Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1956-06-06 part 2

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Transcript of:
Mother's Questions and Answers: June 6, 1956 (part 2 of 2)
by Loretta, 2017 (29:55)
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This is part two of this class. And in the second half of Mother's class, the subject is completely different from the first half. In the first half, Mother explained to the children how to get answers to their questions by taking a book, concentrating on their question for a moment, and then opening the book by inserting something like a thin paper-knife in between the pages. And they would find their answer right there. And she explained exactly how and why the right answer comes.

Sri Aurobindo called this process 'sortilege'. And he used it frequently in his own yoga. He wrote about it in his diary [Record of Yoga].

The first half of the class was only Mother's doing sortileges, and explaining sortileges. But in the second half of the class, Mother is going to speak about some really important things for the Yoga. She actually answers questions from only one disciple. She speaks about what is going to happen to our mind when we go on progressing spiritually: what will the mind be when we receive more and more of the supramental consciousness.

Then Mother goes on to speak in some detail about the experience of something that she calls a 'reversal of consciousness'. This reversal of consciousness is the point where some particular change in our consciousness becomes permanent. Our consciousness can no longer revert back to the way we were before that particular reversal of that part of our consciousness undergoes this change.

This is a point of clear success in yoga practice. And Mother speaks about the fact that it can take quite a long time, and a lot of persistent effort – a lot of yoga practice – for it to come, and to be absolutely stabilized in our being. And she says usually it's only in that part of our being that the change is stabilized. Not in our whole being, our whole consicousness. (That's a huge work.)

Mother uses three Sanskrit words: sadhana, tapasya, and siddhi. Here are Sri Aurobindo's definitions of these words:

  • sadhana is a very well-known word; it means 'spiritual discipline', or 'the practice of Yoga'. It also means 'the process or method leading to siddhi'.
  • siddhi means 'success', 'fulfillment', 'perfection', but not a static condition. A siddhi, according to Sri Aurobindo and Mother, is 'an automatically self-fulfilling movement of growth into a higher divine nature'. Siddhi is the accomplishment of the aims of self-discipline – the self-discipline that is the practice of Yoga. Often people use the word 'siddhi' to just mean 'supernatural powers', but here we see its true meaning, its real meaning. 'An automatically self-fulfilling movement of growth into a higher divine nature'. So we do the work; the siddhi comes automatically, self-fulfilling.
  • tapasya means 'a concentration of will and energy to control the nature'. Tapasya also means 'rigorous discipline'. And another definition of tapasya is 'physical austerity'.

So when Mother says this sentence:

“For the sadhana, tapasya is one thing and the siddhi another, quite a different thing.”[1]

If we use the English meanings – Sri Aurobindo's translations of the Sanskrit words – she is saying:

“For the practice of yoga, the concentration of the will and energy to control the nature is one thing; the fulfillment and perfection of growth into a higher divine nature, another, quite a different thing.”

When Mother speaks about what happens to us when we have a reversal of our consciousness in some part of our being, she compares it to the reversal of light in a prism. When we have a prism and we turn it, pure light is no longer seen as pure light; it is seen through its many colors. Each color has its own vibratory rate scientifically, and if we see something that is, let's say, red – what we see is a vibration of that red only. Because what we're seeing is full of red vibrations. It radiates out the red vibrations.

White contains all the colors; it radiates all the colors. Black absorbs all the colors; and it doesn't radiate any color at all. So, light has all the colors; when light goes through a prism, the different sides of the glass of the prism reflect only part of the light. And so we see the different colors coming.

Mother is comparing us to a prism. The complete consciousness, the full light containing everything, the complete consciousness in us, gets broken up into parts. Just as light is seen in its many separate vibratory colors through a prism. When the pure white light shines, the colors are in it, everything is in it. So just as when we have full consciousness, all the separate and apparently unconnected parts of our consciousness unify, and we are one whole. Like a pure, full white light.

So in this context, the reversal of our consciousness brings us from a fragmented collection of incomplete expressions or vibrations of consciousness, into complete consciousness. (That part of our being which experiences this reversal – this final stabilizing of the full consciousness in that part of our being.)

Mother also speaks about doing our own inner work to organize all the parts of our being around the central consciousness, the divine presence in us, our psychic being. She says one sentence which sums up the whole thing. She says:

“[This] is truly the essential and original reason for physical life.”[2]

When Mother spoke about her own childhood, she said that at the age of five, she already knew that she had to organize all the parts of her own being around her divine center.

Most unfortunately, we do not have the original tape recording of Mother saying all these really important teachings. So the class will end after the English translation.

So here we are; we're in the Playground, Mother's Wednesday class. We've been sitting and watching Mother doing sortilege to answer various questions and to give people information. And then another disciple speaks, and he says...


