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At the Feet of The Mother

The Mother’s Comments of 1954


Comments on Chapter 1


A few days before this class, Mother told the children that she would proceed differently with the new book they were to study, Sri Aurobindo’s The Mother. She herself (not the children as previously) would read out passages from the book. Each child was asked to read beforehand the chapter to be taken up in class and to prepare a questions based upon it.

The following talk is based upon Chapter 1 of The Mother.

Sweet Mother, it is written here: “A… submission… of the inner Warrior who fights against obscurity and falsehood.” ((( The complete sentence is: “A glad and strong and helpful submission is demanded to the working of the Divine Force, the obedience of the illumined disciple of the Truth, of the inner Warrior who fights against obscurity and falsehood, of the faithful servant of the Divine.”))) Who is this “inner Warrior”?

It is the vital being when it is converted. The vital turned completely to the Divine is like a warrior. It has even the appearance of a warrior. The vital is the place of power and it is this power which impels it to fight, which can fight and conquer, and of all things this is the most difficult, for it is precisely these very qualities of fighting which create in the vital the see of revolt, independence, the will to carry out its own will. But if the vital understands and is converted, if it is truly surrendered to the divine Will, then these fighting capacities are turned against the anti-divine forces and against all the darkness which prevents their transformations. And they are all-powerful and can conquer the adversaries. The anti-divine forces are in the vital world; from there, naturally, they have spread out into the physical, but their true seat is in the vital world, and it is the converted vital force which has the true power to vanquish them. But of all things this conversion is the most difficult.

What are “subterfuges”?

Subterfuges? They are tricks. You know what a trick is? — Yes? Well, subterfuges are ways of deceiving, means employed to deceive. One hides what one wants to do under other appearances, in order to deceive; these are subterfuges.

“Irrevocable transformation”?

Irrevocable — it means a transformation on which one cannot go back, which is achieved once and for all.

Sweet Mother, here it is written: “It is not enough that the psychic should respond and the higher mental accept or even the lower((( Sri Aurobindo’s word here is “inner”. In the French translation this word translated as “intґerieur” was by mistake printed as “infґerieur” which means “lower”. The question arises due to this mistake.))) vital submit and the inner physical consciousness feel the influence.” Does this mean that there is also a higher vital?

Yes, the higher vital is usually much less difficult to surrender, for it is under the influence of the mind and at times even of the psychic; so it understands more easily. It is much easier to convert this than the lower vital which is essentially the vital of desires and impulses. So, you see, what he means is that the lower vital can submit, it agrees to obey, to do what it is asked, but it is not at all satisfied. It is not happy; sometimes it even suffers; it pushes its revolt down into itself through obedience, but it does not collaborate. And unless the vital collaborates with joy and true love, nothing can be done; the transformations cannot come.

Sweet Mother, here it is written…

Wait, wait, your turn will come!

There is a mistake! Here, in French, we have “the lower (inférieur) vital”, but in English it is “the inner vital”!

Inner? The inner vital? Yes. But here the mistake has been carefully reproduced! This edition is ours. (Mother shows the book printed at the Ashram Press.) Exactly! Yes, it is “inner”. It is the inner vital. Yes, it should be “inner” here, as “the inner physical”. (Pavitra asks whether the error has been reproduced in all the editions.) In all the editions there seems to be (“inférieur”) instead of “intérieur”.) But this is our own edition, and we should have corrected it. This one is the first edition that was printed in France;((( Sri Aurobindo, La Mère. Les grands Maîtres spirituels dans l’Inde contemporaine. Lyon: Éditions Derain, 1945.))) not this; this one, the small one, was printed in France. Of course, the letters are very similar, aren’t they? The t and f are very similar.

(To the child who has just spoken) So you think you are going to escape your questions? (Laughter)

(To another child) You don’t have one? No! Then it will be for next week. Today I am not saying anything, because you were not informed. Not long enough in advance.

(To another child) And you? You don’t have one?

(To another) And you?

Here, I don’t understand this: “For if it [the supreme Grace] were to yield to the demands of the Falsehood, it would defeat its own purpose.” What does the defeat of its own purpose mean?

Yes. This means that it would be going against its work, its own work. The Grace has come; well, it works for the realisation of the truth. If it accepts the conditions laid upon it by the falsehood, it can no longer do anything. Of this, you know, I could give you countless examples — of people who insist that things should happen in a particular way as far as they are concerned. They implore, at times even demand that things should be like that; and what they ask for is absolutely contrary to the truth; and if the Grace obeyed their demand, it would go against its own purpose and defeat its own purpose, that is, it would go against its own work and aim. It comes here to realise the truth; if it obeys the falsehood, it turns its back on truth. And people, you see, very often put the cart before the horse — most often through ignorance and stupidity; but sometimes it is also through bad will that they insist on having their conditions fulfilled, that they go in for a kind of bargaining in exchange for their surrender, and they do it…. Yes, many do it unconsciously — I said through ignorance and stupidity. There are others who do it consciously, and so they want their conditions fulfilled. They say, “If it is like this and like that…” And finally they go as far as to say to the Divine, “If you are like this and like that, if you fulfil the conditions I lay down for you, I shall obey you!” They don’t put it in this way because that would be too ridiculous, but they almost constantly do it. You see, they say, “Oh, the Divine is like this. The Divine does this. The Divine must respond like this.” And they continue in this way, and they are not aware that they are quite simply imposing their conceptions and also their desires on what the Divine ought to be and do. And so, when the Divine does not do what they want or does not fulfil the conditions they lay down, they say, “You are not the Divine!” (Laughter) It is very simple. “You do not fulfil the conditions I lay down, so you are not the Divine!” But they do it constantly, you know. So, naturally, if to please people, the Divine Grace were to submit to their demands, it would be working entirely against its own purpose and would destroy its own Work.

(To another child) Now, do you have a questions?

It is not my turn! (Laughter)

Oh, how very convenient! (Laughing) So now whose turn is it? Yours? Your questions?

Here it is written: “…it is only the very highest supramental Force descending from above and opening from below that can victoriously handle the physical Nature and annihilate its difficulties.” I don’t understand the last part.

Which words exactly don’t you understand?

“And opening from below that can victoriously handle the physical Nature.”

Handle victoriously!… You don’t know what this means? (Pavitra re-reads the sentence which had been incorrectly pronounced.) Opening from below — that is, something which comes from above and forces itself up from below, forces its way, makes a kind of road, a path through the resistance that’s below, by opening a way, as when one enters a virgin forest and cuts down trees, one opens up a way. Well, it is like that, you see; there is a resistance in the lower levels of matter, and by the pressure from above, it opens the road and makes a passage through the resistance. And then, do you understand what follows?

No. “That can victoriously handle.”

“Handle” — that means… “deal with”; that is, which can deal with all the resistances of the physical world. It is only the highest force which can overcome the difficulties of matter. That’s what it means. All the resistances and difficulties of the physical world can be overcome only by the highest force — the highest supramental force. Do you understand now?


(To another child) Nothing?

(To another) You?

Mother, it is said: “Reject the false notion that the divine Power will do and is bound to do everything for you at your demand and even though you do not satisfy the conditions laid down by the Supreme.” Then…

But, you know, there are people who are told, “You should surrender.” Then they answer you with a smile, “Well, make me surrender!” Why, this is very simple!

When one wants to make some progress…


One tries but finds that something doesn’t want to advance, doesn’t want to progress.

Yes, to progress.

Then, if one asks the Divine to…

To help?


That’s something quite different. To help, that’s understood, He is there to help. But what is said here means to sit idly not doing anything, not making the shadow of an effort, nor even aspiring or willing, nothing, and then say, “Well, God will do this for me; the Divine will do everything for me. The Divine Grace will give me aspiration. If I need aspiration, It will give it to me. If I need surrender, It will give me that”, and so on. “I have to do nothing except to remain passively seated, without stirring and without willing anything.” Well, there are people like that, many! They are told “Aspire.” “Give me aspiration.” (Laughter) They are told, “Be generous.” “Oh, make me generous; and I shall give everything!” (Laughter)

And then? (To another child) Now, you!

I am repeating a questions. Sweet Mother, here in French it is written “opening the passage from below”, but in English the word “passage” is not there.

Yes. Who has the English?


Read it, read your English!

“… and it is only the very highest supramental Force descending from above and opening from below that can victoriously handle the physical nature and annihilate its difficulties.”

Opening from below? (Long silence)

This can mean allowing the force which is hidden at the core of matter to manifest itself. It gives the idea of the supramental Presence which is at the centre of all things but is hidden and incapable of manifesting itself, so to say, and which, then would be as if awakened by the force coming from above and would manifest.

It can mean this, that is to say, it may want to express the fact that the two extremities meet, as in a circle, you know, the beginning and the end touch. It can mean this.

Pavitra: Mother, that’s what the French means — the French translation!

Obviously! Only, it is not said in these very words. It means, in fact — whether it is said in this way or another, it means that the two extremities join, you see, they unite, the Supreme who is in matter and the Supreme who is outside matter unite and join. That’s what it means. In both cases it means the same thing.

Sweet Mother, what does “inert passivity” mean?

Inert passivity? It means… Passivity, we said the other day, didn’t we, is what does not move, does not act, vibrate, respond — well, an inert passivity is just this, what is absolutely unconscious, inactive, what does not respond; whereas the other day we described a passivity which responds, which opens and is receptive, but doesn’t move, doesn’t act, which is the opposite of… Let us take passivity as the opposite of activity, something that does not act but is receptive and receives.

But an inert passivity is a passivity that receives nothing, it is like a stone; for instance, we say the stone has an inert passivity, don’t we?… like the soil or sand. It is not quite true, for there is nothing which is not at least a little receptive to forces. But still, the more we go towards something we call unconscious, the more is it inert and passive at the same time. That is it.

So, an inert passivity in someone is a kind of incapability of vibrating, receiving, opening himself, responding, something that’s quite unconscious and does not move in any way!

Sweet Mother, how can we make our submission gladly?

It must be sincere. If it is truly sincere, it becomes happy. So long as it is not — you may reverse the thing — so long as it is not happy, you may be sure it is not perfectly sincere; for if it is perfectly sincere, it is always happy. If it is not happy, it means that there is something which holds back, something which would like things to be otherwise, something that has a will of its own, a desire of its own, its own purpose and is not satisfied, and therefore is not completely surrendered, not sincere in its surrender. But if one is sincere in one’s surrender, one is perfectly happy, automatically; rather, one automatically enjoys an ineffable happiness. Therefore, as long as this ineffable happiness is not there, it is a sure indication that you are not sincere, that there is something, some part of the being, larger or smaller, which is not sincere.

Sweet Mother, how to discover this part?

Aspire, insist, put the light on it, pray if necessary. There are many ways. Sometimes surgical operations are necessary, putting a red hot iron on the wound, as when there is a nasty abscess somewhere which will not burst.

(To another child) Did you say something?

No, it is not my turn!

(Laughing) Oh, it is not your turn! (Laughter) So…

Here it is said: “The Supreme demands your surrender to her, but does not impose it: you are free at every moment, till the irrevocable transformations comes, to deny and to reject the Divine or to recall your self-giving….”

Yes, this is something that happen every minute!

(The child repeats the last phrase) “To deny and to reject the Divine” — “deny” means?

“Deny”? That’s what I was just saying. People who find that the Divine does not want all that they want or that He does not comply with their own will, deny Him. They say, “It is not the Divine!” Or else, there are others who go still further. They say, “There is no Divine, it does not exist, the Divine, for it is not consistent with…” It is a nuisance that a Divine should be there: they say there’s no such thing!

Sweet Mother, what does “an inert automaton” mean?

Automaton — it’s just a little more than inert passivity. Automaton — it’s a mechanical movement; and “inert” means unconscious. So it is an unconscious mechanical movement, something that has no soul, no spirit, no will, no urge, something that is merely a machine, that has no consciousness; and inert, absolutely without any consciousness and any receptivity. It is yet… don’t think even a watch, for example, could be called an inert automaton. A watch has something like a soul: a machine, when it is very well made, has something like a soul, it responds, it has a certain receptivity. But the other is something which has no receptivity, no consciousness, and is only like a machine which one rewinds and which does just this (Mother makes automatic movements), you see, without knowing why or how!

Mother, what does “helpful submission” mean?

Submission… helpless? (Laughter) It can’t be that. It is a helpful submission. A helpful submission, we all know what that is, don’t we? A helpful submission.

Where is the text? We can’t say a helpless submission. (Laughter) (Mother looks for the text.)

Helpful, it is not helpless! (Laughter)

A glad submission, as I was just saying. Strong, you understand, not something weak and without energy; strong, powerful, and helpful, that is, which acts, is active, produces results, a submission which makes itself useful, a submission which, for example, wants to collaborate in the work, collaborate in the progress. It is the opposite of the inert automaton, the very opposite.

Sweet Mother, what does “an exclusive self-opening to the divine Power” mean?

