March 4, 1961
(Mother gives Satprem a ruffled mauve petunia.)
Look, it's Enthusiasm, see how beautiful it is! It must be put in water right away, otherwise.... It needs vital force and water is vital force. It's lovely! What fantasy! And this one is the Consciousness one with the Divine Consciousness,1 but supramentalized – beginning to be supramentalized. And here is a very pretty Promise of Realization2, and here's Balance3 and... the Peace of Faithfulness.4
There you are, mon petit.
Now then, anything to ask?
Oh, it's dreadful, each one... (Mother is referring to the disciples). Well, never mind.
I'm not so late today.
What do you have to say?
Oh, to say, work on, do, decide, arrange, anything!
One day when you have time, I would like to ask you a question.
It isn't a personal question, but something that has been troubling me a little. It's about World Union5...
Oh, World Union!... What troubles you?
Listen, mon petit, you don't need to ask, I will tell you right away. Sri Aurobindo has written somewhere that the movement of world transformation is double: first, the individual who does sadhana6 and establishes contact with higher things; but at the same time, the world is a base and it must rise up a little and prepare itself for the realization to be achieved (this is putting it simply). Some people live merely on the surface – they come alive only when they stir about restlessly. Whatever happens inside them (if anything does!) is immediately thrown out into movement. Such people always need an outer activity; take J. for example: he fastened onto Sri Aurobindo's phrase, “World Union,” and came to tell me he wanted....
He has been like that since the beginning (gesture expressing agitation), and he had a go at a considerable number of things – but none ever succeeded! He has no method, no sense of order and he doesn't know how to organize work. So World Union is simply to let him have his way, like letting a horse gallop.
I used to send him around to the various centers (because he had to do something!), and he would visit, speak to people... I don't know about what. And during one of his trips to Delhi he happened to meet Z, who had been sent by the government of India to the Soviet Union, where it seems he delivered an extraordinary speech (it must have been extraordinary, because I have been receiving letters from everywhere, including America, asking for the text of this sensational speech in which he apparently spoke of “human unity”). So Z returned with the idea of forming a “World Union,” and J. and Z met. Furthermore, they were encouraged by S.M.7 and even by the Prime Minister,8 who probably had a special liking for Z and had given him a lot of encouragement. That's how things began.
I treated it as something altogether secondary and unimportant – when people need to gallop, I let them gallop (but I hadn't met Z). Then J. and Z left together on a speaking-tour of Africa and there things began to go sour, because Z was working in one way and J. in another. Finally, they were at odds and came back here to tell me, “World Union is off to a good start – with a quarrel!” (Mother laughs) Z was saying, “Nothing can be done unless we base ourselves EXCLUSIVELY on the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and they are behind us giving support.” And J. said, “No, no! We are not sectarian! We accept all ideas, all theories, etc.” I replied, and as it happens, I said that Z was right, though with one corrective: he had been saying that people had to recognize us as their guru. “No,” I said, “it's absolutely useless – not only useless, I refuse. I don't want to be anybody's guru. People should simply be told that things are to be done on the basis of Sri Aurobindo's thought.”9
So they kept pulling in opposing directions. Eventually they tried to set something up (which still didn't hold together), and finally they wrote me a little more clearly. (There is one very nice man involved, Y. He isn't particularly intellectual but has a lot of common sense and a very faithful heart – a very good man.) Y asked me some direct questions, without beating around the bush, and I replied directly: “World Union is an entirely superficial thing, without any depth, based on the fact that Sri Aurobindo said ‘the masses’ must be helped to follow the progress of ‘the elite’ – well, let them go ahead! If they enjoy it, let them go right ahead!”... I didn't say it exactly like that (I was a bit more polite!), but that was the gist of it.
Now it has all fallen flat. They are carrying on with their little activities, but it's absolutely unimportant. They publish a small journal, and V, who writes for them, is far from stupid. She is rather intelligent and I have some control over her, so I will try to stop her from writing nonsense.
They also had a sudden brainstorm to affiliate with the Sri Aurobindo Society. But the Sri Aurobindo Society has absolutely nothing to do with their project: it's a strictly external thing, organized by businessmen to bring in money – EXCLUSIVELY. That is, they want to put people in a position where they feel obliged to give (so far they have succeeded and I believe they will succeed). But this has nothing to do with working for an ideal, it is COMPLETELY practical.10 And of course, World Union has nothing to offer the Sri Aurobindo Society: they would simply siphon off funds. So I told them, “Nothing doing – it's out of the question!”
