The Vital Difficulty

 

After stopping tea my mind seems to become dull. I cannot take interest in anything. It has become difficult to attend my classes.

All that is evidently due to the vital-physical becoming tamasic because you refuse it its small desires. You should throw it away altogether and call down into the vital-physical the Mother’s Force.

So long as something in the being clings to the desire of indulgence, no Force can get rid of these things by violence. Even if the Force threw it out, that in the being would call it back.

The tamas could rise so completely because some part of my vital was upset yesterday.

That is the difficulty which is standing in the way — the power of this part to upset the consciousness.

I wonder why I do not have any psychic experiences at present, even during the periods when my vital is calm.

Only calm in the vital is hardly sufficient. There must be something throwing out the ego from the vital.

My vital has become extremely unstable. When its views are even slightly contradicted, it invariably sinks into despair. I often try to stop it but it always returns to its nature.

It is because the vital was very much under the grip of its desires and so, now that it is separately active, not controlled by mental will, it kicks and cries whenever its desires are not satisfied. That is an ordinary movement of the human vital when not dominated and kept in its place by the mental will.

What a curious nature I have — to be upset because somebody spoke this or that! I take it as a great weakness.

That also is the usual movement of the vital when acting in its own nature.

The vitality in my outer being has decreased much. What I could do in one day now needs three days! Is this due to a transition period for establishing a higher life in the outer nature?

It depends on how you take it. If you allow the inertia to depress you it becomes an interruption and not a transition.

Could you kindly explain how it becomes a period of transition simply by not allowing the depression?

It becomes a state of transition in which something that has to be dealt with is worked out. But if there is depression etc. it becomes instead a struggle between the lower consciousness and the impulsion towards higher things.

Dullness, unhappiness and indifference in regard to every earthly thing are felt by some parts of my nature. That, I think, is not depression.

Then what is it? That is usually called depression.

At times, parts of my being do not feel happy, yet neither do they feel depression or despair.

If dullness and unhappiness are not depression, I do not know what depression means. Despair is another matter.

To be desireless does not need a long tapasya. There are people in the world who keep themselves detached from desires. It is an initial step of any Yoga.

Of Yoga, yes. But people in the world are not desireless — only they control their desires, choose between them, accept some, reject others.

Desire is a psychological movement and it can attach itself to a “true need” as well as to things that are not true needs. One must approach even true needs without desire. If one does not get them, one must feel nothing.

In what way am I keeping myself open to “Ego, Demand and Desire”?

The fact that your vital “goes out of the poise” and accepts them means that you keep yourself open to them. The sign that these things are no longer admitted is when the inner vital rejects them so that they become suggestions only and nothing else. There may be even a siege of suggestions or waves from the general nature, but they cannot get admission. It is only then that a wall can be kept in which one is untouched by the general atmosphere.

I feel some sort of voidness just after my English class. It is not a spiritual emptiness, but a kind of exhaustion of my life-energy.

Voidness may be of different kinds — a certain kind of spiritual voidness or the emptiness that is a preparation for new experiences. But an exhaustion of life energy is a very different thing. It may arise from fatigue, from somebody or something drawing away the vital force or from an invasion of tamas. But I don’t know why it should be connected with the English study and happen only then.

I just read that if our vital lays its hold on the physical the transformation of the body can be done very quickly. Why then does my vital not try it?

Laziness. The vital can be all right when things are going on swimmingly, but when difficulties become strong, it sinks and lies supine. Also if some bait is held out to the vital ego, then it can become enthusiastic and active.

The vital struggle comes from a wrong attitude in the vital itself and in the physical mind, an absence of quietude resulting.

In this Yoga, desires are not to be suppressed but conquered. But to dissolve them is not easy — when no longer in the mind, they are found lurking in the vital or the physical or the subconscient.

I do not know what you mean by dissolution. The principle of the Yoga is rejection — throwing out of the being. It is true that rejected from the mind it often goes to the vital, rejected by the vital, to the physical, rejected by the physical to the subconscient. Rejected from the subconscient also, it can still linger in the environmental consciousness — but there it has no longer any possession of the being and can be thrown away altogether.

Why did the vital feel that the Mother was displeased with me?

Causeless vital habit, constructing things in order to have an excuse for being dissatisfied. It is the nature of the vital, there is no other why.

It seems something has happened in my vital being. The displeasure, depression and despair it now feels really have nothing to do with physical occurrences; they are only excuses it projects for its justification. For while these outer circumstances have remained the same, it is only now that such absurd dissatisfaction has risen up. What has happened? Is there a real cause?

