Discussions with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet 15 June 1986, Stone Ridge, New York

Well now, your teachings. Could they have been taught in the Piscean Age?


Definitely not.


That’s right. The time is right.


Oh, absolutely. It would have been impossible. Out of that Age came what we have! And it is as clear as a bell that that is the way it had to be. No. It is only now…and remember, it is very interesting, this whole period, because if you’ve read The Gnostic Circle one of the key factors is the 9th Manifestation of Sagittarius. This is what most of these new age groups fail to appreciate, that, yes, it is the Aquarian Age, but we are in this larger arc of the 9th Manifestation. And that’s what answers a lot of the questions. Otherwise, just by looking at it in terms of Aquarius, you cannot understand what is happening. You cannot understand this total breakdown. But if you understand it in terms of the birth process: 9 months, 9 ages, 9 manifestations, and either you live or you die — but there is a new creation that comes out. It is very simple and very clear. Then you begin to understand why.

Just because it is the Aquarian Age doesn’t mean that we have to be going through this hell. And poised on the brink. You understand? Where the only solution is a new birth. The only solution is a new creation. There is no other, because we cannot find a solution based on any of the old pillars that we’ve clung to for so long.

So this is the big key. The Piscean Age, the Aquarian Age. Yes, this is important. It is clear: space travel. Before it was discovery of the Earth by sea; now it is into space. All this, the openings to new things…but the real key is this larger arc of six thousand and some odd years, which is this 9th Manifestation, which is the time of the Birth. And, you see, we are dealing with a long arc of time.


But this is the turning point.


Of course. In this very Age.


Are we going to make it?


Well, I have no doubt about it. But just because I have no doubt doesn’t mean that we don’t experience difficulties. Good Lord, just in my work, the difficulties…you cannot imagine. So, it is difficult, but as long as you can see what is going on, as long as you know, then somehow you have the strength from that; and you go on.

You can imagine. This being a new work, the difficulties that it faces are tremendous. You have to literally open a path…and what are you opening? You are opening through a…


A jungle!


So, it is not easy at all.


If I understand it, it is not a question of will we make it, because the fact that you have written and given us that message, is a sign that we have made it.


Well, this is the way I feel about it. That you would not be able to formulate things like this if it was not already done, let’s say, and manifested in time in certain levels. Of course. That’s the whole point. So, that’s why I can sit here and laugh about it.


On the mental plane, it exists. The battle is bringing it down into the physical, before the planet is destroyed.


Yes, of course. It is like two things are joining, a new heaven and a new earth. You see, so they have to reach the same point. This is what is happening now. But what she says is absolutely right. And that is what I felt: that it would be impossible to even formulate…you see, I always talk about this work in terms of a language, which is the formulation of a new synthetic language. And people don’t perhaps realise what that means. It means that you could not create this language if all the elements were not there to make it possible. And those, being there already, means that that creation exists, in seed form. It must grow and overtake the other.

You know, when you look at it in these long cycles, then it is immaterial. Because, as I say, if you see it in the moment, this is your greatest joy — because you realise that you are participating. Even if you’re not connected consciously with a work like this, you just bear in mind that you are living in the times when this magnificent thing is being decided and is getting done.

So, whatever…somewhere in your being It knows that, or you would not have taken birth now, you see?


Is there something unique about this planet? In terms of a mission in the universe, or a function?


Well, I feel that way. I feel that way very strongly, because it all has to do with the soul, what is the nature of the soul. That being so utterly wonderful, this question of the soul, what it is…well, definitely in this solar system that is the contribution of the Earth. Whether in another solar system the same process exists…. It may. But it would be still different. And then there is a beauty here, a certain combination that has come together: its position in the solar system.

When you think about it, the immense combination of circumstances that had to come about in order to allow for such a manifestation. It boggles the mind. And that makes it very unique. Very unique. So, for me it is a grace to be born on this planet. In matter…just to take birth, for me is a grace. Quite the contrary to what people think, that it is a hell. It is only here that you can become conscious, that you live the experience consciously, and the process to evolve and understand that evolution, and enjoy the whole process. On other planes you cannot. You don’t evolve. There are planes where there may be perceptions that are even, let’s say, closer to the Divine. But there they do not evolve. And then when you go even higher, you obliterate the capacity. You see? And this is what is so unique that takes place in a body. And that is what the ego is all about. It serves its purpose; it provides you with a separate instrument of perception; but at the same time then you have to surpass the ego.

There is an aphorism of Sri Aurobindo: ‘The ego was the helper, the ego is the bar.’ That’s the point. It allows you to evolve this instrument that grants you the capacity to have this conscious experience of the Divine, this evolution. And at the same time, of course, you have to surpass it at a certain point, if you really want to attain the new consciousness.

So for me it is completely the opposite. So completely that, I tell you, it gets to be a problem now, because everything is just so old. You know, I look at all of this and I say: It’s just so OLD. How can they presume that that is going to be the solution. You know, it is something for me that is like coming out of the Dark Ages. Whereas the other is so simple. So clear. So new. Because it is a new manifestation. We have had it in seed form. But we have not consciously lived it yet. And this is what we are doing in this Manifestation.


I haven’t read The New Way, but does it then obliterate what I have understood every religion is, the ancient wisdom which has been passed down through, I don’t know, small circles? So, The New Way just obliterates the ancient teachings?


I don’t think so. I think rather it’s just simply carrying all that forward into this new thing, because I often refer to certain teachings — myths, especially, where you really have very profound truths. Because in these myths you always are dealing with the soul of the Earth, the soul of the species.

No, I wouldn’t say that it obliterates them, but I would say that it certainly does make a lot of sense out of what all these things were for. Why they did manifest. But at the same time, it is giving you the New Way. It is saying: That is what it was all about up until that point. Now we are dealing with something new. But this has evolved from that. And you cannot disconnect it from its past also.

It’s like the birth of a child. While it is a foetus it is one thing. But when it is born, it is a new thing. And it’s a thing on its own. Complete in itself. Any woman can understand that. Your experience of it in the womb is one thing, and this is exactly what we have known as a civilisation: we are a civilisation as yet unborn. And it is very clear…but of course it will be much clearer once we have gone through this period. But the important thing is to see it while it is happening, because the process of birth is so exciting. All the conditions that are forcing this Birth.


I think the question that I asked earlier was, will this new consciousness be able to come to our planet? Or will the planet be destroyed before that can take place? And if the planet really is destroyed, does it really matter?


Definitely it does matter. This is a very interesting question, because it comes up all the time, in the sense that even in the work in terms of this microcosmic element that I am dealing with, for example, there were crucial points in this process where you said, ‘Well, one has got to overtake the other at some point.’ As a matter of fact, I just briefly referred to a certain work that I was doing in India in 1983 and 1984…and there, as a matter of fact, this whole point was really at stake. Well, what is going to emerge? Is one thing going to overtake the other? And I can happily say that, in terms of the modest yoga that was being performed individually and collectively, we got through that period and something really very fantastic did happen, which was the big breakthrough. In other words, now, that new consciousness overtakes the other, and the danger, I feel, is passed entirely. In fact, that is the only reason why I am here today. It is because it did succeed, otherwise it would have been useless and irrelevant to go anywhere and open my mouth about anything.


Is there any way we can make a dent in the minds of our world leaders?


I think that is again irrelevant [laughter]. In the sense that…I mean, they are just going to be carried along by a process, and what seems to be the way is that those things will go on, the old forms will continue like this.

Now, what I was telling you about just briefly was something on the seed level. A breakthrough occurred on the seed level. And this is the most important thing, because if it doesn’t occur there, it doesn’t occur anywhere else. I could go into this in very great detail, but now is not the time, and I don’t know if it ever will be in this type of…. It concerns a very intense collective process that went on. But it can be described very accurately.

All of the other things are simply ‘influenced’ then, they are carried along in the process, and they go on and on and on. I can tell you, for example, when you are dealing with individuals — you asked this before. You said this; that we are serving even though we are not perfect. This is what you mentioned before… It is the same condition, where a person is used as an instrument. Let’s say Ronald Reagan, — and he is totally unconscious of what he is doing. But he is used to create a lot of tension in the world — the arms build up, and all of that. The moment he came in power I said, ‘This is it: this man is there to create this particular tension.’ And he is doing it beautifully. Now, he can be unconscious, or at a certain point he can have a choice where he can do his role consciously, which of course would change his role entirely. But those people generally remain unconscious instruments.

