The Mother On Herself
The following quotes are from The Collected Works of the Mother. Volume and page number precede each quotation.
from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, p.38 (1920)
When and how did I become conscious of a mission which I was to fulfill on earth? And when and how I met Sri Aurobindo?
These two questions you have asked me and I promised a short reply.
For the knowledge of the mission, it is difficult to say when it came to me. It is as though I were born with it, and following the growth of the mind and brain, the precision and completeness of this consciousness grew also.
Between 11 and 13 a series of psychic and spiritual experiences revealed to me not only the existence of God but man's possibility of uniting with Him, of realising Him integrally in consciousness and action, of manifesting Him upon earth in a life divine. This, along with a practical discipline for its fulfillment, was given to me during my body's sleep by several teachers, some of whom I met afterwards on the physical plane.
Later on, as the interior and exterior development proceeded, the spiritual and psychic relation with one of these beings became more and more clear and frequent; and although I knew little of the Indian philosophies and religions at that time I was led to call him Krishna, and henceforth I was aware that it was with him (whom I knew I should meet on earth one day) that the divine work was to be done.
In the year 1910 my husband came alone to Pondicherry where, under very interesting and peculiar circumstances, he made the acquaintance of Sri Aurobindo. Since then we both strongly wished to return to India -- the country which I had always cherished as my true mother-country. And in 1914 this joy was granted to us.
As soon as I saw Sri Aurobindo I recognised in him the well-known being whom I used to call Krishna... And this is enough to explain why I am fully convinced that my place and my work are near him, in India.
from Volume 2, Words of Long Ago, p.166 (Japan, February, 1920)
I belong to no nation, no civilisation, no society, no race, but to the Divine.
I obey no master, no ruler, no law, no social convention, but the Divine.
To Him I have surrendered all, will, life and self; for Him I am ready to give all my blood, drop by drop, if such is His Will, with complete joy; and nothing in His service can be sacrifice, for all is perfect delight.
from Volume 5, Questions and Answers 1953, p.139 (1 July 1953)
The most important thing for an individual is to unify himself around his divine centre; in that way he becomes a true individual, master of himself and his destiny. Otherwise, he is a plaything of forces that toss him about like a piece of cork on a river...
It is a rather unpleasant sensation to feel yourself pulled by the strings and made to do things whether you want to or not -- that is quite irrelevant -- but to be compelled to act because something pulls you by the strings, something which you do not even see -- that is exasperating. However, I do not know, but I found it very exasperating, even when I was quite a child. At five, it began to seem to me quite intolerable and I sought for a way so that it might be otherwise -- without people getting a chance to scold me. For I knew nobody who could help me and I did not have the chance that you have, someone who can tell you "This is what you have to do!" There was nobody to tell me that. I had to find it out all by myself. And I found it. I started at five.
from Volume 10, On Thoughts and Aphorisms, p.131
For example, once when I was walking in the mountains, I was on a path where there was only room for one -- on one side the precipice, on the other sheer rock. There were three children behind me and a fourth person bringing up the rear. I was leading. The path ran along the edge of the rock; we could not see where we were going -- and besides, it was very dangerous; if anyone had slipped, he would have been over the edge. I was walking in front when suddenly I saw, with other eyes than these -- although I was watching my steps carefully -- I saw a snake, there, on the rock, waiting on the other side. Then I took one step, gently, and indeed on the other side there was a snake. That spared me the shock of surprise, because I had seen and I was advancing cautiously; and as there was no shock of surprise, I was able to tell the children without giving them a shock, "Stop, keep quiet, don't stir."
from Volume 8, Questions and Answers 1956, p.161 (30 May 1956)
At the beginning of my present earthly existence I came into contact with many people who said that they had a great inner aspiration, an urge towards something deeper and truer, but that they were tied down, subjected, slaves to that brutal necessity of earning their living, and that this weighed them down so much, took up so much of their time and energy that they could not engage in any other activity, inner or outer. I heard this very often, I saw many poor people -- I don't mean poor from the monetary point of view, but poor because they felt imprisoned in a material necessity, narrow and deadening.
