Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1956-04-04

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AurovilleRadio-logo-pop.png Mother's Questions and Answers: April 4, 1956
by Loretta, 2016 (59:25)

Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers
April 4, 1956
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It has now been more than one month since the long-awaited arrival of the supramental force into earth's matter. And there is still no reference to it here in Mother's Wednesday class. The topics of discussion today are the witness soul, and the need for all the diversity which does manifest on earth.

The date of 3-4-5-6 ('56) – which someone asked about in a previous class – has passed. And the more talked-about date of 2-3-4-5-6 (23/4 '56) will come very soon. But of course today we know that it happened on 29th February of '56; and we see that Mother is still speaking and acting as though nothing yet has happened. But, things are definitely happening to Mother – and in particular to her physical body.

Almost two years from now – going into the future two years: in February of 1958 – Mother will read to the class the written record of her experience of the Supramental Ship. And she will point out that the new world – which took its first birth on February 29th of '56, and [is] this new world which is now being built – is the link between the most physical aspect of the supramental manifestation and the most material physical of our manifested world here.

Mother and Sri Aurobindo always said that the body is the last retreat, the last stronghold, of the Inconscience. Our least-conscious part. And they said that no realization is really complete until it is all the way into our physical cells.

So now, we start to have a history of Mother's physical experiences – along with other experiences in the higher planes. She had said that Sri Aurobindo was already bringing down the new supramental force into his body. And in 1970, Mother told Amal this (it was said before, but here it's nicely said very clear and simple):

“Clearly, Sri Aurobindo did not have the supramental body, and neither do I have it. But that does not mean that the Supermind was not in his body. The two things are quite different. One can have the Supermind in the body without the body being supramentalized.
When he left his body, he gave his whole supramental force to me. It came to me most concretely. His force passed from his body into mine. Its passage was like a wind blowing upon and into my body.”

And in the Questions and Answers class of last year – on May 11th of 1955 – Mother told the students:

“the supramental nature in the body is something yet to be realised. In the physical consciousness it is possible but in the body, not yet.”[1]

By 1956, Mother was 78 years old. And her back was quite bent, and her head was quite forward. Here's a note that Mother wrote in French on March 19th of 1956 – about two weeks before this class. She gave it a title, and she called it “The Agenda of the Supramental Action on Earth”:

“On March 19th, during the translation class, the inner Voice said, 'Hold yourself straight', and the body sat up and held itself absolutely straight during the entire class.”

This experience took place during a different class than the one we are reading. Mother held this translation class twice a week, and it was not tape-recorded or published.

It's worth noting that (it seems that) this is the first time that Mother spoke of something as an “Agenda of the Supramental Action on Earth”. And eventually, the title “Mother's Agenda” was given to all the thirteen published volumes of Mother's talks with Satprem. She talked about her Yoga, and the supramental manifestation, and many other subjects as well.

On the next day – March 20th, 1956 – Mother wrote about another physical occurrence. She wrote:

“Upon wakening, the control over the movements of the vertebrae, lost a long time ago – which resulted in a kind of insensitivity and incapacity to move them at will – has returned to a great extent. The consciousness is once again able to express itself, and the back can straighten up very visibly.”

And later that morning, she wrote:

“The same day on the balcony.
Almost a total straightening, along with a very clear perception of the new Force and Power in the cells of the body.”

Mother appeared for an early morning darshan. She came out on her first-floor balcony every morning at 6am, for 32 years, 7 days a week. Everyone stood below her balcony. It was on the street which runs behind the main Ashram building where the Samadhi is. The balcony is still there. And everybody came to receive what she gave.

In the Mother's class of July 27th, 1955, one of the students asked her what approach they should have when they go there (meaning, what should they do with their consciousness). And she explained to the students what she did for them every morning at Balcony Darshan.

First Mother said that the most indispensable thing is receptivity. Then she said:

“When I come on the Balcony I make a special concentration, you notice that I look at everybody, don’t you; I look, see, pass my eyes over every one, I know all who are there, and where they are, and I give each one exactly what he needs; I see his condition and give him what is necessary. It can go fast, because otherwise I would keep you there for half an hour, but I do it, that’s what I do. That’s the only reason why I come out, because otherwise I carry you in my consciousness. I carry you in my consciousness always, without seeing you, I do what is necessary. But here it is a moment when I can do it by touching the physical directly, you see; otherwise it is through the mind that it acts, the mind or the vital. But here I touch the physical directly through the sight, the contact of sight; and that’s what I do — each time.”[2]

And we know that the reason she's doing all that is to prepare mankind to receive this new force which has touched the physical earth for the first time on February 29th.

