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The Mother


Volume 11

January 3, 1970

(Continuation of the conversation of 31 December 1969 about Auroville and the Matrimandir.)

Mother, I told Paolo [the Italian architect] to come, he is waiting outside.

Yes.... There is an interesting thing.

For a long time I had been feeling something, then we spoke about it the other day, and I SAW... I told R. [Auroville's architect] about it, I asked him to see Paolo, and I also told him that I had seen what should be done. Naturally, he didn't say no, he said yes to everything, but I felt he wasn't too keen.... But here is what happened. I clearly saw – very, very distinctly saw, which means it was like that, and it still IS like that, it's there (gesture showing an eternal plane) the inside of that place [the Matrimandir].

Maybe you should tell Paolo about it?

Tell him right now?... All right.... I'll speak more easily if I am alone with you.

Fine, then, Mother.

I could describe it. It came like this. It will be a kind of hall which will be like the inside of a column. No windows. Ventilation will be artificial, with this kind of machinery (Mother points to an air conditioner), and just a roof. And sunlight striking the center; or, when there is no sunlight (at night or on overcast days), an electric spotlight. The idea is to build right now an example or a “model” for a hundred people or so. Once the city is built and the experiment is made, we will make a BIG thing of it – but then it will be very big, for one or two thousand people. And the second one will be built around the first, which means that the first will go only when the second is built.

There's the idea.

Only, in order to tell Paolo about it (and if possible, if I see it's possible, to tell R. about it), I wanted to have a plan. I'll have it made – not myself, I can't do it anymore; I could have done it in the past, but now I don't see clearly enough. This afternoon, I'll have it made in front of me, and with that plan, I'll be able to explain really well. But to you I simply wanted to say what I have seen....

It will be a tower with twelve facets – each facet representing one month of the year – and the top, the roof of the tower will be like this (Mother makes a gesture showing something like this:)

Then, inside, there will be twelve columns – the walls and twelve columns – and right at the center, on the floor, my symbol, with, above it, four symbols of Sri Aurobindo joining in a square, and above... a globe. A globe possibly made of a transparent substance, with or without a light inside, but the sun will have to strike this globe; so, depending on the particular month or hour, it will be from here or there or there... (gesture showing the sun's course). Do you understand? There will always be an opening with a sunbeam. Not a diffused light, but a beam that will have to come and strike the globe. That requires technical knowledge for its execution, and that's why I want to make a drawing with an engineer.

But inside, there will be neither windows nor lights, it will always be in a sort of clear half-light, night and day: during the day with sunlight, at night with artificial light. And on the ground, nothing, except for a floor like this one [in Mother's room], that is, first a wooden floor (wooden or something else), then a sort of thick rubber foam, very soft, and then a carpet. A carpet covering everything, except for the center. And people will be able to sit anywhere. The twelve columns are for those who need a backrest!

But then, people will not come for “regular meditations” or anything of the kind (the internal organization will be taken care of later): it will be a place for concentration. Not everyone will be allowed in; there will be a time of the week or the day (I don't know) when visitors will be allowed, but anyway without mixture. There will be a fixed hour or day to show the visitors, and the rest of the time only for those who are... serious – serious, sincere, who truly want to learn to concentrate.

So I think that's good.

It was there (gesture of vision above), I still see it when I talk about it – I SEE. As I see it, it's very beautiful, really very beautiful.... A sort of half-light: you can see, but it's VERY peaceful, and with very clear and strong beams of light on that globe (the projected, artificial light will have to be slightly golden, it shouldn't be cold – it will depend on the spotlights). A globe that will be made of plastic or... I don't know.


If possible, yes. For the smaller temple, the globe won't need to be very big: if it were this big (about one foot), it would be enough. But for the bigger temple, it will have to be big.

But how will the bigger temple be built? Over the small one?

No, no, the small one will go.

Oh, it will go, another one will be built.

