Home Page | Workings by Sri Aurobindo | by Nirobbaran | Correspondence 1

SRI AUROBINDO – Nirodbaran

Correspondence with
Sri Aurobindo

Volume 1. 1935

January 2, 1935

I am rather shocked to hear of the behaviour of D.S. lacking all common sense, not to speak of Yogic attitude and that too after living here for so many years!

At any rate it is not Yoga that upset D.S. He never proposed to do any – he was interested only in medicine. That, he always said, was his Yoga, to read, to study, to experiment, to learn more and more about medicine. But perhaps you will say that Yoga of works is responsible.

Then I thought if one has big experiences, he will be safe, but G has shattered that delusion. This man is said to have had overmental experiences! And he also gone. I have heard that you don’t approve of one’s going.

He had no Overmind experiences – he had something of the opening of the cosmic mind and vital in the intermediate zone – and that plenty besides him have done and are doing. I have explained this before.

We approved of it. He went to arrange about his aunt’s property as the family want to live here (not in the Ashram, but outside).

At one time I thought that old people are better off since they have a less active vital, but Doctorbabu and Bhupalbabu have demolished that view. Doctor had a genuine seeking and went away for a flimsy reason! With A the same fate!

He has always been doing that – doing the navette between his family and the Ashram.

A has left the Ashram?

All these cases of failures prove what? I apprehend the same reasons may operate in me and I may behave exactly like an insane person.

What you say may apply to everybody because everybody has things in him which conflict with the Yoga. Logical conclusion – Nobody should try anything in which anybody has failed or in which there is a possibility of failure! I am afraid most human activities would stop on that principle except আহার নিদ্রা মিথুন,1 and perhaps only the first two. But after all not even these – for people die in their sleep and others die of their food by poison, indigestion or otherwise. So to be safe one must neither eat, sleep nor [do] anything else – much less do Yoga. Q.E.D.

... I don’t know really how I have dared such an adventure knowing full well the other side of my nature. Yet there has always seemed to have been something within which remains to be called up, touched and awakened. What is to be done? Believe in Thy Grace? But I am puzzled a little about the Grace itself

1 suppose you always avoided getting into a railway train because there might be a collision or into a steamer for similar reasons and certainly you would never dare go in an aeroplane!


January 4, 1935

In meditation, I had again a stillness of the inner and outer being, but the body was gradually bending down, as if I was in a light sleep. I could remember that you were there. Was that a state of sleep due to a full stomach?

You were going into the inner consciousness and away from the outer, that is all.

Is that the medical man’s explanation of the experience? If a full stomach can produce experiences, you ought perhaps to treble or quadruple your rations.

A letter from C. Is it possible for him to come here without being completely cured?


Can’t decipher C. The Doctor has prescribed a treatment and he can’t afford it? Is that it? Or what else?


January 5, 1935

Forgive me if I quarrel with you today; you have hinted that I am a coward.

There is a coward in every human being – precisely the part in him which insists on “safety” – for that is certainly not a brave attitude. I admit however that I would like safety myself if I could have it – perhaps that is why I have always managed instead to live dangerously and follow the dangerous paths dragging so many poor Nirods in my train.

I am stunned to see you mention Yoga and other human activities in the same breath. Is it not Sri Krishna who said that out of thousands very few seek him and still fewer get him?

There are lots who try for a Govt. post and only a few get them! It is the same principle everywhere.

Let me tell you how a born yogi felt and feels about Yoga. He says often to us that on many occasions he has felt like running away never mind to which hell! What then about us, born-biyogis?

I was not aware that there are born Yogis and unborn Yogis. All have their vital and mental difficulties, whether born or unborn.

You have called around you or rather we have come to you, a jumble of assorted elements, (I call no one – says your thundering voice, but don’t you really call even from within?) for yoga which seems to me a great gamble like that of Monte Carlo.

Whom have I called?

If they were not, they would not be representative of the world which has to be changed.

And this gambling fight is more against forces unseen than seen. We eat hostile forces, breathe them, feed them, exchange them, do everything except see and trample them – swarming micro-organisms!

So is all life on earth – a complex of seen and unseen forces and an obscure and ignorant struggle.

These forces drag us down from today’s ecstasy to tomorrow’s valley of depression and next day’s abyss of doom. In Barinbabu’s world gods and goddesses are seething, in ours hostile forces!

After all there are plenty of people here who are going pretty well; why emphasise only the comparatively few who have fallen out or are in serious trouble? Each has his difficulties, no doubt, but how on earth do you expect so high a path to be without them?

To add to all this, you hardly take an initiative and ask people to do this or that. Your principle is to give a long rope either to hang oneself or have a taste of the bitter cup.

I am to put everybody into leading strings and walk about with them – or should it be the rope in their nose? Supermen cannot be made like that – the long rope is needed.

When I went on reading and reading in the godown you said nothing till the blow came.

Reading in a godown does not end tragically as a rule.

D.S. is doing the same. Yet it can’t be denied that he originally came to do yoga. In spite of it he is caught in the intricate net of the blessed forces and gives up the greater pursuit for the lesser.

It is not reading medical books that was the cause of D.S.’s serious upset. It was the usual causes coupled with something else. But as all that is private, I can’t go into it.

I come for yoga with all sincerity but end by being a tool in their hands. Isn’t it tragic and pathetic? This side of the shield I request you to see.

Gracious heavens! you are really a poet.

“So, what is your point?” you may ask, “One shouldn’t do yoga?” Certainly. Only, I am trying to establish my proposition that one is never sure in yoga, or only a few are.

One is never sure in anything. It is absurd in this world to say, “I will only do what is sure and absolutely safe – especially in anything great.”

Your caustic satire about railways is, with all apology, a little off the point. Firstly I have dared yoga.

Why not go on daring – instead of wailing because there is no safety?

In railways etc., the journeys are safe; hostile forces are not so villainous. But even after Herculean efforts, the path of yoga is not a jot easier.

You ought to read the Matin. Every now and then a tremendous collision and holocaust. I admit that in India railway is slow and scanty and therefore more though not quite safe. Anyway, what about aeroplanes?

Ramakrishna had a word of hope for his disciples and used to say, “এখানে যারা এসেছে সবার হৱে2 You don’t or won’t give any, not even a quarter. You might say it is a greater Truth, but we have greater Divines as well.

He had a few disciples round him – here there is a crowd of 150 – so his assurance was not a very big sporting flutter. But what did হৱে mean?

For this greater Truth if some fall out, what matters? The Wheel of Jagannath3 must roll on and the Divine has no tears for them, for he is beyond dualities.

Even if I fall out myself, I will not weep. I will try again.

It is very problematic, however, how many will reach your Heaven alive, like Yudhishthir.

And his dog. You have forgotten the dog.4

I am afraid most of us will have the fate of the Pandavas,5 unless the Divine is prepared to carry us all himself – barring the ladies!

What the deuce has sex to do here? Don’t be too medical.

Because medical science says that their physiological apparatus is more suitable for the psychological attitude of self-abnegation which is also the essential desideratum for yoga.

That’s the only thing for which their physiological apparatus works? I fear there are other things both in male and female which are not essential desiderata for Yoga.

Apart from all sense of humour – I have never said that Yoga or that this Yoga is a safe and easy path – what I say is that anyone who has the will to go through can go through. For the rest if you aim high, there is always the danger of a steep fall, if you misconduct your aeroplane. But the danger is for those who allow themselves to entertain a double being, aiming high but also indulging their lower outlook and hankerings. What else can you expect when people do that? You must become single-minded, then the difficulties of the mind and vital will be overcome. Otherwise those who oscillate between their heights and their abysses, will always be in danger till they have become single-minded – that applies to the “advanced” as well as to the beginner. These are facts of nature – I can’t pretend for anybody’s comfort that they are otherwise. But there is the fact also that nobody need keep himself in this danger. One-mindedness (एकनिष्ठा [ekaniṣṭhā]), surrender to the Divine, faith, true love for the Divine, complete sincerity in the will, spiritual humility (real, not formal); there are so many things that can be a safeguard against any chance of eventual downfall. Slips, stumbles, difficulties, upsettings everyone has; one can’t be assured against these things, but if one has the safeguards, they are transitory, help the nature to learn and are followed by a better progress.


January 8, 1935

I hope you have understood the psychology behind all my wailings. My headache and fear are that you allow the other forces to take away some of the poor Nirods from your “train”, being weary of the fight, perhaps.

Excuse me, I don’t allow – the poor Nirods allow or they take themselves away in a huff.

But I sincerely pray that you will drag this really poor Nirod in your train till his last breath!

What else am I doing, but dragging towards that?

You call me a poet? A poet without poems? A briefless barrister?

It was the uchchhwas6 that extorted that exclamation from me.

What is double Being or double nature? Are both the same? Is it, as you say, aiming high and aiming low simultaneously? In that case I am afraid most of us have it more or less!

Every man has a double nature except those who are born (not unborn) Asuras, Rakshasas, Pisachas7 and even they have a psychic being concealed somewhere by virtue of their latent humanity. But a double being (or a double nature in the special sense) refers to those who have two sharply contrasted parts of their being without as yet such a linking control over them. Sometimes they are all for the heights and then they are quite all right – sometimes all for the abysses and then they care nothing for the heights, even sneer or rail at them and give full rein to the lower man. Or they substitute for the heights a smoky volcano summit in the abyss. These are extreme examples, but others while they do not go so far, yet are now one thing, now just the opposite. If they can convert the lower fellow or discover the central being in themselves, then a true harmonious whole can be created. (For a case of a double being who had no central organising part in him you can take R as an example.)

During meditation, I had again a strong feeling of pressure. As you had advised, I tried to enlarge my consciousness by thinking that I was as large as the universe. But is that the way?

Yes. At any rate it is a very good way – there may be others, but I think it is the best.


January 10, 1935

I don’t know anything about the example you gave of a double being. You have read, I am sure, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Is that an instance of a double being?

Well, it is something very much like that – except that the possession of the consciousness by either personality is not always or often as complete as that.

Is Divine Force somewhat different from Ananda and Peace in its operation? When Peace descends or Ananda invades, one can distinctly feel it as coming from above. But what about the Force?

One can feel it in the same way if it descends into the body. But sometimes it simply works from above or behind or within and in that case one may be conscious of the result, the energy given without feeling the Force itself.

Why is it so rarely felt? Is it more difficult to bring it down?

No. It depends on the person. Many people feel the Force more easily than the Peace or the Ananda.

Today an almirah was completed after 38 days, costing Rs. 98. To me it seems too much. But I don’t know how the labour could have been reduced.

That needs a knowledge and keen observation, I suppose – to see whether the fruit of the work is as good as the show. But you are there for supervision mainly, not for expert knowledge.

I can never imagine that some day I shall have an expert knowledge of carpentry to supervise and regulate the work.

Well, get Energy from above (the Force) and put it forcefully on the carpenters – If one day you can do that, you will amply justify your timber throne.

In Yoga everything seems to be opposite. My Rs. 20,000/-over medical education are in vain! I don’t know what purpose will be served by making me a carpenter of the Divine. If on the contrary, I could be the Son of a carpenter that would be something!

I was under the impression that you were not enthusiastic over medicine or at least over the practice of it. If we had known that you were anxious to justify the 20,000, we could have utilised you in that direction. Are you serious about it?

If, as you say to D, remembering the Divine and giving thanks at the end ought to be enough, that is very simple and easy.

One must also aspire for the Force and for the consciousness of the Force.


January 12, 1935

It comes as a great surprise to hear that you consider enthusiasm so important for want of which you didn’t utilise my medical knowledge!

I meant that as you had no enthusiasm for drugs, you might just as well be busy with timber.

I am really puzzled by your question; the more so because you have said that I am progressing more than I would have done if I were a literary or a medical gent.

Well, Mother had thought of you when we wanted somebody to fill up the hole left by the erratic D.S. and we also don’t know what we shall do when B goes for his periodic inspection of his affairs in Gujerat. We had rejected the idea because we thought you might not only be not enthusiastic but the reverse of enthusiastic about again becoming a medical gent. When however you spoke lovingly and hungeringly about the Rs. 20,000, I rubbed my eyes and thought “Well, well! here’s a chance!” That’s all.

If you seriously think that I may add my little strength to help the Divine and call me to do it I am thrice seriously your man.

We will think of it in case of need.

You speak as if the Energy or Force is just above the head, and one has only to snatch it down.

There is a lid in between. Remove that and the Force will come tumbling down into you.

And even if it were, how can I put the Force on the carpenters? Does it not also depend on the receptivity of the individuals?

Much more easy if you have the force to make a carpenter carpent properly than to propel a sadhak in the way he should go. Receptivity is all-important for the sadhana – it counts but not so much in getting an ordinary thing done by an ordinary man.


January 15, 1935

Khirod says he wrote to you about my proposal of shouldering the entire responsibility of the timber godown. Somehow I felt pity for him – an overburdened, harmless gentleman.

Harmless only? He is one of the ablest and most quietly successful “men of work” I have come across.

Supposing I get the Force from above, how to apply it on the carpenters?

Direct it upon them in a steady stream. If Force can come into you, why can’t it go out from you too?

You laughed away my medical statement about ladies. Is it not true that women are more receptive and psychic than men? All outward signs would direct that way, at any rate.

Rubbish! Neither more receptive nor even more hysteric. Men, I find, can equal them even at that. It is true they declare hunger-strikes more easily, if you think with Gandhi that that is a sign of psychicness (soul force). But after all Non-cooperation has taken away even that inferiority from men.

You wrote [on the 5th] that you had lived dangerously. All that we know is that you did not have enough money in England, – also in Pondicherry in the beginning. In Baroda you had a handsome pay, and in Calcutta you were quite well off.

[Above “quite” Sri Aurobindo put!!!!].

I was so astonished by this succinct, complete and impeccably accurate biography of myself that I let myself go in answer! But I afterwards thought that it was no use living more dangerously than I am obliged to, so I rubbed all out. My only answer now is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thank you for the safe, rich, comfortable and unadventurous career you have given me. I note also that the only danger man can run in this world is that of the lack of money. Karl Marx himself could not have made a more economic world of it! But I wonder whether that was what Nietzsche meant by living dangerously?


January 16, 1935

I am rather grieved to know that you rubbed off what you wrote, and that my attempts to draw you out have failed very narrowly! But what are we to do? Everybody’s opinion is that nothing can be got out of you unless you are “pricked” (not my term) and we want to know so much of your life of which we know so little!

Why the devil should you know anything about it?

So I dared to make this hazardous statement. Often we have to write strongly about what we feel and think and so many ways and means we have to devise just for a few more strokes than you almost grudgingly allow. You will admit that I almost succeeded in my diplomacy (forgive me).

Of course, I don’t mean that lack of money is the only danger one can be in. Nevertheless, is it not true that poverty is one of the greatest dangers as well as incentives? The lives of many great men illustrate this. Therefore living poorly seems to me to be akin to living dangerously. I know that my contention has obvious fallacies in it, but isn’t this mostly true?

Not in the least. You are writing like Samuel Smiles.8 Poverty has never had any terrors for me nor is it an incentive. You seem to forget that I left my very safe and “handsome” Baroda position without any need to it and that I gave up also the Rs. 150 of the National College Principalship, leaving myself with nothing to live on. I could not have done that, if money had been an incentive.

But what is the use of telling me what Nietzsche meant by it? How am I to know that you mean the same as he?

Certainly not the commercial test.

I was quoting Nietzsche – so the mention of him is perfectly apposite.

Kindly let us know by your examples, what you mean by living dangerously that we poor people may gather some courage and knowledge...

I won’t. It is altogether unnecessary besides. If you don’t realise that starting and carrying on for ten years and more a revolutionary movement for independence without means and in a country wholly unprepared for it meant living dangerously, no amount of puncturing of your skull with words will give you that simple perception. And as to the Yoga, you yourself were perorating at the top of your voice about its awful, horrible, pathetic and tragic dangers. So –


January 17, 1935

I beg to submit my apologies. I committed this folly because of ignorance of facts. Believe me, I did not know that you were the brain behind the revolutionary movement and its real leader till I read the other day what Barinbabu has written about you (that does not minimise my guilt, I know). But even then I couldn’t persuade myself to believe it, though I was very glad to hear it. I only knew that you were an extremist Congress leader for which the Govt. was shadowing and suspecting you. Now that it is confirmed by you, I know (not by experience) what is meant by the phrase “living dangerously”. Of course I was not referring to anything about Yoga or the inner life. But why put me to shame by dragging my poor self into it? My dangers don’t prove anything, do they?

Wait a sec. I have admitted nothing about “Barinbabu” – only to having inspired and started and maintained while I was in the field a movement for independence. That used at least to be a matter of public knowledge. I do not commit myself to more than that. My dear fellow, I was acquitted of sedition twice and of conspiracy to wage war against the British Raj once and each time by an impeccably British magistrate, judges or judge. Does not that prove conclusively my entire harmlessness and that I was a true Ahimsuk?

I read your poem on “Tautology”9 written to Dilipda, and I felt rather bad for you. So if you like I can write only three days a week.

The poem was not aimed at you – you need have no qualms of conscience.

If you mind the way I have written the last few letters, I mean the humorous vein in them – I shall stop it and keep to the point. But let me say that it was by some gracious movement of yours that I dared to do this, and I have really wondered how I dare! I have told you already how I enjoy and feel happy by your kindly jokes and humour...

Not necessary to stop. Unless you are afraid of word-punctures in the skull. My indignations and objurgations are jocular and not meant to burn or bite.

To come to serious matters. What would you say if the Mother actually proposed to you to exchange the timber-trade for medicine? E.g. (1) to transfer your worldly and unworldly goods and your learned and noble person to the Dispensary and take physical charge of keeping it in order. (2) to help Becharlal in ministering to the physical ills of the sadhaks – with the provision that you may have hereafter to take the main charge, if he takes a trip to Gujerat.

The Mother is rather anxious that you should take up this work; she had the idea, as I told you, when D.S. broke down (which was a pity because he was in many respects the ideal man for the charge), but she did not propose it because she was not sure you would like it. As yet the suggestion is confidential, for pending your answer, we have said nothing to Becharlal.


January 18, 1935

Today during meditation, again there was the sense of much pressure on the head, as if I would fall down. I was quite unconscious for some seconds and felt also very light, as if there was no body. Is it the same experience as the previous one? Why is the Force felt only on the head, and why opening of the eyes relieves the intensity?

Yes, it was the same experience. You went inside under the pressure of the Force – which is often though not always the first result – went into a few seconds’ Samadhi, according to the ordinary language. The Force when it descends tries to open the body and pass through the centres. It has to come in (ordinarily) through the crown of the head (Brahmarandhra) and pass through the inner mind centre which is in the middle of the forehead between the eyebrows. That is why it presses first on the head. The opening of the eyes brings one back to the ordinary consciousness of the outer world, that is why the intensity is relieved by opening the eyes.


January 19, 1935

My last questions on women were a prelude to a bigger question on them in general...

I will quote the view of a medical man of experience who seems to represent the popular opinion “Women are, as a rule, more intelligent than men, but their intelligence is of a different order. Man’s brain is superior to woman’s in size and weight... We are told that it can be explained by our keeping all culture as a sex-monopoly to ourselves, that they have been in constant subjection, that they have never had a fair chance.” Then he adds that in Greece and Rome during the Middle Ages women had great freedom and a superior form of instruction, yet they did nothing outstanding. In his own profession, though there have been women professors since the 17th century in famous Italian Universities – in Bologna, Naples, etc. – they have done nothing to advance their special science.

In Greece woman was a domestic slave – except the Hetairae and they were educated only to please. In Rome “She remained at home and spun wool” was the highest eulogy for woman. It was only for a brief period of the Empire that woman began to be more free, but she was never put on an equality with man. Your medical man was either an ignoramus or talking through his hat at you.

Then again, there have been no women of first rank in painting, music, literature, etc., except Rosa Bonheur, who however had to shave her chin and dress as a man.

What an argument! from exceptional conditions as against the habits of millenniums! What about administration, rule, business, in which women have shown themselves as capable and more consistently capable than men? These things need no brains? Any imbecile can do them?

You will then agree that that is the consensus of opinion.

The consensus of masculine opinion, – perhaps.

Of course no one can dispute that in another sphere they are angels: by the side of death and disease, sorrow and suffering...

It means that is what men have mainly demanded of them – to be their servants, nurses, cooks, children-bearers and rearers, ministers to their sex-desires etc. That has been their occupation, their aim in life and their natures have got adapted to their work. All that they have achieved else than that is by the way – in spite of the yoke laid on them. And then man smiles a superior smile and says it was all due to woman’s inferior nature, not to the burden laid on her.

Whatever may be the reason of the difference between a man and a woman, it can’t be gainsaid that women can efface themselves more completely or more easily for the sake of love. Is it because their heart is full and strong that their head is weak (if true)?

They have been trained to it through the ages – that is why. Subjection, self-effacement, to be at the mercy of man has been their lot – it has given them that training. But it has left them also another kind of ego which is their spiritual obstacle – the ego which is behind the abhiman and the hunger-strikes.

Can it be said that because they live more in their heart than in their head, their path is easier?

All these clear-cut assertions are mental statements – and mental statements are too clear-cut to be true, as philosophy and science have now begun to discover. Life and being are too complex for that.

So doubt having gone and faith coming in, their love raises them towards the Divine as thermometre by heat! Or Love transferred from the human to the Divine closes the cycle by taking them to the All-love.

There you go from mental statements to poetry and image – not more reliable.

Here I have noticed that out of sheer love some women have followed their husbands into the travails of the Unknown, but when the husbands have been assailed with doubts and depression, they have been sitting happily and confidently in the lap of the Divine.

Great Scott! what a happy dream!

It seems that in Yoga women have one advantage, the sex-instinct in them is not as strong as in men.

There is no universal rule. Women can be as sexual as men or more. But there are numbers of women who dislike sex and there are very few men. One Sukhdev10 in a million, but many Dianas and Pallas Athenes. The virgin is really a feminine conception; men are repelled by the idea of eternal virginity. Many women would remain without any wakening of the sexual instinct if men did not thrust it on them and that cannot be said of many, perhaps of any man. But there is another side to the picture. Women are perhaps less physically sexual than men on the whole, – but what about vital sexuality? the instinct of possessing and being possessed etc., etc.?

How is it that Ramakrishna always used to ask his disciples to avoid kāmini-kānchan?11 Buddha was no less strict.

That is the old monastic idea. It arises from the extreme sexuality of men. They see in women the नरकस्य द्वारं12 because that door is so wide open in themselves. But they prefer to throw the blame on women.

Was not man’s fall from heaven due to woman?

That was not due to sex, but to woman’s desire for new experience and knowledge.

This letter of mine is pretty long. I am waiting to have from you a royal verdict covering and satisfying all the points.

I can’t cover and satisfy all points – it would need a volume.

I had kept your book in order to write something less flippant and insufficient than the marginal notes about this grave matter. But I have had enough work today for any two Sundays, so I had to leave aside all that was not urgent. The inferiority and superiority of women is not a subject that cannot wait, so – it waits.


January 21, 1935

Dr. B asked me to shift over to the Dispensary today itself, but I refused, waiting for your full instructions about the furniture, table lamp, management work, etc.

I think there is everything needed over there, table lamp and all. You had better go and see. If so, you will need to take only your personal things. One thing the Mother wants to say – she asks you to keep the Dispensary meticulously clean as D.S. did; there is a special servant attached to the Dispensary for that. As a “foreign degree doctor” you will understand the necessity. You can move in whenever you like, handing over your wooden responsibilities to Dikshit.

Now that I shall be in charge of the Dispensary I feel afraid about my prestige. People expect great things from an England-returned doctor (who I may confide in you, hasn’t had enough time for experience). If you can’t save my prestige, save at least my face.

People are exceedingly silly – but I suppose they can’t help themselves. The more I observe humanity, the more that forces itself upon me – the abysses of silliness of which its mind is capable.

The prestige I can’t guarantee, but hope to save something of the face.

Above all, you are putting me in front of my very weakness – to be conquered, perhaps.

It had to be faced someday.

I have no desire to eat though I am hungry. I can’t even sleep at night. Can it be due to the hypersecretion of the endocrines from yogic pressure?

Confound your endocrines! You have got to eat. Yoga can’t be done on a hungry stomach. Sleep also is indispensable.


January 22, 1935

Everybody seems to be happy to find me shifted from the “timber throne” to the Dispensary, and says, “Now is the right man in the right place”!

Men are rational idiots. The timber-godown made you make a great progress and you made the timber-godown make a great progress. I only hope it will be maintained by your successor.

But I don’t know how long the right man will be right for them. They want me to entertain them with “pāyas”13 to celebrate the occasion.

No man ever is the right one for them – for a long time, but just the time of digesting the payas.

I feel a little māyā14 for that room where I stayed, with plenty of air and light.

That was the reason for our hesitation to change you. But there is no go. The man in the right place must be in the place.

I thought, however I am the neighbour of the Divine, under his breath,15 almost. So I am at least free from any number of hostile forces.

Provided you allow the breath to come into you and don’t blow it away.

Is it necessary to keep the Dispensary open for longer hours than at present?

There are two different things – (1) sadhaks who can be confined to limited hours and (2) workmen and servants who cannot, for the workmen may have accidents and that must be seen to immediately. So you must be available, especially at the times when the work closes. No. (2) is the main thing, for it throws a considerable responsibility upon us.

The Dispensary table is covered with paper and looks rather untidy. An oilcloth would be better.

Mother had given a fine coloured hospital cloth, very big (the size of the table) and much better than any oilcloth. Ask what has become of it.

There is no table for my personal use, and for your big photo what would you suggest, a small cane table or nails on the wall?

No nails on the wall – absolutely forbidden. Ask for a small table from Amrita.

By the way, I find that I am extremely hilarious and happy, though I am doing very little sadhana. One cause, I find, is the daily contact with you. But is hilarity permissible in the court of the Divine and can it go hand in hand with progress?

Cheerfulness is the salt of sadhana.

It is a thousand times better than gloominess.


January 23, 1935

The cloth you sent is too good for the dispensing table and will be spoilt. So it is being used for the writing table. Will oilcloth be available?

Yes, you have to ask the B.S.16

The main room is now broomed twice and mopped once.

That is all right.

How shall we clean the glazed tiles? They are now simply dusted. I am thinking of thoroughly watering the floor once a week.

Glazed tiles can be wiped with wet cloth. But watering can’t be done because it spoils the walls.

Shall we use floor polish, if available?

Polish can be given, but then you can’t use water any more. Of course polish is nice looking and hygienic, but it will be rather a labour to keep it up, passing a special cloth every day. If the servant has time, it can be done.

The walls can be rubbed with wet cloth once a week.

That is good, the wall-tiles can be rubbed with wet cloth.

Shall I put a notice: “No shoes, please”?

Yes, you can put a notice. Of course, if there is polish, shoes are impossible.

Another thing, but I feel hesitant to write about it. I have a great fancy for a secretariat table like the one being prepared under my supervision for Cocotier...

It can be done – you can ask Chandulal for it.

Your resident physician or surgeon is not satisfied with being that alone, he is anxious to serve another Deity who is still behind. So he needs a bigger table which will be convenient and necessary, apart from the prestige.

The bigger table is necessary for the prestige of the Deity and for the convenience (and necessity) of the physician-priest?


January 24, 1935

N said that he took some methylated spirit knowing it fully well and obeying a suggestion that if he took it, all his complaints would disappear. Is it really the hostile force that prompted him?

Is he speaking the truth? B writes that he did it immediately after B left him and then bawled from the terrace to B to come and help. If he did do it with such an idea, it is evidently a suggestion of the hostile force or, if you like to put it more psychologically, he was possessed by a mental formation of an irrational undetermined character. It is of the same class as the ideas which get hold of people’s minds and become “fixed ideas”, only these are momentary. But even if he did it by mistake, it was a suggestion from a source that wanted to do him injury – and took advantage of a momentary absence of mind.


January 26, 1935

Apropos our discussion on women, let me put before you Mother’s opinion on the matter. She says that women are not more bound to the vital and material consciousness than men. On the contrary, as they do not have the arrogant mental pretensions of men, it is easier for them to discover their psychic being and be guided by it.

No doubt, they can discover their psychic being more easily, – but that is not enough. It is the first step. The next is to live in the psychic. The third is to make the psychic the ruler of the being. The fourth is to rise beyond the mind. The fifth is to bring what is beyond mind into the lower nature. I don’t say it is always done in that order. But all that has to be done.

Then why do you say that these are my clear-cut mental assertions? [79.7.55]

Perhaps if you give full weight to my marginal answers, you will realise why. The truth is too complex for such assertions to be reliable.

Mother also says that women are conscious in their sentiments, and that the best of them are conscious in their acts. If that is so, there is no more question about it, I think.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined the words “no more question”:]

That is too much to say. There may not be so much mental questioning but there may be a lot of vital questioning and resistance.

You will agree then that women are more intuitive than men?

Yes, that of course – but it is the spontaneous intuition of the heart or of the vital mind, not the Intuition with a capital I.

As they live in the vital, their difficulties in the sadhana will be less, I suppose.

Not at all. How can living in the vital make things easier? The vital is the main source of difficulties in the Yoga. The difficulty with men is not purely mental. There too it is vital – only men call in their intellect to defend their vital against the coming or the touch or the pressure of the Divine. Women call in their vital mind to do the same thing.

Nolini writes in his book, “Woman’s whole being is concentrated on the thing she clings to, but man’s vision is not so exclusive. Nishtha17 is the very nature and ideal of woman.”

It depends on the spirit in which she is concentrated. There is the psychicised spiritual and there is the unregenerate vital. The unregenerate vital way creates enormous difficulties, and its desire to possess means a vehement vital egoism. How can a vehement egoism be helpful for the spiritual life?

If this nishtha can be transformed into higher and diviner things then her path becomes easier, I suppose.

What is this nishtha? If the woman recoils from the vital to the spiritual and psychic (the vital converting itself into an instrument of realisation), then what you say may be true. But there lies the whole question.

Since ancient times women have been trained to accept a position of subjection by Manu and others. Is it because men are more sexual? It would be rather hard on us to be accused of this!

It is because of man’s desire to be the master and keep her in subjection, – the Hitler and Mussolini attitude. The sex is an additional stimulus. Not more hard than you deserve.

Then again, it is said that woman’s centre of life and consciousness is in the vital, whose nature is to pull the jiva down to earth.

Woman’s living in material and vital is not the cause – it is man’s living in the vital and material that is the cause of his finding her an obstacle. She also finds him aft obstacle and could say of him that he is নরকস্য দ্ৱারং.18 The assumption that man lives less in the vital and material than woman is not true. He makes more use of his intellect for vital and material purposes – that is all.

Is it not because of this fundamental trait in her being that she has been so sacrificed and tied to man, and also incapacitated from any spiritual endeavour in conjunction with man?

Man has taken advantage of it to keep them under his heel.

Can we not then justify Buddha, Ramakrishna and others who advocated isolation from women? After all, is it not essentially the same principle here, because if vital relations are debarred, nothing remains except a simple exchange of words?

What about the true (not the pretended) psychic and spiritual – forgetting sex? The relation has to be limited as it is because sex immediately trots into the front. You are invited to live above the vital and deeper than the vital – then only you can use the vital aright. Buddha was for Nirvana, and what is the use of having relations with anybody if you are bound for Nirvana? Ramakrishna insisted on isolation during the period when a man is spiritually raw – he did not object to meeting when he became ripe and no longer a slave of sex.

Now, I have learnt a lot on the subject, but it has not been wholly satisfying, since the answers are in the nature of marginal comments. I would like to have a coherent, harmonious whole. My notebook can wait on your table till Monday.

Sorry, but you can’t get today either the volume or the harmonious whole. Woman will have to wait as she has done through the centuries and may have to do again if Hitler and Mussolini have their way. The men have crowded her out. Next time better not discuss her yourself – that will save me from the temptation of marginals. As for Monday – no, sir! it is almost as impracticable as the Saturdays.


January 28, 1935

N feels feverish. He says that it has been going on for some weeks. It may be an early sign of T.B., or a mild kidney infection. He had kidney trouble in the past.

It was Mother’s impression also. The old Doctor said the same thing, that that was the weakness in his body.

I blurted out in a confident bravado that he will be all right in two days. I pray that my bravado may work out successfully. If S could come to help him it would be good.

Let it be so. After 2 days he ought not to be any more lying in bed, it is not safe at his age.

Very well. Mother is telling Dyuman.


January 29, 1935

Why do I feel so sleepy in spite of having enough sleep? Is it tamas? I hardly seem to be doing any sadhana; no prayer, no meditation – nevertheless quite well!

If you feel quite well, it is all right. Perhaps you are “assimilating”!

My bravado has not worked. N’s temperature is still running.

Is it absolutely necessary to keep him in bed? To remain quiet out of bed in light and air might be better.

There are some people who keep fever if they are lying down all the time and it is not considered good after a certain age. This is only for your consideration.


January 30, 1935

In your proposed (or promised?) volume on the subject of woman [in the letter of the 19th instant], I would like to have answers to these points.

There will be no volume.

1) You say that man has kept woman under his heels from time immemorial. But how has that been possible? Was there no tacit consent from the inferior and weak power to the superior intelligence and strength of man?

They used their superior strength and cunning and took advantage of the psychic trend in woman, that’s all. If you think that is a justification!

2) Are women created only for the preservation of the species and the race?

Much as doctors are? Only of course the doctor does not produce the species out of himself.

3) It is said that woman is man’s guru and shakti.19 Sounds queer, doesn’t it?

No more queer than the husband being a god (husband-god, pati-devata). The husband is supposed to be the wife’s proper and only guru, so why should not the wife return that compliment and be the man’s guru? Tit for tat.

4) Is this shakti needed to make a man complete and whole?

Is man needed to make a woman complete and whole?

How are we different from Buddha who, you say, was bound for Nirvana, so far as our relation with woman is concerned?

Don’t understand. We are not going for Nirvana – at least I am not.

As for shakti, we can get any amount of it from above, can’t we?

It doesn’t look like it – most of the shakti is either not received or spilled. It does not follow that you should all go hunting for shaktis to complete you.

5) In the law of rebirth, is it true that once a man always a man and once a woman, always a woman?

No fixed rule, at least not invariable but a general line or tendency.

I haven’t left any marginal space in my writing, because I want an exhaustive answer. The book can wait till Sunday.

As you put no margin, I have put interstitials instead of marginals.

Hitler and Mussolini are much better than Manu and Chanakya20, I should say, for they haven’t excluded women.

They want women to be subject to men and confined to the domestic drudgery and child-bearing – which is the same position as Manu and as all the old masculines had towards women.

The Divine Grace has done something. I acted up to your advice and N felt better the whole day, as he wasn’t in bed.

It was not the Divine Grace but the Divine Force. If it had been the Grace, it would simply have said तथास्तु21 and the thing would be done. As it is, last night I had to work a damned lot for this result – I only hope it will last and complete itself.

M has ringworm. It’s a nasty business and very likely to spread. He has to go on persistently and patiently applying medicine and waiting till one day he is cured – as for the Divine Grace, I am afraid!

Tell him all that and give him the treatment. He is as sceptical about medical Force as others are of the Divine species.

I am thinking of giving him Benzoic and Salicylic ointment. May I ask if you know anything better?

No, we don’t. Benzoic and the other fellow can be tried.


January 31, 1935

Today I examined patient N; there is a definite lesion in the left lung. It may be either pleurisy with effusion or T.B. T.B. cannot be excluded altogether considering his advanced age, long-lasting oral sepsis and susceptibility to cold.

I don’t know whether there is T.B. – but the mental formation of T.B. on N was formed long ago and when you have a mental formation like that, then physical results may come at any opportunity, – pleurisy, a strong chill even etc. Because of this mental formation, the Mother cannot see definitely.

The doubt can only be cleared by a blood exam and conclusively by exploration...

But is pleurisy undiscoverable except by exploration? Blood exam is so often doubtful.

...I feel a great responsibility. It is bad luck for me to have to tackle such a difficult case... My prestige is also involved.

It is a test case, I suppose. But why so strong on prestige? I should have thought everybody knows that doctors have to be guessing all the time and that cure is a matter of hit or miss. If you hit often, you are a clever doctor – or if you kill people brilliantly, then also. It reduces itself to that.

But may I ask you why you are wasting such a lot of Force when a word could do the job? Why not cut short our labour and the patients’ discomfort by saying tathāstu? Is it as easily done as it is said? If working “a damned lot” reduces the temperature only by one degree and that too for 12 hours or less, what am I to think? I would surely like to see Thy Grace operate on this poor man – certainly this is a case for the descent of Grace!

I did not expect you to take my तथास्तु with such grim seriousness. Speaking semi-seriously, I am not heAre women created only forre to do miracles to order, but to try to get in a new consciousness somewhere in the world – which is itself however to attempt a miracle. If physical miracles happen to tumble in in the process, well and good, but you can’t present your medical pistol in my face and call on me to stand and deliver.

As for the Force, application of my force, short of the supramental, means always a struggle of forces and the success depends on (1) the strength and persistency of the force put out, (2) the receptivity of the subject, (3) the sanction of the Unmentionable – I beg your pardon, I meant the Unnameable, Ineffable and Unknowable. N’s physical consciousness is rather obstinate, as you have noticed, and therefore not too receptive. It may feel the Mother inside it, but to obey her will or force is less habitual for it.

N’s departure to see his mother, my attachment for my mother, G’s activities in Gujerat and B’s departure in spite of his profound bhakti, set my brain whirling.

Why on earth should such natural and inevitable things make your brain whirl?

Mother, R says that you visit the Dispensary on the first of every month. Are you then coming tomorrow?

R is romancing or perhaps he is dreaming dreams in preparation of the millennium.

By the way, one point. You seem to want the fever down, R wrote that the fever must be there (but not rise too high) because it is a necessary reaction of the body against the poison. Now, look here! which doctor am I to follow?


February 1, 1935

N asked me to tell you that he felt your Presence and Force in the evening very concretely. He does not want any medicine at all; he says that he used to have doubts before, but now they have disappeared.

It is queer. All the force I am putting into it or almost all turns into this subjective form – some objective result is there but still slight, uncertain and slow. Of course the cause is apparent – he has been accustomed to receive subjectively but not accustomed to receive physically. It is not however convenient for the present purpose – except as a preparation for the more objective receptivity.

We are not anxious to stuff him with too much medicine.

Perhaps it is better not to give medicines except Lithiné.

I still can’t understand why you should bother to follow us doctors. The Divine can very easily act from the supramental consciousness directly; you don’t really need a diagnosis given by ordinary men!

If things were like that, why the deuce should we have Doctors or a dispensary at all? And what would have been the use of your 20,000? We don’t propose to do the whole business of the inside and outside off our own bat. You are as necessary for this as Chandulal for the building or others for their work.

Who told you we are acting from supramental consciousness? We aren’t and can’t until the confounded quarrel with Matter is settled.

If we doctors are important as mediums, you must tell me what our attitude should be in conducting a case.

Faith, openness, an alert and flexible intelligence. I mean by faith especially faith as a dynamic means of bringing about what has to be effected or realised.


February 2, 1935

Can we help a patient by aspiring for him? Since the Divine Force is already acting on him, how can my aspiration help him further?

It can. Every little helps.

What is this “confounded quarrel with Matter” you mention? Does this refer to the lower vital and physical movements of the sadhaks?

I am not speaking of the sadhaks, but the resistance of the Earth nature itself in its material parts. But these are things you people cannot understand unless you have less childlike notions about things.

I am still wondering why there should be doctors and a dispensary at all! Isn’t it a paradox – the Divine sending his disciples to the human physician?

Rubbish! This is a world of the play of forces, sir, and the Doctor is a force. So why should not the Divine use him? Have you realised that if the Divine did everything, there would be no world, only a show of marionnettes?

D also thinks the same as I do. Why is it not possible for the Force to cure the patients? Let the Dispensary go to the devils!

Thank you for your suggestions all the same – especially about the dispensary and the devils. D.S. almost sent it there, but it went to you instead.

Coming back to the cure you effected in D by your Force, X says that it might have been due to a combination of unseen factors – not due to your Force.

How does he know? Why can’t my poor force be there among the invisibles, since invisibles there are? If only visibles were admitted, then of course.

In that case all the trouble I took for D was sheer waste of energy, hallucination and chimera. Hallucination also the fact that D’s improvement agreed exactly with the thought I put out in the force? Well, it may be so. Modern science says there is no such thing as cause and effect, only conditions and statistics. But what are these unseen factors? (The Doctor at any rate thought it miraculous. And what about the hundreds of cases of healing by suggestion or other mental forces everywhere?)

You say “natural and inevitable” things make my brain whirl [57.7.55]. But N has been here for so many years, no frivolous company, no lower trouble; on the contrary 7 or 8 hours meditation daily. Yet he was not able to cut his attachment for his dead mother. Then what kind of a sadhana has he done?

What kind of meditation? The only report he gave to me of it was devils. See note on next page.

I have always been at a loss to understand why mere length of meditation should be a title to greatness in Yoga.

Did he ever try? To my knowledge he did not. He was in constant correspondence with wife and son, always thinking about his family, demanding the advent of wife (+ son understood) here in spite of our constant refusals. As for his meditations, in them he was always going to his house, getting attacked there by devils and still returning. Yet you think his keeping attachment unnatural and evitable! Have some common sense.

As for G, I hear that he is preaching the Truth, saying, “Will you accept the Truth from Sri Aurobindo or from me?” What else is insanity!

But he has always been like that.

This fellow has been saying that you have told him that he has played great parts in the Divine Lila, in former births, had beautiful experiences!


How often have I intimated that G was no great clergy. As for experiences, anybody with an occult bent can have experiences. The thing is to know what to do with them.

Am I to say alas, human nature! Or alas, Divine Power!

Excuse me. It was not the Divine Power that told G to be a Teacher. It was his ego.

Please don’t mind our pungent remarks. We don’t look upon you as a Bengali father but as an English one – who is a father and a friend.

That you is who? I decline the adhyaropa22 of an English or any father on me!

If you find my ravings too much to answer, let me hear something about the patient N.

What about the patient? It is for you to say, not me.


February 3, 1935

N is very well today: fresh and cheerful. What about giving him some orange? Yesterday he enjoyed those few bits from D.R.

When Mother has she will give.

If he doesn’t take pocket money, can I help him with a few annas?

Yes. But also if you think he needs, Mother can give the pocket money.

M’s servant boy came today at 11 a.m, but R was not available. He was asked to come at 4 p.m, but he didn’t turn up.

This won’t do. He should be told to go to the Government hospital. We can’t be responsible for a case like that.

So tomorrow we’ll examine him.

If you want to examine, examine him at once, or else send him to the Hospital without farther ado.


February 4, 1935

N has less sweating, and above all, his general appearance is so changed and he feels it.

We are inclined to agree with you.

He is weak, he says. I stopped soup. But should I increase soup because of flatulence?

Yes, if there is flatulence, soup is best.

Fruits may benefit him. If you think the same, he will require the pocket money for this month, to buy them.

Mother will tell C to send 2 oranges daily. Will that be enough? If more is needed, pocket money can be given.

I incised J’s finger and he was quite bold. But funnily enough, while I was bandaging it, he said he was feeling giddy, and fell unconscious!

I think J himself is a little nervous by temperament.

It seems you were a little displeased about my “ado” about M’s servant boy?

No, not at all.

Your mentioning “ulcer” made me think.

It was the story of blood-vomiting several times that made Mother suspect ulcer and insist on the hospital.


February 5, 1935 (Morning)

N is keeping better. Temperature actually came down to 99.4°, the first time in his illness. He is already aspiring to do his gate duty on Darshan day. What more evidence? Yesterday during meditation he felt a lot of Force on his chest, he said.

It is evidence of a subjective improvement which helps – but we must get the objective one also. If his lungs are improving and temperature [has a] downward tendency then it is all right.

I have a very wonderful colleague in Dr. B. He can’t utter two words about you without shedding tears! Is it second childhood? In spite of all this devotion, domestic affairs bind him.

It is not second childhood – he has always been like that. Here or over there looking after his affairs, his bhakti is constant and genuine.

I am simply overjoyed to learn that one day your retirement can really come to an end. We had always a fear that you might never come out. Tagore expressed this sentiment saying that the world has lost you. How can the world be changed without the personal presence of the Incarnate Divine?

You mean to say I am not personally present – I have gone off to the x loka23 already?

You refuse to be a Guru and decline to be a father, though ladies especially think of you as father and call you so. If they come to know of your refusal, I’ll have to run with smelling salts from one lady to another!

Father is too domestic and Semitic – Abba24 Father! I feel as if I had suddenly become a twin-brother of the Lord Jehovah. Besides, there are suggestions of a paternal smile and a hand uplifted to smite which do not suit me.

Let the ladies “father” me if smelling salts are the only alternative, but let it not be generalised.

But what is the relation you won’t decline? Is it something besides the recognised ones in spiritual history?

I don’t know. I always prefer something new to the old labels. I will see the Supramental and perhaps find something.

They are saying that a “sweet relation” has been established between you and me. I only hope and pray that it will be sweeter and sweetest.

The sweet relation is all right, but let it be nameless.

I have brought down a verse from heaven on the correspondence like Bahaullah25 – which proves that if I am not an Avatar, at least I am a prophet. It is I fear full of chhandapatan and bhashapatan,26 but it expresses my feelings:

সাধকগণের হাদিতলে [sādhakaganera hāditale] correspondence করব বলে যদি জাগতনা পীপাসা নরক [karaba bale yadi jāgatanā pīpāsā], থাকতাম আমি হাসিমুখে মপ্ন [thākatāma ami kasimukhe mapna] Supramental সুখ হায়রে হায় কোথায় সে আশা [sukha hāyare hāya kothāya se āśā] 27

But for heaven’s sake, don’t show this undivine outbreak to anybody! They will think I am trying to rival Dara28 in his lighter poetic moods.


February 5, 1935 (Evening)

Your humorous verse on the burden of correspondence makes me feel a bit guilty.

I don’t mind your correspondence. It is a relief. But when people write four letters a day in small hand closely running to some 10 pages without a gap anywhere and one gets 20 letters in the afternoon and forty at night (of course not all like that, but still!) it becomes a little too too.

Though I admit that you have reclaimed one non-believer by means of your correspondence, the thought of going away is becoming more and more remote. Perhaps this is no consolation to you, for what do you care after all? Men may come and men may go –

But letters go on forever!


February 6, 1935

Correspondence suspended till after the 21st and resumable only on notice. But under cover of your medical cloak, you can carry on. Only mum about it! Otherwise people might get jealous and give you a headache.

Yesterday X and I had a discussion about the action of your Force. Try as I would, I could not convince him of its reality. Let me put before you the discussion in dialogue form as it actually took place.

X: I just can’t believe that D was cured by Sri Aurobindo’s Force, unless I hear to this effect from Sri Aurobindo himself

Myself: But the facts and figures are there: they show quite clearly that something utterly miraculous happened – an abdominal abscess being cured without any material intervention, – symptoms subsiding, the temperature coming down from 103 degrees to 102, and then dropping to 99. As a doctor, I think, I am in a position to judge these things.

X: Maybe all this happened, but how do you know it was Sri Aurobindo’s Force that brought about this sudden change?

Myself: Everybody knows here that Sri Aurobindo’s Force is constantly acting on us with a tremendous power. Almost all of us have experienced it one time or another. D was brought here under the Mother’s instructions, even though his condition was precarious, so that Sri Aurobindo could act upon it with his Force. So it seems quite obvious that he had been cured by this Force just as others have been. What other blessed force could have acted upon him, and if some force did act, why not the Force under which we are living and which is all the time animating us?

X: If that is so, what about the instances where the Divine Force has failed, and why does it succeed in some cases and not in others?

The mistake is to think that it must be either a miraculous force or else none. There is no miraculous force and I do not deal in miracles. The word Divine here is out of place, if it is taken as an always omnipotently acting Power. Yogic Force is then better; it simply means a higher Consciousness using its power, a spiritual and supraphysical force acting on the physical world directly. One has to train the instrument to be a channel of this force; it works also according to a certain law and under certain conditions. The Divine does not work arbitrarily or as a thaumaturge; He acts upon the world along the lines that have been fixed by the nature and purpose of the world we live in – by an increasing action of the thing that has to manifest, not by a sudden change or disregard of all the conditions of the work to be done. If it were not so, there would be no need of Yoga or time or human action or instruments or of a Master and disciples or of a Descent or anything else. It could simply be a matter for the तथास्तु and nothing more. But that would be irrational if you like and worse than irrational – “childish”. This does not mean that interventions, things apparently miraculous, do not happen – they do. But all cannot be like that.

Myself: I don’t see how you can deny the reality of this Force. Were you able to write with such vigour before you came here?

X: Yes, I could work a lot; so much so that people were astounded! Was that Sri Aurobindo’s Force?

What is Sri Aurobindo’s force? It is not a personal property of this body or mind. It is a higher Force used by me or acting through me.

And Tagore, Lenin, etc. who are giants – is your Divine Force working in them too?

Of course it is a Divine Force, for there is only one force acting in the world, but it acts according to the nature of the instrument. Yogic Force is different from others because it is a special power of the spiritual consciousness.

Myself: It may not be Sri Aurobindo’s Force, but how can I exclude the possibility of Divine Force behind? Because one is an atheist, it doesn’t mean the Divine is undivine against him!

There was an obvious intervention in the case he speaks of – but the agent or process could only be determined if one knew all the circumstances. Such interventions are frequent; e.g. My uncle’s daughter was at her last gasp, the doctors had gone away telling him there was no more to be done. He simply sat down to pray – as soon as he had finished, the death symptoms were suspended, the girl recovered without farther treatment (it was a case of typhoid fever). Several cases of that kind have come within my personal observation.

X: Oh, if you say that everything is being done at the Divine impulsion, I have nothing to say. But you can’t say for that matter that I am working because Sri Aurobindo is constantly at my back! (He had admitted this before, I don’t know whether for the sake of argument, but he recedes now. What can I say against it?)

I am not very particular about that. It is a personal question and depends on X’s feeling. I certainly put force on him for the development and success of his poetry – about the rest I don’t want to say anything.

I have marginalised on the Force – to write more completely would need more time than I have tonight. Of course, if it depended on a few cases of illness, it would be a thing of no certitude or importance. If the “Force” were a mere freak or miracle, it would be equally trivial and unimportant, even if well-attested. It is only of importance if it is part of the consciousness and the life, used at all times, not only for illness but for whatever one has to do. It manifests in various ways – as a strength of the consciousness evenly supporting the life and action, as a power put forth for this or that object of the outward life, as a special Force from above drawn down to raise and increase the scope of the Consciousness and its height and transform it not by a miraculous, but by a serious, steady, organised action following certain definite lines. Its effectiveness as well as its action is determined first by its own height and intensity or that of the plane from which it comes (it may be from any plane ranging from the Higher Mind upward to the Overmind), partly by the condition of the objects or the field in which it acts, partly by the movement which it has to effect, general or particular. It is neither a magician’s wand nor a child’s bauble, but something one has to observe, understand, develop, master before one can use it aright or else – for few can use it except in a limited manner – be its instrument. This is only a preface.


February 7, 1935

I am simply dying to show your divine verse to D; “heaven’s sake” I can’t take seriously; you don’t mean it either. Besides, I am no believer in heaven, so you will excuse me. No one in our group will think Dara’s influence is acting on you!

Well, under careful limitations and in all confidentiality, you may risk the indiscretion.

Your yesterday’s letter has given us quite a new and interesting point to think about. Our idea was that the Divine is always omnipotent, independent of all conditions and not limited by the particular plane from which he acts. But you give so many clauses under which the Force can operate successfully! K then seems to be right when he says that if one has not got a particular possibility in him the Divine cannot make him develop in that direction. Pushing this a little farther, I would say that one must have a talent or capacity as a nucleus in him for the spiritual development he is going to have later. One must have it, the Divine cannot make anything out of শূন্যম্29

What is শূন্যম্? It is out of the Silence that all things originated. All is contained in what you call Shunyam.

But I may be wrong. It again seems possible that the Divine can do these things – even change an atom into a mountain. If he does not, he has reasons of his own for not doing it. But then how is it that you spent so much Force on P but to no avail? Is it that you did not use the supramental Force, which alone can work irresistibly without the necessity of adapting itself to existing conditions?

Certainly, supramental Force was not the force used in that case, it was mental-spiritual. In such cases the object of the Force has always the right to say No. I put the force on him because he said he wanted to change, but his vital refused – as it had the right to do. If nothing in him had asked for the change, I would not have tried it, but simply put another force on him for another purpose.

There may be conditions and qualifications for the success of the Divine Force, but is it not also true that the Divine can rise above all conditions and act, and get a thing done if he wants to? You make a distinction between the Yogic force and the Divine Force; but is not the former an outcome of the latter?

Of course, but all force is the Divine Force. It is only the egoism of the individual which takes it as his own. He uses it, but it is not his.

By the way, X did not question the reality of your Force for his poetry or other literary activities, but he said he could not admit that all his activities were through and through permeated by your Force, because he used to work with great vigour and energy even before he came here.

Of course not – all the activities cannot be that. It is only in the Yoga realisation that one feels all one’s activities to be from the one source – something from above or the Yogashakti or the Guru Shakti or the Cosmic Force or whatever it may be (all names for the same thing in different formations) driving the whole consciousness and being.

Outside life is interdependent – on one’s own energy and the environmental stimulus; fame, ambition, social stimulations, and one may thrive very well. But when these conditions are removed, one’s whole energy may be paralysed, unless some higher Energy takes him up...

What is one’s own energy after all? You mean Nature’s energy in you? It may, in new conditions, remain extant in some things, develop in others, fail or change in others. One can’t make a rule.

Looking at myself, I wonder how a vitalistic man can pass his days in cellular imprisonment without any suffocation!

That kind of change happens.

One may say that a tamasic, indolent man can’t be activised by the Divine to that extent.

Of course he can.

Am I really wrong?

No, but there are many sides or aspects to a question.

After the “preface”, is any chapter likely to follow, or is it going to be like so many other prefaces – nothing coming after them?

Perhaps in some weeks or some months or some centuries the chapter may follow! But I used the word preface to characterise the nature of what I had written, not in a prophetic sense.

There are two things – Yoga-Force in its original totality, which is that of the Divine spiritual force, always potentially all-powerful, and Yoga force doing its work under the conditions of the evolutionary world here.

It is not a question of “can” or “cannot”30 at all. All is possible, but all is not licit – except by a recognisable process; the Divine Power itself imposes on its action limits, processes, obstacles, vicissitudes. It is possible that an ass may be changed into an elephant, but it is not done, – at least physically, because of the lack of a process. Psychologically analogous changes do take place. I have myself in my time changed cowards into heroes and that can be done even without Yogashakti, merely by an inner force. How can you say what is latent in man or what is incurably absent? I have developed many things by Yoga, often even without any will or effort to do so, which were not in my original nature. I may even say that I have transformed my whole nature and it is in many respects the opposite of what I began with. There can be no question about the power to change, to develop, to awaken faculties that were not there before; this power exists already, but it can be raised to an acme by being lifted to the spiritual plane.

The force put on the gentleman you speak of at least made it necessary for him to change if he remained here. He had no will in the vital to change and so did not remain here but went to his fate.

The rest is for the indefinable future. One day I shall certainly try to explain methodically and by examples what the spiritual force is; how it has worked on the earth-plane, how it acts and under what conditions – conditions not rigidly fixed, but plastic and mutable.


February 8, 1935

If you want seriously to write more on the subject as you hinted, may I point out to you that now is the golden opportunity? After the 21st, you will be again crushed and we shall have to rescue you with difficulty, from the heap of correspondence.

Yes, but I cannot spend these days in elaborate literary production – I have taken this respite31 (though I find that letters still come) for more serious work that has been badly impeded since November. So it is only marginals and short comments that I can indulge in.

A.D.32 has questioned your placing of Intuition above Reason. My question is whether genuine yogic feelings are not some form of Intuition?

The heart has its intuitions as well as the mind and these are as true as any mental perceptions. But neither all feelings nor all mental perceptions nor all rational conclusions can be true.

Some would, like A.D., perhaps consider Reason to be the sole arbiter. But if the question be the quest of Truth, I should say that feeling or intuition should be more reliable than reason, especially where instances are not lacking that reason is not infallible and feelings have as much claim to certitude as reason...

How can Reason be the sole arbiter? Whose reason? The reason in different men comes to different, opposite or incompatible conclusions. We cannot say that Reason is infallible, any more than feeling is infallible or the senses are infallible.

If someone refuses to accept my feeling as a proof of something, since it is not based on reason, but when I get a confirmation from you in support of the truth of my feeling, then he accepts it, must I not say that his reason is a less sure guide than my feeling?

Your feeling is a guide for you until it leads you towards the Truth – but it is difficult for another to accept your feeling as a guide – he must find out things for himself.


February 9, 1935

We are a little puzzled when you give your own example to prove your arguments and defend your views, because that really proves nothing. I need not explain why: what Avatars can achieve is not possible for ordinary mortals like us to do. So when you say that you had a sudden “opening” in the appreciation and under standing of painting, or that you freed your mind from all thoughts in three days, or transformed your nature, it is very poor consolation for us. Then again, when you state that you developed something that was not originally there in your nature, can it not be said that it was already there in your divya amsa?33

I don’t know what the devil you mean. My sadhana is not a freak or a monstrosity or a miracle done outside the laws of Nature and the conditions of life and consciousness on earth. If I could do these things or if they could happen in my Yoga, it means that they can be done and that therefore these developments and transformations are possible in the terrestrial consciousness.

There are many who admit that faculties which are latent can be developed, but they maintain that things which are not there in latency cannot be made manifest. My belief is that even that can be done. The Divine is everywhere, and wherever he is, there everything exists. Still, I don’t think that I could be turned into, say, an artist or a musician!

How do you know that you can’t?

As for your statement, “All is possible, but all is not licit – except by a recognisable process... It is possible that an ass may be changed into an elephant, but it is not done, at least physically, because of the lack of a process”, people say that there is no point in saying this, because it is no use knowing that a thing can be done when it is not licit, and is therefore not done.

[Sri Aurobindo made the following brief marginal comment on this remark but gave a longer answer to it at the end of the letter:]

You had said it can’t be done or somebody had said it.

About your changing “cowards into heroes”, they put forward the same “latency theory”. True, it is not possible to know what is latent or what is not, but that does not refute either theory.

How do they prove their theory – when they don’t know what is or is not latent? In such conditions the theory can neither be proved nor refuted. To say “O, it was latent” when a thing apparently impossible is done, is a mere post factum explanation which amounts to an evasion of the difficulty.

They state very strongly that a servant of the Ashram, like Muthu, for example, cannot be changed into a Ramakrishna, or a Yogi for that matter, even by the Divine.

If he were, they would say “O, it was latent in him”.

Well, Ramakrishna himself was an ignorant, unlettered rustic according to the story.

Another point, one can’t say categorically and absolutely that the Divine is omnipotent, because there are different planes from which he works. It is when he acts from the Supramental level that his Power is omnipotent.

If the Divine were not in essence omnipotent, he could not be omnipotent anywhere – whether in the supramental or anywhere else. Because he chooses to limit or determine his action by conditions, it does not make him less omnipotent. His self-limitation is itself an act of omnipotence.

The fact that P was not changed by the mental-spiritual force put on him proves that.