The Synthesis of Yoga, Pt.I, Ch.V:
“The Ascent of the Sacrifice – 1:
The Works of Knowledge – The Psychic Being”

Ch.5 The Ascent of the Sacrifice – 1.jpg
PDF (24 pages)

I had prepared a question. (He takes the Synthesis and reads:)
“The central Consciousness in its turn will take up more and more the outer mental activities of knowledge and turn them into a parcel of itself or an annexed province; it will infuse into them its more authentic movement and make a more and more spiritualised and illumined mind its instrument in these surface fields, its new conquests.... There will be less and less individual choice, opinion, preference, less and less of intellectualisation, mental weaving, cerebral galley-slave labour; a Light within will see all that has to be seen, know all that has to be known, develop, create, organise....
“But this cannot be the whole scope of the transformation.... For, if it were so, knowledge would still remain a working of the mind, liberated, universalised, spiritualised....”[4]

So, what do you want to know?

That means that the spiritualised mind is of no value at all!
Sri Aurobindo says,“If it were so, knowledge would still remain a working of the mind,” the mind “liberated, universalised, spiritualised, but still, as all mind must be, comparatively restricted, relative, imperfect in the very essence of its dynamism.”[5]
I don’t understand.

Yes, it’s clear to me that you haven’t understood! He says it is not like that. That is not what happens, for if it were like that, it would be absurd.

He says later:

“The spiritualised mind will exceed itself and transmute into a supramental power of knowledge.”[6]

If the spiritualised mind continues to function like the ordinary mind, there would be no difference. But in fact that is just the opposite of what happens.

But when it is spiritualised, how can it function as before?

You must not read just one sentence and not read what goes ahead and what follows, because in this way one can prove anything at all.

But here, with you, one doesn’t need to go through all these experiences, isn’t that so, Mother?

Need to go through.... But he has said all along that everyone follows his own path, in his own way, and that no two paths are alike, and each one has his own road. So, what “need”, need for whom? For you? I don’t know. Go through what? Putting one’s ideas in some order? That is quite necessary for everybody perhaps.

I don’t know what you want to know!

To reach the Supermind, Sri Aurobindo says there are stages: first, the mind, then the purified mind, the illumined mind and all that.... Is it necessary for everyone to go through all these stages?

(After a silence) It is likely that a sequence of this kind always occurs. But the duration of the stages and their importance vary considerably according to individuals.... For some the passage may be rapid enough to be hardly perceptible, while for others it may take a very long time; and according to the nature of the resistance in each one, the stress on one or another of these stages varies enormously.

For some, it may be so rapid that it seems almost instantaneous, as though it didn’t exist. For others it may take years.

There is one phenomenon which obviously seems indispensable if one wants the realisation to become stable.... Experiences come, touch the consciousness, sometimes bring great illuminations, then get blurred, retreat into the background and, outwardly, in your ordinary consciousness, you don’t feel that there is a great change, a great difference. And this phenomenon may occur very often, may repeat itself for many years. Suddenly you get a sort of revelation, like an illumination, you are in the true consciousness and have the feeling of having got hold of the real thing. And then, slowly or suddenly, it seems to recede behind you, and you seek but do not find that there is any great change in you.... These things seem to come as heralds or as promises: “See, it will happen”, or to tell you, “Well, have faith, it will be like that.”

And this may recur very often. There is progress, obviously, but it is very slow and hardly apparent.

But then, suddenly — perhaps because one is sufficiently prepared, perhaps simply because the time has come, and it has been so decreed — suddenly, when such an experience occurs, its result in the part of the being where it takes place is a complete reversal of consciousness. It is a very clear, very concrete phenomenon. The best way of describing it is this: a complete reversal. And then the relation of the consciousness with the other parts of the being and with the outer world is as if completely changed. Absolutely like an overturning. And that reversal no longer comes back to the same old place, the consciousness no longer returns to its former position — Sri Aurobindo would say “status”. Once this has happened in any part of the being, this part of the being is stabilised.

And until that happens, it comes and goes, comes and goes, one advances and then has the impression of marking time, and one advances again and then marks time again, and sometimes one feels as though one were going backwards, and it is interminable — and indeed it is interminable. It may last for years and years and years. But when this reversal of consciousness takes place, whether in the mind or a part of the mind, whether in the vital or a part of the vital, or even in the physical consciousness itself and in the body-consciousness, once this is established, it is over; you no longer go back, you do not ever return to what you were before. And this is the true indication that you have taken a step forward definitively. And before this, there are only preparations.

