March 11, 1961
I have to fight to get out of there! I began to scold them all, saying they were wasting all my time – then I was able to come. Otherwise, impossible.
(Satprem puts a cushion under Mother's feet)
It's almost a luxury these days!
When was it?... Not last night, but the night before, I was with you; and while I was with you I heard the clock strike. I didn't count, but I told myself, “It's 4 o'clock!” and got out of bed.... One hour later I saw that it was 4 a.m.: I had risen at 3, and by then we had been together for quite a long time. I had gone... where? I don't know. I was living some place (certainly somewhere in the Mind) and we were together, we had been working together, doing all sorts of things and spending a lot of time together... I don't know for how long because time there isn't the same.
Then I had to return here – that is, to my home in India, to Sri Aurobindo's home: I had to return to Sri Aurobindo's home. Pavitra was also working there and he didn't want to let me leave; when he saw me going he came and tried to stop me. You, on the contrary, were helping. “Shall I take anything with me or not?” I asked myself... “Oh, I don't need anything, I'll go all alone.” That worried you a little because of the journey ahead, and you said, “There will be many complications....” “It doesn't matter!” I replied (laughing). But if you only knew how living and concrete it was! The impressions were so... there was the feeling of making a long voyage – it was a LONG voyage, as if I were crossing the sea (but not physically), a long voyage. I remember setting off (I was with you, you were there) and telling myself, “At last he's here! At last I have found a reasonable being who doesn't try to stop me from doing what I must do!” I had... (laughing mischievously) a very high opinion of you, that's why I am telling you this!
I was abruptly awakened by the clock striking (I didn't count), and my immediate feeling was, “Well, he is really very nice! Now there's a good companion!”
But I woke up one hour too early!1
Oh! (Mother notices the flowers in her hands) This is Supramental Beauty,2 this is Supramental Victory and this is the Endurance3 needed to get there and the Promise.4 Then this one is a lily that grows here (Mother looks at it for a long time)... and inside I have put “Attachment for the Divine”5 – I brought it for you because it's so lovely.
What are we working on today? (Mother looks at Sri Aurobindo's Aphorisms)... I've already begun replying!
Yes... you know, I read and it comes like that, brrm! Like opening a tap. (Mother reads.)
56 – When, O eager disputant, thou hast prevailed in a debate, then art thou greatly to be pitied; for thou hast lost a chance of widening knowledge.
How fine! Many things could be said....
What use are discussions? in general, those who like to discuss need the stimulation of contradiction to clarify their ideas.
It's a thing I live almost constantly: I have people like that around me!
It's clearly the sign of a rudimentary intellectual stage.
But if you can “witness” a discussion as an impartial spectator (I mean even if you are involved in the discussion), you can always gain a lot from it by considering a question or a problem from several points of view; and by trying to reconcile opposing opinions, you can broaden your ideas and rise to a more comprehensive synthesis.
What is the best way to make others understand what you feel to be true?
By LIVING it – there is no other way.
Read me another aphorism.
58 -The animal, before he is corrupted, has not yet eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the god has abandoned it for the tree of eternal life; man stands between the upper heaven and the lower nature.
Do you have a question?
Was there actually an earthly paradise? Why was man banished from it?
From an historical viewpoint (not psychological, but historical), based on my memories (only I can't prove it, nothing can be proved, and I don't believe any truly historical proof has come down to us – or in any case, it hasn't been found yet), but according to my memories.... (Mother shuts her eyes as if she were going off in search of her memories; she will speak all the rest of the time with eyes closed.) Certainly at one period of the earth's history there was a kind of “earthly paradise,” in the sense that there was a perfectly harmonious and perfectly natural life: the manifestation of Mind was in accord – was STILL in complete accord – and in total harmony with the ascending march of Nature, without perversion or deformation. This was the first stage of Mind's manifestation in material forms.
How long did it last? It's hard to say. But for man it was a life like a sort of flowering of animal life. My memory is of a life where the body was perfectly adapted to its natural surroundings. The climate was in harmony with the needs of the body, the body with the demands of the climate. Life was wholly spontaneous and natural, as a more luminous and conscious animal life would be, with absolutely none of the complications and deformations brought in later by the mind as it developed.
