Masculine and feminine

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On Education
“To Women about Their Body”
On Education - To Women about Their Body.jpg
PDF (8 pages)

“Usually, a soul follows continuously the same line of sex. If there are shiftings of sex, it is as a rule a matter of parts of the personality which are not central.”[1]

“The way the world is now physically organized, with the difference and specialization in the forms, in sexes, encourages a kind of opposition between the two poles, the union of which results in creation. So, naturally, each pole has enormous difficulty understanding the other (although it thinks and believes it does), especially understanding the pole I place underneath (gesture signifying the basis of the world), which is the effectively creative pole, that is to say, what is expressed by woman. She feels very well that without this (gesture above) the full understanding isn't there; but this, which is above, doesn't AT ALL understand the creative power of that which is below – it knows it in principle, but doesn't understand it. And there is a lack of adaptation, a sort of conflict, which shouldn't exist. It never existed – never – between Sri Aurobindo and me, but I could see it didn't exist because he had adopted the attitude of complete surrender to the eternal Mother (the stage, in the creation, of complete surrender). I would see it, and it embarrassed me! It embarrassed me, I thought, "But why does he think he has to do that (laughing), as if I couldn't understand!" On the contrary, I thirst for the other attitude – for identifying myself this way instead of that way (Mother presses her fist upward against her hand above): for identifying myself from below upward instead of from above downward. It was an aspiration, which has been there ... almost for eternities ... for the universal creative Force to identify itself with the Creator. And to identify itself not through the descent of the Creator, but through the ascent of the Force – the conscious ascent. But Sri Aurobindo willed it that way, so it was that way ... and then I was very busy with my work. For the thirty years we lived together, it went on that way, perfectly smoothly; and I kept my aspiration quiet because I knew that it was his will. But since he left and I was obliged to do his work, so to speak, things have changed. But I didn't in the least want the Creator, because of my taking up the work, to be obliged to adapt himself to the creative Force (that won't do at all!), and my whole aspiration has been for the creative Force to consciously BECOME the Creator. It's becoming increasingly that way. And at the last meeting [with Sri Aurobindo], for a time (not the whole time, but some time), it was that way. Then I understood; it made me understand the play of all the forces in the two elements – the two poles – and how they could be joined, through what process that opposition could disappear so that the total Being might exist.
         We're on the way. And it's growing clearer and clearer. It will be tremendously interesting. But that's for later on.
         Increasingly (but it began long ago, after Sri Aurobindo left), it is growing, perfecting itself, becoming precise and increasingly conscious: the difference is fading away, the opposition is disappearing altogether, and the possibility is growing of identifying oneself with the other – the other attitude, the one I deliberately call ‘from above’.
         Naturally, in human beings, the two are extremely mixed up. Among all the human beings you cannot find two who are one really male and the other really female – that doesn't exist. It's very, very mixed. But the goal is a totality; a totality in which each thing is in its place and plays its part, not in opposition but in perfect union – in identity. And the key to this is beginning to come.”[2]

“Sweet Mother,
A few days ago I noticed something very odd in the children of Group A2: the boys don’t want to work with the girls; they don’t even want to stand side by side. They cannot work together. How did this idea of difference come to these little children who are barely eleven years old! It is strange.

It is atavistic and comes from the subconscient. This instinct is based both on masculine pride, the foolish idea of superiority, and on the still more foolish fear due to the idea that woman is a dangerous being who entices you into sin. In children, all this is still subconscious, but it influences their actions.”[3]

“I've always heard it said (I don't know if it's true) that men think in a certain way and women in another. On an external level, the difference is not visible, but the attitude – the mental attitude – is perhaps different. The mental attitude on the Prakriti side is always action, always action; the mental attitude on the Purusha side is conception: conception, overall vision, and also observation, as though it observed what the Prakriti had done and saw how it was done. Now I understand that. That's how it works. Naturally, no man (here on earth) is exclusively masculine and no woman is exclusively feminine, because it has all been mixed together again and again.”[4]

“In nothing does the delicacy & keen suavity of Kalidasa’s dramatic genius exhibit itself with a more constant & instinctive perfection than in his characterisation of women. He may sometimes not care to individualise his most unimportant male figures, but even the slightest of his women have some personality of their own, something which differentiates them from others & makes them better than mere names. Insight into feminine character is extraordinarily rare even among dramatists for whom one might think it to be a necessary element of their art. For the most part a poet represents with success only one or two unusual types known to him or in sympathy with his own temperament or those which are quite abnormal and therefore easily drawn; the latter are generally bad women, the Clytaemnestras, Vittoria Corombonas, Beatrice Joannas. The women of Vyasa & of Sophocles have all a family resemblance; all possess a quiet or commanding masculine strength of character which reveals their parentage. Other poets we see succeeding in a single feminine character & often repeating it but failing or not succeeding eminently in the rest. Otherwise women in poetry are generally painted very much from the outside. The poets who have had an instinctive insight into women, can literally be counted on the fingers of one hand. Shakespeare in this as in other dramatic gifts is splendidly & unapproachably first or at least only equalled in depth though not in range by Valmekie; Racine has the same gift within his limits & Kalidasa without limits, though in this as in other respects he has not Shakespeare’s prodigal abundance and puissant variety. Other names I do not remember. There are a few poets who succeed with coarse easy types, but this is the fruit of observation rather than an unfailing intuitive gift. The Agnimitra is a drama of women; it passes within the women’s apartments and pleasure gardens of a great palace and is full of the rustling of women’s robes, the tinkling of their ornaments, the scent of their hair, the music of their voices. In the Urvasie where he needs at least half the canvas for his hero, the scope for feminine characterisation is of necessity greatly contracted, but what is left Kalidasa has filled in with a crowd of beautiful & shining figures & exquisite faces each of which is recognizable. These are the Opsaras and Urvasie the most beautiful of them all.”[5]

“I know that when the transition – a very obscure transition – from the animal to man (of which they have found fairly convincing traces) was sufficient, when the result was plastic enough, there was a Descent – there was a mental descent of the human creation. And they were beings (there was a double descent; it was in fact particular in that it was double, male and female: it wasn't the descent of a single being, it was the descent of two beings), they were beings who lived in Nature an animal life, but with a mental consciousness; but there was no conflict with the general harmony. All the memories are absolutely clear of a spontaneous, animal life, perfectly natural, in Nature. A marvelously beautiful Nature that strangely resembles the nature in Ceylon and tropical countries: water, trees, fruits, flowers.... And a life in harmony with animals: there was no sense of fear or difference. It was a very luminous, very harmonious, and very NATURAL life, in Nature.
         And strangely, the story of Paradise would seem to be a mental distortion of what really happened.”[6]

“Instead of there being two lines, one masculine and one feminine, there should be one single being, and that’s what I conceive as the solution of all problems — all problems, not only this one — and as the prototype of the supramental creation.”[7]

  1. Letters on Yoga – I, p.539
  2. Mother's Agenda 1963, 14 December 1963
  3. Some Answers from the Mother, p.280
  4. Mother's Agenda 1967, 29 July 1967
  5. Early Cultural Writings, p.209, “Vikramorvasie: The Characters”
  6. Mother's Agenda 1965, 23 April 1965
  7. Questions and Answers 1955, p.155

See also