to make of Schwaller de Lubicz’s work in contrast to mine.


In 1974 I was writing The Gnostic Circle. It was then that the problems with the Temple surfaced. Only AFTER the Mother left her body did I come to realise that changes had been brought about in the original plan she gave for the inner Chamber of the Temple. At that time X was beginning his studies of sacred geometry. I believe this grew out of an appreciation of de Lubicz’s work, though I never discussed the matter with him. He was, of course, insistent that the architects should respect the Mother’s original plan. Since I was not a resident of Auroville and rarely visited the place, it was important to have people who were there, on the site, who could put pressure on the architects before the Chamber was built. In 1974 there was nothing standing in the way of a rectification since it was still in the plan stage regarding the actual Chamber. The attitude we encountered in the architects was dreadful. It was a closed, skeptical, ignorant consciousness one had to face. A daily confrontation with this darkness, this personification of everything one would wish to ignore or pretend did not exist.

For X I believe this situation was just too depressing. Before long he announced that he was leaving Auroville. What astounded me most was the fact that he intended to go to France to perfect his French, which he had just begun to study, so that he could translate de Lubicz’s books into English.

This was the power of Diti in full, I recognised it then, with its comforting security and lure of the past offered as an escape from the trials of the present. Believe me, if I had had such a freedom of choice, I would have fled too! It was, if you recall, a most depressing atmosphere. Therefore, I understood X’s decision, but I could not agree with it. I explained that to seek in the past for answers, for knowledge, was futile. I also explained that the Mother’s plan of the Inner Chamber contained all that Egypt had to offer and much more. But clearly he had made up his mind. Another point is that until then I had not published anything concerning the discoveries I was beginning to make in the Mother’s plan. But, I realised later, even if X had read what I was discovering he would not have altered his plans in any way. I bring this up because significantly he was the first resident of Auroville.

It is clear that we vibrate within to what our destinies have arranged for us. X’s way was the past, and this found fulfillment in de Lubicz’s work. But he represented the problem we have to face in convincing seekers that the Work as it is unfolding today is far more glorious than anything the past has to offer.

There is another important point. According to de Lubicz, women are not at home with ‘abstract thought’. AVB quotes de Lubicz’s wife, Isha: “Woman does not know abstraction. Her imagination is entirely figurative, which is why metaphysics and abstractive sciences are usually “strangers” to her’ (p.263). AVB describes his own wife’s position vis-à-vis de Lubicz’s teachings: “Her very gender barred her from access, even if such had been her aim. For Aor [Schwaller de Lubicz] firmly believed in a constitutional impossibility of the female mind to handle abstract concepts with the extreme rigour Hermetic philosophy demands. He made no excuses for this contention, nor did he recognise exceptions. Isha, who had absolutely no contact with geometry, for instance, sustained him fully and sincerely’ (p.39).

Given this background it is understandable that X felt uncomfortable having to deal with women on this question of ‘exact measurements’ and the Knowledge thereof! To make matters more complicated, there was not only one woman to deal with BUT TWO. And though the first was physically gone, the other was very much present, and confronting him regularly on this issue. But, at the time I had no contact at all with de Lubicz’s work. In fact, the book you have sent me is the first such contact. When I advised X not to leave Auroville but to put his energies into getting the Mother’s plan executed properly, it was strictly from the Knowledge I had already received and which convinced me instinctively that nothing the past had to offer could compare with her creation. In 1973/4, I had just begun to have direct insights into the matter. Above all, it was the discovery of the Gnostic Circle that opened the doors to that Knowledge. Without that the rest would have been undecipherable. So, there was nothing to convince X at the time that he should not leave. In addition, there was this womanhood to confront and the conception of his teacher that Hermetic sciences are barred to women a priori, by their gender.

I agree with this assessment. Hermetic sciences as they have reached us from the past are barred to women. The abstract is something that I am constantly combating and seeking to eliminate in my work. Whereas, de Lubicz places great store in the abstract and the irrational. These are foreign to my work entirely. And this is the great dividing line between a woman’s approach and a man’s. However, these dividing lines are fast fading; and I hope my work will at least be responsible for this integration (of the sexes) at some point.


To return to history, X left Auroville and abandoned his efforts to have the Mother’s original plan executed. The ‘disharmony’ was clearly too much for him, and I am not only referring to measurements! I repeat, it was an exasperating experience which promised to go nowhere. The presiding architect’s consciousness was completely closed to any intervention on the basis of something so elusive as ‘higher Hermetic Knowledge’. His own ego was the only concrete reality. But one could understand his position, given his inherent limitations. It was X’s that baffled me, insofar as his destiny had drawn him to Auroville and given him, on a platter, the opportunity to develop his quest along the lines of sacred geometry and architecture which his dedication to de Lubicz’s thought clearly indicated was present in him from the beginning. At the same time, you can understand how disturbing it was to see people like X lose faith (the Mother was no longer physically present) and seek elsewhere. In fact, one by one all the people in Auroville and the Ashram who initially sought to have the Mother’s plan executed have ‘fallen by the wayside’, so to speak. They have all ‘joined hands with the petty tyrant’, as don Juan would say. The only ones who have persisted are those who came away with me, or who, though outside the Ashram, had a close contact with my work. I believe that now these people will reap the reward of this perseverance: the lines are clearly drawn and the way of Woman has been victorious, for it is the way of Knowledge.

