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March 26, 1955
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, March 26, 1955
Mother, once more I come to ask you for Mahakali's 14 intervention. After a period when everything seemed much better, I again awake to impossible mornings when I live badly, very badly, far from you, incapable of calling you and, what's more, of feeling your Presence or your help.

I don't know what mud is stirring about in me, but everything is obscured, and I cannot dissociate myself from these vital waves.

Mother, without Mahakali's grace, I shall never be able to get out of this mechanical round, to shatter these old formations, ever the same, which keep coming back. Mother, I beg of you, help. me to BREAK this shell in which I am suffocating. Deliver me from myself, deliver me in spite of myself. Alone, I am helpless; sometimes I cannot even call you! May your force come and burn all my impurities, shatter my resistances.

Signed: Bernard15

April 4, 1955
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, April 4, 1955
Mother, for more than a year now I have been near you and nothing, no really significant inner experience, no sign has come that allows me to feel I have progressed or merely to show me that I am on the right path. I cannot even say I am happy.

I am not so absurdly pretentious as to blame the divine, nor yourself - and I remain quite convinced that all this is my own fault. Undoubtedly I have not known how to surrender totally in some part of myself, or I do not aspire enough or know how to 'open' myself as needed. Also, I should rely entirely upon the divine to take care of my progress and not be concerned about the absence of experiences. I have therefore asked myself why I am so far away from the true attitude, the genuine opening, and I see two main reasons: on the one hand, the difficulties inherent in my
14Mahakali: the eternal Mother in her warrior aspect, She who severs the heads of the demons.

15Such was our old, meaningless name (except for its Germanic root: 'hard bear') until a certain March 3, 1957, when
Mother named us Sat-prem ('the one who loves truly').

own nature, and on the other, the outer conditions of this sadhana. These conditions do not seem to be conducive to helping me overcome the difficulties in my own nature.

I feel that I am turning in circles and taking one step backward for each one forward.

Furthermore, instead of helping me draw nearer to the divine consciousness, my work in the
Ashram (the very fact of working - for to change work, even if I felt like it, would not change the overall situation), diverts me from this divine consciousness, or at least keeps me in a superficial consciousness from which I am unable to 'unglue' myself as long as I am busy writing letters, doing translations, corrections or classes.16 I know it's my own fault, that I 'should' know how to be detached from my work and do it by relying upon a deeper consciousness, but what can be done?
Unless I receive the grace, I cannot 'remember' the essential thing as long as the outer part of my being is active.

When I am not immediately engrossed in work, I have to confront a thousand little temptations and daily difficulties that come from my contact with other beings and a life that does indeed remain in life. Here, even more, there is the feeling of an impossible struggle, and all these 'little' difficulties seem to gnaw away at me; scarcely has one hole been filled when another opens up, or the same one reappears, and there is never any real victory - one has constantly to begin everything again. Finally, it seems to me that I really live only one hour a day, during the evening 'distribution' at the playground.17 It is scarcely a life and scarcely a sadhana!
Consequently, I understand much better now why in the traditional yogas one 'settled' all these difficulties once and for all by escaping from the world, without bothering to transform a life that seems so untransformable.

I am not now going to renounce Sri Aurobindo's Yoga, Mother, for my whole life is based upon it, but I believe I should employ other means - which is why I am writing you this letter.

By continuing this daily little ant-like struggle and by having to confront the same desires, the same 'distractions' every day, it seems to me I am wasting my energy in vain. Sri Aurobindo's
Yoga, which is meant to include life, is so difficult that one should come to it only after having already established the solid base of a concrete divine realization. That is why I want to ask you if I should not 'withdraw' for a certain time, to Almora, 18 for example, to Brewster's place,19 to live in solitude, silence, meditation, far away from people, work and temptations, until a beginning of
Light and Realization is concretized in me. Once this solid base is acquired, it would be easier for me to resume my work and the struggle here for the true transformation of the outer being. But to want to transform this outer being without having fully illumined the inner being seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse, or at least condemning myself to a pitiless and endless battle in which the best of my forces are fruitlessly consumed.

