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Series Two

Letters to a Sadhak

To the sadhak in charge of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Building Department during the 1930s and early 1940s.

Sin belongs to the world and not to yoga.


By his way of thinking, feeling, acting, each one emanates vibrations which constitute his own atmosphere and quite naturally attract vibrations of similar nature and quality.


So long as you are capable of beating somebody, you open the door to the possibility of being beaten yourself.


You are expecting those who are working with you to be geniuses. It is not quite fair.


I have seen your chit for washing soap. You got the last one on the 22nd of March. This makes only 16 days, while a soap must last 30 days. It is quite evident that your coolie is stealing the soap, and I have no intention of providing him with washing soap. Some device must be found to check him; words are of no use.

(This time I have sanctioned the soap.)



X has started a new notebook; but it seems to me that he had not finished the previous one.

I do not see at all the need of changing the notebook every month. Will you see if indeed the previous book is finished or not, and act accordingly.

In future I will be obliged to ask for the finished notebook before I can sanction a new one. That is to say, each time that a notebook is to be renewed the finished notebook must be sent up to me at the same time as the chit for the new one.

I do not see the need of leaving a blank page at the beginning.


Y is complaining that cement dust falls in the cattle-feed when it is prepared on the verandah.

Perhaps this is what makes the bullocks ill. One of these poor creatures has grown terribly thin. I saw it this morning.

Please see whether some better arrangement can be made.


[About increasing the size of a bathroom]

It seems to me quite sufficiently big. They have no intention of using their bathroom as a ballroom, I suppose.


How is it that you have not spoken to me about the bakery kneading table for two days? If it is not repaired at once, we shall have no bread to eat. The work must be done immediately.


I am not feeling comfortable about the dining room. It is not by merely saying: “nothing will happen” that an accident can be avoided. Your mental formation may be strong, but the contrary formation is at least as strong as yours—and we must never tempt the adverse forces.


I ask you to discard all obstinacy and to be perfectly sincere. Go and see with no preconceived idea.

Go and see honestly, carefully, all round the place; consider that thirty people or so are taking their meals there and if anything happened what a horrible thing it would be—and, with the sense of your full responsibility, come tomorrow morning, with a final and definite answer—I shall trust your word.

P.S. Naturally I am not expecting you to go tonight but tomorrow morning.

14 December 1931


At Cycle House a teakwood bench broke, bringing down a mason who was standing on a plank resting on that bench. The mason was not injured. The incident reminded Z that 1:30 to 3:30 P.M. on Thursdays is Rāhukāl.fnRāhukāl: an inauspicious period each day, according to local superstition.

It is always better not to remember such superstitions. It is the suggestion that acts in these cases—most often a suggestion in the subconscient mind; but it is made stronger by becoming conscious.

9 June 1932


Four bats were found in the north end of the west roofbeam. Two of them got drenched with solignum.fnSolignum: a wood preservative that deters white ants (termites).

What a pity! The bats eat the white ants!

14 June 1932


During the spraying of solignum the mason got a jet of it in his eyes.

Precaution, much precaution should be taken so that such a thing may not happen. Do you realise our responsibility and what it means if something serious happens?

The lack of precaution is a part of the movement of hurry and impatience.


I have noticed that even in cases where Mother knows our needs, She waits to be asked before granting them.

Not exact in all cases and especially not with everybody.


My explanation, based on my own experience, is this: I feel a reserve while asking something from Mother. But in fact, there should be no reserve in our dealings with Mother; all movements should be movements of joy, including the movement of asking. As this is lacking, Mother is training us by making us ask with joy.

It is not quite that. In each case there is, probably, a special reason. What is constant is a difference of appreciation in the urgency of the needs and the importance attached to their fulfilment. I attach also some value to the power of imagination, adaptability, utilisation or invention developed by the necessity of overcoming some material difficulty.


The cause of reserve in asking is that a person is full of desires. If he expresses all his demands—which he believes to be needs—he will be disillusioned. He prefers not to mention them rather than to be disillusioned.

Yes, so long as there are desires, no true intimacy can be established.

15 June 1932


(Regarding the misuse of “gris entretien”, maintenance grey paint) A stool used by the Mother has been painted with “gris entretien”. I had informed the stores not to issue gris entretien except for Sri Aurobindo’s room.

But who is responsible for having given the paint? Was not the fact that the “gris entretien” must be kept for the doors and windows in Sri Aurobindo’s room only, told to those in charge?(!)

Why was my stool at all painted with gris entretien? I did not ask for the grey paint as far as I remember.


In this case the paint slipped out because it was asked for Mother’s stool.

A rule is a rule and I do not see why my stool escaped the rule, unless a chit signed by me could be produced.


“To turn towards Thee, unite with Thee, live in Thee and for Thee, is supreme happiness, unmixed joy, immutable peace.… Why do men flee from these boons as though they fear them?”fnExtract from the Mother’s Prayers and Meditations, 18 June 1913.

I still wonder why and I can find no answer except that stupidity rules the world.

25 June 1932


For the last few days, my mind has dwelt upon the scenes and incidents of days long past. It takes pleasure in comparing how different I am now from what I was then.

It is good sometimes to look backwards for a confirmation of the progress made, but only if it is used as a lever to encourage one in the efforts towards the progress still to be made.

27 June 1932


On the outside cover of a notebook used by X, there was a table of Rāhukāl, giving the inauspicious hours for each day of the month. I have pasted a blank piece of paper over it.

I pray for a gracious word from You to strike at the root of this superstition.

Do you believe it is so easy to strike at the root of a stupidity? Stupidities are always rooted deep down in the subconscient.

1 July 1932


“Every moment all the unforeseen, the unexpected, the unknown is before us.”fnPrayers and Meditations, 11 January 1914. What is the remedy?

