Da Articles


Da Books
Da Audio

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 Sadhan.”

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 realization?

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 possible?

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

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.


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

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 Ramakrishna

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

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 before?


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 quarantined?

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 unique


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

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 afterwards.

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 victory!!

Sri Aurobindo: You want an easy path!

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 being.

Disciple: You spoke about the brilliant period of the

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

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, etc.

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 pressure.

Disciple: Why does one rise and fall physically in

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 demonstration.

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 afterwards.

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 falsehood.”

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


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 “Arya.”

(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 Aurobindo.

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

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

Disciple: To cheat people and get money? Is it

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 life.

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 luck.

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 say.

Disciple: Doesn’t it act unconditionally?

Mother: It does, especially in those people who have


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

Disciple: Isn’t it because we are ignorant?

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

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 different.

Disciple: Will it be a question of a degree?

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

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 a

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 proportion.

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 foot).

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 battle.

Disciple: When will you be cured?

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 events.

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. like



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 “Bose”


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 always.

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 “mental-constructions.”

Disciple: Was “Arya” written in that way?


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

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 meditation.


Sri Aurobindo: (with a smile to X.) Meditating?

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

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

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 sleep.

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

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

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

Disciple: He is not a poet of that sort.

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


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 erect.

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.

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 meditate.

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 that?

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

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


Disciple: I feel a pull upward in the head while

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

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

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


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

Disciple: These visions are seen by many (quite

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

Disciple: What do you mean by the Divine or the

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

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 consciousness.

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

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

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

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 Rishis.

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 obstacles.

Disciple: So it is the Bhedabheda philosophy?

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 Brahman.

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 “It”.

Disciple: Can it be called Shankara’s Vedantic

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

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

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

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 prophetic


* 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

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

Disciple: Then there is still a long time?

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

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 move.”

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

Mother: But if I want to hear the talk?


Disciple: Then we will talk.

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:

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

Disciple: Yes. Respect to dress and not to the

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

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

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 Ananda.

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

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

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 it.


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 (laughter).

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, surely?

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

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 right?

Sri Aurobindo: Right about what?

Disciple: That I was able to reject thoughts.

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

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

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 work?

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 intuition.

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

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 say?

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


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


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



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

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 China.

Disciple: Foreign help to China e.g. Soviet?

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? 27

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 independence.

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 nationalist?

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 intuition.

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

Disciple: How to get the intuition? By calmness of

Sri Aurobindo: Calmness is not enough. Mind must be

Disciple: It will then take a long time.

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 after

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

Disciple: M. is beaming to-day.

Disciple: That must be Kundalini then.

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 Kundalini?

Disciple: No, Sir.


Sri Aurobindo: But you were telling about your “ascent
and descent” experience.

Disciple: Is that Kundalini? I did not know it
(laughter). But Kundalini is not the line of our yoga and
you have not mentioned about it any where.

Disciple: Oh yes, he has in the “Lights on Yoga”.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Kundalini is, of course, the Tantrik
idea: The Shakti lying coiled in Muladhara awakes, rises up
and carries the consciousness upward opening all the chakras
up to Brahmarandhra and then meets the Brahman, and then the
descent begins. The Tantrik process is more technical.

It is curious to see the action of the Force in some
cases. Some feel as if a drilling were being done in the
brain. Some people can’t keep the Force in. They sway from
side to side, make peculiar sounds. I remember one
practicing Pranayama rigourously and making horrible sound.
I did not hear of his getting any good results. Sometimes
the Force raises up what lies below–in the lower nature–in
order to be able to deal with it.


18th December 1938 (4-30 P. M.)

Disciple: It is surprising that Swami Nikhilananda should
write about you. (There was an article in the Hindu by Swami

Sri Aurobindo: It is Nishha (Miss Wilson) who arranged
for its publication through him, her friend, before she came
here. (After some silence) It is peculiar how they give an
American turn to everything (Ref. to the article)

Disciple: How is that the Americans seem to be more

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, because they are a new nation and
have no past tradition to bind them. France and Czech-


oslovakia also are open. Many are writing from there to
do yoga. Disciple: Nisha was in communication with you for
some time?

