November 15, 1960
I don't know if it's due to Z's visit1 or simply if the time had come and things converged (because that's what generally happens), but a whole period of the past is coming up again – and it's not a purely personal past, for it includes all the acquaintances I used to have, a whole collection of things that represents not only my individual life but something rather collective (as it always is; each of us is always a collectivity but we aren't aware of it, and if anything were taken away, it would unbalance the whole). A whole set of things that were absolutely wiped clean from the memory (it must have been buried somewhere in the subconscient or the semi-conscient – in any case, something more unconscious than the subconscient), and it has all come back up. Oh, things... such things... If just two weeks ago someone had asked me, “Do you remember that?” I would have replied, “No, not at all!” And it's coming from every side. Oh, such mediocrity! (mediocre in the way of consciousness, experiences and activities) and so gray, so dull, so flat! Only this morning, while getting ready for the balcony, I thought, “Is it possible to live like that?!”
And then it became so clear that behind all this there was always the same luminous Presence, this Presence that is everywhere, always, watching over everything.
And as I look now at the things of life, at people, at this totality, I see that it's identically the same thing when seen from there, from that consciousness – it's so drab, dull, insipid, gray, uninteresting, lifeless... Oh, all of life, WHATEVER IT IS, is like that when seen from that consciousness!
So I understood that this must correspond to a certain realm of experience; I understood all those who say, “If it has to be like this, if it can never be otherwise, then...” (this opposition, this abyss between a TRUE life, a TRUE consciousness, a TRUE activity, something living, powerful, fulfilling... and life as it now is), “if there must always be this difference between the physical expression as it is or as it can be in the present circumstances, and the true life, then...” For if despite everything – despite this tremendous distance I've covered in my life (these memories go back more than sixty years) and all the evolutionary effort upwards I have made since that time IN MATTER (I'm not speaking of leaving Matter behind, but IN MATTER, IN action) – if that doesn't further reduce this gap between the true consciousness and the possible material realization, then I understand... I understand why people say, “It's hopeless.” (Of course, this “hopeless” is meaningless to me.)
But I... (how can I put this?) I lived their experience, I lived it; and even events which seem quite extraordinary when seen from afar, which is the way they appear to most people, even historical things which have furthered the earth's transformation and its upheavals – the crucial events, the great works, you might say – are woven from the SAME fabric, they are the SAME thing! When you look at all this from afar, on the whole it can make an impression, but the life of each minute, of each hour, of each second is woven from this SAME fabric, drab, dull, insipid, WITHOUT ANY TRUE LIFE – a mere reflection of life, an illusion of life – powerless, void of any light or anything that resembles joy in the least. Oh!... if it has always to remain like that, then we don't want any of it.
Such is the feeling it gives.
For me it's different, because I KNOW that it can and must become something else. But then all this Consciousness which is there and in which I live and which has this world vision must come forward and manifest in the vibration of EACH second – not in a whole which looks interesting when seen from afar; it must enter the vibration of each second, the consciousness of each minute, otherwise...
How well I understand all those who don't know or to whom it hasn't been shown or revealed that we are GOING towards something else, that it WILL BE something else!... Such a feeling of futility, stupidity, uselessness, and absolutely devoid of any... any intensity, any life, any reality, any ardor, any soul – bah! It's disgusting.
While it was all coming up, I thought, “How is this possible?...” For during those years of my life (I'm now outside things; I do them but I'm entirely outside, so they don't involve me – whether it's like this or like that makes no difference to me; I'm only doing my work, that's all), I was already conscious, but nevertheless I was IN what I was doing to a certain extent; I was IN this web of social life (but thank God it wasn't here in India, for had it been here I could not have withstood it! I think that even as a child I would have smashed everything, because here it's even worse than over there). You see, there it's... it's a bit less constricting, a bit looser, you can slip through the mesh from time to time to breathe some air. But here, according to what I've learned from people and what Sri Aurobindo told me, it's absolutely unbearable (it's the same in Japan, absolutely unbearable). In other words, you can't help but smash everything. Over there, you sometimes get a breath of air, but still it's quite relative. And this morning I wondered... (you see, for years I lived in that way... for years and years) just as I was wondering, “How was I ABLE to live that and not kick out in every direction?”, just as I was looking at it, I saw up above, above this... (it is worse than horrible, it is a kind of... Oh, not despair, for there isn't even any sense of feeling – there is NOTHING! It is dull, dull, dull... gray, gray, gray, clenched tight, a closed web that lets through neither air nor life nor light – there is nothing) and just then I saw a splendor of such sweet light above it – so sweet, so full of true love, true compassion, something so warm, so warm... the relief, the solace of an eternity of sweetness, light, beauty, in an eternity of patience which feels neither the past nor the inanity and imbecility of things – it was so wonderful! That was entirely the feeling it gave, and I said to myself, “THAT is what made you live, without THAT it would not have been possible.” Oh, it would not have been possible – I would not have lived even three days! THAT is there, ALWAYS there, awaiting its hour, if we would only let it in.
And it's still the same thing; only now I'm up here (Mother gestures above the head), I'm here, so it's quite another matter.
I am no longer looking out at the sky from below, but from up above... I am looking, as if each look at each thing seen established the Contact.
It was like that this morning at the balcony.
The rainy season expresses this state of things so well: a constant descent of luminous sweetness (sweetness is not the right word – there must be a Sanskrit word for it, but this is all we have!...) in this endless gloom.
