January 10, 1970
(Despite its minor character, we publish the beginning of this conversation, as it reveals some of the difficulties Mother had to struggle with.)
...And this is a translation: someone who was here (he's gone now) translated it. Its probably not worth much, I don't know. I don't know whom I should give it to. When you have nothing to do...
Mother, the problem is that we can't get the translations published at the Press, things aren't moving. I have five books by Sri Aurobindo ready, and nothing is moving.
They can't manage to do their work.
But then, they make promises and never manage to keep them.
Oh, that's troublesome. When A. was here, he worked out a program with them, and he saw it was...
It's gone. I have, fully ready at the Press, The Bases of Yoga, Lights on Yoga, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity, and your Questions and Answers of 1958 [all in French]. I have those five volumes ready and waiting.
Put that down on a piece of paper for me. The next time I see Z [the manager], I'll tell him.
But then, Mother, if you have a chance, tell him that when I ask him for something – and ask him in writing again and again – he ought to understand that it's because I feel it needs to be done and he should answer my question, shouldn't he?
It's because they don't know what to say....
No, Mother, it's a very simple matter: three times I wrote to him, “Send me the proofs for the cover of The Synthesis of Yoga,” and he didn't do it.
I think this poor boy has no authority there. That's my impression.
Yes, but then, if the thing is printed with any mistakes, what am I to say? It's my responsibility!
Yes, and it would be better to... We can try to tell him... In the past, I used to see him once a week, so I had a little more control. Now I only see him once a month; maybe I should resume seeing him more often....
As for him, he was very happy when I stopped seeing him...
(Satprem opens his eyes wide)
... because I was putting a pressure!
I can't understand why after writing someone three times, “Send me those proofs,” he doesn't do it! And not only he doesn't do it, but he answers me with a lie: “It has been approved by you”! I don't hold it against him, Mother, he's very nice ...
(Mother laughs)... but incapable! What I can do is to ask him to send me the proofs, and I'll pass them on to you! Then he'll find that he's obliged to do it!
I found the Cosmic Review [of Théon] again, it's quite amusing!... I've kept it to show you. They made some “rules and regulations” for the members of the Society, it's very funny! People must be very nice to each other!... And among the rules there is one saying that one must not recognize personal gods.
(Mother holds out the file to Satprem)
“Cosmic philosophy admits no personal god....”
Whether it admits or not, they exist anyhow!... (laughter)
It's amusing. I don't know where to keep this, you can keep it.
I think we should keep it.
Can you keep it?
Yes, Mother, we should keep it, and one day, for the sake of history, all this might be worth publishing.
Yes, that's right: from the historical point of view, it's amusing.
We must keep it very carefully and publish it one day as a document.
Yes, that's right.
Then I have a letter from Paolo....
I'll see him this afternoon.
I told you that I saw the central construction of Auroville.... I have a plan. Would you like to see it?... There are three scrolls there (Mother unrolls the plan while explaining):
There will be twelve facets. Its a circle. And, at the same distance from the center, twelve columns. At the center, on the floor, my symbol, and at the center of my symbol, there are four symbols of Sri Aurobindo, upright, forming a square. And atop the square, a translucent globe (we don't yet know what substance it will be made of). Then, from the top of the roof, when the sun shines, a ray of sunlight will fall on the globe (only there, nowhere else); when there is no sunlight, electric spotlights will shine a beam (ONE beam again, not a diffuse light) just there, on the globe.
Then, no doors, but... after going deep down one comes back up into the temple; one goes under the wall and comes back up inside – it's again a symbol. Everything is symbolic.
And then, no furniture, but first a wooden floor, probably (like here), then over the wooden floor, a thick foam rubber, and over it, a carpet, like here. We have to choose the color. The whole thing will be white. I am not sure if Sri Aurobindos symbols will be white... I don't think so. I didn't see them white, I saw them with an undefinable color, between gold and orange. A color of that sort. They will stand upright, carved in stone. And a globe not transparent but translucent. Then, at the bottom [of the globe], a light will be projected upward and will enter the globe diffusely. And from outside, rays of light will fall onto the center. No other lights: no windows, an electric ventilation. And no furniture, nothing. A place... to try and find one's consciousness.
Outside, it will be something like this (Mother unrolls another plan).... We don't know if the roof will have a pointed shape or...
Very simple, very simple.
It will hold about two hundred people.
So then, Paolo's letter?
Very sweet Mother,
I saw R. on Sunday, he came to my room and we had lunch together.
With love I arranged beautiful flowers for You and R. You were with us. We spoke a lot. I felt R. like a brother.
