September 26, 1962
(After listening to a passage from Satprem's manuscript:)
It's very good!
I'd like to see their faces... it would be funny.
After this, I go on to Alipore: the Supraconscient.
It's going to be fascinating.
No, it's very good.
It will be a beautiful book – unusual. It's an original way of presenting things. Interesting, mon petit.
One day when you have time, I'll have to ask you some questions. Because for the Supraconscient, some things aren't too clear in my mind.
You may ask me questions, but you will find all the answers in what he has written, don't you think?
Yes and no.
What do you want to know?
I would especially like to understand the difference between the overmind and the Supermind – to understand it concretely, not abstractly.
The overmind isn't part of the intellect. It's the domain of the gods.
It is the domain of the gods, and that's what has been ruling the earth. All the gods men have known, worshipped and had contact with are there.
Yes, a domain of gods, with godlike lives and godlike ways – it's not the Supermind.
Yes, precisely – but what exactly makes the difference?
I don't believe the gods have access to the Supermind.
Yes, the gods stop at the overmind.
I am unfamiliar with the purely Hindu traditions, but the gods are the beings the Vedas and people of Vedic times were in touch with – at least I think so. I learned what I know about the gods before coming here, through the other tradition, the Chaldean. But Théon used to say that this tradition and the Vedic (which he knew well) were outgrowths of a more ancient tradition common to both. The story goes, according to him, that the first Emanations, who were perfectly independent, separated themselves from the Supreme in their action, creating all the disorder – that's what caused the creation's disorder. Afterwards the gods were emanated, to repair the evil that had been wrought and to organize the world according to the supreme Will. Of course, this is a childlike way of putting it, but it's comprehensible. So all these gods work in harmony and order. That's what the ancient tradition says.
As far as I've understood, the Indian tradition has embraced everything that came from the first Emanations, since all the gods of destruction, of unconsciousness and of suffering are included in its pantheon.
In the end, I think it's up to each one to name what he wants the way he wants. That's how I have always felt. Even in Hindu tradition it is written: “Man is chattel for the gods; beware of the gods.”
All this is merely a question of language to me – words to suit each one according to his nature.
I've had conscious contacts with all the beings of the tradition Théon made known to me, and with all the beings described in Indian tradition; in fact, as far as I know I've had contacts with all the deities of all the religions. There's a gradation (gesture of levels). These beings are found all the way from... there are even some in the vital; in the mental realm, man has deified many things: he has readily made gods out of whatever didn't seem exactly like him. If you are eclectic, you can have contacts with them all. And they all have their own reality and existence.
This region just overlooks the earth and the mind (including the very highest mind). But evolution – I mean TERRESTRIAL evolution, with its particular rhythm which is more condensed, more concentrated and, you could say, more focused than universal evolution as a whole – this terrestrial evolution has, with the human species, created a kind of higher intellectuality capable of passing through the overmental region, the region of the gods, and reaching a higher Principle directly.
But this overmental region, this region of the gods with the power to govern the universe and, PARTIALLY, the earth, does have its own reality. You can come into contact with it and use it; the Vedic “forefathers” used it, occultists use it, even Tantrics use it. But there's another path which, distrusting the gods, bypasses them through a kind of intellectual asceticism, as it were, wary of forms, of images, and differing expressions, which rises straight as an arrow, proud and pure, towards the supramental Light. That is a living experience.
Sri Aurobindo preached the integral yoga which includes everything, so one can have all the experiences. Indeed, the universe was clearly created as a field of experience. Some people prefer the short, straight and narrow paths – that's their business. Others like to dawdle along the way – and that's their business! And some are drawn to have all the experiences, and thus they often wander for a long time through the overmental world. And of course, the vast majority of those who have RELIGIOUS aspirations are thus put in touch with various deities, where they stop – it's enough for them.
But everything I've just said is only one tiny part of the whole story.
Actually, this domain of the gods belongs to our side, although on a godlike scale: with the gods' power, their possibilities, their consciousness, their freedom; and their immortality, too. In other words, a godlike life – I think most human beings would be more than satisfied with it!
And as all the stories tell us, sometimes the gods come to earth to have some fun. I know that some come and take on a human body to have a psychic being – but not all. Most of them simply enjoy having human contact. In any case, they have bodies in their own domain – there's no sense of being bodiless. They have bodies – immortal ones.
Yes, but in the Supermind as well?...
But the gods don't go to the Supermind!
No, what I mainly want to know is the difference when you cross to the other side, into the Supermind – the difference in vision between the Supermind and the overmind.
I don't know what Sri Aurobindo would tell you....
This is just what I am observing these days. To me, the overmental consciousness is a magnified consciousness: far lovelier, far loftier, far more powerful, far happier, far... with lots of “far more's” to it. But.... I can tell you one thing: the gods don't have the sense of Oneness. For instance, in their own way they quarrel among themselves, which shows they have no sense of Oneness, no sense of all being one, of all being various expressions of the Divine – the unique Divine. So they are still on this side, but with magnified forms, and powers beyond our comprehension: the power to change form at will, for example, or to be in many places at the same time – all sorts of things that poor human beings can only dream of having. The gods have it all. They live a divine life! But it's not supramental.
