November 12, 1960
(It has not stopped raining for the last 20 days...)
Chittagong was hit by a cyclone, there were tidal waves somewhere else... The cyclone went up the wrong side! – for according to X's predictions, it was Karachi that should have disappeared.
He said only in 1962 or 1963 would Karachi totally disappear. And three-fourths of Bombay underwater!
And just a while ago some volcanoes erupted, so the sea rose and swept away all kinds of things in Japan and all along its path, but it didn't come all the way to India. When I was in Japan, one island was swallowed up just like that, along with its 30,000 inhabitants, glub!
You see, it amuses them; it's the way these beings amuse themselves – only it's on another scale, that's all. They look at us like ants, so what's it matter to them! “If they don't like it, too bad for them.” Only, ants can't protest, or at least we don't understand their protests! Whereas when we ourselves protest, we can make ourselves heard. We have the means to make ourselves heard.
We can be heard?
Certainly, we CAN be heard. So far I never said anything. It even surprised me, for I had never paid it any attention, I was quite away from all that: it's raining? – so what, it's raining, it happens. It's not raining? – so what, it's not raining, it's the same thing. And then gradually people started mentioning that should it continue, they wouldn't be able to do their exercises, and they wouldn't be ready for December 2.1 Then I started receiving desperate letters – one person even told me he was doing his puja underwater! So I answered by saying, “Take it as the Lord's blessing” but I'm not sure he appreciated it! And then I learned that 200 houses [in the Ashram] – 200! – are leaking. Naturally, each one is in a great hurry – it's terribly urgent! So perhaps I shall file a complaint and ask them what they mean by this!
Actually, if communications are interrupted, it can be troublesome... Let us see.
(After a moment of silence) We don't have time now to work, it's too late. And anyway, we can't see properly. Did you bring anything?
Yes, some “Questions and Answers.”
More small talk!
Speaking of which, I looked at T's most recent questions on the Aphorisms again. All these children haven't the least sense of humor, so Sri Aurobindo's paradoxes throw them into a kind of despair!... The last aphorism went something like this: “When I could read a wearisome book from one end to the other with pleasure, then I knew I had conquered my mind.”2 So T asked me, “How can you read a wearisome book with pleasure?”!! I had to explain it to her. And on top of that, I have to take on a rather serious tone, for were I to reply in the same ironic fashion, they would be totally drowned! It throws them into a terrible confusion!
It's a lack of plasticity in the mind, and they are bound by the expression of things; for them, words are rigid. Sri Aurobindo explained it so well in The Secret of the Veda; he shows how language evolves and how, before, it was very supple and evocative. For example, one could at once think of a river and of inspiration. Sri Aurobindo also gives the example of a sailboat and the forward march of life. And he says that for those of the Vedic age it was quite natural, the two could go together, superimposed; it was merely a way of looking at the same thing from two sides, whereas now, when a word is said, we think only of this word all by itself, and to get a clear picture we need a whole literary or poetic imagery (with explanations to boot!). That's exactly the case with these children; they're at a stage where everything is rigid. Such is the product of modern education. It even extracts the subtlest nuance between two words and FIXES it: “And above all, don't make any mistake, don't use this word for that word, for otherwise your writing's no good.” But it's just the opposite.
So, are you sleeping in water?
It's not that bad!
Yes, everything is getting mildewed, everything you touch. I'm sleeping in a damp bed; to walk on the woolen carpets upstairs is like walking on moss – in the forest! For myself, I don't mind.
There's a certain sensibility which makes any increase in humidity felt. Before it starts raining, even several hours before, it feels like there are drops falling on my body. I can always say when it's going to rain. It's entirely physical, actually, merely a heightened sensitivity. It feels like very tiny drops (you know, like drizzle), the feeling of a very fine spray falling on the body. And yet the sky is clear; I say, “Hmm, it's going to rain.” And it rains – I felt it. I feel the water, and it never fails to come a few hours later.
