AGENDA 1962

January 1962


09. Jan 1962 – Mother's experience & Sri Aurobindo's departure

Someone happened to be there last time so I didn't fall and hurt myself. But this time I was alone in my bathroom and... actually I was going through a phenomenon of consciousness in which I was spreading over the world – spreading PHYSICALLY, that's the strange thing! The sensation is in the CELLS. There was a movement of diffusion in me, becoming more and more rapid and intense, and then suddenly I found myself on the floor.

There's a seat in my bathroom upstairs, and between the seat and the wall are two small tables (not tables, but small stools where a few things are kept), and a porcelain towel bar (luckily, everything has rounded corners). I found myself wedged in between the seat and the two small tables (a space about this wide!). And all that matter – the material substance of the table and the objects on the table and the porcelain seat – it all seemed so unreceptive! It doesn't give way like it should for things to be comfortable; but it wasn't that my body was uncomfortable – there was no body! The whole set-up was bizarre, everything was in a bizarre and absurd situation which I couldn't really understand, couldn't make out: "What's this big lump doing here," I seemed to be wondering, "taking up so much room, getting in the way?"

My elbow had ended up leaning on a little plastic tray I have there, where I keep pencils, ball-point pens, note pads and so forth. The body was leaning on this tray, evidently trying to get up, and the whole thing started cracking noisily under the weight. And in a diffuse but very clear consciousness I was saying to myself, "But why? What's all this ridiculous noise? And what's this heavy thing doing? What disorder.... There shouldn't be such disorder." And it went on crack-crack-cracking. Then suddenly normal consciousness returned – to be exact, what returned was the normal RELATIONSHIP consciousness has with things – and I said, "Well, really! What a ridiculous situation! What is this elbow doing on that tray? It should realize it's breaking it!" And when things were all completely back to normal I told my body, "What are you doing, you idiot! Come on, pick yourself up, get moving! " Immediately, docile as a little child, it extricated itself, turned around, and stood up straight – quite straight. I had scratched my knee, scratched my elbow, and taken three knocks on the head. Luckily there were no sharp edges – it was all hard enough, but no sharp edges. Anyway, in the end I was all right, no damage done.

No damage at all, but it was a bizarre sensation. So I tried to understand how it could have happened, how I could have so lost my sense of relation to things.... For a long time my body had been telling me, "I've got to lie down, I've got to lie down." And I would very sternly reply, "You don't have time!" (Laughing) So then this happened. Had I obeyed it and laid down, there would obviously have been no problem. But I was in my experience, going on with my experience, and at the same time I was getting ready to come downstairs. So I told my body, "It's all right, it's all right, you'll lie down later." But it had its own way of lying down! (Laughing) It just stretched out right where it was. Actually it wasn't even stretched out – it was all askew.

Afterwards, I looked into it a bit. "What's wrong with you, anyway?" I said. "If you don't have the strength to bear experiences you won't be able to do the work!" My body answered me very clearly that I was overworking it; and Sri Aurobindo's will was clearly behind it, saying, "It's overwork. You can't keep on seeing people and talking for hours on end and then going into these kinds of experiences. You can't do both, you have to choose, or at least strike a better balance." Well, I certainly wasn't going to stop my experiences, so I took advantage of this little incident to get some rest. It was nothing, really! The doctors were saying, "Take care, the heart isn't working properly," and all that. They wanted to start drugging me! All I need is peace and quiet, not drugs. So I took a rest – and since I had to have an excuse, I said I wasn't well and needed rest.

But following that, and because of the overwork, an old thing I thought I had cured has come back. It was originally brought on by overwork when I was going to the Playground and resting only two hours out of twenty-four, which wasn't enough – a sort of ulcer formed between my nose and throat. It's an old complaint, dating from the removal of adenoids in my childhood; the operation left a kind of small cavity, which was nothing in itself, except that occasionally it would give me a cold. But as a result of overwork it came back in the form of an ulcer, and gave me artificial colds; it was so sour and corrosive, a terrible irritation in the throat and nose. It got much worse when I was giving classes at the Playground, and once I showed it to the doctor. "Why, you have an ulcer!" he said. A big fuss. He offered to treat me. "No thanks!" I said. "Don't worry, it will pass." And I began my own yogic treatment. It was over in a week and for three years there was no further sign of it. Recently (the last two or three months) I had felt it trying to come back, for exactly the same reason of overwork. And with that little adventure the other day, it did come back – it gave me one of those stupid colds: sneezing, coughing. It's not quite over yet. But it's nothing, it just gives me an excuse (laughing) to tell people I am still not quite well!

I am resting.

It's a difficult problem to resolve, because at no price do I want to stop the discipline (the tapasya, to be precise). I don't want to stop. And both things together are clearly too much for a stupid little body – stupid mainly because it lives in tension.

These past few days I've had some interesting experiences from this standpoint. I had what is commonly called fever, but it wasn't fever – it was a resurfacing from the subconscient of all the struggles, all the tensions this body has had for... what will soon be eighty-three years. I went through a period in my life when the tension was tremendous, because it was psychological and vital as well as physical: a perpetual struggle against adverse forces; and during my stay in Japan, particularly... oh, it was terrible! So at night, everything that had been part of that life in Japan – people, things, movements, circumstances – all of it seemed to be surrounding my body in the form of vital (For Sri Aurobindo and Mother, the "vital" represents the regions or centers of consciousness below the mind, between the throat and the sex center, i.e. the whole region of emotions, feelings, passions, etc., which constitute the various expressions of Life-Energy.) vibrations, and to be taking the place of my present state, which had completely vanished. For hours during the night, the body was reliving all the terrible tensions it had during those four years in Japan. And I realized how much (because at the time you pay no attention; the consciousness is busy with something else and not concentrated on the body), how much the body resists and is tense. And just as I was realizing this, I had a communication with Sri Aurobindo: "But you're keeping it up!" he told me. " Your body still has the habit of being tense." (It's much less now, of course; it's quite different since the inner consciousness is in perfect peace, but the BODY keeps the habit of being tense.) For instance, in the short interval between the time I get up and the time I come down to the balcony, when I am getting ready (I have to get this body ready to come down)... well, the body is tense about being ready in time. And that's why accidents happen at that moment. So the following morning I said, "All right, no more tension," and I was exclusively concerned with keeping my body perfectly tranquil – I was no later than usual! So it's obviously just one of the body's bad habits. Everything went off the same as usual, and since then things are better. But it's a nasty habit.

And so I looked. "Is it something particular to this body?" I wondered. To everyone who has lived closely with it, my body gives the impression of two things: a very concentrated, very stubborn will, and... such endurance! Sri Aurobindo used to tell me he had never dreamed a body could have such endurance. And that's probably why.... But I don't want to curtail this ability in any way, because it is a CELLULAR will, and a cellular endurance too – which is quite intriguing. It's not a central will and central endurance (that's something else altogether) – it's cellular. That's why Sri Aurobindo used to tell me this body had been specially prepared and chosen for the Work – because of its capacity for obstinate endurance and will. But that's no reason to exercise this ability uselessly! So I am making sure it relaxes now; I tell it constantly, " Now, now! Just let go! Relax, have some fun, where's the harm in it?" I have to tell it to be quiet, very quiet. And it's very surprised to hear that: "Ah! Can I live that way? I don't have to hurry? I can live that way?"

