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At the Feet of The Mother

Correspondence 1933, April (II)

April 1933 [?]

In your letter today there are some things that I would find a little astonishing if I did not know that when the vital mind which indulges in these depressions is predominant anything however contrary to the facts may be put forward as true. But I should like to put one or two of them right, all the same. For you say that it is clear that I want you to be indifferent (like Nolini) to be indifferent to everyone else but the Mother and you make us responsible for your becoming a stranger to Arjava, Moni[1] and Khirode,[2] for a feeling of rancorous aversion that has come between you and Sahana — and you express an apprehension that the same development may come on your still existing friendship with Subhash and Harin and others, evidently as the result of my yogic influence or my demand upon you. And finally you expect me to turn upon you and reject and hate you because in spite of all I find you unworthy of the Yoga. First of all, I am utterly at a loss to imagine how I can be responsible for your becoming a stranger to Arjava, Moni and Khirode. I never asked you or them to break or get remote from each other, I never put any pressure for that or desired it — on the contrary I greatly regretted your getting estranged with Arjava, for Arjava’s sake as well as for your own; I never appreciated what good reasons there could be for the cooling down between you and Moni — as for Khirode I have still to learn why there should be any distance between you. Nobody would be more glad than myself and the Mother if there is a rapprochement between them and you. As for the other friends, well, when and where have I interfered with and discouraged your friendships with Subhash and the others? I consented to your sending my blessing to Subhash and the extracts or letters, not for his sake — for I never met him — but for yours and because of your friendship with him; I welcomed Harin as much for your sake as his. I have admitted Bindu, Pratap and others because of your love or friendship or appreciation of them; in all cases, I believe I can say, I have given my blessings to your friends Buddhadev, Ashalata, your friends in Europe because they were your friends and for the sake of your friendship. And I have never asked or desired you to break with a single one of them at any time. There remains the case of Sahana. I know nothing of this rancorous aversion of which you speak — there is nothing of the kind in the mind of Sahana. When she broke out against you, it had nothing to do with Yoga — she had forgotten everything about Yoga at the moment — but was an outbreak of the vital being in its crudest from and she was at the same time as angry with us as with you because we had supported you in the Maitreyi affair and taken your side. As soon as we brought her back to her proper consciousness, all that fell away from her and she has no rancour or aversion or anger against you. Is there any rancour or aversion against her in your mind? I see no good reason why these should be — if there is any, it ought not to be there and should fall away from you at once. There remains your not seeing each other for a time. What you say about all ending in a quiet friendship, is what we have always told her that we wished — but the fact remains that she has not been able to achieve it and that what does come on her after a time of reconciliation is a relapse into old passions and fierce attacks of the Adversary shaking her very body and life — not because she is separated from you but because you are going with another woman even after the old relation was practically over! Is it so utterly unreasonable of us to desire a cessation of this kind of attack and is it so difficult for you to realise that it is not from attachment to yogic principles that we are against it but out of solicitude for Sahana. Or is it not worthwhile to try what separation for a while can do since the attempt at a quiet friendship had led to results so unquiet and adverse? If we were aloof in Yogic indifference — as you say the Yogi must be — we would not care, but leave each to fight out his or her own destiny with a calm indifferent gaze upon it from the heights of Nirvana. It seems to me that it is obvious that if we do try to help and save, it is because care and love are not absolutely foreign to our nature or to the Yogic nature or to the Nature of the Divine. I do not see anything that is so cold and grim and stern in our dealings — did you really see no love or tenderness in the Mother’s attitude and dealings today with Maya and the little child (who is not a Yogi or a disciple) Esha?

As for Nolini and what he said to you, it is Nolini’s own movement, the need he feels, not something we have dictated to him — we have certainly not forced it on others. There are over a hundred disciples in the Ashram — how many follow such a principle or have no personal relation with any but the Mother? And if some have the aspiration, if they feel the necessity of turning to the Divine alone in a passion of love or surrender and if they feel that they can find that Divine in or through the Mother, what is there in that spontaneous movement that is grim and stern and cruel? Are there not people who have left all other ties for the love of a man or a woman and been glorified for it; and why should it be so harsh and bad if it is for the Divine and such a movement is welcome by the Divine? But we do not force it on anybody — there are on the contrary friendships here that we not only allow but welcome.

