Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1956-04-11

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Transcript of:
Mother's Questions and Answers: April 11, 1956
by Loretta, 2016 (44:41)
Audio icon.png Listen on Auroville Radio →

In this class, Mother explains the dual nature of the creation: Ishwara-Shakti. 'Ishwara' is the supreme Unmanifest; and simultaneously existing is Shakti, his Power of manifestation and [the] manifestation, which he puts forth out of himself. Or which, as Mother said, is also himself – just seen differently.

She says it all in a beautiful and simple way for the children to grasp and to understand. It's a key concept in all of Indian philosophy and yoga; and also in the teachings of other cultures as well.

It's very deep and it's very high, this truth of Ishwara-Shakti. And this concept – the Divine in his being, and the Divine in his force of cosmic realization (realization in the sense of being a concrete manifestation, a physical thing) – is one of the great underlying themes of Savitri. The two-who-are-one is the final secret knowledge that is attained by the great yogi king Aswapati, Savitri's father, the traveler of the worlds.

And we know that this is really Sri Aurobindo, doing his own sadhana. And he spoke often of the fact that it was when he realized the importance of the Mother, the Divine Mother – and of course in this case the Divine Mother embodied by the Mother in the Ashram; but the Divine Mother – in the whole process, that everything kind of clicked into place. In what was going on, and in the Yoga for himself and for everyone.

And in Savitri, Savitri is this divine force of cosmic realization. She is the Divine Mother herself. She takes birth – she takes human birth – to conquer death.

And throughout Savitri, Sri Aurobindo returns to the theme of Ishwara-Shakti again and again. And most of the time he treats it like the greatest relationship of all time – the greatest love affair that anyone could have, that anyone would dream of having.

The very first 'Question and Answer' is about Ishwara – the Divine – creating himself, as his own Shakti. And then Mother speaks about one of the aspects of Shakti: part of her substance which is the power that reveals the creation. Then she explains the difference between the personal Divine and the impersonal Divine.

For many people, Mother and Sri Aurobindo are their personal Divine, because they embody the dual consciousness, Ishwara-Shakti. And it is the full dual consciousness which is the new consciousness that is manifesting now.

We've already noticed in this year of 1956 that it's mostly the girls in the class who are asking the questions. It seemed that when the class had reached the maturity, or the level – the level of understanding and interest about actually doing the Yoga – and they started asking all these really deep and penetrating questions, that we heard mostly girls. And it is still the case. Each week it's been the girls, with an occasional boy student, and that older disciple who seems to have more practical things to ask about (the one Mother works with so she can understand what he wants to know).

One of the things that people who are doing Sri Aurobindo's Yoga are told about, is that the Mother will do the Yoga for them. And that the best thing they can do, to make it easier and to make it really work, is to surrender to her. And this is based on the fact that Mother embodies the consciousness of the divine creatrix Force.

In his book The Mother, Sri Aurobindo says that the Mother stands on the border of the Unmanifest, and “bears in her eternal consciousness the Supreme Divine”[1]. She brings the truths that have to be manifested here into our manifested creation.

Now the new consciousness is coming. And this is what is manifesting on earth eventually, for everyone; and right now consciously only for a few. This is what we're doing the Yoga for. And it is the Mother, the Divine Mother, who brings it: the Divine Mother who is also the creation. And so she is the Force which is manifesting.

When we can be open and surrender to her, she's the best source of the new consciousness in us; and she makes the changes that transform us. This is the swiftest road – the swiftest way – to get full realization and transformation.

We get, in this class, really nice examples of the tender and loving way that Mother is teaching these young people. A lot of that is only on the tape. Some, not all, is in the books. When one listens to the tape, it's not just the words and ideas that Mother responds with; but the way she responds, her voice and the way she speaks to them, is a teaching of love and tenderness.

The original tape will play right after the reading of the English translation.

So it's the 11th of April, 1956. We're sitting in the class; and Mother has just read the French translation of The Synthesis of Yoga. And here in the books they've printed one paragraph, because it's the basis of the next question. And this is what that says...

