February 1962

03. February 1962 – About Karma

Those karma stories....

I often wonder, very often, whether it helps people to know their karma. I don't think it does.

I mean, if they themselves discover the experiences they had in their past life, then it's part of a whole inner, psychic awakening, and very useful. But if some guru or other comes along and tells you, "Here, this was your karma...." I don't think it's useful, to put it mildly!

If you discover the line of a former life on your own, that's different; it's part of an inner, psychic awakening, and it's very good. But I don't think it's helpful when someone sees something and comes and tells you, "You know, you have been this, you have done that...." I feel it makes things worse instead of better – it puts you back in touch with things you were in the process of eliminating.


This woman... a "collective karma"! What rubbish – absolute humbug.

It may be true for some people, but not for her. If I hadn't seen her I might have been intrigued and tried to find out, but.... A collective karma.... Of course, there are all the links you have with people you've known in past lives; in that sense, yes, there is a collective karma! But really, people use such big words and big ideas for things that are actually quite natural.

Yet I found it helpful to have some understanding of what happened in my other lives.

Because you were here.

Because before you were told about your karma, I had already seen certain things about you and was trying to set you free – not from the thing itself, but from the tendency that remained in your nature. That, yes.

But Sujata, for example, was completely, COMPLETELY free of the whole... (what shall I say?) what could be called the unhappy aspect of her karma – completely free. For I know the people around me and what they carry with them very well, and there was nothing – just one thing remained, the one part that was rather constructive, so I had left that totally intact. And when the events of her past life were revealed to her, I took the greatest care to destroy the revelation as it was being given. And I did it ruthlessly. You see, it was like dumping a load of mud on someone completely unsullied, and I didn't let it happen (I couldn't stop what entered through her physical brain, but inwardly... I utterly annihilated it). The only thing I left untouched was the constructive part of the bond that had existed between you two, and so when she met you, she.... That's all I left, because it was good, pure, lovely – it was good. But all the rest.... And you saw how strongly I protested when I was told she had committed suicide. "No, no, no!" I said; even if somebody with perfect knowledge were to tell me so, I'd still say NO.

She is untainted by all that – pure – and I won't stand for someone pure to be soiled. She was so much my child that after her death everything was carefully cleansed, arranged, put back in place, organized, purified. So she returned unblemished and pure, and I don't want her soiled.

You see, a grace is actually working to drive those karmas away – sometimes far, far away – and it's no good to call them back.

I have had dozens of similar examples.

In some instances, my work has been thoroughly mucked up, and I don't like that.

It happened again recently: K.'s sister came because she had lost her son – it had just occurred and he was still here (he hadn't left yet). So I arranged everything, saw to the mother's condition and so forth; I arranged it all nicely, very carefully keeping the son here and telling his mother he would shortly return in some family member. Everything was well organized.

But naturally that was against "the rules" – I make a habit of doing everything against the rules, otherwise there would be no point in my being here; the rules could just go on and on! So they went to see X. They shouldn't have said anything, but they did. And that was that – all sorts of things were said and my work was completely mucked up.

So now it's all going according to "rule," because that's the way it "has to" be.... I am not bothering with it any more.

Myself, I have learned a lot of rules I didn't know before (thank God!) – the divine Grace saved me from that whole hodgepodge of rules about how this happens and how that can't happen and how that must happen and how.... Oh, good Lord!... I saw things very simply, without a single rule in my brain, and so I did them just as simply, with no rules in my head – it worked very, very well, I didn't run into any trouble. Things worked out quite naturally and simply. And if I was told, "That can't be" – "Well, sorry," I would say, "but it's already done."

That "can't be".... Sometimes it can!


Besides, if you remember the beginning of Savitri (I read it only recently, I hadn't known it), in the second canto, speaking of Savitri, he says she has come (he puts it poetically, of course!) to (laughing) kick out all the rules – all the taboos, the rules, the fixed laws, all the closed doors, all the impossibilities – to undo it all.

I went one better; I didn't even know the rules so I didn't need to fight them! All I had to do was ignore them, so they didn't exist – that was even better.

But now I have first to undo and then redo – a sheer waste of time.

In the lower mind there was a whole world of difficulties I was unaware of. In the vital I knew, because I'd had to do battle there – which was fine with me! Just imagine, this time I have been given a warrior as my vital being. A magnificent warrior, neither male nor female, and as tall as this room – he is splendid. I was so happy when I first saw him. "Well," I thought, "that's worth my while!"

Yes, there are battles galore there!

Oh, by the way, how are your nights, mon petit? Because I have put you in my warrior's hands, you see.

03. February 1962 – On Aphorism 71 (The whole Truth)

71 – A thought is an arrow shot at the truth; it can hit a point, but not cover the whole target.

But the archer is too well satisfied with his success to ask anything farther.

But that's obvious! So obvious (to us).

Stop being an archer!

The image is lovely. It's perfect for people who imagine they have found Truth. It's a good thing to tell those who think they have found the truth... simply because they've managed to touch one point.

Yet how many times have we said that that's not enough!

Well, so long as there are conflicting thoughts....

Did you ever hear the story of the philosopher who lived in the South of France? I don't recall his name, a very well-known man.

He was a professor at Montpellier University and lived nearby. And there were several roads leading to his house. This man would leave the university and come to the crossing where all those roads branched out, all eventually leading to his house, one this way, one that way, one from this side.... So he himself used to explain how every day he would stop there at the crossroads and deliberate, "Which one shall I take?" Each had its advantages and disadvantages. So all this would go through his head, the advantages and disadvantages and this and that, and he would waste half an hour choosing which road to take home!

He gave this as an example of thought's inadequacy for action: if you begin to think, you can't act.

This analogy is very apt down here on this plane, but for the higher realms it doesn't apply – up there it's just the opposite! As long as you remain the archer, touching one point, that's how it is; all intelligence below is like that, seeing all sorts of possibilities, so it can't make a choice and act. To see the whole target, the all-inclusive Truth, you must cross to the other side. And when you do, what you see is not the sum of countless truths, an innumerable quantity of truths added together and viewed one after another, making it impossible to grasp the whole at a glance; when you go above, it's the whole you see first, AT A GLANCE, in its entirety, without division. So there is no longer any choice to be made; it's a vision: THAT is to be done. The choice is no longer between this and that, it doesn't work that way any more. Things are no longer seen in succession, one after another; there is rather a simultaneous vision of a whole that exists as a unit. The choice is simply a vision.

