Loretta reads Mother's Questions and Answers:1956-11-28

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Transcript of:
Mother's Questions and Answers: November 28, 1956
by Loretta, 2018 (1:20:11)
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Mother is now teaching students about yoga practice from Sri Aurobindo's little book called “Thoughts and Glimpses”. She started last week with the first two aphorisms. At the beginning of last week's class, she said that the same explanation and the same principle applied to the first five aphorisms. And she wondered aloud whether she should read all five and then give their common explanation. She decided not to do that, and she read only the first two.

All this was only on the tape. They don't print these kinds of things in the book. But we're fortunate we have the tape – we can know. So from time to time, there'll be things that are added that you won't find in your book, but they come in the tape.

We can assume that she did decide that it would be better to read all five than to read a few at a time, because this week she reads all five. And then she gives an explanation for all of the first five aphorisms.

On the tape, she also tells the class that on the later aphorisms, Sri Aurobindo explains how to realize what he wrote in the first five. And when Mother finishes speaking about all the five aphorisms, the first question asked by a student is: “When can one say that one is conscious?” Mother gives a wonderful answer. She says it's always a relative question, because it is a progressive state. One is never altogether unconscious, and one is never completely conscious.

When Mother says it is a progressive state to say one is conscious, it brings up the question of whether or not one can completely go out of the existence. He is saying it is the need of evolution to become more and more conscious. And we are part of evolution.

In the Buddhist teachings, ‘getting out’ is the principle goal of spiritual practice. They say that one should sit in meditation, and with a lot of particular kind of inner work, eventually one leaves completely. Sri Aurobindo and Mother say to just meditate in order to rise to the supreme consciousness is only half the story. In last week's class, Mother again told the students this:

“But for us who want to realise almost the very opposite, that is, who, after having identified ourselves with the supreme Reality, want to make It descend into life and transform the world, if we offer to this Reality instruments which are refined, rich, developed, fully conscious, the work of transformation will be more effective.”[1]

Back on January 4th of 1926 – around 90 years ago – a French disciple, Pavitra, had a conversation with Sri Aurobindo, where he asked whether it is true that when the soul succeeds in escaping from the world of forms and enters Nirvana, “is this fusion and loss of individuality final?” And Sri Aurobindo replied to Pavitra:

“Naturally, this is what many people seek. The Absolute has two aspects as the Purusha...”[2]

And we have Sri Aurobindo's definition of ‘Purusha’, he says it is “the Existent who transcends all definition by personality and yet is always that which is the essence of personality.”[3] The “originator, witness, support and lord and enjoyer of the forms and works of Nature.”[4] So this is the Purusha. Then he says:

“The Absolute has two aspects as the Purusha: the transcendent immutable [unchangeable] Purusha and the mutable [changeable] Purusha, as the Gita says. The soul can realise its union with the first: Prakriti [the soul in nature] disappears and the soul escapes from the manifested world, which it considered a falsehood, an illusion or a dangerous trap. But this cannot satisfy, because the Absolute also contains the mutable Purusha, and if the soul wants an integral union, it must realise its oneness with the Divine in the manifestation as well as with the Transcendent.
         Besides, to say that the soul has become finally absorbed in the Absolute is only a way of speaking. Is this liberation final? I am not ready to except this.
         The Absolute has an aspect that knows itself and loves itself through us as intermediaries, and that is the reason for the manifestation.”[5]

This is on page 26 of Pavitra's book, Conversations with Sri Aurobindo. It's a wonderful book, full of wisdom. And it can be obtained through SABDA, the Ashram bookstore, and purchased through them online. Pavitra was French; it may also be available in French.

Conversations with Sri Aurobindo
Recorded by Pavitra

Conversations with Sri Aurobindo.jpg
PDF (168 pages)

There are three more questions after Mother answers this question about knowing when we are conscious. And the last question asked in today's class, is “how can one live without the mental faculty of reason”. Last week, Mother went into great detail about how we unconsciously bind ourselves with reason, and about how we create our own world. But here in this class, this fellow wants to know how he can avoid this (which makes perfect sense). Mother makes it absolutely clear that we cannot disregard reason and being reasonable, as long as we have desires. We can't do it as long as we have attractions and repulsions, or preferences of kind – as long as we have an ego, and a will of our own, we cannot give up reason, because then we would become quite unbalanced, and perhaps insane.

