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At the Feet of The Mother

The Mother’s Comments of 1951


Comments on Chapter 1


“… Reject too the false and indolent expectation that the divine Power will do even the surrender for you. The Supreme demands your surrender to her, but does not impose it: you are free at every moment, till the irrevocable transformation comes, to deny and to reject the Divine or to recall your self-giving, if you are willing to suffer the spiritual consequence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

What does an “irrevocable transformation” mean?

The transformation is irrevocable when your consciousness is transformed in such a way that you can no longer go back to your old condition. There is a moment when the change is so complete that it is impossible to become once again what one was before.

Doesn’t transformation itself imply that it is irrevocable?

The transformation may be partial. The transformation Sri Aurobindo speaks about here is a reversal of consciousness: instead of being egoistical and turned towards personal satisfactions, the consciousness is turned towards the Divine in surrender. And he has explained clearly that the surrender could be partial at first — there are parts which surrender and parts which don’t. So it is only when the entire being, integrally, in all its movements, has made its surrender, that it is irrevocable. It is an irrevocable transformation of attitude.

What is the difference between the divine Shakti and the divine Power?

The divine Power is only a part of the divine Shakti; the divine Power is an attribute of the divine Shakti. Sri Aurobindo uses the word divine Shakti, here, in the sense of chit-tapas, the creative power, the creative consciousness; consequently, the divine Power is only a part of the Shakti.

“An inert passivity is constantly confused with the real surrender, but out of an inert passivity nothing true and powerful can come. It is the inert passivity of physical Nature that leaves it at the mercy of every obscure or undivine influence. A glad and strong and helpful submission is demanded to the working of the Divine Force….”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

What is “a glad and strong and helpful submission”?

Do you know what it means to be happy? Do you know what it means to be strong? Do you know what it means to be helpful? Well, the surrender, that is, the self-giving to the Divine, must be happy, joyful, made gladly; it must be strong, one must not give oneself through weakness and impotence but with an active and strong will. And then the surrender must not remain absolutely indolent: “I have made my surrender, I have nothing more to do in life, I have only to remain still, my surrender is made.” And it must be helpful, that is, it must be active — it must undertake the transformation of the being or do some useful work.

“Your surrender must be the surrender of a living being, not of an inert automaton or mechanical tool.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

You may speak, for instance, of the surrender of your watch: you wind it up and it runs, but this is not a response of conscious collaboration.

“The transformation must be integral, and integral therefore the rejection of all that withstands it.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

That is well understood. It is not enough to have a positive movement, there must also be the negative movement of rejection. For you cannot attain a stable transformation as long as you harbour in your being elements which oppose it. If you keep obscurities within you, they may for a time remain silent and immobile, so well that you attach no importance to them, and one day they will wake up again and your transformation won’t be able to resist them. Not only is the positive movement of self-giving necessary but also the negative movement of rejection of everything in you that opposes this giving. You must not leave things “like that”, buried somewhere, in such a way that at the first opportunity they wake up and undo all your work. There are parts of the being which know very well how to do this, there are elements of the vital which are extraordinary from this point of view: they keep quiet, hide in a corner, remain so absolutely silent and motionless that you think they don’t exist; so you are no longer on your guard, you are satisfied with your transformation and your surrender, you think everything is going well, and then, suddenly, one fine day, without warning, the thing jumps up like a jack-in-the-box and makes you commit all the stupidities in the world. And it is the stronger for having remained repressed — repressed and closed tight in a corner — it has remained as though buried so as not to draw your attention, it has kept very, very quiet, and the moment you are not expecting it, it springs up and you tell yourself, “Oh! What was the good of all my transformation?” That thing was there, and so it happened. It is just like that, these things remain there and hide themselves so well, that if you do not go looking for them with a well-lit lantern, you will not know they are there till the day they come out and demolish all your work in one minute.

Does this happen even if one has a great aspiration?

The aspiration must be very vigilant.

I have known people (many, not only a few, I mean among those who do yoga), I have known many who, every time they had a fine aspiration, and their aspiration was very strong and they received an answer to this aspiration, every time, the very same day or at the latest the next day, they had a complete setback of consciousness and were facing the exact opposite of their aspiration. Such things happen almost constantly. Well, these people have developed only the positive side. They make a kind of discipline of aspiration, they ask for help, they try to come into contact with higher forces, they succeed in this, they have experiences; but they have completely neglected cleaning their room; it has remained as dirty as ever, and so, naturally, when the experience has gone, this dirt becomes still more repulsive than before.

One must never neglect to clean one’s room, it is very important; inner cleanliness is at least as important as outer cleanliness.

Vivekananda has written (I don’t know the original, I have only read the French translation): “One must every morning clean one’s soul and one’s body, but if you don’t have time for both, it is better to clean the soul than clean the body.”

How can one know whether the little dirty things have hidden themselves or have gone?

One can always try little experiments. I have said that one must use a torch, a strong light; then one must take a round within one’s being. If one is very attentive, one can very easily find these ugly corners. Suppose you have a beautiful experience, that suddenly in answer to your aspiration a great light comes; you feel all flooded with joy, force, light, beauty, and have the impression that you are on the point of being transfigured… and then, it passes away — it always passes away, doesn’t it? especially at the beginning — suddenly, it stops. Then you tell yourself, when you are not vigilant, “There, it came and it has gone! Poor me! It came and has gone, it just gave me a taste of the thing and then let me fall.” Well, that’s foolish. What you should tell yourself is, “Look, I was not able to keep it, and why was I not able to keep it?” So, you take your torch and go on a round within yourself trying to find a very close relation between the change of consciousness and the movements accompanying the cessation of the experience. And if you are very, very attentive, and make your round very scrupulously, you will find that suddenly some part of the vital or some part of the mind or of the body, something has not kept up, in this sense that mentally, instead of being immobile and attentive, something has begun to ask, “Wait a minute, what is this experience? What does it mean?”, begun to try to find an explanation (what it calls an “understanding”). Or maybe in the vital something has begun to enjoy the experience: “How pleasant it is, how I would like it to grow, how good if it were constant, how….” Or something in the physical has said, “Oh! It is a bit hard to endure that, how long am I going to be able to keep it?” It is perhaps not as obvious as all this, but it is a wee bit hidden like this, somewhere. You will always find one of these three things or others analogous. Then, it is there the lantern is needed: where is the weak point? where is the egoism? where is the desire? where is that old dirt we do not want any longer? where is that thing which turns back upon itself instead of giving itself, opening itself, losing itself? which turns back upon itself, tries to take advantage of what has happened, wants to appropriate to itself the fruit of the experience? Or rather which is too weak, too hard, too rigid to be able to follow the movement?… It is that, you are now on the track, you begin precisely to put the light you have just acquired upon it; it is that you must do, focus the light upon it, turn it in such a way that the thing cannot resist it.

You won’t be able to succeed the very first day but you must do it persistently and little by little or perhaps suddenly one day it will vanish. Then you will find out after a time that you are another person.

But if you take the attitude I have already spoken about and throw the blame upon the Grace and the Light, if you say to yourself, “There, it has gone and left me in the lurch”, you may be sure that even thirty, forty, fifty years hence you will be still at the same place, you will not have changed. There will always be something which will rise suddenly and eat up your experience. And then, instead of progressing, you will be stuck there marking time because you cannot advance. But if, immediately, you take the opportunity…. Note, sometimes it hurts a little; if you go and brutally put the light upon the thing which wants to enjoy the experience or wants to get knowledge or control the experience by a mental understanding or is too lazy to make the necessary effort to receive the experience and bear it or to change quickly enough, if you put the will with the light of consciousness upon this thing, with firmness, it may hurt just a little. And you say, “Oh! Not so fast! I need rest, I tired myself uselessly.” Then everything has to be begun all over again. Sometimes days, even months, sometimes years will pass without its coming back. Sometimes, if you are a little more active and intense in your aspiration, it will return sooner. But if you commit the same stupidity again, the same thing will happen — while if, immediately, you are very vigilant and when the mind starts nosing around to understand what is happening you tell it, “Silence, keep quiet”, then the experience can continue. When the vital begins to say, “I want lots and lots, more and more”, you say, “Quiet, quiet, don’t move, calm yourself, don’t get excited.” Or when the physical being, “Oh! I shall be crushed….” — “A little endurance, if you please; you are a coward, you don’t know how to stand the test.” If you manage to do this in time, with the necessary calmness, with the necessary determination and will, you will arrive at something. But if you are like that, passive, indolent, fatalistic, and tell yourself, “Now I have surrendered myself, what will happen will happen, we shall see what is going to happen, that’s all”, then, you understand, I give you fifty years not to change by half a step.

In the last lesson I told you it was not so easy…. If you want to do it, you must do it properly, otherwise it is not worth the trouble; it is useless to do things by halves, one must do them well.

Of course, there are other roads. One may simply not try to perfect oneself. One may try to forget oneself in an ever more absorbing work, that is, do what one does as a consecration to the Divine, altogether disinterestedly, but with a plenitude, a self-giving, a total self-forgetfulness: no longer thinking about oneself but about what one is doing. You know this, I have already told you this: if you want to do something well, whatever it may be, any kind of work, the least thing, play a game, write a book, do painting or music or run a race, anything at all, if you want to do it well, you must become what you are doing and not remain a small person looking at himself doing it; for if one looks at oneself acting, one is… one is still in complicity with the ego. If, in oneself, one succeeds in becoming what one does, it is a great progress. In the least little details, one must learn this. Take a very amusing instance: you want to fill a bottle from another bottle; you concentrate (you may try it as a discipline, as a gymnastic); well, as long as you are the bottle to be filled, the bottle from which one pours, and the movement of pouring, as long as you are only this, all goes well. But if unfortunately you think at a given moment: “Ah! It is getting on well, I am managing well”, the next minute it spills over! It is the same for everything, for everything. That is why work is a good means of discipline, for if you want to do the work properly, you must become the work instead of being someone who works, otherwise you will never do it well. If you remain “someone who works” and, besides, if your thoughts go vagabonding, then you may be sure that if you are handling fragile things they will break, if you are cooking, you will burn something, or if you are playing a game, you will miss all the balls! It is here, in this, that work is a great discipline. For if truly you want to do it well, this is the only way of doing it.

