October 6, 1962
Experiences fading and blending in
- 78 — When knowledge is fresh in us, then it is invincible; when it is old, it loses its virtue. This is because God moves always forward.
So, what's your question?
- The knowledge referred to here is intellectual or spiritual, but for the supramental yoga, knowledge is... what kind of knowledge is it? A knowledge in the body, a physical knowledge?
Sri Aurobindo is speaking here of knowledge through inspiration or revelation. In other words, when something suddenly descends and illuminates your understanding: all of a sudden, you feel you know a certain thing for the very first time, because it comes to you directly from the domain of Light, the domain of true knowledge, and it comes with all its innate force of truth — it illuminates you. And indeed, when you've just received it, it seems as though nothing could resist that Light. And if you make sure to let it work in you, it brings about as much transformation as it can in its own domain.
It is a fairly common experience. When it occurs, and for some time afterwards (not very long), everything seems to organize itself quite naturally around that Light. Then, little by little, it blends with all the rest. The intellectual awareness of it remains, formulated in one way or another — that much is left — but it's like an empty husk. It no longer has the driving force that transforms all movements of the being in the image of that Light. And this is what Sri Aurobindo means: the world moves fast, the Lord moves ever forward, and all that remains is but a trail He leaves in His wake: it no longer has the same instantaneous and almighty force it had at the MOMENT He projected it into the world.
It's like a rain of truth falling, and anyone who can catch even a drop of it receives a revelation. But unless they themselves advance at a fantastic pace, the Lord and His rain of truth will already be far, far away, and they'll have to run very fast to catch up!
This is an image I have always seen.
That's what he means.
- Yes, but for this knowledge to really have a transformative power...?
It is the higher Knowledge, Truth expressing itself, what he calls ‘the true knowledge’; and that knowledge transforms the whole creation. But He seems to let it rain down constantly, you see, and if you don't hurry up (laughing), you get left behind!
But have you never felt a sort of dazzling flash in your head? And then: “Aha! That's it!” Sometimes it's something that was known intellectually, but it was drab and lifeless; and then all at once it comes as a tremendous power, organizing everything in the consciousness around that Light — it doesn't last very long. Sometimes it lasts a few hours, sometimes a few days, but never longer, unless one is very slow in one's movement. And meanwhile, you know (laughing), the Source of Truth is moving on and on and on....
Any transformation has repercussions on the planes below
- But these are all psychological transformations. What is the knowledge needed to transform Matter, the body?
For the moment, mon petit, I can't say anything about that; I just don't know.
- Is it another kind of knowledge?
No, I don't think so.
It may be another kind of action, but not another kind of knowledge.
Actually, we'll be able to speak of what transforms Matter only when Matter is ... at least a bit transformed, when there is a beginning of transformation. Then we can talk about the process. But for the moment....
But any transformation in the being, on any plane, always has repercussions on the planes below. There is always an action. Even those things which seem purely intellectual certainly have an effect on the structure of the brain.
And these kinds of revelations happen only in a silent mind — or at least a mind at rest. Unless the mind is absolutely tranquil and still, it doesn't come. Or if it does come, you don't even notice anything with all the racket you're making! And of course, these experiences help the tranquillity, the silence and receptivity to become better and better established. This sense of something utterly immobile, but not closed — immobile, but open and receptive — gets more established the more you have these experiences. There is a big difference between a dead, lackluster, unresponsive silence and the receptive silence of a quieted mind. It makes a big difference. And it results from these experiences. All the progress we make is always, quite naturally, the result of truths coming down from above.
It has an effect: all these things have an effect on the way the body functions — the workings of the organs, the brain, the nerves and so forth. And this will certainly take place long before there is any effect on the external form.
Actually, when people speak of transformation, they're mainly thinking of a picturesque transformation, aren't they? A beautiful appearance — luminous, supple, plastic, changing at will.... But they don't give much thought to this other thing, this rather ... anesthetic transformation of the organs! And yet it's certainly what's going to happen first, long before the appearance is transformed.
- Sri Aurobindo spoke of the working of the chakras replacing the organs.
Yes — 300 years, he said! (Mother laughs.)
With a bit of reflection it's easy to understand: if it were a question of stopping something and starting something ELSE, it might be done rather rapidly. But to keep a body alive (to keep it functioning) and AT THE SAME TIME have enough of a new functioning so that it stays alive, and then a transformation — that makes a very difficult combination to realize. I am fully aware of it, fully aware ... of the immense amount of time that's needed for this to be done without catastrophe.
Above all, of course, when we come to the heart: to replace the heart with the center of Power, a formidable, dynamic power! (Mother laughs) At what precise MOMENT are you going to eliminate the circulation and throw in the Force!
It is ... it's difficult.
No, I don't have much to say. Nothing of what I've just been telling you is publishable; it can go in the Agenda, but it can't be published.
- It's not bad for people to get some idea of the work.
No.... Well, you can write it up; I'll see. But I don't have much to say.
In ordinary life, you think of things, then you do them — but this is just the opposite! In this life you have to do things first and understand afterwards — but long afterwards. You have to act first, without thinking. If you think, you get nowhere; you're just reverting to the old way of doing things.
Overmental and supramental planes
(A little later, Satprem returns to the previous conversation on the gods:)
- But do those gods exist independently of human consciousness? They're not human creations?
No, not at all!
- One thing struck me: you say that the Gita as Sri Aurobindo explained it is not overmental but supramental....
