On Death - Auroville (16 December 1999) - Audio

Question: Is there a connection between the myth of Achilles' heel and Krishna's heel?

It is true that Krishna died because a hunter shot an arrow into his heel, and that the same thing can be said about the weakness of Achilles' heel. But l don't think Krishna's heels were weak, it's only a historical fact that he was hit in his heel and died. But I don't see any special connection. `

Question: Is there a connection between the new-born Moses and Karna both sent floating down the river?

I think there are many stories, not only those of Moses and Karna. This is a kind of a theme that we see very often in myths, so I don't want to establish a connection. l think that Oedipus also had a similar story.

The story of the Great Flood appears in many traditions – here they may be connections, because there is not only a myth of a flood, but also a traditional belief that from time to time... In India there is a cyclic view, that there is a pralaya at a certain time. In one of the Brahmanas we have the story of Manu. He went to a river where a small fish spoke to him, saying, "Take me out and give me protection." Then Manu put it in a small pot, and then the fish grew bigger; then he had to put it in a bigger pot, and it became still bigger, and bigger and bigger until it had to be put in the ocean. And for this help, the fish told him, "You can use me when there will be a flood." And then there was a flood, the pralaya, and Manu remained alive because he was saved by this fish. Noah’s Ark is a very famous story of a similar kind. Here I agree that there is certainly a connection. There must be some memory in the race of a pralaya. According to Indian tradition, pralaya has already taken place six times, and maybe now this is the seventh time – which will not happen, because of what has been done with regard to the establishment of the Supermind on the earth.

Astrologically, 1962 was a year where seven planets came together, and it was predicted that it would be a horrible year and that there would be a pralaya, or something of the kind. This did not happen, but it's a fact that in 1962 Mother had the experience of pulsations, a great experience. According to my understanding it was a great saving of the earth. It was a very critical moment that was over–passed because Mother accepted the burden of the earth. She transformed it, and there was a great pulsation of love.

Question: Even though you've explained at length about death, I still want to know what death is.

Answer: I haven't explained at length, I only touched upon it. What you want to know is very important.

What is death? This is how Mother explained it, in brief. Every individual body has a certain formation; that formation has its own individuality, its own specificity – it is this individual specificity which keeps the body in a certain shape all the time. This shape is normally governed by a will in the cells, and when this will is weakened, it is the beginning of dissolution. This weakening of the will to keep the specific form increases, and it ultimately leads to dissolution. There is a beginning of dissolution and then an arrival at the point where it dissolves? there is no more that movement of individual specificity. It is this which is the real state of death.

Medically of course it is said that when the brain is affected so seriously that it no longer sends commands, then the body stops. But at a deeper level, the will in the cells for individual specificity is weakened and then stops functioning, and then death occurs. This is a brief answer that I would like to present.

Question: Why do we have to die?

Answer: This is one of the most important questions. Why do we have to die? I spoke yesterday of the obligation to die, the necessity of death. The same question can be asked, why do we have to be born? What is this process of birth and death? What is the necessity of the process of birth and death? All the philosophies that believe in rebirth agree that until a certain point is reached, you have got to be reborn. There is no escape. This is the view of Jainism, of Hinduism, of Buddhism – there is a necessity to be born.

So there seems to be some fundamental meaning in it. It is said that unless you reach a point of moksha or liberation you are obliged to take a new birth. And when you reach liberation, it is suggested that you will not be reborn, or that at least there is no necessity to be reborn. You may be reborn, but there is no necessity.

Why do we have to die? I have posed a counter–question, why do we have to be born? Both are to be answered simultaneously. There is a famous sentence of Shankaracharya: "Punanapi jananam punarapi maranam; punarapi janani jatharay vasanam." "There is repeated birth, repeated death, and repeated coming back into the womb of the Mother." This indicates that this is a process which you cannot eliminate. There is some kind of a necessity; you cannot come out of this process until you reach a point that is called "liberation".

