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The Mother


Volume 2

November 5, 1961

(Mother would prefer Satprem not to mention Paul Richard by name in his book on Sri Aurobindo.)

I have done my best, all these years, to try to keep him at a distance. He has a power – a terrible asuric power. Between you and me, I saw him like that from the start – that's why I became involved with him. I never intended to marry him (his family affairs made it necessary), but when we met, I recognized him as an incarnation of the “Lord of Falsehood” – that is his “origin” (what he called the “Lord of Nations”); and in fact, this being has directed the whole course of world events during the last few centuries. As for Théon, he was....

It was not by choice that I met all the four Asuras – it was a decision of the Supreme. The first one, whom religions call Satan, the Asura of Consciousness, was converted and is still at work. The second [the Asura of Suffering] annulled himself in the Supreme. The third was the Lord of Death (that was Théon). And the fourth, the Master of the world, was the Lord of Falsehood; Richard was an emanation, a vibhuti,1 as they say in India, of this Asura.

Théon was the vibhuti of the Lord of Death.

It's a wonderful story, a real novel, which will perhaps be told one day... when there are no more Asuras. Then it can be told.

Anyway, it was because of Théon that I first found the “Mantra of Life,” the mantra that gives life, and he wanted me to give it to him, he wanted to possess it – it was something formidable! It was the mantra that gives life (it can make anyone at all come back into life, but that's only a small part of its power). And it was shut away in a particular place,2 sealed up, with my name in Sanskrit on it. I didn't know Sanskrit at that time, but he did, and when he led me to that place, I told him what I saw: “There's a sort of design, it must be Sanskrit.” (I could recognize the characters as Sanskrit). He told me to reproduce what I was seeing, and I did so. It was my name, Mirra, written in Sanskrit – the mantra was for me and I alone could open it. “Open it and tell me what's there,” he said.

(All this was going on while I was in a cataleptic trance.) Then immediately something in Me KNEW, and I answered, “No,” and did not read it.

I found it again when I was with Sri Aurobindo and I gave it to Sri Aurobindo.

But that's yet another story....


As soon as you enter the occult world, it's fantastic what can exist and be lived there – but that's for later, when the time comes to speak of such things.

At any rate, you understand that I'm not very keen on having Richard introduced into the book – the simple fact of mentioning him attracts him.3

He was a pastor at Lille, in France, for perhaps ten years; he was quite a practicing Christian, but he dropped it all as soon as he began to study occultism. He had first specialized in theological philosophy in order to pass the pastoral examinations, studying all the modem philosophy of Europe (he had a rather remarkable metaphysical brain). Then I met him in connection with Théon and the Cosmic Review, and I led him into occult knowledge. Afterwards, there were all sorts of uninteresting stories.... He became a lawyer during the early period of our relationship and I learned Law along with him – I could even have passed the exam! Then the divorce stories began: he divorced his wife; they had three children and he wanted to keep them, but to do so he had to be legally married, so he asked me to marry him – and I said yes. I have always been totally indifferent to these things. Anyway, when I met him I knew who he was and I decided to convert him – the whole story revolves around that.

As a matter of fact, the books he wrote (especially the first one, The Living Ether) were based on my knowledge; he put my knowledge into French – and beautiful French, I must say! I would tell him my experiences and he would write them down. Later he wrote The Gods (it was incomplete, one-sided). Then he became a lawyer and entered politics (he was a first-class orator and fired his audiences with enthusiasm) and was sent to Pondicherry to help a certain candidate who couldn't manage his election campaign single-handed. And since Richard was interested in occultism and spirituality, he took this opportunity to seek a “Master,” a yogi. When he arrived, instead of involving himself in politics, the first thing he did was announce, “I am seeking a yogi.” Someone said to him, “You're incredibly lucky! The yogi has just arrived.” It was Sri Aurobindo, who was told, “There's a Frenchman asking to see you....” Sri Aurobindo wasn't particularly pleased but he found the coincidence rather interesting and received him. This was in 1910.

When Richard had finished his work, he returned to France with a poor photograph of Sri Aurobindo and a completely superficial impression of him, yet with the feeling that Sri Aurobindo KNEW (he hadn't at all understood the man that Sri Aurobindo was, he hadn't felt the presence of an Avatar, but he had sensed that he had knowledge). Moreover, I think he always held this opinion, because he used to say that Sri Aurobindo was a unique intellectual giant... without many spiritual realizations! (The same type of stupidity as Romain Rolland's.) Well, my relationship with Richard was on an occult plane, you see, and it's difficult to touch upon. What happened was far more exciting than any novel imaginable.

