Questions and Answers 1956 (CWM Vol.8)

Questions and Answers 1956

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 8

This volume is made up of conversations of the Mother in 1956 with 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 the Ashram’s school. The Mother usually began by reading out a passage from a French translation of one of Sri Aurobindo’s writings; she then commented on it or invited questions. During this year she discussed portions of two works of Sri Aurobindo: The Synthesis of Yoga (Part One) and Thoughts and Glimpses (first part).

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: 430 pages

Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle

Language: English

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4 January 1956

  • Integral idea of the Divine
  • All things attracted by the Divine
  • Bad things are things no longer in their place
  • Integral yoga
  • Moving idea-force; small and great ideas
  • New Year Message of 1956
  • Consequences of manifestation
  • Work of the Spirit through Nature
  • Change consciousness: the world changes

11 January 1956

  • Desire and self-deception
  • Giving all one is and has
  • Sincerity: more powerful than will
  • Joy of progress Definition of youth

18 January 1956

  • Positive and negative sides of individual work
  • Cheerfulness
  • A chosen human vessel of the Divine
  • Aspiration of plants, of children
  • Active consciousness in plants
  • Being chosen by the Divine
  • True hierarchy
  • Perfect relation with the Divine
  • India is free: already accomplished in 1915
  • Division of India, not decreed

25 January 1956

  • The divine way of life
  • Divine; Overmind; Supermind
  • Material body — for discovery of the Divine
  • Five psychological perfections

1 February 1956

  • Path of knowledge
  • Finding the Divine in life
  • Capacity for contact with the Divine
  • Partial and total identification with the Divine
  • Manifestation and hierarchy

8 February 1956

  • Forces of Nature expressing a higher Will
  • Illusion of separate personality
  • One dynamic force which moves all things
  • Linear and spherical thinking
  • Common ideal of life: microscopic

15 February 1956

  • Nature and the Master of Nature
  • Conscious intelligence
  • Theory of the Gita: not the whole truth
  • Surrender to the Lord
  • Change of nature

22 February 1956

  • Strong immobility of an immortal spirit
  • Equality of soul
  • Is all an expression of the divine Will?
  • Loosening the knot of action
  • Using experience as a cloak to cover excesses
  • Sincerity, a rare virtue

29 February 1956

  • Sacrifice: self-giving
  • Divine Presence in the heart of Matter
  • Divine Oneness
  • Divine Consciousness
  • All is One
  • Divine in the inconscient aspires for the Divine

7 March 1956

  • Animal sacrifice
  • Sacrifices to hostile forces
  • Sacrifice: receive in proportion to consciousness
  • To be luminously open
  • Integral transformation
  • Pain of rejection; delight of progress

Spirit behind intention

Spirit and matter: over-simplified distinction

14 March 1956

  • Dynamic meditation
  • Do all as an offering to the Divine
  • Significance of 23.4.56.
  • If twelve men of goodwill call the Divine

21 March 1956

  • Identify with the Divine
  • The Divine: the most important thing in life

28 March 1956

  • The starting-point of spiritual experience
  • The boundless finite
  • The Timeless and Time
  • Mental explanation not enough
  • Changing knowledge into experience
  • Sat-Chit-Tapas-Ananda

4 April 1956

  • The witness soul
  • A Gita enthusiast
  • Propagandist spirit; Tolstoy’s son

11 April 1956

  • Self-creator
  • Manifestation of Time and Space
  • Brahman-Maya and Ishwara-Shakti
  • Personal and Impersonal

18 April 1956

  • Ishwara and Shakti: seeing both aspects
  • The Impersonal and the divine Person
  • Soul: the presence of the divine Person
  • Going to other worlds; exteriorisation; dreams
  • Telling stories to oneself
  • Creative power in world of vital forms

25 April 1956

  • God: human conception and the true Divine
  • Earthly existence: to realise the Divine
  • Ananda: divine pleasure
  • Relations with the divine Presence
  • Asking the Divine for what one needs
  • Allowing the Divine to lead one

2 May 1956

  • Threefold union
  • Manifestation of the Supramental
  • Profiting from the Divine
  • Recognition of the Supramental Force
  • Ascent, descent, manifestation

9 May 1956

  • Beginning of the true spiritual life
  • Spirit gives value to all things
  • To be helped by the supramental Force

16 May 1956

  • Needs of the body: not true in themselves
  • Spiritual and supramental law
  • Aestheticised Paganism
  • Morality: checks true spiritual effort
  • Effect of supramental descent
  • Half-lights and false lights

23 May 1956

  • Yoga and religion
  • Story of two clergymen on a boat
  • The Buddha and the Supramental
  • Hieroglyphs and phonetic alphabets
  • A vision of ancient Egypt
  • Memory for sounds

30 May 1956

  • Forms as symbols of the Force behind
  • Art as expression of contact with the Divine
  • Supramental psychological perfection
  • Division of works
  • The Ashram: idle stupidities

6 June 1956

  • Sign or indication from books of revelation
  • Spiritualised mind
  • Stages of sadhana
  • Reversal of consciousness
  • Organisation around central Presence
  • Boredom: most common human malady

