While coming to you, I saw your beautiful display of excerpts and quotations from the writings of Mother and Sri Aurobindo on the walls all around. Yes, it was a beautiful picture, and the sayings and mottoes and lines of poetry were, needless to say, precious treasures dear to us. But left at that, to see, admire and pass on, well, they are dead things — words, words, words, lifeless skeletons. They have a meaning and they serve their purpose only when you come in contact with the life and consciousness in them, when you live them with your own life and feel the consciousness that is there.
You know the well-known phrase: “The letter kills, the spirit saves.” Without the spirit, the word is only a dead shell; even a mantra is a dead thing, a mere jumble of sounds if it is not enkindled, enlivened with the spirit. Now I say that you have to breathe your own spirit into the apparently dead or lifeless forms. For you children are nothing but spirit: spirit means new consciousness, living light. It is not a tall claim I make on your behalf. I will explain.
You children who are here, who have been here for some time, are a privileged class of human beings. You do not know it, but you will know one day. You must have seen the Mother, many have had her physical touch, while there are others who continue to breathe in the atmosphere where her body still endures. You have within you the rare thing hardly found elsewhere, the spark of the spirit of which I was speaking — it is a particle of the Mother’s own consciousness, her own life and her own subtle body-consciousness. You have imbibed it in you with your breath and are still imbibing it.
It is there; you have to be conscious of it and realise the full benefit of it. You have to be living embodiments, not merely echoes and imprints but embodiments of the word of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Each of you is now only an embryo, a rudimentary particle of the new life, but it is there — you have in you the thing essentially needed. I only remind you to make you conscious of it. In the same way, you have budding gymnasts and athletes among you, and the Playground makes you conscious of it and offers you the opportunity to cultivate your capacities and bring them to fruition.
Now in a general way children all over the world are a privileged class. They possess what old age, even mature age, does not possess or has lost. I mention two essential qualities pre-eminently belonging to the green age or the “salad days”. Happiness — a child is ever happy in spite of occasional weepings and wailings, and happiness means a radiant smile. To the old people I have often said, “Always smile. Mother has taught us how to smile in all circumstances.” Well, that is the natural gift of the young. A smile makes your life’s journey smooth. In no other way can you remove so successfully the obstacles that beset you. And also it is the lever to lift up your consciousness; it has a mysterious power that automatically relieves you of much of the burden of life, lightens you and leads you into a higher sphere. For a smile is a divine quality. Next to happiness, the natural virtue of a child-consciousness is freedom. It does not find any barrier anywhere, it can do anything.
These two characteristic virtues of childhood themselves spring from another fundamental quality of young nature — simplicity, a spontaneous outflow of energy without any thinking about before or after: none of the mind’s complexities and hesitations.
In this sphere too, we have here for the play of these natural youthful qualities opportunities and advantages that are not easily available elsewhere. The atmosphere of freedom that we enjoy is incomparable — Mother herself told us once.
As you grow, you must carry with you these fundamental qualities and you will remain ever young. Now, to carry them with you — that is the trouble. And that problem Mother has solved for us here. This is what I was telling you just now. The special privilege that we enjoy here, granted to those who are here, is this: added to the fundamental natural virtues of youthfulness, we have been given a supplementary boon, that of consciousness, Mother’s own consciousness. It is this additional element that has given a special turn and temper to the atmosphere here and has brought about a change not only in the degree but in the kind of the ordinary youthful qualities. I am speaking of your soul-consciousness. I say that you may not know it or recognise it by your mind and intellect, but it is there. And I say also that you will never lose it, whatever happens in your outer life. It will lead you ultimately to the supreme realisation, to an immortal life on earth. It may be clouded for the outer mind, but it is always there behind.
I come back now to the point from which I started. The mottoes, the writings displayed on the wall are also to be displayed as living entities in your being — in your consciousness, in your life, even in your body. That is the better part of your work, indeed, the essential part.
Today a new consciousness is abroad. The earth-atmosphere is filled with a new spirit. And here the Mother has left with us not merely her consciousness but a conscious being, a part of her living personality in us; that is the divine legacy we enjoy. We must not simply be proud of it but try to prove ourselves worthy of it. The Divine Personality will grow everywhere but the pathfinders, the forerunners are among you. Naturally there will be formations of the new life in all climes and countries, but the patterns, the norms will have been set by you, for the Mother was here in her physical material body
So the mantras you declare as divine words, you must make living powers, gods themselves embodied in you. The basis is here: the Mother has laid the foundations here for her creation — the roots from which shoots and branches are to emerge and spread out abroad and everywhere. In any case, here or elsewhere, as the Mother has announced in her own voice:
Built is the golden tower, the flame-child born.
August 12, 1974