But he was a man who....

He isn't dead and he's still terribly dangerous because of what's behind him [the Lord of Falsehood].

You didn't record that, did you?


Ah, no! It must all be erased. Simply put a note in your book: “Paul Richard, who met Sri Aurobindo for the first time in 1910....” And you can mention that he was a theological writer or something of the sort to explain how he prompted Sri Aurobindo to write.

When he returned, he told me he would take me there as soon as he could.

The Arya began in June 1914, and the first issue was scheduled to come out on August 15, Sri Aurobindo's birthday; and the war broke out before the first issue appeared – on August 3, I believe – a very interesting point. June 21 was Paul Richard's birthday,4 so on that day we announced the coming publication of the Arya and that the first issue would appear on August 15. Between June 21 and August 15, the war broke out. But since everything was ready we went ahead and published it.

I wrote in my book that Paul Richard intended to bring out simultaneously in Paris a “Review of the Great Synthesis.” Is this true?5

No, it's not true! This was never intended, never! The Arya was bilingual, one part in French and one in English, but it was one and the same magazine published here in Pondicherry. There was never any question of publishing anything in France; this is incorrect, entirely false – a myth. Besides, it was I who translated the English into French, and rather poorly at that!

I have noticed that as soon as one speaks of Richard one is unwittingly led to tell lies. That's why I am so terribly careful to avoid the subject.

The first issue began with The Wherefore of the Worlds (the English following the French), and in it Richard attributed the origin of the world to Desire. They were in perpetual disagreement on this subject, Richard saying, “It is Desire,” and Sri Aurobindo, “The initial force of the Manifestation is Joy.” Then Richard would say, “God DESIRED to know Himself,” and Sri Aurobindo, “No, God had the joy of knowing Himself.” And it went on and on like that!

When Richard went to Japan, he sent his manuscripts to Sri Aurobindo, including The Wherefore of the Worlds and The Eternal Wisdom, and Sri Aurobindo continued to translate them into English.

Frankly, it was a relief for Sri Aurobindo when we left; he even wrote to someone or other (but in a totally superficial way) that Richard's departure was a great relief for him.

When we returned to France, Richard got himself declared unfit for military service on health grounds – a yogic heart ailment! But life in France was impossible; and my presence there was dangerous because monstrous things were going on, monstrous; as Sri Aurobindo said, my sitting at home all alone was generating revolutions – armies were revolting.6 I saw that happening and I didn't want the Germans to win, which would have been even worse, so I said, “I had better go.” Then Richard managed to have himself sent to Japan on business (an admirable feat!), representing certain companies. People didn't want to travel because it was dangerous – you risked being sunk to the bottom of the sea; so they were pleased when we offered and sent us to Japan.

Once there (this would also make a great novel), Richard continued writing and sending his manuscripts to Sri Aurobindo. Finally, when the Peace Treaty was signed and it was possible to travel, the English said that if we tried to return to India they would throw us in jail! But it all worked out miraculously, almost becoming a “diplomatic incident”: the Japanese government decided that if we were put in prison they would protest to the British government! (What a story – I could write novels!) In short, Richard returned here with me. And that's when the tragi-comedy began....

I will tell you about it one day – fantastic!

It was certainly Sri Aurobindo's power that made Richard decide to leave. For twelve years I had been Richard's “guru” (that's where our relationship stood), but I hadn't succeeded in converting him, and when we came back here I said, “I'm through with it. I've tried and I've failed. I've failed completely. Ask Sri Aurobindo.” When Sri Aurobindo took him in hand, that was another story.... He couldn't take it – he left.

But the whole affair was diabolic, you know; it had turned into something fantastic.

Finally he left.

This man clearly led a rather loose life. Right after he left here he spent some time in the Himalayas and became a Sannyasi. Then he went to France and from France to England. In England he married again – bigamy! I didn't care, of course (the less he showed up in my life, the better), but he was in a fix! One day I suddenly received some official letters from a lawyer telling me I had “initiated divorce proceedings against Richard.” it seems I had a lawyer over there! A lawyer I had never asked for, whose name I didn't know, a lawyer I didn't even know existed – “my lawyer”! The trial was taking place at Nice, and “I” was accusing Richard of abandoning me without any means of support! (That was nothing new – I had paid all the expenses from the first day we met! But anyway ....) Naturally, he couldn't plead that he was a bigamist; nor could he have me accuse him of being a bigamist, because it was true! So it seemed he hadn't been paying my expenses; but then I wasn't claiming anything from him in the case, no alimony – a little incoherent, all that.... After a few months I was finally informed that I was divorced, which was rather convenient for me as far as the bank was concerned. I had a marriage contract stipulating that our properties were separate; since I was the one with the money (he had nothing), I wanted to be free to do with it as I pleased. But the French were impossible in such matters: the woman was considered the minor party, so even if the money was the wife's and not the husband's, she couldn't withdraw it without his authorization. I don't know if it's still like that, but in those days the husband always had to countersign – an annoying situation! I got around this in Japan (the banker there found the rule stupid and told me to ignore it), but the bank here can be a pain in the neck, so it was good to get this cleared up.

