Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1956-12-12 part 2

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Transcript of:
Mother's Questions and Answers: December 12, 1956 (part 2 of 2)
by Loretta, 2018 (45:25)
Listen on Auroville Radio →


Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers
December 12, 1956 (part 2 of 2)
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This time, we're dealing with the last question in a class that was quite long. And Mother doesn't ask for any questions at this point in the class; she's come prepared to answer the question. She's brought it with her.

Her answer is very informative and very detailed. Mother explains clearly what influences come into us from outside, and how they work in us. Her explanation goes to the very heart of what a human being is, on the level that we all are sending and receiving instruments. Most people don't become objective enough about themselves to notice it in this way. They don't think, “I am a sending and receiving instrument.” People aren't taught about this in childhood. And when people are aware of things coming into them, usually they feel it, they react to it, but they don't try to learn about it, or to get some kind of control over it, or to master it in any way.

If one is serious about the practice of Sri Aurobindo's yoga, this information is very important. Everything that happens that Mother explains goes directly towards the practice of the yoga. We don't have the original French tape-recording of this class, but because it's such an informative class – because the information is so clear – we've put the class in French from Mother's Entretiens. And you'll be able to find it on the [Auroville Radio] website, the part that's this program, and you'll be able to click on it and access it.


Entretiens 1956
12 décembre 1956

Entretiens 1956-12-12.jpg
PDF (13 pages)


We're going to see from Mother's answer that this is really a subject that she knows a huge amount about. And we are fortunate to have this very clear teaching.

The value of all this is to know how much of your thought is really your own thought, and how much of your will is really your own will. And finally, what is it that really moves us. Why do we want certain things? Did we ever question this? When we desire something, is it our own desire? If it's not – whose desire is it? Where does it come from?

How much of the impulse behind what we think, what we feel, and what we do, is really ours?

If one wants to be a conscious being, it becomes very necessary first to know all of this, and then to control it, and to master it. Recently Mother spoke about how we build up a whole world for ourself, by using our mental faculty of reason. She says we are so used to it, and so stuck in it, that we can't conceive of any other way to be.

Now Mother is going to show us in great detail how others, how things from outside, contribute a huge amount to build up our world for us – and all this without our knowing anything about it, or wanting it. And we can't get out of this either, without long, hard, conscious work. Mother says usually the work takes place first in the mental field, then it moves to the vital, then it becomes physical. So what comes to us comes first into our mental field.

In Sri Aurobindo's poem Savitri, when Savitri knows that she will have to conquer Death to bring back the soul of her beloved husband, she does some process – and this process is actually the yoga of Sri Aurobindo, the two stages. The first stage is to realize our own soul. When she has accomplished that, then she has to attain the second stage: she has to reach universality, to have cosmic consciousness. Savitri has a guide. We all have that guide. It is her Jivatman. Our Jivatman is our own personal portion of the Eternal. It is stationed just above our head. The Jivatman puts forth our soul out of itself into our heart, and our soul goes with us, ‘evolving’, as it were – changing, in its own way, through the evolution as we evolve – but the Jivatman does not. It goes on remaining above our head, always unchanging.

Savitri's Jivatman tells her this:

If thou wouldst a little loosen the vast chain,
Draw back from the world that the Idea has made,
Thy mind’s selection from the Infinite,
Thy senses’ gloss on the Infinitesimal’s dance,
Then shalt thou know how the great bondage came. (p.537)

The voice also says:

Consent to be nothing and none, dissolve Time’s work,
Cast off thy mind, step back from form and name.
Annul thyself that only God may be. (p.538)

And then Savitri steps back; she watches Thought, she watches the birth of thought. And this is good advice about getting a quiet mind – about vigilantly working to get a quiet mind.

Sri Aurobindo said that he attained a quiet mind by watching the thoughts as they tried to come in, and refusing to let them in. He said that he saw clearly that thought comes in from the outside. He writes about it in Savitri. He writes about it a lot in the Letters on Yoga when people write asking for advice.

When Savitri obeys her Jivatman's command, she sees the same thing that Mother teaches today in today's class. And it's this – Sri Aurobindo writes, for Savitri's realization, he writes:

In our unseen subtle body thought is born (p.539)

And these are the thoughts, the thoughts that are ‘born’ – the thoughts that our body produces. Then he writes:

Or there it enters from the cosmic field. (p.539)

And as Savitri continues to observe the many sources of her thoughts, eventually:

The beings of the subtle realms appeared
And scenes concealed behind our earthly scene;
She saw the life of remote continents
And distance deafened not to voices far;
She felt the movements crossing unknown minds;
The past’s events occurred before her eyes.
The great world’s thoughts were part of her own thought,
The feelings dumb for ever and unshared,
The ideas that never found an utterance. (p.541)

These are all things which have a hidden influence on us. If anyone would like to read Sri Aurobindo's whole description about the sources of thought in Savitri – this part anyway – it's in Book Seven, Canto XI, on pages 538-544.

