06. October 1962 – On Aphorism 78
78 – When knowledge is fresh in us, then it is invincible; when it is old, it loses its virtue. This is because God moves always forward.
Sri Aurobindo is speaking here of knowledge through inspiration or revelation. In other words, when something suddenly descends and illuminates your understanding: all of a sudden, you feel you know a certain thing for the very first time, because it comes to you directly from the domain of Light, the domain of true knowledge, and it comes with all its innate force of truth – it illuminates you. And indeed, when you've just received it, it seems as though nothing could resist that Light. And if you make sure to let it work in you, it brings about as much transformation as it can in its own domain.
It is a fairly common experience. When it occurs, and for some time afterwards (not very long), everything seems to organize itself quite naturally around that Light. Then, little by little, it blends with all the rest. The intellectual awareness of it remains, formulated in one way or another – that much is left – but it's like an empty husk. It no longer has the driving force that transforms all movements of the being in the image of that Light. And this is what Sri Aurobindo means: the world moves fast, the Lord moves ever forward, and all that remains is but a trail He leaves in His wake: it no longer has the same instantaneous and almighty force it had at the MOMENT He projected it into the world.
It's like a rain of truth falling, and anyone who can catch even a drop of it receives a revelation. But unless they themselves advance at a fantastic pace, the Lord and His rain of truth will already be far, far away, and they'll have to run very fast to catch up!
This is an image I have always seen. That's what he means.
It is the higher Knowledge, Truth expressing itself, what he calls "the true knowledge"; and that knowledge transforms the whole creation. But He seems to let it rain down constantly, you see, and if you don't hurry up (laughing), you get left behind!
But have you never felt a sort of dazzling flash in your head? And then: "Aha! That's it!" Sometimes it's something that was known intellectually, but it was drab and lifeless; and then all at once it comes as a tremendous power, organizing everything in the consciousness around that Light – it doesn't last very long. Sometimes it lasts a few hours, sometimes a few days, but never longer, unless one is very slow in one's movement. And meanwhile, you know (laughing), the Source of Truth is moving on and on and on....
Actually, we'll be able to speak of what transforms Matter only when Matter is... at least a bit transformed, when there is a beginning of transformation. Then we can talk about the process. But for the moment....
But any transformation in the being, on any plane, always has repercussions on the planes below. There is always an action. Even those things which seem purely intellectual certainly have an effect on the structure of the brain.
And these kinds of revelations happen only in a silent mind – or at least a mind at rest. Unless the mind is absolutely tranquil and still, it doesn't come. Or if it does come, you don't even notice anything with all the racket you're making! And of course, these experiences help the tranquillity, the silence and receptivity to become better and better established. This sense of something utterly immobile, but not closed – immobile, but open and receptive – gets more established the more you have these experiences. There is a big difference between a dead, lackluster, unresponsive silence and the receptive silence of a quieted mind. It makes a big difference. And it results from these experiences. All the progress we make is always, quite naturally, the result of truths coming down from above.
It has an effect: all these things have an effect on the way the body functions – the workings of the organs, the brain, the nerves and so forth. And this will certainly take place long before there is any effect on the external form.
Actually, when people speak of transformation, they're mainly thinking of a picturesque transformation, aren't they? A beautiful appearance – luminous, supple, plastic, changing at will.... But they don't give much thought to this other thing, this rather... anesthetic transformation of the organs!
And yet it's certainly what's going to happen first, long before the appearance is transformed.
Sri Aurobindo spoke of the working of the chakras replacing the organs. Yes – 300 years, he said! (Mother laughs.)
With a bit of reflection it's easy to understand: if it were a question of stopping something and starting something ELSE, it might be done rather rapidly. But to keep a body alive (to keep it functioning) and AT THE SAME TIME have enough of a new functioning so that it stays alive, and then a transformation – that makes a very difficult combination to realize. I am fully aware of it, fully aware... of the immense amount of time that's needed for this to be done without catastrophe.
Above all, of course, when we come to the heart: to replace the heart with the center of Power, a formidable, dynamic power! (Mother laughs) At what precise MOMENT are you going to eliminate the circulation and throw in the Force!
It is... it's difficult.
In ordinary life, you think of things, then you do them – but this is just the opposite! In this life you have to do things first and understand afterwards – but long afterwards. You have to act first, without thinking. If you think, you get nowhere; you're just reverting to the old way of doing things.
06. October 1962 – Gita: the Experience of Oneness
One thing struck me: you say that the Gita as Sri Aurobindo explained it is not overmental but supramental....
Sri Aurobindo said that what he came to bring was already indicated in the Gita.
It is the experience of Oneness.
I mean all the things and forms in the overmind itself (the raiment of the gods, for instance, their jewels and crowns – there are all kinds of things in the overmind). In those worlds there are all kinds of forms, which we translate into images from terrestrial life... but it's only a translation.
Take the gods' raiment, for example. Their raiment, which they change at will in the same way they change their forms, is made not of physical but of overmental substance, and that substance contains its own light. It's like that with everything, it's all.... There's no sun casting light and shadows: the substance is self-luminous.
When I speak of the "world of Oneness" I don't merely mean having the "sense" that all is one and that everything takes place within that One. What I mean by Oneness is that you can't distinguish between conceiving the action, the will to act, the action itself, and the result. It's.... All is one, simultaneous.
But how? It can't be explained – it simply can't! You can get a glimpse of the experience, but... ultimately, it's inexpressible, we have no means to express it.
If we say "all is simultaneous," we're talking in platitudes.
We always express things in terms of high and low. As I've often said, other words are needed, another way of formulating things.
You say I didn't understand your question, but I understood it perfectly, I knew perfectly well what you wanted.... But what can be said about That! It simply cannot be spoken of, and here's the proof: if we could talk about it, it would be here. And even then we probably wouldn't talk about it.
