Death and Transformation - Talk 2 (Radio program)
|Death and Transformation - Talk 2|
|by Loretta, 2019 (1:20:45)|
|Listen on Auroville Radio →|
- 1 Parts of being (review)
- 2 What the psychic being is, in detail
- 3 Heaven and hell
- 4 What happens when we take rebirth?
- 5 What is the future of our death?
- 6 Mother's passing
- 7 Q & A
- 8 See also
I want to welcome everybody back who was here yesterday, and I want to welcome everybody new who has come today. We're picking up from our pause in the conversation that we had yesterday, about death and transformation. And for the people who were not here yesterday I'm going to give a small summary:
- Yesterday we spoke about Mother's work with death, how she started at the age of 20 helping people after they have left their body. And how that gave her a huge number of experiences about what happens to people when they leave their body, and when they take a new body. And we found that she was able to give us a pretty full overview of everything which goes on. Which is really helpful.
- When Mother spoke about death, she also spoke about life and about transformation. And here too, everything that she said was the result of her own work in her own body. And she shared it all with us because that's one of the things that she came here to do. And everything she said about why we have to die always included something to do so that we didn't have to die, or so that we could make the life easier, or the dying process easier and more conscious.
- And usually, when there's something that we have to change, it's something psychological – some attitude that we have, that our ways of thinking about things are holding us back, and keeping us from having life itself.
- Now when Mother and Sri Aurobindo speak about ‘supramental transformation’, what they mean is the result of a much faster process of universal evolution. We tend to think of the word ‘transformation’ in terms of the very great changes that they talk about, the eventual result of this speeded-up evolution that we're going to be going through (or that man is going to be going through). But they always said that we're always being transformed – by the slower process of nature's evolution. And yesterday we went through Mother and Sri Aurobindo's teachings about death being only a stage in the eternal and infinite process of life, and how death has been a necessary part. But we have had to do that because the soul is here to support the evolution into divine consciousness. And the only way it could do that was for the body to give up and be renewed again.
- Our mental being and our vital being can be transformed. They can always be transformed. They can follow the rhythm of the universal evolution as it goes forward. But our bodies are too slow. And now we're going to see what Mother has done, and how our bodies can not-be too slow.
- We saw various aspects of death; Mother spoke about different experiences that she had. And we did see some of what we can work on in ourselves, to escape death or at least to make the process better.
So now we're going to go into detail about how we take birth. And in order to do this, we need to be really clear about the definitions of the words that Mother and Sri Aurobindo use. So I'm going to do it again briefly today – it's actually very simple.
Parts of being (review)
Mother and Sri Aurobindo divide our being into four distinct levels, or ‘planes’ or parts. At the center is our soul, our spark of the divine consciousness, with our psychic being formed around it. Moving out from our very center, are our less-subtle levels of us: our mind, from our mental being. Moving from mind into something even less subtle and more gross, are the levels of our life-energies and our emotions and our will-power. This is our vital being. And finally, the most gross is our physical body, made up of inert, inconscient matter. And right next to our physical plane (where we are now), there is the subtle physical plane. And I'm mentioning that particularly because Mother's going to talk about that.
Everything that is in our plane, everything that is here, comes here, is there first. And everything that leaves here goes back through the subtle physical; everything comes to us from the subtle physical.
We are made up of the same mounting and descending planes that the universe is made up of. We have a soul; there is a world-soul. We have a mental being; there is a universal mental. We have a vital being; there is a universal vital. And there's a universal physical, which is the earth on which we are. And this is how the Supreme manifested himself as the whole creation: from the most subtle out to the most gross. When we die, each part of us that is not gathered around our soul, our psychic being, returns to its rightful place in its own plane, in these universal planes. And our psychic being goes to rest in the world-soul, to prepare for its next birth.
What the psychic being is, in detail
Now it's really important to understand exactly what our psychic being is. Because our psychic being plays the major role in our death (in our life actually, even though we're not so aware of it), and in our rebirth, and in the future of death. It's the major player in what's going to happen to death itself. So we're going to go into a very detailed description of what the psychic being is. And I know that when I first came here, I wasn't clear about it. It actually took a really long time for me to understand what is the psychic being. Because we're always being told: we have to find our psychic being, we have to be organized around our psychic being, we have to bring our psychic being forward, or our psychic being is ‘behind the veil’, it's guiding us... and sometimes Mother and Sri Aurobindo speak about these things as two separate things. But sometimes you can't tell which one they're talking about. So it's good to be absolutely clear. Because they're different in what they are, they're different in what they do, and they're different in how they evolve.
Jivatman and soul
Our individual soul comes from the Self, the great soul that is the All. In this country, the Self, the All is called the ‘Atman’. Each one of us has a portion of the Atman situated above our head. It is called our ‘Jivatman’. The word ‘jiva’ means ‘a person’. So this is the individual person's portion of the great soul. And Sri Aurobindo calls it our personal delegate from the supreme consciousness. It is unchanging, undying and unborn. It puts a small portion of itself down into our heart – a tiny spark of the Divine. And this is our soul. This tiny portion of the Jivatman in our heart is our immortal soul. It enters into us each time we take birth.
Psychic being And then there is our psychic being, which evolves around our soul. As they evolve, we evolve, and their action guides us into divine consciousness. It is through their presence and their action that we actually progress to the goal of creation: to becoming fully conscious.