Instead of self-opening we could put receptivity, something that opens in order to receive. Now, instead of opening and receiving from all sides and from everyone, as is usually done, one opens only to the Divine to receive only the divine force. It is the very opposite of what men usually do. They are always open on the surface, they receive all the influences from all sides. And then this produces inside them what we might call a pot-pourri (Mother laughs) of all kinds of contradictory movements which naturally create countless difficulties. So here, you are advised to open only to the Divine and to receive only the divine force to the exclusion of everything else. This diminishes all difficulties almost entirely. Only one thing remain difficult. It is… One can do it and, unless one is in a state of total alchemy, well, it is difficult to be in contact with people, to speak to them, for example, to have any kind of exchange with them without absorbing something from them. It is difficult. If one is in a kind of… if one is in an atmosphere that’s like a filter, then everything that comes from outside is filtered before it touches you. But it is very difficult; it requires a very wide experience. That is why, also, people who wanted the easiest path went into solitude to sit under a tree, did not speak any more and saw nobody; for this helps to diminish undesirable exchanges. Only, it has been noticed that these people begin to become enormously interested in the life of little animals, the life of plants, for it is difficult not to have any exchange with anything at all. So it is much better to face the problem squarely and be surrounded by an atmosphere so totally concentrated on the Divine that what comes through this atmosphere is filtered in its passage.

And then again, even when this has been done, there is still the problem of food; as long as our body is compelled to take in foreign matter in order to subsist, it will absorb at the same time a considerable amount of inert and unconscious forces or those having a rather undesirable consciousness, and this alchemy must take place inside the body. We were speaking of the kinds of consciousness absorbed with food, but there is also the Inconscience that’s absorbed with food — quite a deal of it. And that is why in many yogas there was the advice to offer to the Divine what one was going to eat before eating it (Mother makes a gesture of offering, hands joined, palms open). It consists in calling the Divine down into the food before eating it. One offers it to Him — that is, one puts it in contact with the Divine, so that it may be under the divine influence when one eats it. It is very useful, it is very good. If one knows how to do it, it is very useful, it considerably reduces the work of inner transformations which has to be done. But, you see, in the world as it is, we are all interdependent. You cannot take in the air without taking in the vibrations, the countless vibrations produced by all kinds of movements and all kinds of people, and you must — if you want to remain intact — you must constantly act like a filter, as I was saying. That is to say, nothing that is undesirable should be allowed to enter, as when one goes to infected areas, one wears a mask over the face so that the air may be purified before one breathes it in. Well, something similar has to be done. One must have around oneself so intense an atmosphere in a total surrender to the Divine, so intensified around oneself that everything that passes through is automatically filtered. Anyhow, it is very useful in life, for there are — we spoke about this too — there are bad thoughts, bad wills, people who wish you ill, who make formations. There are all kinds of absolutely undesirable things in the atmosphere. And so, if one must always be on the watch, looking around on all sides, one would think only of one thing, how to protect oneself. First of all, it is tiresome, and then, you see, it makes you waste much time. If you are well enveloped in this way, with this light, the light of a perfectly glad, totally sincere surrender, when you are enveloped with that, it serves you as a marvellous filter. Nothing that is altogether undesirable, nothing that has ill-will can pass through. So, automatically, these things return where they came from. If there is a conscious ill-will against you, it comes, but cannot pass; the door is closed, for it is open only to divine things, it is not open to anything else. So it returns very quietly to the source from where it came.

But all these things are… One can learn how to do them through a kind of study and science. But they can be done without any study or science provided the aspiration and surrender are absolute and total. If the aspiration and surrender are total, it is done automatically. But you must see to it that they are total; and besides, as I was saying just now, you become very clearly aware of it, for the moment they are not total, you are no longer happy. You feel uneasy, very miserable, dejected, a bit unhappy: “Things are not quite pleasant today. They are the same as they were yesterday; yesterday they were marvellous, today they are not pleasing!” — Why? Because yesterday you were in a perfect state of surrender, more or less perfect — and today you aren’t any more. So, what was so beautiful yesterday is no longer beautiful today. That joy you had within you, that confidence, the assurance that all will be well and the great Work will be accomplished, that certitude — all this, you see, has become veiled, has been replaced by a kind of doubt and, yes, by a discontent: “Things are not beautiful, the world is nasty, people are not pleasant.” It goes sometimes to this length: “The food is not good, yesterday it was excellent.” It is the same but today it is not good! This is the barometer! You may immediately tell yourself that an insincerity has crept in somewhere. It is very easy to know, you don’t need to be very learned, for, as Sri Aurobindo has said in Elements of Yoga: One knows whether one is happy or unhappy, one knows whether one is content or discontented, one doesn’t need to ask oneself, put complicated questions for this, one knows it! — Well, it is very simple.

The moment you feel unhappy, you may write beneath it: “I am not sincere!” These two sentences go together:



Now, what is it that is wrong? Then one begins to take a look, it is easy to find out…

There you are, my children. Is that all?

Have we exhausted the questions or not?

(To a child) You haven’t asked your questions, have you?

Mother, in the Letters Sri Aurobindo says somewhere1) that the Grace does not choose the just and reject the sinner. It has its own discernment which is different from the mind’s. That is how, for example, the Grace came to St. Augustine’s help. Then, why does Sri Aurobindo say here: “But the supreme Grace will act only in the conditions of the Light and the Truth…”?

Yes, I noticed that. When I read it, I thought about this.

I thought about it. I think he wrote the sentence in this way so that it would be more easily understandable. But in fact, what he meant he has said here: You are yourself rejecting the Grace…. Isn’t that it? He says — where is it? what page? page four? Yes, “… pushing the divine Grace from you”, yes; “…you are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you.” No, it is not that; it is… (The child begins reading: “the Grace…”) No, after that, my child… “It will not act…” (To another child) This is what we have explained. That is something else. You see, this is what I have explained: you ask the Grace to do something for you, but this thing is a falsehood. It won’t do it, because It always acts only in the truth.

But then how can It come to the help of the sinner?

It doesn’t help the sinner to be a sinner! It helps the sinner to give up his sin; that is to say, It does not push away the sinner, saying, “I won’t do anything for you.” It is there, always, even when he is sinning, to help him to come out of it, but not to continue in his sin.

There is a great difference between this and the idea that you are bad and so “I won’t look after you, I shall throw you far away from me, and whatever is to happen to you will happen, I am not concerned about it.” This is the common idea. One says, “God has rejected me”, you know. It is not that. You may not be able to feel the Grace, but It will always be there, even with the worst of sinners, even with the worst of criminals, to help him to change, to be cured of his crime and sin if he wants to be. It won’t reject him, but It won’t help him to do evil. It wouldn’t be the Grace any longer. You understand the difference?

But there is a sentence here that’s… here we are, it is absolutely true: “You are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you”, and then there is a… (The lamp had to be switched on and this made a noise in the mike. Mother shows a little surprise, then continues turning the pages of the book to find the sentence.) I thought it was here… (She finds the sentence and reads) “Then…” here we are, “…always you will be open to attack and the Grace will recede from you.” You see, this… (silence) It is not the Grace which recedes from you, it is you who recede from the Grace. It is a feeling, and the expression of the fact. For in the sentence… a preceding sentence, we have: “You are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you.” This is just the thing. You are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you. But after having pushed It away, you have the impression that It has receded from you; and it is rather this: “…then always you will be open to attack and the Grace will recede from you.” It is not a fact that It recedes from you, you have the impression that It recedes from you.

While reading it I noticed this. I don’t know what it is in English. Here it is on page seven. I don’t know, it must be approximately on the same page, I suppose: “If you call for the Truth…”, something like that.

(Someone looks up the required sentence in the English book and reads: “the Grace will recede from you.”)

Ah, yes. “Recede from you…” “…then always you will be open to attack and the Grace will recede from you.”

It expresses one’s impression. But it is not that the Grace withdraws. For it is written here, you see, just a little before, “it is not the divine Grace you must blame”, it is you who push It away from you.

In one case he takes the position of the Grace and in the other he takes the attitude of the person who says, “The Grace recedes from me.” But it is not the Grace that recedes, it is he himself who pushes It away, that is, he has put a distance between himself and the Grace. In fact, even “pushing away” doesn’t give the correct picture; you see, this is not written, it was not written to a philosopher, and it is not in philosophical terms. In one case, you see, he has taken this particular attitude, but the phenomenon is the same; that is, there is a kind of psychological distance created between the Grace and the individual. And due to this psychological distance the individual cannot receive the Grace and feels that It is not there. But It is there, in fact; only, as he has established this distance between the two, he doesn’t feel It any longer. This is the real phenomenon. It isn’t that the Grace goes away, it isn’t even that he has the power to push It away, for if It doesn’t want to go, no matter how much he tries, It won’t go. But he makes himself incapable of feeling It and receiving its effect. He creates a psychological barrier between himself and the Grace.

7 July 1954


Comments on Chapter 2


This talk could not be recorded very clearly because of the noise of the fireworks celebrating the French Republic Day.

Sweet Mother, does Sri Aurobindo make a difference between the Divine and the Shakti? Here he speaks of “surrender of oneself and all one is and has and every plane of the consciousness and every movement to the Divine and the Shakti”.

He has said that the Divine is the Supreme. That’s the origin. He has said, hasn’t he? at the very beginning of this chapter, I think, he has said, “The Divine…”

(The child reads the text) “…through his Shakti is behind all action…” ((( The complete sentence is: “In all that is done in the universe, the Divine through his Shakti is behind all action but he is veiled by his Yoga Maya and works through the ego of the Jiva in the lower nature.”)))

He takes the Shakti as the executive power, the creative Consciousness.

What is the meaning of “surrender” and of “every plane of the consciousness”?

It means surrender of the physical, surrender of the vital, surrender of the mind and surrender of the psychic. And if you are conscious of other parts of your being…. You must first begin by distinguishing between the different parts of your being, and then, when you can distinguish them clearly, you offer them one by one.

What does “Yoga Maya” mean?

Yoga Maya? Maya, I don’t know in what sense he takes it, whether it is as the most external manifestation…. Does he speak of Yoga Maya?

(A child reads the last part of the phrase) “…he is veiled by his Yoga Maya…”

Yes, veiled by his external manifestation. Truly, that’s what it means, the outer form of the world; and also the egoism of the Jiva, that is, the individual being.

He “works through the ego of the Jiva…”

Yes, it’s the same thing. Yes, “through” — that means the ego is there.

Sweet Mother, here it is written: “But so long as the lower nature is active the personal effort of the sadhaka remains necessary.” I didn’t understand here “so long as the lower nature is active”. How?

Generally, the lower nature is always active. It is only when one has surrendered completely that it stops being active. When one is no longer in his lower consciousness, when one has made a total surrender, then the lower nature is no longer active. But so long as it is active, personal effort is necessary.

In fact, so long as one is conscious of one’s own self as a separate person, personal effort has to be made. It is only when the see of separation is lost, when one is not only completely surrendered, but completely fused in the Divine that there is no longer any need of personal effort. But so long as one feels that one is a separate being, one must make a personal effort. This is what he calls the activity of the lower consciousness.


Why are we so afraid of telling the truth?

Yes, why? I, too, ask: Why? I would like to know very much! But it is like that. Things are like that. I think the chief reason is that the nature, in its outer and personal form, doesn’t wish to change. It doesn’t want to change; so one is hostile to the force that would like you to change, to the truth.

(Suddenly the noise of the fireworks bursts out, drowning all voices. Mother laughingly remarks:)

Ah, that’s good! Now all our speeches will be punctuated by this noise! (Turning to Vishwanath) You can stop it, we do not want to record the fireworks! (Laughter)

“A tamasic surrender refusing to fulfil the conditions” — if it refuses to fulfil the conditions, it is no longer surrender, is it?

Exactly. But there are many who think that they have surrendered and tell you, “I no longer do anything myself, I have given myself to the Divine, the Divine ought to do everything for me.” This they call surrender… That is to say, it is a movement of laziness and tamas which doesn’t want to make any effort and would very much like the Divine to do everything for you, because that is much more comfortable!

What is “the heart’s seeking”?

The heart’s seeking — it is the emotional being trying…

(The class is again interrupted by loud exclamations from the children of the Boarding House who can see the fireworks from their terrace.)

We can’t see anything… It is from that side… Eh? We can only hear the noise!

“Seeking” means that the affective centre is trying to find an emotional contact with the Divine. It is truly this.

(The noise continues and Mother tells Vishwanath once again): I think you had better stop.

(A child) No, Mother! No, Mother!

I can hardly even speak! (To another child) And now?

Why does one always go in for useless talking? Why do we speak uselessly?

Why do people speak uselessly? Yes, that’s probably because man is instinctively very proud of being able to wield the word. He is the first being on earth who can speak, who emits articulate sounds. So it is a kind of… it is like a child who has a new toy it likes to play with very much. Man is the only animal on earth who has articulate sounds at his disposal, so he plays with them, you see… I think it’s that…

And then there’s all the stupidity… You know, I also said that some people could begin to think only when they talked… When they do not speak, they do not even think! They are not able to think in silence, so they get into the habit of speaking. But the more developed one is, the more intelligent one is and the less need one has to express oneself. It is always at a lower level that one needs to talk. And truly, a being who is very conscious, who is mentally, intellectually, very developed, talks only when it is necessary. He does not utter useless words. In the social scale it is like this…. Take people right at the bottom of the scale: they talk the most, they spend their time in talking. They can’t stop! Whatever happen to them they express immediately in words. And to the extent that one is developed and on a higher level of evolution, one feels much less need to speak.

