A Talk by Alok Pandey from the “Tuesday Talks” series (AUDIO)
The path of yoga is not an easy journey. Even for the strongest and the best there is often much to endure. The greatest challenge is that the difficulties and obstacles here are not outside but within us. Of course there is the Divine Help and the Grace but the Adversary murmur also whispers by our side dissuading man and filling him with pessimism and fear. That is why trust is so much needed and a will to go through everything. This is so in any yoga but in Sri Aurobindo’s yoga which aims at a self-transformation and world-transformation, the problem is much more compounded. We take a look today at some of the things needed to navigate through this tremendous journey.
Words of Sri Aurobindo
The way to get faith and all things else is to insist on having them and refuse to flag or despair or give up until one has them – it is the way by which everything has been got since this difficult earth began to have thinking and aspiring creatures upon it. It is to open always, always to the Light and turn one’s back on the Darkness. It is to refuse the voices that say persistently, “You cannot, you shall not, you are incapable, you are the puppet of a dream,” – for these are the enemy voices, they cut one off from the result that was coming, by their strident clamour and then triumphantly point to the barrenness of the result as a proof of their thesis. The difficulty of the endeavour is a known thing, but the difficult is not the impossible – it is the difficult that has always been accomplished and the conquest of difficulties makes up all that is valuable in the earth’s history. In the spiritual endeavour also it shall be so.
Words of the Mother
It is a hard path. I try to make it as comfortable as possible, but nevertheless, it is a hard path. And it is obvious that it cannot be otherwise. You are beaten and battered until you understand. Until you are in that state in which all bodies are your body. But at that point, you begin to laugh! You were upset by this, hurt by that, you suffered from this or that – but now, how laughable it all seems! And not only the head, but the body too finds it laughable!
… but it is so deeply rooted: all the reactions of the body-consciousness are like that, with a kind of shrinking at the idea of allowing a higher power to intervene.
From the positive point of view, I am convinced that we agree upon the result to be obtained, that is, an integral and unreserved consecration – in love, knowledge and action – to the Supreme AND TO HIS WORK. I say to the Supreme and to his work because consecration to the Supreme alone is not enough. Now we are here for the supramental realization, this is what is expected of us, but to reach it, our consecration to it must be total, unreserved absolutely integral.
Don’t you really feel where your difficulty is?… It’s a lack of satisfaction, no? What’s called in English frustration, something that’s disappointed.
Yes, but that’s just one way of putting it. Another way would be, “Something unaccomplished.”
Yes, but “something unaccomplished” is a feeling one has and must have till the realization, till the transformation. It’s not only natural but indispensable, because those who feel accomplished or satisfied, it’s over for them, they will never move on again.
This sort of longing, this feeling of something lacking – something you want, which is lacking – the farther you go, the more it increases.
Yes, but that’s not exactly the point…. I don’t know where I stand, I don’t know on which road I am. I don’t know, I know nothing at all!
But that’s wonderful, mon petit! It means you have emerged from mental formations.
It’s mental formations that say, “You are on this road” or “You are at that point of the realization” or … For me, that’s deplorable! When one is in that, one is still buried in mentality.
Yes, but insofar as one is going somewhere …
But do you know exactly where you are going?
No, of course not, but…
I understand very well, I’m not asking to know where I am going, but what I am asking, what I’d like to know, is that I am going, that I am making headway. There’s no sign, you understand, not a single sign. It’s like going somewhere in a train in which all the curtains had been pulled down – the train might be going along or might not, there’s no telling, but there’s no sign to show that you are going towards this somewhere, which I am not defining…. That’s why I haven’t the faintest idea of where I stand, of what I am doing.