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes, for three or four years she has
been in touch with us. She has very clear ideas about Yoga
and is practicing it there. (At this point X. arrived and
remarked that she must be very disappointed because there
was no Darshan this time.)

Sri Aurobindo: No. She has taken it in the right yogic
attitude, unlike others.

Then X. went on asking how is it that there are no
Maharashtrian Sadhaks here in spite of Sri Aurobindo’s being
in contact with Tilak and remaining a long time in

Sri Aurobindo: Yes; it is strange. They are more vital in
their nature. The Bengali, Gujarati and Tamil people are
more in numbers. It is now spreading in other parts C. P.
Punjab, Behar.

(The talk then passed on to Supermind)

Disciple: I hope we shall live to see the glorious day of
the Supermind. When will it descend, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo (remained silent to this question and
said): How can it descend? The nearer it comes the greater
becomes the resistance to it!

Disciple: On the contrary the law of gravitation should
pull it down.

Sri Aurobindo: That theory does not apply to it for it
has levitation tendency and if it comes down in spite of
that it does so against tremendous resistance.

Disciple: Have you realized Supermind?


Sri Aurobindo: You know I was talking about the tail of
the Supermind to Y. I know what it is, I had flashes and
glimpses of it. I have been trying to Supramentalize the
Overmind. Not that the Supermind is not acting. It is doing
so through Overmind and Intuition and the intermediate
powers have come down. Supermind is above the Overmind (He
showed it by placing one palm above the


other) so that one may mistake one for the other. I
remember the day when people here claimed to have got it. I
myself had made mistakes about it in the beginning, and I
did not know about the many planes. It was Vivekananda who
used to come to me in Alipore Jail and showed to me
Intuitive plane and for about two to three weeks or so gave
me training as regards Intuition. Then afterwards I began to
see still higher planes. I am not satisfied with only a
part, or a flash of Supermind but I want to bring down the
whole mass of the Supermind pure, and that is an extremely
difficult business.

Disciple: We hear that there will be a selected number of
people who will first receive the Supermind.

Sri Aurobindo (made a peculiar expression with his eyes
and asked): Selected by whom? Disciple: By the Supermind,

Sri Aurobindo (Laughingly): Oh, that is for the Supermind
to decide. Whatever is the Truth will be done by it, for
Supermind is Truth-Consciousness and things are established
in the course by it so that your complaint about the
disappearance of calm etc. will disappear, for they will be
established by the Supermind.

Disciple: Will the descent of Supermind make things
easier for us?

Sri Aurobindo: It will do so to those who receive the
Supermind, who are open to it; for example, if there are
thirty or forty people ready it could descend.

Disciple: You said that in 1934 Supermind was ready to
descend but not a single Sadhak was found prepared. So it
withdrew. But you told me once that the descent of Supermind
does not depend on readiness of Sadhaks.

Sri Aurobindo: If none is ready to receive how will the
Supermind manifest itself? But instead of thinking of
Supermind one has first to open oneself to Intuition.

(At this time Mother came and asked what were we

Sri Aurobindo: About intuition etc. (Then as Mother
lapsed into meditation we all joined. Mother departed for
meditation at about 7 P. M.)

Sri Aurobindo: “Does any one know about S.? I am curious
to know how his blood came out drop by drop from the body.
He seems to have Elizabethan turn of expression”. Then the
topic turned to the question of fear of death with S. and
N’s example. How they cover their body for fear of catching
cold etc.

Sri Aurobindo told a story that at Cambridge they were
discussing about physical development. Then one fellow in
order to show his own courage began taking out his genji one
after another and they found that there were about 10 or 12
on his body!!

Disciple: There are people who think that as soon as they
have entered the Ashram they have become immortal! We must
develop our consciousness in order to conquer death, is it


Sri Aurobindo: People think so, because for a long time
no death took place in the Ashram. Those who died were
either visitors or who had gone back from here. In the
beginning people had strong faith but as the number
increased, the faith began to diminish. But why one should
fear death?