1 August 1956
Sweet Mother, does the worship
offered to the goddess Durga and to Kali have any spiritual value?
That depends on who offers the worship.
It is not that which is
of importance for the spiritual value. For the integrality and the complete
truth of the Yoga it is important not to limit one’s aspiration to one form or
another. But from the spiritual point of view, whatever the object of worship,
if the movement is perfectly sincere, if the self-giving is integral and
absolute, the spiritual result can be the same; for, whatever object you take,
through it ― sometimes in spite of it, despite it ― you always reach the supreme
Reality, in the measure and proportion of the sincerity of your consecration.
That is why it is always
said that, no matter what aspect of the Divine you adore or even what guide you
choose, if you are perfect in your self-giving and absolutely sincere, you are
sure to attain the spiritual goal.
But the result is no
longer the same when you want to realise the integral yoga. Then you must not
limit yourself in any way, even in the path of your consecration…. Only, these
are two very different things.
Spiritual realisation ― as it was formerly understood,
as it is still commonly understood ― is union with the Supreme in some way or other, either within
you or through some form or other; it is the fusion of your being with the
Supreme, with the Absolute, almost the disappearance of your individuality in
a disciple asked Mother: “Why did you say ‘almost’? Isn’t then the
disappearance complete?” To which Mother answered: “Somewhere, I believe it is
in ‘The Yoga of Self-Perfection’ [The
Synthesis of Yoga], regarding those who wish to merge in the Supreme, Sri
Aurobindo says or rather hints that this cannot be done, for the Supreme wants
it otherwise. But Sri Aurobindo says it without saying it, it is just an
allusion in sing. The idea is that beyond Being and Non-Being, the total Summit
necessarily includes a form ―
might be called an essential form ― of the
Page - 244
And that depends absolutely on the sincerity and the integrality
of your self-giving, rather than on the choice you make of that to which you
want to give yourself. For… the very sincerity of your aspiration will make you
cross all limitations and find the Supreme, for you carry Him within yourself.
Whether you seek Him
outside, whether you seek Him within, whether you seek Him in a form or without
form, if your aspiration is sincere enough and your resolution sincere enough,
you are sure to reach the goal.
But if you want to make
the complementary movement of which Sri Aurobindo speaks, that is to say, to
return to the outer consciousness and world after having realised this union in
yourself, and transform this outer consciousness and world, then in this case
you cannot limit yourself in any way, for otherwise you will not be able to
accomplish your work.
Essentially, you must be
able to find this oneness with the Divine in all forms, all aspects, in every
way that has been used to reach Him. And you must go beyond that and find a new
So, the first point to clear up
in your thought ― and it is a point of capital importance: you must not confuse
the integral yoga with other spiritual realisations, which may be very high but
cover a very limited field, for theirs is a movement only in depth.
You may pierce a hole,
you see, with your aspiration and make a movement in depth through anything at
all. All depends on the intensity and sincerity of your aspiration ― on the sincerity, that is to
say, on how far your self-giving is complete, integral, absolute. But it does
not depend on the form you have chosen: necessarily, you will have to pass
through in order to find what is behind.
But if you want to
transform your nature and your being,
no longer contradicts or is
even distinct from the One, but is included in the One without any separation.
But the words at our disposal mean nothing! And one is reduced to giving a
childish explanation. That is why I said ‘almost’.”
Page - 245
and if you want to
participate in the creation of a new world, then this aspiration, this sharp
and linear point is no longer enough. One must include everything and contain
everything in one’s consciousness.
Naturally, that is much
Mother, what is this “divine
element in human nature” which always demands symbols for the completeness of
its spiritual satisfaction?
Which demands a form, an
expression in form.
