05. September 1962 – Being patient!
Naturally, at the beginning you remember very, very little. As you advance, you remember more – I am referring to the experience of the psychic being.
Of course, I am not speaking of what the universal Mother can know, that's quite another category! I am speaking of the experience of the psychic being, the purely terrestrial experience. Well, very few things seem... in fact, none of them seem alien or unknown to me. The human state of mind, ah yes! Since my early childhood, I have been flabbergasted by the way people think and feel – it seemed monstrous. But as for the circumstances and events of life, that's all more or less old hat.
The experiences that left the most acute impressions on me (Mother makes a poignant gesture) – you know, the kind of things that make you say, "Oh, no, not that again, I've had enough!" – are connected with my lives as a monarch: empress, queen and the like... oh! Those are painful impressions, the most painful of all. And I have a keen memory of a resolution taken in my last life as an empress: "Never again!" I said. "I've had enough, I want no more of it! I'd rather be"... not even "I'd rather be," I chose deliberately: "I WANT to be an obscure being in an obscure family, free at last to do what I want!" And that's the first thing I remembered this time: "Yes, it's an obscure family, an obscure being in an obscure milieu, so I may be free to do what I want; there isn't a horde of people watching me and spying on everything I do and plaguing me with rules about what I ought to be doing."
It didn't last long! (Mother laughs.)
Meaning you never escape your destiny! Although it's not official here, there's still a wide margin
That's the first thing I told Sri Aurobindo: "This was the resolution made by my psychic being" (my psychic being was in a certain person – I know who). "And when I left, it declared categorically: 'I want NO MORE of this!'"
I never had an experience for the joy of it – never. They came only when it was necessary. Nothing ever happened in my life that wasn't absolutely indispensable for my work. But to know this, you understand, you must know exactly what your work is and be conscious of the divine Will; and many years may go by before you reach that point.
I remember that one of the first things I asked Sri Aurobindo when I came here, after innumerable experiences and innumerable realizations, was, "Why am I so mediocre?... Everything I do is mediocre, all my realizations are mediocre, there's never anything remarkable or exceptional – it's just average. It isn't low, but it's not high either – everything is average." And that's really how I felt. I painted: it wasn't bad painting, but many others could do as well. I played music: it wasn't bad music, but you couldn't say, "Oh, what a musical genius!" I wrote: it was perfectly ordinary. My thoughts slightly excelled those of my friends, but nothing exceptional; I had no special gift for philosophy or whatever. Everything I did was like that: my body had its skills, but nothing fantastic; I wasn't ugly, I wasn't beautiful... you see, everything was mediocre, mediocre, mediocre, mediocre. Then he told me, "It was indispensable."
For a long, long time, that was also the one thing I felt was worth living for – Consciousness. When I met Théon and came to understand the mechanism, I also understood why I wasn't conscious at a certain level. I think I've told you how I spent ten months one year working to connect two layers – two layers of consciousness; the contact wasn't established and so I couldn't have the spontaneous experience of a whole spectrum of things. Madame Théon told me, "It's because there's an undeveloped layer between this part and that part." I was very conscious of all the gradations: Théon had explained it all in the simplest terms, so you didn't need to be, as I said, a genius to understand. He had made a quadruple division, and each of them was divided into four, and then again into four, making innumerable divisions of the being; but with that mental simplification you could make in-depth psychological studies of your own being. And so by observation and elimination I eventually discovered that between this and that (gesture indicating two levels of Mother's consciousness), there was an undeveloped layer – it wasn't conscious. So I worked for ten months on nothing but that: absolutely no results. I didn't care, I kept right on, telling myself, "Well, it may take me fifty years to get anywhere, who knows." And then I left for the country (I was living in Paris at the time). I lay down on the grass, and all at once, with the contact of earth and grass, poof! There was a sort of inner explosion – the link was established, and full consciousness came, along with all the ensuing experiences. "Well," I said to myself, "it was worth all the trouble!"
And I am sure that's how the work is done, slowly, imperceptibly, like a chick being formed in the egg: you see the shell, you see only the shell, you don't know what's inside, whether it's just an egg or a chick (normally, I mean – of course, you could see through with special instruments) and then the beak goes peck-peck! And then cheep! Out comes the chick, just like that. It's the same thing exactly for the contact with the psychic being. For months on end, sometimes years, you may be sitting before a closed door, push, push, pushing, and feeling, feeling the pressure (it hurts!), and there's nothing, no results. Then all at once, you don't know why or how, you sit down and poof! Everything bursts wide open, everything is ready, everything is done – it's over, you emerge into a full psychic consciousness and become intimate with your psychic being. Then everything changes – everything changes – your life completely changes, it's a total reversal of your whole existence.