We can't talk about it, we can't say anything; whatever we say about it is nonsense! Of course it's At their maximum, at the height of their possibilities, human conceptions can at the VERY BEST express something or other of the overmind. For me it is very vivid, very familiar, because I have lived there a lot. But even so, I consider words too awkward to express it – although with "poetic" metaphors you might just manage to convey an impression of it. But as for speaking of the Other Thing, I am quite aware that.... Because even when you're right in the Experience, the only thing you feel like doing is... keeping quiet. You can't talk. As soon as you utter a word, poof! It all clouds over. It's useless.
Well, I mean I can see the luminous vibration behind it. But I realize that one way of seeing doesn't preclude the other.
It's the same when I look at people: I don't see them as they see themselves, I see them with the vibration of all the forces that are in them and pass through them, and quite frequently with the supreme Vibration of the Presence. And that's why my physical sight is... not exactly failing, but changing in character, for the physical precision that normal physical sight gives is... it's false for me. Instinctively (not because I think of it that way), that's how it Is. So I no longer have the precision of a vision designed to see just the superficial crust of things.
But this doesn't keep me from seeing physically – although, yes, it does at times make me unsure of who's in front of me, because I see a vibration that is sometimes very similar, almost identical, in three or four people (who aren't all necessarily present, but anyway...). So there's a slight external difference – there's a very great external difference in the way the form looks, of course, but in the combination of vibrations there's only a slight external difference. And so sometimes I am not sure, I don't know whether it's this person or that one; that's why I often ask, "Who's there?" It's not that I don't see anything, but I don't see in the same way.
In a way, I think I see better. But in a particular way. If, for instance, I have to thread a needle (I have experimented with this kind of thing), well, if I try to thread the needle while looking at it, it's literally impossible. But sometimes (when I am in a certain attitude), if I have to thread a needle, it threads itself – I have nothing to do with it: I hold the needle, I hold the thread, and that's that.
I think (in fact, it's quite simply a matter of experience), I think that if this state gets perfected one should be able to do everything in the OTHER way, the way that doesn't depend on external senses. And then, well, it will clearly be the beginning of a supramental expression. Because it's a sort of innate knowledge which DOES things. When That comes, you know, you can act.
But you mustn't think; the minute you start thinking or wanting to use your sense organs, it vanishes completely.
And as far as expression is concerned, the first thing that comes over you is... it's not just an impossibility: you don't WANT to talk.
Something else is needed, something else entirely. We just have to wait. Wait for it to come.
12. October 1962 – Aphorisms 79-80; Sri Aurobindo in the subtle World
79 – God is infinite Possibility. Therefore Truth is never at rest; therefore, also, Error is justified of her children.
80 – To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs; Heine was nearer the mark when he found in Him the divine Aristophanes.
Yes, he means that what is true at one moment is no longer true at another. And that's what justifies the children of Error.
That's exactly the impression: all our judgments are momentary. One moment one thing, the next moment something else. And errors exist for us because we see things in succession, one after the other; but that can't be how the Divine sees them, because everything is in Him.
Just try for a moment (laughing), try and imagine you're the Divine! Everything is in you; you simply play at bringing it all out in a certain order. But for you, in your consciousness, it's all there simultaneously: there is no time, neither past, future, nor present – it's all there together, every possible combination. He's just playing at bringing out one thing and then another; but the poor devils down below see only a small part of the whole (about as much as this) and say, "Here's an error!" How is it an error? Simply because what they see is only a small part.
It's clear, isn't it? It's easy to understand. The notion of error belongs to time and space.
The same goes for the feeling that a thing cannot both BE and NOT BE at the same time. And yet that's the way things are: something both is and is not at the same time. The notion of time, of time and space, is what brings in the notion of error.
Something is, and simultaneously its opposite exists. Well, for us it can't be both yes and no at the same time; but for the Lord it's CONSTANTLY both yes and no at the same time!
It's the same with our notion of space. "I am here," we say, "therefore you are not here." But I am here and you are here and all is here! (Mother laughs) But you can't understand this unless you go beyond the notion of space and time.
It's something that can be very concretely sensed, if we stop seeing things the way we usually do.
Many of these aphorisms were surely written at a time when the higher mind suddenly surged into the Supermind. It hasn't yet forgotten how things look in the ordinary way, but it now sees how they are in the supramental way. And as a result, there's this kind of thing, that's what gives this paradoxical form. Because the one is not forgotten and the other is already perceived.
Actually, if you look at things closely, you're forced to conclude that the Lord is acting out a tremendous comedy for Himself, that the Manifestation is a comedy He's playing with and for Himself!
He has put Himself in the role of spectator and He's watching Himself. And to watch Himself, He has to accept the notion of time and space – otherwise He can't watch Himself! And immediately the whole comedy begins. But it's a comedy and nothing more!
And we're the puppets, eh! That's why we take it so seriously. But as soon as we stop being puppets, we realize it's a comedy.
I've been focusing on this lately. I've been looking at the difference between similar events in the lives of human beings and the lives of animals. If you identify with animals, you clearly see that they don't take things tragically at all – except for those which have come into contact with man. (But then they're not in their natural state; it's a transitional state, they are beings in transition between animal and man.) And naturally the first things they pick up from man are his defects – that's always what's easiest to pick up! And then they make themselves unhappy... for nothing.
So many things, so many things.... Human beings have made an appalling tragedy out of death. And I saw, with all these recent experiences, I saw how many, many poor human beings have been destroyed by the very people they loved the most! Under the pretext that they were dead.
People give them a very bad time.