You asked me just now if we have a say in the matter. Well, last year I didn't go out; I had no intention of going to the Sports-ground or to the theatre for the December 2 program, but I was often asked to see that the weather be good. So while I was doing my japa upstairs, I started saying that it shouldn't rain. But “they” weren't in a very good mood! (When I used to go out myself, it had an effect, for it kept the thing in check, and even if it had been raining earlier, that day it would stop.) So they said, “But you aren't going out, so what does it matter.” I said I was counting on it. Then they answered, “Are you prepared to have it rain the next time you go out?” – “Do what you like,” I replied. And when I went out on November 24 for the prize distribution, there was a deluge. It came pouring down and we had to run for shelter in the gymnasium – everyone was splashing around, the band playing on the verandah was half-drenched, it was dreadful! – the day before it hadn't rained, the day after it didn't rain. But on that day they had their revenge!
I don't want that to happen this time. Once is enough. So I'm going to see about it.
But it's explained very well in Savitri! All these things have their laws and their conventions (and truly speaking, a really FORMIDABLE power is needed to change anything of their rights, for they have rights – what they call “laws”)... Sri Aurobindo explains this very well when Savitri, following Satyavan into death, argues with the god of Death.3 “It's the Law, and who has the right to change the Law?” he says. And then comes this wonderful passage at the end where she replies, “My God can change it. And my God is a God of Love.” Oh, how magnificent!
And by force of repeating this to him, he yields... She replies in this way to EVERYTHING.
It's all right for winning a Victory, but not for stopping the rain for one day!
So I'm trying to come to an understanding, to reach an agreement – these are very complicated matters (!). For it's a whole totality... You see, we are trying something here which really is contrary to all those laws and practices, something which disturbs everything. So “they” propose things that have me advancing like this (sinuous motion), without disturbing things too much, and without having to call in forces... (Mother makes a gesture of a lance thrust into the pack) forces a bit too great, which may disturb things too much. Like that, we can keep tacking back and forth.
A while ago... You know that I have TREMENDOUS financial difficulties. In fact, I have handed the whole matter over to the Lord, telling Him, “It's your affair; if you want us to continue this experience, well, you must provide the means.” But this upsets some of “them,” so they come along with all kinds of suggestions to keep me from having to... to resort to something so drastic. They suggest all kinds of things; some time ago they said, “What about a good cyclone, or a good earthquake? A lot of damage to the Ashram, a public appeal – that would bring in some funds!” (Mother laughs) Yes, it's of this order! And it's all quite clear and definite – we have veritable “conversations”!
I listen, I answer. “It's not satisfactory!” I told them. But they've kept to their idea, they like it. When that first storm came some time back (you remember, with those terrible bolts of lightning and that asuric being P.K. saw and sketched): “Don't you want us to destroy something?...” I got angry. But it was... This influence was so close and acute that it gave you goose bumps! The whole time the storm lasted, I had to hold on tight in my bed, like this (Mother closes her fists tight as in a trance or deep concentration), and I didn't move – didn't move – like a... a rock during the entire storm, until he consented to go a bit further away. Then I moved. And even now, it comes – from others (there's not just one, you see, there are many): “How about a good flood?” A roof collapsed the other day with someone underneath, but he was able to escape. So roofs are collapsing, houses... “Arouse public sympathy, we must help the Ashram!” “It's no good,” I said. But maybe that's what's responsible for this interminable rain. And they offer so many other things... oh, what they parade past me! You could write books on all this!
But generally – and this is something Théon had told me (Théon was very qualified on the subject of hostile forces and the workings of all that “resists” the divine influence, and he was a great fighter – as you might imagine! He himself was an incarnation of an asura, so he knew how to tackle these things!); he was always saying, “If you make a VERY SMALL concession or suffer a minor defeat, it gives you the right to a very great victory.” It's a very good trick. And I have observed, in practice, that for all things, even for the very little things of everyday life, it's true – if you yield on one point (if, even though you see what should be, you yield on a very secondary and unimportant point), it immediately gives you the power to impose your will for something much more important. I mentioned this to Sri Aurobindo and he said that it was true. It is true in the world as it is today, but it's not what we want; we want it to change, really change.
