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At the Feet of The Mother

Correspondence 1930, January-March

January 1930

It means both the individual and the cosmic Nature. The Divine is concealed in the secret heart of all things and all beings. The phrase is an allusion to the constant Vedic and Upanishadic expression Hṛdaye guhāyām, nihitaṁ guhāyām, gūdham guhāyām [hidden in the secret cavern of the heart]. What is meant, in the individual nature, is the secret psychic centre which is covered up in man by egoistic emotion and feeling and desire.

It is not necessary to translate the word, Nature. Any word or epithet which will convey the idea of the secret centre of the being or the consciousness, will do equally well.

*   *   *

March 16, 1930

(About a book Dilip was preparing.)

I return the remaining Mss.

(1) I have corrected more extensively the conversation, adding one or two things where the thought was insufficient or not clear. The note about Yogic Sadhan may be omitted.

(2) The two poems, “Who?” and “In the Moonlight” can be taken. I think it is these two you wanted to include in the book — I have not got your note by me at the moment.

(3) The two Conversations,[1] 9 (on Divine Love) and 14 (on Art and Yoga), can also be included in the book.

(4) The Letter was not written by me; it is not well expressed and the ideas in it belong to an order of thought that I have now long overpassed. I do not care to have it published.

(5) I do not know where you got the facts in your account of my life; but after starting to correct it I had to give up the attempt in despair. It is chock full of errors and inaccuracies: this cannot be published. As for the account of my spiritual experience, I mean of the Bombay affair, somebody must have inflicted on you a humorous caricature of it. This too cannot “go.” The best will be to omit all account or narrative and say — at not too much length, I would suggest — what you think it necessary to say about me.

(6) You will naturally have to say something to account for the presence of two “Conversations with the Mother” in the book. Of course, you will send what you have to say on this point for the Mother’s approval and mine.

That, I think, is all.

I did not send you the Mss before because, so far as my part in the book was concerned, the time for the publication did not seem to me to have come. Besides, the form (after all, only a surface talk [?]) seemed to me too slight for a first introduction of my teaching to the general public. But now it will do.

*   *   *


I would prefer another form more in keeping with the tone of the text, — e.g.

“It may be observed that Sri Aurobindo’s education in England gave him a wide introduction to the culture of ancient, of mediaeval and of modern Europe. He was a brilliant scholar in Greek and Latin, [passed the Tripos in Cambridge in the first division, obtained record marks in Greek and Latin in the examination for the Indian Civil Service.] He had learned French from his childhood in Manchester and studied for himself Italian and German sufficiently to read Dante and Goethe in the original tongue.”

I have left the detail about the Tripos and the record marks, though I do not find these trifles in place here; the note would read much better with the omission of the part between the vertical lines.[2]

(But what is Beachcroft doing here? He butts in in such a vast and spreading parenthesis that he seems to be one of “these ancient languages” and in him too, perhaps, I got record marks! Besides, any ingenious reader would deduce from his presence in your note that he acquitted me out of fellow-feeling over the two examinations and out of university camaraderie, — which was far from being the case. I met him only in the I.C.S. classes and at the I.C.S. examinations and we never exchanged two words together. If any extra legal consideration came in subconsciously in the acquittal, it must have been his admiration for my prose style to which he gave fervent expression in his judgment. Don’t drag him in like this, — let him rest in peace in his grave.)

*   *   *

March 1930?

I cannot fully answer just now as it is nearly six o’clock — but of this you may be sure that you will never get my consent to go away and give up the sadhana and the spiritual endeavour — for it comes to that. It is not by going away from the difficulties that the difficulties will disappear. They are in oneself and it is in oneself that they must be overcome.

I shall write more tonight. I may say that the Mother was not in the least changed towards you and there is no reason why she should be so. As for myself if I am dry and perhaps rather snappy [?] it is because I am much pressed by difficulties on every side — you will have to be patient with me till I get out of the press.

*   *   *

March 30, 1930

It is certainly the force hostile to the Yoga and the divine realisation upon earth that is acting upon you at the present moment. It is the force (one force and not many) which is here in the Ashram and has been going about from one to another. With some as with Barin, V. and Prashanta it has succeeded; others have cast it from them and have been able to liberate the light of their soul, open in that light to the nearness and constant presence of the Mother, feel her working in them and move forward in a constant spiritual progress. Some are still struggling, but in spite of the bitterness of the struggle have been able to keep faithfully to the divine call that brought them here.