Yes, burned. Or shut up in a box without air and light – while FULLY CONSCIOUS. And just because they can no longer express themselves, people say they are "dead." They don't waste any time declaring them dead! But they are conscious. They are conscious. Imagine someone who can no longer speak or move – according to human laws, he is "dead." He is dead but he is conscious. He is conscious, so he sees the people around him: some of them are weeping, some of them are... if he's a bit clairvoyant, he also sees that some of them are rejoicing. And then he sees himself put into a box, sees the lid nailed down, shutting him in: "Ah, now it's all over, they're going to cover me with earth!" Or he's taken over there [to the cremation ground], and then it's fire in the mouth – FULLY conscious.
I have lived this in recent days. I have seen it. Last night or the night before, I spent at least two hours in a world – the subtle physical world – where the living mingle with the dead with no sense of difference, it makes absolutely no difference there. For instance, when Mridu was in her body I used to see her at night maybe once a year (maybe not even that much). For years she was utterly nonexistent in my consciousness... but since she left her body, I see her almost every night! There she is, just as she was, you know (rotund gesture), but no longer troubled, that's all. No longer troubled. And there were both living and... what we call the "living" and the "dead" – they were both there together, eating together, moving around together, having fun together; and all in a lovely, tranquil light – pleasant, very pleasant. "There! " I thought, "and humans have drawn a sharp line, saying, 'Now he's dead!'" Dead! And what really takes the cake is the way they treat the body like an unconscious object, and it's still conscious!
It's treated like an object: "Now then! Let's get rid of this just as quickly as we can: it's a nuisance and it gets in the way." And even those who feel the most sorrow don't want to see it; it's too painful for them.
Where, where is the Error? Where is the Error?
In fact there's no such thing as error. There are only things that seem impossible because we don't know that the Lord is all possibility and can do whatever He wants, any way He wants. We just can't get it through our heads: "This can be, but that can't," we keep saying. But it's not true! Everything is possible, and only our own stupidity says that something "can't be." Difficult to say anything reasonable for the Bulletin.
So you see, the only one who's not worried is the one watching the show, because he knows everything that's going to happen. He has an absolute knowledge of everything, everything that is happening, has happened or will happen – for him, it's all ONE presence. And then there are the actors, the poor actors, who don't even know their roles very well. They worry and fret because they're being made to play something and they don't know what it is. I've just had a very strong sense of this: we're all playing parts in the comedy, but we don't know what the comedy is, nor where it's going, where it's coming from, nor what it's all about. We just barely know (and poorly, at that) what we're supposed to do at a given moment. And knowing it so poorly, we worry about it. But when you know everything, you can't worry any more – you smile. He must be having great fun, but for us.... And yet we are given the FULL POWER to have just as much fun as He does.
One does sometimes wonder why, why is this life so tragic?
But in the first place, if it were a perpetual enchantment we wouldn't even appreciate it, because it would be completely natural – that's mainly it: we wouldn't appreciate it because it would just be completely natural. And nothing says we wouldn't long for a little hullabaloo for a change! We just might.
This may be what the story of the earthly paradise is all about.... People in that paradise had a spontaneous knowledge: they lived with the same sort of consciousness animals have, just enough of it to get a little joy out of life, to feel the joy of life. But then they started wanting to know the why and the how and where they were going and what they were supposed to do and so forth – and so all their worries began... they got tired of being peacefully happy.
I think Sri Aurobindo wanted to say that error is an illusion like everything else, that there is no such thing as error: all possibilities are present, and since they ARE all present, they are often – they are NECESSARILY contradictory. Contradictory in their appearance. But all you have to do is look at yourself and ask, "What do I call error?" And if you face the thing squarely and ask, "What do I call error?" you immediately see how stupid it is – there is no error, you simply can't put your finger on it.
I can't tell people all this in the Bulletin, mon petit – they'd go crazy! They mustn't be fed things too strong for them to digest.
There's a person I won't name who has read Sri Aurobindo's books and thought he understood them. He has been following a yogic discipline (anyway, he "thought" he was doing yoga)... and he pulled down the Force. The Force responded... (Mother laughs). He wound up with a headache! He got frightened and wrote to me in these exact words: "This Force is the Lord's Force" (which is true, quite true), "and it has turned into fear. So (Mother laughs) fear is the Lord's principal perversion." There you have it. He read in books that the Lord is behind everything, that there is nothing that isn't the Lord; so it's the Lord who has become perverted in His manifestation, naturally.... The Force of the Lord came to help him and was changed into fear, so "the Lord's principal perversion is fear"! If you read that, you'd say he was going off his rocker.
That's just what happens when you feed people something too strong, something they can't understand and assimilate: it creates incoherence in their brains.
So none of this stuff can be published, though it's fine for the Agenda. How can it be told to people? (silence)
I have the feeling that Sri Aurobindo was in his period of ascent, the intuitive mind was piercing through and coming into contact with the Supermind, and it was coming into his thought like bursts of light – whoosh! And then he would write these things. But if you follow the movement, you see the Origin.
This is plainly what he meant: Error is one of the innumerable, infinite possibilities ("infinite" means that absolutely nothing is outside the possibility of being). So where is there room for error in this? It's WE who call it error, it's totally arbitrary. "That's an error," we say – but in relation to what? To our judgment of what is true, yes, but certainly not in relation to the Lord's judgment, since it is part of Him!
Few people can bear this widening of understanding.
When I start looking, you know (Mother closes her eyes), there are two things simultaneously: that smile, that joy, that laughter, and then... that peace! Oh really, such peace.... Such a full, luminous peace... and TOTAL: no more struggle, no more contradictions. No more struggle. A SINGLE luminous harmony... and yet everything is there, what we call error, suffering, misery, it's all there. NOTHING is done away with. It is another way of seeing.
There's nothing to say – if you sincerely want to get out of it, it's really not so difficult: there's nothing to do but leave everything to the Lord. And He does it all. He does it all, He is... it's so wonderful! So wonderful!
