New Year Message:
The world is preparing for a big change. Will you help?
1 JANUARY 1970
Report after a conversation
Original language: French
Sources: Archives; Roger; AMW, p. 249
[Report of a conversation with Roger:]
[Roger wrote: “Mother told me this morning very precisely:]
Today I want to tell you something about Auroville.
Since some time I have clearly before my eyes the centre of Auroville. There is a large covered area with four quite high columns, lit from above by openings through which the light enters corresponding to each hour of the day. This vision has been repeating itself since quite some time now. It is THE thing to be carried out in the very first place; money will come only when this has been built. It would be sufficient if we could just build the interior – the outside afterwards. Inside there would be nothing except the rays of light converging onto something very simple – no furnishings.
There would be no windows; the light coming from above through openings corresponding to each hour of the day. A large covered area would be sufficient, with nothing on the floor.
Voilá – will you think about it?
* * *
3 JANUARY 1970
Original language: French
First publication: AM MA
Sources: MA, p. ; CWM, p.286; AMW, p.249
[Excerpt from a conversation with Satprem:]
Satprem: Sweet Mother, I have told Paolo to come, he is waiting outside.
Yes. There is an interesting thing..
For a long time I had been feeling something, then we spoke about it the other day and I SAW it… I spoke of it to Roger, I told him to see Paolo, and I also told him that I had SEEN what had to be done. Of course he did not say no, he said yes to everything, but I felt that he did not really intend… but this is what happened. I saw clearly – very, very distinctly – that is to say, it was like that and it IS still like that, it is there [gesture indicating an eternal plane]: the interior of this place [the Matrimandir].
Satprem: Shouldn’t you tell it to Paolo?
Tell him right away?.. Well… It will be easier for me to speak if I am alone with you.
Satprem: Yes, all right, then say it, Sweet Mother.
I can describe it for you. It came like that. It will be a kind of hall like the inside of a column. No windows. The ventilation will be artificial, with those machines [gesture indicating an air-conditioner] and only a roof. And the sun striking the centre; or when there is no sun (at night and on cloudy days) an electric spotlight. And the idea is to build right now a sort of example or “model” to hold about a hundred people. When the town is built and we have had the experience, we will make a BIG one – but then it will be very big, to hold a thousand to two thousand people. And the second one will be built around the first, that means, the first one will not go until the second one is finished. That is the idea.
Only, so as to talk about it with Paolo (and if possible, if I see that it is possible to talk about it with Roger, I wanted to have a plan. I will have it made -not myself, I can’t any more; I would have been able to do it at one time, but now I no longer see well enough. I will have it done this afternoon, in front of me, a plan, and with this plan, I will be able to explain really well. But to you I simply wanted to say what I have seen….
It will be a tower with twelve facets – each facet represents a month of the year – and the top, the roof of the tower will be like this [gesture indicating a roof which slopes upwards from the sides to the centre].
And then, inside, there will be twelve columns – the walls and then twelve columns – and right in the centre on the floor is my symbol, and above it, four of Sri Aurobindo’s symbols, joined to form a square, and above that… a globe. A globe of some transparent material if possible, and with (or without) light inside, but the sun should strike the globe; then according to the month or the moment, it will come from here, from there, from there [gesture indicating the movement of the sun], you understand? There will always be an opening with a ray.
Not a diffused light: a ray which strikes, which should strike. It will require some technical knowledge to be able to carry it out, and that is why I want to make a design with an engineer. And then, there will be no windows or lights inside, it will always be in a kind of clear half-light: day and night – by day with the sun, by night with artificial light. And on the floor: nothing, except a floor like this one [in Mother’s room], that is to say, first wood (wood or something else), then a sort of rubber foam, thick, very soft, and then a carpet.
A carpet everywhere – everywhere except for this centre. And people can sit everywhere. And the twelve columns are for people who need support for their backs! And then, people will not come for a “regular meditation” or anything of that kind (but the inner organization will be made afterwards): it will be a place for concentration. Not everyone will be allowed 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 to show people around, and the rest of the time, only for those who are… serious – serious, sincere, – who really want to learn to concentrate.
So I think that is good.
It was there [gesture upward], 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 half-light: 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 rather golden, it must not be cold – that will depend on the spotlight) onto this globe. A globe made of a plastic material or… I don’t know.
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 thirty centimetres] it would be good. But for the big temple it will have to be big.
Satprem: But how will the big temple be built? On top of the small one?
No, no, the small one will go.
Satprem: Ah! it will go, we will make another one.
But the big one will be built later, and on a vast scale…. The small one will go only after the big one is built. But of course, for the town to be finished, it will take about twenty years (for everything to be really in order, in its place). It is like the gardens: all the gardens which are being made are for now, but in twenty years, all that will have to be on another scale; then, it will have to be something really… really beautiful. And I wonder what material should be used to make this globe, the big one?… The small one, in crystal perhaps: a globe like that [thirty centimetres], I think that will be enough. One must be able to see the globe from every corner of the room.
Satprem: It shouldn’t be raised too high above the floor either?
No, Sri Aurobindo’s symbol does not need to be big, it should be so big [gesture].. Satprem: Twenty-five, thirty centimetres?
At the most, at the very most. Satprem: That means that it will be at about eye level?
Eye level, yes, that’s it.
And a VERY tranquil atmosphere. And NOTHING, you see: great columns… It remains to be seen whether the style of the columns should be… whether they will be round, or if they, too, will have twelve facets…? And TWELVE columns.
