Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1955-11-23
|Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers
November 23, 1955
In this week's class, a child says that he doesn't understand what Sri Aurobindo means when he writes that the sadhak of the Integral Yoga should include all other names and forms of deity in his ideas of approaching the Divine. In this part of the chapter that Mother read, Sri Aurobindo spent a long time speaking about the many different Indian gods, and basically he concludes with the fact that they are one [(The Synthesis of Yoga, p.66)].
In India the living tradition of worshiping various gods is thousands of years old. There are hundreds and hundreds of deities which people relate to; they pray to them, and they rely on them for their whole lives. Sometimes the same deity is worshiped under a different name – and even in a slightly different form – in many different parts of the country.
This personal relationship with a god or several gods is, for most people in India, an integral part of their life. So the child is most likely familiar with this, unless he was born and brought up only in the Ashram – in a different atmosphere.
And Mother explains that Sri Aurobindo means that all forms of deity are one form of reality: the one Divine. All the gods that people worship are really one Divine.
Then Mother speaks of the phenomena that we call miracles. She says it is only because we can't figure out how and why these things happen, that we think of them as miracles. She said that we live in miracles every day, but we just can't see it.
And once Mother had said that people thank the Divine for the miracles which help them in their lives, but no one thinks of thanking the Divine for the wonderful miracle of having life go on peacefully and easily, without any problem. She pointed out that this state of things is just as much a divine Grace, and a series of miracles, as when we are helped or saved from something, or something special comes to us.
Mother doesn't talk about anything she has done, that people might consider miracles. And basically she didn't do that in public too much. But there are many books full of stories in which ashramites and people who aren't in the Ashram tell stories about miraculous things which Mother did for them. It's clear that she knew how to do these things. People couldn't explain them; but she taught them to think that it was a divine Grace. And if we look through Mother's philosophy, we find that eventually she tells everyone that divine Grace is merely the working of the new supramental force.
There are a number of stories in which people speak about things Mother did for flowers. Or how she used flowers to do things for them. We have some of these stories here...
Because people in the Ashram were always interested in flowers, the Ashram courtyards were always full of flowers. And when people came to see Mother she gave them flowers; and they gave her flowers. One day, a visitor asked an Ashram gardener for a nice rose that he wanted to take to Mother that afternoon. It was about two o'clock. The gardener was growing some roses in pots on one of the terraces inside the main Ashram compound. He went up the stairs, and he stretched out his hand to cut a nice rose for the visitor to take to Mother. At that time, Mother was passing through a closed corridor on the other side of the building, and there was no way for her to see the gardener at all. But suddenly she started walking very fast, and everyone who was with her had to run to keep up with her. She reached the open terrace directly across the courtyard from where the rose was growing. It was a long way from this terrace to the other terrace. But from there, just in time, she called out, “Don't cut! Don't cut! Don't cut!” The gardener was taken aback; and of course he didn't cut the rose – he stopped at once.
Later, Mother explained: 'the soul of the flower came to me to be saved'. And then she said that flowers should only be cut in the morning or evening. If they are cut or plucked during the hot hours, they suffer.
Mother once gave a small cutting of the pomegranate flower plant, which she called 'the Divine Love', to an ashramite who was working as an Ashram gardener. Mother asked him, “Can we grow this?”, and he thought for a moment and then he said, “Yes, Mother, I think we can grow it”. So the Ashramite planted this small cutting; but it didn't grow, and he began to get worried. Someone told him that Mother had taken a keen interest in the tiny plant, so he tried everything he could think of, but nothing he did seemed to make the plant grow.
When Mother came to know of this, she asked that the little plant be brought and kept in a place where she could see it every day. The little pot was put in a place where Mother looked at it every time she passed by.
A few days later, new buds were seen, and the small cutting began to grow vigorously. Soon its roots filled the small pot. And Mother asked the gardener to transplant it into a larger pot. And then a larger pot. And then a larger pot. It filled one pot after another. Finally, it was planted in the Rockery, at the entrance to the main Ashram building. You can see it now – if you enter the Ashram main door and look to your left as you pass the Rockery, it is now full-grown, the size of a small tree.
There was a young lady in the Ashram who had the gift of seeing nature spirits and fairies. The Mother encouraged her to develop her gift; and this girl wrote many fairy stories which Mother had printed in books for the children. This ashramite married, and had a daughter. When the little girl started kindergarten in the Ashram school, she started to hear fairy tales, and she began to develop an interest in fairies. So at home, the little girl's mother read to her and told her many fairy stories. Soon the child was saying that she wanted to see fairies too. In those days, many ashramites were able to see the Mother on a regular basis. This lady and her daughter saw Mother on Sunday afternoons. One Sunday afternoon, the little girl told the Mother that she wanted to see a fairy. The Mother was really pleased, and gave her lots of encouragement. She told her that if she really wanted to see fairies, she could certainly see them. And the child persisted and said, “I want to see a fairy!” And Mother said, “Ask your mother – she will show them to you, because she sees them all the time”.
The ashramite was completely taken aback. What was the Mother doing? To see and feel fairies oneself was one thing, but to show them to someone else? This was quite a different thing!
