Will and Faith are the two main powers given to man to assist his journey of life. To succeed in his outer or inner life, man must cultivate these two. The Will persistently applied in the direction of our faith tends to mould everything eventually in that direction. But there is a process and there is the factor of Time. The present talk is based on one of Sri Aurobindo’s automatic writings published under the name of Uttara Yogi. It is now part of Collected Works (Records of Yoga Vol 2. Page 1371 – 1379).
Words of Sri Aurobindo
The proper course of the Sadhan is just the opposite of the thing most people do and you have also done. People begin with the body and the prana, go on to the chitta and the manas, and finish up with the buddhi and the will. The real course is to start with the will and finish with the body. There is no need of Asana, Pranayama, Kumbhaka, Chittasuddhi, or anything else preparatory or preliminary if one starts with the will. That was what Sri Ramakrishna came to show so far as Yoga is concerned. “Do the Shakti Upasana first,” he said, “get Shakti and she will give you Sat. ”Will and Shakti are the first means necessary to the Yogin. That was why he said always, “Remember you are Brahman,” and he gave that as a central message to Swami Vivekananda. You are Ishwara. If you choose, you can be shuddha, siddha and everything else, or, if you choose, you can be just the opposite. The first necessity is to believe in yourself, the second in God and the third to believe in Kali; for these things make up the world. Educate the Will first, through the Will educate the Jnanam, through the Jnanam purify the Chitta, control the Prana and calm the Manas. Through all these instruments immortalise the body. That is the real yoga, the Mahapantha, that is the true and only Tantra. The Vedanta starts with Buddhi, the Tantra with Shakti…..
What the Will is you have heard. It is Shakti, it is not Vasana, it is not Cheshta. Vasana and Cheshta are the negation of will. If you have desire, that means you doubt the power of your Will. Brahman has no desire. He wills and all things happen according to his Will. If you have Cheshta, that means you doubt your Will. Only those who feel or think they are not strong, struggle and labour to produce an effect. Brahman has no cheshta. He wills and His Will spontaneously produces its effect. But it produces it in time, space and causality. To demand a result now here and under given conditions is Ajnanam. The time, space and causality of every event and its development have been fixed ages ago by yourself and Parameswara, when the Kalpa began. It is ignorance to struggle and try to alter what you have yourself decreed. Care not about time, space or conditions, but will, and leave the result to God who is your omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient self. You are the individual God and He is the universal God. Nothing but God exists. Ekam evadwitiyam. ThereforeWill implies Samata, absence of Vasana and Cheshta. Absence of Vasana and Cheshta implies knowledge. Until you have knowledge, you can never be safe against the return of Vasana and Cheshta.
The Will when it begins to act, will be hampered by the Swabhava; therefore until you are able to act on the Swabhava, you will not, should not bring your Will to bear upon life. In other words while you are a sadhak of the Shakti marga, be a sadhak only; when you have got Siddhi of the Will, then first use the Siddhi to get perfection of the adhar, and when you have got perfection of the adhar, then use the siddha adhar for Karma, for life.
The Swabhava opposes the perfect action of the Will. Why?
Because the nature of humanity is imperfect, only partly evolved, asiddha, and being in all its dharmas asiddha, the tamasic force of habit, tamasi dhriti, makes it resist any attempt to make it siddha. Humanity is evolving. Yoga is a means of carrying that evolution forward with great and victorious rapidity. But the imperfect Swabhava says, “I do not wish to be perfect, I am accustomed to imperfection and find it easy and comfortable.” First, then, the Will seizes hold of the Swabhava and removes the obstacles in the way of its own perfect development and action. As I have said, it first gets rid of the old samskaras of impossibility, the samskara, the ajnanam that I am man, not God, limited, not illimitable, helpless, not omnipotent. The Will has first to say, “I am omnipotent, that which the Purusha commands, I can act”. For the Will is the Shakti in action, and there is only one Shakti, Kali herself, who is God manifesting as Divine Energy.
Next the Will seizes the adhar and makes it shuddha in order that the Will may itself be shuddha. I have explained that if there is confusion and disorder among the functions, then the Will cannot act omnipotently. Therefore you must first develop Jnanam and by Jnanam effect the shuddhi of the adhar. When the adhar becomes shuddha, the Will being entirely free from wrong samskaras and wrong action, is what I call shuddha. It works perfectly. Working perfectly it makes the adhar siddha, that is the adhar rids itself of all doshas, deficiencies and weaknesses and works perfectly. It becomes a perfect instrument for the Purushottama, the Purusha and Shakti to carry on their Lila. Knowledge, therefore, jnanam is the next stage to be considered.
