Editor’s note: April 24, 1920 was the day of second and final arrival of the Mother in Pondicherry, to be with Sri Aurobindo and collaborate in the Supramental Yoga for the Earth. As an offering for this special date, we feature here an insightful article by M. P. Pandit which gives a peek into the Yogic work of the Mother. The article is included in Pandit’s book titled “Commentaries on the Mother’s Ministry, Vol. 1, 1983.
We have also included two conversations of the Mother which the author refers. Editors have made a few formatting changes for the purpose of online reading, with no alterations in the text.
In his book The Mother, Sri Aurobindo describes the four main Powers of the Divine Mother, the supreme creatrix, that are at work in this manifestation. They are Maheshvari, the Mother of Knowledge, Mahakali, the Mother of Strength, Mahalakshmi, the Mother of Beauty and Harmony, Mahasarasvati, the Mother of Service and Perfection.
Then he refers to other Personalities of the Divine Mother who are not yet actively participating in the universe and specially makes mention of the Mother of Ananda (Bliss) whose presence and action are indispensable to the supramental transformation that is envisaged in this Teaching. This Power is based on Divine Love which is yet to manifest in its purity.
In a revealing talk the Mother narrates how, when she came back to India in 1920 and joined Sri Aurobindo, they started working together in their sadhana for the Earth.
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Surrender – a sonnet by Sri Aurobindo
Till then this inner work was going on on the mental plane and they proceeded to work on the vital plane thereafter. In the process there were spectacular changes in the body and appearance of the Mother. Though she was forty, she looked 18. So much so that when W.W. Pearson who had met the Mother earlier (1916) in Japan came to Pondicherry (1923) he could hardly recognise her; he exclaimed, “My God! Is it you?”
From the vital they descended later into the physical. Things changed drastically. Difficulties and obstructions came up on a massive scale. Sri Aurobindo was even to observe — humorously — that if he had known of this beforehand, he might not have ventured to make the attempt. However, both he and the Mother carried on the difficult work of ‘digging’ and bringing in the higher Light into the obscurities of the Inconscient.
The Mother’s Conversation
Date: November 7, 1961
“When I returned from Japan and we began to work together, Sri Aurobindo had already brought the supramental light into the mental world and was trying to transform the Mind. ‘It’s strange,’ he said to me, ‘it’s an endless work! Nothing seems to get done—everything is done and then constantly has to be done all over again.’ Then I gave him my personal impression, which went back to the old days with Theon: ‘It will be like that until we touch bottom.’
“So instead of continuing to work in the Mind, both of us (I was the one who went through the experience. . . how to put it?. . . practically, objectively; he experienced it only in his consciousness, not in the body—but my body has always participated), both of us descended almost immediately (it was done in a day or two) from the Mind into the Vital, and so on quite rapidly, leaving the Mind as it was, fully in the light but not permanently transformed.
“Then a strange thing happened. When we were in the Vital, my body suddenly became young again, as it had been when I was eighteen years old!. . .
“There was a young man named Pearson, a disciple of Tagore, who had lived with me in Japan for four years; he returned to India, and when he came to see me in Pondicherry, he was stupefied. ‘What has happened to you!’ he exclaimed. He hardly recognized me.
“During that same period (it didn’t last very long, only a few months), I received some old photographs from France and Sri Aurobindo saw one of me at the age of eighteen. ‘There!’ he said, ‘That’s how you are now!’ I wore my hair differently, but otherwise I was eighteen all over again.
“This lasted for a few months. Then we descended into the Physical—and all the trouble began. But we didn’t stay in the Physical, we descended into the Subconscient and from the Subconscient to the Inconscient. That was how we worked. And it was only when I descended into the Inconscient that I found the Divine Presence—there, in the midst of Darkness.”
At one stage the Mother felt that the entry of the Mother of Ananda and her overt working would enable a successful transformation of the opposing elements.