In the end, it's best not to worry, not to get agitated or depressed (that's the worst of all), not to get worked up or impatient or disgusted – just be calm and say, "It will come when it comes," but with an unyielding stubbornness. Do what you feel has to be done, and keep on with it, keep on even if it seems utterly futile.
There are methods – books are full of them. I don't recommend any of them: it's always the method the author uses or has heard of. Everyone has to find his own method.
One can get certain hints, one can find one's own method.
But one has to.... Look, it's the same as for japa. Your japa is given to you, isn't it? You receive it (unless you find it on your own, but that's harder and already requires another level of realization); you receive your japa along with the power to do it – but you have to learn how to do it, right? For a long while you don't fully succeed; all sorts of things happen – you forget it right in the middle or fall asleep or grow tired, get a headache, all sorts of things; or even outer circumstances interfere and disturb you. Well, here it's the same: you tell yourself, "I'll do it," and you will do it, even if.... You have to go at it just like a mule: everything blocks the way but you keep going. You said you'd do it and you will do it. There are no results – I don't care. Everything is against me – I don't care. I said I'd do it and I will... I said I'd do it and I will. And you keep on going like that.
It's the same thing in your case. It depends on what you want to achieve. Simply what I told you about sleep or resting, for example, ought to be enough. On that, you base your own discipline – or on words that were uttered, or gestures that were made, or ideas you've received. You establish your own discipline. And once you have chosen your discipline, you keep on with it.
That's my experience.
Stubbornly. You have to be stubborn – stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. You're up against all the resistance of unconsciousness and ignorance, up against all the power of unconsciousness and ignorance – something obstinate and unyielding. But it's like the story of the drop of water on the rock: a matter of time. The water will eventually wear its way through the rock. It takes ages, but it will succeed, for it falls persistently, drop after drop. First it runs off, eventually it makes a hole, and you have a wide river flowing below. Nature gives us this wonderful example to follow. That's it: we must be like the water dripping on the rock.
Water is vital energy. The rock is unconsciousness.
08. September 1962 – Malfunctioning of the body; disorders, attacks
It's a strange sensation, a bizarre perception of both the true functioning and the functioning distorted by the sense of being an individual body. They're not even... you can't even say they're superimposed, they're almost simultaneous, and that's why it is so hard to explain.... A number of things are malfunctioning in the body; I don't know if they can be called illnesses (maybe the doctors would call them illnesses...), but in any case, they're malfunctionings in the body's organs: the heart, the stomach, the intestines, the lungs and so on. And at the same time there's (it can't be called a "functioning") the true state. And thus certain disorders appear only when the consciousness... as if the consciousness were pulled or pushed or poised in a certain way, and then, those malfunctionings INSTANTLY appear – not as a consequence: I mean the consciousness becomes aware of their existence. And if the consciousness stays in that position long enough, there are what we conventionally call consequences: the malfunctioning has its consequences (tiny things, such as physical discomforts, for instance). And if through (is it yogic discipline, is it the Lord's intervention?... Call it what you will)... but if the consciousness regains its true position, the consequences cease IMMEDIATELY. Sometimes, though, it's like this (Mother makes a gesture of an overlapping or interpenetration by interlacing the fingers of her two hands), in other words, this way, then that, this way, then that (Mother slips the fingers of her right hand back and forth through the fingers of her left to show the consciousness alternating between two states), this position, then that position, this one, then that one. This movement takes only a few seconds, so I can almost perceive the two functionings simultaneously. That's what gave me the knowledge of the process, otherwise I wouldn't understand; I would simply think I am falling from one state into another. That's not it, it's just.... The substance, the vibrations, everything is probably following its normal course, you see, and all that is really changing is the way consciousness perceives things.
So pushing this knowledge to its limit – that is, applying it generally – life (what we usually call "life," the physical life of the body) and death are THE SAME THING, simultaneous... it's just that the consciousness moves back and forth, back and forth (same gesture). I don't know if I am making myself clear. But it's fantastic.
And this experience comes with examples just as concrete and as utterly banal as can be. There's no room for imagination or enthusiasm – they are details of the utmost banality. For example (it's only ONE example), this sudden shift of consciousness takes place (something imperceptible, you can't perceive it, for if you had time to perceive it, I suppose it wouldn't happen; it isn't objectified), and... you feel you're going to faint, all the blood rushes from the head to the feet and: whoops! But if the consciousness is caught IN TIME, it doesn't happen; and if it's not caught in time, it does.
