Questions and Answers 1955 (CWM Vol.7)

Questions and Answers 1955

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 7

This volume is made up of talks given by the Mother in 1955 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 or a French translation of one of Sri Aurobindo’s writings. She then commented on the passage or invited questions. For most of the year she discussed two small books by Sri Aurobindo, Bases of Yoga and Lights on Yoga, and two chapters of The Synthesis of Yoga. 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: 448 pages

Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle

Language: English

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5 January:

  • Attunement of the outer nature;
  • Hostile forces try to delay transformation;
  • Knowledge of the future and action;
  • Coue’s system: autosuggestion

12 January:

  • Questioning and resistance increase difficulties;
  • Right spirit in which to face difficulties;
  • Depression and progress;
  • Ego, individual and collective;
  • Purification of experience

19 January:

  • The role of the higher mind;
  • Hostile forces and progress;
  • Catastrophes, their cause; resistance;
  • Function of the hostile forces; boasting;
  • Self-regarding vanity and hostile forces;
  • Well-developed psychic being and outer nature

26 January:

  • Suicide, reasons for and effects of;
  • Pleasure in loud noises; boredom;
  • Cowardice and tamas;
  • Story of animal-tamer; courage and fear;
  • Animals and fear;
  • Courage during war;
  • True courage

2 February:

  • Right attitude;
  • The body needed for sadhana;
  • Progress possible only in the body; suicide;
  • Experiences never identically repeated;

9 February:

  • Desire is contagious; its source;
  • Primitive form of love;
  • True joy is desireless; the artist’s delight;
  • Lady at the opera practising Buddhism;
  • Psychic need; mind as an instrument;
  • How the psychic being expresses itself;
  • Distinguishing the parts of one’s being;
  • The psychic guides the mind, vital and physical;
  • Illness: body and mind connected;
  • Ultra-modern painting; coloured photographs;
  • Stained glass;
  • Mother’s vision

16 February:

  • Losing something given by Mother;
  • Using things well;
  • Sadhak collecting soap-pieces;
  • What things are truly indispensable;
  • Nature’s harmonious arrangement;
  • Riches a curse; philanthropy;
  • Misuse of things creates misery

23 February:

  • The sense of taste; educating the senses;
  • Fasting; drawing energy;
  • The body and food;

2 March:

  • Right spirit; aspiration and desire;
  • Sleep and yogic repose; how to sleep;
  • Remembering dreams;
  • Concentration and outer activity;
  • Mother opens the door inside everyone;
  • Error of the lower vital;
  • Sleep, a school for inner knowledge;
  • Source of energy

9 March:

  • Psychic directly contacted through the physical;
  • Transforming egoistic movements;
  • Work of the psychic being;
  • Contacting the psychic and the Divine;
  • Experiences of different kinds;
  • Attacks of adverse forces;
  • Ugly forms seen in meditation

16 March:

  • Rejecting and transforming wrong movements;
  • Destiny after death; reincarnation of the psychic;
  • Light of Truth burns dark insincerities;
  • Mental inconsistencies and contradictions;
  • Ideas, a collective wealth; pure idea;
  • Religions, partial realisation

23 March:

  • Procedure for rejection and transformation;
  • Learning by heart; true understanding;
  • Vibrations, movements of the species;
  • A cat and a Russian peasant woman;
  • A cat doing yoga

30 March:

  • Yoga-shakti;
  • Energies of the earth; higher and lower;
  • Illness; curing by yogic means;
  • The true self and the psychic;
  • Solving difficulties by different methods;

6 April:

  • Freud’s psychoanalysis; the subliminal being;
  • The psychic and the subliminal;
  • True psychology;
  • Changing the lower nature;
  • Faith in different parts of the being;
  • Psychic contact established in all in the Ashram

13 April:

  • Psychoanalysts with their torch-lights;
  • The “underground super-ego”; dreams;
  • Dreams, sleep, control of night-activities;
  • Archetypes, Overmind and higher;
  • Dream of someone dying, its meaning;
  • Recurring dreams;
  • Integral repose, entering Sachchidananda;
  • Organising one’s life; concentration; repose

