“If we are to attempt an integral Yoga, it will be as well to start with an idea of the Divine that is itself integral. There should be an aspiration in the heart wide enough for a realisation without any narrow limits. Not only should we avoid a sectarian religious outlook, but also all one-sided philosophical conceptions which try to shut up the Ineffable in a restricting mental formula.”
The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL, Vol. 20, p. 76
Sweet Mother, what does Sri Aurobindo mean by an integral idea of the Divine?
Everyone forms an idea of the Divine for himself according to his personal taste, his possibilities of understanding, his mental preferences, and even his desires. People form the idea of the Divine they want, the Divine they wish to meet, and so naturally they limit their realisation considerably.
But if we can come to understand that the Divine is all that we can conceive of, and infinitely more, we begin to progress towards integrality. Integrality is an extremely difficult thing for the human consciousness, which begins to be conscious only by limiting itself. But still, with a little effort, for those who know how to play with mental activities, it is possible to widen oneself sufficiently to approach something integral.
You form an idea of the Divine which suits your own nature and your own conception, don’t you? So if you want to get out of yourself a little and attempt to do a truly integral yoga, you must try to understand that the Divine is not only what you think or feel Him to be, but also what others think and feel Him to be—and in addition something that nobody can think and feel.2
So, if you understand this, you have taken the first step on the path of integrality.
Instinctively, and without even being aware of it, people persist in wanting the Divine to suit their own conceptions. For, without thinking, quite spontaneously, they tell you, “Oh, this is divine, this is not divine!” What do they know about it? And then there are those who have not yet set foot on the path, who come here and see things or people, and tell you, “This Ashram has nothing to do with the Divine, it is not at all divine.” But if you ask them, “What is divine?”, they would be hard put to it to answer; they know nothing about it. And the less one knows, the more one judges; that’s an absolute fact. The more one knows, the less can one pronounce judgments on things.
And there comes a time when all one can do is observe, but to judge is impossible. One can see things, see them as they are, in their relations and in their place, with an awareness of the difference between the place they now are in and the one they ought to occupy—for this is the great disorder in the world—but one does not judge. One simply observes.
And there is a moment when one would be unable to say, “This is divine and that is not divine”, for a time comes when one sees the whole universe in so total and comprehensive a way that, to tell the truth, it is impossible to take away anything from it without disturbing everything.
And one or two steps further yet, and one knows with certainty that what shocks us as a contradiction of the Divine is quite simply something not in its proper place. Each thing must be exactly in its place and, besides, it must be supple enough, plastic enough, to admit into a harmonious progressive organisation all the new elements which are constantly added to the manifested universe. The universe is in a perpetual movement of inner reorganisation, and at the same time it is growing larger, so to say, becoming more and more complex, more and more complete, more and more integral—and this, indefinitely. And as gradually new elements manifest, the whole organisation has 3to be remade on a new basis, so that there is not a second when everything is not in perpetual movement. But if the movement is in accordance with the divine order, it is harmonious, so perfectly harmonious that it is hardly perceptible, it is difficult to see it.
Now, if one comes down again from this consciousness to a more external consciousness, naturally one begins to feel, very precisely, the things which help one to reach the true consciousness and those which bar the way or pull one back or even struggle against the progress. And so the outlook changes and one has to say, “This is divine, or this helps me toward the Divine; and that is against the Divine, it is the enemy of the Divine.”
But this is a pragmatic point of view, for action, for the movement in material life—because one has not yet reached the consciousness which goes beyond all that; because one has not attained that inner perfection, having which one has no longer to struggle, for one has gone beyond the zone of struggle or the time of struggle or the utility of struggle. But before that, before attaining that state in one’s consciousness and action, necessarily there is struggle, and if there is struggle there is choice and for the choice discernment is necessary.
And the surest means to discernment is a conscious and willing surrender, as complete as possible, to the divine Will and Guidance. Then there is no risk of making a mistake and of taking false lights for true ones.
Sweet Mother, Sri Aurobindo says here: “His is the Love and the Bliss of the infinite divine Lover who is drawing all things by their own path towards his happy oneness.”
The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 77
All things are attracted by the Divine. Are the hostile forces also attracted by the Divine?
That depends upon how you look at it, you cannot say that. For 4there is a potential attraction, but so veiled and so secret that you can’t even tell that it exists.
In Matter which has an appearance of inertia—it is only an appearance, but still—the attraction for the Divine is a possibility rather than a fact; that is, it is something which will develop, but which does not yet exist perceptibly.