Take someone who is writing a book, for instance. If he looks at himself writing the book, you can’t imagine how dull the book will become; it smells immediately of the small human personality which is there and it loses all its value. When a painter paints a picture, if he observes himself painting the picture, the picture will never be good, it will always be a kind of projection of the painter’s personality; it will be without life, without force, without beauty. But if, all of a sudden, he becomes the thing he wants to express, if he becomes the brushes, the painting, the canvas, the subject, the image, the colours, the value, the whole thing, and is entirely inside it and lives it, he will make something magnificent.

For everything, everything, it is the same. There is nothing which cannot be a yogic discipline if one does it properly. And if it is not done properly, even tapasya will be of no use and will lead you nowhere. For it is the same thing, if you do your tapasya, all the time observing yourself doing it and telling yourself, “Am I making any progress, is this going to be better, am I going to succeed?”, then it is your ego, you know, which becomes more and more enormous and occupies the whole place, and there is no room for anything else. And we said the other day that the spiritual ego is the worst of all, for it is altogether unconscious of its inferiority, it is convinced it is something very superior, if not absolutely divine!

There we are. When you are at school, you must become the concentration which tries to catch what the teacher is saying, or the thought which enters you or the knowledge you are given. That is what you must be. You must not think of yourself but only of what you want to learn. And you will see that your capacities will immediately be doubled.

What gives most the feeling of inferiority, of limitation, smallness, impotence, is always this turning back upon oneself, this shutting oneself up in the bounds of a microscopic ego. One must widen oneself, open the doors. And the best way is to be able to concentrate upon what one is doing instead of concentrating upon oneself.

26 April 1951


Comments on Chapter 2


“But so long as the lower nature is active the personal effort of the Sadhaka remains necessary.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

Outwardly, one believes in one’s own personality and one’s own effort. So long as you believe in personal effort, you must make a personal effort.

There is one part of the being which is not at all conscious of being a part of the Divine. The whole of the outer being is convinced that it is something separate, independent and related only to itself. This part of the being must necessarily make a personal effort. It can’t be told, “The Divine does the sadhana for you”, for it would never do anything, it would never be changed. When one speaks with somebody, one should use his language,1) shouldn’t one?

What is “physical tamas”?

You don’t know that, you don’t? Then, congratulations! For instance, does it never happen to you that being seated you don’t want to get up, that having something to do you say, “Oh! I have to do all that….”

Is it the same thing as laziness?

Not quite. Of course, laziness is a kind of tamas, but in laziness there is an ill-will, a refusal to make an effort — while tamas is inertia: one wants to do something, but one can’t.

I remember, a long time ago, having been among some young people, and they remarked that when I decided to get up I used to get up with a jump, without any difficulty. They asked me, “How do you do it? We, when we want to get up, have to make an effort of will to be able to do it.” They were so surprised! And I was surprised by the opposite. I used to tell myself, “How does it happen? When one has decided to get up, one gets up.” No, the body was there, like that, and it was necessary to put a will into it, to push this body for it to get up and act. It is like that, this is tamas. Tamas is a purely material thing; it is very rare to have a vital or mental tamas (it may occur but through contagion), I believe it is more a tamas of the nerves or the brain than vital or mental tamas. But laziness is everywhere, in the physical, the vital, the mind. Generally lazy people are not always lazy, not in all things. If you propose something that pleases them, amuses them, they are quite ready to make an effort. There is much ill-will in laziness.

Sri Aurobindo speaks of “the will to open and make plastic the physical consciousness and nature”.((( Sri Aurobindo, The Mother)))

Because the physical consciousness and nature are closed up and rigid — they are shut up in their habits, they don’t want to change them, they accept only one regular routine. There is nothing more routine-bound than the body. If you change its habits in the least, it is quite bewildered, it doesn’t know any longer what to do, it says, “Excuse me, excuse me! but that’s not how one goes about living.”

Those whose vital being is very active and dominating may succeed in awakening the body, and if they have the spirit of adventure (which happens very often, for the vital is an adventurous being), the physical obeys, it obeys the impulse, the inner order; then it consents to the change, the novelty, but it is an effort for it. But for the physical being and physical consciousness to be ready to receive the divine impulsion, they must be extremely plastic, because the vital uses coercion, it imposes its will, and the poor body has but to obey, while the Divine just shows the light, gives the consciousness, and so one must obey consciously and willingly — it is a question of collaboration, it is no longer a question of coercion. The physical being and physical consciousness must be very plastic to be able to lend themselves to all the necessary changes, so as to be of one kind one day and another the next, and so on.

Sri Aurobindo speaks here of the “stability of Light, Power, Ananda”.((( Ibid.))) But isn’t power always dynamic?

Well, there is a static power. How to explain it to you? Look, there is the same difference between static power and dynamic power as between a game of defence and a game of attack; you understand? It is the same thing. Static power is something which can withstand everything, nothing can act upon it, nothing can touch it, nothing can shake it — it is immobile, but it is invincible. Dynamic power is something in action, which at times goes forth and may at times receive blows. That is to say, if you want your dynamic power to be always victorious, it must be supported by a considerable static power, an unshakable base.

I know what you want to say…that a human being becomes aware of power only when it is dynamic; a human being doesn’t consider it a power except when it acts; if it doesn’t act he does not even notice it, he does not realise the tremendous force which is behind this inaction — at times, even frequently, a force more formidable than the power which acts. But you may try it out in yourself, you will see, it is much more difficult to remain calm, immobile, unshakable before something very un-pleasant — whether it be words or acts levelled against you — infinitely more difficult than to answer with the same violence. Suppose someone insults you; if in the face of these insults, you can remain immobile (not only outwardly, I mean integrally), without being shaken or touched in any way: you are there like a force against which one can do nothing and you do not reply, you do not make a gesture, you do not say a word, all the insults thrown at you leave you absolutely untouched, within and without; you can keep your heart-beats absolutely quiet, you can keep the thoughts in your head quite immobile and calm without their being in the least disturbed, that is, your head does not answer immediately by similar vibrations and your nerves don’t feel clenched with the need to return a few blows to relieve themselves; if you can be like that, you have a static power, and it is infinitely more powerful than if you had that kind of force which makes you answer insult by insult, blow by blow and agitation by agitation.

Sri Aurobindo speaks of “the rejection of … stupidity, doubt, disbelief”.((( Sri Aurobindo, The Mother))) If one rejects stupidity does one become intelligent?

Do you mean whether one can get rid of stupidity? Yes, there is a way. It is not easy, but there is a way. I have known people who were extremely stupid, truly stupid; well, these people succeeded through aspiration — an aspiration which was not formulated, had not even the power to express itself in words — succeeded in coming into contact with their psychic being. It was not a constant contact, it was momentary, at times very fugitive. But while they were in contact with their psychic being, they became remarkably intelligent, they said wonderful things. I knew a girl who had no education, nothing, truly stupid; people said, “There is nothing to be done about it, it is not possible.” Well, when she was in contact with her psychic being, she understood the profoundest things and made astounding remarks. But when the contact stopped she became stupid once again. It was not something permanent, it was only the contact that took away her stupidity. So, it is a difficult cure, that is, one must establish the contact with one’s psychic being and keep it always.

There is a Muslim legend like that about Christ. You know the story: Christ healed the sick, made the lame walk, the blind see and even raised the dead. Seeing all these miracles, someone went up to Christ and said, “Oh! I have a very interesting case to put before you…. Yes, I have a son who is stupid.” Christ opened his eyes wide and ran away! It seems that was the only thing he could not do! This is a joke, of course, and the thing is difficult, but it is possible.

“The Divine … is behind all action but he is veiled by his Yoga Maya….”2)

Yes, he is veiled by the consciousness of material Nature. There is the consciousness in its origin which does not veil the Divine but expresses him. There is the consciousness in its outer form which veils him. Some say this is willed, that it is to allow the game to be played; that the Divine hides himself behind material Nature to compel all conscious beings to find Him. That is an opinion… people say many things.

