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At the Feet of The Mother

Trance and the Waking State


A waking state cannot be called trance, as the word trance refers specially to a condition in which the outer waking state disappears and the consciousness goes entirely inside.

X told me that if one leaves the physical consciousness one can easily have the experience of the Brahman everywhere and in all things.

If he means by leaving the physical consciousness going into samadhi that is not much use — it is the waking consciousness of the Brahman everywhere that is needed — and for that the physical consciousness must be there.

During today’s experience, even my body consciousness was so much submerged in peace and silence that had it not been for the last vestiges of my sense of the mind, it would have been a complete trance.

Trance would be not sufficient — the waking consciousness must be the same.

Why is trance not sufficient? Is it not my present need?

It is not a trance but a new consciousness that is wanted.

During the noon nap I sometimes enter into a vaster and more solid peace than during the waking state.

That is why people used to seek it most in the samadhi. But for us it must be there both in sleep and waking.

For the last two days there has been a strong urge to sleep at noon. Does the higher action on the body need this noon sleep? Normally I don’t sleep at that time.

Sometimes the pressure brings a tendency to go inside which takes the form of sleep.

Can I not turn this push for sleep into something better than a mere unconscious sleep?

It can only be either thrown off in favour of waking concentration or turned into some form of insideness (usually called samadhi).

But how can this be when the pressure brings only slumber — an unconscious sleep?

The slumber can change into insideness.

Why does this pressure for sleep come?

Such pressure only comes (1) when the body needs sleep, not having had enough or because enough rest is not given, (2) when it wants to recuperate after illness or strong fatigue, (3) when there is a pressure from above which the physical consciousness or part of it replies to by trying to go inside

How can the slumber be changed into insideness?

There is no device for it. It comes with the growth of the inner consciousness.

Is our normal sleep such that the physical consciousness can go inside and reply to the higher pressure?

No. But when the pressure gives a tendency to insideness (samadhi), the physical being, not being accustomed to go inside except in the way of sleep, translates this into a sense of sleepiness.

I thought our sleep brought us down into the depths of the subconscient and inertia.

That is the ordinary sleep, but under pressure of Yogic force sleep often gets a tendency to change into the Yogic Swapna-samadhi.

To enter the trance I always have to pass through a sleep-state. But the mind felt as if the outer being disappeared even without needing to pass through a sleep-state, as was the normal process.

Do you mean by the sleep state a state of dreaming sleep or swapna samadhi or what? It is not usual to go through ordinary sleep into trance, but one often enters into a state of swapna samadhi which can be mistaken for sleep.

In our Yoga is not trance necessary? Does it not help in working out certain things?

Yes; but it is not so important or indispensable as in other Yogas. But plenty of people have the easier forms of samadhi here.

What are these easier forms of samadhi?

The forms of swapna samadhi in which they go inside and are conscious and have visions and experiences within, but are unconscious of outer things.

Why do some people get this kind of samadhi and not others?

There is no fixed reason for these things. It depends on the turn of the nature,

I seem to be passing through a strange phase. The sadhana stops and the pressure for noon-slumber starts. Would it be better to take half-an-hour’s nap just after the pranam?

Yes, especially if it turns out to be as pleasant as the noon sleep.

Yesterday when I slept at noon, I found myself floating effortlessly in some other world where I had a fine experience. It was not a dream or a dream-vision.

This pressure for the noon-slumber is sweet, pleasant, deep and high. It lulls the entire nature except for the submind.

Then why object? That is much better than submind and inertia.

Until noon, the higher pressure was too strong. There was something in its nature by which I could neither attend to it nor study.

Possibly the pressure was trying to put you into some kind of trance.

But is not our work much more important than any number of trances or experiences?

Trances and experiences have their value. There is no question of less or more important — each thing has its place.

You asked me what I mean by a “waking state”. I meant not quite an ordinary state but the one called swapna awasthā where one is aware of what happens inwardly, but is unconscious of the outer condition.

That is not waking state; it is swapna samadhi.

Today I was almost spellbound by the higher pressure and its calming effect. So I retired to my bed. I don’t know if it was sleep or trance into which I fell. The only thing I remember is that I was conscious of myself all the time but quite unaware of the surroundings. It lasted for one and a half hours.

It was not sleep evidently.

These days there is a descent of the Force which lasts from 10 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. When this movement does not take place due to depression or inertia, I feel a strong impulse to sleep at noon. But the sleep is not ordinary; it is spiritual and positive. What kind of sleep is this and why does it happen only under these circumstances?

That is quite natural. The usual movement does not take place, but there is still a pressure habitual at the time under which the consciousness goes inside not into sleep but into some kind of samadhi in which a working takes place in the inner consciousness. As yet you have not developed the power of being conscious in this state nor the power of remembering what took place.

Why does the tendency for sleep at noon come under these circumstances only?

The tendency for sleep under such circumstances is always the same thing, the tendency of the physical consciousness to go inside under the pressure from above.

Does the samadhi during the afternoon nap come to bring a greater emptiness or voidness than at other times?