It comes from two causes: one, because it is a new faculty which naturally and instinctively has the attraction of new faculties; the other, because it helps you to become aware of your own thought. Otherwise one doesn’t think, one is not able to formulate his thought unless he expresses it in words, aloud…. Except those who are talkers by profession — that is, those who are in the habit of giving lectures or political speeches, or taking classes, giving lessons — except these people who, obviously, can be both intellectual and talkative at the same time, as a general rule, the more talkative people are, the less are they intellectually developed!

What should be done to refrain from talking?

Think! You have only to reflect a little more. If only you make it a habit to think before speaking, that saves you at least half of what you say. To think before speaking and to say only what seems absolutely indispensable to you — then you very quickly become aware that very few words are indispensable, except from the practical point of view, in work, when one is working with somebody and is obliged to use words: “Do this”, “Give me that”, or “Like this”, or “Like that”. And even so, this can be reduced to a minimum. Otherwise, you see… (Once again a loud noise of fireworks) These are flying saucers! They go far! How long will all this go on?

Half an hour.

(Another child) It goes on till ten o’clock.

Ten o’clock!… So, I continue!

Who has a question to ask? Whose turn is it?

Sweet Mother, sometimes one knows that it is the truth but still doubts this truth. Why does one doubt? (Loud noise. Nothing else is heard.)

What did you say? Speak very clearly, it will be a good exercise. (Laughter)

One knows that something is true but still doubts. Why does one doubt the truth?

The usual answer, it is because one is foolish! (Laughter)

But the truth is that the physical mind is truly completely stupid! You can prove it very easily. It is constructed probably as a kind of control, and in order to make sure that things are done as they ought to be. I think that this is its normal work…. But it has made it a habit to doubt everything.

I think I have already told you about the small experiment I made one day. I removed my control and left the control to the physical mind — it is the physical mind which doubts. So I made the following experiment: I went into a room, then came out of the room and closed the door. I had decided to close the door; and when I came to another room, this mind, the material mind, the physical mind, you see, said, “Are you sure you have locked the door?” Now, I did not control, you know… I said, “Very well, I obey it!” I went back to see. I observed that the door was closed. I came back. As soon as I couldn’t see the door any longer, it told me, “Have you verified properly?” So I went back again… And this went on till I decided: “Come now, that’s enough, isn’t it? Closed or not, I am not going back any more to see!” This could have gone on the whole day. It is made like that. It stops being like that only when a higher mind, the rational mind tells it, “Keep quiet!” Otherwise it goes on indefinitely…. So, if by ill-luck you are centred there, in this mind, even the things you know higher up as quite true, even things of which you have a physical proof — like that of the closed door, it doubts, it will doubt, because it is built of doubt. It will always say, “Are you quite sure this is true?… Isn’t it an idea of yours?… You don’t suppose it is like that?” And it will go on until one teaches it to keep quiet and be silent.

“Note that a tamasic surrender refusing to fulfil the conditions and calling on God to do everything….”

Yes, but we have just been speaking about this! I have already answered this question. Someone asked me… I have already answered…

How is the Divine the Sadhana?2)

Because it is the Divine who does the sadhana in the being. Without the Divine there would be no sadhana Only, you know nothing about it… you think — you are under the illusion — that it is you. And precisely, so long as you are under this illusion, you must make an effort; but the truth is that it is the Divine who does the sadhana in you, and that without the Divine there would be no sadhana.

Here it is written: “…the Divine…is the Sadhaka and the Sadhana”

Yes, He is everything, isn’t He?


(Another child) Then, Mother, why the personal effort? If it is the Divine who does the sadhana, let the Divine do it; and where is the personal effort?

Yes, this is precisely what people say in their laziness! But if you were not lazy, you wouldn’t say it! (Laughter)

What does personal effort mean?

Effort which thinks it is personal. You have the see of your separate person. Do you feel that you are the Divine, and only the Divine? No! (Laughter) Well, the Divine is this… Precisely, so long as you feel that you are Manoj, well, Manoj must make an effort. If you can completely get rid of the notion of Manoj, there is no longer anything but the Divine, and it is the Divine who will make the effort, naturally!… But so long as there is a Manoj, it is Manoj who has to make the effort.

But when Manoj makes the effort, it is the Divine in Manoj who is making the effort!

Perhaps, but Manoj knows nothing about it! (Laughter) I say simply that if there were no Divine, Manoj could not make the effort. But Manoj is not yet in a state to know that, so he knows that he is making an effort.

But now you have told me! Today I know, so…

(Instantaneously) Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha!… (Laughter) Mental knowledge is not enough, you must have the practical experience. Otherwise, my children, we would all have been transformed long ago, because for a long time we have had the knowledge that the transformations must come about. (Laughter)

Is that all? Go on!

Sweet Mother, what is the difference between self-giving, consecration and surrender?

Self-giving, consecration and surrender? I believe we have read this somewhere, haven’t we? There was already some explanation like that, wasn’t there? We have already spoken about it. It was in Elements of Yoga also. Someone had asked about it and the reply was in this book. Sri Aurobindo has given the answer, the difference between… So, my children, if you…

That was about belief.

Eh? In Elements of Yoga; wasn’t it?

In “Elements of Yoga”; it was the difference between trust, faith and belief.

Oh, it was between these three! It was not between surrender, self-giving and consecration? But I have read this somewhere.

Mother, Parul says she had asked this question.

(Another child) It was in “Prayers and Meditations.”

Oh, it was in Prayers and Meditations?

Yes, Sweet Mother.

And so, what did I tell you? Ah, it’s going to be interesting! (Laughter) What did I tell you?

(Long silence)

Pavitra: We could add “offering” also!

I think they are closely synonymous, that they are rather shades than differences. Because one can very well replace one by another in a sentence. It depends on how the sentence sounds and on the word that fits best into it. It is a literary point. If one wants, one can find a difference, but all this depends entirely on what one wants to put into the words.

I said, didn’t I, that “soumission” (submission) is not a good word? We use in French “soumission” to translate “surrender”, because there is no word which translates “surrender”. “Soumission” always gives the impression of something which accepts reluctantly, which does not give complete adherence, does not collaborate fully. And so, that is what makes the difference with the word in the see of “surrender” in which there is the meaning of a perfect adherence. Which means that though one uses this word “soumission”, it is not a good one…


One can — if one wants to split hairs, as it is said — one can make a distinction between self-giving, consecration and offering. These are three… they may be three different phases. But that is if truly one wants to create complications; because in writing, as I said, one can very well use one word in place of another, according to the rhythm of the sentence, and this keeps the meaning intact. For if you want to make a distinction, you are immediately obliged to put adjectives, aren’t you?… Take the word in itself, “self-giving, offering, consecration”…. Now, if you want to make a distinction, you say “a total consecration”, “a partial self-giving”…. You see, you are obliged to use adjectives: they are synonyms.

Who asked the questions? It was you? Now, it depends on the sentence you are going to write — you will use one word or another. But you must know: the word “soumission” does not have the precise meaning that’s necessary. “Soumission” (“submission”) compared with “surrender” gives the same difference that there is — perhaps less strongly — but a difference analogous to that between obedience and collaboration. In one case there is a perfect adherence, and in the other there is an acceptance which perhaps reserves itself; it accepts because it realises that it can’t do otherwise, but it does not collaborate entirely…. One does not give total adherence.

14 July 1954


Comments on Chapter 3


Which of you did not ask questions last time?… The first one!

What is the difference between “the divine, spiritual and supramental Truth?”

If I could only hear what you are saying, it would be easier!

(The child repeats the same questions more distinctly.)

The divine truth…

“…spiritual and supramental.”

I don’t think there is much difference!

Sweet Mother, what does a “candid” faith mean?

Candid? It is simple, sincere and does not doubt. We speak mostly of the candour of a child, who has a simple faith without any doubts.

Sweet Mother, do we push the divine Grace away from us every time we make a mistake?

Eh? You push it away every time you make a mistake?

Well, there are two different kinds of mistakes. There is the fault committed through ignorance. That remain a fault, and it puts a veil between the Grace and you, but it is a fault made without knowing that one is making a mistake. But as soon as one knows that it is a mistake, one must absolutely refrain from making it, because each time one makes it, it is true that one builds a wall between oneself and the divine Grace.

There is a very big difference between the mistake made through ignorance which one will not make again as soon as one knows it is a mistake, and the mistake made knowing that it is a mistake. And this, indeed, is called obstinacy! And this is more serious, it is even very serious! It veils the consciousness very much, veils it so much that after some time one no longer knows at all that one is making mistakes. One makes them thinking that he doesn’t. One gives so many excuses and justifications for everything he does, that he ends up by believing that he is no longer making any mistakes at all. Then, here, it becomes very serious, because one is incorrigible!

What is the difference between receptivity and opening?

We have already spoken about this once. I have already answered. And I have told you I won’t repeat twice the same thing, because I want you to get into the habit of remembering what I have said.

Mother, what does “an egoistic faith… tainted by ambition” mean?

Yes, for instance, if one wants to become somebody very important, to have a high position or attract the admiration of people around him, to become a great sadhak, a great sannyasi, a great yogi, etc., somebody quite important, that is called having a faith full of ambition. You have the faith that this may happen, you have faith in the Divine, but it is for your own small personal vainglory; and this is no longer something pure, sincere and true. It is something that’s entirely for personal profit. Naturally, there is no questions in this of any self-giving; it is a hoarding of forces as much as it is possible for you to hoard them, that is to say, the very opposite of the true movement. This happen much oftener than one would think…. This movement of ambition is often hidden right in the depths of the being and it pushes you, like this, from behind… It whips you so that you get on. It is a kind of veiled pride.

Mother, why do these people receive the force, since the Divine knows that they are not sincere?

Listen, my child, the Divine never goes by human notions in His ways of acting. You must get that well into your head, once and for all. He probably does things without what we call reasons. But anyway, if He has reasons they are not the same as human reasons, and certainly He does not have the see of justice as it is understood by men.

For example, you imagine very easily that a man who is craving for wealth and tries to deceive people in order to get money… According to your idea of justice, this man ought to be deprived of all his wealth and reduced to poverty. We find that usually just the opposite happens. But that, of course, is only a matter of appearances. Behind the appearances, there is something else…. He exchanges this for other possibilities. He may have money, but he no longer has a conscience. And, in fact, what almost always happen is that when he has the money he desired, he is not happy…. And the more he has, usually the less happy he is! He is tormented, you see, by the wealth he has gained.

You must not judge things from an outer success or a semblance of defeat. We may say — and generally this is what almost always happens — we could say that the Divine gives what one desires, and of all lessons this is the best! For, if your desire is inconscient, obscure, egoistic, you increase the unconsciousness, the darkness and egoism within yourself; that is to say, this takes you farther and farther away from the truth, from consciousness and happiness. It takes you far away from the Divine. And for the Divine, naturally, only one thing is true — the divine Consciousness, the divine Union. And each time you put material things in front, you become more and more materialistic and go farther and farther away from full success.

But for the Truth that other success is a terrible defeat…. You have exchanged truth for falsehood!

To judge from appearances and apparent success is precisely an act of complete ignorance. Even for the most hardened man, for whom everything has apparently been successful, even for him there is always a counterpart. And this kind of hardening of the being which is produced, this veil which is formed, a thicker and thicker veil, between the outer consciousness and the inner truth, becomes, one day or another, altogether intolerable. It is usually paid for very dearly — outer success.

(Mother’s voice becomes extremely deep.) One must be very great, very pure, have a very high and very disinterested spiritual consciousness in order to be successful without being affected by it. Nothing is more difficult than being successful. This, indeed, is the true test of life!

When you do not succeed, quite naturally you turn back on yourself and within yourself, and you seek within yourself the consolation for your outer failure. And to those who have a flame within them — if the Divine really wants to help them, if they are mature enough to be helped, if they are ready to follow the path — blows will come one after another, because this helps! It is the most powerful, the most direct, most effective help. If you succeed, be on your guard, ask yourself: “At what price, what cost have I bought success? I hope it is not a step towards…”

There are those who have gone beyond this, those who are conscious of their soul, those who have given themselves entirely, those who — as I said — are absolutely pure, disinterested, and can succeed without its affecting and touching them; here, then, it is different. But one must be very high to be able to bear success. And after all, it is perhaps the last test which the Divine gives to anyone: “Now that you are noble, you are disinterested, you have no egoism, you belong only to me, I am going to make you triumph. We are going to see if you will hold out.”

In what way does the divine Shakti act against the Asuras?

I don’t hear a thing!… Acts against the Asuras? Why do you want to know that?

It is interesting! (Laughter)

Perhaps to them also She gives what they want to have…. (Silence) And usually this hastens their end. There are Asuras and Asuras… that is to say… no, the Asuras are Asuras, but there are all those who have come out of them, and who are beings of an inferior kind.