But you take people, for example, who are involved in this microcosmic element, that are people who are working on themselves and they are really offering themselves. They get bogged down in their difficulties so they don’t see their instrumentation; and they suffer from that. Now these people, they are used also. They are instruments in this. But there comes a point where they are no longer needed because that work is done.

Take what happened in the work we were doing. Those people served the purpose at that time. Now, after that, it becomes a personal choice. Up until that point they are helpless; they are made to serve that function, like Reagan is in the White House, like Gorbachev over there, like this one and that one. But after that work is done, they are really no longer needed in that sense, and then it becomes a totally personal choice. Then they fall back into a sort of individual instrument where they can choose to continue that way, or they can fall off completely and they are not taken up again.

So, that’s the whole point. You see, it is virtually impossible that Ronald Reagan is going to open up to the new way! I mean it would never…it is simply not in his ‘style’, his role.

I have had certain things to do with so-called politicians in India because they were involved. That was something entirely different though. And those people were rather conscious of what they were doing. And of course it was India also: you can talk to anybody about these things, no matter who. The Prime Minister, the President and on downward. They listen and they understand, and deep inside they know that that is where the solution lies. They know it because it is in their tradition. The Brahmin was the highest caste and he had spiritual knowledge and he was above the king, and he advised the king.

So, we start from a different level which is nonexistent here in the United States, for example. When you go into this thing about influencing:  Yes, influence. But you have to influence indirectly, I think in this case. And that is by working on processes where the work is really done; and these people are simply carried along. In other words, it is important to get on with the work.


There are groups that pray that the minds of world leaders will be opened.


Have they been opened? I believe we are going to get into another delicate subject, about prayers like that, and all. Well, everybody has to do what they feel is right, but usually…you see, if these things are not done with knowledge, real knowledge, then they make them feel good, the ones who are praying; that is positive in itself. But actually changing…?


Is that a manifestation of ego, that we think we can change things?


Well, also. But also there are a lot of people who are sincere and they really want to do something, but they don’t know. They have no knowledge…


I wanted to ask you, in terms of being an unconscious instrument and getting on with the work, do you think that many people do work while they sleep? Or do you have to be in your body?


Yes, they do. This is a fact. I find it a very important part of the work, in dreams, conscious dreaming, coming out of the body, and all these things. But these again are stages that one reaches by work on oneself, by having that knowledge to deal with these things. But the sleep element is very important. Far more important than what many yogas consider. Let’s face it; we spend an awful lot of time sleeping, so if you’re unconscious when you’re awake, you will be equally unconscious when you sleep. We have gone into that, PH and I, about conscious dreaming and what it is all about. I mean, coming into a dream state consciously. This is quite different, — very different, your experience of it. But it is no different than you experience in life, it’s no different than that. You can be caught in the outer whirlwind of life in the waking state, and the same in dreams. In dream you can stand as a witness and everything revolves around you, if you are poised and conscious in life, you see? In the waking state. Then when you go into the dream state, you can go into it in the same condition and your dreams will become entirely different. They are more objective, and they influence — because in dreams of course you are touching very deep levels of the unconscious and the subconscious.

In this yoga, for example, there are stages where your dream work is very important. And generally it is important. You may keep a record of your dreams, the dates when they occur, and like that. As you would do in psychotherapy.


When you said, ‘This yoga’, is ‘yoga’ just a synonym for ‘work’?


In the way I am using it now, yes, of course. I use that term interchangeably; I am usually referring to Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga, but with something else now which is the Supramental Yoga that he was alluding to, really, because he never really described it. So, that is the different phase that we are coming into now. When I say ‘the work’, I mean work on oneself within the framework of this particular discipline.


What would you suggest for people who haven’t read your work? Where would one start?


I always say The Magical Carousel, because I think that is so easy. It’s like cosmology without tears! But nobody else seems to realise that! They always seem to go to The Gnostic Circle. To me it seems so easy. Everything is there, in that little story, with the Commentaries especially. But most people like The Gnostic Circle. It really depends also on the type of person. I personally think The New Way can be read even first. That is because of the way it is written.


That’s your latest.


Another thing is the Newsletter that’s coming out now. This, I have to say, is a very exciting development, because…it came out not because it was a mental decision: ‘Well, now we’re going to print a newsletter!’ But because we had made that transition, and then came the time to start contacting people and creating a certain ‘web’ around the world, with people connected in the process. So that was the purpose of the Newsletter.

The Newsletter is giving out immediate…I mean, every two months it is coming out, and I am writing things on the immediate yoga. What is being done. So there is a process at work there. Of course, people, they read it, they may not realise this in the beginning; but later on, after the first few, you will see what an impact that will make.

That’s another thing. That has carried it [the work] now to another, very immediate stage, because it is possible now to contact people, after a certain nucleus is solidly there. And draw them into the process.

So there are various things. I think you have to just let yourself be guided in that, and what you feel. It is very difficult to be dogmatic on that: start with this, start with that. I think you have to make the selection yourself. Maybe have the books with you so that you can, at a given moment; and maybe in your conversations, if you refer to things, then you gradually get into it.


I picked up The Hidden Manna early, and simply couldn’t read it, it was so overwhelming. But now a year later I am reading it. It’s interesting. I had all the books at home, and some of them, like that, I couldn’t go to. It wasn’t the right time. And then I picked it up recently…


But, you see, you can probably understand why in your particular case that was so. Because of your Catholic background.


That’s right. I had to work through some emotional thing, about letting go of St. John and the Revelation.


And being ready to understand it in a different…and not afraid of it! That you are going to be pulled back into it again? If you feel that, you must follow your feelings. You must always follow your inner promptings, even if it is a negative manifestation. As long as you are sincere, as long as you really want THAT, you know, you will find your way. That is why you have to be very careful: no dogmas, no mental formulas.


I think it is like a new language, and if one is willing to take it up and not try to dissect every word, but let it really seep inside, and get the deeper meaning; that is the important thing about your work. It is affecting all the levels, and not to worry if you don’t understand the language. Don’t worry about it, not understanding the language. Because then you come back a year later, and you absolutely know the language.


That’s true, and why? Because I said it is really…if you could label it anything, it is an applied cosmology, an applied ‘language’. So that language doesn’t exist for you unless it is applied. Not applied mentally. Not that you sit there with the Gnostic Circle and you say, ‘Today, we are at this point, this and this is going to happen, this is what I must do.’ That’s not the point. The circumstances of your life must bring that alive. In other words, you are going to see the Divine in every circumstance of your life, and you grow then into that Consciousness. The Gnostic Circle is a blueprint of a “consciousness” which you are growing into. You are becoming That. And the Gnostic Circle is like the ‘ABC’. I have always said this; it is the ABC of this work, of this cosmology, and The New Way was making the sentences with it, creating, writing the whole book based on this. So, essentially one should be, or could be, read before the other, but not necessarily.


I tried to start with The Magical Carousel, but I really didn’t understand it; and as I read it, I knew I was going to have to have the whole thing explained to me. So it didn’t seem worthwhile to continue. I went on to The Gnostic Circle, which I really liked very much, much better. I haven’t finished it yet, it is slow going, but it has a lot of rich things in it for me, and 1 really…I wanted to ask you, do you sense yourself evolving? Do you sense the evolution occurring?


In myself?


Yes.


Well, what I sense is: hewing the path. And that is a process that is evolving. Of course. Very much so. And in all my books that ‘growth’ is there. The Magical Carousel was the first one, that was the ‘seed’, you know, mythic; and all that was there. And then they have all evolved out of that. Certainly there is a growth. But I must say that I started…well, can I say…the total vision was there, and then just different aspects of it came up. But, you see, for me that was the most important part. Because I remember in 1972, I was in the Ashram [in Pondicherry], and I had this overwhelming experience which in India is called the Brahman Consciousness, when you go into That. Of course it was something magnificent. It lasted for a number of days…in that state, which in other yogas is the height. You attain that and that’s it. Well, for me, at that time, I said, ‘Well, this is It.’ I didn’t even formulate it to myself like that. But I was in that state where it seemed to me that that was the totality. Because it was everything. The Fullness. It was no ‘void’, at all.

