March 6, 1963
(Regarding an old Playground Talk of December 4, 1957, in which Mother asked: “Will there be a gradual transition from what we are now to what our inner spirit aspires to become, or will there be a break, will we have to leave our present human form behind until a new form emerges – an emergence whose process we cannot foresee, of a new form without any connection to what we are today? Can we expect this body, our means of manifestation on earth until now, to be transformed progressively into something capable of expressing higher life, or will we have to abandon this form altogether in order to take on another one not yet born on earth?” Mother adds:)
Why not both?
Both forms will be at the same time. One does not preclude the other.
Yes, but will the one be transformed into the other?
It will be transformed and will be an outline, as it were, of the new one. When this outline comes into being, the other, the perfect form, will appear. Because both have their own beauty and purpose, and so both will be there.
The mind always tries to make an exclusive choice or decision – that's not the way. Even the totality of what we are able to imagine is very little compared to what will be. The truth is, everyone with an intense aspiration and inner certitude will be called to realize it.
Everywhere, in all fields, always and forever, all is possible. And all that is possible WILL BE at a given moment – a moment that may be short or long, but all will be.
Just as they found many sorts of transient possibilities that existed between animals and man, so too there will be many different possibilities: each one will try in his own way. And all that together will help prepare for the future realization.
The question we could ask is: Will the human species be like those species that met with extinction? Some species became extinct (though not species that lasted as long as the human species, as far as I know (?), and also not those which had in them the seed of progress, a possibility of progress). The impression is rather that evolution will follow a curve drawing nearer and nearer to a higher species, and maybe all that is still too close to the lower species will fall away, just as those species fell away in the past.
We always forget that not only is everything possible – everything, even the most contradictory things – but every possibility is given at least one moment of existence.
(Then Mother takes up the aphorisms to be prepared for the next “Bulletin”:)
84 – The supernatural is that the nature of which we have not attained or do not yet know, or the means of which we have not yet conquered. The common taste for miracles is the sign that man's ascent is not yet finished.
85 – It is rationality and prudence to distrust the supernatural; but to believe in it is also a sort of wisdom.
86 – Great saints have performed miracles; greater saints have railed at them; the greatest have both railed at them and performed them.
87 – Open thy eyes and see what the world really is and what God; have done with vain and pleasant imaginations.
Do you have any questions?
Yes, there are two types of question....
There are two very different things.
First, one may ask: What is a miracle? Because Sri Aurobindo often says that “there is no such thing as a miracle,” but at the same time, in “Savitri,” for example, he says, “All's miracle here and can by miracle change.”1
It depends which way you look at it: from this side or from the other side.
People only call miracles things they can't explain clearly, in mental terms. From that point of view, innumerable things that happen can be said to be “miracles,” because you can't explain the why or the how.
What would a real miracle be, then?
I don't see what a real miracle can be, because what's a miracle, ultimately?
A real miracle... It's only the mind that has the notion of miracle, because following its own logic, the mind decides that given this and that condition, this or that circumstance can or cannot be. But these are merely the mind's limitations. Because from the Lord's point of view, how could there be a miracle? All is but Himself objectifying Himself.
Here we come to the great problem of the road we travel, the eternal Road Sri Aurobindo refers to in Savitri. It is easy to imagine, of course, that what was first objectified had an inclination to objectification. The first point to accept, a logical point considering the principle of evolution, is that the objectification is progressive, it is not complete for all eternity.... (silence) It's very hard to express, because we cannot free ourselves from our habit of seeing it as a finite quantity unfolding indefinitely and of thinking that only with a finite quantity can there be a beginning. We always have an idea (at least in our way of speaking) of a “moment” (laughing) when the Lord decides to objectify Himself. And put that way, the explanation is easy: He objectifies Himself gradually, progressively, with, as a result, a progressive evolution. But that's just a manner of speaking. Because there is no beginning, no end, yet there is a progression. The sense of sequence, the sense of evolution and progress comes only with the Manifestation. And only when we speak of the earth can we explain things truthfully and rationally, because the earth had a beginning – not in its soul, but in its material reality.
A material universe probably has a beginning, too.
So looking at it that way, for a given universe, a miracle would mean the sudden appearance of something from another universe. And for the earth (which brings the problem down to a manageable size), a miracle means the sudden appearance of something that doesn't belong to the earth – and this entry of a principle that doesn't belong to the earth as a finite world causes a radical and instant change.
But then again, as the saying goes, the ENTIRE whole is found in principle at the very core of each part; so even this miracle isn't possible.
We might say that the sense of miracle can only belong to a finite world, a finite consciousness, a finite conception. It is the abrupt, unexpected entry – or appearance or intervention or penetration – of something that did not exist in this physical world. So it follows that any manifestation of a will or consciousness belonging to a realm more infinite and eternal than the earth is necessarily a miracle on the earth. But if you go beyond the finite world or the understanding proper to the finite world, then miracle does not exist. The Lord can play at miracles if He enjoys it, but there's no such thing as a miracle – He plays all possible games.
You can begin to understand Him only when you FEEL it that way, that He plays all possible games – and “possible” not according to human conception but according to His own conception!
Then there is no room for the miracle, except for a pretend miracle.
