- Indispensable Needs — Mother
- Know your self – The Mother answers
- Know yourself, conquer yourself, master yourself – Mother
- New Year’s Message 2019
- Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi – December 5
- The Sublime Charity
- Power of mental formations of thought– The Mother
- The significance of one’s birthday – Mother
- Aug 15, 2018 Sri Aurobindo’s B’day Darshan Message.
- On Thought
- The Divine relay race – A Disciple.
- In the folds of the Silence – Sri Aurobindo
- The first lesson on the Path – The Mother
- The most real and most effective help.
- On Pranayama – Mother shares her experience with a disciple.
- The one indispensable attitude and the first step – Mother
- Mother’s first meeting with Sri Aurobindo, March 29, 1914.
- Microbes, Illnesses and cure. The Mother reveals.
- The Word or Mantra – Mother explains
- Discriminate between Truth and falsehood in action – Mother
- Dangerous conditions of the world and the significance of Auroville – Mother
- The Refuge and the Quest—Sri Krishnaprem
- Christmas — Mother
- The True Meditation — Mother
- The way to Harmony – The Mother
- I have borne every attack which human beings have borne – Sri Aurobindo
- Mother on Sri Aurobindo’s Passing away.
- Role of soul or psychic being – Mother
- When you have a problem to solve – Mother
- Open the door sealed within simply by sincere aspiration – Mother
Q: Isn’t it more important to know oneself than to try to know others?
A: Very important, of capital importance! Besides, that’s the field of work given to each one. It is this one must understand, that each one – this totality of substance constituting your inner and outer body, the totality of substance with which your being is built from the outermost to the inmost – is a field of work; it is as though one had gathered together carefully, accumulated a certain number of vibrations and put them at your disposal for you to work upon them fully. It is like a field of action constantly at your disposal: night and day, awake or asleep, all the time – nobody can take it away from you, it is wonderful! You may refuse to use it (as most people do), but it is a mass to be transformed that is there in your hands, fully at your disposal, given to you so that you may learn to work upon it. So, the most important thing is to begin by doing that. You can do nothing for others unless you are able to do it for yourself. You can never give a good advice to anyone unless you are able to give it to yourself first, and to follow it. And if you see a difficulty somewhere, the best way of changing this difficulty is to change it in yourself first. If you see a defect in anyone, you may be sure it is in you, and you begin to change it in yourself. And when you will have changed it in yourself, you will be strong enough to change it in others. And this is a wonderful thing, people don’t realise what an infinite grace it is that this universe is arranged in such a way that there is a collection of substance, from the most material to the highest spiritual, all that gathered together into what is called a small individual, but at the disposal of a central Will. And that is yours, your field of work, nobody can take it away from you, it is your own property. And to the extent you can work upon it, you will be able to have an action upon the world. But only to that extent. One must do more for oneself, besides, than one does for others.
(With thanks for Mudra-di for sharing this with us).
Yes, there is a sublime charity, one which rises from a happy heart, from a serene soul. One who has won inner peace is a herald of deliverance wherever he goes, a bearer of hope and joy. Is not this what poor and suffering humanity needs above all things?
Yes, there are certain men whose thoughts are all love, who radiate love, and the mere presence of these individuals is a charity more active, more real than any other. Though they utter no word and make no gesture, yet the sick are relieved, the tormented are soothed, the ignorant are enlightened, the wicked are appeased, those who suffer are consoled. These individuals who, out of love, give themselves to all, who become the servants of all, are the living symbols of the supreme Charity.
When you have a thought, a well-made mental formation which goes out of you, it becomes an independent entity and continues on its way and it does that for which it was made. It continues to act independently of you. That is why you must be on your guard. If you have made such a formation and it has gone out, it has gone out to do its work; and after a time you find out that it was perhaps not a very happy thing to have a thought like that, that this formation was not very beneficial; now that it has gone out, it is very difficult for you to get hold of it again. You must have considerable occult knowledge. It has gone out and is moving on its way. Supposing in a moment of great anger (I do not say that you do so, but still when you were in quite a rage against someone, you said: “Ah! couldn’t some misfortune befall him?” Your formation has gone on its way. It has gone out and you have no longer any control over it; and it goes and organises some misfortune or other: it is going to do its work. And after sometime the misfortune arrives. Happily, you do not usually have sufficient knowledge to tell yourself: “Oh! It is I who am responsible”, but that is the truth.