In Book Two, Canto X of Savitri, where the traveller of the world experiences reason and how to get beyond it, Sri Aurobindo describes to us what happens when reason's rigid, carefully-constructed world of fixed rules, based on the outer world, the world of our senses – the limited information that reason has, with which reason tries to create our world, the rules that we unconsciously accept and live by – he explains what happens when suddenly, none of this works anymore. He writes:

All was precise, rigid, indubitable.
But when on Matter’s rock of ages based
A whole stood up firm and clear-cut and safe,
All staggered back into a sea of doubt;
This solid scheme melted in endless flux:
She had met the formless Power inventor of forms;
Suddenly she stumbled upon things unseen:
A lightning from the undiscovered Truth
Startled her eyes with its perplexing glare
And dug a gulf between the Real and Known
Till all her knowledge seemed an ignorance.
Once more we face the blank Unknowable.
In a crash of values, in a huge doom-crack,
In the sputter and scatter of her breaking work
She lost her clear conserved constructed world.
A quantum dance remained, a sprawl of chance
In Energy’s stupendous tripping whirl:
A ceaseless motion in the unbounded Void
Invented forms without a thought or aim:
Necessity and Cause were shapeless ghosts;
Matter was an incident in being’s flow,
Law but a clock-work habit of blind force.
Ideals, ethics, systems had no base
And soon collapsed or without sanction lived;
All grew a chaos, a heave and clash and strife.
Ideas warring and fierce leaped upon life;
A hard compression held down anarchy
And liberty was only a phantom’s name:
Creation and destruction waltzed inarmed
On the bosom of a torn and quaking earth;
All reeled into a world of Kali’s dance. (p.254)

So this is what happens when reason is gone. Clearly there has to be something solid in our being, if that's all going on when reason disappears.

And Mother adds that besides having to be so developed that we are beyond ego, desires and judgments, we also have to be beyond the influences and suggestions of adverse forces.

Looking at the way Sri Aurobindo describes when reason is no longer a dependable part of our mind, it's clear that if a strong adverse vital force takes hold of us, if we are in that state, we would be quite unbalanced. And perhaps as Mother said, we would grow insane.

Mother says that if we're not free from the habit of responding to adverse suggestions, if we give up our reason, and if we're not exclusively under the influence of the Divine, we also give up reason itself. That is, she says, we give up our common sense. And we act in an incoherent way, which may finally become unbalanced.

Sri Aurobindo was known for his sense of humor. The people close to him told stories about his jokes. Nirodbaran published a book which he called Sri Aurobindo's Humor. And in the book he collected particular letters that he received from Sri Aurobindo, where Sri Aurobindo really was very funny.

And when people asked Sri Aurobindo about the Ashram, and complained about the behavior of the early ashramites, he would tell pretty funny stories. Once when he was talking about surrender, he said that when people came to the Ashram to do his yoga of aspiration, rejection and surrender, the first thing that they surrendered was their common sense.

At the end of the class, the last questioner says that it is difficult to “distinguish between true and false reasons”. Mother says he is confusing the mental process of reason as a faculty of discernment – our reason, our function of reason – he is confusing this with the reasons we give ourself to excuse or explain things that we have done or thought. She plays the part of someone giving himself these reasons, and she says:

“But certainly, I did that because it was like that, that’s the real reason; I felt like that, but it was because of this, that’s an excellent reason” — and so on.”[6]

She says it's a means of deceiving oneself and blaming others, and keeping oneself from progressing.

When we look further into how the rest of our mind works, besides this reasoning function, we can see that not only do we do that, but we can see that we have a mental process that helps our self-deception as we do it with our reason.

In Book Seven, the book of Savitri's yoga, in Canto VI, Sri Aurobindo teaches again about how the mind works. He does this in Book Two; he does it again in Book Seven. He says:

This mind is a dynamic small machine
Producing ceaselessly, till it wears out,
With raw material drawn from the outside world,
The patterns sketched out by an artist God. (p.541)

If you want to experience a very common phenomenon, of repeated self-deception created by reason and repetitive, mechanical workings of the ceaseless machine – the ceaseless machine of our mind – you can do this experiment: remember something you did or thought, and want to know why. If you watch your mind, immediately you will see that your mind has given you a reasonable story about it. And as Mother said, you can also watch and see if it's a particularly favorable one for you. But then, go on. Decide that you don't like this reason or this story, or maybe you don't think it's quite accurate. In a second, you will have another set of reasons: another story that could be perfectly acceptable. So then go on, a third time. Decide you don't accept these new reasons also. Without hesitation, your mind and reason will supply you with a third story. If you want to, you can keep doing this and getting more stories. It's a good way to start laughing at what we are, and to see what we're doing without even realizing it.

