Questions and Answers 1953 (CWM Vol.5)

Questions and Answers 1953

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 5

Talks by the Mother including comments on her Questions and Answers 1929. This volume is made up of talks given by the Mother in 1953 to the members of her French class. Held on Wednesday evenings at the Ashram Playground, the class was composed of sadhaks of the Ashram and students of its school. The Mother usually began by reading out a passage from one of her works and then invited questions. For most of the year she discussed her talks of 1929. She spoke only in French.

The Mother’s French classes cover the eight-year period from 1950 to 1958. The Wednesday classes of 1950-51 and 1953-58 comprise the “Questions and Answers” talks. Between June 1951 and March 1953 these classes were replaced by “translation classes” in which the Mother translated into French several of Sri Aurobindo’s works, including The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human Cycle, part of The Synthesis of Yoga and the last six chapters of The Life Divine. During this period, she continued to speak informally with the students, but what she said was not tape-recorded.

Book Details

Author: The Mother

Print Length: 438 pages

Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle

Language: English

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18 March 1953

  • Rare significant moments: contact with the psychic
  • Families of beings: why people meet to collaborate
  • Visitor to the Ashram: external motives are pretexts for the psychic

25 March 1953

  • Using the Divine as a cloak to hide desires
  • Sincerity: difficult but effective
  • The true flame

1 April 1953

  • Ambition: a canker
  • Different personalities in our being
  • Signpost or psychic mirror

8 April 1953

  • Service to humanity and giving to the Divine
  • What do I call “myself”?
  • Desires and their formations
  • The power of thought, of prayer
  • Win your small victories

15 April 1953

  • Pulling the divine forces
  • Insincerity, its own punishment
  • Basis of equanimity

22 April 1953

  • Sleep and dreams: quietening the mind

29 April 1953

  • Organising one’s dream
  • Wounds in the vital being and illness
  • Symbolism of dreams
  • Personal dream-imagery
  • Foolishness and vanity
  • Religions, truth, consciousness

6 May 1953

  • Psychic memory
  • Rebirth: stories
  • Automatic writing, spirit-communication
  • Dreams
  • Contact with the Divine: the key to everything

13 May 1953

  • Pseudo-meditation
  • Escapism and changing the nature
  • True meditation, true humility
  • Will, concentration, effort; active surrender
  • Being perfect instruments; progress
  • Boredom

20 May 1953

  • Offering and surrender
  • Mistakes and insincerity
  • The flame of aspiration, self-giving
  • The physical being as a tool of another Power
  • Story of a Sufi mystic, a musician
  • Transformation of the body: three hundred years
  • Replacing body-organs by centres of energy
  • Collaboration in the Divine’s work
  • Living in the true consciousness; stepping back
  • Appendix: a talk of Sri Aurobindo

27 May 1953

  • Music: its origin and type
  • Inspiration and technique
  • Individualisation, separation, inconscience
  • The remedy: to become conscious again
  • All touch the same Thing
  • Understanding others: beyond words
  • Sources of music; genius
  • Indian and European music
  • Perceiving the Divine in everything
  • Explaining things: the entire universe needed
  • The Divine is the only existence
  • Value of art
  • Work and realisation

3 June 1953

  • Determinism and freedom
  • Formations from different planes
  • Prayer changes the determined course of things
  • Devices Nature uses to make us act
  • The Divine Grace and Karma
  • Aspiration and prayer have a magical power

10 June 1953

  • Attacks of adverse forces and man’s response
  • Cases of possession; refusal to change
  • The asura of falsehood: “Lord of the Nations”
  • Beings of the vital plane
  • Man will transform his earth
  • True function of the mind and vital
  • How to discern hostile attacks
  • Learning and understanding
  • Teaching: preparing courses,

17 June 1953

  • Function of the intellect
  • Cause of death
  • Growth in perfection

24 June 1953

  • Power of the vital
  • Cause and cure of fear
  • Body’s instinct
  • On laziness and work
  • Illness, its causes and cure
  • Concentrating to gain time
  • Work at school: organising the mind
  • Science and art

