December 7, 1966
(Mother hands Satprem a flower called “Grace,” then a second “Grace.”)
Would you like a second Grace?... There's never too much of it!
Oh, the other day someone asked me a question on the message for November 24,1 and Sri Aurobindo replied. It was so interesting! I saw something all of a sudden. While he was speaking it was absolutely marvelous. I saw the Compassion and the Grace, the “law” and the Compassion, and how the Compassion acts on everyone – on everyone and everything, without distinction and without condition – and how the Compassion consists in bringing them to a state in which they can receive the Grace.
I found that wonderful.
That was the experience: I saw and felt this Compassion working through the meshes of the net, and how the Grace is all-powerful, meaning that the “Law” isn't an obstacle any longer. I saw this Compassion touching everyone and giving everyone their chance; I understood what he really meant when he said that it “gives everyone their chance” – equally, without the slightest distinction of importance or condition or anything, or of state: exactly the same chance to all. So then, the result of this Compassion was to awaken them to the existence of the Grace, to make them feel that there is in the universe something like the Grace. And with those who aspire and have trust, the Grace acts immediately – it always acts, but with those who have trust it becomes fully effective.
All this was so clear, so precise! It really was like a new experience, a revelation. And how Sri Aurobindo was the expression of this Compassion.... It could be seen in his eyes, of course, his eyes were full of Compassion. But I have understood what this Compassion really is (that was Sunday afternoon).
He also wrote somewhere: “It is quite rare that the Grace turns away from someone, but many turn away from the Grace – but men turn away from the Grace.” I don't remember the exact words, but I think he used the word crooked. That also was so living: it wasn't the Grace withdrawing its action, not at all (the Grace went on acting), but men were, yes, crooked, twisted...
“Warped”?... One is warped once and for all, that's not it. It's that instead of their force and action going straight and direct, it's turned in on itself and has all kinds of windings and convolutions that distort all vibrations; it's their own way of being that distorts (the word distort keeps coming to me). It's twisted instead of being straight. So the Grace no longer has any effect; It cannot have effect.
At the time, it was a very vivid image.
Have you finished your book?
(Satprem, in a glum tone:) Yes.
Oho! That's not a very forceful “yes”!
Is it Saturday you're going to read it to me?
(Satprem makes a face)
Oh, that too!
I don't think it's all that great.
That doesn't matter – you never think it's all that great! It doesn't matter.
Is there something you'd like to tell me?
Yes, there's a problem that has often tormented me, I often wonder about it. When you write, is inspiration simply a global thing, like a form of light, and you “pull” a certain general vibration down, or does everything already exist and it simply comes – does everything exist exactly word for word?
I don't think so.
I don't think so, because up there, there's no language. There's no language.
Yes, but isn't there something that exactly corresponds to the words?
“Exactly”... You know how there always is a vagueness. I say this because every day, and quite often several times a day, I receive something “direct” (gesture from above). Well, if I write it down just when I receive it, it has a certain form, and then if I remain very, very silent, very still, a word or a form often gets changed; then it becomes more precise, more exact, sometimes more harmonious. Therefore it's something that comes from above and takes on a clothing in the mental region.
I don't hear words. I receive something, which is always direct and imperative (and I clearly feel it's from there [gesture above], somewhere around there). But it may, for instance, be expressed almost simultaneously, almost at the same time, in English and in French. And I am convinced that if I knew other languages, if I were familiar with other languages, it could be expressed in several languages. It's the same thing as what in the past used to be called the “gift of tongues.” There were prophets who spoke, and everyone heard in his native tongue – he spoke in any particular language, but each of those present heard in his native tongue. I had that experience a very long time ago (I didn't do it purposely, I knew nothing about it): I spoke at a “Bahai” gathering, and people from different countries came and congratulated me because I knew their language (which I didn't know at all!): they had heard in their language.
