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At the Feet of The Mother

PART IV: Correspondence with Early Disciples


Inmates of the Ashram 1923
Top: Rajangam, Tirupati, Khitish, Nolinida, Satyen, Kanai, Bejoy, Purani and Nagaratnam (a local devotee)
Centre: Punamchand, Champaben, Mrs. Kodandaraman, Mr. Kodandaraman
Bottom: Champaklal, Moni, Amrita, Manmohan.




[Punamchand had a small Ashram in Patan, Gujarat, where he and others practised Yoga under Sri Aurobindo’s guidance. Every year from 1919 onwards, he travelled to Pondicherry to visit Sri Aurobindo.((( See Champaklal Speaks, 2002 ed., pp. 3-4, 38-39.)))

In 1923, during his annual visit he asked for permission to stay permanently in Pondicherry along with his wife Champaben. Sri Aurobindo agreed. When Punamchand went to Patan to bring back his wife, Sri Aurobindo asked about Champaklal and told him, “Bring him also when you come here.

Punamchand, his wife Champaben, Kamala’s brother Mahesh, and Champaklal arrived in Pondicherry on 12 June 1923 and lived there for four years.

One day he injured his leg, which had to be operated upon in Madras. When the leg did not heal even after a year, his parents insisted that he should return to Patan for treatment. Responding to their wish, he left Pondicherry with his wife. Her letters from Patan show that Punamchand was not happy about this and cried for the Lord always.

While living in Gujarat, Punamchand was given the work of collecting the funds for building up the Ashram in Pondicherry. He approached many persons, particularly businessmen in Mumbai and Gujarat, for contributions.

In his reminiscences, Champaklal writes: “Punamchand was well known in our town. I met him in the Akhada (gymnasium), which was quite popular, where I went regularly. He was well built and not only looked after the boys’ exercises but also followed the yoga of Sri Aurobindo. I was much influenced by him. The Mother told me how hard she had to work to remove his influence over me; it remained with me till 1930.”]


Correspondence with Punamchand


To Punamchand

I. Separation of Purusha and Prakriti to establish tranquillity of heart and mind.

(a) Separated Purusha, calm, observing Prakriti.

(b) Prakriti in the heart and mind attending calmness.

II. Offering of all the actions, all that is done in your life as a sacrifice to the Lord.

III. Realisation of the higher Divine Shakti doing all the works.

(a) Living with the constant idea that it is the Shakti which does the work.

(b) Feeling of the Divine Shakti descending from above the mind and moving the whole being.

Sri Aurobindo


(Punamchand’s letter to Sri Aurobindo)

My Lord,

After I left Pondicherry, November last, this is my first letter. Although I thought to write many a time, I write only this one.

I thought it better to write you after I see some light or some experience, but up to now I have not seen anything substantial.

You said to me “it is not good to give shakti now when it is pushing forward for its own perfection; when it will be perfect, I will give it to you,” I also know there are many who ask you for shakti and so I thought it better not to write you for that. But now I see no other way than this.

There are altogether nine souls in the Ashrama — I, my wife, Dixit and his wife and two children, a boy of six and a daughter of one year old, Kantilal, Champaklal and Natvarlal. All, we feel, have a spiritual tendency but externally very much undeveloped. The result is a very unpleasant discord. In the constructive work of the Ashrama, with regard to education and culture, I should say that we have been able to do very, very little. And with regard to economic life, we had no permanent resources, we financed ourselves with the help of friends. Very likely, in the present condition, we cannot henceforward receive financial help nor do we like to seek it. And so we have already started work of preparing leather sandals (which we do with our own hands) on a very small scale; that gives us food and cloth anyhow. Apart from giving us food and cloth, it also helps us spiritually in removing our old samskaras of considering the work to be quite inferior and below our dignity and not befitting us! We have some other works in view, as for example, agriculture and silk weaving etc., but owing to want of capital we cannot begin at the present. Thus cultural and economic causes have produced great strain. Dixit is weakened physically and mentally owing to anxiety of finance, strain of internal discord, physical drain due to sexual excess etc. Dixit’s wife with two children cannot undergo the hardships entailed by our present precarious economic position. And so Dixit has now accepted an employment as a teacher here in Patan, so as to enable to cover his expenses. (All about Dixit is in his own words). Kantilal will go to Bombay in a few days and stay and serve there for a few months, (until his elder brother who has recently passed his final examination in Civil Engineering, gets a good service) he is forced to do so owing to strong financial necessity of his house and family. He will return afterwards and stay and work with us. Now I will be in the Ashrama with my wife and two boys, Champaklal and Natvarlal. Now I have realised perfectly well, how difficult it is to establish a Deva Sangha or a spiritual unity even between a few souls. I feel that it is most difficult or rather impossible to establish a Deva Sangha without the realization of the Spirit. I know it is very difficult to realize oneself but at least there must be some sound spiritual basis for the commune and the work.

I do not desire personal salvation or Bliss, but for our work this is the means and so as means for the work, I want it and not for anything else personal. In November last a fortnight after I saw you, I felt separation of Purusha and Prakriti once in the dream-state. Once I felt for nearly seven days that all my desires, as they were entering into me, were dissolving calmly as rivers in the ocean. Once I felt the world and all around me very terrible, kālasvarūpa, and it continued for about a month and then stopped. Then once, after about two hours’ concentration, I felt for an hour an ocean of shakti around me, and I was as if a leaf moved here and there. Sometimes I feel the centre of my being, above the top of my head, and at the time I feel that the substance of thought descends from that centre but the formations of thought take place in the mind. Nowadays I feel a pressure on my head, I feel as if some one thinks, sees, hears and does everything but through mind, eyes, ears, etc. I also feel the reflection and response of the state of the minds of the persons with whom I come into contact and according as the person is happy, gloomy or sick, the same feelings arise in me and cause a great physical and mental disturbance. Then I felt some invisible white light within my body for a very short time. And very recently on 24th last, at night, in meditation, I saw a golden light (it was like a circle of nearly two inches diameter). I am not confident at all, whether all my above experiences are mental imaginations or true and real experiences.

Now I feel that I must have, at any cost, some sound and solid basis in me for the work and so I wish to come over there for that purpose. If it is your will, I may come there; if not, I will surrender to your will. If I am to come, am I to come alone or with her?

Instead of an unwritten answer, I would indeed like most to receive an immediate written answer and so I humbly pray to you to accede to this my request. I am now anxiously awaiting it.

Eternally at your feet,

28 July 1922
Punamchand Mohanlal Shah


(Sri Aurobindo’s reply through his disciple, K. Amrita)

Dear Punamchand,

Your small note to me and the letter addressed to Sri Aurobindo Ghose are to hand. I gave your letter personally and “hand to hand” as directed by you to A.G.

A.G. says it is not possible to call and it would not be desirable for your sadhana at present. He is too much engrossed in his own sadhana and hardly gives us time except for meditation for which we all sit daily between 5 and 6 in the evening. It is the pressure of the yoga and the way in which it has taken him that makes it difficult for him to call you. It is the same reason Moti Babu of Chandernagore also is not called. Some, when allowed to remain here, found it rather difficult as the pressure of the yoga around A.G. is too intense and powerful and at last it was thought necessary that they should do yoga from a distance deriving inspiration from him. As a matter of fact I know one or two who are marvelously benefiting by the very fact of their being at a distance. I think this is why he has asked me to tell you that it will not be good for you to come here at present and do sadhana.

Secondly, he wanted me to tell you that this yoga cannot and must not be taken as a means for any work, even if the work is not personal. He learnt from your letter that you want to make work and activity the goal and to use this yoga as a means for that. The sadhana must be done in order to get to a Consciousness which is above this human and mental. The rest, whether to do a work (if any work, the nature of the work) or not to do a particular work or to remain quiet will all be decided by that Supreme Consciousness which is above us. Then only we become the real instrument of that Consciousness and also our surrender to God gets a significance and value. Not only our work must not be personal but our work or no work must also be decided by God.

Thirdly, A.G. says your experiences are real and they are not mental imaginations as you seem to doubt them. As for example, the feeling of the centre of our being above our head, or the vision of the white light above our head or the circular golden light on the top of the head — one and all of them are real and true-experiences. If you begin to disbelieve these experiences, then you will be creating an impediment strong enough to prevent the experiences from settling into permanent states of consciousness. You must have faith in the power of the Supreme that is giving you these glimpses, if you want the supreme help and guidance. To get to the Divine Consciousness which will shape itself into a Divine Life must be the central idea of this sadhana.

Please keep writing as often as you can, intimating your experiences. The rest he will do.

Kumud Bandhu Bagchi is in Nawadweep. He and some others are doing sadhana there. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.

3 August 1922
Yours sincerely,
K. Amrita


The Bearer Punamchand Mohanlal Shah is my disciple and is now with me practising Yoga in Pondicherry. He is trustworthy and faithful in all matters and enjoys my entire confidence.

15 August 1923
Aurobindo Ghose



As regards the amount of Rs. 500/- monthly from Vithaldas and your note in the account, I presume it is clearly understood that his sum has nothing to do with the account. It must be kept quite separate and remitted here every month as soon as it is received; it must on no account and in no circumstances be detained or used for any other purpose whatsoever.

As to the expenses shown in the account, you asked originally for Rs.

70/- a month in Bombay or Rs. 30/- in Patan; but the actual expenditure has been for months above Rs. 200/-. This is an enormous amount and, as I have already pointed out, it is swallowing up all you collect. I do not see how you expect to be able to maintain this rate of expenditure for an indefinite period or what purpose it serves.

Sri Aurobindo



(1) The ornaments offered by Chandulal’s mother.

Certainly, you can accept and send them. I do not know why you felt any scruple in this matter. Whatever is given with Bhakti can and ought to be received and not rejected whether it is money, things of value or useful things, there may be exceptions, as for instance where the gift is of a quite unsuitable or cumberous kind, but this is obviously not the case here.

(2) The talk with Haribhai.

Think no more about it except to retain the lesson. Your mistake was to interfere with your ignorant mind in a matter which had been decided by the Mother, as if it could know better than she did. As usually happens when the physical mind acts in this way, it made wrong reasoning and foolish blunder. It was as if you gave Haribhai a choice between giving money or giving the clothes and other articles. He was to give both and there was no question of a choice between them; nor could this kind of balancing and reduction on one side or the other be good for his spiritual progress. The fact that other clothes were coming from a Mill could make no difference; that was quite another list and did not meet the same needs. As for the other possibilities you speak of, they have nothing to do with previous arrangements and present requirements; they are only a possibility of the future. I write this much only to show you how mistaken these mental movements are: but you need not worry about it any longer.

(3) The ‘Four Aspects’ is half written and will be finished in a few days. It has been decided to publish these four writings with the February message in Calcutta. Motilal Mehta can use them instead of the August 15th utterances.

Sri Aurobindo
3 October 1927


To Punamchand M. Shah

I have received your letter and am sending this answer with Haribhai. I do not consider it necessary or advisable to make a public appeal for the sum of money I have asked you to raise for me in Gujarat. If a public appeal is to be made, it can only be when the time comes for my work to be laid on larger foundations and I can create the model form or outward material organization of the new life which will be multiplied throughout India and, with India as a spiritual nucleus and centre in other countries. Then larger sums of money will be indispensable and a public appeal may become advisable.

At present I am making a smaller preliminary foundation, a spiritual training ground and the first form of a community of spiritual workers. Here they will practise and grow in this Yoga and learn to act from the true consciousness and with the true knowledge and power. Here too some first work will be undertaken and institutions founded on a small scale which will prepare for the larger and more definite work of the future. I need money to buy land and houses, to get equipment for these first institutions and to accommodate and maintain an increasing number of sadhaks and workers. A public appeal is not necessary to raise the sums that are at present indispensable. I prefer to make it only when I have already created sufficient external form that all can see. It will be easy for you to raise privately the money I now want if you are inspired to get into touch with the right and chosen people.

As you can judge, even this preliminary work will be a matter not of one but several lakhs, but I have named one lakh as the minimum immediately needed in order that we may start solidly and go on without being hampered at each step for want of funds. If you can raise more than the initial minimum, so much the better. The work will proceed more easily and quickly and with a surer immediate prospect. Preserve the right consciousness and attitude, keep yourself open to the Divine Shakti and let her will be done through you.

Sri Aurobindo
1 January 1928



I have not been “angry” with you, but have simply been observing your state of consciousness and your action with the necessary approval or disapproval. Therefore the excessive emotions of grief and dejection you describe in your letter are out of place. What you have to realize is that your success or failure depends, first and always, on your keeping in the right attitude and in the true psychic and spiritual atmosphere and allowing the Mother’s force to act through you and move those whom you approach for this work. Or, if you cannot do that always, you must at least be able to put them into relation with her force and keep them in connection with it. They would then move in the right way without well knowing why or what moved them, but through an impulse and an interest or a psychic need created in them, and the work would be done. It is not “their movement” or your movement that matters most, but the movement of the Mother’s force. If I can judge from your letters, you take its support too much for granted and lay the first stress on your own ideas and plans and words about the work; but these whether good or bad, right or mistaken, are bound to fail if they are not instruments of the true Force.

I do not wish, however, to waste time over the past and its mistakes and failures; it is the future that matters. The two men you speak of in your letter will be tried; the Mother will put her force behind your and their endeavour. The success will depend on whether you can make yourself a transmitting instrument and whether they can be receptive. You must remember that we have no physical contact with the place or with these people: you are there as a support and a means of communication; you have to be always concentrated, always referring all difficulties for solution to the force that is being sent from here, always letting it act and not substituting your own mind and separate vital will or impulse.

I cannot approve of your idea about a society with a subscription for each member and with the kind of publicity of which you speak. These are methods quite inappropriate to a spiritual action. If applied to my work they would either miserably fail or else vulgarise and distort it. If you have sympathizers and want to keep them together and have their help, you must find other means.

Your other idea that it would be well if someone likely to be very useful in the work you are doing came here to receive the touch, is better inspired. It would obviously be the right thing provided the man in question had means and influence and was capable of a psychic or spiritual opening or some other kind of openness to the Power. If already touched from a distance, so much the better. It may be in this direction that there lies the best possibility for the future. Before sending anyone here, however, you must take special permission after writing all that we should know about him.

Meanwhile proceed with your work, never forgetting the condition of success. Do not lose yourself in the work or in your ideas or plans or forget to keep yourself in constant touch with the true source. Do not allow anybody’s mind or vital influence or the surrounding atmosphere or the ordinary human mentality to come between you and the power and presence of the Mother.

Sri Aurobindo
15 May 1928



I am surprised to see from your letter that you have received from Vithaldas an offer of Rs. 500 a month towards the expenses of the Ashram and that you have not immediately accepted it. In fact the language reported in your letter could mean that it was rejected almost with a polite disdain; but I suppose this would be a wrong impression. It is precisely help of this kind that we are feeling the most need of just now. For so long as this monthly deficit is not filled, we are obliged to spend on the monthly upkeep sums that ought to go for capital outlay and under such circumstances the very foundation of the Ashram from the pecuniary point of view remains insecure. If the monthly expenses are secured, the Ashram will be put on a safe foundation and the work for bringing the lakh and other large sums can go forward on a much sounder basis. Besides the forces will not be diverted from their proper work by the harassment of daily needs. Therefore, recently, it is just contributions of this kind that we have been pressing for as the first necessity. Vithaldas seems to have received an inspiration from this pressure and made a magnificent answer. And you do not immediately seize on this response. This is an example of what I meant when I warned you to keep yourself open to the Mother’s force and not follow merely your own ideas and plans. Now the only thing to do is to speak to Vithaldas and see whether he keeps to his offer. If so you should accept at once. The sooner we get the money, the better. Our deficit is really more than Rs 800, for the number of disciples is increasing and the expenses also. If Vithaldas can be relied upon to give regularly Rs. 500 a month the gap will be almost filled and once that is done, the obstruction we have felt hitherto in the matter is likely to disappear and the rest to come in with greater ease. If you have not already accepted Vithaldas’s offer and made arrangements for the regular transmission of the money, then realize its importance and act at once.

The Mother does not want to buy saris for herself with the money raised; in the present state of the finances the idea is altogether out of the question. The income and the expenses must be balanced; money must be found for the work of building up the Ashram. All the rest comes after.

Sri Aurobindo
2 June 1928


Write to Punamchand asking what are the 500/- that reached us today. Whenever he sends money, he should inform us at the same time what it is and who has given it.

Write to him also with regard to the letter he wrote about the detective’s visit and his proposals. He has only to send regular accounts with details of sums, names etc. to me and he is on safe ground. He can simply answer that all monies given are accounted for and full details sent to me. If on the other hand he is loose in his accounts and dealings with money, he gives room for this kind of rumour and creates a wrong atmosphere. Nor in the absence of accounts can I myself have any ground to go upon if I am questioned whether I received or not the sums paid to him for me. In this connection note that he has not sent, as promised, the accounts for the last few months, since his arrival and return we have received nothing.

Sri Aurobindo
16 April 1929


He (Punamchand) can let Narayanji have Veda translations, but I do not want them widely circulated because they are a first draft, not final. Messages and letters he may have. But the evening talks must not get about. I have not seen these reports and therefore they are not authorized, and there must be any number of things in them which either ought not to be public or for which in the form they have there, I cannot accept responsibility.

Sri Aurobindo
September 1931


Re: Punamchand

(1) To give up his Bombay work and stay here.

(2) To return to Bombay. If so, for what work and on what conditions?

For (1) —

I doubt whether he will be able, after the very different conditions to which he has been accustomed in Bombay, to settle down to the discipline of the Ashram which itself is very different from what it was when he was last here. And where to put them, if they stay?

For (2) —

On the other hand, if he goes back, how is he to live? It is out of the question for us to send him money and he must not even think of it. In future also we cannot make ourselves responsible for any loans he may contract; that too must be understood clearly.

If he collects money and spends all or most of what he gets on his own expenses, that is about the worst thing that can be done. It discredits him in people’s eyes and discredits the collection and the Ashram. As soon as it is known people cease to give money. Moreover, what is the meaning of a collection in which all the money realized goes to collection expenses and nothing goes to the fund for which the collection is made.

There is therefore only one possible solution, for him to fix a maximum amount for his expenses and find someone (now that Vithaldas is no more) who will give him that sum monthly. All other amounts must be strictly sent here and on no account must his expenses exceed the sum fixed. This seems to me the only solution if he goes back to Bombay.

For the work —

It seems no longer possible for him to collect money in the way he and Dikshit first did — approaching anybody and everybody for contributions. The one thing he might possibly do, is what he has done with Narayanji and Ramanarayan — to make the acquaintance of people, get them interested in the Ashram and its work, and prepare them for coming here for us to see what can be done with them; if he can get them meanwhile to contribute, so much the better. But they must be men who can give assistance either in a large sum or as a substantial assistance to the monthly expenses.

Sri Aurobindo


How can he expect me to protect him if constantly he is going out of my protection?

The Mother


Champaben’s Reminiscences1)


[Between 1923 and 1927, Champaben was engaged in personal service to the Mother. Thereafter she was obliged to return to Gujarat on account of some problems in the family. After the demise of Punamchand in 1950, she again came and stayed on in Pondicherry. Below are a few of her reminiscences.]

In August 1920 my husband and I and also Dikshitbahai came to Pondicherry. We stayed in a hotel named “Amanivasam” for about 15 days. Almost everyday we used to meet Sri Aurobindo. At that time I did not know even a bit of English. Sri Aurobindo was staying in the first floor of the “Guest House” (now part of the Playground). He would see us in the verandah adjoining his room. He looked thin and rather darkish. He would talk to my husband for quite long; but I could make nothing of what was being said. Having grown up in the old traditional atmosphere, I thought it would be improper on my part to ask my husband about the gist of his conversation with Sri Aurobindo. All the same, I liked the atmosphere and would feel a kind of inner happiness. At the end of the conversation, I and my husband would bow down to Sri Aurobindo and he would bless us.

One day my husband said to Sri Aurobindo: “We wish to see your room.” Thereupon, Sri Aurobindo, with great solicitude, took us from the verandah into his room. The floor of the room was kutcha, not properly finished, on account of which there was dust on it, some of which stuck to our feet. In the centre of the room, along its full length, Sri Aurobindo’s foot-marks had made a kind of a depressed track in the floor. (In those days, Sri Aurobindo would walk the length of the room to and fro for hours together. That was the cause of the depressed track in the floor.) The room was quite simple — there were one chair and a table with a typewriter on it. There was also, I remember, a photo of Sri Ramakrishna in the room.

Four or five months earlier in the same year (1920), the Mother had come from Japan to stay here permanently. She was staying in a house close to the sea-beach. Daily, at about 4 or 4.30 in the afternoon, she would come to Sri Aurobindo carrying agarbattis, some fruits and a French type of bag. I naturally was unable to say anything to her. But she showered great love on me; my happiness knew no bounds.

One day we told Sri Aurobindo: “We very much wish to stay on here.” He said: “For the present, go to Chandernagore and stay with Motilal Roy. Later, I shall call you here.” Accordingly, we went to Chandernagore, but stayed there only for a month whereafter we returned to Patan. Finally, in 1923 we came over and settled down in the Ashram.


Correspondence with Champaben


Respected Father and the Mother,

My Pranam at thy lotus feet.

I wanted to do the sadhana. Please show me the way how to open my psychic. I don’t know, what to do, but sometimes I felt Peace and Ananda. Is it a true feeling?

If Peace and Ananda are felt, they cannot be false. Visions and suggestions and ideas may be true or untrue, but Peace and Ananda can always be accepted as fact.

Sri Aurobindo


Punamchand remembers Thee always and sometimes cries a lot. He concentrates on Thee and sees Thee in his visions. Please, guide him in his sadhana.

Bless us and shower thy grace always.

Thy child,
8 December 1935


A few days back I was meditating in the evening. Everything became calm. Something fell down on my head up to the neck. I was surprised; what happened? Again I was meditating. I felt that from head to feet my body parted in two portions. On the right side I felt peace and heaviness. Why I felt two portions of my body? Please explain it.

The two sides of the body are supposed to represent two different sides of the being, the side of consciousness and knowledge and the side of force and action. The feeling you had at meditation may have been the sense of the removal of some veil of obscurity covering the mind — the head from the crown to the throat being the seat of the thinking mind.

Opening means only to be able to receive the Mother’s force. Whether one is open or not is shown by two things. If one is conscious of the force working in one, then one is open. But even if one is not conscious, yet if results of the working happen, then that also means that in the inner being some opening has been made. Aspiration, sincerity and the quietude of the mind are the three best conditions for opening.