As long as you're not in that state, you can't see the whole. The whole can't be seen successively, by adding one truth to another; this is precisely what the mind does, and why it is incapable of seeing the whole. It can't do it. The mind will always see things in succession, by addition, but that's not IT, something will always elude you – the very sense of truth will elude you.

Only when you have a simultaneous, global perception of the whole as a unit can you see truth in its entirety.

Then, action is no longer a choice subject to error, correction, discussion, but the clear vision of what must be done. And this vision is infallible.

03. February 1962 – About JAPA

That's what I have been studying these past two days – not for you in particular, but the general effect of japa, the reason for it in the organization of one's life.... I can't say I have made any discoveries (maybe for myself, I don't know); but my study is not on higher levels, it's right here.

It would take too long to give the details; I can summarize, but I don't want to make a doctrine, and for it to be living it's bound to be long.

For some time now I have been running into difficulties with my morning japa. It's complex. I won't go into details, but certain things seemed to be trying to interfere, either preventing me from going on to the end, or plunging me into a kind of trance that brought everything to a halt. So I began wondering what it was and why. A very, very long curve was involved, but the result of my observations is the following. (All this is purely from the body's standpoint; I mean it doesn't concern the conscious, living, independent being that would remain the same even without the body – to be exact, the being whose life, consciousness, freedom and action do not depend on the body. I am speaking here of that which needs the body for its manifestation; that alone was in question.)

There has been a kind of perception of a variety of bodily activities, a whole series of them, having to do exclusively (or so it seems) with the maintenance of the body. Some are on the borderline – sleep, for instance: one portion of it is necessary for good maintenance of the body, and another portion puts it in contact with other parts and activities of the being; but one portion of sleep is exclusively for maintaining the body's balance. Then there is food, keeping clean, a whole range of things. And according to Sri Aurobindo, spiritual life shouldn't suppress those things; whatever is indispensable for the body's well-being must be kept up. For ordinary people, all other bodily activities are used for personal pleasure and benefit. The spiritual man, on the other hand, has given his body to serve the Divine, so that the Divine may use it for His work and perhaps, as Sri Aurobindo said, for His joy – although given the present state of Matter and the body, that seems to me unlikely or at best very intermittent and partial, because this body is much more a field of misery than a field of joy. (None of this is based on speculation, but on personal experience – I am relating my personal experience.) But with work, it's different: when the body is at work, it's in full swing. That's its joy, its need – to exist only to serve Him. To exist only to serve. And of course, to reduce maintenance to a bare minimum while trying to find a way for the Divine to participate in the very restricted, limited and meager possibilities of joy this maintenance may give. To associate the Divine with all those movements and things, like keeping clean, sleeping (although sleep is different, it's already a lot more interesting); but especially with personal hygiene, eating and other absolutely indispensable things, the attempt is to associate them with the Divine Presence so that they may be as much an expression of divine joy as possible.

(This is realized to a certain extent.)

Now where does japa fit into all this?

Japa, like meditation, is a procedure – apparently the most active and effective procedure – for joining, as much as possible, the Divine Presence to the bodily substance. It is the magic of sound, you see.

Naturally, if there's also an awareness of the idea behind it, if one does japa as a very active CONSCIOUS invocation, then its effects are greatly multiplied. But the basis is the magic of sound. This is a fact of experience, and it's absolutely true. The sound OM, for instance, awakens very special vibrations (there are other such sounds as well, but of course that one is the most powerful of all).

It is an attempt to divinize material substance.

From another, almost identical point of view, it fills the physical atmosphere with the Divine Presence. So time spent in japa is time consecrated to helping the material substance enter into more intimate rapport with the Divine.

And if one adds to this, as I do, a mantric program, that is, a sort of prayer or invocation, a program for both personal development and helping the collective, then it becomes a truly active work. Then there's also what I call "external" work: contact with others, reading and answering letters, seeing and speaking to people, and finally all the activities having to do with the organization and running of the Ashram (in meditation this work becomes worldwide, but physically, materially, it is limited for the moment to the Ashram).

In the course of my observation, I also saw the position of X and people like him, who practically spend their lives doing japa, plus meditation, puja, ceremonies (I am talking only about sincere people, not fakers). Well, that's their way of working for the world, of serving the Divine, and it seems the best way to them – perhaps even the only way – but it's a question of mental belief. In any case, it's obvious that even a bit of... not exactly puja, but some sort of ceremony that you set yourself to do – habitual gestures symbolizing and expressing a particular inner state – can also be a help and a way of offering yourself and relating to the Divine and thus serving the Divine. I feel it's important looked at in this way – not from the traditional viewpoint, I can't stand that traditional viewpoint; I understand it, but it seems to me like putting a brake on true self-giving to the Divine. I am speaking of SELF- IMPOSED japa and rules (or, if someone gives you the japa, rules you accept with all your heart and adhere to). These self-imposed rules should be followed as a gesture of love, as a way of saying to the Divine, "I love You." Do you see what I mean? Like arranging flowers in a certain way, burning incense, dozens of little things like that, made beautiful because of what is put into them – it is a form of self-giving.

Now, I think that doing japa with the will and the idea of getting something out of it spoils it a little. You spoil it. I don't much like it when somebody says, "Do this and you will get that." It's true – it's true, but it's a bit like baiting a fish. I don't much like it.

Let it be your own manner of serving the Divine, of relating to Him, loving Him, of joining Him to your physical life, being close to Him and drawing Him close to you – that way it's beautiful. Each time you say the Word, let it be an invocation, let it be like the recitation of a word of love; then it's beautiful.

That's how I see it.

And so according to your mission in the world, you have to find for yourself the right proportion between this work and external, intellectual or organizational work; and then there are the body's needs, which can be met in the same way, trying to make it possible for the Lord to take delight in them. I have seen this for trivial things: for example, making your bath a pleasant experience, or caring for your hair, or whatever (of course, it's been a long time since there have been any of those stupid, petty ideas of personal pleasure), so that these things aren't done indifferently, out of habit and necessity, but... with a touch of beauty, a touch of charm and delight for the Lord.

There, that's all....

For me, you know, japa means a moment when all physical life is EXCLUSIVELY for the Divine. A moment when nothing but the Divine exists – every single cell of the body, each second, is EXCLUSIVELY for the Divine, there is nothing but the Divine.

When you succeed in doing that, it's good.

Japa shouldn't become so exclusive that it's done twenty-four hours out of twenty-four, because then it's equivalent to asceticism – but there should be a good dose of it.