Nobody has explained why. Why this necessity at all? Why should we be born at all? Only when I read Sri Aurobindo did I find the answer to this question. Let us put it in a kind of a children's story: Each one of us has entered into a contract with the Divine. We have said, "We shall collaborate with you in carrying out what you intend to do on this earth. And we shall not leave this contract until that work is done." So each one of us has plunged into this earth, inwardly we know exactly what we are supposed to do here, but when we plunge into this world we seem to forget, first, that we have entered into a contract, second, exactly what we are supposed to do on this earth. We come here, and we go about as if blindfolded in this world, constantly trying to remember because there is in us some kind of faint memory, clouded, coated over by so many impressions, so much darkness. But there is something in us which constantly pushes us. Every one of us is, as it were, pushing–pushing all the time. Even though we have moments of sleep, rest, idleness, sloth, again we wake up and again we go on pushing, pushing, pushing. We can't avoid this either; we are obliged always to push ourselves. It is because there is in us this contract, and each one of us knows what work he has to do.

The contract that we have made with the Divine is the following: We want to make this earth a beautiful temple of the Divine. We are like architects and masons. The Divine said, "I want to make on the earth a living temple of the Divine Consciousness." This is the Will of the Divine. The earth is a principle of Matter, and that bottom of which there is complete Inconscience. Inconscience is the exact opposite of the Superconscience; the Divine Consciousness is plenary consciousness, full consciousness, as if the light of a thousand suns were collected together. Inconscience is the exact opposite.

The Divine has many possibilities. He is omnipotent, he can have many kinds of objects, all possible objects are possible for the Divine. In a childish way we might say that he can play many kinds of games – all possible games are possible for the Divine. In this time in which we are living, the Divine has chosen to play this game. First, to conceal his Consciousness so completely as to become Inconscient – there is a production of inconscience – and then to play the game of unveiling it. But in the process of unveiling, since it's a game, there is a rule, like in cricket, in chess, or in football – there are rules to the game. Here, the rule of the game is that this Inconscience has to be developed gradually, not at once. The Divine can immediately, by one stroke of a ray of Light, make the Inconscience become Conscious. That is possible. But the rule of the game is that it allows the Inconscience to develop gradually; you might almost say, leisurely. There is no hurry in this process.

The second rule of the game is that this Inconscience becomes gradually conscious by a double process. There is, first, an invitation sent by the Divine Consciousness asking the Inconscience, "May I come? Can I awaken you?" It does not impose itself, it's like a good teacher. A good teacher sends out an invitation: "Would you like to study?" There is no imposing on you. "If you want to study, I am here with you. But you have to decide whether you want to study or not." The Inconscience is given a choice to say yes, or no. Usually the Inconscience does not want to respond to this invitation, because it is unconscious. It is asleep, and as you know in sleep one does not like to be awakened. We have all had this experience: When you are sleeping and somebody says, "Now wake up," we want to avoid getting up as much as possible: "Five minutes more," we say, "five minutes more..." Similarly, the Inconscience has the same response. The Divine Consciousness is very careful not to impose itself. So it waits until the Inconscience comes to a point where it says, "All right, I will receive a little." It consents to it. It happens to consent at one time. Why? Because it is free, and it is quite possible for it to say yes also one time, the moment it says 'yes', the Divine knows how much of a dose to give. It won't give too much, because the Inconscience will be shaken, and the Divine doesn't want to shake up, it gives the exact dose of Consciousness that can be received.

The Divine gives this kind of invitation both directly and through many intermediaries. All instruments of the Divine which are conscious in one way or the other, they can all collaborate. Principally there are two intermediaries. One is gods, the second is our souls. These are the two intermediaries, the gods and our souls. The gods are also invited – there are many–many gods. Gods are nothing but children of the Divine, but conscious children of the Divine. They have not fallen into sleep.