27 April:

  • Symbolic dreams and visions;
  • Curing pain by various methods;
  • Different states of consciousness;
  • Seeing oneself dead in a dream;
  • Exteriorisation

4 May:

  • Drawing on the universal vital forces;
  • The inner physical;
  • Receptivity to different kinds of forces;
  • Progress and receptivity

11 May:

  • Immunity of the body to attacks;
  • The subconscient; changing it;
  • Illness; preventing it;
  • Supramental nature in the body;
  • Transforming pain into pleasure;
  • Collective illness in the Ashram

18 May:

  • “The Problem of Woman”;
  • Men and women;
  • The Supreme Mother; the new creation;
  • Gods and goddesses;
  • A story of Creation; earth;
  • Nature employs sex as a means for evolution;
  • What is Nature? Matter on other planets;
  • Psychic being only on earth; beings everywhere;
  • Going to other worlds by occult means;
  • The range of the senses

25 May:

  • Religion and reason;
  • Reason: its true role and field;
  • Reason, an obstacle to or minister of the Spirit;
  • Developing the reason;
  • Reason prepares the path;
  • Learning how to live; the elite;
  • Reason controls and organises life;
  • Nature is infrarational, man has reason

1 June:

  • The aesthetic conscience;
  • Beauty and form;
  • The roots of our life;
  • The sense of beauty;
  • Educating the aesthetic sense; taste;
  • Man who preached “the morality of Nature”;
  • Mental constructions based on a revelation;
  • Changing the world and humanity;
  • Modern painting; art, old and new

8 June:

  • Working for the Divine and personal motives;
  • The ideal attitude is a perfect consecration;
  • The Divine manifesting on earth;
  • Reversal of consciousness; knowing oneself;
  • Integral progress; facing difficulties;
  • People in the Ashram;
  • The decision to do Yoga;
  • Ashram children given exceptional freedom

15 June:

  • Dynamic realisation; transformation;
  • The negative and positive side of experience;
  • The image of the dry coconut fruit;
  • Purusha, Prakriti, the Divine Mother;
  • The Truth-Creation;
  • Pralaya;
  • We are in a transitional period

22 June:

  • Awakening the Yoga-shakti;
  • The thousand-petalled lotus;
  • Reading: how far a help for yoga;
  • Simple and complicated combinations in men

29 June:

  • The true vital and true physical;
  • Time and Space;
  • The psychic’s memory of former lives;
  • The psychic organises one’s life;
  • The psychic’s knowledge and direction

6 July:

  • The psychic and the central being or jivatman;
  • Unity and multiplicity in the Divine;
  • Having experiences and the ego;
  • Mental, vital and physical exteriorisation;
  • Imagination has a formative power;
  • The function of the imagination;
  • The universe is progressive

13 July:

  • Cosmic spirit and cosmic consciousness;
  • The wall of ignorance; unity and separation;
  • Aspiration to understand, to know, to be;
  • The Divine is in the essence of one’s being;
  • Oneness and multiplicity through division;
  • Realising desires through the imaginaton;
  • Realising things by self-giving to Divine Grace

20 July:

  • The Impersonal Divine;
  • Escaping from the influence of others;
  • Surrender to the Divine brings perfect freedom;
  • “The Divine gives Himself”: its meaning;
  • The Impersonal Divine; Nirvana;
  • The principle of the inner dimensions;
  • The paths of aspiration and surrender;
  • Linear and spherical paths and realisations

27 July:

  • Concentration on the heart-centre;
  • Rising beyond the mind;
  • Mistaking vital feelings for the psychic;
  • “To dry up the heart”;
  • Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate;
  • Knowing what one’s consciousness is;
  • Assimilation and dispersion;
  • Mother’s work at the Balcony Darshan and in the Playground;
  • The March Past and the Marching;
  • Heroism in the First World War

3 August:

  • Nothing is impossible in principle;
  • Psychic contact and psychic influence;
  • Occult powers; adverse influences; magic;
  • Magic, occultism and Yogic powers;
  • Hypnotism and its effects

10 August:

  • How to meditate

17 August:

  • Vertical ascent and horizontal opening;
  • Liberation of the psychic being;
  • Images for discovery of the psychic being;
  • Sadhana to contact the psychic being

