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The Mother


Volume 1

September 20, 1960

X has spoken to me several times of his lack of esteem for most people in the Ashram: “Why does Mother keep all these empty pots?” he says.

If he imagines for one moment that I believe all the people here are doing sadhana, he is grossly mistaken!

The idea is that the earth as a whole must be prepared in all its forms, including even those least ready for the transformation. There must be a symbolic representation of all the elements on earth upon which we can work to establish the link.1 The earth is a symbolic representation of the universe, and the group is a symbolic representation of the earth.

Sri Aurobindo and I had discussed the matter in 1914 (quite a long time ago), for we had seen two possibilities: what we are now doing, or to withdraw into solitude and isolation until we had not only attained the Supermind, but begun the material transformation as well. And Sri Aurobindo rightfully said that we could not isolate ourselves, for as you progress, you become more and more universalized, and consequently... you take the burden upon yourself2 in any case.

And life itself has responded by bringing people forward to form a nucleus. Of course, we clearly saw that this would make the work a bit more complex and difficult (it gives me a heavy responsibility, an enormous material work), but from the overall point of view – for the Work – it's indispensable and even inevitable. And in any case, as we were later able to verify, each one represents simultaneously a possibility and a special difficulty to resolve. I have even said, I believe, that each one here is an impossibility.3

But this way of seeing is too far removed from the state of mind and spiritual education in which X has lived,4 of course, for him to understand. Nor am I in favor of proselytizing [to convince X)] it would disturb him quite needlessly. He has not come here for that. He came here for something special, something I wanted which he brought, and I have learnt it. Now it's excellent, he is a part of the group in his own fashion, that's all. And in a certain way, his presence here is having a very good effect on a whole category of people who had not been touched but who are now becoming more and more favorably inclined. It was difficult to reach all the traditionalists, for example, the people attached to the old spiritual forms; well, they seem now to have been touched by something.

When Amrita,5 seized with zeal, wanted to make him understand what we were doing here and what Sri Aurobindo had wanted, it almost erupted into an unpleasant situation. So after that, I decided to identify myself with him to see – I had never done this, because normally I only do it when I am responsible for someone, in order to truly help someone, and I've never felt any responsibility in regard to X. So I wanted to see his inner situation, what could and could not be done. That was the day you saw him coming down from our meditation in an ecstatic state, when he told you that all separation between him and me had dropped away – it was to be expected, I anticipated as much!

But when I did that, I saw what X wanted to do for me. As a matter of fact, I recalled that when we first met I had told him that everything was all right up to this point (Mother indicates the region above the head), but below that, in the outer being, I wanted to hasten the transformation, and things there were difficult to handle.

When Sri Aurobindo was here, I never bothered about all this; I was constantly up above and I did what the Gita and the traditional writings advise – I left it to Nature's care. In fact I left it to Sri Aurobindo's care. “He is making the best use of it,” I would say. “He will manage it, he will do with it what he wants.” And I was constantly up above. And from up there I worked, leaving the instrument as it was because I knew that he would see to it.

Actually, it was very different at that time because I was not even aware of any resistance or any difficulty in the outer being; it was automatic, the work was done automatically. Later on, when I had to do both things – what he had been doing as well as what I was doing – it became rather complicated and I realized there were many... what we could call “gaps” – things which had to be worked out, transformed, set right before the total work could be done without hindrance. So then I began. And several times I thought how unfortunate it was that I had never studied or pursued certain ancient Indian disciplines. Because, for example, when Sri Aurobindo and I were working to bring down the supramental forces, a descent from the mental plane to the vital plane, he was always telling me that everything I did (when we “meditated” together, when we worked) – all my movements, all my gestures, all my postures, all my reactions – was absolutely tantric, as if I had pursued a tantric discipline. But it was spontaneous, it did not correspond to any knowledge, any idea, any will, nothing, and I thought it was like that simply because, as He knew, naturally I followed.

Later on, when Sri Aurobindo left his body, I said to myself, “If only I knew what he had known, it would be easier!” So when Swami and later X came, I thought, “I am going to take advantage of this opportunity.” I had written to Swami that I was working on transforming the cells of the body and that I had noticed the work was going faster with X's influence. So it was understood that X would help when he came – that's how things began, and this idea has remained with X. But I have raced on – I don't wait. I've raced on, I've gone like wildfire. And now the situation is reversed. What I wanted to find out, I found out. I experienced what I wanted to experience, but he is still... He is very kind, actually, he wants really to help me. So, when I identified with him the other day during our meditation, I realized that he wanted to give silence, control and perfect peace to the physical mind. My own “trick,” if you will, is to have as little relationship with the physical mind as possible, to go up above and stay there – this (Mother indicates her forehead), silent, motionless, turned upwards, while That (gesture above the head) sees, acts, knows, decides – all is done from there. Only there can you feel at ease.

