March 17, 1961
Aphorism 57 -Because the tiger acts according to his nature and knows not anything else, therefore he is divine and there is no evil in him. If he questioned himself, then he would be a criminal.
What might be man's true, “natural” state? Why does he question himself?
Man on earth1 is a transitional being and as a consequence, in the course of his evolution, he has had several successive natures following an ascending curve which they will continue to follow until he touches the threshold of the supramental nature and is transformed into a superman. This curve is the spiral of mental development.
We tend to apply the word “natural” to all spontaneous manifestation not resulting from a choice or a preconceived decision – that is, with no intrusion of mental activity. That's why a man with an only slightly mentalized vital spontaneity seems more “natural” to us in his simplicity. But this naturalness bears a close resemblance to the animal's and is quite low on the human evolutionary scale. Man will not recapture this spontaneity free of mental intrusion until he attains the supramental level, until he goes beyond the mind and emerges into the higher Truth.
Up to that point, all his modes of being are naturally natural! But with the mind's intrusion, evolution was, if not falsified, then deformed, because by its very nature the mind was open to perversion and it became perverted almost from the start (or to be more exact, it was perverted by the asuric forces). And what appears unnatural to us now is this state of perversion. At any rate, it's a deformation.
You ask why man questions himself, but this is the nature of the mind!
Along with the mind came individualization, an acute sense of separation and a more or less precise feeling of a freedom of choice – all of that, all these psychological states, are the natural consequences of mental life and open the door to everything we see now, from the worst aberrations to the most rigorous principles. Man's impression of being free to choose between one thing and another is the deformation of a true principle that will be totally realizable only when the soul or psychic being becomes conscious in him; were the soul to govern the being, man's life would truly be a conscious expression of the supreme Will translated individually. But in the normal human state, such a case is still extremely rare and doesn't seem at all natural to ordinary human consciousness – it seems almost supernatural!
Man questions himself because the mental instrument is made for seeing all possibilities and because the human being feels he has freedom of choice... and the immediate consequences are the notions of good and evil, right and wrong, and all the ensuing miseries. This can't be called a bad thing: it's an intermediate stage – not a very pleasant stage, but nevertheless... it was certainly inevitable for a total development.
Between 2 and 3 o'clock this morning, I had an experience... something resurging from the subconscient: it was appalling, my child, the disclosure of an appalling inefficiency! Disgraceful!
The experience occurred in a place corresponding to ours [the main Ashram building], but immense: the rooms were ten times bigger, but absolutely... one can't say empty – they were barren. Not that there was nothing in them, but nothing was in order, everything was just where it shouldn't be. There wasn't any furniture so things were strewn here and there – a dreadful disarray! Things were being put to uses they weren't made for, yet nothing needed for a particular purpose could be found. The whole section having to do with education [the Ashram School] was in almost total darkness: the lights were out with no way to switch them on, and people were wandering about and coming to me with incoherent, stupid proposals. I tried to find a comer where I could rest (not because I was tired; I simply wanted to concentrate a little and get a clear vision in the midst of it all), but it was impossible, no one would leave me alone. Finally I put a tottering armchair and a footstool end-to-end and tried to “rest”; but someone immediately came up (I know who, I'm purposely not giving names) and said, “Oh! This won't do at all! It CAN'T be arranged like that!” Then he began making noise, commotion, disorder – well, it was awful.
To wind it all up, I went to Sri Aurobindo's room – an enormous, enormous room, but in the same state. And he appeared to be in an eternal consciousness, entirely detached from everything yet very clearly aware of our total incapacity.
He hadn't eaten (probably because no one had given him anything to eat), and when I entered, he asked me if it was possible to have some breakfast. “Yes, of course!” I said, “I'll go get it,” expecting to find it ready. Then I had to hunt around to find something: everything was stuffed into cupboards (and misplaced at that), all disarranged – disgusting, absolutely disgusting. I called someone (who had been napping and came in with sleep-swollen eyes) and told him to prepare Sri Aurobindo's breakfast – but he had his own fixed ideas and principles (exactly as he is in real life). “Hurry up,” I told him, “Sri Aurobindo is waiting.” But hurry? Impossible! He had to do things according to his own conceptions and with a terrible awkwardness and ineptitude. In short, it took an infinite amount of time to warm up a rather clumsy breakfast.
