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EVENING TALKS

with

SRI AUROBINDO

Recorded by A. B. PURANI

To the Reader

The reader is requested to note that Sri Aurobindo is not responsible for these records as he had no opportunity to see them. So, it is not as if Sri Aurobindo said exactly these things but that I remember him to have said them. All I can say is that I have tried to be as faithful in recording them as I was humanly capable. That does not minimize my personal responsibility which I fully accept.

A. B. PURANI

Names of participants in the evening talks:

From 1938-1950

1. Nirod Baran

2. Champaklal

3. Satyendra Thakore

4. Mulshankar

5. A. B. Purani

6. Becharlal

Occassional Participants:

1. Dr. Manilal Parikh

2. Dr. Srinivas Rao

3. Dr. Savoor

INTRODUCTION

I

The question which Arjuna asks Sri Krishna in the Gita (2nd Chap.) occurs pertinently to many about all spiritual personalities: "What is the language of one whose understanding is poised? How does he speak, how sit, how walk?" Men want to know the outer signs of the inner attainment,--the way in which a spiritual person differs outwardly from other men. But all the tests which the Gita enumerates are inner and therefore invisible to the outer view. It is true also that the inner or the spiritual is the essential and the outer derives its value and form from the inner. But the transformation about which Sri Aurobindo writes in his books has to take place in nature. So, all the parts of nature--including the physical and the external--are to be transformed. In his own case the very physical became the transparent mould of the Spirit as a result of his intense Sadhana. This is borne out by the impression created on the minds of sensitive outsiders like Sj. K. M. Munshi who was deeply impressed by his radiating presence when he met him after nearly forty years.

The Evening-Talks collected here may afford to the outside world a glimpse of its richness, its many-sidedness, its uniqueness. One can also form some notion of Sri Aurobindo's personality from

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the books in which the height, the universal sweep and clear vision of his integral ideal and thought can be seen. His writings are, in a sense, the best representative of his mental personality. The versatile nature of his genius, the penetrating power of his intellect, his extraordinary power of expression, his intense sincerity, his utter singleness of purpose--all these can be easily felt by any earnest student of his works. He may discover even in the realm of mind that Sri Aurobindo brings the unlimited into the limited. Another side of his dynamic personality is represented by the Ashram as an institution. But the outer, if one may use the phrase, the human side of his personality, is unknown to the outside world because from 1910 to 1950--a span of forty years--he had led a life of outer retirement. No doubt, many knew about his staying at Pondicherry and practicing some kind of very special yoga to the mystery of which they had no access. To some, perhaps, he was living a life of enviable solitude enjoying the luxury of spiritual endeavour. Many regretted his retirement as a great loss to the world because they could not see any external activity on his part which could be regarded as "public", "altruistic" or "beneficial." Even some of his admirers thought that he was after some kind of personal salvation which would have very little significance for mankind in general. His outward non-participation in public life was construed by many as lack of love for humanity.

But those who knew him during the days of the national awakening--from 1900 to 1910--could not have these doubts. And even these initial misunderstandings and false notions of others began to evaporate with the growth of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram from 1927 onwards. The large number of books published by the Ashram also tended to remove the idea of the other-worldliness of his yoga and the absence of any good by it to mankind.

This period of outer retirement was one of intense Sadhana and of intellectual activity--it was also one during which he acted on external events,--though he was not dedicated outwardly to a public cause. About his own retirement he writes, "But this did not mean, as most people supposed, that he (Sri Aurobindo) had

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retired into some height of spiritual experience devoid of any further interest in the world or in life. It could not mean that, for the very principle of his yoga is not only to realize the Divine and attain to a complete spiritual consciousness, but also to take all life and all world-activity into the scope of this Spiritual Consciousness and action and to base life on the Spirit and give it a spiritual meaning. In his retirement Sri Aurobindo kept a close watch on all that was happening in the world and in India and actively intervened, whenever necessary, but solely with a spiritual Force and silent spiritual action; for it is part of the experience of those who have advanced in yoga that, besides the ordinary forces and activities of the mind and life and body in Matter, there are other forces and powers that can and do act from behind and from above; there is also a spiritual dynamic Power which can be possessed by those who are advanced in spiritual consciousness,--though all do not care to possess, or possessing, to use it, and this Power is greater than any other and more effective. It was this force which Sri Aurobindo used at first only in a limited field of personal work, but afterwards, in a constant action upon the world forces.1

Twice he found it necessary to go out of his way to make public pronouncements on important world-issues, which shows distinctly that renunciation of life is not a part of his yoga. "The first was in relation to the second world-war. At the beginning he did not actively concern himself with it, but when it appeared as if Hitler would crush all the forces opposed to him and Nazism dominate the world, he began to intervene."2

The second was with regard to Sir Stafford Cripps' proposal for the transfer of power to India.

Over and above Sadhana, writing-work and rendering spiritual help to the world during his apparent retirement there

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1. Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram

2. Sri Aurobindo and his Ashram

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were plenty of other activities of which the outside world has no knowledge. Many prominent as well as less known persons sought and obtained interviews with him during these years. Thus, among the well-known persons may be mentioned C. R. Das, Lala Lajpat Rai, Sarala Devi, Dr. Munje, Khasirao Jadhava, Tagore Sylvain Levy. The great national poet of Tamilnad, S. Subramanya Bharati, was in contact with Sri Aurobindo for some years during his stay at Pondicherry; so was V. V. S. Aiyar. The famous V. Ramaswamy Aiyangar--Va. Ra. of Tamil literature--stayed with Sri Aurobindo for nearly three years and was influenced by him. Some of these facts have been already mentioned in "A Life of Sri Aurobindo."

Jung has admitted that there is an element of mystery, something that baffles the reason, in human personality. One finds that the greater the personality the greater is the complexity. And this is especially so with regard to spiritual personalities, what the Gita calls "Vibhutis" and "Avatars."

Sri Aurobindo has explained the mystery of personality in some of his writings. Ordinarily by a personality we mean something which can be described as "a pattern of being marked out by a settled combination of fixed qualities, a determined character." In one view personality is regarded as a fixed structure of recognizable qualities expressing a power of being;" another idea regards "personality as a flux of self-expressive or sensitive and responsive being." "But flux of nature and fixity of nature--which some call character--are two aspects of being, neither of which, nor indeed both together, can be a definition of personality." Besides this flux and this fixity there is also a third and occult element, the Person behind of whom the personality is a self-expression; the Person puts forward the personality as his role, character, persona, in the present act of his long drama of manifested existence. But the Person is larger than his personality, and it may happen that this inner largeness overflows into the surface formation; the result is a self-expression of being which

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can no longer be described by fixed qualities, normalities of mood, exact lineaments, or marked out structural limits."1

The gospel of the Supermind which Sri Aurobindo brought to man envisages a new level of consciousness beyond Mind. When this level is attained it imposes a complete and radical reintegration of the human personality. Sri Aurobindo was not merely the exponent but the embodiment of the new, dynamic truth of the Supermind. While exploring and sounding the tremendous possibilities of human personality in his intense spiritual sadhana, he has shown us that practically there are no limits to its expansion and ascent. It can reach in its growth what appears to man at present as a "divine" status. It goes without saying that this attainment is not an easy task; there are conditions to be fulfilled for the transformation from the human to the divine.

The Gita in its chapters on the Vibhuti and the Avatar takes in general the same position. It shows that the present formula of our nature, and therefore the mental personality of man, is not final. A Vibhuti embodies in a human manifestation a certain divine quality and thus demonstrates the possibility of over coming the limits of ordinary human personality. The Vibhuti,--the embodiment of a divine quality or power,--and the Avatar--the divine incarnation--are not to be looked upon as supraphysical miracles thrown at humanity without regard to the process of evolution; they are, in fact, indications of human possibility, a sign that points to the goal of evolution.

In his Essays on the Gita, Sri Aurobindo says about the Avatar: "He may on the other hand descend as an incarnation of divine life, the divine personality and power in its characteristic action, for a mission ostensibly social, ethical and political, as is represented in the story of Rama and Krishna; but always then his descent becomes in the soul of the race a permanent power for the inner and Spiritual rebirth."2

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1. The Life Divine, P. 833

2. Essays on the Gita, P. 258

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"He comes as the divine power and love which calls men to itself, so that they may take refuge in that and no longer in the insufficiency of their human wills and the strife of their human fear, wrath and passion, and liberated from all the unquiet and suffering may live in the calm and bliss of the Divine."1

"The Avatar comes to reveal the divine nature in men above their lower nature and to show what are the divine works, free, unegoistic, disinterested, impersonal, universal, full of the divine light, the divine power and the divine loves. He comes as a divine personality, which shall fill the consciousness of the human being, to replace the limited egoistic personality, so that it shall be liberated out of ego into infinity and universality, out of birth into immortality,"2

It is clear that Sri Aurobindo interpreted the traditional idea of the Vibhuti and the Avatar in terms of the evolutionary possibilities of man. But more directly he has worked out the idea of the "gnostic individual" in his masterpiece The Life Divine. He says: "A Supramental gnostic individual will be a Spiritual Person, but not a personality, in the sense of a pattern of being marked out by a settled combination of fixed qualities, a determined character; he cannot be that since he is a conscious expression of the Universal and the Transcendent." Describing the gnostic individual he says: "we feel ourselves in the presence of a light of consciousness, a potency, a sea of energy, can distinguish and describe its free waves of action and quality, but not fix itself; and yet there is an impression of Personality the presence of a powerful being, a strong, high or beautiful recognizable Someone, a Person, not a limited creature of Nature but a Self or Soul a Purusha."3

One feels that he was describing the feeling of some of us--his disciples--with regard to him in his inimitable way.

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1. Essays on the Gita, p. 258

2. Ibid, p. 258

3. The Life Divine, p. 883

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This transformation of the human personality into the Divine--perhaps even the mere connection of the human with the Divine--is probably regarded as a chimera by the modern mind. To the modern mind it would appear as the apotheosis of a human personality which is against its idea of equality of men. Its difficulty is partly due to the notion that the Divine is unlimited and illimitable while a "personality", however high and grand, seems to demand imposition, or assumption, of limitation. In this connection Sri Aurobindo said during an Evening Talk: "No human manifestation can be illimitable and unlimited but the manifestation in the limited should reflect the unlimited, the "Transcendent Beyond." (28-4-1923)

This possibility of the human touching and manifesting the Divine has been realized during the course of human history whenever a great spiritual Light has appeared on earth. One of the purposes of this book is to show how Sri Aurobindo himself reflected the unlimited Beyond in his own self.

Greatness is magnetic and in a sense contagious. Whenever manifested, greatness is claimed by humanity as something that reveals the possibility of the race. The highest quality of greatness is not merely to attract us but to inspire us to follow it and rise to our own highest spiritual stature. To the majority of men Truth remains abstract, impersonal and far unless it is seen and felt concretely in a human personality. A man never knows a truth actively except through a person and by embodying it in his personality. Some glimpse of the Truth-Consciousness which Sri Aurobindo embodied may be caught in these Evening Talks.

II

Guru griha vasa--"staying in the home of the Guru"--is a very old Indian ideal maintained by seekers through the ages. The Aranyakas--"the ancient teachings in the forest groves"--are perhaps the oldest records of the institution. It was

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not for "education" in the modern sense of the term that men went to live with the Guru; for the Guru is not a "teacher". The Guru is one who is "enlightened," who is a seer, a Rishi, one who has the vision of and has lived the Truth. He has, thus, the knowledge of the goal of human life and has learnt true values in life by living the truth. He can impart both these to the willing seeker. In ancient times seekers went to the Guru with many questions, difficulties and doubts but also with earnestness. Their questions were preliminary to the quest.

The Master the Guru, set at rest the puzzled human mind by his illuminating answers, perhaps even more by his silent consciousness, so that it might be able to pursue unhampered the path of realization of the Truth. Those ancient discourses answer the mind of man to-day even across the ages. They have rightly acquired--as everything of the past does--a certain sanctity. But sometimes that very reverence prevents men from properly evaluating, and living in, the present. This happens when the mind instead of seeking the Spirit looks at the form. For instance, it is not necessary for such discourses that they take place in forest groves in order to be highly spiritual. Wherever the Master is, there is Light And Gura griha--the house of the Master--can be his private dwelling place. So much was this feeling a part of Sri Aurobindo's nature and so particular was he to maintain the personal character of his work that during the first few years--after 1923--he did not like his house to be called an "Ashram", as the word had acquired the sense of a public institution to the modern mind. But there was no doubt that the flower of Divinity had blossomed in him; and disciples, likes bees seeking honey, came to him. It is no exaggeration to say that these Evening-Talks were to the small company of disciples what the Aranyakas were to the ancient seekers. Seeking the Light, they came to the dwelling place of their Guru, the greatest seer of the age, and found it their spiritual home--the home of their parents, for, the Mother, his companion in the great mission, had come. And these spiritual parents bestowed upon the disciples freely of their Light, their consciousness, their

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power and their grace. The modern reader may find that the form of these discourses differs from those of the past but it was bound to be so for the simple reason that the times have changed and the problems that puzzle the modern mind are so different. Even though the disciples may be very imperfect representations of what he aimed at in them, still they are his creations. It is in order to repay, in however infinitesimal a degree, the debt which we owe to him that the effort is made to partake of the joy of his company--the Evening-Talks--with a larger public.

III

EVENING SITTINGS

Sri Aurobindo was never a social man in the current sense of the term and definitely he was not a man of the crowd. This was due to his grave temperament, not to any feeling of superiority or to repulsion for men. At Baroda there was an Officer's Club which was patronized by the Maharajah and though Sri Aurobindo enrolled himself as a member he hardly went to the Club even on special occasions. He rather liked a small congenial circle of friends and spent most of his evenings with them whenever he was free and not occupied with his studies of other works. After Baroda when he went to Calcutta there was hardly any time in the storm and stress of revolutionary politics to permit him to lead a "social life." What little time he could spare from his incessant activities was spent in the house of Raja Subodh Malick or at the Grey Street house. In the Karma yogin office he used to sit after the office hours till late chatting with a few persons or trying automatic writing. Strange dictations used to be received sometimes: one of them was the following: "Moni (Suresh Chakarvarty) will bomb Sir Edward Grey when he will come as the Viceroy of India." In later years at Pondicherry there used to be a joke that Sir Edward took such a fright at the prospect of Moni's bombing him that he never came to India!

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After Sri Aurobindo had come to Pondicherry from Chandranagore he entered upon an intense period of spiritual sadhana and for a few months he refused to receive anyone. After a time he used to sit down to talk in the evening and on some days tried automatic writing. Yogic Sadhana--a small book--was the result. In 1913 Sri Aurobindo removed to Rue Francois Martin No. 41 where he used to receive persons at fixed times. This was generally in the morning between 9 and 10. 30.

But, over and above newcomers, some local people and the few inmates of the house used to have informal talk with Sri Aurobindo in the evening. In the beginning the inmates used to go out for playing foot-ball, and during their absence known local individuals would come in and wait for Sri Aurobindo. Afterwards regular meditation began at about 4. p. m. in which practically all the inmates participated. After the meditation all of the members and those who were permitted shared in the evening sitting. This was a very informal gathering depending entirely upon Sri Aurobindo's leisure.

When Sri Aurobindo and the Mother removed to No. 9 Rue de la Marine in 1922 the same routine of informal evening sittings after meditation continued. I came to Pondicherry for Sadhana in the beginning of 1923. I kept notes of the important talks I had with the four or five disciples who were already there. Besides, I used to take detailed notes of the evening-talks which we all had with the Master. They were not intended by him to be noted down. I took them down because of the importance I felt about everything connected with him, no matter how insignificant to the outer view. I also felt that everything he did would acquire for those who would come to know his mission a very great significance.

As years passed the evening sittings went on changing their time and often those disciples who came from outside for a temporary stay for Sadhana were allowed to join them. And, as the number of Sadhaks practicing the yoga increased, the

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evening sittings also became more full, the small verandah upstairs in the main building was found insufficient. Members of the household would gather every day at the fixed time with some sense of expectancy and start chatting in low tones. Sri Aurobindo used to come last and it was after his coming that the session would really commence.

He came dressed as usual in Dhoti, part of which was used by him to cover the upper part of his body. Very rarely he came out with Chaddar or Shawl and then it was "in deference to the climate" as he sometimes put it. At times for minutes he would be gazing at the sky from a small opening at the top of the grass-curtains that covered the verandah of the upstairs in No. 9 Rue de la Marine. How much were these sittings dependent on him may be gathered from the fact that there were days when more than three-fourths of the time passed in complete silence without any outer suggestion from him, or there was only an abrupt "Yes" or "No" to all attempts at drawing him out in conversation. And even when he participated in the talk one always felt that his voice was that of one who does not let his whole being flow into his words; there was a reserve and what was left unsaid was perhaps more than what was spoken. What was spoken was what he felt necessary to speak.

These sittings, in fact, furnished Sri Aurobindo with an occasion to admit and feel the outer atmosphere and that of the

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group living with him. It brought to him the much-needed direct contact of the mental and vital make-up of the disciples, enabling him to act on the atmosphere in general and to the individual in particular. He could thus help to remould their mental make-up by removing the limitations of their minds and opinions, and correct temperamental tendencies and formations. Thus, these sittings contributed at least partly to the creation of an atmosphere amenable to the working of the Higher Consciousness. Far more important than the actual talk and its content was the personal contact, the influence of the Master, and the divine atmosphere he emanated; for through his outer personality it was the Divine Consciousness that he allowed to act. All along behind the outer manifestation that appeared human, there was the influence and presence of the Divine.

What was talked in the small group informally was not intended by Sri Aurobindo to be the independent expression of his views on the subjects, events or the persons discussed. Very often what he said was in answer to the spiritual need of the individual or of the collective atmosphere. It was like a spiritual remedy meant to produce certain spiritual results, not a philosophical or metaphysical pronouncement on questions, events or movements. The net result of some talks very often was to point out to the disciple the inherent incapacity of the human intellect and its secondary place in the search for the ultimate Reality.

But there were occasions when he did give his independently personal views on some problems, on events and other subjects. Even then it was never an authoritarian pronouncement. Most often it appeared to be a logically worked out and almost inevitable conclusion expressed quite impersonally though with firm and sincere conviction. This impersonality was such a prominent trait of his personality! Even in such matters as dispatching a letter or a telegram it would not be a command from him to a disciple to carry out the task. Most often during his usual passage to the dining room he would stop on the way, drop in on the company of four or five disciples and, holding out

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the letter or the telegram, would say in the most amiable and yet the most impersonal way: "I suppose this has to be sent." And it would be for some one in the group instantly to volunteer and take it. The expression very often he used was "It was done", "It happened" not "I did."

There were two places where these sittings took place. At the third place there was no sitting but informal talk to a small number of disciples who were attending him after the accident in November 1938.

From 1918 to 1922 we gathered at No: 41 Rue Francois Martin, called the Guest House, upstairs, on a broad verandah into which four rooms opened and whose main piece of furniture was a small table 3'/x 1 1/2', covered with a blue cotton cloth. That is where Sri Aurobindo used to sit in a hard wooden chair behind the table with a few chairs in front for the visitors or for the disciples.

From 1922 to 1926 No. 9 Rue de la Marine, where he and the Mother had shifted, was the place where the sittings were held. There, also upstairs, was a less broad verandah than at the Guest House, a little bigger table in front of the central door out of three, and a broad Japanese chair--the table covered with a better cloth than the one in the Guest House, a small flower vase, an ash-tray, a block calendar indicating the date and an ordinary time-piece, a number of chairs in front in a line. The evening sittings used to be after meditation at 4 or 4-30 p.m. After November 24, 1926, the sitting began to get later and later, till the limit of 1 o'clock at night was reached. Then the curtain fell. Sri Aurobindo retired completely after December 1926 and the evening sittings came to a close.

* * *

Then, on November 23, 1938 I got up at 2 o'clock to prepare hot water for the Mother's early bath because the 24th

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was Darshan day. Between 2.20 and 2.30 the Mother rang the bell. I ran up the staircase to be told about an accident that had happened to Sri Aurobindo's foot and to be asked to fetch the doctor. This accident brought about a change in his complete retirement, and rendered him available to those who had to attend on him. This opened out a long period of 12 years during which his retirement was modified owing to circumstances, inner and outer, that made it possible for him to have direct physical contacts with the world outside.

The long period of the second world war with all its vicissitudes passed through these years. It was a priceless experience to see how he devoted his energies to the task of saving humanity from the threatened reign of Nazism. It was a practical lesson of solid work done for humanity without any thought of return or reward, without even letting humanity know what he was doing for it! Thus he lived the Divine and showed us how the Divine cares for the world, how he comes down and works for man. I shall never forget how he who was at one time--in his own words--"not merely a non-co-operator but an enemy of British Imperialism" bestowed such anxious care on the health of Churchill, listening carefully to the health bulletins! It was the work of the Divine, it was the Divine's work for the world.

There were no formal evening sittings during these years but what appeared to me important in the talks was recorded and has been incorporated in this book.

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DECEMBER, 1938

10-12-1938.

Disciple: Why did you choose Pondicherry as the place for your Sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: Because it was by an Adesh--command from Above--I was asked to come here. When I was leaving Bombay for Calcutta I asked Lele what I should do regarding my Sadhana. He kept silent for some time [probably waiting to hear a voice from the heart] and replied, "Meditate at a fixed time and hear the voice in the heart."

I did not hear the voice from the heart, but a different voice and I dropped meditation at fixed time because meditation was going on all the time. When Lele came to Calcutta and heard about it, he said that the devil had caught hold of me. I said, "If it is the devil, I will follow him."

Disciple: People say that 'Yogic Sadhan' was written by the being of Keshab Sen?

Sri Aurobindo: Keshab Sen? When I was writing it, every time at the beginning and at the end the image of Ram Mohan Roy came before me. So perhaps, Ram Mohan has been changed to Keshab Sen.

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Do you know the origin of the name "Uttara Yogi?"

Disciple: No, Sir.

Sri Aurobindo: There was a famous Yogi in the South who while dying said to his disciples that a Purna Yogi from the North would come down to the South and he would be known by his three sayings. The three sayings were those I had written to my wife. A Zamindar--disciple of that Yogi--found me out and bore the cost of the book "Yogic Sadhan."

Disciple: Tagore never spoke at any time about Ramakrishna and Vivekananda except recently when he wrote a very ordinary poem on Ramakrishna during his centenary. He used to tell girls that Ramakrishna used very often to deride women saying "Kamini Kanchan" are the roots of bondage and still women worshipped him.

Sri Aurobindo: I understand that Ramakrishna used to say "Kama Kanchana". When the division came after his death one party said that he never uttered "Kamani" but "Kama". I don't think there was any one in Brahmo Samaj with spiritual realization. Dwijendra Nath had something in him and Shiva Nath Shastri too and perhaps Kesab Sen. Bejoy Goswami ceased to be a Brahmo.

Disciple: Lele had realization?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, he had some, but as I said he had ambition and ego.

Disciple: It is said that Christ used to heal simply by a touch. Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? There are many instances of such cures. Of course, faith is necessary. Christ himself said "Thy faith has made thee whole."

Disciple: Is faith always necessary for such a cure?

Sri Aurobindo: No, cure can be done without faith, especially when one does not know what is being done. Faith

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is above the mind so that any discussion or dispute spoils the action of the faith.

Disciple: I knew also such instances of cure or help by faith. When I came to see you first, you told me to remember you in my difficulties. As I returned I did so and I passed through all the difficulties, but as soon as I came here I heard many things from Sadhaks and did not get the same result. I thought, perhaps, I was, not able to open myself to you.

Sri Aurobindo: That is called simple faith, or as some call it, "blind faith." When Ramakrishna was asked about faith, he said, "all faith is blind otherwise there is no faith." He was quite right.

Disciple: Is it because there is something in the nature of environmental influence that doubt come and one does not get the same result as before?

Sri Aurobindo: Both; the physical mind has these things, doubt, etc. and they come up at one time or the other. And by contact with other people also faith gets obscured. I knew a shocking instance in the Ashram. A truthful man came here. A Sadhak told him that speaking of the truth always is a superstition. One must be free to say what one likes. And then there is another instance of a Sadhak who said that sex indulgence is no hindrance to yoga, it can be allowed, and everyone must have his Shakti. When such ideas are prevalent no wonder that they cast bad influence on others.

Disciple: Such people ought to be quarantined?

Sri Aurobindo: I thought of that but it is not possible. Mother at one time tried to impose some restrictions and regulations but it did not work. One has to change from within. There are, of course, other yogic systems which have such strict regulations. Buddhism is unique

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in that respect. There is a school in France [Labratte?] which enjoins strict silence.

Disciple: Is such exterior imposition good?

Sri Aurobindo: It can be good provided one sincerely keeps to it. For instance, in that school in France, people who enter there know what they want and so keep to the regulation that are meant to help them in achieving their aim.

The world has to change,--people here are epitomes of the world. Each one represents a type of humanity and if one type is conquered that means a great victory for the work. And for this change a constant will is required. If that is there, lots of things can be done for the Sadhak as they were done.

Disciple: Things became sluggish afterwards.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is when the Sadhana came down in the physical and the subconscient that things became very difficult. I myself had to struggle for two years; for the subconscient is absolutely inert like stone. Though my mind was quite awake above, it could not exert and influence down below. It is a Herculean labour, for when one enters there, it is a sort of an unexplored continent. Previous Yogis came down to the vital. If I had been made to see it before, probably, I would have been less enthusiastic about it. That is the instance of blind faith. The ancients were quite right perhaps in leaving the physical, but if I had left it there, the real work would have remained undone. And once it is conquered, it becomes easy for people who come after me, which is what is meant by realization of one in all.

Disciple: Then we can wait for that victory!!

Sri Aurobindo: You want an easy path!

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Disciple: Not only easy but like a baby we want to be carried about. Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but one has to be a baby--and a genuine baby.

Disciple: Ramakrishna has said a Yogi need not be always like a drawn sword.

Sri Aurobindo: When did he say that and what did he mean by that? A Yogi has always to be vigilant, especially in the early part of one's Sadhana. Otherwise all one has gained can come down like a thud. People here usually don't make Sadhana the one part of their life. They have two parts: one, the internal and other external, which goes on with ordinary movements, social contacts, etc. Sadhana must be made the one part of the being.

Disciple: You spoke about the brilliant period of the Ashram.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it was when Sadhana was going on in the vital and when it is that, everything is joy, peace, etc. and if I had stopped there, we could have started a big religion, or something like it. But the real work would have been left undone.

Disciple: Why did you retire? To concentrate more on your work?

Sri Aurobindo: No, to withdraw from the physical atmosphere. If I had to do the work the Mother is doing, I would have hardly time to do my own work, besides its being a tremendous labour.

Disciple: Vishudhanand of Banares is said to be able to produce all sorts of perfumes, scents, etc.

Sri Aurobindo: It is difficult to know if they (perfumes) are all materialization or subtle perfumes projected into the physical or on the senses.

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Paul Brunton saw always some pressure accompanying him. When he saw my photo, it had nothing to resemble it but when he saw me at the Darshan, he at once recognized me as that pressure.

Disciple: Why does one rise and fall physically in meditation?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not the physical but the vital body separating itself from the body. At one time I thought physical Siddhi was impossible. But in Alipore jail, once I found that my body had occupied a position which it was physically impossible to have. Then again; I was practicing to raise my hands and keep them suspended without any muscular control. Once in that raised condition of hands I fell off to sleep. The warder saw this condition and reported that I had died. Authorities came and found me quite alive. I told them he was a fool.

There is a French author Joules Romain. He is a medical man and a mystic. He can see with other parts of the body with eyes closed. He says, "Eyes are only a specialized organ." Other parts can as well be trained to see. But scientists refused to admit his demonstration.

Disciple: Ramana Maharshi does not believe in the descent (of the Supermind).

Sri Aurobindo: It--the descent is the experience of many Sadhaks even outside our Yoga. An old Sanyasi of the Ramakrishna Mission saw a flood of light descending and when he asked he was told it was all the work of the devil and the whole experience stopped afterwards.

In Maharshi's case he has received the thing in the heart and has worked with it, so he does not feel the descent.

Disciple: I believe that grace is without condition.

Sri Aurobindo: That may be true from the side of the

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Divine but the man must try to fulfill the condition under which alone grace can act.

[In this respect Sir Aurobindo's writing in The Mother was quoted by a disciple where he lays down that "the grace will work under the conditions of the Truth, not under those imposed upon it by falsehood."

Disciple: Grace is grace, but one need not sit with folded hands. What is achieved is by the divine grace.

Sri Aurobindo: Grace is of course unconditional, but it is for men to fulfill the conditions. It is as if man was continually spilling from a cup in which something was being poured.

11-12-1938

Disciple: Is there no justice for the misdeeds of people like S, V and N? Surely they will have to bear the consequences of their actions? And yet how is it these people succeed in life?

Sri Aurobindo: Justice in this life? May not be. Most probably not. But justice is not what most people believe it to be. It is said that virtuous people will have happiness, prosperity etc. in another life while in this life they have the opposite effects. In that case, the people you speak of must have been virtuous in their previous life. There is justice in the sense that the virtuous and pious people advance towards Sattwic nature while the contrary one goes down the scale of humanity and become more and more Asuric. That is what I have said in the "Arya."

(At this moment Mother came in and asked what was the subject of talk.)

Sri Aurobindo replied that X was asking about justice,

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--whether it exists. After some moments' pause Mother said: "Of course, there is justice; these people suffer, they are tormented and not happy within. But that unhappiness does not seem to change them. They go from worse to worse; yes; but in some cases as the divine pressure goes on acting, at some time, especially during some impending catastrophe, suddenly some change takes place in these people. We saw a number of people like that. e.g. those who were trying to persecute Sri Aurobindo.

Disciple: You have said in your Prayers that justice exists. One cannot avoid the law of Karma except by Divine Grace.

Sri Aurobindo: N. may be a scoundrel but he has capacity and cleverness and so he will surely succeed. It is that capacity and cleverness that succeeds in life not virtues etc.

Disciple: To cheat people and get money? Is it cleverness?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, it is cleverness or you may say, misuse of cleverness. But I don't say that cleverness will not have its consequences, but at the same time it is these qualities that succeed in life.

Disciple: Why does not one believe in Grace?

Mother: It is because the human mind arranges and combines things and does not leave any room for the Grace. For instance, when one is cured of a disease or passes an examination, he thinks it is due to medicine or some chance. He does not see that in between, or behind, there may be Grace acting on him. Is it not so?

Sri Aurobindo: They would call it luck.

Mother: If you don't recognize the Grace how can it work? It is as if you had shut your doors against it, Of course, it can work below, underneath so to say.

Disciple: Doesn't it act unconditionally?

Mother: It does, especially in those people who have been

9

predestined for some thing; but if one recognizes and expresses gratitude, it acts more forcefully and quickly.

Disciple: Isn't it because we are ignorant?

Mother: No, I know many ignorant people having the Grace expressing a deep gratitude rising from the heart.

Disciple: We would like the Grace to act like a mother feeding a hungry baby, giving things when it needs etc.

Sri Aurobindo: And who is the baby? (loud laughter)

Mother: But the Grace does not work according to human demands or conceptions. It has its own law and way. How can it? Very often what seems to be a great blow or calamity at the present moment may appear to be a great blessing after ten years and people say that their real life began after that.

Sri Aurobindo: Grace is unconditional but at the same time, how will it work if a man is throwing away the Grace, or does not recognize it? It is like a man spilling away from the cup in which something is being poured. Mother said that she is interested to see the reactions with the two fellows. It may have different results in both. She can't say how it will be different.

Disciple: Will it be a question of a degree?

Sri Aurobindo: No, difference of quality also. One is more stupid and blind than the other who knows consciously what he is aiming at. So the former has less power to harm.

Disciple: Perhaps one may change for the better during life?

Mother: That is romance.

Disciple: Especially S. may return to Ashram again.

Mother: {looked very amused and said) Do you think so? When a man turns his back he has no chance, no possibility. One who is given a chance may have a

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possibility.

Disciple: The law of Karma according to Jainism is inexorable. Even the Tirthankars can't escape it, and have to pay in exact mathematical proportion.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a great thing. But too wonderful and mathematical to be true. e.g. a son who lived for a short time cost a great deal of money to the father for his ill-health. It was said that the father had been the debtor to the son in previous life and the son realized exactly the same amount of money which he had lent by means of his illness and died. (Laughter)

Disciple: There is what is Nikachit Karma or Utkata Karma which cannot be avoided. It is like a knot that cannot be untied. It is like a silk thread tied and burnt.

Sri Aurobindo: It may be this Utkata Karma that brought about the accident (to his foot).

Disciple: What is incomprehensible is the unmerited suffering of the physical consciousness in your case.

Sri Aurobindo: How do you know it is unmerited? Perhaps it was to give me knowledge of what intense pain is. I had ordinary pains before which I could turn into Ananda. But this was intense. I never had the experience when it came suddenly and abruptly, I could not change it into Ananda. When it became of steady nature I could. Besides, we shall see afterwards the full significance. Of course, I accept it as a part of the battle.

Disciple: When will you be cured?

Sri Aurobindo: Don't ask me the question. It is just what I can't know, for, immediately I say something the hostile forces would at once rush to prevent it. That is why I don't want to prophesy. Not that things are not known, or possibilities not seen. For instance, there are things about which I had definitely said. But where it

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is a question of possibilities, I don't tie myself to that chain of possibilities For if I do that I commit myself in advance to certain lines of movement and the result of it may not be what I want, and I won't be able to bring down that for which I am striving, it may not be the highest but something partial. But plenty of people can prophesy. That capacity is common among Yogis. When I was arrested, my maternal-grand-aunt asked Swami Bhaskaranand, "What will happen to our Aurobindo?" He replied, "The Divine Mother has taken him in her arms; nothing will happen to him. But he is not your Aurobindo. He is world's Aurobindo and the world will be filled with his perfume.". Another time I was taken by Jatin Banerji to a Swami Narayan Jyotishi who foretold about my three trials, white enemies and also my release. When my horoscope was shown he said that there was some mistake about time and when the time was corrected he replied, "Oh, the lead is turned into gold now."

Disciple: Have you had any prophesy in dreams? Many people get dreams or vision of coming events.

Disciple: I know the instance of A's daughter-in-law who saw him carried to cemetery and exactly two hours after he died of heart failure.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is a good instance of that.

Disciple: Even without knowing the person concerned can one prophesy like that? i.e. like Bhaskaranand?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is an intuitive power. I once tried to see a man who was to be elected and saw a figure seated in the office but quite different and unknown, not the one elected. After some time a quarrel took place between my brother-in-law and a Government official and he was called. But my mistake "Bose"

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became "Ghose", and I had to go and see the man. I found the same man of my vision sitting as the Governor and I was much surprised.

On another occasion a friend of X. (V. Ramaswamy Aiyanger) was coming to see me and I wanted to have a vision of the man. I saw him as having clean shaven head, bull-dog face; but when he came, I found his appearance quite different, regular South Indian Brahmin features. But curiously enough, exactly after two years I saw that the man had changed to what I had seen of him in vision. These thing are thrown out from the subtle world to the surface consciousness. There is another instance; I was a great tea addict and could not do any work without a cup of tea. The management of tea was in charge of my brother-in-law. He used to bring the tea at any time he woke up from sleep. One day though I had much work to do I was thinking, "When will he bring tea?" "Why does he not come?" and looked at the watch when exactly, at the very moment, the tea was brought. I had made a rule never to ask anything from anybody.

Disciple: Is consciousness of the Divine possible in the physical cells even?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the cells can have peace, joy, etc. and when they are quite conscious, they can throw out the opposing forces. When peace descends in the physical it is a great force for cure.

Disciple: Can one have peace without knowing it?

Sri Aurobindo: That is natural peace which is more than quietude. But there is a positive peace which one knows and feels. Truth also can descend in the physical, and also Power, but very few can bear Power. Light also descends. I remember a disciple telling his Guru about the descent of Light in him.

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The Guru said, "The devil has caught hold of you", and from that time the disciple lost everything.

There is an infinite sea of peace, ananda, above the head; if one is in contact with it one can get them always.

Disciple: Do any thoughts or suggestions come to you?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean? Thoughts and suggestions come to me from every side and I don't refuse them. I accept them and see what they are. But what you call "thinking" that I never do. Thinking in that sense had ceased long ago since I had that experience with Lele. Thoughts, as I said; come to me from all sides and from above and the transmitting mind remains quiet, or it enlarges to receive them. True thoughts come in this way. You can't think out such thoughts, what Mother call "mental-constructions."

Disciple: Was "Arya" written in that way?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it was directly transmitted into the pen. It is a great relief to get out of that responsibility.

Disciple: Yes, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't mean responsibility in general but that of thinking about everything. Some thoughts are given or reflected from outside. It is not that I don't ask for knowledge. When I want knowledge I call for it. The Higher faculty sees thoughts as if written on a wall.

13-12-1938

Mother came at 5-55 and meditated till after 7-5. It is difficult to say whether the feast of silent meditation was more precious than the conversation which happened to take place after Mother left for evening meditation.

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Sri Aurobindo: (with a smile to X.) Meditating?

Disciple: I am trying hard; Sir, for the last three-fourths of an hour but have not succeeded. Many unwanted thoughts come.

Sri Aurobindo: What are they?

Disciple: Some nonsense.

Sri Aurobindo: Some extraordinary non-sense like perpetual attendance on the Maharajah or successor to Mussolini?

Disciple: No sir, the thought of the Maharajah comes very rarely. But why does not one succeed in meditating even after so many trials? The last time I had fine meditation was when Dr. N. came from Madras.

But I see my friend N. at once bends his head down and I believe he is merged in Satchidananda.

Disciple: Yes, in despair, perhaps. I go to sleep.

Sri Aurobindo: But there is power of deep concentration on your face (laughter).

Disciple: Can one go to sleep in despair?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, as a refuge out of the despair. Apart from that, it happens to everybody except for yogis who have made it their business to meditate. And even they find there are periods of blankness when nothing seems to be done or going on.

Disciple: As he is a poet he may be living in higher regions.

Sri Aurobindo: You must no forget Shakespeare's saying that "All poetry is telling lies." (laughter)

Disciple: He is not a poet of that sort.

Disciple: Perhaps you had a dose of meditation last week which you are now assimilating; you are suffering from spiritual dyspepsia.

Disciple: But some people go into unconsciousness as soon

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as they begin meditation. For example R. and C. Even P. when he used to join became unconscious of the body.

Sri Aurobindo: Some yogis require a support to prevent their bodies from falling while they are in meditation. Those who practice Asan can remain erect.

There are some who go to sleep standing like the horse. My grand-father, Raj Narayan Bose, was like that. One day we were walking together at night. Suddenly we missed him. When we came back we saw him sleeping standing.

Disciple: It is a question of habit and convenience, I think.

Disciple: Was Raj Narayan practicing meditation?

Sri Aurobindo: Not much. It was a Brahmo-meditation. (Laughter)

Disciple: Sometimes meditation used to come to me spontaneously at my place and I used to get into a condition when I would be compelled to sit down to meditate.

Sri Aurobindo: It was probably the inner being insisting on it. It is always better to allow it to work.

Disciple: It used to happen even when I would be leaving for my work. For days I used to feel that my head was resting on the Mother's feet. What is that?

Sri Aurobindo: It was the experience of Psychic Bhakti.

Disciple: But then it went away. How to retain that experience?

Sri Aurobindo: The condition is "to want that and nothing else." If you have that intense passion for union with the Divine then it can remain. It is too difficult, is it? So, it is better to allow the higher Power to work.

Disciple: We have been trying hard to make him remain here for three months but he is all the time thinking of his family.

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Disciple: I feel a pull upward in the head while meditating.

Sri Aurobindo: It is the mind trying to ascend to the Higher consciousness.

Disciple: Sometimes I feel myself widening.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, sometimes one feels the head opening or expanding. That is the sign of the mental being opening to the Power.

Disciple: Sometimes I see sky, ocean, or mountains and forests.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. One sees many things i.e. by the inner sight. These are symbols of life or energy. Sky is the symbol of the mind. Mountain is the symbol of the being with its different planes and parts with the Divine as the summit. Forests are symbols of the vital.

Disciple: These visions are seen by many (quite common).

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes, as the mind expands so also the heart expands and also the vital. If one sees those things outside oneself then that has only symbolic significance but if one feels the widening or coming of Light in himself then that increases the opening and the receptivity of the being.

Disciple: What do you mean by the Divine or the Supreme?

Sri Aurobindo: I mean by it a consciousness of which the Gita speaks as Param Bhavam, Purushottama, Parabrahman, Paramatman. That is to say, the origin and the support and cause of every thing. It is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, everywhere, You can't define it. You limit it if you define it. It can be described as Satchidananda. It is everything, it is everywhere, it is in everything. It is impersonal, 'Neti, Neti;' it is also 'Iti, Iti'. You can have the experience of Satchidananda on any plane. These things cannot be known by the mind or by discussion. The "Golden lid has to be broken".

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Disciple: What will happen if one realizes the divine consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo: First thing, you will become calm, quiet; secondly, there will be the feeling of strength, I mean the presence of a Force. Thirdly, the sense of the Infinite will be felt, you will feel yourself as the Infinite. Fourthly, something will be always there behind which will be able to govern the nature. Also the sense of Eternity and of yourself as Immortal. Even though the body dies you know you are immortal. Also there are many things more. For example, freedom from every thing even from the world. You realize the Transcendental and the Universal consciousness.

Realization of the fundamental being may be the beginning i.e. of the Essential being, Consciousness and Delight. Then, everything is divine, you are divine, you live in the divine: it is one of the most Anandamaya experiences. It is a concrete and real thing and not an idea. You cannot explain these things. You can't explain even a stone in spite of your science. Everything is not material but mystical at bottom.

Disciple: Is it that this experience formulates itself differently in different Yogis to suit their personalities? or the difference is due to nature or personality itself?

Sri Aurobindo: There, personality is no longer separate. It is the One putting itself forward with a special quality, stress or emphasis. Nimbarka's Bhedabheda means that.

Disciple: You have also spoken of the veil in the heart.

Sri Aurobindo: It is also true. It sometimes requires removing the veil and breaking the wall (in the heart).

Sometimes after this experience of opening it seems to close again. Most of the obstruction comes from the

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vital. So, the being is prepared behind the veil and when everything is ready it is projected in the outer nature. But the demand of this Yoga is much more than in any other and so it takes a long time. All yoga requires patience above everything else.

Disciple: We must have been working for it for many lives.

Sri Aurobindo: According to some yogas you have no right to the result for twelve years. After twelve years you have to see if anything has happened or not.

Disciple: When the preparation is being done behind, can we say that some of the Sadhaks have achieved very great advance like the Vedic Rishis.

Sri Aurobindo: How do you mean? Their outer nature is not ready and so they can't be said to have realized the Truth. Nature is full of difficulties and obstacles and so the Higher Power works behind. If it worked in the outer nature, it would meet too many obstacles.

Disciple: So it is the Bhedabheda philosophy?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not merely philosophy, but the fact is there corresponding to the philosophy. The Gita speaks of it as "Avibhaktam Vibhkteshu Vibhaktam iva cha Sthitam", "Undivided in the midst of divided things, appearing as if divided." This is not an illusion. I see a tree. The tree appears to me as separate from me. But it is the One, because one with Him. It is myself. It is something else than a tree. It is impossible to think of it as something else than the Brahman.

When I cast my eyes round the room everything,--objects and the persons--, appears the Brahman. I call you so and so but you are not that.

Ordinarily, one tags on everything to the "ego". But in that higher state you understand the divine working

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better than when you are a separate "ego". It is when you can become "nobody" and have experience of the Divine that you can be free. That is Mukti. I realized the One, my self disappeared. It is difficult to think of my self as so and so, son of so and so. It is a relief and freedom to be "That" and to remain in "It".

Disciple: Can it be called Shankara's Vedantic realization?

Sri Aurobindo: About Shankara's Vedanta, difficulty is that there are different explanations by various people. The world is an illusion--and the Illusion is indescribable. This is the common basis of all Shankara Adwaita--monism. According to him soul also is Maya--as it has no real existence. But I found that the experience behind this idea is quite different. I had that experience at Baroda, and if I had stopped there I would have been an orthodox Vedantin.*

14-12-1938. Time: about 5-30 P. M.

Silent atmosphere. M. meditating, P. sitting by his side. Sri Aurobindo cast a glance at M. After few minutes P. tried to kill a mosquito with a clapping of hands. Sri Aurobindo looked at P. M. opened his eyes. P. felt much embarrassed.

Disciple: Were you ever a Free Mason, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: My eldest brother was; from him I gathered that it was nothing. But Free Masons had something when it was started. Have you heard of Kaliostro? He was a mystic and a Free Mason with a great prophetic

______________

* Shankar's followers disagree. According to Sri Aurobindo, God is one and many at the same time--they may say, "a logical contradiction". So is Maya--true and false at the same time. That also is a logical contradiction.

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power. He prophesied about the French Revolution, the raising of Bastille and guillotining of the King and Queen. He used to prophesy about race-horses. He got into trouble and was imprisoned and died in prison. He never charged any money from any one and yet he was affluent. It was said he knew alchemy and could make gold. (There was a few minutes silence.)

Sri Aurobindo: Have you heard about Nosterdamus? No? He was a Jew. At that time Jews had great knowledge. He wrote a book of prophecy in some obscure language and prophesied about the execution of Charles I, the end of the British Empire and the lasting of the Empire for about 330 years.

Disciple: Then there is still a long time?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it was to be counted from the beginning of her colonies. That means from James I. In that case it should end now.

Disciple: From Chamberlain's speech today it seems Britain is not obliged to side with France in case of war,--it looks like it.

Sri Aurobindo: The English always keep their policy open so that they may change and correct as they like or want.

Disciple: But they cannot join Italy or Germany?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? They can share with them France's African Colonies.

(At this time Mother came. We looked towards her and changed our position from near Sri Aurobindo's head.) She said, "Don't move, don't move."

Disciple: We have decided to meditate when you come. (Mother made big eyes and we all laughed.)

Mother: But if I want to hear the talk?

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Disciple: Then we will talk.

Sri Aurobindo: (addressing the Mother): I am giving him a few prophecies of Kaliostro and Nosterdamus whom he has never read, he says.

Disciple: You know Bhikshu X was quite illogical; he called me back from here?

Sri Aurobindo: All preachers are illogical. Were you a fervent Buddhist? Is there much Buddhism in your parts?

Disciple: About one or two million people are Buddhists and there is nothing of Buddhism in what they follow.

Mother: Nothing or something of Buddhism?

Disciple: Something.

Mother: In China and Japan also no Buddhism is left. Only ceremonies remain. In Ceylon they say there is still some authentic Buddhism.

Disciple: In Burma also the same is the case. There, people put on ochre clothes at day and throw them away at night. But the Burmese people show a great respect for their Bikshus.

Disciple: Yes. Respect to dress and not to the reality.

Sri Aurobindo: Lele used to have the same idea. Once I met a Sanyasi with him. Lele asked me: "You don't bow down to him?" I replied: "I don't believe in the man". Lele said: "But you must respect the yellow robe". The Sanyasi was one of the three people whom Vivekananda drove out of his house and they became Avatars in one day (Laughter). Is he just the man to be so treated?

