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“This world was built by Death”—the Mother

by on May 6, 2012

From "The Agenda" Vol. 4 with the Mother commenting on Sri Aurobindo's "Thoughts and Aphorisms" numbered 88 to 92

15 May 1963

88—This world was built by Death that he might live. Wilt thou abolish death? Then life too will perish. Thou canst not abolish death, but thou mayst transform it into a greater living.

89—This world was built by Cruelty that she might love. Wilt thou abolish cruelty? Then love too will perish. Thou canst not abolish cruelty, but thou mayst transfigure it into its opposite, into a fierce Love and Delightfulness.

90—This world was built by Ignorance and Error that they might know. Wilt thou abolish ignorance and error? Then knowledge too will perish. Thou canst not abolish ignorance and error, but thou mayst transmute them into the utter and effulgent exceeding of reason.

91—If life alone were and not death, there could be no immortality; if love were alone and not cruelty, joy would be only a tepid and ephemeral rapture; if reason were alone and not ignorance, our highest attainment would not exceed a limited rationality and worldly wisdom.

92—Death transformed becomes Life that is Immortality; Cruelty transfigured becomes Love that is intolerable ecstasy; Ignorance transmuted becomes Light that leaps beyond wisdom and knowledge.

It’s the same idea, that opposition and opposites stimulate progress. Because to say that without Cruelty, Love would be tepid … The principle of Love, as it is beyond the Manifest and the Nonmanifest, has nothing to do with either tepidness or cruelty. But Sri Aurobindo’s idea, it seems, is that opposites are the most effective and rapid way to knead Matter so that it may intensify its manifestation.

As an experience, it’s absolutely certain: when you come in touch with eternal Love, supreme Love, the first, immediate … (what should I say?) perception or sensation (it’s not an understanding, it is much more concrete) is that even the most enlightened, kneaded, prepared material consciousness is INCAPABLE of manifesting That! The first impression is that sort of incapacity. Then comes the experience of something manifesting a type of … not exactly “cruelty,” because it’s not cruelty as we conceive it; but in the totality of circumstances, there is a vibration which is felt as a certain intensity of refusal of love as it is manifested here—that’s exactly the thing: something in the material world refuses the manifestation of love as it exists at present (I don’t refer to the ordinary world but to the consciousness at its present highest). It’s an experience, I am speaking of something that has taken place. Then the part of the consciousness that has been touched by that opposition calls out directly to Love’s origin WITH AN INTENSITY IT COULD NOT HAVE HAD WITHOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF THE REFUSAL. Limits are broken, a flood descends which could NOT manifest before, and something is expressed which was not expressed before.

That happened not very long ago.

Seeing that, there is obviously a similar experience in connection with what is called life and death. It’s a sort of “overhanging” (it comes to me in English, that’s why I have difficulty) of that constant presence of Death or possibility of death. As he says in Savitri, we have a constant companion all the way from the cradle to the grave, we are constantly shadowed by the threat or presence of Death. Well, this gives the cells an intensity in their call for a Power of Eternity which would not be there without that constant threat. Then we understand—we begin to understand very concretely—that all those things are only goads to make the Manifestation progress and grow more intense, more perfect. If the goads are crude, it is because the Manifestation is very crude. As it grows more and more perfect and apt to manifest something ETERNALLY PROGRESSIVE, those very crude methods will give way to more refined ones, and the world will progress without the need for such brutal oppositions. It is only because the world is in infancy and the human consciousness in its very early infancy.

It’s a very concrete experience.

So, when the earth no longer needs to die in order to progress, there will be no more death. When the earth no longer needs to suffer in order to progress, there will be no more suffering. And when the earth no longer needs to hate in order to love, there will be no more hatred.

It is the quickest and most effective method of pulling the creation out of its inertia and leading it on to its blossoming.

There is a particular aspect of the creation (a very modern aspect, maybe): a need to get out of disorder and confusion—of disharmony and confusion. A confusion, a disorder which assumes all forms, turns into struggles, pointless efforts and wasted energy. It depends on which level you stand on, but materially, in action, it means unnecessary complications, wasted energy and materials, waste of time, incomprehension, misunderstanding, confusion, disorder—what in ancient days they called deformation, crookedness in the Vedas (I don’t know the French word for it, it’s something crooked which, instead of shooting straight to the goal, weaves its way in sharp and unnecessary zigzags). It’s one of the things farthest from the harmony of a purely divine action—which is something so simple…. It looks like child’s play … and direct—direct, without those absurd and completely useless twists and turns. Well, it is clearly the same phenomenon: that disorder is a way to stimulate the need for pure and divine simplicity.

The body feels strongly, very strongly that everything could be so simple, so simple!

And for the being—that sort of individual aggregate—to be transformed, it needs in effect to grow simpler and simpler. All those complexities of Nature which man is now beginning to understand and study, which for the smallest thing are so complex (the smallest of our physical workings is the result of such a complex system that it’s almost unthinkable … certainly it would be impossible for the human mind to think up and contrive all those things), are now being discovered by science. And it’s quite plain to see that for the functioning to become divine, that is, to escape Disorder and Confusion, it must grow simpler and simpler.

In other words, Nature, or rather Nature in its effort towards expression, was compelled to have recourse to an unbelievable, almost endless complexity in order to reproduce the original Simplicity.

It brings us back to the same thing: it is that excess of complexity which makes possible a simplicity that isn’t empty—a rich simplicity. An all-embracing simplicity, whereas without those complexities, simplicity is empty.

This has been my experience these last few days.

They are making discoveries like that. In anatomy, for instance, they are making discoveries for surgical treatments that are unbelievably intricate! It’s the same for their division of Matter’s constituents—a frightful intricacy! And all that is with the view and endeavor to express Oneness, the ONE Simplicity—the divine state.

Maybe it will go fast…. But the question boils down to a SUFFICIENT aspiration, sufficiently intense and effective to attract That which can transform all this: complication into Simplicity, cruelty into Love … and so forth.

It’s no use complaining and saying it’s a pity things are that way. They are the way they are. Why?… When things are no longer that way, we’ll probably know why. Or to put it differently: if we knew why, they would no longer be that way.

So speculations such as, “It would have been better if it had not existed,” and so on, are all impractical—irrelevant, absolutely useless.

We should hasten to do what we have to do to put an end to it, that’s all, that’s the only practical thing.

For the body, it’s very interesting. But it’s a mountain, you see! A mountain of apparently tiny experiences, but in such large numbers that they become sizable.

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