Sri Aurobindo
27 December 1935


At the Lotus feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother,

Is it possible to give me two books? One is “Conversations with the Mother” and the “Mother’s Prayers in French”. Please, write inside something if Thy will is there.

When I sit in the meditation, I feel sometimes that my whole body from inside became vacant and foggy. That time I don’t feel the body consciousness except from neck to head I feel that. Explain it to me.

You are probably becoming aware of a suitable consciousness wider than the physical and when one is in this consciousness the body seems nonexistent. The thought being still active, you are aware at that time of head only.

Whether I sit in meditation or not, I felt deep peace behind and around my head and I like to enter into it. How nice if it would descend into me! Is it imagination or truth?

You are probably feeling the peace of the higher consciousness with a tendency to enter into it. Afterwards this usually descends into the head and body, but as yet there is not this movement.

I couldn’tt stop my currents of useless thoughts, even in the sleep also. I am tired of it. Why does it come? From where? Please, show me the way to stop it.

I pray to give me faith, devotion. Peace and Ananda.

Shower thy Grace on me and Punamchand. He sends his pranam at Thy lotus feet.

Pranam from Champaben


All thoughts really come from outside, but one is not conscious of their coming. You have become conscious of this movement. There are different ways of getting rid of them; One is to reject them one by one before they come in; another is to look at them with detachment till they fade away.

Sri Aurobindo
27 December 1935





14 April 1930

With the love of René’s Mummy who expects him to have a strong and unshakeable will from today.

The Mother

A pencil-sketch of René’s head drawn by the Mother. “One year old” means one year in the Ashram.


Correspondence with René2)


Do not worry about what has been done.

Let the past pass away.

From today you are reborn.

That is why you will be called: RENÉ (Reborn)

The Mother
13 April 1929


From today

René will be perfectly

Strong, Sincere, Straightforward

The Mother
21 April 1929


To René

I certainly cannot sanction your departure on so wrong and trivial a ground. You must be aware, as you admitted at first, that you are yourself to blame. When the Mother after a long and exhausting morning’s work still gave you time, it was very wrong of you to reward her by speech of an insulting character. And it was wrong of you to resent her kind letter and her reference to the adverse force which you yourself have called the devil and from which you have insistently prayed to be delivered. I shall add that if you allow yourself to be ruled in this way by self-will and an abnormal sensitiveness, you will always create trouble for yourself, no matter where you go.

I could only sanction your departure if I came to the conclusion that you are still too young and raw and ill-balanced to bear the pressure for change which is inevitable in the atmosphere of the Ashram. But before this attack, you were progressing very well with a rapid growth in consciousness and character. It ought not to be difficult for you to get over this attack and settle down to a self-development of your undoubted possibilities on the right line. It would be a pity if you threw away the chance by obstinate persistence in the result of a moment’s pique.

I prefer not to give any decision till after the 15th.You will do well to wait till and see if your present feelings do not change.

Sri Aurobindo
4 August 1929



I did not agree to your going for the same reasons as the last time. First, there was no good reason why you should go; a fit of quite causeless jealousy and pique could not be considered a sufficient ground for your wanting to leave us. You started your “revolt”, as you call it, because the Mother took Duraiswami to a private sale to buy things for her: you continued it because the next day (it being the first of the month) and the day after she was too busy with accounts and other affairs to occupy herself with you as you wanted. There could not be more absurd ground for wanting to go away.

What you seem to claim from the Mother is impossible. No one can be given the right to control or question her actions and decisions or to dictate whom she must or must not take with her or what time she shall give to one or another. The Mother can do her work only if she is free always to do what she sees to be right and her decisions are accepted by all concerned. This is now generally understood in the Ashram and no one makes this kind of demand; it is not possible that you alone out of eighty people should have the right to do it.

In fact, you have been given privileges of close daily personal contact with the Mother which very few in the Ashram have and which all would be only too glad to have. It is not because you have a greater claim than theirs. If it were a matter of ordinary claim, there are many who would precede you. Some have been here since the beginning; some are more advanced than most in the spiritual life; some occupy a responsible position in the work of the Ashram; yet many of them cannot come to the Mother separately every morning or meet her again in the afternoon as you have been allowed to do. This privilege was given you because she felt that you had a special need of her care and of help and support from her. For she does not act for her personal satisfaction or decide out of personal preference, but according to the necessities of the work and the true need of each one in the Ashram. And she gave you as much as she could consistently with the call of her work and the time at her disposal. But instead of being satisfied and happy, you create in your mind flimsy grounds for “revolt” and “quarrel”. You did this once and it was excused as a mistake which you recognized and would try not to repeat. It is discouraging to see you start the same folly, all over again as if you had understood and learned nothing.

You have not been asked to do any yoga; you were too young and unripe for that. You have therefore no reason to complain of being asked to do something beyond your power. But, without doing any yoga, it was quite possible for you, merely by your work and by daily contact with the Mother and her silent influence, to grow quietly and easily and happily in consciousness and character and capacity until you were ready. But if you refuse to learn self-control and discipline, (these are not matters of yoga, but what everyone has to learn unless he wants to waste his life and bring his capacities to nothing) and if you cannot be content and happy with the much that is given you, you yourself will make your own life here impossible.

My second reason for not agreeing to your departure was that I did not believe that you really wanted to go or that what spoke of going was the true. . . But if your desire to go is serious and deliberate, if you cannot be happy here with us, then it would not be right for me to keep you against your will. That is a thing which I never do with any one.

My third reason was that I could only sanction your going if I saw that you were too young or otherwise unfit to bear the pressure of the Ashram atmosphere. I know that there is in you the capacity if you choose to exercise it. But a certain attitude towards this life and towards the Mother is needed which you seem unwilling to keep. If you cannot be satisfied, if you are constantly revolting and discontented and unhappy, if you again and again violently insist on going away, if you are constantly driven by something in you into these outbreaks which might have been excusable when you were a young child but are no longer proper to your age, it will be difficult for me to avoid coming to the conclusion that, as yet at least, you are not ready, not for the Yoga but even for living here.

One thing I wish to make clear. Neither myself nor the Mother wish you to leave us. I do not approve or sanction your going, still less do I decide that you must go. But if your desire to go is real, insistent and imperative, if you cannot be happy here and feel that you would be happier elsewhere, then I shall be obliged to withdraw my refusal.

This is the situation. Try to get back to your self, your real self, the real . . . and see if he wants to go, if it is true that he cannot be satisfied by what the Mother gives him. It is upon that that the decision will rest.

Sri Aurobindo
3 September 1929



I shall answer your letter, but meanwhile do not allow these things to worry you. Don’t allow them to run in your mind or to get on your nerves. And don’t let unpleasant feelings last in you; throw them away. After all. these incidents are very small things in themselves, and it is only when one gives them too much importance that they can take hold of the mind and give trouble.

The important point is not who was in the right or in the wrong; when these things happen, there is always some mistake or a wrong feeling on both sides. The one important thing is your inner condition. You have the Mother’s love and my help and spiritual support; why should anything said or done or not said or not done by others disturb you? I want you to be, whatever happens, calm and at peace within and happy. It is the only way to keep the devil at a respectful distance.

Sri Aurobindo
9 October 1929



In answer to your letter about your clash with Pavitra.

If anybody in the Ashram tries to establish a supremacy or dominating influence over others, he is in the wrong. For it is bound to be a wrong vital influence and come in the way of the Mother’s work. If you feel anything of the kind in anybody, you are quite right to resist it and throw off the influence; to accept it would be bad both for him and you.

But there should be no quarrel or ill-feeling or keeping up of resentment or anger; for that too is not good for either.

Certain things must be said in fairness to Pavitra. He can have had no conscious intention of injuring you with the Mother; for, if it were there the Mother would have seen it. And you may be sure that nothing of the kind could shake her confidence in you; she has seen your work, she knows your capacity, and she can judge it for herself without being swayed by the words of others.

He may not be very communicative about the contents of the “magic cupboard”, but he did not intend to keep you in ignorance. Once he showed you in the Mother’s presence the things that came from Europe and he must have thought that you knew already what was there.

He says that he never intended to order you about, and I am sure he thinks what he says. If you felt something wrong of this kind in his manner, it is evidently something of which he was not himself conscious.

As to the work, part of what you ask is quite just and reasonable. You must be kept informed of what is there with Pavitra; otherwise you will be hampered in your work. You should also be consulted as to your requirements when an order is sent. As to the plans, the Mother, as you know, arranges them with you whenever any work has to be done. But I suppose you are thinking of the plans for the new house of which Pavitra showed you a map. These are his suggestions and, as his rooms and offices and the electrical installation for his work with the motors will all be there, he has a voice in the matter. Nothing is definitely settled and nothing can be till the house is ready; then it will be the Mother who will decide everything and you will certainly be taken into confidence.

On the other hand, all orders must actually be drawn up and sent by Pavitra; for it is part of the business with France and that is his department; none else can do it. Moreover, you are not right in asking that you alone should draw up plans, for that would be to prevent the Mother from taking advantage of Pavitra’s scientific training and knowledge and his long experience.

You must remember that just as the Mother uses your capacities and gives them their field, she must be able to do the same with the capacities of others. If she gives charge of a department of work to one, that must not stand in the way of her consulting or using others. Thus Benjamin and Chandulal are in charge of the building work, but the Mother consults Pavitra too because of his scientific knowledge as an engineer and he has the right to make suggestions or criticisms or indicate any possible improvements, although he is not in charge. So too the Doctor is not in charge of the dispensary, but he is associated with the medical work and the Mother makes use of his expert knowledge and experience, when ever necessary or puts in his hands the treatment of a case of illness. It must be the same between you and Pavitra.

It will be best if you fix in your mind and keep to the true rules of the work; then you will have no difficulty or trouble.

All the work should be done under the Mother’s sole authority. All must be arranged according to her free decision. She must be free to use the capacities of each separately or together according to what is best for the work and best for the worker.

None should regard or treat another member of the Ashram as his subordinate. If he is in charge, he should regard the others as his associates and helpers in the work, and he should not try to dominate or impose on them his own ideas and personal fancies, but only see to the execution of the will of the Mother. None should regard himself as a subordinate, even if he has to carry out instructions given through another or to execute under supervision the work he has to do.

All should try to work in harmony, thinking only of how best to make the work a success; personal feelings should not be allowed to interfere, for this is a most frequent cause of disturbance in the work, failure or disorder.

If you keep this truth of the work in mind and always abide by it, difficulties are likely to disappear; for others will be influenced by the rightness of your attitude and work smoothly with you. Or, if through any weakness or perversity in them, they create difficulties, the effects will fall back on them and you will feel no disturbance or trouble.

Sri Aurobindo
12 October 1929



About your zero.

When the bad will etc. is thrown away, first you begin to feel calm but empty, that is your zero.

If you remain confident and go straight, your peace will fill up with a silent strength and content which will turn the zero into a plus +.

In the end there will come in the 100 and the 1000.

Sri Aurobindo



Your cat and rat equation is, I suppose intended to describe the kind of reasoning by which the devil misleads the mind. At any rate, it is an apt description of the devil’s logic and the devil’s mathematics. There are fantastic and false ideas with which it is dangerous even to play. You see how successful this kind of devil’s reasoning has been with Prashanta.

Prashanta pretends to be pure and surrendered to the will of God. How can he be pure when his whole trouble has come from the indulgence of impure desires? He pretends to act according to God’s will, but his actions are moved by three things, desire, vanity and self-will. The devil makes suggestions supported by one or another of these three motives and persuades him that it is the will of God.

Ignorance is not a state of innocence or purity; that is an old blunder. Only a consciousness full of light can be pure. For instance, when you are conscious, your mind is clear and you have the right ideas about things and people; your mind is pure of ignorance. But when the mind is clouded by some impurity, — say, anger, jealousy or pride or some unreasonable desire, you at once become ignorant and mistake and misunderstand everything.

Again, when your heart is turned to the Mother and satisfied with her love, when you are full of peace, contentment and happiness, then there is no room for wrong feelings and desires; your heart is pure.

That is what the Mother meant by purity; to be free from false ideas, wrong feelings, desires, demands etc. is to be pure.

Sri Aurobindo
27 October 1929


To René,

My dear boy,

I had a very interesting vision about you this early morning. I think it is better for you to come and hear it before you decide anything about going.

So I expect that you will come this morning.

Your loving
13 December 1929



It is more than half an hour that I am waiting for you.

Please come at once.

The Mother



Come quick, I have some nice proposal to make!



for ever



Have you completely forgotten your Mummy’s love? I have things to say and urgent work to give you — that is why I am asking you to come.

The Mother


To René;

From his Mummy with her love


My dear boy,

All this talk of leaving you is mere nonsense.

What you are or are not I know better than you do; and I know the treasures that are hidden behind what you call your lower vital.

The only thing true you say is that love is unselfish and unconditioned. Such is the love of Sri Aurobindo and myself for you.

That is why we shall never listen to all your nonsense and will love you surely.

Come to me without fear. I will not scold and not look with “round eyes”.

Your ever loving


My very dear boy,

I knew something of this although you had not spoken, and the only thing I regretted is that you did not love and trust your Mummy enough to tell her frankly. How could you think that this could change my love for you?

Now nothing stands in the way between us, between René and his Mummy, and if my love for you could be greater, it would be so now that you have shown full confidence to me.

I expect you at pranam as usual. And what more I have to say I shall say when you come at one o’clock. You will be cured — this is sure.

Love from
Your Mummy
Saturday 5.45 a.m.


To René with blessings.

It is true that whatever you do I am always your Mother. But henceforth do not let the devil manifest through you.

Your loving Mother


Sincerity means to lift all the movements of the being to the level of the highest consciousness and realisation already attained.

Sincerity exacts the unification and harmonisation of the whole being in all its parts and movements around the central Divine Will.[4]

The Mother
20 February 1930, 2.40pm


From now René is sincere and will be sincere like his Mummy.

The Mother



When these moods come upon you, why do you run away from the Mother and avoid her? Why do you not come to her, tell her frankly what you feel and what is in your mind and let her take the trouble from you?

The reasons you give for wishing to leave us are no good reasons at all. If you want to see the richness and greatness of God, you will, if you wait, see more of it with us than you ever can outside. And if you want to see the Himalayas, it will be much better for you to see them hereafter with your Mother beside you.

You are quite mistaken when you say that if you will go, there will be no Devil left in the Ashram. The Devil is not here because of you; he is here because he wants to give trouble to the Mother and spoil her work. And what he chiefly wants is to drive her children away from her, and especially those who like you are nearest to her. If you go, he will remain; and not only he will remain, but he will feel that he has won a great victory and will set himself with a double vigour to attack her through others.

You talk of not giving trouble to the Mother and to me; but do you not realize that nothing can be worse trouble to us than your going away? The moods of revolt that come upon you are clouds that pass; but to see you leave us in this way and feel our love rejected and your place near us empty would be indeed a real trouble to us and we would feel it more deeply than anything else you could do.

You know that it is not true that your sole desire is to go away. It is only so when you are in these moods. And you know that these are moods that pass, and if you allow the Mother to take them away, they go at once. The trouble is that when they come, you take them too much to heart and you begin to think that there is nothing else to do but go away. I assure you that that is no solution and that we would much rather have you with us even with these moods than be separated from you; compared with our love for you, the trouble they give us is mere dust in the balance.

Read this letter, talk with the Mother and act according to your true self; never mind the rest.

Sri Aurobindo
7 March 1930


When I spoke of being faithful to the Light of the soul and the Divine Call, I was not referring to anything in the past or to any lapse on your part. I was simply affirming the great need in all crises and attacks, — to refuse to listen to any suggestions, impulses, lures and to oppose to them all the call of the Truth, the imperative beckoning of the Light. In all doubt and depression, to say, “I belong to the Divine, I cannot fail”; to all suggestions of impurity and unfitness, to reply, “I am a child of Immortality chosen by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother; I have but to be true to myself and to them — the victory is sure; even if I fell, I would rise again”; to all impulses to depart and serve some other ideal, to reply, “This is the greatest, this is the truth, this alone can satisfy the soul within me; I will endure through all tests and tribulations to the very end of the Divine Journey.”

This is what I mean by faithfulness to the Light and the Call.

Sri Aurobindo
14 April 1930


With the Love of René’s Mummy who expects him to have a strong and unshakable will from today.

The Mother
14 April 1930



Remember what Sri Aurobindo has written to you. When these moods come why do you run away from Mother? Come to her, on the contrary and she will cure you easily. This is the substance of what he has said.

So, come without delay. I shall expect you after I come back from soup.

Love from your



Please come at once. It is already very late.

The Mother
18 April 1930


To René,

I am giving you back your Mother. But you must undo your telegram to X; otherwise it may do harm — to him especially. Tomorrow morning we will send a telegram early, thus:

“Yesterday’s telegram bad joke. Do not send money.”

Sri Aurobindo


No. I did not agree.

Sri Aurobindo


My boy, I have been waiting for you at the bath room window from 10 to 6 up to 6.30; did you pass before?

Do not fail to come at 8 o’clock.

I hope your night has been good.

Something interesting happened between 4.30 and 5 — I shall tell you.

Love from Mummy


Yielding to desires is not the way of getting rid of them. There is no end to desires; each one that is satisfied is at once replaced by another one and they go oh clamouring more and more.

It is only by conquering the desires that you can get rid of them, by coming out of this consciousness of the lower nature and rising to a higher consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo
29 April 1930


A desire which knows that it will never be satisfied at once vanishes.

The Mother



Come quick. I have a letter for you.

Love from your Mummy with whom you have passed many hours of your night.

The Mother



Come quick. You have not seen me all afternoon and now I am waiting for you.

The Mother
7 May 1930



How is it that you did not pass at 6 o’clock?

Rise at once and come.

I am waiting for you on the terrace.

The Mother
27 May 1930



I did not call you this morning because I did not want you to believe that I was calling you to ask you to remain. We have been trying all the morning to set the Grand-Six in order so that you might take it to Madras, sell it and, after paying the expenses, keep the remaining money for your trip to the mountains, but we have not as yet succeeded in making it work; and as you refuse to remain even one day more, we shall give you the fare for Madras tonight. Duraiswami has written to his house to keep a room ready for you.

For further developments we must wait and see what happens to the Grand-Six.

7 June 1930



If you were seeking for a way of making it impossible for me to refuse you the money for going away, you have certainly found it this time. After the letter you have written and the accusations it contains, I am bound to give you the Rs.50 you ask for X.

Your share in the family estate, which you demand from Dara, remains untouched; we have not taken it, Dara has not given it to us.

. . . Dara has given all he had, and he has given it freely, unasked and without claiming anything in return.

As to your other reproaches and accusations, I do not think it is necessary for me to reply. I send you the money you ask for and so fulfil the promise which you so imperatively demand that I should fulfil. I do not send you away or give my sanction for your going; it is for you to decide in all freedom whether you will go or stay. But if you stay, there must be no more reproaches of this kind, since you will be staying entirely by your own free will and under no pressure from us. Nor can I allow the claim you seem to have made that the Mother must do what you want and she must not say to you or do anything that does not please you. That is relation which is not allowed to others and it can not be allowed to you either. The Mother has shown you every possible favour and kindness; more she cannot do.

Sri Aurobindo
12 June 1930


To René,

Blessings from Sri Aurobindo and Mother.

I hope you have felt Mummy’s presence and protection as I have been constantly with you — so much so that from time to time I was hearing Laki’s voice and yours when you were speaking of me, as clearly as if we were in the same room.

I shall be glad to hear from you that your journey has been a good and happy one.

Say once more to Laki how much I have appreciated his visit and been pleased to see him. I am sure now that he will take great care of you and send you back “complete” before the end of the week, as he has promised.

I feel confident that this little trip will do you much good and that you will soon come back with a cheerful heart and peaceful mind. You will find your Mummy waiting for you and happy to see you in good health physically and morally.

Pavitra asks me to remind you of the motorcar accessories.

With Mummy’s best love.

The Mother
Pondicherry 12 July 1930


To René with blessings from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Your letters dated 29Ih, 30th, 31st, have just reached and I have been very happy to receive detailed news from you and hear that your health is improving. But you must be patient and get it quite all right. The aching of the back must completely disappear and the sadness go to never come again. This is very important, for you know that if the possibility of the struggle remains as soon as you reach here it becomes worse. So you must get completely cured and once for all be free from such possibility.

I do not know what Ali tells you about money, but I know that when money is concerned people have easily very dirty thoughts. Moreover I do not understand why you refuse to spend. The pension that will come to you is your own and you are free to spend. The same with Sudhira also. So both you and Sudhira will be able to buy, with the money you will receive, the things which you require.

But to make more sure that you will miss nothing, I shall send tomorrow to Ali the Rs. 200.

I hope you have received my last letter (no.2) it was not registered. But seeing that so many letters are lost I shall register this one (no.3) to be more sure.

I am very pleased to hear that Ali is treating you well; do not worry and think of “luxury”, etc. Make yourself comfortable and do all what is necessary to be completely cured. The more you will be quiet and contented the quicker it will be done. Give my love to Sudhira and keep for you the best love of your Mummy for ever.

The Mother
Pondicherry 3 August 1930


My dear little René,

Today I have sent the Rs. 200.

Expecting to receive soon good news from you.

With blessings from Sri Aurobindo and best love from your Mummy.

The Mother
Pondicherry 3 August 1930


To René with the blessings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Two letters of yours, dated 9th and 20th of August, have reached about at the same time — one took 12 days to come, the other 3! The post seems to be full of fancies. The worst is that the correspondence becomes thus somewhat incoherent; to my letters I receive no answer and in yours you mention things of which I have never heard and of which you were probably speaking in previous letters which I never received.

In your last letter, dated 20th, you speak of another one you would have sent the same day; that one (and probably many others), never reached me. In that condition it is almost impossible to answer to what you write — it is too incomplete.

You speak if you can write to Pavitra; certainly you can and he will be very pleased to receive your letter.

He has cleaned your room and made it tidy; arranged your personal things, in boxes with naphthaline; like that nothing will be spoilt.

The Mother
Pondicherry 28 August 1930


Chinmayi — sketch by the Mother



Chit, the pure spirit consciousness

Chinmayi, one who ois full or all

made of the pure spirit consciousness

To Chinmayi with love — sketch by the Mother


Correspondence with Chinmayi3)


I always see you with pleasure.

Never believe that I do not want to see you. It is a suggestion from the hostile forces — a falsehood.

