115 – The world is a long recurring decimal with Brahman for its integer. The period seems to begin and end, but the fraction is eternal; it will never have an end and never had any real beginning.
116 – The beginning and end of things is a conventional term of our experience; in their true existence these terms have no reality, there is no end and no beginning.
Only last week there was a whole development of this experience.
In fact, it is the same thing for worlds as for individuals, for universes as for worlds. Only the duration is different — an individual is small, a world is a little bigger, and a universe is a little bigger still! But what has a beginning has an end.
And yet Sri Aurobindo says that “there is no end and no beginning.”
We have to use words but the Thing escapes. What we know as “the eternal Principle”, “the Supreme”, “God”, has neither beginning nor end — we are obliged to say “it is”, but it is not like that, because it is beyond Non-Manifestation and Manifestation; it is something which we are unable to understand and perceive in the Manifestation — and that is what has neither beginning nor end. But constantly and eternally, That is manifested in something that begins and ends. Only there are two ways of “ending”, one which appears to be a destruction, an annihilation, and another which is a transformation; and it would seem that as the Manifestation becomes more perfect, the necessity of destruction diminishes until a time comes when it will disappear and be replaced by a process of progressive transformation. But this is a very human and external way of putting it.
I am fully aware of the inadequacy of words, but through the words you must catch hold of the Thing.... The difficulty for human thought and still more for expression, is that words always carry a sense of beginning.
I have had a perception of this manifestation — a “pulsating” manifestation, one might say, which expands and contracts, expands and contracts.... And there comes a time when there is such an expansion, such a fluidity, plasticity, capacity for change that there is no longer any need for it to be reabsorbed so that it can take a new form; and there will be a progressive transformation. I used to know an occultist who said that this is the seventh universal creation, that there have already been six pralayas 1 and that this is the seventh creation, but that this one will be able to transform itself without being reabsorbed — which obviously has no importance whatsoever, for when one has the eternal consciousness it does not matter whether it is like this or like that. Only in the limited human consciousness is there this kind of ambition or need for something that has no end, because, within, there is what might be called the “memory of eternity” and this memory of eternity aspires for the manifestation to share in this eternity. But if this sense of eternity is active and present, we do not grieve; we do not grieve when we throw away a spoiled garment — we may be attached to it, but even so we do not grieve! It is the same thing: if a universe disappears, it means that it has fully fulfilled its function, it has come to the end of its possibilities and must be replaced by another one.
I have followed the whole curve. When you are very small in consciousness and development, you feel a great need that the earth should not disappear, that it should continue perpetually — it can go on transforming itself, but it should always be the earth that goes on. A little later, when you are a little more mature, you give it much less importance. And when you are in constant communion with the sense of eternity, it becomes merely a question of choice; it is no longer a need, because it is something that does not affect the active consciousness. A few days ago — I do not remember when, but very recently — I lived this Consciousness for a whole morning and I saw, in the curve of the being’s development, that this kind of need, which seems to be deep-seated, for the life of the earth to be prolonged — for the life of the earth to be prolonged indefinitely — this need is objectified, so to say, it is no longer so deepseated; it is like looking at a performance and judging whether it should be like this or like that. It was an interesting change of viewpoint.
It is like an artist, but an artist giving shape to himself, making one trial, two trials, three trials, as many as he needs, and then achieving something complete enough in itself and receptive enough to be able to adapt to new manifestations, to the needs of these new manifestations, so that it would not be necessary to draw everything back in, to mix it all up and bring it all out again. But it is nothing more than this, and as I say, a question of choice. After all, the manifestation is made for the delight of objectivisation — the delight or interest or, well... And once what has taken shape is plastic enough, receptive enough, flexible enough and vast enough to be capable of being constantly moulded by the new forces that are manifesting, there is no longer any need to unmake everything in order to remake it.
With the curve also came an adage, “What has a beginning must have an end” — this seems to be one of those human mental constructions that are not necessarily true. But subjectively, what is interesting is that the problem gradually becomes less acute as one views it from higher up, or from a more central point, to be more exact.
It seems that it is the same... not “principle”, because it is not a principle — the same law for the individual as for worlds and universes.
As soon as one tries to express it (Mother makes a gesture of reversal), everything becomes warped.... I was looking at this experience of the relation with the Consciousness, the All; this relation of the human being with the All; of the earth — the consciousness of the earth — with the All; of the consciousness of the manifested universe with the All; and of the consciousness that presides over the universe — over all the universes — with the All; and this inexpressible phenomenon that each point of consciousness — a point that does not occupy any space — each point of consciousness is capable of all experiences.... It is very difficult to express.
