Sir Aurobindo – 1907
EVENING TALKS with SRI
Recorded by A. B. PURANI
Disciple: You told me Dr. R. uses
mental intuition. So there may be various levels of
Sri Aurobindo: By mental intuition I
mean the Intuition which comes from Above. Don’t get mixed
in the mind. I don’t say that mental intuition is not
correct but it is always limited because of the mixture.
There is also the vital influence which very often becomes
mixed up with one’s desires.
Disciple: How to get the intuition?
By calmness of mind?
Sri Aurobindo: Calmness is not
enough. Mind must be silent.
Disciple: It will then take a long
Sri Aurobindo: Can’t say. Can take a
short time, or a long time.
Disciple: But it won’t be possible
to keep the silence until one has realized the spirit. Sri
Aurobindo: One can train one’s mind to be silent.
(Dr. X took his leave and as Mother
lapsed into meditation we all tried to do the same. Then
Mother had departed by 7 P.M., we
rallied around Sri Aurobindo. He looked once or twice at
Disciple: M. is beaming
Disciple: That must be Kundalini
Disciple: I don’t believe it. Is
this vibration the Higher Force, Sir?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It was trying to
cure your lumbago, perhaps, and the first sign was a little
aggravation (we all laughed). You don’t believe in
Disciple: No, Sir.
Sri Aurobindo: But you were telling
about your “ascent and descent” experience.
Disciple: Is that Kundalini? I did
not know it (laughter). But Kundalini is not the line of our
yoga and you have not mentioned about it any
Disciple: Oh yes, he has in the
“Lights on Yoga”.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Kundalini is, of
course, the Tantrik idea: The Shakti lying coiled in
Muladhara awakes, rises up and carries the consciousness
upward opening all the chakras up to Brahmarandhra and then
meets the Brahman, and then the descent begins. The Tantrik
process is more technical.
It is curious to see the action of
the Force in some cases. Some feel as if a drilling were
being done in the brain. Some people can’t keep the Force
in. They sway from side to side, make peculiar sounds. I
remember one practicing Pranayama rigourously and making
horrible sound. I did not hear of his getting any good
results. Sometimes the Force raises up what lies below–in
the lower nature–in order to be able to deal with
18th December 1938 (4-30 P.
Disciple: It is surprising that
Swami Nikhilananda should write about you. (There was an
article in the Hindu by Swami Nikhilananda)
Sri Aurobindo: It is Nishha (Miss
Wilson) who arranged for its publication through him, her
friend, before she came here. (After some silence) It is
peculiar how they give an American turn to everything (Ref.
to the article)
Disciple: How is that the Americans
seem to be more open?
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, because they are
a new nation and have no past tradition to bind them. France
oslovakia also are open. Many are
writing from there to do yoga. Disciple: Nisha was in
communication with you for some time?
Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes, for three or
four years she has been in touch with us. She has very clear
ideas about Yoga and is practicing it there. (At this point
X. arrived and remarked that she must be very disappointed
because there was no Darshan this time.)
Sri Aurobindo: No. She has taken it
in the right yogic attitude, unlike others.
Then X. went on asking how is it
that there are no Maharashtrian Sadhaks here in spite of Sri
Aurobindo’s being in contact with Tilak and remaining a long
time in Baroda.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes; it is strange.
They are more vital in their nature. The Bengali, Gujarati
and Tamil people are more in numbers. It is now spreading in
other parts C. P. Punjab, Behar.
(The talk then passed on to
Disciple: I hope we shall live to
see the glorious day of the Supermind. When will it descend,
Sri Aurobindo (remained silent to
this question and said): How can it descend? The nearer it
comes the greater becomes the resistance to it!
Disciple: On the contrary the law of
gravitation should pull it down.
Sri Aurobindo: That theory does not
apply to it for it has levitation tendency and if it comes
down in spite of that it does so against tremendous
Disciple: Have you realized
Sri Aurobindo: You know I was
talking about the tail of the Supermind to Y. I know what it
is, I had flashes and glimpses of it. I have been trying to
Supramentalize the Overmind. Not that the Supermind is not
acting. It is doing so through Overmind and Intuition and
the intermediate powers have come down. Supermind is above
the Overmind (He showed it by placing one palm above
other) so that one may mistake one
for the other. I remember the day when people here claimed
to have got it. I myself had made mistakes about it in the
beginning, and I did not know about the many planes. It was
Vivekananda who used to come to me in Alipore Jail and
showed to me Intuitive plane and for about two to three
weeks or so gave me training as regards Intuition. Then
afterwards I began to see still higher planes. I am not
satisfied with only a part, or a flash of Supermind but I
want to bring down the whole mass of the Supermind pure, and
that is an extremely difficult business.
Disciple: We hear that there will be
a selected number of people who will first receive the
Sri Aurobindo (made a peculiar
expression with his eyes and asked): Selected by whom?
Disciple: By the Supermind, Sir?
Sri Aurobindo (Laughingly): Oh, that
is for the Supermind to decide. Whatever is the Truth will
be done by it, for Supermind is Truth-Consciousness and
things are established in the course by it so that your
complaint about the disappearance of calm etc. will
disappear, for they will be established by the
Disciple: Will the descent of
Supermind make things easier for us?
Sri Aurobindo: It will do so to
those who receive the Supermind, who are open to it; for
example, if there are thirty or forty people ready it could
Disciple: You said that in 1934
Supermind was ready to descend but not a single Sadhak was
found prepared. So it withdrew. But you told me once that
the descent of Supermind does not depend on readiness of
Sri Aurobindo: If none is ready to
receive how will the Supermind manifest itself? But instead
of thinking of Supermind one has first to open oneself to
(At this time Mother came and asked
what were we talking.)
Sri Aurobindo: About intuition etc.
(Then as Mother lapsed into meditation we all joined. Mother
departed for meditation at about 7 P. M.)
Sri Aurobindo: “Does any one know
about S.? I am curious to know how his blood came out drop
by drop from the body. He seems to have Elizabethan turn of
expression”. Then the topic turned to the question of fear
of death with S. and N’s example. How they cover their body
for fear of catching cold etc.
Sri Aurobindo told a story that at
Cambridge they were discussing about physical development.
Then one fellow in order to show his own courage began
taking out his genji one after another and they found that
there were about 10 or 12 on his body!!
Disciple: There are people who think
that as soon as they have entered the Ashram they have
become immortal! We must develop our consciousness in order
to conquer death, is it not?
Sri Aurobindo: People think so,
because for a long time no death took place in the Ashram.
Those who died were either visitors or who had gone back
from here. In the beginning people had strong faith but as
the number increased, the faith began to diminish. But why
one should fear death?
Besides fear has no place in yoga.
The soul is immortal and the body passes. The soul goes from
one life to another.
Disciple: We fear because of our
Sri Aurobindo: One must have no
attachments in yoga. Disciple: How to conquer
Sri Aurobindo: By mental strength,
will and spiritual power. In my own case, whenever there was
any fear I used to do the very things that I was afraid of
even if it entailed a violent death. Barin also had much
fear while he was in the terrorist activity. But he would
compel himself to do those things. When death sentence was
passed on him he took it very cheerfully. Henry IV, King of
France, had a great physical fear but by his mental will he
would compel himself to rush into thick of the battle and
was known as a great warrior. Napoleon and Caesar had no
fear. Once when Caesar was fighting the forces of Pompeii in
Albania, Caesar’s army was faring badly. Caesar was at that
time in Italy. He jumped into the sea, took a fisherman’s
boat and asked him to carry him there. On the way a storm
rose and the fisherman was mortally afraid. The Caesar said
“Why do you fear? You are carrying the fortunes of
I remember one Sadhaka under an
attack of hiccoup saying “If it goes on I will die.” I told
him “What does it matter if you die?” and the hiccoup
stopped! Very often, these fears and suggestions bring in
the adverse forces which then catch hold of the subject. By
my blunt statement the Sadhaka realized his folly and did
not, perhaps, allow any more suggestions.
