August 16, 1932
Anyhow, do not allow yourself to be overborne by the dejection; it can only be an incident in the ups and downs of the sadhana, and, as an incident, it should be made as short as possible. Remember that you have chosen a method of proceeding in the sadhana in which dejection ought to have no place. If you have a growing faith that all that is happening has somehow to happen and that God knows what is best for you,—that is already a great thing; if you add to it the will to keep your face always turned towards the goal and the confidence that you are being led towards it even through difficulties and apparent denials, there could be no better mental foundation for sadhana. And if not only the mind, but the vital and physical consciousness can be imbued with this faith, dejection will become either impossible or so evidently an outer thing thrown from outside and not belonging to the consciousness that it will not be able to keep its hold at all. A faith of that kind is a very helpful first step towards the reversal of consciousness which makes one see the inner truth of things rather than their outward phenomenal appearance.
As for the causes of the dejection, there were causes partly general in the shape of a resistance to a great descending force which was not personal to you at all, and, so far as there was a response to it in you, it was not from your conscious being, otherwise you would not have had it in this way, but from the part in us which keeps things for a long time that have been suppressed or rejected by the conscious will. It is the conscious will that matters, for it is that [which] prevails in the end, the will of the Purusha and not the more blind and obstinate parts of Prakriti. Keep the conscious will all right and it will carry on to the goal,—just as the resistance in universal Nature will yield in the end before the Divine Descent.
All this, however, has nothing to do with what the Mother wished to say in the morning. What she told you was that you seemed to have a fixed notion about the Divine, as of a
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rather distant Being somewhere whom you expect to give you an article called Ananda, and, when there is some prospect of his giving it to you, you are on good terms with him, but when he doesn't, you quarrel and revolt and call him names! And she said a notion of the kind was in itself an obstacle, because it is rather far from the Truth, in the way of realising the Divine. What is this Ananda that you seek, after all? The mind can see in it nothing but a pleasant psychological condition,—but if it were only that, it could not be the rapture which the bhaktas and the mystics find in it. When the Ananda comes into you, it is the Divine who comes into you; just as when the Peace flows into you, it is the Divine who is invading you, or when you are flooded with Light, it is the flood of the Divine Himself that is around you. Of course, the Divine is something much more; many other things besides, and in them all a Presence, a Being, a Divine Person; for the Divine is Krishna, is Shiva, is the Supreme Mother. But through the Ananda you can perceive theānandamaya [all-blissful] Krishna; for the Ananda is the subtle body and being of Krishna; through the Peace you can perceive the śantimaya [all-peaceful] Shiva; in the Light, in the delivering Knowledge, the Love, the fulfilling and uplifting Power you can meet the presence of the Divine Mother. It is this perception that makes the experiences of the bhaktas and mystics so rapturous and enables them to pass more easily through the nights of anguish and separation; when there is this soul-perception, it gives to even a little or brief Ananda a force or value it could not otherwise have and the Ananda itself gathers by it a growing power to stay, to return, to increase. This was what the Mother meant when she said, "Don't ask the Divine to give you Ananda, ask Him to give you Himself—signifying that in the Ananda and through the Ananda it would be Himself that He would give you. There would then be no cause to say, "\ don't know the Divine I have never felt or met Him"; it would be a gate for other experiences and make it easier to see the Divine in the material object, in the human form, in the body.
October 22, 1932
Absence of love and fellow-feeling is not necessary to the Divine nearness; on the contrary, a sense of closeness and oneness with others is a part of the divine consciousness
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into which the sadhak enters by nearness to the Divine and the feeling of oneness with the Divine. An entire rejection of all relations is indeed the final aim of the Mayavadin and in the ascetic Yoga an entire loss of all relations of friendship and affection and attachment to the world and its living beings would be regarded as a promising sign of advance towards liberation, moksa; but even there, I think, a feeling of oneness and unattached spiritual sympathy for all is at least a penultimate stage, like the compassion of the Bud dhist, before the turning to Moksha or Nirvana. In this Yoga the feeling of unity with others, love, universal joy and Ananda are an essential part of the liberation and perfection which are the aim of the sadhana.
