Sketches by Mother—Pavitra

Pavitra's Notebook
Page 1

Friday, December 18, 1925

Your going back to France at the moment would be a defeat. You would fall off from the state of consciousness of which you have caught a glimpse. It could even be worse. Perhaps after a few years you would get over it, but in any case, you would be missing an opportunity and failing in what you have to do.

You bring a sincerity of heart in your search and the aptitude of your mind for learning (for reserving your judgment). But your mental activity is harmful; you must make your mind silent.

A new consciousness is seeking expression in you. There are in India people, yogis, who can help you in this and give you a new birth. But there will be some difficulties in finding them, for you do not speak their language and they are often hard of access. This, however, is one of the solutions before you.

This spiritual consciousness will give you mukti. Personally, my yoga would be finished if my goal were liberation. Mukti is only the first part. The second is to bring down the light into all the instruments, to make them perfect and to become the embodiment of Truth. The universal truth and power will then act through you and by your instrumentation. It is true that people are more or less unconscious instruments of the Shakti; but it is a question of remaining perfectly conscious.

This perfection of man is difficult—very, very difficult, and it is a life-time's work. One may fail and make a mess of one's life. It is in fact so hard that I do not advise anyone to take this path. However, there is a powerful aspiration in you and something which is seeking to come down. So I put this ideal before you. If you choose it remain here, with us, and see what I can give you and what you can take from me before going farther.

Sunday, December 20, 1925

There is in us a region which is above space and time, immobile, immutable, at first; it does not participate in the waves of emotions and thoughts. The first step is to centre one's consciousness in this region and keep it there: this is mukti. In us, beyond our personality, the Purusha is seen, with many attributes which are successively unveiled.

First of all, he appears as the witness of actions and sensations, untouched, unalterable.
Then he manifests as the giver of sanctions: he approves or refuses his consent to a movement of Prakriti: desire or thought or even action. When such an order is given, as for instance, the refusal to take part in a certain emotion, though the past is yet strong, the being turns away from that emotion.

Then, Purusha is the Knower and in him is the knowledge. This knowledge has several forms: the lowest is intuition, then comes the knowledge in unity. In any case, the senses are no longer avenues of knowledge: it comes directly.

Finally, Purusha reveals himself as Ishwara, the Lord. Governing and acting through his instruments he at last takes his kingdom in his hands.

This is accomplished in two stages.
At first the contact is mental—zone of the spiritual mind (Buddhi?). Man recognises his mind, his emotions and his body as not-himself. He feels himself existing above them—above the spatial and temporal form. He has peace and certitude.

To reach this, the first thing (and specially for you) is to stop the thoughts at will. One must first separate oneself mentally from the mind (for one is not yet capable of doing it otherwise), must look at it and study it. When that is done it becomes easy to stop the thoughts. This is the first lesson of Yoga. Thus, whilst talking with you at this moment, I have no thoughts. I see what is around me but without thinking (unless I want to do so and call the thought). When I began Yoga I went in search of Lele to ask him to help me. He ordered me to sit beside him and practise this mental separation. At the end of three days I had succeeded and slain the thoughts.

There are other means of arriving at this, like the one of sitting down and opening oneself to the influx from above, so that this working may be accomplished from above without any personal effort. To you I would recommend the first method. Till this first realisation everything is mental. And intuition is only fragmentary, uncertain and intermittent. One must go beyond. Little by little, strong aspiration brings about (sometimes suddenly) the irruption into the consciousness of something new. Sometimes it is a peace, solid like a rock. Sometimes a light, almost physical, which illumines all things, inner and outer. Sometimes a guidance. In any case, ineffable peace is followed by knowledge.

Besides, all this descends from above below. And not as with the Tantriks starting from the lower cakra. But on the contrary from above.
So—for you—the first aim: to separate yourself from your mind and know it as outside you. To take the attitude of the witness. Let the thoughts come but do not let yourself be carried away by them. Practise during mediation. Then, you will have to infuse into daily life what you establish first in meditation.

Tuesday, December 22, 1925

It seems to me that there are two levels in the mind: the first attends to images and forms; the second to words and ideas. Beyond this is the principle of comprehension (Buddhi). I can easily dissociate myself from the lower mind. When I recall to memory an idea or phrase which I have just expressed, I can also remain detached. But when for instance, I reason, I am one with my mind (more exactly Buddhi is joined to manas).

