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Namah Journal


The experience of surrender

Veronik Menanteau


Faced by total physical breakdown caused by a cerebral oedema while in India, the author merely observed the body’s responses and surrendered everything to the Highest Power. Many lessons were learnt by this afflction. The entire episode has inspired her also to share her experience with others in the realms of body consciousness and Yoga Nidra.

“I am not a scholar
I am a creative force in Action, that is all.
All depends on the Lord’s Will.
If such is his will,
when I have to know, I know,
when I have to fight, I fight,
when I have to love I love,
and always there is the need to love, to know and to fight (1).”

“Through each individual’s formation the physical substance progresses, and one day this substance will be capable of establishing a bridge between the physical life such as we know it and the supramental life that will manifest (2).”

Each of us has a unique and specific experience to live and to manifest regarding our inner approach to health. It is this sort of personal experience that I would like to share with you here. Still, the above prayer of the Mother expresses for me the full quintessence of health and it contains everything in it. Even so, I have decided to share my own experience with you for the sole reason of providing and infusing a life-transforming experience into Her words.

It is the harmony between knowing, loving, and fighting that creates the perfect balance of health. But how can we know, love, and fight unless we are living and being in the constant experience of them? The true knowledge of our self means accepting accidents or disease and then being able to discover what this unbalance in the being means in order to cure it and to bring back our harmony. It takes many lessons to touch this insincerity lying in the subconscient. So how do we decipher the message?

Let me take you on a journey! A few years ago, as a visual artist, I created a non-profit organisation that provided an art therapy programme for orphans with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). One evening, as I was working on a post-Tsunami mission in Kodakkarai, I found myself in a very unusual nervous state. I tried to recall information that might give me an explanation for it, such as having drunk too much coffee or something else that would have made me feel such nervousness in the whole body. Nothing could explain it except that I must have been very tired, as was usual during such a mission. I tried to relax, tried to breathe and then I started to feel an unbearable pain in my left eye as if a knife was digging into it. It was a Friday night, so all my local team was away and I was totally alone in the guest house at Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary where the programme was taking place.

During this horrible pain where I could barely breathe, I tried to concentrate on my breathing, then I realised that it was difficult to give any order to my brain.  At that second that I will never forget, when I witnessed that my brain wasn’t functioning normally, I could touch the panic in the blood vessel, the acceleration of the blood pressure, the lack of oxygen and difficulty in breathing. I observed that all the nerves and small muscles of my face were moving on their own. I couldn’t coordinate any action as I had lost psycho-motor control as well as the capacity to move or speak. And when I tried to speak, only gibberish came out without any understandable words. The pain in my eye was getting so intense that I could see that I was on the borderline of collapsing into unconsciousness.

There, I touched something (the Life-Force?) that made me absolutely determined to keep conscious, knowing that if I collapsed it would be over. Then at that very specific moment, a point was reached where I felt no more pain and it seemed that I was witnessing what was happening in the body: : ‘the Observer’. And I entered into an unknown state where all relations to the mental and vital were gone. I observed this state as if I was outside my body and, while continuing to exist out of the body, I emerged into another level of consciousness … which appeared to me like a zone between unconsciousness and the subconscient. In a moment of lucidity, I tried to remember my name but I didn’t know my name any more, the sense of self was gone! At that moment, I remember so clearly how I found it funny that I couldn’t remember my name while at the same time I could feel the Presence of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in an ethereal plane so vividly. It was so clear, so evidently simple, that They were there, and I remember experiencing being totally absorbed and embraced in the Divine. You see, there are no words to describe this specific moment outside time, when entirely absorbed in the Divine, with that sense of being in Eternity and that sense of complete freedom. In Mother’s Agenda, The Mother speaks about the freedom of the body, “But there is a new type of freedom: it’s the freedom of the Body (3)”. Once again, no words would be able to describe the experience, and with complete humility, I’m trying to share it as closely as I had lived it.

Then there was the perception of Something taking entire control of the body to make the prāṇāyāma start on its own without knowing who I was individually. Only the breathing was at work bringing ventilation and oxygen into the blood vessels. This consciousness was not a way of thinking or feeling, because all that was gone. Was I in an unknown living process in a new stream of a new energy? In the Agenda, The Mother speaks about “a wave-like ondulatory movement (4)”. It seemed so clear to me that consciousness is not a way of thinking or feeling but the origin of the Life-Force itself: the prāṇa circulating in the body. I can share that this consciousness is independent of the mental, the vital and even from the body itself. The more we penetrate those planes of consciousness, the more we become aware of the Life-Force at work. It seems that it is a vibratory modality that oscillates from one state to another, discovering new layers in the infinite consciousness. The most difficult part is to be able to drive and manipulate its mass density, as it is energy expanding to Infiniteness and to Oneness. I was oscillating from one world to another, as if my body was like a house where the central electrical system had blown up and where an unknown little candle had started up on its own. What was this Life-Force that is capable of switching different vibrational frequencies with complete authority over our life-survival process?

At the hospital, an MRI showed that I had experienced a cerebral oedema (water in the brain). It took me a few years to completely recover, and to learn what I had to learn. The first thing I learnt was to accept the invisible handicap I had (for almost a year I would not be able to remember what I was doing, or speaking about...) The Mother says that, “The work consists of changing the conscious basis of all the cells (5).” During those years of recovery I very much remembered that specific moment of floating into the Divine, and I recalled where the Mother said, “The body suddenly finds itself outside of all habits, all actions, reactions, consequences, and then, it’s like a marvel, and then it disappears. It’s so new that each time we feel we’re at it, the consciousness has a moment of panic (6).” In those moments of panic when the synapsis was not working properly, I learnt about patience and about humility, as my raison d’être used to be the non-profit organisation I had created, all the structure which had fallen apart with the accident. Then came gratitude, gratitude to witness how the body and mind could regenerate, how I was being helped by so many people: then perseverance, courage, progress. In the back of my mind was the will to infuse this experience to people, but how?

So five years ago, Yoga Nidra came to me! Since then , in my attempt to remain a simple vehicle, I have been using this fabulous Tool of the Mother and implementing the ‘Twelve Qualities’ into Yoga Nidra during sessions at the Unity Pavilion in Auroville and at SAICE (Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education). During those sessions, like a miracle, I feel collective Peacefulness expanding into Oneness. “Always there is the need to love, to know and to fight!”


1. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 1 (English translation). Paris: Institut de Recherches Évolutives; 1979, p. 343.

2. Ibid., p. 251.

3. Ibid., p.127.

4. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 3 (English translation), 1982, p. 182.

5. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 10 (English translation), 1993, p. 67.

6. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 11 (English translation), 1993, p. 201.

Veronik Menanteau is a visual artist, writer and Yoga Nidra teacher alternating between Paris and Auroville, India.

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The Mother


Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary




Unity Pavilion in Auroville