October 16, 1963
(Mother first reads two lines from “The Debate of Love and Death” in “Savitri.” She would like to put them as epigraph to the conversation of September 7, the dialogue with a materialist.)
Listen to this:
O Death, thou speakest Truth but Truth that slays,
I answer to thee with the Truth that saves.
So the materialist... “O Death, thou speakest Truth....” What can he reply? It's the Truth!
(Satprem first decided not to publish in full the following conversation on Tantrism. Then, after Mother's departure, when he saw that same Tantrism trying to spread through Auroville, he changed his mind and decided to publish the conversation in full, preceded by a note which we are inserting below. This note was written in 1979.)
Every time a new truth has attempted to manifest upon earth, it has been immediately attacked, corrupted and diverted by pseudo-spiritual forces – which did represent a certain spirituality at a given time, but precisely the one that the new truth wants to go beyond. To give but one example of those sad “spiritual diversions” which clutter History, Buddhism was largely corrupted in a sizable part of Asia by a whole Tantric and magic Buddhism. The falsity lies not in the old spirituality which the new truth seeks to go beyond, but in the eternal fact that the Past clings to its powers, its means and its rule. As Mother said in her simple language, “What's wrong is to remain stuck there.” And Sri Aurobindo with his ever-present humor: “The traditions of the past are very great in their own place, in the past....” We could expect the phenomenon to recur today. In India, Tantrism represents a powerful discipline from the Past and it was inevitable that Mother should experience the better and the worse of that system in her attempt to transform all the means and elements of the old earth – this Agenda has made abundant mention of a certain X, symbol of Tantrism. Now, as it happens, we are witnessing the same phenomenon of “diversion,” and today this same Tantrism is seeking to divert the new truth by convincing as many adepts as possible not to say Mother's Mantra, which is “too advanced for ordinary mortals,” and to say Tantric mantras in its stead. This is purely and simply an attempt to take Mother's place. One has to be quite ignorant of the mechanism of forces not to understand that saying a mantra of the old gods puts you under the influence and into the orbit of precisely that which resists the new truth. Mother had foreseen the phenomenon and forewarned me in the following conversation. Unfortunately, until recently, I always wanted to believe that Tantrism would be converted. Nothing of the sort. It is attempting to take Mother's place and lead astray those who are not sincere enough to want ONE SINGLE THING: the new world.
X has left. I saw him twice (yesterday for the second time), and I wanted to wait till I had seen him the second time before telling you the story.
Here is what happened: I do my usual “bath of the Lord” and it is arranged that, after a time, Champaklal opens the door – which signals to me the end of the visit. So I looked at X, just to see (I had looked at him several times before, but there was nothing particular), I looked at him and saw in front of him a sort of mass of substance, not material but responsive to a mental formation, which means that mental thought and will can make this substance take different shapes – I know it (Mother makes a gesture of fingering the substance), it's very like the sort of substance mediums use for their apparitions (less material, more mental, but anyway the same kind). There was a sort of mass in front of him, which was hiding him; it wasn't luminous, not black either, but dark enough. So I looked at it, STARED at it to see what it was, and as I was staring, I saw that there was a will or an effort to give that mass of substance a shape. It was exactly in front of X's head and shoulders. And there was a will to give it a shape (gesture of molding). As I stared very carefully, it took the shape of Sri Aurobindo's head as it appears in newspapers and magazines (what I call the “popular” Sri Aurobindo, as he is shown in books), the substance took that form. Immediately I thought (ironic tone), “Oh, it's the popular form, that doesn't resemble him!” And instantly, the substance rearranged itself and took the form of Cartier-Bresson's Sri Aurobindo1 (the three-quarter face photo, where he is seated in his armchair). That was better! (Mother holds back a chuckle) It wasn't yet quite good, but anyway it was better (although, mind you, it had neither light nor life: it was matter – a subtle matter, of course – put into shape by a mental will). So I began to wonder: “Whatever is this?! Does he want me to believe that Sri Aurobindo is in him, or what?” Because X's head and shoulders had completely disappeared, there was nothing left but that. And I thought (not a strong thought, just a reflection): “No, it's not very good, really not very lifelike!” (Mother laughs) Then there was a last attempt and it became very like the photo that was taken when he left his body (that photo which we stood on end and called “Meditation”), it was very like the photo, (in an ironic tone) a very good likeness. And it stayed. So I thought, “Oh yes! This is the photo.”