This week we're lucky, because we've got the original French tape-recording of Mother's class. It will play after the English translation.

It's November 28th, 1956. We're in the Playground, the students are here. People are carrying their little book. And Mother starts, and she starts by saying...

28 November 1956 [7]

[There are the first five paragraphs: “The Goal”.]

“When we have passed beyond knowings, then we shall have Knowledge. Reason was the helper; Reason is the bar.
When we have passed beyond willings, then we shall have Power. Effort was the helper; Effort is the bar.
When we have passed beyond enjoyings, then we shall have Bliss. Desire was the helper; Desire is the bar.
When we have passed beyond individualising, then we shall be real Persons. Ego was the helper; Ego is the bar.
When we have passed beyond humanity, then we shall be the Man. The Animal was the helper; the Animal is the bar.”

Sri Aurobindo, “Thoughts and Glimpses

It is the same principle expressed in all the activities or aspects of the being.... It is obvious that in order to come out of the state of the original inconscience desire was indispensable, for without desire there would have been no awakening to activity. But once you are born into consciousness, this very desire which helped you to come out of the inconscience prevents you from liberating yourself from the bonds of matter and rising to a higher consciousness.

It is the same thing for the ego, the self. In order to pass on to a higher plane, one must first exist; and to exist one must become a conscious, separate individual, and to become a conscious separate individual, the ego is indispensable, otherwise one remains mingled with all that lies around us. But once the individuality is formed, if one wants to rise to a higher level and live a spiritual life, if one wants even to become simply a higher type of man, the limitations of the ego are the worst obstacles, and the ego must be surpassed in order to enter the true consciousness.

And indeed, for the ordinary elementary life of man, all the qualities belonging to the animal nature, especially those of the body, were indispensable, otherwise man would not have existed. But when man has become a conscious, mental being, everything that binds him to his animal origin necessarily becomes a hindrance to progress and to the liberation of the being.

So, for everyone — except for those who are born free, and this is obviously very rare — for everyone this state of reason, of effort, desire, individualisation and solid physical balance in accordance with the ordinary mode of living is indispensable to begin with, until the time one becomes a conscious being, when one must give up all these things in order to become a spiritual being.

Now, has anybody a question to ask on the subject?

Sweet Mother, when can one say that one is conscious?

That is always a relative question. One is never altogether unconscious and one is never completely conscious. It is a progressive state.

But a time comes when instead of doing things automatically, impelled by a consciousness and force of which one is quite unaware — a time comes when one can observe what goes on in oneself, study one’s movements, find their causes, and at the same time begin to exercise a control first over what goes on within us, then on the influence cast on us from outside which makes us act, in the beginning altogether unconsciously and almost involuntarily, but gradually more and more consciously; and the will can wake up and react. Then at that moment, the moment there is a conscious will capable of reacting, one may say, “I have become conscious.” This does not mean that it is a total and perfect consciousness, it means that it is a beginning: for example, when one is able to observe all the reactions in one’s being and to have a certain control over them, to let those one approves of have play, and to control, stop, annul those one doesn’t approve of.

Besides, you must become aware within of something like a goal or a purpose or an ideal you want to realise; something other than the mere instinct which impels you to live without your knowing why or how. At that time you may say you are conscious, but it doesn’t mean you are perfectly conscious. And moreover, this perfection is so progressive that I believe nobody can say he is perfectly conscious; he is on the way to becoming perfectly conscious, but he isn’t yet.

Sweet Mother, what kind of a state is it in which one has passed beyond all enjoyings?

Well, it is a desireless state in which one lives — as Sri Aurobindo explains later — in an Ananda which has no cause, which does not depend on any circumstances, inner or outer, which is a permanent state, independent of the circumstances of life, causeless. One is in Ananda because one is in Ananda. And in fact it is simply because one has become aware of the divine Reality.

But one cannot feel the Ananda unless one has become desireless. If one has desires, all one feels is just pleasures and enjoyments, but that is not Ananda. Ananda has an altogether different nature and can only manifest in the being when the desires are abolished. So long as one is a being of desire, one cannot feel the Ananda; even were a force of Ananda to descend, it would immediately be falsified by the presence of desires.


(Mother unfolds a sheet of paper.) Here I have a question referring to what we said last time about effort, personal effort.

The question is this:

“In the inner life, why are there periods when one can no longer make a conscious effort, and if one enforces it, parts of the nature revolt or else everything in the being seems to become petrified; effort becomes the mechanical repetition of past movements. What should be done at such times?”