It does not prove it for a moment. It simply proves that the omnipotent unconditioned supramental force was not put out there – any more than it was when Christ was put on the cross or when after healing thousands he failed to heal in a certain district (I forget the name) because people had no faith (faith being one of the conditions imposed for his working) or when Krishna after fighting eighteen battles with Jarasandha34 failed to prevail against him and had to run away from Mathura.

Why the immortal Hell should the Divine be tied down to succeed in all his operations? What if failure suits him better and serves better the ultimate purpose? What if the gentleman in question had to be given his chance as Duryodhan was given his chance when Krishna went to him as ambassador in a last effort to avoid the massacre of Kurukshetra?35 What rigid primitive notions are these about the Divine! And what about my explanation of how the Divine acts through the Avatar? It seems all to have gone into water.

By the way about the ass becoming an elephant – what I meant to say was that the only reason why it can’t be done is because there is no recognizable process for it. But if a process can be discovered whether by a scientist (let us say transformation or redistribution of the said ass’s atoms or molecules – or what not) or by an occultist or by a Yogi, then there is no reason why it should not be done. In other words certain conditions have been established for the game and so long as those conditions remain unchanged certain things are not done – so we say they are impossible, can’t be done. If the conditions are changed, then the same things are done or at least become licit – allowable, legal, according to the so-called laws of Nature, – and then we say they can be done. The Divine also acts according to the conditions of the game. He may change them, but he has to change them first, not proceed, while maintaining the conditions, to act by a series of miracles.


February 10, 1935

Excuse my writing today, since all days are Sundays for you it is all right, I suppose.

The whole Ashram seems to reason in the same way and to draw the farther consequence that the perpetual Sunday is the proper day for each writing his special letter to me! What a touching proof of unanimity and solidarity in the communal mind!

You say that since “these things”36 have been possible in you, they are possible in the earth-consciousness. Quite true; but have they been done? Has any sweeper or street beggar been changed into a Buddha or a Chaitanya by the Divine? We see in the whole history of spirituality only one Christ, one Buddha, one Krishna, one Sri Aurobindo and one Mother. Has there been any breaking of this rule? Since it has not been done, it can’t be done.

The question was not whether it had been done but whether it could be done. The street-beggar is a side-issue. The question was whether new faculties not at all manifested in the personality up to now in this life could appear, even suddenly appear, by force of Yoga. I say they can and I gave my own case as proof. I could have given others also. The question involved is also this – is a man bound to the character and qualities he has come with into this life – can he not become a new man by Yoga? That also I have proved in my sadhana, it can be done. When you say that I could do this only in my case because I am an Avatar (!) and it is impossible in any other case, you reduce my sadhana to an absurdity and Avatarhood also to an absurdity. For my Yoga is done not for myself who need nothing and do not need salvation or anything else, but precisely for the earth-consciousness, to open a way to the earth-consciousness to change. Has the Divine need to come down to prove that he can do this or that or has he any personal need of doing it? Your argument proves that I am not an Avatar but only a big human person. It may well be so as a matter of fact, but you start your argument from the other basis. Besides, even if I am only a big human person, what I achieve shows that that achievement is possible for humanity. Whether any street-beggar can do it or has done it is a side-issue. It is sufficient if others who have not the economic misfortune of being street-beggars can do it.

What a wonderful argument! Since it has not been done, it cannot be done! At that rate the whole history of the earth must have stopped long before the protoplasm. When it was a mass of gases, no life had been born, ergo, life could not be born – when only life was there, mind was not born, so mind could not be born. Since mind is there but nothing beyond, as there is no Supermind manifested in anybody, so Supermind can never be born. Sobhanallah!37Glory, glory, glory to the human reason!! Luckily the Divine or the Cosmic Spirit or Nature or whoever is there cares a damn for the human reason. He or she or it does what he or she or it has to do, whether it can or cannot be done.

Kindly excuse the impudence of the next question; it has been hovering at the back of my mind for some time. Can a Muthu or a sadhak be ever a Sri Aurobindo, even if he is Supramentalised? I say that it is absolutely impossible, impossible, a thousand times so.

What need has he to be a Sri Aurobindo? He can be a Supramentalised Muthu!

If anybody comes and says “Why not?” I would answer, “You had better rub some Madhyam Narayan oil38 on your head.”

I have no objection to that. Plenty of the middle Narayan is needed in this Ashram. This part of your argument is perfectly correct – but it is also perfectly irrelevant.

And how can it be otherwise? You are looked upon by us here, and even by many outside, as a full Incarnation of the Divine. The sadhaks here at best are misty sparks of the Divine. I cannot by any empyrean flight of imagination conceive of this possibility even for a second.

The psychic being is more than a spark at this stage of its evolution. It is a flame. Even if the flame is covered by mist or smoke, the mist or smoke can be dissipated. To do that and to open to the higher consciousness is what is wanted, not to become a Sri Aurobindo or equal to the Mother. But if we are the Divine, what is the harm of evolving into a portion of the Divine, living in the divine Consciousness even if in a lesser degree? No middle Narayan will then be needed for anybody’s head.

Once when Y had said she wanted to be like the Mother – you thundered saying, “How can it be? That is an ambition!” Do you say now it’s possible?

Certainly not, it is not intended and I never said that [she] could as a practical matter.

All this is really too much for me. Please give a more direct answer – is it possible or not? Can a Muthu be changed into a being as great as an Avatar? If he can be, I have nothing further to say; if not, there is a limit to the omnipotence of the Divine. It is for this reason that I said that your own example doesn’t prove much.

Not at all. You are always making the same elementary baby stumble. It is not because the Divine cannot manifest his greatness anywhere, but because it is not in the conditions of the game, because he has chosen to manifest his centrality in a particular line that it is practically impossible.

Next point: it is hoped that the sadhaks will be Supramentalised. Since it is a state surpassing the Overmind, am I to deduce that the sadhaks would be greater than Krishna, who was the Avatar of the Overmind level? Logically it follows, but looking at others and at myself, I wonder if such a theory will be practically realised. Past history does not seem to prove it. In Krishna’s time, no disciple of his was a greater spiritual figure than the preceding Avatar Rama, even though Krishna was an Avatar of a higher plane.

What is all this obsession of greater or less? In our Yoga we do not strive after greatness. It is not a question of Sri Krishna’s disciples, but of the earth-consciousness – Rama was a mental man, there is no touch of the Overmind consciousness (direct) in anything he said or did, but what he did was done with the greatness of the Avatar. But there have since been men who did live in touch with the planes above mind – higher mind, illumined mind, Intuition. There is no question of asking whether they were “greater” than Rama; they might have been less “great”, but they were able to live from a new plane of consciousness. And Krishna’s opening the Overmind certainly made it possible for the attempt at bringing Supermind to the earth to be made.

I would not mind your fury in revenge if only you would crush me with a convincing assault. I hope to close the chapter on “Divine Omnipotence” with this last letter, but you keep me hoping with that promise of yours to write at length some day –

“Peace, peace, O fiery furious spirit! calm thyself and be at rest.” Your fury or furiousness is wasted because your point is perfectly irrelevant to the central question on which all this breath (or rather ink) is being spent. Muthu and the sadhaks who want to equal or distance or replace the Mother and myself and so need very badly Middle Narayan oil – there have been several – have appeared only as meaningless foam and froth on the excited crest of the dispute. I fear you have not grasped the internalities and modalities and causalities of my high and subtle reasoning. It is not surprising as you are down down in the troughs of the rigidly logically illogical human reason while I am floating on the heights amid the infinite plasticities of the Overmind and the lightninglike subtleties and swiftnesses of the intuition. There! what do you think of that? However!!

More seriously. I have not stated that any Muthu has equalled Ramakrishna and I quite admit that Muthu here in ipsa persona has no chance of performing that feat. I have not said that anyone here can be Sri Aurobindo or the Mother – I have pointed out what I meant when I objected to your explaining away my sadhana as a perfectly useless piece of Avatarian fireworks. So in my comment on the Muthu logic, I simply pointed out that it was bad logic – that someone quite ignorant and low in the social scale can manifest a great spirituality and even a great spiritual knowledge. I hope you are not bourgeois enough to deny that or to contend that the Divine or the spiritual can only manifest in somebody who has some money in his pockets or some University education in his pate? For the rest as I myself have been pointing out all the time there is a difference between essential truth and conditional truth, paramartha and vyavaharika, the latter being relative and conditional and mutable. In mathematics one works out problems in infinite and in unreal numbers which exist nowhere on earth and yet these are extremely important and can help scientific reasoning and scientific discovery and achievement. The question of a Muthu becoming a Ramakrishna, i.e. a great spiritual man may look to you like being an exercise in unreal numbers or magnitudes because it exceeds the actual observable facts in the case of this Muthu who very evidently is not going to be a great spiritual man – but we were arguing the matter of essential principle. I was pointing out that in the essentiality all things are possible – so you ought not to say the Divine cannot do this or that. But at the same time I was pointing out too that the Divine is not bound to show his omnipotence without rhyme or reason when he is working by his own will under conditions. For by arguing that the Divine cannot, that he is impotent, that he cannot do what has never yet been done etc., you deny the possibility of changing conditions, of evolution, of the realisation of the unrealised, of the action of Divine Power, of Divine Grace, and reduce all to a matter of rigid and unalterable status quo. Which is an insolent defiance to both fact and reason (!) and suprareason. See now?

About myself and the Mother, – there are people who say, “If the supramental is to come down, it can come down in everyone, why then in them first? Why should we not get it before they do? Why through them, not direct?” It sounds very rational, very logical, very arguable. The difficulty is that this reasoning ignores the conditions, foolishly assumes that one can get the supramental down into oneself without having the least knowledge of what the supramental is and so supposes an upside-down miracle – everybody who tries it is bound to land himself in a most horrible cropper – as all have done hitherto who tried it. It is like thinking one need not follow the Guide, but can reach up to the top of the mountain from the narrow path one is following on the edge of a precipice by simply leaping into the air. The result is inevitable.

About greater and less, one point. Is Captain John Higgins of S.S. Mauretania a greater man than Christopher Columbus because he can reach America without trouble in a few days? Is a university graduate in philosophy greater than Plato because he can reason about problems and systems which had never even occurred to Plato? No, only humanity has acquired greater scientific power which any good navigator can use or a wider intellectual knowledge which anyone with a philosophic training can use. You will say greater scientific power and wider knowledge is not a change of consciousness. Very well, but there are Rama and Ramakrishna. Rama spoke always from the thinking intelligence, the common property of developed men; Ramakrishna spoke constantly from a swift and luminous spiritual intuition. Can you tell me which is the greater? the Avatar recognised by all India? or the saint and Yogi recognised as an Avatar only by his disciples and some others who follow them?


February 11, 1935

I am a little taken aback to hear that a “certain note of persiflage” dilutes the grave discussion I am having with you.

Look here, don’t tell me that because you are a doctor, therefore you can’t understand a joke. It would have the effect of making me dreadfully serious.

I am sorry I can’t detect the adulteration of the Divine philosophy with persiflage. My medical appliance is hardly capable of doing it.

A sense of humour (not grim) ought to be a sufficient appliance.

No doubt, I enjoy heartily the humour but I should like to be able to suck up the cream and give the rest its proper place.

The cream = the persiflage – the rest is the solemn part of the argument.

I would like to know something about my “bad logic” before I write anything further to you.

Helps to finding out your bad logic. I give instances expressed or implied in your reasonings.


Bad logic No 1. Because things have not been, therefore they can never be.

«       »  

2. Because Sri Aurobindo is an Avatar, his sadhana can have no meaning for humanity.


3. What happens in Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana cannot happen in anybody else’s sadhana (i.e. neither descent, nor realisation, nor transformation, nor intuitions, nor budding of new powers or faculties) – because Sri Aurobindo is an Avatar and the sadhaks are not.


4. A street beggar cannot have any spirituality or at least not so much as, let us say, a University graduate – because, well, one doesn’t know why the hell not.


5. (and last because of want of space) Because I am a doctor, I can’t see a joke when it is there.

N’s temperature is varying from 98°6 – 99°2.

Why the deuce doesn’t it become normal? What about his blessed lungs?

He wants to come to evening meditation, will he?

Depends on you. The nights are not yet quite warm and he would be there for a long time.


February 12, 1935

But how terrifying is your “Look here”! What I have heard about your extreme seriousness in former days,39 is quite enough not to invite it farther on my poor head!

Bad logic again! when I write “Look here!” it means I am not serious, however terrifying I may be.

Only I find that you have beaten me right and left for what I did not even intend to say.

Of course! One is most responsible for what one does not intend. It is besides the nature of bad logic to imply what the logician did not mean or did not know that he meant. Ignorance is no defence in law and non-intention is no defence in logic. Such is the beauty of life!

G.L. came for glycerine. Rajangam asked me to see his throat, since he has been going on applying it mechanically. I thought it was not my business in absence of any complaint from him. There is chronic catarrh which subsides with present remedies, he says. Shall we use stronger throat-paints? R says that it is our duty to see how a man is getting on, even though he doesn’t himself volunteer for examination or treatment.

R’s theory is excessive. We are doubtful about the advisability of stronger paintings – it tends to dull down the natural resistance in the throat.


February 13, 1935

Excuse me – I did not say that a street beggar or a proletarian can’t manifest a great spirituality; I know that there have been cases where fishermen, barbers and robbers have been transformed into spiritual men by the touch of saints, prophets and Avatars. So I don’t deny the action and the effectiveness of the Divine Power.

Then why bring in the poor street-beggar at all?

But others say – and it was the central question – that wherever the Divine Power has successfully acted upon and miraculously changed those who were in their external nature robbers and social pariahs, there was probably in them, interiorly, something latent. And they say – excuse my reiteration – that from those who have evidently no music or poetry latent in them the Divine cannot bring out these elements in spite of His omnipotence.

What is the use of this argument based on a “probably”? You say that in one in whom poetry and music are not evident, the omnipotent Divine is impotent to create poetry and music. Yet in one in whom virtue and sainthood is not evident at all, criminals, debauchees, etc., he can produce sainthood and virtue. When it appears, it is supposed to have been “probably” latent. But why can’t poetry and music also be “probably” latent even when they are not evident? To say that only moral capacities are latent and mental capacities cannot be, is a sheer absurdity. There are plenty of examples of particular mental capacities manifesting in men who had them not before – A man makes one magnificent speech in his life, writes one or two splendid poems – all the rest is either silence or twaddle. The eye dull to beauty of painting becomes aware of line and colour; the man who was “no good” at logic or philosophy can develop into a logician or a philosopher. When he was “no good” these capacities were not “evident”, – they become evident only when they appear.

Moreover, what is meant by latency – where do these things lie in their latency? If you say in the surface mind, then show me how their secret existence can be discovered while they are still latent. Otherwise how can we affirm an undiscoverable latency? If you say it is in the subliminal, I answer that the subliminal is the inner being which is open to the universal and plastic to it. All things exist in the universal, so it is impossible to say what will or will not manifest in the inner being, once the universal acts on it.

If the Divine is omnipotent, he can do it. If he can’t do it, he is not omnipotent. What is this absurd self-contradiction of an Omnipotent who is impotent? If the Divine does not, it is because he does not choose to for one reason or another and I have tried to explain to you how the thing works – it is because he conditions his own working to suit his own self-made law and purpose.

When I argue with these people I say that maybe these things are latent, but even if they are not, the Divine can make them manifest if He chooses to. “Then you mean to say”, they reply, “that a Muthu can be metamorphosed into a saint or an Avatar? A very big jump indeed!” I tell them, “Leave out the Avatars; they are perilous examples. But a Muthu can surely be turned into a great spiritual man by the omnipotent Divine; that is quite possible.” Then these people answer, “Yes, maybe it is possible, but we are in no way wiser for it, because it is not done”.

Now we don’t know what is latent and what is not latent, but great Yogis and Avatars do; so we request you to tell us what is meant by mūkam karoti vācālam,40 and whether the Divine can sow a seed in a barren, unproductive plot of land and reap the harvest of music, poetry and spirituality out of it, or whether He brings these things out from seeds which are already there in the soil – latent?

It means exactly what it says – that a man in whom there was no “evident” capacity, can suddenly or rapidly manifest that capacity by the Divine Grace. Indeed such things happen even without the direct intervention of the Divine Grace, so a fortiori the Grace can do it. He can make the barren unproductive land productive and fertile. Even a man can do that, say, Mussolini or the Japanese agriculturist. Seeds are thrown into the soil – they don’t lie there for a thousand years and then sprout. But first make clear what is meant by the soil? The surface man? The subliminal man? In every human being there are these two, and if you can say something about the first, how much can you say about the other?

The examples of an unlettered Ramakrishna or a St. Peter and others do not prove much; one may say that big spiritual figures can and do take birth in humble social disguises. When all is said and done, the “latent” theory cannot be entirely waved aside. It seems that the Divine too usually follows the path of least resistance – I mean he brings out generally those tendencies and capacities that one is born with, that is, things that are latent.

It is a mere word – this “latent”. It is like the materialist’s “coincidence” and “hallucination” to explain away the appearance of the supernormal. At least it is so unless you define its action and modalities.

Certainly, it is the usual case. But the usual is not the limit of the possible.

Now, about your personal example. You speak of the evolution theory to prove that “it can be done”, though the domain I touched upon was only the spiritual. If the scientists say that man has not been able to create living things up to now, and therefore he will not be able to do so in the future – that “it can’t be done”, what will be your answer? And if similarly, I say that a Tom, Dick or Harry cannot be a Rama, Krishna or Sri Aurobindo, what reply will you give?

I have brought in the evolution theory or rather fact of evolution, to disprove your argument that because a thing has not been done, it is thereby proved that it could not be done. I don’t understand your argument. If a scientist says that, he is using bad logic. I have never said it can’t be done. I dare say some day in the right conditions the creation of life will become possible.

They may not be Ram or Krishna or Sri Aurobindo, but they may become a spiritualised super-Tom, super-Dick or super-Harry. I have answered about the Avatar.

I have never said that you are only a big human person. On the contrary, you are not, and hence nobody can be like you. Nevertheless, I don’t quite follow what you mean when you state that whatever you achieve is possible for humanity to achieve, your attainments opening the way for others to follow.

It is singular that you cannot understand such a simple thing. I had no urge towards spirituality in me, I developed spirituality. I was incapable of understanding metaphysics, I developed into a philosopher. I had no eye for painting – I developed it by Yoga. I transformed my nature from what it was to what it was not. I did it by a special manner, not by a miracle and I did it to show what could be done and how it could be done. I did not do it out of any personal necessity of my own or by a miracle without any process. I say that if it is not so, then my Yoga is useless and my life was a mistake – a mere absurd freak of Nature without meaning or consequence. You all seem to think it a great compliment to me to say that what I have done has no meaning for anybody except myself – it is the most damaging criticism on my work that could be made.

If a man has transformed his nature, he couldn’t have done it all by himself, as you have done.

I also did not do it all by myself, if you mean by myself the Aurobindo that was. He did it with the help of Krishna and the Divine Shakti. I had help from embodied sources also.

I should say that Avatars are like well-fitted, well-equipped Rolls Royce machines.

All sufficient to themselves – perfect and complete from the beginning, hey? Just roll, royce and ripple!

They do have plenty of difficulties on their journey, but just because they are like Rolls Royce they can surmount them – whilst the rest of humanity is either like loose and disjointed machines or wagons to be dragged along by Avatars and great spiritual personages. Floating on the heights of the Overmind, you have overlooked what this earth-bound clod crawling over low plateaus has meant.

Great Scott! What a penal servitude for the great personages and the Avatars! And where are they leading them? All that rubbish into Paradise? How is that any more possible than creating a capacity where there was none? If the disjointed machines cannot be jointed, isn’t it more economical to leave them where they are, in the lumber-shed?

I don’t know about Avatars. Practically what I know is that I had not all the powers necessary when I started, I had to develop them by Yoga, at least many of them which were not in existence in me when I began, and those which were I had to train to a higher degree. My own idea of the matter is that the Avatar’s life and actions are not miracles, and if they were, his existence would be perfectly useless, a mere superfluous freak of Nature. He accents the terrestrial conditions, he uses means, he shows the way to humanity as well as helps it. Otherwise what is the use of him and why is he here?

I was not always in the Overmind, if you please. I had to climb there from the mental and vital level.

Really, Sir, you have put into my mouth what I never mentioned or even intended to.

You may not have mentioned it but it was implied in your logic without your knowing that it was implied. Logic has its own consequences which are not apparent to the logiciser. It is like a move in chess by which you intend to overcome the opponent but it leads, logically, to consequences which you didn’t intend and ends in your own checkmate. You can’t invalidate the consequences by saying that you didn’t intend them.

Let me remind you of what I wrote about the Avatar. There are two sides of the phenomenon of Avatarhood, the Divine Consciousness behind and the instrumental personality. The Divine Consciousness is omnipotent but it has put forward the instrumental personality in Nature, under the conditions of Nature, and it uses it according to the rules of the game – though also sometimes to change the rules of the game. If Avatarhood is only a flashing miracle, then I have no use for it. If it is a coherent part of the arrangement of the omnipresent Divine in Nature, then I can understand and accept it.

As for the Muthu affair, that was only a joke as ought to have been clear to you at once. Nobody has any intention of making Muthu a saint or an Avatar. But that is only because the Divine is not going to play the fool, not because he is impotent. Muthu’s only business in life is to prepare himself for something better hereafter and exhaust some of his lower tendencies in the meantime. That is not the question – the question is whether as a general rule rigid and unalterable man is bound down to his outward nature as it appears to be built at the moment and even the Divine cannot or will not under any circumstances change it or develop something new in it, something not yet “evident”, not yet manifested, or is there a chance for human beings becoming more like the Divine? sādrishyamukti, sādharmyam āgatāh.41 If not, there is no use in anybody doing this Yoga; let the Krishnas and Ramakrishnas rocket about gloriously and uselessly in the empty Inane and the rest wriggle about for ever in the clutch of the eternal Devil. For that is the logical conclusion of the whole matter.


February 14, 1935

It seems that before I could come out of the pit of “latency”, the Avatar-pyramid has fallen on my head, sending me down to the bottom again! But I am afraid, you are making me admit something I never wrote, nor implied in what I wrote. However, I shall consult your Essays on the Gita to see what you say about the Avatar.

Can you not understand that it was the natural logical result of the statements made on either side about the unbridgeable distance between “Man Divine” and the human being moving in the darkness towards the Divine? If you admit the utility of my sadhana, the controversy ceases. But so long as you declare that what I have done in my sadhana has no connection with what can be done, I shall go on beating you. (What the Avatar says in the “Essays” is only an explanation of the Gita; it is not the full statement of the issue.) But still if you read three or four chapters there, you will get some idea of the general principles. For the rest I propose that all discussion be postponed till after the 21st (not immediately after). This will give time for you to clear your ideas and for me to pursue my “Avataric” sadhana (not for myself, but for this confounded and too confounded earth race).

N was looking a little tired, Mother says. If it is necessary for him to have S again, Mother can spare her.


February 15, 1935

I accept your proposal of postponement and send this last letter, which incidentally brings to an end the topic of latency and omnipotence. We shall all be anxiously waiting to hear what you have gained in two weeks for “this confounded earth race” for which you always seem to have such great love. (Please don’t forget this confounded little earth creature.)

Now, I would like to mention one things more. Sometimes I think that the Avatar’s work, – Buddha’s sadhana, Christ’s preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, etc. – were not so unselfish. I don’t mean that they did anything for personal gain; nevertheless, it was a kind of selfishness – let us say of the noblest kind.

No objection – if to do things for the Divine in the world rather than for individual gain is a high selfishness, that is all right. Only selfishness usually means doing something for one’s own sole profit.

Considerably subdued after the beating I received, I am beginning to understand what you say about omnipotence, the conditions of the game that have to be observed, latency, etc. This letter is not to dispute any of the things you have stated, but just to express that I am boiling inside with impotent rage to see how you have “unfairly” cornered me with the very arguments I was maintaining all the while. Alas! my pen derives its power only from terrestrial planes!

You were the reporter of the discussion, so naturally you had to be the whipping boy for all sides. You can’t complain of that. There must be somebody to tilt at – otherwise how the deuce is the argument to be done?

I have, however, jotted down a few points for you to see.

Point No 1. I never said that only moral capacities can be latent, and not mental.

No, but it was implied in the argument to which you gave voice. It may not have been your argument, but what does that matter?

Point No 2. I did not say that poetry or music, or any art not evident, cannot be manifested. I distinctly used the word latent, and not evident.

Evident is the opposite of latent; so “not evident” or “evidently not there” as you put it is equal to “latent” – my use of the word is therefore perfectly apposite.

Our point was that faculties not yet evident may be made evident because they may be Unmanifest, latent, in some inner region of the being; just as in Shunyam everything exists, so also in man – whatever comes out of him.

How can they be evident when they are latent? “Latent” means “hidden”, therefore not evident. When you say that a capacity is evidently not there, you mean only that to all evidence it is not there = there is no evidence of its being there to the observer, ergo, the observer concludes that it is not there. All that you can really say is that it appears to be non-existent – you cannot say with certitude more than that.

The whole discussion collapses if we deny that the unevident can be made evident.

You said “people who have evidently no music in them” – that can only mean people in whom music is not evident – for none can say whether it is or is not there latent.

It does so also if you admit that the unevident can be made evident.

By latency we mean what is not evident, that is, not on the surface, but somewhere behind or below. If it is in the surface mind, it is no longer latent, because one can say with some certitude that such faculties exist, though not quite developed yet – that is, neither latent nor fully evident.

Evidently not there on the surface, but how can you say that it is evidently not there below?

You say, if I understand you right, that since the inner being is open to the universal, anything can manifest through it even if it is not there latent; you further add that it is impossible to say what will or will not manifest once the universal acts upon it. But is this impossible for Yogis also? For example, can’t you say whether a man has a capacity for Yoga or for something else? Do you simply gamble when you accept someone?

I have never said anything about how I choose people. I was answering the argument that what has not been or is not in manifestation, cannot be. That was very clearly the point in the discussion – that the Divine cannot manifest what is not yet there – even He is impotent to do that. He can only manifest what is either already manifest or else latent in the field (person) he is working in. I say no – he can bring in new things. He can bring it in from the universal or he can bring it down from the transcendent. For in the Divine cosmic and transcendent all things are. Whether He will do so or not in a particular case is quite another matter. My argument was directed towards dissipating this “can’t, can’t” with which people try to stop all possibility of progress.

You have raised another new point about the universal.

These are not new points, they are as old as the hills.

You can cut me, Sir, or beat me, but don’t forsake me. In imitation of the librarian of my College who came out with a similar appeal when the professor of English caught him smoking one day.

Never! But beat – a lot.

I repeat – a little pathetically – that my brain is sclerotic and psychic smoky; no intellect and no Yogic capacity, as you yourself must have realised by making “word-punctures”.

Well, to see that they are non-evident shows you at once that they are latent and will be evident and even if they are not latent they are waiting for you in the universal! So in every blessed way you are very quite all right. Be consoled therefore.

Rather a long letter, because a closing one. When will these two weeks be over! Give me a little extra force for doing something, just to keep me out of mischief – an idle brain is the devil’s workshop. Who knows what I’ll be up to!

Man, don’t talk lightly like that of the devil. He is too active to be trifled with in that way. My devils? they are only expletive.

By the way, Mother, no chance for me to see you tomorrow – the anniversary of my arrival?

Mother has 2 birthdays (not her own, of course) and an interview tomorrow morning. I am afraid your train can pass only when the line is clear.

N is straining himself too much. It would be advisable to let S look after him, but as you see she is unwilling to give up work altogether.

The work can be so arranged that she will be there when he most needs her. They can arrange that between them.


February 23, 1935

It is neither a discussion nor a medical report; but you may take it, if you like, as a medical report of my present mental-spiritual condition...

I am unhappy and I don’t know why. To put it medically, there is some hidden focus of infection, disseminating slow and mild but constant toxins of unhappiness in the system.

Well, but hang it all! If there is no “why”, then “why” be “unhappy”?

Is it in “the system” or in the air? Endemic? epidemic? You seem to be only one of many cases.

I felt an immense joy at the Darshan [on February 21st] but it ebbed away as soon as I came down.

It sounds like facilis descensus Averno.42 But after all downstairs and Erebus are not the same thing.

There are some Yogis, I hear, who are in bliss during meditation, but when they come down they are swallowed up by the lower nature, and to escape from this they at once leap up to their static sublimity. Unfortunately I can’t rush up again till August [15th – the next Darshan]. Will you kindly come down and help the poor amateur Yogi out of these inexplicable meshes?

Come down? into Erebus? No, thank you – I might become like the said Yogis.

But what is all this? We count minutes and hours for the Darshans and when they come and go, what kind of reaction do they leave in the being? and why?

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “why”.]

It must be like your unhappiness – no why to it.

At present I am only sleeping and sleeping, no aspiration, no will, nothing – shunyam, void! Have I set the devil on my track by my boasting?

Please save me from this Dilipian despair.43

Which boasting?

But why hug despair without a cause – Dilipian or other? Come to your senses and develop a Nirodian jollity instead (not necessarily Mark Tapleyan,44 though that is better than none). Laugh and be fat – then dance to keep the fat down – that is a sounder programme.

The Overmind seems so distant from us, and your Himalayan austerity and grandeur takes my breath away, making my heart palpitate!

O rubbish! I am austere and grand, grim and stern! every blasted thing that I never was! I groan in unAurobindian despair when I hear such things. What has happened to the common sense of all you people? In order to reach the Overmind it is not at all necessary to take leave of this simple but useful quality. Common sense by the way is not logic (which is the least commonsense-like thing in the world), it is simply looking at things as they are without inflation or deflation – not imagining wild imaginations – or for that matter despairing “I know not why” despairs.


February 25, 1935

Your grandeur and austerity imposed themselves not on this commonsense-lacking poor man alone, but on others too. I will say then that common sense is highly uncommon like yogic faculties. However, I am waiting to write in detail as soon as the signal is down.

Common sense is exceedingly uncommon in this Ashram. Sometimes I think the Mother and myself alone have our stock left unexhausted and all the rest have sent theirs flying sky high. However!

Our “poisoned” patient V has, to our surprise, recovered. Our medical authority says that castor oil seeds are highly toxic and that 10 seeds are the extreme limit. This chap took more than three times 10! Is medical science mistaken or has your Force worked or is it the antidote of cow dung given by some villagers that did the miracle?

Perhaps it was Force + the cow dung that did it. You know the proverbial Cromwellism “Trust in God and keep your powder dry” – so “Open to the Force and keep your cow dung handy” would be the recipe for castor-oil-seed-eaters. By the way, we are told V advised D.R.R. to take the poison and he himself takes 5 grains at a time as a joy-dose. Is this fact or legend?

R has submitted the latest report, he says.

I have no report from R, but I gather from you that he has rallied and is at least on the way to cure. The books give 48 hours for the period of the poisoning, so I suppose if he is not only alive but kicking and lively at noon tomorrow, we may consider him safe.


February 26, 1935

Do you mean seriously that you will “never” forsake this humble pie? [15.2.35]

Of course! [Underlined.]

Or has it any concealed meaning?

None; it is quite above-board. [Underlined.]

Will you have some spare moments to release a wave of inspiration for one or two good poems?

That I don’t know – provided the poems are there “latent”.

V’s story turns out to be a history. Last two months he has been taking the seeds starting with 5-7 seeds a day. The number rapidly rose to 26-30 divided among three meals. It is amazing he had no bad symptoms except a slight oily sensation in the throat at first. Immunity? Tolerance by the system? Or another Khagananda45 in the Ashram?

He must have immunised himself – a modern Mithridates! Of course, the Yogis do do this kind of thing and it is perfectly possible, but I did not realise that V was one of the great ones. He has however in these matters the faith (and audacity) that moves mountains. Also his intestines must be very leathery and tough.

Who is Khagananda? There was the public poison + nails + snake eater who died because once he forgot to do the antidotic Kriya46 after his poison-meal. But that was, I think, another Ananda.

It would be better if V stopped taking these seeds. Who knows if it may not produce cumulative poisoning later. I learn that he has already done some Hathayoga.

He must not stop suddenly, otherwise all the symptoms of poisoning are likely to come up. If he stops, it must be very gradually, decreasing little by little. Mother finds him very grey – perhaps he is undermining his system. But one does not know what to do with these fellows who start such things without reason or warning. You might discuss the matter with him and see what can be done.

The more we are seeing the more that pessimistic attitude comes over me and the likes of us you want to supramentalise! But the Book of Verses says, “The meaner the slave, the greater the Lord.”

What is this more that you are seeing?

Jiban asked me about D.R.R.’s diet. Is he under my jurisdiction? He is all right, except for slight pain. Just now we have given him guimauve.

That is right – he should take until the pain goes. You had better keep an eye on him till he is all right. He can have milk, but you must speak to Dyuman about it. Mother has already informed him – in case it is wanted.


February 27, 1935

I discussed the matter with V [the “poisoned” patient]. He agrees to give up taking the seeds – if you wish it. He says that the seeds have done him a lot of good – cured his obstinate constipation and resistant piles. Besides, he doesn’t notice any bad effect. Well?

At any rate he had better diminish the quantity and not increase it – and not advise others to take. Of course, he must not stop it abruptly. As for the cure, it means that his bowels have become dependent on this artificial action – that is all.

We gave D.R.R. some Bismuth and Magnesium Carbonate for the pains in his bowels. It is indicated as treatment.

Bismuth constipates. Enema of guimauve and tisane (decoctions) of guimauve or linseed would be better.

Are you interested in seeing our monthly work? We can send you the reports of the cases tomorrow.


Khagananda is a Bengali Ananda who exhibits these yogic tricks, and is still on this earth. The other fellow you speak of was a Madrasi and is dead and gone – by Potas. Cyanide.

We are at a loss about Mithridates. The experts know only of one – a Persian king. Is he the one you allude to? But he had nothing to do with swallowing poisons.

The information of the experts is defective. Mithridates in order to guard himself against all possibility of poisoning immunised himself by training his system to take all poisons first by small then by increasing doses. He did it so well that when the Romans were after him in their genial manner and he had no choice but death at their hands or his own, he could not take recourse to poison and had to end himself by a vulgar perforation with steel – at least I think it was steel. He was not a Persian king, though he was of Indo-Persian extraction as his name shows. I believe he was king of Armenia or Bithynia or some such obsolete place in Asia Minor.

I proposed to R to get my bureau painted in my spacious bathroom, as he has no other place. He is willing if you will it.

Yes – but on condition he does not spoil the floor.


February 28, 1935

Here are the medical reports – In.: inmates; w.: workers. You may be surprised at the small volume of papers, but the actual number of cases attended is more than reported. If you want all, I’ll write down everything.

Don’t. [Underlined.]

It is all right. But if you gave a résumé (number sadhaks, number workmen, number cases cured, number pending) that would complete it.

By the way, people get poems, pictures in meditation and I seem to get only letters and points for letters! Since letters and discussions are interdicted I have been obliged to draw inspiration from sleep. And I find that sleeping has a decided advantage in this Yoga!

You get letters in meditation! that would be fine – it would save me the trouble of writing them, simply project into your meditation instead of sending through Nolini! No objection to sleep – the land of Nod has also its treasures.


March 1, 1935

I am thinking of doing some studies in English language, not for any creative purpose, but for recreation.

All right.

With this aim in view, I want to take up your immortal philosophy – though my walnut of a brain can’t do much with it – and if you will allow, have some discussions with you, at intervals.

Provided the discussions can be put in a “walnut” shell!

I hear you are having a tough fight with the forces?

Very beastly – these forces. One can’t advance a single step without their throwing their shells and stink-bombs. However like General Joffre, I advance. “Nous progressâmes.”47

If we busy ourselves with something like the study of the English language, as I have stated, it may indirectly help to keep the devil off.

Let us hope so. There is much need of keeping him off and if the English language can do it, glory be to the English language!


March 2, 1935

You thrashed me for calling you grave and austere at the Darshan time [23.235]. But see, when we go to the Mother, how seraphically she smiles, while your Self being near, appears still far away at some Olympian height. It is difficult to discern the gravity or the jollity of a face at such a height. But I suppose, our conception of the gods was formed from the vision of such a figure.

Neither gravity nor jollity, but a large, easy, quiet, amiable condition. The gods can’t be amiable?

The very fact that there remains no question about the Mother’s feeling and attitude, shows that we are not probably all wrong and devoid of sense.

Look here, what are you saying? The Mother’s feeling and attitude are being constantly questioned by the sadhaks, “You didn’t smile! You were severe! You are displeased with me! You don’t love me! What wrong have I done?” etc., etc. much to the Mother’s astonishment, as she had no consciousness of such things in her!

A smile may be nothing to some, but if you look at it a little sympathetically and humanly, you will give it its proper importance. Considering the fact that one has left behind all joys and pleasures of life and come to a desert – at least at the primary stage – you can’t ask us to be above all expectations of touches of soft breezes, can you?

The poet says or ought to have said, “It is the mind that makes its hell or heaven.” The proof is that some people find it for a long time not a desert, but as they call it, a Paradise. Of course it is neither, – it is what one makes of it.

I am thinking of taking some milk-tea and butter in the morning! Will it be a move to the left? If so, I give it up at once.

Butter in milk-tea? Never heard of such a meal before! Is it symbolic of the supramental?


March 4, 1935

Last night I had a peculiar dream. I saw Mother in a half-reclining position, writing something playfully on my forehead with her finger and you entreated her smilingly to write more. Now, what is this? Result of my groaning complaint? Effectuation in dreamland what couldn’t be in the world of fact and reality?

The place where you were is as much a world of fact and reality as is the material world and its happenings have sometimes a great effect on this world. What an ignorant lot of disciples you all are! Too much modernisation and Europeanisation by half!

These things are meetings in the vital plane, but very often in the transcription of what happened some details get in that are contributed by the subconscient mind... The writing on the forehead means of course something that is fixed in you in the vital plane and has to come out hereafter in the physical consciousness.

By milk-tea and butter I meant a greater quantity of milk with a little tea, bread and butter. Well, the idea is to fill up the clavicular and other hollows in the body. Laughing alone can’t make one fat! And without a little fat, it is said one hardly looks like a doctor!

Fat = medical knowledge? or a doctor thinks with his fat and not with his brain?

But the self-buttering is your affair – 1 have no idea one way or the other in the matter.


March 5, 1935

You discover it too late, Sir! No escape now but to drag us, the ignorant fools, and it is for this very reason I was protesting that fools can’t do what Avatars can. However!!

Well, they can, if they stop being fools. However!!!

Can you enlighten me how “... its happenings have sometimes a great effect on this world”? I have a personal interest too.

The physical world is only a last field in which not only the physical forces but those of other worlds also throw themselves for realisation. Whatever happens here has already been prepared or foreshadowed in the vital; it does not happen exactly as represented in the vital, but with a change suitable for the material world. But this is a big subject – can’t be dealt with tonight.

And can’t you be a little more explicit and precise about that writing on the forehead? Something impure that has to come up? We usually associate the vital with impurity.

Why the Apollyon48 do you suppose that all vital things are impure? The vital has strength, ardour, enthusiasm, self-confidence, generosity, the victor spirit – a host of other very necessary things. The only difficulty is that they get mixed up with others that are impure. All the same they are there and much needed.

What is this “something fixed in the vital”? If anything impure is to happen, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Besides, I am not afraid of anything since that memorable “never” of yours.

Great Muggins, man! What a mess you have made of my explanation! I meant that by writing on your forehead the Mother had fixed something in you on the vital plane. That something, which she has fixed, will in time come out, manifest, be produced, born, fulfilled in this (slightly obtuse) physical consciousness of yours on this material plane. Produce itself out of latency like the sainthood in Muthu – see? Why on earth should the Mother write something impure on your forehead? Something good of course – something meaning to be there – something of your spiritual future, realisation kind of affair – what? If you echo me and ask “What? what?” I can’t tell you – No data in the dream and as a conscientious scientific person I refuse to interpret without data.

Here is another dream: we were all sitting in the Pranam Hall, in the morning, when the Mother came down smiling and began to look around. There seemed to be many invisible presences – I felt Christ was there too. Then she sat down and a blazing ray of blue light was focussed on her from somewhere. Her appearance became marvellous. This gave me immense joy.

Well, you are beginning to have very good dream-experiences on the vital plane – very beautiful and true. That is something. But I wonder what Christ was doing there? Perhaps he came to be converted from his “gospel of sorrow” – but that would be the Christian Christ, not the real one.


March 6, 1935

Enclosed is a long, perhaps too long controversy.49 But the subject demands it. You may read it at one, two or three stretches. Please write an exhaustive reply, but in ink.

Nirod. [Underlined.]

On the back the rational and logical result of your arguments. I shall write certain irrational answers on your MS. – in ink.

You have won all along the line. Who could resist such a lava-torrent of logic? slightly mixed but still! You have convinced me (1st) that there never was nor could be an Avatar, (2) that all the so-called Avatars were chimerical fools and failures, (3) that there is no Divinity or divine element in man, (4) that I have never had any true difficulties or struggles, and that if I had any, it was all my fun (as K.S. said of my new metres that they were only Mr. Ghose’s fun); (5) that if ever there was or will be a real Avatar, I am not he – but that I knew before, (6) that all I have done or the Mother has done is a mere sham – sufferings, struggles, conquests, defeats, the Way found, the Way followed, the call to others to follow, everything – it was all make-believe since I was the Divine and nothing could touch me and none follow me. That is truly a discovery, a downright knock-out which leaves me convinced, convicted, amazed, gasping. I won’t go on, there is no space; but there are a score of other luminous convictions that your logic has forced on me. But what to do next? You have put me in a terrible fix and I see no way out of it. For if the Way, the Yoga is merely sham, fun and chimera – then?

[Here begins my typed letter. Sri Aurobindo’s answer, written in hand on the same sheets, was never sent. I first read it after it was discovered among some old papers of Sri Aurobindo in 1981.]

I have read your Essays on the Gita, Synthesis of Yoga, letter on Rama and, though I am wiser, my original and fundamental difficulty remains as unsolved as ever. What is so simple to you, as everything is, appears mighty complex and abstruse to my dense intellect. So no alternative but to submit to afresh beating.

What your view comes to, put in a syllogism, is this: Since I have done it and I am an Avatar, every other blessed creature can do it.

This is idiotic. I have said “Follow my path, the way I have discovered for you through my own efforts and example. Transform your nature from the animal to the spiritual, grow into a higher divine consciousness. All this you can do by your own aspiration aided by the force of the Divine Shakti.” That, if you please, is not the utterance of a madman or an imbecile. I have said, “I have opened the Way; now you with the Divine help can follow it.” I have not said “Find the way for yourself as I did.”

In the Essays on the Gita you say, man “is ignorant because there is upon the eyes of his soul and all its organs the seal of... Nature, Prakriti, Maya... she has minted him like a coin out of the precious metal of the divine substance, but overlaid with a strong coating of the alloy of her phenomenal qualities, stamped with her own stamp and mark of animal humanity, and although the secret sign of the Godhead is there, it is at first indistinguishable.”50

Does it follow that the coating cannot be dissolved nor the mark effaced? Then stamp the stamp of the chimera on all efforts at spirituality and catalogue as asses and fools all who have attempted to rise beyond the human animal – all who have tried to follow the path of the Christ, the Buddha; stigmatise as folly Vedanta, Tantra, Yoga, the way of the Jinas, Christ himself and Buddha, Pythagoras, Plato, and any other pathfinder and seeker.

On the other hand you write that in the Avatar, “the divinely-born Man, the real substance shines through the coating; the mark of the seal is there only for form, the vision is that of the secret Godhead, the power of the life is that of the secret Godhead, and it breaks through the seals of the assumed human nature”51

Does it follow that the breaking through had not to be done, or was a mere trifling impediment? The power of the form can be exceedingly great as every thinker and observer of life can tell you.

After this you say that the Avatar’s descent is “precisely to show that the human birth with all its limitations can be made such a means and instrument of the divine birth and divine works... Even human sorrow and physical suffering he must assume and use so as to show... how that suffering may be a means of redemption.”52 Well, Sir, it will have no go with me, my heart won’t leap up at such a divine possibility, such a dream of Paradise!

Your heart not leaping up does not make my statement a falsehood, a non-sequitur or a chimera.

My fellow-brothers may venture to reach there through such a thin hanging bridge, but if they do, I am afraid it will be into a fool’s Paradise.

The fool being myself, eh? For it is my Paradise and it is I who call them to it.

The difficulties you face, the dangers you overcome, the struggles you embrace would seem to be mere shams.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “mere shams”.]

Truly then what a humbug and charlatan I have been, making much of sham struggles and dangers – or, in the alternative, since I took them for realities, what a self-blinded imbecile!

Mother knew she was an Avatar at a very early age.

At what age? But I shall say nothing about the Mother – I cannot bring her into such arguments, only myself.

She was thus able to follow the path of travails through volcanoes and earthquakes. But if she says to me, “You can also do it,” I will cry out, “Forbear, Mother, forbear.”

Nobody asks you to go through volcanoes and earthquakes or to proceed unhelped. You are simply asked to follow the Leader and Guide with the Divine help and with courage, in the face of whatever difficulties come.

If I knew I was an Avatar (pardon my bold hypothesis) do you think I would cry or wail for fear of any amount of crashes and collisions or would it matter if I began with a nature with not a grain of spirituality in me? I would jump from peak to peak in somersaults, go down the abysses, rise up the steeps without fear of mortal consequences since I would know that I was the Divine.

Would you? I wish you had been in my place then! You would have been a hundred times more fit than myself, if you could really have done that. And how easily things would have been done! while I did them and am still doing them with enormous difficulty because I lead and have to make the path so that others may follow with less difficulty.

There could be no death or failure for me.

The Divine in the body is not subject to death or failure? Yet all those claimed to be Avatars have died – some by violence, some by cancer, some of indigestion etc., etc. You yourself say that they were all failures. How do you reconcile these self-contradictory arguments?

You say, “A physical and mental body is prepared fit for the divine incarnation by a pure or great heredity and the descending Godhead takes possession of it.”53

Like my heredity? It was “pure”? But of course I am not a divine incarnation. Only why put all that upon me whom it does not fit?

To his beloved children created in his own image the Divine says with gusto, “I send you through this hell of a cycle of rebirths. Don’t lose heart, poor boys, if you groan under the weight of your sins and those of your ancestors to boot. I will come down and take hold of a pure heredity with no coating around me and say unto you – come and follow my example.”

Who gave this message? It is your own invention. The Divine does not come down in that way. It is a silly imagination of yours that you are trying to foist on the truth of things. The Divine also comes down into the cycle of rebirths, makes the great holocaust, endures shame and obloquy, torture and crucifixion, the burden of human nature, sex and passion and sorrow and suffering, manifests many births before he reveals the Avatar. And when he does reveal it? Well, read the lives of the Avatars and try to understand and see.

Nobody ever said there was no coating – that is your invention.

Not a very inspiring message, Sir!

No, of course not – but it is yours, not any Avatar’s.

Jatakas tell us that in every life small or great, Buddha’s frontal consciousness was always above the level of others.

Jatakas are legends.

Ramakrishna and Chaitanya began yoga in their cradle, it seems.

Did they? I know nothing about it; but if they told you that! Anyhow one died by drowning and the other of a cancer.

I don’t know if Avatars ever play the part of the rogue or the eternal sinner.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “rogue or the eternal sinner”.]

Krishna was a rogue and a sinner even in his Avatar life, if tales are true! Don’t you think so?

Now about your absence of urge towards spirituality. Even though that sounds like a story, pray tell us how you could free your mind from all thoughts in 7 days or be established in Brahmic consciousness in a few days.

3 if you please. You are terribly inaccurate in your statements. It was simply through the Divine Grace, because it had been done by thousands before me throughout the centuries and millenniums, and the Divine did not want me to waste time over that; other things in the Yoga were not so damned easy!

And even apart from spirituality, what of your waiting for the gallows for your country’s sake, with perfect equanimity?

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “perfect equanimity”.]

Who told you that? I was perfectly sure of release. But even so plenty of ordinary men did it before me.

What of your profoundly bold assertion that you would free the country by a Force which was under your feet?

Never said that, surely. Under my feet?

What of your brilliant career?

My career was much less brilliant than many others’. They ought to have progressed then farther in Yoga than myself, e.g. Mussolini, Lenin, Tilak, Brajendranath Seal, the admirable Crichton, Gandhi, Tagore, Roosevelt, Lloyd George etc., etc. All Avatars or all full of the essential principle.

If one has the essential principle, what does it matter if one has no urge towards spirituality? The inner consciousness is there.

All that does not apply to me alone. There are hundreds of others. The inner consciousness is not so rare a phenomenon as all that.

There are some people, I hear, who are to all external appearance debauchees or moral insolvents but whose psychic is much developed or “can be touched”.

That gives away the whole case. For mark that I have never asked the whole human race to follow me to the supramental – that is your invention, not mine.

Still you go on saying that what you have done is possible for me and not for Arjunas only to whom alone Krishna seems to have addressed the Gita.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “Arjunas only”.]

What a waste of words and energy! Yet Krishna said “even Chandalas can follow my way.”

I prophesy that your message will reverberate in the rarefied atmosphere evoking a loud rebellious echo from human hearts.

I admit that you have successfully proved that I am an imbecile.

But if you say, “I come to raise you bodily by my divine omnipotence, not by my example,” I am all for it. If you insist that I follow your example, it would be as well to insist on my leaving you bag and baggage at once.

All this is a purely personal argument concerning yourself. Up to now you were making general assertions – so was I. I was concerned with the possibility of people following the Path I had opened, as Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Chaitanya, etc. opened theirs. You were declaring that no human being could follow and that my life was perfectly useless as an example – like the lives of the Avatars. Path, life, example all useless – even Power useless because all have been failures. These are general questions. Whether X or Y is able or willing to follow the path or depends on divine Omnipotence only is a personal question. Even if X or Y does so, he has no right to pass a general decree of impossibility against others.54

There are some who claim that they are here and remain here by their soul’s call. But I am not one of those fortunate ones. Where they hear the soul’s call, I hear the calls of a thousand devils and if it were not for your love – well, no, – for your Power (which I firmly believe in), I would end up myself by being one of those devils. I hope you will believe that this is not a conceited statement.

It is very conceited. To be a devil needs a considerable personal capacity or else a great openness to the Beyond. If you had said, I can only be an ordinary human being, that might be modest.

We don’t mean to give you a compliment when we say these things.

Of course not. It is the reverse of complimentary, since you prove me to be an ignorant and mistaken fellow of an Avatar, who merrily wastes his time doing things which are of no earthly use to any human being – except perhaps Arjuna who is not here.

We say that the Sun is a thing apart, not to be measured by any human standards.

The Sun’s rays are of use to somebody – you say all my acts and life and laborious opening of the way I thought I had made for spiritual realisation, are of no use to anybody – since nobody is strong enough to follow the path, only the Avatar can do it. Poor lonely ineffective fellow of an Avatar!

We respect him, adore him, lay ourselves bare to his light, but we do not follow him.

Who is this we? Editorial “we”?

Let me point out one or two facts in a perfectly serious spirit.

(1) It has always been supposed by spiritual people that divine perfection, similitude to the Divine, sadrishya, sadharmya is part of the Mukti. Christ said “Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect” – the very Divine himself, mind you, not a mere Avatar or luminous projection from him. His followers strive to be Christ-like. Thomas a Kempis, meditating and striving, wrote a book on the Imitation of Christ. Francis of Assisi and many others arrived at Christlikeness. [Krishna in] the Gita insists on sadharmya, gives himself as an example, and tells Arjuna that many before him from ancient times reached to it. Buddha in teaching karuna, the eightfold path, the rejection of sanskaras, gave it as an ideal to all true followers of his path, thus placing before them not only his own path but his own example. All this is trash and humbug? Christ and Buddha were fools? Myself even a bigger fool? It is not a question of greatness – it is a question of acquiring a certain consciousness to which the way is laid open. It is not a question of acquiring cosmic omniscience and omnipotence, but of reaching the essential divine consciousness with all its spiritual consequences, peace, light, equality, strength, Ananda etc., etc. If you say that that cannot be done, you deny all possibility of spiritual perfection, transformation or any true Yoga. All that anyone can do is to lie helpless and wait for the divine Omnipotence to do something or other. The whole spiritual past of man becomes a fantastic insanity, with the Avatars as the chief lunatics. That is the materialist point of view; but I am unable to envisage it as a basis for sadhana. That example is not all, is true; I have not said it is; there is Influence, there is spiritual help – but the truth of the Way and the Example cannot be belittled in this scornful fashion.

(2) You make nothing of the Divine in man. If there is no divinity in man, then there is no possibility of Avatarhood; also spirituality can just as well pass away into silence – it has no foundation here. If the divinity is there in man, it can break through its coatings. You admit that it can do it in debauchees and moral insolvents – that it can manifest in ignorant and uncultured men and women is a proved fact; the Gita itself declares that all kinds of men and women can follow its path. Whether X or Y55 does or does not [do] so does not depend then on these things and it is no use trying to bar the path to people because of either their ignorance or their immorality. To do so is to betray a bottomless ignorance of spiritual things. As to the possibility of awakening the psychic being, on what intellectual grounds or by what fixed ethical or rational rules are you going to fix that and declare “No entry here for you”? You cannot generalise in the way you try to do by an intellectual reasoning. The mystery of the Spirit is too great for such a puny endeavour.


March 7, 1935

[Whatever correspondence on Avatarhood follows now, refers only to Sri Aurobindo’s short reply of March 6, 1935 (see above, pp. 165-6) written on the chit: “Nirod... chimera – then?” or before.]

You seem to attribute to me things which I never said, or is it my clumsy way of putting things? Probably that. But even then, you have put into my mouth exactly the opposite of what I have been trying to say. For instance – when did I say that you are not an Avatar? On the contrary I wrote to you that you are an Avatar.

You don’t say, but if your theory or description of an Avatar is right, I am not one. I am proceeding on the necessary consequences of your logic.

When did I say that you or Mother had no difficulties or struggles? Did I not write that the Avatar accepts all terrestrial conditions, etc.? However, I did say that the difficulties and struggles are all shams, that is, not as real as our difficulties.

If they are shams, they have no value for others or for any true effect. If they have no value for others or for any true effect, they are perfectly irrational and unreal and meaningless. The Divine does not need to suffer or struggle for himself; if he takes on these things it is in order to bear the world-burden and help the world and men; and if the sufferings and struggles are to be of any help, they must be real. A sham or falsehood cannot help. They must be as real as the struggles and sufferings of men themselves – the Divine bears them and at the same time shows the way out of them. Otherwise his assumption of human nature has no meaning and no utility and no value. It is strange that you cannot understand or refuse to admit so simple and crucial a point. What is the use of admitting Avatarhood if you take all the meaning out of it?

I never said that there could be no Avatars nor that they are failures.

Good Lord! You said most emphatically that they were all failures and that is why the Divine had to come back again and again – to “atone for his failures”.

If your argument is that the life, actions, struggles of the Avatar (e.g. Rama’s, Krishna’s) are unreal because the Divine is there and knows it is all a Maya, in man also there is a self, a spirit that is immortal, untouched, divine; you can say that man’s sufferings and ignorance are only put on, shams, unreal. But if man feels them as real and if the Avatar feels his work and difficulties to be serious and real?

I don’t think I said that there is no divinity in man. In the quotation I gave from the Gita it is said that man is made out of the divine substance but has a thick coating on him.

If the existence of the Divinity is of no practical effect, what is the use of a theoretical admission? The manifestation of the Divinity in the Avatar is of help to man because it helps him to discover his own divinity, find the way to realise it. If the difference is so great that the humanity by its very nature prevents all possibility of following the way opened by the Avatar, it merely means that there is no divinity in man that can respond to the divinity in the Avatar.

You make a flourish of reasonings and do not see the consequence of your reasonings. It is no use saying “I believe this or that” and then reasoning in a way which leads logically to the very negation of what you believe.

Also, I find that some important points on which my whole case stands and without which my “fury” has no meaning, have been left out by you. I admitted that Avatars have many difficulties, but because they know, as Mother did, that they are Avatars, because the “real substance” shines through the alloy in all that they do, they have a fixed faith and conviction that they will never fail. Now take the case of man; he has usually no such conviction because of the blessed “coating”. So he groans and writhes in agony, doubt and despair. How many times in the midst of struggles have I not said to myself that Yoga is beyond my capacities! Now, if I knew for certain that I was an extraordinary being, say an Avatar, I would not despair. This is why I said that the difficulties of Avatars are not real, but shams – not that they have no sting in them, but that the luminous consciousness bears them easily and goes on in spite of them.

You think then that in me (I do not bring in the Mother), there was never any doubt or despair, no attacks of that kind. I have borne every attack which human beings have borne, otherwise I would be unable to assure anybody “This too can be conquered”. At least I would have no right to say so. Your psychology is terribly rigid. I repeat, the Divine when he takes on the burden of terrestrial nature, takes it fully, sincerely and without any conjuring tricks or pretence. If he has something behind him which emerges always out of the coverings, it is the same thing in essence, even if greater in degree, that there is behind others – and it is to awaken that that he is there.

The psychic being does the same for all who are intended for the spiritual way, – men need not be extraordinary beings to follow Yoga. That is the mistake you are making, to harp on greatness as if only the great can be spiritual.

Regarding the divinity in man – what is the use of this divinity if it is coated layer after layer with Maya? How many can really become conscious of it?

Exactly! Why admit any divinity then at all, if humanity is an insuperable bar to any following in the Way pointed out by the Avatar? That was your contention that humanity and divinity are unbridgeably opposite things, that it is no use the Avatar asking others (except Arjuna) to follow in his Path – they, being human, cannot do it.

You had defeats, struggles, but had at the same time the spirit of absolute surrender, faith which we find shining through Mother’s prayers as well. Did you not leave your great work for the country at one word of Krishna?

Lots of people leave things at the word of a human being like Gandhi, they do not need the word of Krishna.

Does the average man have this faith etc.? If he has not, but has instead struggles, sufferings etc., picture what his condition would be!

If absolute surrender, faith etc. from the beginning were essential for Yoga, then nobody could do it. I myself could not have done it, if such a condition had been demanded of me.

Let me make it clear that in all I wrote I was not writing to prove that I am an Avatar! You are busy in your reasonings with the personal question, I am busy in mine with the general one. I am seeking to manifest something of the Divine that I am conscious of and feel – I care a damn whether that constitutes me an Avatar or something else. That is not a question which concerns me. By manifestation, of course, I mean the bringing out and spreading of that Consciousness so that others also may feel and enter into it and live in it.


March 8, 1935

I await your “irrational” remarks on my type-script.56 I hope you haven’t thrown it into the waste paper basket.

I had written a good deal the same day as I got your type-script – but I have a sanguinary eye, so I have to wait a day or two before pursuing my irrationalities.


March 9, 1935

I am surprised and sad to hear that you can still be affected by these physical ailments!

What I am surprised at is that I have any eye left at all after the last two or three years of half-day and all night work. The difficulty for resting is that the sadhaks have begun pouring paper again without waiting for the withdrawal of the notice – not all of course, but many. And there is a stack of outside correspondence still unanswered! I am persuading my eye, but it is still red and sulky and reproachful. Revolted, what? Thinks too much is imposed on it and no attention paid to its needs, desires, preferences etc. Will have to reason with it for a day or two longer,

How I wish, as a medical man, I mean, I could enforce absolute rest to the eyes and issue a bulletin.

[Underlining “absolute rest”].

