Sir Aurobindo – 1907



Recorded by A. B. PURANI




Disciple: Why did you choose
Pondicherry as the place for your Sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: Because it was by an
Adesh–command from Above–I was asked to come here. When I
was leaving Bombay for Calcutta I asked Lele what I should
do regarding my Sadhana. He kept silent for some time
[probably waiting to hear a voice from the heart]
and replied, “Meditate at a fixed time and hear the voice in
the heart.”

I did not hear the voice from the
heart, but a different voice and I dropped meditation at
fixed time because meditation was going on all the time.
When Lele came to Calcutta and heard about it, he said that
the devil had caught hold of me. I said, “If it is the
devil, I will follow him.”

Disciple: People say that ‘Yogic
Sadhan’ was written by the being of Keshab Sen?


Sri Aurobindo: Keshab Sen? When I
was writing it, every time at the beginning and at the end
the image of Ram Mohan Roy came before me. So perhaps, Ram
Mohan has been changed to Keshab Sen.


Do you know the origin of the name
“Uttara Yogi?” Disciple: No, Sir.

Sri Aurobindo: There was a famous
Yogi in the South who while dying said to his disciples that
a Purna Yogi from the North would come down to the South and
he would be known by his three sayings. The three sayings
were those I had written to my wife. A Zamindar–disciple of
that Yogi–found me out and bore the cost of the book “Yogic

Disciple: Tagore never spoke at any
time about Ramakrishna and Vivekananda except recently when
he wrote a very ordinary poem on Ramakrishna during his
centenary. He used to tell girls that Ramakrishna used very
often to deride women saying “Kamini Kanchan” are the roots
of bondage and still women worshipped him.

Sri Aurobindo: I understand that
Ramakrishna used to say “Kama Kanchana”. When the division
came after his death one party said that he never uttered
“Kamani” but “Kama”. I don’t think there was any one in
Brahmo Samaj with spiritual realization. Dwijendra Nath had
something in him and Shiva Nath Shastri too and perhaps
Kesab Sen. Bejoy Goswami ceased to be a Brahmo.

Disciple: Lele had

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, he had
some, but as I said he had ambition and ego. Disciple: It is
said that Christ used to heal simply by a touch. Is it

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? There are
many instances of such cures. Of course, faith is necessary.
Christ himself said “Thy faith has made thee

Disciple: Is faith always necessary
for such a cure?

Sri Aurobindo: No, cure can be done
without faith, especially when one does not know what is
being done. Faith


is above the mind so that any
discussion or dispute spoils the action of the

Disciple: I knew also such instances
of cure or help by faith. When I came to see you first, you
told me to remember you in my difficulties. As I returned I
did so and I passed through all the difficulties, but as
soon as I came here I heard many things from Sadhaks and did
not get the same result. I thought, perhaps, I was, not able
to open myself to you.

Sri Aurobindo: That is called simple
faith, or as some call it, “blind faith.” When

was asked about faith, he said, “all
faith is blind otherwise there is no faith.” He was quite

Disciple: Is it because there is
something in the nature of environmental influence that
doubt come and one does not get the same result as


Sri Aurobindo: Both; the physical
mind has these things, doubt, etc. and they come up at one
time or the other. And by contact with other people also
faith gets obscured. I knew a shocking instance in the
Ashram. A truthful man came here. A Sadhak told him that
speaking of the truth always is a superstition. One must be
free to say what one likes. And then there is another
instance of a Sadhak who said that sex indulgence is no
hindrance to yoga, it can be allowed, and everyone must have
his Shakti. When such ideas are prevalent no wonder that
they cast bad influence on others.

Disciple: Such people ought to be

Sri Aurobindo: I thought of that but
it is not possible. Mother at one time tried to impose some
restrictions and regulations but it did not work. One has to
change from within. There are, of course, other yogic
systems which have such strict regulations. Buddhism is


in that respect. There is a school
in France [Labratte?] which enjoins strict silence.
Disciple: Is such exterior imposition good?

Sri Aurobindo: It can be good
provided one sincerely keeps to it. For instance, in that
school in France, people who enter there know what they want
and so keep to the regulation that are meant to help them in
achieving their aim.

The world has to change,–people
here are epitomes of the world. Each one represents a type
of humanity and if one type is conquered that means a great
victory for the work. And for this change a constant will is
required. If that is there, lots of things can be done for
the Sadhak as they were done.

Disciple: Things became sluggish

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is when the
Sadhana came down in the physical and the subconscient that
things became very difficult. I myself had to struggle for
two years; for the subconscient is absolutely inert like
stone. Though my mind was quite awake above, it could not
exert and influence down below. It is a Herculean labour,
for when one enters there, it is a sort of an unexplored
continent. Previous Yogis came down to the vital. If I had
been made to see it before, probably, I would have been less
enthusiastic about it. That is the instance of blind faith.
The ancients were quite right perhaps in leaving the
physical, but if I had left it there, the real work would
have remained undone. And once it is conquered, it becomes
easy for people who come after me, which is what is meant by
realization of one in all.

