Talks of The Mother - III

(The following brief passage about sleep and dreams, is part of a longer, incompletely recorded talk.)

When one sleeps, how can one distinguish the nature of the visions?

They do not leave the same impression at all.
In order to know things well, one must educate oneself, develop the conscious being. But there are all kinds of different things, there are mental and vital projections exactly as in the cinema; then there are visions you may have if you are exteriorised in the mental and vital regions; the great difference is that these dreams are imposed upon you, you are taken in... [Here a whole passage is missing.] Then there are countless dreams without any connection which have no interest. For your brain is like a recording instrument: something comes and strikes hundreds of cells, each thing must strike a small note. Things will strike the brain convolutions—a remembrance, an impression, all kinds of tiny memories—it depends on your condition. But you have the control, ideas follow each other in accordance with a certain logic; there is also a mechanism which puts memories into movement through contagion, and the movement through contagion is made according to logic (what you call logic). But when you sleep, that faculty usually goes to sleep, so all those little cells are left to themselves and the connections—like the connections of electric wires—don't work any longer, things come the wrong way round or in any direction at all. You must not look for a meaning. It was a contagion: because this one was vibrating, that other also vibrated, one vibration gives rise to another. Your logic works no longer. And you have fantastic dreams, absurd dreams.

It is very difficult to put one's mind into repose. The majority of men get up very tired, more tired than when they went to sleep. One must learn how to quieten one's mind, make it completely blank, and then when one wakes up, one feels refreshed. One must relax the whole mind in the pure white silence, then one has the least number of dreams.

22 April 1953
-The Mother


Sweet Mother, you have said that one can exercise one's conscious will and change the course of one's dreams.

Ah, yes, I have already told you that once. If you are in the middle of a dream and something happens which you don't like (for instance, somebody shouts that he wants to kill you), you say: "That won't do at all, I don't want my dream to be like that", and you can change the action or the ending. You can organise your dream as you want. One can arrange one's dreams. But for this you must be conscious that you are dreaming, you must know you are dreaming.

But these dreams are not of much importance, are they?

Yes, they are, and one must be conscious of what can happen. Suppose that you have gone for a stroll in the vital world; there you meet beings who attack you (that's what happens usually), if you know that it is a dream, you can very easily gather your vital forces and conquer. That's a true fact; you can with a certain attitude, a certain word, a certain way of being do things you would not do if you were just dreaming.

If in the dream someone kills you it doesn't matter, for it is just a dream!

I beg your pardon! Usually, the next day you are ill, or may be a little later. That's a warning. I know someone whose eye was thus hurt in a dream, and who really lost his eye a few days later. As for me, once I happened to dream getting blows on my face. Well, when I woke up the next morning, I had a red mark in the same place, on the forehead and the cheek... Inevitably, a wound received in the vital being is translated in the physical body.

But how does it happen? There must be some intermediary?

It was in the vital that I was beaten. It is from within that this comes. Nothing, nobody touched anything from outside. If you receive a blow in the vital, the body suffers the consequence. More than half of our illnesses are the result of blows of this kind, and this happens much more often than one believes. Only, men are not conscious of their vital, and as they are not conscious they don't know that fifty per cent of their illnesses are the result of what happens in the vital: shocks, accidents, fighting, ill-will... Externally this is translated by an illness. If one knows how it reacts on the physical, one goes to its source and can cure oneself in a few hours.

How is it that the symbolism of dreams varies according to traditions, races, religions?

Because the form given to the dream is mental. If you have learnt that such and such a form represents such and such a mythological person, you see that form and say: "It is that." In your mind there is an association between certain ideas and certain forms, and this is continued in the dream. When you translate your dream you give it an explanation corresponding to what you have learnt, what you have been taught, and it is with the mental image you have in your head that you know. Moreover, I have explained this to you a little later in the vision of Joan of Arc (Mother takes her book and reads):

"The beings who were always appearing and speaking to Jeanne d'Arc would, if seen by an Indian, have quite a different appearance; for when one sees, one projects the forms of one's mind You have the vision of one in India whom you call the Divine Mother; the Catholics say it is the Virgin Mary, and the Japanese call it Kwannon, the Goddess of Mercy; and others would give other names. It is the same force, the same power, but the images made of it are different in different faiths."

And then? You are not very talkative today! Is that all?

You say that "each person has his own world of dream-imagery peculiar to himself."