Be plastic and vigilant, attentive and alert—receptive.

18 July 1932


By the way, I have seen the painter sand-papering the salon table and was horrified! He was rubbing violently and in any direction with one or the other hand, while he was looking at anything and everything except at what he was doing; poor table, what a treatment!! I prefer not to think of what will come out of so much unconsciousness and carelessness.

20 July 1932



“One single drop of Thy divine love can transform this suffering into an ocean of delight!

Oh! Let all tears be wiped away, all suffering relieved, all anguish dispelled, and let a calm serenity dwell in every heart.

I am sad, have pity on me.

O Thou who relievest all suffering and dispersest all ignorance, O Thou the supreme healer, have pity on me.

Break this resistance which fills me with anguish. Why, why this night?”fnThe sadhak’s prayer is composed of extracts from several prayers of the Mother in Prayers and Meditations,: paragraph one, 29 November 1913; two, 7 January 1914; four, 8 March 1914; five, 7 April 1914 and 18 April 1914.

I could give many explanations; the how and the why can easily he described—but is it really necessary? This is not what heals. Healing comes not from the head but from the heart.

To understand is good, but to will is better.

Self-love is the great obstacle.

Divine love is the great remedy.

20 July 1932


I am weeping without knowing why.

Weep if you like, but do not worry. After the rain the sun shines more bright.


I am rolling in my bed in the hope of getting sleep.

Peace, peace, my child; do not torment yourself.


But what was this darkness? I could not recognise myself during the last four hours. I was stiff, I was burning with heat, all was gloom.

The exact symptoms of an attack from adverse forces.


I was imagining that Mother will throw away this book in disgust, or that Sri Aurobindo will write two pages asking me to quit the Ashram or at least to stop work from tomorrow. Mother will say: this is the effect of indulging himself so much in the morning! He deserves to be kicked out. And so on.

The usual nonsense.

By the way, I don’t find that the Hostile Forces have much imagination; they are always repeating the same old tricks! They ought to be worn out by this time.


O Sweet, Sweet Mother, Thy Peace is in me, Thy Peace is in me, Thy Peace is in me.

Sleep, child, sleep, with sweet Mother in your heart!

Awake, child, awake, with sweet Mother in your heart!

21 July 1932


“O Love, Divine Love, in a fecund silence I bow to Thee”fnPrayers and Meditations,: first phrases, 16 August 1913; last phrase, 17 August 1913.

I open myself to Thee and I would obey Thee with an absolute faithfulness.

28 July 1932



True greatness, true superiority lies in kindness and goodwill.

I trust that X is not truly provoking. I would not like it at all. Each one has his faults and must never forget it when he deals with others.

29 July 1932


It is always better not to show too much what I have written, as I am not dealing with everybody in the same way, and what I can say to one I would not say to another.

Guard against all individual decision (which can be arbitrary).

30 July 1932


“To Thee all the fervour of my adoration.”fnPrayers and Meditations, 29 January 1914.

It is adoration expressing itself in work—all the more precious.

31 July 1932


I thirst for Thy consciousness, O Sweet Mother, I become one with Thee.

This thirst shall be quenched when this (“O Sweet Mother, I become one with Thee”) is psychologically realised.

2 August 1932


This evening when Y informed me that Z was ill, I exclaimed that she must have revolted against Mother. He asked me whether it was my belief that the cause for sickness is always a revolt or wrong attitude. I said Yes. He asked me to give a concrete example. I described an incident in which Mother found defects in my work, 22which led to a subdued revolt in me and consequent illness. He pointed to his fingers and said that he was not conscious that any revolt or wrong attitude was the cause of the pain in his fingers.

The wrong attitude can be in the body consciousness itself (lack of faith or of receptivity) and then it is very difficult to detect as it does not correspond to any wrong thought or feeling, the body consciousness being most often and in almost everybody subconscious.


Is it good to talk about one’s experiences, as in the above conversation?

No general rule can be made for this, each case is different. The important point is the attitude behind the talk. It is only what is said as a pure and sincere offering on the altar of Divine Truth that can have a real value.

6 August 1932


There was lightness, mirth and joy in Your expressions this morning, as if to counteract the graveness I was feeling.

This was to remove all possibility of a feeling of scolding or reproach in what I was saying, because there was nothing of the kind in my intention. I was giving expression to an amused observation about the ways of the world and how it cannot but misunderstand our own ways, we who are too sincerely seeking for the Truth expression to be easily understood by ordinary people. It is this seeking which gives the impression of hesitation, uncertainty, unsuccessful attempts, etc.

10 August 1932


“Grant that we may effectuate Thy Victory”fnPrayers and Meditations, 19 June 1914. if the time has come… but it is for You to answer, O Sweet Mother.

It is by the concentration of our will and the intensity of our aspiration that we can hasten the day of victory.

13 August 1932


Beloved Mother,

As to my belief in the efficacy of prayer, I believe in its efficacy only when it is addressed to the Mother. I mean that Mother in that room who is there in flesh and blood. If you refer your prayer to some unknown or unknowable or invisible god, I do deride it as mere philosophy.

I find your answer quite good. But X is quite free to expect more help from an invisible and silent Mother (who never contradicts you openly) if he likes.

15 August 1932


Why do I do something in dream which I would not do in the waking consciousness?

The movement comes from a subconscient layer which is not allowed to express itself in the daytime.


Is it because there is no mental control in the dream state and hence the vital being is free to act as it likes?

No true and constant control is established in that part as yet.


An experiment: This morning while supervising work, I prayed with concentration that each workman might become conscious that he was working for Mother and feel the joy of it. After concentrating like this for about an hour, I felt fatigued and imperceptibly the concentration frittered away. What is the cause of this feeling of fatigue? What is the difficulty in keeping such a concentration for all the 24 hours?

