A Talk by Alok Pandey from the “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)
The taste and need for miracles is there in human nature. In its essence it is a need for the exceptional and the marvelous, even a need for going beyond the rules and norms that seem to govern our life. In its deepest sense it is a need for the Divine in life to assist our human journey. However sometimes this need takes the form of a childish desire for things to happen according to our wishes and fancies in our own way and at our own time. It is this distortion of the need for the Divine in our life that throws us into the net of dark and ambiguous forces that give us what we desire but at the expense of our soul’s growth. Our evolution is then put into long, labyrinthine routes thereby delaying our soul’s march towards the Divine. There is however another, an even more difficult and challenging miracle, it is the change of man into something closer to the Divine’s vision of life. It is a change of our character, our very way of being. At its highest it is a change of the very basis of our existence, a radical transformation of our nature, a transmutation of our body and mind. Let us dwell a little more on this subject in the Light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Words of the Mother
We might say that the sense of miracle can only belong to a finite world, a finite consciousness, a finite conception. It is the abrupt, unexpected entry – or appearance or intervention or penetration – of something that did not exist in this physical world. So it follows that any manifestation of a will or consciousness belonging to a realm more infinite and eternal than the earth is necessarily a miracle on the earth. But if you go beyond the finite world or the understanding proper to the finite world, then miracle does not exist. The Lord can play at miracles if He enjoys it, but there’s no such thing as a miracle – He plays all possible games.
You can begin to understand Him only when you feel it that way, that He plays all possible games – and “possible” not according to human conception but according to His own conception!
Then there is no room for the miracle, except for a pretend miracle.
If what belongs to the supramental world materialized abruptly, rather than through a slow evolution … that would be something which man, as a mental being, even if his mentality, his mental domain, were brought to perfection, could call a miracle, for it is the intervention in his conscious life of something he doesn’t consciously carry within him. The taste for miracles, which is very strong (much stronger in children or in hearts that have remained childlike than in highly mentalized beings), is basically the faith that the aspiration for the Marvelous will come true, that things beyond all that we may expect of normal life will come true.
In fact, for education, people should always encourage both tendencies side by side: the thirst for the Marvelous, the seemingly unrealizable, for something that fills you with a sense of divinity, while at the same time encouraging, in the perception of the world as it is, an exact, correct and sincere observation, the abolition of all imaginings, a constant control, and a most practical and meticulous feeling for exactness in details. Both tendencies should go side by side. Generally, people kill one with the idea that it’s necessary in order to develop the other – which is totally erroneous.
The two can coexist, and as knowledge grows, a moment comes when you understand that they are two aspects of the same thing, namely, a clear vision, a superior discernment. But instead of the vision and discernment being limited and narrow, they become absolutely sincere, correct, exact – AND immense, embracing an entire field that’s not yet part of the concrete Manifestation.
This is very important from an educational point of view.
To see the world as it is, accurately, starkly, in the most practical and down-to-earth way, and to see the world as it can be, with the highest and freest vision, filled with hope and aspiration and a marvelous certainty – these are the two poles of discernment. All the most splendid, marvelous, powerful, expressive and total things we are able to imagine are nothing compared to what they can be; and at the same time, our minute observation of the smallest detail can never be sufficiently exact. Both things must go together. When you know this (gesture below) and you know That (gesture above), you are able to make the two meet.
This is the best possible use of the need for miracles. The need for miracles is a gesture of ignorance: “Oh, I wish it were that way!” It’s a gesture of ignorance and impotence. On the other hand, those who tell you, “You live in a world of miracles,” know only the lower end of things (and quite imperfectly at that), and they are impervious to anything else.
We should turn this need for miracles into a conscious aspiration to something – something that already is, that exists, and that will be manifested WITH THE HELP of all those aspirations: all those aspirations are necessary, or rather, looking at it in a truer way, they are an accompaniment – a pleasant accompaniment – to the eternal unfolding.
Basically, people with a very strict logic tell you, “Why pray? Why aspire, why ask? The Lord does what He wills and will always do what He wills.” It’s perfectly obvious, it goes without saying, but this fervor, “Lord, manifest Yourself!” gives His manifestation a more intense vibration.
Otherwise He would never have made the world as it is – there is a special power, a special joy, a special vibration in the world’s intensity of aspiration to become again what it is.