You understand, what comes is something that arouses – it arouses words or gets clothed in words. Then it depends: it may arouse different words. And it's in a universal storehouse, not necessarily an individual one; it's not necessarily individual since it can be clothed in words. Languages are such narrow things, while that is universal.... What could I call it?... It's not the “soul” but the spirit of the thing (though it's more concrete than that): it's the POWER of the thing. And because of the quality of the power, the best quality of words is attracted. It's inspiration that arouses the words; the inspired person isn't the one who finds or adapts them, not at all: it's inspiration that AROUSES the words.
But I understand what you mean. You want to know if it's something ready-made, ready-prepared, which you pull down as it is.... (Mother remains silent). That exists in a realm far higher than words. For example, I have often received something like that (gesture from above), direct, then I translate it; I don't try to find it (the more silent I am, the more powerful and concrete it grows – powerfully concrete), but I often see, as coming from Sri Aurobindo, something that adds a correction, a precision (rarely an addition, it's not that: it's only in the form, especially in the line of precision); the first expression is a little hazy, then it becomes more precise. And I don't try to find it, I don't strive, there isn't any mental activity: it's always like this (even, still gesture to the forehead), and it's always in this [stillness] that it comes: suddenly it comes – plop! plop! I say, “Oh!” and note it down.
This is my experience.
I don't know, there may exist somewhere in the mental region something ready-made, but I think it would then be like some of those things Sri Aurobindo wrote,2 which came ready-made, as they were; there were even things that didn't conform to his own view: it came imperatively. But now I don't have that experience at all. Or else, it would be like what happened the other day: for two or three minutes, as I told you, there was “someone” playing. It must have been the same phenomenon. But then, the feeling is quite different: you no longer exist, you are hardly conscious of what goes on. And that would be “incorrigible,” I may say, in the sense that it would come ready-made and you couldn't change anything in it, or else it would no longer be the same thing, it would be something you did actively. As soon as the mind becomes active, it's finished. Finished. It may come from your supraconscient, but it becomes a quite personal thing.
But that inspiration comes from the highest region, the region beyond all individualizations. That's why it's something we find difficult to formulate and explain. It's complete, perfect in itself, but it doesn't have anything of the character of our mental formulation, not at all; it doesn't even have the character of a formulated idea. And it's absolutely imperative, absolutely. But then, as soon as it touches the mental zone, it seems to attract words. My impression is that the more silent I am, the more precise it is; in other words, the more inactive the mind is, the more precise the expression. So that's what it is, it's that force coming down and attracting words. It's not even ideas (it doesn't come through the region of ideas): it's an experience, it's something living which comes and which, to take expression, catches hold of words. What came on Sunday was like that: I was asked that question on the Grace, then I was seized by a concentrated, extremely strong silence for maybe a minute (not even that long), and it came. Then I spoke. I heard myself speaking. But then it clearly came through Sri Aurobindo.
If it were already written, fully ready somewhere, you couldn't change anything in it; when it was there you would feel it's perfect in itself and you can't change anything in it.
That would be fine!... When I write, what I constantly despair of is being true to something that should be expressed OUTSIDE ME.
But that's what I've told you, it's that direct inspiration. Because if you knew how imperative what comes from above is! All thoughts appear neutral, powerless...
... partial, flimsy. That's the feeling they give.