But the big temple will be built afterwards, and then on a huge scale.... The smaller one will go only once the bigger one is built. But of course, for the city to be completed, we must allow some twenty years (for everything to be in order, in its place). It's the same with the gardens: all the gardens that are being prepared are for now, but in twenty years, all that will have to be on another scale; then it will have to be something really... really beautiful. And I wonder what substance that globe should be made of, the big one?... The small one could be made of crystal: for a globe this size (gesture about one foot) I think it will do. The globe will have to be visible from every corner of the room.

It shouldn't be too high above the floor either, should it?

No, Sri Aurobindo's symbol doesn't have to be very big, it has to be this size....

Ten to twelve inches?

At the most, at the very most.

So it would be more or less at eye level.

At eye level, yes, that's right.

And a VERY peaceful atmosphere. And NOTHING, nothing but big columns.... There remains to see whether the columns' style... whether they will be round, or themselves with twelve facets...? But TWELVE columns.

And a roof with two sides?

Yes, a roof with two sides so as to get sunlight.

It will have to be so arranged that rainwater can't get in. Something that needs to be opened and closed every time it rains won't do, it's not possible; it will have to be in such a way that rainwater can't get in. But sunlight must get in AS A BEAM, not diffused. So the opening will have to be limited.... It requires a clever engineer, who knows his job really well.

When would they start?

I'd like them to start immediately, as soon as we have the plans. But there are two questions: first the plans (workers can be found), and then money.... I think it can be done with this idea of building a small specimen (“small,” well, it's a manner of speaking, because to hold a hundred people easily it will still have to be big enough), a small specimen to begin with. While building the small specimen we'll learn, and we'll build the big one when the city is finished – that won't be right now.

I told R. about it, and the next day he told me, “Yes, but it will take time to prepare.” (I said nothing of all I've just told you, I just spoke of doing something.) Afterwards I had a vision of that room, so I no longer need anyone to see how it should be – I know. What's needed is an engineer more than an architect, because an architect... It has to be as simple as possible.

I told Paolo what you had seen, that large room, empty, without anything. It touched him a lot, he in fact could see that large empty room. He understands quite well. So “empty” simply means a shape.

But a shape... like a tower, but... (that's why I wanted to have a sketch to show) twelve regular facets, and then we need a wall that's not straight, a wall slightly like this (gesture of a slight slope), I don't know if that's possible. And inside, twelve columns. So we'll have to find a way to capture sunlight, so that at any time of the year sunlight can get in.... We need someone who knows his job well.

As for the outside... I didn't see the outside; I didn't see it at all, I only saw the inside.

I wanted to explain to Paolo once I would have the papers, it would be easier, but since you called him...

(Sujata goes out and comes back with Paolo, who comes in with a garland of pink “Harmony.” Mother gives him an orange hibiscus – Auroville's flower – looks at him, and starts speaking:)

Since we decided to build that temple, I have seen – I have seen the inside. I have just tried to describe it to Satprem. But in a few days I will have plans and drawings, so I'll be able to explain more clearly. Because I don't know at all how the outside is, but the inside I know.

(Paolo:) The outside comes out of the inside.

It's a kind of tower with twelve regular facets representing the twelve months of the year, and absolutely empty.... Only, it will have to hold one to two hundred people. So, to support the roof, there would be inside (not outside, inside) twelve columns; and right at the center, the object of concentration.... And with the sun's concentration, all year round it will have to get in AS A BEAM (not diffused: it will have to be so arranged that it can get in as beams); then, according to the hour of the day and the month of the year, the beam will revolve (there will be some device at the top) and it will be directed onto the center. At the center, there will be the symbol [of Mother], then Sri Aurobindo's symbol supporting a globe. A globe which we'll try to have made of a transparent substance such as crystal or... A large globe. Then people will be let in in order to concentrate – (laughing) to learn to concentrate! No fixed meditations, nothing of the sort, but they will have to stay there in silence – silence and concentration.

