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At the Feet of The Mother

Correspondence 1933, August

August 26, 1933

I suppose I shall take much time to read this affair of Moni’s. The simplest solution will be to stop this discussion which is degenerating into a controversy or dispute.

I have not seen what Moni says, but if it is that you have narrowed or deteriorated because you no longer sing erotic songs, I do not see how that can be. One is not narrowed if one loses taste for jazz and can hear with real pleasure only the great masters or music like theirs; it is not deterioration when one rises from a lower to a higher plane of thinking, feeling or artistic self-expression. I used to write poems on vital love. I could not do it now (for if I wrote of love, it would be the psychic and spiritual feeling) — not because I have narrowed or deteriorated, but I have centred myself in a higher consciousness and anything merely vital would not express me. It must be the same with anyone who changes his level of consciousness. Can one say of the man who has grown out of childishness and no longer plays with nursery toys that he has narrowed and deteriorated by the change?

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August 28, 1933

I am afraid it is hardly possible to have Saratchandra with these habits of his residing in the Ashram itself. It would be a serious shock to the discipline of the Ashram to have someone in it — the more illustrious and eminent, the worse it will be — drinking and taking opium with the sanction of the Mother! You should know by this time how the mentality of the sadhaks works, and we have had trouble enough, e.g. in the smoking affair before because of Puran Mull and other examples. If it were not for these things we would have consented at once.

It is he himself who has suggested the hotel, but if an arrangement can be made for a room outside we have no objection. But it is not perhaps easy to get a room here. It should be understood that the room is not engaged by the Mother or under her control — otherwise the same difficulty will arise.

It is, no doubt, a very tempting catch in prospect for the propagandist in you and I fully appreciate your feelings. But — well, you know we are not very ardent fishers of men and our principle is to let those who are destined for the Great Emprise come of themselves, not go out of our way to seek them. All who have the finger of the Golden Light pointing to them are welcome, and if Sarat Chatterji is one of them, he will find himself perforce in spite the triple charm of alcoholism, opium and tobacco. But it is too early to anticipate.

*   *   *

August 30, 1933

I try to reply […][1] be brief in my answer.

I fear in this case as in some others you and the others who shared your opinion judged too much from the outside appearance. A man is not sexually pure only because he does not flirt with women nor free from ambition, vanity and pride because he is outwardly humble and gentle. I do not usually care to reveal the weaknesses of one sadhak to the others — as you can understand, it would not be right for me to do so, so these wrong notions about people become current. Durgadas was not at all an ideal sadhak, he had the same weaknesses as other men, but for a long time he kept them very much shut up in himself and he followed his own ways in dealing with them which were not very safe. His meditations were silent and secret and he did not tell them to us as he should have done. He had ambitions and violent jealousies and a wish to occupy the first place. These things he did not exclude from his sadhana, but rather indulged them and allowed formations about them to take hold of his mind when he concentrated. For his sexual difficulty he used methods which in the opinion of the doctor (not Upendranath) who saw him in his illness were the cause of his first upsetting. The one thing that kept him right for a long time was his work which was the one way that he found for trying to form the habit of selfless surrender. But in the end he got weary of his work and wished to give it up and serve no longer. These are the facts and you will see they are very different from your idealised picture. All the theories about his breaking down under the pressure of being near the Mother, etc. are beside the mark. He broke down like Putu and Nolinbehari because he preferred to follow his own way, his own desires and imaginations instead of obeying the guidance and heeding the warnings of the Mother. He became enamoured of his own formations, allowed any Force that flattered them to take hold of him and put that up as the Mother refusing to obey or accept the guidance of the actual Mother here. If he had not done that, there is no reason why he should not have set himself right and gone straight. He had not in him the makings of a great Yogi, certainly, but he had a certain capacity for devotion and intensity of aspiration, and if he had used that for a true self-offering and surrender and if he had confided in the Mother and followed her guidance, he could have realised and come to something. But he did just the opposite and the result was as with Putu and Nolinbehari, a disaster.

I have explained the case of Durgadas, but I have no time to answer your general questionings — if this letter is to go at once — I will try to make time tonight or tomorrow.