As far as we are concerned, we have fallen into sleep, but not totally. There is something in us that is still awake, but it is very deep. As we are living on the surface, we are hardly aware of that which we truly are, which is awake. So our message also reaches this outer being very slowly. Whatever is unconscious hardly receives any message from our soul because the distance is very great. In astronomy, as we now know, the distances between stars are so great that for a ray of light to travel from one star to another sometimes takes millions and millions of light years – not only years, but light years. Such are the distances in the universe. So if that is the case, then the distance between the Divine Consciousness and the Inconscience is very great; similarly, the distance between our real soul which is awake and our outer self which we are is also very great. That is why a lot of time is required for us to communicate the will of the Divine to the Inconscience, but this is the real game: The Inconscience has to agree first of all to receive the Light; on the other side there is a constant invitation coming from above: "May I come? May I come? I want to come. I would like to come. I want to awaken you..." All the time it is coming. As a result, there is a constant dialogue, as it were. Our life is nothing but a constant dialogue, and the main refrain is this: "May I come?" And the answer is sometimes no, sometimes all right, sometimes 'yes–yes' – this is all the dialogue. Our entire life can be summarized in these three words, "May I come?" and the answer, "No," "Maybe," "All right," "Yes–yes!" Our whole life can be summarized in this: There is nothing more than that in life.

But because of this process, and because of the rules of the game, it can take a long time. Neither the Inconscience nor the Divine is worried about the time. They both have all the time in the world; they have leisure, because it is a big game that is going on. Only we human beings are in a hurry, because sometimes, when our consciousness becomes partially conscious and is partially asleep, then the sense of hurry arises. It has taken millions of years, billions of years you might say, for the whole game to come to the point where we are now. So let us come to where we are.

Billions of years have already passed, now we are where we are and the same dialogue continues. Except that we are partially conscious. This partial consciousness is called, in technical language, "Ignorance." So there is a distinction that is made between Inconscience and Ignorance. Inconscience is a complete negation of consciousness; there is complete darkness. Ignorance is like the night – the night is also dark, but there are stars, aren't there? There are twinkling lights all the time. Our consciousness is like the darkness of night, there is some twinkling going on. It is not totally dark. We are not unconscious, we are ignorant.

So some development has taken place. From complete Inconscience we have reached the point of some consciousness, a partial consciousness.

The game, at the level of the ignorance, becomes very, very interesting. We are Ignorant, partially conscious and partially unconscious, and that is why the whole human life is a very interesting drama. That is why dramatists, when they write, become like gods themselves. It is said that an author and a dramatist particularly, enjoys the company of God. If you write a drama you will see. You write a drama, or a story even, a novel or short story, fiction and you become almost like God: You create characters, then you imagine some plot, you make people meet, there is some friction, some friendship, some quarrels, some misunderstanding, and then some overcoming of difficulties – some kind of a drama will take place.

At a certain point of this drama, our consciousness becomes so desperate, we become so full of the need to receive the light, that we say, "Light! Light! Light! Come, I want Light!"' And then you will see that the Light comes very rapidly. And when the Light comes, what happens – You begin to remember your contract.

Therefore human beings are very fortunate, they have remembered the contract. At a certain stage we understand why we are here on the earth. We have promised God. We want to participate in the building of the temple of the Divine on earth. We have here the Matrimandir, it is a very symbolic thing. We all need to build a huge Matrimandir, we are here to build a huge Matrimandir on the earth. Not a simple Matrimandir, but huge, multi–domed, beautiful. As I said, we are architects and masons. If we go deep in our hearts we shall know what the architectural design is. When you become illumined you begin to find out what that architecture that you want to have is. And you are also a mason, not only an architect. We are many instruments. Our body, life and mind are instruments – tools of the mason. Very often, the architect may be very much illumined, but the mason and his tools are very often not responsive. Very often you have the experience: The architect goes to the mason and says, "Do this," and the mason doesn't understand very well and he makes a catastrophe. Sometimes, we are like that. The architect that is our soul tells us, "Look, design it this way." What is the design? It is very simple, actually. Matter, Life and Mind are to be so trained that they become happy in carrying out whatever is given to them by the architect. This is all that is to be done. Body, Life and Mind are to be so trained that they become absolutely transparent, absolutely obedient. This is what we call surrender. Our body, life and mind become so surrendered that whatever the architect says is immediately received and implemented.

