May 19, 1959
When you follow the ascending path, the work is relatively easy. I had already covered this path by the beginning of the century and had established a constant relationship with the Supreme – That which is beyond the Personal and the gods and all the outward expressions of the Divine, but also beyond the Absolute Impersonal. It's something you cannot describe; you must experience it. And this is what must be brought down into Matter. Such is the descending path, the one I began with Sri Aurobindo; and there, the work is immense.
The thing can still be brought down as far as the mental and vital planes (although Sri Aurobindo said that thousands of lifetimes would be needed merely to bring it down to the mental plane, unless one practiced a perfect surrender1). With Sri Aurobindo, we went down below Matter, right into the Subconscient and even into the Inconscient. But after the descent comes the transformation, and when you come down to the body, when you attempt to make it take one step forward – oh, not even a real step, just a little step! – everything starts grating; it's like stepping on an anthill... And yet the presence, the help of the supreme Mother, is there constantly; thus you realize that for ordinary men such a task is impossible, or else millions of lives would be needed – but in truth, unless the work is done for them and the sadhana of the body done for the entire earth consciousness, they will never achieve the physical transformation, or else it will be so remote that it is better not even to speak of it. But if they open themselves, if they give themselves over in an integral surrender, the work can be done for them – they have only to let it be done.
The path is difficult. And yet this body is full of good will; it is filled with the psychic in every one of its cells. It's like a child. The other day, it cried out quite spontaneously, “O my Sweet Lord, give me the time to realize You!” It did not ask to hasten the process, it did not ask to lighten its work; it only asked for enough TIME to do the work. “Give me the time!”
I could have begun this work on the body thirty years ago, but I was constantly caught up in this harassing ashram life. It took this illness2 to enable me truly to begin doing the sadhana of the body. It does not mean that thirty years were wasted, for it is likely that had I been able to start this work thirty years ago, it would have been premature. The consciousness of the others also had to develop – the two are linked, the individual progress and the collective progress, and one cannot advance if the other does not advance.
I have also come to realize that for this sadhana of the body, the mantra is essential. Sri Aurobindo gave none; he said that one should be able to do all the work without having to resort to external means. Had he reached the point where we are now, he would have seen that the purely psychological method is inadequate and that a japa is necessary, because only japa has a direct action on the body. So I had to find the method all alone, to find my mantra by myself. But now that things are ready, I have done ten years of work in a few months. That is the difficulty, it requires time...
And I repeat my mantra constantly – when I am awake and even when I sleep. I say it even when I am getting dressed, when I eat, when I work, when I speak with others; it is there, just behind in the background, all the time, all the time.
In fact, you can immediately see the difference between those who have a mantra and those who don't. With those who have no mantra, even if they have a strong habit of meditation or concentration, something around them remains hazy and vague. Whereas the japa imparts to those who practice it a kind of precision, a kind of solidity: an armature. They become galvanized, as it were.
1 Original English.
2 In December 1958, when Mother stopped the Questions and Answers at the playground and thereafter left the Ashram building only rarely.