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At the Feet of The Mother

Correspondence 1932, November (II)

November 6, 1932

I was not thinking of Tagore’s lyrics from the point of view of their music, but as poetry — that is why I used the word “lyrics” which can refer to a poem as poem only. However, if there is likely to be a misunderstanding, you can substitute Dwijendralal for Tagore. Your remark on Bengali musical taste is gratifying to me personally, for I always had an idea that it was like that; Bengali music of the day — I was told it was the new style — seemed to me flat, empty and unprofitable; but I kept my impression to myself, as I had no knowledge of music and doubted my possession of that useful appendage, an ear. I began to think, however, that I had at least an instinct in its place.

*   *   *

November 7, 1932

It is very good. Shiva has a reason for all he does and a good (beneficent) reason even when one can’t make out what he is doing and why. He is generally too busy to stop and explain as Krishna sometimes (but not by any means always) takes the trouble to do. It is true he is said to have spouted out the greater part of the Tantras to Parvati, but that was probably when he had nothing else to do.

I am glad to see that this working repeats itself, — for behind it is a great preparation of the consciousness which is quite indispensable.

*   *   *

November 13, 1932

It is a very successful rhythm indeed and, as far as I can judge solves the question — for it is not a Sanskrit metre transfused into Bengali, but something that sounds like a natural and native movement throughout. It looks to me as if you had done the trick!

As to Aurobindo Bose, I am doubtful. One would judge him from his letter to be a man vitally divided and unstable. And this allusion to a mess from which suicide seemed for a time the only issue is not very encouraging. It seems to me that you could write to him that coming here and staying in the Ashram is a step that should not be taken lightly and that, for that reason, permission is not given as a rule unless one is already a disciple or strongly called to the Yoga. (I would rather not have doubtful or complicated people just now — this November we are drawing a limiting circle for the darshan.)

*   *   *

November 16, 1932

Yes, the poem is a great success both in poetry and rhythm — the new version of the last stanzas is an improvement.

To get rid of the random thoughts of the surface physical mind is not easy. It is sometimes done by a sudden miracle as in my own case, but that is rare. Some get it done by a slow process of concentration, but that may take a very long time. It is easier to have a quiet mind with things that come in passing on the surface, as people pass in the street, and one is free to attend to them or not — that is to say, there develops a sort of double mind, one inner silent and concentrated when it pleases to be so, a quiet witness when it chooses to see thoughts and things, — the other meant for surface dynamism. It is probable in your case that this will come as soon as these descents of peace, intensity or Ananda get strong enough to occupy the whole system.

*   *   *

November 19, 1932

I really don’t know, my dear Dilip, why you read into what I have written such extravagant things which I certainly never intended to be there. I was trying to explain in one letter why, practically, the Mother could not see anyone until she was strong enough; why should you deduce from it a principle intended to govern her action for all the future? I did not at all mean that you were henceforth to be confounded in the mass and never see the Mother in private! I have not, I think, anywhere insisted on “a silent expressionless love” and I cannot even remember having used the phrase. On the contrary, I thought I had made it clear, first that divine love and psychic love both needed a complete expression and that vital and physical love were their necessary complements and were both a part of that complete expression. At any rate, if that was not clear in my letter, I want to make it clear now, — as also that physical darshan, etc. are quite legitimate means of expression of the psychic love itself and, a fortiori, of the complete love which embraces all the parts of the nature. Therefore, you were never asked to stop seeing the Mother and to give up all personal private contact with her; on the contrary when from some misunderstanding you made the proposal, both the Mother and myself strongly objected and said it would be a wrong movement. How then can you imagine that I wanted you to do anything of the kind? As for killing the vital, that would be an absolute contradiction to the whole principle of the sadhana and we would never dream of asking anybody to do such a thing. We have always said that the vital was absolutely indispensable to any realisation and without it nothing, — neither the Divine nor anything else — could be established in life. All that I ventured to suggest was that the vital movements which lead to trouble and suffering and disturbance should be eliminated or transformed as soon as possible, and even this I would not have stressed in your case if you had not had these violent fits of misery and despondency and what seemed to me unnecessary suffering. You can surely understand that I do not like to see you suffer and, knowing from long experience that it is the cravings and imagination of the lower vital consciousness that cause men needlessly to torture themselves, wanted you to get free from the cause. It was not the joy of seeing and talking with the Mother that I wanted you to suppress but this contrary element in you that makes you think she does not love you, does not want to see you or to smile on you, prefers others to yourself, etc., etc. However, I will not insist; I will wait for these disturbances to pass away from you in the due course of the Yoga, as the inner being develops and takes charge of the lower vital nature.

