The words of the Mother : “Our life ought to be governed by the love for Truth and the thirst for Light” kindle the heart when one remembers Jyotipriya, founder of East-West Cultural Center, Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles. Today, on her 119th birth anniversary, we are filled with deep gratitude for the Truth she lit in the heart of all seekers; the luminous example of her life given to the service of the Divine, and the flame she shaped as the Center continue to inspire all aspirants.
Sri Aurobindo, her spiritual Guru in whom she had taken refuge, gave her the name “Lover of Light” (Jyotipriya). An ardent seeker of the spirit, Jyoti was graced with the Realization of the Soul. The greatly inspiring and outstanding aspect of her quest was her selfless spirit; her pilgrim feet both led and carried along with her many an aspirant on the path. We are reminded of Sri Aurobindo’s beautiful aphorism: “Beatitude is God’s aim for humanity; get this supreme good for thyself first that thou mayest distribute it entirely to thy fellow-beings”.
You have only to aspire, to keep yourself open to the Mother, to reject all that is contrary to her will and to let her work in you—doing also all your work for her and in the faith that it is through her force that you can do it. If you remain open in this way the knowledge and realisation will come to you in due course.
15 May 1932
To practise Yoga implies the will to overcome all attachments and turn to the Divine alone. The principal thing in the Yoga is to trust in the Divine Grace at every step, to direct the thought continually to the Divine and to offer oneself till the being opens and the Mother’s force can be felt working in the Adhara.
Q: There is something I have often wondered about: when one prays to the Lord, when one wants to make Him understand that something is wrong, I always have the impression that one must concentrate very hard and that after all one is calling to something far away. Is that right? Or is it really…
Mother: That depends on us!
Now I can feel Him everywhere, all the time, all the time… even a physical contact – it is subtle physical, but physical – in things, in the air, in people, in… like this. (Mother presses her hands to her face.) And then, it is not far to go, all I have to do is this (Mother turns her hands slightly inwards), one second of concentration – He is there! He is there, He is everywhere. He is far away only when we think He is far away.
Naturally, when we begin to think of all the zones, all the planes of universal consciousness and that it is at the very end, at the very end, right at the very end, then it becomes very far away, very, very far! (Mother laughs.) But when we think that He is everywhere, that He is everything and that it is only our perception that prevents us from seeing Him and feeling Him and that we only have to do this (Mother turns her hands inwards); it is a movement like this and like that (Mother turns her hands alternately inwards and outwards), it becomes very concrete: you do this (outward movement), everything becomes artificial, hard, dry, false, untrue, artificial; you do this (inward movement), everything becomes wide, tranquil, luminous, peaceful, vast, joyful. And it is simply this, that (Mother turns her hands alternately inwards and outwards). How? Where? It cannot be described, it is only, only a movement of consciousness, nothing else. A movement of consciousness. And the difference between the true consciousness and the false consciousness becomes more and more precise, and at the same time, thin – you don’t have to do great things to come out of it. Before that, one has the impression that one is living inside something and that a great interiorisation, concentration, absorption, is needed to get out of it; but now the impression is of something one accepts (Mother screens her face with her hand), something like a thin little peel that is very hard – very hard but malleable, very, very dry, very thin, very thin, something like putting on a mask; and then one does this (gesture), and it disappears.
One can foresee the time when it will not be necessary to be aware of the mask; it will be so thin that one will be able to see, to feel, to act through it with no need to put the mask on again. That is what has just begun.
But this Presence in all things… It is a vibration, but it is a vibration that contains everything – a vibration which contains a kind of infinite power, infinite delight and infinite peace, of vastness, vastness, vastness; there are no limits… But it is only a vibration, it does not… Oh, Lord! it cannot be thought, so it cannot be said. If you think, as soon as you think, the whole muddle begins again. That is why one cannot speak.
No, He is very far away because you think He is very far away. Even, you know, if you think He is there, like this( gesture close to her face ) touching you… if you could feel – it is not like the touch of a person, it is not like that. It is not something alien, external, which comes in from outside. It is not that… It is everywhere.
Then you feel – everywhere, everywhere, everywhere: inside, outside, everywhere, everywhere – Him, nothing but Him – Him, His vibration.
No, you must stop that (the head), until you stop that, you cannot see the True Thing – you look for comparisons, you say, It is like this, it is like that. Oh!
“This is the first thing necessary – aspiration for the Divine.”
