July 18, 1961
66 – Sin is that which was once in its place, persisting now it is out of place; there is no other sinfulness.
I don't feel any inspiration.
Do you have a question?
Sin is said to be something no longer in its place. But has something like cruelty, for example, ever had a “place”?
Exactly what came to me – I receive all the questions people ask. The question arises immediately: if one kills out of cruelty, for instance, or inflicts pain out of cruelty, did that ever have a place?... For even though deformed in appearance, it is nevertheless (we always come back to the same thing) an expression of the Divine.
What lies behind, tell me?
Sri Aurobindo always said that cruelty was one of the things most repugnant to him, but he explained it as the deformation of an intensity. We could almost call it the deformation of an intensity of love – something not satisfied with half-measures, something driven to extremes (which is legitimate) – it's the deformation of the need for extremely strong sensations.
I have always known that cruelty, like sadism, is the need to cut through a thick layer of totally insensitive tamas1 by means of extremely violent sensation – an extreme is needed if anything is to be felt through that tamas. I was always told, for example (in Japan it was strongly emphasized to me), that the people of the Far East are very tamasic physically. The Chinese in particular are said to be the remnants of a race that inhabited the moon before it froze over and forced them to seek refuge on earth (this is supposed to account for their round faces and the shape of their eyes!).... Anyway (laughing), it's a story people tell! But they're extremely tamasic; their physical sensibility is almost nil – appalling things are required to make them feel anything! And since they naturally presume that what applies to them applies to everyone, they are capable of appalling cruelty. Not all of them, of course! But this is their reputation. Have you read Mirbeau's book? (I believe that's his name.) I read it sixty years ago – something on Chinese torture.
Yes, it's well-known.
But the Chinese are also great artists.
Yes. When I read that book (it was very well written), I understood the problem, and my understanding was confirmed when I went to Japan. Many Japanese also have a blunted sensibility (“blunted” in the sense that to feel anything they need extremely violent stimuli). Perhaps an explanation could be found along these lines.
But behind it all, the original problem remains unresolved: “Why has it become like this? Why this deformation? Why has it all been deformed?...” There are some very beautiful things behind, very intense, infinitely more powerful than we ourselves can even bear, marvelous things. But why has it all become... so dreadful here? That's what comes up immediately – it's why I told you I had no inspiration.
The notion of sin is something I don't understand, that I have never understood. To me, original sin seemed to be one of the most monstrous ideas people have ever had – sin and I just don't go together!
So, of course, I fully agree with Sri Aurobindo when he says there's no such thing as sin – that's understood, but....
Certain things can be called “sin,” if you like, such as cruelty. Well, the only explanation I see for such things is the deformation of the need or taste for extremely strong sensations. I have noticed that cruel people experience an Ananda in their cruelty – they find an intense joy in it. It is thereby legitimized. Only it's in such a deformed state that it's repugnant.
The idea that things are not in their place, mon petit, is something I understood even as a youngster, and it was eventually explained to me by Théon.
In his cosmogony, Théon accounted for the successive pralayas2 of the different universes by saying that each universe was an aspect of the Supreme manifesting itself: each universe was built upon one aspect of the Supreme, and all, one after the other, were withdrawn into the Supreme. He enumerated all the successively manifested aspects, and what an extraordinarily logical sequence it was! I have kept it some place, but I no longer know where. Nor do I remember exactly what number this universe has in the sequence, but this time it was supposed to be the universe which would not be withdrawn, which would, so to speak, follow an indefinite progression of Becoming. And this universe is to manifest Equilibrium, not a static but a progressive equilibrium.3 Equilibrium, as he explains it, is each thing exactly in its place: each vibration, each movement, each... and so on down the line – each form, each activity, each element exactly in its place in relation to the whole.
