India the Mother

  • By Mira Aditi
  • July 2002

1951 to 1958        

December 21, 1950
When the mind grows silent, when it stops judging and pushing itself to the forefront with its so-called knowledge, you begin to be able to solve the problem of life. You should abstain from judging, because the mind is only an instrument of action, not an instrument of true knowledge-true knowledge comes from elsewhere…..

The world’s great disorder would in large part be neutralized if the mind could admit that it does not know.

April 1952
(From an article written on the occasion of the opening of the Sri Aurobindo International University Centre.)

The conditions in which men live upon earth are the result of their state of consciousness. To want to change the conditions without changing the consciousness is a vain chimera….

The unity of the human race can be accomplished neither through uniformity nor through domination or subjection. A synthetic organization of all nations, each occupying its true place according to its own genius and the role it has to play in the whole, can alone result in a comprehensive and progressive unification that would have some chance of lasting…

Just as each individual has a psychic being which is his true self and governs more or less openly his destiny, so too has each nation a psychic being which is its true being and fashions its destiny from behind the veil. That is the soul of the country, the national genius, the spirit of each people, the center of national aspiration, the source of all that is beautiful, noble, great and generous in the life of a country. The true patriots feel its presence as a tangible reality. In India, it has become an almost divine entity, and all those who truly love her call her “Mother India,” Bharat Mata, and daily address a prayer to her for the safety of the land. It is she who symbolizes and embodies the country’s ideal, its true mission in the world…..

One would like to see in all countries the same veneration for the soul of the nation, the same aspiration to become instruments fit to manifest her loftiest ideal, the same ardor towards progress and self-improvement enabling each people to identify with its national psychic being and thus find its true nature and true role-what makes each people a living and immortal entity despite all the accidents of history.

August 23, 1952
Change yourself if you wish to change the world. Prove by your inner transformation that a truth-consciousness can take possession of the material world and that the Divine Unity can be manifested upon earth.

Organizations, however vast and complete they may be, can achieve nothing permanent unless a new force, more divine and all-powerful, expresses itself through a perfected human instrument.

April 29, 1953
Otherwise [if people sought for the truth], there would be no religion: there would be masters and disciples, people with a higher teaching and an exceptional experience. That would be fine. But as soon as the master is gone, what happens is that the knowledge he gave is turned into a religion. Rigid dogmas are established, religious rules are born, and all you can do is bow before the Tables of the Law. While at first, it was not so. You are told, “This is true, that is false, the master said….” Sometime later, the master becomes a god, and you are told, “God said.”

…Luckily for all of you [children here], you have no religion. And I hope you will never have any, because that is closing the door on progress.

May 13, 1953
It is not by fleeing from the world that you will change it. It is by working in it modestly, humbly, but with a flame in your heart, something that burns like an offering.

July 29, 1953
(From a talk in which Mother explains how events are sometimes formed long before their actual occurrence.)

…. I will give you an example that will perhaps make it clear to you. It must have been at some point of the year 1920. One day. I used to meditate every day with Sri Aurobindo; he sat on one side of the table, and I sat on the other side, in the veranda. And one day, while in meditation, I went into …. (how can I put it?), I went very high, went very deep inside, or out of myself (put it any way you like, it won’t express what happened, it’s only manners of speaking), and I reached a place, or a state of consciousness, in which I said to Sri Aurobindo, just like that, very simply, “India is free.” That was in 1920. Then he asked me one question, “how?” I replied, “Without struggle, without battle, without revolution: the English will leave of themselves, because the state of the world will such that they will have no choice but to go away.”

It was done. When he asked me the question, I put it in the future, but where I saw, I said, “India is free,” it was a fact. But India was not free at the time: it was 1920. Yet it was there, it was done. And it happened in 1947. Which means that from a physical, external point of view, I saw it twenty-seven years later.

[A child asks:] Could you see Pakistan?

No, because the liberation could have taken place without Pakistan. In fact, if they had listened to Sri Aurobindo, there would not have been any Pakistan.

May 5, 1954
Nothing is impossible. We are the ones who set limitations. We keep saying, “This is possible, that is impossible; this can be done, that can’t be done…. We are the ones who put our-selves like slaves in the prison of our limits, of a stupid, narrow, ignorant commonsense that knows nothing of the laws of life. The laws of life are not at all what you think, nor what the most intelligent people think. They are something else altogether.

Mid 1950s
For human authority to be legitimately exercised over others, it must be enlightened, impartial and unegoistic to the extent that nobody can reasonably challenge its value.

India must be saved for the good of the world since India alone can lead the world to peace and a new world order.

The future of India is very clear. India is the guru of the world. The further structure of the world depends on India. India is the living soul. She incarnates the spiritual knowledge in the world. The government of India ought to recognize this significance of India in this sphere and plan their action accordingly…..

