Nov. 27, 1998
Aurobindo laid down that methods in Purna Yoga must not be physical, but spiritual
or psycho-spiritual. He said the principle he had in view was surrender by
which the being, consciousness, delight and power of the human being would be
given up unto that of the Divine Being.
speaks of surrender. Bhakti marga also advocates surrender. Is this too the
same surrender or is it different? Why has he landed on it? And further, how
did he arrive at it?
surrender is the most powerful yogic instrument, but it aims at moksha, not
transformation. As Purna Yoga needs to use all the parts of the being, it is
obvious that methods chosen by other parts would not suit here.
the exercise of the body, one of the three parts of the being. Purifying the
body emphasises the body, thus excluding other parts. Pranayama concentrates on
the breath of the vital. Naturally, mind and body are relegated. The emphasis
laid on thought may prepare the mind, not the other parts of the being. If
thought is of the mind, and breath is of the vital, what instrument is there
for one to choose when the being is his field?
the being consists of four parts, not only three, as the spirit is also a part
of the being. At its origin, Being exists. At the level of the human being,
too, it exists and has to exist. What is central to human existence? When the
Jnani shunned work, Krishna chastised him saying God himself works and cannot
cease working, and how, then, can the jnani stop working? Work is the basis of
existence as a human being. Then we must look for the unit of work as its
master theme. An act is the master word of work. He who wants to make his whole
being do the yoga can use the act as his instrument and field. The act is moved
by his own will, the central will of the person.
purifies his thought, the hatha yogi purifies his body. As we aim at a divine life, we must aim at
divinising our will. Is there a method, an instrument or a field to accomplish
this object? There is no human instrument that belongs to the whole being and
therefore no method has so far been fashioned for a similar purpose. The field
of Purna Yoga is not the individual life, but the entire human life on earth.
man act on the entire human life so as to transform it?
Aurobindo says that the goal the Spirit seeks in creation is to render its
Force into Form and seek perfection in that Form. We see forms at all levels
from the Supermind down to matter. Form is most evident in matter as a stone or
table. At the vital level, form emerges as speech, values like courage,
emotions like anger, etc. The mental forms cast themselves into thought. There
are three further, higher levels, too. At the higher mind, the pre-eminent form
is understanding through silence. The higher mind is distinguished from the
mind of thought by its capacity to understand without thought. Sight or light
is the instrument of the illumined mind. Intuition belongs to the next level of
the yogi’s intuitive mind. If intuition knows the external object at this
level, at the supramental level intuition knows the same thing, not as object
but as subject.
our instrument, the object of comprehension is an object created by Form. The
Force has objectified itself through Form into an object of comprehension. This
Form at the supramental level is perfect and loses its perfection as it goes
down. At the lowest level of matter, it is almost a formless mass out of which
the sculptor often creates a perfect form.
aims at perfect forms in matter. When human life becomes divine life, life
forms would acquire perfection. We see that perfection in the creation of the
artist and sculptor. If the act is the master word of existence, how can we see
the perfection in an act? An act becomes perfect when the supramental force
executes in the material plane. The only close analogy we can offer is the
subconscious skill of the typist whose mental skill is fully transferred to the
poet wanted to write a thousand verses on Uma, an unusual feat. He sat before
Ramana Maharshi and wrote. When he finished the last verse, Maharshi asked if
he had written all that was told. The spiritual force of Maharshi who himself
could not write verses took the form of a thousand verses in the receptive
disciple. Here it is the spiritual force of one acting on the material brain of
another. In our case, it is the supramental force of one acting on his material
plane to create perfect forms.
to happen, the human will that has created the material form should be
transformed into divine will so that the material force behind will change into
supramental force. Is there a method or a process for the human will to
transform itself into the divine will? The human will we speak of is not the
will of the mind or body.
Nor is it the will of the ego. It is the will of the
entire embodied being. For our purposes, japa is a poor instrument, as it
concentrates on words, a small part of the mind, one of the four parts of the
being. The highest known in yoga is trance that leads to Nirvikalpa samadhi.