This has been very well observed.

What is not mentioned here is the nature of the effort, for it is a certain kind of effort which leads to the result described here, which is either a revolt or a sort of — yes, petrifaction, truly, something that becomes absolutely insensible and no longer responds at all to this effort. This happens when the effort is almost exclusively mental and quite arbitrary, in the sense that it does not at all take into account the state of the rest of the being; it has its own idea, its own will, and without any consideration for the rest of the being, it imposes this will on the being as a whole. This is what usually brings about the revolt or the petrifaction. And the only thing to do is to make the mind quiet. And this is the time to make a movement of self-giving, full of peace, quietude, confidence. If one makes this movement of self-giving, of complete surrender to the divine Will, all the tension arising from the effort, an effort which could be called premature or unconsidered — all the tension arising from this effort gives way. There is a relaxation in the being. And the progress one could not make by this purely mental effort usually comes about almost automatically, by the very fact that one has relaxed in confidence and self-giving to the divine Will.

And then, this is what follows:

“At other times, one has the impression of making no effort, but of feeling only the presence of a consciousness due to which in many circumstances of daily life a means of progress is found. One wonders then what effort is and what its value? What we call effort — isn’t it too mental a movement?”

That is exactly what I have just explained, which shows that the observation is quite correct.

It is an arbitrary decision of the mind, and being arbitrary and not in conformity with the truth of things, it naturally brings about these wrong reactions. This does not imply that no effort must ever be made but the effort also must be spontaneous. So too I told you once that for meditation to be effective, it must be a spontaneous meditation which takes hold of you rather than one you make an effort to have; well, effort, that kind of tension of the will in the being, must also be something spontaneous, and not the result of a more or less inopportune mental decision.


Any other question? No? No one has anything to say?

Mother, when one wants to go beyond the mind, if one lets go the mind acting (incorrect text) and the influence from above does not come immediately, then during that time what should one do? One becomes like an idiot. (Laughter)

What do you mean exactly? I don’t understand.

If one lets go the mind acting...

If one lets the mind act? Why? I don’t understand your question. You said at the beginning, “When one has gone beyond the mind”?...

In order to go beyond the mind...

Oh! to go beyond the mind, let the mind act?... Yes, that is the theory: to go beyond desire, one must let the desires be realised, and to...

(A child) He said “let go the mind acting”, Sweet Mother.

Let go? Oh! but one can’t “let go the mind acting”, that’s not English.

To stop the action of the mind.

Ah, now we have it! that’s how you should have put it. So? To stop the action of the mind, is that it? The way to do it?

I am asking...

Naturally! But that is already difficult enough. So what are you asking?

When one stops the reasoning, if something new from above doesn’t come immediately, then during that period sometimes...

One acts like an idiot! (Laughter) Then it is better not to stop the reason before going beyond that state!

I mean, in the conditions of life as it is, is it possible to be...

To be unreasonable? Unfortunately that happens very often!

Is it possible to disregard reason?... It is possible only when you have passed beyond mental activity. It is possible only when you have achieved a surrender, a total giving of yourself. It is possible only when you no longer have any desires. So long as you have desires, have an ego and a will of your own, you cannot give up reason, because, as I said just a moment ago, you would become quite unbalanced and perhaps insane. Therefore reason must be the master until one has gone beyond the state in which it is useful. And as I said, as long as there is an ego and as long as there are desires, and so long as there are impulses and so long as there are passions and preferences, and so long as there are attractions and repulsions, etc., as long as all these things are there, reason is altogether useful.

I shall also add that there is another quite indispensable condition in order not to have recourse to reason any more; that is to open no door, no part of the being to the suggestions of the adverse forces. For if you are not completely liberated from the habit of responding to adverse suggestions, if you give up your reason, you also give up reason itself, that is, common sense. And you begin to act in an incoherent way which may finally become quite unbalanced. Well, to be free from suggestions and adverse influences, you must be exclusively under the influence of the Divine.

Now you see the problem; it is a little difficult. This means that unless you are in the presence of a completely illumined and transformed being, it is always better to advise people to act according to their reason. It is perhaps a limitation — it is in fact a great limitation — but it is also a control and it prevents you from becoming one of those half-idiots who are far too numerous in the world.