It does not exist in this world – not even in the Himalayas – except of course for the inner being which can always be in absolute rest.


March 14, 1935

I am pursuing a policy of non-interference with others’ patients according to medical etiquette. For instance D.R.R. called in Dr. R from the very start, so I didn’t butt in.

Of course you can’t interfere – but you may assist. R however does not seem to be fond of his acquisition – he was proposing to shove him into the hospital again! I think after B goes you must not hesitate to take things in your hands firmly.

Don’t hesitate to lead R gently in the way he should go. If he does anything foolish, interfere vigorously – I have told R at his own suggestion to call you and see what D.R. has, if it is typhoid he must go to the hospital – we can’t deal with that here.


March 17, 1935

Dr. B is going tonight and the whole responsibility of the dispensary sits on my shoulders. Well, all faults and failings have to be borne alone. You may say the Divine is there behind. Yes, but that “behind” makes all the difference! One doesn’t know whether He is there! And I don’t know why He proposes to work in me from behind or within!

Don’t know, “God moves in a mysterious way” – that is the sum of human wisdom in the matter, but it doesn’t carry you very far.

We gave N.P. some bromide for sleep.

Bromide should be avoided – it does not give good sleep of a helpful kind.

We have prescribed mercury ointment also.

For many mercury ointment increases pain and swelling of eyes.

S seems to be all right. We can let him walk about a little. P asked me if his giddiness was due to congestion or some other cause. Considering his age, state of pulse and symptoms, I would think it’s congestion.

I think he might walk about a little. Giddiness can come from many causes. I used to walk about for hours with my head going round or going up in a most exhilarating way. It gave me a perverse Ananda but did not inconvenience me otherwise. But S’s case is not quite clear.

And why so many illnesses all on a sudden? Is the Supramental then too near?

No, it is the material which has become too uppish.

People are saying that it has come down into the physical, evidenced by great peace and calm. Is this then that calm and peace or the deluge before the new creation?

Into whose physical? I shall be very glad to know – for I myself have not got so far, otherwise I would not have a queasy eye. But if you know anybody who has got it (the Supramental in the physical, not the eye) tell me like a shot. I will acclaim him “Grand First Supramental” at once.

And so many eye-cases too! Is the infection spreading from the Master to the disciples?

There were plenty of eye-cases before. Your idea of their sudden multitude is an optical illusion!

Please see that my type-script [on Avatarhood] with your remarks, is not misplaced. I am almost dreading it. If once it goes into the heap, it is gone for ever!

It is safe. I have a stylish 17th century (or something like that) portfolio for these three precious (?) documents now.


March 18, 1935

N.P. has pain in the eye which he says is of a throbbing character as if somebody were “pricking” from within the centre of the eye.

“Throbbing” and “pricking” are two quite different things. Pricking pains are quite normal in ordinary eye-illness. N is not a good “pain-bearer” and those who are like that, always get pain worse and find it more difficult to get rid of it.

R came to see him at my request and advised him to do palming.

We must first know what the damned thing is. If it is glaucoma, then sunlight treatment is the only chance of cure. Let us hope it is not.

My impression is that R is more concerned with treatment than diagnosis; then the treatment is bound to be symptomatic.

I don’t think R is any good at diagnosis. The old Doctor was the man for that. I would define R’s method as “book work + imaginative experimentation”. (It is a confidential estimate).

But I really wonder why the Divine can’t do something! You said people were saved from death by prayer, and here the Divine himself can’t save this fellow from pain and suffering!

Such questions are all “my eye”.

N got remarkable response from the Divine, then why not N.P.?

Every man does not get response, and every man does not give response.

Khas a thick crop of eruptions on the face, and temperature. I was thinking it may be measles. You seem to think it may be due to dengue. But rashes are not so numerous in dengue.

Don’t know. Mother was thinking of X’s case more than K’s. These do not seem to be the characteristic signs that are precursors of measles. Anyhow we shall have to see and if it’s anything, must be careful it doesn’t spread. Especially one must be careful to keep to the rule – “Don’t give purgatives in high fever unless you are sure of the nature of the fever”.

S’s case is really puzzling. It does not seem to be apoplexy since there is no paralysis nor is the pressure high.

It seems to me a congestion such as comes at his age to people who live well (S is a good eater). Perhaps it might have been worse if he had not bled.

Anyway there doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger, is there?

Probably not – people carry on for many years like that – I mean with that tendency. Provided it does not turn to real apoplexy.

N.P. has got a complicated eye trouble. It looks like iritis.

I think you had better ask N if he is willing to show his eyes to R’s ophthalmologist – for diagnosis only. It is evidently difficult to act without knowing definitely what the matter is – without any doubt.


March 19, 1935

K’s case seems more like dengue than measles, for all symptoms are against measles.

It can’t be measles in that case.

S’s case could be a mild apoplexy from old age due to arterial degeneration, though no definite physical signs are evident.

Certainly there was no arterial haemorrhage. S denies any congestion of brain – he says there was no giddiness, but describes a vital attack and a fall due to a physical movement of his own to avoid it – his head falling on something projecting caused the bleeding. He says the congestion is a legend.

K sent me a scavenger with a big swelling above the left clavicle. We suspect some growth, cancer or glandular swelling. He won’t go to the hospital. K thinks we are not responsible in any way, but I thought I would let you know.

We are responsible only for accidents during work. If a fellow gets a glandular or other swelling or a cancer, we have nothing to do with it. No treatment must be given – if he asks, show him the road to the hospital.

M’s is not a pimple. It looks like a Myobeian [meibomian] cyst.

What the hell is that? I don’t know bad Greek.


March 20, 1935

We were surprised not to receive any answer from you to R’s letter. He says he was late.

He is always. He sent me two letters (which I read together) repeating the same things with different amplification.

N. P. was feeling better at 5 p.m. He felt as if you were working within his eye and inferred that perhaps you were reading his letter at that moment. It was after all, an illusion.

Only a wrong inference.

What is really this impression? Is there no truth in it?

There was truth in his feeling of the Force working – but his inference was an inference and not an experience. There is no infallibility in experiences.

Everyone thinks that as soon as you read our letters we get the necessary help and not before that. In my own case I got relief only after Mother’s touch at Pranam or after I had written my whole trouble. Prayers are not heard, then?

It depends on how far the inner being is awake – otherwise one needs a physical avalambana.57 There are some people who get the relief only after we read a letter, others get it immediately they write or before it has reached us or after it has reached but before we have read. Others get it simply by referring the whole matter to us mentally. Idiosyncrasies!

I send you a diagram of M’s condition, drawn by Nishikanta. I hope the “hell” is clear now! Meibomian cyst is an enlargement of one of the glands in the inner coat of the eye-lid.

This is more intelligible. You haven’t explained your bad Greek, through – myoboemian58 which seems to have something to do with a mystically silent shout.

I find many things which are recommended or given for diseases, are not much favoured by the Divine. So I think it’s better to ask your opinion before any drug is given.

There are some remedies which cure the disease temporarily but are bad for the system like quinine – others which suit some people but harm others, others which have a good effect one way, but a bad one in another way. That is why Mother does not like them to be used indiscriminately. Some she disapproves of altogether, e.g. quinine. She also disapproves of the excessive use of purgatives.

My system has been rather supersaturated with medicine and reports. If you could release that type-script document without any inconvenience to your eye, I can recharge the battery.

Release? I am seeking for mukti59 myself.

N.P is much better as regards pain. But I wonder why atropine increased the pain as it is the drug indicated for iritis. And why did you ask it to be stopped?

Mother felt that the medicines were causing trouble – you yourself saw that atropine increased the pain.

How did you find S at Pranam?

He was all right except for a little weakness.

M showed me his eye with a pea-sized swelling inside – yellowish.

It is a swelling, not a pimple? Try hot boric solution wash for the present.


March 21, 1935

The Ost [ophthalmologist] said that M’s condition has improved. He has advised to give salicylates for past rheumatism.

All right – salicylate him as much as the Ost likes.

Queer! one has to be dosed not only for present and future but past ailments. Medicine like the Brahman transcends Time.

An inner unquiet is running for some days. It seems as if I would mightily like to have something, but don’t get it, – as if it is around me, but I don’t have it! Mother’s writing on the forehead [5.3.35] doesn’t manifest! And what about the universal? No sign of its opening its door to this poor fellow! Meditation, concentration, aspiration – everything is gasping! Let me have some stimulant drops, please.

Stop gasping and “smile a little”.

Well, if it is around you, it is bound to manifest – you have only to keep quiet and open yourself pleasantly.

You are seeking for mukti!! I thought you never cared for it.

That mukti I got ages ago without my wanting it.

B’s upper eye-lid is congested. Eye drops?

If he wants drops, drop – but nothing startling or violent, please. Mother suggests camphor lotion, but she does not know the proportion and it must be light. I suppose you have no “codex” – book of ordinances?


March 21, 1935


You will have to go and see S – he is not quite well and also there is some difficulty about the hair over the place of the wound. Do what is necessary – but, by the way, don’t auscult; it made them nervous last time.

Sri Aurobindo

P.S. Also take care not to look anxious; it upsets them still more!!


March 23, 1935

S is showing signs of cerebral irritation. It is strange that I did not think of the head injury, neither did you draw my attention to it.

The Mother got the suggestion several times, but she did not feel entitled to interfere as she is “not a doctor” and the suggestion was not scientific or rational, but only an “unbased” intuition. The rights of reason and science, you know, are not to be trifled with! Hail, Reason, holy Light! etc. But it is a great pity she did not act on her intuition; she asked whether it was not necessary to open the wound and see, but Pavitra told her André had not found it necessary as there was no pain. But evidently something went seriously wrong.

Mother, thinking of this case and one or two others, I feel ashamed of my poor knowledge and experience. I was wondering how I would show my face to you at Pranam.

Cheer up. And as Danton said “De l’audace et toujours de l’audace”.60 (What is lacking in you is the doctor’s confidence in guessing at a disease and throwing a medicine at it in the hope that it will stick and cure. But that is not what I mean by the quotation.)

I dreamt that you had come to me for eye treatment, though there was no facial similarity.

If there was no facial similarity, how do you know it was I!

Does it mean that you are still unwell? M says you walk about with a bandage on.

The eyes are still unready for overstrain, that is all. I suppose they have erected an automatic self-defence against the Call of correspondence.

If you believe all that M’s highly wrought poetic imagination conceives!!

D and H are losing their nails perhaps due to their washing work with soda. I have asked them to wash their nails with lemon-water after the work to neutralise the corrosive action.

That ought to stop it. Do they not rinse properly after work? They should do so and rub each finger with the lemon-water.


March 24, 1935

As regards S’s case, could it have been due to syphilitic gumma in the brain, the symptoms of which were brought out by the exciting cause?

The Surgeon told Pavitra, I think, that even hereditary syphilitic tendency could expose one to the results and 90% (in Europe perhaps – India may not yet have caught up in the race) were open to it! Some exaggeration perhaps?

By the way I forgot to mention about your “unbiased intuition” in favour of the fracture of the skull.

I had written not “unbiased” but “unbased” = without any definite ground in apparent facts.

Throughout the day his condition was almost the same, only from 5 – 6.30 p.m. he was free from any “crise” which, I believe, was due to your Force. If not, we can attribute it to the mercury injection.

Let us hope the credit is due to the treatment, although they say it produces its effects only after a longer time – but I have seen that the Force can bring about a quicker action if the remedies are the right ones.

But what do you make of the original fall? It struck me at once at the time that it was epileptic, but as nothing seemed to come to support the idea, I dropped it. But when S said there was no giddiness and described the strangling attack on the throat and the movements he made, the epilepsy interpretation came back to me with great force (of course I know nothing about the illness scientifically). Do you consider the fall as an accident? If it was epileptic, the fall with the injury bringing about only the rapid development of the illness and this violent crisis, then what was the cause of the epilepsy? Epilepsy is from the occult point of view a characteristic form of vital inroad, but to take so physical a form a vital inroad must have or create some physical cause as its means or support for its manifestation. If syphilis of brain, tumour, haemorrhage are ruled out by absence of hypertension, what then was the cause, since the fracture or traumatism was not there at the time of the fall? Constitutional disease? What disease would produce the epilepsy? S’s movements were often abnormally vehement, a great restlessness was there often and there was the trembling of the limbs. But what disease – if constitutional disease there was?

Sri Aurobindo


March 25, 1935

Now that the whole show is over with the death of S, I don’t know if any purpose will be served in discussing the matter further. Still I cannot but ask some questions. The haemorrhage caused by the fall must have been on the surface...

How is that? One of the tests indicated that the injury was deep down, we were told.

I am upset but perhaps you are slightly upset too and it would be unwise to upset you further by my questions.

No, I am not in the least “upset”. I did not expect S to be immortal nor did he expect it himself. In fact the Mother expected him to die before this and it was only his return to the Ashram that gave him enough vitality to last longer.

I firmly believed that death was impossible here. Since it has been possible, it means that hostile forces have become victorious.

There have been three deaths since the Ashram began – one, of a child in a house that was not then part of the Ashram and the other of a visitor. This is the first death of an Ashramite in the Ashram itself.

You said, I hear, that you have conquered Death, not only personally, but for others as well.

I am unaware of having made any such statement. To whom did I make it? I have not said even that personally I have conquered it. All these are the usual Ashram legends.

The conquest of Death would mean the conquest of illness and of the psychological and functional necessity of death of the body – that is one of the ideals of the Yoga, but it can be accomplished only if and when the supramental has driven its roots into Matter. All that has been acting here up to now is an Overmind force which is getting gradually Supramentalised in parts – the utmost that it can do in this respect is to keep death at a distance and that is what has been done. The absence of death in the Ashram for so many years has been due to that. But it is not impossible – especially when death is accepted. In S’s case there was a 5 percent chance of his survival on certain conditions, but he himself knew the difficulty in his case and had prepared himself for his departure from the body.


March 26, 1935

It was Y who said to K the other day that Mother told them in an interview that you and Mother have conquered Death, that S needn’t die and that even if such a possibility came, if they called you fervently Death would recede.

What the Mother said was that there was no necessity that S should die – of the possibility both S and Y knew – and if death came, yet if they could call in the force it would have to recede. This was a statement of the principle and it is a thing that has happened to many. It was not an affirmation that S would certainly live. The sadhaks have a habit of turning spiritual truths into crude downright statements of a miraculous kind which lead to many misunderstandings.

About yourself there is already a strong conviction “based on fact” that you have made yourself immortal.

On what fact?

In one of your talks in the early days you seem to have acclaimed yourself as immortal except under 3 conditions – accident, poison and Ichchha Mrityu.61

It must have been a joke taken as a self-acclamation. Or perhaps what I said was that I have the power to overcome illness, but accident and poison and the I.M. still remain as possible means of death. Of course, the Mother and myself have hundreds of times thrown back the forces of illness and death by a slight concentration of force or even a use of will merely.

And just lately I came to know that the first two also have been conquered and the last, Ichchha Mrityu, depends on your Ichchha.

Great heavens, when?

Another conviction which all of us shared is that you could never have any illness; but your “eye”, due to whatever cause, has shattered it.

It is long since I have had anything but slight fragments of illness – (e.g. sneezes, occasional twitches of rheumatism or neuralgia: but the last is mostly now outside the body and does not penetrate) – with the exception of the eye and the throat (only one kind of cough though, the others can’t come) which are still vulnerable points. Ah yes, there is also prickly-heat; but that has diminished to almost nothing these last years. There is sometimes an attempt at headache, but it remains above the head, tries to get in and then recedes. Giddiness also the same. I don’t just now remember anything else. These are the facts about “having no illness”. As for the conclusion, well, you can make a medical one or a Yogic one according to your state of knowledge.

You have written that with the growth of the inward consciousness, one can feel the forces of illness coming and if one knows how to stop them one can do so. Then surely you can see what is coming, why don’t you prevent it? How does this theory coincide with what you have written namely that illness can be conquered only by the Supramental rooting itself firmly?

Always the same rigid mind that turns everything into a statement of miraculous absoluteness! It is my experience and the Mother’s that all illnesses pass through the subtle consciousness and subtle body before they enter the physical. If one is conscious, one can stop it entering the physical, one can develop the power to do so. We have done that millions of times. But that does not mean that every time we will do so. It may come without one’s noticing or when one is asleep or through the subconscient or in a sudden rush when one is off one’s guard etc., etc. Let us suppose however that I am always on guard, always conscious, even in sleep – that does not mean that I am immunised in my very nature from all illness. It only means a power of self-defence against it when it tries to come. Self-defence may become so strong that the body becomes practically immune as many Yogis are. Still the “practically” does not mean “absolutely” for all time. The absoluteness can only come with the supramental change. For below the supramental it is an action of a Force among many forces – in the supramental it becomes a law of the nature.

Can the supramental really make immortal a tottering old man, with all his anatomy and physiology pathological?

Well, don’t you know that old men sometimes get a new or third set of teeth in their old age? And if monkey glands can renew functionings and forces and even make hair grow on a bald head, as Voronoff has proved by living examples, – well? And mark that Science is only at the beginning of these experiments. If these possibilities are opening before Science, why should one declare their absolute impossibility by other means?

In Yogic Sadhan62 I find that by Yoga every cell in the body can be changed in structure and function; but to expect that in a grand old man – well, isn’t it too much even for the Yogic Force?

Now that the omnipotence of this Force is being questioned, will you kindly write that promised letter “by means of examples” on what Yogic Force can do?

There is a difference between Yogic Force on the mental and inferior planes and the Supramental Nature. What is acquired and held by the Yoga-Force in the mind-and-body consciousness is in the supramental inherent and exists not by achievement but by nature – it is self-existent and absolute.63

Not now. I am too busy trying to get things done to spend time in getting them written.

Last night I was taking a walk in the yard when I began to feel that it was not I who was doing the walking, but some form which I did not know at all. It seemed to be devoid of much vitality or consciousness. As I came into the area where it was a little darker, the things that were lying about looked peculiar as if they existed in dreamland, – and in the midst of them was this form walking about like one in sleep. Is it all imagination?

It is a very usual experience. It means that for a moment you were no longer in your body, but somehow either above or outside the body consciousness. This sometimes happens by the vital being rising up above the head or, more rarely, by its projecting itself into its own sheath (part of the subtle body) out of the physical attachment. But it also comes by a sudden even if momentary liberation from the identification with the body consciousness, and this liberation may become frequent and prolonged or permanent. The body is felt as something separate or some small circumstance in the consciousness or as something one carries about with one etc., etc., the exact experience varies. Many sadhaks here have had it. When one is accustomed, the strangeness of it (dreamland etc.) disappears.

I propose to go to the hospital 3 or 4 days in a week, because I think it will help my work. But please don’t say later on that I was following closely my predecessor Esculape, in trying to be a big doctor.

Mother fully approves your attending – she considers it helpful in many ways. So have no scruples Esculapian or otherwise.

May I use a cycle to go to the hospital?

Where will you keep the cycle there? If there is a safe place, you can have the cycle.


March 27, 1935

Excuse my returning to the question of S’s death. I would infer from your letter that sufficient force was not called in, so he died.

How could he himself call in or receive and assimilate the force in his body when that body was in fits or unconscious?

From whatever you have said in joke or in earnest, it logically follows that you are immortal. Because if you say that Supramental can alone conquer death, one who has become that is evidently and consequently immortal. So if one is immortal or has conquered death, no poison or accident can affect him.

Your syllogism is:

“One who became supramental, can conquer death.

Sri Aurobindo has become supramental

Sri Aurobindo has conquered death.”

1st premiss right; second premiss premature; conclusion at least premature and in any case excessive, for “can conquer” is turned into “has conquered” = is immortal. It is not easy, my dear doctor, to be a logician; the human reasoning animal is always making slight inaccuracies like that in his syllogisms which vitiate the whole reasoning. This might be correct:

“One who becomes wholly supramental conquers death

Sri Aurobindo is becoming supramental

Sri Aurobindo is conquering death.”

But between “is conquering” and “has conquered” is a big difference. It is all the difference between present and future, logical possibility and logical certitude.

I hope I haven’t made a rigid mental conclusion.

The premiss is false. I have never said that I am supramental – I have always said that I have achieved the Overmind and am bringing down the supramental. That is a process and until the process is complete it cannot be said that “I am supramental”. Of course when I say “I” – I mean the instrument – not the Consciousness above or the Person behind which contain all things in them.

Because you are still subject to eye and throat trouble, would it mean that you haven’t yourself conquered death? If that be so am I to accept that the Supramental hasn’t driven its roots into you?

See above for the answer.

Besides, I said “has driven its roots into Matter”. Am I “Matter”?

Though you say that Death is possible because illness hasn’t been conquered, I take it as a principle. Amal and myself firmly believe that those whom you have accepted, are absolutely immune to death.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined twice “accepted”.]

Too comfortable a doctrine. It brings in a very tamasic syllogism. “I am accepted by Sri Aurobindo. I am sure of supramentality and immune from death. Therefore I need not do a damned thing. Supramentality will of itself grow in me and I am already immortal, so I have all time and eternity before me for it to happen – of itself”. Like that, does it sound true?

I was myself going to write to you about Voronoff and rejuvenation. Have you any idea why the monkey-gland is used? I wonder how far the rejuvenating operation is successful.

It is successful partially and for a period – one cannot say more than that. But even that – rejuvenation for a period – is a tremendous progress and how can one say where it will end? As for the monkey, it is because it is nearest to man and at the same time an extremely vital creature, I mean full of vital force. As for the gland, it is because the seat of the physical energy is there which supports and reinforces all the rest. Voronoff’s selection is perfectly logical and intuitive at the same time.

What does supramentalisation mean exactly? We know by your own statement that you have achieved that. Is it then supramentalisation in parts? You want transformation of everything – mental to physical?

Achieved what? What statement? What are these wild assertions? I spoke of an Overmind Force which is getting Supramentalised in parts.

Does it mean that some parts of your being are supramental and this physical is not yet Supramentalised?

Overmind in process of supramentalisation – not supramental.

How can it be possible – realisation in parts, in your case?

Why not? Always the idea that there must be an instantaneous absolute miracle or else nothing! What about process in things? You are ignorant of all that is between supreme Spirit and matter, it seems. You know nothing of the occult processes of mind, life and all the rest – so you can think only of miraculous divinity or else law of matter as known to Science. But for supramental Spirit to work itself out in matter it must go through a process of transforming the immediate mental, vital and other connections, must it not – so why should not the process be in parts? Immortality also can come by parts. First the mental being becomes immortal (not shed and dissolved after death), then the vital, while the physical comes only last. That is a possible evolution, recognised by occult science.


March 29, 1935

T’s hysteria has put my logic into hysteric fits... She had never had any fits before. It seems she was late for her work, by a few minutes and A gave her a severe rebuke before the other workers. Maybe this is the cause?

She had these fits, but milder, in Gujerat before she came here. Here they did not occur – this is the first time and a bad fit at that. She has had very often “fears” and other moods and imaginations which might be of a hysterical character, – it is difficult to say.

You will excuse my fear, I hope. But surely if one can be the cause of such a trouble and upset somebody – and a lady at that, and in the Ashram, in addition to the fact that one has plenty of these to bear in oneself, I don’t know really what could be done. You know, so I leave it to you.

Fear of what?

[Underlining “one”.]

Who is the one? in either case – A, you or X in general or in particular?

This is very mysterious language – can’t you be more explicit?


March 30, 1935

My logic again, Sir: Sri Aurobindo is bound to become wholly supramental and is being Supramentalised in parts. If that is true – and it is – well, he can’t die till he is supramental – and once he is so, he is immortal.

It looks very much like a non-sequitur. The first part and the last are all right – but the link is fragile. How do you know I won’t take a fancy to die in between as a joke?

Now, if that is accepted, then those whom you know for certain as would-be supramentals and have been accepted as such, are immortal – follows as a corollary.

Again the fallacy comes in in the “would-be”. A “supramental” may be immortal, but why should a W.S.64 be immortal?

It may be a “comfortable doctrine” but that’s my philosophy of sadhana. What is the good of the Avatar if we do everything by ourselves? We have come to you and taken shelter at your feet so that you may, as the Gita says, deliver us from all sins...

But what if the Avatar gets frightened at the prospect of all this hard labour and rushes back scared behind the veil?

After all what’s the use of so much austere sadhana? The supramental is bound to come down and we shall lie flat at the gate and he can’t pass us by.

[Underlining “he can’t pass us by”.]

Why not? Why can’t he float easily over you and leave you lying down or send for the supramental police to chivy you out and make you pass through a hard examination in an Epicurean austerity before you are allowed inside?

This is not really a joke. You may beat me for my semi-Epicurean attitude, but I do believe that those who can stick to the last from Anilbaran to N, will have the supramentalisation.

N also!!! Great illogical heavens! Obviously if N becomes a supramental, everybody can! No doubt about that logic.

You may say that it will be delayed in its descent by our passivistic attitude, as some people say that yourself and the Mother would have been Supramentalised long ago if only we had not kept you down. Is it really true?

I can’t say there is no truth in it, but it is not the passivistic attitude that stood in the way. However, “ifs” come to nothing so far as the past is concerned, since the past having been had to be – “Ifs” are only of value for the future.

Manubhai (in the smithy) has conjunctivitis.

Manibhai is the Smithy Superintendent – Manubhai is the Lord High Gardener. Don’t mix men and vowels supramentally like that.


March 31, 1935

To my query T said that the trouble is now pain in the lower abdomen. When that pain increases, she goes unconscious.

Isn’t that mere hysteric auto-suggestion? She used to have these pains before and did not “go unconscious”. Or is it brain congestion due to stoppage of the menses?

I gather that she is having periods for the last three days and usually she suffers from pain. For the last three months she had no periods at all.

Many of the women here have very fanciful periods – but I suppose that is fairly common everywhere. Pavitra has a medicine for blood circulation and regularity of menses. You might ask Pavitra about it. These medicines (he has more than one) are the latest discoveries in Europe of which samples have been sent here.

D is all right. But can you tell me why so many cases have flared up along with my advent? Are the hostile forces trying to test the capacity of a raw doctor?

I have noticed that – but am not yet quite clear as to the cause – whether it is a special favour to you or merely a coincidence – i.e. you just balled in when these things were due

I am doctoring on others, but there is nobody to doctor on me. When I send my case to the Supreme Doctor, he smiles or keeps silent, or watches and observes, Oh, it is the same complaint. The Force does not “tumble in”; one part wants to be in a flood of energy and work and work, another part inert, obstructive and lethargic... Can you diagnose and treat it effectively and in the shortest time? From your answers, I gather that there is no hurry – all eternity is before me!

Two different personalities standing in the way of each other. No remedy except “harmonisation” and that is usually done by the working of a higher Force which compels the two beggars not to interfere with each other. The business of the patient is to take plenty of doses of the Force. The usual formula (prescription, whatever you like to call it) is “Proceed with as much zeal as if all had to be done in a short fraction of a lifetime and as much patience as if you had all eternity before you.” Your two parts ought to arrange that between them – one seems to plump for the first course, the other for the all-eternity. A splendid chance for harmonisation.

About learning French, wouldn’t it be better to drop A’s and C’s classes and ask K to teach me alone for a rapid progress and a better pronunciation, because it seems K’s pronunciation is better.

Not better than C’s, but good. But the class is not sufficient for going quick. You can ask K.

I asked J to tell me something on occult science, learning that you spoke highly about him. He seems to have some knowledge. He says my mind is not clear but it has strength and my emotional being very good!! All this true? If he knows all this he is wonderful for his age.

I should say on the contrary that your mind is very clear (in spite of bad logic); it has strength but a slow deliberate strength. The third statement is correct.

He has been learning and experimenting, but is often very hasty in his conclusions.

By the way, none of those perverse “fancies” please [vide 30.3.35]. If at all you think of going, let us know beforehand, so that we may disappear before you!

Where would be the fun if I told you beforehand? However, I have no bad intentions for the moment.


April 1, 1935

Manibhai is all right. A little astonishing that the eye responded so well and so soon!

With many people or in many cases it does. It depends on certain conditions either of the conscient or of the subconscient.

I was under the impression that it is quite possible to know intuitively, with the Yogic vision, the exact condition of a patient without any medical diagnosis, but from your recent remarks about some patients I find that it is not so. On the contrary you say that the Force can act better and quicker when there is a proper diagnosis. In that case you depend upon human instruments which being fallacious and ignorant mostly, will paralyse or baffle the working of the Force.

It can if you can train it to act in that field and if you can make it the real Intuition which sees the things without ranging among potentialities.

As for me, I have no medico in me, not even a latent medico. If I had, I would not need an external one but diagnose, prescribe and cure all by my solitary self. My role in a medical case is to use the force either with or without medicines. There are three ways of doing that – one by putting the Force without knowing or caring what the illness is or following the symptoms – that however needs either the mental collaboration or quiescence of the victim. The second is symptomatic, to follow the symptoms and act on them even if one is not sure of the disease. There an accurate report is very useful. The third needs a diagnosis – that is usually where the anti-forces are very strong and conscious or where the patient himself answers strongly to the suggestions of the illness and unwittingly resents the action of the Force. This last is usually indicated by the fact that the thing gets cured and comes back again or improves and swings back again to worse. It is especially the great difficulty in cases of insanity and the likes. Also in things where the nerves have a say – but in ordinary illnesses too.

No, it is not “again expectation of miracles”.

I am afraid it is.

But if Yogic vision and knowledge can at once see a man through and through, his past, present, and future, why can it not see this?

To see what is in a man is quite a different matter – it is the direct sphere of Yogic vision. As for all past, present, future, one does not see that at a glance, one comes to know little by little if one has a special faculty and cares to use it. These things are not miraculous, they are forces and faculties like others.

And if you can’t say precisely, how can we ever hope to get at any direct intuitive knowledge of the matter we have to deal with?

Supramentalise – the supramental is for physical things the only “dead cert”.

But how can one harmonise?

I have told you – Force from above does it.

... Really I believe that the hard crust will some day be broken miraculously, and all the energies will rush forth like snakes from a charmer’s basket – poetry, prose, philosophy – everything. But I am not so sure about poetry any more, and wonder whether all that is said about Valmiki’s sudden opening is true. You said about yourself that you had to plod on for a long time. How could Valmiki have it without undergoing any preparatory pangs of delivery?

Plod about what? For some things I had to plod – other things came in a moment or in two or three days like Nirvana or the power to appreciate painting. The “latent” philosopher failed to come out at the first shot (when I was in Calcutta) – after some years of incubation (?) it burst out like a, volcano as soon as I started writing the “Arya”. There is no damned single rule for these things. Valmiki’s poetic faculty might open suddenly like a champagne bottle, but it does not follow that everybody’s will do like that.

Whatever little benefit I derive from the hospital attendance, is counteracted by vital itches uprising in that atmosphere. Old nature!

Put some psychological pommade on them.

Kick it out.

What is all this about S and his finger? He has written many pages and sent messages through Nolini. He seems to think it very serious and that you are treating a dangerous injury very lightly. Facts? If it is serious, as he says, you will have to take him to the hospital. Also what are these pains of which N is complaining?


April 2, 1935

About S’s finger – without going into all his accusations, I can say that his “facts” are bosh. I can claim, I hope, to have some understanding of serious or trivial injuries; so I gave it the importance due to it... Did he see red, by comparing himself with Suchi’s condition?

Many people get alarmed by a quite ordinary injury or ailment of their own.

Yesterday I examined A’s eyes. There are some definite follicles on the lower lids. It may be either follicular conjunctivitis or granulations.

Sometime ago all pimples about the eyes or on the lids were being classed in the Ashram as trachoma. It was an epidemic of trachoma!

T better.

R said T was “unconscious” and restless at night wanting to go out and saying “Somebody is trying to take me out, I don’t want to go”. Also she speaks of something dark in the room which tries to get into her stomach and gives her the pains. Also she can’t remember things – took medicine, afterwards forgot and said she had not taken – speaks to people, afterwards doesn’t remember what she spoke. For information, in case he hasn’t told you.

N came to me for “pricking pains” in the chest, now and then.

That’s all! His description of them was rather fearsome.


April 3, 1935

You seem to think that epilepsy and insanity are due to possession by evil spirits. [Reference to patient T.]

I don’t think – I know it is so. Epilepsy however is not possession, – it is an attack or at most a temporary seizure. Insanity always indicates possession.

I read in a paper that in England a woman is curing people possessed by spirits. She claims to cure ailments caused by these spirits. Possible?

It is quite possible.

How do you then explain hereditary contributions as in epilepsy and other like illnesses?

The hereditary conditions create a predisposition. It is not possible for a vital Force or Being to invade or take possession unless there are doors open for it to enter. The door may be a vital consent or affinity or a physical defect in the being.

Is T’s condition due to one of these forces?

Perhaps. It is not a possession but a pressure.

Tomorrow, we hear, is the anniversary of your arrival day. Give some blessings, please.

Plenty of them.

We shall enjoy a little innocent feast of “Khichuri”65 by way of observing the occasion. I hope you won’t mind.

I have no objection, but is it at J’s that the cooking is done? K is complaining bitterly of cooking operations there and is much disturbed by them.


April 4, 1935

How can one train oneself to have a direct Intuition? Possible?

It can be done – but I should have to write an essay on the Intuition to make any explanation intelligible.

I thought whatever is necessary will grow of itself either by growth of consciousness or by something else. Must one train oneself for things one after another? Why should they not open up like your painting vision?

It can or it may not. Why did not everything open up in me like the painting vision and some other things? All did not. As I told you, I had to plod in many things. Otherwise the affair would not have taken so many years (30).

In this Yoga one can’t always take a short cut in everything. I had to work on each problem and on each conscious plane to solve or to transform and in each I had to take the blessed conditions as they were and do honest work without resorting to miracles. Of course if the consciousness grows all of itself, it is all right, things will come with the growth, but not even then pell-mell in an easy gallop.

But why should you have any latent medico in you to diagnose diseases?

Why not? I can begin to write poetry only if I have a poet either latent or suddenly introduced into me. I can lay down the law to Einstein only if I have a scientist similarly lodged inside.

I thought your Yogic vision is something like X-ray, which when applied, gets the condition on the plate; or the vision directly penetrating a subject, at once says – his kidney is wrong, her lung is weak, etc.

A slightly too simple description of it. Essay needed again.

... Above all, you have the direct Intuition to fall upon.

I haven’t – not just now at any rate. I am too busy handling the confounded difficulties of Matter. The material is subconscious and I would have to be subconscious myself to get its true intuition. I prefer to wait for the supramental.

But even if you have no medico in you, it is high time that something should open up. Don’t you see how so many difficult cases are rising, the nearer the Supramental is descending, if it is descending at all?

Let it open up in you then. Don’t you see how all these things are coming just to make you bloom into a Dhanwantari overnight?

For me to supramentalise and then know definitely physical things is a “long way to Tipperary”.

Why not get it like my painting vision?

I would like to know how the experiences I had are going to have any practical utility. Do they come and go simply?

No – they are first indications of an opening – but the opening has to be stabilised and enlarged. Also so long as the external mind is very much on the top they come at intervals only. Continuous experience is only possible when one gets inside and stays there

Or do they come according to individual nature or requirement or opening?

All these are contributary determinants.

We had the feast at J’s. I thought of having it in the Dispensary, but felt the smell would disturb you. So I thought it is better to sacrifice K – by disturbing him than sacrificing the Supramental!

Certainly, the Dispensary is out of the question for such things. But when the Vedic or other ancient people made a বলি66 they took care that the victim should not kick about or make a row. You did not take that precaution with K.


April 5, 1935

I wonder why T has no sleep.

Lots of people are starting having no sleep. It seems to be the latest fashion.

You had Nirvana in three days. Still you say there was no spirituality in you!

None, before I took up Yoga.

You said that nothing comes in an “easy gallop”, that one has to plod on and develop faculties.

No, I did not say nothing comes in an easy gallop. Some things do. But one can’t count on that as a rule.

I would like to make a contact with this Intuition which, I am sure, will help me a great deal in my work. So kindly tell me how I should train myself – an essay on this subject should prove useful. Just to give you more time I shall stop now and write nothing more.

I must still say that I am too busy tonight. Things are altogether too strenuous just now for essays. You give time, but others take the given time. Just now I am fighting all day and all night – can’t stop fighting to write. One day I may give not an essay but a few compendious aphorisms on intuition and how to get it.

I had a talk with J which has rather puzzled me. He said that intuitions are of various kinds and come to us from different planes.

Quite true.

So the process would depend on what one wants. There is a silencing of the mind, a kind of rapid thinking, concentration, etc.

True also, but how do they work or how are they put together or how do they avoid getting in the way of each other? And above all how to keep them pure from mixture with the ordinary mind? If he knows that and can tell you rightly, he will save me the labour of an essay.

Finally, he said that I should not worry about these things – everything would be developed in me by the Mother. I said, “Surely that’s what I want; but Mother is unmother-like. Have to plod – it may or may not come! They seem to grudge our having anything for nothing because they didn’t have it; they had to pay the price!”

Well, if it is impossible to get anything for nothing, why say we grudge it?

It is Nature that grudges it. A price there always is. The price is sometimes labour and tapasya, sometimes it is faith, sincerity, simplicity, openness, surrender.


April 6, 1935

Manibhai has conjunctivitis again. I wonder if it is due to putting his dirty fingers into the eyes.

Exceedingly probable.

People are very eager to read your letters written to me. I have no objection to show them, but some people seem to misunderstand and misinterpret my discussions with you...

What is the use of showing to everybody? They were meant for you and though I have no objection to your showing to those who are helped by it, there are many who do not care for such questioning and answers.

Is it really possible to get anything simply by faith and surrender? I heard Mother said to X that if one wants to be an artist one must work hard. What is true of art, is true of everything, isn’t it?

For heaven’s sake, don’t be so universal in your rules. Art means a technique (especially painting, sculpture, etc., music also, poetry less) and technique has to be developed. But that does not mean that there is nothing that can come by simply faith and surrender.

I wonder if I annoy you by so many questions. I have a great thirst for knowledge, I must know the inner intricate workings and the external things too.

That is all right. That is a very helpful Knowledge and there are too few here who have it.


April 7, 1935

Can you explain by a few master strokes what is “pulling down” which is so often used by you in connection with our sadhana? I understand by it that one goes on making mental effort without having any eagerness about it.

That is not what is meant by pulling. When one is open and too eager and tries to pull down the force, experience etc. instead of letting it descend quietly, that is called pulling. Many people pull at the Mother’s forces trying to take more than they can easily assimilate and disturbing the working.

The other night while I was doing a little “easy-chair sadhana”, I saw a sea most tumultuous – no gale, no clouds, but most terrific and a most magnificent view!

A sea in tumult usually indicates a vital upheaval or a period of strain and stress and struggle.


April 8, 1935

I want to love and love completely and lose myself in love. If one can think of losing oneself for mortal love, why not for the love of the Divine?...

Well, why not? But it must be done in the divine way, not in the mortal. Otherwise –

Let me then say definitely that I love you and you love me a little. Then let us meet somewhere in this real matter. You may remark, “This man has gone mad, otherwise why all these asthmatic gaspings?” Yes, I am mad, Sir, and impatient too; and who can be and remain otherwise unless and until one is divine oneself?

Ummm! don’t you think there are enough people in that condition already here without the Ashram doctor adding himself to the collection?

Unfortunately, experience seems to show that one must be divine oneself before one can bear the pressure of divine love.

Come down, Sir, – for heaven’s sake give us something and make life more substantial and concrete. I am really beginning to doubt if things like divine Love, Knowledge, etc. can be brought down in me!

In the old days long before you came plenty of things were brought down – including the love. Hardly one could bear it and even then only in a small measure. Is it any better now, I wonder? it does not look like it. That is why I want the Supermind first, – and especially the peace, the balance in an intensity unshakable. There are several who have been trying to push on with the intensities, but –. Well, let us hope for the best. For God’s sake, peace, balance, an unshakable supramental poise and sanity first. Ecstasies and intensities of other kinds can come afterwards.

X says that my depression is due to the general atmosphere which is rather hostile since yesterday. He adds that it is in a way good, for it proves that one is open.

[Sri Aurobindo drew an arrow indicating “for it proves that one is open”.]

Open to the general atmosphere? Considering what the general atmosphere is just now, that is hardly a desirable aperture.


April 9, 1935

The Divine writing, not the Divine Love, has made me a little peaceful. But the way you are hammering the “Supramental” on us in everything, in every problem, in every difficulty, as the solution to all riddles, panacea to all ills, one almost thinks that its descent will make all of us “big people” overnight... Without it, there is absolutely no chance of any achievement, it seems!

My insistence on the supramental is of course apo-diaskeptic. Don’t search for the word in the dictionary. I am simply imitating the doctors who when they are in a hole protect themselves with impossible Greek. Peace, supramental if possible, but peace anyhow – a peace which will become supramental if it has a chance. The atmosphere is most confoundedly disturbed, that is why I am ingeminating “peace, peace, peace!” like a summer dove or an intellectual under the rule of Hitler. Of course, I am not asking you to become supramental offhand. That is my business, and I will do it if you fellows give me a chance, which you are not doing just now (you is not personal, but collective and indefinite) and will do less if you go blummering into buzzific intensities. (Please don’t consult the dictionary, but look into the writings of Joyce and others).

You say that peace is absolutely necessary for bringing down Love, Knowledge, etc., – but don’t you think purity is also required? And if peace and purity are to be established, a complete opening of the inner being is essential, and the bringing forward of the psychic. This will naturally take years – so we have to go on starving for Love and Knowledge and other things divine.

That is logical and orthodox; but the supramental, once it is down (O lingering once!) is supposed to bring these things up generally and induce an aeroplanic tendency to accurate swiftness in all who are on the road to it.

Can’t they visit us now and then, and keep us going?

They can if you keep the doors open.

And if you have to wait for absolute purity of nature before the Supramental can come down, I should say that you will have to go on waiting and waiting!

Whose nature? It is I who have to bring it down. Do you mean to insinuate that I am impure? Sir, I raise my blameless head in dignified remonstrance.

Can’t it accept the conditions and come down and alter them? In The Synthesis of Yoga, in Chapter VI, you seem to say that after the descent those which don’t change have to disappear.

“Those”? what “those”? (I can’t be referring to my own blessed writings all the time, so I don’t know what you mean or what I meant either). And in whom?

By the way, I have to complain about the lack of some essential instruments. Since a general practitioner has to be ready for all “blessed conditions” and cure them, many apparatus are necessary...

You can consult Pavitra. Mother has already spoken to him about ordering instruments from France – here they are too costly, many of them.


April 11, 1935

About patient Z, confidentially, I hear she bothers herself with environmental influences, e.g., maltreatment from Y. But doesn’t she say that she already feels much better?

Yes, she was almost, indeed quite alright – but there have been dramas in which she is sometimes party, sometimes confidante (confidential information this!), so her sleep these two nights was not so good. I put strong force on her for several days and got her into excellent condition, but when these things come across!

See, please, how you have understood my “impurity of nature”. No wonder people will abuse me, curse me when they see that. They will say that you could not have written in that way unless I “insinuated” you.

Why should they see it? It was a private “goāk”67 between us.

It is you who will bring down the Supramental, certainly. But my question was whether it will come anyhow, in spite of all our resistance.

I presume it will come anyhow, but it is badly delayed because, if I am all the time occupied with dramas, hysterics, tragic-comic correspondence (quarrels, chronicles, lamentations,) how can I have time for this – the only real work, the one thing needful? It is not one or two, but twenty dramas that are going on.

I couldn’t quite catch the meaning of your phrase, “if you fellows give me a chance...” Nowadays we don’t see many vital outbursts in the atmosphere.

[Sri Aurobindo drew an arrow from the word “atmosphere”.]

O happy blindness! N.B. (confidential again).

What is happening to me? I like to lie down quietly at night and go on looking at the sky or hear the rustling of leaves. Then I wake up and say “time is gone, no reading at all!”

What harm? “The sky’s my book and rustling leaves my poems.”


April 12, 1935

Z’s error of refraction though very slight may account for the headache. Is he, by any chance, given to any malpractice? I heard that he was passing through some lower vital trouble. If he does that it will be the worse for him.

Unluckily even the knowledge of that “worse” doesn’t stop people from malpractices.

I think (?) it is that largely. Is it possible for you to give him some medical knowledge hinting darkly at least and speaking of the ill effects on nerves and eyes? He does not want to wear glasses, so that fear might act as a check.

I don’t need to be a practitioner any more... When the Supermind descends, our knowledge of it will do everything correctly without any scientific knowledge of the disease!

What a lazy lot the Supramental will be!

I keenly realise that I have no scientific element in me, I can’t be a good doctor.

Medicine is not exactly science. It is theory + experimental fumbling + luck.

Perhaps you will console me by saying, “Never mind, have faith.” Well, then why should I study all these diseases or go to the hospital? Can’t I leave all that to Yogic force?

Yogic force is all right when one is in a Yogic condition, and when it acts. But when it does not, medicine is handy.

... Will these quarrels and lamentations go on for ever, or will your fight end in the near future? People say there is one century, if not more, for the Supramental to descend!!

One day, one week, one month, one year, one decade, one century, one millennium, one light year – all is possible. Then why do people choose one century?

One material point. Can you sanction 3 pice worth of milk from the dairy, for an afternoon cup of tea?

Very revolutionary and hair-raising proposal, but you can do it and risk the loss of hair.


April 13, 1935

I wonder how Z will take the hint about his malpractice. He may flare up in indignation. Still I shall try.

Don’t tell him that you know or that he is doing it. Try to bring it in obliquely.

What is this revolutionary invention of yours? Tea a cause of loss of hair? I am sure all the tea plantations over the world will send up loud lamentations if this theory be true! But, how can one accept it?

It was not the tea but the 3p milk and the cause and effect were psycho-physical, so there is no difficulty in accepting the theory.

J says that I have in me some capacity for “intuitive criticism” – whatever it may mean. I don’t think I have got the right type of mind for criticism, or enough knowledge. Behind my “bad logic”, do you see any signs of a budding critic – intuitive or otherwise?

It is the easiest thing in the world to be a critic. Just look wise and slang the subject in grave well-turned sentences. It does not matter what you say.

What are the things, if any, that have a chance of getting manifested in me – poetry, prose, philosophy, etc., or medicine? I am asking for a yogic prophecy.

Why bother your head? When the supramental comes, and you bloom into a superman, you will just pick up anything you want and become perfect in it with a bang.

By the way Mother told D, it seems, that she would look as young as a girl of 16 in ten years time. That would obviously mean the descent of your Supermind in the physical and its transformation.

I don’t know. As you know Time has only one lock of hair (too much tea drinking?) and the difficulty is to catch it.


April 15, 1935

I had a dream last night: I had gone for Pranam, saw that Mother was in a playful mood with me. She took a flower, gave it and took it back. Then she took another flower and did the same thing. It was “Power over sex-centre”. I don’t remember whether ultimately she gave it or not. But why this hesitation?

The playing in that way simply means a gradual working. The offering of the flower indicates a play of the force e.g. in the sex-centre. The taking of the flower away means that the sex-centre is not yet ready – but the play of the flower is not without effect, i.e. something has been done to prepare the centre.

I don’t know how to take this “bloom into a superman”, except as a great sarcastic joke – striking me with my own rod, so to say. Have you not so often silenced and ridiculed my easy and lazy reliance on you to open up everything as the opening of a flower, by repeated examples of yourself, your plodding, your labour, your tapasya?...

It is a joke and not a joke. One must rely on the Divine and yet do some enabling sadhana – the Divine gives the fruits not by the measure of the sadhana but by the measure of the soul and its aspiration. Also worrying does no good – I shall be this, I shall be that, what shall I be? Say “I am ready to be not what I want, but what the Divine wants me to be” – all the rest should go on that base.

Your “superman” reminds me of an interesting argument I had with K. He contended that our aspiring for the Supermind was not something sober – that we should aspire for the Divine realisation only.

By Divine realisation is meant the spiritual realisation – the realisation of Self, Bhagawan or Brahman on the mental-spiritual or else the overmental plane. That is a thing (at any rate the mental-spiritual) which thousands have done. So it is obviously easier to do than the supramental. Also nobody can have the supramental realisation who has not had the spiritual. So far your opponent is right.

K said that one must see what one is aspiring for. With the movements and consciousness externalised, where is the sense of such an aspiration for the Supermind?

It is true that neither can be got in an effective way unless the whole being is turned towards it – unless there is a real and very serious spirit and dynamic reality of sadhana. So far you are right and the opponent also is right.

I told him that it was you who wanted the Supermind for the earth, not we.

I don’t see what is wrong in my aspiring for the Supermind in spite of knowing all my weaknesses. The Divine Grace is there on which we rely at every moment, and if the central sincerity is there, there is nothing wrong, I think, in entertaining such an aspiration.

It is true that I want the supramental not for myself but for the earth and souls born on the earth, and certainly therefore I cannot object if anybody wants the supramental. But these are the conditions. He must want the Divine Will first and the soul’s surrender and the spiritual realisation (through works, bhakti, knowledge, self-perfection) on the way. So there everybody is right.

The central sincerity is the first thing and sufficient for an aspiration to be entertained, – a total sincerity is needed for the aspiration to be fulfilled. Amen!


April 16, 1935

I am sorry I was the cause of Y’s “terrible upsets”. It is because he made some contemptuous remarks about me and J regarding our feast. Both of us attacked him in the D.R., indirectly, which made him very furious.

Why attach any importance? If one gets angry at other people’s criticisms, one would need to be angry all the time – for all the time there is criticism going on.

I don’t quite follow what you mean by “measure of the soul and its aspiration”.

I mean by it the measure of the soul’s sincerity in yearning after the Divine and its aspiration towards the higher life.

The soul aspires for union with the Divine. Poetry, literature, music, etc., do they have then any place in that aspiration? Still the Divine gives these things.

They are first in life a preparation of the consciousness – but when one does Yoga, they can become a part of the sadhana if done for the Divine and by the Divine Force. But one should not want to be a poet for the sake of being a poet only, or for fame, applause etc.

From your statement I conclude that tendency does not matter much; I can go on as I am doing, today this, tomorrow that, so on. The Divine will do whatever is necessary.


Certainly I would like to be what you want, only I don’t know what you want me to be.

I want you [to] be open and in contact with the Peace and Presence and Force. All else will come if that is there and then one need not be troubled by the time it takes in the peripeties of the sadhana.


April 17, 1935

I find, Sir, that you have most skilfully steered clear between two troubled seas of argument. Allow me to bring the discussion back to the point from where it started.

I have seen K’s letter. By transformation, I find, you mean living wholly in the Divine. Then where is the difference between the Divine realisation as you define it, and the transformation you are yourself seeking for us? Did not persons like Ramakrishna, for example, who had this realisation, merge their consciousness entirely in the Divine, thus having this kind of transformation? I think there is a difference, because you speak of a complete transformation – of mind, life and body. Obviously then, those whose realisation of the Divine was on the mental-spiritual plane did not have the physical consummation.

There are different statuses (अवम्था) of the Divine Consciousness. There are also different statuses of transformation. First is the psychic transformation, in which all is in contact with the Divine through the psychic consciousness. Next is the spiritual transformation in which all is merged in the Divine in the cosmic consciousness. Third is the supramental transformation in which all becomes Supramentalised in the divine gnostic consciousness. It is only with the last that there can begin the complete transformation of mind, life and body – in my sense of completeness.

But can we say that their mind and life were not transformed?

Answered above.

Can there remain any impurity in these domains, after the Divine realisation?

It is not a question of impurity.

Some say there can be, but I doubt. Krishna, Ramakrishna, Chaitanya, Bejoy Goswami, Buddha – did they have any impurity at all? Of course their body was subject to illnesses, coughs and cold.

Well, that’s an impurity.

And here comes in the great difference, great advance, novelty of your Yoga, I should say. Is it not also for the possibility of this great achievement among others, that your Supramental stands unique? For to my thinking, plenty of people have lived in the Divine Consciousness, but none could “divinise the body”, which means that none of them had a complete mastery over the laws of physical nature, e.g. age, decay, illness, etc.

You are mistaken in two respects. First, the endeavour towards this achievement is not new and some Yogis have achieved it, I believe – but not in the way I want it. They achieved it as a personal siddhi maintained by Yoga-siddhi – not a dharma of the nature. Secondly, the supramental transformation is not the same as the spiritual-mental. It is a change of mind, life and body which the mental or overmental spiritual cannot achieve. All whom you mention were spirituals, but in different ways. Krishna’s mind, for instance, was overmentalised, Ramakrishna’s intuitive, Chaitanya’s spiritual-psychic, Buddha’s illumined higher mental. I don’t know about B.G. – he seems to have been brilliant but rather chaotic. All that is different from the supramental. Then take the vital of the Paramhansas. It is said their vital behaves either like a child (Ramakrishna) or like a madman or like a demon or like something inert cf. Jadabharata. Well, there is nothing supramental in all that. So?

And who will deny that complete divinisation of the body is necessary to be a fit instrument for the Divine?

One can be a fit instrument for the Divine in any of the transformations. The question is, an instrument for what?

My main contention was that we can aspire for the Supermind since you had so emphatically stated that its realisation and the subsequent transformation of our entire existence was the ideal you stood for. Hence anyone ridiculing such an aspiration was arguing against our ideal. Of course, I admit that the necessary conditions must be fulfilled.

K ridicules them because they are not yet fit for the spiritual realisation, some not even for the psychic and yet say they are aspirants for the Supermind. He says let us sincerely try for and achieve the spiritual and not talk big about the greater thing still much beyond us. A rational attitude.

I feel that your reply is too conciliatory; otherwise, I don’t see why the supramental realisation should be looked upon as a secondary thing or a by-product especially as you also say that the divinisation of the body cannot be done without it.

Not secondary or by-product at all, but ultimate.

[Against the last part of my sentence he wrote:]

Not in the sense I want.

In your letter of the 15th you said, “I want the supramental not for myself but for the earth and souls born on the earth, and certainly therefore I cannot object if anybody wants the supramental” – the tone seems again a little conciliatory. “I cannot object” sounds also feeble.

I put it like that because a premature ambition for the supramental may be disastrous (e.g. B, N etc.).

Either you have become wiser (excuse me!) or you want to make us wiser...

If you mean that I did not realise the difficulties before, you are mistaken.

R is complaining of increasing headache – it can’t be the slight astigmatism that is the cause of such intense aches. So will you dive into possibilities and bring up the pearl of knowledge?


April 19, 1935

It seems something has happened today. You have achieved some great victory: the Mother had, at the evening meditation, an appearance sparkling like gold. On other days she looked as if she were tired of the job, and would like to give it up saying, “Oh, you sadhaks, you are all hopeless!”...

It would be very natural if Mother felt like that! Never has there been such an uprush of mud and brimstone as during the past few months – However the Caravan goes on and today there was some promise of better things.


April 20, 1935

Why does K refuse to admit that there are greater possibilities here than elsewhere? Is it not obvious that because we are most fortunate to have such a Master as you are (I don’t add epithets), our chances and possibilities are immensely greater than if we had some other guru?

That is not a question for me to answer.

He says we are fit to aspire for the Divine realisation, but not for the Supermind. Is this realisation so easy that without fulfilling the conditions, one can aspire for it? Isn’t it a fact that so many lives pass away without even a glimpse of the Divine?...

It depends on persons.

... However I was surprised to hear that such a bad time was, all the time, hanging over our head. But surely it means that the greater the light descending, the greater the velocity, the greater the resistance – law of physics – isn’t it?

In a certain sense it is true, but it was not inevitable – if the sadhaks had been a less neurotic company, it could have been done quietly. As it is there is the Revolt of the Subconscient.

In one letter you wrote that you were able to push on; in another that the hostile forces were out of date. That was a year ago. When we read this we thought that it would be merry Christmas henceforth. But now I again feel a bit despondent because you speak of “the confounded atmosphere”, “the uprush of mud” and the attacks.

When I said “out of date”, I did not mean that they are not going on, but they ought not to be going on – they were only kept up by the sadhaks opening themselves to them and so retaining them in the atmosphere. I thought that was clear from what I said – but the sadhaks seem always to put a comfortable interpretation even on uncomfortable statements.

I have heard that even N had a terrible attack recently. He almost left the Ashram! D wanted to commit suicide, and H is in revolt! How many underground tragedies!... And all these despite your continuous day and night fight!

There are only 2 or 3 in the Ashram to whom this word “even” would apply. I won’t mention their names lest the devil should be tempted to try with them also. A solid mind, a solid nervous system, and a steady psychic flame seem to be the only safeguard against “terrible attacks”.

If such things did not happen, there would be no need of a fight day and night. You put the things in an inverse order. (I take no responsibility for the statements you make, of course – They stand on the credit of the reporters).

Since the descent of the Supermind will quicken up all the processes, why not take an axe of retrenchment and cut off all impeding elements ruthlessly so that among a very few chosen disciples, the whole work may go on most concentratedly and rapidly? When the miracle is achieved, all of us will flock again and achieve everything as by a miracle!

How? I am not Hitler. Things cannot be done like that. You might just as well ask the Mother and myself to isolate ourselves in the Himalayas, get down the supramental, then toss everybody up in a blanket into the Supreme. Very neat but it is not practical.

Won’t it be very practical and useless spending so much time on individual dramas and hysterics?

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “useless”.]

You mean practically useless?


April 22, 1935

Regarding the vital of the Paramhansa, the three signs you spoke of may not be those of the supramental, but they are indications of a divinely realised person – at least Ramakrishna used to say so. But I don’t suppose you would very much approve of strong eruptions of vital bhakti and constant emotional outbursts.

What three signs? If you refer to the four conditions (child, madman, demon, inert), it is not Ramakrishna who invented that. It is an old Sanskrit sloka बालोन्मादपिशाचजडवत्68 describing the Paramhansa or rather the various forms of Paramhansahood. The Paramhansa is in a particular grade of realisation, there are others supposed to be lower or higher.

I have no objection to them in their own place. But I must remind you that in my Yoga all vital movements must come under the control of the psychic and of the spiritual calm, knowledge and peace. If they conflict with the psychic or the spiritual control, they upset the balance and prevent the forming of the base of transformation. If unbalance is good for other paths, that is the business of those who follow them. It does not suit mine.

We read that among some advanced types of sannyasis barometric rise and fall of temper is quite the usual thing! Sometimes they don’t mind a display of their temper if they can preserve a complete inner calm. They say that only a real sannyasi can rise up in anger at one moment, and become as cool as ice the next.

I thought a Sannyasi in the ideal at any rate was supposed to become জিতক্রোধঃ জিতেন্দ্রিয়ঃ.69 That a bad temper should be a sign of fulfilment in the Brahman, is a revolutionary doctrine.

That is a particular stage in the growth in or towards the cosmic consciousness. But it is surely not the last stage of siddhi.

How is it that later Avatars often find fault with the actions and movements of their predecessors? Avatars are supposed to be infallible, they are supposed to have Knowledge directly from above!

Who finds fault with whom? I have not found fault with any Avatar. To discern what they expressed and what they did not express, is not to find fault.

What is infallible? I invite your attention again to Rama and the Golden Deer. The Avatar need have no theoretical “Knowledge” from above – he acts and thinks whatever the Divine within him intends that he should act and think for the work. Was everything that Ramakrishna said or thought infallible?

If Buddha was an Avatar, his denial of the existence of God amounts to the cutting of the very branch on which he was sitting; he makes man the sole arbiter of his destiny!

