Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1955-11-30 part 2
|Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers
November 30, 1955 (part 2 of 2)
This is the second part of the class, and it's a continuation of the class where Mother is explaining to the students and the ashramites about communicating with the elemental entities that bring weather. This is the day before the students' annual drama performance on December 1st. The school was opened for the first time on December 2nd, 1943 – twelve years earlier. And so every year on December 1st, they do a performance of Mother or Sri Aurobindo's works to celebrate the date.
Mother was open with people about being able to change the weather. She was willing to explain all about it; and she was equally able to bring rain and to stop rain. We have a situation here where everyone wants her to stop the rain. But there are other stories:
Once, there was a severe and very long drought, at the time when India still had princely states, each one with its own ruler. It stayed dry for so long in one particular state, that they were desperately doing special prayers and pujas; doing ceremonies and praying for rain. And they were asking all the holy men that they could find, to help them. But everything just stayed dry and desolate; nothing, nothing brought the rain.
The minister went to Pondy, and when he got to the Ashram he was given permission to see Mother. He came in, and he began to tell Mother what he wanted, but he had only time to say, “Mother, I have come – ”, when Mother spoke. She said, “Yes, I know, and it is done. It has rained there. But do not do such a thing again. Since you had assured your ruler that I could do it, I had to do it – for your sake. But these things are in the domain of the gods, and it is not right to interfere.
In early 1951, the ashramites were constructing a small bathroom in the Playground for Mother to use when she came there. They were putting this little room at the back of the room called 'the Captain's Room'. Its foundation and its walls were made of bricks, held together with mud. And the new room would connect with the Captain's Room.
One day, while this work was going on, they were working on the foundations, and the Ashram supervisor worked there until 7 p.m. They had dug away the earth around the foundation for the Captain's Room, because the new foundation was going to connect. At about 2 a.m. In the morning, the supervisor was awakened from sleep by thunder and lightning. He went out of his room and he saw dark clouds in the sky. A few drops of rain had already started falling. He knew that a heavy downpour could really damage the mud and brick foundation of the Captain's Room. And if the foundation collapsed or weakened too much, the whole mud and brick wall could also collapse. He was also worried of course about the new foundations that they were building.
But there wasn't anything he could do. It was 2 o'clock in the morning. He couldn't even go there to cover up the open areas. There was nothing he could do to protect the Captain's Room and the new construction from simply melting away in all of this rain.
He went back inside his room and he began to pray. He closed his eyes, and he called on Mother for help. And in his inner vision, he saw Mother descending as though she'd heard his prayer. And then as though she came in answer to his call, she stood in front of him and she waited. He poured out his heart to her and he said, “Mother, only you can save the foundation from damage. Even the wall may collapse, and I can't do anything now.” Mother listened to what he said; she didn't say anything, and slowly she vanished from his inner sight. But he felt as though a heavy load had been lifted from his heart. And feeling relieved and relaxed, he dozed off to sleep for about fifteen minutes.
When he woke up, he went back outside into the courtyard. The dark clouds were gone. There was no more thunder, no more lightning. Apart from the few drops he had seen before he prayed to Mother, no more rain had fallen. The next morning, he went to work as usual. The ashramite who was in charge of the whole construction – and therefore had to report to Mother about the supervisor's work – came running up to him looking very upset and worried. And he asked him if the exposed foundations had been damaged; because Mother had just asked him if the foundation of the new bathroom was safe.
Then he asked the supervisor if he had said anything to Mother about the construction. The supervisor told his manager everything in detail – everything that had happened. And when the manager went back to answer Mother's question about the construction, he told the whole story to Mother. Then he asked her if it was true. And she told him that the supervisor's story was a true description of a true experience.
In this class, Mother has been speaking about working with elemental beings who control weather. But it seems that there are other kinds of elemental beings, who do other jobs. And there are stories about them in the Ashram as well.
We have a story about a being who came to do something in the Ashram Press. When Mother was told about him, she explained about the kind of work this being did, but we don't have a record of her saying that she called it to come – so we don't know that – but we do know that he came, and that Mother knew all about who he was and what his customary work was.
This was during the time they were printing the Birth Centenary Edition of Sri Aurobindo's collected works. Sri Aurobindo's birth centenary was in 1972. So this work was going on a little bit before that; and the work was to get all of these books printed and then bound. Work was going on night and day. And although the work was going well – the ashramites were working 12 to 15 hours every day – they were worried about a part in the printing press. They were afraid that this part was going to break, and that all their work would be stopped.
This press was made in Heidelberg, Germany. The manager of the Press wrote to the agent in Madras who was supposed to have a mechanic who was trained to deal with this foreign printing press. The company wrote back, and said that their mechanic was out of station but they'd send him as soon as he returned.
The ashramites waited for a month, hoping every day that there would be no breakdown, and still the mechanic did not come.
One morning, at about 3:30 a.m., the watchman opened the door of the Press to make things ready for the workers who would be coming. When he opened the door to the room where the foreign press was, he saw someone near the machine. It looked like a small boy, with his hair piled up on top of his head in a strange fashion. When the watchman called out, this small person simply vanished.