It is the question of the lure of the past that interests me, the known in contrast to what has to be discovered in the present. At one time the knowledge of Egypt was the present and it must have been discovered in a manner similar to what we have experienced at this stage of the Supramental Manifestation – with some fundamental variations due to the prominence of Time now rather than Space, as in the Egyptian mysteries. This is what people do not realise. But, how can they? If one does not SEE, then one simply does not see. And no amount of words can make the difference. But when one is brought by destiny to the source IN THE PRESENT, then to turn one’s back on it in favour of what has already been achieved in the past is to miss one’s opportunity in this lifetime entirely. And these ‘choices’ are spontaneous. They arise in those trying ‘moments of truth’ in which one stands alone before God and one’s destiny, in the inner chamber of one’s soul. One faces those turning points armed solely with the power of truth of one’s efforts and one’s realisation. This is why the New Way is the way of the Warrior. This is why COURAGE is needed, which only the true Warrior knows. The pioneer-warriors must rely on this courage to carry them through the trying moments of the great Transition.

Before proceeding, however, I must state that in emphasising the experience of the present, I do not wish to appear as a denier of everything the ancients left us in these formidable schools of Knowledge, be these Egyptian or Indian, or whatever. In fact, the manner in which Schwaller de Lubicz has presented the Egyptian formulary is perhaps one of the most serious and important treatments available to seekers. It is not that those ancient formulations were wrong, but simply that the times demand something else now. Indeed, when we say that this is the time of the great Transition, it is implied that the old formulas, however great they may be, cannot suffice now. The evolutionary expansion of consciousness, which even de Lubicz dealt with in this presentation, is a fact; and this fact implies a leap never before experienced by humanity. We shall go into this matter as deeply as this brief space will permit.


In studying AVB’s book I find confirmation for everything I have written regarding the differences between this New Way and the ways of the past, especially in those areas where our lines cross, so to speak. That is, in what concerns the role of the Temple and geometry, and, above all, number. I believe that in quoting portions of AVB’s book in this regard, I can substantiate what I have seen and written about the way this work has taken shape and the foundation of its knowledge. Two items stand out in this assessment: the Zero and Time. But these occupy only an insignificant place in de Lubicz’s work, at least in the manner in which they are understood in this new Gnosis.

In fact, there is a most significant point: I use the word geometry in a special context. I call an important part of my work regarding the Temple ‘the geometry of time’. Several years ago I came across an article written by X in which he uses this same term. I am not aware that anyone prior to me had used it. Perhaps he did find it elsewhere; but it is more likely that he picked it up from my book, The Gnostic Circle. Needless to say, I found his treatment ineffectual and obscure. It had nothing to do with my ‘geometry of time’.

Be this as it may, X uses the term in his writings on sacred geometry, and this is the main difference with de Lubicz’s work: I have pointed out in The Gnostic Circle and in The New Way in particular, that the central focus in Egypt was SPACE. Now it is TIME. And consequently, the work has been transported to India. X should have realised this when he found himself to be the first resident of Auroville!

But the glamour of the past impedes a seeing in the present. This condition is conveyed in The Magical Carousel, in the chapter on Cancer, in the land with all its veils and masques and bewitching mystery. When one looks into the past from the present, often what remains is simply the glamour. And can anything be more glamorous than Pharonic Egypt? Hollywood  notwithstanding?

And then there is the question of Mystery and Secrecy…secret Brotherhoods and Societies, and the like. These are aspects somewhat foreign to my work. And there is a reason: I have always felt that when the COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE would come, mystery would no longer be necessary, nor secrecy. There have been times when I have wondered if this was really so. I remember specifically in my first meeting with an accomplished Tantric Master in 1972. Almost his first words to me were, ‘Do not throw pearls to the swine!’ And he repeated this several times, a fact which left me rather disturbed because it seems to be a part of my nature which I have had great difficulty curbing. Then, on page 66 of AVB’s book we find this… ‘It was to him [de Lubicz] but another example of the need for “temple knowledge” accessible only to the elite, another demonstration of the “pearls to the swine” metaphor…’ AVB mentions this with regard to de Lubicz’s hierarchic model as the true way to govern, an element in his teaching which contrasted with AVB’s point of view. Later, it seems this difference became too important to ignore for AVB and it drew him away from the teaching.

But the point is that secrecy played an important part in the teachings of the past. My feeling has always been that this was necessary while there were ‘gaps’ in the Teachings, but that once these gaps were closed this need would be superfluous. It was the existence of gaps, of a LACK OF COMPLETENESS, which made it possible for the knowledge to be misused.

Today, after 18 years in India and all the Knowledge that has passed under the bridge of Time, I have not changed my views on this issue. Rather, I feel that the completeness of this Knowledge is its protection. It is this decisiveness, this body of irrefutable facts which drive people away without the need to exert any effort to weed out those who do not belong on this path. At the root of it all is ego – the usual culprit, that ever-present shackle the human being carries with him into this life: the only ‘original sin’.

The question of an ideal government whose structure stems from the Knowledge is another point that draws my work and de Lubicz’s together. But, in this too the question is a ‘new way’ in the present. We cannot take a model from the past, like Pharonic Egypt and expect that to be implemented today. The very idea is an absurdity. Nor is there any need for such an implementation. The present offers its own solution and arriving at that solution is part of the establishment of the supramental creation.

I agree with AVB (and with Sri Aurobindo, as well) that democracy is a gain we cannot afford to lose; nor is there any need to do so. In my work there is a ‘vertical’ line and a ‘horizontal’ one. The vertical is what in the past could have been equated with an elite, the Hierarchy. Today this is the Solar Line, in this new formulation. But the Horizontal is no less important. It plays a major role in the development. And that is where democracy comes in. But in the new Creation there is a difference with the democracy we practice today. We are discussing a society POISED DIFFERENTLY. Wherein each member is a ‘sun unto him/herself’. This is the major difference; and it is fundamental. It is this condition that our 20th-century democracies have sought to grasp but have only partially understood.