This is quite interesting to me because Sri Aurobindo says the same thing: that nothing is bad, simply things are not in their place – their place not only in space but in time, their place in the universe, beginning with the planets and stars, each thing exactly in its place. Then when each thing, from the most colossal to the most microscopic, is exactly in place, the whole Will PROGRESSIVELY express the Supreme, without having to be withdrawn and emanated anew. On this also, Sri Aurobindo based the fact that this present creation, this present universe, will be able to manifest the perfection of a divine world – what Sri Aurobindo calls the Supermind.
Equilibrium is the essential law of this creation – it is what permits perfection to be realized in the manifestation.
In line with this idea of things “in their place,” another question comes to me: with the descent of the Supermind, what exactly are the very first things that the supramental force will want to or is trying to dislodge?
The first things it will dislodge?
Yes, individually and cosmically, so that everything is in its place.
Will it dislodge anything?... If we accept Sri Aurobindo's idea, it will put each thing in its place, that's all.
One thing must inevitably cease: the Deformation, the veil of falsehood covering Truth, because all we see existing here is due to that. If the veil is removed, things will necessarily be completely different, completely: they will be as we experience them when we emerge individually from that deformed consciousness. When one comes out of that consciousness and enters the Truth-Consciousness, one is incredulous that such things as suffering, misery and death can exist; it's amazing, in the sense that (when one is truly on the other side)... one doesn't understand how all this can be happening. And, although this state of consciousness is habitually associated with the experience of the unreality of the world as we know it, Sri Aurobindo tells us that this perception of the world's unreality need not exist for the supramental consciousness: only Falsehood is unreal, not the world. And this is most interesting – the world has its own reality, independent of Falsehood.
I suppose this will be the first effect of the Supermind – perhaps even its first effect in the individual, because it will begin in individuals first.
This state of consciousness4 probably has to become constant, but that would pose a problem: how could one then keep in contact with the world as it is in its deformation? Because I have noticed that when this state is very strong in me, very strong, so strong that it can withstand everything bombarding it from outside, people don't understand a thing I say, NOTHING! Therefore, it would seem to cut off a useful contact.
What would it be like, for instance, to have a small supramental creation as a nucleus of action and influence radiating upon earth (to limit it to the earth)? Is it possible? It's easy to conceive of a superhuman nucleus – a creation of supermen, that is, of men who by virtue of evolution and transformation (in the true sense of the word) have succeeded in manifesting the supramental forces; yet since their origin is human, there is inevitably a contact; even if everything is transformed, even if their organs are transformed into centers of force, a sort of human coloration still remains. These are the beings who, according to tradition, will discover the secret of direct, supramental creation, bypassing the process of ordinary Nature. Then through them the true supramental beings will be born, who will necessarily have to live in a supramental world. But how would contact be made between these beings and the ordinary world? How to conceive of a transformation of nature sufficient to enable this supramental creation to take place on earth? I don't know.
Of course, we know that such a thing will require a considerable amount of time to be done, and it will probably go by stages, by degrees, with faculties appearing that at the moment we can't know or imagine, and which will change the conditions of the earth – this is looking ahead a few thousand years.
There is still this problem: is it possible to make use of the notion of space – I mean space on the planet earth?5 Is it possible to find a place where the embryo or seed of the future supramental world might be created?
What I myself have seen... was a plan that came complete in all details, but that doesn't at all conform in spirit and consciousness with what is possible on earth now (although, in its most material manifestation, the plan was based on existing terrestrial conditions). It was the idea of an ideal city, the nucleus of a small ideal country, having only superficial and extremely limited contacts with the old world. One would already have to conceive (it's possible) of a Power sufficient to be at once a protection against aggression or bad will (this would not be the most difficult protection to provide) and a protection (which can just barely be imagined) against infiltration and admixture.... From the social or organizational standpoint, these problems are not difficult, nor from the standpoint of inner life; the problem is the relationship with what is not supramentalized – preventing infiltration or admixture, keeping the nucleus from falling back into an inferior creation during the transitional period.
