17th January 1939.
Photographs of Harnath (Pagal) and Kusum Devi were shown
to Sri Aurobindo. A declaration from Matu-
shri-Kusum Haranath–that she was the Supreme Power and
that Harnath was one of her forms, was read.
Sri Aurobindo: That is the Tantric doctrine.
Disciple: But Harnath was a Vaishnava.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but the doctrine she has proclaimed
is not Vaishnava doctrine, it is Tantric. Disciple: Is it
Sri Aurobindo: In principle it is true; for the Supreme
Shakti is the Divine Consciousness and all the gods are from
her. It is she who gives out the gods–Shiva and others. It
is said that even Shiva cannot act unless she gives him
power to act.
Disciple: Harnath had his decisive spiritual experience
in Kashmir where, it is related, Gauranga came to him and
gave him the “mission”. But his later disciples regard him
equal to Gauranga.
Disciple: But where is the difficulty? If the
consciousness is ultimately and essentially divine, why
should not Gauranga and Harnath be one in consciousness?
Disciple: They want to prove him to be as great as
Sri Aurobindo: Oh, there is competition between the two
Avatars? Did Harnath proclaim himself as the Avatar?
Disciple: No, but he behaved like one. There are cases of
very rapid conversions in case of people who have met
Sri Aurobindo: I have found that Vaishnava
Bhakti-devotional path–makes for very strong and rapid
Disciple: There is a line of Sadhus in Gujarat, who
practice the worship of the Impersonal God. Sri Aurobindo:
Worship of the Impersonal God?
Disciple: They do not have any personal God, but they
worship One who is everywhere, beyond personality. Kabir and
some other Saints believe in this. Even when they take a
particular Name of God, they mean by it something more than
the name. They will say “Rama” but they believe in various
aspects of Rama.
Ek Rama Dashratha ghara Jaye, ek Rama, ghat ghat me Ek
Ramaka submen pasara–ek Rama suban te nyara.
Disciple: Does “Nyara” mean the Transcendent? Sri
Aurobindo: Yes, the Absolute, the Supreme.
Disciple: The couplet says: one Rama is born in
Dashratha’s house and is therefore subject to change;
perhaps Kshara, One Rama is present in every heart and one
that is all-pervading and therefore universal and one Rama
is beyond all.
Sri Aurobindo: That seems to be the same thing as Gita’s
idea of Vasudeva that is in all and Vasudeva that is the
Supreme Absolute–both are the same. I have seen instances
in intense gyana–knowledge–and intense Bhakti (devotion).
Devotion of the Impersonal Divine may not be powerful for
change; it tends to be more etherialised and the knowledge
that enters into it makes devotion less intense or
Disciple: We have heard that you received guidance from
Sri Krishna in your Sadhana: was it from Sri Krishna of the
Bindravan or of Kurukshetra?
Sri Aurobindo: I should think, it was of Kurukshetra
Disciple: These distinctions between various
personalities of Krishna, one of Bindravana and others are
of later growth in Vaishnavism.
Sri Aurobindo: They regard Bala Gopal as the Delight
aspect or the Delight-Consciousness; but there are older
schools of Vaishnavism that regard Krishna as an Avatar of
Disciple: Krishna of Kurukshetra is; I suppose, one who
gave the Gita.
Sri Aurobindo: One who spoke the Gita is the Vishnu
Disciple: Arjuna could not bear his sight and had to ask
him to resume his human form.
Sri Aurobindo: In the Vishnu Purana all the aspects of
Vishnu are nicely described. It is one of the
Puranas I have read through carefully. I wonder how it
has escaped general notice because it is magnificent
There is a humourous passage in it, where a disciple asks
the Guru whether the king is on the elephant or the elephant
on the king (Laughter).
Disciple: The king must be Rammurthy if the elephant was
to be on him.
Sri Aurobindo: Then the Guru jumps over the shoulders of
the disciple and asks him whether he is on the disciple’s
back or the disciple on the Guru’s back (Laughter) Then
there is a very fine description of Jada Bharata.
Disciple: Is it true? Did Jada Bharata exist?
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know. But it sounds very real in
the Purana, where it is placed.
It is also the most anti-Buddhist Purana. Disciple: Then
it must have been written late. Disciple: Buddha was born
about 500 B. C.
Sri Aurobindo: It is not so early as that; all the
puranas are posterior to Buddhism. They are a part of the
Brahminical revival which came as a reaction against
Buddhism in the Gupta period.
Disciple: The Puranas are even the earliest, supposed to
have been written about the 3rd or the 4th century A. D.
Sri Aurobindo: Most probably. In the Vishnu Purana Buddha
is regarded as one of the Avatars of Vishnu who came to
deceive the Asuras. He is not referred to by name but is
called “Maya-moha”. Reference to Budha is very clear; it
repeats “Budyaswa! Budhyaswa.” It is a fine work.
Disciple: It is said that the Tantras are derived from
Disciple: There is nothing in the Veda to justify their
claim except one solitary Sukta, called the Vaki; Ambh-
rani–it is a Valkhilya. There Ambhrani speaks of herself
as the creatrix of the Gods. Of course one can take Aditi,
the Infinite divine consciousness as the root of Tantra if
Sri Aurobindo: The principle of Tantra may be as old as
the Veda but the known Tantras are later.
Disciple: The Vedas are considered the highest authority
in India, so everything in India wants to peg itself on to
the Vedas–not only Tantra; but art, dancing etc.
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t understand this passion for
antiquity. What does it matter when a thing took place;
Truth is truth whenever it may be found.
Disciple: But the Vedas are considered eternal.
Sri Aurobindo: They are eternal because the source of
their inspiration is eternal. Disciple: Some one has said
that the eternal Veda is in everybody’s heart.
Disciple: It is Sri Aurobindo who has said that in his
‘Synthesis of Yoga.’ You are quoting him to himself!
Sri Aurobindo: The Upanishads came after the Vedas and
they put in more plain language the same truth that was in
the Veda. In the Veda the language is symbolic.
But the Upanishads are equally great. Even in the Veda
there are passages which clearly show that the Vedantic
Truth is contained in the Veda. But it is surprising that
the readers of the Veda miss those
passages. For instance, the Veda says–“Riten ritam
apihitam”, and then “it is That one” that is the source. It
is clear that it refers to the Vedantic truth of the One.
Similarly, the Upanishads speak of the Vedic symbols. The
Ishopanishad speaks of the Vedic gods Sun-Surya and Agni,
but you can see that the significance there is symbolic.
Veda, Upanishad, Gita all are equally great.
Disciple: The Europeans thought that it was not possible
to believe that the Vedic Rishis were so advanced–specially
in those primitive times.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are so satisfied when they found
the historical interpretation that they did not care for
many obvious indications. But you must admit that the
interpretation turning Vedic Gods to gases is magnificently
Disciple: Was it not Paramashiva Aiyar, a Mysorian who
showed that remarkable ingenuity? Sri Aurobindo: I think
that is the man.
Disciple: He is trying to prove in his book on the Veda
that the Veda shows the conditions of earth in the glacial
period and then indicates its geological evolution. I gave
him up when I came upon his explanation of “parame Vyoman”
meaning “trough” and “crest” of the ocean waves.
Many riks of Dirghatamas are untranslated even to-day in
spite of all ingenious theories and interpretations.
Sri Aurobindo: You can’t translate them or understand
them unless you have the key to the symbolism.
19th January 1939.
Dr. R’s visit: In course of his talk he remarked in
connection with the swelling at the knee joint that all
diseases are of the nature of inflammations.
After he departed, Sri Aurobindo asked:
“In what sense are all illnesses inflammations? There
could be any satisfactory explanation of it.”
The topic of Aldous Huxley’s book “Ends & Means” was
taken up by a disciple.
Disciple: Huxley suggests two ways of solving the
problems of man. One by changing the existing institutions
of education, industries, in fact by modifying social,
political, economic and religious institutions. This would
bring about a change in the individual. So far as industries
are concerned he suggests the creation of small units
federated to a Central Organization. Thus it would eliminate
large units which are the roots of all troubles. The second
remedy he suggests is to change the individual and make him,
what he calls “non-attached”, who would practice virtue with
disinterestedness. I believe there is a French author who
also advocates such new types of industrial
Sri Aurobindo: That was my idea when I proposed to
Motilal to have a spiritual commune.–I don’t call it
Commune but a Sangha–a Community based on spirituality and
living its own economic life; it would have its own
agriculture, and a net work of such communities spread all
over the country would interchange its products among
Disciple: You gave him the idea of the paper also.
Sri Aurobindo: I now don’t remember. But I asked him to
start hand-looms and weaving.
Disciple: He has tried to take up Gandhian plan after he
separated from us; we used to insist on Swadeshi; now they
call it Khaddar.
Disciple: The financial condition there does not seem as
sound as it made to appear.
Sri Aurobindo: Possibly. I do not know now what they are
doing. I heard that some plots were bought in the Sunderbans
to start agriculture. But as people were getting malaria, it
had to be given up.
Disciple: Is it something like Dayal Bag? I don’t know
what spirituality they are having there. It seems as if all
their energies are directed to external work and
Sri Aurobindo: That may be due to their large-scale
production. I heard that Anukul Thakur also has started work
on the same idea.
Disciple: Does he not belong to Dayal Bag?
Sri Aurobindo: No. He may belong to what they call, the
Radha Swami School. But he does not belong to Dayal Bag.
Disciple: But to start such a Sangha one must have
spiritual realization and may take a long time to start.
Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. Ordinarily if one is to
wait for spiritual realization it will take time. But all
may not have the highest or supramental realization.
Spiritual experience is enough for the people and that is
not difficult to have. I told M that spirituality must be
the basis of the Sangha. Otherwise, your success will be
your failure. But he does not seem to have listened to
(After a pause) There were other religious communities of
this sort before. The Dukhobar Community in Russia was very
powerful and well organized, strong in its faith. They held
together in spite of all persecution. At last they had to
emigrate to Canada. One of their tenets was nudism, which
the Canadian Government did not like and they got into
trouble. (with a smile) They had at least solved the weaving
Then the Mormons were famous in the United States. The
name of the founder was Joseph Smith, a prosaic name for a
prophet. But Bringham Young was a very remarkable man, who
really made the commune. Curiously enough one of their
tenets, again, was polygamy. Their religion was based on the
old testament. When they were made to give their religion
they became quite like an ordinary
Mark Twain said that when the chief was interrogated in
the presence of his members he replied that he knew his
children by numbers, not by their names–it was inconvenient
to remember their names.
There was another community in America which did not
allow marriage among its members. Disciple: Do you know if
any communities are there in India?
Sri Aurobindo: The Sikhs are the only community organized
on a religion. Thakur Dayananda established or tried to
establish an order of married Sannyasins.
Disciple: I heard that Anukul Thakur also adopted it for
his disciples. Sri Aurobindo: Disciples are another
matter–they are allowed to marry. Disciple: I think, he
permitted the Sannyasins to marry.
Sri Aurobindo: The same principle is accepted by the
Vaishnavas, who follow the Nityanand–school–they accept a
Disciple: All sorts of attempts at collective life seem
to have been made and when one sees them all, one is driven
to despair like the bald man–who on looking at king Edward
VII’s photo with his shining bald head, said, “I give it
up”–(Laughter) Have you any idea how the supermind will
Sri Aurobindo: No idea. If you have an idea the result
will be what has been in the past. We must leave the
supermind to work it out.
Disciple: But that sort of work has to be based on love.
One must have love for everyone.
Sri Aurobindo: Love is not enough. Something more than
love is necessary. Unity of consciousness is more important
Disciple: The trouble is, as soon as one begins something
one tends to become ego-centric. Quarrel starts like
aggravation of symptom in Homeopathy (Laughter).
Sri Aurobindo: But love also leads to quarrel. Nobody
quarrels more than the lovers (laughter).
(Looking at X) You know the Latin proverb that each
quarrel is a renewal of love. Love is a fine
flower but unity of consciousness is the root.
The difficulty is that those who are here receive
something of the Higher power and they become ego-centric,
then gather it in the vital and turn it to their lower
nature. They think, it is their own power. When A came here
from Chandranagore he said, “There at
Chandranagore–everybody is a sheep following the
shepherd but here everybody is a Royal Bengal Tiger.
Disciple: Somebody also said that here is a zoo where
each one is a lion roaring in his den.
Sri Aurobindo: When we were very few and the Ashram had
not grown, B and S used to convert all sorts of people to
spirituality, they were great. B once caught hold of a young
Tamilian who was quite sheepish. B used to meet him. After
three or four months of contact it was found, the young man
had become quarrelsome, indolent and insolent–a great
transformation had come over him–(laughter). It is S who
made D a public leader. At any rate, the one thing he did
was to make D get rid of all scruples. “Right and wrong do
not matter, good and bad are nothing” he used to tell.
Disciple: And now D is trying to live up to it.
Sri Aurobindo: D used to say to Dr. Le Mongnac, “It is
impossible for me to fail because I am a God-man.” He said
to many people here that he is not afraid because he is Sri
Aurobindo’s disciple. He got the power from the Mother and
all agree that he is the one man who can do something if he
wanted to. Mrs. R used to write: “What has N come to–at
Pondicherry? He is writing to us “do this” and “do that”,
and finds fault with our work”. Of course, they were
quarreling in Japan also when they were there. They had
different views on their work.
B came straight from X. X was another great propagandist.
He caught any one he could and made him do the Yoga–of
course, it was his yoga. He did not think that any such
thing as Adhikar was necessary.
Disciple: We had a hard tussle with Mahatmaji’s
over the question of transcending morality and immorality
in a man of spiritual realization and resultant conduct.
They always think that going beyond morality means sinking
to immorality. All that does not conform to their moral code
Sri Aurobindo: Of course, all can’t go beyond morality.
So their theory is true in their own field. It is a mental
rule and so long as one cannot come in contact with the
dynamic Divine source of action in himself, one has to be
guided by some law of conduct–otherwise one might take up
the attitude: “There is no virtue and no sin, so let us sin
What Sri Krishna says in the Gita” “Sarva Dharman
parityajya” “abandoning all laws of conduct”–is said at the
end of the Gita and not in the beginning: And then that is
not alone; there is also “mamekam Sharanam Vraja,” “take
refuge in Me alone.” But before one finds within oneself the
guidance of the dynamic Divine, one has to have some rule to
guide himself. Most of the people have to pass through the
Sattwa stage. It is only very few that can start above it
and the moral rule is true so far as most people are
Disciple: Can one say that the psychic being always wants
transformation? There are people who believe that the
psychic being in evolution would and must want
transformation. Only the Atman–the spirit–can merge into
laya in the infinite. Can not the developed psychic being
turn to Laya–merging into the infinite?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it can; it depends on whether it is
in front or not. If it is in front then, as I said, it takes
charge of the nature and then its aspiration will be for
transformation. But the developed psychic being can take any
other spiritual direction. It depends on what direction the
Divine within chooses. We cannot dictate to the soul
what it shall choose; all are not compelled to transform
their nature. Disciple: What is the kind of transformation
that takes place?
Sri Aurobindo: The psychic transformation is the first
one. Many yogis achieve this psychic transformation: it is
the pure Bhakta-nature. But all spiritual men are not
saints, of course, both can go together, sometimes.
Disciple: Is there a distinction between saints and
Sri Aurobindo: Of course, there is; saints are limited by
their psychic nature, but spiritual men are not. The saint,
generally, proceeds from and lives in the heart-centre. The
spiritual man might live in other higher centres–say, above
the head, in the spiritual consciousness.
Disciple: It is not quite clear to me–the
Sri Aurobindo: The saints live in the psychic being, that
is, in the Purusha in the heart but the spiritual man might
live above the head. I never felt like a saint
myself–though Maurice Magre calls me ‘a philosopher and a
saint.’ Krishna, for instance, was not a saint. A spiritual
man may not always behave like a saint, he may have many
other things in him like Rishi Durvasa.
Disciple: But saints are nearer to humanity; they are not
like the Ishwar-Koti to whom no laws apply.
Disciple: In this yoga one has to fight like Arjuna, in
the battle of Kurukshetra, because it is a yoga of fight and
Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily; it depends on the nature
of the being. There are some people, for instance, who when
they meet the hostile forces in the vital or in dream
begin to fight, while there are others who call for
protection. If one has the psychic attitude one need not
fight. Fighting is for the mental and the vital man; in the
case of the mental type the fight is with ideas.
Disciple: Some people regard quarreling with the Divine
as the psychic way.
Sri Aurobindo: In that case, many people are psychic in
Disciple: I remember X’s letter referring to Ramprasad’s
Song claiming that the Divine must satisfy
his demand, because he had sacrificed everything for the
Disciple: “Claim” based on what? This argument seems to
be “you must give me thing because I badly want it.” But
what reply you gave to him?
Sri Aurobindo: It was not addressed to me; it was
addressed to Krishna.
Disciple: Then, I will ask him to write to you.
Sri Aurobindo: No, No, don’t do that (laughter).
Otherwise, I will have to be as hard as Krishna. Disciple:
They say that Shiva is a very kind and generous God.
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know if he is very kind to the
demons. He gives very inconvenient boons and finds it very
difficult to wriggle out through them. He is a God who does
not care for consequences. Generally Vishnu or somebody else
has to come in afterwards to save the situation. Krishna is
hard-hearted, they say.
(The topic underwent a change.)
Disciple: I am reminded of Sadhaka X whose Sadhana seemed
to be going on very well…who is now attracted
to Buddhism. I do not know if he has been attracted to
some woman–but there was some such indication.
Sri Aurobindo: It is sad if it is true. In one of his
letters to Y he wrote that one need not be a eunuch in order
to be a master of
one should guard his realization.
Realization is something very precious and one should
guard it and live in it like a fortress. One can go in
adding whatever knowledge one wants or gets but always
guarding his realization. For instance, it is not at all
necessary to give up Bhakti to get Jnana.
After all it is a pity that he should give up the love of
Krishna for a mere human girl. I found it difficult to go
through his Commentary on the Gita. It is more intellectual,
it lacks the life and the heart. Otherwise, it was always a
pleasure to read his writings. He seems to have lost the
intensity of mental vision, the seeing mind which he had,
but I thought that it was due to his turning towards
His attraction towards Buddhism is understandable,
because to the European rational mind its rationalism has an
appeal. It was first through Buddhism that Europe came to
and began to know India. Blavatsky found Theosophy on
Buddhism. Next they understand Shanker in Europe and for
many years the Europeans thought there was nothing in India
except Shanker’s Adwaita. But if X has taken to Buddhism his
sex abhoration is not justifiable. Buddhism is the most
exacting path. It is most unindulgent, severe and dry; it is
a path of Tapasya.
Disciple: He had perhaps great mental pride.
Sri Aurobindo: May be also vital over-confidence.
Disciple: He said to Y that sex was not a problem for
Sri Aurobindo: That is over-confidence. Perhaps in course
of Sadhana some opening has taken place in the vital.
Disciple: But can a Sadhaka fall like that after such
fine realizations as he had?
Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by realizations? There is
always the possibility of being Yoga Bhrashta (fallen from
20th January 1939.
After discussion about local affairs, Sri Aurobindo: I
find X’s letter to Y is written with his usual clear vision.
He advises Y to guard against mixing up his own feeling of
personal wrong with the legitimate decision not to shake
hands with one who has wronged the Guru. About A he says,
“these people like A, when they take to yoga it is more
ornamental than anything else”. It is a fine phrase
Disciple (giving a turn to the talk): Nothing seems to
have come out of Chamberlain – Mussolini interview. Both
parties say, they are satisfied with the results.
Sri Aurobindo: I can’t understand England’s policy. I do
not know what she is after. France is being led by England;
she is her tail. It is said that Mussolini is waiting for
France’s victory, then he will present his terms to France.
France’s victory in Spain will be dangerous for France. But
it is very difficult to see how England profits by this. For
as soon as Italy and Germany have crushed France the next
victim will be England. England knows very well Mussolini’s
ambition to create an Italian empire. And that means he will
try to regain all that once belonged
to Italy. England is deliberately raising Hitler and
Mussolini against France and letting her down. I do not know
why unless the three want to share the empire of France and
then England may try to put Hitler and Mussolini against
each other. That may be her selfish, traditional policy, but
it is a very risky game.
Disciple: But is it possible? Can England remain aloof
when France breaks with the other powers?
Sri Aurobindo: Why not? Chamberlain has said that as long
as England’s interest are not involved she is not obliged to
fight. England will say that Italy’s demands have not been
satisfied and so she has gone to war and Germany has joined
her. There was no aggression on her part; so, England is not
obliged to come to the aid of France; and number of excuses
could be given. Blum told a friend who is also a friend of
Daladier that he had to betray Czechoslovakia because
Chamberlain told him that he will support him as it is
diplomatically possible, but in case of war France should
not count on England.
Disciple: I wonder why Flandin wants to support France
when Blum is against him. You know Flandin even sent
telegram to Mussolini conveying his congratulations. Hitler
counts Flandin as a friend–he intends to join the
Rome-Berlin axis and thus keep out England!
Sri Aurobindo: Italy shall demand after the Spanish
question is settled. Italy is almost sure to claim Tunis,
Nice, Jibouti. Is Flandin prepared to give them? Italy wants
her empire in Africa. So, Tunis and Jibouti are essential
for her to be the master in the Mediterranean. Blum is
was he who applied non-intervention in the Spanish
At present it seems two people are flourishing their arms
against everybody and the rest are somehow trying
to save themselves. The one man who has seen through the
whole thing is Roosevelt, but he is too far and he is not
sure of the support of the American people.
Disciple: What about Russia?
Sri Aurobindo: Russia is unreliable. One does not know
its military strength. At one time she was supposed to have
the biggest air-force. But according to Hindenberg it does
not seem to be so.
Disciple: Jawaharlal says that Hitler and his generals
did not expect the non-resistance–which they met–from
Austria. They were all very much surprised.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the generals were opposed to Hitler,
for they were not prepared to fight. Now Hitler will say:
“Have you seen that I am right? Things have happened as I
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
Disciple: There is some trouble in Holland, and Germany
is threatening to cut off all trade with her and establish
trade-route through Antwerp and not Amsterdam.
Sri Aurobindo: If that takes place that will make
Chamberlain fight in spite of himself,–England does not
want any German navy in the North Sea. But Germany won’t do
that unless she wants war with England.
The topic was changed now
Disciple: When X was working here some new sadhaka met
him and asked him: “Who are the advanced sadhaks here?”–He
replied: “I don’t know.” Then when he was repeatedly asked
he said: I will tell you, but you must tell it to nobody.
There are only two advanced sadhaks here,…you and I
Sri Aurobindo: This instance of ‘two’ reminds me of a
joke of Hugo. Balzac said to a friend that there are two men
who know and write French: myself and Hugo. When that was
reported to Hugo he said: “That is alright, but why Balzac?”
There is another story of a lady who believed the
doctrine of eternal hell or heaven–according to which
people will either go to heaven or to hell. Some one asked
her: Do you know where the people will go? She said: All
will go to hell, except myself and the minister–meaning the
clergyman, but I have doubts about the minister.
Disciple: Very similar is the case of Dr. R. who is here;
when he first came here I asked him about homeopathy. He
said: You see, there are four top-most men in the line. One
Dr. so & so in Calcutta, other two are there and I came
21st January 1939.
Dr. R’s visit today
Dr. R: Do you feel the pain (in the knee-joint) still?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.
Dr. R: That is because you are moving the leg after a
long time; it will disappear when you are accustomed to
Sri Aurobindo: Accustomed to the pain! (laughter)
Talk then turned to the world-war and the Congress.
Pattabhi was elected President. Patel wanted to settle at
Rajkot or go to East Africa.
Disciple: I am afraid if Patel goes to East or South
Africa the Indians there would be shot.
Sri Aurobindo: Instead of Patel going there to Africa it
is better that Gandhi should go to Hitler. Hitler will say
to Mahatma: You follow your inner voice Mr. Gandhi, I my
own. There is no reason to say that he would be wrong, for
my inner voice may be good and necessary for me, while it
may not be so for another man. The very opposite may be good
and necessary for another man. The Cosmic Spirit has one
thing for Hitler and may lead him in the way he is going,
while it may decide differently in another case.
Disciple: That may lead to a clash between the two and
the breaking of the instruments. Disciple: What of that?
Something good may come out of it.
Disciple: That might lead to fatalism, belief in
Sri Aurobindo: It may. There have been people who have
believe in fate or destiny or whatever you may call it.
Napoleon III used to say: “So long as something is necessary
to be done by me it will be done in any case; when that
necessity will cease, I shall be thrown on the wayside like
an outworn vessel.” And that is what exactly happened to
Napoleon I also believed in fate.
