Where Man Ends, the Divine Begins
The soul SAW its woes had disappeared when it forgot them and was wondering what it was all about. God laughed at the naiveté of the soul. So says Sri Aurobindo in one of His Aphorisms. The spiritual truth is man energises his misery by dwelling on it. Can this spiritual truth be of any use to us in our daily life? Though such occurrences are not in abundance, they are not uncommon. Often a man recovers from an incurable illness, especially when the doctor gives up. It is striking at the moment but our mental comprehension does not go beyond expressing a sense of wonder. No serious mental attempt is made to discover how it happened. To us, our minds are final. We never consider the Spirit in us.
A lawyer was driving his newly purchased car on the banks of the river Krishna. The car slipped into the current of the river. Somehow he managed to open the door of the car, swim to the shore and fell down fainting. After a day or two he regained consciousness. Those around were all appreciation for his extraordinary courage and were anxious to know how he had done that feat. To their questions, he only replied, "I do not know anything. I remember falling into the river sitting in my car. The next thing I know is just now that I am here in the hospital." What happened was the body the Spirit in the body awakens the moment it finds it can no longer rely on the mind to protect itself and releases Herculean energy, exhibits superhuman intelligence and saves itself.
This is one expression of the Spirit, the Divine, sailing into action when man comes to the tether ends of his resources. As this is a spiritual phenomenon, we can devise ways and means for our insoluble problems to be solved by the inner Divine taking over. The principle underlying the method is man should voluntarily give up exercising his mind to solve an insoluble problem.
A government officer had been regularly visiting Pondicherry on every February 21st to attend a spiritual function most sacred to his faith. In the same tradition birthdays are the most receptive days in one's life. It is believed the soul is born anew at a higher level on that day. About thirty years ago bus services were not as organised as they are today. For this man to be here on February 21st, he needed to take three days leave from his office. It was quite an issue for a gazetted officer in a government office, especially when his own immediate boss was in the same office. He was religiously visiting Pondicherry on February 21st every year.
His birthday fell on February 19th. Should he be in Pondicherry on February 19th too, he needed five days leave of absence, something inconceivable. Not knowing his own personal circumstances in the office or the distance he had to travel, someone raised the topic of his visiting Pondy on his birthday. He dismissed the suggestion out of hand. By the end of March, something unusual happened to him. He a permanent gazetted officer was ousted from his post, a thing the department never experienced. After 110 days, he was reinstated. During this period he thought of visiting Pondicherry on his birthday the following year. His mental resources were at an end. At Pondicherry he met the man who had raised that issue and who spoke his mind to the officer. He said, "I do see the impossibility of visiting here on Feb. 19th and 21st. Surely it is impossible to the mind, but not to the Spirit. Don't you know the formula, 'the Divine begins where man ends'? It is a never failing spiritual rule." The officer could accept the idea. Each time his mind raised a question, he succeeded in putting it off. Silence was there. He became quiet In February elections came and all the 110 gazetted officers of his institution were drafted. Holidays were declared. He was NOT drafted mysteriously! He came to Pondicherry for his birthday and stayed on for February 21st. Since then, year after year, he came for Feb. 19 and 21st.
Life is replete with events that express this phenomenon. Only that we do not understand it in this light. We rarely think this is a method to solve our problems. When a problem presents, it is customary for us to exercise our minds as well as our efforts to the full. It is good to work to achieve a result. It is better NOT to exercise ourselves. Not only do we not think along those lines, but it is hard for most of us to accept it as a valid method of functioning.
Ordinarily we try our best and if it succeeds, we congratulate ourselves and reinforce our confidence in our capacity. There are occasions when we fail and see no further avenue to pursue our efforts. We give up. In a very short time news comes that our work succeeded, though all our efforts failed. This is not common, but does occur.
o We can see that the work is accomplished not by our efforts, but in spite of them.
o We see it is fulfilled by a method unknown to us or unthought of.
o Usually such fulfilment brings us a greater result.
It is true exercising oneself is a good method and a right method. It is true only when we learn the work and only until we fully learn it. Having learnt it, the mind's insistence should be withdrawn, letting the work take its own course. Exercising oneself then is a bar. Man can give up a work as impossible whereby he follows the above rule negatively.
One who launched a sizeable project successfully, having worked for it for eight full years, was happy about his success. As the project was big enough, he knew that was his last effort. He came to know of this principle at that time. He switched his mind to the poise of this new understanding. A project twice its size came to him by itself. He now wished NOT to begin. It got completed in seventy days as if the project was moving on its own impulsion.