This is true—but there is yet a third thing, it is the mind in itself, different from the forms and ideas it produces. It is a principle which pervades the whole universe—calm and transparent. Most people—and you also—identify yourself with the mind and its activities: you confuse the mind and its activities. You must succeed in separating yourself from Prakriti and knowing yourself as the Purusha.

The method I was taught was to kill all thoughts when they appeared before me, quiet simply by looking at them steadily.
You say that you sleep, for indeed the only form of silence ordinary man knows for the mind is sleep. But this must be overcome—it is a known obstacle which all must overcome. Reject sleep as you reject other ills of the lower nature. You have the strength to do it, being the Purusha.

Then one of the following two things will happen: Either you will remain fully conscious but with the mind empty, or you will have this consciousness but not in the waking state, that is, you will be in Samadhi.
So, this work is the first step for you.

Friday, December 25, 1925

Remaining attentive—facing my thoughts—I found that they disappeared immediately on my looking steadily at them. The means of killing them, hence, is to watch attentively and, as soon as one becomes conscious of any, destroy it thus. This succeeds quite well in the region of words but less in that of images. I can manage to remain thus, conscious only of my attention. But the mind is not dead. I feel it behind the door. At certain moments I have the impression that I shall soon lose consciousness (?).

Good, but you are still conscious of your effort to kill the thoughts. This is natural, but in time this will disappear also.
As for the loss of consciousness, do not fear. It might happen that, besides the two alternatives put before you last time, you could fall into an unconsciousness of which you would not keep any memory. You must try to avoid that and to attain either the waking state without mind or Samadhi.

Is reading harmful? I do not need it much, and sometimes mental work is painful to me.

You must not make any mental rules. Do according to your inner needs. Reading is not harmful in itself.

Wednesday, December 30, 1925

I succeed for a few minutes in keeping myself attentive, empty of thought—but then the sensations return with a new strength. I do not succeed in turning away from a noise once my attention is caught there, for I have no object of concentration.

The first step is not to withdraw from all thought and sensation, but to consider them as outside oneself. There are two regions in the mind, one active, the other calm and attentive, not dragged away by the movements of nature. It is this distinction that you must make. You want to go too fast by suppressing even the thought: 'I am not that'. At the moment this thought is your instrument.

Remain the spectator of your thoughts and sensations, recognising that they are outside you and do not affect you. Then the higher consciousness (Purusha consciousness) will descend and take possession of your mind.
But never struggle, for, in the mind, what you reject violently returns with a greater force.
To struggle is to enter into all sorts of difficulties.

Monday, January 4, 1926

I succeeded in fixing my consciousness so as to remain awake, immobile, in the silence. This state lasts only for a few moments. It happens that my consciousness is then centred in a point next to the eyebrow center. This exercise involves a great fatigue of the brain and a work in the three centres: solar, eyebrow and occipital.

Later, this cerebral effort will disappear, for you will not work with the brain. This is an intermediate state. Your consciousness will be centred at a particular moment outside your physical body—above your head—, then it will expand and you will become aware of its unity with the other centres.
The throat-centre is not involved for it is not a mental centre, but only vocal. Most people who work with emotional mind remain at the level of the solar plexus.

If one becomes aware of one's unity with the whole, does one consequently become capable of identifying one's consciousness with that of another centre of consciousness?

Not all at once. There are two stages. First, you will feel your unity with the other centres of consciousness 'in the silence'. It is in the Transcendent that you will feel the identification. Later, you will realise this union even in the manifested activity—in the play of forces—and at that moment the union you speak about is possible.

I do not yet succeed in realising actually the independence of my real being from my physical body—
an independence which I can conceive mentally. Will I realise this division?

This will necessarily come and you will realise that your body is an instrument which you can put aside. This is the first aspect of Mukti: the recognition that you are free from your body.

All the same, certain imperfections like the desire for approbation, for consideration, are very strong, though mentally I fight them.