11 April 1956[2]

(The Synthesis of Yoga, Part I, Chapter IV:
“The Sacrifice, the Triune Path and the Lord of the Sacrifice”)

Ch.4 The Sacrifice, the Triune Path and the Lord of the Sacrifice.jpg
PDF (28 pages)

“On one side, he [the seeker] is aware of an infinite and self-existent Godhead in being who contains all things in an ineffable potentiality of existence, a Self of all selves, a Soul of all souls, a spiritual Substance of all substances, an impersonal inexpressible Existence, but at the same time an illimitable Person who is here self-represented in numberless personality, a Master of Knowledge, a Master of Forces, a Lord of love and bliss and beauty, a single Origin of the worlds, a self-manifester and self-creator, a Cosmic Spirit, a universal Mind, a universal Life, the conscious and living Reality supporting the appearance which we sense as unconscious inanimate Matter.”[3]
Sweet Mother, what does a “self-creator” mean?

Self-creator? It means, that He creates Himself.

Create is taken in the sense of manifesting, of making objective, apparent. So it is His own self that He manifests. It is Himself He manifests, makes evident, objectivises.

In fact, the word “create” is usually taken in another sense: it means to make something out of something else. That is why Sri Aurobindo says “self-creator”, which means that He gives an external form of Himself to Himself. It is a change in the mode of being: instead of being an unmanifested possibility it becomes a manifested reality. It is simply reversed, nothing else. It is the same thing: from this side it is not seen; from that side it is seen—that’s all. You turn it round again and it is seen. You turn it like that and don’t see it, you turn it like this and see it. That’s all. As simple as that.

“On the other side, he becomes aware of the same Godhead in effectuating consciousness and power put forth as a self-aware Force that contains and carries all within her and is charged to manifest it in universal Time and Space.”[4]

Yes, that’s it, that’s exactly what I was saying: from one side it is as if it did not exist, and then it is “put forth”, you see, He does that (gesture), He puts it forth and it becomes visible and existent, and then, instead of being one thing existing all at once, it develops, it is manifested in Time and Space. [(And you hear the girl going “Hm!”, like she's understood.)] This is what Sri Aurobindo says, this is where the idea of Time and Space begins, for it is no longer simultaneous.

[Then he says that 'that' means the human; or does it mean -]

['That' means the consciousness of the Supreme, you see. The Power; the Power and the consciousness, doesn't it?]

[“Put forth as a self-aware Force that [she] contains and carries […] within her and is charged to manifest it in universal Time and Space”]

[The consciousness.]


[(And another girl says:) Sweet Mother, 'the consciousness' of the divine consciousness-Force?]


['The consciousness' of the divine consciousness-Force. What does 'the consciousness that reveals' mean?]

['The consciousness which reveals' means that it again manifests that which is invisible, that which is imperceptible – which reveals, which expresses, which shows. It is the substance which makes the consciousness-Force become perceptible, you see? It is the consciousness-Force which carries out.]

[Here, it says the “divine Conscious-Force” means “World-Mother”.[5]]

[(And Mother is agreeing; she goes “Mhm!”)]

[“...she manifests the multiple Divine in the universe, involving and evolving its endless appearances out of her revealing substance”.[6]]

[It means the substance with reveals. It means that it is the capacity to make perceptible. She has the capacity to make objectively perceptible that which is not manifested; and it is that, that capacity, which makes the substance that reveals.]


[Is that all?]

[Sweet Mother, that duality of Ishwara-Shakti isn't clear.]



[Isn't – ]

[So clear. (And then we hear the voice of a different girl giving some advice to the first girl, and she says, “She has not understood.” And Mother laughs very lightly and gaily, like she's very amused by the children.)]

[It means that – that one has not understood. (And she laughs a little more.) What is it that is not clear?]

[The duality of Ishwara-Shakti.]

The other one is simpler, isn’t it? For it is cut into two, distinct: one is Reality and the other illusion; one is Light and the other darkness; one is Consciousness, the other inconscience; one is Truth, the other falsehood. That is very convenient.