Mother was watching her obvious feelings of insecurity, and her expression of reluctance and dismay.
There was a tray of flowers on a small table next to Mother's chair. On the tray were some small lilies. Commonly, these lilies were called 'fairy lily' or 'rain lily'. The Mother had named these flowers 'Prayer'. Picking up two Prayer flowers – two fairy lily flowers – picking up a yellow one, and a white one, the Mother gave them to the ashramite and her daughter, saying to both of them, “With the help of these flowers, you will be able to see fairies”.
They left Mother's room, and carefully holding the small lilies, they walked home in the quiet of the late afternoon.
But the ashramite was very worried. She had told her own child that fairies were real; and now she had to show them to her. She felt deeply the responsibility that Mother had given her – but she had no idea what she was supposed to do.
When they arrived home, all she could think of was to put the Prayer flowers in front of Mother's photograph; and she prayed with all her heart that her little daughter would see a fairy. She told the child that they would just sit in front of the photograph of Mother, and look at the flowers until something came out. Sitting there in an attitude of prayer, very concentrated in mind and spirit, trying so hard to know what to do when Mother had promised her daughter that she would show her a fairy, the ashramite started to speak. She spoke almost automatically, without thought. And she heard herself say:
“The fairy might wear her anklet with little bells on it. And if you remain very quiet before she comes out, you might hear the tiny tinkling sound her anklet makes. Watch carefully, because she may not remain for a long time.”
Then, in the silence, the child said, “There's a white one! And there's a yellow one!”
Then she said, “Mummy, she's gone!”
People here in the Ashram and Auroville know about blessing packets. When people came to see Mother, she gave them flower petals which she charged with force and consciousness. The ashramites made small envelopes – 2 by 2.5 inches in size – to hold the delicate flower petals. And these came to be known as 'blessing packets'.
In 1973, a young woman who had recently spent some time in Auroville and the Ashram, decided to visit the Findhorn community in the northeast of Scotland. While she had been visiting the Ashram, she had seen Mother, and Mother had given her a blessing packet containing some rose petals charged with her force.
In those days, people would put their petals into small amulets, which were like little tiny tubes, and these tubes would be worn around their neck on ribbons. So following the custom in those days, the young woman put the rose petals in an amulet, and wore it around her neck for spiritual protection. While she was in Findhorn, she loaned her amulet to a member of the Findhorn community. He wore it around his neck for a few days. And during this time, he went rock-climbing on the sandstone sea cliffs, a few miles down the coast from Findhorn.
He was high up on the cliff face, when the piece of rock he was holding onto broke – and he fell, he plummeted thirty feet straight down, to land flat on his chest on the rocky ground directly below him.
According to the laws of nature, he should have been badly hurt, with broken ribs and other serious injuries. But because he was wearing the rose petals which Mother had charged with her force, he was virtually unharmed. He didn't feel anything at all. It was only two days after his fall, when he finally returned the amulet to the young woman, that his ribs first started to feel sore.
So we're in Mother's Friday class; it's November 23rd, 1955. Unfortunately again this week we don't have the tape-recording of the class...
23 November 1955
- I did not understand the last part very well.
Which last part, my child?
- “... the sadhak of the integral Yoga will not be satisfied until he has included all other names and forms of Deity in his own conception...”
Why? It says what it means. What is it that you don’t understand there? What don’t you understand?
- I don’t understand the meaning.
But my child... You are told: there is only one reality and all that is is only a multiple expression of a single reality. Therefore, all the divine manifestations, all the forms it has taken in the course of time, all the names which men have given it, are only manifestations, forms and names of one sole, unique Godhead.
As human beings are very limited, it is usually easier for them to follow one path rather than another. But that is just a tiny little beginning; and if one wants to attain the heights, one must be able to find the Divine equally through all the paths, and understand that it is the sole and same Divine, whatever the different appearances may be.
This is what Sri Aurobindo tells you: that you cannot stop, you cannot be satisfied until you have felt absolutely concretely that there is only one single Divine, there is only one single Reality, and that, from whatever angle It is seen or whatever path is taken to attain It, it will always be one sole and same thing which you will meet. So one who is developed enough, vast enough to be able to follow what we call the Integral Yoga, must have the capacity to approach the Divine by all possible paths. If he doesn’t want to follow them himself because it takes time... though there is a certain degree of development which enables one in a few days or a few hours to follow a path which would otherwise take a whole lifetime... still, if one has no taste for this kind of gymnastics, at least one should have an understanding open enough to be aware that all this is fundamentally one sole and identical thing. And whether you give it this name or that or no name at all, you understand, or several names, you are always speaking of the same thing which is the single Divine who is all things.
Don’t you catch it?
It is only the mind and the limited human consciousness which make distinctions. And through these differences you get into a confusion. You distinguish only by differences, and differences mean just the illusory outer consciousness. As soon as you really enter within, you immediately have the sense of a total identity and all these divergences seem absolutely ridiculous to you.
