Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1956-05-09

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Transcript of:
Mother's Questions and Answers: May 9, 1956
by Loretta, 2016 (44:36)
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There are many definitions from many teachings for what a true spiritual life is. But we have Mother's definition here. In this class, Mother says that our true spiritual life begins when we are in conscious communion with our own individual soul: our psychic being. Before that, we do not have the spiritual life.

She also says that the true value of a person is only his or her union with the divine consciousness, and their union with their own psychic being; because it is the psychic being where one finds the divine consciousness. The psychic being is that part of us which is the divine consciousness. And so the closer we are to that, the closer we are to our own soul as well.

When the rest of our being is in conscious communion with our psychic being (our soul), when it is really forward, then it's ruling our life, instead of the mind ruling our life, or feelings ruling our life. This much larger and comprehensive part – when this is ruling our life, everything goes more easily. Life goes more easily; Yoga goes more easily. All this makes perfect sense, because our soul is the truest part of us.

Our more outer being – with all its different planes and parts, and its endless needs and desires and wants – is like a screen in front of our consciousness. It covers our perception of our true essence. Also, we're always turning our attention to outward things – not to our own, real, inner existence. Finding one's psychic being is the first step for Sri Aurobindo's Yoga.

It's a very big step. People struggle with it for years. We know it should be done; but we're lost as to how to do it, as to what it is, as to where it is. It's a strange thing that this should be such a mystery, that we should be so completely unaware of the most important part of us.

But then, are we really so unaware of it? When we do find it – when we are sure enough that we are feeling our soul, or that our soul is forward – we find that it is actually us. Essential us: the quintessence of who we are, and who we've always been.

Mother and Sri Aurobindo give us good information about what the soul does in us. And this helps us to see our soul; helps us to see it active in our lives, and we can recognize it more and more.

They say it is our psychic being which aspires to the divine consciousness. Our soul is the part of us that looks for Truth, and beauty; which wants goodness. So, we are doing this – but it comes from our soul. And this tells us where our soul is. This tells us that our soul is functioning. Our psychic being is here in us for the purpose of putting us in contact with the divine forces. The source of our sincerity, the source of our will, the source of our perseverance and endurance in our search for the Divine – is only the psychic being. So if we are searching, it means our soul is forward, and is active.

And Mother says that when we want to do the Yoga, and we are really trying to do it as well as we can, it shows that we have a developed, active soul.

Mother says that the expression of a true psychic life, in our being, is peace – a joyful serenity. Therefore, any suffering is a very precious and important indication for us, of our weak point. It shows us the point in us which demands a greater spiritual effort.

Compassion is essentially a psychic virtue; gratitude is a psychic virtue. These things appear in our consciousness only when the soul has taken part in our active life. So we can see that if we are already like this – more, less, but like this – that our soul is already forward in us.

Mother says that when you want to know what your soul knows, you have to make an inner effort; to be very attentive. And indeed, if you are attentive, behind the outer noise of the mind and the vital you can discern something: something very quiet, very peaceful. This something knows, and says what it knows. But the insistence of the mind and the vital are so imperious, while our soul is so quiet, that we are very easily misled into listening to the one that makes the most noise. And most often we become aware of it only afterwards. We see that the quiet voice was the right one.

The voice of the soul does not impose itself. It does not compel you to listen; because it is without violence. In us, and through us, the soul seeks for truth and beauty and good. So it lives this way and it acts this way. Mother says that in order to know things as they are – as they truly are – you must first unite with your soul. And to unite with your soul, you must want it, with persistence and perseverance.

She says (and I think this is very important) – she says that it is only the degree of concentration on the goal – which is to say to realize the goal, to realize how to have our soul active – only the degree of concentration on the goal is what shortens the way for us.

Sri Aurobindo speaks a lot about the soul also. In one of his letters he advises us that we should concentrate in the heart, to bring our soul forward. And by 'the heart' he means in our subtle center, in the center of the chest: in our heart chakra. He says that:

“The concentration in the heart opens within and by following this inward opening and going deep one becomes aware of the soul or psychic being, the divine element in the individual. This being unveiled begins to come forward, to govern the nature, to turn it and all its movements towards the Truth, towards the Divine”[1]

And he goes on to say that it calls down into our nature all that is above.