The watchman searched for him, but he was nowhere in the press room, or in the room that was next to the press. And there was no other exit than the door which the watchman had just unlocked, and where he was standing when the strange figure seemed to vanish into thin air.
He told his story to the Press manager, who wrote it all down in a letter, and then he asked Mother's son André to give the letter to Mother. And this is what Mother told André:
“It was a gnome. In Europe, these creatures are called Heidelberg gnomes. Generally, they guard wealth. This one was taking care of the printing press. They are shy of human beings; the man who saw him is to be congratulated.”
The mechanic arrived the very next day. He told the Press manager that the part they were worried about was just on the verge of completely breaking down, and it needed to be fixed immediately.
So, we're going to go back to class now. Unfortunately, we don't have the original tape recording of Mother's class on this date. They transcribed the tape; and then they had to erase it to use it the following week. But here we are in Mother's class; we're not sure if it's outside in the Playground (because apparently it's raining a lot, so it may be in an enclosed room). So we're with all the students and the ashramites.
And Mother has been speaking about how the students have prepared for their performance with the right inner attitude. Now she's going to talk about how newcomers, strangers, and visitors only see the outside of things. So Mother has told the students that inwardly, their work is done very well. And then she says...
You see, it happens all the time to the newcomers, strangers, visitors, to those who come with all ordinary human mental constructions. They come here and say, “Bah, bah, bah, there is nothing so remarkable, it’s not so extraordinary, all their capacities are of the average kind.” But this is because they think like what I call dull-witted fellows, with an altogether ordinary consciousness; but if they could see behind the appearances the reality of things, they would see that it is not as easy as that, that there is something else which is advancing all together towards a realisation which goes infinitely beyond all their little conceptions; this they cannot see. And that is why, probably... this thing which was answering me said, “But what is it to you whether a thousand odd fools see or not the effort you have made?” For it is truly... one thing is certain, that if you see the deep law of things and are in contact with a higher consciousness in order to realise something that far surpasses all human conceptions,what can a human opinion mean to you? It is as though you asked a dog the value of a problem of science you have solved. It wouldn’t occur to you, would it? You know that the dog doesn’t have the elements necessary for judging your scientific problem. But here there’s a still greater difference... people haven’t even the slightest notion of what the spiritual life is and the divine realisation, and naturally because of their very ignorance they come and judge all this with a perfect ease, what you do or don’t do and the way of doing it and how you live, because they understand nothing about it and see nothing at all.
That is why to those who come and ask what qualifications are obtained at Sri Aurobindo International University, I reply: “Go then, go and see, there are numerous universities which are infinitely better than ours, much better equipped, much better organised. Ours is nothing, you see, it is just a drop of water in the ocean. Go then, there are others everywhere, there are many even in India, there are many in all the great countries, infinitely more important universities, better than ours. Go there then. You will have much more of what you need.” This is why we do not try to enter into competition with other institutions.
- Then, Mother, what attitude should we have before these spectators?
To love them with all your heart, my children, and wish that they may be born to the light, that’s the only thing, that’s the only way of solving the problem. If they begin to talk thoughtlessly, you can be polite and not contradict them — not say anything at all to them. You must avoid above all discussing and trying to convince them, because that’s an impossible attempt. You must be absolutely indifferent to their compliments and their criticisms. It is much easier to be indifferent to criticism than to compliments.
When Mme. David-Neel — I have spoken to you about her, haven’t I? Mme. David-Neel who is a militant Buddhist and a great Buddhistic luminary — when she came to India she went to meet some of those great sages or gurus — I shan’t give you the names, but she went to one who looked at her and asked her... for they were speaking of yoga and personal effort and all that... he looked at her and asked her, “Are you indifferent to criticism?” Then she answered him with the classical expression, “Does one care about a dog’s barking?” But she added to me when telling me the story, very wittily: “Fortunately he did not ask me whether I was indifferent to compliments, because that is much more difficult!”
Still, there we are. Naturally you must avoid thinking that you are in the least superior, and I am going to tell you why. For I have just spoken to you about something and about an inner realisation, but except for a few vague and imprecise phrases, you would be almost absolutely incapable of telling me what I spoke about. You know vaguely, like that, that we are in the course of doing something, but what it is and what it’s leading to and what are the inner changes which can set us a little apart from ordinary humanity, you are not conscious of, and you would feel extremely uneasy if I asked you to explain to me what it is. So, as in a being it is only the consciousness which counts, you must not think yourselves at all superior.
For — one of two things — you cannot think yourselves superior unless you are unconscious. The minute you are truly conscious you lose this notion of superiority and inferiority completely. So, in both the cases, you must not feel yourselves superior—for it is a smallness and a meanness—but feel full of goodwill and sympathy and not care at all for what people say or don’t say, but be polite, because it is always preferable to be polite rather than impolite, for you put yourself into contact with more harmonious forces and can fight much better against the forces of destruction and ugliness, for no other reasons than these, because we like harmony and it is better to keep that; but essentially you should be far above all this and feel interested only in your relation with the Divine, what He expects from you and what you want to do for Him. For this is the only thing which matters. All the rest has no importance.