Disciple: Then we can wait for that

Sri Aurobindo: You want an easy

Disciple: Not only easy but like a
baby we want to be carried about. Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but one has to
be a baby–and a genuine baby.

Disciple: Ramakrishna has said a
Yogi need not be always like a drawn sword.

Sri Aurobindo: When did he say that
and what did he mean by that? A Yogi has always to be
vigilant, especially in the early part of one’s Sadhana.
Otherwise all one has gained can come down like a thud.
People here usually don’t make Sadhana the one part of their
life. They have two parts: one, the internal and other
external, which goes on with ordinary movements, social
contacts, etc. Sadhana must be made the one part of the

Disciple: You spoke about the
brilliant period of the Ashram.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it was when
Sadhana was going on in the vital and when it is that,
everything is joy, peace, etc. and if I had stopped there,
we could have started a big religion, or something like it.
But the real work would have been left undone.

Disciple: Why did you retire? To
concentrate more on your work?

Sri Aurobindo: No, to withdraw from
the physical atmosphere. If I had to do the work the Mother
is doing, I would have hardly time to do my own work,
besides its being a tremendous labour.

Disciple: Vishudhanand of Banares is
said to be able to produce all sorts of perfumes, scents,

Sri Aurobindo: It is difficult to
know if they (perfumes) are all materialization or subtle
perfumes projected into the physical or on the senses. Paul
Brunton saw always some pressure accompanying him. When he
saw my photo, it had nothing to resemble it but when he saw
me at the Darshan, he at once recognized me as that

Disciple: Why does one rise and fall
physically in meditation?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not the
physical but the vital body separating itself from the body.
At one time I thought physical Siddhi was impossible. But in
Alipore jail, once I found that my body had occupied a
position which it was physically impossible to have. Then
again; I was practicing to raise my hands and keep them
suspended without any muscular control. Once in that raised
condition of hands I fell off to sleep. The warder saw this
condition and reported that I had died. Authorities came and
found me quite alive. I told them he was a fool.

There is a French author Joules
Romain. He is a medical man and a mystic. He can see with
other parts of the body with eyes closed. He says, “Eyes are
only a specialized organ.” Other parts can as well be
trained to see. But scientists refused to admit his

Disciple: Ramana Maharshi does not
believe in the descent (of the Supermind).

Sri Aurobindo: It – the descent is
the experience of many Sadhaks even outside our Yoga. An old
Sanyasi of the Ramakrishna Mission saw a flood of light
descending and when he asked he was told it was all the work
of the devil and the whole experience stopped

In Maharshi’s case he has received
the thing in the heart and has worked with it, so he does
not feel the descent.

Disciple: I believe that grace is
without condition.

Sri Aurobindo: That may be true from
the side of the Divine but the man must try to fulfill the
condition under which alone grace can act.

[In this respect Sir Aurobindo’s
writing in The Mother was quoted by a disciple where he lays
down that “the grace will work under the conditions of the
Truth, not under those imposed upon it by

Disciple: Grace is grace, but one
need not sit with folded hands. What is achieved is by the
divine grace.

Sri Aurobindo: Grace is of course
unconditional, but it is for men to fulfill the conditions.
It is as if man was continually spilling from a cup in which
something was being poured.


Disciple: Is there no justice for
the misdeeds of people like S, V and N? Surely they will
have to bear the consequences of their actions? And yet how
is it these people succeed in life?

Sri Aurobindo: Justice in this life?
May not be. Most probably not. But justice is not what most
people believe it to be. It is said that virtuous people
will have happiness, prosperity etc. in another life while
in this life they have the opposite effects. In that case,
the people you speak of must have been virtuous in their
previous life. There is justice in the sense that the
virtuous and pious people advance towards Sattwic nature
while the contrary one goes down the scale of humanity and
become more and more Asuric. That is what I have said in the

(At this moment Mother came in and
asked what was the subject of talk.) Sri Aurobindo replied
that X was asking about justice,


–whether it exists. After some
moments’ pause Mother said: “Of course, there is justice;
these people suffer, they are tormented and not happy
within. But that unhappiness does not seem to change them.
They go from worse to worse; yes; but in some cases as the
divine pressure goes on acting, at some time, especially
during some impending catastrophe, suddenly some change
takes place in these people. We saw a number of people like
that. e.g. those who were trying to persecute Sri

Disciple: You have said in your
Prayers that justice exists. One cannot avoid the law of
Karma except by Divine Grace.

