Form, Formless and the Ananda of Existence (HH 239)

A Talk by Alok Pandey from the “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)

There are always two sides of the One Reality, form and the formless. Form is a means of embodying and expressing that which is a formless essence of things. The form of Krishna is essentially the Anandmaya. Today we share some aspects of this truth through the luminous writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Words of the Mother

HE alone is doing it, it’s always He. And sometimes things stagnate, they seem so absolutely obscure and stupid. And then, if you simply go like this (gesture of offering), simply, truly – do it, not think it – it’s instantly like a shower of bliss … A tiny point, something very small which looks stubbornly stupid and obstinate, if only you do this (and if you want, you can): ‘Take, take!’ Give it to Him, simply, like this, truly give it to Him: ‘It’s You, it’s Yours, take it, do with it what You want.’ And instantly, instead of this shrinking and this painful feeling – ‘What in the world can I do with all this?’ – a shower, it comes like a shower. Truly Ananda. Of course, if you are stupid enough to call back the difficulty, it returns. But if you remain quiet, if you keep your head quiet, it goes – finished, cured. But there are thousands and thousands and thousands of such points …


Some time ago I made a discovery of that kind: someone asked me if there was any difference between Ananda and Love; I said, “No.” Then he said to me, “But then how is it that some people feel Ananda while others feel Love?…” I answered him, “Yes! Those who feel Ananda are those who like to receive, who have the capacity to receive, and those who feel Love are those who have the capacity to give.” But it’s the same thing: you receive it as Ananda, you give it as Love.

So, probably, someone more on the “receiving” side would call that Vibration Ananda – maybe that’s what people call the “joy of life,” I don’t know…. It has absolutely nothing to do with what human beings call joy. It’s really the feeling of something full rather than empty – life as people live it, as I see them live it, is something hollow, empty, dry. Hollow. Hard and hollow together. And empty. So when I do that work, as I told you, all that’s around me, all the work and everything is … yes, it gives an impression of being dry and hollow; while when the other thing is there, you instantly get an impression of full-full-full-full – full! Overflowing, you know, no more bounds. So full that all, but all bounds are swept away, erased, gone – and there remains only That, that Something. That’s why the cells remain held together – it’s because of That, for That, by That. For no other reason.


He is smiling…. He has taken the opportunity to make a practical and very effective demonstration: a demonstration of the same totality of vibrations (resulting in outer and inner circumstances) with and without the consciousness of His Presence – conscious of His Presence and oblivious of His Presence. And then, it’s tremendous, incredible! Exactly the same thing – starting with thoughts, feelings, sensations, circumstances and the general state, the totality of vibrations – conscious of this Presence and oblivious of it; not that it is sent far away, nothing like that: simply forgotten (that’s the usual state of the world, of course), forgotten. It’s incredible, incredible!

It lasted long enough (gesture showing a very swift alternation from one state to the other: conscious of His Presence and oblivious of His Presence), like a demonstration. And with this Smile … You know, when I say, “The Lord is smiling,” it means something; it’s not that I see a face smiling, but it’s a … a sunny vibration … You know, the sun is dull and drab and cold and almost black in comparison. And then with “that” gone … (same alternating gesture) with that here, with that gone. Which means that those who will come and manifest, who will exist when everything is changed, they will lack the sense of wonder at the opposition.

You know, you can only be filled with wonder! (How can I put it?…) A sort of laughter – of sunny laughter – which is full of an intensity of love and … Yes, this must be the Ananda, the true Ananda.

(Same alternating gesture) Like this, like that, like this, like that …

So I told you just now that “everything grates”: that’s the state the world is in WITHOUT the consciousness of this Presence. Even when people find that things are fine and they are happy, that anyway circumstances are supposedly favorable, and that everything is fine and they are in good health and, humanly, everything sorts itself out – it grates dreadfully in comparison with the other state.