An Asura is generally a conscious being and he knows he has an end. He knows that the attitude he has taken up in the universe is bound to destroy him after a certain time. Naturally, the time of an Asura is extremely long if we compare it with the lifetime of man. But still, he knows there is an end, because he has cut himself off from Eternity. And so he tries to realise his plan as totally as he can until the day of his complete defeat. And it is possible that if he is allowed to do it, the defeat will come sooner. It is perhaps for this reason that at the time great things are about to be accomplished — it is at this time that the adverse forces are most active, most violently active, and apparently the most fully successful. They seem to have a clear field: it is perhaps in order that things may be more rapidly finished.

(Long silence)

Is that all?

Sweet Mother, what does “mental arrogance” mean?

My children, speak dis-tinct-ly! You don’t need to shout loudly…. You must articulate clearly!

(The child repeats the same sentence distinctly.)

Mental arrogance? That means… what all of you have! (Laughter)

I don’t know a human being who does not have mental arrogance. There are those who have a little, there are those who have much, there are those who are entirely made up of it…. The mind, by its very nature, is something essentially arrogant. It fancies that it can know, it imagines that it can judge, and it spends its time passing judgments on everything — within you, on yourself, on others, on all things!

Recently, a very amusing incident happened. Someone wrote and began to express a doubt about something said by Sri Aurobindo. But then, afterwards, he added, “But we should not forget that he who wrote this is at least as intelligent as we!” (Mother laughs.) When people spend their time judging things, if they tell themselves, “But perhaps the other person is at least as intelligent as I am!”, they would be less…

But you have only to observe yourselves… you can observe yourself, catch yourself at least a hundred times a day, with a mind which decides everything, knows everything, judges everything, knows very well what is good, what bad, what is true, what false, what is right… And also how one should act, what this person should have done, how to resolve that problem…. All men know, you see… If they were at the head of governments, for instance, they would know very well how to manage everything! But people don’t listen to them… that’s all!

You have only to look at yourself, you will see, you will catch yourself all the time…. Not to speak of those who have long ago decided about all the errors God has committed and how the world would be if it were they who had been commissioned to make it! There.

With the touch of the divine Grace, how do difficulties become opportunities for progress?

Opportunities for progress? Yes! Well, this is something quite obvious. You have made a big mistake, you are in great difficulty: then, if you have faith, if you have trust in the divine Grace, if you really rely on It, you will suddenly realise that it is a lesson, that your difficulty or mistake is nothing else but a lesson and that it comes to teach you to find within yourself what needs to be changed, and with this help of the divine Grace you will discover in yourself what has to be changed. And you will change it. And so, from a difficulty you will have made great progress, taken a considerable leap forward. This, indeed, happen all the time. Only, you must be truly sincere, that is, rely on the Grace and let It work in you — not like this: one part of you asking to be helped and another resisting as much as it can, because it doesn’t want to change… this is the difficulty.

All that he is saying, all the time, is: completely, totally, sincerely, without reserve. For there is one part of the being which has an aspiration, there is one part of the being which gives itself, and there are other parts — sometimes a small part, some times a big one which hides nicely, right at the bottom, and keeps absolutely quiet so that it may not be found out, but which resists with all its might, so as not to change.

And so one wonders… with, “Oh, I had such a beautiful aspiration, I had so much goodwill, I had such a great desire to change, and then, see, I cannot! Why?” Then, of course, your mental arrogance comes in and says, “I didn’t get the response I deserved, the divine Grace doesn’t help me, and I am left all alone to shift for myself”, etc., etc.

It is not that. It is that hidden somewhere there is a tiny something which is well coiled up, in there, doubled up, turned in upon itself and well hidden, right at the bottom, as at the bottom of a box, which refuses to stir. (Mother speaks very softly.) So when the effort, the aspiration wane, die down, this springs up like that, gently, and then it wants to impose its will and it makes you do exactly what you did not want to do, what you had decided you would not do, and which you do without knowing how or why! Because that thing was there, it had its turn — for small things, big things, for the details, even for the direction of life.

There are people who see clearly, who know so well what they ought to do, and who feel that they can’t… They don’t know why. It is nothing else but that. There is a little spot which doesn’t want to change and this little spot awaits its hour. And the day it is allowed, through laxity, fatigue, somnolence, through a little inertia, allowed to show itself, it will show itself with all concentrated, accumulated energy, and will make you do, will make you say, make you feel, make you act ex-act-ly contrary to what you had decided to do! And you will stand there: “Ah, how discouraging this is!…” Then some people say, “Fate!” They think it is their fate. It is not fate, it is themselves!… It is that they don’t have, haven’t used, the light, the searchlight. They have not turned the searchlight into the small hidden corners of their being, they haven’t discovered what was well hidden. They have left it there, and then have done this (Mother turns away her head) so as not to see it. How many times one suddenly feels one is on the point of catching something, “Hup!” It hurts a little… It is troublesome… So one thinks of something else, and that’s all! The opportunity has gone. One must wait for another occasion, again commit a few stupidities, before being able to find an opportunity to catch the thing by the tail, like this, or by the ear or the nose, and hold it firmly and say, “No! You won’t hide any longer now, I see you as you are, and you must either get out or change!”

One must have a strong grip and an unshakable resolution. As in our Japanese story of the other day, that soldier who had a knife in his knee in order to make sure of not falling asleep… and when he felt very sleepy, he turned the knife in such a way that it hurt him still more. One must have something like that. This, this is determination: to know what one wants and to do it.

21 July 1954


Comments on Chapter 4


“Money is the visible sign of a universal force, and this force in its manifestation on earth works on the vital and physical planes and is indispensable to the fullness of the outer life. In its origin and its true action it belongs to the Divine. But like other powers of the Divine it is delegated here and in the ignorance of the lower Nature can be usurped for the uses of the ego or held by Asuric influences and perverted to their purpose.”

How does money manifest on other planes?

What other planes? He speaks of the vital and physical, doesn’t he?… that it is a force which manifests on the vital plane and the physical plane. The vital forces have a very great influence over money.

(After a silence) You see, when one thinks of money, one thinks of bank-notes or coins or some kind of wealth, some precious things. But this is only the physical expression of a force which may be handled by the vital and which, when possessed and controlled, almost automatically brings along these more material expressions of money. And that is a kind of power. (Silence) It is a power of attracting certain very material vibrations, which has a capacity for utilisation that increases its strength — which is like the action of physical exercise, you see — it increases its strength through utilisation.

For example, if you have a control over this force — it is a force which, in the vital world, has a colour varying between red, a dark, extremely strong red and a deep gold that’s neither bright nor very pale. Well, this force — when it is made to move, to circulate, its strength increases. It is not something one can accumulate and keep without using. It is a force which must always be circulated. For example, people who are misers and accumulate all the money, all the wealth they can attract towards themselves, put this force aside without using its power of movement; and either it escapes or it lies benumbed and loses its strength.

The true method of being in the stream of this money-power is precisely what is written here: a see of absolute impersonality, the feeling that it is not something you possess or which belongs to you, but that it is a force you can handle and direct where it ought to go in order to do the most useful work. And by these movements, by this constant action, the power increases — the power of attraction, a certain power of organisation also. That is to say, even somebody who has no physical means, who is not in those material circumstances where he could materially handle money, if he is in possession of this force, he can make it act, make it circulate, and if ever he finds it necessary, receives from it as much power as he needs without there being externally any sign or any reason why the money should come to him. He may be in conditions which are absolutely the very opposite of those of usual wealth, and yet can handle this force and always have at his disposal all the wealth that’s necessary to carry on his work.

Therefore, it was like this, you see: this letter was written to someone who wanted to go out from here to collect money for Sri Aurobindo’s work, and this person had no means at all. So he began by saying to Sri Aurobindo, “But as I myself have no means, people will have no trust in me, and I won’t be able to get anything.” And Sri Aurobindo answered him something like this, that it is not the external force in its most material form which is necessary, it is the handling of the inner force which gives one control over money wherever it is: whether it is in public institutions or with individuals, one obtains control over it and one can, when it is necessary, attract by a certain movement what is needed.

Sweet Mother, in what way have the money-forces left the Divine?


(The child repeats its questions.)

It is precisely the main word in your questions which I don’t understand. In what manner, in what way have the money-forces…

…left the Divine?

Left? The money-power belongs to a world which was created deformed. It is something that belongs to the vital world; and he says this, doesn’t he? He says that it belongs to the vital and material worlds. And so at all times, always it was under the control of the Asuric forces; and what must be done is precisely to reconquer it from the Asuric forces.

That is why in the past, all those who wanted to do Yoga or follow a discipline, used to say that one should not touch money, for it was something — they said — diabolic or Asuric or at least altogether opposed to the divine life. But the whole universe, in all its manifestation, is the Divine Himself, and so belongs entirely to Him; and it is on this ground that he says that the money-forces belong to the Divine. One must reconquer them and give them to Him. They have been under the influence of the Asuric forces: one must win them back in order to put them at the disposal of the Divine so that He may be able to use them for His work of transformations.

(Long silence)

Sweet Mother, it is men who have created money. Then how is it a divine power?

Hm! (laughing) It is as though you told me: it is a man and woman who have created another person, then how can he be divine in essence? It is exactly the same thing! The whole creation is made externally by external things, but behind that there are divine forces. What men have invented — paper or coins or other objects — all these are but means of expression — nothing else but that… I just said this a moment ago, it is not the force itself, it is its material expression as men have created it. But this is purely conventional. For example, there are countries where small shells are exchanged instead of money. There are even countries where… Someone has written a story like this: in the North wealth means having hooks for fishing; and the rich man is he who has the greatest number of fish-hooks. You know what these are, don’t you? — small iron hooks for catching fish which are fixed at the end of the line. So, the multimillionaire is one who has a huge number of hooks!

It is purely conventional. What is behind is the force I am speaking about, you see, and so it manifests in all sorts of ways. For example, even gold, you know… men have given a certain value to gold, because of all metals it deteriorates the least. It is preserved almost indefinitely. And this is the reason, there’s no other. But it is a mere convention. The proof is that each time a new gold-mine is found and exploited, the value of gold has fallen. These are mere conventions between human beings. But what makes money a power is not this, it is the force that’s behind. As I was saying a while ago, it is a force that is able to attract and use anything whatever, all material things and…

So this is used according to a convention. Now, it is understood that wealth is represented by bits of paper which become very dirty, and on which something is printed. They are altogether disgusting, most often good only for lighting the fire. But it is considered a great fortune. Why? Because that’s the convention. Yet one who is capable of attracting this and using it for something good, to increase the welfare of this world, the welfare and well-being of the world, that man has a hold on the money-power, that is to say, the force that is behind money.

In French we call money “argent”. “Argent” is also the name of a white metal which is just a little more… a little prettier and a little more lasting than other metals, one which is less easily oxidised and spoilt. So this is called “argent”, money. And then, by expansion, all that is wealth is also called “argent”. It is really paper or gold or sometimes just written things… because many large fortunes are only numbers written on paper, not even these papers which circulate, only books! There are immense fortunes which govern the world and are just written on papers, like that, with some documents and conventions between men. The fortune may increase, become triple, fourfold, tenfold, or else it may be reduced to nothing. They sell everything, they sell cotton, they sell sugar, they sell corn, coffee, anything at all, but there is nothing! There is no cotton, no sugar, no corn, nothing. Everything is on paper! And so you buy millions of worth of cotton: you don’t have a wisp of cotton there! It is all on paper. And so, sometimes later, you sell it off again. If the price of cotton has increased, you gain a fortune, if it has gone down you lose a fortune. And you have with you neither money nor cotton nor anything, nothing but paper. (Laughter) It is entirely a convention.

How can one merge oneself one’s separative ego in the divine Consciousness?3)

How can one merge in the divine Consciousness?

How must one merge oneself one’s separative ego in the divine Consciousness?3)

Eh? merge oneself?

…one’s separative ego…

I don’t understand what you mean. “Merge”?

…in the divine Consciousness.

Yes, that’s just what I mean… How can one dissolve, you mean dissolve in the Divine, and lose one’s ego?

First of all, one must will it. And then one must aspire with great perseverance, and each time the ego shows itself, one must give it a little rap on the nose (Mother taps her nose) until it has received so many raps that it is tired of them and gives up the game.

But usually, instead of rapping it on the nose, one justifies its presence. Almost constantly, when it shows itself, one says, “After all, it is right.” And mostly one doesn’t even know that it is the ego, one thinks it is oneself. But the first condition is to find it essential not to have the ego any longer. One must really understand that one doesn’t want it. It is not so easy. It is not so easy! For one can very well turn words over in the head and say, “I don’t want the ego any more, I no longer want to be separated from the Divine.” All this goes on inside, like that. But it remain just there, it hasn’t much effect on your life. The next moment you do something purely egoistic, you see, and find it quite natural. It doesn’t even shock you.

One must first begin to understand truly what this means. The first method… you see, there are many stages… first, one must try not to be selfish — which is something quite different, isn’t it?… If you take the English words you understand the difference. In English, you see, there is the word “selfish”, and there is also the word “egoism”. The ego — “ego” — exists in English, and “selfish”. And these are two very different things; in French there is not this distinction. They say, “I don’t want to be selfish”, you see. But this is a very small thing, very small! People, when they stop being selfish, think they have made tremendous progress! But it’s a very small thing. It is simply, oh, it is simply to have a see of its ridiculousness. You can’t imagine how ridiculous these selfish people are!