In this part, he also details what thoughts our physical body sends to our mind. Mother says that we can classify the influences coming into us from outside into three principle orders. The first order is what she calls the ‘collective suggestions’ which have formed the established world we are born into. The social environment, the cultural environment, the national environment, and the religious environment that we come into the world to experiences. These influences have entered us, and have been forming us since we were born. And they go on forming us.

The second order of influences which enter into us and move us are all the thoughts and expectations our family members, our friends, our colleagues, our comrades, the people we work with – all the thoughts and expectations all these people have for us. Usually they aren't said out loud, but they come into us anyway. And these also have been formed in us all our lives.

We don't perceive that it goes on all our life. It forms our subconscious base. We are always unconsciously open to others, until we can make it a conscious thing. We can clean all this up; we can make our own choices about what kind of person we truly want to be. Instead of having to be the person that the common world around us makes us into.

It takes work, and it takes time – but it is worth it. Because usually people aren't so happy being the person formed by other people. They aren't so happy being someone formed by outside influences. So knowing this and working on it, we can make ourselves into a genuinely happy person, if we're willing to go through it all – because it takes a lot to do it. (But if one is doing the yoga, one doesn't really have a choice. It is the work that is in front of us.)

The third order of influences coming into us is the energies which enter into us from the subtle region of the vital worlds. Mother explains in detail that there are vital entities – entities which goad man into feeling lower emotions, because they want the energies that we throw off when we feel things like anger, or hate, jealousy, or greed, or fear, or distress. The list goes on and on. It is absolutely necessary that we learn how to avoid this, if we want to be really happy.

Sri Aurobindo has a clear description of these vital entities in Book Two, Canto V of Savitri. It's another place where he talks about things that enter into us. It is when the traveller of the worlds first enters into the godheads of the little life. And here are some lines taken here and there out of Canto V. They describe these beings:

A busy restless uncouth populace
Teemed in their dusky unnoted thousands there.
In a mist of secrecy wrapping the world-scene
The little deities of Time’s nether act
Who work remote from Heaven’s controlling eye,
Plotted, unknown to the creatures whom they move (p.151)
Their whispers come, an inarticulate force,
Awake in mind an echoing thought or word,
To their sting of impulse the heart’s sanction draw,
And in that little Nature do their work
And fill its powers and creatures with unease.
Its seed of joy they curse with sorrow’s fruit,
Put out with error’s breath its scanty lights
And turn its surface truths to falsehood’s ends,
Its small emotions spur, its passions drive
To the abyss or through the bog and mire:
Or else with a goad of hard dry lusts they prick (p.152)

Sri Aurobindo is saying these unseen influences are not good for us. In simple words: they make us feel bad. Then he goes on to say:

Wherever are soulless minds and guideless lives
And in a small body self is all that counts,
Wherever love and light and largeness lack,
These crooked fashioners take up their task.
Our nature’s twilight is their lurking-place:
Here too the darkened primitive heart obeys
The veiled suggestions of a hidden Mind
That dogs our knowledge with misleading light
And stands between us and the Truth that saves.
A structure of unseeing thoughts is built
And reason used by an irrational Force.
This earth is not alone our teacher and nurse;
The powers of all the worlds have entrance here. (p.153)

Mother explains that the influences coming from these adverse forces are easier to detect than the collective suggestions we've been taking in from our birth. (Easier, that is, if we've been trying to understand and control our own being.)

Knowing all this also shows us how little control other people have over themselves. Everyone is automatically acting under a lifetime of influences they are not conscious of. If we really want to own responsibility for what we do and say, we have to take the responsibility for not allowing what comes into us from outside. Or perhaps we can say: the responsibility for selectively allowing what comes into us from outside. It's indispensable if we want to take responsibility for what comes out of us also. Because what comes out of us influences others in the same way.

It seems like controlling what comes into us, and controlling what expresses itself through us, becomes a part of growing up into a responsible human being. It may be hard work, but it brings rewards – it brings a strength of inner peace, it brings freedom, it brings clear consciousness and the true strength that most people never have in life.

It means constant vigilance: noticing what we think, what we feel, what we say, what we do, what we want – and keeping our consciousness always open to the higher consciousness that we aspire for.

