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(Medhananda:) “A god is a field of light that is conscious of its eternal programme. All the names of gods are in fact verbs, functions.”[1]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “Among all these living beings, cosmic godheads, superhuman and human and subhuman creatures, and amid all these qualities, powers and objects, the chief, the head, the greatest in quality of each class is a special power of the becoming of the Godhead. I am, says the Godhead, Vishnu among the Adityas, Shiva among the Rudras, Indra among the gods, Prahlada among the Titans, Brihaspati the chief of the high priests of the world, Skanda the war-god, leader of the leaders of battle, Marichi among the Maruts, the lord of wealth among the Yakshas and Rakshasas, the serpent Ananta among the Nagas, Agni among the Vasus, Chitraratha among the Gandharvas, Kandarpa the love-God among the progenitors, Varuna among the peoples of the sea, Aryaman among the Fathers, Narada among the divine sages, Yama lord of the Law among those who maintain rule and law, among the powers of storm the Wind-God. At the other end of the scale I am the radiant sun among lights and splendours, the moon among the stars of night, the ocean among the flowing waters, Meru among the peaks of the world, Himalaya among the mountain-ranges, Ganges among the rivers, the divine thunderbolt among weapons. Among all plants and trees I am the Aswattha, among horses Indra’s horse Uchchaihsravas, Airavata among the elephants, among the birds Garuda, Vasuki the snake-god among the serpents, Kamadhuk the cow of plenty among cattle, the alligator among fishes, the lion among the beasts of the forest. I am Margasirsha, first of the months; I am spring, the fairest of the seasons.”[2]

“What was the nature of Jeanne d’Arc’s vision?

(Mother:) Jeanne d’Arc was evidently in relation with some entities belonging to what we call the world of the Gods (or as the Catholics say, the world of the Saints, though it is not quite the same). The beings she saw she called archangels. These beings belong to the intermediate world between the higher mind and the supramental, the world that Sri Aurobindo calls the Overmind. It is the world of the creators, the “Formateurs”.
         The two beings who were always appearing and speaking to Jeanne d’Arc would, if seen by an Indian, have a quite different appearance; for when one sees, one projects the forms of one’s mind. To what you see you give the form of that which you expect to see. If the same being appeared simultaneously in a group where there were Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, it would be named by absolutely different names. Each would say, in reference to the appearance of the being, that he was like this or like that, all differing and yet it would be one and the same manifestation. You have the vision of one in India whom you call the Divine Mother, the Catholics say it is the Virgin Mary, and the Japanese call it Kwannon, the Goddess of Mercy, and others would give other names. It is the same Force, the same Power, but the images made of it are different in different faiths.”[3]

“You can send your Force to whomever you like — Lenin, Kemal, Gandhi, but how people calling Shiva or Krishna for their Ishta Devata get responses from you, I don’t understand.

(Sri Aurobindo:) Again who is Shiva? and who is Krishna? and what is an Ishta Devata? There is only one Divine, not a thousand Divines.”[4]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “The Devas (the Gods) and the Asuras (the Titans) manifest in man to lead this world or creation to the goal. The Devas manifest to effect a new principle or bring about a change.”[5]

