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The Mother


Volume 1

September 1958

(Fragment of a conversation concerning the translation into French of Sri Aurobindo's aphorism: “...Knowledge is so much of the truth, seen in a distorted medium, as the mind arrives at by groping; Wisdom what the eye of divine vision sees in the spirit.”  Mother compares the Truth to a pure white light, then continues:)

...But this white, precisely, is composed of all the colors. So when you perceive a thing, instead of seeing it as white, there are a certain number of colors that completely elude your perception: you see red, green, yellow, blue or something else, but it does not make white because some colors are missing. This is a very good image. The distorted milieu cannot perceive the whole, it perceives only partially – not partially the parts of a complete whole, but a mixture of something which escapes it in its entirety because the milieu is unfit to manifest or express or even perceive the totality.

This color metaphor is quite adequate.

Truth is like a white light recomposed, for it contains all that is, but the milieu is unfit to manifest all the elements or all the colors – and it can be said that the best escape. So, instead of seeing a white light, you see a number of colors of something from which they derived.

Sri Aurobindo put it as vaguely as possible on purpose: “so much of the truth... as the mind arrives at.” It must be put in as vague a form as possible – all precision is falsifying. I searched for one hour and didn't find it. I put “autant de la vérité... que le mental peut saisir.” “Autant” is not elegant, it is scarcely French, but I think it is the only way to put it which is not false (I believe so, unless you have something better to suggest). But in any event, what you say is unacceptable; you cannot put “la partie ou la portion de la vérité” [the part or portion of truth] – it's not a portion, it is not at all a portion.

Then we could say “ce que”: “La Connaissance est ce que, de la vérité vue dans un milieu déformé, le mental peut saisir...”1

(Mother assents)


1 Final translation: “...La Connaissance est ce qu'en tâtonnant le mental peut saisir de la Vérité vue dans un milieu déformé; la Sagesse, ce que l'œil de la vision divine voit en l'esprit.”








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