I'm going to read you Mother's explanation of the evolution of our psychic being:
- “It is the psychic presence which little by little becomes the psychic being. In each evolving form there is this presence, but it is not individualised. It is something which is capable of growth and follows the movement of the evolution.”
- “It is through successive lives that it builds up a conscious individuality. It is a progress similar to
that of a growing child. It is a thing in the making. For a long time, in most human beings the psychic is a being in the making. It is not a fully individualised, fully conscious being and master of itself and it needs all its rebirths, one after another, in order to build itself and become fully conscious.”
For the psychic being, there are two kinds of progress. The first kind is its formation, building and organisation. But this kind of progress has an end:
- “There comes a time when the being is fully developed, fully individualised, fully master of itself and its destiny.”
At that point, rebirth is no longer a necessity. It can happen, but it doesn't have to happen. And the psychic being progresses further from there. It can choose at will. Sri Aurobindo said:
- When we are just beginning our psychic evolution and we die, there are beings who help us at the time of death. An advanced psychic being is free. It does not have to sleep in the psychic world. But it may remain in its state of blissful immersion for some time, or come back for some purpose.
A developed psychic being is much more conscious in this transition. And it works much of it out itself. “When one of these psychic beings has reached that stage and takes birth in a human being, that makes a very great difference: the human being, so to say, is born free.”
Now over our successive lifetimes, as our psychic being is forming, it has more and more influence on our outer parts. It guides us from ‘behind the veil’ of our outer consciousness. And Mother once said that ‘behind the veil’ means that we're not looking at it. That in fact it's there, but we don't turn around and look – we're not attracted to see it. It takes form as our outer parts gain higher consciousness. That's how it grows. And there's a word we can use: ‘psychicize’. Our outer parts become psychicized, which means they take on more and more nature of our immortal soul, with all its highest divine qualities.
Mother speaks of our outer parts ‘forming around’ our psychic being, ‘adhering to’ our psychic being, or being ‘organized around’ our psychic being; we don't do this work. So if we're thinking, “My God, how do you organize this? Where do we organize?” – we don't do this. This is inherent in the nature of the psychic being. This is the force of its action in the world. This is its transformative force. So what we do, is we concentrate on our outer parts. And the more our outer parts become psychicized, the more our psychic being with its development can come into our mind, our vital and our physical with the high soul consciousness, automatically this gathering occurs, this adherence occurs. And it develops, and it becomes an individuality. It becomes a very high kind of person. And that's us – our higher kind of person.
So the first step for us in the formation of our psychic being is just to want to be better. Just to want to be good, just to want to have the higher and the better things. To work to have higher qualities. And if we know we should have a formed psychic being – and I think we're really fortunate that we can know that particular and hidden spiritual knowledge – if we know that, then we can want that too: that becomes part of the higher things that we want, that we're aspiring for.
And then our job is to reject the lower things that we see in ourselves. And to consciously put the qualities of the soul in our outer parts. Then our psychic being grows, because the psychicized parts adhere to it and form it. Sri Aurobindo speaks of the supreme essence of our soul (and this is absolutely wonderful). He says that our soul corresponds the eternal principle of ananda, of bliss. He uses the word ‘delight’, and they're interchangeable, ‘bliss’ and ‘delight’. We've all heard the supreme consciousness is Satchitananda: existence, consciousness, delight. And our soul corresponds to the Delight of the Supreme. So this is what we become. We become the all-delight, the more we can have these qualities of our soul forward in our being. And this is how Sri Aurobindo explains it:
- “To seek for delight is ... the fundamental impulse and sense of Life; to find and possess and fulfil it is its whole motive.”
Delight is the fulfillment of life. The soul is something which is not mind, not life, not body, but it is something which “holds in itself the opening and flowering of the essence of all these to their own peculiar delight of self, to light, to love, to joy and beauty and to a refined purity of being.” And so here we have some soul-qualities. The subliminal soul in us is “open to the universal delight which the cosmic soul takes in its own existence”. The real soul within us takes joy in all its experiences. It gathers from them strength, pleasure and knowledge. It grows by them in its store and plenty.
- “It is this secret psychic entity which is the true original Conscience in us ... it is this which points always towards Truth and Right and Beauty, towards Love and Harmony and all that is a divine possibility in us, and persists till these things become the major need of our nature.”
So this is how our soul forms us. This is its work, and then we take it up, and we make it go faster.
Yesterday we saw that Mother invites us to put all this into our cells and into our body, in order to get beyond having to die. When our outer consciousness is full of these psychic qualities, our psychic being is not veiled any more. Then, as Sri Aurobindo says, it can take command of all the rest of our being and turn all the instrumental nature to a divine fulfillment. And this is the beginning of true spiritual life. Here is his definition of the beginning of our true spiritual life.
And then he says, we are now able to make ourselves “ready for a higher evolution of manifested consciousness” – because that's what we are, manifested consciousness – “than the mental human”. At this point, mental man is the highest that there is in the evolution. But at this point in our evolution, we can pass “from the mental to the spiritual and through degrees of the spiritual to the supramental state.”
