Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1956-05-23
|Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers
May 23, 1956
This week, Mother explains the difference between Yoga and religion, in a very concrete and practical way. And she tells a personal story about speaking with a clergyman on the subject of religion. She also answers another question about the new force.
Then, she gets into a conversation with some of the teachers in the Ashram school – and perhaps also some of the ashramites are taking part in this: we can't say who is who, just hear voices. It's about the actual sound of the ancient Egyptian language: how do you say what is written in the Egyptian hieroglyphs. During this conversation, somebody tells Mother that he read somewhere that the priests of Egypt used to give initiation with mantras that contained a few Sanskrit words. And Mother tells him that there are Sanskrit roots – with some distortions – in all languages.
There's a very very well-known ancient Egyptian book called the Book of the Dead. A copy of this book was placed in the tombs in the pyramids where the bodies of the people were finally put. This copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead was put there for the soul to read, so that it could continue its travels on to the supreme source of life and creation. It was also there so the soul could be guided through the dangers, and shown the way to go, and reminded from time to time where to go and what to do.
There's a similar, very famous book from Tibet called the Tibetan Book of the Dead. And it's fairly common knowledge that in Tibet, when someone was dying, the priest sat with them and read the Tibetan Book of the Dead out loud to them. And it had instructions to follow, as their consciousness withdrew from the body. It gave guidance; and it showed them how to get through to the Light safely.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead is actually a collection of different Egyptian mantras and verses. They were written by different people at different times in Egyptian history. And as time passed, through the centuries and the dynasties, there were different things written in different copies of the Book of the Dead, in different Egyptian pyramids and tombs. They have one complete Book of the Dead that they've displayed in the Louvre in Paris.
We have a really interesting example of Atun, from the time of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. It was a time of […] the 3rd through 6th dynasties, which is almost five-thousand years ago: from 2644 B.C. (before the birth of Christ) to 2150 B.C. And it was the time when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilizations. So it was a time of great wisdom in ancient Egypt. And Mother is interested in this period very much – and as we will see, in all of ancient Egypt, and much more.
One of the things that Sri Aurobindo did was to interpret the mantras that are in the Vedas – the verses, the writings that are in the Vedas, the ancient Indian writings – to show us the guidance that they had for us on the path to the realization we seek. And he interpreted other ancient Sanskrit writings, which have other kinds of guidance, and particular descriptions of occult things (and often 'occult things' just means the inner planes that we can't see or objectively experience with our senses).
We have a recent book by an Egyptian historian named Susan Brind Morrow. She is a contemporary American scholar: a Guggenheim Fellow. And she does the same thing for the ancient Egyptian writing that Sri Aurobindo did for the ancient Sanskrit writing. And she uses a pyramid from the Middle Kingdom. She goes into the hieroglyphs that are written on the walls of the pyramid of someone called Unis. She starts her book with the words:
- “Hieroglyphic means mysterious. Yet hieroglyphs themselves are instruments of absolute clarity that present a pellucid record of the natural world.”
And then she goes on to prove to us how the hieroglyphs on the walls of the pyramid of Unis are telling Unis how to leave his body. They tell him what he is seeing on the way; who he is; what to look for; what dangers to avoid; and where to go. And these instructions are mantras and verses.
On the walls of the pyramid, great secrets of the creation are revealed to Unis, and riddles are solved for him as he has left his body and as his spirit is moving towards its Source.
And throughout the book, this scholar points out to us similar information in other writings like the Vedas and other sacred writings from all over the world. So here we have a modern scholar giving us her research on the mantric nature and mantric use of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. And of course these things were used by the Egyptian priests, who were preparing the body for its centuries-long stay in its pyramid.
As part of this Question and Answer class – because Mother's conversation is really quite detailed about her interest in this – they've printed a conversation that Mother had with a disciple. And we also have something from Mother's Agenda, which she refers to in that particular conversation. (And most likely both conversations come from the Agenda, but we don't have the citation. [See references ~Ed.]) So I'm going to read that as well, because it's all on the same subject. And this one you can find in the Agenda at June the 5th of 1965.
In both of these conversations, Mother talks about one of her past lives. She was the ancient Egyptian queen Tiy, the mother of the pharaoh Akhenaten. And we have some really interesting things about it thanks to Gilles in the Auroville Archives. He's a wonderful scholar and he's collected all this information for us. ('For us' means for anyone who asks him; he gives it out for them.)
