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At the Feet of The Mother

The Living and the Dead (HH 149)

The Supramental vision is of the very nature of synthesis where the contraries are united and find their right place by undergoing the necessary change. One such opposition is of Death and Life. Life upon earth seems to be caught up between these two poles and as it seems with the dice loaded heavily in favour of Death. However, the Mother reveals to us what lies behind this iron mask, which is nothing else but the other face of life. In this talk we focus on some aspects of death in the Mother’s Light. 

Words of the Mother

… Human beings have made an appalling tragedy out of death. And I saw, with all these recent experiences, I saw how many, many poor human beings have been destroyed by the very people they loved the most! Under the pretext that they were dead.

People give them a very bad time.


Yes, burned. Or shut up in a box without air and light – while fully conscious. And just because they can no longer express themselves, people say they are “dead.” They don’t waste any time declaring them dead! But they are conscious. They are conscious. Imagine someone who can no longer speak or move – according to human laws, he is “dead.” He is dead but he is conscious. He is conscious, so he sees the people around him: some of them are weeping, some of them are … if he’s a bit clairvoyant, he also sees that some of them are rejoicing. And then he sees himself put into a box, sees the lid nailed down, shutting him in: “Ah, now it’s all over, they’re going to cover me with earth!” Or he’s taken over there [to the cremation ground], and then it’s fire in the mouth – FULLY conscious.

I have lived this in recent days. I have seen it. Last night or the night before, I spent at least two hours in a world – the subtle physical world – where the living mingle with the dead with no sense of difference, it makes absolutely no difference there. For instance, when Mridu was in her body I used to see her at night maybe once a year (maybe not even that much). For years she was utterly nonexistent in my consciousness … but since she left her body, I see her almost every night! There she is, just as she was, you know (rotund gesture), but no longer troubled, that’s all. No longer troubled. And there were both living and … what we call the “living” and the “dead” – they were both there together, eating together, moving around together, having fun together; and all in a lovely, tranquil light – pleasant, very pleasant. “There! ” I thought, “and humans have drawn a sharp line, saying, ‘Now he’s dead!'” Dead! And what really takes the cake is the way they treat the body like an unconscious object, and it’s still conscious!

It’s treated like an object: “Now then! Let’s get rid of this just as quickly as we can: it’s a nuisance and it gets in the way.” And even those who feel the most sorrow don’t want to see it; it’s too painful for them.

October 12, 1962


* * *


Last time you said, “They are burned, or shut up in a box without air and light – fully conscious….”

But what should be done then? Should people wait, or what?

I have looked at this a great deal, but … socially, conventionally, it’s impossible – there’s nothing else to do. The living take their stand with the living, naturally. So the only thing I’ve seen is that, as always, there must be a grace associated with that state, and probably people see only what they are able to see without being upset.

I know this because when the body became like that – it was more than three-quarters dead – and people were taking care of me, doing everything for me, I was fully conscious, fully, but I couldn’t…. I was like a dead person. And it wasn’t that I couldn’t move, but I couldn’t manifest anything – I didn’t want to! I was in a state of total bliss, and couldn’t have cared less about what was going to happen. Well, that’s what I think must happen to those who … who die in a state of grace – it’s true, some people die well and others don’t. It all depends on one’s state of consciousness.

If at death you withdraw from physical circumstances, from ordinary physical consciousness, and unite with the great universal Force, or the divine Presence, then all these little things…. It’s not that you’re not conscious of them – you are very conscious: conscious of what others are doing, conscious of everything, but … it’s not important.

But for those who are attached to people and things when they die, it must be a hellish torment…..

…..One may be in a state of consciousness where the body is nothing but a burden – it’s unresponsive, or it’s too deteriorated and there’s nothing more to be done with it, or one hasn’t been created to try to make it immortal (which, after all, is something very exceptional). Within the great mass of humanity, many bodies are no longer good for anything, and in such cases it may very well be a relief to be separated from your body abruptly, instead of waiting for a slow decomposition. So … once again I am saying to myself, “A rash and hasty judgment – the judgment of Ignorance.”

