Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1955-09-14

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Transcript of:
Mother's Questions and Answers: September 14, 1955
by Loretta, 2015 (38:00)
Audio icon.png Listen on Auroville Radio →

Mother wrote three plays for the drama students in the school – and now she's going to read one. Mother's play is called “The Great Secret”. It was written in 1954. It was Mother's idea – and she wrote three of the seven parts – but she asked four other people to write the other four parts, based on their field of expertise. And she guided the whole thing.

Here is the story as the play opens: six of the world's most famous men are on a life-boat, rescued from a sinking ship. A seventh, unknown man, sits at the helm. In the end, he's going to give all the six men the way out of their difficulties. Death is approaching; there's no hope of rescue. And each of the six men tells the story of his life.

Mother's three plays are printed in Volume 12 of her Collected Works, if anyone wants to read them.

Towards the Future
Towards the Future icon.jpg
The Ascent to Truth
The Ascent to Truth icon.jpg
The Great Secret
The Great Secret icon.jpg
PDF (19 pages) PDF (16 pages) PDF (27 pages)

The six famous men are the Statesman, the Writer, the Scientist, the Artist, the Industrialist, and the Athlete. They were on their way to a conference on human progress when their ship sank. So Mother is going to read the first person telling the story of his life – it's one that she wrote, and it's the speech by the Statesman.

The Statesman speaks of the high ideals he had as a youth; but he concludes by saying that he is now sad and disillusioned. And although he tried his best to bring about peace between the nations, and to bring about collaboration for the good of all – he says that even though people think he is a great statesman, when he became the Prime Minister, he was compelled to wage war. And though he had high ideals all of his life, he had to win the war by unscrupulous means, and uncharitable decisions. He told about different things which he'd learned in his life, which made him have to resort to compromises. And finally, he confesses that he feels his own weakness, and that he lacked the true knowledge and power to fulfill his high hopes.

Mother tells the children that she based this character on a real person; but she never tells who he is.

It's interesting to look back at the progress of the last few classes. Two classes ago, Mother learned that the children were reading these comic books, the Illustrated Classics. When she found out that they were all reading them, she didn't give them a meditation; and she had explained to them why they should not be reading, during the course of the class.

One class ago, a child asks about singing cinema songs; and Mother explained about singing cinema songs, and how they were pretty useless. Then she gave a meditation which she said was going to be a 'brain bath', a purifying and cleansing light.

Now this week, she's chosen to read something that doesn't speak about Yoga at all. It points our attention to the conditions in the outside world. And this is what Mother talks about in the class.

I asked a couple of people who were in these classes how they responded to this new subject. One of them told me that she understood at the time that Mother wanted to teach them about the outside world. And she said she'd learned a lot; not only that, but things she didn't understand then became clearer as time went on. And she said that she's still learning today from the talks about the world.

It's good to look at some of the events in Mother's life regarding the world, which gave her firsthand knowledge about these kinds of things. About war, and politics, and statesmanship.

Someone in the class brings up the fact that during the war, when Germany attacked England, it was known in the Ashram on which side the Divine forces were – the forces which were fighting against the Asura. The word 'Asura', in Sanskrit, means 'an adverse being; one who fights against the Light and the Truth'. It was well-known in the Ashram that Mother and Sri Aurobindo worked all through the Second World War to keep Hitler from winning. They said that if the forces which moved Hitler were successful, it would set the progress of the world back hundreds and hundreds of years.

Sri Aurobindo called World War II, 'The Mother's War'. Both of them were completely occupied on an occult level, working to make sure that Hitler did not succeed.

Sri Aurobindo said that if Hitler had invaded England, after the collapse of France, he could have been invading Asia – which includes India of course – by 1941. But that another force was set up against him. In 1940, Hitler had declared that he would win the war before August 15th of 1940. August 15th is Sri Aurobindo's birthday. On August 15th, 1940 – the day of Sri Aurobindo's birthday, and the day of the darshan – the radio news at noon said that 144 German planes had been brought down over England in half a day.

Sri Aurobindo said that darshan days are days of great descent.

One month later, on the same date – September 15th, 1940 – Sri Aurobindo said, 'England has destroyed 175 German planes – a very big number. Now invasion of England would be difficult'. And as we know, England was not invaded, and the Allies won the war.

This information, and a lot more information about the Second World War, is in the book Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, written by Nirodbaran.