I told him that Auroville cannot be born like any other city (urban, social, economic problems, all of them to be seen later). The starting point must be “something else.” That is why we must start with the Center. That Center must be our lever, our fixed point, the thing we can lean on to try and leap to the other side – because it's only from the other side that we can begin to understand what Auroville should be. And that Center must be a form manifesting in Matter the content that You can transmit to us on every plane (occult included). As for us, we should only be the open and sincere means through which you can concretise that.
Then I told him how I felt the need for all of us to approach all this while living the experience inwardly and unitedly – people from the East and the West – in a vast movement of love, because it is the only “concrete” possible for building “something else”....
What he says is fine.
... And that Center can give us that love right now, because it's the love of You!
I told him that, on the practical level, we could begin with a moment of silence, gathered together, try to make a complete blank, and in that blank, with everyone's aspiration, bring down the signs for the beginning. But all of us united and together, especially the more spiritually advanced – the Indians.
R. agreed entirely. He said we should really do that.
(Mother nods her head)
I'll see Paolo this afternoon to give him this plan. Because that's just what I saw.
We'll do it in white marble. L. said he would go and get the marble, he knows the place.
The whole structure in white marble?
But Paolo told me one tiling which I felt to be correct. He said, We'll build this Center, we'll put all our heart and aspiration into it, into this Center ...
And over the years, it will get more and more “charged”....
So this Center should be definitive, we shouldn't remove this temple to build a larger one later on.
I said that to calm people who think we need something huge. I said, “We'll begin with this, and then we'll see,” you understand. I said this Center should be there until the city is completely built, and afterwards we would see – afterwards we won't feel like removing it!
Because a lot of people thought of something “huge.”
But Paolo says that from an architectural standpoint, it's quite possible to extend the thing from outside without touching what's already built.
Oh, yes, it's quite possible.
You see, R. asked me, “And then, what are we going to do afterwards?” I said, “Well, we'll think about it afterwards!...” – That's the trouble, they don't know... they don't know that one must NOT THINK. As for me, I wasn't thinking about it at all, not at all – one day, I saw it like that, as I see you. Even now, it's still so living that I only have to look and I see it. And what I saw was the Center and the light falling on it, and then, QUITE NATURALLY, while observing, I remarked, I said, “So that's how it is.” But it wasn't “thought,” I didn't think, “Twelve columns and twelve facets and...” I didn't think any of that: I saw.
It's like those symbols of Sri Aurobindo.... When I speak of the Center, I still see those four symbols of Sri Aurobindo joined at their angles, like this, and that color... strange color... I don't know where we'll be able to find that. It's an orange gold, very warm. And it's the only color in the place: all the rest is white.
Paolo said he would inquire right now in Italy, at Murano where they make large crystals, whether they can make a one-foot globe, say, in crystal.
The exact size must be on the plan, it should be written there.
They have big glassworks there.
Oh, they do marvelous things there.
Isn't the size of the globe written there?
Two feet four inches.
It could be hollow. It need not be solid, so as not to be too heavy.
He's fine, Paolo.
That underground passageway into the room... People will enter some thirty feet away from the wall, at the foot of the urn. The urn will mark the starting point of the descent. I'll have to choose the exact direction.... Then, later on, the urn might very well be INSIDE rather than outside the enclosure. So perhaps we could simply have a big wall all around, and then gardens. Between the surrounding wall and the building to be constructed, we can have gardens and the urn. And that wall will have an entrance (one or several ordinary gates), so that people will be able to move around in the garden.
Then there will be certain conditions to be met before one is allowed to descend into the underground passage and emerge into the temple.... It will have to be a bit initiatory: not quite “like that,” not just anyhow.
To R. I said, “We'll see that in twenty years!” So that kept him quiet.
But the first idea was to surround that with water, to have an island so that people would cross the water to reach the temple. It's quite possible to have an island...
Is that all? Do you have anything else?
Is your mother well?... I wanted to give her flowers. Here I have flowers for you, and also for Sujata – where is she?
Sujata?... She's here!
Here, behind my back? (laughter)
No, right next to you!
(To Sujata:) But we need roses for his mother.
It was to you that Baron [Pondicherry's last French governor] said he wanted to be buried in my woolen blankets! (laughter) Yes, it seems he was cold. S. looks after him, and she wrote me that he would wake up shivering; she asked me, “Could you send him a blanket or two?” It seems there was in the meditation hall one of those big wooden trunks full of magnificent woolen blankets! So I sent him two. I only said, “Provided he doesn't carry them away with him... because he's quite capable of taking them!” (laughter) Then he told F. he was, oh, so happy: “I'll ask to be buried in these blankets”! (laughter)