Sir Aurobindo – 1907





Recorded by A. B. PURANI

To the Reader

The reader is requested to note that Sri Aurobindo is not
responsible for these records as he had no opportunity to
see them. So, it is not as if Sri Aurobindo said exactly
these things but that I remember him to have said them. All
I can say is that I have tried to be as faithful in
recording them as I was humanly capable. That does not
minimize my personal responsibility which I fully


Names of participants in the evening talks: From

1. Nirod Baran 2. Champaklal 3. Satyendra Thakore 4.
Mulshankar 5. A. B. Purani 6. Becharlal

Occassional Participants: 1. Dr. Manilal Parikh 2.
Dr. Srinivas Rao 3. Dr. Savoor



The question which Arjuna asks Sri Krishna in the Gita
(2nd Chap.) occurs pertinently to many about all spiritual
personalities: “What is the language of one whose
understanding is poised? How does he speak, how sit, how
walk?” Men want to know the outer signs of the inner
attainment,–the way in which a spiritual person differs
outwardly from other men. But all the tests which the Gita
enumerates are inner and therefore invisible to the outer
view. It is true also that the inner or the spiritual is the
essential and the outer derives its value and form from the
inner. But the transformation about which Sri Aurobindo
writes in his books has to take place in nature. So, all the
parts of nature–including the physical and the
external–are to be transformed. In his own case the very
physical became the transparent mould of the Spirit as a
result of his intense Sadhana. This is borne out by the
impression created on the minds of sensitive outsiders like
Sj. K. M. Munshi who was deeply impressed by his radiating
presence when he met him after nearly forty years.

The Evening-Talks collected here may afford to the
outside world a glimpse of its richness, its many-sidedness,
its uniqueness. One can also form some notion of Sri
Aurobindo’s personality from the books in which the height,
the universal sweep and clear vision of his integral ideal
and thought can be seen. His writings are, in a sense, the
best representative of his mental personality. The versatile
nature of his genius, the penetrating power of his
intellect, his extraordinary power of expression, his
intense sincerity, his utter singleness of purpose–all
these can be easily felt by any earnest student of his
works. He may discover even in the realm of mind that Sri
Aurobindo brings the unlimited into the limited. Another
side of his dynamic personality is represented by the Ashram
as an institution. But the outer, if one may use the phrase,
the human side of his personality, is unknown to the outside
world because from 1910 to 1950–a span of forty years–he
had led a life of outer retirement. No doubt, many knew
about his staying at Pondicherry and practicing some kind of
very special yoga to the mystery of which they had no
access. To some, perhaps, he was living a life of enviable
solitude enjoying the luxury of spiritual endeavour. Many
regretted his retirement as a great loss to the world
because they could not see any external activity on his part
which could be regarded as “public”, “altruistic” or
“beneficial.” Even some of his admirers thought that he was
after some kind of personal salvation which would have very
little significance for mankind in general. His outward
non-participation in public life was construed by many as
lack of love for humanity.

But those who knew him during the days of the national
awakening–from 1900 to 1910–could not have these doubts.
And even these initial misunderstandings and false notions
of others began to evaporate with the growth of the Sri
Aurobindo Ashram from 1927 onwards. The large number of
books published by the Ashram also tended to remove the idea
of the other-worldliness of his yoga and the absence of any
good by it to mankind.

This period of outer retirement was one of intense
Sadhana and of intellectual activity–it was also one during
which he acted on external events,–though he was not
dedicated outwardly to a public cause. About his own
retirement he writes, “But this did not mean, as most people
supposed, that he (Sri Aurobindo) had retired into some
height of spiritual experience devoid of any further
interest in the world or in life. It could not mean that,
for the very principle of his yoga is not only to realize
the Divine and attain to a complete spiritual consciousness,
but also to take all life and all world-activity into the
scope of this Spiritual Consciousness and action and to base
life on the Spirit and give it a spiritual meaning. In his
retirement Sri Aurobindo kept a close watch on all that was
happening in the world and in India and actively intervened,
whenever necessary, but solely with a spiritual Force and
silent spiritual action; for it is part of the experience of
those who have advanced in yoga that, besides the ordinary
forces and activities of the mind and life and body in
Matter, there are other forces and powers that can and do
act from behind and from above; there is also a spiritual
dynamic Power which can be possessed by those who are
advanced in spiritual consciousness,–though all do not care
to possess, or possessing, to use it, and this Power is
greater than any other and more effective. It was this force
which Sri Aurobindo used at first only in a limited field of
personal work, but afterwards, in a constant action upon the
world forces.1

Twice he found it necessary to go out of his way to make
public pronouncements on important world-issues, which shows
distinctly that renunciation of life is not a part of his
yoga. “The first was in relation to the second world-war. At
the beginning he did not actively concern himself with it,
but when it appeared as if Hitler would crush all the forces
opposed to him and Nazism dominate the world, he began to

The second was with regard to Sir Stafford Cripps’
proposal for the transfer of power to India.

Over and above Sadhana, writing-work and rendering
spiritual help to the world during his apparent retirement

1. Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram

2. Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram iv

were plenty of other activities of which the outside
world has no knowledge. Many prominent as well as less known
persons sought and obtained interviews with him during these
years. Thus, among the well-known persons may be mentioned
C. R. Das, Lala Lajpat Rai, Sarala Devi, Dr. Munje, Khasirao
Jadhava, Tagore Sylvain Levy. The great national poet of
Tamilnad, S. Subramanya Bharati, was in contact with Sri
Aurobindo for some years during his stay at Pondicherry; so
was V. V. S. Aiyar. The famous V. Ramaswamy Aiyangar–Va.
Ra. of Tamil literature–stayed with Sri Aurobindo for
nearly three years and was influenced by him. Some of these
facts have been already mentioned in “A Life of Sri

Jung has admitted that there is an element of mystery,
something that baffles the reason, in human personality. One
finds that the greater the personality the greater is the
complexity. And this is especially so with regard to
spiritual personalities, what the Gita calls “Vibhutis” and

Sri Aurobindo has explained the mystery of personality in
some of his writings. Ordinarily by a personality we mean
something which can be described as “a pattern of being
marked out by a settled combination of fixed qualities, a
determined character.” In one view personality is regarded
as a fixed structure of recognizable qualities expressing a
power of being;” another idea regards “personality as a flux
of self-expressive or sensitive and responsive being.” “But
flux of nature and fixity of nature–which some call
character–are two aspects of being, neither of which, nor
indeed both together, can be a definition of personality.”
Besides this flux and this fixity there is also a third and
occult element, the Person behind of whom the personality is
a self-expression; the Person puts forward the personality
as his role, character, persona, in the present act of his
long drama of manifested existence. But the Person is larger
than his personality, and it may happen that this inner
largeness overflows into the surface formation; the result
is a self-expression of being




can no longer be described by fixed qualities,
normalities of mood, exact lineaments, or marked out
structural limits.”1

The gospel of the Supermind which Sri Aurobindo brought
to man envisages a new level of consciousness beyond Mind.
When this level is attained it imposes a complete and
radical reintegration of the human personality. Sri
Aurobindo was not merely the exponent but the embodiment of
the new, dynamic truth of the Supermind. While exploring and
sounding the tremendous possibilities of human personality
in his intense spiritual sadhana, he has shown us that
practically there are no limits to its expansion and ascent.
It can reach in its growth what appears to man at present as
a “divine” status. It goes without saying that this
attainment is not an easy task; there are conditions to be
fulfilled for the transformation from the human to the

The Gita in its chapters on the Vibhuti and the Avatar
takes in general the same position. It shows that the
present formula of our nature, and therefore the mental
personality of man, is not final. A Vibhuti embodies in a
human manifestation a certain divine quality and thus
demonstrates the possibility of over coming the limits of
ordinary human personality. The Vibhuti,–the embodiment of
a divine quality or power,–and the Avatar–the divine
incarnation–are not to be looked upon as supraphysical
miracles thrown at humanity without regard to the process of
evolution; they are, in fact, indications of human
possibility, a sign that points to the goal of

In his Essays on the Gita, Sri Aurobindo says about the
Avatar: “He may on the other hand descend as an incarnation
of divine life, the divine personality and power in its
characteristic action, for a mission ostensibly social,
ethical and political, as is represented in the story of
Rama and Krishna; but always then his descent becomes in the
soul of the race a permanent power for the inner and
Spiritual rebirth.”2


1. The Life Divine, P. 833

2. Essays on the Gita, P. 258


“He comes as the divine power and love which calls men to
itself, so that they may take refuge in that and no longer
in the insufficiency of their human wills and the strife of
their human fear, wrath and passion, and liberated from all
the unquiet and suffering may live in the calm and bliss of
the Divine.”1

“The Avatar comes to reveal the divine nature in men
above their lower nature and to show what are the divine
works, free, unegoistic, disinterested, impersonal,
universal, full of the divine light, the divine power and
the divine loves. He comes as a divine personality, which
shall fill the consciousness of the human being, to replace
the limited egoistic personality, so that it shall be
liberated out of ego into infinity and universality, out of
birth into immortality,”2

It is clear that Sri Aurobindo interpreted the
traditional idea of the Vibhuti and the Avatar in terms of
the evolutionary possibilities of man. But more directly he
has worked out the idea of the “gnostic individual” in his
masterpiece The Life Divine. He says: “A Supramental


individual will be a Spiritual Person, but not a
personality, in the sense of a pattern of being marked out
by a settled combination of fixed qualities, a determined
character; he cannot be that since he is a conscious
expression of the Universal and the Transcendent.”
Describing the gnostic individual he says: “we feel
ourselves in the presence of a light of consciousness, a
potency, a sea of energy, can distinguish and describe its
free waves of action and quality, but not fix itself; and
yet there is an impression of Personality the presence of a
powerful being, a strong, high or beautiful recognizable
Someone, a Person, not a limited creature of Nature but a
Self or Soul a Purusha.”3

One feels that he was describing the feeling of some of
us–his disciples–with regard to him in his inimitable


1. Essays on the Gita, p. 258

2. Ibid, p. 258

3. The Life Divine, p. 883


This transformation of the human personality into the
Divine–perhaps even the mere connection of the human with
the Divine–is probably regarded as a chimera by the modern
mind. To the modern mind it would appear as the apotheosis
of a human personality which is against its idea of equality
of men. Its difficulty is partly due to the notion that the
Divine is unlimited and illimitable while a “personality”,
however high and grand, seems to demand imposition, or
assumption, of limitation. In this connection Sri Aurobindo
said during an Evening Talk: “No human manifestation can be
illimitable and unlimited but the manifestation in the
limited should reflect the unlimited, the “Transcendent
Beyond.” (28-4-1923)

This possibility of the human touching and manifesting
the Divine has been realized during the course of human
history whenever a great spiritual Light has appeared on
earth. One of the purposes of this book is to show how Sri
Aurobindo himself reflected the unlimited Beyond in his own

Greatness is magnetic and in a sense contagious. Whenever
manifested, greatness is claimed by humanity as something
that reveals the possibility of the race. The highest
quality of greatness is not merely to attract us but to
inspire us to follow it and rise to our own highest
spiritual stature. To the majority of men Truth remains
abstract, impersonal and far unless it is seen and felt
concretely in a human personality. A man never knows a truth
actively except through a person and by embodying it in his
personality. Some glimpse of the Truth-Consciousness which
Sri Aurobindo embodied may be caught in these Evening


Guru griha vasa–“staying in the home of the Guru”–is a
very old Indian ideal maintained by seekers through the
ages. The Aranyakas–“the ancient teachings in the forest
groves”–are perhaps the oldest records of the institution.
It was


not for “education” in the modern sense of the term that
men went to live with the Guru; for the


Guru is not a “teacher”. The Guru is one who is
“enlightened,” who is a seer, a Rishi, one who has the
vision of and has lived the Truth. He has, thus, the
knowledge of the goal of human life and has learnt true
values in life by living the truth. He can impart both these
to the willing seeker. In ancient times seekers went to the
Guru with many questions, difficulties and doubts but also
with earnestness. Their questions were preliminary to the

The Master the Guru, set at rest the puzzled human mind
by his illuminating answers, perhaps even more by his silent
consciousness, so that it might be able to pursue unhampered
the path of realization of the Truth. Those ancient
discourses answer the mind of man to-day even across the
ages. They have rightly acquired–as everything of the past
does–a certain sanctity. But sometimes that very reverence
prevents men from properly evaluating, and living in, the
present. This happens when the mind instead of seeking the
Spirit looks at the form. For instance, it is not necessary
for such discourses that they take place in forest groves in
order to be highly spiritual. Wherever the Master is, there
is Light And Gura griha–the house of the Master–can be his
private dwelling place. So much was this feeling a part of
Sri Aurobindo’s nature and so particular was he to maintain
the personal character of his work that during the first few
years–after 1923–he did not like his house to be called an
“Ashram”, as the word had acquired the sense of a public
institution to the modern mind. But there was no doubt that
the flower of Divinity had blossomed in him; and disciples,
likes bees seeking honey, came to him. It is no exaggeration
to say that these Evening-Talks were to the small company of
disciples what the Aranyakas were to the ancient seekers.
Seeking the Light, they came to the dwelling place of their
Guru, the greatest seer of the age, and found it their
spiritual home–the home of their parents, for, the Mother,
his companion in the great mission, had come. And these
spiritual parents bestowed upon the disciples freely of
their Light, their consciousness, their


power and their grace. The modern reader may find that
the form of these discourses differs from those of the past
but it was bound to be so for the simple reason that the
times have changed and the problems that puzzle the modern
mind are so different. Even though the disciples may be very
imperfect representations of what he aimed at in them, still
they are his creations. It is in order to repay, in however
infinitesimal a degree, the debt which we owe to him that
the effort is made to partake of the joy of his company–the
Evening-Talks–with a larger public.



Sri Aurobindo was never a social man in the current sense
of the term and definitely he was not a man of the crowd.
This was due to his grave temperament, not to any feeling of
superiority or to repulsion for men. At Baroda there was an
Officer’s Club which was patronized by the Maharajah and
though Sri Aurobindo enrolled himself as a member he hardly
went to the Club even on special occasions. He rather liked
a small congenial circle of friends and spent most of his
evenings with them whenever he was free and not occupied
with his studies of other works. After Baroda when he went
to Calcutta there was hardly any time in the storm and
stress of revolutionary politics to permit him to lead a
“social life.” What little time he could spare from his
incessant activities was spent in the house of Raja Subodh
Malick or at the Grey Street house. In the Karma yogin
office he used to sit after the office hours till late
chatting with a few persons or trying automatic writing.
Strange dictations used to be received sometimes: one of
them was the following: “Moni (Suresh Chakarvarty) will bomb
Sir Edward Grey when he will come as the Viceroy of India.”
In later


years at Pondicherry there used to be a joke that Sir
Edward took such a fright at the prospect of Moni’s bombing
him that he never came to India!


After Sri Aurobindo had come to Pondicherry from
Chandranagore he entered upon an intense period of spiritual
sadhana and for a few months he refused to receive anyone.
After a time he used to sit down to talk in the evening and
on some days tried automatic writing. Yogic Sadhana–a small
book–was the result. In 1913 Sri Aurobindo removed to Rue
Francois Martin No. 41 where he used to receive persons at
fixed times. This was generally in the morning between 9 and
10. 30.

But, over and above newcomers, some local people and the
few inmates of the house used to have informal talk with Sri
Aurobindo in the evening. In the beginning the inmates used
to go out for playing foot-ball, and during their absence
known local individuals would come in and wait for Sri
Aurobindo. Afterwards regular meditation began at about 4.
p. m. in which practically all the inmates participated.
After the meditation all of the members and those who were
permitted shared in the evening sitting. This was a very
informal gathering depending entirely upon Sri Aurobindo’s

When Sri Aurobindo and the Mother removed to No. 9 Rue de
la Marine in 1922 the same routine of informal evening
sittings after meditation continued. I came to Pondicherry
for Sadhana in the beginning of 1923. I kept notes of the
important talks I had with the four or five disciples who
were already there. Besides, I used to take detailed notes
of the evening-talks which we all had with the Master. They
were not intended by him to be noted down. I took them down
because of the importance I felt about everything connected
with him, no matter how insignificant to the outer view. I
also felt that everything he did would acquire for those who
would come to know his mission a very great

As years passed the evening sittings went on changing
their time and often those disciples who came from outside
for a temporary stay for Sadhana were allowed to join them.
And, as the number of Sadhaks practicing the yoga increased,


evening sittings also became more full, the small
verandah upstairs in the main building was found
insufficient. Members of the household would gather every
day at the fixed time with some sense of expectancy and
start chatting in low tones. Sri Aurobindo used to come last
and it was after his coming that the session would really

He came dressed as usual in Dhoti, part of which was used
by him to cover the upper part of his body. Very rarely he
came out with Chaddar or Shawl and then it was “in deference
to the climate” as he sometimes put it. At times for minutes
he would be gazing at the sky from a small opening at the
top of the grass-curtains that covered the verandah of the
upstairs in No. 9 Rue de la Marine. How much were these
sittings dependent on him may be gathered from the fact that
there were days when more than three-fourths of the time
passed in complete silence without any outer suggestion from
him, or there was only an abrupt “Yes” or “No” to all
attempts at drawing him out

in conversation. And even when he participated in the
talk one always felt that his voice was that of one who does
not let his whole being flow into his words; there was a
reserve and what was left unsaid was perhaps more than what
was spoken. What was spoken was what he felt necessary to


These sittings, in fact, furnished Sri Aurobindo with an
occasion to admit and feel the outer atmosphere and that of


group living with him. It brought to him the much-needed
direct contact of the mental and vital make-up of the
disciples, enabling him to act on the atmosphere in general
and to the individual in particular. He could thus help to
remould their mental make-up by removing the limitations of
their minds and opinions, and correct temperamental
tendencies and formations. Thus, these sittings contributed
at least partly to the creation of an atmosphere amenable to
the working of the Higher Consciousness. Far more important
than the actual talk and its content was the personal
contact, the influence of the Master, and the divine
atmosphere he emanated; for through his outer personality it
was the Divine Consciousness that he allowed to act. All
along behind the outer manifestation that appeared human,
there was the influence and presence of the Divine.

What was talked in the small group informally was not
intended by Sri Aurobindo to be the independent expression
of his views on the subjects, events or the persons
discussed. Very often what he said was in answer to the
spiritual need of the individual or of the collective
atmosphere. It was like a spiritual remedy meant to produce
certain spiritual results, not a philosophical or
metaphysical pronouncement on questions, events or
movements. The net result of some talks very often was to
point out to the disciple the inherent incapacity of the
human intellect and its secondary place in the search for
the ultimate Reality.

But there were occasions when he did give his
independently personal views on some problems, on events and
other subjects. Even then it was never an authoritarian
pronouncement. Most often it appeared to be a logically
worked out and almost inevitable conclusion expressed quite
impersonally though with firm and sincere conviction. This
impersonality was such a prominent trait of his personality!
Even in such matters as dispatching a letter or a telegram
it would not be a command from him to a disciple to carry
out the task. Most often during his usual passage to the
dining room he would stop on the way, drop in on the company
of four or five disciples and, holding out


the letter or the telegram, would say in the most amiable
and yet the most impersonal way: “I suppose this has to be
sent.” And it would be for some one in the group instantly
to volunteer and take it. The expression very often he used
was “It was done”, “It happened” not “I did.”

There were two places where these sittings took place. At
the third place there was no sitting but informal talk to a
small number of disciples who were attending him after the
accident in November 1938.

From 1918 to 1922 we gathered at No: 41 Rue Francois
Martin, called the Guest House, upstairs, on a broad
verandah into which four rooms opened and whose main piece
of furniture was a small table 3’/x 1 1/2′, covered with a
blue cotton cloth. That is where Sri Aurobindo used to sit
in a hard wooden chair behind the table with a few chairs in
front for the visitors or for the disciples.

From 1922 to 1926 No. 9 Rue de la Marine, where he and
the Mother had shifted, was the place where the sittings
were held. There, also upstairs, was a less broad verandah
than at the Guest House, a little bigger table in front of
the central door out of three, and a broad Japanese
chair–the table covered with a better cloth than the one in
the Guest House, a small flower vase, an ash-tray,


a block calendar indicating the date and an ordinary
time-piece, a number of chairs in front in a line. The
evening sittings used to be after meditation at 4 or 4-30
p.m. After November 24, 1926, the sitting began to get later
and later, till the limit of 1 o’clock at night was reached.
Then the curtain fell. Sri Aurobindo retired completely
after December 1926 and the evening sittings came to a

* * *

Then, on November 23, 1938 I got up at 2 o’clock to
prepare hot water for the Mother’s early bath because the


was Darshan day. Between 2.20 and 2.30 the Mother rang
the bell. I ran up the staircase to be told about an
accident that had happened to Sri Aurobindo’s foot and to be
asked to fetch the doctor. This accident brought about a
change in his complete retirement, and rendered him
available to those who had to attend on him. This opened out
a long period of 12 years during which his retirement was
modified owing to circumstances, inner and outer, that made
it possible for him to have direct physical contacts with
the world outside.

The long period of the second world war with all its
vicissitudes passed through these years. It was a priceless
experience to see how he devoted his energies to the task of
saving humanity from the threatened reign of Nazism. It was
a practical lesson of solid work done for humanity without
any thought of return or reward, without even letting
humanity know what he was doing for it! Thus he lived the
Divine and showed us how the Divine cares for the world, how
he comes down and works for man. I shall never forget how he
who was at one time–in his own words–“not merely a
non-co-operator but an enemy of British Imperialism”
bestowed such anxious care on the health of Churchill,
listening carefully to the health bulletins! It was the work
of the Divine, it was the Divine’s work for the world.

There were no formal evening sittings during these years
but what appeared to me important in the talks was recorded
and has been incorporated in this book.




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?


Besides fear has no place in yoga. The soul is immortal
and the body passes. The soul goes from one life to

Disciple: We fear because of our attachments.

Sri Aurobindo: One must have no attachments in yoga.
Disciple: How to conquer fear?

Sri Aurobindo: By mental strength, will and spiritual
power. In my own case, whenever there was any fear I used to
do the very things that I was afraid of even if it entailed
a violent death. Barin also had much fear while he was in
the terrorist activity. But he would compel himself to do
those things. When death sentence was passed on him he took
it very cheerfully. Henry IV, King of France, had a great
physical fear but by his mental will he would compel himself
to rush into thick of the battle and was known as a great
warrior. Napoleon and Caesar had no fear. Once when Caesar
was fighting the forces of Pompeii in Albania, Caesar’s army
was faring badly. Caesar was at that time in Italy. He
jumped into the sea, took a fisherman’s boat and asked him
to carry him there. On the way a storm rose and the
fisherman was mortally afraid. The Caesar said “Why do you
fear? You are carrying the fortunes of Caesar.”

I remember one Sadhaka under an attack of hiccoup saying
“If it goes on I will die.” I told him “What does it matter
if you die?” and the hiccoup stopped! Very often, these
fears and suggestions bring in the adverse forces which then
catch hold of the subject. By my blunt statement the Sadhaka
realized his folly and did not, perhaps, allow any more

Disciple: Is Barin still doing yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know, he used to do some sort of
yoga even before I began. My yoga he took up only after
coming to Pondicherry. In the Andamans also he

D. P.-3


was practicing it. You know he was Lele’s disciple. Once
he took Lele to Calcutta among the young people of the
secret society. Lele did not know that they were
revolutionaries. One day Barin took him into a garden where
they were practicing shooting. As soon as Lele saw it he
understood the nature of the movement and asked Barin to
give it up. If Barin did not listen to him, Lele said, he
would fall into a ditch and he did fall.

Disciple: Barin, I heard, had a lot of experiences.

Sri Aurobindo: They were mere mental and he gathered some
knowledge, much information or understanding out of them. I
heard that when he had begun yoga he had an experience of
Kamananda. Lele was surprised to hear about it. For he said
that experience comes usually at the end. It is a descent
like any other experience but unless one’s sex centre is
sufficiently controlled it


may produce bad results etc. emission and other

Disciple: Yes. He had brilliance.

Sri Aurobindo: But he was always narrow and limited. He
would not widen himself, (SriAurobindo showed it by the
movement of hands above the head) that is why his things
won’t last.

e.g. he was brilliant writer and he also wrote devotional
poetry. But nothing that will last because of this
limitation. He was an amazing amateur in many things e.g.
music, revolutionary activity. He was also a painter, though
it did not come to much in spite of his exhibitions. He did
well in all these but nothing more.

Disciple: Barin in his paper “Dawn” began to write your

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know that. Did he publish a


I would have been interested to see what he writes about

Disciple: It ceased after a short time.

Disciple: You wrote back exclaiming great surprise that
what everyone knows I do not know.

Sri Aurobindo: In fact it is not true. That is, what it
is. Barin does not give the true state of things. I was
neither the founder nor the leader. It was P. Mittra and
Miss Ghosal that started it at the inspiration of Baron
Okakura. They had already started and when I visited Bengal
I cam to know about it. I simply kept myself informed of
their work. My idea was an open armed revolution in the
whole of India. What they did at that time was very
childish. e.g. beating magistrates and so on. Later it
turned into terrorism and dacoities etc. which were not at
all my idea or intention. Bengal is too emotional, wants
quick results, can’t prepare through a long course of years.
We wanted to give battle through creating a spirit in the
race through guerrilla warfare. But at the present stage of
warfare such things are impossible and bound to fail.

Disciple: Then why did you not check it?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not good to check such things that
press for strong expression, when they have taken a strong
step, for, something good may come out of it.

Disciple: You did not appear in the riding test in your
I. C. S.? Sri Aurobindo: No, they gave me another chance.


again I did not appear and finally they rejected me.

Disciple: But why then did you appear in the I.C.S.? Was
it by some intuition that you did not come for the riding

Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. I knew nothing of yoga at that
time. I appeared for I.C.S. because my father wanted it and
I was too young to understand. Later I found out what sort
of work it is and I had disgust for administrative life and
I had no interest in administrative work. My interest was in
poetry and literature and study of languages and patriotic


Disciple: We heard that you and C.R. Das used to make
plans of revolution in India while in England.

Sri Aurobindo: Not only C.R. Das but many others.
Deshpande was one.

Disciple: You used to write very strong memoranda for the
Gaikewad; you once asked him to go and give it to the
Resident personally.

Sri Aurobindo: That is legend. I could not have said so.
Of course, I wrote many memoranda for the Maharajah.
Generally he used to indicate the lines and I used to follow
them. But I myself was not much interested in
administration. My interest lay outside in Sanskrit,
literature, in the national movement. When I came to Baroda
from England I found out what the Congress was at that time
and formed a contempt for it. Then I came in touch with
Deshpande, Tilak, Madhav Rao etc. There I strongly
criticized the Congress for its moderate policy. The
articles were so furious that M.G. Ranade, the great
Maharashtra leader, asked the proprietor of the paper
(through Deshpande) not to allow such seditious things to
appear in the paper, otherwise he might be arrested and
imprisoned. Deshpande approached me with


the news and requested me to write something less
violent. I then began to write about philosophy of politics,
leaving aside the practical part of politics. But I soon got
disgusted with it.

Along with Tilak, Madhav Rao, Deshmukh and Joshi who
became a moderate later, we were planning to work on more
extreme lines than the Congress. We brought Jatin Banerji
from Bengal and put him in the Baroda army. Our idea was to
drive moderates from the Congress and capture it.

As soon as I heard that National College had been started
in Bengal, I found my opportunity, threw off the Baroda job
and went to Calcutta as the Principal. There I came in
contact with B. Pal who was editing the “Bande mataram.” But
its financial condition was precarious and when B. Pal was
going on a tour he asked me to take up the paper. I asked
Subodh Mullick and others to finance the paper and went on
editing it.

Then some people wanted to oust Bipin Chandra Pal from
the Bande Matram and they connected my name also with it. I
called the sub-editor and gave him a severe thrashing, of
course metaphorically. But the mischief was done. Bipin Pal
was a great orator, and at that time his speeches were
highly inspired, a sort of a descent. Later on his power of
oration also got diminished. I remember he never used the
word independence but always said “Autonomy without British
control.” Later on when after Barisal Conference we brought
in the peasants in the movement, forty to fifty thousand of
them used to gather to hear Pal; Suren Banerjee can not
stand comparison with Pal. He has never done anything like
it. But he also lost his power later on. He was more an
orator. He had not the qualities of a leader. Then
Shyamsundar and some other people


came in. It soon drew the attention of large number of
people and became an All-India paper. One day I called the
Bengal leaders and said, “It is no use simply going on like
this. We must capture the Congress and throw out these
moderate leaders from it.” Then we decided to follow Tilak
as the All-India leader.

They at once jumped at the idea. Tilak who was not well
known in the Northern parts was chosen


for leadership. He was a real great man who was
disinterested and a rare great man. Disciple: What do you
think of his Gita? Was it inspired?

Sri Aurobindo: I must say I have not read it.

Disciple: You have reviewed it.

Sri Aurobindo: Then I have reviewed it without having
read it (loud laughter). Of course I might have glanced
through it and I don’t think it is inspired. It is more a
mental interpretation and he had a brilliant mind.

Disciple: When some one asked Tilak what he would do when
India got Swaraj, he said he would again become a professor
of Mathematics.

Disciple: What about A. B. Patrika? It was also an
extremist paper.

Sri Aurobindo: Never, it was impossible for A. B. Patrika
to write openly like the “Bande Mataram” and Jugantar about
independence, guerrilla warfare, day after day in a paper.
It wanted safety first. At that time three papers were
running in Bengal 1. “Jugantar” 2. Bande Mataram 3. And
Sandhya. Brahma Bandhava. Upadhyaya editor of Sandhya was
another great man. He used to write so cleverly the
Government could not charge him; and our financial condition
was so bad and yet we carried on for five to six years.

Disciple: But did the Government not try to arrest you?

Sri Aurobindo: It could not. There was no such law and
the press had more liberty. Besides there was nothing in the
papers that could be directly charged against–so cleverly
were they written. “Statesman” used to complain that the
paper Bande Mataram was full of seditious matter from end to
end. But yet so cleverly was it written that one could not
arrest the editor. Moreover the name of editor was never
published. So they could arrest only the printer. But when
one was arrested another came to take his place. Later on
Upen Banerjee, Sub-editor, published some correspondence for
which I was arrested on sedition charge, but as nothing
could be proved I was acquitted. But in my absence as they
were disastrously up against finance they wrote something
very strong and the paper was suppressed. After another
arrest I published the “Karmayogin”. There I wrote an
article “Open letter to my countrymen.” for which the
Government wanted to prosecute me. While the prosecution was
pending I went secretly to Chandranagore and there some
friends were thinking of sending me to France. I was
thinking want to do next. There I heard the Adesh to go to

Disciple: Why to Pondicherry?

Sri Aurobindo: I could not question. It was Sri Krishna’s
Adesh. I had to obey. Later on I found it was for the Ashram
and for the Work.

I had to apply for a pass-port under a false name. The
Ship Company required Medical Certificate by an English
Doctor. After a great deal of trouble I found out one and
went to his house. He told me that I could speak English
remarkably well. I replied that I had been to England.

Disciple: You took the certificate under a false name. (I
was a little surprised to hear he had


disguised under a false name. So the question.)


Sri Aurobindo: Of course. If I had given my name, I would
have been at once arrested. With due respect to Gandhi’s
truth I could not be exactly precise about my name,
otherwise you can’t be a revolutionary.

Accompanied by Bijoy and preceded by Moni and followed by
my brother-in-law I arrived in Pondicherry but had to assume
false names for some time.


22nd December 1938.

(All of us assembled in hope of hearing something from
Sri Aurobindo. I was actually praying for it. But he did not
seem to be in a talking mood. So we were forced to keep
quiet at the same time thinking how to draw him into
conversation and by what question. Suddenly we find X.
beaming with a smile and looking at Sri Aurobindo. Then he
takes a few more moves nearer to Sri Aurobindo and we
automatically follow him, he still nears and then he bursts
out with a question: “To attain right attitude what
principles should we follow in our dealing and behaviour
with others?”

Sri Aurobindo could not quite catch the question so it
was repeated and he replied: It seems to me the other way
about. If we have the right attitude other things come by
themselves. Right attitude is necessary; what is important
is the inner attitude. Spiritual and ethical principles are
quite different, for every thing depends on whether it is
done for the sake of the Spirit or ethical reasons.

One may observe mental control in dealings etc. but the
inner state may be quite different e.g. he may not show
anger, may be humble externally, but internally he may be
proud and full of anger. For


example A. when he came here he was full of humility
outside. It is the psychic control that is required and when
that is there right attitude follows in one’s external
behaviour. Conduct must flow from within outwards and the
more one opens to the psychic influence the more it gains
over the outer nature. Mental control may or may not lead to
the spiritual. In people of a certain type it may be the
first step towards psychic control.

Disciple: How to get psychic control?

Sri Aurobindo: By constant remembrance, consecration of
ourselves to the Divine, rejection of all that stands in the
way of the psychic influence. Generally, it is the vital
that stands in the way with its desires and demands. And
once the psychic opens it shows at every step what is to be
done. (At the later stage of the conversation Mother came
and soon after we all lapsed into meditation with the

After her departure at about 7 P.M. Sri Aurobindo asked
X. “What is the idea behind your question? Something
personal or a general question?”

Disciple: I meant, for instance, how to see good in every
body, how to love all and have good-will


for all.

Sri Aurobindo: One has to start with the idea of
good-will for all; to consecrate oneself to the Divine, try
to see God in others, have a psychic good-will and in
oneself reject all vital and mental impulses, and on that
basis proceed towards the realization. The idea must pass
into experience. Even then, it is easy in static aspect, but
when it comes to the dynamic experience it becomes
difficult. For example, when one finds a man behaving like a
brute it is very difficult to see God in him unless one
separates him from outer nature and sees the Divine


One can repeat the name of the Divine and come to divine
consciousness. Disciple: How does name do it?

Sri Aurobindo: Name has a power like Mantra. Everything
in the world is power. There are others who do Pranayama
along with the name. After a time the repetition behind the
Pranayama becomes automatic and one feels Divine presence
etc. Here people once began to feel tremendous force in
their work. They would work without fatigue for hours and
hours, but they began to overdo it. One has to be reasonable
even in spirituality. That was when the Sadhana was in the
vital. But when it began in the physical then things were
different. Physical is like a stone, full of inertia and

Disciple: Sometimes one feels a sort of love for
everybody, though the feeling lasts for a second it gives a
great joy.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the wave from the psychic. But
what is your attitude towards it? Do you take it as a
passing mood or does it stimulate you to further experience
of that sort?

Disciple: It stimulates but sometimes vital mixture tries
to come in. Fortunately I could drive it out.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the risk. The fact that mixture
tried to come in means that the wave came through the inner
vital and thus took something from the vital. One has to be
very careful in order to avoid these sex impurities. In
spite of his occasional outburst of violence X was a very
nice and affectionate man; but he used to get these things
mixed up with sex-impulse and the experience was spoiled.
This happens because sometimes one gives a
semi-justification to sex-impulse. But sex is absolutely out
of place in Yoga. In ordinary life it has a certain place
for a certain purpose. Of course, if you


adopt the Sahaja Marga, it is different.

While in jail I know of a man who had a power of
concentration trying to make everyone love him and he
succeeded. The warder and all the people around him were
drawn towards him.

Disciple: That is what we don’t know (laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: The mind must be made quiet and the
consciousness turned-not mentally-towards the aim. It no
doubt takes time but that is the way. There are no devices
for these things.

Disciple: What difference is there between modification
of nature and its transformation?


Sri Aurobindo: Transformation is the casting of the whole
nature in the mould of realization. What you realize you
project out in your nature. Christian Saints speak of the
presence in the heart. That presence can change the

I speak of three transformations: 1. Psychic, 2.
Spiritual and 3. Supramental. Psychic transformation many
had; spiritual is the realization of the Self, the Infinite
above, with its dynamic side of peace, knowledge, ananda
etc. That transformation is spiritual transformation and
above that is the Supramental transformation. It is
Truth-consciousness working for a Divine aim or purpose.

Disciple: If one has inner realization does
transformation follow in the light of the realization?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. There may be some
modification in the nature-part but the transformation is
not automatic. It is not so easy as all that. My experience
of peace and calm in the first contact with Lele has never
left me, but in my outer nature there were many agitations
and every time I had to make an effort to establish peace.
From that time onwards the


whole object of my yoga was to change nature into the
mould of the inner realization. I had to try to change or
transform these by the influence of my realization.

Disciple: Even then a man with inner realization,–I
don’t mean experience–won’t have grave difficulties such as
sex in his nature.

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? There can be anger, like
Durvasa’s or sex. You have not heard of the fall of Rishis
through anger or through sex? The Yogis pass beyond the
stage of good and evil. Ordinary questions of morality don’t
arise in them. They look upon outer nature as a child
behaving according to its wants. I think X’s fall came in
that way. He had gone into the higher mind, I do not know,
if not even to the overmind state; he used to be guided by
an inner voice which he accepted as the voice of the Divine
and did everything in the light of that voice. When people
were asking him about his conduct I am told he replied that
it was by the voice of God and that every Siddha had done
that. You have heard of Agymananda Swami who went to London?
He was arrested in England for making love to girls.

Disciple: Would not the inner realization stop because of
these outer indulgences.

Sri Aurobindo: It depends on how far one has gone in the
path in spiritual realization. There are any number of
passages, crossways and paths; one may be at liberty to
whatever yoga one likes. But in our yoga we insist on the
transformation of outer nature as well. And when I say
something is necessary in yoga, it means in “our yoga”; it
does not apply to yoga with other aims.

(There was lull for some time after this.)

Then Sri Aurobindo asked: Do you know


anything about M.?

Disciple: My impression was not favourable. I was not
personally attracted by him.

Sri Aurobindo: When I saw his photo I had an impression
that he is a man with strong vital power.


When I saw that he was advertising about himself as
Messiah I began to doubt his genuineness. His sadhana seems
to be in the vital and it is in these cases that the power
descends and unfortunately people are attracted by these
powers. In the spiritual and the psychics even in mental
sadhana, power can come, but it comes automatically without
one asking for it.

Y. was another M. with a powerful vital being. At one
time I had strong hopes about him. But people whose sadhana
is on a vital basis pass into what I have called the
Intermediate Zone and hardly go beyond the vital. It is like
a jungle and it is comparatively much easy with those people
who are weak and have no such power. He used to think that
he had put himself in the Divine’s hand and the Divine is in
him. We had to be severe with him to disillusion him of his
idea. That is why he could not remain here. He went back and
became a guru with about thirty or forty disciples around
him. Gurugiri (Master-ship) comes very often to these
people. He did all that in my name which I heartily
disliked. Unfortunately his mind was not equally powerfully
developed as his vital. He had the fighter’s mind not the
thinker’s. We often put a strong force on him and as a
result he used to become very lucid for a time and he could
see his wrongs. But immediately his vital rushed back and
took control of his mind, it all used to be wiped out. If
his mind had been as developed perhaps he would have been
able to retain the clarity. The intellect helps one to


separate oneself from the vital and look at it
dispassionately. The mind also can deceive but not so much.
M. is another of this type.

Disciple: Why did he go away from here?

Sri Aurobindo: Because he wanted to be an Avatar and
because he could not get rid of the attachment to his work.
He is very unscrupulous.

Disciple: Has he some power?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But not an occult power like the
others. Before that he was quite an ordinary man with some
possibilities. When I came out of the jail, you know, I was
staying in his house and I was full of certain force. He got
a share of it.

Disciple: How?

Sri Aurobindo: He was doing some kind of yoga. I gave him
some instructions. From them he got his power.

Disciple: Was he working on your idea?

Sri Aurobindo: When I was leaving Bengal I thought it
might be possible to work through him on condition that he
remained faithful to me. That he could never be. His own
self came to the front though the original push was from me,
now it is not my force that is working there. These things
become easily unspiritualised.

Disciple: In his “Jivan Sangini” he makes a lot of fuss
over his wife.

Sri Aurobindo: She struck me as a common-place woman
though a good woman. She was a better woman than he as a
man. I saw her only once by chance as she was not used to
come out before people.


Disciple: He had developed a powerful Bengali style.


Sri Aurobindo: Is that so? He was once Translating the
Veda in Bengali.

Disciple: His Bengali, you know, was like Christian
Missionary’s Bengali. You know what it is like.

23rd December 1938

We have assembled as usual, and are eager to resume the
talk. But nobody could begin without some hint or gesture
from Sri Aurobindo. He was lying calmly in his bed.

A disciple made an approach to Sri Aurobindo
half-hesitatingly. This made another disciple roar with
laughter (Sri Aurobindo heard the laughter)

Disciple: X. is roaring with laughter.

Sri Aurobindo: Descent of Ananda?

This primary breaking of the ice made the atmosphere a
little encouraging So, X catching the chance shot the
following question with a beaming face:

Disciple: Because the hostile forces offer resistance to
the Divine manifestation in the world and some of them
become sometimes victorious (at least for the time being)
can one logically say that the Divine lacks Omnipotence? It
is not my question but somebody else’s.

Sri Aurobindo: (turning his head to him) It depends on
what you mean by Omnipotence. If the idea is that God must
always succeed then we must conclude that he is not
Omnipotent. Do you mean to say that he must always succeed
against the resistance and then only he may be called
Omnipotent? People have very queer ideas of Omnipotence.
Resistance is the law of evolution. Resistance comes from
ignorance and ignorance is a part of inconscience: the whole
thing starts from


ignorance that is inconscience. At the very beginning
when the opposition between ignorance and knowledge was
created, there was the very denial of the Divine. It is his
Lila that the manifestation shall proceed through resistance
and struggle: what kind of Lila, or play, it is in which
side goes on winning? Divine Omnipotence generally works
through the universal law. There are forces of Light and
forces of Darkness. To say that the forces of Light shall
always succeed is the same as saying that truth and good
shall always succeed, though there is no such thing as
unmixed truth and unmixed good. Divine Omnipotence
intervenes only at critical or decisive moments.

Every time the Light has tried to descend it has met with
resistance and opposition. Christ was crucified. You may
say, “Why should it be like that when he was innocent?” and
yet that was the Divine dispensation. Buddha was denied;
sons of Light come, the earth denies them, rejects them in
substance. Only a small minority grows towards a spiritual
birth. It is through them the Divine manifestation takes
place. What remains of Buddhism today except a few decrees
of Asoka and a few hundred thousand Buddhists?

Disciple: Asoka helped in propagating Buddhism.


Sri Aurobindo: Anybody could have done that.

Disciple: But it is through his aid that it became

Sri Aurobindo: If kings and emperors had left Buddhism to
those people who were really spiritual it would have been
much better for real Buddhism. It was after Constantine
embraced Christianity that it began to decline. The king of
Norway, on whom Longfellow wrote a poem, killed all people
who were not Christians


and thus succeeded in establishing Christianity! The same
happened to Mohammedanism. When it succeeded the followers
of the Prophet became Khalifas, then the religion declined.
It is not kings and emperors that keep alive spirituality
but people who are really spiritual that do so.

Disciple: Asoka sacrificed everything for Buddhism.

Sri Aurobindo: But he remained emperor till the end. When
kings and emperors try to spread religion they become like
Asoka i.e. make whole thing mechanical and the inner truth
is lost.