Sri Aurobindo said that what he came to bring was already indicated in the Gita.
- But what you haven't made exactly clear to me is the difference between THE thing and the overmind....
It is the experience of Oneness.
- No, but the difference in vision — I'm speaking of vision. You told me, for instance, that objects in the overmind were self-luminous.
Yes, from the overmind onwards.
- Did you mean that one sees terrestrial objects become luminous?
No, no! I mean all the things and forms in the overmind itself (the raiment of the gods, for instance, their jewels and crowns — there are all kinds of things in the overmind). In those worlds there are all kinds of forms, which we translate into images from terrestrial life ... but it's only a translation.
Take the gods' raiment, for example. Their raiment, which they change at will in the same way they change their forms, is made not of physical but of overmental substance, and that substance contains its own light. It's like that with everything, it's all.... There's no sun casting light and shadows: the substance is self-luminous.
- And beyond, in the Supramental?
(very long silence)
Hard to explain.
When I speak of the ‘world of Oneness’ I don't merely mean having the ‘sense’ that all is one and that everything takes place within that One. What I mean by Oneness is that you can't distinguish between conceiving the action, the will to act, the action itself, and the result. It's.... All is one, simultaneous.
But how? It can't be explained — it simply can't! You can get a glimpse of the experience, but ... ultimately, it's inexpressible, we have no means to express it.
If we say ‘all is simultaneous’, we're talking in platitudes.
We always express things in terms of high and low. As I've often said, other words are needed, another way of formulating things.
You say I didn't understand your question, but I understood it perfectly, I knew perfectly well what you wanted.... But what can be said about That! It simply cannot be spoken of, and here's the proof: if we could talk about it, it would be here. And even then we probably wouldn't talk about it.
We can't talk about it, we can't say anything; whatever we say about it is nonsense! Of course it's nonsense — what else could it be?
At their maximum, at the height of their possibilities, human conceptions can at the VERY BEST express something or other of the overmind. For me it is very vivid, very familiar, because I have lived there a lot. But even so, I consider words too awkward to express it — although with ‘poetic’ metaphors you might just manage to convey an impression of it. But as for speaking of the Other Thing, I am quite aware that.... Because even when you're right in the Experience, the only thing you feel like doing is ... keeping quiet. You can't talk. As soon as you utter a word, poof! It all clouds over. It's useless.
Supramental vision: "I just see through it, that's all."
- But physically, for instance, you see this object [Satprem picks up a paperweight]. Now, I see it in a certain way — but you, with a supramental consciousness?...
I just see through it, that's all.
But that's nothing!
- What do you mean, you see through it?
Well, I mean I can see the luminous vibration behind it. But I realize that one way of seeing doesn't preclude the other.
It's the same when I look at people: I don't see them as they see themselves, I see them with the vibration of all the forces that are in them and pass through them, and quite frequently with the supreme Vibration of the Presence. And that's why my physical sight is ... not exactly failing, but changing in character, for the physical precision that normal physical sight gives is ... it's false for me. Instinctively (not because I think of it that way), that's how it is. So I no longer have the precision of a vision designed to see just the superficial crust of things.
But this doesn't keep me from seeing physically — although, yes, it does at times make me unsure of who's in front of me, because I see a vibration that is sometimes very similar, almost identical, in three or four people (who aren't all necessarily present, but anyway ...). So there's a slight external difference — there's a very great external difference in the way the form looks, of course, but in the combination of vibrations there's only a slight external difference. And so sometimes I am not sure, I don't know whether it's this person or that one; that's why I often ask, “Who's there?” It's not that I don't see anything, but I don't see in the same way.
In a way, I think I see better. But in a particular way. If, for instance, I have to thread a needle (I have experimented with this kind of thing), well, if I try to thread the needle while looking at it, it's literally impossible. But sometimes (when I am in a certain attitude), if I have to thread a needle, it threads itself — I have nothing to do with it: I hold the needle, I hold the thread, and that's that.
I think (in fact, it's quite simply a matter of experience), I think that if this state gets perfected one should be able to do everything in the OTHER way, the way that doesn't depend on external senses. And then, well, it will clearly be the beginning of a supramental expression. Because it's a sort of innate knowledge which DOES things. When That comes, you know, you can act.
But you mustn't think; the minute you start thinking or wanting to use your sense organs, it vanishes completely.
And as far as expression is concerned, the first thing that comes over you is ... it's not just an impossibility: you don't WANT to talk.
Something else is needed, something else entirely.
We just have to wait. Wait for it to come.
- But isn't what you're talking about here [Satprem points to the paperweight] what people call a ‘clairvoyant’ vision?
- It's supramental vision?
- A clairvoyant wouldn't see it that way.
No. It is the infiltration of the supramental consciousness.
- Which makes you see something else through objects or through people....
No, it has nothing to do with all the visions I've had.
But that Vision.... I know it well, and it's not a ‘vision’ — it's not a vision! I can't call it an image: it is a knowledge. I can't even say it's a knowledge, it's ... something that is EVERYTHING at once, something embodying its own truth.
Let it get established! When it's all well established, we'll speak about it again (Mother laughs).
- I'm asking you questions because I've got a book to write!
Oh, but don't speak of this in your book! People will say you're completely cracked (Mother laughs).
- Thoughts and Aphorisms, “Jnana”
- In fact, Satprem was ever pursuing the same question: How far does the shift to the other vision change the vision of Matter — what does true Matter look like?