One of the ashramites, a man named Tanmaya, said that Mother had told him that she had been Queen Tiy, the mother of Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten. And Akhenaten, under the influence of his mother – because all of history says that he was very greatly influenced by his mother, who was Mother – founded a new city in ancient Egypt which was very much like the idea of Auroville. When he became the pharaoh, he changed his name, and he tried to change the whole Egyptian belief system so that people would stop worshiping many gods, and would worship only one: the supreme, one god, in the form of the sun. This one god was called Aten. And 'Akhenaten' – the name he took – means 'one who serves Aten'.
Sri Aurobindo said that the sun stands universally for the supramental truth. (And 'universally' means how every culture sees it.) So it's a common symbol in all of our beings. And he tried to get people to go to that.
Akhenaten moved the capital city of Egypt from Thebes to Amarna in 1369 B.C. And he founded his city with these words:
- “Here is the place that belongs to no person, to no god. Nobody owns it. This is everybody's place. The earth will find its joy in it; hearts will be happy in it.”
And in 1968, three-thousand, three-hundred and thirty-seven years later, Mother – who had influenced Akhenaten to do this, as his mother – founded Auroville. And she founded Auroville with these words:
- “Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole.
- Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future.”
Tanmaya said that Mother told him that Akhenaten's revelation aimed at revealing to the humanity of that time the unity of the Divine with its manifestation. Mother said Akhenaten's attempt was premature; men were not ready for it then. But it had to be expressed then, to keep on living on the mental plane. So that's been on the mental plane – accessible basically to anyone who has a mind – all these thousands of years.
Amarna – the name of the city that he put his new city in – means 'city of the horizon'. And before Mother founded Auroville, she had planned her new city to be at Ousteri Lake, and she had called the new city New Horizons.
There is a history that has written that at the center of his new city, 'Horizons', Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti built a temple to the Light. And like the Matrimandir, inside this temple there was no picture of any god, an no image, no sculpture of traditional worshiping. Very similar to the principles that Mother put forth for building the Matrimandir.
So just as there was a – at least one that we can say for sure – precursor to Auroville, there was also a precursor to the Matrimandir. In 1396 B.C., in Egypt.
And all of this shows us something else. It shows us that Mother's consciousness and her action was a continuous line, from this past incarnation at least (and probably others). There are photographs of Queen Tiy's statues, which show a tremendous resemblance to photographs of the Mother. This is even more proof. And we certainly get an idea that she was fully conscious of the same things even then.
And Mother also said that she was Hatshepsut, who was the first and only woman who was a pharaoh of Egypt – and she was a pharaoh of Egypt for quite a long time. This was after Queen Tiy. And there are now books on Hatshepsut showing what an extraordinary consciousness she had; things that she said. And so many of the things that she said then are what she is teaching now.
Mother has said more than once that she and Sri Aurobindo have been around since the very beginning of the creation, and that wherever there was an opportunity for the Light, she was there. And this is as concrete proof as we can probably get, now and the future, of these things that Mother said.
So the original tape of Mother's class will play after all of the English translations, because we're basically going to have three this time.
So it's the 23rd of May, 1956; we're seated in the Playground on Wednesday, Mother's class. Mother has just finished reading her French translation of The Synthesis of Yoga. And a girl says...
23 May 1956
- Sweet Mother, what is the difference between yoga and religion?
Ah! my child... it is as though you were asking me the difference between a dog and a cat!
Imagine someone who, in some way or other, has heard of something like the Divine or has a personal feeling that something of the kind exists, and begins to make all sorts of efforts: efforts of will, of discipline, efforts of concentration, all sorts of efforts to find this Divine, to discover what He is, to become acquainted with Him and unite with Him. Then this person is doing yoga. Now, if this person has noted down all the processes he has used and constructs a fixed system, and sets up all that he has discovered as absolute laws — for example, he says: the Divine is like this, to find the Divine you must do this,make this particular gesture, take this attitude, perform this ceremony, and you must admit that this is the truth, you must say, “I accept that this is the Truth and I fully adhere to it; and your method is the only right one, the only one which exists” — if all that is written down, organised, arranged into fixed laws and ceremonies, it becomes a religion.
[Have you understood?]
[Is that all?]
- Can one realise the Divine by this method?
- [By this method, of religion.]
Those who carry within themselves a spiritual destiny and are born to realise the Divine, to become conscious in Him and live Him, will arrive, no matter what path, what way they follow. That is to say, even in religion there are people who have had the spiritual experience and found the Divine — not because of the religion, usually in spite of it, notwithstanding it — because they had the inner urge and this urge led them there despite all obstacles and through them. Everything served their purpose.
But if these very people want to express their experience, they naturally use the terms of the religion in which they were brought up, so they restrict their experience and inevitably limit it very much, they make it sectarian, so to say. But they themselves may very well have gone beyond all the forms and all the limitations and all the conventions and may have had the true experience in its pure simplicity.