In all sincerity, I must say that when I was at Brewster's place in Almora, I felt very near to that state in which the Light must surge forth. I quite understand the imperfection of this process, which involves fleeing from difficulties, but this would only be a stage, a strategic 'retreat,' as it were.

Mother, this is not a vital desire seeking to divert me from the sadhana, for my life has no other meaning than to seek the divine, but it seems to be the only solution that could bring about some
16For a long time, Satprem took care of the correspondence with the outside, along with Pavitra not to mention editing the Ashram Bulletin as well as Mother's writings and talks translating Sri Aurobindo's works Unto French, and conducting classes at the Ashram's 'International Centre of Education.'
17Every evening at the Playground, the disciples passed before Mother one by one to receive symbolically some food.

18In the Himalayas.

19An American artist, an old friend of D.H. Lawrence, and Satprem's friend.

progress and get me out of this lukewarm slump in which I have been living day after day. I cannot be satisfied living merely one hour a day, when I see you.

I know that you do not like to write, Mother, but couldn't you say in a few words if you approve of my project or what I should do? In spite of all my rebellions and discouragements and resistances, I am your child. O Mother, help me!
Signed: Bernard
(Mother's reply)
My dear child,
No doubt it would be better to go to Almora for a while - not for too long, I hope, for it is needless to say how much the work will be disrupted by this departure ...

(Another handwritten version)
4.7.55
My dear child,
You may go to Almora if you think it will help you break this shell of the outer consciousness, so obstinately impenetrable.

Perhaps being far away from the Ashram for a while will help you feel the special atmosphere that exists here and that cannot be found anywhere else to the same extent.

In any event, my blessings will always be with you to help you find, at long last, this inner
Presence which alone gives joy and stability.

Signed: Mother

June 9, 1955
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, June 9, 1955
Mother, I cannot say that it is a nostalgia for the outside world that is drawing me backwards nor some attachment to a 'personal' form of life, nor even some vital desire seeking its own satisfaction.

That old world no longer attracts me, and I do not see at all what I would do there. Yet something is standing in my way.

If only I could see a distinct 'error' blocking my path which I could clearly attack ... But I feel that I am not responsible, that it is not my personal fault if I remain without aspiration, stagnating. I
feel like a battlefield of contending forces that are beyond me and against which I can do
NOTHING. Oh Mother, it is not an excuse for a lack of will, or at least I don't think so - I profoundly feel like a helpless toy, totally helpless.

If the divine force, if your grace, does not intervene to shatter this obscure resistance that is drawing me downwards in spite of myself, I don't know what will become of me ... Mother, I am not blackmailing you, I am only expressing my helplessness, my anguish.

During the day, I live more or less calmly in my little morass, but as evening and the moment to meet you draw near, then the forces pinning me to the ground begin raging beneath your pressure, and I feel at times an unbearable tearing that burns and constricts in my throat like tears that cannot be shed. Afterwards, Truth regains possession of me - but the following day it all begins again.

Mother, it is an impossible, absurd, unlivable life. I feel as though I have no hand in this cruel little game. Oh Mother, why doesn't your grace trust that deep part in me which knows so well that you are the Truth? Deliver me from these evil forces since, profoundly, it is you and you alone I want. Give me the aspiration and strength I do not have. If you do not do this Yoga for me, I feel I shall never have the strength to go on.

There is something that must be SHATTERED: can it not be done once and for all without lingering on indefinitely? Mother, I am your child.

Signed: Bernard
Mother, this letter is a prayer.

(Mother's reply)
June 11, 1955
My dear child,
Your case is not unique; there are others (and among the best and the most faithful) who are likewise a veritable battlefield for the forces opposing the advent of the truth. They feel powerless in this battle, sorrowful witnesses, victims without the strength to fight, for this is taking place in that part of the physical consciousness where the supramental forces are not yet fully active, although I am confident they soon will be. Meanwhile, the only remedy is to endure, to go through this suffering and to await patiently the hour of liberation.

While reading your prayer, I too prayed that it be heard.

With my blessings.