Along the way, I once went down into this physical mind for awhile to try to set it right, to organize it a little (it was done rather quickly, I didn't stay there long). So when I went inside X, I saw... It was rather curious, for it's the opposite of the method we follow. In his material consciousness (physical and vital), he has trained himself to be impersonal, open, limitless, in communication with all the universal forces. In the physical mind, silence, immobility. But in the speculative mind, the one there at the very top of the head... what an organization, phew!... All the tradition in its most superb organization, but such a ri-gi-di-ty! And it had a pretty quality of light, a silver blue – VERY pretty. Oh, it was very calm, wonderfully calm and quiet and still. But what a ceiling it had! – the outer form resembled rigid cubes. Everything inside was beautiful, but that... There was a very large cube right at the top, I recall, bordered by a purple line, which is a line of power – all this was quite luminous. It looked like a pyramid; the smaller cubes formed a kind of base, the lower part of which faded into something cloudy, and then this passed imperceptibly downwards to a more material realm, or in other words, the physical mind. The cube on top was the largest and most luminous, and the least yielding – even inflexible, you could say. The others were somewhat less defined, and at the bottom it was very blurred. But up at the top! – that's where I wanted to go, right to the top.

When I got there, I felt a moment of anguish; my feeling was that nothing could be done. Not for him in particular, but universally, for all those in his category – it seemed hopeless.6 If that was perfection, then nothing more could be done. This lasted only a second, but it was painful. And then I tried... that is, I wanted to bring my consciousness down into the highest cube – this eternal, universal and infinite consciousness which is the first and foremost expression of the manifestation – but... nothing doing. It was impossible. I tried for several minutes and saw that it was absolutely impossible. So I had to make a curious movement (I couldn't get through it, it was impassable), I had to come back down into the so-called lower consciousness (not lower, actually – it was vast and impersonal), and from there I came out and regained... my equilibrium. This is what gave me that splitting headache I told you about. I came out of there as if I were carrying the weight... the weight of an irreducible absolute – it was dreadful. Unfortunately, I was unable to rest afterwards, and as people were waiting to see me, I had to talk – which is very tiring for me. And this produced a bubbling in my head, like a... this dark blue light of power in matter was there, shot through with streaks of white and gold, and all this was flashing back and forth in my head, this way and that way – I thought I was going to have a stroke! (Mother laughs)

This lasted a good half hour before I could calm it down, make it quiet, quiet. And I saw that this came from the fact that he wanted to bring the Power down, to transmit the Power into the physical mind! But as soon as I'm put in contact with the Power, you understand, it makes everything explode! (Mother laughs) It felt exactly like my head was going to explode!

I felt better that night because I was concentrated, but my head was still hurting a little. Then the following day I said to myself, or rather I told him inwardly, “Whether you like it or not, I am bringing down what's up above; it is the only way I can feel comfortable!” And I told you what happened – as soon as I sat down I was so surprised, for he didn't start doing what he had done the day before; I myself did the same thing, I... participated, so to speak, in his will (so as to find out), but with the resolve to remain consciously in contact with the highest consciousness, as always, and to bring it down. And it came in a marvelous flood. He was quite happy, he did not protest!... All the pain was gone, there was nothing left, it was perfect. Only towards the end of the meditation did he again want to start doing his little trick of enclosing my physical mind in this construction, but it didn't last – I watched all this from above.

And he isn't aware of this, actually, he isn't aware at all. If he were told, he would absolutely deny it – for him, it's an opening onto Infinity!... But in fact, it's always like that, we are always shut in, each of us – each one is enclosed inside certain limits which he doesn't feel, for should he feel it, he would get out! Oh, I know this feeling very well, for when I was with Sri Aurobindo I was open in this way (gesture towards the heights), and I always had this feeling of “Yes, my child...” – He tolerated me the way I was and waited for it to change. That's truly how things are, you know. And now I feel my limits, which are the limits of the world as it is at present, but beyond that there's an unmanifested immensity, eternity and infinity – to which we are closed. It merely seeps in – it is not the great opening. What I am trying to bring about is the great opening. Only when it has opened wide will there really be the... (how should I put it?) the irreducible thing, and all the world's resistance, all its inertia, even its obscurity will be unable to swallow it up – the determining and transforming thing... I don't know when it will come.