But, fortunately, as luck would have it, the Mother was there, and she just kept pushing me on; of course, without any resistance on my part, because I am made that way. And the beauty of it was what evolved out of that; and later on I realised that that was really just a ‘seed’. So, this ‘growth’…but it has come from that, and then just develops like a flower, on and on and on and on and on. So the growth is there.


What I meant was more like when you refer to the Divine jelling in the material. That’s what I meant, in terms of the evolution. Because some of the people have been talking about evolving to another level.


But, in what sense? Were you asking this personally?


Yes. Do you experience that? Do you experience that, the way…


I don’t think I have got the question. Which probably means I haven’t done it! [Laughter]


…the Spiritual, not manifesting on a higher plane but on a physical plane. That kind of thing.


Oh yes, definitely, that has taken place. I mean, that is the Consciousness. Period. That is the reason why I find myself at odds completely with everything else that is going on now, because this direction is so totally different. You see? I would have no work, I would be ‘jobless’!


Yes, that notion is what really struck me in your work. I think that, to me, was the central point.


I have to say…perhaps this will clarify too, that I never write anything on the basis of speculation. Every line has been a direct experience. Because I don’t write unless that has come. It is the ‘yoga’ that is performed, the experience that comes. And then out of that…it just so happens that it took the form of writing, because that is the medium today. We can communicate like that. But nothing is written that has not been experienced. Even in seed form. It may not be the full aspect of it, but the seed, which is enough for me to see the development of that particular process that I may be discussing. So every single thing has been a lived experience; and I think that that does come across in the books. I know that in a certain sense that is what may disturb people too. Someone who is writing from a lived experience and is not quoting this one or that one, and the endless bibliographies, and they feel a little bit at sea. They don’t know.


This concludes our transcript of
15 June 1986 Talks with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet

The Mother’s Dialogues on Her Temple

(In The New Way, Volumes 1&2, Appendix I consists of extracts from the Mother’s Talks on the Matrimandir. In 1981, a more complete version of these dialogues was released by the editor. They appeared in L’Agenda de Mere, Volumes 10 and 11. To provide our readers with this fuller version, we shall be reproducing these dialogues in this and the next issue of Vishaal, omitting only what is not directly related to the genesis of the Temple.)


31 December, 1969


Do you know Paolo, have you seen him? He is nice.


He is nice. But as a matter of fact, I have something on that subject. Yesterday I had a visit from Paolo and Nata together, and Paolo explained to me a sort of inspiration he had regarding Auroville. I found it very beautiful, very good, very good, very important. So I said to him: It is absolutely necessary that you yourself speak directly to the Mother about this. So, when can you receive Paolo?


Will I be able to hear him? Because the difficulty is that people do not know how to speak, they speak too fast, and I cannot follow them. Tell me what he wants to say.


He says that as of several years the energies of Auroville have been dispersed: they are egotistical, each one wants to build his small hut, his little thing, or, at best, he hopes to build a super-city which will be an improvement over all the existing cities in the world. In this Auroville what is lacking is an axis; a centre is lacking. What is lacking is a unification of consciousness around a centre, around an axis. So he says that in the past pyramids were built, cathedrals were built, and around those symbolic constructions consciousnesses were unified…

 (The Mother nods in agreement.)

and elevated and purified. Well, it is necessary that in Auroville an axis, a centre, a temple symbolic of the new world one wishes to create is built, and that all the consciousnesses unite in the construction of that pyramid of the new world or of that temple of the new world — and at the same time that will help to bring down what should be expressed there.


That is very good, that was the first idea: there was a centre and the city was organised around it. But now they are doing the contrary! They want to build the city and put the centre after…


And that is why it is not working, he says. He says: we must begin with that, and if one doesn’t, nothing will be done.


That was my first impression. But how can we make Roger [the architect of Auroville at that time] understand that? I don’t know. Because it is Roger who changed; he is the one who wanted to start with ‘Auromodele’, that is by trials and experiments.


What this produces is that people are occupied with their little stories and their little huts and there is no ‘cement’, the Thing that would lift them above themselves and their small concerns.


Theoretically, he is right.


Oh, yes, And it is strange, because when he was speaking to me about it, I saw almost, I was seeing. He is a person who could ‘bring that down’.


Yes, he has the power.

But why doesn’t he meet Roger?


He said to me, Should I speak with Roger about it? He says it is a problem if he speaks to Roger, he will withdraw or…. So I told him: No, don’t speak about it with Roger; speak to the Mother, it is the Mother who will say what has to be done.


I am seeing Roger tomorrow and I can tell him. Paolo is an architect, isn’t that so?


You’re the only one who has an authority over Roger.


Yes…no, if I tell him, ‘Do it’, he will not say no, but he won’t do it!…he must be convinced…. All that I can do is to tell him that I know of the idea and that I approve of it fully, and that I am asking him to see Paolo and come to an agreement.


Yes, in any case, when he was speaking to me, I felt the inspiration and the ‘Thing’ that was ready to come.


It is ready to come! I have known this for a long time! It is there [gesture above], and it is waiting.


Well, he is in contact with that.


Yes. Yes.


He was speaking, one felt that he had contacted the true thing. While others are thinking only about bringing millions, making propaganda, — they are doing things completely the other way around.


I believe that Paolo and Roger have not met yet.


Yes, they have. But Roger’s point of view is very materialistic.


Oh, yes.


I am worried that he will immediately say, ‘Why is he interfering?’


No, if I tell him, he won’t say that…


You are the only one who can…


No, I must speak to him about it.


Yes, sweet Mother, because they are putting the cart before the horse.


(After a silence)


I believe that they don’t even have the land. That is the difficulty. Because one fixed the centre of the city and there is still a large portion of that centre which belongs, I believe, to the government; and they are in the process of negotiating for it.

Roger’s idea is an island at the centre, with water around it, and it is running water which will provide the complete water supply for the city; when it has passed through the city, it will be sent to a factory, and from there it will go out for the irrigation of all the surrounding cultivation. So this centre is like a vast lake, and in the middle there is what we called at first the ‘Matrimandir’ — which I, myself, always see as a very big room, and absolutely bare, which receives a light that comes from above, which would be concentrated on a place where there would be — whatever one wants to put as the centre of the city. At first, we had thought of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol, but one can put whatever one wants. Like this, with a ray of light that always strikes it, that turns, turns, turns…, with the sun, you understand. If that were well done, it would be very good. And then underneath, so that people can sit and meditate, or simply rest, nothing, nothing, nothing except something comfortable underneath so that they can sit without getting tired, with probably some pillars, which would serve as backrests at the same time. And that, that is what I see always. A high room, so that the sun could enter as a ray according to the time of day, and strike the centre which will be there. If that is done, it will be very good….

Then, about the rest, it is all the same to me. They can do what they like. In the beginning there was the idea to make an apartment for me, but I will never go there, so it is not worth it, it is completely useless….

And then, the reply is always the same: But we don’t have any money!


But, sweet Mother, what I think and what Paolo has touched also, is that if sincerely these…let’s say twenty or fifty Aurovilians would join their hearts in the construction of that pyramid or that temple of the new world, that would BRING the money, millions.


It should.


It will come. It is not a question of ‘searching for millions’, it is first necessary to unite their consciousnesses around something.


Yes.


That is the key to the millions.


Explain to Paolo everything I have said…. In this way we will have something very good.

But evidently what is needed…. There are material difficulties: for that island, water is needed – naturally, otherwise it wouldn’t be an island. For water, there is not enough underground water.


But before building the island one can start to build the ‘temple’ itself…. It is necessary to start by lifting a stone.


Yes, that can be done.


That is what is important, that people take a first stone with their hands and that they place it, and that in that they unite because they will never become united through their little and their small concerns.


Yes, that would be much better.

Obviously, logically, or rather, psychologically, it is a mistake to build around and the centre after.


Of course!