But before I come to that, let me finish about the obstacles in the Swabhava. There are not only the wrong Samskaras and the ashuddhi of the adhar, but the general nature of things has certain tendencies or laws in it which oppose the development of the Yoga as well as certain tendencies which help the development of the Yoga. There are three laws which oppose the law of persistence, the law of resistance and the law of recurrence: there are three laws which assist the law of gradual processes, the law of concentrated processes and the law of involved processes.
The law of persistence is this, that a rule, habit or tendency once established has a right to survive, a natural unwillingness to be changed or annulled. The longer it has been established, the longer it takes to root out. If a man has been yielding to the shadripus for many lives without any serious effort to dominate them or purify himself, then he cannot by mere wish or a mere rapid effort get rid of them and become pure and calm. They refuse to be so cavalierly treated. They say “You have given us rights in this adhar, and we persist”. Still more hard to deal with are those dharmas of the body which men call the laws of physical nature.
But the Will is omnipotent and if patiently, calmly and heroically exercised, will prevail. For the Will, I repeat, is Kali herself. Therefore in the end it establishes by its action new rules, habits or tendencies which fight with and gradually overcome the old. What then happens is that the old, though put down, weakened and no longer a real part of the nature, resist eviction from the adhar. They are supported by an army of forces or spiritual beings who surround you and live upon your experiences and enjoyments. This law of resistance marks the second period of the Yoga and, unless the Will has already become siddha and the adhar shuddha, is very trying and troublesome to the sadhak. For there seems to be no end to the capacity of resistance.
Here again the Will is bound to triumph, if it is supported by faith or knowledge. Even then the evicted habits and tendencies strive continually to re-enter the system and recover their lost seats of power and enjoyment. This is called recurrence. In proportion as the Will is siddha and the Adhar shuddha, the recurrence becomes weaker and less frequent or, when it comes, less prolonged. But in an impure adhar, or with an imperfect Will, the recurrence is often as prolonged and troublesome as the resistance.
On the other hand there are the three favourable laws. When a new habit or tendency is once established, it is the law that it shall develop towards strength and perfection. So long as it is struggling to establish itself, the Yogin may at any time become bhrashta, that is he may from error, weakness or impatience give up the struggle. That is the only fall for the Yogin. Failure, temporary defeat, is not bhramsa, so long as he refuses to give up the struggle. But once the right tendency is established, no man can destroy it, until it has enjoyed supremacy and its bhoga.
Still at first, while the Will is comparatively weak or unpractised, the progress must be slow. In proportion as the perfection of the Will brings purity of the Adhar, the progress becomes rapid. Everything in this world is done by a process; a process means a series of actions leading to a particular result by certain recognized stages. These stages may be passed through slowly or swiftly, but so long as the law of gradual processes obtains, all the stages must be successively and consciously passed through. You have so many milestones to pass; but you may pass them walking, in a carriage, in a railway train, but pass them you must. Still by the growing strength of the Will, you can replace slow process by swift process.
Then a time comes when Kali begins to transcend the ordinary human limits and becomes no longer the Shakti of a man, but the Shakti of God in man. It is then that gradual processes are replaced by concentrated processes. It is as if, instead of travelling from milestone to milestone you could leap from the first milestone to the third and so on to your journey’s end. In other words the process remains the same but some of the stages seem to be dispensed with. In reality they are passed over so lightly as to escape notice and occupy little time. Therefore it is called a concentrated or contracted process.
Lastly, when the man himself becomes God, either in a part of his actions or in the whole, then the law of concentrated processes gives place to the involved processes, when no process at all seems to be used, when the result follows the action instantaneously, inevitably and miraculously. In reality there is no miracle, the process is used but so rapidly, with such a sovereign ease, that all the stages become involved or hidden in what seems a moment’s action.
To most men it is enough, if they can reach the second stage; it is only the Avatar or the great Vibhuti who can reach the third.
Therefore do not be discouraged by any failure or delay. It is purely a question of force and purity of the Will. By purity I mean freedom from desire, from effort, from misplacement. It is best to begin by concentrating effort on the self-purification of the Will, towards which the first necessity is passivity of desire for the fruit, the second the passivity of the Chitta and the Buddhi, while the will is being applied; the third the development of self-knowledge in the use of the Will. It will be found that by this process of educating the Will, atmanam atmana, purity of the adhar will also be automatically prepared and knowledge will begin to develop and act.