Sri Aurobindo: N. may be a scoundrel
but he has capacity and cleverness and so he will surely
succeed. It is that capacity and cleverness that succeeds in
life not virtues etc.

Disciple: To cheat people and get
money? Is it cleverness?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, it is
cleverness or you may say, misuse of cleverness. But I don’t
say that cleverness will not have its consequences, but at
the same time it is these qualities that succeed in

Disciple: Why does not one believe
in Grace?

Mother: It is because the human mind
arranges and combines things and does not leave any room for
the Grace. For instance, when one is cured of a disease or
passes an examination, he thinks it is


due to medicine or some chance. He
does not see that in between, or behind, there may be Grace
acting on him. Is it not so?

Sri Aurobindo: They would call it

Mother: If you don’t recognize the
Grace how can it work? It is as if you had shut your doors
against it, Of course, it can work below, underneath so to

Disciple: Doesn’t it act

Mother: It does, especially in those
people who have been


predestined for some thing; but if
one recognizes and expresses gratitude, it acts more
forcefully and quickly.

Disciple: Isn’t it because we are

Mother: No, I know many ignorant
people having the Grace expressing a deep gratitude rising
from the heart.

Disciple: We would like the Grace to
act like a mother feeding a hungry baby, giving things when
it needs etc.

Sri Aurobindo: And who is the baby?
(loud laughter)

Mother: But the Grace does not work
according to human demands or conceptions. It has its own
law and way. How can it? Very often what seems to be a great
blow or calamity at the present moment may appear to be a
great blessing after ten years and people say that their
real life began after that.

Sri Aurobindo: Grace is
unconditional but at the same time, how will it work if a
man is throwing away the Grace, or does not recognize it? It
is like a man spilling away from the cup in which something
is being poured. Mother said that she is interested to see
the reactions with the two fellows. It may have different
results in both. She can’t say how it will be

Disciple: Will it be a question of a

Sri Aurobindo: No, difference of
quality also. One is more stupid and blind than the other
who knows consciously what he is aiming at. So the former
has less power to harm.

Disciple: Perhaps one may change for
the better during life? Mother: That is romance.

Disciple: Especially S. may return
to Ashram again.

Mother: {looked very amused and
said) Do you think so? When a man turns his back he has no
chance, no possibility. One who is given a chance may have

10 possibility.


Disciple: The law of Karma according
to Jainism is inexorable. Even the Tirthankars can’t escape
it, and have to pay in exact mathematical

Sri Aurobindo: It is a great thing.
But too wonderful and mathematical to be true. e.g. a son
who lived for a short time cost a great deal of money to the
father for his ill-health. It was said that the father had
been the debtor to the son in previous life and the son
realized exactly the same amount of money which he had lent
by means of his illness and died. (Laughter)

Disciple: There is what is Nikachit
Karma or Utkata Karma which cannot be avoided. It is like a
knot that cannot be untied. It is like a silk thread tied
and burnt.

Sri Aurobindo: It may be this Utkata
Karma that brought about the accident (to his

Disciple: What is incomprehensible
is the unmerited suffering of the physical consciousness in
your case.

Sri Aurobindo: How do you know it is
unmerited? Perhaps it was to give me knowledge of what
intense pain is. I had ordinary pains before which I could
turn into Ananda. But this was intense. I never had the
experience when it came suddenly and abruptly, I could not
change it into Ananda. When it became of steady nature I
could. Besides, we shall see afterwards the full
significance. Of course, I accept it as a part of the

Disciple: When will you be

Sri Aurobindo: Don’t ask me the
question. It is just what I can’t know, for, immediately I
say something the hostile forces would at once rush to
prevent it. That is why I don’t want to prophesy. Not that
things are not known, or possibilities not seen. For
instance, there are things about which I had definitely
said. But where it


is a question of possibilities, I
don’t tie myself to that chain of possibilities For if I do
that I commit myself in advance to certain lines of movement
and the result of it may not be what I want, and I won’t be
able to bring down that for which I am striving, it may not
be the highest but something partial. But plenty of people
can prophesy. That capacity is common among Yogis. When I
was arrested, my maternal-grand-aunt asked Swami
Bhaskaranand, “What will happen to our Aurobindo?” He
replied, “The Divine Mother has taken him in her arms;
nothing will happen to him. But he is not your Aurobindo. He
is world’s Aurobindo and the world will be filled with his
perfume.”. Another time I was taken by Jatin Banerji to a
Swami Narayan Jyotishi who foretold about my three trials,
white enemies and also my release. When my horoscope was
shown he said that there was some mistake about time and
when the time was corrected he replied, “Oh, the lead is
turned into gold now.”