This would tend to show.... I don't know if we can generalize or if this is just one special case being worked out (I can't say), but there's a very distinct impression that what ordinary human consciousness perceives as death might simply be that the consciousness hasn't been brought back to its true position fast enough.
I am quite aware that all this must seem confusing; I can feel how inadequate the words and expression are for describing the experience. When you want to be literary, you say it's a "reversal of consciousness" – but it isn't! That's just literature.
Although perhaps it means we are drawing closer to the knowledge of the thing – by knowledge I mean the power to change it, of course. If you have power over something, it's because you know it; "knowing" a thing means being able to create it, or change it, to make it last or cease to be – in other words it is Power. That's what "knowing" means. All the rest is explanations the mind gives to itself. And I can feel that something ("something"! Well, what Sri Aurobindo calls "the Lord of Yoga": the part of the Supreme concerned with terrestrial evolution) is leading me towards the discovery of that Power – that Knowledge – naturally by the only possible means: experience. And with great care, for I can feel that....
It's going as fast as it possibly can.
Outwardly, of course, these troubles (these apparent troubles) upset people, especially the doctor! I've explained to him that it was all yoga and transformation, and he shouldn't worry, but evidently... it's upsetting to ordinary eyes. One fact in particular is bewildering to ordinary vision: I am very, very regularly losing weight. It's already down to a ridiculous figure – I weigh only 85 pounds! With my height and bone structure, my normal weight should be 130 pounds; when I was twenty-five I weighed 130 or 135. Now I am down to only 85, and it's going down quite regularly. I understand how disturbing this might be for people who see things in the ordinary way!... I don't eat much (not a little, not a lot, just average), and I don't seem to benefit from what I eat – that's how it looks on the surface. And then there are these strange phenomena; I don't usually talk about them (you're the only one I have explained them to, nobody else), I don't talk about them, but from time to time I appear to... I must appear to be fainting. And not in the usual way, you know, that's the thing! Nothing happens in the usual way, so it's very upsetting! (Mother laughs) The Energy is tremendous, more tremendous than it has ever been; and there is practically no physical strength. I can act, but only if I bring in the Energy: the least physical act demands the Energy. I think the body is completely... flimsy; it seems... sometimes I touch it to see if it's still... if it's hard or if it's soft!
There was an extremely violent attack (it was yesterday, I believe; no, the day before) and this time, a formidable combative power came to me. The attack consisted of this: the Origin – if there is one – is to be blamed for all ill will, and any process that seems dangerous has to be furthered and helped! But then that consciousness came (almost like an entity with a warlike power), and it stayed until the body recovered its peace, its usual peace.
I could see something almost like the fire of battle – an interesting spectacle! The body was very conscious of the Help it was getting, and that gave it a lot of confidence: it came out of the battle with a kind of increased certainty that it was being led just as it had to be in order to do "the thing" – something nobody knows how to do externally, nobody! Nobody can know – neither the process nor... anything. It's entirely new.
Of course, the supreme Consciousness knows what It's doing and what's going to happen, in that It knows what It wants; but it isn't something that operates from cause to effect, and from events or circumstances to consequences, the way ordinary consciousness operates; it's not like that at all, and that's why we're unable to express it outwardly – for the moment. Maybe later we will be able to spell something out, but it will never be more than (how can I put it?)... just a story, right? Not THE thing itself.
08. September 1962 – About Sadhana
To him, sadhana.... I sent him word that I was fully engrossed in sadhana, and then I immediately saw his mental image of me sitting cross-legged doing a perpetual puja! You get the idea. For him, sadhana means certain fixed rules, and if you let the rules go, you let go of the sadhana. But it doesn't matter, don't worry about it.
He is "ill" because something is trying to make him go through several lifetimes in one. If it succeeds, well, he will eventually understand; if it doesn't succeed, we will have done what we could, he will have done what he could, and everything will be for the best. That's all.
I've come to a point where I can see the effort towards the Divine even in very unconscious little beings: puppies, kittens, little babies, a tree – it's visible. And that is the immense sadhana of the earth... preparing itself to receive the Divine.
That's all that is needed.
Outer forms are totally irrelevant – totally.
15. September 1962 – Beyond Overmind
Somewhere in the overmind (beyond the higher mind and from the overmind onwards), things are luminous IN THEMSELVES. Light doesn't have to strike them: things themselves are luminous. And this makes a considerable difference in vision. Things are no longer lit from outside, they are luminous in themselves. This is the main difference in the quality of the light.
