April 18, 1970
(Mother's voice sounds increasingly frail. This conversation perhaps contains the key of everything.)
So, have you brought any questions today?
Yes, Mother; there are also a few from her [pointing to Sujata].
Start with yours, then she will speak.
I don't know if it's a “question,” but ...I don't very well understand the working of the subtle physical, or the relationship between the subtle physical and the material physical. For instance, you say that Sri Aurobindo is in the subtle physical, working to prepare the new world ...
... and that we too, at night, through a part of our being, often work there to prepare... what is to come. How?...
Listen, your question comes at the right moment. Last night, for the first time – really the first time – it wasn't a dream, I wasn't asleep, yet there was a whole story (which I am going to tell you), and I was absolutely convinced at the time that it was something going on here (maybe not in that form, but in a similar form). Then I realized that nothing had taken place here (outwardly at least, there was no sign of it).... Giving the names bothers me; I won't tell the names, it doesn't matter. But the names were there, the people, all of it PRECISE, as it is here.
I forget how it started, but I was very ill, seriously ill, and my body wasn't asleep, yet wasn't awake (that's a fairly normal state now: I'll be absorbed in a consciousness, which I think is the consciousness of the subtle physical; at least I was there last night). So then, I was very ill, but I knew it wasn't this body (but it was this body's consciousness), it was a family at the Ashram, and the father was seeking help, looking for a doctor (all the details with such precision!...). And while that was going on, the body said to itself, “So I am identified with this person, since he is treating this person (me, that is); and since I am identified, I must do in this person what needs to be done.” Then I concentrated and called the forces of the Lord, and treated the person. All that down to the last detail. It lasted for two hours. At the same time, I saw people who were extraordinarily interested in the event, looking on; for instance, among them, not to name him, there was Nolini, bent over like that and looking (Mother opens her eyes wide) to try and understand what was going on. Which means it was taking place in a world that had the full appearance – full appearance – of the material world, but in which people were conscious.
I'm not recounting all the details, but my body FELT the battle of the illness. And at the same time it knew it wasn't its own body, you understand? It was like that, a very complex, very precise consciousness, with a great force. And all of it going on at the same time – I wasn't asleep.
This morning I expected to be told that something very serious had taken place in that family (there are three sick people in it, three women), that something had happened to one of them. And nothing has happened!... But that was a FACT, I mean it was lived in every detail, with an absolutely clear consciousness, and it was in the subtle physical. But... but I tell you, I felt, the body felt very, very ill. Yet at the same time, it knew it was someone else's illness. And it took the attitude, it said, “This is taking place so I take the necessary attitude for this person.” And all of it fully conscious. It took the attitude and kept it like that for two hours.
There's only one possibility: it happened during the night, when those people were asleep, and they didn't realize.... You understand, this body's impression is that it has saved someone's life.
Yes, you haven't been told about any mishap because you prevented the accident from taking place.
I don't know about the end. I “woke up,” came back to the ordinary consciousness. At one point I had to get up, and... it rather was a relief for the body, because it was suffering. Afterwards, it didn't suffer anymore. But that was because the work was over.
Yes, nothing took place in the physical because you stopped the thing in the subtle physical.
Quite possible. But it's... Never, never have I lived so totally in the subtle physical, fully conscious, WITHOUT SLEEPING (I was lying on my bed), and it lasted for two hours. Things were as real, as precise as they are here.... And the same will: it's not another will, it's the same; it's the divine Will through the psychic working in this body. So it acts there or here without difference. In other words, whether I am in this subtle physical or in the material physical, it's the same will, the same psychic will that acts – the SAME, exactly in the same way. Which means that... I don't know what the difference is. There's a difference... it's thin, you don't feel it's something thick or heavy: it's thin. That union between the two, between the subtle physical and the material physical, is taking place all the time – day and night and day and night. The work is... You might almost say that there is an attempt to substitute one for the other.