There is no cause. It is the nature of the vital. The ordinary vital movement is to go through pleasure and pain, joy and grief, exaltation and despondency, all the dualities. Therefore the vital seizes on any cause it can find to get these things. If there is no real cause, it will invent one. If it is not allowed to invent, it will bring up a causeless grief or despondency or discontent rather than have none at all. This is especially the case when peace or quietude is trying to establish itself — the vital nature does not like that and tries all it can to bring despondency, grief, revolt, any kind of disturbance. When one is free from these things, that is the sign that the consciousness has become liberated and the higher consciousness is there.

It is the vital joy or pleasure I spoke of as the thing desired by the vital along with variations of grief and depression. The deeper joy and delight comes only with the touch of the higher consciousness.

“The ordinary vital movement is to go through pleasure and pain, joy and grief, exaltation and despondency, all the dualities.” Then why did I not have periods of pleasure, joy or exaltation before this present lapse into depression?

Because you had brought down the peace which is free from the dualities. What came to oppose it and cover it was the inertia, and the inertia is not easily capable of joy or exaltation, but it easily admits despondency etc., so the vital not finding any rajasic pleasure takes refuge in despondency.

I was told that despondency comes only when the vital stirs. What makes it stir only at certain times and not at other times?

You might just as well ask why sometimes the wind blows and at other times there is no breeze since the air is always there. The vital cannot be expected to be always in action to bring despondency — it does when it feels inclined so to act.

The vital seems to be unable to reject depression and despair.

That is because your mind often participates and gets despondent — also because the will to dissociate and push it out is not steady and calm enough. To a calm and steady will the vital would be obliged to respond after a time.

But why does the depression increase in spite of my efforts to reject it?

It is the resistance of the vital to change. Formerly it probably took more the form of an undiscovered and therefore unresisted activity of ego etc., and, when dissatisfied, of discontent and soreness rather than depression. Now that it is definitely and finally asked to change, its reaction takes the form of refusal and depression.

What is the inner reason for the vitals dissatisfaction?

It is dissatisfied by its claims not being recognised, by the pressure on it to change, by the attempt to stabilise a consciousness in which its ego cannot have a place.

A wise vital is a rare phenomenon. It has to be enlightened from above, otherwise it is always imprudent.

For some days I have been trying to recover my past attitude of surrender: “Give everything and ask for nothing.” But I don’t know why I meet there with a total failure.

I suppose because you are giving too big a place to your vital — that is to say the part of the vital which insists on itself as the one important thing and says, “If I am not satisfied there can be no sadhana; if I am going wrong, then all this sadhana must be false like X’s.”

Things in sadhana cannot be done in a “short time”. The vital despondency comes largely from an impatience and the unwillingness to spend a calm, steady labour on the things to be done. No great work was ever done without the patient overcoming of difficulties.

When the vital is dissatisfied, the being does not care much for the sadhana. For it feels that if the Divine is displeased with me what is the use of all this tapasya, experience, progress?

What being feels like that? If it is the whole being that shares whatever the vital chooses to raise, dissatisfaction, causeless despair etc., how do you propose to get rid of the vital opposition in a short time? It is not possible to get rid “directly” of a thing to which the whole being consents.

It is mostly when the sadhana condition is interrupted that the vital becomes agitated or impatient and restless. Instead of remaining quiet and waiting or calling down the real push from above, it begins to get vexed and restless and begins to ask questions “Why this? Why that?” Also the old vital mental egoism rises up and if the answers do not please it, it becomes challenging, disputatious, insistent on its own point of view. These are old defects which are part of the external nature and therefore difficult to root out. You must learn to recognise them and get rid of them by a quiet rejection and disuse.

What is the “sadhana condition”?

When the sadhana is strong and intense or sufficiently active, that is the sadhana condition. When it is interrupted, then the vital becomes impatient and restless.

Why does the sadhana condition get interrupted?

Always the same question! Everybody’s sadhana gets interrupted because it is the nature of the consciousness to have these oscillations, until the whole nature is sufficiently changed to have the constant realisation in all parts. I do not know how often I have explained that.

Even before our whole nature is changed, I think that if the higher action is persistent, we can at least throw off our human imperfections for a long time.

If it were so easy as that, there would be no need of sadhana. The higher action would only have to rush in and stay and everything would be done in no time.

A mere peaceful state makes my vital impatient. For it thinks: “If there is no restlessness or turmoil, why shouldn’t the higher things descend at once?”

It is this impatience of the vital that is, as I told you, one of the chief obstacles. If the vital were quiet (not either inert or restless) one would feel peace itself as a great realisation as all great Yogis do, and into it would come the sense of the free silent Self unperturbed for ever and tranquil and in that condition the Force also could descend. A vital attached and demanding results and refusing to go on with the sadhana without them is a great hindrance.

Since yesterday there has been a strong revolt in the vital. It is accompanied with anti-divine suggestions. Is not all this surging up as a resistance to a new opening?