24 August:

  • Concentrating on photographs of Mother;
  • Self-awareness; kinds of meditation;
  • Concentration and meditation;
  • Contemplation and concentration;
  • Poetry is the sensuousness of the spirit;
  • Beauty and truth in poetry;
  • Inspiration and men of genius;
  • Silence; inner state and in things;
  • Living withdrawn from the surface existence

31 August:

  • Choosing the work in sadhana;
  • Education; learning through experience;
  • Never make rules;
  • True rest is an ascent into the Light;
  • Reading “Classics Illustrated”;
  • Vulgarisation of everything in modern times

7 September:

  • Work, a school of experience;
  • Life as an illusion: Buddha and Shankara;
  • Action expressing an inner realisation;
  • Avatars of Vishnu and Shiva;


  • Taking interest in things; vulgarity;
  • Modern world: perversion and vulgarity;
  • Cinema as an instrument of education

14 September:

  • Politics and finance;
  • “The Great Secret”; its purpose;
  • World politics;
  • America and Russia;
  • The evolutionary curve;
  • The Divine working during war;
  • India’s role in the world

21 September:

  • Literature and the taste for forms;
  • The characters of “The Great Secret”;
  • How literature helps us to progress;
  • Reading to learn; cheap, vulgar books;
  • The commercial mentality;
  • How to choose one’s books;
  • Learning to enrich one’s possibilities;
  • The attitude and general condition of men

5 October:

  • Science and Ignorance;
  • Knowledge, science and the Buddha;
  • Knowing by identification;
  • Discipline in science and in Buddhism;
  • Progress in the mental field and beyond it

12 October:

  • The problem of transformation;
  • Evolution; man and superman;
  • Awakening need of a higher good;
  • Sri Aurobindo and earth’s history;
  • Setting foot on the new path;
  • The transformation of animality;
  • The true reality of the universe;
  • Evolution; man, superman, the new race;
  • Mutual attitude of man and superman

19 October:

  • The rhythms of time;
  • The lotus of knowledge and perfection;
  • Potential knowledge;
  • The teguments of the soul;
  • Shastra and the Guru’s direct teaching;
  • “He who chooses the Infinite…”

26 October:

  • The Divine and the universal Teacher;
  • The power of the Word;
  • The Creative Word; the mantra;
  • Sound, music in other worlds;
  • The domains of pure form, colour and ideas

2 November:

  • The first movement in Yoga;
  • Interiorisation; finding one’s soul;
  • The Vedic Age;
  • An incident about Vivekananda;
  • The imaged language of the Vedas;
  • The Vedic Rishis; involutionary beings;
  • Involution and evolution

9 November:

  • Personal effort; egoistic mind;
  • Man is like a public square;
  • Nature’s work;
  • Ego needed for formation of individual;
  • Adverse forces needed to make man sincere;
  • Determinisms of different planes; miracles

16 November:

  • The significance of numbers;
  • Numbers; astrology; true knowledge;
  • “Divine’s Love” flowers for Kali puja;
  • Is personal effort egoistic?;
  • Desire, aspiration and progress;
  • Determining one’s approach to the Divine;
  • Liberation is obtained through austerities;
  • An Old Chaldean Legend

23 November:

  • One reality, multiple manifestations;
  • Integral Yoga: approach by all paths;
  • The supreme man and the divine man;
  • Miracles and the logic of events

30 November:

  • Time as a friend or enemy; forces of Nature;
  • Rain and snow in Algeria;
  • Stopping rain at the Ashram;
  • Work for integral perfection;
  • Ashram criticised by ignorant outsiders;
  • Mme. David-Neel;
  • False idea of superiority;
  • How can one become indifferent to criticism?;
  • Acting without attachment to results

7 December:

  • Emotional impulse of self-giving;
  • A young dancer in France;
  • The heart has wings, not the head;
  • Only joy can conquer the Adversary

14 December:

  • Rejection of life as illusion in the old Yogas;
  • Fighting the adverse forces;
  • Universal and individual being;
  • Three stages in Integral Yoga;
  • How to feel the Divine Presence constantly