(As Mother had fallen into meditation we all tried to

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meditate with her. At about 7 P. M. she went for the group meditation and we rallied again round Sri Aurobindo.)

Addressing X,

Sri Aurobindo: You seemed to have Ananda in your meditation. Your face is beaming with it.

Disciple: Yes Sir. He is nowadays beaming with Ananda.

Disciple: (shyly), "I fell into deep sleep I think, but I had some visions also which seem to be quite distinctly outside.

Sri Aurobindo: Then why do you call it sleep? It may be the psychic being, or the inner being watching what is happening. Sometimes one goes into deeper state and remembers nothing in his outer consciousness, though many things may be going on within. What is called dreamless sleep is really a sleep in which dreams are passing on, only one does not know. Sometimes one discusses problems in such a condition, gets the ecstasy of union, etc. One may also go into other worlds with one part of this being and meet other forms etc. This is of course the first condition and a kind of a beginning of Samadhi. From what you describe it may be an inner being's experience and not psychic. Even then, no doubt that your face is beaming with Ananda, seeing which I thought you went within.

Disciple: Can one get the diagnosis of diseases in such states?

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes. Many people are said to have their problems solved in this way. I remember a peculiar experience of mine. As I was meditating I saw some writings crossing over my head Then a blank. Then again these writings with a gap in the middle which meant that things were going on though I was not conscious of it.

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Sri Aurobindo (turning to another disciple): Now what about your meditation?

Disciple: Not successful, sir.

Sri Aurobindo: How? I saw you going in and powerfully wrestling your way towards the Brahman (laughter).

Disciple: Plenty of thoughts invaded me. I tried to reject them and make myself empty.

Sri Aurobindo: The result was emptiness? (laughter)

Disciple: But that is meditation, surely?

Disciple: NO, no, it is not, I could not go into nothingness. I did not feel the Presence; was it meditation, sir?

Sri Aurobindo: That is the beginning, the first condition, The mind must first be quiet for the other things to come down. But one must not dictate to meditation what it should be or not. One must accept whatever it brings.

Disciple: But was I right?

Sri Aurobindo: Right about what?

Disciple: That I was able to reject thoughts.

Sri Aurobindo: (laughing) How do I know? You are to say that. I was only making comments on your statement.

Disciple: You don't know? We consider you as Omniscient.

Sri Aurobindo: You don't expect me to know how many fish the fishermen have caught. How much they have made out of it? People from Bombay used to ask me if the price of cotton would go up, about race horses and about their lost children. What is the use of knowing all that? You know Ramakrishna's story of the Sanyasi's crossing the river. He said it was a Siddhi worth half an anna! Of course if necessary one can know these things, in a way, but I am not occupied with these sort of things. I have left it to the Mother. She hears what is being said at a

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distance, meets Sadhaks in subtle planes, talks to them. She said exactly what was going to happen in the recent European trouble. We know what we have got to know for our work.

Disciple: What puzzles me is that you never told me when asked about the diagnosis of a patient.

Sri Aurobindo: Why do you expect us to do your work?

Disciple: Oh, that is different. But you said you have no latent medico in you and hence you can't say. I thought you could say by your intuition.

Sri Aurobindo (addressing X): I was telling you we know what we have got to know. But it is not always good to know. For instance, if I know a thing is going to happen I am bound to it, and even if it is not what I wanted, I have to accept it, and this prevents my having a greater or another possibility. So I want to keep myself free and deal with various possibilities. Below the Supermind everything is a question of possibilities; so if I keep myself free, I can accept or reject as I like. Destiny is not a thing fixed. It is just a complex of forces which can be changed.

Disciple: Without knowledge of the thing how shall one work? After knowing what is to happen cannot one reject it?

Sri Aurobindo: Knowledge comes by intuition. One can reject but the result is not sure though failure may show the way for later success.

Disciple: You have said in an August conversation that you have conquered death by natural process but you have no control over accident.

Sri Aurobindo: Where? What did I say?

Disciple: If I remember rightly, you wrote to me that dise-

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ases can't end your life but still you have no control over accidents.

Sri Aurobindo: Oh! Diseases usually run a long course so one has time to act on them, but if there is a disease suddenly of severe nature that ends life immediately, then conquest is not possible. And about accidents the body has its own consciousness and is always alert. But if the mind is occupied with other things, then an accident can take one unawares. As regards violence e.g. of a riot, I would have to concentrate for four or five days to protect myself.

The hostile forces have tried many times to prevent the Darshan but I have succeeded in warding off all those attacks. This time I was more occupied with guarding the Mother and I forgot about myself. I did not think that they would attack me. That was my mistake. As regards the Ashram, I have been extremely successful but while I have tried to work in the world, results have been varied. In Spain I was splendidly successful. General Miaca was an admirable instrument to work on. Working of the Force depends on the instrument. Basque was an utter failure. Negus was a good instrument but people around him though good warriors were too ill organized and ill occupied. Egypt was not successful. Ireland and Turkey a tremendous success. In Ireland I have done exactly what I wanted to do in Bengal. Turks are a silent race.

Disciple: What do you think of the China-Japan war?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't think much of the either party. They are like six and half-a-dozen. Both too much materialistic. But if I had to choose; I would side with Japan. Japan at one time had an ideal. Their powers of self-sacrifice, patriotism, self-abnegation and silence are

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remarkable. They would never lose temper in front of anybody. If his honour is injured he would stab, but he must not lose self-control. They can work so silently and secretly that no one knew anything before the Russo-Japan war broke out, how they had prepared themselves. All on a sudden they broke out into war. They are Kshatriyas and their aesthetic sense is of course well known.

But the European influence has spoiled all that. They are now very materialistic. Now how brutal they have become, which is thoroughly un-Japanese.

Look at Japanese soldier slapping the European officers, though they deserve it. The Japanese commander challenging Chiang-Kai-Sheik to come out in the open field. The Japanese men attacking their political leaders--all this is unconceivable. This sort of swaggering is not at all Japanese. In old times, the Japanese, even while fighting, had perfect sympathy with those with whom they fought.

Disciple: But without brutalities (killing innocent inhabitants) it would be difficult to win the war.

Sri Aurobindo: God knows. They are such fine warriors and a patriotic and self-sacrificing nation that one would believe the contrary. But they are doing these things because of two reasons probably: 1. Financial shortage which is not very convincing because of their immense power of sacrifice. 2. Population of China.

Disciple: Foreign help to China e.g. Soviet?

Sri Aurobindo: That is a possibility but the Soviet's internal condition is such that it can't think of giving much help from out side.

Disciple: What about India's independence? Is it developing along your lines?

27

Sri Aurobindo: Surely not, India is now going towards European Socialism which is dangerous for her; while we were trying to evolve true genius of the race along Indian lines and all working for independence.

Take the Bengal movement. The whole race was awakened within a short time. People who were such cowards and trembled before the sight of a revolver were in a short period so much changed that police officials used to say "Insolent Barisal". It was the soul of the race that woke up throwing up very fine personalities. The leaders of the movement were either Yogis or disciples of Yogis e.g. Monoranjan Guha Thakurate disciple of B. Goswami.

Disciple: Was he a nationalist?

Sri Aurobindo: Good Lord. He was my fellow-worker. He also took part in secret society. Then Brahmo Bandhava Upadhayay etc. Ramkrishna and Vivekananda's influence worked from behind. The movement with the secret society became so formidable that in any other country with a political past it would have led to something like the French Revolution. The sympathy of the whole race was on our side. Even shopkeepers were reading Yugantar. I will tell you an instance; while a young man was running away after killing a police officer in Shambazar, he forgot to throw away his revolver. It remained in his hand. One shop-keeper cried out: "Hide your revolver, hide your revolver." Then you have heard of Jatin Mukerjee's exploit.

Disciple: Yes Sir.

Sri Aurobindo: A wonderful man. He was a man who would belong to the front rank of humanity. Such beauty and strength together I have not seen, and his stature was like that of a warrior.

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Disciple: You told me Dr. R. uses mental intuition. So there may be various levels of intuition.

Sri Aurobindo: By mental intuition I mean the Intuition which comes from Above. Don't get mixed in the mind. I don't say that mental intuition is not correct but it is always limited because of the mixture. There is also the vital influence which very often becomes mixed up with one's desires.

Disciple: How to get the intuition? By calmness of mind?

Sri Aurobindo: Calmness is not enough. Mind must be silent.

Disciple: It will then take a long time.

Sri Aurobindo: Can't say. Can take a short time, or a long time.

Disciple: But it won't be possible to keep the silence until one has realized the spirit.

Sri Aurobindo: One can train one's mind to be silent.

(Dr. X took his leave and as Mother lapsed into meditation we all tried to do the same. Then after Mother had departed by 7 P.M., we rallied around Sri Aurobindo. He looked once or twice at M.)

Disciple: M. is beaming to-day.

Disciple: That must be Kundalini then.

Disciple: I don't believe it. Is this vibration the Higher Force, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It was trying to cure your lumbago, perhaps, and the first sign was a little aggravation (we all laughed). You don't believe in Kundalini?

Disciple: No, Sir.

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Sri Aurobindo: But you were telling about your "ascent and descent" experience.

Disciple: Is that Kundalini? I did not know it (laughter). But Kundalini is not the line of our yoga and you have not mentioned about it any where.

Disciple: Oh yes, he has in the "Lights on Yoga".

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Kundalini is, of course, the Tantrik idea: The Shakti lying coiled in Muladhara awakes, rises up and carries the consciousness upward opening all the chakras up to Brahmarandhra and then meets the Brahman, and then the descent begins. The Tantrik process is more technical.

It is curious to see the action of the Force in some cases. Some feel as if a drilling were being done in the brain. Some people can't keep the Force in. They sway from side to side, make peculiar sounds. I remember one practicing Pranayama rigourously and making horrible sound. I did not hear of his getting any good results. Sometimes the Force raises up what lies below--in the lower nature--in order to be able to deal with it.

*

18th December 1938 (4-30 P. M.)

Disciple: It is surprising that Swami Nikhilananda should write about you. (There was an article in the Hindu by Swami Nikhilananda)

Sri Aurobindo: It is Nishha (Miss Wilson) who arranged for its publication through him, her friend, before she came here. (After some silence) It is peculiar how they give an American turn to everything (Ref. to the article)

Disciple: How is that the Americans seem to be more open?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, because they are a new nation and have no past tradition to bind them. France and Czech-

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oslovakia also are open. Many are writing from there to do yoga.

Disciple: Nisha was in communication with you for some time?

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes, for three or four years she has been in touch with us. She has very clear ideas about Yoga and is practicing it there. (At this point X. arrived and remarked that she must be very disappointed because there was no Darshan this time.)

Sri Aurobindo: No. She has taken it in the right yogic attitude, unlike others.

Then X. went on asking how is it that there are no Maharashtrian Sadhaks here in spite of Sri Aurobindo's being in contact with Tilak and remaining a long time in Baroda.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes; it is strange. They are more vital in their nature. The Bengali, Gujarati and Tamil people are more in numbers. It is now spreading in other parts C. P. Punjab, Behar.

(The talk then passed on to Supermind)

Disciple: I hope we shall live to see the glorious day of the Supermind. When will it descend, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo (remained silent to this question and said): How can it descend? The nearer it comes the greater becomes the resistance to it!

Disciple: On the contrary the law of gravitation should pull it down.

Sri Aurobindo: That theory does not apply to it for it has levitation tendency and if it comes down in spite of that it does so against tremendous resistance.

Disciple: Have you realized Supermind?

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Sri Aurobindo: You know I was talking about the tail of the Supermind to Y. I know what it is, I had flashes and glimpses of it. I have been trying to Supramentalize the Overmind. Not that the Supermind is not acting. It is doing so through Overmind and Intuition and the intermediate powers have come down. Supermind is above the Overmind (He showed it by placing one palm above the other) so that one may mistake one for the other. I remember the day when people here claimed to have got it. I myself had made mistakes about it in the beginning, and I did not know about the many planes. It was Vivekananda who used to come to me in Alipore Jail and showed to me Intuitive plane and for about two to three weeks or so gave me training as regards Intuition. Then afterwards I began to see still higher planes. I am not satisfied with only a part, or a flash of Supermind but I want to bring down the whole mass of the Supermind pure, and that is an extremely difficult business.

Disciple: We hear that there will be a selected number of people who will first receive the Supermind.

Sri Aurobindo (made a peculiar expression with his eyes and asked): Selected by whom?

Disciple: By the Supermind, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo (Laughingly): Oh, that is for the Supermind to decide. Whatever is the Truth will be done by it, for Supermind is Truth-Consciousness and things are established in the course by it so that your complaint about the disappearance of calm etc. will disappear, for they will be established by the Supermind.

Disciple: Will the descent of Supermind make things easier for us?

Sri Aurobindo: It will do so to those who receive the Supermind, who are open to it; for example, if there

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are thirty or forty people ready it could descend.

Disciple: You said that in 1934 Supermind was ready to descend but not a single Sadhak was found prepared. So it withdrew. But you told me once that the descent of Supermind does not depend on readiness of Sadhaks.

Sri Aurobindo: If none is ready to receive how will the Supermind manifest itself? But instead of thinking of Supermind one has first to open oneself to Intuition.

(At this time Mother came and asked what were we talking.)

Sri Aurobindo: About intuition etc. (Then as Mother lapsed into meditation we all joined. Mother departed for meditation at about 7 P. M.)

Sri Aurobindo: "Does any one know about S.? I am curious to know how his blood came out drop by drop from the body. He seems to have Elizabethan turn of expression". Then the topic turned to the question of fear of death with S. and N's example. How they cover their body for fear of catching cold etc.

Sri Aurobindo told a story that at Cambridge they were discussing about physical development. Then one fellow in order to show his own courage began taking out his genji one after another and they found that there were about 10 or 12 on his body!!

Disciple: There are people who think that as soon as they have entered the Ashram they have become immortal! We must develop our consciousness in order to conquer death, is it not?

Sri Aurobindo: People think so, because for a long time no death took place in the Ashram. Those who died were either visitors or who had gone back from here. In the beginning people had strong faith but as the number increased, the faith began to diminish. But why one should fear death?

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Besides fear has no place in yoga. The soul is immortal and the body passes. The soul goes from one life to another.

Disciple: We fear because of our attachments.

Sri Aurobindo: One must have no attachments in yoga.

Disciple: How to conquer fear?

Sri Aurobindo: By mental strength, will and spiritual power. In my own case, whenever there was any fear I used to do the very things that I was afraid of even if it entailed a violent death. Barin also had much fear while he was in the terrorist activity. But he would compel himself to do those things. When death sentence was passed on him he took it very cheerfully. Henry IV, King of France, had a great physical fear but by his mental will he would compel himself to rush into thick of the battle and was known as a great warrior. Napoleon and Caesar had no fear. Once when Caesar was fighting the forces of Pompeii in Albania, Caesar's army was faring badly. Caesar was at that time in Italy. He jumped into the sea, took a fisherman's boat and asked him to carry him there. On the way a storm rose and the fisherman was mortally afraid. The Caesar said "Why do you fear? You are carrying the fortunes of Caesar."

I remember one Sadhaka under an attack of hiccoup saying "If it goes on I will die." I told him "What does it matter if you die?" and the hiccoup stopped! Very often, these fears and suggestions bring in the adverse forces which then catch hold of the subject. By my blunt statement the Sadhaka realized his folly and did not, perhaps, allow any more suggestions.

Disciple: Is Barin still doing yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know, he used to do some sort of yoga even before I began. My yoga he took up only after coming to Pondicherry. In the Andamans also he

D. P.-3

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was practicing it. You know he was Lele's disciple. Once he took Lele to Calcutta among the young people of the secret society. Lele did not know that they were revolutionaries. One day Barin took him into a garden where they were practicing shooting. As soon as Lele saw it he understood the nature of the movement and asked Barin to give it up. If Barin did not listen to him, Lele said, he would fall into a ditch and he did fall.

Disciple: Barin, I heard, had a lot of experiences.

Sri Aurobindo: They were mere mental and he gathered some knowledge, much information or understanding out of them. I heard that when he had begun yoga he had an experience of Kamananda. Lele was surprised to hear about it. For he said that experience comes usually at the end. It is a descent like any other experience but unless one's sex centre is sufficiently controlled it may produce bad results etc. emission and other disturbances.

Disciple: Yes. He had brilliance.

Sri Aurobindo: But he was always narrow and limited. He would not widen himself, (Sri Aurobindo showed it by the movement of hands above the head) that is why his things won't last. e.g. he was brilliant writer and he also wrote devotional poetry. But nothing that will last because of this limitation. He was an amazing amateur in many things e.g. music, revolutionary activity. He was also a painter, though it did not come to much in spite of his exhibitions. He did well in all these but nothing more.

Disciple: Barin in his paper "Dawn" began to write your biography.

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know that. Did he publish a paper?

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I would have been interested to see what he writes about me.

Disciple: It ceased after a short time.

Disciple: You wrote back exclaiming great surprise that what everyone knows I do not know.

Sri Aurobindo: In fact it is not true. That is, what it is. Barin does not give the true state of things. I was neither the founder nor the leader. It was P. Mittra and Miss Ghosal that started it at the inspiration of Baron Okakura. They had already started and when I visited Bengal I cam to know about it. I simply kept myself informed of their work. My idea was an open armed revolution in the whole of India. What they did at that time was very childish. e.g. beating magistrates and so on. Later it turned into terrorism and dacoities etc. which were not at all my idea or intention. Bengal is too emotional, wants quick results, can't prepare through a long course of years. We wanted to give battle through creating a spirit in the race through guerrilla warfare. But at the present stage of warfare such things are impossible and bound to fail.

Disciple: Then why did you not check it?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not good to check such things that press for strong expression, when they have taken a strong step, for, something good may come out of it.

Disciple: You did not appear in the riding test in your I. C. S.?

Sri Aurobindo: No, they gave me another chance. But

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again I did not appear and finally they rejected me.

Disciple: But why then did you appear in the I.C.S.? Was it by some intuition that you did not come for the riding test?

Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. I knew nothing of yoga at that time. I appeared for I.C.S. because my father wanted it and I was too young to understand. Later I found out what sort of work it is and I had disgust for administrative life and I had no interest in administrative work. My interest was in poetry and literature and study of languages and patriotic action.

Disciple: We heard that you and C.R. Das used to make plans of revolution in India while in England.

Sri Aurobindo: Not only C.R. Das but many others. Deshpande was one.

Disciple: You used to write very strong memoranda for the Gaikewad; you once asked him to go and give it to the Resident personally.

Sri Aurobindo: That is legend. I could not have said so. Of course, I wrote many memoranda for the Maharajah. Generally he used to indicate the lines and I used to follow them. But I myself was not much interested in administration. My interest lay outside in Sanskrit, literature, in the national movement. When I came to Baroda from England I found out what the Congress was at that time and formed a contempt for it. Then I came in touch with Deshpande, Tilak, Madhav Rao etc. There I strongly criticized the Congress for its moderate policy. The articles were so furious that M.G. Ranade, the great Maharashtra leader, asked the proprietor of the paper (through Deshpande) not to allow such seditious things to appear in the paper, otherwise he might be arrested and imprisoned. Deshpande approached me with

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the news and requested me to write something less violent. I then began to write about philosophy of politics, leaving aside the practical part of politics. But I soon got disgusted with it.

Along with Tilak, Madhav Rao, Deshmukh and Joshi who became a moderate later, we were planning to work on more extreme lines than the Congress. We brought Jatin Banerji from Bengal and put him in the Baroda army. Our idea was to drive moderates from the Congress and capture it.

As soon as I heard that National College had been started in Bengal, I found my opportunity, threw off the Baroda job and went to Calcutta as the Principal. There I came in contact with B. Pal who was editing the "Bande mataram." But its financial condition was precarious and when B. Pal was going on a tour he asked me to take up the paper. I asked Subodh Mullick and others to finance the paper and went on editing it.

Then some people wanted to oust Bipin Chandra Pal from the Bande Matram and they connected my name also with it. I called the sub-editor and gave him a severe thrashing, of course metaphorically. But the mischief was done. Bipin Pal was a great orator, and at that time his speeches were highly inspired, a sort of a descent. Later on his power of oration also got diminished. I remember he never used the word independence but always said "Autonomy without British control." Later on when after Barisal Conference we brought in the peasants in the movement, forty to fifty thousand of them used to gather to hear Pal; Suren Banerjee can not stand comparison with Pal. He has never done anything like it. But he also lost his power later on. He was more an orator. He had not the qualities of a leader. Then Shyamsundar and some other people

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came in. It soon drew the attention of large number of people and became an All-India paper. One day I called the Bengal leaders and said, "It is no use simply going on like this. We must capture the Congress and throw out these moderate leaders from it." Then we decided to follow Tilak as the All-India leader.

They at once jumped at the idea. Tilak who was not well known in the Northern parts was chosen for leadership. He was a real great man who was disinterested and a rare great man.

Disciple: What do you think of his Gita? Was it inspired?

Sri Aurobindo: I must say I have not read it.

Disciple: You have reviewed it.

Sri Aurobindo: Then I have reviewed it without having read it (loud laughter). Of course I might have glanced through it and I don't think it is inspired. It is more a mental interpretation and he had a brilliant mind.

Disciple: When some one asked Tilak what he would do when India got Swaraj, he said he would again become a professor of Mathematics.

Disciple: What about A. B. Patrika? It was also an extremist paper.

Sri Aurobindo: Never, it was impossible for A. B. Patrika to write openly like the "Bande Mataram" and Jugantar about independence, guerrilla warfare, day after day in a paper. It wanted safety first. At that time three papers were running in Bengal 1. "Jugantar" 2. Bande Mataram 3. And Sandhya. Brahma Bandhava. Upadhyaya editor of Sandhya was another great man. He used to write so cleverly the Government could not charge him; and our financial condition was so bad and yet we carried on for five to six years.

Disciple: But did the Government not try to arrest you?

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Sri Aurobindo: It could not. There was no such law and the press had more liberty. Besides there was nothing in the papers that could be directly charged against--so cleverly were they written. "Statesman" used to complain that the paper Bande Mataram was full of seditious matter from end to end. But yet so cleverly was it written that one could not arrest the editor. Moreover the name of editor was never published. So they could arrest only the printer. But when one was arrested another came to take his place. Later on Upen Banerjee, Sub-editor, published some correspondence for which I was arrested on sedition charge, but as nothing could be proved I was acquitted. But in my absence as they were disastrously up against finance they wrote something very strong and the paper was suppressed. After another arrest I published the "Karmayogin". There I wrote an article "Open letter to my countrymen." for which the Government wanted to prosecute me. While the prosecution was pending I went secretly to Chandranagore and there some friends were thinking of sending me to France. I was thinking want to do next. There I heard the Adesh to go to Pondicherry.

Disciple: Why to Pondicherry?

Sri Aurobindo: I could not question. It was Sri Krishna's Adesh. I had to obey. Later on I found it was for the Ashram and for the Work.

I had to apply for a pass-port under a false name. The Ship Company required Medical Certificate by an English Doctor. After a great deal of trouble I found out one and went to his house. He told me that I could speak English remarkably well. I replied that I had been to England.

Disciple: You took the certificate under a false name. (I was a little surprised to hear he had disguised under a false name. So the question.)

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Sri Aurobindo: Of course. If I had given my name, I would have been at once arrested. With due respect to Gandhi's truth I could not be exactly precise about my name, otherwise you can't be a revolutionary.

Accompanied by Bijoy and preceded by Moni and followed by my brother-in-law I arrived in Pondicherry but had to assume false names for some time.

*

22nd December 1938.

(All of us assembled in hope of hearing something from Sri Aurobindo. I was actually praying for it. But he did not seem to be in a talking mood. So we were forced to keep quiet at the same time thinking how to draw him into conversation and by what question. Suddenly we find X. beaming with a smile and looking at Sri Aurobindo. Then he takes a few more moves nearer to Sri Aurobindo and we automatically follow him, he still nears and then he bursts out with a question: "To attain right attitude what principles should we follow in our dealing and behaviour with others?"

Sri Aurobindo could not quite catch the question so it was repeated and he replied: It seems to me the other way about. If we have the right attitude other things come by themselves. Right attitude is necessary; what is important is the inner attitude. Spiritual and ethical principles are quite different, for every thing depends on whether it is done for the sake of the Spirit or ethical reasons.

One may observe mental control in dealings etc. but the inner state may be quite different e.g. he may not show anger, may be humble externally, but internally he may be proud and full of anger. For

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example A. when he came here he was full of humility outside. It is the psychic control that is required and when that is there right attitude follows in one's external behaviour. Conduct must flow from within outwards and the more one opens to the psychic influence the more it gains over the outer nature. Mental control may or may not lead to the spiritual. In people of a certain type it may be the first step towards psychic control.

Disciple: How to get psychic control?

Sri Aurobindo: By constant remembrance, consecration of ourselves to the Divine, rejection of all that stands in the way of the psychic influence. Generally, it is the vital that stands in the way with its desires and demands. And once the psychic opens it shows at every step what is to be done. (At the later stage of the conversation Mother came and soon after we all lapsed into meditation with the Mother.

After her departure at about 7 P.M. Sri Aurobindo asked X. "What is the idea behind your question? Something personal or a general question?"

Disciple: I meant, for instance, how to see good in every body, how to love all and have good-will for all.

Sri Aurobindo: One has to start with the idea of good-will for all; to consecrate oneself to the Divine, try to see God in others, have a psychic good-will and in oneself reject all vital and mental impulses, and on that basis proceed towards the realization. The idea must pass into experience. Even then, it is easy in static aspect, but when it comes to the dynamic experience it becomes difficult. For example, when one finds a man behaving like a brute it is very difficult to see God in him unless one separates him from outer nature and sees the Divine behind.

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One can repeat the name of the Divine and come to divine consciousness.

Disciple: How does name do it?

Sri Aurobindo: Name has a power like Mantra. Everything in the world is power. There are others who do Pranayama along with the name. After a time the repetition behind the Pranayama becomes automatic and one feels Divine presence etc. Here people once began to feel tremendous force in their work. They would work without fatigue for hours and hours, but they began to overdo it. One has to be reasonable even in spirituality. That was when the Sadhana was in the vital. But when it began in the physical then things were different. Physical is like a stone, full of inertia and resistance.

Disciple: Sometimes one feels a sort of love for everybody, though the feeling lasts for a second it gives a great joy.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the wave from the psychic. But what is your attitude towards it? Do you take it as a passing mood or does it stimulate you to further experience of that sort?

Disciple: It stimulates but sometimes vital mixture tries to come in. Fortunately I could drive it out.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the risk. The fact that mixture tried to come in means that the wave came through the inner vital and thus took something from the vital. One has to be very careful in order to avoid these sex impurities. In spite of his occasional outburst of violence X was a very nice and affectionate man; but he used to get these things mixed up with sex-impulse and the experience was spoiled. This happens because sometimes one gives a semi-justification to sex-impulse. But sex is absolutely out of place in Yoga. In ordinary life it has a certain place for a certain purpose. Of course, if you

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adopt the Sahaja Marga, it is different.

While in jail I know of a man who had a power of concentration trying to make everyone love him and he succeeded. The warder and all the people around him were drawn towards him.

Disciple: That is what we don't know (laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: The mind must be made quiet and the consciousness turned-not mentally-towards the aim. It no doubt takes time but that is the way. There are no devices for these things.

Disciple: What difference is there between modification of nature and its transformation?

Sri Aurobindo: Transformation is the casting of the whole nature in the mould of realization. What you realize you project out in your nature. Christian Saints speak of the presence in the heart. That presence can change the nature.

I speak of three transformations: 1. Psychic, 2. Spiritual and 3. Supramental. Psychic transformation many had; spiritual is the realization of the Self, the Infinite above, with its dynamic side of peace, knowledge, ananda etc. That transformation is spiritual transformation and above that is the Supramental transformation. It is Truth-consciousness working for a Divine aim or purpose.

Disciple: If one has inner realization does transformation follow in the light of the realization?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. There may be some modification in the nature-part but the transformation is not automatic. It is not so easy as all that. My experience of peace and calm in the first contact with Lele has never left me, but in my outer nature there were many agitations and every time I had to make an effort to establish peace. From that time onwards the

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whole object of my yoga was to change nature into the mould of the inner realization. I had to try to change or transform these by the influence of my realization.

Disciple: Even then a man with inner realization,--I don't mean experience--won't have grave difficulties such as sex in his nature.

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? There can be anger, like Durvasa's or sex. You have not heard of the fall of Rishis through anger or through sex? The Yogis pass beyond the stage of good and evil. Ordinary questions of morality don't arise in them. They look upon outer nature as a child behaving according to its wants. I think X's fall came in that way. He had gone into the higher mind, I do not know, if not even to the overmind state; he used to be guided by an inner voice which he accepted as the voice of the Divine and did everything in the light of that voice. When people were asking him about his conduct I am told he replied that it was by the voice of God and that every Siddha had done that. You have heard of Agymananda Swami who went to London? He was arrested in England for making love to girls.

Disciple: Would not the inner realization stop because of these outer indulgences.

Sri Aurobindo: It depends on how far one has gone in the path in spiritual realization. There are any number of passages, crossways and paths; one may be at liberty to whatever yoga one likes. But in our yoga we insist on the transformation of outer nature as well. And when I say something is necessary in yoga, it means in "our yoga"; it does not apply to yoga with other aims.

(There was lull for some time after this.)

Then Sri Aurobindo asked: Do you know

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anything about M.?

Disciple: My impression was not favourable. I was not personally attracted by him.

Sri Aurobindo: When I saw his photo I had an impression that he is a man with strong vital power. When I saw that he was advertising about himself as Messiah I began to doubt his genuineness. His sadhana seems to be in the vital and it is in these cases that the power descends and unfortunately people are attracted by these powers. In the spiritual and the psychics even in mental sadhana, power can come, but it comes automatically without one asking for it.

Y. was another M. with a powerful vital being. At one time I had strong hopes about him. But people whose sadhana is on a vital basis pass into what I have called the Intermediate Zone and hardly go beyond the vital. It is like a jungle and it is comparatively much easy with those people who are weak and have no such power. He used to think that he had put himself in the Divine's hand and the Divine is in him. We had to be severe with him to disillusion him of his idea. That is why he could not remain here. He went back and became a guru with about thirty or forty disciples around him. Gurugiri (Master-ship) comes very often to these people. He did all that in my name which I heartily disliked. Unfortunately his mind was not equally powerfully developed as his vital. He had the fighter's mind not the thinker's. We often put a strong force on him and as a result he used to become very lucid for a time and he could see his wrongs. But immediately his vital rushed back and took control of his mind, it all used to be wiped out. If his mind had been as developed perhaps he would have been able to retain the clarity. The intellect helps one to

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separate oneself from the vital and look at it dispassionately. The mind also can deceive but not so much. M. is another of this type.

Disciple: Why did he go away from here?

Sri Aurobindo: Because he wanted to be an Avatar and because he could not get rid of the attachment to his work. He is very unscrupulous.

Disciple: Has he some power?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But not an occult power like the others. Before that he was quite an ordinary man with some possibilities. When I came out of the jail, you know, I was staying in his house and I was full of certain force. He got a share of it.

Disciple: How?

Sri Aurobindo: He was doing some kind of yoga. I gave him some instructions. From them he got his power.

Disciple: Was he working on your idea?

Sri Aurobindo: When I was leaving Bengal I thought it might be possible to work through him on condition that he remained faithful to me. That he could never be. His own self came to the front though the original push was from me, now it is not my force that is working there. These things become easily unspiritualised.

Disciple: In his "Jivan Sangini" he makes a lot of fuss over his wife.

Sri Aurobindo: She struck me as a common-place woman though a good woman. She was a better woman than he as a man. I saw her only once by chance as she was not used to come out before people.

Disciple: He had developed a powerful Bengali style.

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Sri Aurobindo: Is that so? He was once Translating the Veda in Bengali.

Disciple: His Bengali, you know, was like Christian Missionary's Bengali. You know what it is like.

23rd December 1938

We have assembled as usual, and are eager to resume the talk. But nobody could begin without some hint or gesture from Sri Aurobindo. He was lying calmly in his bed.

A disciple made an approach to Sri Aurobindo half-hesitatingly. This made another disciple roar with laughter (Sri Aurobindo heard the laughter)

Disciple: X. is roaring with laughter.

Sri Aurobindo: Descent of Ananda?

This primary breaking of the ice made the atmosphere a little encouraging So, X catching the chance shot the following question with a beaming face:

Disciple: Because the hostile forces offer resistance to the Divine manifestation in the world and some of them become sometimes victorious (at least for the time being) can one logically say that the Divine lacks Omnipotence? It is not my question but somebody else's.

Sri Aurobindo: (turning his head to him) It depends on what you mean by Omnipotence. If the idea is that God must always succeed then we must conclude that he is not Omnipotent. Do you mean to say that he must always succeed against the resistance and then only he may be called Omnipotent? People have very queer ideas of Omnipotence. Resistance is the law of evolution. Resistance comes from ignorance and ignorance is a part of inconscience: the whole thing starts from

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ignorance that is inconscience. At the very beginning when the opposition between ignorance and knowledge was created, there was the very denial of the Divine. It is his Lila that the manifestation shall proceed through resistance and struggle: what kind of Lila, or play, it is in which side goes on winning? Divine Omnipotence generally works through the universal law. There are forces of Light and forces of Darkness. To say that the forces of Light shall always succeed is the same as saying that truth and good shall always succeed, though there is no such thing as unmixed truth and unmixed good. Divine Omnipotence intervenes only at critical or decisive moments.

Every time the Light has tried to descend it has met with resistance and opposition. Christ was crucified. You may say, "Why should it be like that when he was innocent?" and yet that was the Divine dispensation. Buddha was denied; sons of Light come, the earth denies them, rejects them in substance. Only a small minority grows towards a spiritual birth. It is through them the Divine manifestation takes place. What remains of Buddhism today except a few decrees of Asoka and a few hundred thousand Buddhists?

Disciple: Asoka helped in propagating Buddhism.

Sri Aurobindo: Anybody could have done that.

Disciple: But it is through his aid that it became all-powerful.

Sri Aurobindo: If kings and emperors had left Buddhism to those people who were really spiritual it would have been much better for real Buddhism. It was after Constantine embraced Christianity that it began to decline. The king of Norway, on whom Longfellow wrote a poem, killed all people who were not Christians

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and thus succeeded in establishing Christianity! The same happened to Mohammedanism. When it succeeded the followers of the Prophet became Khalifas, then the religion declined. It is not kings and emperors that keep alive spirituality but people who are really spiritual that do so.

Disciple: Asoka sacrificed everything for Buddhism.

Sri Aurobindo: But he remained emperor till the end. When kings and emperors try to spread religion they become like Asoka i.e. make whole thing mechanical and the inner truth is lost.

Disciple: Raman Maharshi was known to no one. It was Brunton who made him widely known.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a strange measure of success, people adopt in judging people by the number of disciples. Who was great--Raman Maharshi who did his Sadhana in seclusion for years or Raman Maharshi surrounded by all sorts of disciples? Success to be real must be spiritual. At times, when some spiritual movement begins to succeed then the real thing begins to be lost.

The talk turned to Ramanashram.

Sri Aurobindo: (related a story here) Mrs. K. went to see Maharshi and was seen driving mosquitoes at the time of meditation. She complained to him about mosquito bites. The Maharshi told her that if she couldn't bear mosquito bites she couldn't do yoga. Mrs. K. could not understand the significance of the statement. She wanted spirituality without mosquitoes!

There are reports that those who stay there permanently are not all in agreement with each other.

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Do you know that famous story about Maharshi "when being disgusted with the Ashram and the disciples," he was going away into the mountain. He was passing through a narrow path flanked by the hills. He came upon an old woman sitting with her legs across the path. Maharshi begged her to draw her legs but she would not. Then Maharshi in anger passed across her. She then became very angry and said "Why are you so restless? Why can't you sit in one place at Arunachala instead of moving about, go back to your place and worship Shiva there?" Her remarks struck him and he retraced his steps. After going some distance he looked back and found that there was nobody. Suddenly it struck him that it was the Divine Mother herself who wanted him to remain at Arunachala.

Of course it was the Divine Mother who asked him to go back. Maharshi was intended to lead this sort of life. He has nothing to do with what happens around him. He remains calm and detached. The man is what he was. By the way, I am glad to hear Maharshi shouting with the Indian Christian (we all laughed with him); it means he also can become dynamic. The only Ashram in which there was great unity, I heard, was Thakur Dayanand's. There was a strong sense of unity among them. I wrote an article on the "Avatar" in Karmayogin. Mahendra Dey, Dayanand's disciple, seeing the article wrote to me "he is the

Avatar". He was very enthusiastic about it. And when there was police firing and arrests, Mahendra Dey after his imprisonment became changed and said that he was hypnotized by Dayananda.

Disciple: Why are the Gurus obliged to work with imperfect and defective people like us? Here the difficulty seems to be more keen.

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Sri Aurobindo: That has been a puzzle to me also. But it is so. Our case is a little different. Our aim is to change the world, not universally, of course. Hence every one here represents human nature with all its difficulties and capacities. That's how your difficulties are explained, (He said looking at X).

26th December 1938.

Four disciples were seated on the carpet talking in low whispers at about 5. 30 P. M. One of the group broke into suppressed laughter in course of talk.

At 6. 30 P. M. we all assembled by the side of Sri Aurobindo, He looked round and referring to the laughter asked: "What was the divine descent about?"

Disciple: X. had his usual outburst of laughter.

Sri Aurobindo: Oh, it was the descent of Vishnu's ananda.

Disciple: It is very peculiar how I break out into uncontrolled laughter so easily. Formerly, I used to weep at the slightest provocation. I think because I live in the external consciousness only I laugh so easily. Is it not?

Sri Aurobindo: It is the reaction of the superficial vital which is touched easily by simple, outward things; there is a child in nature that bursts out like that. It is the same as the Balabhava--the child-like nature. The deeper vital being does not get so easily touched.

The topic was changed at this point.

Disciple: What is meant by self-offering? How to do it?

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Sri Aurobindo: How to do it! One offers one's vital, mind and heart, attachment, passions, and grows into the Divine consciousness.

Disciple: What time is more propitious for meditation,--day-time or night-time? I get more concentrated at night.

Sri Aurobindo: It may be due to the calm and quiet atmosphere and also because you are accustomed to it. Nights and early mornings are supposed to be the best for meditation.

We ask people to have a fixed time for meditation, for, if they are habituated to it then the response comes at that time due to Abhyas. Lele asked me to meditate twice but when he came to Calcutta he heard that I did not do it. He did not give me time to explain that my meditation was going on all the time. He simply said: "the devil has caught you."

Disciple: Sometimes meditation is automatic.

Sri Aurobindo: At that time you must sit, otherwise you feel uneasy.

Disciple: The other day I was having peace, and ananda, and I saw many visions. But I had to go to sleep, for I thought, if I kept up at night I might fall ill. I saw the flower signifying sincerity in my vision.

Sri Aurobindo: Sincerity means to lift all our movements towards the Divine.

Disciple: That fear of falling ill by keeping awake, is it not a mental fear?

Sri Aurobindo: The thing is, the physical being has got a limit. The vital being can feel the energy, peace, etc. but

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the physical cannot be taxed beyond its capacity. That is what happened to many Sadhaks here. They overworked till a reaction took place. The force comes for your particular work, not to increase the work and keep it for the other purposes. If you go on overdoing it then the natural reaction will come. There is a certain amount of reasonableness even in spirituality.

Disciple: At one time I also used to feel a lot of energy while I was working with the Mother and I was never fatigued even working day and night, only one or two hours sleep was sufficient and I would feel as fresh as ever.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. That is because you opened to the Energy. About sleep, even ten minutes of sleep may be enough, but of course, it is not ordinary sleep but going within. If you can draw the Force with equanimity and conserve it, these things can be done. As I said many Sadhaks felt that sort of thing when we were dealing with the vital. But when the Sadhana came into the physical there was not that push any more and people began to feel easily fatigued, lazy, and unwilling to work. They began to complain about ill-health due to overwork and were helped by the doctor. Do you know the idea of "H?" He says people have come here not for work but for meditation.

I dare say if we had not come down into the physical and remained in the vital and mental like other Yogis without trying to transform them then things would have been different.

(At this hour Mother came in and we meditated for sometime. After she went away, our talk was resumed. Someone remarked N. had a good meditation. He did not know that Mother has gone.)

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Sri Aurobindo: Good meditation?

Disciple: How do you know?

Sri Aurobindo: By the inclination of your head, perhaps.

Disciple: I can't say; I was having many incoherent dreams and visions--that is all I can say, perhaps it was in the surface consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo: Surface consciousness of the inner vital being. Such things are very common; of course, when one goes still deeper one does not see them. There is a point between the surface consciousness and the deeper vital which is full of these fantasies and dreams. They are apparently incoherent. In the physical a mouse turning into an elephant may have no meaning but it is not so in the vital. They have no coherence of the physical plane but they have their own coherence of the vital plane. But when one gets the clue one finds that everything is a linked whole. That I have seen many times in my own case. It is this world from which Tagore's painting came,--what Europeans call the Goblin world.

Disciple: Does Tagore see them before drawing them?

Sri Aurobindo: I do not think so. Some see them but do not draw them. But they come to him. Anybody who has the least experience of these planes can at once say from where they come.

Disciple: But how is it that people think and he himself calls it great paintings?

Sri Aurobindo: Everybody calls it "great and wonderful", so he himself comes to think it so.

Then we began to talk about headache either due to physical cause or resistance.

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Disciple: I have seen many times my headache start after Mother's touch at Pranam.

Sri Aurobindo: That may be because you passed from one state of consciousness to another.

Disciple: Unconsciously?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? When from a state of concentration you mix yourself just after the Pranam you can easily pass to another state. That is why Mother advises people to remain calm and quiet for some time after Pranam or meditation.

Disciple: I felt once as if the head were suspended in the air and that parts of body did not resist.

Sri Aurobindo: That is separation of the mental consciousness.

Disciple: Are you able to know what experiences Sadhaks are having, especially if they are some decisive ones?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't. But Mother knows. Whenever it is a question of consciousness she can see in the Sadhak whatever changes are taking place. When she meditates (with the Sadhak) she can know what line he is following, the line she indicates or the Sadhak's own and afterwards what changes have been brought in the consciousness.

Disciple: And when the Sadhaka experiences something, is it imparted to you?

Sri Aurobindo: What is the use of giving our own things to them? Let them have their own growth. I may put in a Force for people who are in habitual bad condition, people who are always going in the wrong and try to work it out so that the condition might improve. If the

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Sadhak co-operates then it is comparatively easy. Otherwise, if the Sadhak is passive then the result takes a long time, it comes, goes again, returns like that and ultimately the Force prevails. In case of people like "X." we used to put in a strong Force then he became lucid and then the whole vital used to rush up and catch hold of him. Whereas if the Sadhak actively participates then it takes only one-tenth of the time.

27th December 1938.

Sri Aurobindo himself opened the talk to-day by addressing X and said "I hear D. going about in his car with a guard by his side, two cyclist policemen in front and back." Then the talk continued regarding Pondicherry politics, most of talk being by us. Then Sri Aurobindo remarked. "When I see Pondicherry and Calcutta Corporation I begin to wonder why I was so eager for democracy. Pondicherry and Calcutta Corporation are the two object lessons which can take away all enthusiasm for self-government."

Disciple: Was the Calcutta Corporation so bad before the Congress came there?

Sri Aurobindo: No. There was not so much scope for it,--at least we did not know of such scandals. It is the same thing with other municipal Governments. In New York and Chicago the whole machinery is corrupt. Sometimes the head of the institution is like that. Sometimes a Mayor comes up with the intention of cleaning out the whole, but one does not know after cleaning which one was better. The Mayor of Chicago was a great criminal but all judges and police-officers were under his pay. In France also it is about the same thing. It

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is not surprising that people got disgusted with Democracy.

England is comparatively less corrupt. The English are the only people who know how to work the Parliamentary system. Parliamentary Government is in their blood.

Disciple: It seems that our old Indian system was the best for us. How could it succeed so well?

Sri Aurobindo: The old Indian system grew out of life, it had room for everything and every interest. There were monarchy, aristocracy, democracy. Every interest was represented in the Government. While in Europe the Western System grew out of the mind. They are led by reason and want to make everything cut and dried without any chance of freedom or variation. If it is democracy, then democracy only. No room for anything else. They cannot be plastic.

India is now trying to imitate the West. Parliamentary Government is not suited to India. But we always take up what the west has thrown off. Sir Akabar wanted to try a new sort of Government with an impartial authority at the head. There, in Hyderabad, the Hindu majority complains that though Mohammedens are in minority they occupy most of the offices in the state. By Sir Akabar's method almost every interest would have been represented in the Government and automatically the Hindus would have come in, but because of their cry of responsible Government the scheme failed. They have a fixed idea in the mind and want to fit everything to it. They can't think for themselves and so take up what the others are throwing off.

Disciple: What is your idea of an ideal Government for India? It is possible in Hyderabad which has a Nizam.

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But how to do the same in an Indian Constitution?

Sri Aurobindo: Sir Akabar's is as good as any. My idea is like what Tagore once wrote. There may be one Rashtrapati at the top with considerable powers so as to secure a continuity of policy and an Assembly representative of the nation. The provinces will contribute to a Federation, united at the top, leaving ample scope to local bodies to make laws according to their local problems. Mussolini started with a fundamental of the Indian System but afterwards began bullying and bluffing other nations for the sake of imperialism. If he had persisted in his original idea, he would have been a great creator.

Disciple: Dr. Bhagwandas suggested that there should be legislators above the age of 40, completely disinterested like the Rishis.

Sri Aurobindo: A chamber of Rishis! That would not be very promising. They will at once begin to quarrel. As they say; Rishis in ancient times could guide kings because they were distributed over various places.

Disciple: His idea is of gathering all great men together.

Sri Aurobindo: And let them quarrel like Kilkeni cats. I suppose. (said laughing).

The Congress at the present stage--what is it but a Fascist organization? Gandhi is the dictator like Stalin, I wan't say like Hitler. What Gandhi says they accept and even Working Committee follows him. Then it goes to A. I. C. C. which adopts it and then the Congress. There is no opportunity for any difference of opinion except for Socialists who are allowed to differ. Whatever resolutions they pass are obligatory on all the

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provinces whether the resolutions suit the provinces or not. There is no room for any other independent opinion. Every thing is fixed up before and the people are only allowed to talk over it like Stalin's Parliament. When we started the movement we began with the idea of throwing out the Congress oligarchy and open the whole organization to the general mass.

Disciple: Srinivas Ayyanger retired from Congress because of his difference with Gandhi. He objected to Gandhi's giving the movement a religious turn and bringing in religion in Politics.

Sri Aurobindo: He made Charka a religious article of faith and excluded all people from Congress Membership who could not spin. How many believe in his gospel of Charka? Such a tremendous waste of energy, just for the sake of a few annas is most unreasonable.

Disciple: He made that rule perhaps to enforce discipline?