And, you know, the faces, expressions, gestures, movements, words – as precise, as precise as they are here. It seems to be a response... because I asked (it was yesterday, I think, sometime yesterday; in fact when I sit like that, as I was with you the other day, the two worlds are fused [Mother holds the fingers of her right hand between those of her left hand], you can't feel the difference), I asked Sri Aurobindo whether things are as precise and exact; so he told me yes, he answered yes, but said I had to experience it. And I had that experience last night, quite unexpectedly. It was around three in the morning (between two and three).
So then, I saw this morning one person from the family in question, who could have been one of those seriously ill – she didn't mention anything, didn't say anything.... So maybe it began in sleep for her and the action [of Mother] was enough to cure her without her realizing it. It's possible.
You understand, it's the kind of consciousness that says, “My body is suffering,” but it wasn't my body, it was someone else's body. It said, “I am suffering, but I know it's not me, it's the suffering of one member of this family” (I didn't try to find out which), “and that's why – it's because I must do what I would do in my own case.” And I did it, it lasted for two hours.
It's the first time. It's like that every night, but fleeting, it comes for one detail, for a moment; the rest of the time I am in perfect Peace. It's the first time I've had an action of this sort. And I was so ill (!) that I wondered (while it lasted), I wondered if I wouldn't be left with something physically. That's why, when I felt I had to get up, I thought it was also deliberate; I got up and I realized – nothing!
But it gives indications (more and more often, day after day, experience after experience), indications of the extent to which the intervention of this Will (which we call divine Will) through the psychic (or even direct, it depends on the case), to what extent it's... all-powerful. And it exclusively depends on... This Will is always active for perfect Harmony – yes, perfect Harmony as we can conceive it. There also, in this conception, there is the knowledge that that too will progress, that once that harmony is manifested, then the work will begin for another perfection, which for the moment eludes us. That, too, knows.
More and more, there's a sort of... not exactly fusion [between the subtle physical and the material physical], but... how should I put it?... For everything to hold together, this way of being of the material consciousness continues (the material, physical consciousness), but in it a permeation takes place (it really is a permeation), which doesn't drive away the other, but... at length, it will probably transform it. It doesn't drive it [the material consciousness] away, but it's there and it dominates – at times it doesn't dominate, it's the other one that does; and so, depending on the case... it changes external circumstances (its hard to explain).
It changes external circumstances?
External. That permeation certainly intends (but this is probably a long way off) to effect a substitution, you understand? This subtle physical is working... (Mother gestures as if wearing away a dividing wall) to take the place of the other one, but not through elimination – through transformation. But I can see (as I perceive the two at the same time, I can see very clearly) that it's a tremendous work.
And it takes away some of the fixity: our physical is not only fixed, it's crumbly, and the subtle physical takes away that crumbly character: wherever it would break, now it bends, you understand? Wherever it would crumble, it's fluid, it becomes... (Mother makes a fluid gesture). It's very strange. It's hard to explain.
I asked myself that question, I wondered, “But how? How is it going to...?”1 So, with these experiences, I see. But, of course, it's a colossal work....
The body [Mother's] has certainly been chosen as a field of experiment for some reason, which must be a reason of plasticity of the substance (I don't know). There may be a reason, but in any case it's a fact that it has been chosen to make the experiment. Because the experiment is under way: it starts with the more subtle, and you can see that it goes... (Mother makes a gesture of progressive descent into Matter). For months and months it has started with the more subtle, and then, VERY slowly and progressively, it has descended into a more material field. Last night, it was really remarkable.... One would have been unable to say, “This is the subtle physical, and that is the material physical.” It was... (Mother holds the fingers of her right hand tightly in those of her left hand), it was surprisingly one within the other. You don't get the impression of TWO things, yet it's very different – it seems to be a modality rather than a difference (I don't know how to express it), a modality that comes exclusively from the consciousness. It's a phenomenon of consciousness.
In last nights experience, it was everything at the same time: the body felt, acted, it was conscious, it observed, decided – everything, just everything at the same time. There even was... I don't know, I didn't have a vision of Sri Aurobindo, but I had the sensation of his presence (that often happens: at times I'll see him and he won't speak; at other times I won't see him but I'll hear him, he'll speak to me – the laws are no longer the same), and he made me notice, or rather I noted that although the body was suffering a lot (the situation was critical, you know), there wasn't the shadow of a fear in the body. Then he told me, “Yes, it's because it is able not to be afraid that you can do the work.”
