object:1967-05-24.2 - Defining God
book class:Notes On The Way
24 May 1967
(Mother goes into contemplation.)
For those who like definitions, there is another way of answering
to "What is the Divine?"... "A vastness, smiling and luminous."
And it is there, is it not? It is there.
After a few days.
I have something to add to what we said the other day about
the Divine. Someone asks me: "And what is God?" It is about a
text of Sri Aurobindo. Here it is:
"Love leads us from the suffering of division into the
bliss of perfect union, but without losing that joy of the
act of union which is the soul's greatest discovery and
for which the life of the cosmos is a long preparation.
Therefore to approach God by love is to prepare oneself
for the greatest possible spiritual fulfilment."1
It is in the context of the last phrase that I am asked: "What is
God?" Therefore I said (I took up the word "God"): "It is the
name man has given to all that surpasses him and dominates
him, all that he cannot know, but to which he submits."
Instead of putting "to all that surpasses him", one might put
"to that which surpasses him", because "all that" is debatable
from the intellectual point of view. I mean there is a "something"
- a something which is indefinable and inexplicable - and this
something, man has always felt, dominates him. It transcends
all possible understanding and it dominates him. And so the
religions have given it a name; man has called him "God"; the
English call him God; in another language he is called in another
way, but finally it is that.
I do not give any definition purposely. Because the feeling of
all my life has been that it is a word, and a word behind which
The Synthesis of Yoga, Cent. Vol. 21, p. 523.
Notes on the Way
people have put many very undesirable things... this idea of
God, for example, who wants to be unique, as they say: "God
is unique." But they feel it and they say it as Anatole France
said it, I believe it is in the Revolte des Anges: "This God who
wants to be the only one and all alone." That is the thing which
had made me completely atheist, if one might say so, in my
childhood; I did not accept a being who declared himself to be
unique and all-powerful, whoever he might be. Even if he was
unique and all-powerful (Mother laughs), he must not have the
right to proclaim it! It was like this in my mind. I could give a
discourse upon it for a full hour, to say how in each religion they
In any case, I gave what seemed to me the most objective
definition. And like the other day, in "What is the Divine?",
I tried to give the impression of the Thing; here I wanted to
fight against the use of the word, which for me is hollow, but
I remember a verse from Savitri which is very powerful
and which says in a line all that wonderfully. It says:
"The Nameless that saw God born."2
The bodiless Namelessness that saw God born
And tries to gain from the mortal's mind and soul
A deathless body and a divine name.
Savitri, Cent. Vol. 28, p. 40
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