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3. The Divine Mother

Scientists dedicate their careers to scientific study and research. They have no career outside science. There was an English biologist called J.B.S. Haldane. He was an admirer of India. On India attaining independence, he came to India for permanent residence. He went one step ahead. He used to make some important experiments on his own body. He who takes to tapas often follows a guru. When he goes beyond the realisation of his guru, he entirely risks his life and body in the experiments he undertakes. Tapas or yoga is an adventure in the realm of the Spirit. The Integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo is much more so. Mother talks of the sunlit path. As The Mother and Sri Aurobindo discovered a new world of Supermind and laid down the path, those who follow them can walk on the sunlit path. Mother suffered enormously in Her body only when She went beyond the realisation of the Master.

There is an essential difference between Ishwara and Shakti. A distant analogy will be the difference between a scientific discovery and its commercialisation. Whether it is an airplane, radio or computer, it is a scientist who discovers the principle and demonstrates its viability. This is a great step forward. But the industrialist who makes a plane or a radio or a computer is the one who brings that discovery to the public. Mother played that role to the Power of Sri Aurobindo. He said that His powers would have remained with Him if Mother had not arrived. The Mother was born with a live relationship with the Divine. People who relate to Her with faith reach the Divine or their calls reach the Divine through Her. Faith in Mother arises when we lose faith in ourselves. It is the voluntary giving up of one's faith in one's capacities that generates Faith in the Mother. She lived amongst us. Therefore the tendency to treat Her as the head of our institution is strong. To those people, She puts up a human behaviour. A devotee who came to see Sri Aurobindo after some years heard that there was a Mother who was a French lady. He could not concede any spirituality to a lady and that too to a foreign one. While he was in the queue at a distance from Her, Her Feet caught his eyes. They were golden. He was overwhelmed with spiritual emotions. The surging emotions made him forget the Darsan of the Master for which he came. Mother was not an individual, but an institution, a subtle institution at that.

Let us consider how prayers act, especially a prayer from across the world. No individual, however powerful he is, is a match for an institution when it comes to combing a nation or a market. The police force is an institution physically present in all towns with communication to the centre and between its branches. What one policeman knows about a missing person, the entire police department knows. It can act from any point. A prayer voiced from anywhere goes directly to the centre and instantaneously fills the network. Any point in the network can act. That is how prayers act. What we call the Divine Mother is an institution of consciousness in the subtle plane enveloping the entire earth's surface.

One may think, "Well, prayers have always been answered." Yes, it is true. Those were the prayers of saints. What was available only to the Rishis, Mother has made accessible to all. There is one more dimension. Messengers were always there, even a hundred years ago. It was a messenger on horseback. Now, it is email or cell phone. One is tempted to call Mother's consciousness Spiritual technology.

Tradition tells us that the Spirit is immutable, changeless and has no beginning or end. Sri Aurobindo conceives of one more dimension of Time and Timelessness. We all live in Time. We are householders. We are bound by karma as we are by society. The Rishi lives in the Timeless plane. He is not bound by the society or karma, as karma exists only in Time. Sri Aurobindo says Time is a part of creation. Equally the Timeless too is another part, though higher. To Him Brahman is a whole, an integral whole. It cannot be fully represented by Time or Timelessness, as both are parts. Sri Aurobindo speaks of a higher dimension that includes both Time and Timelessness. The householder lives in Time, subject to dualities. The Rishi lives in Timelessness, above the dualities. If the Rishi chooses not to give up his family, he will conduct his family life by the high spiritual standards of tapas. That will elevate the householder to the Spiritual dimension of complete existence. His life will be free of Ignorance, pain, dualities, and death. The immutable Spirit belongs to the Timeless plane. The evolving soul, the Psychic Being, lives in the dimension that includes Time as well as Timelessness. One may complain this is all philosophy or metaphysics. It can be illustrated by a life example, as all devotees experience this phenomenon in their lives, though momentarily.

When our prayers are answered we are lifted by Her Force from our plane of Time to a plane beyond the Timelessness. When one who had intense pain in the back for several years moved to that plane, he lost the pain. That is a metaphysical explanation of a cure.

These facts make us want to know more about The Mother, or all about Her, not only about Her physical life, but about Her Spiritual significance. Apart from the events I have already narrated, there are many more that make us understand Her spiritual eminence.

