Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1957-02-06

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Transcript of:
Mother's Questions and Answers: February 6, 1957
by Loretta, 2019 (53:57)
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The purpose and waning necessity of death

This week, Mother comes to class very well-prepared to speak with a particular purpose. She wants to get the people in the class to work to get past ‘death’. We have a feeling that she might have actually written out her presentation, it's so beautifully thought-out.

And she's chosen to read one short paragraph – one aphorism – where Sri Aurobindo has made one statement. He says that death is a necessary part of living, because without it, the creature in nature would remain satisfied with his imperfect living. But because he has to die, he realizes that life is not perfect; and he looks for the way, and the possibility, to make it perfect.

Mother doesn't talk about the details of the perfect life, she doesn't describe anything: she concentrates on how not to have death. But we understand from what she says that when mankind no longer needs to die, man will have perfect life. She points out that in the very depths of our being, there is a need to develop and to prolong life. This makes us react negatively to everything connected with death, from the moment we have our first contact with it. And she says that there is a way that we can live without dying. The time has come – but we have to want to work for it, and we have to do the work.

Mother tells the class that there is help for this. Help comes with the addition of the new force, which started descending into the manifestation in February of 1956, nearly a year before the date of today's class. She explains that our physical body – which is the one part of us that disintegrates in the death process, and can no longer house the other parts of us: our mind and our body and our soul – our body is the part of us that is the slowest part to follow the universal movements of progress. So it breaks down. The most subtle states of being in the consciousness follow the universal progression even as it is going on. And the higher up the scale one goes, the more closely the rhythm of advance follows the rhythm of universal development.

But our bodies are at the bottom of the scale. Physical matter is at the final end of the Supreme's manifestation of the universe. That manifestation went from the most subtle to the most gross. And it ends as gross physical matter: our bodies, which the more physical parts of us inhabit.

Because our body can't follow the rhythm of progress that the rest is doing, the balance between our body and the rest of us is ruptured. Finally, there is too much disequilibrium, and we do what is called ‘die’.

So the solution is to infuse enough consciousness into our bodies, to obtain the same rhythm. If our own personal physical matter could become plastic enough to follow the inner progress, then the evolution of our cells and our body-consciousness would keep pace with the highest level of the universal evolution, and our evolution would not require us to leave behind a physical body because it could no longer change with the universal changes.

When we work on this, we have to go beyond attachment to things as they are. And we have to go beyond the movements of Nature also. Because nature does things very slowly; and our bodies have been governed by nature.

How to be eternally young

Mother says that if the body itself wanted to do always better, and to become more beautiful, more clear and luminous, and if the body wanted to be eternally young, we could escape nature's process of having us die. Mother has given different teachings about how to be eternally young; she says:

“To know how to be reborn into a new life at every moment is the secret of eternal youth.”[1]
“To be young is to live in the future.
         To be young is to be always ready to give up what we are in order to become what we must be.
         To be young is never to accept the irreparable.”[2]

These things are not so easy to do. And it's clear with this teaching that we're not speaking of the things that our body does. Now it concerns our thinking, our mind, and also our feelings and energies – our vital being. But most interestingly, the vital being, if it knows how to get connected with the universal force, can very easily have no regression. It can continue to ascend. And our mental being is completely free from all degeneration, if it continues to develop normally.

So the real object of concentration is the physical. Here is something that involves our willpower:

“Age exists only for those who choose to become old.”[3]

It's clearly a lifetime work. Mother also says:

“If the growth of consciousness were considered as the principal goal of life, many difficulties would find their solution.
         The best way of not becoming old is to make progress the goal of our life.”[4]

When you listen to Mother's voice on the original tape-recording, you hear in the tones of her voice, and the way she speaks, that she is working to get the people to work to get beyond death. Especially in the last part of the class, where she speaks about how one grows tired of nature's slow games, and there comes a time when one needs to change them. She says that one could dream of a game where it would no longer be necessary to destroy in order to progress. And the ardour for progress would be strong enough to find new means, and the impetus would be powerful enough to overcome the inertia and the ignorance in the body.