When one sees them thinking all the time about themselves, referring everything to themselves, governed simply by their own little person, placing themselves in the centre of the universe and trying to organise the whole universe including God around themselves, as though that were the most important thing in the universe. If one could only see oneself objectively, you know, as one sees oneself in a mirror, observe oneself living, it is so grotesque! (Laughing) That’s enough for you to… One suddenly feels that he is becoming — oh, so absolutely ridiculous!

I remember I read in French — it was a translation — a sentence of Tagore’s which amused me very much. He was speaking of a little dog. He said… he compared it with something… I don’t remember the details now, but what struck me was this: the little dog was sitting on its mistress’s lap and fancying itself the centre of the universe! This struck me very strongly. It is true! I used to know a little dog like this! But there are many like that, almost all are like that. You see, they want everybody to pay attention to them, and in fact they succeed very well. Because when there is a little dog, as when there is a little child — it’s almost the same thing — everyone attends to them.

Haven’t you noticed that when a child of this height (Mother indicates the height) comes along, everything else stops? Before that, people could speak, say interesting things, be busy with something higher; but as soon as a child comes along, everybody begins to smile, to mimic a baby, to try to make it speak, to attend to it. One can’t bring along a child without everybody fussing over it, wanting to take it, to make it speak. So naturally the child feels itself the centre of the universe! It is quite natural!

For a puppy it is the same thing, for a kitten it is the same. It is a kind of… it is a very poor deformation of a kind of need to protect something that’s smaller than oneself. And this is one of the forms, one of the earliest forms of unegoistic manifestation of the ego! It feels so comfortable when it can protect something, busy itself with something much smaller, much weaker than itself, which is almost at its mercy, almost — even entirely — at its mercy, which has no power to resist. And so one feels good and generous because one doesn’t crush it!

This is the first manifestation of generosity in the world. But all this, when one can see behind it and a little above, it cures you from being selfish, for truly it is ridiculous! It is truly ridiculous!

So there is a long, long, long way to go before merging one’s ego in the Divine.

Merge one’s ego in the Divine! But first, one can’t merge one’s ego in the Divine before becoming completely individualised. Do you know what it means to be completely individualised? Capable of resisting all outer influences?

Some days ago I received a letter from someone who told me that he was very hesitant about reading books of ordinary literatures, for example, novels or dramas, because his nature had an almost insuperable tendency to receive imprints of the characters in these books and to begin living the feelings and thoughts of these characters, the nature of these persons. There are many more people than one would think who are like that. They read a book and while they are reading it they feel within themselves all kinds of emotions, thoughts, desires, intentions, plans, even ideals. They are simply just absorbed in the reading of the book. They are not even aware of it, because at least ninety-nine parts of an individual’s character are made of soft butter — inedible of course… but on which if one presses one’s thumb, an imprint is made.

Now, everything is a “thumb”: an expressed thought, a sentence read, an object looked at, an observation of what someone else does, and of one’s neighbour’s will. And all these wills… you know, when one sees them they are all there, like this, intermingled (Mother intercrosses her fingers), each one trying to get the uppermost and causing a kind of perpetual conflict within, outside… It goes in and out of people like that, you see, like electric currents. One is not at all aware of all this, and it is a perpetual conflict of all the wills which are trying to express themselves; and the strongest one will succeed. But as there are many of these and as one has to fight alone against a great number, it is not easy.

So one is tossed like a cork on the waves of the sea…. One day one wants this, the next day one wants that, at one moment one is pushed from this side, at another from that, now one lifts one’s face to the sky (Mother makes the movement), now one is sunk deep in a hole. And so this is the existence one has!

First one must become a conscious, well-knit, individualised being, who exists in himself, by himself, independently of all his surroundings, who can hear anything, read anything, see anything without changing. He receives from outside only what he wants to receive; he automatically refuses all that is not in conformity with his plan and nothing can leave an imprint on him unless he agrees to receive the imprint. Then one begins to become an individuality! When one is an individuality, one can make an offering of it.

For, unless one possesses something, one cannot give it. First, one must be, and then afterwards one can give oneself.

So long as one does not exist, one can give nothing. And for the separative ego to disappear, as you say, one must be able to give oneself entirely, totally without reservation. And to be able to give oneself, one must first exist. And to exist one must be individualised.

If your body were not made in the rigid form it is — for it is terribly rigid, isn’t it? — well, if all that were not so fixed, if you had no skin, here, like this, solid, if externally you were the reflection of what you are in the vital and mental fields, it would be worse than being a jelly-fish! Everything would fuse into everything else, like this… Oh, what a mess it would be! That is why it was at first necessary to give a very rigid form. Afterwards we complain about it. We say, “The physical is fixed, it is a nuisance; it lacks plasticity, it lacks suppleness, it hasn’t that fluidity which can enable us to merge into the Divine.” But this was absolutely necessary, for without this… if you simply went out of your body (most of you can’t do it because the vital being is hardly more individualised than the physical), if you came out of your body and went into the vital world, you would see that all things there intermingle, they are mixed, they divide; all kinds of vibrations, currents of forces come and go, struggle, try to destroy one another, take possession of each other, absorb each other, throw each other out… and so it goes on! But it is very difficult to find a real personality in all this. These are forces, movements, desires, vibrations.

There are individualities, there are personalities! But these are powers. People who are individualised in that world are either heroes or devils!

And now, in the mind… (Silence) If only you become conscious of your physical mind in itself…. Some people have called it a public square, because everything comes there, goes across, passes, comes back…. All ideas go there, they enter at one place, leave by another, some are here, some there, and it is a public square, not very well organised, for usually ideas meet and knock into one another, there are accidents of all kinds. But then one becomes aware: “What can I call my mind?” or “What is my mind?

One needs years of very attentive, very careful, very reasonable, very coherent work, organisation, selection, constructions, in order to succeed simply in forming, oh, simply this little thing, one’s own way of thinking!

One believes he has his own way of thinking. Not at all. It depends totally upon the people one speaks with or the books he has read or on the mood he is in. It depends also on whether you have a good or bad digestion, it depends on whether you are shut up in a room without proper ventilation or whether you are in the open air; it depends on whether you have a beautiful landscape before you; it depends on whether there is sunshine or drain! You are not aware of it, but you think all kinds of things, completely different according to a heap of things which have nothing to do with you!

And for this to become a coordinated, coherent, logical thought, a long thorough work is necessary. And then, the best of the business is that when you have succeeded in making a beautiful, well-formed, very strong, very powerful mental constructions, the first thing you will be told is, “You must break this so that you can unite with the Divine!” But so long as you haven’t made it, you cannot unite with the Divine because you have nothing to give to the Divine except a mass of things which are not yourself! One must first exist in order to be able to give oneself. I am repeating what I said a while ago.

Truly, in the present state of the world, the only thing one can give the Divine is one’s body. But that’s what one doesn’t give Him. Yes, one can try to consecrate one’s work! But still, here there are so many elements which are not true!

You want to merge your body in the Divine, eh? Just try! How are you going to do this? You can merge your mind, you can merge your vital, you can fuse all your emotions, you can fuse all your aspiration, you can fuse all that, but your body — how are you going to do that? You are not going to melt it in a boiling-pot! (Laughter) And yet it is the only thing about which you can say with certitude, “It is”, and give a name to it; yet even your name is a convention… but still, you are in the habit of calling yourself by a certain name — say, “This, this is I.” You look at yourself in a mirror, and although what you were twenty years ago is very different from what you are now… it is unrecognisable… still something makes you say all the same, “Yes, this is I.” Yes? “I am so-and-so” — Peter, Louis, Jack, André, whoever it may be…

(After a silence) And even this, if one were to look at oneself, every seven years all the cells are changed, and it is only by a kind of habit that it remain the same. Does it remain the same? Do you have photographs of the time you were very young? And the photographs when you were ten, twenty, thirty years old — it is because one very much wants to do so that one recognises oneself; otherwise, truly, one is not at all the same…. When you were this height and now when you are this height, that makes a considerable difference! So, there we are…

All this… it is not in order to swamp you that I tell you all this. It is only in order to tell you that before speaking of merging one’s ego in the Divine, one must first know a little what one is. The ego is there. Its necessity is that you become conscious, independent beings, individualised — I mean in the see of independent — that you may not be the public square where everything goes criss-cross! That you may exist in yourselves. That is why there is an ego. It is like that; that is why also there is a skin, like that… though truly, even physical forces pass through the skin. There is a vibrations which goes a certain distance. But still, it’s the skin that prevents us from blending into one another. But everything else must be like that too.

(After a silence) And then, later, one offers all this to the Divine. Years of work are needed. You must not only…(silence)… become conscious of yourself, conscious in all details, but you must organise what you call “yourself” around the psychic centre, the divine centre of your being, so that it would make a single, coherent, fully conscious being. And as this divine centre is itself already consecrated (Mother makes a gesture of offering) entirely to the Divine, if everything is organised harmoniously around it, everything is consecrated to the Divine. And so, when the Divine thinks it proper, when the time has come, when the work of individualisation is complete, then the Divine gives you permission to let your ego merge in Him, to live henceforward only for the Divine.

But it is the Divine who takes this decision. You must first have done all this work, become a conscious being, solely and exclusively centred around the Divine and governed by Him. And after all that, there is still an ego; because it is the ego which serves to make you an individual. But once this work is perfect, fully accomplished, then, at that moment, you may tell the Divine, “Here I am, I am ready. Do you want me?” And the Divine usually says, “Yes.” All is over, everything is accomplished. And you become a real instrument for the Divine’s work. But first the instrument must be constructed.

You think that you are sent to school, that you are made to do exercises, all this just for the pleasure of vexing you? Oh, no! It is because it’s indispensable for you to have a frame in which you can learn how to form yourself. If you did your work of individualisation, of total formations, by yourself, all alone in a corner, nothing at all would be asked of you. But you don’t do it, you wouldn’t do it, there’s not a single child who would do it, he wouldn’t even know how to do it, where to begin. If a child were not taught how to live, he could not live, he wouldn’t know how to do anything, anything. I don’t want to speak about disgusting details, but even the most elementary things he would not do properly if he were not taught how to do them. Therefore, one must, step by step… That is to say, if everyone had to go through the whole experience needed for the formations of an individuality, he would be long dead before having begun to live! This is the contribution — accumulated through centuries — of those who have had the experience and tell you, “Well, if you want to go quickly, to know in a few years what has been learnt through centuries, do this!” Read, learn, study and then, in the material field, you will be taught to do this in this way, that in that way, this again in this way (gestures). Once you know a little, you can find your own method, if you have the genius for it! But first one must stand on one’s own feet and know how to walk. It is very difficult to learn it all alone. It’s like that for everyone. One must form oneself. Therefore, one needs education. There we are!

(To a child) Do you have something to ask? No? Is there anyone who has something to ask?

Mother, last time you said that often there is in us a dark element which… which suggests to us… which makes us commit stupidities. So you said that when one is conscious of this element, it must be pulled out. But does pulling it out mean… For example, when one is conscious that this element comes to make us do stupid things, then, if by an effort of will one abstain from doing it, can one say that one has pulled it out?

That one doesn’t commit stupidities?

By an effort of will. For example, one doesn’t do that action which one shouldn’t do.

Yes, yes.

Then, can one say that one has pulled out the element which was the cause?

One has sat upon it.

Then, how to pull it out?

For that, first of all, you must become conscious of it, you see, put it right in front of you, and cut the links which attach it to your consciousness. It is a work of inner psychology, you know.

One can see, when one studies oneself very attentively…. For example, if you observe yourself, you see that one day you are very generous. Let us take this, it is easy to understand. Very generous: generous in your feelings, generous in your sensations, generous in your thoughts and even in material things; that is, you understand the faults of others, their intentions, weaknesses, even nasty movements. You see all this, and you are full of good feelings, of generosity. You tell yourself, “Well… everyone does the best he can!” — like that.

Another day — or perhaps the very next minute — you will notice in yourself a kind of dryness, fixity, something that is bitter, that judges severely, that goes as far as bearing a grudge, has rancour, would like the evil-doer punished, that almost has feelings of vengeance; just the very opposite of the former! One day someone harms you and you say, “Doesn’t matter! He did not know”… or “He couldn’t do otherwise”… or “That’s his nature”… or “He could not understand!” The next day — or perhaps an hour later — you say, “He must be punished! He must pay for it! He must be made to feel that he has done wrong!” — with a kind of rage; and you want to take things, you want to keep them for yourself, you have all the feelings of jealousy, envy, narrowness, you see, just the very opposite of the other feeling.

This is the dark side. And so, the moment one sees it, if one looks at it and doesn’t say, “It is I”, if one says, “No, it is my shadow, it is the being I must throw out of myself”, one puts on it the light of the other part, one tries to bring them face to face; and with the knowledge and light of the other, one doesn’t try so much to convince — because that is very difficult — but one compels it to remain quiet… first to stand farther away, then one flings it very far away so that it can no longer return — putting a great light on it. There are instances in which it is possible to change, but this is very rare. There are instances in which one can put upon this being — or this shadow — put upon it such an intense light that it transforms it, and it changes into what is the truth of your being.