The physical being is always fatigued when it is asked to keep a lasting concentration.

The concentration can be kept constantly but not by mental decision.

It must be a divine decision.

16 August 1932


Which activity will most fully utilise all the energies?

The one that is done in the most perfect spirit of consecration.

20 August 1932


A reservation: Mother said this morning that it would take one and a half months to finish the bathroom. I said Yes. In fact, I expected it to be finished within a month. Two conflicting thoughts passed rapidly through my mind when I said Yes: (1) When Mother says that it will take one and a half months, naturally that should be correct; there may be some delays I cannot foresee. (2) But why should I not say that according to my estimate, it is 30 days’ work?

It is good, it is indispensable that you should think that the work will take only 30 days; otherwise it would extend over more than two months!

But I want it to be good rather than quick.


I pray to Mother that there may be no unforeseen delays.

I hope so also—but I have seen that the work takes always longer than your estimate and we are pushed on and on week after week. I like better to count largely and not to be disappointed.


Mother, what is the proper attitude? If I hear suggestion (1), I feel I am keeping a reserve. If I hear suggestion (2), I feel I am contradicting Mother. What should I do?

There is no contradiction in stating what you think. I am not expecting you to be a prophet and that your thought should be always right.

25 August 1932



Yesterday I told You, “All have gone.” In fact I saw that the carpenter was going, not gone, and I calculated that by the time I came out and closed the door, he should be gone. So I replied, “Yes, Mother, the last man has gone.” And lo, there he is, arranging the polishing stones! If I had drawn back for only a second before hastening to reply, I would have given a more precise reply. I feel a little uneasy about it.

Nothing to be uneasy about. The spontaneous answers of the external consciousness are always vague and somewhat incorrect. 26It needs a great vigilance to correct that—and a very firm resolution too. This incident may be meant to raise in you the resolution.

5 September 1932


Mother divine,

I am feeling tired today. I have not exerted myself, nor have I economised on sleep or rest. I was also getting mild suggestions of vomiting, but they have stopped by now.

I am not astonished. You have reached a point of inner progress when you can no more get into fits of anger without feeling the results of it. You must, once for all, take the resolution—and keep it: never lose your temper.

I told you already that far from diminishing, your hold upon the workmen can but increase by it.

26 September 1932


It is better simply to be sincere than to be clever.

31 October 1932


To love the Divine is to be loved by Him.

2 November 1932


Because of the sudden rain we wanted to close the windows and found, with some discomfort, that not a single one is closing properly. Unless you are a Hercules and a wrestler you have no hope of closing them at all. They keep closed through goodwill, I suppose, but this goodwill would certainly not stand any strong gust of wind!


Repairs are urgently needed. Tomorrow morning I shall show you the state of affairs.

9 November 1932


Sweet Mother,

X told me this morning, “Do you see the plaster work done by Y? How nice it is! The work we have done is not so nice.” I replied: “I know at least one reason. It is because you are not with the workmen all the time. This morning you were missing from your post from 9:30 to 10:30.” X said, “But Y also takes off sometimes.”

I told you already that if someone refuses to be conscientious in his work, what can I do? It is true that the work suffers, but he suffers still more, for no amount of meditation can replace sincerity in the service of the Divine.

3 December 1932


Sweet Mother,

“One must know how to soar in an immutable confidence; in the sure flight is perfect knowledge.”fnPrayers and Meditations, 15 June 1914. I don’t understand this sentence. How can one soar? What is the figurative sense of this word?

It simply means to rise (soar into the air) above the ordinary consciousness, into a higher consciousness from which one can see things from above, and thus see them more profoundly.

9 December 1932


If you try to hide something from the Divine, you are sure to fall flat on your nose, plop! like that…

10 December 1932



Joy lies in having absolute trust in the Divine.

2 January 1933


Why, when you get into trouble, do you no longer ask for the help of the Divine Grace? Yet you know from experience that the result is unfailing and marvellous!

16 January 1933


Sweet Mother,

I still cannot make a clear distinction between a desire and a need for the work. So this is the method I have adopted: When I think I need something (anything), I wait. If the inconvenience caused by not having this thing comes up again or increases, I ask for it.

Then the desire gets exacerbated and the request is made with a kind of sour rage.


I sometimes think of adopting a diametrically opposite method: asking for a thing as soon as I think I need it, without thinking or putting it off—but I don’t dare adopt this method.

There is still another method, far more interesting than these two: ask for nothing at all and see what happens.


Give me an infallible method.

I don’t have one.

26 March 1933


Sweet Mother said, “There is still another method.” I was a bit perplexed as to how to apply Sweet Mother’s words to the letter. I started following Her advice. I didn’t ask for anything, even on April 1st,fnOn the first of the month, the sadhaks received from the Ashram stores the material items which they previously requested. and that is another reason for my perplexity.

I am afraid that in trying too hard to stick to the “letter”, you have lost the “spirit”. I was not referring to the things given at the “stores”, and I was most surprised to see that you did not ask for anything on the first. You would do well to ask strictly for the things you need.

5 April 1933


Because others are mean is no reason to be mean yourself.

24 April 1933


Sweet Mother,

The old servant X wants a job for her young son (who is less than eight years old, I think). Can he be employed to clear the rubble at Ganapati House?

It is impossible to put a child of under eight to work. It would be criminal.

9 June 1933


We want to be faithful workers for the Great Victory.

26 June 1933



Sweet Mother,

The carpenter Y has taken ten days’ leave in order to get married again. He wants Rs. 40 advance, to be paid back at the rate of Rs. 8 per month. I have already told him that Mother approves neither of marriage—far less of remarriage—nor of loans to encourage marriages.

