The Mother

We have faith in Sri Aurobindo, he represents for us something that we formulate for ourselves with the words we find the most adequate to express our experience. For us those words are obviously the best to formulate our experience. But if in our enthusiasm we were convinced that they are the only ones suitable to express correctly what Sri Aurobindo is and the experience he gave us, we would become dogmatic and would be on the verge of founding a religion.

The Mother's Agenda, March 6, 1965

Why do men want to worship?

It is far better to become than to worship.
It is the reluctance to change that makes one worship.

Words of the Mother III (CWM 15), p. 28.

The following quotations by the Mother are of particular relevance to the issues discussed at this site.

"BOGUS MA KI JAI"

(Source: Sidelights On The Mother by M. P. Pandit, pp 10–11, Second Edition, DIPTI Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1976)

A sadhak who was behaving erratically asked a young boy to shout "Bogus Ma Ki Jai" — "Victory to the false Mother."

Someone reported this to Mother and suggested that the sadhak might be sent away. Mother heard everything and remarked that it had proved good with some who were sent away. But one could not be sure that it would be so with all. Besides, she asked why he was to be sent away.

"He speaks against you and this upsets us."

Mother: Those who get upset by these things are worse.

She refused to take action against him. Not only that, but later when he was declared a patient of T.B. and the doctor was against receiving him back from the sanatorium, Mother insisted on making proper arrangements for his care. And he lived on as a sound sadhak for years after medical opinion had written him off.

Depending upon each one's nature and position and bias, and because human beings are very limited, very partial and incapable of a global vision, there are those who believe, who have faith, or to whom the eternal Mother is revealed through Grace, who have this kind of relationship with the eternal Mother — and there are those who themselves are plunged in sadhana, who have the consciousness of a developed sadhak, and thereby have the same relationship with me as one has with what they generally call a "realized soul."

 

In a letter explaining his stand with regard to the publication of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs and the campaign subsequently launched by certain "Aurobindonians" against both the book and its author, Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, quotes the following statements from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Words of the Mother I (CWM 13), p. 207

We give the name of religion to any concept of the world or the universe which is presented as the exclusive Truth in which one must have an absolute faith, generally because this Truth is declared to be the result of a revelation.... To seek Truth freely and to approach it freely along his own lines is a man’s right. But each one should know that his discovery is good for him alone and it is not to be imposed on others.

Questions and Answers: April 4, 1956

If you arrive at the conception of the world as the expression of the Divine in all His complexity, then the necessity for complexity and diversity has to be recognised, and it becomes impossible for you to want to make others think and feel as you do.

Each one should have his own way of thinking, feeling and reaction; why do you want others to do as you do and be like you? And even granting that your truth is greater than theirs — though this word means nothing at all, for, from a certain point of view all truths are true; they are all partial, but they are true because they are truths but the minute you want your truth to be greater than your neighbour’s, you begin to wander away from the truth.

This habit of wanting to compel others to think as you do, has always seemed very strange to me; this is what I call “the propagandist spirit”, and it goes very far. You can go one step further and want people to do what you do, feel as you feel, and then it becomes a frightful uniformity.

Questions and Answers: September 24, 1958

...That is why religions are always mistaken — always — because they want to standardise the expression of an experience and impose it on everyone as an irrefutable truth. The experience was true, complete in itself, convincing — for the one who had it. The formulation he made of it was excellent — for himself. But to want to impose it on others is a fundamental error which has altogether disastrous consequences, always, which always leads far, very far from the Truth.

The Mother’s Agenda: September 7, 1963

I happened to have some philosophical curiosity and to study all kinds of problems, and I came upon Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, and what he “taught”... is by far, among the systems men have formulated, the most satisfying for me, the most complete, and what answers the most satisfactorily all the questions that can be asked; it is the one that helps me the most in life to have the feeling that ‘life is worth living.’ Consequently, I try to conform entirely to his teaching and to live it integrally in order to live as best I can.... I don’t mind at all if others don’t believe in it – whether they believe in it or not is all the same to me; I don’t need the support of others’ conviction, it’s enough if I am myself satisfied.

Precisely because Sri Aurobindo is so satisfying, the danger that his followers or devotees become religious fanatics is great, and so is the danger posed by religious fanatics among Sri Aurobindo's followers or devotees.

An example of Aurobindonian fundamentalism:

The path has been charted out by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo 100 years back. We must follow it, we must tell others to follow it, and we must persuade others to follow it. We have to cajole others to follow it. And if need arises, we must force others to follow it.

— Tusar N. Mohapatra, President, “Savitri Era Party”

The Mother's Agenda: March 22, 1967

...everyone is claiming to be a "defender of the Truth." They ask me questions, and everyone is surprised that truth as he conceives it isn't established in the world. So I am beginning to be forced to wage war for the Truth against all the conceptions of the truth! And that's rather interesting.

Mother's Agenda: April 25, 1961

The Sri Aurobindo Society people had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the spiritual life when they began.[...] But then, they began posing as ... almost as teachers! [...] It’s absurd.