January (?) 1956
(Letter to Mother from Satprem)
Mother, I need to unburden myself of all that is wringing my heart, and if the Divine exists somewhere, it is to him that I would like to express my profound disgust. For all this is profoundly scandalous, absurd and revolting. I know that the external world is absurd and that men live in it vainly; but the world of the Ashram is no less absurd, no less vain. “Someone” is making fun of us, “someone” is deceiving us – for if truly there is some witness to this tragi-comedy and if this whole world is his “game,” it is a cruel game and he is a cheater, for he has all the cards in his hand and he pretends to make us play a game in which we are inevitably the losers – a game we cannot play, for we are helpless, miserable, without strength, without light.
All our efforts are vain and sadly ridiculous. At each instant we must begin everything anew, one step seems to lead us forward, another to draw us back. We desperately turn in circles and sometimes, in our dizziness, we believe we glimpse lights, but these are only the little, dancing lights of our own fatigue, our own weakness. There is no victory, there are only moments of respite. Meditation brings calm and peace, of course, but so does sleep. We are all seeking release, in love, in opium, in action, in war or in power – or in Yoga; but one means is just as vain as the other. There is no real solution, there are only more or less effective ways of forgetting for an hour, or a day, that we are men, alone and helpless.
It is quite possible, even quite probable, that in another hour or another day, I may feel quite the contrary of what I now write. But the person I am tomorrow does not negate he who I am today, it only makes him more absurd, more unbearably absurd. The one who I am right now, for an hour perhaps, needs to cry out his disgust with this nameless farce. We are puppets, fools, and I am ready to admit that everything is just a state of consciousness – but it is still a fool's state of consciousness. Tomorrow's puppet who might ask for grace from the divine, and believe in him, will still be a puppet, a pacified and resigned puppet – but a marionette no less absurd playing a game no less absurd. I understand those who go about planting dynamite everywhere; if they seek death, it is because they desperately wanted to live but found it impossible to live. One cannot live, one can only flee this intolerable existence in one way or another. Mother, it is impossible for a man to look at himself straight in the face in a completely lucid way for more than five minutes – IF HE DID, HE WOULD KILL HIMSELF... So I wonder if the divine – if he exists – has ever known the suffering of mankind. If he exists, why doesn't he give men the strength to break out of this “Magic Circle” in which they keep turning like prisoners in a cell. Twelve years ago, when I was twenty, I was turning in circles in a prison cell in Bordeaux,1 awaiting some execution or other – but I am still this same prisoner. If I have advanced during these twelve years, it is in despair, in misery. All this is outrageous, scandalous, should the divine exist.
Leave the Ashram? – But the rest of the world is just as absurd. It is man who is absurd, and god – if he exists – is a pure disgrace. Mother, I am SCANDALIZED, and I feel within me the rebellion and despair of all men who surely have not deserved all this.
1 Satprem was arrested by the Gestapo in Bordeaux in 1943 for resisting the German occupation. He was later sent to Buchenwald and Mauthausen.