He insists on asking Sweet Mother.

Your orders please, Mother wonderful!

What can we do? He is a good and regular worker, isn’t he? I hope this new marriage will not make him irregular.

Should we give him the money? If you think it is necessary, I shall not say No.

6 July 1933


Sweet Mother,

The measuring tape: mere common sense shows that the tape is not indispensable. But there is a dissatisfaction somewhere in my being. I can’t pinpoint this recalcitrant spot. Is it my mind? Isn’t it the mind that shows the absurdity of this request?

It is a mental formation prompted by a desire of the vital, which protests and rebels because it cannot be fulfilled. These formations are autonomous entities. That is why, once they are made, the conscious will loses nearly all control over them unless a counter-formation is made to destroy them. Something like this, for example: “I do not want to receive a measuring-tape. I earnestly hope that Mother will not disgrace me by giving me one, for it would cover me with shame and embarrassment. Such ignorant and obstinate desires are unworthy of a child of the Mother.”

12 September 1933



Sweet Mother,

The blacksmith: an iron shaving got into his eye. Is there any connection between the fact that I gave him the job of making rods for X’s embroidery frame without first having spoken to You about it and the accident that occurred later? When the blacksmith came to see me after the accident I wondered whether there was any connection, and when You said that You had doubts about this type of long frame my uneasiness doubled. Enlighten me, Sweet Mother.

These movements spring from desire and ignorance (X’s desire for a frame without any exact knowledge of how the frame has to be made) and they develop without harmony, in disorder and confusion, sometimes producing the most unfortunate results as in this case. I will explain: the idea of a big frame is excellent but difficult to execute. If the desire had not been there insisting on immediate realisation, the project could have been examined carefully before being carried out and its execution would have been more harmonious.

13 September 1933


[About constructing a braced frame to support a swinging sieve]

Do you know what a swing is?

It is a plaything I enjoyed very much when I was small. It is made of wood, and the plank you swing on is suspended by strong ropes from rings fixed to a bar above. The supporting posts are securely set in the ground. I was thinking that something similar could be made for the sieve.

19 September 1933


O Mother divine,

I have started examining the details of the work with 32a critical eye and everything goes to prove that in reality I know nothing, I can do nothing, I am good for nothing. Having recognised this, I have lost all joy in action.

Simply welcome the fact that you have become aware of a lack of thoroughness, since this awareness allows you to make further progress. Indeed, making progress, overcoming a difficulty, learning something, seeing clearly into an element of unconsciousness—these are the things that make one truly happy.

22 September 1933


Sweet Mother,

How can people insult me so easily, I wonder. Is it that my features are lacking in vigour? Is it that I am scornful of others and therefore others treat me scornfully? I try again and again, but I can’t find any satisfactory explanation.

It may be that physical appearance has something to do with it, but truly speaking it does not count for much. I believe rather in the influence of atmospheres. Each one has around him an atmosphere made of the vibrations that come from his character, his mood, his way of thinking, feeling, acting. These atmospheres act and react on each other by contagion; the vibrations are contagious; that is to say, we readily pick up the vibration of someone we meet, especially if that vibration is at all strong. So it is easy to understand that someone who carries in and around himself peace and goodwill, will in a way impose on others at least something of his peace and goodwill, whereas scorn, irritability and anger will arouse similar movements in others. The explanation of many events may be found along this line—although, of course, it is not the only explanation!

30 October 1933



Sweet Mother,

This morning at pranam a prayer leapt up from my heart towards You: “May this day bring me an opportunity to remain calm even in the face of provocation.” It was a very spontaneous prayer.

Now that is indeed an imprudent prayer! It is as if you were deliberately attracting an unpleasant experience to yourself.


(The sadhak then related his heated conversation with someone.) I regret having lost my temper while pronouncing these last sentences. I have noticed that even when I am conscious, if I open my mouth I lose my self-control. I get angrier and angrier from one sentence to the next.

The conclusion is therefore obvious: it would be better not to open your mouth. In certain cases, as in this one, it is wiser to turn your back than to open your mouth.

3 November 1933


Sweet Mother,

Regarding the partition-cupboard in Y’s room: I made the shelves of this cupboard out of small pieces of wood. A large quantity of old planks were thus used up. But Y expressed his dissatisfaction when he saw the shelves.

Yes, here everyone thinks only of spending, spending, spending as much as he can; no one thinks of saving and avoiding waste. It is the triumph of egoism. You may show this to them and add that it is I who gave the order to make all possible use of the old pieces of wood.

13 November 1933



Important—Aroumé (the Kitchen)

I forgot to enquire about an important point. Since the vessels used for cooking are very large, the top of the fire-places should not be much higher than ground level. This must be checked while the kitchen is being repaired. The top of the fire-places should not be more than fifty centimetres above ground, so that the vessels can be raised and lowered without danger.

5 December 1933


(The sadhak outlined his work-schedule.) All this leaves me little time—not enough for a tour of all the centres. What should I do, Sweet Mother? I call for Your help.

You must be calm and concentrated, never utter an unnecessary sentence and have faith in the divine help.

12 December 1933


Sweet Mother,

An exercise: If you notice that your voice is rising, stop speaking immediately; call upon Sweet Mother to make you aware of the hidden deformation. Is it all right, Sweet Mother?

It is quite all right.

All my compliments for this appreciable progress.

9 February 1934


“Attila, King of the Huns in 434, devastated the cities of Gaul but spared Lutetia after being diverted by Saint Genevieve.” I don’t understand the phrase “diverted 35by Saint Genevieve”. Did Saint Genevieve divert Attila from Lutetia, which he spared?

