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At the Feet of The Mother

Correspondence 1933, September

September 7, 1933

As to the rest, I think there is still a misunderstanding in your mind about the demands of the Yoga. The Divine does not demand a complete solitude, aloof and lonely — it is only a few whose nature needs such concentration within to find themselves who have to do that and even for them a complete segregation is not likely to be helpful except perhaps for a time. All that is necessary is a total turning of the life to the Divine and it can be done by degrees without too much forcing of the nature. Literature, poetry, music can be as much a part of Yoga as anything else.

One can meet the Divine in speaking as well as in silence, in action as well as in physical solitude and quietude. An entire retirement can only be a personal case — and as a condition for an inward or outward work, but it is no general rule indispensable for the sadhana. In many cases, most indeed, it would do more harm than good as has been seen in many cases where it has been unduly attempted. A cheerful and sunny life is as good an atmosphere for Yoga as any the Himalayas can give.

Why then this depression and despair?

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September 7, 1933

(from Mother)

Why didn’t you come yourself with the money? I would have seen you for a few minutes and told you something interesting and helpful as an answer to your letter of this morning. For in speaking it would have been better than anything I could write. At pranam time I felt that you were still depressed and I thought that I would try to pour on you some of the Divine forces. I was looking at you for such a long time and it was Divine love that I was pouring on you with a strong will that you should become conscious of the Divine Presence in you and see all your sorrows turn into Ananda. I saw to my great joy that you were very receptive to all these Divine forces and absorbing them without resistance as they were pouring down! When I read your letter and saw that you thought you had received only some human kindness it struck me that it was only a misunderstanding of the mind, almost a question of vocabulary that was standing in the way, and if you could see this all or most of your doubts would disappear for ever and with them your painful difficulties. For what I was pouring in you was not merely human kindness — though surely it contained all that human kindness can be at its best — but Mahalakshmi’s love, Mahasaraswati’s care, Maheswari’s embracing and enveloping light. Do not think of Divine Love as something cold or impersonal or distantly high — it is something as warm and close and tender as any feeling can possibly be. It does not abolish whatever is pure and sweet in human love, but intensifies and sublimates it to its highest. It is this love that the Divine has to give and that you must open yourself to receive. I think if you realise this, it will be easier for you to pierce through the mental veil and receive what you are longing to receive.

*   *   *

September 7, 1933

I can only say that Imagination when a little wildly active can be a Shakespeare and create in real life a new Much Ado about Nothing!

But why suppose that when I send the Doctor to see somebody it is with full instructions what to say and what to recommend? I don’t. I send him in his medical capacity to find out what is wrong, report to me and make recommendations which we accept or reject according to our lights. I sent him because vivid reports were sent to me by Nolini and Amiya herself about her bad condition of health and nocturnal sufferings. I knew of course that it was the nerves but for the physical mind the appearance of medical Authority on the spot is sometimes indispensable. Nothing was recommended about any maunavrata [vow of silence] being necessary, nor had I any intention of imposing anything of the sort. As for the recommendation of quiet and the opening to the Force, the first is always recommended in cases of nervous strain or weakness, for the second the Doctors of the Ashram, especially Upendranath and Becharlal, always recommend because they have seen its effects and believe in it.

I do not understand about this fear. The Mother has never been severe with either Amiya or Nalina,[1] but always kind, patient and indulgent. If it exists it must be the child of imagination or of Ashram gossip or a prolonged echo of the theories of Barin and others. Obviously it is by love or faith that one opens to the Divine, not by fear.

I do not understand either about this bathroom affair. The Mother naturally does not care to spend money on this house for which we have no lease nor any hope of one at present. But she did not refuse Amiya’s request about cementing — it was only postponed because the B.D. [Building Department] was full of work elsewhere. I think I myself wrote to that effect — then why these ideas about it?

Your idea of exchange of houses if carried out, could not be done till the repairs are over — a delay of two months. But for you also and Anilkumar some arrangement seems urgently necessary till then, Mother suggests that Amiya and Nalina should shift temporarily to Cocotiers upstairs — that being the only possible other place now — and you and Anilkumar should go to Vigie. When the Trésor is ready, we can see what decision is to be finally made. What do you all say to that?

*   *   *

September 9, 1933

The Mother does not wish Anilkumar to go to the Cocotiers. In fact, the upstairs rooms are so interdependent that two people who are not accustomed to live together would be always in each other’s way. Her idea was that you should both be in the Vigie House.

In respect to that Nalina and Amiya have both written that they are quite willing to go to Cocotiers if it is the Mother’s will — they only objected to the idea that they were dissatisfied with V. H. [Vigie House] and on that ground invited to go elsewhere. That again leaves the choice open to you, either to take V. H. with its terrace and nearness to the sea or the Cocotiers with its interior comfortableness. Amiya and Nalina seem to be attracted by the general report of the Cocotiers and other considerations so that you need have no scruple in making your choice.

About the bulk of your letter I shall try to reply — not at the same length, you will understand that — tomorrow as today I am terribly overburdened with arrears of unanswered letters and other documents of great importance — at least to their writers. I hope you won’t mind the delay.

P.S. I have written to Nolini to show you the Cocotiers in the evening.