Yes, and your being is much more complex still than you imagine. The time will come when you will observe your inner being as though it were outside. And there is a part of your consciousness which gives its sanction to this movement of nature. For there is in you something which desires this approbation, although your mind struggles. But he mind can only restrain—it cannot change anything.

That this changethis transmutationmay be effective, it is necessary, according to my own ideas, to attain the cosmic consciousness and to get possession thus of the 'universal solvent' as the alchemists say. Then can't one transmute?

No, this does not suffice. When you come down again from your cosmic consciousness, the same tendencies are there which can always be restored to life. But beyond the immanent aspect of the absolute power, the aspect which you realise in the experience of the cosmic consciousness, there is what may be called the transcendent aspect, which is creative and without limitations. This is the solvent which destroys and creates. The vital Purusha who consented to a certain movement of nature, must surrender to the higher life and the transformation is possible.
There are several levels in the incarnated consciousness. The Upanishads speak of five Purushas bound to the five Koshas.(The five envelopes or five subtle bodies which constitutes man.)

In the case in which the soul succeeds in escaping from the world of forms and entering into Nirvana, in sinking into the silence, is this fusion and loss of individuality final?

Naturally, this is what many seek. The Absolute has two aspects as Purusha: the transcendent, immutable Purusha and the mutable Purusha, as the Gita says. The soul can realise its union with the first: Prakriti disappears and the soul escapes from the manifested world which it considered a falsehood, an illusion or a dangerous trap. But this cannot satisfy. For the Absolute contains also the mutable Purusha and the soul, if it wants integral union, must realise its unity with the Divine in the manifestation, as with the Transcendent.
Besides, to say that the soul has become finally absorbed in the Absolute is only a way of speaking. Is this liberation final? I am far from granting this.
The Absolute has an aspect which knows itself, loves itself, etc. through us as intermediaries. And that is the reason of the manifestation.

Friday, January 8, 1926

What seemed so simple has become very difficult. These last few days I have had the greatest difficulty in separating myself from my lower mind. It needed a great deal of energy to remain awake, attentive, and not to let myself be carried away by the stream of mental images, without head or tail, a sort of waking dream. Perhaps this is a temporary reaction?

What do you do when you try to quiet your mind?

I fix my consciousness on a point and try to remain attentive, to watch the play of lower mind. If I attain this attitude it becomes quiet. Two postures: one with images, one with language. The one with language is more difficult. It is automatic: does not hook itself to well-defined objects, but to what preoccupies me most, or to the last thing I have thought about—the unhooking is often produced by the senses.

On what point do you try to fix your consciousness?

Normally at the level of the Äjnä.(The centre between the eyebrows.)

Äjnä is the centre which corresponds to the automatic mind and it is this dynamic position which is working in you. It is this which constitutes the mind of the majority of men, and if you are conscious of it—if you notice its action during your ordinary occupations—others are not conscious of it.
The real mind (thought-mind) is higher. The other is the automatic mind which is no longer of any use to you. It is a waste of nature.
Have you ever tried to use the will?

Naturally, but I do not know if it is really the will which I have used.

The will has three grades and it must be distinguished before all from the effort which is purely mental. The first grade is desire—corresponding to the solar plexus. The second, ïsitä or aisvarya is a kind of command, of order, which either sanctions or not the work of Prakriti. When it is known that a thing must or must not be, it ought to come into action. This is an indispensable power for the Yoga we follow. One can call it by a consecration and one becomes aware of its action. This action is disturbed and imperfect at the beginning, but in time it is perfected. Mental effort may succeed in time, but the action of the true will is infinitely more rapid.

I have experienced this action when, by a call which is at the same time an offering, I reach the highest layers of my being. I have, physically, the sensation of an action descending above my head.

That's it. Try from time to time to invoke it. A continuous action is yet impossible—but get back the contact now and then.
The third action of the will is a control, an absolute possession of Prakriti by the Purusha. (vasitä?).