Attila was compelled to spare Lutetia because of the occult action of Saint Genevieve who, by the ardour of her prayers, obtained the intervention of the Divine Grace. This prompted Attila to alter the route of his troops, and so he gave the city a wide berth.

11 February 1934


Sweet Mother,

I have had a pain in the right side of my chest and in the left side of my back for the past three or four days. I decided to be brave and not tell You about it, but the pain has grown sharper since yesterday.

It was not at all clever to have said nothing about it. If you had told me immediately, you would already have been cured.

13 February 1934


[The sadhak recounted his conversation with Mr. Z, a local French official. The conversation ends:]

Mr. Z: I have heard that Sri Aurobindo can communicate at a distance. Is it true?

Sadhak: That is nothing. He isn’t interested in occult powers; it isn’t His aim.

Mr. Z: But even so, can He communicate with someone in Calcutta?

Sadhak: Yes, if the other person is receptive. Suppose I have difficultes in my work. There is no way of communicating with Mother. I can’t find the solution. I concentrate on Mother, ask Her to guide me and find the solution. This is not unusual. It has happened several times.


Mr. Z: Does Sri Aurobindo give talks?

Sadhak: No, we meditate with Mother.

Mr. Z: On what do you meditate?

Sadhak: Each one on his own aspiration, and Mother guides us. She gives us experiences and revelations.

Mr. Z: You don’t say!

Sadhak: Yes, we are not all under a hallucination!

Mr. Z: Are you sure it isn’t a hallucination?

[The Mother underlined most of the remarks above in red pencil.]

It would have been better not to say the things I have marked in red pencil. This falls under the “powers” that it would be better not to mention. Either the person you are speaking to does not understand at all and takes you for a fool suffering from hallucinations, or else he understands and then gets frightened, which is always dangerous.

If someone asks you about Sri Aurobindo’s powers, it is always better to say: “I don’t know. He doesn’t tell us about these things.”

And don’t speak about me unless it is unavoidable. I am putting a copy of the Conversations in the tray for Mr. Z.

27 March 1934


Sweet Mother,

When I read a novel or anything in print I clearly understand, say, eighty per cent. But when someone speaks, I have great difficulty in following him. I miss more than half.

Does this imply that the report of your conversation with Mr. Z is inaccurate? This is very serious—you should not put words into his mouth which he didn’t say. You must report things 37exactly as you heard them, and when you are not sure you must say so.

2 April 1934


Sweet Mother,

A prayer: Teach me the unfailing way to receive from Sweet Mother a healing and comforting kiss.

Why do you want an outward sign of my love? Are you not satisfied with knowing it is there?

16 April 1934


Sweet Mother,

I admit that I have much to learn from X. I bow to Sweet Mother in X. Make our relationship one through which I may benefit and come to know you.

I appreciate this attitude and this effort. It proves the sincerity of your aspiration. But I did not have that particular point in mind—I was speaking in a much more general way. All of you, in your relationships with one another, have much to change and much to learn.

20 April 1934


It seems that the notice about the holidays has been circulated only in French. I don’t think you should do this, for it would amount to imposing the study of French on all those who work in the Building Department, which is impossible.

For instance, Y once asked me whether it was indispensable to learn French and I told him No. Others too are in the same position. In my opinion you should add an English version to the French and circulate both together.

4 May 1934



Z has asked whether we could give double pay for the extra working hour from six to seven in the evening. I have said Yes. For surely you must know that in France all the extra hours in the evening are paid double, and this seems reasonable.

4 May 1934


Sweet Mother,

I have a confession to make. My mind is flooded with contradictions and doubts. I have struggled against this onslaught desperately, but still I haven’t found peace.

Last night I made an effort. I made an estimate of the expenditures and workers needed for our project, as well as I could with my short and limited foresight. I was completely dejected. What should I do?

These things need to be considered carefully, not lightly as one discusses a play or the pronunciation of French.

As soon as the project is completely ready, when you have worked everything out and can answer my questions, I shall call you one morning alone with X into my little room, and we shall discuss the matter quietly. When will you learn not to lose courage and confidence at the slightest setback, when things are not, by my own doing, exactly as you had planned? I think it is high time you learned this and I find that you give me very little credit, less perhaps than you would give an ordinary building contractor who, in your eyes, seems to know his job and have some common sense.


[The sadhak then gave several examples of difficulties with his workers and work projects.]

All that you say is quite true and there are still many other things you have not said, but which I know. The trouble might be summed up thus:


1) Too many workers.

2) Too many different projects undertaken at the same time.

3) Lack of consciousness in some of the supervisors.

Naturally, No. 2 could be set right by increasing the number of supervisors, provided, of course, that they are sincere and honest, which would also be the remedy for No. 3. But perhaps of all the remedies, this one (I mean being honest, sincere and conscientious) is the most difficult to achieve.

Several times we have spoken in a general way about reducing the number of workers. I have always said Yes, and I would be very happy to cut down expenses as much as possible.

But when we came to the details of carrying this out, we always found ourselves confronted with the same difficulty: whom to dismiss? And according to your answers the difficulty seemed insurmountable.

Now I propose this—to put up a notice which X could draft along the following lines:

“The ill-will of the local residents has obliged me to stop buying houses; consequently there is no longer enough work to keep all the workers busy. I am very sorry about this, but I am obliged to part with a certain number of them (you give the number), and since they have all been hardworking and faithful, I am at even more of a loss to make a selection. Therefore I am giving them three weeks’ advance notice: as of July 1st the number of workmen will be reduced by… (give the exact figure). That will give them time to look for work elsewhere. Those who have found work should let us know.”

Before displaying the notice you will speak to the workers (masons, carpenters, painters, coolies, etc.) whom you positively want to keep and tell them that the notice which is going to be put up is not meant for them and that in any event we want to retain their services, so they do not have to look for work elsewhere. To avoid any possible misunderstanding, it would be best if X or Y speaks to them in your presence.