“To concentrate in the heart centre with the offering of oneself to the Divine and the aspiration for this inward opening and for the Presence in the heart”[2] is the most natural beginning for spiritual work and progress. And he also says that if we do this persistently, we will have a result. And our soul will come forward. In another place he says:

“Aspiration constant and sincere and the will to turn to the Divine alone are the best means of bringing forward the psychic being.”[3]

He also says:

“If desire is rejected and no longer governs the thought, feeling or action and there is the steady aspiration of an entirely sincere self-giving, the psychic usually after a time opens of itself.”[4]

Mother doesn't speak at length about the soul here, today, in this class. Or about the divine presence. It's not a long class today; the rest of the class is taken up by a question on the new supramental manifestation. This question is asked by the same disciple who asked the question last time about people coming to the Ashram who wanted to profit from the appearance of the new consciousness. And if we analyze what he's doing in this class, we begin to think that just perhaps, he was also talking about himself.

This week the class is shorter, because there are very few questions. No one else has any questions about the new Force, and now we can understand why. It's too new – people have not yet had experience with it. But this disciple has his own agenda. And he perseveres.

His questions are very useful for us, today, almost sixty years later. Because he seems to come from a position of personal interest, which we all have inside us, and which we just might feel shy to ask. Because these kinds of questions show our ignorance to others around us. Or perhaps, because it shows that we have too much ego, and we're not comfortable to show that.

You have to admire this guy's courage, to do what he's doing. He's in a large gathering of people whom he knows and knows well; and people who he lives with and interacts with, in a very small limited environment, every day of his life. Ashramites expect to remain in the Ashram, which means they will be together – acting with each other, seeing each other – for the rest of their lives.

This week, his question brings out Mother's sense of humor. And she is really funny. He is like the classical 'straight man' in a comedy routine. He asks his question; and Mother's answers eventually get to be really hilarious. We're going to hear everybody laughing if we listen to the tape. Mother also starts laughing as she goes on replying to him. But our questioner remains perfectly serious, perfectly focused throughout. He perseveres until he gets the answer to a question which is clearly very important for him.

And we are fortunate, because we get another beautiful experience of Mother – of another side to her personality. Of her patience and forbearance with the ignorance that we all have.

When you follow their teachings down through the years, you begin to see that Mother and Sri Aurobindo said the same things, over and over, over and over, for decades. They had to repeat them endlessly to the ashramites, and then also to everyone else who came along. They came here to bring the new Force, and they never stopped helping humanity and the earth.

We have the original French tape-recording of the class; it'll play after the English translation. It is full of long silences; Mother is waiting for questions which never come. But at the end, you can hear how she speaks; you can hear her laughing.

So here we are again, we're in Mother's class. It's the 9th of May, 1956. Everyone is seated around Mother on the sand in the playground. People are standing along the walls of the sides. Mother reads: she reads her French translation of Sri Aurobindo's The Synthesis of Yoga. And then she turns to a child and she says...

9 May 1956[5]

[Do you have something to say?]

[(Long silence)]

[Is that all? No questions?]

[Sweet Mother, I want to ask something outside of the reading.]

[If it's interesting, yes.]

[To me it's interesting.]
Sweet Mother, where does our true spiritual life begin?


[Where does our true spiritual life begin?]

[What does that mean?]

[Sri Aurobindo has written something in the letters.]

[Begin the true spiritual life? On which plane?] The true spiritual life begins when one is in communion with the Divine in the psychic, when one is conscious of the divine Presence in the psychic and in constant communion with the psychic. Then the spiritual life begins, not before. The true spiritual life.

When one is united with one’s psychic being and conscious of the divine Presence, and receives the impulses for one’s action from this divine Presence, and when the will has become a conscious collaborator with the divine Will — that is the starting point.

Before that, one may be an aspirant to the spiritual life, but one doesn’t have a spiritual life.

Sweet Mother, I would like to have the explanation of a sentence. Sri Aurobindo has said somewhere, “Materially you are nothing, spiritually you are everything.”[6]

[Then? What explanation do you want?]

[The meaning, Sweet Mother.]

[The meaning?] That means that it is the Spirit, the spiritual consciousness and the divine Presence which give to life all its value, that without this spiritual consciousness and divine Presence life has no value.

The same holds true for the individual, whatever his material capacities and the material conditions in which he lives, his only worth is that of the divine Presence and the spiritual consciousness in him.

And so from the point of view of the truth of things, a man who has no material possessions and no remarkable capacities or possibilities, but who is conscious of his psychic being and united with the Divine in him, is infinitely greater than a ruler upon earth or a millionaire who possesses considerable material power but is unconscious of his psychic being.

From the point of view of the truth, it is like that. This is what Sri Aurobindo means: no apparent and outer things have any true value. The only thing which is valuable is the divine consciousness and union with the Spirit. [This is what that says.]

[(Long silence)]

[Is that all?]


[(And then the disciple who asks all these kinds of questions says to Mother:)]
Mother, according to what you said last time, there is still the question of those who are not consciously open to the new Force. Then how will they be influenced? Will it be by the spiritual force but not by the supramental?