How can we make him understand that?…


Since we want to do ‘something else’, the minimum is to have faith in something else.


Yes. I will speak to Roer about it tomorrow and I will ask him to see Paolo.

I think that to a certain degree Paolo can bring in money, if he is interested.

Good. That is, build before it is even an island.

For the outside of this kind of temple, Roger had thought of making a big lotus. But then this interior, this play of light, I do not know if that would be possible with a lotus shape.

If they could both collaborate…if they could both come together, and if one of them would always be here, one or the other of them, if there were always one of the two here, with a single plan they had made ― then it would go much quicker, a hundred times quicker.

This idea of a ray of sun, that…when I look, straightaway that is what I see. And a ray of sun which could come at all times — it would be arranged in such a way that it enters all the time [a gesture following the movement of the sun]. And then, there would be something there, a symbol, which would be at the same time upright so that it can be seen from all around, and flat so that it receives the light fully…. And let it not become a religion, for heaven’s sake!

You know, I am in contact with certain Ethiopians (I believe it is the country that has remained most Christian throughout the world). And there is a young man who is Secretary at the embassy in Delhi (the Ethiopian Embassy), who is completely taken, completely, and so… [laughing] it was his birthday two days back, and he came with a present….something in wood (ebony), this big, and on one side there was my picture, and on the other side there was Sri Aurobindo’s. In the middle there was a cross…in silver. On this cross, on top where the two arms meet, there was my symbol to one side and Sri Aurobindo’s to the other. What came into his head?!…

And naturally as soon as I saw it, when he put it on my lap…as soon as I saw it, this came [a gesture of a massive descent], as a response to the will of Christianity to transform itself. And it was so powerful, there was such a powerful vibration, that I had the impression that it was ACTUALLY HAPPENING….

The cross is the symbol of transformation: Matter penetrated by the Spirit; and the juncture of the two arms is the transformation. A formidable Force came, like that, so that that cross becomes really…the flower of the transformation.

But I didn’t say anything to him! And even he doesn’t know, that is he didn’t think — he didn’t think about it, he did it instinctively.

(Silence)

That the Force is working, there is not even the shadow of a doubt. And there is such a great… (how to say)…will, very active: NO RELIGION, no religion, no religious forms. But naturally, people immediately…. So, that is the reason why I leave people very free. That is the reason why I had not insisted on the construction of the centre first, because precisely it becomes the old cathedral, the old temple, the old stuff first [the Mother makes a gesture of embedding in the ground], and then everything becomes organised around: religion. We DO NOT WANT religion.


Yes, but one can ‘bring down’ something other than religion.


But one doesn’t bring it down! It is people who have it! They are so small, they need a religion, or at least they believe they do.

They need it, I have seen…I have received some letters that I am answering… [the Mother searches through some papers near her.] They arrive every day. And Sri Aurobindo has written some admirable things on this…just recently, yesterday or the day before, I answered a question concerning an Aphorism of Sri Aurobindo in which he wrote that atheism was NECESSARY because of religions and their misdeeds. Someone asked me a question and I replied.

Men are still very small.

But there is an interesting sign: in northern Europe, in Sweden and Norway and Denmark, there are priests who write to me. There is one who is the head of a church, there is one who is the head of a monastery. They write to ask and to say that they want to collaborate to come out of…. It is very strong there. There are one or two who have sent me their photos, asking me to help them. They are doing a work, they are working for Auroville there. That means….

But even our children have such stupid reactions! There is a girl here who wrote to me, because I had mentioned that the Consciousness had descended on Earth, it was concentrated on Earth to help human beings to prepare for the transformation. She said to me: “How is it that men have been left without help for such a long time?” It’s enough to make you scream in desperation!…I had to control myself in order not to tell her: My dear child [laughing], you are really stupid!

(Silence)

Who could be able to find a way to execute that? Because there is no lack of sun here…. Of course there are days when there isn’t any, but after all there are many days when it is shining — so that from all sides, from no matter what angle, the ray falls. It should be arranged like that. It is a question of geometry.

You can speak to Paolo about it, because if he had an idea….


When he spoke, 1 felt he had the power to bring that down.


Yes. And that is what is needed: something, a symbol ― we will find what is needed, we will see — of course like an altar, but what? A symbol that at the same time receives the light directly from above and from the side.

And then no windows, you understand? The rest in a sort of penumbra; and that, like a light…it would be good, it would be very good. I would like someone who could feel that. I don’t know if Roger is able to, but Paolo is.

And if it were properly done that would already be useful for people. It would be a crystallisation of something…. They will begin to say that it is sun worship! [Laughs]. Oh, you know, I am used to all sorts of stupidities!

(Silence)

The idea of Roger and his group is to have industries which can bring in money for Auroville, then….


They are wrong, they are wrong!


That is, instead of it being done quickly it will take centuries!


And then, it would be starting from the old idea, the old concept.


Yes.


It is necessary to start from something else.


It is out of fear of religions.


One can very well do this not as a religion but as the symbol of the new world.


Yes…someone is needed who understands this — maybe Paolo will.


Surely. And he has the power to convince people, I believe.


(Silence)


Yes, I will see Paolo. It would be better if he would come a day when you are here because I might not be able to hear him…it disturbs people to have to speak loudly. Then, Saturday perhaps? And I will speak to Roger about it tomorrow, that is, I will tell him that he should see Paolo who has some excellent ideas, — that he come to an understanding with him.

It is very simple. We shall try to make Roger understand and to create a collaboration between them. Roger will not tell me no — but he will do nothing (!), you understand. It is like that! But anyway, if he can, if they can understand each other, if that agrees with Roger, then that is good, there won’t be any difficulties. But if he can’t then it is necessary that Paolo be here when Roger is away, and then that we….!

You understand, for me it is like this! [The Mother laughs.] Because Roger has enough work (he has a formidable amount of work). It is not that we are taking work away from him. It is that if he refuses to do it, we will do it, that’s all.

I will see if they can come together on it.

For me now things are no longer exclusive, at all. I see very well the possibility of using the most contrary tendencies AT THE SAME TIME…with a little ableness; that is all. It is not exclusive. I don’t say: ‘Ah, no, not that!’ No, no, no: everything together. That is what I want: to arrive at the point of creating a place where all the contraries can unite.

That…unless one can do that… [gesture of turning round and round] that continues, one continues.

That is good. Yes, I understand: the thing is to build the centre, even if we cannot build the island. Perhaps Paolo can convince Roger. I will speak to him tomorrow, to start the new year.

There. Then, I wish you a good year.

We are changing the decade this time. It is necessary to shake up all of that.

So new and so small…in order to grow.


3 January, 1970


Yes, there is something interesting. I was feeling something for a long time, then we talked of it the other day, and I saw it. I spoke about it to Roger, I told him to see Paolo and I also told him that I had seen what should be done. Of course he did not say no, he said yes to everything, but I felt that he did not have much intention…. But anyway, this is what happened. I saw clearly, very, very distinctly…. That means that it was like that and that it is still like that, it is there [gesture indicating an eternal plane]. The interior of this place….


You should tell this to Paolo.


Should I tell him right away? Well…I can speak more easily if I am alone with you.


Then tell me, sweet Mother.


I can describe it. It came, like that. It will be a kind of tower which will be like the inside of a column. No windows. The ventilation will be artificial, with those machines [the Mother points to an air-conditioner] and only a roof. And the sun which strikes the centre. Or when there is no sun — at night and on cloudy days — an electric spotlight. And the idea is to build immediately a sort of sample, or model, holding about a hundred people. When the town is built and the experiment has been done, a large one will be made — but then it will be very big, to hold a thousand to two thousand people…and the second one will be done around the first; that means that the first one will not go away until the second has been finished. That is the idea.

Only, so as to talk about it to Paolo, and if possible…if I see that it is possible to talk of it to Roger. I would like to have a plan. I will have it made — not myself, because I can’t any more; I would have been able to do it at one time, but now I don’t see clearly enough. I will have it made this afternoon, in front of me; a plan, and with this plan I would be able to really explain well. But to you, I wanted to simply say what I have seen….