He takes anything, even what we call a quite ordinary intelligence, and then He simply shows you how to put that intelligence aside, lay it to rest: "There now, keep still, don't stir, don't bother me; I don't need you." And then a door opens – you don't even feel you have to open it; it's wide open, and you're led through to the other side. It's Someone else who does all this, not you. And then... the other way becomes impossible.
Oh, all this frightful toil, this effort of the mind to understand!
Struggling, giving itself headaches – phew!... Absolutely useless, absolutely useless. It leads nowhere, except to more confusion.
You find yourself facing a so-called problem: "What am I to say? What am I to do? How should I act?..." There is nothing to do! Nothing but to say to the Lord, "You see, here's the situation." That's all. And then keep very still. And spontaneously, without thinking about it, without reflecting, without calculating, without doing anything, anything whatsoever, without the slightest effort... you do what must be done. But it's the Lord who does it, it's no longer you. He does it, He arranges the circumstances, He arranges the people, He puts the words in your mouth or under your pen – He does it all, all, all, all, and you have nothing more to do, nothing but let yourself live in bliss. I am beginning to be convinced that people don't really want it.
But there's a constant invasion: the old consciousness, the old thoughts....
Yes, out of habit it all tries to start up again. But all you need to say is, "Look, Lord; see, see how it is." That's all. "Look at this, Lord, look at that, look at this idiot here..." and it's over. Immediately. And the change comes automatically, mon petit, without the slightest effort. Simply... simply be sincere, in other words, TRULY want the right thing. One is quite conscious of being powerless, utterly incompetent: more and more, I feel that this amalgam of matter, of cells and all the rest, is just pitiful! Pitiful. I don't know, under certain conditions people may feel powerful, wonderful, luminous, competent... but as far as I am concerned, that's because they have no idea what they're really like! When you really see what you're made of... it's nothing, really nothing. But it's capable of anything, provided... provided you let the Lord do it. The trouble is that something always wants to do things on its own. If it weren't like that....
People come, letters arrive, various circumstances and problems arise (it's over now, but at the time – even a year ago – that kind of thing was sometimes a problem for me). Well, right away, I... (Mother opens her hands in front of her forehead, palms upwards, as though presenting the problem to the Lord): "Here, Lord, look at this." All I am good for is (same gesture): "I am presenting it to You, Lord." And then I keep still, I just keep still: "I won't move unless You move me, I won't speak unless You make me speak...." And then you stop thinking about it. You think about it just for a second, long enough to do this (same gesture). It comes in like this, then up it goes (gesture showing a problem coming to Mother from one side and being sent above). And later, you suddenly realize you're speaking or acting or making a decision or writing a letter or... and He has done it all.
But one can be full of excellent goodwill and still want to Do things. And that's what complicates everything. Or else there's a lack of faith, a lack of belief in the Lord's ability – you think you have to do things yourself because He doesn't know how! (Mother laughs) This sort of stupidity is very widespread, you know: "How can He see these things? We're living in a world of Falsehood, how can He see Falsehood...?" But in fact He does see things as they are!
And I am not talking about people with no intelligence, but about intelligent people, people who are trying.... There's still a sort of conviction in them somewhere, even in those who know that we're living in a world of Ignorance and Falsehood and that there's a Lord who is all truth. Well, they reason that precisely because He is all truth, He won't understand (Mother laughs). "He won't understand our falsehood, I have to deal with it on my own." This is a very predominant, very widespread attitude.
One sometimes even goes to a great deal of trouble to explain things to Him: "It's this way, You see, that's how it is." And when you're finished, you realize.... Oh, that reminds me of an experience I had one night two years ago. It was the first time the Supermind entered the cells of my body, and it had risen up to the brain. So the brain found itself in the presence of something (laughing) considerably more powerful than it was used to receiving! And, like the idiot it is, it got worried. As for me (gesture above or beyond), I saw it all, I saw that the brain was getting worried, so I tried to tell it what a nitwit it was and to just keep still. It did keep still, but... you know, it was really seething away in there, as if it were about to explode. So I said, "All right now, let's go see Sri Aurobindo and ask him what to do." Immediately everything became utterly calm... and I woke up in Sri Aurobindo's house in the subtle physical – a very material sensation, with everything quite concrete. So I arrived, or rather not I but the body-consciousness arrived and started explaining to Sri Aurobindo what had happened – it was very excited, talking and talking. The response was a sort of inscrutable smile and then... nothing. He simply looked. An inscrutable smile – not a word. All the excitement died away. A face out of eternity. The excitement died away. Then it was time for Sri Aurobindo's lunch (people eat there – in another way). So as not to disturb him, I went into the next room. He came in after some time and stood before me (I – my physical being, that is, my physical consciousness – had had time to calm down). I knelt down and took his hand (a MUCH clearer sensation than anything physical, mon petit!); I kissed his hand. He simply said, "Oh! This is better. " (Mother laughs.)
I am skipping all the details (it was a long thing, lasting an hour), but suddenly he went out of the room, leaving me alone (after expressing what he wanted to tell me with a gesture, which I understood). And then I simply seemed to take a step (gesture of crossing a threshold), and I found myself lying in my bed again. And at that moment I said to myself, "Really! We make all kinds of complications, and it's so simple: you just have to go like this (same gesture) and there you are; then you go like that (same gesture in the opposite direction) and you're back here."
Personally, you know, I have come to feel Him everywhere, all the time, all the time, to the point of actual physical contact (it's subtle physical, but physical): in things, in the air, in people, in... like this (Mother presses her hands against her face). So I don't have far to go! I just have to do this (Mother turns her hands slightly inwards), one second's concentration – and there He is! Because He is here, you know, He is everywhere.
He is far only if we think He's far.