Heaven and hell
Yesterday we saw what happens to us when we die and our consciousness leaves the body. But what about heaven? What about hell? What about purgatory? Are there these things? They're spoken about in so many religions. Sri Aurobindo said that:
- “Hell and heaven are often imaginary states of the soul, or rather of the vital being, which it constructs about it after its passing What is meant by hell is a painful passage through some vital world or a dolorous lingering there, as for instance in many cases of suicide where one remains surrounded by the forces of suffering and turmoil created by this unnatural and violent exit. There are also, of course, real worlds of mind and vital worlds which are penetrated with joyful or dark experiences, and one may pass through these as the result of things formed in the nature which create the necessary affinities.”
Mother and Sri Aurobindo teach us that during life, things enter into us and affect us because we have something inside us which responds to them. They explain that when we can purify ourselves of the lower things, then we're free of their effect on us. After we leave the body, we're going to see that this affinity continues to affect us. If we're open to dark forces, from a dark level of the vital, we are still subject to them when the body dies, and we will be attracted to the plane where they are. So this is how we end up in these (what people have described as) ‘hells’ and ‘purgatories’ and things like that. And there, Mother says, when we don't have a body, they can take more advantage of us. Because our body is our protection. She says at night, when we have a bad dream, we are wandering in the lower vital; and when we wake up, we've rushed back into our body for protection. Because that's the way this works.
The lower vital is the place where Mother worked in 1904 and 1905, where she worked to create a safe passage for everyone when they die, so that people can go through this safely. And for people who weren't here yesterday, I will tell you something very beautiful: when people have some development in their psychic being, and they're able to see Mother's light, when they leave their body then they'll see Mother's light and they'll go towards that light. And Mother helps them through the death process.
And in the Agenda she talked about a lot of people coming to her, and various things that she did. It was a constant work, I think all of her life.
Mother said, what man calls heavens and hells after death are really the product of his own imagination. Man's imagination is so creative, such a form-maker, that there really are places in the inner world like this that we have created. Man creates out of nothing the things that he imagines.
And Mother described a heaven (as close as you're going to get to heaven) – she described a true experience of a blissful state after death. She says if you have had a spiritual aspiration, you may have worked consciously to reach the goal of evolution. You are conscious in your psychic being. And when you have this consciousness in your psychic being, then you're conscious when your psychic being goes to take rest in the world soul. So when you die, and it returns to the psychic world – which is a world of bliss, of delight, of tranquility, and of growing knowledge – this is what you experience, this is what you have there.
Now we know where we might go, when we die. We have some idea of the range of possibility. We have some idea of why we're going there. So now we're going to come to the next question: what happens when we come back? What happens when we take rebirth?
What happens when we take rebirth?
When our psychic being goes to rest in the world soul, it keeps what it has gathered from our life experiences. It adds them to what it keeps from our former lives. And it decides what our experience should be in our next life. These psychic memories are the essence of each of the particular soul-moments in our lives. The most important thing for your psychic memories of a lifetime is the state of soul that you were in at the time. And Sri Aurobindo explains it like this:
- “The psychic when it departs from the body ... carries with it the heart of its experiences, — not the physical events, not the vital movements, not the mental buildings, not the capacities or characters, but something essential that it gathered from them, what might be called the divine element for the sake of which the rest existed.”
That is the permanent addition that it retains, and this is what helps our growth towards the Divine. This is why there is usually no memory of outward events. Because to have the memory of outward events and circumstances of past lives, there has to be a really strong psychic development in the mind, the vital and even the subtle physical. Our psychic being has to already be extremely progressed.
Mother explains this (and this is fascinating): she says that the conditions of our next birth are determined by the psychic being at the moment of death, at the time of death. The conditions of our next birth are not determined during our stay in the psychic world. The moment of death fixes our next birth. This is the first decision of our psychic being: at death, it fixes our next birth. Then it chooses what's going to be there for us to work out in our next birth. And then the things arrange themselves accordingly.
So when it enters the psychic world, the world soul, and it assimilates the essence of the experiences it has had in one life, that assimilation forms the future personality in accordance with the fixation that it made at the moment of death. And when the assimilation is over, it's ready for the next birth, the new birth.
Mother says our last state of consciousness before death is the one that determines the destiny which follows after death. The dying wish of man – and that's a popular belief – is only something on the surface. It does not determine the psychic's choice. It is not the action of the outer consciousness that determines our inner process, but the other way around. That is something behind the veil. It depends absolutely on the degree of development of the psychic, and the hope formulated by the integral consciousness of the being. Because, you see, there is still the mental, and the vital, and the physical consciousness still in the body at the moment of death. So at that moment, at the moment of leaving the body, it formulates a hope, or an aspiration, or a will, and usually this decides the future life.
When the soul is going to incarnate, it sees something like a light, to which it has a feeling of affinity. And it goes towards that light. There is an attraction that the soul feels to the person who's going to be the new mother of the incarnating soul. Often it is the mother or both parents aspiring, wanting, a very special child. And the nature of their aspiration can be the attraction that makes the light that draws the soul.
Mother says that the psychic being which is only in the making, moves to its new body without consciously participating in the choice of the place that it incarnates. The developed psychic being remembers the choice that it made at the moment of death. It sees conditions on earth not as we see them. They appear to it in another form. “But still the differences can be foreseen: the differences of environment, differences of activity in the environment are clearly seen, quite perceptible. It can have a vision that is total or global. It can choose. At times it chooses the country; when it wants a certain kind of education, civilisation, influence, it can choose its country beforehand. Sometimes it can’t, sometimes it chooses only its environment and the kind of life it will lead. And then from up there, before it comes down, it looks for the kind of vibrations it wants; it sees them very clearly. It is as though it was aiming at the place where it is going to drop. But it is an approximation because of the fact that another condition is necessary: not only its choice but also a receptivity from below and an aspiration. There must be someone in the environment it has chosen, generally the mother (sometimes both the parents, but the most indispensable is the mother), she must have an aspiration or a receptivity, something sufficiently passive and open or a conscious aspiration towards something higher. And that kindles for the psychic being a little light. In the mass representing for it the environment in which it wants to be born, if under the influence of its own projected will a small light is kindled, then it knows that it is there it must go.”
