In February 1954, the Mother was interviewed by Mr. Chamanlal about the future of India and the World. The text of the said interview was published a month later in the March 1954 issue of Mother India, the monthly review of culture published from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. However, in her talk at the Ashram Playground on 12 January 1955 the Mother contradicted a statement she had made earlier in the interview with Chamanlal. This prompted K.D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran to pen an article titled The Most Difficult Year and Chamanlal’s Interview which was later published in his book Our Light and Delight.
The texts of the Mother’s interview and Amal Kiran’s article have been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation.
With warm regards,
An Interview with the Mother by Chamanlal
I. The year 1957 will be as significant for India as the years 1757 and 1857 in Indian History.
II. Complete dissolution of Pakistan.
III. Serious possibility of a Russo-American war over India.
These were the highlights of an interview which the Mother granted me at Pondicherry. The Mother who is well known for her divine powers and supernatural visions is positive that India has a great future and will play the role of World Teacher.
Q. “What do you think of India’s future?”
A. “The future of India is very clear. India is the Guru of the world. The future structure of the world depends on India. India is the living soul. India is incarnating the spiritual knowledge in the world. The Government of India ought to recognise this significance of India and plan their actions accordingly.”
Q. “Don’t you think India is facing a grave crisis in the near future and a Russo-American war is inevitable?”
A. “Yes, I feel there is a serious possibility of a Russo-American war and if the war does come in spite of our efforts to stop it, our spiritual work will be finished. Unfortunately the Americans are convinced that Pandit Nehru’s sympathies are with the communists and therefore America has resolved to befriend Pakistan in her own interest. As you know, Moscow is nearer to Peshawar.”
Q. “But don’t you think Pakistan is making a mistake in being used as a bomber-base and will thus invite trouble for herself?”
A. “When India was partitioned I asked Sri Aurobindo what he thought of the future of Pakistan. I asked him how long it will last. Without hesitation Sri Aurobindo said, ‘Ten years’.”
The Mother laid special emphasis on the words ‘without hesitation’. She is sure of Sri Aurobindo’s prophecy. She went on, “The year 1957 will be a very important year in Indian history, like 1757 and 1857. It will see the end of Pakistan and there are serious possibilities of a Russo-American war over India. Many politicians expected war in March 1950 and they came to Sri Aurobindo and told him about it. But Sri Aurobindo did not believe. Once when I asked him he definitely said, ‘The crisis will only come in 1957’.” The Mother was certain that something would happen in 1957.
Q. “What do you think of the threatened war between Russia and America?”
A. “If there is a war it will be over India and it will be a very critical time for India. I want to avoid that war. India must be saved for the good of the world since India alone can lead the world to peace and a new world order.”
Q. “How will the dissolution of Pakistan come about if there is no war?”
A. “It may be by inner dislocation.”
Here the Mother added, “Occult forces must not speak about how the things will happen”. The Mother told me at length how she saw visions of the first Chinese revolution, the first Great War, the second World War and the Korean war as well as the freedom of India. She told Sri Aurobindo about the freedom of India as far back as 1914. She also told Sri Aurobindo, three months ahead, of the war in Korea.
Q. “How do you think we should prepare India to withstand the coming crisis?”
A. “You believe in divine power,—divine power alone can help India. If you can build faith and cohesion in the country it is much more powerful than any man-made power.”
(It is not a mere coincidence that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has been recently laying stress on cohesion and internal unity).
Q. “How to bring about the much needed cohesion and faith in the country?”
A. “By following Sri Aurobindo’s teachings. His Independence Day Message issued on August 15th, 1947, needs to be read and re-read and its significance explained to millions of his compatriots. India needs the conviction and faith of Sri Aurobindo.”
The Mother was much perturbed over the serious possibilities of a war. She repeatedly said, “It must not come.” And she added that only by goodwill and understanding the world could be saved.
Q. “Is there any danger to India this year?”
The Mother emphatically replied, “I don’t see it.”
