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


Names of participants in the
evening talks:
From 1938-1950

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

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


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.
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
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
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
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

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


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
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
and in India and actively
intervened, whenever necessary, but solely with a spiritual Force and

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
It was this force which Sri Aurobindo used at first only in a limited field of
work, but afterwards, in a
constant action upon the world forces.1

he found it necessary to go out of his way to make public pronouncements on
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

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

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


Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram

2.    Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram iv

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
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 Aurobindo.”

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
especially so with regard to
spiritual personalities, what the Gita calls “Vibhutis” and

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



no longer be described by fixed qualities, normalities of mood, exact
lineaments, or marked out

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
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
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 divine.

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
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 evolution.

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
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


The Life Divine, P. 833

Essays on the
Gita, P. 258


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,
and passion, and liberated from
all the unquiet and suffering may live in the calm and bliss of 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

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 gnostic

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
inimitable way.


Essays on the Gita, p. 258

Ibid, p. 258

The Life
Divine, p. 883


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.”

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 self.

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 Talks.


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


for “education” in the modern sense of the term that men went to live
with the Guru; for the

is not a “teacher”. The Guru is one who is “enlightened,”
who is a seer, a Rishi, one who has
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 quest.

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
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
great mission, had come. And these spiritual parents bestowed upon the
disciples freely of their
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
problems that puzzle the modern mind are so different. Even though the
disciples may be very
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!


Sri Aurobindo had come to Pondicherry from Chandranagore he entered upon an
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.

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

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother removed to No. 9 Rue de la Marine in 1922 the same
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
I felt about everything connected with him, no matter how insignificant to the
view. I also felt that
everything he did would acquire for those who would come to know his
mission a very great significance.

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, the


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
expectancy and start chatting in low tones. Sri Aurobindo used to come last and
it was after his
coming that the
session would really commence.

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
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

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 the


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
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.

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
place in the search for the ultimate Reality.

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
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


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.”

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
chair behind the table with a few chairs in front for the visitors or for the

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,

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 close.

* * *

on November 23, 1938 I got up at 2 o’clock to prepare hot water for the
Mother’s early bath
because the 24th


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
direct physical contacts with the world outside.

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
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
talks was recorded and has been
incorporated in this book.



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
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

did not hear the voice from the heart, but a different voice and I dropped
meditation at fixed time
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
of Ram Mohan Roy came before me. So perhaps, Ram Mohan has been changed to


Do you know the origin of the name “Uttara
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

Tagore never spoke at any time about Ramakrishna and Vivekananda except
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.

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.
himself said “Thy faith has made thee whole.”

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
done. Faith


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

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.

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.

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


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

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

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

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
continent. Previous Yogis came down to the vital. If I had been made to see it
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.

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.

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.

You spoke about the brilliant period of the Ashram.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it was when Sadhana was going on in the
vital and when it is that, everything
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.

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

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

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.


Brunton saw always some pressure accompanying him. When he saw my photo, it had
to resemble it but when he
saw me at the Darshan, he at once recognized me as that pressure.

Why does one rise and fall physically in meditation?

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

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.

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

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

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

Disciple: I
believe that grace is without condition.

Sri Aurobindo: That may be true from the side of the

but the man must try to fulfill the condition under which alone grace can act.

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.”

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

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


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
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
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,


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.

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

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

To cheat people and get money? Is it cleverness?

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

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
it, Of course, it can work below, underneath so to say.

Disciple: Doesn’t it act unconditionally?

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


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

Disciple: Isn’t it because we are ignorant?

Mother: No, I know many ignorant people having the Grace
expressing a deep gratitude rising
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
and way. How can it? Very often what seems to be a great blow or calamity at
the present
moment may appear to be
a great blessing after ten years and people say that their real life began
after that.

Sri Aurobindo: Grace is unconditional but at the same time, how
will it work if a man is throwing
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
consciously what he is aiming at. So the former has less power to harm.

Disciple: Perhaps one may change for the better during
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
no possibility. One who is given a chance may have a

10 possibility.

The law of Karma according to Jainism is inexorable. Even the Tirthankars can’t
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
that cannot be untied. It is like a silk thread tied and burnt.

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

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

Sri Aurobindo: How do you know it is unmerited? Perhaps it was
to give me knowledge of what
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
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.

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


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
Another time I was taken by Jatin Banerji to a Swami Narayan Jyotishi who
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

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

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

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

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


“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.

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

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
throw out the opposing forces. When peace descends in the physical it is a
great force for cure.

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.


Guru said, “The devil has caught hold of you”, and from that time the
disciple lost everything.

is an infinite sea of peace, ananda, above the head; if one is in contact with
it one can get
them always.

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
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 nonsense.

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

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

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

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

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, as a refuge out of the despair. Apart from
that, it happens to everybody
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.”

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.

But some people go into unconsciousness as soon


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

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

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
Disciple: Was Raj Narayan practicing meditation?

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

Sometimes meditation used to come to me spontaneously at my place and I used to
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

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.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

These visions are seen by many (quite common).

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

What do you mean by the Divine or the Supreme?

Sri Aurobindo: I mean by it a consciousness of which the Gita speaks as Param Bhavam,
Purushottama, Parabrahman, Paramatman. That is to say, the origin and the
support and cause of
every thing. It
is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, everywhere, You can’t define it. You limit it if
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


What will happen if one realizes the divine consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo: First thing, you will become calm, quiet; secondly, there will be the
feeling of
strength, I mean the
presence of a Force. Thirdly, the sense of the Infinite will be felt, you will
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

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
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.

You have also spoken of the veil in the heart.

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

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.

We must have been working for it for many lives.

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

When the preparation is being done behind, can we say that some of the Sadhaks
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.

So it is the Bhedabheda philosophy?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not merely philosophy, but the fact is there corresponding to the
The Gita speaks of it as
“Avibhaktam Vibhkteshu Vibhaktam iva cha Sthitam”, “Undivided in
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.