Elsewhere, Mother has said about the body:

“The first thing the physical consciousness must understand is that all the difficulties we meet with in life come from the fact that we do not rely exclusively on the Divine for the help we need.
         The Divine alone can liberate us from the mechanism of universal Nature. And this liberation is indispensable for the birth and development of the new race.
         It is only by giving ourselves entirely to the Divine in perfect trust and gratitude that the difficulties will be overcome.”[5]

People who want to do this have to commit themselves at every minute. And people who are sincerely trying say that they can see how the old thoughts and feelings come in all the time to distract them. It is a constant work.

But then, because it is the highest force that they contact, when they really do give themselves to the Divine, they begin to change in really good ways; and even their lives shift into better ways. And good things go on happening to them. They are breaking out of the influence of the collective suggestions from the past. Mother said:

“One can also teach the body that there is almost no limit to its growth in capacities or its progress, provided that one discovers the true method and the right conditioning. This is one of the many experiments which we want to attempt in order to break these collective suggestions and show the world that human potentialities exceed all imagination.”[6]

The importance of physical education

In her own work of making her cells conscious of the Divine force, Mother spoke of the crushing weight of the age-old mental and vital thoughts and feelings that old age and death were inevitable and inescapable. And she makes it clear that these ideas have to be overcome, because they drag us back into accepting death. She told the students:

“When the body has learned the art of constantly progressing towards an increasing perfection, we shall be well on the way to overcoming the inevitability of death.”[7]

And we have the very famous statement:

“Remain young, never stop striving towards perfection.”[8]

In her work, in the Ashram, Mother became aware of the value that sports and games had – how much using them could develop the physical body, the consciousness to receive the new force. And she put a lot of time and energy into creating and maintaining the Ashram school playground and sportsground. There are two recent books by Ashramites who lived in what they call there the ‘Golden Era’. When Mother took an extreme interest in their sports and games, and came every evening to the playground. She played table-tennis with some students. Mother was a lifelong tennis player; she started in childhood, and even when she was in her eighties, she played tennis at the Ashram tennis ground. She played with ashramites and with students. And they say that she sent consciousness with the tennis ball over the net.

These students received their physical education as part of the Mother's work. And they received their physical education in the context of the far-greater education of the spiritual purpose for this physical development.

The two books written by the two students – who have remained in the Ashram all their lives – are available from SABDA, the Ashram bookstore, and from the SABDA website. (And that's actually spelled S-A-B-D-A.) One book is called The Mother and Women's Physical Education in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1946-1958. It is by Chitra Sen; it's a regular-sized book with a strong paperback cover. The other book is called Memorable Years with the Mother: The growth of physical education in Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It is by Namika Sarkar. It is one book in two volumes, a very large book, with hard covers. It speaks more generally of all the sports for men and women. And it is filled with many, many photographs from that time.



Mother didn't only talk about doing the work in the physical: her Agenda shows that she was working constantly in her own body. And she created the place where not only the students, but also all the ashramites physically worked to perfect their bodies, for the purpose of evolution. It was a big part of her work for the manifestation of the new consciousness here. And in the tape today, we can hear in Mother's voice how strongly Mother is telling everyone in the Ashram playground (and that includes us, because we are there) that we should work for it. We should work continuously to evolve past needing to die.

Even if you don't speak French, you will clearly receive the force of persuasion she puts into her words, especially at the end of the tape-recording. It will play automatically after the English translation.

It's February 6th, 1957. Mother is about to read; we're all in class, the students are sitting around her, the ashramites are in the back. And Mother starts to read...


6 February 1957




“Death is the question Nature puts continually to Life and her reminder to it that it has not yet found itself. If there were no siege of death, the creature would be bound forever in the form of an imperfect living. Pursued by death he awakes to the idea of perfect life and seeks out its means and its possibility.”

