My English teacher and I read the following passage from your book:
“What has to be surpassed and changed is the intellectual reason which sees things from outside only, by analysis and inference when it does not do it rather by taking a hasty look and saying ‘so it is’, or ‘so it is not’.”
Here, did you mean to say that the intellect usually judges things after forming hasty conclusions and that when it cannot do so it tries analysis and inference? That is how my teacher interpreted the passage. My understanding of it is just the opposite! It is only when the intellect cannot decide by analysis and inference, which is its usual process, that it forms hasty conclusions. Well, which of the two explanations is really correct?
Neither is correct. Each of these statements is a hasty conclusion of the intellect.
Both the interpretations are absurd. I have said nothing about “cannot”. I have said “when it does not rather”, and that means that what it ordinarily does is to take a hasty look, that is what most people usually do, and the habit of careful analysis and inference (which is no doubt the proper function of the intellect) is the exception.
If even the intellect usually takes a hasty look without reasoning in a logical way, why should people spend so much time, energy and money developing it? The growth of the physical mind should serve their purpose!
People don’t take time etc. for developing the intellect. It is only one man out of thousands who has a trained intellect. In others it is either ill-developed, undeveloped or very partially developed.
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, or the process by which it comes from the premises to the conclusion is usually illogical or faulty — the process being unsound by which the conclusion is arrived at, the conclusion also is 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. That is why I laid stress on its habit of hasty look and conclusion.
You said, “The intellect of most men is extremely imperfect, ill-trained, half-developed.” What is the right way of training the intellect so that it may become perfect, fully developed and turn always to the truth and be able to deal with more than one side of the truth?
To look at things without egoism or prejudice or haste, to try to know fully and accurately before judging, to try to see the truth behind other opinions than your own, etc. etc.
Is not the usual function of the intellect to see, reason, analyse, infer, scrutinise, judge?
If it is its function, what prevents it from trying to do all that by a hasty look? Does everything in this world discharge its function perfectly? Very few people scrutinise before they judge.
What is the characteristic of a well-developed intellect? Is it helpful to a higher knowledge?
A well-developed intellect is one which is plastic, wide, free from rigidity and stiffness, — that can be of use.
You said, “The intellect is made up of imaginations, perceptions, inferences. The pure reason is quite another thing, but only a few are able to use it.” What is the pure reason made of?
Pure reason deals with things in themselves, ideas, concepts, the essential nature of things. It lives in the world of ideas. It is philosophic and metaphysical in its nature.
How to get a strong, firm and clear mind?
That can only come either by mental training or by a working of the higher consciousness on the parts from above.
What sort of “mental training” do you mean here?
Reading, learning about things, acquiring complete and accurate information, training oneself in logical thinking, considering dispassionately all sides of a question, rejecting hasty or wrong inferences and conclusions, learning to look at all things clearly and as a whole.
Is it not true that a proper mental training greatly helps the higher action to work upon a sadhak?
If so, it should have been done before taking up sadhana; for in sadhana the mind has to be quiet, not active.
Is getting knowledge from above and getting it by the mind in its own capacity the same thing? If the mind is capable then there is no need of knowledge from above, it can do the getting of knowledge by its own greatness.
Mental knowledge is of little use except sometimes as an introduction pointing towards the real knowledge which comes from a direct consciousness of things.
It is not a mental knowledge that is necessary but a psychic perception or a direct perception in the consciousness. A mental knowledge can always be blinded by the tricks of the vital.
To perfect our actions, feelings and thoughts, we have to teach the outer being first with the mind. We cannot wait idly for the psychic or higher consciousness to take up that work.
Obviously the mind has to teach the outer being, so long as the psychic or the higher consciousness are not ready to take up the work.
It is impossible for a yogi to do anything without having more than one thought.
Don’t understand. A yogi can do hundreds of things without having a single thought much less “more than one thought”. If you say you cannot do that at this stage, that is quite another matter.
When you do not answer my questions about sadhana, my mind falls into confusion and doubt. It argues with itself. All this disputing disturbs my sadhana.
Your mind is too active. If it were more quiet and less questioning and argumentative and restlessly wanting to find devices it seems to me that there would be more chance of knowledge coming down and of intuitive, non-intellectual consciousness developing within you.
It seems to me better to call down the Force and let it work in its own way rather than the mind always asking “Shall I do this, shall I do that? Will this device serve? Will that device help?”
You have to develop the inner intuitive response first — i.e. to think and perceive less with the mind and more with the inner consciousness. Most people do everything with the mind and how can the mind know? The mind depends on the senses for its knowledge.
I don’t feel at all happy, gay or fixed on anything. Almost constantly I see my thoughts opposing each other. There is hardly any stable condition. Some parts of the being feel that I am good for nothing, neither for sadhana nor for work.
Don’t accept and hug and dandle these ideas. Everybody has thoughts opposing each other — it is the very nature of the mind — one has to draw back from all that and fix on the straight things alone that lead to the Divine. The rest one must treat as external rubbish.
When I give intellectual answers to my friends, the answers seem to be dry. Why so?
Answers about what? Intellectual answers about spiritual things are usually dry, except to the intellect.
Has an intellectual no emotions — love, joy for others?
There is no reason why he should not have.
To understand and dismiss the delusions and devices of the vital and the ego, we need a deeper consciousness; an undeveloped or half-developed intellect is seldom sufficient.
Yes. The intellect easily deceives itself, putting forth the idea and saying “it is done” when all along the vital reactions are there.
What I write usually helps only the mind and that too very little, for people do not really understand what I write — they put their own constructions on it. The inner help is quite different and there can be no comparison with them, for it reaches the substance of the consciousness, not the mind only.
You said, “What I write usually helps only the mind and that too very little, for people really do not understand what I write.” Is it because you are writing from too high a plane for our little mind to understand what you write?
It is because the mind by itself cannot understand things that are beyond it. It constructs its own idea out of something that it catches or thinks it has caught and puts that down as the whole meaning of what has been written. Each mind puts its own ideas in place of the Truth.
About my recent questions you wrote, “They are mental questions seeking a mental answer.” Are questions regarding things of the sadhana considered as mental ones?
Mental questions are questions put by the mind which expects them to be answered according to its own habits and standards although the happenings of the consciousness do not follow any law which accords with the mind’s standards.
This morning I had a direct meditation with the Mother, that is, I took her embodied self as the centre of my concentration. This had a unique result. She poured into me certain thoughts which changed my oscillating mental attitude. These thoughts did not merely tell me something in the form of words, but revealed before me vividly and expressively what the proper place of mind in sadhana should be. Never in any book have I come across these thoughts in such an illuminating form. It might take ten or twenty pages to describe them adequately. Each thought was full of light and had several sides. Every thought was not only received as an abstract thought but felt at the same time as an experience. Wherever it penetrated into me, it created spontaneously a full consent to it and a resolution to abide by its truth. So far as I remember now all that took place within a few seconds.