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The Mother


Volume 1

Undated 1956

(Letter to Mother from Satprem)


Sweet Mother, with all the sincerity of which I am capable, I am putting before you an important problem (important to me) so that you may help me resolve it. I feel that I am coming to a decisive turning point, but something is preventing me from going any further.

All my past is weighing down on me, not because of any attachments, for I regret NOTHING of my past and my only hope is what lies before me. Yet I have not entirely undergone all this like a marionette, it even seems to me that “I” have created it, composed it like a book – for the last fifteen years, from the time of the concentration camps, I have consciously multiplied my experiences and have passed through a whole range of rebellions and situations in order to gather the basic material for a book. As it happens, this formulation of “my” book gradually merged with the search for my real Self. Now I know what I was seeking, but this book has grown with me, it is there like a powerful formation weighing down on me, and it weighs on me all the more now, for since my contact with Sri Aurobindo all my past experiences seem charged with meaning and symbolism. I find your hand in it everywhere, and I can now connect all the apparent coincidences and sift out an extraordinary necessity that has led me here; all this makes a dense, living, vibrant book that weighs on me. I need to cast it all out, to free myself, to write this book.

Not only do I need to liquidate this past, but also to renew my choice, to strengthen my presence here – and I feel this book as a commitment, it will help me set my route in a decisive way. It is a test.

There is another consideration as well – though if I am deluding myself, please enlighten me. I feel that if this book is successful, it could be useful to others and serve Sri Aurobindo's work. For I have had the opportunity to live concretely, the hard way, many of the questions that others ask themselves. Thus all my past experiences appear to be a living demonstration of a teaching to which Sri Aurobindo is the key. What has already been said abstractly or philosophically, I can say in the form of a living and moving novel. I think that I feel in me the power to express these things.

Sweet Mother, perhaps I am deceiving myself, but I am writing you explicitly so that you may enlighten me. I am not telling you all these things for you to approve of my need to write, but for you to tell me what is your will. I do not want to be “a writer,” but your child, your instrument. Only, there is something in me that has to be liquidated.

The problem poses itself practically, for I would need a rather long period of uninterrupted work to be rid of all this. Yet I have carried this book in me for so long that it is ready in every detail – I could finish it in six months. Here, I am too occupied with other things to finish it quickly. Furthermore, I feel the need to redefine my presence here from an outside perspective. I thought of going to Brewster's lodge in the Himalayas. There, I could continue some of the work I have been doing with Pavitra. It seems to me that I would come back freed and refortified in my purpose for being here.

Sweet Mother, am I deluding myself? What is your will? It is your will that I want, not my desire, and I am sure you will give me the strength to follow your directives, whatever they be. Enlighten me.

I am your child, gratefully.

Signed: Bernard

P.S. Can this book serve You?

in French

in German