All who have considered the problem have always imagined some place like a Himalayan gorge, unknown to the rest of humanity, but this is no solution. No solution at all.
No, the only solution is occult power. But that.... Before anything at all can be done, it already demands a certain number of individuals who have reached a great perfection of realization. Granting this, a place is conceivable (set apart from the outside world – no actual contacts) where each thing is exactly in its place, setting an example. Each thing exactly in its place, each person exactly in his place, each movement in its place, and all in its place in an ascending, progressive movement without relapse (that is, the very opposite of what goes on in ordinary life). Naturally, this also means a sort of perfection, it means a sort of unity; it means that the different aspects of the Supreme can be manifested; and, necessarily, an exceptional beauty, a total harmony; and a power sufficient to keep the forces of Nature obedient: even if this place were encircled by destructive forces, for example, these forces would be powerless to act – the protection would be sufficient.
It would all require the utmost perfection in the individuals organizing such a thing.
It must be similar to what happened when the first men appeared.
Have we ever really known how the first humans were formed, the first mental realization? Were they isolated individuals, or were they in groups – did the phenomenon take place in a collective milieu or in isolation? I don't know. It may be analogous to the case of the coming supramental creation.
It isn't difficult to conceive of an individual in the solitude of the Himalayas or in a virgin forest beginning to create around himself his miniature supramental world – this is easy to imagine. But the same thing would be necessary: he would need to have attained such perfection that his power would act automatically to prevent any outside intrusion.
Because such beings would automatically become the target of outside attacks?
They would need to be automatically protected; that is, any foreign or opposing element should be kept from approaching.
There are stories like this, you know, about people who lived in an ideal solitude, and it's not at all impossible to imagine. When one is in contact with this Power, when it is within you, you can see that such things are... child's play! It even reaches the point where there is the possibility of changing certain things, of influencing vibrations and forms in the surrounding environment by contagion, so that automatically they begin to be supramentalized. All that is possible – but confined to the individual scale. While if we take the example of what is happening here, where the individual remains right in the midst of all this chaos.... That's the difficulty! Doesn't this very fact make a certain perfection in realization impossible to attain? But the other case, the individual isolated in the forest, is always the same thing – an example giving no proof that the rest will be able to follow; while what's happening here should already have a much broader radiating influence. At some point this has to happen – it MUST happen. But the problem still remains: can it happen simultaneously with or even before the supramentalization of the single individual?
The realization under community or group conditions would clearly be far more complete, integral, total and probably more perfect than any individual realization, which is always, necessarily – necessarily – extremely limited on the external material level, because it's only one way of being, one mode of manifestation, one microscopic set of vibrations that is touched.
But for the facility of the work, I believe there's no comparison!
But the problem remains: Buddha and all the rest have FIRST realized, then resumed contact with the world. That makes it very simple. But for the total realization of what I envisage, isn't it indispensable to remain in the world? ...
(Mother is absorbed for a while, gazing into the distance)
I am constantly seeing images! Not images, living things – like answers to questions. A magnificent peacock was taking shape (it's the symbol of victory here in India) and its tail opened out, and on it a construction appeared, like this construction of an ideal place.... It's a pity this subtle world can't be photographed! There ought to be photographic plates sensitive enough to do it. It has been tried. It would be interesting because it moves, it's like a movie.
All right, then. What did you want to ask?
I think you've already answered!
No, I don't remember; I went off – wandering.
I asked you about your Force, or the supramental Force; what initial action is it taking now?
Is it putting things in their places?
In my experience, it is; and it has come to the point where the more concentrated the Force, the more things turn up at the very moment they ought to, people come just when they should and do just what they ought to be doing, the things around me fall into place naturally – and this goes for the LEAST little detail. And simultaneously it brings with it a sense of harmony and rhythm, a joy – a very smiling joy in organization, as if everything were joyously participating in this restructuring. For example, you want to tell someone something and he comes to you; you need someone to do a particular work and he appears; something has to be organized – all the required elements are at hand. All with a kind of miraculous harmony, but nothing miraculous about it! Essentially it's simply the inner force meeting with a minimum of obstacles, and so things get molded by its action. This happens to me very often, VERY often; and sometimes it goes on for hours.