Thus, we have already pointed out several areas in which this work and de Lubicz’s converge. But one is focussed on the past and one in grounded in the present. With this background, let us proceed with the discussion of the differences between the two and see where it leads.

Of course one could sum up the difference between this work and de Lubicz’s by the place Time occupies in them. In his work it is virtually non-existent. In mine it is central. This also carries us to the question of abstraction versus concreteness. In Schwaller de Lubicz’s work abstraction (and by consequence the irrational) is central; in mine it is not only secondary but non-existent. To be more specific, when Time becomes a key feature in the work, then we move out of the realm of abstraction and speculation and we MUST deal with form and detail and order and method and…evolution. The Temple, for me, contains all of this and more. But I am not so sure that de Lubicz’s ‘temple’ held the same all-inclusive substance.

Another point is that I believe he was constantly grappling with those ‘gaps’, as I call them. That is, we have in the original vision of the Mother’s Temple a pure form. But then in the execution of that form we have the mixture and the veils and waves from below and the consequent distortions.

As far as I can gather, this situation preoccupied de Lubicz greatly. And not having located a ‘pure form’ in the present, he had to turn his gaze to the ancient world. Thus in Luxor he found his perfection of form and concentrated on that as the vehicle for transmission of his ideas. I have done the same. I have used the Mother’s Temple in the same manner. In addition, in the third volume of The New Way, I have carried that structure down to the individual, to man, as de Lubicz has done in his ‘Temple of Man’. But again we come to the dividing line: I am using a form IN THE PRESENT. He is using a form OF THE PAST. It is obvious, to me at least, that we cannot turn to the past, no matter how ancient and sacred it may be, or may seem to us to be.

The crux of the matter lies in the universe we are describing as the macrocosm which is, in the Hermetic aphorism, equal to the microcosm via the formula, ‘As above, so below’. This, we all agree, must be true. We have had indisputable experiences to inform us that this stands as an eternal truth. AVB quotes de Lubicz on this with regard to the content of today’s temple and yesterday’s, for the more primitive human being: ‘His temple probably didn’t extend beyond a few things like ashes, bones, and rocks, but he saw the heavens above him more clearly, and it must have helped him to an early emotional perception of his sacred affairs. And that’s what counts, after all!’ (p.175) However, as I have pointed out on numerous occasions, that ‘above’ has been altered in our perception of the cosmos. It is no longer the measure of six – actually Seven in the old cosmologies. Schwaller de Lubicz clings to that Measure, nonetheless. We note this in his remarks about ‘cycles’ and their relevance. He discusses with his disciple the importance of cycles, but he refers to the cycle of Seven – seven years. In this context he enters into a discussion of concreteness as opposed to abstraction. ‘The cycle is a functional rhythm, and cyclical thinking affords a concrete approach to the space-time problem. You can’t make a move without that kind of concreteness…’

This carries de Lubicz to the question of boundaries or ‘limits’, which has occupied so central a part in my work. He has rightfully understood that the solar system is one such boundary. But it appears to me that these boundaries are exceeded in his path through ‘abstraction’. This, it is clear, is the manner in which he deals with that perennial torment of the human mind – freedom. Geometry in his school is the supreme ‘abstraction’. It is the mind’s means to acquire a knowledge which is free from the limitations which time and space inflict on the human consciousness by keeping it within these boundaries and gravitationally pinning it to this confounded ‘concreteness’.

But then, herein lies the problem, and the answer. Again, I have to emphasise that it is not resolved in de Lubicz’s work. It is, nonetheless, implied in his comments on this very question: if the solar system is man’s horizon and one should not go beyond that or else one loses oneself, then it is understood that when that ‘horizon’ is extended, as ours has been, this extension must form a part of our new perception and experience of the reality we live on this planet. De Lubicz did not seem to be concerned with this issue. I believe that for him the cosmos was some sort of ideal, devoid of real substance and relevance. That ‘above’ was a pattern of perfection, but it had little to do with the day-to-day reality we live, nor could it form a ‘concrete’ aid in one’s quest. Thus its Measure could be six, or seven, or whatever, because it was just another ‘symbolic annotation’ for all practical purposes.

‘…The solar system is man’s horizon. That does not mean that there is nothing beyond. Simply that what is beyond is not of his nature, not on the scale of his vision. Teleologically, the sun is the end of man. It is folly to think beyond. It will lead to nothing, and it might destroy what is.’ (p.53)

The disciple writes in sequence to this quote: ‘I brought up the remarkable opportunities present in philosophical geometry for the bonding of abstraction and concreteness. This brought us back to space and time, as we admired geometry’s independence from such tyranny.’ (p.53)

Schwaller de Lubicz then explains how this ‘independence’ of geometry helps one to achieve that ‘abstraction’ which seems to be the keystone of his quest and teaching. He calls geometry therefore ‘the great temple-school’.

Again this brings us to several familiar points in my work. In the first place there is the solar system and its CONCRETE MEASURE. It is no longer six plus one, or the Seven de Lubicz refers to in the cycles which he finds relevant in life. However, this emphasis on seven years introduces the old formula, taken from the old System. In my work this measure is not incorporated. There is, on the other hand, the cycle of 9, based on the extended measure of the solar system. It is only when the Measure has been extended to 9 that we can truly incorporate Time as an ally in the process, in our perception, and not shy away from this power as from an implacable destroyer. Time for me, in my work, is not the bondage it is for others. It is the Liberator. It releases the ‘fuel’ to scale the new heights that await us. It is the ‘gold’ hidden in every single thing in creation.

By consequence, geometry has never been a tool for abstraction. Indeed, to make this clear, I have always referred to ‘the geometry of time’, rather than the geometry of space. The latter is a result of the former. And this brings us to the central difference: the Zero.