Oh! what I have just read to you today?¹
It is precisely that part of
the being which is not satisfied with abstractions and with escaping from life
and evading it and
¹ “In any cult the symbol, the significant
rite or expressive figure is not only a moving and enriching aesthetic element,
but a physical means by which the human being begins to make outwardly definite
the emotion and aspiration of his heart, to confirm it and to dynamise it. For
if without a spiritual aspiration worship is meaningless and vain, yet the
aspiration also without the act and the form is a disembodied and, for life, an
incompletely effective power. It is unhappily the fate of all forms in human
life to bee crystallised, purely formal and therefore
effete, and although form and cult preserve always their power for the man who
can still enter into their meaning, the majority e to use the ceremony as a
mechanical rite and the symbol as a lifeless sign and because that kills the
soul of religion, cult and form have in the end to be changed or thrown aside
altogether. There are those even to whom all cult and form are for this reason
suspect and offensive; but few can dispense with the support of outward symbols
and even a certain divine element in human nature demands them always for the
completeness of its spiritual satisfaction. Always the symbol is legitimate in
so far as it is true, sincere, beautiful and delightful, and even one may say that
a spiritual consciousness without any aesthetic or emotional content is not
entirely or at any rate not integrally spiritual. In the spiritual life the
basis of the act is a spiritual consciousness perennial and renovating, moved
to express itself always in new forms or able to renew the truth of a form
always by the flow of the spirit, and to so
express itself and make every
action a living symbol of some truth of the soul is the very nature of its
creative vision and impulse. It is so that the spiritual seeker must deal with
life and transmute its form and glorify it in its essence.”
(The Synthesis of Yoga}, p.153)
Page - 246
leaving it as it is. It is that part of the being which wants to
be integral, wants to be integrally transformed or at any rate to participate
integrally in the inner adoration.
In every normal being
there is the necessity, the need ― an absolute need to translate into a physical form what he
feels and wants internally. I consider those who always want to evade life in
order to have self-realisation as abnormal and incomplete. And in fact, these
are usually weak natures. But those who have strength, force and a kind of
healthy equilibrium in themselves, feel an absolute need to realise materially
their spiritual realisation; they are not satisfied with going away into the
clouds or into worlds where forms no longer exist. They must have their
physical consciousness and even their body participate in their inner experience.
Now, it may be said that
the need to adopt or follow or participate in a religion as it is found all
ready-made, arises rather from the “herd instinct” in human beings. The true
thing would be for each one to find that form of adoration or cult which is his
own and expresses spontaneously and individually his own special relation with
the Divine; that would be the ideal condition.
To adopt a religion
because one is born in that religion or because the people one loves and trusts
practise that religion or because when one goes to a particular place where
others pray and worship, one feels helped in one’s own prayer and worship, is
not the sign of a very strong nature; I should say it is rather the sign of a
weakness or at any rate of a lack of originality.
But to want to translate
into the forms of one’s physical life the inner aspiration and adoration is
quite legitimate, and it is much more sincere than what is done by a man who
splits himself into two, leads a physical life quite mechanically and ordinarily
and, when he can do it, when he has the time or when it suits him, withdraws
within himself, escapes from physical life and the physical consciousness and
goes to far-off heights to find his spiritual joys.
Page - 247
Someone who tries to make his
material life the expression of his highest aspiration is certainly more noble,
more upright and sincere in character than a man who splits himself into two
saying that the outer life is of no importance and will never change and must
be accepted as it is, and that, in reality only the inner attitude counts.
My file of questions is increasing! And I must say they are not
all equally interesting; but still, I could perhaps take one or two of them for
the satisfaction of those who have asked them.
First, some of you have
got into the habit of sending me questions without signing them, for fear that
I may reveal the identity of the one who has asked the question! I shall never
reveal it, you may rest assured; and even if I make an unpleasant remark,
nobody will know who it is for! (Laughter)
There is another thing.
Some of you don’t take the trouble of asking your questions in French. As I did
not give you notice openly that I would reply only to questions in French, I
have translated one or two of them for the moment; but in future, if you want
me to consider your questions, they must be expressed in French. Even if there
are many mistakes, it does not matter, I shall correct them!
Here is one which has been
asked in English, to which the answer is very short. I am asked:
“What is the fundamental virtue
to be cultivated in order to prepare for the spiritual life?”
I have said this many times, but this is an opportunity to
repeat it: it is sincerity.