Sri Aurobindo: Discipline is all right but once you centralize you go on centralizing.

Disciple: It failed in agricultural provinces and seems to have succeeded in other places especially where people had no occupation.

Disciple: In Bengal it did not succeed.

Sri Aurobindo: In Bengal it did not. It may be all right as a famine-relief measure. But when it takes the form of an All-India programme it looks absurd. If you form a programme that is suited to the condition of the agricultural people it sounds something reasonable. Give them education, technical training and give them (Fundamentals or Principles of) organization not on political but on business lines. But Gandhi does not want any

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such industrial organization and so comes in with his magical formula "spin, spin, spin." C. R. Das and others could act as a balance against him. It is all a fetish.

Denmark and Ireland organized in the same way. Only now they are going to suffer because other nations are trying to be self-sufficient. I don't believe in that sort of self-sufficiency. For that is against the principles of life. It is not possible for nations to be self-sufficient like that.

Disciple: What do you think of Hindi being the common language? It seems to me English has occupied so much place that it will be unwise and difficult to replace it.

Sri Aurobindo: English will be all right and even necessary if India is to be on an international state. In that case English has to be the medium of expression, especially as English is now replacing French as a world-language. But the national spirit won't allow it and also it s a foreign language. At the same time Hindi can't replace English in the universities nor the provincial languages. When the national spirit grows it is difficult to say what will happen. In Ireland before the revolution they wanted to abolish English and adopt Gaelic but as time went on and things settled themselves their enthusiasm waned and English came back.

Disciple: I do not understand why the Jews are being so much persecuted by Hitler.

Disciple: I understand that the Jews betrayed Germany during the war.

Sri Aurobindo: Nonsense, on the other hand they helped Germany a great deal. It is because they are a clever

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race that others are jealous of them, for anything that is wrong you point to the Jews! It is so much more easy than finding the real cause, or because people want something to strike and so the popular cry, "The Jews the Jews". You remember I told you about the prophecy regarding the Jews that when they will be persecuted and driven to Jerusalem that the Golden age shall come?

It is the Jews that have built Germany's Commercial fleet and her navy. The contribution of Jews towards the world's progress in every branch is remarkable.

But this sort of dislike exists among other nations also e.g. the English do not like the Scots, because the Scottish have beaten the English in commercial affairs. There was a famous story in the Punch: two people asking themselves. "Bill, who is that man?", and Bill answered, "Let us strike at him, he is a stranger."

And then in Bengal the West Bengal people used to call East Bengal people "Bangale" and composed a satire "Bangale Manush nohe oe ekta jantu" At one time I used to wear socks at all times of the year. The West Bengalis used to sneer at that saying, "I am a Bangale"; they thought that they were the most civilized people on earth. It is a legacy from the animal world. Just as dogs of one street do not like dogs of another.

Disciple: But things will improve, I hope?

Sri Aurobindo: If this goes, you may be sure that the Golden Age is coming! All my opinions are of course on the basis of the present conditions. But the things would be quite different if the Supermind came down.

Disciple: You are tempting us too much with your Supermind. But will it really benefit the whole of mankind?

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Sri Aurobindo: It will exert a certain upward pull but in order that it may bring about a considerable change, that it may be efficient, two hundred Sadhaks of the Ashram can't be enough. It must be thousands whose influence can spread all over the world, who by actual test can prove that it is something superior to the means hitherto employed.

Disciple: Will it have a power (corresponding to the Universal Consciousness) over humanity?

Sri Aurobindo: We shall leave it to the Supermind to answer that question when it comes.

Disciple: The materialist and scientist say that Yogis have done nothing for human happiness. Buddhas and Avatars have come and gone but the sufferings of humanity are just the same.

Sri Aurobindo: Did Avatar come to relieve the sufferings of humanity? It was only Buddha who showed the way of release from suffering. But his path was to get away from the world and enter into Nirvana. Does mankind follow him? And if they do not and cannot get rid of their suffering, it is not Buddha's fault!!

Disciple: They say that by scientific inventions and medical discoveries they have been able to improve the condition of the world. e.g. by cholera injections, smallpox vaccinations the death rate is reduced.

Sri Aurobindo: And are they happy? Vaccination! Intellectual people say that vaccinations have done more harm than good.

Disciple: But that is the opinion of intellectuals and not of doctors.

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Sri Aurobindo: Why? The intellectuals have studied the subject before they gave their opinion. They may have reduced Cholera etc., but what about other things that they have brought in? About suffering! Suffering cannot go as long as ignorance remains. Even after the Supermind descends the suffering will remain. If you choose to remain in suffering how can it go?

Disciple: They say that they can compel people to take injections even against their will, can spiritual force do that? The Yogis have been busy with their own salvation while the world has remained just the same.

Sri Aurobindo: Evolution has proceeded from matter through animal to physical man, vital man, mental man and spiritual man. When mental man or spiritual man appears the others do not disappear. So, the tiger and serpent do not become man. In this upward growth of the human consciousness you cannot say that Buddha, Christ etc. have played no part.

I consider the Supramental the culmination of the Spiritual man. When the Supramental becomes established I expect that one will not be required to flee from life. It is something dynamic that changes life and nature. It will open the vital, mental even the physical to the intuitive and overmental planes.

You want comfort and happiness; in that case, Truth and Knowledge are of no value.

The discoveries of modern science have outrun their own usefulness, the human capacity to use them. And the scientists don't know what to do with these discoveries. They have been used for the purposes of destruction. Now they are trying to kill men by throwing germs of small-pox from aeroplanes; they at least end the suffering by death but by bombing you mutilate for

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life. Politics, science, even socialism have not succeeded in finding a way out of suffering. They have killed people, they kill each other and involve the state into a peril unless you say that murders and massacres are necessary. From this state of chaos and suffering there have been ways of escape and people have been shown the way out. You say they are not useful.

No. no, all that is a superficial view of things. One has to consider the whole civilization before one can pass opinion.

It is because Western Civilization is failing that people like A. Huxley are drawn to Yoga.

December 28, 1938.

At about 5.30 P.M. "X" burst into a peal of laughter to which Sri Aurobindo reacted by asking: "What is that dynamic explosion?" There was no reply, only a silence of suppression. But at 6.30 P.M. the laughter was repeated and instead of Sri Aurobindo asking anything X himself complained to Sri Aurobindo that "Y" was making him laugh. The reply was: "Take care that he may not make you go off like a firework!"

All assembled by the side of the cot and there was complete quiet. One member yawned and another yawned in response. The result was a subdued bubble of laughter.

Sri Aurobindo could hardly fail to notice it. He asked: "What is the joke?"

Disciple: "X" is mocking at my yawning.

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Sri Aurobindo: He does not know that yawning may be a fatal symptom.

There was reference to a letter from another Sadhak relating his symptom of yawning at night.

Disciple: What medicine has been given to him for his perennial sickness?

Disciple: That is a secret.

Sri Aurobindo: That reminds me of the science of Augurs in Greece. There used to be Government Augurs who used to be called in to interpret omens and signs; and from that a college of Augurs came into existence. There--in the college the professors used to be quite grave and serious,--they gave lectures on Augury with grave faces; when afterwards they met together they used to laugh among themselves.

By the way, we have got mutilated news to-day; they have dropped two important words. Instead of saying "the Italians are marching" (into Djibuti). If the Italians march into Djibuti the French can march into Tripoli as counter-attack.

Disciple: The French can also organize the Abysinians against Italy.

Sri Aurobindo: There won't be time for that.

Disciple: The Italians do not seem to be good soldiers.

Sri Aurobindo: No, I will be greatly surprised if they can defeat the French. In that case Mussolini must have changed the Italian character tremendously.

Disciple: They had a hard time in Abyssinia.

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Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It was by their superior air-bombs, mustard-gas poisoning that they succeeded.

Disciple: But they will be aided by the Germans.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, Italy can't do without Germany.

Disciple: Fisher (the historian) says that German army in the last war was the greatest and the best army ever organized in the world.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They are the most organized and able soldiers in the world except the Japanese. But the Japanese are numerically less and financially poorer.

Even so during the last war the Germans could not throw up any remarkable military genius like Foch. If Foch had been the Commander-in-chief before, the war would have ended much earlier.

The Balkans and the Turks are also good fighters.

Disciple: What about the Sikhs and the Gurkhas?

Sri Aurobindo: They are unsurpassed but the war depends not on fighters but on generals.

Disciple: The British consul here says that the Chinese are no good as soldiers and the Russians are good in defensive warfare. The Germans are trying to expand in the Ukraine. After that Hitler might come to central Europe.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But that will at once combine Russia, Poland, Rumania and Yugoslavia. These small minor powers will be afraid of their own safety.

Disciple: I don't understand why Germany joins Italy in attacking France. According to European astrology Hitler's stars are with him till Dec. 1936.

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Sri Aurobindo: Why! Hitler himself has said in his "Mein Kemp" that Germany is not safe without the destruction of France. And France says the same thing about Germany. They have chosen this time, perhaps, because they think that France has been weakened by the general strike. But they lost sight of the fact that the invasion will bring the whole France to-gether.

Disciple: I read in the paper to-day that a group of people in England are shouting that America belongs to them--as a counter move to Italian claims.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they can claim Germany, and also Denmark and Italy too for that matter.

Disciple: The way these people are preparing seems that war is inevitable.

Sri Aurobindo: But we thought they would not do anything till early next year. They are trying to strike now, perhaps, because they think that France has been divided by the General strike. But war will bring the whole nation together at once. In any case, we find that the Germans are enjoying Christmas.

Disciple: England, most probably, will have to ally herself with France.

Sri Aurobindo: You have seen what Chamberlain has said? "England is not obliged to help France in case of war with Italy". But if Italy combines with Germany one can't say.

Disciple: In case there is a general war India will have an opportunity for independence.

Sri Aurobindo: How?

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Disciple: She will refuse to co-operate. I think the Congress Ministries were due to the threat of war in Europe.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes It was in order to conciliate the Indians.

29th December 1938.

To-day a question of a doctor (disciple) was conveyed by one of the disciples.

Disciple: What is the connection between the causal body and the psychic being?

Sri Aurobindo: The psychic being is what is called Chaitya Purusha in the heart, while the Causal body is at present Superconscious. They are not the same.

Disciple: It is the Superconscious existence that later on is called "Self" in Vedanta. According to some people Raman Maharshi has realized the Self.

Sri Aurobindo: From what Brunton (Paul) has written it does not seem so. He speaks of the "voice in the heart" that would mean the Psychic Being.

At this point Mother came and asked: "What have you been speaking about?"

Sri Aurobindo: "X" has asked a question which does not hang together.

Then he repeated the question.

Disciple: I have heard about Raman Maharshi's experience from a direct disciple of his: "One day the heart centre opened and I began to hear "I", "I" and everywhere I saw this "I".

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Disciple: Different spiritual persons say different things. How to find out which is the highest? Our choice is not necessarily that of the highest.

Mother: Each one goes to the limit of his consciousness. I have met many persons in Europe, India and Japan practicing yoga under different masters. Each claimed that his realization was the highest, he was quite sure about it and also quite satisfied with his condition, and yet each one was standing at a different place in consciousness and saying that he has attained the highest.

Disciple: But one can know what they mean by some criterion.

Mother: By what criterion? If you ask them they say "it is something wonderful but can't be described by the mind." I was with Tagore in Japan. He claimed to have reached the peace of Nirvana and he was beaming with joy. I thought: "here is a man who claims to have got the peace and reached Nirvana. Let us see." I asked him to meditate with me and I followed him in meditation and found that he had reached just behind the vital and the mind: a sort of emptiness. I waited and waited to see if he would go beyond; I wanted to follow him. But he would not go further. I found that he was supremely satisfied and believed that he had entered Nirvana.

Disciple: But there is a fundamental realization of some kind?

Mother: That is to say, there is a fundamental truth of consciousness. But that is not so easy to reach.

Disciple: How to choose a master, then? We must know whom to choose.

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Disciple: How are you going to know with your mind where he has reached?

Disciple: Is not our choice decided by the psychic being in us?

Mother: That is another question. First you must realize about the limit of consciousness and the difference of the place where people stand.

The choice is mostly in answer to your need and it is governed by your inner necessity. Sometimes, the choice is made by instinct by which the animals find the right place for their food. Only, in the human being it acts from within. If you allow your mind to discuss and argue then the instinct becomes veiled. When you have made the choice the mind naturally wants to believe that it is the highest you have chosen. But that is subjective.

Disciple: If the choice is right one feels happiness and satisfaction.

Mother: Satisfaction? One can't depend upon feelings and sensations. for, very often they misguide. Satisfaction is quite a different thing. There are people who are not satisfied in the best conditions, while in the worst conditions some are quite satisfied.

Look at the people in the world around; they are very happy with their conditions. Again, there are people whose satisfaction depends upon their liver--a brutally materialistic state. Also there are people who suffer extremely and yet their inmost being knows that there is the path for reaching the goal.

Disciple: There are certain signs given by the Shashtras by which one can judge.

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Sri Aurobindo: What Shashtras? One can't believe in all that is said in the Shashtras.

Mother: Besides, that may be all right for Indians; what about the Europeans? You can't say that they have not realized any truth?

Then the Mother took her leave and went for meditation. There was a pause of silence for some time. Then Sri Aurobindo asked: "What are the Laxanas--signs--you spoke of?"

Disciple: They are common and found everywhere. They are given in the Gita: Equality, Love for others, even-mindedness etc.

Sri Aurobindo: They are, rather, conditions for realization. All experiences are true and have their place. But because one is true one can't say that the other is false. Truth is infinite. There are so many ways to come to the Truth. The wider you become the higher you go. The more you find, there is still more and more. For instance, Maharshi (Raman) has his experience of "I" but when I had the Nirvan-experience I could not think of an "I";--however much I tried I could not think of any "I". The world simply got displaced. One can't speak of it as "I". It is either "He" or "That". That I call Laya. Realization of the Self is all right; Laya was a part of a realization which is much more comprehensive.

When I do not accept the Maya-Vada it is not that I have not realized the Truth (behind it) or, that I don't know "the One in All" and "All in the One",--but because I have other realizations which are equally strong and which cannot be shut out. The Maharshi is right and everybody is also right.

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When the mind tries to understand these things, it takes up fragments and treats them as wholes and makes unreal distinctions. They speak of Nirguna as the fundamental (experience) and Saguna as derivative or secondary. But what does the Upanishad mean by "Ananta Nirguna" and "Ananta Saguna"? They can't be thought of as different. When you think of Impersonality as the fundamental Truth and Personality as something imposed upon it and therefore secondary, you cut across with your mind something which is beyond both. Or, is it not that Personality is the chief thing and Impersonality is only one side, or one condition of Personality? No. Personality and Impersonality are aspects of a thing which is indivisible. Shanker is right and so is Nimbarka. Only, when they state their Truth in mental terms there is a tremendous confusion. Shanker says "It is Anirvachaniya--indescribable by speech--and "All is One." Nimbarka says: There is Duality and Unity: while Madhava says: "Duality is true."

The Upanishads speak of "Him by knowing whom all is known." What does it mean? That Vignana [@insert Sanskrit for Vignana] is not the fundamental realization of the One. It means the knowledge of the principles of the Divine Being; what Krishna (in the Gita) speaks of "Tattvatah" [@insert Sanskrit for Tattvatah]: One cannot know the complete Divine except in the Supermind. That is why Krishna said that one who knows him in the "true principles of his being" is rare, "Kashchit". The Upanishads also speak of the Brahman as Chatushpada "having four legs, or aspects". It does not merely state "All is the Brahman" and it is over. The realization of the Self is not all. There are many things beyond that. The Divine Guide within me urged me to proceed, adding experience after experience, reaching

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higher and higher, stopping at none as final, till I arrived at the glimpses of the Supermind. There I found the Truth indivisible and there everything takes its proper place. There, Nirguna and Saguna-Impersonality and Personality don't exist. They are all aspects of One Truth which is indivisible.

In the Overmind stage knowledge begins to rush in upon you from all sides and you see the objects from all points of view and each thing from all points. All of them tend to get related to each other and there the Cosmic Consciousness is not merely in its static aspect but also in its dynamic reality: it is the expression of something Above. When you become Cosmic even though you speak of your self as "I" it is not the "I,"--the ego, the "I-ness" disappears and the mental, vital and the physical appear as representatives of that Consciousness. Ramakrishna speaks of that state as the form of ego left for action. When you reach the Supermind you become not only Cosmic but something beyond the Universe,--Transcendental, and there is indivisibility of unity and individuality. There, the Cosmic and the Individual all co-exist.

The same principle works out in science. The scientists at one time reduced all multiplicity of elements to Ether and described it in the most contradictory terms. Now they have found the Electrons as the basis of Matter. By difference of position and number of electrons you get the whole multiplicity of objects. There also you find the One that is Many, and yet is not two different things. Both the One and the Many are true and through both you have to go to the Truth.

When you come to politics, democracy, plutocracy, monarchy etc. all have truth, even Hitler and Mussolini stand for some truth.

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This is a very big yoga,--one has to travel--I think "X" will not take all that trouble--(Sri Aurobindo said referring to a disciple.)

Disciple: Never, Sir. I have come here because I can't take so much trouble.

Sri Aurobindo: You are not called upon to do it. Even for me it would have been impossible if I had to do it myself; but at a certain stage heavens opened and the thing was done for me.

The topic seemed to have ended. But "X" prolonged by saying: my friend "K" asked Maharshi if attainment of immortality was possible. But the Maharshi would not say anything by way of reply. But "K" persisted then he said; "It is possible by Divine Grace."

Sri Aurobindo: That is hardly an answer. Everything is possible by Divine Grace. There are two things about immortality: one, the conquest of death. It does not however mean that one would never die. It means leaving the body at will. Second, it includes the power to change or renew the body. There is no sense in keeping the same body for years; that would be a terrible bondage. That is why death is necessary in order that one can take another body and have a fresh growth. You know Dasharath lived for sixty thousand years. He did not know what to do with such a long life and began at the end producing children! Have you read Shaw's "Back to Methuselah?" It shows how silly an intellectual can become. And what a ridiculous farce he has made of Joan of Arc? He speaks of her visions as projections of her own mental ideas and decisions. Shaw is all right when he speaks of England, Ireland and Society; but he can't do anything constructive. There he fails miserably.

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These intellectuals like Russell when they talk of something beyond their scope they cut such a poor figure: you can see what he writes about the "introvert." They can't tolerate emptiness or cessation of thought and breaking away from outside interests! If you ask them to stop their thoughts they refuse to accept it and at once come back from emptiness. And yet it is through emptiness one has to pass beyond.

*

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JANUARY, 1939

1-1-1939

Disciple: How can one succeed in meditation?

Sri Aurobindo: By quietude of the mind. Above the Mind there is not only the Infinite in itself but infinite sea of peace, joy, light, power etc.--above the head. The golden lid--Hiranmaya patra--intervenes between that which is above Mind and what is below. Once one can break that lid those elements can come down at any time one wills, and for that, quietude is necessary. There are people who get those things without quietude, but it is very difficult.

Disciple: It is said that there is also a veil in the heart, is it true?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, a veil or a wall, if you like. The vital with its surface consciousness, the emotional with its disturbances and veils and one has to break through these and get to what is behind them. There, one finds the heart. In some people the higher force works behind the veil because it would meet with many obstacles if it worked in front; it builds or breaks whatever is necessary till one day the veil is withdrawn and one finds oneself in the Infinite.

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Disciple: Does the Higher Force work all the time, even when there is no aspiration in the individual.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. In those who have the inner urge, the intermittent action of aspiration itself may be due to the action of the Higher Force from behind.

Disciple: We want to know how to get the infinite peace, etc.

Sri Aurobindo: First, to want only that. It is difficult, is it not? In that case you have to wait; yoga demands patience. The old yogas say that one has to wait twelve years to get any experience at all. After that period one can complain; but you said that you had many experiences. So, it is not so bad.

Disciple: Yes. I told you that meditation used to come to me at my place spontaneously,--at any time and I had to sit down and meditate. Sometimes, it used to come to me while I was just going to my office and the experience of peace etc. used to last for some days. But sometimes for a long period nothing happens. One should get some experience at least once in a fortnight.

Disciple: Sometimes I feel a pull on the head upwards. What is it due to?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, it is not in the physical head but in the subtle body, the Mind trying to ascend towards the Higher Consciousness.

Disciple: If one dreams or sees visions of seas, hills, etc.,--what do they mean?

Sri Aurobindo: These are symbols; the sea of energy, the hill of the Being with its different planes and parts,--the Spirit at the summit. These visions are quite common,--one sees them as the mind and the heart expands.

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Disciple: I felt at one time that my head was at the Mother's feet. What is it, Sir!

Sri Aurobindo: It is the experience of the psychic being. So, you had the psychic experience.

Disciple: I told you how I had it and lost it through fear that I was dying. But I could not recognize this experience as psychic (Laughter).

Sri Aurobindo: It is this "I" that comes in the way. One must forget it and experience as if it were happening to somebody else. If one could do that it would be a great conquest. When I had the Nirvana experience I forgot myself completely. I was a sort of nobody.

What is the use of your being Mr. so and so, son of so and so? If your "I" had died it would have been a glorious death.

Disciple: What happens when the human consciousness is replaced by the Divine Consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo: One feels perpetual calm, perpetual strength,--one is aware of Infinity, lives not only in Infinity but in Eternity. One feels the immortality and does not care about the death of the body, and one has the consciousness of the One in all. Everything becomes the manifestation of the Brahman. For instance, as I look around the room I see everything as the Brahman--it is not thinking, it is a concrete experience,--even the wall, the book is Brahman. I see you not as X. but as a divine being in the Divine. It is a wonderful experience.

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2nd January 1939

Disciple: I think the Mother is testing me.

Mother: That is not the habit here. It is the play of the forces, or rather the play of adverse forces, that tries to test the Sadhak. If you refuse to listen to them or remain firm, then they withdraw. People here have plenty of difficulties already. Why, add new ones? To say that we purposely test them is not true. We never do it, never.

Mother came in for meditation and went away early at 6-45. But she did not go to the evening meditation before nearly 7-25 or 7-30.

Disciple: How far is it desirable for the Ashram to be self-sufficient?

Sri Aurobindo: Self-sufficient in what way?

Disciple: In meeting the needs of the daily life, say for instance, preparing our own cloth here; my friend who has come from Bombay wants that we should introduce spindles and looms to prepare our clothes. Whether and how far such self-sufficiency is desirable in Ashram like ours?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not a question of how far it is desirable, it is also a question of how far it is practicable? No objection to spinning or weaving. How would "N" like to go on spinning?

Disciple: I am already spinning away.

Sri Aurobindo: There are all sorts of mental ideas, or rather mental formations which can be carried out and which are being carried out at the other places but this Ashram is not the fit place for carrying them out.

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Disciple: In what way it is not fit?

Sri Aurobindo: There are many difficulties here.

They all point out to institutions like Dayalbagh. In that case you have to direct all your energies in that channel (leaving the Sadhana on one side).

In other organizations they impose discipline and obedience from outside by rule of force. There people are obliged to take their orders from some one.

But here we don't impose such discipline, (from outside) and therefore you can hardly get people to work together. It is because of their ego and their idea of mental independence. Even if you want to do that kind of work there are two things you must guard against.

1. The tendency to degenerate into mere mechanical and commercial activity.

2. You have to guard against ambition. There is a natural tendency to cut a figure before the world, to hold that the Ashram and the Ashramites are some thing great, that must go.

Lastly there is health--unless the doctor promises to homeopathise them (Sadhaks) into health.

Work as a part of Sadhana is all right, but work as a part of spiritual creation we cannot take up unless the inner difficulties are overcome. It is not that we do not want to do it but here it is not mental-construction that we want but spiritual creation. It is here left to the Mother's intuition. Even then there are difficulties.

Disciple: What is the difference between peace and silence?

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Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean?

Disciple: Is peace included in silence or vice versa?

Sri Aurobindo: If you have silence you have peace, but the opposite is not true. That is to say, you may have peace but not silence.

Disciple: Is silence mere emptiness?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Not necessarily. It may be full of the positive presence of the Divine.

Disciple: Is it not a dull and dry state?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Not necessarily. As I said, it can be full of the presence of the Divine or it may be Mental peace--accompanied by a sense of emptiness which may be dull to the mind but it is the emptiness for something higher to come in and fill it.

Disciple: In that emptiness--Shunyam--there is a great release. Is it not?

Sri Aurobindo: Oh yes. It is a very pleasant state. These people, like Russell, don't understand what this emptiness means. They try to go in and immediately they find themselves empty. They do not like it. They think that all that comes into the consciousness comes from outside. They have no idea that there are inner things with which the being can be filled.

Disciple: But you said in one of your letters to "D" that one must be prepared to pass through the period of dryness.

Sri Aurobindo: There is an experience of neutral peace of mind which may be dry and dull to the ordinary man.

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Disciple: Can one act when one has the silence?

Sri Aurobindo: Certainly; why not? When I talk of silence I mean inner silence. It is perfectly possible to hear and do all sorts of things and retain that inner silence.

Disciple: Is the silence static and dynamic both?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not silence that is dynamic--but you can become dynamic having that inner silence. You can also remain without doing anything. It depends.

People who are dynamic can't remain without doing something. They do not realize that if they have the inner silence the effectivity of their work is increased a hundred fold.

Some Maraths came when I came to Pondicherry, inquired what I was doing: when he heard I was doing "nothing", he said "it is a great thing if one can do it. It is a capacity to do nothing"!

Disciple: There is one gentleman who actually sealed up his lips with something so that he may not be able to speak.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what is called Asuric Tapasya: Titanic askasis.

Disciple: Can one gain something by Asuric Tapasya?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes; all Tapasya can give you something.

Physical and vital tapasya can give you something. It can give you physical and vital control, though that is more a Nigraha--repressed control--rather than anything else.

Disciple: Is it not a part of Divine realization--? What is Divine realization?

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Sri Aurobindo: Experience of peace and bliss is a spiritual realization. If one gains control of the vital being by the influence of the Self--that is a divine realization.

Disciple: But one can have the necessary control by the mind--rather than try such physical and outward control.

Sri Aurobindo: These things may be steps to the Divine; for example Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga.

Disciple: Our friend "X", finds that Yogis have defects.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not the defects that are important but whatever leads to the upward growth, to the Divine, adding something to his stature, is a gain to the human progress towards the Light. No upward progress is to be despised.

*

3rd January 1939

There was hearty laugh over the thesis of a Marathi writer with Socialistic tendencies who tried to prove that Swami Ramdas was a socialist!

Disciple: Some of the Sadhaks seem to become too delicate,--a small cut or even smell of burning ghee upsets them. Sometimes other people who cannot understand this say this is mere fainting.

Sri Aurobindo: They used to brand the body with hot iron to see if the man was in trance or not! They thought perhaps that it might be only deep trance and not Nirvikalpa Samadhi! (Laughter)

Disciple: Can it be that the man would not feel anything?

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Sri Aurobindo: There are cases of people who, when under hypnotic influence, are unaffected by pins being introduced into their bodies. And also there are cases where the man is made to stretch out his hand and even two or three strong people cannot bend it. There are also cases in which sugar tastes bitter under hypnotic influence. And the question is whether sweetness or any other property is in the subject--as in the sense of beauty--or in the object.

Disciple: What is that capacity due to?

Sri Aurobindo: There are no physical causes, these phenomena are due to supraphysical causes and there the laws of the physical do not apply.

Disciple: But then what is sweetness due to--in the case of sugar?

Sri Aurobindo: The question is whether experience of sweetness is a common reaction of all human beings, or has the object anything in it corresponding to the experience of sweetness.

Disciple: But something of the property of the object persists, like the effect of medicine in homeopathic doses,--the smallest quantity retains the quality.

Disciple: But what is your conclusion, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know.

At this point the Mother came and the subject matter was reported to her.

Mother: I do not believe that the phenomena were due to hypnotism. In hypnotism you impose control on another man, the subject, i.e., your will replaces his will.

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But I know what I have seen. In most cases I have seen that both the hypnotizer and the hypnotized lend themselves unconsciously to the influence of occult forces. Anything that takes place in that condition is due to the influence of those forces. I know one case,--an extraordinary case, of exteriorization in which almost the material,--the vital and the vital-material, form of the subject was separated from the body of the hypnotized person. If the hypnotizer controls the man and if he has good will it may do the "subject" no harm. But in most cases he keeps himself aloof to direct the person and cannot take charge of the body and in the interval it is some other forces that take possession of the body.

It is dangerous to do these things except under guidance, or in the presence of somebody who knows these things. You find people speaking languages in that unconscious condition which they do not know at all. It is because some of their being in the past, or subconsciously, knows the language and in that state, a contact is established between the part of the subconscient and the man speaks the language. It is not as if the hypnotist willed that: "the man shall speak a particular language" and the man begins to speak that language even though there may be no part in him that knew the language. Such a thing is impossible. Only, if there is a part that knows and if one can establish a contact then he can speak that language.

Disciple: Is this knowledge indispensable for yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. It is useful for knowledge of the physical and also for mastery over death, it is essential.

There is an ancient prophesy in the Jewish Cabala

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that the kingdom of God would be established in humanity when the man will come who would have the power to die and come back, i.e. take up his body again,--after death. It is essential to know what is death if you want to conquer it. That shows that the ancients foresaw the need for the knowledge and also that of transformation of the physical.

It is curious how some people can easily separate their subtle bodies from the physical, say in three or four days even. They go out of the body and see their body lying in front of them, while in other cases they do not succeed.

This knowledge is also useful in curing diseases. For instance, it is perfectly easy to prevent diseases and to cure them if you have the knowledge of these planes. There is what is called "the nervous envelope", which is an intermediary between the subtle and the gross body. It is that which acts as a sheath protecting you against all attacks of diseases. If the nervous envelope is intact no disease can come to you. In most people, with aging, this envelope wears out and then gradually the forces are able to penetrate and pierce it. That is one of the causes of death.

Disciple: Can this nervous envelope be seen in the patient?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes; and if you can see what is necessary you can put it in. In order to keep it in tact you must have quiet, a balanced life, rest, etc. People generally spoil it by excitement and other irregularities.

In the case of exteriorization done by the Tibetans, a thin thread is maintained when one leaves the body

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and if that is snapped the man may not be able to return to his body.

Disciple: There are cases of Tibetans who expose themselves to ice without any bad reactions and also there was report of the messenger who practically flies throughout Tibet carrying the tidings of the lama.

Sri Aurobindo: These are known phenomena.

Disciple: There are so many miracles reported about Sj. Bijoy Goswami. Do you think they are all true?

Sri Aurobindo: I have no personal knowledge of them. But I believe most of the miracles attributed to Bijoy Goswami are more possible with the subtle than with the physical body.

Sri Aurobindo then recounted the story of how Mother was once on the point of death in Algeria when she was practicing the yoga with Theon and his wife both of them great occultists. Madame Theon particularly was a remarkable woman.

The Mother exteriorized and visited Paris and met her friends. The exteriorization was sufficiently material to enable her to write on a piece of paper with pencil. The Tibetans are more familiar with occultism than with spirituality.

The Europeans are more taken up with the occult things. They either believe everything or nothing. That explains their attraction for Tibet, Bhutan and other places of occult atmosphere. Now-a-days stories and novels are being written with these themes. Japanese Zen Buddhism, and also Chinese Laotze have also attracted their attention.

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I also wrote some stories but they are lost; the white ants have finished them and with them has perished my future as a story-teller. It is a pity that the translation of Megh Duta which I did is lost. It was well done. Most of my stories were occult.

4th January 1939.

Disciple: X's expression showed the usual gesture which to the company present indicated the coming of a question.

Disciple: What is the effect of fasting on yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: On what?

Disciple: The effect of fasting on yoga.

Sri Aurobindo: Oh, on yoga? It gives a sort of excitement or an impetus to the vital being but the general effect does not seem to be sound or healthy.

I fasted twice: once in Alipore jail for ten days and another time in Pondicherry for twenty-three days. At Alipore I was in full yogic activities and I was not taking my food, and was throwing it away in the bucket. Of course, the Superintendent did not know it, only two warders knew about it and they informed others saying: "The gentleman must be ill; he will not live long". Though my physical strength was diminishing I was able to raise a pail of water above my head which I could not do ordinarily.

At Pondicherry while fasting I was in full mental and vital vigour. I was even walking eight hours a day and not feeling tired at all, and when I broke the fast I did not begin slowly but with the usual normal food.

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Disciple: How is it possible to have such energy without food?

Sri Aurobindo: One draws the energy from the vital plane instead of depending upon physical substance. Once in Calcutta I lived for a long time on rice and banana. It is a very good food.

Disciple: The trouble is that one can't draw conclusion from your case.

Sri Aurobindo: At best one can draw the conclusion that it can be done. Once R. C. Dutt called me to dinner and was surprised to find that I was taking only vegetarian diet; while he said he could not live without meat. With the vegetarian diet I was feeling light and pure. It is only a belief that one can't do without meat; it is a question of habit.

Disciple: Can fasting be a cure for diseases also?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if you know the process. The Europeans sometimes fast for that purpose but in their case it is the mental idea that works. You start with the idea of being well or ill, and it happens accordingly.

Disciple: Can neurasthenia be thrown off like that?

Sri Aurobindo: In the case of neurasthenic and hysteric persons the nervous envelope is damaged.

Disciple: Then it is the question of the nervous sheath.

Sri Aurobindo: All the diseases come from outside. The force of the disease pierces, what the Mother calls, "the nervous envelope" and then enters the physical body. If one is conscious of the nervous envelope,--the subtle

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nervous sheath, then the disease can be thrown away before it enters the physical body, as one throws away the thoughts before they enter the mind.

Disciple: "X" told us once that she used to have the headache which was just above the head and it was very severe. We laughed at it because we could not believe that head-ache could be above the head.

Sri Aurobindo: How do you know there can't be such a head-ache? If the consciousness can be lifted above the head and remain there why not the head-ache?

The body is a mere mass of responsive vibrations; everything comes from outside and finds a response in the body.

Disciple: If everything comes from outside then what are we? What belongs to us?

Sri Aurobindo: In one sense nothing belongs to you. The Physical is made up, one can say, of various predispositions, energies of the past, and what you have acquired in this life. These are there ready to act under favourable conditions, under the pressure of nature. It is Universal Nature that gives the sense of "I" or "I am doing everything". This "I" and 'mine' have no meaning except in another sense.

Disciple: The other day I could not understand what you said about fundamental personality. What is the truth behind personality?

Sri Aurobindo: There are two things: Personality and the Person, which are not the same. The true person is the eternal Divine Purusha assuming many personalities and

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it is thrown in Time as the Cosmic and the Individual for a particular purpose, use or work. This true Person is all the time conscious of its identity with the Cosmic. That is why liberation is possible.

Disciple: Is Cosmic liberation static or dynamic?

Sri Aurobindo: It is either, or both. In the static aspect one realizes the pure Self as the Infinite, One, without movement, action or quality.

In the dynamic liberation, it depends upon where and how you experience the unity. If it is in the mind you feel your mind as one with the Cosmic Mind; in that case your own mind does not exist. If you feel the unity in the vital, then your vital being becomes a part of the cosmic vital, one with cosmic life. You can experience the Unity on the physical plane; then you feel your body as a speck of Universal Matter. Or, the identity can be above the Mind, by breaking open the lid that divides the Mind from the Infinite. Just as there is a wall that separates the psychic being from the outer nature, so also there is a wall above the head. You break the wall or, what is called the lid, and you feel yourself as the Infinite, and your individual self in the Infinite. That opening can be either vertical or horizontal. This realization makes dynamic liberation possible,--not merely a liberation of Laya.

Disciple: Is it true that illness comes from Sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: From Sadhana? Not necessarily.

Disciple: I think he means that illness may come in the course of Sadhana for purification.

Sri Aurobindo: That is a different thing. It can be a circumstance in the sadhana.

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Disciple: When I was a new-comer here and used to have physical trouble, people said it was due to Sadhana and so I used to hide it from you lest you should stop the use of your Force.

Disciple: Some Sufis and Bhaktas, devotees, take illness and other troubles as gifts from the Beloved,--the Divine. So, can one say that everything comes from the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: They are right in a way. They take everything as coming from the Divine and it is a very good attitude if one can truly take it. Whatever happens is with the sanction of the Supreme. If you neglect the chain of intermediate causes there is a Superior Cause to everything.

Disciple: If a thing happens due to our negligence, can we say that it happened by the Divine's sanction?

Sri Aurobindo: I say, "neglecting the intermediate causes."

Disciple: Would there not be some danger in that attitude? We may shirk our responsibilities and lay it on the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo: I said about the Bhakta--the Devotee, not about everybody. For the Bhakta what happens is the best and he takes it in that light.

For the Yogi who has to conquer these things they will come, otherwise there would be nothing to overcome. It would be no real conquest at all. One can always feel the difficulties as opportunities, and in one sense one can say that whatever happens is for the best. Hostile forces also are recognized as hostile, but from another standpoint they become the Divine power throwing out attacks for the work to be done. Ultimately all powers are from

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the Divine, they assist in the work. They throw up difficulties to test the strength. It is the Divine that has created the opposition and it is the Divine who sends you the defeat so that you may conquer the difficulties hereafter. This is necessary also to counter the ego's sense of responsibility. At one time I experienced the hostile forces as the gods trying to test my strength. You have to act not for success but for the sake of the Divine, though it does not mean that you must not work for success. Arjuna complains to Sri Krishna in the Gita that he speaks in "double words": saying "do not be eager for the result" but at the same time he said "fight and conquer."

Disciple: There was a letter from our friend "X" in which he has tried to show that the Gita is a book on psychoanalysis and that Sri Krishna was a great psycho-analyst! He psycho-analyzed Arjuna and worked out his complexes. He was very much perturbed at your denunciation of Freud's psycho-analysis in the 'Basis of Yoga.' You have run down the greatest discovery of the modern times.

Sri Aurobindo: Psycho-analysis means that the subconscient is there in man and it influences the consciousness. It means to say that if you suppress anything it goes down into your being and comes up in queer and abnormal forms.

Disciple: What, according to them, is this subconscient?

Sri Aurobindo: They say it is inconscient. Then how does it throw up everything and raise symbols in your consciousness? Modern psychology is only surface deep. Really speaking a new basis is needed for psychology. The only two important requisites for real knowledge of

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i. Going inwards, and,

ii. Identification.

Those two are not possible without yoga.

*

5th January 1939.

Disciple: How long does human bone continue to grow?

Sri Aurobindo: Cranium fifty-five years, Madulanta fifty years.

Disciple: What was your age when you entered politics (openly)?

Sri Aurobindo: 33 years.

Disciple: When did you begin yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: Somewhere in 1905.

Disciple: How did you begin?

Sri Aurobindo: God knows how! It began very early perhaps. When I landed on the Indian soil a great calm and quiet descended on me. There were also other characteristic experiences--at Poona on the Parvati hills and then in Kashmir on the Shankeracharya hill,--a sense of a great infinite Reality was felt. It was very real.

Then at Baroda Deshpande tried to convert me to yoga; but I had the usual ideas about it--that one has to go to the forest and give up everything. I was interested in the freedom of the country. But I always thought that the great figures of the world could not have been after a chimera and if there was such a Power

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why not use it for the freedom of the country?

Barin used to do automatic writing at Baroda. Once the spirit of my father appeared on being called. He gave some remarkable prophecies. When asked to give proof about his identity he mentioned the fact of having given a golden watch to Barin--which none in the company knew. And then he spoke of a picture in Devdhar's house. They tried to check up and found no picture there. The spirit when told about it repeated it and asked us to look again. On consulting the old mother of Devdhar she said there was an old picture which had been now plastered over.

About Tilak, when questioned, the spirit said: "He will be the man who will remain with the head unbent when the work will be on trial and others will bow." Then we called Ramkrishna. He did not say anything. Only at the end he said: "Mandir gado"--"build a temple", which we at that time interpreted as starting Mandirs--temples--for political Sanyasis, but which I later interpreted correctly as, "make a temple in yourself." I began Pranayama--breathing exercises--in about 1905. Engineer Devdhar was a disciple of Brahmananda. I took instructions from him on Pranayama and started on my own. I practiced Pranayama at Khasirao Jadhav's place in Baroda. The results were remarkable: I used to see many visions, sights and figures; (2) I felt a sort of electric power round my head. (3) My powers of writing were nearly dried up, after the practice of Pranayama, they revived with great vigour. I could write both prose and poetry with a flow. That flow never ceased since then. If I have not written afterwards it is because I had something else to do. But the moment I want to write, it is there. (4) My health

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improved,--I grew stout and strong and the skin became smooth and fair and there was a flow of sweetness in the saliva. I used to feel a certain aura round the head. There were plenty of mosquitoes there but they did not came to me.

I used to sit more and more in Pranayama but there were no more results. It was at this time that I gave up meat--diet and found a great feeling of lightness and purification in the system. Meat is a Rajasic food. Vivekananda recommends it to the Indians. It gives a certain force and energy in the physical. It was for that the Kshatriyas did not give up meat in India. From Tamas you pass to Rajas and Vivekananda was not quite wrong.

There came a Sanyasi who gave me a Stotra of Kali,--a very violent Stotra ending with "Jahi" "Jahi"--"kill", of securing Indian freedom. I used to repeat it but it did not give any results.

Once I visited Ganganath (Chandod) after Brahmananda's death when Keshwananda was there.

With my Europeanized mind I had no faith in image-worship and I hardly believed in the presence of God. I went to Kernali where there are several temples. There is one of Kali and when I looked at the image I saw the living presence there. For the first time, I believed in the presence of God.

At one time--in Sadhana--I used to try all sorts of experiments to see what happens and how far they are related to the truth. I took Bhang-Ganja-hemp-and other intoxicants as I wanted to know what happens

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and why Sanyasis and Sadhus take these things. It made me go into trance, and sometimes sent me to a superior plane of consciousness. (But reliance on these outer stimulants was found to be the greatest drawback of this method.)

I met Lele when I was searching for some guidance and practicing meditation under his guidance. I had the Nirvana experience in Sardar Majumdar's house in the room on the top-floor. After that I had to rely on inner guidance for my Sadhana. In Alipore the Sadhana was very fast--it was extravagant and exhilarating. On the vital plane it can be dangerous and disastrous. I took to fasting at Alipore for ten or eleven days and lost ten pounds in weight. At Pondicherry the loss of weight was not so much, thought the physical substance began to be reduced. It was in Shanker Chetty's house. I was walking eight hours a day during twenty-three day's fast. The miraculous or extraordinary powers acquired by Yogis on the vital plane are not all true in the physical. There are many pit-falls in the vital. These vital powers take up even a man like Hitler and make him do things by suggesting to him--"It shall happen". There are quite a number of cases of Sadhaks who have lost their Sadhana by listening to these voices from the vital-world. And the humour of it all is that they all say that they come either from the Mother or from me!

6th January, 1939

Disciple: What are the methods in Sadhana for removal of the ego?

Sri Aurobindo: There are two methods of effacement of the ego:

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1. By realization of the spirit above and of its nature of purity, knowledge etc.

2. By humility in the heart.

Disciple: What is the difference?

Sri Aurobindo: The second method does not remove the ego but makes it harmless' it would therefore help one spiritually. Complete removal of the ego takes place when one identifies oneself with the Spirit and realizes the same Spirit in all. Also when the mental, vital and physical nature is known to be derivative from the Universal Mind, universal vital and the universal physical then the same result ensues. The individual must realize his divinity i.e. his identity with the Transcendent or the Cosmic Divine.

Generally, when one realizes the Spirit, it is the mental sense of the ego that goes, not the entire ego-sense. The dynamic nature retains the ego--especially the vital ego. So, the best thing would be to combine the two--for the psychic attitude of humility helps in getting rid of the vital-dynamic-ego.

The complete dissolution of the ego is not an easy thing. Specially important is the removal of mental and vital ego, the other ego of the physical and of the subconscient can be dealt with at leisure. That is to say, they are not so absorbing.

As I said, humility helps in the removal of the vital ego, but one must remember that it is not outward humility.

There are many people who profess and show the

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utmost outward humility, but in their hearts think: "I am the man!"

Disciple: "X" when he came for a short day, he found that you lacked the virtue of humility or modesty.

Sri Aurobindo: How does he know? Perhaps I did not profess like some other people that I was nothing. I could not do that because I know I am not nothing.

Disciple: Were you modest when you have not taken to yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: There was a sort of voluntary self-effacement, I liked to keep myself behind. But I can't say that I was more modest within than most people.

Disciple: Mahatmaji, when he finds somebody in disagreement with him on principle, would say: "He is superior to me, he is my elder, etc.; but I differ from him".

Sri Aurobindo: Does he really consider the other one superior, that is the question. When I differed from some one I simply said 'No' or "I don't agree" and kept to my view. The answer given to Suren Banerji when he approached me for a compromise at the convention of Moderates and Nationalists, was "No" and I kept stiff. Perhaps one may not call me modest.

At the Hugli Conference we, the Nationalists, had the majority. But in order to keep up unity the Nationalists were asked by me not to oppose the compromise resolution. The Nationalists all went out. The Moderate leaders were very angry that the people did not follow their tired and veteran old leaders and so completely obeyed young leaders. Suren Banerji could not realize the

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difference between old, upper middle class leadership, due to their influence and money and the new leadership of those who stood for a principle and commanded a following.

It was at that time that people began to get the sense of discipline and of obeying the leader's orders. They were violent, but at the word of the command they used to obey. That paved the way for the Mahatma. Ashwini Kumar Dutt used to jump and say: "This is life".

Suren Banerji had a personal magnetism and he was sweet-spoken, he could get round anybody. His idea was to become the undisputed leader of Bengal by using the nationalists for the sword and the moderates for the public face. In private he would go up to and accept the revolutionary movement. He even wanted to set up a provincial board of control of the revolutionaries! Barin once took a bomb to him and he was full of enthusiasm. He even had a letter from Suren Banerji, when he was arrested at Manik Tola. But in the court they hushed up the matter as soon as Norton pronounced S. N. Banerji.

The constitution of Aundh was brought in by a disciple.

Disciple: Aundh State has given a very fine constitution to the people. It has conferred wide powers on the Panchayats. Such constructive work among the villages would prevent communism. They are thinking of introducing co-operative farming.

Sri Aurobindo: Co-operative farming is an excellent thing; it would develop agriculture. But dictatorship of the

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proletariat is a different thing. It may have a very fine constitution on paper, but it is quite different in practice. In such a system all men are made to think alike.

Religion is a different affair, it is voluntary; but country is quite different from the church. You can't choose your country. If you make all people think alike there can't be any human progress. If you were to differ from Stalin or Lenin you would be liquidated.

These dictators have remarkably few ideas: Take for example Hitler. He believes that:

I. The Germans are the best people in the world.

II. Hitler should be the leader.

III. All the Jews are wicked persons.

IV. All the people in the world must be Nazis.

I do not understand how humanity can progress under such conditions.

Disciple: The tendency of all governments is to increase taxes.

Sri Aurobindo: All governments are robbing, some with legislation, some without. You can well imagine the condition in which you have to give 50% of your income as taxes and have to manage with the rest as best you can.