De Lubicz continuously refers to oneness, and the irrationality of the beginning, and so forth. It is clear that the beginning for him lies in the ‘one’. It is clear that unity must be described by this cipher. From the One the breaking up starts.

Now, in my work, as you know, unity is the Zero. Thereafter it is simply a question of time extending the essence of the Zero. That is, time as a tool for the Becoming. And since the 0 and the 9 are equal, we have in the 9 merely a ‘concretisation’ of that Zero-Essence. But this perception is closed to us if we closet ourselves in the old Measure. This fact posits de Lubicz’s work in the past and in no way is it allowed entry into the corpus of Knowledge that is the foundation of this new Age. He himself makes this clear by turning to Pharonic Egypt for the ‘form’ of his system and ideas.

Time and again I have pointed out that we cannot apply those ancient solutions to the present. What was evolved then was not only valid for a brief moment in history, let us be clear on this. Its truth has held up to the present, to the very time that de Lubicz began his work, in fact. That is, it held up until the beginning of this century. More specifically, it was valid until the dawn of the new Age: 1926. That was the clear demarcation. Everything from that point onward had to be ‘made new’.

I have gone into these movements of the Ages in great detail in some of my books. I have situated the Egyptian contribution in the 7th Manifestation. This can help us to understand why de Lubicz clung to the 7 as his ‘measure of time’. Clearly the civilisation which arose in the 7th Manifestation would have a natural affinity with that number-power. Similarly, in this, our 9th Manifestation, the number 9 is the great key of Knowledge. The intermediate Manifestation between the two, the 8th, also left its mark on the evolutionary process involving the power of the 8. This was clearly operating in Sri Krishna’s time, hence he is the 8th Evolutionary Avatar, and this number plays a very prominent role in his coming. But the real and full power of the 8 was evident in the manifestation of Gautam the Buddha, whose birth at the tag end of the 8th Manifestation, was a sort of culmination. It left an imprint which formed the basis of the movement into this 9th Manifestation and the work that we are doing now is, as Sri Aurobindo commented, correcting ‘the error of the Buddha’.

Through this brief outline we can see that it is a simple matter to assess the nature, the purpose and the aim of any of the schools of higher knowledge we may encounter along the way, – whether they belong to the past or are a part of the new foundation of this 9th Manifestation, and more particularly of this Aquarian Age which began in 1926, right at the time when de Lubicz came on the scene. It is immensely interesting to note certain biographical details: Schwaller de Lubicz began his work in Paris and was a part of the movement that situated itself in that particular place and time: the first decades of this century. Remember that the Mother took birth there and she herself was actively involved in occult schools in that very same spot on the globe. This may seem of little importance in a cursory analysis, just another one of those ‘coincidences’. But, given the development of her Yoga and mission and the legacy she has left us, it is clear that this convergence in France was deeply meaningful. I refer to her legacy of the Temple, the model of which would have answered all de Lubicz’s questions and provided the link with the present which he seems to have missed entirely. But this link was barred from his vision completely by his insistency that the female mind could not involve itself deeply in Hermetic studies, since it was not comfortable with ‘abstraction’. It is this point specifically which kept him a prisoner of the past and did not allow him entry into the ‘Temple-School’ of this new Age. For the fact is that it is precisely Woman who holds the key to these new-age Mysteries. And the answer lies in Time. Thus the ‘new model of the universe’, in the classic temple-form of transmission of Knowledge, is a hymn to Time and Concreteness. The reason is that we enter the Age of Unity, and implied in this passage is a ‘divinisation’ of matter, as Sri Aurobindo termed it. To put it succinctly, and thereby to draw de Lubicz’s quest even more closely into this comparative discussion, it is a unity of Transcendent, Cosmic and Individual principles. It is the reconciliation of ‘abstraction’ and ‘concreteness’. But to accomplish this integration, a third element must manifest. The Mother’s Temple shows us how this is done.

Thus Paris at the turn of the century was a brewing pot for a dissolving of the hold of the old ways. It was like the last breath before death sets in irrevocably. The old Piscean Age died in Paris (though its centre was Italy). And in my experience I know of no better mind than the French for dealing with ‘abstraction’. The mental principle had its full play there – its rise and its fall. Therefore France was the cradle of a magnificent convergence of brilliant minds in the early decades of this century. This position of preeminence which it occupied only came to an end with the Second World War. The function of Paris as ‘brewing pot’ where the old was melted down, came to an end then.

To make this situation even clearer, let me quote AVB on what de Lubicz felt his contribution to the world of higher knowledge to be, with respect to the passage of the Ages. AVB writes: ‘There seemed to be no question in his mind but that he was the ultimate repository of the Pythagorean line in the precessional month of Pisces.’ (p. 189) I have no doubt that this was a true perception and that he did summarise what was meant to take a new form, epitomised in the Temple of this present Age. But his concept of his role also reveals that for him the new Age had not yet begun. This increases the atmosphere of the past that I feel permeates his work.

Thus, out of the effervescence and churning in Paris at the close of the Age of Pisces, de Lubicz evolved his school by eventually turning to Egypt. (Instead of going forward into the 9th Manifestation, he turned back to the 7th!) It is also interesting to note that the Mother’s family roots lay in Egypt, while we have her testimony of occult experiences confirming a past incarnation as the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut – master temple builder! But the Mother MOVED ON. And then, herself a Pisces by birth, at the close of the Age of Pisces destiny drew her to India where the foundations were laid for this ‘redemption of time’, simply because India knew the Zero, as well as the 9 – for indeed the two go hand in hand. From ancient times India has used a ‘measure of 9’. By incorporating the Lunar Nodes in its astrological pantheon, it managed to keep itself ready for its central role in this new Age when the System would come to measure nine. Still today the 9 is considered by even the layman and the ordinary citizen as the supreme number, the most sacred, and, above all, the number connected to the Divine Mother. Indeed, the temple of this new Age is ‘The Mother’s Temple’, and its master key is 9.