When we reach the point of desperation it means that Body, Life and Mind, or at least Mind becomes desperate and says, "Please, enlighten me!" I have spoken of a burning sacrifice. The Mind sacrifices and says, "Please, give me the Light!" The Light is received and the mind begins to obey. Then the vital begins to obey, and then the body begins to obey. But there is a kind of a time lag. Very often you find that the mind wants to do but the body doesn't want to do, very often this is what happens. There is a question coming up – why is it that what we want to do and we cannot? This is the reason: The Mind has become desperate, it wants Light, it has received the Light and knows what needs to be done, but the vital, which is the instrument of doing, the mason, he doesn't care. He is still lethargic.

Gradually the vital understands and becomes a great collaborator, like Hanuman. You know Hanuman is a great and true collaborator of the Divine. That is why it is said that in the vital you should become like Hanuman. The moment the Divine says something, it is immediately implemented; there is no refusal at all. The moment the Divine says something, the vital is ready, immediately it jumps; even if he wants it to cross the mountains and the seas it does it. That is the power of the vital, but normally it revolts. How often do you hear from people, "Oh don't talk to me about the Divine, I don't want to hear"? Very often you hear this – "Oh no–no, not too much of the Divine. I don't want to hear about the Divine. You are always talking about spirituality; I don't want to hear about spirituality." This, basically, is very often the answer of the vital. It wants to do what it wants to do. It likes all the ordinary joys and sufferings. Even if it has to have pain it doesn't matter, it says, "If there is some joy in it, then I will get that joy." It is like a brew that is bitter and sweet at the same time, and the vital is enjoying that brew. So to take that brew out of its hands and to say, "Look, there is a great, unmixed delight" – gradually, it agrees. The greater part of our life is taken up by this battle. We are holding the brew of bitter and sweet wine in our hands, and somebody says that there is a big jar full of delight, inextinguishable, inexhaustible. First of all, we don't even believe that there is such a thing; gradually the vital being says, "All right, I can have it." And once it knows it, like Hanuman it gives itself absolutely to the Divine. It's a great moment.

Then comes the turn of the body, the body is normally very difficult; it wants to sleep as much as possible. Even if it wants to wake up, it wants to go to sleep again. It forgets, or it wants to repeat the same thing as always, mechanically. When you are falling asleep, just look at how many thoughts keep on coming, the same thoughts. And most of our thoughts are very simple: "Where shall I eat tomorrow?" "What dress shall I put on tomorrow?" "Will there be butter on the table?" Very simple thoughts, but they go on repeating, repeating. Even if you answer, you are again asked the same questions. To make this body aware of the Divine Consciousness is a very difficult task. But ultimately, you can't escape. We have agreed, the contract is there, unless and until this contract is fulfilled, you cannot escape.

But since it takes a long time, you cannot do all this in one life. If it was a short work, you could do it in one life, but it's very long. In one life, it can't be done. So we pass through death and then we are obliged to be reborn, because the contract is still there, the work is not finished.

This is how we understand why we must die and we must be reborn. You cannot escape it until the work is done. The whole body has to become conscious. There has to be material conquest.

This is one answer as to why we must be born and why we must die. But it is still incomplete.

Why could our lives not be so long that, until the contract is over, we would not die – Why should it not be like that? That also could be. Why this process of death and rebirth at all? It also could be conceived that, if this is the contract, if this is the work to be done, it could be that everyone has thousands of years to live. Let them go on doing the work all the time for thousands of years, until it is done. Why is it not so?

The reason is that each one of us is partaking of the Inconscience. Each one of us. Since we are working in the mud, we always get mud on ourselves, no? We are working in the darkness, therefore darkness is upon us. Because of the darkness we don't know our own vastness. Actually, each one of us is vast, very vast. As architects, we are all vast; we have all the visions, deep visions, in our consciousness. But because we are working in the mud, the darkness, we have forgotten that we are vast, and we think ourselves to be limited. If someone asks you, "What are you?" then normally, if you want to give a biographical statement, your curriculum vita, you will say, "I was born on this date, my body is like this, I have got such and such tastes, I have studied such and such things, I want to do this, I want to do that..." That is all that is our whole account of ourselves.

