Indian Nationalist, Freedom Fighter, Philosopher, Yogi, and Poet
Sri Aurobindo, born Aurobindo Ghose or Ghose
Indian Nationalist, Freedom Fighter, Philosopher, Yogi, and Poet
Witness and stand back from Nature. That is the first step to the soul's freedom.
Yoga is therefore no dream, no illusion of mystics. It is known that we can alter the associations of mind and body temporarily and that the mind can alter the conditions of the body partially. Yoga asserts that these things can be done permanently and completely. For the body conquest of disease, pain and material obstructions, for the mind liberation from bondage to past experience and the heavier limitations of space and time, for the heart victory over sin and grief and fear, for the spirit unclouded bliss, strength and illumination, this is the gospel of Yoga, is the goal to which Hinduism points humanity.
You have spoken much today of my self-sacrifice and devotion to my country. I have heard that kind of speech ever since I came out of jail, but I hear it with embarrassment, with something of pain. For I know my weakness, I am a prey to my own faults and backslidings. I was not blind to them before and when they all rose up against me in seclusion, I felt them utterly. I knew them that I the man was a man of weakness, a faulty and imperfect instrument, strong only when a higher strength entered into me. Then I found myself among these young men and in many of them I discovered a mighty courage, a power of self-effacement in comparison with which I was simply nothing. I saw one or two who were not only superior to me in force and character, - very many were that, ? but in the promise of that intellectual ability on which I prided myself.
You say that you ask only for the Truth and yet you speak like a narrow and ignorant fanatic who refuses to believe in anything but the religion in which he was born. All fanaticism is false, because it is a contradiction of the very nature of God and of Truth. Truth cannot be shut up in a single book, Bible or Veda or Koran, or in a single religion. The Divine Being is eternal and universal and infinite and cannot be the sole property of the Mussulmans or of the Semitic religions only, ? those that happened to be in a line from the Bible and to have Jewish or Arabian prophets for their founders. Hindus and Confucians and Taoists and all others have as much right to enter into relation with God and find the Truth in their own way. All religions have some truth in them, but none has the whole truth; all are created in time and finally decline and perish. Mahomed himself never pretended that the Koran was the last message of God and there would be no other. God and Truth outlast these religions and manifest themselves anew in whatever way or form the Divine Wisdom chooses. You cannot shut up God in the limitations of your own narrow brain or dictate to the Divine Power and Consciousness how or where or through whom it shall manifest; you cannot put up your puny barriers against the divine Omnipotence. These again are simple truths which are now being recognized all over the world; only the childish in mind or those who vegetate in some formula of the past deny them.
Without knowledge we live blindly in him with the blindness of the power of Nature intent on its works, but forgetful of its source and possessor, un-Divinely therefore, deprived of the real, the full delight of our being. By knowledge arriving at conscious oneness with that which we know,--for by identity alone can complete and real knowledge exist,--the division is healed and the cause of all our limitation and discord and weakness and discontent is abolished. But knowledge is not complete without works; for the Will in being also is God and not the being or its self-aware silent existence alone, and if works find their culmination in knowledge, knowledge also finds its fulfilment in works. And, here too, love is the crown of knowledge; for love is the delight of union, and unity must be conscious of joy of union to find all the riches of its own delight. Perfect knowledge indeed leads to perfect love, integral knowledge to a rounded and multitudinous richness of love. ''He who knows me'' says the Gita ''as the supreme Purusha''--not only as the immutable oneness, but in the many-souled movement of the divine and as that, superior to both, in which both are divinely held,--''he, because he has the integral knowledge, seeks me by love in every way of his being.'' This is the trinity of our powers, the union of all three in God to which we arrive when we start from knowledge.
When I was mounting upon ever higher crests of His joy, I asked myself whether there was no limit to the increase of bliss and almost I grew afraid of God's embraces.
When mind is still, then Truth gets her chance to be heard in the purity of the silence.
When reason died, then Wisdom was born.
When the mind is entirely passive, then the force of Nature which works in the whole of animate and inanimate creation has free play; for it is in reality this force which works in man as well as in the sun and star. There is no doubt of this truth whether in Hinduism or in Science. This is the thing called Nature, the sum of cosmic force and energy, which alone Science recognizes as the source of all work and activity. This also is the Prakriti of the Hindus to which under different names Sankhya and Vedanta agree in assigning a similar position and function in the Universe. But the immediate question is whether this force can act in man independently of man?s individual will and initiative. Must it always act through his volition or has it a power of independent operation? The first real proof which Science has had of the power of action independent of volition is in the phenomena of hypnotism. Unfortunately the nature of hypnotism has not been properly understood. It is supposed that by putting the subject to sleep the hypnotist is able in some mysterious and unexplained way to substitute his will for the subject?s. In a certain sense all the subject?s activities in the hypnotic state are the results of his own volition, but that volition is not spontaneous, it is used as a slave by the operator working through the medium of suggestion. Whatever the hypnotist suggests that the subject shall think, act or feel, he thinks, acts or feels, and whatever the hypnotist suggests that the subject shall become, he becomes.
When thou callest another a fool, as thou must, sometimes, yet do not forget that thou thyself hast been the supreme fool in humanity.
When thou findest thyself scorning another, look then at thy own heart and laugh at thy folly.