He wrote this in a letter, I believe, and he spoke of this system of compensation – for example, those who take an illness on themselves in order to have the power to cure; and then there's the symbolic story of Christ dying on the cross to set men free. And Sri Aurobindo said, “That's fine for a certain age, but we must now go beyond that.” As he told me (it's even one of the first things he told me), “We are no longer at the time of Christ when, to be victorious, it was necessary to die.”
I have always remembered this.
But things are PULLING backwards – phew, how they pull!... “The Law, the Law, it's a Law. Don't you understand, it's a LAW, you can't change the Law.”
— “But I CAME to change the Law.”
— “Then pay the price.”
What can make them yield?
It's the only thing.
Sri Aurobindo has explained it in Savitri. Only when Divine Love has manifested in all its purity will everything yield, will it all yield – it will then be done.
It's the only thing that can do it.
It will be the great Victory.
On a small scale, in very small details, I feel that of all the forces, this is the strongest. And it's the only one with a power over hostile wills. Only... for the world to change, it must manifest here in all its fullness. We have to be up to it...
Sri Aurobindo had also written to the effect, “If Divine Love were to manifest now in all its fullness and totality, not a single material organism would but burst.” So we must learn to widen, widen, widen not only the inner consciousness (that is relatively easy – at least feasible), but even this conglomeration of cells. And I've experienced this: you have to be able to widen this sort of crystallization if you want to be able to hold this Force. I know. Two or three times, upstairs [in Mother's room], I felt the body about to burst. Actually, I was on the verge of saying, “burst and be done with.” But Sri Aurobindo always intervened – all three times he intervened in an entirely tangible, living and concrete way... and he arranged everything so that I was forced to wait.
Then weeks go by, sometimes even months, between one thing and another, so that some elasticity may come into these stupid cells.
So much time is wasted. We are... oh! We are so hard! (Mother hits her body) As hard as a rock.
But three times now, I've really felt that I was on the verge of... falling apart. The first time it brought a fever, a fever so... I don't know, as if I had at least 115°! – I was roasting from head to toe; everything became red hot, and then... it was over. That was the day when suddenly – suddenly – I was... You see, I had said to myself, “All right, you must be peaceful, let's see what happens,” so then I brought down the Peace, and immediately I was able to pass into a 'second of unconsciousness – and I woke up in the subtle physical, in Sri Aurobindo's abode.4 There he was. And then I spent some time with him, explaining the problem.
But that was really an experience, a decisive experience (it was many months ago, perhaps more than a year ago).
So I explained the problem to Sri Aurobindo, and he replied (by his expression, not with words, but it was clear), “Patience, patience – patience, it will come.” And a few days after this experience, “by chance” I came upon something he had written where precisely he explained that we are much too rigid, coagulated, clenched for these things to be able to manifest – we must widen, relax, become plastic.
But this takes time.
I don't really see what we can do... I mean, it's you who does, of course, but I don't see what we can do to help change things.
Nor do I!
I have quite the feeling that I myself “do” nothing at all, absolutely nothing. The only thing I do is this (gesture of offering upwards), constantly this, in everything – in thoughts, feelings, sensations, in the body's cells, all the time: “You, You, You. It's You, it's You, it's You...” That's all. And nothing else.
In other words, a more and more complete, a more and more integral assent, more and more like this (gesture of letting herself be carried). That's when you have the feeling that you must be ABSOLUTELY like a child.
If you start thinking, “Oh, I want to be like this! Oh, I ought to be like that!” you waste your time.
1 The Ashram's annual physical education demonstration at the Sportsground.
2 The actual aphorism reads: “When I read a wearisome book through and with pleasure, yet perceived all the perfection of its wearisomeness, then I knew that my mind was conquered.”
3 Yama: the god of Death. He is also the guardian of the Law.
4 Night of July 24, 1959.