So that's why I am resting. Am I better or not? Things are always the same. Were I to start doing what I was doing before, which I KNEW all along was absolutely unreasonable.... It's not that I didn't know it; I did know and I wasn't happy about it, because I knew I was doing something I shouldn't. I have no intention of starting again, but if I had said, "I am withdrawing for good," it would have been.... If you knew how MANY things have gone slack [in the Ashram]! And how many people I am telling off: "Well, you wouldn't have done that a week ago!" Oh, that's an experience in itself – to see what people's so-called faithfulness depends on.

You have to constantly keep a firm grip on them – constantly, constantly.

For material substance it's a necessity.

It's exactly what I was complaining about: "If this stuff can't go on without flagging, if it can't take it and absolutely has to relax, if it can't keep up with the movement of consciousness and just has to slacken from time to time, well... how can it ever be supramentalized?" Precisely what everyone has always said: "It CANNOT hold the charge, it has to let go. It can't hold the charge of Energy." And especially THIS Energy, which seems almost abnormal to people – an Energy that works like this (inflexible gesture) and can keep it up indefinitely.

And when the body can't take it "like this," it breaks – you find yourself between a table and... and suddenly you're flat on the floor!

That must be it, because I've fainted fairly often in my life. Even when I was young, I would remain conscious, and there was a whole period when I used to go out of my body, which I would always immediately see in some ridiculous position (just where it had no business being, of course!). So I would rush back into it and say, "Come on! What's wrong with you!" Then it would shake itself and get moving again, like a donkey – you give it a good whack, and it gets back to work.

This need for relaxation was never psychological with me. And I have seen that the habit people have of slackening has the same origin: it's not necessarily negligence or vital weakness, the body simply gets winded. It bears up under the tension of vital energy, but eventually it gets winded, tired out, and needs rest.

Given the world's present set-up, this is "normal" – but if the supramental world were to be realized, it shouldn't remain normal. Clearly, a considerable change has to take place in the physical substance. That will probably be the essential difference between the bodies fashioned by Nature's methods and those to be fashioned by supramental knowledge – a new element will come in, and we will no longer be "natural." But so long as this natural element is present, well, a certain amount of patience is probably required – let the body catch its breath, otherwise something gives way.

It gets much less winded, of course, when you have the inner equality of the divine Presence. So much fatigue is due to excess tension produced by desire or effort or struggle, by the constant battle against all opposing forces. All that can go.

We tire ourselves out quite needlessly.

(silence)

During that return to the past over the last few days, the life I led with Sri Aurobindo suddenly came back to me.... What helped this to happen was reading passages about me in his book, letters he wrote about me that I had never read before. And it all came back, those full thirty years I lived with him....

Psychologically, there was no struggle, no tension, no effort – not ONCE; I was living in total and confident serenity. On the material plane there were attacks, but even these he took upon himself. Well, I saw it all, all those thirty years of life; not for a SECOND did I have any sense of responsibility, in spite of all the work I was doing, all the organizing and everything. He had supposedly passed on the responsibility to me, you see, but he was standing behind – HE was actually doing everything! I was active, but with absolutely no responsibility. I never felt responsible for a single minute – he took the full responsibility. It was really....

For the first seven years he was doing the work, not me. He was the one who saw people; I looked after his personal affairs, his housekeeping, his food, his clothes and so forth. I kept myself quietly busy with that, doing nothing else, not seeing people, simply looking after his material life – like a child at play. It was seven years of integral peace.

Later, when he withdrew and put me in front, there was naturally a bit more activity, as well as the semblance of responsibility – but it was only a semblance. What security! A sense of total, total security – for thirty years. Not once.... There was just a single scratch, so to speak, when he had that accident and broke his leg. There was a formation at work (an adverse force) and he wasn't taking sufficient precautions for himself because it was directed against both of us, and more especially against me (it had tried once or twice to fracture my skull, things like that). Well, he was so intent on keeping it from seriously touching my body that it managed to sneak in and break his leg. That was a shock. But he straightened everything out again almost immediately – it all fell back into place and went on like that till the end.

And the feeling was so strong that even during his illness (which lasted for months, you know), I had a sense of perfect security; so much so that the idea of his life being really affected in the least by this illness couldn't even occur to me! I didn't want to believe it when the doctor said, "It's over." I didn't want to believe it. And as long as I stayed in the room... with me in the room he couldn't leave his body. And so there was a terrible tension in him – on the one hand the inner will to depart, and then this thing holding him there in his body: the fact that I knew he was alive and could only be alive. He had to signal me to go to my room, supposedly to rest (I didn't rest); and no sooner had I left his room than he was gone.

They immediately called me back.... That's how it was. Then when he came to me, when I really saw what had happened, when he went out of his body and entered into mine (the most material part of him, the part involved with external things) and I understood that I had the entire responsibility for all the work AND for the sadhana – well, then I locked a part of me away, a deep psychic part that was living, beyond all responsibility, in the ECSTASY of the realization: the Supreme. I took it and locked it away, I sealed it off and said, "You're not moving until... until all the rest is ready."

(silence)

That in itself was a miracle. If I hadn't done it I would have followed him – and there would have been no one to do the Work. I would have followed him automatically, without even thinking about it. But when he entered into me, he said, "You will do the work; one of us had to go, and I am going, but you will do the work."

And that door was opened again only ten years later, in 1960. Even then, it was done with great care – it was one of last year's major difficulties.

(silence)

And only in the last few days have all those memories been allowed to rise up again from the subconscient where they were being kept; and with that, the state I lived in for thirty years has resurfaced – with this tremendous difference.

And suddenly I said to myself, "How could it be? During all the time he was here, the time we were together (after I came back from Japan, when we were together), life, life on earth, lived such a wondrous divine possibility, so... really so unique, something it had never lived to such an extent and in such a way, for thirty years, and it didn't even notice!"

That....

That's what I have been experiencing recently.

Yes, at one point I wondered (I don't remember when, a few days ago): "How could people have lived here, so near (but the same thing is still happening), how could human beings on earth who had an aspiration, who had their consciousness turned towards those things, have lived that possibility, have HAD that possibility at their fingertips, without being able to take advantage of it! How could something so wonderful and unique have taken place here, and yet people had such a small and childish and superficial image of it!"

Truly, I wondered, "Has the time really come? Is it possible?... Or will it once again be postponed?"

(silence)

Yesterday evening I read something in the book... Sri Aurobindo is writing to someone who said, "How lucky people are who live near the Mother." "You don't know what you're talking about! " he replies. "To live in the Mother's physical presence is one of the most difficult things." Do you remember this passage? I didn't know he had written that. "Well, well..." I thought. He writes, "It is hard to stay near her, because the difference between the physical consciousness of all you people and her physical consciousness is so enormous...."

