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The Mother


Volume 13

January 12, 1972

Do you happen to remember where I wrote the twelve attributes of the Mother (the symbol with twelve petals)? There's one, four, and twelve.

Yes, I think it was for Auroville.

For Auroville? But I said it years ago....

I saw it recently.

The twelve?

(Sujata goes out in search of the paper)

On this one there aren't any details.

(Mother extends a note in English)

The Mother's Symbol

The central circle represents the Divine Consciousness.

The four petals represent the four powers of the Mother.

The twelve petals represent the twelve powers of the Mother manifested for Her Work.

January 24, 1958
The Mother


Recently, between your last visit and this one (two or three days ago), I suddenly had a revelation of the purpose of creation – what it signifies and the why of it: the meaning of creation. It was so clear! So clear. The vision of its reason and where we are going – simply impossible to describe it in words.

Some words came (Mother shows Satprem a piece of paper), but then they had a very special meaning. Here:

The result of creation is a detailed multiplication of consciousness. When the vision of the whole and the vision of all the details join together within an active consciousness, the creation will have attained its progressive perfection.

“Progressive” means... (expanding gesture). No word, no image can convey the experience. It was a real comprehension, a real vision of the thing. This (Mother points to her note) seems hollow in comparison. To use a very childlike metaphor, it's as if the creation unfolded on a screen, were projected on a screen. Or rather, the Supreme Consciousness is projecting itself on a sort of infinite screen.

The experience was... it was obviousness itself! That was IT. But it lasted only a moment. Then, I tried to put it in words. And these words had meaning, a special meaning.

To a child, you could say that the Supreme unfolds himself before his own consciousness, like someone unreeling an endless film. He projects what is here (gesture pointing within, at heart level), in front of him, like that. And since the supramental being would have the capacity to be consciously one with the Divine, he would at once be the seer and the seen.

There are just no words to say it.

Sujata enters with a piece of paper)

Did you find it?

There aren't any details.

Oh! No details....

You simply say:

The dot at the center represents unity, the Supreme. The inner circle represents the creation, the conception of the city [Auroville]. The petals represent the power of expression, the realization.

No that's not it.

I wrote something, or rather I told Sri Aurobindo, who wrote down what the twelve petals were (the four petals are the four main aspects of the Mother, and the twelve are the twelve qualities or “virtues” of the Mother, her powers). I said it one day, and Sri Aurobindo wrote it down; that's when we were living in the other house.1 I put it in a drawer among other papers of mine, but the drawer disappeared when we moved here, someone took it. Who, why, how, I have no idea. But the drawer disappeared. Then, I remember writing the twelve names again on a piece of paper which I kept with me, but now I can't find that one either.... Strange.2

When you made the sketch for Auroville, you said there would be twelve gardens, each one with a particular meaning.

That's Auroville – that's not what I am talking about.

But don't those twelve gardens correspond to the twelve qualities you mentioned?

No, no. No, I wrote it at least twenty-five years ago, at the very least – oh, even more than that! I don't remember when we moved here, when was it?...

In 1927... forty-five years ago!

It's the same with the four. What are the four?

They must be Mahakali, Maheshwari, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati.

Yes, but I don't mean the popular deities. Sri Aurobindo gave each one a special significance.

Yes, you mean what he wrote in “The Mother.”

But that's a long text.

What are these four?... (Mother tries to remember, in vain). How strange, I've forgotten.


Did you read in the Cosmic Review about the “cosmic square”: 1, 2, 3, 4, and one in the center? The cosmic square was conceived by Théon, and I know he put Love in the center. But the four sides... what are the four sides? I don't remember anymore. I used to know all that so well; it's all gone. I know there was Light, Life, and Utility – the fourth was Utility, but the first? Utility was the last. What was the first?... It's all gone.

That would have given me a clue.

I remember writing down the twelve. Yesterday I even recalled three of them, but now I don't remember. The first one was Sincerity....

I don't know anything anymore.

Sujata goes out to look for another text)

When it comes, it doesn't come as a thought: it comes as a vision. So when it's gone, it's gone.

I know there was Perseverance.

When it's there, it's clear, it's obvious. It's like a vision, you know. But then when it's gone, it's really gone.

What sort of clue would it have given you?

