An interview with Santosh ben (Gupta) by Narad, recorded in 2015. In memory of Santosh ben, who has left us today, September 30, 2018.
INTERVIEW 2 (2015)
The last interview with Santosh was so beautiful people have passed the DVD around and many many have watched it as she spoke about her life. But today we are going to cover different areas. For example, Santosh many people today are seeking. They don’t know about Mother and Sri Aurobindo but they are seeking, they don’t want the old life. What do you recommend for these young people who are seeking for something higher for something truer?
Santosh: “When we come to Mother and Sri Aurobindo any one of us, naturally some urge within which is inspiring them, which is guiding them which is urging them to come here isn’t it? Otherwise no one can come. When one doesn’t have the aptitude for this life, no one can turn up. The world is big enough for them to live. But when we come here we come with a certain aspiration within. We will know it clearly or we may not, we may know it vaguely. And when we enter this atmosphere, when we enter Pondicherry, when we feel that the atmosphere then we see our deities Mother and Sri Aurobindo there is some commotion inside, some awakening inside. Which pushes them always and knowingly or unknowingly even at the time of Mother also when she used to instill that aspiration in us through her eyes by merely looking at us, even then some people may feel it very clearly, they may decide their future very clearly, but some are vague enough but still pulled, they feel pulled. Something from within is pulling them to join the ashram. So they wish to stay here then. Mother used to, she already saw, still more she examines them that way inside and seeing our possibilities even, even though we may not be very clear about our own selves, but she sees, she used to see possibilities, potentialities and accordingly she used to grant us permission to stay here or not. So that way I think most of us are here. Now it depends during our stay here, it may be lifelong, it may be for some years, whether we have utilized, or whether we have developed our inner soul up to that level, that level which we are expected or which we are told or we are just again fallen back on the same brunt of the old life. That is a very, very essential point for all of us. If we cannot progress, naturally we will lag behind in everything and what does this progress mean? How to keep, this fire burning within? For that Mother and Sri Aurobindo have given enough guidelines, letters otherwise also in their writings. So I think it’s not such a difficult thing if we are little conscious and try to imbibe that thing from their literature, from their words, from our prayers and with their grace. They are always there ready to help us. Always there I can say with confidence. It’s we that we lack that confidence, that aspiration, that prayer, that fire and that constant burning should be there. We are not to go astray in all those things just for, once we are granted, our life mission is over. That is not the life here. When you are granted admission, permission, real work starts then isn’t it? And for that, to keep that aspiration burning Mother and Sri Aurobindo both of them said so many times, in so many letters; first an aspiration, first prayer rather, aspiration is still another step. When we can’t know can’t decide our future what to do, how to do, at least that much link we should have with the Mother to ask her. To pray for our difficulties. In the beginning it may just be repetition of words but ultimately it leads us with our soul and then it becomes aspiration. Which Mother used to do with her eyes in a moment, we may take some time, some months, some years whatever it is, it depends upon the intensity of our prayer, our confidence our faith everything, but it comes, nobody is empty handed. Whosoever stands before her? So I should say I was lucky enough to have that opening from the very beginning from the Mother.
Narad: Now, from prayer to aspiration, then would you talk a bit about surrender.
Santosh: “Then after the aspiration when you love somebody when you aspire for somebody when you have a yearning for anybody even humanly also what we do. When we love somebody what do we feel? The first gesture of our being is to give ourselves, isn’t it? Whom we love, always in our thoughts we’ll be what best I can give to my lover, to my beloved isn’t it? Same way when that fire, has burnt, when that yearning has come automatically that your being starts flowing towards that and I should say that is the real surrender. In words we can say you surrender everything to the Lord. When you pray you say, all this my being and all that is yours very well, it has to be done but not only words, in practice it comes when you really pine for that Lord. That burning fire within should be there. So aspiration leads to surrender automatically. We don’t have to ask question to ourselves how to surrender? That is I should say an extreme ultimate step. Before that again the same method we have to employ prayer. We must feel, start feeling at least everything belongs to Lord, not me. My every action, my every thought, my very word, my every relation, every connection whatever I do from morning to night should be inspired by you and should be offered to You that should be my gesture. First we can always pray but then it comes automatically she doesn’t care to listen our words she see the flowing of the consciousness towards her. Which she is ready to accept every moment, every moment she receives that.