Disciple: The Customs also charge too heavily.

Sri Aurobindo: It is another form of robbery and yet in spite of it all, I don't understand how France produces only 250 aeroplanes as compared to 1000 of Germany!

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I don't know what these governments do with huge sums they get. There is a sufficiently honest administration in England. The public are uneasy about the war.

Smuggling there almost seems a virtue, because it is robbing the robber! (Laughter)

Even some of the princes are caught smuggling.

Disciple: There is now a movement for separating the C.P. Marathi-speaking and Hindi-speaking. It has weakened the Congress.

Sri Aurobindo: Nagpur was a very good centre of the Nationalists. The two portions--Marathi and Hindi--should have been separated to begin with.

7th January, 1939

Disciple: Can the ego be removed by the psychic attitude and by the realization of Self?

Sri Aurobindo: Psychic humility takes away the egoism but not the ego; removing of the ego of the natural individuality is not the work of the psychic. The psychic depends upon and maintains the natural individuality. The psychic is there, so that the natural individuality would turn to and progress towards the Divine.

Disciple: How is the ego removed?

Sri Aurobindo: Ego is removed by the realization of the Spirit; that is, by attaining to the spiritual consciousness Above, which is independent of Nature, which is self-existent. That Spirit is One in all. Realization of that

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removes the ego, because then one identifies himself with the Spirit.

Disciple: What then replaces the "I" in the divine individual? What is the nature of the psychic individuality?

Sri Aurobindo: In the case of psychic individuality the man may feel the ego of the Sadhu-the Saint-the Bhakta-the devotee, or the virtuous man. He may also get rid of egoism by imposing on the nature one Spirit and a feeling of sympathy for all humanity. But that is not the same as getting rid entirely of the ego. The psychic clears the way for the removal of the ego.

Disciple: What happens when one realizes the Spirit?

Sri Aurobindo: Generally, when one realizes the Spirit, it is the mental sense of the ego that is abolished; but the vital and the physical still retain their egoistic movements. That is what most Yogi's mean when they say "It is nature". They mostly allow it to run its course and when the body drops, it also drops; but, it is not transformation. That is what Vivekananda meant when he said that "human nature cannot be changed, that it was like a dog's tail, you can straighten it if you like, but as soon as you leave it, it is curved again.".

Disciple: What is really meant by this "nature"?

Sri Aurobindo: It means that the subconsciousness has in it certain gathered powers which impose themselves on the human being.

Disciple: How to transform or change this human nature?

Sri Aurobindo: In order to change human nature you have to work from level to level; you reject a thing from

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the mind, it comes to the vital. When you reject it from the vital, then it comes to the physical and then you find it in the subconscient.

There is a central point in the subconscient that has to be changed. If that is done, then everything is done. It is from there that resistance rises from Nature--that is what Vivekananda meant. To effect complete transformation you have to bring down everything to the subconcient, and it is very difficult.

Disciple: How can one replenish the exhausted nervous being? Can it be done by drawing energy from the Universal Vital or by the help of the Higher Power?

Sri Aurobindo: Both ways can be combined: One can draw from the Universal Vital and the Higher Power can also work. But there should be no Tamas, inertia, and other excuses.

Disciple: Was there a time when these things were experienced?

Sri Aurobindo: When we were living in the Guest-house, we passed through a brilliant period of Sadhana in the vital. Many people had dazzling experiences and great currents of energy were going round. If we had stopped there--like other Yogis--we would have given rise to a brilliant creation, or, would have established some kind of religion; but that would not have been the real work.

Disciple: Could a great person in the conquest of the physical being have been made at that time?

Sri Aurobindo: If the Sadhaks had taken the right attitude, then with the gain in the vital it would have been easy in the physical, in spite of difficulties. But that was not

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done. Then we came down to the physical. Those brilliant experiences disappeared and the slow difficult work of physical transformation remained. There--in the physical--you find the truth of the Vedik rik--censurers are always ready telling--"you can't do the thing, you are bound to fail".

Disciple: Would it then mean that the new people who would come to the yoga would have no experience of the mental and the vital planes?

Sri Aurobindo: They can have, if they hold aloof. Only, they can't help the pressure on the physical nature as it is in the atmosphere.

There are cases that differ: there is some one X who made very good progress in the mind. In another case the Sadhak became aloof and progressed; but the moment he came to the vital, the whole thing seemed to have stopped.

Disciple: Did he lose the contact with the Brahmic consciousness entirely?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it is only apparently lost. But if he cannot go further, then his yoga stops there, that is all.

Disciple: Can the new comers make rapid progress?

Sri Aurobindo: Certainly they can. I know cases, where they go on very well making good progress.

Disciple: Will the yoga be more easy for the lucky new comers?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, in a sense; but the conditions may be more exacting, and the demands made on them may be

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high. You had an easy time. You were left to do, more or less, as you liked in your mind, and the vital and other parts. But when the change in the subconscious has to come about, many will find it difficult; there will be some who will progress and others who will not and will drop out. Already some like X had dropped out, when the Mother took a decision about his vital being-"you will have to change". Before that he was swimming in his art and other things, but as soon as this came he dropped out. All these things--attachments, sex-impulse etc.--finally find refuge in the subconscient. One has to throw it out from there--destruction of the seed in the subconscient is necessary, otherwise it would sprout again, as we see in the case of some Yogis.

Disciple: Can one have these things in him when there is complete union with the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: What is the "complete union"? For instance, Ramakrishna asked the Divine Mother not to send him "Kama"--sex-impulse--and he succeeded, but all cases are not like that. It is quite possible to reject something centrally and totally--that is to say, completely--but one can't make general rule about these things.

Our yoga is like a new path made out in the jungle and there is no previous road in the region. I had myself great difficulties; the suggestion that it was not possible was always there. A vision which the Mother has sustained me: the vision of a carriage moving towards the highest peak on a steep hill. The higher summit is the transformation of Nature by the attainment of the Higher consciousness.

Disciple: Is there nothing that can be taken as established informally in all the yogas?

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Sri Aurobindo: In this yoga you have to go on working out again and again the same thing. Thus it becomes a long drawn out struggle, one falls and rises, again falls. Take for instance, Nirvana, quietude and samata. I had to go on establishing them again and again till when I had done it in the subconscient this accident came. It can be a test.

Disciple: What made the attack possible?

Sri Aurobindo: There were gaps in the physical.

Disciple: Can one take this as a part of Lila or game?

Sri Aurobindo: Well, it is the ignorance and the Divine is working out from there. If that was not so, what is the meaning of the life?

Everything looked all right and it appeared as if I was going on well with the work, then the accident came. It indicated that it is when the subconscient is changed that the power of Truth can be embodied; then it can be spread in wave after wave in humanity.

*

8th January, 1939.

Disciple: Can one way that snoring is the protest of the subconscient against somebody's presence? (Laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: Against whom? against whose presence when one snores alone! (Laughter)

Disciple: We read in the papers about the conversion of John Middleton Murry to theism. It was Hitler's statement after the purage that he "embodies justice and law",

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that, he dispenses with "trials"--which made Murry consider him as the Anti-Christ. It seems Gandhian non-violence has also appealed to Hitler. He wants to become a village pastor and stop the flow of villagers to the cities. Gandhi has written about Hitler's regime that the sufferings of Bishop Nicmuller are not in vain. He has covered himself with glory. Hitler's heart may be harder than stone, but non-violence has power to generate heat that can melt the stonier heart. What do you think of that?

Sri Aurobindo: I am afraid, it would require quite a furnace! (Laughter) Gandhi has mainly to deal with Englishmen and the English want to have their conscience at ease. Besides, the Englishman wants to satisfy his self-esteem and wants world-esteem. But if Gandhi had to deal with the Russian Nihilists--not the Bolshevites--or the German Nazis then they would have long ago put him out of their way.

Disciple: Gandhi is hopeful about the conversion of Hitler's heart or about the German people throwing him over.

Sri Aurobindo: Hitler would not have been where he is if he had a soft heart. It is curious how some of the most sentimental people are most cruel. Hitler, for instance, is quite sentimental. He weeps over his mother's tomb and paints sentimental pictures.

Disciple: It is "the London cabman's psychic" as you said the other day.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Men like Hitler can't change, they have to be bumped out of existence: There is no chance of their changing in this life. He can't get rid of his cruelty--it is his blood.

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Not that the British can't be brutal and sentimental too. But they can't persist as the Germans and the Russians in their brutality. The Englishman may be sentimental, but he likes to show off that he is practical, prosaic and brave. In the Russian, you find a mixture of cruelty and sentimentalism. He can break your neck and in the next moment embrace you. The English man behaves quite well, if you give him blows on his face when he treats you badly.

Disciple: In Fiji islands there was the case of a Punjabi from a good family, who went there as an indentured labourer. An Englishman was his supervisor and used to beat him every day, in spite of his doing the hard allotted work.

One day the Punjabi got fed up and caught hold of him and threw him on the ground and went on giving him blows. Then the Englishman said "that will do!" He got up and shook hands with him and the two became great friends!! (Laughter).

Disciple: There was the case of Shamakant, the tiger-tamer, an athlete of Bengal. While he was traveling some Tommis came and tried to show their strength. He knocked them so well that they were extremely glad to get out of the compartment at the next station. They did not expect a Bengali to be so strong.

Another time the train at Howrah was stopped, as there was a fight between an Englishman and a Bengali. There was a cry of "Bande Mataram" and the whole train came out.

Sri Aurobindo: That was the sudden transformation during the Swadeshi days. Before that the people used to

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tremble before an Englishman in Bengal. The position was even reversed.

I remember when I wanted to do political work I visited Bengal and toured the districts of Jessors, Khulna etc. We found that the people steeped in pessimism, a black weight of darkness weighing over the whole country. It is difficult now a days to imagine those days. I was traveling with Deva Vrata Bose; he was living on plantains and speaking to people. He had a very persuasive way of talking. It was at Khulna, we had a right royal reception, not so much because I was a politician, but because I was a son of my father. They served me with seven rows of dishes and I could hardly reach out to them, and even from others I could eat very little.

My father was very popular at Khulna; wherever he went he became all powerful. When he was at Rangpur he was very friendly with the magistrate-there. We went to his cousin's place in England afterwards, the Drewettes. It was always the doctor (i.e. K.D. Ghose) who got things done at Rangpur. When the new magistrate came he found that nothing could be done without Dr. K.D. Ghose. So he asked the Government to remove him and he was transferred to Khulna. It was since that time that he became a politician. That is to say, he did not like the English domination. Before that every thing Western was good! He wanted, for example, all his sons to be great; at that time to join the I.C.S. was to become great. He was extremely generous. Hardly anyone who went to him for help came back empty handed.

Disciple: Did you see him after coming from England?

Sri Aurobindo: I could not. In fact, I was the cause of his

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death. He was having heart-trouble and the Grindleys sent a wire to him that I had started by a certain steamer. In fact I had not; and that steamer was sunk near Portugal and so when he heard the news he thought that I was drowned and he died of that shock.

Disciple: But when you were in England was he sending you money regularly?

Sri Aurobindo: In the beginning. But afterwards he sent less and less and ultimately he stopped altogether. I had my scholarship at Cambridge but that was not enough to cover the fees and other expenses. So once the tutor wrote to him about money. Then he sent the exact sum for the fees and wrote a letter lecturing to me about extravagance! (laughter)

But it was not true; I and my eldest brother at any rate, were living quite Spartan life. My brother worked with Henry Cotton's brother in the Liberal association (Kensington) and used to get 50 shillings a week. On that and little more we two managed to live. We had bread and a piece of bacon in the morning; at night some kind of pastry. For the winter we had not overcoat. After one year like that to talk of extravagance was absurd. But Mono Mohan could not stand it; he went out and lived in boarding house and ate nicely without money.

There was a tailor at Cambridge who used to tempt me with all sorts of clothes for suits and make me buy them; of course, he gave credit. Then I went to London. He somehow traced me there and found Mono Mohan and canvassed orders from him (!) Mono Mohan went in for velvet suits, not staring red but aesthetic and used to visit Oscar Wilde in that suit.

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Then we came away to India but the tailor was not to be deprived of his dues! He wrote to the Government of Bengal and to the Baroda State for recovering sum from me and Mono Mohan.

I had paid up all my dues and kept £4/--or so. I did not believe that I was bound to pay it, since he always charged me double. But as the Maharajah said, I had better pay it, I paid.

Disciple: Did Mono Mohan follow your political career?

Sri Aurobindo: He was very proud of our political career. He used to say: "There are two and a half men in India--my brother Aurobindo and Barin--two and half is Tilak!" (laughter)

Disciple: How was Mono Mohan in England?

Sri Aurobindo: He used to play the poet: he had poetical illness and used to moan out his verses in deep tones. Once we were passing through Cumberland and it was getting dark. We shouted to him but he paid no heed, and came afterwards leisurely at his own pace. His poet-playing dropped after he came to India.

Disciple: How as the eldest brother?

Sri Aurobindo: He was not at all poetic or imaginative. He took after my father. He was very practical but very easy to get on with. He had fits of miserliness.

The question of Barin when he came to Baroda and stayed for sometime was: How can I stay with Khaserao or Madhave Rao for months and years without quarreling?

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10th January 1939.

Disciple: My friend "X" has begun to give medicine to some of my patients.

Sri Aurobindo: So, you have your "Homeo-Allo" alliance or axis!

Talk on Homeopathy was going when the Mother came.

Mother: Do you know about a school of Homeopathy in Switzerland which is very famous in Europe? It prepares medicines also. They have books in which symptoms are grouped together and remedies are indicated for a group of symptoms. It is a very convenient method; only, you have to have the book; or good memory. But are you allowed to practice Homeopathy without license?

Disciple: Oh, yes. No license is required in India.

Disciple: But Dr. S was telling that using great potencies might harm, or even kill the patient. It is dangerous if everybody beings to practice it, they say.

Disciple: In Bengal it is practiced everywhere.

Sri Aurobindo: Is Yunani medicine practiced in India?

Disciple: Yes, in cities where there is Mohammedian population, and in Muslim states. In Delhi there is the Tibbi college founded by Hakim Ajmal Khan. It seems, it is the only school of Unani medicine in the whole of Asia. Students from Turkey, Egypt and Afghanistan used to come there to learn. Ajmal Khan was the direct descendent of the court Hakim to the Mogul Emperors. Where from is it derived?

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Sri Aurobindo: It is from the Greek school. They use animal products and salts. Besides curing which is common to all the systems the Unani lays claim to rejuvenate the human system. Many diseases which require operation for their cure in Allopathy are cured by Unani and Ayurvedic medicines without operation.

There were many specific cures known in India but I am afraid they are getting lost. I remember the case of Jyotindra Nath Banerji who had a remedy for sterility from a Sannyasi and he used it with success. Many cases of barrenness for ten or fifteen years were cured within a short time. The direction for taking the medicine were very scrupulously to be observed. He knew a remedy for hydrocele.

Mother: Do you know about the Chinese medicine? Once they had a rule that you paid the doctor so long as you were well. All payment stopped when one became ill, and if the patient died they used to put a mark on the doctor's door to show that his patient had died.

But the Chinese method of pricking the nerve and curing the disease is very remarkable. The idea is that there is a point of nerve where the attack of the disease is concentrated and if you prick the point, or the Devil, on the head, the disease is cured. They find out this nervous point from the indications that the patient gives, or sometimes they find out by themselves also.

Disciple: I do not think that any system of medicine can succeed in curing all diseases. I believe that only yogic power can cure all diseases.

Disciple: Even that is not unconditional; otherwise, it might be very nice. There are conditions to be fulfilled for the yogic power to succeed.

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Sri Aurobindo: Do you expect that the yogic power, or consciousness will simply say "Let there be no disease and there will be no disease"?

Disciple: Not that way. But cases of miraculous cures are known, that is, cures effected without any conditions.

Sri Aurobindo: That is another matter. Otherwise, the Yogi has to get up every morning and say "Let everybody in the world be all right" and there would be no disease in the world! (Laughter)

*

12th January 1939

There was a controversy about a child who was underage and had an intense aspiration to remain in the Ashram, i.e. to be under Mother's protection and guidance. But being under the guardianship of her parents the child could not carry out her inner wish. Ultimately the parents, particularly the mother, took the child away.

Some Evening-Talks refer to this incident.

Sri Aurobindo: She--the child--has developed character and intelligence quite beyond her age. When she wrote to us she used to cast reflections on the world and on people that was even beyond a grown up woman. She is remarkable for her age.

The mother has found it difficult to bend her. It is true, the mother does not love her. It is an accident that she is born in that family; she is quite unlike her parents. Besides, she has found out that the mother used to manage her by lying.

Disciple: They say that the child is very happy outside.

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Sri Aurobindo: But she wrote to us that she is never happy outside!

Disciple: In the papers we find that Stalin has made allegations against Trotsky; can there be any truth in them?

Sri Aurobindo: Not creditable.

Disciple: But the confessions of the generals were dramatic.

Sri Aurobindo: That they did to save their relatives.

Disciple: A Japanese general predicts a hundred year war to civilize the world!

Sri Aurobindo: The idea is first to drive out the European from Asia, but the Japanese will go about it silently without bragging.

Disciple: Will Indian freedom come long time after?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily; it will not come by arms but without arms.

Disciple: How?

Sri Aurobindo: There is a prophesy among the Sannyasis and also Lele used to tell us that there is no chance of freedom by fighting.

Disciple: Italy or Japan can come to help India.

Sri Aurobindo: That is not so easy. Naval equipment is not enough; without a strong army it is very difficult to conquer India.

Disciple: Congress ministers are trying to introduce military training in U.P., C.P., and Bombay. But Sir Sikander

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Hayat in the Panjab is counting the distinction between martial and non-martial races.

Sri Aurobindo: That was introduced by the British to keep down India by depriving her of military races except the Pathans, Gurkhas, Panjabees etc. But every part of India had its empire in the past. The whole of India can have military equipment and training in a short time.

Disciple: The problem is of the Muslims.

Sri Aurobindo: They also want independence; only they want" "Mohammedan independence".

Disciple: Spain in Europe seems to be like India. But if France gets Spain it would be difficult for England.

Sri Aurobindo: It will be worse for France; by the spring the intentions of the Axis powers will be known.

Disciple: But why France depends so much upon England?

Sri Aurobindo: Because she has no other ally.

Disciple: It is the short-sighted policy of the Allies, that has given chance to Hitler.

Sri Aurobindo: No, it is England that got afraid of France ascendancy on the continent and encouraged and pressed Germany into power. She wants to maintain the balance of power. Hitler aims at France.

France always wants to placate Italy; but England came in the way with "sanctions". They could not save Abyssinia and made an enemy of Mussolini.

Disciple: The cry of Tunis was to divert the attention from Spain.

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Sri Aurobindo: I don't think Blum's Socialist government is for non-intervention. The Socialist in France did nothing when they were in power.

Disciple: Perhaps Russia can render some help.

Sri Aurobindo: Russia is too far and I don't know if it is trustworthy.

Disciple: But the newspapers report that America is preparing armaments.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, perhaps Roosevelt has secret news about the intentions of Nazis. It is not a question of meddling in European politics, but of being eaten last! (Laughter) There are at least some people in America who understand this thing.

*

13th January 1939.

The Mother was present when X put the following question to her.

Disciple: Mother, is it a sin to kill bugs, mosquitoes, scorpions etc.?

"Ask Sri Aurobindo"; The Mother replied smiling. "When I came here I used to drive them away by yogic force. Sri Aurobindo did not approve of it."

Sri Aurobindo: Because one is making friendship with the in that way. What is the sin? If you don't kill them they will go and bite some other people and won't it be a sin to you?

Disciple: But they have life, Sir?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they have.

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Disciple: And, if one kills them?

Sri Aurobindo: Well, what happens?

Disciple: He will be liable to sin of course. I don't mean we don't kill at all, for instance, we are breathing microbes.

Mother: The doctors don't kill?

Disciple: Yes Mother. But I mean their killing is not intentional.

Disciple: It is said that the Jains hire people to feed bugs!

Disciple: No. That is only a story.

Sri Aurobindo: At any rate, I know of a story in history. When Mahmed of Gazni invaded (West) India he defeated a Jain king through the help of his brother. The dethroned king was left in charge of his brother, who was now the king. He did not know what to do with his brother; so, he dug a pit below his throne and threw him in it and closed it up. As a result he died: so that his brother did not kill him! (laughter)

Mother: Then, in order to be true Jain, one must be a yogi and then with yogic power he can deal with these animals and insects?

Disciple: Is one justified in killing snakes and scorpions?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? One must kill in self-defense. I don't mean that you must hunt out the snakes and kill them. But when you see that they are endangering your or other lives, then you have every right to kill them.

Mother: The plants have also life. So, you mean to say

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that mosquito is more precious then rose? You don't know perhaps how the plants feel.

Disciple: There are people who say that killing a dog or a cat is not so sinful as killing a man.

Sri Aurobindo: Life is life--whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference in that between cat or man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage perhaps.

*

14th January 1939

The topic of Homeopathy came up. It was said that it has cures for religious depression and anger also.

Disciple: Anger, the scientists say, is due to the reaction of glands. But can "egoism" be cured like that?

Disciple: If it can be cured, I would be the first to apply for it.

Disciple: "The fact you are conscious about the "ego" makes half the cure--is it not?" he said turning to Sri Aurobindo.

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. But it is the first step.

Disciple: And what is the second?

Sri Aurobindo: To detach oneself from all these things; to think as if all these things belong to the other being, or some one else. As one goes on doing this the Purusha gradually withdraws its sanction from the Prakriti and

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the Prakriti looses its hold over nature till a spiritual control takes place. But if one associates oneself with Nature, Prakriti, then the Purusha becomes slave to it. Rejection, of course, is the stronger way. One has to reject these things before they enter, as I did the thoughts. It is more powerful and the result also is quick.

There is also a mental control; but there too it is the nature of Mind trying to control the nature of the Vital. It has only a temporary and partial control. The thing is rather suppressed within and can come out at any opportunity.

I heard of a Yogi in Benares bathing in one of the Ghats. In the neighbouring ghat a Kashmiri woman came to bathe. As soon as he saw her he fell upon her and tried to outrage her. That is evidently a case of mental control. But by Sadhana--yogic effort--sometimes things which have not been there come up. I have heard about it from many persons.

In my case, I saw anger coming up and possessing me. It was absolutely uncontrollable when it came. I was very much surprised as to my nature. Anger has always been foreign to me.

At another time while I was a undertrial prisoner at Alipore jail, a terrible catastrophe was avoided. Prisoners had to wait outside for sometime before entering the cells. As we were waiting a Scotch Warder came and gave me a push. The young men around me became very excited, and I did nothing but gave him such a look that he immediately fled and called the jailer. It was a communicative anger and all the young men rallied round to attack him. When the jailer, who was rather a religious man arrived, the Warder said, I had given him

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a "subordinate look". The jailer asked me and I told him that I have never been used to such treatment. The jailer pacified the whole group and said while going, "we have all to bear our cross."

Disciple: Is Rudra Bhava something like Ramakrishna's story about the snake, where anger is to be shown without really feeling it.

Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. It is something genuine, a violent severity against something very wrong. e.g. the Rudra Bhava of Shiva. Anger one knows by its feeling of sensations, it rises from below, while Rudra Bhava rises from the heart. I will give you an instance. Once X became very violent against the Mother and was shouting and showing his fists. As I heard the shouting, a violent severity came down, that was absolutely uncontrollable. I went out and said: "Who is shouting at the Mother? Who is shouting here?" As soon as he heard it he became very quiet.

Disciple: I heard X had a very violent temper.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, he was otherwise an earnest Sadhaka, became conscious of many things and made progress. But these fits used to come to him now and then. Some Asuric forces used to catch hold of him and he could not control himself. It is these forces that have failed him in the yoga, for I hear he does not have these attacks now outside. When under the grip he could not see that he was in the wrong. He blamed me and the Mother, though we had been very lenient and considerate to him. After sometime he was able to recognize his faults, admit it and promise that he would not do it again. But again he would be swept away by the forces. Sometimes his vanity and self-respect would come in

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the way of his admitting the fault immediately. That is the mistake. One must not justify one's wrong. If one does that, it comes again and makes it more difficult to get rid of it.

Disciple: 'Y' after doing so much Tapasya is thinking of leaving the Ashram and that too after twelve years of stay.

Sri Aurobindo: What Tapasya? If complete control was given to him he would have stayed perhaps.

Disciple: He says, he is helping the Mother.

Sri Aurobindo: Helping only? I thought he was conducting the Ashram? (Laughter)

Disciple: but these kinds of people--will they ever realize the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: Everyone will arrive at the Divine. 'A.' once asked the Mother if he will realize God. The Mother replied that he will, unless he did something idiotic and cut short the life, and that is what he has done.

*

15th January, 1939

Sri Aurobindo opened the topic by referring to a letter from an American.

Sri Aurobindo: There is a job which perhaps "X:" would like to attend to. The letter is addressed to Sri Aurobindo Ashram under the belief that it is a person. The man wants sporting items, and "predictions". He says:

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As you are a Yogi you "can go into trance" and we will share the profits!! Let me know your terms. Then he says: "If you don't want to take the money, you can give it to the poor! (turning to X.). You can go into trance or send "Y" into it. I will be a hard nut.

I have no objections to sharing profits, only we share in profits not in loss!! Besides, we class ourselves among the poor, so we won't have to find them! (pause)

All sorts of half-crazy people are writing to us from every where, from Germany, America etc. I wonder how they manage to get the address.

Disciple: It must be from the magazine in which A wrote an article giving his Ashram address from which he thought "Aurobindo Ashram" was a man! In that case, A must take up the matter and reply to this man.

Disciple: I am afraid, we won't get anything in spite of the proposal to share profits. In Gujarat there was--I believe even now is--a small group of seekers under the guidance of late Narsimhacharya who got an offer from American promising fabulous returns from small investments. The followers were all taken in, Lakhs of rupees were sent and nothing was heard afterwards.

Disciple: On the other hand some Indian Sannyasis are making good business in America. One of them has modernized yoga; his method is a combination of business and yoga, "sets of lectures and courses of meditation" etc.

Sri Aurobindo: "R" was telling "M" that if he went to America he would be a great success. I think "R" was right. Some of these people have the character of a charlatan.

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Disciple: But coming to his question: is it possible to predict sport items and cotton prices and share-fluctuations?

Disciple: I knew an astrologer who impressed my cousin very much and when he acted under his guidance his predictions did not at all come true.

Sri Aurobindo: But I had a remarkable experience at Baroda, not of an astrologer but of one who knew thought-reading. His predictions as an astrologer were all wrong. The manager of my house, Chhotalal, took me to this man and asked me to have some questions in my mind.

As we entered his room he told me all the four questions that were in my mind; and the curious thing is that three questions were clearly formulated in my mind, but the fourth one had escaped me; but he caught that also; it was remarkable.

Disciple: Is anything being done to get some of your books published in America?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Besides, I don't know if the Americans are interested in profound questions. Swami Nikhilananda, I heard, wrote an article about me which Miss Wilson Nishta says, was profound. The editor of the paper returned it saying, "it won't interest the Americans," and he had to change it and made it what it is.

Disciple: But the Americans are open to new ideas.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. If they would not want sensation and change the openness to new ideas would be very great advantage. As it is all one can say is that there are more people in America interested in these things than in

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Europe, though in Europe also the number of people who are interested in these things is increasing now a days.

Disciple: One Thompson, graduate from Oxford, according to his own statement, came to the gate and I had some humourous exchange of sentences with him. He was very queer.

Sri Aurobindo: It must be he, who recently sent me a long letter on philosophy. I don't think, he himself was clear about what he wrote. What was your exchange with him like?

Disciple: I was just going out when the Sadhak at the gate-duty asked me to help him to understand this new arrival, Thompson. I asked him: May I know your name, please? He: "Name! I have no name". "Apart from philosophical considerations about the reality or unreality of it, a name is a necessity in this unphilosophical world" I said. He: "You can call me anything you like--it matters very little to me". I: "It is not a question of my calling you anything. Unfortunately there is the Police Department which will demand a passport with a name, and that matters."

Sri Aurobindo: Then what did he say?

Disciple: At last he said his name was Thompson." (laughter)

Disciple: I remember a difficult question: "Is it in keeping with yoga to get oneself insured?"

Sri Aurobindo: Thakur Dayananda would say "no". He was always depending on God and did not believe in storing things. If you don't get anything, it means, God wants

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you to starve. The whole group used to sing and dance, there was an excited expression of their Sadhana, some kind of vital demonstration.

Later on he complained that the disciples were drawing out his vital forces.

They had the faith that nothing could happen to them; when the police came to arrest them they were all singing and dancing. Seeing them in exaltation the police went away. They thought that they were invincible. The Government sent soldiers to arrest them. Then their faith was shaken. One of the prominent disciples, Mohindra De also lost his faith, though he was the victim of his own enthusiasm.

Disciple: How can the vital forces of oneself be drawn out when one is in contact with the Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: The force that supports the work, the vital force, is different from the Divine Consciousness.

Disciple: Do you remember one Kulkarni who came and was complaining that his vital force was being drawn out?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He was surrounding by forces of disintegration, chaos, disaster and death. And he was unconsciously throwing it out.

Disciple: One of us then told you that Kulkarni had strength and intensity. Then you had said something remarkable: "You call it strength? It is some wild intensity of weakness--not strength!"

Sri Aurobindo: Intensity with solidity pays; but without support below, it does not lead to anything. 'B' was like that and so was 'J.'

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Disciple: But B did brilliant work.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. What he did was brilliant but slight, there was nothing below to support, the intensity had no body, so to say. He went because of his ambition, he wanted to be right-hand man. Mother put a divine entity into him; it left him when he left the place. He has failed all through.

Disciple: But he was a good lieutenant in the old days.

Sri Aurobindo: There are some people who are good as lieutenants, but by themselves they are nothing. 'B' is like that. I supported him but he used to leave one thing and go in for another. He spoiled his career through his own fault.

Disciple: Some people say that now he speaks unfavourably about the Ashram.

Sri Aurobindo: We know that. To 'M' who was coming here he said: "he has caught you by his philosophy" meaning me.

But the Mother knows these things even without any reports from outside.

Disciple: Our friend D who has the "eternal doubter" in him met Upen Banerjee at Calcutta and asked Upen whether he believes in God.

Sri Aurobindo: What did Upen say?

Disciple: He said: "How can I say I don't believe in God when I know Sri Aurobindo? I have a measuring rod for men and I can measure them all right; but in Sri Aurobindo's case I cannot measure him. In case of other

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great people they reach a certain point in their growth and then they stop, whereas in his case he is always going on further and further.

Sri Aurobindo: (smiled) I see. Upen also has intensity; he had agnosticism and faith. It is that which makes his writing brilliant. But he could never understand the "Arya". Why, Rishikesh (Kanjilal) also was one in whom doubt could never get the better of faith and faith could not of doubt! (Laughter) He always wanted to fix himself to some anchor,--he could not give up seeking, nor pursue steadily and find an anchor. "The movement will not grow" he used to say. (after pause) The revolutionaries were quite an interesting lot and though not fit for yoga, one could not feel dull in their company.

Disciple: "K" was enthusiastic about Sadhana.

Sri Aurobindo: He was. But he was not able to stand the trial of yoga. I don't think he had the capacity to do the yoga; he had too tall an idea about himself, and he is crude. And as to 'Kh' I wonder how he could ever have done the yoga.

*

16th January 1939.

There was a humourous sequel to a telegram requesting for "ashes". It was a puzzle for some time and after some effort the word "ashisha", meaning "blessing" was rightly understood.

Disciple: I do not understand why he is asking for "ashes".

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Sri Aurobindo: I don't understand either. When I used to smoke I could have sent at least the cigar ashes. But now I do not smoke?

Disciple: But we are burning here the mosquito-coils. The ashes of the coils can be sent. (laughter)

Disciple: But I think he is asking for Blessings--the post office in receiving the Sanskrit word Ashisha seems to have turned it into "ashes"! (Laughter)

Disciple: I read a paper written by Prof. Somesh Bose, a mathematician, in which he mentions that Bholagiri, a Sadhu had meditation with his wife who was dead. He says that he saw them both, his dead wife present "in flesh and blood". The question is: Is it possible? Also, whether Bholanath materialized his wife or she did it herself? Somesh says, she was everyday present at the prayer time. Can she remain like that in her materialized body almost all the time? Does she live with Bholagiri all the time, or does she come and go? What will materialists say?

Disciple: They will say, it is all humbug. (turning to Sri Aurobindo) But what does yoga say?

Sri Aurobindo: "Many possibilities". This seems to be a case of temporary materializing, as Bholagiri is present every time. I believe, there is always a difference between material body and a materialized body. This kind of materializing commonly takes place immediately after a man dies. You find that he visits either a relation or a friend. If the fact of his death is not known or if the man is not known to be living far away, people mistake it for an actual physical presence.

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There are many authentic cases of this kind. My poetic brother Mono Mohan's friend Stephen Philips said that his mother had visited him after her death. Mono Mohan told me the story, ascribing the experience to telepathic communication of the form. But I think it is not mere communication of form or cast by the mind only. There is the vital and the physical part which materializes.

Disciple: You have already cited the other day the case of Lord Strethmore. But is it possible to materialize completely?

Sri Aurobindo: Theoretically, it should be possible, though I have known no case of the same. After the experience we had of the stone-throwing in the Guest-house here, I believe, if the stones could be materialized, why not a human being?

Disciple: The Egyptians preserved the human body after death, with the belief that the soul would return to it after some years. Paul Brunton claims to have met some spirit hoary with age on the hill near the pyramids.

Sri Aurobindo: The Egyptians believed that at the time of death the Ka, the vital being, went out of the man and after a thousand years, if the body was preserved, it would return to it. Brunton, I suppose, materialized the belief.

Disciple: Is it possible to revitalize the dead?

Sri Aurobindo: I can't say.

Disciple: There is a reported case of a Bey whom Brunton met and who revived a sparrow after it was dead. Brunton says that he saw the same phenomenon perfor-

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med by Vishuddhananda, "Gandhi Swamy" as he was called. Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: That is possible. Just as you can revive a drowned man by pulling his physical organs into function again, that is, by resorting to physical devices life can be restored. If you know how to reintroduce the power that sets the organs to action, after the body is wounded or dead, you can revive the man.

The real question is whether it is the being of the man that comes back to life, or it is some other spirit that wants to live and gets hold of the body. Both are possible, because revival is done in two ways: One, is to bring back the spirit of the man which is still not far away, the other is to get some other spirit that consents to come.

Disciple: Can the vital-being be called back to the body?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if it has not gone away very far it can be pulled back to the body.

(The subject was changed)

Disciple: There is chance of "C" coming.

Disciple: He has been coming for a long time.

Disciple: He is coming after organizing his property.

Sri Aurobindo: Is he still organizing his property? Has he much property left?

Disciple: I am afraid he has lost everything.

Sri Aurobindo: He is a phenomenon! Do you remember

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the name of the person who apologized to us? I wonder whether he offered the apology because his public attack did not succeed.

Disciple: Yes. He seemed to have gathered all sorts of false facts from all kinds of people.

Disciple: Did you read his book?

Sri Aurobindo: I simply glanced at it! I don't think he sold more than half a dozen copies. (after a pause) It seems "M" has expressed sorrow for what she did here and explained that she acted under the influence of S and B.

Disciple: The attack by "R" was not of any allegations. His objection was that the Ashram was not doing what he calls public work.

Sri Aurobindo: What work?

Disciple: Say country's work, work for humanity.

Sri Aurobindo: It is quite a new objection. Nobody expects an Ashram, a spiritual institution, to do work!

Disciple: The Ramkrishna Mission, Gandhi's Ashram and some other institutions do some public work and so people expect an Ashram to work for humanity.

Sri Aurobindo: Perhaps, because I did political work they expect that I should continue doing it all my life.

Disciple: Not only that, the objection is that so many young men are being drawn away from the field of work.

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Sri Aurobindo: Oh, I see.

Disciple: But Gandhi's Ashram is not a spiritual institution. It is a group of people gathered to be trained to do some work on Mahatma's principles and methods. One can say that service to the public is one of their aims.

But Subhas wrote against the Ashram recently on the ground that it was attracting away some of the best people from country's work.

Disciple: I don't remember if he wrote "best" or "good" for those who came here. He quoted the example of D.

Sri Aurobindo: But D was not doing political work.

Disciple: Subha's idea was that D may not do political work now. But when the time came he must be prepared to give up everything and join the struggle.

Sri Aurobindo: I see, one can't give up everything for God!

Disciple: But suppose one gives up everything for country's freedom, then what is he to do afterwards, except perhaps going to jail.

Sri Aurobindo: D in jail! Perhaps he would write off some stories about his agony.

Disciple: That, perhaps, would be a gain to literature, not to politics.

Sri Aurobindo: At the time of the Gandhi movement some one asked Abanindranath Tagore, why he was not giving up his painting for the sake of the country and take to politics. He said: I believe, I serve the country through my painting in which I have some capacity, that, at

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least, is something I know; whereas I would be only a bad politician.

Disciple: Tagore narrowly escaped the Charkha. But it seems Nandlal Bose is turning at!

Sri Aurobindo: He is a man of ascetic temperament. There was an enthusiast who even wrote an article showing that the Chakra referred to in the Gita was the Charkha!

Disciple: It was Vinoba Bhave, a disciple of Mahatma.

The topic changed to Baroda. Dr. M. mentioned that now the old race course is covered by fine buildings constructed by co-operative Societies and that doctor Balabhai was still alive staying in one of the new buildings. He is nearly eighty-five.

Sri Aurobindo: (After a pause) The mention of Baroda brought to my mind the connection with the Gaekwad. It is strange how things arrange themselves at times. I had failed in the I. C. S. and was looking for a job. Exactly at the time the Gaekwad happened to be in London. I don't remember whether he called us, or we met him, but an elderly gentleman, whom we consulted, was quite willing to propose Rs. 200/- per month as a good sum. It would be more than £10/- and it is surprising that he thought it was very good!

But I left the negotiations to my elder brother and James Cotton. I knew nothing about life at that time.

Disciple: What were the expenses in those days?

Sri Aurobindo: Before the war, it was quite decent living for £5/-. Our landlady was an angel. She came from

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Somerset and had settled in London--perhaps after she was widowed. She was long suffering and never asked us for money even if we did not pay for months and months. I wonder how she managed. I paid her from my I. C. S. stipend.

It was father's fault that I failed in the riding test. He did not send money and the riding lessons at Cambridge then were rather costly. The teacher was also careless; so long as he got his money he simply left me with the horse and I was not particular.

I tried riding again at Baroda with Madhav Rao but it was not successful.

My failure was a great disappointment to my father because he had arranged everything for me through Sir Henry Cotton. A post was kept for me in the district of Arah which is considered a fine place. All that came down like a wall. (pause)

I wonder what would have happened to me if I had joined the civil service. I think, they would have chucked me for laziness and arrears of work! (laughter)

Disciple: Do you remember Nana Saheb Sinde of Baroda?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, Madhav Rao Jadhav, myself and Nana Saheb all of us held revolutionary ideas at that time.

Disciple: He has spoken to the youth conference emphasizing the need of military training for the defense of the country. His speech was against the current vogue of non-violence.

Sri Aurobindo: It is good that some one raises voice like

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that when efforts are being made to make non-violence the method of solving all problems.

Disciple: But the insistence on non-violence has succeeded in disarming the Pathan of the Frontier. It seems, Gandhi objected to armed volunteers keeping guard over him while he was in the Frontier province.

Sri Aurobindo: And what were they expected to do in case there was an attack? Stand simply?

Disciple: No. They should die resisting.

Sri Aurobindo: This non-violent resistance I have never been able to fathom. I can understand an attitude of absolute non-resistance to Evil, as the Christians say "Resist not the Evil". You may die without resisting and accept the consequences as sent by God. But to resist passively seems to me meaningless. And to change the opponent's heart by such passive resistance is something I don't understand.

Disciple: And the "Modern Review" put in another objection which is worth considering. The article accepts that non-violence may be a good gospel for a great Saint but for the ordinary man to allow evil to triumph so easily--by passive resistance--would not be good for the society. There is no reason to hope that the goonda will change his mind, or heart, if you allow him to kill you.

Sri Aurobindo: I am afraid, non-violence is being applied to other fields whereas its extreme application is meant for spiritual life. Non-violence or Ahinsa as a spiritual attitude and its practice is perfectly understandable and has a standing. You may not accept it in toto but it

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has a basis in the Reality. You can live it in spiritual life but to try to apply to all life seems too much. Such an application ignores the great principle of Adhikar,--qualification even as the Europeans do. Also it makes no provision for difference of situations.

Disciple: Mahatma's point is that in either case, whether with arms or without, you are prepared to die. Then, why not try to die without arms, since armaments are piling up in all nations and there is no end to where it will lead. In the other case you perpetuate passive-resistance while in fighting you perpetuate killing.

Sri Aurobindo: If you bring in the question of expense then the reasons for non-violence, we must admit, are economic and not ethical. (after a pause)

It is a principle which can be applied with success if practiced on a mass scale, specially by unarmed people like the Indians, because you are left with no other choice. But even when it succeeds it is not that you have changed the heart of the enemy, but that you have made it impossible for him to rule. That is what happened in Ireland. There was in Ireland armed resistance also but that would not have succeeded without the passive resistance side by side. Such tremendous generalizations like "passive resistance for all", "Charkha for all", "celibacy for all" hardly work.

*

17th January 1939.

Photographs of Harnath (Pagal) and Kusum Devi were shown to Sri Aurobindo. A declaration from Matu-

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shri-Kusum Haranath--that she was the Supreme Power and that Harnath was one of her forms, was read.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the Tantric doctrine.

Disciple: But Harnath was a Vaishnava.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but the doctrine she has proclaimed is not Vaishnava doctrine, it is Tantric.

Disciple: Is it true?

Sri Aurobindo: In principle it is true; for the Supreme Shakti is the Divine Consciousness and all the gods are from her. It is she who gives out the gods--Shiva and others. It is said that even Shiva cannot act unless she gives him power to act.

Disciple: Harnath had his decisive spiritual experience in Kashmir where, it is related, Gauranga came to him and gave him the "mission". But his later disciples regard him equal to Gauranga.

Disciple: But where is the difficulty? If the consciousness is ultimately and essentially divine, why should not Gauranga and Harnath be one in consciousness?

Disciple: They want to prove him to be as great as Chaitanya.

Sri Aurobindo: Oh, there is competition between the two Avatars? Did Harnath proclaim himself as the Avatar?

Disciple: No, but he behaved like one. There are cases of very rapid conversions in case of people who have met him.

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Sri Aurobindo: I have found that Vaishnava Bhakti-devotional path--makes for very strong and rapid progress.

Disciple: There is a line of Sadhus in Gujarat, who practice the worship of the Impersonal God.

Sri Aurobindo: Worship of the Impersonal God?

Disciple: They do not have any personal God, but they worship One who is everywhere, beyond personality. Kabir and some other Saints believe in this. Even when they take a particular Name of God, they mean by it something more than the name. They will say "Rama" but they believe in various aspects of Rama.

Ek Rama Dashratha ghara Jaye, ek Rama, ghat ghat me Ek Ramaka submen pasara--ek Rama suban te nyara.

Disciple: Does "Nyara" mean the Transcendent?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the Absolute, the Supreme.

Disciple: The couplet says: one Rama is born in Dashratha's house and is therefore subject to change; perhaps Kshara, One Rama is present in every heart and one that is all-pervading and therefore universal and one Rama is beyond all.

Sri Aurobindo: That seems to be the same thing as Gita's idea of Vasudeva that is in all and Vasudeva that is the Supreme Absolute--both are the same. I have seen instances in intense gyana--knowledge--and intense Bhakti (devotion). Devotion of the Impersonal Divine may not be powerful for change; it tends to be more etherialised and the knowledge that enters into it makes devotion less intense or rapid.

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Disciple: We have heard that you received guidance from Sri Krishna in your Sadhana: was it from Sri Krishna of the Bindravan or of Kurukshetra?

Sri Aurobindo: I should think, it was of Kurukshetra Krishna.

Disciple: These distinctions between various personalities of Krishna, one of Bindravana and others are of later growth in Vaishnavism.

Sri Aurobindo: They regard Bala Gopal as the Delight aspect or the Delight-Consciousness; but there are older schools of Vaishnavism that regard Krishna as an Avatar of Vishnu.

Disciple: Krishna of Kurukshetra is; I suppose, one who gave the Gita.

Sri Aurobindo: One who spoke the Gita is the Vishnu aspect.

Disciple: Arjuna could not bear his sight and had to ask him to resume his human form.

Sri Aurobindo: In the Vishnu Purana all the aspects of Vishnu are nicely described. It is one of the Puranas I have read through carefully. I wonder how it has escaped general notice because it is magnificent poetry.

There is a humourous passage in it, where a disciple asks the Guru whether the king is on the elephant or the elephant on the king (Laughter).

Disciple: The king must be Rammurthy if the elephant was to be on him.

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Sri Aurobindo: Then the Guru jumps over the shoulders of the disciple and asks him whether he is on the disciple's back or the disciple on the Guru's back (Laughter) Then there is a very fine description of Jada Bharata.

Disciple: Is it true? Did Jada Bharata exist?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know. But it sounds very real in the Purana, where it is placed.

It is also the most anti-Buddhist Purana.

Disciple: Then it must have been written late.

Disciple: Buddha was born about 500 B. C.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not so early as that; all the puranas are posterior to Buddhism. They are a part of the Brahminical revival which came as a reaction against Buddhism in the Gupta period.

Disciple: The Puranas are even the earliest, supposed to have been written about the 3rd or the 4th century A. D.

Sri Aurobindo: Most probably. In the Vishnu Purana Buddha is regarded as one of the Avatars of Vishnu who came to deceive the Asuras. He is not referred to by name but is called "Maya-moha". Reference to Budha is very clear; it repeats "Budyaswa! Budhyaswa." It is a fine work.

Disciple: It is said that the Tantras are derived from the Vedas.

Disciple: There is nothing in the Veda to justify their claim except one solitary Sukta, called the Vaki; Ambh-

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rani--it is a Valkhilya. There Ambhrani speaks of herself as the creatrix of the Gods. Of course one can take Aditi, the Infinite divine consciousness as the root of Tantra if one likes.

Sri Aurobindo: The principle of Tantra may be as old as the Veda but the known Tantras are later.

Disciple: The Vedas are considered the highest authority in India, so everything in India wants to peg itself on to the Vedas--not only Tantra; but art, dancing etc.

Sri Aurobindo: I don't understand this passion for antiquity. What does it matter when a thing took place; Truth is truth whenever it may be found.

Disciple: But the Vedas are considered eternal.

Sri Aurobindo: They are eternal because the source of their inspiration is eternal.

Disciple: Some one has said that the eternal Veda is in everybody's heart.

Disciple: It is Sri Aurobindo who has said that in his 'Synthesis of Yoga.' You are quoting him to himself! (laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: The Upanishads came after the Vedas and they put in more plain language the same truth that was in the Veda. In the Veda the language is symbolic.

