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At the Feet of The Mother

The Mother and the Buddha (HH 141)

The Buddha represents one extreme of spiritual effort that seeks to escape from the pain and suffering upon Earth. The other extreme is the yoga of Sri Aurobindo which seeks to change things here through a divine alchemy of Grace leading to the transformation of earthly life. Both are Avataras and each comes to show a way to surpass our present state of imperfection. The present talk is a reflection of my recent visit to Bodh Gaya for talks on Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga. Here we present some aspects of the Buddha as recounted by the Mother in Her personal experiences.

Words of the Mother

Yesterday, I suddenly saw a huge living head of blue light – this blue light which is the force, the powerful force in material Nature (this is the light the tantrics use). The head was made entirely of this light, and it wore a sort of tiara – a big head, so big (Mother indicates the length of her forearm); its eyes weren’t closed, but rather lowered, like this. The immobility of eternity, absolutely – the repose, the immobility of eternity. A magnificent head, quite similar to the way the gods here are represented, but even better; something between certain heads of the Buddha and … (these heads most probably come to the artists). Everything else was lost in a kind of cloud.

I felt that this kind of … yes, immobility came from there: everything stops, absolutely everything stops. Silence, immobility … truly, you enter into eternity. – I told him it wasn’t time!

But I tried to understand what he wanted … It’s been difficult here in the Ashram for some time – everyone is seized with a sort of frenzy, a weary restlessness. They are all writing to me, they all want to see me. It makes for such an atmosphere … I react as well as I can, but I’m not able to pass this on to them to keep them quiet (the more tired and weary you are, the more calm you ought to remain – certainly not get excited, that’s dreadful!). So I understood: this head had come to tell me, ‘This is what you must give them.’

But if I were to pass that on to them, they’d all think they were becoming rattle-brained, that they were losing their faculties, that their energy was spent. For they only feel energy when they spend it. They are incapable of feeling energy in immobility – they have to be stirring about, they have to be spending it. Or else, it has to be pounded into them.

I looked at this problem yesterday; it occupied me for much of the day. And I’m sure this head came to give me the solution. For me, it’s very easy – at once … three seconds, and everything stops, everything. But the others are stubborn! And yet I’m positive, I’m positive, I tell them, ‘But relax; why are you on pins and needles like that? Relax! It’s the only way to overcome your fatigue.’ But they immediately start feeling that they’ll lose their faculties and become inert – the opposite of life!

And this is surely what oriented my night, for I started my night looking at this problem: How can I make them accept this? For neither should they fall into the other extreme and slip from this weary agitation into tamas. That’s obvious.

…. I have now the indisputable proof that if you want to do anything properly, you must FIRST be calm – but not only be calm yourself; you must either isolate yourself or be capable of imposing a calm on this whirlwind of forces that comes upon you all the time from all around.

All the teachers are wanting to quit the school – weary! Which means they’ll begin the year with half the teachers gone. They live in constant tension, they don’t know how to relax – that’s really what it is. They don’t know how to act without agitation.

I think that’s what this head came to tell me, and it’s precisely what’s wrong in the Ashram – everything here is done in agitation, absolutely everything. So it’s constantly a comedy of errors; someone speaks, the other doesn’t listen and responds all wrong, and nothing gets done. Someone asks one thing, another answers to something else – bah! It’s a dreadful con-fu-sion. 

October 22, 1960

* * *

One day, I don’t remember on what occasion, I saw what had motivated the “forefathers” who wrote the Vedas: it was the need for immortality; they were in quest of immortality. From there, I went on to Buddha and saw what had set the Buddha on his way: this kind of need for permanence, purely and simply; the vision of the impermanence of things had profoundly troubled him, and he felt the need for Permanence. His whole quest was to find the Permanent (why was he so anxious to have the Permanent?…). There are a few things like that in human nature, in the deep human need. And then I saw another such need: a need for the Certitude which is security. I don’t know how to explain it…. Because I had the experience of it, I saw it was one of the human needs; and I understood it very intensely, for when I met Sri Aurobindo, this Certitude is what made me feel I had found the Truth I needed. And I didn’t realize how DEEP this need was until he left his body – just then, at the moment of the transition. Then the entire physical consciousness felt its certitude and security collapse…. I saw this was similar to Buddha’s experience when he realized that everything was impermanent and so all of life collapsed … in other words, Something Else HAD to be found. Well, at that moment…. I’d already had all my experiences, but with Sri Aurobindo, for the thirty years I lived with him (a little more than thirty years), I lived in an absolute, an absolute of security – a sense of total security, even physical, even the most material security. A sense of absolute security, because Sri Aurobindo was there. And it held me up, you know, like this (gesture of being carried): not for ONE MINUTE in those thirty years did it leave me. That was why I could do my work with a Base, really, a Base of absoluteness – of eternity and absoluteness. I realized it when he left: THAT suddenly collapsed.