The Mother
25 February 1930



The Mother has told me what you said to her. In other circumstances I would have asked you to stay on in the confidence that, however sharp the struggle might be, the inner being in you aided by the Divine Force would prevail over the other and foreign influence. But in the condition of mind described by you some relief and rest from the inner struggle seems to be necessary for you. An absence from Pondicherry and change of atmosphere may be the best way to give it.

I do not, however, care to take the responsibilities of sending you to Hyderabad, as that might turn out not at all the best, but the worst thing for you. Even if there were nothing else to do, it would not be possible to send you all that way alone; arrangements would have to be made. We would prefer instead to see whether another means cannot be arranged, such as staying in a quiet place in the hills where you could have a healthy change of air for a time and other surroundings and recover your vital strength and nervous balance. We are making enquiries and in a few days hope to be able to let you know what can be done.

I write this much today in answer to your request for an immediate decision; but I have something to say with regard to your spiritual life and its difficulties which I have not had time to finish. I will finish it tomorrow and send it to you.

Sri Aurobindo
3 June 1930



It will be perhaps better after all if you write a word to Jafar Hasan. You might tell him that you wrote your first letter under the impulse of a wish to go to Hyderabad for a time, but after posting it you felt that your real life was in the Ashram and you should not leave it, — and you are sending him this word so that he may not come to take you and go back disappointed, although you will always be glad to see him if at anytime he comes here.

Do not despond or be discouraged; if you persevere, there can be no doubt that the permanent change will come. But be more resolute hereafter not to listen to the suggestions of these forces whom you know to be the enemies of your own soul and of your quiet and happiness, no less hostile to you than to us and our work; especially, do not shut yourself to the Mother’s help for any reason whatever, and never do what these forces tell you to do; this shutting yourself up against help is the great mistake you make when you are in this trouble. For some time you resisted their suggestions, and then we found it much easier to help you and to minimize or shorten their attacks. If you persevere in that uninterruptedly, their power of attack will diminish, and then the time will come when we can make it cease altogether.

Our force is always with you to aid you; it is for you to keep yourself open always to it and to us that it may conquer.

Sri Aurobindo
19 January 1931


I have a sweet little mother waiting at my door. Quick, quick, I must open and let my sweet mother in.

The Mother
26 March 1931



It is very painful for us to see you in this condition and it makes us very sad and anxious. Will you not make an effort to throw off the cloud that has fallen upon you? There is surely something you are not telling us; for nothing has happened to our knowledge that could make you go so far as to refuse food and reject persistently the love and solicitude of the Mother. Will you not tell us what is your reason and relieve your mind of its burden?

You are our beloved child. Nothing should be able to throw a shadow between you and our love. Throw off whatever shadow there is. I ask you to take your food as usual, speak to the Mother; turn to us once more; call back the happiness and the sunshine.

Sri Aurobindo


The Mother is not yet all right. She sends you her love.

Sri Aurobindo


I want to give my whole being to Mother with all my love. But there is the whole nature that won’t let me open myself. It lies like a weight on me and turns into ridicule all the efforts I make for getting out of it.

Not the whole nature — only a part of the vital nature. And even there it is not really your self, but something that has been imposed on the vital by the past and holds it still. That is why you feel it like a weight laid on you. It is bound to diminish and lose its present force, if you persistently refuse to accept it.

Sri Aurobindo


My dearest little child,

What a sad thing that my lovely is not well! I hope it is getting better now; but keep quiet and do not worry either for work or anything — you must not move until it is all gone. . . If you feel quite well this afternoon, come and I will be very happy.

With all my love and affection I am near you holding you in my arms and praying that you will be quite all right very, very soon.

The Mother
Sunday morning 8.30


Herewith this morning’s flower as pure and white as snow.


My dear little child,

I had no time to tell you that tomorrow morning there is no meditation but that I am expecting you at 7 o’clock as usual.

With my best love.

The Mother
16 January 1932


This paper is made with true flower and leaf (the envelope too).


My dear little child,

Once more this morning I have forgotten to inform you that tomorrow morning there is no meditation and that 1 am expecting you at 7 o’clock as usual.

I have kept you in my thoughts, in my heart, in my arms all day and feel sure that you are quite all right now.

With my best love,

The Mother
3 February 1932



Don’t you find this picture very poetic?


My dear little child,

Once more this morning I had no time to tell you that tomorrow there is no pranam and to remind you to come at seven o’clock for the work.

I hope you have well understood what I meant this morning. When the true and sacred love is there (love from the Divine and for the Divine) whatever happens is always utilized as a means for increasing and perfecting the union. This leaves no place for worry, regret and depression, but, on the contrary, fills the consciousness with the certitude of victory.

With my best love,

The Mother


I will never be willing to send her away.

Sri Aurobindo


My sweet dearest little child,

I am so very happy to receive your loving letter. . . . Your affectionate thoughts had come in advance and had told me already of the vanishing of the clouds. I had felt your sweet love and cradled my dear little child in my arms, filling her heart with the sunshine of confidence.

With my best love,

The Mother
12 February 1932


My dearest little child,

Tomorrow no pranam, but you must come at 7 o’clock to do your work and receive your Mother’s loving blessings.

The Mother
3 March 1932


Mon petit enfant cheri, ma chupi. . .

I am obliged to go down. But my love remains with you with all its intensity. And in the intensity of this love, I have prayed and prayed to our Lord asking Him to pour His Grace upon you and to make you consciousness of the Divine Light and Soul in you, to give you the supreme realisation of His Presence.

With all my heart I kiss you, mon enfant cheri

The Mother


My dearest little child,

No, no, you have not lost it! You have left it with me, safely in the box, saying that you would show me first, tomorrow, what you have done before fixing its place.

All is all right with our protection and love. Surely you know that.

The Mother
13 March 1932


My sweet little child,

How is it that I have not seen you all the evening? Can it be that I had forgotten to tell you about the music? I would be so very sorry if I have.

But what about the stores and the soup? I missed you although my love was with you all the time.

The Mother


I am sending you your flowers.


I am waiting for you, little child, come at once.

The Mother
4 August 1932


Chinmayi had, last night, two beautiful dreams — in the first one she was facing an ocean, but all the front was hidden by shadows and black rocks. She was considering these shadows and rocks and reckoning them for what they were (difficulties etc.) when suddenly the sun rose marvellous and dazzling — The light was so intense that all shadows and rocks were swallowed up by it.

In the second I had given her a lot of dirty clothes to wash; they were so dirty that they seemed black. She washed them and they became so white that she says she never saw anything so white in her life.

The Mother
27 September 1932



I want to see you and speak with you. Will you please come.

Sri Aurobindo


A great misunderstanding has taken place.

You seem to believe that I say one thing when I mean another. This is absurd.

When I speak, I speak plainly and always mean what I say.

When I say: the first condition for yoga is to keep quiet and calm — I mean it.

When I say that talk is useless and leads only to confusion, waste of energy and loss of the little light one may have — I mean that and nothing else.

When I say that I have given nobody the right to speak in my name and to interpret my words according to his own fancy, I mean that and nothing else.

I hope that this is clear and decisive and this singular misunderstanding will now come to an end.

The Mother



There are two or three things that I think it necessary to say to you about your spiritual life and your difficulties.

First, I should like you to get rid of the idea that that which causes the difficulties is so much a part of yourself that a true inner life is impossible to you. The inner life is always possible if there is present in the nature, however much covered over by other things, a divine possibility through which the soul can manifest itself and build up its own true form in the mind and life, — a portion of the Divine. In you this divine possibility exists in a marked and exceptional degree. There is in you an inner being of spontaneous light, intuitive vision, harmony and creative beauty which has shown itself unmistakably every time it has been able to throw oil the clouds that gather in your vital nature. It is this that the Mother has always tried to make grow in you and bring to the front. When one has that in oneself, there is no ground for despair, no just reason for any talk of impossibility. If you could once firmly accept this as your true self, (as indeed it is, for the inner being is your true self and the external, to which the cause of the difficulties belongs, is always something acquired and impermanent and can be changed,) and if you could make its development your settled and persistent aim in life, then the path would be clear and your spiritual future not only a strong possibility but a certitude.

It very often happens that when there is an exceptional power like this in the nature, there is found in the exterior being some contrary element which opens it to a quite opposite influence.

It is this that makes the endeavour after a spiritual life so often a difficult struggle: but the existence of this kind of contradiction even in an intense form does not make that life impossible. Doubt, struggle, efforts and failures, lapses, alternations of happy and unhappy or good and bad conditions, states of light and states of darkness are the common lot of human beings. They are not created by Yoga or by the effort after perfection; only in Yoga one becomes conscious of their movements and their causes instead of feeling them blindly, and in the end one makes one’s way out of them into a clearer and happier consciousness. The ordinary life remains to the last a series of troubles and struggles, but the sadhak of the Yoga comes out of the trouble and struggle to a ground of fundamental serenity which superficial disturbances may still touch but cannot destroy, and finally, all disturbance ceases altogether.

Even the experience which so alarms you, of states of consciousness in which you say and do things contrary to your true will, is not a reason for despair. It is a common experience in one form or another of all who try to rise above their ordinary nature. Not only those who practise Yoga, but religious men and even those who seek only a moral control and self-improvement are confronted with this difficulty. And here again it is not the Yoga or the effort after perfection that creates this condition; there are contradictory elements in human nature and in every human being through which he is made to act in a way which his better mind disapproves. This happens to everybody, to the most ordinary men in the most ordinary life. It only becomes marked and obvious to our minds when we try to rise above our ordinary external selves, because then we can see that it is the lower elements which are being made to revolt consciously against the higher will. There then seems to be for a time a division in the nature, because the true being and all that supports it stand back and separate from these lower elements. At one time the true being occupies the field of the nature, at another the lower nature used by some contrary Force pushes it back and seizes the ground, — and this we now see, while formerly the thing happened but the nature of the happening was not clear to us. If there is the firm will to progress, this division is overpassed and, in the unified nature, unified around that will, there may be other difficulties, but this kind of discord and struggle will disappear. I have written so much on this point because I think you have been given the wrong idea that it is the Yoga which creates this struggle and also that this contradiction or division in the nature is the sign of an unfitness or impossibility to go through to the end. Both ideas are quite incorrect and things will be easier if you cast them out of your consciousness altogether.

But it is true that in your case as in others this contradiction has been given a special and very discomforting kind of intensity by a hereditary weakness of the nervous parts which has always shown itself in you by fits of despondency, gloom, unrest and self-tormenting darkness and spoiled for you the savour of life. Your mistake is to think that this is something to which you are bound and from which you cannot escape, a fate which mistakes a spiritual change of your nature impossible. I have seen other families afflicted by this kind of hereditary nervous weakness accompanying very often exceptional gifts of intelligence or artistic capacity or spiritual possibilities. One or two may have succumbed to it, like Prashanta but others, sometimes after a period of acute disturbance, overcame the perturbations caused by this weakness; either it disappeared or it took some minor and innocuous form which did not interfere with the development of the life and its capacities. Why then despair of yourself or fix without any true cause the conviction that you cannot change and this thing will always be there? This despondency, this adverse conviction is the real danger for you; it prevents you from making a quiet and settled resolution and a permanent effective effort, because of it the return of this darker condition makes you quickly yield and allow the adverse external force which uses this defect to play and do its will with you. It is false idea that makes more than half the trouble.

There is no true reason why you should not overcome this defect of your external beings as many others have done. It is only a part of your vital nature that is affected, even though it often over clouds the rest, — the other parts of your being can be easily made the fit instruments of the divine possibility of which I have spoken. Especially, you have a clear and fine intelligence which, when rightly used, becomes a ready instrument of the light and can be of great use to you in overcoming its vital weakness. And this divine possibility, this truth of your inner being, if you accept it, can of itself make certain your liberation and the change of your external nature.

Accept this divine possibility in you; have faith in your inner being and its spiritual destiny. Make its development as a portion of the Divine your aim in life, for a great and serious aim in life is a most powerful help towards getting rid of this kind of disturbing or disabling nervous weakness; it gives firmness, balance, a strong support to the whole being and a powerful reason for the will to act. Accept too the help we can give you, not shutting yourself against it by disbelief, despair or unfounded revolt. At present you cannot prevail because you have not fixed in yourself a faith, an aim, a settled confidence; the black mood has been able to cloud your whole consciousness. But if you have fixed this faith in you and can cling to it, then the cloud will not be able to fix itself for any long period, the inner being will be able to remain on the surface, keep you open to the Light and maintain the inner ground for the soul even if the outer is partly clouded or troubled. When that happens, the victory will have been won and the entire elimination of the vital weakness will be only a matter of a little perseverance.

Sri Aurobindo


Sri Aurobindo
Painting by Barindra Kumar Ghose


Barindra Kumar Ghose — sketch by the Mother


Barindra Kumar Ghose

Life Sketch4)

Barindra Kumar Ghose (1880-1959), head of the Maniktola secret society, was born in Croydon, England. He was eight years younger than his brother Sri Aurobindo. At the age of one his mother brought him to India where he was raised and educated in Deoghar, Bihar. He attended Patna College for about six months, but did not complete his studies. Towards the end of 1902 Barin went to stay with Sri Aurobindo in Baroda; during this visit his brother initiated him with the revolutionary oath. Early in 1903 he left for Calcutta to join Jatin Banerji, Sri Aurobindo’s first emissary to Bengal, in revolutionary recruitment and organization. At this time he met Abinash Bhattacharya, who became his companion and assistant in the following years. The two spread their militant ideas especially among college students and the youth who belonged to the akharas or physical culture clubs in which wrestling, jiujitsu and lathi-fighting were taught.

In October 1904 Barin returned to Baroda for a year long stay with his brother. During this period, probably inspired by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s Ananda Math, he conceived the idea of an Ashram for the training of revolutionary Sannyasins, to be situated in some remote spot away from the cities. (An outline of this institution, written by Sri Aurobindo, was published in a pamphlet entitled “Bhawani Mandir” early in 1905.) Barin searched in the Vindhya mountains for a suitable place to set up an Ashram, but could not find one. The scheme eventually took shape in a modified form in the centre at Maniktola.

Barin returned to Calcutta in the spring of 1906. Sri Aurobindo, having resigned his position in Baroda, also moved there at this time. The Partition of Bengal had awakened the people from their political slumber, and the two brothers realised that the moment had come for public work. Sri Aurobindo joined the staff of the Bande Mataram and put forth the call for national independence through self-help and passive resistance. Barin and his friends, with Sri Aurobindo’s approval, started the vernacular daily, Yugantar, which openly urged the deliverance of the country through revolutionary means. Its leading writers were superb polemicists.

The fiery newspaper soon became immensely popular, with a readership at times in the tens of thousands. Aware of its influence, the Government prosecuted Yugantar six times for sedition during its brief lifespan.

Eager to do more than just talk about revolution, Barin formed his own revolutionary group in mid 1907, establishing his headquarters and training centre at Maniktola. The property, owned by the Ghose brothers, was a secluded two-acre piece of land overgrown with vegetation. Here at “the Garden”, as it was called, Barin began systematic instruction of the young men he had recruited; there were almost twenty of them, most in their late teens or early twenties. The Garden’s curriculum included meditation twice a day, the study of the Gita and the Upanishads, classes in Indian history and the history of revolutionary movements in other countries, physical exercises such as wrestling, lathi-fighting and jiu-jitsu, and instruction in military strategy and the use of firearms. For a few there was also training in the manufacture and use of explosives. Barin was in overall charge of the Garden, its training programme and external work. The recruits carried out their activities according to his orders and were directly accountable to him. One of the chief instructors, he was also responsible for the raising of funds and the collection of arms, ammunition and material for making explosives.

By the end of 1907 the society’s self-taught chemist, Ullaskar Dutt, was producing powerful bombs. Barin decided to use them for the assassination of certain unpopular Government officials. This, he thought, was the “voice of the People”. Later when asked why he had turned to “political murder” Barin replied simply, “we believed the people wanted it.” During the next six months, attempts were made upon the lives of three officials, but they were unsuccessful. The Maniktola society members and others were rounded up in May 1908 and charged with conspiracy. Soon after his arrest, Barin made a detailed confession, taking full responsibility for the secret society and its work; he did this in the hope of saving other revolutionaries, his brother Sri Aurobindo, and the innocent persons who had been arrested along with them.

For his role as leader, Barin was awarded the death penalty; the sentence was later commuted to transportation for life. In December 1909 he was shipped to the British penal colony on South Andaman Island. Physically weak and constitutionally slender, he endured ten years of drudgery, deprivation and suffering before his release. He returned to mainland India in January 1920, following the amnesty granted to political prisoners after the armistice of the First World War.

In 1920 Barin visited Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry and stayed tor a brief time. He returned in 1923 and lived for six years in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. In 1929 Barin settled in Bengal, where he remained for the last thirty years of his life. He left several memories of his experiences as a revolutionary and a prisoner. Extracts from these reminiscences are given below.


Barindra Kumar Ghose’s Reminiscences


Since his arrival in India in 1893 Sri Aurobindo used to visit our maternal grandfather Rishi Rajnarain Bose’s house at Deoghar. My first meeting with him took place there. My patriotic inspiration was largely derived from his deep and charming personality. We used to go out for long walks in the mornings and in the evenings. Sri Aurobindo would speak then in fervent language about the suffering of our Motherland, her degradation and the need to free her from her shackles.


Sri Aurobindo himself initiated me by placing an open sword and the Gita in my hand and reading out an oath written in Sanskrit on a piece of paper. The gist of the oath was this: “As long as there is life in my body, as long as this country is not liberated from the fetters of subjection to a foreign power, I vow to carry on the mission of this revolution. If ever I give out any word or fact of this secret society or harm the interests of this organisation in any way, I shall forfeit my life at the hands of the secret assassin assigned by the society.”


After being there [in Baroda] for a year I came back to Bengal with the idea of preaching the cause of independence as a Political Missionary. I moved about from District to District and started gymnasiums. There young men were brought together to learn physical exercises and study politics. I went on preaching the cause of independence for nearly two years. By that time I had been through almost all the Districts of Bengal; I got tired of it and went back to Baroda and studied for one year. I then returned to Bengal convinced that a purely political propaganda would not do for the country and that people must be trained up spiritually to face dangers. I had an idea of starting a religious institution. By that time the Swadeshi and Boycott agitation had begun. I thought of taking men under my own instruction to teach them and so I began to collect this band which has been arrested.


[In Alipore Jail] I was in a state of sweet self-intoxication, almost beside myself in a sort of overwhelming beatitude, when I was counting my last days, with the halter round my neck and shut up in the ‘condemned cell’. I was then face to face with Death, and alone and away from the world, I was playing with it most amorously and trying to snatch the veil of the beloved one. For pain, its messenger had already whispered into my ears, “Behind that dark veil there is the most radiant and soul-entrancing beauty.”


[In the Andamans] our sorrows were many. The greatest of them was the want of company. The orders were strict that we should not talk to each other, even though we might be close together and in the same block. What a wail we smothered in our hearts when we walked together, ate together and worked together and yet could not open our mouths!


And yet our delight was not small even in the midst of such sorrows. For it is a thing that belongs to one’s own self. One may gather it as much as one likes from the inexhaustible fund that is within and drink of it to one’s heart’s content. Not that, however, the lashes of sorrow were an illusion to us. Even the Maya of Vedanta did not always explain them away, so often had they a solemn ring of reality about them. But a tree requires for its growth not only the touch of the gentle spring, but the rude shock of storm and rain and the scalding of the summer heat. Man remains frail and weak and ill developed if he has an easy and even life. The hammer of God that builds up a soul in divine strength and might is one of the Supreme realities.


Sri Aurobindo on Barindra5)


Disciple: How to conquer fear?

Sri Aurobindo: By mental strength, will and spiritual power. In my own case, whenever there was any fear I used to do the very things that I was afraid of even if it entailed a violent death. Barin also had much fear while he was in the terrorist activity. But he would compel himself to do those things. When death sentence was passed on him he took it very cheerfully.


Disciple: Is Barin still doing yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know, he used to do some sort of yoga even before I began. My yoga he took up only after coming to Pondicherry. In the Andamans also he was practising it. You know he was Lele’s disciple. Once he took Lele to Calcutta among the young people of the secret society. Lele did not know that they were revolutionaries. One day Barin took him into a garden where they were practising shooting. As soon as Lele saw it he understood the nature of the movement and asked Barin to give it up. If Barin did not listen to him, Lele said, he would fall into a ditch and he did fall.


Disciple: Barin, I heard, had a lot of experiences.

Sri Aurobindo: They were merely mental and he gathered some knowledge, much information or understanding out of them. I heard that when he had begun yoga he had an experience of Kamananda. Lele was surprised to hear about it. For he said that experience comes usually at the end. It is a descent like any other experience but unless one’s sex centre is sufficiently controlled it may produce bad results such as emission and other disturbances.


Disciple: Yes. He had brilliance.

Sri Aurobindo: But he was narrow and limited. He would not widen himself (Sri Aurobindo showed it by the movement of hands above the head); that is why his thing won’t last. For he was a brilliant writer and he also wrote devotional poetry. But nothing of that will last because of this limitation. He was an amazing amateur in many things, e.g. music, revolutionary activity. He was also a painter; though it did not come to much in spite of his exhibitions. He did well in all these but nothing more.


Disciple: Barin in his paper “Dawn” began to write your biography.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know that. Did he publish a paper? I would have been interested to see what he writes about me.

Disciple: It ceased after a short time.


Letters to Barindra Kumar Ghose


I have received your three letters, but up to now I have not managed to write an answer. It is a miracle that even now I sat down to write, because letter writing for me takes place once in a blue moon — especially writing in Bengali which I have not done for five or six years. The miracle would be complete if I could finish this letter and put it in the post.

First about your Yoga. You wish to give me the charge of your Yoga and I am willing to take it, that is to say to give it to Him who is moving by his divine Shakthi both you and myself whether secretly or openly. But you must know the necessary result will be that you will have to follow that special way which He has given to me and which I call the integral Yoga.

What I began with, what was given to me by Lele, that was a seeking for the path, a wandering around in this and that direction touching this or that in all the old partial Yogas; lifting it up, taking it in the hands and scutinising it and, having had some kind of complete experience of one thing, running in pursuit of another.

Afterwards, when I came to Pondicherry, this unsteady condition ceased. The Guru of the world who is within us gave me the complete direction of my path, its full theory, the ten limbs of the body of the Yoga. These ten years He has been making me develop it in experience. But it is not yet finished. It may take another two years, and as long as it is not finished, I doubt if I shall be able to return to Bengal. Pondicherry is the appointed place for my Yoga siddhi, except one part of it — that is, the action. The first centre of my work is Bengal, although I hope that its circumference will be all India and the whole earth.

