Pavitra's Notebook

Monday, January 18, 1926

I have succeeded in keeping my mind absolutely empty of thought for a few minutes. All the waves have stopped. But still my consciousness is fixed all the time upon the physical plane; thus, I hear and see, though the perceptions do not awaken any thought. However, several times I had the feeling of being on the point of passing beyond; my breathing become very difficult and everything went whirling round though my consciousness remained calm and attentive. If I could have stopped my breath, I would have surely changed consciousness.

It is a question of leaving the physical body. But this is not to be tried at the moment: it is necessary at first to get more control (to know, for instance, how to direct oneself beyond) and other conditions are also necessary—for example, to be sure of not being disturbed. Naturally, this is what yogis seek and strive to attain. Everybody cannot do it. In my opinion, it is not necessary to seek this state at present—for instance, by breathing normally.

No you have touched the state of perfect silence.
Widen it—this does not mean deepen it.
But make it last steadily for a longer time and let it envelop gradually all that surrounds you.

Friday, January 22, 1926

These last few days have not brought much progress, for my mind was extremely distracted and agitated by different mental occupations. Everything is settled now. But I don't see very well what I ought to do: my mind is divided into two parts. The first—which uses language, reasons and formulates—is that which is silent. A certain attention is however necessary in order to prevent inopportune thoughts from arising through the throat and disturbing peace. The other part is attentive, its particular function being the vision of inner images—its center is Äjnä. The former is inactive so far, but it is not always still for all that: it is centred here and there and does not know what to do.

Thoughts, in fact, have their origin in the solar plexus, rise up through the throat and invade the brain where they become conscious. The still mind has no definite localisation; it is a question of habit. For the moment you are localising it in the brain, but its true seat, which corresponds to supramental truth, is Sahasrära. Above, this very consciousness will spread out and become the cosmic consciousness.

There are two different points to consider. The first is to empty the active mind of thoughts and leave it motionless. It is useful faculty. The second is to remain completely detached from the thoughts which my arise in this active mind. Later you will see the thoughts formulating there, not rising from below, but coming from the surroundings or from above. And you will have to learn to recognise the truth.

So you must learn to regard these thoughts as external objects, without ever letting yourself be carried away.
Besides, you may from now onwards, whilst keeping the lower mind still, ''look upwards" to centre your consciousness there gradually.

When I do that, my consciousness oscillates between the top and bottom for it has yet to watch the lower part.
Besides, a prolonged sound, for instance, does not raise any thought but it captures my attention which gets riveted there.

This is wrong concentration!
Put this aside, simply. In the cosmic consciousness you will have the impression that this sound is occurring in this consciousness, but it will no longer trouble you.

Monday, January 25, 1926

I can at times keep my attention fixed,"turned upwards" (pointed towards Shasrara) and my mind calm and empty of thought. But all is closed up there—I am at the door and knock.
Something curious happened this morning. I woke up with waves of powerful vibrations at the top of the head in the pit of the stomach. They were even my physical, my scalp was sensitivised. These vibrations were connected with a sort of anguish—though I was not frightened and reproduced these vibrations in order to study them,

You must be prepared for such things. You have called and the force descends, prepares the instruments, right up to the physical itself. Everything in man is opposed to the work of the Force, and it must be transformed. The very cells will be transmuted later.

The feeling of fear must be put aside completely. Even when an experience is likely to be dangerous, one must remain calm and master of oneself, for without that danger comes immediately. The help is always given if one remains master. Here it is a simple preparation—reply to the call given—a reply which, does not always come.

The mental states are becoming more marked—joy, calm and fervent seeking on one side—but deep sadness when I am separated from my inner light or when my mind, troubled by an outer cause, becomes a great obstacle to sadhana.

It is normal and connected with the psychic being.

(Then we spoke of Z...whose letter, announcing her early departure from France, had just come. A.G. asked me several questions, wanting to know the state she had reached and whether she had succeeded in separating the true psychic from the various false creations. I do not know anything much about it— is she coming here to realise her primitive plan of a small colony in North India??)

Monday, February 1, 1926

All these days I had many difficulties with my mind. At one moment, when I succeed in rising above it, all goes well. But at other times I am overwhelmed. Meditation is painful and without much profit. It is at other moments that I feel sometimes how thin the veil is. The best method I have found consists precisely in climbing as high as possible—then the lower being is calmed. The three centres (Sahasrära, Äjnä and Solar) are then united. When not in meditation the mechanical mind is very restless and I have difficulty even in reading—in concentration on anything at all. Whence this difficulty? Should I put yet more energy into my meditation and my efforts?

What is happening to you is common. The dynamic mind (and not the mechanical which only repeats the actions and thoughts of ordinary life) takes as much force as the other higher parts are calm and as at certain periods it is reduced to silence. When one "relapses" during meditation, one gets out of one's depth in its turmoil. It is a common experience. Do not be frightened by it but continue to detach yourself more and more. When the detachment is complete, the waves will gradually become less powerful and will die away. This experience must be extended to the entire conscious life, and not only to the period of meditation.

