July 6, 1958
This morning I asked myself the question, “is money truly under Nature's control?” I shall have to see... Because for me personally, she always gives everything in abundance.
When I was young, I was as poor as a turkey, as poor as could be! As an artist, I sometimes had to go out in society (as artists are forced to do). I had lacquered boots that were cracked... and I painted them so it wouldn't show! This is to tell you the state I was in – poor as a turkey. So one day, in a shop window, I saw a very pretty petticoat much in fashion then, with lace, ribbons, etc. (It was the fashion in those days to have long skirts which trailed on the floor, and I didn't have a petticoat which could go with such things – I didn't care, it didn't matter to me in the least, but since Nature had told me I would always have everything I needed, I wanted to make an experiment.) So I said, “Well, I would very much like to have a petticoat to go with those skirts.” I got five of them! They came from every direction!
And it is always like that. I never ask for anything, but if by chance I say to myself, “Hmm, wouldn't it be nice to have that,” mountains of them pour in! So last year, I made an experiment, I told Nature, “Listen, my little one, you say that you will collaborate, you told me I would never lack anything. Well then, to put it on a level of feelings, it would really be fun, it would give me joy (in the style of Krishna's joy), to have A LOT of money to do everything I feel like doing. It's not that I want to increase things for myself, no; you give me more than I need. But to have some fun, to be able to give freely, to do things freely, to spend freely – I am asking you to give me a crore of rupees1 for my birthday!”
She didn't do a thing! Nothing, absolutely nothing: a complete refusal. Did she refuse or was she unable to? It may be that... I always saw that money was under the control of an asuric force. (I am speaking of currency, “cash”; I don't want to do business. When I try to do business, it generally succeeds very well, but I don't mean that. I am speaking of cash.) I never asked her that question.
You see, this is how it happened: there's this Ganesh2... We had a meditation (this was more than thirty years ago) in the room where “Prosperity”3 is now distributed. There were eight or ten of us, I believe. We used to make sentences with flowers; I arranged the flowers, and each one made a sentence with the different flowers I had put there. And one day when the subject of prosperity or wealth came up, I thought (they always say that Ganesh is the god of money, of fortune, of the world's wealth), I thought, “Isn't this whole story of the god with an elephant trunk merely a lot of human imagination?” Thereupon, we meditated. And who should I see walk in and park himself in front of me but a living being, absolutely alive and luminous, with a trunk that long... and smiling! So then, in my meditation, I said, “Ah! So it's true that you exist!” – “Of course I exist! And you may ask me for whatever you wish, from a monetary standpoint, of course, and I will give it to you!”
So I asked. And for about ten years, it poured in, like this (gesture of torrents). It was incredible. I would ask, and at the next Darshan, or a month or several days later, depending, there it was.
Then the war and all the difficulties came, bringing a tremendous increase of people and expenditure (the war cost a fortune – anything at all cost ten times more than before), and suddenly, finished, nothing more. Not exactly nothing, but a thin little trickle. And when I asked, it didn't come. So one day, I put the question to Ganesh through his image (!), I asked him, “What about your promise?” – “I can't do it, it's too much for me; my means are too limited!” – “Ah!” I said to myself (laughing), “What bad luck!” And I no longer counted on him.
Once someone even asked Santa Claus! A young Muslim girl who had a special liking for “Father Christmas” – I don't know why, as it was not part of her religion! Without saying a word to me, she called on Santa Claus and told him, “Mother doesn't believe in you; you should give Her a gift to prove to Her that you exist. You can give it to Her for Christmas.” And it happened!... She was quite proud.
But it only happened like that once. And as for Ganesh, that was the end of it. So then I asked Nature. It took her a long time to accept to collaborate. But as for the money, I shall have to ask her about it; because for me personally, it is still going on. I think, “Hmm, wouldn't it be nice to have a wristwatch like that.” And I get twenty of them! I say to myself, “Well, if I had that...” and I get thirty of them! Things come in from every side, without my even uttering a word – I don't even ask, they just come.