Disciple: When somebody asked Napoleon I, why did he plan
if he believed in fate, he said: “It is also fated that I
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. All men who have been great and
strong believe in some higher Force, great than themselves,
moving them. Socrates used to call this Daemon–man’s divine
being. It is curious how sometimes even in small things one
depends on this voice. Once Socrates was walking with a
disciple. When they came to a place where they had to take a
turn, the disciple said, “let us take this route.” Socrates
said: “my daemon asks me to take the other.” The disciple
did not agree and followed his own route. After he had gone
a certain distance he was attacked by some pigs and thrown
down by them.
There are some who do not follow the inner voice but an
inner light. The Quakers believed in that.
Disciple: Do they see the Light?
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know; but some one has said: “see
that your light is not darkness.” The strange thing is that
this inner voice does not give any reason; it only says: “do
this; if you do not do that, bad results will follow.”
Sometimes, strangely enough bad results do follow if you
don’t listen to it. Lele used to say that whenever he did
not follow the inner voice he had pain and suffering.
Disciple: But many kinds of voices are there according to
the forces on different planes. I believe it is extremely
difficult to distinguish between the right or the true inner
voice and false one. There may be voices either from the
mental or the subtle physical planes.
Moreover, in the same person the voices may differ.
Sri Aurobindo: Quite true. Hitler’s friend said about him
that what Hitler said today be contradicted tomorrow. I also
heard a voice which asked me to come to Pondicherry; of
course, it was the inner voice.
Disciple: Can not one be mistaken?
Sri Aurobindo: It was impossible to make a mistake about
or disobey that voice. There are some voices about which
there can be no possibility of any doubt or mistake. Charu
Chandra Roy wanted me to go to France–so that we may have
no further trouble. When I arrived at Chandranagar he
refused to receive me and shoved on to Moti Roy.
Disciple: But why should he receive you?
Sri Aurobindo: Because as a revolutionary he was obliged
to do so. Disciple: Was he a revolutionary?
Sri Aurobindo: Good Lord, we were together in jail and
perhaps his jail experience frightened him. At the beginning
he was a very ardent revolutionary.
Disciple: Nolini says he was weeping again in the jail.
The jail authorities thought that he could not be a
revolutionary (laughter) and so let him off.
Sri Aurobindo: No, that was not the reason. It was by the
intervention of the French Government, I think, that he got
his release. Barin one day walked into his house, gave him a
long lecture on revolution and converted him in one day.
Disciple: I heard that Nivedita also was a revolutionary,
is it true?
Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean? She was one of the
revolutionary leaders. She went about visiting places in
India to come in contact with the people. She was open and
frank and talked about her revolutionary plan to everybody.
When she used to speak on revolution it was her very soul
that spoke, her true personality used to come
out. Yoga was yoga of course, but it was as if that sort
of work was intended for her: that was fire if
you like. Her book “Kali–the Mother” is very inspiring,
but it is revolutionary and not non-violent. She went about
among the Thakurs of Rajputana trying to preach them
revolution. At that time everybody wanted some sort of
revolution. I met several Rajput Thakurs who had
revolutionary ideas, unsuspected by the Government. One
Thakur Ramsingh was afterwards caught in our movement and
put to jail. He suddenly died out of fright. But he was not
a man to be frightened. They may have poisoned him. You know
Moropant afterwards turned moderate. More than one Indian
army were ready to help us. I knew a Panjabi Sentinel at
Alipore who spoke to me about the revolution.
Once Nivedita came to Baroda to see the Gaekwad and told
him that his duty was to join the revolution and she said to
him: if you have anything to ask you can ask Mr. Ghose. But
the Gaekwad never talked politics with me afterwards. But
thing I could not understand about Nivedita was her
admiration for Gokhle. I wondered how a revolutionary could
have any admiration for him. Once she was so much exercised
when his life was threatened. She came to me and said: Mr.
Ghose, it is not one of your man that is doing this. I said:
No. She was much relieved and said: then it must be a free
The first time she came to see me she said, “I hear Mr.
Ghose, you are a worshipper of Shakti?” There was no
non-violence about her. She had an artistic side too.
Khaserao Jadhav and myself went to receive her at station at
Baroda. She saw the Dharamshala on the station and
exclaimed: “how beautiful!” Looking at the new College
buildings she uttered: “how ugly!” Khaserao said: She must
be a little mad!
Disciple: The college building is supposed to be an
imitation of Eton. Sri Aurobindo: But Eton has no Dome.
Disciple: It is a combination of modern and ancient
Sri Aurobindo: At any rate it is an ugly dome. The
Ramkrishna Mission was afraid of her political activities
and asked her to keep her activities separate from the
Disciple: What about her Yogic Sadhana?
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know; whenever we met together we
spoke about politics and revolution. But her eyes showed
power of concentration and a capacity for going into trance.
She had got something in her spiritual life.
Disciple: She came to India with idea of doing Yoga.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But she took up politics as part of
Vivekananda’s work. Her book is one of the best on
Vivekananda. Vivekananda himself had ideas about political
work and fits of revolution. Once he had a vision which
corresponded to something like Maniktola Garden. It is
curious that many Sannyasins at that time had thought of
India’s freedom. Maharshis young disciples were
revolutionaries. Yoganands’ Guru had also such ideas. Thakur
Dayananda was also one such. (turning to a disciple)
Do you know one Mr. Mandal?
Disciple: The one with spectacles.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is he who introduced me through
someone else to the Secret Society, where I came in contact
with Tilak and others.
22nd January 1939:
Sri Aurobindo opened the topic by asking:–“What about
He was told yesterday that D was going to fast on his
birth-day i.e. to-day. But he had forgotten all about
Disciple: I hear he has taken bread and butter in the
morning and at mid-day a light meal. Sri Aurobindo: Fasting
with bread and milk!
Disciple: There are people who believe that bread and
milk can be taken while fasting. (Laughter)
Sri Aurobindo: That is also the custom in Bengal, I
believe. That reminds me of a story. Nevinson went to see
Tilak and met him in Dhoti. While describing the meeting he
said: Mr. Tilak received me naked in his cloth.
By this time another disciple came and seemed to be
bubbling with news.
Sri Aurobindo: What is the news? Radio: help. a louse in
Stalin’s head! Socialize it. then the rest will follow.
Disciple recounted two fine jokes about Russia from
‘Inside Europe.’ Then he said:–
I looked up the book; Lindbergh says that soviet
air-fleet is not as powerful as it is thought. Sri
Aurobindo: In what way?
Disciple: I don’t know.
Sri Aurobindo: That is very vague. Does he mean that the
aeroplanes are not of sound material, or that the pilots
are not well-trained? If he says only that much, that
does not give any knowledge. In the fight between Russia and
Japan in the frontier, the Japanese admitted that the
Russian artillery was remarkable, it does not miss the mark
but the infantry is not good; for when they got very good
opportunity they did not take advantage of it. While the
Japanese army is, perhaps, the best in the world. In spite
of overwhelming numbers against them in China, they have
been able to conquer Chang kai-shek trumpet, that he would
defeat the Japanese in a very short time. They did not reply
but at the end of each defeat the Japanese are further than
Disciple: They say that the Japanese are not good in the
air. They miss their aim many times.
Sri Aurobindo: I do not know about that. A pilot requires
at a time concentration on many points. The Japanese are
good at concentrating on one thing at a time.
Disciple: Mussolini is asking all Italian firms to close
down at Jibuoti, and thus create dissatisfaction. He is
trying to cut off the railway connecting Jibouti and
Abbyssinia and make another line through Eritria to
Sri Aurobindo: That would not make France give up Jibouti
because it is an important seal-link between France and her
eastern colonies. Even if Flandin and the Premier wanted to
give it up the French people won’t.
Disciple: Yesterday we had talk about hearing the voice:
is there any standard by which one can judge whether it is a
Sri Aurobindo: What standard? There is no such standard.
How can you judge where it is right or wrong?
Disciple: Then is Hitler who says, “I heard a voice and I
follow it”, right?
Sri Aurobindo: Right in what sense? Morally?
Disciple: He means spiritually, perhaps.
Sri Aurobindo: How can you say his voice is not true? He
has seen that by following it he has been able to get
Austria, Czechoslovakia and he has been successful in many
other things. Then how can you say it is not a true voice?
As I said, the Cosmic Spirit may want him to go that way.
Even morally, you can’t say that he is immoral. He is very
restricted as regards food and is supposed to have no wife
or mistress and leads a controlled life in all other
respects. Robespierre was also a moral man and yet he killed
Disciple: But then, what is meant by the ‘true
Sri Aurobindo: That is the psychic voice. But the
spiritual point of view is quite different. There is no
question of right or wrong in it. One goes above all those
standards and looks from that plane. But for that it is
essential to have the perception–say feeling of the Divine
in all. Then one can see Divine in all, veiled behind the
Gunas. From that plane one finds that Gita is right in what
it says about the Gunas: that man is made to act by the
action of the Gunas. There was an angry Sannyasi who came to
the Kali Temple at Calcutta. Ramkrishna said about him: “he
is a Tamsik Narayanan.” But he could not keep that standard
when another vedantin came there and had a concubine with
him. He asked the vedantin: why do you keep the concubine?
The Vedantin replied: every thing is Maya, so what does it
matter what you do, or not do? Ramkrishna said: “I spit on
But logically, the Vedantin was right. So long as you
believe everything to be Maya you can do as you like. But
how will you say which is right? For instance, what will you
say about Curzon’s action?
Disciple: About Bengal partition?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, was he right? He thought he was quite
right in what he was doing, while
others thought he was wrong. And yet, but for his action
India would not have been half as free as she is to-day. So,
the Cosmic Spirit may have, after all, led him to do it to
bring this result. There is a Cabalist prophesy: the golden
age will come when the Jews will be driven off and
persecuted every where. So, Hitler may be bringing that
about. There are so many ways of looking at a thing. For
instance, this American lady thinks, perhaps, that she is
paying us a big sum, but we call it a joke.
Disciple: Then, can one say that one has no
responsibility. One can do as one likes–, in that case one
becomes a fatalist.
Sri Aurobindo: No, one can’t do what one likes. Every one
is not Hitler and can’t do what Hitler does, because it is
one’s nature that makes one do things. Your question reminds
me of the story of my grand-mother.
She said: ‘God has made such a bad world. If I could meet
Him I would tell what I think of Him.’ My grand-father said:
‘Yes it is true. But God has so arranged that you can’t get
near Him so long as you have any such desire in you’
When we say: Hitler is possessed by a vital force it is a
statement of fact, not a moral judgment. It is clear from
what he does and the way he does it.
I remember a young Sanyasi with long nails came to
Baroda. He used to stay under trees. Deshpande and myself
went to see him. Deshpande asked him: what is the Dharma,
the standard of action? He replied, “There is no such
standard. It is the Dharma of the thief to steal because
that is his nature. Deshpande was very angry when he heard
that; I said it is only a point of view.
But all that does not mean that there is no consequence
for one’s action. As Christ said, offence come but woe unto
him by whom the offence cometh. There is a law of being
which throws upon you the murder, persecution etc., when you
inflict suffering on others out of self-will the suffering
will come back to you, that is the law of Karma.
Disciple: S used to quote to me the famous verse of
Duryodhana. “Janami, Dharmam nacha me pravrittih” I know
what is the Dharma but I can’t gather force to do what I
Sri Aurobindo: “You have the other verse. “seated in my
heart as Thou directest, I act”.*
The question comes up seriously when you want to change
yourself or change others. Then you say “this should not be”
and “that should go”–etc., you introduce a rule of the mind
in the vital, but when you go above the mind you come in
contact with your Spirit and the nature of that spirit is
Light, Truth, Purity. When you observe discipline it is for
the spirit, not for the sake of the mental rule. If you want
to attain the standard of purity you have to reject what
comes in the way. So also about lying. You have to stop
lying if you want the Truth, not because of the mental
principle of right and wrong, but for the sake of the
spirit. There are many parts in Nature: One part may try to
reject things that are contrary to the change and
contradictory to each other, but another part prevents it.
As the Roman poet said: I see the better things but I follow
Disciple: Vendanta for sometime was by word for
hypocrisy. People used to speak of them as
“Bedantins”–meaning two sets of teeth,–one for showing and
another for chewing
* [the above in sankrit]
like the elephant. What is the truth of Vama-marga?
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know. It must have been with the
idea of taking up forces and pull them high up. Even the
sexual act has to be done from a high consciousness.
Upanishad also : it is possible.
But to go back to the original point about the law of
Nature. We have to understand that all this does not mean
that there is no moral standard. Humanity requires a certain
standard it helps profess. It is obvious from what Hitler is
doing that he is not serving the forces of Light. He is
serving what the Jews would call “the forces of
unrighteousness”. But from the spiritual point of view, that
may also be necessary. As they say “it takes all sorts to
make the world.”
But again that does not mean that one should not
recognize other planes. For instance, there is the vital
plane whose law is force and success. If you have the force
you win. If you have speed you outrun others. The law of the
mind comes in to act as a balance together to make a
mental-vital standard. If you go above then you come to a
point where Gita’s “Sarva Dharman parityajya” becomes the
principle. Sharanam Vraja becomes the principle. But there
if you leave the last portion, “mamekam Saranam Vraja” “take
refuge in Me alone”–then you follow your ego and you fall
and became either an Asura, or a lunatic or an animal. But
even the animals have a sense of right and wrong. It is very
well shown in Kipling’s Jungle Book. Have you read it?
Sri Aurobindo: There he shows how the pack falls on the
one that fails to keep the standard. By human contact the
animals develop that sense even more.
Mother came and then after some time departed. Disciple:
Is it true that Supramental Being is Bhagawan? Sri
Aurobindo: All are Bhagwan, all are Divine.
Disciple: That is potential or say, veiled Bhagawan;
otherwise we have to accept that world is perfect even as it
Sri Aurobindo: It is perfect as it could be perfect at
Disciple: That is to say a more perfect perfection has to
be attained yet. Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it has to be.
23rd January 1939.
Disciple: My friend X is hesitating to put you a
question; but he is puzzled by what he thinks as the
contradiction in what you said yesterday about Gunas.
Disciple: You said that a man like Hitler does what he
does because of the action of the Gunas, the modes of
nature. In other-words he does what the Cosmic Spirit makes
him do and yet he is individually responsible for his
actions. It seems contradictory.
Sri Aurobindo: That is generally the case when you state
some Truth you have to express it in contradictory terms
(laughter). Truth is not always consistent But the
contradiction you notice does not mean that there is no
responsibility, or no morality, no right, no wrong. The
individual is responsible, for, he accepts the action of the
Gunas of nature.
Disciple: But it is the Cosmic Spirit that makes him
accept it, is it not?
Sri Aurobindo: No. The Cosmic Spirit does not act
directly. It acts through the Nature. The Cosmic Spirit acts
not through the true individuality but through the
individual in Nature. It acts through personality and
personality is not the person. Personality is something
formed of the mental vital and physical nature. This
personality is responsible because it accepts the Gunas–the
modes through ego and Nature. As I said, the Cosmic Spirit
works through Nature and not direct.
Disciple: But the Cosmic Spirit works its purpose through
the individual, by making him carry out its intention.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that does not mean that the
individual is not responsible. The Cosmic is and contains
both good and evil.
Disciple: Then it is the Cosmic Spirit that is
responsible for the evil.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the Cosmic Spirit that is responsible
for both–good and evil, you can’t say it is responsible for
one and not the other. Through both–good and evil–and
their struggle between Light and Darkness, the Cosmic Spirit
works out its purpose in evolution.
Disciple: For example, Duryodhana thought, in the
Kuruksetra battle, that he was in the right. He did not know
that he was leading to the destruction of his own
Sri Aurobindo: But the Cosmic Spirit is not in evolution,
while the individual is in evolution. The individual
progresses in his evolution by his nature,–he evolves
through his nature.
Disciple: Can the individual refuse or reject the
Sri Aurobindo: Certainly. The individual can refuse to
submit to nature. For example, Arjuna refused to act
accordingly to his nature and eighteen chapters of the Gita
had to be told to him to make him fight.
Disciple: Even though the Cosmic Spirit had already slain
the warriors, yet Arjuna was asked to be the instrument.
Sri Aurobindo: Real liberation comes when the Purusha
awakes and feels himself separate from nature, not bound by
it but free and lord.
Disciple: But generally the Purusha is bound.
Sri Aurobindo: Of course, normally the Purusha consents
to the action of Prakriti but he can withdraw his consent
and stand apart. He can be free by getting out of evolution
i. e. by being free from the working of ego and
Disciple: When the freedom of the Purusha is won then it
becomes possible for the individual to look beyond the
Cosmic Spirit to the Transcendent, and act in the Cosmos
according to the will of the Transcendent–Is it so?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is to say, instead of being an
instrument of ignorant nature you become the instrument of
Disciple: Do you mean by the Cosmic Spirit the Impersonal
Sri Aurobindo: No, The Cosmic Spirit is a
Personality–not in the narrow sense of personality; it is
both static and dynamic.
Saguna and nirguna,–the Nirguna supporting the Sagun.
Disciple: You said that the psychic being also is a
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the psychic being also is a Psychic
Purusha. Disciple: Does the psychic being develop from birth
Sri Aurobindo: It is not the psychic being itself that
develops, but it guides the evolution of the individual
being by increasing the psychic element in the nature of the
individual. It is these personalities in nature that are
Disciple: It is said that psychic being is a spark of the
Divine. Sri Aurobindo: Yes.
Disciple: Then it seems that the function of the psychic
being is the same as that of Vedic Agni who is the God of
Fire, who is the leader of the journey.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Agni is the God of the psychic and,
among other things that it does, it also leads the upward
Disciple: How does the psychic carry the personalities
formed in this life into another life?
Sri Aurobindo: After death, it gathers its elements and
carries them onward to another birth. But it is not the same
personality that is born. People easily misunderstand these
things, specially when they are put in terms of the mind.
The past personality is taken only as the basis but a new
personality is put forward. If it was the same personality,
then it would act exactly in the same manners and there
would be no meaning in that.
Disciple: Does the experience of the Cosmic Spirit
correspond to what you have termed the “Overmind”?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but you can have the experience of
the Cosmic Consciousness on any other level of
also. Generally, you have it on the level of the Higher
Mind where you feel the two aspects static and dynamic as
separate. But as you go above, you find the Overmind
overreaches all the other levels and there the two aspects
are gathered together and combined in the same consciousness
(turning to X) So you see, Hitler is responsible so long as
he does not feel that he is not Hitler.
Disciple: But does he feel that he is responsible?
Sri Aurobindo: He feels that he is responsible not only
for himself but for the whole of Germany.
When Hitler began he was not like that. He was considered
an amusing crank and nobody took any notice of him. But his
latest photograph shows him like a criminal, he seems to be
going down the darkness very fast. It is the vital
possession that gives him his size and greatness. Without
this possession he would be a crudely amiable person with
some mental hobbies and eccentricities. This possession
becomes possible because the psychic being in him is
undeveloped. There is nothing in his being that can resist
the vital force.
Mussolini has, comparatively, a developed psychic being
and a very strong vital being, But in his last photograph he
seems to have weakened. Either he is physically unwell or is
aging or perhaps he has misused his powers.
Disciple: Hitler feels responsible for all the Aryans,
what ever that may mean.
Sri Aurobindo: Of course, the only Aryans are the
Germans. It is they who feel the responsibility and bear the
Disciple: Can one be free if one acts without feeling
Sri Aurobindo: You can’t get rid of responsibility like
that, even though you may say, you are not responsible.
You must become free if you want to be free from
responsibility. There are three ways, or rather several
ways, of attaining that freedom. One is by the separation of
the Purusha from Prakriti and realizing it as free from it;
another is by realizing the Self, The Atman or the Spirit,
from the Cosmic movement. Thirdly by the identification with
the Transcendent Above, i. e. by realizing the Parmatma. You
can also have this freedom by merging into the Shunyam
through Buddhistic discipline.
Disciple: In the experience through the first and second
method does the Purusha remain the “witness?”
Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. I may be witness in the
first method because the Purusha separates himself from
Prakriti and is then the witness not taking part in
But in the second kind of realization the Purusha need
not be the witness of the universe, or the universal
movement. The Self may remain ingathered without witnessing
anything. There are many conditions into which the spirit
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
Disciple: When the Gita says: “You will find the self all
and all in the self and then in Me”–what Self does it speak
Sri Aurobindo: It is the Brahmic Consciousness. That is
to say, you see one Consciousness in all and all contained
in the One Self and then you rise above to the realization
of One that is both personal and impersonal and is above
Disciple: Is it true that man with spiritual bent are
born with “Adhikara – qualification – for it? Sri Aurobindo:
Disciple: Can one acquire Adhikara – such qualification,
i. e. if one has not the Adhikara at first can one get it by
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, A man can acquire Adhikara. That is
what we mean when we say “he is not ready” and when we say
“he can prepare himself” it means he can get the
Disciple: Such a man can also acquire Adhikara by the
company of Saints. Sri Aurobindo: Yes, of course.
Disciple: One gets tired of this problem of
manifestation. That is to say, it is a very complicated and
long process to manifest the Divine in oneself and in one’s
Sri Aurobindo: Being tired is not enough. One must have
the power to be free, either by moving out of evolution,
that is to say, one must get the power to act from beyond
Many yogis when they go beyond into the Spirit or the
Cosmic consciousness, allow Cosmic nature to act through
them without any sense of individual responsibility. They
remain concentrated in, or identified with the
Higher Consciousness uncontrolled And you find as X found
that the spiritual man uses foul language: of course, the
yogi or the spirit in him is not bound by the rules of
decency. That is why such yogis act like Jada, Pishacha or
Bala–allowing nature to play freely in them.
When one has attained the higher consciousness then, as
the Upanishad says, one does not regret: I did not do that
which was good, or I did this which is evil. It is not that
all yogis act that way. But some of them know the reason, or
the necessity–why they act in a particular way, at a
particular time. Only, he is not bound by his action.
Another difficulty arises because most of the yogis are
very bad philosophers. And so they cannot put their
experiences in mental terms. But that does not mean that
they have no real spiritual experience. They do not want to
acquire intellectual development; for, they wanted only to
reach a Higher consciousness and they are satisfied with
that. When you look for things the yogi has never tried to
have then you get disappointed like the American lady who
object to Raman Maharshi’s spitting and biting his nails.
That has nothing to do with his spirituality.
Disciple: Can one say that the aspect of Sat–Pure
Sri Aurobindo: No, even in what you call Being
Consciousness is there; only, it is held back, or is
inactive so to say, while in Chit that aspect is in front.
In these matters using mental terms always creations
confusion because I have so often said that Sat, Chit Ananda
is the prime Reality and no part of it can be thought of as
Disciple: The difficulty arises when one sees many
experience of different system of Sadhana then one finds
great difficulty of choosing between them.
Disciple: But does one choose these things with the
Disciple: There is no other go. Can not the story of
different systems lead one to knowledge?
Sri Aurobindo: It can help in making an approach to the
path of knowledge. Philosophy is an attempt to explain to
the human mind what is really behind it. But to the western
mind thought is the highest thing. If you can think out an
explanation of the universe you have reached the goal of
mental activity. They use the mind for the sake of using
it–that leads nowhere. (Turning to X) So, you see, the
universe is not a question of logic but of
Disciple: But is the story of philosophy indispensable?
Sri Aurobindo: Not at all.
Disciple: I would like to know everything by
Sri Aurobindo: You can know what philosophy preaches, or
has to say, by direct experience and something more which
philosophy cannot give.
Disciple: The Sankhya division between Purusha and
Prakriti in one sense, is very sharp and so it helps one to
get away from the bondage of Prakriti.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is categorical. They believe in
the two, Purusha and Prakriti, as the final elements.
Sankhya and Buddhism were both first understood and
appreciated by Europe,–Sankhya because of its sharp
distinction between Purusha and Prakriti, which they believe
to be jada–inconscient. Prakriti, in Sankhya, is jada and
it is the light of the consciousness of Purusha that makes
Prakriti appear conscious. They believe that even
Buddhi–the intelligence–is also jada–inconscient.
We in our yoga need not accept it. While the Europeans
liked Buddhism for its strong rationalism. Its logic led it
up to Shunya–the state of non-being, which is its aim to
reach. There is also a strong note of Agnosticism in it
which appeals to the Europeans. It is something that hangs
in the air; for the base is Shunya–non-being. You don’t
know on what basis the whole thing stands. There is a
certain similarity between Science and Sankhya; for in
science they believe that evolution begins with the jada,
the inconscient and goes up the scale of consciousness.
Disciple: We have so much darkness in us that we can’t
empty it by our own efforts. At times, it seems that even a
little light will do.
Sri Aurobindo: No, little light, a mere candle-like
mental illumination, will not do. There must be full
sun-light. And that is very difficult to attain and bring
down. It is a slow process, but that is what we mean when we
say: “You must have an opening.” If you have an opening,
gradually, more and more light can come.
Disciple: How can we accept the light without knowing
Sri Aurobindo: That is to say, something in you does not
want it, otherwise there is hardly any difficulty. Of
course, so far as the world is concerned it has always
refused to accept the Light when it came.
It is a test to know whether the world is ready or not.