Disciple: Have you had any prophesy
in dreams? Many people get dreams or vision of coming

Disciple: I know the instance of A’s
daughter-in-law who saw him carried to cemetery and exactly
two hours after he died of heart failure.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is a good
instance of that.

Disciple: Even without knowing the
person concerned can one prophesy like that? i.e.



Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is an
intuitive power. I once tried to see a man who was to be
elected and saw a figure seated in the office but quite
different and unknown, not the one elected. After some time
a quarrel took place between my brother-in-law and a
Government official and he was called. But my mistake


became “Ghose”, and I had to go and
see the man. I found the same man of my vision sitting as
the Governor and I was much surprised.

On another occasion a friend of X.
(V. Ramaswamy Aiyanger) was coming to see me and I wanted to
have a vision of the man. I saw him as having clean shaven
head, bull-dog face; but when he came, I found his
appearance quite different, regular South Indian Brahmin
features. But curiously enough, exactly after two years I
saw that the man had changed to what I had seen of him in
vision. These thing are thrown out from the subtle world to
the surface consciousness. There is another instance; I was
a great tea addict and could not do any work without a cup
of tea. The management of tea was in charge of my
brother-in-law. He used to bring the tea at any time he woke
up from sleep. One day though I had much work to do I was
thinking, “When will he bring tea?” “Why does he not come?”
and looked at the watch when exactly, at the very moment,
the tea was brought. I had made a rule never to ask anything
from anybody.

Disciple: Is consciousness of the
Divine possible in the physical cells even?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the cells can
have peace, joy, etc. and when they are quite conscious,
they can throw out the opposing forces. When peace descends
in the physical it is a great force for cure.

Disciple: Can one have peace without
knowing it?

Sri Aurobindo: That is natural peace
which is more than quietude. But there is a positive peace
which one knows and feels. Truth also can descend in the
physical, and also Power, but very few can bear Power. Light
also descends. I remember a disciple telling his Guru about
the descent of Light in him. The Guru said, “The devil has
caught hold of you”, and from that time the disciple lost
everything. There is an infinite sea of peace, ananda, above
the head; if one is in contact with it one can get them

Disciple: Do any thoughts or
suggestions come to you?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean?
Thoughts and suggestions come to me from every side and I
don’t refuse them. I accept them and see what they are. But
what you call “thinking” that I never do. Thinking in that
sense had ceased long ago since I had that experience with
Lele. Thoughts, as I said; come to me from all sides and
from above and the transmitting mind remains quiet, or it
enlarges to receive them. True thoughts come in this way.
You can’t think out such thoughts, what Mother call

Disciple: Was “Arya” written in that


Sri Aurobindo: No, it was directly
transmitted into the pen. It is a great relief to get out of
that responsibility.

Disciple: Yes, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t mean
responsibility in general but that of thinking about
everything. Some thoughts are given or reflected from
outside. It is not that I don’t ask for knowledge. When I
want knowledge I call for it. The Higher faculty sees
thoughts as if written on a wall.


Mother came at 5-55 and meditated
till after 7-5. It is difficult to say whether the feast of
silent meditation was more precious than the conversation
which happened to take place after Mother left for evening


Sri Aurobindo: (with a smile to X.)

Disciple: I am trying hard; Sir, for
the last three-fourths of an hour but have not succeeded.
Many unwanted thoughts come.

Sri Aurobindo: What are they?
Disciple: Some nonsense.

Sri Aurobindo: Some extraordinary
non-sense like perpetual attendance on the Maharajah or
successor to Mussolini?

Disciple: No sir, the thought of the
Maharajah comes very rarely. But why does not one succeed in
meditating even after so many trials? The last time I had
fine meditation was when Dr. N. came from Madras.

But I see my friend N. at once bends
his head down and I believe he is merged in Satchidananda.
Disciple: Yes, in despair, perhaps. I go to

Sri Aurobindo: But there is power of
deep concentration on your face (laughter). Disciple: Can
one go to sleep in despair?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, as a refuge out
of the despair. Apart from that, it happens to everybody
except for yogis who have made it their business to
meditate. And even they find there are periods of blankness
when nothing seems to be done or going on.

Disciple: As he is a poet he may be
living in higher regions.

Sri Aurobindo: You must no forget
Shakespeare’s saying that “All poetry is telling lies.”

Disciple: He is not a poet of that

Disciple: Perhaps you had a dose of
meditation last week which you are now assimilating; you are
suffering from spiritual dyspepsia.


Disciple: But some people go into
unconsciousness as soon


as they begin meditation. For
example R. and C. Even P. when he used to join became
unconscious of the body.

Sri Aurobindo: Some yogis require a
support to prevent their bodies from falling while they are
in meditation. Those who practice Asan can remain

There are some who go to sleep
standing like the horse. My grand-father, Raj Narayan Bose,
was like that. One day we were walking together at night.
Suddenly we missed him. When we came back we saw him
sleeping standing.