In other words, in our consciousness we have made a very small formation of ourselves. This formation, by its very nature, is brittle. All formations, because they are full of darkness, because there is not vastness, are brittle, capable of being easily broken. Because this formation is brittle, there is this principle of dissolution. If you become vast the dissolution will not take place. It all depends upon this. Why must we die? We must die because the formations in which we are living are small; because of the smallness, they don't have the strength to hold out. There is therefore a possibility of breaking, dissolution.

Because of the smallness we are incapable; because of the incapacity we have got desires – it is a chain: Because of the smallness of our formation we have got incapacities, all of us have got incapacities – it is because we are small; because of the incapacity we have desire. Why? Because we don't want any incapacity, we want to be capable, and there is therefore a desire to increase our capacities. Because of desire we go on, moving on and on and on – but how far? A point comes where you really feel exhausted because your incapacities remain; you cannot completely or quickly overcome your incapacities. To the extent to which you can go on increasing your capacities you can live, but sometimes this is no longer possible. To increase your capacity you need to change your circumstances. How will you change the circumstances? This is why the law of death has been introduced. Normally, a time comes in our lives when we need to change the circumstance, and that is a very difficult task. Normally we remain in the same circumstances; we go on learning, studying and increasing our capacities. Then a time comes where we want to increase our capacities, but we can increase them only if the circumstance changes. Even if that is possible, the circumstances can also be changed, but in a very limited way. A time comes when you feel that your circumstance should be radically changed.

Let us say that I am jailed. I remain in a small cell; I do not have the possibility to talk to you, and my capacities can develop only if I meet you, but I am kept in jail, I am not allowed. I make a great effort even to write letters to you, communicate with you, but I don't get the satisfaction I can get by talking to you directly, face to face. And I want to do it, and I know that my capacities will develop if I can talk to you, if I can meet you. If I know this, then what will happen? I will have to pass away from that jail. How can I pass away from that jail? Of course, I can break out, that is one possibility, but supposing that possibility does not exist, then what? Then death intervenes. There must be death.

I am only trying to give an example of circumstances that you are obliged to change radically. Actually, if you study any example of death, you can be sure that this is the reason: The need to expand is felt very deeply, on the one hand, and on the other the circumstances are so rigid that that need cannot be fulfilled. It is at that stage that there is an inner decision to leave that body, to come out of it – to change the circumstance, and then enter into a circumstance in which your need can be fulfilled.

This is the true answer to why we should die. First we must die because the process of the fulfillment of the contract is very long. And we are limited and we do not have the strength to go on and on until the contract is fulfilled. That is the necessity of dissolution. Secondly, I gave a deeper answer: That when the circumstances have to be radically changed and this cannot be done by normal methods, then death becomes inevitable. This is the reason why death and rebirth are inevitable until you reach the point where you can say, "Now I have fulfilled whatever role I have to play in the building of the temple of the Divine. I have done it." Then the law of death does not intervene; you are not obliged to be reborn, you go out of Sambhava ? That is the word in the Isha Upanishad. Sambhuti and asambhuti: Sambhuti means the process of birth and death; asambhuti is to come out of the entire process of death and birth.

Question: How do you build the will?

For every student and for every teacher, this should be the most important question: How do you build the will? Yesterday I explained to you the distinction between desire and will. Desire is a state in which you are inclined, you feel an urge to move forward and grasp something from outside, to receive something from outside – you want to possess something that you don't have. There are many kinds of desires. Will is a condition in which you have within you the fullness – you don't need anything to come from outside, you are full. But in that fullness there is a delight to manifest, to throw out from you, to pour out. This movement is the movement of will. There's no desire because there is nothing to grasp from the outside, but what you have, you just put forth and enjoy putting it forth. All movement of manifestation of delight is a mark of will.