If you mean that after this kind of samadhi, you feel a greater emptiness or voidness, it is quite natural. To void the being of the old consciousness and its movements and to fill the mind from above are the two main processes now by the Force from above.

Why do I have samadhi only during the noon sleep and not during the night sleep?

Because at night the body needs and is accustomed to sleep as rest, not to sleep-samadhi.

During the noon sleep, dreams come sometimes just as in the night sleep. Can it still be called a swapna-samadhi?

It may pass into only a dream sometimes, — that often happens; there is a fluctuation between the two states.

During yesterday’s swapna-samadhi it became a little clearer why I am unable to record all that happens in the trance. When the consciousness rises, my mental Purusha can follow it only up to a certain distance on the higher planes, after which the consciousness flies away, leaving the mental Purusha behind.

That is quite natural. The higher planes are not planes on which man is naturally conscious and he is even not open to their direct influence — only to some indirect influence from those nearest to the human mind. He can reach them only in a deep inner condition or trance and the higher he goes the less easy is it for him to be conscious of them even in trance. If you are not conscious of your inner being, then it is more difficult to be conscious in trance.

Is it not possible for me to respond to the spiritual pressure without passing through a sleep in which I enter into samadhi?

Samadhi is not a thing to be shunned — only it has to be made more and more conscious.

While coming out of samadhi, my body was conscious for the first time that it had not been sleeping, but had passed into a certain inner state.

That is a progress — the next step is to be conscious in the samadhi.

The body also felt a new kind of energy, with a strength and intensity which I can only call spiritual.


Ordinarily it is said that samadhi does not bring any change in the outer being. But I think it is not so in the samadhi of our Yoga.

There is no reason why samadhi should have no effect on the waking being.

But why are some experiences received more easily in samadhi? I think one reason is that in samadhi our central consciousness gets separated from the mind no less than from the body.

In samadhi it is the inner mental, vital, physical which are separated from the outer, no longer covered by it — therefore they can freely have inner experiences. The outer mind is either quiescent or in some way reflects or shares the experience. As for the central consciousness being separated from all mind that would mean a complete trance without any recorded experiences.

Why are certain things of the sadhana better worked out in samadhi than in the waking state?

It is easier to do it in samadhi so long as the waking consciousness is not governed consciously by the inner being.

In that case samadhi is a useful state even for our Yoga. But some time ago you wrote to me, “It is not the samadhi that is needed but a new consciousness.”

Certainly, samadhi is not barred from this Yoga. The fact that the Mother was always entering into it is proof enough of that. What I said then was not a general statement that samadhi is never needed and never helpful, but referred to your then need. Particular statements must not be converted by the mind into exclusive and absolute laws.

How does a samadhi differ from a trance?

Trance in English is usually used only for the deeper kinds of samadhi; but, as there is no other word, we have to use it for all kinds.

Is it really too early for me to change the dream or sleep consciousness into a swapna-samadhi, or into a conscious and waking sadhana?

All dream or sleep consciousness cannot be converted at once into conscious sadhana. That has to be done progressively. But your power of conscious samadhi must increase before this can be done.

In samadhi the physical consciousness goes inside due to the pressure from above. What does it do after going in?

It remains quiet within and supports by its quiescence the experiences of the other parts of the being or, if it is conscious, shares them. Or it sleeps and has dreams or else is quiet in sleep and by its quiescence supports the dream experiences of the mind and vital.

The other day you asked me to be conscious in trance; I tried hard and this is the result: In trance I saw a Holy Woman entering a place where a few sadhakas were assembled for her darshan. She went into a closed room where we were to go one by one. I noticed that everyone was allowed one or two minutes, as is done on our Darshan days. My turn was last.

In the centre of the room the Holy Woman was seated dressed in simple clothes. Without looking at her face I put my head on her lap. She placed her hands on my head and caressed me softly, meanwhile murmuring as if to herself: “Let him have…”; the last word of the sentence I caught quite distinctly then, but cannot recall now. It was the name of some spiritual power. No sooner had she said this than I felt a sudden rush of that power entering through my head.

After a few seconds she uttered the name of another power. This power struck me with a tremendous force — it was shattering in its intensity.

After a while I raised my head and looked at the Holy Woman for the first time. Her face appeared like the Mother’s. Then I said to her, “May I ask you a question?” She did not seem to like this, but as she had not refused, I repeated the question. This time she said, “I don’t like questions.” (I wanted to inquire about the two gifts of different powers she had conferred on me.) Then I don’t remember what I said. After a long time we both came back to consciousness, for we had both entered into a trance together. We knew it only when we asked the door-keeper how much time we had spent together. Afterwards I told her, “You must have entered into a trance and I simply followed you.”

This whole phenomenon is beyond my understanding.

(1) Who was the Holy Woman?

(2) Why did she grant me the gifts of higher powers?

(3) Trance within trance! This is something new.

Obviously the Holy Woman was the Mother herself in a supraphysical form. It was natural that she should not like questions — the Mother does not like mental questions very much at any time and least of all when she is giving meditation as she was doing in this experience. It is rather funny to ask “Why” (your eternal why) higher powers should be given. People do not question the gifts of the Shakti or demand reasons for her giving them, they are only too glad to get them. Trance within trance of course, since your sadhana was going on in the trance, according to the ways of trance. It is also in this way that it can go on in conscious sleep.