October 16, 1962

* * *

Do you mean that what you are learning tends to show you that it’s not necessarily best to be buried?

Yes. It depends on the case, on the country, on all kinds of things. There are people in Europe who ask to be burned because they’re afraid of being buried alive. Here, when people are convinced that a person is conscious, he’s buried instead of burned.

Actually, each case is entirely individual.

October 20, 1962

* * *

…Even when the body is in a thoroughly bad condition, it takes at least seven days for the life of the form to leave it. And for someone practicing yoga, this life is CONSCIOUS. So you burn people a few hours after the doctors have declared them dead, but the life of the form is every inch alive and, in those who have practiced yoga, conscious.

Given the state he was in, it made NO difference to him whether he was dead or alive; that’s what was interesting! He remained in a blissful, trusting, peaceful state and I probably would have gently led him either to the psychic world or elsewhere, according to the indication I received as to what he had to do. He would never have known he was dead.[Later, Mother commented: “This experience is interesting. He would have been able to EXIST in a psychic state (psychically, of course, one is immortal), he would have existed not knowing that he was dead … if they hadn’t burned him.” ]

This opened a door for me….

….Because they cremated him he was abruptly (Mother violently shudders) and violently thrown into contact with the destruction of the body’s form. [. “I mean a SUBTLE form,” Mother clarified, “it’s the body’s subtle form.” ] It must have been the life of the form; when hurled so brutally out of the body, the life of the form must have thrown itself at him! So of course….


I immediately said to myself, “But he was still existing, living, having the experience, absolutely INDEPENDENT of his body – he didn’t need his body to have his experience.” And with my protection and knowledge I could have put him either in a place of rest or, if need be, in touch with another body – and that would have been the end of it. Now, of course, everything is disrupted and we have to wait for things to calm down. [One week later, Mother added: “It has worked out: he has gone to the psychic domain for a while (I think it’s only for a while) to concentrate.” ]

But it is possible to die without knowing you are dead.

And to retain full consciousness – he was totally conscious and blissful.

I find that important, an important experience.

In ordinary consciousness, what really gets in the way of the experience is our excessive attachment to the physical form as we see it, which looks to us like a permanent reality of the being.

I try to make people understand this through a practical demonstration. You know, I very rarely appear to people in a form even vaguely similar to the one I physically … I was about to say “had”! It always depends on what they are akin to, what they’re most intimate with – all sorts of forms. And I try to make them comprehend that THAT form is just as much mine as this one (Mother touches her body). To tell the truth, it is much more truly mine. As for the true form – the TRUE Form – to bear the sight of it, one must be able to relate directly to the Supreme. So when people say, “I want to see you,” or “I see you,” they mean the aspect of mine they know. But these torrents of forms are ALL true, and most of them truer than this body has ever been. To my consciousness it was always, oh, so pitiably approximate – a caricature! Not even a caricature: no resemblance at all.

It had its good qualities (I seem bent on speaking in the past tense – it’s spontaneous), qualities it was built and chosen for. For practical purposes, this body was very necessary, but when it comes to manifesting! …

What kind of conclusions can be drawn from N.S.’s experience? What does it open the door to, practically speaking?

In this case, I let others decide because I don’t attend to such matters; but I did suggest they keep him until the next day, and I would have done something during the night. They were in a hurry – they’re always in a hurry….

I don’t even say not to cremate people, because in at least ninety-nine cases out of a hundred it’s the best thing to do.

The only solution is for people to grow wise, and they’re not wise. They accept a law, a principle, and then, having no wisdom, need to follow it blindly.

Had I taken the responsibility (I purposely didn’t, for other reasons), I would have said, “Keep him till tomorrow morning.” And I would have done something overnight. But naturally, this is one case in a million. You can’t make it a general rule.

