March 10, 1972
(A conversation with Auroville's architect, who, after the recent “accident,” asks for money for “fire protection.”)
Well, there isn't enough money here, and there's even less there.... Because in people's minds, it's all the same thing [the Ashram and Auroville], and so they don't know where to give anymore.
There's so much money wasted in the world – some people don't even know what to do with it!
What would be needed for Auroville's protection, how much?
(The architect:) We have to make a study, Mother. I think perhaps one or two lakhs for all of Auroville (for wells and fire hoses). That's for the time being, but there's also the future: how are we going to develop Auroville, now that it's started? At this point the main question is to know whether we shouldn't try to raise money, to ask people in the world for personal contributions in rupees, francs or dollars, so that Auroville can be built by individual people. Perhaps some action along those lines could be undertaken in various countries as well as in India? Because Auroville's financial situation is getting worse. It's worse than it was six months ago, and the needs are increasing, so... I don't know, waiting may be a solution, but you should know the exact situation.
(after a long silence)
What can we do? Do you have a suggestion?
Some time back, L. [an Indian industrialist] came up with an idea which I would like to discuss further with him. The idea was to interest individuals, give them a sort of participation in Auroville. I don't exactly know what India's financial situation is, but....
India's financial situation is VERY bad. Because they used to receive a lot of money from America, but that has practically stopped. It's very bad – India has become poor, that's the trouble. Otherwise we could ask, but they are really in trouble.
Perhaps some other countries are ready to help.
Germany can help, maybe the United States. But the thing is, Mother, all this should be done as a coherent policy, no longer in a haphazard way.
We should try.
If only I were given a plan. I haven't seen to these things so far, but if there were an acceptable plan, I could work on it. Right now I don't know what to do.
I'll speak to N. right away, Mother, and see what he thinks. Perhaps today we can bring you a proposal and make some decisions – leaving things as they are may be possible but dangerous.
I think something should be done. But I can't say what because I don't know – I don't know what can be done practically.
For many, many years, I had merely to exert a little pressure to get money – and I got it. But that was for the Ashram. Now the Ashram doesn't have enough, and nothing comes no matter how much pressure I exert – people no longer know where to give: there's this thing and that thing, and this and that... they are confused!
Give me a plan and I'll work on it.
There's too much dispersion, Mother.
You no longer know where you stand: there's “Sri Aurobindo Society,” “Sri Aurobindo's Action,” “Sri Aurobindo this and that....” The result is dispersion.
Yes, but when you tell them that – especially if you put it that way to N. [Sri Aurobindo Society], he'll say, “All right, Sri Aurobindo's Action [U.'s operation] has got to go.” Each one says, “I am the one who should stay!”... That's no solution.
The solution is that people should become one, Mother: unity.
Yes, yes, yes – yes, exactly. Exactly!
Instead of a combination where each one has his place within a harmonious unity, instead of that, everyone pulls in his own direction. The real progress to be made is a moral one.
You have hit the point: lack of unity is the cause of all the difficulties.
Even the Ashram has been contaminated by the disease: each department considers itself a separate entity. And since there's no more cohesion, nothing works! That's the situation.
And I can no longer go from one place to another and bring a vigorous action. I can't anymore, I am held here.
That's it, you've put your finger on it. If you could propose a specific plan of action, we could see. That's what is needed: to coordinate the efforts and create a unity with the parts.
From the beginning there has been this lack of unity, and also because of the action I no longer perform. No matter how much I tell them, “You are not here to represent your own interests. You are all one and the same” – they just don't understand! So the result is (laughing): N. is sick and U. doesn't feel well – there you are.
In the end it always boils down to the same thing: a SUBSTANTIAL individual progress is required – a serious and sincere progress – then everything works perfectly.
The atmosphere is dislocated; it has lost the cohesive power it had.
But if you want to collaborate, it would be wonderful, you know! I need someone, you see, someone who could get around, talk to people, see, take notes: reestablish unity on a higher level. oh, that would be a wonderful work! Wonderful.
Once that is done, things would ease up. It's not that money is lacking, it's just being wasted, scattered.
You see, N. keeps wanting to expand and expand the Sri Aurobindo Society, he buys plots of land worth lakhs of rupees, and instead of the money being used for the general work, it is frittered away....1 I told him, but he didn't understand. And today, the result is that he is sick.
