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The Mother


Volume 6

August 7, 1965

I had a long conversation with you this morning. I told you many things. Did you hear?

No, nothing.

This morning, for, oh, at least a good hour, an experience came: the true attitude and true role of the material mind – lived, not thought. Lived. It was interesting. A sort of tranquil beatitude.... It was about the relationship between the constant state and the action that keeps coming from outside and interrupts (or has the habit of interrupting when it shouldn't), interrupts this constant state. There were examples, and the first that came was you, the relationship with you, and the way out of the “state of illness,” I might say, and also the complete blossoming of the consciousness, the harmony of the whole being – what this new realization can do to change all that.

It lasted a good hour. You must have been still sleeping: it was between 4:30 and 5 this morning – you were sleeping.... (Mother laughs mischievously) So much the better, it will have more effect that way!

But nothing ever comes through to the other side! It's a pity. I'm not conscious.

You are more conscious than you think. It's going well.

But it was truly interesting! I understood; I said to myself, “If life becomes constantly like this, then, then... we will no longer complain about anything.”

And all the disorders were not only erased in their unpleasant, disagreeable effects (that is to say, the pain had disappeared, to speak their ordinary language), but were consciously TAKING PART in the progress of the being. Then it becomes splendid!

But I “told” you (see how it is!) that I wouldn't talk about it, because when I talk it stops the experience and I have to wait for some time before it recurs – it never recurs in the same way. Which means that the experience I had today, now it's finished. I have talked about it, it's finished. I have to move ahead towards something better. If you don't talk, you can keep the experience for a time, till the effect is extinguished. When you talk, it's finished; it belongs to the past and you have to move ahead towards something new.

Something is always, always, always pushing me towards the new – one more step. That's good.

But what was it about? An action of the material mind?

An attitude.

An attitude of the material mind?

An attitude, but... oh, not willed or concerted, nothing like that: simply it had understood.

It had learned to keep silent and act.

To keep silent and act.

Oh, it was lovely!


Every time I express it, it recedes farther into the past.

Ah, I think we should take up Savitri.... (Mother looks at Satprem:) You have a question? Ask.

No, I didn't have any question, I was immersed in what you were saying.

It followed a long curve.... It began with a deep disgust for its [the material mind's] habitual activity; I started catching (not now: it's been going on for weeks), catching all its routine and almost automatic activities – I have said it several times: this material mind is defeatist, always pessimistic, meddlesome, grumbling, disgruntled, lacking in faith, lacking in trust.... Even when it tends to be joyful and content, something comes and says, “Ah, stop it, because you'll get another knock.” That sort of thing. It went on for weeks, and a continuous, constant work.... It always ended in the offering. There was a beginning of progress when... No, first I should tell all that happened before. To begin with, the japa, the mantra, for instance, was taken as a discipline; then from the state of discipline it changed into a state of satisfaction (but still with the sense of a duty to be done); then from that it changed into a sort of state of constant satisfaction, with the desire (not “desire,” but a will or an aspiration) for it to be more frequent, more constant, more exclusive. Then there was a sort of repugnance to and rejection of all that comes and disturbs, mixed with a sense of duty towards work, people and so on, and all that made a muddle and a great confusion. And it always ended in the transfer to the Supreme along with the aspiration for things to change. A long process of development.

Recently there was a sort of will for equality towards activities that had been tolerated or accepted only as an effect of the consecration and in obedience to the supreme Will. And then, all of a sudden they became something very positive, with a sense of freedom and a spontaneity of state, and a beginning of understanding of the attitude with which the action must be done. All this came very, very progressively. And then this morning, there was the experience.


I may express it in this way: the capacity to fall silent and to intervene only on the Impulse from above.

To intervene only when set in motion by the supreme Wisdom, for every action to be done.

And it gave the exact meaning of the purpose of this material mind; because there was always, in the background of the consciousness, that sentence of Sri Aurobindo's which said it was an impossible instrument and would probably have to be got rid of. It had remained. And I saw there was something wrong: in spite of all the criticism, all the offering, all the disgust, even all the rejection, this material mind was preserved. Only, it has been transformed slowly, slowly, and now the first step has been made, a step on the road to transformation, with the experience of the cessation of its automatic activity.