- Sweet Mother, in the world today most people follow some sort of religion. Are they helped?
Perhaps they are taking it up again now, but for a very long time, towards the beginning of this century, they had repudiated religion as something opposed to knowledge — at least all intellectual people had. And it is only recently that a movement of return to something other than a thorough-going positivism has begun.
People follow religion by social habit, in order not to get into the bad books of others. For instance, in a village it is difficult not to go to religious ceremonies, for all your neighbours will point at you. But that has absolutely nothing to do with spiritual life, nothing at all.
The first time I came to India I came on a Japanese boat. And on this Japanese boat there were two clergymen, that is, Protestant priests, of different sects. I don’t remember exactly which sects, but they were both English; I think one was an Anglican and the other a Presbyterian.
Now, Sunday came. There had to be a religious ceremony on the boat, or else we would have looked like heathens, like the Japanese! There had to be a ceremony, but who should perform it? Should it be the Anglican or should it be the Presbyterian? They just missed quarrelling. Finally, one of them withdrew with dignity — I don’t remember now which one, I think it was the Anglican — and the Presbyterian performed his ceremony.
It took place in the lounge of the ship. We had to go down a few steps to this lounge. And that day, all the men had put on their jackets — it was hot, I think we were in the Red Sea — they put on their jackets, stiff collars, leather shoes; neckties well set, hats on their heads, and they went with a book under their arm, almost in a procession from the deck to the lounge. The ladies wore their hats, some carried even a parasol, and they too had their book under the arm, a prayer-book.
And so they all crowded down into the lounge, and the Presbyterian made a speech, that is to say, preached his sermon, and everybody listened very religiously. And then, when it was over, they all came up again with the satisfied air of someone who has done his duty. And, of course, five minutes later they were in the bar drinking and playing cards, and their religious ceremony was forgotten. They had done their duty, it was over, there was nothing more to be said about it.
And the clergyman came and asked me,more or less politely, why I had not attended. I told him, “Sir, I am sorry, but I don’t believe in religion.”
“Oh! oh! you are a materialist?”
“No, not at all.”
“Ah! then why?”
- [(And here, Mother too is laughing, she can't help herself – we can hear her on the tape.)]
“Oh!” I said, “if I were to tell you, you would be quite displeased, perhaps it is better for me not to say anything.”
But he insisted so much that at last I said, “Just try to see, I don’t feel that you are sincere, neither you nor your flock. You all went there to fulfil a social duty and a social custom, but not at all because you really wanted to enter into communion with God.”
“Enter into communion with God! But we can’t do that! All that we can do is to say some good words, but we have no capacity to enter into communion with God.”
Then I said, “But it was just because of that I didn’t go, for it doesn’t interest me.”
After that he asked me many questions and admitted to me that he was going to China to convert the “heathens”. At that I became serious and told him, “Listen, even before your religion was born — not even two thousand years ago — the Chinese had a very high philosophy and knew a path leading them to the Divine; and when they think of Westerners, they think of them as barbarians. And so you are going there to convert those who know more about it than you? What are you going to teach them? To be insincere, to perform hollow ceremonies instead of following a profound philosophy and a detachment from life which lead them to a more spiritual consciousness?... I don’t think it’s a very good thing you are going to do.”
Then he felt so suffocated, the poor man; he said to me, “Eh, I fear I can’t be convinced by your words!”
“Oh!” I said, “I am not trying to convince you, I only described the situation to you, and how I don’t quite see why barbarians should want to go and teach civilised people what they have known long before you. That’s all.” [(The class laughs)]
And there, that was the end of it.
[There now. Is that all?]
- [(And then that same disciple who asks lots of questions says:)]
- [Sweet Mother, in the Buddhist traditions...]
- Mother, in the Buddhist traditions it is said...
Oh! Oh! you are becoming a Buddhist. It’s the fashion.
- It is said that two thousand five hundred years after his birth...
Yes, he will return to earth to preach a new Buddhism, is that it?
- It seems his teaching will come to an end, and will be replaced by something new.
Yes, it is that gentleman, what is his name...
[Vadir], who told you that.
But that is his theory.
- [But that corresponds...]
He told me also that he thought that it was Sri Aurobindo who had realised the teachings of the Buddha. Is that it? You didn’t go to his lecture?... No, then what did you want to ask?
- [Because it corresponds with...]
- Because it is now — tomorrow is the day the two thousand five hundred years will be over — does this correspond to the new thing?
What new thing?
- The new Supramental Manifestation.
[Are you sure that is written?]
- [(The disciple says something that you can't hear well: says something about somebody seeing it.)]
This seems to me just the kind of discovery one makes when one wants something sensational.
There are always many ways of interpreting texts, and one does it according to what one likes them to say.