It means endless persistence, because all these influences and openings have been very well established in us for years. And as Mother says at the end of this class, it means keeping an attitude of goodwill and sincerity, and working to have clear insight all the time. Again, it is the threefold work of Sri Aurobindo's yoga: aspiration, rejection and surrender. We aspire for freedom from outside influences; we aspire to be influenced and moved by our own soul, our psychic being, and by the higher force of the Divine – and of course the higher force of the Divine is all love and goodness, all goodwill and sincerity.

We reject the influences that have made us, and the influences that control us – again and again, again and again, until they are gone.

And we constantly perfect our surrender to Sri Aurobindo and Mother, because they are there to help us always. And they make everything a whole lot easier.

We don't have the tape today, but we do have the Entretiens in French, for people who tune in to listen to Mother speaking in French, they can read it in French instead.

It's December 12th, 1956, the middle of Mother's class in the Playground. Mother has already spoken about Sri Aurobindo's comments and how nothing is impossible. And now there's a silence; she doesn't ask for questions, no one asks a question, and Mother says...




... [1]


I have another question about what I told you the other day, when we discussed the distinction between will and willings. I told you that willings — what Sri Aurobindo calls willings — are movements arising not from a higher consciousness coming down into the being and expressing itself in action, but from impulses or influences from outside. We reserved the word will to express what in the individual consciousness is the expression of an order or impulse coming from the truth of the being, from the truth of the individual — his true being, his true self, you understand. That we call will. And all the impulses, actions, movements arising in the being which are not that, we said were willings. And I told you in fact that without knowing it or at times even knowing it, you are moved by influences coming from outside which enter in without your even being aware of them and arouse in you what you call the will that a certain thing may happen or another may not, etc.

So I am asked:

“What is the nature of these influences from outside? Could you give us an explanation of their working?”

Naturally these influences are of very diverse kinds. They may be studied from a psychological point of view or from an almost mechanical standpoint, the one usually translating the other, that is, the mechanical phenomenon occurs as a sort of result of the psychological one.

In very few people, and even in the very best at very rare moments in life, does the will of the being express that deep inner, higher truth.

(After a silence Mother continues:) The individual consciousness extends far beyond the body; we have seen that even the subtle physical which is yet material compared with the vital being and in certain conditions almost visible, extends at times considerably beyond the visible limits of the physical body. This subtle physical is constituted of active vibrations which enter into contact or mingle with the vibrations of the subtle physical of others, and this reciprocal contact gives rise to influences — naturally the most powerful vibrations get the better of the others. For example, as I have already told you several times, if you have a thought, this thought clothes itself in subtle vibrations and becomes an entity which travels and moves about in the earth-atmosphere in order to realise itself as best it can, and because it is one among millions, naturally there is a multiple and involved interaction as a result of which things don’t take place in such a simple and schematic fashion.

What you call yourself, the individual being enclosed within the limits of your present consciousness, is constantly penetrated by vibrations of this kind, coming from outside and very often presenting themselves in the form of suggestions, in the sense that, apart from a few exceptions, the action takes place first in the mental field, then becomes vital, then physical. I want to make it clear that it is not a question of the pure mind here, but of the physical mind; for in the physical consciousness itself there is a mental activity, a vital activity and a purely material activity, and all that takes place in your physical consciousness, in your body consciousness and bodily activity, penetrates first in the form of vibrations of a mental nature, and so in the form of suggestions. Most of the time these suggestions enter you without your being in the least conscious of them; they go in, awaken some sort of response in you, then spring up in your consciousness as though they were your own thought, your own will, your own impulse; but it is only because you are unconscious of the process of their penetration.

These suggestions are very numerous, manifold, varied, with natures which are very, very different from each other, but they may be classified into three principal orders. First — and they are hardly perceptible to the ordinary consciousness; they become perceptible only to those who have already reflected much, observed much, deeply studied their own being — they are what could be called collective suggestions.

When a being is born upon earth, he is inevitably born in a certain country and a certain environment. Due to his physical parents he is born in a set of social, cultural, national, sometimes religious circumstances, a set of habits of thinking, of understanding, of feeling, conceiving, all sorts of constructions which are at first mental, then become vital habits and finally material modes of being. To put things more clearly, you are born in a certain society or religion, in a particular country, and this society has a collective conception of its own and this nation has a collective conception of its own, this religion has a collective “construction” of its own which is usually very fixed. You are born into it. Naturally, when you are very young, you are altogether unaware of it, but it acts on your formation — that formation, that slow formation through hours and hours, through days and days, experiences added to experiences, which gradually builds up a consciousness. You are underneath it as beneath a bell-glass. It is a kind of construction which covers and in a way protects you, but in other ways limits you considerably. All this you absorb without even being aware of it and this forms the subconscious basis of your own construction. This subconscious basis will act on you throughout your life, if you do not take care to free yourself from it. And to free yourself from it, you must first of all become aware of it; and the first step is the most difficult, for this formation was so subtle, it was made when you were not yet a conscious being, when you had just fallen altogether dazed from another world into this one (laughing) and it all happened without your participating in the least in it. Therefore, it does not even occur to you that there could be something to know there, and still less something you must get rid of. And it is quite remarkable that when for some reason or other you do become aware of the hold of this collective suggestion, you realise at the same time that a very assiduous and prolonged labour is necessary in order to get rid of it. But the problem does not end there.