That was the experience of this morning.

I am not saying it is final, far from it, but it's much more under control. The cessation lasted perhaps an hour or two, I don't remember, but its activity isn't so mechanical anymore. You know that sort of mental silence in which everything falls flat (immobile, horizontal gesture); well, it can now be done with this material mind – it falls flat, turned upward.

But it is a beginning, just the beginning.

Only, there is a certainty. Even if it had occurred for just a few minutes, one could be sure that it would be – it occurred for much longer than that. Consequently this material mind will be part of what will be transformed.

And it gives a tremendous power! When it stops, the Vibration of Love can manifest in its plenitude.

It came this morning, in a glory.

It's for later.

*   *

(Towards the end of the conversation, Satprem, who has been approached a second time about an article for a magazine, asks for Mother's advice.)

Do you know that they've asked me to write an article?

Yes. Are you doing it?

It's for you to tell me. I don't know.

The first time, I blocked it; I didn't even let their suggestion reach you. Then this letter came from M. and they read it to me; and instead of thinking of you, I thought of the people and I said to myself that it would obviously be very good for them. So I let it pass.

Yes, I felt you had let it pass because it began going round my head – but still it's quite a nuisance!

They ask for “personal reminiscences.”

“How and why I was seized by Sri Aurobindo.”

Do you know it?

Yes, but I have never tried to explain it to myself mentally.

No, no, I am asking you if you KNOW it.

And they ask for pages....


Twelve pages.... I would say it in one sentence, and it would be over.

What's your sentence?

“Because that was the truth of my being.”

Or the law – we could say “the truth” or “the law.”

Those questions are stupid, aren't they? They only ask you what your mind believed or imagined – it's meaningless.

We could also say (but they would take it as an impertinence), “Because it was to be.” But the true answer is, “Because such was the law of my being.” I came on earth to meet him or to meet what he represents, and naturally, since I came for that, it took hold of me – I took hold of it, it took hold of me, and that's that. We can make lots of sentences!

But they understand only when it becomes mental chatter.

So, if you like, I propose one thing (they won't be happy, but it'll do them good!), that's to tell them, “Here is what I can say in answer to your question, and that's all.” And it will be one sentence, two sentences, half a page, that's all. You won't have told them no, and at the same time you won't have yielded to their ignorant insistence.

I didn't intend to tell you all this, but anyway that is how I see the problem. To start writing pages on that is pure chatter (of course, their whole affair will be nothing but pure chatter,1 but that's no reason to do as they do). And at the same time, it's a good lesson: we are showing goodwill – “Well, I am giving you the truth here; if that's not what you were expecting, too bad for you.” It's a very good lesson.

If they have some intelligence, they will publish it. If they publish it, it will be good for everyone.... I haven't told you this little story which resembles yours: some two years ago, The Illustrated Weekly asked questions on where India stood, and in their questionnaire they had asked for the answers to be put in as few words as possible. Very well. As for me, I answered with one word, two words, three words, because things can be put in very few words.2 They published it in a box in the middle of people's answers, which were columns long! Mon petit, it seems it had more effect than all the rest. They said to themselves, “It has forced us to think.” It will be the same thing for you if you have the courage to put just what has to be put, in as few words as possible: the thing as exact as possible.

If they have the courage to publish it, it will do a lot of good, a lot.3

And it isn't a question of condensing, it's not that: it's a question of saying just the essential – of catching the essential behind all that and of saying it.

Do that, it'll be fun!

Sri Aurobindo is happy.




The Mother answers

(A questionnaire from The Illustrated Weekly of India, Republic Day issue of 1964 – original English)

1. If you were asked to sum up, just in one sentence, your vision of India, what would be your answer?

India's true destiny is to be the Guru of the world.

2. Similarly, if you were asked to comment on the reality as you see it, how would you do it in one sentence?

The present reality is a big falsehood – hiding an eternal truth.

3. What, according to you, are the three main barriers that stand between the vision and the reality?

i) Ignorance ii) Fear iii) Falsehood.

