Saturday, November 29, 2014

Concreteness of Yogic Force - Sri Aurobindo

     The invisible Force producing tangible results both inward and outward is the whole meaning of the Yogic consciousness. Your question about Yoga bringing merely a feeling of Power without any result was really very strange. Who would be satisfied with such a meaningless hallucination and call it Power? If we had not had thousands of experiences showing that the Power within could alter the mind, develop its powers, add new ones, bring in new ranges of knowledge, master the vital movements, change the character, influence men and things, control the conditions and functionings of the body, work as a concrete dynamic Force on other forces, modify events, etc., etc., we would not speak of it as we do. Moreover, it is not only in its results but in its movements that the Force is tangible and concrete. When I speak of feeling Force of Power, I do not mean simply having a vague sense of it, but feeling it concretely and consequently being able to direct it, manipulate it, watch its movement, be conscious of its mass and intensity and in the same way of that of other, perhaps opposing forces; all these things are possible and usual by the development of Yoga.
     It is not, unless it is supramental Force, a Power that acts without conditions and limits. The conditions and limits under which Yoga or Sadhana has to be worked out are not arbitrary or capricious; they arise from the nature of things. These including the will, receptivity, assent, self-opening and surrender of the Sadhak have to be respected by the Yoga-force, unless it receives a sanction from the Supreme to override everything and get something done, but that sanction is sparingly given. It is only if the supramental Power came fully down, not merely sent its influences through the Overmind, that things could be very radically directed towards that object — for then the sanction would not be rare. For the Law of the Truth would be at work, not constantly balanced by the law of the Ignorance.
    Still the Yoga-force is always tangible and concrete in the way I have described and has tangible results. But it is invisible — not like a blow given or the rush of a motor car knocking somebody down which the physical senses can at once perceive. How is the mere physical mind to know that it is there and working? By its results? But how can it know that the results were that of the Yogic force and not of something else? One of two things it must be. Either it must allow the consciousness to go inside, to become aware of inner things, to believe in the experience of the invisible and the supraphysical, and then by experience, by the opening of new capacities, it becomes conscious of these forces and can see, follow and use their workings, just as the Scientist uses the unseen forces of Nature. Or one must have faith and watch and open oneself and then it will begin to see how things happen, it will notice that when the Force was called in, there began after a time to be a result, then repetitions, more repetitions, more clear andtangible results, increasing frequency, increasing consistency of results, a feeling and awareness of the Force at work — until the experience becomes daily, regular, normal, complete. These are the two main methods, one internal, working from in outward, the other external, working from outside and calling the inner force out till it penetrates and is visible in the exterior consciousness. But neither can be done if one insists always on the extrovert attitude, the external concrete only and refuses to join to it the internal concrete — or if the physical mind at every step raises a dance of doubts which refuses to allow the nascent experience to develop. Even the Scientist carrying on a new experiment would never succeed if he allowed his mind to behave in that way.

                                                                                                 - Sri Aurobindo

(SABCL, Vol 26, pp. 197-199)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Daily Life of Sri Aurobindo

After the midday meal the inmates of the house, all except Sri Aurobindo, were in the habit of going to sleep after closing their windows to keep off the heat of the sun. They would sleep from 12.30 to 2.30 or 3. The boy carrying bread used to put it in the proper place between 2 and 2.30 and go out. He would enter by the main gate, climb the stairs and approaching the table in the middle of the verandah, which would be dark owing to the shutting of windows, put the bread and account book on it and leave the house. After 3 the bread was removed to its place and the signature put in the book. The boy returned before 5 or 5.30 to collect the book for bringing it again next day with the bread.
The verandah table had but one drawer. It had no locking arrangement. Some ten one-rupee notes and five rupees' worth in small coins would generally be inside the drawer. The inmates were not in the habit of counting the money while keeping it in. The amount would sometimes be more, sometimes less.
One day when Bejoy Nag opened the drawer to take some money out, he by chance detected an appreciable shortage. He was a bit startled. He kept observing for 2 or 3 consecutive days. All the notes vanished mysteriously. Only the small coins remained. Bejoy Nag one day kept a five-rupee note and two or three one-rupee notes together with the small coins to observe the result. The very next day a one-rupee note was missing. The next day to that, another one-rupee note disappeared. He was convinced by this that it was during their sleep that the money was being stolen. He resolved to catch the thief anyhow; he called me, asked for my help to catch the thief red-handed by keeping an eye on him from a hiding place between 12.30 and 2.30 p.m. Being young, I was over-enthusiastic to catch the culprit.
     At the appointed time three of us (besides Bejoy Nag there was someone else whose name I forget) concealed ourselves behind the doors and kept a watch from three directions. It was about 2 p.m. My heart was beating fast with impatience. The bakery boy climbed up the stairs and then walked up to the upper verandah without the least sound as if he did not intend to disturb our sleep. He took down the bread basket from his head, put the fixed number of loaves and the account book on the table (a bit of pencil would always be attached to the book), silently opened the drawer of that rickety table, picked a five-rupee note out of it and thrusting it inside his turban retraced his steps. I could no longer contain myself. All three of us leaped lightning-like upon the boy and catching him dealt resounding blows to him. The sound of beating in that silent hour fell as that of thunder upon my ear. At the first two or three blows the boy uttered no word. As the fourth blow came upon him he could not bear it and started to cry out. He confessed that he had been stealing for sometime past and promised that he would do it no more. Either on hearing the cry of the boy or for some other reason Sri Aurobindo came out of his room straight to the verandah and appeared before us. For a little while he stood without a word. On the face of the boy who had received blows there shone the solace of having seen his Saviour. Our raised fists dropped down of themselves and we stood still as though we had been the culprits. Sri Aurobindo forbade us to take the five-rupee note away from him and when we heard the order we felt as if a sentence had been passed upon us.
   -   Nolini Kanta Gupta
(Reminiscences, pp. 151-152)