But in between the desire and this will there are many intermediate stages. There is a mixed desire and will. This is some kind of will in you, a little bit of will in which you find some fullness that is manifesting; but there is also a lot which you don't have and that you want to grasp from outside, so it is mixed with desire. Therefore, we often don't distinguish between desire and will at all. Very often you say, "I want to do something", "I desired something", or "I willed it thus" – so in our expression also there is not much difference. Most of us are in this intermediate stage, and your question arises from this stage. How can you increase your will power?

Let us grant that we all have some will power, but mixed with a lot of desire. The greater the will element, the stronger the will, the lesser the element of desire in you, the greater the will. So one mark is the abolition of desire, which is a very difficult task. Normally we are filled with instincts, impulses, wishes and desires and ambitions of various kinds, attractions and repulsions of various kinds – this is the gamut of desire. There are long–standing attractions. You say, 'it will take twenty years, I don't mind, I want to achieve that." Somebody wants to be a film star from early childhood; he says, "It doesn't matter if I have to spend twenty years preparing, I want to be a famous film star." It's an attraction. Somebody wants to be a great pilot, a captain in the army, a great doctor, a hero – all kinds of desires are there, these are long–standing attractions, they take a long time. Even in this case, when the attractions and desires are great, you will find out very soon that merely desiring does not give you the satisfaction of your desire. If somebody says, "I want to become a great hero," he won't become it merely by desiring or saying so. If you want to be a pilot, what does it mean? You have to study a lot of Physics, a lot of science, many sciences; you have to be a good engineer, you have to learn the mechanics of airplanes – all this cannot be done as long as you go on saying, "I want to be, I want to be, I want to be..." A point comes when you say, "Stop desiring." There is a very interesting theory called the paradox of desire. Desire cannot be fulfilled unless desire is lost. That is a paradox. If you want to fulfill a desire, a point must come in your movement where desire is lost, and you get to the work to be done. And when you really do the work, at that time you have to be very steady. At that stage of steadiness there is will. You don't desire, you bring out steadfastly from yourself something that is there in you, manifest it.

The conclusion is: If you want will–power to increase, there must be first of all what is called self–control. Do not be overpowered by the impulsion of desire to such an extent that you cannot set yourself to work – and steady work, serious work, perfect work. The moment you have to do this work, you will see that you have to control yourself, you have to concentrate. The greater the steadiness of the work, the greater the labor you put into it, the greater the will is developed. The greater the concentration, the greater the will, the greater the control of desires, the greater the will. A time will come when the labor becomes so easy for you that it will not be felt to be labor (if you become a good athlete, then physically to carry a few kilos is no work at all, it's play); a time will come when concentration will not be felt to be concentration – at a second's call you can become concentrated. Otherwise it takes a long time to be concentrated, but if you are very well developed in concentration then you can easily concentrate, you don't even feel that you are concentrating. You can do ten things and concentrate equally on all of them. You find some housewives, they do the cooking, the sweeping, look after the child in the cradle, give instructions to the servant, examine whether the rice is well–cooked or not, answer a call from the postman – so many things at the same time without labour. It is the mark that a good will power has developed in the individual, when you can do even the biggest works more and more powerfully. We have the example of the Mother: We saw how the Mother was working so much, and we could see her concentrating upon hundreds of things at the same time, with equal attention; and her answers were always full of knowledge, and spontaneous, on the spot.

Once, on the Ashram sports ground, an engineer asked the Mother about the building of a swimming pool. He said, "We need to have a water supply. Mother, you are all–knowing, from where can we get the water?" She said, "The place where I am standing now is filled with water." And that space was dug up, and immediately water was found. So imagine, on the spot this was the Mother's answer! This was a physical question, but any question you put to the Mother... It was amazing, there was so much light, all the time. And she could do anything so easily. That is the mark of a fully developed will: There's no desire at all in it, there's no labor at all in it; everything is automatic, spontaneous, delightful.

Question: How does one build one's confidence in oneself?

