March 4, 1966
(Mother resumes her comments on Sri Aurobindo's aphorisms.)
115 – The world is a long recurring decimal with Brahman for its integer. The period seems to begin and end, but the fraction is eternal; it will never have an end and never had any real beginning.
116 – The beginning and end of things is a conventional term of our experience; in their true existence these terms have no reality, there is no end and no beginning.
This past week again, there has been a whole development of that experience.
Ultimately, with worlds it's the same as with individuals, and with universes the same as with worlds. It's only the duration that differs: an individual is very small, a world is a little bigger, and a universe still bigger! But what begins ends.
Yet Sri Aurobindo says there is “no beginning and no end,” that creation and destruction are simply an illusion of the external consciousness?
We are forced to use words, but the thing eludes us. What for us is translated as the “eternal Principle,” the “Supreme,” “God,” has neither beginning nor end: we are forced to say, “It is,” but it's not like that, because it's beyond the Nonmanifestation and the Manifestation; it is something that we, in the Manifestation, are incapable of understanding and perceiving – and That is what has neither beginning nor end. But constantly and eternally, That manifests as something that begins and ends. Only, there are two ways to “end,” one that is seen as a destruction, an annihilation, and the other that is a transformation; and it would seem that as the Manifestation grows more perfect, the necessity of destruction decreases, to the point when it will disappear and will be replaced by the process of progressive transformation.
But that's quite a human and external way of putting it.
I am absolutely conscious of the inadequacy of words, but through the words, we must catch hold of the Thing.... The difficulty for human thought, and still more for expression, is that words always have a sense of beginning.
I had the perception of this manifestation – a “pulsatory” manifestation, I might say – which opens out, shrivels up, opens out, shrivels up again... and there comes a point when the opening out is such, the fluidity, the plasticity, the capacity for change are such that there is no need anymore to reabsorb in order to shape anew, and there will be a progressive transformation. Théon used to say (I think I've already told you about it) that this is the seventh universal creation, that there have been six pralayas1 before and this is the seventh creation, but that it will be possible for this one to be transformed without being reabsorbed – which obviously is perfectly unimportant because, the moment you have the eternal consciousness, whether things go this way or that way doesn't matter in the least. It's for the limited human consciousness that there is a sort of ambition or need for something that doesn't end, because, within, there is what we might call “the memory of eternity” and that memory of eternity aspires for the manifestation to partake of that eternity. But if the sense of eternity is active and present, you don't lament – you don't lament if you discard a worn-out garment, do you? (You may be attached, but anyway you don't lament.) It's the same thing: if a universe disappears, it means it has wholly fulfilled its function, it has reached the limit of its possibilities, and another must replace it.
I followed the curve. When you are very small in your consciousness and development, you feel a great need for the earth not to disappear, for it to be perpetuated (while being transformed as much as one likes, but always with the earth being perpetuated). A little further on, when you are a little more... mature, you attach much less importance to it. And when you are in constant communion with the sense of eternity, it becomes a mere question of choice; it's not a need anymore, because it's something that doesn't affect the active consciousness. A few days ago (I don't remember when, but quite lately), for a whole morning I lived in that Consciousness and I saw that, in the curve of the being's development, that sort of need, a seemingly intimate need, for the prolongation of the earth's life – the indefinite prolongation of the earth's life – I saw that that need is objectified, so to say, it's not so intimate anymore; it's like watching a performance and judging whether it should be like this or like that. It's interesting as a change of standpoint.
It's like an artist, but an artist shaping himself, and who makes one attempt, two attempts, three attempts, as many attempts as necessary, then ends up with something complete enough in itself and receptive enough to be able to adapt to new manifestations, to the needs of new manifestations, so that it wouldn't be necessary to draw everything back in order to mix it all together again and put it all out again. But now it's now more than that, and, as I said, a question of choice. In other words, the manifestation was made for the delight of objectification (the delight or interest, or... anyway), and once what has been shaped has become plastic enough, receptive enough, supple enough and vast enough to be constantly molded by the new forces that manifest, there's no longer any need to undo everything in order to redo everything.
The curve showed itself along with an adage: “What begins must end....” That seems to be one of those human mental constructions that aren't necessarily true.