It has even come to the point where things lit from outside seem artificial to me. They have lost their light.
There may be a very dim and subdued light – not bright, I mean – but it's self-luminous. And so the higher you rise, the more brilliant and uniform light becomes.
26. September 1962 – Overmind and Supermind
I am unfamiliar with the purely Hindu traditions, but the gods are the beings the Vedas and people of Vedic times were in touch with – at least I think so. I learned what I know about the gods before coming here, through the other tradition, the Chaldean. But Théon used to say that this tradition and the Vedic (which he knew well) were outgrowths of a more ancient tradition common to both. The story goes, according to him, that the first Emanations, who were perfectly independent, separated themselves from the Supreme in their action, creating all the disorder – that's what caused the creation's disorder. Afterwards the gods were emanated, to repair the evil that had been wrought and to organize the world according to the supreme Will. Of course, this is a childlike way of putting it, but it's comprehensible. So all these gods work in harmony and order. That's what the ancient tradition says.
As far as I've understood, the Indian tradition has embraced everything that came from the first Emanations, since all the gods of destruction, of unconsciousness and of suffering are included in its pantheon.
In the end, I think it's up to each one to name what he wants the way he wants. That's how I have always felt. Even in Hindu tradition it is written: "Man is chattel for the gods; beware of the gods."
All this is merely a question of language to me – words to suit each one according to his nature.
I've had conscious contacts with all the beings of the tradition Théon made known to me, and with all the beings described in Indian tradition; in fact, as far as I know I've had contacts with all the deities of all the religions. There's a gradation (gesture of levels). These beings are found all the way from... there are even some in the vital; in the mental realm, man has deified many things: he has readily made gods out of whatever didn't seem exactly like him. If you are eclectic, you can have contacts with them all. And they all have their own reality and existence.
This region just overlooks the earth and the mind (including the very highest mind). But evolution – I mean TERRESTRIAL evolution, with its particular rhythm which is more condensed, more concentrated and, you could say, more focused than universal evolution as a whole – this terrestrial evolution has, with the human species, created a kind of higher intellectuality capable of passing through the overmental region, the region of the gods, and reaching a higher Principle directly.
But this overmental region, this region of the gods with the power to govern the universe and, PARTIALLY, the earth, does have its own reality. You can come into contact with it and use it; the Vedic "forefathers" used it, occultists use it, even Tantrics use it. But there's another path which, distrusting the gods, bypasses them through a kind of intellectual asceticism, as it were, wary of forms, of images, and differing expressions, which rises straight as an arrow, proud and pure, towards the supramental Light. That is a living experience.
Sri Aurobindo preached the integral yoga which includes everything, so one can have all the experiences. Indeed, the universe was clearly created as a field of experience. Some people prefer the short, straight and narrow paths – that's their business. Others like to dawdle along the way – and that's their business!
And some are drawn to have all the experiences, and thus they often wander for a long time through the overmental world. And of course, the vast majority of those who have RELIGIOUS aspirations are thus put in touch with various deities, where they stop – it's enough for them.
But everything I've just said is only one tiny part of the whole story.
Actually, this domain of the gods belongs to our side, although on a godlike scale: with the gods' power, their possibilities, their consciousness, their freedom; and their immortality, too. In other words, a godlike life – I think most human beings would be more than satisfied with it!
And as all the stories tell us, sometimes the gods come to earth to have some fun. I know that some come and take on a human body to have a psychic being – but not all. Most of them simply enjoy having human contact. In any case, they have bodies in their own domain – there's no sense of being bodiless. They have bodies – immortal ones.
I don't know what Sri Aurobindo would tell you....
This is just what I am observing these days. To me, the overmental consciousness is a magnified consciousness: far lovelier, far loftier, far more powerful, far happier, far... with lots of "far more's" to it. But.... I can tell you one thing: the gods don't have the sense of Oneness. For instance, in their own way they quarrel among themselves, which shows they have no sense of Oneness, no sense of all being one, of all being various expressions of the Divine – the unique Divine. So they are still on this side, but with magnified forms, and powers beyond our comprehension: the power to change form at will, for example, or to be in many places at the same time – all sorts of things that poor human beings can only dream of having. The gods have it all. They live a divine life! But it's not supramental.
The Supermind is knowledge – Pure Knowledge. Yes, it is knowing – knowing what is to be known.
