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At the Feet of The Mother

Pavitra da’s Departure and Some Mysteries of Death (HH 195)

As we shared last time, Pavitra da’s life is an inspiration for the pilgrim of the Spirit. But his departure is no less inspiring. We have heard about great yogis who have shed their mortal cloak consciously, but here is a yogi who not merely shed but fused his mortal cloak with the Divine Mother. Let us share something about this wonderful account and the mysteries associated with Pavitra da’s departure.

Words of the Mother


(About Pavitra’s departure. Pavitra was the oldest French disciple; chemist and engineer of the École Polytechnique, he came to the Ashram in December, 1925, after having pursued his quest all the way to Mongolia’s lamaseries)

You know that I used to see Pavitra every day, in the evening. He was in a poor state. But I had been forewarned (long ago) that his inner being was waiting for A to return before it would leave. I don’t know whether he was aware of something in his outward consciousness, but at any rate he had never said anything. But I knew … The day A. arrived, that very day [May 31, just before coming here, Pavitra fell down. He came here with quite a few scratches. I thought it would stop there, but the day after A.’s arrival (I don’t remember, I never keep a clear memory of dates), at any rate between the 15th and 16th, at night, after 9 (I didn’t look at the time, so I don’t know precisely, but I was on my bed), Pavitra’s whole individualized consciousness (but not in a form), his conscious, fully awakened consciousness, down to all that can come out of the cells, began to come and enter into me according to the ancient, the very old yogic practice of merging into the Supreme in that way that practice. It came while I was lying on my bed; it began, and it was so material that there was a very strong friction in all the cells, everywhere. It went on for three hours. After three hours, it became … not exactly still, but no longer active. Then, the next morning, I saw A. (it was on the 16th), I saw A. at about 8:30 (naturally, Pavitra had been in bed since the day before, they had put him to bed), and in the morning, A. told me that just as he was about to come here, Pavitra opened his eyes and looked at him … So I told him, I don’t know, but with a yogic knowledge of the process, quite an extraordinary knowledge” (he had never boasted of having it), “his conscious being melted last night and entered my body, this body …” I told him, “We’ll see.” But half an hour later, they told me that just as I was talking with A., the doctor declared he had left.

I had first said that he would be buried this morning at 10 o’clock, since the end took place even before the doctors declared it was over, but I had it delayed until 4 …. I can’t say he has remained separate [from Mother], not at all, but now and then, for one thing there’s his way of reacting; it’s quite interesting. And he has brought with him an extraordinary sense of satisfaction! As if, “Ah, at last …” Like that. It’s constant, night and day. I wanted to see last night whether something of him would still come, but it was all over, there was nothing more …. It was done as a super-yogi might do it! He’d never boasted about it, I don’t even know whether he actively knew it. He did it wonderfully. You know, the stories that are told of those who would have themselves shut in a cave and who would leave like that – that’s it.

They didn’t exactly pick him up, because he hadn’t fallen down, but they found him standing, unable to move. It was after lunch (on the 15th he had his lunch with A.), and immediately after lunch, he asked A. to leave, and wanted to go to his terrace – it took him an hour to go there! It’s while coming back from there that he remained like that, standing – he nearly fell down, so they had to carry him to his bed (that was in the afternoon of the 15th), and during the night he did that. So then, I had said he would be buried this morning, that is on the 17th, then A. came and told me he was quite intact, not stiff (he went to see him with N., who’s a doctor, and N. said that was because Pavitra was so thin), so I said we might as well wait till this afternoon. It has been postponed till 4 o’clock. But as for me, last night I saw carefully: there’s nothing. Even if there is something, a little consciousness left, it’s better to let it go peacefully.

But I wasn’t expecting it, I didn’t think about it, didn’t even know that he knew how to go out like that-it must have been something deep down in him that knew. I didn’t even know he knew how to do it. Because the evening before Pavitra left, A. told me what had happened at lunch time, and I told him, “Generally, I don’t see Pavitra [at night], it’s very rare, very rare, it happens quite accidentally, and it’s more symbolic visions than …” I said to him, I don’t see him, I don’t know, but this night (of the 15th, that is) I’ll inquire to see what it is, in what state he is, and see if he goes out of his body or comes to me ….”