It's almost the one luxury of life – that's how it feels to me. The luxury of That alone, nothing but that divine vibration around you, within you, everywhere. Nothing but the divine vibration.

Now, that's luxury.

06. February 1962 – The Supreme and the Universal Mother

The problem is roughly this: nothing exists that is not the result of the divine Will.

Always the same problem. Always the same problem.

Generally speaking, the antidivine is easily understood, but in the minute details of daily life, how do you choose between this and that?... What is the truth behind the thing you choose and the one you don't choose? And you know, my standpoint is totally beyond any question of egoistic, individual will – that isn't the problem here. It's not that.

As soon as you try to say it, it evaporates.

Yet it is something very, very acute.

Of course, the explanation is universal progress, the Becoming: what must be and what ceases to be – that's all very well; it's easy to understand in general terms.

Perhaps the problem is the opposition (if it is an opposition) between two attitudes, both of which should express our relationship with the Supreme. One is the acceptance – not only voluntary but perfectly content – of everything, even the "worst calamities" (what are conventionally called "the worst calamities"). I won't use this story as an example because it's self-explanatory, but if Andromeda were a yogi (with "ifs" you can build castles in the air, but I am trying to explain what I mean), she would accept the idea of death readily, easily. Well, it's precisely this conflict between an attitude quite ready to accept death (I am not talking about what happens in the story itself, but merely giving a case in point to make myself clear) because it is the divine Will, for this reason alone – it's the divine Will, so it's quite all right; since that's how it is, it's quite all right – and at the same time, the love of Life. This love of Life. Following the story, you would say: she lived because she had to live – and everything is explained. But that's not what I mean. I am looking at this outside the context of the story.

Because things like that happen in the consciousness of.... It always bothers me to get into big ideas and big words, but to truly explain myself, I should say: the Universal Mother.

Automatically, everything that exists is a natural expression of divine Joy, even the things human consciousness finds most horrifying – this is understandable. But at the same time there is this aspiration, so intense that it's almost anguish, for a perfection of creation to come. And it does seem that this intense aspiration and anguish in the material world is a necessary preparation for this perfection to come. Yet at the same time, whatever exists is perfect at each moment, since it is ENTIRELY the Divine. There is nothing other than the Divine. So there is simultaneously this plenitude of Divine Joy in each second, in whatever exists, and the aspiration, the anguish – and the difficulty lies in joining the two, there you have it.

Practically, you go from one to the other, or one is in front and the other behind, one active and the other passive. With the feeling of perfect joy comes an almost static state (certainly the joy of movement is also there, but all anticipation of the goal stays in the background). Then, when the aspiration of the Becoming is there, the joy of divine perfection at each moment withdraws into a static state.

And this very going back and forth is the problem.

Perhaps that's how it must be, but it's unsatisfying – very unsatisfying.

At my fullest and most intense moments – moments when truly what exists is the universe (by universe I mean the Becoming of the Supreme) with the utmost active awareness of the Supreme – at such moments I am suddenly caught by that [the static, nirvanic aspect]. It's not a matter of choosing between the two, but rather a question of priorities from the standpoint of action on the lowest level. Instinctively (the instinct of this body, this material base), the choice is aspiration, because this being was built for action; but this cannot be taken as an absolute rule, it's almost like a casual preference.

One feels that life Is this aspiration, this anguish, while bliss leads most naturally to the nirvanic side – I don't know....

But then how to help people?... You can recommend neither one nor the other. And if you say both, you are plunged into this same dilemma.

A problem like that reaches a point of such acute tension that you feel you know nothing, understand nothing, you will never understand anything, it's hopeless. When I reach that point, I always tilt in the same direction, it's always: "All right, I adore the Lord, as for the rest, it doesn't matter to me!" I enter into a... marvelous adoration... and let Him do what He wants! That's how it all ends up for me.

But this would only be suitable for those who have stopped thinking.

Because a day or two ago (I don't remember exactly, it was rather fleeting but very interesting), I went through such a moment while walking in my room (it lasted while I was out on the balcony, too): suddenly a kind of absolute certainty that I knew nothing (there was no "I" at all)... that one knew nothing ("one," there was no "one," there was only...); one couldn't know (I have to use words), one couldn't know, there was nothing to know, it was totally hopeless, it was completely IMPOSSIBLE to understand anything, even, even going beyond the mind, and no formulation was possible, there was no possibility of understanding. It was really so absolute that helping others, making the world progress, spiritual life, seeking the Divine, all of that seemed idle talk, empty words! There was nothing in it, it was nothing, and there was nothing to understand, it was impossible to understand – it was impossible to BE. The feeling of a total incapacity. The experience was like a solvent – everything seemed to dissolve: the world, the earth, people, life, intelligence, all of it, everything was dissolved. An absolutely negative state. And my solution was the same as always: when the experience was total and complete, when nothing was left, then: "Who cares!" (it could really be put in the most ordinary words), "I adore You! " And the "I" was something utterly insubstantial: there was no form, no being, no quality – only "I adore You." This "I" was "I adore You," there was just enough "I" to adore You with.

From that moment on there was an inexpressible Sweetness, and within that Sweetness, a Voice... so sweet and harmonious too! There was a sound but no words – yet it held a perfectly clear meaning for me, like very precise words: "You have just had your most creative moment"!

Oh really! Well, that's fine!

After that (laughing), I rang down the curtain!

And it ended in an ineffable smile, like... perhaps the very origin of humor. A sort of annihilation, an annihilation of everything, and then: "You have just had your most creative moment." So I laughed, that's all – there was nothing else to do!


These things would be interesting to keep.

But what's impossible to express is the non-existence of a being, an individual being. When I say "I," there's no knowing what it means. It's not the totality either. Not the totality, not the entire universe, specially not the earth, the poor little earth, which I always see as a tiny thing adrift in the universe. So what is it?...


I can have that experience at any moment whatsoever: one second of concentration, stepping back from action, and it's Bliss. And when I don't step back, then it's something like an eternal omnipotence geared to action and entirely upheld and englobed by... That. This power geared to action is the first manifestation of That – that's what manifests first when That begins to exist consciously. (Mother places her palms together and, without separating them, turns her hands from side to side, as if to show two faces of the same thing.) So it's indissoluble: it's not two things, not even two aspects, because it isn't an aspect at all (words are idiotic, imbecilic, meaningless). The experience is renewable at will: one single thing in its essence, innumerable in its expression, and apparently increasing in power. I have experienced this at will, in every possible circumstance, including physically fainting (I told you the other day). It's called fainting, but I didn't lose consciousness for a minute! Not for one minute did I PHYSICALLY lose consciousness – and behind it all, witnessing everything, was this experience.

