January 12, 1963
A deluge of work!... The other day, you said in your manuscript [of The Adventure of Consciousness] that Sri Aurobindo used to work fourteen hours a day, and they want me to do the same – for the moment I am not giving in.
Oh, you're quite right!
It's very bad.
That's what made him lose his eyesight, you know; his eyes were overstrained. I know it's due to that, because I heard him say so. Once, they had brought him a stack of books to sign and other things and, unaware that he could be heard, he exclaimed, Oh, they want to make me blind!1 That's how I knew his eyes were tired. He was indeed losing his sight. At the end, he couldn't see a thing, he had to look at very close range.
So I am not giving in.
I'll soon have finished my translation [of The Synthesis of Yoga], I have only a few more pages to go, ten or so. It's very incomplete, I mean it's a translation. Meaning: correct; but at times the sentence comes out very different, at other times it's a pure Anglicism.
It's a strange phenomenon: as soon as I sit down to translate, in the space of one or two seconds, no more, I become a different person. I write – it isn't I who write, I know it's Sri Aurobindo.
And he suggests some words to me, that is, suddenly I see: “Like this.” I hear the sentence and write it down. Sometimes it's very different, though I can see the meaning is the same; and sometimes it isn't French....
Do you have the next aphorism?
You understand, there are only 365 days in a year, and we are... including the visitors who come specially for their birthdays, nearly 1,300 people. Most people I don't see, but some I have to: people like Nolini, Amrita, Pavitra, Champaklal,2 I can't but give them a moment. Then there are people who come from Africa, from Europe, and who ask to see me before leaving, so...
So I am listening to you now.
81 – God's laughter is sometimes very coarse and unfit for polite ears; He is not satisfied with being Molière, He must needs also be Aristophanes and Rabelais.
(After a silence) We'll see on Monday.
It's rather odd, at times it comes in torrents (more than streams): forms, images, expressions, revelations, it comes flowing, flowing, flowing – if I started writing I could write endlessly. At other times it's... total immobility. And if I try to disturb “that,” it means falling back into the ordinary stupidity.
That's why I asked you to read to me: the aphorism went off above.
(Later, regarding the last conversation, in which Mother said that the body lives only out of a habit of living:)
I've had a very interesting experience (not personal). Did you know Benjamin3?... His psychic being had left him quite some time ago and, as a result, to the surface consciousness he seemed a bit deranged – he wasn't deranged but diminished. And he lived, as I said, out of habit. The physical consciousness still held a minimum of vital and mind and he lived out of habit. But the remarkable thing is that sometimes, for a few seconds, he would live admirably, in full light, while at other times he couldn't even control his gestures. Then he left altogether: all the accumulated energy dwindled little by little, little by little, and whatever remained left his body. It was just on his birthday, on December 30 (the night of December 30). He left. So they did as is always done: they cleaned his room, took out the furniture. Since then, there had been no sign of him. Yesterday evening, after dinner (which is about the same time he left twelve days ago), I was in concentration, resting, when suddenly here comes a very agitated Benjamin who tells me, “Mother, they've taken all the furniture out of my room! What am I to do now!?” I told him gently, “Do not fret, you don't need anything any more.” Then I put him to rest and sent him to join the rest of his being.
Which means it took twelve days for all his elements to form again. You see, they burned his body. (He was Christian, but his family – his wife is alive and his brother too – found it less costly to let us handle it than to bury him as a Christian! So they had him cremated.) We cremated him, but I demanded a certain interval of time,4 although in his case it was really a gradual exhaustion and nothing much remained in his body; nonetheless, even then the consciousness is flung out of the cells violently – it took twelve days to form again. It wasn't his soul (it had already left) but the spirit of his body that came to me, the body consciousness gathered in a well-dressed, neat Benjamin with his hair neatly brushed. He was quite trim when he came to me, just as he would have been in life: he always wanted to be well-groomed and impeccable to see me, that was his way. It took twelve days to gather together because I didn't see to it (I can do it in a few hours but only if I see to it), but in his case, his soul having been at rest for a long time, it didn't matter much. So over twelve days it took form again and when he was ready (laughing), he came to reoccupy his room!... And there was no furniture left, nothing!
