April 27, 1966
(About the “Sannyasin”)
We have some time for Savitri... unless you have something to ask?
I wonder why I don't see clearer in what I do?
Because there are two ideas in conflict. That's why. So there is hesitation between the two standpoints.
Two standpoints: the need for renunciation and the futility of fleeing. Those are the two ideas that cause the hesitation. But in the chronological order of things, it should first be the need for renunciation, then the discovery of the futility of fleeing, and then instead of a fleeing, there should be a return, free, without attachment. A return to life without attachment.
Apart from that, I understand: in order to write a book, one generally cannot describe more than one cycle, because there's a beginning, a development, and a culmination, a realization. Then another book, which starts from that realization and has the full experience of its futility. And then, the crowning realization: the return to life, free.
One may have the three together, but it makes a very compact book.
No, it has to be put together. But I don't know where to start. I started in one way and I realize that's not “it.”
How did you start?
There's a poem, a very short one – not a poem, a sort of voice. Then in the first chapter, my character has to take the boat and go away (as usual). Then he comes upon a Sannyasin. He goes to take his boat, but a young woman or girl is there with him, and he leaves her.
Where does the boat go?
A little farther away, as always. He just has to go.
And where does he meet that Sannyasin? Before leaving or after?
He meets him a first time, then a second time just when he is about to leave, so he changes all his plans and goes with the Sannyasin.... But it's what comes before that departure, there is something hazy, I don't know what I should do. First I thought of making that young woman the symbol of beauty, wealth, love, anyway, of all that's truly beautiful and all the best life can bring – which he rejects, and he leaves for anywhere, and then he meets that Sannyasin. So I was in the description of that place, of that boy with that girl, of that very beautiful place, and then I found it so futile to write all this that I couldn't go on.
It was so futile, all that beauty and everything, to me it seemed like nothing at all.
It pulled you backward.
But I had a time like that in my life: I was in South America, on a wonderful island, very beautiful, with a woman who was also beautiful, wealth was offered to me, I had the possibility of having a lot of money; anyway, it was truly the best that could be found in terms of natural beauty and feminine beauty and everything – and then I ran away from it all. I left everything and went off.
And is that the story you tell in the book?
That's what I started telling.
But it's not bad!
But I find it so futile to evoke again all that so-called beauty that I just can't do it! I find it all hollow, my words are false.
But if you take that attitude, you can't write a book!
Once again, these past few days, the memory of things I had written came back to me – what I had imagined at some time and written... at the beginning of the century (before you were born!), in Paris. I wondered, “Strange, why am I thinking of this?” And there was, in that thing I wrote, this: “The love of beauty had saved her.” It was the story of a woman who had had a heartbreak of so-called love, as human beings conceive it, but who had felt a need to manifest love, a marvelously beautiful love; and with that force and that ideal she had overcome her personal sorrow. I wrote a little book like that – I don't know where it is, by the way, but that doesn't matter. But the memory of it suddenly came back and I wondered, “Strange, why am I remembering this?...” And then I remembered the whole curve of the consciousness. At that time, I clearly understood that personal things had to be overcome by the will to realize something more essential and universal. And I followed the curve of my own consciousness, how it began like that, and how from there I went on... to other things. I was eighteen. That was my first attempt to emerge from the exclusively personal viewpoint and pass on to a broader viewpoint, and to show that the broader, more universal viewpoint makes you overcome the personal things. But I wondered, “Why am I remembering this?” Now I understand! It's there in what you have written, it's the same thing. Well, of course, now I wouldn't be able to write what I wrote, it would make me laugh!
I can write, I can always...
Well, write it.
But I find it so...
... without power. Really as if my pen were lying.
So I wonder if that isn't because I should leave it all and enter straight into another world, a completely different world?
Begin where you are now?
You may save time, in fact.
You can do an experiment: note what you would write now, and then you'll see.
But then, how should I situate it? I don't know.... There are two things....
Maybe it's going to come now!
From a personal point of view, you would save a lot of time if you started where you are now.
You will see....
You could begin your book with the end, and then you will see if a beginning is needed (!) or if, instead of a beginning, there is a sequel. That would be interesting!
Start with a bang: brrm! What you feel and see now. Situate it according to your broad outline, begin with that. Then, when it's written, you will see if it needs the support of what precedes it or if you can move on to what follows.
It's an interesting experiment.
(Then Mother reads two lines from “Savitri,” the Debate of Love and Death.)
Ah, it's still this gentleman
I had this whole experience a few days ago. It was so amusing!
In vain his heart lifts up its yearning prayer,
Peopling with brilliant Gods the formless Void
Why? Were you in the formless Void?
I saw that, it was so amusing! I saw it all. Oh, it was an extraordinary experience. All of a sudden I was outside and, I can't say “above” (but it was above), but outside the whole human creation, outside everything, everything man has created in all the worlds, even in the most ethereal worlds. And seen from there, it was... I saw that play of all the possible conceptions men have had of God and of the way to approach God (what they call “God”), and also of the invisible worlds and the gods, all that: one thing came upon another, one upon another, it all went by (as it's written in Savitri), one thing upon another went by (gesture as if on a screen), one upon another... with its artificiality, its inadequacy to express the Truth. And with such precision! A precision so accurate that you felt in anguish, because the impression was of being in a world of nothing but imagination, of imaginative creation, but in nothing real, there wasn't a feeling of... of touching the Thing. To such a point that it became... yes, a terrible anguish: “But then, what? What? What's truly TRUE and outside all that we can conceive?”
And it came. It was like this: (gesture of self-abandon) the total, complete self-annulment, annulment of that which can know, of that which tries to know – even “surrender” isn't an adequate word: a sort of annulment. And suddenly it ended with a slight movement as a child could have who doesn't know anything, doesn't try to know anything, doesn't understand anything, doesn't try to understand – but who abandons himself. A slight movement of such simplicity, such ingenuousness, such extraordinary sweetness (words can't express it): nothing, just this (gesture of self-abandon), and instantaneously, THE Certitude (not expressed, lived), the lived Certitude.
I wasn't able to keep it very long. But “it” is wonderful.
But the anguish had reached its peak: the sense of the futility of human efforts to understand – to embrace and understand – what isn't human, what's beyond. And I am talking about humanity in its supreme realizations, of course, when man feels himself to be a god.... That was still down below.
The experience lasted, oh, I don't know, perhaps a few minutes, but it was... something.
Only, with a certainty that as soon as you come back, as soon as you just try to speak one word (or even if you don't speak), as soon as you try to formulate in one way or another: finished.
Yet there OBSTINATELY remains a certitude that the creation is NOT a transitory way to recapture the true Consciousness: it's something that has its own reality and that will have its own existence IN THE TRUTH.
That's the next step.
That's why that realization [the Void] isn't the goal, that's exactly why. A conviction that it isn't the goal. It's an absolute necessity, but not the goal. The goal is something... the capacity to keep That here.
When will that come? I don't know.
But when it comes, everything will be changed.
Until then, let's prepare ourselves.
There is only one thing I have noted (that I am forced to note): there is a power of action on others which infinitely exceeds what it was before. Oh, it makes waves everywhere, everywhere, even in those people who were the most settled in their lives and basically fairly satisfied, as much as one can be – even those are touched.
We'll see, we'll see.
Anyhow, things are moving along.
(Reverting to the “Sannyasin”:) Try it my way, I think it will work!