One of the great difficulties for most philosophies is that they have never recognised or studied the different planes of existence, the different regions of the being. They have the Supreme and then the Creation and then that’s all, nothing between the two. This makes explanations very difficult…. All explanations, in the last analysis, are simply languages — there are languages which make understanding easier and others which make it more difficult. And some of these theories make the understanding of things very difficult — while if you recognize and study and become aware of the different intermediary states between the most material Nature and the Supreme Origin, if you recognise and become conscious of all the intermediary regions, of all the inner states of being and all the outer regions, that can explain many problems. We have already studied this in connection with determinisms. If you say that the determinism is absolute and remain there, you understand nothing; it is quite obvious that all the events of life give you the lie; or else the problem is so complicated that you can’t get hold of it. But if you understand that there are a large number of determinisms acting upon each other, interpenetrating, changing the action of one determinism by the action of another, then the problem becomes comprehensible. It is the same thing for explaining the action of the Divine in the universe. If you take a central creative Force or a central creative Consciousness or a central immobile Witness, and then the universe, only that, nothing between the two, you cannot understand. There are people who have used this in such a naive way! They have made a Creator God and then his creatures. So all the problems come up. He has made the world, with what? Some tell you it is from the dust, but what is it, this dust? What was it doing before it was used to make a world?… Or from nothing! A universe was created out of nothing — that is foolish! It is very awkward for a logical mind. And over and above all that, you are told that He did this consciously, deliberately, and when he had finished he exclaimed, “Look, it is very good.” Then, those who are in the universe reply, “We don’t find it so good. It is perhaps very good for you but not for us.” These are naive conceptions. They are simply ignorant and naive conceptions which make the problem of the universe absolutely incomprehensible. And all these explanations are inadmissible for a mind which is ever so slightly awakened. That is why you are told, “Don’t try to understand, you will never understand.” But that is mental laziness, it is the mind’s bad will. You see, one feels within oneself that, because one has this kind of power of thought-activity, this aspiration to find a light, a solution, it must correspond to something, otherwise…otherwise, truly (I think I have written this somewhere), if the universe were reduced to that simple notion, well, it would be the most sinister of farces and I should very well understand those who have declared, “Run away, get out of it as fast as possible.” Unfortunately, I don’t see how they would be able to get out of it, for there is nothing else — how can you get out of something which alone exists? So, one enters a vicious circle, one turns round and round and this leads quite naturally to mental despair. But when one has the key — there are one or two keys, but there is one which opens all the doors when one has the key, one follows one’s road and little by little understands the Thing.

What is the difference between consciousness and physical Nature?

Tell me, is your body absolutely conscious, conscious of itself, conscious of its functioning? No, then what is it? It can only be physical Nature. And if there is a physical Nature which is not conscious, it means that physical Nature and consciousness are not the same thing. Physical Nature includes everything that is physical: your body belongs to physical Nature, mountains, stones, the sky, water, fire… all this belongs to physical Nature. But your physical Nature contains a consciousness, it is animated by a consciousness, though it is not entirely conscious. And precisely because it is not entirely conscious, it can be inert, tamasic, “unconscious”. Otherwise all would be conscious, stones also would be conscious (I don’t know how far they are so, but it is to a very small extent compared with human consciousness).

Does not surrender consist in offering one’s work like a good servant?

Work is a good discipline. But it is not this idea, it is not the idea of a passive, unconscious and almost involuntary submission. It is not that. It does not lie only in work.

The most important surrender is the surrender of your character, your way of being, so that it may change. If you do not surrender your very own nature, never will this nature change. It is this that is most important. You have certain ways of understanding, certain ways of reacting, certain ways of feeling, almost certain ways of progressing, and above all, a special way of looking at life and expecting from it certain things — well, it is this you must surrender. That is, if you truly want to receive the divine Light and transform yourself, it is your whole way of being you must offer — offer by opening it, making it as receptive as possible so that the divine Consciousness which sees how you ought to be, may act directly and change all these movements into movements more true, more in keeping with your real truth. This is infinitely more important than surrendering what one does. It is not what one does (what one does is very important, that’s evident) that is the most important thing but what one is. Whatever the activity, it is not quite the way of doing it but the state of consciousness in which it is done that is important. You may work, do disinterested work without any idea of personal profit, work for the joy of working, but if you are not at the same time ready to leave this work, to change the work or change the way of working, if you cling to your own way of working, your surrender is not complete. You must come to a point when everything is done because you feel within, very clearly, in a more and more imperious way, that it is this which must be done and in this particular way, and that you do it only because of that. You do not do it because of any habit, attachment or preference, nor even any conception, even a preference for the idea that it is the best thing to do — else your surrender is not total. As long as you cling to something, as long as there is something in you which says, “This may change, that may change, but that, that will not change”, as long as you say about anything at all, “That will not change” (not that it refuses to change, but because you can’t think of its changing), your surrender is not complete.

It goes without saying that if in your action, your work, you have in the least this feeling, “I am doing it because I have been told to do it”, and there is not a total adherence of the being, and you do not do the work because you feel it must be done and you love doing it; if something holds back, stands apart, separate, “I was told it had to be done like that so I did it like that”, it means there is a great gulf between you and surrender. True surrender is to feel that one wants, one has, this complete inner adherence: you cannot do but that, that which you have been given to do, and what you have not been given to do you cannot do. But at another moment the work may change; at any moment it may be something else, if it is decided that it be something else. It is there that plasticity comes in. That makes a very great difference. It is well understood that those who work are told, “Yes, work, that is your way of surrendering”, but it is a beginning. This way has to be progressive. It is only a beginning, do you understand?

28 April 1951


Comments on Chapter 3


“The more complete your faith, sincerity and surrender, the more will grace and protection be with you. And when the grace and protection of the Divine Mother are with you, what is there that can touch you or whom need you fear? A little of it even will carry you through all difficulties, obstacles and dangers; surrounded by its full presence you can go securely on your way because it is hers, careless of all menace, unaffected by any hostility however powerful, whether from this world or from worlds invisible. Its touch can turn difficulties into opportunities, failure into success and weakness into unfaltering strength. For the grace of the Divine Mother is the sanction of the Supreme and now or tomorrow its effect is sure, a thing decreed, inevitable and irresistible.”

What does “decreed” mean?

It comes from the word “decree”. It is a law, it is something which is… It is decreed that such and such a thing will be done in such and such a way, for example. Governments pronounce decrees on what ought and ought not to be done. They are official orders. So, in this case, it is an order from the Supreme, it is an inevitable order.

“Surrounded by its full presence you can go securely on your way because it is hers.”

It is the same way. From the moment you are surrounded by the divine grace and are in a fit state to receive the divine grace, your way and hers have become one and the same.

What are the “invisible worlds”?

That is a formidable question!

You have heard and read that we are made up of various states of being: physical, vital, mental, psychic, spiritual, etc. Well, all these inner states of being correspond to invisible worlds. There is a physical world, a vital world, a mental world, a psychic world, and many spiritual worlds, a whole range of more and more subtle worlds approaching nearer and nearer to the Supreme. So, since you carry within yourself a corresponding range, by studying and becoming aware of your inner being you gradually make yourself capable of becoming aware also of these invisible worlds. For example, the mind: if the mind is conscious, coordinated, well controlled, it can move about it in the mental world just as the body does in the physical world and see what this mental world is like, what is going on there, what are its characteristics and so on. These things are not invisible in themselves — they are invisible to the physical consciousness and the physical senses, but not to the corresponding inner states of consciousness or the corresponding inner senses. For, by a systematic development one can acquire senses in these worlds and one can then live a similar life with different characteristics. I mean that one can live an objective life in these worlds if one is sufficiently developed oneself. Otherwise, they wouldn’t exist for us. If we did not carry in ourselves something corresponding to all that exists in the universe, this universe wouldn’t exist for us. And it is only a matter of systematic and methodical development. Some people have it spontaneously for various reasons, usually as a result of a long preparation in previous lives, sometimes because of specially favourable circumstances — they are born in a certain environment, of parents who had developed these faculties, and they were helped to develop them from childhood. Other people have to acquire them systematically by inner discipline; it takes time, a long time, but after all it doesn’t take much longer than for the brain of a child to grasp abstract mathematics. That takes years.

Do these invisible worlds exist in a fixed place in the universe?

They form part of the universe, of course. Yes, one can say that they exist in a fixed place. But to understand that, to understand these things requires a mind capable of understanding that there are other dimensions than the purely material dimensions. For when you are told that your psychic being is in your body, that doesn’t mean that if you open up your body you will find your psychic being inside. You will find your heart, your stomach and the rest, but not your psychic being. And yet it is correct to say that it is within you. It extends beyond you too, but it is in another dimension. And one can say that there are as many dimensions as there are different worlds. Certainly all these invisible worlds — so-called invisible worlds — are contained, so to say, in the material universe. But they don’t occupy the place of other things. To make an imperfect comparison — it is valid only as a comparison — you can hold countless ideas in your brain and you certainly don’t have the feeling that you have to drive one out so that another one can come in, do you? They don’t occupy any space in that sense.

“And the conditions needed for its creation.”((( “Ask for nothing but the divine, spiritual and supramental Truth, its realisation on earth and in you and in all who are called and chosen and the conditions needed for its creation and its victory over all opposing forces.”)))

They are innumerable and vary with the person and the circumstances. But, ultimately, they can be reduced to what he said in the beginning or a little further on, I forget… Here: “faith, sincerity and surrender”. These are the required conditions. And afterwards, he describes what kind of faith, what kind of sincerity and what kind of surrender. These are the required conditions so that her victory may be won over the hostile forces — the conditions on your side. Her conditions — I suppose she fulfils them spontaneously — are to respond to the aspiration, to have power, clearsightedness, knowledge and will. That is obvious. So, one has to give her a field for her work and conditions under which she may work. And these conditions are: faith, sincerity and surrender — a pure, unmixed faith, a perfect, integral sincerity and an unconditional surrender. This is what he has described for you.

Is there a limited number of dimensions?

Limited? Or unlimited? What are you asking? How many dimensions? Ah, should we ask the mathematicians or the occultists? The occultist!

Well, in a certain way the number is limited, but since in each dimension there is another limited number of subdivisions and since in these subdivisions there is again a considerable number of subdivisions, we can say that it is unlimited — and yet limited. So, if you understand anything, you are lucky!

If the number is limited, how many are there?