Divine power alone can help India. If you can build faith and cohesion in the country it is much more powerful than any man-made power. According to a very old tradition, if twelve honest persons unite to incarnate the divine Will, they can compel the Divine to manifest….. There must be a group forming a strong body of cohesive will with the spiritual Knowledge to save India and the world. It is India that can bring Truth in the world. By manifestation of divine Will and Power alone India can preach her message to the world and not by imitating the materialism of the West. By following the divine Will India shall shine at the top of the spiritual mountain and show the way of Truth and organize world unity.

February 21, 1955
No material organization, whatever its degree of preparation, is capable of bringing a solution to the miseries of man. Man must rise to a higher level of consciousness and get rid of his ignorance, limitation and selfishness in order to get rid also of his sufferings.

April 4, 1955
(A message for the opening of the French Institute in Pond cherry.)

In every country, the best education to be given to children consists in teaching them the true nature of their country, its own qualities and the mission their nation must fulfill in the world, its true place in the world concert. To that must be added a vast understanding of the role of other nations, but without spirit of imitation, and without ever losing sight of the own genius of their country.

France was the generosity of sentiments, the newness and boldness of ideas, and chivalrous action. That France is the one, which commands respect and admiration from all; it is through those virtues that she dominated the world.

A utilitarian calculating, mercantile France is not France any longer. Those things do not conform with her true nature, and by practicing them; she loses the nobility of her position in the world.
There is what today’s children should come to know

September 7, 1955
[A child asks:] Mother, why is it the doctrine of all spiritual schools in India to flee from action?

Because it’s all based on the teaching that life is an illusion. It began with the teaching of the Buddha, who said that existence is the fruit of desire, and that the only way out of misery and suffering and desire is to get out of existence. Then it went on with Shankara who added that not only is the world the fruit of desire, but it’s a complete illusion, and as long as you live in that illusion, you can’t realize the Divine…..

But once you have reached that inner freedom and conscious contact with what is eternal and infinite, then without losing that consciousness, you must return to action and let it influence the whole consciousness turned to action.

That’s what Sri Aurobindo calls bringing down the higher Force. That is how there is a chance of changing the world, because you have sought a new Force, a new region, a new consciousness, and you bring it into contact with the outside world …..

If we go back to the teaching of the [Vedic] Rishis, for instance there was no idea of flight from the world: for them, realization had to be on the earth. They clearly conceived of a Golden Age, in which the realization would be on the earth. But perhaps after a certain decline in the vitality of the country’s spiritual life, a different orientation came-it’s certainly after Buddha’s teaching that the idea of flight came, and that sapped the country’s vitality, because you had to strive to cut yourself off from life. Outer reality became an illusory falsehood with which you should have nothing to do anymore. So naturally, you would cut yourself off from universal energy, and the vitality kept decreasing; and along with it, all possibilities of realization decrease too.

November 2, 1955
Mother, you said that the Vedic age was like a promise. A promise to whom?

To the Earth and to men …..
They used a symbolic language [in the Veda]. Some say it was because they wanted it to be an initiation to be understood only by initiates. But it may also have been quite a spontaneous expression, without a precise intention to veil, but which could be understood only by those who had had the experience. Because, quite evidently, it’s something that isn’t mental but came spontaneously-as if from the heart and from aspiration the quite spontaneous expression of an experience or a knowledge. And naturally, an expression that was poetic, with its own rhythm, its own beauty, and which could be accessible only to those who had had an identical experience. So it was veiled of itself, there was no need to add a veil on it…

Some sentences seem quite banal and ordinary, with things apparently put in an almost childish way… But if you have the experience, you see that they contain a power of realization and a truth of expression that give you the key to the experience itself.

March 21, 1956
(A note.)

The age of Capitalism and business is drawing to a close.
But the age of Communism, too, will pass. For Communism as it is preached is not constructive, it is a weapon to combat plutocracy. But when the battle is over, the armies are disbanded for want of work, and Communism, having no more utility, will be transformed into something else that will express a higher truth. We know this truth, and we are working for it so that it may reign upon earth.

May 23, 1956
The first time I came to India [in March 1914], I came on a Japanese ship. And on this Japanese ship there were two clergymen, that is, Protestant priests, of different sects. I don’t remember what sects exactly, but they were both English; I think one was an Anglican and the other a Presbyterian.

….Then [after a religious service in the ship’s saloon], the clergyman came to ask me, more or less politely why I hadn’t attended. I told him, “Sir, I am sorry, but I don’t believe in religion.”
“Oho, you are a materialist!”
“No, not at all.”
“Ah! Then why?”
“Oh, if I were to tell you, you would be quite displeased, it is probably better not to say anything!”

But he insisted so much that I said at last, “Just this. I don’t feel you are sincere, neither you nor your flock. You all went there to fulfil a duty and a social custom, not at all because you really wanted to enter into communion with God.”

“Enter into communion with God! But we can’t do that! All we can do is to say some good words, but we have no ability to enter into communion with God.”
Then I said, “But that’s just why I didn’t go: it doesn’t interest me.”