1 July 1953

  • Paradise, purgatory, eternal hell
  • Imagination, a form-maker
  • Power of good formations; healing
  • After death, where? Unifying the being
  • Spirits of death and of fire
  • Consenting to die

8 July 1953

  • Prayer and aspiration
  • Ill-will: a bad thought is a bad act
  • Cause and remedy of evil
  • Animals; vital origin of the insect species
  • Desire to devour, an expression of “love”
  • Instinct; the consciousness in Nature
  • Widening the consciousness

15 July 1953

  • Superstitions
  • Religious rules and hygiene
  • Discerning attacks by adverse forces
  • Sincere aspiration and trials
  • Mental conceptions imposed on the Divine
  • Hold of hostile forces upon money-power
  • Giving money for the Divine’s work
  • God and His creation

22 July 1953

  • Protection prevents illnesses, accidents
  • Fear brings illness, accidents
  • Mental, vital, physical fear
  • Taking every trial as a proof of the Grace
  • Illness: moral condition more important
  • Causes of illness; disequilibrium
  • Organic and functional imbalance
  • Equilibrium in all parts of the being necessary
  • Lack of receptivity — the grain of sand Inner causes of illness
  • External causes of illness
  • Attacks; black magic
  • Small vital entities in the earth-atmosphere
  • Origin of microbes: forces of disintegration
  • Epidemic in Japan
  • Vampires
  • Curing illness
  • Spiritual purification
  • Trust in life: children

29 July 1953

  • Events on different planes
  • “India is free”: Mother’s pre-vision
  • Events can be changed; a premonitory dream
  • Degrees of change possible; intervention
  • To understand truly
  • Individual initiative
  • Project yourself on a screen, then observe
  • Know thyself; learning, self-discovery
  • The very reason for existence

5 August 1953

  • Progress of the psychic being; rebirth
  • Progress of those not conscious of their psychic
  • Manifestation and progress
  • Inspiration; receptivity; exchange
  • Progress of mind, vital, physical
  • Mind justifies everything; the psychic knows
  • Will and impulse; “The last time I am doing it”
  • Impulse and its expression in action
  • Incarnation of the psychic being
  • Psychic growth; Karma

12 August 1953

  • Knowing people through self-identification
  • Methods of knowledge; concentration
  • Widening the consciousness; progress
  • Self-identification; Paris theatre story
  • Knowing the Divine by identification
  • Concentration, one-pointedness
  • In Nature all possibilities exist

19 August 1953

  • Aspiration in trees and animals
  • The Presence in all things
  • Stones can accumulate forces; their use
  • Exchange: giving and taking
  • The more one gives, the more one grows
  • Instinct to destroy and spoil: adverse forces
  • Being a true hero
  • Faith in the Grace and return to the Light

26 August 1953

  • Source of Love
  • True love and its deformations
  • Love of animals for men
  • Intelligence and psychic consciousness
  • Love in flowers, crystals, animals

2 September 1953

  • Religion and the spiritual life
  • Castes
  • Evolutionary movement; old civilisations
  • Nature’s play; her collaboration required

9 September 1953

  • Divine Force chooses its instrument
  • Progress of the mind and vital
  • Converting the vital
  • Contact with the psychic; heroes
  • The vital, an all-powerful instrument
  • Depression; the vital as source of troubles
  • The vital’s power

16 September 1953

  • Receptivity of the body
  • Fixity in physical world
  • After death: a musician’s hands
  • The psychic being and rebirth
  • Progress and battle; Titanic forces
  • Yogic force prevents rigidity of the body
  • Growth of consciousness: rebirth
  • Consciousness and memory
  • Resistance and receptivity
  • You are all in a sea of tremendous vibrations

23 September 1953

  • Physical world: symbol of universal movements
  • Illness in animals
  • The universe: a serpent biting its tail
  • The earth: symbol of the universe
  • The “Evil Persona”
  • Mother’s experience of the luminous earth

30 September 1953

  • Earth-memory
  • The rule of the Overmind and the Supermind
  • Sri Aurobindo’s yoga begins where others end
  • Men with realisation often fixed and unplastic
  • Children as malleable stuff for transformation
  • To be a child all one’s life
  • Children and other people in the Ashram
  • Remembrance and memory