In her last year, of 1973 – eighteen years after Mother told this to the students – there were four darshans a year; Mother wasn't coming out on her balcony any more. But she came out: not on the first floor, but on the second-floor terrace. And there was a darshan; there were the four usual darshans a year. And on the last public darshan that she gave – which was on August 15th of 1973 – there were thousands of people standing in the street below Mother's second-floor terrace.

I was there; and I was way far away, down the street. I was actually standing among the parked cars. And it was completely clear to me when Mother looked at me; there was absolutely no question. It had always been like that, for a darshan like that. And it was absolutely clear.

In those later years, when thousands and thousands of people came for darshan, everyone I spoke to said that they were aware of the moment when Mother looked at them.

So she was working, at the work that she came for, absolutely all her life. And people did take photographs of Mother's darshan like this; often they were just really simple cameras – inexpensive Brownie cameras or expensive Lyca cameras – but there are a lot of photographs of Mother's darshan. And you see that she's working. You see her working; you see her expression. You see her concentration.

So here we are, with the students, the ashramites. We're sitting in the Playground in Mother's class of April 4th, 1956. This is two weeks after she wrote of the change in her spine and her back.

We're still reading from the original tape as much as possible. And the first two questions, which give us more of Mother's actual relationship with these very special first children in the Ashram, are not in the books. They're only on the tape; and the tape will play when the English translation is over.

So, the first thing they do in the books is they publish quite a long paragraph from The Synthesis of Yoga, Volume 1. And this is what it says...

4 April 1956[3]

(The Synthesis of Yoga, Part I, Chapter IV:
“The Sacrifice, the Triune Path and the Lord of the Sacrifice”)

Ch.4 The Sacrifice, the Triune Path and the Lord of the Sacrifice.jpg
PDF (28 pages)

“On one side, he [the seeker] becomes aware of a witness recipient observing experiencing Consciousness which does not appear to act but for which all these activities inside and outside us seem to be undertaken and continue. On the other side he is aware at the same time of an executive Force or an energy of Process which is seen to constitute, drive and guide all conceivable activities and to create a myriad forms visible to us and invisible and use them as stable supports for its incessant flux of action and creation. Entering exclusively into the witness consciousness he becomes silent, untouched, immobile; he sees that he has till now passively reflected and appropriated to himself the movements of Nature and it is by this reflection that they acquired from the witness soul within him what seemed a spiritual value and significance. But now he has withdrawn that ascription or mirroring identification; he is conscious only of his silent self and aloof from all that is in motion around it; all activities are outside him and at once they cease to be intimately real; they appear now mechanical, detachable, endable.”[4]
What is the witness soul?

It is the soul entering into a state in which it observes without acting. A witness is one who looks at what is done, but does not act himself. So when the soul is in a state in which it does not participate in the action, does not act through Nature, simply draws back and observes, it becomes the witness soul.

If one wants to stop the outer activities, this is the best method. One withdraws into one’s soul, to the extreme limit of one’s existence, in a kind of immobility — an immobility which observes but does not participate, does not even give orders. That’s all.

You don’t understand?

When one wants to detach oneself from something, from a certain movement or activity or state of consciousness, this is the most effective method; one steps back a little, watches the thing like that, as one would watch a scene in a play, and one doesn’t intervene. And a moment later, the thing doesn’t concern you any longer, it is something which takes place outside you. Then you become very calm.

Only, when you do this, you never remedy anything in the outer movement, it remains what it is, but it no longer affects you. We have said this already I don’t know how many times: it is only a first step, it helps you not to feel much troubled by things. But things remain as they are — indefinitely. It is a negative state.