Satprem: And a roof in two sections?
Yes, a roof in two sections so as to have the sun. It must be arranged in such a way that the rain cannot come in. We cannot think of having to open and close something when it rains, it is not possible; it must be arranged in such a way that the rain cannot get in. But the sun must enter AS RAYS: not diffused. So the opening must be small… It needs a qualified engineer who really knows his job.
Satprem: And when would they start?
I would like to begin at once, as soon as we have the plans. Only, there are two questions: first the plans (we can get the workers) and then the money… I think that it is possible with this idea of making a sort of small model (of course “small” is a manner of speaking, because to be able to hold a hundred people easily it still needs to be quite big), a small model to begin with; and then while making the small model they will learn, and the big one will be made only when the town is finished – that’s not right away.
I spoke about it to Roger, who told me the next day: “Yes, but it will take time to prepare” (I didn’t say anything about what I’ve just told you, I only spoke of doing something). And afterwards I had the vision of this room, so I no longer need anyone to see what it should be: I know. And it requires an engineer rather than an architect, because an architect… it must be as simple as possible.
Satprem: I told Paolo what you had seen, this great empty room where there was nothing; it moved him very much, in fact he was seeing the large empty room. He understands quite well. Well, “empty”, that means simply a form.
But a form… like a tower, but… (that’s why I wanted to have a sketch to show), twelve regular facets, and then there should be a wall which is not straight but something 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 in such a way that at every moment of the year it can come in… It needs someone who really knows the job.
The outside… I did not see the outside; not 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…
[Sujata goes and brings Paolo, who comes in with a garland of pink “Harmony”. Mother gives him an orange hibiscus – the Auroville flower, looks at him, then begins to talk:]
Since we decided to build this temple, I saw it: I saw the inside of it. I have just tried to describe it to Satprem. But in a few days I will have some plans and drawings, so I will be able to explain more clearly. Because I don’t at all know how the outside is, but inside I know.
Paolo: The outside grows from the inside.
It is a kind of tower with twelve regular facets, which represent the twelve months of the year, and it is absolutely empty… Only, it must be able to hold one to two hundred people. And then, to support the roof, there will be twelve columns (not outside: inside), and right in the centre, the object of concentration… And with the collaboration of the sun, all year round the sun should enter AS RAYS (no diffusion: an arrangement must be made so that it can enter as rays); then according to the time of day and the month of the year, the ray will turn (there will be an arrangement on top) and the ray will be directed onto the centre. In the centre there will be the symbol [of Mother], as well as the symbol of Sri Aurobindo supporting a globe. A globe which we shall try to make from something transparent like crystal or… A big globe. And then, people will be allowed in to concentrate – [Mother laughs] to learn how to concentrate! No fixed meditations, none of all that, but they must stay there in silence, in silence and concentration.
Paolo: It is very beautiful.
But the place absolutely… as simple as possible. And the floor in such a way that people are comfortable, so they don’t have to think that they hurt here or they hurt there! Paolo: It is very beautiful.
And in the middle, on the floor, my symbol. At the centre of my symbol we will put in four parts (like a square) four symbols of Sri Aurobindo, upright, supporting a transparent globe.
That has been seen.
So I am going to have an engineer prepare some small plans, simple ones, to show, and then I will show you when it is ready. So. And then we will see. The walls will probably have to be of concrete.
Paolo: The whole structure can be in reinforced concrete.
The roof shall probably be sloped, and then, at the centre, there will have to be a special arrangement for the sun.
Satprem: You said that you saw the walls as being slightly sloped.
It is either the walls or the roof which should be sloped – whichever is easiest to do. The walls could be made straight and the roof sloped. And the upper part of the roof resting on the twelve columns. And up above, the arrangement for the sun. And inside: nothing. Nothing but the columns. The columns… I don’t know, we will have to see if we make them with facets (like the roof), with twelve facets, or else simply round.
Or simply square – it remains to be seen.
And then, on the floor, we will put something thick and soft. Here… (you are comfortable as you are seated?… Yes?), first there is wood and then this kind of rubber, and on top of it, a woollen carpet.
Satprem: With your symbol?
Not the carpet. For the symbol, I had thought it would be better to make it out of something durable.
Paolo: It should be in stone.
The symbol… everything will be around it, of course. The symbol will not cover everything, it will be only in the middle of the space – [Mother laughs] they mustn’t sit on the symbol!.. It will be in the middle. The proportion of the symbol to the whole will have to be seen very carefully, in relation to the height.
Paolo: And the room is quite large?
Oh yes, it has to be… it should be like a sort of half-light with these rays of sunlight – so that the ray can be SEEN.
A ray of sunlight.
Then, according to the time of day, the sun will turn (with the time of day and the month of the year). And then at night, as soon as the sun disappears, reflectors will be lit which will have the same effect and the same colour. And day and night the light remains there. But no windows nor lamps nor anything like that – nothing. Ventilation with air-conditioners (they are built into the walls, it is very easy). And SILENCE. Inside no one speaks!
That will be good.
So, as soon as my papers are ready, I will call you and show them to you.
Paolo: Very good.
[To Sujata:] Give me a rose for him.
[Mother gives two red roses; Paolo leaves]
I did not ask Paolo if he had seen Roger because… Roger is completely in the “practical” atmosphere of today.
It is good – it must get started!