De Lubicz’s work cannot be categorised as merely an intellectual exercise – that would not do it justice at all. I consider it on the order of an introduction to the splendours of geometry and form and the harmonies perceivable therein. But it is simply an introduction by way of a certain recapitulation. As if to say, ‘This is what the past has had to offer. Let it be a stimulus to seek the new in the present!’

At the same time, I cannot but feel a certain sadness at the fact that here we have a serious, intense labour of a lifetime, with splendid insights, perceptions, verities by the dozens…yet it is doomed from the outset because ‘the time had not come’. Nor had the Woman. But had she appeared on the horizon of de Lubicz’s world, he would never have recognised her, having condemned himself to the sterile corridors of the Abstract and the tomb of the past.

Harsh words? Perhaps. But it is the bare truth. And in this Age of the Truth-Consciousness, how can we ‘mince words’, as the saying goes. One has to call a spade a spade, as the other saying goes. This is the function of the Third, and it is interesting that de Lubicz had perceived this function and labelled it – or allowed his pupil to label it – ‘the third thing’. This is all part of the ‘ordering’ which the Third introduces. De Lubicz, however, makes a distinction between essential Harmony and then order.

‘This creative oneness in the beginning generates by its primordial activity not order, but harmony by affinity, through attraction and repulsion, through polarity, and only ‘then’ does order come into the worlds.’ (p.104) But in my experience that process of attraction and repulsion which is necessary in the transition from chaos to cosmos or order is what might be called the act of putting order into chaos. Then de Lubicz makes this remarkable statement, which isolates the core of the difference between our works, ‘Harmony effaces multiplicity…which means that becoming is negation…’ (p.104). Invariably in my experience with esoteric schools, the Becoming is the stumbling block simply because the question of time and its essence, its BEING as well as its own becoming, have not been understood.




How can we not be marvelled by all this, by the very fact that we can now discuss these differences at all, with the precision time has introduced by way of the lived experience in the present on the backdrop of what I have called Gnostic Time? For now we are able to evaluate a teaching such as that of de Lubicz on the basis of immediate lived experiences and the knowledge distilled from those processes. Here we are not concerned with ‘abstracts’ at all. Our discussion of de Lubicz’s work was immediately drawn out of that context when I mentioned the connecting link between then and now via the first resident of Auroville, his involvement with the Mother’s Temple and his subsequent withdrawal and escape to de Lubicz’s work and the lure of that great Egyptian past. Clearly what X sought he found in Schwaller de Lubicz, something that he must have felt was lacking in the Mother’s or my work. It was this question of the ‘abstraction of geometry’, or the ability to escape from those binding limitations which time and space introduce (in their view) and which one becomes ‘independent of’ in the abstraction of pure geometry, pure harmony as it is conceived and perceived by the mind. This is fundamental to point out. Though de Lubicz makes a pointed distinction between Knowledge and mental information and accumulation of data, and so forth, his work must be situated in the domain of a mental elitism, which is where one feels immensely comfortable with abstraction.


It was in 1973/74 that the question of translating Schwaller de Lubicz’s books into English came to the fore, according to AVB. This was the time of the Mother’s passing; it was the time when I began writing The Gnostic Circle, which was the key to the Temple’s knowledge. It was the time I discovered the discrepancies between the Mother’s original plan and the architects’ revised version. It was the time X came to attend some of my classes in the Ashram on these subjects. And it must have been the time when he began his study of Schwaller de Lubicz and his fascination with geometry and number according to that School. Soon thereafter he left Auroville and put all his energies into the precious labour of translating de Lubicz. That is, he left those ugly ‘details’ of the present which we were obliged to face in the Temple episode in Auroville, and he plunged into the sea of the past, into the realm of the Queen of Night and her luring, enticing labyrinth in her Castle of secure wonders.

This happening is, to me, a superb example of the clarity with which the Manifestation is taking shape in time. It is an astonishing confirmation, and to the degree that his work has provided this confirmation, I believe Schwaller de Lubicz deserves a foremost place in the galaxy of ‘temple-builders’, in the sense I attribute to the term. His work provides us with a ‘concrete proof’ of the old in contrast to the new, in a most unmistakable manner. Indeed, could this have been the proof he sought after so assiduously the whole of his life? The lived experience in the ‘laboratory’, the stage upon which to see the enactment of the drama of evolution on the backdrop of the elitist scenario he was devising? For we must now discuss this aspect of the work, de Lubicz’s world vision and the limitations he suffered due to, once again, this search into the past for answers suitable to the present. This is a contradiction in terms, but it seems he never realised this. Or perhaps there was just no solution, even though he might have realised the conundrum this circumstance was creating. For ‘the time had not yet come’, nor had all the details of the Solar Line been revealed and with them the foundation of a new world order in which this superior Harmony would play a central role. At the same time, it is this circumstance which solves the other disturbing conundrum: the resolution of the question of elite and plebe, or hierarchy and egalitarian democracy. These conundrums arise in the linear perception which is a limitation set by the One isolated from the Zero. All paradoxes resolve themselves in the spherical womb of the supramental Gnosis.