It will be a tower with twelve facets, each facet represents a month of the year; and above, the roof of the tower will be like that. [The Mother makes a gesture.] And then inside there will be twelve columns. The walls and then twelve columns. And right at the centre, on the ground there is my symbol, and above that four symbols of Sri Aurobindo, which are joined, which form a square; and above that, a globe. A globe which is, if possible, made of transparent material, and with (or without) light inside it, but the sun ought to strike the globe; then according to the month, the time, it will be from here, from there, from there… [gesture indicating the movement of the sun] do you understand? There will always be an opening with a ray entering. Not a diffused light; a ray which strikes it, which should strike it. To be carried out that requires a technical knowledge, and this is why I want to make a drawing with an engineer.

And then there will be no windows or lights inside the room. It will always be in a kind of light shadow, day and night — by day from the sun, by night from artificial light. And on the ground nothing, except a floor like this one [in the Mother’s room]. That means first wood, (wood or something else), then a sort of rubber foam, thick, very soft, and then a carpet. Carpet everywhere. And the twelve columns are for people who need to support their backs.

And then people will not come for a regular meditation or anything of that kind (but the inner organisation will be made afterwards). It will be a place for concentration. Not everyone will be able to come. There will be a time in the week or a time in the day (I don’t know) when visitors will be allowed to come, but anyway no mixture. A fixed time or a fixed day for showing it, and the rest of the time only for those who are…serious, serious, sincere, who want to learn to concentrate.

So I believe that that is good.

It was there [gesture above] I still see it when I speak of it — I see. As I see it, it is very beautiful, it is really very beautiful…a sort of penumbra: one can see, but it is very tranquil. And then very clear and very bright rays of light, (the spotlight, the artificial light, must be somewhat golden; it must not be cold — that will depend on the spotlight) fall upon the symbol. A globe made of a plastic material or…I don’t know.


Crystal?


If it is possible, yes. For the small temple, the globe will not need to be very big. If it were as big as this (about 30cm) it would be good. But for the big temple it will have to be big.


But how will the big temple be constructed? On top of the small one?


No, no, the small one will go away. But the big one will be built afterwards, and in vast dimensions…the small one will only go when the big one is built. But, of course, for the town to be finished, one must reckon on twenty years or so, for everything to be really in order, in its place. It is like the gardens: all the gardens which have been made are for now, but in twenty years all that will have to have other dimensions; then, it must be something really…really beautiful. And I wonder what material to use for this globe, the big one?… The small one, in crystal perhaps, a globe like that (30cm). I think that will be enough. One must be able to see the globe from every corner of the room.


It doesn’t need to be lifted too high above the ground either?


No, Sri Aurobindo’s symbol does not need to be big. It should be so big.


Twenty five or thirty centimetres?


At the most, at the very most.


That means that it will be about eye level.


Eye level, yes, that’s it.

And a very tranquil atmosphere. And nothing, you know, some great columns… We have to see if the columns are in some style…if they will be round, or if they also have twelve facets…? And twelve columns.


And the roof in two sections?


Yes, a roof in two sections in order to receive the sun. It must be arranged in such a way that the rain cannot enter. It is unthinkable to have something to open and close when it rains, that is not possible. It must be arranged in such a way that the rain cannot enter. But the sun must enter as a ray; not diffused. So therefore the opening must be of a limited size. It needs an engineer who really knows his job.


And when will they start?


For me, I would like it to begin straightaway, as soon as the plans are available. There are only two questions: first the plans (workers can be had) and then the money…I believe that it is possible with this idea of making a small temple. Of course ‘small’ is a manner of speaking! Because it still needs to be quite big so that it can easily hold a hundred people. A small scale to begin with, and then they will learn by making it, and the big one will be made only when the town is finished, not immediately.

I spoke about it to Roger, who said to me the next day: ‘Yes, but it will require time to prepare.’ I didn’t say anything of all that I’ve just told you, I spoke only of doing something. And afterwards I had the vision of this room; so I don’t need anyone any more to see what it should be; I know. And an engineer is more necessary than an architect, because an architect…it must be as simple as possible.


I told Paolo what you had seen, this large empty room. He understands well. He was also seeing this large empty room. Well, empty — that simply means a form.


But a form…like a tower, but…that’s why I would like to have a sketch, to show it. Twelve regular facets, and then there must be a wall which is not upright, a wall a little like this [slightly inclined gesture], I don’t know if it is possible. And inside twelve columns. And then an arrangement must be found to catch the sun. Twelve facets arranged in such a way that at every time of the year it can enter. It needs someone who knows his job well.

The outside…I did not see the outside, I did not see it at all. I saw only the inside.

I wanted to explain to Paolo when I had the papers. It would be easier, but since you have called him…

[Paolo enters]

Since it has been decided to build this temple, I have seen; I have seen its interior. I have just tried to describe it to Satprem. But in a few days from now I will have some plans and drawings, so I will be able to explain it more clearly. Because the outside, I don’t know at all how it looks, but the inside I know.


P: The outside comes out of the inside.


It is a kind of tower with twelve regular facets, which represent the twelve months of the year, and absolutely empty…and it must be able to hold from a hundred to two hundred people. And then, to support the roof there will be within it (not outside), twelve columns, and right at the centre, well, the object of concentration…. And with the help of the sun, all year round the sun should enter as a beam (not diffusely, an arrangement must be made so that it can enter as a beam). So according to the hours of the day, and the months of the year, the ray will turn; there will be an arrangement above, and the beam will be directed onto the centre piece. In the centre there will be the symbol of Sri Aurobindo, supporting a globe. A globe which we will try to make from something transparent, like crystal or…a big globe. And then people will be allowed in to concentrate [laughs]; to learn to concentrate. No set meditations, nothing of all that, but they should stay there in silence, in silence and concentration.

But this place is absolutely…as simple as possible. And the floor, done in such a way so that the people are comfortable, that they are not thinking about this pain or that pain!


P: It is very beautiful.


And in the middle, on the ground, my symbol. At the centre of my symbol we will place in four parts, like a square, four symbols of Sri Aurobindo, upright, supporting a transparent globe. That, that has been seen.

So I am going to have some small plans made by an engineer, simple, to show, and then I will show them to you when they are ready. And then we will see.

For the walls, probably they will have to be in concrete.


P: The whole structure can be in reinforced concrete.


The roof should probably be at an angle, and then at the apex there will have to be a special arrangement for the sun.


You said that the walls would be slightly at an angle.


It will be either the walls at an angle or the roof which must be at an angle — whichever is the easiest to do. The walls, they could be made straight and the roof at an angle. And the upper part of the roof resting on the twelve columns, and above that the arrangement for the sun.

And inside, nothing, nothing, but the columns. The columns, I don’t know, we will have to see if they should be made with facets (like the roof with twelve facets) or simply round.


P: Round.


Or simply square — it is to be seen.

And then, on the floor, we will put something thick and soft. Here, you are comfortable as you are sitting? Yes? There is first wood, and then this kind of rubber, and over it a carpet of wool.


With your symbol?


Not the carpet. The symbol, I had thought it best to make it in something lasting.


P: It should be in stone.


The symbol…everything will be around it, of course, the symbol will not cover it all, it will be only in the middle of the space — [laughing] one shouldn’t sit on the symbol! That is in the middle. The proportion of the symbol in relation to the whole will have to be seen very carefully, in relation to the height.


P: And the room quite large?


Oh yes, it should be…. It should be like a sort of shadow with the rays of the sun, so that the ray can be seen. A ray of sun. Then according to the hour of the day, the sun will turn (the hours of the day and the months of the year). And then at night, as soon as the sun disappears, spotlights will be lit which will have the same effect and the same colour. And day and night the light will remain there. But no windows, or lamps or things like that — nothing. Ventilation with air conditioning machines (that can be done in the walls, it is very easy). And silence. There one does not speak! [The Mother laughs.] That will be good. So as soon as my drawings are ready, I will call you and show them to you…


P: Very well.


(The Mother gives two red roses to Paolo and he leaves.)


I didn’t ask him if he had seen Roger because… Roger is entirely in the ‘practical’ atmosphere of the moment.

That’s good. It has to get going!