Disciple: It is a question of habit
and convenience, I think. Disciple: Was Raj Narayan
practicing meditation?

Sri Aurobindo: Not much. It was a
Brahmo-meditation. (Laughter)

Disciple: Sometimes meditation used
to come to me spontaneously at my place and I used to get
into a condition when I would be compelled to sit down to

Sri Aurobindo: It was probably the
inner being insisting on it. It is always better to allow it
to work.

Disciple: It used to happen even
when I would be leaving for my work. For days I used to feel
that my head was resting on the Mother’s feet. What is

Sri Aurobindo: It was the experience
of Psychic Bhakti. Disciple: But then it went away. How to
retain that experience?

Sri Aurobindo: The condition is “to
want that and nothing else.” If you have that intense
passion for union with the Divine then it can remain. It is
too difficult, is it? So, it is better to allow the higher
Power to work.

Disciple: We have been trying hard
to make him remain here for three months but he is all the
time thinking of his family.


Disciple: I feel a pull upward in
the head while meditating.

Sri Aurobindo: It is the mind trying
to ascend to the Higher consciousness. Disciple: Sometimes I
feel myself widening.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, sometimes one
feels the head opening or expanding. That is the sign of the
mental being opening to the Power.

Disciple: Sometimes I see sky,
ocean, or mountains and forests.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. One sees many
things i.e. by the inner sight. These are symbols of life


energy. Sky is the symbol of the
mind. Mountain is the symbol of the being with its different
planes and parts with the Divine as the summit. Forests are
symbols of the vital.

Disciple: These visions are seen by
many (quite common).

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes, as the mind
expands so also the heart expands and also the vital. If one
sees those things outside oneself then that has only
symbolic significance but if one feels the widening or
coming of Light in himself then that increases the opening
and the receptivity of the being.

Disciple: What do you mean by the
Divine or the Supreme?

Sri Aurobindo: I mean by it a
consciousness of which the Gita speaks as Param Bhavam,
Purushottama, Parabrahman, Paramatman. That is to say, the
origin and the support and cause of every thing. It is
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, everywhere, You can’t define it.
You limit it if you define it. It can be described as
Satchidananda. It is everything, it is everywhere, it is in
everything. It is impersonal, ‘Neti, Neti;’ it is also ‘Iti,
Iti’. You can have the experience of Satchidananda on any
plane. These things cannot be known by the mind or by
discussion. The “Golden lid has to be broken”.


Disciple: What will happen if one
realizes the divine consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo: First thing, you will
become calm, quiet; secondly, there will be the feeling of
strength, I mean the presence of a Force. Thirdly, the sense
of the Infinite will be felt, you will feel yourself as the
Infinite. Fourthly, something will be always there behind
which will be able to govern the nature. Also the sense of
Eternity and of yourself as Immortal. Even though the body
dies you know you are immortal. Also there are many things
more. For example, freedom from every thing even from the
world. You realize the Transcendental and the Universal

Realization of the fundamental being
may be the beginning i.e. of the Essential being,
Consciousness and Delight. Then, everything is divine, you
are divine, you live in the divine: it is one of the most
Anandamaya experiences. It is a concrete and real thing and
not an idea. You cannot explain these things. You can’t
explain even a stone in spite of your science. Everything is
not material but mystical at bottom.

Disciple: Is it that this experience
formulates itself differently in different Yogis to suit
their personalities? or the difference is due to nature or
personality itself?

Sri Aurobindo: There, personality is
no longer separate. It is the One putting itself forward
with a special quality, stress or emphasis. Nimbarka’s
Bhedabheda means that.

Disciple: You have also spoken of
the veil in the heart.

Sri Aurobindo: It is also true. It
sometimes requires removing the veil and breaking the wall
(in the heart).

Sometimes after this experience of
opening it seems to close again. Most of the obstruction
comes from the


vital. So, the being is prepared
behind the veil and when everything is ready it is projected
in the outer nature. But the demand of this Yoga is much
more than in any other and so it takes a long time. All yoga
requires patience above everything else.

Disciple: We must have been working
for it for many lives.

Sri Aurobindo: According to some
yogas you have no right to the result for twelve years.
After twelve years you have to see if anything has happened
or not.