When the words come quite spontaneously, it's good, but... It's an odd phenomenon: sometimes the pure experience alone is there – what is it? You can't formulate it; in order to formulate it, you are immediately forced to use words, and words diminish. But I remember, at the time of the experience, I spoke, hardly hearing what I said, but I had the experience. (The experience was wonderfully clear, powerful, immense – universal, you know.) Then I listened to myself speaking, and I saw that first shrinkage. Then I began sensing the other mind making a tremendous effort to try and understand (!), and so I let the expression shrink a little more: I was obliged to let it shrink so as to make myself understood. And I followed all those phases of successive shrinkages. But at the time, the speech was very powerful: it was exactly Sri Aurobindo's style and way of speaking, and very powerful. Now it's only a vague impression, like a memory. But one always has – always, in every case, even in the best conditions, even in a case like this one in which the formulation is given by Sri Aurobindo – the sense of a shrinkage. A shrinkage in the sense that much escapes; it's slightly hardened, weakened, diminished, and there are also certain subtleties that escape – they escape, they evaporate, they are too subtle to be concretized in words. And if one had a will for a perfect expression, it would certainly be very disappointing. I quite understand; if you want your book to reach the peak of its perfection, it's impossible. It's impossible to be realized, one feels the difference with what's up above and that's very disappointing.
I am constantly disappointed.
(Mother laughs) Yes, that doesn't surprise me!
I don't have one second of satisfaction.
Even when you feel “the thing” coming?
Oh, then it's very fine, I only have to remain up above, above I am happy.
(Mother laughs) Oh, I see! oh, that's why!
I could stay up above forever.
But in what I've read of yours (I set apart the book on Sri Aurobindo because that was a very special case: all sensitive people have instantly been brought into contact with Sri Aurobindo; that was a very special case), but in your first book [The Goldwasher] which I read, I felt it came from above. I feel that. Only, of course, it would be unreadable: it has to be concretized, materialized. But if one has oneself a relationship with this plane above, one must feel it in what is written: many people feel a “something” that suffuses the whole thing. That's why I want you to read me your new book, it's to see if “that” is there.... You know, I am like this (gesture to the forehead showing a vast stillness), it has become a constant state: a screen. A screen – for absolutely everything. And really nothing comes from within: it's either this way (horizontal gesture around Mother) or this way (gesture from above); horizontally from outside, or the response from above. Here (gesture to the level of the emotive heart), it's something so neutral as to be nonexistent; and here (gesture to the forehead), it's vast, even, still. So if I stop (gesture turned upward), right away, instantly, it comes in waves: a continuous light which comes down and through, comes down and through, comes down ... (gesture of a circulation through Mother as through a transmitter-receiver device). When something is read out to me or people ask me questions or they tell me about some matter or other, it's always like that (a screen). And what's very interesting is that when it's a question that deserves no answer or a matter that doesn't require my intervention, or anyway anything that can be expressed by “It's no concern of mine, it's none of my business,” then there's an absolute blank: absolutely empty, neutral, without answer. I am obliged to say that there is no answer (if I were to tell the truth I should say, “I can't hear anything, I don't understand”). So it's absolutely still and neutral, and if it remains like that, it means there's nothing, I have nothing to do with it. Otherwise, when there is an answer... no time even elapses, there's hardly any lapse of time: the answer seems to come even as I am spoken to. Then I take the paper or letter right away and answer. It's automatic. The whole work is done like that. There's nothing here (gesture to the forehead).
Obviously we have to reconcile ourselves to it. The world is in a state of considerable imperfection, so everything that manifests in the world partakes of that imperfection – what can we do about it?... The only thing we can do is to slowly try and transform – but that's slow, so slow, unceasing – transform this body.
And as Sri Aurobindo very well put it (I understand quite well what he means), miracles do occur, but they are momentary; that is, for the space of a few minutes, sometimes a few hours (but that's rare), things are wholly different. But they don't remain that way – they don't, they go back to the old movement. Because EVERYTHING must have reached a certain degree (I suppose), a certain degree of receptivity, of preparation in the receptivity, so “that” may be established; otherwise, the old movement and the old law continue.
I can see that with the body's cells: at times, for a few seconds or a few minutes (at the most a few hours, but not with physical things; with physical things, it's always seconds and minutes), all of a sudden a sort of perfection manifests – and then it disappears. And you see very clearly that it cannot stay on because of a ceaseless invasion of everything around, which is imperfect. So then, it's engulfed. Like the first day when the supramental forces descended [in 1956]: I saw them descend, you know, and I saw those great billows of earth forces going brrf! brrf! (gesture of rising and engulfing), and then it was all swallowed up. It was descending in awesome masses, but those billows were still more awesome, rising, brrf! and swallowing – and That disappeared.
