PREFACE TO KNOWLEDGE
Sri Aurobindo always discouraged in me the ordinary way of developing the mind. Whenever I asked him intellectual or philosophical questions he would reply that I should not go after intellectual knowledge but allow direct intuitive knowledge to grow in me. He used to tell me this when I had just begun the sadhana and was very far from even the beginning of knowledge. When it first started descending into me, I was utterly unaware of what was taking place; it took such a personal aspect that I did not even guess that I was receiving the higher knowledge. It did not come as a voice, or as something objectively apprehended, but touched the stuff of my mind in a way that made it flow as a natural and spontaneous movement, making me think that it was a product of my own mind.
How things really were I only came to know later. One day I realised that Sri Aurobindo was giving me very brief answers; so I wrote to him that I found such answers unsatisfying. It was then that he informed me that as it was the higher knowledge I was receiving from the Mother, he found no need to comment on my letters at length. A little later he told me in connection with some other question that this knowledge was from the Higher Mind level. Just for the sake of interest I counted the number of mistakes I had made in transcribing this knowledge, that is, in giving it mental expression; there were very few in three or four years. These occurred when I attempted something which was obviously beyond my capacity at the time — I tried to formulate certain spiritual truths metaphysically.
It is necessary to explain here the value of this higher knowledge for my inner sadhana as well as for my outer life, which is nothing but a continuation of this sadhana, an external expression of the internal development.
In the course of the practice of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga one comes in contact with the higher knowledge; it can be effectively utilised for one’s sadhana either by entering into it or by drawing it down. This movement of contacting the knowledge remains with many, at least in the early stages, more or less impersonal. But this was not the case with me; I did not know mentally what was meant by spiritual knowledge when it first began to descend — the actual relation between the knowledge and myself was, and still is, even after so many years, beyond my grasp. What the Mother seems to have done, not as a result of my tapasya but as an act of her Grace, is this: she has opened me to her higher spiritual knowledge, and has linked it through this opening with the stuff of my mental consciousness, so that whenever the knowledge flows in I feel it as a natural product of my own consciousness, but when the opening is closed the same knowledge seems foreign to me. The action of this knowledge is at times felt, to use Sri Aurobindo’s own words, “as a sort of concrete spiritual sense”.
Through this knowledge I feel not only the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s guidance in an impersonal way, but also their personal intervention and direct help in any problem I may have; the action of their light and power can always be dynamically felt. In the course of this correspondence we shall have many occasions to note this. In a few cases the possession of the Mother’s knowledge of my mind was so entire that she spoke to me as directly as if she had been physically present before me and speaking. These have been recorded in the book.
Had it not been for this rare act of the Mother’s Grace, I would never have been able to go ahead so boldly and confidently on the path; for I have always felt assured that if I were to make any serious mistake she would not only inform me inwardly about it but would also show me why it had occurred and how it could be prevented in the future. Whenever she has done this, she has not merely enlightened me about my defects as other Gurus do, but projected her Power to change and sometimes transform them.
One wanting to tread the path of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga to the very end must needs have, along with other requisites, the Mothers knowledge too.
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What is the use of knowledge when we can’t act according to its light and truth?
Knowledge is always better than ignorance. It makes things possible hereafter, if not at the moment, while ignorance actively obstructs and misleads.
Yesterday’s experience was more intense, solid and powerful than ever before. Calm and silence were its background. Will you kindly tell me what it was? It seemed too profound for me to understand.
You must get the knowledge by developing the experience.
Generally the experiences come by themselves, I only try to live within and go on aspiring and receiving them. What is actually meant by “developing the experience”?
Let it develop of itself — then it must become sufficiently precise for you to know what it is.
It is said that the Silence is the best state for the knowledge to descend. At present when I become silent I receive no such thing as knowledge. “Non-existence” is the only state that I experience.
That is the first stage of the silence not the last.
But why does the knowledge not come since there is silence to receive it?
The knowledge will come in its time.
Daily I report to you the experiences and other movements of my sadhana. Sometimes you give your illuminating comments, sometimes you are silent. Does your latter reaction indicate any exaggeration on my part?
It means that I accept what you write — or when what you write is not explicit enough, I wait for the experience to develop. Silence does not mean that there is any exaggeration.
I think, it is better to go on writing whatever knowledge comes down from above without giving it any importance. But then what about corrections?
It is not that it is of no importance but you have to go on seeing things as they present themselves to your experience. If there is anything to be corrected, it will be corrected.
Your answer to what I had noted down from the higher knowledge was, “There was no objection to make, so I said nothing.” In that case, when you make no comments to my statements, may I take the latter as correct and as accepted by you?
