Silent mind

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“As for calm and silence, there is no need of the supramental to get that. One can get it even on the level of Higher Mind which is the next above the human intelligence. I got these things in 1908, twenty-seven years ago and I can assure you they were solid enough and marvellous enough without any need of supramentality to make it more so! Again, a calm that “seems like motion” is a phenomenon of which I know nothing. A calm or silence which can support or produce action — that I know and that is what I have had — the proof is that out of an absolute silence of the mind I edited the Bande Mataram for four months and wrote 6½ volumes of the 'Arya, not to speak of all the letters and messages etc. etc. I have written since.”[1]

(Mother's second meeting with Sri Aurobindo):

“I sat down – it was on the verandah of the ‘Guest House’, I was sitting there on the verandah. There was a table in front of him, and Richard was on the other side facing him. They began talking. Myself, I was seated at his feet, very small, with the table just in front of me – it came to my forehead, which gave me a little protection ... I didn’t say anything, I didn’t think anything, try anything, want anything – I merely sat near him. When I stood up half an hour later, he had put silence in my head, that’s all, without my even having asked him – perhaps even without his trying.
         Oh, I had tried – for years I had tried to catch silence in my head ... I never succeeded. I could detach myself from it, but it would keep on turning ... But at that moment, all the mental constructions, all the mental, speculative structures ... none of it remained – a big hole.
         And such a peaceful, such a luminous hole!
         Afterwards, I kept very still so as not to disturb it. I didn’t speak, above all I refrained from thinking and held it, held it tight against me – I said to myself, “make it last, make it last, make it last ...”
         Later on, I heard Sri Aurobindo saying that there were two people here to whom he had done this and as soon as there was silence, they panicked: “My God, I’ve gone stupid!!” And they threw it all overboard by starting to think again.
         Once it was done, it was done. It was well-rooted.
         For years, from 1912 to 1914, I did endless exercises, all kinds of things, even pranayama – if it would only shut up! Really, if it would only be quiet! ... I was able to go out (that wasn’t difficult), but inside it kept turning.
         This lasted about half an hour. I quietly remained there – I heard the noise of their conversation, but I wasn’t listening. And then when I got up, I no longer knew anything, I no longer thought anything, I no longer had any mental construction – everything was gone, absolutely gone, blank! – as if I had just been born.”[2]

“The mental silence Sri Aurobindo gave you in 1914, about which you were speaking the other day ...

It has never left. I have always kept it. Like a smooth white surface turned upwards. And at any moment at all ... You see, we speak like a machine, but there nothing moves; at any moment at all it can turn towards the heights. It’s ALWAYS turned like that, but we can become aware of it being like that. Then, if we listen, we can hear what comes from above. My active consciousness, which was here (Mother points to her forehead), has settled above, and it has never again moved from there.”[3]

  1. Letters on Yoga – I, p.150
  2. Mother's Agenda 1951-1960, 20 September 1960
  3. Ibid., 11 October 1960

See also