Editor’s note: What was special about the ‘Balcony Darshan’ and ‘Concentration’ time at the Ashram playground? How did the Mother use these occasions to help accelerate the disciples’ progress by ‘giving’ each one exactly what was necessary? In her talks with some disciples, the Mother once explained how one can be more open and receptive to her Force during these special moments.
It is important to note that her advice on becoming more receptive to her Force is just as applicable today, especially when we go for Darshan or when we offer our pranams at the Samadhi. Equally helpful is another passage included here in which the Mother emphasises that the physical body can be made more receptive to universal energies through physical activities. Her response to a question about the effectiveness of fasting also gives great practical guidance.
Balcony Darshan – The Mother ‘Sees’ Each One
Disciple: Sweet Mother, every day we go for the Balcony Darshan, and here at the Playground we come for the March Past and the Concentration. What should be our approach to each one of these things?
The Mother: The most indispensable thing in every case is receptivity.
At the Balcony, for example. When I come on the Balcony I make a special concentration, you notice that I look at everybody, don’t you; I look, see, pass my eyes over every one, I know all who are there, and where they are, and I give each one exactly what he needs; I see his condition and give him what is necessary. It can go fast, because otherwise I would keep you there for half an hour, but I do it, that’s what I do.
That’s the only reason why I come out, because otherwise I carry you in my consciousness. I carry you in my consciousness always, without seeing you, I do what is necessary.
But here it is a moment when I can do it by touching the physical directly, you see; otherwise it is through the mind that it acts, the mind or the vital. But here I touch the physical directly through the sight, the contact of sight; and that’s what I do—each time.
Be Ready to Receive What is Given
So if each one who comes, comes with a kind of trust, of inner opening, and is ready to receive what is given, and naturally is not dispersed. . . there are people there who pass their time looking at what is happening, what the others are doing; and in this way they don’t have much chance to receive anything very much. . .
. . . but if one comes concentrated on what he can receive and is as quiet as possible, and as though he were open to receive something, as though he were opening his consciousness, like this (gesture) to receive something—if one has a particular difficulty or problem, one can put it in an aspiration, but it is not very necessary, because usually between what people think about themselves and the condition in which they are, there is always a little difference, in the sense that it’s not quite the thing; their way of feeling or seeing the thing creates a little deformation, so I am obliged to cross over their deformation; whereas if they don’t think about anything, if they are simply like this (gesture), open and awaiting the Force—I go straight in and what has to be done I do.
And that’s the moment when I know exactly, you see, I do this (gesture), quite slowly—from above I see very well, very well—exactly the condition in which each one is. That’s the morning’s work.
Collective Work of Unification at Playground ‘Concentration’
The “Concentration” is something absolutely different.
I try, first, to make the atmosphere as calm, quiet, unified as possible, as though I were spreading the consciousness out wide, like this (gesture); and then from far above I bring down the Force as much as I can and put it upon you as strongly as I can.
So this depends exclusively on whether one is quite tranquil and well concentrated; here one must be concentrated, one must not be dispersed, one must be concentrated, but very. . . how to put it?. . . plain, very horizontal. Like this (gesture). Then the Force puts a pressure. And it’s above all for unifying, penetrating the whole and endeavouring to make of it something cohesive which can express collectively the Force from above.
In the morning it is an individual work, in the evening it is a collective work. But naturally, within that, each one can feel individually, but you see, it is a work of unification which I do in the evening. Each one receives according to his receptivity and the state in which he is.
How to be Receptive – From Champaklal’s Treasures
Preparing the body’s receptivity through physical activities
Disciple: And during the March Past, Sweet Mother?
The Mother: That, the March Past, it is. . . it is more a physical action—preparing oneself for the physical action.
It is more a way of opening oneself to the energy, the universal energy, to prepare for the action. It is a contact with the energy, the universal energy which is there, it is to help the body to participate in the work. At that moment it is something very physical.
This is truly the basis of physical culture: to prepare the body for the action and the receptivity of energies to accomplish the work.