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


than when you are a separate “ego”. It is when you can become
“nobody” and have
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

Can it be called Shankara’s Vedantic realization?

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

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

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

Disciple: Were you ever a Free Mason, Sir?

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


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

Sri Aurobindo: Have you heard about Nosterdamus? No? He was a Jew. At that time Jews
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

Then there is still a long time?

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

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

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

But they cannot join Italy or Germany?

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

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

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

Mother: But if I want to hear the talk?


Then we will talk.

Sri Aurobindo: (addressing the Mother): I am giving him a few
prophecies of Kaliostro and
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
your parts?

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

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

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

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

Yes. Respect to dress and not to the reality.

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

(As Mother had fallen into meditation we all tried

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


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.

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

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
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.

Can one get the diagnosis of diseases in such states?

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

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,

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

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

But that is meditation, surely?

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

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

But was I right?

Sri Aurobindo: Right about what?

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

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

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


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

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

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.

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
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
one reject it?

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

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

Sri Aurobindo: Where? What did I say?

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


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.

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
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.

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
materialistic. But if I had to choose; I would side with Japan. Japan at one
time had an ideal.
Their powers of
self-sacrifice, patriotism, self-abnegation and silence are


remarkable. They
would never lose temper in front of anybody. If his honour is injured he would
stab, but he must not lose self-control. They can work so silently and secretly
that no one knew
anything before the
Russo-Japan war broke out, how they had prepared themselves. All on a
sudden they broke out into war. They are
Kshatriyas and their aesthetic sense is of course well


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

at Japanese soldier slapping the European officers, though they deserve it. The
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.

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
probably: 1. Financial
shortage which is not very convincing because of their immense power of
sacrifice. 2. Population of China.

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?

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.

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
police officials used to say “Insolent Barisal”. It was the soul of
the race that woke up throwing
very fine personalities. The leaders of the movement were either Yogis or
disciples of Yogis e.g.
Guha Thakurate disciple of B. Goswami.

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.
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
his revolver. It remained in his hand. One shop-keeper cried out: “Hide
your revolver, hide
revolver.” Then you have heard of Jatin Mukerjee’s exploit.

Disciple: Yes

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

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

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

How to get the intuition? By calmness of mind?

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

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.)

M. is beaming to-day.

That must be Kundalini then.

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?

No, Sir.


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

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.

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

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Kundalini is, of course, the Tantrik idea: The Shakti lying coiled
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.

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.

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 Nikhilananda)

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)

How is that the Americans seem to be more open?

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

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
people are more in numbers. It is now spreading in other parts C. P. Punjab,

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!

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.

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

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
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
difficult business.

We hear that there will be a selected number of people who will first receive

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

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.

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


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
prepared. So it withdrew. But you told me once that the descent of Supermind
does not
depend on readiness of

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.

this time Mother came and asked what were we talking.)

Sri Aurobindo: About intuition etc. (Then as Mother lapsed into
meditation we all joined. Mother
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.

Aurobindo told a story that at Cambridge they were discussing about physical
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

There are people who think that as soon as they have entered the Ashram they
become immortal! We must develop
our consciousness in order to conquer death, is it not?

Sri Aurobindo: People think so, because for a long time no death
took place in the Ashram. Those
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?


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

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
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

remember one Sadhaka under an attack of hiccoup saying “If it goes on I
will die.” I told him
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 suggestions.

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
up only after coming to Pondicherry. In the Andamans also he

D. P.-3


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.

Barin, I heard, had a lot of experiences.

Sri Aurobindo: They were mere mental and he gathered some knowledge, much information
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

produce bad results etc. emission and other disturbances.

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.

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.

Barin in his paper “Dawn” began to write your biography.

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


I would have been interested to see what he writes
about me.

It ceased after a short time.

You wrote back exclaiming great surprise that what everyone knows I do not

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
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
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

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.?
No, they gave me
another chance. But


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
for the riding test?

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 action.

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

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
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
not much interested in
administration. My interest lay outside in Sanskrit, literature, in the
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


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.

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

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.

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
But the mischief was done. Bipin Pal was a great orator, and at that time his
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


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
the Congress and throw out
these moderate leaders from it.” Then we decided to follow Tilak as the
All-India leader.

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.
What do you think of his Gita? Was it inspired?

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

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
a brilliant mind.

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

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
Mataram” and
Jugantar about independence, guerrilla warfare, day after day in a paper. It
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? 39

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
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
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
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 Pondicherry.

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

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

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.

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
“To attain right
attitude what principles should we follow in our dealing and behaviour with

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
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

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.


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.

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 Mother.

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
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
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 behind.


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
it as a passing mood or does it stimulate you to further experience of that

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
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


the Sahaja Marga, it is different.

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.

That is what we don’t know (laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: The mind must be made quiet and the consciousness turned-not
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
What you realize you
project out in your nature. Christian Saints speak of the presence in the
That presence can change the

speak of three transformations: 1. Psychic, 2. Spiritual and 3. Supramental.
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

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

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. There may be some modification in the nature-part but
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.

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

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.

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
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.

was lull for some time after this.)

Sri Aurobindo asked: Do you know


about M.?

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.

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.

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
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.

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
to his work. He is very unscrupulous.

Has he some power?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But not an occult power like the others.
Before that he was quite an ordinary
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.


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

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
woman than he as a man. I saw
her only once by chance as she was not used to come out before

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

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.

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

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


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
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.

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
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.

But it is through his aid that it became all-powerful.

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


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.

Asoka sacrificed everything for Buddhism.

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

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
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!

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


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
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

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

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

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
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
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?”

X. had his usual outburst of laughter.

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

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 not?

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.

topic was changed at this point.

What is meant by self-offering? How to do it?


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
to it. Nights and early mornings are supposed to be the best for meditation.