For example, when Christ was sentenced Pilate had a right to
pardon one of the four condemned, and he pardoned Barbaras.
Nowadays, they say that Barbaras was not a robber, but was a
national hero, and he was a sort of Robinhood. But whatever
that may be, it is a fact that the romantic robber was
preferred to the Son of God; or the political opponent to
the preacher of the Truth.
Disciple: You say about experience, but I have no
experience. All I feel is pressure at the time of
Sri Aurobindo: You at least feel the pressure.
Disciple: But how to know that it is due to the working
of the Higher Power?
Sri Aurobindo: If you can wait you will know yourself, or
you have to accept it from the Guru who has gone through the
experience–that is to say, you have to accept it by
Sravana, hearing, and Manana–meditating upon it.
Disciple: It is said that ascent and descent take place;
how to know it?
Sri Aurobindo: You will yourself know it when it takes
place; you can’t miss it.
Disciple: I hear that the American lady B remained in
Ramanashram about a week, in spite of all unclean
surroundings. She spent about a hundred rupees a day on her
food. Mona says that her husband’s name does not indicate
that he belongs to an old aristocratic family. He is a
rubber magnet, he is a Lord, and is manufacturing rubber
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t understand why a rubber
manufacturer should be a Catholic. Disciple: Heirloom,
Sri Aurobindo: Which? the tyre or the Catholicism?
Disciple: What was the lady’s impression about our
Sri Aurobindo: She was much impressed and was full of
praise for the Mother, and she thought it must be a work of
genius. She thinks that genius can work without
Disciple: She seems to have contributed something.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, 5 £. Till now the Americans that
have come here are either poor, or rich ones who don’t
Disciple: She seems to have done better than Sir H. who
not only did not pay anything but took a loaf of bread with
At this point the Mother came.
Sri Aurobindo: (to the Mother) N wants to know lady B’s
Mother: She was full of compliments. She was much
impressed with the tidiness, cleanliness., and the beauty in
the Ashram. (Then addressing Sri Aurobindo she said) She is
not much more than a tourist. She is going to Japan to study
with Suzuki. She has much admiration for genius, probably
because genius does not require finance.
Here the topic changed:
24th January 1939.
Sri Aurobindo: turning to X: “Any news?”
Usually the news of local politics and other subjects
used to come through X,
Disciple: No news except that Mahatma Gandhi advises the
Japanese visitor Kagawa to include Shanti Niketan and
Pondicherry in his itinerary, without seeing which his visit
to India would be incomplete.
Sri Aurobindo: O that! I have heard about it.
At this juncture the Mother came and a meditation
followed, After the Mother’s departure Sri Aurobindo
resumed: “I can give you some news today, The French
Ministry seems to be going against the political party in
power. It is a mystery how the ministry has suddenly taken
this change of attitude.
Disciple: I understand that the leader from Pondicherry
wrote to the Ministry against some official and the official
must have found it out in France. And so, when he came back
here he has taken up a definite attitude against the leader
and the party.
Sri Aurobindo: There is a Greek saying that when one
becomes too powerful he becomes insolent and commits
excesses and then that strikes against the throne of God and
then the retribution begins.
The leader of the former dominant party was not like
that. He never lost sense of balance, and never pushed
things too far. When his lieutenants asked him to arrest his
political opponents he refused.
Disciple: Hitler also has a precipitous rise, he can’t
maintain the momentum. He can’t last very long.
Sri Aurobindo: There is another famous Greek story about
the tyrant of Syracuse. Do you know it?
Sri Aurobindo: This tyrant wanted to make friends with
another tyrant of Sicily. Both belonged to Sicily. The
latter replied: You are too fortunate. You must sacrifice
something or have some little misfortune to compensate for
your fortune, otherwise, I can’t ally myself with you. The
tyrant of Syracuse–Polycrites–threw his most precious ring
into the sea as a sacrifice to compensate for his fortune.
The ring was swallowed by a fish and that fish caught by a
fisherman who brought to him. He got back
the ring. The other tyrant heard about it and said: You
are too lucky. I shall never ally myself with you.
Polycrites was afterwards killed by his people in revolt.
“The ring of Polycrites” is a proverbial expression in
The Roman poet says: the Titans fall by their own mass.
There is a similar idea in India when it is said: the Asuras
are too heavy for the earth to bear their weight. But some
Asuras are clever enough to flourish in spite of
Disciple: Can it be said that the Asuras by their action
contradict the law of evolution or that they contradict
something fundamental in human nature?
Sri Aurobindo kept silent for some time and then said:
There is no such general law. The thing is that the Asura
can’t keep balance. The law that demands balance then
(Then Sri Aurobindo became silent). After sometime
looking at a disciple he said: “Is your cosmic problem
solved? (in reference to yesterday’s topic.)
Disciple: Not until I get the experience. But I have some
interesting news from Calcutta. Mrs. has been saying to her
relations such a number of lies that they have found it out
and say: “There is truth on both sides.”
Sri Aurobindo: But what does Mrs. M. say?
Disciple: She says that the Ashram tried to keep her
child because of her property. We are short of money; police
intervention has taken place before also.
Sri Aurobindo: But how can we get the money from the
child? Everybody knows that the property belongs to her
mother, and that she is not going to die within a few
years. It is not the Ashram that wanted to keep her;
she–the child–wanted to stay of her own accord. And where
was the police intervention? By saying that she deprives
herself of the credit of having the first who brought in the
Disciple: She says all that to save her face.
Sri Aurobindo: It will take a lot of saving.
After this there was silence. After some time a Disciple
Disciple: A. B. is supposed to have said that Vivekananda
by his idea of service to humanity, brought mixture and
spoiled the spirituality that was intended to be cultivated
Sri Aurobindo: In what way?
Disciple: I don’t know. But was it Ramakrishna’s idea
that Vivekananda followed? Was it Ramakrishna who asked him
to do service to humanity?
Disciple: So far as I remember he said: “Lok hiter kaj
karo.” “Lok hit” “Good of the world”–is not the same thing
as “service to humanity.”
Disciple: So far as I remember Ramakrishna did not say
anything like that. In fact, there was a great difference
among Ramakrishna’s disciples about what Vivekananda was
bringing in. But some of them submitted saying: “Vivekananda
must know better.” The phrase “Daridra Narayana” was
Disciple: But some disciples, even though they did not
object, did not take any part in the work. Brahmananda was
one such. He had a greater realization than Vivekananda.
Sri Aurobindo: I think so; he was spiritually higher. I
once met Brahmanand when I went to see Belur Math. He asked
me about some letters received from “G”. I don’t remember
what it was about. He asked me whether he should do anything
or keep quiet. I asked him to keep silent and not give any
Disciple: Ramakrishna Mission seems to be more occupied
with social and humanitarian work; I don’t know if there is
much spirituality in it. My cousin Swami Adwaitananda went
there and was quite dissatisfied and came back.
Sri Aurobindo: Plenty of people complain of that. But
what work do they do? Disciple: Medical relief, famine
Sri Aurobindo: Famine relief is not all the year round.
Medical relief is something.
Disciple: Education also. Now a days in many places of
spiritual work they feed the poor–it is done as the
Seva–Service to, Daridra Narayana–the poor as
Sri Aurobindo: I see no idea in that. What is the use of
feeding for one day, when they have to fast all the year
round? You can satisfy your conscience that you have done
something for the poor, I suppose. If you could find out the
cause of poverty and try to remove that, that it would be
some real work.
Disciple: But that is not easy. There are so many
difficulties, political, economic etc.
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t think it is so insoluble as all
that. If you give the people education–by education I mean
proper education–not the modern type–and the means, then
the problem could be solved. People in England or
France have not this kind of poverty as we have in India.
That is because of their education–they are not so
Disciple: Some thousands were fed on the birthday of a
holy man. There were so many people on this occasion that
they were not allowed to touch him.
Sri Aurobindo: If they were allowed to touch him, he will
feel like the President of America who had to shake hands
with thousands of people and in the end got an aching of the
Disciple: These are people who give lot of money for such
purposes of temporary utility, but curiously enough, we
don’t get financial help. One man actually told me, we don’t
require money because we have buildings.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that seems to be the impression. Many
people think like the American lady visitor, that “the
Ashram is a work of genius” and genius can do without money
(laughter). Among the rich it is only the minority that
pays; mostly it is the poor persons like Miss X who hardly
earns enough to maintain her family yet whenever she finds
an opportunity she sends us money. There is a false rumour
that we have a lot of money.
26th January 1939.
Disciple: It seems Barcelona–in Spain–is going. The
French people are waking up at the eleventh hour.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, democracies are showing such courage
Disciple: It seems, political ideas and ideals are not
worth fighting for. Thousands fought for democracy and
they are in a hurry to give it up. Nothing seems to be
permanent in the political field.
Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. All human values are half
values–they are relative. They have no permanence or
durability about them.
Disciple: Perhaps, if man became more of a mentalized
being, he would understand things better.
Sri Aurobindo: By being mentalized? No. The difficulty
that men do not follow the principles of life.
Disciple: How is that?
Sri Aurobindo: Life compromises between different
elements, but mind while acting alone does not compromise.
Mind takes up one thing–(one idea, or principles or
anything like that)–and makes it absolute. Mind considers
it as apart from and opposed to all other things.
Hagel boasted that in Europe they had succeeded in
separating reason from life and you see their philosophy–it
has nothing to do with life; it is all mental gymnastics, it
does not form part of life.
While in India, philosophy has always been a part of
life; it has an aim.
In the political philosophy of Europe you find, if they
accept democracy, it is only democracy–all the rest is
opposed to it. If monarchy, then it is only monarchy. That
is what happened in Greece. They fought for democracy and
opposed aristocracy and monarchy and in the end oligarchy
came and monarchy–at last they were conquered by the
Disciple: Then what is the truth in all these attempts at
Sri Aurobindo: If you want to arrive at something true
and lasting, you have to look at life and learn from it.
That is to say, you must learn the nature of the opposition
and contradictions and then reconcile them.
As regards government, life shows that there is a truth
in monarchy–whether hereditary or elective. That is to say,
there is a man at the top who governs. Life also shows that
there is a truth in aristocracy, whether it is of strong or
rich men–that of money or intellect.
The current fiction is, it is the majority that rules.
Life also shows that the rule of the kind or of the
aristocracy should be with the consent–silent or vocal–of
the people who form the mass.
In ancient India, they recognized the truth of these
things. That is why India has lasted through millenniums and
China also. English politics is successful because they have
always found one man or two who had the power to lead the
minority of the ruling class. During Victorian period it was
either Gladstone or Desrali, and even when the party in
power changes in England the other party that comes to power
does not change things radically. They continue the same
policy with a slight modification.
In France no government lasts, sometimes it changes
within a few days! The new government is a repetition of the
one it replaces. Blum is one who wanted to do something
radical but he was knocked out.
Disciple: Did you see Subhas’s statement?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He seems to have a queer logic;
because the Right has a majority so, the president should be
from the minority. And what is the sense in saying: we will
fight to the core? I can understand that kind of idea if you
are going to have revolution. Then there can be no
compromise. But once you have accepted compromise there
is no meaning in that statement. One has to work out on the
basis of what one has gained. Satyamurty’s idea of
federation seems all right to me if the States’ people are
given some representation in the centre and the Viceroy
exercises no veto. It would then practically amount to
Disciple: The Viceroy’s long stay in Bombay seems
significant. I think, there is something behind it. He may
want to settle the office-bearers for the federation.
Sri Aurobindo: The Bombay Ministry seems to be working
efficiently. They have escaped the socialists trap. These
socialists do not know what is socialism.
Disciple: There were many humourous speeches in the
Sindh-assembly. The League has been exposed.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the Sindh Premier–I always forget
his name–seems to be a strong man and stands up for his
ideas at the risk of unpopularity. The Sindh Muslims were
anxious to join the Congress. The Congress should try to do
something to make a coalition there.
The Congress ministries are successful almost everywhere.
That is an indication of the power to govern if powers are
Disciple: Only Bengal and Punjab remain under Muslim
Sri Aurobindo: The Muslim League is not so strong in
Bengal–there is the Praja party there. In the Punjab
Sikandar Hayat Khan seems to be an able man. Only, in U. P.
the Muslim League seems strong.
Disciple: I wonder how Fazlul Haque could become the
Premier. Perhaps Nazimuddin may be more capable.
Sri Aurobindo: He won’t make a popular figure. Haque can
turn as circumstances require. All these Muslims of the
League seem to be a lot of self-seekers.
Disciple: I do not understand why the Congress opened
negotiations with the League. It has been giving an undue
Sri Aurobindo: How is it that the Congress is so weak in
Disciple: Because of the Socialists and the old Congress
people fighting each other. The Jayapur affair is starting
again. Bajaj is going to offer Satyagraha. It seems, Mahatma
has given his approval.
Sri Aurobindo: Since he is a congressman I suppose the
Congress will have to back him. If the State people get
power the princes will have no work but to sign papers and
Disciple: Where will they shoot? The forests are being
depleted of animals.
Sri Aurobindo: The forests have to be preserved and also
the wild life. China destroyed all her forests and the
result is there is flood every year.
Disciple: There are so many Maharajas, Chiefs, Nawabs all
Sri Aurobindo: Germany was like that at one time.
Napoleon swept away half of the number and the last war
swept off another half. Japan also had many princes but they
voluntarily abdicated their power. The Japanese are not
greedy for money. They can easily sacrifice if they find it
is their duty to sacrifice–of course, duty to the
Disciple: How far back in history do they go?
Sri Aurobindo: The Mikado claims to be the descendant of
the Goddess of the Sun. The Mikado Maigi believed in it and
he used to do what was necessary after feeling the
inspiration within him.
There are two types of features among the Japanese: one
tall and with a long nose and fine aristocratic face, and
another the ‘Inune’ who came from Australia and Polynesia.
It was the tall
people with classical features that gave Samurai Culture
to Japan. I met a Japanese painter at Tagore’s place–he was
of the first type–what magnificent features! The other is
the usual Mongolian type.
Disciple: The dictator’s psychology is an authority
complex. People under the dictator feel they are great and
that the dictator–in this case Hitler–is fighting for
them, not they who fight for him. Perhaps the dictators find
a competitor in God and religion. So they try to crush
Sri Aurobindo: But Mussolini did not crush religion in
Italy, though Kemal and Stalin did. Mussolini on the
contrary has given more power to the Pope in the Vatican. He
has practically recognized the Roman Church as the State
Disciple: I read in a newspaper that Kemal in his
intoxicated condition slapped an Egyptian because he came to
a dinner party with a fez on.
Sri Aurobindo: Have you not heard the story of a
journalist? Disciple: No.
Sri Aurobindo: Well, a young journalist of Turkey
criticized the government saying; Turkey is governed by a
of drunkards. Kemal came to know of it. Next day, the
journalist received an invitation to dinner. He was
trembling as to what was coming. After dinner was over Kemal
told him: Young man, you are quite mistaken in saying that
Turkey is governed by a number of drunkards. It is not true.
Turkey is governed by one drunkard.
Disciple: Kemal at one time tried to play off Italy
against Russia. Sri Aurobindo: But Russia has all along
Disciple: Stalin forced the collectivization of farming
among the Ukrainians. The farmers did not like it. So, to
spite the government they collected from the farmers only
what they required for themselves for the year; they did not
collect the crop for the government. Stalin came to know
about it. In the meantime the crop standing in the fields
was destroyed by cold and frost. He sent down his officials
and they attached the corn collected by the farmers as state
dues. The result was famine. The farmers starved and died by
the thousands. Stalin did no help; he allowed them to die.
He was afraid that once he submitted them there would be no
Sri Aurobindo: That is what happens when socialism comes.
Communism is different. If they had been successful in
carrying out the original idea of the Soviets then it would
have been a great success. Mussolini at first tried to form
corporate state but he also gave it up later on.
Disciple: The Socialists did not succeed in breaking the
trade-unions in Ahmedabad, which are under the Congress.
Sri Aurobindo: Socialism has no chance with the Indian
peasant. He will side with you so long as you promise him
land and want to end the land-lord system. But once
he has got the land no more socialism for him. In
socialism you have the state which intervenes at every step
with its officials who rob money.
Disciple: The officials know the Government machinery and
they so manage to keep the power in their hands.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It is the State bureaucracy that
dictates the policy irrespective of the good of the commune.
In communism they hold the land for the whole community
i.e.–the whole unit and each part of it is entitled to
labour and have its share from the produce.
Disciple: In India we have a kind of communism in the
villages. The whole village was like a big family and the
lowest had his right as a member of the family. The
washerman, the carpenter the black smith, the barber, all
get what they needed.
Sri Aurobindo: That is the only communism that is
practicable. Each such commune can be independent and many
such units can be scattered all over country and they can
combine or co-ordinate their activities for a common
28th January 1939.
The Mother left for the general meditation and the
disciples were ready to begin some topic, but Sri Aurobindo
seemed mentally occupied with something. He was rather
thoughtful and in a mood of silence. So none ventured to
begin. After a few minutes Sri Aurobindo looked at the
company present and there was spontaneous smile on every
Disciple: X seems to have some news.
Sri Aurobindo: Then why does he not spurt out with it?
Disciple: There is nothing particular to-day.
Sri Aurobindo: There is a cure for your cold in the
“Sunday times”: you have to get into an aeroplane, take some
rounds, get down and you are cured.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if the plane comes down with a crash,
the cure would be permanent. (laughter)
Disciple: One friend V used to put a cotton string into
his nose for his cold. Disciple: That is a Hatha yogic
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They also insert a long piece of
cloth into their intestines and bring it out through the
anus in order to clean the track.
There also have been authentic cases of taking poisons
like the nitric acid, Hydro cyanic acid etc., without any
evil effect. There are cases of swallowing nails, glass
Disciple: Is it possible?
Sri Aurobindo: There is no question of it being possible,
it is actually done.
Disciple: I wonder how the scientists would explain these
phenomena. Somewhere they were invited to a demonstration
but they refused to attend.
Disciple: They can’t, for fear of their convictions being
Disciple: These Hatha yogis who demonstrate these
must know some process of preventing absorption of these
things in the stomach.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they must have the power to stop the
action of the poisons and then eliminate it. They throw it
out–by vomiting the substance immediately after the
Disciple: Perhaps, you know that the Royal Society of
Science refused permission to Sir William Crooks who wanted
to demonstrate the reality of mediumistic phenomena.
Sri Aurobindo: The same thing happened in Germany. In the
village Alberfeltz there was a man who used to train horses
to do mathematical sums–(of course, they were simple
operations). He invited the scientists; they refused to
believe in it. Not only they refused but they complained to
the Government that it should be stopped, because the
trainer was following unorthodox method of
Disciple: Maurice Materlinck himself went to see it and
said, after seeing it, that he himself did not believe in it
before he saw it. He examined the animals by giving his own
figures and the answers given by the horses were correct.
(Ref. to his book–“L’ hote inconna”
Sri Aurobindo: They say that animals can’t think or
reason. It is not altogether true. They have an intelligence
which acts within narrow limits of the needs of their life.
These faculties are latent in the animals and have not been
developed, that’s all.
The cats have a language of their own; they utter
different kinds of mews for different purposes. For
instance, when the mother leaves her kittens behind a box,
mewing a particular rhythm, then the kittens understand that
they are not to move from that place till she comes back and
repeats the mew. It is through rhythm that they express
themselves and they understand human language if it is
every time in a particular rhythm.
Even the donkey who is supposed to be very stupid is
unusually clever. Horses and donkeys were confined together
within an enclosure and the gate was closed to find out if
they could get out. It was found that while horses were
helpless, it was the donkeys that by turning the latch
opened the gate.
Why go further, even in our Ashram the Mother’s cat
Chikou was unusually clever. One day she was confined in a
room and it was discovered that she was trying to open the
window in exactly the same way as the Mother used to do.
Evidently she had watched the Mother doing it before going
to the window and taking up the string.
We had, when we were staying in Rue suffrin, a bitch left
by someone in the house had a room upstairs with glass
window and a bath-room at one extremity. One day this bitch
found herself locked out. She tried all sorts of devices to
enter the room but could not as the main door and the
windows were all closed. As all attempts failed, she sat
down in front of the window and began to think; how to get
in? The way she sat and the attitude of her sitting showed
clearly that she was thinking. Then suddenly she got up as
if saying: Ah, there is the bath-room door! Let me try it.
She went in that direction. The door there was open and she
It is the Europeans who make a big difference between man
and animals. The only difference is the animals can’t form a
concept, can’t read or write or philosophize (laughter).
Disciple: But they also can’t do yoga.
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know that. While Mother and
myself were meditating a cat used to be present. We found
that she was getting queer and was getting into trance and
was almost on the point of death, but recovered. Evidently,
she was trying to receive something.
Disciple: Maharshi’s cow, Laxmi, is said to bow down to
him. She is even supposed to have been some old disciple of
his in her previous life and was attached to Maharshi.
29th January 1939.
Sri Aurobindo was in a communicative mood. Looking at X
he said. “Have you read Hitler’s interview with Col. Beck in
the ‘Sunday Times’?
Disciple: No. What about it?
Sri Aurobindo: It was shouting at each other. It is said
that when Hitler begins to shout his eyes become glassy and
it means disaster. But in this interview when he began to
shout and eyes turned glassy, Beck began to shout louder.
Hitler was much surprised to find this unexpected return and
himself toned down.
Disciple: What was the result of the interview?
Sri Aurobindo: Relations with Poland were not much
improved I suppose. (The topic changed) Sri Aurobindo turned
to X: “Did you see Subhas Boses’ statement?
Disciple: Yes, it seems unfortunate that at this time the
Congress should be divided.
Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. Whenever he has been in
authority there has been trouble. Congress-split in Bengal
came in his time. He is an intellectual without grasp of
realities. He talks of India exerting international
influence! You are not even a nation and you talk of being
international! You have to be first independent. Even in a
small affair like the China-Japanese war, what you have been
able to do is to send an ambulance unit.
Disciple: Our Y who was in Bengal politics has not a very
high opinion about Subhas Bose. He says, he is a good
lieutenant but can’t be a great leader.
Sri Aurobindo: That has been my impression all along.
Disciple: It seems as if what he is doing is more for
satisfying his ambition for power and egoism.
Disciple: And all the talk about influencing the votes is
meaningless. They are all trying to influence the voters on
Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. He says, he stands for
principles, but all the time he is asking ‘vote for me’.
Disciple: But he is very sincere and honest.
Disciple: Many leaders are that.
Disciple: Not in Bengal–they are almost all
Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by sincerity? Sincere
means ready to suffer for the cause and honest means, he
accepts no bribe or money. Is it not? But even during our
Swadeshi movement though the leaders were egoistic and
quarrelsome they were honest and sincere. Our fight was over
principles e. g. Reform or revolution or as somebody put it,
Colonial self government or Independence. We never fought on
personal grounds as you now find between Bose and Sen Gupta
or Khare and Shukla. You know what Das said about criminals?
He said: “In my whole legal career I have not met such worst
types of criminals as in politics.” Evidently he knew about
his own followers.
Disciple: But if Bose sincerely believes that the
Congress is going to compromise with the British Government
on federation, is not he justified in fighting the
federation in the congress? He says that some suspicious
negotiations seem to be going on behind the scenes.
Sri Aurobindo: But what is there objectionable in
negotiations? Every country and every big party has to do
it. The Germans before and during the war were doing it.
Negotiations does not mean acceptance. There is no harm in
seeing how far the other party will go in granting
concessions, rights and privileges.
Disciple: When Nehru visited Nahas Pasha in Egypt, Nahas
said that their Wafd party had become demoralized after
accepting office and now they are defeated. He wondered how
the congress ministers have remained pure after accepting
office. Nehru explained to him about the Parliamentary Board
which acts as a check on the ministers. The Board has no
administrative powers and ministers are not members of the
Sri Aurobindo: I was surprised to hear about the
dissolution of the Wafd party and wondered what it might
have been due to. But then they ought to have turned out the
king as Kemal did in Turkey. The present king is following
the policy of his father. So, instead of quarreling among
themselves they should have–now that they have power–tried
to build up their nation first, by giving people education
and training. Secondly, they should make efforts to increase
the wealth and lastly, they must build up military power.
The same thing should be done in India by the Congress
Disciple: What sort of education? Technical?
Sri Aurobindo: Technical, agricultural and other. How
will they develop industries without properly educated and
trained people? India is such a vast country that if she
produce her own necessary things, she can consume them
herself. External trade is not necessary at the beginning.
That is what U. S. A. did. She developed first her internal
trade to meet all the necessities of her own people; and
when by that means she had increased her wealth she began to
develop external trade. The government should have a plan
for the economic survey of the provinces to see what could
and should be taken up in each province.
Disciple: That is one good thing Bose had done; he has
organized an economic planning committee.
Sri Aurobindo: But they must not neglect secondary
education. You can’t have efficient people without
education. It creates common interest and a basis of common
understanding. I don’t mean the present form of education.