“But your name is there as President of the Sri Aurobindo Society,” they said. My name is there to give an entirely material guarantee that the money donated will really and truly be used for the Work to be done and for nothing else; it's only a moral and purely practical guarantee. These people aren't even asked to understand what Sri Aurobindo has said but simply to participate. It's a different matter for those in World Union, who are working for an ideal: they want to prepare the world to receive (laughing) the Supermind! Let them prepare it! It doesn't matter, they will achieve nothing at all, or very little. It's unimportant. That's my point of view and I have told them so.
In addition, I told them it was preferable not to hold any functions here – they can be held at Tapogiri in the Himalayas, or elsewhere – and this is understood. They did hold a seminar here (a perfect fiasco, besides), but it had been arranged a long time ago. They invited people who promised to come (I think very few showed up in the end), and it was of very secondary importance. Nevertheless, I told them, “This is the last time; don't do it here any more. At Tapogiri, as often as you like: it's a beautiful spot in the mountains, a health resort, people go there in the summer for the fresh air and... to sit around and chat!”
What shocked me was.... You know I rarely leave my house, but each time I would come to the Ashram for darshan or to see you, always, as if by chance, I would find J. off in a corner with some European visitor. The repetition of this coincidence made me wonder, “What's he doing so systematically with ALL the European visitors?!” And it shocked me to imagine myself in their place: just suppose, I said to myself, you are coming to the Ashram for the first time, very open, in search of a great truth, and you stumble upon this man who tells you: Sri Aurobindo = World Union. Well, my first reaction would be, “I'm leaving, I'm not interested!”
It serves as a test, my child, a very good test! There are many things like that....
For example, there's someone here, Mridou (you know her, she's as round as a barrel11), who gossips to everybody. She had quite a clientele for a long time because she used to make Indian sweets and the Europeans went to her place for snacks. She is a woman who, when there isn't any gossip, invents it! She tells all the dirt imaginable to all her visitors – a fact which was brought to my attention. I recall that a long time ago Sir Akbar from Hyderabad warned me, “You know, she's the second Mother of the Ashram, be careful!” “It's a good test,” I replied, “people who don't immediately sense what it is aren't worthy of coming here!”
Well, with J. it's the same – from an intellectual viewpoint, it's the very same thing: if people are taken in by what he says, it means they're not ready AT ALL.
But the danger isn't to be “taken in,” but to be disgusted by it!
Disgusted? But that amounts to the same thing!
They'll say, “So that's Sri Aurobindo!...”
Then it proves they have never read anything by Sri Aurobindo.
It's unimportant. No, it's even better than unimportant: it's a test.
This place is full of tests, full, full, full! People don't realize.... One can see it happening, as though it were done on purpose just to trip people up (not really “on purpose,” but that's how it acts). It protects me from hordes of good-for-nothings! I am not eager to have a lot of people here.
Another thing that shocked me was in their journal....
I've never seen it – full of stupidities?
It's outrageous! First of all, they use Sri Aurobindo's name, putting it on a level with Vinoba Bhave or Dr. Schweitzer or who knows what other sage; then at the end they launch an appeal for people to “enroll”! So the reader is left wondering, “But I thought Sri Aurobindo....” You understand, this indiscriminate mixture, this diminishing....
I wrote them a letter where I stuck this nonsense of theirs right under their noses.
Listen to this appeal: “If the opportunity offered by this movement appeals to you, if you have the feeling that you are one of those who have been prepared to collaborate in the spiritual adventure, we invite you to write to us, enrolling yourself as a member of World Union....”
I'm going to send this to V, asking her innocently, “Has this appeared in your journal? Because it would be better if it didn't: we don't make propaganda.” Oh, I am hard on them, you know!
But it doesn't matter, we must always keep smiling, mon petit. In the end, good always comes out of such things – it's a sorting-out! A splendid, splendid sifter!
The truth is, VERY FEW people are ready to be here, very few. We have taken in all types – we accept, we accept, we accept – afterwards, we sift. And the sifting goes on more and more. Actually, we accept everything, the entire earth, and then... (gesture of churning) there's a churning. And everything useless goes away.
The opposition is clearly becoming stronger and stronger, a very good sign – it means we are advancing. But circumstances are growing more and more difficult: the least thing becomes an opportunity to demonstrate bad will and spite – on the part of the government, on the part of people here and so on. Seen from a superficial viewpoint, we are more than ever in the soup. But this makes my heart rejoice! I take it as a sign that we are getting nearer.
Don't let it trouble you, you must always smile. Smile, be absolutely above it all – absolutely.