Disciple: Raman Maharshi was known to no one. It was
Brunton who made him widely known.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a strange measure of success, people
adopt in judging people by the number of disciples. Who was
great–Raman Maharshi who did his Sadhana in seclusion for
years or Raman Maharshi surrounded by all sorts of
disciples? Success to be real must be spiritual. At times,
when some spiritual movement begins to succeed then the real
thing begins to be lost.

The talk turned to Ramanashram.

Sri Aurobindo: (related a story here) Mrs. K. went to see
Maharshi and was seen driving mosquitoes at the time of
meditation. She complained to him about mosquito bites. The
Maharshi told her that if she couldn’t bear mosquito bites
she couldn’t do yoga. Mrs. K. could not understand the
significance of the statement. She wanted spirituality
without mosquitoes!

There are reports that those who stay there permanently
are not all in agreement with each other.


Do you know that famous story about Maharshi “when being
disgusted with the Ashram and the disciples,” he was going
away into the mountain. He was passing through a narrow path
flanked by the hills. He came upon an old woman sitting with
her legs across the path. Maharshi begged her to draw her
legs but she would not. Then Maharshi in anger passed across
her. She then became very angry and said “Why are you so
restless? Why can’t you sit in one place at Arunachala
instead of moving about, go back to your place and worship
Shiva there?” Her remarks struck him and he retraced his
steps. After going some distance he looked back and found
that there was nobody. Suddenly it struck him that it was
the Divine Mother herself who wanted him to remain at

Of course it was the Divine Mother who asked him to go
back. Maharshi was intended to lead this sort of life. He
has nothing to do with what happens around him. He remains
calm and detached. The man is what he was. By the way, I am
glad to hear Maharshi shouting with the Indian Christian (we
all laughed with him); it means he also can become dynamic.
The only Ashram in which there


was great unity, I heard, was Thakur Dayanand’s. There
was a strong sense of unity among them. I wrote an article
on the “Avatar” in Karmayogin. Mahendra Dey, Dayanand’s
disciple, seeing the article wrote to me “he is the

Avatar”. He was very enthusiastic about it. And when
there was police firing and arrests, Mahendra Dey after his
imprisonment became changed and said that he was hypnotized
by Dayananda.

Disciple: Why are the Gurus obliged to work with
imperfect and defective people like us? Here the difficulty
seems to be more keen.


Sri Aurobindo: That has been a puzzle to me also. But it
is so. Our case is a little different. Our aim is to change
the world, not universally, of course. Hence every one here
represents human nature with all its difficulties and
capacities. That’s how your difficulties are explained, (He
said looking at X).

26th December 1938.

Four disciples were seated on the carpet talking in low
whispers at about 5. 30 P. M. One of the group broke into
suppressed laughter in course of talk.

At 6. 30 P. M. we all assembled by the side of Sri
Aurobindo, He looked round and referring to the laughter
asked: “What was the divine descent about?”

Disciple: X. had his usual outburst of laughter.

Sri Aurobindo: Oh, it was the descent of Vishnu’s

Disciple: It is very peculiar how I break out into
uncontrolled laughter so easily. Formerly, I used to weep at
the slightest provocation. I think because I live in the
external consciousness only I laugh so easily. Is it

Sri Aurobindo: It is the reaction of the superficial
vital which is touched easily by simple, outward things;
there is a child in nature that bursts out like that. It is
the same as the Balabhava–the child-like nature. The deeper
vital being does not get so easily touched.

The topic was changed at this point.

Disciple: What is meant by self-offering? How to do


Sri Aurobindo: How to do it! One offers one’s vital, mind
and heart, attachment, passions, and grows into the Divine

Disciple: What time is more propitious for
meditation,–day-time or night-time? I get more concentrated
at night.

Sri Aurobindo: It may be due to the calm and quiet
atmosphere and also because you are accustomed to it. Nights
and early mornings are supposed to be the best for

We ask people to have a fixed time for meditation, for,
if they are habituated to it then the response comes at that
time due to Abhyas. Lele asked me to meditate twice but when
he came to Calcutta

he heard that I did not do it. He did not give me time to
explain that my meditation was going on all the time. He
simply said: “the devil has caught you.”

Disciple: Sometimes meditation is automatic.

Sri Aurobindo: At that time you must sit, otherwise you
feel uneasy.

Disciple: The other day I was having peace, and ananda,
and I saw many visions. But I had to go to sleep, for I
thought, if I kept up at night I might fall ill. I saw the
flower signifying sincerity in my vision.

Sri Aurobindo: Sincerity means to lift all our movements
towards the Divine. Disciple: That fear of falling ill by
keeping awake, is it not a mental fear?

Sri Aurobindo: The thing is, the physical being has got a
limit. The vital being can feel the energy, peace, etc.


the physical cannot be taxed beyond its capacity. That is
what happened to many Sadhaks here. They overworked till a
reaction took place. The force comes for your particular
work, not to increase the work and keep it for the other
purposes. If you go on overdoing it then the natural
reaction will come. There is a certain amount of
reasonableness even in spirituality.

Disciple: At one time I also used to feel a lot of energy
while I was working with the Mother and I was never fatigued
even working day and night, only one or two hours sleep was
sufficient and I would feel as fresh as ever.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. That is because you opened to the
Energy. About sleep, even ten minutes of sleep may be
enough, but of course, it is not ordinary sleep but going
within. If you can draw the Force with equanimity and
conserve it, these things can be done. As I said many
Sadhaks felt that sort of thing when we were dealing with
the vital. But when the Sadhana came into the physical there
was not that push any more and people began to feel easily
fatigued, lazy, and unwilling to work. They began to
complain about ill-health due to overwork and were helped by
the doctor. Do you know the idea of “H?” He says people have
come here not for work but for meditation.

I dare say if we had not come down into the physical and
remained in the vital and mental like other Yogis without
trying to transform them then things would have been

(At this hour Mother came in and we meditated for
sometime. After she went away, our talk was resumed. Someone
remarked N. had a good meditation. He did not know that
Mother has gone.)


Sri Aurobindo: Good meditation?

Disciple: How do you know?

Sri Aurobindo: By the inclination of your head,

Disciple: I can’t say; I was having many incoherent
dreams and visions–that is all I can say, perhaps it was in
the surface consciousness.


Sri Aurobindo: Surface consciousness of the inner vital
being. Such things are very common; of course, when one goes
still deeper one does not see them. There is a point between
the surface consciousness and the deeper vital which is full
of these fantasies and dreams. They are apparently
incoherent. In the physical a mouse turning into an elephant
may have no meaning but it is not so in the vital. They have
no coherence of the physical plane but they have their own
coherence of the

vital plane. But when one gets the clue one finds that
everything is a linked whole. That I have seen many times in
my own case. It is this world from which Tagore’s painting
came,–what Europeans call the Goblin world.

Disciple: Does Tagore see them before drawing them?

Sri Aurobindo: I do not think so. Some see them but do
not draw them. But they come to him. Anybody who has the
least experience of these planes can at once say from where
they come.

Disciple: But how is it that people think and he himself
calls it great paintings?

Sri Aurobindo: Everybody calls it “great and wonderful”,
so he himself comes to think it so. Then we began to talk
about headache either due to physical cause or


Disciple: I have seen many times my headache start after
Mother’s touch at Pranam.

Sri Aurobindo: That may be because you passed from one
state of consciousness to another. Disciple:

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? When from a state of
concentration you mix yourself just after the Pranam you can
easily pass to another state. That is why Mother advises
people to remain calm and quiet for some time after Pranam
or meditation.

Disciple: I felt once as if the head were suspended in
the air and that parts of body did not resist. Sri
Aurobindo: That is separation of the mental

Disciple: Are you able to know what experiences Sadhaks
are having, especially if they are some decisive ones?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t. But Mother knows. Whenever it is
a question of consciousness she can see in the Sadhak
whatever changes are taking place. When she meditates (with
the Sadhak) she can know what line he is following, the line
she indicates or the Sadhak’s own and afterwards what
changes have been brought in the consciousness.

Disciple: And when the Sadhaka experiences something, is
it imparted to you?

Sri Aurobindo: What is the use of giving our own things
to them? Let them have their own growth. I may put in a
Force for people who are in habitual bad condition, people
who are always going in the wrong and try to work it out so
that the condition might improve. If the


Sadhak co-operates then it is comparatively easy.
Otherwise, if the Sadhak is passive then the result takes a
long time, it comes, goes again, returns like that and
ultimately the Force prevails. In


case of people like “X.” we used to put in a strong Force
then he became lucid and then the whole vital used to rush
up and catch hold of him. Whereas if the Sadhak actively
participates then it takes only one-tenth of the time.

27th December 1938.

Sri Aurobindo himself opened the talk to-day by
addressing X and said “I hear D. going about in his car with
a guard by his side, two cyclist policemen in front and
back.” Then the talk continued regarding Pondicherry
politics, most of talk being by us. Then Sri Aurobindo
remarked. “When I see Pondicherry and Calcutta Corporation I
begin to wonder why I was so eager for democracy.
Pondicherry and Calcutta Corporation are the two object
lessons which can take away all enthusiasm for

Disciple: Was the Calcutta Corporation so bad before the
Congress came there?

Sri Aurobindo: No. There was not so much scope for
it,–at least we did not know of such scandals. It is the
same thing with other municipal Governments. In New York and
Chicago the whole machinery is corrupt. Sometimes the head
of the institution is like that. Sometimes a Mayor comes up
with the intention of cleaning out the whole, but one does
not know after cleaning which one was better. The Mayor of
Chicago was a great criminal but all judges and
police-officers were under his pay. In France also it is
about the same thing. It


is not surprising that people got disgusted with

England is comparatively less corrupt. The English are
the only people who know how to work the Parliamentary
system. Parliamentary Government is in their blood.

Disciple: It seems that our old Indian system was the
best for us. How could it succeed so well?

Sri Aurobindo: The old Indian system grew out of life, it
had room for everything and every interest. There were
monarchy, aristocracy, democracy. Every interest was
represented in the Government. While in Europe the Western
System grew out of the mind. They are led by reason and want
to make everything cut and dried without any chance of
freedom or variation. If it is democracy, then democracy
only. No room for anything else. They cannot be plastic.

India is now trying to imitate the West. Parliamentary
Government is not suited to India. But we always take up
what the west has thrown off. Sir Akabar wanted to try a new
sort of Government with an impartial authority at the head.
There, in Hyderabad, the Hindu majority complains that
though Mohammedens are in minority they occupy most of the
offices in the state. By Sir Akabar’s method almost every
interest would have been represented in the Government and
automatically the Hindus would have come in, but because of
their cry of responsible Government the scheme failed. They
have a fixed idea in the mind and want to fit everything to
it. They can’t think for themselves and so take up what the
others are throwing off.

Disciple: What is your idea of an ideal Government for
India? It is possible in Hyderabad which has a Nizam.


But how to do the same in an Indian Constitution?


Sri Aurobindo: Sir Akabar’s is as good as any. My idea is
like what Tagore once wrote. There may be one Rashtrapati at
the top with considerable powers so as to secure a
continuity of policy and an Assembly representative of the
nation. The provinces will contribute to a Federation,
united at the top, leaving ample scope to local bodies to
make laws according to their local problems. Mussolini
started with a fundamental of the Indian System but
afterwards began bullying and bluffing other nations for the
sake of imperialism. If he had persisted in his original
idea, he would have been a great creator.

Disciple: Dr. Bhagwandas suggested that there should be
legislators above the age of 40, completely disinterested
like the Rishis.

Sri Aurobindo: A chamber of Rishis! That would not be
very promising. They will at once begin to quarrel. As they
say; Rishis in ancient times could guide kings because they
were distributed over various places.

Disciple: His idea is of gathering all great men

Sri Aurobindo: And let them quarrel like Kilkeni cats. I
suppose. (said laughing).

The Congress at the present stage–what is it but a
Fascist organization? Gandhi is the dictator like Stalin, I
wan’t say like Hitler. What Gandhi says they accept and even
Working Committee follows him. Then it goes to A. I. C. C.
which adopts it and then the Congress. There is no
opportunity for any difference of opinion except for
Socialists who are allowed to differ. Whatever resolutions
they pass are obligatory on all the


provinces whether the resolutions suit the provinces or
not. There is no room for any other independent opinion.
Every thing is fixed up before and the people are only
allowed to talk over it like Stalin’s Parliament. When we
started the movement we began with the idea of throwing out
the Congress oligarchy and open the whole organization to
the general mass.

Disciple: Srinivas Ayyanger retired from Congress because
of his difference with Gandhi. He objected to Gandhi’s
giving the movement a religious turn and bringing in
religion in Politics.

Sri Aurobindo: He made Charka a religious article of
faith and excluded all people from Congress Membership who
could not spin. How many believe in his gospel of Charka?
Such a tremendous waste of energy, just for the sake of a
few annas is most unreasonable.

Disciple: He made that rule perhaps to enforce

Sri Aurobindo: Discipline is all right but once you
centralize you go on centralizing.

Disciple: It failed in agricultural provinces and seems
to have succeeded in other places especially where people
had no occupation.

Disciple: In Bengal it did not succeed.

Sri Aurobindo: In Bengal it did not. It may be all right
as a famine-relief measure. But when it takes the form of an
All-India programme it looks absurd. If you form a programme
that is suited to the condition of the agricultural people
it sounds something reasonable. Give them education,
technical training and give them (Fundamentals or Principles
of) organization not on political but


on business lines. But Gandhi does not want any


such industrial organization and so comes in with his
magical formula “spin, spin, spin.” C. R. Das and others
could act as a balance against him. It is all a fetish.

Denmark and Ireland organized in the same way. Only now
they are going to suffer because other nations are trying to
be self-sufficient. I don’t believe in that sort of
self-sufficiency. For that is against the principles of
life. It is not possible for nations to be self-sufficient
like that.

Disciple: What do you think of Hindi being the common
language? It seems to me English has occupied so much place
that it will be unwise and difficult to replace it.

Sri Aurobindo: English will be all right and even
necessary if India is to be on an international state. In
that case English has to be the medium of expression,
especially as English is now replacing French as a
world-language. But the national spirit won’t allow it and
also it s a foreign language. At the same time Hindi can’t
replace English in the universities nor the provincial
languages. When the national spirit grows it is difficult to
say what will happen. In Ireland before the revolution they
wanted to abolish English and adopt Gaelic but as time went
on and things settled themselves their enthusiasm waned and
English came back.

Disciple: I do not understand why the Jews are being so
much persecuted by Hitler. Disciple: I understand that the
Jews betrayed Germany during the war.

Sri Aurobindo: Nonsense, on the other hand they helped
Germany a great deal. It is because they are a clever


race that others are jealous of them, for anything that
is wrong you point to the Jews! It is so much more easy than
finding the real cause, or because people want something to
strike and so the popular cry, “The Jews the Jews”. You
remember I told you about the prophecy regarding the Jews
that when they will be persecuted and driven to Jerusalem
that the Golden age shall come?

It is the Jews that have built Germany’s Commercial fleet
and her navy. The contribution of Jews towards the world’s
progress in every branch is remarkable.

But this sort of dislike exists among other nations also
e.g. the English do not like the Scots, because the Scottish
have beaten the English in commercial affairs. There was a
famous story in the Punch: two people asking themselves.
“Bill, who is that man?”, and Bill answered, “Let us strike
at him, he is a stranger.”

And then in Bengal the West Bengal people used to call
East Bengal people “Bangale” and composed a satire “Bangale
Manush nohe oe ekta jantu” At one time I used to wear socks
at all times of the year. The West Bengalis used to sneer at
that saying, “I am a Bangale”; they thought that they were
the most civilized people on earth. It is a legacy from the
animal world. Just as dogs of one street do not like dogs of

Disciple: But things will improve, I hope?

Sri Aurobindo: If this goes, you may be sure that the
Golden Age is coming! All my opinions are


of course on the basis of the present conditions. But the
things would be quite different if the Supermind came

Disciple: You are tempting us too much with your
Supermind. But will it really benefit the whole of


Sri Aurobindo: It will exert a certain upward pull but in
order that it may bring about a considerable change, that it
may be efficient, two hundred Sadhaks of the Ashram can’t be
enough. It must be thousands whose influence can spread all
over the world, who by actual test can prove that it is
something superior to the means hitherto employed.

Disciple: Will it have a power (corresponding to the
Universal Consciousness) over humanity? Sri Aurobindo: We
shall leave it to the Supermind to answer that question when
it comes.

Disciple: The materialist and scientist say that Yogis
have done nothing for human happiness. Buddhas and Avatars
have come and gone but the sufferings of humanity are just
the same.

Sri Aurobindo: Did Avatar come to relieve the sufferings
of humanity? It was only Buddha who showed the way of
release from suffering. But his path was to get away from
the world and enter into Nirvana. Does mankind follow him?
And if they do not and cannot get rid of their suffering, it
is not Buddha’s fault!!

Disciple: They say that by scientific inventions and
medical discoveries they have been able to improve the
condition of the world. e.g. by cholera injections, smallpox
vaccinations the death rate is reduced.

Sri Aurobindo: And are they happy? Vaccination!
Intellectual people say that vaccinations have done more
harm than good.

Disciple: But that is the opinion of intellectuals and
not of doctors.


Sri Aurobindo: Why? The intellectuals have studied the
subject before they gave their opinion. They may have
reduced Cholera etc., but what about other things that they
have brought in? About suffering! Suffering cannot go as
long as ignorance remains. Even after the Supermind descends
the suffering will remain. If you choose to remain in
suffering how can it go?

Disciple: They say that they can compel people to take
injections even against their will, can spiritual force do
that? The Yogis have been busy with their own salvation
while the world has remained just the same.

Sri Aurobindo: Evolution has proceeded from matter
through animal to physical man, vital man, mental man and
spiritual man. When mental man or spiritual man appears the
others do not disappear. So, the tiger and serpent do not
become man. In this upward growth of the human consciousness
you cannot say that Buddha, Christ etc. have played no

I consider the Supramental the culmination of the
Spiritual man. When the Supramental becomes established I
expect that one will not be required to flee from life. It
is something dynamic that changes life and nature. It will
open the vital, mental even the physical to the intuitive


overmental planes.

You want comfort and happiness; in that case, Truth and
Knowledge are of no value.

The discoveries of modern science have outrun their own
usefulness, the human capacity to use them. And the
scientists don’t know what to do with these discoveries.
They have been used for the purposes of destruction. Now
they are trying to kill men by throwing germs of small-pox
from aeroplanes; they at least end the suffering by death
but by bombing you mutilate for


life. Politics, science, even socialism have not
succeeded in finding a way out of suffering. They have
killed people, they kill each other and involve the state
into a peril unless you say that murders and massacres are
necessary. From this state of chaos and suffering there have
been ways of escape and people have been shown the way out.
You say they are not useful.

No. no, all that is a superficial view of things. One has
to consider the whole civilization before one can pass

It is because Western Civilization is failing that people
like A. Huxley are drawn to Yoga. December 28, 1938.

At about 5.30 P.M. “X” burst into a peal of laughter to
which Sri Aurobindo reacted by asking: “What is that dynamic
explosion?” There was no reply, only a silence of
suppression. But at 6.30 P.M. the laughter was repeated and
instead of Sri Aurobindo asking anything X himself
complained to Sri Aurobindo that “Y” was making him laugh.
The reply was: “Take care that he may not make you go off
like a firework!”

All assembled by the side of the cot and there was
complete quiet. One member yawned and another yawned in
response. The result was a subdued bubble of laughter.

Sri Aurobindo could hardly fail to notice it. He asked:
“What is the joke?”

Disciple: “X” is mocking at my yawning.


Sri Aurobindo: He does not know that yawning may be a
fatal symptom.

There was reference to a letter from another Sadhak
relating his symptom of yawning at night. Disciple: What
medicine has been given to him for his perennial

Disciple: That is a secret.

Sri Aurobindo: That reminds me of the science of Augurs
in Greece. There used to be Government Augurs who used to be
called in to interpret omens and signs; and from that a
college of Augurs came into existence. There–in the college
the professors used to be quite grave and serious,–they
gave lectures on Augury with grave faces; when afterwards
they met together they used to laugh among themselves.

By the way, we have got mutilated news to-day; they have
dropped two important words. Instead of saying “the Italians
are marching” (into Djibuti). If the Italians march into
Djibuti the French can


march into Tripoli as counter-attack.

Disciple: The French can also organize the Abysinians
against Italy. Sri Aurobindo: There won’t be time for

Disciple: The Italians do not seem to be good

Sri Aurobindo: No, I will be greatly surprised if they
can defeat the French. In that case Mussolini must have
changed the Italian character tremendously.

Disciple: They had a hard time in Abyssinia.


Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It was by their superior air-bombs,
mustard-gas poisoning that they succeeded.

Disciple: But they will be aided by the Germans.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, Italy can’t do without Germany.

Disciple: Fisher (the historian) says that German army in
the last war was the greatest and the best army ever
organized in the world.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They are the most organized and able
soldiers in the world except the Japanese. But the Japanese
are numerically less and financially poorer.

Even so during the last war the Germans could not throw
up any remarkable military genius like

Foch. If Foch had been the Commander-in-chief before, the
war would have ended much earlier.

The Balkans and the Turks are also good fighters.
Disciple: What about the Sikhs and the Gurkhas? Sri
Aurobindo: They are unsurpassed but the war depends not on
fighters but on generals.

Disciple: The British consul here says that the Chinese
are no good as soldiers and the Russians are good in
defensive warfare. The Germans are trying to expand in the
Ukraine. After that Hitler might come to central Europe.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But that will at once combine Russia,
Poland, Rumania and Yugoslavia. These small minor powers
will be afraid of their own safety.

Disciple: I don’t understand why Germany joins Italy in
attacking France. According to European astrology Hitler’s
stars are with him till Dec. 1936.


Sri Aurobindo: Why! Hitler himself has said in his “Mein
Kemp” that Germany is not safe without the destruction of
France. And France says the same thing about Germany. They
have chosen this time, perhaps, because they think that
France has been weakened by the general strike. But they
lost sight of the fact that the invasion will bring the
whole France to-gether.


Disciple: I read in the paper to-day that a group of
people in England are shouting that America belongs to
them–as a counter move to Italian claims.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they can claim Germany, and also
Denmark and Italy too for that matter. Disciple: The way
these people are preparing seems that war is inevitable.

Sri Aurobindo: But we thought they would not do anything
till early next year. They are trying to strike now,
perhaps, because they think that France has been divided by
the General strike. But war will bring the whole nation
together at once. In any case, we find that the Germans are
enjoying Christmas.

Disciple: England, most probably, will have to ally
herself with France.

Sri Aurobindo: You have seen what Chamberlain has said?
“England is not obliged to help France in case of war with
Italy”. But if Italy combines with Germany one can’t

Disciple: In case there is a general war India will have
an opportunity for independence. Sri Aurobindo: How?


Disciple: She will refuse to co-operate. I think the
Congress Ministries were due to the threat of war in

Sri Aurobindo: Yes It was in order to conciliate the

29th December 1938.

To-day a question of a doctor (disciple) was conveyed by
one of the disciples. Disciple: What is the connection
between the causal body and the psychic being?

Sri Aurobindo: The psychic being is what is called
Chaitya Purusha in the heart, while the Causal body is at
present Superconscious. They are not the same.

Disciple: It is the Superconscious existence that later
on is called “Self” in Vedanta. According to some people
Raman Maharshi has realized the Self.

Sri Aurobindo: From what Brunton (Paul) has written it
does not seem so. He speaks of the “voice in the heart” that
would mean the Psychic Being.

At this point Mother came and asked: “What have you been
speaking about?” Sri Aurobindo: “X” has asked a question
which does not hang together. Then he repeated the

Disciple: I have heard about Raman Maharshi’s experience
from a direct disciple of his: “One day the heart centre
opened and I began to hear “I”, “I” and everywhere I saw
this “I”.


Disciple: Different spiritual persons say different
things. How to find out which is the highest? Our


choice is not necessarily that of the highest.

Mother: Each one goes to the limit of his consciousness.
I have met many persons in Europe, India and Japan
practicing yoga under different masters. Each claimed that
his realization was the highest, he was quite sure about it
and also quite satisfied with his condition, and yet each
one was standing at a different place in consciousness and
saying that he has attained the highest.

Disciple: But one can know what they mean by some

Mother: By what criterion? If you ask them they say “it
is something wonderful but can’t be described by the mind.”
I was with Tagore in Japan. He claimed to have reached the
peace of Nirvana and he was beaming with joy. I thought:
“here is a man who claims to have got the peace and reached
Nirvana. Let us see.” I asked him to meditate with me and I
followed him in meditation and found that he had reached
just behind the vital and the mind: a sort of emptiness. I
waited and waited to see if he would go beyond; I wanted to
follow him. But he would not go further. I found that he was
supremely satisfied and believed that he had entered

Disciple: But there is a fundamental realization of some

Mother: That is to say, there is a fundamental truth of
consciousness. But that is not so easy to reach.

Disciple: How to choose a master, then? We must know whom
to choose.


Disciple: How are you going to know with your mind where
he has reached? Disciple: Is not our choice decided by the
psychic being in us?

Mother: That is another question. First you must realize
about the limit of consciousness and the difference of the
place where people stand.

The choice is mostly in answer to your need and it is
governed by your inner necessity. Sometimes, the choice is
made by instinct by which the animals find the right place
for their food. Only, in the human being it acts from
within. If you allow your mind to discuss and argue then the
instinct becomes veiled. When you have made the choice the
mind naturally wants to believe that it is the highest you
have chosen. But that is subjective.

Disciple: If the choice is right one feels happiness and

Mother: Satisfaction? One can’t depend upon feelings and
sensations. for, very often they misguide. Satisfaction is
quite a different thing. There are people who are not
satisfied in the best conditions, while in the worst
conditions some are quite satisfied.

Look at the people in the world around; they are very
happy with their conditions. Again, there are people whose
satisfaction depends upon their liver–a brutally
materialistic state. Also there are people who suffer
extremely and yet their inmost being knows that there is the
path for reaching the goal.

Disciple: There are certain signs given by the Shashtras
by which one can judge.


Sri Aurobindo: What Shashtras? One can’t believe in all
that is said in the Shashtras.

Mother: Besides, that may be all right for Indians; what
about the Europeans? You can’t say that they have not
realized any truth?

Then the Mother took her leave and went for meditation.
There was a pause of silence for some time. Then Sri
Aurobindo asked: “What are the Laxanas–signs–you spoke

Disciple: They are common and found everywhere. They are
given in the Gita: Equality, Love for others,
even-mindedness etc.

Sri Aurobindo: They are, rather, conditions for
realization. All experiences are true and have their place.
But because one is true one can’t say that the other is
false. Truth is infinite. There are so many ways to come to
the Truth. The wider you become the higher you go. The more
you find, there is still more and more. For instance,
Maharshi (Raman) has his experience of “I” but when I had
the Nirvan-experience I could not think of an “I”;–however
much I tried I could not think of any “I”. The world simply
got displaced. One can’t speak of it as “I”. It is either
“He” or “That”. That I call Laya. Realization of the Self is
all right; Laya was a part of a realization which is much
more comprehensive.

When I do not accept the Maya-Vada it is not that I have
not realized the Truth (behind it) or, that I don’t know
“the One in All” and “All in the One”,–but because I have
other realizations which are equally strong and which cannot
be shut out. The Maharshi is right and everybody is also


When the mind tries to understand these things, it takes
up fragments and treats them as wholes and makes unreal
distinctions. They speak of Nirguna as the fundamental
(experience) and Saguna as derivative or secondary. But what
does the Upanishad mean by “Ananta Nirguna” and “Ananta
Saguna”? They can’t be thought of as different. When you
think of Impersonality as the fundamental Truth and
Personality as something imposed upon it and therefore
secondary, you cut across with your mind something which is
beyond both. Or, is it not that Personality is the chief
thing and Impersonality is only one side, or one condition
of Personality? No. Personality and Impersonality are
aspects of a thing which is indivisible. Shanker is right
and so is Nimbarka. Only, when they state their Truth in
mental terms there is a tremendous confusion. Shanker says
“It is Anirvachaniya–indescribable by speech–and “All is
One.” Nimbarka says: There is Duality and Unity: while
Madhava says: “Duality is true.”

The Upanishads speak of “Him by knowing whom all is
known.” What does it mean? That Vignana [@insert
Sanskrit for Vignana] is not the fundamental realization
of the One. It means the knowledge of the principles of the
Divine Being; what Krishna (in the Gita) speaks of
“Tattvatah” [@insert Sanskrit for Tattvatah]: One
cannot know the complete Divine except in the Supermind.
That is why Krishna said that one who knows him in the “true
principles of his being” is rare, “Kashchit”. The Upanishads
also speak of the Brahman as Chatushpada “having four legs,
or aspects”. It does not merely state “All is the Brahman”
and it is over. The realization of the Self is not all.
There are many things beyond that. The Divine Guide within
me urged me to proceed, adding experience after experience,


higher and higher, stopping at none as final, till I
arrived at the glimpses of the Supermind. There I


found the Truth indivisible and there everything takes
its proper place. There, Nirguna and Saguna-Impersonality
and Personality don’t exist. They are all aspects of One
Truth which is indivisible.

In the Overmind stage knowledge begins to rush in upon
you from all sides and you see the objects from all points
of view and each thing from all points. All of them tend to
get related to each other and there the Cosmic Consciousness
is not merely in its static aspect but also in its dynamic
reality: it is the expression of something Above. When you
become Cosmic even though you speak of your self as “I” it
is not the “I,”–the ego, the “I-ness” disappears and the
mental, vital and the physical appear as representatives of
that Consciousness. Ramakrishna speaks of that state as the
form of ego left for action. When you reach the Supermind
you become not only Cosmic but something beyond the
Universe,–Transcendental, and there is indivisibility of
unity and individuality. There, the Cosmic and the
Individual all co-exist.

The same principle works out in science. The scientists
at one time reduced all multiplicity of elements to Ether
and described it in the most contradictory terms. Now they
have found the Electrons as the basis of Matter. By
difference of position and number of electrons you get the
whole multiplicity of objects. There also you find the One
that is Many, and yet is not two different things. Both the
One and the Many are true and through both you have to go to
the Truth.

When you come to politics, democracy, plutocracy,
monarchy etc. all have truth, even Hitler and Mussolini
stand for some truth.


This is a very big yoga,–one has to travel–I think “X”
will not take all that trouble–(Sri Aurobindo said
referring to a disciple.)

Disciple: Never, Sir. I have come here because I can’t
take so much trouble.

Sri Aurobindo: You are not called upon to do it. Even for
me it would have been impossible if I had to do it myself;
but at a certain stage heavens opened and the thing was done
for me.

The topic seemed to have ended. But “X” prolonged by
saying: my friend “K” asked Maharshi if attainment of
immortality was possible. But the Maharshi would not say
anything by way of reply. But “K” persisted then he said;
“It is possible by Divine Grace.”

Sri Aurobindo: That is hardly an answer. Everything is
possible by Divine Grace. There are two things about
immortality: one, the conquest of death. It does not however
mean that one would never die. It means leaving the body at
will. Second, it includes the power to change or renew the
body. There is no sense in keeping the same body for years;
that would be a terrible bondage. That is why death is
necessary in order that one can take another body and have a
fresh growth. You know Dasharath lived for sixty thousand
years. He did not know what to do with such a long life and
began at the end producing children! Have you read Shaw’s
“Back to Methuselah?” It shows how silly an intellectual can
become. And what a ridiculous farce he has made of Joan of
Arc? He speaks of her visions as projections of her own
mental ideas and decisions. Shaw is all right when he speaks
of England, Ireland and Society; but he can’t do anything
constructive. There he fails miserably.



These intellectuals like Russell when they talk of
something beyond their scope they cut such a poor figure:
you can see what he writes about the “introvert.” They can’t
tolerate emptiness or cessation of thought and breaking away
from outside interests! If you ask them to stop their
thoughts they refuse to accept it and at once come back from
emptiness. And yet it is through emptiness one has to pass





Disciple: How can one succeed in meditation?

Sri Aurobindo: By quietude of the mind. Above the Mind
there is not only the Infinite in itself but infinite sea of
peace, joy, light, power etc.–above the head. The golden
lid–Hiranmaya patra–intervenes between that which is above
Mind and what is below. Once one can break that lid those
elements can come down at any time one wills, and for that,
quietude is necessary. There are people who get those things
without quietude, but it is very difficult.

Disciple: It is said that there is also a veil in the
heart, is it true?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, a veil or a wall, if you like. The
vital with its surface consciousness, the emotional with its
disturbances and veils and one has to break through these
and get to what is behind them. There, one finds the heart.
In some people the higher force works behind the veil
because it would meet with many obstacles if it worked in
front; it builds or breaks whatever is necessary till one
day the veil is withdrawn and one finds oneself in the


Disciple: Does the Higher Force work all the time, even
when there is no aspiration in the individual.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. In those who have the inner urge, the
intermittent action of aspiration itself may be due to the
action of the Higher Force from behind.

Disciple: We want to know how to get the infinite peace,

Sri Aurobindo: First, to want only that. It is difficult,
is it not? In that case you have to wait; yoga demands
patience. The old yogas say that one has to wait twelve
years to get any experience at all. After that period one
can complain; but you said that you had many experiences.
So, it is not so bad.

Disciple: Yes. I told you that meditation used to come to
me at my place spontaneously,–at any time and I had to sit
down and meditate. Sometimes, it used to come to me while I
was just going to my office and the experience of peace etc.
used to last for some days. But sometimes for a long period
nothing happens. One should get some experience at least
once in a fortnight.

Disciple: Sometimes I feel a pull on the head upwards.
What is it due to?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, it is not in the physical head
but in the subtle body, the Mind trying to


ascend towards the Higher Consciousness.

Disciple: If one dreams or sees visions of seas, hills,
etc.,–what do they mean?

Sri Aurobindo: These are symbols; the sea of energy, the
hill of the Being with its different planes and parts,–the
Spirit at the summit. These visions are quite common,–one
sees them as the mind and the heart expands.


Disciple: I felt at one time that my head was at the
Mother’s feet. What is it, Sir!

Sri Aurobindo: It is the experience of the psychic being.
So, you had the psychic experience.

Disciple: I told you how I had it and lost it through
fear that I was dying. But I could not recognize this
experience as psychic (Laughter).

Sri Aurobindo: It is this “I” that comes in the way. One
must forget it and experience as if it were happening to
somebody else. If one could do that it would be a great
conquest. When I had the Nirvana experience I forgot myself
completely. I was a sort of nobody.

What is the use of your being Mr. so and so, son of so
and so? If your “I” had died it would have been a glorious

Disciple: What happens when the human consciousness is
replaced by the Divine Consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo: One feels perpetual calm, perpetual
strength,–one is aware of Infinity, lives not only in
Infinity but in Eternity. One feels the immortality and does
not care about the death of the body, and one has the
consciousness of the One in all. Everything becomes the
manifestation of the Brahman. For instance, as I look around
the room I see everything as the Brahman–it is not
thinking, it is a concrete experience,–even the wall, the
book is Brahman. I see you not as X. but as a divine being
in the Divine. It is a wonderful experience.


2nd January 1939

Disciple: I think the Mother is testing me.

Mother: That is not the habit here. It is the play of the
forces, or rather the play of adverse forces, that tries to
test the Sadhak. If you refuse to listen to them or remain
firm, then they withdraw. People here have plenty of
difficulties already. Why, add new ones? To say that we
purposely test them is not true. We never do it, never.

Mother came in for meditation and went away early at
6-45. But she did not go to the evening meditation before
nearly 7-25 or 7-30.

Disciple: How far is it desirable for the Ashram to be
self-sufficient? Sri Aurobindo: Self-sufficient in what

Disciple: In meeting the needs of the daily life, say for
instance, preparing our own cloth here; my friend who has
come from Bombay wants that we should introduce spindles and
looms to prepare our clothes. Whether and how far such
self-sufficiency is desirable in Ashram like ours?


Sri Aurobindo: It is not a question of how far it is
desirable, it is also a question of how far it is
practicable? No objection to spinning or weaving. How would
“N” like to go on spinning?

Disciple: I am already spinning away.

Sri Aurobindo: There are all sorts of mental ideas, or
rather mental formations which can be carried out and which
are being carried out at the other places but this Ashram is
not the fit place for carrying them out.


Disciple: In what way it is not fit?

Sri Aurobindo: There are many difficulties here.

They all point out to institutions like Dayalbagh. In
that case you have to direct all your energies in that
channel (leaving the Sadhana on one side).

In other organizations they impose discipline and
obedience from outside by rule of force. There people are
obliged to take their orders from some one.

But here we don’t impose such discipline, (from outside)
and therefore you can hardly get people to work together. It
is because of their ego and their idea of mental
independence. Even if you want to do that kind of work there
are two things you must guard against.

1. The tendency to degenerate into mere mechanical and
commercial activity.

2. You have to guard against ambition. There is a
natural tendency to cut a figure before the world, to hold
that the Ashram and the Ashramites are some thing great,
that must go.

Lastly there is health–unless the doctor promises to
homeopathise them (Sadhaks) into health.

Work as a part of Sadhana is all right, but work as a
part of spiritual creation we cannot take up unless the
inner difficulties are overcome. It is not that we do not
want to do it but here it is not mental-construction that we
want but spiritual creation. It is here left to the Mother’s
intuition. Even then there are difficulties.

Disciple: What is the difference between peace and


Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean?

Disciple: Is peace included in silence or vice versa?

Sri Aurobindo: If you have silence you have peace, but
the opposite is not true. That is to say, you may have peace
but not silence.

Disciple: Is silence mere emptiness?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Not necessarily. It may be full of the
positive presence of the Divine. Disciple: Is it not a dull
and dry state?


Sri Aurobindo: No. Not necessarily. As I said, it can be
full of the presence of the Divine or it

may be Mental peace–accompanied by a sense of emptiness
which may be dull to the mind but it is the emptiness for
something higher to come in and fill it.

Disciple: In that emptiness–Shunyam–there is a great
release. Is it not?

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes. It is a very pleasant state. These
people, like Russell, don’t understand what this emptiness
means. They try to go in and immediately they find
themselves empty. They do not like it. They think that all
that comes into the consciousness comes from outside. They
have no idea that there are inner things with which the
being can be filled.

Disciple: But you said in one of your letters to “D” that
one must be prepared to pass through the period of

Sri Aurobindo: There is an experience of neutral peace of
mind which may be dry and dull to the ordinary man.


Disciple: Can one act when one has the silence?

Sri Aurobindo: Certainly; why not? When I talk of silence
I mean inner silence. It is perfectly possible to hear and
do all sorts of things and retain that inner silence.

Disciple: Is the silence static and dynamic both?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not silence that is dynamic–but you
can become dynamic having that inner silence. You can also
remain without doing anything. It depends.

People who are dynamic can’t remain without doing
something. They do not realize that if they have the inner
silence the effectivity of their work is increased a hundred

Some Maraths came when I came to Pondicherry, inquired
what I was doing: when he heard I was doing “nothing”, he
said “it is a great thing if one can do it. It is a capacity
to do nothing”!

Disciple: There is one gentleman who actually sealed up
his lips with something so that he may not be able to

Sri Aurobindo: That is what is called Asuric Tapasya:
Titanic askasis. Disciple: Can one gain something by Asuric

Sri Aurobindo: Yes; all Tapasya can give you

Physical and vital tapasya can give you something. It can
give you physical and vital control, though that is more a
Nigraha–repressed control–rather than anything else.

Disciple: Is it not a part of Divine realization–? What
is Divine realization?


Sri Aurobindo: Experience of peace and bliss is a
spiritual realization. If one gains control of the vital
being by the influence of the Self–that is a divine


Disciple: But one can have the necessary control by the
mind–rather than try such physical and outward control.

Sri Aurobindo: These things may be steps to the Divine;
for example Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga. Disciple: Our friend
“X”, finds that Yogis have defects.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not the defects that are important
but whatever leads to the upward growth, to the Divine,
adding something to his stature, is a gain to the human
progress towards the Light. No upward progress is to be


3rd January 1939

There was hearty laugh over the thesis of a Marathi
writer with Socialistic tendencies who tried to prove that
Swami Ramdas was a socialist!

Disciple: Some of the Sadhaks seem to become too
delicate,–a small cut or even smell of burning ghee upsets
them. Sometimes other people who cannot understand this say
this is mere fainting.

Sri Aurobindo: They used to brand the body with hot iron
to see if the man was in trance or not! They thought perhaps
that it might be only deep trance and not Nirvikalpa
Samadhi! (Laughter)

Disciple: Can it be that the man would not feel anything?

Sri Aurobindo: There are cases of people who, when under
hypnotic influence, are unaffected by pins being introduced
into their bodies. And also there are cases where the man is
made to stretch out his hand and even two or three strong
people cannot bend it. There are also cases in which sugar
tastes bitter under hypnotic influence. And the question is
whether sweetness or any other property is in the
subject–as in the sense of beauty–or in the object.

Disciple: What is that capacity due to?

Sri Aurobindo: There are no physical causes, these
phenomena are due to supraphysical causes and there the laws
of the physical do not apply.

Disciple: But then what is sweetness due to–in the case
of sugar?

Sri Aurobindo: The question is whether experience of
sweetness is a common reaction of all human beings, or has
the object anything in it corresponding to the experience of

Disciple: But something of the property of the object
persists, like the effect of medicine in homeopathic
doses,–the smallest quantity retains the quality.

Disciple: But what is your conclusion, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know.

At this point the Mother came and the subject matter was
reported to her.

Mother: I do not believe that the phenomena were due to
hypnotism. In hypnotism you impose


control on another man, the subject, i.e., your will
replaces his will.


But I know what I have seen. In most cases I have seen
that both the hypnotizer and the hypnotized lend themselves
unconsciously to the influence of occult forces. Anything
that takes place in that condition is due to the influence
of those forces. I know one case,–an extraordinary case, of
exteriorization in which almost the material,–the vital and
the vital-material, form of the subject was separated from
the body of the hypnotized person. If the hypnotizer
controls the man and if he has good will it may do the
“subject” no harm. But in most cases he keeps himself aloof
to direct the person and cannot take charge of the body and
in the interval it is some other forces that take possession
of the body.

It is dangerous to do these things except under guidance,
or in the presence of somebody who knows these things. You
find people speaking languages in that unconscious condition
which they do not know at all. It is because some of their
being in the past, or subconsciously, knows the language and
in that state, a contact is established between the part of
the subconscient and the man speaks the language. It is not
as if the hypnotist willed that: “the man shall speak a
particular language” and the man begins to speak that
language even though there may be no part in him that knew
the language. Such a thing is impossible. Only, if there is
a part that knows and if one can establish a contact then he
can speak that language.

Disciple: Is this knowledge indispensable for yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. It is useful for
knowledge of the physical and also for mastery over death,
it is essential.

There is an ancient prophesy in the Jewish Cabala


that the kingdom of God would be established in humanity
when the man will come who would have the power to die and
come back, i.e. take up his body again,–after death. It is
essential to know what is death if you want to conquer it.
That shows that the ancients foresaw the need for the
knowledge and also that of transformation of the

It is curious how some people can easily separate their
subtle bodies from the physical, say in three or four days
even. They go out of the body and see their body lying in
front of them, while in other cases they do not succeed.