What, what, what?

What difference do you make between the spiritual force and the supramental?

No. But you said that those who have done nothing or have not given themselves, how can they hope to be influenced or to profit by this Force? Those who are here but are not consciously open, will they be influenced also?

Influenced, yes.

They will also be helped?

But if they don’t care to be helped! [(And he starts to speak, but she goes on.)] You want to help them despite themselves?

If one aspires, wants the help, even if the opening is very small, still there is necessarily some opening. But if one doesn’t want to be helped... Or rather, I could say there are people who are sure they don’t need to be helped, they feel that they can help themselves quite well, that they need no help, that it is they who do the work, they who make the progress, they who do everything. So they don’t want help, they feel no need for it. Why do you want them to be helped when they don’t care for it?

But you said that even the blind will be obliged to realise it.

[What, what?] I said that it will be visible even to those who are ill-willed — is that what you mean? [Is that the sentence?] But that’s quite different. When you receive a punch on the nose, you have to recognise something [(the children begin to laugh)] even though it hasn’t helped you!

No. When one recognises this Force...


One is bound to be open...

Yes. [Then?]

So even one who didn’t want to be helped so far, will want it.

Recognise this Force? — Oh! when he has received the punch! (Laughter)

Perhaps. It may happen. Anything can happen.

So, even one who is now unconscious will open under the blow.

And then? What is your conclusion? What do you expect to happen?

That is to say, he will see that it is a miracle.

That he’s been punched? (Laughter)

He won’t call that a miracle, he will call it a bad deed. He will say, “That’s bad luck, it’s my unfortunate fate, it is an injustice”, he will say anything at all, as people are in the habit of saying.

But what I have not yet caught is the point of your question. What are you driving at? You mean the whole world whether it wants it or not, whether it aspires or not, whether it recognises it or not, will sooner or later come under the influence of the supramental presence on earth — is that what you mean?


Ah! what a pity, for that had some meaning. (Laughter) And I would have answered, “Yes” — and then it would have been over!

No. Those who are half open...
[(the children laugh really loud, you can hear them on the tape, and Mother is laughing)]

They will receive half more than those who are not open at all! (Laughter)

[(He's very serious. Everyone is having a good time, and he's very serious...)]
This manifestation will make them aspire more?

[What? What is it?]

[(Someone else, another older disciple)] It is if this manifestation will make them aspire more.

Ah! that I don’t know. It must depend on the case. For each one it will be different.

Is it for yourself you are pleading?

[(And then you hear everyone laughing! All the disciples, all the children; Mother is laughing.)]

[Is it that? Oh! It is for that that you want to know! What will happen to you, yes?]

Set your mind at rest, it will be quite all right. I could almost say as for the banner of Joan of Arc: “You have shared in the labour, you will share in the Glory.” There then, are you satisfied?

[(And the tape runs a little longer, but we never hear his answer.)]

Le 9 mai 1956[7]

Douce Mère, où est‑ce que commence notre vraie vie spirituelle ?

La vraie vie spirituelle commence quand on est en communion avec le Divin dans le psychique, quand on est conscient de la Présence divine dans le psychique et que l’on est en constante communion avec le psychique. Alors la vie spirituelle commence, mais pas avant. La vraie vie spirituelle.

Quand on est uni à son être psychique et conscient de la Présence divine, et que l’on reçoit l’impulsion de ses actes de cette Présence divine, et que la volonté est devenue une collaboratrice consciente de la Volonté divine, c’est le point de départ.

Avant cela, on peut être un aspirant à la vie spirituelle, mais on n’a pas de vie spirituelle.

Douce Mère, je voudrais l’explication d’une phrase. Sri Aurobindo a dit quelque part : « Matériellement vous n’êtes rien, mais spirituellement vous êtes tout. »

Cela veut dire que c’est l’Esprit, la conscience spirituelle et la Présence divine qui donnent toute la valeur à la vie, que, sans cette conscience spirituelle et cette Présence divine, la vie n’a aucune valeur.

De même dans l’individu, quelles que soient ses capacités matérielles et les conditions matérielles dans lesquelles il vit, il n’a de valeur que celle de la Présence divine en lui et de la conscience spirituelle en lui.

Ce qui fait qu’au point de vue de la vérité des choses, un homme qui ne possède rien matériellement et qui n’a pas de capacités ni de possibilités remarquables, mais qui est conscient de son être psychique et qui est uni au Divin en lui est infiniment plus grand qu’un souverain sur la terre, ou qu’un milliardaire qui possède une puissance matérielle considérable, mais qui est inconscient de son être psychique.