In fact all these ideas are the creations of your mind because you are struggling between two opposite tendencies, the vital human and the ascetic indifference and Vairagya — the old oscillation, sea-saw, tug of war which, I have told you, is not the principle of our Yoga. Ours is a third way — murāresṭu tritīyah panthā.[3] All for the Divine, but all one in the Divine — that is indeed the final realisation at the end of our endeavour. But we do not expect the sadhak to reach at one bound to that perfection.

P.S. There is more that I should have written, but my time is over. I have tried to remove the misconceptions by which you have supported your sadness — I trust that some of them at least will fall for good away from you.

*   *   *

April 10, 1933

My full blessings on your aspiration and resolution. For when you accomplish that, you will have taken a very big step towards what one might call “a state of grace” in which the Divine force can manifest directly in you and not as now indirectly in the midst of violent perturbations. It would be the first step towards a settled fundamental peace and inner happiness and, what is most important of all, an ability to believe in and perceive the Divine Will in things which men cannot perceive — nor the meaning in them — because they are perplexed not so much by their mental limitations — though that is one cause — but by the claims and recoils of the vital ego. The mental difficulty would become much less if the vital mind were once pacified, submitted, attentive to the intimations of a higher Light. So I wish you all success in this endeavour.

About the Grace itself I have not been able to write much today — but I shall pursue it tomorrow.

*   *   *

April 1933?

I was overjoyed to read your letter — first because it relieved me from the anxiety which your persistent trouble had given and, most because of the clarity of consciousness which has liberated you. Yes, that was the main difficulty — that and the clinging to wrong ideas which it had created. You should never doubt about the reality and sincerity of our feeling towards you, mine and the Mother’s — for it creates a veil and separates, where there should be no separation, and it is a first barrier against that openness which is necessary if one is to receive fully or even at all from the Guru. Of course, I say that something had blinded you and was keeping you unconscious of the source of the trouble, but there was needed a certain clarity of the soul to remove it. Now that it has come, I trust that it will keep the mind clear and free the ways of the spirit.

The bhakta-poet in you has always been thoroughly sincere; there there is no cloud of the vital ego.

*   *   *

April 12, 1933

It is certainly to be expected that Prabodh Sen will be overjoyed by his suggestion having borne such good fruit. You have succeeded in making an extraordinary success of felicitously combined opposites, a long sweep of gravity and intensely vibrating power with a melodic dance — the very movement of Nataraja. Only I doubt if it could become a feat for others to imitate; perhaps it was only one who is at once a musician and a poet who could have done it.

*   *   *

April 15, 1933

I return your cutting of Subhash — a monk-like Subhash who might have come out of a math or a monastery rather than the Calcutta Municipality and the B.P.C.C.!

My comments on Art for Art are finished but I added so much in recasting that I have to revise again and can send for typing only tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon — but I suppose so small a delay will not matter.

*   *   *


[1] Moni or Suresh Chandra Chakraborty (12 December 189? – 28 April 1951) was a revolutionary from Bengal. He came to Pondicherry in 1910 with a letter from Sri Aurobindo to arrange a residence for him. He then stayed with Sri Aurobindo and Mother.

[2] Khirode was headmaster of a school before he came to the Ashram. There he was in charge of the Building Department. About him Sri Aurobindo said, “He is one of the ablest and most quietly successful ‘men of work’ I have come across.”

[3] Thereby hangs a tale. Jaimini was an important disciple of Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata. Among other works he authored the Mimamsa Sutra, a Vedic exegesis. Over the centuries people forgot the meaning of the Vedas, and the meaning of the commentaries as well. Then around 4 BC one Shabara wrote his Bhasya (commentaries) on Jaimini’s Mimamsa. Then in the seventh century AD Kumarila Bhatta, a little older than Shankaracharya, wrote a commentary on Shabara’s Bhasya. His disciple Prabhakara took a different line of interpretation from Kumarila. That is how two main schools of Mimamsa came into being. A while later, one Murari Misra took an independent line from his predecessors. So, murāresṭu tritīyah panthā, Murari’s third way, became a proverb among scholars.

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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.