Signed: Mother

September 3, 1955

(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, September 3, 1955
Mother, it seems that for weeks I have been knocking against myself at every turn, as though I were in a prison, and I cannot get out of it. Mother, I need your Space, your Light, to get out of this walled-in night that is suffocating me.

No matter where I concentrate, in my heart, above my head, between my eyes, I bang everywhere into an unyielding wall; I no longer know which way to turn, what I must do, say, pray in order to be freed from all this at last. Mother, I know that I am not making all the effort I should, but help me to make this effort, I implore your grace. I need so much to find at last this solid rock upon which to lean, this space of light where finally I may seek refuge. Mother, open the psychic being in me, open me to your sole Light which I need so much. Without your grace, I can only turn in circles, hopelessly. O Mother, may I live in you.

Your child,
Signed: Bernard

September 15, 1955
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, September 15, 1955
Mother ... suddenly everything seems to have crystallized - all the little revolts, the little tensions, the ill will and petty vital demands - forming a single block of open, determined resistance. I have become conscious that from the beginning of my sadhana, the mind has led the game - with the psychic behind - and has 'held me in leash,' helped muzzle all contrary movements, but at no time, or only rarely, has the vital submitted or opened to the higher influence. The rare times when the vital participated, I felt a great progress. But now, I find myself in front of this solid mass that says
'No' and is not at all convinced of what the mind has been imposing upon it for almost two years now.

Mother, I am sufficiently awakened not to rebel against your Light and to understand that the vital is but one part of my being, but I have come to the conclusion that the only way of
'convincing' this vital is not to force or stifle it, but to let it go through its own experience so it may understand by itself that it cannot be satisfied in this way. I feel the need to leave the Ashram for a while to see how I can get along away from here - and to realize, no doubt, that one can really breathe only here.

I have friends in Bangalore whom I would like to join for two or three weeks, perhaps more, perhaps less, however long it may take to confront this vital with its own freedom. I need a vital activity, to move, to sail, for example, to have friends ... etc. The need I am feeling is exactly that
which I sought to satisfy in the past through my long boat journeys along the coast of Brittany. It is a kind of thirst for space and movement.

Otherwise, Mother, there is this block before me that is obscuring all the rest and taking away my taste for everything. I would like to leave, Mother, but not in revolt; may it be an experience to go through that receives your approval. I would not like to be cut off from you by your displeasure or your condemnation, for this would seem to me terrible and leave me no other recourse but to plunge into the worst excesses in order to forget.

Mother, I would like you to forgive me, to understand me and, above all, not to deprive me of your Love. I would like you to tell me if I may leave for a few weeks and how you feel about it. It seems to me that I am profoundly your child, in spite of all this??
Signed: Bernard

October 19, 195520
The three images of total self-giving to the Divine:
1. To prostrate oneself at His feet in a surrender of all pride, with a perfect HUMILITY.

2. To unfold one's being before Him, to open entirely one's body from head to toe, as one opens a book, spreading open one's centers so as to make all their movements visible in a total SINCERITY that allows nothing to remain hidden.

3. To nestle in His arms, to melt in Him in a tender and absolute CONFIDENCE.

These movements may be accompanied by three formulas, or any one of them, depending upon the case:
1. May Your Will be done and not mine.

2. As You will, as You will ...

3. I am Yours for eternity.

Generally, when these movements are made in the right way, they are followed by a perfect identification, a dissolution of the ego, bringing about a sublime felicity.


20Note written by Mother in French.


October (?) 1955
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry
Mother, after seeing you, I received a letter from my Bangalore friends. They have just bought an old Mogul residence and gardens in Hyderabad that used to belong to the Nizam ... They suggest that their new property would be an enchanting setting for writing the book I have felt like writing for years but never wrote because I was always on the move. Anyway, they have made it clear that should I have qualms about staying with them too long, it would be easy for them to find me some lucrative work that would not be too time consuming - which would allow me to write or do whatever I wish - with their friend the Maharajah of Jaipur, or even in Hyderabad.

All this tends to kindle something in me and ignites many temptations that correspond to very diverse, and not very satisfied, elements within me.