- [(And then a child asks a question about a place in the text where Sri Aurobindo speaks about the divine man in a human appearance – like Krishna, or Buddha. And he says:)]
- Sweet Mother, what is the difference between the supreme man and the divine man?
In one case it is the peak of humanity. “Supreme” means the human being who is at the peak of humanity, that is, the perfect man.
In the other case, it is God who has entered a human body. What is human is only the body, the outer form, not the consciousness. In the first case it is the human consciousness which has attained its perfection.
Something over there?
- Sri Aurobindo says here: “The divine working is not the working which the egoistic mind desires or approves; for it uses error in order to arrive at truth, suffering in order to arrive at bliss, imperfection in order to arrive at perfection.” How?
Like that. As the world is today.
He explains it at great length afterwards. He says that the human mind would accept to have faith only if the Divine acted in accordance with its conception; and man’s ordinary conception of what is divine is that of a perpetual miracle — what he calls amiracle, that is, something that takes place without rhyme or reason. And so, as he is not in the presence of this... But it is much more subtle than that... If we arrived from another world where things happen altogether differently, which is difficult for us to conceive... but which would happen in a way where the logic would be totally different — the logic of events, causes, consequences and effects — if we arrived suddenly from another world into this one, all that we would see would appear absolutely miraculous to us, because we wouldn’t be able to understand the logic of events.
We are habituated to what occurs as it occurs; it is simply a matter of habit, for from the first breath we drew upon earth we have been accustomed to see things in this way, and so it seems quite ordinary to us, because it occurs in this way. But if we could manage to get out of this habit, if we could see things from another point of view, we would immediately be able to feel that kind of impression of the miraculous, because we would no longer see the logic of events with the habitual sense.
We have a certain habit of a particular logic of causes and effects, of the consequences of all things, the relation between all movements. It is for us a fact which we accept, even without thinking about it, because we have always lived inside it. But if we had not always lived inside it, we would see it in another way. And one can make this experiment: if one goes out of the determinism of the world as it is at present — this world which is a mixture of the physical, vital, mental and of something of a spiritual influence or infusion (quite veiled), everything that happens is the combination of all this — if we go out of all that (we can do it), if we rise above the physical, material world as it is, and enter another consciousness, we perceive things totally differently.
And then we see that behind these appearances which seem to us absolutely logical and extremely natural, and almost necessary, there is an action which, if perceived in one’s ordinary consciousness, would seem all the time miraculous.
There is an intervention of forces, consciousnesses, movements, influences, which is invisible or imperceptible for our ordinary consciousness and constantly changes the whole course of circumstances.
We don’t need to go very far; it is enough to take just a step outside the ordinary consciousness in order to realise this. I have already said several times that if one finds the psychic consciousness within oneself and identifies oneself with it, well, immediately one feels a complete reversal of circumstances and sees things almost totally differently from the way one ordinarily sees them. For one perceives the force which is acting instead of the result of this action.
At present you see only the result of the action of the forces, and this seems to you natural, logical. And it’s only when something a little abnormal occurs — or it’s a little abnormal for you — that you begin to feel surprised. But if you were in another state of consciousness, what seems abnormal to you now would no longer be so. You would see that it is the effect of something else, of another action than the one you perceive.
But even from the purely material point of view, you are used to certain things, they have been explained to you: for example, electric light, or that it is enough to press a button to start a car. You can explain it, you have been told why, and so it seems absolutely natural to you. But I had instances of people who did not know, who were completely ignorant, who came from a place where these things had not yet penetrated, and who were suddenly shown a statue being lighted up by rays of light; they fell on their knees in adoration: it was a divine manifestation.
And I have seen someone else who was in the same state, it was a child who knew nothing. In front of him a button was pressed and the car started; it seemed a tremendous miracle to him. Well, it is like that. You are used to certain things, they seem absolutely natural to you. If you were not used to them, you would see, you would think them miracles.
Well, turn over the problem. There is a heap of things you cannot explain to yourself, there is a host of interventions which change the course of circumstances and which you don’t even notice. And so everything seems to you ordinary, monotonous and without any particular interest. But if you had the knowledge and could see that all these things which seem absolutely normal to you because you are used to them and have not even asked yourself “How does this happen in this way?” — if you had the knowledge and saw how it happens, what it is that acts, why for example someone who acts so imprudently that he would have broken his head does not break it, why everything seems arranged for a frightful accident to take place and it does not occur, and thousands, millions of things like that which happen every day and everywhere — if you had enough knowledge to see why it is like that, then at the same time you could say, “Look, there is something like a force, a consciousness, a power which acts and which is not from the material domain. Materially, logically, this is what should have happened, and it did not happen.” You say, “Ah! It was his good luck”, don’t you? And then you are satisfied, it’s all right for you.
It is the ignorant, limited, egoistic consciousness which demands miracles. As soon as one is enlightened, one knows that everywhere and always there is miracle.
And the more faith one has in this miracle and this Grace, the more capable one becomes of seeing it, or perceiving it constantly at every place where it is. It is ignorance and lack of faith, it is blind egoism which prevents one from seeing.
- Questions and Answers 1955, p.374