And that is why – partly, fragmentarily why – there is evolution.
An eternally perfect universe, eternally manifesting eternal perfection, would lack the joy of progress. This I feel very intensely. Very intensely. We see no farther than the tip of our nose, not even one second of Infinity, and that second doesn’t contain all that we’d like to experience and know, so we complain, “Oh, no! This world is no good.” But if we come out of our second into the Whole, immediately we feel so intensely all that the need for progress has brought to the Manifestation.
And yet … yet it is still limited to the receiving instrument. There comes a point when even the creative Force of this universe feels very small if It doesn’t merge, doesn’t unite with the creative Force of all other universes.
There too, there is a constant ascent or progression in identification.
Why didn’t Sri Aurobindo or you make more use of miracles as a means to overcome the resistances of the outer human consciousness?
Why this self-effacement towards the outside, this sort of nonintervention, as it were, or unobstrusiveness?
In Sri Aurobindo’s case, I only know what he told me several times: what people call “miracles” are just interventions in the physical or vital worlds. And those interventions are always mixed with ignorant or arbitrary movements.
But the number of miracles Sri Aurobindo performed in the Mind is incalculable. Of course, only if you had a very honest, sincere and pure vision could you see them – I saw them. Others too saw them. But he refused (this I know), he refused to perform any vital or material miracle, because of the admixture.
My own experience is like this: in the world’s present state, a direct miracle (vital or material, that is) must necessarily involve a number of fallacious elements which we cannot accept – those miracles are necessarily fallacious miracles. And we cannot accept that. At least I always refused to do so. I’ve seen what people call miracles. I saw many with Madame Théon, for instance, but it allowed a host of things to exist that to me are inadmissible….
But what people call “miracles” nowadays are almost always performed by beings of the vital world, or by men in relation with such beings, so there’s a mixture – it accepts the reality of certain things, the truth of certain things that aren’t true. And it works on that basis. So it’s unacceptable.
March 9, 1963
It was the same thing when I made that overmental formation (we were heading for miracles!). One day Sri Aurobindo told me I had brought down into Amrita a force of the creative Brahma (it’s the creative Word, the Word that realizes itself automatically). And I don’t know what happened … something, I can’t recall what, that showed me it was working very well. Then a sort of idea occurred to me: “Why, we could try this power on mosquitoes: let mosquitoes cease to exist! What would happen?” (We were pestered by mosquitoes at the time.) Before doing it (the meditation was over, it would have been for the next time), I said to Sri Aurobindo, “Well, what if we tried with that force which responds; if we said, ‘Let mosquitoes cease to exist,’ we could at least get rid of them within a certain field of action, a certain field of influence, couldn’t we?” So he looked at me (with a smile), kept silent, and, after a moment, turned to me and said, You are in full Overmind. That is not the Truth we want to manifest….
He told me (Mother speaks with an ironic tone), “Oh, you can certainly perform miracles! People will be wonderstruck.”
Words of Sri Aurobindo
May I know when and under what circumstances fulfilled, you send in your saving hand, in case one is assailed by such forces? I am convinced that no undivine powers can stand against you unless for some inscrutable reasons you have not helped or do not help.
It is when they refuse to be saved. B was saved several thousand times. Finally he said he would go on his own way, that the Divine in him was the true Divine and we were only indulging our outer personalities and he threatened to starve himself to death if we kept him here. What do you expect us to do under these circumstances? Yoga is an endeavour, a tapasya — it can cease to be so only when one surrenders sincerely to a higher Action and keeps the surrender and makes it complete. It is not a fantasia, devoid of all reason and coherence or a mere miracle. It has its laws and conditions and I do not see how you can demand of the Divine to do everything by a violent miracle.
It is not, unless it is supramental Force, a Power that acts without conditions and limits. The conditions and limits under which Yoga or sadhana has to be worked out are not arbitrary or capricious; they arise from the nature of things. These including the will, receptivity, assent, self-opening and surrender of the sadhak have to be respected by the Yoga-force—unless it receives a sanction from the Supreme to override everything and get something done—but that sanction is sparingly given. It is only if the supramental Power came fully down, not merely sent its influences through the Overmind, that things could be very radically altered in this respect—and that is why my main effort is directed towards that object—for then the sanction would not be rare! For the Law of the Truth would be at work not constantly balanced by the law of the Ignorance.