There was a time we were living in the Guest House. Sri Aurobindo lived on the first floor, in the room right at the end which is now the meditation-room of the children’s boarding. I believe there are two rooms side by side, one used to be a bathroom but is now an ordinary room, and a room next to it which was mine — the bathroom and another room. Sri Aurobindo was on one side.
How many of us were there in that house?… Amrita was there (turning to the disciple), weren’t you, Amrita, do you remember that day? (Laughter) We had a cook called Vatel. This cook was rather bad-tempered and didn’t like being reproved about his work. Moreover, he was in contact with some Musulmans who had, it seems, magical powers — they had a book of magic and the ability to practise magic. One day, this cook had done something very bad and had been scolded — I don’t know if any of you knew Datta, it was Datta who had scolded him — and he was furious. He had threatened us, saying, “You will see, you will be compelled to leave this house.” We had taken no notice of it.
Two or three days later, I think, someone came and told me that stones had fallen in the courtyard — a few stones, three or four: bits of brick. We wondered who was throwing stones from the next house. We did exactly what we forbid children to do: we went round on the walls and roofs to see if we could find someone or the stones or something — we found nothing.
That happened, I believe, between four and five in the afternoon. As the day declined, the number of stones increased. The next day, there were still more. They started striking specially the door of the kitchen and one of them struck Datta’s arm as she was going across the courtyard. The number increased very much. The interest was growing. And as the interest grew, it produced a kind of effect of multiplication! And the stones began falling in several directions at the same time, in places where there were neither doors nor windows; there was a staircase, but it had no opening in those days: there was only a small bull’s-eye. And the stones were falling on the staircase this way (vertical gesture); if they had come through the bull’s-eye, they would have come like this (slantwise movement), but they were falling straight down. So, I think everyone began to become truly interested. I must tell you that this Vatel had informed us that he was ill and for the last two days — since the stones had started falling — he hadn’t come. But he had left with us his under-cook, a young boy of about thirteen or fourteen, quite fat, somewhat lifeless and a little quiet, perhaps a little stupid. And we noticed that when this boy moved around, wherever he went the stones increased. The young men who were there —Amrita among them — shut the boy up in a room, with all the doors and windows closed.[…] And there was the boy sitting there inside and the stones began falling, with all the doors and windows closed! And more and more fell, and finally the boy was wounded in the leg. Then they started feeling the thing was going too far.
I was with Sri Aurobindo: quietly we were working, meditating together. The boys cast a furtive glance to see what was going on and began warning us, for it was perhaps time to tell us that the thing was taking pretty serious proportions. I understood immediately what the matter was.
I must tell you that we had made an attempt earlier to exhaust all possibilities of an ordinary, physical explanation. We had called in the police, informed them that there was somebody throwing stones at us, and they wanted very much to come and see what was happening. So a policeman — who was a fine fellow — immediately told us, “Oh! you have Vatel as your cook. Yes, yes, we know what it is!” He had a loaded pistol and stood waiting there in the courtyard — not a stone! I was on the terrace with Sri Aurobindo; I said to Sri Aurobindo, “That’s a bit too bad, we call the police and just then the stones stop falling! But that is very annoying, in this way he will think we haven’t told the truth, for no stones are falling.” Instantaneously the stones began falling again. (Laughter)
You should note that the stones were falling quite a long way off from the terrace and not one of them came anywhere near us.
So the policeman said, “It’s not worthwhile, my staying here, I know what it is, it is Vatel who has done this against you, I am going.”
It was after this that we made the experiment of shutting up the boy, and the stones began to fall in the closed room and I was informed that the boy had been wounded. Then I said, “All right, send the boy out of the house immediately. Send him to another house, anywhere, and let him be looked after, but don’t keep him here, and then, that’s all. Keep quiet and don’t be afraid.” I was in the room with Sri Aurobindo and I thought, “We’ll see what it is.” I went into meditation and gave a little call. I said, “Let us see, who is throwing stones at us now? You must come and tell us who is throwing stones.”… I saw three little entities of the vital, those small entities which have no strength and just enough consciousness confined to one action — it is nothing at all; but these entities are at the service of people who practise magic. When people practise magic, they order them to come and they are compelled to obey. There are signs, there are words. So, they came, they were frightened — they were terribly frightened! I said, “But why do you fling stones like that? What does it mean, this bad joke?” They replied, “We are compelled, we are compelled… (Laughter) It is not our fault, we have been ordered to do it, it is not our fault.”