Is this what Sri Aurobindo speaks about when he says: “the separative aspect is liberative”?[5]

Yes. It liberates, precisely. It’s just that. One practises it for that, don’t you see, for liberation, in order to be free from attachments, free from reactions, free from consequences. Those who understand the Gita in this way, tell you that — they don’t understand much further than that — they tell you, “Why do you want to try and change the world? The world will always be what it is and remain what it is, you have only to step back, to detach yourself, to watch it as a witness watches something which doesn’t concern him — and leave it alone.” That was my first contact with the Gita in Paris. I met an Indian who was a great Gita enthusiast and a very great lover of silence. He used to say, “When I go to my disciples, if they are in the right state I don’t need to speak. So we observe silence together, and in the silence something is realised. But when they are not in a good enough state for this, I speak a little, just a little, to try to put them in the right state. And when they are in a worse state still, they ask questions!” (Laughter)

[(And that same disciple who asks all the questions, asks – and Mother has no trouble hearing him in the ensuing discussion that they have. His voice doesn't seem to be too different; but his objective is very strong and he understands what he's talking about. And Mother does too.)]
But he was the one who didn’t want to change the world, wasn’t he? the one who said we were revolutionaries?

Oh, that’s to excuse your questions! (Laughter)

No, that was one way of understanding the Gita; these people always quote — I believe in a truncated form the sentence about there being no fire without smoke. Perhaps this was true a thousand years ago or even five hundred years ago, but now it is a stupidity. So you can’t use this sentence to explain things: “Why do you worry about the state the world is in? — There is no fire without smoke.”

[(And they printed a footnote for this paragraph, and this is what they put in the book: “Perhaps Mother was referring to the following two verses of the Gita: “All existences follow their nature and what shall coercing it avail? Even the man of knowledge acts according to his own nature.... As a fire is covered over by smoke and a mirror by dust, as an embryo is wrapped by the amnion, so knowledge is enveloped by desire.” (Gita, III. 33, 38)” And then Mother speaks about the sentence, “There's no fire without smoke”, and she says:)]

It is not true.

But still, it is one point of view. I think every point of view is necessary — if each one keeps to his own place and doesn’t try to impede the others. If he had just added: “My experience is like that”, it would have been all right; but he used this to criticise what others were doing. And there he was wrong.

That means he was not truly sincere?

Why? Perhaps he was sincere in his own conviction.... You mean when one makes propaganda, one is not sincere?

He believes he is sincere.

No, excuse me, he is convinced. He had neglected—perhaps out of politeness—to tell me about the fourth state, which was still worse: that in which after having asked the question, one begins to discuss the answer. That is really the limit!

If you arrive at the conception of the world as the expression of the Divine in all His complexity, then the necessity for complexity and diversity has to be recognised, and it becomes impossible for you to want to make others think and feel as you do.

Each one should have his own way of thinking, feeling and reaction; why do you want others to do as you do and be like you? And even granting that your truth is greater than theirs — though this word means nothing at all, for, from a certain point of view all truths are true; they are all partial, but they are true because they are truths but the minute you want your truth to be greater than your neighbour’s, you begin to wander away from the truth.

This habit of wanting to compel others to think as you do, has always seemed very strange to me; this is what I call “the propagandist spirit”, and it goes very far. You can go one step further and want people to do what you do, feel as you feel, and then it becomes a frightful uniformity.

In Japan I met Tolstoy’s son who was going round the world for “the good of mankind’s great unity”. And his solution was very simple: everybody ought to speak the same language, lead the same life, dress in the same way, eat the same things.... And I am not joking, those were his very words. I met him in Tokyo; he said: “But everybody would be happy, all would understand one another, nobody would quarrel if everyone did the same thing.” There was no way of making him understand that it was not very reasonable! He had set out to travel all over the world for that, and when people asked him his name he would say “Tolstoy” — now, Tolstoy, you know... People said, “Oh!” — some people didn’t know that Tolstoy was dead — and they thought: “Oh! what luck, we are going to hear something remarkable” — and then he came out with that!

Well, this is only an exaggeration of the same attitude. Anyway, I can assure you that there comes a time when one no longer feels any necessity at all, at all, of convincing others of the truth of what one thinks.

[(And then the same disciple speaks up; he's not at all deterred from asking his questions by what Mother has just said about questions and discussions not really being the best thing. So he speaks up – and Mother has no trouble hearing him at all, in his dilemma here! And he asks:)]
When someone criticises what I am, the truth I am realising, when others criticise...

You may politely tell him, “Mind your own business.” But you must leave it at that. You want to convince someone who criticises that he is wrong to criticise? — The more you tell him, the more will he be convinced that he is right!

Not him, but others who follow...?
[(And the students are still laughing.)]

Oh! you are afraid they will make adverse propaganda....