You see this is what I have learned; the failure of the religions is because they were divided. They wanted one to be religious to the exclusion of the other religions; and all their knowledge has failed because they were exclusive; and man has failed because he has been exclusive. And what the new consciousness wants (it is on this that it insists) is no more divisions. To be able to comprehend the spiritual extreme, the material extreme, and to find…to find the point of union, there where…that becomes a real force.

From the practical point of view I will try to make Roger understand. But I have seen…. What is needed is that when Roger is here he should be occupied with ‘Auromodele’, the practical side of things, all of that (it is necessary, that is very good), and for this construction of the centre, Paolo should be the one to do it. So I would like Paolo to stay here when Roger goes; that Paolo remain here when Roger leaves, and we will do it with Paolo. Only I don’t want them to feel that it is one against the other(!). They must understand that it is to complement each other. I believe Paolo will understand.


But Roger will take it as an encroachment.


Perhaps, but I will try. I will try.

No, when I told him that it was necessary to make the Centre, that I had seen it and that it ought to be done, he did not object. He only told me ‘But that will take time.’ I told him — no, it must be done straightaway. And that is why I am having these kind of sketches made by an engineer to show him, because it is not work for an architect, it is work for an engineer, with very precise calculations for the light of the sun, very precise. It must be someone who really knows. The architect has to see that the columns are beautiful, that the walls are beautiful, that the proportions are exact — all that is very good — and then the symbol at the centre. The aspect of beauty, naturally it is the architect who ought to see to it, but all the questions of calculation…and the important thing is that, the play of the sun on the centre. Because that becomes the symbol — the symbol of the future Realisation.


***


The remainder of the Mother’s dialogues on her Temple will be reproduced in the next issue.


Please note that in The Vishaal Newsletter, April, 1986, pages 18 and 19, extensive portions of this talk were reproduced, concerning ‘perception’. Therefore, we shall not reproduce them again here.

On “Beelzebub’s Tales”, or the question of Objective Art

I have started reading Orage’s commentaries on Beelzebub’s Tales* which you have sent me. And right at the beginning he makes several points which I have to discuss. These are the very points that summarise largely my impressions of Gurdjieff’s teachings, especially certain flaws.

On page 126, Orage makes this statement:

‘The book [Beelzebub’s Tales] is an objective work of art. Objective art consists of conscious variations from the original according to the plan of the artist or writer who strives to create a different impression on his audience.’

Now this, to me, is a remarkable statement. It reveals in no uncertain terms just how little Gurdjieff and his pupils understood about objective art. But there is more. This exposes one of the main flaws of his work, especially evidenced in his writing phase. It is the question of deliberate ‘manipulation’. Every person I have ever known who has been a serious student of Mr. G’s teachings perpetuates this failing, passed on to him/her by Gurdjieff himself, and nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in his writings. But it colours his whole teaching, its method, and the results, having to do with a certain key feature of his work: the creation of will.

I am not going to write abstractedly on this, for as you are aware this is not my way. In order to bring the points across that I wish to make on this subject, I am going to indicate exactly where you can find a living example of objective art, so as to fully substantiate what I write. But first, let me go into Orage’s definition.

A work of objective art is NEVER a conscious process in the sense that is implied in Orage’s statement.  Consciousness is not at all what he means here. Rather, it is willful manipulation to achieve a particular result. This sort of manipulation exudes from all of Mr. G’s books. Objective art, on the other hand, arises out of a condition of being; and to this we must add that one does not ‘strive’ to achieve anything in this superior art form. But Gurdjieff more than anyone should have understood that. And perhaps he did. But the moving thing is that he desired throughout his whole life to leave humanity with a sample of objective art because he was so aware of its importance as a vehicle for ‘spreading the Word’.

But to ‘spread the Word’ (and I don’t mean Christian proselytising) one has to have the Word. Mr. G had fragments. Remember the sub-title of In Search of the Miraculous?  It is, ‘Fragments of an Unknown Teaching’. In that book, Ouspensky presents Gurdjieff’s teachings. And indeed ‘fragments’ they were and ‘fragments’ they continue to be. On the basis of fragments plucked here and there, from one system and another, one place and another, one cannot produce a piece of objective art, ― be this a statue, a song, a poem, a piece of architecture, a book, or whatever of the numerous art forms. Any of these can be OBJECTIVE, provided that certain conditions are fulfilled.

Foremost there has to be an intrinsic, essential harmony between essence (to use Mr. G’s terminology) and form. It is not at all sufficient to have a right insight or even a profound grasp of truth based on certain realisations. For objective art to come into being, one must have the key to the truth of Form. This Mr. G never had, and it is so evident. How can anyone miss the point? Beelzebub’s Tales is simply Gurdjieff’s laborious attempt to find that Form, that key. Hence to consider the book an objective piece of art is to deceive oneself, and others.

You understand, the moment you bring in the question of Art, you are immediately in the realm of Form; and consequently to evaluate a piece that proposes to be this higher experience, it is required that we consider concurrently not only its content but its Form. The two go hand in hand, as I will demonstrate anon. This pertains to the written word as well as the more materially structured forms of art. Take poetry. Sri Aurobindo was experimenting with various ‘forms’ in order that one could be found, or more, which would be the proper vehicle for inspirations from the planes of the Truth-Consciousness. But the time had not yet come for that revelation in full, because the link had not yet been made between certain planes that allow for that perfection of Form to materialise. That is, the yogic process had not been completed which would permit an example of objective art to come forth.

In Gurdjieff’s time (he was Sri Aurobindo’s contemporary), the same limitation prevailed. But Sri Aurobindo was poised in the right ‘line’ for this work, and hence he contributed accurately and dynamically to the future manifestation of that objective Truth-Form. He did nothing to hinder that process, of which he was a direct part. Whereas Gurdjieff was only a peripheral agent.

Gurdjieff’s case is immensely interesting. He ‘saw’ so much, intuited the role of certain essential elements which indeed did enter into the process at a later date. And in this sense he contributed to this manifestation. But he never had the WHOLE, notwithstanding Orage’s assessment that he did. This was not the case. Mr. G started with ‘fragments’ and ended with ‘fragments’. Beelzebub’s Tales is a laboured attempt to find a way to that Wholeness, as his last effort on this planet, in that body.

And this brings me to another point. For a real manifestation of objective art, not only must there be a harmony between essence and form, but the interesting feature is a marvellous coming together of right essence, right form, and right INSTRUMENT. The instrument through which the creation is passing must be perfectly suited to the process, fashioned to provide the right channel which will not distort that essence and that higher form, since this is precisely what qualifies a work to be objective art. If you consider Gurdjieff to have been such an instrument, you are mistaken, and I shall indicate why. The instrument he was provided with was inadequate for the task undertaken; and the choice of the medium further revealed this inadequacy, insofar as it was not a medium through which Gurdjieff could present the world with an objective art form. That he did not see this, tells us much. But I believe he was aware of this in the beginning, hence his efforts to secure good instruments whom he could inspire to present his teachings to the world through the written word, which was the most powerful channel available at the time, and perhaps continues to be so. Ouspensky was one of those instruments, and his In Search of the Miraculous continues to be a classic in this branch of literature, regardless what we might think of Ouspensky’s contribution in other spheres.

But what do we find in Gurdjieff himself as the instrument for the written word? We have a jumble of languages in his head, given his background and the part of the world he was born in and had his early conditioning; none of which were the right ones for transmission of a message to the world at large in a direct, wide manner, not dependent upon intermediaries. In the case in question, perforce intermediaries played essential roles, given his limitations in this regard. Orage indicates this when he seeks to justify the final form Beelzebub’s Tales took:

‘Some of you still criticise the faulty grammar and punctuation and ask why I do not do something about it. Well, although from the first writing the sense is in each chapter, Gurdjieff is constantly rewriting and revising. As you know, he writes in pencil in Armenian; this is translated into Russian, and then into literal English by Russians; it is then gone over by one or two of the English and American pupils at the Prieure who have only a rough knowledge of the use of the words. All I can do at present is to revise the English when it obscures the sense. Although I have talked over the chapters with Gurdjieff and discussed the sense of them, he will never explain the meaning of anything. The style and sense are Gurdjieff’s. The surprising thing is that, in spite of the difficulties of translation the sense and style come through so well. It can be said that in English, this being a more flexible language than French, it is possible to play with words so that the English translation will have a quality of its own.’ (pp. 125-26)

This justification is a futile exercise, and lamentably people are cajoled to believe that since we are dealing with ‘higher’ truths, we cannot apply to them the ordinary yardsticks that would reveal the flaws in the form that Mr. G’s efforts produced. Orage and others are simply seeking to cover up those flaws of the instrument that Gurdjieff was provided at birth. It may well be that they never really had adequate answers to explain this evident failing.

