A disciple explains to the children that the shortest day of the year
corresponds to the greatest declination of the sun to the south, about
the 21st of December; then the sun again mounts to the north.
That is why the 25th of December was a festival of Light long before Jesus
Christ. This festival was in vogue long before Christianity; it originated
in Egypt and very probably the birthday of Christ was fixed on the same
day as that of the return of the Light.
Then Mother reads the first part of her article "Energy
Inexhaustible"(in Bulletin, August 1949)
How is it that as mental activities increase, the capacity to renew
one's energies diminishes?
In adults mental activity tends to paralyse the spontaneous movement of
exchange of energies. Till he is fourteen, every child, apart from a few
rare exceptions, is a little animal; he renews his energies spontaneously
like an animal by means of the same activities and exchanges. But the
mind introduces a disequilibrium in the being; spontaneous action is replaced
by something that wants to know, to regulate, to decide, etc., and to
get back this capacity to renew spontaneously one's energies, one must
rise to a higher rung above the instincts, that is, from ordinary mental
activity one must pass direct into intuition.
"Yet there is a source of energy which, once discovered, never
dries up, whatever the circumstances and the physical conditions in life.
It is the energy that can be described as spiritual, that which is received
not from below, from the depths of inconscience, but from above, from
the supreme origin of men and the universe, from the all-powerful and
eternal splendours of the superconscious. It is there, everywhere around
us, penetrating everything and to enter into contact with it and receive
it, it is sufficient to sincerely aspire for it, to open oneself to it
in faith and confidence so as to enlarge one's consciousness for identifying
it with the universal Consciousness."
In these articles I am trying to put into ordinary terms the whole yogic
terminology, for these Bulletins are meant more for people who
lead an ordinary life, though also for students of yoga I mean people
who are primarily interested in a purely physical material life but who
try to attain more perfection in their physical life than is usual in
ordinary conditions. It is a very difficult task but it is a kind of yoga.
These people call themselves "materialists" and they are apt
to get agitated or irritated if yogic terms are used, so one must speak
their language avoiding terms likely to shock them. But I have known in
my life persons who called themselves "materialists" and yet
followed a much severer discipline than those who claim to do yoga.
What we want is that humanity should progress; whether it professes to
lead a yogic life or not matters little, provided it makes the necessary
effort for progress.
What is the difference between meditation and concentration?
Meditation is a purely mental activity, it interests only the mental being.
One can concentrate while meditating but this is a mental concentration;
one can get a silence but it is a purely mental silence, and the other
parts of the being are kept immobile and inactive so as not to disturb
the meditation. You may pass twenty hours of the day in meditation and
for the remaining four hours you will be an altogether ordinary man because
only the mind has been occupied - the rest of the being, the vital and
the physical, is kept under pressure so that it may not disturb. In meditation
nothing is directly done for the other parts of the being.
Certainly this indirect action can have an effect, but... I have known
in my life people whose capacity for meditation was remarkable but who,
when not in meditation, were quite ordinary men, even at times ill-natured
people, who would become furious if their meditation was disturbed. For
they had learnt to master only their mind, not the rest of their being.
Concentration is a more active state. You may concentrate mentally, you
may concentrate vitally, psychically, physically, and you may concentrate
integrally. Concentration or the capacity to gather oneself at one point
is more difficult than meditation. You may gather together one portion
of your being or consciousness or you may gather together the whole of
your consciousness or even fragments of it, that is, the concentration
may be partial, total or integral, and in each case the result will be
If you have the capacity to concentrate. your meditation will be more
interesting and easier. But one can meditate without concentrating. Many
follow a chain of ideas in their meditation it is meditation, not concentration.
Is it possible to distinguish the moment when one attains perfect concentration
from the moment when, starting from this concentration, one opens oneself
to the universal Energy?
Yes. You concentrate on something or simply you gather yourself together
as much as is possible for you and when you attain a kind of perfection
in concentration, if you can sustain this perfection for a sufficiently
long time, then a door opens and you pass beyond the limit of your ordinary
consciousness - you enter into a deeper and higher knowledge. Or you go
within. Then you may experience a kind of dazzling light, an inner
wonder, a beatitude, a complete knowledge, a total silence. There are,
of course, many possibilities but the phenomenon is always the same.
To have this experience all depends upon your capacity to maintain your
concentration sufficiently long at its highest point of perfection.
To have this experience is it necessary to concentrate every time?
In the beginning, yes, for you have not the capacity to keep what you
have acquired, to maintain your concentration at its maximum - you slip
back and lose even the memory of the experience you have had. But if you
once follow a path, it is easier to follow the same path a second time
and so on. The second concentration is therefore easier than the first
one. You must persevere in your concentration till you come to the point
when you no longer lose the inner contact.
From that time onward you must remain in this inner and higher consciousness
from where you can do everything. You see your body and the material world
and you know what is to be done and how to do it.
That is the first aim of concentration, but naturally not the last.
To attain that concentration much effort is necessary; an immediate or
even a quick result is rarely possible. But if the inner door has once
been opened, you may be sure that it will open again if you know how to
As long as the door has not been opened, you may doubt your capacity,
but once opened, no more doubt is possible, if you go on willing and aspiring.
This experience has a considerable value.
What does "Mother of Dreams"'
When he speaks of the "immobile and serene Consciousness", Sri
Aurobindo often uses poetic terms which are very suggestive. He has used
the term "Mother of Dreams"
because he has put himself in the place of one who is below, one who sees,
perceives something mysterious, altogether wonderful, inaccessible and
almost incomprehensible; but if you look from another point of view, you
may say that it is the creative Consciousness, the Origin of the universe,
the universal Mother, the creative Power, and so on.
When we play badly we find that we have no energy, but if we play well,
with great enthusiasm, we find that energy comes. Why?
This is perfectly true. To enter into contact with terrestrial energy,
one must establish a certain harmony within oneself. If you know the game
well, if you know how to make the moves and if you take an enthusiastic
interest, if you have a sort of ambition (quite childish perhaps), a desire
to win, then as you go on succeeding you feel a kind of inner joy, not
perhaps very profound, but creating the harmony necessary for the interchange
of energy. On the other hand, those who do not know how to accept defeat,
who get angry and bad-tempered when things do not go according to their
wish, lose their energy more and more.
Also, if you slip into depression [Note: at Mother's times, this word
means "big discouragement, severe despondency"], you cut
every source of energy - from above, from below, from everywhere. That
is the best way of falling into inertia. You must absolutely refuse to
Depression is always the sign of an acute egoism. When you feel that it
is coming near, tell yourself: "I am in a state of egoistic illness,
I must cure myself of it."
"Questions and Answers 1950-1951"
CWM Volume 4, pages 6-10
published by Sri
Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA
Previous Talk: 23 december 1950
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