Sweet Mother, do we have a right to ask questions if we don’t practise what you say?
You always have the right to do anything! [Laughter] You may ask all the questions you like. Practise? Fundamentally, it is up to each one to choose, isn’t it?—whether he wants to practise or not, whether he considers it useful or not. That is something which cannot be imposed; it must be done freely. But one may always ask questions.
Well, I am going to ask a question: “Why don’t people practise?” Do you know why they don’t practise? [Mother asks others in turn.] And you? And you?… Bah! Do you know?
Perhaps because one is lazy!
That is one of the main reasons. And so one conceals one’s laziness behind fine reasons, the first of which says, “I can’t, I don’t know” or else, “I have tried and not succeeded” or “I don’t know where to begin!” Any reason whatever, isn’t that true? The first that comes to you. Or else, one doesn’t practise because one doesn’t find it worthwhile to make the effort—that is part of the laziness also, it asks for too much effort! But one can’t live without effort! If one were to refuse to make any effort, one would not even be able to stand on one’s legs or walk or even eat.
I believe that one doesn’t practise first of all because this doesn’t have a sufficiently concrete reality to dominate other things in life, because the effort seems out of proportion to the result. But this kind of effort is only a beginning: once one gets into it, it is no longer the same thing.
[Turning to the child] So then, ask your question, even if you don’t practise!296
No, I have no question, Sweet Mother.
Oh, your question was only this! You wanted to say, “Is it honest to ask questions and then not do anything of what you are told?” Is that it?
[A disciple] We still have this atavism of needing to be forced in order to do something. From our childhood we have been forced to do things. Here it is just the opposite.
Forced? Oh, so one doesn’t do anything when not forced to! But something done through compulsion has no value.
Is that all? Don’t you have a question?… I have many but they are either too specific or too general! Or else, precisely, they are only interesting for those who are eager to practise.
What would you like to hear?… [Silence] Nothing, you see, you say nothing. All right, that is very good, I shall say nothing!
[A child] Something to awaken in us a will to progress.