Those who have experienced this reversal know what I am speaking about; but if one hasn’t, one can’t understand. One may have a kind of idea by analogy, people who have tried to describe yoga compare it with the reversal of a prism: when you put it at a certain angle, the light is white; when you turn it over, it is broken up. Well, this is exactly what happens, that is to say, you restore the white. In the ordinary consciousness there is decomposition and you restore the white. However, this is only an image. It is not really that, this is an analogy. But the phenomenon is extremely concrete. It is almost as though you were to put what is inside out, and what is outside in. And it isn’t that either! But if you could turn a ball inside-out, or a balloon — you can’t, can you? — if you could put the inside out and the outside in, it would be something like what I mean.([7])

And one can’t say that one “experiences” this reversal — there is no “feeling”, it is almost a mechanical fact — it is extraordinarily mechanical. (Mother takes an object from the table beside her and turns it upside down....) There would be some very interesting things to say about the difference between the moment of realisation, of siddhi — like this reversal of consciousness for example — and all the work of development, the tapasya; to say how it comes about.... For the sadhana, tapasya is one thing and the siddhi another, quite a different thing. You may do tapasya for centuries, and you will always go as at a tangent — closer and closer to the realisation, nearer and nearer, but it is only when the siddhi is given to you... then, everything is changed, everything is reversed. And this is inexpressible, for as soon as it is put in words it escapes. But there is a difference — a real difference, essential, total — between aspiration, the mental tension, even the tension of the highest, most luminous mind and realisation: something which has been decided above from all time, and is absolutely independent of all personal effort, of all gradation. Don’t you see, it is not bit by bit that one reaches it, it is not by a small, constant, regular effort, it is not that: it is something that comes suddenly; it is established without one’s knowing how or why, but all is changed.

And it will be like that for everybody, for the whole universe: it goes on and on, it moves forward very slowly, and then one moment, all of a sudden, it will be done, finished — not finished: it’s the beginning!


It is usually the first contact with the psychic being which brings this experience, but it is only partial, only that part of the consciousness — or of the activity in any part of the being — that part of the consciousness which is united with the psychic has the experience. And so, at the moment of that experience, the position of that part of the consciousness, in relation to the other parts and to the world, is completely reversed, it is different. And that is never undone. And if you have the will or take care or are able to put into contact with this part all the problems of your life and all the activities of your being, all the elements of your consciousness, then they begin to be organised in such away that your being becomes one unity — a single multiplicity, a multiple unity — complex, but organised and centralised around a fixed point, so well that the central will or central consciousness or central truth has the power to govern all the parts, for they are all in order, organised around this central Presence.

It seems tome impossible to escape from this necessity if one wants to be and is to be a conscious instrument of the divine Force. You may be moved, pushed into action and used as unconscious instruments by the divine Force, if you have a minimum of goodwill and sincerity. But to become a conscious instrument, capable of identification and conscious, willed movements, you must have this inner organisation; otherwise you will always be running into a chaos somewhere, a confusion somewhere or an obscurity, an unconsciousness somewhere. And naturally your action, even though guided exclusively by the Divine, will not have the perfection of expression it has when one has acquired a conscious organisation around this divine Centre.

It is an assiduous task, which may be done at any time and under any circumstances, for you carry within yourself all the elements of the problem. You don’t need anything from outside, no outer aid to do this work. But it requires great perseverance, a sort of tenacity, for very often it happens that there are bad “creases” in the being, habits — which come from all sorts of causes, which may come from atavistic malformation or also from education or from the environment you have lived in or from many other causes. And these bad creases you try to smooth out, but they wrinkle up again. And then you must begin the work over again, often, many, many, many a time, without getting discouraged, before the final result is obtained. But nothing and nobody can prevent you from doing it, nor any circumstance. For you carry within yourself the problem and the solution.


And to tell the truth, the most common malady humanity suffers from is boredom. Most of the stupidities men commit come from an attempt to escape boredom. Well, I say for certain that no outer means are any good, and that boredom pursues you and will pursue you no matter what you try to escape from it; but that this way, that is, beginning this work of organising your being and all its movements and all its elements around the central Consciousness and Presence, this is the surest and most complete cure, and the most comforting, for all possible boredom. It gives life a tremendous interest. And an extraordinary diversity. You no longer have the time to get bored.

Only, one must persevere.

And what adds to the interest of the thing is that this kind of work, this harmonisation and organisation of the being around the divine Centre can only be done in a physical body and on earth. That is truly the essential and original reason for physical life. For, as soon as you are no longer in a physical body, you can no longer do it at all.

And what is still more remarkable is that only human beings can do it, for only human beings have at their centre the divine Presence in the psychic being. For example, this work of self-development and organisation and becoming aware of all the elements is not within the reach of the beings of the vital and mental planes, nor even of the beings who are usually called “gods”; and when they want to do it, when they really want to organise themselves and become completely conscious, they have to take a body.

And yet, human beings come into a physical body without knowing why, most of them go through life without knowing why, they leave their body without knowing why, and they have to begin the same thing all over again, indefinitely, until one day, someone comes along and tells them, “Be careful! you know, there is a purpose to this. You are here for this work, don’t miss your opportunity!”

And how many years are wasted.

  1. Questions and Answers 1956, p.172
  2. Ibid., p.175
  3. Ibid., p.168
  4. The Synthesis of Yoga p.147
  5. Ibid., p.148
  6. Ibid., Ibid.
  7. (See “The Psychic Being and the sudden bursting of its veil” by Alain Grandcolas)