(Mother remains engrossed)

It's like that paper I gave you [“The result of creation”]. When I was in the experience, it was evident, the total key to understanding how everything works – why and where it is all going and how. It was clear, thoroughly clear. But you see the paper, it looks like nothing. Yet when the experience was there, it was so evident! It was wonderful. The key to understanding everything-the key to ACTION. The secret uncovered. As if it gave you the power. And then it left.

I remember when I wrote the note, the words had a special meaning for me, a depth they don't usually have. Well....

(Sujata returns with “Words of Long Ago”)

Mother, here in “Words of Long Ago” you have written the twelve “Virtues.”3 First you mention Sincerity.


Then Humility.


Then Courage. Then Prudence, Charity, Justice, Goodness, Patience, Sweetness, Thoughtfulness.... And then Gratitude.


The first is Sincerity; the second, Humility. Yes, that's how it came back to me the other day – Sincerity, Humility.

And Courage.

Perseverance came first, then Courage followed. Sincerity, Humility, Perseverance and Courage. That I remember. But there were twelve.

Next you mention Prudence.

That's not it.





Patience, Sweetness, Thoughtfulness....

No.... That was written before I met Sri Aurobindo.4


Had you been there when it came5 (it came in connection with a question T.J. asked me), you would have understood it from what I wrote, because the consciousness was there. But I never know when it comes – it doesn't come at will. I remember when I had the experience, all at once I felt I understood, everything became clear. But when I tried to formulate it, it had already receded into the background.

You told me once in an “Agenda” about a similar experience you had.


You said that the goal of creation is to join within the individual the total Consciousness (the consciousness of the whole) and the individual consciousness-the two together.6

Yes, something like that, but here it was clearer, more precise.... It's not that I “think,” mind you.

Of course!

That's not how it works. I am as though bathed in it and start seeing... I don't know. It isn't something I “see” (something foreign to me that I see), it's... suddenly I AM it. There's no longer any person, any.... I can't find words to describe these experiences.

Everything I say or write gives me the feeling of something cast into an inert substance-like a photograph, if you will.

Yes, of course! When you talk with me, for instance, well, I feel the whole world of consciousness behind, your words are merely a prop for all that I sense in the background, which you make me perceive.

Yes, exactly.

So obviously, when there's nothing but words on paper, a whole depth is gone.

Yes, exactly, gone.... And unfortunately, it doesn't always come back.

Well, too bad.


I remember, the experience is still very vivid. As I told you, T.J. has a very childish consciousness, so I said to her: you see, it's as if the Whole (not the Divine separate from the creation: the Whole) projected itself on a screen in order to see itself. Therefore it's infinite, it's “forever” – it's never the same and it never ends. It's like a projection to visualize the details and be conscious of oneself in another way.7

The metaphor is quite childlike, of course, but very evocative – that's how I saw it then. Exactly the impression of an infinite Whole projecting itself endlessly.

(Mother remains absorbed a long time)

For instance, the memory mechanism is gone, but I feel it's on purpose. My vision of things would be much less spontaneous and sincere (possibly) if I remembered.

Yes, I get it.

Things always come as a new revelation-and not in the same manner.

That's it – you BECOME the thing, you become it. You don't “see” it; it's not something you see or understand or know, it's... something you ARE.

When I had that experience of the world, it was the experience itself, conscious of itself. It wasn't something I “knew,” it was something that WAS.

But language, words are inadequate.


1 “Library House,” or west wing of the Ashram, which they left on February 8, 1927, to move to “Meditation House,” in the east wing. These two houses, along with two others (“Rosary” and “Secretariat”), form the Ashram compound.


2 According to Sri Aurobindo, “The twelve powers are the vibrations necessary for the complete manifestation.” (Cent. Ed., XXV.359)


3 “The Virtues,” written in 1904.


4 Mother later ordered the list of the twelve powers or “qualities” in the following sequence: Sincerity, Humility, Gratitude, Perseverance, Aspiration, Receptivity, Progress, Courage, Goodness, Generosity, Equanimity, Peace.


5 The experience of joining the vision of the whole together with the vision of all the details.


6 See Agenda XII, October 30 and December 25, 1971.


7 Mother later added the following clarification to her note: “No two consciousnesses are alike among human beings in time and space. The total sum of all these consciousnesses is a partial and diminished manifestation of the Divine Consciousness. That is why I said ‘progressive perfection,’ because the manifestation of the consciousness of details is infinite and will never end.”









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