But it's rather delicate, like a very, very delicate clockwork, like a precision machine, and the least little thing throws everything out of gear. When someone has a bad reaction, for instance, or a bad thought, or an agitated vibration, or an anxiety – anything of this nature is enough to dissolve all the harmony. For me, it's translated straight-away into a malaise in my body, a very particular type of malaise; then disorder sets in, and the ordinary routine returns. So again I have to gather up, as it were, the Presence of the Lord and begin to infuse it everywhere. Sometimes it goes quickly, sometimes it takes longer; when the disorganization is a little more radical, it takes a little longer.
This eye [hemorrhage], for instance, resulted from such a disorder, a very dark force that someone allowed to enter, not deliberately, not knowingly, but through weakness and ignorance, always mingled, of course, with desire and ego and all the rest. (Without desire and ego, such things would find no access – but desire and ego are very widespread.) At any rate, that was plainly the cause and I sensed it immediately. Sometimes when it comes, it creeps up like this (Mother brings her hand to her throat), a black shadow strangling you. Yet inwardly nothing is affected at all, to such an extent that if I didn't pay attention to the purely external reaction, I wouldn't know anything had happened (it's the great Play); but externally the indication is immediate: half an hour later I had this eye hemorrhage. I was struggling against a wholly undesirable intrusion, and I knew it – although from an outer point of view, the cause was insignificant. It's not always the events we consider serious or important that produce the most harmful effects – far from it. Sometimes it's an altogether INSIGNIFICANT intrusion of falsehood, for some quite insignificant reason – what is commonly labeled a stupidity. This stems from the fact that the adverse forces are always lying in wait, ready to rush in at the least sign of weakness.
The incomprehension generated by doubt (the kind of doubt that always results from an egoistic movement) is very dangerous. Very dangerous. It's not even necessary to be in a psychic consciousness – even for an enlightened vital consciousness, it produces no effect; but HERE, in this material swarm....
But I don't see how all this work could be done in the solitude of the Himalayas or the forest. There's a great risk of entering into that very impersonal, universal consciousness where things are relatively easy – the material consequences are so far below that it doesn't much matter! One can act directly only in the MIDST of things.
Anyway, at the moment I have no choice – and I am not looking for any. Things are what they are and as they are; and taking them as they are, the work has to be done. The manner of working depends on the way things are.
But it's so lovely when this Harmony comes. You know, puttering about, arranging papers, setting a drawer in order.... It all sings, it's lovely, so joyous and luminous... so delightful! And all, all, all.... All material things, all activities, eating, dressing, everything becomes delightful when this harmony is there, delightful. Everything works out smoothly, it's so harmonious, there's no friction. You see... you see a joyous, luminous Grace manifesting in all things, ALL things, even those we normally regard as utterly unimportant. But then, if this Harmony withdraws, everything – exactly the SAME conditions, the SAME things, the SAME circumstances – becomes painful, tiresome, drawn out, difficult, laborious, oh!... It's like this, and like that (Mother tilts her hand from side to side as on a narrow frontier) like this, like that.
It makes you sense so clearly that things in themselves don't count. What we call “things in themselves” are of no true importance! What really counts is the relationship of consciousness to these things. And there's a formidable power in this, since in one instance you touch something and drop or mishandle it, while in the other it's so lovely, it works so smoothly. Even the most difficult movements are made without difficulty. It's an unheard-of power! We don't give it importance because it has no grandiose effects, it's not spectacular. Yes, there are indeed states of grace when one is in the presence of a great difficulty and suddenly has all the power needed to face it – yes, but that's something else. I am speaking of a power active in ordinary life.
