February 6, 1962
These past few days I have been reading Perseus1 – it was performed here, so I knew a little of it but it never much interested me. But reading it the way I read now, I have found it VERY interesting, I have discovered all kinds of things, all kinds.
Yes, I have noticed that in the space of (I don't remember when we performed it,2 you were already here)... between then and now there is at least a good fifty years' difference – a fifty-year change in consciousness.
But in practice, I am always up against the same problem.
Looking at it as a difference in attitude, the question is readily cleared up. But if I want the truth – the true truth behind this difference, it becomes very difficult.
And that is exactly what I have seen in the light of the events described in Perseus. If you don't take the problem generally but specifically, down to the least detail.... But it evaporates as soon as you formulate it. Only when you feel it concretely, when you get a grip on it, can you grasp both things....
The problem is roughly this: nothing exists that is not the result of the divine Will.
Always the same problem. Always the same problem.
Generally speaking, the antidivine is easily understood, but in the minute details of daily life, how do you choose between this and that?... What is the truth behind the thing you choose and the one you don't choose? And you know, my standpoint is totally beyond any question of egoistic, individual will – that isn't the problem here. It's not that.
As soon as you try to say it, it evaporates.
Yet it is something very, very acute.
Of course, the explanation is universal progress, the Becoming: what must be and what ceases to be – that's all very well; it's easy to understand in general terms.
Perhaps the problem is the opposition (if it is an opposition) between two attitudes, both of which should express our relationship with the Supreme. One is the acceptance – not only voluntary but perfectly content – of everything, even the “worst calamities” (what are conventionally called “the worst calamities”). I won't use this story as an example because it's self-explanatory, but if Andromeda were a yogi (with “ifs” you can build castles in the air, but I am trying to explain what I mean), she would accept the idea of death readily, easily. Well, it's precisely this conflict between an attitude quite ready to accept death (I am not talking about what happens in the story itself, but merely giving a case in point to make myself clear) because it is the divine Will, for this reason alone – it's the divine Will, so it's quite all right; since that's how it is, it's quite all right – and at the same time, the love of Life. This love of Life.3 Following the story, you would say: she lived because she had to live – and everything is explained. But that's not what I mean. I am looking at this outside the context of the story.
Because things like that happen in the consciousness of.... It always bothers me to get into big ideas and big words, but to truly explain myself, I should say: the Universal Mother.
Automatically, everything that exists is a natural expression of divine Joy, even the things human consciousness finds most horrifying – this is understandable. But at the same time there is this aspiration, so intense that it's almost anguish, for a perfection of creation to come. And it does seem that this intense aspiration and anguish in the material world is a necessary preparation for this perfection to come. Yet at the same time, whatever exists is perfect at each moment, since it is ENTIRELY the Divine. There is nothing other than the Divine. So there is simultaneously this plenitude of Divine Joy in each second, in whatever exists, and the aspiration, the anguish – and the difficulty lies in joining the two, there you have it.
Practically, you go from one to the other, or one is in front and the other behind, one active and the other passive. With the feeling of perfect joy comes an almost static state (certainly the joy of movement is also there, but all anticipation of the goal stays in the background). Then, when the aspiration of the Becoming is there, the joy of divine perfection at each moment withdraws into a static state.
And this very going back and forth is the problem.
Perhaps that's how it must be, but it's unsatisfying – very unsatisfying.
At my fullest and most intense moments – moments when truly what exists is the universe (by universe I mean the Becoming of the Supreme) with the utmost active awareness of the Supreme – at such moments I am suddenly caught by that [the static, nirvanic aspect]. It's not a matter of choosing between the two, but rather a question of priorities from the standpoint of action on the lowest level. Instinctively (the instinct of this body, this material base), the choice is aspiration, because this being was built for action; but this cannot be taken as an absolute rule, it's almost like a casual preference.
One feels that life Is this aspiration, this anguish, while bliss leads most naturally to the nirvanic side – I don't know....
But then how to help people?... You can recommend neither one nor the other. And if you say both, you are plunged into this same dilemma.
A problem like that reaches a point of such acute tension that you feel you know nothing, understand nothing, you will never understand anything, it's hopeless. When I reach that point, I always tilt in the same direction, it's always: “All right, I adore the Lord, as for the rest, it doesn't matter to me!” I enter into a... marvelous adoration... and let Him do what He wants! That's how it all ends up for me.
But this would only be suitable for those who have stopped thinking.
Is it a problem for action here in matter?
Yes, that's what everything always boils down to.
But does it make a difference for action if you take one attitude or the other?
I don't know. I don't know.
Because a day or two ago (I don't remember exactly, it was rather fleeting but very interesting), I went through such a moment while walking in my room (it lasted while I was out on the balcony, too): suddenly a kind of absolute certainty that I knew nothing (there was no “I” at all)... that one knew nothing (“one,” there was no “one,” there was only...); one couldn't know (I have to use words), one couldn't know, there was nothing to know, it was totally hopeless, it was completely IMPOSSIBLE to understand anything, even, even going beyond the mind, and no formulation was possible, there was no possibility of understanding. It was really so absolute that helping others, making the world progress, spiritual life, seeking the Divine, all of that seemed idle talk, empty words! There was nothing in it, it was nothing, and there was nothing to understand, it was impossible to understand – it was impossible to BE. The feeling of a total incapacity. The experience was like a solvent – everything seemed to dissolve: the world, the earth, people, life, intelligence, all of it, everything was dissolved. An absolutely negative state. And my solution was the same as always: when the experience was total and complete, when nothing was left, then: “Who cares!” (it could really be put in the most ordinary words), “I adore You!” And the “I” was something utterly insubstantial: there was no form, no being, no quality – only “I adore You.” This “I” was “I adore You,” there was just enough “I” to adore You with.