And she called the Anandamayi to come down from her heights. It appears she did come into the earth-atmosphere in the forties (1946) and with her advent there was a powerful change in the subtler regions of the earth-world. There was a divine joy and great possibilities opened up.
But, the Mother says, there was not the required receptivity to receive and hold her presence. It needs utmost purity and a strong ādhāra (base) to bear her intensities. Men could not rise above their accustomed dimensions. Hardly any recognised her presence. This Power of Ananda alone can transform the physical body. Each cell that responds to her vibrations is reborn with a new consciousness that makes immortality possible.
But for this to be possible we need to make an exclusive choice of divine Bliss, divine Love. For the earthly pleasure to which men are attached is foreign to this Bliss which is self-existent.
In dropping the attraction of pleasure, however, we must take care not to turn our backs on life. Resort to asceticism would defeat the very purpose of life, however attractive it may seem as a way out. We must ensure an active participation in life, adding new values, changing our perspectives and laying ourselves utterly surrendered and open to the unhindered action of the supramental Power manifesting through this Power of Ananda.
Answering a question, the Mother remarks that the state of her own body is not what matters essentially in the situation. It is those around her who have to develop the readiness to respond unreservedly. In the absence of this receptivity the manifestation of the Mother of Ananda could not be.
The Mother’s Conversation
Date: August 25, 1954
“There are other great Personalities of the Divine Mother, but they were more difficult to bring down and have not stood out in front with so much prominence in the evolution of the earth-spirit.
“There are among them Presences indispensable for the supramental realisation,—most of all one who is her Personality of that mysterious and powerful ecstasy and Ananda which flows from a supreme divine Love, the Ananda that alone can heal the gulf between the highest heights of the supramental spirit and the lowest abysses of Matter, the Ananda that holds the key of a wonderful divinest Life and even now supports from its secrecies the work of all the other Powers of the universe.”
(Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, CWSA, Vol. 32, pp. 23-24)
Q: Sweet Mother, what Personality is this and when will she manifest?
I have prepared my answer. I knew someone would ask me that, because of all things this is the most interesting in this passage, and I have prepared my answer. I have prepared my answer to this and my answer to another question also. But first I am going to read this one.
You asked: “What personality is this and when will she come?” (Silence) And this is my reply:
“She has come, bringing with her a splendour of power and love, an intensity of divine joy unknown to the earth so far.
“The physical atmosphere was completely changed by it, saturated with new and marvellous possibilities.
“But for her to be able to settle and act down here, she needed to meet with at least a minimum of receptivity, to find at least one human being having the requisite qualities in the vital and physical nature, a kind of super-Parsifal endowed with a spontaneous and integral purity, but at the same time having a strong and balanced body in order to bear the intensity of the Ananda she had brought without giving way.
“Till now she has not obtained what was necessary. Men obstinately remain men and do not want to or cannot become supermen. They can only receive and express a love cut to their measure—a human love! And the marvellous joy of the divine Ananda escapes their perception.
“So, at times, she thinks of withdrawing, finding that the world is not ready to receive her. And this would be a cruel loss. It is true that for the moment her presence is more nominal than active, for she does not have the opportunity to manifest herself.
“But even so, she is a powerful help in the Work. For, of all the aspects of the Mother, this is the one which has the greatest power for the transformations of the body. Indeed, the cells which are able to vibrate to the contact of divine joy, to receive and preserve it, are regenerated cells on the way to becoming immortal.
But the vibration of divine joy and those of pleasure cannot lodge together in the same vital and physical system. So one must have totally renounced experiencing all pleasure in order to be in a state to receive the Ananda. But very few are those who can renounce pleasure without, by the very fact, renouncing all participation in active life and plunging into a rigorous asceticism.
“And among those who know that it is in active life that the transformation must take place, some try to see pleasure as a more or less warped form of Ananda, and thus justify in themselves the quest for personal satisfaction, creating in themselves an almost insuperable obstacle to their own transformation.”
~ Design: Beloo Mehra and Biswajita Mohapatra