object:0.07 - 1957
book class:Agenda Vol 1
January 1, 1957
A power greater than that of Evil can alone win the victory.
It is not a crucified but a glorified body that will save the world.
January 18, 1957
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, January 18, 1957
The conflict that is tearing me apart is between this shadowy part of a past that does not want to die, and the new light. I wonder if, rather than escaping to some desert, it would not be wiser to resolve this conflict by objectify it, by writing this book I spoke to you about.
But I would like to know whether it is really useful for me to write this book, or whether it is not just some inferior task, a makeshift.
You told me one day that I could be 'useful' to you. Then, by chance, I came across this passage from Sri Aurobindo the other day: 'Everyone has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse.'
Could you tell me, as a favor, what this particular thing is in me which may be useful to you and serve you? If I could only know what my real work is in this world ... All the conflicting impulses in me stem from my being like an unemployed force, like a being whose place has not yet been determined.
What do you see in me, Mother? Is it through writing that I shall achieve what is to be achieved
- or does all this still belong to a nether world? But if so, then of what use am I? If I were good at something, it would give me some air to breathe.
March 3, 1957
(Letter from Mother to Satprem)
I name you Satprem (true love) for it is only when you awaken to divine love that you will feel that you love.
April 9, 1957
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, April 9, 1957
I would like to throw myself at your feet and open my heart to you - but I cannot. I cannot.
For I SEE that, were I to give in now, I would be done for - there would be no alternative but to live out the rest of my days in the Ashram. But everything in me rebels at this idea. The idea of winding up as General Secretary of the Ashram, like Pavitra, makes my skin crawl. It is absurd, and
I apologize for speaking this way, Mother, for I admire Pavitra - but I can't help it, I can't do it, I do not want to end up like that.
For more than a year now, I have been hypnotized by the idea that if I give in, I will be
'condemned' to remain here. Once more, forgive me for speaking so absurdly, for of course I know it is not a 'condemnation'; and yet a part of me feels that it would be.
Thus I am so tense that I do not even want to close my eyes to meditate for fear of yielding. And
I fall into all kinds of errors that horrify me, simply because the pressure is too strong at times, and I literally suffocate. Mother, I am not cut out to be a 'disciple.'
I realize that all the progress I was able to make during the first two years has been lost and I am just as before, worse than before - as if all my strength were in ruin, all faith in myself undone - so much so that at times I curse myself for having come here at all.
That is the situation, Mother. I feel my unworthiness profoundly. I am the opposite of Satprem, unable to love and to give myself. Everything in me is sealed tight.
So what is to be done? I intend asking your permission to leave as soon as the book is finished (I am determined to finish it, for it will rid me of the past it represents). I expect nothing from the world, except a bit of external space, in the absence of another space.
P.S. And yet, even if I leave, I know that I shall have to come back here ... Everything is a paradox, and I CANNOT get out of this paradox.
April 11, 1957
My dear child,
I read your letter yesterday, and here is the answer that immediately came to me. I add to it the assurance that nothing has changed, nor can change, in my relationship with you, and that you are and always will be my child - for that is the truth of your being.
Here is what I wrote:
In your ignorance, you created a phantom of your destiny, and then, out of this non-existent ghost, you made a hobgoblin around which all the resistances of your outer nature have crystallized.
It is a double ignorance:
- in the universe, there are not - there cannot be - two similar destinies.
- each one's destiny is inevitably fulfilled, but the nearer one is to the Divine, the more does this destiny assume its divine qualities.
I am saying all this so that you do not hypnotize yourself further with some imaginary and groundless possibility.
I am with you always.
38The following conversation was noted from memory. At this time the conversations were not yet tape-recorded, and
Satprem, alas, felt it proper to eliminate all personal issues so that only the 'teaching' would remain. The 'serious decision' in question concerns leaving the Ashram.
When a serious decision has to be made, how can one know in which direction lies one's true destiny?
We do not have one destiny, but several destinies.
Each one has the right to reunite with his supreme Origin whatever his place in the world order
- that is the gift the Divine has given to matter, and this is your true destiny. And it is a special gift given to the earth; it does not exist in the other worlds. At the same time, each one has a particular role in the manifestation, which is determined by the Supreme, but this same role can exist on different levels depending upon the degree of evolution of 'that' which is within you. If 'that' within you is still very young, your realization may be absolute and you may effectively be able to reunite with the Supreme, but the field of realization in the world will be limited, very small. Along the vertical plane, you may be able to touch the Supreme directly, in spite of your smallness, but on the horizontal plane, the extent of your realization will be infinitesimal. We could take the example of Maheshwari, the Mother of Might and All-Wisdom. This aspect of the Mother will assume different forms depending upon the degree of evolution of 'that' within you: it might be a mere little group leader, a queen, an empress. She will be in the group leader as well as in the empress, but the field of realization will obviously be different.
So, along this same vertical line that leads you to your divine Origin, you might have several outer destinies depending upon your state of development. The yoga seeks to accelerate things, but this is not always possible, for some psychological combinations in the being can only be worked out through experience. This experience may take a few lifetimes, a few years, a few months, a few minutes.