But this experience with X was really interesting. I learned many things that day, many things... If you concentrate long enough on any one point, you discover the Infinite (and in his own experience he found the infinite), what could be called your own Infinite. But this is not what WE want, not this; what we want is the direct and integral contact between the manifested universe and the Infinite out of which this universe has emerged. So then it is no longer an individual or personal contact with the Infinite, it's a total contact. And Sri Aurobindo insists on this, he says that it's absolutely impossible to have the transformation (not the contact, but the supramental transformation) without becoming universalized – that is the first condition. You cannot become supramental before being universal. And to be universal means to accept everything, be everything, become everything – really to accept everything. And as for all those who are shut up in a system, even if it belongs to the highest regions of thought, it is not THAT.

But to each his destiny, to each his work, to each his realization, and to want to change someone's destiny or someone's realization is very wrong. For it simply throws him off balance – that's all it does.

But for us who want an integral realization, are all these mantras and this daily japa really a help, or do they also shut us in?

It gives discipline. It's an almost subconscious discipline of the character more than of thought.

Especially at the beginning, Sri Aurobindo used to shatter to pieces all moral ideas (you know, as in the Aphorisms, for example). He shattered all those things, he shattered them, really shattered them to pieces. So there's a whole group of youngsters7 here who were brought up with this idea that “we can do whatever we want, it doesn't matter in the least!” – that they need not bother about all those concepts of ordinary morality. I've had a hard time making them understand that this morality can be abandoned only for a higher one... So, one has to be careful not to give them the Power too soon.

It's an almost physical discipline. Moreover, I have seen that the japa has an organizing effect on the subconscient, on the inconscient, on matter, on the body's cells – it takes time, but by persistently repeating it, in the long run it has an effect. It is the same principle as doing daily exercises on the piano, for example. You keep mechanically repeating them, and in the end your hands are filled with consciousness – it fills the body with consciousness.

I have a hard time making X understand that I have work to do when I'm with him. He doesn't understand that one can work.

Of course not! A disciplined work, which to us seems important, is to him basically an ignorance. What is true to such a person is a contemplative, ecstatic life – along with a sentiment of compassion and charity, so that nonetheless you spend a bit of your time helping out the poor brutes! But the true thing is ecstatic contemplation. As for those who are advanced and yet still attach some importance to work – it's irrational!

The only way I can make him understand that I have work to do is to tell him, “Mother asked me to do it”; then he keeps quiet.

Yes, he doesn't dare say a thing... He doesn't understand it very well. What funny ideas, eh! He must think I have funny ideas, but anyway... In the end, he tells himself, “Oh, it's just because she's born in France that she is still carrying this burden”!

It's quite funny.

Sri Aurobindo saw more clearly. He said – it was even the first thing he told the boys around him when I came in 1914 (he had only seen me once) – he told them that I, Mirra (he immediately called me by my first name), “was born free.”

And it's true, I know it, I knew it then. In other words, all this work that usually has to be done to become free was done beforehand, long ago – quite convenient!

He saw me the next day for half an hour. I sat down – it was on the verandah of the “Guest House”; I was sitting there on the verandah. There was a table in front of him, and Richard was on the other side facing him. They began talking. Myself, I was seated at his feet, very small, with the table just in front of me – it came to my forehead, which gave me a little protection... I didn't say anything, I didn't think anything, try anything, want anything – I merely sat near him. When I stood up half an hour later, he had put silence in my head, that's all, without my even having asked him – perhaps even without his trying.

Oh, I had tried – for years I had tried to catch silence in my head... I never succeeded. I could detach myself from it, but it would keep on turning... But at that moment, all the mental constructions, all the mental, speculative structures... none of it remained – a big hole.

And such a peaceful, such a luminous hole!

Afterwards, I kept very still so as not to disturb it. I didn't speak, above all I refrained from thinking and held it, held it tight against me – I said to myself, “make it last, make it last, make it last...”

Later on, I heard Sri Aurobindo saying that there were two people here to whom he had done this and as soon as there was silence, they panicked: “My God, I've gone stupid!!” And they threw it all overboard by starting to think again.

Once it was done, it was done. It was well-rooted.

For years, from 1912 to 1914, I did endless exercises, all kinds of things, even pranayama8 – if it would only shut up! Really, if it would only be quiet!... I was able to go out (that wasn't difficult), but inside it kept turning.