But the Upanishads are equally great. Even in the Veda there are passages which clearly show that the Vedantic Truth is contained in the Veda. But it is surprising that the readers of the Veda miss those

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passages. For instance, the Veda says--"Riten ritam apihitam", and then "it is That one" that is the source. It is clear that it refers to the Vedantic truth of the One. Similarly, the Upanishads speak of the Vedic symbols. The Ishopanishad speaks of the Vedic gods Sun-Surya and Agni, but you can see that the significance there is symbolic.

Veda, Upanishad, Gita all are equally great.

Disciple: The Europeans thought that it was not possible to believe that the Vedic Rishis were so advanced--specially in those primitive times.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are so satisfied when they found the historical interpretation that they did not care for many obvious indications. But you must admit that the interpretation turning Vedic Gods to gases is magnificently ingenious.

Disciple: Was it not Paramashiva Aiyar, a Mysorian who showed that remarkable ingenuity?

Sri Aurobindo: I think that is the man.

Disciple: He is trying to prove in his book on the Veda that the Veda shows the conditions of earth in the glacial period and then indicates its geological evolution. I gave him up when I came upon his explanation of "parame Vyoman" meaning "trough" and "crest" of the ocean waves.

Many riks of Dirghatamas are untranslated even to-day in spite of all ingenious theories and interpretations.

Sri Aurobindo: You can't translate them or understand them unless you have the key to the symbolism.

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19th January 1939.

Dr. R's visit: In course of his talk he remarked in connection with the swelling at the knee joint that all diseases are of the nature of inflammations.

After he departed, Sri Aurobindo asked:

"In what sense are all illnesses inflammations? There could be any satisfactory explanation of it."

The topic of Aldous Huxley's book "Ends & Means" was taken up by a disciple.

Disciple: Huxley suggests two ways of solving the problems of man. One by changing the existing institutions of education, industries, in fact by modifying social, political, economic and religious institutions. This would bring about a change in the individual. So far as industries are concerned he suggests the creation of small units federated to a Central Organization. Thus it would eliminate large units which are the roots of all troubles. The second remedy he suggests is to change the individual and make him, what he calls "non-attached", who would practice virtue with disinterestedness. I believe there is a French author who also advocates such new types of industrial institutions.

Sri Aurobindo: That was my idea when I proposed to Motilal to have a spiritual commune.--I don't call it Commune but a Sangha--a Community based on spirituality and living its own economic life; it would have its own agriculture, and a net work of such communities spread all over the country would interchange its products among themselves.

Disciple: You gave him the idea of the paper also.

10

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Sri Aurobindo: I now don't remember. But I asked him to start hand-looms and weaving.

Disciple: He has tried to take up Gandhian plan after he separated from us; we used to insist on Swadeshi; now they call it Khaddar.

Disciple: The financial condition there does not seem as sound as it made to appear.

Sri Aurobindo: Possibly. I do not know now what they are doing. I heard that some plots were bought in the Sunderbans to start agriculture. But as people were getting malaria, it had to be given up.

Disciple: Is it something like Dayal Bag? I don't know what spirituality they are having there. It seems as if all their energies are directed to external work and industries.

Sri Aurobindo: That may be due to their large-scale production. I heard that Anukul Thakur also has started work on the same idea.

Disciple: Does he not belong to Dayal Bag?

Sri Aurobindo: No. He may belong to what they call, the Radha Swami School. But he does not belong to Dayal Bag.

Disciple: But to start such a Sangha one must have spiritual realization and may take a long time to start.

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. Ordinarily if one is to wait for spiritual realization it will take time. But all may not have the highest or supramental realization. Spiritual experience is enough for the people and that is not difficult to have. I told M that spirituality must be the basis of the Sangha. Otherwise, your success will be your failure. But he does not seem to have listened to it.

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(After a pause) There were other religious communities of this sort before. The Dukhobar Community in Russia was very powerful and well organized, strong in its faith. They held together in spite of all persecution. At last they had to emigrate to Canada. One of their tenets was nudism, which the Canadian Government did not like and they got into trouble. (with a smile) They had at least solved the weaving problem (laughter).

Then the Mormons were famous in the United States. The name of the founder was Joseph Smith, a prosaic name for a prophet. But Bringham Young was a very remarkable man, who really made the commune. Curiously enough one of their tenets, again, was polygamy. Their religion was based on the old testament. When they were made to give their religion they became quite like an ordinary man.

Mark Twain said that when the chief was interrogated in the presence of his members he replied that he knew his children by numbers, not by their names--it was inconvenient to remember their names.

There was another community in America which did not allow marriage among its members.

Disciple: Do you know if any communities are there in India?

Sri Aurobindo: The Sikhs are the only community organized on a religion. Thakur Dayananda established or tried to establish an order of married Sannyasins.

Disciple: I heard that Anukul Thakur also adopted it for his disciples.

Sri Aurobindo: Disciples are another matter--they are allowed to marry.

Disciple: I think, he permitted the Sannyasins to marry.

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Sri Aurobindo: The same principle is accepted by the Vaishnavas, who follow the Nityanand--school--they accept a Vaishnavi.

Disciple: All sorts of attempts at collective life seem to have been made and when one sees them all, one is driven to despair like the bald man--who on looking at king Edward VII's photo with his shining bald head, said, "I give it up"--(Laughter) Have you any idea how the supermind will proceed?

Sri Aurobindo: No idea. If you have an idea the result will be what has been in the past. We must leave the supermind to work it out.

Disciple: But that sort of work has to be based on love. One must have love for everyone.

Sri Aurobindo: Love is not enough. Something more than love is necessary. Unity of consciousness is more important than love.

Disciple: The trouble is, as soon as one begins something one tends to become ego-centric. Quarrel starts like aggravation of symptom in Homeopathy (Laughter).

Sri Aurobindo: But love also leads to quarrel. Nobody quarrels more than the lovers (laughter). (Looking at X) You know the Latin proverb that each quarrel is a renewal of love. Love is a fine flower but unity of consciousness is the root.

The difficulty is that those who are here receive something of the Higher power and they become ego-centric, then gather it in the vital and turn it to their lower nature. They think, it is their own power. When A came here from Chandranagore he said, "There at

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Chandranagore--everybody is a sheep following the shepherd but here everybody is a Royal Bengal Tiger. (Laughter)

Disciple: Somebody also said that here is a zoo where each one is a lion roaring in his den.

Sri Aurobindo: When we were very few and the Ashram had not grown, B and S used to convert all sorts of people to spirituality, they were great. B once caught hold of a young Tamilian who was quite sheepish. B used to meet him. After three or four months of contact it was found, the young man had become quarrelsome, indolent and insolent--a great transformation had come over him--(laughter). It is S who made D a public leader. At any rate, the one thing he did was to make D get rid of all scruples. "Right and wrong do not matter, good and bad are nothing" he used to tell.

Disciple: And now D is trying to live up to it.

Sri Aurobindo: D used to say to Dr. Le Mongnac, "It is impossible for me to fail because I am a God-man." He said to many people here that he is not afraid because he is Sri Aurobindo's disciple. He got the power from the Mother and all agree that he is the one man who can do something if he wanted to. Mrs. R used to write: "What has N come to--at Pondicherry? He is writing to us "do this" and "do that", and finds fault with our work". Of course, they were quarreling in Japan also when they were there. They had different views on their work.

B came straight from X. X was another great propagandist. He caught any one he could and made him do the Yoga--of course, it was his yoga. He did not think that any such thing as Adhikar was necessary.

Disciple: We had a hard tussle with Mahatmaji's followers

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over the question of transcending morality and immorality in a man of spiritual realization and resultant conduct. They always think that going beyond morality means sinking to immorality. All that does not conform to their moral code is immoral.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, all can't go beyond morality. So their theory is true in their own field. It is a mental rule and so long as one cannot come in contact with the dynamic Divine source of action in himself, one has to be guided by some law of conduct--otherwise one might take up the attitude: "There is no virtue and no sin, so let us sin merrily."

What Sri Krishna says in the Gita" "Sarva Dharman parityajya" "abandoning all laws of conduct"--is said at the end of the Gita and not in the beginning: And then that is not alone; there is also "mamekam Sharanam Vraja," "take refuge in Me alone." But before one finds within oneself the guidance of the dynamic Divine, one has to have some rule to guide himself. Most of the people have to pass through the Sattwa stage. It is only very few that can start above it and the moral rule is true so far as most people are concerned.

Disciple: Can one say that the psychic being always wants transformation? There are people who believe that the psychic being in evolution would and must want transformation. Only the Atman--the spirit--can merge into laya in the infinite. Can not the developed psychic being turn to Laya--merging into the infinite?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it can; it depends on whether it is in front or not. If it is in front then, as I said, it takes charge of the nature and then its aspiration will be for transformation. But the developed psychic being can take any other spiritual direction. It depends on what direction the Divine within chooses. We cannot dictate to the soul

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what it shall choose; all are not compelled to transform their nature.

Disciple: What is the kind of transformation that takes place?

Sri Aurobindo: The psychic transformation is the first one. Many yogis achieve this psychic transformation: it is the pure Bhakta-nature. But all spiritual men are not saints, of course, both can go together, sometimes.

Disciple: Is there a distinction between saints and spiritual persons?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, there is; saints are limited by their psychic nature, but spiritual men are not. The saint, generally, proceeds from and lives in the heart-centre. The spiritual man might live in other higher centres--say, above the head, in the spiritual consciousness.

Disciple: It is not quite clear to me--the distinction.

Sri Aurobindo: The saints live in the psychic being, that is, in the Purusha in the heart but the spiritual man might live above the head. I never felt like a saint myself--though Maurice Magre calls me 'a philosopher and a saint.' Krishna, for instance, was not a saint. A spiritual man may not always behave like a saint, he may have many other things in him like Rishi Durvasa.

Disciple: But saints are nearer to humanity; they are not like the Ishwar-Koti to whom no laws apply.

Disciple: In this yoga one has to fight like Arjuna, in the battle of Kurukshetra, because it is a yoga of fight and battle.

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily; it depends on the nature of the being. There are some people, for instance, who when they meet the hostile forces in the vital or in dream

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begin to fight, while there are others who call for protection. If one has the psychic attitude one need not fight. Fighting is for the mental and the vital man; in the case of the mental type the fight is with ideas.

Disciple: Some people regard quarreling with the Divine as the psychic way.

Sri Aurobindo: In that case, many people are psychic in the Ashram.

Disciple: I remember X's letter referring to Ramprasad's Song claiming that the Divine must satisfy his demand, because he had sacrificed everything for the Divine.

Disciple: "Claim" based on what? This argument seems to be "you must give me thing because I badly want it." But what reply you gave to him?

Sri Aurobindo: It was not addressed to me; it was addressed to Krishna.

Disciple: Then, I will ask him to write to you.

Sri Aurobindo: No, No, don't do that (laughter). Otherwise, I will have to be as hard as Krishna.

Disciple: They say that Shiva is a very kind and generous God.

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know if he is very kind to the demons. He gives very inconvenient boons and finds it very difficult to wriggle out through them. He is a God who does not care for consequences. Generally Vishnu or somebody else has to come in afterwards to save the situation. Krishna is hard-hearted, they say.

(The topic underwent a change.)

Disciple: I am reminded of Sadhaka X whose Sadhana seemed to be going on very well...who is now attracted

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to Buddhism. I do not know if he has been attracted to some woman--but there was some such indication.

Sri Aurobindo: It is sad if it is true. In one of his letters to Y he wrote that one need not be a eunuch in order to be a master of sex......one should guard his realization.

Realization is something very precious and one should guard it and live in it like a fortress. One can go in adding whatever knowledge one wants or gets but always guarding his realization. For instance, it is not at all necessary to give up Bhakti to get Jnana.

After all it is a pity that he should give up the love of Krishna for a mere human girl. I found it difficult to go through his Commentary on the Gita. It is more intellectual, it lacks the life and the heart. Otherwise, it was always a pleasure to read his writings. He seems to have lost the intensity of mental vision, the seeing mind which he had, but I thought that it was due to his turning towards Knowledge.

His attraction towards Buddhism is understandable, because to the European rational mind its rationalism has an appeal. It was first through Buddhism that Europe came to and began to know India. Blavatsky found Theosophy on Buddhism. Next they understand Shanker in Europe and for many years the Europeans thought there was nothing in India except Shanker's Adwaita. But if X has taken to Buddhism his sex abhoration is not justifiable. Buddhism is the most exacting path. It is most unindulgent, severe and dry; it is a path of Tapasya.

Disciple: He had perhaps great mental pride.

Sri Aurobindo: May be also vital over-confidence.

Disciple: He said to Y that sex was not a problem for him.

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Sri Aurobindo: That is over-confidence. Perhaps in course of Sadhana some opening has taken place in the vital.

Disciple: But can a Sadhaka fall like that after such fine realizations as he had?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by realizations? There is always the possibility of being Yoga Bhrashta (fallen from yoga).

20th January 1939.

After discussion about local affairs, Sri Aurobindo: I find X's letter to Y is written with his usual clear vision. He advises Y to guard against mixing up his own feeling of personal wrong with the legitimate decision not to shake hands with one who has wronged the Guru. About A he says, "these people like A, when they take to yoga it is more ornamental than anything else". It is a fine phrase "ornamental yoga".

Disciple (giving a turn to the talk): Nothing seems to have come out of Chamberlain - Mussolini interview. Both parties say, they are satisfied with the results.

Sri Aurobindo: I can't understand England's policy. I do not know what she is after. France is being led by England; she is her tail. It is said that Mussolini is waiting for France's victory, then he will present his terms to France. France's victory in Spain will be dangerous for France. But it is very difficult to see how England profits by this. For as soon as Italy and Germany have crushed France the next victim will be England. England knows very well Mussolini's ambition to create an Italian empire. And that means he will try to regain all that once belonged

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to Italy. England is deliberately raising Hitler and Mussolini against France and letting her down. I do not know why unless the three want to share the empire of France and then England may try to put Hitler and Mussolini against each other. That may be her selfish, traditional policy, but it is a very risky game.

Disciple: But is it possible? Can England remain aloof when France breaks with the other powers?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? Chamberlain has said that as long as England's interest are not involved she is not obliged to fight. England will say that Italy's demands have not been satisfied and so she has gone to war and Germany has joined her. There was no aggression on her part; so, England is not obliged to come to the aid of France; and number of excuses could be given. Blum told a friend who is also a friend of Daladier that he had to betray Czechoslovakia because Chamberlain told him that he will support him as it is diplomatically possible, but in case of war France should not count on England.

Disciple: I wonder why Flandin wants to support France when Blum is against him. You know Flandin even sent telegram to Mussolini conveying his congratulations. Hitler counts Flandin as a friend--he intends to join the Rome-Berlin axis and thus keep out England!

Sri Aurobindo: Italy shall demand after the Spanish question is settled. Italy is almost sure to claim Tunis, Nice, Jibouti. Is Flandin prepared to give them? Italy wants her empire in Africa. So, Tunis and Jibouti are essential for her to be the master in the Mediterranean. Blum is incapable; it was he who applied non-intervention in the Spanish question.

At present it seems two people are flourishing their arms against everybody and the rest are somehow trying

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to save themselves. The one man who has seen through the whole thing is Roosevelt, but he is too far and he is not sure of the support of the American people.

Disciple: What about Russia?

Sri Aurobindo: Russia is unreliable. One does not know its military strength. At one time she was supposed to have the biggest air-force. But according to Hindenberg it does not seem to be so.

Disciple: Jawaharlal says that Hitler and his generals did not expect the non-resistance--which they met--from Austria. They were all very much surprised.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the generals were opposed to Hitler, for they were not prepared to fight. Now Hitler will say: "Have you seen that I am right? Things have happened as I told you."

Disciple: Jawaharlal said that the threatened attack against Czechoslovakia was mainly bluff.

Sri Aurobindo: It can't be a reliable news; the Germans are too disciplined for that.

Disciple: There is some trouble in Holland, and Germany is threatening to cut off all trade with her and establish trade-route through Antwerp and not Amsterdam.

Sri Aurobindo: If that takes place that will make Chamberlain fight in spite of himself,--England does not want any German navy in the North Sea. But Germany won't do that unless she wants war with England.

The topic was changed now......

Disciple: When X was working here some new sadhaka met him and asked him: "Who are the advanced sadhaks here?"--He replied: "I don't know." Then when he was repeatedly asked he said: I will tell you, but you must tell it to nobody. There are only two advanced sadhaks here,...you and I (laughter).

Sri Aurobindo: This instance of 'two' reminds me of a joke of Hugo. Balzac said to a friend that there are two men who know and write French: myself and Hugo. When that was reported to Hugo he said: "That is alright, but why Balzac?" (laughter)

There is another story of a lady who believed the doctrine of eternal hell or heaven--according to which people will either go to heaven or to hell. Some one asked her: Do you know where the people will go? She said: All will go to hell, except myself and the minister--meaning the clergyman, but I have doubts about the minister. (laughter)

Disciple: Very similar is the case of Dr. R. who is here; when he first came here I asked him about homeopathy. He said: You see, there are four top-most men in the line. One Dr. so & so in Calcutta, other two are there and I came here. (laughter)

*

21st January 1939.

Dr. R's visit today

Dr. R: Do you feel the pain (in the knee-joint) still?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Dr. R: That is because you are moving the leg after a long time; it will disappear when you are accustomed to it.

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Sri Aurobindo: Accustomed to the pain! (laughter)

Talk then turned to the world-war and the Congress. Pattabhi was elected President. Patel wanted to settle at Rajkot or go to East Africa.

Disciple: I am afraid if Patel goes to East or South Africa the Indians there would be shot.

Sri Aurobindo: Instead of Patel going there to Africa it is better that Gandhi should go to Hitler. Hitler will say to Mahatma: You follow your inner voice Mr. Gandhi, I my own. There is no reason to say that he would be wrong, for my inner voice may be good and necessary for me, while it may not be so for another man. The very opposite may be good and necessary for another man. The Cosmic Spirit has one thing for Hitler and may lead him in the way he is going, while it may decide differently in another case.

Disciple: That may lead to a clash between the two and the breaking of the instruments.

Disciple: What of that? Something good may come out of it.

Disciple: That might lead to fatalism, belief in destiny.

Sri Aurobindo: It may. There have been people who have believe in fate or destiny or whatever you may call it. Napoleon III used to say: "So long as something is necessary to be done by me it will be done in any case; when that necessity will cease, I shall be thrown on the wayside like an outworn vessel." And that is what exactly happened to him.

Napoleon I also believed in fate.

Disciple: When somebody asked Napoleon I, why did he plan if he believed in fate, he said: "It is also fated that I should plan."

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Sri Aurobindo: Yes. All men who have been great and strong believe in some higher Force, great than themselves, moving them. Socrates used to call this Daemon--man's divine being. It is curious how sometimes even in small things one depends on this voice. Once Socrates was walking with a disciple. When they came to a place where they had to take a turn, the disciple said, "let us take this route." Socrates said: "my daemon asks me to take the other." The disciple did not agree and followed his own route. After he had gone a certain distance he was attacked by some pigs and thrown down by them.

There are some who do not follow the inner voice but an inner light. The Quakers believed in that.

Disciple: Do they see the Light?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know; but some one has said: "see that your light is not darkness." The strange thing is that this inner voice does not give any reason; it only says: "do this; if you do not do that, bad results will follow." Sometimes, strangely enough bad results do follow if you don't listen to it. Lele used to say that whenever he did not follow the inner voice he had pain and suffering.

Disciple: But many kinds of voices are there according to the forces on different planes. I believe it is extremely difficult to distinguish between the right or the true inner voice and false one. There may be voices either from the mental or the subtle physical planes.

Moreover, in the same person the voices may differ.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite true. Hitler's friend said about him that what Hitler said today be contradicted tomorrow. I also heard a voice which asked me to come to Pondicherry; of course, it was the inner voice.

Disciple: Can not one be mistaken?

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Sri Aurobindo: It was impossible to make a mistake about or disobey that voice. There are some voices about which there can be no possibility of any doubt or mistake. Charu Chandra Roy wanted me to go to France--so that we may have no further trouble. When I arrived at Chandranagar he refused to receive me and shoved on to Moti Roy.

Disciple: But why should he receive you?

Sri Aurobindo: Because as a revolutionary he was obliged to do so.

Disciple: Was he a revolutionary?

Sri Aurobindo: Good Lord, we were together in jail and perhaps his jail experience frightened him. At the beginning he was a very ardent revolutionary.

Disciple: Nolini says he was weeping again in the jail. The jail authorities thought that he could not be a revolutionary (laughter) and so let him off.

Sri Aurobindo: No, that was not the reason. It was by the intervention of the French Government, I think, that he got his release. Barin one day walked into his house, gave him a long lecture on revolution and converted him in one day.

Disciple: I heard that Nivedita also was a revolutionary, is it true?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean? She was one of the revolutionary leaders. She went about visiting places in India to come in contact with the people. She was open and frank and talked about her revolutionary plan to everybody. When she used to speak on revolution it was her very soul that spoke, her true personality used to come

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out. Yoga was yoga of course, but it was as if that sort of work was intended for her: that was fire if you like. Her book "Kali--the Mother" is very inspiring, but it is revolutionary and not non-violent. She went about among the Thakurs of Rajputana trying to preach them revolution. At that time everybody wanted some sort of revolution. I met several Rajput Thakurs who had revolutionary ideas, unsuspected by the Government. One Thakur Ramsingh was afterwards caught in our movement and put to jail. He suddenly died out of fright. But he was not a man to be frightened. They may have poisoned him. You know Moropant afterwards turned moderate. More than one Indian army were ready to help us. I knew a Panjabi Sentinel at Alipore who spoke to me about the revolution.

Once Nivedita came to Baroda to see the Gaekwad and told him that his duty was to join the revolution and she said to him: if you have anything to ask you can ask Mr. Ghose. But the Gaekwad never talked politics with me afterwards. But thing I could not understand about Nivedita was her admiration for Gokhle. I wondered how a revolutionary could have any admiration for him. Once she was so much exercised when his life was threatened. She came to me and said: Mr. Ghose, it is not one of your man that is doing this. I said: No. She was much relieved and said: then it must be a free lancer.

The first time she came to see me she said, "I hear Mr. Ghose, you are a worshipper of Shakti?" There was no non-violence about her. She had an artistic side too. Khaserao Jadhav and myself went to receive her at station at Baroda. She saw the Dharamshala on the station and exclaimed: "how beautiful!" Looking at the new College buildings she uttered: "how ugly!" Khaserao said: She must be a little mad!

11

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Disciple: The college building is supposed to be an imitation of Eton.

Sri Aurobindo: But Eton has no Dome.

Disciple: It is a combination of modern and ancient architecture.

Sri Aurobindo: At any rate it is an ugly dome. The Ramkrishna Mission was afraid of her political activities and asked her to keep her activities separate from the mission.

Disciple: What about her Yogic Sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know; whenever we met together we spoke about politics and revolution. But her eyes showed power of concentration and a capacity for going into trance. She had got something in her spiritual life.

Disciple: She came to India with idea of doing Yoga.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. But she took up politics as part of Vivekananda's work. Her book is one of the best on Vivekananda. Vivekananda himself had ideas about political work and fits of revolution. Once he had a vision which corresponded to something like Maniktola Garden. It is curious that many Sannyasins at that time had thought of India's freedom. Maharshis young disciples were revolutionaries. Yoganands' Guru had also such ideas. Thakur Dayananda was also one such. (turning to a disciple)

Do you know one Mr. Mandal?

Disciple: The one with spectacles.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is he who introduced me through someone else to the Secret Society, where I came in contact with Tilak and others.

*

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22nd January 1939:

Sri Aurobindo opened the topic by asking:--"What about D's fast?"

He was told yesterday that D was going to fast on his birth-day i.e. to-day. But he had forgotten all about it.

Disciple: I hear he has taken bread and butter in the morning and at mid-day a light meal.

Sri Aurobindo: Fasting with bread and milk!

Disciple: There are people who believe that bread and milk can be taken while fasting. (Laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: That is also the custom in Bengal, I believe. That reminds me of a story. Nevinson went to see Tilak and met him in Dhoti. While describing the meeting he said: Mr. Tilak received me naked in his cloth. (laughter)

By this time another disciple came and seemed to be bubbling with news.

Sri Aurobindo: What is the news? Radio: help. a louse in Stalin's head! Socialize it. then the rest will follow.

Disciple recounted two fine jokes about Russia from 'Inside Europe.' Then he said:--

I looked up the book; Lindbergh says that soviet air-fleet is not as powerful as it is thought.

Sri Aurobindo: In what way?

Disciple: I don't know.

Sri Aurobindo: That is very vague. Does he mean that the aeroplanes are not of sound material, or that the pilots

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are not well-trained? If he says only that much, that does not give any knowledge. In the fight between Russia and Japan in the frontier, the Japanese admitted that the Russian artillery was remarkable, it does not miss the mark but the infantry is not good; for when they got very good opportunity they did not take advantage of it. While the Japanese army is, perhaps, the best in the world. In spite of overwhelming numbers against them in China, they have been able to conquer Chang kai-shek trumpet, that he would defeat the Japanese in a very short time. They did not reply but at the end of each defeat the Japanese are further than before.

Disciple: They say that the Japanese are not good in the air. They miss their aim many times.

Sri Aurobindo: I do not know about that. A pilot requires at a time concentration on many points. The Japanese are good at concentrating on one thing at a time.

Disciple: Mussolini is asking all Italian firms to close down at Jibuoti, and thus create dissatisfaction. He is trying to cut off the railway connecting Jibouti and Abbyssinia and make another line through Eritria to Asmara.

Sri Aurobindo: That would not make France give up Jibouti because it is an important seal-link between France and her eastern colonies. Even if Flandin and the Premier wanted to give it up the French people won't.

Disciple: Yesterday we had talk about hearing the voice: is there any standard by which one can judge whether it is a true voice?

Sri Aurobindo: What standard? There is no such standard. How can you judge where it is right or wrong?

Disciple: Then is Hitler who says, "I heard a voice and I follow it", right?

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Sri Aurobindo: Right in what sense? Morally?

Disciple: He means spiritually, perhaps.

Sri Aurobindo: How can you say his voice is not true? He has seen that by following it he has been able to get Austria, Czechoslovakia and he has been successful in many other things. Then how can you say it is not a true voice? As I said, the Cosmic Spirit may want him to go that way. Even morally, you can't say that he is immoral. He is very restricted as regards food and is supposed to have no wife or mistress and leads a controlled life in all other respects. Robespierre was also a moral man and yet he killed many people.

Disciple: But then, what is meant by the 'true voice'?

Sri Aurobindo: That is the psychic voice. But the spiritual point of view is quite different. There is no question of right or wrong in it. One goes above all those standards and looks from that plane. But for that it is essential to have the perception--say feeling of the Divine in all. Then one can see Divine in all, veiled behind the Gunas. From that plane one finds that Gita is right in what it says about the Gunas: that man is made to act by the action of the Gunas. There was an angry Sannyasi who came to the Kali Temple at Calcutta. Ramkrishna said about him: "he is a Tamsik Narayanan." But he could not keep that standard when another vedantin came there and had a concubine with him. He asked the vedantin: why do you keep the concubine? The Vedantin replied: every thing is Maya, so what does it matter what you do, or not do? Ramkrishna said: "I spit on your Vedanta."

But logically, the Vedantin was right. So long as you believe everything to be Maya you can do as you like. But how will you say which is right? For instance, what will you say about Curzon's action?

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Disciple: About Bengal partition?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, was he right? He thought he was quite right in what he was doing, while others thought he was wrong. And yet, but for his action India would not have been half as free as she is to-day. So, the Cosmic Spirit may have, after all, led him to do it to bring this result. There is a Cabalist prophesy: the golden age will come when the Jews will be driven off and persecuted every where. So, Hitler may be bringing that about. There are so many ways of looking at a thing. For instance, this American lady thinks, perhaps, that she is paying us a big sum, but we call it a joke.

Disciple: Then, can one say that one has no responsibility. One can do as one likes--, in that case one becomes a fatalist.

Sri Aurobindo: No, one can't do what one likes. Every one is not Hitler and can't do what Hitler does, because it is one's nature that makes one do things. Your question reminds me of the story of my grand-mother.

She said: 'God has made such a bad world. If I could meet Him I would tell what I think of Him.' My grand-father said: 'Yes it is true. But God has so arranged that you can't get near Him so long as you have any such desire in you' (laughter).

When we say: Hitler is possessed by a vital force it is a statement of fact, not a moral judgment. It is clear from what he does and the way he does it.

I remember a young Sanyasi with long nails came to Baroda. He used to stay under trees. Deshpande and myself went to see him. Deshpande asked him: what is the Dharma, the standard of action? He replied, "There is no such standard. It is the Dharma of the thief to steal because that is his nature. Deshpande was very angry when he heard that; I said it is only a point of view.

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But all that does not mean that there is no consequence for one's action. As Christ said, offence come but woe unto him by whom the offence cometh. There is a law of being which throws upon you the murder, persecution etc., when you inflict suffering on others out of self-will the suffering will come back to you, that is the law of Karma.

Disciple: S used to quote to me the famous verse of Duryodhana. "Janami, Dharmam nacha me pravrittih" I know what is the Dharma but I can't gather force to do what I should do.

Sri Aurobindo: "You have the other verse. "seated in my heart as Thou directest, I act".*

The question comes up seriously when you want to change yourself or change others. Then you say "this should not be" and "that should go"--etc., you introduce a rule of the mind in the vital, but when you go above the mind you come in contact with your Spirit and the nature of that spirit is Light, Truth, Purity. When you observe discipline it is for the spirit, not for the sake of the mental rule. If you want to attain the standard of purity you have to reject what comes in the way. So also about lying. You have to stop lying if you want the Truth, not because of the mental principle of right and wrong, but for the sake of the spirit. There are many parts in Nature: One part may try to reject things that are contrary to the change and contradictory to each other, but another part prevents it. As the Roman poet said: I see the better things but I follow the worse.

Disciple: Vendanta for sometime was by word for hypocrisy. People used to speak of them as "Bedantins"--meaning two sets of teeth,--one for showing and another for chewing

______________

* [the above in sankrit]

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like the elephant. What is the truth of Vama-marga?

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know. It must have been with the idea of taking up forces and pull them high up. Even the sexual act has to be done from a high consciousness. Upanishad also : it is possible.

But to go back to the original point about the law of Nature. We have to understand that all this does not mean that there is no moral standard. Humanity requires a certain standard it helps profess. It is obvious from what Hitler is doing that he is not serving the forces of Light. He is serving what the Jews would call "the forces of unrighteousness". But from the spiritual point of view, that may also be necessary. As they say "it takes all sorts to make the world."

But again that does not mean that one should not recognize other planes. For instance, there is the vital plane whose law is force and success. If you have the force you win. If you have speed you outrun others. The law of the mind comes in to act as a balance together to make a mental-vital standard. If you go above then you come to a point where Gita's "Sarva Dharman parityajya" becomes the principle. Sharanam Vraja becomes the principle. But there if you leave the last portion, "mamekam Saranam Vraja" "take refuge in Me alone"--then you follow your ego and you fall and became either an Asura, or a lunatic or an animal. But even the animals have a sense of right and wrong. It is very well shown in Kipling's Jungle Book. Have you read it?

Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: There he shows how the pack falls on the one that fails to keep the standard. By human contact the animals develop that sense even more.

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Mother came and then after some time departed.

Disciple: Is it true that Supramental Being is Bhagawan?

Sri Aurobindo: All are Bhagwan, all are Divine.

Disciple: That is potential or say, veiled Bhagawan; otherwise we have to accept that world is perfect even as it is.

Sri Aurobindo: It is perfect as it could be perfect at present.

Disciple: That is to say a more perfect perfection has to be attained yet.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it has to be.

*

23rd January 1939.

Disciple: My friend X is hesitating to put you a question; but he is puzzled by what he thinks as the contradiction in what you said yesterday about Gunas.

Disciple: You said that a man like Hitler does what he does because of the action of the Gunas, the modes of nature. In other-words he does what the Cosmic Spirit makes him do and yet he is individually responsible for his actions. It seems contradictory.

Sri Aurobindo: That is generally the case when you state some Truth you have to express it in contradictory terms (laughter). Truth is not always consistent But the contradiction you notice does not mean that there is no responsibility, or no morality, no right, no wrong. The individual is responsible, for, he accepts the action of the Gunas of nature.

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Disciple: But it is the Cosmic Spirit that makes him accept it, is it not?

Sri Aurobindo: No. The Cosmic Spirit does not act directly. It acts through the Nature. The Cosmic Spirit acts not through the true individuality but through the individual in Nature. It acts through personality and personality is not the person. Personality is something formed of the mental vital and physical nature. This personality is responsible because it accepts the Gunas--the modes through ego and Nature. As I said, the Cosmic Spirit works through Nature and not direct.

Disciple: But the Cosmic Spirit works its purpose through the individual, by making him carry out its intention.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that does not mean that the individual is not responsible. The Cosmic is and contains both good and evil.

Disciple: Then it is the Cosmic Spirit that is responsible for the evil.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the Cosmic Spirit that is responsible for both--good and evil, you can't say it is responsible for one and not the other. Through both--good and evil--and their struggle between Light and Darkness, the Cosmic Spirit works out its purpose in evolution.

Disciple: For example, Duryodhana thought, in the Kuruksetra battle, that he was in the right. He did not know that he was leading to the destruction of his own family.

Sri Aurobindo: But the Cosmic Spirit is not in evolution, while the individual is in evolution. The individual progresses in his evolution by his nature,--he evolves through his nature.

Disciple: Can the individual refuse or reject the Gunas?

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Sri Aurobindo: Certainly. The individual can refuse to submit to nature. For example, Arjuna refused to act accordingly to his nature and eighteen chapters of the Gita had to be told to him to make him fight.

Disciple: Even though the Cosmic Spirit had already slain the warriors, yet Arjuna was asked to be the instrument.

Sri Aurobindo: Real liberation comes when the Purusha awakes and feels himself separate from nature, not bound by it but free and lord.

Disciple: But generally the Purusha is bound.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, normally the Purusha consents to the action of Prakriti but he can withdraw his consent and stand apart. He can be free by getting out of evolution i. e. by being free from the working of ego and nature-personalities.

Disciple: When the freedom of the Purusha is won then it becomes possible for the individual to look beyond the Cosmic Spirit to the Transcendent, and act in the Cosmos according to the will of the Transcendent--Is it so?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is to say, instead of being an instrument of ignorant nature you become the instrument of the Divine.

Disciple: Do you mean by the Cosmic Spirit the Impersonal Consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo: No, The Cosmic Spirit is a Personality--not in the narrow sense of personality; it is both static and dynamic.

Saguna and nirguna,--the Nirguna supporting the Sagun.

Disciple: You said that the psychic being also is a personality.

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Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the psychic being also is a Psychic Purusha.

Disciple: Does the psychic being develop from birth to birth?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not the psychic being itself that develops, but it guides the evolution of the individual being by increasing the psychic element in the nature of the individual. It is these personalities in nature that are bound.

Disciple: It is said that psychic being is a spark of the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Disciple: Then it seems that the function of the psychic being is the same as that of Vedic Agni who is the God of Fire, who is the leader of the journey.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. Agni is the God of the psychic and, among other things that it does, it also leads the upward journey.

Disciple: How does the psychic carry the personalities formed in this life into another life?

Sri Aurobindo: After death, it gathers its elements and carries them onward to another birth. But it is not the same personality that is born. People easily misunderstand these things, specially when they are put in terms of the mind. The past personality is taken only as the basis but a new personality is put forward. If it was the same personality, then it would act exactly in the same manners and there would be no meaning in that.

Disciple: Does the experience of the Cosmic Spirit correspond to what you have termed the "Overmind"?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but you can have the experience of the Cosmic Consciousness on any other level of consciousness

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also. Generally, you have it on the level of the Higher Mind where you feel the two aspects static and dynamic as separate. But as you go above, you find the Overmind overreaches all the other levels and there the two aspects are gathered together and combined in the same consciousness (turning to X) So you see, Hitler is responsible so long as he does not feel that he is not Hitler.

Disciple: But does he feel that he is responsible?

Sri Aurobindo: He feels that he is responsible not only for himself but for the whole of Germany.

When Hitler began he was not like that. He was considered an amusing crank and nobody took any notice of him. But his latest photograph shows him like a criminal, he seems to be going down the darkness very fast. It is the vital possession that gives him his size and greatness. Without this possession he would be a crudely amiable person with some mental hobbies and eccentricities. This possession becomes possible because the psychic being in him is undeveloped. There is nothing in his being that can resist the vital force.

Mussolini has, comparatively, a developed psychic being and a very strong vital being, But in his last photograph he seems to have weakened. Either he is physically unwell or is aging or perhaps he has misused his powers.

Disciple: Hitler feels responsible for all the Aryans, what ever that may mean.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, the only Aryans are the Germans. It is they who feel the responsibility and bear the consequences.

Disciple: Can one be free if one acts without feeling responsibility?

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Sri Aurobindo: You can't get rid of responsibility like that, even though you may say, you are not responsible.

You must become free if you want to be free from responsibility. There are three ways, or rather several ways, of attaining that freedom. One is by the separation of the Purusha from Prakriti and realizing it as free from it; another is by realizing the Self, The Atman or the Spirit, from the Cosmic movement. Thirdly by the identification with the Transcendent Above, i. e. by realizing the Parmatma. You can also have this freedom by merging into the Shunyam through Buddhistic discipline.

Disciple: In the experience through the first and second method does the Purusha remain the "witness?"

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. I may be witness in the first method because the Purusha separates himself from Prakriti and is then the witness not taking part in action.

But in the second kind of realization the Purusha need not be the witness of the universe, or the universal movement. The Self may remain ingathered without witnessing anything. There are many conditions into which the spirit can pass.

A certain kind of Nirvana is necessary even for our Yoga. That is to say, the world must become, in a way, nothing to you because as it is constituted it is the work of Ignorance. When you realize something of that then only can you enter into and bring into existence the true creation, the world of Truth or Light here.

Disciple: When the Gita says: "You will find the self all and all in the self and then in Me"--what Self does it speak of?

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Sri Aurobindo: It is the Brahmic Consciousness. That is to say, you see one Consciousness in all and all contained in the One Self and then you rise above to the realization of One that is both personal and impersonal and is above both.

Disciple: Is it true that man with spiritual bent are born with "Adhikara - qualification - for it?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Disciple: Can one acquire Adhikara - such qualification, i. e. if one has not the Adhikara at first can one get it by some means?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, A man can acquire Adhikara. That is what we mean when we say "he is not ready" and when we say "he can prepare himself" it means he can get the Adhikara.

Disciple: Such a man can also acquire Adhikara by the company of Saints.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, of course.

Disciple: One gets tired of this problem of manifestation. That is to say, it is a very complicated and long process to manifest the Divine in oneself and in one's life.

Sri Aurobindo: Being tired is not enough. One must have the power to be free, either by moving out of evolution, that is to say, one must get the power to act from beyond the evolution.

Many yogis when they go beyond into the Spirit or the Cosmic consciousness, allow Cosmic nature to act through them without any sense of individual responsibility. They remain concentrated in, or identified with the

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Higher Consciousness uncontrolled And you find as X found that the spiritual man uses foul language: of course, the yogi or the spirit in him is not bound by the rules of decency. That is why such yogis act like Jada, Pishacha or Bala--allowing nature to play freely in them.

When one has attained the higher consciousness then, as the Upanishad says, one does not regret: I did not do that which was good, or I did this which is evil. It is not that all yogis act that way. But some of them know the reason, or the necessity--why they act in a particular way, at a particular time. Only, he is not bound by his action.

Another difficulty arises because most of the yogis are very bad philosophers. And so they cannot put their experiences in mental terms. But that does not mean that they have no real spiritual experience. They do not want to acquire intellectual development; for, they wanted only to reach a Higher consciousness and they are satisfied with that. When you look for things the yogi has never tried to have then you get disappointed like the American lady who object to Raman Maharshi's spitting and biting his nails. That has nothing to do with his spirituality.

Disciple: Can one say that the aspect of Sat--Pure Being-Consciousness--Chit-is absent?

Sri Aurobindo: No, even in what you call Being Consciousness is there; only, it is held back, or is inactive so to say, while in Chit that aspect is in front. In these matters using mental terms always creations confusion because I have so often said that Sat, Chit Ananda is the prime Reality and no part of it can be thought of as separate.

Disciple: The difficulty arises when one sees many experience of different system of Sadhana then one finds great difficulty of choosing between them.

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Disciple: But does one choose these things with the mind?

Disciple: There is no other go. Can not the story of different systems lead one to knowledge?

Sri Aurobindo: It can help in making an approach to the path of knowledge. Philosophy is an attempt to explain to the human mind what is really behind it. But to the western mind thought is the highest thing. If you can think out an explanation of the universe you have reached the goal of mental activity. They use the mind for the sake of using it--that leads nowhere. (Turning to X) So, you see, the universe is not a question of logic but of consciousness.

Disciple: But is the story of philosophy indispensable?

Sri Aurobindo: Not at all.

Disciple: I would like to know everything by experience.

Sri Aurobindo: You can know what philosophy preaches, or has to say, by direct experience and something more which philosophy cannot give.

Disciple: The Sankhya division between Purusha and Prakriti in one sense, is very sharp and so it helps one to get away from the bondage of Prakriti.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is categorical. They believe in the two, Purusha and Prakriti, as the final elements. Sankhya and Buddhism were both first understood and appreciated by Europe,--Sankhya because of its sharp distinction between Purusha and Prakriti, which they believe to be jada--inconscient. Prakriti, in Sankhya, is jada and it is the light of the consciousness of Purusha that makes Prakriti appear conscious. They believe that even Buddhi--the intelligence--is also jada--inconscient.

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We in our yoga need not accept it. While the Europeans liked Buddhism for its strong rationalism. Its logic led it up to Shunya--the state of non-being, which is its aim to reach. There is also a strong note of Agnosticism in it which appeals to the Europeans. It is something that hangs in the air; for the base is Shunya--non-being. You don't know on what basis the whole thing stands. There is a certain similarity between Science and Sankhya; for in science they believe that evolution begins with the jada, the inconscient and goes up the scale of consciousness.

Disciple: We have so much darkness in us that we can't empty it by our own efforts. At times, it seems that even a little light will do.

Sri Aurobindo: No, little light, a mere candle-like mental illumination, will not do. There must be full sun-light. And that is very difficult to attain and bring down. It is a slow process, but that is what we mean when we say: "You must have an opening." If you have an opening, gradually, more and more light can come.

Disciple: How can we accept the light without knowing it?

Sri Aurobindo: That is to say, something in you does not want it, otherwise there is hardly any difficulty. Of course, so far as the world is concerned it has always refused to accept the Light when it came.

It is a test to know whether the world is ready or not. For example, when Christ was sentenced Pilate had a right to pardon one of the four condemned, and he pardoned Barbaras. Nowadays, they say that Barbaras was not a robber, but was a national hero, and he was a sort of Robinhood. But whatever that may be, it is a fact that the romantic robber was preferred to the Son of God; or the political opponent to the preacher of the Truth.

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Disciple: You say about experience, but I have no experience. All I feel is pressure at the time of meditation.

Sri Aurobindo: You at least feel the pressure.

Disciple: But how to know that it is due to the working of the Higher Power?

Sri Aurobindo: If you can wait you will know yourself, or you have to accept it from the Guru who has gone through the experience--that is to say, you have to accept it by Sravana, hearing, and Manana--meditating upon it.

Disciple: It is said that ascent and descent take place; how to know it?

Sri Aurobindo: You will yourself know it when it takes place; you can't miss it.

Disciple: I hear that the American lady B remained in Ramanashram about a week, in spite of all unclean surroundings. She spent about a hundred rupees a day on her food. Mona says that her husband's name does not indicate that he belongs to an old aristocratic family. He is a rubber magnet, he is a Lord, and is manufacturing rubber tyres.

Sri Aurobindo: I don't understand why a rubber manufacturer should be a Catholic.

Disciple: Heirloom, perhaps.

Sri Aurobindo: Which? the tyre or the Catholicism?

Disciple: What was the lady's impression about our Ashram?

Sri Aurobindo: She was much impressed and was full of praise for the Mother, and she thought it must be a work of genius. She thinks that genius can work without finances!

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Disciple: She seems to have contributed something.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, 5 £. Till now the Americans that have come here are either poor, or rich ones who don't pay.

Disciple: She seems to have done better than Sir H. who not only did not pay anything but took a loaf of bread with him! (laughter).

At this point the Mother came.

Sri Aurobindo: (to the Mother) N wants to know lady B's impression.

Mother: She was full of compliments. She was much impressed with the tidiness, cleanliness., and the beauty in the Ashram. (Then addressing Sri Aurobindo she said) She is not much more than a tourist. She is going to Japan to study with Suzuki. She has much admiration for genius, probably because genius does not require finance.

Here the topic changed:

*

24th January 1939.

Sri Aurobindo: turning to X: "Any news?"

Usually the news of local politics and other subjects used to come through X,

Disciple: No news except that Mahatma Gandhi advises the Japanese visitor Kagawa to include Shanti Niketan and Pondicherry in his itinerary, without seeing which his visit to India would be incomplete.

Sri Aurobindo: O that! I have heard about it.

At this juncture the Mother came and a meditation followed, After the Mother's departure Sri Aurobindo

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resumed: "I can give you some news today, The French Ministry seems to be going against the political party in power. It is a mystery how the ministry has suddenly taken this change of attitude.

Disciple: I understand that the leader from Pondicherry wrote to the Ministry against some official and the official must have found it out in France. And so, when he came back here he has taken up a definite attitude against the leader and the party.

Sri Aurobindo: There is a Greek saying that when one becomes too powerful he becomes insolent and commits excesses and then that strikes against the throne of God and then the retribution begins.

The leader of the former dominant party was not like that. He never lost sense of balance, and never pushed things too far. When his lieutenants asked him to arrest his political opponents he refused.

Disciple: Hitler also has a precipitous rise, he can't maintain the momentum. He can't last very long.

Sri Aurobindo: There is another famous Greek story about the tyrant of Syracuse. Do you know it?

Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: This tyrant wanted to make friends with another tyrant of Sicily. Both belonged to Sicily. The latter replied: You are too fortunate. You must sacrifice something or have some little misfortune to compensate for your fortune, otherwise, I can't ally myself with you. The tyrant of Syracuse--Polycrites--threw his most precious ring into the sea as a sacrifice to compensate for his fortune. The ring was swallowed by a fish and that fish caught by a fisherman who brought to him. He got back

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the ring. The other tyrant heard about it and said: You are too lucky. I shall never ally myself with you. Polycrites was afterwards killed by his people in revolt. "The ring of Polycrites" is a proverbial expression in English.

The Roman poet says: the Titans fall by their own mass. There is a similar idea in India when it is said: the Asuras are too heavy for the earth to bear their weight. But some Asuras are clever enough to flourish in spite of proverbs.

Disciple: Can it be said that the Asuras by their action contradict the law of evolution or that they contradict something fundamental in human nature?

Sri Aurobindo kept silent for some time and then said: There is no such general law. The thing is that the Asura can't keep balance. The law that demands balance then strikes.