The Mother was involved in the progress of the earth from the beginning. In Mother's Agenda, there's a conversation where Satprem says to Mother: “In your body's cells, it is therefore a universal progress that is being made, it's the earth that progresses.” And Mother says, “Yes”. And then she's silent for some time, and then she says:

“This body was built for that purpose, because I remember very well that when the war – the First World War – started and I offered my body up in sacrifice to the Lord so that the war would not be in vain, every part of my body, one after another (Mother touches her legs, her arms etc.), or sometimes the same part several times over, represented a battlefield: I could see it, I could feel it, I LIVED it. Every time it was ... it was very strange, I had only to sit quietly and watch: I would see here, there, there, the whole thing in my body, all that was going on. And while it went on, I would put the concentration of the divine Force there, so that all – all that pain, all that suffering, everything – would hasten the preparation of the earth and the Descent of the Force. And that went on consciously throughout the war.
The body was built for that purpose.”[1]

So, we see some of Mother's participation in the First World War. And during the Second World War, Winston Churchill – the Prime Minister of England – was helped and guided by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Churchill was conscious that he was being helped, and he told this to the people around him. Here's a passage from Churchill's speech to the English House of Commons, on October 13th, 1942:

“I sometimes have the feeling – in fact, I have it very strongly – a feeling of interference. I want to stress that I have a feeling sometimes that some guiding hand has interfered. I have the feeling that we have a guardian because we serve a great cause, and that we shall have that guardian so long as we serve that great cause faithfully. And what a cause it is!”

And somewhere else in his speeches, Churchill also says that he believes that if Hitler wins the war, the world will be set back in its progress for hundreds and hundreds of years. This is exactly what Sri Aurobindo had said.

In Nirodbaran's book, Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, he quotes something that the Mother said to him about Churchill. He complained to her that he didn't think it could be, that Churchill could be on the right side in the war, and still keep India in subjugation. The Mother told Nirodbaran this:

“Churchill is a human being. He's not a yogi. He's not aspiring to transform his nature. Today he represents the soul of the nation that is fighting against the Asuras. He is being guided by the Divine directly, and his soul is responding magnificently. All concentration must now be to help the Allies for the victory that is ultimately assured. But, there must not be any looseness, not the slightest opening to the Asuras. After the battle is won, if Churchill's soul can remain still in front, and he continues to be guided by the Divine, he will go very fast in the line of evolution. But, generally on earth this doesn't happen like that. His human mind and vital will take the lead after the crisis is over, and he will come down to the level of the ordinary human being – though, of a higher order.”

Mother and Sri Aurobindo were not only working with people on the level of the Prime Minister of England; they were also in the fighting, down in the trenches with the soldiers. People who came to Auroville in the early days knew John Kelly. John Kelly was a fireman from New York City. He was an 18-year-old soldier in France during the Second World War. And he started having visions of Sri Aurobindo. He called Sri Aurobindo, 'Great Sir'. Then John Kelly had visions of the Mother. And he called her, 'the Heaven Lady'.

Sri Aurobindo appeared numerous times to help John Kelly in the midst of the battle. Sri Aurobindo would suddenly appear and say, “Get away from here!”. Or he would appear and say, “This wall is going to fall – move on”. And John Kelly and his group would move on, and the wall would fall.

Sri Aurobindo would come and guide and he would say, “There will be shelling there”, and so they wouldn't go there. He would tell John to “Do this”, or he would tell John to “Do that”. Sometimes he would say things like, “Go out through the door on your right”. Once he told John to go out and draw the enemy fire. And John didn't want to go out and draw the enemy fire – but finally he trusted Great Sir, and he went out and did draw the enemy fire, and nothing happened to him.

John said that Sri Aurobindo looked the way he looked in the forties when the war was going on, from the photographs of Cartier-Bresson. He had white hair, and beard, and a very golden skin.

Once, John was going to shoot his gun into the lock on a boxcar door, to get the door open. And Sri Aurobindo shouted, “Don't shoot!” And John was in the movement, and ready to pull the trigger, and Sri Aurobindo shouted louder and louder three times, “Don't shoot! Don't shoot! DON'T SHOOT!” And John didn't shoot. Then, he and his men walked around to the back of the boxcar, where there was an open door, and they found that the boxcar was full of bombs. If the bullet had set off one of the bombs in that boxcar, there would have been an explosion that – that I don't think words could even describe.

After the war, John Kelly returned to America, and he was suffering from a very great depression. At one time he thought he was going to die. And then he had a dream – a healing dream. Mother and Sri Aurobindo came to him, and they helped him, and they healed him. He had visions of a place that looked like Auroville. And Sri Aurobindo told him his name, and John Kelly heard the words 'Oro Bendo'. And then Sri Aurobindo told him that he was in India.

Years later, John read The Life Divine, but he didn't associate Sri Aurobindo with 'Oro Bendo'. Probably his being wasn't ready. And then he got involved in the New York Sri Aurobindo Center, and one day there was a magazine with a photo of the Mother. And the photo looked exactly like 'the Heaven Lady' that he had seen in his visions during the war. So then, he knew, that 'Oro Bendo' was really Sri Aurobindo.