Why so? On what branch or what tree was he sitting? He affirmed practically something unknowable that was Permanent and Unmanifested. Adwaita does the same. Buddha never said he was an Avatar of a Personal God, but that he was the Buddha. It is the Hindus who made him an Avatar. If Buddha had looked upon himself as an Avatar at all, it would have been as an Avatar of the impersonal Truth.

You say Buddha achieved Illumined Mind and Ramakrishna the Intuitive. According to your explanation, Intuitive plane appears to be on a higher level than the Illumined. How is it then that Buddha’s works and manifestation of realisation greatly superseded that of Ramakrishna’s?

He had a more powerful vital than Ramakrishna, a stupendous will and an invincible mind of thought. If he had led the ordinary life, he would have been a great organiser, conqueror and creator.

If a man rises to a higher plane of consciousness, it does not necessarily follow that he will be a greater man of action or a greater creator. One may rise to spiritual planes of inspiration undreamed of by Shakespeare and yet not be as great a poetic creator as Shakespeare. “Greatness” is not the object of spiritual realisation any more than fame or success in the world – how are these things the standard of spiritual realisation?

I find that people are greatly fortunate who can approach the Mother often.

If they know how to approach her which hardly any do.

I have realised it myself, whatever you may say for the suppression of our desire for the Mother’s nearness.

If one has the desire or the claim, one brings in all sorts of demands, anger, jealousies, despairs, revolts, etc., which spoil the sadhana and do not help it. To others the nearness becomes a mixture.

If you say that there is always an interchange going on between people, surely one who often comes to Mother, will automatically take something precious from her.

A vital interchange. But there is a difference between the interchange of “people” and interchange with Mother.

And what if their condition is such that it merely passes or is spilt or spoilt by their reactions?

And this is the easiest way of receiving.

If they know how to receive.

The Mother was giving freely of her physical contact in former years. If the sadhaks had had the right reactions, do you think she would have drawn back and reduced it to a minimum? Of course if people know in what spirit to receive from her, the physical touch is a great thing – but for that the constant physical nearness is not necessary. That rather creates a pressure of the highest force which how many can meet and satisfy?


April 23, 1935

I see that you have found fault with my expression “find fault”. I didn’t use it in the sense of finding fault with others. This was my meaning: Buddha, as an apostle of love, preached Ahimsa and held it as the only dharma in any circumstance of life.

The only Dharma? What becomes of the eightfold Way?

You set aside the whole doctrine and say that one can kill, massacre with absolute Ahimsa within, if called by the Divine to do so. Buddha laid stress on complete abstinence in spirit and action, from any killing. That’s why, perhaps, he is looked upon as the greatest man of compassion.

Did Buddha preach absolute Ahimsa? I thought it was a Jain teaching. What Buddha taught was compassion. And compassion – well, is it not written that Durga is full of compassion for the Asuras when she is exterminating them?

Now, even if he be an Avatar of impersonal Truth, how can a doctrine descend from a Truth-plane to an Avatar, which could be set aside by the later Avatar? The same I say about Ramakrishna.

The impersonal Truth, precisely because it is impersonal, can contain quite opposite things. There is a truth in Ahimsa, there is a truth in Destruction also. I do not teach that you should go on killing everybody every day as a spiritual dharma. I say that destruction can be done when it is part of the Divine work commanded by the Divine. Non-violence is better than violence as a rule, and still sometimes violence may be the right thing. I consider dharma as relative; unity with the Divine and action from the Divine Will, the highest way. Buddha did not aim at action in the world, but at cessation from the world-existence. For that he found the eightfold Path a necessary preparatory discipline and so proclaimed it.

My contention is that not everything they said was infallible... Of course if you hold that all their movements were guided by the Divine, I have nothing to say. Then I’ll have to infer that Buddha’s doctrine of Ahimsa was the only one needed by the then Yuga. This Yuga needs another, so the doctrine has to be changed or set aside.

It had nothing to do with the Yuga, but with the path towards liberation found by Buddha. There are many paths and all need not be one and the same in their teaching.

When yesterday you gave the example of Rama and the Golden Deer, did you suggest by it that what an Avatar does, he does absolutely consciously? If he follows a golden deer, he knows that it is a golden deer?

No, I did not suggest that. I suggested that if it is necessary to veil his consciousness so that the work may be done, the Avatar does it or rather the Divine in the Avatar does it. The other thing is also quite possible. Krishna could have killed Jarasandha as he did Kansa. Why did he not do it instead of fighting eighteen unprofitable battles, running away to Dwarka, and then getting J killed by others?

About the wrath of the sannyasis, I also meant that they didn’t mind a display of their temper while they preserved a complete inner calm. But I don’t know whether that would be called conquest of anger or a permissible or laudable thing either.

Of course it does happen like that – because at a certain stage the consciousness gets cut up into two and the outer may do things which the inner observes but does not participate in that movement. My only objection was to regarding this outward bad temper as a proof of the highest spiritual siddhi. One can also act with the Rudrabhava, but without anger, though people may mistake it for anger. That is a higher stage. There there is no disturbance even in the outer being, only a mass of very calm, but intense divine force in action.

A few Blessings – 24th.



April 25, 1935

Lack of interest and energy, disinclination to go to the hospital – this is my condition for the last few days. Curiously enough, whenever I take a cup of tea in the morning, these symptoms disappear. The whole system seems to buck up and I can do my work with full vigour. But if one has to rely on tea for such results!

Sympathise with you. There was a time when I was like that. Teai-fied cells – instead of deified.

But what’s the reason? Vital resistance, physical inertia or fatigue or what?

Gandhian non-cooperating passive resistance of the vital disgusted to have to do the same thing regularly? Objection to rules – what? Discipline it.

The whole thing came to a climax. I wanted to go out for a walk by way of diversion but J said that the Mother takes away something from the vital.

Why on earth should she?

Everybody else seems to be working with so much interest, and look at me. What a curious mixture am I!

Too many ingredients in too small and unstable proportions?

In any case, break this old being, Sir, and let something emerge, whatever it be!

All right; let’s have a try. Hammer, hammer, hammer! Only the being in question is a little – shall we say, solid?


April 26, 1935

S had no more motions, but has slight heaviness in the abdomen, and pain also. He vomited 2 or 3 times some blood too. The cause of this recrudescence is, I think, again dietetic indiscretions. But he seems to think that his work to the point of fatigue, was more responsible...

The main cause was certainly some serious “indiscretions” about food. You have to keep a very strict eye on him as to diet, otherwise –

Just now an outburst with Champaklal. I am sure he will tell you about it. I hate to trouble you with these trifles.

Champaklal does not usually tell Mother about these things – outbursts of that kind are too common with him. And when heat meets heat – It is almost midsummer now.


April 27, 1935

I don’t know if Buddha would have anything to do with Durga’s or your principle of compassion with regard to killing.

No, of course not. I only put that in on my account, as to compassion.

I don’t think that Buddha would ever give his assent to killing of animals or taking any life.

I don’t know. People used to say he died of eating too much pork. Now they say that this particular pig was a vegetable.

Personal and Impersonal are two aspects of the Divine, aren’t they? How is it possible for one who realises the Impersonal to be in darkness about the existence of the Divine from which his truth is coming? And why do you say that Impersonal does not guide or help, that one has to rely on oneself absolutely?

Whatever impersonal Truth or Light there is, you have to find it, use it, do what you can with it. It does not trouble itself to hunt after you. It is the Buddhist idea that you must do everything for yourself, that is the only way.

Since it is the Truth one is seeking and the Impersonal also is one aspect of the Divine why should the Divine keep himself aloof from the seeker? Is it simply because one is guilty of seeking his impersonal aspect?

You speak of the Impersonal as if it were a Person. The Impersonal is not He, it is It. How can an It guide or help? The Impersonal Brahman is inactive, aloof, indifferent, not concerned with what happens in the universe. Buddha’s Permanent is the same.

People say that Buddha’s Ahimsa was the main cause of India’s falling an easy prey to foreign invasions, for it made her absolutely devitalised, inert, passive.

Rather doubtful. Buddhist kings generally did not hesitate to fight or to take life.

Though I don’t believe in Ahimsa, Buddha’s or Gandhi’s, I feel a shrinking when I go to kill anything or see others doing it. Ahimsa in blood?


S’s story is out. In addition to green mangoes he had some rasagollas too. This food business is almost a possession with him.

So I heard. Why almost?

We have decided to remove his stove for good. Rather childish, but what else can be done?

Quite right. The Doctor said that he was surprised by the relapses of S’s health until he found that when he was not there, S used to get up and secretly cook food for himself on the stove! Palate satisfaction seems to be more precious to him than his life.

R says he has still headache although the “cause” is not there. Some investigations? I wonder whether he needs a régime? The difficulty is to keep him to anything. Tried eggs – excellent effect, he got tired, we had to drop it. Next tried Nergine, next cod-liver oil – each thing had a good effect, then he dropped it.

I think there is something in his vital clinging to the illness, while the other parts grumble about it.


April 29, 1935

You have heard that M in the Smithy has recurrence of his eye-disease; more virulent this time. He has to stop his work, but he will die, he says, without it. Why this recurrence?

Pavitra says he saw him all the time touching his eye with his dirty hands and expostulated with him, but to no result. What is to be done with all these superrational men? He was doing the same thing with his eczema and that was why it lasted for months. Except tying his hands behind him, I don’t know what is to be done.

I am plunged in a sea of dryness and am terribly thirsty for something. Along with it, waves of old desires. Any handy remedy?

Eucharistic injection from above, purgative rejection below; liquid diet, psychic fruit juice, milk of the spirit.


April 30, 1935

Your prescription, Sir, is splendid, but the patient is too poor to pay. I feel I am the least fitted for the path. The God-seekers whose lives I have read reveal what a great thirst they had for the Divine!

And what deserts they had to pass through without getting their thirst satisfied? The lives left out that?

Whatever you may say, Sir, the path of Yoga is absolutely dry and especially that of Integral Yoga!

One has to pass through the desert sometimes – doesn’t follow that the whole path is like that.

For this Yoga, one must have the heart of a lion, the mind of a Sri Aurobindo and the vital of a Napoleon.

Good Lord! Then I am off the list of the candidates – for I have neither the heart of a lion nor the vital of Napoleon.

You may say that when the psychic comes to the front, the path becomes a grand Trunk Road of Roses. But it may take years and years!

Does not matter how long it takes – it crops up one day or another.

And who knows one may not simply pine away in the dry desert before that?

No necessity to carry out any such disagreeable programme.

Have I the necessary requirements for the sadhana? The only thing I seem to have is a deep respect for you, which almost all people have today.

It is good that, for accuracy’s sake, you put in the “almost”.

I made the unhappy discovery that it is surely from a financial pressure outside that I jumped for the Unknown and the Unknowable.

It must have been a stupendous pressure to produce such a gigantic leap.

No escape now. Let me be roasted for somebody’s toast. Pardon my vagaries.

All this simply means that you have, metaphorically speaking, the hump. Trust in God and throw the hump off.


May 1, 1935

“Trust in God”? Personal or Impersonal? Tell me instead, “Trust in Me”, that would be comforting, tangible and practical.

All right. It comes to the same thing in the upshot.


May 3, 1935

I took J to hospital for her ear, but the E.N.T. doctor found instead vasomotor rhinitis for which he prescribed parathyroid and calcium internally. But she is quite well at present.

If she is quite well, what is the use of parathyroiding and calciating her?

C complains of oppression of the chest, and sleeplessness begun 2 days after there was no more medicine. She wants to starve herself at night; it appears Becharlal told her to do so! I have asked her to go to you. Is the famine method really a remedy for asthma?


May 4, 1935

I have again become the victim of people’s tongue. I came to know that someone was imputing most abject motives to some of my actions, without my giving any cause of offence. I am not even familiar with the person. The person is cultured and has been here for so many years. Above all, we find that you love the person, and the person also is so much attached to you. Still পরনিন্দা70 is so strong in the nature!

Do you think people need a “cause” for criticising others? It is done for the heavenly Ananda of the thing in itself. পরনিন্দা is to the human vital sweeter than all the fruits of Paradise.

If 6 or 7 years stay in the Ashram, doing Yoga can’t change these things in persons who are supposed to be good adhar as, is there any chance for us?

“These things” are usually the last to change, not the first. Until the inner man is completely changed, the outer refuses to budge. Of course that is not a universal rule, but it seems to be the general rule – at least here. Theoretically it ought to be otherwise and with one or two perhaps it is, but –

I suppose you are curious to know what it is all about! Z said that because I have no chance of eating at D’s place, I’m going here and there to get good food – and it is I who made S eat rasagolla and other things and made him ill. Can you explain why these poisonous shafts of criticism are thrown at me, without any reason at all?

Imagination + inference + joy of the perspicacious psychologist + joy of fault-finding + several other vital joys + joy of communicating to others, usually called gossip. Quite enough to explain. No other reason wanted.

I could give you the whole working of Z’s mind and vital in every detail of this matter and support it by a thousand equally detailed instances, including criticisms of the Mother by “persons who are so attached to her” implying on her a far greater degradation and meanness, if true, than that imputed to you, (so take comfort by the Blessed Company you are in), – but it would fill 30 volumes and not be worthwhile.


May 6, 1935

(May I request you to use the pen henceforth, if not inconvenient?) I don’t know if by “Blessed Company”, you mean D also. I can never even dream of his having such pettiness!...

By the Blessed Company I meant the company of the Mother – very obviously, if you will read the sentence again. I meant that she has been criticised in the same way thousands of times and accused of still meaner motives than those imputed to you. So you ought not to mind, but rather enjoy being in the same boat with the Mother.

I am really amazed to hear that Mother told a child, E, I think, that only 5 or 6 here will realise the Divine. Then all the rest of us to be thrown into the dust-bin...?

“Blessed be they who believe all that they hear! for they have become like little children.” (Pseudo-sayings of Christ).

What is this joke? You will tell me next that the Mother has confided to Dayakar71 that the supramental now reigns upon the earth or declared the secrets of the ineffable Brahman to K’s baby. Are you by chance under the impression that E is 77 years old instead of her apparent age? Who has invented this supreme jest?

Tell us something – give us a word of hope or of despair, But only be fair!

There are already more than 5 or 6 in the Ashram who have had some realisation at least of the Divine – so take comfort.


May 9, 1935

I hear there are some who proceed through the heart, and and some through the mind, in sadhana. Those who proceed through the mind – vertically, receive Light, Knowledge etc. I would like to know if a vertical opening can be there without the opening of the heart centre.

It can – but that usually leads to মোক্ষ or to জ্ঞান72 only, what Ramakrishna called শুষ্ক জ্ঞান73

I think that an intellectually developed man like N has an advantage over an emotional man like U; he will have a greater depth, wideness and vastness, and will most probably have also the experiences that U had, when his heart centre opened.

Leaving out individual comparisons, which are odorous,74 – if the intellectual will always have a greater wideness and vastness, how can we be sure that he will have an equal fervour, depth and sweetness with the emotional men?

I don’t see why U’s mind-power will be ultimately less because, as you say, when the inner mind or the head centre opens, there is a downpour of Knowledge. Then if we can expect a mental type’s heart opening up, we can also expect the psychic type’s head and inner mind opening up and thus bringing in the downpour of Knowledge.

That is more logical – but the logical is not necessarily true. It may be that homo-intellectualis will remain wider and homo psychicus will remain deeper in heart.

I am still not sure. Can we say that Ramakrishna’s mind or Christ’s mind was as powerful as that of Buddha?

Buddha’s mind as a mind was more powerful, but had he as much or as many-sided a spiritual knowledge as Ramakrishna?

I leave out Christ, because his spiritual knowledge was from the heart only and intense but limited.

Or can we ever imagine that a supramental X will have the same mental range and altitude as the supramental Sri Aurobindo? Absurd!

Mental and supramental are two different things. How does the supramental come in here?

You may say that it is after all the realisation that is important and all three had that; nevertheless, I think that a powerful mind is an extra asset. In this intellectual age the mind is going to play a big part. Hasn’t your great dashing intellect charmed many intellectuals of the age?

Which intellectual age? The intellectual age is dead. Intellectuals are becoming less and less important.

There is nothing dashing in my intellect. And what effect for the spiritual purpose has the charming of these ineffective intellectuals?

So I would like to know how far your supramental Yoga can develop the mental faculty of U, S, etc. and also of people like my humble self: whether the full opening of these inner centres will make everybody’s knowledge the same.

Please do not confuse the higher knowledge and mental knowledge. The intellectual man will be able to give a wider and more orderly expression to what higher knowledge he gets than the homo psychicus; but it does not follow he will have more of it. He will have that only if he rises to an equal width and plasticity and comprehensiveness of the higher knowledge planes. In that case he will replace his mental by his above-mental capacity. But for many intellectuals, so-called, their intellectuality may be a stumbling-block as they bind themselves with mental conceptions or stifle the psychic fire under the heavy weight of rational thought. On the other hand I have seen comparatively uneducated people expressing higher knowledge with an astonishing fullness and depth and accuracy which the stumbling movements of their brain could never have allowed one to suppose possible. Therefore why fix beforehand by the mind what will or will not be possible when the Above-mind reigns? what the mind conceives as “must be” need not be the measure of the “will be”. Such and such a homo intellectualis may turn out to be a more fervent God-lover than the effervescent emotional man; such and such an emotionalist may receive and express a wider knowledge than his intellect or even the intellect of the intellectual man could have harboured or organised. Let us not bind the phenomena of the higher consciousness by the possibilities and probabilities of a lower plane.


May 10, 1935


What is the use and limitations of mercury powder? Is it not an unsafe thing which may do harm as well as good? In what illness can it be safely or effectively applied?

Sri Aurobindo


May 10, 1935

I have again the same chronic trouble. At Pranam I felt, Mother, that you were serious with me and the reason was, I thought, you did not like my comparing the sadhaks in the way I did yesterday. I have no intention of belittling anyone. It is a quite natural human curiosity to want to know what would be the intellectual manifestation of an uneducated sadhak after realisation...

Rubbish! Mother did not think anything about it at all. Why the hell or heaven or why on earth or why the unearthly should she be displeased? You all seem to think of the Mother as living in a sort of daylong and nightlong simmering cauldron of displeasure about nothing and anything and everything under the sun. Lord! what a queer idea!

I had compared your behaviour, mentally, with others and said to myself: “If such and such a person goes on doing this and that almost all the time of the day (I had S particularly in mind), still Mother is Grace herself with her.”

And the same persons make comparisons of Mother’s behaviour with others and get into fits of revolt and abhiman, and what not! What a mad Ashram!

I feel these formations are not true but I can’t throw them away...

Why not, I should like to know?

But this resistance must go.

I quite agree with you.

If I can’t love you, give myself to you, of what use is the sadhana? For mukti? I have no appetite for such mukti. Ramakrishna used to say “I have no objection to give liberation but I will not give willingly শুদ্ধা ভত্তি.”75

Meaning? But what is শুদ্ধা ভত্তি, then?

But even if you are serious, I don’t know why I can’t take it calmly and in the right spirit.

Quite so!

You have no personal interest to be serious. It is for my good alone.

Not at all. It is simply the vital’s imagination that the Mother is serious because of its tamas. There is not the least truth in it.

I understand all this but the emotion gets the upper hand. And you say I have a slow, deliberate mental strength!

The “emotion” is not the mind.

I says that in many cases where you were not in the least serious and smiled and smiled he had the after-feeling that you were serious with him.

That has happened at least a thousand times. Even, the Mother has seen somebody come with a gloomy face and she has poured out smiles in a river and blessed him in a most emphatic manner only to get a letter “You are displeased with me; you did not smile. You blessed me with only one finger: what wrong have I done? How can I live if you behave with me like this?” And perhaps an intimation that the outraged sadhak or Sadhika is going away or will drop herself (this is generally a feminine menace) into the sea.

I am not exaggerating in the least – it is literally true.

And supposing the Mother happens to be serious in reality? What then? Are there not a thousand reasons in this world for being serious, – why must the cause be displeasure with the Sadhika? After all Yoga itself, life itself is a rather serious affair.

But I don’t really understand this, because how can one be so blind as not to see the smile on your face, or seeing it, mistake it for seriousness?

I don’t know how, but “one” does it and not only one, but many. It is the minority who have not done it.

I want your sword, and not the pen only, to sever these impressions at their very root and let the inner being emerge with its flood of love and absolute surrender and make me your utter slave.

The sword is at your service, but for heaven’s sake use it.


May 11, 1935

I thought that since homo-psychics proceed from the heart, their knowledge aspect will be limited.

But Ramakrishna was a homo-psychicus with no atom of intellectuality – yet he had plenty of knowledge.

Mother says in the Prayers and Meditations that there is a knowledge which surpasses all other knowledge which means knowledge of the Divine. In that case, psychics or otherwise who realise the Divine, will have the same width, vastness of knowledge.

Certainly, there is nothing to prevent it.

By the higher knowledge, I understand, you mean spiritual knowledge about Atman, Brahman, etc. But can one deal with the problems of ordinary life with mastery by this spiritual knowledge? For instance, if I am asked to criticise Shaw or other literary figures, how am I to do it with this knowledge alone?

One can. What has all that to do with spiritual knowledge? Criticism of Shaw is not a part of Brahmajnana. If one has to do it, one does it with the mind, so long as one does not get into the intuitive Overmind or Supermind – then one does it with those. This is quite another matter – it has nothing to do with the main question which is about the spiritual realisation – through love or through knowledge.

I have been concentrating on both the head and the heart centres. In meditation the being falls silent, but the head gets heavy and 1 feel some working going on there.

That is all very good.

I hope I am not going to get knowledge only, because this is the centre for knowledge; I want bhakti and love too. Since I haven’t felt them, I have been thinking that maybe the head centre is going to open and not the heart. Though I felt elated, I dreaded it also because I hear the head centre gives knowledge, no doubt, but no love, bhakti – so it is as dry as a nut...

Yes, obviously that is what it is trying to do. When things come in this order the head opens up first and the heart afterwards – finally all the centres. So what is there to be worried about? If you are satisfied only with peace, knowledge and mukti, then perhaps the heart centre may open to that only. But if you want the love, then the descending Power and Light will work for that also. So cheer up and don’t get into a state of pother with imaginary difficulties.

S was taking Lithinée according to your suggestion. For the last few days the pain which subsided by Lithinée has come back. Shall I try my mental knowledge or leave her to the spiritual?

At least use your mental K. to know what is the matter with her.


May 13, 1935

Till the other day patients with stomach ulcer were treated with soda bicarb, mag carb, calcium carb and Bismuth.

Very dangerous. S got his stomach curled up with these things – had to be operated.

I have found a patent drug Biomucine from Pavitra for ulcer to be followed with a strict regime.

What is inside the Bio or the murine? With strict regime she would have to stop work, I suppose, at which she will kick.

A’s right eye is almost cured, but the left one refuses and has become worse again.

The injection also was hopeless? Then it must be a purely local affair?

We are really getting tired and hopless.

[Sri Aurobindo drew a line to the word “hopless”.]

That is a good word. To be hopeless means to have no hop left in you.


May 14, 1935

I couldn’t make out one word in your answer. Even Nolini failed. I thought you could fill up the gap from memory.

It might have been just possible for me after some concentration and appeal to the supramental.

It seems another victory has been won by you? Some people saw a red-crimson light around the Mother a few days back. What does it signify?

??? Great Heavens? which? who? But there is nothing new in that. It was coming down before Nov. 34, but afterwards all the damned mud arose and it stopped. But there are red crimson lights. One is supramental Divine Love. The other is the supramental physical Force.

I am reading your Intuitive Mind. Can you not release that manuscript in the meantime?

Which blessed manuscript? I have a hundred! I don’t recall anything about Intuitive Mind.


May 15, 1935

I spoke of the manuscript (typed letter) on Avatar, on which you have written a lot, you said [6.3.35]. But if it is among hundreds of manuscripts, there is hardly any chance of rescuing it.

Good Lord, but the Avatar correspondence belongs to the distant past, what is the use of resuscitating it now?

The psychic fire you write about in the Synthesis of Yoga and the psychic being are identical?

The psychic fire is the fire of aspiration, purification and tapasya which comes from the psychic being. It is not the psychic being, but a power of the psychic being.

Allow me to congratulate you on the perfect poetry of your revised chapter VI of the Synthesis. It is a veritable “flowing river of gold”. Is it supramental language or can it be still more heightened or perfected?

Supramental language it is not, because no such thing has manifested as yet. As I have no recollection of this chapter, I can’t say what it is or whether it can be heightened or perfected.


May 17, 1935


I can’t find your microscopic note, so I write separately.

How do you hope to get a better being next time if you don’t improve what you have in this life? How can you expect a better being to crop up all of itself without rhyme or reason? So buck up and do what is necessary now...

The Avatar letter was not finished I think, so I would have still to write something and it is far from my mind now. Perhaps one day.


Sri Aurobindo


May 18, 1935

What a hell of a time you left me in, Sir! The same emptiness, dryness and a negative pressure and one of the longest periods, too!

It is the confounded vital that does that when it is asked to change itself. The vital is a disciple of Gandhi as far as passive resistance goes – a master of non-cooperation.

It came after I took a strong resolution to do some serious sadhana. I wonder if the light of the sun is in view.

It is perhaps the strong resolution that brought up the resistance in a mass. That often happens. If you stick to it, then the light of the sun comes through.


May 21, 1935

It seems a great pressure is being brought down and many are disappearing, beginning with T and ending with K.

K has not disappeared. He has gone over there to enable D to come here during the vacation, for T would be otherwise alone there. He intends to come back – provided of course T does not capture him and put him in her pocket – if she has one.


May 22, 1935

For patient X shall we give Cascara or some salt for a few days? I hesitate to doctor on her without your approval.

Cascara you can try. Salt is not good as it may turn to colique hépatique.


May 23, 1935

I had a queer dream last night: I was bowing with love and devotion before a dark-complexioned gentleman, and he with equal affection raised me up and said, “You will require 18 years (Good Lord!!) to realise the Divine, out of which 12 years will pass away in just knocking about and playing.” Heart-rending prophecy! But who is this old gentleman, and what does his prophecy amount to – please?

The old dark-complexioned gentleman must be Old Nick, I suppose! and his prophecy amounts to Old Nickery.


May 24, 1935

So I bowed down to the devil, and devotionally too! But is it not possible to develop some kind of discrimination in these things? Usually it is only after the ceremony that I begin to doubt the credentials of the persons. I clearly saw that this devil did not resemble you, but still I bowed. But when we often see Mother in various forms, looking quite different, you say that it is the Mother; then?

Necessarily, Mother can manifest in many other forms besides her physical one, and though I am rather less multitudinous, I can also. But that does not mean that you can take any gentleman for me or any she for her. Your dream-self has to develop a certain discrimination. That discrimination cannot go by signs and forms, for the vital beggars can imitate almost anything, it must be intuitive.

My interest in poetry is growing again, but I could not complete a sonnet even after trying for three days. I don’t mind the labour if only it is not spent in vain.

There have been instances where people have taken up music with your approval, and they have worked at it to find later on that it was not their line. What a waste of time for nothing! This is the thought that curbs my enthusiasm. Otherwise I quite understand that one has to suffer the “pangs of delivery”. What do you say?

Approval or permission? People get it into their heads that they would like to do some music, because it is the fashion or because they like it so much and the Mother may tolerate it or say “All right, try”. That does not mean they are predestined or doomed to be musicians – or poets – or painters according to the case. Perhaps one of those who try may bloom, others drop off. X starts painting and shows only a fanciful dash at first, after a time he brings out work, remarkable work. Y does clever facile things; one day he begins to deepen and a possible painter in the making outlines. Others, – well, they don’t. But they can try – they will learn something about painting at least.76

Labour at your sestets if the spirit pushes you. The Angel of Poetry may be delivered out of the labour, even if with a forceps.

Nishikanta has a furious boil on the nose; and as you know boils on the face are dangerous.



May 25, 1935

Boils on the face are dangerous because its blood circulation has a direct connection with that of the brain, so that any suppurative process can go up and infect the brain.


[Sri Aurobindo put an exclamation mark.]

Again, I have read many times the “Intuitive Mind”. Though the theoretical process is given very elaborately, it is not of much use for practical purposes. So will you answer how to get Intuition? If no time tonight, let the book wait till Monday.

I fear the book would have to wait much longer. I am just now in a strenuous time when I can’t even think about these things, much less write about them. I can only keep your question in mind and wait for an opportunity to answer.


May 27, 1935

S has profuse “whites”...

What on earth is this word? Winter? wintes? It may be profuse but it is not legible. For God’s sake don’t imitate me.

Shall try pill Aloes et Ferri for a few days?

You can try.

Today, I surprised myself by completing a poem of 18 lines in about 2 hours and 8 lines of another in 1 hour!

Glory to God!

We hear you are tremendously busy; hot speculations are in the air about near descents.

No, thank you, sir! I have had enough of them – the only result of the last descent was an upsurging of subconscient mud.

In the upshot many crashes and shipwrecks are apprehended.

What an appetite for crashes!

Please tell us something so that we may prepare ourselves in time to bear the pressure of the descent.

No pressure! I am simply busy trying to get out of the mud – in other words to see if the damned subconscient can be persuaded to subside into something less dangerous, less complexful and more manageable.


May 28, 1935

The word you stumbled against, is “whites”. I thought Mother would understand. And it is our ideal to imitate you, or at least to try to imitate you in everything!

Great Lord! What an h! I could not do worse myself.

When you said yesterday, “I am simply busy trying to get out of the mind” etc., etc., I sighed, “What a happy ignorance! Will it be folly to get wise?”

Not mind, sir. I have gone out of my mind long ago. I wrote “mud” mud, mud, mud of the subconscient.

Can you not tell us a few words on this subconscient? By the grace of Freud and other psychologists, we have come to look upon it as Dante’s Inferno or Michael’s Hell. Your description seems to come close to it, but you’ve said somewhere that in this subconscient, there is formed and stored the impression, besides that of previous lives, of everything seen, heard, etc., etc., and the waves surge up later on. If that be so, it can’t be all bad! It seems to play a tremendous role in our lives. But is there also a universal subconscient by tackling which you can tackle the individual’s subconscient? What will then be the meaning of these impressions in individual consciousness, a simple interchange between universal and individual?

So many questions come up!

Of course the subconscient is universal as well as individual like all the other main parts of the Nature. But there are different parts or planes of the subconscient. All upon earth is based on the Inconscient as it is called, though it is not really inconscient at all, but rather a complete subconscience in which there is everything but nothing formulated or expressed. The subconscient of which I speak lies in between the Inconscient and conscious mind, life and body. It contains all the reactions to life which struggle out as a slowly evolving and self-formulating consciousness, but it contains them not as ideas or perceptions or conscious reactions but as the blind substance of these things. Also all that is consciously experienced sinks down into the subconscient not as experience but as obscure but obstinate impressions of experience and can come up at any time as dreams, as mechanical repetitions of past thought, feeling, action etc., as “complexes” exploding into action and event etc., etc. The subconscient is the main cause why all things repeat themselves and nothing ever gets changed except in appearances. It is the cause why, people say, character cannot be changed, also of the constant return of things one hoped to have got rid of. All seeds are there and all the sanskaras of the mind and vital and body, – it is the main support of death and disease and the last fortress (seemingly impregnable) of the Ignorance. All that is suppressed without being wholly got rid of sinks down there and remains in seed ready to surge up or sprout up at any moment.


May 29, 1935

The oculist says that R’s eye defect is slight and glasses may relieve the headache.

The objection to eye-glasses is that once you start the eyes get not better but worse and worse. So if it is only slight there is no use in spoiling the eye-sight in order to get rid of the headaches.

The oculist suggests Opo-calcium – a thyroid combination. I gave him thyroid pills, but the oculist says it should be continued longer...

It is a very good idea – but I believe it creates an irritation on the skin and R is likely to get wild and give it up.

S took one pill of Aloes et Ferri and from the next morning she had burning in her eyes. I washed her eyes and that gave an uneasiness in the head! Now I realise that I should have left her to you.

All that is of course S’s imagination. She decides in herself that the medicine is the cause of the burning and the uneasiness. Perhaps she decides it beforehand – or rather something in her decides it. If her imagination were equally effective for cure it would be a great thing.

M complains of pain in the heels. There is no tenderness in the bone; some tenderness in the pad of fat. Internally salicylates can be tried, but there is no rheumatic history.

No salicylates. It will spoil her stomach without curing her heel.

It may be “policeman’s disease” as the French call it, “maladie de sergent de ville”; I have forgotten the technical name for it, but it is supposed to come from too much standing. I had it myself for something like a year because of walking or standing all day – that was when I used to meditate while walking. The Fr. medical dictionary says there is no remedy but rest. I myself got rid of it by application of force without any rest or any other remedy. But M is not a policeman and she does not walk while she meditates – so how did she get it?


May 30, 1935

It is then quite possible for M to have got this disease, for she is almost always on her heels. Why not apply some Force and cure it?

She has got too much force herself, though the heel may be, as with Achilles, her vulnerable point. The Force may not be able to get into it.


May 31, 1935

Here is a little Bengali love poem, Sir, after a long travail! Even then Nishikanta had to apply forceps at the end. I mark x against his lines.

The marks are to my eyes invisible.

I myself seem to like it.

This time you seem to have succeeded. That is poetry.

The process I follow in writing is like this: I go on chiselling and improving on what I have written and it takes a lot of time. Sometimes I write down, all the time trying to search for a better expression. It is said that both these processes are bad.

There can be no one rule for everybody. Many follow your process.

S’s eye trouble is the same, there is a sign of strain in her eyes.

She writes to me that her eyes are a little better, but she is in dental anguish and as usual, all that is done by the doctor (dentist) makes her worse.

I hear from Rajangam that you are preparing to sacrifice someone, including ourselves, to the gallows of medical study, for a French diploma. Is it really necessary?

It is not for study, but that we may be safe against the French law which forbids anyone, except duly qualified medical practitioners (French-qualified, not foreign-qualified) to practise in French territory. What we are doing now is perfectly illegal, our only defence being that we take no money and do it only among ourselves – but whether that would be sufficient, is doubtful. Mother has often wished for someone who could stand as a shield, having the necessary qualifications, but Dayashankar who was to have done it is no longer available. We have no idea of forcing anyone to do it.


June 1, 1935

If it is necessary and convenient, why not send Pavitra to the Chief Medical Officer to discuss the matter with him? It depends mainly on the chief than on others.

It is not so pressing. If there were a general rule about the matter, as in France, it would be all right; but a special favour is another matter. We will think twice before we ask – especially as they may look with disfavour on the idea of somebody coming in from outside into the closed medical field here.


June 3, 1935

From what you say about the subconscient, it would seem that its conquest would lessen and minimise our troubles to a great extent. But are there not periods or moments when we consciously bring back to memory certain things of the past, or are these impressions only due to the waves from the subconscious reaching up?

That is the conscious action of the mind.

I mean are our conscious or unconscious movements entirely influenced by the subconscious?

No certainly not – the subconscious is the evolutionary basis in us, it is not the whole nature. But things can rise from the subconscient and take shape in the conscious parts.

I also understand that this subconscient is more directly concerned with what we may call the more obscure and darker movements of our being. What is then the origin of the higher movements? Where do they remain lodged – inner mind, life and body? Do all the higher impulses – service, fame, ambition, etc., come from these inner planes? In the making of a being, I suppose then, the subconscient impressions and sanskaras of previous lives are carried forward. In that case, how far will it be right if I say that my desires, my impulses, formations and tendencies of lower nature are mostly due to old debts of past life, some due to impressions of this life? What about heredity then? Do we not say that usually sensual parents have sensual issues, etc., etc.,?

Another point – even if this subconscient is managed, is there not also universal nature which acts and reacts on individual consciousness and brings back from somewhere what is thrown away from here?

There are three sources of our action – the superconscient, the subliminal, the subconscient of which we are not aware. What we are aware of is the surface being which is only an instrumental arrangement. The source of all is the general Nature, but the general Nature deposits certain habits of movement, personality, character, faculties, dispositions, tendencies in us. That is what we usually call ourselves. Part of this is in habitual movement and use in our conscious part, part is concealed in the other three. But what we are on the surface is being constantly set in motion, changed, developed or repeated by the waves of the general Nature coming in on us either directly or else indirectly, through others, through circumstances etc. Some of this comes straight into the conscious part and acts there, our mind appropriating it as our own; part comes into the subconscient or sinks into it and waits for an opportunity of rising up into the conscious, part goes into the subliminal and may at any time turn up or may not. Part passes through and is rejected. It is a constant activity of forces supplied to us out of which (or rather out of a small amount of it) we make what we will or can. But in reality it is all a play of forces, a flux, nothing fixed or stable; the appearance of stability is given by constant repetition and recurrence of the same vibrations and formations. That is why our nature can be changed in spite of Vivekananda and Horace and the subconscient, but it is a difficult job because the master mode of Nature is this obstinate repetition and recurrence.

As for the things thrown away from us that come back, it depends on where you throw them. Very often there is a sort of procedure about it. The mind rejects its mentalities, the vital its vitalities, the physical its physicalities – these usually go into the corresponding domain of general Nature. It all stays in the environmental consciousness, which we carry about with us, by which we communicate with the outside Nature, and persistently rushes back from there – until it is so absolutely rejected that it can’t return. But when what the mind rejects is strongly supported by the vital, it sinks down into the vital, rages there and tries to rush up again and reoccupy the mind. When the vital rejects it, it sinks from the higher to the lower vital. When the lower vital too rejects it, it sinks into the physical consciousness and tries to stick by inertia or mechanical repetition. Rejected from there it goes into the subconscient and comes up in dreams, in passivity, in extreme tamas. The Inconscient is the last resort of the Ignorance.

As for the general Nature it is of course the natural tendency of its inferior forces to try and perpetuate their action in the individual, so they return on him when they find their influence rejected. But they cannot last long once the environmental consciousness is cleared – unless the Hostiles take a hand. Even then these can attack, but if the sadhak has established his position in the inner self, they can only attack and retire.

It is true that we bring most of ourselves from past lives. Heredity only affects the external being and all the effects of heredity are not accepted, only those that are in consonance with what we are to be or not preventive of it at least. I may be the son of my father or mother in certain respects, but most of me is as foreign to them as if I had been born in New York or Paraguay.

R complains that his head is aching more than ever – he can’t sleep – he feels tired, he feels ill. I may observe that he seems to remain with all his windows closed – not the way to cure headache at any time and least of all in this weather, one would think.

P.S. By the way, on the 1st, I sent the medical reports. They came back without your signature.

1 simply forgot to hand them over to the Mother for inspection. Send them again.


June 4, 1935

S’s acidity has come back in full vigour, perhaps due to my fault. I added two more slices of bread at his repeated request and he informs me after two days.

His object in not informing you, Purushottam says, was that you might not stop his extra food!

Secondly he thought he has turned out to be Hercules overnight, went on scrubbing, doing gate-duty and many other exercises without ever asking me.

Purushottam says the work is light, but S purposely turned it into a Sandow exercise making all sorts of motions to give work to his muscles. Motive – to get hungry so that he might conscientiously ask for an increase of food.

I noticed recently a very peculiar movement in me. I could no longer think of you – an absolute indifference, apathy was there. It seemed as if you were before me yet not there.

It looks like the subconscient – perhaps due to my writing about it? But also it may be that the subconscient has become my King Charles’s head and I see it everywhere.

What are these things cropping up? How will they end?

Let us hope, in the illumination of the subconscient and a glorious transformation!

Today very suddenly J said, “The Mother is sending you to Paris.” I thought the whole thing has somehow leaked out. When I asked him how he came to know about it, he replied, “It is absolutely my intuition.” Do you believe it, Sir? Can intuition be so exact?

I am not disposed to accuse the intuition in this case. I suspect R or somebody else of indiscretion with this intuitive outbreak as the result. Not that intuition cannot be exact, but we must not put too much on its poor back.


June 5, 1935

Another Bengali poem. Please cast a glance at it.

I like your poem very much. The poet seems to have come out after all. So the pains of labour, and even the forceps, were useful. It is the turn of the Yogi to come out next – what? Even with a forceps!

C says that dal and cucumber curry give her asthmatic attacks; so she wants double milk instead.

Mother says you should not believe everything these women say – they are all hysteric or semi-hysteric and these are hysteric or at least nervous imaginations. If one starts believing and acting on all of them, there will be no end. That is why Mother did not agree to the “more milk.”


June 7, 1935

I was happy to know that you liked my poem, but I accept with much reservation your other statement that the poet has come out, for after a long labour I could not even complete a sonnet. If the poet has come out I think it is a sort of Krishna’s afternoon visit to Chaitanya! As for the Yogi, I submit myself to anything, – injection, forceps or even operation; but only do bring him out, please. He is overdue!

Well, at any rate it proves that he is there – for these poems were true poetry – and can come out, even if he has still to be dragged out by the hair of his head. In time he will surely become less shy and difficult. As for the Yogi – well, we will see.


June 8, 1935

I can’t resist the temptation of disturbing your Sabbath, Sir; here is a poem. The forceps were indispensable, but I hope it will be an “Angel”!

It is not bad at all – can be accorded the “order of merit”. Traces of the forceps are visible. But if you go on, probably the forceps will not be indispensable.

One point, is there any truth in this “white flame” of the Purusha? The psychic being is supposed to be a flame, but it’s also called the Secret Purusha. The image is then correct?

Of course the image is quite legitimate for the psychic being. The psychic being is a Purusha, not a flame – the psychic fire is not the being, it is something proper to it.


June 9, 1935

We had a discussion on Divine Love yesterday at D’s place. Can we say the Divine may love one more than another? The expression would then be a little misleading because it will bring in human comparisons.

Not only a “little”, but very misleading.

I would like to ask something about it. It is said that the Divine loves all equally; yet it is a fact that some are dearer to Him than others. I believe, you too say the same thing in the Gita!

I don’t say; it is the Gita that says it – or rather there are two separate slokas: one says that the Divine makes no differences – the other says that Arjuna is specially dear to him.

Sometimes I feel that if the Divine loves all equally, even then D and myself, for example, transgressing some vital rules of the Ashram, will not be equally treated. In my saner moments I have tried to look at it more rationally.

That does not stand. Sometimes you might get nothing except perhaps an invisible stare; sometimes I might say “Now, look here, Nirod, don’t make an immortal ass of yourself – that is not the transformation wanted.” Still another time I might shout “Now! now! What the hell! what the blazes!” So it would depend on the occasion, not only on the person.

There are many instances to show that some persons are dearer to the Divine than others. Besides Krishna and Arjuna, we have the instance of Buddha and Ananda.

There is also St. John, the beloved disciple.

Then again, Vivekananda was dearer to Ramakrishna than the other disciples. Chaitanya showered his grace on Madhai and Jagai, but were they closer to him than Nitai?

But he had love for them (তাই বলে কি প্রেম দিব না?).77

Some say that because through one person, chances of manifestation are greater, or because he is more open, or is a Vibhuti, he will be nearer to the Divine. That, I think, can be swept aside since degrees of manifestation can never be a criterion. What is it that determines this – I really don’t know.

Of course you don’t – nor does anybody. Is love a creation of the reason? or dealt out by this or that scale? Or does the Divine calculate “This fellow has so much of this or that quality! I will give him just so much more love than to that other?”

This question is not only of theoretical interest to us, but also of practical importance, since in our stumblings and gropings the Divine here may have a soft corner for some, and not perhaps for others to the same extent.

All that is rather beside the point. There is a universal divine love that is given equally to all – but also there is a special relation with each man – it is not a question of more or less, though it may appear so. But even that less or more cannot be judged by human standards. The man who gets a blow may, if he has a certain relation, feel it as a divine caress; he may even say, erecting his own standard, “She loves me more than others, because to others she would not [have] given that blow, to me she felt she could give it,” and it would be quite as good a standard as the kind treatment one – as standards go. But no standards apply. For in each case it is according to the relation. The cause of the relation? It differs in each case. Cast your plummet into the deep and perhaps you shall find it – or perhaps you will hit something that has nothing at all to do with it.


June 10, 1935

As usual, in a discussion A lost his temper and hit out at S and made her terribly upset. He remarked to me, “Today I hit out at her deliberately. Always she thinks that we know nothing.” You must have been given a report of the incident...

Obviously, there was the intention to strike. That is the worst of these discussions that people can’t keep their temper or avoid bringing in their ego.

Maybe you will have to write my version of the affair to D. Whatever be the consequences, I will take them in a true attitude.

I don’t propose to do so.


June 11, 1935

S has got boils. What about giving him vaccine injections?

Yes. Have you not got a counter-smoking injection for him also?

In your letter to J you speak of a “special relation” with the Mother. Is this determined by the need and temperament of the sadhak?

For instance, does the Divine say – this man needs to be patted a little, that man humoured, the other requires “an invisible stare” etc.? Is it that? I don’t think so.

The need and temperament are one element only. It is the relation as a whole from which everything flows. These things are not arranged by some mental reason or calculated intention. The source is deeper and it is a reality behind that acts.

Some say that the Divine Love is like a rose; those who come nearer to it, that is, open themselves more, necessarily get more of it.

Of course – but those who don’t open themselves get it too – without knowing it often. Unfortunately many don’t recognise or appreciate their good luck and may even go grumbling and bumbling off into the darkness.

But I say that the Divine Love is a rose which is impersonal as well as personal.

Of course.

Some people are of the opinion that those in whom the psychic has evolved through many births will come nearer to the Divine, and will, therefore, be dearer to Him than others whose psychic is still a child.

The psychic is always a child – बालवत्78 – only it can be a very wise child.

If I may make a personal allusion – I have all of a sudden been the recipient of your jokes and humour denoting an intimacy. What can be the reason for it? Is it because my psychic development needs it? Is it because I have to be handled only in this way?

All these wise reasonings are rubbish. You are x and therefore you get yz, that is all.

You asked me to cast my plummet into the deep to find out the reason. But the “deep” is too deep for my plummet.

For any mental plummet. It is not the mind that can discover these things.

I don’t want to know the cause of the relationship. All I say is that a personal relationship does exist with some which is different from the impersonal relationship of love.

That is of course quite true. Why not leave it there?

R is shouting that he has worse headache than ever and also fever.

T has been asked to show her mouth to you, so that you may see what is the matter. She was taking no food at all, so Mother told her to take liquid food and gargle immediately afterwards. She says as a result her mouth is worse and all swollen.


June 12, 1935

S has again the pains and the [...]79 etc. Has she taken her course of Fandorine? (I may add in strict privacy that this has happened after a quarrel in the D.R., a revolt of feelings against the Mother and a day and a half hunger-strike; but as this is Yogic or rather unYogic and not medical, you should pretend not to know anything about it.)

I leave your “special relation”, but I have to discuss a little about your Force. I feel that your Force gives us the necessary inspiration for poetry, but I of ten doubt that you send it in a continuous current.

Of course not. Why should I? It is not necessary. I put my Force from time to time and let it work out what has to be worked out. It is true that with some I have to put it often to prevent too long stretches of unproductivity, but even there I don’t put a continuous current. I haven’t time for such things.

If the current were continuous, we would not write just 15 to 20 lines at a stretch and then go on for days together producing only 3 or 4 lines.

That depends on the mental instruments. Some people write freely – others do so only when in a special condition.

Had your special Force been constantly acting, why should we have this difficulty? We should be able to feel the inspiration as soon as we sit down with pen and paper, shouldn’t we?

No. At least I myself don’t have continuous inspiration at command like that in poetry.

I don’t think a latent faculty brought out by Yogic Force would achieve such a height of perfection as a faculty which manifests in the natural way.

Of course, not so long as it is latent or not fully emerged. But once it is manifested and settled, there is no reason why it should not achieve equal perfection. All depends on the quality of the inspiration that comes and the response of the instrument.


June 13, 1935

While I was having my afternoon nap, I felt some rays of the sun trying to pierce my brow. It means something, I suppose?

It simply means that some rays of the light of Truth are trying to get inside your skull. As you say “trying”, I won’t commit myself farther than that. Strictly speaking, as it was the brow, it means trying to get into the inner mind and light it up a little.

You said on the previous day that the quick emerging of a faculty depends on a favourable ādhār. But on what does this favourableness depend? I thought it is all an asset of a past life due to which it becomes easily manifested in the present life...

How can one say on what it depends? It depends on all the past and all the future and on what is behind the present also!! The mental instrument is what has been formed for the present life – naturally if it has by present nature a marked beginning of capacity in a certain direction, it will be more easy for something that is pressing to manifest, to develop through it than it will be for an instrument not so naturally responsive. But “more easy” is all one can say. It does not follow that the facile instrument will do more than the difficult one. There are poets who produce with no difficulty; there are poets who produce with difficulty; there are poets who produce with occasional facility and customary difficulty. All kinds go in to mix the cosmic hotch-potch.

R says he is well today, free from his headache.

Perhaps that is why he proclaims that he is sad. He evidently means to become “artistic” in temperament. It is well known that you can’t be an artist unless you are a prey to fits of romantic and meaningless sadness.

S didn’t take full course of Fandorine, nor did I think it necessary, for she responded well and I thought her ailment was slight. Now I shall continue the course for a month.

It is a longstanding ailment and used to be before very violent, so a full course is, I think, necessary.

M complains that he is under treatment for his eruptions for 2 months and shaved his head 5 times – still he is covered, whole head with “irruptions” on face and elsewhere. Then?

We have been told about I.K. that she is in a bad state of health, much affected by profuse leucorrhoea (for which her self-chosen remedy is not to eat), but also there is often no urination for 2 days (this is hearsay, so perhaps an exaggeration). Please look into the affair.


June 15, 1935

I am at the end of a long poem; have been working at it for many hours, but could not extract anything.

But what did you extract? Not even words? What a constipation!

I thought what a waste of time! Should one sit down to write without any inspiration seeming to drop?

I suppose you have to go on sitting down, until the inspiration gets converted and drops as soon as you sit.

You can’t say that there is no application. But is it the right method, I ask?

Try, try again – as the spider said to Bruce.

Previously I was sleeping like a dog and now I am working like a bull.

The Bull is the mother animal.

A flood of energy is there, but to what purpose?

O Force, Force,

Can you ever break this coarse

Tough stuff?

Well, if you can achieve poetry like that in English, what may you not do in Bengali?


June 17, 1935

Can you stretch your hand, Sir, and help me out of this mud of the subconscient, inconscient, universal nature or God knows what?

I am quite willing to stretch out any number of hands for the purpose. Hold on and you will get out.


June 18, 1935

I send you a small poem, opinion?

It is a very attractive little poem.

But where is the joy of the creator? I don’t find or feel any!

It is the medical man with his forceps that comes in the way of the Ananda, I suppose – too much occupied with the doubt and difficulty of delivery. But the poet is there beyond a doubt now. So buck up, knock off the Man of Sorrows from your shoulders and go cheerfully ahead.


June 19, 1935

You have often spoken of the Man of Sorrows in connection with me. But I was a cheerful fellow at school and college. So I am afraid he is a contribution, partly at least, of your Yoga.

Not of my Yoga, but of the blasted atmosphere that has been created here by the theory that revolt, doubt and resultant sorrow and struggle and all that rot are the best way to progress. The Ashram has never been able to get out of it, but only some people have escaped. The others have opened themselves to the confounded Man of Sorrows and got the natural consequence. But why the devil did you do it? The Man of Sorrows is a fellow who is always making a row in himself and covering himself with sevenfold overcoats of tragedy and gloom and he wouldn’t feel his existence justified if he couldn’t be colossally miserable – when he gets on people’s backs he puts the same thing on them. Yoga on the other hand tells you even if you have all sorts of unpleasantnesses to live in the inner sunlight, your own or God’s. At least most Yogas do except the Vaishnava – but the Yoga here is not a Vaishnava Yoga.


June 21, 1935

I had a terrible headache today, especially worse after pranam, till meditation.

What is this really, I am having now and then? If it is yogic in origin, I will have some comfort. Are you breaking some resistances inside? But if you break them in this way, I am afraid, a lot of pains and aches await me!

No. To make people ill in order to improve or perfect them is not Mother’s method. But sometimes things like headache come because the brain either tries too much or does not want to receive or makes difficulties. But the Yogic headaches are of a special kind, and after the brain has found out the way to receive or respond, they don’t come at all.

I seem to be making some excursions into the world of music, in my dreams. Last night I heard a professional female singer singing and playing. It was so distinct that even when it ceased, the music was ringing in my ears. I thought it was a lower vital enjoyment. The other day I heard songs about you – a higher vital enjoyment, I believe

Yes, these are excursions into the vital world (lower or higher) or rather worlds, for there are any number of domains there. They are not really dreams – dreams proper belong to the subconscient and are usually a jumble.

You asked me why the devil I opened to the Man of Sorrows. How can I help it when the atmosphere is thick with doubt and depression? Human as we are, it is not easy to be free from them. They are inevitable in the very nature of things, aren’t they?

No, not in this exaggerated form – and not with the vital luxuriating and wallowing in its misery. Attacks and perturbations on the surface, yes; but in some they are slight, in others rare and there is a clear mind or clear soul that looks at them and says, “O, you asses!” Mark that only a minority have allowed up the Man of Sorrows on their backs, though others have dallied with him. I admit that recently this minority has increased in numbers – the subconscient, I suppose!

We hear that you also had to undergo a lot of suffering and despair – to the extent of wanting to commit suicide!!!

What nonsense! Suicide! Who the devil told you that? Even if I knew that all was going to collapse tomorrow, I would not think of suicide, but go on to do what I still could for the future.

Give us a vision of your Vishwarupa or the flame or something to save us from being crushed by the Man of Sorrows. Let him be kicked into the dust-bin!

You indeed write very skilfully in the style of the Man of Sorrows! That is just his tone.

R has got back his headache! What do you say to my giving him sulphersenol, an arsenic compound injection?

You can; but R has again become irregular, – windows shut, breakfast shunned, evening meal shunned etc., etc. He is really the architect of his own headache. He speaks of sadness, but refuses to give the reason of his mysterious sadness. You will say “The Man of Sorrows”, but medically we can’t admit this gentleman.


June 22, 1935

You said I can try sulphersenol, but Mother is dubious about it and thinks of dangers. Of course these arsenic compounds can produce toxic effects, but they are largely used in syphilis and other chronic skin diseases. Sulphersenol is the least toxic, and given in a very small dose, it may not produce any harm.

“May not” is hardly enough. A cure for syphilis can hardly be a neutral thing capable of being tried as a tonic anywhere. The recommendations themselves warn against possible dangers.

They have a tonic effect also. I am willing to go by your decision. At least one injection of Bismuth can be tried, but it is an inferior substitute. So?

Mother would rather you completed the Cacodylate. When it is finished, we will see.


June 23, 1935

R came at 11 a.m. for injection and he had high fever. Gave him sponge bath and washed the head with cold water, the temperature came down. Now I hear he has again 106°. Given a bottle of diaphoretic. No other complication except headache. Ice-bag is being given.

Has he been constipated or is he so now? He used to have very bad constipations, but nowadays it is not possible to get anything out of him on that subject. Another thing to be seen carefully is whether there is any danger of meningitis. (But on no account speak to him of this or say anything that would alarm or upset).


June 24, 1935

Today I went to see a football match; tomorrow is the finals! Can I go to see it if I can arrange the dispensary work with Rajangam?

The Lord he knows.


June 27, 1935

All rosy things and poetry have died and the old Nirod-self is the master of the field!

Better turn it out again – it is not a place for it to graze in.


June 29, 1935

I objected to J having talks and discussions with a friend in the Dispensary. I said they could do it in my bedroom but J got upset and left the place. This has happened more than once. I am very much indebted to her for having brought me here and helping me in many other ways. At times I feel like breaking off the relation once for all. But I fear to give her any such blow as she is very sensitive. What should I do?

You are perfectly right in your objection. It is extraordinary how people here make a personal matter of everything and extraordinary how they want to mix up everything and make একাকার80

As for the rest, well, gratitude is a good thing, but it is after all the Divine who brought you to the Divine and the best gratitude you can show to the instrument is to do what is best for your sadhana as well as hers. It is a little difficult to say what you should do in the case. A quiet friendliness without insistence on either side would be the best thing, if J agrees to it and follows it. Friendship in the big sense of the term is another guess matter; it is an exceedingly difficult affair and needs a gift for it on both sides. From what you say, you don’t seem to fit into each other very well and, if so, the chances for it are not very hopeful. To break off altogether seems to be hard, to insist on old ties and make demands is obviously out of place – why not attempt by common agreement a middle way? J’s over-sensitive vital? Well, she has to get over it, I suppose – for the sake of her own sadhana.


June 30, 1935

Shall I try to bear the knocks and shocks when they come, keeping a friendly feeling within for her? And how much of the letter you have written shall I show her?

1 am rather doubtful about the latter. The other process is better – at the same time getting J to understand gradually (though as quickly as possible) that there must be a change in the spirit and nature of any relation between you.

Yes, it is after all the Divine who brought me here. But before all was it not her prayer and aspiration for me that was the cause?

As J did not pre-exist before the Divine and it is not she who is managing the affairs of the world, I prefer to believe that it was J who was the instrument of the Divine and not the Divine the instrument of J.

Was it predestined that she should be a link between you and me? Had I really no chance independently? Was our union only a play of forces?

Predestination and chance are words – words that obscure the truth by their extreme rigidity of definition. All is done through a play of forces which seems to be a play of different possibles, but there is Something that looks and selects and uses without being either blindly arbitrary (predestination) or capriciously decisive (chance).

I heard from Jaswant that L and S are two most sincere sadhikas; this seems to have been your opinion.

I am exceedingly surprised to hear it. L, yes – since she had her conversion several years ago, has been single-pointed and single-hearted towards the Mother. But S? She has experiences, but her vital is as vagabond as a butterfly. That is why she does not arrive.

I am in trouble and I don’t know if you will help me.

Why not?

You know that I have not served or sought any god. Yoga and religion were a repulsion to me. I can’t conceive of any Krishna, Shiva or even Buddha helping me – since I have not taken their name.

Perhaps Mahomed?

I have neither any great being nor power behind me which many have, 1 hear.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “great being nor power”.]

Hallo, hallo! what’s that?

I know only you and none else. You may say, “What’s the use if you don’t keep true to me?” Will you also say, “No such sentiments without fulfilling the conditions”?

The sentiment is all right, but you must either trundle along yourself or allow yourself to be kicked along (excuse the simile) towards the goal – one of the two, what the blazes!


July 1, 1935

Take S’s case – what suffering she went through for the Divine. Left her home, husband, etc. and still other sides show up. What human elements are we made of!

Both J and S are made up of disparate elements which are not at all in harmony with each other – so are many others, it is a common case. Nothing to be surprised at in that, the man harmonised round something central in him is a rarity.

Now about predestination and chance. The ultimate responsibility then lies with this “Something” on which the play of forces is dependent and with those, for instance, who have gone away from here due to hostile influence – it was possible because this Something gave its sanction? No chance exists then and no free will. This free will of ours is nothing but being an instrument in the hands of forces while we think we are enjoying great freedom. And this play is again guided by Something?

There is no question of responsibility. The “Something” does not act arbitrarily, paying no heed to the play of forces or the man’s nature. “Selects” does not mean “selects at random.” If a man puts himself on the side of or into the hands of the hostile influences and says “This way I will go and no other. I want my ego, my greatness, my field of power and action” – has not the Something the right to say “I agree. Go and find it – if you can”? On the other, if the balance of forces is otherwise, less on one side, the selection may be the other way, the saving element being present, and determine another orientation. But to understand the working of this Cosmic Something one must see not only the few outward factors observed by the human eye, but the whole working with all its multitudinous details – that one cannot do unless one is oneself in the cosmic consciousness and with some opening at least to the Overmind.