It sees that, it rushes down. “It throws itself down into an unconsciousness, because the physical world, even human consciousness whatever it may be, is very unconscious in comparison with the psychic consciousness. So it rushes into an unconsciousness.” And generally, some time is needed for it to awaken. Only the most advanced psychic beings can move about freely, and incarnate consciously.
Mother said that she has been present at innumerable incarnations, with souls that have more or less developed psychic beings going into the body of beings preparing to be born or who are already born. She said:
- “I depends on its state of development, on the milieu in which it is going to incarnate, on the mission it has to fulfil — that makes many different conditions.”
And she spoke about the most frequent cases that she had seen. She said that [in exceptional cases] the soul enters at the time of conception. And when it does that, it is because the parents wanted to conceive a child. They had a spiritual ardor, and they had an aspiration, and they called for their special child.
- (“If the incarnation takes place at the conception, the whole formation of the child to be born is directed and governed by the consciousness which is going to incarnate: the choice of the elements, the attraction of the substance — a choice of the forces and even the substance of the matter which is assimilated. There is already a selection. And this naturally creates altogether special conditions for the formation of the body, which may already be fairly developed, evolved, harmonised before its birth. I must say that this is quite, quite exceptional; but still it does happen.”)
But most frequently, the soul enters the body just at birth. The child makes its first independent movement outside the mother's body, its first gesture of independence, when it begins to develop its lungs – by crying as much as it can. At that moment, this sort of call from life makes the descent of the soul into the body easier and more effective.
Sometimes the soul enters later, after the child is born. There is a preparation which goes on for days or for months. And the psychic being enters slowly, in an almost imperceptible way. And sometimes the psychic being enters much later. The child has become more conscious, and it feels a very subtle but a very real relation with something far above it, which is pressing upon it; and it feels it needs to be in contact with this thing. It feels this thing; it does not yet know or understand it, but it has this aspiration to be in contact, and this aspiration draws the soul down into the child.
- “So, the soul which wants to incarnate stays at times in a domain of the higher mind, quite close to the earth, having chosen its future home; or else it can descend further, into the vital, and from there have a more direct action; or again it can enter the subtle physical and very closely govern the development of its future body.”
And at that point it means influencing the birth mother in what she eats, and somehow influencing her to have experiences that form that child that she is carrying. (This is a very highly developed being.) And then the whole formation of the child has been governed by the consciousness which wishes to incarnate. It actually chooses the mental and vital formations which build the child's mental and vital bodies.
Mother says that there is one central being that we have when we get a new body. And each part: our new mind, our new vital and our new physical body, is made up of many personalities, not one simple personality. When the psychic being returns to birth, it also takes up as much of its past karma as is useful to it in its new life, for its further experiences. When there's a new birth, one brings all that is necessary from the past lives, and one also gathers all that is necessary from the earth-consciousness. One gathers new elements, new experiences, new tendencies, new influences from the earth-atmosphere.
Knowing about our evolving psychic being, and knowing about its role in death and rebirth, gives us some of the answer to the next question: what is the future of our death?
What is the future of our death?
Mother told about an experience that she had which showed her how death would disappear from our lives. One of Mother's secretaries was an American woman whom Mother named ‘Rijuta’. In 1970, at the end of June (and Mother told this in the Agenda on July 1, 1970), Mother saw Rijuta's psychic being. Mother said she'd never tried to find out what a psychic being looked like. And now here was Rijuta's psychic being, right in front of her. Mother's eyes were open, she said; “it was an almost material vision.” Rijuta was kneeling before her, and she saw her psychic being. It was about 8 inches taller than Rijuta, and it exceeded her body all around by about 8 inches. It was neither male nor female; it had the features of both combined. It was a sexless being. Mother said that if its color became very material, it would be Auroville's color – a very special color, between gold and orange. Mother saw this color as the color of the supramental's physical world when she went there in 1958. And it is the same color as the hibiscus that Mother named the Auroville flower. It's also the color that Mother said we should use as the skin of the Matrimandir – the inner skin.
When Mother saw Rijuta's psychic being, she said to herself, “But the psychic being is the one that will materialize and become the supramental being!” And here are Mother's words:
- “ That being seemed to tell me, “You're wondering what the supramental being will be – here it is! Here it is, this is it.” And it was there. It was her psychic being. Then one understands. One understands: the psychic being will materialize ... and it gives a continuity to evolution.”
- “And the psychic is precisely what lives on. So if it materialized, it means doing away with death. But ‘doing away’ ... what's done away with is only what's not according to the Truth, that's what goes away – all that's incapable of being transformed in the image of the psychic, of being part of the psychic.”