It may be said that all consciousness, whether it knows it or not—even if it doesn’t know it—gravitates towards the Divine. But consciousness must already be there in order to be able to affirm this.
And even among men, who at the moment are the most conscious beings on earth, there is an immense majority who are potentially drawn towards the Divine, but who know nothing about it; and there are even some who deliberately refuse this attraction. Perhaps, in their refusal, behind it, something is preparing but neither willingly nor knowingly.
[Speaking to the child] And so, what was the last part of your question?… First you assume something which is not correct, and on top of that you ask a question which naturally doesn’t make sense, for the assumption is incorrect.
I wanted to say…
Yes, yes, I know quite well what you want to say.
In fact, finally, everything will be attracted by the Divine. Only, there are direct roads and there are labyrinthine paths where one seems to be going further away for a very long time before drawing close. And there are beings who have chosen the labyrinthine paths and who intend to remain there as long as they can. So, apparently, they are beings who fight against the Divine.
Although those who are of a higher order know quite well that this is an absolutely vain and useless struggle, without issue, they still take pleasure in it. Even if this must lead them to their destruction, they have decided to do it.5
There are human beings also who indulge in vice—one vice or another, like drinking or drug-injections—and who know very well that this is leading them to destruction and death. But they choose to do it, knowingly.
There is always a moment when everyone has self-control. And if one had not said “Yes” once, if one had not taken the decision, one would not have done it.
There is not one human being who has not the energy and capacity to resist something imposed upon him—if he is left free to do so. People tell you, “I can’t do otherwise”—it is because in the depths of their heart they do not want to do otherwise; they have accepted to be the slaves of their vice. There is a moment when one accepts.
And I would go even further; I say, there is a moment when one accepts to be ill. If one did not accept to be ill, one would not be ill. Only, people are so unconscious of themselves and their inner movements that they are not even aware of what they do.
But it all depends on the way one looks at things. From a certain point of view there is nothing that is totally useless in the world. Only, things which were tolerable and admissible at a certain time are no longer so at another. And when they become no longer admissible, one begins to say they are bad, because then a will awakes to get rid of them. But in the history of the universe—one can even say in the history of the earth, to limit the problem to our little planet—I think everything that exists had its necessity and importance at a given moment. And it is as one advances that these things are rejected or replaced by others which belong to the future instead of the past. So, of things which have no further purpose one says, “They are bad”, because one tries to find within oneself a lever to push them out, to break with the habit. But perhaps at one time they were not bad, and other things were.6
There are ways of being, ways of feeling, ways of doing, which you tolerate in yourself for quite a long time, and which don’t trouble you, don’t seem to you at all useless or bad or to be got rid of. And then all of a sudden one day, you don’t know why or what has happened, but the outlook changes, you look at things and say, “But what is this? This is in me! Am I carrying this in myself? But it is intolerable, I don’t want it any longer.” And suddenly it seems bad to you because it is time to reject these things, for they do not harmonise with the attitude you have taken or the progress you have made in your march forward in the world. These things should be elsewhere, they are no longer in their place, therefore you find them bad. But perhaps the same things which seem bad to you would be excellent for other people who are at a lower level.
There is always someone more dull, more unconscious, more ignorant or worse than oneself. So the state which is intolerable for you, which you can no longer keep, which must disappear, would perhaps be very luminous for those who are on the lower rungs. By what right are you going to say, “This is bad”? All you can say is, “I don’t want it any longer. I don’t want it, it’s not in keeping with my present way of being, I want to go where these things have no place any more; they are no longer in their place, let them go and find their place elsewhere!” But one cannot judge. It is impossible to say, “This is bad.” At the most one can say, “This is bad for me, it is no longer in its place with me, it must go.” That’s all. And one drops it on the way.
And this makes the progress much, much easier, to think and feel like that instead of sitting down in despair and lamenting about things and what you are like, and the misery you endure and the defects you have and the impossibilities which beset you and all that. You say, “No, no, those things are no longer in their place here, let them go elsewhere, where they will be in their place and welcome. As for me, I am going forward, I am going to climb a step, I shall go towards a purer and better 7and more complete light; and so all these things which like the darkness must go away.” But that’s all.
Each time one sees in oneself something which seems really nasty, well, that proves that one has made progress. So, instead of lamenting and falling into despair, one should be happy; one says, “Ah! that’s good. I am getting on.”
Mother, what does “a powerful Yoga” mean?
A powerful yoga? You don’t know what “powerful” means?