(Here is the text of Sri Aurobindo's letter: "There is a confusion here. The Mother's grace is one thing, the call to change another, the pressure of nearness to her is yet another. Those who are physically near to her are not so by any special grace or favor, but by the necessity of their work – that is what everybody here refuses to understand or believe, but it is the fact: that nearness acts automatically as a pressure, if for nothing else, to adapt their consciousness to hers which means change, but it is difficult for them because the difference between the two consciousnesses is enormous especially on the physical level and it is on the physical level that they are meeting her in the work." (Centenary Edition, Vol. XXV, p. 297))

 

< font face="Times New Roman, serif">Indeed, that's what tires me out. That's what tires my body, because it is used to living in a certain rhythm, a universal rhythm.

(silence)

No one can imagine what it was, those thirty years I had... beyond all problems and difficulties; we went through every possible difficulty – and it was nothing, NOTHING. It was nothing, it was... like a great harmonious orchestra.

(silence)

But... it's clear that Matter must be rigorously hammered if it is to be made ready and able for this Transformation.

(silence)

And nothing, nothing imaginable in the eternal history of the universe can be compared to that shock: to have lived a perfect divine life as something completely natural and everyday, something OBVIOUS (it was never even in question), and then... all of a sudden, physically – your base is snatched away. Well, to stay on after that!... You just go, quite naturally: the base goes, you go.

(silence)

I can't blame my body for anything. It may be a bit weary, but it has held out very well.

It was a unique kind of grace, an absolutely miraculous power, which did what I just mentioned, which locked up the part of my consciousness that was CONSCIOUSLY living that miracle, locked it all up tight, padlocked it: "You're locked in, don't stir; no manifestation for you – you're going out of Time and Manifestation until everything else is ready to follow."

That, more than anything else, may be why I needed a bit of solitude: to reactivate that part of the psychic being which was the individual intermediary between true Consciousness and the body-consciousness: the part which had lived THAT, was aware of THAT, knew THAT – knew that wondrous miracle.

What's really almost miraculous is that I can speak of it even now.

09. Jan 1962 – Mother on Aphorisms 67-69 (virtue & sins)

67 – There is no sin in man, but a great deal of disease, ignorance and misapplication.

68 – The sense of sin was necessary in order that man might become disgusted with his own imperfections. It was God's corrective for egoism. But man's egoism meets God's device by being very dully alive to its own sins and very keenly alive to the sins of others.

69 – Sin and virtue are a game of resistance we play with God in His efforts to draw us towards perfection. The sense of virtue helps us to cherish our sins in secret.

That's not something ordinary human thought can easily grasp. Helps us to cherish in secret the sense of sin....

But did you think of a question?

It always revolves around the same thing, but here it's presented in a very subtle way.

To cherish in secret the sense of sin.... No, I can't say I've had that experience, in the sense that I have never had a very pronounced love of virtue.

That's another thing I have noticed: even in my childhood I was already conscious of what Sri Aurobindo calls "living divinely," that is, outside the sense of Good and Evil.

This was counterbalanced by a terrible censor which never left me. It took Sri Aurobindo to clear it from my path. But I didn't have the sense of sin, of Good and Evil, sin and virtue – definitely not! My consciousness was centered around right action and wrong action – "this should have been done, that shouldn't have" – with no question of Good or Evil, from the standpoint of work, of action alone. My consciousness has always been centered on action. It was a vision, a perception of the line to be followed – or the many lines to be followed – for the action to be accomplished. And any deviation from what to me was the luminous line, the straight line (not geometrically straight: the luminous line, the line expressing the divine Will), the slightest deviation from that, and... oh, it was the only thing that tormented me.

And the torment didn't come from me, it came from that character hooked on to my consciousness and constantly whipping me, hounding me, ill-treating me – what people call their "conscience," which has nothing whatsoever to do with consciousness! It's an adverse being, and whatever it can change, it changes for the worse; whatever is susceptible to being changed into something antidivine, it changes. And it is constantly repeating the same thing: "This is wrong, that is wrong, this is wrong...."

But this was the only thing; there was never, never the idea of being either virtuous or sinful – never. It was a matter of doing the right thing or not doing the right thing. That's all. No sense of being virtuous or sinful, none at all! I never, ever had that sense. So it's a bit difficult for me to identify with the feeling Sri Aurobindo describes here; it doesn't correspond to anything in me. I understand, of course! I understand very well what he means. But to identify with that sentiment....

But tell me what you wanted to say.

All in all, in these last few aphorisms Sri Aurobindo is clearly trying to show us that we must go beyond the sense of sin and virtue. It reminds me of a passage from one of your experiences which struck me very much at the time. In that experience you went to the supramental world: you saw a "ship" landing on the shore of the supramental world and people being put through certain tests – some people were rejected, others were kept. There's a striking passage in your description, and it bears a relation to these aphorisms.... May I read you what you said?

Yes – I don't remember it any more.

After describing the ship and the disembarkation, you say:

"The criterion or the judgment [for passing the tests] was based EXCLUSIVELY on the substance constituting the people – whether they belonged completely to the supramental world or not, whether they were made of this very special substance. The criterion adopted was neither moral nor psychological. It is likely that their bodily substance was the result of an inner law or an inner movement which, at that time, was not in question. At least it is quite clear that the values are different...."

And then you add:

"At that time, my impression (an impression which remained rather long, almost the whole day) was of an extreme relativity – no, not exactly that, but an impression that the relationship between this world and the other completely changes the criterion by which things are to be evaluated or judged...."

Yes!

"This criterion had nothing mental about it, and it gave the strange inner feeling that so many things we consider good or bad are not really so. It was very clear that everything depended upon the CAPACITY of things and upon their ABILITY to express the supramental world or be in relationship with it. It was so completely different, at times even so opposite to our ordinary way of looking at things!"

Yes.

You go on:

"With people, too, I saw that what helps or prevents them from becoming supramental is very different from what our ordinary moral notions imagine."

Yes. Yes, indeed.

So what I wanted to ask you was: if it's not a matter of moral notions, then what capacity or quality DOES help us on the way towards the Supermind? What is this totally different criterion?

All this is exactly what I have been observing and studying these past few days. I will tell you about it next time.

I was particularly struck at the time.

And it has never left me. Ever since then I have kept that same vision of things. But I have to make it intelligible.

12. January 1962 – Access to the Supramental World

(Note from Mother to Satprem concerning his question of January 9, on the capacities required to gain access to the supramental world:)

Capacity for indefinite expansion of consciousness on all planes including the material.

Limitless plasticity, to be able to follow the movement of becoming.

Perfect equality abolishing all possibility of ego reaction.

12. January 1962 – Description of Mother's experience

Do you remember that gentleman from Madras who had asked a question? There was an indication there....

Because I followed the thread, I put myself back in contact with the experience of the supramental ship, and I noticed that it had a DECISIVE effect on my position: the required conditions were established quite clearly, precisely, and definitively by that experience. In that respect, it was interesting.

