Indian Nationalist, Freedom Fighter, Philosopher, Yogi, and Poet
Sri Aurobindo, born Aurobindo Ghose or Ghose
Indian Nationalist, Freedom Fighter, Philosopher, Yogi, and Poet
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.
Very usually, altruism is only the sublimest form of selfishness.
Vivekananda was a soul of puissance if ever there was one, a very lion among men, but the definite work he has left behind is quite incommensurate with our impression of his creative might and energy. We perceive his influence still working gigantically, we know not well how, we know not well where, in something that is not yet formed, something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that has entered the soul of India and we say, "Behold, Vivekananda still lives in the soul of his Mother and in the souls of her children.
Watch the too indignantly righteous. Before long you will find them committing or condoning the very offence which they have so fiercely censured.
We are sons of God and must be even as He.
We cannot afford to raise any institution to the rank of a fetish. To do so would be simply to become the slaves of our own machinery.
We have to create strength where it did not exist before; we have to change our natures, and become new men with new hearts, to be born again... We need a nucleus of men in whom the Shakti is developed to its uttermost extent, in whom it fills every corner of the personality and overflows to fertilize the earth. These, having the fire of Bhawani in their hearts and brains, will go forth and carry the flame to every nook and cranny of our land.
We must break the spell of the golden chain. Refusing to imitate the English and rejecting their leadership, we must find the right means to attain our objective in accordance with our national temperament and the condition of the country. We must breathe new life into resurgent India by placing a great ideal before it. This alone is the path of liberation, otherwise there will be nothing but bondage.
We speak often of the Hindu religion, of the Sanatan Dharma, but few of us really know what that religionis. Other religions are preponderatingly religions of faith and profession, but the Sanatan Dharma is life itself; it is a thing that has not so much to be believed as lived.
To thy lover, O Lord, the railing of the world is wild honey and the pelting of stones by the mob is summer rain on the body. For is it not Thou that railest and peltest, and is it not Thou in the stones that strikest and hurtest me?
What can be done if the affliction comes? This is a world in which when you seek happiness, you find grief in its heart, sorrow always clinging to joy. That rule touches not only the desire of children, but all worldly desires. To offer, with a quiet heart, all happiness and grief at the feet of God is the only remedy? Now I will write the other thing of which I spoke before. I think you have understood by now that the man with whose fate yours has been linked is a man of a very unusual character. Mine is not the same field of action, the same purpose in life, the same mental attitude as that of the people of today in this country. I am in every respect different from them and out of the ordinary. Perhaps you know what ordinary men say of an extraordinary view, an extraordinary endeavor, an extraordinary ambition. To them it is madness; only, if the madman is successful in his work then he is called no longer a madman, but a great genius. But how many are successful in their life?s endeavor? Among a thousand men, there are five or six who are out of the ordinary and out of the five or six one perhaps successful. Not to speak of success, I have not yet even entirely entered my field of work. There is nothing then for you but to consider me mad. And it is an evil thing for a woman to fall into the hands of a mad fellow. For woman?s expectations are all bound up in worldly happiness and sorrow. A madman will not make his wife happy, he can only make her miserable.
Transform effort into an easy and sovereign overflowing of the soul-strength; let all thyself be conscious force. This is thy goal.
What I cannot do now is the sign of what I shall do hereafter. The sense of impossibility is the beginning of all possibilities. Because this temporal universe was a paradox and an impossibility, therefore the Eternal created it out of His being.
Transform enjoying into an even and objectless ecstasy; let all thyself be bliss. This is thy goal.
What is God after all? An eternal child playing an eternal game in an eternal garden.
Transform reason into ordered intuition; let all thyself be light. This is thy goal.
