August 2, 1961
When one descends into the subconscient, a time comes when it's no longer personal – the whole world is there! Then what can we do? I'm not speaking of you, but what can people like us do to change it? It's a Sisyphean labor! Vibrations from the whole world keep coming in at each instant. How can we change it?
No, you have to approach the problem from the other direction. Evolution begins with the Inconscient, complete Inconscience; and from this Inconscient a Subconscient gradually emerges – that is, a half or quarter-consciousness.... There are two different things here. Consider life on earth (because the process is slightly different in the universe); earth-life begins with total Inconscience and little by little what was involved within it works out and changes this Inconscience into semi-consciousness or subconsciousness. At the same time, there is an individual working that awakens the INDIVIDUAL inconscient to an individual semiconsciousness, and here, of course, the individual has control – although it's not actually individualized because individualization begins with consciousness. The subconscient of plants or animals, for example, isn't individualized; what we call an animal's behavior doesn't arise from individualization but from the genius of the species. Consequently, the individual subconscient is something already evolved out of the general Subconscient. But when one descends to accomplish a work of transformation – to bring Light into the different layers of life, for instance – one descends into a cosmic, terrestrial Subconscient, not an individual Subconscient. And the work of transformation is done within the whole – not through individualization, but through the opposite movement, through a sort of universalization.
No, what I mean is that as we progress, we automatically become universalized....
And we are told that we have to change the Subconscient, to bring Light into it; but being universal it has no end! New vibrations keep coming in at every instant...
... vibrations from the outside, from here, there – it's endless. How can we change it?
No, it isn't endless – it's limited to the earth's atmosphere.
That's already quite a lot!
Yes, but not endless.
Then how can we act upon it – all these vibrations that keep pouring in from all over the world, from the whole earth?
It isn't difficult – the minute you become universalized you act upon the whole.
Even Buddha said that if you have a vibration of desire, this vibration goes all around the terrestrial atmosphere. The opposite is what's impossible! It's impossible to separate yourself. You can have the idea of being separate, but you can't be separate in reality. In fact, if you are trying to eliminate the Subconscient in yourself your movement must necessarily be general; it can't be personal, you would never get anywhere.
Yes, of course, but these vibrations are ceaselessly re-created.
No, they are not re-created.
But there are people having wrong movements at every instant, so...?
So it all keeps circling round and round in the earth's atmosphere. But compared to the universe, the earth's atmosphere is a very tiny thing. Well, all this keeps circling around within it. And in fact, because of the movement of evolution, there is a progress. The present Inconscient is not as unconscious as the initial Inconscient, and the present Subconscient is not as subconscious nor as generalized as it was at the beginning. This is the meaning of terrestrial evolution.
But if, as you say, it keeps circling around in the earth's atmosphere, doesn't this mean that vibrations are ceaselessly re-created?
Not re-created – they keep circling around, which is not the same thing!
A re-creation would mean that a new contingent of the Inconscient and Subconscient would come in from other spheres, or from the Supreme – well, this isn't the case. We consider the Inconscient to be an “accident”: if it happened, it happened; but it's not part of an infinite and eternal creation.
Then are our vibrations of consciousness effective for changing these general vibrations?
In fact, we are the first possible instruments for making the world progress. For example (this is one way of putting it), the transformation of the Inconscient into the Subconscient is probably far more rapid and complete now than it was before man appeared upon earth; man is one of the first transformative elements. Animals are obviously more conscious than plants, but WILLED (and thus more rapid) progress belongs to humanity. Likewise, what one hopes (more than hopes!), what one expects is that when the new supramental race comes upon earth, the work will go much more swiftly; and man will necessarily benefit from this. And since things will be done in true order instead of in mental disorder, animals and everything else will probably benefit from it also. In other words, the whole earth, taken as one entity, will progress more and more rapidly. The Inconscient (oh, all this comes to me in English, that's the difficulty!) is meant to go and necessarily the Subconscient will go too.
Broadly speaking, does this mean that physical Matter will become conscious?