[(And now, everyone is laughing, and Mother also. And she laughs and she says:)]

It doesn’t matter at all. We had an instance like that, which was very amusing. Someone whom I won’t name, came here and wrote in one of the leading French newspapers an absolutely stupid article which was... well, which showed the stupidity of the man and was extremely violent against the Ashram — that’s not the reason I call him a fool, but still... [(And Mother laughs, and the children laugh.)] ...it was associated. Well, the result — one of the results — of this article was that we received a letter from someone: “I have read the article, I want to come to the Ashram immediately.” [(And the children laugh.)]

This can have just the opposite effect.

[(And there's a silence which goes on and on, and finally Mother says, “Is that all?” And then perhaps Mother is referring to the first 'condition' that that Indian guru spoke about, when everything is in silence. Because she says, “We enter the first phase. Yes?” So it's likely that then they all went into meditation.)]

Le 4 avril 1956[6]

Qu’est‑ce que l’âme-témoin ?

C’est l’âme qui entre dans un état où elle regarde sans faire. Le témoin, c’est celui qui observe ce qui est fait, mais qui ne fait pas lui-même. Alors, quand l’âme est dans l’état où elle ne participe pas à l’action, où elle n’agit pas à travers la Nature, où simplement elle se retire et observe, elle devient l’âme-témoin.

Si l’on veut arrêter les activités extérieures, c’est le meilleur moyen. On se retire dans son âme, à l’extrême limite de son existence, dans une sorte d’immobilité. Une immobilité qui observe mais qui ne participe pas, qui ne donne même pas d’ordres. C’est tout.

Tu ne comprends pas ?

Quand on veut se détacher de quelque chose, d’un mouvement ou d’une activité ou d’un état de conscience, c’est le procédé le plus efficace ; on fait un pas en arrière, on regarde la chose comme ça, comme on regarderait une scène, et on n’intervient pas. Et au bout d’un moment, cela ne vous concerne plus, c’est quelque chose qui se passe en dehors de vous. Alors on devient très tranquille.

Seulement, quand on fait cela, on ne guérit jamais rien dans le mouvement extérieur, il reste ce qu’il est, mais il ne vous affecte plus. Nous avons dit cela je ne sais combien de fois déjà : c’est un premier pas seulement, c’est pour arriver à ne pas être très troublé par les choses. Mais les choses restent ce qu’elles sont — indéfiniment. C’est une condition négative.

Est‑ce cela que Sri Aurobindo appelle « l’aspect séparateur et libérateur » ?

Oui. Il libère justement. C’est bien cela. On le fait pour cela, n’est‑ce pas, pour la libération, pour être libre des attachements, libre des réactions, libre des conséquences. Ceux qui comprennent la Gîtâ de cette façon vous disent cela, ils ne comprennent pas plus loin que cela, ils vous disent : « Pourquoi voulez-vous essayer de changer le monde ? Le monde sera toujours ce qu’il est et restera ce qu’il est, vous n’avez qu’à faire un pas en arrière, à vous détacher, à regarder ça comme un témoin regarde quelque chose qui ne le concerne pas — et laisser faire ça. » C’était mon premier contact avec la Gîtâ à Paris. J’ai rencontré un Indien qui était un très grand fervent de la Gîtâ et qui était un très grand ami du silence. Il disait : « Quand je m’approche de mes disciples, s’ils sont en bonne condition, je n’ai pas besoin de parler. Alors, on se tait ensemble, et dans le silence on réalise quelque chose. Mais quand ils ne sont pas en assez bonne condition pour cela, alors je parle un peu, juste un peu, pour tâcher de les mettre en bonne condition. Et quand ils sont encore en plus mauvaise condition, ils posent des questions ! » (rires)

Mais c’est lui qui ne voulait pas changer le monde, n’est‑ce pas, qui disait que nous étions des révolutionnaires ?

Ça, c’est pour excuser vos questions ! (rires)

Non, c’était une façon de comprendre la Gîtâ ; ce sont ceux qui citent toujours cette phrase (je pense, en la tronquant) où il est dit qu’il n’y a pas de feu sans fumée . Peut-être était-ce vrai il y a un millier d’années, ou même cinq cents ans, mais maintenant c’est une idiotie. Alors on ne peut pas se servir de cette phrase-là pour expliquer les choses : « Pourquoi vous tracassez-vous de l’état dans lequel est le monde ? Il n’y a pas de feu sans fumée. »

Ce n’est pas vrai.