And then I understood that it is one of life’s needs (there are several); and it’s what spurs the human being to get out of his present state and find another one. These needs are (what’s the word?) … the seeds, the germs of evolution. They compel us to progress. The whole time Sri Aurobindo was here, as I said, individual progress was automatic: all the progress Sri Aurobindo made, I made. But I was in a state of eternity, of absoluteness, with a feeling of such security, in every circumstance. Nothing, nothing unfortunate could happen, for he was there. So when he left, all at once – a fall into a pit. And that’s what projected me wholly … (Mother gestures forward).

That is, I understood why he left. The whole terrestrial evolution had come to a halt. One progressed – one can always progress, that’s nothing – but the entire TERRESTRIAL evolution was at a standstill. If there were permanence in life, nothing would budge. And these needs are the seeds of evolution. So that’s what I saw: in the past, in the future, universally. It was very interesting.

November 27, 1962

* * *

I have received a letter from Alexandra David-Neel…. I got a letter in which she writes (Mother imitates the supercilious tone of the letter), “Dear friend of the past, I have heard about the attack on the Ashram” (you should have read the letter, it was marvelous!), “and I hope that nothing untoward has happened to you. But now that the Ashram’s invulnerability has been destroyed, attacks may recur, so I presume you will leave Pondicherry….” (Mother laughs) I simply answered her, “Dear friend of always (laughing), do not worry, all is well. Above the forces of destruction, there is the divine Grace, which protects and mends,” and I simply put, “Yours very affectionately.” And I enclosed in the letter the message of the 21st.

February 24, 1965

* * *

Above all the complications of the so-called human wisdom stands the luminous simplicity of the Divine’s Grace, ready to act if we allow It to do so.

….Every time I had the opportunity, I spoke to her about Buddha’s love; I told her, “But Buddha was full of love!” And that makes her blood boil!


But, you know, I am desperately struggling against all those who conceive of spiritual life as … brrt! you go off. That’s just the beginning. As for me, I always answer with the story of Buddha: as he was about to enter Nirvana, he suddenly realized that the earth had to be changed … and stayed on.

I remember, once, it was with Madame David-Neel. It’s very interesting. She came to give a lecture (I wasn’t acquainted with her, that’s where I met her for the first time), I think it was at the Theosophical Society (I forget). I went to the lecture, and while she was speaking, I saw Buddha – I saw him clearly: not above her head, a little to the side. He was present. So after the lecture, I was introduced to her (I didn’t know the kind of woman she was!), and I said to her, “Oh, Madam, during your speech I saw Buddha present.” She answered me (in a furious tone), “Impossible! Buddha is in Nirvana!” (Mother laughs) Oho!… “Better keep quiet!” I thought.

But he really was there, whatever she thought!

February 21, 1965

* * *

….Buddha retired from the world, sat down in meditation and discovered a way out of earthly suffering and misery, out of all this illness and death and desire and sin and hunger. He saw a Truth which he endeavoured to express and communicate to the disciples and followers who gathered around him. But even before he was dead, his teaching had already begun to be twisted and distorted. It was only after his disappearance that Buddhism as a full-fledged religion reared its head founded upon what the Buddha is supposed to have said and on the supposed significance of these reported sayings. But soon too, because the disciples and the disciples’ disciples could not agree on what the Master had said or what he meant by his utterances, there grew up a host of sects and sub-sects in the body of the parent religion—a Southern Path, a Northern Path, a Far Eastern Path, each of them claiming to be the only, the original, the undefiled doctrine of the Buddha. The same fate overtook the teaching of the Christ; that too came to be made in the same way into a set and organised religion. It is often said that, if Jesus came back, he would not be able to recognise what he taught in the forms that have been imposed on it, and if Buddha were to come back and see what has been made of his teaching, he would immediately run back discouraged to Nirvana!

June 9, 1929

Mar 17, 2015


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