Intellectually speaking, it's the Supreme and....

The Shakti.

The Universal Mother.

But I was trying to convey the SENSATION (because it's really a question of sensation – it's not a sentiment, not an idea.... You see, things are concrete for me, they begin to exist when they are concrete). Well, I was trying to express the concrete feeling of the experience and... it is reproduced automatically, immediately. My head is blank, silent, immobile, there's nothing – empty, completely empty, immobile, nothing, not a thought, not... nothing, nothing, simply a kind of super-sensation. And along with it, verging on a sensation, a sort of intimate combination (not mixture) of omnipotence and intense joy – it's so full!

Omnipotence and intense joy.

And if there's something like a vibration of words, it would only be "You, You" – that's all.

And why "You," since there's no difference? But there is just enough difference for You to be, for the joy of "You" – that's the thing. Yet there is no difference.

This seems like the supreme Mystery to me (oh, another time something else would seem like the supreme Mystery!), but this is really....

And the experience is renewable, renewable, renewable – I have only to make a slight inner movement and there it is.

Ultimately, looking at it like any idiot who thinks himself intelligent, one could say: this must be why the Lord created the universe.

For the joy of this You.

If you understand something, congratulations!

09. February 1962 – Humanity

Humanity seems so miserable to me, so miserable! Why do I always feel this way?

I wish I had a more comforting vision.

Yes, it's miserable. I must say, the farther I go, the more I....

But I knew it right from the start! Mon petit, at the age of five, I already knew it was miserable, it already seemed that way to me. But I made the best of it, and the whole time I was working with Sri Aurobindo it was all right: I didn't once think about it, I took people as they were, for what they were, and life too – it was quite all right, things went on very happily. But now... it seems so poor, so poor.

I would rather leave.

I would rather come back at another stage.

I can't. I have work to do.

13. February 1962 – The Secret of Transformation?

... And you aren't yet on the other. Yes, that's it.

So the tendency is always to step back and go within. But that's not the way! It's a natural movement, but I clearly see that it's false.

Both were there this morning.

Obviously a great, great deal of stability and inner calm is required.... There was a keen sense of the absolute pettiness, stupidity and dullness of all outer circumstances, of this whole bodily life in its external form, and AT THE SAME TIME a great symphony of divine joy. And both states were together like pulsations.

But it makes your head spin. You have to be very careful, it... it makes you giddy!

I can't express it – the minute you try to express it, most of it evaporates. And even if I did tell what little I could, surely a good nine and a half people out of ten would say, "She's batty!" If I spoke to the people here that way, they would probably say, "She's soft in the head!"

Strange. This morning it was strange, for both were there: the feeling of physical weakness – almost a physical decomposition – and AT THE SAME TIME, SIMULTANEOUSLY (not even one behind the other, but both together), a glory of divine splendor.

Both together.

I always have the most acute experiences when I am getting ready to go down for the balcony [darshan]. That's when they come, during the most prosaic part of daily life. When I am meditating or walking or even seeing someone, it's different: physical things fade away, they lose their significance.

But in this case, it's when I am in the very midst of physical life.

It was odd this morning because on one side I felt ("one side" – it's not even a side; I don't know how to explain, they are both together) the body was unwell, most unharmonious (someone in an ordinary consciousness would have said the body was ill, or at any rate very weak, very... not at all in good condition), and simultaneously, in the SAME PHYSICAL SENSATION: a glory! A marvelous glory of blissfulness, joy, splendor!... But how could the two be together?

Really, you must stay perfectly, perfectly calm inside; externally, you do things, brush your teeth and so forth, but within you must keep very calm if you don't want to fall over.

But what prevents the two from joining?

It's not a joining. It's not a joining: one is to replace the other.

But the other....

You see, it's like trying to alter the functioning of the organs. What is the process? Already the two are beginning to exist simultaneously.... What does it take for one to disappear and the other to remain on its own, changed?... Changed, because as it is now it wouldn't be enough to make the body function; the body wouldn't perform all the things it must perform, it would stay in a blissful state, delighting in its condition, but not for long – it still has a lot of needs! That's the trouble. It will be very easy for those who come in one or two hundred years; they will only have to choose: not to belong to the old system any more or else to belong to the new. But now.... A stomach has got to digest, after all! Well, that will mean a new way of adapting to the forces of Nature, a new functioning.

(In fact, in the Agenda conversations of 1958 and '59 (never noted by Satprem because he believed them too "personal"), Mother mentioned this as one of the main reasons for encouraging his tantric discipline. He even set out for the Himalayas, like a knight of yore, with the idea of bringing back to Mother the secrets of transformation; and Mother indicated to him the spot where one of her former bodies lay in a Himalayan cave, petrified by a mineral spring. But the secret of the new species can manifestly not be found through any "trick" tantric or otherwise – one's very nature must change. No one could help Mother because if someone "knew," it would already be done.)

That's what I was expecting from Sri Aurobindo.

But he himself was searching. Had he continued, he probably would have found it.... But obviously it wasn't possible.

For he never said he didn't know.

He never said he didn't know.

He always told me, "Each thing in its own time."

But if he knew, he will be able to tell me. So it means it isn't time yet. Because I am with him consciously, mon petit, every night for hours – two hours of my night, at least – not joined to him, with him: like someone I see and talk to and who talks to me.

Again last night....

And he purposely doesn't want me to note down what he says. For I could do so (if I had time) very early in the morning; I remember very, very clearly and precisely. Later it fades, it's erased... only the impression or influence remains and it's very strong all day until it's replaced by another. This creates a sort of atmosphere in which I live, an atmosphere of knowledge.

But he doesn't want me to note it down. It's not simply that I don't have the time, he doesn't want me to. When I wake up (not "wake up," when I come out of that state), there are no lapses of consciousness. This is something I have acquired through lifelong discipline – I have no lapses. Things don't suddenly go away, poof! They remain very clear – I go from one state to another with no impression of a gap. But I see his action: he replaces the precise memory of what has been said and done by a sort of atmosphere, a sensation that stays with me all day long.

Sometimes a particular image lingers, as a key to the atmosphere.

It was so lovely last night!... We had come upon a region all mantled in snow, pure white, and all the arctic animals were there. He wore a white robe. I walked by his side, and he began to repeat my mantra, saying, "See how it is...." Glorious!