When seen from the supreme consciousness, the unfolding of all the destinies and all the possibilities of destiny is something infinitely interesting. For example, there are beings accused of megalomania because they have vast projects and great designs which do not always fit in with the world's present possibilities. Most often, it is a simple lack of judgment on their part, a lack of knowledge. They have indeed entered into communication with a higher truth, something that probably corresponds to a future phase of their destiny (which is why they are so convinced), but through lack of judgment, they do not see that the time for this truth has not yet come, that the circumstances are not yet ready, or that the conditions in which they were born prevent them from carrying out what they feel to be true. There is a gap between the vision of a truth and its present possibilities for realization. But these great dreams must not be killed, for it would mean killing something of your own future. Above all, we must refuse, energetically reject, this hideous morality of the Philistine which says that 'nothing ever changes,' this flat and vulgar common sense a la
Sancho Panza. Simply, one must know how to wait and to nurture one's dreams for a long time.
To conclude, this is what may be said: in the universe, there are no two destinies alike - there cannot be.
Each one's destiny is inevitably fulfilled, but the nearer one is to the Divine, the more this destiny assumes its divine qualities.
April 22, 1957
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, April 22, 1957
The book is finished.39 I would like to give it to you personally, if it would not disturb you, whenever you wish.
July 3, 1957
(Extract from the Wednesday class)
I have been asked if we are doing a collective yoga and what are the conditions of a collective yoga.
First, I could tell you that to do a collective yoga, there has to be a collectivity! ... And I could speak to you about the different conditions required to be a collectivity. But last night (smiling), I had a symbolic vision of our collectivity.
This vision took place early in the night and woke me up with a rather unpleasant feeling. Then I fell back to sleep and forgot about it; but a little while ago, when I was thinking of the question put to me, it returned. It returned with a great intensity and so imperatively that now, just as I wanted to tell you what kind of collectivity we wish to realize according to the ideal described by Sri
Aurobindo in the last chapter of The Life Divine - a gnostic, supramental collectivity, the only kind that can do Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga and be realized physically in a progressive collective body becoming more and more divine - the recollection of this vision became so imperative that I couldn't speak.
Its symbolism was very clear, though of quite a familiar nature, as it were, and because of its very familiarity, unmistakable in its realism ... Were I to tell you all the details, you would probably not even be able to follow: it was rather intricate. It was a kind of (how can I express it?) - an immense hotel where all the terrestrial possibilities were lodged in different apartments. And it was all in a constant state of transformation: parts or entire wings of the building were suddenly torn down and rebuilt while people were still living in them, such that if you went off somewhere within the immense hotel itself, you ran the risk of no longer finding your room when you wanted to return to it, for it might have been torn down and was being rebuilt according to another plan! It was
orderly, it was organized ... yet there was this fantastic chaos which I mentioned. And all this was a symbol - a symbol that certainly applies to what Sri Aurobindo has written here 40 regarding the necessity for the transformation of the body, the type of transformation that has to take place for life to become a divine life.
It went something like this: somewhere, in the center of this enormous edifice, there was a room reserved - as it seemed in the story - for a mother and her daughter. The mother was a lady, an elderly lady, a very influential matron who had a great deal of authority and her own views concerning the entire organization. Her daughter seemed to have a power of movement and activity enabling her to be everywhere at once while at the same time remaining in her room, which was ... well, a bit more than a room - it was a kind of apartment which, above all, had the characteristic of being very central. But she was constantly arguing with her mother. The mother wanted to keep things 'just as they were,' with their usual rhythm, which precisely meant the habit of tearing down one thing to rebuild another, then again tearing down that to build still another, thus giving the building an appearance of frightful confusion. But the daughter did not like this, and she had another plan. Most of all, she wanted to bring something completely new into the organization: a kind of super-organization that would render all this confusion unnecessary. Finally, as it was impossible for them to reach an understanding, the daughter left the room to go on a kind of general inspection ... She went out, looked everything over, and then wanted to return to her room to decide upon some final measures. But this is where something rather ... peculiar began happening.
She clearly remembered where her room was, but each time she set out to go there, either the staircase disappeared or things were so changed that she could no longer find her way! So she went here and there, up and down, searched, went in and out ... but it was impossible to find the way to her room! Since all of this assumed a physical appearance - as I said, a very familiar and very common appearance, as is always the case in these symbolic visions - there was somewhere (how shall I put it?) the hotel's administrative office and a woman who seemed to be the manager, who had all the keys and who knew where everyone was staying. So the daughter went to this person and asked her, 'Could you show me the way to my room?' - 'But of course! Easily!' Everyone around the manager looked at her as if to say, 'How can you say that?' However, she got up, and with authority asked for a key - the key to the daughter's room - saying, 'I shall take you there.'
And off she went along all kinds of paths, but all so complicated, so bizarre! The daughter was following along behind her very attentively, you see, so as not to lose sight of her. But just as they should have come to the place where the daughter's room was supposed to be, suddenly the manageress (let us call her the manageress), both the manageress and her key ... vanished! And the sense of this vanishing was so acute that ... at the same time, everything vanished!