But this is a rare thing…It can be done, but it is rare. Usually, the best thing is to say, “No, this is not I! I don’t want it! I have nothing to do with this movement, it doesn’t exist for me, it is something contrary to my nature!” And so, by dint of insisting and driving it away, finally one separates oneself from it.

But one must first be clear and sincere enough to see the conflict within oneself. Usually one doesn’t pay any attention to these things. One goes from one extreme to the other. You see, you can say, to put it in very simple words: one day I am good, the next day I am bad. And this seems quite natural… Or even, sometimes for one hour you are good and the next hour you are wicked; or else, sometimes the whole day through one is good and suddenly one becomes wicked, for a minute very wicked, all the more wicked as one was good! Only, one doesn’t observe it, thoughts cross one’s mind, violent, bad, hateful things, like that… Usually one pays no attention to it. But this is what must be caught! As soon as it manifests, you must catch it like this (Mother makes a movement) with a very firm grip, and then hold it, hold it up to the light and say, “No! I — don’t — want — you! I don’t want you! I have nothing to do with this! You are going to get out of here, and you won’t return!”

(After a silence) And this is something — an experience that one can have daily, or almost… when one has those movements of great enthusiasm, great aspiration, when one suddenly becomes conscious of the divine goal, the urge towards the Divine, the desire to take part in the divine work, when one comes out of oneself in a great joy and great force… and then, a few hours later, one is miserable for a tiny little thing; one indulges in so petty, so narrow, so commonplace a self-interestedness, has such a dull desire… and all the rest has evaporated as if it did not exist. One is quite accustomed to contradictions; one doesn’t pay attention to this and that is why all these things live comfortably together as neighbours. One must first discover them and prevent them from intermingling in one’s consciousness: decide between them, separate the shadow from the light. Later one can get rid of the shadow.

There we are, and now it is time. Anything urgent to ask? No?

Sweet Mother…


…between mental preference and vital insistences, which are the more dangerous for yoga?

Those that one has! (Laughter)

28 July 1954


Comments on Chapter 5


Sweet Mother, what is the difference between a servant and a worker?

I don’t think there is much difference; it is almost the same thing. Perhaps the attitude is not quite the same, but there is not much of a difference. In “servant” there seems to be something more: it is the joy of serving. The worker — he has only the joy of the work. But the work that is done as a service brings still greater joy.

What does “self-love” mean?

I think self-love is a pleasant word for vanity. Self-love means that one loves oneself more than anything else; and what he implies by this, you see, are exactly those reactions of a vanity which is vexed when one is not appreciated at one’s true worth, when one does not receive the praise he thinks he deserves, or the reward he believes he has earned, and when one is not complimented for everything he does. Indeed, all these movements come from dissatisfaction, because one doesn’t receive what he hoped to, what he thought he deserved to receive!

Sweet Mother, what is a “dynamic identification”?

It is the opposite of a passive or inert identification. It is an identification that is full of energy, will, action, enthusiasm; whereas one can be identified also in a kind of torpor.

You have written in Words of Long Ago that we justify all our weaknesses when we lack self-confidence. Why do we do this?

Um! So! We justify all our weaknesses? It is not a positive want of self-confidence; it is a lack of confidence in what the divine Grace can do for us. To justify one’s weaknesses is a kind of laziness and inertia.

Well, when one doesn’t want to make an effort to correct oneself, one says, “Oh, it is impossible, I can’t do it, I don’t have the strength, I am not made of that stuff, I don’t have the necessary qualities, I could never do it.” It is absolute laziness, it is in order to avoid the required effort. When you are asked to make progress: “Oh, it is beyond my capacity, I am a poor creature, I can do nothing!” That’s all. It is almost ill-will. It is extreme laziness, a refusal to make any effort. One accepts all one’s defects and incapacities in order not to have to make the necessary effort to overcome them. One says, “I am like that, I can’t be otherwise!” It is a refusal to let the divine Grace work in you. It is a justification of your own ill-will.

Has someone there a question? Or isn’t there any?

Sweet Mother, here Sri Aurobindo writes: “You will know and see and feel that you are a person and power formed by her out of herself, put out from her for the play…” What play?

The universe is called the play of the Divine!


Why? That’s a way of speaking! You feel that it is not an amusing game? There are many who don’t (laughter), who find that the play is not amusing. But still, it’s a way of speaking… One speaks of — without thinking that it is joyful — one speaks of “the play of forces”; it is the movement, the interaction. All activities are the play of forces. So one can take it in that see. But, you see, it means that the divine Force, the divine Consciousness, has exteriorised itself to create the universe and all the play of forces in the universe. That’s what it means, nothing else. I don’t mean necessarily playing in the Playground! It can mean many other things!

(Turning to the other children to induce them to ask questions) Nothing? You don’t have anything either?

What is the meaning of “keep yourself free from all taint of the perversions of the ego”?

Perversions of the ego?

(After a silence) Perversion is something that goes astray from the divine truth and purity. The moment you start living in ignorance and falsehood, you live in perversion; and the whole world is made of ignorance and falsehood at present. So this means that if you remain in the ordinary consciousness, you are necessarily in the perversion of the ego.

Mother, here it is said: “Even if the idea of the separate worker is strong in you and you feel that it is you who do the act, yet it must be done for her.” For example, our study of sports — we must think that it is for the Divine?

But surely…


It is not even very difficult. You can first do it as a preparation so as to become capable of receiving the divine forces, and then, as a service, so that you may help in constructing the whole organisation of the Ashram. You can do it not with any personal gain in view, but with the intention of making yourselves ready to accomplish the divine work! This seems to me even quite indispensable if you want to profit fully from the situation. If you keep the ordinary point of view, well, you will always find yourselves in conditions which are not quite satisfactory, and incapable of receiving all the forces you can receive.

Mother, if for instance in the long jump one makes an effort to jump a greater and greater distance, how does one do the divine work?

Eh? Excuse me, it is not for the pleasure of doing the long jump, it is to make your body more perfect in its functioning, and, therefore, a more suitable instrument for receiving the divine forces and manifesting them.

Why, everything, everything one does in this place must be done in this spirit, otherwise you do not even profit by the opportunity given to you, the circumstances given to you. I explained to you the other day, didn’t I, that the Consciousness is here, penetrating all things and trying to manifest in all movements? But if you, on your side, tell yourself that the effort you are making, the progress you are making, you make in order to become more capable of receiving this Consciousness and of manifesting it, the work will naturally be much better and much quicker. And this seems to me even quite elementary, to tell you the truth; I am surprised that it could be otherwise! Because your presence in an Ashram organised as it is organised would have no meaning if it were not that! Of what use would it be? There are any number of universities, schools in the world which are very well organised!

But if you are here, it is for a special reason! It is because here there is a possibility of absorbing consciousness and progress which is not found elsewhere. And if you don’t prepare yourselves to receive this, well, you will lose the chance that’s given to you!

Why, I have never spoken of this before, because it seemed so obvious to me that it was not at all necessary to say it.

Like that, Mother, one knows one must do all that! But when one does it, then the intention is different!

No, but… (Silence) What do you think, in a general way? It is by some kind of chance or luck — or just because your parents are here — that by chance you happen to be here, or what? I don’t know! (Laughing) That you could as well be here as anywhere else, or what?

4 August 1954


Comments on Chapter 6


At the very beginning is written: “The four Powers of the Mother.” Which are these four powers, Sweet Mother?


The aspects, aren’t they, Mother?

(Long silence)


What does this mean: “The Supreme is… manifested through her in the worlds as the one and dual consciousness of Ishwara-Shakti and the dual principle of Purusha-Prakriti…”?

What does this mean? It means what it says. (Laughter) It means that in the world the single force of the creating energy is divided in all the manifestation, even the most contrary manifestation, you see. It is this single force which, in the creation, is divided into Purusha and Prakriti and, also, energy and resistance. That’s what it means; at the origin the force is single and in the manifestation it is divided, and it is divided in all the contraries, which are at the same time complementaries. Because, for creation, this division was necessary, otherwise there would have been only one single thing all the time.

What does “Vibhuti” mean?

It means the incarnation of an emanation. An emanation of the Mother incarnates in a being and this being becomes a Vibhuti.

Sweet Mother, here I do not understand this: “But something of her ways can be seen and felt through her embodiments and the more seizable because more defined and limited temperament and action of the goddess forms in whom she consents to be manifest to her creatures.”

This means, you see, that precisely there are different qualities, different ways of being which manifest in different forms and that each of these forms is one of the godheads whom men have worshipped and whom they understand because of the limitation. When something is limited it is more easily understandable for man than when it is unlimited, for man has a limited nature and he naturally understands what is limited. And so, to be comprehensible, things must be divided and limited. Otherwise the Power in its essence, which is indivisible and unlimited, is absolutely above human comprehension — for man as he now is, in his present state.

What is “the triple world of the Ignorance”?

“The triple world…”?

“…of the Ignorance”.

The Ignorance?

Matter, life and mind; that is, the physical, the vital and the mental, the triple world of the Ignorance.

What do Mahasaraswati and Mahalakshmi look like?


What do they look like?

My child, you must see them.((( Mother having spoken very softly here, some words of this passage have not been clearly recorded. We have left the sentences unfinished, as they were transcribed.))) When you see them you will know… The aspect is different in each case, according to the people to whom she shows herself, according to the work she does… not the one seen in this body.

Are the images we see of Mahasaraswati true?

Oh, Lord! (Laughter) When a very small child tries to make someone’s portrait, does it resemble that person? It is very much like this, sometimes worse! Because the child is frank and sincere, whereas the one who makes the images of the gods is full of fixed notion and preconceived ideas, or else of all that others have said about the subject and of what has been written in the scriptures and what has been seen by people. And so he is bound by all that. At times, from time to time, there are artists who have an inner vision, a great aspiration, a great purity of soul and of vision, who have made things which are reasonably good. But this is extremely rare. And generally, I believe it is almost the opposite.

I have seen some of these forms in the vital and mental worlds, which were truly human creation. There is a force from beyond which manifests. But in these triple worlds of falsehood, truly man has created God in his own image — more or less — and there are beings which manifest in forms which are the result of the formative thought of man. And here, you see, it is truly frightful! I have seen some of these formations… (silence) and all this is so obscure, so incomprehensible, inexpressive…

Some of the gods are more ill-treated than others. For example, that poor Mahakali, you know, what things are done to her!… It is so frightful, it is unimaginable! But this form lives only in a very low world… yes, in the lowest vital; and what it possesses of the original being is something… a reflection so remote from the origin that it is unrecognisable. However, usually, it is this that is attracted by human consciousness. And when an idol is made, you see, and the priest brings down a form — when the ceremony takes place in a regular manner, he puts himself in an inner state of invocation and tries to bring down a form or an emanation of the godhead into the idol in order to give it a power — if the priest is truly a man with a power of invocation, he can succeed. But usually — there are exceptions to everything — but usually these people have been educated in the common ideas according to tradition. And so, when they think of the godhead whom they are invoking, they think of all the attributes and appearances that have been given to it, and the invocation is usually addressed to entities of the vital world or at best to those of the mental world, but not to the Being itself. And it is these small entities which manifest in one idol or another. All these idols in small temples or even in families — some people have their little shrines, you know, in their homes and keep an image of the godhead they worship — these entities manifest in them; sometimes the consequences are rather unfortunate, for these forms are precisely so remote from the original godhead that… they are awkward formations. Some of those Kalis they worship in certain families are veritable monsters!

I can tell you, believe me, that I have advised some people to take the statue and throw it in the Ganges in order to get rid of a thoroughly disastrous influence. In fact, this has succeeded very well… Some of these are… unlucky presences. But this is man’s own fault. It is not the fault of the godheads. It would be wrong to put the blame on the godheads. It is man’s fault. He wants to fashion the gods in his own image. Some who are wicked make them still more autocratic; and those who are nice make them still more nice; that is, men have magnified their own defects a little more.

11 August 1954


Comments on Chapter 6 (continued)


Sweet Mother, I didn’t understand this: “This is the power of Mahalakshmi and there is no aspect of the Divine Shakti more attractive to the heart of embodied beings.”

That means men. It is another way of saying human beings upon the earth, beings upon earth. There are also… it means animals also. She is very, very loving towards animals and animals love her very much; even the most ferocious ones become very gentle with her, and that is why instead of using the words “human beings”, he has used “embodied beings”, beings with a body upon earth.



Sweet Mother, I did not understand: “She throws the spell of the intoxicating sweetness of the Divine….”

Did not understand? Because you don’t have a poetic mind, so… It is a poetic image to express… You must not understand these things with a positivist mind; you must have a little feeling for the harmony of words and phrases.

“Maheshwari lays down the large lines of the world-forces….” What does this mean: “the large lines of the world-forces”?