I really felt so much like laughing but still I kept a serious face and told them, “Well, you must stop this, you understand!” Then they told me, “Don’t you want to keep us? We shall do all that you ask.” “Ah!” I thought, “let us see, this is perhaps going to be interesting.” I said to them, “But what can you do?” — “We know how to throw stones.” (Laughter) — “That doesn’t interest me at all, I don’t want to throw stones at anyone… but could you perchance bring me flowers? Can you bring me some roses?” Then they looked at one another in great dismay and answered, “No, we are not made for that, we don’t know how to do it.” I said, “I don’t need you, go away, and take care specially never to come back, for otherwise it will be disastrous!” They ran away and never came back.
There was one thing I had noticed: it was only at the level of the roof that the stones were seen — from the roof downwards, we saw the stones; just till the roof, above it there were no stones. This meant that it was like an automatic formation. In the air nothing could be seen: they materialised in the atmosphere of the house and fell.
And to complete the movement, the next morning — all this happened in the evening — the next morning I came down to pay a visit to the kitchen — there were pillars in the kitchen — and upon one of the pillars I found some signs with numbers as though made with a bit of charcoal, very roughly drawn — I don’t remember the signs now — and also words in Tamil. Then I rubbed out everything carefully and made an invocation, and so it was finished, the comedy was over.
However, not quite. Vatel’s daughter was the ayah in the house, the maid-servant. She came early in the afternoon in a state of intense fright saying, “My father is in the hospital, he is dying; this morning something happened to him; suddenly he felt very ill and he is dying, he has been taken to the hospital, I am terribly frightened.” I knew what it was. I went to Sri Aurobindo and said to him, “You know, Vatel is in the hospital, he is dying.” Then Sri Aurobindo looked at me, he smiled: “Oh, just for a few stones!” (Laughter)
That very evening Vatel was cured. But he never started anything again.
How could the stones be seen?
That’s what is remarkable. There are beings that have the power of dematerialising and rematerialising objects. These were quite ordinary pieces of bricks, but these pieces materialised only in the field where the magic acted. The magic was practised for this house, especially for its courtyard, and the action of vital forces worked only there. That was why when I sent away the boy and he went to another house, not a single stone hit him any more. The magical formation was made specially for this house, and the stones materialised in the courtyard. And as it was something specially directed against Datta, she was hit on her arm.
There was yet something else…. Ah, yes! We came to know later to which magician Vatel had gone. He had gone to a magician who, it seems, is very well known here and he had said that he wanted definitely to make us leave that house — I don’t know why. He was furious. And so he asked the magician to make stones fall there. The magician told him, “But that’s the house Sri Aurobindo lives in!” He said, “Yes.” — “Ah! no, I am not going to meddle in this business; you manage it, I am not getting involved.” Then Vatel insisted very much; he even promised him a greater reward, a little more money. The magician said, “Well, look here; we are going to make a rule: in a circle of twenty-five metres around Sri Aurobindo” — I think he said twenty or twenty-five metres — “the stones will not fall. Always there will have to be twenty-five metres’ distance between the stones and Sri Aurobindo.” And he arranged his order of magic in this way. And that was why never did a single stone come anywhere near us, never. They fell at the other end of the courtyard.
They know how to do all that, it is written in their books. These are words and ceremonies having a certain power. Naturally, those who do that must have a vital force. A vital force is necessary — a little mental force also, not much, even very little — but quite a strong vital power to control these little entities, govern them. And these people rule them precisely through fear, for they have the power to dissolve them, so these entities fear this very much. But upon all these formations, all these entities, it is enough to put simply one drop of the true, pure light, the pure white light — the true, pure light which is the supreme light of construction — you put one drop upon them: they dissolve as though there had been nothing at all there. And yet this is not a force of destruction; it is a force of construction but it is so alien to their nature that they disappear. It is this they feared, for I had called them by showing them this white light; I had told them, “Look, here is this! Come.” But their offer was touching: “Oh! we shall do everything you want.” I said, “Good, what can you do?” — “Throw stones!”
10 March 1954
Sri Aurobindo lived in the building known as the Guest House between 1913 and September 1922. The incident related by Mother here occurred in December 1921.
Sri Aurobindo’s early disciples.
Near Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.