It has to be radically changed. The Indian boys are more
intelligent then English boys of the same age and status but
three-fourths of their talent and energy are wasted, while
the English boys use their talent ten times better than the
Indian because of the training and equipment.
Disciple: The Bombay Premier has approached the merchants
for donation to the Government, as there is going to be
substantial loss due to prohibition. The government will
have to levy new taxes if they don’t get money.
Sri Aurobindo: It is better not to destroy the capitalist
class as the socialists want to. They are the source of
national wealth. They should be encouraged to spend for the
nation. Taxing is all right, but you must increase
production, and raise new industries, also raise the
standard of living; without that if you increase the taxes
there will be a state of depression. Other nations tax
enormously because they produce also on a large scale.
Disciple: The congress ministers are opening agricultural
schools training centres for small industries.
Sri Aurobindo: It is a pity to give up all that work for
merely fighting the Federation. You can fight it even after
it is established. One has to accept what one gets and on
that basis work out the rest. If the British Government
finds that the federation is perfectly worked out it may not
object to give more. They expect a crowd of demagogues
shouting together in Assembly, not people capable of
governing. But if socialism comes that might frighten
Disciple: The present governor of Bombay seems to be
sympathetic to his cabinet.
Sri Aurobindo: The English people have constitutional
temperament, except of course, a few autocrats like Curzon.
They will be violently opposed to their being kicked out,
but they don’t object to their being gently shouldered out
as in the dominions. The dominions are practically
independent. The British people will be quite content if
they get India’s help in case of an
international war. But these declarations of
anti-imperialist policy and ‘no compromise’ might tend to
stiffen their attitude, What is the use of declaring your
policy in advance? Even as regards the
states one must not be too exacting in one’s demands.
They won’t tolerate the idea of reducing them to mere
figure-heads from the very beginning.
Disciple: Patel is a very capable man, but he is not
liked by his colleagues.
Sri Aurobindo: He did not seem to me to be a very likable
person. But if one has sincerity and capacity that is enough
FEBRUARY, 1939 3rd February 1939.
A letter from a lady disciple was read to Sri Aurobindo
in which she related some of her experiences. She is losing
consciousness, finds the mind floating about as it were,
lightning strokes in the head and a feeling of some
presence. But these experiences give her very great fear and
she complains of bad health.
Sri Aurobindo: You can tell her that what she calls
losing of consciousness is its movement inwards. It is
rather unusual to get these experiences. Usually, one takes
months and months to make the mind quiet and she did it at
the first sitting. The lightning strokes is the action of
the Higher Power, or Yoga Shakti to make the Adhar fit for
Yoga. All these things show that she has a capacity for the
Yoga. But she must get rid of fear. Otherwise, all the
experiences will stop. The letter shows that her inner mind
is ready but her vital and the physical are not–the
vital is full of fear and the body suffers from bad
health. As she herself says, it produces a conflict in the
being which is not desirable. It may be better for her not
to take up Yoga seriously, until she is restored to health.
But the most important thing is to get rid of fear.
Disciple: But how to get rid of it?
Sri Aurobindo: That is the difficulty. Many complain of
when one takes up the Yoga all sorts of experiences come in,
which are out of the run of ordinary consciousness; and if
one fears, Yoga is not possible. It has to be got rid of by
the mind, i. e. by the psychological training and
will-power. Any human being, worth the name has a will and
that will has to be exercised or developed. She
can ask for the protection of the Divine, lay herself in
the hands of the Divine and say there is no fear. This is
done by the mind. As Vivekananda very insistently said, the
Yogi must be “Abhihi”–without fear.
I don’t know whether I told you about my experience.
After my meeting with Lele I was meditating at Calcutta. I
felt a tremendous calm and then felt as if my breath would
stop. A silly fear, or rather an apprehension, caught hold
of me and I said: If my breath stops how shall I live? At
once the experience stopped and never came back.
There are all sorts of experiences. What will you do if
you feel your head being drilled through, or a nail being
thrust inside? These things, of course, are not
Disciple: But why can’t the experience come quietly?
Sri Aurobindo: The experience comes quietly but you make
a row! If your head, or physical body is being split then
you could object to it. You ought to know by now that
all these experiences are in the subtle body.
Disciple: I had also once or twice such fear of presence
as the lady speaks of. I sat to meditate before going to be
and I felt everything still and then as if there was some
presence. That frightened me.
Sri Aurobindo: Why? You thought it was the devil that
brought the stillness? But the devil, generally does not
bring stillness; usually he makes a row. Two things are
necessary in Yoga: to get rid of fear and to know the
ordinary symbols. (turning to X) You know V once in
meditation saw that some golden beings came down and told
him: “Now we will cut your body and make it new.” He cried
out: Never, never. He thought that his physical body was
going to be cut. But the symbolism is quite clear: the old
elements in the nature would be thrown away and new ones
Disciple: I heard afterwards that he turned to Jainism. I
don’t know if it is true. Sri Aurobindo: Was he a Jain by
Sri Aurobindo: Well, that often happens. In one’s vital
and physical nature there remains a stamp of one’s ancestral
religion and it comes out at some time. The Christians
usually turn towards the Catholicism. A Frenchmen–I forgot
his name–tried all sorts of things, mysticism, Tibetan
Occultism etc. When he was informed by one of our disciples
that these things won’t go with Yoga, he abandoned all
connection and turned to Catholicism.
My grand father started by being a Brahmo and ended by
writing a book on Hinduism and proclaiming it as best
religion in the world.
After a pause: the topic changed. Sri Aurobindo turned to
‘X’ and said: “So Subhas has met Nehru.”
Disciple: Yes, Nehru may act as a mediator and Tagore may
be the peace-maker between the two parties.
Sri Aurobindo: Subhas speaks of direct action after six
months. But what sort of direct action? It seems, Gandhi
will leave him to form his own working committee; it will be
a great blunder if Gandhi did that. And with Gandhi left
out, what direct action can take place? is it that subhas
and his followers will take off their coats and fight? or
reject seats in the Assembly? Salt Satyagraha is out of
question. There remains breaking laws. But the Government
will bring in the moderates and rule by them and even run
the Federation so long as you don’t send better men. No-tax
campaign? But that is a tremendous affair. Gandhi himself
says, the country is not ready for it. I don’t think Subhas
has so much influence or capacity to make it successful, or
an all India movement. Neither does he himself believe in
non-violence. His own followers don’t seem to know their own
Disciple: Tagore wants Subhas to compromise with Gandhi,
for he knows that Gandhiji is an international figure.
Sri Aurobindo: Not only that, his word counts; he has not
lost the force yet. I think, if he made a public statement
that he wanted Pattabhi to be elected, he would have him
elected. But there are still six months to inaugurate the
Federation; what is Subhas going to do in the meantime?
Gandhi knew that Subhas will take up this attitude and hence
he did not want him. Now with his followers left out of the
working committee, the leftists will probably pass laws,
abolishing zamindars and capitalists and spoil the work done
by the Ministers. They would try to
introduce social legislation and that would make the
Governors use their powers, or, if they keep out of the
Assembly, it would be foolish to throw away the powers
given. Before I left politics, I wrote: If you get real
power, take it and fight for more like De Valera, who took
what was given and grabbed at more. In the present
international situation when the Government wants to come to
a compromise with the Congress you should accept it, if what
they give is acceptable and fight for more.
Disciple: That seems to be Subhas’s idea, but he says:
Now is the time to press for independence.
Sri Aurobindo: That would be all right if the country was
prepared for revolution, so that even if Bose and a few
others were hanged the movement could have gone on and
ultimately the Government would have yielded as in Ireland.
There, in Ireland, the lives of the people who went against
the national movement were not safe. Otherwise, one has to
proceed with subtler ways. But what Bose claims now is
impossible to get. On the other hand, it will set the
Government against you and they will try to crush the
Disciple: But if they work this provincial programme and
prepare the country at the same time, and press the States
to give rights to the people then, we might get what we want
Sri Aurobindo: Exactly. It is a clever drive to bring in
the States and if they can carry it through, the Federation
will have the Princes and the Congress on one side and only
the minority of the Muslims will remain out. Subhas has not
done a wise thing.
Disciple: People are severely criticizing Gandhiji’s
Sri Aurobindo: Only the leftists are doing that. No
wing man has said anything except S. C. Das (after a long
pause of silence):
The British people have one weakness; they can’t drive
things to the extreme. They can’t go on like the Germans and
some other nations with methods of suppression for a long
time. They have their prestige to keep before the world and
they want people’s support. They want to govern with a show
of consent or law or constitution. So, they come in the end
with a compromise. France comes to a compromise, but takes a
much longer time. But Germany or Italy can’t hesitate to go
to the extreme limit. For instance, in Palestine, the
British Government, have almost succeeded in crushing the
terrorists. If they had persisted they could have easily put
Nahashiby against the Mufti and rule the Arabs by the Arabs.
But they could not go on and now they have called the
If the Mufti is clever he will be able to get as much as
possible, but not the whole of it. Disciple: What about the
Sri Aurobindo: They can leave them to their fate, or they
can be sacrificed for their self-interests or they may do
something just to save their face. In Ireland, they came to
a compromise, even the Conservatives turned round.
In Tunisia, the French have put the Dasturians into
prison, but if they can keep us, France will give in.
Disciple: Roosevelt seems to have declared for democracy.
Disciple: Now Hitler will think twice before he tries to do
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if he is capable of thinking. His
inner voice may ask him to push on. Mussolini may think
twice unless he too is Hitlerised. In that case Hitler
say: I have given you a chance for Colonies. If you don’t
take it up I will go to Ukraine. Mussolini may not like
that. During Czech-crisis, it was mere bluff that he
succeeded. He knew from private sources that England and
France won’t fight.
Disciple: Roosevelt has promised France armaments and U.
S. A is selling aeroplanes and other materials. He may come
to their help if they are attacked.
Sri Aurobindo: But it is doubtful if he can carry the
nation with him. The armaments are increased for the
defense. But if they are exported people may think it will
involve them in a war. At any rate, his speech has come as a
great blow to both Italy and Germany. Chamberlain also may
think of supporting France now. A remarkable man, this
Roosevelt, he is bold and ready to experiment and take
risks. It is the old Roosevelt blood, only the first
Roosevelt was Fascists. This one is very refined.
Disciple: J says that there may not be any war after
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if the British and the French people
go in yielding to the demands of the dictators. The British
may say to Germany: we will supply you raw materials, you
can come and settle here.
Disciple: (to another disciple) You have seen
Hidayatullah has become a Minister of Sindh?
Disciple: Has he? Allah Bux has won him over, it means.
He earned a lot of money from the Sukkur Barrage Scheme
during his ministry in Bombay, before the congress
Sri Aurobindo: How?
Disciple: He used to sell plots of land to customers
his agents and he kept some of the best lands for
himself. There were similar charges against some ministers
in the Central Provinces.
Disciple: Though people bitterly criticize the High
Command, it has done a good job.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It is the High Command and Gandhi’s
dictatorship that has kept the country together. That sort
of weakness is very common in America and even in France.
But you may not find such corruption in England. The public
life there is honest and sincere. They may tell lies and may
break their promises, but bribery or appropriation of money
hardly exists in their public, or political administration.
As they say, “they are not done.” If a political leader does
that sort of thing he is finished for life. Thomas is wiped
out–nobody hears of him now. The judges make no distinction
between rich criminal and a poor one–as they do in America
and France and I suppose India is no better.
5th February 1939
Disciple: In the Life of Nivedita which Lizelle is
writing, she has found many letters, in one of which she
mentions that you gave her charge of editing, Vande Mataram,
after you left Calcutta.
Sri Aurobindo: No. I was the Karma Yogin–not Vande
Mataram, I saw her before I left Calcutta for Chandernagore.
It was from her that I got the news of my contemplated
arrest. Then I wrote an article “My Political Will”–that
stopped the arrest.
Disciple: It seems, she traveled to India once under
assumed name to evade arrest in 1910 or 1911. Sri Aurobindo:
She died at Darjeeling; she did not die under assumed
(The topic turned to Jainism)
Sri Aurobindo: We were talking about the Tapasya
yesterday. Is it not to transcend nature and conquer that
they do those violent Tapasyas and not from an idea of
Disciple: Perhaps that was the idea.
Sri Aurobindo: Then their aim is the same as ours, only
the method is different. Disciple: That does not solve
Lajput Rai’s idea of illusion of all action.
Sri Aurobindo: No, the idea may have been in his blood or
perhaps atmosphere of the Indian place. When I was reading
Max Mullars’ translation of the Vedanta in London I came
upon the idea of ‘Self’ and I decided that Vedanta is
something to be realized in life. Before that I was an
atheist and agnostic. How do you explain that? You can’t say
that it was the atmosphere of the place. It was in the blood
or perhaps carried from past life. Then there was the
experience when I came to India: as soon as I set my foot on
Apollo Bunder, I felt a vastness and a tremendous calm
coming over me. I did not know, of course, that it was an
experience. It was a sense of calm and vastness pervading
everywhere and I had not got it in the steamer. That is the
atmosphere of the place.
Another instance is the sense of the Infinite I had at
the Shankeracharya Hill at Kashmir and at Parvati Hill near
Poona, and the reality of the image in a temple at Karnali
Disciple: I asked X why the Jews are so much persecuted
in Germany. He said that they were a rich minority and so
they were made the scapegoat. He said, the same thing
happened in France against the aristocracy during the
revolution, and in Spain against the clergy.
Sri Aurobindo: Regarding France, the revolution was not
particularly against the aristocracy; it was against all
history of the past. And in Spain, it was against the past
repression of the Church.
Disciple: I asked Mrs. X about conditions in Switzerland.
She says, the country is passing through a critical time.
She is afraid of a passage through her territory during war.
During the last world war also they passed some anxious
days. They were relieved when Belgium was made the route.
The dictators may decide to take route through Switzerland.
If they attack the Italian and German speaking Canton then
the French speaking Cantons would be in difficulty.
Sri Aurobindo: It is said that Czechoslovakian frontier
was so strongly fortified that Germany would have found it
difficult to take it.
Disciple: It is a pity they gave in without fight. But
now Hitler is asking equivalent colonies. Sri Aurobindo:
From whom? Where?
Disciple: From Belgium, Holland and Portugal.
Sri Aurobindo: Holland has no Colonies in Africa.
Portuguese Colonies in Africa are small and Hitler would
hardly be satisfied with them. Belgian Congo is big, but
England would not dare to do anything with it, for that will
make Belgium furious and she may side with Germany. England
could not allow that, for if Germany takes possession of
Antwerp, it will be a pistol at the heart of England.
(Turning to Disciple):
“Roosevelt seems to have backed out.” Now he says:
America has nothing to do with European problems.
Disciple: What do you think about Subhas’s statement?
Sri Aurobindo: “The Hindu” has given a fitting reply;
either he meant something or meant nothing by his
Disciple: The Socialists in a recent meeting at Bombay
began to shout and continued shouting. Shouting is quite
constitutional with them (laughter).
7th February 1939
Disciple: Bose has called his leftist Conference. I
wonder what programme they are going to formulate.
Sri Aurobindo: That is what they are not going to say.
The only thing they are to do is to give an
ultimatum to the British Government. After that they will
break some laws or ask the Ministers to resign on the
States’ issue, if they have not done so by that time.
Disciple: The States’ question will be an all-absorbing
matter and the split in the Congress may be avoided.
Sri Aurobindo: But it is not definite what the princes
will do. They are under the thumb of the British Government.
Only a man like Holkar and Nabha may side with the Congress
and risk losing his Gadi–throne.
This year there is this threatened split in the Congress
between Subhas and his Socialists and Gandhi’s followers.
Socialism in England is of a watery kind.
Disciple: In Russia some signs of freedom are
Sri Aurobindo: That is because Stalin has killed all
to him. He can now wait till some other people come up in
future whom he can kill.
Disciple: Spain is finished.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes.
Disciple: But Madrid remains and General Mioja is
Sri Aurobindo: When Barcelona has fallen Mioja cannot do
anything. Besides, what can he do without arms and food.
Disciple: Mussolini does not intend to remove the troops
from Spain. Sri Aurobindo: That is what he said the other
Disciple: It was Gayda who said that.
Sri Aurobindo: Gayda is the mouth piece of Mussolini.
When he does not want to say anything himself he speaks
through Gayda. But Daladier could make a Spanish legion out
of the Spanish refugees as a counter-blast to Mussolini’s
Italian legionary in Spain and use it in case the French
troops are not allowed to come from Morocco. But it is too
bold a policy for Daladier.
Sri Aurobindo: That, of course; when somebody comes to
take hold of family possession, the family will unanimously
Disciple: The French Chamber voted unanimously against
Italian demand of Colonies. Disciple: But I wonder how
Flandin supports the Fascists.
Sri Aurobindo: He will be lynched if he talks of parting
with Tunis, Corsica etc. It is a question of parting with
deserts in Africa. French people may agree, as they
wanted to, during the Abyssianian war, but
Mussolini would say: ‘I am not a Collector of deserts’
Disciple: But Italy is sure to push her claims again.
Disciple: Hitler has advised him to keep quiet now. Sri
Aurobindo: Yes, till Franco’s victory is complete. Disciple:
Bonnet wanted to come to a compromise.
Sri Aurobindo: Bonnet is not reliable. Daladier has, at
least some force. On one occasion he refused to listen to
Bonnet and said, he would not tolerate any interference of
England in connection with the Italian question. The French
people don’t know that they have to stand up to the British
and speak to them bluntly. During Czech-crisis when
Chamberlain told them that he would help them diplomatically
so far as possible, but they should not count on his
military support, they should have replied that if England
was attacked by the Germans they should not count on them as
allies. Then Chamberlain would have come down.
9th February 1939
Dr. R. stayed up to 9-30 P. M. As soon as he left the
topic of the local politics was brought in:
Disciple: The Governor has invited the three parties to
see if a compromise can be arrived at. What he says is that
they may have their own political views of whatever colour
but they must not go on killing each other.
Sri Aurobindo: He will be one of the greatest diplomats
in the world if he can reconcile their interests and have a
(The topic changed to the Congress election)
Disciple: Subhas and his Conference do not seem to have
settled on any programme. Today’s paper says that Gandhiji
has wired to Subhas not to stand for the presidentship. But
he does not seem to have paid any heed to it. It may be that
many delegates may vote against him.
Sri Aurobindo: The only thing he speaks of is challenging
the British Government and attacking the States–rather a
Disciple: Yes, Gandhiji also challenged the Government.
The result was the Round Table Conference. In the end,
Willingdon arrested Gandhiji and refused even to see
Sri Aurobindo: Willingdon now will look with queer eyes
at the Congress ministries and think that all he had done
has been undone.
Disciple: The working Committee (of the Congress) has
decided to give Subhas the Committee of his choice. But the
people he has called at Calcutta for a conference don’t seem
to be promising.
(The names were read out to Sri Aurobindo)
Sri Aurobindo: Who are these people? They seem to be an
army of no-bodies. Except Aiyangar,
Aney and one or two others these people were never heard
Disciple: The other States seem to be supporting Rajkot
and asking him not to yield.
Disciple: If the states organize, backed by the Paramount
Power–the British–and lend their support then Rajkot may
stand through and the Satyagraha may not succeed. Look at
Mysore and Travancore–Mysore has only appointed
Committee which may go on for three years and so do
Moreover it is very difficult to keep the movement
non-violent. If it is kept to the middle class it may be
possible, but if the masses come in then violence is
inevitable. You see the murder of the Bazulgate in Orissa
and breaking out of violence in Travancore. Human nature is
human–if the movement is confined to a small state like
Rajkot it may succeed, but in the big states it is
impossible to keep it non-violent.
Disciple: In Travancore it is Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyar
who engineered the outbreak.
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t believe it. In many cases I have
seen that Congress people are not noted for their
truthfulness. They say what suits them. But if they propose
to come out of the Assembly because of failure in Rajkot or
Jaipur, it is not at all good. These small states must be
deprived of their power and be made like Jamindars. One
never knew that there were so many states.
Disciple: Jaipur has again released Bajaj (hearty
Bajaj was a little hurt while being forcibly removed.
Gandhiji called it ‘organized goondaism.’
Sri Aurobindo: I do not understand why Gandhi calls it
‘Goondaism’. If Bajaj resisted they will have to use force
to remove him and injury is quite possible.
Disciple: Pratap Singh may be persuaded by Krishnamachari
to part with some of his privileges.
Sri Aurobindo: I saw his photograph today. He has a weak
face, nothing of the grand father in him. His father had
more brilliance and dash. Pratap Singh has a soul–but not a
Jaysingh Rao was dull. Shivaji Rao was intelligent. I
taught him French; he was a good student. Dhairyashil showed
signs of premature development of lust. All that was due to
the servants of the palace.
Indira was more interesting and there was something
sturdy in her. She had the most of her father–Sayaji
Disciple: There is a criticism of Pujalal’s poetry by a
poet critic. He says, it is not “rooted in the soil”, too
Sanskritised and not written for the masses. English poetry,
he says, is founded on the Anglo Saxon language.
Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. The great Shakespeare and
poets from Milton to Shelley did not write, consciously in
the Anglo Saxon language–except William Morris, who used
Anglo Saxon words. They have followed Latin and Greek
vocabulary. And the idea of writing for the mass is a
idea. Poetry was never written for the mass. It is only a
minority that read and appreciated poetry. The definition of
modern poetry is what the poet himself and a few of his
admirers around him understand. Shakespeare and Milton are
not mass poets.
Martin Tupper and Mrs. Hymans wrote for the mass–“He
stood on the burning deck, when all but he had fled”–That
sort of thing. Tupper sold more in his life than all the
best poets put together. It is curious, many of the modern
poets are communists, but they don’t write for the mass.
18th February 1939
Disciple: The maxim “from each according to his capacity
and to each according to his need” seem to be basis of
Sri Aurobindo: Who is to decide the need? In the actual
working of Socialism there is a great divergence–some
tackle only key industries like Electricity and nationalize
them; while others go into the minutest detail.
Disciple: Even the Communists in Russia have introduced
divergence in wages–to encourage workers to do more
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, But that comes to the same
thing–only instead of the Capitalist it is the State that
pays the higher wages.
Communism one can understand; a group owning property in
common and receiving its benefits according to need and
satisfying the need of the group. That is as old as the
But State ownership is something that creates a class
like the Capitalists. Besides, in countries like Germany
Nazism makes the national consciousness so strong that they
begin to consider the individuals like the cells of the
body, bound to think and act alike. No freedom is allowed to
Or take the Balkans, for example. The racial and national
ego in them is so rigid that they could not protect
themselves by a federation against Germany.
21st February 1939
Disciple: In the political problem of India the States
present a great obstacle–particularly to the political
unity of the country.
Sri Aurobindo: It can be achieved as Germany did with her
Disciple: There is a great rush for public career now a
days–in fact there is a competition for it. But there are
the low tendencies also visible. How to combat this
Sri Aurobindo: By creating a tradition of respect for
character, by throwing out dishonest men from public life.
Politicians can lie but not be corrupt.
Parliamentary form of democracy is not necessarily suited
to India. As it is, anybody stands as a candidate for
election and either buys off votes or persuades them into
giving it, or comes up by some trick. But he may not be the
true representative. Besides, anybody who comes with
majority should not be made a minister; only capable man
should be given ministership–the policy may be reserved for
Kingship like that of Aundh is best suited to India,
where the king is religious minded person, a man of
character and intelligence. He looks to the interest of all
his subjects. But for that, the Kings must be taught and
prepared with hard training. Now, they learn only how to
play cricket and drink. But in ancient times, a King’s
training was very hard.
24th February 1939
Disciple: What is the part which mind plays in the cure
of a disease?
Sri Aurobindo: The mental factor is much more effective
than is generally known or admitted. There are cases where
the surgeons have found that the mental factor has saved the
patient by pulling him or her out from a critical condition.
For example, mothers wanting to see their children are
saved, being pulled out of critical conditions.
Disciple: Which method of treatment is correct–the
Chinese method of pricking or Homeopathy, Ayurvedic or
Sri Aurobindo: Nature allows you to follow along certain
lines and along each she shows you what is possible. For
example, they thought of electricity as wave motion and they
found there was some thing that corresponded to that view.
Now they think of it as made up of particles, you find that
it responds to that also.
Disciple: That is the realm of matter, but in life–for
example, in the curing of a disease.
Sri Aurobindo: Mental factors determine the physical
conditions much more than doctors would be prepared to
grant. Cone’s method succeeds and it cannot be considered
useless, though it uses no medicine.
Disciple: Some disciples here believe that there is a
collective Karma for which either the group, the society or
the nation has to bear the consequences like the
Sri Aurobindo: The collective being is non-evolutionary.
It is hard to believe in the reincarnation of races.
Disciple: Somebody seems to have said that the Romans are
born as Americans.
Sri Aurobindo: Very queer Romans! You may say in some
sense that the English are the ancient Carthaginians! Or one
may even hazard that the French are the Greeks reborn. But
it won’t carry us very far.