Substantially in all important matters. But sometimes I wait for confirmation.
The Mother is so great that none of us can gauge her truly. Not only our highest range of intellect but even our spiritual experiences are not enough to make us understand and feel fully what she really is. They can offer us only a partial revelation.
The experiences are not a complete knowledge, but they lead towards it.
The Mother’s light flows in my forehead. I am surprised to see that it works with a tranquil intensity, while the whole head is completely filled with it.
As the Brahmic passage remains widely open all the time I have begun to feel now the Mother’s working precisely. So when she grants me something I shall experience it as clearly as if she were pouring water into a glass.
That is good also.
Often during a good receptivity, my consciousness feels clearly a free flow of what the Mother gives me. And yet I am so ignorant of the exact nature of the thing received. I am only aware that something from above has descended.
The knowledge from above has to descend before there can be precise knowledge of that kind.
To be conscious is the first step — the exact knowledge will come afterwards.
O Lord, in what immensity of stillness did the Mother place my soul and all! Then to what great heights did she carry me! While being lifted I felt a pure consciousness in place of my mind, life and body.
That is what is known as the realisation of the Self which is other than mind, life or body.
What I once understood as the “mind” the Mother has pulled back during the Pranam; thus emptying me of the mental stuff she wants to fill me with her own Self! Now my life will be carried on without the usual action of the mind. There will not be any difficulty, I think, for the inner sadhana, as it is entirely done by her alone, and in my letters to you I shall only put what she sends me from her knowledge, myself remaining only a pure and clean channel. I am sure that one day the very words and phrases too will come directly from her. As regards the physical work, it must be completely left to her Force; as a child leaves everything to its mother, so too will I leave her to judge everything and decide for me.
That is how all should be in the perfect realisation throughout the being.
Even when the deeper or higher pitch of the sadhana falls down the Mother’s knowledge-gift does not leave me. It is really her wonderful Blessings which go on helping at any time and in any state — highest or lowest!
That is very good.
The higher knowledge is one of the aspects of the Divine Mother. It contains in itself fire, force and light for effectuation.
I describe certain knowledge in my letters to you. When the letters come back to me, I just cannot believe that it was really I who wrote them. Why is this so?
The knowledge comes from above, — it is not yours in any personal sense.
During the sadhak’s journey Godwards there are always difficulties and problems. But he should not halt and wait to solve them. He should rather increase the speed and reach the destination earlier. For the things left behind unsolved will automatically be cleared up once he reaches the summit.
One more reason to travel fast is that once he reaches the goal he can offer himself as the Mother’s aide in her great mission on earth.
How do you find what I said above?
All that is written in this letter is the true knowledge. If only everybody could realise it!
To change tamas into peace, dynamic means are necessary. When will my passivity and emptiness adopt that dynamism?
There must come a greater descent of Force into the system. At present Peace and Knowledge are descending more than Force.
I find that the lower nature is not as yet much influenced by the knowledge. I can only detach myself from it by the help of knowledge, but not master it.
If one has the knowledge, then it is much easier to draw back into that free part and feel separate from the clouded parts.
It is now time that my vital-physical should reject its old weakness of not accepting whatever the Mother does not do for me.
Yes. It must be got rid of. It has no true reason for remaining after the real knowledge has come.
About the veiling of the higher knowledge you wrote, “There is no other reason than the force of the inertia itself and its acceptance by the physical consciousness.” Should I then take it that formerly there was no “force of the inertia” and therefore the knowledge was always open to me?
When the knowledge began coming down, there was not the force of inertia as strong as at present. It was at that time something quite behind, since then you have come down much deeper into the physical and the inertia rises accordingly.
During the days of inertia, instead of resorting to some dynamic means I am rather passive. Everything seems to get veiled.
If the knowledge also gets veiled, then the use of dynamic means may be necessary.
Should I report about the dark period of sadhana?
It all depends. If the inertia persisting really veils up everything, then you have to write. But if you are conscious of yourself and the knowledge unveiled, then you need not.
The subconscient inertia has now veiled everything in me.
Keep the knowledge secure — do not allow that to be clouded.
Could you kindly enlighten me as to how the knowledge gets obstructed at times?
These things do not work according to any fixed rule. Sometimes they have one effect which at other times they have not.
Do you not think that the stopping of knowledge is more due to the vital and its ego than to the inertia alone? The inertia by itself is only a passive obstruction which turns into a dynamic one when the vital-mind endorses it.
Yes, that is correct.
Is not the knowledge again trying to penetrate in spite of the dark impediments?
It is trying to do so.
How is it that the higher knowledge descends only when I begin to write it down?
That is because that movement (of the knowledge descending through writing) is now something fixed and normal to the consciousness.