Disciple: Is Barin still doing
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know, he used
to do some sort of yoga even before I began. My yoga he took
up only after coming to Pondicherry. In the Andamans also
was practicing it. You know he was
Lele’s disciple. Once he took Lele to Calcutta among the
young people of the secret society. Lele did not know that
they were revolutionaries. One day Barin took him into a
garden where they were practicing shooting. As soon as Lele
saw it he understood the nature of the movement and asked
Barin to give it up. If Barin did not listen to him, Lele
said, he would fall into a ditch and he did fall.
Disciple: Barin, I heard, had a lot
Sri Aurobindo: They were mere mental
and he gathered some knowledge, much information or
understanding out of them. I heard that when he had begun
yoga he had an experience of Kamananda. Lele was surprised
to hear about it. For he said that experience comes usually
at the end. It is a descent like any other experience but
unless one’s sex centre is sufficiently controlled
may produce bad results etc.
emission and other disturbances.
Disciple: Yes. He had
Sri Aurobindo: But he was always
narrow and limited. He would not widen himself,
(SriAurobindo showed it by the movement of hands above the
head) that is why his things won’t last.
e.g. he was brilliant writer and he
also wrote devotional poetry. But nothing that will last
because of this limitation. He was an amazing amateur in
many things e.g. music, revolutionary activity. He was also
a painter, though it did not come to much in spite of his
exhibitions. He did well in all these but nothing
Disciple: Barin in his paper “Dawn”
began to write your biography.
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t know that.
Did he publish a paper?
I would have been interested to see
what he writes about me.
Disciple: It ceased after a short
Disciple: You wrote back exclaiming
great surprise that what everyone knows I do not
Sri Aurobindo: In fact it is not
true. That is, what it is. Barin does not give the true
state of things. I was neither the founder nor the leader.
It was P. Mittra and Miss Ghosal that started it at the
inspiration of Baron Okakura. They had already started and
when I visited Bengal I cam to know about it. I simply kept
myself informed of their work. My idea was an open armed
revolution in the whole of India. What they did at that time
was very childish. e.g. beating magistrates and so on. Later
it turned into terrorism and dacoities etc. which were not
at all my idea or intention. Bengal is too emotional, wants
quick results, can’t prepare through a long course of years.
We wanted to give battle through creating a spirit in the
race through guerrilla warfare. But at the present stage of
warfare such things are impossible and bound to
Disciple: Then why did you not check
Sri Aurobindo: It is not good to
check such things that press for strong expression, when
they have taken a strong step, for, something good may come
out of it.
Disciple: You did not appear in the
riding test in your I. C. S.? Sri Aurobindo: No, they gave
me another chance. But
again I did not appear and finally
they rejected me.
Disciple: But why then did you
appear in the I.C.S.? Was it by some intuition that you did
not come for the riding test?
Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. I knew
nothing of yoga at that time. I appeared for I.C.S. because
my father wanted it and I was too young to understand. Later
I found out what sort of work it is and I had disgust for
administrative life and I had no interest in administrative
work. My interest was in poetry and literature and study of
languages and patriotic action.
Disciple: We heard that you and C.R.
Das used to make plans of revolution in India while in
Sri Aurobindo: Not only C.R. Das but
many others. Deshpande was one.
Disciple: You used to write very
strong memoranda for the Gaikewad; you once asked him to go
and give it to the Resident personally.
Sri Aurobindo: That is legend. I
could not have said so. Of course, I wrote many memoranda
for the Maharajah. Generally he used to indicate the lines
and I used to follow them. But I myself was not much
interested in administration. My interest lay outside in
Sanskrit, literature, in the national movement. When I came
to Baroda from England I found out what the Congress was at
that time and formed a contempt for it. Then I came in touch
with Deshpande, Tilak, Madhav Rao etc. There I strongly
criticized the Congress for its moderate policy. The
articles were so furious that M.G. Ranade, the great
Maharashtra leader, asked the proprietor of the paper
(through Deshpande) not to allow such seditious things to
appear in the paper, otherwise he might be arrested and
imprisoned. Deshpande approached me with
the news and requested me to write
something less violent. I then began to write about
philosophy of politics, leaving aside the practical part of
politics. But I soon got disgusted with it.
Along with Tilak, Madhav Rao,
Deshmukh and Joshi who became a moderate later, we were
planning to work on more extreme lines than the Congress. We
brought Jatin Banerji from Bengal and put him in the Baroda
army. Our idea was to drive moderates from the Congress and
As soon as I heard that National
College had been started in Bengal, I found my opportunity,
threw off the Baroda job and went to Calcutta as the
Principal. There I came in contact with B. Pal who was
editing the “Bande mataram.” But its financial condition was
precarious and when B. Pal was going on a tour he asked me
to take up the paper. I asked Subodh Mullick and others to
finance the paper and went on editing it.
Then some people wanted to oust
Bipin Chandra Pal from the Bande Matram and they connected
my name also with it. I called the sub-editor and gave him a
severe thrashing, of course metaphorically. But the mischief
was done. Bipin Pal was a great orator, and at that time his
speeches were highly inspired, a sort of a descent. Later on
his power of oration also got diminished. I remember he
never used the word independence but always said “Autonomy
without British control.” Later on when after Barisal
Conference we brought in the peasants in the movement, forty
to fifty thousand of them used to gather to hear Pal; Suren
Banerjee can not stand comparison with Pal. He has never
done anything like it. But he also lost his power later on.
He was more an orator. He had not the qualities of a leader.
Then Shyamsundar and some other people
came in. It soon drew the attention
of large number of people and became an All-India paper. One
day I called the Bengal leaders and said, “It is no use
simply going on like this. We must capture the Congress and
throw out these moderate leaders from it.” Then we decided
to follow Tilak as the All-India leader.
They at once jumped at the idea.
Tilak who was not well known in the Northern parts was
for leadership. He was a real great
man who was disinterested and a rare great man. Disciple:
What do you think of his Gita? Was it inspired?
Sri Aurobindo: I must say I have not
Disciple: You have reviewed
Sri Aurobindo: Then I have reviewed
it without having read it (loud laughter). Of course I might
have glanced through it and I don’t think it is inspired. It
is more a mental interpretation and he had a brilliant
Disciple: When some one asked Tilak
what he would do when India got Swaraj, he said he would
again become a professor of Mathematics.
Disciple: What about A. B. Patrika?
It was also an extremist paper.
Sri Aurobindo: Never, it was
impossible for A. B. Patrika to write openly like the “Bande
Mataram” and Jugantar about independence, guerrilla warfare,
day after day in a paper. It wanted safety first. At that
time three papers were running in Bengal 1. “Jugantar” 2.
Bande Mataram 3. And Sandhya. Brahma Bandhava. Upadhyaya
editor of Sandhya was another great man. He used to write so
cleverly the Government could not charge him; and our
financial condition was so bad and yet we carried on for
five to six years.