Note that this power of formation has a great advantage, if one knows how to use it. You can make good formations and if you make them properly, they will act in the same way as the others. You can do a lot of good to people just by sitting quietly in your room, perhaps even more good than by undergoing a lot of trouble externally. If you know how to think correctly, with force and intelligence and kindness, if you love someone and wish him well very sincerely, deeply, with all your heart, that does him much good, much more certainly than you think. I have said this often; for example, to those who are here, who learn that someone in their family is very ill and feel that childish impulse of wanting to rush immediately to the spot to attend to the sick person. I tell you, unless it is an exceptional case and there is nobody to attend on the sick person (and at times even in such a case), if you know how to keep the right attitude and concentrate with affection and good will upon the sick person, if you know how to pray for him and make helpful formations, you will do him much more good than if you go to nurse him, feed him, help him wash himself, indeed all that everybody can do. Anybody can nurse a person. But not everybody can make good formations and send out forces that act for healing.
The importance of the birthday according to the Mother.
Yes, it is truly a special day in one’s life. It is one of the days in the year when the Supreme descends into us — or when we are face to face with the Eternal — one of those days when our soul comes in contact with the Eternal and, if we remain a little conscious, we can feel His Presence within us. If we make a little effort on this day, we accomplish the work of many lives, as in a lightning flash. That is why I give so much importance to the birthday — because what one gains in one day is truly something incomparable. And it is for this that I too work to open the consciousness a little upward so that one may come face to face with the Eternal. My child, it is a very, very special day, for it is the day of decision, the day when one can truly make a tremendous progress, when one can unite with the Supreme Consciousness. For on this day, the Lord lifts us up to the highest possible region so that our soul which is a portion of this Eternal Flame, can unite with it and absorb from the Source.
This day is truly an opportunity in life. One is so open and receptive that one can assimilate all that is given. I can do many things, — that is why it is important.
It is one of the days when the Lord Himself opens wide the doors for us. It is as though He were inviting us to further revive the flame of aspiration. It is one of the days which He gives us. We too, by our personal effort, could attain to this, but it would be long, hard and not so easy. And this — this is a chance in life — the day of Grace.
(Mother’s comment at a later date)
*It is an occult phenomenon that occurs invariably, without our knowledge, on this particular day of the year. The soul leaves behind the body and journeys up and up till it merges into the Source in order to replenish itself and absorb from the Supreme, Its Power, Light and Ananda and comes down charged for a whole year. Then again and again… it continues like this, year after year. *
(On another occasion, Mother explained)
This experience generally takes place on birthdays, but one is not at all conscious of it. It happens invariably; the soul rises, leaving behind all the terrestrial baggage and merges in the Supreme to be replenished by the Supreme power and comes back again here below, to continue living in His Beatitude. But since one is not conscious, one perceives nothing.
We see that thought, which is a dynamism in the highest sense of the word, acts in its own realm as a formative power in order to build a body for itself. It acts like a magnet on iron filings. It attracts all the elements which are akin to its own character, aim and tendencies, and it vivifies these elements – which are the constituent cells of its own body, that I shall call fluidic to avoid going into too many explanations – it animates them, moulds them, gives them the form which is best suited to its own nature.
We shall find a striking analogy between the work of thought and the work of the inventor, the builder of any kind. Let us take as an example a steam engine. The engineer draws up a plan in its smallest details, calculates and arranges everything, then he selects the appropriate materials for the materialisation of his conception, watches over the construction, etc.
And when the engine works, becoming by its movement a real living being, it will be the most complete possible manifestation of the thought which has built it, it will give the full measure of the power of this thought. The formative thought, a living entity, animates the body which has been built for it by the hands of men. In the mental domain also, there are conscious builders.
There are people who are specially gifted or who have developed certain inner senses in themselves, who can come into direct contact with this domain, mainly through vision and touch. When they are thus able to watch over the working of the phenomenon, they can, like chemists in their laboratories, manipulate substances, select them, mould them by their will-power and clothe their thoughts in forms that can manifest them fully.
But this is the ultimate stage of one of the many paths of individual progress. Long before achieving this full consciousness, it is possible to make powerful formations. Any person whose thought has any strength and persistence is constantly making formations without being aware of it. If you keep in mind that these formations are living entities always acting in the direction imparted to them by the thoughts which have given them birth, you will easily perceive the considerable consequences of these mental acts. Just as a good, kind, just and lofty thought can be eminently beneficial, so also a malevolent, base, wicked and selfish thought can be baneful. On this matter, I shall quote to you a passage from the Dhammapada which will give you an idea of the enormous importance attributed to thought by the wisdom of the past.
“Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy, whatever a hater may do to a hater, the harm caused by a misdirected thought is even greater still.
“Neither father nor mother nor any other kinsman can do so much good as a well-directed thought.”
If you reflect upon the incalculable number of thoughts which are emitted each day, you will see rising before your imagination a complex, mobile, quivering and terrible scene in which all these formations intercross and collide, battle, succumb and triumph in a vibratory movement which is so rapid that we can hardly picture it to ourselves.