And the animals – the animals and all the things receiving the Influence [of the mantra] and changing....

What remains is an impression, not the precise knowledge.

It may come... if I am given the time.

Oh, it's people's thoughts that are so annoying! Everybody, everybody is constantly thinking about old age and death, and death and old age and illness... oh, they're such a nuisance! Me, I never think of it. That's not the question. The difficulty lies in the Work itself; it doesn't depend on a certain number of years, which besides is completely... it's nothing, one second in eternity, a mere nothing!

But truly, if someone (I don't know who or what this " Someone" is)... if I am given the time, I will know – I am convinced of it.

For despite all the growing difficulties, there is also a growing knowledge, a constant progress. So from that standpoint, I CANNOT be mistaken; it is impossible. This Presence is becoming so concrete and so (what shall I say?)... so helpful, so concrete in its help. But it obviously takes a long time.

17. February 1962 – A line from Savitri

A line from Savitri constantly haunts or assails me – it's when the Lord proposes that she come live

a blissful life above, and she replies, "No, there are still too many battles to wage on earth."

That went deep into me, and it returns each time difficulties arise, as if to say, "Don't complain."

And there are plenty!...

I climb not to thy everlasting Day...

Earth is the chosen place of mightiest souls;

Earth is the heroic spirit's battlefield...

Thy servitudes on earth are greater, king,

Than all the glorious liberties of heaven...

Oh, to spread forth, oh to encircle and seize

More hearts till love in us has filled thy world!...

Are there not still a million fights to wage?

Savitri, XI,1 (Cent. Ed. XXIX.686).

24. February 1962 – Attacks on Mother’s health

Something seems to have changed.

For a long time, several months, things were constantly on the brink, and dangerously so; I felt they could go either this way or that. Then on my birthday something suddenly tilted. All at once a formation seemed to have been lifted, a formation weighing terribly on... I won't say on what, because it appeared to be everything... it was lifted with the sweep of a hand, exactly the same movement Sri Aurobindo used for taking away illnesses.

(Mother used to say that when Sri Aurobindo cured somebody, one often saw a subtle hand come with a current of blue force and seize, as it were, the vibration of the illness or disorder between its fingertips.)

It has made a tremendous change for this body, as though I had abruptly gotten out of a very tight corner.

And in the afternoon, I had a funny experience at the Playground. When I got down from the car to go inside, I felt.... For close to a year now I have been saddled with (I mean it was imposed on me) a useless pair of legs: weak, awkward, old, worn out – worthless. I constantly had to will them to walk, and even then they were more than clumsy. And it was all swept away in the same manner (sweeping gesture). I literally almost danced! Imagine, getting rid of a pair of legs just like that! INSTANTLY my legs felt the way they used to (I have always had strong legs) – that alert, solid, agile strength – and I had to restrain myself from cavorting about! "Ah, now we can walk!" "Keep calm," I had to tell them, or they would have started skipping and prancing!

And they stayed that way, there was no relapse. I was waiting to see if it would last – it did. Something seems to be over with now.

I've noticed there are always several ways of explaining things. But certainly one very common explanation would be that it was some type of magic spell – for my health too.

The last time X came, I was very ill the day he arrived and he was called to my room upstairs – actually I wanted him to come upstairs for several reasons, so he could see certain things.... But he didn't see a thing, or if he did, he was reluctant to say so. "Oh, it's a physical ailment," he said (it isn't true, I had no physical ailment – perhaps he didn't want to say it), "it's a physical ailment; something may be acting from outside, but it doesn't amount to much." But it seems to me the formation was made a long time ago – I was always feeling attacked – and it must have been skillfully made!

It was that or else, as I often thought, some necessary preparation for the work – something that had to be done.

It touched all the parts of my body and all the workings of the organs in succession – very, very methodically.

But is it necessary? Is all this disorganization necessary? Perhaps I call it disorganization when it isn't.... You know, we are totally ignorant in that realm. We have our old human ways of seeing, but when it comes to the body's functioning, we know nothing about what's good or not. Or even what's painful or not: the body's initial impulse is to feel the pain, but upon reflection and attentive observation, we see it is simply an intensity of sensation we're not used to. So it could well have been that. And if we were used to it (and especially if we didn't think of it as something troublesome), we would feel quite differently about it. In any case, it's not something unbearable – we can bear a lot of things, much more than we imagine.

I am not sure, you see. We keep going on with old notions, old routines and old habits – what can we possibly know!

Anyway, this thing had to follow its course and wind up somewhere.

I should mention that three or four days before my birthday something apparently very troublesome happened (it could have been troublesome, anyway), and it made me wonder: "Will I be able to do what I have to on the 21st?" I wasn't happy about it. "No," I said, "I can't let these people down when they're expecting so much from this day; that's not right." So throughout the 20th I stayed exclusively concentrated in a very, very deep, very interiorized invocation, not in the least superficial, far from all emotions and sentiments – something really at the summit of the being. And I remained in contact with That, for everything to be truly for the best, free from any false movement in Matter whatsoever. And that night I was CLEARLY cured; I mean I followed the action and saw myself really and truly cured. When I got up in the morning, I got up cured. All the things I constantly had to do, all the tapasyas just to keep going, were no longer necessary – someone had taken charge of everything, and it was all over and done with. And on the morning of the 21st, with a crowd of two thousand and some hundred people, it went perfectly smoothly, without the slightest hitch. Then in the afternoon I had that very special experience for my legs.

So on the 21st morning I could say quite spontaneously and unhesitatingly, "Today the Lord has given me the gift of healing me." (I was speaking in English about the things people had given me, and I said, "... and the Lord has given me the gift of healing me.")

This explanation is clear; and the healing was the result of tapasya. It's self-explanatory. Something was even saying to my body, to the body's SUBSTANCE, "O unbelieving substance, now you won't be able to say there are no miracles." Throughout all the work that was being done on the 20th, something was saying (I don't know who, because it doesn't come like something foreign to me any more, it's like a Wisdom, it seems like a Wisdom, something that knows: not someone in particular, but "that which knows," whatever its form), something that knows was insisting to the body, by showing it certain things, vibrations, movements, "From now on, O unbelieving substance, you can't say there are no miracles." Because the substance itself is used to each thing having its effect, to illnesses following a particular course and certain things even being necessary for it to be cured. This process is very subtle, and it doesn't come from the intellect, which can have a totally different interpretation of it; it's rather a kind of consciousness ingrained in physical substance, and that's what was being addressed and being shown certain movements, certain vibrations and so forth: "You see, from now on you can't say there are no miracles." In other words, a direct intervention of the Lord, who doesn't follow the beaten path, but does things... in His own way.