You live surrounded by people. These people themselves have desires, stray wishes, impulses which are expressed through them and have all kinds of causes, but take in their consciousness an individual form. For example, to put it in very practical terms: you have a father, a mother, brothers, sisters, friends, comrades; each one has his own way of feeling, willing, and all those with whom you are in relation expect something from you, even as you expect something from them. That something they do not always express to you, but it is more or less conscious in their being, and it makes formations. These formations, according to each one’s capacity of thought and the strength of his vitality, are more or less powerful, but they have their own little strength which is usually much the same as yours; and so what those around you want, desire, hope or expect from you enters in this way in the form of suggestions very rarely expressed, but which you absorb without resistance and which suddenly awaken within you a similar desire, a similar will, a similar impulse.... This happens from morning to night, and again from night to morning, for these things don’t stop while you are sleeping, but on the contrary are very often intensified because your consciousness is no longer awake, watching and protecting you to some extent.

And this is quite common, so common that it is quite natural and so natural that you need special circumstances and most unusual occasions to become aware of it. Naturally, it goes without saying that your own responses, your own impulses, your own wishes have a similar influence on others, and that all this becomes a marvellous mixture in which might is always right!

If that were the end of the problem, one could yet come out of the mess; but there is a complication. This terrestrial world, this human world is constantly invaded by the forces of the neighbouring world, that is, of the vital world, the subtler region beyond the fourfold earth-atmosphere [Consisting of the four principles: physical, vital, mental and psychic]; and this vital world which is not under the influence of the psychic forces or the psychic consciousness is essentially a world of ill-will, of disorder, disequilibrium, indeed of all the most anti-divine things one could imagine. This vital world is constantly penetrating the physical world, and being much more subtle than the physical, it is very often quite imperceptible except to a few rare individuals. There are entities, beings, wills, various kinds of individualities in that world, who have all kinds of intentions and make use of every opportunity either to amuse themselves if they are small beings or to do harm and create disorder if they are beings with a greater capacity. And the latter have a very considerable power of penetration and suggestion, and wherever there is the least opening, the least affinity, they rush in, for it is a game which delights them.

Besides, they are very thirsty or hungry for certain human vital vibrations which for them are a rare dish they love to feed upon; and so their game lies in exciting pernicious movements in man so that man may emanate these forces and they be able to feed on them just as they please. All movements of anger, violence, passion, desire, all these things which make you abruptly throw off certain energies from yourself, project them from yourself, are exactly what these entities of the vital world like best, for, as I said, they enjoy them like a sumptuous dish. Now, their tactics are simple: they send you a little suggestion, a little impulse, a small vibration which enters deep into you and through contagion or sympathy awakens in you the vibration necessary to make you throw off the force they want to absorb.

There it is a little easier to recognise the influence, for, if you are the least bit attentive, you become aware of something that has suddenly awakened within you. For example, those who are in the habit of losing their temper, if they have attempted ever so little to control their anger, they will find something coming from outside or rising from below which actually takes hold of their consciousness and arouses anger in them. I don’t mean that everybody is capable of this discernment; I am speaking of those who have tried to understand their being and control it. These adverse suggestions are easier to distinguish than, for instance, your response to the will or desire of a being who is of the same nature as yourself, another human being, who consequently acts on you without this giving you a clear impression of something coming from outside: the vibrations are too alike, too similar in their nature, and you have to be much more attentive and have a much sharper discernment to realise that these movements which seem to come out from you are not really yours but come from outside. But with the adverse forces, if you are in the least sincere and observe yourself attentively, you become aware that it is something in the being which is responding to an influence, an impulse, a suggestion, even something at times very concrete, which enters and produces similar vibrations in the being.

There, now. That is the problem.

The remedy?... It is always the same: goodwill, sincerity, insight, patience — oh! an untiring patience and a perseverance which assures you that what you have not succeeded in doing today, you will succeed in doing another time, and makes you go on trying until you do succeed.

And this brings us back to Sri Aurobindo’s sentence: if this control seems to you quite impossible today, well, that means that not only will it be possible, but that it will be realised later.