Disciple: When the preparation is
being done behind, can we say that some of the Sadhaks have
achieved very great advance like the Vedic

Sri Aurobindo: How do you mean?
Their outer nature is not ready and so they can’t be said to
have realized the Truth. Nature is full of difficulties and
obstacles and so the Higher Power works behind. If it worked
in the outer nature, it would meet too many

Disciple: So it is the Bhedabheda

Sri Aurobindo: It is not merely
philosophy, but the fact is there corresponding to the
philosophy. The Gita speaks of it as “Avibhaktam Vibhkteshu
Vibhaktam iva cha Sthitam”, “Undivided in the midst of
divided things, appearing as if divided.” This is not an
illusion. I see a tree. The tree appears to me as separate
from me. But it is the One, because one with Him. It is
myself. It is something else than a tree. It is impossible
to think of it as something else than the

When I cast my eyes round the room
everything,–objects and the persons–, appears the Brahman.
I call you so and so but you are not that.

Ordinarily, one tags on everything
to the “ego”. But in that higher state you understand the
divine working


better than when you are a separate
“ego”. It is when you can become “nobody” and have
experience of the Divine that you can be free. That is
Mukti. I realized the One, my self disappeared. It is
difficult to think of my self as so and so, son of so and
so. It is a relief and freedom to be “That” and to remain in

Disciple: Can it be called
Shankara’s Vedantic realization?

Sri Aurobindo: About Shankara’s
Vedanta, difficulty is that there are different explanations
by various people. The world is an illusion–and the
Illusion is indescribable. This is the common basis of all
Shankara Adwaita–monism. According to him soul also is
Maya–as it has no real existence. But I found that the
experience behind this idea is quite different. I had that
experience at Baroda, and if I had stopped there I would
have been an orthodox Vedantin.*

14-12-1938. Time: about 5-30 P.

Silent atmosphere. M. meditating, P.
sitting by his side. Sri Aurobindo cast a glance at M. After
few minutes P. tried to kill a mosquito with a clapping of
hands. Sri Aurobindo looked at P. M. opened his eyes. P.
felt much embarrassed.

Disciple: Were you ever a Free
Mason, Sir?


Sri Aurobindo: My eldest brother
was; from him I gathered that it was nothing. But Free
Masons had something when it was started. Have you heard of
Kaliostro? He was a mystic and a Free Mason with a great


* Shankar’s followers disagree.
According to Sri Aurobindo, God is one and many at the same
time–they may say, “a logical contradiction”. So is
Maya–true and false at the same time. That also is a
logical contradiction.


power. He prophesied about the
French Revolution, the raising of Bastille and guillotining
of the King and Queen. He used to prophesy about
race-horses. He got into trouble and was imprisoned and died
in prison. He never charged any money from any one and yet
he was affluent. It was said he knew alchemy and could make
gold. (There was a few minutes silence.)

Sri Aurobindo: Have you heard about
Nosterdamus? No? He was a Jew. At that time Jews had great
knowledge. He wrote a book of prophecy in some obscure
language and prophesied about the execution of Charles I,
the end of the British Empire and the lasting of the Empire
for about 330 years.

Disciple: Then there is still a long

Sri Aurobindo: No, it was to be
counted from the beginning of her colonies. That means from
James I. In that case it should end now.

Disciple: From Chamberlain’s speech
today it seems Britain is not obliged to side with France in
case of war,–it looks like it.

Sri Aurobindo: The English always
keep their policy open so that they may change and correct
as they like or want.

Disciple: But they cannot join Italy
or Germany?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? They can
share with them France’s African Colonies.

(At this time Mother came. We looked
towards her and changed our position from near Sri
Aurobindo’s head.) She said, “Don’t move, don’t

Disciple: We have decided to
meditate when you come. (Mother made big eyes and we all

Mother: But if I want to hear the


Disciple: Then we will

Sri Aurobindo: (addressing the
Mother): I am giving him a few prophecies of Kaliostro and
Nosterdamus whom he has never read, he says.

Disciple: You know Bhikshu X was
quite illogical; he called me back from here?


Sri Aurobindo: All preachers are
illogical. Were you a fervent Buddhist? Is there much
Buddhism in your parts?

Disciple: About one or two million
people are Buddhists and there is nothing of Buddhism in
what they follow.

Mother: Nothing or something of
Buddhism? Disciple: Something.

Mother: In China and Japan also no
Buddhism is left. Only ceremonies remain. In Ceylon they say
there is still some authentic Buddhism.

Disciple: In Burma also the same is
the case. There, people put on ochre clothes at day and
throw them away at night. But the Burmese people show a
great respect for their Bikshus.

Disciple: Yes. Respect to dress and
not to the reality.

Sri Aurobindo: Lele used to have the
same idea. Once I met a Sanyasi with him. Lele asked me:
“You don’t bow down to him?” I replied: “I don’t believe in
the man”. Lele said: “But you must respect the yellow robe”.
The Sanyasi was one of the three people whom Vivekananda
drove out of his house and they became Avatars in one day
(Laughter). Is he just the man to be so treated?