Answer: One does not build confidence by saying, "Have confidence, have confidence, have confidence." This is very often what people preach: "Have confidence! Go forward". This is only preaching. Confidence doesn't come by merely telling someone to have it. Confidence building is a serious work. It requires labor, work. Test yourself. Put yourself into a testing situation. A child goes to an examination hall, and he is afraid that his spelling is so weak that he won't be able to write the words correctly – I can't simply say to him now, "Have confidence!" The child doesn't know his spelling very well, and you say, "Have confidence"– Will he then write well' No, this is not the way of building confidence. Before you go to the examination hall, prepare yourself well. Take ten words every day, I told you last time and learn to spell them perfectly. Put yourself to the test, and know for yourself that yes, you can do it. Now you are right, there can be no mistake at all. That is the right way of building confidence: by labor, by testing yourself and retesting yourself.

Question: You spoke about the powers of the Mind, but you did not explain the words medha, buddhiand dhi. What do these words really mean? Are there other powers of the Mind?

Answer: I must tell you that I am very pleased with this question, because in fact, in one of the talks which I've prepared, which I have not given yet, I had written at length on this question. So you anticipated my paper.

I'll give a brief answer now, and keep that paper in reserve for later on.

I told you that the Veda is a mine of knowledge. It is a science of psychology by itself. It has analysed different layers of the mind. Of the three words that you mention, buddhi and dhi are two interchangeable words, so there is no difference between the two. But between medhaand buddhi there is a difference. Medha is the understanding based upon sense experience; buddhi is understanding without the need of sense experience – it may base itself on sense experience, but it may also have understanding without it. This is the basic difference.

What is the colour of this flower? To observe this flower, to be able to name the colour, this is the activity of medha. I have to open my eyes, I have to know many colours and be able to distinguish one from the other.

Does the earth rotate around the sun, or the sun around the earth? How will you answer this question? If you merely use medha, you will say that the sun revolves around the earth. That is the answer we will give, because we see that the sun rises here, goes up and then goes down. So the sun is moving around the earth! This is the answer of medha, but not the answer of buddhi. Buddhi will make many experiments – this is the intellectual process, what is called "reasoning" or "pure reason". It may start with observation, but then it compares that observation with other observations. Ultimately it finds out that it is the earth that is moving around the sun. This was the great Copernican revolution. Copernicus found out that it is not the sun that is moving around the earth, but the earth that is moving around the sun. This is work of intellect, when you compare observations with observations. And comparing, you derive the consequences from your comparisons, and again compare these consequences, apply the laws of reasoning, and then arrive at a conclusion. That is buddhi. Intellect has the power of discrimination in great purity, without being overpowered by the senses. Medha can be overpowered by the senses because it depends on the senses, but buddhi has the possibility of rising above their influence, it can be free from their spell.

The Veda describes many more powers of the Mind. In one of the verses I am going to speak about, it says, "Yat jagratho dur mudei iti devam tado suptas tathaiti duram gamam jyotishan jyoti rekham tunmay manaha shivasam kalpamasto." These are very long Sanskrit words in which the powers of the Mind are described. It says that the Mind can move very far, not only in the waking state, but also in the state of sleep. This is the first important power of the Mind – it can travel, it can move very far. And then jyotishan jyoti, it is "the Light of Lights".

I'll tell you many more powers when I come to that particular lecture on the Mind. But this is another power which is neither medha nor buddhi – the power of traveling. Even in sleep you can have dreams; without opening your eyes you see colours in your dreams – how do you do that? Even though your outer ears are closed, you can hear conversations in your dreams. In your dream, you can travel to America in a second – the Mind travels fast. You can see and repeat remote childhood experiences in your dreams. That is because it has great Light, and it is said that Mind travels at a speed even greater than the speed of light that's why the Veda says jyotisham jyoti, "Light of Lights". You can imagine how much the Vedic Rishis must have traveled in their inner consciousness to be able to say all this definitively; and when you read Sri Aurobindo on the Mind, he gives perfect detail, a complete mapping of the powers of the Mind.