Once and for all it has swept away all these notions – not merely ordinary moral notions, but everything people here in India consider necessary for the spiritual life. In that respect, it was very instructive. And first and foremost, this so-called ascetic purity.... Ascetic purity is merely the rejection of all vital movements. Instead of taking these movements and turning them towards the Divine, instead of seeing, that is, the supreme Presence in them (and so letting the Supreme deal with them freely), He is told (laughing): "No – it's none of Your business! You have no say in it."

As for the physical, it's an old and well-known story – ascetics have always rejected it; but they also reject the vital. And they're all like that here, even... X may have changed somewhat by now, but at the beginning he was no different either. Only things classically recognized as holy or admitted by religious tradition were accepted – the sanctity of marriage, for example, and things like that.... But a free life? Not a chance! It was wholly incompatible with religious life.

Well, all that has been completely swept away, once and for all.

This doesn't mean that what's being asked of us is easier! It's probably far more difficult.

I mentioned the principal psychological requirement in my answer to that American: a state of perfect equality. This is an ABSOLUTE condition. Over the years since that experience I have observed that no supramental vibration whatsoever can be transmitted without this perfect equality. The slightest contradiction of that equality – in other words, the least movement of ego, of egoistic preference – and everything is blocked, transmission stops. This is already quite a large stumbling block.

And, over and above this, for the realization to be total, there are two other conditions, which aren't easy either. Intellectually, they're not too difficult; in fact, for someone who has practiced yoga, followed a discipline (I am not speaking here of just anyone), they're relatively easy. Psychologically too, given this equality, there's no great difficulty. But as soon as you come to the material plane – the physical plane – and then to the body, it isn't easy. These two conditions are first, the power to expand, to widen almost indefinitely, enabling you to widen to the dimensions of the supramental consciousness – which is total. The supramental consciousness is the consciousness of the Supreme in his totality. By "totality," I mean the Supreme in his aspect of Manifestation. Naturally, from a higher point of view, from the viewpoint of the essence – the essence of that which in Manifestation becomes the Supermind – what's necessary is a capacity for total identification with the Supreme, not only in his aspect of Manifestation, but in his static or nirvanic aspect, outside of the Manifestation: Nonbeing. But in addition, one must be capable of identifying with the Supreme in the Becoming. And that implies both these things: an expansion that is nothing less than indefinite, and that should simultaneously be a total plasticity enabling one to follow the Supreme in his Becoming. You don't merely have to be as vast as the universe at one point in time, but indefinitely in the Becoming. These are the two conditions. They must be potentially present.

Down to the vital, we are still in the realm of things that are more than feasible – they are done. But on the material level it results in my misadventures of the other day.

But even accepting all these misadventures a priori, things remain difficult because there's a double movement: both a cellular transformation and a capacity for '"something" that could replace expansion with readjustment, a constant intercellular reorganization.

(Mother later clarified the meaning of this sentence: "I saw that to follow the Supreme in the Becoming one has to be able to expand, because the universe expands in the Becoming – the amount of expansion in the universe is not matched by an equal amount of dissolution. So it is really necessary to be able to grow, as a child grows, to expand; but at the same time, for things to progress, this process of expansion demands a constant inner reorganization. As the quantity is increased (if we can speak of quantity here), so must the quality be simultaneously maintained by an ongoing internal reorganization of intercellular relationships.")

The way they are now, of course, our bodies are rigid and heavy – it's unspeakable, actually; if it weren't for that we would never grow old. For instance, my vital being is more full of energy, and thus full of youth and power to grow, than when I was twenty. There's really no comparison. The power is INFINITELY greater... yet the body is going to pieces – it's really something unspeakable. So a way has to be found to bridge this gap between the vital and the material being.

Not that the problem hasn't been partially solved: hatha yogis have solved it, partially – provided you do nothing else (that's the trouble). Yet having the knowledge, we should have the power to do what's necessary without making it our exclusive preoccupation. At any rate, this possibility is certainly not altogether unknown; for the first few months after I retired to my room, when I had cut all contact with the outside, it was working very well... even extraordinarily so! Lots of disorders in my body were surmounted, and I had many fairly precise indications that if I continued like that long enough I would regain everything that had been lost, and with an even better equilibrium. I mean that the functional equilibrium was far superior. Only when I came back into contact with the world did it all come to a halt and begin to deteriorate – all the more so as it was aggravated by this discipline of expansion making me constantly – CONSTANTLY – absorb mountains of difficulties to be resolved. And so....

With the mind, it's rather easy – you can put things back in order in five minutes, it's not difficult. With the vital it's already a bit more troublesome, it takes a little longer. But when you come to the material level, well.... There's a CONTAGION of wrong cellular functioning and a kind of internal disorganization – things not staying in their proper places. Each vibration absorbed from the outside instantly creates a disorder, dislocates everything, creates wrong contacts and disrupts the organization; it sometimes takes HOURS to put it all back in order. Consequently, if I really want to make use of this body's possibility without having to face the necessity of changing it because it can't follow along, then, materially, I would really need, as much as possible, to stop having to gulp down all sorts of things that drag me years backwards.

It's difficult... difficult.

So long as there's no question of physical transformation, the psychological and in large part, the subjective point of view is sufficient – and that's relatively easy. But when it comes to incorporating matter into the work, matter as it is in this world where the very starting point is false (we start off in unconsciousness and ignorance), well, it's very difficult. Because, to recover the consciousness it has lost, Matter has had to individualize itself, and for that – for the form to last and retain this possibility of individuality – it has been created with a certain indispensable measure of rigidity. And that rigidity is the main obstacle to the expansion, to the plasticity and suppleness necessary for receiving the Supermind. I constantly find myself facing this problem, which is utterly concrete, absolutely material when you're dealing with cells that have to remain cells and not vaporize into some nonphysical reality, and at the same time have to have a suppleness, a lack of rigidity, enabling them to widen indefinitely.

There have been times, while working in the most material mind (the mind ingrained in the material substance), when I felt my brain swelling and swelling and swelling, and my head becoming so large it seemed about to burst! On two occasions I was forced to stop, because it was... (was it only an impression, or was it a fact?) in any event it seemed dangerous, as if the head would burst, because what was inside was becoming too tremendous (it was that power in Matter, that very powerful deep blue light which has such powerful vibrations; it is able to heal, for example, and change the functioning of the organs – really a very powerful thing materially). Well then, that's what was filling my head, more and more, more and more, and I had the feeling that my skull was (it was painful, you know)... that there was a pressure inside my skull pushing out, pushing everything out.... I wondered what was going to happen. Then, instead of following the movement, helping it along and going with it, I became immobile, passive, to see what would happen. And both times it stopped. I was no longer helping the movement along, you see, I simply remained passive – and it came to a halt, there was a sort of stabilization.

(silence)

But Sri Aurobindo must have had the experience [of cellular expansion], because he said positively that it COULD be done.