Many years later John came to the Ashram – in 1966. And he had Mother's darshan on his birthday. He lived out in Auroville; and I remember John very well. He was a very tall man, kind of stooped over, with very fair hair. And he was very gentle, and very quiet. He lived the rest of his life in Auroville, and passed on in 1985.

At one point in the early days, he was drinking heavily, and some people went to the Mother and asked what should they do. And Mother said, 'Just leave him alone. Just leave him alone'.

So, coming back to the class when Mother's going to speak about statesmanship and politics and war. We hear Mother speaking about financial change and economic change, in the same sentence. People use the words 'finance' and 'economic' quite interchangeably, so I looked them up in the dictionary to see if they meant the same thing – and they don't. This is what Webster's English Dictionary says the definitions are:

finance – money matters on a large scale, involving some degree of complexity, e.g. the circulation of money, the granting of credit, the making of investments, and the provision of banking facilities.
economic – relating to the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services; the management of a thrifty use of resources; care and thriftiness in spending and in using things.

So it's good to know that; then we can really understand exactly what she's saying.

Unfortunately, this week also we don't have the French recording of the class – we only have the English translation.

14 September 1955[2]

(Mother reads The Great Secret, “The Statesman”.)

The Great Secret
The Great Secret icon.jpg
PDF (27 pages)

Sweet Mother, what should be the attitude of a true politician?

But it’s just the attitude of a true politician which I have given here. It’s the ideal politician, my child. One can’t make a better one. It is the circumstances, he says that himself: “a greater force than mine...” it’s the way the world is organised; he started with the best intentions, he tried his very best, he could do nothing, because one can’t do anything in the present circumstances and with politics as it is practised at present. Usually people are not frank enough to say what I have made him say. I have made him speak the truth and this proves that he is extremely frank; otherwise, usually they cover all their misdeeds with beautiful words, but the misdeeds are there all the same. The world is organised in such a way that one can’t be otherwise. If one were a man who did not accept any kind of compromise, one could not remain in politics; one would quite simply be pushed out by the very force of things. There will be a time when all this will change, but not yet. Politics is perhaps the last thing which will change. There are many others which must change before. It is certainly one of the most recalcitrant things.

There are two things which it is very difficult to change: finance and politics; the field of money and the field of government are the two points where man is weakest and most attached to falsehood. So, probably, transformation will come there last of all. One can hope for a social transformation, an economic transformation, a transformation of education; one can hope for all this long before the transformation of politics and of finance. I wrote this precisely to show people what the real state of the world is, and to give an indication of the way to get out of it. But when we are at the point of coming out, you will see that it is not so easy. Perhaps the first thing that will be transformed will be the scientific world, it is possible; because there a very great sincerity is required and a very persevering effort, and these already are qualities which open for you the door to a higher life.... But we shall come to this next time... no, not next time, after two lessons.

Here we are, my children. No other questions? Nobody has anything to say?

Sweet Mother, the politician in the world today who is on the level of the one in the drama, one who is trying to do his best, isn’t he guided by the Divine? Will he find the means of...

He has not said that he was religious at all. He hasn’t told us that. He hasn’t said that it was for spiritual or religious reasons that he was trying to do this.

Note that they are all going to a congress on human progress, they are not going to a religious conference at all. In fact your question makes no sense, because there is nothing in the universe which is not made by the Divine, so from that point of view the question makes no sense. Consciously, in himself, he should be a religious man for him to do something for religious reasons. It is not mentioned, and deliberately not mentioned, so as not to introduce another factor in the problem. He is not doing this at all as a service to the Divine. He is doing it because he has humanitarian ideas and is trying to improve the human situation upon earth, that’s all. All of them, by the way, all are in the same condition.

Mother, as during the war, the last war, there were great statesmen who...

But this is taken almost exactly after one of them, a famous figure.

But they became the Divine’s instruments during the war!

All, all are the Divine’s instruments, if you want to look at it in a certain way. No, they were not at all consciously the Divine’s instruments; not conscious at all, at all, at all. They used to mouth big religious words. I took them away because they were insincerities and I wanted to make my fellow as sincere as possible, and their big religious words were absolutely insincere, it was blackmail; the proof is that they forgot them all immediately as soon as they were victorious.

Mother, how did he know at the end that he had not found the truth if he had not been open...

What! How did he...?

(Pavitra) How did he know that he had not found the truth... if he had not been open to something higher?

But who knew it, my man or the other...

(Pavitra) The moment he is conscious that there is something which he has not found, it means that he was open to something else.

Yes, naturally, all goodwill is open to a deeper consciousness. That goes without saying. I tell you, I have taken very exceptional persons who are ready to understand, otherwise it could not be done. I have made them better than they really are, because all had something else behind their aspiration; they are not aware of it, but these are people on the point of understanding and it is in this way, you see, that I could organise the thing; it is not an exact copy of nature, it is something arranged to prove something — that’s all — as always in literature.

Mother, this gives us the hope that in the world today and especially in India, there are...