This too, being a partial method, as it uses only the mind, will not serve our
of creation are:
Absolute – Self-Conscious Being – Consciousness – FORCE – FORM – Supramental
Form – Spiritual form – Mental form – Vital form – Material form.
we say, is essential for creating the supramental form in the lower triplicity.
If so, we may ask, what is essential for spiritual, mental, vital and physical
repetition and fixity make physical form possible. Both should give place to
the flow of energy and movement for the physical to be transformed into the
vital. The vital is characterised by formless force such as courage. For the
vital to be transformed into the mental, the formless courage should now
express through the values of mind. It needs to be cast into the mould of forms
of thought. Transformation of the mind demands deconditioning the mental
instrument of opinions, ideas, etc.
act perpetuates Prakriti. The divine act allows Prakriti to blossom into the
Divine. Both are in the opposite direction. If human will abstains from acting,
it will still preserve its structure. As the act of transformation requires all
the energy of the moment, it cannot allow some energy to be expended on the
preservation of the structure. It is obvious that the human will must
surrender, dissolve and disappear.
surrender He describes moves the man from egoistic centralisation of
rationality to universalised individuality. This change takes place on the
surface, the mind, the ego, Time and in the finite structure of events and
intense concentration on the present that moves man from Time to Timelessness.
Mind that understands one thing at a time should yield place to Supermind that
understands the infinite aspects of events simultaneously. It is an
impersonalisation and universalisation that moves one from the surface to the
depth. By all these processes taking place, either successively or
finite form changes into infinite formlessness;
centre of concentration changes from the mind to that of the being, behind the
heart or above the head.
energy cannot sustain yoga. Only the universal energy can. For that to enter
our system, all human energy must be fully exhausted. No drop of energy should
go to preserve the existing activities. Thus, HE arrives at the method of SURRENDER.
This universal energy is now
stored in the finite form of the human atomic existence. When that energy is
released, it will be able to dissolve the
FORM into FORMLESSNESS. It is analogous to the
fusion in physics. Such energy is stored in the individual opinion and can be
used for social evolution.
that releases that energy is knowledge of surrender. Practise of it can bring
prosperity at the social level, and luck at the psychological level. At the
spiritual level, the same energy helps the spirit to evolve.
an IMF loan of one billion dollars for India is a long, protracted process of
diplomacy, public debate and international opinion. Opinion in India is well
entrenched with respect to gold. It is for ornaments. Ornaments are
prestigious. They serve as much needed security in times of dire need. The
growing education of women has not eroded even the fringes of entrenched
opinion that ornaments of gold confer social status. What lies behind that
opinion is not fully known. Should that opinion yield place to the very
prestigious stocks, shares and bonds, can we imagine 300 billion dollars worth
of gold vanishing and that much money being put in the hands of development? Some 20 years ago the entire capital of
World Bank was only 30 billions when they raised it to 75 billion dollars.
Opinions are powerful. Shedding them on one’s own initiative releases abundant
energy. Even changing them under duress lifted someone in an uncertain teacher’s
job to the professorship of a university and later sent him to the USA.
Aurobindo’s new positions in his yoga are:
spirit evolves through rebirth;
is not the goal, but expressing the transcendent in matter is the goal;
is not conflict, compromise, reconciliation, harmony or union that the spirit
seeks, but unity;
is not enough that the yogic effort is full, total, whole or complete, but it
must be integral also.
yoga cannot be accomplished by being on the surface in the mind, time, and ego
as a finite creature, but one needs to move to the subliminal, timelessness,
psychic and away from the mind towards Supermind.
is not a portion of Paramatma but is Paramatma itself;
is greater than knowledge and is the greatest power of consciousness.
aim is not to move from Time to Timelessness, but into the plane of
simultaneous integrality of Time-eternity and Timeless eternity.
our view of matter changes, matter will transform itself.
he chooses for his yoga must in the end serve all these purposes. For the
spirit to evolve it seeks rebirth as mind now carries its experience through
memory, which is a burden and an obstacle for spiritual evolution. In rebirth,
the physical experience is shed and only the psychic essence is carried over.
The method we choose should help the shedding of physical memory in this birth
and allow only the psychic memory of essence to act.