Then I concentrated just a little and thought, “Let's see, now. Whom is he trying to delude?” And instantly, everything vanished. And I saw X, his head.
I had stared at that thing – it went on for more than ten minutes – I stared and stared at it, and with truly an extreme goodwill I tried to see if Sri Aurobindo's vibration was in it (the light wasn't, but I tried to see if the vibration was), but I didn't feel anything.
Nevertheless, there was a very strong WILL to make me believe it was Sri Aurobindo – I saw it, you understand.
It annoyed me a little.
At first I thought, “My goodness! Who does he take me for? (Laughing) A fool who can be made to believe that the moon is made of green cheese?” Then I decided I wouldn't say anything until he left: I wanted to wait till I saw him a second time. Then I made a very strong formation and I said to Sri Aurobindo, “If there was really anything of you in that, well, let it occur again next time.” And yesterday, I kept watching all the time, attentively, very carefully – absolutely nothing happened.
I didn't like that very much.
You understand, I know those things, I have seen thousands of them! Only, as it happens, for more than half a century I have sensed the difference in a most sharp way. I think I told you already that when I returned here from Japan, there were difficulties: once, I was in danger and I called Sri Aurobindo; he appeared, and the danger went away2 – he appeared, meaning, he came, something from him came, an EMANATION of him came, living, absolutely concrete. The next day (or rather later the same day), I told him my experience and how I saw him; that worried him (it was an unceasing danger, you see), and he very strongly thought that he should concentrate on me to protect me. And the next day, I saw him – but it was an image, a mental formation! I told him, “Yes, you came in a mental formation, it wasn't the same thing.” Then he told me that this capacity of discernment is an extremely rare thing. But I always had it, even when I was small. It's a sensitiveness in the perception. And indeed I believe that very few people can sense the difference. So with X, my first impression was, “My goodness, to do this to me!... Well, really, I have some experience of the world, I can't be so easily made to believe that the moon is made of green cheese!”
And yesterday, it was all very peaceful: X was there all the time with nobody in front of him, not pretending anything. But the first time, as he expected some result, he stayed on for ten minutes – probably he was expecting some reaction (I never told him that Sri Aurobindo is with me all the time, that we talk to each other every night). Anyhow, he was probably expecting some enthusiasm on my part (!) There you are.
[Satprem cannot believe what Mother has just told him:] It was a will coming from him? It wasn't someone else who used that substance?
No. It was either he or his guru – his guru interferes in many things. And I saw his guru several times by his side – I wasn't positively sure it was X, but if it wasn't X, it was his guru, it can only be one or the other. And it was done DELIBERATELY, to make me think that Sri Aurobindo was there, in X, using X as a means of expression.
Very, very long ago, when I was still downstairs (not last year, the year before), one day... I don't remember the details, but I know he made a sort of cinema show during the meditation: he showed himself as this god, that god, this or that – there was a whole swarm of gods and beings who came and threw themselves onto him like this (Mother lays one hand flat on the other), and Sri Aurobindo was there too, among the crowd! I took it as a demonstration of his powers – I didn't attach any importance to it. Naturally, I saw what it was; none of those beings was actually there, it was only their image. But I didn't attach any importance to it because to me it was... (laughing) like someone giving me a show!
But this time...
It's the first time it happened, mind you, the first time he tried – spontaneously, I say he tried to delude me. I would be surprised if he wasn't conscious.
