Practical Guidelines For Doing The Yoga Of Sri Aurobindo And The Mother

“Is the Divine the supreme fact of your life, so much so that it is simply impossible for you to do without it? Do you feel that your very raison d’être is the Divine and without it there is no meaning in your existence? If so, then only can it be said that you have a call for the Path.”

“The ideal Sadhaka should be able to say in the Biblical phrase, ‘My zeal for the Lord has eaten me up.”

“To be conscious, first of all. We are conscious of only an insignificant portion of our being; for the most part we are unconscious. It is this unconsciousness that keeps us down to our unregenerate nature and prevents change and transformation in it. It is through unconsciousness that the undivine forces enter into us and make us their slaves. You are to be conscious of yourself, you must awake to your nature and movements, you must know why and how you do things or feel or think them; you must understand your motives and impulses, the forces, hidden and apparent, that move you; in fact, you must, as it were, take to pieces the entire machinery of your being.
“Once you are conscious, it means that you can distinguish and sift things, you can see which are the forces that pull you down and which help you on.
“And when you know the right from the wrong, the true from the false, the divine from the undivine, you are to act strictly up to your knowledge; that is to say, resolutely reject one and accept the other.
“The duality will present itself at every step and at every step you will have to make your choice. You will have to be patient and persistent and vigilant — ‘sleepless’, as the adepts say; you must always refuse to give any chance whatever to the undivine against the divine.”

“When you want to do sadhana, at each moment of your life, there is a choice between taking a step that leads to the goal and falling asleep or sometimes even going backwards, telling yourself, ‘Oh, later on, not immediately’ — sitting down on the way.
“To be vigilant is not merely to resist what pulls you downward, but above all to be alert in order not to lose any opportunity to progress, any opportunity to overcome a weakness, to resist a temptation, any opportunity to learn something, to correct something, to master something. If you are vigilant, you can do in a few days what would otherwise take years. If you are vigilant, you change each circumstance of your life, each action, each movement into an occasion for coming nearer the goal.
“There are two kinds of vigilance, active and passive. There is a vigilance that gives you a warning if you are about to make a mistake, if you are making a wrong choice, if you are being weak or allowing yourself to be tempted, and there is the active vigilance which seeks an opportunity to progress, seeks to utilise every circumstance to advance more quickly.
“There is a difference between preventing yourself from falling and advancing more quickly.
“And both are absolutely necessary.”

“Do not lend yourself to the superficial forces which move in the outside world. Even if you are in a hurry to do something, step back for a while… Always keep your peace, resist all temptation to lose it. Never decide anything without stepping back, never speak a word without stepping back, never throw yourself into action without stepping back.”

“All that belongs to the ordinary world is impermanent and fugitive, so there is nothing in it worth getting upset about. What is lasting, eternal, immortal and infinite — that indeed is worth having, worth conquering, worth possessing. It is Divine Light, Divine Love, Divine Life — it is also Supreme Peace, Perfect Joy and All-Mastery upon earth with the Complete Manifestation as the Crowning. When you get the sense of relativity of things, then whatever happens, you can step back and look; you can remain quiet and call on the Divine Force and wait for an answer. Then you will know exactly what to do.”

“The Divine that we adore is not only a remote extracosmic Reality, but a half-veiled Manifestation present and near to us here in the universe. Life is the field of a divine manifestation not yet complete: here, in life, on earth, in the body … we have to unveil the Godhead; here we must make its transcendent greatness, light and sweetness real to our consciousness, here possess and, as far as may be, express it.”

“… you have always had an idea that to give expression to an impulse or a movement is the best way or even the only way to get rid of it. But that is a mistaken idea. If you give expression to anger, you prolong or confirm the habit of the recurrence of anger; you do not diminish or get rid of the habit. The very first step towards weakening the power of anger in the nature and afterwards getting rid of it altogether is to refuse all expression to it in act or speech. Afterwards one can go on with more likelihood of success to throw it out from the thought and feeling also. And so with all other wrong movements.”

Whenever faced with a surging wrong impulse in oneself, which is strongly seeking an outlet of expression, one often offers a lame excuse whose form is somewhat like this: “Well, if I do it this time, I shall be convinced that it is after all bad and I shall do it no longer. As a matter of fact this is the last time I am allowing myself to to it, and that with the laudable intention of being convinced of its undesirability through actual experience which will surely purify me by effective purging.”
But this method does not work at all; for the theory is not based on psychological facts of human nature. Instead of being purified, one gets still more engrossed in the impulse and weakness, making a future deliverance much more difficult.
No, instead of indulging in the weakness even for once, what the sadhaka has to do is to take a very firm resolve on the very first occasion itself and say to oneself: “Well, this time itself, I shall not do it; I shall apply all my strength to prevent its expression in speech and action.”
Yes, one must concentrate only on scoring this first stage of victory over the impulse. Whatever outlet the moment’s impulse is seeking from the sadhaka for its expression, has to be blocked altogether: one need not for the time being waste one’s energy or effort in tackling its inner turmoil in the sadhaka’s consciousness.
Of course, the urge, the desire, the passion will still be there in the sadhaka’s heart producing churnings and whirls there, but outside one does resist its manifestation. This is not suppression; it is only a stratagem of battle. One should stand like a rock and resolve not to carry out the dictate in action suggested by the impulse.
If the sadhaka can do this every time the resultant impulse becomes strong, it will be found that the insistent urge is gradually losing its intensity; also, the frequency of its appearance will progressively diminish.