(Then Sri Aurobindo became silent). After sometime looking at a disciple he said: "Is your cosmic problem solved? (in reference to yesterday's topic.)

Disciple: Not until I get the experience. But I have some interesting news from Calcutta. Mrs. has been saying to her relations such a number of lies that they have found it out and say: "There is truth on both sides."

Sri Aurobindo: But what does Mrs. M. say?

Disciple: She says that the Ashram tried to keep her child because of her property. We are short of money; police intervention has taken place before also.

Sri Aurobindo: But how can we get the money from the child? Everybody knows that the property belongs to her

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mother, and that she is not going to die within a few years. It is not the Ashram that wanted to keep her; she--the child--wanted to stay of her own accord. And where was the police intervention? By saying that she deprives herself of the credit of having the first who brought in the police.

Disciple: She says all that to save her face.

Sri Aurobindo: It will take a lot of saving.

After this there was silence. After some time a Disciple began.

Disciple: A. B. is supposed to have said that Vivekananda by his idea of service to humanity, brought mixture and spoiled the spirituality that was intended to be cultivated by Ramakrishna.

Sri Aurobindo: In what way?

Disciple: I don't know. But was it Ramakrishna's idea that Vivekananda followed? Was it Ramakrishna who asked him to do service to humanity?

Disciple: So far as I remember he said: "Lok hiter kaj karo." "Lok hit" "Good of the world"--is not the same thing as "service to humanity."

Disciple: So far as I remember Ramakrishna did not say anything like that. In fact, there was a great difference among Ramakrishna's disciples about what Vivekananda was bringing in. But some of them submitted saying: "Vivekananda must know better." The phrase "Daridra Narayana" was Vivekanand's.

Disciple: But some disciples, even though they did not object, did not take any part in the work. Brahmananda was one such. He had a greater realization than Vivekananda.

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Sri Aurobindo: I think so; he was spiritually higher. I once met Brahmanand when I went to see Belur Math. He asked me about some letters received from "G". I don't remember what it was about. He asked me whether he should do anything or keep quiet. I asked him to keep silent and not give any reply.

Disciple: Ramakrishna Mission seems to be more occupied with social and humanitarian work; I don't know if there is much spirituality in it. My cousin Swami Adwaitananda went there and was quite dissatisfied and came back.

Sri Aurobindo: Plenty of people complain of that. But what work do they do?

Disciple: Medical relief, famine relief.

Sri Aurobindo: Famine relief is not all the year round. Medical relief is something.

Disciple: Education also. Now a days in many places of spiritual work they feed the poor--it is done as the Seva--Service to, Daridra Narayana--the poor as Narayana.

Sri Aurobindo: I see no idea in that. What is the use of feeding for one day, when they have to fast all the year round? You can satisfy your conscience that you have done something for the poor, I suppose. If you could find out the cause of poverty and try to remove that, that it would be some real work.

Disciple: But that is not easy. There are so many difficulties, political, economic etc.

Sri Aurobindo: I don't think it is so insoluble as all that. If you give the people education--by education I mean proper education--not the modern type--and the means, then the problem could be solved. People in England or

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France have not this kind of poverty as we have in India. That is because of their education--they are not so helpless.

Disciple: Some thousands were fed on the birthday of a holy man. There were so many people on this occasion that they were not allowed to touch him.

Sri Aurobindo: If they were allowed to touch him, he will feel like the President of America who had to shake hands with thousands of people and in the end got an aching of the hand.

Disciple: These are people who give lot of money for such purposes of temporary utility, but curiously enough, we don't get financial help. One man actually told me, we don't require money because we have buildings.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that seems to be the impression. Many people think like the American lady visitor, that "the Ashram is a work of genius" and genius can do without money (laughter). Among the rich it is only the minority that pays; mostly it is the poor persons like Miss X who hardly earns enough to maintain her family yet whenever she finds an opportunity she sends us money. There is a false rumour that we have a lot of money.

*

26th January 1939.

Disciple: It seems Barcelona--in Spain--is going. The French people are waking up at the eleventh hour.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, democracies are showing such courage at present!

Disciple: It seems, political ideas and ideals are not worth fighting for. Thousands fought for democracy and now

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they are in a hurry to give it up. Nothing seems to be permanent in the political field.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. All human values are half values--they are relative. They have no permanence or durability about them.

Disciple: Perhaps, if man became more of a mentalized being, he would understand things better.

Sri Aurobindo: By being mentalized? No. The difficulty that men do not follow the principles of life.

Disciple: How is that?

Sri Aurobindo: Life compromises between different elements, but mind while acting alone does not compromise. Mind takes up one thing--(one idea, or principles or anything like that)--and makes it absolute. Mind considers it as apart from and opposed to all other things.

Hagel boasted that in Europe they had succeeded in separating reason from life and you see their philosophy--it has nothing to do with life; it is all mental gymnastics, it does not form part of life.

While in India, philosophy has always been a part of life; it has an aim.

In the political philosophy of Europe you find, if they accept democracy, it is only democracy--all the rest is opposed to it. If monarchy, then it is only monarchy. That is what happened in Greece. They fought for democracy and opposed aristocracy and monarchy and in the end oligarchy came and monarchy--at last they were conquered by the Romans.

Disciple: Then what is the truth in all these attempts at political organization?

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Sri Aurobindo: If you want to arrive at something true and lasting, you have to look at life and learn from it. That is to say, you must learn the nature of the opposition and contradictions and then reconcile them.

As regards government, life shows that there is a truth in monarchy--whether hereditary or elective. That is to say, there is a man at the top who governs. Life also shows that there is a truth in aristocracy, whether it is of strong or rich men--that of money or intellect.

The current fiction is, it is the majority that rules. Life also shows that the rule of the kind or of the aristocracy should be with the consent--silent or vocal--of the people who form the mass.

In ancient India, they recognized the truth of these things. That is why India has lasted through millenniums and China also. English politics is successful because they have always found one man or two who had the power to lead the minority of the ruling class. During Victorian period it was either Gladstone or Desrali, and even when the party in power changes in England the other party that comes to power does not change things radically. They continue the same policy with a slight modification.

In France no government lasts, sometimes it changes within a few days! The new government is a repetition of the one it replaces. Blum is one who wanted to do something radical but he was knocked out.

Disciple: Did you see Subhas's statement?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He seems to have a queer logic; because the Right has a majority so, the president should be from the minority. And what is the sense in saying: we will fight to the core? I can understand that kind of idea if you are going to have revolution. Then there can be no

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compromise. But once you have accepted compromise there is no meaning in that statement. One has to work out on the basis of what one has gained. Satyamurty's idea of federation seems all right to me if the States' people are given some representation in the centre and the Viceroy exercises no veto. It would then practically amount to home-rule.

Disciple: The Viceroy's long stay in Bombay seems significant. I think, there is something behind it. He may want to settle the office-bearers for the federation.

Sri Aurobindo: The Bombay Ministry seems to be working efficiently. They have escaped the socialists trap. These socialists do not know what is socialism.

Disciple: There were many humourous speeches in the Sindh-assembly. The League has been exposed.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the Sindh Premier--I always forget his name--seems to be a strong man and stands up for his ideas at the risk of unpopularity. The Sindh Muslims were anxious to join the Congress. The Congress should try to do something to make a coalition there.

The Congress ministries are successful almost everywhere. That is an indication of the power to govern if powers are given.

Disciple: Only Bengal and Punjab remain under Muslim League influence.

Sri Aurobindo: The Muslim League is not so strong in Bengal--there is the Praja party there. In the Punjab Sikandar Hayat Khan seems to be an able man. Only, in U. P. the Muslim League seems strong.

Disciple: I wonder how Fazlul Haque could become the Premier. Perhaps Nazimuddin may be more capable.

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Sri Aurobindo: He won't make a popular figure. Haque can turn as circumstances require. All these Muslims of the League seem to be a lot of self-seekers.

Disciple: I do not understand why the Congress opened negotiations with the League. It has been giving an undue importance.

Sri Aurobindo: How is it that the Congress is so weak in the Punjab?

Disciple: Because of the Socialists and the old Congress people fighting each other. The Jayapur affair is starting again. Bajaj is going to offer Satyagraha. It seems, Mahatma has given his approval.

Sri Aurobindo: Since he is a congressman I suppose the Congress will have to back him. If the State people get power the princes will have no work but to sign papers and shoot animals.

Disciple: Where will they shoot? The forests are being depleted of animals.

Sri Aurobindo: The forests have to be preserved and also the wild life. China destroyed all her forests and the result is there is flood every year.

Disciple: There are so many Maharajas, Chiefs, Nawabs all over India.

Sri Aurobindo: Germany was like that at one time. Napoleon swept away half of the number and the last war swept off another half. Japan also had many princes but they voluntarily abdicated their power. The Japanese are not greedy for money. They can easily sacrifice if they find it is their duty to sacrifice--of course, duty to the country.

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Disciple: How far back in history do they go?

Sri Aurobindo: The Mikado claims to be the descendant of the Goddess of the Sun. The Mikado Maigi believed in it and he used to do what was necessary after feeling the inspiration within him.

There are two types of features among the Japanese: one tall and with a long nose and fine aristocratic face, and another the 'Inune' who came from Australia and Polynesia. It was the tall people with classical features that gave Samurai Culture to Japan. I met a Japanese painter at Tagore's place--he was of the first type--what magnificent features! The other is the usual Mongolian type.

Disciple: The dictator's psychology is an authority complex. People under the dictator feel they are great and that the dictator--in this case Hitler--is fighting for them, not they who fight for him. Perhaps the dictators find a competitor in God and religion. So they try to crush religion.

Sri Aurobindo: But Mussolini did not crush religion in Italy, though Kemal and Stalin did. Mussolini on the contrary has given more power to the Pope in the Vatican. He has practically recognized the Roman Church as the State religion.

Disciple: I read in a newspaper that Kemal in his intoxicated condition slapped an Egyptian because he came to a dinner party with a fez on.

Sri Aurobindo: Have you not heard the story of a journalist?

Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: Well, a young journalist of Turkey criticized the government saying; Turkey is governed by a number

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of drunkards. Kemal came to know of it. Next day, the journalist received an invitation to dinner. He was trembling as to what was coming. After dinner was over Kemal told him: Young man, you are quite mistaken in saying that Turkey is governed by a number of drunkards. It is not true. Turkey is governed by one drunkard.

Disciple: Kemal at one time tried to play off Italy against Russia.

Sri Aurobindo: But Russia has all along helped Turkey.

Disciple: Stalin forced the collectivization of farming among the Ukrainians. The farmers did not like it. So, to spite the government they collected from the farmers only what they required for themselves for the year; they did not collect the crop for the government. Stalin came to know about it. In the meantime the crop standing in the fields was destroyed by cold and frost. He sent down his officials and they attached the corn collected by the farmers as state dues. The result was famine. The farmers starved and died by the thousands. Stalin did no help; he allowed them to die. He was afraid that once he submitted them there would be no collectivization anywhere.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what happens when socialism comes. Communism is different. If they had been successful in carrying out the original idea of the Soviets then it would have been a great success. Mussolini at first tried to form corporate state but he also gave it up later on.

Disciple: The Socialists did not succeed in breaking the trade-unions in Ahmedabad, which are under the Congress.

Sri Aurobindo: Socialism has no chance with the Indian peasant. He will side with you so long as you promise him land and want to end the land-lord system. But once

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he has got the land no more socialism for him. In socialism you have the state which intervenes at every step with its officials who rob money.

Disciple: The officials know the Government machinery and they so manage to keep the power in their hands.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It is the State bureaucracy that dictates the policy irrespective of the good of the commune. In communism they hold the land for the whole community i.e.--the whole unit and each part of it is entitled to labour and have its share from the produce.

Disciple: In India we have a kind of communism in the villages. The whole village was like a big family and the lowest had his right as a member of the family. The washerman, the carpenter the black smith, the barber, all get what they needed.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the only communism that is practicable. Each such commune can be independent and many such units can be scattered all over country and they can combine or co-ordinate their activities for a common purpose.

*

28th January 1939.

The Mother left for the general meditation and the disciples were ready to begin some topic, but Sri Aurobindo seemed mentally occupied with something. He was rather thoughtful and in a mood of silence. So none ventured to begin. After a few minutes Sri Aurobindo looked at the company present and there was spontaneous smile on every face.

Disciple: X seems to have some news.

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Sri Aurobindo: Then why does he not spurt out with it?

Disciple: There is nothing particular to-day.

Sri Aurobindo: There is a cure for your cold in the "Sunday times": you have to get into an aeroplane, take some rounds, get down and you are cured.

Disciple: Permanently?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if the plane comes down with a crash, the cure would be permanent. (laughter)

Disciple: One friend V used to put a cotton string into his nose for his cold.

Disciple: That is a Hatha yogic process.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They also insert a long piece of cloth into their intestines and bring it out through the anus in order to clean the track.

There also have been authentic cases of taking poisons like the nitric acid, Hydro cyanic acid etc., without any evil effect. There are cases of swallowing nails, glass etc..

Disciple: Is it possible?

Sri Aurobindo: There is no question of it being possible, it is actually done.

Disciple: I wonder how the scientists would explain these phenomena. Somewhere they were invited to a demonstration but they refused to attend.

Disciple: They can't, for fear of their convictions being shaken.

Disciple: These Hatha yogis who demonstrate these phenomena,

13

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must know some process of preventing absorption of these things in the stomach.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they must have the power to stop the action of the poisons and then eliminate it. They throw it out--by vomiting the substance immediately after the demonstration.

Disciple: Perhaps, you know that the Royal Society of Science refused permission to Sir William Crooks who wanted to demonstrate the reality of mediumistic phenomena.

Sri Aurobindo: The same thing happened in Germany. In the village Alberfeltz there was a man who used to train horses to do mathematical sums--(of course, they were simple operations). He invited the scientists; they refused to believe in it. Not only they refused but they complained to the Government that it should be stopped, because the trainer was following unorthodox method of investigation!

Disciple: Maurice Materlinck himself went to see it and said, after seeing it, that he himself did not believe in it before he saw it. He examined the animals by giving his own figures and the answers given by the horses were correct. (Ref. to his book--"L' hote inconna"

Sri Aurobindo: They say that animals can't think or reason. It is not altogether true. They have an intelligence which acts within narrow limits of the needs of their life. These faculties are latent in the animals and have not been developed, that's all.

The cats have a language of their own; they utter different kinds of mews for different purposes. For instance, when the mother leaves her kittens behind a box, mewing a particular rhythm, then the kittens understand that they are not to move from that place till she comes back and repeats the mew. It is through rhythm that they express

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themselves and they understand human language if it is every time in a particular rhythm.

Even the donkey who is supposed to be very stupid is unusually clever. Horses and donkeys were confined together within an enclosure and the gate was closed to find out if they could get out. It was found that while horses were helpless, it was the donkeys that by turning the latch opened the gate.

Why go further, even in our Ashram the Mother's cat Chikou was unusually clever. One day she was confined in a room and it was discovered that she was trying to open the window in exactly the same way as the Mother used to do. Evidently she had watched the Mother doing it before going to the window and taking up the string.

We had, when we were staying in Rue suffrin, a bitch left by someone in the house had a room upstairs with glass window and a bath-room at one extremity. One day this bitch found herself locked out. She tried all sorts of devices to enter the room but could not as the main door and the windows were all closed. As all attempts failed, she sat down in front of the window and began to think; how to get in? The way she sat and the attitude of her sitting showed clearly that she was thinking. Then suddenly she got up as if saying: Ah, there is the bath-room door! Let me try it. She went in that direction. The door there was open and she got in.

It is the Europeans who make a big difference between man and animals. The only difference is the animals can't form a concept, can't read or write or philosophize (laughter).

Disciple: But they also can't do yoga.

Sri Aurobindo: I don't know that. While Mother and

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myself were meditating a cat used to be present. We found that she was getting queer and was getting into trance and was almost on the point of death, but recovered. Evidently, she was trying to receive something.

Disciple: Maharshi's cow, Laxmi, is said to bow down to him. She is even supposed to have been some old disciple of his in her previous life and was attached to Maharshi.

*

29th January 1939.

Sri Aurobindo was in a communicative mood. Looking at X he said. "Have you read Hitler's interview with Col. Beck in the 'Sunday Times'?

Disciple: No. What about it?

Sri Aurobindo: It was shouting at each other. It is said that when Hitler begins to shout his eyes become glassy and it means disaster. But in this interview when he began to shout and eyes turned glassy, Beck began to shout louder. Hitler was much surprised to find this unexpected return and himself toned down.

Disciple: What was the result of the interview?

Sri Aurobindo: Relations with Poland were not much improved I suppose. (The topic changed) Sri Aurobindo turned to X: "Did you see Subhas Boses' statement?

Disciple: Yes, it seems unfortunate that at this time the Congress should be divided.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. Whenever he has been in authority there has been trouble. Congress-split in Bengal came in his time. He is an intellectual without grasp of the

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realities. He talks of India exerting international influence! You are not even a nation and you talk of being international! You have to be first independent. Even in a small affair like the China-Japanese war, what you have been able to do is to send an ambulance unit.

Disciple: Our Y who was in Bengal politics has not a very high opinion about Subhas Bose. He says, he is a good lieutenant but can't be a great leader.

Sri Aurobindo: That has been my impression all along.

Disciple: It seems as if what he is doing is more for satisfying his ambition for power and egoism.

Disciple: And all the talk about influencing the votes is meaningless. They are all trying to influence the voters on their side.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. He says, he stands for principles, but all the time he is asking 'vote for me'.

Disciple: But he is very sincere and honest.

Disciple: Many leaders are that.

Disciple: Not in Bengal--they are almost all dishonest.

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by sincerity? Sincere means ready to suffer for the cause and honest means, he accepts no bribe or money. Is it not? But even during our Swadeshi movement though the leaders were egoistic and quarrelsome they were honest and sincere. Our fight was over principles e. g. Reform or revolution or as somebody put it, Colonial self government or Independence. We never fought on personal grounds as you now find between Bose and Sen Gupta or Khare and Shukla. You know what Das said about criminals? He said: "In my whole legal career I have not met such worst types of criminals as in politics." Evidently he knew about his own followers.

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Disciple: But if Bose sincerely believes that the Congress is going to compromise with the British Government on federation, is not he justified in fighting the federation in the congress? He says that some suspicious negotiations seem to be going on behind the scenes.

Sri Aurobindo: But what is there objectionable in negotiations? Every country and every big party has to do it. The Germans before and during the war were doing it. Negotiations does not mean acceptance. There is no harm in seeing how far the other party will go in granting concessions, rights and privileges.

Disciple: When Nehru visited Nahas Pasha in Egypt, Nahas said that their Wafd party had become demoralized after accepting office and now they are defeated. He wondered how the congress ministers have remained pure after accepting office. Nehru explained to him about the Parliamentary Board which acts as a check on the ministers. The Board has no administrative powers and ministers are not members of the Board.

Sri Aurobindo: I was surprised to hear about the dissolution of the Wafd party and wondered what it might have been due to. But then they ought to have turned out the king as Kemal did in Turkey. The present king is following the policy of his father. So, instead of quarreling among themselves they should have--now that they have power--tried to build up their nation first, by giving people education and training. Secondly, they should make efforts to increase the wealth and lastly, they must build up military power. The same thing should be done in India by the Congress ministry.

Disciple: What sort of education? Technical?

Sri Aurobindo: Technical, agricultural and other. How will they develop industries without properly educated and trained people? India is such a vast country that if she can

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produce her own necessary things, she can consume them herself. External trade is not necessary at the beginning. That is what U. S. A. did. She developed first her internal trade to meet all the necessities of her own people; and when by that means she had increased her wealth she began to develop external trade. The government should have a plan for the economic survey of the provinces to see what could and should be taken up in each province.

Disciple: That is one good thing Bose had done; he has organized an economic planning committee.

Sri Aurobindo: But they must not neglect secondary education. You can't have efficient people without education. It creates common interest and a basis of common understanding. I don't mean the present form of education. It has to be radically changed. The Indian boys are more intelligent then English boys of the same age and status but three-fourths of their talent and energy are wasted, while the English boys use their talent ten times better than the Indian because of the training and equipment.

Disciple: The Bombay Premier has approached the merchants for donation to the Government, as there is going to be substantial loss due to prohibition. The government will have to levy new taxes if they don't get money.

Sri Aurobindo: It is better not to destroy the capitalist class as the socialists want to. They are the source of national wealth. They should be encouraged to spend for the nation. Taxing is all right, but you must increase production, and raise new industries, also raise the standard of living; without that if you increase the taxes there will be a state of depression. Other nations tax enormously because they produce also on a large scale.

Disciple: The congress ministers are opening agricultural schools training centres for small industries.

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Sri Aurobindo: It is a pity to give up all that work for merely fighting the Federation. You can fight it even after it is established. One has to accept what one gets and on that basis work out the rest. If the British Government finds that the federation is perfectly worked out it may not object to give more. They expect a crowd of demagogues shouting together in Assembly, not people capable of governing. But if socialism comes that might frighten them.

Disciple: The present governor of Bombay seems to be sympathetic to his cabinet.

Sri Aurobindo: The English people have constitutional temperament, except of course, a few autocrats like Curzon. They will be violently opposed to their being kicked out, but they don't object to their being gently shouldered out as in the dominions. The dominions are practically independent. The British people will be quite content if they get India's help in case of an international war. But these declarations of anti-imperialist policy and 'no compromise' might tend to stiffen their attitude, What is the use of declaring your policy in advance? Even as regards the states one must not be too exacting in one's demands. They won't tolerate the idea of reducing them to mere figure-heads from the very beginning.

Disciple: Patel is a very capable man, but he is not liked by his colleagues.

Sri Aurobindo: He did not seem to me to be a very likable person. But if one has sincerity and capacity that is enough in politics.

*

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FEBRUARY, 1939

3rd February 1939.

A letter from a lady disciple was read to Sri Aurobindo in which she related some of her experiences. She is losing consciousness, finds the mind floating about as it were, lightning strokes in the head and a feeling of some presence. But these experiences give her very great fear and she complains of bad health.

Sri Aurobindo: You can tell her that what she calls losing of consciousness is its movement inwards. It is rather unusual to get these experiences. Usually, one takes months and months to make the mind quiet and she did it at the first sitting. The lightning strokes is the action of the Higher Power, or Yoga Shakti to make the Adhar fit for Yoga. All these things show that she has a capacity for the Yoga. But she must get rid of fear. Otherwise, all the experiences will stop. The letter shows that her inner mind is ready but her vital and the physical are not--the

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vital is full of fear and the body suffers from bad health. As she herself says, it produces a conflict in the being which is not desirable. It may be better for her not to take up Yoga seriously, until she is restored to health. But the most important thing is to get rid of fear.

Disciple: But how to get rid of it?

Sri Aurobindo: That is the difficulty. Many complain of when one takes up the Yoga all sorts of experiences come in, which are out of the run of ordinary consciousness; and if one fears, Yoga is not possible. It has to be got rid of by the mind, i. e. by the psychological training and will-power. Any human being, worth the name has a will and that will has to be exercised or developed. She can ask for the protection of the Divine, lay herself in the hands of the Divine and say there is no fear. This is done by the mind. As Vivekananda very insistently said, the Yogi must be "Abhihi"--without fear.

I don't know whether I told you about my experience. After my meeting with Lele I was meditating at Calcutta. I felt a tremendous calm and then felt as if my breath would stop. A silly fear, or rather an apprehension, caught hold of me and I said: If my breath stops how shall I live? At once the experience stopped and never came back.

There are all sorts of experiences. What will you do if you feel your head being drilled through, or a nail being thrust inside? These things, of course, are not physical.

Disciple: But why can't the experience come quietly?

Sri Aurobindo: The experience comes quietly but you make a row! If your head, or physical body is being split then you could object to it. You ought to know by now that

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all these experiences are in the subtle body.

Disciple: I had also once or twice such fear of presence as the lady speaks of. I sat to meditate before going to be and I felt everything still and then as if there was some presence. That frightened me.

Sri Aurobindo: Why? You thought it was the devil that brought the stillness? But the devil, generally does not bring stillness; usually he makes a row. Two things are necessary in Yoga: to get rid of fear and to know the ordinary symbols. (turning to X) You know V once in meditation saw that some golden beings came down and told him: "Now we will cut your body and make it new." He cried out: Never, never. He thought that his physical body was going to be cut. But the symbolism is quite clear: the old elements in the nature would be thrown away and new ones brought in.

Disciple: I heard afterwards that he turned to Jainism. I don't know if it is true.

Sri Aurobindo: Was he a Jain by birth?

Disciple: Yes.

Sri Aurobindo: Well, that often happens. In one's vital and physical nature there remains a stamp of one's ancestral religion and it comes out at some time. The Christians usually turn towards the Catholicism. A Frenchmen--I forgot his name--tried all sorts of things, mysticism, Tibetan Occultism etc. When he was informed by one of our disciples that these things won't go with Yoga, he abandoned all connection and turned to Catholicism.

My grand father started by being a Brahmo and ended by writing a book on Hinduism and proclaiming it as best religion in the world.

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After a pause: the topic changed. Sri Aurobindo turned to 'X' and said:

"So Subhas has met Nehru."

Disciple: Yes, Nehru may act as a mediator and Tagore may be the peace-maker between the two parties.

Sri Aurobindo: Subhas speaks of direct action after six months. But what sort of direct action? It seems, Gandhi will leave him to form his own working committee; it will be a great blunder if Gandhi did that. And with Gandhi left out, what direct action can take place? is it that subhas and his followers will take off their coats and fight? or reject seats in the Assembly? Salt Satyagraha is out of question. There remains breaking laws. But the Government will bring in the moderates and rule by them and even run the Federation so long as you don't send better men. No-tax campaign? But that is a tremendous affair. Gandhi himself says, the country is not ready for it. I don't think Subhas has so much influence or capacity to make it successful, or an all India movement. Neither does he himself believe in non-violence. His own followers don't seem to know their own mind.

Disciple: Tagore wants Subhas to compromise with Gandhi, for he knows that Gandhiji is an international figure.

Sri Aurobindo: Not only that, his word counts; he has not lost the force yet. I think, if he made a public statement that he wanted Pattabhi to be elected, he would have him elected. But there are still six months to inaugurate the Federation; what is Subhas going to do in the meantime? Gandhi knew that Subhas will take up this attitude and hence he did not want him. Now with his followers left out of the working committee, the leftists will probably pass laws, abolishing zamindars and capitalists and spoil the work done by the Ministers. They would try to

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introduce social legislation and that would make the Governors use their powers, or, if they keep out of the Assembly, it would be foolish to throw away the powers given. Before I left politics, I wrote: If you get real power, take it and fight for more like De Valera, who took what was given and grabbed at more. In the present international situation when the Government wants to come to a compromise with the Congress you should accept it, if what they give is acceptable and fight for more.

Disciple: That seems to be Subhas's idea, but he says: Now is the time to press for independence.

Sri Aurobindo: That would be all right if the country was prepared for revolution, so that even if Bose and a few others were hanged the movement could have gone on and ultimately the Government would have yielded as in Ireland. There, in Ireland, the lives of the people who went against the national movement were not safe. Otherwise, one has to proceed with subtler ways. But what Bose claims now is impossible to get. On the other hand, it will set the Government against you and they will try to crush the movement.

Disciple: But if they work this provincial programme and prepare the country at the same time, and press the States to give rights to the people then, we might get what we want without revolution.

Sri Aurobindo: Exactly. It is a clever drive to bring in the States and if they can carry it through, the Federation will have the Princes and the Congress on one side and only the minority of the Muslims will remain out. Subhas has not done a wise thing.

Disciple: People are severely criticizing Gandhiji's statement.

Sri Aurobindo: Only the leftists are doing that. No right

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wing man has said anything except S. C. Das (after a long pause of silence):

The British people have one weakness; they can't drive things to the extreme. They can't go on like the Germans and some other nations with methods of suppression for a long time. They have their prestige to keep before the world and they want people's support. They want to govern with a show of consent or law or constitution. So, they come in the end with a compromise. France comes to a compromise, but takes a much longer time. But Germany or Italy can't hesitate to go to the extreme limit. For instance, in Palestine, the British Government, have almost succeeded in crushing the terrorists. If they had persisted they could have easily put Nahashiby against the Mufti and rule the Arabs by the Arabs. But they could not go on and now they have called the Palestine Conference. If the Mufti is clever he will be able to get as much as possible, but not the whole of it.

Disciple: What about the Jews?

Sri Aurobindo: They can leave them to their fate, or they can be sacrificed for their self-interests or they may do something just to save their face. In Ireland, they came to a compromise, even the Conservatives turned round.

In Tunisia, the French have put the Dasturians into prison, but if they can keep us, France will give in.

Disciple: Roosevelt seems to have declared for democracy.

Disciple: Now Hitler will think twice before he tries to do anything.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if he is capable of thinking. His inner voice may ask him to push on. Mussolini may think twice unless he too is Hitlerised. In that case Hitler will

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say: I have given you a chance for Colonies. If you don't take it up I will go to Ukraine. Mussolini may not like that. During Czech-crisis, it was mere bluff that he succeeded. He knew from private sources that England and France won't fight.

Disciple: Roosevelt has promised France armaments and U. S. A is selling aeroplanes and other materials. He may come to their help if they are attacked.

Sri Aurobindo: But it is doubtful if he can carry the nation with him. The armaments are increased for the defense. But if they are exported people may think it will involve them in a war. At any rate, his speech has come as a great blow to both Italy and Germany. Chamberlain also may think of supporting France now. A remarkable man, this Roosevelt, he is bold and ready to experiment and take risks. It is the old Roosevelt blood, only the first Roosevelt was Fascists. This one is very refined.

Disciple: J says that there may not be any war after all.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if the British and the French people go in yielding to the demands of the dictators. The British may say to Germany: we will supply you raw materials, you can come and settle here.

Disciple: (to another disciple) You have seen Hidayatullah has become a Minister of Sindh?

Disciple: Has he? Allah Bux has won him over, it means. He earned a lot of money from the Sukkur Barrage Scheme during his ministry in Bombay, before the congress government.

Sri Aurobindo: How?

Disciple: He used to sell plots of land to customers through

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his agents and he kept some of the best lands for himself. There were similar charges against some ministers in the Central Provinces.

Disciple: Though people bitterly criticize the High Command, it has done a good job.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. It is the High Command and Gandhi's dictatorship that has kept the country together. That sort of weakness is very common in America and even in France. But you may not find such corruption in England. The public life there is honest and sincere. They may tell lies and may break their promises, but bribery or appropriation of money hardly exists in their public, or political administration. As they say, "they are not done." If a political leader does that sort of thing he is finished for life. Thomas is wiped out--nobody hears of him now. The judges make no distinction between rich criminal and a poor one--as they do in America and France and I suppose India is no better.

*

5th February 1939

Disciple: In the Life of Nivedita which Lizelle is writing, she has found many letters, in one of which she mentions that you gave her charge of editing, Vande Mataram, after you left Calcutta.

Sri Aurobindo: No. I was the Karma Yogin--not Vande Mataram, I saw her before I left Calcutta for Chandernagore. It was from her that I got the news of my contemplated arrest. Then I wrote an article "My Political Will"--that stopped the arrest.

Disciple: It seems, she traveled to India once under assumed name to evade arrest in 1910 or 1911.

Sri Aurobindo: She died at Darjeeling; she did not die under assumed name.

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(The topic turned to Jainism)

Sri Aurobindo: We were talking about the Tapasya yesterday. Is it not to transcend nature and conquer that they do those violent Tapasyas and not from an idea of illusion?

Disciple: Perhaps that was the idea.

Sri Aurobindo: Then their aim is the same as ours, only the method is different.

Disciple: That does not solve Lajput Rai's idea of illusion of all action.

Sri Aurobindo: No, the idea may have been in his blood or perhaps atmosphere of the Indian place. When I was reading Max Mullars' translation of the Vedanta in London I came upon the idea of 'Self' and I decided that Vedanta is something to be realized in life. Before that I was an atheist and agnostic. How do you explain that? You can't say that it was the atmosphere of the place. It was in the blood or perhaps carried from past life. Then there was the experience when I came to India: as soon as I set my foot on Apollo Bunder, I felt a vastness and a tremendous calm coming over me. I did not know, of course, that it was an experience. It was a sense of calm and vastness pervading everywhere and I had not got it in the steamer. That is the atmosphere of the place.

Another instance is the sense of the Infinite I had at the Shankeracharya Hill at Kashmir and at Parvati Hill near Poona, and the reality of the image in a temple at Karnali near Chandod.

Disciple: I asked X why the Jews are so much persecuted in Germany. He said that they were a rich minority and so they were made the scapegoat. He said, the same thing

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happened in France against the aristocracy during the revolution, and in Spain against the clergy.

Sri Aurobindo: Regarding France, the revolution was not particularly against the aristocracy; it was against all history of the past. And in Spain, it was against the past repression of the Church.

Disciple: I asked Mrs. X about conditions in Switzerland. She says, the country is passing through a critical time. She is afraid of a passage through her territory during war. During the last world war also they passed some anxious days. They were relieved when Belgium was made the route. The dictators may decide to take route through Switzerland. If they attack the Italian and German speaking Canton then the French speaking Cantons would be in difficulty.

Sri Aurobindo: It is said that Czechoslovakian frontier was so strongly fortified that Germany would have found it difficult to take it.

Disciple: It is a pity they gave in without fight. But now Hitler is asking equivalent colonies.

Sri Aurobindo: From whom? Where?

Disciple: From Belgium, Holland and Portugal.

Sri Aurobindo: Holland has no Colonies in Africa. Portuguese Colonies in Africa are small and Hitler would hardly be satisfied with them. Belgian Congo is big, but England would not dare to do anything with it, for that will make Belgium furious and she may side with Germany. England could not allow that, for if Germany takes possession of Antwerp, it will be a pistol at the heart of England.

(Turning to Disciple):

"Roosevelt seems to have backed out." Now he says:

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America has nothing to do with European problems.

Disciple: What do you think about Subhas's statement?

Sri Aurobindo: "The Hindu" has given a fitting reply; either he meant something or meant nothing by his declaration.

Disciple: The Socialists in a recent meeting at Bombay began to shout and continued shouting. Shouting is quite constitutional with them (laughter).

*

7th February 1939

Disciple: Bose has called his leftist Conference. I wonder what programme they are going to formulate.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what they are not going to say. The only thing they are to do is to give an ultimatum to the British Government. After that they will break some laws or ask the Ministers to resign on the States' issue, if they have not done so by that time.

Disciple: The States' question will be an all-absorbing matter and the split in the Congress may be avoided.

Sri Aurobindo: But it is not definite what the princes will do. They are under the thumb of the British Government. Only a man like Holkar and Nabha may side with the Congress and risk losing his Gadi--throne.

This year there is this threatened split in the Congress between Subhas and his Socialists and Gandhi's followers. Socialism in England is of a watery kind.

Disciple: In Russia some signs of freedom are noticeable.

Sri Aurobindo: That is because Stalin has killed all unpleasant

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to him. He can now wait till some other people come up in future whom he can kill.

Disciple: Spain is finished.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes.

Disciple: But Madrid remains and General Mioja is there.

Sri Aurobindo: When Barcelona has fallen Mioja cannot do anything. Besides, what can he do without arms and food.

Disciple: Mussolini does not intend to remove the troops from Spain.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what he said the other day.

Disciple: It was Gayda who said that.

Sri Aurobindo: Gayda is the mouth piece of Mussolini. When he does not want to say anything himself he speaks through Gayda. But Daladier could make a Spanish legion out of the Spanish refugees as a counter-blast to Mussolini's Italian legionary in Spain and use it in case the French troops are not allowed to come from Morocco. But it is too bold a policy for Daladier.

Sri Aurobindo: That, of course; when somebody comes to take hold of family possession, the family will unanimously refuse.

Disciple: The French Chamber voted unanimously against Italian demand of Colonies.

Disciple: But I wonder how Flandin supports the Fascists.

Sri Aurobindo: He will be lynched if he talks of parting with Tunis, Corsica etc. It is a question of parting with some

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deserts in Africa. French people may agree, as they wanted to, during the Abyssianian war, but Mussolini would say: 'I am not a Collector of deserts'

Disciple: But Italy is sure to push her claims again.

Disciple: Hitler has advised him to keep quiet now.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, till Franco's victory is complete.

Disciple: Bonnet wanted to come to a compromise.

Sri Aurobindo: Bonnet is not reliable. Daladier has, at least some force. On one occasion he refused to listen to Bonnet and said, he would not tolerate any interference of England in connection with the Italian question. The French people don't know that they have to stand up to the British and speak to them bluntly. During Czech-crisis when Chamberlain told them that he would help them diplomatically so far as possible, but they should not count on his military support, they should have replied that if England was attacked by the Germans they should not count on them as allies. Then Chamberlain would have come down.

*

9th February 1939

Dr. R. stayed up to 9-30 P. M. As soon as he left the topic of the local politics was brought in:

Disciple: The Governor has invited the three parties to see if a compromise can be arrived at. What he says is that they may have their own political views of whatever colour but they must not go on killing each other.

Sri Aurobindo: He will be one of the greatest diplomats in the world if he can reconcile their interests and have a common programme.

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(The topic changed to the Congress election)

Disciple: Subhas and his Conference do not seem to have settled on any programme. Today's paper says that Gandhiji has wired to Subhas not to stand for the presidentship. But he does not seem to have paid any heed to it. It may be that many delegates may vote against him.

Sri Aurobindo: The only thing he speaks of is challenging the British Government and attacking the States--rather a tall order.

Disciple: Yes, Gandhiji also challenged the Government. The result was the Round Table Conference. In the end, Willingdon arrested Gandhiji and refused even to see him.

Sri Aurobindo: Willingdon now will look with queer eyes at the Congress ministries and think that all he had done has been undone.

Disciple: The working Committee (of the Congress) has decided to give Subhas the Committee of his choice. But the people he has called at Calcutta for a conference don't seem to be promising.

(The names were read out to Sri Aurobindo)

Sri Aurobindo: Who are these people? They seem to be an army of no-bodies. Except Aiyangar, Aney and one or two others these people were never heard of before.

Disciple: The other States seem to be supporting Rajkot and asking him not to yield.

Disciple: If the states organize, backed by the Paramount Power--the British--and lend their support then Rajkot may stand through and the Satyagraha may not succeed. Look at Mysore and Travancore--Mysore has only appointed

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Committee which may go on for three years and so do nothing.

Moreover it is very difficult to keep the movement non-violent. If it is kept to the middle class it may be possible, but if the masses come in then violence is inevitable. You see the murder of the Bazulgate in Orissa and breaking out of violence in Travancore. Human nature is human--if the movement is confined to a small state like Rajkot it may succeed, but in the big states it is impossible to keep it non-violent.

Disciple: In Travancore it is Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyar who engineered the outbreak.

Sri Aurobindo: I don't believe it. In many cases I have seen that Congress people are not noted for their truthfulness. They say what suits them. But if they propose to come out of the Assembly because of failure in Rajkot or Jaipur, it is not at all good. These small states must be deprived of their power and be made like Jamindars. One never knew that there were so many states.

Disciple: Jaipur has again released Bajaj (hearty laugh).

Bajaj was a little hurt while being forcibly removed. Gandhiji called it 'organized goondaism.'

Sri Aurobindo: I do not understand why Gandhi calls it 'Goondaism'. If Bajaj resisted they will have to use force to remove him and injury is quite possible.

Disciple: Pratap Singh may be persuaded by Krishnamachari to part with some of his privileges.

Sri Aurobindo: I saw his photograph today. He has a weak face, nothing of the grand father in him. His father had more brilliance and dash. Pratap Singh has a soul--but not a strong one.

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Jaysingh Rao was dull. Shivaji Rao was intelligent. I taught him French; he was a good student. Dhairyashil showed signs of premature development of lust. All that was due to the servants of the palace.

Indira was more interesting and there was something sturdy in her. She had the most of her father--Sayaji Rao--in her.

Disciple: There is a criticism of Pujalal's poetry by a poet critic. He says, it is not "rooted in the soil", too Sanskritised and not written for the masses. English poetry, he says, is founded on the Anglo Saxon language.

Sri Aurobindo: Not at all. The great Shakespeare and poets from Milton to Shelley did not write, consciously in the Anglo Saxon language--except William Morris, who used Anglo Saxon words. They have followed Latin and Greek vocabulary. And the idea of writing for the mass is a stupid idea. Poetry was never written for the mass. It is only a minority that read and appreciated poetry. The definition of modern poetry is what the poet himself and a few of his admirers around him understand. Shakespeare and Milton are not mass poets.

Martin Tupper and Mrs. Hymans wrote for the mass--"He stood on the burning deck, when all but he had fled"--That sort of thing. Tupper sold more in his life than all the best poets put together. It is curious, many of the modern poets are communists, but they don't write for the mass.

*

18th February 1939

Disciple: The maxim "from each according to his capacity and to each according to his need" seem to be basis of Socialism.

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Sri Aurobindo: Who is to decide the need? In the actual working of Socialism there is a great divergence--some tackle only key industries like Electricity and nationalize them; while others go into the minutest detail.

Disciple: Even the Communists in Russia have introduced divergence in wages--to encourage workers to do more work.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, But that comes to the same thing--only instead of the Capitalist it is the State that pays the higher wages.

Communism one can understand; a group owning property in common and receiving its benefits according to need and satisfying the need of the group. That is as old as the world.

But State ownership is something that creates a class like the Capitalists. Besides, in countries like Germany Nazism makes the national consciousness so strong that they begin to consider the individuals like the cells of the body, bound to think and act alike. No freedom is allowed to them.

Or take the Balkans, for example. The racial and national ego in them is so rigid that they could not protect themselves by a federation against Germany.

*

21st February 1939

Disciple: In the political problem of India the States present a great obstacle--particularly to the political unity of the country.

Sri Aurobindo: It can be achieved as Germany did with her many States.

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Disciple: There is a great rush for public career now a days--in fact there is a competition for it. But there are the low tendencies also visible. How to combat this tendency?

Sri Aurobindo: By creating a tradition of respect for character, by throwing out dishonest men from public life. Politicians can lie but not be corrupt.

Parliamentary form of democracy is not necessarily suited to India. As it is, anybody stands as a candidate for election and either buys off votes or persuades them into giving it, or comes up by some trick. But he may not be the true representative. Besides, anybody who comes with majority should not be made a minister; only capable man should be given ministership--the policy may be reserved for the parliament.

Kingship like that of Aundh is best suited to India, where the king is religious minded person, a man of character and intelligence. He looks to the interest of all his subjects. But for that, the Kings must be taught and prepared with hard training. Now, they learn only how to play cricket and drink. But in ancient times, a King's training was very hard.

*

24th February 1939

Disciple: What is the part which mind plays in the cure of a disease?

Sri Aurobindo: The mental factor is much more effective than is generally known or admitted. There are cases where the surgeons have found that the mental factor has saved the patient by pulling him or her out from a critical condition. For example, mothers wanting to see their children are saved, being pulled out of critical conditions.

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Disciple: Which method of treatment is correct--the Chinese method of pricking or Homeopathy, Ayurvedic or allopathy etc.?

Sri Aurobindo: Nature allows you to follow along certain lines and along each she shows you what is possible. For example, they thought of electricity as wave motion and they found there was some thing that corresponded to that view. Now they think of it as made up of particles, you find that it responds to that also.

Disciple: That is the realm of matter, but in life--for example, in the curing of a disease.

Sri Aurobindo: Mental factors determine the physical conditions much more than doctors would be prepared to grant. Cone's method succeeds and it cannot be considered useless, though it uses no medicine.

Disciple: Some disciples here believe that there is a collective Karma for which either the group, the society or the nation has to bear the consequences like the individual.

Sri Aurobindo: The collective being is non-evolutionary. It is hard to believe in the reincarnation of races.

Disciple: Somebody seems to have said that the Romans are born as Americans.

Sri Aurobindo: Very queer Romans! You may say in some sense that the English are the ancient Carthaginians! Or one may even hazard that the French are the Greeks reborn. But it won't carry us very far.

You can't take for granted that one individual is always born in the same race or nation in which he is born now. So how can the nation soul or race soul reincarnate?

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Disciple: Have the nation a soul each?

Sri Aurobindo: You can speak of it as collective or nations being or entity. It is not in evolution. It is not subject to the law of Karma.

Disciple: Can it be said that law governing it is suprarational?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, each collective being is a projection of the Cosmic Spirit for a particular purpose. You can speak of it as a particular Shakti.

Disciple: How does the collective being or Shakti work?

Sri Aurobindo: It identifies itself with a particular form--here of a group of individual. There is a mutual action: it acts on the individual and the individual acts on it by manifesting it.

Disciple: Suppose the collective entity is dissolved from life?

Sri Aurobindo: When the physical form of the collectivity is dissolved here the collective being withdraws into the origin.

Disciple: Can a collective being, after such a dissolution take another form--a group--for manifesting itself?

Sri Aurobindo: We have as yet no proof of it.

*

25th February 1939

Disciple: There is a report about the student of the Annamalai University picketing and some of them are fasting.

Sri Aurobindo: Satyagraha is something to be applied in extreme case, but Gandhi has almost made a law of it and so there are so many wrong applications of it.

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Disciple: Here in this case the fundamental relations are contradicted e.g. the relation between teachers and students. It is not, for instance, the same as between workers and capitalists.

Sri Aurobindo: Even among workers, it makes a great difference if they are educated. For instance, in Europe, when they resort to stay in strike, the workers do not injure the machinery and they even work the important parts to keep it in order. While in India, where the labour is uneducated, you can't have it like that. They destroy the machinery and then are thrown out of employment. In the Savanne Mills they burnt the machinery and then were thrown out of employment. Similar was the case in Madras Match Factory.

If you do not have bill like the one Bombay Trade Disputes Bill, the industries will go to the pot.

*

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MARCH, 1939

12th March 1939.

Disciple: Did you notice Jawaharlal's article in the Hindu? He can't forget Subhas not acknowledging his report from Europe and also his international politics.

Sri Aurobindo: That again shows Nehru is an idealist. If he has the clarity of mind to see--as he has--that socialism can come in India only after independence, it should be equally clear to him that India can do something in international politics only after she is free.

Disciple: The Congress wants to do something in international field.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a hazy idea. All you have been able to do for China is to send an ambulance unit. It is not like England that can send money to stabilize the currency in China.

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Disciple: I believe, it is his visit to Europe in the League against Imperialism that gives him the impression that he would be able to do something in international politics.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a wrong impression. It was, for instance, wrongly supposed that the Governor of Pondicherry was recalled because Nehru represented the case to the Secretary of Colonies.

Disciple: Perhaps the Secretary might have said, he would move in the matter.

Sri Aurobindo: He might have been only polite; they are always polite. But that does not mean anything. He might say: "I will look into the matter" or "thank you for bringing the matter to my notice."

Disciple: Mahatmaji has secured some success.

Sri Aurobindo: Gandhi's is a big triumph; if some understanding is arrived at between the princes and the congress it would be very good.

Disciple: I don't know if Subhas will deliver his ultimatum.