It may be. But more probably because of the pressure on it to change, give up its attachments etc.

When the vital does not express its dissatisfaction it takes refuge usually in a form of passive surrender: “If you don’t satisfy my desires, it is all right. I don’t want anything, don’t want to do sadhana. I fall back to my old position.” This, I suppose, is as bad as the vital’s insistence on its desires!

All the same that is the first step towards freeing the vital. So long as it insists on its desires, it cannot be freed. One has to make it give up its insistence first and give up its passive resistance afterwards.

What is the difference between the voidness caused by a drawing of the life energy and that produced by a spiritual emptiness?

The drawing of the life energy leaves the body lifeless, helpless, empty and impotent, but it is attended by no experience except a great suffering and unease sometimes.

Is it good to have a vital sensitive to others, exposed to others?

It is neither good nor bad. It comes like that in the course of the development. Some are incapable of consciously or visibly opening to others because they are insensitive. On the other hand to be too open is troublesome.

Has everybody to pass through the stage of vital sensitiveness?

The Mother and myself have passed through it. It comes inevitably in the full opening of the being to the universal.

Isn’t insensitiveness better than the constant trouble which comes from remaining open to others?

There can be no transformation of the being in an insensitive consciousness.

The depression is not the only cause of suspension of experiences. There are others such as inertia etc. If one can have experiences continuously in spite of these things, that means that a part of the consciousness has definitely separated from the rest and is able to go on in spite of the outer resistance.

Since yesterday there has been no gloom or despondency in spite of enough outer reasons for it. Is it then a fact that my being does not respond to the outer reasons, or does the mind simply think like that?

The outer reasons are created by the mind and it is the mind that responds or does not respond to them. Nothing outward can affect unless the mind (vital mind usually) represents them to itself in a particular way and makes its own response.

If the mind does not respond to any suggested reasons for despondency, that is indeed a great liberation.

Does the vital by itself never get depressed? It is only when the mind creates outer reasons that vital depression is possible?

The vital mind is part of the vital. If the mind (mental mind, vital mind, physical mind, subconscient mind) does not respond to outer things, depression is impossible. The self at one end, the stone at the other never get into depression. In between, the true mind, true vital, true physical consciousness never get depression because they do not give the responses to things that create depression.

I have raised this question again because X tells me that when he is depressed there are never any external causes. Well, that may prove that depression is possible in the absence of any outward reasons.

You seem to rely very much on X and his experiences and ideas about them. X’s experience proves nothing because he is quite ignorant. His depression comes from outside and has its causes, only his vital mind does not record or understand the causes, but there is a response to them all the same. Because the vital mind has in the past always associated depression with these causes and that impression remains in the vital stuff, so it responds to their touch with the usual reaction taught to it by the vital mind. An ignorant and untrained mind like X’s cannot be expected to realise the secret machinery of the movements of his own consciousness.

If the vital responds [to the depression] so intensely and easily, it shows that there is not a complete liberation in the vital. You have been stressing so much on the violence and intensity of this vital activity or response, that it is difficult to suppose it is in the environmental only. For then, how is it that you do not feel, are not conscious that it comes from outside and is not a thing having its origin within you?

When the vital truly turns with passion towards the Divine, then can there be any real difficulty in changing one’s nature?

There will be changes that have to be made, but they will not present themselves as almost insuperable difficulties.

The lower vital does not like egolessness — it wants always its own personal satisfaction.

What is the inner reason that the vital gets depressed?

The original nature of the vital — selfish, demanding, dissatisfied with anything that does not respond to its desires. It is the only reason why it rejects the peace and gets depressed or revolted. Even if there is no active cause, this essential and fundamental cause is sufficient.

My vital gets restless by its own restlessness.

Of course, because it is the habit of its nature to be restless.

Have you started any higher action directly on the lower vital to remove the particular difficulty there?

The only action has been for bringing down the Force of the Higher Consciousness into the lower being.

The higher Force is not likely to come down into the vital independently of the rest of the system.

You wrote once that the outer being cannot be changed without bringing down the higher consciousness first into the inner. Shall I have to wait then for the inner being to get the higher consciousness before this depression can go?

Yes, unless you free the vital from subjection to ego and demand. But that needs a will which will master the instinctive movements of the lower vital.

If the middle vital accepts the right attitude, will there still be depression?

If the middle vital accepts it, the depression ought to diminish. If the lower vital accepts it, then there will be no depression.

Could medical treatment cure the vital depression?

Doctors think that they can, as it is due to physico-psychological causes, which are in their province.

Why does my vital feel a strong attraction towards a particular person?

There is no why to the attractions of the vital. The vital is not governed by reasons.

You wrote, “Liking and disliking always means interchange of influences.” If I have a special liking for P, will not the interchange between us be only of good influences?