Mais enfin, c’est un point de vue. Je pense que tous les points de vue sont nécessaires — si chacun se tient à sa place et n’essaye pas d’encombrer les autres. S’il avait simplement ajouté : « Mon expérience est comme cela », c’était très bien ; mais il se servait de cela pour critiquer ce que les autres faisaient. Et là, il avait tort.

Cela veut dire qu’il n’était pas vraiment sincère ?

Pourquoi ? Il était peut-être sincère dans sa propre conviction... Vous voulez dire que, quand on fait de la propagande, on n’est pas sincère ?

Il croit qu’il est sincère.

Non, pardon, il est convaincu. Il avait négligé (peut-être par politesse) de me dire la quatrième condition qui était encore pire : c’est celle où, après avoir posé la question, on commence à discuter la réponse. Celle-là, c’est la fin de tout !

Si vous arrivez à cette conception que le monde est l’expression du Divin dans toute sa complexité, alors la nécessité de la complexité et de la diversité s’impose, et il vous devient impossible de vouloir convaincre les autres de penser et de sentir comme vous.

Chacun doit avoir son mode propre de penser, de sentir et de réagir ; pourquoi voulez-vous que les autres fassent comme vous et soient comme vous ? Et même en admettant que vous ayez une plus grande vérité que la leur (quoique ce mot ne signifie rien du tout, parce que, d’un certain point de vue, toutes les vérités sont vraies — elles sont toutes partielles, mais elles sont vraies puisque ce sont des vérités), mais de la minute où vous voulez que votre vérité soit plus grande que celle du voisin, vous commencez à sortir de la vérité.

Cette habitude de vouloir obliger les autres à penser comme vous pensez m’a toujours parue bizarre ; c’est ce que j’appelle « l’esprit propagandiste », et ça mène très loin. Vous pouvez faire un pas de plus et vouloir que les gens fassent comme vous faites, sentent comme vous sentez, et alors cela devient l’uniformité effroyable.

J’ai rencontré au Japon le fils de Tolstoï, qui parcourait le monde pour le salut de la très grande unité humaine. Et sa solution était très simple : tout le monde devait parler le même langage, mener la même vie, s’habiller de la même façon, manger la même chose... Et je ne plaisante pas, il disait cela tel quel. Je l’ai rencontré à Tokyo, il disait : « Mais tout le monde serait heureux, tout le monde s’entendrait, personne ne se querellerait si tout le monde faisait la même chose. » Il n’y avait pas moyen de lui faire comprendre que ce n’était pas très raisonnable ! Il était parti parcourir le monde pour cela, et comme on lui demandait son nom, il disait Tolstoï — alors Tolstoï, n’est‑ce pas... Les gens disaient oh ! (il y avait des gens qui ne savaient pas que Tolstoï était mort) et ils pensaient : « Oh ! quelle aubaine, nous allons entendre quelque chose de remarquable » — et puis il vous sortait cela !

Eh bien, c’est seulement une exagération de la même attitude.

En tout cas, je peux vous assurer qu’il y a un moment où l’on ne sent plus du tout, du tout, la nécessité de convaincre les autres de la vérité de ce que l’on pense.

Quand on critique ce que je suis, la vérité que je réalise, quand d’autres critiquent...

On peut lui dire poliment : mêlez-vous de ce qui vous regarde. Mais ça doit s’arrêter là. Vous voulez convaincre quelqu’un qui critique qu’il a tort de critiquer ! Plus vous lui direz, plus il sera convaincu qu’il a raison !

Pas lui, mais les autres qui suivent ?

Oh ! vous avez peur qu’ils ne fassent de la propagande à l’envers...

Cela ne fait rien. Nous avons eu un exemple comme cela, qui était très amusant. Il y a quelqu’un que je ne nommerai pas, qui est venu ici et qui a écrit dans un des grands journaux de France un article absolument imbécile qui était... enfin, qui démontrait la stupidité du monsieur et qui était extrêmement violent contre l’Ashram (ce n’est pas pour cela que je dis qu’il était un imbécile, mais enfin...). Eh bien, le résultat — l’un des résultats — de cet article est que l’on a reçu une lettre de quelqu’un : « J’ai lu l’article, je veux venir à l’Ashram tout de suite. »

Cela peut avoir un effet opposé.

  1. Questions and Answers 1955, p.147
  2. Ibid., p.253
  3. Ibid., p.102
  4. The Synthesis of Yoga, p.131
  5. Ibid., p.123
  6. Entretiens 1956, p.116