This knowledge is also useful in curing diseases. For
instance, it is perfectly easy to prevent diseases and to
cure them if you have the knowledge of these planes. There
is what is called “the nervous envelope”, which is an
intermediary between the subtle and the gross body. It is
that which acts as a sheath protecting you against all
attacks of diseases. If the nervous envelope is intact no
disease can come to you. In most people, with aging, this
envelope wears out and then gradually the forces are able to
penetrate and pierce it. That is one of the causes of

Disciple: Can this nervous envelope be seen in the

Sri Aurobindo: Yes; and if you can see what is necessary
you can put it in. In order to keep it in tact you must have
quiet, a balanced life, rest, etc. People generally spoil it
by excitement and other irregularities.


In the case of exteriorization done by the Tibetans, a
thin thread is maintained when one leaves the body


and if that is snapped the man may not be able to return
to his body.

Disciple: There are cases of Tibetans who expose
themselves to ice without any bad reactions and also there
was report of the messenger who practically flies throughout
Tibet carrying the tidings of the lama.

Sri Aurobindo: These are known phenomena.

Disciple: There are so many miracles reported about Sj.
Bijoy Goswami. Do you think they are all true?

Sri Aurobindo: I have no personal knowledge of them. But
I believe most of the miracles attributed to Bijoy Goswami
are more possible with the subtle than with the physical

Sri Aurobindo then recounted the story of how Mother was
once on the point of death in Algeria when she was
practicing the yoga with Theon and his wife both of them
great occultists. Madame Theon particularly was a remarkable

The Mother exteriorized and visited Paris and met her
friends. The exteriorization was sufficiently material to
enable her to write on a piece of paper with pencil. The
Tibetans are more familiar with occultism than with

The Europeans are more taken up with the occult things.
They either believe everything or nothing. That explains
their attraction for Tibet, Bhutan and other places of
occult atmosphere. Now-a-days stories and novels are being
written with these themes. Japanese Zen Buddhism, and also
Chinese Laotze have also attracted their attention.


I also wrote some stories but they are lost; the white
ants have finished them and with them has perished my future
as a story-teller. It is a pity that the translation of Megh
Duta which I did is lost. It was well done. Most of my
stories were occult.

4th January 1939.

Disciple: X’s expression showed the usual gesture which
to the company present indicated the coming of a

Disciple: What is the effect of fasting on yoga? Sri
Aurobindo: On what?

Disciple: The effect of fasting on yoga.

Sri Aurobindo: Oh, on yoga? It gives a sort of excitement
or an impetus to the vital being but the general effect does
not seem to be sound or healthy.

I fasted twice: once in Alipore jail for ten days and
another time in Pondicherry for twenty-three

days. At Alipore I was in full yogic activities and I was
not taking my food, and was throwing it away in the bucket.
Of course, the Superintendent did not know it, only two
warders knew about it and they informed others saying: “The
gentleman must be ill; he will not live long”. Though my
physical strength was diminishing I was able to raise a pail
of water above my head which I could not do ordinarily.

At Pondicherry while fasting I was in full mental and
vital vigour. I was even walking eight hours a day and not
feeling tired at all, and when I broke the fast I did not
begin slowly but with the usual normal food.


Disciple: How is it possible to have such energy without

Sri Aurobindo: One draws the energy from the vital plane
instead of depending upon physical substance. Once in
Calcutta I lived for a long time on rice and banana. It is a
very good food.

Disciple: The trouble is that one can’t draw conclusion
from your case.

Sri Aurobindo: At best one can draw the conclusion that
it can be done. Once R. C. Dutt called me to dinner and was
surprised to find that I was taking only vegetarian diet;
while he said he could not live without meat. With the
vegetarian diet I was feeling light and pure. It is only a
belief that one can’t do without meat; it is a question of

Disciple: Can fasting be a cure for diseases also?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if you know the process. The
Europeans sometimes fast for that purpose but in their case
it is the mental idea that works. You start with the idea of
being well or ill, and it happens accordingly.

Disciple: Can neurasthenia be thrown off like that?

Sri Aurobindo: In the case of neurasthenic and hysteric
persons the nervous envelope is damaged. Disciple: Then it
is the question of the nervous sheath.

Sri Aurobindo: All the diseases come from outside. The
force of the disease pierces, what the Mother calls, “the
nervous envelope” and then enters the physical body. If one
is conscious of the nervous envelope,–the subtle


nervous sheath, then the disease can be thrown away
before it enters the physical body, as one throws away the
thoughts before they enter the mind.

Disciple: “X” told us once that she used to have the
headache which was just above the head and it was very
severe. We laughed at it because we could not believe that
head-ache could be above the head.

Sri Aurobindo: How do you know there can’t be such a
head-ache? If the consciousness can be lifted above the head
and remain there why not the head-ache?

The body is a mere mass of responsive vibrations;
everything comes from outside and finds a


response in the body.

Disciple: If everything comes from outside then what are
we? What belongs to us?

Sri Aurobindo: In one sense nothing belongs to you. The
Physical is made up, one can say, of various
predispositions, energies of the past, and what you have
acquired in this life. These are there ready to act under
favourable conditions, under the pressure of nature. It is
Universal Nature that gives the sense of “I” or “I am doing
everything”. This “I” and ‘mine’ have no meaning except in
another sense.

Disciple: The other day I could not understand what you
said about fundamental personality. What is the truth behind

Sri Aurobindo: There are two things: Personality and the
Person, which are not the same. The true person is the
eternal Divine Purusha assuming many personalities and


it is thrown in Time as the Cosmic and the Individual for
a particular purpose, use or work. This true Person is all
the time conscious of its identity with the Cosmic. That is
why liberation is possible.

Disciple: Is Cosmic liberation static or dynamic?

Sri Aurobindo: It is either, or both. In the static
aspect one realizes the pure Self as the Infinite, One,
without movement, action or quality.

In the dynamic liberation, it depends upon where and how
you experience the unity. If it is in the mind you feel your
mind as one with the Cosmic Mind; in that case your own mind
does not exist. If you feel the unity in the vital, then
your vital being becomes a part of the cosmic vital, one
with cosmic life. You can experience the Unity on the
physical plane; then you feel your body as a speck of
Universal Matter. Or, the identity can be above the Mind, by
breaking open the lid that divides the Mind from the
Infinite. Just as there is a wall that separates the psychic
being from the outer nature, so also there is a wall above
the head. You break the wall or, what is called the lid, and
you feel yourself as the Infinite, and your individual self
in the Infinite. That opening can be either vertical or
horizontal. This realization makes dynamic liberation
possible,–not merely a liberation of Laya.

Disciple: Is it true that illness comes from Sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: From Sadhana? Not necessarily.

Disciple: I think he means that illness may come in the
course of Sadhana for purification. Sri Aurobindo: That is a
different thing. It can be a circumstance in the


Disciple: When I was a new-comer here and used to have
physical trouble, people said it was due to Sadhana and so I
used to hide it from you lest you should stop the use of
your Force.

Disciple: Some Sufis and Bhaktas, devotees, take illness
and other troubles as gifts from the Beloved,–the Divine.
So, can one say that everything comes from the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: They are right in a way. They take
everything as coming from the Divine and it is a very good
attitude if one can truly take it. Whatever happens is with
the sanction of the Supreme. If you neglect the chain of
intermediate causes there is a Superior Cause to

Disciple: If a thing happens due to our negligence, can
we say that it happened by the Divine’s sanction?

Sri Aurobindo: I say, “neglecting the intermediate

Disciple: Would there not be some danger in that
attitude? We may shirk our responsibilities and lay it on
the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo: I said about the Bhakta–the Devotee, not
about everybody. For the Bhakta what happens is the best and
he takes it in that light.

For the Yogi who has to conquer these things they will
come, otherwise there would be nothing to overcome. It would
be no real conquest at all. One can always feel the
difficulties as opportunities, and in one sense one can say
that whatever happens is for the best. Hostile forces also
are recognized as hostile, but from another standpoint they
become the Divine power throwing out attacks for the work to
be done. Ultimately all powers are from


the Divine, they assist in the work. They throw up
difficulties to test the strength. It is the Divine that has
created the opposition and it is the Divine who sends you
the defeat so that you may conquer the difficulties
hereafter. This is necessary also to counter the ego’s sense
of responsibility. At one time I experienced the hostile
forces as the gods trying to test my strength. You have to
act not for success but for the sake of the Divine, though
it does not mean that you must not work for success. Arjuna
complains to Sri Krishna in the Gita that he speaks in
“double words”: saying “do not be eager for the result” but
at the same time he said “fight and conquer.”

Disciple: There was a letter from our friend “X” in which
he has tried to show that the Gita is a book on
psychoanalysis and that Sri Krishna was a great
psycho-analyst! He psycho-analyzed Arjuna and worked out his
complexes. He was very much perturbed at your denunciation
of Freud’s psycho-analysis in the ‘Basis of Yoga.’ You have
run down the greatest discovery of the modern times.

Sri Aurobindo: Psycho-analysis means that the
subconscient is there in man and it influences the
consciousness. It means to say that if you suppress anything
it goes down into your being and comes up in queer and
abnormal forms.

Disciple: What, according to them, is this

Sri Aurobindo: They say it is inconscient. Then how does
it throw up everything and raise symbols in your
consciousness? Modern psychology is only surface deep.
Really speaking a new basis is needed for psychology. The
only two important requisites for real knowledge of


i. Going inwards, and,

ii. Identification.


Those two are not possible without yoga.


5th January 1939.

Disciple: How long does human bone continue to grow?

Sri Aurobindo: Cranium fifty-five years, Madulanta fifty
years. Disciple: What was your age when you entered politics
(openly)? Sri Aurobindo: 33 years.

Disciple: When did you begin yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: Somewhere in 1905.

Disciple: How did you begin?

Sri Aurobindo: God knows how! It began very early
perhaps. When I landed on the Indian soil a great calm and
quiet descended on me. There were also other characteristic
experiences–at Poona on the Parvati hills and then in
Kashmir on the Shankeracharya hill,–a sense of a great
infinite Reality was felt. It was very real.

Then at Baroda Deshpande tried to convert me to yoga; but
I had the usual ideas about it–that one has to go to the
forest and give up everything. I was interested in the
freedom of the country. But I always thought that the great
figures of the world could not have been after a chimera and
if there was such a Power


why not use it for the freedom of the country?

Barin used to do automatic writing at Baroda. Once the
spirit of my father appeared on being called. He gave some
remarkable prophecies. When asked to give proof about his
identity he mentioned the fact of having given a golden
watch to Barin–which none in the company knew. And then he
spoke of a picture in Devdhar’s house. They tried to check
up and found no picture there. The spirit when told about it
repeated it and asked us to look again. On consulting the
old mother of Devdhar she said there was an old picture
which had been now plastered over.

About Tilak, when questioned, the spirit said: “He will
be the man who will remain with the head unbent when the
work will be on trial and others will bow.” Then we called
Ramkrishna. He did not say anything. Only at the end he
said: “Mandir gado”–“build a temple”, which we at that time
interpreted as starting Mandirs–temples–for political
Sanyasis, but which I later interpreted correctly as, “make
a temple in yourself.” I began Pranayama–breathing
exercises–in about 1905. Engineer Devdhar was a disciple of
Brahmananda. I took instructions from him on Pranayama and
started on my own. I practiced Pranayama at Khasirao
Jadhav’s place in Baroda. The results were remarkable: I
used to see many visions, sights and figures; (2) I felt a
sort of electric power round my head. (3) My powers of
writing were nearly dried up, after the practice of
Pranayama, they revived with great vigour. I could write
both prose and poetry with a flow. That flow never ceased
since then. If I have not written afterwards it is because I
had something else to do. But the moment


I want to write, it is there. (4) My health


improved,–I grew stout and strong and the skin became
smooth and fair and there was a flow of sweetness in the
saliva. I used to feel a certain aura round the head. There
were plenty of mosquitoes there but they did not came to

I used to sit more and more in Pranayama but there were
no more results. It was at this time that I gave up
meat–diet and found a great feeling of lightness and
purification in the system. Meat is a Rajasic food.
Vivekananda recommends it to the Indians. It gives a certain
force and energy in the physical. It was for that the
Kshatriyas did not give up meat in India. From Tamas you
pass to Rajas and Vivekananda was not quite wrong.

There came a Sanyasi who gave me a Stotra of Kali,–a
very violent Stotra ending with “Jahi” “Jahi”–“kill”, of
securing Indian freedom. I used to repeat it but it did not
give any results.

Once I visited Ganganath (Chandod) after Brahmananda’s
death when Keshwananda was there.

With my Europeanized mind I had no faith in image-worship
and I hardly believed in the presence of God. I went to
Kernali where there are several temples. There is one of
Kali and when I looked at the image I saw the living
presence there. For the first time, I believed in the
presence of God.

At one time–in Sadhana–I used to try all sorts of
experiments to see what happens and how far they are related
to the truth. I took Bhang-Ganja-hemp-and other intoxicants
as I wanted to know what happens


and why Sanyasis and Sadhus take these things. It made me
go into trance, and sometimes sent me to a superior plane of
consciousness. (But reliance on these outer stimulants was
found to be the greatest drawback of this method.)

I met Lele when I was searching for some guidance and
practicing meditation under his guidance. I had the Nirvana
experience in Sardar Majumdar’s house in the room on the
top-floor. After that I had to rely on inner guidance for my
Sadhana. In Alipore the Sadhana was very fast–it was
extravagant and exhilarating. On the vital plane it can be
dangerous and disastrous. I took to fasting at Alipore for
ten or eleven days and lost ten pounds in weight. At
Pondicherry the loss of weight was not so much, thought the
physical substance began to be reduced. It was in Shanker
Chetty’s house. I was walking eight hours a day during
twenty-three day’s fast. The miraculous or extraordinary
powers acquired by Yogis on the vital plane are not all true
in the physical. There are many pit-falls in the vital.
These vital powers take up even a man like Hitler and make
him do things by suggesting to him–“It shall happen”. There
are quite a number of cases of Sadhaks who have lost their
Sadhana by listening to these voices from the vital-world.
And the humour of it all is that they all say that they come
either from the Mother or from me!

6th January, 1939

Disciple: What are the methods in Sadhana for removal of
the ego? Sri Aurobindo: There are two methods of effacement
of the ego:


1. By realization of the spirit above and of its
nature of purity, knowledge etc.

2. By humility in the heart.

Disciple: What is the difference?

Sri Aurobindo: The second method does not remove the ego
but makes it harmless’ it would therefore help one
spiritually. Complete removal of the ego takes place when
one identifies oneself with the Spirit and realizes the same
Spirit in all. Also when the mental, vital and physical
nature is known to be derivative from the Universal Mind,
universal vital and the universal physical then the same
result ensues. The individual must realize his divinity i.e.
his identity with the Transcendent or the Cosmic Divine.

Generally, when one realizes the Spirit, it is the mental
sense of the ego that goes, not the entire ego-sense. The
dynamic nature retains the ego–especially the vital ego.
So, the best thing would be to combine the two–for the
psychic attitude of humility helps in getting rid of the


The complete dissolution of the ego is not an easy thing.
Specially important is the removal of mental and vital ego,
the other ego of the physical and of the subconscient can be
dealt with at leisure. That is to say, they are not so

As I said, humility helps in the removal of the vital
ego, but one must remember that it is not outward

There are many people who profess and show the


utmost outward humility, but in their hearts think: “I am
the man!”

Disciple: “X” when he came for a short day, he found that
you lacked the virtue of humility or modesty.

Sri Aurobindo: How does he know? Perhaps I did not
profess like some other people that I was nothing. I could
not do that because I know I am not nothing.

Disciple: Were you modest when you have not taken to

Sri Aurobindo: There was a sort of voluntary
self-effacement, I liked to keep myself behind. But I can’t
say that I was more modest within than most people.

Disciple: Mahatmaji, when he finds somebody in
disagreement with him on principle, would say: “He is
superior to me, he is my elder, etc.; but I differ from

Sri Aurobindo: Does he really consider the other one
superior, that is the question. When I differed from some
one I simply said ‘No’ or “I don’t agree” and kept to my
view. The answer given to Suren Banerji when he approached
me for a compromise at the convention of Moderates and
Nationalists, was “No” and I kept stiff. Perhaps one may not
call me modest.

At the Hugli Conference we, the Nationalists, had the
majority. But in order to keep up unity the


Nationalists were asked by me not to oppose the
compromise resolution. The Nationalists all went out. The
Moderate leaders were very angry that the people did not
follow their tired and veteran old leaders and so completely
obeyed young leaders. Suren Banerji could not realize


difference between old, upper middle class leadership,
due to their influence and money and the new leadership of
those who stood for a principle and commanded a

It was at that time that people began to get the sense of
discipline and of obeying the leader’s orders. They were
violent, but at the word of the command they used to obey.
That paved the way for the Mahatma. Ashwini Kumar Dutt used
to jump and say: “This is life”.

Suren Banerji had a personal magnetism and he was
sweet-spoken, he could get round anybody. His idea was to
become the undisputed leader of Bengal by using the
nationalists for the sword and the moderates for the public
face. In private he would go up to and accept the
revolutionary movement. He even wanted to set up a
provincial board of control of the revolutionaries! Barin
once took a bomb to him and he was full of enthusiasm. He
even had a letter from Suren Banerji, when he was arrested
at Manik Tola. But in the court they hushed up the matter as
soon as Norton pronounced S. N. Banerji.

The constitution of Aundh was brought in by a

Disciple: Aundh State has given a very fine constitution
to the people. It has conferred wide powers on the
Panchayats. Such constructive work among the villages would
prevent communism. They are thinking of introducing
co-operative farming.

Sri Aurobindo: Co-operative farming is an excellent
thing; it would develop agriculture. But dictatorship of


proletariat is a different thing. It may have a very fine
constitution on paper, but it is quite different in
practice. In such a system all men are made to think

Religion is a different affair, it is voluntary; but
country is quite different from the church. You can’t choose
your country. If you make all people think alike there can’t
be any human progress. If you were to differ from Stalin or
Lenin you would be liquidated.

These dictators have remarkably few ideas: Take for
example Hitler. He believes that:

I. The Germans are the best people in the world.

II.Hitler should be the leader.

III. All the Jews are wicked persons.

IV. All the people in the world must be Nazis.

I do not understand how humanity can progress under such

Disciple: The tendency of all governments is to increase

Sri Aurobindo: All governments are robbing, some with
legislation, some without. You can well

imagine the condition in which you have to give 50% of
your income as taxes and have to manage with the rest as
best you can.

Disciple: The Customs also charge too heavily.

Sri Aurobindo: It is another form of robbery and yet in
spite of it all, I don’t understand how France produces only
250 aeroplanes as compared to 1000 of Germany!


I don’t know what these governments do with huge sums
they get. There is a sufficiently honest administration in
England. The public are uneasy about the war.

Smuggling there almost seems a virtue, because it is
robbing the robber! (Laughter) Even some of the princes are
caught smuggling.

Disciple: There is now a movement for separating the C.P.
Marathi-speaking and Hindi-speaking. It has weakened the

Sri Aurobindo: Nagpur was a very good centre of the
Nationalists. The two portions–Marathi and Hindi–should
have been separated to begin with.

7th January, 1939

Disciple: Can the ego be removed by the psychic attitude
and by the realization of Self?

Sri Aurobindo: Psychic humility takes away the egoism but
not the ego; removing of the ego of the natural
individuality is not the work of the psychic. The psychic
depends upon and maintains the natural individuality. The
psychic is there, so that the natural individuality would
turn to and progress towards the Divine.

Disciple: How is the ego removed?

Sri Aurobindo: Ego is removed by the realization of the
Spirit; that is, by attaining to the spiritual consciousness
Above, which is independent of Nature, which is
self-existent. That Spirit is One in all. Realization of


removes the ego, because then one identifies himself with
the Spirit.

Disciple: What then replaces the “I” in the divine
individual? What is the nature of the psychic

Sri Aurobindo: In the case of psychic individuality the
man may feel the ego of the Sadhu-the Saint-the Bhakta-the
devotee, or the virtuous man. He may also get rid of egoism
by imposing on the nature one Spirit and a feeling of
sympathy for all humanity. But that is not the same as
getting rid entirely of the ego. The psychic clears the way
for the removal of the ego.

Disciple: What happens when one realizes the Spirit?

Sri Aurobindo: Generally, when one realizes the Spirit,
it is the mental sense of the ego that is

abolished; but the vital and the physical still retain
their egoistic movements. That is what most


Yogi’s mean when they say “It is nature”. They mostly
allow it to run its course and when the body drops, it also
drops; but, it is not transformation. That is what
Vivekananda meant when he said that “human nature cannot be
changed, that it was like a dog’s tail, you can straighten
it if you like, but as soon as you leave it, it is curved

Disciple: What is really meant by this “nature”?

Sri Aurobindo: It means that the subconsciousness has in
it certain gathered powers which impose themselves on the
human being.

Disciple: How to transform or change this human

Sri Aurobindo: In order to change human nature you have
to work from level to level; you reject a thing from


the mind, it comes to the vital. When you reject it from
the vital, then it comes to the physical and then you find
it in the subconscient.

There is a central point in the subconscient that has to
be changed. If that is done, then everything is done. It is
from there that resistance rises from Nature–that is what
Vivekananda meant. To effect complete transformation you
have to bring down everything to the subconcient, and it is
very difficult.

Disciple: How can one replenish the exhausted nervous
being? Can it be done by drawing energy from the Universal
Vital or by the help of the Higher Power?

Sri Aurobindo: Both ways can be combined: One can draw
from the Universal Vital and the Higher Power can also work.
But there should be no Tamas, inertia, and other

Disciple: Was there a time when these things were

Sri Aurobindo: When we were living in the Guest-house, we
passed through a brilliant period of Sadhana in the vital.
Many people had dazzling experiences and great currents of
energy were going round. If we had stopped there–like other
Yogis–we would have given rise to a brilliant creation, or,
would have established some kind of religion; but that would
not have been the real work.

Disciple: Could a great person in the conquest of the
physical being have been made at that time?

Sri Aurobindo: If the Sadhaks had taken the right
attitude, then with the gain in the vital it would have been
easy in the physical, in spite of difficulties. But that was


done. Then we came down to the physical. Those brilliant
experiences disappeared and the slow difficult work of
physical transformation remained. There–in the
physical–you find the truth of the Vedik rik–censurers are
always ready telling–“you can’t do the thing, you are bound
to fail”.

Disciple: Would it then mean that the new people who
would come to the yoga would have no experience of the
mental and the vital planes?


Sri Aurobindo: They can have, if they hold aloof. Only,
they can’t help the pressure on the physical nature as it is
in the atmosphere.

There are cases that differ: there is some one X who made
very good progress in the mind. In another case the Sadhak
became aloof and progressed; but the moment he came to the
vital, the whole thing seemed to have stopped.

Disciple: Did he lose the contact with the Brahmic
consciousness entirely?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it is only apparently lost. But if he
cannot go further, then his yoga stops there, that is

Disciple: Can the new comers make rapid progress?

Sri Aurobindo: Certainly they can. I know cases, where
they go on very well making good progress.

Disciple: Will the yoga be more easy for the lucky new

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, in a sense; but the conditions may be
more exacting, and the demands made on them may be


high. You had an easy time. You were left to do, more or
less, as you liked in your mind, and the vital and other
parts. But when the change in the subconscious has to come
about, many will find it difficult; there will be some who
will progress and others who will not and will drop out.
Already some like X had dropped out, when the Mother took a
decision about his vital being-“you will have to change”.
Before that he was swimming in his art and other things, but
as soon as this came he dropped out. All these
things–attachments, sex-impulse etc.–finally find refuge
in the subconscient. One has to throw it out from
there–destruction of the seed in the subconscient is
necessary, otherwise it would sprout again, as we see in the
case of some Yogis.

Disciple: Can one have these things in him when there is
complete union with the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: What is the “complete union”? For
instance, Ramakrishna asked the Divine Mother not to send
him “Kama”–sex-impulse–and he succeeded, but all cases are
not like that. It is quite possible to reject something
centrally and totally–that is to say, completely–but one
can’t make general rule about these things.

Our yoga is like a new path made out in the jungle and
there is no previous road in the region. I had myself great
difficulties; the suggestion that it was not possible was
always there. A vision which the Mother has sustained me:
the vision of a carriage moving towards the highest peak on
a steep hill. The higher summit is the transformation of
Nature by the attainment of the Higher consciousness.

Disciple: Is there nothing that can be taken as
established informally in all the yogas?


Sri Aurobindo: In this yoga you have to go on working out
again and again the same thing. Thus it becomes a long drawn
out struggle, one falls and rises, again falls. Take for
instance, Nirvana, quietude and samata. I had to go on
establishing them again and again till when I had done it in


subconscient this accident came. It can be a test.
Disciple: What made the attack possible?

Sri Aurobindo: There were gaps in the physical. Disciple:
Can one take this as a part of Lila or game?

Sri Aurobindo: Well, it is the ignorance and the Divine
is working out from there. If that was not so, what is the
meaning of the life?

Everything looked all right and it appeared as if I was
going on well with the work, then the accident came. It
indicated that it is when the subconscient is changed that
the power of Truth can be embodied; then it can be spread in
wave after wave in humanity.


8th January, 1939.

Disciple: Can one way that snoring is the protest of the
subconscient against somebody’s presence? (Laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: Against whom? against whose presence when
one snores alone! (Laughter)

Disciple: We read in the papers about the conversion of
John Middleton Murry to theism. It was Hitler’s statement
after the purage that he “embodies justice and law”,


that, he dispenses with “trials”–which made Murry
consider him as the Anti-Christ. It seems Gandhian
non-violence has also appealed to Hitler. He wants to become
a village pastor and stop the flow of villagers to the
cities. Gandhi has written about Hitler’s regime that the
sufferings of Bishop Nicmuller are not in vain. He has
covered himself with glory. Hitler’s heart may be harder
than stone, but non-violence has power to generate heat that
can melt the stonier heart. What do you think of that?

Sri Aurobindo: I am afraid, it would require quite a
furnace! (Laughter) Gandhi has mainly to deal with
Englishmen and the English want to have their conscience at
ease. Besides, the Englishman wants to satisfy his
self-esteem and wants world-esteem. But if Gandhi had to
deal with the Russian Nihilists–not the Bolshevites–or the
German Nazis then they would have long ago put him out of
their way.

Disciple: Gandhi is hopeful about the conversion of
Hitler’s heart or about the German people throwing him

Sri Aurobindo: Hitler would not have been where he is if
he had a soft heart. It is curious how some of the most
sentimental people are most cruel. Hitler, for instance, is
quite sentimental. He weeps over his mother’s tomb and
paints sentimental pictures.

Disciple: It is “the London cabman’s psychic” as you said
the other day.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Men like Hitler can’t change, they
have to be bumped out of existence: There is no chance of
their changing in this life. He can’t get rid of his
cruelty–it is his blood.


Not that the British can’t be brutal and sentimental too.
But they can’t persist as the Germans and the Russians in
their brutality. The Englishman may be sentimental, but he
likes to show off that he is practical, prosaic and brave.
In the Russian, you find a mixture of cruelty and
sentimentalism. He can break your neck and in the next
moment embrace you. The English man behaves quite well, if
you give him blows on his face when he treats you badly.

Disciple: In Fiji islands there was the case of a Punjabi
from a good family, who went there as an indentured
labourer. An Englishman was his supervisor and used to beat
him every day, in spite of his doing the hard allotted

One day the Punjabi got fed up and caught hold of him and
threw him on the ground and went on giving him blows. Then
the Englishman said “that will do!” He got up and shook
hands with him and the two became great friends!!

Disciple: There was the case of Shamakant, the
tiger-tamer, an athlete of Bengal. While he was traveling
some Tommis came and tried to show their strength. He
knocked them so well that they were extremely glad to get
out of the compartment at the next station. They did not
expect a Bengali to be so strong.

Another time the train at Howrah was stopped, as there
was a fight between an Englishman and a Bengali. There was a
cry of “Bande Mataram” and the whole train came out.

Sri Aurobindo: That was the sudden transformation during
the Swadeshi days. Before that the people used to


tremble before an Englishman in Bengal. The position was
even reversed.

I remember when I wanted to do political work I visited
Bengal and toured the districts of Jessors, Khulna etc. We
found that the people steeped in pessimism, a black weight
of darkness weighing over the whole country. It is difficult
now a days to imagine those days. I was traveling with Deva
Vrata Bose; he was living on plantains and speaking to
people. He had a very persuasive way of talking. It was at
Khulna, we had a right royal reception, not so much because
I was a politician, but because I was a son of my father.
They served me with seven rows of dishes and I could hardly
reach out to them, and even from others I could eat very

My father was very popular at Khulna; wherever he went he
became all powerful. When he was at Rangpur he was very
friendly with the magistrate-there. We went to his cousin’s
place in England afterwards, the Drewettes. It was always
the doctor (i.e. K.D. Ghose) who got things done at Rangpur.
When the new magistrate came he found that nothing could be
done without Dr. K.D. Ghose. So he asked the Government to
remove him and he was transferred to Khulna. It was since
that time that he became a politician. That is to say, he
did not like the English domination. Before that every thing
Western was good! He wanted, for example, all his sons to be
great; at that time to join the I.C.S. was to become great.
He was extremely generous. Hardly anyone who went to him for
help came back empty handed.

Disciple: Did you see him after coming from England? Sri
Aurobindo: I could not. In fact, I was the cause of his

death. He was having heart-trouble and the Grindleys sent
a wire to him that I had started by a certain steamer. In
fact I had not; and that steamer was sunk near Portugal and
so when he heard the news he thought that I was drowned and
he died of that shock.

Disciple: But when you were in England was he sending you
money regularly?

Sri Aurobindo: In the beginning. But afterwards he sent
less and less and ultimately he stopped altogether. I had my
scholarship at Cambridge but that was not enough to cover
the fees and other expenses. So once the tutor wrote to him
about money. Then he sent the exact sum for the fees and
wrote a letter lecturing to me about extravagance!

But it was not true; I and my eldest brother at any rate,
were living quite Spartan life. My brother worked with Henry
Cotton’s brother in the Liberal association (Kensington) and
used to get 50 shillings a week. On that and little more we
two managed to live. We had bread and a piece of bacon in
the morning; at night some kind of pastry. For the winter we
had not overcoat. After one year like that to talk of
extravagance was absurd. But Mono Mohan could not stand it;
he went out and lived in boarding house and ate nicely
without money.

There was a tailor at Cambridge who used to tempt me with
all sorts of clothes for suits and make me buy them; of
course, he gave credit. Then I went to London. He somehow
traced me there and found Mono Mohan and canvassed orders
from him (!) Mono Mohan went in for velvet suits, not
staring red but aesthetic and used to visit Oscar Wilde in
that suit.


Then we came away to India but the tailor was not to be
deprived of his dues! He wrote to the Government of Bengal
and to the Baroda State for recovering sum from me and Mono

I had paid up all my dues and kept £4/–or so. I did
not believe that I was bound to pay it, since he always
charged me double. But as the Maharajah said, I had better
pay it, I paid.

Disciple: Did Mono Mohan follow your political

Sri Aurobindo: He was very proud of our political career.
He used to say: “There are two and a half men in India–my
brother Aurobindo and Barin–two and half is Tilak!”

Disciple: How was Mono Mohan in England?

Sri Aurobindo: He used to play the poet: he had poetical
illness and used to moan out his verses in deep tones. Once
we were passing through Cumberland and it was getting dark.
We shouted to him but he paid no heed, and came afterwards
leisurely at his own pace. His poet-playing dropped after he
came to India.

Disciple: How as the eldest brother?

Sri Aurobindo: He was not at all poetic or imaginative.
He took after my father. He was very practical but very easy
to get on with. He had fits of miserliness.

The question of Barin when he came to Baroda and stayed
for sometime was: How can I stay with Khaserao or Madhave
Rao for months and years without quarreling?


10th January 1939.

Disciple: My friend “X” has begun to give medicine to
some of my patients. Sri Aurobindo: So, you have your
“Homeo-Allo” alliance or axis!

Talk on Homeopathy was going when the Mother came.

Mother: Do you know about a school of Homeopathy in
Switzerland which is very famous in Europe? It prepares
medicines also. They have books in which symptoms are
grouped together and remedies are indicated for a group of
symptoms. It is a very convenient method; only, you have to
have the book; or good memory. But are you allowed to
practice Homeopathy without license?

Disciple: Oh, yes. No license is required in India.

Disciple: But Dr. S was telling that using great
potencies might harm, or even kill the patient. It is
dangerous if everybody beings to practice it, they say.

Disciple: In Bengal it is practiced everywhere.

Sri Aurobindo: Is Yunani medicine practiced in India?

Disciple: Yes, in cities where there is Mohammedian
population, and in Muslim states. In Delhi there is the
Tibbi college founded by Hakim Ajmal Khan. It seems, it is
the only school of Unani medicine in the whole of Asia.
Students from Turkey, Egypt and Afghanistan used to come
there to learn. Ajmal Khan was the direct descendent of the
court Hakim to the Mogul Emperors. Where from is it


Sri Aurobindo: It is from the Greek school. They use
animal products and salts. Besides curing which is common to
all the systems the Unani lays claim to rejuvenate the human
system. Many diseases which require operation for their cure
in Allopathy are cured by Unani and Ayurvedic medicines
without operation.

There were many specific cures known in India but I am
afraid they are getting lost. I remember the case of
Jyotindra Nath Banerji who had a remedy for sterility from a
Sannyasi and he used it with success. Many cases of
barrenness for ten or fifteen years were cured within a
short time. The direction for taking the medicine were very
scrupulously to be observed. He knew a remedy for

Mother: Do you know about the Chinese medicine? Once they
had a rule that you paid the doctor so long as you were
well. All payment stopped when one became ill, and if the
patient died they used to put a mark on the doctor’s door to
show that his patient had died.

But the Chinese method of pricking the nerve and curing
the disease is very remarkable. The idea is that there is a
point of nerve where the attack of the disease is
concentrated and if you prick the point, or the Devil, on
the head, the disease is cured. They find out this nervous
point from the indications that the patient gives, or
sometimes they find out by themselves also.

Disciple: I do not think that any system of medicine can
succeed in curing all diseases. I believe


that only yogic power can cure all diseases.

Disciple: Even that is not unconditional; otherwise, it
might be very nice. There are conditions to be fulfilled for
the yogic power to succeed.


Sri Aurobindo: Do you expect that the yogic power, or
consciousness will simply say “Let there be no disease and
there will be no disease”?

Disciple: Not that way. But cases of miraculous cures are
known, that is, cures effected without any conditions.

Sri Aurobindo: That is another matter. Otherwise, the
Yogi has to get up every morning and say “Let everybody in
the world be all right” and there would be no disease in the
world! (Laughter)


12th January 1939

There was a controversy about a child who was underage
and had an intense aspiration to remain in the Ashram, i.e.
to be under Mother’s protection and guidance. But being
under the guardianship of her parents the child could not
carry out her inner wish. Ultimately the parents,
particularly the mother, took the child away.

Some Evening-Talks refer to this incident.

Sri Aurobindo: She–the child–has developed character
and intelligence quite beyond her age. When she wrote to us
she used to cast reflections on the world and on people that
was even beyond a grown up woman. She is remarkable for her

The mother has found it difficult to bend her. It is
true, the mother does not love her. It is an accident that
she is born in that family; she is quite unlike her parents.
Besides, she has found out that the mother used to manage
her by lying.

Disciple: They say that the child is very happy


Sri Aurobindo: But she wrote to us that she is never
happy outside!

Disciple: In the papers we find that Stalin has made
allegations against Trotsky; can there be any truth in

Sri Aurobindo: Not creditable.

Disciple: But the confessions of the generals were

Sri Aurobindo: That they did to save their relatives.

Disciple: A Japanese general predicts a hundred year war
to civilize the world!

Sri Aurobindo: The idea is first to drive out the
European from Asia, but the Japanese will go about it
silently without bragging.


Disciple: Will Indian freedom come long time after?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily; it will not come by arms
but without arms. Disciple: How?

Sri Aurobindo: There is a prophesy among the Sannyasis
and also Lele used to tell us that there is no chance of
freedom by fighting.

Disciple: Italy or Japan can come to help India.

Sri Aurobindo: That is not so easy. Naval equipment is
not enough; without a strong army it is very difficult to
conquer India.

Disciple: Congress ministers are trying to introduce
military training in U.P., C.P., and Bombay. But Sir


Hayat in the Panjab is counting the distinction between
martial and non-martial races.

Sri Aurobindo: That was introduced by the British to keep
down India by depriving her of military races except the
Pathans, Gurkhas, Panjabees etc. But every part of India had
its empire in the past. The whole of India can have military
equipment and training in a short time.

Disciple: The problem is of the Muslims.

Sri Aurobindo: They also want independence; only they
want” “Mohammedan independence”.

Disciple: Spain in Europe seems to be like India. But if
France gets Spain it would be difficult for England.

Sri Aurobindo: It will be worse for France; by the spring
the intentions of the Axis powers will be known.

Disciple: But why France depends so much upon

Sri Aurobindo: Because she has no other ally.

Disciple: It is the short-sighted policy of the Allies,
that has given chance to Hitler.

Sri Aurobindo: No, it is England that got afraid of
France ascendancy on the continent and encouraged and
pressed Germany into power. She wants to maintain the
balance of power. Hitler aims at France.

France always wants to placate Italy; but England came in
the way with “sanctions”. They could not save Abyssinia and
made an enemy of Mussolini.

Disciple: The cry of Tunis was to divert the attention
from Spain.


Sri Aurobindo: I don’t think Blum’s Socialist government
is for non-intervention. The Socialist in France did nothing
when they were in power.


Disciple: Perhaps Russia can render some help.

Sri Aurobindo: Russia is too far and I don’t know if it
is trustworthy. Disciple: But the newspapers report that
America is preparing armaments.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, perhaps Roosevelt has secret news
about the intentions of Nazis. It is not a question of
meddling in European politics, but of being eaten last!
(Laughter) There are at least some people in America who
understand this thing.


13th January 1939.

The Mother was present when X put the following question
to her. Disciple: Mother, is it a sin to kill bugs,
mosquitoes, scorpions etc.?

“Ask Sri Aurobindo”; The Mother replied smiling. “When I
came here I used to drive them away by yogic force. Sri
Aurobindo did not approve of it.”

Sri Aurobindo: Because one is making friendship with the
in that way. What is the sin? If you don’t kill them they
will go and bite some other people and won’t it be a sin to

Disciple: But they have life, Sir? Sri Aurobindo: Yes,
they have. 119

Disciple: And, if one kills them?

Sri Aurobindo: Well, what happens?

Disciple: He will be liable to sin of course. I don’t
mean we don’t kill at all, for instance, we are breathing

Mother: The doctors don’t kill?

Disciple: Yes Mother. But I mean their killing is not
intentional. Disciple: It is said that the Jains hire people
to feed bugs! Disciple: No. That is only a story.

Sri Aurobindo: At any rate, I know of a story in history.
When Mahmed of Gazni invaded (West) India he defeated a Jain
king through the help of his brother. The dethroned king was
left in charge of his brother, who was now the king. He did
not know what to do with his brother; so, he dug a pit below
his throne and threw him in it and closed it up. As a result
he died: so that his brother did not kill him!

Mother: Then, in order to be true Jain, one must be a
yogi and then with yogic power he can deal with these
animals and insects?

Disciple: Is one justified in killing snakes and


Sri Aurobindo: Why not? One must kill in self-defense. I
don’t mean that you must hunt out the snakes and kill them.
But when you see that they are endangering your or other
lives, then you have every right to kill them.

Mother: The plants have also life. So, you mean to


that mosquito is more precious then rose? You don’t know
perhaps how the plants feel. Disciple: There are people who
say that killing a dog or a cat is not so sinful as killing
a man.

Sri Aurobindo: Life is life–whether in a cat, or dog or
man. There is no difference in that between cat or man. The
idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own
advantage perhaps.


14th January 1939

The topic of Homeopathy came up. It was said that it has
cures for religious depression and anger also.

Disciple: Anger, the scientists say, is due to the
reaction of glands. But can “egoism” be cured like that?

Disciple: If it can be cured, I would be the first to
apply for it.

Disciple: “The fact you are conscious about the “ego”
makes half the cure–is it not?” he said turning to Sri

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. But it is the first step.
Disciple: And what is the second?

Sri Aurobindo: To detach oneself from all these things;
to think as if all these things belong to the other being,
or some one else. As one goes on doing this the Purusha
gradually withdraws its sanction from the Prakriti and


the Prakriti looses its hold over nature till a spiritual
control takes place. But if one associates oneself with
Nature, Prakriti, then the Purusha becomes slave to it.
Rejection, of course, is the stronger way. One has to reject
these things before they enter, as I did the thoughts. It is
more powerful and the result also is quick.

There is also a mental control; but there too it is the
nature of Mind trying to control the nature of the Vital. It
has only a temporary and partial control. The thing is
rather suppressed within and can come out at any

I heard of a Yogi in Benares bathing in one of the Ghats.
In the neighbouring ghat a Kashmiri woman came to bathe. As
soon as he saw her he fell upon her and tried to outrage
her. That is evidently a case of mental control. But by
Sadhana–yogic effort–sometimes things which have not been
there come up. I have heard about it from many persons.


In my case, I saw anger coming up and possessing me. It
was absolutely uncontrollable when it came. I was very much
surprised as to my nature. Anger has always been foreign to

At another time while I was a undertrial prisoner at
Alipore jail, a terrible catastrophe was avoided. Prisoners
had to wait outside for sometime before entering the cells.
As we were waiting a Scotch Warder came and gave me a push.
The young men around me became very excited, and I did
nothing but gave him such a look that he immediately fled
and called the jailer. It was a communicative anger and all
the young men rallied round to attack him. When the jailer,
who was rather a religious man arrived, the Warder said, I
had given him


a “subordinate look”. The jailer asked me and I told him
that I have never been used to such treatment. The jailer
pacified the whole group and said while going, “we have all
to bear our cross.”

Disciple: Is Rudra Bhava something like Ramakrishna’s
story about the snake, where anger is to be shown without
really feeling it.

Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. It is something genuine, a
violent severity against something very wrong. e.g. the
Rudra Bhava of Shiva. Anger one knows by its feeling of
sensations, it rises from below, while Rudra Bhava rises
from the heart. I will give you an instance. Once X became
very violent against the Mother and was shouting and showing
his fists. As I heard the shouting, a violent severity came
down, that was absolutely uncontrollable. I went out and
said: “Who is shouting at the Mother? Who is shouting here?”
As soon as he heard it he became very quiet.

Disciple: I heard X had a very violent temper.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, he was otherwise an earnest Sadhaka,
became conscious of many things and made progress. But these
fits used to come to him now and then. Some Asuric forces
used to catch hold of him and he could not control himself.
It is these forces that have failed him in the yoga, for I
hear he does not have these attacks now outside. When under
the grip he could not see that he was in the wrong. He
blamed me and the Mother, though we had been very lenient
and considerate to him. After sometime he was able to
recognize his faults, admit it and promise that he would not
do it again. But again he would be swept away by the forces.
Sometimes his vanity and self-respect would come in


the way of his admitting the fault immediately. That is
the mistake. One must not justify one’s wrong. If one does
that, it comes again and makes it more difficult to get rid
of it.

Disciple: ‘Y’ after doing so much Tapasya is thinking of
leaving the Ashram and that too after twelve years of

Sri Aurobindo: What Tapasya? If complete control was
given to him he would have stayed perhaps.

Disciple: He says, he is helping the Mother.

Sri Aurobindo: Helping only? I thought he was conducting
the Ashram? (Laughter)


Disciple: but these kinds of people–will they ever
realize the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: Everyone will arrive at the Divine. ‘A.’
once asked the Mother if he will realize God. The Mother
replied that he will, unless he did something idiotic and
cut short the life, and that is what he has done.