And why was this so? Why was Gurdjieff not born into a body and an environment that would provide him with the vehicle he would need to accomplish his task? I believe the answer lies in the fact that he did not have a clear understanding of the exact role he was to play in the evolution of consciousness on Earth, in particular within the context of world conditions; and also in the fact that he did not have the key to Time, which in itself would have helped him to know his role.

Therefore, how could an objective piece of art come through an instrument so terribly limited by the conditions of birth playing upon his knowledge and use of language, which would be the tool for his creation? He first wrote in Armenian, and then followed the laborious process of carrying his thoughts over into some type of adequate form that could be the ‘vehicle’ for the message in a global capacity, for a larger audience. It is clear that Armenian would not do, and I wonder whether the original Armenian even exists. But still there is more, it is the question of the style chosen, and this I shall discuss anon.

You cannot seriously believe that this is the way a piece of objective art comes into the world. Don’t you see that this very fact indicates that there is no element of objective art present in the creation, where Form is so hopelessly conditioned by the inadequacies of birth and conditioning? Indeed, there is a further point to make: objective art is wholeness, completeness, unity of form. With such a torturous, laborious creative process, how can any wholeness emerge? And it hasn’t. But I feel that people like yourself are carried into the belief that Beelzebub’s Tales is objective art simply because you cannot recognise the real thing when it is presented, having never been exposed to this type of creativity. But to hide these flaws, Gurdjieff, it seems, manipulates. His conscious will interferes with the process constantly, and finally he ends by purposely obscuring the text, using, as you call it, ‘difficult terminology’. This, we are exhorted to believe, is the correct way to convey objective truth.

This brings me at this point to a very important part of the discussion. It is Name and Form, and the link between the two, as evidenced in almost all ancient and new traditions of higher knowledge. We even find it in Genesis. But perhaps nowhere has the place of these dual aspects been given more prominence than in Hinduism. In ancient Vedic times they were given a position of preeminence, but later the central stage became occupied almost exclusively by the Nameless and the Formless. Be this as it may, the point I wish to make is the relatedness of these two aspects of creation. Where Form comes into being, simultaneously Name arises. These are aspects of the multiplicity. Regarding Gurdjieff’s work, this relatedness manifests most coherently. He purposely makes his texts obscure and refuses ‘to explain’ anything, as Orage points out. This same condition is logically carried over to the ‘names’ he chooses throughout Beelzebub’s Tales, impossible to pronounce for the most part. It seems that obliging the student to memorise those impossible names in his terminology, would somehow keep attention awake and perhaps make the knowledge so hard won, one’s own! But in my view, this is simply a further distraction from the real work, where real effort should be focused. Transformation of the nature is difficult enough without introducing this added complication. This may well be Gurdjieff’s personal teaching technique — but what has this to do with objective art with its harmony of form and essence and hence Name? This is simply the way to obscure further what little truth there may be, in addition to distracting the seeker and focusing attention deliberately on questions of little relevance. Instead of introducing the true ‘name’ of things, the result is merely more cacophony. Does the world need this?

In any true objective piece of art (and I shall soon provide an example), the form and name never obscure the message — which implies a distortion in the dimension of form in order to carry out this obscuring process. How can it, please be logical? But one throws first and foremost all discrimination and logic to the winds, and then believes oneself to be in tune with something ‘higher’. Anything ‘higher’ will never contradict true logic and good sense. Admittedly, the qualifying word here is ‘true’. There is not much true logic and good sense around these days, particularly evidenced in these matters.

In actual fact, one does not require anything higher than the ordinary mental faculties the human being is provided with to realise that we are dealing with contrived manipulation and willful obscuring, which help to cover up certain basic flaws in the teaching. Or the ‘gaps’ in the knowledge, as I have called them. And we are encouraged to believe, by Gurdjieff and his disciples, that this is the way Truth is best transmitted. Yes, there is a ‘secret language’, but this is something else. It is an initiatic language but one that also uses a perfection of form, though this may be unknown to the person who is not initiated. However, in this case we are dealing with a deliberately chosen ‘style’ by Mr. G. And that is the objection I have, when this style is purported to be a means for creating objective art. It is simply Gurdjieff’s private style, his idea that this is the best way to teach. But it has nothing to do with objective art.

I am faced with this question of logic and coherency all the time in my work. And unlike Gurdjieff and most others, I encourage people to use ALL their faculties in their approach to my work and its assessment. I find that these enhance the experience and add to its richness. But the point is to attain the right poise whereby these faculties are honed to a perfection rarely achieved; and this of course requires that they be influenced by a higher light and wisdom. Deliberately obscuring a message and consciously adopting a style that does so, can never lead to this enhanced poise. It simply makes the existing chaos and confusion more chaotic and confounding!

Hence, if one pretends to convey truth objectively, then the medium of expression, the style and the resultant form must be a faithful, living expression of that truth-essence. There cannot be any gaps along the way, any distortions, any manipulative obscurations and interferences from the vital and mental will and the lower planes of consciousness. This has always been the case in the past, and it remains so today.

Gurdjieff was under the impression that truth had to be obscured in order to drive people to make super efforts to attain it. This coloured the thinking of many groups that believed themselves to be channels of higher knowledge during his time. There was a certain romanticism attached to the matter, a desire to be mysterious, esoteric, an elite. But this again displays a lack of real understanding of the human instrument. We have all been witness to the fact — and certainly Gurdjieff was — that simple, clear, direct expressions of truth are AUTOMATICALLY veiled to the inner consciousness of a seeker who is not ready to receive the Word. There is no need at all to increase the veiling, because this condition already exists in the ‘eye of the beholder’. What then would be the Point? Why add to this condition of ignorance? Indeed, this is one of the major problems in our civilisation: forms are not connected to the inner truth; they are DE-formed and hence add to the spread of ignorance throughout the world. The same can be said of ‘names’.

Let me provide now an example of objective art; and fortunately we do not have to turn to remote history to find one, and thereby indulge in those orgies of speculation that seem to delight the masculine mind, — yours in particular! The only existent objective piece of art that I know of today is the Mother’s original plan of the Matrimandir. As you know, what is being built in Auroville bears no relation to that original; and indeed, it provides us with an example of interference and manipulation, when lesser minds pretend to be in a position to ‘improve’ upon that truth-form.

The Mother’s original plan is objective art. It conforms to all the prerequisites — the true ones, not Orage’s definition, some of which I have already discussed. In drawing your attention to this piece, I am also going to illustrate how indeed a special ‘language’ evolved in order to be able to convey limpidly and accurately the essence of the creation. There was certainly no attempt to render the message difficult to perceive and grasp. Just the contrary. The new language evolved in order to provide the seeker with the correct and enhancing element by which he/she could understand, could have an experience of the truth-consciousness in its phase of actualisation today.

One of the main aspects in the Mother’s creative act is that there were no flaws along the way, no interferences, contrived manipulations on her part. Moreover, the Mother at no point indulged in any so-called conscious act of creation, — read studied and contrived. As you can see, this makes her creation totally different from Gurdjieff’s, or even Sri Aurobindo’s for that matter, but for a different reason. In those early years of their yoga, the links had not been made with those formative planes bearing upon the physical; and hence the ease with which the Mother undertook the creative act was something rather special and a landmark in this work. Out of BEING the Temple was created. That is, it arose from the Mother’s consciousness-being in a spontaneous act of creation, as a result of her yoga successfully completed, a yoga which had to do precisely with the physical, with ‘form’. Had she not done this first and come out victoriously, she could never have presented the world with this splendid example of objective art. But it is more than this. It is truly a ‘new model of the universe’, another item Gurdjieff was in quest of.