You know that for a long time he said, “I and the Mother, the Mother and I, are one.” Of course, in the Scriptures too it's like that! But it was reported to me (I don't attach much importance to it because people twist everything), it was reported to me that he said several times, “It's the Mother speaking to you through me,” and I talked nonsense! (Laughing) That's the trouble. If at least I said some very wise things...
I wouldn't call it “serious.”
I wouldn't call it serious because he may have done it with the best of intentions: not to deceive me, but to help me. But I found it so IGNORANT! That he should use such methods with me shows that he knows absolutely nothing of me.
It would succeed with any ordinary medium, or with a faker. A faker, someone insincere, would be immediately taken in, because in such cases IT IS SINCERITY THAT SAVES. Going by appearances it's very, very difficult to make out the difference. It is sincerity that saves (it's the same thing I said to Sujata.3). I remember how Madame Théon, after I told her several of my experiences, said to me, “Nobody can deceive you because you are perfectly sincere” (occultly, I don't say outwardly: occultly). And it's true, it depends on the sincerity. Consequently, that X should attempt this shows he has a peculiar opinion of me!
But why all this? To what end?
I was told many things. He was AT LEAST tactless (he denied it afterwards, but it's true, I know it's true), he said it is he who would take my place when I go, when I leave my body.
Yes, I know he said so.
I find it incredible.
To me it's not an accusation, because I always take things for the best – it may be the expression of a great goodwill, but obviously an absolutely ignorant one. And then he has such a mania for prophecy! This time again (no one asked him anything), he said spontaneously that I would come downstairs next year, that I would resume my activities downstairs. So I looked (through what he said I looked at what he thought), and I saw that, for him, it didn't at all mean I took possession of a new Power, it was a return to the old things – but in my case, a return to the old things is folly!
You understand, that's what interests me; it's not that I want to find fault with him, but this is the proof that he has no true perception whatsoever of what it's all about.
He certainly has no understanding of what's taking place here, of your work, for sure; but I had rather the feeling of a goodwill.
Yes, he does have goodwill, but such an ignorant one!
He even said that he would be asked – he would be ASKED – to take my place. He added, “I can't say, because I am a free man”! (Mother laughs and laughs)
I wanted to tell you this because it's interesting to note it and keep it.
But I don't want him to know, because I take it for the best, as a goodwill, as if to show me that he is quite ready to help and support me: but all this in a mind that seems to me so childish! You see, the idea that I trust only Sri Aurobindo, and that if it's presented in the form of Sri Aurobindo, I'll accept! Things of that sort. I had such an impression that he thought he was dealing with a goose!
Mentally, I know. When I am with him, if I happen to listen to what he says for just two minutes, I get a headache, I can't bear it. I can stay with him only when I am above or outside, then it's quite all right. But if I listen to him mentally, I get a headache.
Yes, I told you, the day when I entered his mind, it was frightful!
I can't listen to him, but I can be with him without listening to him.
There you have it! (Mother laughs)
He clearly knows how to put mental substance into shape – but this handling of mental matter to give it a shape, everybody does it unknowingly, automatically; you only have to think a little strongly for it to be done. Only, people don't see it because they don't have the mental vision. And here, it was so funny [X's mental formation], because it responded so well (that's what made me think it was he who was doing it, not someone else), it responded so well to my immediate thought (and I didn't think strongly). I looked at the thing, and spontaneously, within myself, I thought, “Oh, no!...” Almost as if Sri Aurobindo were saying, “Oh, no! That's my popular portrait, it's no good!” Voilà.4
A little later
I would like to know the meaning of the “flood” you saw the other day.
Ah, I had the explanation, and now I don't remember. I had it, classified it – it all goes away so fast, so fast....
I had it very clearly, I don't remember now. It will come back.
There are thousands of things like that.
(after a silence)
There is really now a struggle against all that terrestrial formation... against, yes, the ignorance and unconsciousness of the earth's primal thought.