That reminds me of something: (turning to a teacher) have they found the sounds with which hieroglyphs are to be read?
Yes, hieroglyphs are Egyptian!
- I think so.
That means they have found the spoken language of five thousand years ago?
- I think so. And there are hieroglyphs which are also phonetic.
Phonetic! Where can we get this information from?
- [(Someone else speaks up, perhaps a teacher, perhaps another ashramite who's interested in the subject:)]
- In the library, Mother, there is something.
Oh!... Because I was wondering how they had restored the names of the pharaohs and gods. Naturally, more recent peoples have spoken about them, the Greeks mention them, the Phoenicians speak of them; they had phonetic writing. But earlier than that? The first pharaohs and all those names of the gods, who discovered these?
- [(Somebody else says:)]
- According to tradition it is Champollion...
- ...with the Rosetta Stone; they found a stone with inscriptions in Egyptian, Greek and Coptic, which enabled them to solve the problem.
He was sure it was the same thing written in Egyptian and in Greek? How was he sure of that?
- There was a vague idea, there were some points of reference and cross-checking.
But that was for the meaning, not for the sounds.
What language was spoken in the Schools of Initiation? How did they express themselves, those people?
- I know that sounds are given for the words. Now, whether they know the exact pronunciation or not is anothermatter. They don’t even know the pronunciation of ancient Greek.
Greek? They don’t know the pronunciation?
- They don’t know how it used to be pronounced.
Is the language of ancient Egypt contemporaneous with the earliest Sanskrit, or is it earlier still? And then, something else: was the cuneiform script of Assyria phonetic or hieroglyphic?
- I believe that there too it is possible to read the sounds, for quite a number of names given in the Bible...
- ...have been set right and it has been found that there were deformations: Nabuchodonsor, for example.
Yes. Oh! that has been changed.
- Now, whether they are absolutely sure of having found the sounds...
Yes, that seems strange to me. For a book came to my hands in which the names had been restored, and had become a little queer! But still, there must have been a certain way of pronouncing them. I mean, does any other human language go back further than the earliest Sanskrit?
- I don’t know the dates of the earliest language.
And one last thing: is this hieroglyphic Egyptian language related to the Chaldean line or to the Aryan? There are Sanskrit roots in all the languages. That was precisely what I wanted to ask.
- I read somewhere that the priests of Egypt used to give initiation with mantras.
Sanskrit mantras? But that must be in a novel, surely!
- A few Sanskrit words.
There are Sanskrit roots — with some distortions — in all languages. And there is a very old tradition claiming to be older than the two bifurcating lines, Aryan and Chaldean. But Greek, for instance, which is relatively recent, is it a language of Aryan or Chaldean origin?
- Greek is entirely Aryan.
- Egyptian is of Chaldean origin.
Chaldean, yes. But everywhere there was an intermixture of Egyptian and Greek.
- The Phoenician language was older. From the point of view of the written language, it was earlier than Greek.
But Phoenician is phonetic, it is a phonetic language.
And hieroglyphs were written from top to bottom and from right to left, or was it from left to right?
- From right to left.
From right to left. [Then that is, is like the...] Chaldean languages are written like that. Chinese and Japanese also. Only Aryan languages are written from left to right.
It used to interest me very much once, to know about them. I tried to recall the memory of the elements which existed at that time, but I could not get any answer. There was a complete blank.
- Did you hear any sounds?
(After a silence) Look, I’ll give you an instance. About two years ago, I had a vision about Z’s son.... She had brought him to me, he was not quite one year old, and I had just seen him there, in the room where I receive people. He gave me the impression of someone I knew very well, but I didn’t know who. And then, in the afternoon of the same day, I had a vision. A vision of ancient Egypt, that is to say, I was someone there, the great priestess or somebody — I don’t know who, for one doesn’t tell oneself “I am so and so”: the identification is complete, there is no objectifying, so I don’t know. I was in a wonderful building, immense! so high! but quite bare, there was nothing, except a place where there were magnificent paintings. So there I recognised the paintings of ancient Egypt. And I was coming out of my apartments and was entering a kind of large hall. There was a sort of gutter running all round the base of the walls, for collecting water. And then I saw the child, who was half naked, playing in it. And I was quite shocked, I said, “What! this is disgusting!” — but the feelings, ideas, all that was translated into French in my consciousness. There was the tutor who came, I had him called. I scolded him. I heard sounds. Well, I don’t know what I said, I don’t remember the sounds at all now. I heard the sounds I was articulating, I knew what they meant, but the translation was in French, and the sounds I could not remember. I spoke to him, told him, “How can you let the child play in there?” And he answered me — and I woke up with his reply — saying —I did not hear the first words, but in my thought it was — “Amenhotep likes it.” I heard Amenhotep, I remembered. Then I knew the child was Amenhotep.
