A Talk by Alok Pandey from “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)
We start this year with a short dip into the history of ‘Christmas celebrations’ at the Ashram. When the Mother was asked about it, She remarked: “… the 25th of December was a festival of Light long before Jesus Christ. This festival was in vogue long before Christianity; it originated in Egypt and very probably the birthday of Christ was fixed on the same day as that of the return of the Light. [CWM 4: 6]. She would wish ‘Bon Noël’ on this day to commemorate the Return of the Light, or shall we say also ‘The Birth of the New Light’. With this background we share a talk of the Mother on the 25th Dec and another on the 31st Dec showing us as always the way to live simply and beautifully and divinely.
Words of the Mother
December 25, 1971
Good morning! It’s the festival of Light: Christmas is the festival of the return of the Light – it’s much older than Christianity! – when the days were beginning to grow longer (Mother laughs)……
More and more I am convinced that we have a way of receiving things and reacting to them that creates difficulties – I am more and more convinced of it. Because, for example, I have rather unpleasant physical and material experiences about food. You know that for a very long time now I have completely stopped being hungry (I eat only to be reasonable, because “one must” eat, otherwise …), and I have some small difficulty in swallowing, or breathing (ridiculous things), but everything changes depending on whether you pay attention to them or not, depending on an attitude like this (gesture of being focused on oneself) in which you watch yourself living, or an attitude in which you’re (vast gesture) in things, in movement, in life; and a third attitude in which you pay attention only to the Divine. If you succeed in being like that all the time, there are no difficulties – and yet things are the same. That’s the experience: the thing in itself is as it is, but it is our reaction to it that differs. The experience is more and more conclusive.
You see, there are three categories: our attitude with respect to things, the things in themselves (those two always give you trouble), and there is a third category in which everything, but everything is in regard to the Divine, in the Consciousness of the Divine – all is marvelous, all is easy! And I am speaking of material things, of the material, physical life (for psychological things, we’ve known it for long), I mean material things like little discomforts of the body, or reactions, feeling pain or not, circumstances going wrong, not being able to swallow your dinner – the most banal things you don’t pay attention to when you’re young and strong and in good health (you don’t pay any attention to them, and it’s like that for everyone), but when you live in the consciousness of your body and what happens to it and its ways of receiving things that come and so on – oh, it’s misery! When you live in the consciousness of others, of what they want, what they need, their relationship with you – it’s misery! But if you live in the Divine Presence and it’s the Divine who does everything, sees everything, is everything … it’s Peace – it’s Peace, time has no duration, everything is easy and…. Not that you feel joy or feel … it’s not so … it’s the Divine who is there. And it’s the ONLY solution. That’s where the world is going: the Consciousness of the Divine – the Divine who does, the Divine who is, the Divine…. So then, the same identical circumstance (I am not speaking of different circumstances), the same identical circumstance (it’s my experience these last few days, so concrete, you know, so concrete); day before yesterday I was sick as a dog, and yesterday circumstances were the same, my body was in the same state, all was the same and yet … all was peaceful.
I am thoroughly convinced of that…..
The world is the same – it is seen and felt in a totally opposite way.
Everything is a phenomenon of consciousness – everything. Only, it is not a matter of this consciousness, or that one, or that other one, that’s not it: it’s our way, the human way of being conscious versus the divine way of being conscious. That’s all. That’s the whole question. And I am thoroughly convinced…..
It’s like death, you see. The phenomenon is transitional, but seems to us to have existed forever (it’s forever for us because our consciousness is like this – Mother draws a little square in the air), but when you have that divine consciousness, oh!… things become almost instantaneous, you understand. I can’t explain it.
There IS movement, there IS progression, there IS what is translated for us by time, that exists, it’s something … something in the consciousness…. It’s hard to express…. It’s like an object and its projection. A little like that. All things ARE, but for us, we see them projected on a screen, as it were: one comes after another. It’s a little like that.
Yes, Sri Aurobindo said that in the supramental consciousness, past, present and future exist side by side on a single map of knowledge.
Yes, that’s it. That’s right. But for me it is an experience. Not something I “think” (I don’t think), but an experience. And hard to explain.
And its effect on us, the sensation it produces in us depends exclusively on the position of our consciousness. There is the consciousness of being in oneself or being in the whole (being in the whole is already a bit better than being egoistically oneself, and it has its advantages and disadvantages, but it’s not the truth), the Truth is … the Divine as totality – totality in time and totality in space. And that consciousness, the body CAN have, because this body had it…., and while it has it, everything is so … you see, it’s not joy, it’s not pleasure, it’s not happiness, nothing of all that … a sort of blissful peace … and luminous … and creative. Magnificent. Only, it comes and goes, comes and goes…. And when you go out of it, you have the impression of falling into a horrible pit – our ordinary consciousness (I mean the ordinary human consciousness) is a horrible pit. But we also know why it had to be momentarily that way, for it was necessary in order to go from this to that: everything that happens is necessary for the full development of the goal of creation. You could say (we could word-paint): the goal of creation is for the creature to become conscious as the Creator. There you are.
This creation’s goal is that Consciousness of the Infinite, the Eternal, which is omnipotent – Infinite, Eternal, Omnipotent (which our religions have called God: for us, with respect to life, it’s the Divine) – Infinite and Eternal, All-Powerful … outside of time: each individual particle possessing that Consciousness; each individual particle containing that same Consciousness…..