Sincerity which must bee total and absolute, for sincerity alone
is your protection on the spiritual path. If you are not sincere, at the very
next step you are sure to fall and break
Page - 248
your head. All kinds of
forces, wills, influences, entities are there, on the look-out for the least
little rift in this sincerity and they immediately rush in through that rift
and begin to throw you into confusion.
Therefore, before doing
anything, beginning anything, trying anything, be sure first of all that you
are not only as sincere as you can be, but have the intention of becoming still
For that is your only
Can this effort to cultivate
this initial virtue be a collective one?
Certainly it can. And this is what used to be attempted long ago
in the schools of initiation. Even now, in more or less secret societies or
very small groups, the collectivity seeks to be sufficiently united and to make
a collective effort sufficiently complete for the result to be a group result
instead of an individual one.
But naturally, that
complicates the problem terribly…. Each time they meet, they try to create a
collective entity; but for a virtue to be collectively realised, a tremendous
effort is required. However, it is not impossible.
I have been asked another question which is a little more
subtle, but it seems to me it has quite a special interest… Somebody asks what
is the true intensity for wanting the Divine, in the will to unite with the
Divine. And then this person says that he has found within himself two
different modes of aspiration, especially in the intensity of aspiration for
the Divine: in one of these movements there is a sort of anguish, like a
poignant pain, in the other, there is an anxiety, but at the same time a great
This observation is quite correct.
Page - 249
And the question is this:
“When do we feel this intensity mixed with
anguish, and when the intensity containing joy?”
I don’t know if several or many of you have a similar
experience, but it is very real, this experience, very spontaneous. And the
answer is very simple.
As soon as the presence
of the psychic consciousness is united with the aspiration, the intensity takes
on quite a different character, as if it were filled with the very essence of
an inexpressible joy. This joy is something that seems contained in everything
else. Whatever may be the outer form of the aspiration, whatever difficulties
and obstacles it may meet, this joy is there as though it filled up everything,
and it carries you in spite of everything.
That is the sure sign of
the psychic presence. That is to say, you have established a contact with your
psychic consciousness, a more or less complete, more or less constant contact,
but at that moment it is the psychic being, the psychic consciousness which
fills your aspiration, gives it its true contents. And that’s what is
translated into joy.
When that is not there,
the aspiration may come from different parts of the being; it may come mainly
from the mind or mainly from the vital or even from the physical, or it may
come from all the three together ― it may come from all kinds of combinations. But in general, for
the intensity to be there, the vital must be present. It is the vital which
gives the intensity; and as the vital is at the same time the seat of most of
the difficulties, obstacles, contradictions, it is the friction between the
intensity of the aspiration and the intensity of the difficulty which creates
This is no reason to stop
You must know, you must
understand the reason for this anguish. And then, if you can introduce just one
Page - 250
in your aspiration,that is, your trust in the divine Grace,
trust in the divine Response, it counterbalances all possible anguish and you
can aspire without any disturbance or fear.
This brings us to
something else, which is not positively a question, but a request for an
explanation, a comment or a development of the subject. It is about Grace.
I have said somewhere, or
maybe written, that no matter how great your faith and trust in the divine
Grace, no matter how great your capacity to see it at work in all
circumstances, at every moment, at every point in life, you will never succeed
in understanding the marvellous immensity of Its Action, and the precision, the
exactitude with which this Action is accomplished; you will never be able to
grasp to what extent the Grace does everything, is behind everything, organises
everything, conducts everything, so that the march forward to the divine
realisation may be as swift, as complete, as total and harmonious as possible,
considering the circumstances of the world.
As soon as you are in
contact with It, there is not a second in time, not a point in space, which
does not show you dazzlingly this perpetual work of the Grace, this constant
intervention of the Grace.
And once you have seen
this, you feel you are never equal to it, for you should never forget it, never
have any fears, any anguish, any regrets, any recoils… or even suffering. If
one were in union with this Grace, if one saw It everywhere, one would begin
living a life of exultation, of all-power, of infinite happiness.
And that would be the
best possible collaboration in the divine Work.