Of course, when we start thinking of all the zones, all the universal planes of consciousness, and that He's way, way, way up there at the end of all that, well... then it does become very far, very far indeed! (Mother laughs) But if we think of Him as being everywhere, in everything, that He is everything, that only our way of perceiving things keeps us from seeing and feeling Him, and all we have to do is this (Mother turns her hands inwards)... a movement like this, a movement like that (Mother turns her hands inwards and outwards in turn), then it gets to be quite concrete: you go like this (outward gesture) and everything becomes artificial – hard, dry, false, deceptive, artificial; you go like that (inward gesture) and all is vast, tranquil, luminous, peaceful, immense, joyous. And it's merely this... or that (Mother turns her hands inwards and outwards in turn). How? Where? It can't be described, but it is solely – solely – a movement of consciousness, nothing else. A movement of consciousness. And the difference between the true and the false consciousness becomes more and more... precise and at the same time THIN: you don't need to do "great" things to get out of it. Before, there used to be a feeling of living WITHIN something and that a great effort of interiorization, concentration, absorption was needed to get out of it; but now I feel it's something one accepts (Mother puts her hand in front of her face like a screen), something like a thin little rind, very hard – malleable, but very hard, very dry, very thin, very thin... something like a mask you put on – then you go like this (gesture), and it's gone.
I foresee a time when it will no longer be necessary to be aware of the mask: the mask will be so thin that we can see and feel and act through it, and it won't be necessary to put it back on.
That's what is starting to happen.
But this Presence in all things.... It is a Vibration – a Vibration containing everything. A Vibration containing a sort of infinite power, infinite joy, infinite peace, and immensity, IMMENSITY, IMMENSITY: it's boundless.... But it is solely a Vibration, it doesn't.... Oh, Lord! It can't be thought, so it can't be described. If you think... as soon as you start thinking, it's the same old mess again. That's why you can't say anything.
Indeed, He is far because you think He is far. If you could just, you know, think of Him being right here, like this (gesture close to the face), touching you... if you could feel this. It's not like touching another person, it's not like that. It's not something foreign, external, coming to you from outside – no! It's... everywhere.
There was a period when I used to sort of curl up into a ball Within. For the least difficulty I became just like a circumference! All curled up into a ball Within.
And you feel Him everywhere, everywhere, everywhere – within, without, everywhere. Him, nothing but Him – Him, His Vibration.
But you have to shut this off (the head). Until you shut it off, you can't see the TRUE thing – you can only use comparisons, you say it's like this or like that... oh!
And how many times, how many times the feeling that.... There is no form – there is a form and there is none, it just can't be expressed. You feel a look, too, and there are no eyes – there is no look but there is a look; a look and a smile and... there's no mouth, no face! And yet there is a smile and a look and... (Mother laughs) you can't help saying, "Yes, Lord, I am stupid!" But He laughs – and you laugh, and you're happy.
It can't, it can't be explained! It can't be expressed. You can't say anything. Whatever you say is nothing, nothing. Well.
Anyway, if you can get a suitable half page for the Bulletin out of this....
No, I am incapable of speaking, I can't say anything publishable; it's impossible, impossible. It seems so artificial to me, so artificial. And besides, it gives me a headache.
So you're the one who has to do the work. You can condense a little – a sentence here, a sentence there....
16. October 1962 – Buried or burned?
I have looked at this a great deal, but... socially, conventionally, it's impossible – there's nothing else to do. The living take their stand with the living, naturally. So the only thing I've seen is that, as always, there must be a grace associated with that state, and probably people see ONLY what they are able to see without being upset.
I know this because when the body became like that – it was more than three-quarters dead – and people were taking care of me, doing everything for me, I was fully conscious, FULLY, but I couldn't.... I was like a dead person. And it wasn't that I couldn't move, but I couldn't manifest anything – I didn't want to! I was in a state of total bliss, and couldn't have cared less about what was going to happen. Well, that's what I think must happen to those who... who die in a state of grace – it's true, some people die well and others don't. It all depends on one's state of consciousness.
If at death you withdraw from physical circumstances, from ordinary physical consciousness, and unite with the great universal Force, or the divine Presence, then all these little things.... It's not that you're not conscious of them – you are very conscious: conscious of what others are doing, conscious of everything, but... it's not important.
But for those who are attached to people and things when they die, it must be a hellish torment.
But then, is it better to be buried or burned?
Had you asked me this question a week ago, I would unhesitatingly have said "buried" – and advised people not to do it too quickly, to wait for external signs of decomposition.
Now, because of this, I can't say any more. I just can't say.
I have the feeling I am learning a lot of things about this transition called death. It's starting to become thinner and thinner, more and more unreal. It is very interesting.
One may be in a state of consciousness where the body is nothing but a burden – it's unresponsive, or it's too deteriorated and there's nothing more to be done with it, or one hasn't been created to try to make it immortal (which, after all, is something very exceptional). Within the great mass of humanity, many bodies are no longer good for anything, and in such cases it may very well be a relief to be separated from your body abruptly, instead of waiting for a slow decomposition. So... once again I am saying to myself, "A rash and hasty judgment – the judgment of Ignorance."
I can't say. Each individual has to FEEL it and, if he's conscious enough, say what he would like.
But each time I ask my body what IT would like, all the cells say, "No, no! We are immortal, we want to be immortal. We're not tired, we're ready to struggle for centuries if necessary; we have been created for immortality and we want immortality."
It is very interesting.
Very interesting. And Pavitra was telling me recently that the causes of aging and decay are now being very seriously and deeply investigated. Some quite interesting discoveries are being made: that the cell is immortal, and that aging results merely from a combination of circumstances. This research is tending towards the conclusion that aging is merely a bad habit – which seems to be true. Which means that when you LIVE in the Truth-Consciousness, Matter is not in contradiction to that Consciousness.