(P.:) It's very beautiful.

But the place should be absolutely... as simple as possible. And the floor in such a way that people may be comfortable, without having to think that it hurts here or there!

(P.:) It's very beautiful.

And in the middle, on the floor, my symbol. At the center of my symbol, we'll have four parts (like a square), four symbols of Sri Aurobindo, upright, supporting a transparent globe.

That was seen.

So I'll have small plans prepared by an engineer, simple ones to show, and then I'll show you when they are ready. There. And we'll see.

As far as the walls are concerned, they will probably have to be in concrete.

(P.:) The whole structure can be in reinforced concrete.

The roof will probably have to be sloping, and at the center there will have to be a special device for the sun.

(Satprem:) You said that you saw the walls with a slight slope.

Either the walls or the roof will have to have a slope – whatever will be easier. The walls can be straight with the roof sloping. And the higher part of the roof resting on the twelve columns. And on top, the device for the sun.

Inside, nothing. Nothing but the columns. The columns... I don't know, we'll have to see if they will be with facets (like the whole thing), twelve facets, or simply round.

(P.:) Round.

Or simply square – that has to be seen.

Then, on the floor, we'll have something thick and soft. Here... (are you comfortable when you are sealed?... Yes?), there is first a wooden floor, then that sort of rubber, and above, a woolen carpet.

(Satprem:) With your symbol?

Not on the carpet. The symbol, I first thought it should be done out of some solid material.

(P.:) It has to be in stone.

The symbol... everything will be around it, of course. The symbol will not cover everything, it will only be at the center of the space – (laughing) people shouldn't sit on the symbol!... It will be at the center.

The proportion between the symbol and the whole has to be seen carefully, in comparison with the height.

(P.:) The room will be rather large?

Oh, yes, it should be. There should be a sort of half-light with those sunbeams – the sunbeam should be SEEN.

A sunbeam.

So, depending on the hour of the day (the hour of the day and the month of the year), the sun will go round. Then, at night, as soon as sunlight has vanished, we'll switch on spotlights which will have the same effect and the same color. Night and day the light will remain there. But no windows or lamps or things of the sort – nothing. Ventilation through air conditioners (they're set inside the walls, that's very easy).

And SILENCE. No talking inside!

It will be fine.

So as soon as my papers are ready, I'll call you to show them to you.

(P.:) Very good.

(To Sujata:) Give me a rose for him.

(Mother gives two red roses, Paolo withdraws)

I didn't ask him if he had seen R. because... R. is quite in nowadays' “practical” atmosphere.

Good, it has to start off!

That's what I have learned, in fact: the bankruptcy of religions was because they were divided – they wanted you to follow one religion to the exclusion of all others. And all human knowledge has gone bankrupt because it was exclusive. And man has gone bankrupt because he was exclusive. What the New Consciousness wants (it insists on this) is: no more divisions. To be capable of understanding the extreme spiritual, the extreme material, and to find... to find the meeting point where... it becomes a true force. And it's trying to teach that to the body too, through the most radical means.

The trouble ([laughing] I say “trouble”!) is that in people it expresses itself as disorders. People close to me for the work fall “ill.” One of them is at the nursing home, the other is in difficulty. And depending on their receptivity, I must find a way to make them understand that they shouldn't worry, that it's not an “illness,” but... the body's resistance. The body [Mother's body] has learned that at its own expense!...Its constantly like that: if you are in the true position, everything is fine – provided you don't observe yourself, don't keep observing, “Oh, the body is like this, or like that, it feels this way or...” As soon as you pay attention to it, as soon as the consciousness is turned to it, something goes wrong. It goes wrong. One has to be... like this (gesture turned upward). And then, there is something that KNOWS all the same, something that knows, but without observing (I don't know how to explain). And you can see that as soon as the consciousness of the cells takes the true attitude, the thing that manifested as a disorder no longer manifests as such: the nature of the manifestation changes – how?