I shall write to you afterwards what is the way of Yoga, or if you come here I shall tell you about it. In this matter the spoken word is better than the written word. At present I can only say that its root principle is to make a harmony and unity of complete knowledge, complete work and complete bhakthi, to raise this above mind, and to give it its complete perfection on the level of gnosis above the mind. The fault of the old Yoga was this, that it knew the mind and knew the Spirit and it was satisfied with getting the Spirit expressed in the mind. The mind can grasp only the division, it cannot completely grasp the infinite, the indivisible. In order to reach it, sannyāsa, moksa, nirvāna are the mind’s means. One man or another can get this featureless Moksha, but what is the gain? The Brahman, the Self, God, are always there. What God wants in man is to embody Himself here in the individual and the community, to realize God in life. The old way of Yoga would not make the harmony or union of the Spirit and life. It dismissed the world as Maya or a transient Lila. The result has been the loss of the power of life and degeneration of India. It is said in the Gita “These people would perish if I did not do works” and in fact the people of India have truly gone down to ruin. What sort of spiritual perfection is this, that some Sanyasins and Vairagis should be saintly, perfect and liberated, some Bhaktas should dance in restless ecstasy or love and emotion and Ananda and a whole race should become lifeless, void of intelligence, sunk in deep Tamas; one must first get all the partial experiences on the mental level, flood them with the spiritual delight and illumine them with the light of the spirit and then rise above. If one cannot rise above, that is, to the Supermental level, it is hardly possible to know that last secret of the world. The problem of the world does not get solved. There, the ignorance of duality between spirit and matter, the spiritual truths and life, disappears. There one need no longer call the world Maya. The world is the eternal Lila of God, the eternal manifestation of the Self. There it becomes possible to fully know and fully possess God — as it is said in the Gita, “To know Me integrally”.

The physical body, the life, the mind and understanding, the supermind and Ananda, these are the spirit’s five levels. The higher we rise the nearer we get to the condition of the highest perfection of Man’s spiritual evolution. By rising to the supermind it becomes easy to rise to the Ananda. There is a firm foundation in the condition of the indivisible and Infinite Ananda. Not only in the timeless Akshara Brahman, but in the body, in life, in the world. The full Being, the full Consciousness, the full Ananda, blossoms out and takes form in Life. This is the central clue of my Yoga, its fundamental word.

This is not easy to do. After these fifteen years I am only now rising into the lowest of the three levels of the Supermind and trying to draw up into it all the lower activities. But when this Siddhi is complete I am absolutely certain that God will through me give Siddhi of the Supermind to others with less difficulty. Then my real work will begin. I am not impatient for success in the work. What is to happen in God’s appointed time, I am not disposed to run widely and leap into the field of work in the strength of my little ego. Even if I did not succeed in my work I would not be shaken. This work is not mine but God’s. I will listen to no other’s call. When God moves me then I will move.

I knew well that Bengal is not really ready. The spiritual flood which has come is for the most part a new form of the old. It is not real change. Still it was needed. Bengal has been awakening in itself the old Yogas and exhausting their sanskaras, extracting the essence and fertilizing the soil. At first it was the turn of Vedanta: the Advaita, Sannyasa, Shankara’s Myasa etc. What is now taking place is the turn of the Vaishnava Dharma — the Lila, love, intoxication of the emotional delights. The merit of Vaishnava is that it keeps a connection between God and world and gives a meaning to life. The tendency to create sects which you have noticed was inevitable. It is the nature of the mind to take the part and call it the whole and to exclude all the other parts. The Siddha who brings the Bhava, although he leans on the partial Bhava, yet keeps some knowledge of the integral, even though he may not be able to give it form. The bundles will open of themselves. All these are the signs of the incompleteness and unripe condition. I am not disturbed by it. Let the spiritual power play in the country in whatever way and in as many sects as there may be. Afterwards we shall see. This is the infancy or embryonic condition. It is the previous hint, not even the beginning.

I do not want a society founded on division. I want a Sangha which is the image of spiritual unity and founded on spirit. You will say, what is the need of a Sangha I will be free and remain in every vessel. Let all become one without form, let whatever must be happen in the midst of the vast formlessness. That is true but only one side of the truth. Our business is not with the formless spirit. We have to keep life in motion. There is no effective motion of life without form. The taking of life by the formless, the assumption of name and form is not a caprice of Maya. It was needed. We do not want to leave anything of the world. Politics, industry, society, poetry, literature, art will all remain. But we shall have to give them a new soul and a new form.

Why have I left politics? Because the politics of the country is not a genuine thing belonging to India. It is an importation from Europe and an imitation. At one time there was a need of it. We also have done politics of the European kind. If we had not done it the country would not have risen from its sleep, and we too would not have had the gain and full development of experience. There is still some need of it, not so much in Bengal as in the other provinces of India. But the time has come to no longer extend the shadow but seize on the reality. We must get to the soul of India and make all its works in the image.

People now talk of spiritualising politics. Its result will be, if there be any permanent result, some kind of Indianised Bolshevism. To that kind of work also I have no objection. Let each man do according to his inspiration. But that is not the real thing. If one pours his spiritual power into all these impure forms — the water of the causal ocean into raw vessels — either that raw thing will break and the water be spilt and lost or the spiritual power will evaporate and only the impure form remain. In all fields it is the same. I can give the spiritual power but that power will be expended in making the image of an ape and setting it up in the temple of Shiva. If the ape is made powerful by the putting of life into it he may play the part of the devotee Hanuman and do much work for Rama, so long as that life and that power remains. But what we want in the temple of India is not Hanuman but the God, the Avatar Rama Himself.

I can mix with all, but in order to draw all into the true path keeping intact the spirit and form of our ideal. If we do not do that, we shall lose our direction and the real work will not be done. If we remain individually everywhere, something will be done indeed, but if we remain everywhere, as parts of a Sangha, a hundred times more will be done. As yet that time has not come. If we try to give a form hastily, it may not be the exact thing we want. The Sangha will be at first an unconcentrated form. Those who have the ideal will be united but work in different places, afterwards giving it some form like a spiritual commune and making a compact Sangha. They will give all their work a shape according to the growth and need of the age, not a bound and rigid form, not an acalāyatana but a free form which will spread out like the sea, take different wave-forms and surround this, overflood that and take all into itself. As we go on doing this there will be established a spiritual community. This is my present idea. As yet it has not been fully developed. All is in God’s hands, whatever He makes us do that we shall do.

You write about the deva sangha: “I am not a God, I am only some much hammered and refined iron”. No one is a God but in each man there is a God and to make Him manifest is the aim of divine life. That we can all do. I recognise that there are great and small Adharas (vessels). I do not accept as accurate your description of yourself. Still whatever the nature of a vessel be, once the touch of God is put upon it, once the spirit is awake, great and small, all that does not make much difference. There may be more difficulties, more time may be taken, there may be difference in the manifestation, but even about that there is no certainty. The God within keeps no account of all these hindrances and deficiencies. He breaks his way out. Not our strength but the Shakti of God is the Sādhaka of this Yoga.

Let me tell you in brief one or two things about what I have long seen. My idea is that the chief cause of the weakness of India is not subject ion, nor poverty, nor the lack of spirituality, nor dharma but the decline of thought-power, the growth of ignorance in the Motherland of knowledge. Everywhere I see inability or unwillingness to think — thought incapacity or thought-phobia. Whatever may have been the middle ages this state of things is now the sign of terrible degeneration. The middle age was the night, the time of the victory of ignorance. In the modern world it is the age of the victory of knowledge. Whoever thinks most, seeks most, labours most can fathom and learn the truth of the world, gets so much more Shakti. If you look at Europe, you will see two things, a vast sea of thought and the play of a high and rapid and yet disciplined force. The whole Shakti of Europe is in that. And in the strength of that Shakti it has been swallowing up the world like the tapasvi of our ancient time, by whose power even the Gods of the world were terrified, held in doubt and subjection. People say Europe is running into the jaws of destruction. But these revolutions and upsettings are the preconditions of a new creation.

Then look at India. Except for some solitary saints, everywhere there is your “man on the street”, that is, the average man who does not want to think and cannot think, who has not the least Shakti, only a temporary excitement. In India, you want the simple thought, the simple world. In Europe they want the deep thought, the deep word; an ordinary labourer or artisan thinks, wants to know, is not satisfied with surface things but wants to go behind. But still there is this difference, that there is a fatal limitation in the strength and thought of Europe. When it comes into the spiritual field its thought power no longer proceeds. There Europe sees everything as a riddle — nebulous, metaphysical, yogic hallucination. They rub their eyes as in smoke and can see nothing clear. Still in Europe now some effort is being made to surmount even this limitation. We have already the spiritual sense owing to the merit of our forefathers and however has that sense has near at hand such a knowledge and Shakti as with one breath might blow away all the huge power of Europe like a blade of grass. But to get this Shakti one must be a worshipper of Shakti. We are not worshippers of Shakti. We are the worshippers of the easy way. But Shakti is not obtained by the easy way. Our forefathers, swimming through a sea of vast thought, gained a vast knowledge and established a mighty civilization. As they went on their way, fatigue and weariness came upon them. The speed of thought diminished and with it the strong current of Shakti. Our civilization has become an acalāyatana, our religion a bigotry of externals, our spirituality a faint glimmer of light or a momentary wave of religious intoxication. And so long as this sort of thing continues any permanent resurgence of India is improbable.

In Bengal this weakness has gone to extreme. The Bengali has a quick intelligence, emotional capacity and intuition. He is first in India in all these qualities. If to these were added depth of thought, calm strength, heroic courage and a capacity for and pleasure in prolonged labour the Bengali might be a leader not only of India but of mankind. But he does not want that, he wants to get things done easily, to get knowledge without big thinking, the results without labour, Siddhi by an easy Sadhana. His task is the excitement of the emotional mind, but excess of emotion, empty of knowledge, is the very symptom of this malady, after it there comes fatigue and a tamasic condition. All the time the country has been gradually going down, the life power has diminished and finally what has the Bengali become in his own country? He cannot get enough to eat, or clothes to wear. There is lamentation on all sides. His wealth, his trade and commerce, his land, his very agriculture has begun to pass into the hands of others. We have abandoned the Sadhana of Shakti and Shakti has abandoned us. We do the Sadhana of love — but where knowledge and Shakti are not there, love does not remain. Narrowness and littleness come and in a little and narrow mind, heart and soul, there is no place for love. Where is love in Bengal? There is more quarreling, jealous, mutual dislike, misunderstanding and faction there, than anywhere else even in India so much afflicted by division. In the noble, heroic age of the Aryan people, there was not so much shouting and gesticulating but the endeavour they began, remained steadfast through many centuries. The Bengali endeavour lasts for a day or two in the system, and in all its movements. In the sea of Shakti the extension of the rays of the sun of knowledge and in that luminous extension the steady ecstasy of an infinite love, delight, and oneness. I do not want hundreds of thousands of disciples. It will be enough if I can get a hundred complete men, empty of petty egoism, who will be instruments of God. I have no faith in the customary trade of the Guru. I do not wish to be a Guru. That at my touch or at another’s some wake and manifest from within their slumbering Godhead and get the divine life — this is what I want. It is such men that will raise the country.

You must not think from all this lecture that I despair of the future of Bengal. You say that what is needed is the Bhava intoxication of feeling, to excite the country with the ideal. In the time of Swadeshi we did all that in the field of politics, but what we did is all now in the dust. Will there be a more favourable result in the spiritual field? I do not say that there has been no result. There has been. Where there is movement, there will come out some result, but it is for the most part of the nature of an increase or possibility and hardly to actualise it. There is not the right method. Therefore I wish no longer to make emotional excitement, Bhava, in any intoxication of the mind the base. I wish to make a large and strong equality the foundation of the Yoga and, established on that equality, a full firm and undisturbed Shakti.

What do they say? That this time a great light will manifest itself in Bengal? I too hope, still I have tried to show the other side of the shield. Where is the fault, the error, the deficiency. If these remain, the light will not be a great light and it will not be permanent.

The meaning of this extraordinarily long letter is that I too am tying my bundle, still I believe that this bundle is like the net of St. Peter, all the catch of the infinite is crowded into it. I am not going to open the bundle now. If I do that before the time the śikār might run away. Neither am I going back to Bengal now. Not because Bengal is not ready but because I am not ready. If the unripe goes amidst the unripe what work can he do?

7 April 1920
(Translated from the original in Bengali)


Dear Barin,

I understand from your letter that you need a written authority from me for the work I have entrusted to you and a statement making your position clear to those whom you may have to approach in connection with it. You may show to anyone you wish this letter as your authority and I hope it will be sufficient to straighten things for you.

I have been till now and shall be for some time longer withdrawn in the practice of Yoga destined to be a basis not withdrawal from life, but for the transformation of human life. It is a “Yoga” in which large tracts of inner experience and new paths of Sadhana had to be opened up and which therefore needed retirement and long time for its completion. But the time is approaching though it has not yet come, when I shall have to take up a large external work proceeding from the spiritual basis of this Yoga.

It is therefore necessary to establish a number of centres small and few at first but enlarging and increasing in numbers as I go on, for training in this Sadhana, one under my direct supervision, others in immediate connection with me. Those trained there will be hereafter my assistants in the work I shall have to do, but for the present these centres will be not for external work but for spiritual training and Tapasya. The first, which will be transferred to British India when I go there, already exists at Pondicherry but I need friends both to maintain and to enlarge it. The second I am founding through you in Bengal. I hope to establish another one in Gujarat during the ensuing year.

Many more desire and are fit to undertake this Sadhana than I can at present admit and it is only by large means being placed at my disposal that I can carry on this work which is necessary as a preparation for my own return to action.

I have empowered you to act for me in the collection of funds and other collateral matters. I have an entire confidence in you and I would request all who wish me well to put in you the same confidence.

I may add that this work of which I have spoken is both personally and in a wider sense my own and it is not being done and cannot be done by any other for me. It is separate and different from any other work that has been or is being carried on by others under my name or with my approval. It can only be done by myself aided closely by those like you who are being or will in future be trained directly under me in my spiritual discipline.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
18th November 1922.
(Script Barindra Kumar Ghose.)


Dear Barin,

I waited for your letter in order to know precisely what portions Chitaranjan wanted to publish and why. It turns out to be as I said, but I wanted confirmation. I must now make clear the reasons why I hesitated to sanction the publication.

I should have had no objection to the publication of the portion about the spiritual basis of life or the last paragraph about Swaraj but that about non-cooperation as it stands without further explanation and amplification would lead, I think, to a complete misunderstanding of my real position. Some would take it to mean that I accept the Gandhi programme subject to modifications proposed by the committee. As you know, I do not believe that Mahatma’s principle can be the true foundation or his programme the true means of bringing genuine freedom and greatness of India, her Swarajya and Samarajya. On the other hand others would think that I was sticking to the school of Tilakite Nationalism. That also is not the fact as I hold that school out of date. My own policy, if I were in the field, would be radically different in principle and programme from both, however it might coincide in certain points. But the country is not yet ready to understand its principles or to execute its programme.

Because I know this very well, I am content to work still on the spiritual and psychic plane, preparing there the ideas and forces which may afterwards at the right moment and under the right conditions precipitate themselves into the vital and material field, and I have been careful not to make any public pronouncement as that might prejudice my possibilities of future action. What that will be depend on developments. The present trend of politics may end in abortive unrest, but it may also stumble with the aid of external circumstances into some kind of simulacrum of self- government. In either case the whole real work will remain to be done. I wish to keep myself free for it in either case.

My interest in Das’s actions and utterances apart from all question from personal friendship, arises first from the fact that the push he is giving, although I do not think it likely to succeed at present, may yet help to break the narrow and rigid cadre of the “constructive” Bardoli programme which seems to me to construct nothing and the fetish worship of non-cooperation as an end in itself rather than a means and thereby to create conditions more favourable for the wide and complex action necessary to prepare the true Swarajya. Secondly, it arose from the rapidity with which he seems to be developing many of the ideas which I have long put down in my mind as essentials of the future. I have no objection to his making use privately of what I have written in the letter. But I hope he will understand why the publication of it does not recommend itself to me.

1 December 1922
Aurobindo Ghose


My dear Barin,

I have read carefully Jyotish Ghose’s letter and I think the best thing is first to explain his present condition as he describes it. For he does not seem to me to understand the true causes and the meaning.

The present condition of passivity and indifference is a reaction from a former abnormal state to which he was brought by an internal effort not properly guided from without or from within. The effort brought about a certain breaking of the veils which divide the physical from the psychic and vital worlds. But his mind was unprepared and unable to understand his experiences and judged them by the light of fancy and imagination, and erroneous mental and vital suggestions. His vital being full of rajasic and egoistic energy rushed up violently to enjoy these new fields and use the force that was working for its own lower ends. This gave an opportunity for the hostile power from the vital world to break in and take partial possession and the result was disorganisation of the nerves and the physical system and some of the brain centres. The attack and possession seem to have passed out and left behind the present reaction of passivity with a strong hold of tamas and indifference. The tamas and indifference are not in themselves desirable things but they are temporarily useful as a rest from the past unnatural tension. The passivity is desirable and a good basis for a new and right working of the Shakti.

It is not a true interpretation of his condition that he is dead within and there is only an outside activity. What is true is that the centre of vital egoism that thinks itself the Actor has been crushed and he now feels all the thought and activity playing outside him. This is a state of knowledge, for the real truth is that all these thoughts and activities are Nature’s and come into us or pass through us as waves from the Universal Nature. It is our egoism and our limitation in the body and individual physical mind which prevent us from feeling and experiencing this truth. It is a great step to be able to see and feel the truths as he is now doing. This is of course the complete knowledge. As the knowledge becomes more complete and the psychic being opens upwards, one feels all the activities descending from above and can get at their true source and transform them.

The light playing in his head means that there has been an opening to the higher force and knowledge which is descending as light from above and working on the mind to illuminate it. The electrical current is the force descending in order to work in the lower centres and prepare them for the light. The right condition will come when instead of the vital forces trying to push upwards, the Prana becomes calm and surrendered and waiting with full assent for the light and when instead of the chasm in between there is a constant aspiration of the heart towards the truth above. The light must descend into these lower centres so as to transform the emotional and vital and physical being as well as the mental thought and will.

The utility of the psychic experiences and knowledge of the invisible worlds as of other Yogic experiences is not to be measured by our narrow human notions of what may be useful for the present physical life of man. In the first place, these things are necessary for the fullness of the consciousness and the completeness of the being. In the second place, these other worlds are actually working upon us and if you know and can enter into them instead of being the victims and puppets of these powers we can consciously deal with and control and use them. Thirdly, in my Yoga, the Yoga of the Supramental, the opening of the psychic consciousness to which these experiences belong are quite indispensable. For it is only through psychic opening that the supramental can fully descend and with a strong and concrete grasp transform the mental, vital and physical being.

This is the present condition and its value. For the future if he wishes to accept my Yoga, the conditions are steady resolve and aspiration towards the truth. I am bringing down a calm passivity and an opening upward towards the source from which the light is coming. The Shakti is already working in him and if he takes and keeps this attitude and has a complete confidence in me there is no reason why he should not advance safely in the Sadhana in spite of the physical and vital damage that has been done to his system. As for his coming here to see me I am not quite yet ready but we will speak about it after your return to Pondicherry.

9 December 1922
Aurobindo Ghose


Dear Barin,

First about Krishnashashi. I do not think you are quite right about him at least in idea that he is responsible for the recent undesirable manifestation at your place. He is evidently what is called psychic sensitive and one of a very high though not perhaps the first order. It is not his fault, I think, that things went wrong recently. These sensitives require a constant protection and guidance from some one, who has both power on the psychic and vital plane and knowledge of the science of these planes. There is none such among you. Especially when he is in certain psychic conditions such as these into which he has recently entered, he needs absolutely these protections. He cannot then possibly protect himself because the very nature of these conditions is an absolute passivity and openness of the psychic and psycho-vital influences. It is useless to ask him at that time to exercise his judgement or his power of rejection. For that would immediately make the condition itself impossible. If the psychic and psychic-vital influence are of the right kind, all is well and very remarkable results can be obtained. If they are bad the condition becomes dangerous. The only way to secure the exclusion of the bad influences is for someone else with psychic power to keep a wall of protection round him at the time. The sort of trance in which the breath diminishes, the tongue goes in, the body is one curved upwards and psycho-physical movements begin in the body is one which I know perfectly well and there is nothing essentially wrong about it. It may be brought about by a very high influence and equally by a bad one, or being brought about by the former, it can be misused or attacked by the latter. If there had been a protection about him exercised by one who had knowledge and confidence in his own psychic and vital force, the untoward influence evidenced by the cries, grimaces etc., would not have come in to spoil this stage. Let me add that these are not forces of our lower universal but an intervention from a foreign and hostile vital world.

In the present circumstances the proper line for Krishnashashi is to postpone this kind of psychic development, I mean the latter ones, especially those of a physical character. He must understand the character of his higher psychic experiences. These including the voice are not direct from the Supramental but psychic and intuitive on the whole mental plane from the higher mind downwards. There is no reason to belittle them. Only in the transcription in his mind there is a mixture of his own mental and other suggestions which is almost inevitable at the beginning. We should now without interrupting his higher psychic development give more attention to a self-controlled meditation and mental enlargement. In one letter he speaks of interrupting the reading of “Arya” from fear of growing too intellectual. This was an erroneous suggestion of his own mind. Let him by all means read and study these things. Of course in this kind of mental enlargement and self-controlled meditation there are dangers and likelihood of mistakes as in all the rest of yoga. But I think what he needs is at the present stage. The progress would be slow but it is likely to be more safe, and he can resume the full psychic development when the necessary conditions can be provided. He should also turn his will towards mental and vital purification. There is often much misunderstanding about passivity and self-surrender. It does not mean that there should not remain in the earlier stages any kind of choices, self-control or will towards certain things which are seen to be needed rather than others. Only they must be subject to a confidence and free openness to a higher guidance, which will respond to his choice and will in us if the choice and will are right and sincere.