I said, “Does that mean the cold war will continue?”
A. “Something like that.”
She added that there was nothing to be vexed about and India’s future was decidedly very clear.
She concluded, “According to a very old tradition, if twelve honest persons unite to incarnate the divine Will, they can compel the Divine to manifest.”
Q. “But Mother, you have nearly a thousand souls in the Ashram.”
A. “Yes, as children.”
The Mother added, “There must be a group forming a strong body of cohesive will with the spiritual knowledge to save India and the world. It is India that can bring truth in the world. By manifestation of the divine Will and Power alone India can preach her message to the world and not by imitating the materialism of the West. By following the divine Will India shall shine at the top of the spiritual mountain and show the way of truth and organise world unity.”
Excerpts from K. D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran’s article The Most Difficult Year and Chamanlal’s Interview published in Our Light and Delight, pp. 115—119.
“Chamanlal reported, among other things, the Mother as saying that 1957 would be a very significant year. India would start playing a glorious spiritual role in the world — and two features of great importance would be: (1) the complete dissolution of Pakistan by inner dislocation, (2) the serious possibility of a World War owing to America and Russia falling out over India. The Mother, according to Chamanlal, quoted Sri Aurobindo as having predicted these features.
When she had concluded her talk on 12 January 1955, a few questions were put to her by one of the brightest students of our Education Centre: Manoj Dasgupta. He asked: “You have said that in 1955 the hostile forces will try to give a tremendous blow. If we prove incapable of getting the victory, will the transformation at which our Yoga aims be considerably retarded?” The Mother replied with a grave face: “It will be retarded for many centuries. It is just this retardation that the hostile forces are attempting to bring about. And in spiritual matters up to the present they have always succeeded in their delaying tactics. Always the result has been: ‘It will be done some other time.’ And the other time may be hundreds of years later or even thousands of years. Now again the same trick is being tried.” Then Manoj obviously remembered Chamanlal’s report of the Mother’s statement: “Yes, I feel there is a serious possibility of a Russo-American war and if the war does come in spite of our efforts to stop it, our spiritual work will be finished.” Prompted by his remembrance, Manoj asked: “Will the crisis of a possible World War which, in Chamanlal’s interview with you, you have put in 1957 arrive in 1955 ahead of time or is it something quite other than the attack of the hostiles in the coming year?”
Hearing that she was said to have envisaged a World War in 1957, the Mother asserted twice in a firm loud tone: “Jamais de ma vie!” (“Never in my life!”). Everybody was amazed. Chamanlal’s whole report had been declared by the Mother at the time as authentic. I recall Nolini bringing her written confirmation authorising Chamanlal to broadcast the interview in any way he liked. Here was a stunning contradiction: how were we to reconcile that thorough approval with this downright refusal to accept responsibility for one of the momentous items?
After the Playground sessions I walked to the Ashram in the company of Nolini and Amrita. I reminded them of what the Mother had clearly pronounced to be genuine reportage. Amrita’s memory seemed very vague. When I turned to Nolini who had transmitted to us her pronouncement, he also appeared unable to recollect. “Was it like that?” he asked. “Most certainly,” I answered. There was no further conversation. But the next morning I took to Nolini a copy of Chamanlal’s interview and made him read the passage in question. There was no ambiguity now. So I requested him to bring the matter to the Mother’s notice and ask for a clarification.
When he had seen the Mother as he daily did, I inquired if the issue had been raised. He said: “No.” Evidently he did not wish to face the Mother with the glaring contradiction. I told Amrita that Nolini had not carried out the work I had proposed to him. Amrita remarked: “How can he dare to ask her anything after she had so forcibly said ‘Jamais!’ twice?”