So I know that I spoke: I spoke a language but I don’t remember it now. I remembered “Amenhotep” because I know it in my waking consciousness: “Amenhotep.” But otherwise, the other sounds did not remain. I have no memory for sounds.
And I know I was his mother; at that moment I knew who I was, for I know Amenhotep is the son of so-and-so — besides, I looked up the history. Otherwise there is no connection: a blank.
I always admire those mediums — usually very simple people — who have the exact memory of the sound, who can tell you, “Look, I said this and this.” In that way one would have the phonetic notation. If I could remember the sounds I pronounced, we would have the notation, but I don’t.
I remember this conversation; suddenly I said to myself, “It would be so interesting if one could hear that language”, and then, from curiosity, “How did they discover the pronunciation? How?” Besides, all the names we were taught as children, in ancient history, have been changed today. They say they have discovered the sounds, or at least they claim to have discovered them. But I don’t know.
It is the same thing for ancient Babylon: I have extremely precise memories, completely objective, but when I speak I don’t remember the sounds I utter, there is only the mental translation.
I have no memory for sounds.
- I was wondering what had prompted all your questions.
It’s just that, it is that I am aware I have no memory for sounds. There are people who have a memory for sounds, I don’t have that memory. So I would be interested to know that. Otherwise I have always been able — when there was something of the past which was doubtful for me, or interesting or incomplete — I have always found the means of making it come back to my consciousness. But sounds don’t come. It comes as a state of consciousness which is translated mentally, and so it is translated mentally into words which I know. So it is not at all interesting.
Even now, while I was playing music, the memory of the sounds was vague and incomplete. I had the memory of the sounds I heard in the “source of music” (with an upward gesture), and then, when the material music reproduced something of these sounds, I recognised them; but there is not that precision, that exactness which would make it possible for me to reproduce with the voice or with an instrument the exact sound. That is not there, that is missing. While the memory of the eyes was... it was stupefying. A thing I had seen just once — it was fixed, never forgotten.
Several times in this way, in visions — “visions”, actually memories: memories relived — I have spoken the language of that time, spoken it, heard myself speaking, but the sound has not remained. The sense of what I said has remained but the sound hasn’t.
It is a pity.
So now we're going to go to June 5th of 1965. This is in the Agenda – it's in Volume 6, at pages 116 and 117. And it's just a little bit into this particular Agenda conversation. Mother has been sorting some old scattered notes that she has on different slips of paper; and she holds out the first slip to Satprem. And Satprem says:
- It's about young I.
- [('I.' is the first initial; we don't know who the person is.)]
Oh! I. ... – I. is Amenhotep.
That was very amusing (I didn't tell his mother), but I saw him a year or two ago when he arrived from America with his parents. They came here to see me. I saw him, I wasn't thinking of anything, I was simply looking at him (meaning that I was taking him inside me). He wasn't quite like an ordinary child, he had rather princely manners. I noticed it, but nothing special apart from that. I saw him in the morning, then in the afternoon when I rested, I had a vision, that is to say, I relived a life in Egypt. It was ancient Egypt, I saw it from my costume, from the walls, from everything (I don't know if I have noted it there [on the piece of paper]), anyway it wasn't modern. And I clearly was the Pharaoh's wife, or his sister (I don't remember now), and suddenly I said to myself, “This child is impossible! He keeps doing what he isn't supposed to do!” (Mother laughs) So I went out of my room, entered a great hall, and the little child was busy playing in a gutter! (Laughing) Which I found completely disgusting! So his tutor ran up to me immediately to tell me (I must have noted it): “Such is the will of Amenhotep.”
That is how I knew his name.
What did I write?
- “I. in ancient Egypt. A temple or palace of ancient Egypt. Light – and fresh – colored paintings on the very high walls. Clear light. About the child, very bold, independent and playful, I hear the end of a sentence: 'Such is the will of ...tep.' The entire name is uttered very clearly, but when I got up (too abruptly), only the syllable 'tep' was retained by the memory of the waking consciousness. It was the tutor speaking to me about the child. I am the Pharaoh's wife or the high priestess of the temple, with full authority.”
That was my first memory on waking up. But he is Amenhotep. What's written there?
- It's a note on Amenhotep: “Amenhotep III is the builder of Thebes and Luxor.... His palace, south of Thebes, was built with sun-dried bricks covered with painted stucco. His wife, Taia, seems to have come from a modest family, but was showered with honours by him and their son. The son succeeded his father under the name of Amenhotep IV. He was a religious reformer who replaced the cult of Ammon with that of Aton (the Sun). He took the name of Akhenaton.” [Encyclopedia Britannica]
That's the one.