This lasted about half an hour. I quietly remained there – I heard the noise of their conversation, but I wasn't listening. And then when I got up, I no longer knew anything, I no longer thought anything, I no longer had any mental construction – everything was gone, absolutely gone, blank! – as if I had just been born.

*   *

(soon afterwards)

I went to inaugurate the sugar factory9 the other day. I had an amusing experience.

From the material point of view, it's almost hellish – the noise, the smell – a nauseating smell. I had to apply all my will not to be physically disturbed – they made me climb up narrow little stairs, go down, climb back up, look into deep pits. At some places there weren't even guardrails, so I had really to control myself.

I was watching all this sugar cane – piles of sugar cane – which is thrown into the machine, and then it travels along and falls down to be crushed, crushed, and crushed some more. And then it comes back up to be distilled. And then I saw... all this is living when it's thrown in, you see, it's full of its vital force, for it has just been cut. As a result, the vital force is suddenly hurled out of the substance with an extreme violence – the vital force comes out... the English word angry is quite expressive of what I mean – like a snarling dog. An angry force.10

So I saw this – I saw it moving about. And it kept coming and coming and coming, accumulating, piling up (they work 24 hours a day, six days a week – only on the seventh do they rest). So I thought that this angry force must have some effect on the people – who knows, maybe this is what creates accidents. For I could see that once the sugar cane was fully crushed and had gone back up the chute, this force that had been beaten out was right there. And this worried me a little; I thought that there must be a certain danger in doing such a thing!... What saves them is their ignorance and their insensitivity. But Indians are never entirely insensitive in the way Westerners are – they are much more open in their subconscious.

I didn't speak of it to anyone, but it caused me some concern. And just the next day the machine broke down! When I was informed, immediately I thought... It was then repaired, and again it broke down – three times. Then the following night, just before ten o'clock... I should mention that during the day I had thought, “But why not attract these forces to our side, take them and satisfy them, give them some peace and joy and use them?” I thought about it, concentrated a little, but then I didn't bother any further. At ten o'clock that evening, they came upon me – in a flood! They kept coming and coming. And I was busy with them the whole time. They were not ugly (not so luminous either!), they were wholesome, straightforward – honest forces. So I worked on them. This began exactly at 9:30, and for one hour I was busy working. After an hour, I'd had enough: “Listen, this is quite fine, you're very nice, but I can't spend all my time like this! We shall see what to do later” – for it absorbed my whole consciousness. They kept coming and coming (you understand what that means to a body?!). So at 10:30 I told them, “Listen, my little ones, be quiet now, that's enough for today...” At 10:30, the machine broke down!

I found out, of course, because they log everything at the factory, so when they came to inform me of the breakdown the next morning, I asked them what time it had happened – exactly 10:30.

After that, I made a kind of pact with them – the trouble, you see, is that there are constantly new ones. If only they were the same! They are constantly coming in new floods, so there was the need of a permanent formation over there. I've tried to make this permanent formation, to take and absorb them, to calm them down and scatter them a little so they don't accumulate in one spot, which in the end could be dangerous.

I found this quite amusing.

The most recent incident took place a few days ago, for there was a general excitement in the factory due to the expected visit of a government minister during the day. That afternoon, exactly at half past three, I felt that I had to make a little concentration. So I paid attention and saw poor L11 praying to me. He was praying, praying, calling me – such a strong call that it pulled me. I was having my bath (you know what happens when I'm very strongly pulled – I'm stopped right in the very midst of a gesture, then the consciousness goes wandering off! And I can't do anything, it stops me dead. That's exactly what happened to me in the bathroom). When I saw what was happening, I straightened things out. Then they must have had their ceremony, for suddenly I felt, “Ah, now it has calmed down, it's all right.” And I went on to something else.

The next day, L came to see me. He told me that shortly before 3:30, the machine had stopped once again, but this time it was quickly set right; they found out right away what had to be done. And then he told me that at 3:45 he had started praying to me that all should go well. “Oh, I know!” I said.

Things can be done in this way. In truth, a lot can be done – it's man's ignorance that gets him in trouble.


1 With the Supramental World.

2 Original English.

3 “Each one here represents an impossibility to be resolved”; Words of the Mother, p. 14 (January 15, 1933).

4 Traditional tantrism.

5 One of the Ashram secretaries.

6 Original English.

7 Original English.

8 Pranayama: breathing exercises.

9 New Horizon Sugar Mills, which belongs to a disciple. The inauguration was on September 15.

10 Original English.

11 The disciple who manages the sugar factory.








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