Before drawing this commentary to a close, I would like to dwell somewhat more at length on the element in de Lubicz’s work that seems to disturb AVB the most. At the same time, we uncover AVB’s own limitations in this regard. Clearly the man lives in fear of a repeat Nazi performance. He visualises scenarios in which a similar manifestation can arise again and inflict once more its dreadful darkness on an unknowing, unsuspecting and manipulated public. He identifies this power to manipulate with an elite perhaps in possession of secret knowledge which it uses to secure domination and impose its twisted order on the world. His special concern is ‘esotericism materialising into concreteness’ (p.246), or a spirituality which proposes to evolve a political doctrine and influence in the polity of nations. Implied in this reasoning is that esotericism and spirituality are fine, as long as they remain abstract and find no ‘concrete’ expression. (Readers of VISHAAL will recognise herein another demonstration of the matter/spirit split which plagues our civilisation.) AVB sees groups infected with this compulsion to mix spirituality with mundane matters as grey eminences working behind the scenes, secret but all powerful. And of course, this influence, if it does exist, can only be negative because of the violation of a demarcation which has to be respected if something similar to a Nazi lunacy is not to reemerge. To support his argument, he presents quotations which sound like the rantings of Bible-thumping fundamentalists, though I am certain the authors he quotes are as well meaning as AVB himself.

AVB’s memoir of Schwaller de Lubicz draws to a close on this theme. The impression is that he was more concerned with this factor than with presenting to the world a remarkable body of knowledge to which he had a special access and was therefore in a privileged position to discuss. He seems compelled to expose de Lubicz’s early political bent, which later took a more mature shape when he discovered Pharaonic Egypt. He sounds a warning to the innocent of the lurking danger of this unhealthy mixture of pursuits which must be kept separate if they are to be kept harmless. Given this preoccupation, given these fears, these subconscious influences, it is a wonder that AVB got anything out of de Lubicz’s work at all. For the condition of his consciousness was certainly not the best to receive a higher knowledge such as his teacher was seeking to transmit. By this I do not mean that AVB’s fears are wholly unjustified. Not at all. It is simply that I see him ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’.

That there were dark areas in de Lubicz’s work does not surprise me. How can it be otherwise? If one turns to the past for answers, or a ‘symbolique’, disregarding the exigencies and realities of the present, the fruit of that seed can only be contaminated by corrosive substances the resulting ‘gaps in time’ introduce. Shadows and waves infiltrate the field and produce pockets of matter highly susceptible to decay and decomposition.

But this is the story of our entire civilisation, stretching back through the millennia. Whereas, the glory of our present 9th Manifestation is that the hands of the clock of the Ages are about to converge at the high-noon point; or, as the Mother explained: the Earth is poised beneath the midday supramental Sun, casting no shadows. This is the wondrous message of the Inner Chamber she designed: the Ray falling on the Globe, a play of light which casts no shadows, the ‘symbol of the future realisation’, or the new ‘symbolique’ for this New Age of the Supermind.

Naturally I am interested in AVB’s problem regarding this area of de Lubicz’s work. How can I fail to be when mine undeniably deals with the same issues? However, the approach is of course entirely different. And it is this difference that interests me.

Sri Aurobindo announced the coming of a NEW RACE and an entirely new Power manifesting which would uplift the entire Earth. True, this power had to be brought down and cemented by a group initially. Indeed, first by an individual and then a collectivity. The form Sri Aurobindo’s work took gives us the proof of this arrangement. But this does not imply an elite as an eternally separate entity from the masses, which is what AVB fears the most; and certainly not the sort of elite those fears conjure up in his imagination.

A central placement in this work grants no privilege to mould, to lead, to control. Being a centre in such a work is a position which, I assure you, none should covet. That individual – or even the initial group – must bear a cross which can only be borne because of a prearranged convergence of conditions which allow the individual to complete a process that others, not poised in this same way, would find impossible to achieve. The weight would be unsustainable. I can be very specific about this, mathematical, let us say. There is nothing of that Hollywood glitter of a Pharaonic elite, or else the glamorous imaginings of psychically inclined individuals who delight the world with their accounts of past lives as members of such an elite. Pleasant reading on a rainy afternoon!

This type of central placement does not grant power over people, a power to control. The individual is poised in such a way that the Power has a central nexus through which the new blueprint and the evolutionary matrix can be imprinted differently. Indeed, my constant experience, right from the beginning, has been that one is merely a witness to the extraordinary workings of the Supramental Shakti – this being one of the means to ‘imprint’. Consequently, I must agree with de Lubicz that ‘perception’ is the key to it all.

There is another point. This action which utilises the harmonies of the spheres for its implementation, uses channels available to it NOW, in the present. That is, it works through the actual conditions existing for the individual and the group and society as a whole. This point has been made more than clear in all my books – in particular The New Way. Just review the details of the Solar and Lunar Lines, especially the latter.

No doubt this evidence – of a line of individuals ‘destined to rule’ – would shock AVB. He would see in it the same ominous spectre of ‘dynastic rule’ which the opposition in India bemoans with monotonous regularity. But the point is, this arrangement has not been imposed on the people. They themselves have elected three members of the fourfold Line to power. And none can claim that those elections were rigged or that the Government in power manipulated the voters in unacceptable ways to achieve these results – at least no more than is normally done by parties in power throughout the world. No, the manifestation of destiny at work to bring about a ‘dynastic rule’ was carried out in the world’s largest democracy and through the popular vote in a series of elections spanning more than four decades. And yet the entire pattern and its intimate connection with the Solar Line through a unique harmony of Number, displays a new mechanism realistically rooted in the present, in world conditions as they are today. But yet it is a pattern and mechanism expressive of a most unique body of higher knowledge which might certainly be the envy of any former civilisation, sacred in its innermost core and being.

How would AVB deal with this happening? How would it affect his subconscious fears and his preferences and fixed ideas? How would it affect his stress on equality versus hierarchy which he sees to be the root of those shadow manifestations such as Nazism, or perhaps even de Lubicz?