There is no such thing as “free” will, but there is the power of the Purusha to say “yes” or “no” to any particular pressure of Prakriti and there is the power of the mind, vital etc. to echo feebly or strongly the Purusha’s “yes” or “no” or to resist it. A constant (not a momentary) Yes or No has its effect in the play of the forces and the selection by the Something.


July 2, 1935

I find that sincerity, openness, etc., are good in theory but very difficult in practice.

It has got to be done all the same.

J said one thing that struck me very much – that I have been so fortunate in having your friendship and still I indulge in trifles.

Almost everybody is like that in one way or another.


July 5, 1935

Apropos of X’s tactics you have said: “The eternal feminine? Terribly so – but that is not the Real Woman.”81 Who is the Real Woman, please? Anyone here?

I was not referring to anyone in particular but to the element in woman which is simple, straightforward, faithful, sympathetic – without the twist in it. I don’t mean anything very high, but something straight and unspoiled and clear.

N has been suffering long from Sciatica and it is getting acute – he has to remain in bed. Go and see what can be done to get rid of the attack. He did not want to be treated, but it is getting to be too much of a bad thing.


July 6, 1935

K’s cod-liver oil will be over in 3 or 4 days. We have no stock. Shall we order from Madras? He is better.

Pavitra has a medicine to replace the cod-liver oil for a month. It must be prepared by yourself (as it is concentrated drops) not by K.

Will you warn R.K. that he must not press his eyes on Mother’s feet? It is dangerous for the other sadhaks.82


July 8, 1935

Somehow it seems the atmosphere is very heavy nowadays. How I suffered without any apparent cause – as if something had gripped me by the throat.

You should not allow yourself to be gripped by the throat – grip the other fellow’s throat and fling him away.

It seems I am now the target of all depression. But why?

But why accept a depression which has no reason for its existence?

Is it, as our friend Jaswant says, the Ashram vital that affects me, or a personal one?

In Jaswant’s case it is personal – in yours it looks like surrender to the “Ashram” or rather to the “anti-Ashram” vital.

But I have suffered enough, enough, more than my share. One can’t go on, you know, with a spiritual dietary of 3 chief elements of food. Let me remind you that vitamins of experience are essential; otherwise nervous breakdown or deficiency disease is the result. You have a lot of things in your chaddar as you said in a book...


[Sri Aurobindo put a big question mark.]

They say that you are now handling the lower vital and so the general trouble. True?

Subconscient vital physical – the lower vital is irrational, but not so utterly “without reasons” as that.


July 9, 1935

J says he has no personal difficulties; he has to suffer for the sake of the Ashram.

Rubbish! His own vital has always been vehement and unstable.

You say his depression is personal, mine impersonal, while all the time I was cursing myself for my neuro-vital mechanism.

The form it has taken is not personal to you, it has all the sign of the “regulation lathi” attack. Of course it takes advantage of something in you, but that is a different matter.

... No one has ever heard of a Master doing sadhana for the sadhaks – fighting day and night. Even then troubles no less, difficulties the same, goal far-off. Is it the time and circumstance that are at fault or the nature of the blessed instruments?

It is the nature of the human being – whoever told you it was an easy job?


July 11, 1935

All on a sudden, N said, he felt giddy. I didn’t find any apparent reason. Giddiness in old people is an important symptom. Let me predict that this old man will give you a lot of trouble.

I fear you are right. The only chance is that he has some responsiveness, but his physical self is too weak.

He is very nervous and afraid after S’s death. I wish you had adopted a modified Spartan system in your school of training.

So do I. It would have saved a lot of bother.


July 13, 1935

N is slightly better. I came to know he had been taking a lot of mangoes. Won’t it be better to tell him to rigorously keep to the Ashram diet for the sake of his health?

If he wants to be healthy and last, he must certainly be careful about his diet. It is extremely important at his age.

My cold has given me the quick realisation that everything in this world – including the Divine – is Maya. What Shankara and Buddha realised by sadhana, I realise by a simple cold!

No need of sadhana for that – anybody with a fit of the blues can manage that. It is to get out of the Maya that sadhana is needed.


July 14, 1935

N reported just now that his “sciatica” is worse and asked me to inform you. But when I advised him to take some external medicine – well, how can he do that without your permission?

He has full permission, but he is very particular on having it in so many precise words written to himself. I will see what he has written today. What external medicine do you want to give? And what about his constipation?


July 15, 1935

For N, the external application would be a liniment, say, pot.iod. or Siju or Belladonna or any counter-irritant...

All right.


July 16, 1935

[Regarding a certain incident that had recently occurred]

I was under the impression that Mother could at once know of such things. Some even say that she knows everything – all that is material or spiritual. Others maintain that she knows when the question of consciousness is involved, e.g. sex movements etc.. but not so much about material things.

Good Lord! you don’t expect her mind to be a factual encyclopaedia of all that is happening on all the planes and in all the universes? Or even on this earth – e.g. what Lloyd George had for dinner yesterday?

Questions of consciousness of course she always knows even with her outermost physical mind. Material facts she can know but is not bound to do it. The matter however is too complex for answer in a short space.

What would be true to say, is that she can know if she concentrates or if her attention is called to it and she decides to know. I often know from her what has happened before it is reported by anyone. But she does not care to do that on a general scale.

But if she does not know, what really is the meaning of your message: “Always behave as if the Mother was looking at you, for indeed she is always present”?

It is the emanation of the Mother that is with each sadhak all the time. In former days when she was spending the night in a trance and out working in the Ashram, she brought back with her the knowledge of all that was happening to everybody. Nowadays she has no time for that.

This question of Mother’s knowledge became even more interesting for me today. She gave me the flower signifying “Discipline”. I began to wonder why this particular flower was given; at last I remembered that yesterday I had taken some hot khichuri with J and N.

In this respect the Mother is guided by her intuitions which tell her which flower is needed at the moment or helpful. Sometimes it is accompanied by a perception of a particular state of consciousness, sometimes by that of a material fact; but only the bare fact, usually – e.g. it would not specify that it was hot khichuri that was cooked or how J or N came in. Not that that is impossible, but it is unnecessary and does not happen unless needed.

... If not this, what is meant by “Discipline” in Yogic parlance? Anyway please tell us how far Mother and you know about our physical, material affairs.

In this case it was a general hint with a special reference to khichuri.


July 18, 1935

What you say about “Emanations” is very interesting. Mother has then about 150 emanations and, adding 150 of yours, we are each, protected by one god and one goddess! It’s difficult to believe – well, still – for example our throats are gripped by malign forces, in our sleep!...

I am not aware of any emanations of mine. As for the Mother’s, they are not there for protection, but to support the personal relation or contact with the Sadhaka, and to act so far as he will allow them to act. If, for instance, you sidle up to X of the beaming face in your sleep, what can the Emanation do but shake its head and say “Well, perhaps when he has finished, there may be a chance of getting something done”?


July 19, 1935

Kindly enlighten us a little more regarding the emanations. How do they support the personal relation or contact with us when we have neither the former nor feel the latter? Do they do these things even when we are not conscious, and how do they act either? I thought all personal relations were with the Mother direct, not through a deputy.

It is terribly difficult to write of these things, for you are all as ignorant as blazes about these things and misunderstand at every step. The Emanation is not a deputy, but the Mother herself. She is not bound to her body, but can put herself out (emanate) in any way she likes. What emanates, suits itself to the nature of the personal relation she has with the sadhak which is different with each, but that does not prevent it from being herself. Its presence with the sadhak is not dependent on his consciousness of it. If everything were dependent on the surface consciousness of the sadhak, there would be no possibility of the divine action anywhere; the human worm would remain the human worm and the human ass, the human ass, for ever and ever. For if the Divine could not be there behind the veil, how could either ever become conscious of anything but their wormhood and asshood even throughout the ages?

When K says that he feels the Mother’s physical touch, with whom does he have the contact – the Mother or the emanation?

With the Mother – the emanation helping – which is its business.

By the way, are these brackets about emanations absolutely unbreakable or can they be withdrawn in favour of a few, e.g. J, D, and put back again?

You have already spoken to J, she says. That does not matter; but they are not to be thrown down for others. It would only create useless mental froth and bubbles.

I dreamt I had written 4 very beautiful sonnets; are they to actualise?

Let us hope so.


July 20, 1935

In your letter on the emanation, do you mean by a “personal relation” the impersonal person that is the psychic?

The psychic is not impersonal. You must be thinking of the universal Atman. The psychic is always personal and individual.

One may not be conscious of the Presence, but the relation? Unfortunately, I don’t feel any personal relation with the Mother. There lies the whole difficulty of the sadhana.

One has to become conscious by the awakening of the inner mind and vital – or best of all by the awakening of the psychic. It is quite possible for two persons to have a relation of which one is conscious and the other is not – his mental blindness or vital misunderstandings coming in the way. That is frequent even in ordinary life. Very often one becomes conscious of it only when he loses it (by the death of the other or otherwise) and is then full of repinings for his blindness.

A.B. writes in an article that through sorrow and suffering God leads us to immortality; that there is a glory, even a bliss, in their conquest. I am afraid my mystic vision and chicken heart do not see much in this theory. Conquest of sorrow and suffering is all right for brave hearts like Vivekananda’s and A.B.’s, or even for poor hearts like mine when they have a guru like Sri Aurobindo and a mother like our Mother here to do the sadhana for them; but what about the people outside who are wallowing under the weight of their crosses?

I suppose you have not read my “Riddle of this World”; but it is a similar solution I put there. A.B.’s way of putting it is a trifle too “Vedantic-Theistic” – in my view it is a transaction between the One and the Many. In the beginning it was you (not the human you which is now complaining but the central being) which accepted or even invited the adventure of the Ignorance. Sorrow and struggle are a necessary consequence of the plunge into the Inconscience and the evolutionary emergence out of it. The explanation is that it had an object, the eventual play of the Divine Consciousness and Ananda not in its original transcendence but under conditions for which the plunge into the Inconscience was necessary. It is fundamentally a cosmic problem and can be understood only from the cosmic consciousness. If you want a solution which will be agreeable to the human mind and feelings, I am afraid there is none. No doubt if human beings had made the universe, they would have done much better, but they were not there to be consulted when they were made. Only your central being was there and that was much nearer in its temerarious foolhardiness to Vivekananda’s or A.B.’s than to the repining prudence of your murmuring and trembling human mentality of the present moment – otherwise it would never have come down into the adventure. Or perhaps it did not realise what it was in for? It is the same with the wallowers under their cross. Even now they wallow because something in them likes the wallowing and bear the cross because something in them chooses to suffer. So?


July 21, 1935

Why am I feeling so disturbed? Life seems to be a washout. Have I fallen again into the blessed lower vital dungeon?

I suppose so. It is the vital that refuses to leave its movements and yet at the same [time] can’t enjoy them (i.e. why life seems to be a washout).

I am more and more relapsing into a gloom and glum.

Tamas of a disappointed but still recalcitrant vital.

Do you intend to give me a push or a kick this time at the Darshan, or just a touch as usual?

I think for that your vital has to make up your mind whether it is going to leave its old moorings or not. Otherwise a kick will only give it gloom and glum and a push make it tumble down and say “O Lord! what a washout is life!”


July 22, 1935

It is because I made up my mind long ago to leave the old moorings that I was able to kick at the old life, but the moorings seem to be very deep, beyond my human reach...

Yes, you made up your mind and it remains made up – but I was speaking of your vital and its mind. It is because your vital is kicking against your made-up mind that there is the trouble. You ought to talk to it more seriously and firmly and, when necessary, give it a calm and judicious whipping until it becomes a good boy.


July 23, 1935

If the Emanation is the Mother herself, why do we have to make a big case of our troubles and depressions, and buzz it in post-haste for your hearing? Lack of receptivity? or opening? No faith in the Emanation or in its existence? What?

Nobody has to do it. People do it because they are ignorant and unconscious.

If anyone is conscious of the Mother’s presence, he does not make a big case of his troubles. Even if one is not yet conscious, still those who have faith or are not touched by your Man of Sorrows are not making the row you speak of.

A.B. says if we see things impartially we’ll find that happiness predominates over sorrow. It is hard for me to concur with this observation.

It is fundamentally true for most people that the pleasure of life, of existence in itself, predominates over the troubles of life; otherwise most people would want to die, whereas the fact is that everybody wants to live – and if you proposed to them an easy means of eternal extinction they would decline without thanks. That is what A.B. is saying and it is undeniable. It is also true that this comes from the Ananda of existence which is behind everything and is reflected in the instinctive pleasure of existence. Naturally, this instinctive essential pleasure is not the Ananda, – it is only a pale and dim reflection of it in an inferior life-consciousness – but it is enough for its purpose. I have said that myself somewhere and I do not see anything absurd or excessive in the statement.

He is evidently speaking from the cosmic consciousness; otherwise how could he fail to find sorrows, struggles, heartbreaks, hells, perditions gaping everywhere!

Not at all. There are plenty of people, not endowed with the cosmic consciousness, who have said and written the same thing. It is no new theory or statement.

I have no statistics about the other parts of the cosmos, but just look at India: acute epidemics, sub-acute unemployment with consequent suicides, chronic famine and starvation. People, who 10 years ago were making a good business, are breaking their heads over the future – of tomorrow, sir, only tomorrow!

All that is only a feature of the present time when everything is out of order. One can’t argue from that and speak as if it were the normal existence of the human race.

Even with all this trouble and disorder are all these human beings feeling so miserable as you say? They have so much to vex and trouble them, yet they go on chatting and laughing and enjoying what they can. Why?

And still the Ananda of simply being in bone and flesh surpasses all sorrow! I would like to be an optimist, but surely not in excess!

For most people it does. All are not men of sorrows like yourself or fallen into the Byronic vein. Some of course have so miserable an existence that it stifles the innate pleasure of life – but these are after all a small minority.

You have written in The Riddle of this World that this is an unideal and unsatisfactory world strongly marked with the stamp of inadequacy, suffering and evil.

That is when you look at what the world ought to be and lay stress on that. The idealists’ question is why should there be pain at all, even if it is counterweighed by the fundamental pleasure of existence? The real crux is why should inadequacy, limit and suffering come across this natural pleasure of life? It does not mean that life is essentially miserable in its very nature.

People will invite A.B. to come down from his hyper-optimism into the material earth-consciousness and see for himself

A.B. is not an ass. He knows perfectly well what is taking place in the material earth-consciousness and would be very anxious to plunge into the fray to make things better, if I allowed him – but I don’t and won’t.

I am trying to have a dash again at poetry.

Very glad to hear it.


July 24, 1935

It seems A.B. has come to the top rung of your spiritual ladder. In your heavenly Parliament he must have been in charge of a very important portfolio! Otherwise I don’t see how he could, at first sight, have had a vision of the Divine in the Mother, besides other things.

What top rung and what Parliament? There is no such thing as a heavenly parliament. A.B. progressed smoothly and rapidly from the beginning in Yoga, first, because he was in dead earnest; secondly, because he had a clear and solid mind and a strong and tenacious will in complete control of the nerves; thirdly, because his vital being was calm, strong and solid; finally and chiefly, because he had a complete faith and devotion to the Mother. As for seeing the Divine in the Mother at first sight, he is not the only one to do that. Plenty of people have done that, who had no chance of any portfolios, e.g. René’s cousin, a Musulman girl, who as soon as she met her declared “This is not a woman, she is a goddess”, and has been having significant dreams of her ever since and whenever she is in trouble, thinks of her and gets helped out of the trouble. It is not so damnably difficult to see the Divine in the Mother as you make it out to be.


July 26, 1935

Your general notice about the suspension of correspondence has struck terror! My only yoga consisted in this correspondence with you...

You can count yourself among the exceptions who are allowed to write (with Dilip, Arjava and others). But don’t flourish your good fortune (if it is one) in the face of others – keep it dark.


July 28, 1935

We accepted G’s report about his aunt’s temperature being 99°, with some suspicion...

I did not believe at all in this 99°. G is an overmental sadhak who creates facts according to his liking by the power of Vak.83


July 29, 1935

So your remarks about A.B. only prove that he was not of the common stock.

I don’t know. It only proves that he was a good “adhar”.

If one comes down from the higher planes, as I understand K has done for your work, everything becomes a Grand Trunk Road for him.

Nobody has found this Yoga, a Grand Trunk Road, neither A.B. nor K nor even myself or the Mother. All such ideas are a romantic illusion.

I don’t know what the Musulman lady exactly saw. From what you say it seems to be a flash of intuition.

Not at all, it was a direct sense of the godhead in her – for I suppose you mean by intuition a sort of idea that comes suddenly? That is what people usually understand by intuition. It was not that in her case nor in A.B.’s.

By seeing the Divine in the Mother, I don’t mean imagination or calm, calculated reasoning. But to see actually the fully flaming, resplendent, effulgent Divine Mother in any one of her Powers – why, that is damnably difficult, Sir, at least for me who have not even seen the halo around her.

I don’t believe A.B. or anybody would have that at first view. That can only come if one has already developed the faculty of vision in the occult planes. What is of more importance is the clear perception or intimate inner feeling or direct sense, “This is She”. I think you are inclined to be too romantic and poetic and too little spiritually realistic in these things.


July 30, 1935

About G’s aunt – to detect T.B. bacilli in the urine it has to be injected into a guinea-pig – the doctor says, for absolute certainty. The charge for it will be Rs.7. G is not very willing. I suppose it can be omitted though important for the patient.

Yes, you can insist on his forking out that, if he is unwilling. Luck for the guinea-pig!

If seeing the Divine depended on developed occult faculty, how do you explain people’s seeing Ram, Krishna, Shiva, etc., in you at Darshan? – I mean by people who have apparently no such faculty. We’ve read about Krishna presenting himself before small boys, taking them to school, etc. – fables?

With many people the faculty of this kind of occult vision is the first to develop when they begin sadhana. With others it is there naturally or comes on occasions without any practice of Yoga. But with people who live mainly in the intellect (a few excepted) this faculty is not usually there by nature and most have much difficulty in developing it. It was so even with me.

What I understand of the matter is that if you intend that somebody should see the Divine in you – be it a blind man – he is able to see. No faculty is required.

It would be something of a miracle to see things without the faculty of seeing. We don’t deal much in miracles of that kind.

Darshan is approaching. Would it be more profitable to concentrate and meditate then to try to write poems with much difficulty?

If one can concentrate, it is always good to concentrate – darshan or no darshan.

I started 2 sonnets, wrote 4 lines of each, but could complete neither. Should my project be adjourned sine die?

It can be adjourned if you like, but not sine die.

You have permitted S to have a stove, I hear. Have you also permitted him to cook and gobble rasogollas? I ask for information – because if he is supposed to digest, it is all right – otherwise!


July 31, 1935

Yes, I permitted the stove since he was complaining of much flatulence, so that he could take milk diluted with barley and sago, but rasogollas not at all.

I am informed that he ate 2 rasogollas and offered to P. P told him to confess, but he has not done so – for fear I suppose that his stove should be taken away. X some time ago wrote that S was making sweets, but one cannot always believe X’s statements, so I said nothing about it.

If the stove is taken away he will again complain of flatulence. Please see then if you can find out some way.

I don’t know; but one can’t be responsible for the results if he goes on like that. If he expects the Divine Force to be always fighting against his Rasogollas to protect his confounded liver!


August 1, 1935

Today we got the result of M’s urine exam. The poor pig died of toxic symptoms. No definite light on the diagnosis.

Alas, poor pig!


August 2, 1935

X is strongly suspected of stealing some ideas from a novel of J, given him for reading. Should he not have avoided it?

Of course he should. But if you knew much of literary and artistic people, you would not be surprised at anything they do.

I advised her to get her book published now with your approval. In that case it has to be done by N, but that will at once wound X who has taken so much trouble to go through the MS.

I have no objection to J’s doing what is proposed, provided it is not done under my authority. As you can understand, I don’t want any farther bust-up in a delicate quarter.

It has really pained me very much. Everywhere the same humanity!

Of course. That’s what I have been telling all along. It is not without reason that I am eager to see something better on this well-meaning but woe-begone planet.


August 3, 1935

I was much touched by your last remarks of yesterday... Looking around and at oneself, one heaves a sigh and says – What disciples we are, of what a Master!

As to the disciples, I agree!

And we are to be divinised and made the nucleus of a greater work? My God! No, Sir, I am doubtful about your success; but wish that at least 2 or 3 may be there so that looking at them we may exclaim – By them humanity is conquered! Really, I wish you had chosen better stuff like K.

Yes, but would the better stuff, supposing it to exist, be typical of humanity? To deal with a few exceptional types would hardly solve the problem. And would they consent to follow my path? – that is another question. And if they were put to the test, would not the common humanity suddenly reveal itself? – that is still another question.


August 5, 1935

[Referring to something personal:]

 You really rescued me yesterday. My humble thanks. Got a few knocks though –

Knocks and shocks are good for the soul, according to some philosophers. Agree?


August 6, 1935

About knocks and shocks, I suppose I have to agree, since you said I have to allow myself to be kicked along. But what about the other philosophers?

The kicking was suggested as a mild stimulant – it could not be included in shocks and knocks. However knocks can help – as man is now constituted – but it is not part of my philosophy, only a viewpoint of experience.


August 7, 1935

J has a swelling of the lower lip; she surmised that it is a hint to stop her from talking too much. When I smiled incredulously, she argued that it was quite possible.

It is possible. It depends on the person and how he or she takes things.

She added that I could ask you if I liked. What do you say about the great hint?

Hints are hints only when you take them – otherwise they are only swellings on a lip.

I send a small poem with Nishikanta’s correction. Am I in any way following in his footsteps?

How? Your manner is quite unlike his.

What did you mean by “the poet seems to have come out”? [5.6.35] Forceps delivery can’t be more difficult.

He is out – but with difficulty.

A poem of 14 lines taking so many days! Anyway what do you think of it?

My brother Monomohan in his early days would have taken 40 and been surprised at his own rash celerity in writing.

I like it very well.


August 8, 1935

N scorched her hand with hot milk. I think it would be good to keep some picric acid for people dealing with fire-works! It will save them some suffering.

It would be a good idea, but we cannot trust people not to misuse or do mischievous things with it. It would have to be kept shut up under Dyuman’s care or somebody else’s and so not always available at once.

I suppose you have no time to see my old poem of 80 lines?

After the 15th would be more convenient.


August 11, 1935

This morning I lost my temper over N.P.’s obstinacy. He would not listen to my instructions. But can you tell me why I’ve been feeling a sort of antagonism towards him?

It may be a Dr. Fell affair. “The reason why I cannot tell” – or it may be the result of a feeling of accumulated bother.


August 16, 1935

Well, Sir, have I covered a few milestones on the journey to the Infinite?

Move on, move on!

Some time back you wrote to me: “Never has there been such an uprush of mud and brimstone as during the past few months. However the Caravan goes on and today there was some promise of better things.” What about the uprush of mud? Has it settled down, and are people now floating in the flood of the Supramental?

It is still there, but personally I have become superior to it and am travelling forward like a flash of lightning, that is to say zigzag but fairly fast. Now I have got the hang of the whole hanged thing – like a very Einstein I have got the mathematical formula of the whole affair (unintelligible as in his case to anybody but myself) and am working it out figure by figure.

As for people, no! they are not floating in the supramental – some are floating in the higher mind, others rushing up into it and flopping down into the subconscient alternately, are swinging from heaven into hell and back into heaven, again back into hell ad infinitum, some are sticking fast contentedly or discontentedly in the mud, some are sitting in the mud and dreaming dreams and seeing visions, some have their legs in the mud and their head in the heavens etc., etc., an infinity of combinations, while many are simply nowhere. But console yourself – these things, it seems, are inevitable in the process of great transformations.

I send a poem as an offering – the result of the Darshan.

By the way very much pleased with your offering. Even if he is slow in delivery and his Muse not অনন্তপ্রসরা84 like Harin’s or Dilip’s or –, the poet is undeniable.


August 17, 1935

You say, “I have become superior to it and am travelling forward fast,” but you have been always superior and been always travelling fast all your life. How is it going to affect us?

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “always superior and been always travelling fast”.]


If my being able to solve the problem of the subconscient in the sadhana is of no importance, then of course it won’t affect anybody. Otherwise it may.

From the condition of the people you describe, there isn’t much hope left, nor does it show that your travelling fast has speeded them up.

That is of no importance at present. To get the closed doors open is just now the thing to be done and I am doing it. Speeding people through them can come in its own time when the doors and the people are ready.

What is this mathematical formula that you have all of a sudden found out? Let us have it in a tangible form, if possible...

I told you it was unintelligible to anybody but myself, so how the deuce do you expect me to give it to you in a tangible form?

Chand writes that while he was meditating in a quiet place, he saw a very brilliant mass of reddish light above the temple there. What does it mean?

Don’t know. Red means a hundred different things and the particular sense depends upon the shade and the context. If he is getting calm and peace, that is more important.


August 19, 1935

It appears you have made many people happy at this Darshan in spite of their oscillations, sitting contentedly on their mud thrones. My discontented self is one of that happy group!

Well, one can be happy in a swing or even in the mud! The perfect sadhak should indeed be happy in all circumstances, সর্ৱথা ৱর্তমানো’পি85 as the Gita puts it.

We wonder and wonder how, all on a sudden, you have melted so visibly, tangibly and manifestly. What is it that could melt you so as to give us a patting during darshan?

It is my mathematical discovery – don’t seek for any other cause – my grand new, brand-new mathematical formula.

Divine Love concretising itself? or the Divine himself elated at the thought of an impending big deal?

What great expectations! Besides I’m not Roosevelt. I am only going ahead, therefore visibly cheerful though not yet demonstratively exuberant.

But whatever it may be, if you keep up this patting, Sir, at every Darshan, our repinings will disappear. Don’t you think so?

Don’t know. Provided no sadhak interprets my pattings as blows and cries “Why did you thrash me, Sir?”


August 20, 1935

I am very very happy, Sir – almost floating in Supramental bliss. Not only that, I feel you have done, after all, really something this time. Is this happiness an expression of the psychic or of the inner vital?

The psychic of course, with the vital in dependence on it.

What do you think of your namesake, I mean Aurobindo Bose – engineer? I like him very much.

A very fine fellow with much stuff in him and both strong and truly sincere in his spiritual aspiration.

He says that very soon you will be getting 2 to 3 lakhs of rupees and he wants me to get it verified from you.

Let us hope! let us hope! It would be very handy indeed.

I beg to be pardoned for one thing; today Dilipda was saying that he was very happy with this Darshan. I was so moved that I let out the secret of your “travelling forward” fast. Has it been a mistake to let it out?

No – only you must not tell it to too many people. It is only because I don’t want speculation or gossip about such things as that spoils the atmosphere.


August 22, 1935

The other night after closing my eyes for a few minutes, when I opened them and looked at the moon, I saw around it a rainbow-coloured circle which again was surrounded by a clouded darkness. Any meaning?

It is a certain kind of subtle physical vision which sees these things. It is not quite easy to say when they have significance or are only things seen. If it had any, it would mean spiritual light with a circle of manifold powers around it apparently in the darkness of the ordinary consciousness.


August 23, 1935

C has sent Rs. 2/- on the occasion of his birthday which is on the 27th. He wants me to do pranam to Mother for him also.

You can do a second pranam (altruistic, for C) on the 27th and Mother will give you a flower for him.

The Darshan atmosphere and its influence seem to be waning away so soon! Old friends or foes are stepping in!

There is always an adverse movement after the darshan, the revanche of the lower forces. I had a stoppage myself, but I am off again riding on the back of my Einsteinian formula.

All poetry gone! Stuck in the sestet of a sonnet. I wonder really when this force will tumble down or will it ever?

You have formed like many poets a bad habit of sticking in the mud between inspired jolts. You have to dissolve the habit – as a doctor you must find out a dissolvent which will do it.


August 24, 1935

You surprise me by your phrase, “between inspired jolts”, for most of the poems have been written by halves, quarters, with some intervals and many attempts in between. That is why I can’t look upon a poem as having any worth.

Well, if that is not writing by “inspired jolts”, what is?

The worth of a poem depends on what has come out, not on the way in which it has come out.

But since a bad habit has been formed, it has to be dissolved. But how? Doctors, you know, are often failures specially in treating themselves. Please, then, prescribe a remedy. It is queer that you write a few lines in no time and the rest perhaps at no time!

This is too cryptic for me. I may say however that inspiration for poetry is always an uncertain thing (except for a phenomenon like H). Sometimes it comes in a rush, sometimes one has to labour for days to get a poem right, sometimes it does not come at all. Besides each poet is treated by the Muse in a different way.

It is proposed to include my poems in an Ashram Anthology of Bengali poems. But won’t my work look pale and anaemic beside Nishikanta’s, all splendour and glow?

No. Besides, there must always be varieties in an anthology which is like a museum or a botanical collection. So a modestum Nirodicum inside will do no harm even beside a flaminga Nishikantica.


August 26, 1935

J is thinking if she could get her book published without any recommendation from others.

I suppose she still needs a sponsor. To take good things on their own merit happens sometimes with magazine editors, but sometimes is not always or often.

See the ways of the world! An honest and good work depends on so many factors even for publication. I suppose it is inevitable in the scheme.

It is the pattern of the scheme. It can only be changed if you change human nature or substitute for it a higher nature.

Any chance of coming out of the mud or the same caravan speed?

What? For whom? Which way?


August 27, 1935

About yesterday’s poem, Nishikanta says: “Couldn’t your experience – if it is an experience – be expressed in a more subdued way? Have you really heard the «apsara sangeet», in the lyre of the wind?”

It does not seem to me that so much matter of factness can be demanded in poetry. I was not aware of any excessive uchchwas86 when I read it.

G has a disease of which the exact diagnosis you want to know, can be made only by a microscopic examination. He gives a different story altogether, what shall we do?

Can you not say something like this, that you have to make the analysis (or whatever it is called) in order to be sure of your treatment?


August 28, 1935

What do you say to showing G’s condition to Dr. Manilal?

You may.

With regard to the publication of J’s book, she put my name in the letter she was writing to you. I asked her to strike it out as the reference to me was too short and did not convey my exact idea. She struck it out but said that I was afraid of my name being involved. This is what I got after having done so much!

These are the pin-pricks of life. You must walk warily if you want to avoid them. Beware of dropping pins about – they may prick the dropper. J’s resentment at being plagiarised is a pin of importance.


August 29, 1935

Today I shall request you to “stand and deliver” on a different subject. What is exactly the significance of the 24th of November? Different people have different ideas about it. Some say that the Avatar of the Supermind descended in you.

Rubbish! whose imagination was that?

Others say that you were through and through overmentalised.

Well, it is not quite the truth, but nearer to the mark.

I myself understood that on that day you achieved the Supermind.

There was never any mention of that from our side.

If you did not achieve the Supermind at that time, how was it possible for you to talk about it or know anything about it?

Well, I am hanged. You can’t know anything about a thing before you have “achieved” it?

Because I have seen it and am in contact with it, O logical baby that you are! But achieving it is another business.

Didn’t you say that some things were getting Supramentalised in parts?

Getting Supramentalised is one thing and the achieved supramental is another.

You have unnerved many people by the statement that you haven’t achieved the Supermind.

Good Lord! And what do these people think I meant when I was saying persistently that I was trying to get the Supermind down into the material? If I had achieved it on Nov 24. 1926, it would have been there already for the last nine years, isn’t it?

Datta seems to have declared on that day that you had conquered sleep, food, disease and death. On what authority did she proclaim it then?

I am not aware of this gorgeous proclamation. What was said was that the Divine (Krishna or the Divine Presence or whatever you like) had come down into the material. It was also proclaimed that I was retiring – obviously to work things out. If all that was achieved on the 24th [November] 1926, what on earth remained to work out, and if the Supramental was there, for what blazing purpose did I need to retire? Besides are these things achieved in a single day? If Datta said anything like that she must have been in a prophetic mood and seen the future in the present!

I have stood, but I have not delivered. I had time for standing a moment, but none for a delivery – however pregnant my mind or my Overmind may be. But really what a logic! One must become thoroughly supramental first (achieve Supermind) and then only one can begin to know something about Supermind? Well! However if I have time one day, I will deliver – for evidently with such ideas about, an éclaircissement is highly advisable.


August 30, 1935

Regarding G’s disease, Dr. M says... supposing the microscopic exam is negative, we would not be convinced either. So he is almost as positively definite or definitely positive about the nature of the sore, and the cause of it, as you are in your domain... What do you say?

I am not positive about anything – I am simply negative and positively negative about having the nuisance of the damned thing in this state of sanguinary incertitude. As to my personal opinions, I have them but they are very private.

You confess that you have not delivered but in what little you have, there are many points that need a few more lines.


Yes, an éclaircissement is highly advisable and if you have time, you can do it tonight.

None at all.

But if you have no time I shall have to disturb your Sunday slumber – either by my questionings or by a long poem.

Excuse me. I don’t sleep on Sundays; I climb mountains of outside letters which have accumulated for want of weekday time.

You can choose either of the tortures, Sir!

The poem, please!

The “pin” I dropped has caused a septic sore in the pricked!

You can advise her to be Yogic and not mind. Or are you afraid of getting a slap?

I was wondering if it is possible to get J’s book published from the Arya Publishing House with your permission.

I suppose they are afraid to venture – being a concern with pinhead profits and no capital to speak of.


August 31, 1935

You say you have your personal opinions about G’s case. Surely the person of this “personal” is not Nirod, Khirode or Binode – it is the Divine who is omniscient. Then I don’t see why the Divine should seek for data from humans. Human opinion, G will at once question, but the Divine’s he can’t. Or he can and the Divine is afraid of losing his prestige, what?

If you mean that I can kick G out of the Ashram even without assigning a reason, of course I can, and it is not any questioning of his that would prevent it. Usually my very deferent disciples demand an explanation of what I do, and if it is not valid according to human canons of judgment and evidences, they abuse and reproach me in a million conversations and a thousand letters. So to avoid bother, I prefer to act in the human way – bother means frictions, waste of time and paper, vociferations etc.

I couldn’t finish copying the poem. Since you “sleep” up to midday, I hear, I can send it to you later.

It depends on the time I go to sleep. If it is at 9 or 10 a.m. I may sleep beyond 12. As for poetry, I see it only at night. There is no time in the afternoon except for the letters.

Nag, the A.P. House manager, told me that they publish books only on your school of thought. But whatever you say they do and will do.

That is the principle on which it was started – that it should not be an ordinary publishing concern. How far the principle has been respected I cannot say, since I don’t read all its publications. I don’t know whether the Mother will take it up.


August 31, 1935 (Evening)

[After a long account of G’s uncertain medical case.]

... Please clear this point and don’t write Delphic oracles. Leave that to me as my monopoly.


September 1, 1935

What is happening really, Sir? Have you stirred sleeping snakes and monsters that are rushing up now?

Excuse me, they were not sleeping at all; they are simply coming into light.

Now I hear that Y is leaving you to go to Raman Maharshi. What next?

You are astonished? Really, you seem to be living like a cherub chubby and innocent with his head in the clouds ignorant of the wickedness of men. I thought by this time the revolts of Y were common knowledge.

Not only that, he is hurling abuses, threats, most offensive words at you!

In his “periods” he was doing that all the time privately among his friends. Now it is publicly that is all. Afterwards he puts on the airs of a saint and howls reproachfully at us for having believed lying reports. Another specimen of humanity.

He had said that he’d die if he went away from here – he’s united with you for ever. Are all these mere words? Really, have you touched some Frankenstein monster?

My dear sir, he was much worse than that before he came to Pondicherry. I have not touched anything, for the Frankenstein was already there, not of my creation.

No, Sir, I am not reproaching you, but this is an absolutely inconceivable and unimaginable phenomenon, and makes my head reel...

O dear me! Cherub! cherub!

A vast abyss has opened its jaws to swallow Y for ever.

Do you mean Raman Maharshi? He is not an abyss and he has no desire to swallow.

I tell you, Sir, it will be a pathetic failure on the part of the Divine!

Rubbish! It will be a failure on the part of Y. I don’t profess to transform men against their will.

Is all this fury not excusable?

Very ignorant at least. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is not a defence or excuse.

On the planes that are above the mind (Overmind and those above it), do the forms exist as we have them on the planes relating to the material creation? The forms of gods we have here in icons etc., do they actually exist on the higher planes? My question is: Do the forms actually exist in those planes, or is it the creation of the mind which gives the forms to those powers, in the sense that it is half the creation of the mind and half the acceptance of our forms by the God-powers?87

There are no planes of manifestation without forms – for without form creation or manifestation cannot be complete. But the supraphysical planes are not bound to the forms like the physical. The forms there are expressive, not determinative. What is important on the vital plane is the force or feeling and the form expresses it. A vital being has a characteristic form but he can vary it or mask his true form under others. What is primary on the mental plane is the perception, the idea, the mental significance and the form expresses that and these mental forms too can vary – there can be many forms expressing an idea in different ways or on different sides of the idea. Form exists but it is more plastic and variable than in physical nature.

As to the Gods, men can build forms which they will accept; but these forms too are inspired into men’s mind from the planes to which the God belongs. All creation has the two sides, the formed and the formless, – the Gods too are formless and yet have forms, but a Godhead can take many forms, here Maheshwari, there Pallas Athene. Maheshwari herself has many forms in her lesser manifestations, Durga, Uma, Parvati, Chandi etc. The Gods are not limited to human forms – man also has not always seen them in human forms only.


September 2, 1935

Of course Y’s revolt was quite evident. But the fact of his leaving “W” came as a shocking surprise.

No doubt, though not to all. But since then there is no reason for surprise.

One could never imagine that he would call back his old self, so suddenly.

The old self was always there, but for the first year he was always holding it down. It was when Mother began to press for him to get rid of it that the revolts began.

You can’t deny that he had bright periods of sadhana, and was going very well until this “monster” caught him by the throat.

Of course he had periods. So had B for a very long time. But after his first outbreak they were never harmonised88 with the other self.

We were not quite prepared to see him bid good-bye for ever, for we had confidence in your Force and thought you would succeed in bringing him round. This is the reason of our astonishment.

When he went from the W it was distinctly understood that he must settle his problem himself. He did not want any farther influence because that was not consistent with his independence. Under such circumstances he could get help only in proportion as he was sincere.

But do you call this “will” in Y? How can an insane person – for it is nothing but insanity, have any will?

Certainly – the will to be independent, the will to follow the call of his nature – the belief that he had the Light and the realisation sufficiently to follow his own path, as one already almost the equal of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

He gave you his will, his inner sanction, when he came here.

You have never heard of a double being?

If I want to hang myself, would you say, “I can’t help him against his will”?

If that were your will and not merely an impulse of the vital being, nobody could stop you.

This is what, perhaps, a human being would say, who has no knowledge of the play of forces?

If I have knowledge of the play of forces, why do you want me to ignore the play and work by violence or a miracle beyond the play of forces? It is precisely the play of forces in Y which brought him where he is.

Another point – you knew that he had the monster in him, and yet you accepted him? Why? Weren’t you confident about the success or was it only to give him a chance?...

Practically, D threw him in through the window in spite of Mother’s refusal. After that he pleaded and got his chance on conditions, not unconditionally – conditions which he broke after the first year. Still we gave him his full chance, beyond what we had at first promised because there was a possibility that he might go through – even if he allowed us to guide and influence, a certitude. But he wanted no more guidance and influence. Hence these tears.

The departure of a person with extraordinary powers is serious.

And what a pathetic and tragic end for him! All the world will laugh at him and won’t you share in the laughter?

Pooh! a sincere heart is worth all the extraordinary powers in the world. And why a tragic or pathetic end! He is as merry as a grig and as sure of himself as a god. He says he has only one step to make and he is going to make it no matter whatever happens or who does what.

Do you think I care? What a very human mind you have! But why want me to share in it? What is in the mind of the sadhaks matters because that is part of my work, but what you call all the world (meaning the small part of it interested in Y outside) can laugh or not – what difference does it make? My bringing down of the supramental does not depend on the নিন্দাস্ততি89 or মানঅপমান90 dealt out from there. And is care for these things part of the ordinary spiritual consciousness even? and if I am to be inferior in these matters to a spiritual man, R.M. for instance, how am I to be not only supramental and superman but supramentalise others? Have you never thought of these things and will you and the others live always in the ordinary mundane social consciousness and feeling and ideas and judge me and my work from that sorry standpoint?

I hear A.P. House has been taken over by the Mother. There is no chance then for J’s book being published there.

None. I asked the Mother, but she is categorical. The A.P.H. will remain the A.P.H. and not become an ordinary publishing house.


September 4, 1935

R and self are invited for tea to the oculist’s place – there’s some function. I suppose it’ll be rude not to go. Again social consciousness? – you may say. But say it again then, Sir!

Of course, social consciousness – according to S.C. it is certainly rude not to go. What it may be from another S.C. (spiritual consciousness) is another matter.


September 5, 1935

R’s pleurisy is much better. The remaining signs are of no importance, only he must not expose himself to cold, neither smoke much nor take wine.

Jehovah! You are recommending him a little smoke and wine? What next? All right – except for the last ominous touch.


September 6, 1935

You remember once you made a prophecy that Y would turn out a spiritual poet. Has it been fulfilled? Now that he has left the Ashram, what becomes of your prophecy? I am asking as a perplexed man, not as a “broken spiritual pot”.

As a spiritual poet he is not a failure, it is as a spiritual pot that he is a failure.

You told him also that you would never leave him. Well? How shall we then interpret the promises you have made to others, to me for instance?

I don’t propose to leave him, any more than I have left René. What I propose is that he should not stay here to play the humbug any longer – he must take one course or the other with his lower nature.

From this I come to a big philosophical question: Why are there failures in sadhana?... A ready answer to the cause of these failures is – revolt of lower nature, refusal to undergo transformation. Apparently it is so, but is it the root cause? When we go to the origin of creation we find you saying that the soul or the central being came down into evolution for the sake of experience, call of the Unknown and through the depth of the abyss to establish the possibilities of the Divine in the Ignorance and Inconscience.

As you put it, this is not at all my statement of things. One cannot establish the possibilities of the Divine through the depths of the abyss. It is only by the ceasing of Ignorance and the Inconscience that the possibilities can be established. I have never said that the object of the creation is to keep up I + I91 perpetually and realise the possibilities of the Divine in that tenebrous amalgam – (its possibilities of being more and more abysmally ignorant and inconscient?).

If this theory be true, can it be said that when one fails in sadhana due to the lower nature’s revolt, the soul has sanctioned it for further experiences of life?

That is only another way of putting the revolt of the lower nature. For it is not the soul, the psychic being, but the vital and the physical consciousness that refuse to go farther.

For those who are running after petty pleasures, doesn’t the same answer hold true? When their soul is fully rich and satisfied with its chequered experiences, it will turn towards its ultimate purpose?

How can petty pleasures be rich? Chequered is all right. But it is not when the soul is satisfied, but when it is dissatisfied that it turns towards its ultimate purpose.

Of course when the soul no more wants the Ignorance, it will turn to the Light. Till then it can’t. That is what I have always said as the reason why I reject the idea of converting the whole of mankind – because they don’t want it.

It can also be said that people really don’t know that a greater Ananda, Bliss, etc. can be had, and if they are told this, they don’t believe it or, even if they do, they are not ready to pay the price.

Of course they don’t, but even if they did, it does not follow that they would prefer to follow it rather than their accustomed round of pain and pleasure. Many deliberately prefer that and say the other thing is too high for human nature – which is true, because you have to want to grow out of human nature before you can have the Ananda.

Many struggle towards the Ananda but cannot reach it because though the soul and even the thinking mind and the higher vital want it, the lower vital and physical want something else and are too animal and strong in them for control. [That is the case at least with some in the Ashram.]92 Or the ego wants something that is not that or wants to misuse the Power for its own satisfaction.

All this about man being imprisoned in Maya, and going on swirling in its whirl, seems to me due to the soul clinging to the Ignorance for the sake of experience, if what you say about the origin of creation is true.

What has the origin of creation to do with it? We are concerned with the growth of the soul out of the Ignorance, not its plunge into it. The lower nature is the nature of the Ignorance, what we seek is to grow into the nature of the Truth. How do you make out that when the soul has looked towards the Truth and is moving towards it, a pull-back by the vital and the ego towards the Ignorance is a glorious action of the soul and not a revolt of the lower nature? I suppose you are floundering about in the confusion of the idea that “desire-soul” in the vital is the true psyche of man. If you like – but that is no part of my explanation of things; I make a clear distinction between the two, so I refuse to sanctify the revolt of the lower nature by calling it the sanction of the soul. If it is the soul that wants to fail, why is there any struggle or sorrow over the business? it would be a perfectly smooth affair. [The soul would lift its hat to me and say “Hallo! you’ve taught me a lot, I’m quite pleased but now I want a little more fun in the mud. Good-bye,” and I too would have to say, “O.K. I quite agree. I was glad to see you come, I am equally glad to see you go. All is divine and A.I.93 – all has the soul’s sanction; so go and mud away to your soul’s content”]94


September 7, 1935

I send the poem at last, as your Sunday exercise! Dilipda says that it is good; but it is still incomplete.

From what I have seen of it (first page), Dilip is probably right. However let’s gulp the whole whale before pronouncing on the quality of its oil.

What does the abbreviation “A.I.” mean in your letter of yesterday?

I’m hanged if I know – I was referring to something that had cropped up in the course of the debate, but I must have put the wrong initials and, probably, also failed to finish the sentence. I think I had meant to write “I.I. (Ignorance and Inconscience) is the law” or something to that effect. But it is better to drop it.


September 8, 1935

A strange incident occurred today. Dr. Becharlal and I worked as usual in the dispensary. After the day’s work we shut the doors and went out – Dr. Becharlal to the pier for his habitual walk, and I to X’s place. J also went to the pier at this time. But he somehow did not enjoy his stroll and instead had, what he called, “a very repulsive feeling” when he arrived at the pier, and distinctly felt that he should go back to the dispensary. When he went there, he found a number of people collected near the entrance, knocking at the door; they were waiting for me. J inquired what had happened, and was told that B.P. had been stung by a scorpion and required immediate medical help. He at once hastened to fetch me. I asked him to find Dr. Becharlal, and bring him also to the dispensary. He went towards the pier looking for the doctor. After going a little distance he met Dr. Becharlal, who was returning without finishing his walk; he said that somehow he did not feel like going to the pier that day. I am a little baffled by the whole incident. Are these just accidents?

No, of course not. But they seem so to all who live in the outward vision only. “Coincidence the scientists do them call.” But anyone with some intelligence and power of observation who lives more in an inward consciousness can see the play of invisible forces at every step which act on men and bring about events without their knowing about the instrumentation. The difference created by Yoga or by an inner consciousness – for there are people like Socrates who develop or have some inner awareness without Yoga – is that one becomes conscious of these invisible forces and can also consciously profit by them or use and direct them. That is all.

These things manifest differently, in a different form or transcription, in different people. If it had been Socrates and not Becharlal who was there, – which would have been useless as he was no doctor and highly inconvenient to you as he would certainly have turned the tables on you and avenged me by cross-examining you every day and passing you through a mill of philosophical conundrums and unanswerable questions – but still if he had been there, he would have felt it as an intimation from his daemon, “Turn back, Socrates; it is at the Ashram that you ought to be now”. Another might have felt an intuition that something was up at the Ashram. Yet another would have heard a voice or suggestion saying “If you went back at once it would be useful” – or simply “Go back, back; quick, quick!” without any reason. A fourth would have seen a scorpion wriggling about with its sting ready. A fifth would have seen the agonised face of B.P. and wondered whether he had a toothache or a stomachache. In Becharlal’s case it was simply an unfelt force that changed his mind in a way that seemed casual but was purposeful, and this obscure way is the one in which it acts most often with most people. So that’s thus.

Have you had time and appetite enough to gulp the little whale? If you had I hope it wasn’t nauseating!

The whale taken as a whole tasted very well; its oil was strong and fattening, its flesh firm and full and compact and whalish. Not quite so exquisite as the sonnet minnows, but the quality of a whale can’t be that of a minnow. As a whale, it deserves all respect and approbation.

Krishna Ayyar has a cold and slight fever. Given aspirin. Requires Divine help.

One tablet of aspirin and another of aspiration might do.


September 9, 1935

C has developed ringworm. He wants me to inform you. I hesitate to report these small things, but the general belief is that once they reach your ears they’ll be quickly done with. Am I then making a mistake in my refusal?

No. For small things the general force (+ or – the doctor) ought to be sufficient since it is always there. If it is something serious or if it is something obstinate, then it is another matter. Of course if they insist, you can drop a word in passing.

I have three letters of yours before me, and all three require some elucidation. I think and think, but can’t get anywhere. Perhaps you will say, “Make the mind silent”! But Descartes says, “Je pense, donc je suis.”95

Descartes was talking nonsense. There are plenty of things that don’t think but still are – from the stone to the Yogi in Samadhi. If he had simply meant that the fact of his thinking showed that he wasn’t dead, that of course would have been quite right and scientific.

I forgot to tell you that C has gone back to his old habits.

By the way, X has been sending Rs. 2 every month. He doesn’t take any other interest in the Ashram. Is it of use to correspond with him?

I don’t know. Some people say that everything one does in this world is of some use or other known or unknown. Otherwise it wouldn’t be done. But it is doubtful. That by the way would apply both to X’s lack of interest and C’s inconclusive ferocities.


September 10, 1935

I am going to riddle you with a volley of questions and I am prepared to receive the return-shots.

I was not at all “floundering about” between “desire-soul” and the “true psyche”.

Well, if you were not, why did you represent the experience of the lower nature as such a rich and glorious thing? It is the desire-soul or the life-being which finds it (sometimes) like that.

If failures are due to the revolt of the lower nature, why should that revolt occur in A’s case and not in B’s? Past Karma? And by what is this Karma decided?

Because A is not B and B is not A. Why do you expect all to be alike and fare alike and run abreast all the way and all arrive together?

[Sri Aurobindo drew an arrow from “what” to his reply.]

It is Prakriti and Karma, so long as the Ignorance is there. The hen lays an egg and the egg produces a hen and that hen another egg and so on ad infinitum – till you turn to the Light and get it.

And this Karma has its past and this past its own past and so on till we come to a state where there is no Karma but only the central being. This central being, it seems, chooses its particular sheath – mental, vital etc. – and upon that choice depend the evolutionary consequences. Is that correct?

What is this central being you are speaking of – the Jivatma or the psychic being? or an amalgam of both?

I don’t quite understand. The psychic being is supposed not to choose, but rather to form in accordance with its past and future evolution a new mental, vital and physical sheath each time it is born. But the placid or tacit observation does not seem to apply to the psychic being, but to the Jivatman. Moreover you seem to say this is done at the beginning of the evolution and determines the whole evolution. But that has no meaning since it is through the evolution that the psychic does it. It has not got one fixed mental, vital, physical which remains the same in all lives.

My point then is that because the chicken-hearted central being – I suppose there is a hierarchy of these beings, some lion-hearted, some worm and some chicken – selected or had to select according to its own standard, that I have my own failures.

These words don’t apply to the members of the hierarchy.

Since the soul descended into Ignorance through a process of devolution, it has to go back through evolution.

What is this devolution? Let me hear more about it, – for it is new to me. I know of an involution and an evolution, but not of a devolution.

Though the soul may repent for its misadventure, it can’t take a leap into the Kingdom of Light or walk straight to its Father like the Prodigal Son...

A leap, no! But if it has got thoroughly disgusted, it can try its chance at Nirvana.

Again the soul gathers the essential elements of its experiences in life and takes up with the sheaths as much of its Karma as is useful for further experience in a new life.

This time it is all right – but what the deuce has that got to do with the original sin?

Now if I say that the soul has failed this time because it took “so much of its Karma” and requires farther evolution through farther experience before it can turn completely, how am I wrong?

Excuse me, – if it goes on with its Karma, then it does not get liberation. If it wants only farther experience, it can just stay there in the ordinary nature. The aim of Yoga is to transcend Karma. Karma means subjection to lower Nature; through Yoga the soul goes towards freedom.

It seems to me that the soul is searching, analysing, experimenting, through contraries and contradictories and thus proceeding by steps and stages. It will move towards the Light and retrace its steps again and by a series of ups and downs finally arrive at its Home. And so the revolts are only steps and stages on the way.

You are describing the action of the ordinary existence, not the Yoga. Yoga is a seeking (not a mental searching), it is not an experimenting in contraries and contradictories. It is the mind that does that and the mind that analyses. The soul does not search, analyse, experiment – it seeks, feels, experiences.

This is how I look at it. Is that all rot? No grain of truth in it?

Logical rot! The only grain of truth is that the Yoga is very usually a series of ups and downs till you get to a certain height. But there is a quite different reason for that – not the vagaries of the soul. On the contrary when the psychic being gets in front and becomes master, there comes in a fundamentally smooth action and although there are difficulties and undulations of movement, these are no longer of an abrupt or dramatic character.

You say that when the soul no more wants the Ignorance, it will turn to the Light; till then it can’t.

Perhaps the better phrase would be “consents to” the Ignorance. The soul is the witness, upholder, inmost experiencer, but it is master only in theory, in fact it is not-master, অনীশ96, so long as it consents to the Ignorance. For that is a general consent which implies that the Prakriti gambols about with the Purusha and does pretty well what she darn well likes with him. When he wants to get back his mastery, make the theoretical practical, he needs a lot of tapasya to do it.

This is very significant because, if so, I should say that the soul is the Master of the House and if it says categorically – “No more of Ignorance, vitals and mentals have no go” – it can refuse to go farther. Because the soul wants more fun in the mud of Ignorance, people follow their “round of pleasure and pain”.

That is contrary to experience. The psychic has always been veiled, consenting to the play of mind, physical and vital, experiencing everything through them in the ignorant mental, vital and physical way. How then can it be that they are bound to change at once when it just takes the trouble to whisper or say “Let there be Light”? They have tremendous go and can refuse and do refuse point-blank. The mind resists with an obstinate persistency in argument and a constant confusion of ideas, the vital with a fury of bad will aided by the mind’s obliging reasonings on its side; the physical resists with an obstinate inertia and crass fidelity to old habit, and when they have done, the general Nature comes in and says “What, you are going to get free from me so easily? Not if I know it,” and it besieges and throws back the old nature on you again and again as long as it can. Yet you say that it is the soul that wants all this “fun” and goes off laughing and prancing to get some more. You are funny. If the poor soul heard you, I think it would say “Sir, methinks you are a jester” and look about for a hammer and break your head with it.

Even their disbelief lack of faith in Divine Ananda, etc., is due to that!

Due to the soul’s sense of fun? It seems to me more probably that it is due to the obstinacy of mental and vital sanskaras. Perhaps that is why the Buddhists insisted on breaking all sanskaras as the seeker of liberation’s first duty.

But if you ask me, as you do, “Why then is there so much struggle and sorrow?” well, I am floundered, unless one can say that though the soul has given the last kick, still a longing, lingering look is bound to be there.

You call that a mere look! I suppose that if you saw an Irish row or a Nazi mob in action, you would say “These people are making slight perceptible gestures and I think I hear faint sounds in the air.”

My dear Sir, be less narrowly logical (with a very deficient logic even as logic) – take a wider sweep; swim out of your bathing pool into the open sea and waltz round the horizons! For anything that happens there are a hundred factors at work and not only the one just under your nose; but to perceive that you have to become cosmic and intuitive or overmental and what not. So, alas!


September 11, 1935

Shall I continue attending the hospital? I think I have learned enough about the common eye diseases.

The Mother wants you to go on; she thinks it important.

With great difficulty I have deciphered your Supramental writing. Now it requires to be metabolised. But one point remains to be clarified.

Which diabolical point was that? Some point of a pin on which the whole universe can stand?


September 12, 1935

I’m thinking why it is so important to go on attending the hospital. When R asked, you replied, “If you feel the need”. Why a different decision for me? For my personal profit? For my sadhana or an impersonal play behind?

That was before circumstances took a certain shape. At that time the forces had not so arranged themselves as to make it important. Afterwards when things came to the necessary point, then Mother told R he must continue and it is for the same reason that she asks you to continue. When I say important I don’t mean that it is a big thing, but it is a small point in the game (play of forces) and small points, like pawns in chess, can be important – even very important.

It appears the Mother is turning towards manifestation viz. the Town Hall decoration, A.P. House, Art Exhibition in Paris, etc. I heartily like it, Sir. Many, many valuable years have passed by!

Why valuable years? Are some years valuable and others non-valuable? There is no question of Art Exhibition in Paris before 1937 which may be a valuable year but is still far off.

During the hospital work, I feel myself submerged in Inconscience. No remembrance of the Mother at all.

It does not matter. This is not the supramental manifestation – it is simply a little game on the way.

Do you work on those people also and can your Force be invoked in aid of that suffering populace?

What people? Which suffering populace? Mother is not taking up A.P.H. or decorating Town Hall for the sake of any suffering populace.

Apropos of that scorpion incident on the 8th, you explained Dr. B’s case, but avoided mentioning J; yet he was an important link. And if the incident could have manifested in so many ways, then surely the whole thing must have appeared before your vision as soon as it happened.

What is this logic? There is no connection between the premiss and the conclusion.

Finding J a receptive fellow, you acted through him. What do you say?

I was not speaking of any personal action but of the play of forces which happens everywhere, but is of course more marked here because of our presence and the work done.

Then it means that there is no such thing as accident, chance, or coincidence; all is predetermined – all is a play of forces. Sir C. V. Raman once lectured to us that all these scientific discoveries are games of chance.

I have not said that everything is rigidly predetermined. Play of Forces does not mean that. What I said was that behind visible events in the world there is always a mass of invisible forces at work unknown to the outward minds of men, and by Yoga, (by going inward and establishing a conscious connection with the cosmic Self and Force and forces) one can become conscious of these forces, intervene consciously in the play, to some extent at least determine things in the result of the play. All that has nothing to do with predetermination. On the contrary one watches how things develop and gives a push here and a push there when possible or when needed. There is nothing in all that to contradict the great Sir C.V. Raman. Only when he says these things are games of chance, he is merely saying that [...]97 human beings don’t know how it works out. It is not a rigid predetermination, but it is not a blind inconscient Chance either. It is a play in which there is a working out of possibilities in Time.

From the falling down of the bottle – Simpson’s discovery of chloroform – to the Irish sweepstake, everything seems to be this blessed play of forces, but not Chance! The bottle had to fall for the great discovery!

Why shouldn’t it fall? Something had to happen so that human stupidity might be enlightened, so why not the agency of a bottle?

Your old colleague B says that if there were such a thing as “accident”, then one can no longer say that there is a perfectly uninterrupted order in this world. Order means a regular sequence. An accident can only happen by disturbing this sequence.

That’s nineteenth century mechanical determinism. It is not like that. Things can be changed without destroying the universe.

I suppose I am once again knocking my head against a cosmic problem?

Very much so, sir.


September 13, 1935

Instead of saying “shut up” you have devised a very nice trick of evasion, Sir! for everything “a play of forces”. Therefore no more questions. Long live the play of forces!

It is the truth. Why get wild with the truth? It is like knocking your nose against one of Epstein’s statues in the hope that it might turn out to be unreal or change into a faery beauty.

What I am writing now is not about the play of forces, but about confusion, conflict and despair in me.

O Lord God! again despair!

The confusion and despair are because I don’t seem to have any go at all.

Pshaw! Pooh! Rubbish!

Not a day has gone when I could say I have aspired strongly for anything.