The absence of fear is really the result of the yoga for so many years – for half a century.
It was like this (gesture, hands open), offering its suffering, all the time like this.
After last night, I have every reason to think that the work is very, very active – very active.
But on the level of the earth, how do things take place? For instance, you say that Sri Aurobindo, yourself and a number of us are working in this subtle physical to prepare the new world: how is the permeation of this subtle physical made?
But in that way.
In the same way?
In that way. THAT is the work – the permeation.
But is it taking place terrestrially?
Yes, oh, I get letters from people who have astounding experiences, quite out of proportion with their degree of intelligence or development – astounding experiences. They themselves are astounded. Experiences very different from one another, but I know them all. I know them to be experiences of the subtle physical. People whom I know or not write to me (they come here, or they have read your book, or they have heard of Sri Aurobindo or...), and they describe it as I might describe it myself, that is to say, with the full knowledge. And they know nothing! It's quite astounding, oh!...
Yes. And then, when you are in that subtle physical consciousness, the laws change – you can change the material law if you are in that consciousness.
Yes, it doesn't at all work in the same way.
I mean that ...
Mon petit, great care has been taken not to mentalize this thing. And that's probably very useful.
The consciousness is VERY active – a consciousness wide awake to the SMALLEST thing – but the mental description... (Mother shakes her head). Now and then, out of the old habit, I ask a question like that, a mental question, and I always receive the same answer: you mustn't mentalize.
It instantly brings back the old way.
I mean, once or twice I had such an intense perception that it's almost an experience, even if it's merely mental, that in a certain state of consciousness, all physical laws collapsed....
Truly they had no power.
Yes, that's quite true. They have no meaning.
No meaning, that's right.
They have no meaning, to such a point that... I remember one thing last night: suddenly I saw a functioning, and I said to myself, “Oh, if we knew this, HOW MANY THINGS – how many fears, how many combinations, how many... would crumble away, would lose all meaning!” It was... what we see as “laws of Nature,” “ineluctable” things, it all was absurd, an absurdity!
Yes, and I felt it as something flimsy, like a thin film, something without... Those awesome laws were something very flimsy.
You could almost have blown them away.
Yes, that's right. Yes. With the true consciousness, it crumbles away.
Several times like that, when people tell me they feel as if in front of an ineluctable law, “There is this and this, and therefore that is inevitable,” the answer is always the same: IF YOU WANT IT SO!
You are the ones who decide it's ineluctable!
This morning, when I realized there was no trace (after that, the body was rather better than usual), nevertheless it was a bit surprised, and it said to itself...
(Mother is abruptly cut short)
Ah, this is not supposed to be said....
That was an extraordinary experience.
It amounted to this: “Yes, to you the world is still this way because you WANT it this way; when you no longer want it this way, it will be the true way.” Then... But the “you want it” isn't with the idea of the small ego's will, of course, it has nothing to do with that.
It's probably a... there's a position to be changed, a position of the consciousness to be changed.
But I had the clear knowledge that what I was conscious of last night is something taking place all the time, but I am not aware of it because... so as not to increase the burden of consciousness. Right now, from an ordinary standpoint, for an ordinary human being, the number of things that are conscious at the same time [in Mother] is something tremendous!... And it's without fatigue, effort, difficulty, it's NATURAL, but many more get done consciously and without being relayed to the center of consciousness so... so it doesn't get too much!
There is also this well-known thing: according to the concentration of the consciousness, the value of time changes. That's perpetual and constant. The same circumstances, the same everyday little events I am made to feel with the ordinary consciousness, and then three or four different consciousnesses – and their value changes. It goes from a long, interminable time to... a second. Which means a demonstration of the unreality of time as we perceive it here – that's every day, all the time.
There is a Force acting... At least I think, I feel it's the Force, because it acts through the will (but it's deeper or truer or higher or whatever than the will). For instance, if I am not “supposed” to say something, instead of its going through the thought, “Mustn't speak, you mustn't speak” – I just can't speak anymore!... All sorts of things like that. The functioning is direct.