We ask people to
have a fixed time for meditation, for, if they are habituated to it then the
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.”

Sometimes meditation is automatic.

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

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

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. but


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.

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
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
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.

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 different.

(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?

How do you know?

Sri Aurobindo: By the inclination of your head, perhaps.

Disciple: I can’t say; I was having many incoherent dreams
and visions–that is all I can say,
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
and the deeper vital which is full of these fantasies and dreams. They are
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

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.

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.
who has the least experience of these planes can at once say from where they

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 resistance.


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: Unconsciously?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? When from a state of concentration you mix yourself just after
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
That is separation of the mental consciousness.

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.

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
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

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

27th December 1938.

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
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

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
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


not surprising that people got disgusted with Democracy.

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.

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.

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
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.


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
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

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

His idea is of gathering all great men together.

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


whether the resolutions suit the provinces or not. There is no room for any
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.

Srinivas Ayyanger retired from Congress because of his difference with Gandhi.
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.

He made that rule perhaps to enforce discipline?

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.

In Bengal it did not succeed.

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

business lines. But Gandhi does not want any


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

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
against the principles of life. It
is not possible for nations to be self-sufficient like that.

What do you think of Hindi being the common language? It seems to me English
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
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
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
a clever


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

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.”

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 another.

But things will improve, I hope?

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 down.

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


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

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

Sri Aurobindo: Did Avatar come to relieve the sufferings of
humanity? It was only Buddha who
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!!

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
more harm than good.

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


Sri Aurobindo: Why? The intellectuals have studied the subject before they gave their
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?

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 and


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

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


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, 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.

about 5.30 P.M. “X” burst into a peal of laughter to which Sri
Aurobindo reacted by asking:
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
yawned in response. The result was a subdued bubble of laughter.

Aurobindo could hardly fail to notice it. He asked: “What is the

“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 sickness?

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

into Tripoli as counter-attack.

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

The Italians do not seem to be good soldiers.

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.

They had a hard time in Abyssinia.


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

But they will be aided by the Germans.

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

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
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.

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.
small minor powers will be afraid of their own safety.

I don’t understand why Germany joins Italy in attacking France. According to
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

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

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 say.

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 Europe.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes It was in order to conciliate the Indians.

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.

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
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 question.

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”.


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

is not necessarily that of the highest.

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.

But one can know what they mean by some criterion.

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
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 Nirvana.

But there is a fundamental realization of some kind?

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

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

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

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.

If the choice is right one feels happiness and satisfaction.

Satisfaction? One can’t depend upon feelings and sensations. for, very often
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.

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.

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 of?”

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
any “I”. The world simply
got displaced. One can’t speak of it as “I”. It is either
“He” or “That”.
I call Laya. Realization of the Self is all right; Laya was a part of a
realization which is much

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


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
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.
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

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
Sanskrit for Tattvatah]: One cannot know the complete Divine except in the
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

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

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
and there the Cosmic
Consciousness is not merely in its static aspect but also in its dynamic
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.

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
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.)

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
to do it myself; but at a certain stage heavens opened and the thing was done
for me.

topic seemed to have ended. But “X” prolonged by saying: my friend
“K” asked Maharshi if
of immortality was possible. But the Maharshi would not say anything by way of
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


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
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 beyond.





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
who get those things without quietude, but it is very difficult.

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
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 Infinite.


Does the Higher Force work all the time, even when there is no aspiration in

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.

We want to know how to get the infinite peace, etc.

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
After that period one can
complain; but you said that you had many experiences. So, it is not so

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.

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

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

ascend towards the Higher

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
parts,–the Spirit at the summit. These visions are quite common,–one sees
them as the mind
and the heart


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 death.

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 way?

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
No objection to spinning or weaving. How would “N” like to go on

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.


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).

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.

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.

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

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.

What is the difference between peace and silence?


Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean?

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

Is silence mere emptiness?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Not necessarily. It may be full of the
positive presence of the Divine.
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

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.

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
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.

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


Can one act when one has the silence?

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

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 fold.

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”!

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

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

Sri Aurobindo: Yes; all Tapasya can give you something.

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.

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


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 realization.

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.
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
progress is to be despised.


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? 84

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
is in the subject–as in the sense of beauty–or in the object.

What is that capacity due to?

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

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
human beings, or has the object
anything in it corresponding to the experience of sweetness.

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

But what is your conclusion, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know.

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

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


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
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.

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
the language. It is not as if the hypnotist willed that: “the man shall
speak a particular
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.

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

is an ancient prophesy in the Jewish Cabala


the kingdom of God would be established in humanity when the man will come who
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 physical.

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 death.

Can this nervous envelope be seen in the patient?

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

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


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

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

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
particularly was a remarkable woman.

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 spirituality.

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.


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.

January 1939.

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

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

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
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

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.

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.


How is it possible to have such energy without food?

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

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
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

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.

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


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

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

in the body.

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 personality?

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


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

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

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.
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
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.

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 sadhana.


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
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 everything.

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

Sri Aurobindo: I say, “neglecting the intermediate causes.”

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
is the best and he takes it in that light.

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


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.”

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
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.

What, according to them, is this subconscient?

Sri Aurobindo: They say it is inconscient. Then how does it throw up everything and
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


Going inwards,

ii.     Identification.

two are not possible without yoga.


January 1939.

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.

When did you begin yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: Somewhere in 1905.

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

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


not use it for the freedom of the country?

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
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.

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
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
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
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

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


grew stout and strong and the skin became smooth and fair and there was a flow
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 me.

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.

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

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.

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


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
drawback of this method.)

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
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
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
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!

January, 1939

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

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

By humility in
the heart.

What is the difference?

Sri Aurobindo: The second method does not remove the ego but makes it harmless’ it
therefore help one
spiritually. Complete removal of the ego takes place when one identifies
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.

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
That is to say, they are not so absorbing.