7 October 1953

  • Consciousness of a complete cure
  • Mental, vital, physical, spiritual aspiration
  • Body-consciousness
  • Body’s sure instinct
  • Trust in life
  • Dynamic faith
  • Why are some children here in the Ashram
  • Learning to know others by identity
  • Responsible people: governments, teachers
  • Supermind’s action: transformation
  • To know oneself: one’s field of work
  • Solidarity; individual and collective progress
  • Descent of hostile vital forces and its effect

14 October 1953

  • “Formateurs” or form-makers
  • Intermediary beings, evil and disorder
  • Why wickedness if “All is He”?
  • Identification with the Divine: no problems
  • Collective suggestions; the fear of death
  • Remedies for the fear of death
  • The psychic being, immortality and death
  • Fear attracts the thing feared
  • Fear is contagious; the mystic’s remedy

21 October 1953

  • Artists; stained-glass windows
  • Expressing the Divine in art
  • Relation with the Divine
  • On the Ramayana and Mahabharata
  • Japanese gardens
  • Buddhism of the South and the North
  • Ravana and Sita; the Asura’s choice
  • Sense of beauty; artistic taste varies
  • To know true beauty rise above all form

28 October 1953

  • True art; realisation of divine beauty
  • Evolution moves in spirals; modern art
  • Universal progress; spherical spirals
  • Nature’s plan
  • Art and commercialism; fatuity
  • The “mushroom species” and true art
  • Art in India
  • Nature’s huge cauldron

4 November 1953

  • On the “sphere with spirals”
  • Sacrifice
  • Feeling the Divine Presence
  • Man is a moralist, not the Divine
  • Bargaining and sacrifice
  • True raison d’etre of life

11 November 1953

  • The aim to be achieved
  • The seventh creation: that of Equilibrium
  • The eternal word
  • Generosity and avarice
  • Money: a force; the middle path

18 November 1953

  • Rebirth and the psychic being
  • Nature’s progress: constant and slow changes
  • Justice, determinism, and Divine Grace
  • Man learns through past experiments
  • Grace and faith
  • The idea of indispensable needs

25 November 1953

  • Smiling at an enemy
  • Trust and receptivity; bargaining
  • Sincerity and the Divine’s help
  • The story of creation
  • World of freedom of choice
  • The Asuras; their conversion
  • Stalin and Hitler
  • Ravana; dissolution of the Asuras

9 December 1953

  • Spiritual ego
  • Entities behind the forces of Nature
  • Radha’s prayer; all is divine
  • Suffering and bliss; vibrations and reactions
  • One is surrounded by what one thinks about
  • The sacrifice of the Divine Mother
  • Questions on Savitri

16 December 1953

  • Methods of identification and self-finding
  • Aim of life
  • The psychic guides, organises circumstances
  • Rest in action; quiet faith
  • Knowing how to wait

23 December 1953

  • Knowledge and the mind
  • Concentration; its power
  • Uneducated people with gift of vision
  • Illness: disequilibrium
  • Mind and body; mental formations that cure
  • Accidents: there is a moment of choice
  • Character and averting danger
  • Grace and accidents
  • Bringers of bad luck

30 December 1953

  • Destructiveness in children
  • Psychic being choosing its next birth
  • Wickedness in children
  • Consciousness of parents at the moment of conception
  • Tamas and the need of excitement
  • Education in the Ashram school
  • Ashram children
  • “Let your acts speak for you.”

Book Sample

Questions and Answers 1953

18 March 1953

We are conscious of only an insignificant portion of our being.”

Questions and Answers 1929 – 1931 (7 April 1929)

What are these insignificant parts of our being?

Almost all of them.