  1. She was the physical embodiment of The Mother's Consciousness. In 1946, She said the Universal Mother whom She represented came to the Ashram to complete Her work. As there was no receptivity, the Universal Mother went back.
  2. Shiva, Kali, and other gods attended Her meditations at the meditation hall.
  3. Durga surrendered to the Supreme on Her advice.
  4. Once when She returned from Sri Aurobindo's Room, Shiva with his head touching the ceiling was waiting for Her.
  5. Krishna accepting Her request, entered into Sri Aurobindo's Being.
  6. Lord Krishna walked beside Her with his head on Her shoulder.
  7. She came out of Her body twelve times in succession when She saw a Sun on Her head and a Moon above the Sun.
  8. She ‘saw' the Chinese in the streets of Calcutta and persuaded them to go back.
  9. She wanted Nixon to go; and he went unceremoniously.
  10. In previous births She was an Egyptian Queen, Queen Elizabeth I, Joan of Arc and Catherine the Great of Russia.
  11. She says the world was ruled by the Lord of Death, the Lord of Falsehood, the Lord of Suffering and the Lord of Darkness. The first two were destroyed by Her yoga.
  12. She heard the carpet speak, even the coconut husk's voice.
  13. When someone came to see Her, She said an emanation of Hers entered him.
  14. Even if She met someone for one second, She accepted the responsibility of those whom she met.
  15. She attempted almost everything in the Ashram, as it would spread in the world.
  16. Giving material shape to Her subtle work, Her devotees tried to continue Her work on disarmament. A week before their work officially began, the Berlin Wall fell.
  17. It is the experience of devotees that the bad predictions of their horoscope never came true. Good things not predicted in the horoscope have happened to them time and again.

Later in this book, I will be suggesting a token experiment by you - the reader - which will reveal any of the above characteristics of the Force or many of them. The reader can rely on his own personal experience. Experiments usually reveal one aspect of the Force. One can prepare oneself for a small but significant TOKEN experimentation that can reveal all the facets of the Force. To see all facets lies more in the observation than in the revelation. But, I repeat, the Force is there in the atmosphere. Those who want to see it are welcome to see it.

Her writings, rather what She spoke on many occasions, are published in 17 or 18 volumes. Starting in 1950 She began to dictate to a confidant what She could not publish then. She continued to do so till 1973. She called it Her heart's gift to those who love Her. These conversations are published in 13 volumes as Agenda of Mother. There She goes into all the details of Her Yoga done in the Body, making Her own body the yogic laboratory. Towards the end of Her physical life, She became in Her body the Supreme for fifteen minutes and later for a full day. It gave Her an unflinching rapture at the cost of intolerable pain that made Her feel like howling all the time. She could not bring Herself to recommend this yoga to any one. It is the pain of the Universe emerging from the original Ignorance into evolutionary Delight. As long as She was doing the yoga He had done, it was the sunlit path. He said He could not go beyond the physical consciousness to physical substance where the Yoga becomes Perfect. She alone could do it. Her body alone could do it, said He. She invites us to become God instead of worshipping Him. I invite you to discover the Spiritual opulence of life inside and outside your being. You are free to go beyond by your own choice. Let us try to know all about Him, Her, Their yoga that can be reached within a book of this size.

Once Sri Aurobindo was speaking to Her about the Health, Wealth and Power needed on earth for the Force to rule. The rules of health are easy to know for one who wishes to follow them. About the Power of God, He declared unless WE are the government, the Force could not descend and act. About Wealth, He said He did not know the required condition. She took up the thought and meditated on it. She could go to the world where the treasure of earth is kept. It was guarded by a black Python of an enormous size. She asked it to move away. He would not. This surprised Her as beings of all the worlds usually obey Her. The Python said She could enter if She had overcome the sex vibration of the earth. She returned. To overcome the sex vibration in oneself is one thing, but to attempt it on such a wider universal scale is another thing.

She founded Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the hope that if man's physical needs were taken care of, he would devote his energies to God-seeking. Those who came to Her were the spiritual elite of India, in the sense they had all the possibilities to bring down the Supermind. Their decisions to throw themselves at the feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother involved the greatest of human sacrifices. They were the forerunners of such heroes. Human nature has dimensions beyond the comprehension of the Mother's human incarnation. He knew it. She held all of them, their movements, inner and outer, in Her clasp as long as the strength did not exceed 150 members. The transformation was to be done inside, failing which Nature would have it done in their lives outside. Whatever good should come to the world, should first come to the Ashram was the principle at the time of its founding. In 1972 She spoke of the other side, saying no one need come there, as their difficulties would increase by coming to the Ashram. That was why He was of the opinion that it should be closed after Her departure. Ashram was a miniature of the earth, of the universe. It could be the earth as it was, or it could transform itself into the Marvel that was to come. It was for those who were there to decide. Neither He, nor She demanded of the members any discipline personally. They spelt out the discipline. It was for us to accept it. They never interfered in that FREEDOM.

