August 2, 1972
The “Formation of Death”
On several occasions since the beginning of this year 1972 – and actually even in a conversation of September 8, 1971, where some of Mother's words had a strange ring to them – Mother mentioned the “formation of death” she was up against. Today, again, in the following conversation, Mother speaks of that “formation.”
In occult terms, a “formation” is a strongly “formed” thought, or a concentration of force with a specific goal and a permanent existence of its own. Formations can be negative or positive. In everyday life, for example, wills or desires or long-nurtured suggestions one day come to their happy or sorry fruition. The day, the success, or the “accident” were prepared by the constant repetition of insignificant little thoughts, which eventually exude their cancer or dazzling success. Thus Mother, who for long had had no “thoughts” or “will” of her own, except “what You will,” was extremely sensitive and vulnerable to anything coming from the “outside,” precisely because there was no more “outside” for her, she was directly and instantly bathed in everything: she was “in” people. “My body is excessively sensitive,” she said, “and needs to be protected from all those things coming in. As if it had to work inside, as in an egg.” (February 26)
We are here trying to find out what happened on November 17, 1973: the why of things. A “tragedy” does not occur at a particular minute or hour in History. It is the result of all the hours and little minutes that have prepared that particular minute or made it inevitable. As I said earlier, I was thunderstruck on that November 18, 1973. I was certainly the blindest of all the characters taking part in the tragedy, for they all seemed to know in advance that she was going to die – at least those in her immediate entourage. But that “knowing in advance” bears a terrible implication. Here we put our finger on the “formation of death” Mother was imbibing daily – “a perpetual discomfort,” she used to say. In those repeated little minutes we can pinpoint the cause of what happened at 7:25 p.m. on November 17,1973.
There is no better eyewitness than Pranab, Mother's “bodyguard” since he was almost constantly physically present and even slept in Mother's room. Asked about the cause of Mother's departure, this is what he stated in a public speech on December 4, 1973 [in English]:
“On one side She had to fight the onset of decay and old age and on the other She was fighting against this dirt that we were constantly throwing upon Her. But more the failing body I hold responsible for what happened. Often I have seen that She was trying to counteract these forces but when She saw that She could not concentrate much, She could not talk much, She could not write much, She could not see people, She could not do as She wanted, because the body was failing, and the dirt and dust that we were throwing upon Her was increasing, increasing and increasing, I felt and I have seen also some kind of despair....”
We know that all too well, alas: they thought she was old and disabled But Pranab adds the following, which suddenly gives us the magnitude of the real tragedy – we could almost say the horror Mother had to face in her body. This is what he says, and let us remember we are today in August 1972:
“This thing which came now [in November 1973], I think She had prepared me enough for it from quite a long time back. Long before, say, in the year 1948, when Sri Aurobindo was still living, She told me, ‘I am not willing to go, I will not go, and this time there will be no tragedy: but if it so happens that I leave my body, then put my body under the Service Tree’.... And lately, say, AFTER 15th AUGUST 1972, I felt that perhaps what has happened was going to happen. I could not tell anybody and everybody, but to my close associates I said what I was feeling. Afterwards, I felt strongly that it was going to happen, I was counteracting this idea, saying that it should not happen. But behind everything the idea was there.”
Thus, day in and day out Mother was imbibing their thoughts of death: she was GOING to die. And for her this was no “thought”: things had become “concrete” for her. Her body, the consciousness of her body felt itself in the grip of death.
As in all tragedies in human History, there is not a particular person to blame. Humans only incarnate certain types of force or character-they come, die, triumph and vanish – but the forces remain and continue to animate millions and millions of unknown little humans here and there, who are silently “responsible” and the invisible actors in the drama. There is no one to put on trial here- except millions who are but ourselves. It would therefore be absurd to say that Pranab was the author, or the sole author, of that “formation” (“Everywhere, there are wills that it [the body] should die!” she said), but he certainly fostered it and transmitted it, and because he was physically present all the time, Mother had to breathe that horror constantly. Ultimately there remains this haunting question, the only one perhaps: Could it have been otherwise?
Would you like a portrait of Sri Aurobindo?
Blue or all golden? Gold's better!
There are two formations like this (gesture confronting each other), like two wrestlers: one formation is that I will die on Sri Aurobindo's birthday; the other formation is that I am undergoing the necessary transformation to span humanity to the Supramental. Both formations are as... they're like this (same gesture facing each other) and....
When this formation [of death] makes itself felt, an awareness comes that there's hardly any difference between life and physical death, in that anything, at any time, can send you over to the other side. Then, with the other formation, there's a feeling that... (how can I put it?) the body's frailty is due to a need for the consciousness to change so it can manifest the Supramental.
And I am like this (gesture between the two).
But the body has learned to remain quiet in either case.
Why, but why am I not told what will happen? I don't know....
I think it's to insure a kind of very passive state.
And you? How are you?
Well, I would really like to understand the mechanics of the subconscient's transformation. I just don't understand the word “transformation.” “Dissolution,” is understandable; I mean, some movements come to the surface (sometimes you even see them symbolically the night before), they rise to the surface, perform their little trick, their little mischief, you more or less control them, then they come in contact with the Light, and pff! sink back again....
But at the first opportunity, they surge up again, and everything starts anew.
Horrid. It's just what is happening to me now.
But then, how do you...? You seemed to be saying that it gets transformed by coming in contact with the Light. But it looks like it isn't transformed at all: it simply sinks into the depths and surges up again at the first opportunity.
No, something is transformed, but it's slow, slow, slow....
It's like asking a rock to become air!
And what I find fascinating is that the more microscopic and tiny it is, the more power it seems to have!
(Mother takes Satprem's hands and plunges in till the end)