But the interesting point subjectively is that the problem loses its acuteness as you look at it from a higher and higher standpoint (or a more central point, to tell the truth).
The principle – not “principle,” it's not a principle – the law seems to be the same for the individual, worlds, and universes.
The minute you try to express (Mother makes a gesture of reversal), everything is warped.... I was looking at that experience of the relationship between the Consciousness and the Whole: the relationship of the human being with the Whole, of the earth (the earth consciousness) with the Whole, of the consciousness of the manifested universe with the Whole, and of the consciousness ruling over the universe – all universes – with the Whole; and this inexplicable phenomenon that each point of consciousness (a point that doesn't take up any space), each point of consciousness is capable of having ALL experiences.... It's very hard to express.
We could say it's only limits that make differences: differences of time, differences of space, differences of scale, differences of power. They are only limits. And the minute the consciousness emerges from limits, on any point of the manifestation and whatever the size of that manifestation (yes, the size of that manifestation is absolutely irrelevant), on any point of the manifestation, if you emerge from limits, there is THE Consciousness.
Looking at it from that angle, we could say that the acceptance of limits is what permitted the manifestation. The possibility of the manifestation came with the acceptance of the sense of limit.... It's impossible to express. As soon as you start speaking, you always get a sense of something that goes like this (same gesture of reversal), a sort of tipping over, and then it's finished, the essence is gone. Then metaphysical sense comes along and says, “We might put it this way, we might put it that way....” To make sentences: each point contains the Consciousness of the Infinite and of Eternity (these are words, nothing but words). But the possibility of the experience is there. It's a sort of stepping back outside space.... We could say for fun that even the stone, even... – oh, certainly water, certainly fire – has the power of Consciousness: the original (all the words that come are idiotic!), essential, primordial (all this is meaningless), eternal, infinite Consciousness.... It's meaningless, to me it's like dust thrown on a pane of glass to prevent it from being transparent!... Anyway, conclusion: after having lived that experience (I had it repeatedly over the last few days, it remained there sovereignly despite everything – work, activities – and it ruled over everything), all attachment to any formula whatever, even those that have stirred peoples for ages, seems childishness to me. And then it becomes just a choice: you choose things to be like this or like that or like this; you say this or that or this – enjoy yourselves, my children... if you find it enjoyable.
But it is certain (this is an observation for common use), it is certain that the human mind, in order to have an impulse to act, needs to build a dwelling for itself – a more or less vast one, more or less complete, more or less supple, but it needs a dwelling. (Laughing) But that's not it! That warps everything!
And the strange thing – the strange thing – is that outwardly you go on living automatically according to certain ways of life, which no longer even have the virtue of appearing necessary, which no longer even have the force of being that habits have, but which are accepted and lived almost automatically with the sense (a kind of feeling, of sensation, but it's neither feeling nor sensation, it's a sort of very subtle perception) that Something, so immense that it's undefinable, wants it so. I say “wants it so” or I say “chooses it so,” but it's “wants it so”; it's a Will that doesn't function like the human will, but that wants it so – wants it or sees it or decides it so. And in each thing, there is that luminous, golden, imperative Vibration... which is necessarily all-powerful. And it results in a background of perfect well-being of Certitude, which, a little lower down in the consciousness, is expressed as a benevolent and amused smile.
I feel like asking you a question. A little further on, Sri Aurobindo speaks of the worlds having neither beginning nor end, and he says that their creation and destruction is “a play of hide and seek with our outward consciousness....”2
That's certainly a very elegant way of saying the same thing as I've just said!
What I wanted to ask was whether, seen from the other side, the material world is still perceived clearly, or whether it all evaporates... as much as, seen from this side, the other world seems to evaporate?
The play is interesting if one is conscious on both sides.
That's another experience of the last few days. It came to me in a certain and absolute way (although it's very hard to express) that this so-called “error” of the material world as it is, was indispensable for what you've just said; that is, the material mode or the material way of perceiving, of becoming conscious of things, that mode was gained through the “error” of this creation and would not have existed without it, and it's not something that will vanish into nonexistence when we have the true consciousness – it's something that's an ADDITION in a special way (and it was perceived and lived at that time in the essential Consciousness).