On the other hand, human society, human friendship, love, affection, fellow-feeling are mostly and usually—not entirely or in all cases—founded on a vital basis and are ego held at their centre. It is because of the pleasure of being loved, the pleasure of enlarging the ego by contact and pen etration with another, the exhilaration of the vital inter change which feeds their personality that men usually love —and there are also other and still more selfish motives that mix with this essential movement. There are of course higher spiritual, psychic, mental, vital elements that come in or can come in; but the whole thing is very mixed, even at its best. This is the reason why at a certain stage with or without apparent reason the world and life and human society and relations and philanthropy (which is as ego-ridden as the rest) begin to pall. There is sometimes an ostensible reason—a disappointment of the surface vital, the withdrawal of affection by others, the perception that those loved or men generally are not what one thought them to be and a host of other causes; but often the cause is a secret disappointment of some part of the inner being, not translated or not well translated into the mind, because it expected from these things something which they cannot give. It is the case with many who turn or are pushed to the spiritual life. For some it takes the form of a vairāgya [disgust] which drives them
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towards ascetic indifference and gives the urge towards Moksha. For us, what we hold to be necessary is that the mixture should disappear and that the consciousness should be established on a purer level (not only spiritual and psychic but a purer and higher mental, vital, physical consciousness) in which there is not this mixture. There one would feel the true Ananda of oneness and love and sympathy and fellow ship, spiritual and self-existent in its basis but expressing itself through the other parts of the nature. If that is to happen there must obviously be a change; the old form of these movements must drop off and leave room for a new and higher self to disclose its own way of expression and realisation of itself and of the Divine through these things— that is the inner truth of the matter.
I take it therefore that the condition you describe is a period of transition and change, negative in its beginning, as these movements often are at first, so as to create a vacant space for the new positive to appear and live in it and fill it. But the vital, not having a long continued or at all sufficient or complete experience of what is to fill the vacancy, feels only the loss and regrets it even while another part of the being, another part even of the vital, is ready to let go what is disappearing and does not yearn to keep it. If it were not for this movement of the vital, (which in your case has been very strong and large and avid of life), the disappearance of these things would, at least after the first sense of void, bring only a feeling of peace, relief and a still expectation of greater things. What is intended in the first place to fill the void was indicated in the peace and joy which came to you as the touch of Shiva—naturally, this would not be all, but a beginning, a basis for a new self, a new consciousness, an activity of a greater Nature; as I told you, it is a deep spiritual calm and peace that is the only stable foundation for a lasting Bhakti and Ananda. In that new consciousness there would be a new basis for relations with others; for an ascetic dry ness or isolated loneliness cannot be your spiritual destiny since it is not consonant with your svabhāva [essential nature]
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which is made for joy, largeness, expansion, a comprehensive movement of the life-force. Therefore do not be discouraged; wait upon the purifying movement of Shiva.
November 22, 1932 2
I shall certainly do what I can to help you but it will be easier if you do what the Mother asked you to do—to "efface all that" from your mind instead of letting it return constantly upon it. It is no use making [a serious?] obstacle out of a passing trifle. As for the rest, I do not know that I can say anything new; I have tried to explain what was the difficulty in your way, but my explanations do not amount to much; one must see for oneself. You are right in praying to realise that difficulty, but if you could realise it without being carried away by the movement of depression, see it with calm and detachment, standing back from it,—it would be easier for you to get out of it or at least prevent it from recurring
1. About your dream I think I have already intimated that you could accept it as true. (Sri Aurobindo's note)
2. One side of the manuscript of this letter is torn, leaving many words missing.
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violently each time there is a movement towards experience. But the despondency, the depression which takes hold of you and finds its own justifications for lasting comes [?] of your realising with the necessary calmness and detachment.
You know very well that I am not going to [send?] you stinging letters or take your name off the list. On our side our relation with you remains firm and you will always find from us an unwavering help and affection. I expect you to throw off these black clouds and [pass?] quickly into the sunlight. The road may be long and more difficult than you ever expected, but there is no true reason for despair.
'In silence is wisdom"—it is in the inner silence of the mind that true knowledge can come; for the ordinary activity of the mind only creates surface ideas and representations which are not true knowledge. Speech is usually only the expression of the superficial nature—therefore to throw oneself out too much in such speech wastes the energy and prevents the inward listening which brings the word of true knowledge.
"In listening you will win what you are thinking of means probably that in silence will come the true thought-formations
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which can effectuate or realise themselves. Thought can be a force which realises itself, but the ordinary surface think ing is not of that kind, there is in it more waste of energy than in anything else. It is in the thought that comes in a quiet or silent mind that there is power.