The question, of course, is the supramentalization of MATTER – the consciousness, that's nothing at all. Most people who have had that experience had it on the mental level, which is relatively easy. It's very easy: abolition of limits set by the ego, indefinite expansion with a movement following the rhythm of the Becoming. Mentally, it's all very easy. Vitally.... A few months after I withdrew to my room, I had the experience in the vital – wonderful, magnificent! Of course to have the experience there, the mind must have undergone a change, one must be in complete communion; without exception, any individual vital being that hasn't been prepared by what might be called a sufficient mental foundation would be panic-stricken. All those poor people who get scared at the least little experience had better not dabble with this – they'd panic! But as it happens – through divine grace, you might say – my vital, the vital being of this present incarnation, was born free and victorious. It has never been afraid of anything in the vital world; the most fantastic experiences were practically child's play. But when I had that experience, it was so interesting that for a few weeks I was tempted to stay in it; it was.... I once told you a little about that experience (it was quite a while ago, at least two years). I told you that even during the day I seemed to be sitting on top of the Earth – that was this realization in the vital world. And what fantastic nights it gave me! Nights I have never been able to describe to anyone and never mentioned – but I would look forward to the night as a marvelous adventure.

I voluntarily renounced all that in order to go further. And when I did it, I understood what people here in India mean when they say: he surrendered his experience. I had never really understood what that meant. When I did it, I understood. "No," I said, "I don't want to stop there; I am giving it all to You, that I may go on to the end." Then I understood what it meant.

Had I kept it, oh – I would have become one of those world-renowned phenomena, turning the course of the earth's history upside down! A stupendous power! Stupendous, unheard-of.... But it meant stopping there, accepting that experience as final – I went on.

Well. So now, what can I tell you that's interesting – everything I've just said is a sort of miscellany, and three-fourths unusable.

But, Mother....

I didn't say it with the idea of writing an article!

When I read that note you sent me, I immediately reconnected with the experience, and things became clear. I have told them to you as well as they can be told....

(silence)

The people on that ship had these two capacities: one, the capacity for indefinite expansion of consciousness on all planes, including the material; and two, limitless plasticity in order to follow the movement of the Becoming.

It was taking place in the subtle physical. The people who had patches on their bodies and had to be sent back were always the ones who lacked the plasticity those two movements required. But the main thing was the movement of expansion; the progressive movement, the movement of following the Becoming, seemed to be a subsequent preoccupation – for those who had landed. The preparation on the boat concerned that capacity for expansion.

Another thing I didn't mention to you when I related the experience was that the ship had no engine. Everything was set in motion through will power – people, things (even the clothes people wore were a result of their will). And this gave all things and every person's shape a great suppleness, because there was an awareness of this will – which is not a mental will but a will of the Self, what could be called a spiritual will or a soul-will (to give the word soul that particular meaning). I have that experience right here when there's an absolute spontaneity in action, I mean when the action – for instance, an utterance or a movement – is not determined by the mind, and not even (not to mention thought or intellect), not even by the mind that usually sets us in motion. Generally, when we do something, we can perceive in ourselves a will to do it; when you watch yourself, you see this: there is always (it can happen in a flash) the will to do. When you are conscious and watch yourself doing something, you see in yourself the will to do it – this is where the mind intervenes, its normal intervention, the established order in which things happen. But the supramental action is decided by a leap over the mind. The action is direct, with no need to go through the mind. Something enters directly into contact with the vital centers and activates them without going through the mind – yet in full consciousness. The consciousness doesn't function in the usual sequence, it functions from the center of spiritual will straight to matter.

And so long as you can keep that absolute immobility in the mind, the inspiration is absolutely pure – it comes pure. When you can catch and hold onto this while you're speaking, then what comes to you is unmixed too, it stays pure.

This is an extremely delicate functioning, probably because we're not used to it – the slightest movement, the slightest mental vibration disrupts everything. But as long as it lasts, it's perfectly pure. And in a supramentalized life this has to be the CONSTANT state. Mentalized will should no longer intervene; because you may well have a spiritual will, your life may be the constant expression of spiritual will (it's what happens to all who feel themselves guided by the Divine within), but it still comes through a mental transcription. Well, as long as it's that way, it's not the supramental life. The supramental life NO LONGER goes through the mind – the mind is an immobile zone of transmission. The least little twitch is enough to upset everything.

(silence)

So we can say that the Supermind can express itself through a terrestrial consciousness only when there is a constant state of perfect equality – equality arising out of spiritual identification with the Supreme: all becomes the Supreme in perfect equality. And it must be automatic, not an equality obtained through conscious will or intellectual effort or an understanding preceding the state itself – none of that. It has to be spontaneous and automatic; one must no longer react to what comes from outside as though it were coming from outside. That pattern of reception and reaction must be replaced by a state of constant perception and (I don't mean identical in all cases, because each thing necessarily calls forth its own particular reaction)... but practically free from all rebound, you might say. It's the difference between something coming from outside and striking you, making you react, and something freely circulating and quite naturally generating the vibrations needed for the overall action. I don't know if I am making myself clear.... It's the difference between a vibratory movement circulating within an IDENTICAL field of action, and a movement from an outside source, touching you and getting a reaction (this is the usual state of human consciousness). But once the consciousness is identified with the Supreme, all movements are, so to speak, inner – inner in the sense that nothing comes from outside; there are only things circulating, which, through similarity or necessity, naturally generate or change the vibrations within the circulatory milieu.

I am very familiar with this, because I am now constantly in that state. I never have the feeling of something coming from outside and bumping into me; there's rather the sense of multiple and sometimes contradictory inner movements, and of a constant circulation generating the inner changes necessary to the movement.

This is the indispensable foundation.

I've had that experience for a very long time and now it's completely established. It used to be transitory, but now it's constant.

It is the indispensable foundation.

And in that state, expansion follows almost automatically, necessitating certain adjustments in the body which are difficult to work out. I am still completely immersed in this problem.

Then that suppleness.... It means a capacity for decrystallizing oneself; the whole span of life given over to self-individualization is a period of conscious, willed crystallization, which then has to be undone. To become a conscious, individualized being there has to be a constant, constant, willed crystallization, in everything; and afterwards, again constantly, the opposite movement has to be made – with an even greater will. But at the same time, the consciousness must not lose the benefit of what has been acquired through individualization.

It is difficult, I must say.

For thought, it's elementary, very simple. It's not difficult for the feelings either; for the heart, the emotional being, to expand to the dimensions of the Supreme is relatively easy. But this body! It's very difficult, very difficult to do without the body losing its center (how can I put it?)... its center of coagulation – without it dissolving into the surrounding mass. Although, if one were in a natural environment, with mountains and forests and rivers, with lots of space and lots of natural beauty, it could be rather pleasant! But it's physically impossible to take a single step outside one's body without meeting unpleasant, painful things. At times you come in contact with a pleasant substance, something harmonious, warm, vibrating with a higher light; it happens. But it's rare. Flowers, yes, sometimes flowers – sometimes, not always. But this material world, oh! It batters you from all sides; it claws you, mauls you – you get clawed and scraped and battered by all sorts of things which... which just don't blossom. How hard it all is! Oh, how closed human life is! How shriveled, hardened, without light, without warmth... let alone joy.