How can there be “an egoistic faith in the mental being”? ((( “An egoistic faith in the mental and vital being tainted by ambition, pride, vanity, mental arrogance, vital self-will, personal demand, desire for the petty satisfactions of the lower nature is a low and smoke-obscured flame that cannot burn upwards to heaven.”)))

He has described it very well: “tainted by ambition”, etc. I find that if you put it differently, it is much more true. Is there any faith which doesn’t have a little of all that? For it is said, it has been repeated that faith, if it is pure, is capable of… nothing can resist it. This means that if one were to have an absolutely pure faith, untainted by all these things, a true faith, let’s say the true faith, well, nothing would be impossible. One could be transformed overnight, one could bring down the Supermind in a moment, one could… do anything, one could do anything if one had faith. But it must be a pure faith, it should not be mixed with any personal reactions or any personal will.

A pure faith is something all-powerful and irresistible. One doesn’t often find a faith that is all-powerful and irresistible, and this shows that it is not quite pure. The question should be put like this: each one of us has a faith, for example, a faith in something, say a faith in the divine Presence within us. If our faith were pure, we would at once be aware of this divine Presence within us. This example is very easy to understand. You have faith, it is there, but you don’t have the experience. Why? Because the faith is not pure. If the faith were quite pure, immediately, the thing would be done. This is very true. So, when you become aware that the thing is not realised at once, you can begin to look: “But why isn’t it realised? What is there in my faith?” And if you go on looking with the same sincerity, you will find that there are many little things in it, so many little things — not big, as big as this — which are repulsive. Little things. So many times a little conceit comes in, and then a desire, not a very violent one — it doesn’t show itself very much. The importance it gives you, the power it will give you and the satisfaction it will give you…

In the invisible worlds, are things seen as in the physical world or as in dreams?

We have to agree on what dreams are! There are dreams where you see things so precisely, so concretely that the material world seems rather unreal in comparison. There are dreams like that where things are so intense, so precise, so concrete, so objective and leave you with such a vivid impression that the material world seems rather misty, not very clear, not very distinct. So, if it is a dream like that, yes. But if it is a dream where things clash incoherently, inconsistently with one another, no.

The first step: you must be able to discern the various inner states of being and know for sure: this belongs to the vital, this belongs to the mind, this belongs to the psychic, this belongs to matter. And as I said earlier, there are subdegrees in all that. There is a material vital, a vital vital, a mental vital, a vital under the psychic influence. You must be able to classify things very clearly and not allow any mixtures, any vague confusions in yourself: “Oh, where does this movement come from? What is it?” — indistinct impressions. That is the first step.

Second step: you learn to concentrate in one of these inner states. You choose the one which you feel to be the most alive, the most developed in yourself and you learn to concentrate there. And then you do the same exercises… I wonder whether you remember the exercises you used to do when you were very young in order to walk, to drink, to talk, to hear, to feel. You used to do many exercises. All children do exercises without knowing it, but they do them. So you have to do something on the same lines. You must build up senses and develop them, make them conscious, independent and precise in their perceptions. That is the second stage. It may take time, it may come quickly, it depends on the degree of development of your inner being.

After that — this is only a beginning — after that, you must learn to isolate yourself from all the other parts of the being, to concentrate on the one where you want to have the experience and concentrate in such a way that you come into contact with the corresponding outer world. I don’t mean that it is an exteriorisation that leaves your body in a state of coma. No, a very intense concentration is enough, a power to isolate yourself from everything except the place where you are concentrating. And then you come into contact with the corresponding world. You must want that and little by little you learn how to do it. And there you have the exercise required to improve the senses you have gradually developed and give them a field of action. At first, you may be rather lost in this outer world, you won’t feel quite at ease. But little by little you will get used to it and start moving about there in the way that is appropriate to each of these worlds.

But if you know beforehand what they are like — the mind is such a magnificent instrument of formation that it can build up a whole experience for you, and unfortunately, it will never be the genuine experience — it will be merely a mental construction. So, normally, when you want to instruct someone about these occult matters, you never tell him what is going to happen, in the beginning. The only thing is that if something happens to him, if he says, “This is what happened to me,” you tell him, “Yes, this is correct” or “No, that is not correct.” You can help him. But you don’t tell him beforehand, “You will go to such and such a place. It will be like that. You will have such and such an experience,” etc., for then all these things may happen only because of a well-built mental construction in which you move about with ease. In that case it is really a dream!

If one is not aware of the divine presence, can one enjoy the divine protection?

There too it depends on the case. It may occur; it is not always like that, but it may occur. It may happen that the divine grace is given to someone without his knowing anything about it. This even happens more often than one thinks.

30 January 1951


Comments on Chapter 4


“Money is the visible sign of a universal force, and this force in its manifestation on earth works on the vital and physical planes and is indispensable to the fullness of the outer life. In its origin and its true action it belongs to the Divine. But like other powers of the Divine it is delegated here and in the ignorance of the lower Nature can be usurped for the uses of the ego or held by Asuric influences and perverted to their purpose. This is indeed one of the three forces — power, wealth, sex — that have the strongest attraction for the human ego and the Asura and are most generally misheld and misused by those who retain them…. For this reason most spiritual disciplines… proclaim poverty and bareness of life as the only spiritual condition. But this is an error; it leaves the power in the hands of the hostile forces. To reconquer it for the Divine to whom it belongs and use it divinely for the divine life is the supramental way for the sadhaka.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

How can one know if one’s way of using money is in accordance with the divine Will?

One must first know what the divine will is. But there is a surer way — to surrender money for the divine work, if one is not sure oneself. “Divinely” means at the service of the Divine — it means not to use money for one’s own satisfaction but to place it at the Divine’s service.

Sri Aurobindo speaks of “a weak bondage to the habits that the possession of riches creates”.

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

When you are rich and have a lot of money to spend, generally you spend it on things you find pleasant, and you become habituated to these things, attached to these things, and if one day the money is gone, you miss it, you are unhappy, you are miserable and feel all lost because you no longer have what you were in the habit of having. It is a bondage, a weak attachment. He who is quite detached, when he lives in the midst of these things, it is well with him; when these things are gone, it is well also; he is totally indifferent to both. That is the right attitude: when it is there he uses it, when it is not he does without it. And for his inner consciousness this makes no difference. That surprises you, but it is like that.

If one has the power to acquire a lot of money, does this mean that one has a certain control over terrestrial forces?

This depends upon how one acquires it. If you get it by foul ways, that does not mean that you have a control. But if someone, scrupulously doing his duty, sees that money comes to him, it is evidently because he exercises a control over these forces. There are people who have the power of attracting money and they haven’t the least need to practise dishonesty to get it. Others, even to get a few pennies, must make all sorts of contrivances, more or less clean. So one cannot say…. We see a rich man and think he must be exercising a control over the forces of money — no, not necessarily. But if a man remains perfectly honest and does what he thinks is his duty without caring to acquire money, and yet money comes to him, evidently he has a certain affinity with those forces.

It is said, “One cannot make a heap without making a hole”, one cannot enrich oneself without impoverishing someone else. Is this true?

This is not quite correct. If one produces something, instead of an impoverishment it is an enrichment; simply one puts into circulation in the world something else having a value equivalent to that of money. But to say that one cannot make a heap without making a hole is all right for those who speculate, who do business on the Stock Exchange or in finance — there it is true. It is impossible to have a financial success in affairs of pure speculation without its being detrimental to another. But it is limited to this. Otherwise a producer does not make a hole if he heaps up money in exchange for what he produces. Surely there is the question of the value of the production, but if the production is truly an acquisition for the general human wealth, it does not make a hole, it increases this wealth. And in another way, not only in the material field, the same thing holds for art, for literature or science, for any production at all.

When I was doing business (Export-import), I always had the feeling of robbing my neighbour.

This is living at the expense of others, because one multiplies the middlemen. Naturally, it is perhaps convenient, practical, but from the general point of view, and above all in the way it is practised, it is living at the expense of the producer and the consumers. One becomes an agent, not at all with the idea of rendering service (because there is not one in a million who has this idea), but because it is an easy way of earning money without making any effort. But of course, among the ways of making money without any effort, there are others much worse than that! They are countless.

Friends from outside have often asked me this question: “When one is compelled to earn his living, should one just conform to the common code of honesty or should one be still more strict?”

This depends upon the attitude your friend has taken in life. If he wants to be a sadhak, it is indispensable that rules of ordinary morality do not have any value for him. Now, if he is an ordinary man living the ordinary life, it is a purely practical question, isn’t it? He must conform to the laws of the country in which he lives to avoid all trouble! But all these things which in ordinary life have a very relative value and can be looked upon with a certain indulgence, change totally the minute one decides to do yoga and enter the divine life. Then, all values change completely; what is honest in ordinary life, is no longer at all honest for you. Besides, there is such a reversal of values that one can no longer use the same ordinary language. If one wants to consecrate oneself to the divine life, one must do it truly, that is, give oneself entirely, no longer do anything for one’s own interest, depend exclusively upon the divine Power to which one abandons oneself. Everything changes completely, doesn’t it? — everything, everything, it is a reversal. What I have just read from this book applies solely to those who want to do yoga; for others it has no meaning, it is a language which makes no sense, but for those who want to do yoga it is imperative. It is always the same thing in all that we have recently read: one must be careful not to have one foot on one side and the other foot on the other, not to bestride two different boats each following its own course. This is what Sri Aurobindo said: one must not lead a “double life”. One must give up one thing or the other — one can’t follow both.