It means that she makes the plan of what the world ought to be. So she lays down the large lines of the plan, of what the world should be, of the universe. She has a vision of the whole, a global creation; instead of seeing the details she sees the totality of things, she lays down the large lines of the plan, and what the creation should be like, towards what it ought to advance, and then what the results will be. She has a universal vision, she is less concerned with the details than with the whole.

“All the work of the other Powers lean on her [Mahasaraswati] for its completeness….”

Mahasaraswati. Yes, because she is… (silence) precisely the goddess of perfection. For her everything must be done down to the last detail, and done in an absolutely perfect way. And she wants, she insists that it should be done physically, totally, materially, that it should not remain in the air, you see, like a mental or vital action, but that it should be a physical realisation in all its details, and all the details be perfect, that nothing be neglected. So all that the others undertake in the other domains she concretises and brings to its material perfection.

I have a question from the last lesson. Here Sri Aurobindo has written: “All the scenes of the earth-play have been like a drama arranged and planned and staged by her [the Mother as the Mahashakti] with the cosmic Gods for her assistants and herself as a veiled actor.” So this means that everything that happens here has already been staged on a higher plane. So everything is predestined Mother. Then there is no free-will?

It is not like that. It is put like that and it is one particular way of seeing things. But in fact, it is… it (After a silence) It could be said with as much exactness, that at each moment the entire universe is recreated, and both are equally true.

(Long silence)

If we take the world as it is, like a chemical compound of a certain nature, with all the inevitable consequences resulting from the composition of this body, and if we think that in this composition there can enter at any moment a new element, it will necessarily change the composition of the whole, you understand? Well, it is something like that, on a greater and more complicated scale; but it is something like that.

The universe is a mass of elements which form a certain compound, and in accordance with this compound all things are organised — as in an internal organisation, you see (Mother makes a movement as of holding a globe between her hands), quite strictly. But this is not a culmination; it is something in the course of construction. And at any moment at all, through a certain kind of action, one or several new elements may be introduced into the whole, and immediately necessarily, all the internal combination change. Well, the universe is something like that.

I am speaking of the material universe. The material universe is a concretisation of a certain aspect, a certain emanation of the Supreme. But this concretisation is progressive — and not necessarily constant, not necessarily regular, but answering to a much more subtle law of freedom.

In this compound new elements penetrate and change the whole organisation. So, this organisation which was in itself perfect and unfolding itself according to its own law, is almost suddenly changed and all the internal relation become different. So this gives the impression of something either incoherent or unexpected or of a miracle according to how one looks at the problem. And this makes for two concomitant things: a determinism which would be absolute in itself if there were not this freedom, absolute also, of the unexpected and additional in the universe. I don’t know if you have followed, but I have tried to express that.

But how is this addition made?

Eh, this addition?…

This addition of a new element…

Yes. By the aspiration of the supreme Consciousness.

The aspiration of the supreme Consciousness?

Yes. It is at work in this world and, working in this world, for the necessity of the work, it works for a certain end, you see, to bring the darkened consciousness back to its normal state of divine consciousness. And each time in its work it meets with a new obstacle, a new thing to conquer or transform, it calls to a new Force. (Mother opens her hand.) And this new Force is like a new creation. And so, as everything has its correspondence, it may be said in the same way that each being has in its different domains — a human being — it has in its different domain a destiny which is, so to speak, absolute. But it has also the capacity, through aspiration, to enter into contact with a higher domain and introduce the action of this higher domain in these more material determinisms. And there it is still the same thing; these two things combined: a determinism which we could call “horizontal” (to make it understandable) in each domain, which is absolute, and the intervention of other domain or a much higher domain, in that determinism, which changes it completely. So, everyone at the same time is a set of determinisms which seem quite absolute, and has a total freedom to bring in the intervention of states of being or states of consciousness or forces of a higher domain; and calling these forces and bringing them into the external determinisms alters everything completely.And it is only thus that things can give the impression of the unexpected, the unknown and of freedom.

Mother is this what we call “Grace”?

(After a silence) From a certain point of view, yes. That is, without the Grace this could not happen. (Silence) But it is not… unless one brings everything back to the Grace. There is certainly a state of consciousness and a vision of things which make you refer everything back to the Grace and finish by discovering that it alone exists, and that it alone does everything. But unless one goes to this extreme, before this, one can very well imagine that there is an element of personal aspiration in the being and that the Grace answers. That’s a way of speaking. The other one also is a way of speaking. The thing is more subtle than that, more unseizable. It is very difficult to express these things in words, because, necessarily, it takes on a mental rigidity and there is a whole part of reality which disappears. But if one has the experience, one understands very well. The conclusion: one must have the experience.

Sweet Mother, what is a “divine disgust”?

Ah, my child! (Silence) It is a disgust that is full of a total compassion.

It is something that takes upon itself the bad vibration in order to cure others of it. The consequences… (silence) of a wrong and low movement — instead of throwing it back with cold justice upon the one who has committed the mistake, it absorbs it, in order to transform it within itself, and diminishes as far as possible the material consequences of the fault committed. I believe that the old story about Shiva who had a black stain on his neck because he had swallowed all that was bad in the world, is an imaginative way of expressing this divine disgust. It made a black stain on his neck.

Mother, when the Divine takes upon Himself human suffering….


…does this suffering have the same effect upon Him as upon us? That is, does He feel pain and sorrow as we feel them?

No! I can say, No! For, obviously there is an essential difference between a state of ignorance and a state of knowledge. Something painful happen to you, let us say; and in the ignorance this painful thing takes on a particular quality. But if you receive this painful thing in a state of knowledge, it does not have the same effect. Let us take even a material thing, say, a very material blow, a good blow like this (gesture). Well, when one is in the ordinary human state of ignorance the blow has its full effect. It depends exclusively on its violence, on what has given the blow and who has received it, you see. But if the same blow is given in the same way and by the same thing to a being who has knowledge instead of ignorance, instantaneously the reaction of the body will be such as to make the consequences… reduce the consequences to the minimum. And this is a concrete fact! This can go to the extent of even annulling the consequences altogether sometimes. It can go as far as that; that is, it can abolish the consequences, because the reaction is one of knowledge, instead of being a reaction of ignorance. So one cannot say that it is the same thing.

In moral things this is quite obvious, you see, because instead of receiving an emotional shock, for instance, with all the egoistic blindness of ordinary emotion, one objectivises, sees what it is, sees the combination in the vibration; and instantly one throws upon it light, knowledge and truth, and all things are put back in their place. That happens instantaneously. But I insist that even on the most material body, and in the most material way, the effect is not the same. Besides, it is very simple to understand, for if the effect were the same, it would have no happy consequence of any kind for the Divine to take upon Himself bad things! Because they would remain just what they are, and the universe would continue to be what it is. It is because He has the power of transforming these obscure vibrations into vibrations of light that He can take everything upon Himself. Otherwise, not only would this be useless, but it would be impossible, it would be an absurdity.

It is the material blow one receives…


“Knowledge” means what, here?

“Knowledge” means what? If you have knowledge — the internal knowledge of the cells, of their existence, their composition, of the results of the blow, that is, the effect of the blow on the cells, and if at the same time you have the knowledge of what these cells ought to be and how they ought to react to the blow they receive, instead of a process like that of physical nature, which takes hours or days or months to mend something that is damaged, you can do it immediately. And, in fact, this is what happens!

(After a silence) It is all a… it is a description of a very tiny part of the action. For when the action is integral and perfect, to this purely material knowledge there is added an internal knowledge, and a power to bring into play forces like the supramental forces, which can do instantaneously what takes in the material world a fairly long time, you see. There too, when one succeeds in bringing in not only the material knowledge which allows you to put things in their place as quickly as possible but also in making a supramental power and knowledge intervene, so that the force of truth can be projected upon the place — in such a way that everything is put under the influence of this force, and that things, elements, the cells and everything, everything constituting them, all become receptive to this supramental power and the organisation is made according to a law of truth — then this may be even an opportunity not only of curing the effects of the blow, repairing the damage caused by the accident, but of making great progress in the general consciousness — and on the particular point also — a great progress in the receptivity of forces, in adaptation to these forces, in response to their influence.

This is how something bad can be turned into something very good, when one has the power. It is an unlimited power, this, in the see that if one has made a mistake and done something serious, if one has the power to bring this truth-consciousness, this supramental force, and let it act, it is an occasion for a tremendous progress. (Silence) Which means that one should never feel discouraged; or even if one has made mistakes many a time, one must keep the will not to make them any longer, and be sure that one day or another one will triumph over the difficulty if one persists in one’s will.

There we are!

Sweet Mother, why is Mahasaraswati the youngest of the four?

Because her work came last; so she came last. (Silence) It is in this order that they manifested, in the order given here. These aspects are like the attributes of the Mother, which manifested in succession according to the necessities of the work; and the necessity of perfection was the last, so she is the youngest.

But these four are independent of one another?

To a certain extent, but not totally. It is always the same thing. There is an independence which at times seems to be total, and at the same time a very close link and even one which is, so to say, absolute. The central consciousness, that is to say, here in the material world, is the Mahashakti, you know. Well, she always has the power to control the action of these different aspects — though they are quite independent and act according to their own aspiration. And yet she can control them, in the see that if…

Take, for example, the instance of Kali. If Kali decides that she is going to intervene and the Mahashakti, who has naturally a much more total and general vision of things, sees that the moment for intervention is not opportune or that it is too soon, well, she can very easily put a pressure upon Mahakali and tell her, “Keep quiet.” And the other is obliged to keep quiet; and yet she acts quite independently.

But why doesn’t she let Mahakali act? For here he says that if Mahakali intervenes what would have taken centuries can take place now.

I say it is for this that Mahakali is there and does her work. But Mahakali has a particular way of seeing the work; and when one has the total vision, one can see that this, you know… She sees only her side of the work, and when one sees the whole, one may say, “Ah, no, this is not quite the time!” (Silence)

18 August 1954


Comments on Chapter 6 (continued)


“There are other great Personalities of the Divine Mother, but they were more difficult to bring down and have not stood out in front with so much prominence in the evolution of the earth-spirit. There are among them Presences indispensable for the supramental realisation, — most of all one who is her Personality of that mysterious and powerful ecstasy and Ananda which flows from a supreme divine Love, the Ananda that alone can heal the gulf between the highest heights of the supramental spirit and the lowest abysses of Matter, the Ananda that holds the key of a wonderful divinest Life and even now supports from its secrecies the work of all the other Powers of the universe.”

Sweet Mother, what Personality is this and when will she manifest?

I have prepared my answer. I knew someone would ask me that, because of all things this is the most interesting in this passage, and I have prepared my answer. I have prepared my answer to this and my answer to another question also. But first I am going to read this one.

You asked: “What personality is this and when will she come?” (Silence) And this is my reply:

She has come, bringing with her a splendour of power and love, an intensity of divine joy unknown to the earth so far.

“The physical atmosphere was completely changed by it, saturated with new and marvellous possibilities.

“But for her to be able to settle and act down here, she needed to meet with at least a minimum of receptivity, to find at least one human being having the requisite qualities in the vital and physical nature, a kind of super-Parsifal endowed with a spontaneous and integral purity, but at the same time having a strong and balanced body in order to bear the intensity of the Ananda she had brought without giving way.

“Till now she has not obtained what was necessary. Men obstinately remain men and do not want to or cannot become supermen. They can only receive and express a love cut to their measure — a human love! And the marvellous joy of the divine Ananda escapes their perception.

“So, at times, she thinks of withdrawing, finding that the world is not ready to receive her. And this would be a cruel loss. It is true that for the moment her presence is more nominal than active, for she does not have the opportunity to manifest herself. But even so, she is a powerful help in the Work. For, of all the aspects of the Mother, this is the one which has the greatest power for the transformations of the body. Indeed, the cells which are able to vibrate to the contact of divine joy, to receive and preserve it, are regenerated cells on the way to becoming immortal. But the vibration of divine joy and those of pleasure cannot lodge together in the same vital and physical system. So one must have totally renounced experiencing all pleasure in order to be in a state to receive the Ananda But very few are those who can renounce pleasure without, by the very fact, renouncing all participation in active life and plunging into a rigorous asceticism. And among those who know that it is in active life that the transformation must take place, some try to see pleasure as a more or less warped form of Ananda, and thus justify in themselves the quest for personal satisfaction, creating in themselves an almost insuperable obstacle to their own transformation.”

Shall we stop here? We shall finish next time. That will give me time to find out.

There, then. Now, if you want to ask something… (Long silence) Speak!

Whoever wants to say something may speak… anybody who wants to say something, not only the students.

If one has not succeeded, Mother, one can try?


If one hasn’t succeeded so far, one can try?

Oh, one can always try… The world is recreated at every moment. You can recreate a new world this very moment if you know how to create it, that is, if you are capable of changing your nature.

I have not said that she has gone away. I said that she thinks of going away, sometimes, from time to time.

But, Mother, she came down because she must have seen some possibility!


She came down because there was a possibility, because things had come to a certain stage and the time had come when she could descend.