4. Are you satisfied with the overall progress India has made since Independence? (Yes or No)


5. What is our most outstanding achievement in recent times? Why do you consider it so important?

Waking up of the yearning for Truth – because without Truth there is no real liberty.

6. Likewise, can you name the saddest failure? On what ground do you regard it as so tragic?

Insincerity. Because insincerity leads to ruin.

(November 12, 1963)


Why Sri Aurobindo?

(an article by Satprem)

On a December morning, almost twenty years ago, on the platforms of the Gare du Nord, a youth was preparing to set off for... anywhere, as long as it was as far and adventurous as possible – for the time being, it was South America. And beneath the enormous clock which weighed several tons and seemed to him as weighty as Western time, this youth was repeating a curious mantra in his heart: Sri Aurobindo-Mauthausen. Only these two words remained to live and walk with. Behind, there was a world collapsed once for all under the Austrian watchtowers. Although the watchtowers might as well have been Boulevard Montparnasse – it was the same thing; another searchlight would have pierced the scenery perfectly well. And there was in that word all the force of a man who had emerged from the dead. Then this name, which did not have a very precise meaning, Sri Aurobindo, but it goes without saying that open sesames have never spoken to the head – they open the door. And there was in it all the force of a man who needs one true little thing to live.

Because we can entertain our minds as long as we like – our libraries are full; we can amass all the possible explanations of the world, but we will not have achieved anything or walked a single step if we haven't touched the secret spring behind the mind's flourishes. For the Truth is not what makes us think, but what makes us walk on.

Where to? We all know our final destination. It is no bigger than seven feet by four, after we have produced some offspring, who will do what we were doing and before us our fathers' fathers, with a few technical improvements and even a lot of televisions – but without the one vision that changes everything. For we have changed nothing in the world as long as we haven't changed inside.

Which is why the mystics send us back to heaven, and the realists to the ever-receding perfect society and automatic leisure.

Sri Aurobindo opens a door in this world stifled by its material or heavenly excesses. He tells us, first, that there is something to be discovered and that we are rich, richer than we may ever think with our heads – we are like beggars sitting on a gold mine. But we must get down into the mine. And he tells us that we have the power, if only we are pure enough to seize it. The power over Death and over Life and over Matter, for the Spirit is in us and it is here below that It wants to conquer:

Heaven's touch fulfills but cancels not our earth.4

And he tells us that just because we have invented a few rockets and cultivated a few cerebral pyramids, that does not mean we have done with being men. A still greater adventure awaits us, divine and superhuman, if only we have the courage to get under way.

And he gives us the means to do so.

For “what Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's history is not a teaching, not even a revelation: it is an action.”5 Sri Aurobindo is not a thinker or a sage, not a mystic or a dreamer. He is a force of the future that takes hold of the present and leads us towards,

The miracle for which our life was made.6


August 11, 1965

P.S. There may be a certain vanity in saying, “Why Sri Aurobindo? – Because this and that”; that is still our mind trying to catch hold of things in order to put its explanations on them, as if nothing could be without its “clarifications.” Yet, the most potent events in our lives are those we do not explain, because their force goes on working in us without being frozen by ONE explanation – there are many other levels of explanation, and there is a mute explanation that remains quietly in the depths, like an ever-calm water, as clear as a child's gaze. And there is still more vanity in saying that Sri Aurobindo is this but not that – he is this and that, and many other things, too; he is with the yes and the no, the for and the against, and with all that seeks without knowing, because everything seeks after Joy, through the yes and the no, through the darkness or the light, slowly and over the tottering centuries or all at once in an all-seizing light. From age to age, that Light comes down on the earth to help it become sooner what it always was and seeks after in its troubled heart; and that Light is clothed in one word or another, it takes on a sweet or a terrible face, or a vast and powerful one like an all-embracing sea, but it is the same Light always, and the soul that opens itself in that ray secretly recognizes a Face it has loved many a time. From century to century it uncovers itself – the same child with folded hands, gazing at the world with love.

August 12, 1965


1 It is a special issue devoted to Sri Aurobindo.


2 See in addendum the text of Mother's answer.


3 Satprem's article is published in addendum.


4 Savitri, XII.719.


5 The Mother.


6 Savitri, 11. Xll. 278.









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