Questions and Answers 1929 (7 April)
The first movement of aspiration is this: you have a kind of vague sensation that behind the universe there is something which is worth knowing, which is probably (for you do not yet know it) the only thing worth living for, which can connect you with the Truth; something on which the universe depends but which does not depend upon the universe, something which still escapes your comprehension but which seems to you to be behind all things…I have said here much more than the majority of people feel about the thing, but this is the beginning of the first aspiration – to know that, not to live in this perpetual falsehood where things are so perverted and artificial, this would be something pleasant; to find something that is worth living for.
“The next thing you have to do is to tend this aspiration, to keep it always alert and awake and living.”
Instead of telling yourself once in a while, “Oh, yes! I am thinking of finding the Divine”, just when there is something unpleasant, when you are a little disgusted because you feel tired – indeed, there are very many flimsy reasons – all of a sudden you remember that there is such a thing as yoga, something like the Divine to know who can get you out of this flatness of life.
“And for that what is required is concentration concentration – concentration upon the Divine with a view to an integral and absolute consecration to its Will and Purpose.”
Questions and Answers 1929 (7 April)
This is the second step. That is to say, you begin wanting to find and know the Divine and live it. You must feel at the same time that the thing is so precious, so important that your entire life is not sufficient for acquiring it. Then, the first movement is a self-giving; you tell yourself, “I do not want any longer to belong to myself, for the sake of my little personal satisfaction, I wish to belong to this marvellous thing which one must find, must know, must live and for which I aspire.”
“Concentrate in the heart. Enter into it; go within and deep and far, as far as you can. Gather all the strings of your consciousness that are spread abroad, roll them up and take a plunge and sink down.”
Naturally, when I speak of the heart, I do not mean the physical organ, the viscera, but the psychological or psychic centre of the being.
I know by experience that there isn’t one being who, were it only once in his life, has had a great urge towards… it doesn’t matter how he calls it – let us say the Divine for facility of speech, who is not sure to arrive; even if he turns his back on Him at a certain time, it’s of no importance – he is sure to arrive. He will have to struggle more or less, will have more or less difficulty, but he is sure to succeed one day. It’s a soul that has been chosen, it has become conscious because its hour has come – once the hour has come, well, the result will follow more or less quickly. You can do this in a few months; you can do it in some years; you can do it in some lives – but you will do it.
And what is remarkable is that this freedom of choice is left to you and that, if you decide within yourself that you will do it in this lifetime, you will do it. And I am not speaking here of a permanent and continuous decision because then you can arrive in twelve months. No, I mean: if you have suddenly been seized by this, “I want this”, even once, in a flash, the seal is put, there, like that.
When man becomes a little wiser, he will not complain about anything and will take the things the Divine sends him as a manifestation of His all-compassionate Grace. The more surrendered we are, the more we shall understand. The more grateful we are, the happier we shall be.
The contributions of evil to the good of the world & the harm sometimes done by the virtuous are distressing to the soul enamoured of good. Nevertheless be not distressed nor confounded, but study rather & calmly understand God’s ways with humanity.
The first necessity is the practice of concentration of your consciousness within yourself. The ordinary human mind has an activity on the surface which veils the real Self. But there is another, a hidden consciousness within behind the surface one in which we can become aware of the real Self and of a larger deeper truth of nature, can realise the Self and liberate and transform the nature. To quiet the surface mind and begin to live within is the object of this concentration. Of this true consciousness other than the superficial there are two main centres, one in the heart (not the physical heart, but the cardiac centre in the middle of the chest), one in the head. The concentration in the heart opens within and by following this inward opening and going deep one becomes aware of the soul or psychic being, the divine element in the individual. This being unveiled begins to come forward, to govern the nature, to turn it and all its movements towards the Truth, towards the Divine, and to call down into it all that is above. It brings the consciousness of the Presence, the dedication of the being to the Highest and invites the descent into our nature of a greater Force and Consciousness which is waiting above us. To concentrate in the heart centre with the offering of oneself to the Divine and the aspiration for this inward opening and for the Presence in the heart is the first way and, if it can be done, the natural beginning; for its result once obtained makes the spiritual path far more easy and safe than if one begins the other way.