Mother had always asked how her supramental body would be. And she also asked to see it – she wanted to see her own supramental body. On May 9th of 1970, about seven weeks before she saw Rijuta's psychic being, Mother spoke of an experience she had during the night, which showed her that death would be overcome, and it also showed her her future body as her own body. She saw the future body in herself, her own body. And Mother's supramental body, just like Rijuta's psychic being, was sexless – neither man nor woman – and its color was like the color of Rijuta's psychic being; and Mother said:
- “It's a body ... not very different, but so refined! So ... such a refined thing! None of all those movements – those crude movements – none of those simply ordinary human movements can exist there: the two can't be together; when there is the one, there can't be the other. That's the whole point, it has to be ... done, clarified – nothing should remain, except ... except the divine bliss.”
And we just saw that Sri Aurobindo said our soul is divine delight. And it would make our outer parts flower into a refined purity of their being. And here is Mother saying that this is what she had, in her supramental body.
So, seven weeks after Mother saw her own supramental body, and also saw that death would be overcome, she she saw Rijuta's psychic being having exactly the same body. And with Rijuta's psychic being in front of her, Mother saw that when the psychic being has evolved to the point when it can materialize, it has progressed beyond needing the death process to continue its evolution.
So. What is the future of our death? It is the evolution of our psychic being into a physical body – the evolution of our psychic being with its eternal qualities, the immortal qualities that have come from our soul, that it has been putting all this time into the unevolved parts of us – this will evolve into a physical body which can keep up with all the changes of the universal transformation. Then there is an immortal, eternally evolving physical body which does not need to die in order to progress. We grow into supramental consciousness. Our psychic being manifests physically. It has all the divine immortal soul qualities; it can progress physically without having to die.
And where is death? It isn't there any longer. It's that simple. What happened to death? It just disappeared. And it disappeared with the evolution of our soul, our psychic being, into a physical body which does not have to die.
So that's our future history. With this, we can see that the end of death is in our hands (so to say). The more we can consciously evolve, the more we can do this really very pleasant work of putting love and delight and the wish for progress in all the parts of us, the closer we get to our divine evolution into an actual immortal body. And that's a kind of great relief, in a sense. Because it's just us. It's home. You don't have to have these feelings of ‘what is this transformation into this strange body?’ and ‘what's going to happen, where will it come from?’ – it's inside of us and it's just going to go on, and it's what we're going to become. And death, which has been such a fearful thing for so long, is just not there.
Knowing this, let's go on to the last thing, which is Mother's passing.
Mother didn't say anything about how she would leave, and she didn't say anything about when she would leave. Sri Aurobindo consciously left his body on December 5th of 1950. He left because, he said, he could better continue their work of bringing the new force if he was not in a physical body. And years later in the Agenda, Mother said that she could see that he was right. He was much more effective.
But if he left, there needed to be someone in a physical body capable of receiving the new forces for the body's transformation. There had to be at least one person on earth who could receive these new forces. Mother offered to go, but he said no: he said it was better if Mother stayed, because her body was stronger than his. He also said that at that time the world was not ready.
So Mother stayed; and what did she stay to do? She stayed to consciously and purposefully go through an accelerated, speeded-up evolutionary transformation of her physical body – to get to the point, if possible, that if her physical body could keep up with the evolutionary transformations which are going on now that the new force is descending in the physical world. And this is what we heard about all through the Agenda. This is the stories that she told us: what happened to her, how it worked, how it felt, and what she learned along the way.
So she was working at the level of her physical cells. Her consciousness got all the way into that inmost part of our actual physical. She worked in her cells so her physical body would change. And she defined ‘change’ like this:
- “The way of being changes. The divine as the creation is the being, whose way of being changes. This is universal evolution.”
And as time went on, she mentioned different things that she could do if she had to die and leave the body. We already know that Mother could leave the body any time that she wanted to. She was already doing that at the age of 11. Leaving the body was not a problem for Mother. At the age of 11, she told about consciously going out of the body at night; the body she left asleep on the bed, and she returned to it afterwards. For years in the Ashram, Mother didn't have a bed. For years, at night she went into the salon where she used to work with Sri Aurobindo during the day, and she lay down on the couch in the salon between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., and she went out in her subtle body to see people. She told people she was going to do that. And she said if a person had a problem, if they thought about it before they went to bed, when they woke up in the morning they would have the answer – because she would come and tell them.
In 1904, when she was in Tlemcen, when she went to see Max Thèon the occultist who taught her so much, she was consciously going out of her body to explore the creation. And once she almost died, when she was exteriorized out of 12 states of her being to the very final last edge of the creation, and she had trouble getting back into her body again.
In the Agenda she spoke often of going to be with Sri Aurobindo in the subtle physical plane at night. On August 27th, 1968, Mother said that her mind and vital were sent away from her body so that her psychic being could have a direct contact with her physical being, without any intermediary. Later she said that these could be removed because her psychic being had taken over long ago. And she had realized her psychic being in Paris before she ever came to the Ashram the first time.
Mother always understood what was happening to her body through all this process. She kept reporting what changed, and she kept reporting what she realized about it. At one point, she said that illness was the best method to change certain things which were stuck in the old consciousness. On June 3rd, 1968, she said that when the concentration that gives shape to the body is stopped, and the body dissolves over time, all the cells that are in this body that have been specially developed and have become conscious of the divine presence within themselves, will spread out; their consciousness will penetrate other concentrations of cells and awaken the consciousness of the divine presence in them. And this is the way that matter develops in its totality.