Sri Aurobindo
Thoughts and Glimpses

There seems to be matter enough here for us not to need to go any further. This is a question which every person whose consciousness is awakened a little has asked himself at least once in his life. There is in the depths of the being such a need to perpetuate, to prolong, to develop life, that the moment one has a first contact with death, which, although it may be quite an accidental contact, is yet inevitable, there is a sort of recoil in the being.

In persons who are sensitive, it produces horror; in others, indignation. There is a tendency to ask oneself: “What is this monstrous farce in which one takes part without wanting to, without understanding it? Why are we born, if it is only to die? Why all this effort for development, progress, the flowering of the faculties, if it is to come to a diminution ending in decline and disintegration?...” Some feel a revolt in them, others less strong feel despair and always this question arises: “If there is a conscious Will behind all that, this Will seems to be monstrous.”

But here Sri Aurobindo tells us that this was an indispensable means of awakening in the consciousness of matter the need for perfection, the necessity of progress, that without this catastrophe, all beings would have been satisfied with the condition they were in — perhaps.... This is not certain.

But then, we have to take things as they are and tell ourselves that we must find the way out of it all.

The fact is that everything is in a state of perpetual progressive development, that is, the whole creation, the whole universe is advancing towards a perfection which seems to recede as one goes forward towards it, for what seemed a perfection at a certain moment is no longer perfect after a time. The most subtle states of being in the consciousness follow this progression even as it is going on, and the higher up the scale one goes, the more closely does the rhythm of the advance resemble the rhythm of the universal development, and approach the rhythm of the divine development; but the material world is rigid by nature, transformation is slow, very slow, there, almost imperceptible for the measurement of time as human consciousness perceives it... and so there is a constant disequilibrium between the inner and outer movement, and this lack of balance, this incapacity of the outer forms to follow the movement of the inner progress brings about the necessity of decomposition and the change of forms. But if, into this matter, one could infuse enough consciousness to obtain the same rhythm, if matter could become plastic enough to follow the inner progression, this rupture of balance would not occur, and death would no longer be necessary.

So, according to what Sri Aurobindo tells us, Nature has found this rather radical means to awaken in the material consciousness the necessary aspiration and plasticity.

It is obvious that the most dominant characteristic of matter is inertia, and that, if there were not this violence, perhaps the individual consciousness would be so inert that rather than change it would accept to live in a perpetual imperfection.... That is possible. Anyway, this is how things are made, and for us who know a little more, there is only one thing that remains to be done, it is to change all this, as far as we have the means, by calling the Force, the Consciousness, the new Power which is capable of infusing into material substance the vibration which can transform it, make it plastic, supple, progressive.

Obviously the greatest obstacle is the attachment to things as they are; but even Nature as a whole finds that those who have the deeper knowledge want to go too fast: she likes her meanderings, she likes her successive attempts, her failures, her fresh beginnings, her new inventions; she likes the fantasy of the path, the unexpectedness of the experience; one could almost say that for her the longer it takes, the more enjoyable it is.

But even of the best games one tires. There comes a time when one needs to change them and one could dream of a game in which it would no longer be necessary to destroy in order to progress, where the zeal for progress would be enough to find new means, new expressions, where the élan would be ardent enough to overcome inertia, lassitude, lack of understanding, fatigue, indifference.

Why does this body, as soon as some progress has been made, feel the need to sit down? It is tired. It says, “Oh! You must wait. I must be given time to rest.” This is what leads it to death. If it felt within itself that ardour to do always better, become more transparent, more beautiful, more luminous, eternally young, one could escape from this macabre joke of Nature.

For her this is of no importance. She sees the whole, she sees the totality; she sees that nothing is lost, that it is only recombining quantities, numberless minute elements, without any importance, which are put back into a pot and mixed well — and something new comes out of it. But that game is not amusing for everybody. And if in one’s consciousness one could be as vast as she, more powerful than she, why shouldn’t one do the same thing in a better way?