There are very few things which are not insignificant; all your ordinary reactions, ordinary thoughts, sensations, actions, movements, — all this is very insignificant. It is only at times, when there is a flash of the higher consciousness through the psychic, an opening into something else, a contact with the psychic being (which may last for a second), at that moment, it is not insignificant. Otherwise, all the rest is repeated in millions and millions of copies. Your way of seeing, acting, all your reactions, thoughts, feelings, all that is ordinary. And you believe you are extraordinary, particularly when you are seized by extraordinary sensations and feelings, those that you consider extraordinary — you believe you are lifted higher, nearing something superhuman; but you are quite mistaken. It is nothing but an ordinary state, deplorably ordinary. You must enter deeper, try to see within yourself if you want to find something which is not insignificant.

You have said that in a previous life we were together; but if we had not done Yoga, couldn’t we have met all the same?

Not necessarily.

I remember the circumstances in which I said that; it was to a lady who had come here and asked me how it was that she had come here…. This is true in a general way; when those born scattered over the world at great distances from one another are driven by circumstances or by an impulsion to come and gather here, it is almost always because they have met in one life or another (not all in the same life) and because their psychic being has felt that they belonged to the same family; so they have taken an inner vow to continue to act together and collaborate. That is why even though they are born far from one another, there is something which compels them to come together; it is the psychic being, the psychic consciousness that is behind. And only to the extent the psychic consciousness is strong enough to order and organise the circumstances or the life, that is, strong enough not to allow itself to be opposed by outside forces, outside life movements, can people meet.

It is profoundly true in reality; there are large “families of beings” who work for the same cause, who have gathered in more or less large numbers and who come in groups as it were. It is as though at certain times there were awakenings in the psychic world, as though lots of little sleeping children were being called to wake up: “It is time, quick, quick, go down!” And they hurry down. And sometimes they do not drop at the same place, they are dispersed, yet there is something within which troubles them, pushes them; for one reason or another they are drawn close and that brings them together. But it is something deep in the being, something that is not at all on the surface; otherwise, even if people met they would not perhaps become aware of the bond. People meet and recognise each other only to the extent they become conscious of their psychic being, obey their psychic being, are guided by it; otherwise there is all that comes in to oppose it, all that veils, all that stupefies, all those obstacles to prevent you from finding yourself in your depths and being able to collaborate truly in the work. You are tossed about by the forces of Nature.

There is only one solution, to find your psychic being and once it is found to cling to it desperately, to let it guide you step by step whatever be the obstacle. That is the only solution.

All this I did not write but I explained it to that lady. She had put to me the question: “How did I happen to come here?” I told her that it was certainly not for reasons of the external consciousness, it was something in her inner being that had pushed her. Only the awakening was not strong enough to overcome all the rest and she returned to the ordinary life for very ordinary reasons of living.

Outwardly, it was a funny thing that had made her come here. She was a young woman like others, she had been betrothed but not married; the man had broken off. She was very unhappy, had wept much and that had spoiled her pretty face, dug wrinkles there. And when the heavy grief had gone, she was no longer so pretty. So she was extremely vexed; she consulted people whose profession it is to make you look pretty. They advised her paraffin injections in the face: “After that, you don’t have wrinkles any longer!” She was injected with grease; and instead of the desired effect, she had greasy lumps here and there. She was in despair, for she was uglier than ever. Then she met a charlatan who told her that in England there was no means of restoring her pretty face: “Go to India, there are great Yogis there who will do it for you!” That is why she had come here. The very first thing she told me was: “You see how my face is ruined, can you restore my pretty looks?” I said no! Then she started putting me questions on Yoga and she was moved. That day she told me: “I came to India to get rid of my wrinkles; now what you tell me interests me. But then why did I come? This is not the true motive that made me come here.” I explained to her that there was something other than her external being and that it was her psychic being which had led her here. External motives are simply pretexts used by the psychic to realise itself.

But she was quite a wonderful person! In the beginning she had taken an attitude of benevolence and goodwill towards everything and everybody, even the worst scamp; she saw only the good side. Then as she stayed on, her consciousness developed; after a time, she began to see people as they were. So, one day she told me: “Formerly, when I was unconscious, I thought that everybody was good, people seemed to be so nice! Why did you make me conscious?” I answered her: “Do not stop on the way. Go a little further.”

Once one has begun Yoga, it is better to go to the end.

Cathegory “The Mother”


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