I have dropped the word superman very deliberately. I call the coming man, “the new man.” It does not carry any connotation of superiority; it does not humiliate you. It simply declares the arrival of the new. Words are not just words, they are going to make impressions on you.
Just like Zarathustra, I say unto you: I teach the new man.
My new man is exactly the superman of Zarathustra but I will not call him the superman. That is a wrong word and it has been a great hindrance in the progress of humanity, in many ways.
Adolf Hitler got the idea of superman from Friedrich Nietzsche, from Zarathustra. Adolf Hitler was not a man of great intelligence or a man of great understanding. He was almost a retarded human being, insane. But the word superman in the hands of Adolf Hitler became the second world war – it killed six millions of people.
Zarathustra would have never thought, nor would Nietzsche have ever conceived, that their philosophy would fall into the hands of a madman; nor of course, that he could interpret it according to his own understanding.
To him, the superman is a super-warrior, a super-soldier, a man of steel. He declared that the Nordic Germans were going to be the race of the coming superman; that they were going to rule over the world. In fact, it is the privilege of the superman to rule over all those who are inferior.
Strange fate of the word superman! In the hands of a madman, it became something which Zarathustra would have never dreamt.
The German race was privileged to rule over the whole world for the simple reason that it was superior; it was going to be the womb of the superman. The superman was the salt of the earth, the superman was the meaning of the earth.
The same word, superman, was used by Sri Aurobindo in India, and the meaning changes completely. In Sri Aurobindo’s hand, the superman becomes the immortal man, physically immortal. Spiritually, man has always been told, that he is immortal. Sri Aurobindo gave his own interpretation: “I am working to find the right discipline, the right methodology to transform you into the physically immortal.” And the people who were most afraid of death became his disciples.
Just as a tree can be known by its fruits, a master can be known by his disciples.
I have been in contact with many followers of Sri Aurobindo, and one of my friends was in Sri Aurobindo’s ashram when he died. I had been arguing with him that this was simply nonsense, that physical immortality was not possible. To be physically immortal, you would have to change the whole program of the cells of the body and there are seven million cells in the body which have the whole program. Even scientists are not able to find a way to change their program.
If we can change their program, then perhaps things can be different. For example, if you want immortality, then man should stop at a certain age and should not grow beyond that – he should remain always young and never become old. If he becomes old, then the next step is the grave.