And this is just what I am realizing (I don't think it's anything unique or exceptional): the closer one draws to the cell itself, the more the cell says, "But I am immortal!" Only it must become conscious. But this takes place almost automatically: the brain cells are very conscious; the cells of the hands and arms of musicians are very conscious; with athletes and gymnasts, the cells of the entire body are wonderfully conscious. So, being conscious, those cells become conscious of their principle of immortality and say, "Why would I want to grow old? Why!" They don't want to grow old. It is very interesting.
So all the ideas I used to have about death, all the things I have said about death, practically all the things I have consciously DONE – oh! I have realized that all this, too, belongs to the past, and to a past of Ignorance. Here also, I will probably have other things to say later.
If I ever say them.
As soon as you speak, most of the knowledge escapes. It becomes what Sri Aurobindo calls a "representation," an image – it is not THE thing.
27. October 1962 – The Hemisphere of Art and Music
I once went into the world of music, and what I heard there was so wonderful, so incredibly beautiful that the impact remained with me for hours after I woke up. It was incredible. Where is that world located?
I know it very well, I have been there frequently. It's at the very summit of human consciousness, on the borderline between what Sri Aurobindo calls the lower and the higher hemispheres. It is very high, very high.
I have studied this realm extensively.
It is a world of creation with several levels or degrees.
The first zone you encounter is the zone of painting, sculpture, architecture: everything that has a material form. It is the zone of forms, colored forms that are expressed as paintings, sculptures, and architecture. They are not forms as we know them, but rather typal forms; you can see garden types, for instance, wonderfully colored and beautiful, or construction types.
Then comes the musical zone, and there you find the origin of the sounds that have inspired the various composers. Great waves of music, without sound. It seems a bit strange, but that's how it is.
When I play I generally hear what I am playing. It's hard to say.... It's not just an ordinary sound, it's a combination of sounds, and it's not... no, it's true, it's not the same sound but something like the essence of that sound. But for instance, I have a sort of feeling that what I am hearing should be expressed by a large orchestra.... I SEE it, you know, I see something like large orchestras around me, on my right, on my left – and I am supposed to transcribe it on a harmonium! It's like an orchestra made up of groups of musicians, with each group expressing one part of that combination, which is a much more complete sound than the ear can perceive. That's what it is. It's not something you can express just by humming a little tune, but a whole body of musical vibrations. And as I hear it, I see how it should be expressed. I see large orchestras around me. But it's another kind of vision; it's not the precise vision of the physical eye, but something very... it's how consciousness sees. How can I describe it! All you can say is that it's not our normal kind of vision, or hearing, either.
It's quite a total knowledge, which includes a vision, an awareness of the combination of sounds and how they should be expressed.
Beyond the musical zone lies thought: thoughts, organized thoughts for plays and books, abstractions for philosophies. But what used to interest me particularly were the combinations that give birth to novels or plays.
That is the third zone.
Does one hear sounds in the intellectual zone?
No, what you find there are thought formations that are expressed in each person's brain in his own language. There are thought combinations for novels, plays, even philosophical systems. They are combinations of pure thought, not formulated in any language, but they are automatically expressed in each one's brain according to his particular language. It is the domain of pure thought. That's where you work when you want to work for the whole earth; you don't send out thoughts formulated in words, you send out a pure thought, which then formulates itself in any language in any brain: in all those who are receptive. These formations are at anyone's disposal – nobody can say, "It's MY idea, it's MY book." Anyone capable of ascending to that zone can get hold of the formations and transcribe them materially. I once made an experiment of that kind; I wanted to see what would happen, so I made a formation myself and let it go off on its way. And in the same year, two quite different people, who didn't even know each other, one in England and the other in America, got hold of my formation; the one in England wrote a book, while the one in America created a play. And circumstances so arranged themselves that both the book and the play found their way to me.
Higher up, there is a fourth zone, a zone of colored lights, plays of colored lights. That's the order: first form, then sound, then ideas, then colored lights. But that zone is already more distant from humanity; it is a zone of forces, a zone which appears as colored lights. No forms – colored lights representing forces. And one can combine these forces so that they work in the terrestrial atmosphere and bring about certain events. It's a zone of action, independent of form, sound and thought; it is above all that. A zone of active power and might you can use for a particular purpose – if you have the capacity to do so.
That's the highest zone.
Thus we have form, expressed in painting, sculpture or architecture; sound, expressed in musical themes; and thought, expressed in books, plays, novels, or even in philosophical and other kinds of intellectual theories (that's where you can send out ideas that will affect the whole world, because they influence receptive brains in any land, and are expressed by corresponding thoughts in the appropriate language). And above this zone, free of form, sound and though, is the play of forces appearing as colored lights. And when you go there and have the power, you can combine those forces so that they eventually materialize as creations on earth (it takes some time, it's rarely immediate).
But those great waves of music you hear, which you said were beyond sounds – are they part of that domain of luminous vibrations?
Yes.... But it's the higher level of the musical zone. Each of these zones contains several levels, and the top of the musical zone is already starting to be waves, waves of vibration. But it's still directly related to music, while those colored forces I am speaking of have to do with terrestrial transformations and actions – great actions. They are powers of action. This zone where you hear no sound eventually becomes sounds and music. It is the summit. Each zone contains several levels.
In short, when one rises to that Origin, one finds a single vibration, which can be expressed as music or thought or architectural or pictorial forms – is that right?
Yes, but it goes through specific transformations en route. It passes through one zone or another, where it undergoes transformations to adapt itself to the particular mode of expression. The waves of music are one particular mode of expression of those colored waves – they should really be called "luminous" waves, for they are self-luminous. Waves of colored light. Great waves of colored light.
All those zones of artistic creation are very high up in human consciousness, which is why art can be a wonderful tool for spiritual progress. For this world of creation is also the world of the gods; but the gods, I am sorry to say, have absolutely no taste for artistic creation.