I have a recollection of this life, for I relived it when I first became conscious of the life of the entire earth; but I can't say how long it lasted or what area it covered – I don't know. I only remember the conditions at that time, the state of material Nature and the human form and human consciousness, and this state of harmony with all the other elements of the earth: harmony with animal life and a great harmony with plant life – there was a kind of spontaneous knowledge of how to use the things of Nature, the qualities of plants, fruits and all that vegetal nature could offer. There was no aggressiveness, no fear, no contradictions or frictions, and no perversion – the mind was pure, simple, luminous, uncomplicated.
It was certainly with the progress of evolution, the march of evolution, when the mind began to develop for and in itself, that ALL the complications, all the deformations began. Indeed, this story of Genesis that seems so childish does contain a truth. The old traditions like Genesis resembled the Vedas in that each letter6 was the symbol of a knowledge; it was the pictorial résumé of a traditional knowledge, just as the Veda contains a pictoral résumé of the knowledge of its time. But what's more, even the symbol had a reality in the sense that there was truly a period when life upon earth (the first manifestation of mentalized Matter in human forms) was still in complete harmony with all that preceded it. It was only later that....
The tree of knowledge symbolizes this kind of knowledge... a material knowledge, no longer divine because its origin was the sense of division – and this is what began to spoil everything. How long did this period last? I am unable to say. (Because my recollection is of an almost immortal life; it seems that it was through some sort of evolutionary accident that the destruction of forms became necessary for progress.) And where did it take place?... From certain impressions (but these are only impressions), it would seem that it was in the vicinity of either this side of Ceylon and India or the other, I don't know exactly (Mother indicates the Indian Ocean either west of Ceylon and India or to the east between Ceylon and Java), although certainly the place no longer exists; it must have been swallowed up by the sea. I have a very clear vision of the place and a consciousness of that life and its forms, but I can't give precise material details. Did it last for centuries, was it...? I don't know. To tell the truth, when I was reliving those moments I wasn't curious about such details (for one is in another mental state where there is no curiosity about material details: all things turn into psychological facts). It was something so simple, luminous, harmonious, far removed from all our usual preoccupations – those very preoccupations with time and space. It was a spontaneous life, extremely beautiful, and so close to Nature – a natural flowering of animal life. There were no oppositions or contradictions, nothing of the kind – everything happened in the best way possible.
A similar memory has recurred several times under different circumstances – not exactly the same scene and the same images, because it wasn't something I was seeing but A LIFE I was living. During a certain period, at any time, night or day, I would experience a particular state of trance in which I was rediscovering a life I had lived. I was fully conscious that this life had to do with the first flowering of the human form upon earth, the first human forms able to incarnate the divine being from above. This was the first time I could manifest in a particular terrestrial form (not a general life but an individual form); that is, for the first time, through the mentalization of this material substance, the junction between the higher Being and the lower being was made. I have lived that several times, and always in a similar setting and with quite a similar feeling of such joyous simplicity, without complexity, without problems, without all these questions. It was the blossoming of a joy of life – nothing but that; love and harmony prevailed: flowers, minerals, animals all got along together perfectly.
Things began to go wrong only a LONG time afterwards, long after (but this is a personal impression), probably because certain mental crystallizations were necessary, inevitable, for the general evolution, so that the mind might prepare itself to move on to something else. That was when... oh, it seems like a fall into a pit – into ugliness, darkness! Everything became so dark, so ugly, so difficult, so painful. Really... really the sense of a fall.
Théon used to say it wasn't... (how to put it?) inevitable. In the total freedom of the manifestation, this voluntary separation from the Origin is the cause of all the disorder. How to explain it?... Words express these things so poorly. We can call it “inevitable” because it happened! But outside of this creation, a creation can be imagined (or could have been) where this disorder would not have occurred. Sri Aurobindo saw it in approximately the same way: a sort of “accident,” as it were – but an “accident” allowing the manifestation a far greater and more total perfection than if it had never occurred. But this is all still in the realm of speculation, and useless speculation at that. In any case, the experience, the feeling, is that all at once... (Mother makes the gesture of a brutal fall) oh!
For the earth it probably happened like that, all at once: a sort of ascent, then the fall. But the earth is a tiny concentration – universally, it's something else.