Ours is a
life of conflict and compromise and rarely do we meet with reconciliation. But
yoga cannot be fully accomplished even by union. That will take us only to the
consciousness. Yoga needs to be completed at the level of substance. Again our
method must suit these needs.
method, however powerful, will not be perfect. Long after monarchy has gone, we
see its forms and influence prevailing everywhere. Any change finds the
remnants of the old. Such a situation will permit a great change in the same
plane. Our aim is at the final plane of Being.
trace of remnants should be there and our aim is transformation, the method we
choose should leave no drop of energy untransformed. Mother does not act until
man has fully exhausted himself. For him to fully exhaust his present energy,
Sri Aurobindo chose a method that is not of any one part. He chose the ACT as the occasion and the
method as surrender. He called it self-surrender and self-consecration. That
way it is voluntary self-giving of one’s self to the Divine. He says perfect
self-giving is perfect self-surrender.
The part recognising the whole not only as
its origin but also as the concealed inner personality of itself desiring
transformation must choose total surrender and nothing else.
Aurobindo said that surrender was difficult. He had moved Truth from above. All
those who wished to do his yoga have only to open themselves to the descending
Truth. Sincerity and opening are the conditions, surrender is the method. It is
the Jivatma that should surrender to Paramatma which means only realised yogis
can do this yoga. What Mother and Sri Aurobindo offer us is what only a
realised soul can do. By opening to them with sincerity, we will be able to act
as only realised souls can do. Opening is an important concept in his yoga.
Normally man wants his desires to be fulfilled. Better individuals seek the fulfillment of their ideals. Desires or ideals both are of the ego. Opening comes only when the ego dissolves. By ego we normally think of pride, selfishness, arrogance, assertiveness. All these are the lower forms of ego. But all that we are is only of the ego. Except Spirit, which we are not aware of, and nature, of which our parts of being are made, our volition, urges, motives, and attitudes are of the ego. He wishes us to reject all that comes from the ego and await the divine inspiration.
mental ego thus dissolves, the mind is universalised. We understand the other
man’s thought, as he himself is aware of it. Mind’s decision, then, will be the
decision of the universal mind.
rid of her mind and vital and experimented on her body. Her body spread all
over the universe. When mind and vital are not there, the physical learns
directly and fully. It is then a thousand times more powerful. The Agenda
volumes describe this.
Britisher left India, India was functioning as before. Even now, 80% of our
administration is British. What happened is a change in the rulers, not a
transformation of the nation. As the world has not witnessed transformation, no
direct example can be given. In metamorphosis, there is a somewhat good
parallel to transformation. How much is in common between the caterpillar and
butterfly? The past is not altered but transformed. For such a change, the past
must go entirely, on its own initiative, which is self-surrender.
says the Supramental being will not have digestive organs. No food will be
taken; universal energy will be drawn. Though the form remains human,
revolutionary changes are to take place in the structure and components. So,
the old should die a death to itself, voluntarily.
the spiritual element in the physical consciousness and physical substance must
emerge on the surface and act on their own unimpeded by vital or the mental. As
we want mind and vital to be abolished, so also the old physical with its
habits, atavism, and fixity should abolish itself transforming itself into
Supramental consciousness and Supramental substance. Is there any room here for
the past? If no trace of the past is to linger, what method can be resorted to.
He chose his own method of surrender. The Gita’s surrender that seeks moksha
asks for the abolition of desire and ego. By ego it means the egoistic
motive. Sri Aurobindo asks for the
abolition of the ego in the mind, vital and physical from its substance itself.
possible to mistake submission for surrender. The physically weak man submits
to the strong man, overpowered. It could be a grudging submission that waits
for an opportunity or a true realisation that he foolishly resisted a worthy
leader. In the latter case, it is not only a submission of the body, but mental
understanding itself going to the other side. As the mind is won over, the
vital too is often won over. The poor trade union leader coming into contact
with the rich employer and his luxurious living, and finding that his vital
truly enjoys the changed circumstances, is won over to the other side forever.