On January 1st of 1969, the consciousness of the intermediary being between the human being and the supramental being manifested here. Mother said she'd been asking for guidance – and here he was. She said it is a mentor, this consciousness.
In February of 1969, she said that “the work consists in changing the conscious base of all the cells – but not all at once!”. All the groups of cells, all the cellular arrangements have to do this. And then “the various functions are taken up in turn, in a marvelously logical order, following the body’s functioning. It’s something marvelous, only … the body is a poor thing, very poor thing – that’s very true.” And this action of taking up the body's functions in this logical order is done by the new force that is manifesting now.
Then on March 19th, Mother said the new being showed her the possibility of being able to form a body with the most developed cells in the being. And this new body would remain after the body died. She said there came in a very precise, almost concrete manner, that “there is a way, which is, before dying, to prepare within oneself a body with all the transformed, illumined, conscious cells, to collect them together and form a body with the maximum number of conscious cells; then, when the work is over, the full consciousness enters it and the other body can dissolve, it no longer matters.” The consciousness insisted on staying for hours and hours, until the body understood. So the body said, “Very well, we will see!” And then Mother doesn't mention this again. She leaves it right there.
On April 12th, the consciousness showed Mother the difference between the vibration of the process of destruction and the vibration of the process of progress without destruction.
On August 30th, 1969 – so this is moving a little forward – when Mother was with Sri Aurobindo in the subtle plane, she saw his supramental body. He showed her the supramental being's body as his body. Its color was also like the color of Auroville's flower. And at that point, back in 1969, she didn't know how to explain any more about it. It was about a year later, in 1970, when she saw her own future body, and she saw Rijuta's psychic being, then she was able to explain it and she did describe it for us. But in 1969 when she was looking at Sri Aurobindo's new body, she said that she saw her own body there too, but all she said was, “and maybe I too was not quite as I am”.
And then on March 25th of 1972, Mother looked down at her own body, and she had a new body.
She saw that she had another body which looked very similar to the body she had in May 1970, and similar to the body of Rijuta's psychic being. The skin was white, but the other features remained the same. And she said it was possible that this body was already there in the subtle physical plane – but she couldn't see how it was going to manifest physically. So here's another possibility of action, something else Mother can do if she has to die: for the consciousness that she had developed to pass into the subtle physical plane where she was already going at night. And then also to pass into her other body, which seemed to be already there in the subtle physical plane.
By 1972, things were getting much more painful. Mother was having physical difficulties. And she had to keep her consciousness withdrawn in the Divine almost all the time, to bear the physical things that were going on in the body. It was a suffering. Over and over again, all through the Agenda, she says that she didn't care if it was life or if it was death, she was ready for either.
On May 19th, 1973, the last day of Mother's Agenda, she said:
- “My body is deteriorating very rapidly – what could stop it from deteriorating?”
And then she says:
- “I could leave this body … it's almost the point of impossibility.”
On May 20th, the next day, all meetings in Mother's room were canceled. She saw only her attendants and her son André, who came to see her every evening. She lay with her eyes closed, and she only spoke of physical things, like asking for a drink of water.
But she still gave her public darshan for Sri Aurobindo's birthday, on August 15th of 1973. I was there for that darshan. I was standing way, way, way far down the street, where Mother was only about so (gesture) big. And I'd been at three public darshans before that. And each time, I was always conscious of when Mother looked at me. I always knew it. It affected me strongly, and I always had days afterwards when I was in a kind of blissful state. And if you look at videos of Mother giving darshan, she was working really hard – you see her walking back and forth, looking here, looking there; you see the expression on her face changing; and she looked at every single person.
Earlier on, in a class to the children, she says that: she looks at everyone. But that was in the balcony darshans, on the back of the Ashram building. Now she was up one more flight, and it was a terrace darshan. And there were thousands of people standing in the street.
So as I stood there on August 15th, 1973, with Mother in such a condition, a light from Mother – I saw it physically with my eyes – flashed all the way down along the street, into my eyes. And I had the same public darshan experience that I had had in the three previous darshans that I went to.
I saw Mother for the first time in 1972, in her room. After that, between every public darshan, I always wrote her a letter, and I asked her if I could see her in her room. And she always said yes. But after February 21st of 1973, after that darshan that she gave, her attendants said “no, because she is too sick”. I was very new; I had just come the year before. I tried to read all the books – I couldn't understand all the books (!), I didn't know what was going on, I didn't know the details of Mother's work. The books are full of it, but it didn't make sense. I only knew, once I saw Mother, that Mother was everything, and that's all I wanted. I wanted to see Mother. I wanted Mother.
And Mother always said that she was young, she was not old. And that is what I saw, every time I saw Mother. I didn't know she said that, but I never saw an old person. Each time I saw her in her room, and I kneeled down and looked up into her face, she looked young and she looked fresh; there was as though an atmosphere of light and of consciousness around her. I saw her at the beginning of January, two months before she was too sick to see me; and though I read now in the Agenda that Mother was sometimes sick and weak, I never saw her look sick, or weak, or old.
After giving darshan for Sri Aurobindo's birthday on August 15th, Mother's physical body deteriorated rapidly. Mother had told one of the Ashram trustees that her supramental body was ready, that her physical body could not fuse with it because of its old habits. She also told other people that she had seen her new body.