While sometimes, when you see water flowing along, or a ray of sunlight in the trees – oh, how it sings! The cells sing, they are happy.

Well, mon petit, that's all I can tell you. If you can make something out of it.... But it's a new experience. Isn't it interesting? I have to put it into the form of an experience – there's no other way for it to be.

If we continue along this path, we will surely be able to do some worthwhile work, because it's all new. It's quite new – I never spoke of this with Sri Aurobindo because at the time I didn't have those experiences. I had all the psychological experiences, experiences in the mind, even the most material mind, or in the vital or the physical consciousness – the physical CONSCIOUSNESS – but not in the body. That's something new, it started only three or four years ago.

All the rest is easy. Everything up to that point is settled – settled very nicely.

Since the physical transformation is so difficult, one is tempted to wonder whether it wouldn't be advantageous to "materialize" something, to work occultly – to create a new body by occult means....

That was the idea: for a few beings to first attain, here in this physical world, a level of realization giving them the power to materialize a supramental being.

I once told you I put a body on a vital being – but I couldn't have made that body material; it would have been impossible: something is lacking. Something is lacking. Even if it were made visible, it would probably not be possible to make it permanent – at the slightest opportunity, it would dematerialize. What we can't get is that permanence.

It's something Sri Aurobindo and I have discussed ("discussed" is one way of putting it), something we spoke about, and his view was the same as mine: there is a power, yes, to FIX the form here on earth, a power we don't have. Even people with the ability to materialize things (like Madame Théon, for instance) can't make their materializations last; it can't be done, they don't last – they don't have the quality of physical things.

And without this quality, well... the creation's continuity could not be assured.

Yes, that's an interesting point. One might indeed wonder about it.

I knew the whole occult procedure in detail, but I would never have been able to make that being more material, even if I had tried – visible, yes, but not permanent and progressive.

And mind you (this is my personal case), I don't think I have wasted any time. Because you might say that had I known forty years ago what I know now – at the age of forty instead of eighty – well, there would have been the sense of a lot more time to work with. But I haven't been wasting time. I haven't wasted any time. All that time was necessary to get me where I am today.

I don't think I've been going slowly. As I told you last time, I had the most wonderful conditions, those thirty years with Sri Aurobindo – as wonderful as could be. I haven't wasted my time. Oh, it was hour by hour!

It is a long, drawn-out work.

He used to say it would take at least three hundred years – so there's been no time lost. To begin with, the body needs something that will allow it to last three hundred years.

15. January 1962 - Tlemcen: The Chinese revolution

I have spoken of this before. I told the story of the Chinese revolution, and how this being left me, saying.... It was just five years before the Chinese revolution. I've told the story.

I know I've told it – but it was never noted down.

I used to dictate. Théon taught me to speak while in trance (that is, he had taught my BODY to express itself), and I would tell him everything I was doing while doing it. And he never noted any of it down – I suspect he did it on purpose: he wasn't interested in making revelations. So it's all lost. But had it been noted down, hour by hour, minute by minute, it would have made an extraordinary scientific document on the occult – extraordinary! He never noted it down.

He stopped at the subtle physical – he refused to go any farther. It was Satan, the Asura of Light who, in cutting himself off from the Supreme, fell into Unconsciousness and Darkness (I've told the story many times). But anyway, when I was with Théon, I summoned that being and asked him if he wanted to enter into contact with the earth. It's worth mentioning that Théon himself was an incarnation of the Lord of Death – I've had good company in my life! And the other one [Richard] was an incarnation of the Lord of Falsehood – but it was only partial. With Théon too it was partial. But with Satan it was the central being; of course, he had millions of emanations in the world, but this was the central being in person. The others... let's keep that for another time.

He agreed to take on a body. Théon wanted to keep him there: "Don't let him go," he told me. I didn't answer. This being told me he didn't want to be more material than that, it was sufficient – you could feel him move the way you feel a draft, it was that concrete.

And he said he was going to set up the Chinese revolution. "I am going to organize a secret society to set up the revolution in China," he told me. "And mark my words: it's going to happen in exactly five years." He gave me the date and I noted it down.

And EXACTLY five years later, it happened. Later I met people coming from China who told me it had all been the work of a secret society. They told me about it because that society used a certain sign, and instinctively, unknowingly, I had made that sign while one of them was talking to me (Mother puts one fist on top of the other). And the person said, "Ah, so you're one of us! " I didn't reply. Then he told me everything.

But it's really interesting because the exact date was given. "The revolution will take place in exactly five years," he told me. He knew it before he left. "And that," he continued, "will be the beginning, the first terrestrial movement heralding the transformation of...." (Théon didn't use the word "supramental"; he used to talk about "the new world on earth.")

(The reader will remember the formation of the Kuo-min-tang and the troubles in the Yangtze Valley which took place in October 1911 and led to the fall of the Manchu Dynasty in 1912. Thus it was in October 1906, at Tlemcen, that Mother had the encounter she relates here. It was also in 1906 that Mao Tse-tung, at the age of fourteen, came into conflict with his father, a prelude to his revolutionary career.)

But I did note that down.

I had forgotten the whole story, because I now live constantly in the Becoming. But it came back to me.

And all the disbelief in the world can't contradict that piece of evidence. The note itself was stolen from me while I was moving to a new house.

Two things were stolen: that note and the mantra of life (I have told you about that). And I have a suspicion that it was an occult theft, not an ordinary one, because no one even suspected the value of those papers – for most people they had no interest at all.

21. January 1962 – On Aphorism 70

70 – Examine thyself without pity, then thou wilt be more charitable and pitiful to others.

Very good! (Mother laughs) That's very good.

It's very good for everyone, isn't it?

Especially for those who think they're so superior. But it really does correspond to something very deep.

This is exactly the experience I have been going through these past few days; since the day before yesterday it seems to have reached its peak, and this morning it developed into a comprehensive vision, an earth-encompassing vision.

It's almost like a reversal of attitude.

Actually, people have always taken themselves for victims hounded by adverse forces – the courageous fight back, the rest lament. But increasingly there has been a very concrete vision of the role the adverse forces play in the creation, of their almost absolute necessity as goads to make the creation progress and become its Origin again. And there was such a clear vision that one should accomplish one's own transformation – that's what we must pray for, what we must work out – rather than demand the conversion or abolition of the adverse forces.

And this is all from the terrestrial, not the individual standpoint (for the individual standpoint, it's quite clear): I am speaking from the terrestrial standpoint.

And there was the sudden vision of all the error, all the incomprehension, all the ignorance, all the darkness and – even worse – all the ill will in the earth's consciousness, which felt responsible for the prolongation of those adverse forces and beings and offered them up in a great... it was more than an aspiration, it was a sort of holocaust, so that the adverse forces might disappear, might no longer have any reason to exist, no longer need to be there to point out all that has to change.

The adverse forces were necessitated by all these negations of the divine life. And this movement of earth consciousness towards the Supreme, the offering of all these things with such extraordinary intensity, was a kind of reparation so that those adverse forces might disappear.