You know (shall I be frank?), it’s purely a vital dissatisfaction. And I know that, because it has been (how can I put it?) my great difficulty with you. It was a hundred, a thousand times more violent formerly; now it’s beginning to calm down. It’s a vital that’s very intense in its desires (which may not be ordinary desires at all), but with a sort of almost aggressive intensity, and … essentially dissatisfied. It was very, very strong before, years ago; now it has quieted down. But every time the vital comes into play (and one is obliged to let the vital play because of the physical health; one can’t “calm” it down totally because that would make the physical body suffer), it’s like that…. It gives me, if you like, the impression of a cat’s vital! Cats have a wonderful vital (laughing), far, far more clever and intense than human beings have, but the cat claws, you know, and the feeling is: “I’m not happy, that’s that. I’m not happy”! (Mother laughs)
No, but for instance, the first years when I was here, almost every night I had a sort of sign that I was moving along, making headway – trifling signs, nothing to speak of: a car taking me along, a walk in a mountain, mere nothings, but they were telling me, “Oh, good, I’m getting on. It’s all right, I’m moving along.” But for years now, not only have I had no sign, but all I see is negative things: I see pits, I see accidents, I see infernos, I see … But I never see a sign telling me, “Oh, yes, I’m making headway. It’s all right, I’m getting along” – not that, never. So am I making headway? I don’t know. What I am asking for is an encouragement, just a little gesture telling me, “Yes, you’re getting along, it’s all right. You’re getting along, don’t fret.”
And what do you call a “sign”?… Well, I think you have some trust in me, and if I tell you that you’re not only progressing but progressing very fast, does it have no effect on you? You’ll tell me, “Prove it.” – I can’t prove it to you, it’s something I see, it’s what I know.
But I’d like to have some GLIMPSE of my progress. I am not asking for much, just something once in a while telling me, “Well, don’t fret, you’re moving along,” whereas I always see the darker side, I always see pits, infernos, sewers. So why shouldn’t there be from time to time a little light, a pretty landscape?
Haven’t you any sign of a psychic presence in you?
[After a silence] For years I’ve had a feeling (it’s a feeling, not a vision), the feeling of a great expanse of light, there, and that when I remain silent long enough, I am peaceful, tranquil, there, and it’s for eternity. Well, all right, that’s there, always.
But mon petit, that’s wonderful!
But it’s always been there, it’s nothing new!
Yes, but there are people who have that for one minute in their life and consider it a wonderful realization.
And it’s always there – I know very well it’s always there! I know it, to me it’s a palpable fact.
No, I assure you, you can believe me (Mother laughs), I have a little experience: it’s done. To put it poetically, “Your head is in the Light.” But your vital doesn’t want this manifestation; your vital wanted a vital manifestation, as for instance when it was in the virgin forest, chopping trees down: it wanted to have the sense of the power of life. And that has been denied to it (for yogic and material reasons, both extremes, because the body wasn’t made for that, and because [laughing! the yoga has no time to waste with that), so Mister Vital is furious! It has been told, “Calm down, be at peace, quite at peace, it’s all right, you too will have your joy, but … once you are transformed.” And it may be less pugnacious or rebellious or aggressive than before, but it’s dissatisfied, so it’s what gives you the feeling, “But I have no sign that I’m making headway! I have no sign that I am progressing. Quite the contrary! Quite the contrary, it’s more and more dull, more and more morose, more and more ordinary, that is to say, less and less consonant with my ideal, and my ideal …”
I don’t know. It always revolves around this problem of vision. If I had a beautiful vision from time to time … Once – look, once, in Ceylon (it was the only time in my life), I heard Music, it was … marvelous, it was truly divine. Well, to me, that’s a sign (it happened once in my life), I say to myself, “Oh, good, I’m not far, there’s something.” To me that’s a sign. Or if I see a beautiful light or… Then I am encouraged, I think, “All right, it’s going well.” I can descend into hell after that. After that I may do all sorts of absurd things, but I tell myself, “At least I know I am moving towards that.” Well, no! You see, it happens once in ten years. Of course, the vital seizes on it and turns it into dissatisfaction, but otherwise, in my normal reason, I simply say, “What’s going on? I don’t know.” I am nowhere, I am waiting.
But so am I, mon petit, I am waiting – I am millions of years old and I am waiting.