No, I meant what conclusions for you, for your experience, can be drawn from this episode?

Ah, me, my experience! Why, it’s that someone can die without knowing he’s dead! Someone can die (what people call “dying”) without knowing he’s dead, so it’s not crucially important.

People say, “He has lost consciousness.” They made this assumption in N.S.’s case because there were no vital signs and the consciousness in the body was reduced to a minimum; there was still some left (because it did react!), but it was a bare minimum, without much reacting power – he wasn’t an accomplished yogi, after all, only an apprentice yogi. It would have been entirely different, for instance, and far more serious, for someone who had practiced hatha yoga. But I mean to say that N.S. was here beside me, fully conscious, and could have moved on to another mode of manifestation without having to go through the throes of death – that’s not at all indispensable! Such is my experience, and I find it very important, tremendously important.

Besides, this is the first time it has happened. All those (like I.B., for example) who were hurled violently out of their bodies through an accident have, after a time, become conscious again – the consciousness gathers itself back together. But N.S.’s consciousness never scattered, he never lost consciousness.

His time had come – the instant the accident happened, I knew it was time for him to leave his body. His time had come, but the circumstances had been arranged (“had been arranged” – you know, I don’t say by whom …), circumstances had been arranged to derive the utmost benefit. This made me understand a lot of things…. Practically speaking, you need a lot of experiences to learn anything.

But to learn, to profit from such experiences, one must already be on the other side. Up to that point [April 13], I had learned plenty of things, but I was learning them from this side of the fence. Now I am on the other side of the fence. Not entirely, but in large part, at least.


July 4, 1962

* * *

(Later, regarding the last conversation, in which Mother said that the body lives only out of a habit of living:)

I’ve had a very interesting experience (not personal). Did you know Benjamin? … His psychic being had left him quite some time ago and, as a result, to the surface consciousness he seemed a bit deranged – he wasn’t deranged but diminished. And he lived, as I said, out of habit. The physical consciousness still held a minimum of vital and mind and he lived out of habit. But the remarkable thing is that sometimes, for a few seconds, he would live admirably, in full light, while at other times he couldn’t even control his gestures. Then he left altogether: all the accumulated energy dwindled little by little, little by little, and whatever remained left his body. It was just on his birthday, on December 30 (the night of December 30). He left. So they did as is always done: they cleaned his room, took out the furniture. Since then, there had been no sign of him. Yesterday evening, after dinner (which is about the same time he left twelve days ago), I was in concentration, resting, when suddenly here comes a very agitated Benjamin who tells me, “Mother, they’ve taken all the furniture out of my room! What am I to do now!?” I told him gently, “Do not fret, you don’t need anything any more.” Then I put him to rest and sent him to join the rest of his being.

Which means it took twelve days for all his elements to form again. You see, they burned his body. (He was Christian, but his family – his wife is alive and his brother too – found it less costly to let us handle it than to bury him as a Christian! So they had him cremated.) We cremated him, but I demanded a certain interval of time, although in his case it was really a gradual exhaustion and nothing much remained in his body; nonetheless, even then the consciousness is flung out of the cells violently – it took twelve days to form again. It wasn’t his soul (it had already left) but the spirit of his body that came to me, the body consciousness gathered in a well-dressed, neat Benjamin with his hair neatly brushed. He was quite trim when he came to me, just as he would have been in life: he always wanted to be well-groomed and impeccable to see me, that was his way. It took twelve days to gather together because I didn’t see to it (I can do it in a few hours but only if I see to it), but in his case, his soul having been at rest for a long time, it didn’t matter much. So over twelve days it took form again and when he was ready (laughing), he came to reoccupy his room! … And there was no furniture left, nothing!

I found that very funny.

And he had been living for more than a year, almost two years, I think, just out of a habit of living.