Yes, in a certain way. It will become receptive. The mode of life won't necessarily change, but the form of life will change. Matter will become responsive. Do we say that in French?
No, receptive is one thing and responsive is another. To respond: Matter will respond to the conscious will. Indeed, this is why there is hope – how else could there be a transformation? Things would always remain as they are! What kind of earth would it be for the supramental race to live on if no Matter gave response, if Matter did not begin to vibrate and respond to the Will? The same difficulties would always be there. And it isn't limited: for instance, even if we imagine a power over the body making corporeal life different, this new corporeal life still has to exist within an environment – it can't remain hanging in thin air! The environment must respond.
It's quite obvious that the Inconscient, the Subconscient and the semi-conscient are accidental; they are not a permanent part of the creation, so are bound to disappear, to be transformed.
Years ago, when Sri Aurobindo and I descended together from plane to plane (or from mode of life to mode of life) and reached the Subconscient, we saw that it was no longer individual: it was terrestrial. The rest – the mind, the vital and of course the body – is individualized; but when you descend below this level, that's no longer the case. There is indeed something between the conscious life of the body and this subconscious terrestrial life – elements are thrown out1 as a result of the action of individual consciousness upon the subconscious substance; this creates a kind of semiconsciousness, and that stays. For example, when people are told, “You have pushed your difficulty down into the subconscient and it will resurface,” this does not refer to the general Subconscient, but to something individualized out of the Subconscient through the action of individual consciousness and remaining down there until it resurfaces. The process is, so to speak, interminable, even the personal part of it.
Every night, you know, I continue to see more and more astounding things emerging from the Subconscient to be transformed. It's a kind of mixture – not clearly individualized – of all the things that have been more or less closely associated in life. For example, some people are intermingled there. One relives things almost as in a dream (although these are not “dreams”), one relives it all in a certain setting, within a certain set of symbolic, or at any rate expressive, circumstances. Just two days ago I had to deal with someone (I am actively at work there and I had to do something with him), and upon seeing this person, I asked myself, “is he this one or that one?” As I became less involved in the action and looked with a more objective consciousness, the witness-consciousness, I saw that it was simply a mixture of both persons – everything is mixed in the Subconscient.... Already when I lived in Japan there were four people I could never distinguish during my nighttime activities – all four of them (and god knows they weren't even acquainted!) were always intermingled because their subconscious reactions were identical.
In fact, this is what legitimizes the ego; because if we had never formed an ego, we would have lived all mixed up (laughing), now this person, now another! Oh, it was so comical, seeing this the other day! At first it was a bit bewildering, but when I looked closely, it became utterly amusing: two little people with no physical resemblance, yet of a similar type – small and... in short, a similarity. It's like the four men I used to see in Japan: there was an Englishman, a Frenchman, a Japanese and one more, each from a different country; well, at night they were all the same, as if viewed one through the other, all intermingled – very amusing!
But individualization is a slow and difficult process. That's why you have an ego, otherwise you would never become individualized, but always be... (Mother laughs) a kind of public place!
In the end, individualization – and the consequent necessity for the ego – exists for the return to Divine Consciousness to be conscious and willed, with full, conscious participation.
Speaking of individualization, there's a question I've been wondering about: when one speaks of the “central being,” this central being is not something here in physical life, is it?... It's above....
It is above and within and everywhere! (Mother laughs)
No, unless you learn to think at all times with the fourth dimension, you will never understand anything.
But Sri Aurobindo says that this central being is “unborn.” I would like to know whether it is something individual – whether each person has a central being.
The one is not separate from the other.
The one is not separate from the other? In what sense? The central being isn't separate from the Divine, it's one with the Divine. But does each person have a particular, individual central being, or is there one central being for everyone?
It becomes personal in our consciousness. It is a phenomenon of consciousness.
But it's not separate – never separate.
Yes, it isn't separate, but does it have an individuality?
It's never separate, neither from the Center (if it can be called a “center”!) nor from the whole. And as soon as one is in touch with it, this problem no longer arises: it's plain that it can't be otherwise!