15th January, 1939

Sri Aurobindo opened the topic by referring to a letter
from an American.

Sri Aurobindo: There is a job which perhaps “X:” would
like to attend to. The letter is addressed to Sri Aurobindo
Ashram under the belief that it is a person. The man wants
sporting items, and “predictions”. He says:


As you are a Yogi you “can go into trance” and we will
share the profits!! Let me know your terms. Then he says:
“If you don’t want to take the money, you can give it to the
poor! (turning to X.). You can go into trance or send “Y”
into it. I will be a hard nut.

I have no objections to sharing profits, only we share in
profits not in loss!! Besides, we class ourselves among the
poor, so we won’t have to find them! (pause)

All sorts of half-crazy people are writing to us from
every where, from Germany, America etc. I wonder how they
manage to get the address.

Disciple: It must be from the magazine in which A wrote
an article giving his Ashram address from which he thought
“Aurobindo Ashram” was a man! In that case, A must take up
the matter and reply to this man.

Disciple: I am afraid, we won’t get anything in spite of
the proposal to share profits. In Gujarat there was–I
believe even now is–a small group of seekers under the
guidance of late Narsimhacharya who got an offer from
American promising fabulous returns from small investments.
The followers were all taken in, Lakhs of rupees were sent
and nothing was heard afterwards.

Disciple: On the other hand some Indian Sannyasis are
making good business in America. One of them has modernized
yoga; his method is a combination of business and yoga,
“sets of lectures and courses of meditation” etc.

Sri Aurobindo: “R” was telling “M” that if he went to
America he would be a great success. I think “R” was right.
Some of these people have the character of a charlatan.


Disciple: But coming to his question: is it possible to
predict sport items and cotton prices and

Disciple: I knew an astrologer who impressed my cousin
very much and when he acted under his guidance his
predictions did not at all come true.


Sri Aurobindo: But I had a remarkable experience at
Baroda, not of an astrologer but of one who knew
thought-reading. His predictions as an astrologer were all
wrong. The manager of my house, Chhotalal, took me to this
man and asked me to have some questions in my mind.

As we entered his room he told me all the four questions
that were in my mind; and the curious thing is that three
questions were clearly formulated in my mind, but the fourth
one had escaped me; but he caught that also; it was

Disciple: Is anything being done to get some of your
books published in America?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Besides, I don’t know if the Americans
are interested in profound questions. Swami Nikhilananda, I
heard, wrote an article about me which Miss Wilson Nishta
says, was profound. The editor of the paper returned it
saying, “it won’t interest the Americans,” and he had to
change it and made it what it is.

Disciple: But the Americans are open to new ideas.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. If they would not want sensation and
change the openness to new ideas would be very great
advantage. As it is all one can say is that there are more
people in America interested in these things than in


Europe, though in Europe also the number of people who
are interested in these things is increasing now a days.

Disciple: One Thompson, graduate from Oxford, according
to his own statement, came to the gate and I had some
humourous exchange of sentences with him. He was very

Sri Aurobindo: It must be he, who recently sent me a long
letter on philosophy. I don’t think, he himself was clear
about what he wrote. What was your exchange with him

Disciple: I was just going out when the Sadhak at the
gate-duty asked me to help him to understand this new
arrival, Thompson. I asked him: May I know your name,
please? He: “Name! I have no name”. “Apart from
philosophical considerations about the reality or unreality
of it, a name is a necessity in this unphilosophical world”
I said. He: “You can call me anything you like–it matters
very little to me”. I: “It is not a question of my calling
you anything. Unfortunately there is the Police Department
which will demand a passport with a name, and that

Sri Aurobindo: Then what did he say?

Disciple: At last he said his name was Thompson.”

Disciple: I remember a difficult question: “Is it in
keeping with yoga to get oneself insured?”

Sri Aurobindo: Thakur Dayananda would say “no”. He was
always depending on God and did not believe in storing
things. If you don’t get anything, it means, God wants


you to starve. The whole group used to sing and dance,
there was an excited expression of their Sadhana, some kind
of vital demonstration.


Later on he complained that the disciples were drawing
out his vital forces.

They had the faith that nothing could happen to them;
when the police came to arrest them they were all singing
and dancing. Seeing them in exaltation the police went away.
They thought that they were invincible. The Government sent
soldiers to arrest them. Then their faith was shaken. One of
the prominent disciples, Mohindra De also lost his faith,
though he was the victim of his own enthusiasm.

Disciple: How can the vital forces of oneself be drawn
out when one is in contact with the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: The force that supports the work, the
vital force, is different from the Divine Consciousness.

Disciple: Do you remember one Kulkarni who came and was
complaining that his vital force was being drawn out?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He was surrounding by forces of
disintegration, chaos, disaster and death. And he was
unconsciously throwing it out.

Disciple: One of us then told you that Kulkarni had
strength and intensity. Then you had said something
remarkable: “You call it strength? It is some wild intensity
of weakness–not strength!”

Sri Aurobindo: Intensity with solidity pays; but without
support below, it does not lead to anything. ‘B’ was like
that and so was ‘J.’


Disciple: But B did brilliant work.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. What he did was brilliant but slight,
there was nothing below to support, the intensity had no
body, so to say. He went because of his ambition, he wanted
to be right-hand man. Mother put a divine entity into him;
it left him when he left the place. He has failed all

Disciple: But he was a good lieutenant in the old

Sri Aurobindo: There are some people who are good as
lieutenants, but by themselves they are nothing. ‘B’ is like
that. I supported him but he used to leave one thing and go
in for another. He spoiled his career through his own

Disciple: Some people say that now he speaks unfavourably
about the Ashram.

Sri Aurobindo: We know that. To ‘M’ who was coming here
he said: “he has caught you by his philosophy” meaning

But the Mother knows these things even without any
reports from outside.

Disciple: Our friend D who has the “eternal doubter” in
him met Upen Banerjee at Calcutta and asked Upen whether he
believes in God.

Sri Aurobindo: What did Upen say?

Disciple: He said: “How can I say I don’t believe in God
when I know Sri Aurobindo? I have a measuring rod for men
and I can measure them all right; but in Sri Aurobindo’s
case I cannot measure him. In case of other

great people they reach a certain point in their growth
and then they stop, whereas in his case he is always going
on further and further.

Sri Aurobindo: (smiled) I see. Upen also has intensity;
he had agnosticism and faith. It is that which makes his
writing brilliant. But he could never understand the “Arya”.
Why, Rishikesh (Kanjilal) also was one in whom doubt could
never get the better of faith and faith could not of doubt!
(Laughter) He always wanted to fix himself to some
anchor,–he could not give up seeking, nor pursue steadily
and find an anchor. “The movement will not grow” he used to
say. (after pause) The revolutionaries were quite an
interesting lot and though not fit for yoga, one could not
feel dull in their company.

Disciple: “K” was enthusiastic about Sadhana.

Sri Aurobindo: He was. But he was not able to stand the
trial of yoga. I don’t think he had the capacity to do the
yoga; he had too tall an idea about himself, and he is
crude. And as to ‘Kh’ I wonder how he could ever have done
the yoga.


16th January 1939.

There was a humourous sequel to a telegram requesting for
“ashes”. It was a puzzle for some time and after some effort
the word “ashisha”, meaning “blessing” was rightly

Disciple: I do not understand why he is asking for


Sri Aurobindo: I don’t understand either. When I used to
smoke I could have sent at least the cigar ashes. But now I
do not smoke?

Disciple: But we are burning here the mosquito-coils. The
ashes of the coils can be sent. (laughter)

Disciple: But I think he is asking for Blessings–the
post office in receiving the Sanskrit word Ashisha seems to
have turned it into “ashes”! (Laughter)

Disciple: I read a paper written by Prof. Somesh Bose, a
mathematician, in which he mentions that Bholagiri, a Sadhu
had meditation with his wife who was dead. He says that he
saw them both, his dead wife present “in flesh and blood”.
The question is: Is it possible? Also, whether Bholanath
materialized his wife or she did it herself? Somesh says,
she was everyday present at the prayer time. Can she remain
like that in her materialized body almost all the time? Does
she live with Bholagiri all the time, or does she come and
go? What will materialists say?

Disciple: They will say, it is all humbug. (turning to
Sri Aurobindo) But what does yoga say?

Sri Aurobindo: “Many possibilities”. This seems to be a
case of temporary materializing, as Bholagiri is present
every time. I believe, there is always a difference between
material body and a materialized body. This kind of
materializing commonly takes place immediately after a man
dies. You find that he visits either a relation or a friend.
If the fact of his death is not known or if the man is not
known to be living far away, people mistake it for an actual
physical presence.


There are many authentic cases of this kind. My poetic
brother Mono Mohan’s friend Stephen Philips said that his
mother had visited him after her death. Mono Mohan told me
the story, ascribing the experience to telepathic
communication of the form. But I think it is not mere
communication of form or cast by the mind only. There is the
vital and the physical part which materializes.

Disciple: You have already cited the other day the case
of Lord Strethmore. But is it possible to materialize

Sri Aurobindo: Theoretically, it should be possible,
though I have known no case of the same. After the
experience we had of the stone-throwing in the Guest-house
here, I believe, if the stones could be materialized, why
not a human being?

Disciple: The Egyptians preserved the human body after
death, with the belief that the soul would return to it
after some years. Paul Brunton claims to have met some
spirit hoary with age on the hill near the pyramids.

Sri Aurobindo: The Egyptians believed that at the time of
death the Ka, the vital being, went out of the man and after
a thousand years, if the body was preserved, it would return
to it. Brunton, I suppose, materialized the belief.

Disciple: Is it possible to revitalize the dead? Sri
Aurobindo: I can’t say.

Disciple: There is a reported case of a Bey whom Brunton
met and who revived a sparrow after it was dead. Brunton
says that he saw the same phenomenon perfor-


med by Vishuddhananda, “Gandhi Swamy” as he was called.
Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: That is possible. Just as you can revive a
drowned man by pulling his physical organs into function
again, that is, by resorting to physical devices life can be
restored. If you know how to reintroduce the power that sets
the organs to action, after the body is wounded or dead, you
can revive the man.

The real question is whether it is the being of the man
that comes back to life, or it is some other spirit that
wants to live and gets hold of the body. Both are possible,
because revival is done in two ways: One, is to bring back
the spirit of the man which is still not far away, the other
is to get some other spirit that consents to come.

Disciple: Can the vital-being be called back to the

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if it has not gone away very far it
can be pulled back to the body. (The subject was

Disciple: There is chance of “C” coming.

Disciple: He has been coming for a long time.


Disciple: He is coming after organizing his property.

Sri Aurobindo: Is he still organizing his property? Has
he much property left? Disciple: I am afraid he has lost

Sri Aurobindo: He is a phenomenon! Do you remember


the name of the person who apologized to us? I wonder
whether he offered the apology because his public attack did
not succeed.

Disciple: Yes. He seemed to have gathered all sorts of
false facts from all kinds of people. Disciple: Did you read
his book?

Sri Aurobindo: I simply glanced at it! I don’t think he
sold more than half a dozen copies. (after a pause) It seems
“M” has expressed sorrow for what she did here and explained
that she acted under the influence of S and B.

Disciple: The attack by “R” was not of any allegations.
His objection was that the Ashram was not doing what he
calls public work.

Sri Aurobindo: What work?

Disciple: Say country’s work, work for humanity.

Sri Aurobindo: It is quite a new objection. Nobody
expects an Ashram, a spiritual institution, to do work!

Disciple: The Ramkrishna Mission, Gandhi’s Ashram and
some other institutions do some public work and so people
expect an Ashram to work for humanity.

Sri Aurobindo: Perhaps, because I did political work they
expect that I should continue doing it all my life.

Disciple: Not only that, the objection is that so many
young men are being drawn away from the field of work.


Sri Aurobindo: Oh, I see.

Disciple: But Gandhi’s Ashram is not a spiritual
institution. It is a group of people gathered to be trained
to do some work on Mahatma’s principles and methods. One can
say that service to the public is one of their aims.

But Subhas wrote against the Ashram recently on the
ground that it was attracting away some of the best people
from country’s work.

Disciple: I don’t remember if he wrote “best” or “good”
for those who came here. He quoted the example of D.


Sri Aurobindo: But D was not doing political work.

Disciple: Subha’s idea was that D may not do political
work now. But when the time came he must be prepared to give
up everything and join the struggle.

Sri Aurobindo: I see, one can’t give up everything for

Disciple: But suppose one gives up everything for
country’s freedom, then what is he to do afterwards, except
perhaps going to jail.

Sri Aurobindo: D in jail! Perhaps he would write off some
stories about his agony. Disciple: That, perhaps, would be a
gain to literature, not to politics.

Sri Aurobindo: At the time of the Gandhi movement some
one asked Abanindranath Tagore, why he was not giving up his
painting for the sake of the country and take to politics.
He said: I believe, I serve the country through my painting
in which I have some capacity, that, at


least, is something I know; whereas I would be only a bad

Disciple: Tagore narrowly escaped the Charkha. But it
seems Nandlal Bose is turning at!

Sri Aurobindo: He is a man of ascetic temperament. There
was an enthusiast who even wrote an article showing that the
Chakra referred to in the Gita was the Charkha!

Disciple: It was Vinoba Bhave, a disciple of Mahatma.

The topic changed to Baroda. Dr. M. mentioned that now
the old race course is covered by fine buildings constructed
by co-operative Societies and that doctor Balabhai was still
alive staying in one of the new buildings. He is nearly

Sri Aurobindo: (After a pause) The mention of Baroda
brought to my mind the connection with the Gaekwad. It is
strange how things arrange themselves at times. I had failed
in the I. C. S. and was looking for a job. Exactly at the
time the Gaekwad happened to be in London. I don’t remember
whether he called us, or we met him, but an elderly
gentleman, whom we consulted, was quite willing to propose
Rs. 200/- per month as a good sum. It would be more than
£10/- and it is surprising that he thought it was very

But I left the negotiations to my elder brother and James
Cotton. I knew nothing about life at that time.

Disciple: What were the expenses in those days?

Sri Aurobindo: Before the war, it was quite decent living
for £5/-. Our landlady was an angel. She came from


Somerset and had settled in London–perhaps after she was
widowed. She was long suffering and never asked us for money
even if we did not pay for months and months. I wonder how
she managed. I paid her from my I. C. S. stipend.


It was father’s fault that I failed in the riding test.
He did not send money and the riding lessons at Cambridge
then were rather costly. The teacher was also careless; so
long as he got his money he simply left me with the horse
and I was not particular.

I tried riding again at Baroda with Madhav Rao but it was
not successful.

My failure was a great disappointment to my father
because he had arranged everything for me through Sir Henry
Cotton. A post was kept for me in the district of Arah which
is considered a fine place. All that came down like a wall.

I wonder what would have happened to me if I had joined
the civil service. I think, they would have chucked me for
laziness and arrears of work! (laughter)

Disciple: Do you remember Nana Saheb Sinde of Baroda?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, Madhav Rao Jadhav, myself and Nana
Saheb all of us held revolutionary ideas at that time.

Disciple: He has spoken to the youth conference
emphasizing the need of military training for the defense of
the country. His speech was against the current vogue of

Sri Aurobindo: It is good that some one raises voice


that when efforts are being made to make non-violence the
method of solving all problems.

Disciple: But the insistence on non-violence has
succeeded in disarming the Pathan of the Frontier. It seems,
Gandhi objected to armed volunteers keeping guard over him
while he was in the Frontier province.

Sri Aurobindo: And what were they expected to do in case
there was an attack? Stand simply? Disciple: No. They should
die resisting.

Sri Aurobindo: This non-violent resistance I have never
been able to fathom. I can understand an attitude of
absolute non-resistance to Evil, as the Christians say
“Resist not the Evil”. You may die without resisting and
accept the consequences as sent by God. But to resist
passively seems to me meaningless. And to change the
opponent’s heart by such passive resistance is something I


Disciple: And the “Modern Review” put in another
objection which is worth considering. The article accepts
that non-violence may be a good gospel for a great Saint but
for the ordinary man to allow evil to triumph so easily–by
passive resistance–would not be good for the society. There
is no reason to hope that the goonda will change his mind,
or heart, if you allow him to kill you.

Sri Aurobindo: I am afraid, non-violence is being applied
to other fields whereas its extreme application is meant for
spiritual life. Non-violence or Ahinsa as a spiritual
attitude and its practice is perfectly understandable and
has a standing. You may not accept it in toto but it


has a basis in the Reality. You can live it in spiritual
life but to try to apply to all life seems too


much. Such an application ignores the great principle of
Adhikar,–qualification even as the Europeans do. Also it
makes no provision for difference of situations.

Disciple: Mahatma’s point is that in either case, whether
with arms or without, you are prepared to die. Then, why not
try to die without arms, since armaments are piling up in
all nations and there is no end to where it will lead. In
the other case you perpetuate passive-resistance while in
fighting you perpetuate killing.

Sri Aurobindo: If you bring in the question of expense
then the reasons for non-violence, we must admit, are
economic and not ethical. (after a pause)

It is a principle which can be applied with success if
practiced on a mass scale, specially by unarmed people like
the Indians, because you are left with no other choice. But
even when it succeeds it is not that you have changed the
heart of the enemy, but that you have made it impossible for
him to rule. That is what happened in Ireland. There was in
Ireland armed resistance also but that would not have
succeeded without the passive resistance side by side. Such
tremendous generalizations like “passive resistance for
all”, “Charkha for all”, “celibacy for all” hardly work.


17th January 1939.

Photographs of Harnath (Pagal) and Kusum Devi were shown
to Sri Aurobindo. A declaration from Matu-


shri-Kusum Haranath–that she was the Supreme Power and
that Harnath was one of her forms, was read.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the Tantric doctrine.

Disciple: But Harnath was a Vaishnava.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but the doctrine she has proclaimed
is not Vaishnava doctrine, it is Tantric. Disciple: Is it

Sri Aurobindo: In principle it is true; for the Supreme
Shakti is the Divine Consciousness and all the gods are from
her. It is she who gives out the gods–Shiva and others. It
is said that even Shiva cannot act unless she gives him
power to act.

Disciple: Harnath had his decisive spiritual experience
in Kashmir where, it is related, Gauranga came to him and
gave him the “mission”. But his later disciples regard him
equal to Gauranga.

Disciple: But where is the difficulty? If the
consciousness is ultimately and essentially divine, why
should not Gauranga and Harnath be one in consciousness?

Disciple: They want to prove him to be as great as

Sri Aurobindo: Oh, there is competition between the two
Avatars? Did Harnath proclaim himself as the Avatar?


Disciple: No, but he behaved like one. There are cases of
very rapid conversions in case of people who have met


Sri Aurobindo: I have found that Vaishnava
Bhakti-devotional path–makes for very strong and rapid

Disciple: There is a line of Sadhus in Gujarat, who
practice the worship of the Impersonal God. Sri Aurobindo:
Worship of the Impersonal God?

Disciple: They do not have any personal God, but they
worship One who is everywhere, beyond personality. Kabir and
some other Saints believe in this. Even when they take a
particular Name of God, they mean by it something more than
the name. They will say “Rama” but they believe in various
aspects of Rama.

Ek Rama Dashratha ghara Jaye, ek Rama, ghat ghat me Ek
Ramaka submen pasara–ek Rama suban te nyara.

Disciple: Does “Nyara” mean the Transcendent? Sri
Aurobindo: Yes, the Absolute, the Supreme.

Disciple: The couplet says: one Rama is born in
Dashratha’s house and is therefore subject to change;
perhaps Kshara, One Rama is present in every heart and one
that is all-pervading and therefore universal and one Rama
is beyond all.

Sri Aurobindo: That seems to be the same thing as Gita’s
idea of Vasudeva that is in all and Vasudeva that is the
Supreme Absolute–both are the same. I have seen instances
in intense gyana–knowledge–and intense Bhakti (devotion).
Devotion of the Impersonal Divine may not be powerful for
change; it tends to be more etherialised and the knowledge
that enters into it makes devotion less intense or


Disciple: We have heard that you received guidance from
Sri Krishna in your Sadhana: was it from Sri Krishna of the
Bindravan or of Kurukshetra?

Sri Aurobindo: I should think, it was of Kurukshetra

Disciple: These distinctions between various
personalities of Krishna, one of Bindravana and others are
of later growth in Vaishnavism.

Sri Aurobindo: They regard Bala Gopal as the Delight
aspect or the Delight-Consciousness; but there are older
schools of Vaishnavism that regard Krishna as an Avatar of

Disciple: Krishna of Kurukshetra is; I suppose, one who
gave the Gita.

Sri Aurobindo: One who spoke the Gita is the Vishnu

Disciple: Arjuna could not bear his sight and had to ask
him to resume his human form.

Sri Aurobindo: In the Vishnu Purana all the aspects of
Vishnu are nicely described. It is one of the


Puranas I have read through carefully. I wonder how it
has escaped general notice because it is magnificent

There is a humourous passage in it, where a disciple asks
the Guru whether the king is on the elephant or the elephant
on the king (Laughter).

Disciple: The king must be Rammurthy if the elephant was
to be on him.


Sri Aurobindo: Then the Guru jumps over the shoulders of
the disciple and asks him whether he is on the disciple’s
back or the disciple on the Guru’s back (Laughter) Then
there is a very fine description of Jada Bharata.

Disciple: Is it true? Did Jada Bharata exist?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know. But it sounds very real in
the Purana, where it is placed.

It is also the most anti-Buddhist Purana. Disciple: Then
it must have been written late. Disciple: Buddha was born
about 500 B. C.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not so early as that; all the
puranas are posterior to Buddhism. They are a part of the
Brahminical revival which came as a reaction against
Buddhism in the Gupta period.

Disciple: The Puranas are even the earliest, supposed to
have been written about the 3rd or the 4th century A. D.

Sri Aurobindo: Most probably. In the Vishnu Purana Buddha
is regarded as one of the Avatars of Vishnu who came to
deceive the Asuras. He is not referred to by name but is
called “Maya-moha”. Reference to Budha is very clear; it
repeats “Budyaswa! Budhyaswa.” It is a fine work.

Disciple: It is said that the Tantras are derived from
the Vedas.

Disciple: There is nothing in the Veda to justify their
claim except one solitary Sukta, called the Vaki; Ambh-


rani–it is a Valkhilya. There Ambhrani speaks of herself
as the creatrix of the Gods. Of course one can take Aditi,
the Infinite divine consciousness as the root of Tantra if
one likes.

Sri Aurobindo: The principle of Tantra may be as old as
the Veda but the known Tantras are later.

Disciple: The Vedas are considered the highest authority
in India, so everything in India wants to peg itself on to
the Vedas–not only Tantra; but art, dancing etc.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t understand this passion for
antiquity. What does it matter when a thing took place;
Truth is truth whenever it may be found.

Disciple: But the Vedas are considered eternal.


Sri Aurobindo: They are eternal because the source of
their inspiration is eternal. Disciple: Some one has said
that the eternal Veda is in everybody’s heart.

Disciple: It is Sri Aurobindo who has said that in his
‘Synthesis of Yoga.’ You are quoting him to himself!

Sri Aurobindo: The Upanishads came after the Vedas and
they put in more plain language the same truth that was in
the Veda. In the Veda the language is symbolic.

But the Upanishads are equally great. Even in the Veda
there are passages which clearly show that the Vedantic
Truth is contained in the Veda. But it is surprising that
the readers of the Veda miss those


passages. For instance, the Veda says–“Riten ritam
apihitam”, and then “it is That one” that is the source. It
is clear that it refers to the Vedantic truth of the One.
Similarly, the Upanishads speak of the Vedic symbols. The
Ishopanishad speaks of the Vedic gods Sun-Surya and Agni,
but you can see that the significance there is symbolic.

Veda, Upanishad, Gita all are equally great.

Disciple: The Europeans thought that it was not possible
to believe that the Vedic Rishis were so advanced–specially
in those primitive times.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are so satisfied when they found
the historical interpretation that they did not care for
many obvious indications. But you must admit that the
interpretation turning Vedic Gods to gases is magnificently

Disciple: Was it not Paramashiva Aiyar, a Mysorian who
showed that remarkable ingenuity? Sri Aurobindo: I think
that is the man.

Disciple: He is trying to prove in his book on the Veda
that the Veda shows the conditions of earth in the glacial
period and then indicates its geological evolution. I gave
him up when I came upon his explanation of “parame Vyoman”
meaning “trough” and “crest” of the ocean waves.

Many riks of Dirghatamas are untranslated even to-day in
spite of all ingenious theories and interpretations.

Sri Aurobindo: You can’t translate them or understand
them unless you have the key to the symbolism.


19th January 1939.

Dr. R’s visit: In course of his talk he remarked in
connection with the swelling at the knee joint that all
diseases are of the nature of inflammations.

After he departed, Sri Aurobindo asked:

“In what sense are all illnesses inflammations? There
could be any satisfactory explanation of it.”


The topic of Aldous Huxley’s book “Ends & Means” was
taken up by a disciple.

Disciple: Huxley suggests two ways of solving the
problems of man. One by changing the existing institutions
of education, industries, in fact by modifying social,
political, economic and religious institutions. This would
bring about a change in the individual. So far as industries
are concerned he suggests the creation of small units
federated to a Central Organization. Thus it would eliminate
large units which are the roots of all troubles. The second
remedy he suggests is to change the individual and make him,
what he calls “non-attached”, who would practice virtue with
disinterestedness. I believe there is a French author who
also advocates such new types of industrial

Sri Aurobindo: That was my idea when I proposed to
Motilal to have a spiritual commune.–I don’t call it
Commune but a Sangha–a Community based on spirituality and
living its own economic life; it would have its own
agriculture, and a net work of such communities spread all
over the country would interchange its products among

Disciple: You gave him the idea of the paper also.



Sri Aurobindo: I now don’t remember. But I asked him to
start hand-looms and weaving.

Disciple: He has tried to take up Gandhian plan after he
separated from us; we used to insist on Swadeshi; now they
call it Khaddar.

Disciple: The financial condition there does not seem as
sound as it made to appear.

Sri Aurobindo: Possibly. I do not know now what they are
doing. I heard that some plots were bought in the Sunderbans
to start agriculture. But as people were getting malaria, it
had to be given up.

Disciple: Is it something like Dayal Bag? I don’t know
what spirituality they are having there. It seems as if all
their energies are directed to external work and

Sri Aurobindo: That may be due to their large-scale
production. I heard that Anukul Thakur also has started work
on the same idea.

Disciple: Does he not belong to Dayal Bag?

Sri Aurobindo: No. He may belong to what they call, the
Radha Swami School. But he does not belong to Dayal Bag.

Disciple: But to start such a Sangha one must have
spiritual realization and may take a long time to start.

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. Ordinarily if one is to
wait for spiritual realization it will take time. But all
may not have the highest or supramental realization.
Spiritual experience is enough for the people and that is
not difficult to have. I told M that spirituality must be
the basis of the Sangha. Otherwise, your success will be
your failure. But he does not seem to have listened to



(After a pause) There were other religious communities of
this sort before. The Dukhobar Community in Russia was very
powerful and well organized, strong in its faith. They held
together in spite of all persecution. At last they had to
emigrate to Canada. One of their tenets was nudism, which
the Canadian Government did not like and they got into
trouble. (with a smile) They had at least solved the weaving
problem (laughter).

Then the Mormons were famous in the United States. The
name of the founder was Joseph Smith, a prosaic name for a
prophet. But Bringham Young was a very remarkable man, who
really made the commune. Curiously enough one of their
tenets, again, was polygamy. Their religion was based on the
old testament. When they were made to give their religion
they became quite like an ordinary


Mark Twain said that when the chief was interrogated in
the presence of his members he replied that he knew his
children by numbers, not by their names–it was inconvenient
to remember their names.

There was another community in America which did not
allow marriage among its members. Disciple: Do you know if
any communities are there in India?

Sri Aurobindo: The Sikhs are the only community organized
on a religion. Thakur Dayananda established or tried to
establish an order of married Sannyasins.

Disciple: I heard that Anukul Thakur also adopted it for
his disciples. Sri Aurobindo: Disciples are another
matter–they are allowed to marry. Disciple: I think, he
permitted the Sannyasins to marry.


Sri Aurobindo: The same principle is accepted by the
Vaishnavas, who follow the Nityanand–school–they accept a

Disciple: All sorts of attempts at collective life seem
to have been made and when one sees them all, one is driven
to despair like the bald man–who on looking at king Edward
VII’s photo with his shining bald head, said, “I give it
up”–(Laughter) Have you any idea how the supermind will

Sri Aurobindo: No idea. If you have an idea the result
will be what has been in the past. We must leave the
supermind to work it out.

Disciple: But that sort of work has to be based on love.
One must have love for everyone.

Sri Aurobindo: Love is not enough. Something more than
love is necessary. Unity of consciousness is more important
than love.

Disciple: The trouble is, as soon as one begins something
one tends to become ego-centric. Quarrel starts like
aggravation of symptom in Homeopathy (Laughter).

Sri Aurobindo: But love also leads to quarrel. Nobody
quarrels more than the lovers (laughter).

(Looking at X) You know the Latin proverb that each
quarrel is a renewal of love. Love is a fine


flower but unity of consciousness is the root.

The difficulty is that those who are here receive
something of the Higher power and they become ego-centric,
then gather it in the vital and turn it to their lower
nature. They think, it is their own power. When A came here
from Chandranagore he said, “There at


Chandranagore–everybody is a sheep following the
shepherd but here everybody is a Royal Bengal Tiger.

Disciple: Somebody also said that here is a zoo where
each one is a lion roaring in his den.

Sri Aurobindo: When we were very few and the Ashram had
not grown, B and S used to convert all sorts of people to
spirituality, they were great. B once caught hold of a young
Tamilian who was quite sheepish. B used to meet him. After
three or four months of contact it was found, the young man
had become quarrelsome, indolent and insolent–a great
transformation had come over him–(laughter). It is S who
made D a public leader. At any rate, the one thing he did
was to make D get rid of all scruples. “Right and wrong do
not matter, good and bad are nothing” he used to tell.

Disciple: And now D is trying to live up to it.

Sri Aurobindo: D used to say to Dr. Le Mongnac, “It is
impossible for me to fail because I am a God-man.” He said
to many people here that he is not afraid because he is Sri
Aurobindo’s disciple. He got the power from the Mother and
all agree that he is the one man who can do something if he
wanted to. Mrs. R used to write: “What has N come to–at
Pondicherry? He is writing to us “do this” and “do that”,
and finds fault with our work”. Of course, they were
quarreling in Japan also when they were there. They had
different views on their work.

B came straight from X. X was another great propagandist.
He caught any one he could and made him do the Yoga–of
course, it was his yoga. He did not think that any such
thing as Adhikar was necessary.

Disciple: We had a hard tussle with Mahatmaji’s


over the question of transcending morality and immorality
in a man of spiritual realization and resultant conduct.
They always think that going beyond morality means sinking
to immorality. All that does not conform to their moral code
is immoral.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, all can’t go beyond morality.
So their theory is true in their own field. It is a mental
rule and so long as one cannot come in contact with the
dynamic Divine source of action in himself, one has to be
guided by some law of conduct–otherwise one might take up
the attitude: “There is no virtue and no sin, so let us sin

What Sri Krishna says in the Gita” “Sarva Dharman
parityajya” “abandoning all laws of conduct”–is said at the
end of the Gita and not in the beginning: And then that is
not alone; there is also “mamekam Sharanam Vraja,” “take
refuge in Me alone.” But before one finds within oneself the
guidance of the dynamic Divine, one has to have some rule to
guide himself. Most of the people have to pass through the
Sattwa stage. It is only very few that can start above it
and the moral rule is true so far as most people are


Disciple: Can one say that the psychic being always wants
transformation? There are people who believe that the
psychic being in evolution would and must want
transformation. Only the Atman–the spirit–can merge into
laya in the infinite. Can not the developed psychic being
turn to Laya–merging into the infinite?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it can; it depends on whether it is
in front or not. If it is in front then, as I said, it takes
charge of the nature and then its aspiration will be for
transformation. But the developed psychic being can take any
other spiritual direction. It depends on what direction the
Divine within chooses. We cannot dictate to the soul


what it shall choose; all are not compelled to transform
their nature. Disciple: What is the kind of transformation
that takes place?

Sri Aurobindo: The psychic transformation is the first
one. Many yogis achieve this psychic transformation: it is
the pure Bhakta-nature. But all spiritual men are not
saints, of course, both can go together, sometimes.

Disciple: Is there a distinction between saints and
spiritual persons?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, there is; saints are limited by
their psychic nature, but spiritual men are not. The saint,
generally, proceeds from and lives in the heart-centre. The
spiritual man might live in other higher centres–say, above
the head, in the spiritual consciousness.

Disciple: It is not quite clear to me–the

Sri Aurobindo: The saints live in the psychic being, that
is, in the Purusha in the heart but the spiritual man might
live above the head. I never felt like a saint
myself–though Maurice Magre calls me ‘a philosopher and a
saint.’ Krishna, for instance, was not a saint. A spiritual
man may not always behave like a saint, he may have many
other things in him like Rishi Durvasa.

Disciple: But saints are nearer to humanity; they are not
like the Ishwar-Koti to whom no laws apply.

Disciple: In this yoga one has to fight like Arjuna, in
the battle of Kurukshetra, because it is a yoga of fight and

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily; it depends on the nature
of the being. There are some people, for instance, who when
they meet the hostile forces in the vital or in dream


begin to fight, while there are others who call for
protection. If one has the psychic attitude one need not
fight. Fighting is for the mental and the vital man; in the
case of the mental type the fight is with ideas.

Disciple: Some people regard quarreling with the Divine
as the psychic way.

Sri Aurobindo: In that case, many people are psychic in
the Ashram.

Disciple: I remember X’s letter referring to Ramprasad’s
Song claiming that the Divine must satisfy


his demand, because he had sacrificed everything for the

Disciple: “Claim” based on what? This argument seems to
be “you must give me thing because I badly want it.” But
what reply you gave to him?

Sri Aurobindo: It was not addressed to me; it was
addressed to Krishna.

Disciple: Then, I will ask him to write to you.

Sri Aurobindo: No, No, don’t do that (laughter).
Otherwise, I will have to be as hard as Krishna. Disciple:
They say that Shiva is a very kind and generous God.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know if he is very kind to the
demons. He gives very inconvenient boons and finds it very
difficult to wriggle out through them. He is a God who does
not care for consequences. Generally Vishnu or somebody else
has to come in afterwards to save the situation. Krishna is
hard-hearted, they say.

(The topic underwent a change.)

Disciple: I am reminded of Sadhaka X whose Sadhana seemed
to be going on very well…who is now attracted


to Buddhism. I do not know if he has been attracted to
some woman–but there was some such indication.

Sri Aurobindo: It is sad if it is true. In one of his
letters to Y he wrote that one need not be a eunuch in order
to be a master of
one should guard his realization.

Realization is something very precious and one should
guard it and live in it like a fortress. One can go in
adding whatever knowledge one wants or gets but always
guarding his realization. For instance, it is not at all
necessary to give up Bhakti to get Jnana.

After all it is a pity that he should give up the love of
Krishna for a mere human girl. I found it difficult to go
through his Commentary on the Gita. It is more intellectual,
it lacks the life and the heart. Otherwise, it was always a
pleasure to read his writings. He seems to have lost the
intensity of mental vision, the seeing mind which he had,
but I thought that it was due to his turning towards

His attraction towards Buddhism is understandable,
because to the European rational mind its rationalism has an
appeal. It was first through Buddhism that Europe came to
and began to know India. Blavatsky found Theosophy on
Buddhism. Next they understand Shanker in Europe and for
many years the Europeans thought there was nothing in India
except Shanker’s Adwaita. But if X has taken to Buddhism his
sex abhoration is not justifiable. Buddhism is the most
exacting path. It is most unindulgent, severe and dry; it is
a path of Tapasya.

Disciple: He had perhaps great mental pride.

Sri Aurobindo: May be also vital over-confidence.
Disciple: He said to Y that sex was not a problem for


Sri Aurobindo: That is over-confidence. Perhaps in course
of Sadhana some opening has taken place in the vital.

Disciple: But can a Sadhaka fall like that after such
fine realizations as he had?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by realizations? There is
always the possibility of being Yoga Bhrashta (fallen from

20th January 1939.

After discussion about local affairs, Sri Aurobindo: I
find X’s letter to Y is written with his usual clear vision.
He advises Y to guard against mixing up his own feeling of
personal wrong with the legitimate decision not to shake
hands with one who has wronged the Guru. About A he says,
“these people like A, when they take to yoga it is more
ornamental than anything else”. It is a fine phrase
“ornamental yoga”.

Disciple (giving a turn to the talk): Nothing seems to
have come out of Chamberlain – Mussolini interview. Both
parties say, they are satisfied with the results.

Sri Aurobindo: I can’t understand England’s policy. I do
not know what she is after. France is being led by England;
she is her tail. It is said that Mussolini is waiting for
France’s victory, then he will present his terms to France.
France’s victory in Spain will be dangerous for France. But
it is very difficult to see how England profits by this. For
as soon as Italy and Germany have crushed France the next
victim will be England. England knows very well Mussolini’s
ambition to create an Italian empire. And that means he will
try to regain all that once belonged


to Italy. England is deliberately raising Hitler and
Mussolini against France and letting her down. I do not know
why unless the three want to share the empire of France and
then England may try to put Hitler and Mussolini against
each other. That may be her selfish, traditional policy, but
it is a very risky game.

Disciple: But is it possible? Can England remain aloof
when France breaks with the other powers?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? Chamberlain has said that as long
as England’s interest are not involved she is not obliged to
fight. England will say that Italy’s demands have not been
satisfied and so she has gone to war and Germany has joined
her. There was no aggression on her part; so, England is not
obliged to come to the aid of France; and number of excuses
could be given. Blum told a friend who is also a friend of
Daladier that he had to betray Czechoslovakia because
Chamberlain told him that he will support him as it is
diplomatically possible, but in case of war France should
not count on England.

Disciple: I wonder why Flandin wants to support France
when Blum is against him. You know Flandin even sent
telegram to Mussolini conveying his congratulations. Hitler
counts Flandin as a friend–he intends to join the
Rome-Berlin axis and thus keep out England!

Sri Aurobindo: Italy shall demand after the Spanish
question is settled. Italy is almost sure to claim Tunis,
Nice, Jibouti. Is Flandin prepared to give them? Italy wants
her empire in Africa. So, Tunis and Jibouti are essential
for her to be the master in the Mediterranean. Blum is
incapable; it


was he who applied non-intervention in the Spanish

At present it seems two people are flourishing their arms
against everybody and the rest are somehow trying


to save themselves. The one man who has seen through the
whole thing is Roosevelt, but he is too far and he is not
sure of the support of the American people.

Disciple: What about Russia?

Sri Aurobindo: Russia is unreliable. One does not know
its military strength. At one time she was supposed to have
the biggest air-force. But according to Hindenberg it does
not seem to be so.

Disciple: Jawaharlal says that Hitler and his generals
did not expect the non-resistance–which they met–from
Austria. They were all very much surprised.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the generals were opposed to Hitler,
for they were not prepared to fight. Now Hitler will say:
“Have you seen that I am right? Things have happened as I
told you.”

Disciple: Jawaharlal said that the threatened attack
against Czechoslovakia was mainly bluff. Sri Aurobindo: It
can’t be a reliable news; the Germans are too disciplined
for that.

Disciple: There is some trouble in Holland, and Germany
is threatening to cut off all trade with her and establish
trade-route through Antwerp and not Amsterdam.

Sri Aurobindo: If that takes place that will make
Chamberlain fight in spite of himself,–England does not
want any German navy in the North Sea. But Germany won’t do
that unless she wants war with England.

The topic was changed now

Disciple: When X was working here some new sadhaka met
him and asked him: “Who are the advanced sadhaks here?”–He
replied: “I don’t know.” Then when he was repeatedly asked
he said: I will tell you, but you must tell it to nobody.
There are only two advanced sadhaks here,…you and I

Sri Aurobindo: This instance of ‘two’ reminds me of a
joke of Hugo. Balzac said to a friend that there are two men
who know and write French: myself and Hugo. When that was
reported to Hugo he said: “That is alright, but why Balzac?”

There is another story of a lady who believed the
doctrine of eternal hell or heaven–according to which
people will either go to heaven or to hell. Some one asked
her: Do you know where the people will go? She said: All
will go to hell, except myself and the minister–meaning the
clergyman, but I have doubts about the minister.

Disciple: Very similar is the case of Dr. R. who is here;
when he first came here I asked him about homeopathy. He
said: You see, there are four top-most men in the line. One
Dr. so & so in Calcutta, other two are there and I came
here. (laughter)


21st January 1939.

Dr. R’s visit today

Dr. R: Do you feel the pain (in the knee-joint) still?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Dr. R: That is because you are moving the leg after a
long time; it will disappear when you are accustomed to


Sri Aurobindo: Accustomed to the pain! (laughter)

Talk then turned to the world-war and the Congress.
Pattabhi was elected President. Patel wanted to settle at
Rajkot or go to East Africa.

Disciple: I am afraid if Patel goes to East or South
Africa the Indians there would be shot.

Sri Aurobindo: Instead of Patel going there to Africa it
is better that Gandhi should go to Hitler. Hitler will say
to Mahatma: You follow your inner voice Mr. Gandhi, I my
own. There is no reason to say that he would be wrong, for
my inner voice may be good and necessary for me, while it
may not be so for another man. The very opposite may be good
and necessary for another man. The Cosmic Spirit has one
thing for Hitler and may lead him in the way he is going,
while it may decide differently in another case.

Disciple: That may lead to a clash between the two and
the breaking of the instruments. Disciple: What of that?
Something good may come out of it.

Disciple: That might lead to fatalism, belief in

Sri Aurobindo: It may. There have been people who have
believe in fate or destiny or whatever you may call it.
Napoleon III used to say: “So long as something is necessary
to be done by me it will be done in any case; when that
necessity will cease, I shall be thrown on the wayside like
an outworn vessel.” And that is what exactly happened to

Napoleon I also believed in fate.

Disciple: When somebody asked Napoleon I, why did he plan
if he believed in fate, he said: “It is also fated that I
should plan.”


Sri Aurobindo: Yes. All men who have been great and
strong believe in some higher Force, great than themselves,
moving them. Socrates used to call this Daemon–man’s divine
being. It is curious how sometimes even in small things one
depends on this voice. Once Socrates was walking with a
disciple. When they came to a place where they had to take a
turn, the disciple said, “let us take this route.” Socrates
said: “my daemon asks me to take the other.” The disciple
did not agree and followed his own route. After he had gone
a certain distance he was attacked by some pigs and thrown
down by them.

There are some who do not follow the inner voice but an
inner light. The Quakers believed in that.


Disciple: Do they see the Light?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know; but some one has said: “see
that your light is not darkness.” The strange thing is that
this inner voice does not give any reason; it only says: “do
this; if you do not do that, bad results will follow.”
Sometimes, strangely enough bad results do follow if you
don’t listen to it. Lele used to say that whenever he did
not follow the inner voice he had pain and suffering.

Disciple: But many kinds of voices are there according to
the forces on different planes. I believe it is extremely
difficult to distinguish between the right or the true inner
voice and false one. There may be voices either from the
mental or the subtle physical planes.