You see, this is what I have learned: the failure of the religions – it is because they were divided – they wanted people to be religious to the exclusion of the other religions; and every branch of human knowledge has been a failure because they were exclusive; and man has been a failure because he was exclusive. And what the new Consciousness wants (it is on this that it insists) is: no more divisions. To be able to understand the spiritual extreme, the material extreme, and to find… to find the meeting point, the point where… that becomes a real force.
From the practical point of view I will try to make Roger understand. But I have seen, it seemed to me that what is needed… Roger, when he is here, looks after Auromodèle, the practical side of all that (it is very necessary, it is very good), and for the building of the Centre, I would like Paolo to do it, and so I would like Paolo to stay when Roger is away; Paolo should be here when Roger is gone, and we shall do it with Paolo. Only I don’t want either of them to feel that it is one of them against the other. They must understand that it is to complement one another. I think Paolo will understand.
Satprem: But Roger might take that as an encroachment on his province?
Perhaps not. I will try, I will try.
No, when I told him that it was necessary to build this Centre – that I had seen it and that it had to be done – he did not object. He only told me, “But it will take time.” I told him, “No, it must be done at once.” And that is why I am having these sketches made by an engineer, to show him, because it is not an architect’s job: it is an engineer’s job, involving very precise calculations for the sunlight, very precise. It needs to be someone who really knows. The architect has to see that the columns are beautiful, that the walls are beautiful, that the proportions are correct – all that is very good – and then the symbol at the centre. The aspect of beauty, of course, is the province of the architect, but the whole aspect of calculation…. And the important thing is the play of the sun on the centre. Because that becomes the symbol – the symbol of the future realization.
* * *
10 JANUARY 1970
Original language: French
First publication: AM MA
Sources: MA, p. ; CWM, p.295; AMW, p.257
[Excerpt from a conversation with Satprem:] Satprem: I have a letter from Paolo…
I am going to see him this afternoon.
I told you that I had seen the central building of Auroville… I have a plan, would you be interested to see it?.. There are some rolls, there [Mother unrolls the plan as she explains]:
There will be twelve facets. It’s a circle. And, at an equal distance from the centre, twelve columns. At the centre, on the ground, is my symbol, and at the centre of my symbol, there are four of Sri Aurobindo’s symbols, upright, forming a square; and on the square, a translucent globe (we don’t know yet in what material). And then, from the top of the roof, when the sun is shining, the sunlight will fall onto it in a ray (nowhere else: only there); when there is no sun, there will be electric reflectors which will send a ray (also A ray: not a diffused light) exactly onto it, onto this globe.
And then, there are no doors, but… going deep down, one comes up again into the temple; one goes under the wall and comes up again inside – again it is a symbol. Everything is symbolic.
And then there is no furniture, but as with this floor here, there is first wood, probably; then over the wood, a thick “dunlop”; and over that, a carpet, like here. The colour is yet to be chosen. The whole place will be white. I am not sure if the symbols of Sri Aurobindo will be white… I don’t think so. I did not see them white, I saw them in some indefinable colour which was between gold and orange. A kind of colour like that. They will be upright, they will be carved in stone. And a globe which is not transparent but translucent. And then, right at the bottom (under the globe), there will be a light which will be directed upwards, shining diffusely into the globe.
And then, from outside, there will be rays of light falling onto the centre. And no other lights: no windows, electric ventilation. And not a single piece of furniture: nothing. A place… for trying to find one’s consciousness. Outside, it will be something like that [Mother unrolls another plan]… we don’t know if the roof will be completely pointed or… Very simple, very simple.
It will be able to hold about two hundred people.
So, Paolo’s letter?
Very Sweet Mother, I saw Roger on Sunday, he came to my room, we had lunch together. With love, I arranged for You and for Roger some very beautiful flowers. You were with us. We talked a lot. I felt Roger as a brother. I told him that Auroville cannot start like any other town (city-planning problems, social, economic problems, all that: later). The beginning ought to be “something else”. That is why we should begin with the Centre. This Centre must be our lever, our fixed point, the thing on which we can support ourselves to try to leap to the other side – because it is only from the other side that we can begin to understand what Auroville ought to be. And this Centre should be the form which manifests in Matter the content which You can transmit to us on all the planes (occult also). As for us, we should be only the open and sincere medium through which you can materialize that. And I told him that I have felt the need to approach all that by living the experience inwardly and all together, – people of the East and West – in a wide movement of love, because that is the only possible concrete for building “something else”…
What he says is good.
… And the Centre can give us this love at once because it is love for You! I told him that practically we could begin with a moment of silence, all together, and try to make a total blank, and with everyone’s aspiration bring down the indications for the beginning into that blank. But all united and all together, especially those who are spiritually most advanced: the Indians. Roger agreed perfectly. He said really this should be done.
[Mother nods approvingly]
I will see Paolo this afternoon to give him this plan. Because that is what I saw, you know. We will make it in white marble. Udar said that he will fetch the marble, he knows the place.
Satprem: The whole structure in white marble?
Satprem: But Paolo told me something which I feel is quite right. He said: We are going to build this Centre, we are going to put all our heart and aspiration into it, into this Centre…
Satprem: And over the years it will become more and more “charged”…
Satprem: So this Centre must be the real thing: this temple should not be removed so as to build another, bigger one later.
I said that to reassure the people who think that something huge is needed. I said, “We will begin with this, and then we will see,” you understand? I said, this Centre should be there until the town is completely built, and afterwards we will see – afterwards no one will want to remove it!