Next with regard to the hostile manifestations which I observe to be of a very low vital and physico-vital character. I may observe that although there is a real force behind them many of them are not of a real character, that is to say, the faces seen and touches felt were not in all cases of real vital beings but only forms suggested and created out of the stuff of your own surrounding vital atmosphere and can easily be dismissed by refusing to accept their reality or to admit their formation. It may be that some particular person in your group opened the way for them but they need not necessarily have had such a personal cause. The real cause may have been the coming together in meditation of so many yet undeveloped people carrying with them a very mixed atmosphere. When that happens or even when there is general meditation, a chakra, hostile forces are attracted and try to break in. There ought to be some one in the group who during the meditation protects the circle. If the meditation is of a psychic character the protection must be psychic on the vital plane. Mirra’s experience is that protection must take the form of a white light constantly kept round the circle. But even this is not enough as the forces will attack constantly and try to find a gap in the protection; there must therefore be round the white light a covering of dense purple light sufficiently opaque for these beings not to be able to see through it. It is not sufficient to have this in the mental or psychic levels. It must be brought down in the vital and fill it, because it is in the vital that there is attack. Further nobody must go out of his body during the meditation (I mean the vital being must not go out, the mental can always do it) or psychically out of the circle. But there is one thing that must be noticed. That if the manifestations occur in spite of all there must be no fear in the minds of those who become aware of them. It is by creating fear through terrible forms and menaces that the hostile beings prevent the Sadhaka from crossing over the threshold between the physical and vital world and it is also by creating fear and alarm that they are able to break in on the vital being of the body. Courage and unalterable confidence are the first necessity of the Sadhaks.

I observe that in your Calcutta Centre the Sadhana seems to have taken a different turn from that in the Krishnagore centre. It seems to be marked by an immediate opening and rapid development of the psychical consciousness and psychical phenomena. This turn has great possibilities but also by itself great danger. In the complete Sadhana there are two powers necessary, the masculine, Purusha or Ishwara power coming down in knowledge, light, calm, strength, wide consciousness from above, and the feminine, Nature or Ishwari power opening in receptivity, the responsiveness on all the planes of the being from below. The first by itself tends to be predominantly mental or mentalised intuitive and afterwards mentalised supramental. It is slow in action but sure and safe, only there is often a difficulty of opening up the separate psychic vital and physical being to the illumination and change. The second by itself is rapid, sensitive, full of extraordinary and striking experiences but apt in the absence of psychic or occult powers to be chaotic, uneven and open to many dangers. It is when both are present and act upon each other in the being that the Sadhana is likely to be perfect.

I think you should insist in your Calcutta centre on attention being given to what I call the Purusha side, that is to say a basis of deep calm, strength, equality, wide consciousness and purity in the mental being, and as the vital physical opens, also in the vital and physical being. If that is attended to and successfully developed the play of the psychic vital and physical experiences will be more steady, ordered and safe.

As to the three photographs you have sent I give you Mirra’s comments in inverted commas with additions afterwards.


1. Kanai.

“An extremely interesting head, highly psychic personality but he must be careful about the physical as this type is likely to burn up the body in the intensity of its psychic developments.”

The basis of calm, strength and purity brought down into the physical consciousness without any hasty trepidations unhealthy vibrations will secure the physical safety and is here very indispensable.


2. Girin.

“An intellectual and philosophic temperament but there is something heavy below.”

I think that the heaviness is in the vital being and the physical mind and may cause considerable obstruction but if these two can be cleared and illuminated there may be behind a fund of conservative energy and steadiness which will be useful.


3. Jagat Prasanna.

“Very dull. I do not know whether anything can be given to him.”

I seem to find behind the eyes a psychic capacity of a very low kind and in the vitality something impure which may be mediumistic element for the lower psycho-vital forces. If he sat in the circle or meditated in the house that might explain the interruption of the undesirable phenomena. This is my impression about the man. But I am not quite sure. If he is to do any Yoga it should be rather of the old kind and especially a discipline of self-purification. Passivity of any kind in his case would be dangerous.

One or two things I should add suggested by your remark on Krishnashashi. All should understand that the true direct supramental does not come at the beginning but much later on in the Sadhana. First, the opening up and illumination of the mental, vital and physical beings; secondly, the making intuitive of the mind, the right will etc. and the development of the hidden soul consciousness; thirdly, the supramentalising of the changed mental vital and physical beings and finally the descent of the true supramental and rising into the supramental plane.

This is the natural order of the Yoga. These stages may overlap and intermix, there may be many variations but the last two can only come in an advanced state of the progress. Of course, the supramental Divine, guides this Yoga throughout but it is first through many intermediate planes, and it cannot be easily said of anything that comes in the earlier periods that it is the direct or full supramental. To think so when it is not so, may well be a hindrance to progress.

As to what you say about an unhinged and unsound element in Krishnashashi, this is a probable explanation. The nature of this kind of psychic sensitiveness is complex and is full of many delicate springs easily touched from behind the veil; hence the sensitiveness but also easily twisted owing to their very delicacy. Something may have been thus twisted in his nature. In that case great care must be taken. It must be found out what it is and the thing be put right without any too rough handling.

I shall write to you separately about Arun’s money and Sarojini.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
30 December 1922


My dear Barin,

It is unfortunate that Krishnashashi’s Sadhana should have taken this turn. As things stand however a general mass in Calcutta is the worst possible place for him. If no other arrangement can be made it is better that he should go for the present to Chittagong, do his Sadhana there and write to me. It is not possible for me to have him here just now. If his Sadhana rights itself it may be possible hereafter.

As to the development of egoism in him that is the thing which often happens in the first rush of experience and with proper protection and influence may be got over. The serious features are only the psychic-vital, the danger to the body and certain suggestions which are evidently meant to put him off the right way. I still find it difficult to believe that the menacing apparitions are primarily due to him, for there is nothing in the atmosphere of his letters that suggest a medium of this kind. If a photograph of him is available that you can send or ask him to send it to me.

I see that you say in your letters that all have been frightened by these apparitions. Insist on what I have said about the necessity of dismissing fear.

Some time or other everybody will have to face things of this kind and how can they do it if they fear? If they are afraid of these things, many of which are merely figures or nervous formations, how can they be spiritual warriors and conquerors, without which there can be no rising towards supermanhood. I presume they would be brave against physical dangers; why not then be brave against all dangers or menace.

If Krishnashashi needs the instructions I have sent in my former letter to you (They were made after consultation with Mirra) all may yet be well. If not, I shall have to try to send my mental protection and see what I can do. He is unfortunately too far away for me to put a psycho-vital protection about him. Let me know immediately what has been done and where he goes. I am sending you a letter for him enclosed to you.

As regards Arun’s money, I understand that it is for the Calcutta centre and I do not understand why you want to send it here. If he can give the first monthly instalment at once that ought to lighten your difficulties there. I shall be able to arrange with Durga Dass’ help and with the money coming from Madras and Gujarat for one year’s expenses here, just sufficient for the two houses. What I want you to do, if you can, is to raise money from Bengal for the next year and for the maintenance of your Bengal centre also for two years, so that there may be no need of hunting for funds for some time to come.

At present the main difficulty in your attempts to raise money is that all remains as potentiality and promise and thins away before it can come to material realisation. It is possible that if you can materialize the small amounts this obstacle may break and remember that it is psychic difficulty, a state of forces, that is the thing to be changed, because that is the real obstacle. If another balance of forces can be begun in which there is the actual materialization even on a small scale that may well be an opening for better conditions.

Aurobindo Ghose
January 1923


My dear Barin,

I have got a fuller idea from your letter about Krishnashashi’s collapse. The main cause is what I saw, the vehement and unrestrained pressure and the vital uprush overstraining and upsetting the defective physical mind. There is no evil in the physical and mental or even the vital being proper. The seat of the harm is evidently in the physico-vital and the physical being. The physico-vital dazzled by the experiences began to think itself a very interesting and important personage and to histrionise with the experiences and play for that purpose with the body. This is a frequent deviation of Yoga observable even in some who are considered great Sadhakas. It is a kind of charlatanism of the vital being but would not by itself amount to madness, though it may sometimes seem to go very near it. Ordinarily if the physical mind is strong it either rejects or else keeps these demonstrations within certain bounds. But in this case the physical mind also broke down. The coarse kind of violence exhibited is due to the rough and coarse character of the physical being. So much I see but am not yet able to determine whether the disorder is only psychic or, as was suggested in my last letter, there is some defect in the brain which has come to the surface. I am concentrating daily and those in Krishnagore have to help me by remaining calm and strong and surrounding him with an unagitated atmosphere also those, who can, have to keep a quiet concentration. He must be kept outwardly and inwardly under the control and check. If the disorder is only psychic the violence will pass away and the other signs abate and less frequently recur. But if there is some brain defect there as I said, it may be a difficult affair. I can give final instructions only after seeing how the malady goes.

As regards your own Sadhana and those of others in Bhawanipore I think it necessary to make two or three observations. First I have for some time the impression that there is a too constant activity and pressure for rapidity of progress and a multimedia of experiences. These things are all right in themselves but there must be certain safeguards. First there should be sufficient periods of rest and silence, even of relaxation in which there can be quiet assimilation. Assimilation is very important and periods necessary for it should not be regarded with impatience as stoppages of the Yoga. Care should be taken to make calm and quiet strength and inner silence, the basic condition for all activity. There should be no excessive strain, any fatigue, disturbances, or inordinate sensitiveness of the nervous and physical parts, of which you mention certain symptoms in your letters, should be quieted and removed, as they are often signs of overstrain or too great an activity as rapidity in the Yoga. It must also be remembered that experiences are only valuable as indications and openings and the main thing always is the steady harmonious and increasingly organised opening and change of the different parts of the consciousness and the being.

Among the experiences there is one paper headed “Surface Consciousness”. What is described there is the nervous or physico-vital envelope. This is the thing observed by the medium and it is by exteriorising it to a less or greater extent that they produce their phenomenons. How did Rati come to know of it? Was it by intuition, by vision or by personal experience?

If the latter, warn him not to exteriorise this vital envelope for to do so without adequate protection, which must be that of a person acquainted with these things and physically present at the time, may bring about serious physical dangers and also injuries to the nervous being and the body or even worse.

Aurobindo Ghose
January 1923


My dear Barin,

I got telegram about Krishnashashi this morning. Yesterday I received his photograph and today his last written experiences. I have been able to form from all these and from other indications as complete an idea about him as is possible at this distance. The photo shows a remarkable soul, an idealistic psychic intelligence and the presence of a high and beautiful being internal but the part of the face showing the emotional and vital being is too delicate to support adequately the upper part of the physical and the physico-vital mould is of a poor and inferior character not easily lending itself to the higher movements or to the change demanded by the Yoga. This disparity in the being was the cause of his illness and is the cause also of his present disorder. The immediate cause, however, is his being hurried by circumstances and the eagerness of his own mind into a development too rapid for the physical consciousness which should have been subjected to a long and steady preparation.

I do not know whether Krishnashashi received your letter written to him at his other address, Raja Brojendra Narayan Roy’s St., which he should have got on the 14th. In this letter I suggested that he should remain in Chittagong or some other quiet place and do the Sadhana by himself turning to me for help and protection and I also insisted that the main object of his Sadhana should be the purification and calming of the mind, the vital being and the body. After returning to Bhawanipur I see that just the contrary has happened: a feverish psychomental activity and a much too eager attempt at rapid progress. Instead of calmly receiving he has been seizing at everything that came and trying to translate it and throw it out into form. He has also been pulling at realisation and trying, as Murrach has put it, to swallow the world in a minute. The result is that there has been an uprush of some undesirable kind from the imperfect vital being and the physical mind unable to bear the strain has been thrown into disorder. It is evident also that the atmosphere of the Bhawanipur centre is not favourable to him. There is there an intense mental and psychic activity and a constant push towards rapid experience and progress which are just the things that are dangerous for him and there is not yet the assured basis of calm, peace, serenity and inner silence which he needs above all things.

I hope that it is only a crisis or a passing disorder. I am doing my best to mend the breakdown, but you must help me by keeping there a firm quietness and calm concentration. This was the object of my telegram. I am of the opinion that when he recovers his balance, my original instructions (into Manni’s letter) should be adhered to, and he should go to some quiet place where there will not be any high pressure. He must be instructed to put away every other object except the quieting of his mind, vital being and body and the attainment of a poise of serene calm and peace. Also it is better for him not to pass the whole day in meditation and Sadhana but to take plenty of relaxation for the relief of the physical being and do some kind of physical work not exhausting which will keep it occupied and healthy. He must be assured that this thing does not mean at all a rejection but that it is necessary to secure the proper condition for his future Sadhana. He must of course keep himself in constant spiritual connection with me and write to me from time to time.

Please keep me constantly informed of his condition until he recovers.

Since the above was written your second telegram came into my hands this morning. It is possible that Krishnagore may be a more suitable place for Krishnashashi than Calcutta. There is a more settled basis there. The place is more deliberate and the surroundings are likely to be quieter, a not unimportant consideration in his case. Besides he needs some one who can impose upon him an atmosphere of calm and influence him directly from the psychic nature and not through the mentality, the latter being always of a doubtful affectivity in dealing with psychic people, and from what you have told me about Indu, it is possible that he may be able to help him in this way. In that case it would not be necessary for him to return to Chittagong or pursue his Sadhana in isolation. All this of course after he has recovered. His case is not that of insanity in the ordinary sense but, as in J.’s case and for rather similar reasons, a psychic disorder, I should of course be kept informed of his condition. I have many things to write but as this must go without delay I postpone them to another letter.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
23 January 1923


My dear Barin,

I got your letter of the 26th and intended to wire but had not your Krishnagore address. This afternoon I have received your telegram and send a reply giving permission for Krishnashashi’s removal. In case the telegram should not reach I have also wired to Kanai in Calcutta. Although to cure Krishnashashi by psychic means might not be possible, the prolonged resistance and the increasing violence make the present conditions impossible. The ordinary means of restraint and medical treatment will have to be used and therefore his removal as you suggest is the only thing left open to us.

It appears from your letters that there is a strong play around you of the hostile opposition from beings of the lowest physico-vital and physical ranges. These beings are small and without intelligence but full of power to do various kinds of harm and mischief. They are similar to those that did the stone-throwing in the other house. To produce brain incoherence, freaks, absurdities, sexual disorders, nervous agitations and disequilibrium, coarse violence of various kinds is their sphere in the physical domain and in the physical to bring about accidents, illness, injuries, physical impediments and on the smaller scale little mischiefs, inconveniences and hindrances of all kinds. It is these that have taken possession of Krishnashashi’s brain and nervous centres and impel his speech and movements. It is these also that pursue with accidents those who are trying to collect money. I have for some time been aware of their activities and suggestions and they are almost the only positively hostile forces of which I am aware in the Yoga, the rest being merely obstructions of nature. In my own atmosphere I am able to make their suggestions abortive and minimise their play pending their elimination. But in your case they seem to be moved by some more powerful force which not being able to act on you directly is using them as agents. Probably you have in your Sadhana touched and awakened the plane on which they work, but are not yet able to conquer and protect as you can in the higher fields. Those entirely within your spiritual influences may resist or escape but others are exposed to their attack.

I think in these circumstances it is best to limit your creation of a centre there to those who have already begun and even with them, I mean the newcomers, you should be careful. Probably the best course is to keep the centre at Krishnagore as you suggest and have only a small establishment in Calcutta. The atmosphere of Calcutta cannot be a good environment for Sadhana centre. As to money affairs you must see whether the resistance can be overcome during February and in any case I hope you will not return empty-handed or with a nominal sum, for that would mean a victory for the hostile force which will make things more difficult in the future. I understand from your last letter that Satkhari has already realised Rs. 500/-. If so get that sum and send it at once, also get in hand and send the Benares money. That will mean so much materialised and to that extent the opposing force defeated. Afterwards see whether the rest does not come in with less difficulty. If you can prevail, that means the way made clear for better success in the future. It is enough that these forces should have destroyed such fine psychic possibilities as of Krishnashashi. I do not like their being successful in other directions also.

As to Sarojini, it is out of the question that she should come here. Make it plain to her that the Yoga I am doing is now too much difficult for her. Her coming here would be waste of time and money. If she is in earnest about Sadhana she must begin with something much more easy. The first thing for her is to study these things, understand, get her mind prepared and begin with turning herself Godward, elimination of egoistic movements and perhaps doing works in the spirit of Karmayoga. A meditation active and not passive, with these things as the object is all she can safely try at the beginning. I have of course no objection to her turning to Theosophy if she is drawn that way. But for her to come into concentrated atmosphere here just now would not be good for her and it would be disturbing to us. Please stop her coming by whatever means you can.

I learn from your post card today that Kanai and the others are at Krishnagore. Please let me know your address there so that I may be sure whenever necessary of making a direct communication.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
31 January 1923


My dear Barin,

First about the photographs. The mounted photograph man is fully unfit for the Yoga. The face is empty except for a great deal of pretension, not warranted by any substance behind. He had better be put off or left aside. It is no use just now bringing in people who have not a definite possibility and even among these who have the best only should be chosen.

As to the unmounted photograph, this is a much worse case. I cannot at all find what you say you see in his eyes. They seem to me rather the eyes of madness or at least monomania. The whole face is a nightmare. It seems to me a clear case either of possession or, even, of the incarnation of some vital being. Please do not meddle with him at all. It is only when we have obtained mastery over the physico-vital and all the physical planes that it will be at all safe to deal with such cases and certainly even then it will not do to begin by taking them into the Yoga.

I note from this case and from what you say in connection with Rathin that you have just now what seems to me, a rather dangerous attraction (because likely to create hindrances or misdirect the energy) towards these vital cases. What you say about the different vital worlds is no doubt interesting and has a certain truth but you must remember that these worlds, which are different from the true or divine vital, are full of enchantments and illusions and they present appearances of beauty which allure only to mislead or destroy. They are worlds of “Rakshasimaya” and their heavens are more dangerous than their hells. They have to be known and their powers met when need be but not accepted; our business is with the supramental and with vital only when it is supramentalised and until then we have always to be on our guard against any lures from that other quarter. I think the worlds of which you speak are those which have a special attraction and a special danger for poets, imaginative people and sane artists. There is, especially, a strain of aestheticised vital susceptibility or sentiment or even sentimentalism through which they affect the being and it is one of the things that has to be purified before one can rise to the highest poetry, art and imaginative creation. In the case of Krishnashashi some influences from these worlds certainly entered into the cause of his collapse. I shall write about Rathin directly to his father for I don’t know how long you are staying in Gauhati. I shall only say just now that it will not be good for the boy if he merely changes the control of one kind of vital world for that of another. He must become healthy normal first and all else can only come afterwards.

As to money matters, I think you should go on trying for some time longer. I believed the obstacle is bound to break before long if we do not get tired out by the obstinacy of the resistance. I am just now very much concentrated in the effort to bring down the supramental into the physical plane which demands a very constant and sustained effort and it is for this reason that I have not been able to answer letters. I shall decide about Khitish when the time for your return draws near.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
2 April 1923


Dictated letter about Barindra’s inquiries:

We should not accept any man into the Yoga because he is rich, or at the same time we should not debar any man because he happens to be rich. But he must be made to understand the demands of the Yoga. There are three demands:

1st. The will (not mere inclination or desire) for a greater Truth.

2nd. Complete consecration to that Truth in doing all the works for that Life.

3rd. Transformation.

That means he must be able to remove to give up all motives other than that of the practice of Yoga even in the worldly pursuits.

The possession of wealth is a great obstacle and it is also a supreme opportunity. In our aim of Yoga we have to conquer the world for the Divine and if we can bring some force of wealth from the rule of vital worlds on our side, it is worthwhile. At present these forces are held by the vital world. We should win them for the Divine.

1923 14 April Evening


My dear Barin,

I answer first your letter of the 6th April. I have already let you know that I approve both the people whose photographs you have sent to me. As to Bibhuti Bhushan Datta you are right in thinking that he is a born yogin. His face shows the type of the Sufi or Arab mystic and he must certainly have been that in a former life and brought much of his then personality into the present existence. There are defects and limitations in his being. The narrowness of the physical mind of which you speak is indicated in the photograph, though it has not come out in the expression, and it might push him in the direction of a rather poverty-stricken asceticism instead of his expanding and opening himself richly to the opulences of the Divine. It might also lead him in other circumstances to some kind of fanaticism. But on the other hand if he gets the right direction and opens himself to the right powers these things may be turned into valuable elements, the ascetic capacity into a force useful against psycho- vital dangers and what might have been fanaticism into an intense devotion to the Truth revealed to him. There is also likely to be some trouble in the physico-vital being. But I cannot yet say of what nature. This is not a case of an entirely safe development, which can be assured only where there is a strong vital and physical basis and a certain natural balance in the different parts of the being. This balance has here to be created and its creation is quite possible. Whatever risk there is must be taken for the nature here is born for the yoga and ought not be denied its opportunity. He must be made to understand fully the character and demands of the integral yoga.

Next for Kumar Krishna Mitter. He is no doubt what you say, a type of the rich and successful man, but the best kind of that type and cast on sound and general lines. There is besides indicated in his face and expression a refinement and capacity of idealism which are not too common. Certainly we are not to take people into the yoga for the sake of their riches, but on the other hand we must not have the disposition to reject any one on account of his riches. If the wealth is a great obstacle, it is also a great opportunity and part of the aim of our work is not to reject but to conquer for the Divine Self-expression the vital and material powers including that wealth, which are now in the possession of other influences. If there is a man like this and is prepared with an earnest and real will to bring himself and his power over from the other camp to ours, there is no reason to refuse him. This of course is not the case of a man born to the yoga like Bibhuti Bhusan, but of one who has an opening in him to a spiritual awakening and I think of a nature which might possibly fail from certain negative deficiencies but not because of any adverse element in the being. The one necessity is that he should understand and accept what the yoga demands of him — first the seeking of a greater truth, secondly the consecration of himself and his powers and wealth to its service and finally the transformation of all his life into the terms of the truth and that he should have not merely the enthusiastic turning of his idealism but a firm and deliberate will towards it. It is especially necessary in the case of these rich men for them to realise that it is not enough in this yoga to have a spiritual endeavour on one safe side and on the other the rest of the energies given to the ordinary motives, but that the whole life being must be consecrated to the yoga. It is probably from this reason of a divided life these men like Ariensingh fail to progress in spite of a natural capacity. If this is understood and accepted the consecration of which he speaks is obviously in his circumstances the first step in the path. If he enters it will probably be advisable for him to come for a short time and see me in Pondicherry but this of course has to be decided afterwards.

