Sri Aurobindo On The Buddha

The Non-Being permits the Being, even as the Silence permits the Activity. Thus it was possible for the Buddha to attain the state of Nirvana, and yet act puissantly in the world, impersonal in his inner consciousness, in his action the most powerful personality that we know of as having lived and produced results upon earth.

The possibility of an entire motionless impersonality and void Calm within doing outwardly the works of the eternal verities, Love, Truth and Righteousness, was perhaps the real gist of the Buddha’s teaching – this superiority to ego and to the chain of personal workings and to the identification with mutable form and idea, not the petty ideal of an escape from the trouble and suffering of the physical birth.

-Sri Aurobindo


On Aspiration

Nirodbaran, to Sri Aurobindo: “In your letter to Somnath you said that what is most needed is an upward aspiration. But then what about the other two movements: rejection and surrender you mention in The Mother… You can see that aspiration per se, however strong and true, cannot achieve much.
Sri Aurobindo laconically replied: “Who says no?”
Nirodbaran, being puzzled, asked his Master again: “Do you mean that a strong aspiration will necessarily bring in rejection and surrender?”
Sri Aurobindo’s two-word reply: “Of course.”

“In Yoga… it is the Divine who is the Sadhaka and the Sadhana; it is his Shakti with her light, power, knowledge, consciousness, Ananda, acting upon the Adhara and, when it is opened to her, pouring into it with these divine forces that makes the Sadhana possible. But so long as the lower nature is active the personal effort of the Sadhaka remains necessary.”

‘It is absolutely ludicrous to think that all that is necessary in the life of sadhana will come to you automatically through the magical power of divine Grace. No, this is not true at all. You must not lapse into sleep with this vain thought: “Oh, everything will be done for me by the Divine; I need not do anything at all except that I glide along the stream of time.” No, this is never true to fact; nothing will be done for you automatically.’

“Well then, aspire weakly and phantasmally — but anyhow aspire.”

“We can, simply by a sincere aspiration, open a sealed door in us and find… that Something which will change the whole significance of life, reply to all our questions, solve all our problems and lead us to the perfection we aspire for without knowing it, to that Reality which alone can satisfy us and give us lasting joy, equilibrium, strength, life.”

“a spiritual enthusiasm, the height and ardour of the soul’s seeking.”

An aspiration is “an inner enthusiasm towards the New, the Unknown, the Perfection.” It is “a yearning, a longing for the contact with the Divine Force, divine Harmony, divine Love.” An aspiration is “an inner flame, a need for the light… A luminous enthusiasm that seizes the whole being… An unquenchable thirst, an elan, a luminous drive towards all that is high, all that is noble, all that is divine.” It is “a courage with a taste for the supreme adventure, the adventure of consciousness.” Aspiration is a “silently mounting column of fire that carries in its tip what one wants to be, one wants to have, one wants to do.” Finally, an aspiration is “a purifying Will, an evermounting drive.”

“One day… just imagine, you are going to wake up all of a sudden to something you never
noticed but which is deep within you and thirsts for the truth, thirsts for transformation and is ready to make the effort required to realise it. On that day you will go very fast, you will advance with giant strides…
“You will suddenly feel an irresistible need not to live in unconsciousness, in ignorance, in that state in which you do things without knowing why, feel things without understanding why, have contradictory wills, understand nothing about anything, live only by habit, routine, reactions —you take life easy. And one day you are no longer satisfied with that.
“It depends, for each one it is different. Most often it is the need to know, to understand; for some it is the need to do what must be done as it should be done…
“One suddenly feels that everything one does, everything one sees, has no meaning, no purpose, but that there is something which has a meaning; that essentially one is here on earth for something, that all this — all these movements, all this agitation, all this wastage of force and energy — all that must have a purpose, an aim, and that this uneasiness one feels within oneself, this lack of satisfaction, this need, this thirst for something must lead us somewhere else…
“You no longer live like a little machine, hardly half-conscious. You want to feel truly, to act truly, to know truly…
“The starting-point: to want it, truly want it, to need it.”