Because when one loses his ego and finds this central being, Sri Aurobindo says that an individuality remains – it isn't a dissolution – one retains a personality.
Yes, a personality remains.
Then this is the personality of the central being, the True Personality.
Then after all, it's an individual, not an impersonal self.
Individual in action, in manifestation.
This is where the problem arises. Sri Aurobindo says it's permanent, while all the ancient traditions say it disappears with the body.
A permanent individual self?
Otherwise there could be no permanent material life – for this [individuality] is the very nature of materialization. Were it destined to disappear, then the phenomenon of physical dissolution would become permanent, and there would never be physical immortality; because, after exhausting a certain... basically, a certain number of illusions or disorders or falsehoods, one would return to the Truth. But according to Sri Aurobindo, it isn't like that: this individualization, this individual personalization is the Truth, a real, authentic divine phenomenon – the only falsehood is the deformation of consciousness. Well, when we rediscover the true consciousness of Unity – that Unity which is both in and above the manifest and the non-manifest (“above” in that it contains both the manifest and non-manifest equally), well, this Truth includes material personalization, otherwise that2 could not exist.
But each individual has a different personality.
Yes... perhaps not in the present state of disorder! But in principle.
Every conscious being?
Yes, in principle – each TRUE soul.
True, meaning formed?
Yes, “formed” if you consider it from below. But if you consider it from above... (Mother laughs).
Each individual represents something of the Divine?
It could be expressed like that, but it's still a separative way of putting it.
But then what is this “personality”!?
It's a mode of being.
It's what makes one being different from the other.
A mode of being, yes, in a way, in its essence – in its essence, because in the manifestation all this is destined to disappear. Yes, they are modes of being – like those first four modes of being3 created at the first manifestation.
But in our case, would there be innumerable modes of being, each representing one particular aspect?
Yes, the multitude – otherwise there can be no Play.
I just translated a passage where Sri Aurobindo speaks of the enjoyment and possession of the One by the multitude, of the multitude by the One, and of the multitude by the multitude.4 Such a play must then involve an innumerable diversity – innumerable!
Then why have those who had realizations in the past, who found the true Sell, all said it meant the dissolution of the individual, that no personality remained?
Not all! only those who went off into Non-existence said this. In the Vedas, for example, it's plain that the “forefathers” spoken of were men who had realized immortality upon earth. (Who knows, they may still be alive!) Their conception of things was similar to Sri Aurobindo's.
The other tradition – Théon said it was the origin of both the Kabbala and the Vedas – also held the same concept of divine life and a divine world as Sri Aurobindo: that the summit of evolution would be the divinization of everything objectified, along with an unbroken progression from that moment on. (As things are now, one goes forward and then backwards, then forward and backwards again; but in this divine world, retrogression won't be necessary: there will be a continuous ascent.) This concept was held in that ancient tradition – Théon spoke to me very clearly of it, and Sri Aurobindo hadn't yet written anything when I met Théon. Théon had written all kinds of things – not philosophy, but stories, fantastic stories! Yet this same knowledge was behind them, and when asked about the source of this knowledge he used to say that it antedated both the Kabbala and the Vedas (he was well-versed in the Rig-veda).
But Théon had no idea of the path of bhakti,5 none whatsoever.
The idea of surrender to the Divine was absolutely alien to him. Yet he did have the idea of the Divine Presence here (Mother indicates the heart center), of the immanent Divine and of union with That. And he said that by uniting with That and letting That transform the being one could arrive at the divine creation and the transformation of the earth.
Théon was the first one to give me the idea that the earth is symbolic, representative – symbolic of concentrated universal action allowing divine forces to incarnate and work concretely. I learned all this from him.
In this respect, you say somewhere that the gods too must incarnate to become fully conscious.
How is this possible? Aren't the gods already fully conscious?!
No, they have no psychic being, so that whole side of life does not exist for them.