It's still there; even in those who have developed their higher mind, who are able to emerge from that darkness and ignorance, it's still there – it's still there in a sort of mental or vital subconscient. And it's so dark! Thoroughly stupid, you know: it can be given hundreds and thousands of proofs, it remains unaffected – a kind of incapacity to understand. And then it constantly rises to the surface, and I am constantly obliged (gesture of offering to the Heights) to “present” it: “This is still there, that is still there, that...” And I see very well that the distinction between what goes on in this body and its atmosphere, and what goes on in all other bodies is... I don't know if the distinction still exists, but it's imperceptible. And the consciousness is aware of all those movements as if they were personal to the physical person. But the physical person (Mother touches her body) isn't just this body – I am not yet sure whether the physical person isn't the whole earth (for certain things, it is the whole earth), or whether the physical person is the entirety of all the bodies of the people I am in contact with.... During the last hours of the night, that is, between 2 and 4, I see precise forms; but those precise forms are themselves representative, meaning there are TYPES and those types take on the image of someone I am in contact with or was in personal contact with. But to me they are types: “Oh, it's such and such a type” – but that can be thousands of people. And the action (it's always for an action), the action on the person-type has repercussions on all that he represents.
And that's a labor which seems... infinite – endless, at any rate.
It does have consequences.
You see, what I do is this: the thing comes, it's taken up, presented (gesture to the Heights) as though it were mine: “But look, see how I am...” (but it's the “I” – the great I), it's presented to the Lord, very humbly, with the sense and feeling of complete helplessness – I simply say, “Here, change it.” The feeling that only He can do it, that everything that people have tried everywhere appears childish – everything appears to be childish. The most sublime intelligence seems to me childish. All the attempts that are made to enlighten, organize, educate mankind, to awaken it to a higher consciousness, to give it mastery over Nature and its forces, all of it – all of it, which for a human vision is sometimes utterly sublime, seems absolutely like children playing and having fun in a nursery. And children who love dangerous games, who believe TERRIBLY in what they do (as do children, naturally). I have never met more serious and stern a justice than the justice children have in their games. They really take life seriously. Well, that's exactly the impression it makes on me: the impression of a mankind in infancy which takes what it does with ferocious seriousness. And which will never get out of it – it will never get out of it, it lacks the little something (which may be really nothing at all), a very little something thanks to which... ah, everything becomes clear and organized – all that comes from mankind always BORDERS on Truth.
So the only thing I can do is this (gesture of presenting): “Look, Lord, see how ignorant and powerless we are, how utterly stupid we are – it's up to You to change it.” How do you change it? You can't even imagine the change, you can't even do that. So all my time (same gesture) – not from time to time: constantly, day and night, without letup, day and night without letup. If for an interval of one or two minutes this isn't done, there is something that catches up: “Oh, all that time wasted!” And if I take a close look at what happened, then I see; I see that for these few minutes, I was blissful in the Lord, letting myself live blissfully in the Lord; so I no longer presented things to Him – it happens two or three times a day. A relaxation, you know, you let yourself flow blissfully in the Lord. And it's so natural and spontaneous that I don't even notice it; I notice it when I resume my attitude... (same gesture to the Heights) of transferring everything to the Lord every minute.
And always that question of age... In everybody, everybody, without even their noticing it, there is always in the background (for the slightest thing, at the slightest opportunity), always the idea of old age, of going downhill, of decrepitude. And it comes a thousand times a day! (Mother laughs) So here too, I say to the Lord, “Listen, am I really going downhill?” Then He shows me one or two things... in a dazzling light. It happens to me off and on – not often – when the “avalanche” has been considerable enough; then there is a bedazzlement of Light and Power, sometimes of such a formidable Power that you get the feeling that if you were to wield it... what would happen? For instance, if I simply come into contact with a malicious ill will (that's rare), an urge or a desire to harm, I do this (Mother pinches the vibration between her fingers), I do this (but it corresponds to an inner action: it's a Power that acts together with a white Light, absolutely white, you know, intolerant of anything but the perfectly white), and almost instantly, in the person in whom the movement of ill will resulted in a partial possession of the vital: an attack of nerves or (what do they call it?) a vital collapse or a nervous collapse, very tangible. So naturally, you curb all movements and you watch it all, perfectly quiet, with the eternal Smile. But it's as if to show me: here – here is the potentiality (!) Only there is no Order to wield it, except now and then “just to see.”
