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The Mother


Volume 3

July 7, 1962

(Mother listens to Satprem read some passages from his new book on Sri Aurobindo. The first book, Sri Aurobindo and the Transformation of the World, was judged “abstract and nebulous” by the Paris publisher. Mother comments:)

They probably won't understand anything.

For me, the other book was more self-evident.

Yes, for me too. Writing it was more intense; I have no sense of inspiration with this one.

My idea was to stick to the bare facts, to tell stories from Sri Aurobindo's life, the Ashram, things like that.

This is still... (gesture above the head). It's geared to intelligent people interested in things of the spirit.

I don't see how these things could be skipped....

In any event, it's all right – it's fine, I don't mean to criticize; I find it very good... but still a little too lofty.

Oh, listen....

All right, it's all right (Mother laughs). A bit too high for them.

But this chapter ends here, doesn't it?

It's simply to give some background. Still, I can't avoid saying what's new in what Sri Aurobindo brings, precisely because it has nothing to do with “spiritual” India. We can't avoid telling them this one way or another, can we?

Yes, you're telling them very intelligently.

It's put simply.

Yes... well, it could be put much more simply! But it doesn't matter. You needn't think it's no good – it's very good.

Oh, you know, I don't think much of the inspirations I'm getting!... I mean, I know it could just as well be something else – it's not “the inevitable.”

That's no problem – the public isn't touched by inspiration. But what you write here is for intelligent people with inquiring minds, interested in ideas – is there such a public?

But after this prologue, I intend to tackle the problem practically, to speak of the moment when people reach the limits of the mind, when they start going round in circles and find nothing; then I will tell them of zones beyond the mind, and of what can be discovered when one goes within: mental silence. I'll talk about a practical discipline. That was my idea. My idea isn't to give an abstract explanation but to take up yoga from a practical angle: try to do this, and here's what you may expect – mental transformation, change in the vital, dreams, etc. All practical things. I'd like to explore the psychological aspect.

That's good. From the standpoint of the Work, of what you create, of course it's very good, very interesting; it needs to be said, it MUST be said. But is the gentleman who wrote you that letter capable of understanding anything of it? That's where I put a question mark.

We'll see.

If he doesn't understand, it means he won't understand no matter what.

And what if you tell them we do gymnastics and have a swimming pool!...

I will.

This is something they'll understand – that we're not a bunch of defrocked monks meditating in a circle, but that all life's activities are accepted and everyone keeps busy: the writer writes, the painter paints, the children do gymnastics; that, they will understand.

I'll say it, but later on, towards the end. After exploring these changes of consciousness, which after all are the very basis of the work, I'll show how they translate practically. But if i start with this right away, without explaining why it's like that....

Oh, that won't trouble them!

That's the part I saw. “Just toss it to them,” I thought, “and that will be that!”

But we still have to try to make them understand why it's like that!

No, that's where you have to give in. You have to put all this “trying to make them understand” out of the picture. If you want to include those things for your personal satisfaction, because it makes the thing more real, more living, I agree; but get rid of this “trying to make them understand,” it's impossible. I tell you, as soon as you go beyond the matter-of-fact (Mother sticks her hand right under her nose), they're lost. But tell them what they can see when they get off the train: “All these houses, that's the Ashram; here is the library, those are the tennis courts, there's the sports ground, that's....” Ah! They understand.

It's going well; it will be a very good book. But probably only a small portion of it will make them say, “Ah, finally! Something practical!”

“The Ashram began with two houses and so many people” – in America that's all they ever wanted to know from me. When I asked for money from America, that's what they asked about, and that's what I had to send them: on such and such a date we started off with two houses and then little by little, like this and like that, it became what it is today. And now we have so many houses (Mother laughs), there are so many people, so many visitors per year, and the Samadhi has become a place of pilgrimage, and.... In short, newspaper stories – that's what I wrote to America! I put together papers, documents, statistics – they were quite satisfied. If I had told them even a quarter of what you say, they would have replied, “Oh, for heaven's sake, be practical!”

Being “practical” means understanding no more than they do.

That's the thing: to be practical is to understand no more than they do!

After all, it doesn't matter.


What you've written is for an enlightened public fond of ideas – excellent. But it's not a book you buy for a couple of dollars and read on the train between stations; no, the reader must sit quietly and think about what he's reading. There's not one in a million like that! They put it in their pocket, you see, and on the subway – maybe not the subway, there's no time! – but while they're on the train, they pull it out of their pocket and....

(Satprem makes a discouraged gesture)

No, no, don't stop, go on, finish it. But they may ask you to cut it (Mother laughs) – some passages will “drag”! “Why do you dwell so much on ideas? That's secondary!”

I understand. But I don't see that I can....

No, write your book as you see it.

I see a psychological book. I mean, someone doing research on himself, seeking to understand.... Not a philosophical but a psychological book – someone who's experimenting on himself.


One in a million! You won't have any readers!

No, no, people want to while away the time, they want to be diverted and forget their worries, their family cares, their businesses for half an hour.

I am not being critical, it's just a prediction!

No, go ahead. They're simply going to tell you, “Your book is very nice, but... it drags in places. If you'll let us cut them out...” (Mother laughs). That's it. And whatever is truly psychological, well, they'll take big scissors and... (Mother laughs).

But all that can be published separately.

Keep on. Certain sections can be made into magazine articles for serious readers, the few who like to think.

Just send it to your publisher, you'll see. We'll cut if they ask us to, and send what we cut to a magazine. Then they'll have their nice little storybook!1

*   *

(A little later, the subject of the increasing scarcity of the tapes Satprem uses to record these conversations comes up. It should be mentioned that Mother has never wanted to use the Ashram's tapes.)

...And then after all, if it's lost, it's lost! It will have been the Lord's decision, so it doesn't matter.

The Lord... we must help Him out a little!

He doesn't know the job! (Mother laughs)

This is a common feeling: in the end, maybe He DOESN'T really know the things of this world as well as we do! (Mother laughs and laughs) It's very funny.

*   *

(Just before leaving, Mother makes the following remark on the Paris publisher's resistance:)

This is what I am doing (gesture of applying pressure with the thumb). Who knows, anything can happen! Some rather interesting things are happening in the world, showing me that after all, there is a response – there is a little response. I do this (same gesture with the thumb), and the effort isn't completely wasted. The events in Algeria2 and certain things in America too.... There's a response. And then (I think I've told you this), some people are suddenly having experiences out of all proportion to their inner state, as though they'd been projected into a curve absorbing several lifetimes. This seems to be what's happening individually. People with the least bit of trust are gaining lifetimes... perhaps many lifetimes – and the world as well.

The work is getting done in double time – even a lot more than double.

But it's good, this book of yours.

As I always say, “Be at least two generations ahead.” And this book is a generation ahead of them.


1 Mother was right (in part!). Satprem's second book was refused by this same publisher, then accepted by another.


2 Algeria's Independence has just been announced.









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