But here Sri Aurobindo says, “This intellectual preparation can indeed be the first stage in a powerful Yoga, but it is not indispensable.”
The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 75
Yes. A powerful yoga is a very complete yoga, which contains many things, takes in many elements. So this element of intellectual knowledge makes the yoga more powerful.
Not quite. An integral yoga is one which comprises all the parts of the being and all the activities of the being. But the activities of one being are not as powerful as the activities of another; and the integrality of one being is not as total as the integrality of another. You don’t understand?
If all your being, as it is, participates in the yoga, it becomes for you an integral yoga. But your participation may be very poor and mediocre compared with that of someone else, and the number of elements of consciousness which you contain may be very small compared with the elements of consciousness contained in another person. And yet your yoga is integral for you, that is, it is done in all the parts and all the activities of your being.8
You know, I had a cat which was doing yoga. Well, the yoga of the cat could not be as powerful as the yoga of man, and yet it was as integral, it was quite complete; even its body took part in its yoga. But its way of doing it, naturally, was not human.
Mother, what does “the moving idea-force” mean?
It is an idea which gives you will, enthusiasm and a power of realisation. A “moving” thing is that which tends towards realisation and gives you the impetus towards realisation.
Here Sri Aurobindo writes, “But still the greater and wider the moving idea-force behind the consecration, the better for the seeker.”
The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 76
Have you never felt the difference between a small idea and a great idea, a narrow idea and a wide one?
But, earlier, Sri Aurobindo has said that if this is accompanied by a self-giving, that is enough. Later he says that if it is wide, it is better.
Listen, I am going to give you quite a concrete and material example. You make an offering of your purse; it contains three rupees. Your neighbour offers his purse which contains fifty. Well, the gift of fifty rupees is larger than the gift of three. That’s all.
But, from the moral point of view, if you have given all that you have, you have done the utmost you could have done, nothing more can be asked of you; you understand, from the moral point of view, from the pure spiritual point of view, not from the point of view of realisation. From the purely spiritual point of view the gift of your three rupees has exactly the same value as the gift of fifty. And even he who gave fifty rupees, if he 9has kept back one, his gift is less integral and pure than yours of only three. So, it is not on that plane that the thing must be seen. But from the point of view of the material realisation it is undeniable that fifty is more than three, for all those who know mathematics!
Mother, the message you have given this year, will you explain it a little?fnThe New Year Message of 1956: “The greatest victories are the least noisy. The manifestation of a new world is not proclaimed by beat of drum.”
The message I have given this year, what’s your objection to it?
Does it imply that there will be great victories this year?
This means perhaps something very simple: that it is better to let things happen without speaking about them. If you ask me, I think this is what it means: that it is much better to say nothing about what will happen before it happens. Otherwise it becomes what I call “beat of drum”, what could be called publicity.
It is like those who ask, “What will it be like?” We shall see! Wait, at least we should get a surprise!… And I reply, “I know nothing about it.” For I put myself immediately in the consciousness of the world as it is, to which is announced that extraordinary things are going to happen, and which is quite incapable of imagining them—for as I told you once, if one begins to imagine them, it means they are already there. Before you can imagine something, it has to exist, otherwise you cannot imagine it.
Yes, in our higher being we can have a very clear, very exact, very luminous perception of what it is. But if one comes down into the material consciousness, one has to say, “Well, I know 10nothing about it.” When it is there, I shall tell you what it’s like—and probably I won’t even need to tell you, you will be able to see it. I hope you will be among those who are able to see it. For, there again, there are some who won’t be able.
And so, what’s the good of it? What’s the use of going round telling people, “It is there, you know, it is like this”? They will reply, as in that play which was staged here: “But I can see nothing!” Do you remember, it was in Le Sage? Don’t you remember that in Le Sage the messenger says that the Divine is there listening to you, that He is present? And then someone replies, “But I don’t see Him!” It is like that.
It is like those people who come to visit the Ashram and say, “But there is no spirituality here!”… How could they see it? With what organs?
But still I do hope that when something manifests, you will be able to see it.
Naturally, if all of a sudden there were luminous apparitions or if the outer physical forms changed completely, well then, I think even a dog or a cat or anything whatsoever would notice it. But that will take time, it can’t happen right now. It can’t happen right now, it is farther off, for a much later time. Many great things will take place before that, and they will be much more important than that, mark my words.
For, indeed, that is only the flower which blossoms. But before it blossoms, the principle of its existence must be there in the root of the plant.
If there is some manifestation, will it be purely spiritual, that is, will only those who do yoga be able to perceive it, or will there be any consequences in the world of facts?