From that moment on there was an inexpressible Sweetness, and within that Sweetness, a Voice... so sweet and harmonious too! There was a sound but no words – yet it held a perfectly clear meaning for me, like very precise words: “You have just had your most creative moment”!
Oh really! Well, that's fine!
After that (laughing), I rang down the curtain!
And it ended in an ineffable smile, like... perhaps the very origin of humor. A sort of annihilation, an annihilation of everything, and then: “You have just had your most creative moment.” So I laughed, that's all – there was nothing else to do!
These things would be interesting to keep.
But what's impossible to express is the nonexistence of a being, an individual being. When I say “I,” there's no knowing what it means. It's not the totality either. Not the totality, not the entire universe, specially not the earth, the poor little earth, which I always see as a tiny thing adrift in the universe. So what is it?...
I can have that experience at any moment whatsoever: one second of concentration, stepping back from action, and it's Bliss. And when I don't step back, then it's something like an eternal omnipotence geared to action and entirely upheld and englobed by... That. This power geared to action is the first manifestation of That – that's what manifests first when That begins to exist consciously. (Mother places her palms together and, without separating them, turns her hands from side to side, as if to show two faces of the same thing.) So it's indissoluble: it's not two things, not even two aspects, because it isn't an aspect at all (words are idiotic, imbecilic, meaningless). The experience is renewable at will: one single thing in its essence, innumerable in its expression, and apparently increasing in power. I have experienced this at will, in every possible circumstance, including physically fainting (I told you the other day). It's called fainting, but I didn't lose consciousness for a minute! Not for one minute did I PHYSICALLY lose consciousness – and behind it all, witnessing everything, was this experience.
(Pavitra enters the room to ask Mother an “urgent” question)
I can't hear, I am somewhere else.
That's how it is: I wasn't here, yet all the same, physically – PHYSICALLY – I saw something passing by. My eyes were closed, weren't they?
Yes, you must have felt something.
Yes, I saw.
It makes very little difference now – my physical eyesight has become rather poor.
Do you understand what I am saying or is it just so much gibberish?
No, no! As far as I can, I'm getting it.
The last part of what you said seems the most....
Ah, to me it's the clearest!
It's so clear! Crystal clear... but inexpressible.
I have to go now.... And we've done nothing!
The words are there, but they don't make sense.
Yes, they do. But when you tried to explain the “I” in the background with two aspects, I didn't quite get it.
Are they the same thing? They're not aspects?
Intellectually speaking, it's the Supreme and....
The Universal Mother.
But I was trying to convey the SENSATION (because it's really a question of sensation – it's not a sentiment, not an idea.... You see, things are concrete for me, they begin to exist when they are concrete). Well, I was trying to express the concrete feeling of the experience and... it is reproduced automatically, immediately. My head is blank, silent, immobile, there's nothing – empty, completely empty, immobile, nothing, not a thought, not... nothing, nothing, simply a kind of supersensation. And along with it, verging on a sensation, a sort of intimate combination (not mixture) of omnipotence and intense joy – it's so full!
Omnipotence and intense joy.
And if there's something like a vibration of words, it would only be “You, You” – that's all.
And why “You,” since there's no difference? But there is just enough difference for You to be, for the joy of “You” – that's the thing. Yet there is no difference.
This seems like the supreme Mystery to me (oh, another time something else would seem like the supreme Mystery!), but this is really....
And the experience is renewable, renewable, renewable – I have only to make a slight inner movement and there it is.
Ultimately, looking at it like any idiot who thinks himself intelligent, one could say: this must be why the Lord created the universe.
For the joy of this You.
If you understand something, congratulations!
Au revoir, mon petit.
1 Perseus the Deliverer, a play in five acts by Sri Aurobindo.
2 The play was performed some eight years earlier, in December 1954.
3 In Sri Aurobindo's play, Andromeda, daughter of the King of Syria, is condemned by her own people to be devoured by Poseidon, the Sea-god, for some impiety she had committed against him. The story is actually about the passage of a half- primitive tribe, living in terror of the old dark and cruel gods, to a more evolved and sunlit stage. Perseus, son of Diana and Zeus, and protected by Pallas Athene, goddess of wisdom and intelligence, comes to deliver Andromeda from the rock she is chained to (the rock symbolizes the Inconscient for the Rishis), and founds the religion of Athene,
Made from His being to lead and discipline
The immortal spirit of man, till it attain
To order and magnificent mastery
Of all his outward world”
(in the words of Sri Aurobindo). It is the force of progress pitted against the old priests of the old religions, symbolized by the cruel and ambitious Polydaon. Here Mother is scrutinizing an old problem – “Always the same problem” – that she must have encountered in many existences (Egypt included) and would encounter again eleven years later: the acceptance of the death she is forced into as the Supreme's Will, and then this “love of Life” she twice mentions here.