In The New Way I describe a truly egalitarian society, in my view the only true equality attainable by the human being. That is, only in bringing about the new alignment in the matrix of the race, which permits this same alignment to be the new foundation for each person on this planet, can there be an experience of true equality.

In the meantime, while this work remains to be completed, it is not implied that there is a ‘divine right’ to rule of a privileged elite, lording over others by virtue of a superior knowledge or whatever. The ‘divine right’ the nuclear group enjoys is the command to serve, and to serve in this foundation of a new society, not by CONTROL over others but by being instruments more intrinsically at one with the Time-Spirit and therefore in a position to affect the change in those areas and levels which others would never wish to penetrate.

Sri Aurobindo once stated that ‘…we must do rightly what Hitler did wrongly’. AVB writes, ‘What is less well-known, yet well worth knowing, is that the Nazi regime was built up on the idea of “spiritual truths”. The spirituality was perverted, making the truth a falsehood, but nonetheless…’ (p.266). The point missed by AVB is that Hitler did not take a basic ‘truth’ and misuse it, though he did use certain formulas, symbols and ideas which were beginning to enter the Earth atmosphere and were ‘there’ for anyone to misuse. I consider that he never had a ‘truth’ to pervert. It was always a shadow manifestation, from the beginning, not something good turned bad somewhere along the way. He was never in possession of Truth. Therefore to use him as an example of how ‘spiritual truths’ can be perverted is really not tenable. We can only look back at that phenomenon and marvel at how clearly truth is displayed in all aspects of life, be they positive or negative. For everything serves the One.

Yet AVB makes it a point to disassociate de Lubicz from the cultists and the mystics with political aspirations: those who would advocate ‘a polity hinged to spiritual conceits’ (p.248). He states explicitly that de Lubicz was not concerned with theocracy á la Pharaonic Egypt as the answer to a future ideal government for the Earth. In fact, he records that de Lubicz believed that the end of the world had begun (p.249), thereby stressing his disinterest in a projection into the future. Further on AVB writes, ‘As to his preferences for ancient Egypt, we know it never was a “longing for the hierarchically ordered world of imaginary ancient theocracies” that drew de Lubicz to the Pharaonic, but considerations such as measure, number, and symbolique in general.’ (p.249).

Clearly AVB seeks to disconnect de Lubicz’s passion for ‘number, measure, and symbolique’ from his concern for a new world order. As if when he encountered his ‘language’ in Pharaonic Egypt this question became secondary and even ceased to exist for him.

This may well be true, but if so it is not that he matured from the ‘long-adolescent René Schwaller’ and this coming of age represented an abandon of the old concerns, but simply that the ‘number, measure, and symbolique’ he found in ancient Egypt could not answer the needs of the present time: the need to construct a bridge between abstraction and concreteness. It is clear that as de Lubicz went more and more deeply into the past to find the language to express his ideas, he went farther and farther into abstraction. It was therefore a coherent development, and his escape into ‘individualism’ was a result of the inability to use a symbolique of the past to construct that bridge in the present.




‘…And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh

a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords…’


These few lines from The Revelation of St. John (19, 6) highlight the most important feature of Schwaller de Lubicz’s work, the element which he himself felt to be the crux of the alchemist’s quest. It concerns the fixed salt which the ancients held to be the repository of IMPRINTS, the outcome of perceptions that have the power to produce these impressions. They are registered in the ‘fixed salt’, which in turn is formed in the thigh bone. This ‘nucleus’, as de Lubicz calls it, is the indestructible element (fixed salt) which survives decomposition of the organic, volatile substance and is therefore carried over from lifetime to lifetime. It is this nucleus, according to de Lubicz, which gathers the volatile elements around itself for reincarnation. In the terminology of the New Way, it is that ‘golden Seed’, that ‘Hiranyaretas’ or Agni (Fire) of the ancient Veda. Indeed, de Lubicz connects this salt in the thighbone directly with the Fire Element.

Chapter 9 of AVB’s book presents many of his exchanges with de Lubicz on this question of the ‘fixed salt’. He quotes de Lubicz as saying ‘…But there is a creative dissolution of all aspects of form, and it is only after form has been wholly decomposed that the fixed salt will become the point of attraction for the next form.’ (p.220). And further on he refers to this substance as ‘…the indestructible nucleus of inscription at the centre of mass…’ (Page 221). And this salt is presumably formed in the thighbone, basis and support of the physical body (page 284-5).

I cannot help but marvel at what I have read in this regard. And I ponder over the connections which in an indirect manner have linked my work with de Lubicz’s. That is, the Temple, number, geometry, sacred architecture, and so forth; and all this drawn into our work through X, the first resident of Auroville, the stage where some of the most important scenes were played out in this interconnected drama, cutting across time and space. But mention of the ‘thighbone’ is the most important linking factor. It is so important that it forms a key, central part of not only my cosmological work, but it is the most important element of Knowledge ‘written’ in the core measurements and design of the Mother’s Chamber. Consequently, I cannot fail to express once again my puzzlement at X having been brought into such close proximity with this key element in both the Teachings, and yet having turned his back on the living thing in favour of the theory and the abstract.

Being so important, I have kept this discussion for the last, though it must be stated that an entire book could be written on this particular feature of our respective contributions to the alchemist’s way. Clearly, this is not the place to undertake anything more than a brief survey of the salient connections which I trust will inspire seekers to pursue the matter by reviewing everything I have written in The New Way, Volumes 1 & 2 on the subject. In particular, the student should refer to the analysis of the geometry of the Globe and Pedestal (the Core), the very specific measurements of which are given in the book (The New Way, p.238). There is specific reference to the tiny ‘pyramid’ or the apex of the triangle of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol which constitutes the pedestal and provides its basic lines of Knowledge. This tiny apex of barely 5 mm is the uppermost part of the ascending triangle of the symbol. I relate this apex to the Great Pyramid at Giza (p.239). And again we find the connection with Egypt made evident. But, more importantly for the present discussion, I refer to it as the Golden Seed.