Well then, aspire weakly and phantasmally – but anyhow aspire.

Of course, I find that after this Darshan the desires and impulses aren’t as acute as before, but that’s not enough.

Well, well, that’s an admission. It is not enough, but it is something.

I am as unconscious as before about the Force and its working.

Doesn’t matter. Let the force work anyhow – in time it will have its result.

What most upsets me at present is that there is no current of aspiration.

Low current of electricity? Well, well, let us see to the dynamo.

Is that a very satisfying state or is there any future ray of hope?

Any number of rays – a whole sun.

What I would like to have is something stabilised: peace, force, purity or Presence.

So would I, so would anybody. It is not enough to like, you must get the thing done and peg on till it is done.

Neither can I fix my aspiration on any particular aspect. Now I want peace, now force, now Ananda...

That’s the confounded wobbling mobility of your mind.

Isn’t it a confusion and isn’t it despairing?

It may be a confusion but it is not désespérant. (Despairing in this sense is bad English, by the way.) Plenty of people have had that before you and yet arrived all right.

Once you gave me the formula of Peace, Force and Presence. Shall I try to stick to it?

For mercy’s sake, do. Peace first, Force tumbling into the Peace, the Presence at any stage.

But really, Sir, how long to stagnate in this passive pool of the Immobile? Is there no chance of being as dynamic as a flood?

Not so long as you merely ratiocinate and wobble – unless the dynamo begins to work in sheer exasperation at your foolishness – which is quite possible.

When a sincere aspirant like K took so many years to draw in all his limbs into his shell and do what may be called real sadhana, our expectation and hankering is sheer madness.

And who did that feat in a few days, weeks or months, I should like to know? I am sure I didn’t.

Real sadhana, he has been doing for a long time. That is why he is now able to draw in his limbs.

Well, expecting to do it in a record time or shouting sorrowfully because that doesn’t happen, is rather windy.

I suppose we have to go on dreaming that one day, one year, one Yuga, we shall also come to such a blissful height. Till then, Man of Sorrows is my companion, alas!

No need at all! Call in the Man of Mirth and dismiss the other Applicant.

Another confusion about poetry. I haven’t been able to find out any “dissolvent” and I take it that the Muse is treating me in the same way as the Yogi is doing.

Well, it seems to me that the Muse has done a good deal for you already, considering that you did not start with the vocation. O favoured unappreciative!

Since there is no inspiration, the call of the moon, the sky, the sea and the Unknown takes me away to the pier at night.

Absorb the moon, sky, sea and the unknown and trust to the inner alchemy to turn them into poetry.

I am so tired with this “play” of yours, Sir, that sometimes I have a longing to jump into the silence of Nirvana.

Not so easy to do it as to write it.

However, what shall I hear from the mighty pen as a remedy to my chronic despair and impatience?

Now look here, as to the Yuga, etc., if I can be patient with you and your despairs, why can’t you be patient with the forces? Let me give you a “concrete” instance. X is a sadhak of whom it might be said that if anyone could be said to be incapable of any least progress in Yoga, X was the very person, blockishly absolute and unique in that respect. Mulish, revolted, abusive. No capacity of any kind, no experience, not a shadow, tittle or blessed pinpoint of it anyhow, anywhere or at any time for years and more years and still more years. Finally some while ago X begins to fancy or feel that X wants Mother and nothing and nobody else. (That was the result of my ceaseless and futile hammering for years). X makes sanguinary row after row because X can’t get Mother, not a trace, speck or hint anywhere of Mother. Threats of departure and suicide very frequent. I sit mercilessly and severely upon X, not jocularly as I do on you. X still weeps copiously because Mother does not love X. I sit on X still more furiously but go on pumping force and things into her. X stops that but weeps copiously because X has no faith and does not love Mother. (All this goes on for months and months). Finally one day after deciding to stop weeping for good and all X suddenly finds X was living in barriers, barriers broken down, vast oceanic wideness inside her, love, peace etc. rushing in or pressing to rush; can’t understand what on earth all this is or what to do – writes for guidance. Now, sir, if my yugalike persistence could work a miracle like that with such a one, why can’t you expect an earlier result with you, O Nirod of little faith and less patience? Stand and answer.98


September 14, 1935

From what I could make out of your mysterious handwriting about this mysterious X, she must be a plucky girl. With that thrashing – if you are really capable of it – and the Mother’s “hard looks” to boot, if she has stuck to you, I must say that she is exceptionally enduring too.

I suppose X was able to stick because X had no brains. It is the confounded reasoning brain that is the ruin of you. For instead of taking the lesson of things it begins reasoning about them in this futile – shall I say asinine – way. My idea however is that X stuck because X had nowhere else to go. Of course that is the outward reason – the real one being that something unknown pinned X down here.

One word about this “patience”, Sir, I am afraid there is a big fallacy in that. You can take 50 years to make me at least a supramental ass. And this would still be a short period for you, since in the supramental time-scale 50 years will be 50 days of ours.

If that is so, then you will become a Supramental ass in 50 days – since my years are supramental, that follows. So what’s the row about? With this glowing prospect before you!

So I have stood and answered. But no amount of standing and answering will serve the purpose. I shall now learn to “stand and wait” as “they also serve who only stand and wait”, says Milton.

Thank God! A most comforting resolution – for me at any rate.

Doctor Saheb

I am sending to the dispensary two cases –

1.P – she had tuberculosis? at 19 for six months, she says, and at 25 for a short time, but cured quickly. Sounds queer, for tuberculosis at that age usually gallops, doesn’t it? Anyhow she has symptoms which need elucidation by medical authority. To be examined and reported.

2. B.P. – says he “fell from chastity” 7 years ago and had an illness of the organ (sores?) which the Panjab Doctors called by some outlandish word I don’t recognise – bedridden 2.5 months, cured by injections – twice recurred, but healed of itself – nothing for the last 3 years – coming here cropped up again. (Thanks to the forces at play for that!!). Apprehends. Cross-examine and examine. Does not know English, don’t know if you know Hindi. Anyhow Becharlal is there.

Feel inclined to swear, but refrain.

N.B. Keep quiet about the affair, please – strict medical discreetness needed!

Sri Aurobindo


September 15, 1935

We questioned, cross-examined and examined B.P....

Syphilitic sores or ulcers don’t recur in genital parts even if the disease remains untreated or partially treated. And these sores have characteristics which are missing in this case...

As for his previous affection and its existence in the system, well if it were syphilis, 4 or 5 injections could not have cured him. But there’s only one way of being sure about it – blood-exam. But for such things I feel hesitant and ashamed for they reflect upon the reputation of the Ashram, don’t they? Of course, people don’t know that these things are contracted outside and come in...

Where would the blood-examination be made? But I suppose it is better to avoid it if possible. What do you propose to do for his sores if they are not syphilitic, as we must assume since they have not the characteristics?

P hasn’t turned up. She doesn’t seem to have much faith in medicine.

This is not a question of faith, but of fact.

She has written to me saying Becharlal had already once examined her and found nothing. Will you ask Becharlal about it?

I seize the golden opportunity to ask you to deliver about the Supermind as you had promised. I hope you remember it; if not, the question was: What is exactly the significance of 24th November? Overmental, supramental realisation or what? You say that it was something like the descent of Krishna in the material. Some say that the descent took place in you. But you are not matter, are you? Not very clear.

Why not? Why can’t I be matter? or represent it at least? At least you will admit that I have got some matter in me and you will hardly deny that the matter in me is connected or even continuous (in spite of the quantum theory) with matter in general? Well, if Krishna or the Overmind or something equivalent descended into my matter with an inevitable extension into connected general Matter, what is the lack of clarity in the statement of a descent into the material? What does logic say?

By your “trying to get the Supermind down into the material”, we understand that the ascent is done and now the descent has to be made. Something like one going up to you at Darshan and getting all the bliss, joy, etc. and trying to bring it down and not lose it as soon as one steps out. And what is this again? You say you are in contact with it and then again that you are very near the tail of it! Sounds funny! Contact and no contact?

But, supposing I reached Supermind in that way, then under such conditions would it be probable that I should come down again at the risk of losing it? Do you realise that I went upstairs and have not come down again? So it was better to be in contact with it until I had made the path clear between S and M. As for the tail, can’t you approach the tail of an animal without achieving the animal? I am in the physical, in matter – there is no doubt of it. If I threw a rope up from Matter, noose or lasso the Supermind and pull it down, the first part of Mr. S that will come near me is his tail dangling down as he descends, and that I can seize first and pull down the rest of him by tail-twists. As for being in contact with it, well I can be in contact with you by correspondence without actually touching you or taking hold even of your tail, can’t I? So there is nothing funny about it – perfectly rational, coherent and clear.

Another point: Have you written anywhere what would be the nature of the physical transformation?

I have not, I carefully avoided that ticklish subject.

What would it be like? Change of pigment? Mongolian features into Aryo-Greco? Bald head into luxuriant growth? Old men into gods of eternal youth?

Why not seven tails with an eighth on the head – everybody different colours, blue, magenta, indigo, green, scarlet, etc; hair luxuriant but vermilion and flying erect skywards; other details to match? Amen.

Now you can’t say surely that all your points have not been cleared?


September 16, 1935

By the way, vomiting seems to be a very common complaint at present.

I notice that these things come by epidemics in the Ashram. One starts, others follow suit.

H is having vomiting too. Yogic force on the brain?

Jehoshaphat! What has the brain got to do with vomiting? Throwing up excess of Yogic knowledge? That might be with H the philosopher, but it does not fit the others.

I propose, if you approve, to take the three ladies P, K and Sh to the hospital for a screen-examination.

Not advisable. I believe if you could give these people (P, Sh etc.) some nervous balance, their ailments would walk off into blazes.

B.P.’s blood-exam has to be done in the hospital, but it doesn’t seem necessary now. He has no other complaints. His sores seem to me like scabies, so we’ll try sulphur ointment, otherwise calomel ointment.

All right.

Now, lend your ears, Sir, to my ailment! I was disappointed by your answer yesterday about the Supermind, for it is far from what you had in your mind when you made the promise...

I am disappointed that you could not appreciate the splendidly coloured prospects held out there. But what had I in my mind and what was this promise? Apart from the colours, my two other answers were, though figurative, yet very much to the “point”.

Today I caught sight of an atrocious incident in the paper, at Rajshahi, Bengal. I am sure you have read it.

Didn’t. Have no time to read Bengal papers.

... You know very well that it is the confounded Raj that is behind and has fomented this communal incident.

It looks as if it were going to be like that everywhere. In Europe also.

I won’t say a word about this race, you know my feelings.

Which race?

With the coming of independence I hope such things will stop. Now I would like to ask you something. In your scheme of things do you definitely see a free India? You have stated that for the spreading of spirituality in the world India must be free. I suppose you must be working for it! You are the only one who can do something really effective by the use of your spiritual Force.

That is all settled. It is a question of working out only. The question is what is India going to do with her independence? The above kind of affair? Bolshevism? Goonda-raj? Things look ominous.

Supposing you were able to create a race of Supermen, then there would be two strata: Supermen and men.

There will also be cats. Look at the Ashram!

Then the Supermen will no longer concern themselves with the lives and histories of men just as men are at present indifferent to the lives of animals?

Men are not indifferent to lives of animals – at least not in Europe. Look at the open-air zoos – hospitals for animals – refuges for unwanted cats and dogs – live-farms, etc., etc.!

But what will happen when the supramental comes down is a matter for the supramental to decide – no use laying down laws for it beforehand with the mind. It is the Truth-consciousness, sir – it will act according to the divine Truth behind things.


September 18, 1935

I am still in the slough of despondency. Really, Sir, no belief or faith in effort at all. I will choose the mulish revolting way and that would be the easiest. What do you say?

I am inclined to say “Pshaw!” Have more faith, not less.

Apart from this, I have observed that whenever I communicate an experience to you, the next moment it stops. What’s the truth of it?

That is a thing that we used often to note formerly when sadhana was in the early stages – viz. to speak of something experienced was to stop it. It is why many Yogis make it a rule never to speak of their experiences. But latterly it had altogether ceased to be like that. Why are you starting that curious old stunt all over again?

I remember a story of my childhood. I was dining with my father when I was obliged to go out. I turned round and said, “Papa, see you don’t eat my fish!” Well, fathers may not, but gurus?

No, Sir, I don’t eat your fish. I have oceans of fish at my disposal and have no need to consume your little sprats. It is Messrs. H.F. (hostile forces) who do that – the Dasyus or robbers. You display your fine new penknife and they say “Ah! he’s proud of his fine new penknife, is he? We’ll show him!” and they filch it at the first opportunity.

Do tell us how the Supermind will make us great sadhaks overnight. We are hanging all our hopes on its “tail”, which you said was descending.

If you expect to become supramental overnight, you are confoundedly mistaken. The tail will keep the H.F. at a respectful distance and flap at you until you consent to do things in a reasonable time instead of taking 200 centuries over each step as you seem to want to do just now. More than that I refuse to say. What is a reasonable time in the supramental view of things I leave you to discover.

Your Overmental Force seems to have utterly failed in the case of idiots like us. Where then is the chance of this Mr. Supramental who is only a step higher?

Overmind is obliged to respect the freedom of the individual – including his freedom to be perverse, stupid, recalcitrant and slow.

Supermind is not merely a step higher than Overmind – it is beyond the line, that is a different consciousness and power beyond the mental limit.

Please don’t think of what India is going to do with her independence. Give her that first, and then let her decide her fate for herself Independence anyhow – your Supermind will do the rest.

You are a most irrational creature. I have been trying to logicise and intellectualise you, but it seems in vain. Have I not told you that the independence is all arranged for and will evolve itself all right? Then what’s the use of my bothering about that any longer? It’s what she will do with her independence that is not arranged for – and so it is that about which I have to bother. To drag in the Supermind by the tail here is perfectly irrelevant. We have been talking all the time on an altogether infra-supramental basis – down down low in the intellect with an occasional illumined intuitive or overmental flash here and there. Be faithful to the medium, if you please. If you do not become perfectly and luminously logical and rational, how can you hope to become a candidate for the next higher stage even? Be a little practical and sensible.


September 19, 1935

You have admitted your failure in intellectualising me; now I am waiting to hear at any time the admission that all your attempts to make me a yogi seem to be in vain!

Perhaps that is because for the sheer fun of it I tried the impossible, intending not to succeed – because if you had really become luminously intellectual and rational, why, you would have been so utterly surprised at yourself that you would have sat down open-mouthed on the way and never moved a step farther.

But when did I tell you, Sir, that I expect to become supramental overnight? All I asked was whether this Mr. S is going to make us great sadhaks overnight, if so, how? By what supramental logic or intuition, do you heap this great ambition on my head, my human logic fails to comprehend...

You said “overnight”, sir, “overnight”. It was a logical inference from your desire to become a great sadhak overnight. In this remarkable correspondence I am not using intuition – I am proceeding strictly by mental (not supramental) reason and logic. A “great sadhak” in the supramental Yoga means a supramental – or ought to according to all rules of logic.

Being an ass myself, I quite realise that to cross the “asses’ bridge” is neither in my power nor do I cherish, harbour, rear any such phantasms.

Asses seldom realise that. If they see a thistle on the other side, they try at once to go after it – so here again your logic fails.

I don’t even project my myopic vision towards the splendidly coloured horizon of the Absolute... I want only peace... If the blessed outer nature is on blazing fire, the inner would be calm, terribly calm, in a calm Pacific peace which no Atlantic aggressions can disturb...

And yet you say you are not after the Absolute!!!

About the Supermind, I only wanted to know how this gentleman is going to help us. Minimising our depressions? Breaking our difficulties? Keeping off the waves of the subconscient, etc., etc.?

He can do any or all of these things. But we can leave him to fix his programme after he has got on his feet (subsequent to the bump of the descent) and has had time to look about him.

I know my nature too well to hope for any Supermind, Overmind or any other Mind – overnight. Still you say that I am an irrational, illogical, impractical creature?

Well, but you talked of becoming a great sadhak (if not supramental) overnight. So unless you withdraw that –

Some people say that Supermind will establish a direct connection with the psychic and spur it to come to the front quicker.

Well, it can do that, but it is not bound to do that only and take no other way.

In your Yoga the main issue seems to be to bring out the psychic to the front, after which everything becomes an easy walkover.

Not quite that. The psychic is the first of two transformations necessary – if you have the psychic transformation it facilitates immensely the other, i.e. the transformation of the ordinary human into the higher spiritual consciousness – otherwise one is likely to have either a slow and dull or exciting but perilous journey.

You said yesterday that the Overmind is obliged to respect the freedom of the individual. Do you imply then that the Supermind will do no such thing?

Of course I do! It will respect only the Truth of the Divine and the truth of things.

When I said apropos of India’s independence, that your Supermind will do the rest, I only meant that before India has any chance of becoming free, the Supermind will descend and guide India’s destiny.

How do you know it will do that? It may simply look on, twirl its mustache and say “Ahem”!

I would like to report that my head is very heavy, painful, body feverish and a painful boil in the nose.

Is it the result of your mind bumble-beeing too much around the tail of the Supramental?

I send you a photograph of mine along with the note-book. What do you think of this snap – a Mussolini gone morbid? Anyhow, it looks as if you have at last succeeded in putting some intellect in this brain-box of mine!

Good heavens, what a gigantic forehead they have given you! The Himalaya and the Atlantic in one mighty brow! also, with the weird supramental light upon it! Well, well, you ought to be able to cross the Ass’s Bridge with that. Or do you think the bridge will break down under its weight?


September 20, 1935

When one has a mighty pen, Sir, one can wield it in any way one likes. However, I hope you intend to succeed in making me a yogi – not out of sheer fun!

I hope so.

But, really, Sir, I never expected you to take my “overnight” as overnight.

Don’t understand your deep expressions – you did not mean that it would happen rapidly and suddenly? “Overnight” in English means that, – but if you had some extraordinary supramental meaning (beyond the mental and out of the human time-sense) in your mind – it is a different matter, and then I express my awe-struck, heartfelt, flabbergasted regrets, pleading only as excuse my inability to grasp such a deep and novel use of the language. May I ask, very humbly, what you did mean, if not a sudden and rapid development into great sadhaks?

Is it because you use only the mental? Suppose we use your expression “very near the tail of the Supramental” in our human time-sense?

I supposed that you would take it as a metaphor or as anyone reading English in the ordinary way, would do. No need of a superhuman time-sense or timeless sense to interpret the phrase, although it seems it is needed in order to understand your “overnight”.

I am not very clear about the transformation of the psychic. Doesn’t it mean a process of change from a gross lower nature to a fine and higher one? But the psychic is a part of the Divine and hence always pure, noble and high. Do you mean a greater evolution?

I fear, I shall have to stop writing altogether, since even the simplest things I write are so unintelligible even to the few “intellectuals” of the Ashram. I never said anything about a “transformation of the psychic”. I have always written about a “psychic transformation” of the nature which is a very different matter. I have sometimes written of it as a psychisation of the nature. The psychic is in the evolution, part of human being, its divine part – so a psychisation will not carry one beyond the present evolution but will make the being ready to respond to all that comes from the Divine or Higher Nature and unwilling to respond to the Asura, Rakshasa, Pisacha or Animal in the being or to any resistance of the lower nature which stands in the way of the divine change.

You have said that the psychic being is at this stage a flame, not a spark. Does it apply to the human species as a whole?

I simply meant that there was a psychic being there and not merely a psychic principle as at the beginning of the evolution.

And is there a difference between the psyche of one man and that of another? Since they are portions of one Essential Divine, they should be the same in all, only the difference being that of evolution.

The difference is one of evolution. The psychic being is more developed in some, but the soul-principle is the same in all.

By the way, can’t you be a little less indefinite than saying “evolve itself out” regarding India’s Independence? When the Yogi B. Babu was asked about the date of India’s Independence he replied, “Not within 50 years.” Good Lord! Can you give a more definite date or is it again a “play of forces”?

I am not a prophet like B. Babu. All I can say is that the coming of independence is now sure (as anyone with any political sense at all can see). As you do not accept my “play of forces” explanation of things, I can say no more than that – for that is all that can be said by the “human time-sense”.

I had a temperature of 100° all day. Arjava threatens that people will lose all faith in doctors unless I cure myself quickly. I fear the Supramental gave me some severe lashes with its tail!

Not at all. You are simply “not well” – the reason you as a doctor ought to discover. Unless you have committed a secret sin (of one kind or another) and the temperature is a foretaste of the heat hereafter. But that also is for you to see.

P doesn’t seem to be willing to oil her machine with olive oil!

She wants, I suppose, to rely “only on the Mother’s force”. I suppose she does not like medicines.


September 21, 1935

...Just see what you wrote – “The psychic is the first of two transformations necessary – if you have the psychic transformation it facilitates immensely the other, i.e. of the ordinary human into higher spiritual consciousness –...” Evidently then, you speak of two transformations – one psychic, and the other human into something else.

But, hang it all, the psychic is part of the human nature or of ordinary nature, – it has been there even before the human began. So your plea does not stand for a moment.

By that accursed phrase making us “great sadhaks overnight”, as I said, I didn’t mean anything precise. There might have been something in the subconscious, perhaps an idea about A.B. being a great sadhak.

There you go again! “Great sadhaks”, “advanced sadhaks”, “big sadhaks” like X, Y and Z!99 When shall I hear the last of these ego-building phrases which I have protested against times without number? And you object to being beaten!

I regret to find that this phrase has led to so much froth. If you take such things seriously you will find many occasions for beating me and one day in sheer despondency you might utter, “Useless! useless! All pains, all efforts in vain, in vain!”

It looks like it! “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit” saith the Preacher! I fear all Preachers have to come to that in the end – especially the vanity of correspondence.

What “secret sin” did you insinuate? Joke or jest? Well, a few days ago I cooked a little “khichuri” here, but that is hardly a sin!

That’s all? Only a “little” khichuri? Umph! The transformation seems to have begun already.

I am much tempted to quote to you a very fragmentary touching picture of your brother Monomohon: “Dressed in a grey suit, tall, well-built – the face mysterious like the night, dreamy and tired eyes, Monomohon came to the class and all were spell-bound. A cursed poet fallen from the heaven of beauty onto our dusty earth. He used to read poetry and his sad eyes flamed up in delight. The class would come to an end like a dream...”100

If any part of you has remained human, you will shed two drops of tears on reading this. But there seems to be some similarity between you and him as regards charming the students by an overwhelming personality.

Not even a fragment of a drop! Monomohan had a personality, but it was neither overwhelming nor sweetly pathetic. So even with this piece of honeyed rhetoric the tears refuse to rise.


September 25, 1935

I understand your protesting against “great” or “big” sadhaks, but why against “advanced” sadhaks? It is a fact that some are more advanced than others and so we mention X as an advanced sadhak, don’t mean anything else.

Advanced indeed! Pshaw! Because one is 3 inches ahead of another, you must make classes of advanced and non-advanced? Advanced has the same puffing egoistic resonance as “great” or “big”. It leads to all sorts of stupidities, rajasic self-appreciating egoism in some, tamasic self-depreciating egoism in others, round-eyed wonderings why X an advanced sadhak, one 3 inches ahead of Y, should stumble, tumble or fumble while Y, 3 inches behind X, still plods heavily and steadily on, etc., etc. Why, sir, the very idea in X that he is an advanced sadhak (like the Pharisee “I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not as other unadvanced disciples”,) would be enough to make him fumble, stumble and tumble. So no more of that, sir, no more of that.101


September 26, 1935

T says I leave the smell of medicine in the lap of the Mother which she has to breathe every day. Perhaps I smell of that since I come straight from the Hospital. If it is nauseating to Mother and others, I think I should change my clothes before going to Pranam.

Mother smelt the hospital fragrance in you but she does not mind at all, it does not disturb her. As for others, well, I leave it to you. Some are pernickety, some are not; but I don’t know if any others go into the first category.


September 27, 1935

S’s abrasion is following quite a normal course. The wound is perfectly clean and healthy. He wants it to take a speedy, supernormal course. But unfortunately doctors can’t do that... Our duty ends there and yours begins.

Perhaps S has doubts about what the Doctors may be doing with him, just as you have doubts about what the Divine may be doing with him – hence some nervousness. Better or worse? Where the deuce is the progress? When am I going to be healed? After centuries?

I had a discussion with Amal about the soul-theory. He says it is true the soul comes into evolution for the sake of experience, but once it is in Ignorance, it is divine only in name. It’s imprisoned in matter. From there it slowly emerges making its very slight and imperceptible influence felt on the gross matter, then on the lower nature, while all the time a higher Force presses it forward till it becomes the Master.

An incomplete but not incorrect account of the process.

That is why the psychic takes thousands of lives to evolve and turn towards the Divine. Is the involution also a similar process, or is it one single descent all at once into the Inconscient?

No, certainly not. The involution is of the Divine in the Inconscience and it is done by the interposition of intermediate planes (Overmind etc., mind, vital – then the plunge into the Inconscient which is the origin of matter). But all that is not a process answering to the evolution but in the inverse sense – for there is no need for that, but a gradation of consciousness which is intended to make the evolution upwards possible.

What is the first experience that the soul had in its descent?

Partial separation from the Divine and the Truth – these things at the back and no longer in front and everywhere; division, diminished sense of unity with all, stress growing in separate existence, separate viewpoint, separate initiation, aim, action.

You say that if the soul goes on with its Karma, it does not get liberation. But isn’t liberation a consummation of the result of Karma, at least according to Buddhism?

Not that I know of, in the ordinary theory. Karma always produces fresh karma; it is only the cut from karma that produces liberation.

Buddhism seems to say that we are bound to the chain of Karma and so past Karma is always guiding our present and future. In that case would not Buddha’s very attainment of Nirvana be due to his past Karma?

The only truth of that is that by the use of compassion and acts of compassion one is helped to become a Bodhisattwa – just as sattwic deeds and feelings help to become less murky with the Ignorance. But it is knowledge that liberates according to both Buddhism and Vedanta, not Karma.

According to Buddhism, one can’t explain then the play of forces behind any action, or would it say that even that has been arranged and determined by past Karma?

I suppose so.

But isn’t it curious that Buddha did not concern himself with any play of forces?

Why should he? It was the play of sanskaras102 that interested him, the binding play of wrong ideas, and his whole aim was to get rid of that.

He seemed to have gone in for personal effort and struggle, didn’t he?

Yes, because individual salvation was his aim and for him God and Shakti did not exist – only the Permanent above and a mechanical chain of karma below. To undo the chain of sanskaras that create the individual is the point; the individual is a knot that must undo itself by disowning all that constitutes itself. The individual must do it, because who else is going to do it for him? There isn’t anybody. All else including the Gods are only other knots of sanskaras and no knot can undo another knot – each knot must undo itself. Comprenez?


September 28, 1935

If Shakti didn’t exist for Buddha, and if for the individual, his own efforts must undo the “knot”, then I must say that his disciples had a very uphill job – to do everything by themselves.

Buddhist Yoga is an uphill business like the Adwaita Vedanta. You have to do the whole thing off your own bat, and even Tota Puri, Ramakrishna’s teacher in Adwaita, was after thirty years of sadhana far from his goal, so much so that he went off to the Ganges to drown himself there – only Ramakrishna and Kali interfered in a miraculous way; that at least is the story.

The Buddhist Church, however, as distinguished from the uncompromising theory of the thing, proved weak and admitted শরণম্103 in Buddha as well as in the Dharma and the Sangha.

Didn’t he really “pump” his force into his disciples?

Surely not. He would have considered it a wrong thing altogether – even if he had any idea about pumping force, which he probably never had. At least I never heard of his doing this operation. He might have given enlightenment, but I think only through upadesh104 – not certainly by pumping light into them. An individual knot of sanskars can tell another how to dissolve itself, but where is the ground for a more direct interference? All that of course is only the conscious theory of Buddha’s action. I won’t swear that without meaning it he did not influence his disciples in more secret and subtle ways.

Can you tell me why two Atelier workers have been sent to the hospital for simple conjunctivitis without consulting me? I was treating them and they were improving. All on a sudden I found one of them in the hospital. He said that his master had sent him there. I take it to be a breach in medical etiquette.

It is the workmen themselves that complained the eye was worse after the medicine, paining badly and suddenly red all over, and did not want to go back to the dispensary – so of course they have to go to the hospital. You must remember we are dispensing against the law, so we can’t stand on medical etiquette.


October 1, 1935

Absolutely in the physical consciousness! Don’t find any trace of the psychic anywhere, Sir! Are you handling the blessed subconscient physical or what?

I am handling the handle. Sticky! If you are absolutely in the physical consciousness, so much the better. It shows you are on the way. If you were in your uproarious mental or tragic vital, then there would be little chance for the psychic to emerge. But now that you are in the physical, there is some prospect of your finishing the circle M. V. Ph. Afterwards possibly there will be a chance for the line Ps. HC. S. Rejoice!


October 2, 1935

What are the abbreviations Ps. HC. S.?

Psychic – Higher Consciousness – Supramental.

You are trying to adopt shorthand now!

Of course! what to do? Shorthand lessens the labour of the writer, even if it increases that of the reader. Besides the attempt to find out what the abbs mean should stimulate your intuition and sharpen your intelligence.

I told you I’m feeling lazy, have no aspiration, no inclination to write poetry... Is it the physical?

Yes, that’s the joker – physical consciousness.

And this, you say, is the better condition?

No, where did I say that?

Why, this is almost next to inconscience.

Of course it is.

I don’t know how the psychic is going to emerge from the physical consciousness.

Well, it’s the bottom of the first curve, so logically the next thing is to make an upward tangent and get into the second curve.

Suppose one finishes the circle M.V.Ph., it can go round again before one is shifted to the starting of the other line.

That would be very clever, but it is not usually done, except by people with big egos. Yours is no doubt a well-developed chubby chap, but it is not a giant.

The oculist is leaving for Madras; so the charge falls on us. Here was an opportunity for me to do operations, but as I have never done any, it is not possible. Do you think the Yogic Force will enable a doctor, even if he is not trained, to do things like cutting off an appendix or a cataract?

Good Heavens, no! Spare the poor people’s eyes. The Force has to prepare its instrument first – it is not a miracle-monger. The Force can develop in you intuition and skill if you are sufficiently open, even if you did not have it before – but not like that. That kind of thing happens once in a way, but it is not the fixed method of the Divine to act like that.

I believe one must know the technique, not by heart only, but by hands as well!


Or, is it that in the yogic world operations will be tabooed since the Force alone will dissolve the cataract?

Whatever it does, it will do by a method, not in the void.

You never wrote what Y.F. (yogic force) will do, by citing examples, as you said you would.

Some day. I fixed no date.


October 3, 1935

Again, about the intuition! You speak of keeping oneself sufficiently open to get the intuition. If I keep myself open and intuition favours me, how shall I know that it is the true thing?

Practise and learn, learn and practise. When you have had a few thousand intuitions, you can get the knack – for there is a recognizable difference between the true ones and the imitations or half-ones.

In one or two cases my off-hand diagnosis was correct. But how far can I take it as an intuition?

It depends on how it came, what was the stuff of the perception and the light in it, and whether it bobbed up as one among potentials though dominant or seized you as an inevitable dead cert. Also whether it was a pure intuition or a mixed mental. Difficult, isn’t it?

About how to develop it, I won’t ask you – though it would enlighten us; but I suppose you will develop it some day, though a big condition of “sufficiently open” overhangs. Yes, everything one can have if one is “sufficiently open”, but there’s the rub, for one isn’t and can’t!

Well, instead of letting your Man of Sorrows sob and grumble all the lachrymose time, you should labour manfully to enlarge the opening.

P has made copies of your letters to me. Naturally, I suppose he will show them to his friends in Calcutta.

No. They must not be shown to people outside.

And R has most pathetically requested me to forward him your letters written to me. Then life becomes cheerful by their splendour.

Have you told him they are not for exhibition? It is only on that condition he can have them.


October 4, 1935

Is there no truth behind animal sacrifices to Kali, or are they useless inhuman practices like vivisection in the name of Science (according to anti-vivisectionists)?

If animal sacrifices are to be made, they may just as well be made to Kali as to one’s stomach, – the Europeans who object to it have no locus standi.

Buddhism says the killing of mosquitoes, bugs, snakes and scorpions may be done mercifully or mercilessly for self-protection.

Certainly. One might just as well object to the killing of germs by fumigation or otherwise.

What about the sacrifice of harmless animals to Kali?

Useless and therefore inadvisable. External sacrifices of this kind have no longer any meaning – as so many saints have said, sacrifice ego, anger, lust etc. to Kali, not goats or cocks.

One can massacre men and nations for the Divine, but what about this then for the Divine’s sake?

How does the Divine benefit by it? Very hungry, I suppose – would like a nice goat-chop?

I wonder if you know that some Sharma has gone on hunger-strike to stop the sacrifices at Kalighat. Tagore supports him.

Of course, I know. But he objects to animal sacrifice; why does he make a goat-offering of himself to Kali? Is human sacrifice better than animal sacrifice?

The argument is: what does the loss of one life matter if by it other lives can be saved?

I know the South African saying “How glorious if the whole world were to destroy itself to save the life of a single mosquito”. I used always to wonder what would become of the poor mosquito if the world were destroyed. It seems to my poor common sense that it would perish also in the glorious holocaust.

I suppose you are watching with great apprehension the war-clouds that are gathering?

No, I am not trembling, but I agree that it is a beastly affair.

I hope Mussolini got no indirect impetus from your Essays on the Gita.

He never read them, I suppose.

But however much one may deplore war, that seems to be the only opportunity for India’s liberation.


[Sri Aurobindo put a big question mark.]


October 5, 1935

By “India’s opportunity” I meant that if England is involved, she will naturally fall on India for help with men and money and India would be in a good position to hold out the bait of freedom.

What India? The Legislative Assembly? You think it has force enough to exact freedom as a price of some military help? Must have changed much if they can do that.

England has to be trapped in her own den. We can’t depend upon her generosity to give us freedom for the asking.

How you arrange things! If it were so easy as that!

I have become awfully irritated these last two days. Is it due to your exposition of the “chubby chap”?

Maybe. Ego irritated at its own chubbiness? Wants to be rough, rude and bossy, – a true he-man?

D. Reddy is running a temperature. Etiology is obscure; I presume it may be yogic.

Rubbish! D.R. is not Yogic enough to have a Yogic fever.


October 8, 1935

D.R. is all right. No temperature. He wants to come to Pranam.

I suppose he can, Doctore volente (Doctor willing).

Please have a look at Calcutta Review for a criticism by Adhar Das. I don’t know if you have seen it already.

Yes, I have read all these sweet things from the sweet adhar.105

I gather that he is favourably disposed to your philosophy, so much so that he has written a book on it.

He was (favourable), without understanding much, before A.B. butted in and gored him into bitterness.

He doesn’t seem to have grasped well the thing, has he?

“Methinks” he hasn’t. Grasp of things is not his forte.

His remark about the divinisation of the individual and the emergence of the new race does not seem to be correct.

He seems to think that D.I. = E.N.R. or C.S.R.106 So if D.I. is possible, C.S.R. is superfluous or out of the question. Why, I dont know, for it takes individuals to make a race and if a certain number of individuals are not divinised, I don’t see how you are going to get a divinised race. As for it being out of the question, the great Panjandrum alone knows why if an individual is divinised – (one obviously is not enough), it should be out of the question to go on divinising others until you have a new race. But I suppose, unless you create unnecessary quibbles, there can be no “intellectual” philosophy.

He says, “Divinisation of the individual will be instrumental in the emergence of a new race.” Is that what you mean by “Our Yoga is not for our sake but for the Divine”?

Not exactly.

I thought there was quite a difference between divinisation and supramentalisation, the one being a step to the other; so you won’t stop at divinisation.

Yes, of course, but as I have never explained in these letters what I meant by Supermind, these critics are necessarily all at sea. They think, pardonably enough, that anything above human mind must be supramental.

I suppose it will be a presumption on my part to criticise a philosopher like him from whom, you wrote to T, you learnt your philosophy.

No, no! Not learnt, – say that I am slowly learning from him. For he is kindly teaching me what I meant.

People are longing to see the first batch of the supramental species from your great laboratory, Sir.

Go forward, go forward and show yourself.

Then the critic writes that you are making an extravagant claim in as much as it gives a lie to logic and also to the lives and experiences of past seers. Well, Sir?

Well, I don’t suppose the new race can be created by or according to logic or that any race has been. But why should the idea of the creation of a new race be illogical? It is not only my ideas that baffle reason, but Adhar Das’s also! he must really be a superman, self-made of course, outside the laboratory. As for the past seers, they don’t trouble me. If going beyond the experiences of the past seers and sages is so shocking, each new seer or sage in turn has done that shocking thing – Buddha, Shankara, Chaitanya, etc. all did that wicked act. If not, what was the necessity of their starting new philosophies, religions, schools of Yoga? If they were merely verifying and meekly repeating the lives and experiences of past seers and sages without bringing the world some new thing, why all that stir and pother? Of course, you may say they were simply explaining the old truth but in the right way – but this would mean that nobody had explained or understood it rightly before – which is again “giving the lie etc.” Or you may say that all the new sages (they were not among Adhar’s cherished past ones in their day), e.g. Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva were each merely repeating the same blessed thing as all the past seers and sages had repeated with an unwearied monotony before them. Well, well, but why repeat it in such a way that each “gives the lie” to the others? Truly, this shocked reverence for the past is a wonderful and fearful thing! After all, the Divine is infinite and the unrolling of the Truth may be an infinite process or at least, if not quite so much, yet with some room for new discovery and new statement, even perhaps new achievement, not a thing in a nutshell cracked and its contents exhausted once for all by the first seer or sage, while the others must religiously crack the same nutshell all over again, each tremblingly careful not to give the lie to the “past” seers and sages.


October 9, 1935

In our discussion of yesterday about Adhar Das, if “not exactly”, what exactly then do you mean by “Our Yoga is not for our sake but for the Divine”?

Well, I once wrote in my callow days “Our Yoga is not for ourselves but humanity” – that was in the Bande Mataram times. To get out of the hole self-created I had to explain that it was no longer for humanity, but for the Divine. The “not for ourselves” remained intact.

Is it something like the Vaishnava idea of absolute surrender, without even desiring to see Him, have milan with Him; only give, give and give? A very sublime conception, but is it possible and practical?

Quite possible and practical and a very rapturous thing as anyone who has done it can tell you. It is also the easiest and most powerful way of “getting” the Divine. So it is the best policy also. The phrase, however, means that the object of the Yoga is to enter into and be possessed by the Divine Presence and Consciousness, to love the Divine for the Divine’s sake alone, to be turned in our nature into the nature of the Divine and in our will and works and life to be the instrument of the Divine. Its object is not to be a great Yogi or a superman (although that may come) or to grab at the Divine for the sake of the ego’s power, pride or pleasure. It is not for salvation though liberation comes by it and all else may come; but these must not be our objects. The Divine alone is our object.

Why not write something about the Supermind, if only to give us an idea about it? Saying that it’s only a different consciousness, is hardly enough. Any realisation of the Divine would mean that, I suppose. Or have you said something about it somewhere?

What’s the use? How much would anybody understand? Besides the present business is to bring down and establish the Supermind, not to explain it. If it establishes itself, it will explain itself – if it doesn’t, there is no use in explaining it. I have said some things about it in past writings, but without success in enlightening anybody. So why repeat the endeavour?

Dr. B is going home tomorrow for a month. Please see that Messrs. H. F. [Hostile Forces] may not entangle me into trouble.

For one month you may make yourself like iron and look fierce.

A worker from Cycle House – Cassel (?) has conjunctivitis.

Author of the dictionary? I suppose you mean Keshavalu?


October 10, 1935

B.P.’s case is contagious. How can we keep him here in such a closed place?

These two people B.P. and R.K. seem rather hopeless physically, but we don’t quite know how to deal with them. To send them off is harsh, to keep them is bothersome. So?

Do you advise that B.P. should not work in the D.R.?

Please cast a glance on the typed letters about A.D. I suppose you wouldn’t mind a copy being sent to him? I won’t send, but if others do?

No, it is not meant for him. It is only a bit of fun between ourselves. If there is any danger of anyone doing that, it is better to keep it to yourself.


October 11, 1935

I think it is advisable to remove B.P. from the Dining Room, and give him a separate work.

I hear he has automatically stopped.

That will obviate the danger of contagion, but what about the other trouble, the sore on which you kept quiet? Am I to take it that by Yoga it may be cured? I remember Mother once saying that there is hardly a disease that can’t be cured by Yoga. Can cancer, the deadly enemy of present civilisation, be cured?

Of course it can. but on condition of faith or openness or both. Even a mental suggestion can cure cancer – with luck, of course, as is shown by the case of the woman operated on unsuccessfully for cancer, but the doctors lied and told her it had succeeded. Result, cancer symptoms all ceased and she died many years afterwards of another illness altogether.

However, if you can cure B.P. that way, it would be very good. Only, I think it would require a great development of consciousness and an opening, which he hasn’t yet got.

Quite so. No passage.

Tomorrow I’ll take him to the hospital as he has developed some ear trouble. I’ll get his blood also examined there.

Right you are.


October 12, 1935

My disgust is becoming more and more acute as regards poetry. I suppose the slightly lit-up channel has closed again. Things are pushing me towards medicine – an absolutely opposite pole! Where is your alchemist, Sir?

Has taken opium probably and is seeing visions somewhere. Perhaps they will come out some day from your suddenly galvanised pen.


October 16, 1935

In your letter to Somnath you said that what is most needed is an upward aspiration. But then what about the other two movements: rejection and surrender you mention in The Mother?

It was not necessary to mention all that. I was only answering a limited question, not giving a whole theory of Yoga to Somnath.

Don’t you think that aspiration being equal, a rajasic man will meet with a greater resistance in rejecting his lower impulses than a sattwic man?

That is implied in what I said about the sattwic man having the advantage. Somnath’s question seemed to be about the approach to spirituality, Yoga, not as to what would happen to the two kinds of people in the course of the sadhana. But obviously the rajasic movements are likely to create more trouble than the sattwic ones. The greatest difficulty of the sattwic man is the snare of virtue and self-righteousness, the ties of philanthropy, mental idealisms, family affections etc., but except the first, these are, though difficult, still not so difficult to overpass or else transform. Sometimes however these things are as sticky as the rajasic difficulties.

Since desires are strong in the rajasic man they will surely thwart the fire of aspiration rising upwards, won’t they?

All that is logical, but it does not happen in every case. It may be true in your case, but what of St. Augustine, Jagai Madhai, Bilwamangal and the rest? St. Augustine had difficulties, but they do not seem to have been of a very violent character, the others are described as having made a total volte face, I believe.

If I had been a predominantly sattwic man, you would have had much less trouble from me, wouldn’t you?

No doubt. But you are not after all, a thief, debauchee, drunkard or gangster. You may say perhaps that if you had been, you could have been a great saint also, violently sinning, violently repenting, violently sanctifying yourself? Perhaps that was the secret of St. Augustine and the others!

So you can see that aspiration per se, however strong and true, cannot achieve much.

Who says no?

Or do you mean that a strong aspiration will necessarily bring in rejection and surrender?

Of course.

Next, though sinners and robbers have been converted into saints, their number must be very small compared to the sattwic type.

It may be so, but that is not my experience. The highly sattwic are few; the abnormally rajasic are few; of the middle sort there are many. According to my observation, this is true not only of this Ashram but of others.

If so, can one say that in the evolution of consciousness sattwic people are more evolved than the others? Narrow logic again?

Um! somewhat! There are all sorts among the more evolved, among the less evolved there are many sattwic people also, mere good people who don’t amount to much. One pats them on the back and goes farther. But don’t twist this into meaning that I prefer the nasty bad ones. I don’t; they give too much trouble. Only life, evolution, human character and things generally in this perplexing world are disconcertingly complex and can’t be dismissed with a few simpler affirmations.

M says that his head seems to be better but he doesn’t know if eruptions will come out again, when the treatment is stopped. So he suggests you will be a better judge to say whether the disease is still inside or not.

How am I to know? The inside of his head is opaque, not transparent. So long as it doesn’t come again from outside with a new sowing!


October 17, 1935

One or two points on your second letter to Somnath. First about sacrifice; you know plenty of young lads have sacrificed their lives for the country by going to jail, being interned, but also by terrorism. They believe in the sacredness of their cause and so have sacrificed themselves by adopting means which they think would best serve their cause. Would you call their sacrifice a “misguided” one and send them to perdition for it? I believe you wouldn’t.

Self-sacrifice for the country’s sake has certainly a moral value. The “terrorism” brings in another element and assimilates it to the act of a fighter, less sattwic and more rajasic in its nature. I am not sure that I would be willing to call that a sacrifice in the moral or sattwic sense. In Bhishma’s case the element of sacrifice came in not in fighting and killing for the sake of Dhritarashtra but in his knowing that he must die and accepting it for his ideal of loyalty. Of course, you may say that every man who risks his life does an act of sacrifice, but then we come back to very primitive values. I took the word in Somnath’s letter in a less outward sense; otherwise my answer might have been different.

You also know how an ignorant Muslim fanatic killed a Hindu whom he took to be irreverent to his Teacher. He was in turn killed by the Court. He made a sacrifice of his life for the noble cause of his Prophet!

It seems to me that he made the sacrifice of another’s life and not his own. In that way a murderer can also be said to make a sacrifice of his life to his desires or his passions, for he risks the gallows. Note that the fanatic tried to escape the gallows. Even taking it that he gave his life, it was for a reward, Paradise. His act is therefore at best equivalent to that of a soldier killing and getting killed. It cannot be called sacrifice, except in the old sense of the word, when you killed a cow or a goat on an altar to get religious merit. For the essence of this kind of act of fanaticism is, admittedly, the killing of the unbeliever and not the giving of your own life. Would you call it self-sacrifice if you offered a goat at Kalighat? it would be for the goat if it assented to the affair, but for yourself? Of course there is the price of the goat – you might pride yourself on that sacrifice. There is nothing noble besides, in fanaticism – there is no nobility of motive, though there may be a fierce enthusiasm of motive. Religious fanaticism is something psychologically lowborn and ignorant – and usually in its action fierce, cruel and base. Religious ardour like that of the martyr who sacrifices himself only is a different thing.

It seems difficult to understand when the Mother says that spiritual sacrifice is joyful.

She was speaking of the true spiritual sacrifice of self-giving, not the bringing of an unwilling heart to the altar.

But for those who have tasted the joys of life, plunged into its passions, desires, etc., the sacrifice can hardly be joyful to begin with. Pain, struggle, may not be the essential character of the sacrifice, but there is a lot of it in the offering – especially in this Kali Yuga, I should say.

It simply means that your sacrifice is still mental and has not yet become spiritual in its character. When your vital being consents to give up its desires and enjoyments, when it offers itself to the Divine, then the yajna will have begun. What I meant was that the European sense of the word is not the sense of the word “yajna” or the sense of “sacrifice” in such phrases as “the sacrifice of works”. It does not mean that you give up all works for the sake of the Divine – for then there would be no sacrifice of works at all. Similarly the sacrifice of knowledge does not mean that you painfully and resolutely make yourself a fool for the sake of the Lord. Sacrifice means an inner offering to the Divine and the real spiritual sacrifice is a very joyful thing. Otherwise, one is only trying to make oneself fit and has not yet begun the real yajna. It is because your mind is struggling with your vital, the unwilling animal, and asking it to allow itself to be immolated that there is the pain and struggle. If the spiritual will (or psychic) were more in the front then you would not be lamenting over the loss of the ghee and butter and curds thrown into the Fire or trying to have a last lick at it before casting it. The only difficulty would be about bringing down the gods fully enough (a progressive labour), not about lamentations over the ghee. [By the way, do you think that the Mother or myself or others who have taken up the spiritual life had not enjoyed life and that it is therefore that the Mother was able to speak of a joyous sacrifice to the Divine as the true spirit of spiritual sacrifice? Or do you think we spent the preliminary stages in longings for the lost fleshpots of Egypt and that it was only later on we felt the joy of the spiritual sacrifice? Of course we did not; we and many others had no difficulty on the score of giving up anything we thought necessary to give up and no hankerings afterwards. Your rule is as usual a stiff rule that does not at all apply generally.]107


October 18, 1935

You always paralyse me by bringing in Mother and yourself in the argument. I can try to fight my cause against others who are human, or have been so at one time; but you are non-human.

All this about human and non-human is sheer rubbish, your usual red-herring across the path; you use it in order to argue that our knowledge and experience are of no practical value because they apply to us alone and cannot apply to or help human beings. As if no human beings ever had a clear mind and strong will able to make a resolution and carry it out without vital struggles and repinings. There are thousands who have done so. Even most ordinary men can do it when the passion for a cause seizes them. I have seen that in hundreds during the Swadeshi times. And do you think none who were human ever had conquered passion for the Divine?

Somnath suggests that I might try to write humorous stories, since he suspects that there is humour in me, however glum my outer appearance may be. He argues further that “since Sri Aurobindo is so humorous in your letters, you must surely have that element in you, which invites some response to it”. Well, Sir?

There is a psychological truth involved in that reasoning. But it may be that it is an appreciation of humour rather than a power of humorous creation.

He asked how is it that sometimes secular literature moves one more, and gives a greater light and illumination than religious literature?

Religious literature inspires only the religious-minded, – and most religious literature, apart from the comparatively few great books, is poor stuff. Secular literature either appeals to the idealistic mind or to the emotions or to the aesthetic element in us, and all that has a much easier and more common appeal. As for spiritual light, it is another thing altogether. Spirituality is other than mental idealism and other than religion.

In literary expression, I think, it is the inner man that counts. But that would be tantamount to saying that an insincere man can’t write things which will move the readers with a genuine and concrete something, or even if he does, not so much.

Plenty of insincere men have written inspiring things. That is because something in them felt it, though they could not carry it out in life, and that something was used by a greater power behind. Very often in his art, in his writings, the higher part of a man comes out, while the lower dominates his life.

What shall we say then about Y? You seem to have said that his poems have helped many people, yet he was not quite sincere to his mood in his expression. Mother also spoke of his insincerity, it seems, and remarked that if he had been sincere his poems would have had a great force.

The Mother spoke of the poetry written in his bad after-days when he was merely repeating himself. It does not mean that nothing he wrote was sincere.

What about B.P.? His eyes seem cured – what about the rest of the business – sores? syphilis? blood test?


October 19, 1935

B.P. has trouble now affecting eyes, ears, throat and skin. Blood-test showed syphilis. He needs a very energetic treatment for about 6 months, though usual course is of 2 years, and isolation. A safe solution would be to ask him to go back home...

Can you speak to G, B’s brother, and explain to him the situation from the medical and hygienic point of view – conditions, viz. necessity of isolation, 2 yrs course or minimum 6 months, danger to sadhaks of his coming to Pranam, so that he will have to stop the Pranam, etc., etc.? We shall have to decide after communicating with G, but I would prefer if all that can be told to him (with medical authority) rather than have to write at length.

About sacrifice and the rest, I keep silent tonight, since a cyclone is feared.

I am ready for it, but it has not arrived up till now – 1 a.m.

I am trying hard to understand your Life Divine, like a dog at his bone. But at places I am at sea. Shall I take X’s or Y’s help? Who is better?

I know nothing of X’s capacity for explaining philosophy – Y? well, he has translated it like everything else. Z would be the best man, but he is probably too busy and too lazy.

N.B. Very secret, these obiter dicta.


October 20, 1935

I explained to G the situation. But B.P. seems to be quite willing to face the quarantine for 1 or 2 years if necessary.

Can you draw up more precisely necessary rules for isolation? Also see the house where they are living (B, R.K. and R.B.) and what can be done so that there may be least chance of contamination. We might remove R.B., but she would be quite at sea among strangers.

No pranam of course; separate dishes; but the rest?

What’s all this that J says, about his inner vital contact with A.B.?

J’s inner imaginations, nothing more substantial than that.

He says Mother has made this contact.

Rubbish! Mother never even dreamed of doing it.

He says further that he wants a direct contact with the Mother which A.B. doesn’t allow, saying that he must do it through him.

Rubbish! A.B. would be the last person to prevent anyone from receiving the Mother’s influence.

You have also conceded to this view. Very interesting, if true.

Rubbish! I never did.

They may be interesting, but they are not true.

Are all these really true? And does he understand them?

Not at all. These are constructions and imaginations of a very active vital mind.

I wish I had known some of this business, but –

Alas, cult or occult

Nothing do I know;

Blindly, blindly like an ass

Braying incessantly I go.

What a beautiful poem! You wrote it yourself? It is in Dara’s most modernist style.


October 21, 1935

I saw Madanlal going about with bare clothing. Not good for asthma.

What the deuce is bare clothing? I have heard only of a bare body etc. Your Aeschylean expressions are sometimes very puzzling.

About The Life Divine class, I would have loved to read with Z, but his Purushalike bearing scares one. You know he refused even to take up and only by Mother’s order he did it.

Take up what? You have already asked him for the L.D. and been sent banging? Or is it something else indicated by an Aeschylean ellipsis?

I asked also Rishabhchand but he has no time. Hence those two, thinking that they understand at least better than I.

Which two, Great Heavens, O Aeschylus? R and Z? or X and Y? I suppose the latter. And the elliptical “Hence those two” = Hence I asked about those two? I shall become quite a skilful Aeschylean scholar at this rate.

I shall have to fall back on myself for The Life Divine.

You might try. Read an unintelligible para from the L.D., then sit in vacant meditation and see what comes from the intuitive gods. They will probably play jokes with you, but what does it matter? One learns by one’s errors and marches to success through one’s failures.

About that poem, it is all my writing, Sir, and all rights reserved. These are glimpses of something turning up some day, even though the sky is cloudy now. Micawberism, par excellence!

Nirod Micawber (Talukdar no more). That is a good idea.


October 22, 1935

S is suffering from neuralgia, no doubt but 2ry to the joint trouble.

[Underlining “2ry”]:

This is worse than Aeschylus. Is it an Egyptian hieroglyph? English? Bengali? Shorthand?

I intend to give him salicylate, iodine or arsenic one after the other.

It looks like throwing stones at a dog in the hope that one of them will hit him.

A screen examination is advisable. These things are intractable and there is a hereditary taint.

Well, you can do the screen exam, but if there is any scream on the screen, be discreet and let us know first before S is informed. After we know what’s the matter, can fix medicine.

Do you mean that the method you advised for reading The Life Divine can really do something?

It was a joke. But all the same that is the way things are supposed to come. When the mind becomes decently quiet, an intuition perfect or imperfect is supposed to come hopping along and jump in and look round the place. Of course, it is not the only way.

I read somewhere of people suddenly merging into silence and emerging with a resplendent solution. I wonder how.

What does it matter how it happens, provided it does happen?

I understand that you wrote many things in that way, but people also say that Gods – no, Goddesses – used to come and tell you the meaning of the Vedas.

People talk a stupendous amount of rubbish. I wrote everything I have written since 1909 in that way, i.e. out of or rather through a silent mind and not only a silent mind but a silent consciousness. But Gods and Goddesses had nothing to do with the matter.

But no Goddesses for poor folks like us; they can only cut jokes, play pranks or tease our tails, that’s all.

Well, if they tease your tail sufficiently, might not a poem be the result?

I had a dream last night that I found a hidden treasure consisting of silver coins, but at the bottom, bundles of incense sticks.

Silver = spirituality. Silver coins = spiritual wealth. Incense sticks – devotion, bhakti, worship of the Divine.

J says that the dream obviously means spiritual wealth. Have I got it? When? Where?

It is an offer of these things to you, probably from some tail-teasing God or Goddess.


October 23, 1935

Anyhow, joke or no joke, I will try the method. But the trouble is that the mind finds it difficult to believe that a vacancy can be filled up all of a sudden without any kind of thinking. The Goddesses may tease you, but not sufficiently enough. Otherwise, why one, many poems would have been the result.

That is the silliness of the mind. Why should it be impossible to fill up a vacancy? It is easier for things to come into an empty space than into a full one. The error comes from thinking that your thoughts are your own and that you are their maker and if you do not create thoughts (i.e. think), there will be none. A little observation ought to show that you are not manufacturing your own thoughts, but rather thoughts occur in you. Thoughts are born, not made – like poets, according to the proverb. Of course, there is a sort of labour and effort when you try to produce or else to think on a certain subject, but that is a concentration for making thoughts come up, come in, come down, as the case may be, and fit themselves together. The idea that you are shaping the thoughts or fitting them together is an egoistic delusion. They are doing it themselves, or Nature is doing it for you, only under a certain compulsion; you have to beat her often in order to make her do it, and the beating is not always successful. But the mind or nature or mental energy – whatever you like to call it, does this in a certain way and carries on with a certain order of thoughts, haphazard intelligentialities (excuse the barbarism) or asininities, rigidly ordered or imperfectly ordered intellectualities, logical sequences and logical inconsequences etc., etc. How the devil is an intuition to get in in the midst of that waltzing and colliding crowd? It does sometimes, – in some minds often intuitions do come in, but immediately the ordinary thoughts surround it and eat it up alive, and then with some fragment of the murdered intuition shining through their non-intuitive stomachs they look up smiling at you and say “I am an intuition, sir”. But they are only intellect, intelligence or ordinary thought with part of a dismembered and therefore misleading intuition inside them. Now in a vacant mind, vacant but not inert (that is important) intuitions have a chance of getting in alive and whole. But don’t run away with the idea that all that comes into an empty mind, even a clear or luminous empty mind, will be intuitive. Anything, any blessed kind of idea, can come in. One has to be vigilant and examine the credentials of the visitor. In other words, the mental being must be there, silent but vigilant, impartial but discriminating. That is, however, when you are in search of truth. For poetry so much is not necessary. There it is only the poetic quality of the visitor that has to be scrutinised and that can be done after he has left his packet – by results.

You have seen, I think, Prithwisingh’s poem. Its very first line was hovering over my mind – I let it go, not thinking much of it, but he has obviously caught it! Often similar instances have occurred. How is one to explain this?

There is no difficulty about explaining. You are as naïve and ignorant as a new-born lamb. That is the way things come, only one does not notice. Thoughts, ideas, happy inventions etc., etc., are always wandering about (in thought-waves or otherwise) seeking a mind that may embody them. One mind takes, looks, rejects – another takes, looks, accepts. Two different minds catch the same thought-form or thought-wave, but the mental activities being different make different results out of them. Or it comes to one and he does nothing, then it walks off, crying “O this unready animal!” and goes to another who promptly annexes it and it settles into expression with a joyous bubble of inspiration, illumination or enthusiasm of original discovery or creation and the recipient cries proudly, “I, I have done this.” Ego, sir! ego! You are the recipient, the conditioning medium, if you like – nothing more.


October 24, 1935

Your yesterday’s long letter has delighted me much. The burden of it seems to be that for the present we have to take everything on trust since we lack the experience, and so long as the experiences don’t come what can we do but go on teasing you with our questions? And you know,

We are not worshippers of you

But your immortal letter!

We do not worship the dumb blue

But his resplendent star!

Which shines and all the night shines

In the dark caves of our mines.

[Underlining “letter” and “star”:]

Good Lord! I hope you don’t imagine that is a rhyme?

But what about my table? Forgotten? Ellipsis?

Out of the silence

What is the word that be

About my cane-table, Sir?

Shall I wait till Eternity?

Yes or no, do tell me, Sir;

Either can I take with surrender.

Forgot both the cane and the table. You can have if it is lying about.

Good Lord! another! If you rhyme Sir and surrender you don’t deserve a table but only a cane and plenty of it.