The experience was very intense. It crystallized around a small nucleus of experiences too personal to mention (because I wasn't the only one involved), which translated into this: "Take all my wrongdoings, take them all, accept them, obliterate them, and may those forces disappear."

That's essentially what this aphorism says, seen from the other end. So long as a single human consciousness carries the possibility of feeling, acting, thinking or being in opposition to the great divine Becoming, it is impossible to blame anyone else for it; it is impossible to blame the adverse forces, which are kept in the creation as a means of making you see and feel how far you still have to go.

(silence)

It was like a memory, an eternally present memory of that consciousness of supreme Love emanated by the Lord onto earth – INTO earth – to draw it back again to Him. And truly it was the descent of the very essence of the divine nature into the most total divine negation, and thus the abandonment of the divine condition to take on terrestrial darkness, so as to bring Earth back to the divine state. And unless That, that supreme Love, becomes all-powerfully conscious here on Earth, the return can never be definitive.

It came after the vision of the great divine Becoming. "Since this world is progressive," I was wondering, "since it is increasingly becoming the Divine, won't there always be this deeply painful sense of the non-divine, of the state that, compared with the one to come, is not divine? Won't there always be what we call 'adverse forces,' in other words, things that don't harmoniously follow the movement?" Then came the answer, the vision of That: "No, the moment of this very Possibility is drawing near, the moment for the manifestation of the essence of perfect Love, which can transform this unconsciousness, this ignorance and this ill will that goes with it into a luminous and joyous progression, wholly progressive, wholly comprehensive, thirsting for perfection."

It was very concrete.

And it corresponds to a state where you are so PERFECTLY identified with all that is, that you concretely become all that is anti-divine – and so you can offer it up. It can be offered up and really transformed through this offering.

This sort of will in people for purity, for Good (which in ordinary mentality is expressed by a need to be virtuous) is actually the GREAT OBSTACLE to true self-giving. It's the root of Falsehood, the very source of hypocrisy: the refusal to take up one's share of the burden of difficulties. And that's what Sri Aurobindo has touched on in this aphorism, directly and very simply.

Do not try to be virtuous. See to what extent you are united, ONE with all that is anti-divine. Take up your share of the burden; accept to be impure and false yourself, and in so doing you will be able to take up the Shadow and offer it. And insofar as you are able to take it and offer it, things will change.

Don't try to be among the pure. Accept to be with those who are in darkness and, in total love, offer it all.

(silence)

From the moment this was seen and DONE, the full power came back – the great creative Power.

(silence)

Most likely the experience could take place only because the time had come for all this to be offered up.

The point is not to perpetuate those things, but to offer them up.

Because the time has come to manifest this Power, which is a power of Love – of LOVE, not merely of identity – of Love, of perfect Love; for perfect Love alone can offer.

It happened this morning, with great simplicity, but at the same time it had something so vast and almighty in it, as if the Universal Mother were turning towards the Lord and saying, "At last! We are ready."

That was my experience this morning.

Do you mean to say there's been a progress on Earth?

Yes, on Earth; it's the Earth's history that's in question.

Now?

In those realms, you know, "now" sometimes stretches over many years. I won't say it's going to be instantaneous; that, I don't know – I don't know. I will probably know in a few days.

It's like opening a door just a crack and catching a glimpse of what's beyond....

It was the same experience when I told Sri Aurobindo that India was free; it was the Universal Mother speaking from what could be called Her origin – it was from that level – and the thing took thirty-five years to come down on Earth.

When I had the experience that the time had come for the supramental Force to descend on Earth, I followed the effects of that descent, I followed the effects and the consequences in my consciousness. But to ordinary eyes it was something like what happened with India's liberation – it's possible, of course, that the Supermind did come down, but for the moment its effects are more than veiled.

The first rather tangible manifestation was this vision of the boat; with that, things became more concrete, it radically changed something in the attitude.

We're at another stage now.

This recent period has been very difficult. I see clearly that it was a preparation – to prepare the way for that experience. It came to reverse the attitude, the attitude of struggling to surmount, subdue and abolish everything anti-divine in creation.

Up till now, this attitude was probably (not probably – certainly) necessary to prepare things. But now there's a sort of sudden reversal, as if the moment had come for the creative principle, the force, the universal creative Force to say, "This too is Me. For it is time for it to disappear. This too is Me: I no longer treat it as an enemy to get rid of; I accept it as Myself, so that it truly does become Me."

And it was preceded by a kind of anguish: "Will there always be something that, compared with the state to come, seems anti-divine?" No: after a long preparation, it becomes capable of feeling divine – and thus of being divine.

Looking at things externally, in terms of present material reality, there is still a lot of ground to be covered before the new manifestation becomes an actual fact. What we have now is probably the seed of the thing – like the seed of India's freedom, which later blossomed.

24. January 1962 – Savitri: Book 10 Canto 2

Not only is there hope for godheads pure;

The violent and darkened deities

Leaped down from the one breast in rage to find

What the white gods had missed: they too are safe;

A mother's eyes are on them and her arms

I didn't remember it. But that's it exactly. It's strange; when I read I see only what's needed at the moment. The rest seems to go unnoticed. And then as soon as it's needed, it comes back – as happened with what you just showed me.

Yes, that's it – that's what just happened.

It's exactly like pulling open a curtain: everything is waiting there behind.

It's difficult for me to speak during these experiences because French comes to me more spontaneously, and the experiences all happen in English – Sri Aurobindo's power is so much with them....

27. January 1962 – On Aphorisms 88-92 & Savitri B10C2

88 – This world was built by Death that he might live. Wilt thou abolish death? Then life too will perish. Thou canst not abolish death, but thou mayst transform it into a greater living.

89 – This world was built by Cruelty that she might love. Wilt thou abolish cruelty? Then love too will perish. Thou canst not abolish cruelty, but thou mayst transfigure it into its opposite, into a fierce Love and Delightfulness.

90 – This world was built by Ignorance and Error that they might know. Wilt thou abolish ignorance and error? Then knowledge too will perish. Thou canst not abolish ignorance and error, but thou mayst transmute them into the utter and effulgent reason.

91 – If Life alone were and not death, there could be no immortality; if love were alone and not cruelty, joy would be only a tepid and ephemeral rapture; if reason were alone and not ignorance, our highest attainment would not exceed a limited rationality and worldly wisdom.

92 – Death transformed becomes Life that is Immortality; Cruelty trans. figured becomes Love that is intolerable ecstasy; Ignorance transmuted becomes Light that leaps beyond wisdom and knowledge.

But I also remember reading The Tradition, before I met Sri Aurobindo (it was like a novel, a serialized romance of the world's creation, but it was very evocative; Théon called it The Tradition). That was where I first learned of the universal Mother's first four emanations, when the Lord delegated his creative power to the Mother. And it was identical to the ancient Indian tradition, but told like a nursery story; anyone could understand – it was an image, like a movie, and very vivid.