One could say that only limits make differences — differences in time, differences in space, differences in size, differences in power. It is only the limits. And as soon as the consciousness goes outside its limits at any point in the manifestation, whatever the dimension of this manifestation — yes, the dimension of this manifestation has absolutely no importance — at any point in the manifestation, if one goes outside the limits, it is the Consciousness.
From this standpoint one could say that it is the acceptance of limits that has made the manifestation possible. The possibility of manifestation came with the acceptance of the sense of limits.... It is impossible to express. Always, as soon as one begins to speak, one has the impression of something which does this (same gesture of reversal), a kind of tipping over, and it is finished, the essential thing has gone. Then the metaphysical sense comes along and says, “One could put it like this, one could put it like that....” To use words: every point contains the Consciousness of Infinity and Eternity — these are words, nothing but words. But the possibility of this experience is there. It is like stepping back out of space.... It might be amusing to say that even stone, even... oh, water certainly, fire certainly, has the power of Consciousness — the origina l— all the words that come are stupid — essential, primordial — all that means nothing — eternal, infinite Consciousness.... All this is meaningless, it givesme the impression of dust thrown on glass to prevent it from being transparent!... Finally, in conclusion, after having relived this experience — these last few days I have had it repeatedly, it reigned supreme, in spite of everything, work, activities, it ruled over everything — any attachment to any formula, even the ones that have stirred people through the ages, seems childish to me. And now it’s only a matter of choice: you can choose whether it is like this or like that or like that; you can say this or this or that — amuse yourselves, my children... if it amuses you.
But it is certain — this is an observation for general use — it is certain that the human mind, in order to have the urge to act, needs to build a dwelling-place — more or less large, more or less complete, more or less flexible — but it needs a dwellingplace. Only (laughing) it is not that! That distorts everything!
And what is strange, what is strange, is that outwardly one goes on living automatically according to certain ways of life, which no longer even have the virtue of seeming necessary to you, which no longer even have the force of habit, and which are accepted and lived almost automatically, with a sense — a kind of feeling or sensation, but it is neither feeling nor sensation, it is a kind of very subtle perception — that Something, so immense that it is undefinable, wants it. I say “wants” it or I say “chooses” it, but it is “wills” it; it is a Will that does not function like the human will, but which wills it — which wills it or sees it or decides it. And in each thing there is this luminous, golden, imperative vibration... which is necessarily all-powerful. And it provides as a background the perfect well-being of certitude, which, a little lower down in the consciousness, expresses itself by a smile of benevolent amusement.
Further on, Sri Aurobindo speaks of worlds that have no beginning and no end, and he says that their creation and their destruction is “a play of hide-and-seek with our outward consciousness”... 2
It is certainly a very elegant way of saying the same thing I have just said!
What I wanted to ask is whether from the “other side”, the material world continues to be perceived clearly or whether it all evaporates?
This is another experience of these last few days. It came to me with an absolute certitude — although it is very difficult to express — that this so-called “error” of the material world as it is, was indispensable; that is to say, the material mode or way of perceiving, of becoming aware of things, was gained through the “error” of this creation and would not have existed without it, and it is not something that will vanish into non-existence when we gain the true consciousness — it is something that is added in a special way — which was perceived, lived at that moment in the essential Consciousness.
It was like a justification of the creation that has made possible a certain mode of perception — which might be described by the words “precision”, “exactness” in objectivisation — which could not have existed without it. Because when this Consciousness — the perfect Consciousness, the true Consciousness, the Consciousness — was there, present and lived to the exclusion of any other, there was something like a mode of vibration, so to say, a mode of vibration with objective precision and exactness, which could not have existed without this material form of creation.... You see, there was always this great “Why?” — “Why is it like this?” Why is there all this, which brought about everything that the human consciousness interprets as suffering, misery and helplessness and everything, all the horrors of ordinary consciousness — why? Why is it? And so this was the answer: in the true Consciousness there is a mode of vibration, of precision and exactness and clarity in objectivisation, which could not have existed without that, which would not have had any opportunity to manifest. That is certain. That is the answer — the all-powerful answer to the “why”.