(As Mother had fallen into
meditation we all tried to 22

meditate with her. At about 7 P. M.
she went for the group meditation and we rallied again round
Sri Aurobindo.)

Addressing X,

Sri Aurobindo: You seemed to have
Ananda in your meditation. Your face is beaming with it.
Disciple: Yes Sir. He is nowadays beaming with

Disciple: (shyly), “I fell into deep
sleep I think, but I had some visions also which seem to be
quite distinctly outside.

Sri Aurobindo: Then why do you call
it sleep? It may be the psychic being, or the inner being
watching what is happening. Sometimes one goes into deeper
state and remembers nothing in his outer consciousness,
though many things may be going on within. What is called
dreamless sleep is really a sleep in which dreams are
passing on, only one does not know. Sometimes one discusses
problems in such a condition, gets the ecstasy of union,
etc. One may also go into other worlds with one part of this
being and meet other forms etc. This is of course the first
condition and a kind of a beginning of Samadhi. From what
you describe it may be an inner being’s experience and not
psychic. Even then, no doubt that your face is beaming with
Ananda, seeing which I thought you went within.

Disciple: Can one get the diagnosis
of diseases in such states?

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes. Many people
are said to have their problems solved in this way. I
remember a peculiar experience of mine. As I was meditating
I saw some writings crossing over


my head Then a blank. Then again
these writings with a gap in the middle which meant that
things were going on though I was not conscious of


Sri Aurobindo (turning to another
disciple): Now what about your meditation? Disciple: Not
successful, sir.

Sri Aurobindo: How? I saw you going
in and powerfully wrestling your way towards the Brahman

Disciple: Plenty of thoughts invaded
me. I tried to reject them and make myself empty. Sri
Aurobindo: The result was emptiness? (laughter)

Disciple: But that is meditation,

Disciple: NO, no, it is not, I could
not go into nothingness. I did not feel the Presence; was it
meditation, sir?

Sri Aurobindo: That is the
beginning, the first condition, The mind must first be quiet
for the other things to come down. But one must not dictate
to meditation what it should be or not. One must accept
whatever it brings.

Disciple: But was I

Sri Aurobindo: Right about

Disciple: That I was able to reject

Sri Aurobindo: (laughing) How do I
know? You are to say that. I was only making comments on
your statement.

Disciple: You don’t know? We
consider you as Omniscient.

Sri Aurobindo: You don’t expect me
to know how many fish the fishermen have caught. How much
they have made out of it? People from Bombay used to ask me
if the price of cotton would go up, about race horses and
about their lost children. What is the use of knowing all
that? You know Ramakrishna’s story of the Sanyasi’s crossing
the river. He said it was a Siddhi worth half an anna! Of
course if necessary one can know these things, in a way, but
I am not occupied with these sort of things. I have left it
to the Mother. She hears what is being said at a


distance, meets Sadhaks in subtle
planes, talks to them. She said exactly what was going to
happen in the recent European trouble. We know what we have
got to know for our work.

Disciple: What puzzles me is that
you never told me when asked about the diagnosis of a
patient. Sri Aurobindo: Why do you expect us to do your

Disciple: Oh, that is different. But
you said you have no latent medico in you and hence you
can’t say. I thought you could say by your

Sri Aurobindo (addressing X): I was
telling you we know what we have got to know. But it is not
always good to know. For instance, if I know a thing is
going to happen I am bound to it, and even if it is not what
I wanted, I have to accept it, and this prevents my having a
greater or another possibility. So I want to keep myself
free and deal with various possibilities. Below the
Supermind everything is a question of possibilities; so if I
keep myself free, I can accept or reject as I like. Destiny
is not a thing fixed. It is just a complex of forces which
can be changed.

Disciple: Without knowledge of the
thing how shall one work? After knowing what is to happen
cannot one reject it?

Sri Aurobindo: Knowledge comes by
intuition. One can reject but the result is not sure though
failure may show the way for later success.

Disciple: You have said in an August
conversation that you have conquered death by natural
process but you have no control over accident.

Sri Aurobindo: Where? What did I

Disciple: If I remember rightly, you
wrote to me that dise-


ases can’t end your life but still
you have no control over accidents.

Sri Aurobindo: Oh! Diseases usually
run a long course so one has time to act on them, but if
there is a disease suddenly of severe nature that ends life
immediately, then conquest is not possible. And about
accidents the body has its own consciousness and is always
alert. But if the mind is occupied with other things, then
an accident can take one unawares. As regards violence e.g.
of a riot, I would have to concentrate for four or five days
to protect myself.