It still remains like that.
It's still there. It's there and working, but... the opposing vibrations are still too powerful and too considerable in quantity for That not to disappear in the mass. But from within It works and works....
That's how it is with the body: for a few seconds, at most a few minutes, the body suddenly feels in a state of irresistible power, inexpressible joy, undarkened luminousness – a wonder, you know. You say to yourself, “Ah, there we are!” And then it vanishes. It's there just long enough for you to notice it. Which means it comes to show you, “That's how it is, that's how it will be.”
Yes, but when it is like that, we'll notice it!
But how is this fixity going to be changed into a plasticity sufficient to express what's within?... Sri Aurobindo said three hundred years – that seems to me very much on the short side. There are millennia of habits! It's fixed, hard, dry, thin.
And naturally, it's the same thing in the Mind, but to a much lesser degree. Fortunately, it's a little more fluid there.... But you know, when I receive and note down those things from above, at the time of receiving and noting them down, they have an intense luminosity and an extraordinary power of conviction. I note them down, then pass them on to people (and to people who are supposedly able to understand), and then they say it back to me [their inner reaction comes back to Mother]. Mon petit! It becomes... (laughing) like the bark of an old, half-dead tree!
That's how it is.
So you really wonder: Has the time come to tell things? What's the use?... They think they've understood; not only do they think they've understood, but they are enthusiastic, which means it has made them make some progress – so where were they before!? And it's nothing, what they've understood is nothing, it has become a caricature of the thing.
I realize that words in themselves are nothing; there, there was a power... a power that words are incapable of holding! So unless one receives directly, one receives nothing. One does receive, yes, but it's something like an onion skin.
Basically, when we have reached the end (the “end” which is the beginning of something else), the end of this work of transformation, when it really is the transformation and we are settled in it, maybe we'll remember and derive a special pleasure from remembering having gone through this?... In the “higher spheres” it has always been said that those who have the courage to come for the preparation will have, when it's done, superior assets and of a more intimate and deeper quality than those who will have quietly waited for others to do the work for them.
It may be so.
At any rate, because of the immensity of the work to be done, from an outward standpoint it looks like a quite thankless task. But that's only a purely superficial vision. Waves come to me like that from the world, from a whole class of the manifestation, saying, “Ah, no! I don't want to bother about that, I just want to live peacefully, as well as I can. We'll see once the world has been transformed, then we can start bothering about it.” And that's among the most developed classes, the most intellectual, they are like that: “Oh, very well, we'll see when it's done.” Which means they don't have the spirit of sacrifice. That's what Sri Aurobindo says (I keep coming across quotations from Sri Aurobindo all the time), he says that to do the Work one must have the spirit of sacrifice.
But it's true that, for instance, those few seconds (which come to me now and then and with increasing frequency), if you look at those few seconds calmly, well, they're worth a great deal of effort. Having that is worth quite a few years of struggle and effort, because that... is beyond anything perceptible, comprehensible, even beyond anything possible for life as it is now. It's... it's unimaginable.
And there is a real grace there, it's that it keeps you in a certain state as a result of which life as it is, things as they are, do not appear worse after those few seconds. There isn't, after them, that sort of horror of falling back into an abyss: there isn't that, you don't have that feeling. The memory is only a sort of dazzling burst of light.
1 “There are these three powers [governing life on earth]: (1) The Cosmic Law, of Karma or what else; (2) the Divine Compassion acting on as many as it can reach through the nets of the Law and giving them their chance; (3) the Divine Grace which acts more incalculably but also more irresistibly than the others.” (Sri Aurobindo)
2 Yogic Sadhana, a book written in automatic writing by Sri Aurobindo.