That other way is the concentration in the head, in the mental centre. This, if it brings about the silence of the surface mind, opens up an inner, larger, deeper mind within which is more capable of receiving spiritual experience and spiritual knowledge. But once concentrated here one must open the silent mental consciousness upward to all that is above mind. After a time one feels the consciousness rising upward and in the end it rises beyond the lid which has so long kept it tied in the body and finds a centre above the head where it is liberated into the Infinite. There it begins to come into contact with the universal Self, the Divine Peace, Light, Power, Knowledge, Bliss, to enter into that and become that, to feel the descent of these things into the nature. To concentrate in the head with the aspiration for quietude in the mind and the realisation of the Self and Divine above is the second way of concentration. It is important, however, to remember that the concentration of the consciousness in the head is only a preparation for its rising to the centre above; otherwise, one may get shut up in one’s own mind and its experiences or at best attain only to a reflection of the Truth above instead of rising into the spiritual transcendence to live there. For some the mental concentration is easier, for some the concentration in the heart centre; some are capable of doing both alternately – but to begin with the heart centre, if one can do it, is the more desirable.
Q: What is the way to accept the Grace with gratitude?
Mother: Ah! First of all you must feel the need for it.
This is the most important point. It is to have a certain inner humility which makes you aware of your helplessness without the Grace, that truly, without it you are incomplete and powerless. This, to begin with, is the first thing.
It is an experience one can very well have. When, you see, even people who know nothing find themselves in quite difficult circumstances or facing a problem which must be solved or, as I just told you, an impulse which must be overcome or something that has disturbed them… and then they realise they are lost, they don’t know what to do – neither their mind nor their will nor their feelings help – they don’t know what to do, then it happen; there is within them something like a kind of call, a call to something which can do what one cannot. One aspires to something which is capable of doing what one can’t do.
This is the first condition. And then, if you become aware that it is only the Grace which can do that, that the situation in which you find yourself, from there the Grace alone can pull you out, can give you the solution and the strength to come out of it, then, quite naturally an intense aspiration awakes in you, a consciousness which is translated into an opening. If you call, aspire, and if you hope to get an answer, you will quite naturally open yourself to the Grace.
And later – you must pay great attention to this (Mother puts her finger on her lips) – the Grace will answer you, the Grace will pull you out of the trouble, the Grace will give you the solution to your problem or will help you to get out of your difficulty. But once you are free from trouble and have come out of your difficulty, don’t forget that it is the Grace which pulled you out, and don’t think it is yourself. For this, indeed, is the important point. Most people, as soon as the difficulty has gone, say, “After all, I pulled myself out of the difficulty quite well.”
There you are. And then you lock and bolt the door, you see, and you cannot receive anything any more. You need once again some acute anguish, some terrible difficulty for this kind of inner stupidity to give way, and for you to realise once more that you can do nothing. Because it is only when you grow aware that you are powerless that you begin to be just a little open and plastic. But so long as you think that what you do depends on your own skill and your own capacity, truly, not only do you close one door, but, you know, you close lots of doors one upon another, and bolt them. You shut yourself up in a fortress and nothing can enter there. That is the great drawback: one forgets very quickly. Quite naturally one is satisfied with one’s own capacity.
Q: But Mother, even when one tries to think that one is powerless, there is something which believes one is powerful. So?
Mother: Ah, yes, ah, yes! Ah, it is very difficult to be sincere… That is why the blows multiply and sometimes become terrible, because that’s the only thing which breaks your stupidity. This is the justification of calamities. Only when you are in an acutely painful situation and indeed before something that affects you deeply, then that makes the stupidity melt away a little. But as you say, even when there is something that melts, there is still a little something which remain inside. And that is why it lasts so long…
How many blows are needed in life for one to know to the very depths that one is nothing, that one can do nothing that one does not exist, that one is nothing, that there is no entity without the divine Consciousness and the Grace. From the moment one knows it, it is over; all the difficulties have gone. When one knows it integrally and there is nothing which resists… but till that moment… And it takes very long.
Q: Why doesn’t the blow come all at once?
Mother: Because that would kill you. For if the blow is strong enough to cure you, it would simply crush you, it would reduce you to pulp. It is only by proceeding little by little, little by little, very gradually, that you can continue to exist. Naturally this depends on the inner strength, the inner sincerity, and on the capacity for progress, for profiting by experience and, as I said a while ago, on not forgetting. If one is lucky enough not to forget, then one goes much faster. One can go very fast. And if at the same time one has that inner moral strength which, when the red-hot iron is at hand, does not extinguish it by trying to pour water over it, but instead goes to the very core of the abscess, then in this case things go very fast also. But not many people are strong enough for this. On the contrary, they very quickly do this (gesture), like this, like this, in order to hide, to hide from themselves. How many pretty little explanation one gives oneself, how many excuses one piles up for all the foolishnesses one has committed.
