Archive for September, 2010

September 29, 2010 – Transformation of the Mind

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Shrink not from the Dionysian cry & rapture within thee,

but see that thou be not a straw upon those billows.

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms 286)

Transformation of the Mind

……….

The intellect of most men is extremely imperfect, ill-trained, half-developed – therefore in most the conclusions of the intellect are hasty, ill-founded and erroneous or, if right, right more by chance than by merit or right working. The conclusions are formed without knowing the facts or the correct or sufficient data, merely by a rapid inference and the process by which it comes from the premisses to the conclusions is usually illogical or faulty – the process being unsound by which the conclusion is arrived at, the conclusion is also likely to be fallacious. At the same time the intellect is usually arrogant and presumptuous, confidently asserting its imperfect conclusions as the truth and setting down as mistaken, stupid or foolish those who differ from them. Even when fully trained and developed, the intellect cannot arrive at absolute certitude or complete truth, but it can arrive at one aspect or side of it and make a reasonable or probable affirmation; but untrained, it is a quite insufficient instrument, at once hasty and peremptory and unsafe and unreliable.

The mind does not record things as they are, but as they appear to it. It catches parts, omits others; afterwards the memory and imagination mix together and make a quite different representation of it.

It is not any weakness of the will or the result of passivity, but an overhaste of decision upon a mental impulse. That is the usual movement of the mind – and it is sometimes the fruit of a certain kind of sattwic zeal. But owing to the haste there is not sufficient time taken to see the opposite side, the defects of the decision taken, or the possible objection that might be made. Peace is the basis, but into it must come the action of a certain Light from above which shows each thing in its right proportions as a whole – for the mind at its best is incomplete and usually one-sided in its perceptions without the guidance of such a higher Light.

Most people who have not knowledge are apt to be opinionated – they have their ideas and don’t want them to be changed or their fixity disturbed.

The point is that people take no trouble to see whether their intellect is giving them right thoughts, right conclusions, right views on things and persons, right indications about their conduct or course of action. They have their idea and accept it as truth or follow it simply because it is their idea. Even when they recognise that they have made mistakes of the mind, they do not consider it of any importance nor do they try to be more careful mentally than before. In the vital field people know that they must not follow their desires or impulses without check or control, they know that they ought to have a conscience or a moral sense which discriminates what they can or should do and what they cannot or should not do; in the field of intellect no such care is taken. Men are supposed to follow their intellect, to have and assert their own ideas right or wrong without any control; the intellect, it is said, is man’s highest instrument and he must think and act according to its ideas. But this is not true; the intellect needs an inner light to guide, check and control it quite as much as the vital. There is something above the intellect which one has to discover and the intellect should be only an intermediary for the action of that source of true Knowledge.

……….

Sri Aurobindo

SABCL Vol.13,pages 149-151

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

September 22, 2010 – The Process of Avatarhood

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

When thou hearest an opinion that displeases thee, study and find out the truth in it.

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms 301)

The Process of Avatarhood

WE SEE that the mystery of the divine Incarnation in man, the assumption by the Godhead of the human type and the human nature, is in the view of the Gita only the other side of the eternal mystery of human birth itself which is always in its essence, though not in its phenomenal appearance, even such a miraculous assumption. The eternal and universal self of every human being is God; even his personal self is a part of the Godhead, mamaiv?m?ah, – not a fraction or fragment, surely, since we cannot think of God as broken up into little pieces, but a partial consciousness of the one Consciousness, a partial power of the one Power, a partial enjoyment of world-being by the one and universal Delight of being, and therefore in manifestation or, as we say, in Nature a limited and finite being of the one infinite and illimitable Being. The stamp of that limitation is an ignorance by which he forgets, not only the Godhead from which he came forth, but the Godhead which is always within him, there living in the secret heart of his own nature, there burning like a veiled Fire on the inner altar in his own temple-house of human consciousness.

He is ignorant because there is upon the eyes of his soul and all its organs the seal of that Nature, Prakriti, Maya, by which he has been put forth into manifestation out of God’s eternal being; she has minted him like a coin out of the precious metal of the divine substance, but overlaid with a strong coating of the alloy of her phenomenal qualities, stamped with her own stamp and mark of animal humanity, and although the secret sign of the Godhead is there, it is at first indistinguishable and always with difficulty decipherable, not to be really discovered except by that initiation into the mystery of our own being which distinguishes a Godward from an earthward humanity. In the Avatar, the divinely-born Man, the real substance shines through the coating; the mark of the seal is there only for form, the vision is that of the secret Godhead, the power of the life is that of the secret Godhead, and it breaks through the seals of the assumed human nature; the sign of the Godhead, an inner soul-sign, not outward, not physical, stands out legible for all to read who care to see or who can see; for the Asuric nature is always blind to these things, it sees the body and not the soul, the external being and not the internal, the mask and not the Person. In the ordinary human birth the Nature-aspect of the universal Divine assuming humanity prevails; in the incarnation the God-aspect of the same phenomenon takes its place. In the one he allows the human nature to take possession of his partial being and to dominate it; in the other he takes possession of his partial type of being and its nature and divinely dominates it. Not by evolution or ascent like the ordinary man, the Gita seems to tell us, not by a growing into the divine birth, but by a direct descent into the stuff of humanity and a taking up of its moulds.