Because there are many who were thinking of something “gigantic”.
Satprem: But he says that from the architectural point of view, it is quite possible to extend the thing from the outside, without touching what has already been built.
Yes, oh! it is quite possible.
You see, Roger told me, “And then what will we do afterwards?” I said, “Well, we will think about that later!” That’s it! They don’t know… they don’t know that one must NOT THINK! I didn’t think about it at all, at all, at all – one day, I saw it like that, as I see you. And even now, it is so living that I only have to look and I see it. And what I saw was the centre and the light which falls on it and then, QUITE NATURALLY, while looking at it I noticed, I said, there, it is like that. But it was not “thought”, I did not think “twelve columns and then twelve facets and then…”, I did not think all that: I saw.
It is like these symbols of Sri Aurobindo…. When I am speaking of the centre I still see these four symbols of Sri Aurobindo, which support each other at the corners, like that, and this colour… a strange colour… I don’t know where we could find that. It is an orange-gold, very warm. And it is the only colour in the place; all the rest is white. And the translucent globe.
Satprem: Paolo said that he would go at once to enquire in Italy, at Murano – the place where they make the big crystals – to find out how large a globe can be made of crystal, say 30 cm, for example.
The exact measurement is given on the plan, it must be marked.
Satprem; There is a big glass-works there.
Oh! They make marvellous things over there.
Isn’t it marked, the size of the globe?
Satprem: Seventy centimetres.
It can be hollow. It need not be solid, so that it is not too heavy.
He is good, Paolo.
Satprem: Yes, Sweet Mother.
This underground entrance…. One will enter at a dozen or so metres away from the wall, at the foot of the urn. The urn itself will mark where the descent begins. I must choose from which side exactly… And then, it is possible that, later on, the urn, instead of being outside, will be WITHIN the enclosure. So perhaps we could simply put a great wall all around, and then the gardens. Between the surrounding wall and the building we are going to build now, we could have the gardens and the urn. And that wall will have one entrance (one or several, ordinary doors): people will be able to walk around the garden.
And then one should fulfil certain conditions to have the right to go down into the underground passage and come out into the temple… That must be something like an initiation, not just “like that”, no matter how.
I said to Roger, “We will see in twenty years!” So that calmed him down. But the original idea was to surround it with water, to make an island so that one would have to cross the water to be able to reach the temple. It is quite possible to make an island….
* * *
17 JANUARY 1970
Original language: French
First publication: AM MA
Sources: MA, p. ; CWM, p.300; AMW, p. 262
[Excerpt from a conversation with Satprem:]
What did you want to tell me?
Satprem: I had a visit from Paolo and Nata… There are two things. But first there is the plan of the Centre – more precisely, of the outside of the Centre.
The outside, I have seen nothing. There is a sketch, it is a sketch by Udar. I did not see anything at all and I am open to all suggestions. And then?
Satprem: Paolo explained something to me which I found very beautiful, which I would like to submit to you… When you spoke about this Centre, as a matter of fact, for the outside you said, “I don’t know if the walls will be sloping or if it is the roof which will slope.” You seemed to have some hesitation. So Paolo says that he received a kind of inspiration, and that he has seen something very simple, like a great shell, one part of which would come out of the surface and another part which would be buried in the ground. And he has drawn a sort of diagram which I would like to show you.
Has he seen Roger too? Because Roger had two ideas; he came to see me with two ideas, and I told him which of the two I preferred, but nothing is decided yet. And Roger is making a sketch of his ideas. So I will see what Paolo says and then I will tell you Roger’s ideas.
[Satprem unrolls the plan]
Satprem: So you see, here is the outside, which would be simply like a shell. The inside is exactly as you have seen it: this great bare carpet, and then the ball at the centre. And what led Paolo to his inspiration was that you had said one should go underground and come up again. So he had the idea of going deep down, of making a spiral staircase here, which would come up again, and just here there would be a kind of series of staircases branching out in all directions (in the lower part of the shell) which would lead into the temple itself. So, the entire lower portion would be in black marble and the upper portion in plain white marble. And the whole thing is like a great bud, you see, as if it were growing out of the earth.
Are you sure that he hasn’t seen Roger? Because Roger told me, “I want to make a great circle; the interior is an exact semi-circle and the other semi-circle would be underground.” He used almost the same words.
Satprem: Because Paolo told him his idea.
Ah! Paolo had told him! Ah, that’s it.
Satprem: It is like a bud coming out of the earth.
Yes, yes, that was the first idea Roger told me, almost identically word for word. And then, his second idea was a pyramid: to leave the temple as we had said, and then make a pyramid. But I had also thought of a pyramid and I told him, “I thought of a pyramid….” But he said that he would make both plans and that then we would see. But if that agrees with Paolo’s idea, it is very good.
Satprem: But Roger’s idea is in fact Paolo’s idea.
Yes, that’s it.
Satprem: So, when one arrives at the top of the “stalk”, there is a whole series of stairways in all directions, so that one can come up into the temple from any side… And then the centre is absolutely bare, and all around there is a kind of gallery by which one comes out from below; that is where all these stairways will be. And everything will be empty. There will simply be this huge carpet held from corner to corner by these galleries. It will look as if it is suspended. All white, all uniform. And there was the question of the twelve columns…. Paolo said that he felt the columns were yet another ancient symbol which didn’t really go with the shell, and he suggested instead of twelve columns, symbolically one could put twelve supports, twelve column bases, which would serve as back rests.
