October 16, 1965
I have just thrown a fit of indignation! Because almost without exception, all the people around me, who profess to want nothing but what I want, are apparently completely obedient, but their instinct is just the opposite. When I see someone, for instance, I see how he is, what he is capable of, etc., and when I see it's a man we can't count on, THEIR instinct is: “Oh, what a wonderful man!” And it's their INSTINCT, in other words, the spontaneous movement of their being is in constant contradiction with my knowledge.
So that means... I can't say it's hypocrisy, but it's a purely mental attitude that doesn't correspond to the consciousness of the being. Because for me there is a very sure indication: when I don't say anything to someone (that is, I don't use the intermediary of the mind) but see that his sensation, his feeling, his state of consciousness are in harmony with mine, I know it's going well. And when that person tells me, “Yes, I want what you want,” it's true. But when it's simply a purely mental, superficial attitude and when because I say, “It's like that,” outwardly they repeat, “It's like that,” but inwardly everything seethes because they feel differently...
For instance, for precise problems, a decision to be made, the problem is put to me; I don't answer materially right away, I send the answer like this (gesture of inner communication), then I wait. Well, it has happened (rather rarely, but anyway it has happened) that the person wrote to me, “I have received the answer, it's this and that.” Then I say, “That's good.” But when I write words and because I write words, they say the same thing, it doesn't prove anything. It's an artificial obedience.
And I am not talking about those who immediately feel, “Oh, Mother is wrong,” I am not even talking about those; I am talking about those who truly have goodwill, but who are up to here (gesture to the mouth), even up to here (gesture to the forehead) fully in Ignorance and Falsehood, and who cover that with the cloak of a knowledge they have learned but don't even feel....
How will the world change? It's not possible.
No, I am not speaking of the enormous mass of those who imagine I am wrong all the time, but still who say, “Oh, the poor old lady, we shouldn't cross her,” I am not even speaking of those. I am speaking of those who mentally have goodwill – they have put on a mask of goodwill. But the inner vibrations still belong to the world of Falsehood.
(Soon afterwards, about a new disciple in France who asks for a photograph of Sri Aurobindo.)
We are going to send him a good photo of Sri Aurobindo.
Which photo of Sri Aurobindo?
If he was brought up in a Christian way, it's the photo where he is young which is good, they instantly see in it the face of Christ!... All of them.... The day before yesterday again, an American painter, who is here and has read Sri Aurobindo's books, wanted to do a portrait of Sri Aurobindo (he never saw him) from photos – it's just as it was with the bust in Sri Aurobindo's room!1 They all make a mystic Sri Aurobindo with narrow temples, like that (gesture tapering upward), a long mystic face, because they can't get out of their Christianity! For them, of course, the Power, anything that expresses the Power, oh! ... (gesture of repulsion)
I wanted to say that to this American.... For them, spiritual life is sacrifice, it's the God who sacrifices himself: he renounces the joys of the earth and sacrifices his existence to save mankind. And they can't get out of it!
So to those, it's the photo of the young Sri Aurobindo that should be sent, like the one in the reception room. Because he had just come out of his ascetic period here, and he still had a long face.
The photo in the armchair... it's a bit too late; he was already beginning to feel that... the world wasn't ready to go to the end. There is already the expression of suffering on his face.
But the other photo is good. That's how I knew Sri Aurobindo: he had just come out of the photo in profile, in which he is very thin. As for Cartier-Bresson's photos, they were taken in 1950.
It's a pity nothing was taken before.
Oh, he would never have let himself be photographed!
But when I saw the photo [of Cartier-Bresson, taken in 1950], when I saw he had that expression... Because, with me, he never had it; he never showed it. But I wasn't in the room when the photo was taken, and suddenly he... (he was sitting there, of course), he slackened. When I saw the photo (because they came long after, we had to write and ask them to send them), I was dumbfounded.... He had that expression.
I always saw him with a perfectly peaceful and smiling face, and above all, the dominant expression was compassion. That was what predominated in his appearance. An expression of compassion so... so peaceful, so tranquil, oh, magnificent.
1 That bust was made by a German woman (Else Fraenkel) and installed in Sri Aurobindo's room in 1958 at the disciples' instance. (One wonders why a bust, with golden illumination, was needed in this room.)