Now you realise what the mental atmosphere of a city can be, where millions of individuals are thinking – and what thoughts! You can picture this teeming, mobile mass, this inextricable tangle. Well, in spite of all the contradictory tendencies, wills and opinions, a kind of unification or identity gets established among all these vibrations, for all of them – with a few minor exceptions – all express craving, craving in all its forms, all its aspects, on all planes.
This is to point out to you how we are contaminated each day, at each minute.
Can any one of us say that she has never felt craving and that she will never feel it again? Besides, how could we not feel craving when the atmosphere we breathe is saturated with it? How could we not feel this host of desires rising in ourselves when all the vibrations we receive are made of desires?…
For our part, we shall be content to asepticise ourselves so as to be safe from all infection. We shall aspire therefore for the individual victory, and if we win it we shall find out that we have done more for the collectivity in this way than we suspected at first.
To win this victory we must build up in ourselves a mentality whose quality is the opposite of that of the surrounding medium. We must, little by little, day by day, fill our minds with the loftiest, purest, most disinterested thoughts we can conceive of, and through our deliberate care they must become sufficiently living that they awaken in us each time a temptation to think wrongly comes to us from outside and rise in their dazzling splendour to face the shadow which constantly lurks in wait ready to assail us.
Let us light within ourselves the fire of the ancient vestals, the fire symbolising divine intelligence, which it is our duty to manifest.
This work cannot be achieved in a day or a month or even a year. We must will, and will with perseverance. But if you could know the benefits one reaps from this, if you could feel that peace, that perfect serenity which gradually replaces in us the agitation, the anxiety and fear which spring from desire, you would unhesitatingly set to work.
Moreover, the building up of a synthesis of pure and powerful thoughts does not lead solely to our own happiness. The clearer and higher the flame, the more light it sheds around it. The star we allow to shine through us will foster the birth of similar stars by its example; fortunately, not only darkness and ignorance, but also knowledge and light can be contagious.
In addition, the care we take to remain conscious of our highest thoughts will compel us to control our thoughts constantly, and this control is gradually obtained by the methods I outlined to you last month – analysis, reflection, meditation, etc. Those who have achieved the control of their mental being can emanate at will a certain portion of their intellectual power, send it wherever they think proper, while remaining perfectly conscious of it.
These emanations, which are true messengers, will take your place wherever, physically, it is for any reason impossible for you to go yourself. The advantages of this power will be easily apparent to you.
A thought which is skilfully directed and sustained can, by affinity, awaken to consciousness a glimmer of wisdom in many minds as yet wrapt in darkness, and thus set them on their way towards progressive evolution; it can serve as an intermediary for one who is sick by drawing towards him the vital forces needed to cure him; it can watch over a dear friend and protect him from many dangers, either by warning him through mental communication and through his intuition or by acting directly on the cause of peril.
Unfortunately, the inverse is also true, and bad thoughts as well are not wanting in power of action. We cannot imagine all the harm we do by receiving and emanating bad thoughts, thoughts of hate, vengeance, jealousy, envy, malevolent thoughts, harsh judgments, sectarian valuations…
We all know how injurious it is to listen to and repeat slanderous gossip, but it is not enough to abstain from the words, we must also abstain from the thoughts.
So let us watch over our thoughts, let us strive to create for ourselves an atmosphere of beautiful and noble thoughts and we shall have done much to hasten the advent of terrestrial harmony.
19 February 1912
We share with you a note sent by a disciple for its beautiful vision and creative and inspired expression of the Truth that the Mother sought to embody in matter, culminating in a Divinised body upon earth.
“I see the development of the physical that our Gurus see as the essential first step, and as The Mother has exemplified through Her work on Her own body, set the stage and started, what I call, a relay race towards the goal of a body ready to house the Supramental Consciousness. This relay will involve many bodies across many lives.
Each one of us with our focus and effort, will take the baton forward.
Individual salvation has accomplished by many from the beginning of mankind, but this creation of the next species is a monumental undertaking. But our Gurus have compressed the time frame by centuries by bringing down the Supramental Consciousness.”
There is a background for everything. Every movement moves upon something. And that something is a Silence which upholds everything. It is not only a general background but it is there supporting and containing every individual movement. Conceive mentally, at first, of this Silence at the back of everything, including your own mental activity. All the thoughts and mental movements come and go against a base that is ever stable. That is Silence. Suspend for a moment your thought-activity and you will become conscious of the presence of this Silence. This Silence is at the back of your head, your word, your very being. Think of this Silence again and again and try to become aware of it. By a steady digging in of this idea in your consciousness, this fact will become a reality to you — not merely for the mind but for the rest of the being also. Into this Silence you must learn to relax yourself. You cannot get it by force, what you may get by concentration does not usually last beyond the spell of that concentration. Instead of trying to get at it, simply relax, call and let yourself lie in the folds of the Silence. That will slowly come over you and claim you.
