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October 27, 1962

The Mother


(An unfortunate series of power cuts prevented the recording of most of this conversation, except for a few passages. Satprem noted down the missing parts from memory, and Mother then supplemented his notes with a number of comments and additions.)

We're going to build a little room on the terrace for the harmonium. I feel like making some experiments....

There used to be a bad attitude in the body, which always hampered my playing, and now that it has gone, I would like to see what happens. It was something in the subconscient standing in the way: everything you learn when you study music, that you can't play this note with that note and so forth and so on. I would tune in above and listen there, but those old subconscious habits kept interfering. That has all changed now and I would like to see what happens – it may yield only cacophony!

But what I play isn't music, I don't try to play music: it's simply a sort of meditation with sound.

I constantly hear something like great waves of music. I just have to withdraw a little, and there it is; I hear it. It is always there. It is music, but without sound! Great waves of music. And whenever I hear those waves, my hands get the urge to play. So I am going to make some experiments: be completely passive, hands inert, and try to transcribe it.

They said they were going to put some wires in through the ceiling to record automatically whenever I play. “That's your business,” I told them, “but don't expect to get music!”

I once went into the world of music, and what I heard there was so wonderful, so incredibly beautiful that the impact remained with me for hours after I woke up. It was incredible. Where is that world located?

I know it very well, I have been there frequently. It's at the very summit of human consciousness, on the borderline between what Sri Aurobindo calls the lower and the higher hemispheres. It is very high, very high.

I have studied this realm extensively.

It is a world of creation with several levels or degrees.

Yes, I'd like to understand how it works. I have to talk about it in the book.

The first zone you encounter is the zone of painting, sculpture, architecture: everything that has a material form. It is the zone of forms, colored forms that are expressed as paintings, sculptures, and architecture. They are not forms as we know them, but rather typal forms; you can see garden types, for instance, wonderfully colored and beautiful, or construction types.

Then comes the musical zone, and there you find the origin of the sounds that have inspired the various composers. Great waves of music, without sound. It seems a bit strange, but that's how it is.

But do you hear something when you play, or what?

When I play I generally hear what I am playing. It's hard to say.... It's not just an ordinary sound, it's a combination of sounds, and it's not... no, it's true, it's not the same sound but something like the essence of that sound. But for instance, I have a sort of feeling that what I am hearing should be expressed by a large orchestra.... I SEE it, you know, I see something like large orchestras around me, on my right, on my left – and I am supposed to transcribe it on a harmonium! It's like an orchestra made up of groups of musicians, with each group expressing one part of that combination, which is a much more complete sound than the ear can perceive. That's what it is. It's not something you can express just by humming a little tune, but a whole body of musical vibrations. And as I hear it, I see how it should be expressed. I see large orchestras around me. But it's another kind of vision; it's not the precise vision of the physical eye, but something very... it's how consciousness sees. How can I describe it! All you can say is that it's not our normal kind of vision, or hearing, either.

It's quite a total knowledge, which includes a vision, an awareness of the combination of sounds and how they should be expressed.

Beyond the musical zone lies thought: thoughts, organized thoughts for plays and books, abstractions for philosophies. But what used to interest me particularly were the combinations that give birth to novels or plays.

That is the third zone.

Does one hear sounds in the intellectual zone?

No, what you find there are thought formations that are expressed in each person's brain in his own language. There are thought combinations for novels, plays, even philosophical systems. They are combinations of pure thought, not formulated in any language, but they are automatically expressed in each one's brain according to his particular language. It is the domain of pure thought. That's where you work when you want to work for the whole earth; you don't send out thoughts formulated in words, you send out a pure thought, which then formulates itself in any language in any brain: in all those who are receptive. These formations are at anyone's disposal – nobody can say, “It's MY idea, it's MY book.” Anyone capable of ascending to that zone can get hold of the formations and transcribe them materially. I once made an experiment of that kind; I wanted to see what would happen, so I made a formation myself and let it go off on its way. And in the same year, two quite different people, who didn't even know each other, one in England and the other in America, got hold of my formation; the one in England wrote a book, while the one in America created a play. And circumstances so arranged themselves that both the book and the play found their way to me.