So ... to help you understand this enigma, let me tell you that the mother is physical Nature as she is, and the daughter is the new creation. The manageress is the world's organizing mental consciousness as Nature has developed it thus far, that is, the most advanced organizing sense to have manifested in the present state of material Nature. This is the key to the vision.
Naturally, when I awoke, I immediately knew what could resolve this problem which appeared so absolutely insoluble. The vanishing of the manageress and her key was an obvious sign that she was altogether incapable of leading what could be called 'the creative consciousness of the new world' to its true place.
I knew this, but I did not have a vision of the solution, which means it has yet to manifest; this
'thing' had not yet manifested in the building, this fantastic construction, although it is the very mode of consciousness which could transform this incoherent creation into something real, truly conceived, willed and materialized, with a center in its proper place, a recognized place, and with a
REAL effective power.
40The Supramental Manifestation, (Cent. Ed. XVI, pp. 33-36.)
The symbolism is quite clear in that all the possibilities are there, all the activities are there, but in disorder and confusion. They are neither coordinated nor centralized nor unified around the central and unique truth and consciousness and will. So this brings us back ... precisely to this question of a collective yoga and of a collectivity capable of realizing it. What should this collectivity be?
It is certainly not an arbitrary construction of the type built by men, where everything is put pellmell, without any order, without reality, and which is held together by only illusory ties. Here, these ties were symbolized by the hotel's walls, while actually in ordinary human constructions (if we take a religious community, for example), they are symbolized by the building of a monastery, an identity of clothing, an identity of activities, an identity even of movement - or to put it more precisely: everyone wears the same uniform, everyone gets up at the same time, everyone eats the same thing, everyone says his prayers together, etc.; there is an overall identity. But naturally, on the inside there remains the chaos of many disparate consciousnesses, each one following its own mode, for this kind of group identification, which extends right up to an identity of beliefs and dogma, is absolutely illusory.
Yet it is one of the most common types of human collectivity - to group together, band together, unite around a common ideal, a common action, a common realization but in an absolutely artificial way. In contrast to this, Sri Aurobindo tells us that a true community - what he terms a gnostic or supramental community - can be based only upon the INNER REALIZATION of each one of its members, each realizing his real, concrete oneness and identity with all the other members of the community; that is, each one should not feel himself a member connected to all the others in an arbitrary way, but that all are one within himself. For each one, the others should be as much himself as his own body - not in a mental and artificial way, but through a fact of consciousness, by an inner realization.
This means that before hoping to realize such a gnostic collectivity, each one must first of all become (or at least start to become) a gnostic being. It is obvious that the individual work must take the lead and the collective work follow; but the fact remains that spontaneously, without any arbitrary intervention of will the individual progress IS restrained or CHECKED, as It were, by the collective state. Between the collectivity and the individual, there exists an interdependence from which one cannot be totally free, even if one tries. And even he who might try, in his yoga, to free himself totally from the human and terrestrial state of consciousness, would be at least subconsciously bound by the state of the whole, which impedes and PULLS BACKWARDS. One can attempt to go much faster, one can attempt to let all the weight of attachments and responsibilities fall off, but in spite of everything, the realization of even the most advanced or the leader in the march of evolution is dependent upon the realization of the whole, dependent upon the state in which the terrestrial collectivity happens to be. And this PULLS backwards to such an extent that sometimes one has to wait centuries for the earth to be ready before being able to realize what is to be realized.
This is why Sri Aurobindo has also written somewhere else that a double movement is necessary: the effort for individual progress and realization must be combined with the effort of trying to uplift the whole so as to enable it to make a progress indispensable for the greater progress of the individual: a mass progress, if you will, that allows the individual to take a further step forward.
And now you understand why I had thought it would be useful to have a few meditations in common, to work at creating a common atmosphere a bit more organized than ... my big hotel of last night!
So, the best way to use these meditations (and they are going to increase, since we are now also going to replace the 'distributions' with short meditations) is to go deep within yourselves, as far as you can, and find the place where you can feel, perceive and perhaps even create an atmosphere of oneness wherein a force of order and organization can put each element in its true place, and out of
the chaos existing at this hour, make a new, harmonious world surge forth.
July 18, 1957
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, July 18, 1957
I have just received a letter from my friends in charge of the French Archaeological Expedition to Afghanistan. They need someone to assist them on their next field excavations (August 15
December 15) and have offered to take me if I wish to join them.
If I must have some new experience outside, this one has the advantage of being short-termed and not far away from India, and it is also in an interesting milieu. The only disadvantage is that I would have to pay for the trip as far as Kabul. But I don't want to do anything that displeases you or of which you do not really approve. In the event you might feel this to be a worthwhile experience,
I would have to leave by the beginning of August.
I place this in your hands, sincerely.
(Letter from Mother to Satprem)
My dear child,
Those to whom I have said, 'You are my children,' are always so, no matter where they are or what they do.
Thus you are sure of always remaining my child - for the rest, act according to your heart, and you will always have my blessings.
September 27, 1957
(A child's question concerning a vision in which
Mother had appeared to her in a luminous body)
Why have you come as we are?
Why haven't you come as you really are?
Had I not come as you are, I would never have been able to be close to you and tell you:
'Become what I am.'