‘How many years you have been here, half asleep!… Everything has been explained to you, the whole work has almost been chewed up for you, you have been not only with words but with psychic aids, in all possible ways, put on the path to this inner discovery, and still you let yourselves live, like that (gesture) it will come when it comes!… Where is that ardour, that will which conquers all obstacles, that concentration which overcomes everything!’

“…the thirst for progress, the thirst for knowledge, the thirst for transformation and, above all, the thirst for Love and Truth…Truly a thirst, a need. All the rest has no importance; it is that one has need of.
“To cling to something one believes that one knows, to cling to something that one feels, to cling to something that one loves, to cling to one’s habits, to cling to the world as it is, is that which binds you. You must undo all, that, one thing after another. Undo all the ties… No more bond-free, always ready to change everything, except one thing: to aspire, this thirst… [for] the ‘Something’ one is in need of, the Love one is in need of, the Truth one is in need of, the supreme Perfection one is in need of — and that is all… a need, which the Thing alone can satisfy — nothing else, no half-measure, only that. And then, you go !”

– Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

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

Stepping Stones For The Right Attitude To Do The Yoga Of Sri Aurobindo And The Mother

“…we have set out to conquer all ourselves and the world for God; we are determined to give him our becoming as well as our being…”

“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. Life then we must accept in our Yoga in order utterly to transmute it; we are forbidden to shrink from the difficulties that this acceptance may add to our struggle.”

“When the soul draws towards the Divine, there may be a resistance in the mind and the common form of that is denial and doubt — which may create mental and vital suffering. There may again be a resistance in the vital nature whose principal character is desire and the attachment to the objects of desire… The physical consciousness also may offer a resistance which is usually that of a fundamental inertia, an obscurity in the very stuff of the physical… There is, moreover, the resistance of the Universal Nature which does not want the being to escape from the Ignorance into the Light.”

“The integral yoga consists of an unbroken series of examinations which one has to pass without being given any previous intimation, which therefore puts you under the necessity of being always alert and attentive.”

“The three types of examination are (1) that set by the forces of Nature, (2) that set by the spiritual and divine forces, and (3) that set by the hostile forces. The last are the most deceptive in their appearance and if one is not to be taken by surprise or unprepared, one has to be constantly in a state of vigilance and sincerity and humility.”

“God is our wise and perfect friend, because he knows when to smite and when to fondle, when to slay us no less than when to save and to succour… There must be faith in the love and wisdom of God, … working out all for our good even when it is apparently veiled in evil.”

“A sattwic gladness and calm and confidence is the proper temperament for this yoga [the Integral Yoga]…”

“in absolute reliance on the Mother,fearing nothing, sorrowing over nothing…” in “…a glad equanimity even in the face of difficulties…”

“The ways of the Divine are not like those of the human mind or according to our patterns and it is impossible to judge them or to lay down for Him what He shall or shall not do, for the Divine knows better than we can know. If we admit the Divine at all, both true reason and Bhakti seem to me to be at one in demanding implicit faith and surrender.”

“Remember the true basis of yoga… Obedience to the divine Will, nor assertion of self-will is the very first mantra … learn thou first absolutely to obey.”

“Let Thy Will be done”

“The ego-centric man feels and takes things as they affect him. Does this please me or displease, give me gladness or pain, flatter my pride, vanity, ambition or hurt it, satisfy my desires or thwart them, etc. The unegoistic man does not look at things like that. He looks to see what things are in themselves and would be if he were not there, what is their meaning, how they fit into the scheme of things — or else he feels calm and equal, refers everything to the Divine…” “…he learns to make not the ego but the Divine the centre of his existence and thinks, acts, feels only for the Divine…”