I was very young at that time, and I always used to tell myself that if ever I could do it, I would try to create a little world -- oh! quite a small one, but still...a small world where people would be able to live without having to be preoccupied with food and lodging and clothing and the imperative necessities of life, so as to see whether all the energies freed by this certainty of a secure material living would turn spontaneously towards the divine life and the inner realisation.
from Volume 4, Questions and Answers 1950-51, p.62 (27 January 1951)
Is it useful to note down one's dreams?
Yes, for more than a year I applied myself to this kind of self- discipline. I noted down everything -- a few words, just a little thing, an impression -- and I tried to pass from one memory to another. At first it was not very fruitful, but at the end of about fourteen months I could follow, beginning from the end, all the movements, all the dreams right up to the beginning of the night.
from Volume 4, Questions and Answers 1950-51, p.125 (19 February 1951)
Is there anybody here who has fainted suddenly, as if by accident? You see your body, don't you? and you ask yourself, "But what is it doing there in that ridiculous position?" And you rush back into it! That happened to me once in Paris. I had been treated to a good dinner, and then I went to a conference hall, I believe. There were many people, it was very hot, I was standing there with the good dinner in my stomach, and suddenly I felt ill at ease. I told the person who was with me, "I must go out immediately." Once outside (it was in Trocadero Square) I fainted away completely. I saw my body there, stretched out, and I found it so ridiculous that I rushed into it and I gave it a good scolding, saying, "You must not play such tricks with me!"
from Volume 4, Questions and Answers 1950-51, p.385 (5 May 1951)
Once, I remember, four of us had gone on a walking tour across the mountains of France. We had started from one town and had to reach another. It was about an eight or ten days' journey across the mountain. Naturally, each of us carried a bag slung across our back, for one needs a few things. But then, before starting we had a little discussion to find out what things we really needed, what was quite indispensable. And always we came to this: "Let us see, that thing we can manage in this way" and everything was reduced to so little...
from Volume 5, Questions and Answers 1953, p.352 (11 November 1953)
(Mother is about to begin reading the first pages of Quelques Paroles, Quelques Prieres
The first texts were written in 1912. Many of you were not yet born. It was a small group of about twelve people who met once a week. A subject was given; an answer was to be prepared for the following week. Each one brought along his little work. Generally, I too used to prepare a short paper and, at the end, I read it out.
from Volume 5, Questions and Answers 1953, p.182 (22 July 1953)
I was in Japan. It was at the beginning of January 1919. Anyway, it was the time when a terrible flu raged there in the whole of Japan, which killed hundreds of thousands of people. It was one of those epidemics the like of which is rarely seen.
from Volume 6, Questions and Answers 1954, p. 303 (25 August 1954)
I can tell you one thing, that is, when I began with Sri Aurobindo to descend for the yoga, to descend from the mind into the vital, when we brought down our yoga from the mind into the vital, within one month -- I was forty at that time, I didn't look old, I looked younger than forty, but still I was forty -- and after a month's yoga I looked exactly eighteen. And someone who had seen me before, who had lived with me in Japan and came here, found it difficult to recognise me. He asked me, "But really, is it you?" I said, "Obviously!"
from Volume 6, Questions and Answers 1954, p.384 (20 October 1954)
On Sundays, when you play, do you decide beforehand from what region the music has to come?