Disciple: But did the Government not
try to arrest you? 39
Sri Aurobindo: It could not. There
was no such law and the press had more liberty. Besides
there was nothing in the papers that could be directly
charged against–so cleverly were they written. “Statesman”
used to complain that the paper Bande Mataram was full of
seditious matter from end to end. But yet so cleverly was it
written that one could not arrest the editor. Moreover the
name of editor was never published. So they could arrest
only the printer. But when one was arrested another came to
take his place. Later on Upen Banerjee, Sub-editor,
published some correspondence for which I was arrested on
sedition charge, but as nothing could be proved I was
acquitted. But in my absence as they were disastrously up
against finance they wrote something very strong and the
paper was suppressed. After another arrest I published the
“Karmayogin”. There I wrote an article “Open letter to my
countrymen.” for which the Government wanted to prosecute
me. While the prosecution was pending I went secretly to
Chandranagore and there some friends were thinking of
sending me to France. I was thinking want to do next. There
I heard the Adesh to go to Pondicherry.
Disciple: Why to
Sri Aurobindo: I could not question.
It was Sri Krishna’s Adesh. I had to obey. Later on I found
it was for the Ashram and for the Work.
I had to apply for a pass-port under
a false name. The Ship Company required Medical Certificate
by an English Doctor. After a great deal of trouble I found
out one and went to his house. He told me that I could speak
English remarkably well. I replied that I had been to
Disciple: You took the certificate
under a false name. (I was a little surprised to hear he
disguised under a false name. So the
Sri Aurobindo: Of course. If I had
given my name, I would have been at once arrested. With due
respect to Gandhi’s truth I could not be exactly precise
about my name, otherwise you can’t be a
Accompanied by Bijoy and preceded by
Moni and followed by my brother-in-law I arrived in
Pondicherry but had to assume false names for some
22nd December 1938.
(All of us assembled in hope of
hearing something from Sri Aurobindo. I was actually praying
for it. But he did not seem to be in a talking mood. So we
were forced to keep quiet at the same time thinking how to
draw him into conversation and by what question. Suddenly we
find X. beaming with a smile and looking at Sri Aurobindo.
Then he takes a few more moves nearer to Sri Aurobindo and
we automatically follow him, he still nears and then he
bursts out with a question: “To attain right attitude what
principles should we follow in our dealing and behaviour
Sri Aurobindo could not quite catch
the question so it was repeated and he replied: It seems to
me the other way about. If we have the right attitude other
things come by themselves. Right attitude is necessary; what
is important is the inner attitude. Spiritual and ethical
principles are quite different, for every thing depends on
whether it is done for the sake of the Spirit or ethical
One may observe mental control in
dealings etc. but the inner state may be quite different
e.g. he may not show anger, may be humble externally, but
internally he may be proud and full of anger. For
example A. when he came here he was
full of humility outside. It is the psychic control that is
required and when that is there right attitude follows in
one’s external behaviour. Conduct must flow from within
outwards and the more one opens to the psychic influence the
more it gains over the outer nature. Mental control may or
may not lead to the spiritual. In people of a certain type
it may be the first step towards psychic control.
Disciple: How to get psychic
Sri Aurobindo: By constant
remembrance, consecration of ourselves to the Divine,
rejection of all that stands in the way of the psychic
influence. Generally, it is the vital that stands in the way
with its desires and demands. And once the psychic opens it
shows at every step what is to be done. (At the later stage
of the conversation Mother came and soon after we all lapsed
into meditation with the Mother.
After her departure at about 7 P.M.
Sri Aurobindo asked X. “What is the idea behind your
question? Something personal or a general
Disciple: I meant, for instance, how
to see good in every body, how to love all and have
Sri Aurobindo: One has to start with
the idea of good-will for all; to consecrate oneself to the
Divine, try to see God in others, have a psychic good-will
and in oneself reject all vital and mental impulses, and on
that basis proceed towards the realization. The idea must
pass into experience. Even then, it is easy in static
aspect, but when it comes to the dynamic experience it
becomes difficult. For example, when one finds a man
behaving like a brute it is very difficult to see God in him
unless one separates him from outer nature and sees the
One can repeat the name of the
Divine and come to divine consciousness. Disciple: How does
name do it?
Sri Aurobindo: Name has a power like
Mantra. Everything in the world is power. There are others
who do Pranayama along with the name. After a time the
repetition behind the Pranayama becomes automatic and one
feels Divine presence etc. Here people once began to feel
tremendous force in their work. They would work without
fatigue for hours and hours, but they began to overdo it.
One has to be reasonable even in spirituality. That was when
the Sadhana was in the vital. But when it began in the
physical then things were different. Physical is like a
stone, full of inertia and resistance.
Disciple: Sometimes one feels a sort
of love for everybody, though the feeling lasts for a second
it gives a great joy.
Sri Aurobindo: That is the wave from
the psychic. But what is your attitude towards it? Do you
take it as a passing mood or does it stimulate you to
further experience of that sort?
Disciple: It stimulates but
sometimes vital mixture tries to come in. Fortunately I
could drive it out.
Sri Aurobindo: That is the risk. The
fact that mixture tried to come in means that the wave came
through the inner vital and thus took something from the
vital. One has to be very careful in order to avoid these
sex impurities. In spite of his occasional outburst of
violence X was a very nice and affectionate man; but he used
to get these things mixed up with sex-impulse and the
experience was spoiled. This happens because sometimes one
gives a semi-justification to sex-impulse. But sex is
absolutely out of place in Yoga. In ordinary life it has a
certain place for a certain purpose. Of course, if
adopt the Sahaja Marga, it is
While in jail I know of a man who
had a power of concentration trying to make everyone love
him and he succeeded. The warder and all the people around
him were drawn towards him.
Disciple: That is what we don’t know
Sri Aurobindo: The mind must be made
quiet and the consciousness turned-not mentally-towards the
aim. It no doubt takes time but that is the way. There are
no devices for these things.
Disciple: What difference is there
between modification of nature and its
Sri Aurobindo: Transformation is the
casting of the whole nature in the mould of realization.
What you realize you project out in your nature. Christian
Saints speak of the presence in the heart. That presence can
change the nature.
I speak of three transformations: 1.
Psychic, 2. Spiritual and 3. Supramental. Psychic
transformation many had; spiritual is the realization of the
Self, the Infinite above, with its dynamic side of peace,
knowledge, ananda etc. That transformation is spiritual
transformation and above that is the Supramental
transformation. It is Truth-consciousness working for a
Divine aim or purpose.
Disciple: If one has inner
realization does transformation follow in the light of the
Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily.
There may be some modification in the nature-part but the
transformation is not automatic. It is not so easy as all
that. My experience of peace and calm in the first contact
with Lele has never left me, but in my outer nature there
were many agitations and every time I had to make an effort
to establish peace. From that time onwards the
whole object of my yoga was to
change nature into the mould of the inner realization. I had
to try to change or transform these by the influence of my
Disciple: Even then a man with inner
realization,–I don’t mean experience–won’t have grave
difficulties such as sex in his nature.
Sri Aurobindo: Why not? There can be
anger, like Durvasa’s or sex. You have not heard of the fall
of Rishis through anger or through sex? The Yogis pass
beyond the stage of good and evil. Ordinary questions of
morality don’t arise in them. They look upon outer nature as
a child behaving according to its wants. I think X’s fall
came in that way. He had gone into the higher mind, I do not
know, if not even to the overmind state; he used to be
guided by an inner voice which he accepted as the voice of
the Divine and did everything in the light of that voice.
When people were asking him about his conduct I am told he
replied that it was by the voice of God and that every
Siddha had done that. You have heard of Agymananda Swami who
went to London? He was arrested in England for making love
Disciple: Would not the inner
realization stop because of these outer
Sri Aurobindo: It depends on how far
one has gone in the path in spiritual realization. There are
any number of passages, crossways and paths; one may be at
liberty to whatever yoga one likes. But in our yoga we
insist on the transformation of outer nature as well. And
when I say something is necessary in yoga, it means in “our
yoga”; it does not apply to yoga with other aims.
