The Double Perfection (HH 155)

A Talk by Alok Pandey from the “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)


There is a human perfection and its ideal is a development of human nature to its utmost capacity and qualities. There is also the spiritual perfection which means the blossoming of the soul to its utmost possibilities. Each is valid in its own field though it is erroneously believed that one must discard or renounce one for the sake of the other. This is a fallacy.

No doubt it is important to know that one can be a yogi without being great and also one can be great without being a yogi. But when the two meet, a human being risen in the scale of our humanity and the Divine afflatus driving him as a conscious instrument then new possibility open before earth and men. This is termed by the Mother as the double perfection, the coming together of the human and the divine perfection, a development of the instruments of Nature and a blossoming of the soul to its fullness. We take a look at this side of the Yoga of Self-Perfection and the possible meeting of the two kinds of perfection in a human being.

Words of the Mother

The higher perfection is the spiritual perfection, integral union with the Divine, identification with the Divine, freedom from all the limitations of the lower world. That is spiritual perfection, the perfection that comes from yoga—quite independent of the body and the physical world—which, in ancient times, meant first rejecting the body and the physical life so as to have a relation only with the higher world and finally with the Divine. That is the higher perfection.

And the lower perfection is to be able to make the human being in his present form and in his body, in his relation with all terrestrial things, do the utmost he can. This is the case of all great men of genius: artistic genius, literary genius, genius in organisation, the great rulers, those who have carried physical capacities to their maximum perfection, human development to the limit of its possibilities; and, for instance, all those who have complete control over their bodies and succeed in doing miraculous things, as we saw, for example, during the war, with the airmen: they made their bodies do things which at first sight seemed quite impossible, they obtained from them an endurance, a skill, a power which were almost unthinkable. And from every point of view: from the point of view of physical strength, of intellectual realisation, of the physical qualities of energy and courage, of disinterestedness, goodness, charity; all human qualities carried to their utmost limits. That is the lower perfection.

The higher perfection is spiritual and super-human. The lower perfection is human perfection carried to its maximum limits, and this may be quite independent of all spiritual life, all spiritual aspiration. One can be a genius without having any spiritual aspiration. One can have all the most extraordinary moral qualities without having any spiritual life. And even, usually, those who have a very great power of human realisation are satisfied—more or less satisfied—with their condition. They feel they are self-sufficient, that they carry in themselves the source of their realisation and their joy, and it is usually very difficult to make them understand and feel that they are not the creators of their own creations, whatever they may be. Most of them, with very rare exceptions, if they were told, “You are not the originator of this work you are doing, it is a force higher than you and you are only its instrument”, they would dislike it very much—and they will send you about your business! Therefore, these two perfections are really divergent in ordinary life. It was said in the old yoga that the first condition for doing yoga was to be disgusted with life. But those who have realised this human perfection are very rarely disgusted with life, unless they have met with personal difficulties such as the ingratitude of people around them, the lack of understanding of their genius which was not sufficiently appreciated—so all this disgusts them, but otherwise, so long as they are in their period of success and creation, they are perfectly satisfied. So, as they are satisfied —above all, self-satisfied—they don’t need to seek anything else.

It is not essentially true, but this is usually how things happen, and unless there is in this genius a soul which is perfectly conscious of itself and has come to accomplish a specific work on earth, he may very well be born, grow up and die without knowing that there is anything other than this earthly life. And above all it is this, you see, this feeling of having achieved the utmost realisation which gives a satisfaction that keeps one from needing anything else…. If they have a soul that’s fully conscious of itself and fully conscious of its purpose in the physical world, there could be a vague feeling that all this is pretty hollow, that all these achievements are a little too superficial and that something is lacking; but that comes only to those who are predestined, and after all, in the mass of humanity, there are not very many of them.