This does not mean, however, that one is obliged to get out of the conditions of one’s life: it is the inner attitude which must be totally changed. One may do what one is in the habit of doing, but do it with quite a different attitude. I don’t say it is necessary to give up everything in life and go away into solitude, to an ashram necessarily, to do yoga. Now, it is true that if one does yoga in the world and in worldly circumstances, it is more difficult, but it is also more complete. Because, every minute one must face problems which do not present themselves to someone who has left everything and gone into solitude; for such a one these problems are reduced to a minimum while in life one meets all sorts of difficulties, beginning with the incomprehension of those around you with whom you have to deal; one must be ready for that, be armed with patience, and a great indifference. But in yoga one should no longer care for what people think or say; it is an absolutely indispensable starting-point. You must be absolutely immune to what the world may say or think of you and to the way it treats you. People’s understanding must be something quite immaterial to you and should not even slightly touch you. That is why it is generally much more difficult to remain in one’s usual surroundings and do yoga than to leave everything and go into solitude; it is much more difficult, but we are not here to do easy things — easy things we leave to those who do not think of transformation.

If someone has acquired a lot of money by dishonest means, could some of it be asked for the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo has answered this question. He says that money in itself is an impersonal force: the way in which you acquire money concerns you alone personally. It may do you great harm, it may harm others also, but it does not in any way change the nature of the money which is an altogether impersonal force: money has no colour, no taste, no psychological consciousness. It is a force. It is like saying that the air breathed out by a scoundrel is more tainted than that breathed out by an honest man — I don’t think so. I think the result is the same. One may for reasons of a practical nature refuse money which has been stolen, but that is for altogether practical reasons, it is not because of divine reasons. This is a purely human idea. One may from a practical point of view say, “Ah! No, the way in which you have acquired this money is disgusting and so I don’t want to offer it to the Divine”, because one has a human consciousness. But if you take someone (let us suppose the worst) who has killed and acquired money by the murder; if all of a sudden he is seized by terrible scruples and remorse and tells himself, “I have only one thing to do with this money, give it where it can be utilised for the best, in the most impersonal way”, it seems to me that this movement is preferable to utilising it for one’s own satisfaction. I said that the reasons which could prevent one from receiving ill-gotten money may be reasons of a purely practical kind, but there may also be more profound reasons, of a (I do not want to say moral but) spiritual nature, from the point of view of tapasya; one may tell somebody, “No, you cannot truly acquire merit with this fortune which you have obtained in such a terrible way; what you can do is to restore it”, one may feel that a restitution, for instance, will help one to make more progress than simply passing the money on to any work whatever. One may see things in this way — one can’t make rules. This is what I never stop telling you: it is impossible to make a rule. In every case it is different. But you must not think that the money is affected; money as a terrestrial force is not affected by the way in which it is obtained, that can in no way affect it. Money remains the same, your note remains the same, your piece of gold remains the same, and as it carries its force, its force remains there. It harms only the person who has done wrong, that is evident. Then the question remains: in what state of mind and for what reasons does your dishonest man want to pass on his money to a work he considers divine? Is it as a measure of safety, through prudence or to lay his heart at rest? Evidently this is not a very good motive and it cannot be encouraged, but if he feels a kind of repentance and regret for what he has done and the feeling that there is but one thing to do and that is precisely to deprive himself of what he has wrongly acquired and utilise it for the general good as much as possible, then there is nothing to say against that. One cannot decide in a general way — it depends upon the instance. Only, if I understand well what you mean, if one knows that a man has acquired money by the most unnamable means, obviously, it would not be good to go and ask him for money for some divine work, because that would be like “rehabilitating” his way of gaining money. One cannot ask, that is not possible. If, spontaneously, for some reason, he gives it, there is no reason to refuse it. But it is quite impossible to go and ask him for it, because it is as though one legitimised his manner of acquiring money. That makes a great difference.

And generally, in these cases, those who go and ask money from rascals use means of intimidation: they frighten them, not physically but about their future life, about what may happen to them, they give them a fright. It is not very nice. These are procedures one ought not to use.

Besides money, what are the other divine powers “delegated” here on earth?

All. All the divine powers are manifested here and deformed here — light, life, love, force — all — harmony, ananda — all, all, there is nothing which is not divine in its origin and which does not exist here under a completely distorted, travestied form. The other day we had spoken at length about the way in which divine Love is deformed in its manifestation here, it is the same thing.

How can money be reconquered for the Mother?

Ah!…There is a hint here. Three things are interdependent (Sri Aurobindo says here): power, money and sex. I believe the three are interdependent and that all three have to be conquered to be sure of having any one — when you want to conquer one you must have the other two. Unless one has mastered these three things, desire for power, desire for money and desire for sex, one cannot truly possess any of them firmly and surely. What gives so great an importance to money in the world as it is today is not so much money itself, for apart from a few fools who heap up money and are happy because they can heap it up and count it, generally money is desired and acquired for the satisfactions it brings. And this is almost reciprocal: each of these three things not only has its own value in the world of desires, but leans upon the other two. I have related to you that vision, that big black serpent which kept watch over the riches of the world, terrestrial wealth — he demanded the mastery of the sex-impulse. Because, according to certain theories, the very need of power has its end in this satisfaction, and if one mastered that, if one abolished that from human consciousness, much of the need for power and desire for money would disappear automatically. Evidently, these are the three great obstacles in the terrestrial human life and, unless they are conquered, there is scarcely a chance for humanity to change.

Does an individual mastery over desire suffice or is a general, collective mastery necessary?

Ah! There we are…. Is it possible to attain a total personal transformation without there being at least a correspondence in the collectivity?… This does not seem possible to me. There is such an interdependence between the individual and the collectivity that, unless one does what the ascetics have preached, that is, escapes from the world, goes out of it completely, leaves it where it is and runs away selfishly leaving all the work to others, unless one does that…. And even so I have my doubts. Is it possible to accomplish a total transformation of one’s being so long as the collectivity has not reached at least a certain degree of transformation? I don’t think so. Human nature remains what it is — one can attain a great change of consciousness, that yes, one can purify one’s consciousness, but the total conquest, the material transformation depends definitely to a large extent, on a certain degree of progress in the collectivity. Buddha said with reason that as long as you have in you a vibration of desire, this vibration will spread in the world and all those who are ready to receive it will receive it. In the same way, if you have in you the least receptivity to a vibration of desire, you will be open to all the vibrations of desire which circulate constantly in the world. And that is why he concluded: Get out of this illusion, withdraw entirely and you will be free. I find this relatively very selfish, but after all, that was the only way he had foreseen. There is another: to identify oneself so well with the divine Power as to be able to act constantly and consciously upon all vibrations circulating through the world. Then the undesirable vibrations no longer have any effect upon you, but you have an effect upon them, that is, instead of an undesirable vibration entering into you without being perceived and doing its work there, it is perceived and immediately on its arrival you act upon it to transform it, and it goes back into the world transformed, to do its beneficent work and prepare others for the same realisation. This is exactly what Sri Aurobindo proposes to do and, more clearly, what he asks you to do, what he intends us to do:

Instead of running away, to bring into oneself the power which can conquer.

Note that things are arranged in such a way that if the tiniest atom of ambition remained and one wanted this Power for one’s personal satisfaction, one could never have it, that Power would never come. Its deformed limitations, of the kind seen in the vital and physical world, those yes, one may have them, and there are many people who have them, but the true Power, the Power Sri Aurobindo calls “supramental”, unless one is absolutely free from all egoism under all its forms, one will never be able to manifest. So there is no danger of its being misused. It will not manifest except through a being who has attained the perfection of a complete inner detachment. I have told you, this is what Sri Aurobindo expects us to do — you may tell me it is difficult, but I repeat that we are not here to do easy things, we are here to do difficult ones.

3 May 1951


Comments on Chapter 5


“If you want to be a true doer of divine works, your first aim must be to be totally free from all desire and self-regarding ego.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

Sometimes we go to the bazaar to buy our things. Is that good?

One cannot make general rules. This depends on the spirit in which you make your purchases. It is said that you should have no desires — if this is not a desire, it is all right. You understand, there is no movement, no action which in itself is good or bad; it depends absolutely on the spirit in which it is done. If, for instance, you are in a state of total indifference about what you have and what you do not (it is a condition a little difficult to realise, but after all, one can attain it — a state of detachment: “If I have it, I have it; if I don’t, I don’t”), there comes a moment when, if your state is quite sincere and you really need something (it must not be a fancy or a desire or a caprice but a true need), automatically the thing comes to you. Since I have been here — it is a long time, isn’t it? — I have known people who have never asked me for anything; I don’t even think (naturally there are always weaknesses in human nature), but I don’t even think they have had a violent desire for anything at all, but when it was a need, automatically it came to them. Suddenly the idea would come to me, “Ah! This must be given to so-and-so”, and if it was not directly through me, in some way, quite unexpectedly, the thing came to them. On the other hand, if one is preoccupied with one’s needs (I don’t want even to speak of desires, for that is quite another thing), but if one is preoccupied with one’s needs, if one thinks of them, tells oneself, “Truly I must have this”, it is not often that it comes to you; so you are obliged to do something to satisfy yourself and, if you have the means, to go and buy the thing. Now there are people who always take their desires for their needs, that… we do not speak of these, they form the great majority. They are convinced that without this or that one cannot live: “It is impossible, one can’t live without that…. I shall fall ill or something very unpleasant will happen to me or I shall not be able to do my work. It is impossible, if I don’t have this I can’t do my work.” So, the first step for these people is to try a small experiment (if they are sincere): “Well, I won’t have this thing and we are going to see what happens.” This is a very interesting experiment. And I can guarantee that 999 times out of a thousand, after a few days one asks oneself, “But why the devil did I think I had such a great need of this thing, I can do without it very well!” There you are. And like this, little by little, one makes progress.