“All forces upon earth tend towards expressing themselves. These forces come with the object of manifesting themselves, and if you place a barrier and refuse expression, they may try to beat against the barrier for a time, but in the end, they will tire themselves out and not being manifested, they will withdraw…”

“The effective order is to begin from the outside: ‘The very first thing is that I do not do it, and afterwards, I desire it no longer and next I close my doors completely to all impulses: they no longer exist for me, I am now outside all that.’ This is the true order, the order that is effective. First, not to do it. And then you will no longer desire and after that it will go out of your consciousness completely.”

“this is the reason why there is a constant confusion and even a conflict in our members which our mental reason and will are moved to control and harmonise and have often much difficulty in creating out of their confusion or conflict some kind of order and guidance; even so, ordinarily, we drift too much or are driven by the stream of our nature and act from whatever in it comes uppermost at the time and seizes the instruments of thought and action,… even our seemingly deliberate choice is more of an
automatism than we imagine…”

“The Purusha above is not only a Witness, he is the giver (or withholder) of the sanction; if he persistently refuses the sanction to a movement of Prakriti, keeping himself detached, then, even if it goes on for a time by its past momentum, it usually loses its hold after a time, becomes more feeble, less persistent, less concrete and in the end fades away… This refusal of sanction need not mean a struggle with the lower Prakriti; it should be a quiet, persistent, detached refusal leaving unsupported, unassented to, without meaning or justification, the contrary action of the nature.”

‘There are four movements which are usually consecutive, but which in the end may be simultaneous: to observe one’s thoughts and feelings is the first, to watch over one’s thoughts and feelings is the second, to control one’s thoughts and feelings is the third, and to master one’s thoughts and feelings is the fourth. To observe, to watch over, to control, to master. All that to get rid of an evil mind.
‘A purified mind is naturally a mind that does not admit any wrong thought and feeling, and the complete mastery to gain this result is the last achievement in the four stages.
‘The very first stage, to observe one’s thoughts and feelings, is not such an easy thing. For to observe your thoughts and feelings, you must first of all separate yourself from them. The first movement then is to step back and look at them, so that the movement of the observing consciousness and that of thoughts and feelings may not be confused.
‘Now comes the second stage of watching over one’s thoughts and feelings. Learn to look them as an enlightened judge so that you may distinguish between the good and the bad, between those thoughts and feelings that are useful and those that are harmful, between constructive movements that lead to victory and defeatist ones which turn us away from it. It is this power of discernment that we must acquire at this second stage.
‘Now comes the stage of control; this is the third step of our psychological discipline. Once the enlightened judge of our consciousness has distinguished between useful and harmful thoughts and feelings, the inner guard will come and allow to pass only approved thoughts and feelings, strictly refusing admission to all undesirable elements. It is this movement of admission and refusal that we call control and this constitutes the third stage of the discipline.
‘The fourth stage, that of mastery over the wrong movements, follows almost automatically upon the successful completion of the three previous stages. For, a total sincerity on the part of the sadhaka will make him immune for all practical purposes from the attacks of the undesirable forces.’

“to pretend that you want to live the spiritual life and not to do it, to pretend that you want to seek the truth and not to do it, to display the external signs of consecration to the divine life… but within to be concerned only with oneself, one’s selfishness and one’s own needs.”

“You must make haste to do your work here, for it is here that you can truly do it.
“Expect nothing from death. Life is your salvation.
“It is in life that you must transform yourself. It is upon earth that you progress and it is upon earth that you realise. It is in the body that you win the Victory.”

“All life is a secret Yoga, an obscure growth of Nature towards the discovery and fulfillment of the divine principle hidden in her which becomes progressively less obscure, more self-conscient and luminous, more self-possessed in the human being by the opening of all his instruments of knowledge, will, action, life to the Spirit within him and in the world.”

“The secret of success in Yoga is to regard it not as one of the aims to be pursued in life, but as the whole of life.”

“This, in short, is the demand made on us, that we should turn our whole life into a conscious sacrifice. Every moment and every movement of our being is to be resolved into a continuous and a devoted self-giving to the Eternal. All our actions, not less the smallest and most ordinary and trifling than the greatest and most uncommon and noble, must be performed as consecrated acts. Our individualised nature must live in the single consciousness of an inner and outer movement dedicated to Something that is beyond us and greater than our ego. No matter what the gift and to whom it is presented by us, there must be a consciousness in the act that we are presenting it to the one divine Being in all beings.”

“It is not … the giving of the thing asked for that matters, but the relation itself, the contact of man’s life with God, the conscious interchange. In spiritual matters and in the seeking of spiritual gains, this conscious relation is a great power; it is a much greater power than our own entirely self-reliant struggle and effort and it brings a fuller spiritual growth and experience.”

  • – Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

One thought on “Practical Guidelines For Doing The Yoga Of Sri Aurobindo And The Mother

  1. Sai says:

    Hello Venkat, I have enjoyed your blog posts and articles on various aspects of life. I have found tremendous value. I stay in California and am in India for a short trip. Are you currently based in India? Would love to talk to you.




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