Only those who are predestined can combine these two perfections and realise something integral…. This is quite rare. The great spiritual leaders have very rarely been great realisers in the physical world. It has happened, but it is very rare. Only those who are conscious incarnations of the Divine naturally carry in themselves the possibility of the two perfections, but this is exceptional. People who had a spiritual life, a great spiritual realisation, were able at certain exceptional moments to have a capacity for outward realisation; this also was exceptional, but it was intermittent and never had the integrality, the totality, the perfection of those who concentrated on material realisation. And this is why those who live only in the external consciousness, for whom the earthly material life is all that really exists, concrete and tangible, perceptible to all, always feel that spiritual life is something hazy, something almost mediocre from the material point of view…..

….It is not enough that “the Spirit bloweth”, the instrument must also be capable of manifesting it. I believe that is one of the things Sri Aurobindo is going to explain: why it is necessary to give to the physical, external being, its full development, the capacity of controlling matter directly; then you put at the disposal of the Spirit an instrument capable of manifesting it, otherwise…

And this is precisely the key to the effort Sri Aurobindo wanted us to make. That is why Sri Aurobindo used to repeat and has always said: You must work from both ends, not let go of one for the other. And certainly, if you want to have a divine consciousness, you must not give up spiritual aspiration; but if you want to become an integral divine being on earth, take good care not to let go of the other end, and make your body the best possible instrument.

It is a disease of the ordinary human intellect—which comes, moreover, from separation, division—to make a thing always either this or that. If you choose this, you turn your back on that; if you choose that, you turn your back on this. It is an impoverishment. One must know how to take up everything, combine everything, synthesise everything. And then one has an integral realisation.

24 April 1957

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….Be yourself what you would like them to be. Give them the example of disinterestedness, patience, self-control, constant good humour, the overcoming of one’s little personal dislikes, a sort of constant goodwill, an understanding of others’ difficulties; and that equality of temper which makes children free from fear, for what makes children deceitful and untruthful, and even cunning, is the fear of being punished. If they feel secure, they will hide nothing and you will then be able to help them to be loyal and honest. Of all things the most important is good example. Sri Aurobindo speaks of that, of the invariable good humour one must have in all circumstances, this self-forgetfulness: not to throw one’s own little troubles on others; when one is tired or uncomfortable, not to become unpleasant, impatient. This asks for quite some perfection, a self-control which is a great step on the path of realisation. If one fulfilled the conditions needed to be a true leader, even if only a leader of a small group of children, well, one would already be far advanced in the discipline needed for the accomplishment of the yoga.

It is from this aspect that the problem should be seen, the aspect of self-mastery, of control, of the endurance which will not allow your personal condition to react on your group-work or collective action. To forget oneself is one of the most essential

conditions for being a true leader: to have no selfish interests, to want nothing for oneself, to consider only the good of the group, of the whole, the totality that depends on one; to act only with that aim in mind, without wanting any personal profit from one’s action.

A leader of a small group can thus become a perfect leader for a large group, for a nation, and prepare himself for a collective role. It is a training-ground of great importance, and that is truly what we have attempted and are continuing to try out here: to give to everyone as soon as possible a responsibility, big or small, so that he learns to become a true leader. To be a true leader one must be completely disinterested and efface from oneself as much as possible all self-regard and all selfish movements. To be a leader one must master one’s ego, and to master one’s ego is the first indispensable step for doing yoga.

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The Action is evident…. And it is the ego’s authority which is disappearing – increasingly disappearing. With total acceptance, you know, one that doesn’t even need to understand. We always want to understand in the old mental way – there’s NO NEED to understand. An acceptance like this (gesture, hands open).

Under that Pressure, the old remnants of authority, the remnants of the ego’s authority should disappear and be replaced by this (same gesture, hands open): a receptivity and obedience (not “obedience,” because there is no need to understand): to be impelled exclusively by the Divine. This in place of the ego. The last traces of the ego getting erased, and … (gesture, hands open) being replaced by … (same gesture).

I continually have the feeling (fifty times a day, perhaps) of being a little baby (gesture, kicking hands and legs), completely wrapped in and tossed about by the divine forces! (laughter) Exactly like that.

There are still…. It isn’t completely transparent, naturally, there still remain some old things, the ego’s old rule over the body, which causes grating and friction, but otherwise … otherwise just like a baby!

Like a baby.

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Truth, Love, Compassion will give a basis to the new creation. It is not birth but the value of men that should give the right to authority.

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