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September 28, 1963

Nyomtatóbarát változat

The Mother



Do you remember Savitri's debate with Death [“The Debate of Love and Death”]?... According to it, Sri Aurobindo seems to be saying that Disorder arose when Life entered Matter.

(Mother leafs through her thick translation notebook)

Quoique Dieu ait fait le monde pour Sa félicité,

Un Pouvoir ignorant en a pris charge et a semblé être Sa Volonté

[Although God made the world for his delight,

An ignorant Power took charge and seemed his Will]

In other words, that Power assumed the appearance of God's Will.

Et la profonde fausseté de la Mort a maîtrisé la Vie.

Tout devint le jeu d'un Hasard simulant le Destin.

[And Death's deep falsity has mastered Life.

All grew a play of Chance simulating Fate.]


And before, Sri Aurobindo writes:

Ô Mort, ceci est le mystère de ton règne...

[O Death, this is the mystery of thy reign.]

He seems to imply it's only on earth:

Dans le champ anormal et tragique de la terre,

Portée dans son voyage sans but par le soleil

Au milieu des marches forcées de grandes étoiles muettes,

Une obscurité occupa les champs de Dieu...

[In earth's anomalous and tragic field

Carried in its aimless journey by the sun

Mid the forced marches of the great dumb stars,

A darkness occupied the fields of God,]

(Mother repeats)

Une obscurité occupa les champs de Dieu,

Et le monde de la Matière fut gouverné par ta forme.

[A darkness occupied the fields of God,

And Matter's world was governed by thy shape.]

The shape of Death.

Ton masque a couvert la face de l'Eternel

[Thy mask has covered the Eternal's face,]

It's marvelous!

La Félicité qui fit le monde s'est endormie.

Abandonnée dans l'immensité elle sommeilla:

Une transmutation mauvaise s'empara

De ses membres jusqu'à ce qu'elle ne se reconnût plus.

[The Bliss that made the world has fallen asleep.

Abandoned in the Vast she slumbered on:

An evil transmutation overtook

Her members till she knew herself no more.]


And so on, a whole passage. And he seems to imply that it's when Life entered inert Matter that an ignorant Power... what I read at the beginning:

Un Pouvoir ignorant en a pris charge et a semblé être Sa Volonté

Et la profonde fausseté de la Mort a maîtrisé la Vie.

[An ignorant Power took charge and seemed his Will

And Death's deep falsity has mastered Life.]

Consequently, according to this, Death would exist only on the earth.


That's where I am in my translation. (Mother closes her notebook)

What are your conclusions?

I'll have to go to the end to understand what he wants to demonstrate.

You see, I was always under the impression that the earth was a symbolic representation of the universe in order to concentrate the Work on one point so that it could be done more consciously and deliberately. And I was always under the impression that Sri Aurobindo too thought that way. But here... I had read Savitri without noticing this. But now that I read it and I am so immersed in that problem... In other words, it's as if it were THE question given me to resolve.

I noticed it while reading.

(long silence)

It would seem to legitimize or justify those who want to escape entirely from the earth's atmosphere. The idea would be that the earth is a special experiment of the Supreme in His universe; and those who are not too keen on that experiment (!) prefer to get out of it (to say things somewhat offhandedly).

The difference is this: In one case, the purpose of the earth is a concentration of the Work (which means it can be done more rapidly, consciously and perfectly here), and so there is a serious reason to stay on and do it. In the other case, it's just one experiment amidst thousands or millions of others; and if that experiment doesn't particularly appeal to you, to want to get out of it is legitimate.

I don't see how it would be possible for one point of the Supreme not to be the whole Supreme. If there is a difficulty here, it's a difficulty for the WHOLE, isn't it?

Not necessarily.

Why should there be something apart from the rest?

It all depends, in fact, (laughing) on what He is driving at!

We can very well conceive that He may be carrying on some very different experiments. And so you could go from one experiment to another, you see.

It would be as Buddha said: it's attachment or desire that keeps you here, otherwise there's no reason for you to stay here.

(Satprem protests wordlessly)

Everything is possible to me, you know, absolutely everything, even the seemingly most contradictory things – really, I am totally unable to raise a mental or logical or reasonable objection either to this or to that. But the question... (Mother leaves her sentence unfinished). That is to say, the Lord's Will is very clear to Him, and (laughing) the whole thing is to unite with that Will and know it.

It had always seemed to me that way [the earth as a symbolic point of concentration], but I am so convinced that Sri Aurobindo saw things more truly and totally than anyone did that, naturally, when he says something, you tend to consider the problem!

I don't know, I haven't reached the end of Savitri yet. Because I notice (rereading it after the space of a few months, barely two years) that it's altogether something else than the first time I read it. Altogether something else: there is in it infinitely more than what I had experienced; my experience was limited, and now it's far more complete (maybe if I reread it in a year or two, it would be still more complete, I don't know), but there are plenty of things that I hadn't seen the first time.

Perhaps that passage I've just read is only one aspect?... I will see when I reach the end.

What he announces, and what I am sure of, is that the Victory will be won on the earth and that the earth will become a progressive being (eternally progressive) in the Lord – that's understood. But it doesn't preclude the other possibility. The future of the earth he has announced clearly, and it's understood that such is the future of the earth; only, if that possibility [of death as an exclusively earthly phenomenon] is what we could term “historically” correct, it would sort of legitimize the attitude of those who get away from it. How is it that Buddha, who undeniably was an Avatar, laid so much stress on Deliverance as the conclusion of things? He who stayed behind only to help others... to get away faster. Then that means he saw only one side of the problem?...

Oh, yes!

But if there is a whole universe, thousands of universes with altogether different modes, and if to be here is merely a matter of CHOICE... then the choice is free, of course – there are those who like conquest and victory, and those others who like doing nothing.

But Buddha represented only one stage of consciousness. AT THAT TIME it was good to follow that path, therefore...

We can conceive it was a particular necessity within the whole, of course. But these are all conceptions, it's still something mental – I recently had in my hands a quotation from Sri Aurobindo in which he said that there is “no problem the human mind cannot solve if it wants to.” (Laughing) There is no problem that the mind cannot solve if it applies itself to it! But I don't care, I have no need of mental logic – no need. And it would have no effect on my action – that's not what I want, not at all! It's only because there is that increasingly acute contradiction between the Truth and what is. It's becoming painfully acute. You know, that suffering, that general misery is becoming almost unbearable.

There was a time when I looked at all that with a smile – a long time. For years and years it was a smile, the way you smile at a childish question. Now, I don't know why it has come... it has been THRUST on me like a sort of acute anguish – which certainly is necessary to get out of the problem.

To get out, I mean, to cure, to change – not to flee. I don't like flight.

That was my major objection to the Buddhists: all that you are advised to do is merely to give you an opportunity to flee – that's not pretty.

But change, yes.


There are some lines [in Savitri] that all of a sudden are so magnificent! They come with such power, but once written down, that's not it any more.

For example, you SEE that image of the mask of Death covering the Supreme's face.

It's marvelous.

So intense.

And then that ignorant Power that took charge of the earth and made it... that “seemed,” SEEMED the Supreme's Will.

It's so pregnant with meaning.