Narad: And when problems come up, with others in one self?
Santosh: Problems of what type?
Narad: Disharmony, anger, desire, ego, we can go on and on….
Santosh: Yes, the method of dissolution for everything is the same. When we approach Her, when we go to Her then we try to become one with her consciousness and we enlarge our consciousness. Ego can go only, that is the last thing to go but it reflects in everything. Whatever we do whatever we think isn’t it? Whatever relationship we have, that supremacy that I am something that is always there. So to change this ego’s, first of all we have to know whether we are egoistic. We don’t even realize. That is the main hurdle, we don’t even realize, we justify, go on justifying our actions, our thinking. So all this, things even to remove anger, anger comes when? When things happen contrary to your ideas, to your expectation we get angry, we get irritated isn’t it? We are thinking of doing the one thing in a particular way the person you are connected with in work he may think otherwise or he may not do according to your instructions if you are in-charge also. These are small little examples, but in life anger comes when? When anything displeasing comes to you. You are irritated beyond expectations. So the first thing will be, we should be always above our own selves. We should not insist what we think, what we do, the way we think, the way we do is all right others are wrong. When we have a general larger understanding of our own selves as well as of the others anger won’t come. You won’t react. You will be peaceful within as before, you will try to understand the view point the stand of the other person. And then reconcile. If you find still that you are right he is wrong or he may be wrong because that happens nobody is perfect, then you can make harmonious understanding! But we should not insist that is the point, that is the trouble with human nature, what I think is alright, he should do this, No. You have expressed your view, let him think over. If not at this moment, he may think the next moment that he is not right. And if you don’t insist, being a head of the department, I mean this situation where you are leading, any situation not head of the department, even home, anywhere. When you feel that nothing should be in this way, this the correct way, but we don’t, we shouldn’t insist. First of all we should give little time for him, for the other person to think, give him some space and with love. Try to convince, if you have to convince him, with love that you also take care of him, that you also understand him so that he can come around. And inwardly we can always refer our difficulties to Mother.
Narad: Sri Aurobindo says that, first essential thing is peace.
Santosh: Yes, just in this previous context, just I’ll say. Sri Aurobindo has very jokingly once said, that when I talk of surrender, the first thing people surrender is their common sense. So that is, what real surrender is it’s very necessary for our lives.
Narad: How do you bring in the peace?
Santosh: Well, for me also this has been a great challenge till now. Although, as in the last talk I told you about my experience, and to some extent that is always in the background. Real peace comes, really with the inner contact. Then we don’t have to invoke also, as soon as she stands before you, you are in her environment. She covers you with all that is hers and she has everything, whatever we ask for, her mere presence her mere coming, it’s so peaceful, so blissful, the very memory of it is so very blissful that automatically it comes. But in the present, in the day to day life, in the problems, when you are facing all the times, so challenges, some difficulties, some personal problem to solve, even then this stage of our consciousness should be always to stand back. That is the first fundamental rule of spiritual life for Mother and Sri Aurobindo also and for Gita every Shastra, scripture will say. That to detach yourself is the first necessity. Now how to stand back? And that should become a natural state of your consciousness then only you can remain peaceful. Peaceful doesn’t mean when we sit for meditation close our eyes and just we remember for sometime we are very peaceful, rest of the time we are all the time agitated. That is not peace. Real peace comes when we know that this outer self is not I. In Gita it’s very beautifully said and this I have experienced by Mother’s grace. Then you need not do meditation even, it comes automatically. You face any difficulty, very automatically, just stay behind don’t get involved with the situation. And then whatever comes will bring with it solutions, because you are seeing from another level and that solves everything and we remain peaceful. But when we are involved, when we are attached, may be persons, may be situations, may be our environments, then we immediately those vibrations. Person is very agitated, he is angry with you, he has abused you, you also get irritated isn’t it? You can also retort in the same way. First reaction will be that, mostly or if you are sensible enough to control yourself you may not utter the same abuses but you will feel hurt.