Here, it is much more difficult: it is the same thing which exists in itself, unmanifest, and then, suddenly, it does this (gesture of projection). And it is exactly the same thing, but it is a movement which puts forth what was within. And that’s what makes the world. It is the same thing in a double movement: as when you sleep and when you wake up, or when you remain still and when you begin to move, or when you are silent and then begin to make a noise, it is like that. One movement is within, containing everything in itself, without any expression of what is there; and the other movement is just this (same gesture of projection), and all that is within oneself comes out.

And then, for this to become perceptible, it must be continuous. When it is within, it can be simultaneous, for it is unmanifest, so all is in an eternity outside Time and Space — immobile, inexistent. In the opposite direction, everything becomes and so there is a continuity of perceptions which follow one after another and spread out in Space and Time.

And it is the same thing.

It is exactly as if you are like this (gesture of being doubled up), and then you do this (gesture of opening) — and so what was there comes out. So these two movements are literally opposite, but it is the same thing in two opposite attitudes which are simultaneous: it remains like this (inward gesture), and at the same time it is like this (outward gesture); the one does not cancel out the other and they exist simultaneously. But in one direction it is imperceptible because it is contained within itself, in the other movement it is thrown outside, and so it can be seen. And when it is self-contained, it is co-existent in a perfect simultaneity; and in the other movement, it unfolds itself in a constant becoming. And when it unfolds itself, it necessarily creates Time and Space, while there it is outside Space, outside Time and beyond all possible perception. But it is the same thing in two opposite movements.

And that is what truly is.

It is like that. And when it does this (outward gesture), it does not cease to be like that (inward gesture); that is to say, when it is self-contained, it does not cease to manifest itself and when it manifests, it does not cease to be self-contained. To put it otherwise, it is a permanent and simultaneous duality, but it is the same thing, one single thing in two opposite aspects.

Has all this gone in a little? No?

Nothing? You have nothing more to ask?

Sweet Mother, may I ask you a question I have already asked before? For I haven’t understood you properly.

Ah! let us see if I can make myself clearer.

I haven’t yet understood the meaning of “Personal” and “Impersonal”: “The two great elements of the divine Mystery, the Personal and Impersonal, are here fused together.”[7]


You, you are personal, aren’t you? You feel you are a person. And then there’s the air, you don’t feel the air is a person — so the air is impersonal.

This is not altogether correct, it is an analogy: the air, wind, water, do have a personality, but this is only to make you understand. To the air you cannot give a precise and definite form, it is everywhere: in your body, outside your body, here, there; but it has no precise form. It has an exact, precise composition, but of course we are not talking about chemistry, we are speaking only of the appearance. You don’t get the feeling of a person when you think of the air.

I wouldn’t say as much of water, because water has very specific characteristics. The water of one river is not the same as that of another; and this is perceptible, so it also has something of a personal character.

But air or steam gives you the impression of something which is not a person; well, that’s it. When a force or a quality manifests in a definite body like yours or someone else’s, it becomes personal. But when it is everywhere at the same time and without particular characteristics, expressed in an indefinite way, it is called “impersonal”.

So, the personal God is the God to whom a form is given. For example, the inner God of each one is a personal God, for He has a personal relation with each one, He is the God who belongs to this person, who is his very own.

But something which has neither form nor characteristics nor any definite outline of any kind, and with which one cannot have a personal relation — that is the impersonal Divine.

And so Sri Aurobindo says that there is a state in which the two are one. Still it is the same thing: it is like the right and wrong side of the same material. If you approach the Divine in a certain way, you meet Him in His impersonal form, that is to say, you cannot have any personal contact with Him. But if you approach Him in the other way, you meet Him as a person — who is quite out of proportion to your little person, but with whom you can have personal relations. And yet it is the same Divine, seen in this way or that. [And that is what he means, you see. Do you understand better, or not? Not yet?]

[(And the boy says, yes, he understands.)]


[Is that all? Is there anything more?]

[No? Finished?]

[It has been long.]

Le 11 avril 1956[8]

Douce Mère, que veut dire un « Créateur de soi » ?

Créateur de soi ? Cela veut dire qu’Il se crée Lui-même.