All these last days I have been precisely in the state you are describing, in which one says, “But where, where is the concrete proof that all this is going to change?” Things are really not pretty to look at – where is it, the concrete proof? And what comes to me is always this, the most severe test I could have been given: Sri Aurobindo’s departure. Because Sri Aurobindo used to speak as if he wasn’t going to go. And it’s something that comes and says, “See, it’s all dreams for thousands of years hence.” And it comes back again and again and again (hammering gesture); so then it’s like a sword of Light, inviolable: a Certitude.
Then you no longer ask – you no longer say, no longer ask anything. You have the patience of faith: “When You want it, well, it will be.” But as for me, I don’t budge, I stay like this (gesture turned to the heights): the inviolable light.
Of course, all the outward events come and belie this. In spite of the inner transformation (which is a sure fact, one has proof of it every second), yet the body keeps its habit of deterioration. And just when you think that things are improving (to give you, as you say, proof that you are making progress), something comes along as if to prove to you that it’s all an illusion! And it’s growing more and more acute, more and more acute. There is always a Voice (which I know very well, it’s the voice of the adverse forces tempting you), which comes and tells you (same hammering gesture), “See, see how mistaken you are, see how you delude yourself, see what a mirage it all is, see …” And then if you listen, you’re done for. It’s very simple: everything is done for.
You just have to put your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes and keep holding tight up above.
Well, since Sri Aurobindo left, that’s what has been coming again and again (same hammering gesture), and, you know, more cruel than all human tortures and all the cruelty ever imagined. It’s something frightfully cruel, and with all the viciousness of cruelty, and back it comes (same gesture). Every time the being opens out in a joy of certitude (same gesture) – “Calm down….”
That’s where, of course, I say that this realization isn’t meant for weak beings – it’s meant for the stronger. And then, you are ashamed of what’s weak in yourself, and you offer it, saying, “Free me from my weakness.” One has to be terribly strong to do that – the strength of endurance untroubled by anything. It’s like a perfection of malice which is there, forever saying (same gesture), “You are mistaken, it’s not possible, you are mistaken, it’s not possible….” And then, “Look, here is proof of the truth of what I am telling you: Sri Aurobindo, he who knew, left.” And if you listen and believe in it, you’re absolutely done for. You’re quite simply done for. And that’s what they want. Only … they must not succeed, we must hold on. For how many years now (hammering gesture)?… Fifteen years, mon petit – for fifteen years (same gesture). Not a single day passes without attacks of that sort, not a single night passes without … You say you see horrors – mon petit, your horrors must be something quite charming in comparison with the horrors I have seen! I don’t think one human being can bear the sight of what I have seen. And it’s shown to me as if to tell me that all my “ambitions,” all of them, are mad. So then, I have only one answer, “Lord, You are everywhere, You are in everything, and it’s for us to see You through everything.”
Then … it calms down.
.. we can stop the entry of bad vibrations?
As for me, I have only one method (but I can conceive that this is simply because that’s the way my nature is), I have only one method, it’s self-abolition, the idea (not an “idea”) that the Supreme alone exists.
I have tried many things, a great many, I have looked a great deal, and I see only one that’s absolute – only one that’s absolute and can bring the absolute result, it’s this (gesture turned Upward): the complete annulment of all that, leaving it all, “To You, Lord – You, You, to You.” And it isn’t a being with a form, that’s not it; it isn’t a formless force, it’s … It has nothing to do with thought, only with this: the contact. And the contact, an unmistakable contact, which nothing can imitate – nothing, nothing at all has the power to imitate it. And for every difficulty, every time, whatever it is, simply this: “Everything to You, Lord. Everything for You, to You. You alone can do it, You, You alone, You alone. You alone are the Truth; You alone are the Power.” And those words are nothing, they are only the very clumsy expression of something … a stupendous Power.
It’s only the incapacity, the clumsiness, the lack of faith we mix into it that takes away His power. The minute we are truly pure, that is, under His influence alone, there are no limits, no limits – nothing, nothing, there is nothing, no law of Nature that can resist, nothing, nothing….
Only, the whole thing is that the time must have come, there must be only That left – all the rest spoils, whatever it is, even the highest, purest, noblest, most beautiful and marvelous things: all that spoils. Only That.