In fact she came down because I thought it was possible that… she could succeed. (Silence) There are always possibilities, only… they must materialise. You see, a proof of what I told you is that it happened at a given moment and during… for two or three weeks, the atmosphere, not only of the Ashram but of the earth, was surcharged with such power, precisely, with so intense a divine joy, which creates so wonderful a power that things which were difficult to do before could be done almost instantaneously! There were repercussions in the whole world. I don’t think there was one among you who was aware of it. You couldn’t even tell me when it happened, could you?

When did it happen? (Laughter)

I don’t know the dates. I don’t know. I don’t remember dates. I could tell you approximately, like that…. (Silence) Perhaps if I consult my papers I would find the dates. But I don’t know the dates. These, for me, are things which… All I know is that it happened before Sri Aurobindo left the body, that he had been told beforehand and recognised the fact….


There was a terrible fight with the inconscient; for, as I saw that the receptivity was not what it ought to be, I put the responsibility for it on the inconscient and it was there that I tried to give battle. I don’t say that this had no result, but between the result obtained and the result hoped for, there was a great difference.

But I tell you this, you see… you are all so close, you bathe in the atmosphere, but… who was aware of anything? You continued to live your little life as usual, didn’t you?


I think it was in 1946, Mother, for you told us so many things at that time!


(Long silence)

Sweet Mother, now that she has come, what should we do?


What should we do?

You do not know? You… (Silence) Try to change your consciousness.

(Long silence)

There! Now ask the questions you wanted to ask me… (Turning to a child) Nothing to say?

Mother, there isn’t even a single person?


There isn’t even a single person?

I don’t know!

So you waste your time with all these people in the Ashram now?

Oh, but you see, from the occult point of view, it is a selection! From the external point of view you may tell me that there are people in the world who are much superior to you, I won’t contradict you. But from the occult point of view it is a selection. There are here… one can say without being mistaken that most of the young people who are here have come because they have been promised that they will be here at the time of the Realisation. They do not remember this. (Mother laughs.) I have already said quite often that when one comes down upon earth he falls headlong and this stuns him. (Laughter) It’s a pity. But still, one can get out of this stupefaction, can’t he? What is necessary is to enter into oneself, find the immortal consciousness within, and then one becomes very keenly aware, one can remember very clearly the circumstances in which he aspired to be here when the Work is accomplished. But after all, to tell the truth, I think you have such an easy life that you don’t take much trouble!… Are there many among you who really feel an intense need to find your psychic being, to know what you really are, what you have to do, why you are here? One just goes on living or even complains when things are not too easy. And then one takes like that things as they come, and sometimes, if some aspiration arises and one meets a difficulty in oneself, one says, “Oh, Mother is there, she will manage this for me”, and then thinks of something else!

But Mother, formerly you were very strict in the Ashram; now you are not, why?

Yes. I have always said this: that happened since we were obliged to admit little children. You can’t imagine an ascetic life with little children of this height! (Gesture) It is not possible. That was the gift of the war! When people found out that Pondicherry was the safest place on earth, naturally… when people came with a flock of babies, and asked if they could find shelter, as they could not be sent back, well!… That’s how it happened, not otherwise.

At the beginning, first of all, the first condition was that one no longer had anything to do with one’s family; if a man was married, he had to be totally unaware from that moment that he had a wife and children, to cut off all relationship; he had nothing to do with them. And if ever a woman asked to come because her husband was here, she was told, “You have no business here.”

At the beginning we were very, very, very strict. For a long time the first condition was this: “You have no longer anything to do with your family.” Well, we are now far from that, aren’t we? And I tell you it was only in this way that it happened. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t see that it was necessary; it was a very necessary condition. So long as one keeps all the ties which bind one to life, you understand, which make you a slave of the ordinary life, how can you belong only to the Divine? That’s childishness, it is not possible! But if you take the trouble to read the first rules of the Ashram, even friendship among people was considered dangerous and not very desirable. We had tried to create an atmosphere where only one thing counted, the divine life. But as I said, you know, little by little… it has changed.

This has one advantage. We were too much outside life. Many problems did not occur which, when the full manifestation is wanted, would suddenly appear. We have taken up the problems a little too soon. But it was necessary to solve them. One learns many things in this way. Many difficulties are overcome. But it becomes more complicated. And perhaps, in the present condition, with such a large number of elements which don’t have the least idea of the purpose for which they are here… it asks much more effort from the disciples than before.

Formerly, you see, we began with thirty-five, thirty-six; but even till a hundred and fifty, even till a hundred and fifty it was so like… they were as though held in an egg-shell in my consciousness, so close, you know, that I could direct all their movements, both inner and outer, all the time, everything was under complete control, at every moment, night and day. And naturally, I believe, in those days they made some progress. It was altogether true that I did the sadhana for them, all the time! But then, you see, with this invasion, one can’t do sadhana for little chits of three or four or five, you understand. It is out of the questions; all I can do is to put the consciousness upon them and try to see that they grow up in the best possible conditions.

So, this has an advantage. It is that instead of being so totally and passively dependent, each one must make his own little effort and, truly speaking, this is excellent!

I don’t remember now to whom I said today — I think it was a “birthday” person… No, I don’t know… it was someone who told me he was eighteen.

It is Jaya.

Yes, I know it is her birthday today. But I don’t know if it was to her I said it. I said it to someone this morning.

I said that between the age of eighteen and twenty I had attained a conscious and constant union with the divine Presence and that I had done it all alone, with absolutely nobody to help me, not even books, you understand! When I found one — here came to my hands a little later Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga — it seemed to me so wonderful a thing, you see, that someone could explain something to me. This made me gain in a few months what would have perhaps taken me years to do.

I met a man. I was perhaps twenty-one then, I think, either twenty or twenty-one. I met a man who was an Indian, who came from here, and he spoke to me about the Gita There was a translation, which, by the way, was quite bad, and he advised me to read it and gave me the key — his key, it was his key — he told me: “Read the Gita, this translation of the Gita which is not up to much, but still that’s the only one in French.” At that time I wouldn’t have been able to understand anything in any other language. Besides, the English translations were as bad and I did not have… Sri Aurobindo had not yet written his.

He said, “Read the Gita, and take Krishna as the symbol of the immanent God, the inner Godhead.” This was all that he told me. He said to me, “Read it with that — the knowledge that Krishna represents the immanent God in the Gita, the God who is within you.” Well, in one month the whole work was done!

Now you, just see, you have been here since your very childhood, some of you, everything has been explained to you, the whole work has almost been chewed up for you, you have been — not only with words but with psychic aids, with all kinds of… in all possible ways — you have been put on the path to this inner discovery, and still you let yourselves live, like that… (gesture) it will come when it comes… if you think about it at all!

There, then. But this does not at all discourage me. Why, I find it… quite amusing. Only, there are other things which I find much more serious. That is when you try to deceive yourselves… That indeed is not nice. You must not take one thing for another. As it is said, you must call a spade a spade, and human instinct human instinct, and not speak to me about divine things when they are purely human. There! You must not pretend to have supramental experiences when you are living in an altogether ordinary consciousness.

So here we are. If you see yourself face to face and know what you are like, and if by chance you make up your mind…

I am even astonished that you don’t feel an intense need for it: “How can one know?” For you know — you have been told, told repeatedly, it has been dinned into your ears — you know that you have a divine consciousness within you, and you can sleep night after night and play day after day and learn day after day, and not have the enthusiasm and intense will to enter into contact with yourself, yes, with yourself, here within!… (Mother points to the centre of her chest.) This, this indeed, is beyond me!

The first time I knew — and nobody told me this, I knew it by experience — the first time I knew that there was a discovery to make within me, well, that was the most important thing. This had to be put before everything. And when I found, as I said, a book, a man, just to give me a little indication, to tell me, “Here you are. If you do this the path will open before you”, why, I rushed headlong like a… like a cyclone, and nothing could have stopped me.

And how many years you have been here, half asleep! You think about it, of course, from time to time, especially when I speak to you about it; at times when you read. But that ardour, that will which conquers all obstacles, that concentration which overcomes everything!

Who asked me just now what you should do?


Well, this is what you should do, my child. I have just told you.

Sweet Mother, how can we be plastic to your touch?

I can’t hear!

How can we become plastic to your touch?

Oh, plastic? When you are full of goodwill, when you know that you know nothing, that you have everything to learn, then you begin to become a little plastic and when there is a force which puts a pressure, you answer.

But, you see, the description here… you have only to take the book and re-read the last description, that’s all. It is a very exact picture of the condition people are in. That’s on the last page… the description of the physical, the description of the mind, of the vital, all that is here; besides, he gives it very often, doesn’t he? (Long silence. Mother takes the book and looks for the paragraph.) Here it is, in this paragraph: “But be on your guard and do not try to understand and judge the Divine Mother by your little earthly mind that loves to subject even the things that are beyond it to its own norms and standards, its narrow reasonings and erring impression, its bottomless aggressive ignorance and its petty self-confident knowledge.” This you may re-read from time to time, it will bring you back to your good see.

There we are. Is that all? Nothing more to ask? Nobody has anything to ask? Whoever wants to speak this evening may do so. (To a child) You have nothing to say? Nor you? No one? Nobody is saying a word!

Doesn’t ascetic discipline help us to overcome attachment?

No, it inflates and strengthens your pride.

But you said, “Renounce pleasure.” Then…

Renounce pleasure… but it isn’t through an ascetic discipline that one renounces pleasure! It is through an inner illumination and a kind of sublimation of the being which makes you feel all that is gross and obscure and unpleasant in pleasure.

If we are living in gross pleasures, how should we overcome them?

But you are not living exclusively in gross pleasure; otherwise, I suppose you wouldn’t be here.

But everything is pleasure, isn’t it? Pleasure, that means…pleasure. We live comfortably, we eat, etc. All that, isn’t that pleasure?

(Surprised) You do all that for pleasure? (Laughter) That’s perhaps your conception, I have nothing to tell you. If you can’t feel the difference between something that aspires to a higher life and something which finds itself altogether comfortable in the ordinary life, well, I cannot help you. You must first have found that in yourself.

But doesn’t some outer discipline help?

If you impose a discipline upon yourself and if it isn’t too stupid, it may help you. A discipline, I tell you — disciplines, tapasyas, all ascetic disciplines are, as ordinarily practised, the best means of making you proud, of building up in you such a terrific pride that never, never will you be converted. It will have to be broken down with hammer-strokes.

The first condition is a healthy humility which makes you realise that unless you are sustained, nourished, helped, enlightened, guided by the Divine, you are nothing at all. There now. When you have felt that, not only understood it with your mind, but felt it down to your very body, then you will begin to be wise, but not before.

What is that other thing, Mother, that you have written?

I thought someone would ask me, “Why doesn’t she stay because of you, since she has come at your call; why doesn’t she stay because of you?” But I have not been asked this.

Tell us, Mother!

For her this body is only one instrument among so many others in the eternity of times to come, not having for her any other importance than what is given to it by the earth and men and the measure in which it can serve as an intermediary to help in her manifestation and in her diffusion.

If I am surrounded by people who cannot receive her, I am useless — for her. This is very clear. So it is not that which will make her stay; and it is certainly not for any selfish reason that I can ask her to stay. And then, all those aspects, all those personalities constantly manifest, but never manifest for personal reasons. Not a single one among them has ever thought of helping my body and I do not ask them, for they do not come for that. But it is obvious that if I had around me receptivity and they could constantly manifest because there were people capable of receiving, this would help my body enormously. For, you see, all the vibrations would go through my body, and that would help it. But she has no opportunity to manifest, she has no chance. She only meets people who don’t even feel that she is here, they are not even aware of it. It makes no difference at all to them! So, how could she manifest?

And I am not going to ask her, “If you please, come and change my body.” We don’t have that kind of relation… and the body itself would not want it. It has never thought of itself, it has never cared for itself. And it is only through work that it can be transformed. Yes, surely, when she came, if there had been a receptivity and if she could have manifested with the power she came with… Even before her arrival… I can tell you one thing, that is, when I began with Sri Aurobindo to descend for the yoga, to descend from the mind into the vital, when we brought down our yoga from the mind into the vital, within one month — I was forty at that time, I didn’t look old, I looked younger than forty, but still I was forty — and after a month’s yoga I looked exactly eighteen. And someone who had seen me before, who had lived with me in Japan and came here, found it difficult to recognise me. He asked me, “But really, is it you?” I said, “Obviously!”

Only when we descended from the vital into the physical, then it was gone, for in the physical the work is much harder. It was because there were many more things to change. But if a force like that could be manifested and received, it would have a tremendous action! Still, you see, it is… I am speaking about it because I thought you would ask the questions… otherwise it is not… I am not in that kind of relation. You see, I mean, you take my body, this poor body; it is quite harmless, it does not at all try to draw either any attention or the forces, nor even to do anything else except its work as well as it can. And that’s how it is, you know. Its importance for the work is in proportion to its usefulness and the importance the world gives it, because the action is for this world. In itself it is one body among countless others.

If you could have taken a small decision to feel your psychic, I wouldn’t have wasted my time.

25 August 1954


  1. ( See Letters on Yoga, SABCL, Vol. 23, p. 609 []
  2. ( “In Yoga also it is the Divine who is the Sadhaka and the Sadhana.” []
  3. ( The French text here is wrongly spoken by the child. [] []