Archive for July, 2010

July 28, 2010 – A Reversal of Consciousness

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

If there are things that absolutely refuse to be transformed
or remedied into God’s more perfect image,
they may be destroyed with tenderness in the heart,
but ruthlessness in the smiting.
But make sure first that God has given thee thy sword and thy mission.

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms 487)

A Reversal of Consciousness


There is a moment – because it is a question which becomes more and more intense and more and more acute – when you have even the feeling, precisely, that things are strange, that is, they are not real; a moment comes when this sensation that you have of yourself, of being yourself, becomes strange, a kind of sense of unreality. And the question continues coming up: “But then, what is myself?” Well, there is a moment when it comes up with so much concentration and such intensity that with this intensity of concentration suddenly there occurs a reversal, and then, instead of being on this side you are on that side, and when you are on that side everything is very simple; you understand, you know, you are, you live, and then you see clearly the unreality of the rest, and this is enough.

You see, one may have to wait for days, months, years, centuries, lives, before this moment comes. But if one intensifies his aspiration, there is a moment when the pressure is so great and the intensity of the question so strong that something turns over in the consciousness, and then this is absolutely what one feels: instead of being here one is there, instead of seeing from outside and seeking to see within, one is inside; and the minute one is within, absolutely everything changes, completely, and all that seemed to him true, natural, normal, real, tangible, all that, immediately, – yes, it seems to him very grotesque, very queer, very unreal, quite absurd; but one has touched something which is supremely true and eternally beautiful, and this one never loses again.

Once the reversal has taken place, you can glide into an external consciousness, not lose the ordinary contact with the things of life, but that remains and it never moves. You may, in your dealings with others, fall back a little into their ignorance and blindness, but there is always something there, living, standing up within, which does not move any more, until it manages to penetrate everything, to the point where it is over, where the blindness disappears for ever. And this is an absolutely tangible experience, something more concrete than the most concrete object, more concrete than a blow on your head, something more real than anything whatever.

This is why I always say… when people ask me how one may know whether he is in contact with his psychic being or how one may know whether he has found the Divine, well, it makes me laugh; for when it happens to you it is over, you can no longer ask any questions, it is done; you do not ask how it happens, it is done.


The Mother

CWM Vol. 7, pages 195-196

All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India

July 21, 2010 – Effort and Progress

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I swore that I would not suffer from the world’s
grief and the world’s stupidity and cruelty & injustice and
I made my heart as hard in endurance as the nether millstone and
my mind as a polished surface of steel.
I no longer suffered, but enjoyment had passed away from me.
Then God broke my heart and ploughed up my mind.
I rose through cruel & incessant anguish to a blissful painlessness and
through sorrow and indignation & revolt to an infinite knowledge and a settled peace.

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms 495)

Effort and Progress

Sweet Mother, when we make an effort to do better but don’t see any progress, we feel discouraged. What is the best thing to do?

Not to be discouraged! Despondency leads nowhere.

To begin with, the first thing to tell yourself is that you are almost entirely incapable of knowing whether you are making progress or not, for very often what seems to us to be a state of stagnation is a long – sometimes long, but in any case not endless – preparation for a leap forward. We sometimes seem to be marking time for weeks or months, and then suddenly something that was being prepared makes its appearance, and we see that there is quite a considerable change and on several points at a time.

As with everything in yoga, the effort for progress must be made for the love of the effort for progress. The joy of effort, the aspiration for progress must be enough in themselves, quite independent of the result. Everything one does in yoga must be done for the joy of doing it, and not in view of the result one wants to obtain…. Indeed, in life, always, in all things, the result does not belong to us. And if we want to keep the right attitude, we must act, feel, think, strive spontaneously, for that is what we must do, and not in view of the result to be obtained.

As soon as we think of the result we begin to bargain and that takes away all sincerity from the effort. You make an effort to progress because you feel within you the need, the imperative need to make an effort and progress; and this effort is the gift you offer to the Divine Consciousness in you, the Divine Consciousness in the Universe, it is your way of expressing your gratitude, offering your self; and whether this results in progress or not is of no importance. You will progress when it is decided that the time has come to progress and not because you desire it.

If you wish to progress, if you make an effort to control yourself for instance, to overcome certain defects, weaknesses, imperfections, and if you expect to get a more or less immediate result from your effort, your effort loses all sincerity, it becomes a bargaining. You say, “See! I am going to make an effort, but that’s because I want this in exchange for my effort.” You are no longer spontaneous, no longer natural.

So there are two things to remember. First, we are incapable of judging what the result ought to be. If we put our trust in the Divine, if we say… if we say, “Well now, I am going to give everything, everything, all I can give, effort, concentration, and He will judge what has to be given in exchange or even whether anything should be given in exchange, and I do not know what the result should be.” Before we transform anything in ourselves, are we quite sure of the direction, the way, the form that this transformation should take? – Not at all. So, it is only our imagination and usually we greatly limit the result to be obtained and make it altogether petty, mean, superficial, relative. We do not know what the result can truly be, what it ought to be. We know it later. When it comes, when the change takes place, then if we look back, we say, “Ah! that’s it, that is what I was moving towards” – but we know it only later. Before that we only have vague imaginations which are quite superficial and childish in comparison with the true progress, the true transformation.

So we say, first point: we have an aspiration but we don’t really know the true result we ought to obtain. Only the Divine can know that.

And secondly, if we tell the Divine, “I am giving you my effort, but, you know, in exchange I must make progress, otherwise I won’t give you anything at all!” – that is bargaining. That’s all.