There is also here the sister of the old portly doctor, she is (I think) five or six years older than I – she is getting on for ninety. She has been dying away too, for several months. The doctors (who don’t know the first thing in these matters) had declared she would die after a few days. “Wait a little,” I told them, “this woman knows how to enter a state of rest, she has a very peaceful consciousness – it will last long, it may last for years.” She is in bed, she can’t move much, but … she lives. She too lives out of habit.

In reality, the body should be able to last much longer than human beings think. They knock it about: as soon as someone is unwell, they drug or knock his body about, they take away that kind of calm vegetative serenity that can make it last a very long time. The way trees take a very long time to die.


January 12, 1963

* * *

To tell the truth, people burn the dead in that way to destroy the vital, I am sure of it. The idea is not to have any ghosts.

A little before his death (M. a disciple) he had asked me for a new name. He had nearly died twice, but he was saved (the doctors were sure he would die), he was saved by his faith; he had such faith, such an irresistible faith that twice it pulled him through: he was paralyzed, couldn’t see any more, it was terrible. And twice all his faculties came back (his eyes weren’t too good, but anyway he could talk and move around). The third time, he wanted to get completely cured, because he was a businessman and had made a resolve to earn ten lakhs of rupees for me (he had already given me four lakhs in the past, but he wanted to give me ten). So he absolutely wanted to live, but as he found himself not too well (he was quite deteriorated!), he called for one of those kaviraj (you know, those self-styled doctors), who finished him off: he couldn’t eat or sleep any more. And the “doctor” went on telling him, “You’re much better”! While the poor man was sitting up all night in a chair…. Finally, he was rushed to the hospital and died there. And the day of his death, about an hour later, I was informed that his son (he’s not a child, he’s a man) absolutely had to see me immediately. It was the time when I don’t see people, but I said “all right” (I felt there was something to it), I said “all right” and went to receive him. It was 11:00 A.M. (I think he died at 9:30 A.M.). I go there (I don’t remember if it was in the morning or early in the afternoon, anyhow it was very soon after his death), I sit down, the son is ushered in, and along with him comes a small boy, no taller than this (gesture), all golden, joyous, alive, happy! … And he rushed to me. He stayed like that, leaning against me, quite still. And how he laughed! How happy he was!

It was M., his psychic being.

Ever so lovely! All luminous – luminous with a golden light – and so happy, so glad! Like a baby, no bigger than this (gesture). Waving his arms and legs about, so happy! He stayed there – stayed put. So naturally, I received him and did the needful.

I’ve seen thousands of cases, you know, but it’s the first time I’ve seen that! And he had a remarkable knowledge, because in order not to risk any hitch, he clung to his son and urged him to come to me so as to make sure of reaching me without mishap, without any interference from the adverse forces, from currents and all sorts of things. He clung to his son, who was quite unaware of it, except that something in him wanted him to come to me. And the poor son was crying; I told him, “Don’t worry, he is very happy”! (Mother laughs)

And lovely! A lovely thing. The sight of it filled me with joy – so happy, so happy, he seemed to be saying, “At last I am with you! I won’t budge now, no one can take me away.” This small.

I told you the story of the other one who came to be operated on and died (that makes two in a row, among our best workers). The other one had an important government position and did us some incredible services (he was a very intelligent man and had been chief justice for a very long time), he was very helpful and full of faith and devotion. This one [M.] had even promised to lend some money, but he died just before – a few days before he was due to give it! But the first one was a conscious, highly mentalized being, with a very well-formed mental being; he knew a lot and he told me, “I am very conscious and now I know that I am fully alive and fully conscious, so I don’t want an impotent body that constantly requires someone to nurse it or move it around. I prefer to change.” He asked me to find him a good one (!) This one didn’t ask to take a new body, but the last thing he said (afterwards, he was paralyzed) was: I must live, because I want to give ten lakhs of rupees to the Mother. And he left with that – so an appropriate body has to be found.