He remarried two or three more times. By now (I believe) he is the father of quite a large family, with grandchildren and perhaps great-grandchildren. He lives in America. Someone once told me he was dead, but I could sense that he wasn't. Then, out of the blue, E. arrived, full of admiration, telling me she had met Richard and how stunningly he could preach to people....

He had quite a life, you know!

I don't like to talk about these things, though – they don't interest me. As Sri Aurobindo said, I lived my whole life absolutely free. I watched myself living through events like watching a movie. I had an inner vision, an inner will, and my inner reason for doing things was an Order received, an Order I was conscious of; but outwardly – fantastic!... Naturally – how else could it have been?

Here in Pondicherry, those last days might have become tragic (but of course it was impossible). There was the great argument (for he was perfectly aware of who I was): “But after all,” he would tell me, “since you are the eternal Mother, why have you chosen Aurobindo as Avatar? Choose me! You must choose me – me!” It was the Asura speaking through him. I would smile and not discuss it. “That's not how it's done!” I would tell him (laughing). Then one day he said, “Ah, so you don't want to.... (gesture to the throat) Well, if you don't choose me, then....” He was a strong fellow with powerful hands. I kept quite calm and said inwardly, My Lord, my Lord.... I called Sri Aurobindo and I saw him come, like that (gesture enveloping Mother and immobilizing everything). Then Richard's hands loosened their grip.

There were marks on my neck.

A few days later, it was the same scene again. It was always the same scene.... Then he would take the furniture (it wasn't ours, we had rented a furnished apartment) and start throwing it out the window into the courtyard!

A novel....


And you understand, it wasn't the struggle of a man against a god, but the struggle of a god against a god. And when he was like that, he clearly had a formidable, formidable Power! He forced everybody to obey him – but it was Falsehood. And he preached an ascetic spirituality,7 you can't imagine! He was incredibly convincing, but he couldn't see a petticoat without.... Boys, girls, nothing got by him!


He wrote “The Lord of Nations”.... And I saw him, oh! I saw this Lord of Nations. During the last war [World War II] I had some dealings with him again, but not through Richard – directly. The being who used to appear to Hitler was the Lord of Nations. An incredible story!... And I knew when they were going to meet (because after all, he's my son!9 That was the funniest part of it); and on one occasion I substituted myself for him, became Hitler's god and advised him to attack Russia. Two days later he attacked Russia. But upon leaving the “meeting” I encountered the other one [the real Asura] just as he was arriving! He was furious and asked me why I had done that. “It's none of your business,” I said, “it's what had to be done.” “You will see,” he replied, “I KNOW, I know you will destroy me, but before being destroyed I will wreak just as much havoc as I can, you can be sure of that.”

When I returned from my nocturnal promenades I would tell Sri Aurobindo about them.

What a life!... People don't know what goes on. They know nothing – nothing. But it's fantastic.

Occasionally some people were slightly conscious. For instance, during the last war I spent all my nights hovering above Paris (not integrally, but a part of myself) so that nothing would happen to the city. Later it came out that several people had seen what seemed to be a great white Force with an indistinct form hovering above Paris so that it wouldn't be destroyed.

Throughout the war Sri Aurobindo and I were in such a CONSTANT tension that it completely interrupted the yoga. And that is why the war started in the first place – to stop the Work. At that time there was an extraordinary descent of the Supermind; it was coming like that (massive gesture), a descent! Exactly in '39. Then the war broke out and stopped everything cold. For had we personally continued [the work of transformation] we were not sure of having enough time to finish it before “the other one” crushed the earth to a pulp, setting the whole Affair back... centuries. The FIRST thing to be done was stop the action of the Lord of Nations.

The Lord of Falsehood....

You don't believe he is going to begin again?


X is convinced that it's going to begin again.

We are trying.

We are trying.

Sri Aurobindo said that if we can hold on until 1967, then it will be over.... Could be.

But the “ifs”.... There is a domain where no more “ifs” exist, and when I am “there,” I still don't find any signs of... inevitability. The place X looks from is all mixed up. I have had a certain number of visions, but not THE vision of inevitable war.