Moreover, in the same person the voices may differ.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite true. Hitler’s friend said about him
that what Hitler said today be contradicted tomorrow. I also
heard a voice which asked me to come to Pondicherry; of
course, it was the inner voice.

Disciple: Can not one be mistaken?


Sri Aurobindo: It was impossible to make a mistake about
or disobey that voice. There are some voices about which
there can be no possibility of any doubt or mistake. Charu
Chandra Roy wanted me to go to France–so that we may have
no further trouble. When I arrived at Chandranagar he
refused to receive me and shoved on to Moti Roy.

Disciple: But why should he receive you?

Sri Aurobindo: Because as a revolutionary he was obliged
to do so. Disciple: Was he a revolutionary?

Sri Aurobindo: Good Lord, we were together in jail and
perhaps his jail experience frightened him. At the beginning
he was a very ardent revolutionary.

Disciple: Nolini says he was weeping again in the jail.
The jail authorities thought that he could not be a
revolutionary (laughter) and so let him off.

Sri Aurobindo: No, that was not the reason. It was by the
intervention of the French Government, I think, that he got
his release. Barin one day walked into his house, gave him a
long lecture on revolution and converted him in one day.

Disciple: I heard that Nivedita also was a revolutionary,
is it true?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean? She was one of the
revolutionary leaders. She went about visiting places in
India to come in contact with the people. She was open and
frank and talked about her revolutionary plan to everybody.
When she used to speak on revolution it was her very soul
that spoke, her true personality used to come


out. Yoga was yoga of course, but it was as if that sort
of work was intended for her: that was fire if

you like. Her book “Kali–the Mother” is very inspiring,
but it is revolutionary and not non-violent. She went about
among the Thakurs of Rajputana trying to preach them
revolution. At that time everybody wanted some sort of
revolution. I met several Rajput Thakurs who had
revolutionary ideas, unsuspected by the Government. One
Thakur Ramsingh was afterwards caught in our movement and
put to jail. He suddenly died out of fright. But he was not
a man to be frightened. They may have poisoned him. You know
Moropant afterwards turned moderate. More than one Indian
army were ready to help us. I knew a Panjabi Sentinel at
Alipore who spoke to me about the revolution.

Once Nivedita came to Baroda to see the Gaekwad and told
him that his duty was to join the revolution and she said to
him: if you have anything to ask you can ask Mr. Ghose. But
the Gaekwad never talked politics with me afterwards. But
thing I could not understand about Nivedita was her
admiration for Gokhle. I wondered how a revolutionary could
have any admiration for him. Once she was so much exercised
when his life was threatened. She came to me and said: Mr.
Ghose, it is not one of your man that is doing this. I said:
No. She was much relieved and said: then it must be a free

The first time she came to see me she said, “I hear Mr.
Ghose, you are a worshipper of Shakti?” There was no
non-violence about her. She had an artistic side too.
Khaserao Jadhav and myself went to receive her at station at
Baroda. She saw the Dharamshala on the station and
exclaimed: “how beautiful!” Looking at the new College
buildings she uttered: “how ugly!” Khaserao said: She must
be a little mad!



Disciple: The college building is supposed to be an
imitation of Eton. Sri Aurobindo: But Eton has no Dome.

Disciple: It is a combination of modern and ancient

Sri Aurobindo: At any rate it is an ugly dome. The
Ramkrishna Mission was afraid of her political activities
and asked her to keep her activities separate from the

Disciple: What about her Yogic Sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know; whenever we met together we
spoke about politics and revolution. But her eyes showed
power of concentration and a capacity for going into trance.
She had got something in her spiritual life.

Disciple: She came to India with idea of doing Yoga.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But she took up politics as part of
Vivekananda’s work. Her book is one of the best on
Vivekananda. Vivekananda himself had ideas about political
work and fits of revolution. Once he had a vision which
corresponded to something like Maniktola Garden. It is
curious that many Sannyasins at that time had thought of
India’s freedom. Maharshis young disciples were
revolutionaries. Yoganands’ Guru had also such ideas. Thakur
Dayananda was also one such. (turning to a disciple)

Do you know one Mr. Mandal?


Disciple: The one with spectacles.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is he who introduced me through
someone else to the Secret Society, where I came in contact
with Tilak and others.



22nd January 1939:

Sri Aurobindo opened the topic by asking:–“What about
D’s fast?”

He was told yesterday that D was going to fast on his
birth-day i.e. to-day. But he had forgotten all about

Disciple: I hear he has taken bread and butter in the
morning and at mid-day a light meal. Sri Aurobindo: Fasting
with bread and milk!

Disciple: There are people who believe that bread and
milk can be taken while fasting. (Laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: That is also the custom in Bengal, I
believe. That reminds me of a story. Nevinson went to see
Tilak and met him in Dhoti. While describing the meeting he
said: Mr. Tilak received me naked in his cloth.

By this time another disciple came and seemed to be
bubbling with news.

Sri Aurobindo: What is the news? Radio: help. a louse in
Stalin’s head! Socialize it. then the rest will follow.

Disciple recounted two fine jokes about Russia from
‘Inside Europe.’ Then he said:–

I looked up the book; Lindbergh says that soviet
air-fleet is not as powerful as it is thought. Sri
Aurobindo: In what way?

Disciple: I don’t know.

Sri Aurobindo: That is very vague. Does he mean that the
aeroplanes are not of sound material, or that the pilots


are not well-trained? If he says only that much, that
does not give any knowledge. In the fight between Russia and
Japan in the frontier, the Japanese admitted that the
Russian artillery was remarkable, it does not miss the mark
but the infantry is not good; for when they got very good
opportunity they did not take advantage of it. While the
Japanese army is, perhaps, the best in the world. In spite
of overwhelming numbers against them in China, they have
been able to conquer Chang kai-shek trumpet, that he would
defeat the Japanese in a very short time. They did not reply
but at the end of each defeat the Japanese are further than

Disciple: They say that the Japanese are not good in the
air. They miss their aim many times.


Sri Aurobindo: I do not know about that. A pilot requires
at a time concentration on many points. The Japanese are
good at concentrating on one thing at a time.

Disciple: Mussolini is asking all Italian firms to close
down at Jibuoti, and thus create dissatisfaction. He is
trying to cut off the railway connecting Jibouti and
Abbyssinia and make another line through Eritria to

Sri Aurobindo: That would not make France give up Jibouti
because it is an important seal-link between France and her
eastern colonies. Even if Flandin and the Premier wanted to
give it up the French people won’t.

Disciple: Yesterday we had talk about hearing the voice:
is there any standard by which one can judge whether it is a
true voice?

Sri Aurobindo: What standard? There is no such standard.
How can you judge where it is right or wrong?

Disciple: Then is Hitler who says, “I heard a voice and I
follow it”, right?


Sri Aurobindo: Right in what sense? Morally?

Disciple: He means spiritually, perhaps.

Sri Aurobindo: How can you say his voice is not true? He
has seen that by following it he has been able to get
Austria, Czechoslovakia and he has been successful in many
other things. Then how can you say it is not a true voice?
As I said, the Cosmic Spirit may want him to go that way.
Even morally, you can’t say that he is immoral. He is very
restricted as regards food and is supposed to have no wife
or mistress and leads a controlled life in all other
respects. Robespierre was also a moral man and yet he killed
many people.

Disciple: But then, what is meant by the ‘true

Sri Aurobindo: That is the psychic voice. But the
spiritual point of view is quite different. There is no
question of right or wrong in it. One goes above all those
standards and looks from that plane. But for that it is
essential to have the perception–say feeling of the Divine
in all. Then one can see Divine in all, veiled behind the
Gunas. From that plane one finds that Gita is right in what
it says about the Gunas: that man is made to act by the
action of the Gunas. There was an angry Sannyasi who came to
the Kali Temple at Calcutta. Ramkrishna said about him: “he
is a Tamsik Narayanan.” But he could not keep that standard
when another vedantin came there and had a concubine with
him. He asked the vedantin: why do you keep the concubine?
The Vedantin replied: every thing is Maya, so what does it
matter what you do, or not do? Ramkrishna said: “I spit on
your Vedanta.”

But logically, the Vedantin was right. So long as you
believe everything to be Maya you can do as you like. But
how will you say which is right? For instance, what will you
say about Curzon’s action?


Disciple: About Bengal partition?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, was he right? He thought he was quite
right in what he was doing, while


others thought he was wrong. And yet, but for his action
India would not have been half as free as she is to-day. So,
the Cosmic Spirit may have, after all, led him to do it to
bring this result. There is a Cabalist prophesy: the golden
age will come when the Jews will be driven off and
persecuted every where. So, Hitler may be bringing that
about. There are so many ways of looking at a thing. For
instance, this American lady thinks, perhaps, that she is
paying us a big sum, but we call it a joke.

Disciple: Then, can one say that one has no
responsibility. One can do as one likes–, in that case one
becomes a fatalist.

Sri Aurobindo: No, one can’t do what one likes. Every one
is not Hitler and can’t do what Hitler does, because it is
one’s nature that makes one do things. Your question reminds
me of the story of my grand-mother.

She said: ‘God has made such a bad world. If I could meet
Him I would tell what I think of Him.’ My grand-father said:
‘Yes it is true. But God has so arranged that you can’t get
near Him so long as you have any such desire in you’

When we say: Hitler is possessed by a vital force it is a
statement of fact, not a moral judgment. It is clear from
what he does and the way he does it.

I remember a young Sanyasi with long nails came to
Baroda. He used to stay under trees. Deshpande and myself
went to see him. Deshpande asked him: what is the Dharma,
the standard of action? He replied, “There is no such
standard. It is the Dharma of the thief to steal because
that is his nature. Deshpande was very angry when he heard
that; I said it is only a point of view.


But all that does not mean that there is no consequence
for one’s action. As Christ said, offence come but woe unto
him by whom the offence cometh. There is a law of being
which throws upon you the murder, persecution etc., when you
inflict suffering on others out of self-will the suffering
will come back to you, that is the law of Karma.

Disciple: S used to quote to me the famous verse of
Duryodhana. “Janami, Dharmam nacha me pravrittih” I know
what is the Dharma but I can’t gather force to do what I
should do.

Sri Aurobindo: “You have the other verse. “seated in my
heart as Thou directest, I act”.*

The question comes up seriously when you want to change
yourself or change others. Then you say “this should not be”
and “that should go”–etc., you introduce a rule of the mind
in the vital, but when you go above the mind you come in
contact with your Spirit and the nature of that spirit is
Light, Truth, Purity. When you observe discipline it is for
the spirit, not for the sake of the mental rule. If you want
to attain the standard of purity you have to reject what
comes in the way. So also about lying. You have to stop
lying if you want the Truth, not because of the mental
principle of right and wrong, but for the sake of the
spirit. There are many parts in Nature: One part may try to
reject things that are contrary to the change and
contradictory to each other, but another part prevents it.
As the Roman poet said: I see the better things but I follow
the worse.

Disciple: Vendanta for sometime was by word for
hypocrisy. People used to speak of them as
“Bedantins”–meaning two sets of teeth,–one for showing and
another for chewing


* [the above in sankrit]


like the elephant. What is the truth of Vama-marga?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know. It must have been with the
idea of taking up forces and pull them high up. Even the
sexual act has to be done from a high consciousness.
Upanishad also : it is possible.

But to go back to the original point about the law of
Nature. We have to understand that all this does not mean
that there is no moral standard. Humanity requires a certain
standard it helps profess. It is obvious from what Hitler is
doing that he is not serving the forces of Light. He is
serving what the Jews would call “the forces of
unrighteousness”. But from the spiritual point of view, that
may also be necessary. As they say “it takes all sorts to
make the world.”

But again that does not mean that one should not
recognize other planes. For instance, there is the vital
plane whose law is force and success. If you have the force
you win. If you have speed you outrun others. The law of the
mind comes in to act as a balance together to make a
mental-vital standard. If you go above then you come to a
point where Gita’s “Sarva Dharman parityajya” becomes the
principle. Sharanam Vraja becomes the principle. But there
if you leave the last portion, “mamekam Saranam Vraja” “take
refuge in Me alone”–then you follow your ego and you fall
and became either an Asura, or a lunatic or an animal. But
even the animals have a sense of right and wrong. It is very
well shown in Kipling’s Jungle Book. Have you read it?

Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: There he shows how the pack falls on the
one that fails to keep the standard. By human contact the
animals develop that sense even more.


Mother came and then after some time departed. Disciple:
Is it true that Supramental Being is Bhagawan? Sri
Aurobindo: All are Bhagwan, all are Divine.

Disciple: That is potential or say, veiled Bhagawan;
otherwise we have to accept that world is perfect even as it

Sri Aurobindo: It is perfect as it could be perfect at

Disciple: That is to say a more perfect perfection has to
be attained yet. Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it has to be.


23rd January 1939.

Disciple: My friend X is hesitating to put you a
question; but he is puzzled by what he thinks as the
contradiction in what you said yesterday about Gunas.

Disciple: You said that a man like Hitler does what he
does because of the action of the Gunas, the modes of
nature. In other-words he does what the Cosmic Spirit makes
him do and yet he is individually responsible for his
actions. It seems contradictory.

Sri Aurobindo: That is generally the case when you state
some Truth you have to express it in contradictory terms
(laughter). Truth is not always consistent But the
contradiction you notice does not mean that there is no
responsibility, or no morality, no right, no wrong. The
individual is responsible, for, he accepts the action of the
Gunas of nature.


Disciple: But it is the Cosmic Spirit that makes him
accept it, is it not?

Sri Aurobindo: No. The Cosmic Spirit does not act
directly. It acts through the Nature. The Cosmic Spirit acts
not through the true individuality but through the
individual in Nature. It acts through personality and
personality is not the person. Personality is something
formed of the mental vital and physical nature. This
personality is responsible because it accepts the Gunas–the
modes through ego and Nature. As I said, the Cosmic Spirit
works through Nature and not direct.

Disciple: But the Cosmic Spirit works its purpose through
the individual, by making him carry out its intention.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that does not mean that the
individual is not responsible. The Cosmic is and contains
both good and evil.

Disciple: Then it is the Cosmic Spirit that is
responsible for the evil.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the Cosmic Spirit that is responsible
for both–good and evil, you can’t say it is responsible for
one and not the other. Through both–good and evil–and
their struggle between Light and Darkness, the Cosmic Spirit
works out its purpose in evolution.

Disciple: For example, Duryodhana thought, in the
Kuruksetra battle, that he was in the right. He did not know
that he was leading to the destruction of his own

Sri Aurobindo: But the Cosmic Spirit is not in evolution,
while the individual is in evolution. The individual
progresses in his evolution by his nature,–he evolves
through his nature.

Disciple: Can the individual refuse or reject the


Sri Aurobindo: Certainly. The individual can refuse to
submit to nature. For example, Arjuna refused to act
accordingly to his nature and eighteen chapters of the Gita
had to be told to him to make him fight.

Disciple: Even though the Cosmic Spirit had already slain
the warriors, yet Arjuna was asked to be the instrument.

Sri Aurobindo: Real liberation comes when the Purusha
awakes and feels himself separate from nature, not bound by
it but free and lord.

Disciple: But generally the Purusha is bound.


Sri Aurobindo: Of course, normally the Purusha consents
to the action of Prakriti but he can withdraw his consent
and stand apart. He can be free by getting out of evolution
i. e. by being free from the working of ego and

Disciple: When the freedom of the Purusha is won then it
becomes possible for the individual to look beyond the
Cosmic Spirit to the Transcendent, and act in the Cosmos
according to the will of the Transcendent–Is it so?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is to say, instead of being an
instrument of ignorant nature you become the instrument of
the Divine.

Disciple: Do you mean by the Cosmic Spirit the Impersonal

Sri Aurobindo: No, The Cosmic Spirit is a
Personality–not in the narrow sense of personality; it is
both static and dynamic.

Saguna and nirguna,–the Nirguna supporting the Sagun.
Disciple: You said that the psychic being also is a
personality. 172

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the psychic being also is a Psychic
Purusha. Disciple: Does the psychic being develop from birth
to birth?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not the psychic being itself that
develops, but it guides the evolution of the individual
being by increasing the psychic element in the nature of the
individual. It is these personalities in nature that are

Disciple: It is said that psychic being is a spark of the
Divine. Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Disciple: Then it seems that the function of the psychic
being is the same as that of Vedic Agni who is the God of
Fire, who is the leader of the journey.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Agni is the God of the psychic and,
among other things that it does, it also leads the upward

Disciple: How does the psychic carry the personalities
formed in this life into another life?

Sri Aurobindo: After death, it gathers its elements and
carries them onward to another birth. But it is not the same
personality that is born. People easily misunderstand these
things, specially when they are put in terms of the mind.
The past personality is taken only as the basis but a new
personality is put forward. If it was the same personality,
then it would act exactly in the same manners and there
would be no meaning in that.

Disciple: Does the experience of the Cosmic Spirit
correspond to what you have termed the “Overmind”?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but you can have the experience of
the Cosmic Consciousness on any other level of

also. Generally, you have it on the level of the Higher
Mind where you feel the two aspects static and dynamic as
separate. But as you go above, you find the Overmind
overreaches all the other levels and there the two aspects
are gathered together and combined in the same consciousness
(turning to X) So you see, Hitler is responsible so long as
he does not feel that he is not Hitler.

Disciple: But does he feel that he is responsible?

Sri Aurobindo: He feels that he is responsible not only
for himself but for the whole of Germany.

When Hitler began he was not like that. He was considered
an amusing crank and nobody took any notice of him. But his
latest photograph shows him like a criminal, he seems to be
going down the darkness very fast. It is the vital
possession that gives him his size and greatness. Without
this possession he would be a crudely amiable person with
some mental hobbies and eccentricities. This possession
becomes possible because the psychic being in him is
undeveloped. There is nothing in his being that can resist
the vital force.

Mussolini has, comparatively, a developed psychic being
and a very strong vital being, But in his last photograph he
seems to have weakened. Either he is physically unwell or is
aging or perhaps he has misused his powers.

Disciple: Hitler feels responsible for all the Aryans,
what ever that may mean.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, the only Aryans are the
Germans. It is they who feel the responsibility and bear the

Disciple: Can one be free if one acts without feeling


Sri Aurobindo: You can’t get rid of responsibility like
that, even though you may say, you are not responsible.

You must become free if you want to be free from
responsibility. There are three ways, or rather several
ways, of attaining that freedom. One is by the separation of
the Purusha from Prakriti and realizing it as free from it;
another is by realizing the Self, The Atman or the Spirit,
from the Cosmic movement. Thirdly by the identification with
the Transcendent Above, i. e. by realizing the Parmatma. You
can also have this freedom by merging into the Shunyam
through Buddhistic discipline.

Disciple: In the experience through the first and second
method does the Purusha remain the “witness?”

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. I may be witness in the
first method because the Purusha separates himself from
Prakriti and is then the witness not taking part in

But in the second kind of realization the Purusha need
not be the witness of the universe, or the universal
movement. The Self may remain ingathered without witnessing
anything. There are many conditions into which the spirit
can pass.

A certain kind of Nirvana is necessary even for our Yoga.
That is to say, the world must become, in a way, nothing to
you because as it is constituted it is the work of
Ignorance. When you realize


something of that then only can you enter into and bring
into existence the true creation, the world of Truth or
Light here.

Disciple: When the Gita says: “You will find the self all
and all in the self and then in Me”–what Self does it speak


Sri Aurobindo: It is the Brahmic Consciousness. That is
to say, you see one Consciousness in all and all contained
in the One Self and then you rise above to the realization
of One that is both personal and impersonal and is above

Disciple: Is it true that man with spiritual bent are
born with “Adhikara – qualification – for it? Sri Aurobindo:

Disciple: Can one acquire Adhikara – such qualification,
i. e. if one has not the Adhikara at first can one get it by
some means?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, A man can acquire Adhikara. That is
what we mean when we say “he is not ready” and when we say
“he can prepare himself” it means he can get the

Disciple: Such a man can also acquire Adhikara by the
company of Saints. Sri Aurobindo: Yes, of course.

Disciple: One gets tired of this problem of
manifestation. That is to say, it is a very complicated and
long process to manifest the Divine in oneself and in one’s

Sri Aurobindo: Being tired is not enough. One must have
the power to be free, either by moving out of evolution,
that is to say, one must get the power to act from beyond
the evolution.

Many yogis when they go beyond into the Spirit or the
Cosmic consciousness, allow Cosmic nature to act through
them without any sense of individual responsibility. They
remain concentrated in, or identified with the


Higher Consciousness uncontrolled And you find as X found
that the spiritual man uses foul language: of course, the
yogi or the spirit in him is not bound by the rules of
decency. That is why such yogis act like Jada, Pishacha or
Bala–allowing nature to play freely in them.

When one has attained the higher consciousness then, as
the Upanishad says, one does not regret: I did not do that
which was good, or I did this which is evil. It is not that
all yogis act that way. But some of them know the reason, or
the necessity–why they act in a particular way, at a
particular time. Only, he is not bound by his action.

Another difficulty arises because most of the yogis are
very bad philosophers. And so they cannot put their
experiences in mental terms. But that does not mean that
they have no real spiritual experience. They do not want to
acquire intellectual development; for, they wanted only to
reach a Higher consciousness and they are satisfied with
that. When you look for things the yogi has never tried to
have then you get disappointed like the American lady who
object to Raman Maharshi’s spitting and biting his nails.
That has nothing to do with his spirituality.


Disciple: Can one say that the aspect of Sat–Pure
Being-Consciousness–Chit-is absent?

Sri Aurobindo: No, even in what you call Being
Consciousness is there; only, it is held back, or is
inactive so to say, while in Chit that aspect is in front.
In these matters using mental terms always creations
confusion because I have so often said that Sat, Chit Ananda
is the prime Reality and no part of it can be thought of as

Disciple: The difficulty arises when one sees many
experience of different system of Sadhana then one finds
great difficulty of choosing between them.


Disciple: But does one choose these things with the

Disciple: There is no other go. Can not the story of
different systems lead one to knowledge?

Sri Aurobindo: It can help in making an approach to the
path of knowledge. Philosophy is an attempt to explain to
the human mind what is really behind it. But to the western
mind thought is the highest thing. If you can think out an
explanation of the universe you have reached the goal of
mental activity. They use the mind for the sake of using
it–that leads nowhere. (Turning to X) So, you see, the
universe is not a question of logic but of

Disciple: But is the story of philosophy indispensable?
Sri Aurobindo: Not at all.

Disciple: I would like to know everything by

Sri Aurobindo: You can know what philosophy preaches, or
has to say, by direct experience and something more which
philosophy cannot give.

Disciple: The Sankhya division between Purusha and
Prakriti in one sense, is very sharp and so it helps one to
get away from the bondage of Prakriti.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is categorical. They believe in
the two, Purusha and Prakriti, as the final elements.
Sankhya and Buddhism were both first understood and
appreciated by Europe,–Sankhya because of its sharp
distinction between Purusha and Prakriti, which they believe
to be jada–inconscient. Prakriti, in Sankhya, is jada and
it is the light of the consciousness of Purusha that makes
Prakriti appear conscious. They believe that even
Buddhi–the intelligence–is also jada–inconscient.


We in our yoga need not accept it. While the Europeans
liked Buddhism for its strong rationalism. Its logic led it
up to Shunya–the state of non-being, which is its aim to
reach. There is also a strong note of Agnosticism in it
which appeals to the Europeans. It is something that hangs
in the air; for the base is Shunya–non-being. You don’t
know on what basis the whole thing stands. There is a
certain similarity between Science and Sankhya; for in
science they believe that evolution begins with the jada,
the inconscient and goes up the scale of consciousness.

Disciple: We have so much darkness in us that we can’t
empty it by our own efforts. At times, it seems that even a
little light will do.


Sri Aurobindo: No, little light, a mere candle-like
mental illumination, will not do. There must be full
sun-light. And that is very difficult to attain and bring
down. It is a slow process, but that is what we mean when we
say: “You must have an opening.” If you have an opening,
gradually, more and more light can come.

Disciple: How can we accept the light without knowing

Sri Aurobindo: That is to say, something in you does not
want it, otherwise there is hardly any difficulty. Of
course, so far as the world is concerned it has always
refused to accept the Light when it came.

It is a test to know whether the world is ready or not.
For example, when Christ was sentenced Pilate had a right to
pardon one of the four condemned, and he pardoned Barbaras.
Nowadays, they say that Barbaras was not a robber, but was a
national hero, and he was a sort of Robinhood. But whatever
that may be, it is a fact that the romantic robber was
preferred to the Son of God; or the political opponent to
the preacher of the Truth.


Disciple: You say about experience, but I have no
experience. All I feel is pressure at the time of

Sri Aurobindo: You at least feel the pressure.

Disciple: But how to know that it is due to the working
of the Higher Power?

Sri Aurobindo: If you can wait you will know yourself, or
you have to accept it from the Guru who has gone through the
experience–that is to say, you have to accept it by
Sravana, hearing, and Manana–meditating upon it.

Disciple: It is said that ascent and descent take place;
how to know it?

Sri Aurobindo: You will yourself know it when it takes
place; you can’t miss it.

Disciple: I hear that the American lady B remained in
Ramanashram about a week, in spite of all unclean
surroundings. She spent about a hundred rupees a day on her
food. Mona says that her husband’s name does not indicate
that he belongs to an old aristocratic family. He is a
rubber magnet, he is a Lord, and is manufacturing rubber

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t understand why a rubber
manufacturer should be a Catholic. Disciple: Heirloom,

Sri Aurobindo: Which? the tyre or the Catholicism?

Disciple: What was the lady’s impression about our

Sri Aurobindo: She was much impressed and was full of
praise for the Mother, and she thought it must be a work of
genius. She thinks that genius can work without


Disciple: She seems to have contributed something.


Sri Aurobindo: Yes, 5 £. Till now the Americans that
have come here are either poor, or rich ones who don’t

Disciple: She seems to have done better than Sir H. who
not only did not pay anything but took a loaf of bread with
him! (laughter).

At this point the Mother came.

Sri Aurobindo: (to the Mother) N wants to know lady B’s

Mother: She was full of compliments. She was much
impressed with the tidiness, cleanliness., and the beauty in
the Ashram. (Then addressing Sri Aurobindo she said) She is
not much more than a tourist. She is going to Japan to study
with Suzuki. She has much admiration for genius, probably
because genius does not require finance.

Here the topic changed:


24th January 1939.

Sri Aurobindo: turning to X: “Any news?”

Usually the news of local politics and other subjects
used to come through X,

Disciple: No news except that Mahatma Gandhi advises the
Japanese visitor Kagawa to include Shanti Niketan and
Pondicherry in his itinerary, without seeing which his visit
to India would be incomplete.

Sri Aurobindo: O that! I have heard about it.

At this juncture the Mother came and a meditation
followed, After the Mother’s departure Sri Aurobindo


resumed: “I can give you some news today, The French
Ministry seems to be going against the political party in
power. It is a mystery how the ministry has suddenly taken
this change of attitude.

Disciple: I understand that the leader from Pondicherry
wrote to the Ministry against some official and the official
must have found it out in France. And so, when he came back
here he has taken up a definite attitude against the leader
and the party.

Sri Aurobindo: There is a Greek saying that when one
becomes too powerful he becomes insolent and commits
excesses and then that strikes against the throne of God and
then the retribution begins.

The leader of the former dominant party was not like
that. He never lost sense of balance, and never pushed
things too far. When his lieutenants asked him to arrest his
political opponents he refused.

Disciple: Hitler also has a precipitous rise, he can’t
maintain the momentum. He can’t last very long.


Sri Aurobindo: There is another famous Greek story about
the tyrant of Syracuse. Do you know it?

Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: This tyrant wanted to make friends with
another tyrant of Sicily. Both belonged to Sicily. The
latter replied: You are too fortunate. You must sacrifice
something or have some little misfortune to compensate for
your fortune, otherwise, I can’t ally myself with you. The
tyrant of Syracuse–Polycrites–threw his most precious ring
into the sea as a sacrifice to compensate for his fortune.
The ring was swallowed by a fish and that fish caught by a
fisherman who brought to him. He got back


the ring. The other tyrant heard about it and said: You
are too lucky. I shall never ally myself with you.
Polycrites was afterwards killed by his people in revolt.
“The ring of Polycrites” is a proverbial expression in

The Roman poet says: the Titans fall by their own mass.
There is a similar idea in India when it is said: the Asuras
are too heavy for the earth to bear their weight. But some
Asuras are clever enough to flourish in spite of

Disciple: Can it be said that the Asuras by their action
contradict the law of evolution or that they contradict
something fundamental in human nature?

Sri Aurobindo kept silent for some time and then said:
There is no such general law. The thing is that the Asura
can’t keep balance. The law that demands balance then

(Then Sri Aurobindo became silent). After sometime
looking at a disciple he said: “Is your cosmic problem
solved? (in reference to yesterday’s topic.)

Disciple: Not until I get the experience. But I have some
interesting news from Calcutta. Mrs. has been saying to her
relations such a number of lies that they have found it out
and say: “There is truth on both sides.”

Sri Aurobindo: But what does Mrs. M. say?

Disciple: She says that the Ashram tried to keep her
child because of her property. We are short of money; police
intervention has taken place before also.

Sri Aurobindo: But how can we get the money from the
child? Everybody knows that the property belongs to her


mother, and that she is not going to die within a few
years. It is not the Ashram that wanted to keep her;
she–the child–wanted to stay of her own accord. And where
was the police intervention? By saying that she deprives
herself of the credit of having the first who brought in the

Disciple: She says all that to save her face.

Sri Aurobindo: It will take a lot of saving.


After this there was silence. After some time a Disciple

Disciple: A. B. is supposed to have said that Vivekananda
by his idea of service to humanity, brought mixture and
spoiled the spirituality that was intended to be cultivated
by Ramakrishna.

Sri Aurobindo: In what way?

Disciple: I don’t know. But was it Ramakrishna’s idea
that Vivekananda followed? Was it Ramakrishna who asked him
to do service to humanity?

Disciple: So far as I remember he said: “Lok hiter kaj
karo.” “Lok hit” “Good of the world”–is not the same thing
as “service to humanity.”

Disciple: So far as I remember Ramakrishna did not say
anything like that. In fact, there was a great difference
among Ramakrishna’s disciples about what Vivekananda was
bringing in. But some of them submitted saying: “Vivekananda
must know better.” The phrase “Daridra Narayana” was

Disciple: But some disciples, even though they did not
object, did not take any part in the work. Brahmananda was
one such. He had a greater realization than Vivekananda.


Sri Aurobindo: I think so; he was spiritually higher. I
once met Brahmanand when I went to see Belur Math. He asked
me about some letters received from “G”. I don’t remember
what it was about. He asked me whether he should do anything
or keep quiet. I asked him to keep silent and not give any

Disciple: Ramakrishna Mission seems to be more occupied
with social and humanitarian work; I don’t know if there is
much spirituality in it. My cousin Swami Adwaitananda went
there and was quite dissatisfied and came back.

Sri Aurobindo: Plenty of people complain of that. But
what work do they do? Disciple: Medical relief, famine

Sri Aurobindo: Famine relief is not all the year round.
Medical relief is something.

Disciple: Education also. Now a days in many places of
spiritual work they feed the poor–it is done as the
Seva–Service to, Daridra Narayana–the poor as

Sri Aurobindo: I see no idea in that. What is the use of
feeding for one day, when they have to fast all the year
round? You can satisfy your conscience that you have done
something for the poor, I suppose. If you could find out the
cause of poverty and try to remove that, that it would be
some real work.

Disciple: But that is not easy. There are so many
difficulties, political, economic etc.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t think it is so insoluble as all
that. If you give the people education–by education I mean
proper education–not the modern type–and the means, then
the problem could be solved. People in England or



France have not this kind of poverty as we have in India.
That is because of their education–they are not so

Disciple: Some thousands were fed on the birthday of a
holy man. There were so many people on this occasion that
they were not allowed to touch him.

Sri Aurobindo: If they were allowed to touch him, he will
feel like the President of America who had to shake hands
with thousands of people and in the end got an aching of the

Disciple: These are people who give lot of money for such
purposes of temporary utility, but curiously enough, we
don’t get financial help. One man actually told me, we don’t
require money because we have buildings.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that seems to be the impression. Many
people think like the American lady visitor, that “the
Ashram is a work of genius” and genius can do without money
(laughter). Among the rich it is only the minority that
pays; mostly it is the poor persons like Miss X who hardly
earns enough to maintain her family yet whenever she finds
an opportunity she sends us money. There is a false rumour
that we have a lot of money.


26th January 1939.

Disciple: It seems Barcelona–in Spain–is going. The
French people are waking up at the eleventh hour.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, democracies are showing such courage
at present!

Disciple: It seems, political ideas and ideals are not
worth fighting for. Thousands fought for democracy and


they are in a hurry to give it up. Nothing seems to be
permanent in the political field.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. All human values are half
values–they are relative. They have no permanence or
durability about them.

Disciple: Perhaps, if man became more of a mentalized
being, he would understand things better.

Sri Aurobindo: By being mentalized? No. The difficulty
that men do not follow the principles of life.

Disciple: How is that?

Sri Aurobindo: Life compromises between different
elements, but mind while acting alone does not compromise.
Mind takes up one thing–(one idea, or principles or
anything like that)–and makes it absolute. Mind considers
it as apart from and opposed to all other things.

Hagel boasted that in Europe they had succeeded in
separating reason from life and you see their philosophy–it
has nothing to do with life; it is all mental gymnastics, it
does not form part of life.

While in India, philosophy has always been a part of
life; it has an aim.


In the political philosophy of Europe you find, if they
accept democracy, it is only democracy–all the rest is
opposed to it. If monarchy, then it is only monarchy. That
is what happened in Greece. They fought for democracy and
opposed aristocracy and monarchy and in the end oligarchy
came and monarchy–at last they were conquered by the

Disciple: Then what is the truth in all these attempts at
political organization?


Sri Aurobindo: If you want to arrive at something true
and lasting, you have to look at life and learn from it.
That is to say, you must learn the nature of the opposition
and contradictions and then reconcile them.

As regards government, life shows that there is a truth
in monarchy–whether hereditary or elective. That is to say,
there is a man at the top who governs. Life also shows that
there is a truth in aristocracy, whether it is of strong or
rich men–that of money or intellect.

The current fiction is, it is the majority that rules.
Life also shows that the rule of the kind or of the
aristocracy should be with the consent–silent or vocal–of
the people who form the mass.

In ancient India, they recognized the truth of these
things. That is why India has lasted through millenniums and
China also. English politics is successful because they have
always found one man or two who had the power to lead the
minority of the ruling class. During Victorian period it was
either Gladstone or Desrali, and even when the party in
power changes in England the other party that comes to power
does not change things radically. They continue the same
policy with a slight modification.

In France no government lasts, sometimes it changes
within a few days! The new government is a repetition of the
one it replaces. Blum is one who wanted to do something
radical but he was knocked out.

Disciple: Did you see Subhas’s statement?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He seems to have a queer logic;
because the Right has a majority so, the president should be
from the minority. And what is the sense in saying: we will
fight to the core? I can understand that kind of idea if you
are going to have revolution. Then there can be no


compromise. But once you have accepted compromise there
is no meaning in that statement. One has to work out on the
basis of what one has gained. Satyamurty’s idea of
federation seems all right to me if the States’ people are
given some representation in the centre and the Viceroy
exercises no veto. It would then practically amount to

Disciple: The Viceroy’s long stay in Bombay seems
significant. I think, there is something behind it. He may
want to settle the office-bearers for the federation.

Sri Aurobindo: The Bombay Ministry seems to be working
efficiently. They have escaped the socialists trap. These
socialists do not know what is socialism.

Disciple: There were many humourous speeches in the
Sindh-assembly. The League has been exposed.


Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the Sindh Premier–I always forget
his name–seems to be a strong man and stands up for his
ideas at the risk of unpopularity. The Sindh Muslims were
anxious to join the Congress. The Congress should try to do
something to make a coalition there.

The Congress ministries are successful almost everywhere.
That is an indication of the power to govern if powers are

Disciple: Only Bengal and Punjab remain under Muslim
League influence.

Sri Aurobindo: The Muslim League is not so strong in
Bengal–there is the Praja party there. In the Punjab
Sikandar Hayat Khan seems to be an able man. Only, in U. P.
the Muslim League seems strong.

Disciple: I wonder how Fazlul Haque could become the
Premier. Perhaps Nazimuddin may be more capable.


Sri Aurobindo: He won’t make a popular figure. Haque can
turn as circumstances require. All these Muslims of the
League seem to be a lot of self-seekers.

Disciple: I do not understand why the Congress opened
negotiations with the League. It has been giving an undue

Sri Aurobindo: How is it that the Congress is so weak in
the Punjab?

Disciple: Because of the Socialists and the old Congress
people fighting each other. The Jayapur affair is starting
again. Bajaj is going to offer Satyagraha. It seems, Mahatma
has given his approval.

Sri Aurobindo: Since he is a congressman I suppose the
Congress will have to back him. If the State people get
power the princes will have no work but to sign papers and
shoot animals.

Disciple: Where will they shoot? The forests are being
depleted of animals.

Sri Aurobindo: The forests have to be preserved and also
the wild life. China destroyed all her forests and the
result is there is flood every year.

Disciple: There are so many Maharajas, Chiefs, Nawabs all
over India.

Sri Aurobindo: Germany was like that at one time.
Napoleon swept away half of the number and the last war
swept off another half. Japan also had many princes but they
voluntarily abdicated their power. The Japanese are not
greedy for money. They can easily sacrifice if they find it
is their duty to sacrifice–of course, duty to the


Disciple: How far back in history do they go?

Sri Aurobindo: The Mikado claims to be the descendant of
the Goddess of the Sun. The Mikado Maigi believed in it and
he used to do what was necessary after feeling the
inspiration within him.

There are two types of features among the Japanese: one
tall and with a long nose and fine aristocratic face, and
another the ‘Inune’ who came from Australia and Polynesia.
It was the tall

people with classical features that gave Samurai Culture
to Japan. I met a Japanese painter at Tagore’s place–he was
of the first type–what magnificent features! The other is
the usual Mongolian type.

Disciple: The dictator’s psychology is an authority
complex. People under the dictator feel they are great and
that the dictator–in this case Hitler–is fighting for
them, not they who fight for him. Perhaps the dictators find
a competitor in God and religion. So they try to crush

Sri Aurobindo: But Mussolini did not crush religion in
Italy, though Kemal and Stalin did. Mussolini on the
contrary has given more power to the Pope in the Vatican. He
has practically recognized the Roman Church as the State

Disciple: I read in a newspaper that Kemal in his
intoxicated condition slapped an Egyptian because he came to
a dinner party with a fez on.

Sri Aurobindo: Have you not heard the story of a
journalist? Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: Well, a young journalist of Turkey
criticized the government saying; Turkey is governed by a


of drunkards. Kemal came to know of it. Next day, the
journalist received an invitation to dinner. He was
trembling as to what was coming. After dinner was over Kemal
told him: Young man, you are quite mistaken in saying that
Turkey is governed by a number of drunkards. It is not true.
Turkey is governed by one drunkard.

Disciple: Kemal at one time tried to play off Italy
against Russia. Sri Aurobindo: But Russia has all along
helped Turkey.

Disciple: Stalin forced the collectivization of farming
among the Ukrainians. The farmers did not like it. So, to
spite the government they collected from the farmers only
what they required for themselves for the year; they did not
collect the crop for the government. Stalin came to know
about it. In the meantime the crop standing in the fields
was destroyed by cold and frost. He sent down his officials
and they attached the corn collected by the farmers as state
dues. The result was famine. The farmers starved and died by
the thousands. Stalin did no help; he allowed them to die.
He was afraid that once he submitted them there would be no
collectivization anywhere.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what happens when socialism comes.
Communism is different. If they had been successful in
carrying out the original idea of the Soviets then it would
have been a great success. Mussolini at first tried to form
corporate state but he also gave it up later on.

Disciple: The Socialists did not succeed in breaking the
trade-unions in Ahmedabad, which are under the Congress.

Sri Aurobindo: Socialism has no chance with the Indian
peasant. He will side with you so long as you promise him
land and want to end the land-lord system. But once



he has got the land no more socialism for him. In
socialism you have the state which intervenes at every step
with its officials who rob money.

Disciple: The officials know the Government machinery and
they so manage to keep the power in their hands.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It is the State bureaucracy that
dictates the policy irrespective of the good of the commune.
In communism they hold the land for the whole community
i.e.–the whole unit and each part of it is entitled to
labour and have its share from the produce.

Disciple: In India we have a kind of communism in the
villages. The whole village was like a big family and the
lowest had his right as a member of the family. The
washerman, the carpenter the black smith, the barber, all
get what they needed.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the only communism that is
practicable. Each such commune can be independent and many
such units can be scattered all over country and they can
combine or co-ordinate their activities for a common


28th January 1939.

The Mother left for the general meditation and the
disciples were ready to begin some topic, but Sri Aurobindo
seemed mentally occupied with something. He was rather
thoughtful and in a mood of silence. So none ventured to
begin. After a few minutes Sri Aurobindo looked at the
company present and there was spontaneous smile on every

Disciple: X seems to have some news.


Sri Aurobindo: Then why does he not spurt out with it?
Disciple: There is nothing particular to-day.

Sri Aurobindo: There is a cure for your cold in the
“Sunday times”: you have to get into an aeroplane, take some
rounds, get down and you are cured.

Disciple: Permanently?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if the plane comes down with a crash,
the cure would be permanent. (laughter)

Disciple: One friend V used to put a cotton string into
his nose for his cold. Disciple: That is a Hatha yogic

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They also insert a long piece of
cloth into their intestines and bring it out through the
anus in order to clean the track.

There also have been authentic cases of taking poisons
like the nitric acid, Hydro cyanic acid etc., without any
evil effect. There are cases of swallowing nails, glass

Disciple: Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: There is no question of it being possible,
it is actually done.

Disciple: I wonder how the scientists would explain these
phenomena. Somewhere they were invited to a demonstration
but they refused to attend.

Disciple: They can’t, for fear of their convictions being

Disciple: These Hatha yogis who demonstrate these



must know some process of preventing absorption of these
things in the stomach.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they must have the power to stop the
action of the poisons and then eliminate it. They throw it
out–by vomiting the substance immediately after the

Disciple: Perhaps, you know that the Royal Society of
Science refused permission to Sir William Crooks who wanted
to demonstrate the reality of mediumistic phenomena.

Sri Aurobindo: The same thing happened in Germany. In the
village Alberfeltz there was a man who used to train horses
to do mathematical sums–(of course, they were simple
operations). He invited the scientists; they refused to
believe in it. Not only they refused but they complained to
the Government that it should be stopped, because the
trainer was following unorthodox method of

Disciple: Maurice Materlinck himself went to see it and
said, after seeing it, that he himself did not believe in it
before he saw it. He examined the animals by giving his own
figures and the answers given by the horses were correct.
(Ref. to his book–“L’ hote inconna”

Sri Aurobindo: They say that animals can’t think or
reason. It is not altogether true. They have an intelligence
which acts within narrow limits of the needs of their life.
These faculties are latent in the animals and have not been
developed, that’s all.

The cats have a language of their own; they utter
different kinds of mews for different purposes. For
instance, when the mother leaves her kittens behind a box,
mewing a particular rhythm, then the kittens understand that
they are not to move from that place till she comes back and
repeats the mew. It is through rhythm that they express


themselves and they understand human language if it is
every time in a particular rhythm.

