from "Questions and Answers 1957-1958"
Talk on the 21st August 1957
See the Original in French
Question: Mother, for quite some time there has been a feeling that
the general consciousness in our activities has fallen, especially since
the Ashram has grown so large. What is the reason for it and how can we
put it right?
Are you referring to all the activities of the Ashram or only to sports?
All the activities of the Ashram?
Q: I don't know very many, Mother: in the ones I see
(After a long silence) It is something rather complicated. I shall
try to explain it.
For a very long time the Ashram was only a gathering of individuals, each
one representing something, but as an individual and without any collective
organisation. They were like separate pawns on a chess-board - united
only in appearance - or rather by the purely superficial fact of living
together in the same place and having a few habits in common - not even
very many, only a few. Each one progressed - or didn't progress - according
to his own capacity and with a minimum of relations with others.
So, in accordance with the value of the individual constituting this odd
assemblage, one could say that there was a general value, but a very nebulous
one, with no collective reality. This lasted a long time - very long.
And it is only quite recently that the need for a collective reality began
to appear - which is not necessarily limited to the Ashram but embraces
all who have declared themselves - I don't mean materially but in their
consciousness - to be disciples of Sri Aurobindo and have tried to live
his teaching. Among all of them, and more strongly since the manifestation
of the Supramental Consciousness and Force [= 29 February 1956], there
has awakened the necessity for a true communal life, which would not be
based only on purely material circumstances but would represent a deeper
truth, and be the beginning of what Sri Aurobindo calls a supramental
or gnostic community
He has said, of course, that, for this, the individuals constituting this
collectivity should themselves have this supramental consciousness; but
even without attaining an individual perfection - even while very far
from it - there was at the same time an inner effort to create this "collective
individuality", so to speak. The need for a real union, a deeper
bond has been felt and the effort has been directed towards that realisation.
This has caused some
disturbance, for the tendency was formerly
so individualistic that certain habits have been upset, I don't mean materially,
for things are not very different from what they were, but in a somewhat
And above all - that is the point I want to emphasise - this has
created a certain inner interdependence which has naturally lowered the
individual level - a little - except for those who had already attained
an inner realisation strong enough to be able to resist this movement
of what I might call "levelling".
And this is what gives the impression that the general level has fallen,
which is not correct. The general level is on a higher plane than it formerly
was, but the individual level has dropped in many cases, and individuals
who were capable of one realisation or another have felt, without understanding
why, weighed down by a load they did not have to carry before, which is
the result of this interdependence. It is just a temporary effect which,
on the other hand, will lead to an improvement, a very tangible general
Of course, if each individual was conscious, if instead of yielding to
this kind of levelling effect, he resisted it in order to transform, transmute,
uplift the elements, influences, currents he receives from the group,
then the whole would rise up into a higher consciousness far ahead
of where it was before.
This what I was aiming at - without explaining the thing to you in detail
- when I spoke to you of a more and more urgent need to make an effort,
and I intended, in fact, to explain to you one day that the effort you
could make individually, instead of being for only an individual progress,
will spread, so to say, or have very important collective results. But
I said nothing because for months I wanted to prepare the individual consciousness
to admit, I might say, even perhaps to recognise, this necessity for a
collective individuality. This is what must be explained now.
There is no other reason for this kind of apparent fall which, in fact,
is not one. It is the spiral movement of progress which makes it necessary
to move away from a certain realisation in order to make it not only vaster
but also higher. If every one collaborates consciously and with goodwill,
it will go much faster.
It was an imperative necessity if one wanted this Ashram life to be viable.
Everything that does not progress necessarily declines and perishes, and
for the Ashram to last it had to make progress in its consciousness and
become a living entity. There.
We are rather far away in the spiral from the line of realisation we had
some years ago, but we shall come back to it on a higher level.
So, that is the answer.
They may appear to be movements which seem to contradict what I have just
told you, but that
it is always like that, for every time one wants
to realise something, the first difficulty one meets is the opposition
of all that was inactive before and now rises up to resist.
All that does not want to accept this change naturally wakes up and revolts.
But that is of no importance. It is the same thing as in the individual
being: when you want to progress, the difficulty you want to conquer immediately
increases tenfold in importance and intensity in your consciousness.
There is but to persevere, that's all. It will pass.
in CWM, volume 9, "Questions and Answers
1957-1958" pages 172-174
published by Sri
Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA
See the Original in French