There was also that attack (it was rather serious and threw the doctor into a fit of anxiety) which took place, I think, the day before sari distribution. The next morning, throughout the distribution, someone else seemed to have taken possession of my body and to be doing what had to be done, taking care of all the difficulties; I was comfortable, serene, simply like a carefree spectator. I had nothing to worry about, someone was.... (What "someone"? Someone, something, I don't know, there's no more difference, it's not delineated like that any more; but anyway, it was a being, a force, a consciousness – perhaps a part of myself, I don't know; none of this is clear-cut; it's quite precise, but not divided, very smooth – Mother makes a rounded gesture – no breaks.) Something, then, a will or a force or a consciousness – plainly a power – had taken possession of the body and was doing all the work, looking after everything. I was witnessing everything, smiling. But it's gone now.

It came specifically for that work (I was in pretty bad shape); when the work was over, it dissolved – it didn't leave abruptly but it became inactive. Afterwards, I felt rather confident. "Well in any case," I thought, "something similar could happen on the 21st, since it just happened now."

The 19th was so-so, and on the 20th I was concentrated all day long: no contacts with anyone, nothing external, only an intense invocation... as intense and concentrated as when you're trying to melt into the Lord at death. It was like that. The same movement of identification, but at its core a will for everything to work out in a good way here [on the material plane]. "In a good way"... I mean I said to the Lord, "YOUR Good, the true Good, not.... The true Good, a victorious Good, a real progress over the way life is usually lived." And I stayed in this unwavering concentration the whole day, all the time, all the time: even when I spoke, it was something very external speaking. And then at night when I went to bed I felt something had changed – the body felt completely different. When I got up in the morning, all the pains and disorders and dangers had... vanished. "Lord," I said, "You have given me a gift of health...."

And with this change, the bodily substance, the very stuff of the cells, was constantly being told, "Don't you forget, now you see that miracles CAN happen." In other words, the way things work out in physical substance may not at all conform to the laws of Nature. "Don't forget, now!" It kept coming back like a refrain: "Don't forget, now! This is how it is." And I saw how necessary this repetition was for the cells: they forget right away and try to find explanations (oh, how stupid can you be!). It's a sort of feeling (not at all an individual way of thinking), it's Matter's way of thinking. Matter is built like that, it's part of its make-up. We call it "thinking" for lack of a better word, but it's not "thinking": it is a material way of understanding things, the way Matter is able to understand.

24. February 1962 – Practicing Pranayama

I did it myself for years, using the same system: inhale, hold, exhale, remain empty. But holding the lungs empty is said to be dangerous, so I don't advise it. I did it for years. Without knowing it, Sri Aurobindo and I did it nearly the same way, along with all sorts of other things that aren't supposed to be done! This is to tell you that the danger is mainly in what you think. In the course of certain movements, both of us made the air go out through the crown of the head – apparently that's only to be done when you want to die! (Mother laughs) It didn't kill us.

No, the "danger" is MAINLY a thought formation.

You can achieve excellent control of the heart. But I never practiced it violently, never strained myself. I think holding for 16 is too long. I used to do it simply like this: breathe in very slowly to the count of 4, then hold for 4 like this (I still have the knack of it!), lifting the diaphragm and lowering the head (Mother bends her neck), closing everything and exerting pressure (this is an almost instantaneous cure for hiccups – it's handy!). Then while I held the air, I would make it circulate with the force (because it contained force, you see) and with the peace as well; and I would concentrate it wherever there was a physical disorder (a pain or something wrong somewhere). It's very effective. The way I did it was: inhale, hold, exhale and empty – you are completely empty. It's very useful; very handy for underwater swimmers, for instance!

I had trouble breathing in slowly enough – that's a bit hard. I began with 4 and eventually managed to do 12. I did 12-12-12-12. It took me months to reach that, it can't be done quickly. To breathe in very slowly and hold all that air isn't easy.

Now I have lost the knack, I can barely do more than 6 (Mother demonstrates). I count: 1-2-3-4... no quicker.

And exhale slowly – that's very difficult – being careful to empty the top part of the lungs, because air often stagnates there. This seems to be one of the most frequent causes of coughs and colds. When I had bronchitis I learned to empty the air out completely. And I knew singing, so I was familiar with the method: you learn to hold the air and then release it slowly, slowly, so as to keep singing nonstop.

No, it's not at all dangerous, at least if you don't overdo it. If you do it simply.... I think some people practice pranayama with the idea of gaining "powers." That idea of gaining powers fouls it up more than anything. But if you do it simply as a help to your progress, there's no danger.

At any rate, Sri Aurobindo and I both did a lot of things considered dangerous, and absolutely nothing happened to us. Not that it's necessary to do dangerous things, but nothing happened to us, so it all depends on how you do them.

I think you can safely forget about this formation.

But instead of doing equal amounts of time, it might be better to do less for inhaling and more for holding the breath. The holding part is extremely interesting! When the air is inside, let's say you have a headache or a sore throat or a pain in your arm, anything – then you take the air... (Mother demonstrates) and direct it to the unwell part... very, very helpful and pleasant and interesting. You see the force go to the spot, settle in and stay there, all sorts of things.

27. February 1962 – On Aphorism 72 & dreams, visions

72 – The sign of dawning Knowledge is to feel that as yet I know little or nothing; and yet, if I could only know my knowledge, I already possess everything.

There are different kinds of premonitory dreams. Some are immediately realized – you dream at night what will happen the next day – while the realizations of others are staggered over varying spans of time; such dreams are seen in different realms corresponding to the time they take to be realized.

The closer you approach absolute certainty, the greater is the time span, because the realm of such visions is quite close to the Origin, and a long time can pass between the revelation of what will be and its realization. But being so near the Origin, the revelation is very certain.

When one is identified with the Supreme, there is a place where all is unequivocally known: in the past, in the present, in the future and everywhere. But when they return, those who go there usually forget what they have seen. A particularly strict discipline is needed to remember. That's the only realm where you can't be mistaken.

But the links of communication are seldom all there, so one rarely remembers.