October 8, 1957
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, October 8, 1957
I come to ask your permission to leave India. For more than a year now, I have been fighting not to leave, but this seems to be the wrong strategy.
There is no question of my abandoning the path - and I remain convinced that the only goal in life is spiritual. But I need things to help me along the way: I am not yet ripe enough to depend upon inner strength alone. And when I speak of the forest or a boat, it is not only for the sake of adventure or the feeling of space, but also because they mean a discipline. Outer constraints and difficulties help me, they force me to remain concentrated around that which is best in me. In a sense, life here is too easy. Yet it is also too hard, for one must depend on one's own discipline - I do not yet have that strength, I need to be helped by outer circumstances. The very difficulty of life in the outside world helps me to be disciplined, for it forces me to concentrate all my vital strength in effort. Here, this vital part is unemployed, so it acts foolishly, it strains at the leash.
I doubt that a new experience outside can really resolve things, but I believe it might help me make it to the next stage and consolidate my inner life. And if you wish, I would return in a year or two.
I shall soon have completed the revision41 of The Life Divine and The Human Cycle, so I believe
I shall have done the best I could, at present, to serve you. October 30th is my birthday. Could I leave immediately thereafter?
It is not because I am unhappy with the Ashram that I want to leave, but because I am unhappy with myself and because I want to master myself through other means.
I give you so little love, but I have tried my best, and my departure is not a betrayal.
My dear child,
This is not an answer, but a comment.
There is a joy to which you still seem completely closed: it is the joy of SERVING.
In truth, the only thing in the world that interests you, directly or indirectly, is YOURSELF.
That is why you feel imprisoned within such narrow, stifling limits.
October 17, 1957
41Of Mother's French translation of these two books by Sri Aurobindo.
There are all kinds of freedom - mental freedom, vital freedom, spiritual freedom - which are the fruits of successive masteries. But a completely new freedom has become possible with the
Supramental Manifestation: it is the freedom of the body.
One of the very first results of the supramental manifestation was to give the body a freedom and an autonomy it has never before known. And when I say freedom, I don't mean some psychological perception or an inner state of consciousness, but something else and far better - it is a new phenomenon in the body, in the cells of the body. For the first time, the cells themselves have felt that they are free, that they have the power to decide. When the new vibrations came and combined with the old ones, I felt it at once and it showed me that a new world was really taking birth.
In its normal state, the body always feels that it is not its own master: illnesses invade it without its really being able to resist them - a thousand factors impose themselves or exert pressure upon it.
Its sole power is the power to defend itself, to react. Once the illness has got in, it can fight and overcome it - even modern medicine has acknowledged that the body is cured only when it decides to get cured; it is not the drugs per se that heal, for if the ailment is temporarily suppressed by a drug without the body's will, it grows up again elsewhere in some other form until the body itself has decided to be cured. But this implies only a defensive power, the power to react against an invading enemy - it is not true freedom.
But with the supramental manifestation, something new has taken place in the body: it feels it is its own master, autonomous, with its two feet solidly on the ground, as it were. This gives a physical impression of the whole being suddenly drawing itself up, with its head lifted high - I am my own master.
We live perennially with a burden on our shoulders, something that bows our heads down, and we feel pulled, led by all kinds of external forces, we don't know by whom or what, nor where to - this is what men call Fate, Destiny. When you do yoga, one of the first experiences - the experience of the kundalini, as it is called here in India - is precisely one in which the consciousness rises, breaks through this hard 'lid,' here, at the crown of the head, and at last you emerge into the Light.
Then you see, you know, you decide and you realize - difficulties may still remain, but truly speaking one is above them. Well, as a result of the supramental manifestation, it is THIS experience that came into the body. The body straightened its head up and felt its freedom, its independence.
During the flu epidemic, for example, I spent every day in the midst of people who were germ carriers. And one day, I clearly felt that the body had decided not to catch this flu. It asserted its autonomy. You see, it was not a question of the higher Will deciding, no. It didn't take place in the highest consciousness: the body itself decided. When you are way above in your consciousness, you see things, you know things; but in actual fact, once you descend again into matter, it is like water running through sand. In this respect, things have changed, the body has a DIRECT power, independent of any outer intervention. Even though it is barely visible, I consider this to be a very important result.
And this new vibration in the body has allowed me to understand the mechanism of the transformation. It is not something that comes from a higher Will, not a higher consciousness that imposes itself upon the body: it is the body itself awakening in its cells, a freedom of the cells themselves, an absolutely new vibration that sets disorders right - even disorders that existed prior to the supramental manifestation.
Naturally, all this is a gradual process, but I am hopeful that little by little this new consciousness will grow, gain ground and victoriously resist the old forces of destruction and annihilation, and this Fatality we believed to be so inexorable.
October 18, 1957
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, October 18, 1957
This evening, you spoke of the possibility of shortening the path of realization to a few months, days or hours. And yesterday, when you talked to me about 'the freedom of the body,' you spoke of the experience of the Kundalini, of this 'breaking of the lid' that makes you emerge once and for all, above difficulties, into the light.