13 June 1956

  • Effects of the Supramental action
  • Education and the Supermind
  • Right to remain ignorant
  • Concentration of mind
  • Reason: not supreme capacity of man
  • Physical education and studies
  • Self-imposed inner discipline
  • True usefulness of teachers and instructors

20 June 1956

  • The heart’s mystic light and intuition
  • Psychic being; psychic contact
  • Secular refrigeration; secular ethics
  • True role of mind
  • Realisation of the Divine through love
  • Depression; pleasure; joy
  • Heart: mixture in its action
  • To follow the soul and not the mind
  • Physical energy: progressive effort; rest
  • To remember the Mother
  • Collective discipline; laws of atavism

27 June 1956

  • Birth: entry of soul into body
  • Formation of the supramental world
  • Aspiration for progress
  • Bad thoughts
  • Cerebral filter
  • Progress and resistance

4 July 1956

  • Aspiration when one sees a shooting star
  • Preparing the body; making it understand
  • Getting rid of pain and suffering
  • Psychic light

11 July 1956

  • Beauty restored to its priesthood
  • Occult worlds; occult beings
  • Difficulties and the supramental force

18 July 1956

  • Unlived dreams
  • Radha-consciousness
  • Separation and identification
  • Ananda of identity and Ananda of union
  • Sincerity, meditation and prayer
  • Enemies of the Divine
  • The universe is progressive

25 July 1956

  • A complete act of divine love
  • How to listen
  • Sports programme same for boys and girls
  • How to profit by stay at Ashram
  • “To Women about Their Body”

1 August 1956

  • Value of worship
  • Spiritual realisation and the integral yoga
  • Symbols: translation of experience into form
  • Sincerity: fundamental virtue
  • Intensity of aspiration: with anguish or joy
  • The divine Grace

8 August 1956

  • How to light the psychic fire; will for progress
  • Helping from a distance; mental formations
  • Prayer and the divine
  • Grace Grace at work everywhere

15 August 1956

  • Protection, purification, fear
  • Atmosphere at the Ashram on Darshan days
  • Significance of Darshan messages
  • Significance of fifteenth August
  • State of surrender
  • Divine Grace: has always been all-powerful
  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • Sri Aurobindo’s message of 15 August 1947

22 August 1956

  • The heaven of the liberated mind
  • Trance or samadhi
  • Occult discipline for leaving consecutive bodies
  • To be greater than one’s experience
  • Total self-giving to the Grace
  • The truth of the being
  • Unique relation with the Supreme

29 August 1956

  • To live spontaneously
  • Mental formations Absolute sincerity
  • Balance is indispensable: the middle path
  • When in difficulty, widen the consciousness
  • Easiest way of forgetting oneself

5 September 1956

  • Material life: seeing in the right way
  • Effect of the Supermind on the earth
  • Emergence of the Supermind
  • Falling back into the same mistaken ways

12 September 1956

  • Questions, practice and progress

19 September 1956

  • Power: predominant quality of vital being
  • The Divine, the psychic being, the Supermind
  • How to come out of the physical consciousness
  • Look life in the face
  • Ordinary love and Divine love

26 September 1956

  • Soul of desire
  • Openness; harmony with Nature
  • Communion with divine Presence
  • Individuality, difficulties and the soul of desire
  • Utility of personal contact with the Mother
  • Inner receptivity
  • Bad thoughts in the presence of the Mother

3 October 1956

  • The Mother’s different ways of speaking
  • The new manifestation
  • A new element: new possibilities
  • Greater number of child prodigies
  • Laws of Nature and the supramental
  • Logic of the unforeseen
  • Child prodigies: example of a child of eight
  • Creative writers;the hands of musicians
  • Prodigious children, prodigious men

10 October 1956

  • The supramental race — in a few centuries
  • Condition for new realisation
  • Everyone must follow his own path
  • Progress: no two paths alike

17 October 1956

  • Delight: the highest state
  • Delight and detachment
  • To be calm
  • Quietude, mental and vital
  • Calm and strength
  • Experience and expression of experience

24 October 1956

  • Taking a new body
  • Different cases of incarnation
  • Departure of soul from body

31 October 1956

  • Manifestation of divine love
  • Deformation of Love by human consciousness
  • Experience and expression of experience

7 November 1956

  • Thoughts created by forces of universal
  • Mind Our own thought hardly exists
  • Idea: origin higher than mind
  • The Synthesis of Yoga: effect of reading

14 November 1956

  • Conquering the desire to appear good
  • Self-control and control of the life around
  • Power of mastery
  • Be a great yogi to be a good teacher
  • Organisation of the Ashram school
  • Elementary discipline of regularity

21 November 1956

  • “Knowings” and Knowledge
  • Reason: summit of man’s mental activities
  • “Willings” and the true will
  • Personal effort
  • First step to have knowledge
  • Relativity of medical knowledge
  • Mental gymnastics to make the mind supple
  • Spiritual life: traditional and in the Ashram