It was like a justification of the creation, which made possible a certain mode of perception (which we could describe with the words “precision,” “exactness” in the objectification), which couldn't have existed without that. Because when that Consciousness – the perfect Consciousness, the true Consciousness, THE Consciousness – was there, present and lived to the exclusion of any other, there was a “something,” like a vibratory mode, if I may say so, a vibratory mode of objective precision and exactness, which couldn't have existed without this material form of creation.... You know, there was always that great “Why?” – the great “Why like this?”, “Why all this?” which resulted in what is expressed in the human consciousness by suffering and misery and helplessness and all, all the horrors of the ordinary consciousness – why? Why this? And then, the answer was like this: In the true Consciousness, there is a vibratory mode of precision, exactness, clearness in the objectification, which couldn't have existed without that, which wouldn't have had an opportunity to manifest. That's certain. It is the answer – the all-powerful answer to the “Why?”
It is clear – very clear – that what for us is translated as progress, as progressive manifestation, is not only a law of the material manifestation as we know it, but is the very principle of the eternal Manifestation. If we want to climb down again to the level of terrestrial thought, we may say that there is no manifestation without progress. But what WE call progress, what's “progress” to our consciousness, up above, is... it may be anything: a necessity, anything we like. There is a sort of absolute that we don't understand, an absolute of being: that's how it is because that's how it is, that's all. But to our consciousness, it's “more and more,” “better and better” (and these words are stupid), more and more perfect, better and better perceived. It's the very principle of the manifestation.
And there is an experience, which came very fleetingly but precisely enough to be able to say (very clumsily) that – I was about to say, the “flavor” of the Nonmanifested – that the Nonmanifested has a special flavor because of the manifested.
All this is just words, but that's all we have. One day, perhaps, we will have words and a language capable of saying these things properly; that's possible, but it will still be a translation.
There is here a level (gesture at breast level) where something plays with words, images, sentences, like that (shimmering, undulating gesture): it makes pretty images; and it has a power to put you in contact with “the thing,” maybe a greater power (at least as great, but maybe greater) than here (gesture at the top of the forehead), than the metaphysical expression (“metaphysical” is a way of putting it). Images. That is, poetry. There is in it an almost more direct access to that inexpressible Vibration. I see Sri Aurobindo's expression in its poetic form, it has a charm and a simplicity – a simplicity and a softness and a penetrating charm – that puts you in direct contact much more intimately than all those things of the head.
There. So in fact, we haven't done a thing (laughing), we've wasted our time!
The way all those experiences occur is truly interesting. I was wondering a few days ago, “Why do they come like this? What's the law that governs the order in which these experiences come?” (They come abruptly – I can see that they come from outside: they don't come from within, they come like a wave.) And there is always that golden, smiling Force behind everything. Even when the experience is expressed by something not very pleasant physically, It always smiles, and It says, “Come on, don't make a fuss.” But it's contagious, and you smile.... You know, for the body, as soon as something comes, a vibration it isn't used to, the first contact is discomfort, and it has to be told, “Stay still, don't be afraid, all will be well....” Strange, we are very small things – very small poor things. But we must laugh.
There, mon petit. And you are very closely associated with those experiences, even in your physical body, and several times these last few days, I have had the opportunity to tell you, “See, don't worry.”3 Those things are really appearances, which human thought crystallizes and hardens, but if they are seen with the fluidity of the true consciousness, they come and go and pass – and they may not leave any trace, if we are supple enough to adapt ourselves. That's how it is. We must be supple and plastic enough to adapt to all those vibrations that come in and disrupt the so-called “natural” functioning. When something changes, that thought (a habitual, subconscious thought4) is so stupid that it spoils everything.
1 Pralaya: the end of a world.
2 Aphorism 117 – “Neither is it that I was not before nor thou nor these kings nor that all we shall not be hereafter.” Not only Brahman, but beings and things in Brahman are eternal; their creation and destruction is a play of hide and seek with our outward consciousness.
3 Certain troubles had indeed recurred, which Satprem had not even mentioned to Mother.
4 The physical mind.