I need a practical method corresponding to my present possibilities and to results of which I am presently capable. I feel that my efforts are dispersed by concentrating sometimes here, sometimes there - a feeling of not knowing exactly what to do to break through and get out of all this. Would you point out some particular concentration to which I could adhere, a particular method that I would stick to?
I am well aware that a supple attitude is recommended in the Yoga, yet for the time being, it seems to me that one well-defined method would help me hold on42 - this practical aspect would help me. I will do it methodically, obstinately, until it cracks for good.
November 12, 1957
The integral yoga is made up of an uninterrupted series of tests that you must pass through without any advance notice, thereby forcing you to be always vigilant and attentive.
Three groups of examiners conduct these tests. Apparently they have nothing in common and their methods are so different, at times even so seemingly contradictory, that they do not appear to work towards the same goal, and yet they complete one another, they work together for a common aim and each is indispensable for the integral result.
42This unique method was to be the mantra, as Mother herself would discover.
These three categories of tests are: those conducted by the forces of Nature, those conducted by the spiritual and divine forces, and those conducted by the hostile forces. This latter category is the most deceptive in its appearance, and a constant state of vigilance, sincerity and humility is required so as not to be caught by surprise or unprepared.
The most commonplace circumstances, people, the everyday events of life, the most seemingly insignificant things, all belong to one or another of these three categories of examiners. In this considerably complex organization of tests, those events generally considered the most important in life are really the easiest of all examinations to pass, for they find you prepared and on your guard.
One stumbles more easily over the little pebbles on the path, for they attract no attention.
The qualities more particularly required for the tests of physical Nature are endurance and plasticity, cheerfulness and fearlessness.
For the spiritual tests: aspiration, confidence, idealism, enthusiasm and generosity in self-giving.
For the tests stemming from the hostile forces: vigilance, sincerity and humility.
But do not imagine that those who are tested are on one side and those who test on the other; depending upon the times and circumstances, we are both examiners and examined, and it may even happen that simultaneously, at the very same moment, we are the examined and the examiner. And whatever benefits we derive depend, in both quality and quantity, upon the intensity of our aspiration and the alertness of our consciousness.
To conclude, a final recommendation: never pose as an examiner. For while it is good to remember constantly that perhaps one is passing a very important test, it is, on the other hand, extremely dangerous to imagine oneself entrusted with applying tests to others, for that is an open door to the most absurd and harmful vanities. It is not an ignorant human will that decides these things but the Supreme Wisdom.
Each time a progress is to be made, there is a test to pass.
November 13, 1957
Widen yourself as far as the extreme bounds of the universe - and beyond.
Take upon yourself always all the necessities of progress and dissolve them in the ecstasy of
Unity. Then you will be divine.
What is meant exactly by, 'I am with you.' Are we really always heard when we pray of struggle with an inner problem - in spite of our blunders and imperfections, even in spite of our ill will and mistakes? And who hears? You who are with us?
Is it you in your supreme consciousness, an impersonal divine force, the force of the yoga, or you, the embodied Mother with your physical consciousness - a personal presence really intimate to our every thought and act, and not some anonymous force? Can you tell us how and in what way you are present with us?
It is said that Sri Aurobindo and you are one and the same consciousness, but are the personal presence of Sri Aurobindo and your own personal presence two distinct things, each playing a particular role?
I am with you because I AM you or you are me.
'I am with you' means a world of things, for I am with you at every level, on every plane, from the supreme consciousness to my most physical consciousness. Here, in Pondicherry, you cannot breathe without breathing my consciousness. It permeates the atmosphere in the subtle physical almost materially and extends right to the lake, seven miles away from here. Beyond, my consciousness can be felt in the material vital, and then on the mental and the other higher planes everywhere. When I came here for the first time, I felt Sri Aurobindo's atmosphere, felt it materially, ten miles from the shore - ten nautical miles, not kilometers! It was very sudden, very concrete, a pure and luminous atmosphere, light, so light that it lifts you up.
A long time ago, Sri Aurobindo had this reminder, with which you are all quite familiar, put up everywhere in the Ashram: 'Always behave as if the Mother was looking at you; because she is, indeed, always present.'
This is not some mere sentence, these are not just words, it is a fact. I am very concretely with you, and those with a subtle vision can see me.
Generally speaking, my Force is constantly here at work, constantly changing the psychological elements of your being to put them into new relationships and to make clear to you the diverse facets of your nature so that you may see what must be changed, developed or eliminated.
But besides all this, there is a special personal bond of affection between you and me, between all who have turned towards Sri Aurobindo's teaching and me - and of course, distance does not count; you may be in France, at the other end of the world, or in Pondicherry, but this bond remains just as real and as living. Each time there is a call, each time I need to know something to send out a force, an inspiration, a protection or whatever else, a sort of message suddenly comes to me, and I do what is needed. Obviously, these communications come to me at any moment whatsoever, and you may have seen me more than once suddenly stop in the middle of a sentence or some work: it means something, some communication is coming, so I concentrate.