Not only that, the “may Your Will be done” (without worrying in the least about what it is, what that Will may be, in other words an acceptance of anything in advance) is replaced in a strange way – a strange way – by something that has nothing to do with thought and less and less to do with vision, something superior which is a kind of perception – a new kind of perception: you KNOW. But that has already come for a few seconds. Now and then it comes, and then... the old habits start up again. It's above, far, far above thought, and above vision. It's a kind of perception: there is no more differentiation of the organs (Mother touches her eyes, her ears). And it's a perception... yes, which is total: it's at the same time (if you want to explain it), at the same time vision, hearing, and knowledge. A perception... something that is a new type of perception. So then, you KNOW. It replaces learning. But the moment you want to bring it to the plane of learning, it's over, you lose contact.

All that is certainly the consciousness of what Sri Aurobindo called the supramental:1 the being to come after man. How will he be? I haven't yet seen... I haven't yet seen that. I did see, I did have perceptions of the superman, the intermediary being, but you clearly feel it's only an intermediary being. What will that being be like who will come after the superman? I don't know.... Because we are still much too human; when we visualize the Supreme Consciousness in a form, the Supreme Being and so on – the Supreme – we tend to give it a form similar to the human one, but that's our old habit.... I saw that future being (I saw it many years ago): it was clearly a far more harmonious and expressive form than the human one, but there was a likeness, it was still a human form, that is to say, with a head and arms and legs and... Will it be that? I don't know. There will necessarily be that as an intermediary – necessarily. There were all those kinds of apes which acted as intermediaries between the animal and man.... But lightness, invulnerability, moving about at will, luminosity at will – all that goes without saying, it's part of supramental qualities, but... Oh, yes, also clothing at will: it's not something foreign added on, it's the substance that takes on certain forms.... All that I had seen, and I told Sri Aurobindo about it, and Sri Aurobindo himself gave me certain demonstrations (I see him sometimes and he shows me). He simply said what the intermediary step will be. But all descriptions are worthless. And when I see him at night (sometimes I spend hours with him), it's so natural and spontaneous that I am not even observing, “This is like this, that is like that...” – no. In the morning, with a concentration, the impression remains very strong, but as for the details as we here understand them, you can't say.

Similarly, that sort of thing (Sri Aurobindo too calls it “perception”), that perception which replaces vision and all the rest is very strong at night. It's hard to say.... You have an impression of it when you wake up, but not the capacity; the full capacity is not there.


On a practical level, I'll try to make R. understand. But I saw, it seems to me that we should do... When R. is here, he looks after “Auromodel,” the practical side, all that (its quite necessary, it's very good), but for this construction of the center, I'd like Paolo to do it, and so I'd like Paolo to stay here when R. is gone: let Paolo be here when R. is away, and with Paolo we could do that. Only, I don't want either of them to feel that it's one against the other (!). They must understand that it's to complement each other.

I think Paolo will understand.

But R. will take it as an encroachment on his responsibilities?

Maybe not, I'll try. I'll try.

No, when I told him we had to build the center – that I had seen it and it had to be built – he didn't object. Only he told me, “But it will take time.” I said, “No, it has to be done right now.” That's why I am getting those kinds of sketches made by an engineer, so as to show him, because it's not the job of an architect: it's the job of an engineer, with precise calculations for the sunlight, very precise. It has to be someone really skilled. The architect will have to see that the columns are beautiful, the walls are beautiful, the proportions are correct – all that is quite all right – and also that symbol at the center. The aspect of beauty is for the architect to see, naturally but the whole aspect of calculations... And the important thing is the play of the sun on the center. Because it becomes a symbol – the symbol of the future realization.