Before sitting down I don't even know what notes I am going to play. The region? It is always the same region. This is why I can speak with some experience about the origin of Berlioz's music, because it is a region very well known to me, one I frequent assidously. But I do not know what will come. Nothing at all, nothing. I don't even decide what feeling or idea or state of consciousness is going to be expressed, nothing. I am like a blank page. I come and sit down, concentrate for a minute and let it come.
from Volume 4, Questions and Answers 1950-51, p.106 (12 February 1951)
In the meditations we formerly used to have there [at the Ashram], when we had a morning or evening meditation, my work was to unify the consciousness of everyone and lift it as high as I could towards the Divine. Those who were able to feel the movement followed it. This was ordinary meditation with an aspiration and ascent towards the Divine. Here, as the Playground, the work is to unify all who are here, make them open and bring down the divine force into them.
from Volume 7, Questions and Answers 1955, p.257 (27 July 1955)
Sweet Mother, every day we go for the Balcony Darshan, and here at the Playground we come for the March Past and the Concentration. What should be our approach to each one of these things?
[In this period Mother used to give Darshan every morning from her balcony. This was known as "Balcony Darshan". In the evening She was present in the Playground to receive the salute at the March Past and conduct the Concentration at the end of the "Marching."]
The most indispensable thing in every case is receptivity.
At the Balcony, for example. When I come on the Balcony I make a special concentration, you notice that I look at everybody, don't you; I look, see, pass my eyes over every one, I know all who are there, and where they are, and I give each one exactly what he needs; I see his condition and give him what is necessary. It can go fast, because otherwise I would keep you there for half an hour, but I do it, that's what I do. That's the only reason why I come out, because otherwise I carry you in my consciousness. I carry you in my consciousness always, without seeing you, I do what is necessary. But here it is a moment when I can do it by touching the physical directly, you see; otherwise it is through the mind that it acts, the mind or the vital. But here I touch the physical directly through the sight, the contact of sight; and that's what I do -- each time.
from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, p.43 (15 August 1954)
I want to mark this day by the expression of a long cherished wish; that of becoming an Indian citizen. From the first time I came to India -- in 1914 -- I felt that India is my true country, the country of my soul and spirit. But I had to wait still longer because of my heavy responsibilities for the Ashram here in Pondicherry. Now the time has come when I can declare myself.
But, in accordance with Sri Aurobindo's ideal, my purpose is to show that truth lies in union rather than in division. To reject one nationality in order to obtain another is not an ideal solution. So I hope I shall be allowed to adopt a double nationality, that is to say, to remain French while I become an Indian.
I am French by birth and early education, I am Indian by choice and predilection. In my consciousness there is no antagonism between the two, on the contrary, they combine very well and complete one another. I know also that I can be of service to both equally, for my only aim in life is to give a concrete form to Sri Aurobindo's great teaching and in his teaching he reveals that all the nations are essentially one and meant to express the Divine Unity upon earth through an organised and harmonious diversity.
from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, p.53
When I speak, I live what I say and I communicate the experience together with the words -- no machine can record that. That is why the text seems completely different when it is heard or read, the main thing has gone, for it is beyond all notation. Even when what I have written myself is printed in a book or an article, the intensity of the experience I had while writing it escapes, and the text seems flat, although the words are identical.
from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, p.109
from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, p.95
My way of seeing is somewhat different. For my consciousness the whole life upon earth, including the human life and all its mentality, is a mass of vibrations, mostly vibrations of falsehood, ignorance and disorder, in which are more and more at work vibrations of Truth and Harmony coming from the higher regions and pushing their way through the resistance. In this vision the ego-sense and the individual assertion and separateness become quite unreal and illusory.
from Volume 12, On Education, p.433
You see how it is, now I am nearing a hundred, it's only five years away now. I started making an effort to become conscious at five years old, my child. This is to let you know...And I go on, and it goes on. Only... Of course, I have come to the point where I am doing the work for the cells of the body, but still, the work began a long time ago.
This is not to discourage you, but... it is to let you know that it does not happen just like that!
from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, p.77
Now remember one thing. Sri Aurobindo and myself are one and the same consciousness, one and the same person. Only, when this force or this presence, which is the same, passes through your individual consciousness, it puts on a form, an appearance which differs according to your temperament, your aspiration, your need, the particular turn of your being. Your individual consciousness is like a filter, a pointer, if I may say so; it makes a choice and fixes one possibility out of the infinity of divine possibilities.