There is more than a bond with those whom I have accepted as disciples, those to whom I have said 'yes' - there is an emanation of myself. Whenever necessary, this emanation notifies me as to what is happening. In fact, I know constantly, but all these things are not registered in my active memory, otherwise I would be flooded - the physical consciousness acts as a filter: things are recorded on a subtle plane and remain there in the latent state, rather like music that is silently recorded, and when I need to know something with my physical consciousness, I plug into this subtle plane and the tape starts playing. Then I can see things, their evolution and the present result.
And if, for some reason or other, you write asking for my help, and I answer, 'I am with you,'
this means that the communication with you becomes active, that you are even in my active consciousness for some time - the time needed.
And this bond between you and me is never cut. There are people who left the Ashram a long time ago, in a state of revolt, and yet I continue to know them and to take care of them. You are never abandoned.
In truth, I feel responsible for everyone, even for people I have met for only one second in my life.
Now, you know that Sri Aurobindo and I are always one and the same consciousness, one and the same person. Only, when this unique force or presence is felt in your individual consciousness, it assumes different forms or appearances depending upon your temperament, your aspirations, your needs, the particular cast of your nature. Your individual consciousness is like a filter, a pointer, as it were; it makes a choice and settles upon one possibility in the infinity of divine possibilities. In truth, the Divine gives to each one exactly what he expects from Him. If you believe the Divine to be distant and cruel, He will be distant and cruel, because it may be necessary for your supreme wellbeing to feel the wrath of God. He will be Kali 43 for the worshippers of Kali, and bliss for the bhakta.44 He will be the All-Knowledge of seekers after Knowledge, the Transcendent Impersonal of the illusionist. He will be an atheist for the atheist, and the love of the lover. He will be fraternal and near, an ever faithful friend, ever helpful, to those who feel him as the inner guide of each movement, at each minute. And if you believe that He can erase everything, He will erase all your faults, all your errors, tirelessly, and at each moment you will feel his infinite Grace. In truth, the
Divine is what you expect of Him in your deep aspiration.
And once you enter into this consciousness where all things are seen with a single look, the infinite multitude of the Divine's relationships with men, you realize how wonderful everything is, in every detail. You can also look at the history of mankind and see how much the Divine has evolved depending upon what men have understood, desired, hoped for or dreamed; how he was materialistic with the materialist, and how each day he grows, draws nearer, becomes more luminous, as the human consciousness widens. Everyone is free to choose. The perfection of this endless variety of relationships between man and God throughout the history of the world is an unutterable wonder. Yet all this together is but a second in the total manifestation of the Divine.
The Divine is with you according to your aspirations. This does not mean, naturally, that He bends to the whims of your outer nature - I am speaking here of the truth of your being. Yet sometimes He does fashion himself according to your outer aspirations; and if, like the devout, you live alternately in estrangement and embrace, ecstasy and despair, the Divine too will be estranged from you or draw near, according to your belief. Therefore, one's attitude is extremely important, even one's outer attitude. People do not know just how important faith is, how faith is miracle - the creator of miracles. For if at each moment, you expect to be uplifted and drawn towards the Divine,
He will come and uplift you, and He will be there, very near, nearer and nearer.
43Kali: the warrior (or destroyer) aspect of the Divine.
44Bhakta: one who follows the path of love.
THE MOTHER'S SUTRAS45
1) Be ambitious for nothing, above all pretend nothing, but be at each instant the utmost of what you can be.46
2) As for your place in the universal manifestation, only the Supreme can assign it to you.
3) It is the Supreme Lord who has ineluctably decreed the place you occupy in the universal concert, but whatever be this place, you have equally the same right as all others to ascend the supreme summits right to the supramental realization.
4) What you are in the truth of your being is decreed in an irrevocable way, and nothing nor anyone can stop you from being it; but the path you take to get there is left to your own free choice.
5) On the road of the ascending evolution, every one is free to choose the direction he will take: the swift and steep climb towards the summits of Truth, to the supreme realization, or turning his back to the peaks, the easy descent to the interminable meanderings of endless incarnations.
6) In the course of time and even in the course of your present life, you can make your choice once and for all, irrevocably, and then you have only to confirm it with every new occasion; or else if you do not take a definite decision from the beginning, you will have to choose anew at each moment between the falsehood and the Truth.
7) But even in the event you have not made the irrevocable decision at the outset, should you have the good fortune to live during one of these unimaginable hours of universal history when the
Grace is present, embodied upon earth, It will offer you, at certain exceptional moments, the renewed possibility of making a final choice that will lead you straight to the goal.
(On past lives)
If we are to speak of these things truly, we must speak of everything, in all details, for among the innumerable experiences I have had for nearly eighty years, many were of such variety and apparently so contradictory that in truth it can be said that all is possible. Therefore, to say something about past lives without retrieving the thread that runs through all the elements is to open
45Sutra: aphorism, in Sanskrit.
46This first Sutra was ultimately destined to become the epigraph to Satprem's first novel, L'Orpailleur.
the door to dogmatism. One day they will say, 'Mother said this, Mother said that ...' and that is, alas, how dogmas are born.
So given the multiplicity of experiences and the impossibility of spending my life speaking and writing, you must clearly understand that everything is possible and not be dogmatic. Nevertheless,
I can give you a few general indications.