The first time I came here and spoke with Sri Aurobindo about what was needed for the Work, he told me (he also wrote it to me) that for the secure achievement of the Work we would need three powers: one was the power over health, the second was the power over government, and the third was the power over money.
Health naturally depends upon the sadhana; but even that is not so sure: there are other factors. As for the second, the power over government, Sri Aurobindo looked at it, studied it, considered it very carefully, and finally he told me, “There is only one way to have that power: it is TO BE the government. One can influence individuals, one can transmit the will to them, but their hands are tied. In a government, there is no one individual, nor even several, who is all-powerful and who can decide things. One must be the government oneself and give it the desired orientation.”
For the last, for money, he told me, “I still don't know exactly what it depends on.” Then one day I entered into trance with this idea in mind, and after a certain journey I came to a place like a subterranean grotto (which means that it is in the subconscient, or perhaps even in the inconscient) which was the source, the place and the power over money. I was about to enter into this grotto (a kind of inner cave) when I saw, coiled and upright, an immense serpent, like an all black python, formidable, as big as a seven-story house, who said, “You cannot pass!” – “Why not? Let me pass!” – “Myself, I would let you pass, but if I did, ‘they’ would immediately destroy me.” – “Who, then, is this ‘they’?” – “They are the asuric4 powers who rule over money. They have put me here to guard the entrance, precisely so that you may not enter.” – “And what is it that would give one the power to enter?” Then he told me something like this: “I heard (that is, he himself had no special knowledge, but it was something he had heard from his masters, those who ruled over him), I heard that he who will have a total power over the human sexual impulses (not merely in himself, but a universal power – that is, a power enabling him to control this everywhere, among all men) will have the right to enter.” In other words, these forces would not be able to prevent him from entering.
A personal realization is very easy, it is nothing at all; a personal realization is one thing, but the power to control it among all men – that is, to control or master such movements at will, everywhere – is quite another. I don't believe that this... condition has been fulfilled. If what the serpent said is true and if this is really what will vanquish these hostile forces that rule over money, well then, it has not been fulfilled.
It has been fulfilled to a certain extent – but it's negligible. It is conditional, limited: in one case, it works; in another, it doesn't. It is quite problematic. And naturally, where terrestrial things are involved (I don't say universal, but in any case terrestrial), when it is something involving the earth, it must be complete; there cannot be any approximations.
Therefore, it's an affair between the asuras and the human species. To transform itself is the only solution left to the human species – in other words, to tear from the asuric forces the power of ruling over the human species.
You see, the human species is a part of Nature, but as Sri Aurobindo has explained, from the moment mind expressed itself in man, it put him into a relationship with Nature very different from the relationship all the lower species have with her. All the lower species right up to man are completely under the rule of Nature; she makes them do whatever she wants, and they can do nothing without her consent. Whereas man begins to act and to live as an equal; not as an equal in terms of power, but from the standpoint of consciousness (he is beginning to do so since he has the capacity to study and to find out Nature's secrets). He is not superior to her, far from it, but he is on an equal footing. And so he has acquired – this is a fact – he has acquired a certain power of independence that he immediately used to put himself under the influence of the hostile forces, which are not terrestrial but extra-terrestrial.
I am speaking of terrestrial Nature. Through their mental power, men had the choice and the freedom to make pacts with these extraterrestrial vital forces. There is a whole vital world that has nothing to do with the earth, it is entirely independent or prior to earth's existence, it is self-existent – well, they have brought that down here! They have made... what we see! And such being the case... This is what terrestrial Nature told me: “It is beyond my control.”
So considering all that, Sri Aurobindo came to the conclusion that only the supramental power... (Mother brings down her hands) as he said, will be able to rule over everything. And when that happens, it will be all over – including Nature. For a long time, Nature rebelled (I have written about it often). She used to say, “Why are you in such a hurry? It will be done one day.” But then last year, there was that extraordinary experience.5 And it was because of that experience that I told her, “Well, now that we agree, give me some proof; I am asking you for some proof – do it for me.” She didn't budge, absolutely nothing.