But it is to assist that ascent or evolution the descent is made or accepted; that the Gita makes very clear. It is, we might say, to exemplify the possibility of the Divine manifest in the human being, so that man may see what that is and take courage to grow into it. It is also to leave the influence of that manifestation vibrating in the earth-nature and the soul of that manifestation presiding over its upward endeavour. It is to give a spiritual mould of divine manhood into which the seeking soul of the human being can cast itself. It is to give a dharma, a religion, – not a mere creed, but a method of inner and outer living, – a way, a rule and law of self-moulding by which he can grow towards divinity. It is too, since this growth, this ascent is no mere isolated and individual phenomenon, but like all in the divine world-activities a collective business, a work and the work for the race, to assist the human march, to hold it together in its great crises, to break the forces of the downward gravitation when they grow too insistent, to uphold or restore the great dharma of the Godward law in man’s nature, to prepare even, however far off, the kingdom of God, the victory of the seekers of light and perfection, s?dh?un?m, and the overthrow of those who fight for the continuance of the evil and the darkness. All these are recognised objects of the descent of the Avatar, and it is usually by his work that the mass of men seek to distinguish him and for that they are ready to worship him. It is only the spiritual who see that this external Avatarhood is a sign, in the symbol of a human life, of the eternal inner Godhead making himself manifest in the field of their own human mentality and corporeality so that they can grow into unity with that and be possessed by it. The divine manifestation of a Christ, Krishna , Buddha in external humanity has for its inner truth the same manifestation of the eternal Avatar within in our own inner humanity. That which has been done in the outer human life of earth, may be repeated in the inner life of all human beings.

Sri Aurobindo

SABCL Vol.13,pages 149-151

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

September 15, 2010 – The Progress to Knowledge – God, Man and Nature

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

God struck me with a human hand; shall I say then,
“i pardon Thee thy insolence, O God”?

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms 23)

“The Progress to Knowledge—God, Man and Nature”

To rise out of the sevenfold Ignorance into the integral Knowledge is the progress of man’s being; it is to grow in all his complex existence and consciousness into the full possession and enjoyment of his whole and his true being.—He starts with three categories, himself, Nature or cosmos and God, and though he tries to deny any two of these in order to affirm the third only, he cannot really succeed; for he is neither separate nor sufficient to himself, cosmos also is not sufficient to itself, but points always to an infinite, one and absolute behind it, and to affirm the Absolute to the exclusion of these two others leaves man unsatisfied and cosmos unexplained.—In affirming himself man has first to put himself in front and act and feel as if God and the world existed for him and were less important to him than himself; this is his egoistic phase necessary to disengage his individuality out of Nature and as if against her and to bring it out into force and capacity. He has to affirm himself in the Ignorance before he can perfect himself in the Knowledge. Afterwards he has to seek for himself in Nature and God and others, but it is still himself that he seeks to know and possess and his own perfection or salvation which is his motive.—In the progressive enlargement of his knowledge he gets rid of his sevenfold ignorance; of the temporal by growing into his eternal being with its pre-existence and subsequent existence in Time; of the psychological by enlarging his self-knowing beyond the waking self into the subconscient and superconscient; of the constitutional by realising his spiritual being and its categories; of the cosmic by discovering his timeless self; of the egoistic by realising the cosmic consciousness; of the original by opening to the Absolute of whom Self, individual and Nature are so many faces.—At the same time he realises the unity of himself and Nature in the first three steps of knowledge, of himself and God in the others; of himself with all beings relatively in Nature and absolutely in God; of God and Nature because it is the Self who has become all these beings and the nature of the Lord which is apparent in cosmos.—The knowledge of Nature leads him to the same results as soon as he goes beyond Matter and Life to Mind; for he discovers a subconscient and superconscient, a soul in Matter, and perceives a supernature in which he realises the Self, the Spirit, the Absolute.—In the quest of God he begins by seeing him through Nature and himself, crudely and obscurely at first, till he finds more luminously the one Truth behind all religions; for all seize on the Divine in many aspects and their variety is necessary in order that man should come to know God entirely.—When he arrives at the unity of his knowledge of God, man and Nature, he has the complete knowledge, the sense and goal of humanity’s progress and labour and the sure foundation of all perfections and all harmonies.

Sri Aurobindo

CWSA Volume: 13 , Pages 499-500

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

September 8, 2010 – Transformation of the Vital

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

God’s world advances step by step fulfilling the lesser unit before it seriously attempts the larger.
Affirm free nationality first,
if thou wouldst ever bring the world to be one nation.

Sri Aurobindo

(Thoughts and Aphorisms331)

Transformation of the Vital

……

This yoga can only be done to the end by those who are in total earnest about it and ready to abolish their little human ego and its demands in order to find themselves in the Divine. It cannot be done in a spirit of levity or laxity; the work is too high and difficult, the adverse powers in the lower Nature too ready to take advantage of the least sanction or the smallest opening, the aspiration and tapasya needed too constant and intense. It cannot be done if there is a petulant self-assertion of the ideas of the human mind or wilful indulgence of the demands and instincts and pretensions of the lowest part of the being, commonly justified under the name of human nature. It cannot be done if you insist on identifying these lowest things of the Ignorance with the divine Truth or even the lesser truth permissible on the way. It cannot be done if you cling to your past self and its old mental, vital and physical formations and habits; one has continually to leave behind his past selves and to see, act and live from an always higher and higher conscious level. It cannot be done if you insist on “freedom” for your human mind and vital ego. All the parts of the human being are entitled to express and satisfy themselves in their own way at their own risk and peril, if he so chooses, as long as he leads the ordinary life. But to enter into a path of yoga whose whole object is to substitute for these human things the law and power of a greater Truth and the whole heart of whose method is surrender to the Divine Shakti, and yet to go on claiming this so-called freedom, which is no more than a subjection to certain ignorant cosmic Forces, is to indulge in a blind contradiction and to claim the right to lead a double life.

……

Sri Aurobindo

SABCL: Vol.24, page, 1310

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