Even the donkey who is supposed to be very stupid is
unusually clever. Horses and donkeys were confined together
within an enclosure and the gate was closed to find out if
they could get out. It was found that while horses were
helpless, it was the donkeys that by turning the latch
opened the gate.

Why go further, even in our Ashram the Mother’s cat
Chikou was unusually clever. One day she was confined in a
room and it was discovered that she was trying to open the
window in exactly the same way as the Mother used to do.
Evidently she had watched the Mother doing it before going
to the window and taking up the string.

We had, when we were staying in Rue suffrin, a bitch left
by someone in the house had a room upstairs with glass
window and a bath-room at one extremity. One day this bitch
found herself locked out. She tried all sorts of devices to
enter the room but could not as the main door and the
windows were all closed. As all attempts failed, she sat
down in front of the window and began to think; how to get
in? The way she sat and the attitude of her sitting showed
clearly that she was thinking. Then suddenly she got up as
if saying: Ah, there is the bath-room door! Let me try it.
She went in that direction. The door there was open and she
got in.

It is the Europeans who make a big difference between man
and animals. The only difference is the animals can’t form a
concept, can’t read or write or philosophize (laughter).

Disciple: But they also can’t do yoga.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know that. While Mother and


myself were meditating a cat used to be present. We found
that she was getting queer and was getting into trance and
was almost on the point of death, but recovered. Evidently,
she was trying to receive something.

Disciple: Maharshi’s cow, Laxmi, is said to bow down to
him. She is even supposed to have been some old disciple of
his in her previous life and was attached to Maharshi.


29th January 1939.

Sri Aurobindo was in a communicative mood. Looking at X
he said. “Have you read Hitler’s interview with Col. Beck in
the ‘Sunday Times’?

Disciple: No. What about it?

Sri Aurobindo: It was shouting at each other. It is said
that when Hitler begins to shout his eyes become glassy and
it means disaster. But in this interview when he began to
shout and eyes turned glassy, Beck began to shout louder.
Hitler was much surprised to find this unexpected return and
himself toned down.

Disciple: What was the result of the interview?

Sri Aurobindo: Relations with Poland were not much
improved I suppose. (The topic changed) Sri Aurobindo turned
to X: “Did you see Subhas Boses’ statement?

Disciple: Yes, it seems unfortunate that at this time the
Congress should be divided.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. Whenever he has been in
authority there has been trouble. Congress-split in Bengal
came in his time. He is an intellectual without grasp of


realities. He talks of India exerting international
influence! You are not even a nation and you talk of being
international! You have to be first independent. Even in a
small affair like the China-Japanese war, what you have been
able to do is to send an ambulance unit.

Disciple: Our Y who was in Bengal politics has not a very
high opinion about Subhas Bose. He says, he is a good
lieutenant but can’t be a great leader.

Sri Aurobindo: That has been my impression all along.

Disciple: It seems as if what he is doing is more for
satisfying his ambition for power and egoism.

Disciple: And all the talk about influencing the votes is
meaningless. They are all trying to influence the voters on
their side.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. He says, he stands for
principles, but all the time he is asking ‘vote for me’.

Disciple: But he is very sincere and honest.

Disciple: Many leaders are that.

Disciple: Not in Bengal–they are almost all

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by sincerity? Sincere
means ready to suffer for the cause and honest means, he
accepts no bribe or money. Is it not? But even during our
Swadeshi movement though the leaders were egoistic and
quarrelsome they were honest and sincere. Our fight was over
principles e. g. Reform or revolution or as somebody put it,
Colonial self government or Independence. We never fought on
personal grounds as you now find between Bose and Sen Gupta
or Khare and Shukla. You know what Das said about criminals?
He said: “In my whole legal career I have not met such worst
types of criminals as in politics.” Evidently he knew about
his own followers.


Disciple: But if Bose sincerely believes that the
Congress is going to compromise with the British Government
on federation, is not he justified in fighting the
federation in the congress? He says that some suspicious
negotiations seem to be going on behind the scenes.

Sri Aurobindo: But what is there objectionable in
negotiations? Every country and every big party has to do
it. The Germans before and during the war were doing it.
Negotiations does not mean acceptance. There is no harm in
seeing how far the other party will go in granting
concessions, rights and privileges.

Disciple: When Nehru visited Nahas Pasha in Egypt, Nahas
said that their Wafd party had become demoralized after
accepting office and now they are defeated. He wondered how
the congress ministers have remained pure after accepting
office. Nehru explained to him about the Parliamentary Board
which acts as a check on the ministers. The Board has no
administrative powers and ministers are not members of the

Sri Aurobindo: I was surprised to hear about the
dissolution of the Wafd party and wondered what it might
have been due to. But then they ought to have turned out the
king as Kemal did in Turkey. The present king is following
the policy of his father. So, instead of quarreling among
themselves they should have–now that they have power–tried
to build up their nation first, by giving people education
and training. Secondly, they should make efforts to increase
the wealth and lastly, they must build up military power.
The same thing should be done in India by the Congress


Disciple: What sort of education? Technical?

Sri Aurobindo: Technical, agricultural and other. How
will they develop industries without properly educated and
trained people? India is such a vast country that if she


produce her own necessary things, she can consume them
herself. External trade is not necessary at the beginning.
That is what U. S. A. did. She developed first her internal
trade to meet all the necessities of her own people; and
when by that means she had increased her wealth she began to
develop external trade. The government should have a plan
for the economic survey of the provinces to see what could
and should be taken up in each province.

Disciple: That is one good thing Bose had done; he has
organized an economic planning committee.

Sri Aurobindo: But they must not neglect secondary
education. You can’t have efficient people without
education. It creates common interest and a basis of common
understanding. I don’t mean the present form of education.
It has to be radically changed. The Indian boys are more
intelligent then English boys of the same age and status but
three-fourths of their talent and energy are wasted, while
the English boys use their talent ten times better than the
Indian because of the training and equipment.

Disciple: The Bombay Premier has approached the merchants
for donation to the Government, as there is going to be
substantial loss due to prohibition. The government will
have to levy new taxes if they don’t get money.

Sri Aurobindo: It is better not to destroy the capitalist
class as the socialists want to. They are the source of
national wealth. They should be encouraged to spend for the
nation. Taxing is all right, but you must increase
production, and raise new industries, also raise the
standard of living; without that if you increase the taxes
there will be a state of depression. Other nations tax
enormously because they produce also on a large scale.

Disciple: The congress ministers are opening agricultural
schools training centres for small industries.


Sri Aurobindo: It is a pity to give up all that work for
merely fighting the Federation. You can fight it even after
it is established. One has to accept what one gets and on
that basis work out the rest. If the British Government
finds that the federation is perfectly worked out it may not
object to give more. They expect a crowd of demagogues
shouting together in Assembly, not people capable of
governing. But if socialism comes that might frighten

Disciple: The present governor of Bombay seems to be
sympathetic to his cabinet.

Sri Aurobindo: The English people have constitutional
temperament, except of course, a few autocrats like Curzon.
They will be violently opposed to their being kicked out,
but they don’t object to their being gently shouldered out
as in the dominions. The dominions are practically
independent. The British people will be quite content if
they get India’s help in case of an

international war. But these declarations of
anti-imperialist policy and ‘no compromise’ might tend to
stiffen their attitude, What is the use of declaring your
policy in advance? Even as regards the


states one must not be too exacting in one’s demands.
They won’t tolerate the idea of reducing them to mere
figure-heads from the very beginning.

Disciple: Patel is a very capable man, but he is not
liked by his colleagues.

Sri Aurobindo: He did not seem to me to be a very likable
person. But if one has sincerity and capacity that is enough
in politics.



FEBRUARY, 1939 3rd February 1939.

A letter from a lady disciple was read to Sri Aurobindo
in which she related some of her experiences. She is losing
consciousness, finds the mind floating about as it were,
lightning strokes in the head and a feeling of some
presence. But these experiences give her very great fear and
she complains of bad health.

Sri Aurobindo: You can tell her that what she calls
losing of consciousness is its movement inwards. It is
rather unusual to get these experiences. Usually, one takes
months and months to make the mind quiet and she did it at
the first sitting. The lightning strokes is the action of
the Higher Power, or Yoga Shakti to make the Adhar fit for
Yoga. All these things show that she has a capacity for the
Yoga. But she must get rid of fear. Otherwise, all the
experiences will stop. The letter shows that her inner mind
is ready but her vital and the physical are not–the


vital is full of fear and the body suffers from bad
health. As she herself says, it produces a conflict in the
being which is not desirable. It may be better for her not
to take up Yoga seriously, until she is restored to health.
But the most important thing is to get rid of fear.

Disciple: But how to get rid of it?

Sri Aurobindo: That is the difficulty. Many complain of
when one takes up the Yoga all sorts of experiences come in,
which are out of the run of ordinary consciousness; and if
one fears, Yoga is not possible. It has to be got rid of by
the mind, i. e. by the psychological training and
will-power. Any human being, worth the name has a will and
that will has to be exercised or developed. She

can ask for the protection of the Divine, lay herself in
the hands of the Divine and say there is no fear. This is
done by the mind. As Vivekananda very insistently said, the
Yogi must be “Abhihi”–without fear.

I don’t know whether I told you about my experience.
After my meeting with Lele I was meditating at Calcutta. I
felt a tremendous calm and then felt as if my breath would
stop. A silly fear, or rather an apprehension, caught hold
of me and I said: If my breath stops how shall I live? At
once the experience stopped and never came back.

There are all sorts of experiences. What will you do if
you feel your head being drilled through, or a nail being
thrust inside? These things, of course, are not

Disciple: But why can’t the experience come quietly?

Sri Aurobindo: The experience comes quietly but you make
a row! If your head, or physical body is being split then
you could object to it. You ought to know by now that


all these experiences are in the subtle body.

Disciple: I had also once or twice such fear of presence
as the lady speaks of. I sat to meditate before going to be
and I felt everything still and then as if there was some
presence. That frightened me.

Sri Aurobindo: Why? You thought it was the devil that
brought the stillness? But the devil, generally does not
bring stillness; usually he makes a row. Two things are
necessary in Yoga: to get rid of fear and to know the
ordinary symbols. (turning to X) You know V once in
meditation saw that some golden beings came down and told
him: “Now we will cut your body and make it new.” He cried
out: Never, never. He thought that his physical body was
going to be cut. But the symbolism is quite clear: the old
elements in the nature would be thrown away and new ones
brought in.

Disciple: I heard afterwards that he turned to Jainism. I
don’t know if it is true. Sri Aurobindo: Was he a Jain by

Disciple: Yes.

Sri Aurobindo: Well, that often happens. In one’s vital
and physical nature there remains a stamp of one’s ancestral
religion and it comes out at some time. The Christians
usually turn towards the Catholicism. A Frenchmen–I forgot
his name–tried all sorts of things, mysticism, Tibetan
Occultism etc. When he was informed by one of our disciples
that these things won’t go with Yoga, he abandoned all
connection and turned to Catholicism.

My grand father started by being a Brahmo and ended by
writing a book on Hinduism and proclaiming it as best
religion in the world.


After a pause: the topic changed. Sri Aurobindo turned to
‘X’ and said: “So Subhas has met Nehru.”

Disciple: Yes, Nehru may act as a mediator and Tagore may
be the peace-maker between the two parties.

Sri Aurobindo: Subhas speaks of direct action after six
months. But what sort of direct action? It seems, Gandhi
will leave him to form his own working committee; it will be
a great blunder if Gandhi did that. And with Gandhi left
out, what direct action can take place? is it that subhas
and his followers will take off their coats and fight? or
reject seats in the Assembly? Salt Satyagraha is out of
question. There remains breaking laws. But the Government
will bring in the moderates and rule by them and even run
the Federation so long as you don’t send better men. No-tax
campaign? But that is a tremendous affair. Gandhi himself
says, the country is not ready for it. I don’t think Subhas
has so much influence or capacity to make it successful, or
an all India movement. Neither does he himself believe in
non-violence. His own followers don’t seem to know their own

Disciple: Tagore wants Subhas to compromise with Gandhi,
for he knows that Gandhiji is an international figure.

Sri Aurobindo: Not only that, his word counts; he has not
lost the force yet. I think, if he made a public statement
that he wanted Pattabhi to be elected, he would have him
elected. But there are still six months to inaugurate the
Federation; what is Subhas going to do in the meantime?
Gandhi knew that Subhas will take up this attitude and hence
he did not want him. Now with his followers left out of the
working committee, the leftists will probably pass laws,
abolishing zamindars and capitalists and spoil the work done
by the Ministers. They would try to


introduce social legislation and that would make the
Governors use their powers, or, if they keep out of the
Assembly, it would be foolish to throw away the powers
given. Before I left politics, I wrote: If you get real
power, take it and fight for more like De Valera, who took
what was given and grabbed at more. In the present
international situation when the Government wants to come to
a compromise with the Congress you should accept it, if what
they give is acceptable and fight for more.

Disciple: That seems to be Subhas’s idea, but he says:
Now is the time to press for independence.

Sri Aurobindo: That would be all right if the country was
prepared for revolution, so that even if Bose and a few
others were hanged the movement could have gone on and
ultimately the Government would have yielded as in Ireland.
There, in Ireland, the lives of the people who went against
the national movement were not safe. Otherwise, one has to
proceed with subtler ways. But what Bose claims now is
impossible to get. On the other hand, it will set the
Government against you and they will try to crush the

Disciple: But if they work this provincial programme and
prepare the country at the same time, and press the States
to give rights to the people then, we might get what we want
without revolution.

Sri Aurobindo: Exactly. It is a clever drive to bring in
the States and if they can carry it through, the Federation
will have the Princes and the Congress on one side and only
the minority of the Muslims will remain out. Subhas has not
done a wise thing.

Disciple: People are severely criticizing Gandhiji’s

Sri Aurobindo: Only the leftists are doing that. No


wing man has said anything except S. C. Das (after a long
pause of silence):

The British people have one weakness; they can’t drive
things to the extreme. They can’t go on like the Germans and
some other nations with methods of suppression for a long
time. They have their prestige to keep before the world and
they want people’s support. They want to govern with a show
of consent or law or constitution. So, they come in the end
with a compromise. France comes to a compromise, but takes a
much longer time. But Germany or Italy can’t hesitate to go
to the extreme limit. For instance, in Palestine, the
British Government, have almost succeeded in crushing the
terrorists. If they had persisted they could have easily put
Nahashiby against the Mufti and rule the Arabs by the Arabs.
But they could not go on and now they have called the
Palestine Conference.


If the Mufti is clever he will be able to get as much as
possible, but not the whole of it. Disciple: What about the

Sri Aurobindo: They can leave them to their fate, or they
can be sacrificed for their self-interests or they may do
something just to save their face. In Ireland, they came to
a compromise, even the Conservatives turned round.

In Tunisia, the French have put the Dasturians into
prison, but if they can keep us, France will give in.

Disciple: Roosevelt seems to have declared for democracy.
Disciple: Now Hitler will think twice before he tries to do

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if he is capable of thinking. His
inner voice may ask him to push on. Mussolini may think
twice unless he too is Hitlerised. In that case Hitler


say: I have given you a chance for Colonies. If you don’t
take it up I will go to Ukraine. Mussolini may not like
that. During Czech-crisis, it was mere bluff that he
succeeded. He knew from private sources that England and
France won’t fight.

Disciple: Roosevelt has promised France armaments and U.
S. A is selling aeroplanes and other materials. He may come
to their help if they are attacked.

Sri Aurobindo: But it is doubtful if he can carry the
nation with him. The armaments are increased for the
defense. But if they are exported people may think it will
involve them in a war. At any rate, his speech has come as a
great blow to both Italy and Germany. Chamberlain also may
think of supporting France now. A remarkable man, this
Roosevelt, he is bold and ready to experiment and take
risks. It is the old Roosevelt blood, only the first
Roosevelt was Fascists. This one is very refined.

Disciple: J says that there may not be any war after

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if the British and the French people
go in yielding to the demands of the dictators. The British
may say to Germany: we will supply you raw materials, you
can come and settle here.

Disciple: (to another disciple) You have seen
Hidayatullah has become a Minister of Sindh?

Disciple: Has he? Allah Bux has won him over, it means.
He earned a lot of money from the Sukkur Barrage Scheme
during his ministry in Bombay, before the congress

Sri Aurobindo: How?

Disciple: He used to sell plots of land to customers


his agents and he kept some of the best lands for
himself. There were similar charges against some ministers
in the Central Provinces.


Disciple: Though people bitterly criticize the High
Command, it has done a good job.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It is the High Command and Gandhi’s
dictatorship that has kept the country together. That sort
of weakness is very common in America and even in France.
But you may not find such corruption in England. The public
life there is honest and sincere. They may tell lies and may
break their promises, but bribery or appropriation of money
hardly exists in their public, or political administration.
As they say, “they are not done.” If a political leader does
that sort of thing he is finished for life. Thomas is wiped
out–nobody hears of him now. The judges make no distinction
between rich criminal and a poor one–as they do in America
and France and I suppose India is no better.


5th February 1939

Disciple: In the Life of Nivedita which Lizelle is
writing, she has found many letters, in one of which she
mentions that you gave her charge of editing, Vande Mataram,
after you left Calcutta.

Sri Aurobindo: No. I was the Karma Yogin–not Vande
Mataram, I saw her before I left Calcutta for Chandernagore.
It was from her that I got the news of my contemplated
arrest. Then I wrote an article “My Political Will”–that
stopped the arrest.

Disciple: It seems, she traveled to India once under
assumed name to evade arrest in 1910 or 1911. Sri Aurobindo:
She died at Darjeeling; she did not die under assumed


(The topic turned to Jainism)

Sri Aurobindo: We were talking about the Tapasya
yesterday. Is it not to transcend nature and conquer that
they do those violent Tapasyas and not from an idea of

Disciple: Perhaps that was the idea.

Sri Aurobindo: Then their aim is the same as ours, only
the method is different. Disciple: That does not solve
Lajput Rai’s idea of illusion of all action.

Sri Aurobindo: No, the idea may have been in his blood or
perhaps atmosphere of the Indian place. When I was reading
Max Mullars’ translation of the Vedanta in London I came
upon the idea of ‘Self’ and I decided that Vedanta is
something to be realized in life. Before that I was an
atheist and agnostic. How do you explain that? You can’t say
that it was the atmosphere of the place. It was in the blood
or perhaps carried from past life. Then there was the
experience when I came to India: as soon as I set my foot on
Apollo Bunder, I felt a vastness and a tremendous calm
coming over me. I did not know, of course, that it was an
experience. It was a sense of calm and vastness pervading
everywhere and I had not got it in the steamer. That is the
atmosphere of the place.

Another instance is the sense of the Infinite I had at
the Shankeracharya Hill at Kashmir and at Parvati Hill near
Poona, and the reality of the image in a temple at Karnali
near Chandod.

Disciple: I asked X why the Jews are so much persecuted
in Germany. He said that they were a rich minority and so
they were made the scapegoat. He said, the same thing



happened in France against the aristocracy during the
revolution, and in Spain against the clergy.

Sri Aurobindo: Regarding France, the revolution was not
particularly against the aristocracy; it was against all
history of the past. And in Spain, it was against the past
repression of the Church.

Disciple: I asked Mrs. X about conditions in Switzerland.
She says, the country is passing through a critical time.
She is afraid of a passage through her territory during war.
During the last world war also they passed some anxious
days. They were relieved when Belgium was made the route.
The dictators may decide to take route through Switzerland.
If they attack the Italian and German speaking Canton then
the French speaking Cantons would be in difficulty.

Sri Aurobindo: It is said that Czechoslovakian frontier
was so strongly fortified that Germany would have found it
difficult to take it.

Disciple: It is a pity they gave in without fight. But
now Hitler is asking equivalent colonies. Sri Aurobindo:
From whom? Where?

Disciple: From Belgium, Holland and Portugal.

Sri Aurobindo: Holland has no Colonies in Africa.
Portuguese Colonies in Africa are small and Hitler would
hardly be satisfied with them. Belgian Congo is big, but
England would not dare to do anything with it, for that will
make Belgium furious and she may side with Germany. England
could not allow that, for if Germany takes possession of
Antwerp, it will be a pistol at the heart of England.

(Turning to Disciple):

“Roosevelt seems to have backed out.” Now he says:


America has nothing to do with European problems.
Disciple: What do you think about Subhas’s statement?

Sri Aurobindo: “The Hindu” has given a fitting reply;
either he meant something or meant nothing by his

Disciple: The Socialists in a recent meeting at Bombay
began to shout and continued shouting. Shouting is quite
constitutional with them (laughter).


7th February 1939

Disciple: Bose has called his leftist Conference. I
wonder what programme they are going to formulate.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what they are not going to say.
The only thing they are to do is to give an


ultimatum to the British Government. After that they will
break some laws or ask the Ministers to resign on the
States’ issue, if they have not done so by that time.

Disciple: The States’ question will be an all-absorbing
matter and the split in the Congress may be avoided.

Sri Aurobindo: But it is not definite what the princes
will do. They are under the thumb of the British Government.
Only a man like Holkar and Nabha may side with the Congress
and risk losing his Gadi–throne.

This year there is this threatened split in the Congress
between Subhas and his Socialists and Gandhi’s followers.
Socialism in England is of a watery kind.

Disciple: In Russia some signs of freedom are

Sri Aurobindo: That is because Stalin has killed all


to him. He can now wait till some other people come up in
future whom he can kill.

Disciple: Spain is finished.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Disciple: But Madrid remains and General Mioja is

Sri Aurobindo: When Barcelona has fallen Mioja cannot do
anything. Besides, what can he do without arms and food.

Disciple: Mussolini does not intend to remove the troops
from Spain. Sri Aurobindo: That is what he said the other

Disciple: It was Gayda who said that.

Sri Aurobindo: Gayda is the mouth piece of Mussolini.
When he does not want to say anything himself he speaks
through Gayda. But Daladier could make a Spanish legion out
of the Spanish refugees as a counter-blast to Mussolini’s
Italian legionary in Spain and use it in case the French
troops are not allowed to come from Morocco. But it is too
bold a policy for Daladier.

Sri Aurobindo: That, of course; when somebody comes to
take hold of family possession, the family will unanimously

Disciple: The French Chamber voted unanimously against
Italian demand of Colonies. Disciple: But I wonder how
Flandin supports the Fascists.

Sri Aurobindo: He will be lynched if he talks of parting
with Tunis, Corsica etc. It is a question of parting with


deserts in Africa. French people may agree, as they
wanted to, during the Abyssianian war, but


Mussolini would say: ‘I am not a Collector of deserts’
Disciple: But Italy is sure to push her claims again.
Disciple: Hitler has advised him to keep quiet now. Sri
Aurobindo: Yes, till Franco’s victory is complete. Disciple:
Bonnet wanted to come to a compromise.

Sri Aurobindo: Bonnet is not reliable. Daladier has, at
least some force. On one occasion he refused to listen to
Bonnet and said, he would not tolerate any interference of
England in connection with the Italian question. The French
people don’t know that they have to stand up to the British
and speak to them bluntly. During Czech-crisis when
Chamberlain told them that he would help them diplomatically
so far as possible, but they should not count on his
military support, they should have replied that if England
was attacked by the Germans they should not count on them as
allies. Then Chamberlain would have come down.


9th February 1939

Dr. R. stayed up to 9-30 P. M. As soon as he left the
topic of the local politics was brought in:

Disciple: The Governor has invited the three parties to
see if a compromise can be arrived at. What he says is that
they may have their own political views of whatever colour
but they must not go on killing each other.

Sri Aurobindo: He will be one of the greatest diplomats
in the world if he can reconcile their interests and have a
common programme.


(The topic changed to the Congress election)

Disciple: Subhas and his Conference do not seem to have
settled on any programme. Today’s paper says that Gandhiji
has wired to Subhas not to stand for the presidentship. But
he does not seem to have paid any heed to it. It may be that
many delegates may vote against him.

Sri Aurobindo: The only thing he speaks of is challenging
the British Government and attacking the States–rather a
tall order.

Disciple: Yes, Gandhiji also challenged the Government.
The result was the Round Table Conference. In the end,
Willingdon arrested Gandhiji and refused even to see

Sri Aurobindo: Willingdon now will look with queer eyes
at the Congress ministries and think that all he had done
has been undone.

Disciple: The working Committee (of the Congress) has
decided to give Subhas the Committee of his choice. But the
people he has called at Calcutta for a conference don’t seem
to be promising.

(The names were read out to Sri Aurobindo)

Sri Aurobindo: Who are these people? They seem to be an
army of no-bodies. Except Aiyangar,


Aney and one or two others these people were never heard
of before.

Disciple: The other States seem to be supporting Rajkot
and asking him not to yield.

Disciple: If the states organize, backed by the Paramount
Power–the British–and lend their support then Rajkot may
stand through and the Satyagraha may not succeed. Look at
Mysore and Travancore–Mysore has only appointed


Committee which may go on for three years and so do

Moreover it is very difficult to keep the movement
non-violent. If it is kept to the middle class it may be
possible, but if the masses come in then violence is
inevitable. You see the murder of the Bazulgate in Orissa
and breaking out of violence in Travancore. Human nature is
human–if the movement is confined to a small state like
Rajkot it may succeed, but in the big states it is
impossible to keep it non-violent.

Disciple: In Travancore it is Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyar
who engineered the outbreak.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t believe it. In many cases I have
seen that Congress people are not noted for their
truthfulness. They say what suits them. But if they propose
to come out of the Assembly because of failure in Rajkot or
Jaipur, it is not at all good. These small states must be
deprived of their power and be made like Jamindars. One
never knew that there were so many states.

Disciple: Jaipur has again released Bajaj (hearty

Bajaj was a little hurt while being forcibly removed.
Gandhiji called it ‘organized goondaism.’

Sri Aurobindo: I do not understand why Gandhi calls it
‘Goondaism’. If Bajaj resisted they will have to use force
to remove him and injury is quite possible.

Disciple: Pratap Singh may be persuaded by Krishnamachari
to part with some of his privileges.

Sri Aurobindo: I saw his photograph today. He has a weak
face, nothing of the grand father in him. His father had
more brilliance and dash. Pratap Singh has a soul–but not a
strong one.


Jaysingh Rao was dull. Shivaji Rao was intelligent. I
taught him French; he was a good student. Dhairyashil showed
signs of premature development of lust. All that was due to
the servants of the palace.

Indira was more interesting and there was something
sturdy in her. She had the most of her father–Sayaji
Rao–in her.

Disciple: There is a criticism of Pujalal’s poetry by a
poet critic. He says, it is not “rooted in the soil”, too
Sanskritised and not written for the masses. English poetry,
he says, is founded on the Anglo Saxon language.

Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. The great Shakespeare and
poets from Milton to Shelley did not write, consciously in
the Anglo Saxon language–except William Morris, who used
Anglo Saxon words. They have followed Latin and Greek
vocabulary. And the idea of writing for the mass is a


idea. Poetry was never written for the mass. It is only a
minority that read and appreciated poetry. The definition of
modern poetry is what the poet himself and a few of his
admirers around him understand. Shakespeare and Milton are
not mass poets.

Martin Tupper and Mrs. Hymans wrote for the mass–“He
stood on the burning deck, when all but he had fled”–That
sort of thing. Tupper sold more in his life than all the
best poets put together. It is curious, many of the modern
poets are communists, but they don’t write for the mass.


18th February 1939

Disciple: The maxim “from each according to his capacity
and to each according to his need” seem to be basis of


Sri Aurobindo: Who is to decide the need? In the actual
working of Socialism there is a great divergence–some
tackle only key industries like Electricity and nationalize
them; while others go into the minutest detail.

Disciple: Even the Communists in Russia have introduced
divergence in wages–to encourage workers to do more

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, But that comes to the same
thing–only instead of the Capitalist it is the State that
pays the higher wages.

Communism one can understand; a group owning property in
common and receiving its benefits according to need and
satisfying the need of the group. That is as old as the

But State ownership is something that creates a class
like the Capitalists. Besides, in countries like Germany
Nazism makes the national consciousness so strong that they
begin to consider the individuals like the cells of the
body, bound to think and act alike. No freedom is allowed to

Or take the Balkans, for example. The racial and national
ego in them is so rigid that they could not protect
themselves by a federation against Germany.


21st February 1939

Disciple: In the political problem of India the States
present a great obstacle–particularly to the political
unity of the country.

Sri Aurobindo: It can be achieved as Germany did with her
many States.


Disciple: There is a great rush for public career now a
days–in fact there is a competition for it. But there are
the low tendencies also visible. How to combat this

Sri Aurobindo: By creating a tradition of respect for
character, by throwing out dishonest men from public life.
Politicians can lie but not be corrupt.


Parliamentary form of democracy is not necessarily suited
to India. As it is, anybody stands as a candidate for
election and either buys off votes or persuades them into
giving it, or comes up by some trick. But he may not be the
true representative. Besides, anybody who comes with
majority should not be made a minister; only capable man
should be given ministership–the policy may be reserved for
the parliament.

Kingship like that of Aundh is best suited to India,
where the king is religious minded person, a man of
character and intelligence. He looks to the interest of all
his subjects. But for that, the Kings must be taught and
prepared with hard training. Now, they learn only how to
play cricket and drink. But in ancient times, a King’s
training was very hard.


24th February 1939

Disciple: What is the part which mind plays in the cure
of a disease?

Sri Aurobindo: The mental factor is much more effective
than is generally known or admitted. There are cases where
the surgeons have found that the mental factor has saved the
patient by pulling him or her out from a critical condition.
For example, mothers wanting to see their children are
saved, being pulled out of critical conditions.


Disciple: Which method of treatment is correct–the
Chinese method of pricking or Homeopathy, Ayurvedic or
allopathy etc.?

Sri Aurobindo: Nature allows you to follow along certain
lines and along each she shows you what is possible. For
example, they thought of electricity as wave motion and they
found there was some thing that corresponded to that view.
Now they think of it as made up of particles, you find that
it responds to that also.

Disciple: That is the realm of matter, but in life–for
example, in the curing of a disease.

Sri Aurobindo: Mental factors determine the physical
conditions much more than doctors would be prepared to
grant. Cone’s method succeeds and it cannot be considered
useless, though it uses no medicine.

Disciple: Some disciples here believe that there is a
collective Karma for which either the group, the society or
the nation has to bear the consequences like the

Sri Aurobindo: The collective being is non-evolutionary.
It is hard to believe in the reincarnation of races.

Disciple: Somebody seems to have said that the Romans are
born as Americans.

Sri Aurobindo: Very queer Romans! You may say in some
sense that the English are the ancient Carthaginians! Or one
may even hazard that the French are the Greeks reborn. But
it won’t carry us very far.

You can’t take for granted that one individual is always
born in the same race or nation in which he is born now. So
how can the nation soul or race soul reincarnate?


Disciple: Have the nation a soul each?

Sri Aurobindo: You can speak of it as collective or
nations being or entity. It is not in evolution. It is not
subject to the law of Karma.

Disciple: Can it be said that law governing it is

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, each collective being is a projection
of the Cosmic Spirit for a particular purpose. You can speak
of it as a particular Shakti.

Disciple: How does the collective being or Shakti

Sri Aurobindo: It identifies itself with a particular
form–here of a group of individual. There is a mutual
action: it acts on the individual and the individual acts on
it by manifesting it.

Disciple: Suppose the collective entity is dissolved from

Sri Aurobindo: When the physical form of the collectivity
is dissolved here the collective being withdraws into the

Disciple: Can a collective being, after such a
dissolution take another form–a group–for manifesting

Sri Aurobindo: We have as yet no proof of it. *

25th February 1939

Disciple: There is a report about the student of the
Annamalai University picketing and some of them are

Sri Aurobindo: Satyagraha is something to be applied in
extreme case, but Gandhi has almost made a law of it and so
there are so many wrong applications of it.


Disciple: Here in this case the fundamental relations are
contradicted e.g. the relation between teachers and
students. It is not, for instance, the same as between
workers and capitalists.

Sri Aurobindo: Even among workers, it makes a great
difference if they are educated. For instance, in Europe,
when they resort to stay in strike, the workers do not
injure the machinery and they even work the important parts
to keep it in order. While in India, where the labour is
uneducated, you can’t have it like that. They destroy the
machinery and then are thrown out of employment. In the
Savanne Mills they burnt the machinery and then were thrown
out of employment. Similar was the case in Madras Match

If you do not have bill like the one Bombay Trade
Disputes Bill, the industries will go to the pot. *



MARCH, 1939 12th March 1939.

Disciple: Did you notice Jawaharlal’s article in the
Hindu? He can’t forget Subhas not acknowledging his report
from Europe and also his international politics.

Sri Aurobindo: That again shows Nehru is an idealist. If
he has the clarity of mind to see–as he has–that socialism
can come in India only after independence, it should be
equally clear to him that India can do something in
international politics only after she is free.

Disciple: The Congress wants to do something in
international field.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a hazy idea. All you have been able
to do for China is to send an ambulance unit. It is not like
England that can send money to stabilize the currency in


Disciple: I believe, it is his visit to Europe in the
League against Imperialism that gives him the impression
that he would be able to do something in international

Sri Aurobindo: It is a wrong impression. It was, for
instance, wrongly supposed that the Governor of Pondicherry
was recalled because Nehru represented the case to the
Secretary of Colonies.

Disciple: Perhaps the Secretary might have said, he would
move in the matter.

Sri Aurobindo: He might have been only polite; they are
always polite. But that does not mean anything. He might
say: “I will look into the matter” or “thank you for
bringing the matter to my notice.”

Disciple: Mahatmaji has secured some success.

Sri Aurobindo: Gandhi’s is a big triumph; if some
understanding is arrived at between the princes and the
congress it would be very good.

Disciple: I don’t know if Subhas will deliver his

Sri Aurobindo: If you have a revolutionary programme and
a nation ready to kill or die, then you may indulge in
ultimatums. India is not ready even as Ireland was. The
people are prepared to get beaten, or to go to jail at the
most. So you have to see what can be done.

When India is really free it will think many times before
meddling into international problems before it is on its own

Disciple: You saw M. N. Roy got only 38 votes!

Sri Aurobindo: He might say: Hitler began with even less!


it does not always happen so. Some people remain where
they are: Ostwald Moseley, for instance, is where he was ten
years back, and Brailsford writes every week what everybody
should do and nobody seems to do what he says!


Subhas and his group are living even now in the mentality
of 1906 and 1907; they don’t know that conditions have

Disciple: They want to put up a fight against the

Sri Aurobindo: It is not always by fighting that you get
what you want. With all his idealism Gandhi knows how far
the people can go and in spite of his inner voice, he knows
how far to go (himself).



MAY, 1939 6th May, 1939

Arjava died on the 5th May–at Bangalore. He was treated
by Dr. Brunitzer. Post mortem examination revealed
pericardiatis, six ounces of water from the right side of
the heart.

Disciple: Our Dr. X sticks to his Rheumatism theory. The
French doctor started with typhoid, but it was negatived by
blood examination. Dr. Brunitzer, in the beginning said that
it was Septisemia.

Disciple: So, even after the post mortem nobody was
wiser. How is this possible that even after the post mortem,
they don’t accept the diagnosis?

Sri Aurobindo: You can see that Dr. X is not ready to
admit anything other than what he believes. He takes



consideration only those facts that support his views,
and puts all other facts away. So nothing else can come

Disciple: What is the way out?

Sri Aurobindo: Intuition is the only way. But even there
mental intuition may be right but not always. Mind deals
with the possibilities and some may come true. Again true
intuition has to be distinguished from the mental imitation
of the same, or from mere suggestion or a strong

Disciple: How can one save himself from error?

Sri Aurobindo: There is outer rule; you have to get the
psychic tact which throws out the error. For example, the
Mother used to feel about the soundness of houses and our
engineer used to find out afterwards that her feeling was
true, though she does not know architecture or engineering.
Another necessity is that one must be sincere about finding
the truth by intuition. That is to say,

one must not jump at the first idea and run away with it.
The mind must be absolutely impartial and also one must be
patient and one must wait. One must also test his


16th May 1939

A letter from a disciple received on the 29th April
written to co-disciple here spoke of his experience at

He mentioned in his letter that the resistance in his
physical being was broken by the spiritual experience he had

In the evening a disciple asked Sri Aurobindo: “What


do you think of his saying that the resistance in the
physical is gone?”

Sri Aurobindo: I have heard people saying that the body
of Maharshi is shaking. How could have he done what he did
not do, or did not care to do, for himself, for someone

Disciple: But he describes his experience in detail: for
instance, the triangle and the Sun and the light pouring
into him etc.

Sri Aurobindo: He had always the habit of making mental
constructions and living in them. So, his valuation of
experience is not right.

Disciple: Why does he commit mistake in the valuation of
his experience?

Sri Aurobindo: He had a very powerful ego, which he never
tried to get rid of when he was here. He always wanted to
start an Ashram; whenever you have this kind of ego it
always interferes with the understanding and does not allow
correct valuation. At every experience he gets his ego
swells up and uses the experience to strengthen itself.

Disciple: How to get rid of the ego?

Sri Aurobindo: He speaks of the peace he got.

Sri Aurobindo: Do you think he got it there for the first
time? He got hundreds of experiences here.



Between 20th and 27th May 1939

The subject was Trikal Drishti–knowledge of the Time or
the True Time Vision. Why he did not know about the accident
was also one of the questions.

Sri Aurobindo: I have not said that I am in full
possession of the supramental. People have wrong ideas about
these things.

Christ, in spite of his miracles, could not cure anyone
in one district. He said: “I can’t because they have no

People forgot that there are conditions to be fulfilled.
It is a question of the divine consciousness working in and
through inferior principles, like mind and vital and body
and there are conditions to


be fulfilled for the working.

Disciple: They say that God being Omnipotence he should
be able to do anything however impossible.

Sri Aurobindo: No. Omnipotent does not mean to make God
act as our mind wants or expects. Omnipotence does not work
in one way; it works in many ways.




19th and 20th November 1939

Disciple: Is physical relations responsible for the
vitiation of pure and idealistic love?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not only the physical but also the
vital that is equally responsible. Desire, impulse of
possession are more responsible for it than the physical

Disciple: There are people who believe that the physical
relation is an essential part of the highest relation of

Sri Aurobindo: Blake for instance, says that spiritual
love should be sanctified by the physical act. Disciple:
Salincourt criticizes Blake.

Sri Aurobindo: Salincourt writing about Blake is like a
sheep trying to understand a lion! Blake has got power,


can say ferocious power, madness and theories too
coherent to be sane. Disciple: Has the physical relation a
place in love?

Sri Aurobindo: A time comes in the life of a woman when
to surrender herself she feels it as fulfillment, even

Disciple: Has such a physical relation a place in psychic

Sri Aurobindo: It depends. It can be the psychic love
extended to the body. In the psychic relation physical
relation is possible; when it takes place it is for
procreation. It is a part of the attitude of a female to the
male–the attitude of submission. Surrender is more psychic
than that.

Disciple: In the physical relation is there no danger of
the higher elements getting lost?

Sri Aurobindo: It depends on the strength of the psychic
being. It may be overclouded by the vital and the physical
element. Of course, when it is merely physical then there is
no adoration and love in it. Psychic relation is not
generally found.

Disciple: An individual who has not found his companion,
and has hankering or need for one meets a woman whom he
loves; now if he keeps his love free from physical and vital
elements, i. e.


keeps it pure and psychic–does it mean that such a
relation is necessary for him–or that is his need?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it can’t be said. It depends on the
particular case to say whether it is necessary. The
Vaishnavas wanted to sublimate even the lower


elements of love by bringing them to the Divine. But we
know the result; most of them failed. Not that it cannot be
done, it can–but it is not easy.

Disciple: You have written in the Synthesis (of Yoga)
that ordinary human love can act as a preparation and may be
a form of aspiration.

Sri Aurobindo: It was not written for Yogis. It acts like
that in ordinary man, if there is a psychic element in it i.
e. if it is true love and not vital desire or attachment or
impulse for possession. Then it acts as an awakener and
uplifter. Blake accepts the physical also as something
Divine. The elements of love are: adoration and desire for
the union.

Disciple: Is such a love an unconscious seeking for the
Divine? It may not bring divine fulfillment but that of love

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is.

Disciple: Is it possible to evoke the Divine in oneself
to love the other?

Sri Aurobindo: If one has found the Divine in oneself
then he adores Him and surrenders oneself to him. Such a man
can love others–but that is a part of action of universal

The spark in human love, even if it is degraded
afterwards, tends to awaken the consciousness and evolve the



21st November 1939

Disciple: If love is an unconscious seeking for the
Divine, why some people, who have turned to the Divine will
seek the human love, especially here?

Sri Aurobindo: Are they conscious of the Divine? If one
is conscious of the Divine, one of the two things would
happen: either one would turn exclusively to the Divine or
being conscious of the Divine one may keep the human love as
an appendage.

Disciple: Supposing a man is unconscious and seeks human
love can it not be a seeking for Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: These things are hardly pure–they are
always mixed up. It may be only a cover for something else.
There are people who, as I said, when turn to the Divine
turn away from everything else. But it depends.

For instance, when you turn to the Divine you do not give
up your friendship for somebody. Only,


if you turn to the Divine the friendship ceases in the
old sense, but it taken up so that it does not become an
obstacle to the progress of each other.

There may be even individual love apart from universal
love which one gets when one is conscious of the Divine.




14th December 1939

Disciple: Did you meet Swami Dayanand of Bengal?

Sri Aurobindo: No. I met one of his disciples, a
scientist, in the Calcutta National College. When I
wrote–in those days–about the Avatar, he said the Avatar
is already there. Afterwards he himself recanted his
avatarhood when the shooting affair took place.

He has an idea of establishing world peace by bringing
all nations together. He can say that he established the
League of Nations and somebody else has disestablished

Disciple: He used to keep nothing for the morrow in his
organization–he depended entirely on Divine Grace.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, and he also started, I believe,
Sannyasi marriage–I can’t say, if it was real marriage or
spiritual. But he had something real in him.


Disciple: Another Avatar is coming out from Poona. He is
going to declare himself in 1941.

Sri Aurobindo: No objection. But there is great danger of
imagination mixing up in such things. Disciple: Can such
people be suspects?

Sri Aurobindo: No, perhaps romantic. There can also be a
mixture of mysticism combined with romance. When one deals
with mysticism one has to be very careful, because there are
many truths and also many imaginations.

Disciple: The Rosicrusians also believe in the reality of
mystic experience of Christianity.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, X belonged to that group in England.
But it created a lot of difficulty in his Sadhana because
they posit two things in man, good and evil persons. The
evil person has to rise

up in order to be got rid of by the good. There are
already sufficient evil things in the world without evoking
the evil person. The Europeans have very imperfect
understanding of these things. Even the Christian mystics
have hardly any clear idea about them.

Disciple: That is so because, perhaps, they do not want
to get rid of their individuality.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They mix up the self and the ego even
when they have identification with the Higher Consciousness;
they think that it is the ego which has become that.


Even Blake who had some idea of identity confuses ego
with self.

Disciple: A says, Gita’s idea of freedom demands freedom
from nature–Prakriti. Therefore, so long as man follows
Buddhi he is not free.


Sri Aurobindo: Does the Gita say that?

Disciple: In the verse where it is said Satwa binds by
happiness and knowledge.

Sri Aurobindo: That is quite another thing. The question
is whether Buddhi can help you to detach yourself or not and
whether, it can lead you to the perception of something
higher than itself.