Reason is a very respectable person. Like all respectable people it has its limitations and prejudices, but that does not prevent it from being very useful. And it keeps you from making a fool of yourself. You would do many things if you did not have reason, things which would lead you straight to your ruin and could have extremely unfortunate consequences, for your best means of discernment until you have attained higher levels is reason. When one no longer listens to reason, one can be led into all sorts of absurdities. Naturally, it is neither the ideal nor the summit, it is only a kind of control and a guide for leading a good life, it keeps you from extravagances, excesses, inordinate passions and above all from those impulsive actions which may lead you to the abyss. There you are.

One must be very sure of oneself, quite free from the ego and perfectly surrendered to the divine Will to be able to do safely without reason.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between true and false reasons!

Ah! no, you are playing with words. That word, as you use it here, has altogether another meaning, altogether; they are two very different things. Reason is a faculty of discernment. You are speaking of the reasons you give yourself for doing one thing or another — these are excuses the mind gives itself; but the meaning of the word “reason” is quite different there, it is not the same word at all, though it is pronounced and written in the same way. You can look it up in your dictionary, it will give you two completely different definitions of the word “reason”. The reasons one gives oneself — that is, the excuses or explanations one gives oneself — are always tinged with egoism and a need to delude oneself that one is indeed a reasonable being. Ninety-nine and a half times out of a hundred this is the way to convince oneself that one is very good, what one does is very good, what one feels is very good, what one thinks is very good; it is to give oneself the impression that one is truly quite satisfactory. So, whatever you do, if you begin to reflect a little, you will tell yourself, “But certainly, I did that because it was like that, that’s the real reason; I felt like that, but it was because of this, that’s an excellent reason” — and so on. But that has nothing to do with being reasonable; quite the contrary. It is an excellent means of deceiving oneself and keeping oneself from progressing. It is justifying oneself in one’s own eyes.

Moreover, these are always reasons which whitewash you and blacken others; it is a means of keeping your conscience very comfortable, isn’t it? What happens to you is the fault of circumstances, if you have made a mistake it is the fault of others, if you have a bad reaction it is others who are responsible, etc.; you emerge white as snow from the judgment of your mind.

Is that all?

Le 28 novembre 1956 [8]

« Quand nous avons dépassé les savoirs, alors nous avons la Connaissance. La raison fut une aide ; la raison est l’entrave.
Quand nous avons dépassé les velléités, alors nous avons le Pouvoir. L’effort fut une aide ; l’effort est l’entrave.
Quand nous avons dépassé les jouissances, alors nous avons la Béatitude. Le désir fut une aide ; le désir est l’entrave.
Quand nous avons dépassé l’individualisation, alors nous sommes des Personnes réelles. L’ego fut une aide ; l’ego est l’entrave.
« Quand nous dépasserons l’humanité, alors nous serons l’Homme. L’animal fut une aide ; l’animal est l’entrave. »

(Aperçus et Pensées, « Le But »)

C’est le même principe exprimé dans toutes les activités ou tous les aspects de l’être... Il est évident que, pour sortir de l’état d’inconscience originelle, le désir était indispensable, car sans désir il n’y aurait eu aucun éveil d’activité. Mais une fois qu’on est né à la conscience, ce même désir, qui avait aidé à sortir de l’inconscience, empêche de se libérer des entraves de la matière et de s’élever à une conscience plus haute.

Il en est de même pour l’ego, le moi. Pour pouvoir passer à un plan supérieur, il faut d’abord exister ; et pour exister il faut devenir une individualité consciente, séparée, et pour devenir une individualité consciente séparée, l’ego est indispensable, autrement on reste mélangé à tout ce qui nous entoure. Mais une fois que l’individualité est formée, si l’on veut monter à un degré supérieur et avoir une vie spirituelle, si l’on veut même devenir simplement une humanité supérieure, les limitations de l’ego sont les pires entraves, et il faut surpasser l’ego pour entrer dans la vraie conscience.

Et enfin, pour la vie ordinaire élémentaire de l’homme, toutes les qualités qui appartiennent à l’animal, spécialement celles du corps, étaient indispensables, autrement l’homme n’aurait pas existé. Mais quand l’homme est devenu un être conscient et mental, tout ce qui l’attache à son origine animale devient nécessairement un empêchement au progrès et à la libération de l’être.

Ainsi, pour tout le monde (excepté pour ceux qui sont nés libres, et ce cas-là est évidemment très rare), pour tout le monde, cet état de raison, d’effort, de désir, d’individualisation et d’équilibre physique solide selon le mode ordinaire est indispensable pour commencer, jusqu’au moment où l’on est devenu un être conscient et où il faut abandonner toutes ces choses pour devenir un être spirituel.