You can’t take for granted that one individual is always
born in the same race or nation in which he is born now. So
how can the nation soul or race soul reincarnate?
Disciple: Have the nation a soul each?
Sri Aurobindo: You can speak of it as collective or
nations being or entity. It is not in evolution. It is not
subject to the law of Karma.
Disciple: Can it be said that law governing it is
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, each collective being is a projection
of the Cosmic Spirit for a particular purpose. You can speak
of it as a particular Shakti.
Disciple: How does the collective being or Shakti
Sri Aurobindo: It identifies itself with a particular
form–here of a group of individual. There is a mutual
action: it acts on the individual and the individual acts on
it by manifesting it.
Disciple: Suppose the collective entity is dissolved from
Sri Aurobindo: When the physical form of the collectivity
is dissolved here the collective being withdraws into the
Disciple: Can a collective being, after such a
dissolution take another form–a group–for manifesting
Sri Aurobindo: We have as yet no proof of it. *
25th February 1939
Disciple: There is a report about the student of the
Annamalai University picketing and some of them are
Sri Aurobindo: Satyagraha is something to be applied in
extreme case, but Gandhi has almost made a law of it and so
there are so many wrong applications of it.
Disciple: Here in this case the fundamental relations are
contradicted e.g. the relation between teachers and
students. It is not, for instance, the same as between
workers and capitalists.
Sri Aurobindo: Even among workers, it makes a great
difference if they are educated. For instance, in Europe,
when they resort to stay in strike, the workers do not
injure the machinery and they even work the important parts
to keep it in order. While in India, where the labour is
uneducated, you can’t have it like that. They destroy the
machinery and then are thrown out of employment. In the
Savanne Mills they burnt the machinery and then were thrown
out of employment. Similar was the case in Madras Match
If you do not have bill like the one Bombay Trade
Disputes Bill, the industries will go to the pot. *
MARCH, 1939 12th March 1939.
Disciple: Did you notice Jawaharlal’s article in the
Hindu? He can’t forget Subhas not acknowledging his report
from Europe and also his international politics.
Sri Aurobindo: That again shows Nehru is an idealist. If
he has the clarity of mind to see–as he has–that socialism
can come in India only after independence, it should be
equally clear to him that India can do something in
international politics only after she is free.
Disciple: The Congress wants to do something in
Sri Aurobindo: It is a hazy idea. All you have been able
to do for China is to send an ambulance unit. It is not like
England that can send money to stabilize the currency in
Disciple: I believe, it is his visit to Europe in the
League against Imperialism that gives him the impression
that he would be able to do something in international
Sri Aurobindo: It is a wrong impression. It was, for
instance, wrongly supposed that the Governor of Pondicherry
was recalled because Nehru represented the case to the
Secretary of Colonies.
Disciple: Perhaps the Secretary might have said, he would
move in the matter.
Sri Aurobindo: He might have been only polite; they are
always polite. But that does not mean anything. He might
say: “I will look into the matter” or “thank you for
bringing the matter to my notice.”
Disciple: Mahatmaji has secured some success.
Sri Aurobindo: Gandhi’s is a big triumph; if some
understanding is arrived at between the princes and the
congress it would be very good.
Disciple: I don’t know if Subhas will deliver his
Sri Aurobindo: If you have a revolutionary programme and
a nation ready to kill or die, then you may indulge in
ultimatums. India is not ready even as Ireland was. The
people are prepared to get beaten, or to go to jail at the
most. So you have to see what can be done.
When India is really free it will think many times before
meddling into international problems before it is on its own
Disciple: You saw M. N. Roy got only 38 votes!
Sri Aurobindo: He might say: Hitler began with even less!
it does not always happen so. Some people remain where
they are: Ostwald Moseley, for instance, is where he was ten
years back, and Brailsford writes every week what everybody
should do and nobody seems to do what he says!
Subhas and his group are living even now in the mentality
of 1906 and 1907; they don’t know that conditions have
Disciple: They want to put up a fight against the
Sri Aurobindo: It is not always by fighting that you get
what you want. With all his idealism Gandhi knows how far
the people can go and in spite of his inner voice, he knows
how far to go (himself).
MAY, 1939 6th May, 1939
Arjava died on the 5th May–at Bangalore. He was treated
by Dr. Brunitzer. Post mortem examination revealed
pericardiatis, six ounces of water from the right side of
Disciple: Our Dr. X sticks to his Rheumatism theory. The
French doctor started with typhoid, but it was negatived by
blood examination. Dr. Brunitzer, in the beginning said that
it was Septisemia.
Disciple: So, even after the post mortem nobody was
wiser. How is this possible that even after the post mortem,
they don’t accept the diagnosis?
Sri Aurobindo: You can see that Dr. X is not ready to
admit anything other than what he believes. He takes
consideration only those facts that support his views,
and puts all other facts away. So nothing else can come
Disciple: What is the way out?
Sri Aurobindo: Intuition is the only way. But even there
mental intuition may be right but not always. Mind deals
with the possibilities and some may come true. Again true
intuition has to be distinguished from the mental imitation
of the same, or from mere suggestion or a strong
Disciple: How can one save himself from error?
Sri Aurobindo: There is outer rule; you have to get the
psychic tact which throws out the error. For example, the
Mother used to feel about the soundness of houses and our
engineer used to find out afterwards that her feeling was
true, though she does not know architecture or engineering.
Another necessity is that one must be sincere about finding
the truth by intuition. That is to say,
one must not jump at the first idea and run away with it.
The mind must be absolutely impartial and also one must be
patient and one must wait. One must also test his
16th May 1939
A letter from a disciple received on the 29th April
written to co-disciple here spoke of his experience at
He mentioned in his letter that the resistance in his
physical being was broken by the spiritual experience he had
In the evening a disciple asked Sri Aurobindo: “What
do you think of his saying that the resistance in the
physical is gone?”
Sri Aurobindo: I have heard people saying that the body
of Maharshi is shaking. How could have he done what he did
not do, or did not care to do, for himself, for someone
Disciple: But he describes his experience in detail: for
instance, the triangle and the Sun and the light pouring
into him etc.
Sri Aurobindo: He had always the habit of making mental
constructions and living in them. So, his valuation of
experience is not right.
Disciple: Why does he commit mistake in the valuation of
Sri Aurobindo: He had a very powerful ego, which he never
tried to get rid of when he was here. He always wanted to
start an Ashram; whenever you have this kind of ego it
always interferes with the understanding and does not allow
correct valuation. At every experience he gets his ego
swells up and uses the experience to strengthen itself.
Disciple: How to get rid of the ego?
Sri Aurobindo: He speaks of the peace he got.
Sri Aurobindo: Do you think he got it there for the first
time? He got hundreds of experiences here.
Between 20th and 27th May 1939
The subject was Trikal Drishti–knowledge of the Time or
the True Time Vision. Why he did not know about the accident
was also one of the questions.
Sri Aurobindo: I have not said that I am in full
possession of the supramental. People have wrong ideas about
Christ, in spite of his miracles, could not cure anyone
in one district. He said: “I can’t because they have no
People forgot that there are conditions to be fulfilled.
It is a question of the divine consciousness working in and
through inferior principles, like mind and vital and body
and there are conditions to
be fulfilled for the working.
Disciple: They say that God being Omnipotence he should
be able to do anything however impossible.
Sri Aurobindo: No. Omnipotent does not mean to make God
act as our mind wants or expects. Omnipotence does not work
in one way; it works in many ways.
19th and 20th November 1939
Disciple: Is physical relations responsible for the
vitiation of pure and idealistic love?
Sri Aurobindo: It is not only the physical but also the
vital that is equally responsible. Desire, impulse of
possession are more responsible for it than the physical
Disciple: There are people who believe that the physical
relation is an essential part of the highest relation of
Sri Aurobindo: Blake for instance, says that spiritual
love should be sanctified by the physical act. Disciple:
Salincourt criticizes Blake.
Sri Aurobindo: Salincourt writing about Blake is like a
sheep trying to understand a lion! Blake has got power,
can say ferocious power, madness and theories too
coherent to be sane. Disciple: Has the physical relation a
place in love?
Sri Aurobindo: A time comes in the life of a woman when
to surrender herself she feels it as fulfillment, even
Disciple: Has such a physical relation a place in psychic
Sri Aurobindo: It depends. It can be the psychic love
extended to the body. In the psychic relation physical
relation is possible; when it takes place it is for
procreation. It is a part of the attitude of a female to the
male–the attitude of submission. Surrender is more psychic
Disciple: In the physical relation is there no danger of
the higher elements getting lost?
Sri Aurobindo: It depends on the strength of the psychic
being. It may be overclouded by the vital and the physical
element. Of course, when it is merely physical then there is
no adoration and love in it. Psychic relation is not
Disciple: An individual who has not found his companion,
and has hankering or need for one meets a woman whom he
loves; now if he keeps his love free from physical and vital
elements, i. e.
keeps it pure and psychic–does it mean that such a
relation is necessary for him–or that is his need?
Sri Aurobindo: No, it can’t be said. It depends on the
particular case to say whether it is necessary. The
Vaishnavas wanted to sublimate even the lower
elements of love by bringing them to the Divine. But we
know the result; most of them failed. Not that it cannot be
done, it can–but it is not easy.
Disciple: You have written in the Synthesis (of Yoga)
that ordinary human love can act as a preparation and may be
a form of aspiration.
Sri Aurobindo: It was not written for Yogis. It acts like
that in ordinary man, if there is a psychic element in it i.
e. if it is true love and not vital desire or attachment or
impulse for possession. Then it acts as an awakener and
uplifter. Blake accepts the physical also as something
Divine. The elements of love are: adoration and desire for
Disciple: Is such a love an unconscious seeking for the
Divine? It may not bring divine fulfillment but that of love
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is.
Disciple: Is it possible to evoke the Divine in oneself
to love the other?
Sri Aurobindo: If one has found the Divine in oneself
then he adores Him and surrenders oneself to him. Such a man
can love others–but that is a part of action of universal
The spark in human love, even if it is degraded
afterwards, tends to awaken the consciousness and evolve the
21st November 1939
Disciple: If love is an unconscious seeking for the
Divine, why some people, who have turned to the Divine will
seek the human love, especially here?
Sri Aurobindo: Are they conscious of the Divine? If one
is conscious of the Divine, one of the two things would
happen: either one would turn exclusively to the Divine or
being conscious of the Divine one may keep the human love as
Disciple: Supposing a man is unconscious and seeks human
love can it not be a seeking for Divine?
Sri Aurobindo: These things are hardly pure–they are
always mixed up. It may be only a cover for something else.
There are people who, as I said, when turn to the Divine
turn away from everything else. But it depends.
For instance, when you turn to the Divine you do not give
up your friendship for somebody. Only,
if you turn to the Divine the friendship ceases in the
old sense, but it taken up so that it does not become an
obstacle to the progress of each other.
There may be even individual love apart from universal
love which one gets when one is conscious of the Divine.
14th December 1939
Disciple: Did you meet Swami Dayanand of Bengal?
Sri Aurobindo: No. I met one of his disciples, a
scientist, in the Calcutta National College. When I
wrote–in those days–about the Avatar, he said the Avatar
is already there. Afterwards he himself recanted his
avatarhood when the shooting affair took place.
He has an idea of establishing world peace by bringing
all nations together. He can say that he established the
League of Nations and somebody else has disestablished
Disciple: He used to keep nothing for the morrow in his
organization–he depended entirely on Divine Grace.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, and he also started, I believe,
Sannyasi marriage–I can’t say, if it was real marriage or
spiritual. But he had something real in him.
Disciple: Another Avatar is coming out from Poona. He is
going to declare himself in 1941.
Sri Aurobindo: No objection. But there is great danger of
imagination mixing up in such things. Disciple: Can such
people be suspects?
Sri Aurobindo: No, perhaps romantic. There can also be a
mixture of mysticism combined with romance. When one deals
with mysticism one has to be very careful, because there are
many truths and also many imaginations.
Disciple: The Rosicrusians also believe in the reality of
mystic experience of Christianity.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, X belonged to that group in England.
But it created a lot of difficulty in his Sadhana because
they posit two things in man, good and evil persons. The
evil person has to rise
up in order to be got rid of by the good. There are
already sufficient evil things in the world without evoking
the evil person. The Europeans have very imperfect
understanding of these things. Even the Christian mystics
have hardly any clear idea about them.
Disciple: That is so because, perhaps, they do not want
to get rid of their individuality.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They mix up the self and the ego even
when they have identification with the Higher Consciousness;
they think that it is the ego which has become that.
Even Blake who had some idea of identity confuses ego
Disciple: A says, Gita’s idea of freedom demands freedom
from nature–Prakriti. Therefore, so long as man follows
Buddhi he is not free.
Sri Aurobindo: Does the Gita say that?
Disciple: In the verse where it is said Satwa binds by
happiness and knowledge.
Sri Aurobindo: That is quite another thing. The question
is whether Buddhi can help you to detach yourself or not and
whether, it can lead you to the perception of something
higher than itself.
Disciple: I think the text of the Gita will support that
Sri Aurobindo: I also think so. Otherwise what is the
meaning of Gita laying so much stress on Buddhi? Buddhi
helps you to detach yourself and prepares you for the higher
perception of the Purusha. And even Shankar, I believe does
not say that reason is quite useless. He also admits that
reason prepares the human spirit for what is beyond. Even
for going beyond Sattwa, it is a stepping stone.
Disciple: It means, Buddhi is an instrument of
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is an instrument of Nature that
helps you to rise to the higher Nature. Gita, as I said,
maintains that Buddhi can perceive that which is beyond
Disciple: A does not want to admit O’s contention that
Kant’s idea of following reasons and Gita’s Buddhi yoga are
Sri Aurobindo: Well, in a controversy one has to see the
truth in the other man’s point of view.
Disciple: A told me that Kant changed his mind later in
life and admitted the necessity of faith with which he deals
in his “Critique of practical reason.”
Sri Aurobindo: I have not read European philosophy
Disciple: Moreover, it does not interest us so much as
there is no practical side to their philosophy.
Sri Aurobindo: That was X’s great complaint that people
here want always something practical from philosophy. They
don’t want to think for the sake of thinking.
Disciple: Kant seems to say that who follows his reason
is free, who follows the senses is bound. This is, in part,
an Indian idea.
Sri Aurobindo: They have no idea of freedom–mukti–in
the Indian sense; their idea is to arrive at the Truth.
Disciple: Yes, also some idea of applying the truth to
Disciple: Yes, some sort of idealism. It is not
spiritualism. In his “critique of practical reason”, Kant
maintains that “pure reason is an abstract faculty hardly to
be found unmixed in man and so
practical reason is necessary.
Sri Aurobindo: What is then the ‘pure reason’ for?
Disciple: It is only an unattainable ideal. A says that
the contention of Kant’s opponent is that every body follows
reason. So, everybody should be considered free. Everyone
justifies his action–even the thief supports his stealing
by some reasoning.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is very practical reasoning
(laughter). Disciple: And he is free, because he acts
Sri Aurobindo: How?
Disciple: Because he decides freely, to steal.
Sri Aurobindo: It is a reason that is bound. There is
another reason which is detached, and, according to Gita,
man will not be free when he reasons about stealing but
if he can steal with disinterestedness then he is free.
Disciple: To the western mind killing with detachment is
difficult to grasp.
Sri Aurobindo: All these European philosophers after the
Greeks admit that Reason is the faculty by which you arrive
at the Truth. The question about the sense perceptions and
their reliability is easily met. We perceive certain things
by our senses and the sensations, for all men are the same
because our senses have a common organizations. Even then
different persons perceive the same thing differently.
If Reason could work in the abstract and be an ideal
faculty it might arrive at the perception of Truth beyond
itself. As it is, Reason practically deals with different
ideas and there reason differs in different individuals.
What I say is that if reason was sufficient for arriving
at the Truth then all reason would arrive at the same
condition. And we find out that different persons using
reason arrive at contrary conclusions even from the same
Reason can perceive that there is something beyond itself
that is the Truth. But it tries to assert the Truth–it
perceives as the whole truth. But reason is not right when
it says so. The Truth is infinite and has infinite sides.
Each conclusion of reason has some truth in it and we have
to find something that is fundamental behind the particular
formulation of the reason, and that is a matter of
experience. That which is behind is the Absolute and the
Absolute cannot be known by reason.
What can be known by the mind is Sat, Chit, Ananda. In
other words, when the Absolute presents itself to the mind
it formulates itself as Sachchidananda.
One can know the Absolute through the only.
Disciple: The Upanishads say that the expression of that
is not possible.
Sri Aurobindo: All Vedanta asserts that mind and speech
cannot express it, because as soon as you put it in mental
terms you limit it. Up to the Overmind some how you can
manage to express yourself but when come to Supermind it is
impossible. And if you go still higher and approach the
Absolute it is still more impossible.
Disciple: Is reason a personal faculty or impersonal?
Sri Aurobindo: If you go beyond you find wherever there
is a personal, there is the impersonal and vice versa.
Disciple: How to find that kind of reconciliation?
Sri Aurobindo: Throw reason aside, then you find the
reconciliation. You have to go on with experience till you
find the reconciling experience in which all find their
truth. Each is an approach to the Absolute. In a certain
sense one could even say that reason would not be right if
it did not differ. For instance, if the descriptions of all
the countries were the same it would not perhaps do. And yet
the earth is one and so is mankind and human nature. All is
Disciple: About the knowledge of identity, is the
identity of Sushupti the same as knowledge by identity?
Sri Aurobindo: No, it is not the same as knowledge by
identity. They all speak of knowledge of the self by
identity. But there can be the knowledge of other thing also
Disciple: What is meant by “direct knowledge?”
Sri Aurobindo: Direct knowledge is the knowledge of
truth of things directly; it is not necessarily knowledge
of the Self or Spirit.
Disciple: It seems, the ancient had it and it is said
that Raja yogis get it by what they call Sanyama.
Sri Aurobindo: I suppose they meant by Sanyama putting
the pressure of consciousness upon the thing to be
But if one has the true consciousness it does not require
concentrating. One has only to put it. *
15th December 1939
Disciple X was laughing and Y was present. Sri Aurobindo
turned his head inquiringly as to mean: What is the cause of
Disciple: My presence acts as a catalytic agent, so I
myself do not know the cause nor what is the joke.
Sri Aurobindo: That is how the subliminal self acts,
without your knowledge, while your surface consciousness is
ignorant about it.
Disciple: But to return to N’s question. If one takes the
standpoint of reason and wants to decide
about the validity of spiritual experience he will find
the experiences also differ. So how can experience be a
Sri Aurobindo: Experience is not a criterion; it is a
means of arriving at the Truth. Experience is one thing and
the expression is another. You are again putting reason as a
judge of experience which is about expression. When men
differ in laying stress or in their mental preference for
this or that side of the expression, it does not mean that
the experience itself is not valid. It is only
When you try to put it in mental language that the
differences arise. That is why the Vedantis say that mind
and speech can’t express the Truth. As soon as you put it in
mental terms you limit it. If you find that experiences
differ, then you have to go on having experiences till you
come to the reconciling experiences in which all find their
The Truth, as I said is infinite and there are infinite
sides or points of view of it and each conclusion of reason
expresses something of that infinite. All of them express
some particular view, but they are all wrong when they say
that their view is the whole and the entire Truth.
When you want to describe a spiritual experience you are
obliged to use mental terms and you can somehow manage it,
so long as you deal with levels up to the Overmind. But when
you enter the Supermind then it is impossible. And if you
proceed still higher towards the Absolute, well, it is still
Disciple: It is so perhaps because reason is obliged to
consider the infinite.
Sri Aurobindo: It takes up one standpoint and says the
others are wrong. If it takes up the Impersonal, it says the
personal cannot be true and vice versa. Reason would not be
right if it did not differ. It would be as if the
descriptions of all the countries were the same–then they
won’t be true.
Sri Aurobindo: If you describe Switzerland and U. S. A.
in the same way, how can it be true? (after sometime) And
yet the earth is One and mankind is One.
There is the Personal and also the Impersonal. When
you transcend both of you arrive at the Absolute.
Disciple: So they are aspects of the Absolute.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but it does not mean that they are
less true or that Absolute excludes them. These preferences
are mental. It is when you throw aside reason that you
arrive at the Absolute.
Disciple: There is a verse in the Upanishad for knowledge
by identity–leaving aside the mind. “One must become one
with that like an arrow piercing the mark.”
Sri Aurobindo: That won’t fit exactly, because knowledge
by identity is much more than that. Generally they mean by
“knowledge by identity” the knowledge of self; while that is
one part of the knowledge by identity.
Disciple: In Raja yoga, they speak of direct knowledge by
Sanyama. I do not know if they mean by Sanyama concentration
of consciousness on the object. That is by putting the
pressure of consciousness on the thing to be known. It need
not necessarily require concentrating on it when the true
consciousness is there and it comes in contact with the
object; it knows it directly.
Disciple: Raja Yoga speaks of Siddhis also e. g. control
over matter or knowledge of Suryaloka and Chandraloka,
conquest of death etc.
Sri Aurobindo: Knowledge of Suryaloka and Chandraloka one
may have, but conquest of death is another matter. The Raja
Yoga does not acquire Siddhis by wanting them; they speak of
Siddhis coming to them. And it is true for those who enter a
certain state of consciousness.
Disciple: The Upanishad speaks of the Yogi’s conquering
diseases and death. *
30th December 1939
Disciple: The Hindu Mahasabha this year has got a large
number of delegates from the two provinces with Muslim
Sri Aurobindo: The two provinces with a Muslim
Disciple: Do you think that the Hindu Mahasabha if it is
organized would weaken the Congress?
Sri Aurobindo: The Congress may allow the Mahasabha to
settle the question with the Muslims by organizing the
Hindus instead of nationalist Hindus quarreling among
themselves. If the Congress can do something effective then
it would be all right.
Disciple: There are some people who object to “Vande
Mataram” as a national song. And some Congress men support
the removal of some parts of the song.
Sri Aurobindo: In that case the Hindus should give up
Disciple: The argument is that the song speaks of Hindu
gods, like Durga and that is offensive to the Muslims.
Sri Aurobindo: But it is not a religious song. It is a
national song and the Durga spoken of is India as the
Mother. Why should not the Muslims accept it? It is an image
used in poetry. In the Indian conception of nationality the
Hindu view would naturally be there. If it cannot find a
place there the Hindus may as well be asked to give up their
culture. The Hindus don’t object to “Allah-ho-Akbar”.
Disciple: If they call India “Allah-ho-Akbar” then Hindus
would not object to it.
Sri Aurobindo: It is not in the Hindu nature to object to
such things. Why should not the Hindu worship his God?
Otherwise, the Hindu must either accept Mohammedanism or the
culture or become atheists.
Disciple: And why should not the Muslims accept some
Hindu idea, if for nothing else then for coming to a
Disciple: The Congress says the question cannot be solved
as long as the third party is there.
Sri Aurobindo: I told C. R. Das (in 1923) that this
Hindu-Muslim question must be solved before
the Britishers go, otherwise there was a danger of civil
war. He also agreed and wanted to solve it.
Disciple: The Congress thinks if the Britishers go, the
Muslims may be forced to come to a settlement.
Sri Aurobindo: The Congress says: whatever agreements we
come to must be accepted by the Britishers.
Disciple: If the parties come together the Viceroy cannot
Sri Aurobindo: Of course not. He would say: come to a
settlement and we will accept it. It is only two ways of
looking at the same things. But it is better to have a
settlement before, because otherwise any third party might
take advantage and come in. It is no use having again
somebody else to dominate India.
Disciple: Any neighboring countries can come and even
distant countries like Japan cannot be ruled out; even
Russia. But how is this problem to be solved?
Sri Aurobindo: The best solution would be if Congress got
the majority of the nationalist Muslims on their side, and
then take the Sindh Premier who wants to be with them. Thus
they can retain Sindh for the Congress–and then in the
Punjab they could come to some understanding with Sikandar
Hayat Khan. If they had not driven out Khalikuzaman in U. P.
there would have been no Muslim League in the U. P. If the
Congress had joined with the Krishak Party in Bengal then
the Congress would not be so badly off.
Instead of doing what was necessary the Congress is
trying to flirt with Jinnah and Jinnah simply thinks that he
has to obstinately stick to his terms to get them. The more
they try the more Jinnah becomes intransigent.
Disciple: There was an idea that the Congress should have
mass contact with the Muslims and it is unfortunate that the
Congress did not take it up.
Jinnah is appealing to the Hindu Minorities to join him.
So why should not the Congress ask Muslims to be with it? If
the Congress does not do anything then I think the Hindu
Mahasabha will do some good after all. Don’t you think
Sri Aurobindo: That is not the best thing. But if the
Hindus organized themselves then it would make some rational
Muslims think again and it would give men like Sir Akbar,
who want to come to a compromise, a chance to intervene.
Disciple: The Khilafat agitation was a great mistake; it
only added to the fanaticism of the Muslims without giving
them patriotism or nationalism.