Oh! But the columns have a use, because at the top of the columns we will put the spotlights which will direct the light onto the centre: there will be light night and day; in the daytime, the opening will be arranged, but as soon as the sun sets, the spotlights will be lit and the spotlights are fixed on top of the twelve columns and converge onto the centre.
Satprem: But, Sweet Mother, if the columns are only useful for the spotlights, the spotlights could also be fixed on the walls?
The columns are not near the walls, the columns are here, exactly half-way between the centre and the wall.
Satprem: Because Paolo saw this space in the centre completely bare, with only the symbol in the middle and this big uniform carpet, not broken up by columns. But in their place, to put something like big blocks – twelve big blocks – which would indicate the position of the columns and would serve at the same time as supports. Twelve large blocks about 50 cm high.
That has no meaning.
Satprem: A symbolic meaning? Because you spoke a lot about these pillars being like a support for people who would like to sit down.
Oh, for their backs!
Satprem: So he said that each of these twelve blocks could be, for example, in a different material, like a symbol: twelve different materials.
I saw columns, myself.
On the outer walls the general ventilation will be arranged, which will be electric (no windows), and then on the columns, there was the light – I saw columns, I clearly saw the columns.
Satprem: Oh well, I will tell him that.
As for the surrounding gallery, I don’t know if I like that very much… I did not see it: I saw the walls completely bare, without windows, and then the columns, and then the centre. That I am sure of, because I saw it, and I saw it for a long time.
Satprem: How do you like the shell shape?
That means that it makes a perfect circle: half above, half below…. It will do. Only an arrangement must be made for the sun.
Satprem: Yes, Nata knows very well about the problem of lighting with prisms, because if one wants to catch a single ray of the sun, one must use prisms. He says he will easily solve the problem, he is taking care of it. One has simply to put prisms at a certain number of places, which will capture just one ray of the sun.
It must be ONE ray. I SAW the ray.
Satprem: That’s it, with a prism one sees the ray. So there will be a certain number of geometrical openings according to the movement of the sun…. But inside, on the inside walls, the twelve facets will be reproduced.
Satprem: And this, in theory (the disciple points to the circular gallery), these were the entrances by which one came out from the underground passage.
I don’t know if it is good to multiply the entrances like that…. There will be a practical problem to solve: if there is only one entrance and a very strict supervision at this entrance, it is all right, but if there are several entrances and if there is not enough light, there will be disasters.
Satprem: No, no, Sweet Mother, there will only be one entrance from the outside, but when one comes out at the base of the shell there would be these many entrances. No, on the outside, there is only one descent which comes out down here, at the foot of this spiral staircase.
Satprem: Paolo had thought of this gallery all around because he said that would make all this central white carpet stand out more, give it the air of floating detached, instead of being stuck against the wall.
I did not think of it as “stuck against the wall”, there was always a passage around the wall.
Satprem: So it is this passage, with a certain number of galleries by which people will come out. And it was also this idea of bareness which made him remove the columns.
What I don’t like is this idea of galleries, for the walls were quite straight, from top to bottom, in white marble.
Satprem: Ah! But the galleries are not high, they are about 30 cm above the floor.
Yes, that is all right.
Satprem: And besides, he said that in these galleries, or rather on this border which restricts the passage all around, the carpet could come right up to the angle, cover the angle.
That’s all right.
Good, that’s all right. So they must come to an understanding. But that must be half done already since Roger has spoken to me about the idea. If I had known that it was Paolo’s idea, I would have said yes right away. But it will work out. It’s all right.
Satprem: So then I will tell him to work on this basis… The only question yet to be decided is the outside: should we leave a space around the shell so that the underside of the shell can be clearly seen? Otherwise, if everything is filled up, it will simply look like a hemisphere resting on the ground. So that one understands clearly that this shell is also underground, he thought of making an opening all around.
I don’t know. I tell you, I have seen nothing for the outside, so I don’t know. But it will be dangerous. One could fall.
Satprem: Or perhaps we could make some kind of a moat with water all around, clear water which would show the lower curve of the shell, for example?
Yes, yes, that might be good.
Satprem: There is also a question of measurements. According to the plan, you have given 24 m – 12 m on each side of the globe. But can we keep a little additional space on each side for the passage? The plan shows 24 m in diameter, and 15 m 20 cm in height.
Satprem: Paolo is asking if the proportions can be changed? To keep 24 m for the base of the carpet, but with the possibility, for example, of keeping 2 or 3 m on each side for clearance.
Then the wall would come where?
Satprem: The wall would be here [Satprem points to the outside of the circular gallery].
It is the wall which must be 24 m away.
Satprem: He says that if these passages are to be there, 24 m would be a little short.
Satprem: And the height is also in question.
The question, exactly, was that it should make a perfect circle.
Satprem: If it makes a perfect circle, then the height will be the radius of the distance between the two walls.
The thing that would really please me, would be if they could both come to an agreement and present me with a project from both of them at once. Like that, it would be easy to carry it out… Hasn’t Roger adopted Paolo’s idea? Why don’t the two of them see together how to carry it out?
Satprem: Yes, that would simplify things.
Oh, very much!
What will happen down there?… [Mother points to the underground part of the shell] All that is mental. But when you are going to have a big dark basement, what is going to happen in there?.. What is going to happen? – Lots of unmentionable things. Humanity is not transformed, one should not forget it! And all kinds of people will come…. Even if there is a control at the entrance, you can’t prevent people from going to see, so then what is going to happen down there?… That was my first objection when Roger` told me, “We could make wonderful underground passages!” I told him, “That’s all very well, but who will control what happens down there?”