After that he asked me many questions and confided to me that he was going to China to convert the “pagans.” At that I became serious and told him, “Listen even before your religion was born-it is not yet two thousand years old-the Chinese had a very high philosophy and knew a path leading them to the Divine. And when they think of Westerners, they think of them as barbarians. And you are going there to convert those who know more than you? What are you going to teach them? To be insincere? To perform hollow ceremonies instead of following a profound philosophy and a detachment from life which lead them to a more spiritual consciousness? I don’t think you are going to do a very good think.”

Then he was so flabbergasted, the poor man that he said to me, “Eh, I am afraid I can’t be convinced by your words!”
“Oh,” I said, “I am not trying to convince you. I only described the situation to you. And I don’t quite see why barbarians should wish to go and teach civilized people what they have known long before you. That’s all.”
And that was the end of it!

January 9, 1957
That conception of a world essentially evil, because it is the product of desire, a world one should escape from at any cost and as soon as possible, has been the greatest and most serious distortion of all spiritual life in the history of humanity.

Maybe it was useful at some point of time, because everything is useful in the world’s history, but that usefulness is past it is outdated and it is time to go beyond that conception and to return to a more essential and higher Truth, towards the Joy of being the Joy of union and of the Divine’s manifestation.

This new orientation-new in its realization on earth, I mean-is what must replace all preceding spiritual orientation and open the way to the realization.

April 3, 1957
A new religion would be something not only useless, but harmful. It’s a new life that has to be created; it’s a new consciousness that has to be expressed. It is something that is beyond intellectual limits and mental formulas. It’s a living truth that must manifest.  

October 23, 1957
For him who can behind appearances, there is, hidden at the center of this Matter-at the center of every atom of this Matter-the supreme divine Reality working from within, little by little, through millennia, to change this inert matter into a matter expressive enough to reveal the Spirit within it.

January 24, 1958
(From a series of comments on a Buddhist scripture, the Dhammapada.)

When I read those ancient texts, I have the impression that from the inner standpoint, from the standpoint of true life, well, we have terribly regressed, and that for the sake of acquiring a few ingenious mechanisms and a few incitements to physical laziness, some instruments or machines that save our efforts in life, we have renounced the reality of the inner life…..

It’s quite unfortunate that one should abandon one thing to get another. When I tell you about the inner life, I am not opposed to modern inventions, far from it, but how artificial and foolish those inventions have made us! How we have lost the sense of true beauty, how we clutter our lives with useless needs!

The time may have come to continue the ascent in the curve of the spiral, and with all that this knowledge of matter has brought to us, we will be able to give our spiritual progress a more solid base. Armed with what we have learned about the secrets of material Nature, we will then be able to join the two extremes and find again the supreme Reality at the center of the atom.

September 24, 1958
Religions are always mistaken-always-because they seek to standardize the expression of one experience and to impose it on everyone as an irrefutable truth. The experience was true; complete in itself convincing-for the person who had it. The formula he made out of it was excellent-for himself. But to seek to impose it on others is a fundamental error, which always has quite disastrous consequences and always leads far, far away from the truth.

That is why all religions, however true they may be, have always led man to the worst excesses. All crimes, all horrors perpetrated in the name of religion are among the darkest stains on human history and simply because of that small original error: to want what is true for one individual to be true for the mass or the collectivity.

October 22, 1958
If you sincerely want to help others and the world, the best thing you can do is to be yourself what you want others to be-not only as an example but because you become a center of radiating power which, by the very fact of its existence, compels the rest of the world to transform itself.

November 4, 1958
In Europe and in the modern Western world, people think that all these gods-the Greek gods and the “pagan” gods, as they call them-are human imaginings and not real beings. In order to understand, one must know that they are only a figment of the human imagination and don’t correspond to anything real in the universe. But that is a gross mistake.

To understand the workings of universal life, even of life on earth, one must know that the gods are all beings living in their own realms, each with his own independent reality. They would exist even if men did not! Most of these gods existed before man.

There is the whole Chaldean tradition then the Vedic tradition, and there was very certainly a tradition anterior to both, which split into two branches…. I am convinced that there was indeed a tradition anterior to both these traditions; whish contained knowledge very close to an integral knowledge. Certainly there is a similarity in the experiences. When I came here and told Sri Aurobindo certain things I knew from the occult standpoint, he always said that it conformed to the Vedic tradition. And as for certain occult practices, he told me that they were entirely. Tantric-and I knew nothing at that time absolutely nothing, neither of the Vedas nor of the Tantras…..

I have recollections (with me, these things are always lived), very clear very precise recollections of a time that was certainly VERY anterior to the Vedic times and to the Kabala, the Chaldean tradition.

November 22, 1958
Spiritual aspiration develops very strongly and spontaneously as soon as one comes to India. Those are graces. Graces, because it is the destiny of the country. It has been so throughout her history and because she has always been turned much more upward and inward than outward. She is now losing all that and wallowing in the mind, but anyway… it was like that and still is like that.

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