He's a tough little fellow, dear me! They have a hard time with him.
I didn't tell his mother.
When they are here, everything is fine. But as soon as they go to Bombay, where the husband's family is, he falls ill, he becomes absolutely unbearable, he is impossible – here, he is controlled. And strangely enough, they put in his bedroom friezes of simplified animals (I saw some photos, they look very much like Egyptian paintings), and he is very happy there, very calm.
And I wasn't thinking of anything at all; I was looking at that child (who is obviously a conscious and very self-assured being), I looked at him and it amused me; then I put it out of my mind. And later on, I had that vision and I knew it was he – I saw him. “Such is the will of Amenhotep.”
Le 23 mai 1956
- Douce Mère, quelle est la différence entre le yoga et la religion ?
Ah ! mon enfant... c’est comme si tu me demandais quelle est la différence entre un chien et un chat !
Imagine quelqu’un qui, d’une façon quelconque, a entendu parler de quelque chose comme le Divin, ou qui a un sentiment personnel qu’il y a quelque chose comme cela, et qui se met à faire des efforts de tous genres : des efforts de volonté, des efforts de discipline, des efforts de concentration, toutes sortes d’efforts pour trouver ce Divin, pour découvrir ce que c’est, pour en prendre connaissance et pour s’unir à Lui. Alors, cette personne fait un yoga.
Maintenant, si cette personne a noté tous les procédés qu’elle a employés et qu’elle construise un système fixe, et que tout ce qu’elle a découvert, elle l’érige en lois absolues — par exemple, elle dit : « Le Divin est comme ceci, pour trouver le Divin il faut faire comme cela, tel geste, telle attitude, telle cérémonie », et il faut que vous admettiez que c’est cela, la vérité, que vous disiez : « Je reconnais que cela, c’est la Vérité et j’adhère pleinement à cela, et votre méthode est la seule bonne, la seule qui existe » —, si tout cela est écrit, organisé, arrangé en lois et en cérémonies fixes, cela devient une religion.
- Est‑ce que par cette méthode [la religion] on peut réaliser le Divin ?
Ceux qui portent en eux une destinée spirituelle et qui sont nés pour réaliser le Divin, prendre conscience en Lui et Le vivre, n’importe quel chemin, quelle que soit la route qu’ils suivront, ils arriveront. C’est-à-dire que même dans la religion, il y a des gens qui ont eu l’expérience spirituelle et qui ont trouvé le Divin — pas à cause de la religion, généralement malgré elle, en dépit d’elle —, parce qu’ils avaient l’élan intérieur et que cet élan les a conduits là malgré tous les obstacles et à travers eux. Tout leur a été bon.
Mais si ces mêmes gens veulent exprimer leur expérience, ils se servent naturellement des termes de la religion dans laquelle ils ont été éduqués, alors ils réduisent leur expérience et la limitent forcément beaucoup, ils la rendent pour ainsi dire sectaire. Mais eux, ils peuvent très bien avoir dépassé toutes les formes et toutes les limites et toutes les conventions, et avoir eu l’expérience vraie dans sa simplicité même.
- Douce Mère, dans le monde maintenant, la plupart des gens suivent une religion quelconque. Est‑ce qu’ils sont aidés ?
Peut-être recommencent-ils maintenant, mais pendant très longtemps, pendant tout le commencement de ce siècle, ils avaient répudié la religion comme une chose contraire à la connaissance ; en tout cas, toute l’humanité intellectuelle. Et c’est seulement maintenant qu’il commence à y avoir un mouvement de retour vers quelque chose d’autre qu’un positivisme à tout crin.
Les gens suivent la religion par habitude sociale, pour ne pas se faire mal voir des autres. Par exemple, dans un village, il est difficile de ne pas aller aux cérémonies religieuses, parce que tous les voisins vous montrent du doigt. Mais cela n’a absolument rien à voir avec la vie spirituelle, rien du tout.
La première fois que je suis venue en Inde, je suis venue sur un bateau japonais. Et sur ce bateau japonais, il y avait deux clergymen, c’est-à-dire des prêtres protestants, de sectes différentes. Je ne me souviens plus exactement des sectes, ils étaient tous deux anglais ; je crois que l’un était anglican et l’autre, presbytérien.
Alors, est arrivé le dimanche. Il fallait bien faire une cérémonie religieuse sur le bateau, autrement on aurait eu l’air de païens comme les Japonais ! Il fallait qu’il y ait une cérémonie, mais qui la ferait ? Est‑ce que ce serait l’anglican, ou est‑ce que ce serait le presbytérien ? Il a failli y avoir des querelles. Finalement, l’un s’est retiré avec dignité (je ne me souviens plus lequel, je crois que c’était l’anglican) et le presbytérien a fait sa cérémonie.
