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. Faith


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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 “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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 sleep.

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.” (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 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 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. (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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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: 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 Ananda.

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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 say?

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 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 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 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.



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