These phenomena exist in varying degrees and each has its own motive force
Let us go
to the fundamentals to more fully comprehend surrender. Our theory of creation
states that Being, by conscious choice, through self-absorption, became matter,
the non-being. The final strand of creation is not matter but mind. Matter is
only subconscient will. Presently, human life is dominated by matter. Matter
has come, by an inversion, to rule mind which it is in its origin.
Aurobindo’s position in yoga is,
Matter rules over Mind.
has to change into Mind over Matter.
he says is possible if the Mind changes its view of Matter.
has to understand that Matter is only its subconscious will.
he terms reversal of consciousness.
this reversal takes place, the mind can further attempt to regain its link with
change to Supermind moves man from the surface to the depth.
tapasvi moves from Time to Timelessness and is lost to our world that is in
moving to the depth, the subliminal and to the Supermind, the sadhaka is moved
from Time-eternity to the simultaneous integrality of Time-eternity and
reversal of consciousness dawns on the separative ego as knowledge of the
not-self. Man realises he is not the ego but really a part of the not-self and
that knowledge releases in him the urge for unity with the not-self.
this, the Spirit comes into its own and is able to move matter at its will.
the boundaries of ego vanish, the finite is on its way to being Infinite.
is a process of total transformation, not a change of any measure.
ACT, which so far perpetuated Prakriti, now allows the being of becoming to
emerge into its own.
is an act of self-knowledge, self-realisation, Self-discovery that issues the
Delight of knowledge emerging from Ignorance which is Lila.
called this ACT “self-surrender.”
We talk of
Matter being transformed into Supermind as full transformation. We know of the
earlier stages where the vital transforms itself into mental, even matter’s
understands in the mind. He allows his mind to educate his vital and body
slowly. Conscious skill that is clumsy, thus becomes perfect subconscious
skill. This is the process of the subconscious body becoming consciously
mentalised. At that point, efficiency is greatest. There is a further point.
Presently we can only leave that subconscious to itself, withdrawing the
conscious mind. The next greater stage is to exercise that efficiency
consciously. Man is yet to attain it.
Sri Aurobindo brought the Supramental consciousness to act on his physical consciousness. Mother carried the experiment to her physical substance. She speaks of her becoming the Divine for 15 minutes. During those fifteen minutes, her physical substance was fully possessed by the Divine consciousness or became the Divine Substance.
in their lives see FORCE acting and performing
miracles. In a moment of opening, the force enters the vital or physical and
acts fast. When the Force enters the physical substance and stays there,
transformation is complete. Mother says while the force was there, she began to
think and it left.
ask how to do it! How to surrender to
the Divine? The above gives a conceptual, mental explanation of what surrender
is. This is knowledge, but knowledge without power. It becomes power only when
the knowledge is understood by the physical. Mental knowledge takes a long time
to act, since it has to move to the physical, whereas the physical can and will
act the moment it understands. It cannot wait. It does not wait. Between the
stage of mental knowledge and physical power lies the vital energy. For the one
to become the other, the vital energy of passion must be released. When the
passion is consuming, the physical opens.
For one to
passionately want to become the Divine, he must have seen the Divine. How can
one be passionate about what he has not seen?
It is not enough that the soul or mind sees, for neither of them have
the power of energy. The vital must have seen the Divine. The spiritual part of
the vital is Pranamaya Purusha. Pranamaya Purusha does not see the Divine
directly. It can reach the Jivatma or Psychic. After realising the Jivatma it
is well on its way to Paramatma or Moksha. After realising the psychic, it
expands into the universe. From there it reaches Ishwara in the Supermind.
Ishwara is the Divine that creates. It can assume the status of Self-Conscious
Being or even permit one to rise to the Absolute.
is complete when the psychic rises in the material plane to Ishwara and carries
on the evolution of the body. For this, the psychic in matter, in the
cells, should awaken and act. Mother calls it cellular consciousness. We start
aspiring in the mind through non-stop thinking and remembrance, move to non-stop
feeling the Presence before the cells awake. When they awake and call the
Divine, we are in the final stages of transformation. When Mother was there,
Her body was in flames and she felt like howling all the time.