But this one [M.] knew very little, he wasn’t an intellectual, he was a man of action, very psychic – very much so! Lovely, oh, lovely! He was like a little child, naked, of course, a baby this big, with small arms, small legs – dancing about, he was glad, laughing and laughing, he was happy. And all luminous. I immediately told his son (he did a “pranam” and rose with his eyes full of tears), I told him, Don’t weep, he is now where he wants to be and perfectly at rest. I didn’t tell him the story – he wouldn’t have understood a thing!

July 27, 1963

* * *

During all that period of concentration and meditation on what happens in a body after death (I am speaking of the body’s experience after what is now called “death”), well, several times the same kind of vision came to me…. I had been told (shown and told) of certain saints whose bodies did not decompose (there’s one here, there was one in Goa – fantastic stories). Naturally, people always romanticize those things, but there remains the material fact of a saint who died in Goa, left his body in Goa, but whose body didn’t decompose. I don’t know the story in all its details, but the body was removed from India, taken away to China and remained buried there, in Hong-Kong, I believe (or somewhere in that region) for a time; then it was taken out, brought back here, buried again. For ten or twelve years it stayed buried in those two places: it didn’t decompose. It dried out, became mummified (dried out, that is, dehydrated), but it remained preserved. Well, this fact was presented to me several times as one of the possibilities.

Which means, to tell the truth, that everything is possible.

But what I was shown clearly and what I saw was … (I have difficulty talking because it all came to me in English: Sri Aurobindo was there and it was in English), it was the stupidity and carelessness, really, the ignorance – the stupid ignorance and I-couldn’t-care-less attitude the living have towards the dead. That’s something frightful. Frightful…. Frightful. I’ve heard stories from everywhere, all sorts of appalling things…. For instance, one of the stories (it took place while Sri Aurobindo was here): there was a disciple whose son died (or at least they thought him dead), and as they weren’t Hindus, they didn’t burn him: they buried him. Then at night, his son came to him and told him … you see, he saw his son at the window, knocking at the window and telling him, “But why did you bury me alive?” (I don’t know in what language, but anyway …) And that idiot of a father thought, “I’m dreaming”!! Then the next day, long afterwards, he had second thoughts and asked himself, “What if we took a look?” And they found him turned over in his coffin.

When the man told me the story and how he found it quite natural to think, “I am dreaming,” I can’t find words to tell my indignation at that moment, when I saw that … you know, it’s such a crass, such an inert stupidity! It didn’t even occur to him how he would have felt if the thing had happened to him. It didn’t even occur to him!

There was another case of a man who had been brought to the cremation ground, but a torrential rain started – no question of burning him. They left him there and said, “We’ll burn him tomorrow.” But the next morning when they came, he wasn’t there any more! (Laughing) He was gone. But that’s not all: thirty years later, he returned (he was a Raja): he had been picked up by sannyasins, taken into solitude, and had become a sannyasin, until, thirty years later, for God knows what reason, he thought it best to go and claim his possessions, so he returned with proofs that he was indeed the same man….

I have heard countless stories of that kind, which show the point to which men … They want to get rid of the dead, don’t they! And the faster the better.

The attitude of the living towards the dead is one of the most loathsome expressions of mankind’s selfish ignorance. It’s either a complete I-couldn’t-care-less attitude, or else, “Ohh, anything to get rid of that!” I have some children here (they’re no longer children), who live here with their fathers and mothers (who aren’t very old), and some of those children told me “dreams” in which they saw their fathers or mothers dead and coming to them … and they sent them back violently, saying, “You’re dead, you’ve got no right to come and bother us”! … You’re dead, you’ve got no right to come and bother us. There you are.

That’s … few will be frank enough to say so, but it’s very widespread. Many things must change before a little bit of truth can manifest – that’s all I can say.

