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At the Feet of The Mother

Divine Justice (HH 144)

Justice is one of the aspects of the world-play, one that makes us think that there is a Divine Power working in the world and it is fair and rewards the good and punishes the wicked. There is some truth in this conception but not one that is easily recognizable in the real facts of the world. The world-play is far more complex where the central theme is not justice but evolution. The Divine Compassion understands the pain and the darkness of the world and leans over it to support and succor. Justice is a subordinate element, it seems. The present talk is centered around the theme of Justice in the world.

Words of Sri Aurobindo


Under a civilised disguise these Courts are really the mediaeval ordeal by battle; only in place of the swords and lances of military combatants we have the tongues and technicalities of lawyers and the mutually tilting imaginations of witnesses. The victory is to the skilfullest liar and the most plausible workman in falsehoods and insincerities.

…he looks eagerly not to the truth or falsehood of the evidence for or against him, but to the skill with which this or that counsel handles the web of skilfully mixed truth and lies and the impression he is making on the judge or the jury. A true witness breaking down under a confusing cross-examination or a false witness mended by a judicious reexamination may be of much better service to him than the Truth, which, our Scriptures tell us, shall prevail and not falsehood, eventually perhaps and in the things of the truth, but not in the things of falsehood, not in a court of Justice, not in the witness box. There the last thing the innocent man against whom circumstances have turned, dare tell is the truth; it would either damn him completely by fatally helping the prosecution or it is so simple and innocent as to convince the infallible human reason of its pitiful falsity. The truth! Has not the Law expressly built up a hedge of technicalities to keep out the truth?

…If the Courts convince us of our common humanity by making all men liars, they yet preserve a relishable unlikeness in likeness.

And I think that even theology or metaphysics does not give such admirable chances for subtlety as the Law, nor even Asiatic Research or ethnology favour so much the growth of that admirable scientific faculty which deduces a whole animal out of some other animal’s bone. If the thing proved is generally wrong,

it is always ingenious; and after all in all these sciences,.. it is not the thing that is true but the thing that is desired which must be established.

* * *

How comforting it would be if we could tell a good man and even the amount of his goodness,—for should not the Supreme be a strict and honourable accountant?—by the amount of ghee that he is allowed to put into his stomach and the number of rupees he can jingle into his bank and the various kinds of good luck that accrue to him. Yes, and how comforting too if we could point our finger at the wicked stripped of all concealment and cry at him, “O thou wicked one! for if thou wert not evil, wouldst thou in a world governed by God or at least by good, be thus ragged, hungry, unfortunate, pursued by griefs, void of honour among men? Yes, thou art proved wicked, because thou art ragged. God’s justice is established.” The Supreme Intelligence being fortunately wiser and nobler than man’s childishness, this is impossible. But let us take comfort! It appears that if the good man has not enough good luck and ghee and rupees, it is because he is really a scoundrel suffering for his crims,—but a scoundrel in his past life who has suddenly turned a new leaf in his mother’s womb; and if yonder wicked man flourishes and tramples gloriously on the world, it is because of his goodness— in a past life, the saint that was then having since been converted —was it by his experience of the temporal vanity of virtue?—to the cult of sin. All is explained, all is justified. We suffer for our sins in another body; we shall be rewarded in another body for our virtues in this; and so it will go on ad infinitum. No wonder, the philosophers found this a bad business and proposed as a remedy to get rid of both sin and virtue and even as our highest good to scramble anyhow out of a world so amazingly governed…..

Man insists continually on making God in his own image instead of seeking to make himself more and more in the image of God, and all these ideas are the reflection of the child and the savage and the animal in us which we have still failed to transform or outgrow. We should be inclined to wonder how these fancies of children found their way into such profound philosophical religions as Buddhism and Hinduism, if it were not so patent that men will not deny themselves the luxury of tacking on the rubbish from their past to the deeper thoughts of their sages.

* * *

But what is the aim of that evolution? Not conventional or interested virtue and the faultless counting out of the small coin of good in the hope of an apportioned material reward, but the continual growth towards a divine knowledge, strength, love and purity. These things alone are real virtue and this virtue is its own reward. The one true reward of the works of love is to grow ever in capacity and delight of love up to the ecstasy of the spirit’s all-seizing embrace and universal passion; the one reward of the works of right Knowledge is to grow perpetually into the infinite Light; the one reward of the works of right Power is to harbour more and more of the Force Divine, and of the works of purity to be freed more and more from egoism into that immaculate wideness where all things are transformed and reconciled into the divine equality. To seek other reward is to bind oneself to a foolishness and a childish ignorance; and to regard even these things as a reward is an unripeness and an imperfection.

And what of suffering and happiness, misfortune and prosperity?