The Supermind is knowledge – Pure Knowledge. Yes, it is knowing – knowing what is to be known.
There is no longer a play BETWEEN oneself and things, it's.... Truly, the sign of the Supermind is Oneness. Not a sum of a lot of different things, but, on the contrary, a Oneness... at play with Itself. There's nothing of the way gods relate to each other and the world, for they are still part of the realm of diversity, though FREE from Ignorance. They don't have Ignorance, they don't have what we human beings have here. They have no Ignorance, they have no Unconsciousness, but they have the sense of diversity and of separation.
What about Sri Aurobindo's experience at Alipore, then? You know, that well-known experience when he saw Narayana in the prisoners, Narayana in the guards, Narayana everywhere?...
That is the Supreme. Oneness.
Is it a supramental experience or....
It is supramental.
Yes, the supramental experience. He called it Narayana because he was Indian.
It's supramental, not overmental?
It's like the message of the Gita as Sri Aurobindo explained it: not overmental, but supramental. It is Oneness, the experience of Oneness.
The experience of the gods has never been more than a distraction for me – an amusement, a pleasant diversion; none of it seems essential or indispensable. You can treat yourself to the luxury of all these experiences, and they increase your knowledge and your power, your this and your that, but it's not particularly important. THE thing is altogether different.
We can do without the gods. We can have access to the Supermind without any of these experiences, they're not indispensable. But if you want to know and experience the universe, if you want to be identified with the Supreme in His expression, well, all this is part of His expression, in varying degrees and with varying powers. It's all part of His experience. So why not treat yourself to that luxury? It's very interesting, very interesting – but not indispensable.
I think that once you are identified with the Supreme and He has chosen you to do a work on earth, then He quite naturally grants you all these things, because it increases your power of action, that's all. That's all.
As for me, there are no more problems, no more problems!
This classification [of the planes of consciousness] is very convenient and necessary at a given moment, especially when you are ascending and awakening; but afterwards....
Sri Aurobindo didn't put too much emphasis on the Overmind. The one significant point is that the Overmind has ruled the world through the different religions. And it is the dwelling place of all the gods, all the beings humans have made into gods in their religions. Those beings exist in their own world, and some humans, coming in touch with them, have been overwhelmed by their powers and their superiority, and have made gods and religions out of them.
But it's better not to emphasize this [in your book]. As I have said, we can bypass that plane, or even pass through without knowing it. It interested me to read in the Vedas that if you don't ascend the way you're supposed to, if you try to bypass the gods, then unpleasant things happen to you and your way is blocked – do you remember that?1 That gives you an idea of what it is. It's like an intermediary zone, far superior to the earth, but still intermediary. Some have tried to cross it without stopping; and there, they say, you run into trouble. Personally, I am not sure, I can only speak of my own experience: there was always a sense of fraternity – as you can imagine! I knew them, I was on friendly terms with them, so there was no question of bypassing them or not!
But I have a strong impression that that world is still a magnified version of our own, and part of the old path; it has nothing to do with the Supramental Creation, which will bring to earth the sense of the Supreme and the Unique.
Basically, it's part of the old path, a consequence of all that has happened, of the whole universal formation as we know it. People who believe in essential Evil would say it's a consequence of “the accident” of creation. But is it an accident? I have my doubts. It has yet to be revealed. And we won't know until... until it's over.
I am speaking in riddles, but what else can I do!...
I mean that the why and the how of it won't be known until... until the curve is completed.
But the gods belong to the present curve. The overmind belongs to this curve.
Those gods are all very nice! For some people they're unbearable at times (Mother laughs), but they're really very nice! They have their faults, they have their good points, but with me they have always been very nice!
No more (Mother makes an X across her mouth).
(Later, Mother tries to remember a word that struck her while listening to Satprem read his manuscript on Sri Aurobindo:)
...It's strange, I realize that I listen with a completely different type of consciousness. Nothing is left here (pointing to the forehead), all that comes there is sound, but I listen elsewhere.
I have no physical memory – I don't remember at all. But I had the impression.... I saw a word turning into living bluish light, so I thought, “Ah, a good word for my translation!” (Mother again tries to remember, then gives up.)
Anyway, the important thing is what you told me: the experience at Alipore is supramental.
Oh, yes! He used the word Narayana because he hadn't yet developed his own terminology; but he isn't referring to the gods: it's the supramental experience.
(A few days later Mother remarks, concerning her “forgetfulness” and her way of hearing “elsewhere”:)
And sometimes I hear a word that isn't even close to what was said!
For when I try to remember, I see a light, you understand – it came with a light. It was a white light fringed with blue. So maybe you said some word and I heard it “elsewhere.”
I still see the same thing: it was white and fringed with blue; I said bluish, but to be exact, it was white fringed with blue.
Sometimes that happens to me when I read English for my translation: suddenly certain things come [from elsewhere], so I look for a translation, and when I want to refer back to the English text, I can't find the word I had seen at all – I don't find it!
So don't pay any attention! (Laughing) The doctors think I am cracking up!
1 This must refer to the colloquy of Rishi Agastya and Indra (The Secret of The Veda, Cent. Ed., X. 241), commented on by Mother in the 1961 Agenda (Vol. II, p. 37).