When we have passed beyond enjoyings, then we shall have Bliss. Desire was the helper; Desire is the bar.
When we have passed beyond humanity, then we shall be the Man. The Animal was the helper; the Animal is the bar.
When we have passed beyond individualizing, then we shall be real Persons. Ego was the helper; Ego is the bar.
Whereas others regard the country as an inert object, and know it as the plains, the fields, the forests, the mountains and rivers, I look upon my country as the mother, I worship her and adore her as the mother... I know I have the strength to uplift this fallen race; it is not physical strength, I am not going to fight with the sword or with the gun, but with the power of knowledge... God sent me to the earth to accomplish this great mission'
Wherever a nation has been formed, in the modern sense, it has been at the expense of smaller units. The whole history of national growth is the record of a long struggle to establish a central unity by subduing the tendency of smaller units to live to themselves.
Will, knowledge and love are the three divine powers in human nature and the life of man, and they point to the three paths by which the human soul rises to the divine. The integrality of them, the union of man with God in all the three, must therefore, as we have seen, be the foundation of an integral Yoga.
Whatever plans we may make, we shall find quite useless when the time for action comes. Revolutions are always full of surprises, and whoever thinks he can play chess with a revolution will soon find how terrible is the grasp of God and how insignificant the human reason before the whirlwind of His breath. That man only is likely to dominate the chances of a Revolution, who makes no plans but preserves his heart pure for the will of God to declare itself. The great rule of life is to have no schemes but one unalterable purpose. If the will is fixed on the purpose it sets itself to accomplish, then circumstances will suggest the right course; but the schemer finds himself always tripped up by the unexpected.
When a movement of national resurgence is begun in any country or by any people, a large and noble political ideal is needed for the purpose. Had the great spirit that was Rousseau not proclaimed the egalitarian principle, the impassioned aspirations of the French Revolution could not have awakened a half-dead France and flooded the whole of Europe. Had America not been eager to secure the inborn rights of every human being, the United States would never have come into existence. If Mazzini, like a Rishi, had not infused exalted hopes and noble ideals into the heart of modem Italy, that fallen people could never have broken the chains of perennial servitude. Low-pitched and narrow ideals, small hopes and aims, petty caution and cowardice as well as short-sighted, faint-hearted leadership ? all these paltry things can never be the right materials for building the strength of a nation. No people has ever risen to the heights of great ness equipped with such poor materials. Our politicians should always keep in mind the saying from the Mahabharata: niriiho naashnute mahat, "the unaspiring shall never enjoy greatness."
When I approached God at that time, I hardly had a living faith in Him. The agnostic was in me, the atheist was in me, the sceptic was in me and I was not absolutely sure that there was a God at all. I did not feel His presence. Yet something drew me to the truth of the Vedas, the truth of the Gita, the truth of the Hindu religion. I felt there must be a mighty truth somewhere in this Yoga, a mighty truth in this religion based on the Vedanta.
When I had the dividing reason, I shrank from many things; after I had lost it in sight, I hunted through the world for the ugly and the repellent, but I could no longer find them.
What is there new that we have yet to accomplish? Love, for as yet we have only accomplished hatred and self-pleasing; Knowledge, for as yet we have only accomplished error and perception and conceiving; Bliss, for as yet we have only accomplished pleasure and pain and indifference; Power, for as yet we have only accomplished weakness and effort and a defeated victory; Life, for as yet we have only accomplished birth and growth and dying; Unity, for as yet we have only accomplished war and association.
What is this force that enables or compels a weak man to become so rigid that strong arms cannot bend him? that reverses the operations of the senses and abrogates pain? that changes the fixed character of a man in the shortest of periods? that is able to develop power where there was no power, moral strength where there was weakness, health where there was disease? that in its higher manifestations can exceed the barriers of space and time and produce that far-sight, far-hearing and far-thinking which shows mind to be an untrammeled agent or medium pervading the world and not limited to the body which it informs or seems to inform? The European scientist experimenting with hypnotism is handling forces which he cannot understand, stumbling on truths of which he cannot give a true account. His feet are faltering on the threshold of Yoga. It is held by some thinkers, and not unreasonably if we consider these phenomena, that mind is all and contains all. It is not the body which determines the operations of the mind, it is the mind which determines the laws of the body. It is the ordinary law of the body that if it is struck, pierced or roughly pressed it feels pain. This law is created by the mind which associates pain with these contacts, and if the mind changes its dharma and is able to associate with these contacts not pain but insensibility or pleasure, then they will bring about those results of insensibility or pleasure and no other. The pain and pleasure are not the result of the contact, neither is their seat in the body; they are the result of association and their seat is in the mind. Vinegar is sour, sugar sweet, but to the hypnotized mind vinegar can be sweet, sugar sour. The sourness or sweetness is not in the vinegar or sugar, but in the mind. The heart also is the subject of the mind. My emotions are like my physical feelings, the result of association, and my character is the result of accumulated past experiences with their resultant associations and reactions crystalizing into habits of mind and heart summed up in the word, character.
What is vice but an enslaving habit and virtue but a human opinion? See God and do His will; walk in whatever path He shall trace for thy goings.
What men call knowledge, is the reasoned acceptance of false appearances. Wisdom looks behind the veil and sees.