June 7, 1967
I have something to add to what we said the other day about the Divine.1 Someone asks me, “And whatever is God?”
It's about a text from Sri Aurobindo. Here it is:
“Love leads us from the suffering of division into the bliss of perfect union, but without losing that joy of the act of union which is the soul's greatest discovery and for which the life of the cosmos is a long preparation. Therefore to approach God by love is to prepare oneself for the greatest possible spiritual fulfillment.”
(The Synthesis of Yoga, XXI.III.523)
It's about the last sentence; someone has asked me, “What is God?” So I've replied (taking the word “God”):
“It is the name man has given to all that exceeds and dominates him, all that he cannot know but is subject to.”
Instead of saying “to all that exceeds him,” we could say, “to THAT WHICH exceeds him,” because from the intellectual standpoint, “all that” is debatable. I mean there is a “something” – an indefinable and inexplicable something – and man has always felt dominated by that something. It is beyond all possible understanding and dominates him. And then, religions gave it a name; man has called it “God”; the French call it Dieu, the English, God, in another language it's called differently, but anyway it's the same.
I am intentionally not giving any definition. Because my lifelong feeling has been that it's a mere word, and a word behind which people put a lot of very undesirable things.... It's that idea of a god who claims to be “the one and only,” as they say: “God is the one and only.” But they feel it and say it in the way Anatole France put it (I think it was in The Revolt of Angels): that God who wants to be the one and only and ALL ALONE. That was what had made me a complete atheist, if I may say so, when I was a child; I refused to accept a being, WHOEVER HE WAS, who proclaimed himself to be the one and only and almighty. Even if he were indeed the one and only and almighty (laughing), he should have no right to proclaim it! That's how it was in my mind. I could make an hour-long speech on this, to show how in every religion they tackled the problem.
At any rate, I have given what I find is the most objective definition. And as in the other day's “What is the Divine?”, I have tried to give a feeling of the Thing; here I wanted to fight against the use of the word which, to me, is hollow, but dangerously so.
I remember a very powerful line in “Savitri” which says it all wonderfully in a few words. He says, “The bodiless Namelessness that saw God BORN....”2
I told you the other day that I'd met D. before she left [in search of a Tibetan guru] and we had talked together. I told her about Sri Aurobindo and his teaching. But she has been converted! Yes, really. She again wrote me a letter, which I've just got today (it's the second letter she has written me from up there), in which she says she has met that famous Tibetan sage with whom she wanted to discuss.... He seems to have made fun of her – she doesn't say so, but she says he “constantly puts you face to face with your mental formations” (he must have shown her that she was feeding on words). And then she adds, “But as for me, I feel, I do feel your love always with me, and everything is fine.” – Never! It's the first time in her life she has told me this.
So it gave me the idea of writing down what I told her about Sri Aurobindo's teaching:
“In order to understand and follow Sri Aurobindo's teaching, one must learn to rise above all possibility of contradiction.”
That is, to reach the region where contradictions no longer exist. That's true. You understand, if you take quotations from Sri Aurobindo on a particular subject, you can put side by side things that are the very opposite of each other: he says one thing, then its opposite, then again something different. So to understand him and not keep saying to yourself, “But why does he constantly say the opposite of what he said just before!”, you must learn to rise up above – up above, it's quite fine (!) There, it's... very interesting. Once you are there, it's very interesting.
And from the practical point of view, the remarkable thing is that in that region, which is beyond all possible contradictions, there lies the source of the true Power.
But I mean that we could find in Sri Aurobindo a sentence saying, for instance, that “God” is a word empty of meaning into which man puts whatever he likes, and then a description similar to the one I gave of the Divine. And throughout all his writings, it's like that with everything.
Then I would like to publish this quotation from Sri Aurobindo:
“The traditions of the past are very great in their own place, in the past, but I do not see why we should merely repeat them and not go farther. In the spiritual development of the consciousness upon earth the great past ought to be followed by a greater future.”
January 14, 19323
Did your mother intend to come by plane?
Mon petit, ships can no longer sail past Port Said: the Suez Canal is closed.
What's going to happen?
