February 21, 2006

The Mother is a seer

From The Journals, Boston, MA, 1985-1986: The most memorable event of the five days spent at my Harvard 25th Reunion had nothing to do with Harvard and something perhaps to do with the supernatural. During the past few weeks I have been involved obsessively with Sri Aurobindo, the Mother, and Satprem. Though I have been reading Sri Aurobindo off and on since 1973, I had decided by the reunion that he was the greatest intellect ever to have addressed itself to the phenomenon of consciousness. Of the various allegations of Sri Aurobindo's supernatural powers I say nothing. These are a matter of record or a subject of skepticism. Whether he himself embodied the first mutation of mankind into supramental consciousness is not a subject upon which I can speak with authority-- or knowledge.
Mother's Agenda is one of the necessary utterances of the 20th century...Mother's Agenda, at least in its first 500 pages-- and I have at this point no reason to doubt that the next 5500 pages will differ in quality-- stands unique in the annals of humanity. That the Agenda is not an imaginative concoction on the part of Satprem is proved by the fact that the entire Agenda except for the first hundred or so pages and the inclusion of letters exists on tapes one of which I heard last night. With the dismissal of any suspicion of fraud one is left with the evidence of the Agenda itself, perhaps the most important statement made about evolution since the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.
This coupling with Darwin, however far-fetched it might sound, immediately raises central issues. Darwin was an empirical scientist, plodding, exact, meticulous, possessed by a theory first perceived as legitimate in the Galapagos Islands which he spent decades gathering data to prove. Darwin's methodology is sacrosanct. Only Creationists and other Yahoos would regard Darwin as unworthy of consideration. The Mother is not a scientist. She is herself the laboratory experiment for the evolution of the race into another species by means of cellular mutation.
The Mother is a seer. Like Sri Ramakrishna, she enters into trances and has visions. These visions she describes and analyzes with the articulations of one gifted with the most profound of perceptions and aided with the immense intellectual categorizations of Sri Aurobindo. But whereas Aurobindo's stance is abstraction-- a skeptic might argue unprovable theory--the Mother's voice is that of concrete experience. What Aurobindo points to the Mother describes-- in a voice of pain, suffering, anxiety, exaltation, joy. As a seer, the Mother SEES. She sees what is invisible to the rest of humanity. She possesses prodigious powers of healing. Her consciousness, not confined to her body, constantly travels to other dimensions and communicates with other beings.
The Mother is the archetype of the psychic. Telepathy, clairvoyance, prophesy-- these are grist for her mill, preliminary powers to aid her in her monumental work of forging the bridge between terrestrial and supramental existence. Again and again the Mother enters into the Supramental, describing its constituent elements. The Mother is the Swedenborg of the Supramental and the Agenda is her Spiritual Diary. Like Swedenborg the Mother communicates with demons and spirits. That type of mentality called animism which anthropologists designate as the essence of primitive man characterizes the Mother's mind. The Mother is a primitive primeval force which entered into Nature at the beginning of creation and which has reincarnated successively to aid, accelerate, and generate the evolutionary process. The Mother is the incarnation of that which early man worshipped as the Divine Mother, the Mater Magna. Before her wisdom and her perception and her utterance in the Agenda we can only bow our heads in gratitude and thanksgiving.
There are parts of the Agenda that lack credibility. The Agenda is a work of literary magic. In reading it one enters a reality so different from our mundane world that one is obliged to ask certain basic questions. Is the Mother putting us on? Is she suffering from delusions? I have made a list of about twenty items that I find highly unbelievable. For example, the Mother claims that when Aurobindo died his consciousness entered into her body as a means of direct communication with the material world. Nightly the Mother who slept only two hours communes with Aurobindo in another dimension and in fact when Satprem on numerous occasions brings his manuscript of the book on Aurobindo to the Mother for her comments it is Aurobindo through the Mother who criticizes Satprem is writings.
