August 10, 1960
(Concerning two teachers at the Ashram's Center of Education who wrote Mother asking if “only” Sri Aurobindo should be studied. Pavitra was present during this conversation.)
An eight page letter – nothing but passion.
(Pavitra:) Yes, Mother.
It's all from up here (Mother touches her forehead).
(Pavitra:) Passion and reactions.
Passion, passion – but this passion and these reactions are the same thing.
And then they stuff into it what they consider intellectual reasonings, but their intellectuality is not so terribly luminous – anyway... (Mother shows the letter) Here, I'll read this to you for your edification (!).
“And finally, Sweet Mother, what I would really like to know is the purpose of our Center of Education. Is it to teach the works of Sri Aurobindo? And only these? All the works or some only? Or is it to prepare the students to read the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother? Is it to prepare them for the Ashram life or for ‘outside’ occupations as well? So many opinions are floating in the air, and even the old disciples from whom we expect some knowledge make so many contradictory statements...
(Laughing, to Pavitra:) I suppose that's for you!
“that we no longer know what to believe nor on what to base ourselves. So what should be our foundation upon which to work in the absence of a true and certain knowledge? Please enlighten us, Mother.”
I answered. The letters must have left. I wrote (in English) that it's not so much a question of organization as of attitude – to begin with. Then I said, “It seems to me that unless the teachers themselves get out of this ordinary intellectuality (!), they will never be able to fulfill their duty.”
And this is what I wrote to Z (Mother reads):
“It is not a question of preparing students to read these or some other works. It is a question of drawing all those who are capable of it out of the usual human routine of thought, feelings, action; of giving those who are here every opportunity to reject the slavery of the human way of thinking and acting; of teaching all those who want to listen that there is another, truer way of living, and that Sri Aurobindo taught us to become and to live the true being – and that the purpose of education here is to prepare the children for this life and to make them capable of it.
As for all the others, all those who want the human way of thinking and living, the world is vast and there is place there for everyone.
We do not want large numbers; we want a selection. We do not want brilliant students; we want living souls.”
Once I've drummed that into their heads long enough, they may end up understanding.
Then Z asks about languages: should they choose ONE language or... I don't know. And then, if only ONE language, which language?... She said, “Should it be a common or international language, or their [the students'] vernacular?” I answered her, “If only ONE language is known [well], it is better (international or common).”1
These are matters of common sense – I don't even know why they bring them up.
Then they asked some questions about teaching literature and poetry. I answered them. And then, at the bottom, I added this:
“If you carefully study what Sri Aurobindo has written on every subject...
He wrote on EVERYTHING, there is not one subject on which he has not written! The point is to find it everywhere.
... a complete knowledge of the things of the world can be easily achieved.”
What I call “studying” is to take Sri Aurobindo's books, where he quotes or speaks of one thing or another, then have the corresponding books – when he quotes something, you must take the book it corresponds to; when he speaks of something, you must study the writings on that subject. This is what I call “studying.” Then, after having read the corresponding works, you compare them with what Sri Aurobindo has said, and in this way there may be a beginning of understanding. If someone is very studious, he can “review” all that has ever been written or taught by going through Sri Aurobindo's books. I mean this for someone who loves working.
I SEE this state of mind, this mental attitude... Oh! It's... it's so repugnant. People are so afraid of taking sides, so afraid of appearing biased; they are so afraid of appearing to have faith, so afraid... Oh, it's disgraceful.
And I will keep hammering that into your heads till I enter right into them.
(Pavitra hands Mother a new French dictionary, the “All-in-One”)
Oh! French verbs!...
(Pavitra:) Yes, Mother; in this dictionary each verb is shown – the category it is in, how it is conjugated...
... Take “choyer” [coddle, pamper], for example... (Pavitra shows Mother), it's conjugated like “aboyer” [snarl, bark].
What a comparison! (Mother laughs) Oh, they have such psychological subtleties!
But it's especially for the spelling of verbs. I believe I know how to conjugate!
(Pavitra:) It has everything – how to play bridge, how to play tennis, the art of carving a chicken...
(Satprem:) “All-in-One,” it's rather like yoga!
(After Pavitra leaves)
I'm continuing The Yoga of Self-Perfection. It's really something... I shall never tire of saying it's “fabulous.” Everything, absolutely everything, in detail, everything is there. And he foresaw – foresaw, gave the remedy; foresaw, gave the remedy; foresaw, gave...
Have you read it?
What have you brought me?
I'll soon finish re-reading “Essays on the Gita”...
... to prepare for the book.2 I haven't quite finished, but nearly. Everyday I force myself to read (well, not exactly “force”)...
But that one also is ex-traor-dinary!...
Yes, there are many things.
What is so interesting in it is this insistence on the divinity of man... If that – this feeling of the inner divinity – could be established in oneself in a constant way (I've seen this for most people I know), so MANY things would... There is no need for any effort at all, things fall away from you like dust.
There is no need to react against difficulties; you are immediately pulled out of them, as if you were taken out like this (gesture of pulling someone out of a difficulty with her two fingers).
1 Original English.
2 Sri Aurobindo and the Transformation of the World, an initial book on Sri Aurobindo by Satprem that was never published. It was meant to be part of a certain “Series of Spiritual Masters”, but finally Sri Aurobindo never took part.