I may say a word in passing about Nalineswar. I have read through his experiences and they confirm what I have said about the deficient capacity of his adhar. The mental, vital and physical being are full of weakness and Tamas and the debility and torpor which he constantly experiences are the result of this deficient adhar trying to bear the pressure of the Sadhana. At this time he has one thing which can carry them through if he keeps it steadily, the persistent faith and self-surrender. If the physical lightness, which he experienced for the last four or five days before he wrote can be made permanent then probably the worst part of the difficulty is over. In any case that permanence whenever it comes will be the sign of a certain fundamental safety and the other deficiencies can be gradually rectified by the coming in of the light and the power into the mind and the vital being.

As regards Jyotish Mukerjee, the most notable thing in his photograph is the strong symmetry between the two sides of his face centered in the dissimilarity of the two eyes. This always is a sign of two sides in the nature which have not been harmonised and unified, one side perhaps of faith and devotion and another of a critical and negative mind or one side drawn to higher things and the other held down by the earth nature. This is likely to create a great disadvantage and difficulties in the earlier part of the Sadhana, for it remains even though the disparity may be suppressed by the mental effort but once the balance or unification can be created there is a compensatory advantage by the combination of two strong elements both necessary to completeness. The Sadhana he has been doing seems to have been mainly that of a preliminary mental and vital (psychological) purification and preparation of a very sound character but what is still lacking is a positive spiritual side of the Sadhana. However, the clearing of the system seems to have gone far enough for him to have had at least glimpses of psycho-spiritual experiences and a promise even of the supramental awaiting its time for manifestation. I shall, if I make time, write separately my comments on his experiences and if he understands and follows he may proceed more rapidly in his Sadhana. What you say about your Sadhana is probably the right interpretation of your experiences. The two things of which you speak are really two sides of one movement. The opening and clearing of the lower strata can only be effectively done in proportion as this relative or mentalised supramental can lay hold on the consciousness and open to and bring down the higher or intermediate from above, and this in its turn can only settle it into the being in proportion as the psycho-vital and physical open, clear and change. The interaction must go on until a certain balance between the two movements is created which will enable the higher to hold the being without interruption, and open it more and more to the true supramental activities. The action into which you have been cast was probably necessary because it is the dynamic part of your being in which the defects of the lower nature have the greatest hold and are most prominent.




After this letter was finished I got your last of the 12th. What you say about Kumar Krishna there is what I could already gather about him, only made precise. I do not think that these things very much matter. All strong natures have the rajasic active outgoing force in them and if that were sufficient to unfit for the yoga very few of us would have had a chance. As for the doubt of the physical mind as to whether the thing is impossible, who has not had it? In my own case it pursued years and years and it is only in last two years that the last shadow of doubt, not latterly of its theoretical feasibility, but of the practical certainty of its achievement in the present state of the world and of the human nature entirely left me. The same thing can be said of the egoistic poise, the almost all strong egoistic poise. But I do not think judging from the photograph but it is of the same half bull and half bulldog nature as in B.P.Mittra. These things can only go with spiritual development and experiences and then the strength behind them becomes asset. It is also evident from what you say about his past experience of the voice and the vesture that there is, as I thought a physical something in him waiting for and on the verge of spiritual awakening. I understand that he is waiting for intellectual conviction and to bring it some kind of assurance from the inner experience. To that also there is nothing to say. But the question is, and it seems to me the one question in his case, whether he will be ready to bring to the yoga the firm entire and absolute will and consecration that will be needed to tide him through all the struggles and cries of Sadhana. The disparity between his mental poise and his action enough, precisely because it is a mental poise. It has to become a spiritual poise before the life and the ideal can become one. Have the spoiling by luxury of which you speak and the worldly life sapped in him the possibility of developing an entire Godward will? If not, then he may be given his chance. I cannot positively say that he is or will be the Adhikari. I can only say that there is the capacity in the best part of his nature. I cannot also say that he is among the “best”. But he seems to me to have more original capacity than some at least who have been accepted. When I wrote about the “best” I did not mean as Adhar without defects and dangers, for I do not think such a one is to be found. My impression is of course, founded on a general favourable effect produced by the physiognomy and the appearance, on certain definite observations upon the same and on the psychic indications which were mixed but in the balance favourable. I have not seen the man as you have.

Your fuller account of your Sadhana shows that you are seeing in the nature and power of the supramental but you are seeing it probably through the revelatory light descending into the mind. It can only fulfil itself on the conditions I have named, first the opening to the actual descent of the supermind itself which you will find something still more concrete and full of the truth power and truth substance and its penetration of the physical consciousness in all its layers.


My dear Barin,

I have been obliged for some time, partly owing to the many sided storm of which you speak, to concentrate on other things and perhaps that is one reason why this stream of money collection has run dry. I shall see whether we can set it flowing again. I do not ask you come back as yet because it is much better if possible to get this thing finished in such a way that you may not have to go running back after a time to complete it. The arrangement I thought of with regard to the debts have not taken shape or rather have postponed themselves to an indefinite future. If I remember right what you have immediately to pay is some 251 more to Kamala Palit and 600 to Arun. Besides this and the other 2000 to Arun, which if necessary can wait, there are the sums due, 1500 altogether to the Kaviraj and Pulin Mitter. I believe there is nothing else. Can the last two wait and if so how long? What is still necessary is to raise 1500 more for next year’s expenses here. Next, to pay off, the more pressing debts and if there is any large opening all the debts. I would have no objection to your applying the money you can raise from the Marwaries to the latter purpose. If Basantlal Murarka can readily raise 5000 from them, the problem will be solved. I shall then be able to keep Das’ money separate and if he also keeps his promise that with some help from elsewhere will prevent all necessity of thinking of these things for another two years.

As regards Kanai, the experiences of which he is afraid do not seem to me dangerous in themselves. They are such as come to all people whose Yoga runs strongly on physic lines and those you mention and similar ones of still stronger character have been experienced by Mirra at least a thousand times during her Sadhana. The only danger, apart from any hostile interference, comes from the disturbance of the physical mind and the fear and apprehensions of the nervous and physical being, I have already written once before that the fearlessness is first necessary condition for going through this Yoga. These fears and apprehensions and the sense of weakness and insecurity come from the attachment of the physical and nervous being to its ordinary basis of consciousness and usual habits of living and its alarm at anything abnormal which forces it out of its own grooves. As for the need of immediate protection, that is only when the vital goes out of the body. The psychic being can go out without any danger if the physical consciousness does not disturb and itself create the danger. But unfortunately Kanai’s physical and nervous being seems to be weak and not on a level with the powers of his mind and physical nature. It may be better for him to concentrate first on the preparation of his physical consciousness, I have already said that what he must do is to bring down the basis of calm light and strength into the physical mind, nerves and body. Once this is thoroughly done all attacks can be met. There will be no disturbing vibrations and all kinds of psychic and vital experiences such as those now pressing upon will be welcomed as an expansion and fulfillment of the integral nature and a cause not of apprehension but of knowledge and Ananda. As to his coming here, I was not calling him because just now I am still in the concentration on the complete mastery of the physical and that prevents me from putting myself out very much at present. I could not give him the constant attention which will be needed according to your suggestion and besides as his physical being is the weakest part of him, it might not be altogether advisable for him to be here until I have established a sufficient general security against any attack which might touch on that plane. Still I shall see whether I can call him after a little time.

I have no objection to Rajani’s proposal of visit here in case of his confirmation. It might be helpful to him in the present stage of his Sadhana.

I had forgotten that Poury Mohan Das and Chittagong aspirant were one and the same person. You will have to take together what was said about each in Nalini’s letter. The chaotic nature of his experiences about which I spoke are probably due to some kind of difficulty or exaggeration in his vital being. It is best for him to start with getting a sure foundation of calm and quiet opening upon all the planes of his consciousness, especially the emotional and vital, so that a sound and orderly development of the Yoga may be possible.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
30 May 1923



If Kanai really gets anything of the nature of psychic trance the one thing he will have to be careful about is to meditate under such conditions that it will not be roughly broken from outside.

My dear Barin,

I have received the Benares money and am sending an acknowledgement with this letter, which you can transmit to Das. Rajani’s fifty has not yet reached me.

I had already written to you about Akhil and on the 10th Manmohan telegraphed and wrote to Chittagong instructing him not to go to Bhawanipur but to collect the money and as soon as he had done this and sufficiently recovered from fever, to write and he would receive a call from here. It appears from your telegram today that he started before receiving Manmohan’s telegram. I can give no other instructions than these I have already given, Akhil must collect the money sufficient for his journey here and back either to Krishnagore or Chittagong and he must not come without the sum in his hand. I have arranged things here so as to have just sufficient to meet one year’s expenses under each head just that and no more. Until I am assured of the next year’s expenses and more I cannot meet unexpected charges or enlarge my expenditure. Therefore it will not do for him to come and then have to wait here indefinitely for means of his return journey. An arrangement agreed upon ought to be observed otherwise there is unnecessary inconvenience and confusion.

I infer from your letter and telegram taken together that Mohini is starting for Krishnagore in order to take back Krishnashashi. Of course in that case there is no need to wait further as was suggested in Mohini’s letter. I have received no news about Krishnashashi for the last three days. This kind of disregard of instructions is not at all right. It puts us in considerable difficulty in trying to help Krishnashashi. Please ask Mohini to let me know often from Chittagong about Krishnashashi and his condition. Barada Babu’s letter is very interesting but does not solve the difficulty I had, as it gives me no fresh information of any importance. It had already been seen that the immediate cause of the collapse was partly sexual; for that was included in what I meant by the uprush from the vital being. Nor does it make much difference that the physico-vital force possessing him took from the form or assumed the pranic body of some dead friend. The situation remains as before. If there is some brain defect that has come up, the issue is more doubtful. The suggestion about the medicine may possibly be useful hereafter. Mohini had better be informed about it.

As to Rajani’s difficulties you might ask him to write to me himself stating them and the precise cause of his doubts. As far as I know about his Sadhana he was progressing in a steady and sound fashion, but for long I have no further news of it. There is no reason why he should not succeed in the Yoga if he keeps the right attitude and faith and perseverance. He will necessarily have difficulties with his vital nature and physical mind which have a strong earth element, but that is the case also with several others. His development, if he perseveres, is likely to be rather through knowledge and will than any great richness of psychic experience, but he must not take the absence or paucity of the latter for an inability to develop the Yoga.

The paragraph in one of your letters about the debts is very confused and I can make nothing precise out of it. What I want is to know first what were the heads and the exact sums actually met by the loan of two thousand. What for instance, is the amount still due to the Kavirajas and what the amount of the small loans. It is very necessary for me, whether in determining what to write to Amar with regard to money matters or in trying to help you, to have an exact and clear idea of the whole transaction. Where there is only a confused vague or general idea, the force I put out loses itself very largely in the void. Specially I shall have in the future to try and act more and more from the Supramental and less and less from the mind. Now the first condition of the Supramental is exactness, clearness and order both in the total and the details and their relations. Therefore it is a great advantage if there are these elements in the data upon which I have to work and great disadvantage if they are absent.

I shall await your report about Mohini. I gather from his letter that he wanted to remain sometime with me for Sadhana. My own idea is that as already written by Manmohan to Chittagong it is better for most to practise first in the elements at least the synthetic Yoga of Jnana, Bhakthi and Karma and establish peace and Samata before taking up the Yoga of complete and direct self-surrender. There will always be exceptions, but this is far most the safest course.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
14 February 1924


A.B. Purani6)


With regard to the attacks you get there A.G. says they are bound to come as long as your entire consciousness is not transformed. Even when the higher power works in you down to your physico-vital consciousness, the attacks will find a way through the physical consciousness. Even if the power is in full action down to the physical itself, the attacks you complain of in your letter, especially those that take the form of illness can get you through the medium of subconscious vibrations of the physical. You have to fight them out of you until your entire Adhara is completely transformed when no more attacks of any kind can trouble you. These things are always coming from the universal as you have had full experience; and now that you are no longer isolated they have the additional advantage of the people with who you mix, — for that is always full of the perturbed human currents.

Now to your question how you should mix people there. A.G. says you should retain and remain in your own Yoga consciousness separate from and above the consciousness of those who are around you. But you need not show them that you are in a different plane of being. It is enough to live in yourself in the true inner poise and keep the protection of your own atmosphere, without your outward manner of aloofness or of being other than they are.

You say that you have lost the Divine peace which had come to you on your way to Gujarat. A.G. says the Divine peace that you speak of— like other deepest states — comes and goes increasing gradually in the return until it can be fully established in the various planes of your being — they cannot be ready at once to keep it in its fullness. Lastly A.G. wants you to communicate to him constantly your experiences and the progress that you can make in your Sadhana in spite of any difficulty you may now and then feel in writing letters.


Chittaranjan Das


Dear Chitta,

It is a long time, almost two years I think, since I have written a letter to any one. I have been so much retired and absorbed in my Sadhana that contact with outside world has till lately been reduced to a minimum. Now that I am looking outward again, I find that circumstances lead me to write first to you. I say circumstances, because it is a need that makes me take up the pen after so long a disuse.

The need is in connection with the first outward work that I am undertaking after this long inner retirement. Barin has gone to Bengal and will see you in connection with it, but a word from me is necessary perhaps and therefore I send you this letter through Barin. I am giving him also a letter of authority from which you will understand the immediate nature of the need for which I have sent him to raise funds. But I may add something to make it more definite.

I think you know my present idea and the attitude towards life and work to which it has brought me. I have become confirmed in a perception which I had always, less clearly and dynamically then, but which has become more and more evident to me, that the true basis of life and work is the spiritual, that is to say, a new consciousness to be developed only by Yoga. I see more and more manifestly that man can never get out of the futile circle; the race is always treading until he has raised himself to the new foundation. I believe also that it is the mission of India to make this great victory for the world. But what precisely was the nature of the dynamic power of this greater consciousness? What was the condition of its effective truth? How could it be brought down, mobilised, organised, turned upon life? How could our present instruments, intellect, mind, life, body be made true and perfect channels for this great transformation? This was the problem I have been trying to work out in my own experience and I have now a sure basis, a wide knowledge and some mastery of the secret. Not yet its fullness and complete imperative presence — therefore I have still to remain in retirement. For I am determined not to work in the external field till I have the sure and complete possession of this new power of action — not to build except on a perfect foundation.

But still I have gone far enough to be able to undertake one work on a larger scale than before — the training of others to receive the Sadhana and prepare themselves as I have done, for without that my future work cannot even be begun. There are many who desire to come here and whom I can admit for the purpose, there are a greater number who can be trained at a distance; but I am unable to carry on unless I have sufficient funds to be able to maintain a centre here and one or two at least outside. I need therefore much larger resources than I at present command. I have thought that by your recommendation and influence you may help Barin to gather them for me. May I hope that you will do this for me?

One word to avoid a possible misunderstanding. Long ago I gave to Motilal Roy of Chandernagore the ideas and some principles and lines of a new social and economical organisation and education and this with my spiritual force behind him he has been trying to work out in his own way in his Sangha. This is quite a separate thing from what I am now writing about — my own work which I must do myself and no one can do for me.

I have been following with interest your political activities specially your present attempt to give a more flexible and practically effective turn to non-cooperation movement. I doubt whether you will succeed against such contrary forces, but I wish you success in your endeavour. I am most interested however in your indications about Swaraj; for I have been developing my own ideas about the organisation of a true Indian Swaraj and I shall look forward to see how far yours will fall in with mine.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
18 November 1922


Rajani Palit


My dear Rajani,

I am writing today about your son Rathin and his illness if it can be called by that name. I shall state first in general terms the nature of the malady and its usual developments that is to say, the normal course it takes when no psychic or spiritual force is brought in to remove it. Afterwards I shall indicate the two possible means of cure.

I think it best for me to state the case in its worst and not only in its best possible terms because it is necessary that you should know the full truth and have courage to face it. These cases are not those of a truly physical malady but of an attempt at possession from the vital world: and the fits and other physical symptoms are signs, not of the malady itself, but of the struggle of the natural being against the pressure of the hostile influences. Such a case in a child of this age indicates some kind of accumulation in the physical heredity creating an opportunity or a predisposition of which vital invasion takes advantage. It is especially the physical consciousness and physico-vital which contain the germs or materials of this predisposition. The physical being is always changing its constituents and in each period of seven years a complete change is effected. If the symptoms of this predisposition in the nature are detected and wise influence and training used by the parents to eradicate them and that is done so effectively that in the first seven years no seeds of the malady appear, then usually there is no further danger. If on the contrary they manifest by the seventh year, then the next period of seven years is the critical period and ordinarily the case would be decided one way or the other by or before the fourteenth year.

Romen Palit — sketch by the Mother

There are normally three possible eventualities. The difficulty in dealing with the case of so young a child is that the mind is not developed and can give no help towards the cure. But as the mind develops in the second seven years it will, if it is not abnormally weak which I think is not the case here, react more and more against the influences. Aided by a good control and influence it may very well succeed in casting out the hostile intrusion and its pressure altogether. In that case the fits and other signs of the physical struggle pass away, the strange moral and vital tendencies fade out of the habits and the child becomes mentally, morally and physically a healthy normal being.

The second possibility is that the struggle between the natural being and the intruding being may not be decisive in the Psychic sense, that is to say the intruder cannot take full possession but also he cannot be thrown out entirely. In that case anything may happen, a shattered mind and health, the death of the body or a disturbed, divided and permanently abnormal nature.

The third and worst possibility is that the intruding being may succeed and take entire possession. In that case the fits and other violent symptoms will disappear, the child may seem to be physically cured and healthy, but he will be an abnormal and most dangerous being incarnating an evil vital force with all its terrible propensities and gifted with abnormal powers to satisfy them.

In Rathin’s case there is not as yet possession in the full sense of the word, but a strong pressure and influence indicated by the strange habits of which you have written. These are suggested and dictated by the intruding being and not proper to the boy himself. The fearlessness and security with which he does these things is inspired from the same source. But the fits prove that there is as yet no possession. There is struggle indicated by them and a temporary hold which passes out again. He is evidently in the earlier part of the critical period. I have indicated the course normally taken by the illness, but it is not necessary to pass through it and take its risks. There are other means which can come to his help and effect a complete cure.

The first and easiest is to give by hypnotic suggestion. This if properly applied is an absolutely sure remedy. But in the first place, it must be applied by some one who is not himself under the influence of evil powers, as some hypnotists are. For that obviously will make matters worse. Moreover, it must be done by someone, who has the proper training and knows thoroughly what he is about, for a mistake might be disastrous. The best conditions would be if someone like yourself who has a natural relation and already an influence over the child could do it with the necessary training and knowledge.

The other means of course is the use of spiritual power and influence. If certain psycho-spiritual means could be used, this would be as sure and effectual as the other. But this is not possible because there is no one there who has the right knowledge. The spiritual influence by itself can do it but the working is likely to be slow. It must ordinarily be conveyed through someone on the spot and you yourself are obviously the right instrument. What you have to do is to keep the idea that I am sending to you power for this subject, to make yourself receptive to it and at the same time make your own will and natural influence on the child a direct channel for it. The will must be a quiet will, calm and confident and intent on its object, but without attachment and unshaken by any amount of resistance and unalarmed and undiscouraged by the manifestations of the illness. Your attitude to the child must be that of a calm and firm protecting affection free from emotional weakness and disturbance. The first thing is to acquire such an influence as to be able to repel the attack when it comes and if it takes any hold to diminish steadily its force and the violence of its manifestation. I understand from your letter that you have already been able to establish the beginning of such an influence. But it must be able to work at a distance as well as in his presence. Further you must acquire the power of leaving a protection around him when you are absent. Secondly, you must be able to convey to him constant suggestion which will gradually inhibit the strange undesirable habits of which you speak in your letter. This, I may say cannot be effectively done by any kind of external coercion. For that is likely to make these impulses more violent. It must be a will and suggestion and silent influence. If you find the control increasing and these habits diminishing, you can understand, that the work cure has begun. Its completion may take sometime because these vital beings are very sticky and persistent and are always returning to the attack. The one thing which can make the cure rapid is if the boy himself develops a will in his mind to change for that will take away the ground of the hostile influence. It is because something in him is amused and takes pleasure in the force which comes with the influence that these things are able to recur and continue. This element in him calls the invading presence back even when it has been centrally rejected. I shall of course try to act directly on him as well as through you, but the instrumentality of one on the spot greatly enforces and is sometimes indispensable to the action.

A word about your Sadhana. It seems to me that the key of your future development is contained in the experience which you say you often attained for a few days at Krishnagore (your letter of the 9th February) “A state which was full of knowledge, calm, serenity, strength and wide consciousness — all questions automatically solved — a continuous stream of power passed into body through the forehead centre — extremely powerful having undisturbed samata, calm, conviction, keen sight and knowledge”. This was the consciousness of true Purusha in you aware of his own supramental being and it is this which must become your normal consciousness and the basis of the supramental development. In order that it may so become, the mind has to be made calm and strong, the emotional and vital being purified and the physical consciousness so opened that the body can hold and retain the consciousness and power. I notice that at the time you had it the body also expressed it. This is sign that the capacity is already there in your physical being. The calm and strength will descend from above, what you have to do is to open yourself and receive and at the same time, reject all the movements of the lower nature which prevent it from remaining and which are ruled by desires and habits inconsistent with the true being, the true power and the true knowledge, of course the superior power will itself reveal to you and remove all obstacles in your nature. But the condition is that not only your mental but your vital and physical being must open and surrender to it and refuse to surrender themselves to other powers and forces. As you yourself experienced at that time, this greater consciousness will of itself bring the development of the higher will and knowledge. Psychic experiences of a proper kind are of course a great help but in your case it may be that any rich development of the psychic will only come after or in proportion as this consciousness with its calm knowledge, will and Samata take possession of the different parts of the being.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
6 April 1923


Jyotish Mukherjee


I have read the record of Jyotish Mukherjee’s experiences. It appears from it that he has made the right start to certain extent and has been able to establish the beginning of mental calm and some kind of psychic opening but neither of these has as yet been able to go very far. The reason probably is that he has done everything by a strong mental control and forcible stilling of the mind and emotional and vital movements, but he has not yet established the true spiritual calm which can only come by experience of or surrender to the higher being above the mind. It is this that he has to get in order to make a foundation for a more substantial progress.

(1) He is right in thinking that an inner calm and silence must be the foundation, not only of external work but of all inner and outer activities. But the quieting of the mind in a mental silence or inactivity although often useful as the first step, is not sufficient. The mental must be changed first into deeper spiritual peace Shanti, and then into the supramental calm and silence full of the higher light and strength and Ananda. Moreover, the quieting of the mind only is not enough. The vital and physical consciousness have to be opened up and the same foundation established there. Also the spirit of devotion of which he speaks must be not merely a mental feeling but an aspiration of the deeper heart and will to the truth above, that the being may rise up into it and that it may descend and govern all the activities.