Créer est pris dans le sens de manifester, de rendre objectif, apparent. Alors c’est Soi-même qu’Il manifeste. C’est Lui‑meme qu’Il manifeste, qu’Il rend évident, qu’Il objective.

Au fond, le mot créer est généralement pris dans un autre sens : cela veut dire faire quelque chose avec quelque chose d’autre. C’est pour cela que Sri Aurobindo a dit « de soi », cela veut dire que c’est de Lui-même, c’est à Lui-même qu’Il donne une forme extérieure. C’est un changement de mode d’être : au lieu d’être une possibilité non manifestée, cela devient une réalité manifestée. C’est simplement renversé, pas autre chose.

C’est la même chose : de cette façon-ci, ça ne se voit pas ; de cette façon-là, ça se voit — c’est tout. On retourne et ça se voit. On tourne comme cela, on ne voit pas ; on tourne comme ça, on voit. C’est tout. Aussi simple que cela.


« ... de l’autre [côté], il perçoit le même Divin en tant que conscience et puissance réalisatrices [Shakti] émanant une Force consciente qui contient tout et porte tout en elle-même et qui est chargée de manifester le Divin dans le temps et dans l’espace universels. »

Oui, c’est cela, c’est exactement ce que je disais : d’une façon, c’est comme si cela n’existait pas, et puis c’est « poussé en avant », n’est‑ce pas, Il fait comme cela (geste), Il le pousse en avant et cela devient visible et existant et alors, au lieu d’être une chose qui existe tout en même temps, ça se développe, c’est manifesté dans le temps et dans l’espace. C’est ce que dit Sri Aurobindo, c’est là que commence la notion de temps et d’espace, parce que ce n’est plus simultané.

Sri Aurobindo a d’abord parlé de la dualité Brahman-Mâyâ (l’Existence éternelle et l’existence du monde), et maintenant il parle de la dualité Îshwara-Shakti (le Divin en son Être et le Divin dans sa Force de réalisation cosmique). Cette dualité Îshwara-Shakti, ce n’est pas clair, n’est‑ce pas ?

L’autre est plus simple, parce que c’est coupé en deux, distinct : l’une est Réalité et l’autre est illusion ; l’une est Lumière et l’autre est obscurité ; l’une est Conscience, l’autre est inconscience ; l’une est Vérité, l’autre est mensonge. Ça, c’est très commode.

Ici, c’est beaucoup plus difficile : c’est la même chose qui existe en soi, non manifestée, et puis qui, tout d’un coup, fait comme ça (geste de projection). Et c’est exactement la même chose, mais c’est un mouvement qui pousse en avant ce qui était au-dedans. Et ça, cela fait le monde. C’est la même chose dans un double mouvement : comme quand tu dors et que tu te réveilles, ou quand tu restes immobile et que tu te mets à bouger, ou quand tu es silencieuse et que tu commences à faire du bruit, c’est comme cela. Un mouvement est audedans, contenant tout en soi, sans aucune expression de ce qui est ; et l’autre mouvement, c’est justement de faire comme ça (même geste de projection), et tout ce qui est en soi vient au-dehors.

Et alors, pour que cela devienne perceptible, il faut que cela se suive. Quand c’est au-dedans, ça peut être simultané parce que c’est non manifesté, alors tout est dans une éternité hors du temps et de l’espace — immobile, inexistant. Dans l’autre sens, tout devient, et alors dans une continuité de perceptions qui se suivent et qui se répandent dans l’espace et dans le temps.

Et c’est la même chose.

C’est exactement comme quand tu es comme ça (geste replié sur soi), et puis que tu fais comme ça (geste d’ouverture) — et ça, cela s’en va dehors. Alors, ces deux mouvements sont littéralement opposés, mais c’est la même chose dans deux attitudes opposées, et qui sont simultanées : cela reste comme ça (geste au-dedans), et en même temps c’est comme ça (geste au-dehors) ; l’un n’abolit pas l’autre et ça existe simultanément. Mais dans un sens, c’est imperceptible parce que c’est contenu en soi, et dans l’autre mouvement, c’est précipité au-dehors, et alors ça se voit. Et quand c’est contenu en soi, c’est coexistant dans une simultanéité parfaite ; et dans l’autre mouvement, ça se déroule dans un devenir constant. Et quand ça se déroule, cela crée nécessairement l’espace et le temps, tandis que là, c’est hors de l’espace, hors du temps et hors de toute perception possible. Mais c’est la même chose en deux mouvements opposés.