21 December:

  • Integral Yoga and collective sadhana;
  • The formation of the Ashram;
  • Yoga of transformation: collective work;
  • Ashram children and yoga;
  • Miraculous interventions in human history;
  • Capacities and difficulties in human nature;
  • Intensification of difficulties

28 December:

  • Aspiration in different parts of the being;
  • Enthusiasm and gratitude;
  • Aspiration is in all beings;
  • Unlimited power of good; evil has a limit;
  • Progress in the parts of the being;
  • The physical being and progress;
  • Significance of a dream

Book Sample

Questions and Answers 1955

5 January 1955

This talk is based upon Sri Aurobindo’s Bases of Yoga, Chapter 3, “In Difficulty”.

Sweet Mother, how can we create “the attunement of the nature with the working of the Divine Light and Power”?

How can you do it? By trying.

First you must be conscious of the kind of attunement you want to realise. You must become aware of the points where this harmony does not exist; you must feel them and understand the contradiction between the inner consciousness and certain outer movements. You must become conscious of this first, and once you are conscious of it, you try to adapt the outer action, outer movements to the inner ideal. But first of all you must become aware of the disharmony. For there are many people who think that everything is going well; and if they are told, “No, your outer nature is in contradiction with your inner aspiration”, they protest. They are not aware. Therefore, the first step is to become aware, to become conscious of what is not in tune.

To begin with, most people will say, “What is this inner consciousness you are telling me about? I don’t know it!” So, obviously, they cannot establish any harmony if they are not even conscious of something within which is higher than their ordinary consciousness. This means that many preparatory stages are needed, preparatory states of awareness, before being ready for this harmonisation.

You must first of all know what the inner aim of the being is, the aspiration, the descending force, what receives it — everything must become conscious. And then, afterwards, you must look at the outer movements in the light of this inner consciousness and see what is in tune and what is not. And then, when you have seen what does not harmonise, you must gather the will and aspiration to change it and begin with the easiest part. You should not begin with the most difficult thing, you should begin with the easiest, the one you understand best, most easily, the disharmony which seems most evident to you. Then from there, gradually, you will go to the more difficult and more central things… Why do you happen to twist your ankle?…


Mother, last time you said that the hostile forces are going to strike a last blow this year. If the earth is not capable of winning the victory…

The earth? Did I say the earth?

The earth, India and individuals.

Yes, it is possible, it is a way of speaking. And so, if we are not able to win the victory…?

Does this mean that the possibility of transformation will be delayed?

Delayed perhaps by several centuries. This is precisely what the adverse forces are trying to bring about, and so far they have always succeeded — in putting off the thing. Always they have succeeded. “This will be for another time”, and the other time… perhaps after hundreds or thousands of years. And this is what they want to try to do once again. Perhaps all this is decreed somewhere. It is possible. But it is also possible that though it is decided, in order that the thing may take place as it ought to it is not good to reveal what is decided. There are many things like that, because people are neither conscious enough nor pure enough to do what they should do, exactly as they should do it, with full knowledge of the result; for the result, ninety- nine times out of a hundred, is not what they desire — or if it is what they desire, it is modified, it is mixed, diluted, there are differences, differences enough not to be fully satisfactory. So if one knew ahead exactly what was going to happen, one would remain seated, quietly, and would do nothing any longer. One would say, “Good, if this must happen, it is good, I have nothing more to do.” That is why one doesn’t know. But he who can act in all circumstances in full knowledge of the cause, knowing what the result of his action will be, and at the same time can do a certain thing which is sometimes even in contradiction with this result, that person indeed can know. But I don’t think there are many like that. In ordinary life people say that for someone to realise something, he ought always to aim much farther than the goal he has to attain; that all who have realised something in life, all the great men who have created, realised something, their aim, their ambition, their plan was always much greater, vaster, more complete, more total than what they did. They always fell short of their expectation and hope. It is a weakness, but it comes from what I said, that unless one has a very great ideal before him and the hope of realising it, one doesn’t put out all the energies of the being and therefore doesn’t do what is necessary to attain even the nearest goal, except, as I said, when one can act with the clear vision that “this is what ought to be done” and without the slightest worry about the consequences and the result of what one does; but this is difficult.

Cathegory “The Mother”


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