There was nothing in a form, nothing. And some time after I’d lain down, it started coming, but then with an extraordinary SCIENCE of the process! And for THREE hours without stop, continuously, in the most steady manner, like that: an action. After three hours, it was as it is now; I felt as if he said, “Now it’s over.” Only, you never know, of course: there might be some consciousness lingering in the body … I thought it was better to wait till this afternoon, not to shut him up with something in his body.

It has brought to the body consciousness a sort of sense of satisfaction: the appeasement that satisfaction gives. That’s there quite concretely.

Did he know it from a previous life, or …? I don’t know. Or else, he just didn’t talk about it. Because the way he spoke, he didn’t seem to know the secrets of yogic processes. It was done with a rare perfection …. Three hours without stop, without flagging – three hours – continuous, continuous. Naturally, I was lying on my bed ….

As for Sri Aurobindo, he … (how can I put it?), he stayed mainly … I found him everywhere: I found him all the way up, absolutely one with the Supreme Consciousness; I found him spread about in many places to see many people and do a lot of work; and I found him (but then, in a precise form, though NOT FIXED – A precise, rather supple form that looked like him, like what we knew of him, with more suppleness, without the fixity of the physical, but quite precise, a form in his likeness, quite in his likeness), I found him in the subtle physical.

There he has a dwelling, he is settled and stays permanently (which doesn’t prevent him from being at many other places and …), but there is a Sri Aurobindo there whom I see almost every night, who looks after the whole work, sees people, and who is almost constantly with me. In the subtle physical, it’s a specific place, and very large – huge, you know, he is there, seeing people, doing all kinds of things ….

Apart from that, in Amrita’s case, it was something different again. Amrita used to come in spite of his illness, he used to come and see me every day; he would come upstairs in the morning and sit down here, and once again in the evening (you saw how much work it was to climb the stairs). In his case, when he left … The doctor had told him, “You can’t go upstairs for a month,” and it’s after that, later on that day, that he came: he didn’t accept, he left his body and came – he came straight to me. But he was IN HIS OWN FORM, more subtle, but precisely defined (Mother draws an outline showing Amrita’s form), it was his form, in his likeness. And he remained there, now active and now at rest (he rests more than he is active, but now and then he is still active). It’s like … like a shadow, you understand, which is wholly in my atmosphere. And he has stayed there – he stays there, rests there. But in Pavitra’s case, it was something else altogether: it’s the entire conscious being which gave up … (how can I put it?) its limits, the personal limit and form, so as to identify totally – he entered like that, like a stream of consciousness and force, but very material, very material: it produced a friction, I felt a friction, and for three hours. I had never seen that before, it was the first time – I had heard about it very often (it’s often mentioned), that knowledge the great yogis had: they would go like that deliberately…..

Does it mean that his individuality has been dissolved?

Those notions of individuality, you know … for me, they’ve changed a lot, quite a lot. This whole morning again … But for a long time, at least for a month, it has become something else.

When people speak of individuality, there’s always a sort of at least a background of separation, that is, something that exists independently and has its own destiny Now, as the body consciousness knows it, it’s almost like a pulsation of “something” which MOMENTARILY has a separate action, but which, deeply, essentially, is always ONE. Like something projected like this (gesture of expansion), momentarily with a form, and then … (gesture of contraction) it can cancel that form at will. It’s very hard to explain, but at any rate, the sense of the permanence of separation has completely disappeared, completely The universe is an exteriorization (same gesture of pulsation) of the Supreme Consciousness; it’s our incapacity of total vision that enables us to have that sense of fixity: there is none, it’s something like pulsations or … really a play of forms – there is only ONE being. There is only one being. There’s only one, only one Consciousness, only one Being.

Separation is really … I don’t know what happened …. And that’s what made all the mischief – all the misfortune, all the misery …. And this incident of Pavitra’s departure has come as an example, as a demonstration.

But even before that, the consciousness of the cells had realized the oneness – the true, essential oneness – which CAN become total … if this sort of illusion disappears. You understand, the illusion which has created all this misery was lived so intensely that it became almost unbearable, with all the horrors and all the terrors it has created in the human consciousness and on the earth …. There have been … dreadful things. And just after that, just after: liberation.