Perhaps it is a kind of... it can hardly be called an intuition, but a kind of divination of this idea that made people speak of “selling one's soul to the devil for money,” of money being an evil force, which produces this shrinking on the part of all those who want to lead a spiritual life – but as for that, they shrink from everything, not only from money!
Perhaps it would not be necessary to have this power over all men, but in any event, it should be great enough to act upon the mass. It is likely that once a certain movement has been mastered to some degree, what the mass does or doesn't do (this whole human mass that has barely, barely emerged into even the mental consciousness) will become quite irrelevant. You see, the mass is still under the great rule of Nature. I am referring to mental humanity, predominantly mental, which developed the mind but misused it and immediately set out on the wrong path – first thing.
There is nothing to say since the first thing done by the divine forces which emanated for the Creation was to take the wrong path!6 That is the origin, the seed of this marvelous spirit of independence – the negation of surrender, in other words. Man said, “I have the power to think; I will do with it what I want, and no one has the right to intervene. I am free, I am an independent being, IN-DE-PEN-DENT!” So that's how things stand: we are all independent beings!
But yesterday, in fact, I was looking (with all these mantras and these prayers and this whole vibration that has descended into the atmosphere, creating a state of constant calling in the atmosphere), and I remembered the old movements and how everything now has changed! I was also thinking of the old disciplines, one of which is to say, “I am That.”7 People were told to sit in meditation and repeat, “I am That,” to reach an identification. And it all seemed to me so obsolete, so childish, but at the same time a part of the whole. I looked, and it seemed so absurd to sit in meditation and say, “I am That”! “I,” what is this “I” who is That; what is this “I,” where is it?... I was trying to find it, and I saw a tiny, microscopic point (to see it would almost require some gigantic instrument), a tiny, obscure point in an im-men-sity of Light, and that little point was the body. At the same time – it was absolutely simultaneous – I saw the Presence of the Supreme as a very, very, very, VERY immense Being, within which was “I” in an attitude of... (“I” was only a sensation, you see), an attitude... (gesture of surrender) like this. There were no limits, yet at the same time, one felt the joy of being permeated, enveloped and of being able to widen, widen, widen indefinitely – to widen the whole being, from the highest consciousness to the most material consciousness. And then, at the same time, to look at this body and to see every cell, every atom vibrating with a divine, radiant Presence with all its Consciousness, all its Power, all its Will, all its Love – all, all, really – and a joy! An extraordinary joy. And one did not disturb the other, nothing was contradictory and everything was felt at the same time. That was when I said, “But truly! This body had to have the training it has had for more than seventy years to be able to bear all that without starting to cry out or dance or leap up or whatever it might be!” No, it was calm (it was exultant, but it was very calm), and it remained in control of its movements and its words. In spite of the fact that it was really living in another world, it could apparently act normal due to this strenuous training in self-control by the REASON – by the reason – over the whole being, which has tamed it and given it such a great cohesive power that I can BE in the experience, I can LIVE this experience, and at the same time respond with the most amiable of smiles to the most idiotic questions!
And then, it always ends in the same way, by a canticle to the action of the grace: “O, Lord! You are truly marvelous! All the experiences I have needed to pass through You have given to me, all the things I needed to do to make this body ready You have made me do, and always with the feeling that it was You who was making me do it” – and with the universal disapproval of all the right-minded humanity!
1 About one million dollars.
2 Ganesh: a god with the head of an elephant; the son of Parvati, the Divine Mother.
3 The room where, on the first of each month, Mother distributed to the disciples their needs for the month.
4 Asuras: the demons or dark forces of the mental plane.
5 The experience of Nature's collaboration (November 8, 1957).
6 In effect, according to tradition, the first divine forces that emanated for the creation were the Asuras, who turned into demons. The gods were created later to repair the disorder engendered by the demons.
7 So'ham, the traditional mantra of the Vedantic path, which declares that the world is an illusion.