Rambhai complains of severe pain in the abdomen, due to constipation. Gave a dose of castor oil.

Rambhai is in Gujerat, if you please. If you are administering doses of castor oil to his abdomen direct from here, you must be a siddha Fascist Yogi. But perhaps you mean Ramkumar? Or whom do you mean? Is it –?


October 25, 1935

B.P. needs many injections out of which only 2 have been given.

By the way B.P. is said to be going to the reading room. Is that permissible? People may get nervous if he does that.

By the way, what do you think of Prof R and his immortal homeopathic treatment? I had some respect for the man without knowing much about him, but when I saw what you wrote to Sarat – that R doesn’t believe in allopathy at all and considers it almost quackery, I said – a man apparently with sense, having such insensible notions!

But there are and have been plenty with sense who have held that view about allopathy (and homeopathy also and all medicine). What about Molière? A man of sense, if ever there was one!

But our allopathic medicine is a science developed by painstaking labour – experiments, researches, etc.

To a certain extent. The theory is imposing, but when it comes to application, there is too much fumbling and guesswork for it to rank as an exact science. There are many scientists (and others) who grunt when they hear medicine called a science. Anatomy and physiology, of course, are sciences.

I don’t decry his homeopathy, and I dare say there are very potent drugs which we don’t have...

There are plenty of allopathic doctors who consider homeopathy, Nature-cure, Ayurveda and everything else that is not orthodox “medical science” to be quackery. Why should not homeopaths etc. return the compliment?

Let me quote one or two glaring instances of his ignorance: 1) He said to X that the thyroid gland is at the back of the neck.

I think there are many homeopaths who don’t know anatomy at all. I don’t think there is any such thing as a homeopathic surgeon.

Poor X was thunderstruck. He almost came to believe it and consulted the Anatomy book!

It does not seem to have destroyed his faith in R. He has demanded “no rice” on full moon and new moon days, to Dyuman’s and Mother’s great perplexity. I had to tell the Mother, about the Indian “moon” superstition.

2) After trying this and that for X’s hydrocele which isn’t so by his diagnosis, he applied strong irritants causing inflammation and ulceration, and gave some internal medicines to stop these poisoning symptoms.

His theory is that homeopathy first brings out the disease, then kills it. Something like Yoga, what? i.e. you have to become conscious of things inside you and then remove them. I never heard such a theory before, though from any homeopath.

The latest development is retrenchment of bananas and no rice on new moon and full moon days! Science or witchery?

No. Not witchery nor science, but I suppose the common Indian idea. But don’t doctors often make recommendations which are quite as absurd?

3) About A.B. I hear, R has stopped his sun-treatment which caused him headache. R traced the headache to his hot water bath and admonished him to use cold water... And fancy calling my science quackery! But who knows you are not enamoured of his – pathy! I wish I could transfer all my patients to him, and enjoy heavenly freedom, closing my branch.

I don’t know anything about R’s homeopathic knowledge or capacities. There is an enormous amount of self-assertion, bluff and fantasia in him. But sometimes he seems to be remarkably effective. It is perhaps however due to a great power of suggestion or, if you like to call it so, induced auto-suggestion. But many doctors say it is more the confidence in the doctor and the medicine that cures than either the doctor himself or the medicine. All this is meant not to support R, but to throw some cold water on the “my” in “my science”. It sounds like Mussolini almost.


October 26, 1935

Yes, I was informed of B.P. using the reading room, and I had asked him to go when there were very few people.

His touching the newspapers is not dangerous?

A has been long complaining of ever increasing weakness – uncured by cod-liver oil, I suppose? Mother was suggesting to him to be examined at the hospital.

This silent mind you speak of in your case, [22.10.35] seems to be a result of Yoga.

Of course; the ordinary mind is never silent.

Do thinkers and philosophers usually write from a silent mind, but unconsciously?

No, certainly not. It is the active mind they have; only of course they concentrate, so the common incoherent mentalising stops and the thoughts that rise or enter and shape themselves are coherently restricted to the subject or activity in hand. But that is quite a different matter from the whole mind falling silent.

If thoughts come like that [23.10.35], why is there a difference, sometimes a great difference, between the thought-substance of one person and that of another? Why don’t thoughts, in some, shape themselves as profoundly, harmoniously and luminously as in others? Question of the opening into higher planes? And why is the beating not always successful?

Well done or badly done; also good condition or bad condition of the mental recipient.

First of all these thought-waves, thought-seeds or thought-forms or whatever they are, are of different values and come from different planes of consciousness. Even the same thought-substance can take higher or lower vibrations according to the plane of consciousness through which the thoughts come in (e.g. thinking mind, vital mind, physical mind, subconscient mind) or the power of consciousness which catches them and pushes them into one man or another. Moreover there is a stuff of mind in each man and the incoming thought uses that for shaping itself or translating itself (transcribing we usually call it), but the stuff is finer or coarser, stronger or weaker etc., etc., in one mind than in another. Also there is a mind-energy actual or potential in each which differs and this mind-energy in its recipience of the thought can be luminous or obscure, sattwic, rajasic or tamasic with consequences that vary in each case.

If I am not to “run away with the idea”, you have to tell me definitely how to avoid being led into quagmires by any blessed idea. If the mental being is ignorant how will it discriminate or be impartial?

Experientia docet – experience is the doctor. Also the habit of intuitivising if it is honestly done develops a discrimination that begins to know how to sort the sheep from the goats or the demis and semis and semi-demis from the real thing. By honestly I mean without ego or parti pris.

As for the ego – I can pride myself in being an instrument, a medium, can’t I?

No, you can’t – or if you do, you’ll make an unblessed mess. Why should the chisel pride itself because the sculptor uses it? He could just as well have used another and it would have done as well. But anyhow the point is that ego brings a lack of poise and lack of receptive honesty and meddles with what is received.

You said on the 18th, “As for spiritual light, it is another thing altogether.” What do you exactly mean by it? Do you mean that it can very well be had from anything – either high or low?

No. I did not mean that. I meant simply that an idealistic notion or a religious belief or emotion were something quite different from getting spiritual light. An idealistic notion might turn you towards getting spiritual light, but it is not the light itself.

We hear that one word, one sign, one line may put the spark to the powder and ignite the whole thing. But how? Because the psychic being was ready without one’s knowing it?

It is true howeyer that “the spirit bloweth where it listeth”, and that one can get some emotional impulse or touch of mental realisation of spiritual things from almost any circumstance, as Bilwamangal got it from the words of his courtesan mistress. Obviously it happens, because something is ready somewhere, – if you like, the psychic being waiting for its chance and taking some opportunity in mind, vital or heart to knock open a window somewhere.


October 28, 1935

How does one get the “habit of intuitivising... honestly”? Is it by trying to have an inner silence and calm, and stopping all thoughts, as you point out in your letter?

That is the first condition, but not the whole process. I told you that one could not safely take whatever comes as the intuition and I gave you the reasons.

What I try to do now is to make my mind silent and prescribe the drug that crops up...

Umph! But how are you sure that what sits108 up is not a mental suggestion?

And what has ego to do with all this? What one has to do is to remain just silent; I don’t see how ego can come in the way unless you mean that the mind won’t tolerate being made a passive Brahman, and will assert its right.

Ego interferes in a general way – not of course in choosing medicines – and many ways, e.g. inviting pseudo-intuitions which flatter the ego. Also it may interfere when a mistake has been made and prevent you acknowledging it or even call in more pseudointuitions to justify and back up the original error. Innumerable are the tricks of the ego. Also, if you feel yourself becoming intuitive, rightly or wrongly intuitive, (more so if it is wrongly), then a too strong ego may develop in you megalomania and then you are gone. So don’t justify ego.

I understand that Intuition will be one of the outstanding features of your Supramental creation; we will only have to shut our eyes and come off with an illumined intuition! The result will be epoch-making discoveries, inventions, etc., etc. By Jove! What a grand period it will be!

Good Lord, no! At least not till you live in the gnostic Intuition as your ordinary consciousness. So long as you are only receiving all sorts of things from everywhere, you will have to be on the qui vive to see that you don’t make a pseudo-intuitive fool of yourself.


October 28, 1935

Nirod [Underlined]

M still complains of having fever after his evening meal. We should like to know whether it is real fever or only some heat and uneasiness in the body. There is cough still, but it seems to be looser according to his last statement.

Sri Aurobindo



October 29, 1935

You will agree that to develop literary style, two things are necessary: reading and writing...

Reading of various novels, stories, fictions is fruitful because their contribution is decidedly the richest. Now the trouble is that when I read these fictions, English or Bengali, though delighted by the style, I can’t detach myself from the subject-matter. At times it may mean even the lowering of consciousness.

Why the devil can’t you separate yourself from what you read – taking from it only what you need or what you choose?

For instance I read a book by Wodehouse. The fellow, as you know, has some charm of expression, and my vital takes part in the enjoyment.

I don’t. I find him damn silly with a repetition always of the same trick humour. At any rate, I hope you don’t call that style.

For literary creation and effective expression, who will deny that style has a great force?

Of course; without style there is no literature – except in fiction, where a man with bad style like Dickens or Balzac can make up by vigour and the power of his substance.

Aren’t all your letters so refreshing, stimulating to us because of your superb style? And to manufacture your style, you will hardly deny that your enormous reading contributed to it.

Excuse me! I never manufactured my style; style with any life in it cannot be manufactured. It is born and grows like any other living thing. Of course it was fed on my reading which was not enormous – I have read comparatively little – (there are people in India who have read fifty times or a hundred times as much as I have) only I have made much out of that little. For the rest it is Yoga that has developed my style by the development of consciousness, fineness and accuracy of thought and vision, increasing inspiration and an increasing intuitive discrimination (self-critical) of right thought, word form, just image and figure.


October 30, 1935

I don’t know what to do with R.K There is virtually no improvement in his trachoma. Today he says he has great pain in right pain and wants it to be reported.

You are certainly a born supramental. “To have great pain in right pain” is of a supramental depth.

Why can’t I separate myself from what I read? Well, Sir, it is the devil that flares up and goes on lamenting over the loss of “ghee and butter” (by which, I suppose, you meant sex-enjoyment?) [17.10.35].

You mean then that you can’t separate yourself when you are reading of sex? But surely even modern novels can’t be nothing but sex enjoyment from start to finish? Why not separate the rest of the time, practise separation at least, even if you have to splash in when the sex comes rolling by?

I have seen your letter of today to Dilip. When I finished reading it, I let out a sigh and exclaimed – How cruel! after raising our hopes you mercilessly cut them off because the letter would be too long? Nothing is too long for us, especially such personal examples which are more valuable for the likes of us than any promises and possibilities...

Good Lord! I never said it was too long for you to read, I meant it was too long for me to write now. And I can’t write such things by themselves as an autobiographical essay – it is only if they turn up in the course of something that I can do so. Last night I had no blessed time to illustrate. I thought of writing it because it seemed very appropriate, but when I couldn’t, I just mentioned it in order to hint that what I had written was not mere theory, but provable by solid experience. No fell intention to tantalise.


October 31, 1935

But it is unthinkable and almost unbelievable to have any experience of Self, in the circumstances you have described! [In Dilip’s letter.]

I can’t help that. It happened. The mind’s canons of the rational and the possible do not give spiritual life and experience.

But can you not tell us what the experience was like? Was it by any chance like the one you speak of in your Uttarpara Speech109 – the Vasudeva experience?

Great Jumble-Mumble! What has Vasudeva to do with it? Vasudeva is a name of Krishna, and in the Uttarpara I was speaking of Krishna, if you please.

But didn’t you begin Yoga later on in Gujerat?

Yes. But this began in London, sprouted the moment I set foot on Apollo Bunder, touching Indian soil, flowered one day in the first year of my stay in Baroda, at the moment when there threatened to be an accident to my carriage. Precise enough?

By the Self, I suppose, you mean the individual Self?

Good Lord, no. I mean the Self, sir, the Self, the Adwaita, Vedantic, Shankara Self. Atman, Atman! A thing I knew nothing about, never bargained for, didn’t understand, either.

I had a dream of the Mother: we were all sitting in the pranam hall, when a very rich man came with his sick child. He said to Mother that if she accepted the child, he would give her lots of money. Mother thought awhile, drew out something like a horoscope which seemed somewhat like the Taj Mahal. Through a tubelike instrument, she gazed at the design. She found that this child had a counterpart in Delhi whom if she secured, she’d cure this child. This man seemed to have some connection with the millionaire Hukumchand. What are these things now?

Dreams of the vital plane corresponding to some reality there, but not necessarily to any exact reality in the physical, though it does sometimes touch on physical realities. The connection with Hukumchand was either a touch of the vital mind or else only an indication of the class of men this belonged to, if it touches the physical.


November 1, 1935

There was a small gale over the servant business. When his fault was shown, he went on arguing with me with an insolent attitude which I couldn’t bear.

Why not? He is using the freedom of his reason and asserting his sovietic equality with you, his “comrade” and fellow human. Ask H.

Really, Sir, your Karmayoga has lost all charm for me. To go on all the time driving a fellow, rebuking him, is an anaesthetic business; besides, one can’t pour out the venom as one doesn’t know the language. But you harp on your dictum that all this is necessary for a great transformation.

Exceedingly good discipline for you.

Methinks you are making just a little too much of the Yoga-Force, when you speak of poetry, music, painting, etc. I will take Dilip’s classical example, to illustrate my viewpoint. He himself and everybody, agrees that what progress he has made in music and literature has been greatly accelerated by the Yogic Force. But why? Well, because the things were in him, and if he went on cultivating them as assiduously, sincerely, earnestly, outside as he has done here, can you say that he wouldn’t have taken such strides in those directions? For any real and remarkable achievement, the main issue is to be born with the capacity and then to have the determination to develop it. Then Force or no Force, one will have the result. Well?

Will you explain to me how Dilip who could not write a single good poem and had no power over rhythm and metre before he came here, suddenly, not after long “assiduous” efforts blossomed into a poet, rhythmist and metrist after he came here? Why was Tagore dumbfounded by the “lame man throwing away his crutches and running” freely and surely on the paths of rhythm? Why was it that I who never understood or cared for painting, suddenly in a single hour by an opening of vision got the eye to see and the mind of understanding about colour, line and design? How was it that I who was unable to understand and follow a metaphysical argument and whom a page of Kant or Hegel or Hume or even Berkeley left either dazed and uncomprehending and fatigued or totally uninterested because I could not fathom or follow, suddenly began writing pages of the stuff as soon as I started the Arya110 and am now reputed to be a great philosopher? How is it that at a time when I felt it difficult to produce more than a paragraph of prose from time to time and more than a rare poem short and laboured, perhaps one in two months, suddenly after concentrating and practising Pranayam daily began to write pages and pages in a single day and kept sufficient faculty to edit a big daily paper111 and afterwards to write 60 pages of philosophy every month? Kindly reflect a little and don’t talk facile nonsense. Even if a thing can be done in a moment or a few days by Yoga which would ordinarily take a long, “assiduous, sincere and earnest” cultivation, that would of itself show the power of the Yoga-force. But here a faculty that did not exist appears quickly and spontaneously or impotence changes into highest potency or an obstructed talent changes with equal rapidity into fluent and facile sovereignty. If you deny that evidence, no evidence will convince you, because you are determined to think otherwise.

So about your style too; as you say you were born with it and it flourished by your great endeavours. It is difficult to understand how much the Force has contributed towards its perfection. But I have no doubt about the potency of the Force as regards matters spiritual, though even there one must have the opening, faith, etc., etc.

It may be difficult for you to understand, but it is not difficult for me, since I have followed my own evolution from stage to stage with a perfect vigilance and following up of the process. I have made no endeavours in writing; I have simply left the higher Power to work and when it did not work, I made no efforts at all. It was in the old intellectual days that I sometimes tried to force things, but not after I started the development of poetry and prose by Yoga. Let me remind you also that when I was writing the Arya and also since, whenever I write these letters or replies, I never think or seek for expressions or try to write in good style; it is out of a silent mind that I write whatever comes ready-shaped from above. Even when I correct, it is because the correction comes in the same way. Where then is the place for even a slight endeavour or any room at all for “my great endeavours”? Well?

By the way, please try to understand that the supra-intellectual (not the supramental only) – is the field of a spontaneous automatic action. To get it or to get yourself open to it needs efforts, but once it acts there is no effort. Your grey matter does not easily open; it closes up also too easily, so each time an effort has to be made, perhaps too much effort – if your grey matter would sensibly accommodate itself to the automatic flow there would not be the difficulty and the need of “assiduous, earnest and sincere endeavour” each time. Methinks. Well?

I challenge your assertion that the Force is more easily potent to produce spiritual results than mental (literary) results. It seems to me the other way round. In my own case the first time I started Yoga, Pranayama etc., I laboured 5 hours a day for a long time and concentrated and struggled for five years without any least spiritual result, but poetry came like a river and prose like a flood and other things too that were mental, vital or physical, not spiritual richnesses and openings. I have seen in many cases an activity of the mind in various directions as the first or at least an early result. Why? Because there is less resistance, more cooperation from the confounded lower members for these things than for a psychic or a spiritual change. That is easy to understand at least. Well?

(N.B. When the spiritual experiences did come, they were as unaccountable and automatic as – as blazes).


November 2, 1935

You say that my “grey matter does not easily open; it closes up also too easily” but where is “the automatic flow” to which it can accommodate itself, Sir?

The automatic flow would be there but for the grey matter being adverse and perverse.

I find that if a current has opened up a little, a blessed counter-current of depression, dissatisfaction comes down and sweeps me away.

Exactly. That’s its way of closing up. The three Ds seem to be your grey matter’s forte – doubt, depression, dissatisfaction. If it were not for them, when something came you would get the Ananda of creation and things would move a little.

If you advise me to go on sitting and racking my brain – inspiration or no inspiration – and then only the grey matter can open up, I’ll say it is not a very royal road that you show me.

I don’t think the inspiration usually comes in that way! It is better to put yourself in receptive attitude and let it come. If it doesn’t come, try, try again but no need to sweat and swear and writhe.

Some are of the opinion that one shouldn’t try to force the inspiration.

It can’t be forced but it can be invited.

About J’s blessed novel-tangle – the first instalment will appear in the next issue of Uttara. Wouldn’t it be advisable to inform X beforehand?

Good Lord! he does not know it yet? I thought he knew “she had put it in other hands”. Well, well!

I said to J long ago to inform him; naturally she didn’t listen... I am sick, sick of it and curse myself every minute. But since I have sown the wind, I have to reap the whirlwind.

“Cast your bread upon the waters and it shall return to you” – rather sodden!


November 3, 1935

Even if the three Ds were my forte why can’t the Force push me on? Because of lack of cooperation?

Yes, of course.

But I find that D’s best creations come when he’s depressed and his depression itself is worked out in that manner. In spite of it he’s as active as a giant.

D has a different temperament from yours. He has a magnificent vitality which, whatever road he goes on, can carry him galloping towards the goal. Only he has not yet learned how to put it at the service of the inmost psychic for spiritual realisation. He has been trying to do everything with his mind. One can do that up to a certain point provided the vital can accept the mind control and the mind itself is wholly on the side of the central mind’s will. But that has not yet happened. But the vitality serves to keep up his powers of activity and also to react at a certain point and drag him out of the depression.

Yours on the contrary is a slow plodding vitality. You can’t expect it to give the same results. It can only go fast when the road has been prepared and opened. The road for the poetical self-expression is not yet sufficiently prepared and open.

On the other hand I see quite a number of people remaining cheerful and happy though the outer nature seems rather uncontrolled. I wish I could be at least happy and sunny.

That is a mere matter of temperament. There are plenty of people whose ordinary nature is sunny and cheerful.

However, a yogi astrologer predicted that all my dark age will pass away at the age of 32 and the golden age will set in. The age of 32 has come but where is the gold?

Glorious! you must begin glittering at once – even if there are other things than gold that glitter. But are you through the wonderful year, already? and is it the age of 32 or the 32nd year?

By the way I learned that Datta once belonged to this lamenting and repining group and spent about 5 years in such a crisis. True? who will believe it now?

You are asking very delicate questions. I can only say that Datta has been with the Mother from the pre-Ashram, even the pre-Yoga-times – her case is uniquely difficult...


November 4, 1935

Only my expressions are puzzling, Sir? Your supramental ones are no less – especially when you want to be “elusive”, “non-committal”. Example? Well, I asked you about the advisability of informing X about the Uttara business, and you wrote: “...he does not know it yet? I thought he knew «she had put it in other hands»...” I don’t know what to make of it. Anyway, your opinion is not needed now, as J has her own opinion about it. But what do you mean by “she has put it in other hands”? Has X said that to you?

Well, it means what it says “I thought he knew she had put it in other hands,” I put the phrase in inverted commas because I seemed to remember somebody having written it. It may have been X. He wrote once about J having dropped him although he had done what he could for her.

But I can’t swear to it.

Can you tell me why D’s friends kick him back for the good he has done them? Because he expects a return?

Yes, partly for that. But only some are really grateful for benefits done except for the moment. A great many kick under the burden of an obligation. Human nature! You know Vidyasagar’s immortal saying on the subject, I suppose. “Why is he so furious against me? আমি ত তার কোন উপকার করিনি ।112

Can you, by the way, summarise my case and put the points before my myopic eyes apart from the three Ds?

Good Lord! don’t expect me to be diagramming people all the time. Besides your personalities are not clearly marked out like D’s. Wait till they separate themselves to join in the Dance of Harmony!

About Datta, it was in one of a series of articles written by Barin about her. So everybody knows what I know.

Ah, then I understand. Barin’s statements are always inaccurate. The 5 years must have been his own construction.

A is complaining loudly of her stomach pains – can’t even walk in her room etc. What are they? a little medical light, please.


November 5, 1935


I had forgotten to write to you last night that the Mother was sending Ambu to you. He said he would not be able to explain what was the matter with him, so we said we would write. He is constantly feeling weak, extremely tired and unwell without any specific cause. You might try by examination and otherwise to find out what is the matter and report to the Mother.

Sri Aurobindo


November 5, 1935

A has been getting pain in the right abdomen only while walking. On examination I find that the pain is in the stomach, liver and kidney regions – mostly liver which is enlarged and she has movable kidney... Since there are no inflammatory signs, a few days of inactivity – not even walking, will set her right. Or she can wear a strap on the abdomen and move about a little.

Perhaps – if it is liver; the Mother always thought she looked bilious. But if it is moving kidney? She can’t remain a non-walking statue all her life. The strap would then be, I suppose, the only resource.

Her fever of yesterday doesn’t throw any light on the main issue. Any supramental light?

None. Supermind says “O bother! don’t trouble me with that, yet.”


November 6, 1935

I send you a photograph of an intimate friend, Jatin Bal. Please have a look at it and tell me what you find – yogic or unyogic.

Refinement in vital, strong will, capacity for idealism – can’t say more from a small photograph.

Don’t mind the side show! If you had seen me before, you would have exclaimed: “This fellow has no scrap of a chance for yoga!” But you will admit that I had health and vigour!

The general impression is martial and pugilistic. To be recommended to the Negus for Gorrahei or Gerlogubi.


November 8, 1935

You will see from J’s letter what has happened. I am absolutely moribund and gasping; don’t see the way. Cursing myself every minute.

All that is rather excessive. It would be better to stop dying, gasping and cursing.

What have all these to do with Yoga?

It has nothing to do with Yoga. Usual human tangles, sir.

The Yoga of oblation, sacrifice and severe austerities would be better.

There is no such Yoga.

– No hankering for fame, name or meddling with others’ affairs.

That also is not Yoga.

I have lost all faith, confidence, hope, and if all that is gone, what else remains for me to do here?

Good God! What a shipwreck in a teacup! Kindly cultivate a sense of proportion. Learn the lessons of experience, ponder them in silence and do better next time – that would be more sensible.


November 11, 1935

There is much wind and storm around which is affecting me. Do give a timely elixir, Sir...

Why be so much affected by the weather? You have no umbrella? If there is wind and storm, it is surely your own, – I am not responsible.

What’s the use of giving an elixir when you won’t drink it?


November 12, 1935

How can 1 refuse the elixir? Only give it tangibly, concretely.

A concrete elixir is your business, not mine – as you claim to be a scientist.

S is down again, after taking yellow rice (oily). I was called this morning and found him writhing with burning pain in the abdomen... Had vomiting. It is the blessed liver again.

He medicated himself yesterday by taking 10 or 12 black peppers with salt to counteract the intense burning! Look at the fellow. I don’t know how to counteract the poisonous effect.

The fellow is terrible. You mean there is no medicine for it in the allopathic pharmacopoeia?


November 13, 1935

Again about the novel-tangle. X told J in your name – “All she did with regard to her novel was because of egoism and her love of vital drama.” J was very much upset by hearing it said in your name.

That is what you might call applied mathematics. I made a general statement which could cover the whole animal and human creation up to Mussolini and the Negus and avoided all mention of the novel. I added that since he had received an amende honorable, the matter might be dropped and peace declared.

J says X might write all about it.

I hope not!


November 14, 1935

Nirod [Underlined]

Is the condition of S dangerous or critical? If it is so or if it becomes so, it will be better to send for a French doctor who will take the responsibility of the case.

Sri Aurobindo


November 14, 1935

Was surprised to get your note, Sir. S’s condition is neither dangerous nor critical, but apprehending that it might become so, we want to fetch a doctor. Rest is advisable.

I heard from S that R is anxious to treat him. I replied that I have not the least objection.

According to R it was S who was anxious and requested him three times to treat him, while R himself was circumspect and indifferent! They both wrote about it, but that was three or four days ago, before S’s condition got bad. Versions, versions!

What do you say about giving R a trial in place of the French doctor? Won’t that be good for S?

As he is getting better, we can do without either.

The Mother was knocked up in the small hours and informed that S was very bad and hiccoughing. I presume the French Doctor has been sent for by this time. If it is serious, let us have news 2 or 3 times a day.

No meal as yet, Sir. It is 9.30 p.m. No sleep, no rest. And still you express your surprise and grudge a doctor being given a certificate! What a sorrowful world, to say nothing else!

Poor doctors who give up rest and sleep and food, yet remain all unwept, unhonoured and unsung! Never mind! Perhaps in heaven they will have a big address given them one mile long and signed by all the angels – cherubim and seraphim together.


November 15, 1935

Nirod, [Underlined.]

As the Doctor has approved of R’s treatment and S himself says he feels better under it, it is better to continue it. I expect you to put your medical feelings under a glass case in a corner for the time and help the unspeakable Homeopath so far as nursing and other care for S goes. To quote Dilip “qu’en dites-vous?”

Sri Aurobindo


November 15, 1935

Very well, sir. What the Guru expects, the disciple respects. I shall obey your command. You have heard all about the diagnosis. You can judge for yourself. I won’t say a word on it. I fervently hope no occasion will arise to break my seal.

Let us hope so. The French doctor (Val, Vahl, Valle? What the devil is his name?) said the case was not dangerous except for the possible crisis of the heart. So let us hope for the best in spite of the differences of doctors.


November 16, 1935

So you see I had to break the seal this morning. You read the report I sent to the Mother through Nolini. I don’t think I was unjustified in secretly informing you. I don’t understand why R objects and doesn’t want to let you know the exact report. Let me ask you how much you are guided by our reports, whether an accurate report is essential for your action. If so there are quite a number of things that one would object to in R’s report.

It is absolutely essential. Wrong information or concealment of important facts may have disastrous consequences.

He has been passing copious black vomit since last night. It decreased during the day. He says in the evening’s report that he didn’t want to stop the vomiting; he has done that only because you wished it.

He has reported at 9 o’clock to Pavitra that he has succeeded in entirely stopping vomiting and hiccough. Is it true?

He expected to stop the hiccough in half an hour, but has failed. His condition at night will be critical; are you sure about his life?

No. From the beginning of the case I have not been at all sure of it. I understood however that Valle had said it was not a dangerous case, apart from the danger of heart-failure which he did not suppose to be very great and could be avoided. But the circumstances have been very contrary and there has not been the usual response to the Force which makes recovery only a matter of time. It seems to me that it is an old illness which has suddenly taken an acute and perilous form. If tomorrow morning there is no improvement, we can call Philaire (I hope it will be in time). Pavitra is typing a letter which you can take to Philaire and learn from him when he will come over. If you and Philaire can understand each other, it is all right. Otherwise inform Pavitra of the hour and he will go at that time.

Accidentally I met Valle in the hospital. He asked me to call Philaire, as it is a surgical case.

He did not say that then, but gave an optimistic view of the case. But is surgical intervention possible in a state of extreme weakness?


November 17, 1935

You have heard of S’s sudden good turn, putting him almost out of danger. It came about in this way: at 9.45 a.m., the time when Mother came down for Pranam, he went into a sound sleep and I too into a little concentration. I found, on opening my eyes, S in deep sleep with the cessation of hiccoughs. At once I had the impression that he was out of danger. R says that he himself was deep in meditation in the Pranam hall, when a great sense of joy pervaded him along with the idea that S had passed the danger zone. He opened his eyes and caught Mother looking at him. Mother’s fixed reassuring grip of his hand confirmed his intuition. Is all this true?

There was something – a sense of a danger passed and a Force put out. There was also a pressure on R which amounted to this “No more bluff – bluff won’t do here. You must now justify your bluff and cure S.”

Things must have changed after you wrote to me that you were not sure of his life. You must have done something definite and imperative meanwhile. Can you reassure us now?

There is a change in so far as S’s physical has begun to respond while before it was not responsive at all. There is therefore no longer the predominance of the dark forces that there was before. But the response has to increase before one can be absolutely sure of the result. The obstinacy of the hiccough is a dark point that ought to disappear.

I don’t agree with R when he says that hiccough will have some good effect on the intestine!


In this great consternation, I could not ask anything about myself I forgot to ask even for your blessings.

The blessing is there all right.


November 18, 1935

R showed me your reply regarding your disapproval of Bovril and remarked that you did it from motives we don’t understand. But have you disallowed it because of my disapproval or do you and Mother concur with my opinion?

We concur. Besides she considers it too heavy for a patient like S. Even as a convalescent – which he is not yet – he cannot be treated like other convalescents or fed up without consideration of the fundamental and constant weakness of his digestive organs.

S complained of acidity because he was given too much lime-juice.

Why do you all call it lime-juice? It is orange-juice that is being sent. If it had been limes, I suppose S would have been dead by this time. But even this orange-juice represents more than 20 oranges a day. Mother looks askance at this enormous quantity – how can he digest and will it not increase the hyperacidity, burnings, eructations, hiccough?

R resented S’s complaint and wants to stop treatment. I said it would be absurd.

That is what he wants to do. We have said “no”.

Shall I write to you my opinion about things as in the Bovril case or would I put you in a fix as to whom to listen to?

It is better if you write.

No, the fix is how to get R to be reasonable.

You must have marked that he has suspended giving him brandy.

If he has stopped it, all right. But it was a monstrous imprudence. He does not seem to realise that S’s is a special case – that of a man who even in convalescence and apparent good health cannot be allowed to take what others take.

He told me just now that S’s black vomit was of blood but he kept it from me because it would make me nervous! In the report also he wrote “Black vomit of yellow fever”. Did he write to you that it was blood?

No, he did not write it was blood – only that absurdity about yellow fever.


November 19, 1935

By “lime-juice”, I meant orange-juice. R would call it “sweet lime juice”, not orange which is supposed to be different.

Perplexing! Why should juice of oranges be called “sweet lime” juice? I suppose in that case juice of sweet limes should be called orange juice? Vice versa? mutual transmutation? or what? Orange is certainly “supposed” to be different from sweet lime and it is oranges and not sweet limes we are using. R seems to live in a world of his own mental constructions, which has nothing to do with this poor earth and common “humanity”.

R complains of the delayed supply of food and has written to Mother about it, he says.

He seems to think that things can be supplied at his order by some process of magic.

R told me that somebody has written to you about the orange juice and its production of hyperacidity.

Rubbish! It was the Mother who from the first had this objection long before you wrote about it. She gave the juice in the quantity asked for only because R insisted on it.

He adds that you come down to common human consciousness level and listen to these suggestions!! He also says you have no time to go into higher consciousness to ascertain the validity of these statements.

What an imbecile! As if one could not know about orange juice and its effects without shooting up into the Supermind. Does he think his extraordinary theories are supramental?


November 20, 1935

Now that S has been resuscitated – without any impending danger – I would like to know how far R’s treatment has contributed to it. Dr. Nibaran said he doesn’t believe at all that R had anything to do with the cure. It was pure and simple Mother’s Force throughout. What was wanted by the Mother was complete suspension of medicine, but since the patient didn’t have so much faith, homeopathy was allowed – which is as good as no treatment.

That is the allopath’s prejudice.

I quite believe that homeopathy has a place. I’ve heard from Mother to that effect and, from other authoritative sources, of some miraculous cures by it.

Dr. Valle himself, who is an allopath and not likely to be bamboozled, has studied homeopathy and uses it in many cases.

I asked Mother about R, and she said that he has a magnetism around him, which he can put into his patients. I have also marked that he has enormous self-confidence and a capacity to create confidence in others.

That is his real strength along with the magnetism and power of suggestion. The man is a tower of vital strength and a dynamo of vital force – but with all the turbidity of a vital force.

I can’t altogether dismiss his treatment as rubbish and make-believe, because you yourself have said that if the diagnosis is correct and appropriate medicines are administered the Force can work quickly and effectively.

Yes, certainly. On the contrary, when there is a grave error in the treatment, as in R’s encouragement of the bilious vomiting and of the orange-fed hyperacidity, then the Force has to fight that as well as the illness, and it becomes difficult.

I hear you have said that it’s because S surrendered himself to the Mother that he was saved.

? No, certainly not. I never said that – to whom should I say it? Besides, he was not saved till now. And S’s surrendering would be a greater miracle than anything else.

... Anyway, even if his explanations are exasperating, I’ve learnt something from R – calmness, self-confidence and faith.

Right – that is the thing every physician should have.

But a few days’ dealing has shown me that if my ego is a “chubby chap”, R’s seems a giant.

Pretty big at any rate.

But big egos are a sign of greatness, it seems, since only big people have them.

Not always, sometimes only a sign of great egoism.

Those who are non-entities, what can they egotise on? Poor man as I am, I can’t boast of wealth. I can’t say I have done miraculous cures, because I haven’t.

Yes, but even if R had not done miracle cures, he would say he had and people would believe him.

All that about S’s surrender is rubbish; he is not surrendered at all,... But the man has a belief in Yoga-force and that helps; only he had gone so wrong that at first his body was not responding. Even I was not able to put much force, the contrary forces surrounding him were so thick that the higher Shakti refused to act except in a half-hearted way. I was hoping you and Becharlal being accustomed to him would pull him out as the old Doctor who knew the right way with him had done – in spite of the greater danger this time, with the limited help I could give. It was only when the heart began to misbehave seriously, that, as often happens, in response to the danger a big Force began to come down and S’s body also responded – it was that response that saved him, not any surrender. At the same time I resolved to give R a chance – because energy and élan were needed and he had them, also I had certain [proofs of] how effective he had been in one or two cases of which I had knowledge.

All the same I think the Force can take more credit than R’s medicines, although the latter were very useful, one might say an indispensable assistance. Yet it was whenever a big Force came in that S made a bound forward and each time on the lines indicated by the Force, first the heart’s recovery, next the deliverance of the liver, third the overcoming of the hyperacid excesses. R was an obstacle as well as a help, – twice. First, in his confounded decision to encourage “yellow fever” – the bile had to be cleared out of course, but not in that dangerous way; next in his “lime-juice” excesses, the orange-juice was useful, but frantically overdone. As soon as he dropped his first mistake, the bile set itself right – as soon as he dropped his second to some extent and administered orange juice + medicine reasonably, the rest ameliorated. That is at least how I read it. And if so, it was because the Force got a chance to work straight – helped and not impeded. Now the only thing is to confirm the cure and convalesce – I hope there will be no farther difficulties. But that is R’s weakness, he is as energetic in going wrong as in going right and his colossal bluff and bunkum in trying to show himself in the right even when he knows he has made a mistake or rather most when he knows that doesn’t help at all. There!

N.B. Please keep your eye on S. I don’t feel safe with the animal.


November 21, 1935

I’m glad to announce that R has again become active. He has taken up the suggestion of milk and S is digesting it well.

That is good. I suppose it is the best diet if he can digest it.

Dr. Valle was right about S’s case being ulceration of the duodenum and inflammation of the gall-bladder.

After so careful an examination and with his long experience he was not likely to be wrong.

Now all symptoms are subsiding, pt will soon become all right.

What the deuce is pt, O Aeschylus?

If you could induce the “big Force” to come down once more, we shall see S safely landed on the shore of convalescence.

Shall try, but that kind of Force comes when it wants. To stimulate it gives only small results.

What about R’s subtle suggestion to take up the case of B.P. now?

A subtle silence.


November 22, 1935

R gave S soup with a very strong dose of pepper and ginger; he said he had sent Mother a sample of it...

Mother has told Dyuman now that pepper, ginger etc. should not be put.

My mistake was that I didn’t ask Dyuman what soup he intended to give and I should have tasted it myself.

Yes, it is better to see to these things. It is difficult for the kitchen in these darshan days to do things specially, so they must be giving the soup of the vegetables cooked. But all vegetables are not proper for an invalid, esp. an invalid of this illness. So it is better if you see to that. R is of no use for this, he seems to be entirely ignorant. He actually asked for soup of spinach. But spinach water is poisonously unwholesome and spinach is never boiled in its own water which is carefully thrown away. This is done more than once even so that no trace of it shall remain. Then fancy soup of spinach – S would have sailed on it to Paradise. But R’s syllogism was simple. Greens are good for health – Spinach is a powerful green – So spinach soup must be powerfully good for S’s health. You see how logic can mislead!

Now R is thinking of presenting his exhibit, S, to you on Darshan. Has he gone mad?

He has threatened us that if S is not allowed for darshan he is likely to get another crisis through which he may not pull this time!

You have got the report of the signatories on the wonderful state of the patient rescued by R – his high eulogies on them, etc. seem to prove that R has a pucca dramatist in him.

A lyrist, dramatist, epist, everything.

Do you want me to write S’s report, tomorrow being the eve of the Darshan?

Not tomorrow evening. No correspondence allowed then.


November 25, 1935

S is now almost all right. I’ve nothing to say against the treatment except that R gave the patient potato salad supposed to be prasad! Fortunately the patient vomited it at once.

Merciful Heavens!

So shall I take leave now and resume my hospital attendance?

Yes. [Underlined.]

Well, Sir, what about your brand new formula? [16.8.35]. How has it worked out?

My formula is working out rapidly, but it has nothing to do with any Darshan descent. It is my private and particular descent, if you like, and that’s enough for me at present. The tail of the Supermind is descending, descending, descending. It is only the tail at present, but where the tail can pass, the rest will follow.

After so much expectation everything seemed to me so quiet, homely and comely. It seems as if the Darshan passed away long ago.

Quiet was all I wanted – there were so many alarms and excursions. Just before that it looked as if the 24th would be a day of mud, whirlpools and tempests (in certain quarters of course). However all quieted down by magic – and everything was peaceful, peaceful.

I hope others felt the Force, the Descent. Some say there was a great descent; others say that nothing came down.

How do they know, either of them? Personal experience? Then it was a personal descent or a personal non-descent. No General de Bruno yet.

Some say there was so much resistance that Sri Aurobindo could not do much in spite of himself

Didn’t try, sir, so that’s bosh. The attempt to bring a great general descent having only produced a great ascent of subconscient mud, I had given up that as I already told you. At present I am only busy with transformation of Overmind (down to the subconscient) into Supermind; when that is over, I shall see if I can beat everyone with the tail of the Supermind or not. At present I am only trying to prevent people from making hysterical, subconscient asses of themselves, so that I may not be too much disturbed in my operations – not yet with too much success.


November 26, 1935

I went to see S at about 6 p.m. He whispered to me that R is overfeeding him with things that one wouldn’t venture to give. In consequence he had a heated condition of the stomach, vomited copiously.

Why did he not object to being stuffed like that – if what he says is true? When the old Doctor was treating him, S was always fighting to eat but found the Doctor adamant. Now he has got what he wanted – a doctor who will stuff him to repletion. I don’t want to interfere, for if I do, R will want to throw up the case.

R told me S hasn’t been happy all day because he took coconut water in the morning without telling him! You can see, judge and act.

I can’t if the patient himself swallows without a murmur.

Dr. Manilal prescribes for J’s asthma, sneezing, eczema etc., thyroid extract, adrenaline, calcium-lactate; milk injection for protein shock. He wants your opinion.

It sounds rather formidable. I can’t pronounce my opinion. It is your business to opine.


November 28, 1935

N dropped in, complaining of urgency of micturition. Dr. Manilal and myself found nothing serious. N wants a microscopic examination of urine to exclude T.B. bacilli. I told him that it is very difficult to do this for we have to inject a guinea-pig. Shouldn’t we avoid it? Dr. Manilal suggests enema and pepsin mixture.

Unless it is imperative, I think I prefer not to awaken the suggestion of T.B. in the breast of N – also to spare the harmless guinea-pig. Let us rather put our trust in enema and pepsin-mixture.

I is being lactated and adrenalised with some good effect.

Lactate away then.

I am wallowing again in the morass of the 3 Ds, now that I am free from my attendance on S.

Stand up, man, and don’t wallow! Stand up and fix your third eye on the invisibly descending Tail of the Supramental.

If I could apply myself to some pursuits that would be obligatory!

How to make them obligatory unless you do something which will take you to jail!

Interest in poetry and in reading has dwindled, and now I’m on the way to be a “subconscient ass”.

Why not become a conscious one?


December 1, 1935

But what is this, Sir, I felt last night? It was a warm touch on my forehead, as warm as your feet at Darshan. But it was so sudden that I doubted it almost. Possible such touches?

Possible! What an absurd question to ask! Such touches are quite a common experience in sadhana. There are however different touches. Sometimes the touch is personal, sometimes it is the touch of the Power or Presence from above. Many feel not a warm touch but a wave of something warm descending, etc.


December 3, 1935

Naik and I had an interesting discussion about the prognosis of sex-glands in consequence of Yogic abstinence, or any abstinence, for that matter. Naik said that since sex has no place here, there is a possibility of the sex-glands undergoing atrophic degeneration. I could not agree with him and told him that had it been the case, people who practised brahmacharya, would lose all their virility, energy, radiance, etc. Don’t the Yogis say that ojas and tejas can only be produced by such abstinence?

That is correct. The whole theory of brahmacharya is based upon that by the Yogis. If it were not so, there would be no need of brahmacharya for producing tejas and ojas.

Naik argued that what is seen as vigour, energy, etc., may be due to the spiritual force descending and flooding the system, and have nothing to do with the sex-gland secretions at all.

It is not a question of vigour and energy per se, but of the physical support – in that physical support the ojas produced by brahmacharya counts greatly. The transformation of retas into ojas is a transformation of physical substance into a physical (necessarily producing also a vital physical) energy. The spiritual energy by itself can only drive the body, like the vital and mental, but in driving it it would exhaust it if it had not a physical support – (I speak of course of the ordinary spiritual energy, not of the supramental to be which will have not only to transmute retas into ojas but ojas into something still more sublimated.)

How is it then that scientists attach no value to sex energy except its use for procreation? The current theory is that sex is a physiological necessity. If the sex-glands run the risk of an atrophy due to abstinence, you see how dangerous it would be medically. What does your spiritual science say on the matter?

You mean the doctors. But even all doctors do not agree on that; there are many (I have read their opinions) who say that sex-satisfaction is not an absolute necessity and sex-abstinence can be physically very beneficial and is so – of course under proper conditions.

As for scientists, the product of the sex-glands is considered by them (at least so I have read) as a great support and feeder of the general energies. It has even been considered that sex-force has a great part to play in the production of poetry, art etc. and in the action of genius generally. Finally, it is a doctor who has discovered that the sex-fluid consists of two parts, one meant for sex-purposes, the other as a basis of general energy, and if the sex-action is not indulged the first element tends to be turned into the second, (retas into ojas, as the Yogis had already discovered). Theories? So are the statements or inferences of the opposite side – one theory is as good as another. Anyhow I don’t think that the atrophy of the sex-glands by abstinence can be supported by general experience. N’s contention is however logical if we take not individual results but the course of evolution and suppose that this evolution will follow the line of the old one, for these useless organs are supposed to disappear or deteriorate. But will the supramental evolution follow the same course as the old one or develop new adaptations of its own making – that is the uncertain element.

1. What about P’s eyes? She complains that they only repeat ancient history – cure and recure and you seem to be quite callous about her hard hard case. What?

2. What about N? He writes that he has realised he was having fever all the time, though it did not occur to him that it was fever. I hope this is not the result of the tuberculous suggestion of Manilal.

3. What happened about A? He was to have another urine examination by Becharlal. Did it take place?

Dr. Valle suggests a radiogram to be taken of S’s stomach and intestine.

It might be better. But I understand it can’t be properly done here. Must be done at Madras or Calcutta.


December 4, 1935

Prasanna is better in every respect. But how am I to impress upon her that trachoma is a nasty business, that it takes a long time to cure completely?

She does not care about all that. Her point of view is that the doctor is there to cure her and why doesn’t he do it? Very careless and callous of him. It is something like the attitude of many to us and our Yogic force.

By her own confession, you will see that there is at least some improvement. Isn’t it something?


I intend to try a new medicine on Prasanna’s eyes, brushing the lids with sodium chlorate powder which is supposed to give good results. But it is rather painful. She has already become aprasanna with our callousness and futile treatment. Who knows what she will be if we give her excruciating pain with sodium chl. and make her from bad to worse?

Good Lord! she will make a worse noise than Hercules in the shirt of Nessus!

If you give us courage, we may venture.

Not possible. Prasanna will become more than aprasanna, she will become abasanna and do dharna.113 Won’t do.

I knew nothing about N’s fever. He swept in today and said he was feverish. Temperature was normal, his feeling can’t be due to T.B. suggestion, for he doesn’t know what T.B. is.

He is writing very aghast notes and demanding an explanation from me of his perilous condition – so I thought it better to refer the matter to the medical authorities.

A’s urine was examined. The specific gravity was rather high and we advised him to take less sugar, after that we didn’t enquire and he didn’t complain.

He does not complain – I simply wanted to know what had happened.

About S’s stomach – if there is no radiogram, then we can make at least a screen examination.

It might be done – only R is in charge. He might object to an allopathic screen pushing into the stomach and upsetting his homeopathic effects, what?

To take up our yesterday’s discussion – I think Vivekananda said that by observance of brahmacharya, one acquires a prodigious memory. He himself proved it by reproducing anything he was asked from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, though he just took some glances at it. But it was said that only Vivekananda and Anandas like him can do the feat. We have heard about your doing such feats of memory also, on a miniature scale.


But everybody knows that you are a much greater “Ananda”, Sir! So perhaps possible.

Possible, of course.

What I wanted to say however is that poets and artists, as a class, are rather loose and lavish in their sex economy. If they indulge much in sex, how can their sex-force produce great things?

You have not understood. I was answering the statement that scientists don’t attach any value to sex-gland-product and think it is only of use for an external purpose. Many scientists on the contrary consider it a base of productive energy; among other things it plays a part in artistic and poetic production. Not that artists and poets are anchorites and Brahmacharis, but that they have a powerful sex-gland activity, part of which goes to creative and part to (effectual or ineffectual) procreative action. On the latest theory and Yoga theory, the procreative part would be retas, the creative part the basis of ojas. Now supposing the artist or poet to conserve his retas and turn it into ojas, the result would be an increased power of creative productivity. Q.E.D., sir! Logic, sir!

I suppose Valmiki, Vyasa and Kalidasa were complete abstainers, though there is doubt about the last two.

Excuse me, there are no doubts about Kalidasa. Very much to the contrary.


December 5, 1935

I asked R about S’s screen examination. He said he would write to you. I am doubtful about his consent.

He is sardonically permissive – displeased with S’s bull-like unmanageableness and says he does not care whether he is rayed or remains rayless all his life.

I am now caught up in a triangle of confusion: one side of the triangle is story writing, another is poetry and the base – concentration, meditation, etc.

Make it a triangle of harmony.

Now all on a sudden an onrush of all these three. I’ve actually completed half a story. Not that it is something great or good.

All right – great or not, complete it.

My main idea is to attempt to develop a style by constant practice, and to open up my grey matter if possible, though I doubt it very much. Again doubt! Yes, Sir, doubt at every blessed nook and corner.

You must have been St. Thomas in a past life, also Hamlet, an Academic philosopher, and several other things.

If I can develop the style, I hope the rest will follow – at least you have made me believe so.

Of course.

As regards poetry, there again I am inundated by hazy ideas for 2 or 3 compositions and many lines seem to peep out.

What is the meaning of this “seem”? Do they peep or do they not peep?

But they seem more bent on tantalising me than meaning anything serious, because as soon as I sit down to transcribe them, they evaporate like ether or camphor.

What do you mean? Why should you sit down to transcribe them? Keep hold of the lines and expressions by the nose as soon as they peep out, jump on a piece of paper and dash them down for prospective immortality.

It appears so easy to catch all these amorphous beauties and put them into morphological Grecian statues!...

Why amorphous, if they are lines and expressions? – lines and expressions are either morphous or they don’t exist. Explain yourself, please.

The one thing you have not written is how the third side of the triangle manifests its activity. You say, all are active together?

Can you solve this eternal disharmony and is there any possibility of harmony?

Every possibility if you will cease to Hamletise and go straight or go baldheaded for the thing to be done when there is a chance.

If poets have powerfully active sex-glands, I suppose I can also be called a poet, at any rate an embryonic one! Q.E.D. Logic, Sir! n’est-ce pas?

No, sir – ce n’est pas ça. You are illegitimately connecting two disconnected syllogisms. Ist syllogism – all poets are sex-gland-active, Nirod is a poet, therefore Nirod is sex-gland-active. 2nd syllogism – all sex-gland-actives are poets, Nirod is sex-gland-active, therefore Nirod is a poet. The second proposition does not follow from the first as you seem illogically to think. All poets may be sex-gland-active, but it does not follow that all sex-gland-actives are poets. So don’t start building an epic on your sex-glands, please.


December 6, 1935

What shall we do about S? Ray him or leave him?

Wait a while till the present imbroglio is over.

We allopaths are concerned with diagnosis. We open up even a dead man’s viscera not to speak of sacrificing so many guinea-pigs which, according to Moni, is much more abominable than goat-sacrifice before Kali.

I suppose the objection is to the suffering inflicted which is avoidable in the other cases.

Shall we continue giving K cod-liver oil? He seems all right.

It might be stopped. Perhaps Nergine may be given instead. He will have hard work now, so a little support may be necessary.

You are asking why “amorphous”? The lines, expressions, words that I feel swarming all around me, but I cannot put into form, what else shall I call them?

If you simply feel things swarming without a shape, then you can’t call that lines and expressions – it is only the chaotic potentiality of them.

One begins with the morphous lines hoping that the amorphous chaos will sweep in ecstatically and help me build a splendidly original cosmos, and what do I find? Either they elude me or what comes is something fictitious and commonplace.

That’s another matter. It’s like dreams in which one gets splendid lines that put Shakespeare into the shade and one wakes up and enthusiastically jots them down, it turns out to be “O you damned goose, where are you going While the river is flowing, flowing, flowing?” and things like that.

Do you mean that I should scribble down all these expressions as soon as they hop in? Good Lord! there will be parts and pieces only. How shall I make a whole poem out of them?

Many poets do that – jot down something that comes isolated in the hope that some day it will be utilisable. Tennyson did it, I believe. You don’t want to be like Tennyson? Of course it is always permissible for you to pick and choose among these divine fragments and throw away those that are only semi-divine.

Already words and lines of four or five poems in halves and quarters are lying in a comatose condition, without any hope of resurrection.

Well, well – all that shows you are a poet in the making with hundreds of poems in you also in the making, very much so. The mountains in labour, you know – what?

I have told you – by some magic there is now a manifested tendency to concentrate. 3-4 duty, 4-4.30 tea, 4.30-6 writing reports, 6-8.30 meal, meditation, duty, 8.30-9 prayer class, 9.30-10.30 or 11 left to me exclusively. So only 9.30-11 is the solid time. What can one write in one or one and a half hours?

Lucky man! Ample time, sir, ample time, both to realise the Brahman and to write another Iliad – or Nirodiad.

Good Lord! what can one write in 1 or 1.5 hours? If I could only get that time for immortal productions every day! Why in another three years Savitri and Ilion and I don’t know how much more would be all rewritten, finished, resplendently complete.

I can write at the most 10 lines which seem so poor a stuff!

The question is whether they are really poor or something can be made out of them.

Today I have produced 8 unchiselled lines in the afternoon – so I couldn’t do any meditation.

What of that? Chisel them at the next opportunity.

Please don’t ask me to fix the consciousness high while writing, for that is impossible. This is the difficulty I’ve been facing all along: one part bounding for concentration, another plunging into literature. How can I go straight or baldheaded?

Well, but what I mean is to stop this profitless debate in your stomach and do what you have to do. When you are moved to concentrate, concentrate – when you are moved to cosmicise chaos, cosmicise away. And don’t waste time in remorses for having done either. Remorse is a damned useless affair, very depressing, de-fertilising etc. Even if you murder somebody or, what is worse, write lines which amount to a murder of the Muse, remorse is out of place. In the first case, the useful thing to do is to bury the corpse and in the second to seek the capacious arms of the W.P.B.114 for your misdeed or try to cover it up by doing better.

I was perplexed by your reply about Kalidasa [4.12.35]. You mean he was an abstainer? You seem to know his life very well; then is there any truth in the conjecture that you were Kalidasa?

Don’t know anything about that. But I said “There are no doubts, very much to the contrary” – meaning that everybody knows he was a sex-gland-active.

I have given you my timetable so that you may concentrate on me at the exact time. I hope the mathematical figures won’t give you a shock!

No fear. Mathematics are more likely to send me to sleep than give a shock.


December 7, 1935

We have no Nergine in the Dispensary.

No. You can take a box from Dyuman for K.

My, what flattering phrases you use, Sir! “Perfective immortality”, etc., etc.

Rather startled by this phrase. Can’t find it, but don’t believe it is a correct reading.

I stormed in like a meteor and exclaimed, “Mother has achieved a great victory tonight. Sex-energies of some people have surrendered.” I asked, “All occult business, I suppose?” “Of course!” he answered.

Good Lord, no! J’s imaginations, that is all.

Then he said that Mother reveals to his higher mind all her workings. Must be wonderful if it is a fact.

The usual delusion! Voices, voices – the Mother in a confidential mood on the 7th storey!

A very big “if”.

We have found that his knowledge is not always true e.g. A.B.’s story I wrote to you about, for instance.

Don’t remember. He was writing an absurd affair of A.B.’s trying to take possession of him and substitute himself for the Mother – is it anything to do with that? I told him not to allow himself to be invaded by absurd delusions. But he seems to have only given it another form.

He says that very few vitals are free here (not sexually).

[Sri Aurobindo drew a line to the word “free”.]

That seems to be the one thing true in all that he said.

One is linked up with another, e.g. D’s lower vital with N’s.


If D wants to meet the Mother in the vital, he has to go through N’s vital, he says.


Ramchandra wants S’s stove, sign (?) and coals, kerosene, spirit, cocoa and barley to be removed from his room bodily and summarily. We don’t know how to organise this raid. Mother suggests that you might undertake it, the things to be distributed afterwards to the proper quarters. Ready for the heroic deed? As for S, you can tell him “Doctor’s orders!”


December 8, 1935

I had been plodding at a poem and now it is ready. I called in NK who did in five minutes what would have taken me five hours, and with what result. Do our styles harmonise?

What of that? The result is all right. H used to write ten or twelve poems in a day or any number more. It takes me usually a day or two days to write and perfect one or three days even, or if very inspired, I get two short ones out, and have perhaps to revise the next day. Another poet will be like Virgil writing nine lines a day and spending all the rest of his time polishing and polishing. A fourth will be like Monomohan, as I knew him, setting down half lines and fragments and taking 2 weeks or 2 months to put them into shape. The time does not matter, getting it done and the quality alone matter. So forge ahead and don’t be discouraged by the prodigious rapidity of Nishikanta.

It is certainly a little difficult to keep them together, especially as Nishikanta’s stanzas are strong and fiery and yours are delicate and plaintive. It is like a strong robustious fellow and a delicate slender one walking in a leash – they don’t quite coalesce.


December 9, 1935

Here is NK’s poem. Just think of it – a fellow who never has written a single line in English and doesn’t know it well, translates his own poem at a shot into a more beautiful, richer poem! Look at his astounding mistakes in spelling but does it matter?

No, so long as there is somebody to correct it.

And on the whole the metre also seems all right.

What metre? Is it the one I indicated?

Amal has corrected the whole thing, he says some of the lines are striking. What would you say, and will you kindly retouch, if necessary?

It is very beautiful. Amal has worked much upon it, so it is so surprisingly perfect. The original form is very poetic, but it is only the first two lines of it and the first two also of the second stanza that are quite successful. All the same it is a remarkable endeavour.

NK says that before writing or painting he bows down once before the Mother and you. If that is the secret, why, I shall bow a hundred times, Sir!

It depends on how you bow.


December 10, 1935

Amal says that he wanted to make a metrical experiment by a sort of combination of iambic and anapaest. You write that after Amal’s correction of NK’s poem, it is surprisingly perfect. Can it be called a poem, with so many irregular variations? Or would it be called free verse, with some metrical arrangement?

What on earth do you mean? Iambics and anapaests can be combined in English verse at any time, provided one does not set out to write a purely iambic or a purely anapaestic metre. Mixed anapaest and iamb make a most beautifully flexible lyric rhythm. It has no more connection with free verse than the constellation of the Great Bear has to do with a cat’s tail. Free verse indicates verse free from the shackles of rhyme and metre, but rhythmic (or trying to be rhythmic) in one way or another. If you put rhymes, that will be considered a shackle and the “free” will kick at the chain. The rhythm and metrical arrangement is perfect on the iamb-anapaest basis. I only wanted to know whether that was what Amal intended. For the rhyme scheme of the poem is that of a sonnet and in English the sonnet is always written in iambic pentameter – the combination of a lyrical metre with sonnet rhyme scheme is a novel adventure.

If Nishikanta can learn the English metre, he will produce some splendid poems. What do you say?

Possibly and even probably – only he must learn also what is and is not possible in English poetic style.

I hope you didn’t fail to notice in Nishikanta’s poem – “With profuse success, each pot of my every dot fulfils,” word for word a translation by him of his Bengali line – প্রতি বিন্দুর প্রতি আধার [prati bindur prati ādhār]

Amal and I had a hearty laugh!

Yes, it was a stroke of genius.

Amal said “Better send NK’s poem, as it is, to Sri Aurobindo and ask him whether it would not be better to write such poems in free verse.”

Free verse would very likely be the death of his new possibility. His genius runs naturally into rhyme.

But don’t you agree that it is a very striking piece with much original imagery?

It is indeed a remarkable effort, full of beauty and power. You will see that by some changes (for the sake of metre and correct language and style) it becomes a poem of great original beauty.

It seems to be better than the previous one – both in force and imagery and yet it doesn’t seem to be so oriental. Am I right?

You are right; it is much more possible in English.

I believe that Nishikanta will profit immensely if he tries to learn the metre.

Yes. This one I have turned into a very flexible amalgam of iambs, trochees and anapaests. It gives to my eye a very attractive and original effect.