A spontaneous act, done because one cannot do otherwise, and done as an offering of goodwill, is the only one which truly has any value.

The Mother

CWM, Vol. 9, p 316 – 318

All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India

July 14, 2010 – Man A Transitional Being

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

We laugh at the savage for his faith in the medicine man;
but how are the civilised less superstitious who have faith in the doctors?
The savage finds that when a certain incantation is repeated, he often recovers from a certain disease; he believes.
The civilised patient finds that when he doses himself according to a certain prescription,
he often recovers from a certain disease; he believes. Where is the difference?

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms 388)

Man A Transitional Being

Man is a mental being whose mentality works here involved, obscure and degraded in a physical brain. Even in the highest of his kind it is baulked of its luminous possibilities of supreme force and freedom by this dependence, shut off even from its own divine Powers, impotent to change our life beyond certain narrow and precarious limits; it is an imprisoned and checked force, most often nothing but a servitor or caterer of interests or a purveyor of amusement to the life and the body. But divine superman will be a gnostic spirit. Supermind in him will lay hands on the mental and physical instruments and, standing above and yet Penetrating our lower already manifested parts, it will transform mind, life and body.

Mind is the highest force in man. But mind in man is an ignorant, clouded and struggling power. And even when most luminous it is possessed only of a thin, reflected and pallid light. A supermind free, master, expressive of divine glories will be the superman’s central instrument. Its untrammelled movement of self-existent knowledge, spontaneous power and untainted delight will impress the harmony of the life of the gods on the earthly existence.

Man in himself is little more than an ambitious nothing. He is a littleness that reaches to a wideness and a grandeur that are beyond him, a dwarf enamoured of the heights. His mind is a dark ray in the splendours of the universal Mind. His life is a striving, exulting, suffering, an eager passion-tossed and sorrow-stricken or a blindly and dumbly longing petty moment of the universal Life. His body is a labouring perishable speck in the material universe. This cannot be the end of the mysterious up ward surge of Nature. There is something beyond, something that mankind shall be; it is seen now only in broken glimpses through rifts in the great wall of limitations that deny its possibility and existence. An immortal soul is somewhere within him and gives out some sparks of its presence; above an eternal spirit overshadows him and upholds the soul-continuity of his nature. But this greater spirit is obstructed from descent by the hard lid of his constructed personality; and that inner luminous soul is wrapped, stifled, oppressed in dense outer coatings. In all but a few the soul is seldom active, in most hardly perceptible. The soul and spirit in man seem rather to exist above and behind his nature than to be a part of his external and visible reality. They are in course of birth rather than born in Matter; they are for human consciousness possibilities rather than things realised and present.

Man’s greatness is not in what he is, but in what he makes possible. His glory is that he is the closed place and secret workshop of a living labour in which supermanhood is being made ready by a divine Craftsman. But he is admitted too to a yet greater greatness and it is this that, allowed to be unlike the lower creation, he is partly an artisan of this divine change; his conscious assent, his consecrated will and participation are needed that into his body may descend the glory that will replace him. His aspiration is earth’s call to the supramental creator.

If earth calls and the Supreme answers, the hour can be even now for that immense and glorious transformation.

Sri Aurobindo

SABCL Vol. 17, Pages 8-9

All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India

July 7, 2010 – The Motives of Devotion

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

They told me,”These things are hallucinations”
I inquired what was a hallucination
and found that it meant a subjective or psychical experience
which corresponds to no objective or no physical reality.
Then I sat and wondered at the miracles of the human reason.

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms 14)

The Motives of Devotion

ALL religion begins with the conception of some Power or existence greater and higher than our limited and mortal selves, a thought and act of worship done to that Power, and an obedience offered to its will, its laws or its demands. But Religion, in its beginnings, sets an immeasurable gulf between the Power thus conceived, worshipped and obeyed and the worshipper. Yoga in its culmination abolishes the gulf; for Yoga is union. We arrive at union with it through knowledge; for as our first obscure conceptions of it clarify, enlarge, deepen, we come to recognise it as our own highest self, the origin and sustainer of our being and that towards which it tends. We arrive at union with it through works; for from simply obeying we come to identify our will with its Will, since only in proportion as it is identified with this Power that is its source and ideal, can our will become perfect and divine. We arrive at union with it also by worship; for the thought and act of a distant worship develops into the necessity of close adoration and this into the intimacy of love, and the consummation of love is union with the Beloved. It is from this development of worship that the Yoga of devotion starts and it is by this union with the Beloved that it finds its highest point and consummation.

All our instincts and the movements of our being begin by supporting themselves on the ordinary motives of our lower human nature, – mixed and egoistic motives at first, but afterwards they purify and elevate themselves, they become an intense and special need of our higher nature quite apart from the results our actions bring with them; finally they exalt themselves into a sort of categorical imperative of our being, and it is through our obedience to this that we arrive at that supreme something self-existent in us which was all the time drawing us towards it, first by the lures of our egoistic nature, then by something much higher, larger, more universal, until we are able to feel its own direct attraction which is the strongest and most imperative of all. In the transformation of ordinary religious worship into the Yoga of pure Bhakti we see this development from the motived and interested worship of popular religion into a principle of motiveless and self-existent love. This last is in fact the touchstone of the real Bhakti and shows whether we are really in the central way or are only upon one of the bypaths leading to it. We have to throw away the props of our weakness, the motives of the ego, the lures of our lower nature before we can deserve the divine union.


Sri Aurobindo

SABCL Vol. 21, pages 528-529

All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India