by Bryan Crumpton
Rereading Mother’s Agenda (vol. 1, Oct. 10, 1958) we have Mother pointing out a very interesting difference in the people of the ashram, two different types of followers. And it is almost a secret observation about the two types of followers, not at all obvious and clear to most people. And this bears, I think, on this absurd conflict over this wonderful work done by Peter Heehs in his biography on Sri Aurobindo.
On the one side are the sadhaks, the struggling seekers after spiritual progress who have one type of relationship with Mother and Auroji. On the other side, the devotees, the sentimental, emotional types who expect Mother simply to do all the sadhana for them. And there is a subtle, usually hidden conflict, irritation and tension between these two different attitudes, Mother points out, often unconscious. But it is there. And in the present situation flaring up with lots of emotion.
I think this relates to our subject of why certain people object to Auroji’s biography by Peter. One type of person, like myself, wants the unvarnished straight truth, the facts as we have them without the gilding of sentiment and eulogy. Just a straight account as we have it by some of our best biographers, like William Manchester and his The Last Lion, the story of Winston Churchill. Nothing sentimental (if it had been, he would have been severely criticized and the book trashed) but a marvelous study and accurate picture of Winston Churchill.
The other type wants lots of praise, eulogy, sentiment in their account of Sri Aurobindo’s life, and only a light brushing of facts on the canvas. There are many such biographies. They are not much interested in the reality except it fits their colored preconceived notions of what a god is like. They want to worship their images of Auroji and Mother, and they don’t want any contradictory intruding facts.
Is this a fair enough description of the two types as extremes? Mother points this out in this excerpt. Mother:
Then - and this becomes rather amusing like life's play ... 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." Such persons consider me the prototype of the Guru teaching a new way, but the others don't have this relationship of sadhak to Guru (I am taking the two extremes, but of course there are all the possibilities in between), they are only in contact with the eternal Mother and, in the simplicity of their hearts, they expect Her to do everything for them. If they were perfect in this attitude, the eternal Mother would do everything for them - as a matter of fact, She does do everything, but as they aren't perfect, they cannot receive it totally. But the two paths are very different, the two kinds of relationships are very different; and as we all live according to the law of external things, in a material body, there is a kind of annoyance, an almost irritated misunderstanding, between those who follow this path (not consciously and intentionally, but spontaneously), who have this relationship of the child to the Mother, and those who have this other relationship of the sadhak to the Guru. So it creates a whole play, with an infinite diversity of shades.
But all this is still in suspense, on the way to realization, moving forward progressively; therefore, unless we are able to see the outcome, we can't understand a thing. We get confused. Only when we see the outcome, the final realization, only when we have TOUCHED there, will everything be understood - then it will be as clear and as simple as can be. But meanwhile, my relationships with different people are very funny, utterly amusing!
Those who have what I would call the more "outer" relationship compared to the other (although it is not really so) - the relationship of yoga, of sadhana - consider the others superstitious; and the others, who have faith or perception, or the Grace to have understood what Sri Aurobindo meant (perhaps even before knowing what he said, but in any event, after he said it), discard the others as ignorant unbelievers! And there are all the gradations in between, so it really becomes quite funny!
It opens up extraordinary horizons; once you have understood this, you have the key - you have the key to many, many things: the different positions of each of the different saints, the different realizations and ... it resolves all the incoherencies of the various manifestations on earth.
Mothers words. I cannot imagine that Sri Aurobindo would not be absolutely delighted with The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, and so delighted that he wants everyone to read it. And knowing that nothing less than controversy will get most of us off our lazy behinds, initiated this little fracus so as to perk our curiosity to read this. This was true for me. I’m much too lazy to read secondary accounts, and there are so many. I firmly believe this, that Auroji Himself is behind this business so as to get us to read this superb biography. A thousand thanks to Peter Heehs.