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

are many people who profess and show the


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

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

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

Were you modest when you have not taken to yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: There was a sort of voluntary self-effacement, I
liked to keep myself behind. But I
say that I was more modest within than most people.

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

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
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

were asked by me not to oppose the compromise resolution. The Nationalists all
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 the


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 following.

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
for the Mahatma. Ashwini Kumar
Dutt used to jump and say: “This is life”.

Banerji had a personal magnetism and he was sweet-spoken, he could get round
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
when he was arrested at
Manik Tola. But in the court they hushed up the matter as soon as Norton
pronounced S. N. Banerji.

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

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


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 alike.

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.
you were to differ from Stalin or
Lenin you would be liquidated.

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

The Germans
are the best people in the world.

II.Hitler should be the leader.

All the Jews
are wicked persons.

All the
people in the world must be Nazis.

do not understand how humanity can progress under such conditions.

The tendency of all governments is to increase taxes.

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.

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
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)
some of the princes are caught smuggling.

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

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

January, 1939

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.

How is the ego removed?

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


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
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.

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

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 again.”.

What is really meant by this “nature”?

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

How to transform or change this human nature?

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.

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

How can one replenish the exhausted nervous being? Can it be done by drawing
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
Higher Power can also work. But
there should be no Tamas, inertia, and other excuses.

Was there a time when these things were experienced?

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

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
been easy in the physical, in spite of difficulties. But that was not


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”.

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
nature as it is in the atmosphere.

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.

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 all.

Can the new comers make rapid progress?

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

Will the yoga be more easy for the lucky new comers?

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


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
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.

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.

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

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


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 the

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?

looked all right and it appeared as if I was going on well with the work, then
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.


January, 1939.

Can one way that snoring is the protest of the subconscient against somebody’s

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

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”,


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
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.

Gandhi is hopeful about the conversion of Hitler’s heart or about the German
throwing him over.

Sri Aurobindo: Hitler would not have been where he is if he had
a soft heart. It is curious how
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.

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.

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 work.

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
the two became great friends!! (Laughter).

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


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

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 little.

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
the Drewettes. It was always the doctor (i.e. K.D. Ghose) who got things done
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
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

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
news he thought that I was drowned and he died of that shock.

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!

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.


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 Mohan.

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.

Did Mono Mohan follow your political career?

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!” (laughter)

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.

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?

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!

on Homeopathy was going when the Mother came.

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?

Oh, yes. No license is required in India.

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.

In Bengal it is practiced everywhere.

Sri Aurobindo: Is Yunani medicine practiced in India?

Yes, in cities where there is Mohammedian population, and in Muslim states. In
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
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.

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

Do you know about the Chinese medicine? Once they had a rule that you paid the
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.

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

only yogic power can cure all diseases.

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
everybody in the world be all right” and there would be no disease in the
world! (Laughter)


January 1939

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
parents the child could not carry out her inner wish. Ultimately the parents,
particularly the
mother, took the
child away.

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 age.

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
that the mother used to manage
her by lying.

They say that the child is very happy outside.


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

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

Sri Aurobindo: Not creditable.

But the confessions of the generals were dramatic.

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.

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.

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
difficult to conquer India.

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


in the Panjab is counting the distinction between martial and non-martial

Sri Aurobindo: That was introduced by the British to keep down
India by depriving her of military
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.

The problem is of the Muslims.

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

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

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

But why France depends so much upon England?

Sri Aurobindo: Because she has no other ally.

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
encouraged and pressed Germany
into power. She wants to maintain the balance of power. Hitler aims at France.

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

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
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

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

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

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 microbes.

Mother: The doctors don’t kill?

Disciple: Yes Mother. But I mean their killing is not
Disciple: It is said that the Jains hire people to feed
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! (laughter)

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 scorpions?

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 say


that mosquito is more precious then rose? You
don’t know perhaps how the plants feel.
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.


January 1939

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

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

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

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

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 opportunity.

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.

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 me.

another time while I was a undertrial prisoner at Alipore jail, a terrible
catastrophe was avoided.
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

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

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
would come in


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
years of stay.

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

He says, he is helping the Mother.

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

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.


January, 1939

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
He says:


you are a Yogi you “can go into trance” and we will share the
profits!! Let me know your terms.
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.

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

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

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
of meditation” etc.

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


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
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
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 remarkable.

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
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.

But the Americans are open to new ideas.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. If they would not want sensation and change the openness to new
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


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
I had some humourous exchange of sentences with him. He was very queer.

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

I was just going out when the Sadhak at the gate-duty asked me to help him to
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 matters.”

Sri Aurobindo: Then what did he say?

At last he said his name was Thompson.” (laughter)

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

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


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

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

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

Do you remember one Kulkarni who came and was complaining that his vital force
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
‘B’ was like that and so was ‘J.’


But B did brilliant work.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. What he did was brilliant but slight, there
was nothing below to support, the
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 through.

But he was a good lieutenant in the old days.

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
his career through his own fault.

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
meaning me.

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
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.

“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
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.


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 understood.

Disciple: I
do not understand why he is asking for “ashes”.


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?

But we are burning here the mosquito-coils. The ashes of the coils can be sent.

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
his wife or she did it herself? Somesh says, she was everyday present at the
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?

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

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.

are many authentic cases of this kind. My poetic brother Mono Mohan’s friend
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

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

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
the man and after a thousand years, if the body was preserved, it would return
to it. Brunton, I
materialized the belief.

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

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-


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
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.

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
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.

Can the vital-being be called back to the body?

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

There is chance of “C” coming.

Disciple: He
has been coming for a long time.

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 everything.

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.
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.

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?

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!

The Ramkrishna Mission, Gandhi’s Ashram and some other institutions do some
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.

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.

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.

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 God!

But suppose one gives up everything for country’s freedom, then what is he to
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
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


is something I know; whereas I would be only a bad politician.

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!