And then, from November 10th, Mother's heart started to fail. She refused food from November 14th. Her blood pressure kept going down, and on November 17th, 1973, at 7:25 p.m., Mother's heart failed. One of the clocks in the Ashram school stopped at 7:25. The last small concreting to finish the last small part of the fourth pillar of the Matrimandir, the part on which the globe would rest, that part was finished at that exact moment: 7:25 p.m. So the four supporting pillars of the Matrimandir were completed at the very moment of Mother's passing.
At 3:00 a.m., they put Mother's bed down in the meditation hall, and that's where it still stays today – you can go sit in the meditation hall, you can meditate there. Then they carried Mother's body downstairs, and they placed her on her bed. Then they notified the ashramites that Mother had left her body.
I was in charge of the kitchen at the Matrimandir workers' camp at that time. Kitchen work has to be very conscious work – I couldn't leave often, I had to be there. So I didn't go out very much. And my life there was just a life of thinking about Mother all the time. I spent all my time talking to her, complaining to her (!). “Mother...” and “Mother...” And I don't remember why, but on November 17th I was staying overnight in the Golconde guesthouse, in the Ashram. And I woke up in the morning, and I had really slept really well. I woke up early and I noticed I was feeling extra good. And so I was on my way to the Ashram dining room. I left early, I thought I would just get there early, have a nice early breakfast. And the dining room starts serving breakfast at 6:15. So by about 6:00, I was walking by the side of the main Ashram building where the Samadhi is. And a man who I didn't know personally, but who I knew by sight, came up to me and he said, “Mother left her body last night.” And I said, “No, Mother's never going to leave her body, she didn't leave her body...” “No, no: she left her body.” “No...” I argued with him, I refused to believe it. Finally he said, “Her body is in the meditation hall. Go and see for yourself.”
I thought, “No, it's not possible, Mother hasn't left. But still, if she's there, I'm not going to miss this opportunity.” So I turned in at the Ashram gate, the Samadhi area; I looked to see what was going on, and it was absolutely peaceful, business as usual. Nobody was rushing into the meditation hall. People were doing what they normally did. And I thought, “This is wrong, Mother hasn't left her body.” But I walked into the meditation hall and sure enough, there was Mother. And the meditation hall was completely empty – there was not a soul. Just Mother. She was on her bed and she was leaning forward, her body was leaning forward like this (gesture), and they had already put this cloth... you know, you go there and there's a kind of carpet or cloth on the floor and Mother's bed, and then they have a row of artificial flowers? Well they put this small barrier, so that's where I stopped. And I stood there, and I looked, and I looked, and I looked, and I couldn't feel or see a thing that was what I knew as Mother, in that body. It looked like absolutely everything had been taken out of that body. Everything, just pulled right out: it was thin, and soft, and hollow. Just an emptied-out shell. And there wasn't even anything that I could recognize as Mother's light, or Mother's presence, in the atmosphere of the room. It felt instead very vast and empty, like an empty sky at night.
And then I didn't feel anything else. I wasn't sad, I didn't feel any sorrow, I had no questions, no understanding, nothing. And I looked and I looked at Mother. And I stood there. And I looked and I looked at Mother, sort of trying to figure out something, anything at all. Trying to get back that presence and sense of Mother's consciousness. Trying to feel the light – the light that I lived and breathed, the light that I concentrated in, as we all do, day and night. Nothing. She just looked emptied out. And I kept expecting people to come – no one came. I stood there and I stood there, for what seemed like an eternity.
Gradually I became conscious of a low humming, going on in the room. Mnnnn... it was just humming. Mnnnn... And then it got louder, MNNNNN..., and I was alone with Mother. And after what seemed like a really long time, I heard two words, clearly: “Eternal contact”. I caught the words and I thought about them. And I said those words over and over to myself: “Eternal contact; eternal contact...” And still nobody came. The meditation hall was the same size, and this humming was just reverberating in the room, and I don't know how long I stood there with Mother, I didn't have my wristwatch, but I began to get really hungry (!). So quickly I went to the dining hall, which stays open until 7:45 – it was still open. Quickly I ate something; I didn't say a word to anyone. I quickly went back to the meditation hall expecting there to be people – there was not a soul. It was absolutely empty.
The humming was really loud. It was physically vibrating the air in this funny kind of emptiness. And I went on standing and looking at Mother, and now I was hoping nobody would come (!), I wanted to stay all alone with Mother. And after some time, 3 or 4 people came down the stairs, from the first floor. And they looked like they were trying to make themselves very small. And so I tried to make myself very small also, so they wouldn't see me and they wouldn't say anything, they wouldn't ask me to leave. But after awhile, one of these guys came up to me, and he asked me to leave because they had to do something with Mother.
I just went home to the Matrimandir workers' camp. And I don't think I even mentioned it to anybody in the camp. And even though I had seen that Mother was gone, I went back to work in the same way: always thinking about her. There, when I was out of the meditation hall, out of that presence, this other presence of Mother was just with me all the time. And I didn't notice any change, or any kind of evolution or moving into something else of that, until three months later.
Q & A
So that's everything I have to say about death and transformation. And I would love it if anybody has any questions.
Mother had asked not to be buried...
- If I'm not wrong, I remember from the Agenda that Mother asked Satprem to not be buried because she may leave the body in trance and come back. But then in the Ashram they buried their body. So until this moment, I have been wondering myself, why.
