A Talk by Alok Pandey from the “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)
Two days back, on the 10th February, it was the day of Mahasaraswati aspect of the Divine Mother. She is the power of the Divine Mother who builds Perfection and hence is the most patient and long-suffering of all the other powers who lean upon her. But what is Perfection, what does it mean and how we can open to this Perfection that is trying to express upon earth and in humanity. This is the subject we take up today.
Words of the Mother
Perfection means something in which nothing is missing. The divine perfection is a totality. The divine perfection is the Divine in his wholeness, with nothing left out. The divine perfection is the whole of the Divine, with nothing subtracted from it. For the moralists it is the exact opposite: divine perfection is nothing but the virtues they stand for!
From the true standpoint, the divine perfection is the whole (Mother makes a global gesture), and the fact that within this whole nothing can be missing is precisely what makes it perfect. Consequently, perfection means that each thing is in its place, exactly what it should be, and that relationships among things are also exactly what they should be.
Perfection is one way to approach the Divine; Unity is another. But Perfection is a global approach: all is there and all is as it should be – that is to say, the perfect expression of the Divine (you can’t even say ‘of His Will,’ because that still implies something apart, something emanating from Him!).
It could be put like this (but it brings it down considerably): He is what He is and exactly as He wants to be. The ‘exactly as He wants to be’ takes us down quite a few steps, but it still gives an idea of what I mean by ‘perfection’!
Divine perfection implies infinity and eternity – all is coexistent beyond time and space.
Equilibrium, as he (Theon) explains it, is each thing exactly in its place: each vibration, each movement, each … and so on down the line – each form, each activity, each element exactly in its place in relation to the whole.
This is quite interesting to me because Sri Aurobindo says the same thing: that nothing is bad, simply things are not in their place – their place not only in space but in time, their place in the universe, beginning with the planets and stars, each thing exactly in its place. Then when each thing, from the most colossal to the most microscopic, is exactly in place, the whole Will PROGRESSIVELY express the Supreme, without having to be withdrawn and emanated anew. On this also, Sri Aurobindo based the fact that this present creation, this present universe, will be able to manifest the perfection of a divine world – what Sri Aurobindo calls the Supermind.
Equilibrium is the essential law of this creation – it is what permits perfection to be realized in the manifestation.
In line with this idea of things ‘in their place,’ another question comes to me: with the descent of the Supermind, what exactly are the very first things that the supramental force will want to or is trying to dislodge?
The first things it will dislodge?
Yes, individually and cosmically, so that everything is in its place.
Will it dislodge anything?… If we accept Sri Aurobindo’s idea, it will put each thing in its place, that’s all.
One thing must inevitably cease: the Deformation, the veil of falsehood covering Truth, because all we see existing here is due to that. If the veil is removed, things will necessarily be completely different, completely: they will be as we experience them when we emerge individually from that deformed consciousness. When one comes out of that consciousness and enters the Truth-Consciousness, one is incredulous that such things as suffering, misery and death can exist; it’s amazing, in the sense that (when one is truly on the other side) … one doesn’t understand how all this can be happening. And, although this state of consciousness is habitually associated with the experience of the unreality of the world as we know it, Sri Aurobindo tells us that this perception of the world’s unreality need not exist for the supramental consciousness: only Falsehood is unreal , not the world. And this is most interesting – the world has its own reality, independent of Falsehood.
I suppose this will be the first effect of the Supermind – perhaps even its first effect in the individual, because it will begin in individuals first.
If men took life less seriously, they could very soon make it more perfect….
… God never takes His works seriously; therefore one looks out on this wonderful universe.
So what’s your question?
One may ask how taking things seriously prevents life from being more perfect?
(After a long silence) Virtue has always been busy eliminating things from life and (laughing) if we could put together all the virtues from all the countries in the world, nothing much would remain in life!
Virtue claims to seek perfection, but perfection is a totality. So the two movements are contradictory: virtue, which eliminates, prunes, sets limits, and perfection, which accepts everything, rejects nothing but puts everything in its place, evidently cannot go well together.
Taking life seriously generally consists of two movements: the first is to give importance to things that probably have none, and the second is to want life to be limited to a certain number of qualities considered to be pure and worthy. With some (for instance, those Sri Aurobindo refers to here: the prudish or the puritans), that virtue becomes dry, barren, gray, aggressive, and almost always finds fault in all that is joyful, free and happy.