And from July 1st we shall also have to think about reducing 40the number of projects undertaken at one time, in order to meet the difficulty of supervision.

This is what I see most clearly at the moment.

5 June 1934


Sweet Mother,

All the pain I have felt till tonight comes from my reservations with regard to Sweet Mother. Is my diagnosis correct? If so, how can I do away with these reservations without seeming to contradict or embarrass Sweet Mother?

I am going to begin by telling you a very little story. Then I shall answer you.

You must have seen the new clock which is supposed to run for six months. When it was first set going, it ran very fast. Z tried to figure out how to adjust it and found a sort of screw which is used to lengthen or shorten the pendulum. I looked at the clock with my inner sight and told Z, “To make it go slower, you have to shorten the pendulum.” He looked at me in bewilderment and explained that in mechanics the longer the pendulum is, the slower the movement. (I knew that very well—but this is not an ordinary pendulum since it works by rotary movement.) I answered, as I always do, “Do as you think best.” He lengthened the pendulum and the clock started going even faster. After observing it for a day, he agreed to shorten the pendulum and now the clock is working perfectly all right.

I believe in the superiority of the inner vision over the outer vision and this belief is based not merely on theoretical knowledge but on the thousands of examples I have come across in the course of a life which is already long. Unfortunately I am surrounded by people who, though they are here to practise yoga, are still convinced that “a cat is a cat”, as we commonly say in French, and that one can rely only on one’s physical eyes 41for seeing and observing, on one’s physical-mental knowledge for judging and deciding, and that the laws of Nature are laws—in other words, any exception to them is a miracle. This is false.

This is what is at the root of all the misunderstandings and reservations. You already know, and I mention it only to remind you, that an experiment made in a spirit of reserve and doubt is not an experiment, and that outer circumstances will always conspire to justify these doubts, and this for a reason which is very easy to understand: doubt veils the consciousness and the subconscious sincerity, and into the action some small factors creep in which may seem unimportant, but which are just sufficient to alter all the factors of the problem and to bring about the result that one had anticipated by doubting.

I have nothing else to add except this. When the question of distempering X’s rooms arose, I looked very carefully several times with the inner eye and I saw this: brush the walls with a metal brush so that whatever is loose falls off and cover the rest with a thick layer of distemper which by its very thickness will be enough to conceal any irregularities. The process was supposed to be simple, rapid and fully satisfactory. I put forth all the necessary force for it to become an effective formation charged with the power of realisation, and I said that the work could proceed, adding in a few words how it was to be done. (This was long ago—the first time it was decided to distemper the walls of X’s apartment, perhaps more than a year ago.) My formation was so living, so real, so active, that I made the mistake of not reminding you about it before the work began. I have an unfortunate tendency to believe that the consciousness of those around me is, at least partially and in its limited working, similar to mine. I shall explain. I know that each of you has a very small and limited consciousness compared with mine, but within its limits, I have the illusion that its nature is similar to mine, and that is why there are many things I do not say, because to me they are so obvious that it would be utterly pointless to mention them. It is here that on your side a freedom of movement and speech 42arising from an affectionate confidence must come in: if there is something you are unsure of, you must ask me about it; if you do not very clearly see my intention, you must enquire about it; if you do not grasp my formation in a very precise way, you must ask me to explain it to you. When I do not do so, it is because I think you are receptive enough for the formation to act and fulfil itself without my needing to speak about it, and in fact this often happens—it is only when the mind and vital get in the way, for one reason or another, that the working becomes defective.

Read this carefully, study it, and when you come today I will ask you to read it from the place I have marked with a red cross, for I think it may be useful to everyone there. I shall probably ask you to translate it into English, to make sure that you have fully understood.

May Peace be with you—I bless you.

7 June 1934


O Sweet Mother,

I am thirsting, thirsting for Your love!

You have only to open your heart and your thirst will be quenched, for the waters of love never run dry.

3 July 1934


Sleep well and rest yourself beneath the protective shade of my blessing.

11 July 1934


Sweet Mother,

This morning You said that when one has a feeling of danger, it is because there is a hidden reason somewhere.

That is not exactly what I said. I said that a feeling of danger should always be taken seriously when one is responsible for 43the state of things, and that one should not say, “It is nothing” unless one is ten times sure it is nothing.

22 August 1934


Sweet Mother,

While inspecting the stores I found that the principle of keeping all materials without throwing anything away is not above reproach. The good materials get spoiled under a pile of useless things, because one cannot take care of them.

If only the good materials had been kept, it would have been easier to take care of them. Am I right, Sweet Mother?

I think so. But more than anything, it is the lack of organisation and order which causes all this waste. Certainly, if there is not enough room to keep things in order and separate, the good things on one side and the bad on the other, it is better to get rid of the bad things. But this should be done with great care so as not to go to the other extreme and throw away things that may be useful.

20 September 1934


Sweet Mother,

X sent me a mason with a dismissal note this morning. Later, I learnt from X that the mason had laughed when X told him he was not satisfied with the work he had done. How should one determine a worker’s fate in this and similar cases?

One really cannot dismiss a man because he laughed. He should be given some other work and advised to be polite in the future.

24 October 1934



Sweet Mother,

I heard that one can know all the qualities of any material by identification of consciousness. Is this true? Is it possible? For example, if there are cracks in a roof, I want to know the exact cause. How can I identify myself with the roof? Is there a definite method? Is this method easier and more certain than the mental process of reasoning which is based on acquired experience?

In theory, it is true that everything can be known by identification, but in practice it is rather difficult to apply. The whole process is based on the power of concentration. One has to concentrate on the object to be known (in this case the roof) until all the rest of the world disappears and the object alone exists; then, by a slight movement of will, one can succeed at identification. But it is not very easy to do and there are other means of knowing besides reasoning—intuition, for example— which are also effective.