I told them.... Because at World Union they asked me what their mistake had been (they didn't state it so candidly, but in a roundabout way), and I replied (not so candidly, either – not exactly in a roundabout way, but in general terms). I told them their mistake was being unfaithful and I explained that to be unfaithful means to put everything on the same level (that's when I sent them those lines12). I told them, “Your error was in saying: ‘One teaching among many teachings – so let us be broad-minded and accept all teachings.’” So along with all the teachings, you accept every stupidity possible.
But if someone is taken in, it proves he's at an elementary stage and unready.
Oh, I've had all sorts of examples!... All these errors serve as tests. Take the case of P.: for a long time, whenever someone arrived from the outside world and asked to be instructed, he was sent to P.'s room. (I didn't send them, but they would be told, “Go speak to P.!”) And P. is the sectarian par excellence! He would tell people, “Unless you acknowledge Sri Aurobindo as the ONLY one who knows the truth, you are good for nothing!” Naturally (laughing), many rebelled! (You see, out of laziness – so as not to be bothered with seeing people or answering their questions – one says, “Go find so-and-so, go ask so-and-so,” and passes off the work to another.) Well, it was finally understood that this wasn't very tactful, and perhaps it would be better not to send visitors to P., since so many had been put off. But actually.... I was told about it afterwards and I replied, “Let people read and see for THEMSELVES whether or not it suits them! What difference does it make if they're put off! If they are, it means they NEED to be put off! We'll see later.” Some of them have come full circle and returned. Others never came back – because they weren't meant to. That's how it goes. Basically, all this has NO importance. Or we could put it in another way: everything is perfectly all right.
Each one of us must learn his lesson – that's a different matter. WE are not perfectly all right because we can be better – circumstances are simply the outgrowth of what we are, nothing else. And we needn't worry – I never worry myself!
What's more, I find it so funny! A time comes when all such things seem so childish, so stupid, so... meaningless! What difference can it make! As long as people are still at that level, that's where they are. The day they get away from it, they too will smile!
Of course, I have a kind of responsibility because people expect me to organize everything, so I try to put things in their place. That's why I told them I preferred they didn't hold seminars here, because it appears a bit... I didn't say “parasitic,” but it's like (laughing) a toadstool growing on an oak tree!
(Mother begins the work. A mosquito bites her and she remarks.)
Oh, I don't like that! You know, I have filariasis in my legs. Yes, I think so – there's every reason to believe it! (Mother laughs) But it doesn't matter, it will go away... I think. I don't like to be bitten on account of the germs; but during the day there's nothing for them to pick up – they only pick up germs around midnight.
There are no mosquitoes upstairs.
(Mother resumes the work.)
(At the doorway, as she is leaving.)
Each time I have a “Cheerfulness,”13 I will bring it to you. It is a GREAT FORCE, a great force.
Things are going very badly: a pack of enemies assailing me, friends deserting us – it's going very, very badly. Then yesterday evening, while I was walking for japa and all these “good tidings” were arriving, I said to the Lord, “Listen, Lord, you have Indra to help the good people – I beseech you, send him to me; he has some work to do!”(Mother laughs) Then my walk became so amusing! I was watching them come in as I walked – Indra and all the other gods – and they were hard at work. Delightful!
1 Hibiscus, double flower, light pink.
4 Portlandia grandiflora.
5 A movement launched by some disciples for “the unification of the world.”
6 Sadhana: spiritual quest and discipline.
7 A politician, disciple of Sri Aurobindo and friend of Jawaharlal Nehru.
9 This is the text of Mother's reply to J.: “I have read Z's account and your own letter on this subject. in the faith of his devotion, he must have been quite offended. The truth in what he says is that any idea, WHATEVER its degree of truth, is ineffective if it does not also carry the power acquired through realization, by a real change of consciousness. And if the proponent of this idea does not himself have the realization, he must seek the backing of those who have the power. On the other hand, what you say is true: an idea ought to be accepted on the basis of its inherent truth and not because of the personality expounding it, however great this personality may be. These two truths or aspects of the question are equally true but also equally incomplete: they are not the whole truth. Both of them must be accepted and combined with many other aspects of the question if you want to even begin to approach the dynamic power of the realization. Don't you see how ridiculous this situation is? Three people of goodwill meet in the hope of teaching men the necessity for a ‘World Union’ and they are not even able to keep a tolerant or tolerable union among themselves, because each sees a different angle of the procedure to be followed for implementing their plan.”
10 Although it began as a fund-raising organization for the needs of the Ashram and Auroville, this “strictly external thing,” which had “nothing to do with working for an ideal,” would, after Mother's departure, coolly declare itself the “owner” and guide of Auroville.
11 Sri Aurobindo's old cook.
12 “... What Sri Aurobindo represents is not a teaching, not even a revelation, it is an ACTION direct from the Supreme.”(See conversation of February 18, 1961.)