I found that very funny.
And he had been living for more than a year, almost two years, I think, just out of a habit of living.
There is also here the sister of the old portly doctor, she is (I think) five or six years older than I – she is getting on for ninety. She has been dying away too, for several months. The doctors (who don't know the first thing in these matters) had declared she would die after a few days. “Wait a little,” I told them, “this woman knows how to enter a state of rest, she has a very peaceful consciousness – it will last long, it may last for years.” She is in bed, she can't move much, but... she lives. She too lives out of habit.
In reality, the body should be able to last MUCH LONGER than human beings think. They knock it about: as soon as someone is unwell, they drug or knock his body about, they take away that kind of calm vegetative serenity that can make it last a very long time. The way trees take a very long time to die.
...Obviously, the whole difficulty is the mixing of two things: on one hand, the responsibility of everything, the entire organization, all these people hanging on to me (and naturally giving me work, even if we cut out whatever we can), and on the other, the study or recording of what goes on. If I had nothing to do and could note down my nights, what fascinating things there would be!
For instance, two or three nights ago (I don't remember), I was with Sri Aurobindo, we were doing a certain work (it was in a mental zone with certain vital reactions mixed in), well, a general work. I was with Sri Aurobindo and we were doing the work together. He wanted to explain to me how a particular movement is turned into a distorted movement; he was explaining this to me (but there's nothing mental or intellectual about it, nothing to do with theories). And without even (how can I put it?) without even a thought or an explanation to forewarn you, a true movement is changed into a movement that is... not false but distorted. I was speaking to Sri Aurobindo and he was answering, then I turn my head away like this (not physically – all this is an inner life, naturally), I turned my head as if to see the [vibratory] effect. Then I turn back and send Sri Aurobindo the movement necessary to carry on with the experience, and I receive a reply which surprises me because of the quality of its vibration (it was a reply of ignorance and weakness). So I turn my attention back again, and as a matter of fact in Sri Aurobindo's place I saw the doctor. Then I understood! Superficially, one may say, “So, Sri Aurobindo and the doctor are the same!” (To people who would see such a thing it would occur that they are the same – of course it's all, all the same! All is one, people just don't understand this complete oneness.) Naturally it didn't surprise me for the thousandth of a second, there wasn't any surprise, but... oh, I understood! This way (Mother slightly tilts her hand to the left), it's Sri Aurobindo, and that way (slightly to the right), it's the doctor. This way it's the Lord, and that way it's a man!!
At the time, there were all the minute details of observation that make the experience so concrete. If I were to write it all, it would be worthwhile. But they are countless! I would spend my days writing down my nights! What to do?
This is ONE kind – there are so many different kinds. For the body too, there are countless observations: for example, a vibration like this (gesture) brings eternal bliss; a MINUSCULE shift (it looks like a shift – is it a shift? Is it... what? A distortion? An addition? Or is it... it's all kinds of different things at once), and it turns into anguish and dreadful discomfort – THE VERY SAME THING. And so forth. Tons of things that could be written down!
And if it were all noted down clearly, accurately, down to the last detail, it would be worth it, but just look (Mother shows a pile of papers beside her): work everywhere! Letters and letters! Three, four, five, ten, twenty every day, not to mention all the decisions I must make instantly and write on the spot. This morning I wrote four “urgent” notes like that when Nolini was here, and you saw how it was with Pavitra.
And I can't say it isn't important – it is important, in that all those people depend on me. I can't make them overnight capable of receiving fully and clearly, without any external expression, all that I do. I can't ask them to transform themselves by a miracle, I've got to help them!
I make myself difficult to approach, I keep at a good distance. As much as I can, I teach them to receive directly, but there remains a minimum. So 1,300 or 1,400 people, not to mention all the others I correspond with – that means 2,000 or 3,000 people on average in conscious relationship [with Mother].