Sri Aurobindo: If you have a revolutionary programme and a nation ready to kill or die, then you may indulge in ultimatums. India is not ready even as Ireland was. The people are prepared to get beaten, or to go to jail at the most. So you have to see what can be done.

When India is really free it will think many times before meddling into international problems before it is on its own feet.

Disciple: You saw M. N. Roy got only 38 votes!

Sri Aurobindo: He might say: Hitler began with even less! But

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it does not always happen so. Some people remain where they are: Ostwald Moseley, for instance, is where he was ten years back, and Brailsford writes every week what everybody should do and nobody seems to do what he says!

Subhas and his group are living even now in the mentality of 1906 and 1907; they don't know that conditions have changed.

Disciple: They want to put up a fight against the government.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not always by fighting that you get what you want. With all his idealism Gandhi knows how far the people can go and in spite of his inner voice, he knows how far to go (himself).

*

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MAY, 1939

6th May, 1939

Arjava died on the 5th May--at Bangalore. He was treated by Dr. Brunitzer. Post mortem examination revealed pericardiatis, six ounces of water from the right side of the heart.

Disciple: Our Dr. X sticks to his Rheumatism theory. The French doctor started with typhoid, but it was negatived by blood examination. Dr. Brunitzer, in the beginning said that it was Septisemia.

Disciple: So, even after the post mortem nobody was wiser. How is this possible that even after the post mortem, they don't accept the diagnosis?

Sri Aurobindo: You can see that Dr. X is not ready to admit anything other than what he believes. He takes into

15

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consideration only those facts that support his views, and puts all other facts away. So nothing else can come in.

Disciple: What is the way out?

Sri Aurobindo: Intuition is the only way. But even there mental intuition may be right but not always. Mind deals with the possibilities and some may come true. Again true intuition has to be distinguished from the mental imitation of the same, or from mere suggestion or a strong impression.

Disciple: How can one save himself from error?

Sri Aurobindo: There is outer rule; you have to get the psychic tact which throws out the error. For example, the Mother used to feel about the soundness of houses and our engineer used to find out afterwards that her feeling was true, though she does not know architecture or engineering. Another necessity is that one must be sincere about finding the truth by intuition. That is to say, one must not jump at the first idea and run away with it. The mind must be absolutely impartial and also one must be patient and one must wait. One must also test his intuitions.

*

16th May 1939

A letter from a disciple received on the 29th April written to co-disciple here spoke of his experience at Tiruannamalai.

He mentioned in his letter that the resistance in his physical being was broken by the spiritual experience he had there.

In the evening a disciple asked Sri Aurobindo: "What

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do you think of his saying that the resistance in the physical is gone?"

Sri Aurobindo: I have heard people saying that the body of Maharshi is shaking. How could have he done what he did not do, or did not care to do, for himself, for someone else?

Disciple: But he describes his experience in detail: for instance, the triangle and the Sun and the light pouring into him etc.

Sri Aurobindo: He had always the habit of making mental constructions and living in them. So, his valuation of experience is not right.

Disciple: Why does he commit mistake in the valuation of his experience?

Sri Aurobindo: He had a very powerful ego, which he never tried to get rid of when he was here. He always wanted to start an Ashram; whenever you have this kind of ego it always interferes with the understanding and does not allow correct valuation. At every experience he gets his ego swells up and uses the experience to strengthen itself.

Disciple: How to get rid of the ego?

Sri Aurobindo: He speaks of the peace he got.

Sri Aurobindo: Do you think he got it there for the first time? He got hundreds of experiences here.

*

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Between 20th and 27th May 1939

The subject was Trikal Drishti--knowledge of the Time or the True Time Vision. Why he did not know about the accident was also one of the questions.

Sri Aurobindo: I have not said that I am in full possession of the supramental. People have wrong ideas about these things.

Christ, in spite of his miracles, could not cure anyone in one district. He said: "I can't because they have no faith."

People forgot that there are conditions to be fulfilled. It is a question of the divine consciousness working in and through inferior principles, like mind and vital and body and there are conditions to be fulfilled for the working.

Disciple: They say that God being Omnipotence he should be able to do anything however impossible.

Sri Aurobindo: No. Omnipotent does not mean to make God act as our mind wants or expects. Omnipotence does not work in one way; it works in many ways.

*

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NOVEMBER, 1939

19th and 20th November 1939

Disciple: Is physical relations responsible for the vitiation of pure and idealistic love?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not only the physical but also the vital that is equally responsible. Desire, impulse of possession are more responsible for it than the physical relation.

Disciple: There are people who believe that the physical relation is an essential part of the highest relation of love.

Sri Aurobindo: Blake for instance, says that spiritual love should be sanctified by the physical act.

Disciple: Salincourt criticizes Blake.

Sri Aurobindo: Salincourt writing about Blake is like a sheep trying to understand a lion! Blake has got power, you

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can say ferocious power, madness and theories too coherent to be sane.

Disciple: Has the physical relation a place in love?

Sri Aurobindo: A time comes in the life of a woman when to surrender herself she feels it as fulfillment, even physically.

Disciple: Has such a physical relation a place in psychic love?

Sri Aurobindo: It depends. It can be the psychic love extended to the body. In the psychic relation physical relation is possible; when it takes place it is for procreation. It is a part of the attitude of a female to the male--the attitude of submission. Surrender is more psychic than that.

Disciple: In the physical relation is there no danger of the higher elements getting lost?

Sri Aurobindo: It depends on the strength of the psychic being. It may be overclouded by the vital and the physical element. Of course, when it is merely physical then there is no adoration and love in it. Psychic relation is not generally found.

Disciple: An individual who has not found his companion, and has hankering or need for one meets a woman whom he loves; now if he keeps his love free from physical and vital elements, i. e. keeps it pure and psychic--does it mean that such a relation is necessary for him--or that is his need?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it can't be said. It depends on the particular case to say whether it is necessary.

The Vaishnavas wanted to sublimate even the lower

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elements of love by bringing them to the Divine. But we know the result; most of them failed. Not that it cannot be done, it can--but it is not easy.

Disciple: You have written in the Synthesis (of Yoga) that ordinary human love can act as a preparation and may be a form of aspiration.

Sri Aurobindo: It was not written for Yogis. It acts like that in ordinary man, if there is a psychic element in it i. e. if it is true love and not vital desire or attachment or impulse for possession. Then it acts as an awakener and uplifter. Blake accepts the physical also as something Divine. The elements of love are: adoration and desire for the union.

Disciple: Is such a love an unconscious seeking for the Divine? It may not bring divine fulfillment but that of love itself.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is.

Disciple: Is it possible to evoke the Divine in oneself to love the other?

Sri Aurobindo: If one has found the Divine in oneself then he adores Him and surrenders oneself to him. Such a man can love others--but that is a part of action of universal love.

The spark in human love, even if it is degraded afterwards, tends to awaken the consciousness and evolve the being.

*

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21st November 1939

Disciple: If love is an unconscious seeking for the Divine, why some people, who have turned to the Divine will seek the human love, especially here?

Sri Aurobindo: Are they conscious of the Divine? If one is conscious of the Divine, one of the two things would happen: either one would turn exclusively to the Divine or being conscious of the Divine one may keep the human love as an appendage.

Disciple: Supposing a man is unconscious and seeks human love can it not be a seeking for Divine?

Sri Aurobindo: These things are hardly pure--they are always mixed up. It may be only a cover for something else. There are people who, as I said, when turn to the Divine turn away from everything else. But it depends.

For instance, when you turn to the Divine you do not give up your friendship for somebody. Only, if you turn to the Divine the friendship ceases in the old sense, but it taken up so that it does not become an obstacle to the progress of each other.

There may be even individual love apart from universal love which one gets when one is conscious of the Divine.

*

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DECEMBER, 1939

14th December 1939

Disciple: Did you meet Swami Dayanand of Bengal?

Sri Aurobindo: No. I met one of his disciples, a scientist, in the Calcutta National College. When I wrote--in those days--about the Avatar, he said the Avatar is already there. Afterwards he himself recanted his avatarhood when the shooting affair took place.

He has an idea of establishing world peace by bringing all nations together. He can say that he established the League of Nations and somebody else has disestablished it.

Disciple: He used to keep nothing for the morrow in his organization--he depended entirely on Divine Grace.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, and he also started, I believe, Sannyasi marriage--I can't say, if it was real marriage or spiritual. But he had something real in him.

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Disciple: Another Avatar is coming out from Poona. He is going to declare himself in 1941.

Sri Aurobindo: No objection. But there is great danger of imagination mixing up in such things.

Disciple: Can such people be suspects?

Sri Aurobindo: No, perhaps romantic. There can also be a mixture of mysticism combined with romance. When one deals with mysticism one has to be very careful, because there are many truths and also many imaginations.

Disciple: The Rosicrusians also believe in the reality of mystic experience of Christianity.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, X belonged to that group in England. But it created a lot of difficulty in his Sadhana because they posit two things in man, good and evil persons. The evil person has to rise up in order to be got rid of by the good. There are already sufficient evil things in the world without evoking the evil person. The Europeans have very imperfect understanding of these things. Even the Christian mystics have hardly any clear idea about them.

Disciple: That is so because, perhaps, they do not want to get rid of their individuality.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. They mix up the self and the ego even when they have identification with the Higher Consciousness; they think that it is the ego which has become that.

Even Blake who had some idea of identity confuses ego with self.

Disciple: A says, Gita's idea of freedom demands freedom from nature--Prakriti. Therefore, so long as man follows Buddhi he is not free.

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Sri Aurobindo: Does the Gita say that?

Disciple: In the verse where it is said Satwa binds by happiness and knowledge.

Sri Aurobindo: That is quite another thing. The question is whether Buddhi can help you to detach yourself or not and whether, it can lead you to the perception of something higher than itself.

Disciple: I think the text of the Gita will support that view.

Sri Aurobindo: I also think so. Otherwise what is the meaning of Gita laying so much stress on Buddhi? Buddhi helps you to detach yourself and prepares you for the higher perception of the Purusha. And even Shankar, I believe does not say that reason is quite useless. He also admits that reason prepares the human spirit for what is beyond. Even for going beyond Sattwa, it is a stepping stone.

Disciple: It means, Buddhi is an instrument of Nature.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is an instrument of Nature that helps you to rise to the higher Nature. Gita, as I said, maintains that Buddhi can perceive that which is beyond it.

Disciple: A does not want to admit O's contention that Kant's idea of following reasons and Gita's Buddhi yoga are the same.

Sri Aurobindo: Well, in a controversy one has to see the truth in the other man's point of view.

Disciple: A told me that Kant changed his mind later in life and admitted the necessity of faith with which he deals in his "Critique of practical reason."

Sri Aurobindo: I have not read European philosophy carefully.

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Disciple: Moreover, it does not interest us so much as there is no practical side to their philosophy.

Sri Aurobindo: That was X's great complaint that people here want always something practical from philosophy. They don't want to think for the sake of thinking.

Disciple: Kant seems to say that who follows his reason is free, who follows the senses is bound. This is, in part, an Indian idea.

Sri Aurobindo: They have no idea of freedom--mukti--in the Indian sense; their idea is to arrive at the Truth.

Disciple: Yes, also some idea of applying the truth to life.

Disciple: Yes, some sort of idealism. It is not spiritualism. In his "critique of practical reason", Kant maintains that "pure reason is an abstract faculty hardly to be found unmixed in man and so practical reason is necessary.

Sri Aurobindo: What is then the 'pure reason' for?

Disciple: It is only an unattainable ideal. A says that the contention of Kant's opponent is that every body follows reason. So, everybody should be considered free. Everyone justifies his action--even the thief supports his stealing by some reasoning.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is very practical reasoning (laughter).

Disciple: And he is free, because he acts freely.

Sri Aurobindo: How?

Disciple: Because he decides freely, to steal.

Sri Aurobindo: It is a reason that is bound. There is another reason which is detached, and, according to Gita, the

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man will not be free when he reasons about stealing but if he can steal with disinterestedness then he is free.

Disciple: To the western mind killing with detachment is difficult to grasp.

Sri Aurobindo: All these European philosophers after the Greeks admit that Reason is the faculty by which you arrive at the Truth. The question about the sense perceptions and their reliability is easily met. We perceive certain things by our senses and the sensations, for all men are the same because our senses have a common organizations. Even then different persons perceive the same thing differently.

If Reason could work in the abstract and be an ideal faculty it might arrive at the perception of Truth beyond itself. As it is, Reason practically deals with different ideas and there reason differs in different individuals.

What I say is that if reason was sufficient for arriving at the Truth then all reason would arrive at the same condition. And we find out that different persons using reason arrive at contrary conclusions even from the same premises.

Reason can perceive that there is something beyond itself that is the Truth. But it tries to assert the Truth--it perceives as the whole truth. But reason is not right when it says so. The Truth is infinite and has infinite sides. Each conclusion of reason has some truth in it and we have to find something that is fundamental behind the particular formulation of the reason, and that is a matter of experience. That which is behind is the Absolute and the Absolute cannot be known by reason.

What can be known by the mind is Sat, Chit, Ananda. In other words, when the Absolute presents itself to the mind it formulates itself as Sachchidananda.

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One can know the Absolute through the only.

Disciple: The Upanishads say that the expression of that is not possible.

Sri Aurobindo: All Vedanta asserts that mind and speech cannot express it, because as soon as you put it in mental terms you limit it. Up to the Overmind some how you can manage to express yourself but when come to Supermind it is impossible. And if you go still higher and approach the Absolute it is still more impossible.

Disciple: Is reason a personal faculty or impersonal?

Sri Aurobindo: If you go beyond you find wherever there is a personal, there is the impersonal and vice versa.

Disciple: How to find that kind of reconciliation?

Sri Aurobindo: Throw reason aside, then you find the reconciliation. You have to go on with experience till you find the reconciling experience in which all find their truth. Each is an approach to the Absolute. In a certain sense one could even say that reason would not be right if it did not differ. For instance, if the descriptions of all the countries were the same it would not perhaps do. And yet the earth is one and so is mankind and human nature. All is One.

Disciple: About the knowledge of identity, is the identity of Sushupti the same as knowledge by identity?

Sri Aurobindo: No, it is not the same as knowledge by identity. They all speak of knowledge of the self by identity. But there can be the knowledge of other thing also by identity.

Disciple: What is meant by "direct knowledge?"

Sri Aurobindo: Direct knowledge is the knowledge of the

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truth of things directly; it is not necessarily knowledge of the Self or Spirit.

Disciple: It seems, the ancient had it and it is said that Raja yogis get it by what they call Sanyama.

Sri Aurobindo: I suppose they meant by Sanyama putting the pressure of consciousness upon the thing to be known.

But if one has the true consciousness it does not require concentrating. One has only to put it.

*

15th December 1939

Disciple X was laughing and Y was present. Sri Aurobindo turned his head inquiringly as to mean: What is the cause of the laughter.

Disciple: My presence acts as a catalytic agent, so I myself do not know the cause nor what is the joke.

Sri Aurobindo: That is how the subliminal self acts, without your knowledge, while your surface consciousness is ignorant about it.

Disciple: But to return to N's question. If one takes the standpoint of reason and wants to decide about the validity of spiritual experience he will find the experiences also differ. So how can experience be a criterion.

Sri Aurobindo: Experience is not a criterion; it is a means of arriving at the Truth. Experience is one thing and the expression is another. You are again putting reason as a judge of experience which is about expression. When men differ in laying stress or in their mental preference for this or that side of the expression, it does not mean that the experience itself is not valid. It is only

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When you try to put it in mental language that the differences arise. That is why the Vedantis say that mind and speech can't express the Truth. As soon as you put it in mental terms you limit it. If you find that experiences differ, then you have to go on having experiences till you come to the reconciling experiences in which all find their place.

The Truth, as I said is infinite and there are infinite sides or points of view of it and each conclusion of reason expresses something of that infinite. All of them express some particular view, but they are all wrong when they say that their view is the whole and the entire Truth.

When you want to describe a spiritual experience you are obliged to use mental terms and you can somehow manage it, so long as you deal with levels up to the Overmind. But when you enter the Supermind then it is impossible. And if you proceed still higher towards the Absolute, well, it is still more impossible.

Disciple: It is so perhaps because reason is obliged to consider the infinite.

Sri Aurobindo: It takes up one standpoint and says the others are wrong. If it takes up the Impersonal, it says the personal cannot be true and vice versa. Reason would not be right if it did not differ. It would be as if the descriptions of all the countries were the same--then they won't be true.

Disciple: How?

Sri Aurobindo: If you describe Switzerland and U. S. A. in the same way, how can it be true? (after sometime) And yet the earth is One and mankind is One.

There is the Personal and also the Impersonal. When

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you transcend both of you arrive at the Absolute.

Disciple: So they are aspects of the Absolute.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but it does not mean that they are less true or that Absolute excludes them. These preferences are mental. It is when you throw aside reason that you arrive at the Absolute.

Disciple: There is a verse in the Upanishad for knowledge by identity--leaving aside the mind. "One must become one with that like an arrow piercing the mark."

Sri Aurobindo: That won't fit exactly, because knowledge by identity is much more than that. Generally they mean by "knowledge by identity" the knowledge of self; while that is one part of the knowledge by identity.

Disciple: In Raja yoga, they speak of direct knowledge by Sanyama. I do not know if they mean by Sanyama concentration of consciousness on the object. That is by putting the pressure of consciousness on the thing to be known. It need not necessarily require concentrating on it when the true consciousness is there and it comes in contact with the object; it knows it directly.

Disciple: Raja Yoga speaks of Siddhis also e. g. control over matter or knowledge of Suryaloka and Chandraloka, conquest of death etc.

Sri Aurobindo: Knowledge of Suryaloka and Chandraloka one may have, but conquest of death is another matter. The Raja Yoga does not acquire Siddhis by wanting them; they speak of Siddhis coming to them. And it is true for those who enter a certain state of consciousness.

16

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Disciple: The Upanishad speaks of the Yogi's conquering diseases and death.

*

30th December 1939

Disciple: The Hindu Mahasabha this year has got a large number of delegates from the two provinces with Muslim majority.

Sri Aurobindo: The two provinces with a Muslim majority?

Disciple: Do you think that the Hindu Mahasabha if it is organized would weaken the Congress?

Sri Aurobindo: The Congress may allow the Mahasabha to settle the question with the Muslims by organizing the Hindus instead of nationalist Hindus quarreling among themselves. If the Congress can do something effective then it would be all right.

Disciple: There are some people who object to "Vande Mataram" as a national song. And some Congress men support the removal of some parts of the song.

Sri Aurobindo: In that case the Hindus should give up their culture.

Disciple: The argument is that the song speaks of Hindu gods, like Durga and that is offensive to the Muslims.

Sri Aurobindo: But it is not a religious song. It is a national song and the Durga spoken of is India as the Mother. Why should not the Muslims accept it? It is an image used in poetry. In the Indian conception of nationality the Hindu view would naturally be there. If it cannot find a place there the Hindus may as well be asked to give up their culture. The Hindus don't object to "Allah-ho-Akbar".

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Disciple: If they call India "Allah-ho-Akbar" then Hindus would not object to it.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not in the Hindu nature to object to such things. Why should not the Hindu worship his God? Otherwise, the Hindu must either accept Mohammedanism or the European culture or become atheists.

Disciple: And why should not the Muslims accept some Hindu idea, if for nothing else then for coming to a settlement?

Disciple: The Congress says the question cannot be solved as long as the third party is there.

Sri Aurobindo: I told C. R. Das (in 1923) that this Hindu-Muslim question must be solved before the Britishers go, otherwise there was a danger of civil war. He also agreed and wanted to solve it.

Disciple: The Congress thinks if the Britishers go, the Muslims may be forced to come to a settlement.

Sri Aurobindo: The Congress says: whatever agreements we come to must be accepted by the Britishers.

Disciple: If the parties come together the Viceroy cannot oppose it.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course not. He would say: come to a settlement and we will accept it. It is only two ways of looking at the same things. But it is better to have a settlement before, because otherwise any third party might take advantage and come in. It is no use having again somebody else to dominate India.

Disciple: Any neighboring countries can come and even distant countries like Japan cannot be ruled out; even Russia. But how is this problem to be solved?

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Sri Aurobindo: The best solution would be if Congress got the majority of the nationalist Muslims on their side, and then take the Sindh Premier who wants to be with them. Thus they can retain Sindh for the Congress--and then in the Punjab they could come to some understanding with Sikandar Hayat Khan. If they had not driven out Khalikuzaman in U. P. there would have been no Muslim League in the U. P. If the Congress had joined with the Krishak Party in Bengal then the Congress would not be so badly off.

Instead of doing what was necessary the Congress is trying to flirt with Jinnah and Jinnah simply thinks that he has to obstinately stick to his terms to get them. The more they try the more Jinnah becomes intransigent.

Disciple: There was an idea that the Congress should have mass contact with the Muslims and it is unfortunate that the Congress did not take it up.

Jinnah is appealing to the Hindu Minorities to join him. So why should not the Congress ask Muslims to be with it? If the Congress does not do anything then I think the Hindu Mahasabha will do some good after all. Don't you think so?

Sri Aurobindo: That is not the best thing. But if the Hindus organized themselves then it would make some rational Muslims think again and it would give men like Sir Akbar, who want to come to a compromise, a chance to intervene.

Disciple: The Khilafat agitation was a great mistake; it only added to the fanaticism of the Muslims without giving them patriotism or nationalism.

*

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JANUARY, 1940

4th January 1940

Disciple: I had a talk with G about Rigveda and on the Aryan-Dravidian question. He gave me one or two arguments to support his contention. According to him the fact of different children in the same family having different colours is a positive argument that race of the parents is a mixed one. Secondly, in the Rigveda itself there is mention of dark-skinned people and "Anasa."

I said "Anasa" figures only in one Rik out of more than ten thousand Riks and it may not mean "nose-less" or "flat-nosed."

Sri Aurobindo: "Anasa" is not flat-nosed, it means nose-less.

Disciple: I consulted the Rigveda and found that it refers only to the Dasyus and not to non-Aryans.

Sri Aurobindo: The Orientalists also wanted to prove the

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existence of Linga worship in the Rigveda by citing a Rik in which the word "Shishnadevah" occurs.

Disciple: K. M. Munshi in tracing the origin of Bhakti long ago wrote that devotion is nothing else but sublimation of the sex-impulse, and he tried to trace the origin in the Rigveda. I contradicted his view even then and showed that "Shishna-deva" only means sensualists.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. And what have they to say about the Dravidian tribe in Baluchistan? Is it black and flat-nosed? How on earth do they find out these things from the Rigveda--nomadic existence, gambling, and crossings of the rivers, which to me is mystical. I also find that the fight between Tristsu and Sudansah in the eighth Mandala is not merely a battle, it is something symbolic.

Disciple: That is one of their strongest points in the Indologist armoury. If one can get the clue to the symbol of the ten Kings that would be the end of their theory.

Disciple: Did you hear J's interpretation of your poem Trance? He says that the "star" in the poem stands for the individual, and the "moon" in the poem is the Universal.

Sri Aurobindo: If it is there I am not aware of it. His interpretation is not very much unlike that of a Western scholar; he seems to read his own mind into the text but that is not poetry--it is metaphysics. I have explained the terms myself: "star" is the star of creation, and "moon" is the sudden upheaval of the inner life, and "ocean-self" is true-being. There is no philosophy in it.

*

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5th January 1940

Disciple: I am trying to get intuition but I fail.

Sri Aurobindo: Perhaps you were disappointed with Brinjal so it is not coming.

Disciple: But N. began to have guidance as soon as he started his Yoga. He has a mind which seems to be opened to the intuitive faculty.

Disciple: Guidance in what way?

Disciple: Guidance when ever he is in difficulty.

Sri Aurobindo: A man of successful action gets a sort of insight which is half - intuition; while a man of intellect is generally handicapped and thinks of various possibilities saying: this will happen, that will happen.

Disciple: Has a man of successful action no intellect?

Sri Aurobindo: He has but for action he feels what will happen and seizes upon it. He acts upon the suggestion and in most cases it turns out to be right. Not that he does not go wrong at all. The nature of his mind is such that he is open to this intuitive faculty of action. The English people are so successful because they have a knack of getting vital intuition which leads to success. Even if they commit mistakes and jumble things together, in the end their intuition comes to their help and pulls them out of the difficulty. The French on the other hand are more logical. They think and reason.

Disciple: The English are thinking of Finland more actively because they are afraid of German-Russian naval combination in the Baltic.

Sri Aurobindo: But how are they going to help? They

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require ammunition and military equipment for themselves. I don't know how they have enough to spare. Referring to N.

Are you trying to get intuition in the medical faculty? Instead of limiting to one special field of activity why not try in a general way?

Disciple: In what way?

Sri Aurobindo: For everything. For example, what X. is going to do next or if you are a reader of novel you try to get what will follow. Of course, it is for an expert novel reader to say that. After all, many people get intuition without knowing it.

*

8th January 1940

Disciple: Have you read C. V. Raman's address at the Science Congress?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I have.

Disciple: It seems they have discovered two new elements.

Sri Aurobindo: Not discovered, but created by changing the position of the particles in the atom. What are they going to do with them?

Disciple: The cost of producing them will be prohibitive. Though the method of breaking up by Cyclotron is cheap. Raman has supported Einstein's theory about unity of matter and energy.

Sri Aurobindo: Has anybody doubted it?

Disciple: No.

Sri Aurobindo: But what is energy?

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Disciple: Modern scientists have stopped asking that question. They only concern themselves with the 'how' and not the 'why' or the 'what'. But their own discoveries will make the question more pointed.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so. Because the question is why a different combination of atomic particles should make a different element.

Disciple: Once energy was said to be tubes of force and there was theory of vortices in vogue.

Sri Aurobindo: That means force in movement. You know energy when it is in activity and then the question arises what is force?

Disciple: They don't answer this question.

Sri Aurobindo: Unless you accept a Being behind who applies the force and also becomes matter there is not other explanation. When they are given this reply they say it is all nonsense. They explain it by saying it is nature. They don't know what is nature. It is merely giving a name. Nature stands for a magic formula, a Maya and they explain everything by that formula.

Disciple: The scientists swore by the rigorous law of causation but now they find it difficult to apply it in their investigations.

Sri Aurobindo: What is causation? It only means that certain conditions follow certain other conditions.

Disciple: How can the presence of somebody behind force be proved?

Sri Aurobindo: There is no other explanation. I have said that in the Life Divine.

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Disciple: He didn't say about somebody but a Being.

Sri Aurobindo: I have said in the Life Divine that you can not explain the appearance of consciousness out of Matter unless you accept a Being behind. The Being may be either Unmanifest and involved in Matter or it may be Manifest.

Disciple: It is the Brahman playing on Brahman or with it.

Sri Aurobindo: They will accept the Brahman playing within the Brahman.

Disciple: They want to catch Brahman with their scientific instruments.

Another Disciple: They have despaired of even that! They have come to the materialistic conception of the Universe. They speak of tensorial law.

*

10th January 1940

Disciple: In a publication of the Gita Press the writer is trying to prove the efficacy of repeating Divine name and of the Kirtan. He cites Tulsidas in support of his contention.

Sri Aurobindo: If it was so easy it would have been delightful.

Disciple: There is a story of Ajamil in the Puranas to support the efficacy of repeating the Name.

Sri Aurobindo: The value of Name and Kirtan depends upon awakening of the Psychic Being and its influence over other parts of nature.

Disciple: Has mechanical repetition no effect?

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Sri Aurobindo: If it touches the psychic being it has.

Disciple: In the Kirtan people easily go into ecstatic state or Bhavasamathi.

Sri Aurobindo: Very often it ends in awakening the vital instead of the psychic being.

Disciple: 'X' is now retired. Do you think now he is doing your Yoga?

Sri Aurobindo: He has his own way of doing the yoga and the seclusion, I believe, is temporary.

Disciple: They cite your own example in favour of retirement.

Sri Aurobindo: It is wrong to say that I do not accept life because I do not actively participate in it. It is true I am not for acceptance of life as it is. I accept life, i. e. nature, for transformation.

Disciple: Some of our disciples are not taking part in ordinary life but can we say that they are retired? Or can we say that they are not doing your yoga?

Disciple: X. here likes ordering people about, he seems full of anger, egoism, etc.

Sri Aurobindo: That changes last because the outer being is the last to change; it does not mean that there has been no progress within.

Disciple: In Raman Maharshi's Ashram one feels at once the peace.

Sri Aurobindo: Is there nobody in the Ashram here who feels quiet and peaceful?

Disciple: In the world also you find people who are not

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jealous and are peaceful. The difficulty is how to find them without attaining inner perfection oneself.

Sri Aurobindo: X felt peace and immediately went in for the yoga. It is nothing compared to what is yet to be done. In many people I see the light which I don't see in worldly people.

"New Statesman" condemns Huxley's book 'After many summer' as a witty parody thrown into philosophy.

Sri Aurobindo: Then it is no worse than Anthony West. He does not seem to admit wit even. They say Forster is also philosophical.

Disciple: They do not seem to like intellectual novels like those of Tagore.

Sri Aurobindo: If not intellectual, will they write stupid novels?

Disciple Tagore in his novels analyses various psychological movements which common people can't understand. Sharatchandra can be said to be a non-intellectual writer.

Disciple: Yes, except in his 'Shesher Prashna'.

Disciple: So far as I have read he does not seem to be very intellectual.

Sri Aurobindo: He is not much of a thinker.

Disciple: He has in some of his writings pleaded the cause of Western civilization or culture by taking the opposite line of arguments, but to me they have seemed always to be weak. For example, his heroine does not find anything grand in the conception behind the Taj Mahal.

Sri Aurobindo: What is there European about it? The one thing they like is the Taj.

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Disciple: I don't mean the architectural beauty, but he ridicules the ideal of immortal love.

Sri Aurobindo: From that point of view Europeans like the idea of immortal love. In fact love has a great place in their life.

Disciple: Love in the sense of emotion directed to one person alone and continuing even if the person is dead. Sharat's heroines cannot bear this. He seems to advocate re-marriage or no marriage as far as I understand.

Sri Aurobindo: Why is it European? In Europe no one advocates such an idea except a few intellectuals. If you want to abolish the institution of marriage they will raise a hue and cry.

*

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FEBRUARY 1940

23 February 1940

Disciple: The world is Swayambhu--self-existent--according to Jainism. God can't have created world because he lacks motive.

Sri Aurobindo: Do you create because you are unhappy? Nirod writes poetry because he is miserable?

Disciple: No, to get more joy.

Sri Aurobindo: He is then full of joy and wants more.

Disciple: If God has not created the world, you can't get his help in liberation.

Disciple: In Jainism each one gets liberation by his own effort. Even Tirthankars don't help.

Sri Aurobindo: Of what use are they?

Disciple: He is like an example. It is Shasan Devatas who are worshippers of Tirthankars that help.

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Sri Aurobindo: Then you can worship the Devas. If Devas worship Tirthankars they should not help either because their ideal is the attainment of Tirthankars. Why should they help? It is also contradiction of the law of Karma. If Karma brings its own reward inevitably then help of God is unnecessary. If God helps and intervenes effectively and changes the result of action, then the law of Karma is not true.

Disciple: Jainism believes in Purushartha.

Sri Aurobindo: If you believe in Purushartha you can't expect Grace of God. How can you pray to help you?

Disciple: I believe in Grace but in Jainism they don't.

Disciple: Then why do you do this?

Disciple For myself I believe. They believe each one is alone and they say: "I have come alone and will go alone." This feeling will give Vairagya.

Sri Aurobindo: If he is alone, how does the Tirthankars and Acharyas, so many, infinite number of, Siddhas crowded in Siddhasila come in? Like all religions it is fantastically illogical. Buddha also said the same thing, but the religion says: "Buddham Saranam Gachchhami." So also in Jainism.

Disciple: In Jainism self-mortification persists. In Buddhism there is not. Buddha gave it up after a trial. Buddha and Mahavir were contemporaries but they don't seems to have met. Mahavir was born in Vaisali.

Sri Aurobindo: Who? M? (laughter).

Disciple: In Jainism each soul is bound by ignorance and there are three ties of that ignorance and three ways of liberation. This has been symbolized in the Swastika.

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Sri Aurobindo: That is why Hitler took Swastika from there. (laughter)

Disciple: Because he wants to dominate over all the world.

Disciple: Jainism believes in multiplicity of Purushas and in one Prakriti.

Disciple: It is like the Sankhya system.

Sri Aurobindo: They took it from Sankhya. Their whole stand is on the Sankhya. (Disciple M.) was repeating Navakar like Gayatri.

Disciple: It sounds like Pali.

Disciple: Yes; it is written in Magadhi. It is in the Prakrit language.

Sri Aurobindo: What kind of Prakrit? There are many Prakrits.

Disciple: The language that was current in Behar.

Disciple: Mahavir was a Behari.

Date not available but sometime February.

Disciple: Bijoy Goswami passed the last years of his life in Puri and he came to the conclusion that so long as poverty was there in India spiritual and religious teaching had no chance. One of his disciples writes in the last issue of the 'Kalyan' that in his last years he believed in Dana Yagna--charity. So much so that he ran into big debts and when his health was failing the disciple had to arrange for the money to pay up the loan, because Bejoy Goswami said that he could not leave Puri before paying the debt and he asked his disciples not to be calculating and practical but do the work, as a Divine work, without thinking of to-morrow.

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Sri Aurobindo: It is one thing to think of tomorrow and quite another to try to remove poverty by feeding the poor. People don't understand that philanthropy cannot remove poverty, it can at the most relieve it. If you want to remedy poverty you must find the causes of poverty and remove them. And it is not a correct idea that when people have plenty they will think of God, since the greater number of spiritual people have been those who have renounced everything and lived on very little. As soon as people have money they forget those who have no money.

Disciple: His idea was that people cannot believe that God is all-merciful, kind and loving, unless at least their physical needs are satisfied.

Sri Aurobindo: If the idea is that God is all compassionate and must look after everybody's food and cloth then of course his principle would be true.

Disciple: At last all his disciples had to collect large sums far away in Bengal and send him the money to pay the debts, but he never reached Calcutta. I believe he died in Puri.

Disciple: But I heard that he was poisoned by some jealous Sadhus; he made Sthambhan--control--on poison for some time, but ultimately he could not prevail.

*

258

MARCH, 1940

Disciple: Does this article show any change in Barin's attitude?

Sri Aurobindo: It depends. He says what is uppermost in his mind, and what suits him at the moment, according to his moods. But it may be a change in his attitude, but difficult to say if there is any progress. The change may be due to his having failed in every thing after going from here and the Ashram growing out since. That may have impressed him. It may be due to mental causes also.

Disciple: He admits that he had fallen from the path and his attitude towards Mother.

Disciple: Somebody said that he used to speak highly of the Mother.

Disciple: No, he was critical.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. He says things according to his own mood and what suits him. He wrote one book on Mother and

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asked Andrews for introduction. Andrews refused saying: "I know the Mother". About the Ashram Moore also refused to believe his criticisms.

Disciple: Mother says this is "a year of silence and expectation." For this what is to be done?

Sri Aurobindo: Year of silence means "observe silence and be expectant."

Disciple: He wants to know whether the literary work he is doing by the approval of the Mother is not going to interrupt the silence especially if he goes for controversy.

Sri Aurobindo: I suppose one can do the work in silence. But he should not engage in controversy. He has too combative a mind. If he goes in for controversy naturally silence will be interrupted.

Disciple If he does this sort of work and somebody contradicts, naturally he will have to re-contradict.

Sri Aurobindo: Why? Many people criticize me. I don't answer. It is not necessary that he should answer.

Disciple: N and I decided not to convert any other people about Vedic interpretations but to go on repeating over and over again our own point.

Sri Aurobindo: That is Hitler's method.

Disciple: That is why nobody contradicts N.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes. When people find that the opponent does not answer they lose all interest.

Disciple: He says it is true he has lost touch with the reality of the external world. Now if he reads Manchester Guardian and New Stateman will it disturb his silence?

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Sri Aurobindo: It depends on his mind. If he can read all these things in order to know what is going on, it is alright, but he should not run away with any idea or programme. He was asked not to read papers because his mind was slave to politics and attracted by the ideas. The fundamental peace and silence is all right, but he should bring the attitude of the Purusha in his reading also.

Disciple: I did not know at all that he has also such difficulties!

Sri Aurobindo: You thought he has reached Supreme Siddhi!

Disciple: Not so much, but a Cosmic Consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo: All-India consciousness. You can tell him that he must not attack or contradict people. When he reads anything he must not allow his mind to run away with any ideas, but take up the attitude of the witness and see from where these things come. And if he does not allow the mind to identify with any of them he will know the right source of action and knowledge. You were talking of Cosmic Consciousness. All these ideas are there in the general Prana and have equal validity from the point of Cosmic Consciousness. They may be as much true as his own i.e. when Basanta Chatterji contradicts him there is some truth in what he says. He has to see what distortion the mind has brought in democracy-personal ambitions-boycott-S-he has lost his head-like Europe-part of universal movement.

Disciple: D also used to have many brilliant ideas e. g. common kitchen, cleaning, Baroda city.

Sri Aurobindo: Ideas are always brilliant. Co-operation is always possible, because each finds his self-interest in the interest of others.

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Disciple: A--what he a political leader?

Sri Aurobindo: He was just beginning his career. That sort of leadership is nothing. If you have the gift of the gab and power of ideas and putting form into them, you can always succeed. All politics is a show. In British Parliament it is the Civil service who are behind, and whose names are never known, that really do the work. The Ministers are only their mouthpieces except a man like Churchill and Hore-Belisha who can do something.

Mother's brother, for instance, he organized the Congo land in Africa, but the Minister got all the credit for it. He was one of the great colonial administrators and even when he was officer in Equatorial Africa, sometimes Governor or Governor General, the whole job was done by him. He hardly had a bed and used to lie in easy chair. Now he is nearly seventy but, as soon as the war was declared he went to the Office and asked for his work and now he is working eighteen hours a day.

A is living in his mind. No "isms" or mental programme will do, if you want to base things on the Spirit. They are all out of count. It is the repetition of the old mental way. Are the villagers going to understand my philosophy? If he goes to work, he will find himself out of touch with realities and will have the same fall as B. B went out to revolutionize the world.

Disciple: And he ended by revolutionizing himself.

Disciple: These things can be only done by Government. It is better to get the Government.

Disciple: Yes, but both constructive work and this kind of political work can go together as Gandhi is doing.

Sri Aurobindo: With very little success.

A is talking of common kitchen! Why not have every thing common?

*

262

APRIL 1940

25th April 1940

R was talking to C in the train that his difficulty was about accepting Mother, because he said they used to meditate together and therefore he found it difficult to accept her.

Disciple: Nobody ever meditated with the Mother before the Ashram came into existence in 1926.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, even then in the beginning there were very few people.

Disciple: Mother used to meditate with Sri Aurobindo only.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that was individual. She was coming to me and her position was special even from the very beginning. There was no comparison between others and Mother. There were people in the Ashram who thought that Mother had done no Sadhana before she came to India.

*

263

MAY, 1940

20th May 1940

Disciple: Why Hitler says that he wants to finish this campaign before August 15*?

Sri Aurobindo: That's a clear indication, if an indication was necessary, that he is the enemy of our work.

Disciple: Is it that he fears that descent might take place on August 15th which might make his work more difficult?

Sri Aurobindo: This force does not believe in Divine descent, but it is a sort of challenge that, "I will finish my first decisive victory before August 15th". That shows the nature of the conflict.

Disciple: It does not seem to be only one being. It seems to be a camp.

Sri Aurobindo: yes. But this is the leading (spirit). That

______________

* August 15th happens to be the birthday of Sri Aurobindo.

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being has often come here to see what was being done. Did you read Richard's book "The Lord of the Nations"?

Disciple: No. I read only "To the nation".

Sri Aurobindo: The book was never published, but he wrote it at a time when he was in communication with that being.

Disciple: Most of these people do not believe in any religion. They want to give up and suppress Christianity.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what I meant when I said these people have guarded the Barbarian in them. What they have got is scientific knowledge, mechanical skill, but other cultural activities that used to be there, are all suppressed, and Hitler suppresses them where ever he goes. He has suppressed them in Poland, in Czechoslovakia.

Disciple: Man is only used by these people as a part of machinery and organization.

Sri Aurobindo: Exactly so.

Disciple: And he is talking of reviving worship of the old Norse Gods.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are crude conceptions of the primitive instinct of mankind. Even though Odin is considered a God of knowledge it is more or less primary instincts that are symbolized.

Disciple: Do these beings know the existence of the Divine and deny it? or are they ignorant about it?

Sri Aurobindo: It depends on the nature of the being. They know the existence of Gods for instance, but they do not consider them higher than themselves.

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Disciple: Yes, and they do not merely ignore the Gods but claim to evolve world-order of their own.

Sri Aurobindo: When these beings act by themselves no human power can stand against them. It is alright so long as there is a question of influencing men, that is to say the Divine influence as well as Asuric working. But when it is a question of incarnation, as in the case of Hitler, then it is the different matter.

Disciple: That makes the conflict between the Gods and the Asuras represented in the Puranas very realistic even for our times. Because generally the Gods used to get beaten by Asuras and run for protection either to Mahakali or to Rudra or to Vishnu.

Sri Aurobindo: It is the intervention of the Divine that can become effective, and in this German and Stalin affair it is the question of the descent of the whole vital world on this earth. That is what has puzzled most people, specially those intellectual people who were thinking in terms of idealism. They never expected such thing and now when it has come they don't understand how it has come and what is to be done; they are all puzzled.

*

22nd May 1940

Disciple: If the Asuric forces incarnated in Hitler and others in Germany, is there no one on this side of allies who incarnate Divine force?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Unfortunately there is none. They are all ordinary man; there is no one who can receive the Force. Perhaps Marshal Petain may be able to receive but he is too old I think.

Disciple: Can Wegan receive?

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Sri Aurobindo: I don't know him; in such times if you have men who do not conform to the science or the rules it is an advantage. We require men with ideas and daring. Hore Belisha would have been a very good choice on English side. If they had put Lord Halifax for India it would have been easy to arrive at an understanding with the Congress. Mother also does not find anybody who can receive.

Disciple: Jean Herbert when he was here was very hopeful that there will be no war. The queer thing was that he believed that the dictators will get whatever they ask for, only if they ask strongly enough.

Sri Aurobindo: They could get France also if they ask strongly? Nivedita a French lady, was telling this time, those French people who have gone to the war are those who have no enthusiasm for idealism. They all seem to have gone to fight with defeatist mentality. That way it is difficult to succeed against Germany.

Disciple: Referred to Sir Arthur Henderson's book "Failure of my Mission in Germany"?

Sri Aurobindo: I have seen a review of it in the New Stateman.

Disciple: Jwalanti was telling that in that book Sir Arthur Henderson speaks of Hitler as a man who works under possession.

Sri Aurobindo: Does he say that?

Disciple: He also described the condition of a young man who is her friend's son and who is in diplomatic service when he returned from Berlin. She said that his people could not recognize him when he came. He said that while in Germany he felt as if he was put inside a metallic bomb and every minute somebody was pumping more air into it so that he could not breathe properly.

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Sri Aurobindo: The whole general atmosphere in Germany seems to be dominated by these forces. Young men actually taught to become devils. In Poland when the Poles complained to German General about cruelty by the soldiers the General said: Don't complain. This is nothing. Wait, let the Nazis come and you will know what cruelty is.

*

23rd May 1940

National Socialism was introduced today in England.

Sri Aurobindo: It was great revolutionary step, but for the war it could never have passed. Because all along the English history has been the struggle for individual liberty. And this is a negation of all that. I believe, it must be due to the pressure of the labour members.

Disciple: It must be also to prevent war profiteering.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I think so.

The question of taking Narwic arose and it was reported that it took up position without loss of a single soldier.

Sri Aurobindo: It must be very Ahimsak fight where both sides take up position without shedding drop of blood.

There was an explanation about Gandhi's Ahimsa.

Disciple: Gandhi's idea of Ahimsa is that he should get killed.

Disciple: Yes, he has an almost passion for being killed.

*

268

JUNE, 1940

15 June 1940.

In one sense one can say, history it repeating itself because Greco-Roman culture was destroyed by German Nordic hordes and to-day it is again the Germans who are trying to destroy the centre of European culture. The Asura working behind Hitler has been giving him very correct and remarkably accurate guidance. He knows what is possible. That is why Hitler has never been listening to reason. He only waits for the voice. Till now it has guided him correctly. One mistake, it seems, it has made it to think that when he attacked Poland he thought that England will not go to war. Otherwise he has direct guidance which Napoleon did not get.

The question was put to Sri Aurobindo whether the Asuras can have the power of vision.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they have. Vision is not only on the spiritual level. It can be on the vital and on the subtle physical level, and can be very accurate.

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The question was whether the Asura can see his own end.

Sri Aurobindo: No.

Disciple: It is like the astrologers who can't predict their own end.

Sri Aurobindo: No, they can predict accurately. There are instances in which exact hour and minute has been predicted. Instance on the point is of the Charles of Burgendy who was taken prisoner by Louis XI. He had made arrangements with his guards that if he said "be in peace or pass in peace" then he should not be killed but if he did not give nay such sign the astrologer who visited the jail where Charles was prisoner should be killed. Then, he asked the astrologer the time of his death. He said he could not give the exact date but it was 24 hours before the death of Louis XI. Louis took great care to see that he was saved, and years afterwards it came out that actually Louis died 24 hours after his death. This happening Scott has described in his novel.

Disciple: Hardhan says that the French will ultimately triumph.

Sri Aurobindo: It is not unlikely.

About the surrender of Paris, Sri Aurobindo said: How can they allow Germans to enter Paris without fighting? If the old civilization is to be destroyed, it is better that it is destroyed heroically.

...........

Disciple: Advaitanand met some sadhak at Tiruvenamallai who was arguing with him that knowledge need not be accompanied by power.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is true. It depends on whether you lean on the side of witness Purusha or power or both. If

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a man realizes the Sad aspect, the Pure Being, he may have no power. Because Pure Being does not act. On the contrary, there may be those who may know many things but have no power to act. Generally even in the mind you see that a man may have much knowledge but he may be very weak. Even in the case of those who realize the power aspect the power may not be always used.

*

17th and 18th June 1940.

It was asked if Sri Aurobindo knows all the possibilities connected with the war.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, they are known as possibilities. We do not accept anything as absolutely certain.

On the 17th (curiously enough Richard Paul's birth day) Petain proposed an armistice and all thought that France was lost.

Sri Aurobindo: All these heroes of the last war--how could they propose a truce? How can they expect anything honourable from Hitler? It would be an end of France. They have become decadent.

Disciple gave the instance of the Munich crisis.

Sri Aurobindo: France was condemned then, when she did not stand by her treaty.

Disciple gave the instance of French coins and Mother said: what coins are these? They are the coins of a ruined country.

Disciple: I quite understand how it must be impossible for France to continue the war. They began without enthusiasm for the war, but even afterwards Government servants

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are seen actually wishing for such a peace! There is a soldier in the hospital who even says "what is the use of fighting? for whom?

Sri Aurobindo: That is the decadent mind, when men think more of their safety and comfortable living and want to live in peace at any price.