Not only that but once when the disciples sat meditating in the courtyard an enlarged form of Aurobindo pressed down and sat upon them. There exists in the Mother's world a recognizable mythos and cosmology. Thus, according to the Mother, there are four Asuras or satanic forces on the planet, two of whom have been neutralized or converted. One of the other two, the Lord of Death, gave of f an emanation, Max Theon, who was the Mother's teacher in Tlemcon, Algeria at the beginning of the century. The Mother has much to say about Theon, far more than about her ex-husband, Paul Richard, himself an emanation of the Lord of Nations or Falsehood.
At one point the Mother literally threw me off the couch by her statement that it was she who by disguising herself as the Lord of Nations persuaded Hitler to invade Russia in order to insure Hitler's ultimate defeat and that it was she by means of a hovering force who saved Paris from destruction. In fact, the Mother claims that World War II was an attempt on the part of the Asuras to thwart the WORK, the Supramental Manifestation. In addition, in 1962 when China invaded India and suddenly, despite its seemingly imminent victory, withdrew, the Mother claims that it was her force that caused Peking's sudden about- face.
If the Agenda were only a couple of hundred pages long, one could dismiss it as the work of a kook. But the Agenda is 6000 pages and these items are only magical flashes contributing to its unique atmosphere. I am merely mentioning these paranormal items to get them out of the way. Another one is that while in Tlemcon the Mother was approached on separate occasions by the King of the Cats and the King of the Serpents, both spirits of their respective species and both wearing gold crowns, in order to make pacts. Whereas the Mother refused to enter into a pact with the King of the Serpents, she did so with the King of the Cats.
There are entire pages concerning the Mother's relationship with her cats, one of whom she claimed was the reincarnation of a Russian aristocrat murdered by the Bolsheviks. And then there are other things. Theon taught the Mother how to turn aside lightening. The Lord of the Snow, a gnome, came to Madame Theon when she planted Norwegian spruce trees. The gods Shiva and Krishna used to attend meditation sessions in the courtyard at Pondicherry. On November 24, 1926 Krishna entered Sri Aurobindo's body. In Algeria the Mother discovered the Mantra of Life and buried it. In 1923 her body became that of an eighteen-year-old girl. You see, the details add up to strain our credibility. But the portrait of the Mother and her conversations are so much more vast than these incidental items."
Another problem we did not discuss is the composition of the Agenda and the relationship between Satprem and the ashram. Apparently six months before the Mother's death in 1973 Satprem, the Mother's closest confidant and for twenty years privy to weekly sessions to record the Agenda, was barred admission to Mother's room. Not only that, but after the Mother's death all their correspondence from 1962 to 1973 was confiscated by the ashram, Satprem was expelled from the ashram, and he escaped with the tapes of the Agenda to Auroville. To this day Satprem is persona non grata in the ashram. The entire Agenda stems from Satprem's tapes but these tapes, except for the one I heard, are apparently not available. Thus there is no way of knowing what Satprem edited or deleted or changed from the original tapes with the Mother.
It is impossible to give any indication of the richness of these 2178 pages of Mother's Agenda, an experiment in consciousness, the consciousness of a mystic. To speak of another's mental state is ordinarily difficult enough that it has become the prerogative of the novelist. A great novelist, a Virginia Woolf, a Joyce, a Tolstoy, possesses the uncanny ability to empathize, to enter into the mental worlds of other people, to invent mental milieus by means of word and plot. But when the mental world is different in kind, when a mutation in consciousness itself takes place, perhaps one can only remain silent. Both in Greek and in Sanscrit a mystic is one who remains silent. But for 6000 pages the Mother never kept quiet, at least to Satprem, about her states of mind. To speak authoritatively about the Mother would presuppose a comprehensive knowledge of mystical literature, a familiarity with all the conflicting schools of modern psychology, and a literary finesse possessed only by a Satprem. RICHARD TITLEBAUM

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