Gives the hope! I think that it’s not this that gives the hope; if one had before oneself only the model of those who exist in the world, there wouldn’t be much hope.

Mother, in the present world politics is divided into two big camps, that of America and that of Russia. How will the reconciliation come?

Oh! It is very easy. It’s simply because they don’t at all understand that it is very easy that I say that it is the last thing that will happen. These things are only appearances and superficial ideas and interests — interests! not even true interests: ideas which they have about their interests. But if the true solution were found... not if it were found — perhaps it is found — if the true economic solution were applied, the very basis of their problems would collapse, there would remain only the political attitude which is very, very superficial. It is very shallow, it has no depth, it is above all just words, very hollow words; it sounds very loud because it is hollow, they are big words. But, you see, the only fairly true support of their attitude lies in the two things I have spoken about: a financial support and an economic support. Well, if the economic problem were solved, that is, if the solution were applied, the major part of the support of these political differences would disappear. It is based almost exclusively on an opposite way of looking at the problems of life and the solution of these problems: these think that it is like this, the others think that it is like that. I am speaking of the most sincere ones, not of those who have constructed things out of nothing at all, precisely, as I said, to make a lot of noise and have a lot of influence. But if we go to the heart of the question, there isn’t so much difference.

There are many people — I am speaking of people, not of individuals but governments — who pretend that they are not communists and have a way of acting that’s absolutely communistic, still more drastic than the communists’. Therefore all this is a matter of words. One puts words as one puts a certain cloak on the things one does, it changes just the appearance, but the inside is not very different. Besides, one thing is quite simple, that the whole of mankind follows an evolution, an evolutionary curve, and that there are ages, certain ages in which there is a certain experience which becomes almost universal, that is, terrestrial, entirely terrestrial, but indeed under different names, labels, words; it is nearly the same experience which continues. So there are the old ones which are in the course of disappearing and yet cling on, which yet change the appearance and the substance of certain new things. But it’s only like the tail of something. The whole new movement is going towards an experience which becomes as common as possible, because it is useful only if it is common. If it is localised, it is like a mushroom, it gives no fruit for the general human consciousness. The great human experiences have to be gone through, more or less thoroughly, by the whole of mankind, and it is done in this way. It is only man’s thoughts which fix other words, other forms, other reasons, other justifications, other legitimisations on what they do; but when one comes to the fact it is very similar. Only, in order to do that, particularly, it is necessary to see beyond the simple appearances.

During the war between Germany and England it was known on which side the Divine was, the divine Force which was fighting against the asuric forces...

Known to whom?


Ah, of course!

In present-day politics can we say in which camp...

Unfortunately, things become completely clear-cut in this way — to the extent that one can say these are for and these against — only when there is that frightful materialisation of a war, because at that moment it is obvious that the victory of one side is preferable to the victory of the other, not that these are better than the others—this is understood, that from the divine point of view all are equal in worth, it’s the same thing — but because the consequences of the victory are such that the victory of one side is better than that of another. But this is when the thing becomes absolutely brutal, a reciprocal extermination. Otherwise, to tell the real truth, the divine Force acts for its work everywhere, in men’s errors as in their goodwill, through ill-will as through favourable things. There is nothing that’s not mixed; nowhere is there something which could be said to be truly a pure instrument of the Divine, and nowhere is there an absolute impossibility of the Divine’s using a man or action to go forward on the path. So, as long as things are uncertain, the Divine works everywhere almost equally. If men go in for such a great madness, then it is different. But it is truly a “great madness”, in the sense that it precipitates a whole mass of individuals and wills into an activity which leads straight to destruction — their own destruction. I am not speaking of bombs and the destruction of a city or a people, I am speaking of destruction as it is spoken about in the Gita, you see, when it is said that the Asura goes to his own destruction. That’s what happens, and this is a very great misfortune, because it is always better to be able to save, illumine, transform, than to have to destroy brutally. And it is this terrible choice of the war which is its true horror; it’s that it materialises the conflict so brutally and totally that some elements which could have been saved during peace are, because of war, necessarily destroyed — and not only men and things but forces, the conscience of beings.

Has India a special role to play in present-day politics?

Politics! I told you at the very beginning that politics is something completely... unconverted. Then how can there be a true political role?

India has a role to fulfil in the world. But this is something ideal and one that requires a conversion which... in any case, it has not yet taken place, as far as I know. From the superficial, external point of view she could play her part if she were sincere. That’s all that I can say. But it is also necessary to have the precise knowledge.

(Long silence)

These things cannot be spoken about.

When this Statesman finds the truth, the problems won’t be the same, will they?

What? My Statesman! All must find the truth. Then naturally when they have all found the truth, things will be different. So!... We are going to ponder over this problem!

  1. Agenda, 10 August 1963
  2. Questions and Answers 1955, p.297