It is only when one is consciously identified with his divine Origin that he can speak with complete truthfulness of a memory of past lives. Sri Aurobindo speaks of a progressive manifestation of the Spirit in the forms it inhabits. When one reaches the summit of this manifestation, one has a plunging view of the path already traversed, and one remembers.
But that does not mean remembering in a mental way. Those who claim to have been this or that baron in the Middle Ages or such and such a person who lived at such and such a place during such and such a time are fantasizing; they are simply victims of their own mental fancies. For what remains of past lives are not beautiful illustrated classics in which you see yourself as a great lord in a castle or a victorious general at the head of his army - all that is fiction. What remains is the memory of the INSTANTS when the psychic being emerged from the depths of your being and revealed itself to you, or in other words, the memory of those moments when you were fully conscious. The growth of the consciousness is effected progressively through evolution, and the memory of past lives is generally limited to the critical moments of this evolution, to the great, decisive turning points that have marked some progress in your consciousness.
While living such minutes of your life, you do not at all care about remembering whether you were Lord so and so who lived at such and such a place during such and such a time - it is not the memory of your civil status that remains. On the contrary, you lose sight of these petty external things, these minor perishable details, so as to be fully ablaze in this revelation of the soul or this divine contact. And when you recall these minutes of your past lives, the memory is so intense that it seems very near, still living - much more living than most of the ordinary memories of your present life. At times, in dreams, when you enter into contact with certain planes of consciousness, you may also have memories with this same intensity, this vibrant hue, as it were, so much more intense than the colors and things of the physical world. These being the moments of true consciousness, all assumes an extraordinary radiance, everything is vibrant, everything is charged with a quality that eludes our ordinary vision.
These minutes of contact with the soul are often those that mark a decisive turning point in one's life, a step forward; a progress in consciousness, and they frequently result from a crisis, a situation of extreme intensity, when a call surges forth from the whole being, a call so strong that the inner consciousness pierces through the unconscious layers that envelop it and is revealed fully luminous upon the surface. This very strong call of the being can also call forth the descent of a divine emanation, an individuality, a divine aspect that unites with your own individuality at a given moment to do a given work, to win a particular battle, to express this thing or that. Then, when the work is accomplished, this emanation most often withdraws. So it may be that one retains the memory of the circumstances surrounding these minutes of revelation or inspiration, one sees again a landscape, the color of a garment one was wearing, the shade of one's skin, things that were around you at that particular moment - all this is imprinted in an indelible way, with an extraordinary intensity, for the details of ordinary life are then also revealed in their true intensity, their true tonality. The consciousness that reveals itself in you reveals at the same time the consciousness in things. These details can sometimes help you reconstitute the period in which you lived or the deeds that were accomplished, surmise the country where you lived, but it is quite easy, too, to fantasize and mistake one's imaginings for reality.
You should not conclude, however, that all memories of past lives refer to moments of great crisis, important missions or revelations. Sometimes these are very simple, transparent minutes when a perfect and integral harmony of the being is expressed. And these may correspond to entirely insignificant external situations.
But apart from the things that were around you at that minute, apart from that minute of contact with your psychic being, nothing remains. Once the privileged moment has passed, the psychic being sinks back into its inner somnolence and the whole outer life fades into a monotonous gray which leaves no trace. In fact, something of the same phenomenon occurs in the course of your present life: apart from those exceptional moments when you are at the summit of your mental, vital or even physical being, the rest of your existence seems to fade into an uninteresting, dull tonality, and it matters very little whether you have been at this place or some other or whether you have done this thing rather than another. If suddenly you try to look at your life in order to gather its essence - to peer twenty or thirty or forty years behind you - you will see two or three images spontaneously leap before you, and they are the true minutes of your life, but all the rest fades away. A spontaneous choice and a tremendous elimination thus take place in your consciousness.
This gives you an idea of what happens in regard to past lives: a choice of a few special moments, and an immense elimination.
Of course, one's early lives are quite rudimentary and little remains of them, a few scattered memories. But the more you progress in consciousness and the more the psychic being consciously associates itself with the outer activities, the more abundant, coherent and precise do the memories become - yet here too the memory that remains is that of the contact with the soul, and sometimes of the things associated with the psychic revelation - not your civil status nor the ever-changing setting. And this explains why these so-called memories of animal lives partake of the highest fantasies; in animals, the divine spark is too deeply buried to come to the surface consciously and be associated with the outer life. One must become a totally conscious being, in all the parts of the being, and be totally united with one's divine origin before one can truly say that one recalls his past lives.
December 13, 1957
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Pondicherry, December 13, 1957
Sweet Mother, this is what is rising from my soul: I feel in me something unemployed, something seeking to express itself in life. I want to be like a knight, your knight, and go off in search of a treasure that I could bring back to you. The world has lost all sense of the wonderful, all beauty of
Adventure, this quest known to the knights of the Middle Ages. It is this that calls so relentlessly within me, this need for a quest in the world and for a beautiful Adventure which at the same time would be an adventure of the soul. How I wish that the two things, inner and outer, be JOINED, that the joy of action, of the open road and the quest help the soul's blossoming, that they be like a prayer of the soul expressed in life. The knights of the Middle Ages knew this. Perhaps it is all childish and absurd in the midst of this 20th century, but this is what I feel, this that is summoning me to leave - not anything base, not anything mediocre, only a need for something in me to be fulfilled. If only I could bring you back a beautiful treasure!