There is no longer a play BETWEEN oneself and things, it's.... Truly, the sign of the Supermind is Oneness. Not a sum of a lot of different things, but, on the contrary, a Oneness... at play with Itself. There's nothing of the way gods relate to each other and the world, for they are still part of the realm of diversity, though FREE from Ignorance. They don't have Ignorance, they don't have what we human beings have here. They have no Ignorance, they have no Unconsciousness, but they have the sense of diversity and of separation.
What about Sri Aurobindo's experience at Alipore, then? You know, that well-known experience when he saw Narayana in the prisoners, Narayana in the guards, Narayana everywhere?...
That is the Supreme. Oneness.
Is it a supramental experience or....
It is supramental.
Yes, the supramental experience. He called it Narayana because he was Indian.
It's like the message of the Gita as Sri Aurobindo explained it: not overmental, but supramental. It is Oneness, the experience of Oneness.
The experience of the gods has never been more than a distraction for me – an amusement, a pleasant diversion; none of it seems essential or indispensable. You can treat yourself to the luxury of all these experiences, and they increase your knowledge and your power, your this and your that, but it's not particularly important. THE thing is altogether different.
We can do without the gods. We can have access to the Supermind without any of these experiences, they're not indispensable. But if you want to know and experience the universe, if you want to be identified with the Supreme in His expression, well, all this is part of His expression, in varying degrees and with varying powers. It's all part of His experience. So why not treat yourself to that luxury? It's very interesting, very interesting – but not indispensable.
I think that once you are identified with the Supreme and He has chosen you to do a work on earth, then He quite naturally grants you all these things, because it increases your power of action, that's all. That's all.
As for me, there are no more problems, no more problems!
This classification [of the planes of consciousness] is very convenient and necessary at a given moment, especially when you are ascending and awakening; but afterwards....
Sri Aurobindo didn't put too much emphasis on the Overmind. The one significant point is that the Overmind has ruled the world through the different religions. And it is the dwelling place of all the gods, all the beings humans have made into gods in their religions. Those beings exist in their own world, and some humans, coming in touch with them, have been overwhelmed by their powers and their superiority, and have made gods and religions out of them.
But it's better not to emphasize this [in your book]. As I have said, we can bypass that plane, or even pass through without knowing it. It interested me to read in the Vedas that if you don't ascend the way you're supposed to, if you try to bypass the gods, then unpleasant things happen to you and your way is blocked – do you remember that?188 That gives you an idea of what it is. It's like an intermediary zone, far superior to the earth, but still intermediary. Some have tried to cross it without stopping; and there, they say, you run into trouble. Personally, I am not sure, I can only speak of my own experience: there was always a sense of fraternity – as you can imagine! I knew them, I was on friendly terms with them, so there was no question of bypassing them or not!
But I have a strong impression that that world is still a magnified version of our own, and part of the old path; it has nothing to do with the Supramental Creation, which will bring to earth the sense of the Supreme and the Unique.
Basically, it's part of the old path, a consequence of all that has happened, of the whole universal formation as we know it. People who believe in essential Evil would say it's a consequence of "the accident" of creation. But is it an accident? I have my doubts. It has yet to be revealed. And we won't know until... until it's over.
I am speaking in riddles, but what else can I do!...
I mean that the why and the how of it won't be known until... until the curve is completed. But the gods belong to the present curve. The overmind belongs to this curve.
Those gods are all very nice! For some people they're unbearable at times (Mother laughs), but they're really very nice! They have their faults, they have their good points, but with me they have always been very nice!
29. September 1962 – Modern Science
"Beyond the shadow of a doubt, modern scientific perception comes much closer to expressing universal reality than, say, Stone Age perceptions did. Yet even science will suddenly find itself completely surpassed and probably turned upside down by the intrusion of something that DID NOT EXIST in the observed universe...."
The trouble is, Sri Aurobindo said the thing was INSIDE already, involved. He always says it's "involved" and then evolves.
"This change, this abrupt transformation of the universal element, will most certainly bring about a kind of chaos in the perceptions, from which a new knowledge will emerge. That, in the most general terms, is the result of the new Manifestation."
It's not a question of "new things," as if they didn't exist before, but they were unmanifested in the universe. Nothing can exist which doesn't already exist in the Supreme from all eternity. But it is new in the Manifestation. The element isn't new, but it is newly manifest, newly emerged from the Non-manifest. Something "new"... what does that mean? It makes no sense! It is new FOR us, in the manifestation, that's all.
We always talk nonsense when we speak. But at any rate (laughing), some nonsense is closer to the truth than other nonsense! This nonsense is closer to the truth.