*   *   *

September 10, 1933

It is the depression and despondency itself that have no real meaning in the truth of things — for they started from the mistake about Amiya’s segregation and, when that was corrected, they ought to have disappeared. But they have persisted — why? For no tangible and ascertainable cause. Before this happened, you were going on admirably well, expanding rapidly your instrumental capacities, purifying slowly but still steadily the vital weakness, getting much more frequent experiences than before with very promising signs of a stronger entry into the inner consciousness. Here there was no true reason for depression or despair. The reason you now allege are purely mind-made. There is the intellectual doubt about the Divine mingled with the Christian-antichristian conception of an arbitrary God who acts in the world according to his caprice and must be therefore either Jehovah or a monster. There is the difficulty of seeing the Divine in the human and the human in the Divine. There is the difficulty that the Divine has not answered to your call. Old reiterances, all these, and of no fundamental or final value.

The whole world knows, spiritual thinker and materialist alike, that the world for the created or naturally evolved being in the ignorance or the inconscience of Nature is neither a bed of roses nor a path of joyous Light. It is a difficult journey, a battle and struggle, an often painful and chequered growth, a life besieged by obscurity, falsehood and suffering. It has its mental, vital, physical joys and pleasures, but these bring only a transient taste — which yet the vital self is unwilling to forego — and they end in distaste, fatigue or disillusionment. What then? To say the Divine does not exist is easy, but it leads nowhere — it leaves you where you are with no prospect or issue — neither Russell nor any materialist can tell you where you are going or even where you ought to go. The Divine does not manifest himself so as to be recognised in the external world-circumstances — admittedly so. These are not the works of an irresponsible autocrat somewhere — they are the circumstances of a working out of Forces according to a certain nature of being, one might say a certain proposition or problem of being into which we have all really consented to enter and co-operate. The work is painful, dubious, its vicissitudes impossible to forecast? There are either of two possibilities then, to get out of it into Nirvana by the Buddhist or the illusionist way or to get inside oneself and find the Divine there since he is not discoverable on the surface. For those who have made the attempt, and there were not a few but hundreds and thousands, have testified through the ages that he is there and that is why there exists the Yoga. It takes long? The Divine is concealed behind a thick veil of his Maya and does not answer at once or at any early stage to our call? Or he gives only a glimpse uncertain and passing and then withdraws and waits for us to be ready? But if the Divine has any value, is it not worth some trouble and time and labour to follow after him and must we insist on having him without any training or sacrifice or suffering or trouble? It is surely irrational to make a demand of such a nature. It is positive that we have to get inside, behind the veil to find him — it is only then that we can see him outside and the intellect be not so much convinced as forced to admit his presence by experience — just as when a man sees what he has denied and can no longer deny it. But for that the means must be accepted and the persistence in the will and patience in the labour.

As for the Divine and the human, that also is a mind-made trouble. The Divine is there in the human, and the human fulfilling and exceeding its highest aspirations and tendencies becomes the Divine. That is what your silly Upen could not understand — that when the Divine descends, he takes upon himself the burden of humanity in order to exceed it — he becomes human in order to show humanity how to become Divine. But that cannot be if he is himself a weakling without the Divine Forces behind — he has to be strong in order to put his strength into all who are willing to receive it. There is therefore in him a double element — human in front, Divine behind — and it is that which gives the impression of unfathomableness of which Upen complained — indulging in that the iconoclast in him who cannot bear anything he feels to be superior to himself. If you look upon the human alone, looking with the external eye only and are not willing or ready to see anything else, you will see a human being only — if you look for the Divine, you will find the Divine. That has been always your difficulty — but it can only be solved by inner experience which will open the external eye also. You were actually heading that way before this crisis disturbed you.

But it is really an unnecessary crisis that you have created by indulging this depression after its outward cause had been removed. It is because you did not reject it at once, but came back to your former habit of indulging it and feeding it with “reasons”. There is a development which takes place through crisis and one cannot always escape them, but it seems to me a wasteful process and not one I could recommend to anyone. It comes like that because some vital part in you opens to a force which wants it like that — even though your own mind does not want it. If it had been only your own difficulty, it would not have been so violent, it would have been solved long ago; but by assenting to the depression you make yourself a sort of representative of the World-vital or that part of it which is dissatisfied with life and attached to it, seeking for Yoga or spiritual release and yet revolting against it; finally crying in bitter vairāgya against both the Divine and world existence.

There is no reason at all why you should fail in this Yoga. Defeat is not truly in your nature, success and victory are in your nature. But you must lose this habit of indulging depression, of making yourself the mouthpiece for the painful feelings and defeatist reasonings of this sorrowful and dangerous World-Vital. You must give a real chance to the capacity within you to come out as it did in poetry in spite of the first outward incapacities and failures. It has shown itself whenever you got an experience and it has only to gather strength enough to push down the screen for good. But it can’t be done by the method of seeking a mournful solitude or an imitation of Bejoy’s retirement. Bejoy has made a theory of taking upon himself all the imperfections and struggles of everybody in a recurrent mass in order to digest and destroy or else transform them. I could not recommend to you his theory or the example of his solitude.

As you have decided to get over the [a word crossed out] decide also to get rid of this depression trouble. You were on the way to do it and the fits were becoming less in duration and power. Do not allow this relapse — for which there was no true rational reason — to overcome your resolution or throw you back. Attacks and crises come and they go, but the goal and the Ideal remain — for that is the Eternal.

P.S. I never thought that I would be able to write so long a reply, but by good fortune, almost a miracle, I was able to finish the regular work for the day at 3 a.m. instead of the usual 5.30, so I have put in two hours writing this letter. I could not find time to read the Sylhet letter you sent me, so I keep it and will send after reading.

*   *   *


[1] Sahana’s elder sisters. They had arrived in January 1932 and were living in a rented house, Budi, on the seashore.

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