(Mother:) “You know, these gods come to visit me from time to time. Sometimes it is Durga, sometimes, the others. I shall simply say ‘they’, because there are all kinds of gods and goddesses who come and talk to me. But I do not have much time to receive them as I have my own work to do. So, when they come, I do not pay much attention to them because they come to tell me: “If you do this for us, we shall be very happy,” and so on. And you remember, each time I came down for ‘Blessings’ on the Puja days, there was always someone who accompanied me, either Durga, or Lakshmi, there was always someone on those days. And when I need them, I call them. But on that day, when I was waiting for the family – there were others also whom I had already seen – but when they came in, I felt a strong presence of Durga. I was not ready for this intrusion of Durga at that moment because each time these gods come, I know it beforehand. But this time I was not prepared and I said to myself: “What is this intrusion?” Durga came, she descended like a mantle, from above, and entered into me, like this... and to my surprise, I see her talking with this lady who was in front of me. This gentleman, the lady, and the children with A., were in front of me. And they remained for some time. And it is then that I understood why Durga had come. This lady was a worshipper of Durga and it was she who had called Durga. I won't mention the name of this family, but the lady was full of devotion and, while she was with me, I felt that Durga was communicating with her. Then I told myself: “Yes, she was an exceptional lady who could bring Durga with her, even when I did not know it.” It was very interesting, because I was there, and Durga was within me and, maybe, she was seeing Durga.
         I came to know this later, when A. came back. He told me that this lady who was here, was a fervent worshipper of Durga. She had some experiences also. For example, when she was working, Durga used to come to help her, and she remained from time to time under the protection of Durga. And A. said: “And today, when she was there before you, she saw Durga and it was Durga who was speaking with her, that's what she felt, Mother.” It's true, yes, Durga was with me here. You see, how in this world there are no barriers, and one can meet anywhere, or at any time, nothing is limited in these regions.”[6]

(Mother:) “I assure you what I am telling you is very serious: if you seat a real god in a chair and oblige him to remain there all the while you are doing puja, he may perhaps have a little fun watching you do it, but it certainly gives him no satisfaction. None at all! He does not feel either flattered or happy or glorified by your puja. You must get rid of that idea. There is an entire domain between the spiritual and the material worlds which belongs to vital beings, and it is this domain that is full of all these things, because these beings live upon that, are happy with it, and it immediately gives them importance; and the one who has the greatest number of believers, devotees and worshippers is the happiest and the most puffed up. But how can anyone imagine that the gods could value... The gods — I am speaking of the true gods, even those of the Overmind, though they are still a bit... well, so-so... they seem to have taken on many human defects, but still, despite all that, they really have a higher consciousness — it does not please them at all. An act of true goodness, intelligence, unselfishness or a subtle understanding or a very sincere aspiration are for them infinitely higher than a small religious ceremony. Infinitely! There is no comparison.”[7]

(Mother:) “I can tell you one thing: the gods don't have the sense of Oneness. For instance, in their own way they quarrel among themselves, which shows they have no sense of Oneness, no sense of all being one, of all being various expressions of the Divine – the unique Divine. So they are still on this side, but with magnified forms, and powers beyond our comprehension: the power to change form at will, for example, or to be in many places at the same time – all sorts of things that poor human beings can only dream of having. The gods have it all. They live a divine life! But it's not supramental.”[8]

(Mother:) “At one time (laughing), I was very close to all these beings, they used to manifest in me, they would – well, they enjoyed it! And I enjoyed it, too! I was interested; but I never considered it as something essential.”[9]

(Mother:) “There was another meeting earlier, that was a long time back. It was when I used to visit the Playground. One day Durga had come, and I asked her a similar question: “How long do yo want allegiance from the people? Isn't it time we adore the Supreme?” Then She told me gently: “I do want to; I am Thine, but you see, the people cling to me and do not want to leave me.” They are all like that (gesture), – that which goes to aggrandize their egos, that which still wants to follow the past, and the little bit which satisfies them – that they will never abandon, even for the Supreme. It is man who does not want to change, because he does not want to lose his possessions and his ego. It is man who creates the distinction. You see, truly She wanted to work for me in an act of surrender but She was completely tied up by the people who adored Her and sent their prayers for their personal gains and nothing more. Men do not want to give up, as they do not want to lose their support and their ego's satisfaction. They cling and obstruct the way.”[10]

  1. On the threshold of a new age with Medhananda, p.130
  2. Essays on the Gita, p.363, “God in Power of Becoming”
  3. Questions and Answers 1929-1931, p.17
  4. Letters on Himself and the Ashram, p.493
  5. Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p.479, “On the Gods and Asuras”
  6. Sweet Mother - Luminous Notes, p.112
  7. Questions and Answers 1954, p.215
  8. Mother's Agenda, 26 September 1962
  9. Ibid., 16 April 1972
  10. The Supreme – Conversations with the Mother recollected by Mona Sarkar, p.6

See also