The only way to make life perfect (I mean here life on earth, of course) is to look at it from a sufficient height to see it in its totality, not only its present totality, but over the whole past, present and future: what it has been, what it is, what it must be – you must be able to see it all at once. Because that’s the only way to put everything in its place. Nothing can be done away with, nothing SHOULD be done away with, but each thing must find its own place in total harmony with the rest. Then all those things that appear so “evil,” so “reprehensible” and “unacceptable” to the puritan mind would become movements of joy and freedom in a totally divine life. And then nothing would stop us from knowing, understanding, feeling and living this wonderful Laughter of the Supreme who takes infinite delight in watching Himself live infinitely.
This delight, this wonderful Laughter which dissolves all shadows, all pain, all suffering … We only have to go deep enough into ourselves to find the inner Sun and let ourselves be bathed in it. Then everything is but a cascade of harmonious, luminous, sun-filled laughter which leaves no room for shadow and pain.
In fact, even the greatest difficulty, even the greatest grief, even the greatest physical pain, if you can look at them from THERE, take your stand THERE, you see the unreality of the difficulty, the unreality of the grief, the unreality of the pain – and all becomes a joyful and luminous vibration.
It is ultimately the most powerful means of dissolving difficulties, overcoming grief and getting rid of pain. The first two [difficulties and grief] are relatively easy (relatively), the last [pain] is more difficult because of our habit of regarding the body and its sensations as extremely concrete and positive – but actually it is the same thing, it’s just that we haven’t been taught and accustomed to seeing our body as something fluid, plastic, uncertain, malleable. We haven’t learned to permeate it with this luminous Laughter which dissolves all shadows and difficulties, all discords, all disharmony, all that grates, cries and weeps.
This Sun – the Sun of divine laughter – is a: the core of everything, it is the truth of everything. What is needed is to learn to see it, feel it, live it.
And for that, let us flee from those who take life seriously, they are the most boring people on earth!
But it’s true. The other day I was telling you about some cellular difficulties. I noticed that as soon as they start, I start laughing! But if someone is here and I tell him the difficulty solemnly, it goes from bad to worse; if I start laughing and talk about it laughingly, it vanishes. Really, it’s dreadful to take life seriously! Dreadful. Those who have given me the most difficulties have always been the people who take life seriously.
I’ve had this experience even just recently. All that comes to me from people who have dedicated their lives to “spiritual life,” people who do a yoga in the traditional way, who are very solemn, who see adversaries everywhere, obstacles everywhere, taboos everywhere, prohibitions everywhere, oh, how they complicate life … and how far they are from the Divine! I saw this the other day with someone you know. With that kind of people, you “should not” do this, “should not” do that, “should not” … At such and such time you “must not” do this, on such and such day you “must not” do that; you “should not” eat this, you should not … And then, for heaven’s sake, don’t you go mixing your daily life with your sacred life! – that’s how you dig an abyss.
It’s the exact, exact opposite of what I feel now: no matter what happens –something wrong in the body, something wrong with people, something wrong in circumstances – instantly, the first movement: “O my sweet Lord, my Beloved!” And I laugh! And then all is well. I did this the other day (it’s spontaneous and instantaneous, it isn’t thought out or willed or planned – none of it – it just happens), it happened the other day (I don’t recall the details but it was over a circumstance that hardly seemed sacred): I saw myself, and I started laughing. I said, “But look! I don’t need to be serious, I don’t need to be solemn!”
As soon as it comes (Mother makes a solemn face), I get suspicious, I say to myself, “Oh, something is wrong, some influence or other must have entered the atmosphere that shouldn’t be there.” All that remorse, all that regret, all that … ooh! The sense of indignity, of fault … and, going a little farther, the sense of sin – oh, that…! That seems to me to belong to another age, a Dark Age.
The Vedic Rishis thirsted for Immortality,
Buddha wanted Permanence….
Then I looked, wondering, “And what was Christ’s path?”… Basically, he always said, “Love thy neighbor,” in other words brotherhood (but that’s a modern translation). For him, the idea was compassion, charity (the Christians say it’s the “law of Love,” but we’re not yet there – that will come much later). So I wrote:
Jesus preached Compassion….