(Mother remains concentrated)

The step forward humanity must take IMMEDIATELY is a definitive cure of exclusivism. That's what is, in action, not only the symbol but also the effect of division and separation. They all say, “This and not that” – no, this AND that, and this too and that too, and everything at the same time. To be supple enough and wide enough for everything to be together. That's what I keep knocking myself against at present, in EVERY field – every field.... In the body too. The body is used to, “This and not that; this OR that, this or that...” – No, no, no: this AND that.

And of course, the great Division: life and death – there you are. Everything is the effect of that. Well (words are stupid but...), overlife is life and death together.

Why call it “overlife”?! We are always tempted to lean to one side: light and darkness (“darkness,” well...).

Ah, we're quite small. One feels so small.

*   *

(Soon afterwards, regarding Mother's comments on Sri Aurobindo's “Aphorisms,” Satprem suggests a different word.)

There's a word that doesn't seem right to me....

Oh, you'll find lots of them, mon petit! That's what I told you once.

Yesterday again, I wrote something in a letter to D., and as soon as the letter was sent, I said to myself, “No, that's not the way you should have put it, it's this way....” Because I do it hurriedly and with a mental activity next to me [in those around Mother]: it doesn't express itself with noises but it's there, and that makes it difficult for me to catch “the thing.” Then it comes afterwards [when people have left].

That's why I said I would have to see those comments again.

We could see them together.


Another aphorism yesterday... But when I read those Aphorisms with my present experiences, I see that Sri Aurobindo knew all that. He had caught it there, he was there, and words that appear odd or not quite comprehensible to intellectual understanding, even the highest, have a meaning. Yesterday all of a sudden, “Oh, that was it!” [what Sri Aurobindo had seen]. For instance, in one of the aphorisms I readjust yesterday, there was the word “perception,” and I remember that when I translated it [many years ago], I thought, “Perception, what does he mean?...” Now, I understand wonderfully! It's something that has nothing to do with our senses: neither sight nor hearing nor... – perception. He put “perception.” And “perception” is an excellent word.2

Moreover, for the time being, I only read the translation; if I saw the original again, it might be even more striking.

(long silence)

You know, now, when I am put in contact with all the things I said in the past (yet I did my best)... I so much feel it's like words of ignorance – all of them based on choice and opposition: this and not that, this and not that, you approve and disapprove.... That's it. And now it looks so stupid! And so narrow – so narrow. What's admired in people who have been regarded as saints (saints, especially saints) is refusal: refusal of almost everything, except of God (Mother holds a single finger erect heavenward). And everything, from the highest thing – one's approach to the Divine – from that down to the most material – the body's functions – everything from top to bottom is just the same stupidity: this but not that; this but not that; this in contradiction to that; this in opposition to that.... All morality, all social rules, the whole material organization of the world is based on division. And it seems more and more evident that that will be the FIRST thing – the first – which the higher being (which Sri Aurobindo called the “supramental being”), the first thing that being will want to abolish.

Now I understand why he said “supramental”; instead of saying “superman” he said “supramental” because superman is... Whereas for that being, the very basis of his existence is different; instead of being based on division, it's based on union. Man talks a lot about union, but he doesn't have the least idea what it is.

Its very interesting.

And this body feels so clearly that it... it no longer belongs here, but it's not yet there, so... (Mother makes a gesture in suspense) in appearance it's something completely absurd, with apparent weaknesses that human beings scorn, and... (laughing) awesome forces that human beings cannot bear.

It's curious.

But then, it's not realized, not concretized, not expressed: it's like this (same gesture in suspense). So it has become something wholly absurd.


What men used to call “difficult,” “complicated,” now the body, when it's in presence of “that,” of that unknown pressing to be expressed, several times it says, “Ah, it was easy before, when one thought one knew!”

Now it knows it knows nothing.


1 On 27 May 1970, Mother will take up again and comment upon this part of the conversation.


2 Aphorism 261: “Perceive always and act in the light of thy increasing perceptions, but not those of the reasoning brain only. God speaks to the heart when the brain cannot understand him.”









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