Whether good or bad is not the question, there is an interchange in the vital.

Will there be any interchange of influences with a person whom we like or dislike but have no physical contact?

There can be and usually is, but not so much as by physical contact.

Does a good vital interchange, due to our liking a person, interfere with the sadhana?

It can interfere, if it is strong and brings an attachment.

The physical vital has made some progress. Though it does not feel satisfied with the higher things, strangely enough it is troubled when it cannot have them or when mud from the general Nature enters into it.

The physical vital is always full of inconsistencies. The contradiction you describe is quite normal and usual in the intermediate stage before the complete conversion of the vital.

When the vital feels dull and unhappy because of the constant emptiness, the light of the higher knowledge brings it to the right attitude. But this lasts only for a few days, after which the vital reverts to its old habit. Why so?

Because of the obstinacy of the subconscient vital in error — it sends up the same thing always. If the conscious vital refuses to receive it, then it will stop or at any rate be ineffective.

It seems to me that the part of my being that gets despondent is not my own vital. It becomes mine only when I take it as mine. I say this because I feel the gloom more in the form of suggestions from outside than as feelings from within, and the sadhana goes on in spite of it. The depression must be due to a push of the general lower nature and the vital’s inability to reject it.

Yes. The depression comes from without, not from within. But some part of the vital is too habituated to respond or at least passively accept or reflect and to take it as its own. If it were not for this, there would be little or no difficulty in throwing off the depression when it tries to come.

Why do I find no interest, no joy, no satisfaction even in my higher experiences?

It is strange that there should be no interest or satisfaction of any kind. Perhaps it is the vital interest, joy or satisfaction that you are expecting? But that comes only if the vital takes part in the experience.

Really I do not know what kind of joy you want. All experiences are not accompanied by joy. Interest is another matter.

You know that my mind and inner being at least are quite earnest to rid the being of the vital ego and vital demands. Can you not then cut them off by a direct higher action? It is said that the Divine comes to one’s aid if one aspires sincerely for it.

These things cannot be done in that way. For transformation to be genuine, the difficulty has to be rejected by all the parts of the being. The Force can only help or enable them to do that, but it cannot replace this necessary action by a summary process. Your mind and inner being must impart their will to the whole.

I have always said that it is not P and his vital which upset my sadhana but my own self and nature.

Certainly, it is the vital ego that is the cause and there is no need of bringing in P’s vital. You have to get rid of it altogether. It is this kind of thing that must be preventing the dynamic Force from coming down — for if it came into this part of the vital, this kind of reaction getting strength in the vital might assume enormous proportions.

What is meant by your last four words?

Might become exceedingly strong and violent.

The vital is too selfish to have any gratitude. The more it gets the more it demands and it takes everything as its right and every denial of what it wants as an injustice and an offence.

The whole significance of your sentences was that you had made all the necessary resolutions, but you could not carry them out because the Force refused to support you. That is the usual trick of the vital mind when it wants to rid itself of the blame for difficulties or want of progress in the sadhana. “I am doing all I can, but the Force is not supporting me.”

I am not “pressing” any Force. The Force is there to help if the help is acceptable. The vital is depressed and dissatisfied because ego and desire have to be given up and it does not want to give up anything. And as for you, well, you will say “If the vital does not want, what can I do?”

Your vital responds to it [depression] and reproduces its suggestions of despondency etc. If your vital stopped doing that, you would feel it is a suggestion from outside and simply answer with you mind “Nonsense” and dismiss it. Even if you could live separate in your inner being, the response of your vital would be felt as something superficial, negligible, not effective.

Perhaps the vital cooperated before because it hoped to get something for the ego out of the sadhana and refuses to cooperate now as its demands are not honoured — also because there is now a pressure for the giving up of desire and selfishness and it is not prepared to do it. In the absence of the vital cooperation the mind cannot get up steam to do anything steadily in the sadhana line.

Purification of the vital is usually considered to be a condition for a successful sadhana. One may have some experiences without it, but at least a complete detachment from the vital movements is necessary for a substantial realisation.

The cause of depression does not lie in there being Pranam or no Pranam but in the nature itself — in a certain kind of rajasic and tamasic vital egoism which seizes on any excuse for indulging its propensities.

The reason is that there is in the vital a desire or an interest and in the mind a habit of bringing itself all the satisfaction of the desire or chewing the cud of interest and the mechanical mind goes on doing these things even when it ought to be free from all such things and concentrated on the sadhana. That is why the roots of all desires have to be loosened so that one can do things without desire or attachment and be able also not to do them; so with interests they must be held loosely on the surface of the mind so that they can be dismissed or taken up at will and not allowed to fasten on the mind and occupy it against its will.

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