(Soon afterwards, Mother comes back to the same theme)
It all began the day I received the news of Z's arrival. “All right,” I thought, “here's a chunk of life sent back to me for clarifying. I must work on it.” But it didn't stop there... It's strange how all this past had been swept clean – I could no longer remember dates, I couldn't even remember when Z had been here before, I no longer knew what had happened, it had all been wiped clean – which means that it had all been pushed down into the subconscient. I didn't even know how I used to speak to him when I saw him, nothing, it was all gone. All that had remained alive were one or two movements or facts which were clearly connected to the psychic life, the psychic consciousness – but just one or two or three such memories; all the rest was gone.
So a whole slice of my life came back, but it didn't stop there! It keeps extending back further and further, and memories keep on coming, things that go back sixty years now, even beyond, seventy, seventy-five years – they are all coming back. And so it all has to be put in order.
It's quite odd, for this was not a personal consciousness, it was not “someone remembering his life” – this is what I found most interesting; what came were pieces, little chunks of life's construction, a collection of people and circumstances. And it is impossible to separate the individual from all that is around him, it's clear! It all holds together like... (if you change one thing, everything is changed) it holds together like an agglomerated mass.
I had seen this earlier from another angle. In the beginning, when I started having the consciousness of immortality and when I brought together this true consciousness of immortality and the human conception of it (which is entirely different), I saw so clearly that when a human (even quite an ordinary human, one who is not a collectivity in himself – as is a writer, for example, or a philosopher or statesman) projects himself through his imagination into what he calls “immortality” (meaning an indefinite duration of time) he doesn't project himself alone but rather, inevitably and always, what is projected along with himself is a whole agglomeration, a collectivity or totality of things which represent the life and the consciousness of his present existence. And then I made the following experiment on a number of people; I said to them, “Excuse me, but let's say that through a special discipline or a special grace your life were to continue indefinitely. What you would most likely extend into this indefinite future are the circumstances of your life, this formation you have built around yourself that is made up of people, relationships, activities, a whole collection of more or less living or inert things. But that CANNOT be extended as it is, for everything is constantly changing! And to be immortal, you have to follow this perpetual change; otherwise, what will naturally happen is what now happens – one day you will die because you can no longer follow the change. But if you can follow it, then all this will fall from you! Understand that what will survive in you is something you don't know very well, but it's the only thing that can survive – and all the rest will keep falling off all the time... Do you still want to be immortal?” – Not one in ten said yes!... Once you are able to make them feel the thing concretely, they tell you, “Oh no! Oh no! Since everything else is changing, the body might as well change too! What difference would it make!” But what remains is THAT; THAT is what you must truly hold on to – but then you must BE THAT, not this whole agglomeration. What you now call “you” is not THAT, it's a whole collection of things..
Formerly, that was my first step – a long time ago. Now it's so very different... I wonder how it was possible to have been so totally blind as to call that “oneself” at any moment in one's life! It's a collection of things. And what was the link by which that could be called “oneself”? That's more difficult to find out. Only when you climb above do you come to realize that THAT is at work here, but it could work there as well, or as well here, or here, or here... At times there is suddenly a drop of something (Oh, I saw that this morning – it was like a drop, a little drop, but with SUCH an intense and perfect light...), and where THAT falls it makes its center and begins radiating out and acting. THAT is what can be called “oneself” – nothing else. And THAT precisely is what enabled me to live in such dreadfully uninteresting, such nonexistent circumstances. And at the moment when you ARE that, you see how that has lived and how that has used everything, not only in this body but in all bodies and through all time.
At the core, this is the experience; it is no longer knowledge. I now understand quite clearly the difference between the knowledge of the eternal soul, of life eternal through all its changes, and this CONCRETE experience of the thing.
It's very moving.
It was strange, this morning... I came a few minutes late. (I blamed the clocks which weren't working, but it wasn't the clocks which were to blame!) I was getting dressed when suddenly all this came upon me – I had a moment of... it may have lasted one or two minutes, just a few minutes, not long. – Oh, the emotion I had during the experience was... it was very absorbing.
It was no longer this (that is, life as it is on earth) becoming conscious of That (the eternal soul, this “portion of the Supreme” as Sri Aurobindo said); it was the eternal soul seeing life... in its own way – but without separation, without any separation, not like something looking from above that feels itself to be different... How strange it is! It's not something else, it's NOT something else, it's not even a distortion, not even... It's losing its illusory quality as described in the old spiritualities – that's not what it is! In my experience, there was... there was clearly an... emotion – I can't describe it, there are no words. It wasn't a feeling, it was something like an emotion, a vibration... of such TOTAL closeness and at the same time of compassion, a compassion of love. (Oh, words are so pitiful!...) One was this outer thing, which was the total negation of the other and AT THE SAME TIME the other, without the least separation between them. It WAS the other. So what was born in one was born in the other as well, in this eternal light. A sweetness of identity, precisely, an identity that was necessarily such total understanding with such perfect love – but “love” says it poorly, all words are poor! It's not that; it's something else! It's something that cannot be expressed.
I lived that this morning, upstairs.
And this body is... oh, how feeble and how poor it is. All it finds to express itself are the tears that come to its eyes! Why? – I don't know.
It has a lot to do before it is strong enough to LIVE that.
This was still there, like a sweetness, when I came to the balcony... And the notion that people, objects, life, that all that are “different”... is unthinkable! It is not possible. Even thought is so strange!
I often find leaving the balcony difficult. And it's only this same gentleman... (you know, the “censor”) who starts telling me, “You're keeping them there in the rain just because you're in ecstasy; you're just letting them stand there drenched and getting a crick in the neck looking up in the air. Aren't you going to let them go?” – When he insists too much, I go back inside.
Maybe that's why he's still there. Otherwise, if I forgot... (Mother laughs)
1 Conversation of November 8, the “artist” disciple with loose morals.