Cela se passait dans le salon du bateau. On descendait quelques marches pour aller dans ce salon. Et ce jour-là, tous les hommes avaient mis leur veste — il faisait chaud, je crois que l’on était dans la Mer Rouge —, ils avaient mis des vestes, des faux cols, des souliers de cuir, des cravates bien attachées, un chapeau sur la tête, et ils sont allés, avec un livre sous le bras, presque en procession, depuis le pont jusqu’au salon. Les dames avaient un chapeau, il y en avait qui portaient une ombrelle, et elles avaient aussi leur livre sous le bras, un livre de prières.
Et alors, ils se sont tous engouffrés dans ce salon, et le presbytérien a fait un discours, c’est-à-dire qu’il a fait son prêche, que tout le monde a entendu très religieusement. Et puis, quand cela a été fini, ils sont remontés tous avec l’air satisfait de quelqu’un qui a rempli son devoir. Et naturellement, cinq minutes après, ils étaient au bar en train de boire et de jouer aux cartes, et leur cérémonie religieuse était oubliée. Ils avaient fait leur devoir, c’était fini, il n’en était plus question.
Et le clergyman est venu me demander, plus ou moins poliment, pourquoi je n’avais pas assisté. Je lui ai dit : « Monsieur, je regrette, mais je ne crois pas à la religion. »
— Oh ! oh ! you are a materialist !
— Non, pas du tout.
— Ah ! alors pourquoi ?
— Oh ! lui ai-je dit, si je vous le disais, vous seriez tout à fait mécontent, il vaut peut-être mieux que je ne vous le dise pas !
Il a tellement insisté que j’ai fini par lui dire : « Figurez-vous que je ne trouve pas que vous soyez sincères, ni vous, ni vos ouailles. Vous êtes allés là pour remplir un devoir social et une habitude sociale, mais pas du tout parce que vous aviez vraiment envie d’entrer en relation avec Dieu. »
— Entrer en relation avec Dieu ! Mais nous ne pouvons pas faire ça ! Tout ce que nous pouvons dire, ce sont de bonnes paroles, mais nous n’avons aucune capacité d’entrer en relation avec Dieu.
Alors j’ai dit : « Mais c’est justement pour cela que je n’y suis pas allée, parce que cela ne m’intéresse pas. »
Après cela, il m’a posé beaucoup de questions et il m’a avoué qu’il s’en allait en Chine pour convertir les « païens ». Alors là, je suis devenue sérieuse et je lui ai dit : « Écoutez, avant même que votre religion ne soit née — il n’y a pas encore deux mille ans —, les Chinois avaient une très haute philosophie et ils avaient un chemin pour les conduire vers le Divin ; et quand ils pensent aux Occidentaux, ils pensent à eux comme à des barbares. Et alors, vous allez là pour convertir des gens qui en savent plus que vous ? Qu’est‑ce que vous allez leur apprendre ? À être insincères, à faire des cérémonies creuses au lieu de suivre une philosophie profonde et un détachement de la vie qui les mène vers une conscience plus spirituelle ?... Je ne crois pas que ce soit une chose très bonne que vous allez faire. » Alors il était tellement suffoqué, le pauvre homme ; il m’a dit : « Eh, I fear, I can’t be convinced by your words ! »
— Oh ! ai-je dit, je n’essaye pas de vous convaincre, je vous ai seulement dit la situation, et que je ne vois pas très bien pourquoi des barbares voudraient aller enseigner à des gens civilisés ce qu’ils savent depuis plus longtemps que vous, c’est tout.
Et voilà ! Cela a été fini.
- Mère, on dit dans les traditions bouddhiques...
Oh ! Oh ! vous êtes bouddhissisant ! C’est à la mode. Oui ?
- ... on dit que deux mille cinq cents ans après sa naissance...
Oui, il reviendra dans le monde pour prêcher un nouveau bouddhisme, c’est cela ?
- ... il paraît que son enseignement sera fini, il sera remplacé par quelque chose de nouveau.
Oui, c’est ce monsieur... comment s’appelle-t-il... X, qui vous a dit cela ?
Mais c’est sa théorie. Il m’a dit aussi qu’il pensait que c’était Sri Aurobindo qui avait réalisé l’enseignement du Bouddha. C’est cela ? Vous n’êtes pas allé à sa conférence ?... Non, alors, qu’est‑ce que vous vouliez demander ?
- Parce que c’est maintenant — demain c’est le jour des deux mille cinq cents ans —, est‑ce que cela correspond à la nouvelle chose ?