It is a question of training — educating oneself. The sooner one begins, the easier it is. When one begins very young, it becomes very easy, for one gets accustomed to one’s inner reactions and so can act with wisdom and discernment — whereas for those who are accustomed from their childhood to take all their desires for needs or necessities, and have flung themselves into them with passionate zeal, the road is much more difficult, because first they must acquire discernment and distinguish a desire from what it is not; and sometimes this is very difficult, it is so mixed up that it can hardly be perceived.

But after all, I believe one doesn’t need much. Once, I remember, four of us had gone on a walking tour across the mountains of France. We had started from one town and had to reach another. It was about an eight or ten days’ journey across the mountain. Naturally, each of us carried a bag slung across our back, for one needs a few things. But then, before starting we had a little discussion to find out what things we really needed, what was quite indispensable. And always we came to this: “Let us see, that thing we can manage in this way” and everything was reduced to so little…. I knew a Danish painter who used to say, “Do you know, when I travel, I need only one thing, a tooth-brush.” But somebody replied, “But no, if you don’t have a brush, you can rub with your finger!”

Before undertaking any action one tries to know whether the impulse comes from the Mother or not, but generally one doesn’t have enough discernment to know it and yet one acts. Can one know from the result of the action whether it came from the Mother or not?

One does not have the discernment because one does not care to have it! Listen, I don’t think there is a single instance in which one does not find within oneself something very clear, but you must sincerely want to know — we always come back to the same thing — you must sincerely want it. The first condition is not to begin thinking about the subject and building all sorts of ideas: opposing ideas, possibilities, and entering into a formidable mental activity. First of all, you must put the problem as though you were putting it to someone else, then keep silent, remain like that, immobile. And then, after a little while you will see that at least three different things may happen, sometimes more. Take the case of an intellectual, one who acts in accordance with the indications of his head. He has put the problem and he waits. Well, if he is indeed attentive, he will notice that there is (the chronological order is not absolute, it may come in a different order) at first (what is most prominent in an intellectual) a certain idea: “If I do that in this way, it will be all right; it must be like that”, that is to say, a mental construction. A second thing which is a kind of impulse: “That will have to be done. That is good, it must be done.” Then a third which does not make any noise at all, does not try to impose itself on the others, but has the tranquillity of a certitude — not very active, not giving a shock, not pushing to action, but something that knows and is very quiet, very still. This will not contradict the others, will not come and say, “No, that’s wrong”; it says simply, “See, it is like this”, that’s all, and then it does not insist. The majority of men are not silent enough or attentive enough to be aware of it, for it makes no noise. But I assure you it is there in everybody and if one is truly sincere and succeeds in being truly quiet, one will become aware of it. The thinking part begins to argue, “But after all, this thing will have this consequence and that thing will have that consequence, and if one does this…” and this, and that… and its noise begins again. The other (the vital) will say, “Yes, it must be done like that, it must be done, you don’t understand, it must, it is indispensable.” There! Then you will know. And according to your nature you will choose either the vital impulse or the mental leading, but very seldom do you say quite calmly, “Good, it is this I am going to do, whatever happens”, and even if you don’t like it very much. But it is always there. I am sure that it is there even in the murderer before he kills, you understand, but his outer being makes such a lot of noise that it never even occurs to him to listen. But it is always there, always there. In every circumstance, there is in the depth of every being, just this little (one can’t call it “voice”, for it makes no sound) this little indication of the divine Grace, and sometimes to obey it requires a tremendous effort, for all the rest of the being opposes it violently, one part with the conviction that what it thinks is true, another with all the power, the strength of its desire. But don’t tell me that one can’t know, for that is not true. One can know. But one does not always know what is necessary, and sometimes, if one knows what is to be done, well, one finds some excuse or other for not doing it. One tells oneself, “Oh! I am not so sure, after all, of this inner indication; it does not assert itself with sufficient force for me to trust it.” But if you were quite indifferent, that is, if you had no desire, either mental or vital or physical desire, you would know with certainty that it is that which must be done and nothing else. What comes and gets in the way is preference — preferences and desires. Every day one may have hundreds and hundreds of examples. When people begin to say, “Truly I don’t know what to do”, it always means that they have a preference. But as here in the Ashram they know there is something else and as at times they have been a little attentive, they have a vague sensation that it is not quite that: “It is not quite that, I don’t feel quite at ease.” Besides, you were saying a while ago that it is the result which gives you the indication; it has even been said (it has been written in books) that one judges the divine Will by the results! All that succeeds has been willed by the Divine; all that doesn’t, well, He has not willed it! This is yet again one of those stupidities big as a mountain. It is a mental simplification of the problem, which is quite comic. That’s not it. If one can have an indication (in proportion to one’s sincerity), it is uneasiness, a little uneasiness — not a great uneasiness, just a little uneasiness.

Here, you know, you have another means, quite simple (I don’t know why you do not use it, because it is quite elementary); you imagine I am in front of you and then ask yourself, “Would I do this before Mother, without difficulty, without any effort, without something holding me back?” That will never deceive you. If you are sincere you will know immediately. That would stop many people on the verge of folly.

It sometimes happens that when one is playing one does not remember the Divine, then suddenly one remembers and has the feeling that something breaks and one no longer plays well. Why?

Because everything is upset. That’s the problem! So you think that when you are playing and do not remember, you play well! No, it is not quite that. It is that you do something with a certain concentration — work or play — and you are concentrated, but you have not developed the habit of mixing the remembrance of the Divine with the concentration (which is not difficult, but anyway, you do not have the habit) and then, suddenly the remembrance comes; then two things may happen: either the concentration is broken because you make an abrupt movement to seize the new attitude entering the consciousness, or else you feel a little remorse, a regret, a disquiet: “Oh! I did not remember”; that suffices, it upsets all you have done. For you change conditions completely. It is not the fact of remembering which makes you no longer play well, it is the fact of having disturbed your concentration. If you could remember without disturbing the concentration (which is not difficult), you would not only play well but would play better.

And then, you may also take another attitude. When you are playing and suddenly become aware that something is going wrong — you are making mistakes, are inattentive, sometimes opposing currents come across what you are doing — if you develop the habit, automatically at this moment, of calling as by a mantra, of repeating a word, that has an extraordinary effect. You choose your mantra; or rather, one day it comes to you spontaneously in a moment of difficulty. At a time when things are very difficult, when you have a sort of anguish, anxiety, when you don’t know what is going to happen, suddenly this springs up in you, the word springs up in you. For each one it may be different. But if you mark this and each time you face a difficulty you repeat it, it becomes irresistible. For instance, if you feel you are about to fall ill, if you feel you are doing badly what you are doing, if you feel something evil is going to attack you, then…. But it must be a spontaneity in the being, it must spring up from you without your needing to think about it: you choose your mantra because it is a spontaneous expression of your aspiration; it may be one word, two or three words, a sentence, that depends on each one, but it must be a sound which awakens in you a certain condition. Then, when you have that, I assure you that you can pass through everything without difficulty. Even in the face of a real, veritable danger, an attack, for instance, by someone who wants to kill you, if, without getting excited, without being perturbed, you quietly repeat your mantra, one can do nothing to you. Naturally, you must truly be master of yourself; one part of the being must not be trembling there like a leaf; no, you must do it entirely, sincerely, then it is all-powerful. The best is when the word comes to you spontaneously: you call in a moment of great difficulty (mental, vital, physical, emotional, whatever it may be) and suddenly that springs up in you, two or three words, like magical words. You must remember these and form the habit of repeating them in moments when difficulties come. If you form the habit, one day it will come to you spontaneously: when the difficulty comes, at the same time the mantra will come. Then you will see that the results are wonderful. But it must not be an artificial thing or something you arbitrarily decide: “I shall use those words”; nor should somebody else tell you, “Oh! You know, this is very good” — it is perhaps very good for him but not for everyone.

“Your only object in action shall be to serve, to receive, to fulfil, to become a manifesting instrument of the Divine Shakti in her works.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

When you act your only object is to serve, that is, instead of acting for your personal good, you act with the feeling of serving, of receiving the Divine Force, not from outside (you must not at all believe in that) but from within you, of opening yourself to the Divine Force which will use you for its action, and of fulfilling what that Force wants you to fulfil. There is no place there for egoism. It is not a matter of giving one thing and receiving another in exchange, it is not that; it is not a question of receiving from outside.

There are disciplines which make it a rule (we don’t like rules, for they are always arbitrary and artificial) that one should receive absolutely nothing from anybody except the Divine or the Guru who represents the Divine. Some people would not receive even a fruit from anybody because it does not come from the Guru. That is an exaggeration — this depends on circumstances, on conditions, and it also depends very much on the attitude one takes oneself, it depends on many things, it would take very long to explain — but there is one thing you must learn, never to rely on anyone or anything whatever except the Divine. For if you lean upon anyone for support, that support will break, you may be sure of that. From the minute you start doing yoga (I always speak of those who do yoga, I do not speak about ordinary life), for those who do yoga, to depend upon someone else is like wanting to transform that person into a representative of the Divine Force; now you may be sure there is not one in a hundred millions who can carry the weight: he will break immediately. So never take the attitude of hoping for support, help, comfort from anyone except the Divine. That is absolute; I have never, not once, met anyone who tried to cling to something to find a support there (someone doing yoga or who has been put into touch with yoga) and who was not deceived — it breaks, it stops, one loses one’s support. Then one says, “Life is difficult” — it is not difficult but one must know what one is doing. Never seek a support elsewhere than in the Divine. Never seek satisfaction elsewhere than in the Divine. Never seek the satisfaction of your needs in anyone else except the Divine — never, for anything at all. All your needs can be satisfied only by the Divine. All your weaknesses can be borne and healed only by the Divine. He alone is capable of giving you what you need in everything, always, and if you try to find any satisfaction or support or help or joy or… heaven knows what, in anyone else, you will always fall on your nose one day, and that always hurts, sometimes even hurts very much.