(There was lull for some time after
Then Sri Aurobindo asked: Do you
anything about M.?
Disciple: My impression was not
favourable. I was not personally attracted by
Sri Aurobindo: When I saw his photo
I had an impression that he is a man with strong vital
When I saw that he was advertising
about himself as Messiah I began to doubt his genuineness.
His sadhana seems to be in the vital and it is in these
cases that the power descends and unfortunately people are
attracted by these powers. In the spiritual and the psychics
even in mental sadhana, power can come, but it comes
automatically without one asking for it.
Y. was another M. with a powerful
vital being. At one time I had strong hopes about him. But
people whose sadhana is on a vital basis pass into what I
have called the Intermediate Zone and hardly go beyond the
vital. It is like a jungle and it is comparatively much easy
with those people who are weak and have no such power. He
used to think that he had put himself in the Divine’s hand
and the Divine is in him. We had to be severe with him to
disillusion him of his idea. That is why he could not remain
here. He went back and became a guru with about thirty or
forty disciples around him. Gurugiri (Master-ship) comes
very often to these people. He did all that in my name which
I heartily disliked. Unfortunately his mind was not equally
powerfully developed as his vital. He had the fighter’s mind
not the thinker’s. We often put a strong force on him and as
a result he used to become very lucid for a time and he
could see his wrongs. But immediately his vital rushed back
and took control of his mind, it all used to be wiped out.
If his mind had been as developed perhaps he would have been
able to retain the clarity. The intellect helps one
separate oneself from the vital and
look at it dispassionately. The mind also can deceive but
not so much. M. is another of this type.
Disciple: Why did he go away from
Sri Aurobindo: Because he wanted to
be an Avatar and because he could not get rid of the
attachment to his work. He is very unscrupulous.
Disciple: Has he some
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But not an
occult power like the others. Before that he was quite an
ordinary man with some possibilities. When I came out of the
jail, you know, I was staying in his house and I was full of
certain force. He got a share of it.
Sri Aurobindo: He was doing some
kind of yoga. I gave him some instructions. From them he got
Disciple: Was he working on your
Sri Aurobindo: When I was leaving
Bengal I thought it might be possible to work through him on
condition that he remained faithful to me. That he could
never be. His own self came to the front though the original
push was from me, now it is not my force that is working
there. These things become easily
Disciple: In his “Jivan Sangini” he
makes a lot of fuss over his wife.
Sri Aurobindo: She struck me as a
common-place woman though a good woman. She was a better
woman than he as a man. I saw her only once by chance as she
was not used to come out before people.
Disciple: He had developed a
powerful Bengali style.
Sri Aurobindo: Is that so? He was
once Translating the Veda in Bengali.
Disciple: His Bengali, you know, was
like Christian Missionary’s Bengali. You know what it is
23rd December 1938
We have assembled as usual, and are
eager to resume the talk. But nobody could begin without
some hint or gesture from Sri Aurobindo. He was lying calmly
in his bed.
A disciple made an approach to Sri
Aurobindo half-hesitatingly. This made another disciple roar
with laughter (Sri Aurobindo heard the laughter)
Disciple: X. is roaring with
Sri Aurobindo: Descent of
This primary breaking of the ice
made the atmosphere a little encouraging So, X catching the
chance shot the following question with a beaming
Disciple: Because the hostile forces
offer resistance to the Divine manifestation in the world
and some of them become sometimes victorious (at least for
the time being) can one logically say that the Divine lacks
Omnipotence? It is not my question but somebody
Sri Aurobindo: (turning his head to
him) It depends on what you mean by Omnipotence. If the idea
is that God must always succeed then we must conclude that
he is not Omnipotent. Do you mean to say that he must always
succeed against the resistance and then only he may be
called Omnipotent? People have very queer ideas of
Omnipotence. Resistance is the law of evolution. Resistance
comes from ignorance and ignorance is a part of
inconscience: the whole thing starts from
ignorance that is inconscience. At
the very beginning when the opposition between ignorance and
knowledge was created, there was the very denial of the
Divine. It is his Lila that the manifestation shall proceed
through resistance and struggle: what kind of Lila, or play,
it is in which side goes on winning? Divine Omnipotence
generally works through the universal law. There are forces
of Light and forces of Darkness. To say that the forces of
Light shall always succeed is the same as saying that truth
and good shall always succeed, though there is no such thing
as unmixed truth and unmixed good. Divine Omnipotence
intervenes only at critical or decisive moments.
Every time the Light has tried to
descend it has met with resistance and opposition. Christ
was crucified. You may say, “Why should it be like that when
he was innocent?” and yet that was the Divine dispensation.
Buddha was denied; sons of Light come, the earth denies
them, rejects them in substance. Only a small minority grows
towards a spiritual birth. It is through them the Divine
manifestation takes place. What remains of Buddhism today
except a few decrees of Asoka and a few hundred thousand
Disciple: Asoka helped in
Sri Aurobindo: Anybody could have
Disciple: But it is through his aid
that it became all-powerful.
Sri Aurobindo: If kings and emperors
had left Buddhism to those people who were really spiritual
it would have been much better for real Buddhism. It was
after Constantine embraced Christianity that it began to
decline. The king of Norway, on whom Longfellow wrote a
poem, killed all people who were not Christians
and thus succeeded in establishing
Christianity! The same happened to Mohammedanism. When it
succeeded the followers of the Prophet became Khalifas, then
the religion declined. It is not kings and emperors that
keep alive spirituality but people who are really spiritual
that do so.
Disciple: Asoka sacrificed
everything for Buddhism.
Sri Aurobindo: But he remained
emperor till the end. When kings and emperors try to spread
religion they become like Asoka i.e. make whole thing
mechanical and the inner truth is lost.
Disciple: Raman Maharshi was known
to no one. It was Brunton who made him widely
Sri Aurobindo: It is a strange
measure of success, people adopt in judging people by the
number of disciples. Who was great–Raman Maharshi who did
his Sadhana in seclusion for years or Raman Maharshi
surrounded by all sorts of disciples? Success to be real
must be spiritual. At times, when some spiritual movement
begins to succeed then the real thing begins to be
The talk turned to
Sri Aurobindo: (related a story
here) Mrs. K. went to see Maharshi and was seen driving
mosquitoes at the time of meditation. She complained to him
about mosquito bites. The Maharshi told her that if she
couldn’t bear mosquito bites she couldn’t do yoga. Mrs. K.
could not understand the significance of the statement. She
wanted spirituality without mosquitoes!
There are reports that those who
stay there permanently are not all in agreement with each
Do you know that famous story about
Maharshi “when being disgusted with the Ashram and the
disciples,” he was going away into the mountain. He was
passing through a narrow path flanked by the hills. He came
upon an old woman sitting with her legs across the path.
Maharshi begged her to draw her legs but she would not. Then
Maharshi in anger passed across her. She then became very
angry and said “Why are you so restless? Why can’t you sit
in one place at Arunachala instead of moving about, go back
to your place and worship Shiva there?” Her remarks struck
him and he retraced his steps. After going some distance he
looked back and found that there was nobody. Suddenly it
struck him that it was the Divine Mother herself who wanted
him to remain at Arunachala.
Of course it was the Divine Mother
who asked him to go back. Maharshi was intended to lead this
sort of life. He has nothing to do with what happens around
him. He remains calm and detached. The man is what he was.
By the way, I am glad to hear Maharshi shouting with the
Indian Christian (we all laughed with him); it means he also
can become dynamic. The only Ashram in which
was great unity, I heard, was Thakur
Dayanand’s. There was a strong sense of unity among them. I
wrote an article on the “Avatar” in Karmayogin. Mahendra
Dey, Dayanand’s disciple, seeing the article wrote to me “he
Avatar”. He was very enthusiastic
about it. And when there was police firing and arrests,
Mahendra Dey after his imprisonment became changed and said
that he was hypnotized by Dayananda.
