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TitleQuestions and Answers 1950-51
LanguageEnglish
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Page 1

THE MOTHER

Questions and Answers
1950-1951

Page 2

Questions and Answers 1950 – 1951

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10 March 1951

succeed in touching your adversary. He is there in front of you,
he threatens you, he is going to strangle you and you gather all
your strength, you try to strike, but nothing touches him. When
the struggle is like that, hand to hand, with a being who throws
himself upon you, it is particularly painful. That is why you are
advised not to go out of the body unless you have the necessary
power or the purity. You see, in this kind of nightmare the force
you want to use is the “memory” of a physical force; but one
may have great physical strength, be a first-class boxer, and yet
be completely powerless in the vital world because one does not
have the necessary vital power. As for the mental nightmares,
that kind of frightful saraband in the head, one has altogether
the impression of going mad.

At the time of death, the psychic being goes to take rest,
doesn’t it? But the vital is stopped in the vital world;
does this prevent the psychic from going to rest?

But the vital does not go to rest nor does the mental being.
Generally they are dissolved. It is only if one has followed a
yoga throughout his whole life, if one has taken great care to
individualise, to centralise the vital and the mental around the
psychic being that they remain — that happens once in ten mil-
lion cases, it is very exceptional. Take the case of a philosopher
or a writer who has worked considerably in his brain, tried to
organise it; that then persists, but as a capacity to think, nothing
else. There are these capacities of thinking which persist after
death and they try naturally to find another physical brain in
which to manifest. It is in this way that the mind of a great
thinker may identify itself with another mind and be able to
express itself.

From the vital point of view, take the case of a great musician
who has worked all his life to make his external being a good
instrument for music; he has organised this vital power in his
body for playing music; well then, his hands, for instance, are so

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Questions and Answers

individualised in their ability to play, that they can persist subtly
even after death, with their form, a form analogous to the old
physical form. They float in the vital world and are attracted by
people who have similar capacities; they try to become identified
with them. A person who is sensitive enough, receptive enough,
can become identified with these hands and execute wonderful
things, profit by all the individualisation of the past life of these
hands.

Does the same phenomenon occur in the case of scientists
when the results of their work are realised some time
after their death?

Yes, in the case of Pierre and Marie Curie, for example, it is
certain that the power of work of Pierre Curie passed into his
wife at his death.

Men who undertake excavations in the tombs of Egypt
often meet with accidents. Why?

They deserve it! When they violate the tombs, you see... There
are countless stories of this kind. But that is another phe-
nomenon.

Let me explain: in the physical form is found the “spirit of
the form” and this spirit of the form persists for a certain time
even when outwardly the person is pronounced dead. And as
long as the spirit of the form persists, the body is not destroyed.
In ancient Egypt they had this knowledge; they knew that if they
prepared the body in a certain way, the spirit of the form would
not leave it and the body would not disintegrate. In some cases
they have succeeded wonderfully; and if one violates the repose
of beings who have remained thus for thousands of years, it is
understandable that they may not be very pleased, especially
when their repose is violated out of an unhealthy curiosity,
legitimised in the “cause of science”.

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told you that — ninety-nine times out of a hundred it is the poor
Divine who is guilty: it is He who has given and then withdrawn
what He gave; He is quite whimsical. He makes you taste of the
wonderful fruit like that, then He takes it away from you, and
then when He feels like it, He gives it back to you.... Indeed, He
is quite a fanciful personage!

Instead of giving peace, why doesn’t the Divine abolish
all at once the ego?

Ah! That, that is the work for each one. That is what I told you
the other day, I read to you what Sri Aurobindo has written:
“Do not harbour the indolent illusion that you will be given the
aspiration and the work will be done for you.” The aspiration
must come from you and the abolition of the ego also. You are
helped, you are supported; every time you take a step forward
you will feel there is something which gives you all that is nec-
essary to enable you to take the step, but it is you who must
walk, no one will take you on his back and carry you.... Abolish
the ego first, that’s a wonderful programme! Once the ego is
abolished, there will be nothing more to do, all the work will be
over, for it is precisely the ego which impedes you from being in
touch with the Divine. Once the ego is gone, quite simply you
will be like that, in a beatific union with the Divine, and all the
work will be over. But generally, one does not begin by the end.
In any case, what I have just told you holds good: to abolish
the ego is your work. You will be helped, but you must walk on
your own feet. Do not at all hope that someone is going to carry
you on his back and that you will have nothing to do except let
yourself be carried.

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Note on the Text

The talks in this volume were given between December 1950 and May
1951. The earliest ones were noted down by hand, but most were
recorded on a dictating machine and then transcribed. They were first
published in an incomplete form in French and English in the quarterly
Bulletin of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. Extracts
from ten talks appeared in various issues between 1957 and 1959; the
rest, with four exceptions, were serialised in chronological order in the
issues between November 1963 and February 1967.

The first complete edition of the original French text was pub-
lished in 1967 under the title Entretiens 1950 – 51. A complete English
translation, entitled Questions and Answers 1950 – 51, was brought
out in 1972. That translation, with a few minor revisions, was
reprinted in the same year as Volume 4 of the Collected Works of
the Mother (first edition). The present text is the same as that of
the first edition, with the exception of a few minor revisions of the
translation. The quoted passages from the texts of Sri Aurobindo and
the Mother are taken from the Centenary editions of their works.

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