Back to top

11 April 1956

11 4 1956

“On one side, he [the seeker] is aware of an infinite and self-existent Godhead in being who contains all things in an ineffable potentiality of existence, a Self of all selves, a Soul of all souls, a spiritual Substance of all substances, an impersonal inexpressible Existence, but at the same time an illimitable Person who is here self-represented in numberless personality, a Master of Knowledge, a Master of Forces, a Lord of love and bliss and beauty, a single Origin of the worlds, a self-manifester and self-creator, a Cosmic Spirit, a universal Mind, a universal Life, the conscious and living Reality supporting the appearance which we sense as unconscious inanimate Matter.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL, Vol. 20, p. 115

Sweet Mother, what does a “self-creator” mean?

Self-creator? It means, that He creates Himself.

Create is taken in the sense of manifesting, of making objective, apparent. So it is His own self that He manifests. It is Himself He manifests, makes evident, objectivises.

In fact, the word “create” is usually taken in another sense: it means to make something out of something else. That is why Sri Aurobindo says “self-creator”, which means that He gives an external form of Himself to Himself. It is a change in the mode of being: instead of being an unmanifested possibility it becomes a manifested reality. It is simply reversed, nothing else. It is the same thing: from this side it is not seen; from that side it is seen—that’s all. You turn it round again and it is seen. You turn it like that and don’t see it, you turn it like this and see it. That’s all. As simple as that.


“On the other side, he becomes aware of the same Godhead in effectuating consciousness and power put forth as a self-aware Force that contains and carries all within her and is charged to manifest it in universal Time and Space.”

Ibid., p. 115

Yes, that’s it, that’s exactly what I was saying: from one side it is as if it did not exist, and then it is “put forth”, you see, He does that [gesture], He puts it forth and it becomes visible and existent, and then, instead of being one thing existing all at once, it develops, it is manifested in Time and Space. This is what Sri Aurobindo says, this is where the idea of Time and Space begins, for it is no longer simultaneous.

Sri Aurobindo has first spoken of the duality Brahman-Maya [eternal Existence and the existence of the world], and now he speaks of the duality Ishwara-Shakti [the Divine in his Being and the Divine in his Force of cosmic realisation]. This duality Ishwara-Shakti, it isn’t very clear, is it?

The other one is simpler, isn’t it? For it is cut into two, distinct: one is Reality and the other illusion; one is Light and the other darkness; one is Consciousness, the other inconscience; one is Truth, the other falsehood. That is very convenient.

Here, it is much more difficult: it is the same thing which exists in itself, unmanifest, and then, suddenly, it does this [gesture of projection]. And it is exactly the same thing, but it is a movement which puts forth what was within. And that’s what makes the world. It is the same thing in a double movement: as when you sleep and when you wake up, or when you remain still and when you begin to move, or when you are silent and then begin to make a noise, it is like that. One movement is within, containing everything in itself, without any 109expression of what is there; and the other movement is just this [same gesture of projection], and all that is within oneself comes out.

And then, for this to become perceptible, it must be continuous. When it is within, it can be simultaneous, for it is unmanifest, so all is in an eternity outside Time and Space—immobile, inexistent. In the opposite direction, everything becomes and so there is a continuity of perceptions which follow one after another and spread out in Space and Time.

And it is the same thing.

It is exactly as if you are like this [gesture of being doubled up], and then you do this [gesture of opening]—and so what was there comes out. So these two movements are literally opposite, but it is the same thing in two opposite attitudes which are simultaneous: it remains like this [inward gesture], and at the same time it is like this [outward gesture]; the one does not cancel out the other and they exist simultaneously. But in one direction it is imperceptible because it is contained within itself, in the other movement it is thrown outside, and so it can be seen. And when it is self-contained, it is co-existent in a perfect simultaneity; and in the other movement, it unfolds itself in a constant becoming. And when it unfolds itself, it necessarily creates Time and Space, while there it is outside Space, outside Time and beyond all possible perception. But it is the same thing in two opposite movements.

And that is what truly is.

It is like that. And when it does this [outward gesture], it does not cease to be like that [inward gesture]; that is to say, when it is self-contained, it does not cease to manifest itself and when it manifests, it does not cease to be self-contained. To put it otherwise, it is a permanent and simultaneous duality, but it is the same thing, one single thing in two opposite aspects.

Has all this gone in a little? No?

Nothing? You have nothing more to ask?


Sweet Mother, may I ask you a question I have already asked before? For I haven’t understood you properly.

Ah! let us see if I can make myself clearer.

I haven’t yet understood the meaning of “Personal” and “Impersonal”: “The two great elements of the divine Mystery, the Personal and Impersonal, are here fused together.”

The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 116


You, you are personal, aren’t you? You feel you are a person. And then there’s the air, you don’t feel the air is a person—so the air is impersonal.

This is not altogether correct, it is an analogy: the air, wind, water, do have a personality, but this is only to make you understand. To the air you cannot give a precise and definite form, it is everywhere: in your body, outside your body, here, there; but it has no precise form. It has an exact, precise composition, but of course we are not talking about chemistry, we are speaking only of the appearance. You don’t get the feeling of a person when you think of the air.

I wouldn’t say as much of water, because water has very specific characteristics. The water of one river is not the same as that of another; and this is perceptible, so it also has something of a personal character.

But air or steam gives you the impression of something which is not a person; well, that’s it. When a force or a quality manifests in a definite body like yours or someone else’s, it becomes personal. But when it is everywhere at the same time and without particular characteristics, expressed in an indefinite way, it is called “impersonal”.

So, the personal God is the God to whom a form is given. For example, the inner God of each one is a personal God, for 111He has a personal relation with each one, He is the God who belongs to this person, who is his very own.

But something which has neither form nor characteristics nor any definite outline of any kind, and with which one cannot have a personal relation—that is the impersonal Divine.

And so Sri Aurobindo says that there is a state in which the two are one. Still it is the same thing: it is like the right and wrong side of the same material. If you approach the Divine in a certain way, you meet Him in His impersonal form, that is to say, you cannot have any personal contact with Him. But if you approach Him in the other way, you meet Him as a person—who is quite out of proportion to your little person, but with whom you can have personal relations. And yet it is the same Divine, seen in this way or that.