There are people who want to show their superiority. This proves that they are quite small. The more one wants to show his superiority, the more it proves that he is quite small. You see, a little child who lives simply without looking at itself and how it lives, is much greater than you because it is spontaneous.
There, then. Now, you have something to ask me?
- How is it possible that something almost perfectly done by a mass of goodwills can be spoilt by one single little ill-will?
That the little ill-will disturbs all the work of goodwill? Who said that?
- It happens very often.
- (Mother did not hear the disciple well.)
It always happens?
- In the Letters Sri Aurobindo says it: The Supermind could have descended but because of the ill-will of the people in the Ashram it was obliged to withdraw.
But surely I have never seen this. I admit that I don’t understand. I rather find it just the other way, that even when there is a mass of bad wills, if there is only one good will somewhere (laughter), it makes the Grace act and everything goes well.
- What you just said...
That has nothing to do with this.
- If there is a concentration...
What did I say? Why, I am forgetting... I am hearing impossible things. What was it?
- (Pavitra) An observation.
An observation of what?
- (The disciple mutters an answer which Mother does not hear.)
Do you understand what he is saying? I don’t.
- (A child) He took this for ill-will.
He hasn’t understood anything at all, understood absolutely nothing of what I said. Absolutely nothing. It is not at all that. It is not at all that. It did not come from below, it came from a much higher plane than your consciousness can reach. It is not ill-will, infinitely far from that...
That’s how people understand what I say! I must be really careful! Is there anyone else who has understood in this way? (To a child) You too understood it like this, didn’t you? (Laughter)
Look, it never even occurred to me. I understood nothing of what he wanted to say. It was so different. If for a moment I had thought it could be understood like this, I would never have said anything.
Then, that’s all, I think that’s enough for today...
- How can one become indifferent to criticism?
By climbing somewhere up on the ladder — in one’s own consciousness — looking at things a little more vastly, a little more generally. For example, if at a particular moment there is something which holds you, grips you like that, holds you tight, close pressed, and you absolutely want it to happen, and you are fighting against a terrible obstacle, you see, something which is preventing it from happening; if simply just at that moment you begin to feel, to realise the myriads and myriads of years there were before this present moment, and the myriads and myriads of years there will be after this present moment, and what importance this little event has in relation to all that — there is no need to enter a spiritual consciousness or anything else, simply enter into relation with space and time, with all that is before, all that is after and all that is happening at the same time — if one is not an idiot, immediately he tells himself, “Oh, well, I am attaching importance to something which doesn’t have any.” Necessarily so, you see. It loses all its importance, immediately.
If you can visualise, you know, simply the immensity of the creation — I am not now speaking of rising to spiritual heights — simply the immensity of the creation in time and space, and this little event on which you are concentrated with an importance... as though it were something of some importance... immediately it does this (gesture) and it dissolves, if you do it sincerely. If, naturally, there is one part of yourself which tells you, “Ah, but for me it has an importance”, then, there, you have only to leave that part behind and keep your consciousness as it is. But if sincerely you want to see the true value of things, it is very easy.
There are other methods, you know. There is a Chinese sage who advises you to lie down upon events as one floats on one’s back upon the sea, imagining the immensity of the ocean and that you let yourself go floating upon this... upon the waves, you see, like something contemplating the skies and letting itself be carried away. In Chinese they call this Wu Weï. When you can do this all your troubles are gone. I knew an Irishman who used to lie flat on his back and look outside, as much as possible on an evening when stars were in the sky, he looked, contemplated the sky and imagined that he was floating in that immensity of countless luminous points.
And immediately all troubles are calmed.
There are many ways. But sincerely, you have only to... have the sense of relativity between your little person and the importance you give to the things which concern you, and the universal immensity; this is enough. Naturally, there is another way, it is to free oneself from the earth consciousness and rise into a higher consciousness where these terrestrial things take their true place — which is quite small, you see.
But... indeed, once, very long ago, when I was still in Paris and used to see Mme. David-Neel almost every day, she, you see, was full of her own idea and told me, “You should not think of an action, it means attachment for the action; when you want to do something, it means that you are still tied to the things of this world.” Then I told her, “No, there is nothing easier. You have only to imagine everything that has been done before and all that will be done later and all that is happening now, and you will then realise that your action is a breath, like this, one second in eternity, and you can no longer be attached to it.” At that time I didn’t know the text of the Gita. I had not read it completely yet, you see... (some words inaudible here)... not this verse which I translate in my own way: “And detached from all fruit of action, act.” It is not like this, but still that’s what it means. This I did not know, but I said exactly what is said in the Gita.
But it is not because you believe in your action that you ought to act; you act because you must act, that’s all. Only, it is a condition which can sometimes be a little dangerous from the external point of view, because instead of willing with a sovereign authority that the rain should stop, one looks on at what is happening. There we are. But I tell you, “If you like to pray, pray.”
- We can pray now. (Laughter)
He is very witty!
Good, then, lights off. We shall pray.
- Questions and Answers 1955, p.386