The hostile forces have tried many
times to prevent the Darshan but I have succeeded in warding
off all those attacks. This time I was more occupied with
guarding the Mother and I forgot about myself. I did not
think that they would attack me. That was my mistake. As
regards the Ashram, I have been extremely successful but
while I have tried to work in the world, results have been
varied. In Spain I was splendidly successful. General Miaca
was an admirable instrument to work on. Working of the Force
depends on the instrument. Basque was an utter failure.
Negus was a good instrument but people around him though
good warriors were too ill organized and ill occupied. Egypt
was not successful. Ireland and Turkey a tremendous success.
In Ireland I have done exactly what I wanted to do in
Bengal. Turks are a silent race.

Disciple: What do you think of the
China-Japan war?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t think much of
the either party. They are like six and half-a-dozen. Both
too much materialistic. But if I had to choose; I would side
with Japan. Japan at one time had an ideal. Their powers of
self-sacrifice, patriotism, self-abnegation and silence are
remarkable. They would never lose temper in front of
anybody. If his honour is injured he would stab, but he must
not lose self-control. They can work so silently and
secretly that no one knew anything before the Russo-Japan
war broke out, how they had prepared themselves. All on a
sudden they broke out into war. They are Kshatriyas and
their aesthetic sense is of course well known.



But the European influence has
spoiled all that. They are now very materialistic. Now how
brutal they have become, which is thoroughly

Look at Japanese soldier slapping
the European officers, though they deserve it. The Japanese
commander challenging Chiang-Kai-Sheik to come out in the
open field. The Japanese men attacking their political
leaders–all this is unconceivable. This sort of swaggering
is not at all Japanese. In old times, the Japanese, even
while fighting, had perfect sympathy with those with whom
they fought.

Disciple: But without brutalities
(killing innocent inhabitants) it would be difficult to win
the war.

Sri Aurobindo: God knows. They are
such fine warriors and a patriotic and self-sacrificing
nation that one would believe the contrary. But they are
doing these things because of two reasons probably: 1.
Financial shortage which is not very convincing because of
their immense power of sacrifice. 2. Population of

Disciple: Foreign help to China e.g.

Sri Aurobindo: That is a possibility
but the Soviet’s internal condition is such that it can’t
think of giving much help from out side.

Disciple: What about India’s
independence? Is it developing along your lines?

Sri Aurobindo: Surely not, India is
now going towards European Socialism which is dangerous for
her; while we were trying to evolve true genius of the race
along Indian lines and all working for

Take the Bengal movement. The whole
race was awakened within a short time. People who were such
cowards and trembled before the sight of a revolver were in
a short period so much changed that police officials used to
say “Insolent Barisal”. It was the soul of the race that
woke up throwing up very fine personalities. The leaders of
the movement were either Yogis or disciples of Yogis e.g.
Monoranjan Guha Thakurate disciple of B. Goswami.

Disciple: Was he a

Sri Aurobindo: Good Lord. He was my
fellow-worker. He also took part in secret society. Then
Brahmo Bandhava Upadhayay etc. Ramkrishna and Vivekananda’s
influence worked from behind. The movement with the secret
society became so formidable that in any other country with
a political past it would have led to something like the
French Revolution. The sympathy of the whole race was on our
side. Even shopkeepers were reading Yugantar. I will tell
you an instance; while a young man was running away after
killing a police officer in Shambazar, he forgot to throw
away his revolver. It remained in his hand. One shop-keeper
cried out: “Hide your revolver, hide your revolver.” Then
you have heard of Jatin Mukerjee’s exploit.

Disciple: Yes Sir.

Sri Aurobindo: A wonderful man. He
was a man who would belong to the front rank of humanity.
Such beauty and strength together I have not seen, and his
stature was like that of a warrior.


Disciple: You told me Dr. R. uses
mental intuition. So there may be various levels of

Sri Aurobindo: By mental intuition I
mean the Intuition which comes from Above. Don’t get mixed
in the mind. I don’t say that mental intuition is not
correct but it is always limited because of the mixture.
There is also the vital influence which very often becomes
mixed up with one’s desires.

Disciple: How to get the intuition?
By calmness of mind?

Sri Aurobindo: Calmness is not
enough. Mind must be silent.

Disciple: It will then take a long

Sri Aurobindo: Can’t say. Can take a
short time, or a long time.

Disciple: But it won’t be possible
to keep the silence until one has realized the spirit. Sri
Aurobindo: One can train one’s mind to be silent.

(Dr. X took his leave and as Mother
lapsed into meditation we all tried to do the same. Then

Mother had departed by 7 P.M., we
rallied around Sri Aurobindo. He looked once or twice at

Disciple: M. is beaming

Disciple: That must be Kundalini

Disciple: I don’t believe it. Is
this vibration the Higher Force, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It was trying to
cure your lumbago, perhaps, and the first sign was a little
aggravation (we all laughed). You don’t believe in

Disciple: No, Sir.



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