Satprem: I had thought it was your idea, the descent?
My idea was a rather short descent, which came out there [Mother points to the single opening of the original plan]. Quite a short descent, not a great tunnel like that… But it is possible, it is a matter of control, that’s all. Only there is a big difference between a passage with room for two lines of people (one going up and one going down) and coming out there, and an enormous tunnel like this one, there is a big difference! And now, on top of that, he says that it will be all dark!
Satprem: In black marble, yes.
Yes, then? That means that one will not see very clearly in there. Then what is going to happen in there?
Satprem: These underground areas are not in the form of tunnels: it is a central spiral stairway, and when one reaches the top of the stairway, it branches out into a series of open stairways, suspended like bridges. It is not enclosed, it is all floating.
There won’t be any accidents?… Ah! There are people with their heads in the clouds who are all ready to break their heads on the floor…. You see, it’s a bit too mental for my taste, I mean that from the mental point of view it is very attractive, but in vision…
Satprem: The main idea was to build the lower part collectively, like a symbol….
We’ll see! [Mother laughs]
In any case they must get together. And then I will see. I would like to be able to see them both together with their paper. Then that would be very good.
Because the one doesn’t tell me that it’s the other’s idea – he presents it as if it were his own (!), and then the other one doesn’t tell me that he has spoken to the first one!…
Satprem: But he didn’t have a chance to tell you.
No, but you said it because I told you… But I know. So you see, we are working for “human unity”, and the workers don’t understand or agree with each other! And I see, I see very well with each of them something like that [gesture of twisting]. It’s not that I am shocked, but…
My logic is as follows: “Yes, it’s very fine, you are very nice, you are working towards human unity – at least stand united!…” You understand?
Satprem: But I am sure that Paolo wants only to come to an agreement with Roger.
But you can very well grasp that if Roger took Paolo’s idea, it’s because he admires Paolo’s intelligence, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken it; so, consequently, why is one side like that and the other side… We do not want such pettiness any more.
Satprem: But when Paolo showed me this plan, I got a feeling that it was something very beautiful… I’ll tell you what I felt; I felt, I am present at the birth of Auroville.
No, it is not true.
Satprem: The material birth, I mean.
Yes, yes, I understand, but this is not true.
[Mother goes into a lengthy contemplation]
We’re going to let it settle down. For you understand that in order for me to agree to changes, I have to be certain that the source of the inspiration is of the same quality as the one I had…. For the execution itself, I am very well aware that people who know their profession are needed to do the work, but for the inspiration, I have to be positive that the source of inspiration is AT LEAST on the same level as mine… And I am not sure, because I saw so very clearly. And immediately, with Paolo’s ideas, I saw a mixture coming in. All of his ideas are mental ideas, I guarantee you because it’s easy for me to see that. Well, they all bring in the same MIXTURE that is found in everything that’s being done in the world. And that… what point is there in beginning again-again-again…?
There is something that disturbs me. To enter underneath is very good, but this huge underground area?… [Mother makes a pouting gesture]
We’ll see. Let it settle down, we’ll see.
Satprem: And for the top, shall we leave this idea of the shell, or should it be studied further?
A shell… the idea was a sphere. Why a shell?
Satprem: “Shell”, well, a round form, a spherical form.
An eggshell is elongated, it is not spherical. A real egg is rather like a spinning top; so the upper part would be wider and the base narrower, with just these stairs… That is quite possible.
Give me a piece of paper… [Mother draws an egg as she explains] And then, there, right at the bottom, there would be only stairs. Like that, yes.
Satprem: His idea was to reproduce the egg of Brahman: you know, the primeval egg. That the temple should represent the primeval egg.
But then, what is it like, the egg of Brahman!…
Satprem: I don’t know… Like an egg, I think!
The bottom of an egg is always narrower than the top. So if we take an egg like that [Mother draws] and at the base comes the staircase, and the spiral staircase mounts to the temple….
For example, seven stairway openings.
Satprem: Seven instead of twelve.
And here [Mother draws the median half of the “egg”], it is 24 m and only 15 m 50 in height. Then like that it is correct.
Satprem: Twenty-four metres total width or for the carpet?
No, the walls must be straight, the walls cannot be curved. I saw them straight.
Satprem: Straight, and then curving up.
According to what I had seen, the columns were higher than the walls, and that is why the roof sloped. And the electric light was on the columns.
And the widest point of the egg would be here (Mother draws a line at the level of the carpet).
Satprem: At floor level.
Satprem: And you said seven openings?
And then an underground passage which leads to the base of the egg from which these seven stairways start.
That is possible.
Satprem: In short, the inner walls of the temple ought to be straight.
That is to say that one can, for the outside, for the sake of appearance, make them rounded, but inside, the wall must be straight.
Satprem: The wall straight, and a dome over the straight wall.
Yes, a dome over the straight wall. But the dome can be the dome of the egg, and I had thought that the place where the dome fits in with the walls would be on the columns.
And here, for the outside, they can continue their wall in a rounded form, like that [Mother draws].
There would even be another possibility: which is to have a space between the outermost wall and the inner wall. To make a space. That is to be seen.
Satprem: That means, in addition to the 24 m?
Yes, that’s understood: the 24 m ends at the walls.