And it keeps coming and coming. Many come and are not even aware of it! And I keep going and going. Consciously, most of the time, but also quite often not consciously. Here's an example: someone is very ill, someone who truly loves me (it's Z, A.'s wife). A. informed me she was ill. So I increased the dose (everyone is inside, I am with everyone, that goes without saying, but when something goes wrong I increase the dose). I increased the dose. I expected an improvement but it didn't happen. So I increased the dose again. The next day, I received a letter from A. saying that the night before, Z had had an interesting experience. She has asthma (asthmatics feel as if they are dying, it's very painful, and she is very sensitive, very nervous – she was really unwell, so they drugged her, and so...). Well then, during an acute attack of asthma, she sat up in her bed, her legs hanging down. Then her feet began to feel cold and she reached out for her slippers; she bent down, and instead of her slippers she felt something soft and alive. Astonished, she looks down – and sees my feet. My feet were there with the sandals I used to wear to go out – my bare feet. So she touched my feet and said, “Ohh, Mother is here!” Immediately she lay down again, fell asleep... and woke up cured.
And she didn't make it up: my feet WERE there. “My feet,” I mean something of me which took that form to be perceptible to her.
All this makes for work.
And not only here: here, there, everywhere, all over the world. And it doesn't get recorded in the head (that's impossible! I would go mad), but it stays in the consciousness (Mother makes a gesture around her head) and I just have to stop and pay attention: “What is it?” (Mother catches the vibration coming to her)... But you understand, how do you record all this in spoken or written words? We would have to write fifty lines at the same time! It's impossible.
But it is conscious.
And everything, everything that goes on up there with the war, all those Chinese who are forced to do things they don't want to do....
And all that, all that, nonstop, nonstop, nonstop, everywhere, everywhere.
What reaches the active consciousness is only what demands an active reply, and that's still too much. Which means that twenty-four hours aren't enough.
And I realize... You see, I need physical help to relieve the body of all effort that's not strictly indispensable. But I can't make their [the attendants'] life completely chaotic in appearance: there has to be some schedule. And a schedule means terrible limitations. I can't help it. I can't help it, because for the time being, simply the will expressing itself isn't enough to make matter respond. Once it is like that, time won't matter any more, but – BUT.
We mustn't be impatient.
1 Italics indicate words or sentences Mother spoke in English.
2 The “secretaries” and the attendant.
3 An old disciple who has just died.
4 Before the cremation, so as to give the consciousness time to come out.
5 In the next conversation, Satprem asked for some clarification of this passage, and Mother repeated her experience, adding some details and comments:
There's just one passage that isn't clear to me.
Aah!... Well, you told me that – yesterday afternoon or the day before, I don't remember, you told me that. You told me it wasn't clear!
(Satprem stares wide-eyed)
And I explained it to you again.
You see, Sri Aurobindo was explaining something to me, but the explanation wasn't like a theory: it's immediately translated into movements of matter, that is, movements of forms and forces. So I was listening (I was listening to him, we were talking), and I turned my head away to follow the demonstration of forces, of what he said; naturally it led to another movement which was the consequence, and then I described what I was seeing. When I began describing the consequence, I received a reply (it was a sort of dialogue between us, but without different voices and all the things we know physically), but the quality of the vibration was different, it had become... instead of being supramental, if you like, it had become sattvic [moral], the reply was sattvic. In other words, a diminution, a limitation. I was surprised so I turned back again, and instead of finding Sri Aurobindo, I saw the doctor, with his hair very neat – oh, a super-doctor, you know! But it was he, I mean at his best. So immediately I thought, “Here we are! Here is how things get more and more diminished – yes, diminished, altered, altering also physical appearances – here is how the Lord changes all His physical appearances.” Oh, it was really funny, because it was a practical and precise little illustration. But then there was immediately the feeling that everything, the whole universe is like this! That's how all forms are changed.
So now you see!