Santosh: So in that case if you are aloof then nothing touches you and that aloofness itself pacifies all that agitation, anger everything to the person also, to you also.
Narad: To the person also …
Santosh: Yes, but for that we shouldn’t say from the mouth I am are very peaceful but inside you are bubbling. That is not peace that won’t have influence.
Narad: How did you come to have the peace? You said it was a long journey, till you developed the peace. Because of the nature?
Santosh: And still now also I feel, I fail at times, it’s not that I am always in that state. I do feel many times.
Narad: But, you had spoken to me about experiences, and said they don’t take us very far unless we translate them into everyday life.
Santosh: That is true. Both the things are helping. Both the things are means to advance without experience you may not have the firm faith, because the thing you have seen you have experienced yourself. You have naturally more faith in that than any sayings, any words of anyone isn’t it? So experiences help that way when you have personal experiences, but if we are just feeling proud of it, ” Oh I am having so many beautiful experiences I must be something within” then everything is gone, no use. It has made you only egoistic isn’t it?
Santosh: So for that what I have seen, what I have experienced that experience should lead me, should tell me, that you have to advance still further. It’s not that you are something. By the Grace you are getting it so invoke that Grace that I may go still further, still come nearer to you. And experiences don’t come to everybody that is also true. By sadhana some people may have that inner opening. Some people have as in my case, I should say, it was god given gift from the very childhood. But it never made me mad that I am something. I used to see my question papers before my eyes before the examination. But those things didn’t make me mad or make my head off, that I am something. I could tell the events before hand and that was not my doing something no. I should say it was a god given gift. But I developed it, developed it in the sense that I took it in a very light way, took it as a milestone for my sadhana and perceived it like that and certain things god has given me in a very natural way. The opening to the Mother, first the remembrance of the Mother. There was some urge without seeing her, I must go there, I must see her that was my only aim while staying outside. So probably all these experiences they were helping me.
Narad: Preparing you
Santosh: Preparing me and brought me to the true path. And because I was a little open I was ready. I was aspiring that way, Mother also didn’t find any difficulty to open, go on opening from within. So I say both things are helpful. But most of us we don’t have experiences that we should not be depressed, but “oh that person is having so much, I don’t have, even after so many years I don’t see anything, I don’t find anything, I don’t feel anything!” You may get depressed when we hear somebody else’s experiences, after experiences, you may feel depressed. I didn’t get anything after fifty years.
Narad: After how many years
Santosh: Fifty years even I didn’t get anything. I didn’t feel like that. But that is not the criteria. With the experiences we have to grow. Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s yoga is we have to grow in consciousness, we have to change the consciousness and we have to establish god, establish that consciousness in us and we have to become that consciousness, we have to become so large as they are. Then every difficulty dissolves, it is our petty little closed rooms which we are living in that is disturbing us all through our lives. So experience this, doesn’t matter, do not matter at all. They will come by their own whenever time comes, whenever god sees for you to be all proper. We are not to pine for experiences but when they come most welcome. When we take a more confident step towards the goal, towards our future.