Disciple: Why are the Gurus obliged
to work with imperfect and defective people like us? Here
the difficulty seems to be more keen.
Sri Aurobindo: That has been a
puzzle to me also. But it is so. Our case is a little
different. Our aim is to change the world, not universally,
of course. Hence every one here represents human nature with
all its difficulties and capacities. That’s how your
difficulties are explained, (He said looking at
26th December 1938.
Four disciples were seated on the
carpet talking in low whispers at about 5. 30 P. M. One of
the group broke into suppressed laughter in course of
At 6. 30 P. M. we all assembled by
the side of Sri Aurobindo, He looked round and referring to
the laughter asked: “What was the divine descent
Disciple: X. had his usual outburst
Sri Aurobindo: Oh, it was the
descent of Vishnu’s ananda.
Disciple: It is very peculiar how I
break out into uncontrolled laughter so easily. Formerly, I
used to weep at the slightest provocation. I think because I
live in the external consciousness only I laugh so easily.
Is it not?
Sri Aurobindo: It is the reaction of
the superficial vital which is touched easily by simple,
outward things; there is a child in nature that bursts out
like that. It is the same as the Balabhava–the child-like
nature. The deeper vital being does not get so easily
The topic was changed at this
Disciple: What is meant by
self-offering? How to do it?
Sri Aurobindo: How to do it! One
offers one’s vital, mind and heart, attachment, passions,
and grows into the Divine consciousness.
Disciple: What time is more
propitious for meditation,–day-time or night-time? I get
more concentrated at night.
Sri Aurobindo: It may be due to the
calm and quiet atmosphere and also because you are
accustomed to it. Nights and early mornings are supposed to
be the best for meditation.
We ask people to have a fixed time
for meditation, for, if they are habituated to it then the
response comes at that time due to Abhyas. Lele asked me to
meditate twice but when he came to Calcutta
he heard that I did not do it. He
did not give me time to explain that my meditation was going
on all the time. He simply said: “the devil has caught
Disciple: Sometimes meditation is
Sri Aurobindo: At that time you must
sit, otherwise you feel uneasy.
Disciple: The other day I was having
peace, and ananda, and I saw many visions. But I had to go
to sleep, for I thought, if I kept up at night I might fall
ill. I saw the flower signifying sincerity in my
Sri Aurobindo: Sincerity means to
lift all our movements towards the Divine. Disciple: That
fear of falling ill by keeping awake, is it not a mental
Sri Aurobindo: The thing is, the
physical being has got a limit. The vital being can feel the
energy, peace, etc. but
the physical cannot be taxed beyond
its capacity. That is what happened to many Sadhaks here.
They overworked till a reaction took place. The force comes
for your particular work, not to increase the work and keep
it for the other purposes. If you go on overdoing it then
the natural reaction will come. There is a certain amount of
reasonableness even in spirituality.
Disciple: At one time I also used to
feel a lot of energy while I was working with the Mother and
I was never fatigued even working day and night, only one or
two hours sleep was sufficient and I would feel as fresh as
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. That is because
you opened to the Energy. About sleep, even ten minutes of
sleep may be enough, but of course, it is not ordinary sleep
but going within. If you can draw the Force with equanimity
and conserve it, these things can be done. As I said many
Sadhaks felt that sort of thing when we were dealing with
the vital. But when the Sadhana came into the physical there
was not that push any more and people began to feel easily
fatigued, lazy, and unwilling to work. They began to
complain about ill-health due to overwork and were helped by
the doctor. Do you know the idea of “H?” He says people have
come here not for work but for meditation.
I dare say if we had not come down
into the physical and remained in the vital and mental like
other Yogis without trying to transform them then things
would have been different.
(At this hour Mother came in and we
meditated for sometime. After she went away, our talk was
resumed. Someone remarked N. had a good meditation. He did
not know that Mother has gone.)
Sri Aurobindo: Good
Disciple: How do you
Sri Aurobindo: By the inclination of
your head, perhaps.
Disciple: I can’t say; I was having
many incoherent dreams and visions–that is all I can say,
perhaps it was in the surface consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo: Surface consciousness
of the inner vital being. Such things are very common; of
course, when one goes still deeper one does not see them.
There is a point between the surface consciousness and the
deeper vital which is full of these fantasies and dreams.
They are apparently incoherent. In the physical a mouse
turning into an elephant may have no meaning but it is not
so in the vital. They have no coherence of the physical
plane but they have their own coherence of the
vital plane. But when one gets the
clue one finds that everything is a linked whole. That I
have seen many times in my own case. It is this world from
which Tagore’s painting came,–what Europeans call the
Disciple: Does Tagore see them
before drawing them?
Sri Aurobindo: I do not think so.
Some see them but do not draw them. But they come to him.
Anybody who has the least experience of these planes can at
once say from where they come.
Disciple: But how is it that people
think and he himself calls it great paintings?
Sri Aurobindo: Everybody calls it
“great and wonderful”, so he himself comes to think it so.
Then we began to talk about headache either due to physical
cause or resistance.
Disciple: I have seen many times my
headache start after Mother’s touch at Pranam.
Sri Aurobindo: That may be because
you passed from one state of consciousness to another.
Sri Aurobindo: Why not? When from a
state of concentration you mix yourself just after the
Pranam you can easily pass to another state. That is why
Mother advises people to remain calm and quiet for some time
after Pranam or meditation.
Disciple: I felt once as if the head
were suspended in the air and that parts of body did not
resist. Sri Aurobindo: That is separation of the mental
Disciple: Are you able to know what
experiences Sadhaks are having, especially if they are some
Sri Aurobindo: I don’t. But Mother
knows. Whenever it is a question of consciousness she can
see in the Sadhak whatever changes are taking place. When
she meditates (with the Sadhak) she can know what line he is
following, the line she indicates or the Sadhak’s own and
afterwards what changes have been brought in the
Disciple: And when the Sadhaka
experiences something, is it imparted to you?
Sri Aurobindo: What is the use of
giving our own things to them? Let them have their own
growth. I may put in a Force for people who are in habitual
bad condition, people who are always going in the wrong and
try to work it out so that the condition might improve. If
Sadhak co-operates then it is
comparatively easy. Otherwise, if the Sadhak is passive then
the result takes a long time, it comes, goes again, returns
like that and ultimately the Force prevails. In
case of people like “X.” we used to
put in a strong Force then he became lucid and then the
whole vital used to rush up and catch hold of him. Whereas
if the Sadhak actively participates then it takes only
one-tenth of the time.
27th December 1938.
Sri Aurobindo himself opened the
talk to-day by addressing X and said “I hear D. going about
in his car with a guard by his side, two cyclist policemen
in front and back.” Then the talk continued regarding
Pondicherry politics, most of talk being by us. Then Sri
Aurobindo remarked. “When I see Pondicherry and Calcutta
Corporation I begin to wonder why I was so eager for
democracy. Pondicherry and Calcutta Corporation are the two
object lessons which can take away all enthusiasm for
Disciple: Was the Calcutta
Corporation so bad before the Congress came
Sri Aurobindo: No. There was not so
much scope for it,–at least we did not know of such
scandals. It is the same thing with other municipal
Governments. In New York and Chicago the whole machinery is
corrupt. Sometimes the head of the institution is like that.
