Questions and Answers 1929–1931
Collected Works of the Mother Volume 3
Conversations about Yoga and life. The Mother answered questions raised by disciples in 1929 and 1930–1931. The volume also includes her commentaries on The Dhammapada, with a translation of that text.
This volume includes two early collections of conversations by the Mother and her oral commentaries on the Dhammapada. The conversations were spoken in English; the commentaries were spoken in French and appear here in English translation.
Questions and Answers 1929. In 1929 the Mother met weekly with a small group of disciples. After a period of meditation she answered questions raised by them. Most of these questions were asked by an Englishwoman who was living in the Ashram at that time. One of those present noted down the conversations immediately afterwards and later sent a copy of ﬁfteen of them to Sri Aurobindo, who revised them for publication. They were ﬁrst brought out for private circulation in 1931.
Questions and Answers 1930-1931. During 1930 and 1931 the Mother spoke with a group of disciples who met with her in a room of the Ashram known as Prosperity. One of the participants recorded some of these conversations in abbreviated long-hand and later elaborated his notes. These reports were not revised by Sri Aurobindo or the Mother, but the Mother did approve of their publication and made a French translation. They were ﬁrst published as a book in 1951.
Commentaries on the Dhammapada. The Mother gave these commentaries on the Buddhist teachings of the Dhammapada between August 1957 and September 1958. She was speaking to a large gathering of Ashram members and students of the Ashram school, members of her “Friday class” at the Ashram Playground. After reading out a chapter of the text, the Mother spoke about the points that interested her and then asked the class to meditate on them. She did not comment systematically on the Dhammapada verses, but she did cover most of the central ideas of the text.
Appendix to Questions and Answers 1929. This appendix contains Sri Aurobindo’s explanations of certain phrases and passages in Questions and Answers 1929. They were written to various disciples between 1933 and 1937.
Author: The Mother
Print Length: 331 pages
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Book format: PDF, Online
Part I. 1929
- 7 April 1929
- 14 April 1929
- 21 April 1929
- 28 April 1929
- 5 May 1929
- 12 May 1929
- 19 May 1929
- 26 May 1929
- 2 June 1929
- 9 June 1929
- 16 June 1929
- 23 June 1929
- 30 June 1929
- 28 July 1929
- 4 August 1929
Part II. 1930 – 1931
- The Ordinary Life and the True Soul
- Surrender, Self-offering and Consecration
- Aspiration in the Physical for the Divine’s Love
- Aspiration in Plants
- Union with the Divine Consciousness and Will
- Endurance – the Vital’s Hunger for Praise – Signs of the Converted Vital
- Victory over Falsehood
- Difficulties in Yoga
- Vital Conversion – Rebirth and Personal Survival
- Reincarnation – Memory of Past Lives
- Psychic Presence and Psychic Being – Real Origin of Race Superiority
- Power of Right Attitude
- Power of Imagination
- Selfless Admiration
- Stepping Back
- Knowledge of the Scientist and the Yogi
- Different Kinds of Space and Time – Fearlessness on the Vital Plane
- Knowledge by Unity with the Divine – The Divine Will in the World
- Supermind and Overmind
- True Humility – Supramental Plasticity – Spiritual Rebirth
- The Supramental Realisation
- The Supramental Descent
Part III. On the Dhammapada
- Conjugate Verses
- The Mind
- The Flowers
- The Fool
- The Sage
- The Adept
- The Thousands
- Old Age
- The Ego
- The World
- The Awakened One (The Buddha)
- The Just Man
- The Path
- Niraya (Hell)
- The Elephant
- The Bhikkhu
- The Brahmin
Part IV. Appendix to Questions and Answers 1929
- Appendix to Questions and Answers 1929
Questions and Answers 1929–1931
The Ordinary Life and the True Soul
The ordinary life is a round of various desires and greeds. As long as one is preoccupied with them, there can be no lasting progress. A way out of the round must be discovered. Take, as an instance, that commonest preoccupation of ordinary life—the constant thinking by people of what they will eat and when they will eat and whether they are eating enough. To conquer the greed for food an equanimity in the being must be developed such that you are perfectly indifferent towards food. If food is given you, you eat it; if not, it does not worry you in the least; above all, you do not keep thinking about food. And the thinking must not be negative, either. To be absorbed in devising methods and means of abstinence as the sannyasis do is to be almost as preoccupied with food as to be absorbed in dreaming of it greedily. Have an attitude of indifference towards it: that is the main thing. Get the idea of food out of your consciousness, do not attach the slightest importance to it.
This will be very easy to do once you get into contact with your psychic being, the true soul deep within you. Then you will feel immediately how very unimportant these things are and that the sole thing that matters is the Divine. To dwell in the psychic is to be lifted above all greed. You will have no hankering, no worry, no feverish desire. And you will feel also that whatever happens, happens for the best. Do not misunderstand me to imply that you must always think that everything is for the best. Everything is not for the best so long as you are in the ordinary consciousness. You may be misled into utterly wrong channels when you are not in the right state of consciousness. But once you are poised in the psychic and have made your self-offering to the Divine, all that happens will happen for the best, for everything, however disguised, will be a definite divine response to you.
Indeed the very act of genuine self-giving is its own immediate reward—it brings with it such happiness, such confidence, such security as nothing else can give. But till the self-giving is firmly psychic there will be disturbances, the interval of dark moments between bright ones. It is only the psychic that keeps on progressing in an unbroken line, its movement a continuous ascension. All other movements are broken and discontinuous. And it is not till the psychic is felt as yourself that you can be an individual even; for it is the true self in you. Before the true self is known, you are a public place, not a being. There are so many clashing forces working in you; hence, if you wish to make real progress, know your own being which is in constant union with the Divine. Then alone will transformation be possible. All the other parts of your nature are ignorant: the mind, for instance, often commits the mistake of thinking that every brilliant idea is also a luminous idea. It can with equal vigour trump up arguments for and against God: it has no infallible sense of the truth. The vital is generally impressed by any show of power and is willing to see in it the Godlike. It is only the psychic which has a just discrimination: it is directly aware of the supreme Presence, it infallibly distinguishes between the divine and the undivine. If you have even for a moment contacted it, you will carry with you a conviction about the Divine which nothing will shake.
How, you ask me, are we to know our true being? Ask for it, aspire after it, want it as you want nothing else. Most of you here are influenced by it, but it should be more than an influence, you should be able to feel identified with it. All urge for perfection comes from it, but you are unaware of the source, you are not collaborating with it knowingly, you are not in identification with its light. Do not think I refer to the emotional part of you when I speak of the psychic. Emotion belongs to the higher vital, not to the pure psychic. The psychic is a steady flame that burns in you, soaring towards the Divine and carrying with it a sense of strength which breaks down all oppositions. When you are identified with it you have the feeling of the divine truth—then you cannot help feeling also that the whole world is ignorantly walking on its head with its feet in the air!
You must learn to unite what you call your individual self with your true psychic individuality. Your present individuality is a very mixed thing, a series of changes which yet preserves a certain continuity, a certain sameness or identity of vibration in the midst of all flux. It is almost like a river which is never the same and yet has a certain definiteness and persistence of its own. Your normal self is merely a shadow of your true individuality which you will realise only when this normal individual which is differently poised at different times, now in the mental, then in the vital, at other times in the physical, gets into contact with the psychic and feels it as its real being. Then you will be one, nothing will shake or disturb you, you will make steady and lasting progress and be above such petty things as greed for food.