It was Vinoba Bhave, a disciple of Mahatma.

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

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
looking for a job. Exactly at the time the Gaekwad happened to be in London. I
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 good!

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

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.

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

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
place. All that came down like a
wall. (pause)

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)

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.

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 non-violence.

Sri Aurobindo: It is good that some one raises voice like


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

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

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 don’t


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


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.

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
end to where it will lead. In the other case you perpetuate passive-resistance
while in fighting
you perpetuate

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
hardly work.


January 1939.

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


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

Sri Aurobindo: That is the Tantric doctrine.

But Harnath was a Vaishnava.

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

Sri Aurobindo: In principle it is true; for the Supreme Shakti
is the Divine Consciousness and all
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
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?

They want to prove him to be as great as Chaitanya.

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

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


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

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

They do not have any personal God, but they worship One who is everywhere,
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
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
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
less intense or rapid.


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

Sri Aurobindo: I should think, it was of Kurukshetra Krishna.

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

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

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

Sri Aurobindo: One who spoke the Gita is the Vishnu aspect.

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

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 poetry.

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).

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.

Is it true? Did Jada Bharata exist?

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

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.

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
who came to deceive the Asuras. He is not referred to by name but is called
Reference to
Budha is very clear; it repeats “Budyaswa! Budhyaswa.” It is a fine

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

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


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.

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.

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

Sri Aurobindo: The Upanishads came after the Vedas and they put in more plain language
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


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.

Upanishad, Gita all are equally great.

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 ingenious.

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

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
his explanation of “parame
Vyoman” meaning “trough” and “crest” of the ocean

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

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


January 1939.

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.

he departed, Sri Aurobindo asked:

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

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

Huxley suggests two ways of solving the problems of man. One by changing the
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 institutions.

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 themselves.

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.

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

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

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

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
to Dayal Bag.

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

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 it.


a pause) There were other religious communities of this sort before. The
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
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

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

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

Disciple: I heard that Anukul Thakur also adopted it for
his disciples.
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
accept a Vaishnavi.

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.

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).

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

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. (Laughter)

Somebody also said that here is a zoo where each one is a lion roaring in his

Sri Aurobindo: When we were very few and the Ashram had not grown, B and S used to
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.

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
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

We had a hard tussle with Mahatmaji’s followers


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

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
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 concerned.

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

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
developed psychic being can take
any other spiritual direction. It depends on what direction the
Divine within chooses. We cannot dictate to the


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.

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
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.

It is not quite clear to me–the distinction.

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.

But saints are nearer to humanity; they are not like the Ishwar-Koti to whom no

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

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


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.

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

demand, because he had sacrificed everything for the Divine.

“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.

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.
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.

topic underwent a change.)

Disciple: I am reminded of Sadhaka X whose Sadhana seemed
to be going on very well…who is


to Buddhism. I do not know if he has been
attracted to some woman–but there was some such

Sri Aurobindo: It is sad if it is true. In one of his letters
to Y he wrote that one need not be a
in order to be a master of sex………………………………………………..
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.

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

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.

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 him.

Sri Aurobindo: That is over-confidence. Perhaps in course of Sadhana some opening has
place in the vital.

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

January 1939.

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
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”.

(giving a turn to the talk): Nothing seems to have come out of Chamberlain –
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
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
on England.

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

he who applied non-intervention in the Spanish question.

present it seems two people are flourishing their arms against everybody and
the rest are
somehow trying


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.

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
will say: “Have you seen that I am right? Things have happened as I told

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
not want any German navy in the North Sea. But Germany won’t do that unless she
wants war
with England.

topic was changed now

When X was working here some new sadhaka met him and asked him: “Who are
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 (laughter).

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?” (laughter)

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. (laughter)

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)

January 1939.

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 it.


Sri Aurobindo: Accustomed to the pain! (laughter)

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

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.

That might lead to fatalism, belief in destiny.

Sri Aurobindo: It may. There have been people who have believe
in fate or destiny or whatever
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
outworn vessel.” And that is
what exactly happened to him.

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.

are some who do not follow the inner voice but an inner light. The Quakers
believed in that.

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

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.

in the same person the voices may differ.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite true. Hitler’s friend said about him that what Hitler said today
contradicted tomorrow. I also
heard a voice which asked me to come to Pondicherry; of course, it
was the inner voice.

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
to go to France–so that we may have no further trouble. When I arrived at Chandranagar
refused to receive me and shoved
on to Moti Roy.

But why should he receive you?

Sri Aurobindo: Because as a revolutionary he was obliged to do
Disciple: Was he a revolutionary?

Sri Aurobindo: Good Lord, we were together in jail and perhaps
his jail experience frightened
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
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
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

like. Her book “Kali–the Mother” is very inspiring, but it is
revolutionary and not non-violent.
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

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
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 lancer.

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:
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.
But Eton has no Dome.

It is a combination of modern and ancient architecture.

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 mission.

What about her Yogic Sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know; whenever we met together we spoke about politics and
But her eyes showed
power of concentration and a capacity for going into trance. She had got
something in her spiritual life.

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.

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.



January 1939:

Aurobindo opened the topic by asking:–“What about D’s fast?”

was told yesterday that D was going to fast on his birth-day i.e. to-day. But
he had forgotten all
about it.

Disciple: I hear he has taken bread and butter in the
morning and at mid-day a light meal. Sri
Fasting with bread and milk!

There are people who believe that bread and milk can be taken while fasting.

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. (laughter)

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.

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


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 before.

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.
Japanese are good at concentrating on one thing at a time.

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 Asmara.

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.

Yesterday we had talk about hearing the voice: is there any standard by which one
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

Then is Hitler who says, “I heard a voice and I follow it”, right?


Sri Aurobindo: Right in what sense? Morally?

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.

But then, what is meant by the ‘true voice’?

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
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.”
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.”

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


About Bengal partition?