These are experiences of the soul in its training, helps, props, means, disciplines, tests, ordeals,—and prosperity often a worse ordeal than suffering. Indeed, adversity, suffering may often be regarded rather as a reward to virtue than as a punishment for sin, since it turns out to be the greatest help and purifier of the soul struggling to unfold itself. To regard it merely as the stern award of a Judge, the anger of an irritated Ruler or even the mechanical recoil of result of evil upon cause of evil is to take the most superficial view possible of God’s dealings with the soul and the law of the world’s evolution. And what of worldly prosperity, wealth, progeny, the outward enjoyment of art, beauty, power? Good, if they be achieved without loss to the soul and enjoyed only as the outflowing of the divine Joy and Grace upon our material existence. But let us seek them first for others or rather for all, and for ourselves only as a part of the universal condition or as one means of bringing perfection nearer.


Words of the Mother

“According to the law of men, the guilty must be punished. But there is a more imperative law than the human law: it is the law of the Divine, the law of compassion and mercy. It is thanks to this law that the world can last and progress …

The vision was so clear. It was such a clear vision…. If you follow this law of the guilty who must be punished, then little by little, with the unfolding of things, everything should be punished! (Mother laughs) Nothing would remain! So Sri Aurobindo said:

“It is thanks to this law that the world can last and progress towards Truth and Love.”

The guilty must be punished! … It’s always the same idea; men always have that idea: the guilty must be punished – but where does that lead to??

I also wrote another thing. I told you that on the day of Kali puja she came and was displeased. So I wrote (Mother takes another note and reads):

“They know what should not be done They know what should be done They know how to do it They know everything! … Yet, of all factors, mental arrogance is the most unfavorable to the action of the divine Grace.”

This notation, you know, was purely and simply a question of vibration; it was the vibration of mental arrogance (which is perceptible, clear, absolutely clear). It came and took up the whole space … (Mother makes a gesture of puffing up), it took up a lot of space! … It took up the whole space, and then, this very tranquil, very calm Action, so … noiseless, without ado, unassuming; it goes like this (gesture of imperturbable descent), with perfect simplicity – and it was absolutely blocked, it couldn’t get through! So I wrote this note.

“They know what should not be done. They know what should be done. They know everything! …”

And I saw this note of yesterday as indicative of the key (I mean “inwardly,” in the universal attitudes). It was all clearly seen: men always believe that the guilty must be punished, that it’s the way out of the difficulty, but the true way is compassion and mercy. It’s not that you are ignorant of the true movement and the false one, but you have SPONTANEOUS mercy, effortlessly – and at all times. The vision was very clear that this is how progress is possible – if the fault were always punished, there wouldn’t be anyone left to progress!

November 19, 1966

* * *

Does the Divine punish injustice? Is it possible for Him to ever punish anyone?

“The Divine does not see things the way men do …

“… and does not need to punish and reward. All actions carry in themselves their fruit along with their consequences. “According to its nature, the action brings you closer to the Divine or takes you away from the Divine …

So … you see in the universe the immense Movement drawing closer to the Divine, and how EVERYTHING, everything in it is like that [advancing towards the Divine]…. I’d like to pass on to you my experience, it’s extraordinary!… Simply that.

“… and that is the supreme consequence.”

It’s created in such a way, organized in such a way that EVERYTHING is like that, and every second, it’s automatic and CONTINUOUS, every second (we divide it into seconds, but it’s continuous). So it’s going forward towards the Divine, towards the conscious identification with the Divine, or else going backward.

It instantly does away with all notions of sin, of evil….

But all, all human conceptions fall away. It’s so simple! So simple. And this whole huge mental edifice people have built to try and explain falls to the ground.

It [the working] is automatic.

Automatic and universal. And I noticed it wasn’t something vague or imprecise: it’s exact, as if every element had its own destiny…. One day you may take a big step backward, and the next day a big step forward. It explains the whole apparent confusion of the world.

November 19, 1966

* * *

(Regarding Auroville)

“No rules or laws are being framed. Things will get formulated as the underlying Truth of the township emerges and takes shape progressively. We do not anticipate.”

What I mean is that usually (always so far, and more and more so), men establish mental rules according to their conceptions and their ideal, then they apply them (Mother lowers her fist, as if to show the world under the mental grip). And that’s absolutely false, arbitrary, unreal, so the result is that things revolt, or else waste away and disappear…. It’s the experience of LIFE ITSELF that must slowly work out rules AS SUPPLE AND VAST as possible, in order that they ever remain progressive. Nothing must be fixed. That’s the immense error of governments: they build a framework and say, “Here is what we’ve established, now we must live under it.” So naturally, Life is crushed and prevented from progressing. It is Life itself, developing more and more in a progression towards Light, Knowledge, Power, that must little by little establish rules as general as possible, so as to be extremely supple and capable of changing according to need – of changing AS RAPIDLY as habits and needs do.


At bottom, the problem almost boils down to this: to replace the mental government of intelligence by the government of a spiritualized consciousness.

That may be what the sages of old meant when they spoke of handing the power of Nature or the power of the Prakriti over to the Purusha – handing it from the Prakriti over to the Purusha. Perhaps it was their way of expressing the same thing.

* * *

(Mother records a message in French for All-India Radio.)

We want to be messengers of light and truth.

And first of all, a future of harmony is waiting to be announced to the world.

The time has come for the old habit of ruling through fear to be replaced with the rule of love.

November 5, 1970

Apr 7, 2015 

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