That's the situation.
Success is certain, but on one condition – ONE condition – that we become united. Supposedly, we are preaching unity to the world – it would be only decent to do it ourselves!
Instead, we are the example of exactly the opposite.
To visitors we say, “Here we seek human unity.” But WE constantly quarrel among ourselves, and we preach human unity! That's absurd. Totally absurd! We can't even be ONE in our own work.
I keep telling them, but they don't understand.
Do you want to help me?
Good. Would you like us to work together?
I'm ready to speak to N., Mother, if you permit me.
Yes, speak to N., it will do him some good.
I'll speak very fraternally, Mother, very sincerely, for I have a lot of things to say.
If he gets annoyed, tell him, “Then go talk to Mother.” And....
I'll try to speak to N. first, he's the hardest. I'll speak to U. after.
U. is very bright, he'll have very good answers to offer you! (Mother laughs)
I've already spoken to U., Mother, I already know his answers.
But U. is beginning to change, because he is an extremely bright man, so he understood he had to change.
I am with you.
(The architect leaves. R., an American disciple, enters.)
I could put it this way: it's either progress, or death. Each and everyone must, must absolutely progress, make the required progress, or else... (gesture of dissolution).
That fire was symbolic – I suppose you know about it: there's been a terrible fire.
(R.:) Yes, yes. And I wanted to know what is the symbolic significance.
You see, we preach Unity, we say that humanity must be one, that all efforts must join together for the general progress, for the advent of the Supramental... but everyone pulls as hard as he can in his own direction. That's the situation.
So I wanted to tell all of you, “Practice what you say, or you will cease to exist.”
One has no right to preach unity to the world when one gives such an example of utter division.... That's all. It's quite simple, so simple that a child could understand – but THEY don't understand.
As for me, the power of consciousness goes on increasing; for the time being – I repeat, for the time being – the physical power is reduced to almost nought. I am forced to stay here, minding nothing, and make shift with seeing people. So I need some persons to do the practical work I used to do before and can no longer do... (Mother is short of breath). I can't speak with the same strength as before – the physical is undergoing a transformation, you know. Sri Aurobindo himself had said – and rightly so – he said (because one of us had to go, and I offered to go), “No, your body is capable of enduring it, it has the strength to undergo transformation.” It's not easy. I can assure you, it's not easy. Yet my body is good-willed, it is really good-willed. But for the moment it is in the process of... well, it is no longer quite on this side but not yet on the other. The transition isn't easy. So I am stuck here, like an old woman, incapable of doing any work.
If I can hold on – if only I can hold on – at one hundred things will be better. That I know. I am absolutely convinced there will be a renewal of energy. But I have to hold on.... That's all.
So for the moment, we lack money. We lack money because money is being scattered. People no longer know where to give, so they stop giving: “Should I give here, should I give there, should I...?” They don't give anything anymore.
then Mother speaks in English)
I can see, I have truly the occasion to see that if I left, I have nobody here, it would be our destruction.
(R.:) Oh, complete collapse – nothing!
Then if the work must be done, if Auroville must be built, not only do I have to remain in my body but the body must become strong.
I know. I know that. All depends on what the Divine Will is – He doesn't tell me! When I ask Him, I have the impression... (once or twice, in moments of difficulty, I have put the question regarding this body), and then (laughing) I seem to see a smile, you know, a smile as big as the world, but no answer.
I can still see that smile: “Don't try to know, it is not yet time.”
(the clock strikes)
If we knew how to remain always in the true consciousness, there would be... a smile. But we have a tendency to become tragic. It's our weakness.
It is our limitations that make a drama. We are too small – too small and too shortsighted. But... the Consciousness knows – it knows.2
1 This is the beginning of the fraud. N. later declared himself the “proprietor” of Auroville, because all the land was purchased in the name of “his” Society and not in Auroville's.
2 The recording of this conversation has been kept in the Ashram, most probably never to be seen again. Satprem used to keep all the tapes of his conversations with Mother, but since this particular conversation concerned Auroville's architect and R., at the time he thought it better to entrust the tape to Mother's new attendant after transcribing it.