Q: Does the number of blows depend on people, Sweet Mother?
Mother: Yes, it depends on people; it depends, as I said, on their capacity for progress, and on their strength and their resistance. But I know very few people who don’t need blows at all.
Q: Mother, is the blow which comes Mahakali’s?
Mother: The blow? Not necessarily.
If you swallow a poison and are poisoned, it won’t be Mahakali’s fault. It is you who will have swallowed the poison. If one puts oneself into absolutely ridiculous conditions, one is in a state in which one is bound to break one’s head or arm or back; because you are not in a state of true equilibrium, you can’t accuse the divine forces. It is the normal mechanical consequence of the stupidity committed, of the inner state.
Q: What is the nature of Mahakali’s blow?
Mother: It makes you feel very happy. It gives you a sweet warmth in the heart, like that. You feel quite satisfied.
Q: Does one have to aspire for it or does it come naturally?
Mother: Yes, one must have a sincerity in the aspiration, really want to progress. One must truly say, “Yes, I want to progress” with sincerity… “Whatever happen, I want to progress.” Then it comes.
But as I said, it comes with a power of plenitude which holds an intense joy. When one has taken a decision, has decided to stop something in oneself, just not to repeat a stupidity one has committed, or to do something which one finds impossible or difficult to do and which, one knows, should be done, and when one has taken the decision and has put in the full sincerity of one’s will, well, then if a terrible blow comes to compel you to do what you have decided to do, it is a blow, but you feel glorified, you are quite happy, it is magnificent, you see, you feel something magnificent here (Mother points to the heart).
There is such a big difference between the mishaps that come to you just because you are in a purely external, mechanical, physical consciousness and in a state of ignorance which makes you commit all possible follies which naturally bring their consequences, inevitably – there is such a great difference between this and the altogether higher state to which you rise when you have determined to master yourself, to live only in the consciousness of Truth, whatever the cost, no matter what the price of progress, to progress… and the things that happen to you then are so full of meaning, you see so clearly in them that shining truth, that light which illumines you on the path as though you had a beacon, here, to guide you… you see so clearly! It is no longer something that crushes you, like a block of stone falling on your back. It is an overpowering resplendence.
That is why one always says: it is only the first step that needs an effort. The first step means: come out from that level and climb to this one. After that everything, everything changes.
But one must come out completely from that level, one must not remain there, one must not try to keep one foot here and one foot there, for that will not do.
Lord, this morning Thou hast given me the assurance that Thou wouldst stay with us until Thy work is achieved, not only as a consciousness which guides and illumines but also as a dynamic Presence in action. In unmistakable terms Thou hast promised that all of Thyself would remain here and not leave the earth atmosphere until earth is transformed. Grant that we may be worthy of this marvellous Presence and that henceforth everything in us be concentrated on the one will to be more and more perfectly consecrated to the fulfilment of Thy sublime Work.
7 December 1950
The lack of receptivity of the earth and men is mostly responsible for the decision Sri Aurobindo has taken regarding his body. But one thing is certain: what has happened on the physical plane affects in no way the truth of his teaching. All that he has said is perfectly true and remains so. Time and the course of events will prove it abundantly.
8 December 1950
To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee.
9 December 1950
To grieve is an insult to Sri Aurobindo who is here with us, conscious and alive.
14 December 1950
We must not be bewildered by appearances. Sri Aurobindo has not left us. Sri Aurobindo is here, as living and as present as ever and it is left to us to realise his work with all the sincerity, eagerness and concentration necessary.
15 December 1950
I was painfully shocked when I heard the translation of the leaflet you are distributing here in the Ashram. I never imagined you could have such a complete lack of understanding, respect and devotion for our Lord who has sacrificed Himself totally for us. Sri Aurobindo was not crippled; a few hours before he left his body he rose from his bed and sat for a long time in his armchair, speaking freely to all those around him. Sri Aurobindo was not compelled to leave his body, he chose to do so for reasons so sublime that they are beyond the reach of human mentality.
And when one cannot understand, the only thing to do is to keep a respectful silence.
26 December 1950
We stand in the Presence of Him who has sacrificed his physical life in order to help more fully his work of transformation. He is always with us, aware of what we are doing, of all our thoughts, of all our feelings and all our actions.
18 January 1951
Sri Aurobindo has given up his body in an act of supreme unselfishness, renouncing the realisation in his own body to hasten the hour of the collective realisation. Surely if the earth were more responsive, this would not have been necessary.
12 April 1953
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