'Talk less and gain power" has essentially the same meaning. Not only a truer knowledge, but a greater power comes to one in the quietude and silence of a mind that, instead of bubbling on the surface, can go into its own depths and listen for what comes from a higher consciousness.
It is probably this that is meant—these are things known to all who have some experience of Yoga.
As to Putu's1 collapse, I did not intend to say anything about it just now,—for mental discussion of causes and con sequences is not of much help at this juncture. I must say however that it is not the push for union with the Divine nor is it the Divine Force that leads to madness—it is the way in which people themselves act with regard to their claim for these things. To be more precise, I have never known a case of collapse in Yoga—as opposed to mere difficulty or negative failure,—a case of dramatic disaster in which there was not one of three causes—or more than one of the three at work. First, some sexual aberration—I am not speaking of mere sexuality which can be very strong in the nature with out leading to collapse—or an attempt to sexualise spiritual experience on an animal or gross material basis; second, an exaggerated ambition, pride or vanity trying to seize on spiritual force or experience and turn it to one's own glorification—ending in megalomania; third, an unbalanced vital and a weak nervous system apt to follow its own imaginations and unruled impulses without any true mental will or strong mental will to steady or restrain it, and so at the mercy of the imaginations and suggestions of the adverse vital world when carried over the border into the intermediate zone of which I spoke in a recent message. All the causes of collapse in this Ashram2 have been due to these three causes—to the first two mostly. Only three or four of them have ended in madness—and in these the sexual aberration was invariably
1. A Bengali sadhika, Anilbaran's relative.
2. "In this Ashram" was omitted from the excerpt from this letter that was published in Letters on Yoga (24:1766).
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present; usually a violent fall from the Way is the consequence. Putu's is no exception to the rule. It is not because she pushed for union with the Divine that she went mad, but because she misused what came down for a mystic sexuality and the satisfaction of megalomaniac pride, in spite of my repeated and insistent warnings. For the moment that is all the light I can give on the matter—naturally I generalise and avoid details.
Necessarily I have mentioned only salient facts, leaving out all mere details. As for an estimate of myself I have given none. In my view, a man's value does not depend on what he learns or his position or fame or what he does, but on what he is and inwardly becomes, and of that I have said nothing. I do not want to alter what I have written. If you like you can put a note of your own to the "occidental education" stating that it included Greek and Latin and two or three modern languages, but I do not myself see the necessity of it or the importance.
January 5, 1933
I cannot say that I follow very well the logic of your doubts. How does a brilliant scholar being clapped into prison invalidate the hope of the Yoga? There are many dismal spectacles in the world, but that is after all the very reason why Yoga has to be done. If the world were all happy and beautiful and ideal, who would want to change it or find it necessary to bring down a higher consciousness into the earthly Mind and Matter? Your other argument is that the work of the Yoga itself is difficult, not easy, not a happy canter to the goal. Of course it is, because the world and human nature are what they are. I never said it was easy or that there were not obstinate difficulties in the way of the endeavour. Again, I do not understand your point about raising up a new race by my going on writing trivial letters. Of course not—nor by writing important letters either; even if I were to spend my time writing fine poems it would not build up a new race. Each activity is important in its own place—an electron or a molecule or a grain may be small things in themselves, but in their place they are indispensable to the building up of a world,—it cannot be made up only of mountains and sunsets and streamings of the aurora borealis,—though these have their place there. All depends on the force behind these things and the purpose in their action—and that is known to the Cosmic Spirit which is at work,—and it works, I may add, not by the mind or according to human standards but by a greater consciousness which, starting from an electron, can build up a world and, using "a tangle of ganglia," can make them the base here for the works of the Mind and Spirit in Matter, produce a Ramakrishna, or a Napoleon, or a Shakespeare. Is the life of a great poet either made up only of magnificent and important things? How many "trivial" things had to be dealt with and done before there could be produced a "King Lear" or a "Hamlet"? Again, according to your own reasoning, would
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not people be justified in mocking at your pother—so they would call it, I do not—about metre and scansion and how many ways a syllable can be read? Why, they might say, is Dilip Roy wasting his time in trivial prosaic things like this when he might have been spending it in producing a beautiful lyric or fine music? But the worker knows and respects the material with which he must work and he knows why he is busy with "trifles" and small details and what is their place in the fullness of his labour.