November 1934


O Sweet Mother,

I sing Your praises. I will never forget how You respond when one calls You with intensity, nor the marvel of Your presence which changes the attitude of others too.

This statement is quite true.


I bow to You, Sweet Mother. Be present in me always and for ever.

Yes, I am always with you, but you must never forget to call me, for it is by calling me that the presence becomes effective.

15 December 1934



Sweet Mother,

I know that I was not obliged to give Y an explanation for my decision. In his expression, the question was there, but I could easily have ignored it. Why did I show this weakness? O Sweet Mother, how should one act in such cases?

Y’s will is strong and he knows how to impose it on others. The only solution is to have a will stronger than his and to use it with great calm, but also with great determination.

25 December 1934


Sweet Mother,

Listen to these two accounts of inner suggestions. (Two instances are given.) From these two accounts You will see that there were good grounds for the first suggestion, whereas the second one was importunate. How can one distinguish between these two types of suggestions?

It is only by long experience, tested many times very carefully, that one can discriminate between various types of suggestions by the vibration that accompanies them.

12 January 1935


Sweet Mother,

Please forgive me for my ambiguous reply to Z. I bow to You, full of remorse.

Remorse is of no use; you have to feel the joy of the possibility of making further progress.

26 February 1935


(The sadhak suffered a headache after contact with a fellow-worker.) I don’t understand these two completely different movements in me: (1) one which decides to avoid all contact with X, direct or indirect, and (2) the other which sees any harmonious dealings between us as a sure sign of victory—but how can this be done without getting a headache, Sweet Mother?

It may be the contradiction between these two movements which is the cause of the headache. No. 1 wants peace with a minimum of effort. No. 2 wants to conquer the difficulty, not run away from it. I suggest that for the time being you avoid contact with X as far as possible. But if contact is established, beware of subconscious reactions and be very vigilant.

3 May 1935


(A fellow-worker violated the established work-procedure.) When I saw Y coming out of the workshop I was struck by two suggestions: (1) If he has done something without my knowledge, why should I interfere? and (2) Since I know all about it, I cannot remain indifferent; I must tell him that it is not right. I followed the second suggestion.

What you did was good, in principle at least, for really so much depends on one’s choice of words and tone of voice.

15 May 1935


Sweet Mother,

What does “listening to the voice” mean? Is it like listening to words that are pronounced? A ready-made sentence, “Write down what is there in the estimate”, wanted to disturb my mind. I don’t know where it came 47from. Was it my own thought expressed in words, or was it what is known as a “voice”? How can these things be distinguished, Sweet Mother?

It was obviously an inner voice. One rarely hears the sound of the words, but rather the message is expressed as words in the mind or sometimes merely as a feeling in the heart.

23 May 1935


Sweet Mother,

I have decided to adopt the following attitude towards Z. If I have any suggestion or remark to make about the work, I shall do it very simply. If he accepts, very good. If he doesn’t, I shall keep silent, without arguing, and let him do as he likes. Is this attitude correct?

No, it is not correct—and I see that you have not understood the implications of my remark the other day. If you see something that should be done in a certain way, you should simply say: “This is how I think it should be done.” If he contradicts you and gives a different opinion, you should simply answer: “All right. We shall both submit our views to Mother and she will decide.

In this way there can be no clash of personalities between him and you. It is only a matter of obedience to me.

6 June 1935


Sweet Mother,

You have made me aware of the subconscious movements governing my action. Whenever a similar opportunity arises, will You please make me more and more aware. Do not withdraw from me when You see me sad. O Sweet Mother, I assure You, I promise You, that with Your Grace I will be myself again within a short time.


I aspire for the blessed day when the conflict, the momentary lack of faith, will cease forever and You will use me even as You use Your feet, O Sweet Mother.

I bow to You in joyful gratitude.

I am very happy about the way you have taken this matter. When I speak to you so frankly, I am giving you a great proof of confidence.

My blessings are with you.

16 July 1935


(The sadhak refused to remove some nails in the wall of someone’s room, and wrote to the Mother explaining his decision.)

Yes, it is correct as an analysis, but a thing ought not to be done for any of these personal considerations. The thing to be done should be considered in itself, independent of all personal questions. If the thing is right and good, one should do it. If not, one should refrain from doing it.

It is precisely because your refusal had no real cause that it did not have the power to dominate the other man’s will.

So you should have the nails removed.

17 July 1935


Sweet Mother,

Yesterday X asked me whether the nails in his wall would be removed. In the absence of any definite orders on this point I said, “Ask Mother.” Later it was Sweet Mother who decided not to have them removed.

Yes, I hoped that his will could be made to yield on this point, because I thought it was absolutely true that removing the nails would damage the wall. But it was only very relatively true, 49and so the formation did not have a power of truth sufficient to dissolve X’s counter-formation. (This is true “occultism”.)


I don’t think I can be the judge to decide whether the thing is good or not, because my vision is limited.

I never said that you should be the judge. I agree to be the judge in all cases, because I recognise that it is very difficult to know whether a thing is right and good, unless one can see the law of Truth behind things.


If You had said to me, “Removing the nails is nothing, is it?”, I would have replied, “Nothing much.” And if You had said, “What! Removing the nails for nothing and damaging the wall?”, I would have replied, “Senseless.”

This is not right. When I ask a question, I ask it in order to get exact and objective information. I have said this many times. I have no preconceived idea, no preference, no opinion about things. If I could move about and see everything physically for myself, I would not need to get information from anyone. But this is not the case, and this is why I consult the people around me, because they are able to move about. I do not want them to answer me by echoing what they imagine—wrongly—to be what I think. I want them to use their powers of observation and their technical knowledge to give me as precise and exact information as they can. And on that information I base my decision.