Narad: You once told me, Mother is bearing all
Santosh: Yes. To say it in words you may not believe it. Mother is bearing all, she is doing all, she is looking after us all in every way. We are birds, do you think it will help you, it will influence you, unless you have that experience. When you are in certain difficulty, difficult position, difficult situation. And when she comes all of a sudden in a most unexpected way then you realize “Oh, how she is with us”. But this thing becomes very natural when we are one with her, so always in sadhana there are two steps. First, it may be a hearing, it may be reading, it may be remembering, it may be prayer whatever it is ultimately we have to be one with her. And to be one with her is psychic soul. That is a mirror within ourselves which shows our real self as well as the deities seated within. And then we feel at every step of life, every moment I can say, it’s not I who do anything, not this I, which I call myself as I, no. It’s not I that does anything. We can see always Mother is doing everything, Lord is doing everything, god is doing everything whatever you may think. Only then we have the psychic experience, that opening. More and more psychic governs our outer life the more and more we are in that state. And for that even our saints, rishis everybody they have said, sahadisamadhibhali, the spontaneous trance. You are always somewhere else, because you are seeing your beloved before your eyes. And then you are full of her thoughts in our consciousness, in our doings, in our actions, when we feel her everywhere there is no area which is left of her without Mother without Lord without God. Then it is adept very very natural and constant samadhi. So she bears all, when we see with our eyes, when we feel with our experience working her. Till then we have to believe what they have said, what we have read and we have to keep that faith at least. That one day we have to realize it, that should be our prayer I should say, our aspiration and she grants it, she is for that what for else she has come here in this world.
Narad: Dealing with pain, dealing with pain. People, so many people are in pain.
Santosh: Physical pain or
Narad: Yes, let’s talk about physical first, physical pain first.
Santosh: I also suffered, I am suffering already. It’s difficult for you to sit down, you can take stool, take that stool, it will be afterwards very painful for you. Take this stool, sit down. I can’t sit down, on the floor. He is more comfortable now.
Narad: How do you work on your pain?
Santosh: Well, both ways physical has to be treated physically also medically also. It is not that with our consciousness, we don’t have that much of mastery. We are not all the time 24 hours with the God. There are lapses there are moments when we are separated.
Santosh: You keep one or two more questions on that. I don’t know her name. Keep questions also over that. So for physical, again the same thing, the process of prayer that also should continue, physically, medically also we have to treat. And I didn’t really say and feel god has given us machine with which we work all the time, but we know nothing about its parts. When it gets stuck up we don’t know how to do. We can do this repair isn’t it? But not with the body. We don’t know what is happening we rush to doctor who knows and that he also may not know the whole thing. It goes on in the physical like that. And we also go stumbling, suffering and may lessen it sometimes little less of suffering little less of pain with all these aids we take. But more and more we should be conscious as we are conscious in our consciousness with other things, with our anger, with our nature, with our character, with our mental thinking. As we are going on sorting things here, offering things here, enlarging ourselves in every way trying to do it in our feeling, in our emotions, as we are sublimating ourselves. Physically also we should try to apart from all this, physical helps. There also what I found most effective way of coming out of pain is to detach yourself. Although it is difficult not always happens, but it helps. And a will power. Will power in such a way that body has to reject it, it shouldn’t accept it. Generally what we say ohhhishh, it has to come, it will come, can’t help it you have to suffer; no this is not our yogic attitude, you have to fight. Fight with a will, if somebody stands before us terrorizing us, wants to fight, then should we run away or should we give our face too, alright you slap, we should all be able to slap. And that comes from inner will power, detach yourself call the Lord, rest he will do. You may not find an immediate effect but the next moment you may find, oh everything is gone. But it’s not so very practical for us because we are very much tied down with the physical. But it’s not that ways are not there, how much we succeed depends upon us. I also cannot boast. Although I have gone through so much of physical suffering as I told you last time.
Santosh: But they have passed like nightmares, really I didn’t feel that part of suffering, in proportion they came the all the major operations not that much of suffering but it could have been. They could have been fatal also.
Narad: Yeah, yeah yes. Would you speak a little on humility and gratitude?