Satprem: And the openings for the seven stairways?
I would prefer to have them outside the wall.
Satprem: Yes, that would be better, because it would give more space to the centre.
Oh! yes, and the interior would be much cleaner. The sight of all these stairways didn’t please me. Even one stairway I didn’t like, but to see seven of them… Whereas outside, it is all right.
Satprem: So a passage outside.
The passage outside.
Satprem: Yes, like in India when one goes around the temple.
Yes. That is all right.
Satprem: And the seven stairways start directly from the base of the shell without this “stalk” rising from the bottom?
That is how they want it. Down below, I don’t mind. If they want it to be a stairway like that or a stairway… as long as it is not too steep.
What else do you have? Satprem: There is the second part of the problem.
Ah! What is it?
Satprem: Nata and Paolo have realized that if Auroville or the building of this Centre is left to the people of Auroville, as distinct from the Ashram, it will never work: there will never be the true force, the people who are there are not receptive enough to do the work. If there is this division between the Ashram and Auroville, we’ll never make it, they will make another “fabrication” but not something true. According to them, the only hope is that really this Centre be built not by the Aurovilians, but by all the people of the Ashram, with no distinction between Aurovilians and non-Aurovilians: that all the energy should unite in constructing this Centre: not to abandon the Aurovilians to an external separation. Just as all the disciples built “Golconde”, in the same way all the disciples should build the Centre of Auroville, without any outside labour.
At Golconde, there was outside labour.
Satprem: Anyway, limiting the outside element as much as possible, so that it may be a work of consecration. Otherwise, they tell me, (especially Nata): the people in the outside of things. The force of the people from here must mingle with that. And if the people of the Ashram do not mix in with them, do not come to infuse the force, nothing will be achieved…. At the present moment, Paolo told me, Auroville as seen from outside looks like a necropolis.
Satprem: It is the “living” fruit of egoism. The only thing which can save it is for the people of the Ashram to get involved and do the work, and for the others to be assimilated into that, otherwise…
[after a long silence]
But at the Ashram, we have three centres which are engaged in construction: there is Phoni., who looks after the maintenance of the houses, Abhay Singh and Udar. Abay Singh isn’t equipped for that, and besides he is too busy because he’s busy not only with construction but also with the cars and all these lands; in my opinion he is already fully occupied and he is doing a good job, and if he were asked to do more than he does now, he would not be able to do it well…. Udar is very interested, he even said he would take up the responsibility of getting the white marble; he would go look for it and choose it himself. He is very interested, if I were to tell him to do it… But that wouldn’t be any better.
Satprem: But that was not what Nata meant, he was not speaking at all of a construction problem: he was speaking of the question that the disciples should work with the Aurovilians… Nata, as an engineer and with the money collected, will do the construction, but all the labour should be provided by the people of the Ashram as a whole, who should mix with the Aurovilians. That is the idea.
It is not possible. All the people of the Ashram who are of working age are all working, they have all got their work.
Satprem: Nata saw a kind of rotation, each one giving, for example, an hour per day, or one day per week. Because otherwise…
They would simply love that! For them it would be extraordinary fun. I have more trouble to prevent them from dispersing themselves than I would ever have to get them to do something. It would be an amusement for them.
Satprem: Because he says that without the inner force of the people of the Ashram mingling with the Aurovilians, the people from Auroville will remain what they are. There is a breach between Auroville and the Ashram.
As for myself, I don’t find it wide enough.
Satprem: The gap?
Satprem: = Ah! well!
I don’t find it wide enough. It isn’t at all the same plane. Here, people…
You have only to imagine if I weren’t here.
Just imagine that and you’ll see, you’ll see right away what will happen.
Satprem: Well then, it’s the only hope.
If they come to say, “YOU [Mother] have to take the responsibility,” then I would say, “Ah, they’re right about that,” that’s a very different thing. They were nearby. It’s not that.
Satprem: But, Sweet Mother, I believe that’s what they mean, isn’t it?
[Mother laughs] They do not think clearly! It’s a confused thought.
Satprem: When they say that all the disciples here should get involved in the construction of Auroville, as they did with Golconde, what they mean is that you might direct all the disciples to come and participate in the work. That was the idea. But, on the contrary, you say that there should be a bigger gap – and no mixing.
[laughing] If you knew how things are!.. The people in Auroville bring drugs in here,… all sorts of things.
Satprem: Yes, yes, I know – I know, Sweet Mother. But that’s just why he says that the only hope is…
It’s that they go out there and catch all these things!
Satprem: He says, “Otherwise there is no hope.”
Oh no, he does not know! It is all in the mind, it is all mental. They do not know. What does he know? It is only when one sees. There’s not a single one of them who sees.
It’s all thoughts, thoughts, thoughts – thoughts do not build.
Satprem: The elements in Auroville can do the work?
I am working, working [kneading gesture] to bring together the energies that can do it. And a sifting out is required out there.
But, you understand, they are talking about physical work, and for physical work there are only the young people who are at the School – all the Ashramites have grown old, my child! There are only the young people at the School. And the young ones who are at the School are not here to be Ashramites: they are here to be educated – it is up to them to choose… Many, many of them want to go to Auroville. So it would be the educational side of the Ashram which would go to Auroville – there are many of them. But… give me some names, who can go and work with his hands?
Satprem: But, Sweet Mother, the only possibility is that you should SPEAK, and then tomorrow I will go and spend two hours in Auroville filling “baskets” [shallow pans for carrying earth].
