November 22, 1958
Even at a very young age, I had a kind of intuition of my destiny. I felt that something in me had to be exhausted, or that I had to exhaust myself. I don't know, as though I had to descend into the depths of the night to find the thing. I thought it was the concentration camps. Perhaps this was still not deep enough... Do you see any meaning in all this?
It can hardly be formulated; these are merely impressions that follow one another. I know that when you thought of leaving with Swami,1 I saw that a door was opening, that it was the truth, that this was IT.
My immediate impression was that you were being put in direct contact with this... this sort of Fatality that here they call karma, which is the consequence... yes, something that must be exhausted, something that remains in the consciousness.
This is how it works: the psychic being passes from one life to another, but there are cases in which the psychic incarnates in order to... to work out2... to pass through a certain experience, to learn a certain thing, to develop a certain thing through a certain experience. And so in this life, in the life where the experience is to be made, it can happen (there may be more than one reason) that the soul does not come down accurately in the place it should have, some shift or other may occur, a set of contrary circumstances – this happens sometimes – and then the incarnation miscarries entirely and the soul leaves. But in other cases, the soul is simply placed in the impossibility of doing exactly what it wants and it finds itself swept away by... unfortunate circumstances. Not only unfortunate from an objective standpoint, but unfortunate for its own development, and then that creates in it the necessity to begin the experience all over again, and in much more difficult conditions.
And if – it can happen – if the second attempt also miscarries, if the conditions make the experience the soul is seeking still more difficult... for example, if one is in a body with an inadequate will or some distortion in the thought, or an egoism too... too hardened, and it ends in suicide, it is dreadful. I have seen this many times, it creates a dreadful karma that can be repeated for lifetimes on end before the soul can conquer it and manage to do what it wants. And each time, the conditions become more difficult, each time it requires a still greater effort. And people who know this say, “You cannot get out!” In fact, it is this kind of desire to escape which pushes you into more foolish things3 that result in a still greater accumulation of difficulty. There are moments – moments and circumstances – when no one is there to help you, and then things become so... horrible, the circumstances become so abominable.
But if the soul has had but ONE call, but ONE contact with the Grace, then in your next life you are put in the conditions, once, whereby EVERYTHING can be swept away at one stroke. And at this present moment on earth, you cannot imagine the number of people I have met – that is, the number of souls – who had reached out towards this possibility with such an intensity – and they have all found themselves on my path.
At that point, sometimes a great courage is needed, sometimes a great endurance is needed, sometimes a true love is enough, sometimes, oh! if only faith were there, one thing, one tiny little thing is enough, and... everything can be swept away. I have done it often; there are times when I have failed. But more often than not I have been able to remove it. But then, what is needed is a great, stoical courage or a capacity to endure and to SEE IT THROUGH. The resistance (especially in cases of former suicide), the resistance to the temptation of renewing this stupidity creates a terrible formation. Or else this habit of fleeing when suffering comes: flee, flee, instead of... absorbing the difficulty, holding on.
But just this, a faith in the Grace, or an awareness of the Grace, or the intensity of the call, or else naturally the response – the response, the thing that opens, that breaks – the response to this marvelous love of the Grace.
It is difficult without a strong will; and above all, above all the capacity to resist the temptation, which was the fatal temptation throughout all one's lives – because its power builds up. Each defeat gives it renewed force. But a tiny victory can dissolve it.
Oh, the most terrible of all is when one does not have the strength, the courage, something indomitable! How many times do they come to tell me, “I want to die, I want to flee, I want to die.” – I say, “But die, then, die to yourself! No one is asking you to let your ego survive! Die to yourself since you want to die! Have that courage, the true courage, to die to your egoism.”
But because it is karma, one must, one must DO something oneself. Karma is the construction of the ego; the ego MUST DO something, everything cannot be done for it. This is it, THIS is the thing: karma is the result of the ego's actions, and only when the ego abdicates is the karma dissolved. One can help it along, one can assist it, give it strength, bestow courage upon it, but the ego must then make use of it.
So this is what I saw for you: that the crystallization of this karma occurred during a life in India in which you were put in the presence of the possibility of liberation and... I don't know the details; I don't know the material facts at all. So far, I know nothing, I have only had a vision. I saw you there, as I told you, taller than you are now, in an Indian body, north Indian, for it was not dark but fair. But there was a HARDNESS in the being, the hardness born of a kind of despair mixed with rebellion, incomprehension and an ego that resists. That is all I know. The image was of you backed up against a bronze door: BACKED UP against it. I didn't see what had caused it. As I told you, something interrupted me, so I was unable to follow it.
The other indication is what I told you the other day. When you thought of leaving to join Swami, I immediately saw a stream of light: Ah, the road is opening up! So I said, “It is good.” And while you were away in Ceylon, I followed you from day to day. You called much more than the second time, when you were in the Himalayas; and with the physical hardships you were undergoing, I was very, very close to you – I constantly felt what was happening.
And then I saw a GREAT light, like a glory, when you were at Rameswaram. A great light. And when you returned here, this light was upon you, very strong and imposing. But at the same time, I felt that it needed protecting – to be shielded, protected – that it was not yet established. Established, ready to resist all that decomposes an experience. I would have liked to have kept you apart, under a glass case, but then I saw that this would have drawbacks as well as advantages. Also, I liked the way you wanted to fight against an uncomprehending reception due to your orange robes and your shaved head. Of course, it was a much shorter path than the other, but it was more difficult.