Quelle nouvelle chose ?
- La manifestation nouvelle, supramentale.
Oh ! écoutez, cela me paraît être tout à fait ce genre de découverte que l’on fait quand on veut quelque chose de sensationnel.
Il y a toujours beaucoup de façons d’interpréter les textes, et on le fait suivant ce que l’on veut leur faire dire.
Cela me fait penser à une chose... (S’adressant à un professeur)
Est‑ce que l’on a retrouvé les sons avec lesquels on lisait les hiéroglyphes ?
- Égyptiens ?
Oui, hiéroglyphes, c’est égyptien !
- Je crois que oui.
C’est-à-dire que l’on a retrouvé le langage parlé d’il y a cinq mille ans ?
- Je crois que oui. Et il y a des hiéroglyphes qui sont aussi phonétiques.
Phonétiques ! Où est‑ce que l’on peut se procurer cela ?
- C’est à la Bibliothèque, Mère, il y a quelque chose.
Oh !... Parce que je me suis demandé comment ils avaient restauré les noms des pharaons et des dieux. Naturellement, les peuples plus récents en ont parlé, les Grecs en ont parlé, les Phéniciens en ont parlé ; eux, ils avaient des écritures phonétiques. Mais plus ancien que cela ? Les premiers pharaons et tous ces noms de dieux, qui a trouvé ?
- La tradition dit que c’est Champollion, avec la pierre de Rosette ; on a trouvé une pierre avec des écritures en égyptien, en grec et en copte, ce qui a permis de résoudre le problème.
Il était sûr que c’était la même chose écrite en égyptien et en grec ? Comment en était-il sûr ?
- On avait une vague idée, on a eu des points de repère et on a fait des recoupements.
Mais cela, c’était le sens, ce n’était pas le son.
Quel langage parlait-on dans les collèges initiatiques ? Comment s’exprimaient-ils, ces gens ?
- Je sais que l’on donne les sons pour les mots. Maintenant, est‑ce que l’on connaît la prononciation exacte, c’est autre chose. On ne connaît même pas la prononciation du grec antique.
Le grec ? On ne connaît pas la prononciation ?
- On ne sait pas comment c’était prononcé.
Le langage des Égyptiens anciens est-il contemporain du plus ancien sanskrit, ou plus ancien ? Et alors, encore autre chose : pour l’écriture cunéiforme de l’Assyrie, était-ce phonétique ou était-ce hiéroglyphique ?
- Je crois que là aussi on peut lire les sons, parce que l’on a rectifié un certain nombre de noms qui étaient donnés dans la Bible et on a trouvé qu’il y avait eu des déformations : Nabuchodonosor, par exemple.
Oui. Oh ! on a changé cela.
- Maintenant, est-on absolument sûr d’avoir trouvé les sons ?...
Oui, cela me paraît bizarre. Parce que j’ai eu entre les mains un livre où l’on avait rétabli les noms, et ils étaient devenus un peu drôles ! Mais enfin, il devait y avoir une certaine façon de prononcer. Je veux dire, est‑ce que l’un des langages humains remonte plus loin que le plus vieux sanskrit ?
- Je ne sais pas de quelle date est le langage le plus ancien.
Et dernière chose : ce langage égyptien hiéroglyphique est-il apparenté à la ligne chaldéenne ou à la ligne aryenne ? Il y a des racines sanskrites dans toutes les langues. C’est cela justement que je voulais demander.
- J’ai lu quelque part que les prêtres d’Égypte faisaient l’initiation avec des mantras.
Des mantras sanskrits ? Mais c’est dans un roman, non !
- Quelques mots sanskrits.
Il y a des racines sanskrites (avec des déformations) dans toutes les langues. Et il y a une très vieille tradition qui se prétend antérieure aux deux lignes bifurquantes, aryenne et chaldéenne. Mais le grec par exemple, qui est relativement récent, est‑ce un langage d’antécédent aryen ou d’antécédent chaldéen ?
- Le grec est tout à fait aryen.
Tout à fait aryen.
- L’égyptien, c’est la ligne chaldéenne.
Chaldéenne, oui. Mais partout il y a eu des mélanges entre l’égyptien et le grec.
- La langue phénicienne était plus ancienne. Au point de vue de l’écriture, elle était antérieure à la langue grecque.
Mais le phénicien est phonétique, c’est une langue phonétique.
Et les hiéroglyphes s’écrivaient de haut en bas et de droite à gauche, ou de gauche à droite ?
- De droite à gauche.
De droite à gauche. Les langues chaldéennes s’écrivent comme cela. Le chinois et le japonais aussi. Il n’y a que les langues aryennes qui s’écrivent de gauche à droite.