(Mother added the following correction: "After you left, they came. It's not I who remembered – they MADE me remember! There was Saraswati saying, 'What about my sitar?' And Krishna, 'What about my flute?' (Mother laughs) There was another one also, I don't remember who. They were really upset! They told me right away, 'What are you talking about! We LOVE music.' All right. 'Fine,' I said (Mother laughs). It's true – Krishna is a great musician, and Saraswati is the perfection of expression.... Now that we have acknowledged their merits (Mother bows), go on with your reading.")
They feel absolutely no need for permanence in forms – they couldn't care less! When they want something, there it is – all they have to do is want it. When they wish a particular surrounding or atmosphere, it takes form all by itself at their wish. They get everything the way they want it, so they feel no need for fixed forms. Man, on the other hand, who doesn't get what he wants the way he wants it, must make an effort to create forms, and that's why he progresses – art is a great means of spiritual progress.
But about those great waves of music that interest me – I had the impression they must be located well above the world of thought....
It's not exactly like geography, you know!
But anyway, it's right on the border of the higher hemisphere.... It's the first expression of Consciousness as joy. I remember finding that same vibration of joy in Beethoven and Bach (in Mozart also, but to a lesser degree). The first time I heard Beethoven's concerto in D – in D major, for violin and orchestra... suddenly the violin starts up (it's not right at the beginning – first there's an orchestral passage and then the violin takes it up), and with the first notes of the violin (Ysaye was playing, what a musician!), with the very first notes my head suddenly seemed to burst open, and I was cast into such splendor.... Oh, it was absolutely wonderful! For more than an hour I was in a state of bliss. Ysaye was a true musician!
And mind you, I knew nothing of all those worlds, I hadn't the slightest knowledge; but all my experiences came that way – unexpectedly, without my seeking anything. When I looked at a painting, same thing: something would suddenly open up inside my head and I would see the origin of the painting – and such colors!... One can get to that world directly from the vital, without going through all the mental gradations.
A little later:
... And even now, after all these years and a multitude of experiences, everything always seems new to me, as though the world were always new and I knew nothing. My nights.... When I get up nowadays I say, "Well! Here's something else I didn't know! " You'd think life would get into a bit of a rut after so many years, but no!
Perhaps I am moving as fast as the Lord!
30. October 1962 – Chinese: the lunar race
... I have come to understand that the Chinese are a lunar race – their origin is the moon. They came to earth when the moon got too cold and they could no longer exist there. This is something I saw at the beginning of the century and my impression was further intensified when I went to China. They are a lunar race. And they gave me the feeling of people who lack a psychic being: they are cold, ice-cold. But wonderfully intellectual!
I met another Chinese a few years ago, a man with a spiritual life. He came to meet me and talked for an hour about China. It made me understand China externally as if I had been born and lived my whole life there. I saw they were people who have attained the summit of the intellect, and who have a creative power – inventors. He told me, "No people in the world could understand Sri Aurobindo intellectually as well as the Chinese." And it was luminously true. The highest intellectual comprehension, really at its peak.
It's another story when it comes to doing yoga.... Although that must depend entirely on the individual. The Chinese don't have the same spiritual intensity you find rooted in the Indian character – it's something completely different. Here, spiritual life is real, concrete, tangible – totally real. For the Chinese it all happens at the top of the head.
They are people with no feelings. I don't know if they've picked up a psychic being since they've been on earth (there are all kinds of mixtures, you see; there's no such thing as a pure race any more), but they are still ice-cold. Difficult.
They could come into contact with Sri Aurobindo's thought – but not their troops! I don't know whether the new Chinese are much interested in philosophy....
30. October 1962 – About Nirvana
You see, all classifications, of any kind, always seem too rigid to me; they lack the suppleness that exists in the universe. We always feel the need to put one box inside another, one box inside another (Mother laughs), but that's not how it is! It's more a correspondence that being a part of something. Or all right, one is part of the other – but which one is part of which other? In fact, they are part of something that is neither this, that, nor the other!
There are different LINES of approach. It all ultimately depends on one's aspiration or dominant preoccupation, or on what one needs for one's work. It's as if one went STRAIGHT where one wants to go, ignoring everything else, taking no notice of it – passing through it if necessary, but without paying attention to it. And the need to classify, well... it comes afterwards, if one feels like describing things, but it isn't necessary.
It's like that famous Nirvana – you can find it behind everything. There's a psychic nirvana, a mental nirvana, even a vital nirvana. I think I already told you about the experience I had with Tagore in Japan. Tagore always used to say that as soon as he started meditating he entered Nirvana, and he asked me to meditate with him. We sat together in meditation. I was expecting to make a very steep ascent, but he simply went into his MIND, and there... (what I do, you see, is tune in to the person I am meditating with, identify with him – that's how I know what happens). Well, he started meditating, and everything quite rapidly came to a halt, became absolutely immobile (this he did very well), and from there he sort of fell backwards, and it was Nothingness. And he could remain in that state indefinitely! We did in fact stay like that for a rather long time; I don't remember how long, three quarters of an hour or an hour, but anyway it was long enough. I was keeping alert the whole time to see if, by chance, he would go on into something else, but there he stayed – he stayed there nice and calm, without stirring. Then he came back, his mind started up again, and that was that.
I said nothing to him.
But it was a true nirvana: Nothingness. Not a single sensation, not a movement – no thoughts, of course – nothing, not a vibration: just like that, Nirvana. So I quite naturally concluded that there is a nirvana behind the mind, since he went there directly. And through my own experiments in the different zones of the being I became aware that, indeed, there is a nirvana behind everything (there must be a nirvana behind the physical cell too – maybe that's what death is! Who knows, it's possible). A nothingness, nothing stirs any more. And nothing's there any more – nothing's there, there's nothing to stir (Mother laughs). It's the Nothing.