This is the first condition for an effective beginning in sadhana. There should be this calm. But know it that in its true nature it is not a mental calm which is perceived in between two thoughts or experienced when there is a suspension of thought-activity or a reduction of their momentum. It is a spiritual calm which is not dependent upon any outer circumstances and which grows into deeper and deeper intensities as one grows into the higher or deeper states of consciousness. The highest Calm is totally different from the calm conceived by the mind.
The first thing one learns on the way is that the joy of giving is far greater than the joy of taking.
Then gradually one learns that to forget oneself is the source of immutable peace. Later on, in this self-forgetfulness, one finds the Divine, and that is the source of an ever-increasing bliss.
Sri Aurobindo told me one day that if men knew this and were convinced of it, they would all want to do yoga.
– The Mother
CWMCE (Feb 9, 1972)
(Shared by Jishnu)
Do you object to my doing some pranayama [[Pranayama: breathing exercises. ]] before I begin working?
I think it would do you good, mon petit.
I began three days ago, but I keep getting entangled with the traditional formation around it: “Oh, it’s dangerous, it’s dangerous, be careful.” So this morning I thought I’d better speak to you about it.
Are you doing it without instructions?
There’s a traditional way of doing it, I know the formula.
How does it go?
The time varies. You inhale through the left nostril for let’s say 4 seconds, then you hold your breath for 16 seconds, raising the diaphragm and closing all the openings; after 16 seconds you exhale for 8 seconds through the other nostril.
Are these the “official” figures?
Yes; I mean that’s the proportion: inhale 4, hold 16, exhale 8.
It has to be double the exhalation. If you do 8, then it’s 8-32-16.
I did it myself for years, using the same system: inhale, hold, exhale, remain empty. But holding the lungs empty is said to be dangerous, so I don’t advise it. I did it for years. Without knowing it, Sri Aurobindo and I did it nearly the same way, along with all sorts of other things that aren’t supposed to be done! This is to tell you that the danger is mainly in what you think. In the course of certain movements, both of us made the air go out through the crown of the head – apparently that’s only to be done when you want to die! (Mother laughs) It didn’t kill us.
No, the “danger” is MAINLY a thought formation.
You can achieve excellent control of the heart. But I never practiced it violently, never strained myself. I think holding for 16 is too long. I used to do it simply like this: breathe in very slowly to the count of 4, then hold for 4 like this (I still have the knack of it!), lifting the diaphragm and lowering the head [[Uddiyana-bandha and jalandhara-bandha. ]] (Mother bends her neck), closing everything and exerting pressure (this is an almost instantaneous cure for hiccups – it’s handy!). Then while I held the air, I would make it circulate with the force (because it contained force, you see) and with the peace as well; and I would concentrate it wherever there was a physical disorder (a pain or something wrong somewhere). It’s very effective. The way I did it was: inhale, hold, exhale and empty – you are completely empty. It’s very useful; very handy for underwater swimmers, for instance!
I had trouble breathing in slowly enough – that’s a bit hard. I began with 4 and eventually managed to do 12. I did 12-12-12-12. It took me months to reach that, it can’t be done quickly. To breathe in very slowly and hold all that air isn’t easy.
Now I have lost the knack, I can barely do more than 6 (Mother demonstrates). I count: 1-2-3-4 … no quicker.
And exhale slowly – that’s very difficult – being careful to empty the top part of the lungs, because air often stagnates there. This seems to be one of the most frequent causes of coughs and colds. When I had bronchitis I learned to empty the air out completely. And I knew singing, so I was familiar with the method: you learn to hold the air and then release it slowly, slowly, so as to keep singing nonstop.
I advise you to practice it.
How much time do you spend on it?
Eight to ten minutes, three times a day before my japa.
Oh, that’s very good.
I don’t know why, but I got entangled with that traditional formation which says it’s dangerous.
Someone put it on you, mon petit!
It troubled me.
No, it’s not at all dangerous, at least if you don’t overdo it. If you do it simply…. I think some people practice pranayama with the idea of gaining “powers.” That idea of gaining powers fouls it up more than anything. But if you do it simply as a help to your progress, there’s no danger.
At any rate, Sri Aurobindo and I both did a lot of things considered dangerous, and absolutely nothing happened to us. Not that it’s necessary to do dangerous things, but nothing happened to us, so it all depends on how you do them.
I think you can safely forget about this formation.
But instead of doing equal amounts of time, it might be better to do less for inhaling and more for holding the breath. The holding part is extremely interesting! When the air is inside, let’s say you have a headache or a sore throat or a pain in your arm, anything – then you take the air … (Mother demonstrates) and direct it to the unwell part … very, very helpful and pleasant and interesting. You see the force go to the spot, settle in and stay there, all sorts of things.