5 May 1951


Comments on Chapter 6


Mother reads the first part of Chapter 6 of The Mother by Sri Aurobindo.

What is a “hierarchy”?

It is a grouping organised in order of merit. For instance, you have a chief at the centre and you may have four persons around him, and around these four, 8, then 12, 24, 36, 48, 124, and so on, each with his special mission, his special work, his particular authority, and all referring in an ascending order to the centre. That is a hierarchy. In governments they try to form hierarchies, but these are untrue, they are arbitrary and not worth anything. But in all ancient initiations there were hierarchies which were expressions of individual merit — individual powers and merits — having always at their centre the representative of the Supreme and the Shakti; sometimes having only the Supreme, depending on the religions. But the groups were always organised in that way, that is, with a growing number of individuals, each one having to refer to the officer immediately above him. For instance, the 124 had to refer to the 48, the 48 had to refer to the 24, the 24 refer to the 12, the 12 to the 8, and so on. That is a hierarchy. The word is used in a very imprecise and vague way. They speak of a hierarchy and think it is the men who govern and have subordinates. But the true hierarchy is an occult hierarchy, and this occult hierarchy had as its purpose the manifesting, the expressing of a more profound hierarchy which is a hierarchy of the invisible worlds.

What is the “transcendent Mother”?

Don’t you know that there are three principles: the transcendent, the universal and the individual or personal? No? — the transcendent which is above creation, at the origin of creation; the universal which is the creation, and the individual which is self-explanatory. There is a transcendent Divine, a universal Divine and an individual Divine. That is, one may put oneself in contact with the divine Consciousness within oneself, in the universe and, beyond all forms, in the transcendent. So these three aspects are also the three aspects of the divine Mother: transcendent, universal and individual…. Do you know the flower I have called “Transformation”?((( The flower of the Cork-oak of India (Millingtonia hortensis). ))) Yes. You know it has four petals. Well, these four petals are arranged like a cross: one at the top which represents the transcendent; two on each side, the universal; and one at the bottom, the individual.

The petal at the top is divided into two.

Exactly, the transcendent is one and two (or dual) at the same time. This flower is almost perfect in its form. This was the original meaning of the cross also, but that was not as perfect as the flower, for it was one, two, and three. It was not so good — the flower is perfect.

The divine Mother is the divine Shakti, that is, the creative Force. She is identified with the cosmos. How can she have a transcendent aspect?

But perhaps the divine Mother was there before the creation! She must certainly have existed before the creation, for she cannot be her own product. If it is she who has created, she must have existed before the creation, otherwise she could never have created.

She existed in the Supreme, then, before the creation?

“In” the Supreme…. It is a little difficult to speak of “within” and “without” when one is outside all forms! If you like, say that she is a movement of the Supreme (if that makes you understand better) or an action of the Supreme or a state of the Supreme, a mode… You may say what you like, what most gives you an understanding of the thing. You see, the human mind likes to cut things into little bits…. I am going to tell you a little story meant for children. The Supreme, having decided to create a universe, took a certain inner attitude which corresponded with the inner manifestation (unexpressed) of the divine Mother, the supreme Shakti. At the same time, he did this with the intention of its being the mode of creation of the universe he wanted to create, the creative power of the universe. Hence, first of all, he had to conceive the possibility of the divine Mother in order that this divine Mother could conceive the possibility of the universe. You are following? I tell you once again that it is not quite like that, but after all, it is meant for childish minds. So, we may very well say that there is a transcendent Divine Mother, that is, independent of her creation. She may have been conceived, formed (whatever you like) for the creation, with the purpose of creation, but she had to exist before the creation to be able to create, else how could she have created? That is the transcendent aspect, and note that this transcendent aspect is permanent. We speak as though things had unfolded in time at a date which could be fixed: the first of January 0000, for the beginning of the world, but it is not quite like that! There is constantly a transcendent, constantly a universal, constantly an individual, and the transcendent, universal and individual are co-existent. That is, if you enter into a certain state of consciousness, you can at any moment be in contact with the transcendent Shakti, and you can also, with another movement, be in contact with the universal Shakti, and be in contact with the individual Shakti, and all this simultaneously — that does not unfold itself in time, it is we who move in time as we speak, otherwise we cannot express ourselves. We may experience it but we can express it only by saying one word after another. (Unfortunately, one cannot say all the words at the same time; if one could say them all at the same time, that would be a little more like the truth.)

Finally, all that is said, all that has been said, all that will be said, is always only an extremely clumsy and limited way of expressing something which may be lived but which cannot be described. And there is a moment, when one lives the thing, in which one sees that the same thing can be expressed almost with the same exactness or the same truth in religious language, mystical language, philosophic language and materialistic language and that from the point of view of the lived truth, it makes very little difference. It is only when one is in the mental consciousness that one thing seems true to you and another does not seem true; but all these are only ways of expression. The experience carries in itself its absolute, but words cannot describe it — one may choose one language or another to express oneself, and with just a very little precaution, one can always say something approaching the Truth in all instances.

I am telling you this not to throw you into confusion but simply to let you understand that there is a considerable difference between the truth of experience and the way of expressing it, whatever it may be, even the best.

7 May 1951


Comments on Chapter 6 (continued)


Mother reads the passage about Mahakali from The Mother by Sri Aurobindo.

Are the stories told about the image of Mahakali true?

What stories? Hundreds of stories are told, my child. Which stories are you speaking of? Which Mahakali? The images made of her, the statues? This is the human way of seeing things. She is not like that.

I believe I have already told you once that there are the original beings in their higher reality and these are of a particular kind; then, as they manifest in more and more material regions, nearer and nearer the earth, they assume different forms and also multiply in a strange way. If you like, the beings Sri Aurobindo speaks of here belong to regions quite close to the Supermind, they are still in quite a clear and conscious contact with the supramental origin. These beings manifest also in what Sri Aurobindo calls the Overmind and there the form becomes as it were more marked, a little more precise and at the same time reduced in power and capacity. Then, from the Overmind they come down into the human mind, the terrestrial mind and there… Take for instance this poor Mahakali; you have a multitude of Kalis, one more horrible than another; some are absolutely terrifying and horrifying, and they sometimes become quite repulsive beings who are exclusively human formations, that is, the outer form is given by human imagination, by the human mind’s capacity of formation. There may be within that a vague reflection of the force of Mahakali, but it is so diminished, deformed, dwarfed, brought within the range of human consciousness, that truly she can very well deny that it is she! I have seen all possible horrors by way of images representing Mahakali. Of the images we won’t speak. If great artists have made them perhaps some beauty is still left, but as they are generally daubers, nothing remains. As for the images (statues or pictures) which have to be installed in a temple, a religious ceremony is performed, and if the priest or the assistant is a man with occult powers, even limited ones, he can, with his aspiration and through the ritual, bring a supraterrestrial consciousness into these forms. That is the principle; you are told, “This is not a piece of wood, this is not a stone, this is not a picture; there is within it a force which the religious ritual has brought down and to this you may speak.” This is right, but the nature of the priest must be known, his occult knowledge and also the forces with which he has an affinity. So, there may be many things in there…. There is “something” (unless it is a stupid ignoramus who has performed the ceremony, one who has no power at all, has brought down nothing, made only a show — but this is rather rare; I can’t say it happens frequently, it is quite rare), generally there is something, but then the nature, the quality of this something, you know… this varies infinitely and it is sometimes a little disturbing. I gave the example of Mahakali, because the conception of Mahakali in the human consciousness is especially horrible. When one goes to other divinities like Mahasaraswati, for instance, to whom all kinds of artistic, literary and other capacities are ascribed, it is no longer so terrible. But Mahakali particularly… Their conception of power, force, warlike energy is so terrible that what they bring down is indeed a little dangerous for those who worship it. I have heard innumerable stories since my coming to India. I have been put in touch with innumerable images and have known many people who had in their homes a Kali they worshipped and to whom, sometimes, quite dreadful things had happened. I always put them on their guard, I told them, “Don’t think at all that Mahakali is responsible for your misfortunes, for she is not responsible for them. But it is likely that the Kali you have in your home must be harbouring some vindictive being, probably one very jealous, extremely wilful and with a very strong spirit of vengeance, and as you have faith and as it is generally a vital power, there may be truly dangerous consequences.” I have known people who, after having had all kinds of unfortunate experiences, have taken the statue of Mahakali and thrown it into the Ganges. If at the same time they could acquire a certain freedom of spirit, all the damage would disappear, but some of them are so frightened of what they have done that the bad effects continue.

These things should never be touched unless one has at least the first elements of occult knowledge. Unfortunately, in religions — all religions, not only here but everywhere — knowledge is never given to the faithful. Sometimes the priests have it (I don’t say always), but when they have it they take good care not to give it to the faithful, for that would deprive them of their authority and power, and that really is the evil behind all religious institutions.