That gives both the reason and the goal of creation – both at once – and almost the method of development.
Yes, it’s like something that IS, that is as a whole and is successively projected on a screen. And yet it exists as a whole – and it is projected successively on a screen.
(Mother goes into contemplation)
I have the impression that I am on the way to discovering … the illusion that must be destroyed so that physical life can be uninterrupted – discovering that death comes from a … a distortion of consciousness. That’s it.
It’s this close, you know….
December 31, 1960
…..from next week people will start leaving. The crowning day will be January 6, which is Epiphany (but we have made it into a day for the offering of the material world to the Divine: the material world giving itself to the Divine) – it will be the climax,….
I must say that downstairs on Darshan days people chat, look each other over, see how he or she is dressed – it’s like a county fair around the Samadhi.
Yes, it’s true – who’s there, who isn’t, how he looks, who’s he with … Oh!….
Oh, but you know, night after night, night after night, I SEE how things which in their truth are so simple become complicated here in the human atmosphere. Really, it’s so interesting; I have visions … you see, the thing in its truth is so simple it’s stupefying, and then here it becomes so complicated, painful, exhausting, upsetting.
But it’s enough to take one step behind to come out of it all.
I’ll tell you about that … Wait, we still have three minutes; I want to tell you one of my most recent visions (but it’s almost the same thing every night):
I was in my home, somewhere – a world whose light is like a sun (golden with scarlet reflections); it was very beautiful. It was in a town, and my house was in that town. I wanted to take to someone some … not presents, but things he needed. So I got everything together, prepared it all, and then loaded my arms with all the packages (I had taken my own time to arrange everything nicely), and I went out when the whole town was completely deserted – there was not a soul on the streets. A complete solitude. And such a sense of well-being, of light and force! Yes, really a kind of felicity, for no reason. And instead of weighing me down, it seemed as if my packages were pulling me! They pulled me on in such a way that each step was a joy, like a dance.
This lasted the whole time I was crossing the town. Then I came to a border, right at the beginning of another part where I was to take my packages; there, just a little below me, I saw a house under construction – the house belonging to the person to whom I had to deliver these presents (the symbolism in all this, of course, is quite clear).
As I approached the house, but still from some distance, I suddenly saw some men busy at work. Then instantly … instantly this road which was so vast, sunlit and smooth – so smooth to the feet … oh, it became the top level of a scaffolding. And what is more, this scaffolding was not very well made, and the closer I came the more complicated it got – there were planks jutting out, beams off balance. In short, you had to watch every single step to keep from breaking your neck. I began getting annoyed. Moreover, my packages were heavy. They were heavy and they so saddled my arms that I was unable to hold onto anything and had constantly to do a balancing act. Then I began thinking, ‘My God, how complicated this world is!’ And just at that moment, I saw a young person coming along, like a young girl dressed in European clothes, with a hat on her head … all black! This young person had white skin, but her clothes were black, and she wore black shoes on her small white feet. She was dressed all in black – black, all in black. Like complete unconsciousness. She also came carrying packages (many more than me), and she came hopping along the whole length of the scaffolding, putting her feet just anywhere! ‘My God,’ I said to myself, ‘she’s going to break her neck!’ – But not at all! She was totally unconscious; she wasn’t even aware that it was dangerous or complicated – a total unconsciousness. But her unconsciousness is what allowed her to go on like that! I watched it all. ‘Well, sometimes it’s good to be unconscious!’ Then she disappeared; she had only come to give me a demonstration (she neither saw me nor looked at me). And looking down at the workers, I saw that everything was getting more and more complicated, more and more, more and more – and there wasn’t even any ladder by which to get down. In other words, it was getting unbearable. Then something in me rebelled: ‘Ah, no! I’ve had enough of all this – it’s too stupid!’
And IMMEDIATELY, I found myself down below, relieved of my packages. And everything was perfectly simple. (I had even brought the packages along without realizing it.) All, all was in order, very neat, very luminous, very simple – simply because I had said, ‘Ah, no! I’ve had enough of this business! Why all these stupid complications!
But these are not ‘dreams,’ they are types of activity – more real, more concrete than material life; the experience is much more concrete than ordinary life.
I have had hundreds of such examples … It’s not always the same scene. The scenes are different, but the story is always the same – the thing, in its truth, is absolutely luminous, pleasant, charming; then as soon as men get involved, it becomes an abominable complication. And once you say, ‘No! I’ve had enough of all this – it’s NOT TRUE! it goes away.
There have been similar stories in ‘dreams’ with X. I saw him when he was very young (his education, the ideas he had, how he was trained). And the same thing happened. I was with him … but I’ll tell you that another time …’ And then at the end, I’d had enough and I said, ‘Oh, no! It’s too ridiculous!’ and with that I left the house. At the door was a little squirrel sitting on his haunches making friendly little gestures towards me. ‘Oh!’ I said, ‘here’s someone who understands better!’….
January 3, 1973
You know, me, I have but one solution – always the same for anything: this (gesture, hands open). To abolish all personal existence, to be like this (same gesture), something that lets everything pass through and is … set in motion by the Divine. That’s all. Then everything is fine.