Then I arrived at Sri Aurobindo's room with my plates. “Oh,” said Sri Aurobindo, “it has taken so long that I will take my bath first.” I looked at my poor breakfast and thought, “Well, I went to so much trouble to make it hot and now it's going to get cold!” All this was so sordid, so sad.
And he seemed to be living in an eternity, yet fully, fully conscious of... of our total incapacity.
It was so sad to see how good-for-nothing we were that it woke me up, or rather I heard the clock strike (like the other day, I didn't count and leapt out of bed; but I quickly noticed that it was only 3 o'clock and lay back down). Then I began “looking” and told myself, “If we really have to emerge from all this... infirmity before anything can truly be well done, then we have quite a long road to travel!” It was pitiful, pitiful (first on the mental, then on the material plane), absolutely pitiful. And I was depending on these people! (Sri Aurobindo was depending on me and therefore on them.) “Good god,” I said, “if I only knew where things were kept! If they had just let me handle things, it could have been done quickly.” But no! All those people had to be involved Oust as we always depend on intermediaries in real life).
It made me wonder.
When I told you last time about that experience [of March 11, with Pavitra] the night I met you and was saying “good-bye,” I neglected to mention one very important point, the most important, in fact: I was leaving the subjection to mental functioning permanently behind That was the meaning of my “departure.”
For a very long time now I have been watching all the phases of the subjection to mental functioning come undone, one after another – for a very long time. That night was the end of it, the last phase: I was leaving this subjection behind and rising up into a realm of freedom. You had been very, very helpful, as I told you. Well, this latest experience was something else! It came to make me look squarely at the fact of our incapacity!
Can you imagine!
One thing after another, one thing after another! This subconscient is... interminable, interminable, if you only knew... I am skipping the details-such stupidity, oh! This person I won't name, who so clumsily prepared breakfast, told me, “Ah, yes, Sri Aurobindo is a little... morose today, he is depressed.” I could have slapped him: “You fool! You don't understand anything!” And Sri Aurobindo, although he didn't want to show it, was completely aware of our incapacity.
Now I should say-if it's any consolation – that each time something like this comes into my consciousness at night, things go better afterwards. it is not useless, some work has been done – cleaning, cleaning, cleaning out. But there's quite a lot to do!
Does this have an effect on people's consciousness – I mean their outer consciousness?
Ah... not much!
Yes and no in the sense that I do manage to bring about a general progress. Some individuals are receptive, sometimes astonishingly so, receiving the exact suggestion exactly where it's needed, but such a person is one in a hundred-even that is an exaggeration.
A sort of power over circumstances does come to me, however, as if I could rise above it all and give the subconscient a bit of a work-over. Naturally this has some results: entire areas are brought under control. That's the most important thing. Individuals get the repercussions later because they are very... very coagulated, a bit hard! A lack of plasticity.
Take the case of this man I'm not naming – I've been training him, working with him, for more than thirty years and I still haven't managed to get him to do things spontaneously, according to the needs of the moment, without all his preconceived ideas. That's the point where he resists: when things have to be done quickly he follows his usual rule and it takes... forever! This was illustrated strikingly that night. I told him, “Just look: it's there – it's THERE – hurry up and warm it a little and I'll go.” Ah!... He didn't protest, didn't say anything, but he did things exactly according to his own preconceptions.
It's a terrible slavery to the lower mind, and so widespread! Oh, all these goings-on at the School, my child, all the teaching, all the teachers ....2 Terrible, terrible, terrible! I was trying to turn on the switches to give some light and not one of them worked!
Of course, these scenes are slightly exaggerated because they are seen in isolation from the rest; within the whole many things crisscross and complete each other, diminishing each other's importance. But in an experience like last night's, things are taken singly and shown in isolation, as through a magnifying glass. And after all... it's a good lesson.
Inefficiency.... All right, then.
And it all exists PRIMARILY because each individual is shut up in his own little personal formation (Mother forms an eggshell), a formation of the most ordinary mind, the mind that fabricates the details of everyday life; it's like being cramped into a narrow prison.
1 Satprem later asked if this “on earth” wasn't superfluous and Mother replied: “This precision is not superfluous; I said ‘on earth’ meaning that man does not belong only to the earth: in his essence, man is a universal being, but he has a special manifestation on earth.”
2 Here, Mother had a passage deleted.