Sometimes a Mayor comes up with the intention of cleaning
out the whole, but one does not know after cleaning which
one was better. The Mayor of Chicago was a great criminal
but all judges and police-officers were under his pay. In
France also it is about the same thing. It
is not surprising that people got
disgusted with Democracy.
England is comparatively less
corrupt. The English are the only people who know how to
work the Parliamentary system. Parliamentary Government is
in their blood.
Disciple: It seems that our old
Indian system was the best for us. How could it succeed so
Sri Aurobindo: The old Indian system
grew out of life, it had room for everything and every
interest. There were monarchy, aristocracy, democracy. Every
interest was represented in the Government. While in Europe
the Western System grew out of the mind. They are led by
reason and want to make everything cut and dried without any
chance of freedom or variation. If it is democracy, then
democracy only. No room for anything else. They cannot be
India is now trying to imitate the
West. Parliamentary Government is not suited to India. But
we always take up what the west has thrown off. Sir Akabar
wanted to try a new sort of Government with an impartial
authority at the head. There, in Hyderabad, the Hindu
majority complains that though Mohammedens are in minority
they occupy most of the offices in the state. By Sir
Akabar’s method almost every interest would have been
represented in the Government and automatically the Hindus
would have come in, but because of their cry of responsible
Government the scheme failed. They have a fixed idea in the
mind and want to fit everything to it. They can’t think for
themselves and so take up what the others are throwing
Disciple: What is your idea of an
ideal Government for India? It is possible in Hyderabad
which has a Nizam.
But how to do the same in an Indian
Sri Aurobindo: Sir Akabar’s is as
good as any. My idea is like what Tagore once wrote. There
may be one Rashtrapati at the top with considerable powers
so as to secure a continuity of policy and an Assembly
representative of the nation. The provinces will contribute
to a Federation, united at the top, leaving ample scope to
local bodies to make laws according to their local problems.
Mussolini started with a fundamental of the Indian System
but afterwards began bullying and bluffing other nations for
the sake of imperialism. If he had persisted in his original
idea, he would have been a great creator.
Disciple: Dr. Bhagwandas suggested
that there should be legislators above the age of 40,
completely disinterested like the Rishis.
Sri Aurobindo: A chamber of Rishis!
That would not be very promising. They will at once begin to
quarrel. As they say; Rishis in ancient times could guide
kings because they were distributed over various
Disciple: His idea is of gathering
all great men together.
Sri Aurobindo: And let them quarrel
like Kilkeni cats. I suppose. (said laughing).
The Congress at the present
stage–what is it but a Fascist organization? Gandhi is the
dictator like Stalin, I wan’t say like Hitler. What Gandhi
says they accept and even Working Committee follows him.
Then it goes to A. I. C. C. which adopts it and then the
Congress. There is no opportunity for any difference of
opinion except for Socialists who are allowed to differ.
Whatever resolutions they pass are obligatory on all
provinces whether the resolutions
suit the provinces or not. There is no room for any other
independent opinion. Every thing is fixed up before and the
people are only allowed to talk over it like Stalin’s
Parliament. When we started the movement we began with the
idea of throwing out the Congress oligarchy and open the
whole organization to the general mass.
Disciple: Srinivas Ayyanger retired
from Congress because of his difference with Gandhi. He
objected to Gandhi’s giving the movement a religious turn
and bringing in religion in Politics.
Sri Aurobindo: He made Charka a
religious article of faith and excluded all people from
Congress Membership who could not spin. How many believe in
his gospel of Charka? Such a tremendous waste of energy,
just for the sake of a few annas is most
Disciple: He made that rule perhaps
to enforce discipline?
Sri Aurobindo: Discipline is all
right but once you centralize you go on
Disciple: It failed in agricultural
provinces and seems to have succeeded in other places
especially where people had no occupation.
Disciple: In Bengal it did not
Sri Aurobindo: In Bengal it did not.
It may be all right as a famine-relief measure. But when it
takes the form of an All-India programme it looks absurd. If
you form a programme that is suited to the condition of the
agricultural people it sounds something reasonable. Give
them education, technical training and give them
(Fundamentals or Principles of) organization not on
on business lines. But Gandhi does
not want any
such industrial organization and so
comes in with his magical formula “spin, spin, spin.” C. R.
Das and others could act as a balance against him. It is all
Denmark and Ireland organized in the
same way. Only now they are going to suffer because other
nations are trying to be self-sufficient. I don’t believe in
that sort of self-sufficiency. For that is against the
principles of life. It is not possible for nations to be
self-sufficient like that.
Disciple: What do you think of Hindi
being the common language? It seems to me English has
occupied so much place that it will be unwise and difficult
to replace it.
Sri Aurobindo: English will be all
right and even necessary if India is to be on an
international state. In that case English has to be the
medium of expression, especially as English is now replacing
French as a world-language. But the national spirit won’t
allow it and also it s a foreign language. At the same time
Hindi can’t replace English in the universities nor the
provincial languages. When the national spirit grows it is
difficult to say what will happen. In Ireland before the
revolution they wanted to abolish English and adopt Gaelic
but as time went on and things settled themselves their
enthusiasm waned and English came back.
Disciple: I do not understand why
the Jews are being so much persecuted by Hitler. Disciple: I
understand that the Jews betrayed Germany during the
Sri Aurobindo: Nonsense, on the
other hand they helped Germany a great deal. It is because
they are a clever
race that others are jealous of
them, for anything that is wrong you point to the Jews! It
is so much more easy than finding the real cause, or because
people want something to strike and so the popular cry, “The
Jews the Jews”. You remember I told you about the prophecy
regarding the Jews that when they will be persecuted and
driven to Jerusalem that the Golden age shall
It is the Jews that have built
Germany’s Commercial fleet and her navy. The contribution of
Jews towards the world’s progress in every branch is
But this sort of dislike exists
among other nations also e.g. the English do not like the
Scots, because the Scottish have beaten the English in
commercial affairs. There was a famous story in the Punch:
two people asking themselves. “Bill, who is that man?”, and
Bill answered, “Let us strike at him, he is a
And then in Bengal the West Bengal
people used to call East Bengal people “Bangale” and
composed a satire “Bangale Manush nohe oe ekta jantu” At one
time I used to wear socks at all times of the year. The West
Bengalis used to sneer at that saying, “I am a Bangale”;
they thought that they were the most civilized people on
earth. It is a legacy from the animal world. Just as dogs of
one street do not like dogs of another.
Disciple: But things will improve, I
Sri Aurobindo: If this goes, you may
be sure that the Golden Age is coming! All my opinions
of course on the basis of the
present conditions. But the things would be quite different
if the Supermind came down.
Disciple: You are tempting us too
much with your Supermind. But will it really benefit the
whole of mankind?
Sri Aurobindo: It will exert a
certain upward pull but in order that it may bring about a
considerable change, that it may be efficient, two hundred
Sadhaks of the Ashram can’t be enough. It must be thousands
whose influence can spread all over the world, who by actual
test can prove that it is something superior to the means
Disciple: Will it have a power
(corresponding to the Universal Consciousness) over
humanity? Sri Aurobindo: We shall leave it to the Supermind
to answer that question when it comes.
Disciple: The materialist and
scientist say that Yogis have done nothing for human
happiness. Buddhas and Avatars have come and gone but the
sufferings of humanity are just the same.
Sri Aurobindo: Did Avatar come to
relieve the sufferings of humanity? It was only Buddha who
showed the way of release from suffering. But his path was
to get away from the world and enter into Nirvana. Does
mankind follow him? And if they do not and cannot get rid of
their suffering, it is not Buddha’s fault!!
Disciple: They say that by
scientific inventions and medical discoveries they have been
able to improve the condition of the world. e.g. by cholera
injections, smallpox vaccinations the death rate is
Sri Aurobindo: And are they happy?