“A guidance, a governance begins from within which exposes every movement to the light of Truth, repels what is false, obscure, opposed to the divine realisation: every region of the being, every nook and corner of it, every movement, formation, direction, inclination of thought, will,emotion, sensation, action, reaction, motive, disposition, propensity, desire, habit of the conscious or subconscious physical, even the most concealed, camouflaged, mute, recondite, is lighted up with the unerring psychic light, their confusions dissipated, their tangles disentangled, their obscurities, deceptions, self-deceptions precisely indicated and removed…”

“If you want to do yoga, you must get rid of fear.”
“The first condition of progress in sadhana is not to fear, to have trust and keep quiet…”
“Fear is the first thing that must be thrown away…”
“To put away fear and have confidence in the divine working is indispensable.”
“… the yogi must be fearless, abhi; it is absurd to have a fear because one can control one’s states; that is a power very much to be desired and welcomed in yoga.”

“No protection, no Grace can save those who refuse the indispensable purification. And I would add this: that fear is an impurity, one of the greatest impurities, one of those which come most directly from the anti-divine forces which want to destroy the divine action on earth; and the first duty of those who really want to do yoga is to eliminate from their consciousness, with all the might, all the sincerity, all the endurance of which they are capable, even the shadow of a fear. To walk on the path, one must be dauntless, and never indulge in that petty, small, feeble, nasty shrinking back upon oneself, which is fear.”

“Patience is our first great necessary lesson… a patience full of a calm and gathering strength.”
“Those who hope violently, despair swiftly: neither hope nor fear, but be sure of God’s purpose and thy will to accomplish.”

“The road of Yoga is long, every inch of ground has to be won against much resistance and no quality is more needed by the sadhaka than patience and single-minded perseverance with a faith that remains firm through all difficulties, delays and apparent failures.”

“If there are good desires, bad desires will come also. There is a place for will and aspiration, not for desire. If there is desire there will be attachment, demand, craving, want of equanimity, sorrow at not getting, all that is unyogic.”

“has no personal hopes; he does not seize on things as his personal possessions; he receives what the divine Will brings him, covets nothing, is jealous of none: what comes to him he takes without repulsion and without attachment; what goes from him he allows to depart into the whirl of things without repining or grief or sense of loss. His heart and self are under perfect control; they are free from reaction and passion, they make no turbulent response to the touches of outward things.”

“You must make haste to do your work here and now… Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.”

“The path of later-on and the road of to-morrow lead only to the castle of nothing-at-all.”

“…the hours, circumstances, life pass in vain, bringing nothing, and you awake from your somnolence in a hole from which it is very difficult to escape.”

“While walking on the path of spiritual advancement, whenever you come face to face with a weakness — a weakness which is seeking self-expression through your thought and feeling and speech or action, immediately you take the resolve not to indulge it in any way, not even for once, not even for this time alone. Otherwise you will never realise your goal.”

“A drop of practice is better than an ocean of theories, advices and good resolutions.”

‘Many come to the Path, attracted by the True Thing, but after some time one lets oneself go. When everything is easy and peaceful, one falls asleep. The human nature is still so crude that it becomes difficult for many to keep the inner attitude unmixed for a long time and to hold firm in one’s original position of ardent aspiration. Almost inevitably laziness takes the place of this aspiration — not for everyone, but in quite a general way — and licence and libertinism take the place of true freedom. There are no moral constraints and so one acts foolishly. It seems it is almost impossible for many an aspirant to make their first aspiration last long.’

“Vigilance means to be awake, to be on one’s guard, to be sincere — never to be taken by surprise. 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.”

“…if we desire to make the most of the opportunity that this life gives us, if we wish to respond adequately to the call we have received and to attain to the goal we have glimpsed, not merely advance a little towards it, it is essential that there should be an entire self-giving. 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.”

-Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

The Practice Of Writing The Mantras Written By Sri Aurobindo

The practice of writing of mantras written by Sri Aurobindo may help in developing aspiration as well as surrender to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. As one writes, it is useful to say the words out loud or mentally and calmly concentrate either in the centre of the chest or the centre of the head.

I write each of the following mantras in this manner once every day.

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