And then, more and more, I felt that if what I saw, as I saw it, could be realized... I saw two things: a journey – not at all a pilgrimage as it is commonly understood – a journey towards solitude in arduous conditions, and a sojourn in a very severe solitude, facing the mountains, in arduous physical conditions. The contact with this majesty of Nature has a great influence upon the ego at certain moments: it has the power to dissolve it. But all this complication, all these organized pilgrimages, all that... it brings in the whole petty side of human life which spoils everything...
Yes, that whole journey was odious...
...which spoils everything.
The other thing was the tantric initiation. But I wanted the conditions of this initiation to be at least as favorable as those in Rameswaram, by which I mean conducted by someone very capable and as far as possible free from the whole formalistic and external side. A TRUE initiation – someone who would be capable of pulling down the Power and putting you in conditions rigorous enough for you to be able to hold this Power, to receive it and hold it.
As soon as you had left, and since I was following you, I saw that nothing of the kind was going to happen, but rather something very superficial which would not be of much use. And when I received your letters and saw that you were in difficulty, I did something. There are places that are favorable for occult experiences. Benares is one of these places, the atmosphere there is filled with vibrations of occult forces, and if one has the slightest capacity, it spontaneously develops there, in the same way that a spiritual aspiration develops very strongly and spontaneously as soon as one lands in India. These are Graces. Graces, because it is the destiny of the country, it has been so throughout its history, and because India has always been turned much more towards the heights and the inner depths than towards the outer world. Now, it is in the process of losing all that and wallowing in the mud, but that's another story... it was like that and it is still like that. And in fact, when you returned from Rameswaram with your robes, I saw with much satisfaction that there was still a GREAT dignity and a GREAT sincerity in this endeavor of the Sannyasis towards the higher life and in the self-giving of a certain number of people to realize this higher life. When you returned, it had become a very concrete and a very real thing that immediately commanded respect. Before, I had seen only a copy, an imitation, an hypocrisy, a pretention – nothing that was really lived. But then, I saw that it was true, that it was lived, that it was real and that it was still India's great heritage. I don't believe it is very prevalent now, but in any case, it is still there, and as I told you, it commands respect. And then, as I felt you in difficulty and as the outer conditions were not only veiling but spoiling the inner, well, on that day I wrote you a short note – I no longer recall when it was exactly, but I wrote you just a word or two, which I put in an envelope and sent you – I concentrated very strongly upon those few words and sent you something. I didn't note the date, I don't remember when it was, but it's likely that it happened as I wished when you were in Benares; and then you had this experience.
But when you returned the second time, from the Himalayas, you didn't have the same flame as when you returned the first time. And I understood that this kind of difficult karma still clung to you, that it had not been dissolved. I had hoped that your contact with the mountains – but in a true solitude (I don't mean that your body had to be all alone, but there should not have been all kinds of outer, superficial things)... Anyway, it didn't happen. So it means that the time had not come.
But when here the difficulties returned – and because of their obstinacy, their appearance of an inevitable fatality – I concluded that it was a karma, although I knew it with certainty only now.
But I always had a presentiment of the true thing: that only a VERY COURAGEOUS act of self-giving could efface the thing – not courageous or difficult from the material point of view, not that... There is a certain zone of the vital in you, a mentalized vital but still very material, which is very much under the influence of circumstances and which very much believes in the effectiveness of outer measures – this is what is resisting.
That is all I know.
Generally, when the hour has come for a karma to be overcome and absorbed in the Grace, the image or the knowledge or the experience of the exact facts that are the origin of the karma come to me, and I can then perform... the cleansing action.
For the time being, it is not yet there.
Only, and this is what I wrote to you the other day which you did not understand: it is precisely at the most painful point, at the time when the suggestions are strongest, that one must hold on. Otherwise, it has always to be done all over again, always to be reconfronted. There comes a day, a moment, when it has to be done. And now, there is truly an opportunity on earth that is offered only once in thousands of years, a conscious help, with the necessary Power...
But that's about all I know.
Still, I feel the need to do something – to do something.
TO DO something, yes, that's what has a hold on you.
I'm rotting on the spot.
I'm... I feel like I'm rotting...
Falling apart. Everything is falling apart.
Yes, that's it... (silence) That is the knot of karma: that sensation, that perception, that is the knot of karma.
My perception is that I have something to do, I don't know what, and only afterwards...
But do you feel it as something to do physically?
Yes, I don't know, this project of the Belgian Congo,4 for example, it seemed to me...
Pardon me, but that is childishness!...
I don't know. That's not how I see it, in any case... To live in the forest physically, an intense physical life where one is free, where one is pure, where one is far away... Above all, to stop this thing from grinding on, finished with the head, and finished with thinking whatever it might be. If there is a yoga, it would be done spontaneously, naturally, physically, and without the least questioning from up there – above all, a complete cessation of that (the head).
1 The first tantric guru whom the disciple joined in Ceylon and with whom he travelled in the Himalayas.
2 Original English.
3 Mother specified: “The subconscious memory of the past creates a kind of irresistible desire to escape from the difficulty, and you recommence the same foolishness, or an even greater foolishness.”
4 The disciple wanted to leave for the forest, the Congo, to do the most unlikely things there.