Vaccination! Intellectual people say that vaccinations have
done more harm than good.
Disciple: But that is the opinion of
intellectuals and not of doctors.
Sri Aurobindo: Why? The
intellectuals have studied the subject before they gave
their opinion. They may have reduced Cholera etc., but what
about other things that they have brought in? About
suffering! Suffering cannot go as long as ignorance remains.
Even after the Supermind descends the suffering will remain.
If you choose to remain in suffering how can it
Disciple: They say that they can
compel people to take injections even against their will,
can spiritual force do that? The Yogis have been busy with
their own salvation while the world has remained just the
Sri Aurobindo: Evolution has
proceeded from matter through animal to physical man, vital
man, mental man and spiritual man. When mental man or
spiritual man appears the others do not disappear. So, the
tiger and serpent do not become man. In this upward growth
of the human consciousness you cannot say that Buddha,
Christ etc. have played no part.
I consider the Supramental the
culmination of the Spiritual man. When the Supramental
becomes established I expect that one will not be required
to flee from life. It is something dynamic that changes life
and nature. It will open the vital, mental even the physical
to the intuitive and
You want comfort and happiness; in
that case, Truth and Knowledge are of no value.
The discoveries of modern science
have outrun their own usefulness, the human capacity to use
them. And the scientists don’t know what to do with these
discoveries. They have been used for the purposes of
destruction. Now they are trying to kill men by throwing
germs of small-pox from aeroplanes; they at least end the
suffering by death but by bombing you mutilate
life. Politics, science, even
socialism have not succeeded in finding a way out of
suffering. They have killed people, they kill each other and
involve the state into a peril unless you say that murders
and massacres are necessary. From this state of chaos and
suffering there have been ways of escape and people have
been shown the way out. You say they are not
No. no, all that is a superficial
view of things. One has to consider the whole civilization
before one can pass opinion.
It is because Western Civilization
is failing that people like A. Huxley are drawn to Yoga.
December 28, 1938.
At about 5.30 P.M. “X” burst into a
peal of laughter to which Sri Aurobindo reacted by asking:
“What is that dynamic explosion?” There was no reply, only a
silence of suppression. But at 6.30 P.M. the laughter was
repeated and instead of Sri Aurobindo asking anything X
himself complained to Sri Aurobindo that “Y” was making him
laugh. The reply was: “Take care that he may not make you go
off like a firework!”
All assembled by the side of the cot
and there was complete quiet. One member yawned and another
yawned in response. The result was a subdued bubble of
Sri Aurobindo could hardly fail to
notice it. He asked: “What is the joke?”
Disciple: “X” is mocking at my
Sri Aurobindo: He does not know that
yawning may be a fatal symptom.
There was reference to a letter from
another Sadhak relating his symptom of yawning at night.
Disciple: What medicine has been given to him for his
Disciple: That is a
Sri Aurobindo: That reminds me of
the science of Augurs in Greece. There used to be Government
Augurs who used to be called in to interpret omens and
signs; and from that a college of Augurs came into
existence. There–in the college the professors used to be
quite grave and serious,–they gave lectures on Augury with
grave faces; when afterwards they met together they used to
laugh among themselves.
By the way, we have got mutilated
news to-day; they have dropped two important words. Instead
of saying “the Italians are marching” (into Djibuti). If the
Italians march into Djibuti the French can
march into Tripoli as
Disciple: The French can also
organize the Abysinians against Italy. Sri Aurobindo: There
won’t be time for that.
Disciple: The Italians do not seem
to be good soldiers.
Sri Aurobindo: No, I will be greatly
surprised if they can defeat the French. In that case
Mussolini must have changed the Italian character
Disciple: They had a hard time in
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It was by their
superior air-bombs, mustard-gas poisoning that they
Disciple: But they will be aided by
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, Italy can’t do
Disciple: Fisher (the historian)
says that German army in the last war was the greatest and
the best army ever organized in the world.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They are the
most organized and able soldiers in the world except the
Japanese. But the Japanese are numerically less and
Even so during the last war the
Germans could not throw up any remarkable military genius
Foch. If Foch had been the
Commander-in-chief before, the war would have ended much
The Balkans and the Turks are also
good fighters. Disciple: What about the Sikhs and the
Gurkhas? Sri Aurobindo: They are unsurpassed but the war
depends not on fighters but on generals.
Disciple: The British consul here
says that the Chinese are no good as soldiers and the
Russians are good in defensive warfare. The Germans are
trying to expand in the Ukraine. After that Hitler might
come to central Europe.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But that will at
once combine Russia, Poland, Rumania and Yugoslavia. These
small minor powers will be afraid of their own
Disciple: I don’t understand why
Germany joins Italy in attacking France. According to
European astrology Hitler’s stars are with him till Dec.
Sri Aurobindo: Why! Hitler himself
has said in his “Mein Kemp” that Germany is not safe without
the destruction of France. And France says the same thing
about Germany. They have chosen this time, perhaps, because
they think that France has been weakened by the general
strike. But they lost sight of the fact that the invasion
will bring the whole France to-gether.
Disciple: I read in the paper to-day
that a group of people in England are shouting that America
belongs to them–as a counter move to Italian
Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they can claim
Germany, and also Denmark and Italy too for that matter.
Disciple: The way these people are preparing seems that war
Sri Aurobindo: But we thought they
would not do anything till early next year. They are trying
to strike now, perhaps, because they think that France has
been divided by the General strike. But war will bring the
whole nation together at once. In any case, we find that the
Germans are enjoying Christmas.
Disciple: England, most probably,
will have to ally herself with France.
Sri Aurobindo: You have seen what
Chamberlain has said? “England is not obliged to help France
in case of war with Italy”. But if Italy combines with
Germany one can’t say.
Disciple: In case there is a general
war India will have an opportunity for independence. Sri
Disciple: She will refuse to
co-operate. I think the Congress Ministries were due to the
threat of war in Europe.
Sri Aurobindo: Yes It was in order
to conciliate the Indians.
29th December 1938.
To-day a question of a doctor
(disciple) was conveyed by one of the disciples. Disciple:
What is the connection between the causal body and the
Sri Aurobindo: The psychic being is
what is called Chaitya Purusha in the heart, while the
Causal body is at present Superconscious. They are not the
Disciple: It is the Superconscious
existence that later on is called “Self” in Vedanta.
According to some people Raman Maharshi has realized the
Sri Aurobindo: From what Brunton
(Paul) has written it does not seem so. He speaks of the
“voice in the heart” that would mean the Psychic
At this point Mother came and asked:
“What have you been speaking about?” Sri Aurobindo: “X” has
asked a question which does not hang together. Then he
repeated the question.
Disciple: I have heard about Raman
Maharshi’s experience from a direct disciple of his: “One
day the heart centre opened and I began to hear “I”, “I” and
everywhere I saw this “I”.
Disciple: Different spiritual
persons say different things. How to find out which is the
choice is not necessarily that of
Mother: Each one goes to the limit
of his consciousness. I have met many persons in Europe,
India and Japan practicing yoga under different masters.
Each claimed that his realization was the highest, he was
quite sure about it and also quite satisfied with his
condition, and yet each one was standing at a different
place in consciousness and saying that he has attained the
Disciple: But one can know what they
mean by some criterion.
Mother: By what criterion? If you
ask them they say “it is something wonderful but can’t be
described by the mind.” I was with Tagore in Japan. He
claimed to have reached the peace of Nirvana and he was
beaming with joy. I thought: “here is a man who claims to
have got the peace and reached Nirvana. Let us see.” I asked
him to meditate with me and I followed him in meditation and
found that he had reached just behind the vital and the
mind: a sort of emptiness. I waited and waited to see if he
would go beyond; I wanted to follow him. But he would not go
further. I found that he was supremely satisfied and
believed that he had entered Nirvana.
