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A dream by the Mother
The Lord of Nations, the conquest of Terror, and a young woman who was a nation
In the night of 31 January/1 February [probably in 1915] the Mother had the following dream1:
At the top of a very high tower standing on a high mountain, in a room so vast that it seemed to be low, I was leaning against the far wall, and facing me was a window looking outside. On my left a raised throne with several steps, and on the throne sat the Lord of Nations. This I knew although I had not looked at him. To my right at the far end of the immense room, in a kind of alcove lit from above, sat a young woman — a nation. She was a small, dumpy child with very dark hair and a pale and mat complexion. She had put on a wedding-dress, with a crown of white flowers on her head (the dress was mostly white with some blue and a few touches of gold). I knew that I had helped this nation to dress in this way, and to climb the mountain and the tower to come up to the room. She had come to offer herself as a bride to the Lord of Nations, and for this purpose she was to undergo a series of ordeals that the Lord wanted to impose upon her in order to know whether she was worthy of him. These ordeals were the ordeals of Terror.
For the first ordeal he had a full glass as well as a decanter brought to her. And she was to drink the contents of both. To her they seemed to be blood — human blood newly shed. And He, from the height of his throne, was saying to her, “Drink this blood to show that you are not afraid.” The poor child was trembling with disgust and did not dare touch the ghastly beverage. But at that hour, Lord, You had given me the full consciousness and power of the Truth. From where I stood I could clearly see the transparent purity of the water which the glass and the decanter really contained. And while the child was still hesitating and the Lord was taunting her in a biting tone, “What! you are trembling already! This is yet only the first ordeal, the easiest of all, what will you do next?”...
Then, heedless of the consequences, I cried to the child in a language that the Lord did not understand, “You can drink without fear, it is only water, pure water, I swear it.” And the child, trusting in my word that dispelled the suggestion, began to drink calmly....
But because of the force with which I had spoken, the Lord suspected something and turned towards me in fury, rebuking me for speaking when I should not. To which I replied — still heedless of the consequences which I knew to be inevitable — “What I say is not your concern since You cannot understand the language I have used!”...
Then the memorable thing happened....
The room suddenly grew as dark as night and in this night a still darker form appeared, a form I perceived distinctly although no one else could see it.
This form of darkness was like the shadow of the light of Truth within me. And this shadow was Terror.
Immediately the fight began. The being, whose hair was like furious serpents, moving with hideous contortions and terrible gnashing of teeth, rushed upon me. If with only one of her fingers she were to touch my breast at the place of the heart the great calamity for the world would occur, and this had to be avoided at all costs. It was a fearful battle. All the powers of Truth were concentrated in my consciousness; and nothing less was needed to fight against so formidable a foe as Terror!
Her endurance and strength in combat were remarkable. At last came the supreme moment of the fight. We were so close to each other that it seemed impossible that we should not touch, and her outstretched finger drew nearer, threatening my breast....
At that precise moment the Lord of Nations, who could see nothing of the tragic battle, stretched out his hand to take something from a small table at his side. This hand — unawares — passed between my opponent and myself. I was then able to take support from it and Terror, for this time definitely vanquished, sank to the ground like a dark dust without power or reality....
Then, recognising the one who sat on the throne, and doing homage to his power, I leant my head upon his shoulder and said to him joyfully, “Together, we have conquered Terror!”
I don’t know how to interpret this dream nor, I believe, does anyone else presently alive. But it is certainly fascinating and intriguing, and one may be allowed to speculate. Who or what is this girl — this nation? And who, in reality, is this “Lord of Nations” sitting on the throne, who in the end helps the Mother to conquer the lady called “Terror”?
One aspect of the Mother’s dream strikes me as familiar. At the end she recognizes “the one who sat on the throne” and does homage to his power. Leaning her head on his shoulder, she says to him joyfully: “Together, we have conquered Terror!” This reminds me of a similar transfiguration, which occurs in Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri. After her protracted struggle with Death, Savitri ascends to heaven and ever higher heaven:
Endless aspired the climbing of those heavens;
Realm upon realm received her soaring view....
Finally, at the highest height, she meets “One whom her soul had faced as Death and Night”:
As one drowned in a sea of splendour and bliss,
Mute in the maze of these surprising worlds,
Turning she saw their living knot and source,
Key to their charm and fount of their delight,
And knew him for the same who snares our lives
Captured in his terrifying pitiless net,
And makes the universe his prison camp
And makes in his immense and vacant vasts
The labour of the stars a circuit vain
And death the end of every human road
And grief and pain the wages of man’s toil.
One whom her soul had faced as Death and Night
A sum of all sweetness gathered into his limbs
And blinded her heart to the beauty of the suns.
Transfigured was the formidable shape.
His darkness and his sad destroying might
Abolishing for ever and disclosing
The mystery of his high and violent deeds,
A secret splendour rose revealed to sight
Where once the vast embodied Void had stood.
Night the dim mask had grown a wonderful face.
The vague infinity was slain whose gloom
Had outlined from the terrible unknown
The obscure disastrous figure of a god,
Fled was the error that arms the hands of grief,
And lighted the ignorant gulf whose hollow deeps
Had given to nothingness a dreadful voice.
As when before the eye that wakes in sleep
Is opened the sombre binding of a book,
Illumined letterings are seen which kept
A golden blaze of thought inscribed within,
A marvellous form responded to her gaze
Whose sweetness justified life’s blindest pain;
All Nature’s struggle was its easy price,
The universe and its agony seemed worth while.
In Savitri, what takes place is the transfiguration of the Lord of Death; in the Mother’s dream, it is the transfiguration of the one who calls himself “Lord of Nations.”
But who might be the young woman who is a nation? Perhaps the colors of her wedding dress offer a clue. This was “mostly white with some blue and a few touches of gold.” According to Wikipedia, the National colours of Ukraine “are usually identified as the combination of blue and gold in that order. These colours are the same as in the flag of Ukraine.” The gold, moreover, “is nearly always represented by a shade of yellow, as there is no distinct colour ‘yellow’ in heraldry; they both count as ‘gold’.”
Further: “The colours in the Ukrainian flag represent golden fields of grain under a clear blue sky, appropriate for a country known as the "bread basket" of its area.” Which area? Ukraine has long been known as the breadbasket of Europe. The ancient Greeks could focus on growing olives because they imported most of their grain from Ukraine. When it was part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had been known as the breadbasket of the Soviet Union. Today, i.e., before February 24, 2022, it has been one of the breadbaskets of the world, most notably of the African continent.
Let us finally take a look at the dates closest to the date of the Mother’s dream, on Serhii Plokhy’s Historical Timeline in his History of Ukraine.2
1914 — Outbreak of World War I turns Ukraine into a battleground between the Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Germany.
1917 — Collapse of the Russian monarchy opens the door to the creation of a Ukrainian state, a process led by socialists in the Central Rada, Ukraine's revolutionary parliament.
The Mother, Words of Long Ago, pp. 138–140 (Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, 2004). The ellipses are the Mother’s.
S. Plokhy, The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine (Basic Books, 2015).