Ok. There was a fair amount of talk about that. And there was a certain point where Mother thought that she might go into some interior trance, where the body had to be left completely alone. As I remember, at one point it might be for four days. And Mother's attendants were not as sensitive to these things as Satprem was. They kind of moved her around in a less conscious way. It did make a bit of conflict between Satprem and Mother's attendants. And that was a possibility that was there. But as far as I can tell, reading through, that didn't really remain. There were these other possibilities, and the one that got stronger and stronger was that she would just move into this [supramental] body that was already prepared.
In any case, whatever anybody might have done, Mother was a conscious, totally conscious being; she could leave her body at will, she could go anywhere in the creation she wanted to go, and her focus was on this supramental transformation: what she could do to make that happen faster. So if there was a mistake – and personally I don't have the feeling, but that's only me – if there was a mistake, it could only have been a slight delay. Because everything was set up. There were other things she could do: she could go into this body that was already in the subtle physical; she could take all the conscious cells of the body and form another body with it; or if she let everything disperse, all the conscious cells, their consciousness would influence the universal evolution. So we have sort of fail-safe on every level, that her work was successful.
And we also have a lot of books out, where people are analyzing and showing that her work was successful. And at the end of the Agenda, we have Satprem's experience where he says there was a great victory.
What to say to the sick and dying
- In Europe, there are many people who are sick. They are finishing their life in __. What can you say about that in the light of what you say in your talk?
Yes; I think you can encourage them to think about goodness. Think about goodness. Their dying process – you can tell them that it helps not to be afraid of it. You can tell them that the dying process is a necessary thing because it's only the body that's broken down. You can remind them that the other parts of them are just doing fine. So if they think about beauty, and love, and truth, and all of these things, and if they put all these things into the painful parts, that even will make it easier. You can tell them they're fortunate, because now they can know this. It will help them to pass more consciously.
And you can tell them to look for the white light. You can tell them that you happen to know that there is a white light. And at the moment of death, they just look for the white light, and the white light will take care of them.
What level of consciousness did the Mother have?
- Is the Mother really enlightened, or really ultimate, or really goes to the source? Just, I want to know that. What level of the consciousness Mother had.
Yes, I can tell you that. We're going to backtrack just a little bit.
We know that that the Supreme manifested the whole consciousness. And we know that the Supreme put out from himself his power of consciousness, what you call in your country the Shakti, the supreme Shakti, the Mahashakti. This supreme Shakti is the consciousness of the whole creation and the consciousness bringing from the Supreme into the creation. So Mother and Sri Aurobindo came here to bring the new consciousness.
This Mother in this body came for this purpose. So she stands at the border between the Supreme unmanifest and the whole manifestation that she is, the Shakti of the Supreme, and she particularly brings in the new consciousness that will transform us all.
So this is who Mother was and is. She has not only the consciousness of the Supreme whom she is coming out of; she has as well the consciousness of the manifestation who she is; and she has the consciousness of the new consciousness as it's coming into the creation.
And she said something about that: she said that that consciousness must work in a person, whenever the person is ready. Wherever you are on the face of the earth, whether you know the name of it, whether you have any idea of what it is, if your being has progressed to the point that it can receive some of the evolutionary force, it's automatic – it has to come. Everyone is supposed to reach the Mother's stage of consciousness; Mother and Sri Aurobindo just did it first, that's all. And they came here to show us how to do it.
And they really brought a huge amount of information. And not only that: everything that they've touched has that consciousness. So every word that they've said, every photograph that you have of their face, carries that consciousness – and even if you don't understand it, you can feel it. So they've left us a huge amount of information and consciousness that we can access.
There must be many psychic beings in the world
- (Ramanarayan:) You said that in'69 or '71, Mother saw the first psychic being. That means in these fifty years, almost fifty years, there would be many, in the world...?
(Laughing) I think there have been many psychic beings, for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. But then, I think there were many in the Ashram. And I think there are many in Auroville. Because I think there are beings who have incarnated in Auroville to carry out Mother's work, that are in places in Auroville where Mother needs them. Because that's the whole point.
But this psychic being, she saw it physically. It's not that it had become a physical thing yet. If it had become a physical thing, it would have been immortal. And what she said is very interesting, she said: “I never thought about what it looked like!” If she'd ever thought about wanting to see what a psychic being looked like, she could have done that. But she never did. And this psychic being said to her, “You want to see what the new supramental being will be – here it is. This is it. Here it is.” And Mother said, “And then I understood that this psychic being would evolve...” – not that it had evolved – “into the new supramental being.”
And the psychic being itself, when you looked at it, actually had the qualities that the supramental being has.
Well, ok everyone. Thank you for coming. It's been really nice.
- Questions and Answers 1929-1931, p.150
- Questions and Answers 1953, p.203
- Letters on Yoga – I, p.541
- Questions and Answers 1953, p.203
- The Life Divine, p.232, “The Double Soul in Man”
- Ibid., p.233
- Ibid., p.234
- Ibid., p.239
- Letters on Yoga – I, p.537
- Ibid., p.535
- Ibid., p.544
- Questions and Answers 1953, p.215
- Questions and Answers 1956, p.334
- Ibid., p.335
- Mother's Agenda 1970, 1 July 1970
- Ibid., 9 May 1970
- Mother's Agenda 1969, 19 February 1969
- Ibid., 19 March 1970
- Mother's Agenda 1969, 30 August 1969
- Mother's Agenda 1972-1973, 19 May 1973