[Mother laughs) My child, you are one of the youngest… can you see me telling Nolini, go there and work?
Satprem: Ah, but that would attract all the others…. In any case, that is Paolo’s and Nata’s idea.
[Mother laughs] Poor Nolini!
If you knew how many letters I receive from so-called Aurovilians who say, “Oh, I want to be quiet at last, I want to come to the Ashram, I do not want to be an Aurovilian any more…”
There, it is just the opposite: “I want to be quiet.”
You know, I do not believe in external decisions. I simply believe in one thing only: the force of the Consciousness which is making a PRESSURE like that [crushing gesture].
And the pressure goes on increasing… which means that it will sift out the people.
I believe only in that: the pressure of the Consciousness. All the rest is things that men do: they do them more or less well, and then it lives, and then it dies, and then it changes, and then it gets distorted, and then – everything they have done.
It is not worth the trouble. The power of execution must come from above, like that, [gesture of descent) imperative!
And for that, this [Mother points to her forehead] must keep quiet. Not to say, “Oh, that must not be, oh! this must be, oh! we ought to do…” Peace, peace, peace, He knows better than you do what is needed. There.
So since there are not many people who can understand, I say nothing: I watch and I wait.
I LOOK… You see, when people give me a paper like you just did when you gave me this drawing, I look like that, and I see very well what on the paper has come from above and what has been mixed in and what is… like that. But we’re not going to say that! – besides they wouldn’t believe me.
I understand very well – very well – why Sri Aurobindo did not say “superman”, why he said supramental. He didn’t say superman because he didn’t want it to mean “a man who is perfecting himself”, it’s not that. He said supramental because… He was saying: leave all that. Supramental – SUPRA, you understand? The last few days I saw photographs of the men who went to the moon. Did you see them? Didn’t you notice how they were dressed?
Satprem: Yes, I saw them.
Oh!… well, they’ve become machines.
Satprem: That’s it: robots.
Yes, so [laughing] the Russians said: why not send robots, it’s not worth the trouble…!
That’s how it is.
You see, Nata has spent his time saying as many bad things about Roger as he could, saying that all his plans were bad and that his work couldn’t succeed. Roger has spent his time saying: “Nata has spoilt all my work!” And somebody else says, “That one…” and that one says, “This one…”, and they are all like that! And I can see for sure that IF the work has to be done, they have to FIRST rise above this very petty and mean humanity. They “see’, they have “ideas” (they all have many ideas), they have ideas, and they see; the others see something else and have other ideas, and then: “Oh, that’s worth nothing, it’s my idea that’s good….” They’re like that! And my whole action is like this: a PRESSURE on them to make them renounce their small personalities. So long as that doesn’t abdicate, the work CANNOT be done.
And in fact they look for all sorts of reasons not to see what is true. They must… Oh, for a little air!
The body – this body here – is receiving a discipline, you know, it’s terrible. But it does not complain; it is happy, it asks for it. And it SEES the extent to which we are full of VERY SMALL THINGS which are getting in the way of the action of the Force all the time. So, one has to start by getting rid of that. One has to be like this [gesture of abandon, openness] and receive the Force.
Then all the inspirations will come, and not only the inspirations but the MEANS to execute them, and the TRUE Thing.
And as none of them are that ready, I do as the Consciousness does: I put on the Pressure and say nothing – I wait.
If you only knew everything that is going on, it would amuse you a lot. Everything regarding agriculture, it’s the same thing; everything regarding education, the same thing; everywhere, the same thing. International concerns, the same thing again, literally everywhere: Man [Mother carries her head high], Man puffing himself up. They must understand FIRST: abdication. Then we shall see.
Satprem: Shall I convey your message?
Oh no, my child, they would be appalled, poor fellows!
Satprem: Do you think so? It would do them some good.
Oh, no, no, it would overwhelm them. Pressure is the best thing. Because they do not understand what you’re thinking, they don’t understand what you’re saying; they only understand what they’ve got in their own heads. They change the meaning of words… like A.R. [the healer], who took it as a personal attack.
Satprem: Yes, it’s true! It’s true, I’ve noticed that: they take it as a personal attack.
That’s it. But it is like that everywhere, that’s the difficulty. It’s the person first. So that spoils everything.
Satprem: One speaks the truth objectively as one sees it – and it is as if one were attacking them!
Yes, as if one were attacking them.
So we have to w-a-i-t until they’re ready. You see, we’re losing a lot of time. It’s better not to say anything: apply the Pressure. That’s where I’m pitiless! [Mother laughs a lot]
Satprem: So what shall I do in the midst of all these people?
You can tell them that…. In fact, Roger had spoken to me (it was the same thing with different words), and I said neither yes nor no. I was waiting because I wanted to know how the others saw it. So now I’ve seen, I see that they agree. If they can come to an agreement, the work will go faster.
Objections about details have no importance, because one sets out with one idea and one arrives with another… one makes a lot of progress in between. So that does not need to be discussed, it is only…. Only try to put your energies together to get started more quickly, that’s all! [Mother laughs]
* * *
24 March 1970
Sources: AMW, p.290
[Roger presented to Mother five models for the central building of Auroville which included, a poly-hedron, a four-sided pyramid, a three-sided one, and an elliptical hibiscus. She selected the fifth one, a sphere flattened at the top and bottom. The model was in fact a small shiny brass pot, and she told him to work on this one. She signed a photo of it:]