The Buddha, you know, was deeply shocked by the impermanence of things – the impermanence of the whole creation, that there was nothing permanent anywhere. That was the starting point of his quest, when he saw that nothing was permanent – constant and permanent – hence there was nothing one could call "forever." That's what shocked him, and he felt he had to find something permanent, and in his quest for the Permanent he came upon Nothingness. So his conclusion ran something like this: "Only one thing is permanent – Nothingness. As soon as there's creation, it's impermanent."
Why did he object to impermanence? That, I don't know – a question of temperament, I suppose. But as far as he was concerned, that's what Nothingness is good for: it's permanent.
It's permanent, the one thing that's permanent.
What Sri Aurobindo says is, "Yes, true, it's the only permanent thing – a certain permanent Nonbeing behind everything. But why shouldn't He sometimes – not 'sometimes,' but at the SAME time, the same moment – have the fun of being both permanent and impermanent? There's no objection to that." In any case, He has none!
Our minds may not like it, but He....
You probably enter into the state of pure Existence. First mental silence, then pure Existence, Existence outside of the Manifestation: the state of Sat.
It is pure Existence, outside of the Manifestation.
Whenever we've meditated together, I've always had the impression that you entered into that sort of rather blissful silence; it's something permanent, yes, but not an annihilation. It's Sat – the Sat that comes before Chit-Tapas. In other words it can last an eternity with no sense of time, and be an infinity with no sense of space.
But I tell you, it also has an EXTRAORDINARY utility: it automatically renews all the energies. Actually, that's the true reason for sleep: to be able to enter that state. And that's why those who can enter it consciously in meditation need much less sleep. Much less. It's what enables the body to last: Sat. And whenever I have meditated with you, I've always had a feeling of entering that state.
Pure existence, outside of the Manifestation. It is wonderfully luminous, immobile, tranquil, and... a sort of bliss devoid of any vibration, beyond vibration.
It is very useful.
Actually, one should always keep this in the background of the consciousness and refer to it automatically to correct or avoid or annul... all disturbances.
It's what I use, for example, when the body has some trouble (I use it for the most ordinary and minor things: coughing when something goes down the wrong way, hiccups, things like that). All these minor problems of the body can be stopped almost instantly by entering that state. It takes a few seconds. It should be kept in the background all the time, all the time, all the time, as if supporting everything from behind. By nature it is absolutely silent, immobile, luminous.... Yes, it gives the sense of Eternity and Infinity. It is eternal, infinite, outside of time, outside of space, it's... it's Sat.
If one can keep that constantly in the background of one's consciousness, there's no further need to take off anywhere (ethereal gesture towards the heights): all you have to do is this (gesture of stepping back), and there it is.
And it is the root cure of disorder. It is anti-disorder.
That's how you can cure somebody, if he's able to receive it. It's the antidote to disorder, the perfect antidote to disorder.
30. October 1962 – The God within
But you know, when you come into contact with the God within, that's really an experience too. It has the same kind of reality and intensity of your experience, ALONG WITH the sense of the eternal Divine. And it's simply the inner Divine: there's no need to fly off to the heights, it's right here (Mother touches her heart).
It's the experience I had in 1912. The first contact, when you go within and then THAT'S IT... that concrete reality, that intensity beyond any possible physical intensity. And then the sense of: that's IT – the Divine. This is the Divine. This is the divine Reality; this is it, the Divine. You ARE the Divine.
That's the experience. It's the base, the basic experience. Once you have it, you may progress more or less rapidly; although if you truly give yourself, you progress very rapidly. Externally you are in a position where, having that experience, you could cover the whole path in a matter of years and straight-away begin the work of transformation (Mother touches her body).
To have it (just to give you an idea) took me a year of exclusive concentration on finding that within myself – that is, to enter into contact with the immanent God. I did nothing but that, thought of nothing but that, wanted nothing but that. There was even a rather funny instance, because I had resolved to do it (I had already been working for a very long time, of course; Madame Théon had told me about my mission on earth and all that, so you can imagine – I am talking about the psychic being belonging to this present creation, this formation – Mother touches her body)... anyway, it was New Year's Eve and I decided: "Within the coming year." I had a large, almost square studio, a bit bigger than this room, with a door leading onto a patio. I opened the little door and looked at the sky and there, just as I looked, was a shooting star. You know the tradition: if you formulate an aspiration just as you see a shooting star, before the star disappears, it will be realized within the year. And there, just as I opened the door, was a shooting star – I was totally in my aspiration: "Union with the inner Divine." And before the end of December of the following year, I had the experience.
But I was entirely concentrated on that. I was in Paris, and I did nothing else but that; when I walked down the street, I was thinking only of that. One day, as I was crossing the Boulevard Saint Michel, I was almost run over (I've told you this), because I was thinking of nothing but that – concentrating, concentrating... like sitting in front of a closed door, and it was painful! (intense gesture to the chest) Physically painful, from the pressure. And then suddenly, for no apparent reason – I was neither more concentrated nor anything else – poof! It opened. And with that.... It didn't just last for hours, it lasted for months, mon petit! It didn't leave me, that light, that dazzling light, that light and immensity. And the sense of THAT willing, THAT knowing, THAT ruling the whole life, THAT guiding everything – since then, this sense has never left me for a minute. And always, whenever I had a decision to make, I would simply stop for a second and receive the indication from there.
But that was ages ago. I have done a lot of things since then. It was long ago, in 1912. And now... oh, this old carcass!
It does its best.
I believe the most complete expression is: "Whatever You want, Lord, whatever You want, Lord, whatever You want, Lord – with joy, no matter what it is." In every cell.
It should go relatively quickly, but... I don't know. How long will it take?... It's new. New, I mean you can't even tell if you're progressing! You don't know where you're going, you have no idea what path you're on. You just don't know! All kinds of things are happening, but are they part of the path or aren't they? I really don't know. Only at the end will we know.