Maintenant, si quelqu’un a une question à poser sur le sujet ?

Douce Mère, quand peut-on dire que l’on est conscient ?

C’est toujours une question relative. On n’est jamais tout à fait inconscient et on n’est jamais complètement conscient. C’est un état progressif.

Mais il y a un moment où au lieu de faire les choses automatiquement, poussé par une conscience et une force justement dont on est tout à fait inconscient, il y a un moment où l’on peut observer ce qui se passe en soi-même, étudier les mouvements, trouver leurs causes, et en même temps commencer à avoir un contrôle, d’abord sur ce qui se passe au-dedans de nous, puis sur l’influence jetée du dehors sur nous et qui nous fait agir, au début d’une façon tout à fait inconsciente et presque involontaire, mais petit à petit de plus en plus consciente ; et la volonté peut s’éveiller et réagir. Alors à ce moment-là, au moment où il y a une volonté consciente qui est capable de réagir, on peut dire : « Je suis devenu conscient. » Cela ne veut pas dire que ce soit une conscience totale et parfaite, cela veut dire que c’est le commencement : quand on est capable d’observer, par exemple, toutes les réactions dans son être et d’avoir un certain contrôle sur elles, de laisser agir celles que l’on approuve et de contrôler, d’empêcher, d’annuler celles que l’on désapprouve.

Aussi, il faut avoir pris conscience en soi de quelque chose qui ressemble à un but, ou à une raison d’être ou à un idéal que l’on veut réaliser ; quelque chose d’autre que le simple instinct qui vous pousse à vivre sans que vous sachiez ni pourquoi ni comment. À ce moment-là on peut dire qu’on est conscient, mais cela ne veut pas dire qu’on est parfaitement conscient. Et d’ailleurs, cette perfection-là est tellement progressive que, je pense, personne ne peut dire qu’il est parfaitement conscient ; il est en voie de devenir parfaitement conscient, mais il ne l’est pas.

Douce Mère, comment est cet état où l’on a dépassé toutes les jouissances ?

Eh bien, c’est justement un état sans désir, où l’on vit (Sri Aurobindo l’explique après) dans un Ânanda qui n’a pas de cause, qui ne dépend d’aucune circonstance, extérieure ou intérieure, qui est un état permanent, qui ne dépend pas des circonstances de la vie, qui n’a pas de cause. On est dans l’Ânanda parce qu’on est dans l’Ânanda. Et en fait, c’est simplement parce qu’on a pris conscience de la Réalité divine.

Mais on ne peut sentir l’Ânanda que quand on n’a plus de désirs. Si on a des désirs, tout ce que l’on sent, ce sont des plaisirs ou des jouissances, mais ce n’est pas l’Ânanda. L’Ânanda est d’une nature tout à fait différente et ne peut se manifester dans l’être que quand les désirs sont abolis. Tant que l’on est un être de désir, on ne peut pas sentir l’Ânanda ; même si une force d’Ânanda descendait, elle serait immédiatement falsifiée par la présence des désirs.


(Mère déplie un papier) J’ai ici une question qui se réfère à ce que nous avons dit la dernière fois sur l’effort, l’effort personnel.

Cette question est comme ceci :

« Dans la vie intérieure, pourquoi y a-t-il des périodes où l’on ne peut plus faire un effort conscient, et si on l’impose, des éléments de la nature se révoltent, ou bien tout dans l’être semble se pétrifier ; l’effort devient la répétition mécanique de mouvements passés. Que doiton faire durant ces périodes ? »

C’est très bien observé.

Ce qui n’est pas mentionné ici, c’est la nature de l’effort, parce que c’est un certain genre d’effort qui amène ce résultat décrit, qui est ou une révolte ou une sorte de... oui, de pétrification vraiment, quelque chose qui devient absolument insensible et qui ne répond plus du tout à cet effort. C’est quand l’effort est d’une nature presque exclusivement mentale et qu’il est tout à fait arbitraire, dans le sens qu’il ne tient aucun compte de l’état dans lequel se trouve le reste de l’être, qu’il a son idée à lui, sa volonté à lui, et sans aucune considération pour le reste de l’être, il impose cette volonté à l’être dans son ensemble. C’est généralement cela qui produit cette révolte ou cette pétrification. Et la seule chose à faire, c’est de tranquilliser le mental. Et c’est le moment de faire un mouvement de don de soi paisible, tranquille et confiant. Si l’on fait ce mouvement de don de soi, d’abandon à la Volonté divine, toute la tension provenant de l’effort, prématuré on pourrait dire, ou inconsidéré, toute la tension provenant de cet effort cède. Il y a une détente dans l’être. Et justement, le progrès que l’on ne pouvait pas faire dans cet effort purement mental, généralement se produit d’une façon presque automatique, par le fait que l’on s’est détendu dans une confiance et un don à la Volonté divine.