Disciple: But there is a fundamental
realization of some kind?
Mother: That is to say, there is a
fundamental truth of consciousness. But that is not so easy
Disciple: How to choose a master,
then? We must know whom to choose.
Disciple: How are you going to know
with your mind where he has reached? Disciple: Is not our
choice decided by the psychic being in us?
Mother: That is another question.
First you must realize about the limit of consciousness and
the difference of the place where people stand.
The choice is mostly in answer to
your need and it is governed by your inner necessity.
Sometimes, the choice is made by instinct by which the
animals find the right place for their food. Only, in the
human being it acts from within. If you allow your mind to
discuss and argue then the instinct becomes veiled. When you
have made the choice the mind naturally wants to believe
that it is the highest you have chosen. But that is
Disciple: If the choice is right one
feels happiness and satisfaction.
Mother: Satisfaction? One can’t
depend upon feelings and sensations. for, very often they
misguide. Satisfaction is quite a different thing. There are
people who are not satisfied in the best conditions, while
in the worst conditions some are quite satisfied.
Look at the people in the world
around; they are very happy with their conditions. Again,
there are people whose satisfaction depends upon their
liver–a brutally materialistic state. Also there are people
who suffer extremely and yet their inmost being knows that
there is the path for reaching the goal.
Disciple: There are certain signs
given by the Shashtras by which one can judge.
Sri Aurobindo: What Shashtras? One
can’t believe in all that is said in the
Mother: Besides, that may be all
right for Indians; what about the Europeans? You can’t say
that they have not realized any truth?
Then the Mother took her leave and
went for meditation. There was a pause of silence for some
time. Then Sri Aurobindo asked: “What are the
Laxanas–signs–you spoke of?”
Disciple: They are common and found
everywhere. They are given in the Gita: Equality, Love for
others, even-mindedness etc.
Sri Aurobindo: They are, rather,
conditions for realization. All experiences are true and
have their place. But because one is true one can’t say that
the other is false. Truth is infinite. There are so many
ways to come to the Truth. The wider you become the higher
you go. The more you find, there is still more and more. For
instance, Maharshi (Raman) has his experience of “I” but
when I had the Nirvan-experience I could not think of an
“I”;–however much I tried I could not think of any “I”. The
world simply got displaced. One can’t speak of it as “I”. It
is either “He” or “That”. That I call Laya. Realization of
the Self is all right; Laya was a part of a realization
which is much more comprehensive.
When I do not accept the Maya-Vada
it is not that I have not realized the Truth (behind it) or,
that I don’t know “the One in All” and “All in the
One”,–but because I have other realizations which are
equally strong and which cannot be shut out. The Maharshi is
right and everybody is also right.
When the mind tries to understand
these things, it takes up fragments and treats them as
wholes and makes unreal distinctions. They speak of Nirguna
as the fundamental (experience) and Saguna as derivative or
secondary. But what does the Upanishad mean by “Ananta
Nirguna” and “Ananta Saguna”? They can’t be thought of as
different. When you think of Impersonality as the
fundamental Truth and Personality as something imposed upon
it and therefore secondary, you cut across with your mind
something which is beyond both. Or, is it not that
Personality is the chief thing and Impersonality is only one
side, or one condition of Personality? No. Personality and
Impersonality are aspects of a thing which is indivisible.
Shanker is right and so is Nimbarka. Only, when they state
their Truth in mental terms there is a tremendous confusion.
Shanker says “It is Anirvachaniya–indescribable by
speech–and “All is One.” Nimbarka says: There is Duality
and Unity: while Madhava says: “Duality is true.”
The Upanishads speak of “Him by
knowing whom all is known.” What does it mean? That Vignana
[@insert Sanskrit for Vignana] is not the
fundamental realization of the One. It means the knowledge
of the principles of the Divine Being; what Krishna (in the
Gita) speaks of “Tattvatah” [@insert Sanskrit for
Tattvatah]: One cannot know the complete Divine except
in the Supermind. That is why Krishna said that one who
knows him in the “true principles of his being” is rare,
“Kashchit”. The Upanishads also speak of the Brahman as
Chatushpada “having four legs, or aspects”. It does not
merely state “All is the Brahman” and it is over. The
realization of the Self is not all. There are many things
beyond that. The Divine Guide within me urged me to proceed,
adding experience after experience, reaching
higher and higher, stopping at none
as final, till I arrived at the glimpses of the Supermind.
found the Truth indivisible and
there everything takes its proper place. There, Nirguna and
Saguna-Impersonality and Personality don’t exist. They are
all aspects of One Truth which is indivisible.
In the Overmind stage knowledge
begins to rush in upon you from all sides and you see the
objects from all points of view and each thing from all
points. All of them tend to get related to each other and
there the Cosmic Consciousness is not merely in its static
aspect but also in its dynamic reality: it is the expression
of something Above. When you become Cosmic even though you
speak of your self as “I” it is not the “I,”–the ego, the
“I-ness” disappears and the mental, vital and the physical
appear as representatives of that Consciousness. Ramakrishna
speaks of that state as the form of ego left for action.
When you reach the Supermind you become not only Cosmic but
something beyond the Universe,–Transcendental, and there is
indivisibility of unity and individuality. There, the Cosmic
and the Individual all co-exist.
The same principle works out in
science. The scientists at one time reduced all multiplicity
of elements to Ether and described it in the most
contradictory terms. Now they have found the Electrons as
the basis of Matter. By difference of position and number of
electrons you get the whole multiplicity of objects. There
also you find the One that is Many, and yet is not two
different things. Both the One and the Many are true and
through both you have to go to the Truth.
When you come to politics,
democracy, plutocracy, monarchy etc. all have truth, even
Hitler and Mussolini stand for some truth.
This is a very big yoga,–one has to
travel–I think “X” will not take all that trouble–(Sri
Aurobindo said referring to a disciple.)
Disciple: Never, Sir. I have come
here because I can’t take so much trouble.
Sri Aurobindo: You are not called
upon to do it. Even for me it would have been impossible if
I had to do it myself; but at a certain stage heavens opened
and the thing was done for me.
The topic seemed to have ended. But
“X” prolonged by saying: my friend “K” asked Maharshi if
attainment of immortality was possible. But the Maharshi
would not say anything by way of reply. But “K” persisted
then he said; “It is possible by Divine Grace.”
Sri Aurobindo: That is hardly an
answer. Everything is possible by Divine Grace. There are
two things about immortality: one, the conquest of death. It
does not however mean that one would never die. It means
leaving the body at will. Second, it includes the power to
change or renew the body. There is no sense in keeping the
same body for years; that would be a terrible bondage. That
is why death is necessary in order that one can take another
body and have a fresh growth. You know Dasharath lived for
sixty thousand years. He did not know what to do with such a
long life and began at the end producing children! Have you
read Shaw’s “Back to Methuselah?” It shows how silly an
intellectual can become. And what a ridiculous farce he has
made of Joan of Arc? He speaks of her visions as projections
of her own mental ideas and decisions. Shaw is all right
when he speaks of England, Ireland and Society; but he can’t
do anything constructive. There he fails
These intellectuals like Russell
when they talk of something beyond their scope they cut such
a poor figure: you can see what he writes about the
“introvert.” They can’t tolerate emptiness or cessation of
thought and breaking away from outside interests! If you ask
them to stop their thoughts they refuse to accept it and at
once come back from emptiness. And yet it is through
emptiness one has to pass beyond.