Monday, January 11, 1926

The fundamental doctrine of the T.S., in my opinion, is the existence of the Masters. On one side this is the new message (the other doctrines: Karma, reincarnation, being purely philosophical and already known). On another, this is a vital point for the leaders of the T.S. who affirm that they are guided by these very Masters.
a) From the logical and philosophical point of view, the existence of Siddhas who have perfected their vehicles and remain to guide humanity, is reasonable and even very probable. I admit it on this ground.
b) Putting aside the idea that the leaders of the T.S. are consciously deceitful, how to account for their assertions about their relations with the masters—on the higher planes, but also on the physical plane? HPB, HSO, CWL, for example, have met living masters. If one admits these statements, how to explain the little spirituality of the T. S. in general, and the general trend, ethical, moral, but not spiritual? There is something erroneous there of which I cannot find the cause, but which has made me stand aside from the movement (missionary, sectarian, etc., etc.).
These are very important questions for me.

There are as a matter of fact two very different questions. Their true answers are not of a mental order, but can be understood only through spiritual realisation. However, here's what I can say about it.

About the first point, I shall say only that the existence of perfect beings, that is, of those "having nothing more to learn" as you say, is problematical. There is always something to learn in the Infinite. The Buddha who took a vow to remain on earth until the last man should enter Nirvana, is not Gautama but Amida.

The other question is to judge the relations of the leaders of the T. S. with the masters, that is, to determine the nature of the psychical experiences of these people. Everything in their works, and particularly the little true spirituality one meets with, makes me think that they have never gone beyond the vital plane—which corresponds to what they call the astral plane. I set aside the case of deception. First, there is to be considered wilful self-deceit, the fact that on this plane we see what we mentally want to see. This is a complex and marvellous realm, where the true and the false are inextricably entangled. Everything appears under a logical and seductive form, organised but finally illusory.

HPB was an amazing woman, with strong intuitions but wherein everything was mixed up, incapable of discussing critically psychical facts. She did not want it, besides. What mattered to her was to launch a movement. And this impulse, this desire to organise, to exercise an influence, is the characteristic of the vital plane. There are influences of all sorts there, whose one desire is to take possession of those who are rising high in order to use them for their own ends. Not only the weak are their prey, but the strong can be so equally, for it is specially the strong they aim at. After HPB, there was A.B. In the beginning she simply followed the lines of HPB, then it was CWL who influenced her. She recognised him, however, at a certain moment of her life (the glamour he has put on me…), but as she had nothing of her own, she returned. And what is special about the vital plane is that anyone who has a certain realisation there, can make another person get the same realisation. One must not apply the criteria of ordinary life to this plane; this is the mistake that many spiritists, metapsychists, etc make. I know it by experience. I have old disciples who have deviated, without my being able to bring them back, so great is the force of deception. Others write to me letters full of visions they have had; they have seen me and I am supposed to have given them instructions. Now, it was not I, and those instructions I would disown. It so happened that several of them had the same vision at the same time, not taking into account small variations of detail.

On the other hand, if the masters directing the T.S. are perfect, they have certainly noticed the nature of these influences and also know the value of true spirituality. How is it they have not warned their disciples and why does one find so little of this spirituality? I have met Theosophists, some of them have had glimpses of the spiritual life, but in none of those I know has it been truly organised. Whilst in other men, who don't claim to be guided by perfect masters, one often finds much more spirituality, as in some Yogis and other people.

Their conception is mental and ethical, not spiritual. And as ethical, it has nothing remarkable.
In spiritual life, one must always be ready to reject every system and all constructions. For a time a certain form is useful, then it becomes harmful. In my spiritual life, since I was forty (The French phrase here says 'for the last forty years'.) I have three or four times completely discarded and broken the system I had arrived at.

If our disciples at X could not be brought back, the fault lies in their ambition, that kind of spiritual ambition, so dangerous for a yogi, which endows us with a special importance in human life. It is a big danger, which seems to me to have made the Theosophists also fall.

There is a core of true spirituality there, very small, surrounded by a mass of erroneous facts and physical data. And in time even the core becomes affected.

I am replying to your question because breaking through the veil, you will come to this psychical region. Hardly 1% can go through, as a result of their mental purity—their mind does not get attached to objects to find satisfaction in them. And there is a big danger, a powerful pressure. One must be very strong and hold on to the truth in order to resist. It is for this reason that I am answering and not in order to speak about the T.S. I have nothing against it nor against any of the Theosophists to all of whom I wish the best. I am not against them.