I would like to take up the question of FORM in relation to this creation. In the original plan she gave us, we have an exquisitely simple form; and above all a unity of design, from which no item can be eliminated otherwise the creation’s ‘wholeness’ is marred. In this particular sample of art, there are no elaborate artifices. Forms are pure, clear, even transparent. But an extraordinary ‘richness’ does enter the creation. This richness, abundance, exuberant fullness is found in the content. This is what is ‘concealed’ in those simple, limpid forms. That is what the seeker has to make an effort to discover. But the structure itself does not create difficulties for the seeker and harden his/her task. Just the contrary. Objective art creates an ‘atmosphere’ in which the seeker is almost automatically carried into the dimension of truth, from where that creation has emerged. This indeed is its purpose. In Beelzebub’s Tales there is nothing of the sort.

Even in the right atmosphere for such a discovery, it is still an immensely difficult task. Why complicate the issue and make it even more difficult by willful, contrived style and terminology, as a pretext to goad the aspirant to ferret out the truth camouflaged behind this distortion? In fact, if the form itself is distorted, how can the seeker hope to come upon real truth-essence? Objective pieces of art are aids to seekers precisely because they help to focus the unfocused ‘lens of their seeing’ by presenting a FOCUSED OBJECT, outstanding among all other objects of our world by this very fact. Now, if you distort those forms, as Gurdjieff does, convincing yourself and others that this is the way to ‘help’ seekers find the truth, you are either a fool or a hostile force bent upon interfering with the descent of real Knowledge which can help to create a better world. This is certainly what abounds today….

What actually happens in an act of creation like the Mother’s? The object is not distorted in the process of finding its ‘body’ in this material world. (Isn’t it obvious that a feminine instrument is best suited to this function?) In the Mother’s creative, formative act, truth-conscious planes are reached. Her Temple ‘exists’ in that plane. That is, its essence, its supramental content exists therein. The yoga the Mother performed so concentratedly for the last twenty years of her life was precisely to forge the link with those more subtle planes and our material universe, in cosmic dimensions. This was her ‘yoga of the body’, that has so befuddled people and given rise to so much speculation. When this was completed, out of that resultant condition of being, the Temple was ‘created’, or rather MANIFESTED through her consciousness in a spontaneous outpouring that was itself the signal that she had completed her task victoriously.

Having an instrument that harmonised perfectly with this Condition of Being, a prepared, perfected channel through which this creation could emerge, we find that there was no interference along the way; and above all no contrivances to conceal flaws in the seeing and essential content. Indeed, this was her lament when the architects came upon the scene to execute the plan and proceeded immediately to alter all its details. Distortions were then introduced in the original by them and marred the perfection of form that her consciousness had given birth to. Let me quote her final attempt to get those architects to collaborate:

‘…For the construction I know very well that people are needed who know their job and who do the work, but for the inspiration I must be sure that the source of inspiration must be AT LEAST the same level as mine. And I am not sure, because I saw it so clearly. And suddenly, with P’s ideas [the architect] I see the mixture. His ideas are all mental, I can guarantee that because it is easy for me to see it. Well, they bring the same MIXTURE there is in everything that is done in the world. And that…what is the use in having to begin over again, again, again, again…?’ 

L’Agenda de Mere, Volume 11, Institut de Recherches Evolutives, Paris (1981)

From this quote you can appreciate that there is no need at all to distort and obscure truth. The human being handles that beautifully!

Thus we have in the Mother a condition of Being out of which spontaneous creation arises (How else was the universe created?). And then you have a perfection of Form that accurately expresses the truth-consciousness upholding that Form. Indeed, Form then becomes the most precious instrument of Truth.

The result of the Mother’s creative act is that we have on Earth today an example of objective art and its process of creation that draws into the physical the truth of the supramental planes of consciousness. At no time along the way did the Mother seek to obscure that essence, make it difficult for seekers to fathom, to penetrate its mysteries. These are the mental interferences she refers to, and the manipulations of the vital will. They are techniques resorted to when one has not truth-conscious Being, out of which real Knowledge and Power issue forth. The Mother was THAT, and her Temple was not the means for her to SEEK that, as Beelzebub’s Tales for Gurdjieff. We do have a record of her seeking in what is called, The Mother’s Agenda and Notes on the Way. Consequently, one has to make a supreme effort to discover the truth in those records, since they were precisely that: notes on the way, and nothing more. The result of that ‘way’, its victorious outcome, was her original plan of the Temple.

Now let me briefly discuss a related creation which arose also out of the Mother’s Temple: The New Way. Indeed, the book’s central protagonist is that Temple, and therefore it too partook of that special quality which links essence to form. Here is one example: on page 288 of Volume 2, note that I make this statement: ‘We have crossed the midway point of this study, the work’s 4.5 Orbit of universal being.’ As you can see, given the fact that the book consists of 578 pages, this was virtually its true midway point. I am aware that when people read this they believe that I ADDED this line once the book was written. However, this was not at all the case. I simply ‘knew’ when I had reached its halfway mark because of the experience and the knowledge that was being developed in the creative act, the ‘building’ of the Temple in book form. Moreover, as everyone knows, it is not possible to calculate with such accuracy just how many printed pages will result when composing of the manuscript is finished, especially when there are so any diagrams, foldouts, etc. Rather, since we are dealing with experiences in the creation of true objective art, what happened was simply that the essence (knowledge) contained in the book was perfectly married to and productive of the same higher manifestation of Form. Essence and Form were one. There was moreover no interference in the channelling instrument along the way. Because The New Way too arose out of a condition of Being.

There are other examples of this sort of harmony in my other books. None of this was contrived, mentally planned and arranged. All the experiences of such harmonies were simply the result of total processes.

In closing, and in all fairness to Mr. G, I should mention that I do have a high regard for his teachings, and in particular his quality as a teacher, his insights into human psychology and the condition of the human instrument and the necessity for an integral development. These may be ‘fragments’, but they are at least TRUE fragments. Most teachers today do not even offer this much. Also, there is a coherency in his fragments — let us call it a fragmentary coherency — in that he clearly perceived the need for certain tools to carry out the transformative work, and they were by and large the right ones. The Enneagram, for one. Also his attempts to formulate a new cosmology. The fact that his knowledge of the Enneagram was incomplete (he did not include the Zero and hence missed the diagram’s important relation to Time) or that he did not have the new language, an indispensable ingredient for the formulation of the new cosmology, does not mean that his work cannot be of help to people. But when one does have that complete system, the new language, the accurate and precise keys of knowledge, it seems to me futile to waste time indulging in the torturous effort to read Beelzebub’s Tales. But some people like to suffer!

But as a system I hasten to emphasise that Gurdjieff’s is one of the better ones. Only I question whether or not it is possible to make real progress in this system without the man himself as the living guide, in view of his unusual ‘essence’ which was central to the whole affair. But since you are pursuing this school, I repeat, you have chosen one of the more serious, better ones, in which many elements of real knowledge can be found.

I have only dealt with one subject in this letter basically: the question of the book’s style, because that is why you sent me Orage’s commentaries which you consider to elucidate ‘quite a bit of Gurdjieff’s deliberately difficult terminology’. I have not therefore gone into the knowledge he gives out, as such, and certainly there is much of real worth therein, which can be of effective help to seekers. But as a system of transformation, again I have to question its efficacy without Gurdjieff’s living essence at the centre. His system was very much bound up with the man himself.

Regarding the other book you mention: The Revelation in the Wilderness I have no time at present. Perhaps later. I have glanced through it in the bookstore…but, does the author know of the ‘temple’ and the ‘book’, since he uses The Revelation as his central theme, and both of which are key features of St. John’s prophecy? I doubt it. And so, one can only find in this work a similar incompleteness and effort of men in the quest of knowledge. Since there is not much time to waste any longer, for there is little time left to do the Work, I counsel the people who are studying with me that it is best to get down to the serious business of yoga, of work on oneself. And with this I am certain Gurdjieff would wholeheartedly agree!


Kodaikanal
7 October 1986


* C.S. Nott, Teachings of Gurdjieff, Chapter III, Routledge & Kegan Paul.


(Part II of this letter appears in the next issue.)