Mother, We read again Your ‘Notes on the Way’ (1)

Mother, you have left us a testament, a large and an intimate testament and we now read it with a keen desire. You have spoken there of Yourself, of the deepest mystery of Your inner aspirations and longings, of marvellous contacts and communions, of great transformations and transmutations, of enormous risks and hazards and a great deal more. And we read all this, feel high elations, get terribly startled and are extremely sad that we never realised what all that meant when we previously read it. We did not take all that seriously. We felt we did not understand that well. Your ‘Notes on the Way’ document is indeed a great testament, an eye-opener to us today.

In 1965, when you started speaking to us of these profound yogic mysteries of your inner working, you said under the date of October 7, 1964, “Things have clearly taken a turn for the better, not from the ordinary point of view but from the higher. But the material consequences are still there — all the difficulties are as though aggravated. Only, the power of the consciousness is greater — clearer, more precise; and also the action upon those that are of good will; they make quite considerable progress. But the material difficulties are as though aggravated, that is to say, it is … to see if we can stand the test!”[1] Further you said, “Not long ago (since yesterday), something has cleared in the atmosphere. But the way is still long — long, long. I feel it is very long. One must last — hold on, above all that is the impression — one must have endurance. These are the two absolutely indispensable things: endurance, and a faith that nothing can shake, even an apparently complete negation, even if you suffer, even if you are miserable (I mean to say in the body), even if you are tired — must endure, must last. That is it.”[2]

Thus we were told of ‘the yoga of the body’, also called ‘the yoga of the cells’ or ‘the physical yoga,’ and we began to visualise what it might possibly be. Not having any experience of it ourselves, we could hardly appreciate it. ‘Endurance’ and ‘faith’ are always needed, but their place in ‘the yoga of the body’ we could hardly know. And that this yoga is a ‘long, long’ thing was yet more difficult to appreciate.

The note of the ‘material difficulties’ and ‘the test’, of the ‘suffering’ and the ‘misery’ of the body are already there in the first utterance itself, but we never took that seriously.

You explained also:

“The most material consciousness, the most material mind is accustomed to act, to make an effort, to advance through whippings; otherwise, it is tamas. And then, so far as it imagines, it imagines always difficulty — always the obstacle, always the opposition, — and that slows down the movement terribly Very concrete, very tangible and often repeated experiences are needed to convince it that behind all its difficulties there is Grace, behind all its failures there is the Victory, behind all its pains and sufferings, all these contradictions there is Ananda. Of all efforts it is this one which has to be repeated most often; all the while you are obliged to stop or remove, to convert a pessimism, a doubt, or an imagination altogether defeatist.”[3]

You further explained:

“Naturally, when something comes down from above, that makes, well… a crash, like that (gesture of fleeting), then all is silent, all stops and awaits. But… I understand well why the Truth, the Truth-Consciousness does not express itself more constantly, because the difference between its Power and the power of Matter is so great that the power of Matter is as it were cancelled — but then that does not mean Transformation, that means crushing. That is what they used to do in ancient times — they crushed all this material consciousness under the weight of a Power against which nothing can struggle, which nothing can oppose. And then one had the impression: ‘There you are! It has been done.’ But it has not been done, not at all! for, the rest, down below, remained as before, without changing.

“Now, it is being given its full possibility to change; well, for that, you must allow it full play and not interpose a Power that crushes it — this I understand very well. But that consciousness has the obstinacy of the imbecile. How many times during a suffering for example, when the suffering is there, acute and one has the impression that it is going to be unbearable, there is just a little inner movement (within the cells) of Call — the cells send their S.O.S. — everything stops, the suffering disappears and often (now more and more) it is replaced by a feeling of blissful well-being.”[4]

Here is, we now realise a little, ‘the material consciousness’ ‘the consciousness of the body and cells’, ‘the material mind,’ ‘the physical mind’, which is all subject to external pressures, come into being that way and is full of a sense of difficulties, fears and defeats, cannot now easily turn to the Divine, open itself to that influence and enjoy blissfulness. Tamas is its very constitution and it must through long endurance and patient action be transformed in its nature. It has not to be suppressed and crushed, but transformed, i.e., it should in its nature consciously now turn to the Divine and imbibe His influence and Force rather than remain unconscious, all subject to external pressures and always suffering whatever is imposed on it, having no power to be itself capable of throwing off external impacts whatever.

You remind us also of Sri Aurobindo’s word in this connection, viz., “Endure and you will conquer …. Bear, bear and you will vanquish.”

We ponder over all this, try to feel what You were living through, what You were attempting and what possible benefits for all human nature were intended. All tremendous, original, most creative, most difficult, yet a perfectly possible and necessary development of spiritual life. A surely victorious move, however prolonged the action needed!

And we wish You, Mother, as we used to do at times before, but now with some understanding and appreciation:

“Victoire à la Douce Mere.”   (“Victory to our Sweet Mother.”)


[1] Bulletin of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, February 1965, p. 77.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid., pp. 79-81.

[4] Ibid., p. 81.

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