As for the fact that some have seen a master physically, an explanation is possible. These influences of the vital plane, when conditions are favourable, can very easily materialise: they have a sufficient mastery over matter to do this. Of course they must be given these conditions.

But if the Asuras can do this, cannot the Suras do so?

Evidently, but they do it much less frequently; they are not at all in haste to impose their guidance. And then very strict special conditions are necessary—one must be on the absolute march towards the truth.

If these are the conditions of the vital plane, is it nevertheless possible to manage to extricate oneself? These forces obey laws—by knowing them one can free oneself from them.

Undoubtedly this is possible. Even illusions obey laws. Here there is an aspect of true occultism, not that of Theosophists. This occultism seeks to understand and realise, and not to edify mentally. It extends in a way (the field of) science.

Friday, January 15, 1926

I am progressing, but slowly. I have not been able to apply the will as you described it. In this connection a curious thing happens. In meditation when I look for a higher support in myself, when I try to invoke the deeper parts of my being, I meet only a void and I am incapable of making any 'inner movement'. Naturally, in ordinary life, either under the impulsion of outer excitement or de proprio, such movements followed by results are frequent. And usually, though mediation has very perceptible effects on my general state, it has never had any tangible results.

There are two principal forces which help in the ascent of man. One is aspiration; it is emotive and has its centre in the solar plexus. The other is supramental and its centre is above the head. You act in ordinary life with the help of the first. In meditation your consciousness goes back into the higher mind. The silence aspired for, is not for itself, but only in order to let this higher force descend and rejoin the other. The old allegory of the climbing fire and the descending Sun. But your mind is not used to letting this force pass consciously and consequently it does not know how to act. There is no effort to be made then. In your case it is better to remain immobile. Naturally, this depends on different cases; there are people, very active above the head, who draw easily from this force. Later one succeeds in calling it down at will.

When I prepare myself inwardly to practise silence, I have noticed that I centre my consciousness by taking the help of the physical body. Then my attention sinks deeper little by little. A moment comes when I must leave this point of support. Then I do not know where to fix my consciousness. Either it returns to external things and I then become quite awake and attentive to the outer world, or I fall into a half-dream state, although keeping my consciousness for a time attentive.

It is not necessary to fix the consciousness anywhere. When you begin to participate in the higher consciousness, you will find it diffuse, englobing everything and without any particular centre. One makes for oneself one's own centre (above the head). In the beginning, what you are doing is natural; but let go. As for attention to the outer world you will see also at one time all the phenomena, noise, etc. as though you were a part of them; you will embrace them in your consciousness, "they will occur in it".

The half-dream state is not to be feared, but keep your consciousness attentive; it will then probably shift inwards. But have you succeeded in quietening your mind?

Yes, in the first state in which I take a support. When I let go the support, I cannot yet stop the passing images.

What kind of images? Objects and beings seen and known, or unknown to you?

I do not know. Some seem to me new, but perhaps I have already seen them?

And what do you do then?

I try to efface them.

You must not do that. Wait and observe. Perhaps these images show a rudiment of clairvoyance. Perhaps you are seeing events which are happening at a distance. You must take the scientific attitude and see what it is. This may be a precious faculty.

I have heard much about this faculty, but I did not think that the incoherent images I see could lead to it.

This may be the beginning.

All that you said about the T. S. is undoubtedly absolutely true. I have understood and raise no objection. I have the feeling of a link which has been cut. But I would like to ask one more question. The force which is behind me, which I feel and which guides me, which I call my master (without ever having seen him) and which some psychicists have connected with a Master—what is this force?

These are problems which cannot be solved solely with the mind. When your psychic being opens, you will see and understand.
This can happen. But there are many things. All those who have a strong urge towards the higher life, have a similar experience. The mind travesties and clothes the force in a form which pleases it or to which it is accustomed: Christ for a Christian, etc. First, there is the universal force, the Purusha, whose action is effective and guiding. Then there are the intermediaries in the great plan, at all levels. Then, those you are destined to meet can also influence you, often without their knowing it. When the psychic being has opened and has set foot on spiritual ground, it can judge. The mental being cannot.

Contd. Page 2

-Sri Aurobindo

Let the divine doors swing wide open for him who is not attached,
who increases in himself the Truth.
- Sri Aurobindo