It is obvious — obvious — that what we experience as progress, as a progressive manifestation, is not simply a law of the material manifestation as we know it, but the very principle of the eternal Manifestation. To come down to the level of terrestrial thought, one might say that there is no manifestation without progress. But what we call progress, what is “progress” to our consciousness, up there it is... it can be anything, a necessity, whatever you like — there is a kind of absolute that we do not understand, an absolute of being: it is like that because it is like that, that is all. But for our consciousness it is more and more, better and better — and these words are stupid — it is more and more perfect, better and better perceived. That is the very principle of manifestation.
One experience came very fleetingly, but precisely enough to allow one to say, very clumsily, that — I was about to say the “flavour” of the Non-Manifest — the Non-Manifest has a special flavour because of the Manifest.
All this is just words, but that is all we have. Perhaps one day we shall have words or a language which can say these things properly; it is possible, but it will be always a translation.
There is a level here (pointing to the chest), where something plays with words, with images, with phrases, like this (shimmering, undulating gesture): that makes pretty pictures; it has a power of bringing you into contact with the Thing, which may be greater — at least as great, but perhaps greater — than here (pointing to the forehead), than the metaphysical expression — “metaphysical” is a manner of speaking. Images, that is to say, poetry. Here there is an almost more direct way of access to that inexpressible vibration. I see Sri Aurobindo’s expression in its poetic form, it has a charm and a simplicity — a simplicity and a sweetness and a penetrating charm — which brings you into direct contact much more intimately than all the things of the head.
When one is in this eternal Consciousness, to have a body or not to have a body, does not make much difference; but when one is what is called “dead”, does the perception of the material world remain clear and precise or does it become as vague and imprecise as the consciousness of the other worlds can be when one is on this side, in this world? Sri Aurobindo speaks of a game of hide-and-seek. But the game of hide-and-seek is interesting if one state of being does not preclude the consciousness of the other states of being.
Yesterday or the day before, throughout the day, from morning till night, something was saying, “I am — I am or I have the consciousness of the dead on earth.” I am translating it into words, but it was as if I was being told, “This is what the consciousness of a dead person is like, relative to the earth and physical things... I am a dead person living on earth.” According to the position of the consciousness — for the consciousness is always changing its position — according to the position of the consciousness, it was, “This is how dead people are, relative to the earth”; then, “I am absolutely like a dead person relative to the earth”; then, “I am living as a dead person lives in the consciousness of the earth”; then, “I am exactly like a dead person living on earth...” and so on. I went on behaving, speaking, acting as usual. But it has been like this for a long time. For a long time, for more than two years, I have been seeing the world like this (upward gesture from one level to another) and now I see it like this (downward gesture). I do not know how to explain this because there is nothing mentalised about it, and non-mentalised sensations have something hazy about them which is hard to define. But the words and the thought were a certain distance away (gesture around the head), like something that watches and evaluates, that is to say, which says what it sees — something that is all around. And today, two or three times, it was extremely strong — I mean that this state dominated the whole consciousness — a kind of impression or sensation or perception — but it is none of these: I am a dead person living on earth.
How to explain that?
And so, for example, with regard to sight, there is no objective precision (Mother makes a gesture of not seeing with the eyes.) I see through and by the consciousness. As regards hearing, I hear in a very different way; there is a kind of “discrimination” — it is not “discernment” — something in the perception which chooses, something which decides — decides, but not automatically — what is heard and what is not heard, what is perceived and what is not perceived. It already exists with sight but it is even stronger with hearing: for some things one can only hear a continuous hum and others are crystal-clear; others are vague, scarcely audible. With sight it is the same thing: everything is behind a luminous mist, as it were — very luminous, but still a mist, that is to say, there is no precision — and then, suddenly, there is something absolutely precise and clear, an extraordinarily precise vision of detail. Usually, the vision is the expression of the consciousness in things. That is to say, everything seems more and more subjective, less and less objective.... And they are not visions that impose themselves on the sight or sounds that impose themselves on the hearing; there is a kind of movement of consciousness which makes some things perceptible and others a kind of very vague background.
The consciousness chooses what it wants to see.
There is nothing personal — nothing personal. Of course there is a feeling of choice and decision, but there is no feeling of personal choice and decision. Besides, the “personal” becomes little more than the need to introduce this (Mother touches her hands). For example, eating is very queer, very queer.... It is as if someone were looking on at a body — which is not even something very precise and very definite, but a kind of conglomeration that holds together — and were looking on... at something that is happening! No, it is really a queer state. Today, it was very strong, it dominated the whole consciousness. And there are even moments when one has the feeling that the slightest thing would make you lose the contact (gesture of disconnection, as if the link with the body were broken), and it is only when one keeps very still and very indifferent — indifferent — that it can continue.