May I put in a plea for my poor Supramental against which you seem to have something like a grudge? I should like to say that the supramental is not something cold, distant and remote; on the contrary, when it descends into the physical, it will mean the full outflow and full completeness and expression of love on the vital and physical as well as on every other plane. And it is because I know it means this and many other desirable things that I am so insistent on bringing it down as soon as possible.

And let me say also that, as regards human love and divine love, I admitted the first as that from which we have to proceed and to arrive at the other, intensifying and transforming into itself, not eliminating human love. Divine Love in my view of it, is again not something ethereal, cold and far, but a love absolutely intense, intimate and full of unity, closeness and rapture using all the nature for its expression. Certainly, it is without the confusions and disorders of the present lower vital nature which it will change into something entirely warm, deep and intense; but that is no reason for supposing that it will lose anything that is true and happy in the elements of love.

Finally, I will call your attention to what I have said very plainly that you have in no degree contributed to bring about the Mother’s illness; why then persist in thinking that you have done so or may do it? As for my dark hints about the necessity of a radical change in the sadhana — I spoke, in fact, of a needed change in the inner attitude of the sadhaks, — it was not a reference to you, but to much that had been going wrong within the atmosphere. You yourself speak of certain persons shaping funnily before the eyes of all, especially during the Mother’s illness; there is nothing unreasonable in our wanting to make the inner mistakes to cease which cause such funny shapings to be possible. There is nothing in that that touches you or need alarm you.

I have not yet said anything about the Mother’s illness[1] because to do so would have needed a long consideration of what those who are at the centre of a work like this have to be, what they have to take upon themselves of human or terrestrial nature and its limitations and how much they have to bear of the difficulties of the transformation. All that is not only difficult in itself for the mind to understand but difficult for me to write in such a way as to bring it home to those who have not our consciousness or our experience. I suppose it has to be written, but I have not yet found the necessary form or the necessary leisure.

*   *   *

November 22, 1932 [2]

I shall certainly do what I can to help you but it will be easier if you do what the Mother asked you to do — to “efface all that” from your mind instead of letting it return constantly upon it. It is no use making [a serious?] obstacle out of a passing trifle. As for the rest, I do not know that I can say anything new; I have tried to explain what was the difficulty in your way, but my explanations do not amount to much; one must see for oneself. You are right in praying to realise that difficulty, but if you could realise it without being carried away by the movement of depression, see it with calm and detachment, standing back from it, — it would be easier for you to get out of it or at least prevent it from recurring violently each time there is a movement towards experience But the despondency, the depression which takes hold of you and finds its own justifications for lasting comes [?] of your realising with the necessary calmness and detachment

You know very well that I am not going to [send?] you stinging letters or take your name off the list. On our side our relation with you remains firm and you will always find from us an unwavering help and affection. I expect you to throw off these black clouds and [pass?] quickly into the sunlight. The road may be long and more difficult than you ever expected, but there is no true reason for despair.

*   *   *

November 24, 1932

The Mother has given “Bindu” his permission. For the moment I say nothing about him, for although one may form a fundamental impression for oneself in a moment’s contact amid a rush or stream of two hundred people, a deliberate judgment to be put on paper is quite another matter.

Of course Tagore’s worshippers will go for Prabodh Sen, what did you expect? Literary nature (artistic generally, or at least very often) is human nature at its most susceptible-genus irritabile vatum[3]. And besides where is the joy of literature if you cannot use your skill of words in pummelling some opposite faction’s nose? Man is a reasoning animal (perhaps?), but a belligerent reasoning animal and must fight with words if he cannot do it with fists, swords, guns or poison gas. All the more, I applaud your decision not to pursue farther the trairath [triple chariot].

I quite agree about the metre and its success. In this form the poem is still better than it was before.

*   *   *

[1] About your dream I think I have already intimated that you could accept it as true. (Sri Aurobindo’s note)

[2] One side of the manuscript of this letter is torn, leaving many words missing.

[3] Words from Horace, meaning “the irritable race of poets.”

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