What remains to be lived, that is, the experience that remains to be had, is … the next progress of the creation, of matter – the next step to return to the true Consciousness. …
It seems to have been decided that something like a beginning, or an attempt of experience, is going to be made (Mother touches her body). It’s a question of intensity of faith, or of the power to bear that faith gives. All depends on the capacity to go through the necessary experiences. In any case, all the old notions, all the old ways of understanding things, all that is quite over, it’s past.
And all that is necessarily the return path; we had to walk that path and we still have to walk it (though not the same thing), but all the while progressing until we can … until this [the body] is ready to live the Truth….
I can say (and it was almost like a surprise, I mean I didn’t know it), I can say that the consciousness that came out of Pavitra’s body was a consciousness without ego – without ego. Without SENSE of ego. There was a clear will to merge, a will with an intensity of aspiration, it was fantastic! Fantastic.

But by individuality, I don’t mean an ego: I mean the “something” that’s identical through all lives, the one thing that progresses through all lives. The something that remains the same and pursues its development.

That’s the Supreme…..
It’s the Supreme conscious of Himself …… partially.
The Supreme partially conscious of Himself.
With separation: the ego.
But that [the “something” that persists] is obvious. It’s there, very strong, in this action of Pavitra’s – it was very strong. And in fact, it was free from the illusion of ego and had the full force of That. But that [center] remains! It can’t disappear.


May 17, 1969


* * *


They’ve found in Pavitra’s things the record of an experience he had three years ago, just when his cancer was beginning. Would you be interested to know the text of that experience? …

Pavitra’s experience


“It is a night of fully conscious spiritual experience, a night of torture and glory.
“I walked through large rooms in which beings without communication with outside were living. And other rooms where wretched beings were dragging out a wretched life. They took notice of my presence, which seemed to bring them a ray of light from outside. A few reacted well, with a smile; others fled. A few knocked against me. Then I went into other rooms. The same goal always seemed to justify my presence. For, as I went by, a few showed a sign of hope. But at the same time obstacles, sufferings, tortures of all kinds fell on me. They were not deliberately inflicted tortures, but sorts of reactions of ignorance and suffering.
“This work progressively became more and more difficult for me. I moved about with difficulty, walked more and more slowly, as though overburdened, until it finally became difficult I-Or me to find my way … to escape.
“These experiences seemed to last /Or a long time. When they ended, I found myself in my physical body, surprised that it bore no marks of all that I had just undergone.
“But I slowly began to understand the meaning of all that had taken place. An immense gratitude rose from my heart towards the Supreme, as did an entire self-giving so that His Will “ray be accomplished everywhere.
“I perceived the meaning of the great promise:
‘I shall deliver you from all evil, fear not.’
“That promise of victory from the Divine embodied on the earth carried me away with joy.
“I repeat that I was fully conscious for as long as those experiences lasted.
“That is all I have to say.”

Night of February 5, 1966


Is it after this that he fell ill?

It’s about that time. That’s when he started walking with two canes.

(After a long silence) It would mean that he took upon himself quite a few people’s burdens …. So that would explain what happened: on the day he left, a number of people were terribly attacked by things, as if those were coming back onto them; things that had been taken away from them and which were coming back onto them-especially women.
(long silence)
There was in him a being more conscious than he. That’s obvious. It was that same being which absorbed [others’ suffering].
Those subtle worlds that are imprisoned worlds, it’s by taking a body on earth that one can deliver them?
They are worlds of the vital.
That, of course [i.e., taking a body to deliver them].
I understand better why he came [into Mother].
It’s to escape all those horrors.
Very well.
There’s only one solution, the direct contact of the physical with the Supreme. It’s the only thing.
But the body’s cells … (I don’t know whether it’s specific to this body; I can’t believe this body to be so exceptional), they are ABSOLUTELY convinced, and they keep trying and trying and trying all the time, all the time, for every misery, every difficulty, every … There’s only one solution, only one thing: “You, You alone, to You – You alone exist.” That’s what expressed itself as the illusion of the world in the consciousness of people such as Buddhists and others, but that was a half translation.
The true translation is, “You alone exist, You alone.” All the rest … all the rest is misery. Misery, suffering … darkness.
Oof! …
Maybe – maybe if … In Sri Aurobindo’s conception, the Supermind clearly escaped all this misery.
There’s only That. Otherwise, it’s difficult.
Maybe half-measures are no longer sufficient …. I don’t know. Maybe the time has come to take a clear stand.

May 28, 1969

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