As for, faith, you write as if I never had a doubt or any difficulty. I have had worse than any human mind can think of. It is not because I have ignored difficulties, but because I have seen them more clearly, experienced them on a larger scale than anyone living now or before me that, having faced and measured them, I am sure of the results of my work. But even if I still saw the chance that it might come to nothing (which is impossible), I would go on unperturbed, because I would still have done to the best of my power the work that I had to do and what is so done always counts in the economy of the universe. But why should I feel that all this may come to nothing when I see each step and where it is leading and every week, every day—once it was every year and month and hereafter it will be every day and hour —brings me so much nearer to my goal? In the way that one treads with the greater Light above, even every difficulty gives its help and has its value and Night itself carries in it the burden of the Light that has to be.
As for your own case, it comes to this that experiences come and stop, there are constant ups and downs, in times of recoil and depression no advance at all seems to have been made, there is as yet no certitude. So it was with me also, so it is with everyone, not with you alone. The way to the heights is always like that up to a certain point, but the ups and downs, the difficulties and obstacles are no proof that it is a chimera to aspire to the summits.
April 29, 1933
It is very good news. The peace settling into the system and with it a happy activity—that is the basis for your Yoga which I always wanted you to have—a sunny condition in which what has to come in will come in and expand like a bud into flower and what has to fall off will fall off in its time like a slough discarded.
It is true that the removal of the sex-impulse in all its forms and, generally, of the vital woman-complex is a great liberation which opens up to the Divine considerable regions of the being which otherwise tend to remain shut up. These things are a degradation of the source in the being from which bhakti, divine love and adoration arise. But the complex has deep roots in human nature and one must not be disappointed if it takes time to pull them up. A resolute detachment rejecting them as foreign elements, refusing to accept any inner association with them as well as outer indulgence even of the slightest kind is the best way to wear out their hold upon the nature.
May 1933 ?
The crystallising of the concentration is a good sign. As a matter of fact all these things depend upon perseverance. With a long perseverance a little result comes, with more perseverance a bigger result comes, then with a little more perseverance the big result comes. Concentration or even the effort at concentration is like a constant pressure which wears away the obstacle until, before one well knows, one finds it breaking or broken.
I know very well these pressures of a mental Power or creative formation to express itself and be fulfilled. When it presses like that there is nothing to do but to let it have way, so as to leave the mind unoccupied and clear; otherwise it will be pushed two ways and not in the condition of ease and clearness necessary for concentration.
May 16, 1933
I have no time to write a long letter. I can write only this. You are not to leave Pondicherry by this morning's train or at all. You have to come and see the Mother at 9.30 and speak to her heart to heart. Both the Mother and myself
1. Barin Ghose, Sri Aurobindo's younger brother.
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have lavished much love and care on you and you are certainly not going to make a return like this—it is impossible. Do not believe all you hear or allow yourself to be driven off your balance by falsehoods of the kind that have been retailed to you. You do not belong to yourself and have not the right to do what you propose to do: you belong to the Divine and to myself and the Mother. I have cherished you like a friend and a son and have poured on you my force to develop your powers—until the time should come for you to make an equal development in the Yoga. I claim the right to keep you as our own here with us. Throw away this despair—rise above the provocations of others—turn back to the Mother.
September 7, 1933
Why didn't you come yourself with the money? I would have seen you for a few minutes and told you something interesting and helpful as an answer to your letter of this morning. For in speaking it would have been better than anything I could write. At pranam time I felt that you were still depressed and I thought that I would try to pour on you some of the Divine forces. I was looking at you for such a long time and it was Divine love that I was pouring on you with a strong will that you should become conscious of the Divine Presence in you and see all your sorrows turn into Ananda. I saw to my great joy that you were very receptive to all these Divine forces and absorbing them without resistance as they were pouring down! When I read your letter and saw that you thought you had received only some human
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kindness it struck me that it was only a misunderstanding of the mind, almost a question of vocabulary that was standing in the way, and if you could see this all or most of your doubts would disappear for ever and with them your painful difficulties. For what I was pouring in you was not merely human kindness—though surely it contained all that human kindness can be at its best—but Mahalakshmi's love, Mahasaraswati's care, Maheswari's embracing and enveloping light. Do not think of Divine Love as something cold or impersonal or distantly high—it is something as warm and close and tender as any feeling can possibly be. It does not abolish whatever is pure and sweet in human love, but intensifies and sublimates it to its highest. It is this love that the Divine has to give and that you must open yourself to receive. I think if you realise this, it will be easier for you to pierce through the mental veil and receive what you are longing to receive.