Anyway, to go back to what I was saying, depending on the plane of one's vision, one can judge approximately how much time it will take to be realized. Immediate things are already realized, they are self-existent and can be seen in the subtle physical – they already exist there, and the reflection (not even transcription) or projection of this image is what will take place in the material world the next day or a few hours later. In this case you see the thing accurately, in all its details, because it's already there. Everything hinges on the precision and power of your vision: if your vision is objective and sincere, you will see the thing as it is; if you add personal sentiments or impressions, it gets colored. Accuracy in the subtle physical depends exclusively on the instrument, the one who sees.

But as soon as you move into a subtler realm, like the vital (and the mental even more so), there is a narrow margin of possibilities. You can see the rough outlines of what is going to take place, but in the details it can be this way or that way: it is possible for certain wills or influences to interfere and create discrepancies.

This is so because the original Will is reflected, as it were, in different realms, and in each realm the organization and relation of the images are changed. The world we live in is a world of images – not THE thing itself in its essence, but its reflection. We could say that in our material existence we are merely a reflection, an image of what we are in our essential reality. And the modalities of these reflections are what introduce all the errors and all the falsifications (what is seen in its essence is perfectly true and pure, existing from all eternity, while images are essentially variable). And according to the amount of falsehood introduced into the vibrations, the amount of distortion and alteration increases. Each circumstance, each event and each thing can be said to have one pure existence – its true existence – and a considerable number of impure or distorted existences in the various realms of being. There is a substantial beginning of distortion, for instance, in the intellectual realm (indeed, the mental realm holds a considerable amount of distortion), and it increases as all the emotional and censorial realms interfere. Arriving at the material plane, the vision is most often unrecognizable. Completely distorted. To such a point that it's sometimes very hard to realize that "this" is the material expression of "that" – there's not much resemblance any longer!

This approach to the problem is rather new and can provide the key to many things.

Take the case of someone you know well and are used to seeing materially: seeing him in the subtle physical, certain aspects become more prominent, more visible, more marked; physically they went unseen because in the material grayness they had blended with many other things. Certain character traits that never showed up physically now become so marked as to be quite visible. When you look at someone physically, you see the color of his complexion, the shape of his features, his expression.... Seeing him at the same moment in the subtle physical, you suddenly notice different colors on different parts of the face, in the eyes an expression or a particular light you hadn't seen before – a strong impression of a very different overall appearance, which to our physical eyes would seem rather outlandish. But for the subtle vision it's all very expressive and revealing of the person's character, or even of the influences he's under (what I am talking about is something I observed a few days ago).

So, according to the plane where you are conscious and can see, you perceive images and see events from varying distances and with varying degrees of accuracy. The only true and sure vision is the vision of the Divine Consciousness. The problem, therefore, is to become conscious of the Divine Consciousness and constantly maintain it in all life's details.

Meanwhile, there are all sorts of ways to receive indications. That exact, precise and... (what's the word?) habitual vision certain people have may stem from various sources. It may be a vision through identity with circumstances and things when you have learned to expand your consciousness. It may be an indication from some chatterbox of the invisible world, who has got it into his head to let you know what's going to happen – this is often the case. Then everything depends on your "harbinger's" morals: if he is having fun at your expense, he spins stories for you – this almost always happens to those who receive their information from entities. To bait you, they may repeatedly tell you how things are going to turn out (for they have a universal vision in some vital or mental realm); then, when they are sure you trust them, they may start telling you fibs and, as they say in English, you make a fool of yourself. This happens frequently! You have to be in a higher consciousness than these fellows, these entities (or these minor gods, as some call them) and able to check from above the value of their statements.

With a universal mental vision, you can see (and this is very interesting) how the mental world operates to get realized on the physical plane. You see the various mental formations, how they converge, conflict, combine and relate to one another, which ones get the upper hand, exert a stronger influence and achieve a more total realization. Now, if you really want a higher vision, you must get out of the mental world and see the original wills as they descend to take expression. In this case, you may not have all the details, but the central FACT, the fact in its central truth, is indisputable, undeniable, absolutely correct.

Some people also have the faculty of predicting things already existing on earth but at a distance, far from physical eyes – they're generally those who have the capacity to expand and extend their consciousness. Their vision is slightly more subtle than physical vision, and depends on an organ subtler than its purely material counterpart (what could be called the "life" of this organ). So, by projecting their consciousness, and having the will to see, they can clearly see things that already exist but are beyond our ordinary field of vision. Those who have this capacity – sincere people who tell what they see, not bluffers – see with perfect precision and exactness.

Ultimately, absolute sincerity is the great deciding factor for those who predict or foresee. Unfortunately, because of people's curiosity, their insistence and the pressure they exert (which very few can resist), an almost involuntary mechanism of inner imagination comes to add just that small missing element to something not seen with precision or exactness. That's what causes flaws in prediction. Very few have the courage to say, "Ah no, I don't know this, I don't see that, this eludes me." They don't even have the courage to say it to themselves! So then, with a tiny drop of imagination, which acts almost subconsciously, the vision or information gets rounded out – it can turn out to be anything at all! Very few people can resist this tendency. I have known many, many psychics, many extraordinarily gifted beings, and only a handful were able to stop just at the point where their knowledge stopped. Or else they embellish. That's what gives these faculties their slightly dubious quality. One would have to be a great saint, a great sage, and completely free from other people's influences (I don't speak of those who seek fame: they fall into the most flagrant traps); because even goodwill – wanting to satisfy people, please them, help them – is enough to distort the vision.

There's one very interesting example I always give. The man involved told me about it himself. A long time ago (you must have been a baby), every day the newspaper Le Matin published a small cartoon of a boy dressed like a lift attendant (he told me the story in English), or a sort of bellboy, pointing with his finger to the date or whatever. This man was traveling and staying at a big hotel in some city (I don't remember which), a big city. And he told me that one night or early one morning he had a dream: he saw this bellboy showing him a hearse (you know, what they use in Europe for taking people to the cemetery) and inviting him to step inside! He saw that. And when he got ready that morning and left his room (which was on the top floor) there on the landing was... the same boy, identically dressed, inviting him to go down in the elevator. It gave him a shock. He refused: "No, thanks!" The elevator fell to the ground. It was smashed to pieces, and the people inside were all killed.

After this, he said, he believed in dreams!

It was a vision. He saw the bellboy, but instead of the elevator, the boy showed him his hearse. Then, when he saw the same boy making the very same gesture (really just like the cartoon), he said, "No, thanks! I'll walk down." And the elevator (a hydraulic one) broke. It crashed down, crushing all those inside it.