Higher up, there is a fourth zone, a zone of colored lights, plays of colored lights. That's the order: first form, then sound, then ideas, then colored lights. But that zone is already more distant from humanity; it is a zone of forces, a zone which appears as colored lights. No forms – colored lights representing forces. And one can combine these forces so that they work in the terrestrial atmosphere and bring about certain events. It's a zone of action, independent of form, sound and thought; it is above all that. A zone of active power and might you can use for a particular purpose – if you have the capacity to do so.

That's the highest zone.

Thus we have form, expressed in painting, sculpture or architecture; sound, expressed in musical themes; and thought, expressed in books, plays, novels, or even in philosophical and other kinds of intellectual theories (that's where you can send out ideas that will affect the whole world, because they influence receptive brains in any land, and are expressed by corresponding thoughts in the appropriate language). And above this zone, free of form, sound and though, is the play of forces appearing as colored lights. And when you go there and have the power, you can combine those forces so that they eventually materialize as creations on earth (it takes some time, it's rarely immediate).

But those great waves of music you hear, which you said were beyond sounds – are they part of that domain of luminous vibrations?

Yes.... But it's the higher level of the musical zone. Each of these zones contains several levels, and the top of the musical zone is already starting to be waves, waves of vibration. But it's still directly related to music, while those colored forces I am speaking of have to do with terrestrial transformations and actions – great actions. They are powers of action. This zone where you hear no sound eventually becomes sounds and music. It is the summit. Each zone contains several levels.

In short, when one rises to that Origin, one finds a single vibration, which can be expressed as music or thought or architectural or pictorial forms – is that right?

Yes, but it goes through specific transformations en route. It passes through one zone or another, where it undergoes transformations to adapt itself to the particular mode of expression. The waves of music are one particular mode of expression of those colored waves – they should really be called “luminous” waves, for they are self-luminous. Waves of colored light. Great waves of colored light.


All those zones of artistic creation are very high up in human consciousness, which is why art can be a wonderful tool for spiritual progress. For this world of creation is also the world of the gods; but the gods, I am sorry to say, have absolutely no taste for artistic creation.1 They feel absolutely no need for permanence in forms – they couldn't care less! When they want something, there it is – all they have to do is want it. When they wish a particular surrounding or atmosphere, it takes form all by itself at their wish. They get everything the way they want it, so they feel no need for fixed forms. Man, on the other hand, who doesn't get what he wants the way he wants it, must make an effort to create forms, and that's why he progresses – art is a great means of spiritual progress.

But about those great waves of music that interest me – I had the impression they must be located well above the world of thought....

It's not exactly like geography, you know!

But anyway, it's right on the border of the higher hemisphere.... It's the first expression of Consciousness as joy. I remember finding that same vibration of joy in Beethoven and Bach (in Mozart also, but to a lesser degree). The first time I heard Beethoven's concerto in D – in D major, for violin and orchestra... suddenly the violin starts up (it's not right at the beginning – first there's an orchestral passage and then the violin takes it up), and with the first notes of the violin (Ysaye was playing, what a musician!2), with the very first notes my head suddenly seemed to burst open, and I was cast into such splendor.... Oh, it was absolutely wonderful! For more than an hour I was in a state of bliss. Ysaye was a true musician!

And mind you, I knew nothing of all those worlds, I hadn't the slightest knowledge; but all my experiences came that way – unexpectedly, without my seeking anything. When I looked at a painting, same thing: something would suddenly open up inside my head and I would see the origin of the painting – and such colors!... One can get to that world directly from the vital, without going through all the mental gradations.

*   *

A little later:

...And even now, after all these years and a multitude of experiences, everything always seems new to me, as though the world were always new and I knew nothing. My nights.... When I get up nowadays I say, “Well! Here's something else I didn't know!” You'd think life would get into a bit of a rut after so many years, but no!

Perhaps I am moving as fast as the Lord!3


1 When she next saw Satprem, Mother added the following correction: “After you left, they came. It's not I who remembered – they MADE me remember! There was Saraswati saying, 'What about my sitar?' And Krishna, 'What about my flute?' (Mother laughs) There was another one also, I don't remember who. They were really upset! They told me right away, 'What are you talking about! We LOVE music.' All right. 'Fine,' I said (Mother laughs). It's true – Krishna is a great musician, and Saraswati is the perfection of expression.... Now that we have acknowledged their merits (Mother bows), go on with your reading.”


2 Ysaye (1838-1931): celebrated Belgian violinist, colleague of Rubinstein.


3 See conversation of October 6: the “rain of truth.”