Our people - Indians - have extraordinary insight into life, which the Westerner does not have. Though the Mahabharata is popular in the extreme, elders at home will discourage anyone getting deeply interested in that epic. The Ramayana, on the other hand, is encouraged. The Mahabharata is a story of battles. If one becomes deeply interested in it, there is a subtle infection. The family will be quarrelsome. Indians do have this subtle sense. Devotees coming afresh to Mother will gladly accept Her, but shun yoga. Ordinarily in our families there will be no encouragement for deep religious life. They counsel us, "Too much of these things is not good. There must be a limit." In our tradition there is a true belief that if a sannyasi stays at home overnight, that family will be ruined. Among the devotees of the Mother there is a clear perception of all that She is, that long-standing prayers are now answered by Her. Alongside there is also an unseen fear that all that we cherish in this life has to be given up. This feeling is undefined and imperceptible. It is true that we have to part with all the shams of social life, the appearances, hypocrisies, "keeping up with the Jones", the mercenary motives. It will be good if this is clearly recognized and people walk away happily from the false pretensions and walk into a TRUE way of life.

Mother says falsehood must be given up in toto. "Men, Countries, Continents, Truth or the abyss", said She. She also holds out a promise that She will never give us one chance for lying, if we do not choose to lie. She started the Ashram as a miniature of the world. She wanted the Ashram to be the miniature of the earth's treasure. Man taking to a life of utter truthfulness will be rewarded by The Mother with a family life that is a miniature of Earthly Paradise. I propose a token experiment later for man to see the real magnificence of that prospect. In telling a sadhak that She had everything there in Her Room, Mother said even lions were there around Her in the subtle plane. She said those lions had a child-like smile. To Her, Man grows by giving, not by taking.

After their death Sadhaks come to Her and most of them reside in Her. There is a big crowd there, says She. Two days before her death a sadhika came to The Mother and was literally following The Mother wherever She went. Some time later a dark figure entered there and silently waited. He was a messenger of Death but he chose to wait for Mother's directions. After a long patient wait, Mother looked at the dark figure. Taking it to be Her sanction, he took away the figure of the sadhika. Her protection to all those who die relying on Her is told by another story where the significance of Sri Aurobindo's symbol is explained. She came on earth to create a New World of Delight. She could not. She did create it in the subtle, causal world. All those who have accepted Her are privileged to enter that world after they leave this world. We can invite that world into our own homes, if only TRUTH is our life breath. She demands utter, unmixed Truth in all planes of our existence.

Thomas Hardy said joy is a rare episode in the long drama of pain that is life. It was true and even today it is true as long as we mix falsehood in our Truth. Our life as we know is not a spiritual whole that admits of no pain. Our life is partial in the sense we know ourselves, not others. A partial life is a dual life - a life of good and evil. Mother's life is not partial; it is a whole. Even the gods are subject to gunas. Indra is known for his passion for women. Shiva often runs into trouble because he is unaware of the consequences of his acts. They are Overmental gods. The Overmind still has Ignorance. The Supermind has no such Ignorance. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are the Avatars of the Supramental plane. We see selfish people are efficient. In a selfish sense they are a whole. They are unaware of other peoples' existence. For them it is easy to reach the WHOLE life of The Mother, as their lives are already a whole. All that they need to do is to substitute Self for the self, thus changing the human life of selfishness into a divine life of Selflessness. Self-giving is the basis of higher life, known as Mother's Life, Divine Life, etc.

The Twelve Crores

The Mother says the bodies of Indians contain light. We know India is poor, ranking 134th out of 197 nations. Where does that Spirit dwell? Can we not have some glimpse of it? The Americans cannot sit quiet for an hour, not even for fifteen minutes. We know they are dynamic. Indians will sit motionless for hours. We know it is inertia, laziness. Yogically the human physical, the physical being, is restless. Ages of tapas have brought down Spiritual Peace into the very atmosphere of the nation. It has permeated the being of man down to his physical. America can produce scientists. After four hundred years the nation has not produced one Saint. It is not in their soil. India has not produced an original scientist of renown for the past several centuries. Let us narrow our enquiry. There are many people of really dynamic nature in India, both men and women. Perhaps women outnumber men in this respect. Often they are organised. They are not merely active, but their energy issues out of a dynamic nature. When they commission themselves in a work, there will be a great speed untouched by hurry. When the work is over, they will sit quietly, which the American cannot do. In many people the Spiritual Peace has degenerated into laziness. In those who are dynamic, that Peace silently energises their work. Spiritual Peace in them has reconciled dynamism and rest. To be active when necessary and to be QUIET when not working is a spiritual ability. The American would go mad if he had to be QUIET. His is the physical energy which needs physical expression.