Yes, was he right? He
thought he was quite right in what he was doing, while

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
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

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

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’ (laughter).

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.


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.

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”.*

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
two sets of teeth,–one for showing and another for chewing

[the above in sankrit]


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

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.”

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?


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.

That is potential or say, veiled Bhagawan; otherwise we have to accept that
world is
perfect even as it is.

Sri Aurobindo: It is perfect as it could be perfect at present.

Disciple: That is to say a more perfect perfection has to
be attained yet.
Yes, it has to be.


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.

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
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.


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
through ego and Nature. As I said, the Cosmic Spirit works through Nature and
not direct.

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
contains both good and evil.

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
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.

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 family.

Sri Aurobindo: But the Cosmic Spirit is not in evolution, while
the individual is in evolution. The
progresses in his evolution by his nature,–he evolves through his nature.

Can the individual refuse or reject the Gunas?


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
him fight.

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 nature-personalities.

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

Do you mean by the Cosmic Spirit the Impersonal Consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo: No, The Cosmic Spirit is a Personality–not in the narrow sense of
personality; it is
both static and

Saguna and nirguna,–the Nirguna supporting the
Disciple: You said that the psychic being also is a

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the psychic being also is a Psychic
Disciple: Does the psychic being develop from birth to

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 bound.

Disciple: It is said that psychic being is a spark of the

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
the upward journey.

How does the psychic carry the personalities formed in this life into another

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
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.

Does the experience of the Cosmic Spirit correspond to what you have termed the

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but you can have the experience of the Cosmic Consciousness on
any other
level of consciousness

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.

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.

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
he would be a crudely amiable person with some mental hobbies and
eccentricities. This
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.

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
bear the consequences.

Can one be free if one acts without feeling responsibility?


Sri Aurobindo: You can’t get rid of responsibility like that,
even though you may say, you are not

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
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

In the experience through the first and second method does the Purusha remain

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. I may be witness in the first method because the
separates himself from
Prakriti and is then the witness not taking part in action.

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 of?


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 both.

Disciple: Is it true that man with spiritual bent are born
with “Adhikara – qualification – for it?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

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 Adhikara.

Disciple: Such a man can also acquire Adhikara by the
company of Saints. Sri Aurobindo: Yes,
of course.

One gets tired of this problem of manifestation. That is to say, it is a very
and long process to manifest
the Divine in oneself and in one’s life.

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
with the


Consciousness uncontrolled And you find as X found that the spiritual man uses
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.

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
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

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
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 separate.

Disciple: The difficulty arises when one sees many
experience of different system of Sadhana then
one finds great difficulty of choosing between them.


But does one choose these things with the mind?

There is no other go. Can not the story of different systems lead one to

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 consciousness.

Disciple: But is the story of philosophy indispensable? Sri Aurobindo: Not at all.

Disciple: I
would like to know everything by experience.

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
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
Prakriti, in Sankhya, is jada and it is the light of the consciousness of
that makes Prakriti appear
conscious. They believe that even Buddhi–the intelligence–is also


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
what we mean when we say:
“You must have an opening.” If you have an opening, gradually, more
and more light can come.

How can we accept the light without knowing it?

Sri Aurobindo: That is to say, something in you does not want
it, otherwise there is hardly any
Of course, so far as the world is concerned it has always refused to accept the
when it came.

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
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.

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.

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.

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 tyres.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t understand why a rubber manufacturer
should be a Catholic.
Disciple: Heirloom, perhaps.

Sri Aurobindo: Which? the tyre or the Catholicism?

What was the lady’s impression about our Ashram?

Sri Aurobindo: She was much impressed and was full of praise for the Mother, and she thought
must be a work of genius. She
thinks that genius can work without finances!


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 pay.

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).

this point the Mother came.

Sri Aurobindo: (to the Mother) N wants to know lady B’s impression.

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
She is going to Japan to study with Suzuki. She has much admiration for genius,
because genius does not
require finance.

the topic changed:


January 1939.

Sri Aurobindo: turning to X: “Any news?”

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
Niketan and Pondicherry in his itinerary, without seeing which his visit to
India would be

Sri Aurobindo: O that! I have heard about it.

this juncture the Mother came and a meditation followed, After the Mother’s
departure Sri


“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
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

Hitler also has a precipitous rise, he can’t maintain the momentum. He can’t
last very

Sri Aurobindo: There is another famous Greek story about the
tyrant of Syracuse. Do you know


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
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


ring. The other tyrant heard about it and said: You are too lucky. I shall
never ally myself with
Polycrites was afterwards killed by his people in revolt. “The ring of
Polycrites” is a
expression in English.

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 proverbs.

Can it be said that the Asuras by their action contradict the law of evolution
or that they
contradict something
fundamental in human nature?

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 strikes.

(Then Sri Aurobindo became silent). After sometime
looking at a disciple he said: “Is your cosmic
problem solved? (in reference to yesterday’s

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

Sri Aurobindo: But what does Mrs. M. say?

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
to her


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
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.

this there was silence. After some time a Disciple began.

A. B. is supposed to have said that Vivekananda by his idea of service to
brought mixture and
spoiled the spirituality that was intended to be cultivated by Ramakrishna.

Sri Aurobindo: In what way?

I don’t know. But was it Ramakrishna’s idea that Vivekananda followed? Was it
Ramakrishna who asked him to do service to

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.”

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”

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 reply.

Disciple: Ramakrishna Mission seems to be more occupied
with social and humanitarian work; I
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 relief.

Sri Aurobindo: Famine relief is not all the year round. Medical relief is something.

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 Narayana.

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
If you could find out the cause of poverty and try to remove that, that it
would be some
real work.

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 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 helpless.

Disciple: Some thousands were fed on the birthday of a holy
man. There were so many people on
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 hand.

These are people who give lot of money for such purposes of temporary utility,
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
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.


January 1939.