Then you can only smile. Instead of being affected because this one is in a bad mood and that one got angry and things go wrong and people fight each other and the elements cause hurricanes, instead of being saddened, you can only smile. You can only smile, because everything, but everything is the same – the good and the bad, the luminous and the dark – everything is the same and everything grates in comparison with “that.” And you see, the experience you have when you climb up there to find Him isn’t the same thing, because you feel, “Yes, up there everything is like that, it’s very fine,” but when you come down here, it’s horrible. But that’s not what I am referring to: it’s the experience RIGHT HERE – right here – in other words, what the world MUST be. What it must be, what obviously it will be … when men permit it.

They are very attached to their grating, very attached, they cling to it. They don’t feel alive when it doesn’t grate.

But they don’t know.

Sometimes, in the individual or collective evolution, there are phases when you have emerged from the grating, that is to say, you no longer believe in it, no longer believe in the truth and importance, the reality of those things, but you don’t have the other thing yet, so in between the two … it’s austere, dull and cold. You no longer have the excitement of one thing, and not yet the joy of the other; you are in between the two and it’s a little arid. But only a small, limited number of individuals have reached that stage. They are the people who say, “I don’t want this world.” And then they go away.

But as for the other thing …

One does realize that if the other thing were constant, established, oh! …

And it can be felt only when you are not turned in on yourself, that is, when you DON’T FEEL YOURSELF FEELING IT. And that is the great difficulty, because as soon as it comes, something wants to feel it, and then instantly you fall back into the grating. And it cannot be felt: if you feel yourself feeling it, it’s already no longer the thing.

Oh, it’s already spoilt.
There is a line in which freely translated is:
“Annule-toi pour que seul le Divin soit”.

A very free translation, but the idea is there. And that’s the state in which “that” can exist. And it is evident that the body doesn’t dissolve (Mother touches her own body), it’s here, isn’t it? You can see it!


And it is the only – the only – infallible way to establish harmony in the body [this Smile of the Presence]. All the rest, all the precautions, all the remedies, all that seems so futile, so futile … and so inadequate. The only way – for everything, everything.


We may say in an absolute way that the remedy always goes together with the trouble. We could say that the cure for every suffering coexists with the suffering. Then, instead of seeing an “unnecessary” and “stupid” trouble, as people generally think, you see that the progress, the evolution which made the suffering necessary – which is the cause and the goal of the suffering – achieves the desired result, and at the same time the suffering is cured, for those who can open up and receive. The three things – the suffering as a means of progress, the progress, and the cure of the suffering – are coexistent, simultaneous, meaning that they don’t follow one another, they take place at the same time.

If, when the transformative action creates a suffering, there is in what suffers the necessary aspiration and opening, the remedy is absorbed at the same time, and the effect is total, complete: the transformation, along with the action necessary to obtain it, and at the same time the cure of the false sensation caused by the resistance. And the suffering is replaced by … something unknown on this earth, but which has to do with joy, ease, trust, and security. It’s a supersensation, in perfect peace, and clearly the only thing that can be eternal.

This analysis expresses very imperfectly what we could call the “content” of the Ananda.


It is an error to confuse Joy and Felicity. They are two very different things. Not only are their vibrations different, but their colors are different. The color of Felicity is blue, a clear silvery blue (the blue of the Ashram flag), very luminous and transparent. And it has a passive and fresh quality that refreshes and rejuvenates.

Whereas Joy is a golden rose color, a pale gold with a tinge of red, a very pale red. It is active, warm, fortifying, intensifying. The first is sweetness, the second is tenderness.

And Bliss – what I spontaneously call Bliss – is the synthesis of both. It is found in the very heights of the supramental consciousness, in a diamond light, an uncolored, sparkling light containing all the colors. Joy and Felicity form two sides of a triangle that has Bliss at its apex.

Bliss contains coolness and warmth, passivity and activity, repose and action, sweetness and tenderness, all at the same time. Divine tenderness … is something very different from sweetness – it is a paroxysm of joy, a vibration so strong that the body feels it will burst, so it is forced to widen.

The diamond light of Bliss has the power to melt all hostile forces. Nothing can resist it. No consciousness, no being, no hostile will can draw near it without immediately being dissolved, for it is the Divine light in its pure creative power.