There was the case of C. He had learned to go out of his body, he knew how to do it: he would go about and see things; he would see, note things, and come back into his body. Then, when he was operated on, the doctors didn’t take the necessary precautions and the heart couldn’t withstand the shock of the operation: five days later, it was over. But he was in the habit of going out, so he went out and came to me (that’s how I knew it before they came to tell me he was “dead”). But he wasn’t at all aware of being dead: he had gone out of his body as he used to, and he came to me. he was with me. So then, it was quite fine, he remained peaceful. Then, at a certain point … (he died in hospital, and naturally, at that time nobody listened to me: they burned him much too soon – it would have been too soon anyway, because in his case, precisely because he had that practice, much precaution and time would have been required; but it was all rushed through), then all of a sudden, when they burned him (I didn’t even know the time of the cremation), he suddenly came into my room, you know, appalled … appalled, crying, miserable: “But I am dead! I didn’t know I was dead, but I am dead and they’ve burned me, they’ve burned me! …” Oh … it was horrible, horrible. So I calmed him down, told him to stay there, be calm, be with me, and that I would find him another body. And for a long, long time I had him consciously near me. Then I taught him to reincarnate – it was all done in detail. So I know …

The same thing with N.S. In his case also … He had fallen on his head and fractured it (he fell in a faint in the street, that’s how he died). He was taken to the hospital. But he went out and came to me right away (and so I knew: when I was told the accident had happened, I already knew something had happened because he had come to me). I kept him there, put him to rest, and he was quite peaceful – quite peaceful. They didn’t even consult me about the time when he should be burned or anything (of course, a family of doctors!). Then, suddenly, brrt! (gesture of bursting) he went out of my atmosphere abruptly, like that. And no more sign of him…. It took me DAYS to recontact him – and that was the shock he had when they burned his body. It took me days to find him again, put him back to rest, gather him together. And one part had disappeared; his whole consciousness didn’t return, because a part of his most material consciousness, of the material vital, must have been thrown out by the shock. I know it, because Albert’s father was operated on (it was more than a year later, maybe two), and when he was chloroformed, he suddenly saw N.S. in front of him (of course, even a part can take on the appearance of the whole being, Sri Aurobindo explained that, it’s like a photograph). He saw N.S., and N.S. asked him news of his family, news of his wife, news of his children, and he told him, “I worry about them.” It must have been the part tied to his family, which must have been separated from the rest of his being: when he came to me, he was complete, but afterwards, I don’t know what happened (gesture of bursting under the shock). And it was so concrete that when Albert’s father was woken up again, he said aloud, “But why are you cutting short my conversation with N.S.?” That’s how they found out. He told them, “But I was talking with N.S., why have you interrupted my conversation?”

So they found out.

There. …

But that division, that separated part came about when they burned him. Until then, I had kept him complete, and would have made him pass into the psychic as I do with everyone, peacefully, smoothly, without difficulty. But brrt! (same gesture of bursting) It’s a frightful shock, you know! They put the fire in the mouth first…. It’s … Oh, the way men behave with each other – I have SEEN all that, I have seen it…. It’s such a frightful, frightful thing!

And to think that … It has happened not once or twice but hundreds of times that people who loved someone (they loved their father or brother, or their mother), as soon as that person is dead, if they see him in a dream or vision, they get terribly frightened and try to chase him away! …. Why?… If I ask them why, it’s such a spontaneous movement in them that they can’t answer me. They can’t, they find it so natural that they are surprised I should ask the question.

That’s what I said to T. (I don’t think she understood), I told her that there isn’t so much difference between what people call “life” and what they call “death”; the difference is very small, and grows still smaller when you go into the problem in depth and in all the details. People always make a clean cut between the two – it’s quite stupid: some living are already half dead, and many dead are VERY alive. …

August 10, 1963

* * *

K left his body. The operation had been extraordinarily, almost miraculously successful – one of those dreadful operations where they extract part of your body. He was quite all right for four days afterwards, then everything went wrong.