That it is the same hostile force would be shown, even if its presence were not for us visible and palpable, by the fact that the suggestions it makes to the minds of its victims are always the same. Its one master sign is always this impulse to get away from the Ashram, away from myself and the Mother, out of this atmosphere, and at once. For the force does not want to give time for reflection, for resistance, for the saving Power to be felt and act. Its other signs are doubt, tamasic depression, an exaggerated sense of impurity and unfitness, the idea that the Mother is remote, does not care for one, is not giving what she ought to give, is not divine, with other similar suggestions accompanied by an inability to feel her presence or her help, a feeling that the Yoga is not possible or is not going to be done in this life, the desire to go away and do something in the ordinary world — the thing itself suggested varying according to the personal mind. If it were not this one invariable hostile force acting, there would not be this exact similarity in all the cases. In each case it is the same obscurities thrown on the intelligence, the same subconscious movements of the vital brought to the surface, the same irrational impulses pushing to the same action, — departure, renunciation of the soul’s truth, refusal of the Divine Love and the Divine Call.

It is the vital crisis, the test, the ordeal for you as for others — a test and ordeal which we would willingly spare to those who are with us but which they call on themselves by persistence in some wrong line of movement or some falsification of the inner attitude. If you reject entirely the falsehood that this force casts upon the sadhak, if you remain faithful to the Light that called you here, you conquer and, even if serious difficulties still remain, the final victory is sure and the divine triumph of the soul over the Ignorance and the darkness.

The opportunity for these contrary forces is given when the sadhak descends in the inevitable course of the sadhana from the mental or the higher vital plane to the physical consciousness. Always this is accompanied by a fading of the first deep experiences and a descent to the neutral obscure inertia which is the bed-rock of the unredeemed physical nature. It is there that the Light, the Power, the Ananda of the Divine has to descend and transform everything, driving away for ever all obscurity and all inertia and establishing the radiant Energy, the perfect Light and the unchanging Bliss. There and not in the mind or the higher vital is all the difficulty, but there too must be the victory and the foundation of the new world. I do not wish to disguise from you the difficulty of this great and tremendous change or the possibility that you may have a long and hard work before you, but are you really unwilling to face it and take your share in the great work? Will you reject the greatness of this endeavour to follow a mad irrational impulse towards some more exciting work of the hour or the moment for which you have no true call in any part of your nature?

There is no true reason for despondency; in nothing that has passed in you or which you have written do I find any good ground for it. The difficulties you experience are nothing to those that others have felt and yet conquered, others who were not stronger than you. All that has happened is that by this descent into the physical consciousness, the ordinary external human nature has come to the front with its elemental imperfections and subconscient unsatisfied impulses and it is to these that the contrary force is appealing. The mind and the higher vital have put away from them the ideas and illusions which gave them a sanction and an illusion of legitimacy and even nobility in their satisfaction. But the root of them, their inherent irrational push for satisfaction, has not yet gone — this, for instance, is the reason for the sexual movements which you have recently felt in sleep or in waking. This was inevitable. All that is needed is for your psychic being to come forward and open you to the direct and real and constant inner contact of myself and the Mother. Hitherto your soul has expressed itself through the mind and its ideals and admirations or through the vital and its higher joys and aspirations; but that is not sufficient to conquer the physical difficulty and enlighten and transform Matter. It is your soul in itself, your psychic being that must come in front, awaken entirely and make the fundamental change. The psychic being will not need the support of intellectual ideas or outer signs and helps. It is that alone that can give you the direct feeling of the Divine, the constant nearness, the inner support and aid. You will not then feel the Mother remote or have any further doubt about the realisation; for the mind thinks and the vital craves, but the soul feels and knows the Divine.

Cast away from you these movements of doubt, depression and the rest which are no part of your true and higher nature. Reject these suggestions of inability, unfitness and all these irrational movements of an alien force. Remain faithful to the Light of your soul even when it is hidden by clouds. My help and the Mother’s will be there working behind even in the moments when you cannot feel it. The one need for you and for all is to be, even in the darkness of the powers of obscurity of the physical consciousness, stubbornly faithful to your soul and to the remembrance of the Divine Call.

Be faithful and you will conquer.

*   *   *

March 30, 1930

I return excerpts and poems; subject to the excisions I have made they can be published.

But there are mistakes in the typing…

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 suggesting 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 fall, I would be sure to rise again,” to all impulsions 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.

*   *   *

[1]. Conversations with the Mother is the title of a book by Mother which contains a few talks she had with a few disciples every Sunday evening in 1929. These talks took place at Dilip’s residence and were first published in 1931.

[2]. We used square brackets instead of vertical lines.

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.