After that, perhaps I would be riper to accept the everyday life of the Ashram, and know how to give myself better.
Mother, I feel all this very strongly; I need your help to follow the true path of my being and fulfill this new outer cycle, should you see that it has to be fulfilled. I feel so strongly that something remains for me to DO. Guide me, Sweet Mother.
December 21, 1957
The other day you told me that in order to know things, you plug into the subtle plane, and there it all unrolls as on a tape recorder. How does this work, exactly?
There is a whole gradation of planes of consciousness, from the physical consciousness to my radiant consciousness at the very highest level, that which knows the Will of the Supreme. I keep all these planes of consciousness in front of me, working simultaneously, coordinatedly, and I am acting on each plane, gathering the information proper to each plane, so as to have the integral truth of things. Thus, when I have a decision to make in regard to one of you, I plug into you directly from that level of the supreme consciousness which sees the deep truth of your being. But at the same time, my decision is shaped, as it were, by the information given to me by the other planes of consciousness and particularly by the physical consciousness, which acts as a recorder.
This physical consciousness records all it sees, all your reactions, your thoughts, all the facts - without preference, without prejudice, without persona] will. Nothing escapes it. Its work is almost mechanical. Therefore I know what to tell or to ask you according to the integral truth of your being and its present possibilities. Ordinarily, in the normal man, the physical consciousness does not see things as they are, for three reasons: because of ignorance, because of preference, and because of an egoistic will. You color what you see, eliminate what displeases you. In short, you see only what you desire to see.
Now, I recently had a very striking experience: a discrepancy occurred between my physical consciousness and the consciousness of the world. In some instances decisions made in the Light and the Truth produced unexpected results, upheavals in the consciousness of others that were neither foreseen nor desired, and I did not understand. No matter how hard I tried, I could not understand - and I emphasize this word 'understand.' At last, I had to leave my highest consciousness and pull myself down into the physical consciousness to find out what was happening. And there, in my head, I saw what appeared to be a little cell bursting, and suddenly I understood: the recording had been defective. The physical consciousness had neglected to register certain of your lower reactions. It could not have been through preference or through personal will
(these things were eliminated from my consciousness long, long ago). But I saw that this most material consciousness was already completely permeated with the transforming supramental truth,
and it could no longer follow the rhythm of normal life. It was much more attuned to the true consciousness than to the world! I couldn't possibly blame it for lagging behind; on the contrary, it was in front, too far ahead! There was a discrepancy between the rhythm of the transformation of my being and the world's own rhythm. The supramental action on the world is slow, it does not act directly - it acts by infiltration, by traversing the successive layers, and the results are slow to come about. So I had to pull myself violently down in order to wait for the others.
One must at times know how not to know.
This experience showed me once more the necessity to be perfectly humble before the Lord. It is not enough merely to rise to the heights, to the ethereal planes of consciousness: these planes have also to descend into matter and illuminate it. Otherwise, nothing is really done. One must have the patience to establish the communication between the high and the low. I am like a tempest, a hurricane - if I listened to myself, I would tear into the future, and everything would go flying! But then, there would no longer be any communication with the rest.
One must have the patience to wait.
Humility, a perfect humility, is the condition for all realization. The mind is so cocksure. It thinks it knows everything, understands everything. And if ever it acts through idealism to serve a cause that appears noble to it, it becomes even more arrogant more intransigent, and it is almost impossible to make it see that there might. be something still higher beyond its noble conceptions and its great altruistic or other ideals. Humility is the only remedy. I am not speaking of humility as conceived by certain religions, with this God that belittles his creatures and only likes to see them down on their knees. When I was a child, this kind of humility revolted me, and I refused to believe in a God that wants to belittle his creatures. I don't mean that kind of humility, but rather the recognition that one does not know, that one knows nothing, and that there may be something beyond what presently appears to us as the truest, the most noble or disinterested. True humility consists in constantly referring oneself to the Lord, in placing all before Him. When I receive a blow (and there are quite a few of them in my sadhana), my immediate, spontaneous reaction, like a spring, is to throw myself before Him and to say, 'Thou, Lord.' Without this humility, I would never have been able to realize anything. And I say 'I' only to make myself understood, but in fact
'I' means the Lord through this body, his instrument. When you begin living THIS kind of humility, it means you are drawing nearer to the realization. It is the condition, the starting point.
(Note written by Mother in connection with the conversation of December 21, 1957)
At the very top, a constant vision of the Supreme's will.
In the world, an overall vision of what is to be done.
Individually, at each moment and in each circumstance, the vision 'of the truth of the moment, of the circumstance, of the individual.
In the external consciousness, the impersonal and mechanical recording of what is happening and of what are the people and things that comprise both the field of action and the limitations imposed upon this action. The recording is innately automatic and mechanical, without any kind of evaluation, as objective as possible.
(Note from Mother to Satprem)
It is within oneself that one finds the Pretentaine.47
47Pretentaine: name of the boat on which Satprem wanted to sail around the world alone.
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