Au point de vue de la vérité, c’est comme cela. C’est cela que Sri Aurobindo veut dire : toutes les choses apparentes et extérieures n’ont aucune valeur véritable. La seule chose qui ait une valeur, c’est la Conscience divine et l’union avec l’Esprit.

Mère, d’après ce que vous avez dit la dernière fois, il reste encore la question de ceux qui ne sont pas ouverts consciemment à la nouvelle Force. Alors, comment seront-ils influencés ? Est‑ce par la Force spirituelle et non par la Force supramentale ?

Quoi, quoi, quoi ?

Quelle différence faites-vous entre la Force spirituelle et la Force supramentale ?

Non... mais vous avez dit que ceux qui n’ont rien fait ou qui ne se sont pas donnés, comment espéreraient-ils être influencés ou profiter de cette Force ? Ceux qui sont ici, qui ne sont pas consciemment ouverts, est‑ce qu’ils seront aussi influencés ?

Influencés, oui.

Ils seront aidés également ?

Mais s’ils ne tiennent pas à être aidés ! Vous voulez les aider en dépit d’eux-mêmes ?

Si l’on aspire, que l’on désire l’aide, même si l’ouverture est toute petite, il y a nécessairement une ouverture. Mais si l’on ne désire pas être aidé... Ou plutôt, je pourrais dire qu’il y a des gens qui sont persuadés qu’ils n’ont pas besoin d’être aidés, qu’ils s’aident eux-mêmes tout à fait suffisamment, qu’ils n’ont besoin d’aucune aide, que c’est eux qui font le travail, que c’est eux qui font les progrès, que c’est eux qui font tout. Alors, ils ne veulent pas être aidés, ils n’en sentent aucun besoin. Pourquoi voulez-vous qu’ils soient aidés puisqu’ils n’y tiennent pas !

Mais vous avez dit que ceux qui sont même aveugles seront obligés de réaliser.

J’ai dit que ce sera visible pour ceux mêmes qui sont de mauvaise volonté — est‑ce cela que vous voulez dire ? Mais c’est tout à fait différent. Quand vous recevez un coup de poing sur le nez, vous pouvez être obligé de reconnaître quelque chose sans que cela vous ait aidé !

Non, quand on reconnaît cette Force...


On est forcément ouvert...


Alors, même celui qui n’a pas voulu être aidé jusqu’ici, il le voudra.

Reconnaître cette Force ? Oh ! quand il a reçu le coup de poing ! (rires)

Peut-être. Cela peut arriver. Tout arrive.

Donc, même celui qui est ici inconscient, le coup le rendra ouvert.

Et puis ? Quelle est votre conclusion ? Qu’est‑ce que vous attendez qu’il se produise ?

C’est-à-dire qu’il verra que c’est un miracle.

Qu’il a reçu un coup de poing ! (rires)

Il n’appellera pas cela un miracle, il appellera cela une mauvaise action. Il dira : « C’est une malchance, c’est mon mauvais destin, c’est une injustice dans le monde », il dira n’importe quoi, comme ils ont l’habitude de dire.

Mais ce que je n’ai pas encore saisi, c’est le but de votre question. À quoi tendez-vous ? Vous voulez dire que le monde tout entier, qu’il le veuille ou qu’il ne le veuille pas, qu’il aspire ou qu’il n’aspire pas, qu’il reconnaisse ou qu’il ne reconnaisse pas, subira tôt ou tard l’effet de la présence supramentale dans le monde — c’est cela que vous voulez dire ?


Ah ! c’est dommage, parce que cela avait un sens. (rires) Et je vous aurais répondu « oui » — et puis cela aurait été fini !

Ceux qui sont à moitié ouverts...

Ils recevront moitié plus que ceux qui ne sont pas ouverts du tout ! (rires)

Cette manifestation les rendra plus aspirants ?

Ah ! ça, je ne sais pas. Cela doit dépendre des cas. Pour chacun ce sera différent.

C’est pour vous que vous plaidez ?


Oh ! Oh ! C’est pour savoir ce qui vous arrivera à vous ?

Soyez tranquille, ce sera très bien. Je pourrais presque dire comme pour l’étendard de Jeanne d’Arc : « Vous avez été à la peine, vous serez à l’honneur. » Voilà, vous êtes satisfait ?


  1. Letters on Yoga – II, p.6
  2. Ibid.
  3. Letters on Yoga – III, p.360
  4. Ibid., p.349
  5. Questions and Answers 1956, p.135
  6. Essays in Philosophy and Yoga, p.7, “The Ideal of the Karmayogin”
  7. Entretiens 1956, p.152