Et ça, c’est vraiment ce qui est.

C’est comme cela. Et quand ça fait comme cela (geste audehors), ça ne cesse pas d’être comme cela (geste au-dedans), c’est-à-dire que, quand c’est contenu en soi, ça ne cesse pas de se manifester, et quand ça se manifeste, ça ne cesse pas d’être contenu en soi. Autrement dit, c’est une dualité permanente et simultanée, mais c’est la même chose, une chose unique sous deux aspects opposés.

Ça entre un peu, non ?

Rien ? Tu n’as plus rien à demander ?

Douce Mère, est‑ce que je peux te poser une question que j’ai déjà posée avant ? Parce que je n’ai pas bien compris.

Ah ! Voyons si je serai plus claire.

Je n’ai pas encore compris le sens de « Personnel » et « Impersonnel » : « ... les deux grands éléments du divin Mystère — le Personnel et l’Impersonnel — sont ici fondus l’un en l’autre... »


Toi, tu es personnelle, n’est‑ce pas, tu te sens comme une personne. Et puis l’air, tu ne sens pas l’air comme une personne — alors l’air, c’est impersonnel.

Ce n’est pas tout à fait correct, c’est une analogie : l’air, le vent, l’eau ont une personnalité, mais c’est pour te faire comprendre. L’air, tu ne peux pas lui donner une forme précise et définie, il est partout : dans ton corps, hors de ton corps, ici, là ; mais il n’a pas de forme précise. Il a une constitution exacte, précise, mais enfin nous ne parlons pas de la chimie, nous parlons de l’apparence seulement. Tu n’as pas le sentiment d’une personne quand tu penses à l’air.

Je parle moins de l’eau, parce que l’eau a des caractéristiques très précises. L’eau d’une rivière n’est pas la même que l’eau d’une autre rivière ; et ça, c’est perceptible, alors elle a aussi un caractère un peu personnel.

Mais l’air, ou la vapeur, tu as l’impression de quelque chose qui n’est pas une personne ; eh bien, c’est cela. Quand une force ou une qualité se manifeste dans un corps défini, comme ton corps ou le corps d’un autre, cela devient personnel. Mais quand c’est partout à la fois et sans caractéristiques propres, exprimé d’une façon indéfinie, c’est ce que l’on appelle « impersonnel ».

Alors, le Dieu personnel, c’est le Dieu auquel on donne une forme. Par exemple, le Dieu intérieur à chacun est un Dieu personnel, parce qu’Il est en relation personnelle avec chacun, Il est le Dieu qui appartient à cette personne, qui lui est propre.

Mais quelque chose qui n’a ni forme ni caractéristique et qui n’a aucune délimitation d’aucun genre, et avec quoi on ne peut pas avoir une relation personnelle, cela, c’est la Divinité impersonnelle.

Et alors Sri Aurobindo dit qu’il y a un état où les deux sont un. C’est encore la même chose : c’est comme l’envers et l’endroit de la même chose. Si vous vous approchez du Divin d’une certaine manière, vous Le rencontrez sous sa forme impersonnelle, c’est-à-dire que vous ne pouvez avoir aucun contact personnel avec Lui. Mais si vous L’approchez de l’autre manière, alors vous Le rencontrez comme une personne — qui est hors de proportion avec votre petite personne —, mais avec qui vous pouvez avoir des relations personnelles. Et pourtant c’est le même Divin, vu comme ceci ou comme cela.

  1. The Mother with Letters on the Mother, p.14
  2. Questions and Answers 1956, p.107
  3. The Synthesis of Yoga, p.124
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Entretiens 1956, p.122