JANUARY, 1940 4th January 1940
Disciple: I had a talk with G about Rigveda and on the
Aryan-Dravidian question. He gave me one or two arguments to
support his contention. According to him the fact of
different children in the same family having different
colours is a positive argument that race of the parents is a
mixed one. Secondly, in the Rigveda itself there is mention
of dark-skinned people and “Anasa.”
I said “Anasa” figures only in one Rik out of more than
ten thousand Riks and it may not mean “nose-less” or
Sri Aurobindo: “Anasa” is not flat-nosed, it means
Disciple: I consulted the Rigveda and found that it
refers only to the Dasyus and not to non-Aryans.
Sri Aurobindo: The Orientalists also wanted to prove
existence of Linga worship in the Rigveda by citing a Rik
in which the word “Shishnadevah” occurs.
Disciple: K. M. Munshi in tracing the origin of Bhakti
long ago wrote that devotion is nothing else but sublimation
of the sex-impulse, and he tried to trace the origin in the
Rigveda. I contradicted his view even then and showed that
“Shishna-deva” only means sensualists.
Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. And what have they to say about
the Dravidian tribe in Baluchistan? Is it black and
flat-nosed? How on earth do they find out these things from
the Rigveda–nomadic existence, gambling, and crossings of
the rivers, which to me is mystical. I also find that the
fight between Tristsu and Sudansah in the eighth Mandala is
not merely a battle, it is something symbolic.
Disciple: That is one of their strongest points in the
Indologist armoury. If one can get the clue to the symbol of
the ten Kings that would be the end of their theory.
Disciple: Did you hear J’s interpretation of your poem
Trance? He says that the “star” in the poem stands for the
individual, and the “moon” in the poem is the Universal.
Sri Aurobindo: If it is there I am not aware of it. His
interpretation is not very much unlike that of a Western
scholar; he seems to read his own mind into the text but
that is not poetry–it is metaphysics. I have explained the
terms myself: “star” is the star of creation, and “moon” is
the sudden upheaval of the inner life, and “ocean-self” is
true-being. There is no philosophy in it.
5th January 1940
Disciple: I am trying to get intuition but I fail.
Sri Aurobindo: Perhaps you were disappointed with Brinjal
so it is not coming.
Disciple: But N. began to have guidance as soon as he
started his Yoga. He has a mind which seems to be opened to
the intuitive faculty.
Disciple: Guidance in what way?
Disciple: Guidance when ever he is in difficulty.
Sri Aurobindo: A man of successful action gets a sort of
insight which is half – intuition; while a man of intellect
is generally handicapped and thinks of various possibilities
saying: this will happen, that will happen.
Disciple: Has a man of successful action no
Sri Aurobindo: He has but for action he feels what will
happen and seizes upon it. He acts upon the suggestion and
in most cases it turns out to be right. Not that he does not
go wrong at all. The nature of his mind is such that he is
open to this intuitive faculty of action. The English people
are so successful because they have a knack of getting vital
intuition which leads to success. Even if they commit
mistakes and jumble things together, in the end their
intuition comes to their help and pulls them out of the
difficulty. The French on the other hand are more logical.
They think and reason.
Disciple: The English are thinking of Finland more
actively because they are afraid of German-Russian naval
combination in the Baltic.
Sri Aurobindo: But how are they going to help? They
require ammunition and military equipment for themselves.
I don’t know how they have enough to spare. Referring to
Are you trying to get intuition in the medical faculty?
Instead of limiting to one special field of activity why not
try in a general way?
Disciple: In what way?
Sri Aurobindo: For everything. For example, what X. is
going to do next or if you are a reader of novel you try to
get what will follow. Of course, it is for an expert novel
reader to say that. After all, many people get intuition
without knowing it.
8th January 1940
Disciple: Have you read C. V. Raman’s address at the
Science Congress? Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I have.
Disciple: It seems they have discovered two new
Sri Aurobindo: Not discovered, but created by changing
the position of the particles in the atom. What are they
going to do with them?
Disciple: The cost of producing them will be prohibitive.
Though the method of breaking up by Cyclotron is cheap.
Raman has supported Einstein’s theory about unity of matter
Sri Aurobindo: Has anybody doubted it? Disciple: No.
Sri Aurobindo: But what is energy?
Disciple: Modern scientists have stopped asking that
question. They only concern themselves with the ‘how’ and
not the ‘why’ or the ‘what’. But their own discoveries will
make the question more pointed.
Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. Because the question is why a
different combination of atomic particles should make a
Disciple: Once energy was said to be tubes of force and
there was theory of vortices in vogue.
Sri Aurobindo: That means force in movement. You know
energy when it is in activity and then the question arises
what is force?
Disciple: They don’t answer this question.
Sri Aurobindo: Unless you accept a Being behind who
applies the force and also becomes matter there is not other
explanation. When they are given this reply they say it is
all nonsense. They explain it by saying it is nature. They
don’t know what is nature. It is merely giving a name.
Nature stands for a magic formula, a Maya and they explain
everything by that formula.
Disciple: The scientists swore by the rigorous law of
causation but now they find it difficult to apply it in
Sri Aurobindo: What is causation? It only means that
certain conditions follow certain other conditions.
Disciple: How can the presence of somebody behind force
Sri Aurobindo: There is no other explanation. I have said
that in the Life Divine.
Disciple: He didn’t say about somebody but a Being.
Sri Aurobindo: I have said in the Life Divine that you
can not explain the appearance of consciousness out of
Matter unless you accept a Being behind. The Being may be
either Unmanifest and involved in Matter or it may be
Disciple: It is the Brahman playing on Brahman or with
Sri Aurobindo: They will accept the Brahman playing
within the Brahman.
Disciple: They want to catch Brahman with their
Another Disciple: They have despaired of even that! They
have come to the materialistic conception of the Universe.
They speak of tensorial law.
10th January 1940
Disciple: In a publication of the Gita Press the writer
is trying to prove the efficacy of repeating Divine name and
of the Kirtan. He cites Tulsidas in support of his
Sri Aurobindo: If it was so easy it would have been
Disciple: There is a story of Ajamil in the Puranas to
support the efficacy of repeating the Name.
Sri Aurobindo: The value of Name and Kirtan depends upon
awakening of the Psychic Being and its influence over other
parts of nature.
Disciple: Has mechanical repetition no effect?
Sri Aurobindo: If it touches the psychic being it
Disciple: In the Kirtan people easily go into ecstatic
state or Bhavasamathi.
Sri Aurobindo: Very often it ends in awakening the vital
instead of the psychic being. Disciple: ‘X’ is now retired.
Do you think now he is doing your Yoga?
Sri Aurobindo: He has his own way of doing the yoga and
the seclusion, I believe, is temporary. Disciple: They cite
your own example in favour of retirement.
Sri Aurobindo: It is wrong to say that I do not accept
life because I do not actively participate in it. It is true
I am not for acceptance of life as it is. I accept life, i.
e. nature, for transformation.
Disciple: Some of our disciples are not taking part in
ordinary life but can we say that they are retired? Or can
we say that they are not doing your yoga?
Disciple: X. here likes ordering people about, he seems
full of anger, egoism, etc.
Sri Aurobindo: That changes last because the outer being
is the last to change; it does not mean that there has been
no progress within.
Disciple: In Raman Maharshi’s Ashram one feels at once
Sri Aurobindo: Is there nobody in the Ashram here who
feels quiet and peaceful? Disciple: In the world also you
find people who are not
jealous and are peaceful. The difficulty is how to find
them without attaining inner perfection
Sri Aurobindo: X felt peace and immediately went in for
the yoga. It is nothing compared to what is yet to be done.
In many people I see the light which I don’t see in worldly
“New Statesman” condemns Huxley’s book ‘After many
summer’ as a witty parody thrown into philosophy.
Sri Aurobindo: Then it is no worse than Anthony West. He
does not seem to admit wit even. They say Forster is also
Disciple: They do not seem to like intellectual novels
like those of Tagore. Sri Aurobindo: If not intellectual,
will they write stupid novels?
Disciple Tagore in his novels analyses various
psychological movements which common people can’t
understand. Sharatchandra can be said to be a
Disciple: Yes, except in his ‘Shesher Prashna’.
Disciple: So far as I have read he does not seem to be
very intellectual. Sri Aurobindo: He is not much of a
Disciple: He has in some of his writings pleaded the
cause of Western civilization or culture by taking the
opposite line of arguments, but to me they have seemed
always to be weak. For example, his heroine does not find
anything grand in the conception behind the Taj Mahal.
Sri Aurobindo: What is there European about it? The one
thing they like is the Taj.
Disciple: I don’t mean the architectural beauty, but he
ridicules the ideal of immortal love.
Sri Aurobindo: From that point of view Europeans like the
idea of immortal love. In fact love has a great place in
Disciple: Love in the sense of emotion directed to one
person alone and continuing even if the person is dead.
Sharat’s heroines cannot bear this. He seems to advocate
re-marriage or no marriage as far as I understand.
Sri Aurobindo: Why is it European? In Europe no one
advocates such an idea except a few intellectuals. If you
want to abolish the institution of marriage they will raise
a hue and cry.
FEBRUARY 1940 23 February 1940
Disciple: The world is
Swayambhu–self-existent–according to Jainism. God can’t
have created world because he lacks motive.
Sri Aurobindo: Do you create because you are unhappy?
Nirod writes poetry because he is miserable?
Disciple: No, to get more joy.
Sri Aurobindo: He is then full of joy and wants more.
Disciple: If God has not created the world, you can’t get
his help in liberation.
Disciple: In Jainism each one gets liberation by his own
effort. Even Tirthankars don’t help. Sri Aurobindo: Of what
use are they?
Disciple: He is like an example. It is Shasan Devatas who
are worshippers of Tirthankars that help.
Sri Aurobindo: Then you can worship the Devas. If Devas
worship Tirthankars they should not help either because
their ideal is the attainment of Tirthankars. Why should
they help? It is also contradiction of the law of Karma. If
Karma brings its own reward inevitably then help of God is
unnecessary. If God helps and intervenes effectively and
changes the result of action, then the law of Karma is not
Disciple: Jainism believes in Purushartha.
Sri Aurobindo: If you believe in Purushartha you can’t
expect Grace of God. How can you pray to help you?
Disciple: I believe in Grace but in Jainism they don’t.
Disciple: Then why do you do this?
Disciple For myself I believe. They believe each one is
alone and they say: “I have come alone and will go alone.”
This feeling will give Vairagya.
Sri Aurobindo: If he is alone, how does the Tirthankars
and Acharyas, so many, infinite number of, Siddhas crowded
in Siddhasila come in? Like all religions it is
fantastically illogical. Buddha also said the same thing,
but the religion says: “Buddham Saranam Gachchhami.” So also
Disciple: In Jainism self-mortification persists. In
Buddhism there is not. Buddha gave it up after a trial.
Buddha and Mahavir were contemporaries but they don’t seems
to have met. Mahavir was born in Vaisali.
Sri Aurobindo: Who? M? (laughter).
Disciple: In Jainism each soul is bound by ignorance and
there are three ties of that ignorance and three ways of
liberation. This has been symbolized in the Swastika.
Sri Aurobindo: That is why Hitler took Swastika from
there. (laughter) Disciple: Because he wants to dominate
over all the world.
Disciple: Jainism believes in multiplicity of Purushas
and in one Prakriti. Disciple: It is like the Sankhya
Sri Aurobindo: They took it from Sankhya. Their whole
stand is on the Sankhya. (Disciple M.) was repeating Navakar
Disciple: It sounds like Pali.
Disciple: Yes; it is written in Magadhi. It is in the
Prakrit language. Sri Aurobindo: What kind of Prakrit? There
are many Prakrits. Disciple: The language that was current
Disciple: Mahavir was a Behari.
Date not available but sometime February.
Disciple: Bijoy Goswami passed the last years of his life
in Puri and he came to the conclusion that so long as
poverty was there in India spiritual and religious teaching
had no chance. One of his disciples writes in the last issue
of the ‘Kalyan’ that in his last years he believed in Dana
Yagna–charity. So much so that he ran into big debts and
when his health was failing the disciple had to arrange for
the money to pay up the loan, because Bejoy Goswami said
that he could not leave Puri before paying the debt and he
asked his disciples not to be calculating and practical but
do the work, as a Divine work, without thinking of
Sri Aurobindo: It is one thing to think of tomorrow and
quite another to try to remove poverty by feeding the poor.
People don’t understand that philanthropy cannot remove
poverty, it can at the most relieve it. If you want to
remedy poverty you must find the causes of poverty and
remove them. And it is not a correct idea that when people
have plenty they will think of God, since the greater number
of spiritual people have been those who have renounced
everything and lived on very little. As soon as people have
money they forget those who have no money.
Disciple: His idea was that people cannot believe that
God is all-merciful, kind and loving, unless at least their
physical needs are satisfied.
Sri Aurobindo: If the idea is that God is all
compassionate and must look after everybody’s food and cloth
then of course his principle would be true.
Disciple: At last all his disciples had to collect large
sums far away in Bengal and send him the money to pay the
debts, but he never reached Calcutta. I believe he died in
Disciple: But I heard that he was poisoned by some
jealous Sadhus; he made Sthambhan–control–on poison for
some time, but ultimately he could not prevail.
Disciple: Does this article show any change in Barin’s
Sri Aurobindo: It depends. He says what is uppermost in
his mind, and what suits him at the moment, according to his
moods. But it may be a change in his attitude, but difficult
to say if there is any progress. The change may be due to
his having failed in every thing after going from here and
the Ashram growing out since. That may have impressed him.
It may be due to mental causes also.
Disciple: He admits that he had fallen from the path and
his attitude towards Mother. Disciple: Somebody said that he
used to speak highly of the Mother.
Disciple: No, he was critical.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He says things according to his own
mood and what suits him. He wrote one book on Mother and
asked Andrews for introduction. Andrews refused saying:
“I know the Mother”. About the Ashram Moore also refused to
believe his criticisms.
Disciple: Mother says this is “a year of silence and
expectation.” For this what is to be done? Sri Aurobindo:
Year of silence means “observe silence and be
Disciple: He wants to know whether the literary work he
is doing by the approval of the Mother is not going to
interrupt the silence especially if he goes for
Sri Aurobindo: I suppose one can do the work in silence.
But he should not engage in controversy. He has too
combative a mind. If he goes in for controversy naturally
silence will be interrupted.
Disciple If he does this sort of work and somebody
contradicts, naturally he will have to re-contradict.
Sri Aurobindo: Why? Many people criticize me. I don’t
answer. It is not necessary that he should answer.
Disciple: N and I decided not to convert any other people
about Vedic interpretations but to go on repeating over and
over again our own point.
Sri Aurobindo: That is Hitler’s method.
Disciple: That is why nobody contradicts N.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. When people find that the opponent
does not answer they lose all interest.
Disciple: He says it is true he has lost touch with the
reality of the external world. Now if he reads Manchester
Guardian and New Stateman will it disturb his silence?
Sri Aurobindo: It depends on his mind. If he can read all
these things in order to know what is going on, it is
alright, but he should not run away with any idea or
programme. He was asked not to
read papers because his mind was slave to politics and
attracted by the ideas. The fundamental peace and silence is
all right, but he should bring the attitude of the Purusha
in his reading also.
Disciple: I did not know at all that he has also such
difficulties! Sri Aurobindo: You thought he has reached
Supreme Siddhi! Disciple: Not so much, but a Cosmic
Sri Aurobindo: All-India consciousness. You can tell him
that he must not attack or contradict people. When he reads
anything he must not allow his mind to run away with any
ideas, but take up the attitude of the witness and see from
where these things come. And if he does not allow the mind
to identify with any of them he will know the right source
of action and knowledge. You were talking of Cosmic
Consciousness. All these ideas are there in the general
Prana and have equal validity from the point of Cosmic
Consciousness. They may be as much true as his own i.e. when
Basanta Chatterji contradicts him there is some truth in
what he says. He has to see what distortion the mind has
brought in democracy-personal ambitions-boycott-S-he has
lost his head-like Europe-part of universal movement.
Disciple: D also used to have many brilliant ideas e. g.
common kitchen, cleaning, Baroda city.
Sri Aurobindo: Ideas are always brilliant. Co-operation
is always possible, because each finds his self-interest in
the interest of others.
Disciple: A–what he a political leader?
Sri Aurobindo: He was just beginning his career. That
sort of leadership is nothing. If you have the gift of the
gab and power of ideas and putting form into them, you can
always succeed. All politics is a show. In British
Parliament it is the Civil service who are behind, and whose
names are never known, that really do the work. The
Ministers are only their mouthpieces except a man like
Churchill and Hore-Belisha who can do something.
Mother’s brother, for instance, he organized the Congo
land in Africa, but the Minister got all the credit for it.
He was one of the great colonial administrators and even
when he was officer in Equatorial Africa, sometimes Governor
or Governor General, the whole job was done by him. He
hardly had a bed and used to lie in easy chair. Now he is
nearly seventy but, as soon as the war was declared he went
to the Office and asked for his work and now he is working
eighteen hours a day.
A is living in his mind. No “isms” or mental programme
will do, if you want to base things on the Spirit. They are
all out of count. It is the repetition of the old mental
way. Are the villagers going to understand my philosophy? If
he goes to work, he will find himself out of touch with
realities and will have the same fall as B. B went out to
revolutionize the world.
Disciple: And he ended by revolutionizing himself.
Disciple: These things can be only done by Government. It
is better to get the Government.
Disciple: Yes, but both constructive work and this kind
of political work can go together as Gandhi is doing.
Sri Aurobindo: With very little success.
A is talking of common kitchen! Why not have every thing
25th April 1940
R was talking to C in the train that his difficulty was
about accepting Mother, because he said they used to
meditate together and therefore he found it difficult to
Disciple: Nobody ever meditated with the Mother before
the Ashram came into existence in 1926. Sri Aurobindo: Yes,
even then in the beginning there were very few people.
Disciple: Mother used to meditate with Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that was individual. She was
coming to me and her position was special even from the very
beginning. There was no comparison between others and
Mother. There were people in the Ashram who thought that
Mother had done no Sadhana before she came to India.
20th May 1940
Disciple: Why Hitler says that he wants to finish this
campaign before August 15*?
Sri Aurobindo: That’s a clear indication, if an
indication was necessary, that he is the enemy of our
Disciple: Is it that he fears that descent might take
place on August 15th which might make his work more
Sri Aurobindo: This force does not believe in Divine
descent, but it is a sort of challenge that, “I will finish
my first decisive victory before August 15th”. That shows
the nature of the conflict.
Disciple: It does not seem to be only one being. It seems
to be a camp. Sri Aurobindo: yes. But this is the leading
* August 15th happens to be the birthday of Sri
being has often come here to see what was being done. Did
you read Richard’s book “The Lord of the Nations”?
Disciple: No. I read only “To the nation”.
Sri Aurobindo: The book was never published, but he wrote
it at a time when he was in communication with that
Disciple: Most of these people do not believe in any
religion. They want to give up and suppress
Sri Aurobindo: That is what I meant when I said these
people have guarded the Barbarian in them. What they have
got is scientific knowledge, mechanical skill, but other
cultural activities that used to be there, are all
suppressed, and Hitler suppresses them where ever he goes.
He has suppressed them in Poland, in Czechoslovakia.
Disciple: Man is only used by these people as a part of
machinery and organization. Sri Aurobindo: Exactly so.
Disciple: And he is talking of reviving worship of the
old Norse Gods.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are crude conceptions of the
primitive instinct of mankind. Even though Odin is
considered a God of knowledge it is more or less primary
instincts that are symbolized.
Disciple: Do these beings know the existence of the
Divine and deny it? or are they ignorant about it?
Sri Aurobindo: It depends on the nature of the being.
They know the existence of Gods for instance, but they do
not consider them higher than themselves.
Disciple: Yes, and they do not merely ignore the Gods but
claim to evolve world-order of their own.
Sri Aurobindo: When these beings act by themselves no
human power can stand against them. It is alright so long as
there is a question of influencing men, that is to say the
Divine influence as well as Asuric working. But when it is a
question of incarnation, as in the case of Hitler, then it
is the different matter.
Disciple: That makes the conflict between the Gods and
the Asuras represented in the Puranas very realistic even
for our times. Because generally the Gods used to get beaten
by Asuras and run for protection either to Mahakali or to
Rudra or to Vishnu.
Sri Aurobindo: It is the intervention of the Divine that
can become effective, and in this German and Stalin affair
it is the question of the descent of the whole vital world
on this earth. That is what has puzzled most people,
specially those intellectual people who were thinking in
terms of idealism. They never expected such thing and now
when it has come they don’t understand how it has come and
what is to be done; they are all puzzled.
22nd May 1940
Disciple: If the Asuric forces incarnated in Hitler and
others in Germany, is there no one on this
side of allies who incarnate Divine force?
Sri Aurobindo: No. Unfortunately there is none. They are
all ordinary man; there is no one who can receive the Force.
Perhaps Marshal Petain may be able to receive but he is too
old I think.
Disciple: Can Wegan receive?
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know him; in such times if you
have men who do not conform to the science or the rules it
is an advantage. We require men with ideas and daring. Hore
Belisha would have been a very good choice on English side.
If they had put Lord Halifax for India it would have been
easy to arrive at an understanding with the Congress. Mother
also does not find anybody who can receive.
Disciple: Jean Herbert when he was here was very hopeful
that there will be no war. The queer thing was that he
believed that the dictators will get whatever they ask for,
only if they ask strongly enough.
Sri Aurobindo: They could get France also if they ask
strongly? Nivedita a French lady, was telling this time,
those French people who have gone to the war are those who
have no enthusiasm for idealism. They all seem to have gone
to fight with defeatist mentality. That way it is difficult
to succeed against Germany.
Disciple: Referred to Sir Arthur Henderson’s book
“Failure of my Mission in Germany”? Sri Aurobindo: I have
seen a review of it in the New Stateman.
Disciple: Jwalanti was telling that in that book Sir
Arthur Henderson speaks of Hitler as a man who works under
Sri Aurobindo: Does he say that?
Disciple: He also described the condition of a young man
who is her friend’s son and who is in diplomatic service
when he returned from Berlin. She said that his people could
not recognize him when he came. He said that while in
Germany he felt as if he was put inside a metallic bomb and
every minute somebody was pumping more air into it so that
he could not breathe properly.
Sri Aurobindo: The whole general atmosphere in Germany
seems to be dominated by these forces. Young men actually
taught to become devils. In Poland when the Poles complained
to German General about cruelty by the soldiers the General
said: Don’t complain. This is nothing. Wait, let the Nazis
come and you will know what cruelty is.
23rd May 1940
National Socialism was introduced today in England.
Sri Aurobindo: It was great revolutionary step, but for
the war it could never have passed. Because all along the
English history has been the struggle for individual
liberty. And this is a
negation of all that. I believe, it must be due to the
pressure of the labour members. Disciple: It must be also to
prevent war profiteering.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I think so.
The question of taking Narwic arose and it was reported
that it took up position without loss of a single
Sri Aurobindo: It must be very Ahimsak fight where both
sides take up position without shedding drop of blood.
There was an explanation about Gandhi’s Ahimsa.
Disciple: Gandhi’s idea of Ahimsa is that he should get
killed. Disciple: Yes, he has an almost passion for being
15 June 1940.
In one sense one can say, history it repeating itself
because Greco-Roman culture was destroyed by German Nordic
hordes and to-day it is again the Germans who are trying to
destroy the centre of European culture. The Asura working
behind Hitler has been giving him very correct and
remarkably accurate guidance. He knows what is possible.
That is why Hitler has never been listening to reason. He
only waits for the voice. Till now it has guided him
correctly. One mistake, it seems, it has made it to think
that when he attacked Poland he thought that England will
not go to war. Otherwise he has direct guidance which
Napoleon did not get.
The question was put to Sri Aurobindo whether the Asuras
can have the power of vision.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they have. Vision is not only on the
spiritual level. It can be on the vital and on the subtle
physical level, and can be very accurate.
The question was whether the Asura can see his own end.
Sri Aurobindo: No.
Disciple: It is like the astrologers who can’t predict
their own end.
Sri Aurobindo: No, they can predict accurately. There are
instances in which exact hour and minute has been predicted.
Instance on the point is of the Charles of Burgendy who was
taken prisoner by Louis XI. He had made arrangements with
his guards that if he said “be in peace or pass in peace”
then he should not be killed but if he did not give nay such
sign the astrologer who visited the jail where Charles was
prisoner should be killed. Then, he asked the astrologer the
time of his death. He said he could not give the exact date
but it was 24 hours before the death of Louis XI. Louis took
great care to see that he was saved, and years afterwards it
came out that actually
Louis died 24 hours after his death. This happening Scott
has described in his novel. Disciple: Hardhan says that the
French will ultimately triumph.
Sri Aurobindo: It is not unlikely.