Each individual has his own way of expressing, thinking, speaking, feeling, understanding. It is the combination of all these ways of being that makes the individual. That is why everyone can understand only according to his own nature. As long as you are shut up in your own nature, you can know only what is in your consciousness. All depends upon the height of the nature of your consciousness. Your world is limited to what you have in your consciousness. If you have a very small consciousness, you will understand only a few things. When your consciousness is very vast, universal, only then will you understand the world. If the consciousness is limited to your little ego, all the rest will escape you... There are people whose brain and consciousness are smaller than a walnut. You know that a walnut resembles the brain; well these people look at things and don't understand them. They can understand nothing else except what is in direct contact with their senses. For them only what they taste, what they see, hear, touch has a reality, and all the rest simply does not exist, and they accuse us of speaking fancifully! "What I cannot touch does not exist", they say. But the only answer to give them is: "It does not exist for you, but there's no reason why it shouldn't exist for others." You must not insist with these people, and you must not forget that the smaller they are the greater is the audacity in their assertions.

One's cocksureness is in proportion to one's unconsciousness; the more unconscious one is, the more is one sure of oneself. The most foolish are always the most vain. Your stupidity is in proportion to your vanity. The more one knows... In fact, there is a time when one is quite convinced that one knows nothing at all. There's not a moment in the world which does not bring something new, for the world is perpetually growing. If one is conscious of that, one has always something new to learn. But one can become conscious of it only gradually. One's conviction that one knows is in direct proportion to one's ignorance and stupidity.

Mother, have the scientists, then, a very small consciousness?

Why? All scientists are not like that. If you meet a true scientist who has worked hard, he will tell you: "We know nothing. What we know today is nothing beside what we shall know tomorrow. This year's discoveries will be left behind next year." A real scientist knows very well that there are many more things he doesn't know than those he knows. And this is true of all branches of human activity. I have never met a scientist worthy of the name who was proud. I have never met a man of some worth who has told me: "I know everything." Those I have seen have always confessed: "In short, I know nothing." After having spoken of all that he has done, all that he has achieved, he tells you very quietly: "After all, I know nothing."

There are people who say at times that they know nothing, just to appear modest, but they don't believe what they say!

There are insincere and hypocritical people everywhere in the world. So much the worse for them. These shut the door completely to all progress. That is all.

For us who attend classes, is it dangerous then to study?

No, quite the contrary! For if you begin to study well, your consciousness awakens, and you can become more aware of what you still lack. This reminds me of the lady who, having gradually become conscious, told me: "Before I heard you, I had trust in men, everybody was very kind, I was happy. Now that I have begun to see clearly and become conscious, I have lost all my serenity! It is awful to become conscious!"

What is to be done?—Become still more conscious. It is very bad to learn just a little. One must learn more until one comes to the point where one sees that one knows nothing... I spoke to you about the novice who wants to pass on to others what he has learnt—until the day he sees he has not much to pass on. Usually all religious teaching is based on that. A very little knowledge, with precise formulas which are well written (often quite well written) and crystallise in the brain, and assert: "That is indeed the truth." You have only to study what is there in the book. How easy it is! In every religion there is a book—whether it be the Catechism, the Hindu texts, the Koran, in short, all the sacred books—you learn it by heart. You are told that this-is-the-truth, and you are sure it is the truth and remain comfortable. It is very convenient, you don't need to try to understand. Those who don't know the same thing as you, are in the falsehood, and you even pray for those who are outside the "Truth"! This is a common fact in all religions. But in all religions there are people who know better and don't believe in these things. I had met one of these particularly, one belonging to the Catholic faith. He was a big man. I spoke to him about what I knew and asked him: "Why do you use this method? Why do you perpetuate ignorance?" He answered: "It is a policy of peace of mind. If we didn't do that, people wouldn't listen to us. This, indeed, is the secret of religions." He told me: "There are in our religion, as in the ancient initiations, people who know. There are schools where the old tradition is taught. But we are forbidden to speak about it. All these religious images are symbols representing something other than what is taught. But that is not taught outside."

The reason for this is very generous and kind (according to them): "People who have a tiny brain—and there are plenty—if we tell them something that's too high, too great, it troubles them, disturbs them, and they become unhappy. They will never be able to understand. Why worry them uselessly? They don't have the capacity to find the truth. Whilst, if you tell them: `If you have faith in this, you will go to heaven', they are quite happy." There, you see. It is very convenient. That is why it is perpetuated, otherwise there would be no religions.

I am not telling you this to encourage one particular religion rather than another. But this is a procedure that seems generous... Otherwise there would be no religions; there would be masters and disciples, people who have a higher teaching and an exceptional experience. That would be a very good thing. But as soon as the master is gone, what happens is that the knowledge he gave is changed into a religion. Rigid dogmas are established, religious rules come into being and one cannot but bow down before the Tables of the Law. Yet at the beginning it was not like that. You are told: "This is true, this is false, the Master has said.... " Some time later the master becomes a god, and you are told: "God has said this."

Note that I am telling you this because I know that here you are all liberated from religions. If I had before me someone having a religion he believed in, I would tell him: "It is very good, keep your religion, continue." Happily for all of you, you don't have one. And I hope you will never have one, for it means a door shut upon all progress.

29 April 1953
- The Mother

He is himself the dreamer and the dream. - Sri Aurobindo