The moment you feel tired, you must not force yourself. Overdoing will cause another delay. It is better to go more slowly but surely.

Here is Z's letter which you had given me. According to me she is at the stage when one does not know how to distinguish between the creations of one's own mind and the truth. In her book she is very positive and believes herself bound, in the name of Christ, to spread it in the world. In her letter she expresses doubts about her capacity of discernment. But then why attach so much importance to what is so doubtful? She writes "...the Force connected with it is, and because it is and I know it to be my Force (and your Force if you like), It cannot deceive me." Here's exactly what makes many people stumble. They imagine, because they have an experience of something higher than the ordinary mentality, that everything is the truth. But when the universal Force enters an individual, there is an entire part of him which rises and tries to profit by this Force for its own benefit, to use it for its personal ends. Her book seems to be altogether a dialogue between her higher illumined mind and her ordinary mind. One gets the impression of a conversation between her conscious self and her higher being or another being or a god.

But how many things creep in from below upwards! I know it, having myself remained for long in this state. But I always kept the critical mind, and my attention was roused by equivocal mixtures. But it is a common experience, and unless one has a special tact it is extremely difficult to distinguish the truth in the beginning. One must have an absolute sincerity—not the sincerity of the ordinary mind but something deeper, an impulsion which never lets one stop till the truth is reached, the whole truth, and one pushes ahead.

You easily gave up your ideas when you came to me; but if they had been mixed with personal psychic experiences, this would have been much more difficult.

If there is a little pride in us—quite unconscious, even hidden under humility—it makes us exaggerate to ourselves our personal importance and we believe ourselves called to something special. So she writes this book, takes disciples, etc. It is a common trap.

Let us hope that the doubt she shows in her letter will help her to shake off the illusion.

Friday, February 5, 1926

These last few days were better—the concentration easier and the detachment of the mind more happy. I can separate myself from the mind and observe its action. But when I try to make it dead-still, I cannot do it except by concentrating near Sahasrära, trying to separate myself from the body,—and the breathing becomes difficult.

There are two ways of becoming aware of a higher world. One is to send a part of oneself there, whilst remaining at the same time in one's physical consciousness. The other is to leave this physical consciousness and to enter into a sort of trance, which may come very near catalepsy or coma. You are not in a condition to try that. And probably, there is a confusion between the two movements in you: the one of quieting the mind and the other of going out of your physical body.

This is probable. When I meditate I am aware of certain movements which I locate in my vital body. They are not physical though I feel them physically, specially between the chest and the head and within the head.

These are movements in the higher body and they are felt even physically. But mostly they are a consequence (as your breathing trouble proves) of an effort to go out of your body. They are not necessary. You can simply become aware of the movement of the consciousness from one point to another.

Now that you can observe the calmness of the mind and separate your-self from the action of the mind linked to the physical, you must give up these efforts and remain in an expectant attitude, open to the action from above—without making an effort to go towards this above, but knowing it is there, offering yourself for its descent. Do not even make an effort to "see" and "feel". Quiet all below and wait—from a simple aspiration towards what you know is near.

Thursday, February 11, 1926

I must indeed have confused two movements: quieting my dynamic mind and going out of my body. Consequently, I had to work all over again to get mental silence. I can get it, though not always, for the dynamic mind is very active and I am always obliged to supervise it. I attain also a kind of relative peace: I am motionless, attentive, in a sort of transparent surrounding. But this has never a very long duration. It is another peace, deeper, which I want to attain. That which will destroy the feeling of the "self".

One difficulty comes from trying at the same time to keep the mind silent and to look beyond, to make this offering silent and attentive.

These last few days, I forced the meditation a little too much and the tension was too great. I have come back to 3 hours a day. Dental neuralgia. Why is this feeling of personal effort so painful? It is not inertia and rest I want, but peace in action, the cessation of individual effort.

The deeper peace cannot come till the "lotuses" are open and the force descends to take possession. Besides, a distinction must be made between the real individuality and the illusory sense of the ego. The true individuality is a fragment of the universal consciousness and even when it seems to merge in this consciousness, the distinction is nevertheless there. It permits organised action, which without it would be impossible.

As gradually the supreme force takes possession of you, this sense of effort will diminish; but the separate action will disappear only with perfection.

Besides, other difficulties will yet come. Your active centres are the centres higher than the solar plexus: the others are asleep. With their awakening, the mind, even quieted and controlled, will again be invaded and submerged. The real difficulties come then—in the mind there is always an element which helps. But here, everything is directly linked with life and action.

Since you feel the possibility of uniting yourself to nature through the solar plexus, do it when not in regular meditation.