So She made her first four emanations. The first was Consciousness and Light (arising from Sachchidananda); the second was Ananda and Love; the third was Life; and Truth was the fourth. Then, so the story goes, conscious of their infinite power, instead of keeping their connection with the supreme Mother and, through Her, with the Supreme, instead of receiving indications for action from Him and doing things in proper order, they were conscious of their own power and each one took off independently to do as he pleased – they had power and they used it. They forgot their Origin. And because of this initial oblivion, Consciousness became unconsciousness, and Light became darkness; Ananda became suffering, Love became hate; Life became Death; and Truth became Falsehood. And they were instantly thrown headlong into what became Matter. According to Théon, the world as we know it is the result of that. And that was the Supreme himself in his first manifestation.

But the story is easy to understand, and quite evocative. On the surface, for intellectuals, it's very childish; but once you have the experience you understand it very well – I understood and felt the thing immediately.

And once the world has become like that, has become the vital world in all its darkness, and they, from this vital world, have created Matter, the supreme Mother sees (laughing) the result of her first four emanations and She turns towards the Supreme in a great entreaty: "Now that this world is in such a dreadful state, it has to be saved! We can't just leave it this way, can we? It has to be saved, the divine consciousness must be given back to it. What to do?" And the Supreme says, "Thrust yourself into a new emanation, an emanation of the ESSENCE of Love, down into the most material Matter." That meant plunging into the earth (the earth had become a symbol and a representation of the whole drama). "Plunge into Matter." So She plunged into Matter, and that became the primordial source of the Divine within material substance. And from there (as is so well described in Savitri), She begins to act as a leaven in Matter, raising it up from within.

And as She plunged into the earth, a second series of emanations was sent forth – the gods – to inhabit the intermediary zones between Sachchidananda and the earth. And these gods (laughing)... well, great care was taken to make them perfect, so they wouldn't give any trouble! But they are a bit... a bit too perfect, aren't they? Yes, a bit too perfect: they never make mistakes, they always do exactly as they're told.... In short, rather lacking in initiative. They do have some, but....

In fact, they were not surrendered in the way a psychic being can be, because they had no psychic in them. The psychic being is the result of that descent. Only human beings have it. And that's what makes humanity so superior to the gods. Théon insisted greatly on this: throughout his story, humans are far superior to gods and should not obey them – they should only be in contact with the Supreme in his aspect of perfect Love.

I don't know how to put it.... To me, those gods always seemed... (not those described in the Puranas, they're different... well, not so very different!) but the way Théon presented them, they seemed just like a bunch of marshmallows! It's not that they had no power – they had a lot of power, but they lacked that psychic flame.

And to Théon, the God of the Jews and Christians was an Asura. This Asura wanted to be unique; and so he became the most terrible despot imaginable. Anatole France said the same thing (I now know that Anatole France had never read Théon's story, but I can't imagine where he picked this up). It's in The Revolt of the Angels. He says that Satan is the true God and that Jehovah, the "only God," is the monster. And when the angels wanted Satan to become the one and only God, Satan realized he was immediately taking on all Jehovah's failings! So he refused: "Oh, no – thank you very much!" It's a wonderful story, and in exactly the same spirit as what Théon used to say. The very first thing I asked Anatole France (I told you I met him once – mutual friends introduced us), the first thing I asked him was, "Have you ever read The Tradition?" He said no. I explained why I had asked, and he was interested. He said his source was his own imagination. He had caught that idea intuitively.

Well, if you speak this way to philosophers and metaphysicians, they'll look at you as if to say, "You must be a real simpleton to believe all that claptrap! " But these things are not to be taken as concrete truths – they are simply splendid images. Through them I really did come in contact, very concretely, with the truth of what caused the world's distortion, much better than with all the Hindu stories, far more easily.

Buddhism and all similar lines of thought took the shortest path: "The desire to exist is what has caused all the trouble." If the Lord had refrained from having this desire, there would have been no world! It's childish, very childish, really a much too human way of looking at the problem.

To see it from the angle of delight of being is qualitatively far superior, but then there's still the problem of why it all became the way it is. The usual reply is: because all things were possible, and this is ONE possibility. But it's not a very satisfying feeling: "Yes, all right, that's just the way it is, it's a fact." People used to ask Théon too, "Why did it happen like this? Why...?" "Wait till you get to the other side, then you will know. And meanwhile do what's necessary to get there – that's the most urgent thing."

But there is one advantage: without those beings, without the world's distortion, many things would be lacking. Those beings potentially embodied certain absolutely unique elements – understandably so, since they were the first wave. And precisely because they still WERE the Supreme to such a great extent, each one felt he was the Supreme, and that was that. Only it wasn't quite sufficient, for the simple reason that they were already divided into four, and one single division is enough to make everything go wrong. It's readily understandable: it's not something essentially evil, but a question of wrong FUNCTIONING; it's not the substance, not the essence. The essence isn't evil, but the functioning is faulty.

But if you understand....

The words are so childish that if you tell this story to intelligent people, they look at you with pity – but it gives such a concrete grasp of the problem! It helped me a lot.

It was written in English and I am the one who translated it into French – into horrible French, perfectly ghastly, because I put in all the new words Théon had dreamed up. He had made a detailed description of all the faculties latent in man, and it was remarkable – but with such barbarous words! You can make up new words in English and get away with it, but in French it's utterly ridiculous. And there I was, very conscientiously putting them all in! Yet in terms of experience, it was splendid. It really was an experience – it came from Madame Théon's experiences in exteriorization. She had learned what Théon also taught me, to speak while you're in the seventh heaven (the body goes on speaking, rather slowly, in a rather low voice, but it works quite well). She would speak and a friend of hers, another English woman who was their secretary, would note it all down as she went along (I think she knew shorthand). And afterwards it was made into stories, told as stories. It was all shown to Sri Aurobindo and it greatly interested him. He even adopted some of the words into his own terminology.

The divisions and subdivisions of the being were described down to the slightest detail and with perfect precision. I went through the experience again on my own, without any preconceived ideas, just like that: leaving one body after the other, one body after the other, and so on twelve times.... And my experience – apart from certain quite negligible differences, doubtless due to differences in the receiving brain – was exactly the same.

27. January 1962 – About Exteriorization

You can't do it on your own, it's dangerous.

Some people do it spontaneously, so of course you're not going to tell them it's dangerous. But it is dangerous, because if they do it just like that, without being watched over, and someone or something abruptly calls them back – some event, some circumstance or other – they can be cut off (gesture of the cord being cut). I would never let anyone without knowledge do it on his own. If it's spontaneous, it means it comes from previous existences, so they have the knack. But all the same it's a bit risky, someone should always be there to watch over your body. And as for teaching it to someone offhand – no.

I did try once in France – with Hohlenberg, that painter who came here during the war [World War I] and then had to go back.

He came to France and asked me. He absolutely insisted. He had read all Théon's stuff and was well up on everything and very anxious to try. So I taught him how to do it; and what's more, I was there, he did it in my presence. And, mon petit, the moment he went out of his body, he was thrown into a panic! The man was no coward – he was very courageous – but it absolutely terrified him! Sheer panic.... So I said no, no, no.