Anyway, this is a digression. Let us come back to our subject. In the earth atmosphere there is indeed a Kali who deals with earthly things and is somewhat, one cannot say independent, yet not quite the expression of Mahakali; but she is altogether obedient to her and has her major qualities. They are diminished in power and efficacy, but they exist, and the beauty of her nature is there. Perhaps some of you have had relations with that Mahakali. She does not avenge herself, she never does harm to those who love her, she does not strike with epidemics the countries which do not show her sufficient respect and consideration. But she likes violence, she likes war and her justice is crushing.

Now, another question.

What is the difference between an Avatar and a Vibhuti?

We said the other day that “Vibhutis” are aspects, qualities (what are called in occultism emanations) of a being. They are like certain forces, powers, qualities, attributes which are put in contact with an outer form — a physical form, for instance — and which manifest themselves through this form. This may be a human form. The Avatar (at least when understood in the true sense) is the incarnation upon earth of the supreme Truth. Now, many meanings are given to this word. There is even a word avatar in French which has a very special meaning! It is said that an adventurer has many avatars, that is, he changes his appearance, personality, occupation…. But originally (as it is said in the Gita, for example) when the Supreme decides to manifest himself upon earth for a particular reason and takes an earthly body, it is said that he is an Avatar. He may take many successive bodies according to the needs and circumstances, but it is always what could be called the “central being” which takes an earthly body. That is what is called an Avatar. I thought you knew that. Sri Aurobindo has explained this in many places.

“Imperial Maheshwari is seated in the wideness above the thinking mind and will….”((( Sri Aurobindo, The Mother))) Is there a plane of will, as there is a mental plane, a vital plane, etc.?

I have explained that to you in connection with Sachchidananda. Sachchidananda exists at the very origin of the worlds, but there is a Sachchidananda behind all the other states of being. You could make a diagram (though that does not explain much, it is quite an erroneous idea, but it makes things more easily understandable), you arrange the states of being according to a scale. Then, you have the earth below and the Supreme above (it is not at all like that, I hasten to tell you! But anyway, it is easy to understand), you put the earth at the bottom and the Supreme at the top, and you divide that into lots of little parts each of which represents a state of being; that makes a kind of ladder. And then, you have as though behind it, behind your ladder, something which supports it, against which it leans. It is not a wall but it is something which supports your ladder. And that is precisely the first principle of the universal form. In Hindu terminology it is called “Sachchidananda”. It is there, everything leans upon that; without that nothing could exist. It is that which upholds and allows existence. Then, if you enter a certain state of consciousness and find yourself, for instance, in the higher mind (for generally it is more easily there that this happens; you have started from the physical and climbed slowly, rung by rung, as far as the higher mind), but instead of continuing your ascent on the ladder you enter into a kind of interiorisation and try to go out of the form, you pass into a kind of silence outside the form. You pass in between the bars of your ladder and enter straight into Sachchidananda which supports everything from behind. And then you can have mentally the experience of Sachchidananda. I have known people who had it and thought they had reached the heights of the Supreme. For there is a similarity in the experience, a very great likeness, only it is limited to the mind, the mind alone participates in it. Well, for the will it is the same thing. Instead of being the support of the ladder it is a kind of force, a very powerful current which passes through all these states, starting from above — it is the supreme Will — and coming down into the physical manifestation. Hence, if you get into affinity with this vibration or this force, you can enter “the state of will”; that is, whatever state of being you may find yourself in — physical, vital, mental, etc. — if you enter a certain state of consciousness and force, you come into contact with this power of will: it penetrates into you and you can use it for any purpose. If your reception is free from all egoism, if you are pure, completely surrendered and accept only what comes from the Divine, and if you don’t mix anything with it, egoism or desires or limitations… well, it is a state a bit difficult to attain, but if you attain it, you receive this force of will in its original state, pure (for it comes down pure, it is only in its reception that it gets deformed), then, instead of being your will it becomes an expression of the divine Will. And this happens without your leaving the physical body — you can receive the force of the divine Will without leaving the physical. Only, you see, you must not change it and deform it, spoil it in the receiving. When you feel within you a kind of indomitable energy to realise something, when you tell yourself, “I shall do this whatever the cost, I shall go to the end and shall use all my will” (for you always say my will), well, you cannot be in that state unless you have come into contact with this current of will-force. Only, with your little personal reaction, naturally you deform it and use it all wrongly, and then you come into conflict with other elements. But if you are truly a yogi, you receive the current and nothing can stop the élan of your action, even physically.

There are other things like that, other states, other forces, there are many of these. Fundamentally, if one studies very attentively, one perceives that there is nothing in the individual being which is not the expression or the deformation or diminution, reduction and lessening of something which has its origin in the Supreme and is of a universal nature. So, you see, all these ideas of “pulling”, “calling”, are not quite right. Essentially, the only thing one should do is to prepare oneself, make oneself worthy of this contact and, when one has had it, not deform it. And this excludes nobody. Even a very small child can, at certain moments in his life, come into touch with one of these great universal forces of divine origin, and use it for its childish needs. Unfortunately, there are added to it so many limitations, so much egoism, ignorance, stupidity, that it is often completely disfigured. It cannot be recognised, it is unrecognisable. But the origin of the force is the same, and that is why when one attains a certain state of consciousness, one perceives that if these forces were not there, one would be nothing, would not exist. And instead of saying with the usual self-complacency, “I do this, I do not do that, I have decided that, I want that thing, I shall succeed…”, all this goes away from you in such a way that you can never again think like that; it seems to you so ridiculous — so ridiculous. As soon as the little “I” comes in, that means a deformation, a limitation, a degradation. In fact, all that you do not value comes with your “I” — you remove the “I” and all that disappears at the same time.

11 May 1951


Comments on Chapter 6 (continued)


“Harmony and beauty of the mind and soul, harmony and beauty of the thoughts and feelings, harmony and beauty in every outward act and movement, harmony and beauty of the life and surroundings, this is the demand of Mahalakshmi…. Where love and beauty are not or are reluctant to be born, she does not come.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

When the surroundings, circumstances, atmosphere, the way of living and above all the inner attitude are altogether of a low kind, vulgar, gross, egoistic, sordid, love is reluctant to come, that is, it always hesitates to manifest itself and generally does not stay long. A home of beauty must be given for Beauty to stay. I am not speaking of external things — a real house, real furniture and all that — I am speaking of an inner attitude, of something within which is beautiful, noble, harmonious, unselfish. There Love has a chance to come and stay. But when, as soon as it tries to manifest, it is immediately mixed with such low and ugly things, it does not remain, it goes away. This is what Sri Aurobindo says: it is “reluctant to be born” — it could be said that it immediately regrets being born. Men always complain that love does not stay with them but it is entirely their fault. They give this love such a sordid life, mixed with a heap of horrors and such vulgarity, things so base, so selfish, so dirty, that the poor thing cannot stay. If they don’t succeed in killing it altogether, they make it utterly sick. So the only thing it can do is to take flight. People always complain that love is impermanent and passing. To tell the truth, they should be very grateful that it manifested in them in spite of the sordidness of the house they gave it.

“Mahasaraswati is the Mother’s Power of Work and her spirit of perfection and order. The youngest of the Four, she is the most skilful in executive faculty and the nearest to physical Nature…. Always she holds in her nature and can give to those whom she has chosen the intimate and precise knowledge, the subtlety and patience, the accuracy of intuitive mind and conscious hand and discerning eye of the perfect worker.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

In the order of manifestation, she was the last. And in her special nature, in the quality of her vibration, she is very close to… even a little child. She likes young people, children, things in the making, which have a long way before them to be transformed and perfected. She likes the activities of the young. She is the youngest in nature and the last to manifest.

Sri Aurobindo speaks of a “conscious hand”; what does that mean?

What! I have told you this I don’t know how many times, I have explained it hundreds of times and you still ask this question? I have told you that no matter what you want to do, the first thing is to put consciousness in the cells of your hand. If you want to play, if you want to work, if you want to do anything at all with your hand, unless you push consciousness into the cells of your hand you will never do anything good — how many times have I told you that? And this is felt. You feel it. You can acquire it. All sorts of exercises may be done to make the hand conscious and there comes a moment when it becomes so conscious that you can leave it to do things; it does them by itself without your little mind having to intervene.

Sri Aurobindo says here about Mahalakshmi: “All that is poor… repels her advent”?

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother

Yes, poor, without generosity, without ardour, without amplitude, without inner richness; all that is dry, cold, doubled upon itself, prevents the coming of Mahalakshmi. It is not a question of real money, you know! An extremely rich man may be terribly poor from Mahalakshmi’s point of view. And a very poor man may be very rich if his heart is generous.

When we say “a poor man — un pauvre homme”, what is the exact meaning of “poor man”?

A poor man is a man having no qualities, no force, no strength, no generosity. He is also a miserable, unhappy man. Moreover, one is unhappy only when one is not generous — if one has a generous nature which gives of itself without reckoning, one is never unhappy. It is those who are doubled up on themselves and who always want to draw things towards themselves, who see things and the world only through themselves — it is these who are unhappy. But when one gives oneself generously, without reckoning, one is never unhappy, never. It is he who wants to take that is unhappy; he who gives himself is never so.

12 May 1951


  1. ( At the time of publication of this talk, Mother made the following remark: “This is not true. This is not true for it is too categorical. One must not use the language of the outer being, for its language is altogether false, but things must be said in a form in which it can understand them — that is different. But to say things exactly takes a very long time; that is why Sri Aurobindo always used long sentences and what appeared to be long explanations. These are not explanations: they are meant for saying the thing with precision.” []
  2. ( Sri Aurobindo, The Mother []