The recollection of those times is stored somewhere in the terrestrial memory, that region where all the earth's memories are inscribed. Those who contact this memory can tell you that the earthly paradise still exists somewhere.7 But it doesn't exist materially.... I don't know, I don't see it.
Of course, these things can always be explained symbolically. Théon explained man's “exile” like this: when the Being – the hostile Being – assumed the position of the Lord Supreme in relation to the terrestrial realization, he didn't want humanity to progress mentally and gain a knowledge permitting it to stop obeying him!... That is Théon's occult explanation.
According to Théon, the serpent wasn't the spirit of evil at all: it was the evolutionary Force. And Sri Aurobindo fully agreed; he used to tell me the same thing: the evolutionary power – the mental evolutionary power – is what drove man to gain knowledge, a knowledge of division. And it's a fact that along with the sense of Good and Evil, man became conscious of himself. Naturally, this ruined everything and he couldn't stay: it was his own consciousness that drove him out of Paradise – he could no longer stay.
Then was man banished by Jehovah or by his own consciousness?
These are just two ways of seeing the same thing!
In my view, all these old Scriptures and ancient traditions have a graduated content (gesture showing different levels of understanding), and according to the needs of the epoch and the people, one symbol or another was drawn upon. But a time comes when one goes beyond these things and sees them from what Sri Aurobindo calls “the other hemisphere,” where one realizes that they are only modes of expression to put one in contact – a kind of bridge or link between the lower way of seeing and the higher way of knowing.
A time comes when all these disputes – “Ah, no, this is like this, that is like that” – seem so silly, so silly! And there is nothing more comical than this spontaneous reply so many people give: “Oh, that's impossible!” Because with even the most rudimentary intellectual development, you would know you couldn't even think of something if it weren't possible!
So, mon petit, we've had quite a little chat!
Is everything all right?... Yes?
Oh, you know, if that could be found again.... But how?8
Truly, they have ruined the earth, they have ruined it – they have ruined the atmosphere, they have ruined everything; and for it to become something like the earthly paradise again, ohh! What a long way to go – psychologically, above all. Even the very structure of Matter (Mother fingers the air around her), with their bombs and their experiments and their... oh, they have made a mess of it all! They have truly made a mess of Matter.
Probably... no, not probably, it's absolutely certain that this was necessary for kneading matter, churning it, to prepare it to receive THAT, the new thing yet to manifest.
Matter was very simple and very harmonious and very luminous not complex enough. This complexity is what ruined everything, but... it will lead to an INFINITELY more conscious realization – infinitely more conscious. And when the earth again becomes as harmonious, simple, luminous, pure – simple, pure, purely divine – then, with this complexity added, something can be achieved.
(Mother gets up to leave)
It doesn't matter. Fundamentally, it doesn't matter. Yesterday, while I was walking... I was walking in a kind of universe that was EXCLUSIVELY the Divine – it could be touched, felt: it was within, without, everywhere. For three-quarters of an hour, NOTHING but that, everywhere. Well, I can assure you, at that moment there were certainly no more problems! And what simplicity – nothing to think about, nothing to want, nothing to decide: to BE, be, be!... (Mother seems to dance) To be in the infinite complexity of a perfect unity: all was there but nothing was separate; all was in movement yet nothing changed place. Truly an experience.
When we become like that, it will be very easy.
Good-bye, petit. You know, I enjoy myself, I enjoy myself every day!
(Mother notices a brilliant crimson canna in a vase)
Ah, there were many flowers just like that in the landscape of this earthly paradise – red, and so beautiful!
1 This enigmatic experience was actually very important, as Mother will later explain (on March 17): Mother was leaving behind the subjection to mental functioning, symbolized by this place where Pavitra was working.
2 Salmon-colored hibiscus.
4 Nasturtium (Promise of Realization).
5 Violet orchid.
6 In Genesis, Hebraic letters.
7 This is the origin of such legends as Shangri-la. But “psychics” most often confuse two planes of reality, attributing to their SUBTLE vision a physical reality which it does not have or no longer has: they have merely entered into contact with the memory of a place – for places, like beings, have a memory.
8 At first, Mother had said, “But it's impossible.” Then, laughing, she had the word deleted.