And the body is taught to learn... how it should be. The way it eats has completely changed. For speaking too, it's the same, completely changed.
At times, the body feels such a great strength that it gets the feeling it could do... (it feels, it clearly sees, the hands are strong), a strength of a different quality, but much greater than before. And at other times, it can't even hold itself upright, and for a reason which isn't... It no longer obeys the same laws as those that keep us upright. So... And all that takes place in a single day!...
Ah! (Turning to Sujata) Ask your question.
Mother, is there a “Mother of Ignorance”?
What do you call a Mother of Ignorance?
I had a dream in which I seemed to meet someone who was the Mother of Ignorance.
Possibly.... It's possible, oh yes. Mon petit, EVERYTHING is possible, and not only possible: everything is. But everything isn't on earth, of course. You understand, there are many worlds, many regions – there is nothing that is impossible and that isn't: if a thing is possible, it means it exists somewhere.
Logically, there has to be a Mother of Ignorance.
(Satprem to Sujata:) What did the Mother of Ignorance do?
(Sujata:) In my dream?... I had a long dream, and towards the end, I met her. I had to go through a place, and I told her, “I must go to the Light, to the Mother of Light.”
(Satprem:) And then?
(Sujata:) Then the dream vanished.
(Mother did not hear)
You met her, she spoke to you?
Yes, Mother, she spoke to me.
So what did you tell her?
(Satprem:) She told her she wanted to go to the Mother of Light.
Oh, (laughing) and then she left!
(Sujata:) But she was there as if...
She were governing.
Yes, Mother, as if she were governing.
What are those regions?... There are any number of regions. There are unimaginable things. But where is that? I don't know.
(Satprem to Sujata:) Tell your dream.
It must be a region intermediary between the most material physical, vital and mind. There's everything imaginable, you can see the most extraordinary things. And that's how it is. Strangely, even, you have a power there: one drop of truth has a tre-men-dous power in those worlds. With a single movement you can change lots of things. Only, of course, you also create them in the same way: the contrary movement, the movement of ignorance (all the movements of ignorance in the world) create things all the time. That is to say, it means shaping things, or making them active, or having them act.... Only, it's a reality which... which is impermanent, to begin with. Ultimately, very few forms – forms or thoughts – have an eternal reality: all that (Mother makes a gesture of perpetual recasting) is constantly moving and changing.
I remember the first time (that was very long ago, more than... sixty years ago), the first time I asked, “But why do we die? Why do we live to die? – That's idiotic!” Then I was made to understand that all that we see as “forms” is... (same gesture in perpetual movement). It's our... clenched little consciousness; a clenched consciousness which makes it all appear a “momentous” phenomenon: we are small, we grow big, and in the end, we dissolve. But everything is like that (same gesture), everything is like that! There are very few things – very few – that are eternal. They have a different quality. It's the first experience you get when you contact that which is eternal: it has a different vibratory quality... And then, that will to make this last (Mother points to her body), this which is made, entirely made of wrong movements – wrong movements and constantly in movement, constantly changing, constantly (same gesture).... As Sri Aurobindo said, “You want to make your body and everything around it last as it is?” – No, thank you! (Mother laughs) To last is, in fact, to become conscious, fully conscious in the eternal world.
He knew all that, Sri Aurobindo.... Have you seen the latest Aphorisms?
478 – A God who cannot smile could not have created this humorous universe.
476 – When will the world change into the model of heaven? When all mankind becomes boys and girls together with God revealed as Krishna and Kali, the happiest boy and strongest girl of the crowd, playing together in the gardens of Paradise. The Semitic Eden was well enough, but Adam and Eve were too grown up and its God himself too old and stern and solemn...
Oh!... (Mother laughs)
...for the offer of the Serpent to be resisted.
(Turning to Sujata) So next time, if you see her, just tell her, “Your time will soon be past.”
(Sujata:) I simply told her, “O Mother of Ignorance, it is to the Mother of Light that I want to go.”
And it was enough! (Mother laughs)
1 Mother probably means, How is the transition going to be made?