Santosh: Humility doesn’t come merely by effacing yourself in words when we say to somebody, “Oh this is your grace, this is your doing, I am nothing” you just meek, you just show yourself as you feel you are nothing and you can do nothing or that is not humility. You may not boast what we are doing and when don’t boast it doesn’t mean we are humble. Inside we may still be liking “people should admire me, people should know that I am something, isn’t it? I have achieved something” If somebody behaves in a very un casual way or abnormal way with you, then see yourself how you react? So that is not the real humility, outside you may talk “Oh aap to bahut, unhomebahut you are so great” So humble person, first of all he doesn’t pronounce that I am so and so I am such and such, nothing. Second this is, because he has realized himself within himself, that it’s not I who is doing anything actually, in my own life also, there is someone else who is over me, who is doing everything. So how he be egoistic? How can he be arrogant? How can he boast? Before his eyes he is feeling everything in his heart of hearts he is feeling everything, it’s not I that who is moving my life, who is doing the actions, there is someone else. So all the credit goes to him. I am living because of him, I am surviving because of him, I am doing things because of him. Real humility comes then. It is alright for our conduct, for our day to day life, we shouldn’t be arrogant, we shouldn’t be so many things are there, little, little things, they are also necessary. We should not confront anybody with everything that is not how practical life is lived. But the person who is really in contact within, he will never fail. He is the true humble person he won’t announce also that I am humble. The very figure, the very personality, the very utterances, the very face, the very influence of the personality when he sits with you he will emanate. That is real humility that is real peace. When your find peace in somebody’s presence, maybe saint, maybe a sadhu, maybe a saint anybody. Why do we feel peace in their presence? They don’t utter any word, maximum they will do, they will put their hand on you, you will pass them, you will sit near them and then you find peace that emanates from the being, that’s what we are to be everyone of us. And gratitude also I should say this is a moment to moment. Our deepest most sublime feelings offered to the divine. We always say that when somebody does something for you, you must feel grateful, you will write also like that, somebody has done something we will reply and I am very grateful to you that is one way. In inter dealings we are and we should be that much at least we should have in our normal day to day life, we should have that much of gratefulness. Because gratefulness always, it’s not only good for the person or for your inter relations but it brings joy to you. All of you must have felt, gratefulness brings real joy in life. And that joy, that goodness again brings more goodness to you, that’s the beauty.
Santosh: And when we love the divine automatically, we are with every breath you are constantly offering yourself with gratefulness. It is not that Mother has done something I must write, I must tell her that you have done so much for me and I am grateful, she doesn’t expect that.
Narad: There is a line in Savitri “A prayer upon his lips and the great name”. Taking the Mother’s name can you speak about that? The necessity of taking her name.
Santosh: Same thing, when she is with you every time, in every breath, so only that will come. And that makes effective, people say I also pray but I don’t get that response what I prayed for. Everybody, every great soul will say, you pray, you pray, Nama japa, everybody will say. Do we realize what does it mean? It is not verbal. You may not utter also, but it is something within that goes constantly incessantly. That japa is japa.
Santosh: And that even God cannot ignore. In Mahabharata, an episode is there. Krishna is sitting, his wife Rukmini is pressing his feet. Some Bhakta, some devotee is remembering him earnestly for help. It was Draupadi. When the garment was being opened. So she was remembering him earnestly and Krishna used to sit up and then lie down, used to sit up and then lie down. Then Rukmini asked him what are you doing? Ultimately after doing so many times this gesture he left immediately. Then Rukmini asked what was the mischief behind your, this action? He said yes, Draupadi was calling me, but till then half mindedly, halfheartedly. She was expecting I’ll call Yudhishtira, I’ll call Nakul, I’ll call Sahadev he will help me, he will come he will do this, he will do that and sometimes in between she was remembering me also. But when she was disappointed from every side and she called me alone then I could not stay. So that is our condition all of us. We say we call him, but do we call full heartedly? We can ask ourselves. More and more this is the path, infinite path we have to march on so many things to establish in ourselves, this is in infinite path that we must go on, but the proper life the proper guidelines should be there we should have, and that also ultimately it comes from within.
Narad: And within we know it’s the only path to take for us.
Santosh: Yes it eludes, because we are not accustomed to it.
Narad: Do you have any questions for Santosh?
Narad: Alexei is asking about psychological pain.