I have grave doubts about the success of the orientals in the field of English poetry. It is very difficult for us to enter into the subtleties of English language; and our oriental nature is also unappealing to the Westerners.

What you say is no doubt correct, but on the other hand it is possible that the mind of the future will be more international than it is now. In that case the expression of various temperaments in English poetry will have a chance.

Look at Harin’s poetry. We’re so ecstatic over it here, but outside he hardly gets a good audience; not even K seems to like his poetry.

I don’t think I can put as much value on K’s literary judgments as on his comments on Yoga etc. Some of his criticisms astonished me. For instance he found fault with Harin for using rhymes which Shelley uses freely in his best poems.

You must remember also that Harin’s poetry has been appreciated by some of the finest English writers like Binyon and De la Mare. But anyway all growing writers (unless they are very lucky) meet with depreciation and criticism at first until people get accustomed to it. Perhaps if Harin had published his poems under the name let us say of Harry Chatto, he would have succeeded by this time and no one would have talked of Oriental inaptness.

I always look with pity at our people trying poetic exercises in English, except Harin, and always think of Michael Madhusudan’s failure. But I suppose you think otherwise, because you have a big trump up your sleeve – the Supermind.

My aim is not personal glory, but to arrive at the expression of spiritual truth and experience of all kinds in poetry. The English tongue is the most wide-spread – if it can be used for the highest spiritual expression, that is worth trying.

How do you explain Nishikanta’s miraculous feat? He cant speak at all correctly in English, whereas he writes wonderful poetry!

That has nothing to do with it. Speech and Poetry come from two quite different sources – Remember Goldsmith who wrote like an angel and talked like a parrot.

You can’t say that it is all due to Yoga. He has been here only for a year and D for so many years, yet the difference between them as poets, is striking. I can understand your yogic success in his Bengali poetry, because the field was ready, but the opening of his channel in English has staggered me. I can’t explain if it is your success or his.

What do you mean by Yoga? There is a Force here in the atmosphere which will give itself to anyone open to it. Naturally it will work best when the native language is used – but it can do big things through English if the channel used is a poetic one and if that channel offers itself. Two things are necessary – no personal resistance and some willingness to take trouble about understanding the elementary technique at least so that the transcription may not meet with too many obstacles. Nishikanta has a fine channel and with a very poetic turn in it – he offers no resistance to the flow of the force, no interference of his mental ego, only the convenience of his mental individuality. Whether he takes the trouble for the technique is another matter.

I had written to you that Nishikanta bows in front of your photograph before he sits down to write, and that I am ready to bow a hundred times, if that is the trick. You answered that it depends on how one bows. Methinks it does not depend on it. Even if it did I don’t think Nishikanta knows it. Or was it in his past life that he knew it?

Well, there is a certain faculty of effacing oneself and letting the Universal Force run through you – that is the way of bowing. It can be acquired by various means, but also one may have the capacity for doing it in certain directions by nature.


December 11, 1935

After hearing what you have written regarding the learning of metre, Nishikanta approached Ramchandra for learning it; because it was he who had given him the push to write in English. But Ramchandra wants to read with him English poetry, so that he may plunge into the spirit before learning metre. To develop the English poetic style, I suppose, it would be the best plan.

It is not English yet. But they can do like that if they prefer. Right rhythm however is the one thing still lacking and, until he learns it, these efforts will be only a promise.

Are we taxing you too much by this occupation with our poetry? If not, Nishikanta proposes to send you one poem a day. How would you like having the dish every night?

You can send it. I will look at the dish even if I don’t devour it.


December 12, 1935

Here is a lyrical dish prepared by Nishikanta all on a sudden after reading a book on metre. How do you find it?

For a first attempt remarkable – but he has not yet the necessary niceties of phrase and rhythm. The first three lines of the second stanza are very powerful, as good a thing as any English poet could have written. With some doctoring it makes a powerful lyric.

Nishikanta has got the metre all right this time.

Almost – he has the gift. But there are defects – e.g. he sometimes gave 3 ft. for 2 ft. lines and vice-versa. Having made a scheme he should keep to it.

He wants to know how to get the right rhythm and the right poetic style. I said by reading English poetry.

Yes, reading and listening with the inner ear to the modulation of the lines.

About myself – as I go on writing, the lines, expressions, images seem so commonplace that I distrust the value of my work.

It is no use being too squeamish at first. By that distrust you can depreciate good as well as cheap values.

Secondly, I get tired of waiting and leave off, say after an hour. What else can one do? Where is the ego or personal resistance you speak of?

I didn’t mean all that. I meant that a certain Nirod gets in the way, is too active or too blocky. Too subtle for farther explanation, you have to feel.

It is not the question of “being open” or “knowing how to bow”, but having a poetic being open or semi-open...

It has nothing to do with the poetic being.

“Personal resistance, mental ego” are phrases, for there must first be a poetic being, for an ego to resist.

The poetic being is not burdened with an ego. It is the outer being which contributes that.

Nishikanta started with a desire to write after reading about metre, but without any central idea. After an hour or so he felt a power descending, then the poem began to unroll itself. But he had no sleep at night.

That is all right – except for the no sleep which I don’t exactly advise.

I means one need not have any preformed ideas, not even inspiration, a simple desire will do.

But that is the inspiration when something descends.

Will sun-treatment do any good to A’s eyes?

Mother does not think it is safe for A. It might help her eyes, but her system might suffer from the sun exposure.

Something great, something big you have done, Sir. Will you kindly whisper?

I am always doing something big, but never big enough – as yet.

Really, Sir, do tell us, if no objection.

Eh, what? [Underlined.]


December 13, 1935

There is again a quarrel between X and Y, and I am asked to intervene; if I don’t there’ll be a row. I must have your permission.

Permission for the row? I am utterly against rows. If sadhaks want them, it must be done on their responsibility. I neither permit nor refuse.

X says that she is suffering a lot. It seems to me at times that she is a being of another world and incompatible with this world. What is the cause of her suffering?

Ego, foolishness, insincerity – a false claim that she is more noble and ideal than others – while in reality her vital is made just like any other human vital... I am afraid your idea that she is a superior being from a more beautiful world (if that is what you think) can’t hold water.

I am sorry for X, but she creates her own difficulties. She will not do what is necessary to have peace. If she went back from her ego, her demand on others, she would have peace soon enough.

I hate to disturb you with all these stories. Is it an individual affair that one should decide for oneself?

Surely it is an individual affair, being a clash of egos. There ought to be no such individual affairs in a Yoga Ashram, but ought and is are far asunder.


December 14, 1935

About the individual affair, it may be so, but aren’t most of the affairs that happen in the Ashram, individual?

That is why we never take sides in these “affairs”.

But have you not yourself said that very often when subtle planes are touched for transformation, all these impurities surge up in sadhaks?

In that case, there is nothing but touching and surging and if we go on touching by interventions there will be surgings for ever and ever.

And these individual affairs are bound to be there so long as our nature is what it is, especially when we are allowed so much freedom, a long rope. I am not justifying our weaknesses.

If there is no freedom, there can be no change – there could only be a routine practice of conformity to the Yogic ideal without the reality.

I was speaking of course of quarrels when I referred to individual affairs. If I intervene, that means in practice I “take sides” as people put it, by passing judgment. X herself has often accused us of refusing to protect her self-righteous and noble self against the wickednesses and unprovoked oppression of Y... If I “support” X, Y will be at once a candidate for departure and suicide. And yet you say I ought to intervene!

These individual affairs are sure to end ultimately by reaching you, for people will write letters from all sides; and your letters of pacification will follow.

I have been answering such letters by more and more brief replies and now very few write to me.

X says that I should support her at least on the basis of old family relation.

What a wonderful principle of conduct for an Ashram! It might serve in Arabia, Corsica or ancient Greece.

About X’s novel-affair, you said it is her individual concern. True, but poets and artists have to take their occupation as sadhana.

There is no objection to that, but an egoistic quarrel is not sadhana.

But you will say that it is a mixture of ego, desire for fame, etc.

The whole thing was that and nothing else.

When the whole situation became too complex one had to seek for your advice.

The people who quarrel don’t come for advice, but for support against the other fellow.

You came for permission, but permission would have meant support from me to X. So my answer “I neither support nor refuse.”

As a consequence of all this, X is upset, causing a fall in her sadhana. One has then to approach you and explain why it is so.

No doubt, but why should she expect a support for her ego which is the cause of her fall from sadhana, the affair being only an occasion for the said ego?

Can you then silence me or be indifferent to my condition by saying that it is my individual affair?

I did not say it was yours – it is not yours at all. It is individual to X, Y, Z...

If two of us quarrel and break our heads, will you keep quiet saying that it is an individual affair, look out for yourselves?

Yes, certainly, I keep quiet. Formerly, I used to intervene, the result was more and more quarrelling, each side either quoting me in self-justification or else abusing Mother and myself and doubting our divinity because we did not side with them. Now we have resolved never to intervene. When C, S etc. write about their quarrels, (they do it very seldom nowadays), we say nothing about the quarrel, we only answer “Restrain your passions, overcome your vital and your ego. You are concerned with Yoga; don’t be upset by what C (or S) says or does or anybody says and does.” Or we keep quiet and answer nothing.

You can say Karmayoga but no ego, please.

Karmayoga does not mean the free indulgence of ego.

True, but through imperfections, perfection has to be attained.

Not by indulging the imperfections and calling for the Guru’s sup-port for them.


December 16, 1935

Sending you one more poem by NK. Seems a very interesting piece. If it could have been done well, it would have been very attractive and original.

It is indeed matter of which a fine poem can be made. Nishikanta has imagination and the ideas carry beauty in them, the language also, but he has not yet knowledge of the turns of the English tongue which make the beauty effective. I have tried to make it as perfect as an hour’s work can do – but that is not enough, it might be better.

But from the immensely profuse amount of corrections you have made and have to make, I wonder whether we are taking too much liberty with your precious Supramental time. But Supramental is beyond Time – that is the hope.

If I have not time, I shall keep till I have. The poems are such good matter of poetry that it is worth the trouble.

Amal says you take very little time in these things.

Usually, yes. A quarter of an hour is enough; but these last two took more time.

If Nishikanta goes for the proper technique at present, there may be a check on his flow, no?

Possibly, though fidelity to metre can be a help as well as check as it makes the God of Words more alert, skilful and subtle.

About my metre, shall I approach Amal or Arjava? Amal is willing.


Everyone is doing something. I am only Tennysonning. Don’t you feel pity for me, Sir?

Not so much. If you were browning, I might.

On second thought, I keep the poem one day more.


December 18, 1935

I don’t say that images, expressions may not sweep in, but one has to beat, beat and beat.

Beat-beating is not sweeping in.

I have found that a poem may follow automatically, spontaneously with rich images and expressions, though one doesn’t know what will follow next. That gives a real delight and what comes is genuine stuff.

That is the proper way of inspiration.

Two of my poems that you liked very much came in that way. But unfortunately all don’t and one has to work hard. Sometimes there is success, at other times failure. Can you tell me on what these variations depend?

It depends on whether the inspiration flows in or the fabricating mind labours. You are obliged to have a mixed method, part inspiration, part mental, because the inspiration is not yet free to pass through. Beat-beating is the sign of the mind at work like a God-forgotten blacksmith; the flow is the sign of the Muse pouring down things at her ease.

What’s up with J? Trying to bring down the Supermind or going off the deep end?

I fear he is wandering in the intermediate zone. How much is occultifying drama and how much is real aberration is the question.

I can’t ask him to work when he’s in such a mood.


You can keep this note-book, but what about the one lying with you?

I was returning it this morning, but I found one place all wrong and have been beat-beating at it – penultimate stanza 2nd and 3rd lines. Made something at last but not very very right.


December 19, 1935

Two poems by Nishikanta enclosed; one old and the other new. But no use asking what the metre is. He has already begun learning it.

All right, I think. Rereading it, I find it très joli. Congratulations to myself and Nishikanta with Nirod Talukdar in the middle.

Why bother about the metre, precise English, etc? They will come some day and in the meantime let him go on writing and learning by corrections, lessons, so on.

That’s all right – but I rub in a bit about metre and stresses so that his ear may learn – and yours also. Judging by the last poem there is a distinct progress – but where is the credit? Corrected by Amal? or only by your sole poetic self?

How do you rhyme “life” and “cliff”, “smile” and “will”, “came” and “whim”? Are they all whims?

These are called in English imperfect rhymes and can be freely but not too freely used. Only you have to understand the approximations and kinships of vowel-sounds in English, otherwise you will produce illegitimate children like “splendour” and “wonder” which is not a rhyme but an assonance.

By the way you didn’t like my poem or you hesitate to call it mine, because of so many corrections by Nishikanta? Others say that it is very fine.

It was very good; mixed parentage does not matter, so long as the offspring is beautiful.


December 20, 1935

Nishikanta has written:

“I am tuned in thy tremolo of dreamland, heaven and earth.”

Is the word tremolo all right?

It is rather strange, but perhaps it will do.

The credit of this poem goes entirely to him. You’ll be glad to see that your effort at metrical lessons has proved fruitful.

Evidently with a little care and practice Nishikanta ought soon to be able to handle English metre. He has the gift.

I have no objection to being the trait-d’union in the “mixed parentage”, but for heaven’s sake drop that appendage Talukdar115, Sir. It is absolutely prosaic when I am trying to be poetic!

All right. Only it is a pity – it was such a mouthful! It may be prosaic in Bengali, but to one ignorant of the meaning it sounds as if you were a Roman emperor.

As for the next poem, it is as usual, of mixed parentage. Please see if it has blossomed as a beauty! Nishikanta finds it one of my best, but when I completed it, I said “Won’t do! Won’t do!

[Sri Aurobindo underlined “Won’t do! Won’t do!”]

Rubbish! It is exceedingly fine and your won’t do is nonsense.

If NK is right, then my poetic sense is no good, or am I too self critical?

Your poetic sense seems all right when you judge NK’s or other poetry.

Not self-critical, self-depreciatory.

While I was having a nap in the afternoon, I had a vision of a very beautiful woman sitting under the sun. The rays of the sun were either surrounding her or were emanating from her body – I can’t precisely say which. The appearance and dress seemed to be more European than oriental.

It is not a woman. A woman does not radiate and is not surrounded by rays either. Probably a Sun-Goddess or a Shakti of the inner Light, one of the Mother’s Powers.


December 21, 1935

J is of the opinion that too much colour and imagery conceal the thought-substance in poetry. It is better to be as simple and direct as possible.

One can’t make rigid rules like that. Wordsworth is as simple and direct as possible (not always though), Keats aims at word-magic. One can’t say Wordsworth is a greater poet than Keats.

Whatever style is poetically successful, is admissible.

Next point she makes is that it is better not to close a poem too often with a direct prayer.

Too often, of course not. For then it becomes a mannerism.

The last 2 lines of the poem I’ve sent you, are weaker than the preceding lines, because they are a prayer.

They are weaker, but not because they are a direct prayer. Why can’t a prayer be strong? I will send you one day a poem of mine where there is a direct prayer.

Can you not give some suggestions for improvement? Don’t plead on your ignorance of Bengali; surely you can point out the defects.

I can tell my impression, but I can’t say how it will affect a Bengali reader. My mind may be too international to coincide with the Bengali reader’s. I may also miss fine distinctions which he can make, – I mean, shades of language, what is or is not possible, or is or is not native to the language.

You will be glad to know that I am working like a devil, at poetry; anyway, it will keep the d – out, won’t it?

Of course!


December 22, 1935

I seem to understand that trochees are to be avoided in an iambic-anapaest poem; but maybe I am wrong, for in a book on metre I find that trochee is a common modulation of iambs, specially in the first line.

By the change you have made in the line “Crystals at her feet” into “Is a crystal at her feet”, does it mean that in an iamb-anapaest poem every line must have at least one iamb-anapaest foot?

Trochees are perfectly admissible in an iambic line as a modulation – especially in the first foot (not first line), but also occasionally in the middle. In the last foot a trochee is not admissible. Also these trochees must not be so arranged as to turn an iambic into a trochaic line.

My dear sir, this is an instance of importing one’s own inferences instead of confining oneself to the plain meaning of the statement. First of all the rules concerning a mixed iambic-anapaestic cannot be the same as those that govern a pure iambic. Secondly what I objected to was the trochaic run of the line. Two trochees followed by a long syllable, not a single iamb or anapaest in the whole! How can there be an iambic line or an iambic anapaestic without a single iamb or anapaest in it? The line as written could only scan either as a trochaic, therefore not iambic line, or thus –◡/◡◡-/. that is a trochee followed by an anapaest. Here of course there is an anapaest, but the combination is impossible rhythmically because it involves three short syllables one after another in an unreadable collocation – one is obliged to put a minor stress on the “at” and that at once makes the trochaic line. In the iambic anapaestic line a trochee followed by an iamb can be allowed in the first foot; elsewhere it has to be admitted with caution so as not to disturb the rhythm.

I find the English metre very difficult because the same word is stressed or non-stressed according to the combination. How can one then be guided?

You mean the same syllable? It is syllables, not words that are stressed.

About the modulations, any numbers can be crowded in, it appears; only foot-numbers should be equal for the sake of harmony.

What numbers do you mean? The rules are perfectly clear and intelligible; only of course you must know what are the accents and what modulations are or are not possible. That means that you must know something about the language; that is all.

I have given you however some rules for the modulations in iambic verse – they are not exhaustive. In modern verse one can pepper an iambic line with anapaests – I have done so myself in the sonnets. But one must be very careful how one does it. This license is not for beginners.

If poets were to be guided by such metrical rules, they’d stop writing altogether!

How did the English poets write then?

What about the poem you promised yesterday? Golden chance, tomorrow being Sunday!

What poem? Sunday is not a golden chance because I have any amount of work to do on that day – wiping off arrears. People also often choose to forget that it is Sunday.

Don’t you always tell the Mother what we write? She didn’t know that the oculist is on leave.

I told Mother what you said, but you gave no date for the oculist’s leave, only put it in the future.


December 23, 1935

What poem, indeed! Didn’t you say you’d send me a poem showing the force of direct prayer? You forget so easily!

Excuse me. I said I will send one day. One day may mean after some weeks, some months, or some years.

I heard that R was called to see a case outside, which has been given up as hopeless by the French doctors, including Valle.

By the best doctors in Pondicherry, Valle, Amaladasan and others. They dosed and injected and he was near to his last gasp when Valle ran to R as a last chance.

Today R comes and tells me that the patient has gone to his office!

A fact.

And that you have congratulated him on his success!!

A fact. Why should I not, when an almost dead man rises full of life and energy in a few hours?

A miracle! I am flabbergasted, really!

Well and then? It should raise you up, not cast you down.

R showed me some observations made by those doctors on blood-pressure, urine, etc. and asked me their significance. I found that the case was probably chronic interstitial nephritis.

That was reported to me by R from the first.

From a further talk I discovered that R has very little idea of what it is. And yet he goes and saves a dying man!

Do you deny the fact?

Again, it seems to me that he acted as an instrument or medium and nothing else.

What do you mean by nothing else? A human instrument without capacity can do things like that? That would be far more miraculous, impossible, incredible, surely, than a homeopath whose whole system is founded on symptomatology curing people.

R says findings of urine are not necessary. Leave the patient to nature. I said – albumin is a danger sign, it has to be eliminated through diet and medicine etc., otherwise there is a possibility of relapse. He replied, but he wants now to take meat, drink, etc.

A relapse is always possible, if, as R wrote to me, the man is a reckless bon vivant going strong and drinking. But that is his affair; his resuscitation remains a fact.

This instance has proved to me that homeopaths are concerned with symptoms, not with the disease itself, of which they have not much knowledge. If relying on symptoms alone, he has cured this man, I shall be the last person to believe it.

Because you are tied in your own system and do not understand that Nature is not so rigid as your mental ideas.

All big homeopaths I’ve heard of, were allopaths before, i.e. they knew anatomy, physiology, pathology, etc. But R is unique and his cures are unique. So I am puzzled, puzzled about the real mystery behind...

Did they cure by allopathic treatment, then? Is it not the very principle of homeopathy that it cures the disease by curing the symptoms? I have always heard so. Do you deny that homeopaths acting on their own system, not on yours, have cured illnesses? If they have, is it not more logical to suppose that there is something in their system than to proclaim the sacrosanct infallibility of the sole allopathic system and its principle? For that matter I myself cure more often by attacking the symptoms than by any other way, because medical diagnosis is uncertain and fallible while the symptoms are there for everybody to see. Of course if a correct indisputable diagnosis is there, so much the better – the view can be more complete, the action easier, the result more sure. But even without infallible diagnosis one can act and get a cure.

When all doctors have failed, how does R proclaim that he will pull a man out without knowing anything of the nature of the disease?

Because he has confidence in himself, like all who are able to do in any field big things.

He knew there was blood-pressure and he fixed his whole energy in bringing that down and did it.

Does he have an immediate intuition or does he hear voices?

Well, he believes in his intuition and his faith justified itself. I never heard that he hears voices.

If he doesn’t know that, his self-confidence, however strong and enormous, can’t make him commit himself to such an extent. It would be foolish in some places.

Why can’t it? How dreadfully downright and sweeping you are in your demands! What ground had Mustapha Kemal for his strong and enormous confidence when he defied all Europe and all the probabilities and possibilities and undertook to save three-quarters dead Turkey?

What does that matter if it succeeds in some places? Napoleon’s self-confidence and intuition tripped him up at Waterloo, but before that it had won him Marengo, Jena, Austerlitz.

Was there some extraordinary power behind R before he came here that was responsible for the marvellous results?

Certainly. It was because the Mother saw a great force in him that she accepted him in the Ashram.

I hear he is a very good medium and is a tower of vital strength.

Which means of course full of a massive vital force which can be used by the Yoga-force for its purposes and being massive can produce striking results.

Is the strength then the real cause of his success and medicine negligible? But I don’t understand how a tower of vital strength can cure a dying man! If that were possible, whatever medicine he might have administered, would have been equally successful.

Why the flabbergasts not? What’s the use of strength if it can’t do things?

You are very much behind the times. Do you not know that even many doctors now admit and write it publicly that medicines are an element but only one and that the psychological element counts as much and even more? I have heard that from doctors often and read it over reputable medical signatures. And among the psychological elements, they say, one of the most important is the doctor’s optimism and self-confidence, (his faith, what? it is only another word for the same thing) and the confidence, hope, helpful mental atmosphere he can inspire in or around his patient. I have seen it stated categorically that a doctor who can do that is far more successful than one who knows Medicine better but cannot.

You said in S’s case that the Force has to count on right medicines for rapid effects.

I did not mean that it cannot be done without medicines. But if it is to be done with the aid of medicines, then the right medicine is helpful, the wrong one obviously brings in a danger.

How does R choose the right medicine? Not by intuition; because I saw him consulting his books for the choice of medicines.

Of course. He learned homeopathic medicine in America and his ideas of homeopathy are the American ideas. But how does his knowledge prevent intuition? Even an allopathic doctor has often to intuit what medicine he should give or what mixture – and it is those who intuit best that succeed best. All is not done by sole rule of book or sole rule of thumb even in orthodox Science.

How could a patient, as good as lost, leap up, although he knew nothing of faith in yogic force?

That often happens. It is even sometimes easier to deal with a man of that kind, provided he does not know what is being done, – so that there is no room for doubt or mental resistance.

He himself admitted that he could not expect such a miraculous result from his treatment. It was the Mother’s force that did it.


Is it then the question of mediumship? If so, I dance in rapture thinking that yogi-doctors have a vast possibility!

Yes, provided they do not entrench themselves in doubt and rigid materialistic orthodoxy.

I am thrown out of joint at two miracles, Sir: (1) R’s treatment or yours; (2) NK’s English poetry, though Madam Doubt still peeps from behind. Anyhow, no chance for me! কপাল,116 Sir! What to do?

Why out of joint? It ought to strengthen your joints for the journey of Yoga.

Not at all কপাল, sir. Mind, sir, mind. Madam Doubt, sir, Madam Doubt! Miss Material Intellectualism, sir! Aunt Despondency, sir! Uncle Self-distrust, sir! Cousin Self-depreciation, sir! The whole confounded family, sir!

I congratulate you for having such a fine instrument, and him as well for being so for the Divine’s action.

I will try to make it clear, but no time tonight as it is 4.40 a.m. already.


December 24, 1935

You have shown me my fallacy, but I am afraid, the fundamental points of perplexity remain unsolved...

I don’t deny G’s resuscitation, nor do I object to your congratulating R. I don’t even say that homeopathy is all bosh and allopathy is heaven’s reward. Well, there were evidently three factors at work in this case: Mother’s Force; R’s mediumship which was constituted of faith, confidence, vital power, intuition, etc. and his drug treatment.

Now what I am puzzled about is the exact contribution of R’s medicines in this case

Exact? How can one measure exactly where vital and mental and spiritual factors come in? In dealing with a star and atom you may (though it appears you can’t with an electron), but not with a man and his living mind, soul and body.

If R were an allopathic homeopath, with a difference only in treatment and not in pathology, I wouldn’t doubt his explanations.

Why on earth? What is an allopathic homeopath? Homeopathic principles are just the opposite of the allopathic. So why must the dealings be fundamentally the same with only a difference of drugs? In spite of what you say you have the solid belief that allopathy alone is true. I suppose allopathic homeopathy is something like a biped with four feet.

If you say that homeopathy is quite different from allopathy, as regards the treatment, the pathology must be the same.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined the last part of the sentence.]

Not necessarily in all cases or in all respects.

How can a homeopath ask a high blood-pressure man who has just risen from the grave, to attend to his duties in the old way and give him the usual food?

Why can’t he, if he has some other means of combating the possible bad results? I have not heard that R asked G to resume his duties. He represents it as if he remained neutral and it was G’s own choice with which he did not interfere. That may have been imprudent; but R is daring in everything and that means a stiff dose of imprudence. Besides he has his theories also which may or may not be true, but I cannot say they are prima facie impossible if I can judge by the daring one he put forward for making S eat the full Ashram meals. If S’s accounts of his condition are true, they seem to have been justified by a considerable amount of success.

A symptomatic treatment can’t be applied in cases where the same symptom is produced by two or three different diseases because the symptoms will always recur so long as one doesn’t go to the root.

Why can’t it? There is a possibility that you can strike at the cure, whatever it be, through the symptoms and you can kill the root through the stalk and leaves and not start by searching for the roots and digging them out. That at any rate is what I do.

Don’t speak of your own cures, please; I can’t fight you there!

Why should I not speak of my cures? When they are perfectly apposite and a proof that you can cure by symptomatic treatment?

You mean you don’t want to give me the lie or say I am under a delusion?

If you say R is led by intuition I’ll stop my argument and give you a chance of a hearty laugh. But then how did he ignore so important a factor as albumin in G’s case?

He has intuition but not always the right intuition to fit the case. It is a mental intuition he uses, and mental intuition is a mixed movement.

I have answered all that already. I do not say R was right; but he did not act at random; he gave his reasons for neglecting the albumin which I am not medical enough to understand. I would have preferred if he had dealt with and had kept G under observation, before letting him loose, but it is not my funeral. I don’t expect G to live long and I don’t think R expects it either. But in the case of S he has for the time being at least proved his case. He is by the way dealing with G’s kidneys today and admits it is a ticklish job; but the first effects he says were successful and he is waiting for the night to pass to see what will be the sequel. For the drug, he says, is highly potentised, (that is American language), but may produce an upheaval. Well, there you are, that is the man. Right or wrong? God he knows. I put a force behind him and also await the results.

He had by the way hesitated to act at once on the kidneys because the body needed to be accustomed to renewed vigour (so far as I understand) before risking the coup. Contrary to allopathic pathology? Maybe. But it has some similarity to what I have seen in my experience of action by Yoga.

His faith, hope, self-confidence, I suppose, help to produce a favourable nidus in the patient’s mental atmosphere.

Certainly, if you are dejected, diffident, despairing, full of doubt, you can’t produce a favourable nidus in the atmosphere.

Self-confidence necessarily presupposes knowledge and experience; though the converse may not be true.

What an absurd statement! Self-confidence is an inborn thing; it does not rest on knowledge and experience.

If Napoleon had been a little less self-confident, he might have been a victor at Waterloo.

Who says that? I never heard that Napoleon failed at Waterloo for want of self-confidence. I have always read that he failed because he was, owing to his recent malady, no longer so quick and self-confident in decision and so supple in mental resource as before. Please don’t rewrite history unless you have data for your novel version.

About Kemal Pasha, well, I hear you pumped into him a lot of force.

Napoleon had a lot of force pumped into him also.

Even then these personalities had the stratagems of war and current politics at their finger-tips, like Japan which is reaping a golden harvest out of European tangles. If I could say that about R in his field, then all my doubts regarding his drug-effect wouldn’t arise...

Please remember that R has studied homeopathy and he has knowledge of homeopathic medicines if not of allopathic pathology. He took a degree in America and the Mother tells me that many of his ideas of which we were so impatient and thought them his own inventions are the ideas of the American school of homeopathy which is more meticulous, intolerant, intransigent, dead against allopathy, particular about the subtle properties of homeopathic drugs and their evanescence by wrong contacts (quite Yogic that) than others.

His self-confidence and intuition may produce some striking results at the time of crisis, but it must blend with knowledge to give permanent results.

How do you know he has no knowledge of homeopathic drugs?

His lack of sufficient knowledge of things makes me doubt and throw almost the whole balance on the side of your Force. If he had been as successful outside with such a scanty knowledge, I would have said then, all luck! or now that I know, action of some greater Power behind.

He was successful outside. While he was outside the Ashram, not yet accepted, he was making remarkable cures and already getting a name. I had to stop him as soon as he became an accepted disciple, even before he came into the Ashram, because his practice was illegal. But I had to refuse applications from the town for allowing him to treat patients because he had succeeded so remarkably with them that they wanted to continue. I was not concerning myself in the least with his cures and knew nothing at all about them. And you say all that was luck because his ideas differ from yours? Are you not reasoning like Molière’s doctors who declared that a patient’s audacity in living contrary to the rules of Science was intolerable or like the British Medical Council which refused any validity to Sir Herbert Barker’s cures because he was an osteopath and had no qualified medical knowledge?

I wonder, then, whether our mode of looking at things is altogether wrong. And if there are really such drugs in homeopathy which can give results in cases in which we have almost none, then it would be worth trying to study it and combine both systems.

Certainly there are – the universe is not shut up in the four walls of allopathic medicine. There are plenty of cases of illnesses being cured by other systems (not homeopathy alone) when they had defied the allopaths. My experience is not wide but I have come across a good number of such cases. And if it is not so, why then did Dr. V come to R for help surprisingly when he and A had failed with all their capacity and experience? V has known and practised homeopathy to some extent. May we not infer that he knew there were cases in which homeopathy (not allopathic homeopathy but pure) might be successful?

Or is it only a question of personality apart from Yoga-force? If R had taken up allopathy, could he not have done big miracles like these, where Valle and others failed? And if I were asked to administer the same drug to this dying man, could it have produced such a striking effect?

It is not a question of drugs alone. The drug is only a support. If you had not intuition and self-confidence and the same thoroughgoing belief in your own action and the Yoga-force behind you, you might have done some good but not had the same rapid effect. R believes in his medicines, but he does not believe that they are infallible in their effect or rely on them alone. He believes in the man behind them and in the Force behind the man.

You can try to logicise me but do try to satisfy me, also!

How can I “satisfy” you when my point of view and basis of knowledge is quite different from yours or R’s either?

I could go on writing and writing and multiplying, but I have tried to squeeze my thesis into this space. You said you would try to make it clear. Please do so...

I haven’t cleared up anything, I suppose, only logicised and not satisfied you. To clear up things it would be necessary to go to first principles as well as my own experience and view of things (to which you object because you can’t fight me there), and that would be going into country foreign to the allopathic and scientific reason.

Let me say however about R: He is a man who seems genuinely to believe in the Force – even when he was not an accepted disciple and was treating cases in town, he was attributing his cures to the Force (ours), although we did not consciously preside at all over his cases or send him any particular help. So he has the first requisite for being a “medium” of Force. Next, he is a man of great vital push, self-confidence, abounding enthusiasm and energy; such men are the best instruments, not for knowledge, but for successful action. Second requisite there. Next, he is a man with a great power of suggestion and also of inducing auto-suggestions in his patients, and these become remarkably effective, provided they do not resist too much. He is the kind of man who can give pure water, saying, “This is a potent medicine”, and the patient would immediately feel better after taking it. (By the way, many allopathic doctors do that, when they think it necessary, according to their own confession). Third help (though the trick would be unYogic); the power of conveying one’s own thought-formations, vital energy, will – decisions etc. to others being an element in Yogic action: he has that. Fourth, a knowledge of homeopathic medicines and what seems to me a very supple and daring use of them. Dangerous? perhaps or rather, no doubt; he himself admits that with his more potent medicines a great disturbance occurs before the cure or can do so and a great disturbance means a great risk; but a daring man is a man who takes risks in the hope of great results. He might have killed S? Certainly, but so might an allopathic doctor. My grandfather and cousin were patently killed by the medicine administered by one of the most famous and successful allopathic doctors of Calcutta. An allopathic doctor also takes risks and those who are the most successful are also the most adventurous and decisive in their methods. All that does not militate against his capacity as a healer. They are points in his favour.

On the other hand there are big defects. He is a bluffer; he makes big mistakes and does not admit them even when he knows he has made them – he covers it up by an absurd statement which he thinks the others will swallow. But he does not persist in his mistakes he sets them right without admitting them. He is not truthful and truthfulness is a great help for the Force, while the opposite induces a wrong vibration. He is vain, arrogant etc. – and men with such defects can easily fall into great blunders. He pretends to have knowledge where he has none. He is ignorant of many things a healer ought to know.

Well, in spite of all he has done remarkably with S. Whether he will carry G through remains to be seen; but that for the time being he raised him up from the half-dead is beyond question. The man has parts – whether his parts will become a whole is a matter of the future. A man being a man can be neither perfect nor worthless. One has to see what can be made of him or what he allows himself to be made or to become. Let us Asquitheanly, for him as for others, wait and see. Why either condemn wholly as a fraud or boost up as a miracle?

There would be much else necessary to say, about allopathy, homeopathy and the elasticity of Nature, about the place of medicine, Force and the medium, about spiritual force, intermediate occult forces and material forces, about the complexity and relativity of “truths” that are only convenient formulas and the inadvisability of turning them into absolute and all-covering truths, etc., etc. – but all that would be long, would carry us into too deep depths and can be postponed till the blue moon rises in your heavens.


December 25, 1935

Guru, I hope this letter will catch you before you start for the Supramental sleep!

At about 5 a.m. I was called by P as K was having blood-vomiting. R was also there with his medicines. Seeing K’s vomiting, I had the impression that it was from the lungs. An examination led me to suspect apex of rt. lung. I don’t know what R thinks about it; but at first sight he said it was vicarious menstruation. Anyway he gave her medicines. The bout subsided and she slept quite peacefully. Then again she had blood-vomiting. According to his treatment, food and nourishment have to be given. R told me that he will write to you and give her charge to me as he is busy with many other cases, and his temporary treatment won’t clash with mine.

I don’t know what to do now. I am at Thy service, Sir.

If you and R don’t agree as to diagnosis, it is better to send for a third person, (Dr. Valle is indicated, I suppose), to consult and advise. It is necessary to know what she has. We are informed that K had this once in Gujarat. You can ask P about this and, if it is correct, find out what was the diagnosis and treatment.

I suppose in any case (if it is lung trouble, also) food and nourishment have to be given and it is only if it is liver or stomach that it would be otherwise?

6.30 a.m.

By “allopathic-homeopath”, I meant a homeopath having studied allopathy who will have a very sound basis in Medicine. All homeopathy schools are now teaching pathology, etc...

They may all study pathology, but I don’t think they all bind themselves to the same conclusions as the allopaths. If they did, they would not be able to have an entirely opposite system.

I don’t deny that personality is a big factor though I don’t know exactly whether hope, faith, etc., operate physically more or bring some occult forces into the field.

You have only to admit that the mind and vital can influence the body – then no difficulty is left. In this action of mind and vital on the body faith and hope have an immense importance. I do not at all mean that they are omnipotent or infallibly effective – that is not so. But they assist the action of any force that can be applied, even of an apparently purely material force like medicine. In fact however there is no such thing as a purely material force, but the action may be purely material when it is a question of material objects. But in things that have life or mind and life one cannot isolate the material operation like that. There is always a play of other forces mixed with it in the reception at least and for the most part in the inception and direction also.

I don’t understand why I came into this world with doubts and Co. whereas others did so with self-confidence. Why some people go on patiently and honestly and still end their days in misery, whereas frauds etc. flourish so well! I would say Kismet. You may say blessed Karma – it is only another name.

Well, the frauds are capable and clever in their fraudulency, I suppose. And why should not capacity have its results? The others are only moral and the reward of morality is not worldly success but the satisfaction of a conscience at rest. Virtue is its own reward – it can’t ask for success in life also!! What would the poor frauds do if having the torments of a bad conscience (?) they had no success to soothe their tortures?

Karma is not luck, it is the transmission of past energies into the present with their results.

Do you hope that a “blue moon” will ever rise in my heavens?...

I trust that a blue moon will rise in everybody’s heaven who has on one side the patience to go through and on the other no fundamental and self-expulsive wickedness in his nature. Even for these others the blue moon will rise one day, though later, – if they have once sought for it.

Even if it does, I would prefer your “blue moon” letters dilating a little the last para regarding mediumship and medical aspects – if you can.

Well, we’ll see.


December 26, 1935

You have seen Valle’s observations about our patient K. My intuitive diagnosis is then correct; only the intuition was distorted by the mind in misjudging the side affected by the lesion.

It was intuition? I thought it was the result of a prosaic examination.

Still I am not sure that her right side is free; but that can be ascertained by X-ray. R had that “vicarious” impression to the last. I actually asked Valle if it was so, he negatived it at once.

Why not pool results and say it was a vicarious monstrosity that produced a lung lesion in the middle-left together with the right apex? Excuse the levity – the temptation of a joke at doctors has always been too much for any lay resistance.

History and symptoms were so obvious.

But what was the history? I asked for it and you have not told me. Mother was informed it had already happened in Gujarat.

It is for such instances, Sir, that my faith in his drug treatment gets shaken.

I don’t know. There are several people besides S and G with whom he seemed to me to have a remarkable success.

If a homeopath went by symptoms only, he would perhaps cut off the leaf but I am afraid the roots would flourish as strongly as ever.

That is what A told G, that homeopathy only gives a transient palliation followed quickly by a worse catastrophe. But after all, if it can raise up a man at the last gasp condemned by a unanimity of the whole allopathic faculty almost with the sentence “No more can be done” and send him walking about for a few more days of cheerful life, it is a rather big palliation. Moreover, in some cases I have watched, I have seen R’s drug produce not only a rapid, even an instantaneous improvement, but in the end what seems up to now a lasting one and this in cases of illnesses of ancient standing. However that does not cover K’s case which looks more like a lung affair (Mother always was apprehensive that she may be a consumptive case) than a vicarious menstruation or monstrous vicariation one. R however says that it is his principle to make a diagnosis and never change it or say anything more about it but just go and prove his case by a cure!! What say you to that, sir? Confidence, if you like! However what bothers me about diagnosis is that if you put 20 doctors on a case, they give 20 different diagnoses (in S’s we had three doctors with three quite different theories of the illness) – and such jokes as a doctor shouting “Appendix”, opening up a man, finding illness neither of appendix nor volume nor chapter and cheerfully stitching him are extremely common. So if a layman’s respect for allopathic pathology and diagnosis is deficient sometimes and R’s sneers at doctors’ diagnoses find occasionally an echo, – well, it is not altogether without “rational” cause.

A had mild diarrhoea; his relatives made a great fuss over him by caressing, fondling and surrounding him all the time!

Killed with kindness?

I hear that R has prescribed butter-milk for K. Valle himself prescribed light food.

I hope you don’t prescribe “absolute repose”. R wants her to move about, do light sedentary work not involving any pull on the body and, generally, so arrange that she may not think herself seriously invalided. This has always been the Mother’s principle in dealing with illness, or she approves that wherever possible.


December 28, 1935

While crushing my rigid mind, do you want to establish the long-neglected and much-maligned merits of homeopathy as beyond all dispute and harangue by allopaths?

Not at all. I don’t care a penny for homeopathy (or allopathy). I only wanted to poke some jokes at your allopathic mind.

My attack is against two things: R’s efficiency and capacity as a doctor; and the rationale of homeopathy on symptomatology alone.

If you question that, you destroy homeopathy altogether.

I asked R about his patient G: “Is there no thickening of the blood vessels, high blood-pressure, no dyspnoea, etc.?” He said, “None at all.” Yet Dr. Prasad Rao found all these and signs of heart-failure.

You went when G had a setback. R had written to me about headache, liver and some other difficulties before you went.

Dr. Rao further said that the patient was still in the danger zone. Any exertion, indiscretion might bring about another attack.

But it seems Valle has different ideas; he does not find G in a dangerous state or on the point of death, as he was before. Admitting P.R.’s infallibility, is Valle then a fool? Why does he give credit to R or keep him there? If R is such an incompetent ass, why does V support him, cover him, keep him there? This is a thing which seems to me a little unintelligible. Doctors differ? Why so much in this case? Valle who does not believe in Divine Force, is I think, the only doctor here who has a practical knowledge of homeopathy – he was struck with the justice of R’s treatment from the first in S’s case; he approves of his treatment in G’s. Would he do so if R were merely a blundering ignoramus?

R gives a high blood-pressure patient on the verge of heart-failure “moderate” licence in eating, drinking, etc. He calls it “leaving to Nature”!

Well, I have followed that system with myself and others and gone on the basis that Nature is very largely what you make of her – or can make of her.

Since his heart, kidney cannot be regenerated, his habits have therefore to be adjusted accordingly. He can’t remain a “bon vivant” any more.

In that case isn’t it better that G should die? What’s the use of life under such conditions?

If R is concerned only with symptoms, why does he ask me to find out the significance of high blood-pressure etc. or ask Valle to build up a diet for G?

Because he found you very competent at it. As for the diet he had to cede something to Valle so that the family might see there was a necessary collaboration.

... People will acclaim that allopathy has failed and homeopathy has succeeded. But my point is that Valle, an allopath, would have been as successful as R if he had the backing of your Force.

The Force needs an instrument and an instrumentation also sometimes. The instrument was R, the instrumentation partly at least his drugs. I don’t believe in the story of the inefficiency of homeopathic drugs only because they are homeopathic. Also, I don’t believe that R knows nothing about them and can’t properly apply them. I have noted almost constantly that they have a surprising effect, sometimes instantaneous, sometimes rapid, and this not in R’s evidence alone, but in the statement of his patients and the visible results. Not being an allopathic doctor, I can’t ignore a fact like that.

I quote to you an instance of the symptomatic riddle. Some symptoms like headache, vomiting etc. may be caused by many diseases such as brain-tumour, syphilis, blood-pressure and others. If you tell me that a homeopathic medicine for headache and other symptoms will be a panacea for all of them then I am afraid it will be difficult for me to accept it.

Tumour, syphilis etc. are specialities, but what I have found in my psycho-physical experience is that most disorders of the body are connected, though they go by families, – but there is also connection between the families. If one can strike at their psychophysical root, one can cure even without knowing the pathological whole of the matter and working through the symptoms is a possibility. Some medicines invented by demi-mystics have this power. What I am now considering is whether homeopathy has any psycho-physical basis. Was the founder a demi-mystic? I don’t understand otherwise certain peculiarities of the way R’s medicines act.

Now the diagnosis, about which you have joked. Why take a muddle as an instance and ignore other cases? I should say that a mistaken diagnosis of the appendix, for example, is very rare.

Good heavens! It happened in scores and scores of cases when there was the appendicitis mania among doctors in France – and they have other manias also.

Why ignore wonderful things due to thousands of right diagnoses and let sporadic cases of error loom large in your eyes?

Sporadic cases! I have heard of any number of them; they are as plentiful as blackberries in Europe. And as for difference of diagnosis it is almost the rule except when doctors consult together and give concessions to each other. Don’t try to throw allopathic dust in my eyes, sir! I have lived a fairly long time and seen something of the world before my retirement and much more after it.

We know only a few big cases of success of R, but how many of his failures do we know? In the Ashram itself Rajangam is one. I saw R’s most furious letter to you, on Rajangam’s lack of faith.

But I have Rajangam’s letters also. He seems to have had a curious mixture of superstitious hope and strong doubt, especially as R bungled badly at one point. However the body of an allopathic doctor can’t be expected to respond to a homeopathic fellow, can it?

Then I hear he has failed in L’s case also.

If L’s case failed, then L in her letters lied to me. She related a complete cure of all that she had been suffering from for dreary months and years in which she was writing blood-curdling letters to me relating all her symptoms and miseries in voluminous detail. Once feeling well, she declared she did not believe in treatment but in Divine Force only, gave R a kick and sent him away. He was of course furious. For some time I had no letters, then little by little they began again, but as yet they are not so blood-curdling as before. Question: If D.F. alone does it without drugs, why is not L cured now as she was then under R?

I don’t know of the other miraculous cures, nor do I know what rational grounds he has put forward for S’s taking Ashram food.

Rational, from the point of view of his experience only – not from allopathic pathology.

I think an allopath like M would be able to cure many people just as R has done – and also without some of Rs mistakes.

M has an admirable knowledge and masterful movement in his treatments, but Mother finds that he is an overdrugger. He pours drugs on his patients as some painters overload their canvas with colour. He almost killed himself in this way, and we had all the trouble in the world to tone him down. He admitted it frankly, but since professional bias was too strong for him, when he fell ill, he could not help drugging and drugging.

Now about K’s case. R boasts that it is not his principle to make a diagnosis, but to prove a cure and you ask me what I say to that. Well, R proclaimed after hearing the symptoms that it was a case of vicarious menstruation, even after seeing the blood-vomit which is characteristic of T.B. I call it bluff, Sir. Let him stick to his sacred principle and not bluff us with his queer vicarious animal! Dr. Valle who has a big experience to his credit has clearly pronounced it to be T.B. And why vicarious, pray? because she was having some menstrual troubles? But her last period was quite normal. And what about her past history of cough, pain in the chest, blood-vomit?

K’s case may be T.B., though Valle dragged in a “vraisemblablement”117 and X-Ray is required – very probably it is, though I am not quite sure. R swears that ordinary doctors who have not had sufficient gynaecological experience can and do take V.M. for T.B. It does not follow that it is so in this case and his statement may be all bluff... Now if we look beyond pathology to what I may call psycho-pathology (non-allopathic, non-homeopathic), this hysteria is usually accompanied with some disorder of the genital parts; wrong menstruation is itself often due to sexual trouble. T.B. again is always (psychologically) due to a psychic depression – I use psychic in the ordinary, not the Yogic sense; this psychic depression may arise from sex-frustration of one kind or another or from some reaction of the sexual order. So if R is wrong in suspecting V.M., psychologically he may be right – there may be, not vicarious menstruation, but its psychological equivalent. All that may no doubt be Greek (not medical Greek) to you, but I know what I mean – and so long as that is there, the cure of the T.B. by D.F.118 is rather problematical. In X’s case I saw at once that nothing could be done. That is why R got his chance. The allopaths could have cured the T.B., but it would have come back worse than before. However he is so disgusted with the storm of opposition raised against him that he seems inclined to throw up the cases and even (other things aiding) to leave the Ashram. If so, all will be peace in Jerusalem, S will go back with his liver into orthodox hands, G fulfil his allopathic destiny and an interesting phase will be over.

“I don’t care about all that,” he will say. “I will prove by my cure.” If one is dealing with a case of T.B. or of heart-disease, I assert that some knowledge of pathology is necessary so that one can understand how far other organs have been involved. R would be quite ignorant of it and therefore can’t treat the case effectively whereas an allopathic-homeopath would be in a better position...

But the allopaths can? Then how the devil do non-allopathic homeopaths (R is not the only example) succeed at all in their pathological cases? They do, you know, and that needs some explaining.

Actually, apart from anti-allopathic jokes and speculations, I don’t say anything. I am not in the habit of jumping at conclusions when there are many possibles without a complete certitude, but wait till knowledge comes. I do not believe that D.F. has done everything in all these cases and they would have been ameliorated equally well if anybody else had been there. I count R for a remarkable though too resonant instrument. I see there is something in his treatment and medical ideas which is out of the ordinary and cannot be gauged by traditional standards. I am trying to see what it is. Is it that he has an intuition into psycho-physical forces and throws his drugs at them in a successful way, partly intuitional, partly experimental, while his physical renderings of them (attempts at diagnoses) are mere façade or error – except when they happen to be right? It may be, but that sounds too easy and plausible an explanation to be true.


December 29, 1935

About my Bengali poem – I wrote the lines marked and then the Muse failed. NK saw them, picked them up and completed the poem. Naturally he has expressed his own sentiments. They are not mine, neither did I know what they would be when I started. I intend someday to write one myself with those lines as they seem quite good. What’s your opinion?

Your lines are very good. N’s poem is very fine; but his style is too strong to agree with yours. It is as if a trumpet were to take up the notes of a flute.

By the way, J all on a sudden told me, before B, about a correspondence regarding the supramental descent on some anonymous sadhak and your remarks – exaggerated ego etc.; I hope J didn’t mean B and myself because very often we cut many jokes about your Supermind.

Not yourself – He quoted some silly remarks of X about Mother being Jivatman and myself Paramatman and his own atmajnan119 and of Y having the Supermind descending up to his chest etc. I keep back the names. I said if anybody made such a claim it was only exaggerated ego.120

I now close the chapter for ever on R and his treatment, with this last note that I quite agree with you in your psychophysical theory of T.B. etiology... though I don’t understand at all how blood-vomit can be vicarious menstruation and not T.B. in origin...

Well, even experienced doctors can make a mistake!

R has left some reports of blood-urine analysis for you to see. Yesterday he took me again to G and I found he looked much better. His blood-urea has come down to normal. Something! How? Don’t know!

Of course not. The Py doctors say it is magic and contrary to science; others refuse to believe it unless they see the analysis. A little too much noise about the matter.


December 30, 1935

You are silent on B.P.’s New Year pranam! In a fix?

Forgot all about it. He can come.

I have made quite a vigorous programme to start from the New Year: English metre with Arjava – he is willing to teach, and French with Sarala, provided Mother finds no objection. So?

No objection at all. Enthusiastic approval!

May I ask you for that promised poem as a New Year present?

You may ask; but who has time for it? Not yours truly.

My friend J whose photo I sent you the other day, expresses a desire to come here.

No recollection of it at all! But the Mother remembers and she has given me a glimmering and gleaming reflection of a recollection. Yes it was the photograph in which you qualified for Abyssinia. Right.121

Is permission for Darshan possible though he hasn’t asked for it, because I suppose he doesn’t know about it?

It’s the only thing possible for a beginning.

P is complaining of shooting headache due to her eyes etc. Can’t you do something to make the shoots and her also quiet? She says, “What can poor Nirod do? He is trying all he can.” Poor Nirod, what!


1 ahār: food: nidrā: sleep: mithun: sex.


2 Written in Bengali: all those who have come here, will realise.


3 Jagannath, Lord of the world, one of the forms of Vishnu. In Puri, the sacred city, his huge chariot is pulled each year by people who have assembled in large numbers on the special festival day. Some devotees get themselves killed under the wheels with the belief that they will get immediate liberation.


4 According to the Mahabharata, Yudhishthira, the eldest of the four brothers of Arjuna, was the only person to reach Heaven alive in his mortal body. He was accompanied by a dog which he had found on the way. It is said that the gate-keeper of Heaven would not allow the dog to enter, but King Yudhisthira himself refused to enter without his dog, since being a king, it was his duty to protect all those who had asked for his protection. Thus the dog entered Heaven. Then the dog resumed his true form. He was none other then Dharmaraj, Lord of the Law.


5 The four brothers of Yudhishthira were called the “Pandavas” that is, the sons of Pandu.


6 Outburst of emotion.


7 Different types of demons, hostile beings of the vital world.


8 A well-known Scottish writer of the mid-19th century who laid great stress on the importance of difficulties and self-effort in building character and in achievements of every kind.


9 In the poem Sri Aurobindo referred humorously to the letters of disciples who often repeated the same points again and again.


10 Son of Vyasa (the author of Mahabharata), was famous for his purity. Even the Apsaras (dancers of Heaven), when they were bathing, did not feel the need to cover themselves before him, but they quickly covered themselves when Vyasa passed by, for Vyasa was aware of being in the presence of women.


11 Woman and gold.


12 Narakasya dvāram: the gate of Hell.


13 A sweet dish prepared from milk and rice.


14 Written in Bengali. The sense of the word here is regret and affection.


15 The Dispensary is situated across the street from Sri Aurobindo’s window.


16 Building Service.


17 Concentration of will in dedication.


18 Written in Bengali. Narakasya dvāraṃ: The gate of Hell.


19 The creative Force.


20 Manu was the original law-giver. He is also called “the father of man”. Chanakya, a contemporary of Alexander the Great, codified the political laws of kings.


21 Tathāstu: so be it.


22 A role or a title imposed on a person.


23 The other world.


24 Hebrew term for father.


25 Founder of the Bahai.


26 In Bengali: faulty rhythm and language.


27 Translation: If the sadhaks had not in their hearts a craving for correspondence, I would live with a smiling face, merged in supramental bliss. Alas, alas, where is such a hope?


28 An early disciple who used to write comic poems.


29 śūnyam: the void.


30 See in an earlier question: “K then seems to be right when he says that if one has not got a particular possibility in him the Divine cannot make him develop in that direction”.


31 During the time of Darshan, Sri Aurobindo suspended all correspondence.


32 An Indian philosopher.


33 Divine part.


34 A powerful king, ally of the Kauravas.


35 Duryodhan was the king of Kauravas who fought against the Pandavas in the great battle of Kurukshetra.


36 Cf. the last letter: Sudden opening in the understanding of painting, liberation of the mind in three days, transformation of Nature.


37 Urdu term meaning “Glory to God”.


38 Oil used for insanity, composed of thirteen herbs and barks. Madhyam literally means “middle”.


39 “The man who never smiles”, said Henry W. Nevinson, English writer and journalist who met Sri Aurobindo in 1907 during his full revolutionary activities.


40 “He makes the dumb talk” (Tulsi Ramayana. 1st part).


41 sâdrishyamukti; mama sâdharmyam āgatāh: Identity of the soul’s liberated nature with the divine nature; they have attained to one law of being with Me (the Divine). (Bhagavat Gita 14.2)


42 In Latin: Easy the descent to Hell.


43 In the manner of another disciple, Dilip, well-known for his changing moods.


44 A light-hearted young man in Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit whose ambition was “to come out jolly” in the most unfavourable circumstances.


45 A modern Hathayogi.


46 Yogic measures.


47 In French, “We progressed”.


48 The devil.


49 A typed letter of five pages taking up the subject of Avatarhood; it begins on the following page.


50 Centenary Edition, Vol. 13, p. 149.


51 Ibid., pp. 149-50.


52 Ibid., pp. 155-56.


53 Ibid., p. 157.


54 Note that here Sri Aurobindo wrote X and Y in the Ms; they are not editorial substitutions.


55 Here also Sri Aurobindo wrote X and Y in the MS.


56 As noted above, Sri Aurobindo’s long reply to my type-script, was never sent.


57 Support.


58 It is mock-Greek, a play on the word “meibomian”, which is a legitimate medical term and is not Greek. Myo in Greek means “shut”, “mute” or “mystic”; “boē” means “cry” or “shout”.


59 Liberation, release.


60 “De l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace!”: Boldness, and again boldness, and always boldness!


61 Death by an act of will.


62 A small book written by Sri Aurobindo in an automatic manner in 1911. He did not want it to be included among his works.


63 The text of this paragraph is reproduced from the 1st Edition (1969) of Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo. The original version of the paragraph is given below. The changes were probably made by Sri Aurobindo, but no written record of his revision remains.

There is a difference between Yogic Force and Supramental Nature. What is acquired and held by Force in the one, becomes inherent in the supramental and exists by nature – it becomes self-existent and absolute.


64 Would-be supramental


65 Preparation of rice and pulse.


66 bali: sacrifice.


67 Perhaps Sri Aurobindo refers to the way somebody used to mispronounce the word “joke”.


68 bālonmādapisācajaḍavat.


69 jitakrodhah jitendriyah: One who has conquered anger and attained control over the senses.


70 paranindā: criticism of others.


71 A child of 10 years.


72 mokṣa, jñāna: liberation, knowledge.


73 śuṣka jñāna: dry Knowledge.


74 An allusion to Dogberry’s malapropism in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, III.5: “Comparisons are odorous...”


75 śuddhā bhakti: pure bhakti (devotion)


76 Note that Sri Aurobindo wrote X and Y in the MS. Here they are not the usual editorial substitutions.


77 tāi bale ki prema diba nā. The well-known words of Chaitanya: “Shouldn’t I love them for that reason?”


78 bālavat: childlike.


79 Three words undecipherable.


80 ekākār: a jumble.


81 Reference to an unpublished letter.


82 R.K. had trachoma, a contagious disease of the eye.


83 Speech: also sound or vibration as a creative power.


84 anantaprasarā: infinitely fertile.


85 sarvathā vartamāno’pi: in all conditions or states of the being.


86 Emotional exuberance.


87 This question was put by a sadhak who left the Ashram long ago.


88 Doubtful reading.


89 nindāstuti: praise and blame.


90 mānapamān: honour and dishonour.


91 Ignorance and Inconscience.


92 Sri Aurobindo put the square brackets.


93 Did Sri Aurobindo mean to write A1 intending “first-rate”?


94 Sri Aurobindo put the square


95 “I think, therefore I am.”


96 anīśa not-master.


97 One word illegible.


98 Note that Sri Aurobindo wrote X in the MS. It is not the usual editorial substitution.


99 Note that Sri Aurobindo wrote X, Y, Z in the MS. They are not here the usual editorial substitutions.


100 An abridged version of a portraiture originally in Bengali.


101 Here again Sri Aurobindo wrote X, Y, Z in the MS. They are not editorial substitutions.


102 Fixed impressions, habitual reactions formed by one’s past.


103 śaraṇam: refuge.


104 Advice and instruction.


105 Lips.


106 Divinisation of the individual = emergence of new race or creation of supramental race.


107 The brackets were put by Sri Aurobindo.


108 Perhaps Sri Aurobindo read “crops” as “sits” (the word in the question was not written clearly).


109 In 1908, in the Alipore Jail, Sri Aurobindo had the vision of Krishna in everything, which he described later in his famous “Uttarpara Speech” (30th May 1909)


110 The monthly review in which, from 1914-1920, Sri Aurobindo wrote some five thousand pages of his work.


111 The Bande Mataram (in English) from 1906-1909 in Calcutta.


112 āmi ta tāra kona upakāra karini, I never did him a good turn.


113 A play on three Bengali words whose senses here are: prasannā = pleased, soothed; aprasannā = displeased; abasannā = dejected, but literally (one who has) sunk or sat down, whence dharnā, sitting obstinately before the door of a person you hold a grievance against.


114 Waste-paper basket.


115 A small land-holder.


116 kapāl: Fate.


117 Probably.


118 Divine Force.


119 Knowledge of the Self.


120 Note that Sri Aurobindo wrote X and Y in the MS. They are not here the usual editorial substitutions.


121 November 6, 1935.