And also the Marching, even when I am not there. But the March Past is for stimulating the receptivity of the body to the energies for realisation. It is based upon something which is expressed in all kinds of ways; but it is a kind of admiration. . . how to put it?. . . a spontaneous and also charming admiration for heroism, which is in the most material physical consciousness.
– The Mother, CWM, Vol. 7, p. 253
Does Fasting Help Make Body More Receptive?
Disciple: How does fasting produce a state of receptivity?
It is because usually the vital being is very closely concentrated on the body and when the body is well fed it takes its strength from the food, its energy from the food, and it is one way. . . it is obviously almost the only way; not the only one, but the most important in the present conditions of life. . . but it is a very tamasic way of absorbing energy.
If you think about it, you see, it is the vital energy which is in either plants or animals, that is, logically it is of an inferior quality to the vital energy which should be in man, who is a slightly higher being in the gradation of the species.
So if you draw from below you draw at the same time the inconscience that is below. It is impossible to eat without absorbing a considerable amount of inconscience; this makes you heavy, coarsens you; and then if you eat much, a large amount of your consciousness is absorbed in digesting and assimilating what you have eaten.
So already, if you don’t take food, you don’t have all this inconscience to assimilate and transform inside you; it sets free the energies.
And then, as there is an instinct in the being to recuperate the energies spent, if you don’t take them from food, that is, from below, you instinctively make an effort to take them through union with the universal vital forces which are free, and if one knows how to assimilate them one does so directly and then there is no limit.
It is not like your stomach which can digest only a certain amount of food, and therefore you can’t take in more than that; and even the food you take liberates only a little bit, a very small quantity of vital energy. And so what can remain with you after all the work of swallowing, digesting, etc.? Not much, you see.
But if you learn. . . and this indeed is a kind of instinct, one learns instinctively to draw towards himself the universal energies which move freely in the universe and are unlimited in quantity. . . as much of these as you are capable of drawing towards you, you can absorb—so instinctively when there is no support from below which comes from food, you make the necessary movement to recuperate the energies from outside, and absorb as much of them as you are capable of doing, and sometimes more.
“It isn’t the forces that are limited, it is the receptivity” – Words of the Mother
So this puts you in a kind of state of excitement, and if your body is very strong and can bear being without food for a certain length of time, then you keep your balance and can use these energies for all kinds of things, as for example, to progress, to become more conscious and transform your nature.
But if your physical body doesn’t have much in reserve and grows considerably weak from not eating, then this creates an imbalance between the intensity of the energies you absorb and the capacity of the body to hold them, and then this causes disturbances. You lose your balance, and all the balance of forces is destroyed, and anything at all may happen to you.
In any case, you lose much control over yourself and become usually very excited, and you take this excitement for a higher state. But often it is simply an inner imbalance, nothing more. It sharpens the receptivity very much.
For example, precisely when one fasts and no longer takes the energies from below, well, if you breathe in the odour of a flower it nourishes you, the perfume nourishes you, it gives you a great deal of energy; but otherwise you do not notice it.
There are certain faculties which get intensified, and so one takes that for a spiritual effect.
It has very little to do with the spiritual life except that there are people who eat much, think much about their food, are very deeply absorbed in it, and then when they have eaten well—and as I say, they must digest it, and so all their energies are concentrated on their digestion—these people are dull in mind, and this pulls them down very much towards matter; so if they stop eating and stop thinking about food—because there is one thing, that if one fasts and thinks all the time that he is hungry and would like to eat, then it is ten times worse than eating—and can truly fast because they think of something else and are occupied with something else and are not interested in food—then that can help one to climb to a slightly higher degree of consciousness, to free himself from the slavery to material needs.
But fasting is above all good for those who believe in it—as everything. When you have the faith that this will make you progress, is going to purify you, it does you good. If you don’t believe in it, it doesn’t do much, except that it makes you thin.
– The Mother, CWM, Vol. 7, p. 60
Of Force, Receptivity and Laughs
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