It seems Barcelona–in Spain–is going. The French people are waking up at the

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, democracies are showing such courage at present!

It seems, political ideas and ideals are not worth fighting for. Thousands
fought for
democracy and now


are in a hurry to give it up. Nothing seems to be permanent in the political

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. All human values are half values–they are relative. They
have no
permanence or durability
about them.

Perhaps, if man became more of a mentalized being, he would understand things

Sri Aurobindo: By being mentalized? No. The difficulty that men do not follow the
principles of

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 Romans.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
trap. These socialists do not know what is socialism.

Disciple: There were many humourous speeches in the
Sindh-assembly. The League has been

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.

Congress ministries are successful almost everywhere. That is an indication of
the power to
govern if powers are

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

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.

I do not understand why the Congress opened negotiations with the League. It
has been
giving an undue importance.

Sri Aurobindo: How is it that the Congress is so weak in the Punjab?

Because of the Socialists and the old Congress people fighting each other. The
affair is starting again.
Bajaj is going to offer Satyagraha. It seems, Mahatma has given his

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.

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.

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
last war swept off another half. Japan also had many princes but they
voluntarily abdicated their
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 country.


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
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

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.

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
Perhaps the dictators find a
competitor in God and religion. So they try to crush religion.

Sri Aurobindo: But Mussolini did not crush religion in Italy, though Kemal and Stalin
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
by a number


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
But Russia has all
along helped Turkey.

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
for the year; they did not collect the crop for the government. Stalin came to
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

Disciple: The Socialists did not succeed in breaking the
trade-unions in Ahmedabad, which are
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

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It is the State bureaucracy that dictates
the policy irrespective of the good of
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
smith, the barber, all get what they needed.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the only communism that is practicable.
Each such commune can be
and many such units can be scattered all over country and they can combine or
co-ordinate their activities for a common purpose.


January 1939.

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 face.

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.


Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if the plane comes down with a crash, the cure would be

Disciple: One friend V used to put a cotton string into his
nose for his cold.
Disciple: That is a Hatha yogic process.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They also insert a long piece of cloth into
their intestines and bring it out
the anus in order to clean the track.

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 etc..

Disciple: Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: There is no question of it being possible, it is actually done.

I wonder how the scientists would explain these phenomena. Somewhere they were
invited to a demonstration but they refused to attend.

They can’t, for fear of their convictions being shaken.

These Hatha yogis who demonstrate these phenomena,



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 demonstration.

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

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
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.

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
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


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
found that while horses were helpless, it was the donkeys that by turning the
latch opened the

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.

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).

But they also can’t do yoga.

Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know that. While Mother and


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
old disciple of his in her previous life and was attached to Maharshi.


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’?

No. What about it?

Sri Aurobindo: It was shouting at each other. It is said that
when Hitler begins to shout his eyes
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.

What was the result of the interview?

Sri Aurobindo: Relations with Poland were not much improved I
suppose. (The topic changed) Sri
turned to X: “Did you see Subhas Boses’ statement?

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
Bengal came in his time. He is an intellectual without grasp of the


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
he is a good lieutenant but can’t be a great leader.

Sri Aurobindo: That has been my impression all along.

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
the voters on their side.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. He says, he stands for principles, but
all the time he is asking ‘vote for

But he is very sincere and honest.

Many leaders are that.

Not in Bengal–they are almost all dishonest.

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


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
There is no harm in seeing how far the other party will go in granting
rights and privileges.

When Nehru visited Nahas Pasha in Egypt, Nahas said that their Wafd party had
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 Board.

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
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 ministry.

What sort of education? Technical?

Sri Aurobindo: Technical, agricultural and other. How will they develop industries
properly educated and trained
people? India is such a vast country that if she can


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.

That is one good thing Bose had done; he has organized an economic planning

Sri Aurobindo: But they must not neglect secondary education. You can’t have efficient
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
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

The Bombay Premier has approached the merchants for donation to the Government,
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.

The congress ministers are opening agricultural schools training centres for


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 them.

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
like Curzon. They will be violently opposed to their being kicked out, but they
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

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.

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
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.

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
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

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.

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
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 physical.

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


these experiences are in the subtle body.

I had also once or twice such fear of presence as the lady speaks of. I sat to
before going to be and I
felt everything still and then as if there was some presence. That frightened

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
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 birth?


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.

grand father started by being a Brahmo and ended by writing a book on Hinduism
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

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 mind.

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
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

That seems to be Subhas’s idea, but he says: Now is the time to press for

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 movement.

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
will remain out. Subhas has not done a wise thing.

People are severely criticizing Gandhiji’s statement.

Sri Aurobindo: Only the leftists are doing that. No right


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
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
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.
What about the Jews?

Sri Aurobindo: They can leave them to their fate, or they can be
sacrificed for their self-interests
they may do something just to save their face. In Ireland, they came to a
compromise, even the
turned round.

In Tunisia, the French have put the Dasturians
into prison, but if they can keep us, France will give

Disciple: Roosevelt seems to have declared for democracy. Disciple: Now Hitler will think twice before he tries to
do anything.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if he is capable of thinking. His inner
voice may ask him to push on.
may think twice unless he too is Hitlerised. In that case Hitler will


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.

Roosevelt has promised France armaments and U. S. A is selling aeroplanes and
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

Disciple: J
says that there may not be any war after all.

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.

(to another disciple) You have seen Hidayatullah has become a Minister of

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 government.

Sri Aurobindo: How?

He used to sell plots of land to customers through


agents and he kept some of the best lands for himself. There were similar
charges against some
ministers in
the Central Provinces.

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
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
between rich criminal and a poor one–as they do in America and France and I
suppose India is no better.


February 1939

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
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 name.


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 illusion?

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
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
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
minority and so they were made the scapegoat. He said, the same thing


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

Disciple: I
asked Mrs. X about conditions in Switzerland. She says, the country is passing
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
Canton then the French speaking Cantons would be in difficulty.