If what belongs to the supramental world materialized abruptly, rather than through a slow evolution... that would be something which man, as a mental being, even if his mentality, his mental domain, were brought to perfection, could call a miracle, for it is the intervention in his conscious life of something he doesn't consciously carry within him. The taste for miracles, which is very strong (much stronger in children or in hearts that have remained childlike than in highly mentalized beings), is basically the faith that the aspiration for the Marvelous will come true, that things beyond all that we may expect of normal life will come true.
In fact, for education, people should always encourage both tendencies side by side: the thirst for the Marvelous, the seemingly unrealizable, for something that fills you with a sense of divinity, while at the same time encouraging, in the perception of the world as it is, an exact, correct and sincere observation, the abolition of all imaginings, a constant control, and a most practical and meticulous feeling for exactness in details. Both tendencies should go side by side. Generally, people kill one with the idea that it's necessary in order to develop the other – which is totally erroneous. The two can coexist, and as knowledge grows, a moment comes when you understand that they are two aspects of the same thing, namely, a clear vision, a superior discernment. But instead of the vision and discernment being limited and narrow, they become absolutely sincere, correct, exact – AND immense, embracing an entire field that's not yet part of the concrete Manifestation.
This is very important from an educational point of view.
To see the world as it is, accurately, starkly, in the most practical and down-to-earth way, and to see the world as it can be, with the highest and freest vision, filled with hope and aspiration and a marvelous certainty – these are the two poles of discernment. All the most splendid, marvelous, powerful, expressive and total things we are able to imagine are nothing compared to what they can be; and at the same time, our minute observation of the smallest detail can never be sufficiently exact. Both things must go together. When you know this (gesture below) and you know That (gesture above), you are able to make the two meet.
This is the best possible use of the need for miracles. The need for miracles is a gesture of ignorance: “Oh, I wish it were that way!” It's a gesture of ignorance and impotence. On the other hand, those who tell you, “You live in a world of miracles,” know only the lower end of things (and quite imperfectly at that), and they are impervious to anything else.
We should turn this need for miracles into a conscious aspiration to something – something that already is, that exists, and that will be manifested WITH THE HELP of all those aspirations: all those aspirations are necessary, or rather, looking at it in a truer way, they are an accompaniment – a pleasant accompaniment – to the eternal unfolding.
Basically, people with a very strict logic tell you, “Why pray? Why aspire, why ask? The Lord does what He wills and will always do what He wills.” It's perfectly obvious, it goes without saying, but this fervor, “Lord, manifest Yourself!” gives His manifestation a more intense vibration.
Otherwise He would never have made the world as it is – there is a special power, a special joy, a special vibration in the world's intensity of aspiration to become again what it is.
And that is why – partly, fragmentarily why – there is evolution.
An eternally perfect universe, eternally manifesting eternal perfection, would lack the joy of progress. This I feel very intensely. Very intensely. We see no farther than the tip of our nose, not even one second of Infinity, and that second doesn't contain all that we'd like to experience and know, so we complain, “Oh, no! This world is no good.” But if we come out of our second into the Whole, immediately we feel so intensely all that the need for progress has brought to the Manifestation.
And yet... yet it is still limited to the receiving instrument. There comes a point when even the creative Force of this universe feels very small if It doesn't merge, doesn't unite with the creative Force of all other universes.
There too, there is a constant ascent or progression in identification.
(Mother suddenly turns to Satprem)
You're not going to put all that in?!
But... yes, of course!
(Laughing) No, cut out all the last part.
It's late now, otherwise I might have asked you a question.
Go ahead. What question?
Why didn't Sri Aurobindo or you make more use of miracles as a means to overcome the resistances of the outer human consciousness? Why this self-effacement towards the outside, this sort of nonintervention, as it were, or unobstrusiveness?
In Sri Aurobindo's case, I only know what he told me several times: what people call “miracles” are just interventions in the physical or vital worlds. And those interventions are always mixed with ignorant or arbitrary movements.
But the number of miracles Sri Aurobindo performed in the Mind is incalculable. Of course, only if you had a very honest, sincere and pure vision could you see them – I saw them. Others too saw them. But he refused (this I know), he refused to perform any vital or material miracle, because of the admixture.
My own experience is like this: in the world's present state, a direct miracle (vital or material, that is) must necessarily involve a number of fallacious elements which we cannot accept – those miracles are necessarily fallacious miracles. And we cannot accept that. At least I always refused to do so. I've seen what people call miracles. I saw many with Madame Théon, for instance, but it allowed a host of things to exist that to me are inadmissible.
I don't know if that's the true reason, I am not sure if the reason isn't just that we were not supposed to do miracles.
I could say a lot on the subject, but... At any rate, perhaps I'll tell you one day, but it can't be used for the Bulletin — these aren't public matters.
But what people call “miracles” nowadays are almost always performed by beings of the vital world, or by men in relation with such beings, so there's a mixture – it accepts the reality of certain things, the truth of certain things that aren't true. And it works on that basis. So it's unacceptable.
Some other day I'll tell you more, though what I'll have to say will be personally to you, for the Agenda, it just won't do for the Bulletin. There you are.
1 Savitri, I.V.85.