During the operation and just afterwards, I had simply put the Force on him, as I always do in such cases, so that everything would turn out for the best. Then a few days ago, during my japa, a kind of order came – a very clear order – to concentrate on him so that he would be conscious of his soul and able to leave under the best conditions. And I saw that the concentration worked wonderfully: it seems that during his last days he was ceaselessly repeating Ma-Ma-Ma* – even while he was in a semi-coma. And the concentration grew stronger and stronger. The day before yesterday it became very, very powerful, and yesterday morning, around half past noon, it pulled me inward; he came to me in a kind of sleep, a conscious sleep, and I even said almost aloud, ‘Oh, K!’ It lasted fifteen minutes; I was completely within, inside, as if to receive him.

But there is something interesting: when I went down at 2 p.m., I found the family had come to inform me that they had been notified by telephone that he had died at 11:45 a.m. Myself, I saw him come at 12:30.

So you see, the outer signs … It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this – the doctors observe all the outer signs, then they declare you dead, but you’re still in your body!

In other words, he was still in his body.

So it’s probably during this period that people are ‘resuscitated,’ as they say. It must be during this period, for they have not left their bodies, they are not really dead, though the heart may give every appearance of having stopped. So K left his body at around half past noon, and officially it was at 11:45. Forty-five minutes later, in other words.

And it takes place very gently, very gently (when it’s done right), very gently, very gently, smoothly, without any shock.

So this morning they’re burning him.

When they’re in too much of a hurry to burn them, sometimes they burn them alive! … They should wait.

For there’s a consciousness of the form, a life of the form. There’s a consciousness, a consciousness in the form assumed by the cells. That takes SEVEN DAYS to come out. So sometimes the body makes abrupt movements when burned – people say it’s mechanical. It’s not mechanical, I know it’s not.

I know it. I know that this consciousness of the form exists since I have actually gone out of it. Once, long back, I was in a so-called cataleptic state, and after awhile, while still in this state, the body began living again’; that is, it was capable of speaking and even moving (it was Theon who gave me this training). The body managed to get up and move. And yet, everything had gone out of it!

Once everything had gone out, it naturally became cold, but the body consciousness manages to draw a little energy from the air, from this or that … And I spoke in that state. I spoke – I spoke very well, and besides, I recounted all I was seeing elsewhere.

So I don’t like this habit of burning people very much.

I think they do it here (apart from entirely sanitary considerations in the case of people who have died from nasty diseases), here in India, mainly because they are very afraid of all these little entities that come from desires, impulses – things which are dispersed in the air and which make ‘ghosts’ and all kinds of things. All desires, all attachments, all those things are like pieces that break off (each one goes its own way, you see), then these pieces gain strength in the surrounding atmosphere, and when they can fasten on to someone, they vampirize him. Then they keep on trying to satisfy their desires.

The world, the terrestrial atmosphere, is full of filth.

And people here are much more sensitive than in Europe because they are much more interiorized, so they are conscious of all these little entities, and naturally they’re afraid. And the more afraid they are, the more they’re vampirized!

I think that many of these entities are dispersed by fire – that creates havoc.

I know one person, a boy who died here, who was burned before he had left! He had a weak heart, and not enough care was taken – that is, they probably should not have operated on him. He was our engineer. He died in the hospital. Not a serious operation, an appendicitis, but his heart could not take up its natural movement.

But as he was accustomed to going out of his body, he didn’t know! He even used to make experiments – he would go out, circle around in his room, see his body from outside, observe the difference between the subtle physical and the material physical, etc. So he didn’t know. And it’s only when they burned his body …

I tried to delay the moment, but he was in the hospital, so it was difficult. I was in my room when they burned his body, and then suddenly I saw him arrive – sobbing – saying, ‘But … But I m dead. I DIDN’T WANT to die! Why am I dead, I DIDN’T WANT to die!’ It was dreadful. So I kept him and held him against me to quiet him down.