About the surrender of Paris, Sri Aurobindo said: How can
they allow Germans to enter Paris without fighting? If the
old civilization is to be destroyed, it is better that it is
Disciple: Advaitanand met some sadhak at Tiruvenamallai
who was arguing with him that knowledge need not be
accompanied by power.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is true. It depends on whether you
lean on the side of witness Purusha or power or both. If
a man realizes the Sad aspect, the Pure Being, he may
have no power. Because Pure Being does not act. On the
contrary, there may be those who may know many things but
have no power to act. Generally even in the mind you see
that a man may have much knowledge but he may be very weak.
Even in the case of those who realize the power aspect the
power may not be always used.
17th and 18th June 1940.
It was asked if Sri Aurobindo knows all the possibilities
connected with the war.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are known as possibilities. We
do not accept anything as absolutely certain.
On the 17th (curiously enough Richard Paul’s birth day)
Petain proposed an armistice and all thought that France was
Sri Aurobindo: All these heroes of the last war–how
could they propose a truce? How can they expect anything
honourable from Hitler? It would be an end of France. They
have become decadent.
Disciple gave the instance of the Munich crisis.
Sri Aurobindo: France was condemned then, when she did
not stand by her treaty.
Disciple gave the instance of French coins and Mother
said: what coins are these? They are the coins of a ruined
Disciple: I quite understand how it must be impossible
for France to continue the war. They began without
enthusiasm for the war, but even afterwards Government
are seen actually wishing for such a peace! There is a
soldier in the hospital who even says “what is the use of
fighting? for whom?
Sri Aurobindo: That is the decadent mind, when men think
more of their safety and comfortable living and want to live
in peace at any price.
Disciple: Is it not the action of the law of Karma that
is upon these nations?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is their Karma. But if they can go
through the suffering and pay the price they can wipe off
(Sri Aurobindo was even for the defense of Paris. He did
not like that it should have been undefended. When a culture
is going down, let it go down a little heroically.)
But if they give up the struggle it means they are
Disciple: Will the English continue after the French have
Sri Aurobindo: I think they will. At least they are not
known to give up so easily in the past, unless they have
changed considerably (as the French).
In the light of this, one admires the resistance of
Poland and Finland. In spite of very bad leadership and
ill-equipment they fought bravely to the end and did not ask
I don’t think that they are lost. On the 18th morning
Churchill’s proposal was out for an “Anglo-French
There was panic last evening–Everybody thought France
had given up. In fact due to variety of causes the
French soldiers are not fighting. They think in terms of
communism and capitalism etc. Sri Aurobindo: They will have
chance for nothing under Hitler.
There are only two chances: either if Hitler dies soon,
then the work may be undone or if the people last out.
Sri Aurobindo liked Churchill’s proposal and said:
English people do not like an idea for the sake of the idea.
But they have a feeling for what is possible, what is
necessary. They have a great flexibility in politics and
they have shown it by declaring in England State-socialism
(He said, in between, once that the British Labour Party had
secured rights for the workers, but has not been strong in
pressing the claim of India upon the present cabinet) and
this Anglo-French Union is another move.
Disciple: The prospect of a joint English and French
Parliament is very humourous.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the French members will be fighting
among themselves and the English will be shaking their heads
and saying “most unparliamentary”.
Disciple: Can the French yet resist? And if the French
give up can the English resist?
Sri Aurobindo: Why not? That is why we Indians cannot
win. Once we are defeated, we always think that if you are
defeated you have to give up. It is not like that. The
greatness lies in not giving up the struggle and refusing to
accept the defeat as final. You can defeat me any number of
but I am not going to give up. The British have stood out
alone against victorious powers in the past.
If the French decided to resist, they have the Navy
and Air-force intact and their colonial army and
colonies. From there they can resist till they win.
The Belgian and Holland Governments have not given up,
why should the French? And even if the Anglo-French Union
does not become permanent they can have a very powerful
federation with Holland, Belgium, Norway, Poland,
Czechoslovakia and they can request India to join it
voluntarily as an equal partner. That would obviate the
conservative fear about making a sweeping change in India.
They have always a fear that it is against tradition, too
much out of her way.
No nation can be great on the principle of maintaining
their existence, unless it stands for some great cause or
idealism or something great. (In this case, it is the
imponderable that is more important than the
16th June 1940
When P referred to Churchill’s speech yesterday
explaining that the French really lost the battle in
Flanders, where they lost 25 divisions and said that it
comes to about at the most 3 lakhs, SriAurobindo said that
French divisions are smaller of about 15 or 18 thousands
each. So P wondered what happened to other 17 lakhs.
Sri Aurobindo: That is what I don’t understand how they
complain of want of men. Chamberlain and Daladiar both seem
to be the same. I do not know whether it is stupidity or
Somebody raised a question of complaint that British were
not sending sufficient men.
Sri Aurobindo: You must remember that Britain is not a
country with conscription. They have not got a big
standing army. It takes time to prepare and equip men,
and yet they sent 4 lakhs with the best equipment they could
have which was not small force for England, and they were
obliged to retreat and take back 3 1/2 lakhs.
Disciple: It seemed that after the fall of Paris
Britishers have sent 4 lakhs of men.
Sri Aurobindo: No, there seems to be some confusion. They
could not have sent so many because before the Renau cabinet
resigned Churchill said that he had sent 3 divisions already
and would be sending in all one lakh by the end of June. But
as usual these over sensitive French military men in their
over-suspiciousness did not believe in Churchill’s
P referred to composition of the new cabinet as out and
out rightists cabinet. Sri Aurobindo: It does not even
represent the whole of France.
Disciple: The retreat has become a rout.
Sri Aurobindo: Because the army has no organization left
and because the morale was broken first by the fall of Paris
and secondly by the peace talks. Everybody thinks, “What is
the use of dying to-day if to-morrow they are going to
conclude peace.” There is no heart in the fighting.
Disciple: At that rate they will find after some time,
they can’t oppose Hitler.
Sri Aurobindo: It is as Mother says that Hitler does not
want to give his terms before he destroys the French army.
It seems the same condition that was in time of Napoleon III
when France lost the war. It is due to party quarrels and
jealousies. Politicians trying to meddle in the
government instead of doing their own work. Their
dissatisfaction with England is quite meaningless because
Churchill clearly said that it would take some months to
make the loss of materials in the Flanders. It is no use
putting an ill-equipped army against Germans.
Gamalin was a fraud and Weigand has not proved
exceptional. If some military genius had arisen he could
have saved the situation. It seems that Hitler is going to
ask for those colonies from France that are near British
possession. In that case he may ask for Pondicherry.
Disciple: Does he know anything about Pondicherry?
Sri Aurobindo: O yes, they know everything. Children are
taught most wonderful details about the cities and even
villages in England and France. They have got a school where
they train future Governors of England. So far as
organization is concerned there are only two people who
cannot be surpassed: The Germans and the Japanese. In the
last war they found maps in Germany of English villages in
which the position of trees and houses were also
There was a reference to Hiranya-garbha which I took to
him. He had explained two days back that “Hiranya-garbha has
nothing to do with Supermind”, besides “Hiranya-garbha is a
being while Supermind is not a being.”
Disciple: It is a plane of being or a plane of
consciousness. A world of its own.
Sri Aurobindo: Exactly so. Hiranya-garbha refers to the
universal subjective, while the “Virat” is universal
objective. In the Rigveda there is only one reference to
“Hiranya-garbha” (10 Mandal 121 when I read the hymn to
Sri Aurobindo: Here Hiranya-garbha is a God. It is as the
I said there is a Hymn in R. V. II. 12 which is also
familiar in wording and conception but which refers to
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, there are several hymns in which the
various Gods like Agni, Indra, etc. are spoken of as
creators. But it is not the same thing as what I call the
“Supermind as a creator”. The word in the old philosophy
which can convey the idea of the Supermind as a creator is
“Pragna”–the Knower. He creates for himself, but Pragna is
spoken of as superconscient because it is above the ordinary
mental consciousness and ordinarily one enters it in
Samadhi, unless one does
like us to bring it down into the ordinary consciousness.
Supermind also is superconscient but that is because it has
not yet been attained. I remember in jail, Hiranya-garbha
being equivalent to Taijas, while Pragna is prior to that;
we used to call one fellow who had a strong imagination,
“Hiranya-garbha,” that is to say, the man of strong
Then I showed him the two references S. V. III. 2 in
which Hiranya-garbha is derived from Rudra and S. V. II. 4
in which “Kopila” is said to be Hiranya-garbha–both of
these Sri Aurobindo said were not clear in their meaning of
Hiranya-garbha and they were quite different in their sense
22nd June. 1940.
About the report of military correspondent that the
French thought in terms of French fortress and positional
war. They did not believe the importance of tanks and
aeroplanes even though they knew that the tanks decided
their victory last time.
Sri Aurobindo: And Gamlin had to go because he was so
much accustomed to the idea of fortress that he did not know
what to do when the Germans came in through Flanders. Gamlin
and Daladier both are so evidently weak that one is
surprised how they were regarded as strong men. Government
after Government in France was appointing Daladier as
Foreign Minister, while he did nothing in fact for preparing
for war and so also Chamberlain. You have only to look at
their photographs at Munich conference where you can see
fierce cunning and crafty Hitler while Daladier appears like
one who can be broken in no time, while Chamberlain looks
like a cunning fool who thinks he was getting his point,
while really he was not.
There was a Nazi incident in Uruguay.
Disciple: Will that be an excuse for American to join the
Sri Aurobindo: If it is true that Germans have given a
threat and if Uruguay Government shoots some of the Nazis
and Germans declare war on Uruguay then Monroe Doctrine will
come in full force. But I don’t suppose it will go to that
About armistice discussion between French and Germany Sri
Aurobindo said if they ask for capitulation of navy and air
force then it will be very hard for England. The English
have their air-force but do they have sufficient tanks? A
big invasion of England seems unlikely and if the English
can last till the end of the year then Germany may be
Russia is very foolish in putting its pressure on Turkey
to keep out of war. There is bound to be a clash between
Russia and Germany about the Balkans and at that time if the
English are defeated there will be no chance of
23rd June. 1940
On hearing about the terms of French armistice which
included putting all the French resources at the disposal of
Hitler Sri Aurobindo said, it is an “act of basest
treachery”. When he heard about
the Rumanian Government becoming Nazi he said “the whole
world seems to have been taken by a wave of selfishness,
cowardice and treachery.”
25th June 1940
Disciple: We say everything happens, happens according to
the Divine Will i. e. nothing happens without it. So the
defeat of France happened according to the Divine Will i. e.
according to Sri Aurobindo’s will!
Sri Aurobindo: “Everything” does not mean every
individual act or event. You can say Sri Aurobindo’s will on
another level of consciousness willed it. For instance, you
can’t say that I willed to break my leg!!
People think of God as a kind of super-dictator. The
Divine Will lays down general lines–but in actual play
(Lila) it consents to limitations that are self-imposed. It
has also to pay the price in the play of forces. Otherwise
you can argue that Rama willed that Sita may be taken away
by Ravana! Christ knew that he had to be crucified for the
work and yet something in him wished it may be
So, it is not all my “will”; it is the Karma of France
and England also that is working.
I am almost getting sympathy and admiration for the
British which I never had before. They are standing up alone
against Hitler’s power without allies–just as they did in
Disciple: You wrote in a letter to Dilip that your will
Sri Aurobindo: No, I did not say that. What I said what
the I have not seen my will fail (so far as the major events
of world were concerned) in major events until now.
Disciple: What events?
Sri Aurobindo: For instance, Ireland’s freedom. I wanted
Alsace Lorraine to go to France. They were not fulfilled at
the time when I willed–many have been fulfilled when I no
longer wanted them. For instance, I wanted to break the
British Empire. Now Hitler wants to do it. But I don’t want
it, as it would mean the triumph of Hitler. Wherever he has
gone, he has destroyed the higher values of life.
If I want that British must not be destroyed it is not
because I like the British Empire, but I see that it would
push back the work tremendously. It is not mental utility
but there are other utilities also.
Disciple: Does not the Divine Will foresee?
Sri Aurobindo: The Divine Will foresees everything, lays
down lines of development and allows the play of forces to
work out and in that play of forces it consents to certain
things. It does not will for each individual fact.
It may include also running away like Krishna who fled
from Kala Yavana. Disciple: Is the Divine limited?
Sri Aurobindo: Every one who descends for a spiritual
purpose, will have to be limited: of course, such a
limitation will be self-imposed. That is to say, he will
consent to the rules of the play of forces.
Disciple: Now Hitler is giving bread to German
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, he says the German workers are
without food and he is going to feed them. It is the Asura
spreading his influence like that. He promises that he will
bring peace and world-order etc.
The new order would be that the British should declare
dominion status and pass some parts to Germany.
When Sri Aurobindo was told about the efficiency of
air-raid shelter supplied by Anderson in England and after
knowing how it worked Sri Aurobindo said, now the greater
preoccupation of human mind seems to be to find out means of
destroying each other and of escaping destruction. Man is
said to be a rational animal but there is very little reason
in these activities. It is of same kind as ingenuity of the
animal. What man is doing now is only extension of animal
ingenuity. Formerly he used to destroy with swords and
spears and other instruments.
Disciple: They could not do it so well as now, and you
can imagine they are spending lakhs of rupees for one
machine or one bomb.
Disciple referred to R. Gregg’s article in the ‘Harijan’
in which he strongly advocates the adoption of khadi in
Wardha scheme by European nations.
Sri Aurobindo: But they were destroying each other when
they were using Charakha in the past? Disciple: Perhaps not
on such a large scale.
Sri Aurobindo: There are cases of the whole population of
the city killed by their primitive method.
Disciple: Instance of Baghdad where Ghangiskhan put up a
tower made of one lakh of human skulls.
27th June, 1940.
27th Chapter of “Life Divine”. The publishers in
consultation with the professor of English changed “founded
in” into “founded on”. Sri Aurobindo said when I told him
about the change, “I have already used that in the previous
paragraph and they have suggested “on” and I have not
accepted the suggestion. I have used there “in” purposely.
These people think that they know English better than I do.
They are habituated to use current phrases and words in
their usual sense but they do not know that a good writer
does not always use current phrases and words in their usual
Disciple: But they do it after consulting a
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but the Professor is an Indian. He is
not an Englishman. It is these people who have learnt the
language that want to use current phrases. As Richard
Stephenson said, “English language is like a woman who loves
you for taking liberty with her.” Once Sir D.-V. sent me one
of his books and on every page I found 40 such worn out
expressions, what they call cliche and all the Indians are
praising the English. Perhaps an Englishman would have said,
“What a horrible style!”
21st July 1940
There was a reference to C. R’s article about the
necessity of force for maintaining a state.
Disciple: Blunchli in his book called “The State” puts it
down as a fundamental principle. Every state is founded on
force and President Wilson in his book also maintains, a
little apologetically, that all human states are founded on
Sri Aurobindo: Of course, so long as man is not too much
cowed down or has not evolved beyond his present condition
and is too high to use force, force will be
Disciple: In the Supramental creation will there be any
Sri Aurobindo: No. Because there you are supposed to go
beyond the human conditions. But for ordinary human
purpose the state is bound to employ force. Only there
are two types of institutions, one which employs force pure
and simple and another which is based on agreement and force
is employed to maintain the agreement. That is the
difference between democracy and dictatorship. The weakness
of the democracy is that its rule is based on majority and
so there will always be a minority that is not satisfied
with the conditional things. And if the minority loves the
hope of becoming majority it might resort to force.
AUGUST 1940 3rd August 1940
There was a letter from K. P. to Dilip in which he
expressed his opinions and ideas about the present war, His
1. The war is already fought and decided on the inner
2. Mankind is responsible for rise of the Asuric
3. Each much fight the lower forces and side with the
Divine in himself. After reading the letter Sri Aurobindo
said: It is quite alright that the struggle between the
forces is worked out on other planes before it is projected
Disciple: He means like the Gita where Sri Krishna says
that Kauravas were already killed. Disciple: So the result
is already decided.
Sri Aurobindo: I would not admit as he seems to admit
that everything was fixed. Of course, the issue has been
decided by the Divine vision and there can be no change in
that. But nobody knows that decision of the Divine. And when
there is a struggle between the forces it is always possible
to change the balance of forces. True, things are decided
above and happen in the physical afterwards, but not exactly
in the same way. There can be a variation. Of course, there
can be no variation in what is decided by the Supreme
In a way, it is quite true that we mankind have made the
world what it is.
Disciple: K. P. seems to say that Hitler is a result of
tendencies which men have been harbouring in themselves. He
forgets that the being behind him may also be responsible
for spreading the influence.
Disciple: K. P. feels that England will not be defeated
in this war because he says they have some purpose to
fulfill in the world. So long as they do that they will not
Sri Aurobindo: That is true, though certain forces have
been working for the destruction of the British Empire. I
myself once worked for it but it is quite possible to change
the action because if the same result can be achieved in a
different manner then the destruction of the British Empire
is not necessary. I myself would not have minded any result
to the British Empire, if its destruction did not mean
victory for Hitler. But that changes the whole aspect.
Disciple: Is this not all due to the necessity of a new
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, evidently. Question is what is going
to be the world-order and how is it to be brought about?
Sri Aurobindo then spoke of the psychic attitude to be
adopted by every one. That is useful for attaining much
higher spiritual result. There have always been a small
number of people who have embodied that change. But I do not
know how that can change the whole world conditions. Or
perhaps by psychic he means mental and vital changes. Even
that I don’t know how they can come about if Hitler wins.
For the present, everybody seems to be taking refuge in
cowardice and trying to save his own skin and if the change
desired is to come after Hitler wins then perhaps it would
be after great suffering and through reactions on the part
of men to that oppression, or even it may not come at all,
or come after the Pralaya, whereas by changing the balance
of forces the British Empire can be saved, and if it can win
then the new order might take place more quietly and also
the mental and vital changes necessary will take place
without much disturbance and so much destruction.
Disciple: Do you mean that the Supreme Vision’s decision
can be different from the decision of the subtle worlds?
Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily, but between the vision of
the Supreme and its realization here, there are many
possible variations. In fact, if you speak of “destiny” then
you must know that there are different layers of destiny.
There is, for instance what the astrologers call the destiny
in the physical. There can also be destiny in the vital. By
bringing vital force into play the destiny in the physical
can be changed. So also by bringing mental forces into
play–though it is more difficult–what seems to be the
vital destiny can be changed. That is why astrologers hardly
prove themselves right because they look at the physical
whereas there can be a variation in the play of forces of
the mental, vital and physical planes. On these a certain
play of forces may show as if the destiny was in favour of
one or the other group of forces. And this balance can be
Disciple: But if the Supreme vision is there then the new
order is bound to come. Is it not?
Disciple: But at present before the Supreme has a chance
there are many others who are ready with their own ideas of
the new order.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, everybody seems to be busy with his
own world-order and nobody knows about the decision of the
Disciple: But how can you say nobody knows? You said that
Supramental descent is bound to come.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but we have not yet become
Supramental. I know it will come, but I have not fixed the
date for it. It may be to-morrow. I don’t know!
Disciple: It seems that Mother said to some one that the
Light will descend when there will be all darkness around
and no possibility in sight for man.
Sri Aurobindo: That was not her own words. She was only
repeating an ancient prophesy.
Disciple: I suppose world is sufficiently dark even now,
for it is only England that is standing in the way of
Sri Aurobindo: Did you not see the Mother’s prayer for
this year? It is quite clear; at any rate, those who
received it in France perhaps know now what it meant.
18th August 1940
There was a talk about the music of Bhismadeva. N started
the topic by stating that Tagore long ago started a campaign
against classical music saying that it was
dead. The reason he gave was that classical music was
only a performance of mere technic and cleverness; there was
no soul in it. Tagore therefore started emphasizing the
importance of words and their meaning in music. He almost
said that words were preferable to notes. Even Dilip
strongly supported this argument of Tagore in his
Sri Aurobindo: If it was only the exercise and exhibition
of technique and mere skill on the part of the classical
musician, then there was no real music in it.
Disciple: For musical appreciation the sound value, the
rhythm, harmony etc. are quite enough. There is no need of
words or meaning for the appreciation of music.
Sri Aurobindo: Like all other arts the music has its own
medium–it is sound–it stands by itself. If it depended on
words or on poetry then it would be poetical music but not
Disciple: The classical musicians were only performing
the gymnastics of sound and Tagore said that there was need
of fine and beautiful words for music.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but if it is gymnastics of sound it
is not music. Music then would be only a commentary on
Disciple: They say that the remedy for reviving music is
to give value to word and meaning.
Sri Aurobindo: The conditions are such because classical
music has degenerated but it does not mean that it should
not be revived; and the remedy is not to give value to words
or poetry, but to restore the soul of music. If words are
indispensable to the appreciation of music then how can an
Englishman hear Italian music and appreciate it?–because he
does not understand a word of music.
Disciple: Tagore is very particular about the tune of his
own songs and nobody is allowed to make any change in the
notation of his song. That is why Dilip does not sing his
Sri Aurobindo: I believe Tagore is not much of a
musician, is he?
Disciple: By no means, because he happens to be great man
in other things and has a big name therefore nobody opposes
his claims in fields where he does not know anything.
Sri Aurobindo: It is more or less like his paintings.
Disciple: Not so bad nor so extravagant perhaps.
Disciple: Dilip also thinks that beautiful words are
necessary for music.
Sri Aurobindo: That is because he is more of a singer
than a musician. Singing is an art by itself. Disciple:
Appreciation of pure music requires also training.
Disciple: Everybody cannot appreciate or form a critical
judgement about music. There has to be training and also
aesthetic faculty. One can see in Bhishmadave and Biren that
they have not merely technical perfection and rhythm but
also they enter into the spirit of music. And there one can
see that it is the notes,–the musical value of notes–that
create the atmosphere specially in the case of Biren who
merely by playing on string instrument succeeds in creating
a fine atmosphere.
Sri Aurobindo: If words were indispensable to music then
most of the European and the best of it which is without
words would not be called music at all. In pure music words
are absolutely not necessary. If you can’t have
pure music without word then one can also say that one
cannot paint a subject which is not literary.
Disciple: Beethoven’s symphonies are only musical
notations and played with the violin and piano. One of the
reasons why North Indians fail, or find it difficult, to
appreciate South Indian Music is because they are prevented
by words; also perhaps because South Indian Music is more
intellectual. When you hear B’s singing you see that he is
conscious of the notes only, and the musical value of
them–he is not conscious of the words and their meaning.
And whatever he wants to express in his music either an
emotion or a state of consciousness he does it through notes
and not through words. His very gestures show that he is
working with notes.
Sri Aurobindo: It is fortunate that modern European music
has not suffered the same fate as modernist painting and
poetry; the moderns have not bee able to spoil the European
music. It is difficult to have cubism in music.
Disciple: It is difficult to throw about cubes of sound
because they are sure to hurt the ear.
Disciple: Some people say that Dilip’s music is more
spiritual while that of BH and other musicians is not
Disciple: That is because Dilip is singing religious
songs and Bhajans. Disciple: Can pure music be
Sri Aurobindo: Of course.
Disciple: What I have found in Dilip’s music is that the
atmosphere he creates is not due to his music but to
something else,–perhaps to his personality or the being
that is in him. I have also seen that if one goes to his
with the idea of expecting sound values and rhythms he is
likely to be disappointed.
Disciple: So far as the spiritual atmosphere is concerned
he does not require a great musician to produce it. A
spiritual person singing a very ordinary song can create a
Sri Aurobindo: That is true. Similar is the case with a
poem which may be common-place but a clever elocutionist can
make much out of it.
That is why I do not grant the contention of the
modernist poet who says that in order to appreciate his
rhythm you must hear the poem recited by him. A clever
elocutionist can produce a rhythm where there is none in the
Disciple: Some people say that they like Dilip’s poetry
when he recites it but they cannot appreciate it when they
read it themselves. It is also difficult to appreciate his
poetry unless one known the rhythms and new turns which he
has introduced, because his rhythms are quite different from
those of Tagore.
Sri Aurobindo: What I have found in Dilip’s poetry is
that it is mental poetry connected with Bengali poetry of
pre-Tagorian era. Perhaps it is due to his father’s
influence which was also intellectual. What I mean to say is
that Tagore introduced a new element of feeling and
in Bengali poetry; as he is a genius his poetry is
beautiful but much of what is written under Tagore’s
influence is wishy-washy stuff, that is to say, it is poetry
without any backbone. There is no sound experience behind
it. Even in Tagore you find that his idea is diffused into
seventy or eighty lines yet it does not come out clearly,
though the idea is there. In pre-Tagorian poetry they had
clear intellectual ideas to express and they expressed them
poetically. Dilip’s poetry has two things: the subject
the treatment. Generally the subject is an idea which he
develops, an intellectual thing which he expresses in poetic
form; and his technique is a departure both from Tagore and
the old tradition.