Et alors, la suite est comme ceci :

« À certains autres moments, on a l’impression de ne faire aucun effort, mais seulement de sentir la présence d’une conscience qui fait que dans plusieurs circonstances de la vie quotidienne se trouve un moyen de progrès. On se demande alors ce qu’est l’effort, et quelle est sa valeur. Ce que nous appelons effort, n’est‑ce pas un mouvement trop mental ? »

C’est justement ce que je viens d’expliquer, ce qui prouve que l’observation est très correcte.

C’est une décision arbitraire du mental, et naturellement, étant arbitraire et non conforme à la vérité des choses, elle crée des réactions mauvaises. Ce n’est pas pour dire qu’il ne faille jamais faire un effort, mais il faut que l’effort aussi soit spontané. De même, je vous disais une fois que, pour que la méditation soit efficace, il faut que ce soit une méditation spontanée, qui se saisisse de vous plutôt que vous ne fassiez effort pour l’avoir ; eh bien, l’effort, cette espèce de tension de la volonté dans l’être, doit aussi être une chose spontanée et non le résultat d’une décision mentale plus ou moins inopportune.


Autre question, non ? Personne n’a rien à dire ?

Mère, quand on veut dépasser le mental, si l’on cesse le mental agir [sic], l’influence du haut n’arrive pas immédiatement quelquefois, alors pendant cette période, qu’est‑ce qu’il faut faire ? On devient comme un fou ! (rires)

Qu’est‑ce que vous voulez dire exactement, je ne comprends pas.

Si on cesse le mental agir...

Si on laisse le mental agir. Pourquoi ? Je ne comprends pas votre question. Vous avez dit au commencement « quand on a dépassé le mental » ?...

Pour dépasser le mental...

Oh ! pour dépasser le mental, laisser le mental agir ?... Oui, ça c’est la théorie : pour dépasser le désir, il faut laisser les désirs se réaliser, et pour...

(Un enfant) Il a dit « cesser le mental agir », Douce Mère.

Cesser ? Oh ! mais on ne peut pas « cesser le mental agir », ce n’est pas français !

Arrêter l’action du mental.

Voilà ! c’est comme cela qu’il aurait fallu demander. Alors ? Arrêter l’action du mental, c’est cela ? Le moyen ?

Je demande.

Naturellement ! Mais cela, c’est déjà suffisamment difficile. Alors qu’est‑ce que vous demandez ?

Quand on arrête le raisonnement, si quelque chose de nouveau, du haut, n’arrive pas immédiatement, alors pendant cette période quelquefois...

... on agit comme un fou ! (rires) Alors il vaut mieux ne pas arrêter la raison avant d’avoir dépassé cet état-là !

Je veux dire, dans les conditions de vie telle qu’elle est, est‑ce possible d’être...

... d’être déraisonnable ? Malheureusement cela arrive très souvent !

Est‑ce qu’il est possible de ne pas se référer à la raison ?... Ce n’est possible que quand vous avez dépassé l’activité mentale. Ce n’est possible que quand vous avez fait un surrender, un don de vous-même total. Ce n’est possible que quand vous n’avez plus de désirs. Tant que vous avez des désirs, que vous avez un ego et que vous avez une volonté propre, vous ne pouvez pas abandonner la raison, parce que, comme je l’ai dit tout à l’heure, vous deviendriez tout à fait déséquilibré et peut-être fou. Par conséquent, la raison doit être la maîtresse jusqu’à ce que l’on ait dépassé l’état où elle est utile. Et comme je l’ai dit, tant qu’il y a un ego et tant qu’il y a des désirs, et tant qu’il y a des impulsions et tant qu’il y a des passions et tant qu’il y a des préférences, et tant qu’il y a des attractions et des dégoûts, etc., tant que toutes ces choses sont là, la raison est tout à fait utile.