Disciple: I think the text of the Gita will support that

Sri Aurobindo: I also think so. Otherwise what is the
meaning of Gita laying so much stress on Buddhi? Buddhi
helps you to detach yourself and prepares you for the higher
perception of the Purusha. And even Shankar, I believe does
not say that reason is quite useless. He also admits that
reason prepares the human spirit for what is beyond. Even
for going beyond Sattwa, it is a stepping stone.

Disciple: It means, Buddhi is an instrument of

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is an instrument of Nature that
helps you to rise to the higher Nature. Gita, as I said,
maintains that Buddhi can perceive that which is beyond

Disciple: A does not want to admit O’s contention that
Kant’s idea of following reasons and Gita’s Buddhi yoga are
the same.

Sri Aurobindo: Well, in a controversy one has to see the
truth in the other man’s point of view.

Disciple: A told me that Kant changed his mind later in
life and admitted the necessity of faith with which he deals
in his “Critique of practical reason.”

Sri Aurobindo: I have not read European philosophy


Disciple: Moreover, it does not interest us so much as
there is no practical side to their philosophy.

Sri Aurobindo: That was X’s great complaint that people
here want always something practical from philosophy. They
don’t want to think for the sake of thinking.

Disciple: Kant seems to say that who follows his reason
is free, who follows the senses is bound. This is, in part,
an Indian idea.

Sri Aurobindo: They have no idea of freedom–mukti–in
the Indian sense; their idea is to arrive at the Truth.

Disciple: Yes, also some idea of applying the truth to

Disciple: Yes, some sort of idealism. It is not
spiritualism. In his “critique of practical reason”, Kant
maintains that “pure reason is an abstract faculty hardly to
be found unmixed in man and so


practical reason is necessary.

Sri Aurobindo: What is then the ‘pure reason’ for?

Disciple: It is only an unattainable ideal. A says that
the contention of Kant’s opponent is that every body follows
reason. So, everybody should be considered free. Everyone
justifies his action–even the thief supports his stealing
by some reasoning.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is very practical reasoning
(laughter). Disciple: And he is free, because he acts

Sri Aurobindo: How?

Disciple: Because he decides freely, to steal.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a reason that is bound. There is
another reason which is detached, and, according to Gita,


man will not be free when he reasons about stealing but
if he can steal with disinterestedness then he is free.

Disciple: To the western mind killing with detachment is
difficult to grasp.

Sri Aurobindo: All these European philosophers after the
Greeks admit that Reason is the faculty by which you arrive
at the Truth. The question about the sense perceptions and
their reliability is easily met. We perceive certain things
by our senses and the sensations, for all men are the same
because our senses have a common organizations. Even then
different persons perceive the same thing differently.

If Reason could work in the abstract and be an ideal
faculty it might arrive at the perception of Truth beyond
itself. As it is, Reason practically deals with different
ideas and there reason differs in different individuals.

What I say is that if reason was sufficient for arriving
at the Truth then all reason would arrive at the same
condition. And we find out that different persons using
reason arrive at contrary conclusions even from the same

Reason can perceive that there is something beyond itself
that is the Truth. But it tries to assert the Truth–it
perceives as the whole truth. But reason is not right when
it says so. The Truth is infinite and has infinite sides.
Each conclusion of reason has some truth in it and we have
to find something that is fundamental behind the particular
formulation of the reason, and that is a matter of
experience. That which is behind is the Absolute and the
Absolute cannot be known by reason.

What can be known by the mind is Sat, Chit, Ananda. In
other words, when the Absolute presents itself to the mind
it formulates itself as Sachchidananda.


One can know the Absolute through the only.

Disciple: The Upanishads say that the expression of that
is not possible.

Sri Aurobindo: All Vedanta asserts that mind and speech
cannot express it, because as soon as you put it in mental
terms you limit it. Up to the Overmind some how you can
manage to express yourself but when come to Supermind it is
impossible. And if you go still higher and approach the
Absolute it is still more impossible.

Disciple: Is reason a personal faculty or impersonal?

Sri Aurobindo: If you go beyond you find wherever there
is a personal, there is the impersonal and vice versa.

Disciple: How to find that kind of reconciliation?

Sri Aurobindo: Throw reason aside, then you find the
reconciliation. You have to go on with experience till you
find the reconciling experience in which all find their
truth. Each is an approach to the Absolute. In a certain
sense one could even say that reason would not be right if
it did not differ. For instance, if the descriptions of all
the countries were the same it would not perhaps do. And yet
the earth is one and so is mankind and human nature. All is

Disciple: About the knowledge of identity, is the
identity of Sushupti the same as knowledge by identity?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it is not the same as knowledge by
identity. They all speak of knowledge of the self by
identity. But there can be the knowledge of other thing also
by identity.

Disciple: What is meant by “direct knowledge?”

Sri Aurobindo: Direct knowledge is the knowledge of


truth of things directly; it is not necessarily knowledge
of the Self or Spirit.

Disciple: It seems, the ancient had it and it is said
that Raja yogis get it by what they call Sanyama.

Sri Aurobindo: I suppose they meant by Sanyama putting
the pressure of consciousness upon the thing to be

But if one has the true consciousness it does not require
concentrating. One has only to put it. *

15th December 1939

Disciple X was laughing and Y was present. Sri Aurobindo
turned his head inquiringly as to mean: What is the cause of
the laughter.

Disciple: My presence acts as a catalytic agent, so I
myself do not know the cause nor what is the joke.

Sri Aurobindo: That is how the subliminal self acts,
without your knowledge, while your surface consciousness is
ignorant about it.

Disciple: But to return to N’s question. If one takes the
standpoint of reason and wants to decide


about the validity of spiritual experience he will find
the experiences also differ. So how can experience be a

Sri Aurobindo: Experience is not a criterion; it is a
means of arriving at the Truth. Experience is one thing and
the expression is another. You are again putting reason as a
judge of experience which is about expression. When men
differ in laying stress or in their mental preference for
this or that side of the expression, it does not mean that
the experience itself is not valid. It is only


When you try to put it in mental language that the
differences arise. That is why the Vedantis say that mind
and speech can’t express the Truth. As soon as you put it in
mental terms you limit it. If you find that experiences
differ, then you have to go on having experiences till you
come to the reconciling experiences in which all find their

The Truth, as I said is infinite and there are infinite
sides or points of view of it and each conclusion of reason
expresses something of that infinite. All of them express
some particular view, but they are all wrong when they say
that their view is the whole and the entire Truth.

When you want to describe a spiritual experience you are
obliged to use mental terms and you can somehow manage it,
so long as you deal with levels up to the Overmind. But when
you enter the Supermind then it is impossible. And if you
proceed still higher towards the Absolute, well, it is still
more impossible.

Disciple: It is so perhaps because reason is obliged to
consider the infinite.

Sri Aurobindo: It takes up one standpoint and says the
others are wrong. If it takes up the Impersonal, it says the
personal cannot be true and vice versa. Reason would not be
right if it did not differ. It would be as if the
descriptions of all the countries were the same–then they
won’t be true.

Disciple: How?

Sri Aurobindo: If you describe Switzerland and U. S. A.
in the same way, how can it be true? (after sometime) And
yet the earth is One and mankind is One.

There is the Personal and also the Impersonal. When


you transcend both of you arrive at the Absolute.
Disciple: So they are aspects of the Absolute.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but it does not mean that they are
less true or that Absolute excludes them. These preferences
are mental. It is when you throw aside reason that you
arrive at the Absolute.

Disciple: There is a verse in the Upanishad for knowledge
by identity–leaving aside the mind. “One must become one
with that like an arrow piercing the mark.”

Sri Aurobindo: That won’t fit exactly, because knowledge
by identity is much more than that. Generally they mean by
“knowledge by identity” the knowledge of self; while that is
one part of the knowledge by identity.


Disciple: In Raja yoga, they speak of direct knowledge by
Sanyama. I do not know if they mean by Sanyama concentration
of consciousness on the object. That is by putting the
pressure of consciousness on the thing to be known. It need
not necessarily require concentrating on it when the true
consciousness is there and it comes in contact with the
object; it knows it directly.

Disciple: Raja Yoga speaks of Siddhis also e. g. control
over matter or knowledge of Suryaloka and Chandraloka,
conquest of death etc.

Sri Aurobindo: Knowledge of Suryaloka and Chandraloka one
may have, but conquest of death is another matter. The Raja
Yoga does not acquire Siddhis by wanting them; they speak of
Siddhis coming to them. And it is true for those who enter a
certain state of consciousness.



Disciple: The Upanishad speaks of the Yogi’s conquering
diseases and death. *

30th December 1939

Disciple: The Hindu Mahasabha this year has got a large
number of delegates from the two provinces with Muslim

Sri Aurobindo: The two provinces with a Muslim

Disciple: Do you think that the Hindu Mahasabha if it is
organized would weaken the Congress?

Sri Aurobindo: The Congress may allow the Mahasabha to
settle the question with the Muslims by organizing the
Hindus instead of nationalist Hindus quarreling among
themselves. If the Congress can do something effective then
it would be all right.

Disciple: There are some people who object to “Vande
Mataram” as a national song. And some Congress men support
the removal of some parts of the song.

Sri Aurobindo: In that case the Hindus should give up
their culture.

Disciple: The argument is that the song speaks of Hindu
gods, like Durga and that is offensive to the Muslims.

Sri Aurobindo: But it is not a religious song. It is a
national song and the Durga spoken of is India as the
Mother. Why should not the Muslims accept it? It is an image
used in poetry. In the Indian conception of nationality the
Hindu view would naturally be there. If it cannot find a
place there the Hindus may as well be asked to give up their
culture. The Hindus don’t object to “Allah-ho-Akbar”.


Disciple: If they call India “Allah-ho-Akbar” then Hindus
would not object to it.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not in the Hindu nature to object to
such things. Why should not the Hindu worship his God?
Otherwise, the Hindu must either accept Mohammedanism or the


culture or become atheists.

Disciple: And why should not the Muslims accept some
Hindu idea, if for nothing else then for coming to a

Disciple: The Congress says the question cannot be solved
as long as the third party is there.

Sri Aurobindo: I told C. R. Das (in 1923) that this
Hindu-Muslim question must be solved before

the Britishers go, otherwise there was a danger of civil
war. He also agreed and wanted to solve it.

Disciple: The Congress thinks if the Britishers go, the
Muslims may be forced to come to a settlement.

Sri Aurobindo: The Congress says: whatever agreements we
come to must be accepted by the Britishers.

Disciple: If the parties come together the Viceroy cannot
oppose it.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course not. He would say: come to a
settlement and we will accept it. It is only two ways of
looking at the same things. But it is better to have a
settlement before, because otherwise any third party might
take advantage and come in. It is no use having again
somebody else to dominate India.

Disciple: Any neighboring countries can come and even
distant countries like Japan cannot be ruled out; even
Russia. But how is this problem to be solved?


Sri Aurobindo: The best solution would be if Congress got
the majority of the nationalist Muslims on their side, and
then take the Sindh Premier who wants to be with them. Thus
they can retain Sindh for the Congress–and then in the
Punjab they could come to some understanding with Sikandar
Hayat Khan. If they had not driven out Khalikuzaman in U. P.
there would have been no Muslim League in the U. P. If the
Congress had joined with the Krishak Party in Bengal then
the Congress would not be so badly off.

Instead of doing what was necessary the Congress is
trying to flirt with Jinnah and Jinnah simply thinks that he
has to obstinately stick to his terms to get them. The more
they try the more Jinnah becomes intransigent.

Disciple: There was an idea that the Congress should have
mass contact with the Muslims and it is unfortunate that the
Congress did not take it up.

Jinnah is appealing to the Hindu Minorities to join him.
So why should not the Congress ask Muslims to be with it? If
the Congress does not do anything then I think the Hindu
Mahasabha will do some good after all. Don’t you think

Sri Aurobindo: That is not the best thing. But if the
Hindus organized themselves then it would make some rational
Muslims think again and it would give men like Sir Akbar,
who want to come to a compromise, a chance to intervene.

Disciple: The Khilafat agitation was a great mistake; it
only added to the fanaticism of the Muslims without giving
them patriotism or nationalism.



JANUARY, 1940 4th January 1940

Disciple: I had a talk with G about Rigveda and on the
Aryan-Dravidian question. He gave me one or two arguments to
support his contention. According to him the fact of
different children in the same family having different
colours is a positive argument that race of the parents is a
mixed one. Secondly, in the Rigveda itself there is mention
of dark-skinned people and “Anasa.”

I said “Anasa” figures only in one Rik out of more than
ten thousand Riks and it may not mean “nose-less” or

Sri Aurobindo: “Anasa” is not flat-nosed, it means

Disciple: I consulted the Rigveda and found that it
refers only to the Dasyus and not to non-Aryans.

Sri Aurobindo: The Orientalists also wanted to prove


existence of Linga worship in the Rigveda by citing a Rik
in which the word “Shishnadevah” occurs.

Disciple: K. M. Munshi in tracing the origin of Bhakti
long ago wrote that devotion is nothing else but sublimation
of the sex-impulse, and he tried to trace the origin in the
Rigveda. I contradicted his view even then and showed that
“Shishna-deva” only means sensualists.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. And what have they to say about
the Dravidian tribe in Baluchistan? Is it black and
flat-nosed? How on earth do they find out these things from
the Rigveda–nomadic existence, gambling, and crossings of
the rivers, which to me is mystical. I also find that the
fight between Tristsu and Sudansah in the eighth Mandala is
not merely a battle, it is something symbolic.

Disciple: That is one of their strongest points in the
Indologist armoury. If one can get the clue to the symbol of
the ten Kings that would be the end of their theory.

Disciple: Did you hear J’s interpretation of your poem
Trance? He says that the “star” in the poem stands for the
individual, and the “moon” in the poem is the Universal.

Sri Aurobindo: If it is there I am not aware of it. His
interpretation is not very much unlike that of a Western
scholar; he seems to read his own mind into the text but
that is not poetry–it is metaphysics. I have explained the
terms myself: “star” is the star of creation, and “moon” is
the sudden upheaval of the inner life, and “ocean-self” is
true-being. There is no philosophy in it.



5th January 1940


Disciple: I am trying to get intuition but I fail.

Sri Aurobindo: Perhaps you were disappointed with Brinjal
so it is not coming.

Disciple: But N. began to have guidance as soon as he
started his Yoga. He has a mind which seems to be opened to
the intuitive faculty.

Disciple: Guidance in what way?

Disciple: Guidance when ever he is in difficulty.

Sri Aurobindo: A man of successful action gets a sort of
insight which is half – intuition; while a man of intellect
is generally handicapped and thinks of various possibilities
saying: this will happen, that will happen.

Disciple: Has a man of successful action no

Sri Aurobindo: He has but for action he feels what will
happen and seizes upon it. He acts upon the suggestion and
in most cases it turns out to be right. Not that he does not
go wrong at all. The nature of his mind is such that he is
open to this intuitive faculty of action. The English people
are so successful because they have a knack of getting vital
intuition which leads to success. Even if they commit
mistakes and jumble things together, in the end their
intuition comes to their help and pulls them out of the
difficulty. The French on the other hand are more logical.
They think and reason.

Disciple: The English are thinking of Finland more
actively because they are afraid of German-Russian naval
combination in the Baltic.

Sri Aurobindo: But how are they going to help? They

require ammunition and military equipment for themselves.
I don’t know how they have enough to spare. Referring to

Are you trying to get intuition in the medical faculty?
Instead of limiting to one special field of activity why not
try in a general way?

Disciple: In what way?

Sri Aurobindo: For everything. For example, what X. is
going to do next or if you are a reader of novel you try to
get what will follow. Of course, it is for an expert novel
reader to say that. After all, many people get intuition
without knowing it.


8th January 1940

Disciple: Have you read C. V. Raman’s address at the
Science Congress? Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I have.

Disciple: It seems they have discovered two new

Sri Aurobindo: Not discovered, but created by changing
the position of the particles in the atom. What are they
going to do with them?

Disciple: The cost of producing them will be prohibitive.
Though the method of breaking up by Cyclotron is cheap.
Raman has supported Einstein’s theory about unity of matter
and energy.

Sri Aurobindo: Has anybody doubted it? Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: But what is energy?


Disciple: Modern scientists have stopped asking that
question. They only concern themselves with the ‘how’ and
not the ‘why’ or the ‘what’. But their own discoveries will
make the question more pointed.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. Because the question is why a
different combination of atomic particles should make a
different element.

Disciple: Once energy was said to be tubes of force and
there was theory of vortices in vogue.

Sri Aurobindo: That means force in movement. You know
energy when it is in activity and then the question arises
what is force?

Disciple: They don’t answer this question.

Sri Aurobindo: Unless you accept a Being behind who
applies the force and also becomes matter there is not other
explanation. When they are given this reply they say it is
all nonsense. They explain it by saying it is nature. They
don’t know what is nature. It is merely giving a name.
Nature stands for a magic formula, a Maya and they explain
everything by that formula.

Disciple: The scientists swore by the rigorous law of
causation but now they find it difficult to apply it in
their investigations.

Sri Aurobindo: What is causation? It only means that
certain conditions follow certain other conditions.

Disciple: How can the presence of somebody behind force
be proved?

Sri Aurobindo: There is no other explanation. I have said
that in the Life Divine.


Disciple: He didn’t say about somebody but a Being.

Sri Aurobindo: I have said in the Life Divine that you
can not explain the appearance of consciousness out of
Matter unless you accept a Being behind. The Being may be
either Unmanifest and involved in Matter or it may be

Disciple: It is the Brahman playing on Brahman or with

Sri Aurobindo: They will accept the Brahman playing
within the Brahman.


Disciple: They want to catch Brahman with their
scientific instruments.

Another Disciple: They have despaired of even that! They
have come to the materialistic conception of the Universe.
They speak of tensorial law.


10th January 1940

Disciple: In a publication of the Gita Press the writer
is trying to prove the efficacy of repeating Divine name and
of the Kirtan. He cites Tulsidas in support of his

Sri Aurobindo: If it was so easy it would have been

Disciple: There is a story of Ajamil in the Puranas to
support the efficacy of repeating the Name.

Sri Aurobindo: The value of Name and Kirtan depends upon
awakening of the Psychic Being and its influence over other
parts of nature.

Disciple: Has mechanical repetition no effect?


Sri Aurobindo: If it touches the psychic being it

Disciple: In the Kirtan people easily go into ecstatic
state or Bhavasamathi.

Sri Aurobindo: Very often it ends in awakening the vital
instead of the psychic being. Disciple: ‘X’ is now retired.
Do you think now he is doing your Yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: He has his own way of doing the yoga and
the seclusion, I believe, is temporary. Disciple: They cite
your own example in favour of retirement.

Sri Aurobindo: It is wrong to say that I do not accept
life because I do not actively participate in it. It is true
I am not for acceptance of life as it is. I accept life, i.
e. nature, for transformation.

Disciple: Some of our disciples are not taking part in
ordinary life but can we say that they are retired? Or can
we say that they are not doing your yoga?

Disciple: X. here likes ordering people about, he seems
full of anger, egoism, etc.

Sri Aurobindo: That changes last because the outer being
is the last to change; it does not mean that there has been
no progress within.

Disciple: In Raman Maharshi’s Ashram one feels at once
the peace.

Sri Aurobindo: Is there nobody in the Ashram here who
feels quiet and peaceful? Disciple: In the world also you
find people who are not


jealous and are peaceful. The difficulty is how to find
them without attaining inner perfection


Sri Aurobindo: X felt peace and immediately went in for
the yoga. It is nothing compared to what is yet to be done.
In many people I see the light which I don’t see in worldly

“New Statesman” condemns Huxley’s book ‘After many
summer’ as a witty parody thrown into philosophy.

Sri Aurobindo: Then it is no worse than Anthony West. He
does not seem to admit wit even. They say Forster is also

Disciple: They do not seem to like intellectual novels
like those of Tagore. Sri Aurobindo: If not intellectual,
will they write stupid novels?

Disciple Tagore in his novels analyses various
psychological movements which common people can’t
understand. Sharatchandra can be said to be a
non-intellectual writer.

Disciple: Yes, except in his ‘Shesher Prashna’.

Disciple: So far as I have read he does not seem to be
very intellectual. Sri Aurobindo: He is not much of a

Disciple: He has in some of his writings pleaded the
cause of Western civilization or culture by taking the
opposite line of arguments, but to me they have seemed
always to be weak. For example, his heroine does not find
anything grand in the conception behind the Taj Mahal.

Sri Aurobindo: What is there European about it? The one
thing they like is the Taj.


Disciple: I don’t mean the architectural beauty, but he
ridicules the ideal of immortal love.

Sri Aurobindo: From that point of view Europeans like the
idea of immortal love. In fact love has a great place in
their life.

Disciple: Love in the sense of emotion directed to one
person alone and continuing even if the person is dead.
Sharat’s heroines cannot bear this. He seems to advocate
re-marriage or no marriage as far as I understand.

Sri Aurobindo: Why is it European? In Europe no one
advocates such an idea except a few intellectuals. If you
want to abolish the institution of marriage they will raise
a hue and cry.



FEBRUARY 1940 23 February 1940

Disciple: The world is
Swayambhu–self-existent–according to Jainism. God can’t
have created world because he lacks motive.

Sri Aurobindo: Do you create because you are unhappy?
Nirod writes poetry because he is miserable?

Disciple: No, to get more joy.

Sri Aurobindo: He is then full of joy and wants more.

Disciple: If God has not created the world, you can’t get
his help in liberation.

Disciple: In Jainism each one gets liberation by his own
effort. Even Tirthankars don’t help. Sri Aurobindo: Of what
use are they?

Disciple: He is like an example. It is Shasan Devatas who
are worshippers of Tirthankars that help.


Sri Aurobindo: Then you can worship the Devas. If Devas
worship Tirthankars they should not help either because
their ideal is the attainment of Tirthankars. Why should
they help? It is also contradiction of the law of Karma. If
Karma brings its own reward inevitably then help of God is
unnecessary. If God helps and intervenes effectively and
changes the result of action, then the law of Karma is not

Disciple: Jainism believes in Purushartha.

Sri Aurobindo: If you believe in Purushartha you can’t
expect Grace of God. How can you pray to help you?

Disciple: I believe in Grace but in Jainism they don’t.
Disciple: Then why do you do this?

Disciple For myself I believe. They believe each one is
alone and they say: “I have come alone and will go alone.”
This feeling will give Vairagya.

Sri Aurobindo: If he is alone, how does the Tirthankars
and Acharyas, so many, infinite number of, Siddhas crowded
in Siddhasila come in? Like all religions it is
fantastically illogical. Buddha also said the same thing,
but the religion says: “Buddham Saranam Gachchhami.” So also
in Jainism.

Disciple: In Jainism self-mortification persists. In
Buddhism there is not. Buddha gave it up after a trial.
Buddha and Mahavir were contemporaries but they don’t seems
to have met. Mahavir was born in Vaisali.

Sri Aurobindo: Who? M? (laughter).

Disciple: In Jainism each soul is bound by ignorance and
there are three ties of that ignorance and three ways of
liberation. This has been symbolized in the Swastika.


Sri Aurobindo: That is why Hitler took Swastika from
there. (laughter) Disciple: Because he wants to dominate
over all the world.


Disciple: Jainism believes in multiplicity of Purushas
and in one Prakriti. Disciple: It is like the Sankhya

Sri Aurobindo: They took it from Sankhya. Their whole
stand is on the Sankhya. (Disciple M.) was repeating Navakar
like Gayatri.

Disciple: It sounds like Pali.

Disciple: Yes; it is written in Magadhi. It is in the
Prakrit language. Sri Aurobindo: What kind of Prakrit? There
are many Prakrits. Disciple: The language that was current
in Behar.

Disciple: Mahavir was a Behari.

Date not available but sometime February.

Disciple: Bijoy Goswami passed the last years of his life
in Puri and he came to the conclusion that so long as
poverty was there in India spiritual and religious teaching
had no chance. One of his disciples writes in the last issue
of the ‘Kalyan’ that in his last years he believed in Dana
Yagna–charity. So much so that he ran into big debts and
when his health was failing the disciple had to arrange for
the money to pay up the loan, because Bejoy Goswami said
that he could not leave Puri before paying the debt and he
asked his disciples not to be calculating and practical but
do the work, as a Divine work, without thinking of


Sri Aurobindo: It is one thing to think of tomorrow and
quite another to try to remove poverty by feeding the poor.
People don’t understand that philanthropy cannot remove
poverty, it can at the most relieve it. If you want to
remedy poverty you must find the causes of poverty and
remove them. And it is not a correct idea that when people
have plenty they will think of God, since the greater number
of spiritual people have been those who have renounced
everything and lived on very little. As soon as people have
money they forget those who have no money.

Disciple: His idea was that people cannot believe that
God is all-merciful, kind and loving, unless at least their
physical needs are satisfied.

Sri Aurobindo: If the idea is that God is all
compassionate and must look after everybody’s food and cloth
then of course his principle would be true.

Disciple: At last all his disciples had to collect large
sums far away in Bengal and send him the money to pay the
debts, but he never reached Calcutta. I believe he died in

Disciple: But I heard that he was poisoned by some
jealous Sadhus; he made Sthambhan–control–on poison for
some time, but ultimately he could not prevail.



MARCH, 1940


Disciple: Does this article show any change in Barin’s

Sri Aurobindo: It depends. He says what is uppermost in
his mind, and what suits him at the moment, according to his
moods. But it may be a change in his attitude, but difficult
to say if there is any progress. The change may be due to
his having failed in every thing after going from here and
the Ashram growing out since. That may have impressed him.
It may be due to mental causes also.

Disciple: He admits that he had fallen from the path and
his attitude towards Mother. Disciple: Somebody said that he
used to speak highly of the Mother.

Disciple: No, he was critical.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He says things according to his own
mood and what suits him. He wrote one book on Mother and


asked Andrews for introduction. Andrews refused saying:
“I know the Mother”. About the Ashram Moore also refused to
believe his criticisms.

Disciple: Mother says this is “a year of silence and
expectation.” For this what is to be done? Sri Aurobindo:
Year of silence means “observe silence and be

Disciple: He wants to know whether the literary work he
is doing by the approval of the Mother is not going to
interrupt the silence especially if he goes for

Sri Aurobindo: I suppose one can do the work in silence.
But he should not engage in controversy. He has too
combative a mind. If he goes in for controversy naturally
silence will be interrupted.

Disciple If he does this sort of work and somebody
contradicts, naturally he will have to re-contradict.

Sri Aurobindo: Why? Many people criticize me. I don’t
answer. It is not necessary that he should answer.

Disciple: N and I decided not to convert any other people
about Vedic interpretations but to go on repeating over and
over again our own point.

Sri Aurobindo: That is Hitler’s method.

Disciple: That is why nobody contradicts N.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. When people find that the opponent
does not answer they lose all interest.

Disciple: He says it is true he has lost touch with the
reality of the external world. Now if he reads Manchester
Guardian and New Stateman will it disturb his silence?


Sri Aurobindo: It depends on his mind. If he can read all
these things in order to know what is going on, it is
alright, but he should not run away with any idea or
programme. He was asked not to


read papers because his mind was slave to politics and
attracted by the ideas. The fundamental peace and silence is
all right, but he should bring the attitude of the Purusha
in his reading also.

Disciple: I did not know at all that he has also such
difficulties! Sri Aurobindo: You thought he has reached
Supreme Siddhi! Disciple: Not so much, but a Cosmic

Sri Aurobindo: All-India consciousness. You can tell him
that he must not attack or contradict people. When he reads
anything he must not allow his mind to run away with any
ideas, but take up the attitude of the witness and see from
where these things come. And if he does not allow the mind
to identify with any of them he will know the right source
of action and knowledge. You were talking of Cosmic
Consciousness. All these ideas are there in the general
Prana and have equal validity from the point of Cosmic
Consciousness. They may be as much true as his own i.e. when
Basanta Chatterji contradicts him there is some truth in
what he says. He has to see what distortion the mind has
brought in democracy-personal ambitions-boycott-S-he has
lost his head-like Europe-part of universal movement.

Disciple: D also used to have many brilliant ideas e. g.
common kitchen, cleaning, Baroda city.

Sri Aurobindo: Ideas are always brilliant. Co-operation
is always possible, because each finds his self-interest in
the interest of others.


Disciple: A–what he a political leader?

Sri Aurobindo: He was just beginning his career. That
sort of leadership is nothing. If you have the gift of the
gab and power of ideas and putting form into them, you can
always succeed. All politics is a show. In British
Parliament it is the Civil service who are behind, and whose
names are never known, that really do the work. The
Ministers are only their mouthpieces except a man like
Churchill and Hore-Belisha who can do something.

Mother’s brother, for instance, he organized the Congo
land in Africa, but the Minister got all the credit for it.
He was one of the great colonial administrators and even
when he was officer in Equatorial Africa, sometimes Governor
or Governor General, the whole job was done by him. He
hardly had a bed and used to lie in easy chair. Now he is
nearly seventy but, as soon as the war was declared he went
to the Office and asked for his work and now he is working
eighteen hours a day.

A is living in his mind. No “isms” or mental programme
will do, if you want to base things on the Spirit. They are
all out of count. It is the repetition of the old mental
way. Are the villagers going to understand my philosophy? If
he goes to work, he will find himself out of touch with
realities and will have the same fall as B. B went out to
revolutionize the world.

Disciple: And he ended by revolutionizing himself.

Disciple: These things can be only done by Government. It
is better to get the Government.

Disciple: Yes, but both constructive work and this kind
of political work can go together as Gandhi is doing.

Sri Aurobindo: With very little success.


A is talking of common kitchen! Why not have every thing
common? *


APRIL 1940

25th April 1940

R was talking to C in the train that his difficulty was
about accepting Mother, because he said they used to
meditate together and therefore he found it difficult to
accept her.

Disciple: Nobody ever meditated with the Mother before
the Ashram came into existence in 1926. Sri Aurobindo: Yes,
even then in the beginning there were very few people.

Disciple: Mother used to meditate with Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that was individual. She was
coming to me and her position was special even from the very
beginning. There was no comparison between others and
Mother. There were people in the Ashram who thought that
Mother had done no Sadhana before she came to India.



MAY, 1940

20th May 1940

Disciple: Why Hitler says that he wants to finish this
campaign before August 15*?

Sri Aurobindo: That’s a clear indication, if an
indication was necessary, that he is the enemy of our

Disciple: Is it that he fears that descent might take
place on August 15th which might make his work more

Sri Aurobindo: This force does not believe in Divine
descent, but it is a sort of challenge that, “I will finish
my first decisive victory before August 15th”. That shows
the nature of the conflict.

Disciple: It does not seem to be only one being. It seems
to be a camp. Sri Aurobindo: yes. But this is the leading
(spirit). That


* August 15th happens to be the birthday of Sri


being has often come here to see what was being done. Did
you read Richard’s book “The Lord of the Nations”?


Disciple: No. I read only “To the nation”.

Sri Aurobindo: The book was never published, but he wrote
it at a time when he was in communication with that

Disciple: Most of these people do not believe in any
religion. They want to give up and suppress

Sri Aurobindo: That is what I meant when I said these
people have guarded the Barbarian in them. What they have
got is scientific knowledge, mechanical skill, but other
cultural activities that used to be there, are all
suppressed, and Hitler suppresses them where ever he goes.
He has suppressed them in Poland, in Czechoslovakia.

Disciple: Man is only used by these people as a part of
machinery and organization. Sri Aurobindo: Exactly so.

Disciple: And he is talking of reviving worship of the
old Norse Gods.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are crude conceptions of the
primitive instinct of mankind. Even though Odin is
considered a God of knowledge it is more or less primary
instincts that are symbolized.

Disciple: Do these beings know the existence of the
Divine and deny it? or are they ignorant about it?

Sri Aurobindo: It depends on the nature of the being.
They know the existence of Gods for instance, but they do
not consider them higher than themselves.


Disciple: Yes, and they do not merely ignore the Gods but
claim to evolve world-order of their own.

Sri Aurobindo: When these beings act by themselves no
human power can stand against them. It is alright so long as
there is a question of influencing men, that is to say the
Divine influence as well as Asuric working. But when it is a
question of incarnation, as in the case of Hitler, then it
is the different matter.

Disciple: That makes the conflict between the Gods and
the Asuras represented in the Puranas very realistic even
for our times. Because generally the Gods used to get beaten
by Asuras and run for protection either to Mahakali or to
Rudra or to Vishnu.

Sri Aurobindo: It is the intervention of the Divine that
can become effective, and in this German and Stalin affair
it is the question of the descent of the whole vital world
on this earth. That is what has puzzled most people,
specially those intellectual people who were thinking in
terms of idealism. They never expected such thing and now
when it has come they don’t understand how it has come and
what is to be done; they are all puzzled.


22nd May 1940

Disciple: If the Asuric forces incarnated in Hitler and
others in Germany, is there no one on this


side of allies who incarnate Divine force?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Unfortunately there is none. They are
all ordinary man; there is no one who can receive the Force.
Perhaps Marshal Petain may be able to receive but he is too
old I think.

Disciple: Can Wegan receive?


Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know him; in such times if you
have men who do not conform to the science or the rules it
is an advantage. We require men with ideas and daring. Hore
Belisha would have been a very good choice on English side.
If they had put Lord Halifax for India it would have been
easy to arrive at an understanding with the Congress. Mother
also does not find anybody who can receive.

Disciple: Jean Herbert when he was here was very hopeful
that there will be no war. The queer thing was that he
believed that the dictators will get whatever they ask for,
only if they ask strongly enough.

Sri Aurobindo: They could get France also if they ask
strongly? Nivedita a French lady, was telling this time,
those French people who have gone to the war are those who
have no enthusiasm for idealism. They all seem to have gone
to fight with defeatist mentality. That way it is difficult
to succeed against Germany.

Disciple: Referred to Sir Arthur Henderson’s book
“Failure of my Mission in Germany”? Sri Aurobindo: I have
seen a review of it in the New Stateman.

Disciple: Jwalanti was telling that in that book Sir
Arthur Henderson speaks of Hitler as a man who works under

Sri Aurobindo: Does he say that?

Disciple: He also described the condition of a young man
who is her friend’s son and who is in diplomatic service
when he returned from Berlin. She said that his people could
not recognize him when he came. He said that while in
Germany he felt as if he was put inside a metallic bomb and
every minute somebody was pumping more air into it so that
he could not breathe properly.


Sri Aurobindo: The whole general atmosphere in Germany
seems to be dominated by these forces. Young men actually
taught to become devils. In Poland when the Poles complained
to German General about cruelty by the soldiers the General
said: Don’t complain. This is nothing. Wait, let the Nazis
come and you will know what cruelty is.


23rd May 1940

National Socialism was introduced today in England.

Sri Aurobindo: It was great revolutionary step, but for
the war it could never have passed. Because all along the
English history has been the struggle for individual
liberty. And this is a


negation of all that. I believe, it must be due to the
pressure of the labour members. Disciple: It must be also to
prevent war profiteering.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I think so.

The question of taking Narwic arose and it was reported
that it took up position without loss of a single

Sri Aurobindo: It must be very Ahimsak fight where both
sides take up position without shedding drop of blood.

There was an explanation about Gandhi’s Ahimsa.

Disciple: Gandhi’s idea of Ahimsa is that he should get
killed. Disciple: Yes, he has an almost passion for being



JUNE, 1940

15 June 1940.

In one sense one can say, history it repeating itself
because Greco-Roman culture was destroyed by German Nordic
hordes and to-day it is again the Germans who are trying to
destroy the centre of European culture. The Asura working
behind Hitler has been giving him very correct and
remarkably accurate guidance. He knows what is possible.
That is why Hitler has never been listening to reason. He
only waits for the voice. Till now it has guided him
correctly. One mistake, it seems, it has made it to think
that when he attacked Poland he thought that England will
not go to war. Otherwise he has direct guidance which
Napoleon did not get.

The question was put to Sri Aurobindo whether the Asuras
can have the power of vision.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they have. Vision is not only on the
spiritual level. It can be on the vital and on the subtle
physical level, and can be very accurate.


The question was whether the Asura can see his own end.
Sri Aurobindo: No.

Disciple: It is like the astrologers who can’t predict
their own end.

Sri Aurobindo: No, they can predict accurately. There are
instances in which exact hour and minute has been predicted.
Instance on the point is of the Charles of Burgendy who was
taken prisoner by Louis XI. He had made arrangements with
his guards that if he said “be in peace or pass in peace”
then he should not be killed but if he did not give nay such
sign the astrologer who visited the jail where Charles was
prisoner should be killed. Then, he asked the astrologer the
time of his death. He said he could not give the exact date
but it was 24 hours before the death of Louis XI. Louis took
great care to see that he was saved, and years afterwards it
came out that actually

Louis died 24 hours after his death. This happening Scott
has described in his novel. Disciple: Hardhan says that the
French will ultimately triumph.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not unlikely.

About the surrender of Paris, Sri Aurobindo said: How can
they allow Germans to enter Paris without fighting? If the
old civilization is to be destroyed, it is better that it is
destroyed heroically.


Disciple: Advaitanand met some sadhak at Tiruvenamallai
who was arguing with him that knowledge need not be
accompanied by power.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is true. It depends on whether you
lean on the side of witness Purusha or power or both. If


a man realizes the Sad aspect, the Pure Being, he may
have no power. Because Pure Being does not act. On the
contrary, there may be those who may know many things but
have no power to act. Generally even in the mind you see
that a man may have much knowledge but he may be very weak.
Even in the case of those who realize the power aspect the
power may not be always used.


17th and 18th June 1940.

It was asked if Sri Aurobindo knows all the possibilities
connected with the war.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are known as possibilities. We
do not accept anything as absolutely certain.

On the 17th (curiously enough Richard Paul’s birth day)
Petain proposed an armistice and all thought that France was

Sri Aurobindo: All these heroes of the last war–how
could they propose a truce? How can they expect anything
honourable from Hitler? It would be an end of France. They
have become decadent.

Disciple gave the instance of the Munich crisis.

Sri Aurobindo: France was condemned then, when she did
not stand by her treaty.

Disciple gave the instance of French coins and Mother
said: what coins are these? They are the coins of a ruined

Disciple: I quite understand how it must be impossible
for France to continue the war. They began without
enthusiasm for the war, but even afterwards Government


are seen actually wishing for such a peace! There is a
soldier in the hospital who even says “what is the use of
fighting? for whom?


Sri Aurobindo: That is the decadent mind, when men think
more of their safety and comfortable living and want to live
in peace at any price.

Disciple: Is it not the action of the law of Karma that
is upon these nations?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is their Karma. But if they can go
through the suffering and pay the price they can wipe off
their Karma.

(Sri Aurobindo was even for the defense of Paris. He did
not like that it should have been undefended. When a culture
is going down, let it go down a little heroically.)

But if they give up the struggle it means they are

Disciple: Will the English continue after the French have
given up?

Sri Aurobindo: I think they will. At least they are not
known to give up so easily in the past, unless they have
changed considerably (as the French).

In the light of this, one admires the resistance of
Poland and Finland. In spite of very bad leadership and
ill-equipment they fought bravely to the end and did not ask
for terms.

I don’t think that they are lost. On the 18th morning
Churchill’s proposal was out for an “Anglo-French

There was panic last evening–Everybody thought France
had given up. In fact due to variety of causes the


French soldiers are not fighting. They think in terms of
communism and capitalism etc. Sri Aurobindo: They will have
chance for nothing under Hitler.

There are only two chances: either if Hitler dies soon,
then the work may be undone or if the people last out.

Sri Aurobindo liked Churchill’s proposal and said:
English people do not like an idea for the sake of the idea.
But they have a feeling for what is possible, what is
necessary. They have a great flexibility in politics and
they have shown it by declaring in England State-socialism
(He said, in between, once that the British Labour Party had
secured rights for the workers, but has not been strong in
pressing the claim of India upon the present cabinet) and
this Anglo-French Union is another move.

Disciple: The prospect of a joint English and French
Parliament is very humourous.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the French members will be fighting
among themselves and the English will be shaking their heads
and saying “most unparliamentary”.

Disciple: Can the French yet resist? And if the French
give up can the English resist?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? That is why we Indians cannot
win. Once we are defeated, we always think that if you are
defeated you have to give up. It is not like that. The
greatness lies in not giving up the struggle and refusing to
accept the defeat as final. You can defeat me any number of


but I am not going to give up. The British have stood out
alone against victorious powers in the past.

If the French decided to resist, they have the Navy


and Air-force intact and their colonial army and
colonies. From there they can resist till they win.

The Belgian and Holland Governments have not given up,
why should the French? And even if the Anglo-French Union
does not become permanent they can have a very powerful
federation with Holland, Belgium, Norway, Poland,
Czechoslovakia and they can request India to join it
voluntarily as an equal partner. That would obviate the
conservative fear about making a sweeping change in India.
They have always a fear that it is against tradition, too
much out of her way.

No nation can be great on the principle of maintaining
their existence, unless it stands for some great cause or
idealism or something great. (In this case, it is the
imponderable that is more important than the

16th June 1940

When P referred to Churchill’s speech yesterday
explaining that the French really lost the battle in
Flanders, where they lost 25 divisions and said that it
comes to about at the most 3 lakhs, SriAurobindo said that
French divisions are smaller of about 15 or 18 thousands
each. So P wondered what happened to other 17 lakhs.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what I don’t understand how they
complain of want of men. Chamberlain and Daladiar both seem
to be the same. I do not know whether it is stupidity or

Somebody raised a question of complaint that British were
not sending sufficient men.

Sri Aurobindo: You must remember that Britain is not a
country with conscription. They have not got a big



standing army. It takes time to prepare and equip men,
and yet they sent 4 lakhs with the best equipment they could
have which was not small force for England, and they were
obliged to retreat and take back 3 1/2 lakhs.

Disciple: It seemed that after the fall of Paris
Britishers have sent 4 lakhs of men.

Sri Aurobindo: No, there seems to be some confusion. They
could not have sent so many because before the Renau cabinet
resigned Churchill said that he had sent 3 divisions already
and would be sending in all one lakh by the end of June. But
as usual these over sensitive French military men in their
over-suspiciousness did not believe in Churchill’s

P referred to composition of the new cabinet as out and
out rightists cabinet. Sri Aurobindo: It does not even
represent the whole of France.

Disciple: The retreat has become a rout.


Sri Aurobindo: Because the army has no organization left
and because the morale was broken first by the fall of Paris
and secondly by the peace talks. Everybody thinks, “What is
the use of dying to-day if to-morrow they are going to
conclude peace.” There is no heart in the fighting.

Disciple: At that rate they will find after some time,
they can’t oppose Hitler.

Sri Aurobindo: It is as Mother says that Hitler does not
want to give his terms before he destroys the French army.
It seems the same condition that was in time of Napoleon III
when France lost the war. It is due to party quarrels and
jealousies. Politicians trying to meddle in the


government instead of doing their own work. Their
dissatisfaction with England is quite meaningless because
Churchill clearly said that it would take some months to
make the loss of materials in the Flanders. It is no use
putting an ill-equipped army against Germans.

Gamalin was a fraud and Weigand has not proved
exceptional. If some military genius had arisen he could
have saved the situation. It seems that Hitler is going to
ask for those colonies from France that are near British
possession. In that case he may ask for Pondicherry.

Disciple: Does he know anything about Pondicherry?