Disciple: In his novel-writing also it is found that
Shorot Chatterji was far superior to Tagore as a story
Disciple: But he criticized Dilip’s story on the ground
that there was very little action in his story. In fact he
said that story much have a story, not mere discussions. But
in Tagore’s own story there is very little action. They are
also what are called the intellectual novels.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I found in Dilip’s story, when I
turned over the pages, that somebody or other was talking on
Disciple: Or sometimes there are long letters in the
novel and interminable replies.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, all sort of things that are not
native to the purpose of the novel are being put into it by
the moderns. So, instead of writing a pamphlet they write a
novel, instead of delivering a sermon they write a story,
even they write a story for journalistic purpose. It is like
Bernard Shaw writing his dramas. All his characters are
meant only to represent different sides of questions which
he takes up in his drama.
15th September 1940
Disciple: Has the individual no reality except as a
puppet? Sri Aurobindo: That is Shanker’s stand.
Disciple: Another question is “If the Divine is already
there and does everything then why yoga?” Because Sri
Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita that you have only to
become Nimitta–instrument. So the Christian’s criticism is
that the Individual is meaningless–without any
justification or fulfillment. Gita is preaching pure
mechanism or unconsciousness.
Sri Aurobindo: But Gita does not say that you are
“compelled” to become the Nimitta. It says
“Bhava”–“become!” but it does not say that you have no
existence except as Nimitta.
Even if Arjuna does not become the Nimitta Sri Krishna
says that he will do it in his own way.
Even when you find that the Divine has decreed the
result, it is the result that is decreed but not the
Nimitta, that is, anything else could have been the
The Individual – Universal, the Transcendental are the
One in different positions. “I am the Lord in each” says the
Disciple: If Divine does everything then we have to
conclude that ignorance is unreal.
Sri Aurobindo: Ignorance is not unreal; it is real, that
is to say, there is a Truth that corresponds to it.
Disciple: The aim of spiritual Sadhana is freedom from
ego, from bondage of ego. What is to be done after that?
Sri Aurobindo: It is the first indispensable step. But
there are many possibilities after that freedom. For
1. He may remain confined to his own nature or to the
apparent ego in nature–though free.
2. or, he may open equally to Cosmic forces and acts
as Bala, Jada, Pishacha or Unmatta.*
3. or, he may be one with the Divine and act and would
be free not to act. In case he acts, he is the individual
centre of the Cosmic for Divine action. He is one with the
Divine yet remains a different self–yet free. Cosmic forces
would be available to him for Divine action.
* Infant-like, inert-like, devil-like, or
28th November 1940
Letters from Kabul and from Ella Maillard; change in
attitude to Gabriel; effective representation of Ella.
Gandhi’s will – or political will was read (brought by
Abhaya Deva) distributed to Gandhi Seva Sangh – spoken
orally and taken down; after hearing the whole letter Sri
Something in him takes delight in suffering for its own
sake. Even the prospect of suffering seems to please him
though he puts in a lot of ethics with his justification,
the fact is that something in him enjoys suffering.
2. Secondly, if he knows that to the British Government
50 Gandhis would not matter–what does he propose then to
achieve politically by his fast? He even knows that the
British people are not even going to consider the
possibility of Ahimsa!
It is Christian idea that has taken hold of him. Besides
he seems to think that after him his theory and creed of
non-violence would continue. I don’t think so. A few people
would be there but anything like a wide scale influence like
that of his personality does not seem possible.
I don’t object to the world-order but I object to
Hitler’s world order. “Psychology” would remain unpublished
so long as the war lasts because I must known whether Hitler
goes up or goes down.
All European publications have been stopped on account of
My contribution to the war fund was not my taking part in
politics. It was in view of much wider issues which I have
spoken of in my letter,–the issues of human culture and
individual and national liberty; and as the English are the
only race that stand up for it, I support them.
“Justice”–Englishmen won’t be acting according to
justice, why should they? Which nation acts on the
principles of justice? Why should we expect them to fulfill
a standard which we ourselves can’t satisfy.
Indian problem has been very badly bungled by Jinna, and
Congress and Mahasabha. They have not been able to play
their cards well. That is why they are losing the game.
What is justice after all? To the Socialist denial of all
property, liquidation of capitalism is justice. To the
capitalist something else is justice.
Congress is asking for freedom of expression but it does
not give its own members freedom to express their ideas, if
they are against their official policy.
Two ways of securing freedoms by force, by
revolution–that cannot succeed so long as we have Jinnahs
etc. The only other course is compromise. There you have to
give and take,–know your opponent. Generally, the English
do not want to go to the extreme or to be continuously
repressing. After a time they like to come to a compromise.
Generally they arrange the bargain in such a way that they
gain in the compromise. They want to be respected. They
don’t like to be called bad.
Fast and Satyagraha changing the heart of the opponent is
absurd. What it can do is to exert pressure and secure some
But it can’t succeed if it challenges the very existence
of the other force. For instance, Gandhi succeeded in
settling the labour question because the capitalists did not
want to earn public obloquy. So they gave concession to his
demands. But suppose instead of some demands of amelioration
he had asked them to hand over the mills to the workers then
he would not have succeeded.
All the talk of change of heart is absurd. If it changes
anything, it may change only the mind–not the heart. The
man may not like to face the consequences and so would give
in without changing the heart.
The English have also some constitutional mind. So once
they give, they don’t go back upon their word. They don’t
want anyone else to walk into India when they walk out of
it. They are afraid of that happening if they leave India
now. It would certainly mean civil war and any other power
walk into India. They have proclaimed that they would
grant Dominion Status which amounts to Independence except
one or two matters like defense and foreign affairs.
They don’t care for world opinion or India because the
opinion they consider important is American opinion. But as
all are afraid of Hitler they won’t at present speak against
England for her Indian Policy. And also they are not quite
wrong when they say that the Indians must settle their own
differences. The Lucknow pact has become a great political
blunder. The Mahommedans,–they want to rule India.
If Gandhi undertakes his fast for self purification or
for spiritual end it is something, but how can he gain
political power by that?
It is British Government that gives way to such pressure.
Against Germany, Japan, Russia or even France that has no
Virawala a match for Gandhi. Vallabhbhai’s life attempted
after Amreli and Rajkot.
Jail going is useful because it can help a nation in
solidifying itself and in organizing itself. But if the
programme is carried out ultimately, the ruling power, if it
is oppressive, can be thrown out by the organization
29th November 1940
Kasturbhai’s Arvind Mills of Ahmedabad was using Sri
Aurobindo’s picture on their products, without any
permission and without paying any consideration. One of the
picture was shown to Sri Aurobindo and it was represented to
him that legal action could be taken against the Mills. On
seeing the picture Sri Aurobindo said:
“The other one made me look like a criminal. This one
makes me look like an imbecile–not only the eyes but the
mouth;–can one do these things?”
Sri Aurobindo did not want to press the legal aspect of
31st December 1940.
Disciple: On what does receptivity depend?
Sri Aurobindo: On quietude, openness and wideness. One
can’t receive, if one is disturbed and also what he receives
can’t be effective without quietude. Quietude is of the
Mind, the Vital and the Physical. The most difficult is of
she Inconscient. One can develop openness by Will and
instill quietude also by throwing away all disturbance by
aspiration, will, effort, etc.
JANUARY, 1941 4th January 1941
Sri Aurobindo: Inconscient, what is inconscient? There is
nothing below the Inconscient. It is from the Inconscient
that Matter takes form. Everything has its basis in the
Inconscient. As the work is going on in the Inconscient the
difficulties from there arise,–various diseases, etc.
It is the stuff of all material world. Inconscient has
its own power. It has concrete thoughts and ideas of its
ignorance and in order to combat them, one has to bring down
concrete higher Force.
Disciple: What about “In tune with the Infinite” in which
he says: “I am infinite power. It is pouring and pouring in
Sri Aurobindo: What about it? You tried?
Disciple: Yes, I am as I was.
Sri Aurobindo: It looks very much like Coue’s method.
Disciple: Can it work?
Sri Aurobindo: It is one way of opening the consciousness
to the Force. I don’t know if it can be successful all
Disciple: You said to D that his keeping the attitude
that “I am the child of the Mother and SriAurobindo–nothing
can oppose me” was quite proper.
Sri Aurobindo: That is the central faith which one is
required to have in this Yoga. If one can make that faith
living in all parts of the being then it would be quite
alright. But the body says, ‘I have pain–I am suffering.’
It has that power of Ignorant idea from the Inconscient.
After completing the work in the Inconscient, the higher
ranges of the Supramental consciousness would be brought
Disciple: There is a proposal for introducing a course in
Indian Philosophy as a subject in the University.
Sri Aurobindo: There is no objection to their doing that
but it should not be compulsory. It should not be called a
course in Metaphysics and Theology. Life Divine is not a
Theology! Further, it should be kept optional. Religious
instructions should not be made compulsory. It does not
necessarily develop spiritually; many people come to
spiritual life through atheism. Religious instruction makes
man narrow, sectarian, etc. The objection to this scheme is
that it is academic. It would lose all its like and become
14th January 1941
Sri Aurobindo had seen a volume of Cezanne and one of the
painters of the 20th Century representing the most modern
trends of artistic movement in France.
Cezanne had found “remarkable” models for his portraits.
All of them were very fine and showed power.
He didn’t know drawing and so some of his things were
imperfect. Colour is everything. (I showed him the small
volume on Cezanne). He liked it better because of the colour
In the evening he said he had liked Matisse also.
He found three things in modern art – 1. Ugliness, 2.
Vulgarity, or what might be called coarseness, 3.
In their nude studies it is very low sexuality which they
bring out. They all call it “Life”–but it is not life. Even
in the most ugly corner there is something fine and
beautiful that comes and saves it. It shows France has gone
To create form by colour only,–that is a matter of
technique and one can accept it.
It started with Cezanne–but even there the beginning is
already there in his study of the nude. There is too much of
a genius to be positively ugly.
When they go further even in the application of their
theories they become absurd. What they mean by “inner” is
“subconscient”, lower “vital”.
There is no objection to suppressing the unessentials in
a work of art–all great artists do it. To retain the
24th January 1941
Life of Blake with many of his etchings was shown to Sri
Aurobindo. He had not liked them very much when a few of
them were shown to him some days back. During daytime when
he saw them he said that they were merely “dramatic” and
“imaginative” rather than “creation of art.” He remarked
that English art in general was more a result of “mental
imagination and less satisfying as a work of true art.” The
“Death of a white horse” looks like a violent angry old man,
and the horse is also wild and angry. “I can’t say I’m
impressed.” If you can compare his work with the etchings of
Rembrandt, you will see the difference between true artistic
creation and imaginative work.
I related Lawrence Binyon’s remarks in the preface that
these works make an impression on the mind and don’t so much
appeal to the aesthetic senses and so you are disappointed
when you see them again.
He was glad to note that Lawrence Binyon agreed with him
in this respect.
“I liked some of his paintings” he said “especially his
representation called “the murder.” It is a great work. You
see that it represents murder. That is art.
In his poetry, too, I was rather disappointed, except
“Book of Thel” (journey to Thel) and some of his lyrics–his
poetry also is not satisfying. It is like his etchings “You
find it rhetorical”–Durer also was a great etcher. The
claim was that he used to paint or etch these things under
“There is a realm of the stretch of vital romantic from
which you can get these things. That period comes in Yoga
also. But these things are not deep and profound.”
The symbolism which he claims to have evolved for the
complete explanation and interpretation of Christianity
looked very elaborate to me.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, all that may be true but it is not
poetry. Middleton Murray and some others try to make so much
of his poetry. It is the same you find people trying to
indicate that the names of certain countries stand for
certain activity and certain contribution, and that even
individual names (of Gods).
1941 OR 1942
Disciple: Does the feminine aspect (of the Divine)
correspond to love, Devotion and surrender? Sri Aurobindo:
No, not necessarily.
Disciple: Does not Satchidananda love?
Sri Aurobindo: No, that is Krishna Prem’s idea,
Disciple: There is no reason to associate these with the
feminine aspect because he associates these with it.
Disciple: Receptivity includes these things; it is only a
way of representing the inner life of the woman.
Sri Aurobindo: Because the female is passive, dependent,
(passively active) while the male is active, strong and
Disciple: The Vaishnavas look upon all souls as Gopis and
so it seems that the feminine aspect in all corresponds
the element of love, devotion, etc. because they take
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if you accept their idea. But that is
not the whole idea.
Disciple: It cannot be said that the male aspect is
without love, devotion and surrender.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is so. Only, it is of different
nature. Man, for instance, may be devoted to a woman but
that is not the same thing as a woman’s devotion to man. And
the Vaishnava outlook
is not the whole of the feminine aspect. There are other
aspects of the woman. Love is not the only aspect of the
Disciple: It will also have to include Tantric idea of
Sri Aurobindo: Quite so.
Disciple: But Krishna Prem says that both these should be
equal in all men, is it true?
Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by true? If you mean
‘true’ in fact then you can say it is not true. He says “it
should be” but “should be” is not “what is.”
Disciple: Is the idea correct?
Sri Aurobindo: That is his idea that it should be so.
Disciple: Perhaps he means that in an ideal case these
two should be equal.
Disciple: Krishna Prem also says that Grace and Tapasya
are complimentary. No one of them is to be stressed. Girish
Ghosh used to say to Ramkrishna that he left everything for
Ramkrishna to do (for him); and it seems he was very much
Disciple: What I heard is that Girish found at the end
that he had not been able to give his burden over to
Sri Aurobindo: You mean he made no effort himself?
Disciple: I suppose so, or he found at the end that
somehow or other he had not left the whole thing to
Disciple: That means, if one has that living faith he can
do without Tapasya. C also says that he does not believe in
Tapasya. He believes in Grace.
Disciple: I do not mean that one should indulge in lower
nature while depending or believing in Grace. But otherwise
I don’t believe in Tapasya.
Disciple: Yes, but if we want something then we have to
make some effort or straining for that thing. Some effort is
Sri Aurobindo: (to C) What do you mean by Tapasya?
Disciple: It has the sense of effort. For example, the
mind is wandering about: then one has to make an effort to
concentrate it. This is difficult.
Sri Aurobindo: That Tapas means something difficult is
the popular idea. It means most often sitting on nails,
standing on the head etc., But that is not correct. Tapas
can be for something one likes or wants. You gather the
energy for the object.
Disciple: When one sits in meditation the mind is
wandering about and one has to gather it. This is
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but something in you wants to do it.
You want it, is it not?
Disciple: It is the gathering of force of consciousness
for a particular purpose.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, you gather up all the energy and put
it on a particular point. Disciple: Even for gathering up
some effort is necessary.
Sri Aurobindo: If you want to achieve the object some
effort will be necessary for achieving it. Disciple: Some
men may find it easy to meditate for many hours.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that requires concentration of
energy. All effort is not unpleasant. For
instance, a man who plays cricket has to concentrate on
the ball, on the bat, wicket, fielding etc.
Disciple: That is easy comparatively because the man
finds interest in it. Disciple: Another man may find that
Sri Aurobindo: It is said in the Upanishads that God
created the world by Tapas. It was not that he found it
difficult to create the world, but he had to make the
Disciple: There is an instance given of concentration as
when a lady goes about doing all sorts of works with a
pitcher on her head. All the time her attention is
concentrated on the pitcher.
In the case of the Gopis it was not that they had not to
make an effort to remember Krishna. They spontaneously fell
in love with him and some thing in them was on fire. So when
something in the being is touched like that, then
concentration does not require effort or labour.
One may concentrate for one thing and quite a different
result may come–one may go to quite another line.
Sri Aurobindo: In my own case, Lele wanted me to get
devotion and love and hear inner voices. Instead I got into
the Silent Brahman Consciousness.
Disciple: And he prayed and tried to pull you into the
Disciple: I find in my case that with little effort on my
part many things have dropped.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is because you, or something in
you, wanted to drop these things. Disciple: But there was no
corresponding effort for the results.
Sri Aurobindo: It may be so. It is not a question of
correspondence: with little effort something in you wants to
drop it sincerely and then the Grace finds it easy to act.
But all the same the effort is a contributory element. There
are cases in which one goes on making effort and yet no
result comes and even the condition becomes worse. While
suddenly you find, when you have given up the effort, that
the thing is done. It may be that the effort was keeping up
the resistance and when you give up the effort the
resistance says “This fellow has given up effort, so it is
no use persisting.”
12th March 1943
Disciple: T was such a nice person,–very good in
Sri Aurobindo: ‘That is so because you do not know what
the person really is–you see only the outside.’
Disciple: But she was very disciplined.
Sri Aurobindo: “No–she was very nice so long as you did
what she liked. But otherwise she was a person least fitted
for Sadhana. The family has a touch of madness. She was
hysterical and also there was dissatisfied sex. She looked
very nice and people generally think it is a sign of great
advance when a man stops speaking to persons or if he
retires like N. B. and N. and even S. These are persons with
small spiritual capacity. B.–yes but B. had a great
capacity. It was his inordinate ego that came in his
Disciple: Mother is preparing 12 persons–apostles like
Christ?–and then other 12 will be taken up etc.
Sri Aurobindo: “I don’t know it,–unless you believe that
I hold it as a State secret.” 26th March 1943
S. Iyengar’s book on English poetry. “His Judgements are
not always sound and his quotations though they seem
striking at first they don’t stand a second reading. So that
they can’t be taken as the best. For example, he speaks of
Oscar Wilde–but he has not referred to the “Ballad of the
Reading Goal” which is one of the best things written in
English. Also his estimate of Blunden’s descriptions of
nature-photographic and true to Nature perhaps–but it is
very doubtful if they will survive.
“Shakespeare you can go back to for the hundredth time.
That is the test. Only T. S. Elliot will live–but that as a
minor poet only. The moderners all have got diction but it
has no value without Rhythm. They have no Rhythm.”
No one now reads Ben Johnson because people are no longer
interested in him.
16th April 1943
General Tokezyswaki: Polish leader came through Umadevi,
a Polish lady. *
17th April 1943
General Tokezyswaki saw Mother at 3-30 for nearly an
1. Synthesis of Elements of different cultures.
2. Nearly 3500 Polish refugees in India.
3. One or two hours to himself for reading about this
Sri Aurobindo: “Such men will find great difficulties
after the war because the peace seems much more
difficult–war is difficult enough”.
From the notes. 18th April 1943 In Russia before the war
there were 18 million in prison–1/10th of the
General Tokezyswaki had been to Russia–because he was a
Socialist. What he saw disillusioned him. He was even
imprisoned in Russia.
The spy system in Russia is very extensive. Each man who
is somebody is watched by three men. In the army also one
who does not fight has to face execution.
American politicians want to retain their hold over North
Africa if they can–to ensure payment of their money. They
would even like to have Persia and Iraque.
So, the peace is not likely to be a very easy affair.
Spiritual cure – method described – Blue ray – directed
to the patient – Washes his own hands. Astral body seen near
19th April 1943
Spirit communication–Desire to continue the family life
of Earth. There are such spirits who like a reproduction of
the life on Earth.
Got tired of the same wife and husband.
Divorce suit in the other world. The husbands might ask
if the wives are Satis!
Letter from Dilip–with Krishnaprem’s. Whether every time
a Sadhaka makes personal effort can it be said that it is to
satisfy the Ego.
Sri Aurobindo: No, it can be to subordinate the Ego to
the Divine. If it is to seek power or to
satisfy some other impulse then personal effort may have
Disciple: Could one make the surrender to a Guru whose
outer nature is imperfect?
Sri Aurobindo: It has nothing to do with any human
standards–moral or mental. Most often it is the Ego that
says that ‘this fellow has got this defect, I won’t
surrender to him.’
Disciple: But the very act of accepting some one as Guru
requires some perception or feeling or experience of the
Divine in the person?
Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. It may be only a belief
in the Divinity of the Guru.
That way it can be argued that God is imperfect because
the exterior working in this world is full of imperfections,
ignorance, suffering, etc. All these things do not count.
The question is whether the Divinity in the Guru can awaken
the Divine in the disciple.
Vivekananda was conscious of Ramkrishna’s shortcomings
and his mind was very agnostic. So it took him years and he
was fighting with himself before he accepted Ramkrishna.
AUGUST, 1943 7th August 1943 Letter from Siddhartha
(Nolini Sen’s son).
1. Faith-Blind in Guru’s words.
2. Religion is superfluous and injurious to India.
3. What is Sri Aurobindo doing? What has he done or is
doing for India?
Sri Aurobindo: Why does Siddhartha want to argue about
his faith? How can he prove his faith by arguments? He must
know that it can’t be done.
And now-a-days it is well-known that one argues in favour
of what one likes. It is not for arriving at the Truth. One
can’t arrive at the Truth by arguing.
He can find plenty of proof of people whose faith has
succeeded where all outer reason was against them. There are
many such things in history.
If England had only thought and depended on reason then
she should have made peace with Hitler. She had no chance
against Germany. But in spite of that she had faith that she
could win and she is beginning to win.
It was after the Dunkirk that I openly came out with my
declaration and gave the contribution openly. If I had
believed in appearances I should not have. It is in spite of
opposite appearances that you have to act on faith. I had
fixed the 15th August and 15th September as the dates on
which Germany would have defeat and both the days they go
the defeat (August I believe over London
and September–the ‘invasion idea’ and ‘preparation’)
2. I wanted De Gaulle to become the chief of the Free
French armies in North Africa. There were many obstacles and
the Americans came in with their pro-Vichy attitude. But I
went on pressing and ultimately it has succeeded.
3. Also about the Tunisian campaign. There was lot of
swaying to and fro. But I persisted–First time when the
Allies attached they were only 30 thousand against 3 lakhs
Italians. If Wavell had gone to Tripoli at that time he
would have succeeded. But they went to help Greece and
naturally they had to retreat. But I went on and at last
they took Tunisia.
If you depend upon reason then you can’t know what is
Truth. Germany fought Russia on her reason and won and now
Russia is fighting Germany on her reasoning and is winning.
It is apparent it is not reason which is giving anyone the
success. There is, or must be, something behind that decides
Our people cannot understand why one who has the Divine
consciousness or Brahmic consciousness should take
up sides in a fight. That is alright if you want to
remain in the Static Brahman. Then you can look upon the
whole thing as Maya and it may not exist for you.
But I believe in Brahman siding against Brahman–that the
Brahman, I think, has been always doing.
The distinction between the Ishwar consciousness and
Brahmic consciousness is not clear to many people, and also
some of the Monists consider Ishwar to be a lower status
than Brahman because it is dissolved in the Pralaya.
But Krishna took side openly in Maha Bharata and Rama
also. Rama they do not consider an Avatar–He was weeping
because he was not self-conscious–why! An Avatar cannot
Sri Aurobindo had sent the message to the Congress
Disciple: There are some people who even try to maintain
that you knew fully that your message to the Congress would
fail and yet you sent it.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I knew that there was very little
chance of its success.
Disciple: But suppose you have known that it would
certainly fail–then in that case you might have spared the
trouble of going and coming to Duraiswamy.
Sri Aurobindo: No, even if I had known for a certainty
that it would fail still it had to be done–It is a question
of play of forces and the important thing is that the other
force should not be there.
We cannot explain these things to people–this play of
forces–who ask for rational explanation because it is so
OCTOBER 1943 From notes
4th October 1943
1. C. Rajagopalachari in the Puja issue of the ‘Amrat
Bazar’ has pleaded for the reconstruction and revival of the
Cripp’s proposal!! Sri Aurobindo found it ‘late’ but C. R.
had got back his clarity of mind. As to the actual revival
when Wavell comes the difficulties are 1. I. C. S. and
Congress on two sides and 2. Jhinna on the third.
2. Anil Baran’s article about Bengal flood situation
created a great stir in the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo’s plea was
for organization by the people. Mere Government regulation
or work would not do. The ministry is people’s and so their
dishonesty, want of public spirit and want of tradition of
honest public work is our fault.
Even if the people had rioted at some places, Government
would be compelled to act, etc. 320
3. Jivatman descends here–not geographically. It is a
way of saying that ‘it takes up the consciousness’ and
‘organizes the nature’ etc.
‘Who gets Nirvana or who passes away into the Absolute’?
‘The Jivatman. It is the Jivatman.’
Article by K. C. Vardachari. Answer to Malkani. By ‘Chit’
in Ramanuja is it meant the surface consciousness?
The Narayan is indissolubly connected with manifestation.
You can’t know him even if he has an existence independent
of his manifestation.
Sri Aurobindo: I would agree with him by saying that the
Absolute is not knowable by the mind. But it is knowable to
itself. It has self-illumination (‘Swayam-Prakasha’).
4. On the 3rd October Sri Aurobindo said: It seems in
this war the human element is in the background–the whole
thing is so much dominated by the machine. It may be
illusion. But the men of the past looked so much higher in
comparison with the leaders of the present crisis. Even look
at the generals. Napoleon and his generals you find the
human character there dominating. The leaders do not come
off so high. Whether the machine can be used to help men to
good? It can help to make life more comfortable, it can add
to the convenience etc. but how can it aid men in spiritual
or inner progress?
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