In all the traditions here in India (and in other countries and other religions as well), most of the time these gods behave impossibly! This is simply because they have no psychic being. The psychic being is the one thing belonging specifically to terrestrial life; it has been given as a grace... to repair, to undo what had been done.
Yes, but aren't the gods conscious of the Divine?
Listen, mon petit, they are conscious of their own divinity, and of that above all!
They are connected with the Divine, yes, but I know from experience that they haven't the faintest notion of what surrender is!
I had a VERY interesting experience – it was last year or the year before, I don't recall, but after I retired to my room upstairs ....6 You know that during pujas these goddesses come all the time – they don't enter the body and tie themselves to it, but they do come and manifest. Well, this time – I think it must have been for last year's puja – Durga came (she always arrives a few days in advance and remains in the atmosphere; she is present, like this – gesture as if Durga were walking up and down with Mother). I was in touch with her during my meditations upstairs, and this new Power in the body was in me then as it is in me now, and... (how to put it?) I made her participate in this concept of surrender. What an experience she had, mon petit! An extraordinary experience of the joy of being connected with That. And she declared, “From now on, I am a bhakta of the Lord.”
It was beautiful.
This formidable Power, you see – a universal Power, an eternal and formidable Power – well, she had never had such an experience before, she had only experienced her OWN power. She was used to receiving and obeying Commands, but in an automatic way. Then all at once, she felt the ECSTASY of being a conscious instrument.
Truly... it was truly beautiful.
I knew how it was with her because I remember the days when Sri Aurobindo was here and I used to go downstairs to give meditations to the people assembled in the hall. There's a ledge above the pillars there, where all the gods used to sit – Shiva, Krishna, Lakshmi, the Trimurti, all of them – the little ones, the big ones, they all used to come regularly, every day, to attend these meditations. It was a lovely sight. But they didn't have this kind of adoration for the Supreme. They had no use for that concept – each one, in his own mode of being, was fully aware of his own eternal divinity; and each one knew as well that he could represent all the others (such was the basis of popular worship,7 and they knew it). They felt they were a kind of community, but they had none of those qualities that the psychic life gives: no deep love, no deep sympathy, no sense of union. They had only the sense of their OWN divinity. They had certain very particular movements, but not this adoration for the Supreme nor the feeling of being instruments: they felt they were representing the Supreme, and so each one was perfectly satisfied with his particular representation.
Except for Krishna.... In 1926, I had begun a sort of overmental creation, that is, I had brought the Overmind down into matter, here on earth (miracles and all kinds of things were beginning to happen). I asked all these gods to incarnate, to identify themselves with a body (some of them absolutely refused). Well, with my very own eyes I saw Krishna, who had always been in rapport with Sri Aurobindo, consent to come down into his body. It was on November 24th, and it was the beginning of “Mother.”8
Yes, in fact I wanted to ask you what this realization of 1926 was.
It was this: Krishna consented to descend into Sri Aurobindo's body – to be FIXED there; there is a great difference, you understand, between incarnating, being fixed in a body, and simply acting as an influence that comes and goes and moves about. The gods are always moving about, and it's plain that we ourselves, in our inner beings, come and go and act in a hundred or a thousand places at once. There is a difference between just coming occasionally and accepting to be permanently tied to a body – between a permanent influence and a permanent presence.
These things have to be experienced.
But in what sense did this realization mark a turning point in Sri Aurobindo's sadhana?
No, the phenomenon was important FOR THE CREATION; he himself was rather indifferent to it. But I did tell him about it.
It was at that time that he decided to stop dealing with people and retire to his room. So he called everyone together for one last meeting. Before then, he used to go out on the verandah every day to meet and talk with all who came to see him (this is the origin of the famous “Talks with Sri Aurobindo”9... – Mother is about to say something severe, then reconsiders – anyway...) I was living in the inner rooms and seeing no one; he was going out onto the verandah, seeing everyone, receiving people, speaking, discussing – I saw him only when he came back inside.