This is the problem which confronts us now. With the addition, the new help of this Force which has descended, which is manifesting, working, why shouldn’t one take in hand this tremendous game and make it more beautiful, more harmonious, more true?

It only needs brains powerful enough to receive this Force and formulate the possible course of action. There must be conscious beings powerful enough to convince Nature that there are other methods than hers.... This looks like madness, but all new things have always seemed like madness before they became realities.

The hour has come for this madness to be realised. And since we are all here for reasons that are perhaps unknown to most of you, but are still very conscious reasons, we may set ourselves to fulfil that madness — at least it will be worthwhile living it.


Le 6 février 1957



Entretiens 1957-58
Le 6 février 1957

Entretiens 1957-02-06.jpg
PDF (4 pages)


« La mort est la question que la Nature pose continuellement à la Vie pour lui rappeler qu’elle ne s’est pas encore trouvée elle-même. Sans l’assaut de la mort, la créature serait liée pour toujours à une forme de vie imparfaite. Poursuivie par la mort, elle s’éveille à l’idée d’une vie parfaite et en cherche les moyens et la possibilité. »

(Aperçus et Pensées, « Les Chaînes »)

Ceci paraît un sujet suffisant pour que nous n’ayons pas besoin de continuer. C’est une question que toute personne ayant une conscience un peu éveillée s’est posée au moins une fois dans sa vie. Il y a au fond de l’être un tel besoin de perpétuer, de prolonger, de développer la vie que dès que l’on a un premier contact avec la mort, qui peut être un contact tout à fait accidentel mais qui est inévitable, il y a une sorte de recul dans l’être.

Chez certains, qui sont sensitifs, il y a une horreur ; chez d’autres, c’est une indignation. On a tendance à se demander : « Quelle est cette farce monstrueuse à laquelle on participe sans le vouloir, sans le comprendre ? Pourquoi naît-on, si c’est pour mourir ? Pourquoi tout cet effort de développement, de progrès, d’épanouissement des facultés, si c’est pour arriver à une diminution qui se termine par une déchéance et une décomposition ?... » Certains ont en eux une révolte, d’autres, moins forts, ont un désespoir et toujours cette question se pose. S’il y a une Volonté consciente derrière tout cela, cette Volonté apparaît comme monstrueuse.

Mais ici, Sri Aurobindo nous dit que c’était un moyen indispensable pour éveiller dans la conscience de la matière le besoin de la perfection, la nécessité du progrès, que sans cette catastrophe les êtres se seraient complu dans la condition où ils se trouvaient — peut-être... Ce n’est pas sûr.

Mais alors, on est obligé de prendre les choses comme elles sont et de se dire qu’il faut trouver le moyen d’en sortir.

Le fait est que tout est dans un développement perpétuel, progressif, c’est-à-dire que toute la création, tout l’univers s’avance vers une perfection qui semble reculer à mesure qu’on avance vers elle, parce que ce qui paraissait une perfection à un moment donné ne l’est plus après quelque temps. Les états d’être les plus subtils dans la conscience suivent cette progression à mesure qu’elle se produit, et plus on monte l’échelle, plus le rythme de l’avance est semblable au rythme du développement universel, se rapproche du rythme du développement divin ; mais le monde matériel est de nature rigide, la transformation y est lente, très lente, presque imperceptible pour la mesure du temps telle que la conscience humaine la perçoit... et alors il y a un déséquilibre constant entre le mouvement intérieur et le mouvement extérieur, et c’est ce déséquilibre, cette incapacité des formes extérieures à suivre le mouvement du progrès intérieur, qui produit la nécessité de la décomposition et du changement des formes. Mais si, dans cette matière, on pouvait infuser une conscience suffisante pour que le même rythme soit obtenu, si cette matière devenait suffisamment plastique pour suivre la progression intérieure, cette rupture d’équilibre ne se produirait pas, et la mort ne serait plus nécessaire.

Alors, d’après ce que Sri Aurobindo nous dit, la Nature a trouvé ce moyen, plutôt radical, pour éveiller dans la conscience matérielle l’aspiration, la plasticité nécessaires.