Santosh: Means again of the relations you mean, of the contact with the situations persons or in the work, or your inner difficulties you are asking? Inner difficulties. What type of…
Santosh: That happens, that happens and it’s a very sad thing that some hidden, some dormant things come up and they are led away by that. It’s a very sad thing, it happens at times not very common but it happens. And for that well, Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s physical presence was a very solid support for it because they knew the future, they knew the destiny, they knew the potentiality and they knew the way to bring that soul back. Sometimes they themselves used to send the person out. But sometimes you be out have the experience but they used to go on constantly working on that. They used to work on it. So ultimately they marked up, maybe 1 year 2 year 3 year whatever it is they used to come. So that is sometimes it is out of individual control I should say. And person has to be very, very vigilant about himself from the beginning and always pray in the right direction. The things which we cannot sort out ourselves we cannot correct ourselves we should always refer to her she will take care of. In the end, it is time already no?
Narad: Yes, go ahead we can go on a little.
Santosh: Apart from all that, all the other things which you have asked about the nature, anger, and this jealousy whatever it is, humility and everything. One main hurdle for most of us probably for every one of us is sex, isn’t it?
Santosh: Because it leaves nobody. And you cannot be an impostor in this life, in this yogic life and things are not allowed in this life. So what to do? With the age, with everybody it comes. Some part of our life is eaten up by this unhealthy, this thing.
Narad: It’s very true, very true
Santosh: Without it also nobody says, at least in the west its very natural thing, they take it in a very natural way but in our Indian society it is still out of life, of spiritual life they want to keep it out. But can it remain out like that only? By telling. It will attack anybody and it does attack it comes in life, as soon as you grow young this thing shows her face what to do? So Mother has tried so many things at least she has established in the consciousness that we could come out little further little more, one step more higher, we don’t have that particular feeling that indecency, or that indulgence of that thing. But it comes in many ways, emotionally it may come. We will feel attached to the opposite sex, attracted. For some years it may go on like any other, with intensity and intimacy. But ultimately it may drop off if you are sincere to your path. But still, I am telling you my own experience don’t think that I am somebody. When I came, I was so young at the age of 20. And because as I told you from the childhood I had this aptitude for spiritual life. When I came here I used to see young children, young boys and girls moving about freely and having friendship and all that. So one question used to be in my mind, living under the Mother’s light and guidance and everything presence. How can they love human beings like that? Is Mother not enough? How can they divide that love among themselves? What is the need, why do you feel that need? They don’t get love from the Mother? And, then I was asking her in my prayers in my meditations. If this weakness has to occur in every life what is the idea? Can’t we conquer it in any life and so that we are free in the next life? No way? Because really it was disgusting for me at that age. When we were children and all that, from the very beginning I used to have that same Supermind’s children will be like that, that idea was like that in the very beginning. So it was a real shocking experience for me why living in the Mother they feel the necessity of loving each other. Can any human being be a perfect being? Why should I get attracted? I can have friendship; I can have a love that is very very, so to say pure sublime thing that you feel with some you are congenial with others you are not that is very natural. But it is not that you are tied down. This sex relation makes you helpless absolutely. And then so many things come, all the jealousy all that everything comes with that. Then I asked her, “At least make me free that is what I want to pray to you.” I should, what we say in Hindi, I should make you, I should feel you, I should think of you in every way. Maybe a husband, maybe a friend, maybe a father, maybe a brother, in all relations I may see you not anyone else. That will solve the problem.
Narad: Mother says it in her prayers and meditations, to see only you.
Santosh: And then when I was sitting near samadhi one day after my dining room’s work. Say I am sitting here; she came, with two garlands in her hand. In our Indian marriages at the time of marriage, husband that boy also brings and girl also has one garland and they put on each other so that they are now husband wife. In west whatever your ways are. She came with two garlands she put in my neck and I put in her neck. What was an experience to feel god as your everything, your husband and everything. And she has made it so beautifully explained to me made me realize and made me, she printed in my heart the relation with her. And I was free really from that nuisance. So we have to go a very long way all of us and still go on perfecting because it is an endless path. But I am sorry to share this so very personal thing with you, I never told anybody.
Narad: May we ask you to come again
Santosh: For what, there is nothing else
Narad: I am sure there is so much more to speak about Sri Aurobindo also.
Santosh: When I translate some practical life, everything is beautiful that’s what I can say.
Narad: Thank you.