What is the bourgeois? For the word is unknown in India, though the thing is so prominent. The bourgeois is the average contented middle class citizen who is in all countries much the same in his fundamental character and habits of thought, in spite of pronounced racial differences in temperament and self-expression. He is a man of facile sentiments and skin-deep personality; generally "enlightened" but not inconveniently illuminated. In love with his life, his ease and above all things his comforts, he prescribes the secure maintenance of these precious possessions as the first indispensable condition of all action in politics and society; whatever tends to disturb or destroy them, he condemns as foolish, harebrained, dangerous or fanatical, according to the degree of its intensity and is ready to repress by any means in his power. In the conduct of public movements he has an exaggerated worship for external order, moderation and decorum and hates over-earnestness and over- strenuousness. Not that he objects to plenty of mild and innocuous excitement; but it must be innocuous and calculated not to have a disturbing effect on the things he most cherishes. He has ideals and likes to talk of justice, liberty, reform, enlightenment and all similar abstractions; he likes too to see them reigning and progressing around him decorously and with their proper limitations. He wishes to have them maintained, if they already exist, but in moderation and with moderation; if they do not exist, the craving for them should be, in his opinion, a lively but still well- regulated fire, not permitted to interfere with the safety, comfort and decorum of life; the means adopted towards acquiring them should be also moderate and decorous and, as far as may be, safe and comfortable. An occasional sacrifice of money, leisure and other precious things for their sake, he is always ready to meet; he has a keen zest for the reputation such sacrifices bring him and still more for the comfortable sense of personal righteousness which they foster. The bourgeois is the man of good sense and enlightenment, the man of moderation, the man of peace and orderliness, the man in every way "respectable", who is the mainstay of all well-ordered societies. As a private man he is respectable; that is to say, his character is generally good, and when his character is not, his reputation is; he is all decorous in his virtues, decent in the indulgence of his vices or at least in their concealment, often absolutely honest, almost always as honest as an enlightened self-interest will permit. His purse is well filled or at any rate not indecently empty; he is a good earner, a conscientious worker, a thoroughly safe and reliable citizen. Of course there are exceptions, instances of successful and respected blackguardism, but these are the small minority. But this admirable creature has his defects and limitations. For great adventures, tremendous enterprises, lofty achievements, the storm and stress of mighty and eventful periods in national activity, he is unfit. These things are for the heroes, the martyrs, the criminals, the enthusiasts, the degenerates, geniuses, the men of exaggerated virtue, exaggerated ability, exaggerated ideas. He enjoys the fruit of their work when it is done, but while it is doing, he opposes and hinders more often than helps. For he looks on great ideals as dreams and on vehement enthusiasms as harebrained folly; he distrusts everything new and disturbing, everything that has not been done before or is not sanctioned by success and the accomplished fact; revolt is to him a madness and revolution a nightmare. Fiery self-annihilating enthusiasm, noble fanaticism, relentless and heroic pursuit of an object, the original brain that brings what is distant and ungrasped into the boundaries of reality, the dynamic Will and genius which makes the impossible possible; these things he understands as matters of history and honors them in the famous dead or in those who have succeeded; but in living and yet striving men they inspire him with distrust and repulsion. He will tell you that these things are not to be found in the present generation; but if confronted with the living originator, he will condemn him as a learned idiot; face to face with the living hero, he will decry him as a dangerous madman, ? unless and until he sees on the head of either the crown of success and assured reputation.
Transform the Animal into the Driver of the herds; let all thyself be Krishna. This is thy goal.
What is the use of only being? I say to thee, Become, for therefore wast thou established as a man in this world of matter.
Transform the divided individual into the world-personality; let all thyself be the divine. This is thy goal.
What is the use of only knowing? I say to thee, Act and be, for therefore God sent thee into this human body.
True knowledge is not attained by thinking. It is what you are; it is what you become.
Turn all things to honey; this is the law of divine living.
There are times of great change, times when old landmarks are being upset, when submerged forces are rising, and just as we deal promptly or linger over the solution of these problems, our progress will be rapid or slow, sound or broken... The problem is put to us one by one, to each nation one by one... He has shown us the possibility of strength within us, and then He has shown us where the danger, the weakness lies. He is pointing out to us how is it that we may become strong. On us it lies? to answer the question which God has put to us, and according as we answer on it depends how this movement will progress, what route it will take, and whether it will lead to a swift and sudden salvation, or whether, after so many centuries of tribulation and sufferings there is still a long period of tribulation and suffering before us. God has put the question to us and with us entirely it lies to answer.