Il est évident que le caractère le plus dominant de la matière est l’inertie et que, s’il n’y avait pas cette violence, peut-être que les consciences individuelles seraient si inertes qu’elles accepteraient de vivre dans une perpétuelle imperfection plutôt que de changer... C’est possible. En tout cas, c’est comme cela que les choses sont faites, et à nous qui savons un peu plus, il ne nous reste qu’une chose à faire, c’est de changer tout cela, dans la mesure de nos moyens, en faisant appel justement à la Force, à la Conscience, à la Puissance nouvelle qui a le pouvoir d’infuser dans la substance matérielle la vibration capable de la transformer, de la rendre plastique, souple, progressive.

Il est évident que l’obstacle le plus grand, c’est l’attachement aux choses telles qu’elles sont ; mais même la Nature dans son ensemble trouve que ceux qui ont la connaissance profonde veulent aller trop vite ; elle aime ses méandres, elle aime ses tentatives successives, ses échecs, ses recommencements, ses inventions nouvelles ; elle aime la fantaisie du chemin, l’inattendu de l’expérience ; on pourrait presque dire que, pour elle, plus cela prend du temps, plus c’est amusant.

Mais des jeux les meilleurs, on se lasse. Il arrive un moment où l’on a besoin d’en changer, et on peut rêver d’un jeu où l’on n’aurait plus besoin de détruire pour progresser, où l’ardeur de progrès serait suffisante pour que l’on trouve toujours des moyens nouveaux, des expressions nouvelles, où l’élan serait assez ardent pour surmonter l’inertie, la lassitude, l’incompréhension, la fatigue, l’indifférence.

Pourquoi, ce corps, dès que l’on a fait des progrès, a-t-il besoin de s’asseoir ? Il est las. Il dit : « Oh ! il faut attendre. Il faut me donner le temps de me reposer. » C’est cela qui le conduit à la mort. S’il sentait en lui cette ardeur de toujours faire mieux, être plus clair, plus beau, plus lumineux, éternellement jeune, on pourrait échapper à cette plaisanterie macabre de la Nature.

Pour elle, cela n’a aucune importance. Elle voit le tout, elle voit l’ensemble ; elle voit que rien ne se perd, que c’est seulement remélanger des quantités, d’innombrables éléments minuscules, sans importance, que l’on remet dans un pot et qu’on mélange bien et dont on sort quelque chose de nouveau. Mais ce jeu-là n’est pas amusant pour tout le monde. Et si l’on arrivait dans sa conscience à être aussi vaste qu’elle, à être plus puissant qu’elle, pourquoi ne ferait-on pas la même chose d’une meilleure manière ?

C’est cela, le problème qui nous est posé maintenant. Avec l’addition, l’aide nouvelle de cette Force qui est descendue, qui se manifeste, qui travaille, pourquoi ne prendrait-on pas en main ce jeu formidable pour le rendre plus beau, plus harmonieux, plus vrai ?

Il suffit qu’il y ait des cerveaux assez puissants pour recevoir cette Force et formuler l’action possible. Il faut qu’il y ait des consciences assez puissantes pour convaincre la Nature qu’il y a d’autres moyens que les siens... Cela a l’air d’une folie, mais toutes les choses nouvelles ont toujours paru des folies avant qu’elles ne deviennent des réalités.

L’heure est venue pour que cette folie se réalise. Et puisque nous sommes tous ici pour des raisons peut-être inconnues de la plupart d’entre vous, mais enfin qui sont des raisons très conscientes, nous pouvons nous proposer l’accomplissement de cette folie-là, au moins cela vaudra la peine d’être vécu.



  1. On Education, p.124
  2. Ibid., p.122
  3. Ibid., p.271
  4. Ibid., p.123
  5. More Answers from the Mother, p.433
  6. On Education, p.274, “Youth”
  7. Some Answers from the Mother, p.431
  8. Words of the Mother – III, p.175