These experiences are always preceded by a kind of very intimate and very inward closeness to the Supreme Presence, with a kind of suggestion: “Are you ready for anything?” Naturally I reply, “Anything.” And the Presence becomes so marvellously intense that there is a kind of thirst in the whole being: that it should be like that constantly. Only That exists, only That has any reason to exist. And in the midst of it comes the suggestion: “Are you ready for anything?”
I am speaking of the body, not of the inner beings, but of the body.
And the body always says yes. It does this (gesture of surrender). no choice, no preference, not even aspiration, a total, total surrender. And then things like this come to me; all day yesterday, it was: “A dead person living on earth.” With the perception — not yet very marked, but quite clear — of the very great difference between this way of living and that of other people — all of them. It is not yet clear-cut or distinct or very precise, but it is very clear. It is very clear, very perceptible. It is another way of living.
Onemight be inclined to say that it is not a gain from the point of view of consciousness, since things fade away. I do not know, is it a gain?
It can only be a transition. It is a transitional state.
From the point of view of consciousness, it is a tremendous gain! Because every bondage, every attachment to outer things, all that is finished, it has fallen away completely — fallen away completely: an absolute freedom. That is to say, only That — the Supreme Master — is master. From this point of view, it can only be a gain. It is such a radical realisation.... This seems to be an absolute of freedom, something that is considered to be impossible to realise while leading an ordinary life on earth.
This corresponds to the experience of absolute freedom one has in the higher parts of the being when one is no longer at all dependent on the body. But what is remarkable — I insist strongly on this — is that the consciousness of the body has these experiences and it is a body which is still visibly here!
Obviously, there is nothing left of what gives “confidence in life” to human beings. Apparently there is no longer any support from the outer world, there is nothing but... the supreme Will. To translate this into plain words, well, the body has the feeling that it lives only because the supreme Lord wants it to live, otherwise it could not live.
Yes, but it seems to me that a state of perfection ought to embrace everything, that is to say, one could be in the supreme state without abolishing the material state.
But that does not abolish it!
But still you say that it is “far away”, that it is “behind a veil”, that it has lost its exactness and precision.
That is a purely human and superficial perception. I don’t at all feel that I have lost anything, on the contrary! I feel it is a much higher state than the one I had before.
Even from the material point of view?
What the Lord wants is done — that is all; that is the beginning and the end of it.
If He told me... Whatever He wants the body to do, it can do it; it no longer depends on physical laws.
What He wants to see, He sees, what He wants to hear, He hears.
Beyond all question.
And when He wants to see or hear materially, He sees and hears perfectly.
Oh! Perfectly. There are moments when the sight is more precise than it has ever been. But it is fleeting, it comes and goes; because, probably, it is only like an assurance of what is to come. But for example, the perception of the inner reality of people — not what they think they are or what they pretend to be or what they seem to be: all that disappears — but the perception of their inner reality is infinitely more precise than before. I see a photograph, for example; it is no longer a matter of seeing “through” something: I see almost nothing but what the person is. The “through” diminishes to such an extent that sometimes it does not exist at all.
Naturally, if a human will wanted to act on this body, if a human will said, “Mother must do this or Mother must do that, or she should be able to do this, she should be able to do that...” it would be completely disappointed; it would say, “She is no longer good for anything”, because the body would not obey it any more.... And human beings constantly exert their will on one another, or the human being himself receives suggestions and manifests them as his own will, without noticing that all that is the outer Falsehood.
There is a kind of certainty in the body that if even for a few seconds I were to lose contact — “I” means the body — with the Supreme, it would instantly die. Only the Supreme keeps it alive. That’s how it is. So, naturally, for the ignorant and stupid consciousness of human beings this is a pitiful condition — to me it is the true condition! Because for them, instinctively, spontaneously, in an absolute way, so to say, the sign of perfection is the power of life, ordinary life.... Well, that no longer exists at all — it has completely gone.
Yes, many times, several times, the body has asked the question, “Why do I not feel Thy Power and Thy Force in me?” And the reply has always been a smiling one — one puts it into words, but it is without words — the reply is always: “Patience, patience, for that to happen you must be ready.”
4 and 9 March 1966
1 Pralaya: Reabsorption of a world. (vissza)
2 117 — “Neither is it that I was not before nor thou nor these kings nor that all we shall not be hereafter.” Not only Brahman, but beings and things in Brahman are eternal; their creation and destruction is a play of hide-and-seek with our outward consciousness. (vissza)