Today the inner process of the sadhana began at 10.15 a.m. At 1 p.m. it turned first into samadhi and then trance. At 2.30 p.m. it came back again to samadhi and remained till 3.30. Then some parts of my being were in trance while others were in the higher consciousness. The deep intoxication of the samadhi is still there everywhere.

This time my consciousness went too deep into trance to be able to record anything, but I was quite aware of the sadhana which was going on during the samadhi, as much as one is aware of it out of samadhi. Is this distinction between samadhi and trance correct?

Trance also is samadhi but deep samadhi.

Whatever is experienced in the waking state leaves its effect upon the outer being; does the samadhi-experience act in the same way?

Not necessarily, but it helps to prepare the inner being.

The samadhi sometimes leaves a strong after-effect and sometimes nothing. For instance, yesterday the Mother brought down two kinds of Forces in my samadhi, and yet when all was over I did not feel anything in particular; while in today’s samadhi there seemed to be no descent, and yet the outward effect was powerful enough to continue not only during the waking state but even during the working hours.

It happens in both ways. When there is no outward effect, it means that it was something deep within meant for the preparation of the inner being.

Should the trance become a normal state of our consciousness?

No. It is the waking realisation of the inner consciousness separate from the outer that has to be the normal state. But it is the trance experience that is bringing this separateness.

Sometimes a strong pressure to go into sleep or samadhi is felt. It is so compelling that no physical or mental activity can be attended to; but when I lie down, I can’t sleep, nor do I go into samadhi.

It is probably because there is a pressure from above but a contrary reaction comes from the ordinary consciousness and stops the sleep or samadhi.

At night the working of the higher Force is rather strong; but just when a new and still higher pressure is felt on the head, the body feels an irresistible push to fall asleep.

It interprets the new pressure as something to be met by going inside, I suppose, and the inward movement is sleep.

In such circumstances, is it better to sleep or meditate?

It depends on the nature of the sleep.

The day before yesterday there was a prolonged tussle with the lower physical nature. I could not control the obscure forces which invaded, so I left the outer being. Then to my utter surprise I was pulled into an experience of stillness where I saw myself as a huge globe which was as wide as the universe. Its top was the sky and its bottom the earth. In that ball my being began to expand and tended to be as vast as the globe itself. This widening movement was recorded down to my inner physical.

That is a symbolic experience of the cosmic consciousness — it is that widening which is still lacking in your experience of peace.

Yesterday at 6 p.m. (which is not my usual time for trance) I felt very deeply some call from above and felt also that I must rise to it at once. Then my being fell into trance by itself. Kindly explain this experience.

What is there to be explained in it? There was a call or pull from above which was drawing you into a state of trance.

I think that what my inner being wants is complete separation from the outer being. But this is not possible at this stage during the waking meditation, so it takes refuge in trance. It must be difficult to have trance in a waking state.

How do you mean trance in a waking state? Trance is a going inside away from the waking state. What corresponds to trance in the waking state would be a complete concentration indifferent to outward movements or else a silence of the whole being in Brahman realisation, the samahita state of the Gita.

By “trance in a waking state” I meant that in order to enter the trance I have to pass through a state of sleep. But some people do not need this step — they simply sit and plunge into trance.

That does not explain the phrase. Many people pass through sleep to trance.

During today’s noon sleep, intense waves of love were flowing out from me towards the Mother while she was giving me an interview. The Mother was holding me close to her. What was it — sleep or samadhi?

If it was sleep, you must have got into the vital plane or some supraphysical plane and met the Mother there.

During the samadhi states the Mother’s Force was quite solid. During the waking state, however, the action induced a certain emptiness or voidness in my being, right down to the body. I am unable to say whether it was in the subtle body or the outer that the density was felt.

It must be in the subtle body, for it is that one feels in trance or sleep — besides, if it were the physical body, the density would usually last for some time after waking.

For the last three days the trance comes at noon. After it is over the dense energy it brings lasts up to the night. What is this dense energy?

I don’t know what it should be other than a form of the Force.

For several days there was no trance. However, there was a continued sadhana.

If there was a continued sadhana, it does not matter about the samadhi. The sadhana took another form, that is all.

Now the pressure for the samadhi comes at the usual time, but there is no samadhi. If it is due to the rising of inertia, how is it that I can concentrate and live without effort in the higher consciousness but can’t withdraw into samadhi?

There is no answer to these hows and whys except that your consciousness has sufficiently developed the capacity to ascend into the higher consciousness so as to be able to do it at will, but has not to an equal extent developed the capacity of going into samadhi. But that is obvious and is simply the statement of the fact.

In one letter you have written that the Mother always sees things when she goes into trance. Is it not natural for one to see things in trance, even though in the waking state one does not have even a single vision?

Vision in trance is vision no less than vision in the waking state. It is only the condition of the recipient consciousness that varies — in one the waking consciousness shares in the vision, in the other it is excluded for the sake of greater facility and range in the inner experience. But in both it is the inner vision that sees.

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.