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August 30, 1933

To answer the one question in your last letter would need a Mahabharata — for you raise at one fell swoop the whole problem of life along with the whole problem of Yoga. But you have more faith than you imagine, otherwise you would not be so hard on the Divine. I did not, by the way, mean this kind of formation when I spoke of Durgadas but formations of a false value in Yoga. Doubts are an obstacle, sometimes a serious obstacle, but false values in Yoga which the sadhak is not willing to correct are a danger.

I may say about the doubts that one cannot be free from them easily so long as one judges by the intellect alone or by the appearances of things without appeal to that which is behind appearances. The very fact that one comes to Yoga is an admission that there must be something other than the appearances, a deeper and greater Truth behind. It is an admission that there is a Divine Someone or Something behind, and if so, then life simply cannot mean only what it seems to be on the surface. The surface meaning cannot be ignored — I have never ignored it and the Mother has never ignored it — the riddle, the obscurity, the suffering, the tight hold of the Asura, — but that is neither the whole nor the ultimate truth of existence. It is that one must bend one’s whole effort to get at and not dwell always in the aspects of the surface.

I must remind you that I have been an intellectual myself and no stranger to doubts — both the Mother and myself have had one side of the mind as positive and as insistent on practical results and more so than any Russell can be. We could never have been contented with the shining ideas and phrases which a Rolland or another takes for gold coin of Truth. We know well what is the difference between a subjective experience and a dynamic outward-going and realising Force. So although we have faith, — and who ever did anything great in the world without having faith in his mission or the Truth at work behind him? — we do not found ourselves on faith alone, but on a great ground of knowledge which we have been developing and testing all our lives. I think I can say that I have been testing day and night for years upon years more scrupulously than any scientist his theory or his method on the physical plane. That is why I am not alarmed by the aspect of the world around me or disconcerted by the often successful fury of the adverse Forces who increase in their rage as the Light comes nearer and nearer down to the field of earth and Matter.

If I believe in the probability and not only the possibility, if I feel practically certain of the supramental Descent — I do not fix a date, — it is because I have my grounds for the belief, not merely a faith in the air. I know that the supramental descent is inevitable — I have faith in view of my experience that the time can be and should be now and not in a later age.

But even if I knew it to be for a later time, I would not swerve from my path or be discouraged or flag in my labour. Formerly I might have been, but not now after all the path I have traversed. When one is sure of the Truth, or even when one believes the thing one pursues to be the only possible solution, one does not stipulate for immediate success, one travels towards the Light taking as well worth while and facing every risk of the adventure. Still, like you, it is now in this life that I insist on it and not in another or in the hereafter.

*   *   *

August 31, 1933

This afternoon I was more than all right. I was doing japa as usual and dropped off to sleep. When I saw a curious dream. Maya was sitting by me and a few others equally fond of music asked me to sing. You and Mother were listening. I sang and the song was on Shiva — and was so ecstatic that you got up and blessed me — joining in the hymn. But what was more curious was that as you did this I saw the Shiva in you and I was delighted. This I remember vividly. The rest I don’t, so I won’t risk [describing it?]. I remember bowing to you — falling at your feet in great devotional fervour. All were so moved by the [dignity of?] your rising to bless me and joined in singing the chorus with me. Was it not curious — you who never sing? Tell me however, do you ever sing — I don’t mean music of the spheres but our mortal songs with musical intervals as we understand? As for instance Mother does?

No — I don’t sing on the physical plane. My education in England was badly neglected — though people say to the contrary. I filled in most of the lacunae afterwards, but some remained of which the musical gap is one. But that is no reason why I should not sing on the supraphysical plane where you saw me! There is no exact correspondence between the formation here and the formations there — on the contrary on these inner planes the subliminal as they call it in Europe — that is to say, our inner selves are full of powers which have not emerged — yet at least — in the physical consciousness. And especially as I was full of Shiva in your experience there is no reason why I should not have sung for I suppose Shiva sings as well as dances?

With great difficulty I have just taken quarter of an hour from other work to read the story of Sarat Chatterji’s book. Evidently a wonderful style and a great and perfect creative artist with a profound emotional power!

*   *   *

[1] The manuscript is mutilated here and four or five words are illegible.

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