J’ajouterai, en plus, qu’il y a une autre condition tout à fait indispensable pour ne plus avoir recours à la raison, c’est de n’avoir aucune porte, aucun élément ouvert aux suggestions du monde adverse. Parce que si vous n’êtes pas complètement délivré de l’habitude de répondre aux suggestions adverses, si vous abandonnez votre raison, alors vous abandonnez aussi la raison, c’est-à-dire le bon sens. Et vous commencez à agir d’une façon incohérente qui peut finir par être tout à fait déséquilibrée. Eh bien, pour être libre des suggestions et de l’influence adverses, il faut que vous soyez exclusivement sous l’influence du Divin.

Maintenant vous voyez le problème ; il est un petit peu difficile. Ce qui fait que, à moins que vous ne soyez en présence d’un être tout à fait illuminé et transformé, il vaut toujours mieux recommander aux gens d’agir selon leur raison. C’est peut-être une limitation — c’est en effet une grande limitation —, mais c’est aussi un contrôle et cela vous empêche de devenir des demi-fous comme il y en a beaucoup trop dans le monde.

La raison est une personne très respectable. Comme toutes les personnes respectables elle a ses limites et ses partis pris, mais cela ne l’empêche pas d’être d’une grande utilité. Et cela vous empêche, vous, de faire des folies. Il y a beaucoup de choses que l’on ferait si l’on n’avait pas la raison, qui vous mèneraient tout droit à votre perte et pourraient avoir des conséquences tout à fait fâcheuses, parce que votre meilleur moyen de discernement jusqu’à ce que vous ayez atteint les régions supérieures, c’est la raison. Quand on n’écoute plus la raison, on peut être conduit vers toutes sortes d’absurdités. Naturellement, ce n’est ni l’idéal ni le sommet, c’est seulement une sorte de contrôle et un guide pour se conduire dans la vie, qui empêche les extravagances, les excès, les passions désordonnées, et surtout ces actions impulsives qui peuvent vous mener vers l’abîme. Voilà.

Il faut être très sûr de soi, très libéré de l’ego et très parfaitement abandonné à la Volonté divine, pour pouvoir en sécurité se passer de la raison.

Quelquefois il est difficile de distinguer entre les fausses raisons et les vraies raisons...

Ah ! mais non, vous jouez sur les mots. Ce mot-là, comme vous vous en servez là, a tout à fait un autre sens que la raison, tout à fait, ce sont deux choses tout à fait différentes. La raison est une qualité de discernement. Vous parlez des raisons que vous vous donnez à vous-même pour faire une chose ou une autre — cela, ce sont des excuses que le mental se donne ; mais le sens du mot raison, là, est tout à fait différent, ce n’est pas du tout le même mot, quoiqu’il se prononce de la même manière et s’écrive de la même manière. Vous pouvez voir dans votre dictionnaire, il vous donnera deux définitions tout à fait différentes du mot raison. Les raisons que l’on se donne — c’est-à-dire les excuses ou les explications que l’on se donne — sont toujours colorées d’égoïsme et d’un besoin de se donner l’illusion que justement on est un être raisonnable. Quatre-vingt-dix-neuf fois et demie sur cent, c’est le moyen de se convaincre que l’on est très bien, que ce que l’on fait est très bien, que ce que l’on sent est très bien, que ce que l’on pense est très bien ; c’est pour vous donner l’impression que vous êtes vraiment tout à fait satisfaisant. Alors, quoi que vous fassiez, si vous commencez à réfléchir, vous vous direz : « Mais certainement, j’ai fait ça parce que c’était comme ça, voilà la bonne raison ; j’ai senti comme ça, mais c’est à cause de ça, c’est une excellente raison », et ainsi de suite. Mais cela n’a rien à voir avec être raisonnable, au contraire. C’est un excellent moyen de se tromper soi-même et de s’empêcher de faire des progrès. C’est pour se justifier à ses propres yeux.

D’ailleurs, ce sont toujours des raisons qui vous blanchissent et qui noircissent les autres ; c’est le moyen de garder sa conscience très confortable, n’est‑ce pas : ce qui vous arrive, c’est la faute des circonstances, si vous avez fait une faute, c’est la faute des autres, si vous avez une mauvaise réaction, ce sont les autres qui sont responsables, etc. Vous sortez blanc comme neige du jugement de votre mental.

C’est tout ?

  1. Questions and Answers 1956, p.366
  2. Conversations with Sri Aurobindo, p.26
  3. The Synthesis of Yoga, p.382, “The Soul and Nature”
  4. The Life Divine, p.362, “Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara — Maya, Prakriti, Shakti”
  5. Conversations with Sri Aurobindo' ,p.26
  6. Questions and Answers 1956, p.374
  7. Ibid., p.367
  8. Entretiens 1956, p.410