Disciple: Is it not the action of the law of Karma that is upon these nations?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, it is their Karma. But if they can go through the suffering and pay the price they can wipe off their Karma.

(Sri Aurobindo was even for the defense of Paris. He did not like that it should have been undefended. When a culture is going down, let it go down a little heroically.)

But if they give up the struggle it means they are gone.

Disciple: Will the English continue after the French have given up?

Sri Aurobindo: I think they will. At least they are not known to give up so easily in the past, unless they have changed considerably (as the French).

In the light of this, one admires the resistance of Poland and Finland. In spite of very bad leadership and ill-equipment they fought bravely to the end and did not ask for terms.

I don't think that they are lost. On the 18th morning Churchill's proposal was out for an "Anglo-French Union."

There was panic last evening--Everybody thought France had given up. In fact due to variety of causes the

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French soldiers are not fighting. They think in terms of communism and capitalism etc.

Sri Aurobindo: They will have chance for nothing under Hitler.

There are only two chances: either if Hitler dies soon, then the work may be undone or if the people last out.

Sri Aurobindo liked Churchill's proposal and said: English people do not like an idea for the sake of the idea. But they have a feeling for what is possible, what is necessary. They have a great flexibility in politics and they have shown it by declaring in England State-socialism (He said, in between, once that the British Labour Party had secured rights for the workers, but has not been strong in pressing the claim of India upon the present cabinet) and this Anglo-French Union is another move.

Disciple: The prospect of a joint English and French Parliament is very humourous.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, the French members will be fighting among themselves and the English will be shaking their heads and saying "most unparliamentary".

Disciple: Can the French yet resist? And if the French give up can the English resist?

Sri Aurobindo: Why not? That is why we Indians cannot win. Once we are defeated, we always think that if you are defeated you have to give up. It is not like that. The greatness lies in not giving up the struggle and refusing to accept the defeat as final. You can defeat me any number of times but I am not going to give up. The British have stood out alone against victorious powers in the past.

If the French decided to resist, they have the Navy

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and Air-force intact and their colonial army and colonies. From there they can resist till they win.

The Belgian and Holland Governments have not given up, why should the French? And even if the Anglo-French Union does not become permanent they can have a very powerful federation with Holland, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia and they can request India to join it voluntarily as an equal partner. That would obviate the conservative fear about making a sweeping change in India. They have always a fear that it is against tradition, too much out of her way.

No nation can be great on the principle of maintaining their existence, unless it stands for some great cause or idealism or something great. (In this case, it is the imponderable that is more important than the ponderable).

16th June 1940

When P referred to Churchill's speech yesterday explaining that the French really lost the battle in Flanders, where they lost 25 divisions and said that it comes to about at the most 3 lakhs, Sri Aurobindo said that French divisions are smaller of about 15 or 18 thousands each. So P wondered what happened to other 17 lakhs.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what I don't understand how they complain of want of men. Chamberlain and Daladiar both seem to be the same. I do not know whether it is stupidity or treachery.

Somebody raised a question of complaint that British were not sending sufficient men.

Sri Aurobindo: You must remember that Britain is not a country with conscription. They have not got a big

18

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standing army. It takes time to prepare and equip men, and yet they sent 4 lakhs with the best equipment they could have which was not small force for England, and they were obliged to retreat and take back 3 1/2 lakhs.

Disciple: It seemed that after the fall of Paris Britishers have sent 4 lakhs of men.

Sri Aurobindo: No, there seems to be some confusion. They could not have sent so many because before the Renau cabinet resigned Churchill said that he had sent 3 divisions already and would be sending in all one lakh by the end of June. But as usual these over sensitive French military men in their over-suspiciousness did not believe in Churchill's words.

P referred to composition of the new cabinet as out and out rightists cabinet.

Sri Aurobindo: It does not even represent the whole of France.

Disciple: The retreat has become a rout.

Sri Aurobindo: Because the army has no organization left and because the morale was broken first by the fall of Paris and secondly by the peace talks. Everybody thinks, "What is the use of dying to-day if to-morrow they are going to conclude peace." There is no heart in the fighting.

Disciple: At that rate they will find after some time, they can't oppose Hitler.

Sri Aurobindo: It is as Mother says that Hitler does not want to give his terms before he destroys the French army. It seems the same condition that was in time of Napoleon III when France lost the war. It is due to party quarrels and jealousies. Politicians trying to meddle in the

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government instead of doing their own work. Their dissatisfaction with England is quite meaningless because Churchill clearly said that it would take some months to make the loss of materials in the Flanders. It is no use putting an ill-equipped army against Germans.

Gamalin was a fraud and Weigand has not proved exceptional. If some military genius had arisen he could have saved the situation. It seems that Hitler is going to ask for those colonies from France that are near British possession. In that case he may ask for Pondicherry.

Disciple: Does he know anything about Pondicherry?

Sri Aurobindo: O yes, they know everything. Children are taught most wonderful details about the cities and even villages in England and France. They have got a school where they train future Governors of England. So far as organization is concerned there are only two people who cannot be surpassed: The Germans and the Japanese. In the last war they found maps in Germany of English villages in which the position of trees and houses were also indicated.

...........

There was a reference to Hiranya-garbha which I took to him. He had explained two days back that "Hiranya-garbha has nothing to do with Supermind", besides "Hiranya-garbha is a being while Supermind is not a being."

Disciple: It is a plane of being or a plane of consciousness. A world of its own.

Sri Aurobindo: Exactly so. Hiranya-garbha refers to the universal subjective, while the "Virat" is universal objective. In the Rigveda there is only one reference to "Hiranya-garbha" (10 Mandal 121 when I read the hymn to him.)

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Sri Aurobindo: Here Hiranya-garbha is a God. It is as the creator.

I said there is a Hymn in R. V. II. 12 which is also familiar in wording and conception but which refers to Indra.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, there are several hymns in which the various Gods like Agni, Indra, etc. are spoken of as creators. But it is not the same thing as what I call the "Supermind as a creator". The word in the old philosophy which can convey the idea of the Supermind as a creator is "Pragna"--the Knower. He creates for himself, but Pragna is spoken of as superconscient because it is above the ordinary mental consciousness and ordinarily one enters it in Samadhi, unless one does like us to bring it down into the ordinary consciousness. Supermind also is superconscient but that is because it has not yet been attained. I remember in jail, Hiranya-garbha being equivalent to Taijas, while Pragna is prior to that; we used to call one fellow who had a strong imagination, "Hiranya-garbha," that is to say, the man of strong dream.

Then I showed him the two references S. V. III. 2 in which Hiranya-garbha is derived from Rudra and S. V. II. 4 in which "Kopila" is said to be Hiranya-garbha--both of these Sri Aurobindo said were not clear in their meaning of Hiranya-garbha and they were quite different in their sense from Rigveda.

*

22nd June. 1940.

About the report of military correspondent that the French thought in terms of French fortress and positional war. They did not believe the importance of tanks and aeroplanes even though they knew that the tanks decided their victory last time.

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Sri Aurobindo: And Gamlin had to go because he was so much accustomed to the idea of fortress that he did not know what to do when the Germans came in through Flanders. Gamlin and Daladier both are so evidently weak that one is surprised how they were regarded as strong men. Government after Government in France was appointing Daladier as Foreign Minister, while he did nothing in fact for preparing for war and so also Chamberlain. You have only to look at their photographs at Munich conference where you can see fierce cunning and crafty Hitler while Daladier appears like one who can be broken in no time, while Chamberlain looks like a cunning fool who thinks he was getting his point, while really he was not.

There was a Nazi incident in Uruguay.

Disciple: Will that be an excuse for American to join the war?

Sri Aurobindo: If it is true that Germans have given a threat and if Uruguay Government shoots some of the Nazis and Germans declare war on Uruguay then Monroe Doctrine will come in full force. But I don't suppose it will go to that extent.

About armistice discussion between French and Germany Sri Aurobindo said if they ask for capitulation of navy and air force then it will be very hard for England. The English have their air-force but do they have sufficient tanks? A big invasion of England seems unlikely and if the English can last till the end of the year then Germany may be defeated.

Russia is very foolish in putting its pressure on Turkey to keep out of war. There is bound to be a clash between Russia and Germany about the Balkans and at that time if the English are defeated there will be no chance of blockade.

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23rd June. 1940

On hearing about the terms of French armistice which included putting all the French resources at the disposal of Hitler Sri Aurobindo said, it is an "act of basest treachery". When he heard about the Rumanian Government becoming Nazi he said "the whole world seems to have been taken by a wave of selfishness, cowardice and treachery."

*

25th June 1940

Disciple: We say everything happens, happens according to the Divine Will i. e. nothing happens without it. So the defeat of France happened according to the Divine Will i. e. according to Sri Aurobindo's will!

Sri Aurobindo: "Everything" does not mean every individual act or event. You can say Sri Aurobindo's will on another level of consciousness willed it. For instance, you can't say that I willed to break my leg!!

People think of God as a kind of super-dictator. The Divine Will lays down general lines--but in actual play (Lila) it consents to limitations that are self-imposed. It has also to pay the price in the play of forces. Otherwise you can argue that Rama willed that Sita may be taken away by Ravana! Christ knew that he had to be crucified for the work and yet something in him wished it may be otherwise.

So, it is not all my "will"; it is the Karma of France and England also that is working.

I am almost getting sympathy and admiration for the British which I never had before. They are standing up alone against Hitler's power without allies--just as they did in Napoleon's time.

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Disciple: You wrote in a letter to Dilip that your will never fails.

Sri Aurobindo: No, I did not say that. What I said what the I have not seen my will fail (so far as the major events of world were concerned) in major events until now.

Disciple: What events?

Sri Aurobindo: For instance, Ireland's freedom. I wanted Alsace Lorraine to go to France. They were not fulfilled at the time when I willed--many have been fulfilled when I no longer wanted them. For instance, I wanted to break the British Empire. Now Hitler wants to do it. But I don't want it, as it would mean the triumph of Hitler. Wherever he has gone, he has destroyed the higher values of life.

If I want that British must not be destroyed it is not because I like the British Empire, but I see that it would push back the work tremendously. It is not mental utility but there are other utilities also.

Disciple: Does not the Divine Will foresee?

Sri Aurobindo: The Divine Will foresees everything, lays down lines of development and allows the play of forces to work out and in that play of forces it consents to certain things. It does not will for each individual fact.

It may include also running away like Krishna who fled from Kala Yavana.

Disciple: Is the Divine limited?

Sri Aurobindo: Every one who descends for a spiritual purpose, will have to be limited: of course, such a limitation will be self-imposed. That is to say, he will consent to the rules of the play of forces.

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Disciple: Now Hitler is giving bread to German workers.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, he says the German workers are without food and he is going to feed them. It is the Asura spreading his influence like that. He promises that he will bring peace and world-order etc.

The new order would be that the British should declare dominion status and pass some parts to Germany.

*

When Sri Aurobindo was told about the efficiency of air-raid shelter supplied by Anderson in England and after knowing how it worked Sri Aurobindo said, now the greater preoccupation of human mind seems to be to find out means of destroying each other and of escaping destruction. Man is said to be a rational animal but there is very little reason in these activities. It is of same kind as ingenuity of the animal. What man is doing now is only extension of animal ingenuity. Formerly he used to destroy with swords and spears and other instruments.

Disciple: They could not do it so well as now, and you can imagine they are spending lakhs of rupees for one machine or one bomb.

Disciple referred to R. Gregg's article in the 'Harijan' in which he strongly advocates the adoption of khadi in Wardha scheme by European nations.

Sri Aurobindo: But they were destroying each other when they were using Charakha in the past?

Disciple: Perhaps not on such a large scale.

Sri Aurobindo: There are cases of the whole population of the city killed by their primitive method.

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Disciple: Instance of Baghdad where Ghangiskhan put up a tower made of one lakh of human skulls.

*

27th June, 1940.

27th Chapter of "Life Divine". The publishers in consultation with the professor of English changed "founded in" into "founded on". Sri Aurobindo said when I told him about the change, "I have already used that in the previous paragraph and they have suggested "on" and I have not accepted the suggestion. I have used there "in" purposely. These people think that they know English better than I do. They are habituated to use current phrases and words in their usual sense but they do not know that a good writer does not always use current phrases and words in their usual meaning.

Disciple: But they do it after consulting a Professor.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but the Professor is an Indian. He is not an Englishman. It is these people who have learnt the language that want to use current phrases. As Richard Stephenson said, "English language is like a woman who loves you for taking liberty with her." Once Sir D.-V. sent me one of his books and on every page I found 40 such worn out expressions, what they call cliche and all the Indians are praising the English. Perhaps an Englishman would have said, "What a horrible style!"

*

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JULY, 1940

21st July 1940

There was a reference to C. R's article about the necessity of force for maintaining a state.

Disciple: Blunchli in his book called "The State" puts it down as a fundamental principle. Every state is founded on force and President Wilson in his book also maintains, a little apologetically, that all human states are founded on force.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course, so long as man is not too much cowed down or has not evolved beyond his present condition and is too high to use force, force will be indispensable.

Disciple: In the Supramental creation will there be any force?

Sri Aurobindo: No. Because there you are supposed to go beyond the human conditions. But for ordinary human

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purpose the state is bound to employ force. Only there are two types of institutions, one which employs force pure and simple and another which is based on agreement and force is employed to maintain the agreement. That is the difference between democracy and dictatorship. The weakness of the democracy is that its rule is based on majority and so there will always be a minority that is not satisfied with the conditional things. And if the minority loves the hope of becoming majority it might resort to force.

*

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AUGUST 1940

3rd August 1940

There was a letter from K. P. to Dilip in which he expressed his opinions and ideas about the present war, His points were:--

1. The war is already fought and decided on the inner planes.

2. Mankind is responsible for rise of the Asuric forces.

3. Each much fight the lower forces and side with the Divine in himself. After reading the letter Sri Aurobindo said: It is quite alright that the struggle between the forces is worked out on other planes before it is projected here.

Disciple: He means like the Gita where Sri Krishna says that Kauravas were already killed.

Disciple: So the result is already decided.

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Sri Aurobindo: I would not admit as he seems to admit that everything was fixed. Of course, the issue has been decided by the Divine vision and there can be no change in that. But nobody knows that decision of the Divine. And when there is a struggle between the forces it is always possible to change the balance of forces. True, things are decided above and happen in the physical afterwards, but not exactly in the same way. There can be a variation. Of course, there can be no variation in what is decided by the Supreme Vision.

In a way, it is quite true that we mankind have made the world what it is.

Disciple: K. P. seems to say that Hitler is a result of tendencies which men have been harbouring in themselves. He forgets that the being behind him may also be responsible for spreading the influence.

Disciple: K. P. feels that England will not be defeated in this war because he says they have some purpose to fulfill in the world. So long as they do that they will not be defeated.

Sri Aurobindo: That is true, though certain forces have been working for the destruction of the British Empire. I myself once worked for it but it is quite possible to change the action because if the same result can be achieved in a different manner then the destruction of the British Empire is not necessary. I myself would not have minded any result to the British Empire, if its destruction did not mean victory for Hitler. But that changes the whole aspect.

Disciple: Is this not all due to the necessity of a new world order?

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, evidently. Question is what is going to be the world-order and how is it to be brought about?

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Sri Aurobindo then spoke of the psychic attitude to be adopted by every one. That is useful for attaining much higher spiritual result. There have always been a small number of people who have embodied that change. But I do not know how that can change the whole world conditions. Or perhaps by psychic he means mental and vital changes. Even that I don't know how they can come about if Hitler wins. For the present, everybody seems to be taking refuge in cowardice and trying to save his own skin and if the change desired is to come after Hitler wins then perhaps it would be after great suffering and through reactions on the part of men to that oppression, or even it may not come at all, or come after the Pralaya, whereas by changing the balance of forces the British Empire can be saved, and if it can win then the new order might take place more quietly and also the mental and vital changes necessary will take place without much disturbance and so much destruction.

Disciple: Do you mean that the Supreme Vision's decision can be different from the decision of the subtle worlds?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily, but between the vision of the Supreme and its realization here, there are many possible variations. In fact, if you speak of "destiny" then you must know that there are different layers of destiny. There is, for instance what the astrologers call the destiny in the physical. There can also be destiny in the vital. By bringing vital force into play the destiny in the physical can be changed. So also by bringing mental forces into play--though it is more difficult--what seems to be the vital destiny can be changed. That is why astrologers hardly prove themselves right because they look at the physical whereas there can be a variation in the play of forces of the mental, vital and physical planes. On these a certain play of forces may show as if the destiny was in favour of one or the other group of forces. And this balance can be changed.

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Disciple: But if the Supreme vision is there then the new order is bound to come. Is it not?

Disciple: But at present before the Supreme has a chance there are many others who are ready with their own ideas of the new order.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, everybody seems to be busy with his own world-order and nobody knows about the decision of the Supreme.

Disciple: But how can you say nobody knows? You said that Supramental descent is bound to come.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but we have not yet become Supramental. I know it will come, but I have not fixed the date for it. It may be to-morrow. I don't know!

Disciple: It seems that Mother said to some one that the Light will descend when there will be all darkness around and no possibility in sight for man.

Sri Aurobindo: That was not her own words. She was only repeating an ancient prophesy.

Disciple: I suppose world is sufficiently dark even now, for it is only England that is standing in the way of Hitler's triumph.

Sri Aurobindo: Did you not see the Mother's prayer for this year? It is quite clear; at any rate, those who received it in France perhaps know now what it meant.

*

18th August 1940

There was a talk about the music of Bhismadeva. N started the topic by stating that Tagore long ago started a campaign against classical music saying that it was

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dead. The reason he gave was that classical music was only a performance of mere technic and cleverness; there was no soul in it. Tagore therefore started emphasizing the importance of words and their meaning in music. He almost said that words were preferable to notes. Even Dilip strongly supported this argument of Tagore in his articles.

Sri Aurobindo: If it was only the exercise and exhibition of technique and mere skill on the part of the classical musician, then there was no real music in it.

Disciple: For musical appreciation the sound value, the rhythm, harmony etc. are quite enough. There is no need of words or meaning for the appreciation of music.

Sri Aurobindo: Like all other arts the music has its own medium--it is sound--it stands by itself. If it depended on words or on poetry then it would be poetical music but not pure music.

Disciple: The classical musicians were only performing the gymnastics of sound and Tagore said that there was need of fine and beautiful words for music.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but if it is gymnastics of sound it is not music. Music then would be only a commentary on words!

Disciple: They say that the remedy for reviving music is to give value to word and meaning.

Sri Aurobindo: The conditions are such because classical music has degenerated but it does not mean that it should not be revived; and the remedy is not to give value to words or poetry, but to restore the soul of music. If words are indispensable to the appreciation of music then how can an Englishman hear Italian music and appreciate it?--because he does not understand a word of music.

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Disciple: Tagore is very particular about the tune of his own songs and nobody is allowed to make any change in the notation of his song. That is why Dilip does not sing his song.

Sri Aurobindo: I believe Tagore is not much of a musician, is he?

Disciple: By no means, because he happens to be great man in other things and has a big name therefore nobody opposes his claims in fields where he does not know anything.

Sri Aurobindo: It is more or less like his paintings.

Disciple: Not so bad nor so extravagant perhaps.

Disciple: Dilip also thinks that beautiful words are necessary for music.

Sri Aurobindo: That is because he is more of a singer than a musician. Singing is an art by itself.

Disciple: Appreciation of pure music requires also training.

Disciple: Everybody cannot appreciate or form a critical judgement about music. There has to be training and also aesthetic faculty. One can see in Bhishmadave and Biren that they have not merely technical perfection and rhythm but also they enter into the spirit of music. And there one can see that it is the notes,--the musical value of notes--that create the atmosphere specially in the case of Biren who merely by playing on string instrument succeeds in creating a fine atmosphere.

Sri Aurobindo: If words were indispensable to music then most of the European and the best of it which is without words would not be called music at all. In pure music words are absolutely not necessary. If you can't have

19

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pure music without word then one can also say that one cannot paint a subject which is not literary.

Disciple: Beethoven's symphonies are only musical notations and played with the violin and piano. One of the reasons why North Indians fail, or find it difficult, to appreciate South Indian Music is because they are prevented by words; also perhaps because South Indian Music is more intellectual. When you hear B's singing you see that he is conscious of the notes only, and the musical value of them--he is not conscious of the words and their meaning. And whatever he wants to express in his music either an emotion or a state of consciousness he does it through notes and not through words. His very gestures show that he is working with notes.

Sri Aurobindo: It is fortunate that modern European music has not suffered the same fate as modernist painting and poetry; the moderns have not bee able to spoil the European music. It is difficult to have cubism in music.

Disciple: It is difficult to throw about cubes of sound because they are sure to hurt the ear.

Disciple: Some people say that Dilip's music is more spiritual while that of BH and other musicians is not spiritual.

Disciple: That is because Dilip is singing religious songs and Bhajans.

Disciple: Can pure music be spiritual?

Sri Aurobindo: Of course.

Disciple: What I have found in Dilip's music is that the atmosphere he creates is not due to his music but to something else,--perhaps to his personality or the being that is in him. I have also seen that if one goes to his music

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with the idea of expecting sound values and rhythms he is likely to be disappointed.

Disciple: So far as the spiritual atmosphere is concerned he does not require a great musician to produce it. A spiritual person singing a very ordinary song can create a spiritual atmosphere.

Sri Aurobindo: That is true. Similar is the case with a poem which may be common-place but a clever elocutionist can make much out of it.

That is why I do not grant the contention of the modernist poet who says that in order to appreciate his rhythm you must hear the poem recited by him. A clever elocutionist can produce a rhythm where there is none in the original.

Disciple: Some people say that they like Dilip's poetry when he recites it but they cannot appreciate it when they read it themselves. It is also difficult to appreciate his poetry unless one known the rhythms and new turns which he has introduced, because his rhythms are quite different from those of Tagore.

Sri Aurobindo: What I have found in Dilip's poetry is that it is mental poetry connected with Bengali poetry of pre-Tagorian era. Perhaps it is due to his father's influence which was also intellectual. What I mean to say is that Tagore introduced a new element of feeling and imagination in Bengali poetry; as he is a genius his poetry is beautiful but much of what is written under Tagore's influence is wishy-washy stuff, that is to say, it is poetry without any backbone. There is no sound experience behind it. Even in Tagore you find that his idea is diffused into seventy or eighty lines yet it does not come out clearly, though the idea is there. In pre-Tagorian poetry they had clear intellectual ideas to express and they expressed them poetically. Dilip's poetry has two things: the subject and

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the treatment. Generally the subject is an idea which he develops, an intellectual thing which he expresses in poetic form; and his technique is a departure both from Tagore and the old tradition.

Disciple: In his novel-writing also it is found that Shorot Chatterji was far superior to Tagore as a story writer.

Disciple: But he criticized Dilip's story on the ground that there was very little action in his story. In fact he said that story much have a story, not mere discussions. But in Tagore's own story there is very little action. They are also what are called the intellectual novels.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I found in Dilip's story, when I turned over the pages, that somebody or other was talking on every page.

Disciple: Or sometimes there are long letters in the novel and interminable replies.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, all sort of things that are not native to the purpose of the novel are being put into it by the moderns. So, instead of writing a pamphlet they write a novel, instead of delivering a sermon they write a story, even they write a story for journalistic purpose. It is like Bernard Shaw writing his dramas. All his characters are meant only to represent different sides of questions which he takes up in his drama.

*

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SEPTEMBER, 1940

15th September 1940

Disciple: Has the individual no reality except as a puppet?

Sri Aurobindo: That is Shanker's stand.

Disciple: Another question is "If the Divine is already there and does everything then why yoga?" Because Sri Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita that you have only to become Nimitta--instrument. So the Christian's criticism is that the Individual is meaningless--without any justification or fulfillment. Gita is preaching pure mechanism or unconsciousness.

Sri Aurobindo: But Gita does not say that you are "compelled" to become the Nimitta. It says "Bhava"--"become!" but it does not say that you have no existence except as Nimitta.

Even if Arjuna does not become the Nimitta Sri Krishna says that he will do it in his own way.

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Even when you find that the Divine has decreed the result, it is the result that is decreed but not the Nimitta, that is, anything else could have been the Nimitta.

The Individual - Universal, the Transcendental are the One in different positions. "I am the Lord in each" says the Gita.

Disciple: If Divine does everything then we have to conclude that ignorance is unreal.

Sri Aurobindo: Ignorance is not unreal; it is real, that is to say, there is a Truth that corresponds to it.

...........

Disciple: The aim of spiritual Sadhana is freedom from ego, from bondage of ego. What is to be done after that?

Sri Aurobindo: It is the first indispensable step. But there are many possibilities after that freedom. For example:--

1. He may remain confined to his own nature or to the apparent ego in nature--though free.

2. or, he may open equally to Cosmic forces and acts as Bala, Jada, Pishacha or Unmatta.*

3. or, he may be one with the Divine and act and would be free not to act. In case he acts, he is the individual centre of the Cosmic for Divine action. He is one with the Divine yet remains a different self--yet free. Cosmic forces would be available to him for Divine action.

_______

______________

* Infant-like, inert-like, devil-like, or eccentric-like.

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NOVEMBER, 1940

28th November 1940

Letters from Kabul and from Ella Maillard; change in attitude to Gabriel; effective representation of Ella.

Gandhi's will - or political will was read (brought by Abhaya Deva) distributed to Gandhi Seva Sangh - spoken orally and taken down; after hearing the whole letter Sri Aurobindo said:

Something in him takes delight in suffering for its own sake. Even the prospect of suffering seems to please him though he puts in a lot of ethics with his justification, the fact is that something in him enjoys suffering.

2. Secondly, if he knows that to the British Government 50 Gandhis would not matter--what does he propose then to achieve politically by his fast? He even knows that the British people are not even going to consider the possibility of Ahimsa!

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It is Christian idea that has taken hold of him. Besides he seems to think that after him his theory and creed of non-violence would continue. I don't think so. A few people would be there but anything like a wide scale influence like that of his personality does not seem possible.

...........

I don't object to the world-order but I object to Hitler's world order. "Psychology" would remain unpublished so long as the war lasts because I must known whether Hitler goes up or goes down.

All European publications have been stopped on account of the war.

My contribution to the war fund was not my taking part in politics. It was in view of much wider issues which I have spoken of in my letter,--the issues of human culture and individual and national liberty; and as the English are the only race that stand up for it, I support them.

"Justice"--Englishmen won't be acting according to justice, why should they? Which nation acts on the principles of justice? Why should we expect them to fulfill a standard which we ourselves can't satisfy.

Indian problem has been very badly bungled by Jinna, and Congress and Mahasabha. They have not been able to play their cards well. That is why they are losing the game.

What is justice after all? To the Socialist denial of all property, liquidation of capitalism is justice. To the capitalist something else is justice.

Congress is asking for freedom of expression but it does not give its own members freedom to express their ideas, if they are against their official policy.

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Two ways of securing freedoms by force, by revolution--that cannot succeed so long as we have Jinnahs etc. The only other course is compromise. There you have to give and take,--know your opponent. Generally, the English do not want to go to the extreme or to be continuously repressing. After a time they like to come to a compromise. Generally they arrange the bargain in such a way that they gain in the compromise. They want to be respected. They don't like to be called bad.

Fast and Satyagraha changing the heart of the opponent is absurd. What it can do is to exert pressure and secure some concession.

But it can't succeed if it challenges the very existence of the other force. For instance, Gandhi succeeded in settling the labour question because the capitalists did not want to earn public obloquy. So they gave concession to his demands. But suppose instead of some demands of amelioration he had asked them to hand over the mills to the workers then he would not have succeeded.

All the talk of change of heart is absurd. If it changes anything, it may change only the mind--not the heart. The man may not like to face the consequences and so would give in without changing the heart.

The English have also some constitutional mind. So once they give, they don't go back upon their word. They don't want anyone else to walk into India when they walk out of it. They are afraid of that happening if they leave India now. It would certainly mean civil war and any other power can walk into India. They have proclaimed that they would grant Dominion Status which amounts to Independence except one or two matters like defense and foreign affairs.

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They don't care for world opinion or India because the opinion they consider important is American opinion. But as all are afraid of Hitler they won't at present speak against England for her Indian Policy. And also they are not quite wrong when they say that the Indians must settle their own differences. The Lucknow pact has become a great political blunder. The Mahommedans,--they want to rule India.

If Gandhi undertakes his fast for self purification or for spiritual end it is something, but how can he gain political power by that?

It is British Government that gives way to such pressure. Against Germany, Japan, Russia or even France that has no chance.

Virawala a match for Gandhi. Vallabhbhai's life attempted after Amreli and Rajkot.

Jail going is useful because it can help a nation in solidifying itself and in organizing itself. But if the programme is carried out ultimately, the ruling power, if it is oppressive, can be thrown out by the organization etc.

*

29th November 1940

Kasturbhai's Arvind Mills of Ahmedabad was using Sri Aurobindo's picture on their products, without any permission and without paying any consideration. One of the picture was shown to Sri Aurobindo and it was represented to him that legal action could be taken against the Mills. On seeing the picture Sri Aurobindo said:

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"The other one made me look like a criminal. This one makes me look like an imbecile--not only the eyes but the mouth;--can one do these things?"

Sri Aurobindo did not want to press the legal aspect of the matter.

_______

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DECEMBER 1940

31st December 1940.

Disciple: On what does receptivity depend?

Sri Aurobindo: On quietude, openness and wideness. One can't receive, if one is disturbed and also what he receives can't be effective without quietude. Quietude is of the Mind, the Vital and the Physical. The most difficult is of she Inconscient. One can develop openness by Will and instill quietude also by throwing away all disturbance by aspiration, will, effort, etc.

_______

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JANUARY, 1941

4th January 1941

Sri Aurobindo: Inconscient, what is inconscient? There is nothing below the Inconscient. It is from the Inconscient that Matter takes form. Everything has its basis in the Inconscient. As the work is going on in the Inconscient the difficulties from there arise,--various diseases, etc.

It is the stuff of all material world. Inconscient has its own power. It has concrete thoughts and ideas of its ignorance and in order to combat them, one has to bring down concrete higher Force.

Disciple: What about "In tune with the Infinite" in which he says: "I am infinite power. It is pouring and pouring in me."

Sri Aurobindo: What about it? You tried?

Disciple: Yes, I am as I was.

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Sri Aurobindo: It looks very much like Coue's method.

Disciple: Can it work?

Sri Aurobindo: It is one way of opening the consciousness to the Force. I don't know if it can be successful all throughout.

Disciple: You said to D that his keeping the attitude that "I am the child of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo--nothing can oppose me" was quite proper.

Sri Aurobindo: That is the central faith which one is required to have in this Yoga. If one can make that faith living in all parts of the being then it would be quite alright. But the body says, 'I have pain--I am suffering.' It has that power of Ignorant idea from the Inconscient. After completing the work in the Inconscient, the higher ranges of the Supramental consciousness would be brought down.

Disciple: There is a proposal for introducing a course in Indian Philosophy as a subject in the University.

Sri Aurobindo: There is no objection to their doing that but it should not be compulsory. It should not be called a course in Metaphysics and Theology. Life Divine is not a Theology! Further, it should be kept optional. Religious instructions should not be made compulsory. It does not necessarily develop spiritually; many people come to spiritual life through atheism. Religious instruction makes man narrow, sectarian, etc. The objection to this scheme is that it is academic. It would lose all its like and become dry.

*

14th January 1941

Sri Aurobindo had seen a volume of Cezanne and one of the painters of the 20th Century representing the most modern trends of artistic movement in France.

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Cezanne had found "remarkable" models for his portraits. All of them were very fine and showed power.

He didn't know drawing and so some of his things were imperfect. Colour is everything. (I showed him the small volume on Cezanne). He liked it better because of the colour plates.

In the evening he said he had liked Matisse also.

He found three things in modern art - 1. Ugliness, 2. Vulgarity, or what might be called coarseness, 3. Absurdity.

In their nude studies it is very low sexuality which they bring out. They all call it "Life"--but it is not life. Even in the most ugly corner there is something fine and beautiful that comes and saves it. It shows France has gone down.

To create form by colour only,--that is a matter of technique and one can accept it.

It started with Cezanne--but even there the beginning is already there in his study of the nude. There is too much of a genius to be positively ugly.

When they go further even in the application of their theories they become absurd.

What they mean by "inner" is "subconscient", lower "vital".

There is no objection to suppressing the unessentials in a work of art--all great artists do it. To retain the "essentials only"--Fauvism.

*

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24th January 1941

Life of Blake with many of his etchings was shown to Sri Aurobindo. He had not liked them very much when a few of them were shown to him some days back. During daytime when he saw them he said that they were merely "dramatic" and "imaginative" rather than "creation of art." He remarked that English art in general was more a result of "mental imagination and less satisfying as a work of true art." The "Death of a white horse" looks like a violent angry old man, and the horse is also wild and angry. "I can't say I'm impressed." If you can compare his work with the etchings of Rembrandt, you will see the difference between true artistic creation and imaginative work.

I related Lawrence Binyon's remarks in the preface that these works make an impression on the mind and don't so much appeal to the aesthetic senses and so you are disappointed when you see them again.

He was glad to note that Lawrence Binyon agreed with him in this respect.

"I liked some of his paintings" he said "especially his representation called "the murder." It is a great work. You see that it represents murder. That is art.

In his poetry, too, I was rather disappointed, except "Book of Thel" (journey to Thel) and some of his lyrics--his poetry also is not satisfying. It is like his etchings "You find it rhetorical"--Durer also was a great etcher. The claim was that he used to paint or etch these things under inspiration.

"There is a realm of the stretch of vital romantic from which you can get these things. That period comes in Yoga also. But these things are not deep and profound."

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The symbolism which he claims to have evolved for the complete explanation and interpretation of Christianity looked very elaborate to me.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, all that may be true but it is not poetry. Middleton Murray and some others try to make so much of his poetry. It is the same you find people trying to indicate that the names of certain countries stand for certain activity and certain contribution, and that even individual names (of Gods).

_______

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1941 OR 1942

Disciple: Does the feminine aspect (of the Divine) correspond to love, Devotion and surrender?

Sri Aurobindo: No, not necessarily.

Disciple: Does not Satchidananda love?

Sri Aurobindo: No, that is Krishna Prem's idea, perhaps.

Disciple: There is no reason to associate these with the feminine aspect because he associates these with it.

Disciple: Receptivity includes these things; it is only a way of representing the inner life of the woman.

Sri Aurobindo: Because the female is passive, dependent, (passively active) while the male is active, strong and self-reliant.

Disciple: The Vaishnavas look upon all souls as Gopis and so it seems that the feminine aspect in all corresponds to

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the element of love, devotion, etc. because they take this path.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, if you accept their idea. But that is not the whole idea.

Disciple: It cannot be said that the male aspect is without love, devotion and surrender.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is so. Only, it is of different nature. Man, for instance, may be devoted to a woman but that is not the same thing as a woman's devotion to man. And the Vaishnava outlook is not the whole of the feminine aspect. There are other aspects of the woman. Love is not the only aspect of the woman.

Disciple: It will also have to include Tantric idea of the Shakti.

Sri Aurobindo: Quite so.

Disciple: But Krishna Prem says that both these should be equal in all men, is it true?

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by true? If you mean 'true' in fact then you can say it is not true. He says "it should be" but "should be" is not "what is."

Disciple: Is the idea correct?

Sri Aurobindo: That is his idea that it should be so.

Disciple: Perhaps he means that in an ideal case these two should be equal.

Disciple: Krishna Prem also says that Grace and Tapasya are complimentary. No one of them is to be stressed. Girish Ghosh used to say to Ramkrishna that he left everything for Ramkrishna to do (for him); and it seems he was very much changed.

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Disciple: What I heard is that Girish found at the end that he had not been able to give his burden over to Ramkrishna.

Sri Aurobindo: You mean he made no effort himself?

Disciple: I suppose so, or he found at the end that somehow or other he had not left the whole thing to Ramkrishna.

Disciple: That means, if one has that living faith he can do without Tapasya. C also says that he does not believe in Tapasya. He believes in Grace.

Disciple: I do not mean that one should indulge in lower nature while depending or believing in Grace. But otherwise I don't believe in Tapasya.

Disciple: Yes, but if we want something then we have to make some effort or straining for that thing. Some effort is inevitable.

Sri Aurobindo: (to C) What do you mean by Tapasya?

Disciple: It has the sense of effort. For example, the mind is wandering about: then one has to make an effort to concentrate it. This is difficult.

Sri Aurobindo: That Tapas means something difficult is the popular idea. It means most often sitting on nails, standing on the head etc., But that is not correct. Tapas can be for something one likes or wants. You gather the energy for the object.

Disciple: When one sits in meditation the mind is wandering about and one has to gather it. This is difficult.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but something in you wants to do it. You want it, is it not?

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Disciple: It is the gathering of force of consciousness for a particular purpose.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, you gather up all the energy and put it on a particular point.

Disciple: Even for gathering up some effort is necessary.

Sri Aurobindo: If you want to achieve the object some effort will be necessary for achieving it.

Disciple: Some men may find it easy to meditate for many hours.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, but that requires concentration of energy. All effort is not unpleasant. For instance, a man who plays cricket has to concentrate on the ball, on the bat, wicket, fielding etc.

Disciple: That is easy comparatively because the man finds interest in it.

Disciple: Another man may find that effort difficult.

Sri Aurobindo: It is said in the Upanishads that God created the world by Tapas. It was not that he found it difficult to create the world, but he had to make the effort.

Disciple: There is an instance given of concentration as when a lady goes about doing all sorts of works with a pitcher on her head. All the time her attention is concentrated on the pitcher.

In the case of the Gopis it was not that they had not to make an effort to remember Krishna. They spontaneously fell in love with him and some thing in them was on fire. So when something in the being is touched like that, then concentration does not require effort or labour.

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One may concentrate for one thing and quite a different result may come--one may go to quite another line.

Sri Aurobindo: In my own case, Lele wanted me to get devotion and love and hear inner voices. Instead I got into the Silent Brahman Consciousness.

Disciple: And he prayed and tried to pull you into the other condition.

Disciple: I find in my case that with little effort on my part many things have dropped.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, that is because you, or something in you, wanted to drop these things.

Disciple: But there was no corresponding effort for the results.

Sri Aurobindo: It may be so. It is not a question of correspondence: with little effort something in you wants to drop it sincerely and then the Grace finds it easy to act. But all the same the effort is a contributory element. There are cases in which one goes on making effort and yet no result comes and even the condition becomes worse. While suddenly you find, when you have given up the effort, that the thing is done. It may be that the effort was keeping up the resistance and when you give up the effort the resistance says "This fellow has given up effort, so it is no use persisting."

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MARCH, 1943

12th March 1943

Disciple: T was such a nice person,--very good in behaviour etc.

Sri Aurobindo: 'That is so because you do not know what the person really is--you see only the outside.'

Disciple: But she was very disciplined.

Sri Aurobindo: "No--she was very nice so long as you did what she liked. But otherwise she was a person least fitted for Sadhana. The family has a touch of madness. She was hysterical and also there was dissatisfied sex. She looked very nice and people generally think it is a sign of great advance when a man stops speaking to persons or if he retires like N. B. and N. and even S. These are persons with small spiritual capacity. B.--yes but B. had a great capacity. It was his inordinate ego that came in his way."

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Disciple: Mother is preparing 12 persons--apostles like Christ?--and then other 12 will be taken up etc.

Sri Aurobindo: "I don't know it,--unless you believe that I hold it as a State secret."

26th March 1943

S. Iyengar's book on English poetry. "His Judgements are not always sound and his quotations though they seem striking at first they don't stand a second reading. So that they can't be taken as the best. For example, he speaks of Oscar Wilde--but he has not referred to the "Ballad of the Reading Goal" which is one of the best things written in English. Also his estimate of Blunden's descriptions of nature-photographic and true to Nature perhaps--but it is very doubtful if they will survive.

"Shakespeare you can go back to for the hundredth time. That is the test. Only T. S. Elliot will live--but that as a minor poet only. The moderners all have got diction but it has no value without Rhythm. They have no Rhythm."

No one now reads Ben Johnson because people are no longer interested in him.

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APRIL, 1943

16th April 1943

General Tokezyswaki: Polish leader came through Umadevi, a Polish lady.

*

17th April 1943

General Tokezyswaki saw Mother at 3-30 for nearly an hour.

1. Synthesis of Elements of different cultures.

2. Nearly 3500 Polish refugees in India.

3. One or two hours to himself for reading about this literature.

Sri Aurobindo: "Such men will find great difficulties after the war because the peace seems much more difficult--war is difficult enough".

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From the notes.

18th April 1943

In Russia before the war there were 18 million in prison--1/10th of the population!!

General Tokezyswaki had been to Russia--because he was a Socialist. What he saw disillusioned him. He was even imprisoned in Russia.

The spy system in Russia is very extensive. Each man who is somebody is watched by three men.

In the army also one who does not fight has to face execution.

American politicians want to retain their hold over North Africa if they can--to ensure payment of their money. They would even like to have Persia and Iraque.

So, the peace is not likely to be a very easy affair.

Spiritual cure - method described - Blue ray - directed to the patient - Washes his own hands. Astral body seen near the patient.

*

19th April 1943

Spirit communication--Desire to continue the family life of Earth. There are such spirits who like a reproduction of the life on Earth.

Got tired of the same wife and husband.

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Divorce suit in the other world. The husbands might ask if the wives are Satis!

_______

Letter from Dilip--with Krishnaprem's. Whether every time a Sadhaka makes personal effort can it be said that it is to satisfy the Ego.

Sri Aurobindo: No, it can be to subordinate the Ego to the Divine. If it is to seek power or to satisfy some other impulse then personal effort may have egoistic origin.

Disciple: Could one make the surrender to a Guru whose outer nature is imperfect?

Sri Aurobindo: It has nothing to do with any human standards--moral or mental. Most often it is the Ego that says that 'this fellow has got this defect, I won't surrender to him.'

Disciple: But the very act of accepting some one as Guru requires some perception or feeling or experience of the Divine in the person?

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily. It may be only a belief in the Divinity of the Guru.

That way it can be argued that God is imperfect because the exterior working in this world is full of imperfections, ignorance, suffering, etc. All these things do not count. The question is whether the Divinity in the Guru can awaken the Divine in the disciple.

Vivekananda was conscious of Ramkrishna's shortcomings and his mind was very agnostic. So it took him years and he was fighting with himself before he accepted Ramkrishna.

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316

AUGUST, 1943

7th August 1943

Letter from Siddhartha (Nolini Sen's son).

1. Faith-Blind in Guru's words.

2. Religion is superfluous and injurious to India.

3. What is Sri Aurobindo doing? What has he done or is doing for India?

Sri Aurobindo: Why does Siddhartha want to argue about his faith? How can he prove his faith by arguments? He must know that it can't be done.

And now-a-days it is well-known that one argues in favour of what one likes. It is not for arriving at the Truth. One can't arrive at the Truth by arguing.

He can find plenty of proof of people whose faith has succeeded where all outer reason was against them. There are many such things in history.

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If England had only thought and depended on reason then she should have made peace with Hitler. She had no chance against Germany. But in spite of that she had faith that she could win and she is beginning to win.

It was after the Dunkirk that I openly came out with my declaration and gave the contribution openly. If I had believed in appearances I should not have. It is in spite of opposite appearances that you have to act on faith. I had fixed the 15th August and 15th September as the dates on which Germany would have defeat and both the days they go the defeat (August I believe over London and September--the 'invasion idea' and 'preparation')

2. I wanted De Gaulle to become the chief of the Free French armies in North Africa. There were many obstacles and the Americans came in with their pro-Vichy attitude. But I went on pressing and ultimately it has succeeded.

3. Also about the Tunisian campaign. There was lot of swaying to and fro. But I persisted--First time when the Allies attached they were only 30 thousand against 3 lakhs Italians. If Wavell had gone to Tripoli at that time he would have succeeded. But they went to help Greece and naturally they had to retreat. But I went on and at last they took Tunisia.

If you depend upon reason then you can't know what is Truth. Germany fought Russia on her reason and won and now Russia is fighting Germany on her reasoning and is winning. It is apparent it is not reason which is giving anyone the success. There is, or must be, something behind that decides these things.

Our people cannot understand why one who has the Divine consciousness or Brahmic consciousness should take

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up sides in a fight. That is alright if you want to remain in the Static Brahman. Then you can look upon the whole thing as Maya and it may not exist for you.

But I believe in Brahman siding against Brahman--that the Brahman, I think, has been always doing.

The distinction between the Ishwar consciousness and Brahmic consciousness is not clear to many people, and also some of the Monists consider Ishwar to be a lower status than Brahman because it is dissolved in the Pralaya.

But Krishna took side openly in Maha Bharata and Rama also. Rama they do not consider an Avatar--He was weeping because he was not self-conscious--why! An Avatar cannot weep!!

Sri Aurobindo had sent the message to the Congress knowingly.

Disciple: There are some people who even try to maintain that you knew fully that your message to the Congress would fail and yet you sent it.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, I knew that there was very little chance of its success.

Disciple: But suppose you have known that it would certainly fail--then in that case you might have spared the trouble of going and coming to Duraiswamy.

Sri Aurobindo: No, even if I had known for a certainty that it would fail still it had to be done--It is a question of play of forces and the important thing is that the other force should not be there.

We cannot explain these things to people--this play of forces--who ask for rational explanation because it is so irrational.

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319

OCTOBER 1943

From notes

4th October 1943

1. C. Rajagopalachari in the Puja issue of the 'Amrat Bazar' has pleaded for the reconstruction and revival of the Cripp's proposal!! Sri Aurobindo found it 'late' but C. R. had got back his clarity of mind. As to the actual revival when Wavell comes the difficulties are 1. I. C. S. and Congress on two sides and 2. Jhinna on the third.

2. Anil Baran's article about Bengal flood situation created a great stir in the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo's plea was for organization by the people. Mere Government regulation or work would not do. The ministry is people's and so their dishonesty, want of public spirit and want of tradition of honest public work is our fault.

Even if the people had rioted at some places, Government would be compelled to act, etc.

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3. Jivatman descends here--not geographically. It is a way of saying that 'it takes up the consciousness' and 'organizes the nature' etc.

'Who gets Nirvana or who passes away into the Absolute'? 'The Jivatman. It is the Jivatman.'

Article by K. C. Vardachari. Answer to Malkani. By 'Chit' in Ramanuja is it meant the surface consciousness?

The Narayan is indissolubly connected with manifestation. You can't know him even if he has an existence independent of his manifestation.

Sri Aurobindo: I would agree with him by saying that the Absolute is not knowable by the mind. But it is knowable to itself. It has self-illumination ('Swayam-Prakasha').

4. On the 3rd October Sri Aurobindo said: It seems in this war the human element is in the background--the whole thing is so much dominated by the machine. It may be illusion. But the men of the past looked so much higher in comparison with the leaders of the present crisis. Even look at the generals. Napoleon and his generals you find the human character there dominating. The leaders do not come off so high. Whether the machine can be used to help men to good? It can help to make life more comfortable, it can add to the convenience etc. but how can it aid men in spiritual or inner progress?

The End