To complete the picture - for I don't know what inspiration compels me to expose all this to you in such detail - I must tell you that these friends are opium users and that opium has played an important role in my life and continues to exert a strong attraction over me, the attraction of oblivion.

So that's the situation. All this is in conflict within me and all the more so since it is happening now, in my present state of mind that you know so well.

It seems unlikely that I would know how to resist ... and yet nothing in me is sure, since I am impelled to write you in the hope of who knows what miracle that might show me my way and convince my whole being.

Mother, I would like at the same time to be your child and to leave!! All this is tearing me apart.

Where is the solution to such an impossibility?
I am scarcely worthy of being your child.

But that's how it is.

Signed: Bernard

October 1955
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Bangalore

Sweet Mother, during the three days since I left the Ashram, I have never ceased feeling your
Presence deep within me like the one thing essential, the only thing solid in the midst of all these hazy appearances. As I entered more and more into this outer world, I seemed to be entering a world without depth, without consistency, where all sorts of things and beings were fluttering like a very thin veil in the wind; and as I entered into this wavering world, you seemed to grow within me with an irrefutable self-evidence, like the only real thing, my only reason to be in this world - without you, everything withers away and loses its Meaning.

Mother, never before have I felt with such force how much you are part of me, nor how much I belong to you, irreversibly. And this I felt not only in my mind or even in my heart, but physically.

Moreover, during the several weeks when I went through this latest 'crisis' in the Ashram, it seemed to me, sweet Mother, that a physical link was being built between you and me. Am I wrong? At times, I had the feeling that you were no longer merely 'Mother' in Spirit, but rather my
Mother, as if you had really brought me into the world physically and there was nothing foreign anymore in our relationship. My words are awkward, but you will know how to see the Truth behind them, even if this Truth is still obscure to me.

I believed I had committed a spiritual 'error' by leaving the Ashram. But now it seems to me that this experience was necessary, for it put me glaringly in the presence of my life's Meaning and its profound Reality. In a way, I needed to 'objectify' my presence in the Ashram, to see it from the outside. Not that I believe these to be good or even bad reasons to mentally justify this flight, but I see no other reason for this departure. And I find myself here without any need to satisfy the least desire, as if all these worldly 'pleasures' no longer awaken anything at all in me. Your grace is there, surely. The only experience I have had is smoking opium. Before, I found it very refined and calming, but this time I found only stomach cramps and a joyless vapidity. It is strange, but I feel that nothing has a hold on me any longer and the only people who seem to be really living are those in the Ashram. The others, on the contrary, are only pretending and are all completely outside of life, however paradoxical that might appear.

Sweet Mother, my experience is over. Will you allow me to return to the Ashram towards the middle of next week? There is no more struggle or conflict in me, it is my entire being, right down to the physical, that needs you, that wants to return and aspires to serve you - joyfully, peacefully.

And not only do I aspire to serve you, but also to fight against these dark, ignorant and deceptive forces so as to be worthy of your Light, the true Light of my being. I see no other meaning for my life, for all life.

Mother, I know now what the word 'consecration' means. I want to consecrate myself wholly to your work, with my heart, my mind, my body and my soul. I belong to you irrevocably, unreservedly. I know that nothing else exists in the world that is worthy of being lived, except you.

This crisis has helped me to see into myself clearly, and I believe I have gained something from it.

Or am I deluding myself?
Finally, I would like to tell you how grateful I am, for I seem to feel your hand everywhere, your infinite understanding leading me towards your Light, through all the meanderings of my nature, making use of it and transforming it, uplifting it little by little in each of its elements and in the minutes" details. Thank you, Mother, for letting me find you - and forgive this terrible child who has been rebelling against the force of transformation, no doubt so as better to find you again.

I feel myself so much your child in every fiber of my being. Yes, your child.

Signed: Bernard
(Mother's reply)
October 21, 1955
My dear little one, yes, you may return immediately. I will be happy to see you again.


You are right, the experience was necessary and it was fruitful.

Your good letter ... just what I was expecting from you, for what you write is true; I too feel you so very close to me, bound by an indestructible link, as if I had formed you, not only spiritually, but materially as well.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

With all my tenderness,
Signed: Mother



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