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The Mother


Volume 1

May 28, 1959

(Letter to Mother from Satprem)

Pondicherry, May 28, 1959


I do not want you to suffer because of me, for there is already too much suffering in this world. I shall do what you wish. I will go to Rameswaram and I will stay there as long as X wants. I have seen that there is no happy solution. So I bow before the circumstances.

If it is not too tiring for your eyes, I would like you to read what follows. I want to tell you what I have seen, very clearly.

After the wave of rebelliousness this morning, I was seized by a great sadness, a great bitterness, as though I were being confronted with a profound injustice.

There is a spiritual destiny in me, but there are three other destinies so intimately bound up with it that I cannot cut off any one without mutilating something of my living soul – which is why, periodically, these suppressed destinies awaken and call to me – and the dark forces seize upon these occasions to sow chaos within and drive me to ruin everything since I cannot really fulfill myself. And the problem is insoluble.

1) There is the destiny of the adventurer: it is the one in me that needs the sea or the forest and wide open spaces and struggles. This was the best part of my childhood. I can sit on it and tell myself that “the adventure is within,” and it might “work” for a while. But this untamed child in me continues to live all the same, and it is something very valuable in me. I cannot kill it through reasoning, even spiritual reasoning. And if I tell it that everything lies “within,” not “without,” it replies, “Then why was I born, why this manifestation in the outer world?” In the end, it is not a question of reasoning. It is a fact, like the wind upon the heaths.

2) There is the destiny of the writer in me. And this too is linked to the best of my soul. It is also a profound need, like adventuring upon the heaths, because when I write certain things, I breathe in a certain way. But during the five years I have been here, I have had to bow to the fact that, materially, there is no time to write what I would like (I recall how I had to wrench out this Orpailleur, which I have not even had time to revise). This is not a reproach, Mother, for you do all you can to help me. But I realize that to write, one must have leisure, and there are too many less personal and more serious things to do. So I can also sit on this and tell myself that I am going to write a “Sri Aurobindo” – but this will not satisfy that other need in me, and periodically it awakens and sprouts up to tell me that it too needs to breathe.

3) There is also the destiny that feels human love as something divine, something that can be transfigured and become a very powerful driving force. I did not believe it possible, except in dreams, until the day I met someone here. But you do not believe in these things, so I shall not speak of it further. I can gag this also and tell myself that one day all will be filled in the inner divine love. But that does not prevent this other need in me from living and from finding that life is dry and from saying, “Why this outer manifestation if all life is in the inner realms?” But neither can I stifle this with reasoning.

So there remains the pure spiritual destiny, pure interiorization. That is what I have been trying to do for the last five years, without much success. There are good periods of collaboration, because one part of my being can be happy in any condition. But in a certain way this achievement remains truncated, especially when you base spiritual life on a principle of integrality. And these three destinies in me have their own good reasons, which are true: they are not inferior, they are not incidental, they are woven from the very threads that created the spiritual life in me. My error is to open the door to revolt when I feel too poignantly one or the other being stifled.

So you see, all this is insoluble. I have only to bow before these unfortunate circumstances. I perceive an injustice somewhere, but I have only to remain silent.


And I was also struck when you told me that I wanted to “kick up a row.” You so clearly implied that I was leaving the Ashram in a “shoddy” way. So that also froze me. I thought I had done my best and, in order to serve you, repressed as much as I could the others in me.

So there. I can find no solution. X will not understand, and I will not say anything to him. But I obey you because everything is futile and there is too much pain in this world, and also someone in me needs you, someone who loves you in his own way.

Signed: Satprem


(Mother's reply)

Friday, 5.29.59

Satprem, my dear little one,

I have read your letter in its entirety and I remain convinced that one day all the parts of your being, without excluding any, will be fully satisfied. But we shall see about that later.

For the moment, I only want to tell you, from the bottom of my heart – which is so deeply touched – thank you.

With all my love.

Signed: Mother

I will see you tomorrow morning at ten o'clock and I hope that a few small misunderstandings may be clarified.

I am sending you forthwith the note that I had prepared for tomorrow morning.


(Note from Mother to Satprem)

I did not utter the words that you heard – I wanted to speak to you of my experience during the night, but I was paralyzed because I clearly felt that you no longer understood me. As soon as I received your letter, I concentrated on you in an effort to help you, and when night fell, just at the hour I enter into contact with X, I called for his help – whereupon he sent me this little Kali whom he had already sent once before. So I went to your house, I took you in my arms and pressed you tightly to my heart to keep you as sheltered as possible from blows, and I let Kali do her warrior dance against this titan who is always trying to possess you, creating this rebelliousness in you. She must have at least partially succeeded in her work, because very early in the morning the titan went away somewhat discomfited, but while leaving, he flung this at me as he went by: “You will regret it, for you would have had less trouble if he had left.” I flung his suggestion back in his face with a laugh and told him, “Take that, along with all the rest of your ugly person! I have no need of it!” And the atmosphere cleared up.

I wanted to tell you all this, but I couldn't because you were still far away from me and it would have seemed like boasting. Also the misunderstanding created by the distance made you hear other words than those I uttered.

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