Listen, the night before, in the middle of the night, someone came to me (someone who was dark blue, which means a mental formation) with a plan of action, and told me, “It's all arranged: on such and such a day and at such and such a time” (it was meant for next year), “you will have this work to do, you will have to come downstairs, and here is how everything will be arranged for you to come down – this, that, that....” And I played the game very well, I answered, “Oh, no! That won't do, you have to arrange it this way and that way....” Then when it was all over, something suddenly made me go within (gesture of return inward), I looked at the whole thing, saw the person, saw the plan, saw everything (I was in the midst of an action), and said, “Yes, all this is very well, but you see, the snag is that I am not going downstairs!” And at one stroke, frrt! gone – it was a construction, as if there were an entire organization, even a governmental one (!), to make me come downstairs. And when I woke up (that is, in the morning when I came out of my activity of the night), I thought, “Could it be what showed itself” (it was a mental formation – from whom, from where? I didn't bother about that), “could it be what showed itself to X and made him declare with the authority of a clairvoyant: ‘Mother will come downstairs next year’?” I found it very amusing.
Things are increasingly AS THEY ARE: exact, without complications. I have noticed that with people, even the most sincere and straightforward, there is always a kind of coating, an emotive coating (even with the coldest and driest), something that belongs to the vital; an emotive coating that makes things fuzzy, uncertain and allows a game that gives them a feeling of all sorts of “mysterious forces” at play – things are very clear, very simple, very, oh, very simple, and that coating brings along a sort of confusion. It's not sentiment, not emotion either, it's something... something that LOVES uncertainty, the unknown, the unexpected – not positively chance (it's not so strong), but which loves to live in that, in... in fact, in Ignorance! Which loves not to know what's going to happen. Even the simplest things, the most obvious, have all that coating over them.
Look, for instance, how many people, even the most serious, love to have their fortune told: reading the hand, reading the handwriting (I am pestered with people who ask me things like that), but anyway, even regardless of any spiritual idea, that sort of interest people find in being told, “See, your life line will last up to here....” People love it! They love it, they love to remain in their uncertainty. They love their ignorance. They love that unknown – the unknown “full of mysteries.” They love the prophet who comes and tell them, “This is what you will do.... This is what is going to happen to you....” It seems so childish! It's the same as the taste for theater, it's the same thing (not the playwright, but the spectator who watches the play without knowing how it will end), or again the taste for novels – the taste for the “unknown.” But then that's very close to the taste for the marvelous.
There is still a long way to go to enter Knowledge – the consciousness in which you know things quietly, in which everything is so simple, so natural, so evident. And it's that coating which brings complications: suddenly things get complicated in the human atmosphere.
I think animals (not those which live with men), animals (there aren't many left nowadays, they have all been contaminated by man!), the “natural” animals – animals in their natural state – have a very simple life. Everything is quite evident, quite simple, quite natural – we're the ones who make complications.
1 Cartier-Bresson had photographed Sri Aurobindo in 1950.
2 The famous scene of the strangling with Richard.
3 Who had seen a “false Mother” with dark spots all over her – her sincerity made her see the spots. Others would have seen a “dazzling” Mother.
4 Let us recall the conversation of May 15, 1962 (volume III, p. 140 ff.), in which Mother also refers to Tantric intrigues to corrupt Sri Aurobindo's teaching.