My child, why do you put this in the future?
There have already been, for years, extraordinary, fantastic consequences in the world. But to see this, one must have a little knowledge; otherwise one takes them for quite normal 11and ordinary things—because one doesn’t even know how they happen.
So perhaps this will be exactly the same thing; there are likely to be tremendous changes, fantastic actions, and, well, people will say, “But this—naturally, it is like that”, because they don’t know how it comes about.
An action in the world?—It is constant. It is something which spreads and acts everywhere, gives out everywhere new impulsions, new orientations, new ideas, new acts of will—everywhere. But still, as one does not see how it happens, one thinks it “quite natural”, as they say.
It is quite natural, but with another naturalness than that of ordinary physical Nature.
Indeed, it is quite logical to say that one must be conscious of the Spirit to be able to perceive the work of the Spirit. If you are not conscious of the Spirit, how will you be able to see it at work? Because the result of what the Spirit does is necessarily material in the material world; and as it is material, you find it quite natural. What do you know of what Nature does, and what do you know of what the Spirit does? All that Nature does—I am speaking of physical Nature—we know very little about it, almost nothing, since we have to constantly learn things which upset all that we thought we knew before. And so, how to distinguish between what is purely the work of Nature and the work of the Spirit through Nature? One should know how to distinguish the one from the other. And how to distinguish them when one’s consciousness is not quite limpid and sure of what the Spirit is? How to recognise It, and how to see Its Work? This seems to me very simple logic.
The world will go on. Things will happen. And perhaps there will be a handful of men who will know how they were done. That’s all.
And if today one were suddenly precipitated, without any transition, into the world as it was, let us say, two or three thousand years ago; oh! even less than that perhaps—one or 12two thousand years ago—it would be such a suffocating contrast that probably very few people would be able to bear it. But as this came about “like that”, with the amiable slowness of Nature, with all her fantasies, one finds it quite natural and doesn’t even notice it.
It is not an image, it is not just fine words when it is said that if one enters the true consciousness, if one changes one’s consciousness, well, the world itself changes for you. And it is not only an appearance or an impression: one sees differently than one does in the ordinary consciousness; relations are different, causes are different, effects are different. And instead of seeing only something which is not transparent—one cannot see what’s behind, it is a surface, a crust; it is only this one sees and one can’t even see what moves it, what makes it exist—everything is turned inside out, and it is that which appears artificial and unreal, and almost inexistent. And so, when one sees things in this way, normally, you know, without straining oneself, without having to practise meditation and concentration and make strenuous efforts to see things like this, when it is one’s normal, natural vision, then one understands things in a completely different way—naturally, the world is different!
There is a short preliminary passage which is indispensable, and those who have made this little preliminary journey, well, there are all sorts of things, all sorts of speculations and questions which they can no longer ask themselves.
But truly, to come back to our point, what I wanted to say very simply is that one day, at the time I was asked for a message—I give it because I am asked—they ask and tell me, “Oh! we want to print it, couldn’t you send it to us?” Then, what do I do? I look at the year that is coming—to be able to speak about it, I must look at it—I look at the coming year, and then, looking at it, I see at the same time all the imaginations of people, all their speculations and all their inventions about what is going to happen in this so-called wonderful year. I look at that, and at the same time I look at what it is—what it already is beforehand, it 13is already like that somewhere—and immediately I know very clearly that the best thing to do is not to say what it will be like. And as people expect a lot of flourish and proclamations, I said what I said, that’s all. Nothing more. That is all I meant to say: “Let us not speak about it, if you please, that is better, that is preferable.” I haven’t said anything but this: “It is better not to speak about it, don’t make a lot of noise about it, because that doesn’t help. Let things happen in accordance with a deeper law, without being bewildered like one who does not understand anything and just looks on.”
And above all, above all, don’t come and say, “You know, it will be like this.” Because that is what makes the thing most difficult, I don’t say that what has to be will not be, but perhaps there will be many more difficulties if one speaks about it. So it is better to let things happen.
And, after all, if one wants to be very reasonable—very reasonable—one has only to ask oneself, “Well, in ten thousand years, this realisation we are preparing, what will it be? An imperceptible point in the march of time, a preparation, an attempt towards future realisations.” Oh! it is better not to get so excited. Let us do all that we can and keep quiet. That’s all.
Now, there are people who need a little whipping, as one whips cream. But they should go to the poets, not come to me. I am not a poet, I am content to act. I would rather act than speak.