(After a long silence) We are just like this (gesture hanging in balance between two chasms).
Yesterday, I would have answered very strongly.... Let me tell you what happened. We had here an American, a very nice boy who, before he came here, was a paratroop instructor in Israel's army. I don't think he is an Israeli, I think he's American; I am sure his nationality is American, I saw his passport. But he was a paratroop instructor in Israel's army. When those two started quarreling, he wrote me a letter in which he explained that, and also paid great compliments to the Israeli nation, saying they had achieved a really remarkable sense of brotherhood and cooperation. That was his impression of the country. And he said that if war broke out, he would like to go back there to help them as much as he could. So as soon as they started bombing each other, he decided to go. He left yesterday evening. And I saw him in the afternoon, before he left.
He is a sincere man. While he was here, Sri Aurobindo... (how can I explain?), the impression is that Sri Aurobindo “concretizes” (he is always here, but at certain times he seems to concretize, as though... [Mother makes a gesture of gathering or condensing]. That's really the impression: he concretizes and starts speaking). So then, first Sri Aurobindo said to him (but there was a whole WORLD in it), “My blessings are with you.”
The man was very touched (I didn't tell him it was Sri Aurobindo; I spoke, you understand, it was my mouth that spoke then, but it was Sri Aurobindo who spoke). Then I concentrated, and Sri Aurobindo said with great force:
“All the countries live in falsehood. If only one country stood courageously for truth, the world might be saved.”
Towards the end of the day, when I was alone, I began asking Sri Aurobindo precisely what he meant.... Naturally, his hope is that the country that stood for Truth would be India – for the moment, she is very far from it. But... And since the subject was before me, I asked him how he saw the terrestrial possibility in a harmonious future.
Then he said to me – it was very simple, very clear: “A federation of all nations and countries without exception, all continents. A single federation: the federation of all human nations of the earth.” And a group – a governing group – consisting of one representative from each country, the most able man from the standpoint of political and economic organization. And nothing of the proportional question that would give large countries many representatives and small ones only one – one representative for every country. Because every country represents one aspect of the problem. And they would sit in rotation.
It was a vast vision, not so much with words as with a vision.
That's where things stand. Today... Have you heard today's news?
They have blocked Suez and broken off with the U.S.
All the Muslim countries, including Algeria and so on, have been ordered to break off with America and Britain.4 I don't know if all this news is true, but there is also a general pressure from all countries, from America and Britain, for instance, and at the same time from Russia, for a cease-fire, to stop the conflict.
If this news is true (because the amount of lies that are passed around is unbelievable), if this news is true, it means the Pressure is beginning – the pressure of the Consciousness. It has already started acting.
You see, every national entity has a right to free and independent existence, provided it doesn't interfere in the free and independent existence of all other entities. Ambitions, territorial expansions – of course, all colonies and all of that – must be swept out of the picture. To defend themselves, the Egyptians say that the Israelis had publicly declared that Israel's border should be the Nile – I don't know if that's true. I don't know if it's true because everybody tells lies. On their part, the Egyptians publicly declared three years ago (it was a public declaration), they publicly declared that the Israeli nation had no right to exist and had to disappear.
Three days ago, Nasser declared that he wanted “the destruction of Israel: wiped off the map.”
Yes, that's it. But three years ago, they declared that Israel shouldn't exist. So that clearly puts them in the wrong.
I don't know how the others replied.... The whole world lives in falsehood, without a doubt, but one thing must be established in an absolute way: the right of each nation or country to individual existence, provided it doesn't interfere in another nation's right.
That should be the base.
Of course, they will start arguing: “BUT at that time, things were like that; at that time they were like this; and in the past this was ours; in the past...” Endless arguments. So there should be a higher vision, which means a balanced and just and deep vision of things, capable of saying, “This is how it is.” Otherwise there would be an indefinite source of arguments.
For the moment, at any rate, all diplomatic relations are based on falsehood – and the crudest falsehood at that: it's recognized as a necessity and the only way out. That's how they consider it. So that's what must be abolished to begin with.