Sri Aurobindo: O yes, they know everything. Children are
taught most wonderful details about the cities and even
villages in England and France. They have got a school where
they train future Governors of England. So far as
organization is concerned there are only two people who
cannot be surpassed: The Germans and the Japanese. In the
last war they found maps in Germany of English villages in
which the position of trees and houses were also


There was a reference to Hiranya-garbha which I took to
him. He had explained two days back that “Hiranya-garbha has
nothing to do with Supermind”, besides “Hiranya-garbha is a
being while Supermind is not a being.”

Disciple: It is a plane of being or a plane of
consciousness. A world of its own.

Sri Aurobindo: Exactly so. Hiranya-garbha refers to the
universal subjective, while the “Virat” is universal
objective. In the Rigveda there is only one reference to
“Hiranya-garbha” (10 Mandal 121 when I read the hymn to


Sri Aurobindo: Here Hiranya-garbha is a God. It is as the

I said there is a Hymn in R. V. II. 12 which is also
familiar in wording and conception but which refers to

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, there are several hymns in which the
various Gods like Agni, Indra, etc. are spoken of as
creators. But it is not the same thing as what I call the
“Supermind as a creator”. The word in the old philosophy
which can convey the idea of the Supermind as a creator is
“Pragna”–the Knower. He creates for himself, but Pragna is
spoken of as superconscient because it is above the ordinary
mental consciousness and ordinarily one enters it in
Samadhi, unless one does


like us to bring it down into the ordinary consciousness.
Supermind also is superconscient but that is because it has
not yet been attained. I remember in jail, Hiranya-garbha
being equivalent to Taijas, while Pragna is prior to that;
we used to call one fellow who had a strong imagination,
“Hiranya-garbha,” that is to say, the man of strong

Then I showed him the two references S. V. III. 2 in
which Hiranya-garbha is derived from Rudra and S. V. II. 4
in which “Kopila” is said to be Hiranya-garbha–both of
these Sri Aurobindo said were not clear in their meaning of
Hiranya-garbha and they were quite different in their sense
from Rigveda.


22nd June. 1940.

About the report of military correspondent that the
French thought in terms of French fortress and positional
war. They did not believe the importance of tanks and
aeroplanes even though they knew that the tanks decided
their victory last time.


Sri Aurobindo: And Gamlin had to go because he was so
much accustomed to the idea of fortress that he did not know
what to do when the Germans came in through Flanders. Gamlin
and Daladier both are so evidently weak that one is
surprised how they were regarded as strong men. Government
after Government in France was appointing Daladier as
Foreign Minister, while he did nothing in fact for preparing
for war and so also Chamberlain. You have only to look at
their photographs at Munich conference where you can see
fierce cunning and crafty Hitler while Daladier appears like
one who can be broken in no time, while Chamberlain looks
like a cunning fool who thinks he was getting his point,
while really he was not.

There was a Nazi incident in Uruguay.

Disciple: Will that be an excuse for American to join the

Sri Aurobindo: If it is true that Germans have given a
threat and if Uruguay Government shoots some of the Nazis
and Germans declare war on Uruguay then Monroe Doctrine will
come in full force. But I don’t suppose it will go to that

About armistice discussion between French and Germany Sri
Aurobindo said if they ask for capitulation of navy and air
force then it will be very hard for England. The English
have their air-force but do they have sufficient tanks? A
big invasion of England seems unlikely and if the English
can last till the end of the year then Germany may be

Russia is very foolish in putting its pressure on Turkey
to keep out of war. There is bound to be a clash between
Russia and Germany about the Balkans and at that time if the
English are defeated there will be no chance of


23rd June. 1940

On hearing about the terms of French armistice which
included putting all the French resources at the disposal of
Hitler Sri Aurobindo said, it is an “act of basest
treachery”. When he heard about


the Rumanian Government becoming Nazi he said “the whole
world seems to have been taken by a wave of selfishness,
cowardice and treachery.”


25th June 1940

Disciple: We say everything happens, happens according to
the Divine Will i. e. nothing happens without it. So the
defeat of France happened according to the Divine Will i. e.
according to Sri Aurobindo’s will!

Sri Aurobindo: “Everything” does not mean every
individual act or event. You can say Sri Aurobindo’s will on
another level of consciousness willed it. For instance, you
can’t say that I willed to break my leg!!

People think of God as a kind of super-dictator. The
Divine Will lays down general lines–but in actual play
(Lila) it consents to limitations that are self-imposed. It
has also to pay the price in the play of forces. Otherwise
you can argue that Rama willed that Sita may be taken away
by Ravana! Christ knew that he had to be crucified for the
work and yet something in him wished it may be

So, it is not all my “will”; it is the Karma of France
and England also that is working.

I am almost getting sympathy and admiration for the
British which I never had before. They are standing up alone
against Hitler’s power without allies–just as they did in
Napoleon’s time.


Disciple: You wrote in a letter to Dilip that your will
never fails.

Sri Aurobindo: No, I did not say that. What I said what
the I have not seen my will fail (so far as the major events
of world were concerned) in major events until now.

Disciple: What events?

Sri Aurobindo: For instance, Ireland’s freedom. I wanted
Alsace Lorraine to go to France. They were not fulfilled at
the time when I willed–many have been fulfilled when I no
longer wanted them. For instance, I wanted to break the
British Empire. Now Hitler wants to do it. But I don’t want
it, as it would mean the triumph of Hitler. Wherever he has
gone, he has destroyed the higher values of life.

If I want that British must not be destroyed it is not
because I like the British Empire, but I see that it would
push back the work tremendously. It is not mental utility
but there are other utilities also.

Disciple: Does not the Divine Will foresee?

Sri Aurobindo: The Divine Will foresees everything, lays
down lines of development and allows the play of forces to
work out and in that play of forces it consents to certain
things. It does not will for each individual fact.

It may include also running away like Krishna who fled
from Kala Yavana. Disciple: Is the Divine limited?

Sri Aurobindo: Every one who descends for a spiritual
purpose, will have to be limited: of course, such a
limitation will be self-imposed. That is to say, he will
consent to the rules of the play of forces.


Disciple: Now Hitler is giving bread to German

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, he says the German workers are
without food and he is going to feed them. It is the Asura
spreading his influence like that. He promises that he will
bring peace and world-order etc.

The new order would be that the British should declare
dominion status and pass some parts to Germany.


When Sri Aurobindo was told about the efficiency of
air-raid shelter supplied by Anderson in England and after
knowing how it worked Sri Aurobindo said, now the greater
preoccupation of human mind seems to be to find out means of
destroying each other and of escaping destruction. Man is
said to be a rational animal but there is very little reason
in these activities. It is of same kind as ingenuity of the
animal. What man is doing now is only extension of animal
ingenuity. Formerly he used to destroy with swords and
spears and other instruments.

Disciple: They could not do it so well as now, and you
can imagine they are spending lakhs of rupees for one
machine or one bomb.

Disciple referred to R. Gregg’s article in the ‘Harijan’
in which he strongly advocates the adoption of khadi in
Wardha scheme by European nations.

Sri Aurobindo: But they were destroying each other when
they were using Charakha in the past? Disciple: Perhaps not
on such a large scale.

Sri Aurobindo: There are cases of the whole population of
the city killed by their primitive method.


Disciple: Instance of Baghdad where Ghangiskhan put up a
tower made of one lakh of human skulls.


27th June, 1940.

27th Chapter of “Life Divine”. The publishers in
consultation with the professor of English changed “founded
in” into “founded on”. Sri Aurobindo said when I told him
about the change, “I have already used that in the previous
paragraph and they have suggested “on” and I have not
accepted the suggestion. I have used there “in” purposely.
These people think that they know English better than I do.
They are habituated to use current phrases and words in
their usual sense but they do not know that a good writer
does not always use current phrases and words in their usual


Disciple: But they do it after consulting a

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but the Professor is an Indian. He is
not an Englishman. It is these people who have learnt the
language that want to use current phrases. As Richard
Stephenson said, “English language is like a woman who loves
you for taking liberty with her.” Once Sir D.-V. sent me one
of his books and on every page I found 40 such worn out
expressions, what they call cliche and all the Indians are
praising the English. Perhaps an Englishman would have said,
“What a horrible style!”



JULY, 1940

21st July 1940

There was a reference to C. R’s article about the
necessity of force for maintaining a state.

Disciple: Blunchli in his book called “The State” puts it
down as a fundamental principle. Every state is founded on
force and President Wilson in his book also maintains, a
little apologetically, that all human states are founded on

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, so long as man is not too much
cowed down or has not evolved beyond his present condition
and is too high to use force, force will be

Disciple: In the Supramental creation will there be any

Sri Aurobindo: No. Because there you are supposed to go
beyond the human conditions. But for ordinary human


purpose the state is bound to employ force. Only there
are two types of institutions, one which employs force pure
and simple and another which is based on agreement and force
is employed to maintain the agreement. That is the
difference between democracy and dictatorship. The weakness
of the democracy is that its rule is based on majority and
so there will always be a minority that is not satisfied
with the conditional things. And if the minority loves the
hope of becoming majority it might resort to force.



AUGUST 1940 3rd August 1940

There was a letter from K. P. to Dilip in which he
expressed his opinions and ideas about the present war, His
points were:–

1. The war is already fought and decided on the inner

2. Mankind is responsible for rise of the Asuric

3. Each much fight the lower forces and side with the
Divine in himself. After reading the letter Sri Aurobindo
said: It is quite alright that the struggle between the
forces is worked out on other planes before it is projected

Disciple: He means like the Gita where Sri Krishna says
that Kauravas were already killed. Disciple: So the result
is already decided.


Sri Aurobindo: I would not admit as he seems to admit
that everything was fixed. Of course, the issue has been
decided by the Divine vision and there can be no change in
that. But nobody knows that decision of the Divine. And when
there is a struggle between the forces it is always possible
to change the balance of forces. True, things are decided
above and happen in the physical afterwards, but not exactly
in the same way. There can be a variation. Of course, there
can be no variation in what is decided by the Supreme

In a way, it is quite true that we mankind have made the
world what it is.

Disciple: K. P. seems to say that Hitler is a result of
tendencies which men have been harbouring in themselves. He
forgets that the being behind him may also be responsible
for spreading the influence.

Disciple: K. P. feels that England will not be defeated
in this war because he says they have some purpose to
fulfill in the world. So long as they do that they will not
be defeated.

Sri Aurobindo: That is true, though certain forces have
been working for the destruction of the British Empire. I
myself once worked for it but it is quite possible to change
the action because if the same result can be achieved in a
different manner then the destruction of the British Empire
is not necessary. I myself would not have minded any result
to the British Empire, if its destruction did not mean
victory for Hitler. But that changes the whole aspect.

Disciple: Is this not all due to the necessity of a new
world order?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, evidently. Question is what is going
to be the world-order and how is it to be brought about?


Sri Aurobindo then spoke of the psychic attitude to be
adopted by every one. That is useful for attaining much
higher spiritual result. There have always been a small
number of people who have embodied that change. But I do not
know how that can change the whole world conditions. Or
perhaps by psychic he means mental and vital changes. Even
that I don’t know how they can come about if Hitler wins.
For the present, everybody seems to be taking refuge in
cowardice and trying to save his own skin and if the change
desired is to come after Hitler wins then perhaps it would
be after great suffering and through reactions on the part
of men to that oppression, or even it may not come at all,
or come after the Pralaya, whereas by changing the balance
of forces the British Empire can be saved, and if it can win
then the new order might take place more quietly and also
the mental and vital changes necessary will take place
without much disturbance and so much destruction.


Disciple: Do you mean that the Supreme Vision’s decision
can be different from the decision of the subtle worlds?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily, but between the vision of
the Supreme and its realization here, there are many
possible variations. In fact, if you speak of “destiny” then
you must know that there are different layers of destiny.
There is, for instance what the astrologers call the destiny
in the physical. There can also be destiny in the vital. By
bringing vital force into play the destiny in the physical
can be changed. So also by bringing mental forces into
play–though it is more difficult–what seems to be the
vital destiny can be changed. That is why astrologers hardly
prove themselves right because they look at the physical
whereas there can be a variation in the play of forces of
the mental, vital and physical planes. On these a certain
play of forces may show as if the destiny was in favour of
one or the other group of forces. And this balance can be


Disciple: But if the Supreme vision is there then the new
order is bound to come. Is it not?

Disciple: But at present before the Supreme has a chance
there are many others who are ready with their own ideas of
the new order.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, everybody seems to be busy with his
own world-order and nobody knows about the decision of the

Disciple: But how can you say nobody knows? You said that
Supramental descent is bound to come.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but we have not yet become
Supramental. I know it will come, but I have not fixed the
date for it. It may be to-morrow. I don’t know!

Disciple: It seems that Mother said to some one that the
Light will descend when there will be all darkness around
and no possibility in sight for man.

Sri Aurobindo: That was not her own words. She was only
repeating an ancient prophesy.

Disciple: I suppose world is sufficiently dark even now,
for it is only England that is standing in the way of
Hitler’s triumph.

Sri Aurobindo: Did you not see the Mother’s prayer for
this year? It is quite clear; at any rate, those who
received it in France perhaps know now what it meant.


18th August 1940

There was a talk about the music of Bhismadeva. N started
the topic by stating that Tagore long ago started a campaign
against classical music saying that it was


dead. The reason he gave was that classical music was
only a performance of mere technic and cleverness; there was
no soul in it. Tagore therefore started emphasizing the
importance of words and their meaning in music. He almost
said that words were preferable to notes. Even Dilip
strongly supported this argument of Tagore in his


Sri Aurobindo: If it was only the exercise and exhibition
of technique and mere skill on the part of the classical
musician, then there was no real music in it.

Disciple: For musical appreciation the sound value, the
rhythm, harmony etc. are quite enough. There is no need of
words or meaning for the appreciation of music.

Sri Aurobindo: Like all other arts the music has its own
medium–it is sound–it stands by itself. If it depended on
words or on poetry then it would be poetical music but not
pure music.

Disciple: The classical musicians were only performing
the gymnastics of sound and Tagore said that there was need
of fine and beautiful words for music.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but if it is gymnastics of sound it
is not music. Music then would be only a commentary on

Disciple: They say that the remedy for reviving music is
to give value to word and meaning.

Sri Aurobindo: The conditions are such because classical
music has degenerated but it does not mean that it should
not be revived; and the remedy is not to give value to words
or poetry, but to restore the soul of music. If words are
indispensable to the appreciation of music then how can an
Englishman hear Italian music and appreciate it?–because he
does not understand a word of music.


Disciple: Tagore is very particular about the tune of his
own songs and nobody is allowed to make any change in the
notation of his song. That is why Dilip does not sing his

Sri Aurobindo: I believe Tagore is not much of a
musician, is he?

Disciple: By no means, because he happens to be great man
in other things and has a big name therefore nobody opposes
his claims in fields where he does not know anything.

Sri Aurobindo: It is more or less like his paintings.

Disciple: Not so bad nor so extravagant perhaps.

Disciple: Dilip also thinks that beautiful words are
necessary for music.

Sri Aurobindo: That is because he is more of a singer
than a musician. Singing is an art by itself. Disciple:
Appreciation of pure music requires also training.

Disciple: Everybody cannot appreciate or form a critical
judgement about music. There has to be training and also
aesthetic faculty. One can see in Bhishmadave and Biren that
they have not merely technical perfection and rhythm but
also they enter into the spirit of music. And there one can
see that it is the notes,–the musical value of notes–that
create the atmosphere specially in the case of Biren who
merely by playing on string instrument succeeds in creating
a fine atmosphere.

Sri Aurobindo: If words were indispensable to music then
most of the European and the best of it which is without
words would not be called music at all. In pure music words
are absolutely not necessary. If you can’t have


pure music without word then one can also say that one
cannot paint a subject which is not literary.

Disciple: Beethoven’s symphonies are only musical
notations and played with the violin and piano. One of the
reasons why North Indians fail, or find it difficult, to
appreciate South Indian Music is because they are prevented
by words; also perhaps because South Indian Music is more
intellectual. When you hear B’s singing you see that he is
conscious of the notes only, and the musical value of
them–he is not conscious of the words and their meaning.
And whatever he wants to express in his music either an
emotion or a state of consciousness he does it through notes
and not through words. His very gestures show that he is
working with notes.

Sri Aurobindo: It is fortunate that modern European music
has not suffered the same fate as modernist painting and
poetry; the moderns have not bee able to spoil the European
music. It is difficult to have cubism in music.

Disciple: It is difficult to throw about cubes of sound
because they are sure to hurt the ear.

Disciple: Some people say that Dilip’s music is more
spiritual while that of BH and other musicians is not

Disciple: That is because Dilip is singing religious
songs and Bhajans. Disciple: Can pure music be

Sri Aurobindo: Of course.

Disciple: What I have found in Dilip’s music is that the
atmosphere he creates is not due to his music but to
something else,–perhaps to his personality or the being
that is in him. I have also seen that if one goes to his


with the idea of expecting sound values and rhythms he is
likely to be disappointed.

Disciple: So far as the spiritual atmosphere is concerned
he does not require a great musician to produce it. A
spiritual person singing a very ordinary song can create a
spiritual atmosphere.

Sri Aurobindo: That is true. Similar is the case with a
poem which may be common-place but a clever elocutionist can
make much out of it.

That is why I do not grant the contention of the
modernist poet who says that in order to appreciate his
rhythm you must hear the poem recited by him. A clever
elocutionist can produce a rhythm where there is none in the

Disciple: Some people say that they like Dilip’s poetry
when he recites it but they cannot appreciate it when they
read it themselves. It is also difficult to appreciate his
poetry unless one known the rhythms and new turns which he
has introduced, because his rhythms are quite different from
those of Tagore.

Sri Aurobindo: What I have found in Dilip’s poetry is
that it is mental poetry connected with Bengali poetry of
pre-Tagorian era. Perhaps it is due to his father’s
influence which was also intellectual. What I mean to say is
that Tagore introduced a new element of feeling and


in Bengali poetry; as he is a genius his poetry is
beautiful but much of what is written under Tagore’s
influence is wishy-washy stuff, that is to say, it is poetry
without any backbone. There is no sound experience behind
it. Even in Tagore you find that his idea is diffused into
seventy or eighty lines yet it does not come out clearly,
though the idea is there. In pre-Tagorian poetry they had
clear intellectual ideas to express and they expressed them
poetically. Dilip’s poetry has two things: the subject


the treatment. Generally the subject is an idea which he
develops, an intellectual thing which he expresses in poetic
form; and his technique is a departure both from Tagore and
the old tradition.

Disciple: In his novel-writing also it is found that
Shorot Chatterji was far superior to Tagore as a story

Disciple: But he criticized Dilip’s story on the ground
that there was very little action in his story. In fact he
said that story much have a story, not mere discussions. But
in Tagore’s own story there is very little action. They are
also what are called the intellectual novels.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I found in Dilip’s story, when I
turned over the pages, that somebody or other was talking on
every page.

Disciple: Or sometimes there are long letters in the
novel and interminable replies.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, all sort of things that are not
native to the purpose of the novel are being put into it by
the moderns. So, instead of writing a pamphlet they write a
novel, instead of delivering a sermon they write a story,
even they write a story for journalistic purpose. It is like
Bernard Shaw writing his dramas. All his characters are
meant only to represent different sides of questions which
he takes up in his drama.




15th September 1940

Disciple: Has the individual no reality except as a
puppet? Sri Aurobindo: That is Shanker’s stand.

Disciple: Another question is “If the Divine is already
there and does everything then why yoga?” Because Sri
Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita that you have only to
become Nimitta–instrument. So the Christian’s criticism is
that the Individual is meaningless–without any
justification or fulfillment. Gita is preaching pure
mechanism or unconsciousness.

Sri Aurobindo: But Gita does not say that you are
“compelled” to become the Nimitta. It says
“Bhava”–“become!” but it does not say that you have no
existence except as Nimitta.

Even if Arjuna does not become the Nimitta Sri Krishna
says that he will do it in his own way.



Even when you find that the Divine has decreed the
result, it is the result that is decreed but not the
Nimitta, that is, anything else could have been the

The Individual – Universal, the Transcendental are the
One in different positions. “I am the Lord in each” says the

Disciple: If Divine does everything then we have to
conclude that ignorance is unreal.

Sri Aurobindo: Ignorance is not unreal; it is real, that
is to say, there is a Truth that corresponds to it.


Disciple: The aim of spiritual Sadhana is freedom from
ego, from bondage of ego. What is to be done after that?

Sri Aurobindo: It is the first indispensable step. But
there are many possibilities after that freedom. For

1. He may remain confined to his own nature or to the
apparent ego in nature–though free.

2. or, he may open equally to Cosmic forces and acts
as Bala, Jada, Pishacha or Unmatta.*

3. or, he may be one with the Divine and act and would
be free not to act. In case he acts, he is the individual
centre of the Cosmic for Divine action. He is one with the
Divine yet remains a different self–yet free. Cosmic forces
would be available to him for Divine action.


* Infant-like, inert-like, devil-like, or



28th November 1940

Letters from Kabul and from Ella Maillard; change in
attitude to Gabriel; effective representation of Ella.

Gandhi’s will – or political will was read (brought by
Abhaya Deva) distributed to Gandhi Seva Sangh – spoken
orally and taken down; after hearing the whole letter Sri
Aurobindo said:

Something in him takes delight in suffering for its own
sake. Even the prospect of suffering seems to please him
though he puts in a lot of ethics with his justification,
the fact is that something in him enjoys suffering.

2. Secondly, if he knows that to the British Government
50 Gandhis would not matter–what does he propose then to
achieve politically by his fast? He even knows that the
British people are not even going to consider the
possibility of Ahimsa!



It is Christian idea that has taken hold of him. Besides
he seems to think that after him his theory and creed of
non-violence would continue. I don’t think so. A few people
would be there but anything like a wide scale influence like
that of his personality does not seem possible.


I don’t object to the world-order but I object to
Hitler’s world order. “Psychology” would remain unpublished
so long as the war lasts because I must known whether Hitler
goes up or goes down.

All European publications have been stopped on account of
the war.

My contribution to the war fund was not my taking part in
politics. It was in view of much wider issues which I have
spoken of in my letter,–the issues of human culture and
individual and national liberty; and as the English are the
only race that stand up for it, I support them.

“Justice”–Englishmen won’t be acting according to
justice, why should they? Which nation acts on the
principles of justice? Why should we expect them to fulfill
a standard which we ourselves can’t satisfy.

Indian problem has been very badly bungled by Jinna, and
Congress and Mahasabha. They have not been able to play
their cards well. That is why they are losing the game.

What is justice after all? To the Socialist denial of all
property, liquidation of capitalism is justice. To the
capitalist something else is justice.

Congress is asking for freedom of expression but it does
not give its own members freedom to express their ideas, if
they are against their official policy.


Two ways of securing freedoms by force, by
revolution–that cannot succeed so long as we have Jinnahs
etc. The only other course is compromise. There you have to
give and take,–know your opponent. Generally, the English
do not want to go to the extreme or to be continuously
repressing. After a time they like to come to a compromise.
Generally they arrange the bargain in such a way that they
gain in the compromise. They want to be respected. They
don’t like to be called bad.

Fast and Satyagraha changing the heart of the opponent is
absurd. What it can do is to exert pressure and secure some

But it can’t succeed if it challenges the very existence
of the other force. For instance, Gandhi succeeded in
settling the labour question because the capitalists did not
want to earn public obloquy. So they gave concession to his
demands. But suppose instead of some demands of amelioration
he had asked them to hand over the mills to the workers then
he would not have succeeded.

All the talk of change of heart is absurd. If it changes
anything, it may change only the mind–not the heart. The
man may not like to face the consequences and so would give
in without changing the heart.

The English have also some constitutional mind. So once
they give, they don’t go back upon their word. They don’t
want anyone else to walk into India when they walk out of
it. They are afraid of that happening if they leave India
now. It would certainly mean civil war and any other power


walk into India. They have proclaimed that they would
grant Dominion Status which amounts to Independence except
one or two matters like defense and foreign affairs.


They don’t care for world opinion or India because the
opinion they consider important is American opinion. But as
all are afraid of Hitler they won’t at present speak against
England for her Indian Policy. And also they are not quite
wrong when they say that the Indians must settle their own
differences. The Lucknow pact has become a great political
blunder. The Mahommedans,–they want to rule India.

If Gandhi undertakes his fast for self purification or
for spiritual end it is something, but how can he gain
political power by that?

It is British Government that gives way to such pressure.
Against Germany, Japan, Russia or even France that has no

Virawala a match for Gandhi. Vallabhbhai’s life attempted
after Amreli and Rajkot.

Jail going is useful because it can help a nation in
solidifying itself and in organizing itself. But if the
programme is carried out ultimately, the ruling power, if it
is oppressive, can be thrown out by the organization


29th November 1940

Kasturbhai’s Arvind Mills of Ahmedabad was using Sri
Aurobindo’s picture on their products, without any
permission and without paying any consideration. One of the
picture was shown to Sri Aurobindo and it was represented to
him that legal action could be taken against the Mills. On
seeing the picture Sri Aurobindo said:


“The other one made me look like a criminal. This one
makes me look like an imbecile–not only the eyes but the
mouth;–can one do these things?”

Sri Aurobindo did not want to press the legal aspect of
the matter.




31st December 1940.

Disciple: On what does receptivity depend?

Sri Aurobindo: On quietude, openness and wideness. One
can’t receive, if one is disturbed and also what he receives
can’t be effective without quietude. Quietude is of the
Mind, the Vital and the Physical. The most difficult is of
she Inconscient. One can develop openness by Will and
instill quietude also by throwing away all disturbance by
aspiration, will, effort, etc.



JANUARY, 1941 4th January 1941

Sri Aurobindo: Inconscient, what is inconscient? There is
nothing below the Inconscient. It is from the Inconscient
that Matter takes form. Everything has its basis in the
Inconscient. As the work is going on in the Inconscient the
difficulties from there arise,–various diseases, etc.

It is the stuff of all material world. Inconscient has
its own power. It has concrete thoughts and ideas of its
ignorance and in order to combat them, one has to bring down
concrete higher Force.

Disciple: What about “In tune with the Infinite” in which
he says: “I am infinite power. It is pouring and pouring in

Sri Aurobindo: What about it? You tried?

Disciple: Yes, I am as I was.


Sri Aurobindo: It looks very much like Coue’s method.
Disciple: Can it work?

Sri Aurobindo: It is one way of opening the consciousness
to the Force. I don’t know if it can be successful all

Disciple: You said to D that his keeping the attitude
that “I am the child of the Mother and SriAurobindo–nothing
can oppose me” was quite proper.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the central faith which one is
required to have in this Yoga. If one can make that faith
living in all parts of the being then it would be quite
alright. But the body says, ‘I have pain–I am suffering.’
It has that power of Ignorant idea from the Inconscient.
After completing the work in the Inconscient, the higher
ranges of the Supramental consciousness would be brought

Disciple: There is a proposal for introducing a course in
Indian Philosophy as a subject in the University.

Sri Aurobindo: There is no objection to their doing that
but it should not be compulsory. It should not be called a
course in Metaphysics and Theology. Life Divine is not a
Theology! Further, it should be kept optional. Religious
instructions should not be made compulsory. It does not
necessarily develop spiritually; many people come to
spiritual life through atheism. Religious instruction makes
man narrow, sectarian, etc. The objection to this scheme is
that it is academic. It would lose all its like and become



14th January 1941


Sri Aurobindo had seen a volume of Cezanne and one of the
painters of the 20th Century representing the most modern
trends of artistic movement in France.


Cezanne had found “remarkable” models for his portraits.
All of them were very fine and showed power.

He didn’t know drawing and so some of his things were
imperfect. Colour is everything. (I showed him the small
volume on Cezanne). He liked it better because of the colour

In the evening he said he had liked Matisse also.

He found three things in modern art – 1. Ugliness, 2.
Vulgarity, or what might be called coarseness, 3.

In their nude studies it is very low sexuality which they
bring out. They all call it “Life”–but it is not life. Even
in the most ugly corner there is something fine and
beautiful that comes and saves it. It shows France has gone

To create form by colour only,–that is a matter of
technique and one can accept it.

It started with Cezanne–but even there the beginning is
already there in his study of the nude. There is too much of
a genius to be positively ugly.

When they go further even in the application of their
theories they become absurd. What they mean by “inner” is
“subconscient”, lower “vital”.

There is no objection to suppressing the unessentials in
a work of art–all great artists do it. To retain the
“essentials only”–Fauvism.



24th January 1941

Life of Blake with many of his etchings was shown to Sri
Aurobindo. He had not liked them very much when a few of
them were shown to him some days back. During daytime when
he saw them he said that they were merely “dramatic” and
“imaginative” rather than “creation of art.” He remarked
that English art in general was more a result of “mental
imagination and less satisfying as a work of true art.” The
“Death of a white horse” looks like a violent angry old man,
and the horse is also wild and angry. “I can’t say I’m
impressed.” If you can compare his work with the etchings of
Rembrandt, you will see the difference between true artistic
creation and imaginative work.

I related Lawrence Binyon’s remarks in the preface that
these works make an impression on the mind and don’t so much
appeal to the aesthetic senses and so you are disappointed
when you see them again.

He was glad to note that Lawrence Binyon agreed with him
in this respect.

“I liked some of his paintings” he said “especially his
representation called “the murder.” It is a great work. You
see that it represents murder. That is art.

In his poetry, too, I was rather disappointed, except
“Book of Thel” (journey to Thel) and some of his lyrics–his
poetry also is not satisfying. It is like his etchings “You
find it rhetorical”–Durer also was a great etcher. The
claim was that he used to paint or etch these things under

“There is a realm of the stretch of vital romantic from
which you can get these things. That period comes in Yoga
also. But these things are not deep and profound.”


The symbolism which he claims to have evolved for the
complete explanation and interpretation of Christianity
looked very elaborate to me.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, all that may be true but it is not
poetry. Middleton Murray and some others try to make so much
of his poetry. It is the same you find people trying to
indicate that the names of certain countries stand for
certain activity and certain contribution, and that even
individual names (of Gods).



1941 OR 1942

Disciple: Does the feminine aspect (of the Divine)
correspond to love, Devotion and surrender? Sri Aurobindo:
No, not necessarily.

Disciple: Does not Satchidananda love?

Sri Aurobindo: No, that is Krishna Prem’s idea,

Disciple: There is no reason to associate these with the
feminine aspect because he associates these with it.

Disciple: Receptivity includes these things; it is only a
way of representing the inner life of the woman.

Sri Aurobindo: Because the female is passive, dependent,
(passively active) while the male is active, strong and

Disciple: The Vaishnavas look upon all souls as Gopis and
so it seems that the feminine aspect in all corresponds


the element of love, devotion, etc. because they take
this path.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if you accept their idea. But that is
not the whole idea.

Disciple: It cannot be said that the male aspect is
without love, devotion and surrender.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is so. Only, it is of different
nature. Man, for instance, may be devoted to a woman but
that is not the same thing as a woman’s devotion to man. And
the Vaishnava outlook


is not the whole of the feminine aspect. There are other
aspects of the woman. Love is not the only aspect of the

Disciple: It will also have to include Tantric idea of
the Shakti.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so.

Disciple: But Krishna Prem says that both these should be
equal in all men, is it true?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by true? If you mean
‘true’ in fact then you can say it is not true. He says “it
should be” but “should be” is not “what is.”

Disciple: Is the idea correct?

Sri Aurobindo: That is his idea that it should be so.

Disciple: Perhaps he means that in an ideal case these
two should be equal.

Disciple: Krishna Prem also says that Grace and Tapasya
are complimentary. No one of them is to be stressed. Girish
Ghosh used to say to Ramkrishna that he left everything for
Ramkrishna to do (for him); and it seems he was very much


Disciple: What I heard is that Girish found at the end
that he had not been able to give his burden over to

Sri Aurobindo: You mean he made no effort himself?

Disciple: I suppose so, or he found at the end that
somehow or other he had not left the whole thing to

Disciple: That means, if one has that living faith he can
do without Tapasya. C also says that he does not believe in
Tapasya. He believes in Grace.

Disciple: I do not mean that one should indulge in lower
nature while depending or believing in Grace. But otherwise
I don’t believe in Tapasya.

Disciple: Yes, but if we want something then we have to
make some effort or straining for that thing. Some effort is

Sri Aurobindo: (to C) What do you mean by Tapasya?

Disciple: It has the sense of effort. For example, the
mind is wandering about: then one has to make an effort to
concentrate it. This is difficult.

Sri Aurobindo: That Tapas means something difficult is
the popular idea. It means most often sitting on nails,
standing on the head etc., But that is not correct. Tapas
can be for something one likes or wants. You gather the
energy for the object.

Disciple: When one sits in meditation the mind is
wandering about and one has to gather it. This is

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but something in you wants to do it.
You want it, is it not?


Disciple: It is the gathering of force of consciousness
for a particular purpose.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, you gather up all the energy and put
it on a particular point. Disciple: Even for gathering up
some effort is necessary.

Sri Aurobindo: If you want to achieve the object some
effort will be necessary for achieving it. Disciple: Some
men may find it easy to meditate for many hours.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that requires concentration of
energy. All effort is not unpleasant. For

instance, a man who plays cricket has to concentrate on
the ball, on the bat, wicket, fielding etc.

Disciple: That is easy comparatively because the man
finds interest in it. Disciple: Another man may find that
effort difficult.

Sri Aurobindo: It is said in the Upanishads that God
created the world by Tapas. It was not that he found it
difficult to create the world, but he had to make the

Disciple: There is an instance given of concentration as
when a lady goes about doing all sorts of works with a
pitcher on her head. All the time her attention is
concentrated on the pitcher.

In the case of the Gopis it was not that they had not to
make an effort to remember Krishna. They spontaneously fell
in love with him and some thing in them was on fire. So when
something in the being is touched like that, then
concentration does not require effort or labour.


One may concentrate for one thing and quite a different
result may come–one may go to quite another line.

Sri Aurobindo: In my own case, Lele wanted me to get
devotion and love and hear inner voices. Instead I got into
the Silent Brahman Consciousness.

Disciple: And he prayed and tried to pull you into the
other condition.

Disciple: I find in my case that with little effort on my
part many things have dropped.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is because you, or something in
you, wanted to drop these things. Disciple: But there was no
corresponding effort for the results.

Sri Aurobindo: It may be so. It is not a question of
correspondence: with little effort something in you wants to
drop it sincerely and then the Grace finds it easy to act.
But all the same the effort is a contributory element. There
are cases in which one goes on making effort and yet no
result comes and even the condition becomes worse. While
suddenly you find, when you have given up the effort, that
the thing is done. It may be that the effort was keeping up
the resistance and when you give up the effort the
resistance says “This fellow has given up effort, so it is
no use persisting.”


MARCH, 1943

12th March 1943

Disciple: T was such a nice person,–very good in
behaviour etc.

Sri Aurobindo: ‘That is so because you do not know what
the person really is–you see only the outside.’

Disciple: But she was very disciplined.

Sri Aurobindo: “No–she was very nice so long as you did
what she liked. But otherwise she was a person least fitted
for Sadhana. The family has a touch of madness. She was
hysterical and also there was dissatisfied sex. She looked
very nice and people generally think it is a sign of great
advance when a man stops speaking to persons or if he
retires like N. B. and N. and even S. These are persons with
small spiritual capacity. B.–yes but B. had a great
capacity. It was his inordinate ego that came in his


Disciple: Mother is preparing 12 persons–apostles like
Christ?–and then other 12 will be taken up etc.

Sri Aurobindo: “I don’t know it,–unless you believe that
I hold it as a State secret.” 26th March 1943

S. Iyengar’s book on English poetry. “His Judgements are
not always sound and his quotations though they seem
striking at first they don’t stand a second reading. So that
they can’t be taken as the best. For example, he speaks of
Oscar Wilde–but he has not referred to the “Ballad of the
Reading Goal” which is one of the best things written in
English. Also his estimate of Blunden’s descriptions of
nature-photographic and true to Nature perhaps–but it is
very doubtful if they will survive.

“Shakespeare you can go back to for the hundredth time.
That is the test. Only T. S. Elliot will live–but that as a
minor poet only. The moderners all have got diction but it
has no value without Rhythm. They have no Rhythm.”

No one now reads Ben Johnson because people are no longer
interested in him.



APRIL, 1943

16th April 1943

General Tokezyswaki: Polish leader came through Umadevi,
a Polish lady. *


17th April 1943

General Tokezyswaki saw Mother at 3-30 for nearly an

1. Synthesis of Elements of different cultures.

2. Nearly 3500 Polish refugees in India.

3. One or two hours to himself for reading about this

Sri Aurobindo: “Such men will find great difficulties
after the war because the peace seems much more
difficult–war is difficult enough”.


From the notes. 18th April 1943 In Russia before the war
there were 18 million in prison–1/10th of the

General Tokezyswaki had been to Russia–because he was a
Socialist. What he saw disillusioned him. He was even
imprisoned in Russia.

The spy system in Russia is very extensive. Each man who
is somebody is watched by three men. In the army also one
who does not fight has to face execution.

American politicians want to retain their hold over North
Africa if they can–to ensure payment of their money. They
would even like to have Persia and Iraque.

So, the peace is not likely to be a very easy affair.

Spiritual cure – method described – Blue ray – directed
to the patient – Washes his own hands. Astral body seen near
the patient.


19th April 1943

Spirit communication–Desire to continue the family life
of Earth. There are such spirits who like a reproduction of
the life on Earth.

Got tired of the same wife and husband.


Divorce suit in the other world. The husbands might ask
if the wives are Satis!


Letter from Dilip–with Krishnaprem’s. Whether every time
a Sadhaka makes personal effort can it be said that it is to
satisfy the Ego.

Sri Aurobindo: No, it can be to subordinate the Ego to
the Divine. If it is to seek power or to


satisfy some other impulse then personal effort may have
egoistic origin.

Disciple: Could one make the surrender to a Guru whose
outer nature is imperfect?

Sri Aurobindo: It has nothing to do with any human
standards–moral or mental. Most often it is the Ego that
says that ‘this fellow has got this defect, I won’t
surrender to him.’

Disciple: But the very act of accepting some one as Guru
requires some perception or feeling or experience of the
Divine in the person?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. It may be only a belief
in the Divinity of the Guru.

That way it can be argued that God is imperfect because
the exterior working in this world is full of imperfections,
ignorance, suffering, etc. All these things do not count.
The question is whether the Divinity in the Guru can awaken
the Divine in the disciple.

Vivekananda was conscious of Ramkrishna’s shortcomings
and his mind was very agnostic. So it took him years and he
was fighting with himself before he accepted Ramkrishna.



AUGUST, 1943 7th August 1943 Letter from Siddhartha
(Nolini Sen’s son).

1. Faith-Blind in Guru’s words.

2. Religion is superfluous and injurious to India.

3. What is Sri Aurobindo doing? What has he done or is
doing for India?

Sri Aurobindo: Why does Siddhartha want to argue about
his faith? How can he prove his faith by arguments? He must
know that it can’t be done.

And now-a-days it is well-known that one argues in favour
of what one likes. It is not for arriving at the Truth. One
can’t arrive at the Truth by arguing.

He can find plenty of proof of people whose faith has
succeeded where all outer reason was against them. There are
many such things in history.


If England had only thought and depended on reason then
she should have made peace with Hitler. She had no chance
against Germany. But in spite of that she had faith that she
could win and she is beginning to win.

It was after the Dunkirk that I openly came out with my
declaration and gave the contribution openly. If I had
believed in appearances I should not have. It is in spite of
opposite appearances that you have to act on faith. I had
fixed the 15th August and 15th September as the dates on
which Germany would have defeat and both the days they go
the defeat (August I believe over London


and September–the ‘invasion idea’ and ‘preparation’)

2. I wanted De Gaulle to become the chief of the Free
French armies in North Africa. There were many obstacles and
the Americans came in with their pro-Vichy attitude. But I
went on pressing and ultimately it has succeeded.

3. Also about the Tunisian campaign. There was lot of
swaying to and fro. But I persisted–First time when the
Allies attached they were only 30 thousand against 3 lakhs
Italians. If Wavell had gone to Tripoli at that time he
would have succeeded. But they went to help Greece and
naturally they had to retreat. But I went on and at last
they took Tunisia.

If you depend upon reason then you can’t know what is
Truth. Germany fought Russia on her reason and won and now
Russia is fighting Germany on her reasoning and is winning.
It is apparent it is not reason which is giving anyone the
success. There is, or must be, something behind that decides
these things.

Our people cannot understand why one who has the Divine
consciousness or Brahmic consciousness should take


up sides in a fight. That is alright if you want to
remain in the Static Brahman. Then you can look upon the
whole thing as Maya and it may not exist for you.

But I believe in Brahman siding against Brahman–that the
Brahman, I think, has been always doing.

The distinction between the Ishwar consciousness and
Brahmic consciousness is not clear to many people, and also
some of the Monists consider Ishwar to be a lower status
than Brahman because it is dissolved in the Pralaya.

But Krishna took side openly in Maha Bharata and Rama
also. Rama they do not consider an Avatar–He was weeping
because he was not self-conscious–why! An Avatar cannot

Sri Aurobindo had sent the message to the Congress

Disciple: There are some people who even try to maintain
that you knew fully that your message to the Congress would
fail and yet you sent it.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I knew that there was very little
chance of its success.

Disciple: But suppose you have known that it would
certainly fail–then in that case you might have spared the
trouble of going and coming to Duraiswamy.

Sri Aurobindo: No, even if I had known for a certainty
that it would fail still it had to be done–It is a question
of play of forces and the important thing is that the other
force should not be there.

We cannot explain these things to people–this play of
forces–who ask for rational explanation because it is so




OCTOBER 1943 From notes

4th October 1943

1. C. Rajagopalachari in the Puja issue of the ‘Amrat
Bazar’ has pleaded for the reconstruction and revival of the
Cripp’s proposal!! Sri Aurobindo found it ‘late’ but C. R.
had got back his clarity of mind. As to the actual revival
when Wavell comes the difficulties are 1. I. C. S. and
Congress on two sides and 2. Jhinna on the third.

2. Anil Baran’s article about Bengal flood situation
created a great stir in the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo’s plea was
for organization by the people. Mere Government regulation
or work would not do. The ministry is people’s and so their
dishonesty, want of public spirit and want of tradition of
honest public work is our fault.

Even if the people had rioted at some places, Government
would be compelled to act, etc. 320

3. Jivatman descends here–not geographically. It is a
way of saying that ‘it takes up the consciousness’ and
‘organizes the nature’ etc.

‘Who gets Nirvana or who passes away into the Absolute’?
‘The Jivatman. It is the Jivatman.’

Article by K. C. Vardachari. Answer to Malkani. By ‘Chit’
in Ramanuja is it meant the surface consciousness?

The Narayan is indissolubly connected with manifestation.
You can’t know him even if he has an existence independent
of his manifestation.

Sri Aurobindo: I would agree with him by saying that the
Absolute is not knowable by the mind. But it is knowable to
itself. It has self-illumination (‘Swayam-Prakasha’).

4. On the 3rd October Sri Aurobindo said: It seems in
this war the human element is in the background–the whole
thing is so much dominated by the machine. It may be
illusion. But the men of the past looked so much higher in
comparison with the leaders of the present crisis. Even look
at the generals. Napoleon and his generals you find the
human character there dominating. The leaders do not come
off so high. Whether the machine can be used to help men to
good? It can help to make life more comfortable, it can add
to the convenience etc. but how can it aid men in spiritual
or inner progress?

The End



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