There was an instance of this the other day: someone in a completely detestable mood wrote me a letter; it was impossible, I couldn't reply – I didn't know what to say. I simply applied the Force and remained like this (gesture of an offering to the Light). I said, “We shall see.” Several hours later (I knew I was going to see this person) I didn't even know if I was going to say I had read the letter – or rather if what I was going to say would result from having read it. I had come to that point – nothing. But that very morning a little circumstance occurred that... changed everything! And when I met the person I knew immediately what had to be said, what had to be done, and everything worked out.
That is ONE example. I mention it because it happened the day before yesterday, but this goes on all the time.
I have made it a habit to always do this (gesture of abandonment to the Light). When a problem comes up, I offer it to the Lord and then leave it. And the moment the solution is required, it comes – it comes in facts, in deeds, in movements.
I would be satisfied only if.... Can one ever be satisfied? At any rate, I would begin to be satisfied only if this were a constant and total condition, active in all circumstances and at every moment, day and night. But is it possible with this INUNDATION pouring in from outside? Constantly! While walking this morning I was (how to put it?) something of a witness, watching what was coming in from outside. One thing after another, one thing after another – what a mixture! From all sides, from everyone and everything and everywhere. And not only from here, but from far, far away on the earth and sometimes from far back in time, back into the past – things out of the past coming up, presenting themselves to the new Light to be put in their place. It's always that: each thing wanting to be put in its place. And this work has to be done constantly.... It's as if one keeps catching a new illness to be cured.
A fresh disorder to be straightened out.
Actually, we are very lazy.
Sri Aurobindo wrote that he was very lazy – that consoled me! We are very lazy. We would like (laughing) to settle back and blissfully enjoy the fruit of our labors!
So there, mon petit; it's time to go.
1 Tamas: the principle of inertia and obscurity.
2 Pralaya: The destruction of a universe at the end of a cycle. According to Hindu cosmology, the formation of each universe begins with an “age of truth” (satya-yuga) which slowly degenerates, like the stars, till there is no truth left at all; it becomes a “dark age”(kali-yuga) like ours, and ends with a cataclysm. Then a new universe is reborn out of this cataclysm and the cycle begins again. There is a correspondence here with a modern cosmological theory according to which a phase of contraction, of galaxies collapsing upon themselves, follows a phase of expansion and precedes a new explosion (“Big Bang”) of the “primal egg” – and so on, in a recurring and apparently endless and aimless series of cosmic births which, like our own human births, develop, attain some sort of “summit,” then collapse, always to begin again. According to Théon, our present universe is the seventh – but where is the “beginning”?
3 Note that modern astronomy is divided between the theory of endless phases of contraction-explosion-expansion, and the theory of a universe in infinite expansion starting with a “Big Bang,” which seems quite as catastrophic, since the universe is then plunging at vertiginous speed into an increasingly cold, empty, and fatal infinity, like a bullet released from all restraints of gravity, until... until what? According to astronomers, an exact measurement of the quantity of matter in a cubic meter of the present universe (one atom for every 400 liters of space) should enable us to decide between these two theories and learn which way it will be best for us to die. If there is more than one atom per 400 liters of space, this quantity of matter will create sufficient gravitation to halt the present expansion of galaxies and induce a contraction, ending with an explosion within an infinitesimal space. If there is less than one atom per 400 liters of space, the quantity of matter and thus the gravitational effect will be insufficient to retain the galaxies within their invisible net, and everything will spin off endlessly – unless we discover, with Mother, a third position, that of a “progressive equilibrium,” in which the quantity of matter in the universe proves in fact to be a quantity of consciousness, whose contraction or expansion will be regulated by the laws of consciousness.
4 When the veil of falsehood has gone: the supramental consciousness.
5 Questioned later about the meaning of this sentence, Mother laughed, “I said that from the other side! It was spoken from a dimension where the notion of space is no longer so concrete.”