There is a group in the new Indian parliament, a group of people dissatisfied with the position taken by India, who have declared their wish to act according to Sri Aurobindo's ideal and instructions. And they've asked if we could send someone from here to hold conferences in Delhi.... It's a “group” – naturally not the whole parliament.
It's something to be envisaged.
But the difficulty is to find the “someone,” because it should be a man who knows Sri Aurobindo thoroughly to begin with, who is capable of receiving his inspirations directly (a very difficult condition), and has at the same time a very strong character with a power – a contagious power – and a force that can arouse the inert masses.... For years I have been looking for that man, without finding him.
There was a man who would have done – not fully well, not with enough breadth of mind to fully understand Sri Aurobindo, but very straight and strong – he was assassinated in Kashmir.
He is the one who came here when we wanted to have a conference for the opening of the University, he presided over it.5 A rather tall man, and strong. I forget his name. But it was in Kashmir that he was assassinated (not officially, of course: he “fell ill.”)
It wasn't perfect, it was a stopgap, but anyway he would have done. But now... Among the young people whom I don't know?... What is needed is power combined with that breadth of mind capable of understanding Sri Aurobindo's inspiration and transmitting it; and along with that, vital power. The two things together.
And it's not something for tomorrow: it's for right now, that's the problem, because the danger is now.
All that will go into the [Agenda] “box,” it can't be published.
But you know – I have rarely felt that – yesterday there was really something like a prayer for Israel.
Indeed there was!
You really say to yourself, “This MUST NOT be.”
That's it, absolutely. It was so strong.
But is there a way for you to contact those people in Delhi and have them told what you want?
Ah, if I sent someone they would receive him. It's this N.S. who is a member of the government, she has a whole group with her, a party that has grown fairly strong.
It's quite recent, they've just asked us to send them someone. N.S. only knows N., so she told him, “Would you like to come?” N. has offered to go, but...6
He has a knack with people, but...
No, he's not the man. He doesn't strike one as being pure and straight. He isn't a straight man.
(After a silence) He is still in the state in which one tries to please people....
A man like P.?
(Mother laughs) But he's not willing! He doesn't want to touch politics. Oh, in his field, he is strong indeed! (Mother laughs) But he isn't a politician.
The sign of true strength – true strength – is becoming ab-so-lute-ly calm, imperturbably calm in the face of danger – danger or the need to make decisions and do things. An unshakable calm, like that (inflexible gesture, like a sword), which is established immediately, automatically. That's the sign.
It was very interesting. You weren't here when the Ashram was attacked, were you?7 It was very interesting.
You know, fires lighting up here, there, at the corner over there, people shouting, stones flying.... That day I had an unforgettable experience. The minute the actual news of the attack came, the consciousness was as if drawn into the universal physical consciousness, like that (widespread gesture). And it was from there, from the universal physical consciousness, that everything was watched. That's how I was able to see: I was able to see the reaction IN EVERYONE. It was really interesting, oh, really interesting!
Anything that started vibrating (I am not even talking about fear – those who have fear, that goes without saying, it means catastrophe – not even fear: excitement), anything that started vibrating in that way attracted – ATTRACTED – things (I was looking at the whole scene at once), attracted danger.
Naturally, my body was like this (imperturbable gesture), but that was nothing, because for me... But P. became like this (same gesture), like an unmoving sword: calm, calm.... That's how I knew [what he was], I didn't know before. All the others... (vibrating, excited gesture) phew!
The headquarters were here, in this room, the whole night till midnight; everybody met here. And I saw in everyone – everyone. From above, it was such a clear, clear vision, and imperturbable, absolutely impersonal.... I saw what was going on everywhere, but everywhere.
There was a movement of excitement and a stone came from the street and hit the wire screen of my window – only one. I knew why, who it was.
It was quite interesting.
1 See Conversation of May 24: What is the Divine?
2 The bodiless Namelessness that saw God born
And tries to gain from mortal's mind and soul
A deathless body and a divine name.
3 See full text here
4 Also to stop selling them oil.
5 Mother is referring to Shyamaprasad Mukherji.
6 N.S. was to betray Indira Gandhi later, just as N. was to betray Mother.
7 On February 11, 1965 (see Agenda VI, February 19 and 24, 1965).