Throughout The New Way I emphasise the importance of this tiny apex. It is encrusted in the Globe. I have stated that it is a crystallised residue which fecundates the Globe. It is the indestructible part, the compressed immortal substance. Above all, and this is by far the most amazing part, I connect this apex, via the Geometry of Time, to Sri Aurobindo’s passing. That ‘seed’ extracted from his lifetime of yoga is then passed down and into the Pedestal, which in turn, by the geometry of time, describes his process of reincarnation. That is, this golden nucleus or seed is the immortal Fire substance which remained at his dissolution and immediately served as the nucleus for gathering the various sheaths required for rebirth – a rebirth which took place in the month of Sagittarius; after a dissolution which also took place in the month of Sagittarius; and even more significantly, within the Gnostic Circle’s 9-year cycle, it was also during the period of Sagittarius. The link with the alchemy de Lubicz presents lies herein, for Sagittarius rules the thighbone in the human body:


‘The Five of degeneration and regeneration is further represented in the core by the 5mm pyramid at the uppermost point of the Father’s revised symbol that forms the pedestal, which are encrusted in the globe on each of the four sides, together totalling 20mm. This encrustation presents a visual display of the energy consumed for the purpose of rebirth or regeneration. At the same time it explains the process of crystallisation and contraction of an essence into a point, what might be termed, a seed. The 5mm apex encrusted in the globe on four sides is the Seed – the bija of Shiva – planted in the Earth-globe; it holds the promise of the new race which is to originate from this initial act of creation. The 4x5mm have a relation to the 20 hidden centimetres of the pedestal’s base. As millimetres they stand for the crystallised seed, and in time they correspond to the period immediately prior to Sri Aurobindo’s withdrawal from the earth (76th to 78th year) in his initial physical form. After the Seed develops in the soil of Time, 20mm of triangular space at the four points of the globe blossom into 20cm of square space in the base of the pedestal, and therein the secret Son is formed from the hidden seed of the Father.’ (TNW, Volume 2, p.265).


According to de Lubicz this ‘fixed salt’ and its formation in the thighbone, and the question of imprints on this indestructible salt, are the core of the coveted secret of Al-Kemi, – meaning Egypt and the Egyptian school. I do not doubt his assertions. But I wish to add that while he was seeking assiduously this knowledge, the ‘time had not yet come’ when TIME would unveil as well as consolidate, for the entire evolution on Earth, this process and its knowledge which is its power.

Sri Aurobindo lived the alchemical process for the Earth which I have described in The New Way and in The Magical Carousel and its Commentaries. But it would not have passed out of the realm of one individual’s realisation and into the evolutionary matrix had TIME not become the ally and the fixing agent by way of the Fourth Power, the essence of his incarnation as the 4th member of the Solar Line. Indeed, as I have explained in detail in my books, that alchemical transmutation is clearly described in the event itself – the Supramental Manifestation which centres on the incarnation of the four Powers of the Solar Line in the perfect and exact harmony of gnostic time. This process is recorded in the original plan of the Mother’s Chamber, in the measurements of the solar Ray and the Core (‘the symbol of the future realisation’). That transcript describes an imprint in the evolutionary blueprint and matrix – what de Lubicz would relate to the fixed salt in the thighbone (Sagittarius).

But was he aware of the connection of the thighbone to Sagittarius? Yet even if he was aware, how could he then, before ‘the time had come’, make any sense out of the connection? He was concerned with SPACE and by consequence with EGYPT (see TNW, p.366ff). He had no concrete use for Time; therefore he never touched the shores of the Indian subcontinent, where Time was made the ally in this alchemical miracle, where an integration took place which is the inner truth of the 4th Power of the Solar Line. When that Power incarnates or fixes that principle in the evolution of consciousness and being, the integration is done – and integration which de Lubicz himself was seeking for the better part of his life. Indeed, de Lubicz passed away just before this Power took birth, when the Sagittarian principle of Fire and Immortality unveiled the real meaning behind the role of the ‘thighbone’ in the ancient way of Al-Kemi.

At the same time, all of this Knowledge, the discovery of the Temple’s message and its vertical measure of 9 and horizontal measure of 12, the truth and the role of Number – not abstract but as a power to render concrete, to fix in the soil of the Earth, the role of geometry of space and time in the new language and the new cosmology for our new Age of the Supermind, was passing right before the nose of X. Yet he saw nothing. He fled from the present and this marvel of LIVING power and truth, and he plunged into the sea of the past. This is the really amazing part of the ‘tale of two works’.


‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first Earth were passed away; and there was no more sea…’ (‘The Revelation’, 21,1).

Skambha, July of 1989


Author’s Note: It may be recalled that in the very year Sri Aurobindo anticipated a major breakthrough in the establishment of the supramental Truth-Consciousness on Earth – 1938 – he suffered an accident (see The Gnostic Circle, p.52). The affected part of the body was his thighbone. It was as if the old ‘imprint’ had to be broken or worked out of the ‘system’, by the long concentration thereupon which this accident produced, in order to heal the wound before the new impression could be made. In addition, from that time onward both he and the Mother focussed almost all their yogic effort on the eradication of the dark power that was threatening to overtake the world through Nazism. (For further details see The New Way, p,247, and all references to ‘Immortality Day’.)

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