18 July 1935


Sweet Mother,

You wrote to me, “It is precisely because your refusal had no real cause that it did not have the power to dominate the other man’s will. So you should get the 50nails removed.” This is the sentence that upset me. Why was there no real cause? Won’t the holes spoil the wall?

It all depends on what you mean by spoil. I had understood from what you told me that it would cause extensive damage. From what X wrote, I understood that the nails were loose and that a little scraping and pulling would be enough to ease them out. After averaging these two interpretations I saw that the argument I gave X to make him accept the nails was not true enough to have the power to overcome the hostility of his attitude.


Did I invent this for some other motive?

Look into your heart, in all sincerity, and you will see that if someone you liked had asked you to remove the nails, you would not have found it so difficult and you would not have put it in the same way.


I thought that my refusal was ineffective because it was not supported by Sweet Mother, and I firmly believe that nothing whatever can hold true or be effective unless it is supported by Sweet Mother.

When we are in the presence of hostile forces, only the purity of an absolute truth can conquer them.


This is the argument, almost word for word, that upset me, and I still haven’t found the answer to this problem. Enlighten me, Sweet Mother.

Your argument seems right, but since its starting-point is wrong it no longer holds. Reread what I have written, carefully and 51several times if necessary; ponder every word so that you understand exactly what I am saying and nothing else.

20 July 1935


When someone makes a remark, why does Sweet Mother blame me without even asking me for an explanation?

Always the same mistake—you think that I judge by what people tell me! Whenever I am confronted with a fact, either directly or indirectly, I look and judge for myself without the intervention of anyone’s opinion.

1 September 1936


In the case of the Arogya House cupboard, when Y told me that he didn’t want it painted I was surprised, and I revealed that Z had asserted that it was he, Y, who wanted it done.

As a general rule, it is better not to repeat to someone what someone else has said, for there is always a risk of creating confusion and increasing the difficulties.

11 December 1936


O Sweet Mother,

“Penetrate all my being, transfigure it till Thou alone livest in us and through us.”fnPrayers and Meditations, 7 March 1914. The sadhak has substituted “my” for “our”.

The main door of your being is open, but certain other doors are still not open. You must open them all, for I am there and I am waiting.

With my blessings.

1 April 1936



X has just written that he has recognised his mistake in having given up the work and that he will return to work this morning. So you should behave as if nothing had happened and welcome him back. I hope that Y too will not make any unnecessary remarks.

23 September 1936


Perhaps Sweet Mother is displeased with me about something? I have no peace.

I am not at all displeased. But what a strange idea to let yourself be upset by such little things! What about the Yoga?

You must shake all that off and return to a better state of consciousness.


8 July 1937


Sweet Mother,

I don’t know why I have lost my self-control and peace.

It is a pity! Perhaps you are a bit tired. I hope you are sleeping well. I would like you to go to bed earlier. Is all this work after meditation (discussions, accounts, etc.) really indispensable? To keep one’s self-control, one needs to have time enough to rest, enter into oneself and find calm and quiet.

19 October 1938


Sweet Mother,

I would like to take part in all the shuttering and building work without offending anyone. How should I go about it? How can I wash away the past?


Once and for all, wash away the feeling that you are “superior” to others—for no one is superior or inferior before the Divine.

6 December 1938


Sweet Mother,

For the past few days, every time I meet X, he wards me off. I looked inside myself to see if I have recently done something to displease him, but I can’t find anything. Please tell me if I have done something wrong.

I know nothing about the matter. X has not written to me.

But one thing is certain: you give far too much importance to the way people treat you. This hypersensitivity is the cause of most of the misunderstandings.

March 1939


O Sweet Mother,

In spite of all my efforts at friendly collaboration with X, I have failed. I pray that you tell me in detail the defects which prevent this achievement. I promise You that I will make a sincere effort to get rid of them, and with Your help I am sure to succeed.

I had dreamed that X and I would discuss both the work in hand and the work to be done and exchange opinions—I mean, just as Y and I speak together. But I am sorry to say that X keeps me at a distance and remains aloof, and when he does speak I find him rather difficult.

This state of things stirs up reactions of revolt in me, and the efforts I make to remain peaceful and calm seem beyond my capacity.

I am afraid it is a lack of affinity in the vital and even in the 54mind. These things are very difficult to overcome, for it requires that both of you open yourselves to a higher consciousness. This needs time and a continuous effort of sadhana from both of you.

In the present conditions I think it would be better not to persist in your attempt at friendly relations with him, for it only increases his sense of importance.

As for the need to exchange your views and opinions about the work, I am still not convinced of it. My impression is that one always says far more than is necessary and that it is not with words that good work gets done.

In any event, calm and patience are absolutely necessary—and you ought to have them since my blessings are with you.

10 October 1939


A year of silence and expectation… let us find, O Lord, our entire support in Thy Grace alone.



[The sadhak recounted several instances in which he got upset and depressed because a fellow-worker did not follow his advice.]

The disease: a narrow and egoistic ambition in the mind expressing itself as a strong vanity in the vital, thus distorting your ideas of things and your reactions.

The remedy: surrender all that to “Sweet Mother” completely and definitively.

With my loving solicitude and my blessings.

5 March 1940


I am happy that you have seen the light, but it doesn’t surprise me; I was sure that one day you would understand.


Let the light of a luminous consciousness enter into you; widen yourself into that vast consciousness so that every shadow may disappear for ever.

With my blessings.

5 June 1940


It is very good, my child; I was quite sure that it would end this way, for I know the goodness of your heart.

My blessings are with you.

15 October 1940