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At the Feet of The Mother

March Past

The March Past is for stimulating the receptivity of the body to the energies for realisation. It is based upon something which is expressed in all kinds of ways; but it is a kind of admiration… how to put it?… a spontaneous and also charming admiration for heroism, which is in the most material physical consciousness.

And this is a tremendous power for overcoming tamas and physical inertia. Besides it is upon this that all the fighting capacities of armies in the wars are founded. If human beings did not have this, well, one could never make them go to fight one another, stupidly, for things which they don’t even know. And it is because this is there in the being that these great masses of men can be utilised, employed and put in motion.

There were examples of this, absolutely marvellous ones, in the First World War, which was much harder for the individual than the Second. It was a terrible war, because men had dug trenches and were obliged to lie sunk in the earth like worms, under the perpetual danger of a bombardment against which they could do nothing but protect themselves as well as possible; and they remained at times shut in there for days. Sometimes it happened that they were shut in for more than fifteen days in one trench, for there was no means of changing them; that is, it was a mole’s life under a perpetual danger, and with nothing to do about it. Of all things it was the most horrible. It was a horrible war. Well, there were troops which had been left like that, for nothing more could be done because of the bombardments and all that, they could not be relieved any more. It was called “relieving”, relieving the troops, bringing new troops and taking away the others to give them rest. There were some who remained in this way for days. There were some who remained ten days, twelve days. There was cause enough to go mad, for anyone at all. Well, among these people there were some who related their life, related what happened.

Mother at the Sports Ground

March Past at the Sports Ground in 1951

I have read books about this, not novels, reports noted from day to day of what was happening. There is one — by the way it is a great writer who wrote his memories of the War[1], and he related that they had held on like that under the bombardment for ten days. (Naturally there were many who met their end there.) And then they were made to come back behind and were replaced by others, new ones arrived, the old ones returned. And naturally when they returned you see, they had eaten poorly, had slept badly, had lived in dark holes, indeed it was a dreadful life — when they had come back, some of them could not even take off their shoes any more because the feet were so swollen inside that they couldn’t pull them off. These are unthinkable physical horrors. Well, these people (you see, at that time mechanical transports were not as common as in this last war), so they came back on foot, like that, broken, half-dead.

They had stuck.

That was one of the most beautiful things in the war from the point of view of courage: because they had held on, the enemy could not take the trenches and was not able to advance. Naturally the news spread and then they came to a village and all the people of the village came out to receive them and line the road with flowers and shouts of enthusiasm. All those men who could no longer even drag themselves along, you see, who were like this (gesture of collapse), suddenly all of them were seen drawing themselves up erect, holding up their heads, filled with energy, and all together they began to sing and went through the whole village singing. It seemed like a resurrection.

Well, it is about this kind of thing I am speaking. It is something so beautiful, which is in the most material physical consciousness! You see, all of a sudden, they had the feeling that they were heroes, that they had done something heroic, and so they didn’t want to look like people completely flattened out, no longer good for anything. “We are ready to go back to the fight if necessary!” Like that. And they went by in this way. It seems it was marvellous; I am sure of it, that it was marvellous.[2]

Well, that’s what you are developing with the March Past now.


27 July 1955

[1] Mother is referring here to La vie des Martyrs, by G. Duhamel.

[2] In continuation of this talk, while leaving the Playground, Mother remarked to Pavitra: “It is the cellular response to the enthusiasm of the vital.”


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