Then I thought: now, Sri Aurobindo, it’s quite clear; for him, the goal was Perfection. Perfection not in the sense of a summit but of an all-inclusive totality in which everything is represented, has a place. And I saw that this Perfection would come – must come – in stages. He announced something the realization of which will stretch over thousands of years. So it must come in stages. And I saw that what I find essential, indispensable (everything is there, everything finds a place, yet there is a kind of anguish – not a personal anguish but a terrestrial anguish), is Security. A need for Security – whatever you attempt, whatever you seek, even Love, even Perfection, it needs Security. Nothing can be achieved with the feeling that all opposing forces can come and sweep everything away. We must find the point where nothing can be touched or destroyed or halted. Therefore, it’s Security, the very essence of Security. So I wrote:
Sri Aurobindo promised Perfection and to attain it, the first requisite, what men need today, is Security.
…it’s the tendency to create two poles: the pleasant or good thing, and the unpleasant or bad one. And as soon as you want to return to the Origin, the two tend to merge together again. And it is in perfect equilibrium, that is, where no division is possible anymore and the one has no influence over the other, where the two have become one again, it’s there that lies this famous Perfection which we are trying to rediscover.
Rejection of the one and acceptance of the other is childishness. It’s ignorance. All mental translations, like that of an Evil eternally evil, giving birth to the idea of hell, or that of a Good eternally good … all that, all of it is childishness.
It may be (maybe, because as soon as you try to formulate, you mentalize, and as soon as you mentalize, it gets shrunk, diminished, limited, it loses the power of truth – but anyway …), it may be that in this universe as it is constituted, perfection is … (Mother remains absorbed for a long time). It eludes words…. We might put it this way (but it’s dry and lifeless): it’s the perception (is it only “perception”? It’s not just “perception”; it’s neither perception nor knowledge nor awareness …), it’s the awareness of the oneness of the whole – a oneness perceived, lived, realized in the individual. But that’s nothing, mere words…. The universe seems to have been created to realize this paradox of the awareness of the whole, an awareness lived (not just perceived but lived) in every part, every element making up the whole.
So in order to give form to those elements, it all began with Separation, and it was Separation that gave birth to this division between what we call good and evil; but from the point of view of sensation – sensation in the most material part – we may say it’s suffering and Ananda. And the movement is to put a stop to all separation and to realize the total consciousness in every part (which mentally speaking is absurd, but it’s like that).
That’s far too philosophical for my taste, not concrete enough. But this morning’s experience was concrete, and concrete because it stemmed from extremely concrete sensations in the body, from the presence of this constant duality which looks like an opposition (not only opposition, but mutual negation) between … we may take the symbol of suffering and Ananda. And the true state (which for the moment appears impossible to formulate in words, but which was lived and felt) is an all-containing totality; but instead of containing everything as clashing elements, it’s a harmony of everything, an equilibrium of everything. And once this equilibrium is realized in the creation, the creation will be able … (if you put it into words, it’s no longer that) … we might say, able to go on progressing without break.
Certainly, a great step will be taken when it becomes natural for man to seek to perfect himself instead of expecting perfection in others …. That reversal is at the basis of all true progress. The first human instinct is, “It’s the fault of circumstances, it’s people’s fault, it’s … See how this fellow is, how that fellow is, how …” And it goes on indefinitely. The FIRST STEP, the very first step is to say, “If I were as I should be, or if the body were as it should be, all would be perfectly all right for it.” If, to make progress, you wait for others to do so, you can wait indefinitely.
That’s the first thing that should be spread everywhere.
Never lay the blame on others or on circumstances because whatever the circumstances may be, even apparently the worst, if you are in the true attitude and have the true consciousness, it doesn’t matter in the least for your inner progress, not in the least – and I’ll say, including death.
That really seems to be the first lesson to be learned.
Do you remember where Sri Aurobindo wrote (I am translating freely) that to facilitate progress, the notion of sin was introduced, but man immediately (laughing) saw sin in all others-he never saw it for himself! …
“The sense of sin was necessary in order that man might become disgusted with his own imperfections. It was God’s corrective for egoism. But man’s egoism meets God’s device by being very dully alive to its owns sins and very keenly alive to the sins of others.”
“What’s divine psychological perfection?” – A smile in any circumstance.