(2) The void he feels in the mind is often a necessary condition for the clearing of it from its ordinary movements so that it may open o a higher consciousness and a new experience but in itself it is merely negative, a mental calm without anything positive in it and if one stops there, then dullness and the inertia of which he complains must come. What he needs is, in the void and silence of the mind, to open himself to, to wait or to call for the action of the higher power, light and peace from above the mind.

(3) The survival of evil habits in sleep is easily explained and is a thing of common experience. It is a known psychological law that whatever is suppressed in the conscious mind remains in the subconscient being and recurs either in the waking state when the control by itself cannot eradicate anything entirely out of the being. The subconscient in the ordinary man includes the larger part of the vital being and the physical mind and also the secret body-consciousness. In order to make a true and complete change, one has to make all these conscious, to see clearly what is still there and to reject them from one layer after another till they have been entirely thrown out from the personal experience. Even then they may remain and come back on the being from the surrounding universal forces and it is only when no part of the consciousness makes any response to those forces of the lower plane that the victory and transformation are absolutely complete.

(4) His experience that whenever he gains conquest in the mental plane the force of past Karma, that is to say, really of the old nature, comes back upon him with a double vigour is again a common experience. The psychological explanation is to be found in the preceding paragraph. All the attempt at transformation of the being is to fight with universal forces which have long been in possession and it is vain to expect that they will give up the struggle at the first defeat. As long as they can, they seek to retain possession and even when they are cast out they will, as long as there is any chance of response in the conscious or the sub-conscious being, try to recur and regain their hold. It is no use being discouraged by these attacks. What has to be done is to see that they are made more and more external, all assent refused until they weaken and fade away. Not only the Chitta and Buddhi must refuse consent but also the lower parts of the being, the vital and the physico-vital, physical mind and the body consciousness.

(5) The defect of the receiving mind and the discriminating Buddhi spoken of are general defects of the intellect and cannot be entirely got rid of so long as the intellectual action is not replaced by a higher superintellectual action and finally by the harmonising light of the supramental knowledge.

Next as regards the psychic experiences. The region of glory felt in the crown of the head is simply the touch or reflection of the supramental sunlight on the higher part of the mind. The whole mind and being must open to this light and it must descend and fill the whole system. The lightning and the electric currents are the (vaidyuta) Agni force of the supramental sun touching and trying to pour into the body. The other signs are promises of the future psychic and other experiences. But none of these things can establish themselves until the opening to the higher force has been made. The mental Yoga can only be preparation for this truer starting point.

What I have said is merely an explanation of these experiences but it seems to me that he has advanced far enough to make a foundation for the beginning of the higher Yoga. If he wishes to do that he must replace his mental control by a belief in and a surrender to the Supreme Presence and force above the mind, an aspiration in the heart and a will in the higher mind to the Supreme Truth and the transformation of the whole conscious being by its descent and power. He must, in his meditation open himself silently to it and call down first a deeper calm and silence, next the strength from the above working in the whole system and last the higher glory of which he had a glimpse pouring through his whole being and illumination with the Divine truth movement.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ghose
16 June 1923




Dear Ramachandra,

I am answering your second letter which reached me today. And first I must say something about the very extraordinary line of conduct you propose to adopt in case of not hearing from me. I think it is because, as you say, your mind is not yet in a completely right condition that you have proposed it. No one with any common-sense and certainly no one with a clear moral sense would support you in your intention. As to the law, it is not usual in France to take up things of this kind but only public offences against morals. The court would probably take no notice of your self-accusation and in any case it could not proceed in the absence of evidence from others which would here be lacking. But supposing it were otherwise, what would your action amount to? First, it would be putting an almost insuperable obstacle in the way of your own mental and moral recovery and of your leading a useful life in the future. Secondly, it would be bringing an unmerited disgrace upon your father and family. Thirdly, it would mean, if it took any form, the ruin of the life of someone else, for if I understand rightly what you say, some other or others would be involved, and your suggestion that you are entirely responsible would be absurd in law and could have no value, and all this havoc you propose to cause merely in order to satisfy, in fact if it could be a morbid moral egoism. It would be, seriously executed, a greater immorality than anything you have yet done. The true way to set yourself right for your act is not to do untold harm to others in the name of honesty or any other virtue, but to put yourself right inwardly and do otherwise in the future.

I shall answer briefly the questions you put in your second paragraph. (1) The way to set yourself right is, as I have said, to set your nature right and make yourself master of your vital being and its impulses. (2) Your position in human society is or can be that of many others who in their early life have committed excesses of various kinds and have afterwards achieved self-control and taken their due place in life, if you would know that your case is not exceptional but on the contrary very common, and that many have done these things and afterwards become useful citizens and even leading men in various departments of human activity. (3) It is quite possible for you to recompense your parents and fulfil the past expectations you spoke of, if you make that your object. Only you must first recover from your illness and achieve the proper balance of your mind and will. The object of your life depends upon your own choice and the way of attainment depends upon the nature of the objects. Also your position will be whatever you make it. What you have to do first is, to recover your health; then with a quiet mind to determine your aim in life according to your capacities and preference. It is not for me to make up your mind for you. I can only indicate to you what I myself think should be the proper aims and ideals.

Apart from external things there are two possible inner ideals which a man can follow. The first is the highest ideal of ordinary human life and the other the divine ideal of Yoga. I must say in view of something you seem to have said to your father that it is not the object of the one to be a great man or the object of the other to be a great Yogin. The ideal of human life is to establish over the whole being the control of a clear, strong and rational mind and a right and rational will to master the emotional, vital and physical being, create a harmony of the whole and develop the capacities whatever they are and fulfil them in life. In the terms of Hindu thought it is to enthrone the rule of the purified and sattvikbuddhi, follow the Dharma, fulfilling of one’s own Swadharma and doing the work proper to one’s capacities; and satisfy Kama and Artha under the control of the Buddhi and Dharma. The object of divine life, on the other hand, is to realise one’s highest self or to realise God and to put the whole being into harmony with the truth of the highest self or the law of the divine nature, to find one’s own divine capacities, great and small, and fulfil them in life as a sacrifice to the Highest or as a true instrument of the divine Shakti. About the latter ideal I may write at some later times. At present, I shall only say something about the difficulty you feel in fulfilling the ordinary ideal.

This ideal involves the building of mind and character and it is always a slow and difficult process demanding patient labour of years, sometimes the better part of the lifetime. The chief difficulty in the way with almost everybody is the difficulty of controlling the desires and impulses of the vital being. In many cases as in yours, certain strong impulses run persistently counter to the ideal and demand of the reason and the will. The cause is almost always a weakness of the vital being itself, for, when there is this weakness it finds itself unable to obey the dictates of the higher mind and obliged to act instead under the waves of impulsion that comes from certain forces in nature. These forces are really external to the person but find in this part of him a sort of mechanical readiness to satisfy and obey them. The difficulty is aggravated if the seat of the weakness is in the nervous system. There is then what is called by European science a neurasthenic tendency and under certain circumstances it leads to nervous breakdowns and collapses. This happens when there is too great a strain on the nerves or when there is excessive indulgence of the sexual or other propensities and sometimes also when there is too acute and prolonged a struggle between the restraining mental will and these propensities. This is the illness from which you are suffering and if you consider these facts you will see the real reason why you broke down at Pondicherry. The nervous system in you was weak, it could not obey the will and resist the demand of the external vital forces, and in the struggle there came an overstrain of the mind and the nerves and a collapse taking the form of an acute attack of neurasthenia. These difficulties do not mean that you cannot prevail and bring about a control of your nervous and vital being and build up a harmony of mind and character. Only you must understand the thing rightly, not indulging false and morbid ideas about it and you must use the right means. What is needed is a quiet mind and a quiet will, patient, persistent, refusing to yield either to excitement or discouragement, but always insisting tranquilly on the change needed in the being. A quiet will of this kind cannot fail in the end. Its effects are inevitable. It must first reject in the waking state not only the acts habitual to the vital being, but the impulses behind them which it must understand to be external to the person even though manifested in him and also the suggestions which are behind the impulses. When thus rejected the once habitual thoughts and movements may still manifest in the dream-state, because it is a well-known psychological law that what is suppressed or rejected in the waking state may still recur in sleep and dream because they are still there in the subconscient being. But if the waking state is thoroughly cleaned, these dream movements must gradually disappear because they lose their food and impressions in the subconscient are gradually effaced. This is the cause of the dreams of which you are so much afraid. You should see that they are only subordinate symptoms which need not alarm you if you can once get control of your waking condition.

But you must get rid of the ideas which have stood in the way of effecting this self-conquest.

1. Realise that these things in you do not come from any true moral depravity, for that can exist only when the mind itself is corrupted and supports the perverse vital impulses. Where the mind and the will reject them, the moral being is sound and it is a case only of a weakness or malady in the vital parts or the nervous system.

2. Do not brood on the past but turn your face with a patient hope and confidence towards the future. To brood on past failure will prevent you from recovering your health and will weaken your mind and will be hampering them in the work of self-conquest and rebuilding of the character.

3. Do not yield to discouragement if success does not come at once, but continue patiently and steadfastly until the thing is done.

4. Do not torture your mind by always dwelling on your weakness. Do not imagine that they unfit you for life or for the fulfillment of the human ideal. Once having recognised that they are there, seek for your sources of strength and dwell rather on them and the certainty of conquest.

Your first business is to recover your health of mind and body and that needs quietness of mind and for some time a quiet way of living. Do not rack your mind with questions which it is not yet ready to solve. Do not brood always on the one thing. Occupy your mind as much as you can with healthy and normal occupations and give it as much rest as possible. Afterwards when you have your right mental condition and balance, then you can with a clear judgement decide how you will shape your life and what you have to do in the future.

I have given you the best advice. I have told you what seems to me the most important thing for you at present. As for your coming to Pondicherry, it is better not to do so just now. I could say to you nothing more than what I have written. It is best for you so long as you are ill not to leave your father’s care, and, above all it is the safe rule in illness like yours not to return to the place and surroundings where you had the breakdown until you are perfectly recovered and the memories and associations connected with it have faded in their intensity, lost their hold on the mind and can no longer produce upon it a violent and disturbing impression.

Aurobindo Ghose





It appears from your present letter and attitude that you propose to give God a seat on your right hand and R. another on the left and to sit in meditation between oscillating sweetly from one to the other. If this is what you want to do please do it in the Cherry Press and not in Pondicherry. If you want to come here, you must do it with a firm determination to get rid of this attachment and make a complete and unconditional consecration and self-surrender.

You seem not to have understood the principle of this Yoga. The old yoga demanded a complete renunciation extending to the giving up of the worldly life itself. This Yoga aims instead at a new and transformed life. But it insists inexorably on a complete throwing away of desire and attachment in the mind, life and body. Its aim is to refound life in the truth of the Spirit and for that purpose to transfer the roots of all we are and do from the mind, life and body to a greater consciousness above the mind. That means that in the new life all the connections must be founded on a spiritual intimacy and a truth quite other than any which supports our present connections. One must be prepared to renounce at the higher call what are called the natural affections. Even if they are kept at all, it can only be with a change which transformed them altogether. But whether they are to be renounced or kept and changed must be decided not by the personal desires but by the truth above. All must be given up to the Supreme Master of the Yoga.

If you cling to the desires of the mental, vital and physical beings, this transference and transformation cannot happen. Your attachment to your son is a thing of the vital parts in you, and if you are not prepared to give it up, it will inevitably clash with the demands of the Yoga and stop your progress.

When you came here, your physical being was opened up, and the mental, vital and physical obstacles sufficiently worked upon to admit of this opening. This came first, because that was the strongest part of you for the purposes of Yoga. Afterwards there was an attempt to open up the mind and the other parts. But owing to certain influences their resistance became strong enough to bring things to a standstill. Doubt and non-understanding in the mind and the vital attachments of which this one to your son is the strongest were the main instruments of this resistance. It is no use coming back with any of these things still cherished and supported by your mind and will. Either you will make no progress at all here or if the power works on you it will work to break the resistance. The nature of this struggle and the consequences may be of a serious and undesirable character. The power that works in this Yoga is of a thorough-going character and tolerates in the end nothing great or small that is an obstacle to the truth and the realisation. To come here will be to invite its working in its strongest and most insistent form.

Aurobindo Ghose





1. It is not easy to get into the Silence. That is only possible by throwing out the mental and vital activities. It is to let Silence into you i.e., to open yourself and let it descend. The way to do this and the way to call down the higher powers is the same. It is to remain quiet at the time of meditation, not fighting with the mind or making mental efforts to pull down the power of the Silence but keeping only a silent will and aspiration for them. If the mind is active one has to learn to look at it drawn back and not giving any sanction from within — until its habitual and mechanical activities begin to fall quiet for want of support from within. If it is persistent a steady rejection without strain or struggle is the one thing to be done.

2. The mental attitude you are taking with regard to Lord as the Yogeshwar can be made first step towards this quietude.

3. Silence does not mean absence of experiences. It is an inner silence and quietude in which all experiences happen without producing any disturbance. It would be a great mistake to interfere with the images rising in you. It does not matter whether they are mental or psychic. One must have experiences not only of the true psychic but of the inner mental, the inner vital and subtle physical worlds or planes of consciousness. The occurrence of images is a sign that these are opening and to inhibit them would mean to inhibit the expansion of consciousness and experience without which this Yoga cannot be done.

All this is an answer to the points raised in your letter. It is not meant that you should change suddenly what you are doing. It is better to proceed from what you have attained which seems to be solid though small and proceed quietly in the direction indicated.

Aurobindo Ghose
23 August 1924


Gangaram Bharatia


Seth Gangaram Bharatia,

A letter has been received from Purani by which Sri Aurobindo has been fully informed of the details of Natwarlal’s case. He now knows clearly what is really the matter with him and he wishes me to draw your attention to the following points.

1. Natwarlal’s case is not one of ordinary madness — that is, disturbance of the brain, but some hostile being or power has laid hold of his mind (as happened in the case of his sister, but in a different way and as yet less completely). It is preventing him from using his own intelligence. At the same time this power is continually giving bad suggestions to him — not to take food, suggestions of death, of throwing away his present body, of wrong motives in those who offer him food, of sin, of aparādha, etc.

2. To cure this illness of the mind will be difficult and is likely to take a long time, because these suggestions have become fixed ideas which he is unable to resist. Even if the being is driven away, something in Natwarlal’s mind finds delight in the play or workings of the being and that is likely to bring it back again.

3. There is a supreme power that can cure him at once, because nothing can resist it. But that comes by the Grace of God, under conditions which cannot be commanded. Sri Aurobindo by his will cannot command it; he hopes to be able to call it down, but it is not certain. Meanwhile time is needed and the danger is that if he does not eat the body may collapse before anything effective can be done.

4. The hostile power is trying to destroy him by giving the suggestions not to eat, to throw away his body etc. The first thing necessary is that he should be made to resume eating and all of you should see that these suggestions are counteracted. He should be made to eat by any means, persuasion, pressure, compulsion or otherwise.

5. This can be done best if there is someone near him with a will stronger than his own, someone who will quietly and strongly insist, take no notice of and give no value to his objections and make him eat in spite of his own mind and its hallucinations.

6. If there is none, then if a powerful and genuine hypnotist is available, he can by right suggestions counteract the bad ones of the being, make Natwarlal have the will to eat and throw out the ideas of death, aparādha, etc., which are now perverting his intelligence.

7. Otherwise, the only possible method is to put him under the control of somebody accustomed to deal with these cases who will make him eat in spite of his objections.

8. Sri Aurobindo wishes to make it clear to you that he can absolutely have no cause for anger towards you or Natwarlal. On the contrary he has every cause to be pleased with him. He asks you to remove from your mind any idea of aparādha done towards him by yourself or Natwarlal as that will only hinder his helping effectively.

Sri Aurobindo says that he will try to free Natwarlal from hostile possession of his mind — the result is in God’s hands. Only as time is necessary for a complete cure, Natwarlal must be made to take food so that he may not break down in the middle. That is the first and the one indispensable thing to be done.

Arya Office, Pondicherry
Yours sincerely,
Punamchand M. Shah
16 October, 1924


N. S. Chidambaram


In order to get to the higher consciousness the essential condition is quietude of the mind. The ordinary nature of the mind is either to be active or if denied activity to go to sleep. The method of counting 1,2,3 only stupefies the mind and though this method once accidentally got you into the higher consciousness, it is not the right way. The other way which you yourself got afterwards of “directing the aspiring Drishti of your entire Antahkaran towards its own heights and from there watching” is the right process; continue and make this progressively your normal condition.

As to Shakti Upasana, you need not trouble about it at present as your Sadhana is taking a different course, from that laid in the Yogic Sadhan. Shakti is of two kinds, the lower of the mind desires and the higher Divine Shakti. When the first has been quieted and the higher consciousness made normal in you, it is possible for the Divine Shakti to take up all your activities. This action of yielding and giving place to the higher Shakti is the aim of the Shakti Upasana. Let the quietude and the higher consciousness establish themselves. The rest will come later on. The replacing of the power of lower consciousness by that of the higher is the object of self-surrender — the surrender of your small narrow personal being and its activities to the higher and vaster Divine being and the Divine activities. By this surrender one will cease to act from one’s personal motives, impulses, desires, etc. as one is at present doing. By the progressively increasing self-surrender the action of the higher consciousness will gradually begin to play in the place of the personal. That is how works in life and surrender are reconciled. The work in life will proceed as the result of surrender — from the higher consciousness instead of as now from the narrow personal. But this will come at a later stage: you need not mind about it now. But go on with the method indicated.

Only take care not to surrender to any suggestions or forces coming from the lower being as that is the chief danger of the Sadhana.

Aurobindo Ghose
24 December 1924


Motilal Mehta7)


About your difficulty in explaining to people what A.G. is doing — it will of course be useless to tell them in the true terms because they would not understand. But you can put it in this way which they will perhaps find intelligible.

A.G. is engaged in Pondicherry in Tapasya for Yoga Siddhi which is necessary before he takes up his future work. As Gandhi believes in soul force, that is to say in an inner moral force as the one thing necessary behind all true action, so A.G. believes in a higher spiritual force as the one thing necessary — the one thing that must be at the basis of India’s freedom and greatness. It is this spiritual force which he is seeking to call down, embody and perfect in himself and others. This he has found can only be done by a long and patient Sadhana. It is when he feels it completed in himself and his whole mind, life and body capable of transmitting the spiritual knowledge and power into a perfectly effective action that he will come out from his Sadhana and begin his action. At the same time he is training a number of people to be effective instruments of the same power and centres and supports of his action. When he goes out into British India he intends to create a large centre for this spiritual training where his ideal will be embodied just as Mahatma Gandhi has done at Sabarmati for his own ideal, and with that as his basis undertake a work which will be for the world in general and specially for India. This work will embrace and will mean the spiritualising of all activities none being excluded. A.G. believes that a free India returned to her great spiritual ideal but on new and larger lines is destined to be the means of uplifting the world and initiating a new age of the general evolution and it is towards this ideal that all his work is to be directed.

Aurobindo Ghose




Dear M,

I spoke of your visit to Sri Aurobindo and he asked me to write to you certain things which he thinks it better you should know. It is better you should not speak of this letter to Ramachandra, as in his present state of nervous weakness to know that his illness is being discussed might have an undesirable effect upon him. He is suffering from a strong attack of neurasthenia which developed suddenly during the three days before his departure. He was asked to go home because the conditions here are not suitable in his present state and also because in this case it is better to change the surroundings and associations under which the attack. . . along with the appearance of others that were not there before. The symptoms of the illness are, first weakness of some of the nervous brain centres resulting in occasional failure of memory and a mechanical repetition of thoughts and words in the brain; secondly an instability of the temperament in rapid alternations of modes and manifestations of exaggerated self-depreciation and its opposite and fits of violent melancholy and gloom. Finally a morbid sensitiveness and suspicion specially as to what others may be saying or thinking about him. When he spoke of his illness he showed that a part of his mind was perfectly self-contained and had a lucid and accurate observation of what was wrong with him. But the will centres are not sufficiently strong to combat and throw off the attack, specially he has certain vital habits, which in the long run impair the nervous system and against which he struggled very persistently. But his will was too often unable to resist the habitual instinct. What he needs is, first a perfect quiet and absence of anything that would cause excitement and disturbance, especially of anything that would excite or encourage the symptoms of which I have spoken. By quiet is not meant solitude; he should have society but as much as possible only of those he specially likes, and nothing should be thrust upon him. He should not be forced into any kind of occupation he does not want. But any occupation like easy reading which should distract his mind without straining it should be encouraged. Finally, he needs entire kindness and sympathy and the avoidance of anything that would wound or ruffle his feelings. If these conditions are satisfied it is possible that his nervous system will get soothed and quieted down and the illness pass away. Whatever help can be given from here will be constantly given.


Suresh Chakravarty


Dear Chakravarty,

I have been obliged to answer in the negative to your request by wire for contributions to the “Bengali” on the occasion of your taking it over on behalf of the Nationalist Party. I have been for a long time under a self-denying ordinance which precludes me from making any public utterance on politics and I have had to refuse similar requests from the “Forward” and other papers. Even if it were not so, I confess that in the present confused state of politics I should be somewhat at a loss to make any useful pronouncement. No useful purpose could be served by any general statements on duties, in the present situation. Everybody seems to be agreed on the general object and issue, and the only question worth writing on is that of the best practical means for securing the agreed object and getting rid of the obstacles in the way. This is in any case a question for the practical leaders actually in the field and not for a retired spectator at a distance. It would be difficult for me even to pass an opinion on the rival policies in the field; for I have been unable to gather from what I have seen in the papers what is the practical turn they propose to give these policies or how they propose by them to secure Swaraj or bring it nearer.

Please therefore excuse my refusal.

Yours sincerely,
Pondicherry, 12 March 1926




I received this morning your letter about Tirupati. I shall try to explain to you Tirupati’s condition, the reasons why I have been obliged to send him away from Pondicherry and the conditions which are necessary for his recovery from his present abnormal state of mind.

Sometime ago, Tirupati began to develop ideas and methods of Yoga Sadhana, which are quite inconsistent with the ideas and methods that underlie my system of Yoga. Especially he began practices that belong entirely to the most extreme form of Bhakti Sadhana, practices that are extremely dangerous because they lead to an excited, exalted abnormal condition, and violently call down forces which the body cannot bear. They may lead to a breakdown of the physical body, the mind and the nervous system. As soon as I became aware of this turn, I warned him of the danger and prohibited the continuance of the practices. At first he attempted to follow my instructions, but the attraction of his new experiences was so great that he resumed his practices in secret and in the end openly returned to them in defiance of my repeated prohibitions. The result was that he entered into and persisted in an abnormal condition of mind which still continues and at times rises to an alarming height dangerous to the sanity of his mind and the health of his body.