In a book entirely on India's spiritual values for modern life, every facet of life can thus be explained. There is an inherent capacity for organisation in the Indians that cannot be bettered. Organisation is the higher human endowment, especially when it is a mental organisation. Sri Aurobindo says that life progresses by consciousness and consciousness progresses by organisation. Hence organisation is of ultimate value. That capacity for organisation is there in abundance in us. Look at any function our people organize. It will be flawless. The forethought, resourcefulness, thoughtfulness and presence of mind will be in full play. We become the second best or average or even failures only when we work in a foreign system - a system of the Britisher or the Americans. We know no failure in our own fields. When, for some reason, we properly blend Western technology and our indigenous organisation, the results are extraordinary, as in the Green Revolution or White Revolution. Let me cite one example.

Some forty years ago an Indian businessman was enamoured of a technology because it was available cheap. It was cheap because the technology had become out of date. Having started a factory and reached a Rs.40 crore turnover, they realised this mistake. It was too late. They made an annual profit of Rs.2 crores. The factory ran for 25 years. All their clients switched over to a fresh technology. The constant refrain of the management was to close the factory. This was sung for ten years. Consultants relying on Spirit approached them. They could not respond. The Rs.2 crore profit could be raised to 4 crores, the consultants said. There was no answering chord in the management. Still, the consultants were hired to write a report to improve things.

The consultants found pockets from which cash could be unearthed. This came to Rs.1.2 crores of fresh resources. The leader of the team felt that 20% improvement is a lot. Rs.1.2 crores is 60% improvement. It is wise to stop there and not go beyond it. He was to write the report. Anyway, the team discussed the Spiritual approach to such a situation.

  • The first step is to discover pockets of cash by avoiding waste, etc. This would double Rs.2 crores.
  • The next step is to know the unavoidable waste can be avoided by a higher organisation. That should take the extra profits to Rs.6 crores.
  • Beyond this lies the attitude of the management and the staff. Lastly, it is the attitude of the workers. That would double the 6 crores to 12 crores.

The moment the team was discussing four crores, the leader became put out and said someone else could write the report. Rs.12 crores made him leave the place. This was all talk, not practical, was his opinion. Later, the leader reconciled and wrote the report of 4, 6, 12 crores in succession. He presented it to the Management but without conviction. The Managing Director was impressed and intrigued. He said, "As outsiders you have seen this much profits here. As insiders we must be able to discover it." They did not engage those consultants to find those extraordinary profits.

About ten years later, the company was seen on the Web. It had grown to Rs.500 crores from 40 crores of turnover. Surely their profits would have crossed 12 crores. Indians are talented and organised. What they believe, they can achieve. The most difficult thing is Indians have no way of knowing their hidden talents that are spiritual. Business Week, an American magazine has recently written that India, which was not a factor in American life fifteen years ago, can be a major partner of American business if only the USA knows how to utilize the Indian brainpower. Incidentally, the Magazine says India's bulging population can become an asset if Indians know how to benefit from their brainpower. What the Magazine speaks of as brainpower is really the distant echo of Spiritual power.

I have included a chapter on yoga in this book. You can skip that chapter because yoga is not meant for all. It is generally considered that descriptions of yoga are theoretical and metaphysical. Of course they are. That is why I say you can skip that chapter though I know it is the best chapter here. I have avoided being philosophical and endeavoured my best to confine my explanations to life examples felt and lived. Still, YOGA is lofty and a laudable career for anyone. Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine has earned the reputation of being incomprehensible. I have summarised those thousand pages in one hundredth of their length or a little more. Difficult things must be explained. To write a description of The Life Divine in 2000 pages will help. I had to do it in ten or twenty pages. By definition, it qualifies for its old reputation. Still, I have tried to explain its basic tenets through events of life, emphasizing that out of our finite life, the Infinite Brahman can emerge making our life a marvel, or a wonder. As this is the experience of a vast number of people, I hope those who are really after it may not find that chapter unintelligible.

An Ashram is noted for austerity. Sri Aurobindo Ashram espoused simplicity, not austerity. I have for long pleaded for Prosperity. I have tried to say Spirituality is Prosperity. These ideas are anathema to traditional minds. Poverty is no ideal. We cannot make disease or ignorance an ideal. How can anyone make poverty a goal just because the Rishis had shunned money? Money is different from prosperity. The Vedic Rishis lived a prosperous life. All our scriptures, stotras and slokas end by saying, "He who chants this will be prosperous". Prosperity needs no advocate, but the idea that one should not earn more should be put in its proper context. First of all, it was the goal of a non-money economy. Today money is indispensable. Money, Sri Aurobindo says, is a force of the Divine. It should be redeemed from the Asura and be put at the feet of the Divine. My theme here is wealth is sacred. We must work for it, not as an Asura, but through honesty and capacity.

book | by Dr. Radut