Sri Aurobindo: It is said that Czechoslovakian frontier was so strongly fortified that
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?

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

to Disciple):

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 declaration.

The Socialists in a recent meeting at Bombay began to shout and continued
Shouting is quite
constitutional with them (laughter).


February 1939

Bose has called his leftist Conference. I wonder what programme they are going

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

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.

In Russia some signs of freedom are noticeable.

Sri Aurobindo: That is because Stalin has killed all unpleasant


him. He can now wait till some other people come up in future whom he can kill.

Spain is finished.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

But Madrid remains and General Mioja is there.

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.
That is what he said
the other day.

It was Gayda who said that.

Sri Aurobindo: Gayda is the mouth piece of Mussolini. When he
does not want to say anything
he speaks through Gayda. But Daladier could make a Spanish legion out of the
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,
family will unanimously refuse.

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 some


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
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
help them diplomatically so far as possible, but they should not count on his
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.


February 1939

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
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.


topic changed to the Congress election)

Subhas and his Conference do not seem to have settled on any programme. Today’s
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
States–rather a tall order.

Disciple: Yes, Gandhiji also challenged the Government.
The result was the Round Table
In the end, Willingdon arrested Gandhiji and refused even to see him.

Sri Aurobindo: Willingdon now will look with queer eyes at the Congress ministries and
that all he had done has been

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.

names were read out to Sri Aurobindo)

Who are these people?
They seem to be an army of no-bodies. Except Aiyangar,

and one or two others these people were never heard of before.

The other States seem to be supporting Rajkot and asking him not to yield.

If the states organize, backed by the Paramount Power–the British–and lend
support then Rajkot may stand
through and the Satyagraha may not succeed. Look at Mysore and
Travancore–Mysore has only appointed


which may go on for three years and so do nothing.

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
to keep it non-violent.

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.

Jaipur has again released Bajaj (hearty laugh).

was a little hurt while being forcibly removed. Gandhiji called it ‘organized

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.

Pratap Singh may be persuaded by Krishnamachari to part with some of his

Sri Aurobindo: I saw his photograph today. He has a weak face,
nothing of the grand father in
His father had more brilliance and dash. Pratap Singh has a soul–but not a
strong one.


Rao was dull. Shivaji Rao was intelligent. I taught him French; he was a good
Dhairyashil showed signs of
premature development of lust. All that was due to the servants of the

was more interesting and there was something sturdy in her. She had the most of
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 stupid

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

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.


February 1939

Disciple: The maxim “from each according to his
capacity and to each according to his need” seem to be basis of Socialism.


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.

Even the Communists in Russia have introduced divergence in wages–to encourage
workers to do more work.

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 world.

State ownership is something that creates a class like the Capitalists.
Besides, in countries like
Nazism makes the national consciousness so strong that they begin to consider
individuals like the cells of
the body, bound to think and act alike. No freedom is allowed to them.

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


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.


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 tendency?

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.

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.

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
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.


February 1939

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
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,
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.

That is the realm of matter, but in life–for example, in the curing of a

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

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
of races.

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
Carthaginians! Or one may
even hazard that the French are the Greeks reborn. But it won’t carry us

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

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.

Can it be said that law governing it is suprarational?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, each collective being is a projection of the Cosmic Spirit for a
purpose. You can speak of
it as a particular Shakti.

How does the collective being or Shakti work?

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.

Suppose the collective entity is dissolved from life?

Sri Aurobindo: When the physical form of the collectivity is dissolved here the
collective being
withdraws into the

Can a collective being, after such a dissolution take another form–a
manifesting itself?

Sri Aurobindo: We have as yet no proof of it. *

February 1939

Disciple: There is a report about the student of the
Annamalai University picketing and some of
them are fasting.

Sri Aurobindo: Satyagraha is something to be applied in extreme case, but Gandhi has
made a law of it and so there
are so many wrong applications of it.


Here in this case the fundamental relations are contradicted e.g. the relation
teachers and students. It is
not, for instance, the same as between workers and capitalists.

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
In the Savanne Mills they burnt the machinery and then were thrown out of
employment. Similar was the case in Madras Match

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
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.

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
It is not like England that can send money to stabilize the currency in China.


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
Pondicherry was recalled because Nehru represented the case to the Secretary of

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

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 ultimatum.

Sri Aurobindo: If you have a revolutionary programme and a
nation ready to kill or die, then you
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.

India is really free it will think many times before meddling into
international problems
before it is
on its own feet.

You saw M. N. Roy got only 38 votes!

Sri Aurobindo: He might say: Hitler began with even less! But


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 changed.

They want to put up a fight against the government.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not always by fighting that you get what you want. With all his
Gandhi knows how far the
people can go and in spite of his inner voice, he knows how far to go



MAY, 1939 6th May, 1939

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 into



consideration only those facts that support his
views, and puts all other facts away. So nothing else
can come in.

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

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
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 intuitions.

May 1939

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 there.

the evening a disciple asked Sri Aurobindo:


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 else?

But he describes his experience in detail: for instance, the triangle and the
Sun and the
light pouring into him

Sri Aurobindo: He had always the habit of making mental
constructions and living in them. So,
valuation of experience is not right.

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.
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.

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



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.

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

fulfilled for the working.

They say that God being Omnipotence he should be able to do anything however

Sri Aurobindo: No. Omnipotent does not mean to make God act as
our mind wants or expects.
does not work in one way; it works in many ways.




19th and 20th November 1939

Is physical relations responsible for the vitiation of pure and idealistic

Sri Aurobindo: It is not only the physical but also the vital
that is equally responsible. Desire,
of possession are more responsible for it than the physical relation.

Disciple: There are people who believe that the physical
relation is an essential part of the highest
relation of love.

Sri Aurobindo: Blake for instance, says that spiritual love
should be sanctified by the physical act.