28 November 1956

  • Desire, ego, animal nature
  • Consciousness: a progressive state
  • Ananda: desireless state beyond enjoyings
  • Personal effort that is mental
  • Reason: when to disregard it
  • Reason and “reasons”

5 December 1956

  • Even and objectless ecstasy
  • Transform the animal
  • Individual personality and world-personality
  • Characteristic features of a world-personality
  • Expressing a universal state of consciousness
  • Food and sleep
  • Ordered intuition

12 December 1956

  • Virtue of paradoxes
  • Nothing is impossible
  • The unfolding universe and the Eternal
  • Attention, concentration and effort
  • Capacity for growth almost unlimited
  • Why everything is not the same
  • Distinction between will and “willings”
  • Suggestions and formations
  • The vital world: adverse suggestions

19 December 1956

  • Preconceived mental ideas:
  • Process of creation
  • Destructive power of bad thoughts
  • To be perfectly sincere

26 December 1956

  • Defeated victories
  • Change of consciousness
  • Experiences that indicate the road to take
  • Choice and preference
  • Diversity of the manifestation

Book Sample

Questions and Answers 1956

4 January 1956

If we are to attempt an integral Yoga, it will be as well to start with an idea of the Divine that is itself integral. There should be an aspiration in the heart wide enough for a realisation without any narrow limits. Not only should we avoid a sectarian religious outlook, but also all one-sided philosophical conceptions which try to shut up the Ineffable in a restricting mental formula.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL, Vol. 20, p. 76

Sweet Mother, what does Sri Aurobindo mean by an integral idea of the Divine?

Everyone forms an idea of the Divine for himself according to his personal taste, his possibilities of understanding, his mental preferences, and even his desires. People form the idea of the Divine they want, the Divine they wish to meet, and so naturally they limit their realisation considerably.

But if we can come to understand that the Divine is all that we can conceive of, and infinitely more, we begin to progress towards integrality. Integrality is an extremely difficult thing for the human consciousness, which begins to be conscious only by limiting itself. But still, with a little effort, for those who know how to play with mental activities, it is possible to widen oneself sufficiently to approach something integral.

You form an idea of the Divine which suits your own nature and your own conception, don’t you? So if you want to get out of yourself a little and attempt to do a truly integral yoga, you must try to understand that the Divine is not only what you think or feel Him to be, but also what others think and feel Him to be — and in addition something that nobody can think and feel.

So, if you understand this, you have taken the first step on the path of integrality.

Instinctively, and without even being aware of it, people persist in wanting the Divine to suit their own conceptions. For, without thinking, quite spontaneously, they tell you, “Oh, this is divine, this is not divine!” What do they know about it? And then there are those who have not yet set foot on the path, who come here and see things or people, and tell you, “This Ashram has nothing to do with the Divine, it is not at all divine.” But if you ask them, “What is divine?”, they would be hard put to it to answer; they know nothing about it. And the less one knows, the more one judges; that’s an absolute fact. The more one knows, the less can one pronounce judgments on things.

And there comes a time when all one can do is observe, but to judge is impossible. One can see things, see them as they are, in their relations and in their place, with an awareness of the difference between the place they now are in and the one they ought to occupy — for this is the great disorder in the world — but one does not judge. One simply observes.

And there is a moment when one would be unable to say, “This is divine and that is not divine”, for a time comes when one sees the whole universe in so total and comprehensive a way that, to tell the truth, it is impossible to take away anything from it without disturbing everything.

And one or two steps further yet, and one knows with certainty that what shocks us as a contradiction of the Divine is quite simply something not in its proper place. Each thing must be exactly in its place and, besides, it must be supple enough, plastic enough, to admit into a harmonious progressive organisation all the new elements which are constantly added to the manifested universe. The universe is in a perpetual movement of inner reorganisation, and at the same time it is growing larger, so to say, becoming more and more complex, more and more complete, more and more integral — and this, indefinitely. And as gradually new elements manifest, the whole organisation has to be remade on a new basis, so that there is not a second when everything is not in perpetual movement. But if the movement is in accordance with the divine order, it is harmonious, so perfectly harmonious that it is hardly perceptible, it is difficult to see it.

Now, if one comes down again from this consciousness to a more external consciousness, naturally one begins to feel, very precisely, the things which help one to reach the true consciousness and those which bar the way or pull one back or even struggle against the progress. And so the outlook changes and one has to say, “This is divine, or this helps me toward the Divine; and that is against the Divine, it is the enemy of the Divine.”

But this is a pragmatic point of view, for action, for the movement in material life — because one has not yet reached the consciousness which goes beyond all that; because one has not attained that inner perfection, having which one has no longer to struggle, for one has gone beyond the zone of struggle or the time of struggle or the utility of struggle. But before that, before attaining that state in one’s consciousness and action, necessarily there is struggle, and if there is struggle there is choice and for the choice discernment is necessary.

And the surest means to discernment is a conscious and willing surrender, as complete as possible, to the divine Will and Guidance. Then there is no risk of making a mistake and of taking false lights for true ones.

Cathegory “The Mother”


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