This was the first time I had this experience. It was much more substantial

I had a sort of … I can’t say it was a “vision” because it was very … it was lived. It was lived in the subtle physical world, which is symbolic of Reality (the forms are symbolic of Reality, they express Reality, and at the same time they are self-existent). Almost every night I spend some time with Sri Aurobindo in that world, and things are always happening that are indications. But that night, it was quite particular.

Sri Aurobindo and I were in an extremely comfortable car, and we were both resting in an eternity of peace and bliss – quietly, next to each other. The car was driven by … the eternal Driver. It was supreme Bliss, you know. Until suddenly, outside the car (I don’t know how), two papers were thrown on the road, and one of the papers was a letter (it was an envelope that had come by mail, there were stamps on it), and the other was something written; and with a lightness (the car was still moving), quite a divine lightness, Sri Aurobindo leaps out of the car onto the road to pick up the letters. I said to myself, “Ah, the Bliss is over … (laughing) now we’ll have to get back to work!” And I also got out of the car (which disappeared).

Sri Aurobindo picked up those letters (at that moment I knew exactly what they meant, but it’s secondary), then he took me by the hand (that is, his right hand took my left hand: I was on his right), and we started walking on the road. And while we were walking on the road, after a time (there were many details and things I am not telling because they are incidental, they had their meaning at the time but they don’t matter), while we were walking on the road, he suddenly leaned over towards me and showed me that I was walking on flint. (You know, when the road is made of chips of stones and slightly cambered to make water flow away? On the side some earth has been washed away and sometimes the stones are bared.) And I was walking on those stones – no, he was walking on them and he showed them to me, so I had him walk in the middle of the road and I started walking on the stones so he wouldn’t walk on them (but I didn’t feel the stones at all). And then I noticed (I looked at him at that moment), I noticed Sri Aurobindo’s head … a glorified head, truly a supramental head, a marvel! And his whole body, EVERY PART OF HIS BODY was someone in whom he was manifesting for a particular work or reason, or a particular action in relation to me; and as for me, I wasn’t a person, I was only a Force (I noticed that I didn’t have a body). And I saw all those who were participating (not their physical appearance, but I knew who they were): for this one, such and such a thing; for that one, such and such a thing; the hand, such and such a thing; the arm, such and such a thing … and so on. And I saw his feet: they were my feet with “getas” on; they were my feet, my feet with getas on. And it was my feet with getas on that didn’t want to let him walk on the stones, on the side of the road, and that was why he left it….

It was wonderfully clear and meaningful! And I saw, I knew exactly someone’s place in the Work; and in that Work, in that relationship with me, he was supported, directed by Sri Aurobindo…. The whole thing in detail.

It was a revelation with an absolutely wonderful exactness. And that concern he had…. First, the feeling that I WAS his feet (but his white feet with getas on, as mine are) and that he didn’t want me to walk on the edge, on the rugged stones of the road, and that’s why he left …

It has left me with an absolutely unforgettable impression because it was a revelation of the play of forces – of what things TRULY are in spite of their appearances, which are deceptive.
His head was a splendor. And it dominated everything, that was what did the directing – it was the splendor of his supramental conception that directed everything. And everyone had his place.


I had already had the experience for the sense of smell – the divine vibration, the vibration of Ananda in odors. Just under my window, you know, Nripendra has his kitchen, where every morning and afternoon food is prepared for the children – it all comes wafting up on gusts of air. And when the Samadhi tree is in flower, the scent wafts up to me on gusts of air; when people burn incense down below, it comes wafting up here on gusts of air – each and every fragrance (‘fragrance’ – let’s say odor). And generally it all comes while I am walking for my japa – an Ananda of odors, each one with its meaning, its expression, its … (how to say it?) its motivation and its goal. Marvelous! And there are no longer any good or bad odors – that notion is gone completely. Each one has its meaning – its meaning and its raison d’être. I have been experiencing this for a long time.

But this experience of taste was completely new. It didn’t last long, only a few minutes, because it amazed me so! It was as if I had a mouthful of the most marvelous foods one could imagine. And my hands were gathering it up in the atmosphere – it was so funny!

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