What then was to be done? I used to be at times a little “pushy” with the Mother and she accepted this trait in me on several occasions while putting it down in no dubious manner on some others because of a wrong attitude on my side. I decided to write a frank letter, but with the right attitude so that the situation would be fully presented to her and yet no directly critical accent smacking of any uppishness would come into my words. My letter ran:
“I have adopted as a motto the words spoken by André once when, as a boy, he found your in-laws doubting you in something or other: ‘Ma mére est la vérité!’ [“My mother is truth!”] I, therefore, do not doubt at all that you never gave Chamanlal the year 1957 as the year of the crisis. But then how did the interview-report in which 1957 appears in such a role get authorised by you? Here is a passage in which not only you but also Sri Aurobindo is committed by words attributed to you:
‘The Year 1957 will be a very important year in Indian history, like 1757 and 1857. It will see the end of Pakistan and there are serious possibilities of a Russo-American war over India. Many politicians expected war in March 1950 and they came to Sri Aurobindo and told him about it. But Sri Aurobindo did not believe. Once when I asked him he definitely said: ‘The crisis will only come in 1957.’
“How did you authorise this? The interview-report has gone far and wide, even to the State Department at Washington, as perfectly authentic. So perhaps it may be necessary to correct it?
“One explanation given for your passing as genuine the above statement is that occasionally you are in a tranced or absorbed condition when things are read to you and so you miss certain portions while believing that you have heard everything.
“As there is no rival explanation, we may say, as the scientists do, that this hypothesis holds the field — provided, of course, you, who are being hypothetised about, agree to it.”
I took my letter to Nolini and told him: “I don’t want you to get into any embarrassing position, but if you take a letter from me and simply read it out at my request, whatever unpleasantness may come about will be directed at me. Will you kindly do this job on my behalf? It surely does need doing.” He consented and the deed was, as Christopher Smart would have phrased it, “determined, dared, and done”.
Nolini brought no verbal or written reply. I thought the Mother might require some time to frame an answer and I might have to wait for a day or two. But actually she answered me the same evening at the playground. When my turn came to receive the usual quota of groundnuts from her hands, she held my fingers, looked up from her seated position and said with a smile: “The fellow has made a big confusion. Several things have been mixed up. But, since it has been said in that way, it may even come true, though we shall try to stop it.”
Actually, in 1957, the U.S.A. and Communist China, which at that time was none else than Russia under a mask, came within an ace of armed conflict because of a bold yet necessary action by the former over the island of Quemoy between mainland China and Taiwan which was in the hand of Chiang Kaishek. The crisis was averted. India did not come into the picture at all.
As for Chamanlal’s “big confusion” which escaped scrutiny when it was formulated, we may clear it with the help of some hints by the Mother. Her real stance may be summed up as follows. We may take her as saying:
“I did not speak of any crisis as coming in 1957. In Chamanlal’s account several points that were separate have been run together. A three-stepped series of possibilities has got jumbled and the different steps fused. There is first the crisis coming before 1957: that is to say, in 1955, as I have told you. Then there is the clearing of the crisis: the victory. As a result of the victory, there is the beginning of a new period in 1957: that year marks the completion of what has gone and it ushers in a time in which India will have the splendid opportunity of being the Guru of the world. It is because of the decisive commencement of this glorious future in 1957 that 1957 is as important in India’s history as in their own ways 1757, the year of the Battle of Plassey which brought India into British hands, and 1857, the date of the so-called Indian Mutiny against British domination. Now you have the correct sequence of the possibilities in front of you.
“A World War such as I have spoken of in the interview is not ruled out: its threat is part of the anticipated difficulties in 1955. This threat has not been put in 1957 by either Sri Aurobindo or myself. That wrong impression should be dispelled from the mind, no matter how things have been expressed in Chamanlal’s report.”
In fact, it is impossible for the Mother to have alluded to a global conflict in 1957, for she was expecting a great spiritual event in 1956 — the event which proved to be the manifestation of the Supermind’s light, force and consciousness in the subtle-physical layer of the earth. In the wake of such a tremendous outburst of the Divine the possibility of a World War would be extremely meagre, if not even nil.”