He asked me about it and my explanation was that an entity had forewarned him. The image of the bellboy indicates an intelligent, conscious intermediary – it doesn't seem to come from the man's subconscient.58 Or else he had seen it in the subtle physical and his subconscient knew – but then why did it present him with such an image? I don't know. Perhaps something in his subconscient knew, because the accident already existed in the subtle physical. Before it occurred here, the accident – "the law of the accident" – existed.

Of course, in every case there is invariably a time-lag, sometimes a few hours (that's the maximum), sometimes a few seconds. Quite frequently things announce their presence, but to come in contact with your consciousness, it may take them a couple of minutes or just seconds. I am constantly, constantly aware of what's going to happen – utterly uninteresting things, as a matter of fact; knowing them in advance changes nothing. But they exist all around us, and with a wide enough consciousness we can know it all. For example, I know that so and so is going to bring me a parcel, that someone is about to come, and so forth. And it's like this every day. Because my consciousness is spread far and wide – it comes into contact with things.

But the thing already exists, so it can't be called a premonition; it's just that to come true for us it needs a few seconds to make contact with our senses, because a door or a wall or something prevents us from seeing it.

I've had many such experiences. Once I was walking along a mountain path wide enough only for one: on one side, a precipice, on the other, sheer rock. Three children were behind me and a fourth person brought up the rear. I was in the lead. The path skirted the rock so you couldn't see what lay ahead. It was quite dangerous, besides: one slip and you fell off the cliff. I was walking in front when suddenly, with other eyes than these (yet I was carefully watching my steps), I saw a snake lying on the rocks around the bend. Waiting. I took one soft step and a snake was actually there! This spared me the shock of surprise (because I had seen it and was advancing cautiously), and as there was no shock of surprise, I could say to the children without scaring them, "Stop, be quiet, don't move." A shock might have caused a mishap – the snake had heard us and was already on the defensive, coiled before his hole, head swaying – a viper. It was in France. Nothing happened, but with confusion and commotion, who knows?...

This type of thing has happened to me very, very often – four times with snakes. There was one incident here near the fishing village of Ariankuppam, a place where a river empties into the sea. Night had fallen swiftly, it was pitch dark, and I was walking along a road when right in the middle of a step (I had already lifted my foot and was about to lower it), I distinctly heard a voice in my ear: "Watch out!" Yet no one had spoken. So I looked, and just as my foot was about to touch the ground, I saw an enormous black cobra right where I was casually going to put my foot. Those fellows don't like that sort of thing! It slithered away and swam across the water – what a beauty, mon petit! Hood wide open, head held high, he swam across like a king. I would certainly have been punished for my impertinence!

I have had hundreds and hundreds of experiences like that – informed just at the last moment (not one second too soon) – and in very different circumstances. Once in Paris I was crossing the Boulevard Saint Michel (I had resolved to attain union with the psychic presence, the inner Divine, within a certain number of months, and these were the last weeks – I was thinking of nothing but that, engrossed in that alone). I lived near the Luxembourg Gardens and was going there for a stroll, to sit in the gardens that evening – still indrawn. I came to a kind of intersection – not a very sensible place to cross when you're interiorized! So, in that state, I started to cross when all of a sudden I had a shock, as if something had hit me, and I instinctively jumped back. As I jumped back a streetcar rushed by. I had felt the streetcar at a little more than arm's length. It had touched my aura, the protective aura (that aura was very strong at the time – I was deep into occultism and knew how to maintain it). My protective aura was touched, and it literally threw me backwards, just like a physical shock. Accompanied by the driver's insults!

I leapt back just in time, and the streetcar passed by.

There are loads of stories I could tell – but I don't remember any more right now.

It can happen in different ways. Quite often I was informed by a small entity or some being or other. Sometimes the aura protected me – all sorts of things. My life was rarely limited to the physical body. And this is useful, it's good. Necessary also – it enhances your capacities. Théon told me right from the start: "You people deprive yourselves of the most useful kind of senses, EVEN FOR ORDINARY LIFE." If you develop your inner senses (he gave them fabulous names), you can.... And it's true, absolutely true, we can know infinitely more than we normally do, merely by using our own senses. And not only mentally but vitally and even physically as well.

But what is the method?

Oh, the method is quite easy! There are various disciplines. It depends on what you want to achieve.

It depends. Each thing has its method. But the primary method is to want it, to make a decision. Then you are given a description of all these senses and how they function – that's a lengthy process. You choose one sense (or several), perhaps the one for which you have the greatest initial aptitude, and you decide. Then you follow the discipline. It's similar to doing exercises for developing muscles. You can even manage to create willpower in yourself.

For the subtler senses, the method is to create an exact image of what you want, make contact with the corresponding vibration and then concentrate and practice. For instance, you practice seeing through an object, or hearing through a sound59 or seeing at a distance. As an example, I was once bedridden for several months, which I found quite boring – I wanted to see. I was staying in one room and beyond that room was another little room and after that a sort of bridge; in the middle of the garden the bridge changed into a stairway going down into a very spacious and beautiful studio built in the middle of the garden. I wanted to go see what was happening in the studio – I was bored stiff in my room! So I stayed very still, shut my eyes and gradually, gradually sent out my consciousness. I did the exercise regularly, day after day, at a set hour. You begin with your imagination, and then it becomes a fact. After a while, I distinctly sensed my vision physically moving: I followed it and saw things going on downstairs I knew absolutely nothing about. I would verify it in the evening, asking, "Did it happen like this? Was that how it was?"

But each of these things must be practiced for months, patiently, almost stubbornly. You take the senses one after another: hearing, sight, and eventually even the subtle aspects of taste, smell and touch.

It's easier with the mind because we are more used to concentrating there. When you want to reflect and find a solution to something, instead of using mental deduction, you stop everything, focus on the idea or problem, and then concentrate, concentrate, intensifying the crux of the problem. You stop everything and wait until, through sheer intensity of concentration, a response comes. Learning that also demands a little time; but if you were ever a good student you have something of the aptitude – it's not so very difficult.

There's a kind of extension of the physical senses. In American Indians, for instance, the senses of hearing and smell are far more extended than ours (in dogs too!). When I was eight or ten years old, I had an Indian friend who came with Buffalo Bill in the days of the Hippodrome – that was a long time ago, I was around eight. He was so sharp that he could put his ear to the ground and tell, from the intensity of the vibrations, how far the sound of footsteps was coming from. All the children immediately said, "I'd really like to know how to do that! " And so you try....

That's how you prepare yourself. You think you're just having fun, but you are preparing yourself for later.