You also say that all that you do outside meditation seems to activise your mind again. This has no importance—you cannot do nothing. Everything must take its time. And you are of those who have built everything on the mind—thence the difficulty. Others open easily. But do not be impatient, this prolongs the sense of personal effort.

Monday, February 15, 1926

The effect of sadhana makes itself felt especially outside meditation. It is becoming more and more easy for me to assume the role of witness of the actions of the mind and even of the body. From this comes quietude, but the mind is not yet silent. This separation has made me conscious of the disorderly chaos of the dynamic mind, and thus, at first, I thought it was becoming more active, whilst really I was simply conscious of its action.

The main thing is precisely to deepen and increase this consciousness—witness or Purusha consciousness. The silence of the mind is certainly a precious faculty; but it will come in its time. The widening of this consciousness will bring the influx of a deeper consciousness. Besides, isn't this witness silent?


Before coming here I used to smoke, then I stopped. Now I often have the desire to smoke. What should I do?

There is no absolute rule and this is of no very great importance. I too smoke. But to abstain from something gives a purer atmosphere. Besides, you have stopped; it is better not to begin again.

The time spent in sleep seems to me lost. Is there no means of using it better?

Is it lost? Everything in sadhana is not conscious effort. Besides, it is a very difficult thing, which comes at the end. The body rests; but you have nothing to replace the torpor of the inner being. Later, gradually, sleep gets organised in its turn.

Monday, February 22, 1926

I am continuing the separation of my self from the mind. I can easily enough place myself as inactive spectator of the movements of the individual being. In these conditions I exist nevertheless as a mental being, endowed with the 'I' and centred in the brain. But behind this mental self I can discern another state, free from all relation with the manifested activity. There lies my true self which uses the mental self as a window to look out from. What is this true self? I have so far only a faint experience of it. I distinguish nothing, I have the impression of an emptiness, of a nought; but I have also the impression of a veil behind which a Presence would be found.

When you are a spectator, are you active or passive?

Passive. It is not a question of witnessing a march past of images, of being the spectator of an action unfolding itself before me. The mental images are vague, fragmentary, very much like waves of a sea growing calm. Besides, the sensorial impression often give rise to vivid images which are a cause of trouble.

Do you have the feeling of being a mental being?

Whilst I remain on the level of the mind, yes; but when I can raise myself above it, the being (?) that I am is not mental. The mental being is a mask assumed by the true self.
I see the way clearly. And I know that if I could make the total and definitive surrender to the Divine Force, it would itself take charge of the Yoga. This self-giving is made in my soul—my mind has accepted it, but there are certain points in the vital being which hinder the perfection of the gift and pull me down at times. But now, even these defections I see with an equal eye and offer to the Divine Force—the good movements and the bad, all are parts of the process. Formerly, I used to be easily upset— now I am more calm.

Good—you have but to continue. Isn't there anything else? As to Z's letter, what are you going to say to her?

That I am awaiting a telegram announcing her arrival to go to the station to receive her. There is no need to go to Madras or Trichinopoly.

Evidently she is coming here with this plan of work—imaginary work. India is not what she thinks. India is India. After a short time every foreign element is either absorbed or thrown out. And the life is different from that of Europe. These ideas about a work to be done are common. It is the mental being which invents its own inspirations: one part of the mind ascends and when coming down takes on the nature of a revelation. The mind wants to achieve something and seeks a great and important work. But all work, even the humblest, has the same value if it is that which ought to be done. There is something true behind, it is the idea of a work to be accomplished. And this work is the divine work—but one must be perfect to be able to undertake it. There are many men whose work has no need of perfection; they vaguely feel an impulsion, the mind mixes up its own desires and they go on thus. But I am speaking of those who have to realise some spiritual work—then, for these, the work will be found when the instrument is ready.

Naturally, all work is a preparation. Your friends X... seem to me to be in the same position as Z... It is the mind which is pushing them though they are altogether unaware of it. And they must learn to put aside this illusion; then all work is good for Yoga.

But I wouldn't advise you to say all that to Z... I don't know if the mere fact of coming here and listening to what I have to say will suffice to make her to see the truth. It is possible that she needs to find out by her own experience. For it is experience of life which is the touch-stone; so long as one remains in abstractions one does not discover the criterion; but when you try to realise, experience teaches you. It is necessary for the whole being to know the truth. If she only puts aside her idea, this tendency will remain there, intact, ready to reappear, and the final results may be bad. Perhaps it would be better to let her try out her own experience; that of another does not suffice.

You may write to her that you are engaged in sadhana and that for the time being you have given up all other work.
If she wants to see you she may do so here.
It is very dangerous to think oneself inspired for the work. This happens specially to those who are very impatient, who have a strong desire for realisation. They don not perceive that it is their mind which is thus sending messages to their mind. The true work to be done does not present itself under this form, and the method of work also is entirely different.

Contd. Page 3

-Sri Aurobindo

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