He remained there for years.

And whenever we used to have meetings to decide on the construction of something or on repairs to be made, for example, I always felt him there and he influenced those who were present.

He wanted to live again; I managed to give him the opportunity. He was very conscious; the child isn’t yet so.

But people are such fools, they are so ignorant! …

The soul may very likely make a resolve, noting that the body is either unworthy or unfit or incapable or unwilling or … anything, and the soul may decide that the body should die so it may go; but the soul’s going isn’t what kills the body. There are innumerable people who are without a soul – they have a soul, but their soul isn’t in their body – lots of people. And they go on living quite well.

It’s more difficult to live without the psychic being, on the other hand. The psychic being, of course, is the clothing – the individualized clothing – between the eternal soul and the transitory body; and [from life to life] it grows more formed, individualized, more and more individually conscious. When that leaves the body, the rest generally follows. But I had the experience of doing it deliberately, so I KNOW. One has to know how to do it, but it can be done. My psychic being stayed here with Sri Aurobindo, and I left with my mental, vital and physical beings. It was a … slightly precarious condition. But as I also kept the contact quite consciously, it could be done.

What people call “death” … I see loads of people who, to me, are living dead (they are those who are without their psychic being, or even those who have no contact with their soul). But to know that, one must have the inner vision. But what people call “death,” that is, the decomposition of the cells and dissolution of the form, is when the most material “vital subdegree,” which brings into contact with Life – with vital force, life – goes out. That is how death occurs in animals, for example. And that vital subdegree generally goes away when the external organism is unable to continue – when, for instance, it’s cut in two or the heart has been removed, or anyway when something quite radical has happened to it! Because some people have met with accidents and had many parts missing, yet they lived on. But even cardiac arrest, as I said, doesn’t necessarily mean death, since after stopping, the heart can start up again. Those who have the material knowledge tell you that for a few … I forget whether a few seconds or a few minutes, the heart can start up again; after that, decomposition sets in. With decomposition it’s over, naturally.

So we could correctly say that there are kinds of GRADATIONS in death. Gradations in life and gradations in death: some beings are alive to a greater or lesser degree, or if we want to put it negatively, some beings are dead to a greater or lesser degree. But for those who know, oh, for those who know that this material form can manifest a supramental light, well, those who don’t have the supramental light in them are already a little dead. That’s how it is. So there are gradations. What people have conventionally called “death” is just a purely external phenomenon, because it’s something they can’t deny – the body going to pieces.

But I have seen people who were supposedly dead (not many in my family because it wasn’t the custom to let the children see them, and once I was grown-up there were only very few opportunities), but I have seen a few here. And they weren’t all in the same state at all – far from it.


There was the case of Sri Aurobindo. “He is dead,” the doctors decided – he was absolutely alive. Absolutely living. And even after five days, when they put him into … it was because of (how should I put it?) the pressure of the outside world, and because it was impossible to preserve him. We had to consent. But I cannot say he was dead! He wasn’t at all dead, it was perfectly obvious. The body was already beginning to … (very little, but a little at the end of the fifth day), that is, the skin was losing its color, but … (Mother makes a glorious gesture).

For the first three days, I remained standing there, near his bed, and in an absolutely … well, to me, it was absolutely visible – all the organized consciousness that was in his body DELIBERATELY came out of it and into mine. And I not only saw it but felt the FRICTION of its entry.

Then people say, “He is dead” – that’s ignorance.


All that supramental power he had attracted into and organized in his body little by little came into me METHODICALLY.

I didn’t say anything to anyone because it was nobody’s business, nobody’s concern. I remained standing there and … (gesture showing the forces passing from Sri Aurobindo into Mother’s body).

May 28, 1960

May 19, 2015

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If you use power to show that you possess it, it becomes so full of falsehood and untruth that finally it disappears.