Not that they aren't trying!


Well, petit, when will you have finished?


Ever since I've known that Sri Aurobindo attached importance to this book, I have been doing a great deal of “looking.” I told you what I saw the other day, didn't I?... You asked my advice in choosing the photos and you had picked the one of him in “meditation” [Sri Aurobindo on his bed after he left his body]. Earlier, I had seen the photo of him young; and while I was looking at it, Sri Aurobindo was there and he suddenly took me thousands of years into the future – I've told you about this – and said to me, The beginning of the legend. Then I understood that this was the right photo for the book.

Evidently he is making your book the starting point for all that will be thought and said and done upon earth on the intellectual plane. And I assure you that I am helping you and he is helping you!

You must ask him.

If that (Mother indicates the head) could only keep quiet! There is tremendous tension there (the temples). When you have problems that need solving, if you could just raise your consciousness and receive the indication, receive the inspiration from above. And keep that (the head) quiet, quiet, quiet – this tension is what tires you out!

You know, two or three minutes of silence can do a lot, and it doesn't take much time.

You don't have time now or I would bring up a problem.... It can wait for another occasion.

Which problem?

About the discovery of the Supermind in the Veda and by Sri Aurobindo. There is something I don't quite grasp.

Because in the Veda it's incomplete.

No, they had a hint, like a vision of the “thing,” but there is no proof that they realized it. What's more, had they realized it, it seems to me that we would certainly have found some traces – but no traces remain.

Théon knew something about it, and he called it “the new world” or “the new creation on earth and the glorified body” (I don't remember his exact terminology); but he knew of the Supermind's existence – it had been revealed to him and he announced its coming. He said it would be reached THROUGH the discovery of the God within. And for him, as I told you the other day, this meant a greater density – which seems to be a correct experience. Well, on my side, I have made investigations and had innumerable visions concerning the earth's history, and I spoke about it a good deal with Sri Aurobindo....


According to what Sri Aurobindo saw and what I saw as well, the Rishis had the contact, the experience – how to put it?... A kind of lived knowledge of the thing, coming like a promise, saying, “THAT is what will be.” But it's not permanent. There's a big difference between their experience and the DESCENT – what Sri Aurobindo calls “the descent of the Supermind”: something that comes and establishes itself.

Even when I had that experience [the “first supramental manifestation” of February 29, 1956], when the Lord said, “The time has come,” well, it was not a complete descent; it was the descent of the Consciousness, the Light, and a part, an aspect of the Power. It was immediately absorbed and swallowed up by the world of Inconscience, and from that moment on it began to work in the atmosphere. But it was not THE thing that comes and gets permanently established; when that happens, we won't need to speak of it – it will be obvious!

Although the experience of '56 was one more forward step, it's not.... It's not final.

And what the Rishis had was a sort of promise – an INDIVIDUAL experience.

Anyhow, there's a problem I want to ask you about, but you don't have time now.

Would you like to write it to me?


1 Indian tradition makes a distinction between a direct “incarnation” (avatar) and a simple “emanation” (vibhuti) coming from the consciousness of a god – or a devil.


2 Not a physical place. See conversation of November 7, p. 380.


3 Richard died in the United States in 1967, then made a vain attempt to reincarnate in Auroville. Thus the danger of “attracting him,” at least under this form, seems remote.


4 On June 28, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated at Sarajevo.


5 Satprem no longer remembers the source of this false information.


6 Mother is alluding to the following aphorism of Sri Aurobindo: “If when thou sittest alone, still and voiceless on the mountain-top, thou canst perceive the revolutions thou art conducting, then hast thou the divine vision and art freed from appearances.” This aphorism is completed by another: “If when thou art doing great actions and moving giant results, thou canst perceive that THOU art doing nothing, then know that God has removed His seal on thy eyelids.” (Cent. Ed., Vol. XVII, p. 92)


7 It is remarkable that throughout Indian tradition Asuras are depicted as great ascetics. They try to wrest Power by dint of asceticism and austerities. But in fact, human beings are incapable of perceiving and seizing true power – true power is transparent.


8 According to Mother's wishes, the tape was erased up to this point. But years passed and circumstances changed, and when Satprem found the transcription of this conversation among his papers, he deemed it worthwhile to preserve the major portion of it for its historical interest. Mother's difficulties are always the difficulties of the “Terrestrial Work”; and this particular Asura, who disturbed the earth in such a particular way, could hardly be passed over in silence.


9 See conversation of July 28, p. 279.









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