The following are the peculiar types of his condition.

(1) There is a state of mind in which he loses hold to a great extent of physical realities and lives in a world of imaginations which do not at all belong to terrestrial body and the physical life.

(2) He conceives a great distaste for eating and sleeping and believes that the power in him is so great that he can live without sleep and without food.

(3) He is listening all the time to things which he calls inspirations and intuitions, but which are simply the creations and delusions of his own excited and unduly exalted state of mind. This exalted state of mind gives him so much pleasure, so much a false sense of strength and Ananda and of being above the human condition that he is unwilling to give it up and feels unhappy and fallen when he is brought down to a more ordinary consciousness.

(4) In this condition he has no longer enough discrimination left or enough will power to carry out my instructions or even his own resolutions, but obeys blindly and like a machine these false inspirations and impulses. Every thing contrary to them he explains away or ignores; that is the reason why he ignores my orders and puts no value on my telegrams or letters.

(5) Also he feels in this condition an abnormal shrinking (not any spiritual detachment) from physical life, from his family, from his friends — for some time he withdrew even from the society of his fellow Sadhakas — and considers anything that comes from them or turns him from his exalted condition as the prompting of evil forces.

Please understand that all these things are the delusions of his own abnormal and exalted state of mind and are not, as he falsely imagines and will try to persuade you, signs of a high spiritual progress. On the contrary, if he persists, in them he will lose altogether such spiritual progress as he had made and may even destroy by want of food and want of sleep his body.

To allow him to remain here would be quite disastrous for him. He would count it as a victory for his own aberrations and would persist in them without any further restraint with results that might be fatal to him. And the intensity of the spiritual atmosphere. . . Besides when in this condition he brings about here a state of confusion and perturbation, the one thing to be absolutely avoided in this way of Yoga, which if prolonged would make the Sadhana of my other disciples impossible and would spoil my own spiritual work altogether.

His one chance is if he can settle down in Vizianagram for a considerable time and in the surroundings of his old physical life returned to a normal condition. Please therefore do not send him back or give him money to return to Pondicherry. It will be of no use and may do him great and irreparable harm. He promised, when he went from here first, to eat well and sleep regularly, and he has now promised, on my refusing to see or receive him on account of his disobedience of my order, to remain quietly at Vizianagram, to cease listening to his false inspirations and intuition and to obey my written orders. I had already written to him to that effect and also to throw away his shrinking from life and from his conduct with others; but he came away without waiting for my letter. If this time he carries out my instructions, he may yet recover. He must eat well, he must sleep regularly, he must give up his wrong Sadhana and live for some time as normal human being, he must do some kind of physical action, he must resume normal contact with life and others. If he returns to his erratic movements, the remedy is not to let him leave Vizianagram, but to remind him of my instructions and his promises and insist on his carrying them out. Only you must do it in my name and remind him always that if he does not obey me, I have resolved not to see him again not to receive him. This is the only thing at present that can make him to do what is requisite. I consented to an arrangement by which he could live quietly by himself because that was what he asked for; but the best would have been that he should live either with his family in their house so that his needs could be looked after or with some one who would see to his needs, some one with a strong will who will quietly insist, always in my name, on his doing what he has promised. But I do not know if there is any one there who could do this for him or whom he would consent to have with him.

You should not understand by what I have written, that he should live as a householder, resume his relations with his wife etc., or that he should not be left mostly to quiet and solitude, if that is what he likes. What I mean is that he must come gradually, if not at first, to deal with those around him as a human being with human beings without his present nervous shrinkings and abnormal repulsions. The spiritual attitude I have told him to take is one of calm freedom from attachment (asakti) not of an excited shrinking. I may be that after a time will seem more possible to him than it does at present.

It will be best if you let me know fairly often what he is doing and whether he is carrying out my instructions, as it is likely that he will not write himself to me all the truth when he is in the wrong condition.

Aurobindo Ghose




You have to make some further progress before you can come here. What you are doing now is a mental effort. You imagine the Divine to be present before you and then you try to offer all your mentality to the Divine; all this is a mental effort. Peace which you feel after few days was the result of your surrender. And the pressure which you felt was a sign that something in Nature resists the working of the Higher Power. When peace or any higher things begins to descend then you should stop your mental effort because it hinders the natural working of the Higher Shakti. Instead of making any mental effort at that time you should watch as Sakshi Purusha the working of the Higher Power. You write that you felt that the work of the sacrifice was carried on by somebody else and you were merely an onlooker, this is Sakshi Purusha, some part of you was watching and work of sacrifice was carried on by the Higher Shakti. You have to remain as Sakshi Purusha watching and consenting to the working of the Higher Power and rejecting the old lower movements of your nature. Rejection does not mean fight, it means that you have not to give your consent, anumati, to the things which come in the way of your surrender to the Divine. Let the peace and calmness settle down more and more in you.

2 June 1926


Unknown Recipient


Your aspiration for the truth would be satisfied if you make yourself fit for the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. In order to make yourself fit you should continue to read the Arya as you are at present doing and practise daily meditation.

In meditation you should concentrate first in an inner aspiration that the central truths of which you read in the Arya should be made real to you in conscious experience; and at the same time you should aspire that your mind may open to the calm wideness, strength, peace, life and ananda of the spiritual consciousness.

1 December 1926





The first conditions of this Yoga are:

(1) A complete sincerity and surrender in the being. The divine life and the transformation of the lower human into the higher divine nature must be made the sole aim of all the life. No attachments, desires or habits of the mind, heart, vital being or body should be clung to which come in the way of this aspiration and one object of the life.

One must be ready to renounce all these completely as soon as the demand comes from above and from the divine Shakti.

(2) A fundamental calm, peace and purity in the mind, vital being and all the nature.

The hours of meditation should be devoted to the formation of these two conditions in you, by aspiration and by self observation and rejection of all that disturbs the nature or keeps it troubled, confused and impure. Aspiration, if rightly done, quietly, earnestly and sincerely, brings the divine help from above to effect this object.

As to the hours devoted to work, needs, family etc., they can be made an aid only on the following conditions.

(1) To regard all these things as not belonging to yourself, your inner being, but as things external, work to be done so long as it remains on your shoulders to the best of your ability without desire or attachment of any kind.

(2) To do all work as a sacrifice without any egoistic motive.

(3) To establish and deepen the inner calm and quiet. If that is done, all these things will be felt more and more as external and the falling off of desire and attachment will become possible.

For getting rid of passion the same condition. If you separate yourself from these movements, and establish calm and peace inside, the passions may still rise on the surface, but they will be felt to be external movements and you can deal with them or call down the divine aid to get rid of them. So long as the mind does not fall quiet, it is not possible to deal finally with the vital being from which these forces rise.

Sri Aurobindo
12 October 1929


Unknown Recipient


He can come, if he understands the conditions under which alone he can profit by staying here.

Henceforth a stay here can only be possible

1) for those who are ready for an intensive sadhana turning their back on all attachments belonging to the ordinary human life;

2) for those who though not ready yet recognise fully the aim and open themselves so as to prepare for it;

3) those who, even if not capable as yet of an inner intensive sadhana, can yet dedicate themselves entirely in the way of service.

Sri Aurobindo
July – August 1927


My mother is very much aggrieved over my intention of coming away to the Ashram. I am not touched by her grief. But I do not know if it is due to non-attachment or my hard-heartedness. What is the correct attitude?

As he has chosen the spiritual life and work for the Mother, he has only to remain firm and quiet and for the rest to leave it to the Divine power. His indifference is nothing but this quietness and firmness in the true way and he has not to weaken it by any emotional scruples.

Sri Aurobindo
26 December 1927


It is all nonsense about C’s keeping up his power and position. It is the Mother who has put him there in control of the work (power) under her directions and gave him his position, and she would not be at all pleased if he did not keep up the position she has given him. As for egoism have you and others none? One ought to be free from egoism oneself before one can blame others for having it. What a sadhak should do is to be busy with getting rid of his own ego. To be busy with observing and resenting the ego of others can only raise and increase his own and prevent him from getting rid of it.

Sri Aurobindo
29 May 1928


It is quite impossible to turn the Ashram into a sanitorium. It is understood that apart from the use of medicines as an occasional and quite subordinate expedient, those who live here should be sufficiently open mentally, — psychically, and physically to the spiritual force to recover rapidly from attacks of illness and to keep a sufficient power of life and health in them not to need to be treated as chronic invalids. Any other rule would make the existence of the Ashram impossible.

Sri Aurobindo


Keep faith and confidence and remain cheerful.

The Mother
2 September 1928


Muljibhai Talati9)


Divine Mother,

I wish to get light on the following points.

1. Have I the capacity and are there potentialities in me to lead this path?

This is not the question, the question is whether you have the necessary aspiration, determination and perseverance and whether you can by the intensity and persistence of your aspiration make all the parts of your being answer to the call and become one in the consecration.

2. How should I continue my practice (sadhana) after returning home?

Quiet yourself and in the quiet see and feel the Mother.

3. How can I meditate? What is meant by opening? Where should I open?

An inner purity and receptivity that freely lets in the Mother’s influence. Begin with the heart.

4. I aspire for higher life from above the head; but I always feel strained on the middle part of the forehead. What should I do?

Do not strain yourself.

5. How does the psychic being become open? How to understand the psychic and vital beings in the adhar?

By the force of aspiration and the grace of the Mother.

Psychic: your true being, the being that is in the heart and that is the spark of the Mother’s own consciousness.

Vital: the part from which proceed desires and hunger and dynamic activities, having its physical basis round about the navel.

6. My family consists of myself, wife, two sons and one girl. I desire to come here and stay permanently, but my wife does not approve it. What should I do?


7. I want to come here again for a stay of at least three months. Kindly give me permission.

Inform when you are ready to come. It is only then that the permission can be given.

8. In my daily life, I become dejected and fall prey in the hands of the lower forces (anger, lust etc.). I humbly request the Mother for help and protection.


9. My wife is devoted to Goddess Ambaji. Her heart opens to Her, but she cannot get rid of the worldly attachments. Please help her. May I send her photo?

If you like.

10. I request for permission to write letters to the Mother.

You can write.

11. What attitude should I keep while doing my works of daily routine? How should I act with family-members, relatives and friends?


12. What should I read at present?

Sri Aurobindo’s books.

The Mother
November 1928

Doctor Manilal


If this is his only illness there is absolutely no reason why it should not be cured, if he keeps proper habits and diet and above all the right attitude. I expect that the reason why the illness has such a hold and strong effect on him, is in the imagination and the nerves, more than anything else. There is something that expects the illness, accepts it when it comes and gives it free play. He must learn to keep quiet and calm in the mind and vital being, to refuse to regard the illness and the tendency to it the body as something normal to it, regard it rather as something imposed from outside and he must believe firmly that it must and will go. If he keeps this attitude and opens to the true force, the mind and the nerves being once strengthened, the illness and weakness will disappear.

Sri Aurobindo
June 1929


It is not possible to come here. Since he has married and taken service, he must go on with the ordinary life. He is still much too young and too unripe for any complete sadhana. At best he can do at present some kind of Karma yoga, trying to realise the one. Divine Force behind the action of the world and preparing himself so that one day he may feel a direct guidance.

Sri Aurobindo
1 October 1929


Swami Sathyanand Giri


As I am in retirement and see nobody for the present, not even those who are here, what he requests is not possible.

Further no one is allowed to live in the Ashram except those who are here to practise yoga. There is no arrangement for visitors.

Sri Aurobindo





It is only by remaining perfectly peaceful and calm with an unshakable confidence and faith in the Divine Grace that you will allow circumstances to be as good as they can be. The very best happens always to those who have put their entire trust in the Divine and in the Divine alone.

Pondicherry, 9 February 1930


Motilal Roy


(Telegram to Motilal Roy on the death of his wife)

Condolence. Only consolation for sincere sorrow — submission to divine will.

Sri Aurobindo
February 1930


Unknown Recipient


The protection and help will be there as they were here. You have to keep yourself open to them and live inwardly seeking to become more and more conscious so that you may feel the Divine Presence and Power.

As to the Bombay atmosphere, keep inwardly separate from it even while mixing with others, see it as a thing outside and not belonging to the inner world in which you yourself live. If you can achieve this inward separateness, it will not be able to cloud you, whatever its daily-pressure.

Sri Aurobindo
18 May 1930


Unknown Recipient


It is certainly not very Yogic to be so much harassed by the importunity of the palate. I notice that these petty desires, which plenty of people who are yogis at all nor aspirant for yoga know how to put in their proper place, seem to take an inordinate importance in the consciousness of the sadhaks here — not all, certainly, but many. In this as in many other matters they do not seem to realise that, if you want to do yoga, you must take more and more in all matters, small or great, the yogic attitude. In our path that attitude is not one of forceful suppression, but of detachment and equality with regard to the objects of desire. Forceful suppression (fasting comes under the head; it is of no use for this purpose, abandon that idea altogether) stands on the same level as free indulgence, in both cases, the desire remains; in the one it is fed by indulgence, in the other it lies latent and exasperated by suppression. It is only when one stands back, separates oneself from the lower, refusing to regard its desires and clamours as one’s own and cultivates an entire equality and equanimity in the consciousness with respect to them that the lower vital itself becomes gradually purified and itself also calm and equal. Each wave of desire as it comes must be observed, as quietly and with as much unmoved detachment as you would observe something going on outside you, and allowed to pass, rejected from the consciousness, and the true consciousness steadily put in its place.

But for that these things of eating and drinking must be put in their right place, which is a small one. You say that many have left the Ashram because they did not like the food. I do not know who are the many; certainly, those who came here for serious sadhana and left, went for much more grave reasons than that. But if any did go because of an offended palate, then certainly they were quite unfit for yoga and this was not the place for them. For it means that a mutton chop or a tasty plate of fish was more important for them than the seeking of the Divine. It is not possible to do Yoga if values are so topsy-turvy in the consciousness. Apart from such extravagance, these things which ought to be only among the most minor values even in the human life, are promoted by many here to a rank they ought not to have.

At the same time it is better, if it is possible, to have well-cooked rather than badly-cooked food. The idea that the Mother wants tasteless food to be served because tasty food is bad for yoga, is one of the many absurdities that seem so profusely current among the sadhakas in this Ashram about her ways and motives. The Mother is obliged to arrange for neutral (plain and simple); not tasteless food for the reason that any other course has been proved to be impracticable. There are ninety people here, from different countries and provinces whose tastes are as the poles asunder. What is tasty food to the Gujarati is abomination to the Bengali and vice versa. The European cannot stand an avalanche of tamarind or chillies, the Andhra accustomed to a fiery diet would find French dishes tasteless. Experiments have been tried before you came, but they were disastrous in their results; a few enjoyed, the majority starved, and bad stomach began to be the rule. On the other hand, neutral food can be eaten by all and does not injure the health, — that at least is what we have found, — even if it does not give any ecstasy to the palate.

Only, the food, if neutral, should not be tasteless. A certain amount of fluctuation is inevitable; no one can cook daily for 80 or 90 people and yet do always well. But if it is too much, a remedy is to be desired and the Mother is willing to consider any practicable and effective suggestion. If any practicable suggestion is made, it will be considered, — keeping always in view the difficulty I have pointed out, of the ninety people and the three continents and half a dozen provinces that are represented here, apart from individual idiosyncracies and fancies, which of course, it is absolutely impossible even to try to satisfy unless we want to land ourselves in chaos.

What if people were to remember that they were here for yoga, make that the salt and savour of their existence and acquire samatā of the palate. My experience is that if they did that, all the trouble would disappear and even the kitchen difficulties and the defects of the cooking would vanish.

Sri Aurobindo
23 August 1930




A deep well was seen in meditation. Its walls were deep blue. The water inside it was also blue. Ripples were playing on the surface of the water. The sky and all around was blue. As I began to look towards the water it went deeper and deeper and all around became very deep blue. Very very small blue flowers began to rain, with the flowers were white star-like things raining and falling into the well. As I went on looking towards the water it became deeper and deeper until it could not be seen. I want to know what it is. Sometimes flames of sacred fire are seen in front.

It is a symbol of the growth of the spiritual consciousness and its manifestations. The blue colour gives the indication. The flames are the flames of Agni, the inner aspiration towards the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo
20 November 1930


Yesterday morning I saw a number of green parrots in the beginning of my meditation. They had wings but could not fly and were coming crawling with great difficulty towards the centre. The colour of their beaks was light violet. They used to die as soon as they were reaching the centre. In this way innumerable parrots came and died. After this I had calmness and blue colour as usual.

What were these parrots and their death? Have all visions some real meaning? Should I care to see these things and write to you whatever I see?

The centre is the centre of the true being. Green and violet are colours of the vital plane and the parrots seem to indicate movements of the vital mind which try to become luminous and join the truth centre. The absence of the power of flight in the wings indicates a defect, probably that they are unable to transcend the vital plane (however brilliant in that plane itself) and therefore cannot live when brought into contact with the truth centre. Their death is no loss; it only leaves unstained the calm and intensity of the spiritual consciousness indicated by the blue colour.

All visions have a significance of one kind or another. This power of vision is very important for the Yoga and should not be neglected although it is not the most important thing — for the one most important thing is the change of the consciousness. All other powers like this of visions should be developed without attachment as parts and aims of the Yoga.

Sri Aurobindo
22 November 1930


About ten or eleven years before, I had seen a church in a city in my vision. I do not now remember the details of the city, but when I was coming from the station to the Ashram this time the church on the way resembled the church in my vision. Yesterday I went to see the church from inside and found it all resembling that. About six or seven years before continuously for many months I used to see in my vision beautiful rooms and furniture of different kinds and colours and sometimes a young European lady used to appear there. Generally I used to see such visions at eight in the morning or at noon after taking my food. I had asked my Hatha-yogic Guru if these things had any meaning and he told me not to care to see such things as they had only a purpose to please the fancy.

I want to know whether these visions had some meaning in my coming here.

From your account the church seems to have been a prevision of the church at Pondicherry. The second vision may have been also a prevision, but that is not so positive.

Visions of this kind are certainly not there only to please the fancy; they have always a significance. But all are not visions of the physical earth; they may be scenes in other worlds. Also you may see a scene, a house, people etc., in vital counterpart and not in their exact physical circumstances, the arrangement of rooms, furniture, etc., may be different, the people may be acting, as people act on the vital plane and not as they do here etc.

You have evidently, had always a faculty of vision, but experience and the growth of an inner knowledge is necessary to understand and make use of the faculty.

Sri Aurobindo
21 December 1930





You are right in feeling that the protection and grace are always there and that all has been for the best. In your wife’s condition, the best was that she should change her body and she has been able to do so in the state of mind which would give her the happiest conditions both after death and for a renewal hereafter of the spiritual development for which she had begun to aspire. It is good also that you have been able to keep your poise and the freedom of your spirit in this occurrence.

Again, you are entirely right in your resolution not to marry again; to do so would be in any case to invite serious and probably insuperable difficulties in your following the path of yoga, and, as in this path of yoga it is necessary to put away sexual desire, marriage would be not only meaningless but an absolute contradiction of your spiritual life. You can expect full support and protection from us in your resolution and, if you keep a sincere will and resolution in this matter, you may be sure that the Divine Grace will not fail you.

Sri Aurobindo
6 October 1931


Unknown Recipient


My Divine Father,

Please let me know how can a disciple make the best use of his Guru, the spiritual guide, for his spiritual advancement and the Divine Light or Knowledge.

I could not answer your letter of the 12th at once for want of time. Your question is put in a general form and I can only answer that there are three conditions for a disciple profiting fully from his relation to a spiritual guide.

1st. He must accept him entirely and him alone without submitting himself to any contrary or second influence.

2nd. He must accept the indications given by the Guru and follow them firmly and with full faith and perseverance to the best of his own spiritual capacity.

3rd. He must make himself open and receptive to the Guru, for even more than what the guru teaches to the mind of the disciple, it is what he spiritually is, the spiritual consciousness, the knowledge, the light, the power, the Divinity in him that helps the disciple to grow by his receiving that into himself and its being used within himself for the growth of his consciousness and nature into its own divine possibility.

I answer generally because of the general form of the question; if there is something more precise and particular you hold in mind, you can state it and I will see whether I can give you a more particular answer.

Sri Aurobindo
16 August 1932


Unknown Recipient


All should understand that the true Supramental does not come in the beginning but much later in the Sadhana.

First: — The opening up and illumination of the mental, vital and the physical beings.

Secondly: — Making intuitive of the mind, thought, will etc., and development of the hidden consciousness progressively replacing the surface consciousness.

Thirdly: — The supramentalising of the changed mental, vital and the physical beings and finally the descent of the true Supramental and the rising into the Supramental plane.

This is the natural order of the Yoga. These stages may overlap and intermix, there may be many variations, but the last two can only come in the advanced state of the progress. Of course the Supramental Divine guides this Yoga throughout but it is first through many intermediary planes; and it cannot easily be said of something that comes in the earlier periods that it is the direct and full Supramental. To think so when it is not so may well be a hindrance to progress.

Sri Aurobindo


The Mother’s Feet, painting by Barindra Kumar Ghose

  1. ( Translated from Sanjeevan, a Marathi quarterly magazine, December 2004 — March 2005, pp. 18-19. []
  2. ( René (Aga Syed Yacoob), born on 4 November 1908 at Hyderabad. He joined the Ashram on 13 April 1929 []
  3. ( Chinmayi (Mehdi Begum) was born on 4 October 1906 at Hyderabad. She arrived in the Ashram on 23 October 1927. []
  4. ( This life-sketch, and the reminiscences that follow it, are excerpted from Sri Aurobindo and the Freedom of India, compiled and edited by Chanda Poddar, Mona Sarkar and Bob Zwicker, 1995 ed., pp. 199-206. []
  5. ( Excerpts from Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, recorded by A. B. Purani, 1982 ed., pp. 545-46 []
  6. ( Letter of a diseiple to A.B. Purani based on Sri Aurobindo’s oral remarks. []
  7. ( Letter of a disciple to Motilal Mehta based on Sri Aurobindo’s oral remarks. []
  8. ( Reply of Sri Aurobindo to Rambhai through Punamchand. []
  9. ( The Mother’s replies to twelve questions of Muljibhai Tahiti []