After a while, I too began having meditations with people. I had begun a sort of “overmental creation,” to make each god descend into a being – there was an extraordinary upward curve! Well, I was in contact with these beings and I told Krishna (because I was always seeing him around Sri Aurobindo), “This is all very fine, but what I want now is a creation on earth – you must incarnate.” He said “Yes.” Then I saw him – I saw him with my own eyes (inner eyes, of course), join himself to Sri Aurobindo.
Then I went into Sri Aurobindo's room and told him, “Here's what I have seen.” “Yes, I know!” he replied (Mother laughs) “That's fine; I have decided to retire to my room, and you will take charge of the people. You take charge.” (There were about thirty people at the time.) Then he called everyone together for one last meeting. He sat down, had me sit next to him, and said, “I called you here to tell you that, as of today, I am withdrawing for purposes of sadhana, and Mother will now take charge of everyone; you should address yourselves to her; she will represent me and she will do all the work.” (He hadn't mentioned this to me! – Mother bursts into laughter)
These people had always been very intimate with Sri Aurobindo, so they asked: “Why, why, Why?” He replied, “It will be explained to you.” I had no intention of explaining anything, and I left the room with him, but Datta began speaking. (She was an Englishwoman who had left Europe with me; she stayed here until her death – a person who received “inspirations.”) She said she felt Sri Aurobindo speaking through her and she explained everything: that Krishna had incarnated and that Sri Aurobindo was now going to do an intensive sadhana for the descent of the Supermind; that it meant Krishna's adherence to the Supramental Descent upon earth and that, as Sri Aurobindo would now be too occupied to deal with people, he had put me in charge and I would be doing all the work.
This was in 1926.
It was only... (how can I put it?) a participation from Krishna. It made no difference for Sri Aurobindo personally: it was a formation from the past that accepted to participate in the present creation, nothing more. It was a descent of the Supreme, from... some time back, now consenting to participate in the new manifestation.
Shiva, on the other hand, refused. “No,” he said, “I will come only when you have finished your work. I will not come into the world as it is now, but I am ready to help.” He was standing in my room that day, so tall (laughing) that his head touched the ceiling! He was bathed in his own special light, a play of red and gold... magnificent! Just as he is when he manifests his supreme consciousness – a formidable being! So I stood up and... (I too must have become quite tall, because my head was resting on his shoulder, just slightly below his head) then he told me, “No, I'm not tying myself to a body, but I will give you ANYTHING you want.” The only thing I said (it was all done wordlessly, of course) was: “I want to be rid of the physical ego.”
Well, mon petit (laughing), it happened! It was extraordinary!... After a while, I went to find Sri Aurobindo and said, “See what has happened! I have a funny sensation (Mother laughs) of the cells no longer being clustered together! They're going to scatter!” He looked at me, smiled and said, Not yet. And the effect vanished.
But Shiva had indeed given me what I wanted!
Not yet, Sri Aurobindo said.
No, the time wasn't ripe. It was too early, much too early.
I had it two years ago.10 But now there is something else – things are different now.
So, I still haven't answered your questions.
Oh, yes, you've answered all sorts of questions!
1 I.e., they are cast aside or eliminated from the individual Subconscient.
2 “That” seems to refer to physical immortality.
3 Consciousness or Light, Life, Love or Bliss, and Truth, which then became the first four asuras or demons.
4 See Thoughts and Glimpses: “What then was the commencement of the whole matter? Existence that multiplied itself for sheer delight of being and plunged into numberless trillions of forms so that it might find itself innumerably.... And what is the end of the whole matter? As if honey could taste itself and all its drops together and all its drops could taste each other and each the whole honeycomb as itself, so should the end be with God and the soul of man and the universe.” (Cent. Ed. Vol. XVI, p. 384)
5 Devotion, love for the Divine.
6 After 1958.
7 Each devotee of a particular cult knows perfectly well that his god is simply one way of representing something that is One.
8 From 1926, Sri Aurobindo officially introduced Mother to the disciples as the “Mother”; previously he often called her “Mirra.”
9 Evening Talks, noted by A.B. Purani.
10 Again, the dissolution of the physical ego.